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National Socialism

(2,472 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
National Socialism The first industrialized mass war had considerable effects on political and social relationships, and on the mentality of people. Italian Fascism and German National Socialism owe their particular characteristics and their legitimization to the First World War, described by Eric J. Hobsbawm as a “machine for brutalizing the world.” By his own testimony, Hitler himself was a “son of the war.” In repeated references to the war in Mein Kampf and in numerous statements and documented conversations ( Hitler’s Table Talks), Hitler returned time and again to his p…

Mobile Warfare

(1,059 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Mobile Warfare A form of warfare which seeks to bring about a military decision through the tactical movement of forces for the purpose of achieving advantageous territorial concentrations without having to rely on fortified positions at all times. At the beginning of the war in 1914 the military doctrines and operational plans of all belligerent powers were based on mobile warfare. In the first instance these offensive operations were motivated by the strategic and economic objective of ensuring …

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…

German Asia Corps

(568 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
German Asia Corps German Expeditionary Corps established for the purpose of recovering Baghdad. – After the capture of Baghdad by the British on March 11, 1917, the German and Turkish High Commands decided to set up the Army Group F (Yilderim) in order to recapture the capital city of the ancient caliphate. The German core unit was to be the Asia Corps (Pasha II), raised in Neuhammer/Silesia (modern Świętoszów). Initially commanded by Colonel Werner von Frankenberg und Proschlitz, the well-equipped…

Erzberger, Matthias

(506 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Erzberger, Matthias (September 20, 1875, Buttenhausen [now part of Münsingen] – August 26, 1921 [assassinated], near Bad Griesbach [now Bad Peterstal-Griesbach]), German politician. Erzberger was a Center Party member of the Reichstag from 1903. Influenced by South German Catholicism, before the First World War he favored fundamental reform of the state; he decidedly rejected cooperation with the Social Democrats. After the outbreak of war, Erzberger used his connections (to include the Roman Curi…

Desertion

(1,634 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Desertion Denotes a soldier’s unauthorized absence from his unit, without the permission of his superior officers. Related offences are “unauthorized absence” and “defection to the enemy.” In common with all other legal offenses, desertion does not necessarily reflect objective circumstances, but depends on national legal provisions and their interpretation on a particular occasion, that is to say their practical application. In particular, the distinction between desertion, unauthorized absence, defection, refusal of wa…

Below, Otto von

(480 words)

Author(s): Kleine Vennekate, Erik
Below, Otto von (January 18, 1857, Danzig, modern Gdańsk – March 9, 1944, Besenhausen near Göttingen), German general. After attending secondary school, Below joined the Prussian army as a cadet in 1871. From 1884 to 1887 he attended the Prussian Military Academy and was subsequently appointed to the General Staff. He was given command of a battalion in 1897, a regiment in 1905, and a brigade in 1909. In 1912 he was promoted to lieutenant-general, with command of the 2nd Division at Insterburg (Chernyakhovsk) in East Prussia. At the start of the war Below commanded the Ist Reserve…

Nationalities Question

(1,312 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Nationalities Question The nationalities question in Eastern and Southeastern Europe developed in the course of the 19th century from the greatly mixed population that inhabited Russia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Prussia in the German Reich, plus the newly independent states of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece – a great variety of nationalities, with their different languages, religions, cultures, and interests. Although the murder of the Austro-Hungarian he…

Armistice

(996 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Armistice This term refers to the cessation of hostilities between the Entente Powers and the Central Powers in 1918. In fact, the Armistice agreements concluded by the victors with Bulgaria (on September 30 at Salonica, now Thessalonika), with Turkey (on October 31 at the port of Moudros on the island of Lemnos), with the Habsburg Empire (on November 3 in the Villa Giusti near Padua), and with the German Reich (on November 11 at Compiègne-Rethondes) made it impossible for the Central Powers to resume hostilities. In reality, therefore, armistice amounted to capitulation. It was Genera…

Kemal Pasha, Mustafa

(630 words)

Author(s): Hebestreit, Oliver
Kemal Pasha, Mustafa (March 12, 1881, Salonica [Thessalonika] – November 10, 1938, Istanbul; from 1934 Atatürk), Ottoman general and Turkish politician (state president). After completing training at the Military Academy ( Harbiye Harp Okulu) in 1902, Kemal Pasha was active as a young officer in the resistance against the regime of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. In 1905 he founded a secret military society that later amalgamated with the self-styled patriotic movement of the Young Turks under Enver Pasha. In 1908/1909, he took part in …

Switzerland

(960 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Switzerland Switzerland experienced the First World War as a small state in an exposed, central geographical position. The Swiss government responded to the tense European situation by proclaiming general mobilization on August 1, 1914, and three days later the neutrality of the Swiss Confederation. The traditional pillars of the state’s self-conception and territorial defenses alike were perpetual neutrality and the readiness to defend that neutrality militarily by means of a militia army. Corps…

Serbia

(1,820 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Serbia Established in 1882, the Southern Slavic Kingdom of Serbia was governed until 1914 by Petar I of Serbia (1844–1921), who an officers’ conspiracy had brought to power in 1903 and who was subsequently elected king by the Serbian National Assembly. Relying on the support of the Radical Party of Prime Minister Nikola Pašić (1846–1926), the king championed a Greater Serbian policy that was particularly directed against the interests of Austria-Hungary. In 1906, this policy led to a trade war, t…

Geneva Convention

(612 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Geneva Convention The Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 22, 1864, is one of the most important human rights agreements still in force. In place of the regulations once agreed upon as necessary for each new war, there was now a permanent treaty. Its inspiration can be traced back to the great number of wounded soldiers who died after battles owing to poor medical care during both the Crimean War of 1854–1856 and the Second Italian War…

Brusilov Offensive

(1,136 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Brusilov Offensive The designation “Brusilov Offensive” refers to the Russian army’s last major military operation in the summer of 1916. It was named after the commander of the Russian Southwest Front (Army Group Brusilov), General A.A. Brusilov, whose offensive in the first days of June 1916 annihilated two Austro-Hungarian armies and badly crippled two others. It was one of the greatest Russian victories of the war, but nevertheless exhausted itself in frontal attacks. Born into an aristocratic family, Brusilov earned a reputation as a competent senior commander a…

Giolitti, Giovanni

(430 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Giolitti, Giovanni (October 27, 1842, Mondovì [Piedmont] – July 17, 1928, Cavour [Turin]), Italian politician who served as prime minister. One of the most influential Italian politicians of the prewar period, the liberal Giolitti practiced Realpolitik with a bureaucratic approach. He served as prime minister for five separate terms: 1892–1893, 1903–1905, 1906–1909, 1911–1914, and then 1920–1921. Indeed, the years from the turn of the century to 1914 are known in Italy as the “Giolitti Era.” During this period Giolitti ushered in…

Eugen of Austria

(275 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Eugen of Austria (May 21, 1863, Gross-Seelowitz, Moravia – December 30, 1954, Meran/Merano, Italy), archduke of Austria, and Austro-Hungarian field marshal. Eugen was the son of Archduke Karl Ferdinand and Archduchess Elisabeth, and brother of the supreme army commander Archduke Friedrich. After training in the Tyrolean Imperial Rifle Regiment and on the general staff, he was a successful commander of, among others, the 13th Infantry Regiment. In 1900 he was appointed commanding general of XIVth Co…

San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di

(368 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di (December 10, 1852, Catania – October 16, 1914, Rome), Italian politician (foreign minister). San Giuliano’s political career began in the ranks of the liberal right wing, at a time when many political figures of national standing, among them Francesco Crispi, were emerging from Sicily. A member of the Italian parliament from 1882, he became undersecretary of state in 1892, and in 1898 served as a minister in the reactionary government of General Pell…

Galicia

(837 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Galicia This province, for the most part ceded to Austria in 1772 upon the first partitioning of Poland, never lost its reputation as a slowly developing region. Accountable for this was its overwhelmingly agrarian character and its prevailing social and national structures. The gentry, almost exclusively Polish, owned vast tracts of land. They were somewhat close to the Polish inhabitants, while the Ukrainian inhabitants (called Ruthenians by the Austrians), who dominated considerable territory,…

Alpine Warfare

(2,447 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Alpine Warfare When the Italian declaration of war was delivered on May 23, 1915, it plunged Austria-Hungary into a desperate situation. While this move by Italy did not come unexpected, almost all the forces of the Danube Monarchy were tied up on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans, where the Central Powers had in that year taken the initiative. Only weak, improvised forces were available to secure the 600-km long border with Italy, among them almost 30,000 militia reserves (Standschützen). By t…

General Government/Occupation Government

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
General Government/Occupation Government In World War I, a general government was a conquered territory under the supreme command of a governor general. This territory would have its own administrative unit attached, and was divided into the front, and the administrative zones. The governor general possessed the highest legislative, judicial, and executive power in the general government, and the troops stationed in the area were also placed under his command. He had the task of organizing public l…
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