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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War Aims

(1,667 words)

Author(s): Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
War Aims Prior to the outbreak of the war, none of the European Powers had pursued concrete territorial annexation aims that might have significantly influenced their decision to take up arms. Soon after the beginning of the war, however, the issue of war aims began to be debated in all countries, at first mostly behind closed doors. The British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was able to prevent a public discussion of British war aims. Great Britain was quite resolute in its demand that the ind…

War Artists

(555 words)

Author(s): Jürgens-Kirchoff, Annegret
War Artists Artists officially commissioned to preserve wartime events in drawings, paintings etc. The work of war artists normally forms part of the tradition of historic and predominantly apologetic battle art; that is, their main function is to make heroes and documents. However, there are also, in the 19th and increasingly in the 20th centuries, examples expressing a critical interest, though almost all of these were by artists working on their own account. The work of war artists has been lit…

War Atrocities

(955 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
War Atrocities War atrocities may either be in direct violation of international law or contravene the generally accepted conventions of war, or else be conform to international law but nevertheless condemnable. The basic premise lies in the particular atrocity of the type of warfare or in the choice of victims. When defenseless people deliberately become the target of acts of war (civilians, shipwrecked persons, captured or wounded soldiers), the afflicted side perceives such acts as war atrociti…

War between Allies: Polish and Ukrainian Intellectuals 1914–1923

(8,422 words)

Author(s): Górny, Maciej
Górny, Maciej - War between Allies: Polish and Ukrainian Intellectuals 1914–1923 ISFWWS-Keywords: Russian Front | Politics | Russia | Poland | Intellectuals and the War | Literature | Legacy Other Fronts, Other Wars? Joachim Bürgschwentner, Matthias Egger and Gunda Barth-Scalmani , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004279513 DOI: 10.1163/9789004279513_020 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Górny, Maciej

War Bonds

(647 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Bonds A form of government borrowing for the financing of war expenditures. War bonds were issued by the belligerent states during the World War, thus allowing for the mobilization of significant parts of the social wealth. Both their attractive conditions – interest rates frequently better than in peacetime – as well as a massive propaganda drive, ensured that the first war bonds were able to raise a considerable amount of capital. The bondholders typically reflected a broad spectrum of the p…

War Cemeteries

(1,285 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
War Cemeteries The design of war graves and war cemeteries was first regulated during the First World War. Yet paradoxically at the same time as the enormous mass deaths, the status of individual war deaths became enhanced. Each of the fallen was now, as far as possible, to be given an individual grave, that, similarly to civilian tombs, would receive the body and perpetuate the name. In the 19th century it was normal for only officers to be interred in individual graves, while other ranks were bu…

War Chronicles

(301 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
War Chronicles The war chronicles were the expression of a changed public awareness of journalism. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871 had already led to a serious boom of popular military literature. Military topics gained a wider appeal in the German Reich due the growing agitation of the colonial unions, navy leagues, and defense associations since the turn of the century. The first war chronicles were printed at the beginning of the World War, usually by book publishers (Beck, Franck, Insel) …

War Collections

(416 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
War Collections From the first weeks of the war, so-called “war collections” were set up in many of the countries at war. Most people were convinced that they were witnessing a revolutionary event. They accordingly attempted to collect as many things as possible from this “great time,” in order to be able to inform future generations about the Great War. Collectors included museums, libraries, archives, and also private individuals. In 1917 in Germany alone more than 200 such collections are known…

War Comes to the Fields: Sacrifice, Localism and Ploughing Up the English Countryside in 1917

(7,308 words)

Author(s): Grieves, Keith
Grieves, Keith - War Comes to the Fields: Sacrifice, Localism and Ploughing Up the English Countryside in 1917 Keywords: English countryside | food production | localism | ploughing ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Home fronts | Economy | Politics | The French and British Empires | Women and War | Children and War Abstract: In 1917 the British home front faced a test of endurance and its most obvious expression throughout the year was the food question. The strategic importance of food production in 1917 was accompanied by the clamour o…

War Correspondents

(545 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
War Correspondents During the World War selected domestic and foreign reporters and cameramen, as well as politicians, writers, and other public commentators were granted official permission, or even invited, to travel throughout the various war theaters in order to report on their impressions. These reports were published in newspaper articles and in weekly newsreels, and in speeches and books. All journeys to the front had to be approved by the military authorities. In the case of Germany, it was necessary to obtain a pass issued by Department IIIb (P…

War Credits

(773 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Credits War credits were one of the crucial means of financing the war. They were raised in various forms, by various methods, and in various amounts, by all belligerent nations at home and sometimes abroad. War credits were necessary because some elements of normal state receipts fell drastically upon the outbreak of war, while the financial burden abruptly multiplied. War credits were raised at home in the form of short- or long-term government bonds, or by increasing the amount of paper cur…

War Damage

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
War Damage Damages and costs incurred during the war through the destruction of military equipment and weaponry, but also as a consequence of property damage in the regions directly affected by the war. War damage thus refers to the material costs of the war in the narrow sense. The calculation of war costs in the wider sense as well as of material losses in the narrow sense is so fraught with difficulties that all figures can only be seen as rough approximations. This already became evident during a first general assessment carried out for t…

War Economy

(7,950 words)

Author(s): Ullmann, Hans-Peter
War Economy “War economy,” wrote the German national economist Franz Eulenburg in 1916, is “the national economy in a state of war.” This means that it does not follow its own principles, so there is no war economy. It represents rather “a quite specific modification of the general economy” that was subject to “important disturbances, direct and indirect,” because of the war. Such disturbances of the peacetime economy in production and consumption and in markets and prices,1 arose from the completely different task imposed by a war economy. The former was concerned with…

War Enacted: Popular Theater and Collective Identities in Berlin, 1914–1918

(92 words)

Author(s): Baumeister, Martin
Baumeister, Martin - War Enacted: Popular Theater and Collective Identities in Berlin, 1914–1918 Keywords: Germany | Home fronts | Culture | Society | Visual Arts | Politics ‛Endangered Cities’ Marcus Funck and Roger Chickering, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2004 e-ISBN: 9789047409812 DOI: 10.1163/9789047409812.008 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Baumeister, Martin

War Enthusiasm

(799 words)

Author(s): Ullrich, Volker
War Enthusiasm In August 1914, the Germans went to war in a wave of general enthusiasm – or so it was claimed until recently in schoolbooks and in a number of representative works written by German historians. This stereotyped conception has, in the meantime, been increasingly challenged and corrected in a number of crucial points. Accordingly, it can now stated with certainty that an “August Experience” in the sense of an enthusiastic, nationwide approval of the war that would have mobilized all social classes did not take place. …

War Exhibitions

(775 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
War Exhibitions In a number of warring countries, public exhibitions of war objects were already organized during the war for the purpose of informing the civilian population about the military aspects of the war, but also with the intention of influencing public opinion in a propagandistic manner. The first war exhibitions placed captured enemy cannons on display in order to demonstrate the superiority of the respective country’s own army. In Berlin, captured artillery pieces lined the Siegesallee (Avenue of Victory); others stood in the inner courtyard of the Zeughaus (a former a…

War Experience

(654 words)

Author(s): Hettling, Manfred
War Experience Experience as such had been discovered around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. Authors such as Wilhelm Dilthey and Georg Simmel popularized the concept, which expressed a longing for wholeness and a need for totality. Within the process of experiencing, distinctions such as those between reflection and sensory perception or thought and action were believed to disappear. Simmel gave this notion a more emphatic note by comparing experience with adventure. Experience thus stoo…

Warfare and Belligerence: Approaches to the First World War

(14,764 words)

Author(s): Purseigle, Pierre
Purseigle, Pierre - Warfare and Belligerence: Approaches to the First World War Keywords: General | Literature | Reference and Bibliography | Legacy | Society | Economy | Home fronts ‛Warfare and Belligerence’ Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2005 e-ISBN: 9789047407362 DOI: 10.1163/9789047407362.002 © 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Purseigle, Pierre

War Food Office

(392 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Food Office The central authority under the Imperial Chancellor in the German Reich for managing supplies of food and animal feed in order to keep the population fed. The office was created, by an announcement dated May 22, 1916, to correct the previously divided and confused administration in the light of the dramatically worsening supply problem. To this end the War Food Office, as an organ of the Reich (against the opposition of the federal states and the Prussian Agriculture Minister), was …

War Guilt

(797 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
War Guilt The question of responsibility for the First World War was actually the subject of controversial discussion even before the outbreak of war, during the July Crisis of 1914, and was even answered propagandistically, to justify positions taken. Proclamations at the outset of the war, such as the “balcony speech” of Kaiser Wilhelm II on August 4 (“It is not the desire for conquest that drives us . . .”) or Poincaré’s “ Union sacrée” address on the same date (“In the war now breaking out, France has right on her side.”) always emphasize the defensive character of…
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