Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Subject: History

Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is an online resource that contains over 700 encyclopedia entries plus 250 peer-reviewed articles of transnational and global historical perspectives on significant topics of World War I. This collection includes Brill’s Encyclopedia of the First World War, an unrivalled reference work that showcases the knowledge of experts from 15 countries and offers 26 additional essays on the major belligerents, wartime society and culture, diplomatic and military events, and the historiography of the Great War.

The 250 articles address not only the key issues from political, historical and cultural perspectives, but also engages with aspects of the war which have remained underexplored such as the neutrals, the role of women before, during and after the war, and memory. The chapters have been drawn from a select number of Brill publications that have been published in the last 15 years. Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is a unique digital library that will allow researchers to discover new perspectives and connections with the enhanced navigational tools provided.

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Haase, Hugo

(360 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Haase, Hugo (September 29, 1863, Allenstein – November 7, 1919, Berlin [murdered]), German politician. One of the two chairmen of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD; Social Democratic Party of Germany) from 1911 onward, Haase opposed the Burgfrieden (Fortress Truce) policy that had been adopted by the majority of his party. He nonetheless bowed to party discipline. Speaking before the Reichstag on August 4, 1914, he read out the declaration in which the SPD approved the war credits – against his own conviction. Until the last moment, Haase attempted to uphold the unity of the party and to simultaneously secure a majority for his rejection of the war credits. In the face of the growing public debate over war objectives in 1915, Haase and his party colleagues Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein…

Haber, Fritz

(330 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Haber, Fritz (December 9, 1868, Breslau – January 29, 1934, Basel), German chemist. Prior to the World War, Haber developed the scientific principles for the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in the form of ammonia (NH3), which was then technically realized by Carl Bosch (Haber-Bosch process). However, ammonia was not only used as a base substance for the manufacturing of artificial nitrogenous fertilizers, but also for the production of explosives and was thus of crucial importance for the war economy. In 1911, Haber was appointed director of the newly founded Kaiser Wilhe…

Hague Land Warfare Convention

(285 words)

Author(s): Renz, Irina
Hague Land Warfare Convention By Hague Land Warfare Convention one means the text of the Hague article concerning The Laws and Customs of War on Land. This article was the fourth of thirteen articles signed on October 18, 1907, along with the final declarations, at the conclusion of the Second International Peace Conference at The Hague. Forty-four nations had taken part in the conference, convened at the suggestion of Tsar Nicholas II. Article IV was ratified by most warring states of the First World War. In December 1911 the text of Article IV on The Laws and Customs of War on Land was includ…

Haig, Sir Douglas

(689 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Haig, Sir Douglas (June 19, 1861, Edinburgh – January 29, 1928, London; from 1917 the First Earl Haig), British field marshal (commander in chief on the Western Front, 1915–1918). In the course of a brilliant prewar career, spent mainly in staff posts, Haig made himself a reputation as one of the most capable officers in the British Army. He was promoted to major general at the early age of 44. One of his most important posts was as hea…

Haller de Hallenburg, Józef

(282 words)

Author(s): Hans, Hecker,
Haller de Hallenburg, Józef (August 13, 1873, Jurczyce [Galicia] – June 4,1960, London), Polish general and politician. Haller de Hallenburg was among the Polish forces that resisted cooperating with the Central Powers in early 1918, in view of their Polish policy. He also commanded a Polish Legion serving with the Austro-Hungarian forces. Under their commander Colonel Haller de Hallenburg, the Second Polish Legion Brigade in East Galicia succeeded in breaking through to the Polish troops stationed in the Ukraine during the night of February 15–16, 1918. He arrived in Paris via Murmansk. On September 21, 1918, Haller de Hallenburg assumed command of the 20,000-man Polish Blue Army that was stationed in France, as well as other, subordinate Polish units stationed in Russia. Their reputation as an “Allied and battle-ready army” (September 28, 1918) was significant for the role Poland would play at the Paris Peace Conference. In April 1919, Haller de Hallenburg presided over the transfer of his army to Poland, where he contributed to the build-up of Polish forces. He took over as supreme commander during the battles over the Ukraine, and on the Northeastern Front during the Polish-Soviet War of 1919–1920. After his political disagreement with Chief of State Józef Klemens Piłsudski in 1926, he was forcibly retired. In 1937, he became involved with the conservative opposition. After 1939, he was Minister of Education in the Polish govern…

Hamilton, Sir Ian

(524 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Hamilton, Sir Ian …

Hand Grenade

(309 words)

Author(s): Stortz, Dieter
Hand Grenade Hand-thrown missile filled with explosives and designed to be detonated on impact (percussion) or by a timed fuse. The latter bec…

Harbord, James Guthrie

(391 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis E.
Harbord, James Guthrie (1866, Bloomington – August 20, 1947, Rye NY), United States general. Before the war, Harbord had served in the same regiment as General Pershing. This was the truly deciding factor in his appointment to chief of staff of the American Expeditionary Forces on May 15, 1917. Pershing needed a man whom he could trust, and loyalty was Harbord’s outstanding character trait. Thus, he functioned more as an echo of Pershing’s ideas regarding mobile warfare, than their analyst. At the …


(377 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Hartmannswillerkopf Mountain in Upper Alsace (956 m) situated on the eastern edge of the Vosges. The vantage point on the summit affords a commanding view of the Upper Rhine Plain. The front in the area of the Hartmannswillerkopf was not firmly established until late 1914/early 1915, at which point the summit was in German hands. In the spring of 1915, French troops were temporarily able to occupy the mountaintop. After the successful counteroffensive, the Germans consciously abandoned the classic notion of establishing forw…

Haus, Anton Freiherr von

(355 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Haus, Anton Freiherr von (June 13, 1851, Tolmin – February 8, 1917, Pola [Pula]), Austro-Hungarian grand admiral. Haus entered the Austro-Hungarian Navy in 1869, and in 1901, as commander of the cruiser Maria Theresia, took part in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion. Between 1902 and 1905 he served as chairman of the presiding council in the Naval Section of the War Ministry. He became rear admiral in 1905, commander of the Second Division in 1906, and in 1907 was a delegate at the second peace conference in The Hague. He b…

Hausen, Max Klemens Lothar Freiherr von

(289 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hausen, Max Klemens Lothar Freiherr von (December 17, 1846, Dresden – March 19, 1922, Dresden), Saxon general. After cadet school, von Hausen joined the Saxon Army’s Third Jägerbataillon (Rifle Battalion) in Dresden in 1863. He took part in wars in Bohemia in 1866 and in France in 1870/1871, and was promoted captain in 1871. He was first appointed to the imperial general staff four years later. A major in 1881, in 1893 he was promoted to major general. Between 1895 and 1897 he was back on the general staff as deputy chief ( Oberquartiermeister). Between 1900 and 1902, he served as comma…

“Having Seen Enough”: Eleanor Franklin Egan and the Journalism of Great War Displacement

(8,259 words)

Author(s): Hudson, David
Hudson, David - “Having Seen Enough”: Eleanor Franklin Egan and the Journalism of Great War Displacement Keywords: Americ…


(1,417 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Headquarters Command centers for the supreme military, sometimes also political, leadership set up in the field for the duration of the war. Composition, location, and function of such …

Heinrich (Henry), Prince of Prussia

(395 words)

Author(s): Schranz, Daniel
Heinrich (Henry), Prince of Prussia (August 14, 1862, Potsdam – April 20, 1929, Hemmelmark [now belongi…

Hejaz Railway

(565 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
Hejaz Railway Railway line between Damascus and Medina. In 1900 Sultan Abdul Hamid II commissioned the construction of a railway to link Damascus with Mecca. The railway was to help provide access to the remote Arab provinces, forge closer ties between Constantinople and the holy sites, and ease the pilgrimage of the Hajjis (pilgrims). In addition, it allowed for the rapid transport of troops to deal with renegade Bedouin tribes in Arabia. The German engineer Heinrich August Meissner was hired to oversee the project. The route of Meissner’s railway followed the old caravan pilgrimage trail from Damascus into the Hejaz. Despite many technical and terrain-related difficulties the 459-km long segment between Damascus and Ma’an was opened on September 1, 1904. A branch line was built from Daraa to Haifa, providing a link to the Mediterranean. The attempt to integrate Aqaba on the Red Sea into the rail network via another branch from Ma’an was aborted when Britain raised objections. By September 1, 1908, the single-track Hejaz Railway (track gauge: 1,050 mm) was completed as far as Medina. Continuation of the line as far as Mecca failed to arouse the interest of the Young Turks. In 1913 passengers using the Hejaz Railway numbered 230,000, among them 30,000 pilgrims and 40,000 soldiers. Because the last sections of track were only executed in narrow-gauge format, the average speed of the trains did not exceed 23.5 km/h. During the war the Hejaz Railway, together with the Anatolian Railway and the unfinished Baghdad Railway, formed the backbone of the Turkish transport system. The railways carried the bulk of the supplies for the armies operating in Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. Because of a shortage of coal the Hejaz Railway had to be converted to wood firing as early as 1915 – a measure which reduced the efficiency of the trains by 30%. The Hejaz Railway was indispensable especially for delivering supplies to the Turkish Expeditionary Corps of the Hejaz in Medina under General Fakhri Pasha. In 1917 the Arab irregulars began to carry out raids and attacks against the line. The British Army Captain T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) later claimed to have destroyed a total of 79 railway bridges with his Arab Guerrilla fighters. However, these operations did not immediately stop all train services: two Turkish trains continued to run from Damascus to Medina each week until the spring of 1918…

Hentsch, Richard

(567 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hentsch, Richard (December 18, 1869, Cologne – February 13, 1918, Bucharest), German officer. After a private education in Berlin, Hentsch joined the 103rd Infantry Regiment (4th Saxon) in Bautzen in 1888. In 1899 he was posted to the Imperial General Staff, initially for two years, and then transferred there in 1902. He was promoted lieutenant colonel on April 20, 1914, and at the outbreak of war took up the post of head of the intelligence department to the chief of the General Staff of Field Forces. In this p…

Hero Cult

(1,197 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Hero Cult The First World War was the last war to have an explicit hero cult; it continued almost to the end of the war. Every day, and increasingly as the war situation intensified, the public was presented with war heroes, whether alive or killed in action, both collectively and individually. Their cult grew out of the national tradition; they were to be followed as examples of willpower and readiness for battle, staying power, and readiness for sacrifice. The World War, with its new weapon systems capable of killing anonymously, no longer provided any real basis for a hero cult that presupposed proven individual heroism. Moreover, an increasingly egalitarian society was averse to a construction based on individual heroism. The soldier as a single, individualistic fighter was no longer called for. Despite this, the media and public announcements continued to create new “heroes.” In particular, representatives of the new weapon systems, especially …

Heroes’ Groves

(499 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Heroes’ Groves On December 8, 1914, an article by the head of the German Royal Horticultural College’s Department for Plant Production, Berliner Willy Lange, appeared in the entertainment section of the Täglichen Rundschau. In his article, “Oaks for Heroes and Lindens for Peace,” Lange proposed that every German community should establish heroes groves, planting there, in orderly rows, one oak tree for every fallen soldier from the community: “For each, who lost his life for German…

Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of

(791 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of The word Opfer (‘victim’) has two different connotations in the German language. One can make an Opfer, a ‘sacrificial offering,’ by sacrificing a victim to the gods, and in extreme cases a human being can offer himself in sacrifice. In its other connotation, a person can become the passive victim or ‘target’ of fate, whether from decisions made by others or from unknown circumstances. In both connotations the word has been extensively used in the literature and public debates on the World War. This suggests that the word…

Hertling, Georg Graf von

(480 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Hertling, Georg Graf von (August 31, 1843, Darmstadt – January 4, 1919, Ruhpolding), German politician (Reich chancellor). Born into an old-established Hessian Catholic civil service family, Hertling originally wanted to become a priest, but in 1867 he gained his doctorate in philosophy at Bonn. In 1875 he was elected to the Reichstag for the Center Party. As a member of the Reichstag until 1890, and again from 1896 to 1912, he was a committed advocate of the political implementation of the tenets o…

Hervé, Gustave

(314 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Hervé, Gustave (January 2, 1871, Brest – October 25, 1944, Paris), French politician and commentator. Hervé attracted attention as a radical, antimilitarist journalist during the years 1901 to 1905; he became a national celebrity by his recommendation to workers that they should “ planter le drapeau sur le fumier” (plant the flag on the dung heap). In a newspaper Hervé founded in 1906, La Guerre sociale, he consistently signed his articles with “ un sans-patrie” (a stateless person). He maintained with extraordinary vehemence the thesis that workers had no homeland an…
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