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Ferdinand I, Tsar of Bulgaria

(451 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Ferdinand I, Tsar of Bulgaria (February 26, 1861, Vienna – September 10, 1948, Coburg) Ferdinand, from the house of Sachsen-Coburg-Koháry, was elected Prince of Bulgaria against the bitter resistance of Russia, and to the discontent of Bismarck, in 1887. He became the tsar in the context of a national and constitutional crisis triggered by the abdication of Prince Alexander of Battenberg that was compelled by Russia in 1886. However, his …

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…

Piłsudski, Józef Klemens

(325 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Piłsudski, Józef Klemens (December 5, 1867, Zułowo [now Zalavas, near Vilnius] – May 12, 1935, Warsaw), Polish politician and marshal. Co-founder of the Polish Socialist Party in 1892, Piłsudski was a determined opponent of Russia. He pursued the goal of a Polish federal republic on the model of the old Polish-Lithuanian Union, reaching far to the east and including non-Polish nationalities. This national revolutionary activist organized paramilitary groups from 1908 on and sent his forces over the…

Vivat Ribbons

(248 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Vivat Ribbons Dedicatory and commemorative ribbons, imprinted with verses, that were distributed on special informal, court, business, or military occasions. Vivat Ribbons were usually narrow cloth ribbons from 30 cm to as much as 3 m long, and about 3–12 cm wide. First appearing in 18th century Prussia, they eventually spread to the rest of Germany as well as Austria-Hungary. Vivat Ribbons commemorating the First World War tended to measure about 40 cm × 6.5 cm. They were typically printed on the shiny side with Vivat followed by the date, and then the occasion. To this would be…

Maximilian, Prince of Baden

(1,091 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Maximilian, Prince of Baden ( July 10, 1867, Baden-Baden – November 6, 1925, Salem; real name: Maximilian Alexander Friedrich Wilhelm; also known as Max von Baden), German Reich Chancellor. The son of Prince Wilhelm of Baden, and last German Reich Chancellor before the collapse of the Wilhelmine Reich, Max von Baden became heir apparent to his childless cousin, Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden, in 1907. After attending humanistisches Gymnasium (high school emphasizing classical studies) and studying law, the prince took up an officer’s career, which he dropped ag…

Hutier, Oskar von

(357 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hutier, Oskar von (August 27, 1857, Erfurt – December 5, 1934, Berlin), German general. Hutier was educated in a cadet school. He joined the Infantry Regiment No. 88 as a lieutenant in 1875. After a successful career in headquarters and field units, Hutier was appointed major-general in 1910 and chief quartermaster of the Great General Staff one year later. In 1912, having risen to the rank of lieutenant-general he assumed command of the 1st Guards Division, with which he went to war in 1914. As pa…

Armed Forces (German Empire)

(4,574 words)

Author(s): Deist, Wilhelm
Armed Forces (German Empire) In July 1914 the Army of the German Empire numbered 761,000 men, organized in 25 army corps. An additional 79,000 men served in the navy, and 9,000 in the colonial protection force. Those mobilized at the beginning of the war numbered 3.820 million in all, 2.086 million of whom made up the field army, divided into 40 army corps. Thus began a development that, during the years that followed, led to the general, extended mobilization of the German nation’s human resources for war. Some 13 million men served in the forces of the German Reich during the war. These figure…

Lviv/Lemberg

(890 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Lviv/Lemberg Capital of the Austro-Hungarian Crown Land of Galicia. In late summer 1914 the territory around Lemberg (Lviv) in eastern Galicia became the focus of battles between Russian and Austro-Hungarian troops. While the Russian plan was for an offensive that would achieve the double encirclement of the Austro-Hungarian forces in eastern Galicia, the chief of the Austro-Hungarian General Staff, Conrad von Hötzendorf, envisaged as his first major offensive operation an advance to the north be…

Lersch, Heinrich

(400 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Thomas F.
Lersch, Heinrich (September 12, 1889, Mönchengladbach – June 18, 1936, Remagen), German writer. The son of a boilermaker, after attending Volksschule (elementary school) Lersch completed an apprenticeship in his father’s trade, before traveling as a journeyman around Germany and becoming a boilermaker himself. He volunteered to fight in 1914, and took part in the Battle of Champagne in 1914/1915. Having been buried alive and wounded, in 1916 he was discharged as medically unfit. After the war, he resumed his trade as a boilermaker but later lived from his writing. Lersch began his w…

Frank, Ludwig

(289 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Frank, Ludwig (May 23, 1874, Nonnenweier [today part of Schwanau in the district of Ortenau] – September 3, 1914 [killed in action], Nossoncourt, Département Vosges), German attorney, social democratic politician, and member of the Reichstag. Frank was first city councilor in Mannheim, then a member of the Landtag of Baden. In 1904, he founded the sozialistische Arbeiterjugendbewegung (Socialist Young Workers’ Movement), whose most prominent representative he remained for the rest of his life. Pol…

Lyautey, Louis Hubert Gonzalve

(283 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Lyautey, Louis Hubert Gonzalve (November 17, 1854, Nancy – July 21, 1934, Thorey [Département Meurthe-et-Moselle]), French general and politician (minister of war). A cavalry officer serving at the Saint-Cyr military academy from 1873, Lyautey was politically to the right, but always remained alive to social questions. In the 1890s he produced proposals for reforming the social role of army officers. He was frequently employed in the French colonies in the 1890s, as well as in Algeria. From 1912 he …

Committee of Inquiry of the German Parliament

(787 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Committee of Inquiry of the German Parliament On August 21, 1919, the newly formed 15th Committee of the German Constitutional Assembly met as a fact-finding parliamentary committee to consider the central political and military issues stemming from the World War. The legal basis for the committee was Article 34 of the Weimar Constitution. Under Article 34, officeholders and officials were obligated to work together with a fact-finding commission. Furthermore, the committee would have the right to secure expert tes…

French, Sir John

(383 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
French, Sir John (September 28, 1852, Ripple Vale, Kent – May 21, 1925, Deal), British field marshal and British Army Commander in Chief on the Western Front 1914/1915. French’s early career included the usual colonial postings in Egypt and India. He first gained a reputation as a courageous and energetic officer as commander of a cavalry division in the Boer War (1899–1902). The war led to further key posts, not least owing to the fact that French mixed easily with politicians, especially liberal …

Carpathians

(916 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Carpathians A mountain range between Hungary and Galicia, the site of several battles from January to April 1915. The Austro-Hungarian general staff was quite aware of the Carpathians’ strategic importance. The Austro-Hungarian troops in Galicia, which were enclosed on all sides, were left with little possibility of evading attack due to the mountain range, while the e…

Mobilization

(664 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Mobilization The conversion of a nation’s military forces to a state of war, callled specifically “military mobilization,” and the adaptation of its government and industry to the demands of the war, known as “military mobilization.” Military mobilization for the World War had been planned in detail during peacetime. The preplanned procedures were intended to outfit military units with personnel, uniforms and equipment so as to bring them swiftly up to war strength. When the war began, frontier p…

Romania

(1,553 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Romania Having come into being in 1859 in the union of the two Danube principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, Romania endeavored to remain aloof from the great diplomatic crises and military upheavals that gripped the Balkans from the end of the 19th century. The country accordingly did not participate in the Balkan League comprising Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro, which declared war on the Otto…

Ferry, Abel

(249 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Ferry, Abel (May 26, 1881, Paris – September 15, 1918, Jaulzy [Aisne]), French politician. As nephew of Jules Ferry, the dominant French statesman of the 1880s, and as the son of the parliamentarian Charles Ferry, Abel Ferry came from a highly respected political family. After studying law in Paris, in 1909 he was elected to parliament as the deputy for Épinal (department of the Vosges), identifying himself with the moderate left. In the cabinet formed by René…

Loos

(547 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Loos A small French town northwest of Lens, in the region of Artois. During the fighting in autumn 1915 (the dual British and French offensive in Artois and in the Champagne) between Arras and the La Bassée Canal (Septe…
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