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North Africa

(2,498 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
North Africa Geographical area stretching from the Atlantic coast of present-day Morocco in the west to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. The territories in question experienced various phases of political and military subjugation by the European colonial powers before the outbreak of the First World War. The North African territories were subject to differing external and internal political arrangements, and were then administered under direct and indirect forms of rule. France claimed formal sovereignty in Al…

Franz Joseph I of Austria

(380 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Franz Joseph I of Austria (August 18, 1830, Schönbrunn [now part of Vienna] – November 21, 1916, Vienna), Emperor of Austria after 1848 and King of Hungary after 1867. Franz Joseph mounted the throne in 1848, during a war that threatened the very existence of the monarchy. In 1916 he died during just such a war, which surpassed every earlier conception of a modern war in both its extent, and its form. Regarding the possibility of waging war as a political tool, Franz Joseph was heavily influenced by …

Famine

(1,380 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Famine The long duration of the war, reciprocal blockades of food imports, and the exploitation of regions occupied by the Central Powers all caused occasional dramatic occurrences of famine in the World War. In the German Reich and Austria especially, the food situation during the second half of the war was appalling. In Germany, the lack of planning to maintain the food supply in case of war was partly the blame for the quantitative and qualitative decline in the diet of a majority of the German civilian population. The weekly flour ration fell…

Savoia, Emanuele Filiberto di, Duca d’Aosta

(250 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Savoia, Emanuele Filiberto di, Duca d’Aosta ( January 13, 1869, Genoa – July 4, 1931, Turin), Italian general. Savoia, a cousin of King Victor Emmanuel III, entered the Turin Military Academy in 1884. He was commanding general in Naples from 1905 to 1910. At the outbreak of the First World War he was entrusted with command of the Third Army, which fought in the Karst region on the northeast Italian border. His army succeeded in capturing Gorizia in the summer of 1917. After the German-Austrian breakth…

Rainbow Books

(583 words)

Author(s): Zala, Sacha
Rainbow Books Official printed texts or collections of diplomatic documents, appearing on an ad hoc basis treating primarily questions of foreign policy. A government published “rainbow books,” frequently during or after an international crisis, in order to inform its parliament and/or public, to legitimize its own policy, and/or to criticize the policy of a foreign state. The books owe their name to the colors of their bindings, used on a consistent basis by the various governments: Great Britain blue; Germa…

Uniforms

(1,390 words)

Author(s): Kraus, Jürgen
Uniforms At the beginning of the war, the armies of most warring states were outfitted with a special field uniform, camouflaged to blend into the terrain, in addition to their colorful parade uniforms. Such a camouflage uniform was necessary because of modern weapons technology including smokeless powder. This was already well known from the Boer Wars and the Russo-Japanese War. Still, camouflage uniforms dated back to the colonial wars of the 19th century. Based on experience in India, Great Br…

The Women’s Suffrage Campaign in Italy in 1919 and Voce Nuova (“New Voice”): Corporatism, Nationalism and the Struggle for Political Rights

(8,310 words)

Author(s): Schiavon, Emma
Schiavon, Emma - The Women’s Suffrage Campaign in Italy in 1919 and Voce Nuova (“New Voice”): Corporatism, Nationalism and the Struggle for Political Rights Keywords: feminism | interventionism | Italian women movement | Milanese feminists | nationalism | Voce Nuova | World War I ISFWWS-Keywords: Italy | Society | Politics | Legacy | Masculinity | Gender | Culture Abstract: This chapter focuses on the Italian women's movement after World War I with particular reference to the experience of the Milanese feminists, who were the leading group in…

Military Losses (Casualties)

(1,331 words)

Author(s): Overmans, Rüdiger
Military Losses (Casualties) There is little agreement in the literature as to the casualties sustained by the states that took part in the First World War. Figures vary between about 6 and about 13 million. A principle reason for the different estimates lies in the fact that definitions of the term “casualties” differ greatly. In the narrow military terminology of the time and in the specialized military literature, “casualties” frequently included all those soldiers who were no longer available t…

Entente

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jaques
Entente Also referred to as the Triple Entente, this was one of the great alliances that had formed in Europe at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Although these alliances are ascribed a certain responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, they were far less stable and less systematically structured than was later claimed. The system of alliances created by Reich Chancellor Bismarck after the war of 1870/1871 had as its goal the isolation of France in Europe, and to that end the maintenance of good relations with…

Isonzo

(796 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
Isonzo River located in the Karst region of Slovenia near the front in the Alps where, between 1915 and 1917, Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops opposed one another. Directly after Italy had joined the war in May 1915, their Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna had wanted to undertake a penetration of the Austrian heartland across the Isonzo. However, the Imperial Austrian Army troops held their defensive positions. The war, which devolved into independent actions in the High Alps, was cemented here at …

Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary)

(3,011 words)

Author(s): Rauchensteiner, Manfried
Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary) The organization of the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces during the First World War originated in the Compromise of 1867. Under this agreement the Habsburg Monarchy sported the outward appearance of a dual monarchy, yet internally there was minimal uniformity, and the merest balance of interests. The major weakness of the Compromise between the Kingdom of Hungary and the remainder of the Double Monarchy was the fact that the Slavs within Austria-Hungary, who had mainly s…

Pan-German League

(886 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Pan-German League Radical nationalistic organization in Germany. The Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband, ADV) was founded in Berlin in April 1891 and (until 1894) operated under the name Allgemeiner Deutscher Verband (“General German Association”). It was formed as a non-party organization on the initiative of a small circle of activists that included representatives from the community of “ethnic Germans” living outside of the German Empire ( Volksdeutsche), several colonial propagandists with ties to Carl Peters, and Alfred Hugenberg, who was still a yo…

Artillery

(3,394 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Artillery Next to infantry and cavalry, artillery was the third combat arm of the land forces in 1914. Its task was to support other branches of the service, in particular the infantry. Since modern warfare was thought of as a war of movement, artillery doctrine, equipment and training were designed for mobile combat. It had to be able to follow the infantry in the field. This requirement restricted the weight and thus the caliber and ballistic capability of the guns. The primary weapons of the a…

Submarine Warfare

(2,604 words)

Author(s): Rohwer, Jürgen
Submarine Warfare Grossadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz, secretary of state for the German Imperial Navy Bureau, was mainly interested in the battle fleet and initially had little regard for submarines. So the construction of U1 did not begin until 1904/1905, and, by the beginning of the First World War, only 28 submarines were in service in the German Navy. Of these, only the final ten were equipped with operationally safe diesel engines for running on the surface. Tirpitz’ intention at the beginning of the war was to use submarines for reconnaissance against the British Gra…

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 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…

Balfour Declaration

(486 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Balfour Declaration Statement by the British government made in a letter from the Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour to Lord Lionel Rothschild on November 2, 1917, expressing support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The Manchester-based British Palestine Committee had campaigned for the Declaration. The most prominent advocate was Chaim Weizmann, an advisor to the British government, who enjoyed good contacts with Lord Balfour and the (then) Chancello…

China

(2,662 words)

Author(s): Mühlhahn, Klaus
China The largest state by population and area in eastern Asia; a republic from 1911 to 1949. Although China was scarcely involved militarily in the First World War, the war nevertheless represented an important turning point for the country. The consequences of the war fundamentally changed both China’s status in international politics and its internal political and social circumstances. China’s involvement in the First World War was a long-term result of the expansion of European imperialism. Increased rivalry between the Great Powers, in their strugg…

League of Nations

(487 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
League of Nations (German: Völkerbund, French: Société des Nations). The measures instituted by the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 proved insufficient to prevent war. Therefore, during the World War, the peace movements of several nations considered founding a new institution. After 1917–1918 government representatives in Great Britain, France, the United States, and also the German Reich increasingly considered the possibilities. For American President Woodrow Wilson, the creation of a League…

Generalship and Mass Surrender during the Italian Defeat at Caporetto

(9,337 words)

Author(s): Wilcox, Vanda
Wilcox, Vanda - Generalship and Mass Surrender during the Italian Defeat at Caporetto Keywords: Caporetto | Italian Defeat | mass surrender ISFWWS-Keywords: Italian-Austrian Front | Italy | Military organisation of combat | Austria-Hungary | Germany | Experience of combat Abstract: The Italian defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 has been the subject of fierce historiographical debate. An examination of the conduct of the opening stage of the battle offers some answers as to the nature and causes of mass surrender at Ca…
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