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Military Courts

(861 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Military Courts This special law jurisdiction is limited to military personnel. It provides for a host of criminal offense categories that are not included in civilian criminal law. It is noteworthy that, as in civilian jurisprudence, criminal law is handled separately from procedural law. A comprehensive modernization of the military legal system was undertaken in numerous countries in the closing years of the 19th century. During the World War, the following regulations applied in the specified warring states: in Germany, the Militärstrafgesetzbuch of 1872; in France, the Code d…

Chantilly Conference

(554 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Chantilly Conference The second Interallied Conference in 1915, held in the French headquarters north of Paris. Ever since the beginning of the war, the Allies had fought without really attempting to coordinate their operations. This approach benefited the interests of the Central Powers, whose geographical position allowed them to reinforce their troops in precisely those sectors where it was needed. During the first two years of the war the general situation seemed rather favorable for the Central Powers, even though they were unable to achieve a decisive victory. The Allies were…


(1,185 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Albania Compared to other ethnic groups in the Balkan region the Albanians were relatively late to develop national aspirations of their own. Religious divisions within the population, the lack of a unified social stratum that would support a “modern” national movement, and the traditional, deeply fractured structure of Albanian society with its regional and clan affiliations delayed the creation of a politically organized movement of national rebirth ( Rilindja), which only emerged in the last quarter of the 19th century. When the peace negotiations after the R…

Nicholas Nikolaevich, Grand Duke of Russia

(369 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Nicholas Nikolaevich, Grand Duke of Russia (November 18, 1856, Saint Petersburg – January 5, 1929, Antibes), Grand duke of Russia and supreme commander in chief. Nicholas was the son of Grand Duke Nicholas the Elder. In 1873 he completed the Nikolaevsky Military Engineering Academy, and then the General Staff Academy in 1876. He took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 under his father, the commander in chief. After 1901, he was a general of cavalry. In 1905–1908 Nicholas presided over the newl…

Battisti, Cesare

(467 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Battisti, Cesare (February 4, 1875, Trento – July 12, 1916, Trento), Italian politician and officer. The son of Italian-speaking parents, Battisti grew up in Trento, which belonged to Austria at the time. Between 1893 and 1897 Battisti studied in Graz, Florence, Turin, and Vienna. He became a supporter of irredentism, a movement calling for the separation of all Italian-speaking territories from the Habsburg Empire and their annexation by Italy. Upon earning his degree in geography Battisti began …

Benedict XV

(414 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Benedict XV (November 21, 1854, Genoa – January 22, 1922, Rome; formerly Giacomo della Chiesa), Pope. Giacomo della Chiesa was elected Pope following the death of Pius X in September of 1914. He took the name of Benedict in memory of the great legislator Benedict XIV. Even though the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici in May 1917 was of considerable theological significance, Benedict made history as the “Pope of the Great War,” especially since he died only a few years after the war. His entire tenure was characterized by a keen awareness of …


(582 words)

Author(s): Jürgens-Kirchhoff, Annegret
Futurism An avant-garde movement in Italian art with close affinities to cubism and constructivism as well as to the pre-1914 expressionist currents, combining a glorification of modern life with a radical rejection of tradition. The Italian futurists celebrated the outbreak of the World War in a similarly emphatic manner as the German expressionists. Where art strove to “make a tabula rasa of the past” (Giovanni Papini), where the traditional forms and achievements of civilization came to be challenged, where the muses and libraries were to be burned, t…

Sonnino, Georgio Sidney

(475 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Sonnino, Georgio Sidney (March 11, 1847, Pisa – November 24, 1922, Rome), Italian politician (foreign minister). After a brief diplomatic career, Sonnino made his name with studies of the situation of the Italian rural population in Sicily. A member of parliament from 1880, he favored an alliance with the Central Powers, and was of the opinion that it was more important for Italy to maintain friendship with Austria than to acquire the Italian-speaking province of Trentino. He subsequently retained …

Film (Post-1918)

(1,028 words)

Author(s): Rother, Rainer
Film (Post-1918) Compared with the largely propagandistic style of films before 1918, postwar films reflected the immense destruction and cost of the war by making a different choice of material and narrative method. With the exception of a boom in explicitly anti-German films in the United States, which lasted a considerable time beyond the Armistice (the most significant of these is probably The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Rex Ingram, 1921), film transferred its main attention to experiences of loss, sorrow, and death. J’accuse (Abel Gance, France, 1919), with its pacifi…

Fayolle, Marie Émile

(202 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Fayolle, Marie Émile (May 14, 1852, Le Puy – August 27, 1928, Paris), French general. Fayolle became commander of the French Sixth Army during the battle of the Somme in 1916, an engagement in which his new command particularly distinguished itself. At the end of 1917 he took command of five British and six French divisions earmarked to stabilize the Italian Front after the Italian defeat at Caporetto (Karfreit). His final great test during the war was as commander of the French military reserve br…


(769 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
Louvain (Flemish: Leuven) Belgian university town west of Brussels, celebrated for its university and magnificent Gothic buildings. Here between August 25 and 28, 1914, German troops killed 248 civilians and destroyed a sixth of the buildings. The university library, with its valuable collection of manuscripts from the Middle Ages, was burned to the ground. One of the best known single events of the war, Louvain became known worldwide as a symbol of German war atrocities. The German military leadership explained the destruction of Louvain as a justified punitive measur…

Gorlice-Tarnów, Battle of

(1,005 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Gorlice-Tarnów, Battle of Two towns in Galicia (now situated in modern Poland). Even though the German Supreme Army Command was determined to decide the war in the West, developments in early 1915 brought the focus of attention to the East. The weaker the Austro-Hungarian army became, the more the German allies felt compelled to provide direct support. The situation deteriorated when Italy, hoping for territorial gains, threatened the Dual Monarchy with war. Now the German Eleventh Army (August von…

Aerial Warfare

(2,055 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Wolfgang
Aerial Warfare A form of waging war in and from the air with airborne or ground-based weapons against war-critical targets and the air power of the enemy, and in direct or indirect support of land or naval forces. These forms and features of a war being fought in and from the air had been contemplated and partially put into practice in the years leading up to World War I, but the key concepts were laid down by the major powers based on their aerial operations between 1914 and 1918. In the highly-developed industrial nations, with th…

Declarations of War

(276 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Declarations of War 1914 July 28 Austria-Hungary on Serbia August 1 Germany on Russia August 2 German invasion of Luxembourg1 August 3 Germany on France August 4 German invasion of Belgium* August 4 Great Britain enters the war* August 6 Serbia on Germany August 6 Austria-Hungary on Russia August 7 Montenegro on Austria-Hungary August 11 France on Austria-Hungary August 12 Great Britain on Austria-Hungary August 12 Montenegro on Germany August 23 Japan on Germany August 23 Austria-Hungary on Japan August 28 Austria-Hungary on Belgium October 15 Montenegro on Bulgaria October 29 the …

Arz von Straussenburg, Baron Artur

(338 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Arz von Straussenburg, Baron Artur (June 16, 1857, Hermannstadt, modern Sibiu in Transylvania – July 1, 1935, Budapest), Austro-Hungarian army general and chief of the General Staff. A member of the Transylvanian Saxon ethnic community, Arz joined the 23rd Feldjäger (Rifle) Battalion in 1877 for one year of voluntary military service. After attending the Kriegsschule (General Staff College) from 1885 to 1887, he was assigned to the General Staff and advanced his career mainly by serving with field units. Within months of attaining th…

Tunnel Warfare

(587 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Tunnel Warfare Warfare by means of planting subterranean destructive charges. Following the onset of positional warfare, the belligerents soon turned to tunneling and mining along the stationary front lines, especially on the Western Front and in the Alps. A distinction must be made between offensive and defensive mining: offensive mining was conducted for the purpose of destroying key positions or entire sections of the enemy’s trenches immediately before a planned infantry attack. This was accom…

Burián von Rajecz, Stephan

(383 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Burián von Rajecz, Stephan (January 16, 1851, Stampfen near Pressburg, modern Stupuva near Bratislava – October 20, 1922, Vienna), Hungarian politician (foreign minister). Baron (from 1918 Count) Burián belonged to an ancient Hungarian noble family. After an initial period in the diplomatic service with postings to Alexandria, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sofia, Moscow, Stuttgart, and Athens, he became finance minister of Austria-Hungary in 1903. In that capacity he was also responsible for the administrati…

Versailles, Treaty of

(1,736 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Versailles, Treaty of The Versailles Treaty was negotiated and signed by the victors and the defeated Germany in the Parisian suburb of Versailles in May/June 1919. On May 7 at the Trianon Palace, the victorious powers, represented by Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, and Georges Clemenceau, David Lloyd George, and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, the prime ministers of Great Britain, France, and Italy, together with representatives of Germany’s other opponents in the war, presented a draft…

Diaz, Armando

(321 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Diaz, Armando (December 5, 1861, Naples – February 29, 1928, Rome), Italian chief of general staff, and Marshal of Italy. Diaz took part in the Italo-Turkish war, 1911/1912, as a regimental commander. At the outbreak of the First World War, he was head of the Operations Department of the Italian general staff, thus one of the closest collaborators of Cadorna, the chief of the general staff. He received command of a division at the end of 1915, and distinguished himself in August 1916 in the assaul…


(1,698 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Greece While the real tragedy of the World War played out on Europe’s theaters of war, Greece remained neutral until 1917. This neutrality was above all benevolent toward the Central Powers – at least, as far as the head of state, King Constantine, was concerned. Since the monarch admired his brother-in-law Kaiser Wilhelm II as the personification of the German martial spirit, he refused to march off to war against the Central Powers. Thereupon, Greek Premier Eleftherios Venizelos advocated stron…
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