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Zimmermann Telegram

(358 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Zimmermann Telegram On January 16, 1917, after the German government’s decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare (from February 1, 1917), Arthur Zimmermann, secretary of state at the German foreign ministry, sent a coded telegram to the German ambassador in Washington, Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff, to be forwarded to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram instructed Eckardt to propose to the Mexican government an alliance against the United States. In re…

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…

The Debate on Denmark’s Defence 1900–1940

(12,501 words)

Author(s): Galster, K.
Galster, K. - The Debate on Denmark’s Defence 1900–1940 Keywords: democratic debate | Denmark's defence | realist foreign policy ISFWWS-Keywords: Scandinavia | Politics | Neutral States | Origins and Pre-war | Legacy Abstract: This chapter endeavours to appraise Danish democracy's ability to formulate adequate defence policies in the period 1900-40. The e point of departure will be the state's key aims viz. Denmark's survival and integrity, as they were fundamental requirements for its effective foreign and…

Intelligence Services

(574 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Intelligence Services Also called the secret service, these government organizations were employed to collect and interpret intelligence information of military, political, economic, and scientific importance about other states. Intelligence services were also assigned sabotage missions and diversion operations, as well as the safeguarding of their own state secrets against enemy espionage. During the age of nationalism between 1860 and 1914, most states established intelligence services. The Worl…

Wartime Coalitions

(2,117 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Wartime Coalitions Before the World War, the European system of states had become strongly polarized. On the one side stood the Central Powers, namely the Dual Alliance of German Reich and Austria-Hungary that had been formed in 1879 as well as the (independently concluded) Triple Alliance of German Reich, Austria-Hungary, and Italy; however, the latter country declared itself neutral at the beginning of the war. On the other side stood the Entente Powers, among which France and Russia had been bound by a military alliance since 1893/1894, while France and Great Bri…

Introduction. Small States in a Big World

(11,403 words)

Author(s): Amersfoort, H. | Klinkert, W.
Amersfoort, Herman; Klinkert, Wim - Introduction. Small States in a Big World Keywords: European | military strategy | political strategy | powerpolitical controversies | small states ISFWWS-Keywords: Neutral States | International Relations during the War | Legacy | Belgium | Politics Abstract: One of the primary responsibilities of any state is the development of a political-military strategy which meets the circumstances in which that state finds itself, the manner in which the state perceives its own position in its …

Inflation

(1,440 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Martin H.
Inflation An increase in the money supply and a rise of the monetary demand that is not matched by a corresponding amount of goods. Until long after the end of the war, people were accustomed to speak of “rising prices” instead of inflation or devaluation. In current research, the “age of inflation” denotes the period extending from the war to the beginning of the currency stabilization in November 1923. It also alludes to the economic, political, social, and cultural changes that resulted from the currency devaluation as well as to the ways of coming to terms with inflation. The causes of w…

Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von

(740 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von (May 29, 1869, Schleswig – September, 8, 1928, Berlin), German diplomat. The first foreign minister of the Weimar Republic was descended from the ancient nobility of Holstein. After obtaining his doctorate in law Brockdorff-Rantzau chose to pursue a diplomatic career which took him from Brussels via Saint Petersburg to Vienna, where in 1901 he became embassy secretary, and the influential German ambassador Count Carl von Wedel was his mentor. It was also thanks t…

‘Too Good to be True?’ European Hopes for Neutrality before 1914

(13,370 words)

Author(s): Abbenhuis, M. M.
Abbenhuis, M. M. - ‘Too Good to be True?’ European Hopes for Neutrality before 1914 Keywords: Congress of Vienna | European | neutrality | state behaviour ISFWWS-Keywords: Neutral States | Origins and Pre-war | Politics | Scandinavia Abstract: This chapter argues that judging neutrality as a naïve and fl awed foreign policy option in the context of the two world wars misses the point about the relevance of neutrality in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. Within the international system created and sustai…

Prisoners of War

(3,043 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Prisoners of War Persons with the status of combatants who fell into enemy hands during the war. Only rough estimates of the total number of prisoners of war can be given for the World War. It is assumed that some 6.6 to 8 million soldiers were taken captive, which represents at least 10% of the approximately 60 million soldiers who were mobilized during the war. By late 1918, according to statistics from the interwar period, 328,000 soldiers had been captured by the British, 350,000 by the French,…

Montenegro

(459 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Montenegro The smallest of the Balkan states, Montenegro was strategically defined by its borders with Austria-Hungary and Serbia. To the south the kingdom bordered Albania, from which it had won territory populated by Albanians during the Second Balkan War. Since the Montenegrin populace itself was ethnically mainly Serbian, during the July Crisis of 1914 their support for their Serbian neighbors arose. The land had been ruled since 1860 by Nikola Petrović I, who had crowned himself king in 1910…

Liebknecht, Karl

(460 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Liebknecht, Karl (August 13, 1871, Leipzig – January 15, 1919, Berlin [assassinated]), German politician. The son of Wilhelm Liebknecht, founder of the German Social Democratic Party ( Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands – SPD), Karl Liebknecht was a lawyer and a member of the SPD group in the Prussian lower house of Parliament, as well as later in the Reichstag. He also made a name as a writer of sociological and subversive literature. In 1907 Liebknecht was sentenced to 18 months in prison for antimilitary propaganda.…

Headquarters

(1,417 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Headquarters Command centers for the supreme military, sometimes also political, leadership set up in the field for the duration of the war. Composition, location, and function of such a headquarters depended on the constitutional position of the supreme military command of each belligerent and the demands of modern mass and coalition warfare. – By far the most comprehensive headquarters at the outbreak of the war was the German “Great Headquarters.” Aside from the German Emperor as the nominal c…

Japan

(2,146 words)

Author(s): Schwentker, Wolfgang
Japan Japan rose to become a Great Power in East Asia during the two centuries preceding 1914. Although the Japanese Empire had become the object of Western imperialism during the late 19th century, they had resisted all attempts at colonization. After victories in both the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, Japan itself stepped into the imperialist arena in East Asia as the new colonial power. As Japan expanded its empire upon the Asian continent before 1914,…

Karl I, Emperor of Austria

(573 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Karl I, Emperor of Austria (August, 17, 1887, Persenbeug [Lower Austria] – April 1, 1922, Quinta do Monte [Madeira]), Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary (Charles IV). Due to the death of the heir apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, Archduke Karl was suddenly compelled to assume the role of the successor to the throne without careful preparation, and thus too early. In view of the brevity of Emperor Franz Joseph’s remaining life expectancy, young Karl’s military assignment was above a…

Cecil (of Chelwood), Edgar Algernon Robert

(318 words)

Author(s): Winter, Jay
Cecil (of Chelwood), Edgar Algernon Robert (September 14, 1864, London – November 24, 1958, Tunbridge Wells; from 1923 First Viscount), British politician. Cecil was one of the architects and longstanding champions of the League of Nations. After training as a lawyer, he began his political career in 1906 as Conservative Member of Parliament for East Marylebone. At the outbreak of the First World War he first became involved with the Red Cross. He became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Fore…

Peace Initiatives

(1,049 words)

Author(s): Hoff, Henning
Peace Initiatives In the course of the World War there were repeated attempts to end hostile activities. However, right until the end the war aims of the two sides were irreconcilable so that the chances for the success of peace initiatives remained small. The first serious attempts to bring the European belligerents to the negotiating table were made by American President Woodrow Wilson, who in the spring of 1915 sent his trusted “Colonel” Edward M. House to London, Berlin and Paris to hold exploratory talks. The trip foundered on the G…

Monuments

(2,302 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
Monuments War memorials do not function solely as monuments to the war-dead, but also to “affirm the identity of the survivors” (Reinhart Koselleck). They construct the past in order to cope with the present. War-memorials thus say more about their architects than about the fallen, and the wars they are supposed to commemorate. In the age of mercenary armies, there were no monuments commemorating the common soldier; this honor was reserved for officers and commanders. In Prussia at the beginning of the 19th century, with the introduction of genera…

Wilhelm, German Crown Prince

(367 words)

Author(s): Schranz, Daniel
Wilhelm, German Crown Prince (May 6, 1882, Potsdam – July 20, 1951, Hechingen), crown prince of the German Reich and of Prussia. Wilhelm was born in 1882 as the first son of the later Kaiser Wilhelm II. He began his military career at the age of 14, interrupting it for a time to study political science in Bonn. In fall 1911 he was named commander of the First Life Guards Hussars Regiment in Danzig (Gdańsk). Though hardly qualified, he assumed command of the Fifth Army when war broke out in August 19…

Stinnes, Hugo

(421 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Stinnes, Hugo (February 12, 1870, Mülheim an der Ruhr – April 10, 1924, Berlin), German industrial magnate. Stinnes was of the most influential industrialists of the Wilhelminian Empire and the Weimar Republic. The heir to a Ruhr family enterprise engaged in coal mining, trading, and shipping, the entrepreneur founded the Rhine Westphalia Electric Power Corporation in Essen in 1898, serving as chairman of the board after 1902, as well as the Deutsch-Luxemburgische Bergwerks- und Hütten-AG (German-Luxembourg Mining Inc.) in 1901. Stinnes advocated vociferously for the extens…
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