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Hoffmann, Max

(436 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Hoffmann, Max (January 25, 1869, Homberg near Kassel – July 8, 1927, Bad Reichenhall), German general. The son of a judge, Hoffmann was first posted to the Russian section of the general staff in 1899 and permanently assigned in 1901. In 1904/1905 he was assigned as an observer to the Russo-Japanese War where he was with the Japanese army in Manchuria. He was promoted lieutenant colonel in 1914 and assigned to the staff of the Eighth Army under General von Prittwitz with the task of defending the …

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…

Brittain, Vera

(232 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Brittain, Vera (December 29, 1893, Newcastle-under-Lyme – March 29, 1970, London), English writer. Brittain became particularly well-known through her memoir Testament of Youth (1933), which was based on her correspondence with her younger brother Edward, her fiancé Roland Leighton and other friends, as well as her own diaries from the time of the First World War. Already a student at Somerville College (Oxford) at the beginning of the war, she decided to go to France, Malta, and London first to work as a Voluntary A…

War Poetry

(1,081 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
War Poetry Prophecies of a coming war had been a theme in German poetry since the beginning of the century. Expressionist poets conjured up the war in apocalyptic images that alternated between the fear of its violence and a yearning for its purifying and regenerative power. Feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction over a long and “foul” peace gave rise to fantasies of war in the sense of a longed-for renewal, often expressed through theological formulations such as J…

Entente Cordiale

(491 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Entente Cordiale Cordial understanding. Agreement of April 8, 1904, between Great Britain and France, settling a number of colonial differences. The Entente cordiale represented the culmination of the policy of French Foreign Minister Delcassé. He saw an understanding with Great Britain as the best means to make France secure against the German Reich. For such an understanding to come about, the antagonism between France and Britain outside Europe had to be overcome. The confrontation at Fashoda in the Sudan in 1898 …

Michael Offensive

(1,595 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, Martin
Michael Offensive Official title for the German offensive conducted in March 1918, also called the Great Battle in France. Plans for the offensive had begun in October 1917, with the recommendations of Von Ludendorff ’s newly appointed operations chief Major Wetzell. The new chief called for a series of exploratory attacks in Flanders. These attacks were intended to discover any weaknesses in the British defenses, as suitable sites for a major offensive. Army Group Crown Prince was deployed in the terrain between…

Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von

(1,133 words)

Author(s): Tiefel, Marcus A.
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von (November 29, 1856, Hohenfinow near Eberswalde – January 2, 1921, Hohenfinow), German politician (chancellor). After studying law in Strasbourg, Leipzig and Berlin, Bethmann passed his Referendarexamen (first state examination required to enter the Prussian civil and administrative services) in 1879. For ten years, from 1886 to 1896, he held the office of Landrat (chief administrator) in his home district of Oberbarnim. Promoted to the position of Oberpräsidialrat (dep…

Verdun

(2,073 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Verdun A French fortress that was continually expanded since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871. With its 20 forts and 40 intermediate redoubts, Verdun was without any doubt the strongest defense work in France. The principal forts in the vicinity of Verdun included Douaumont, Vaux, Souville, and Tavannes. Verdun was considered to be practically impregnable. During the German advance of August 1914, the German Fifth Army (under Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia) operated in the sector before Verd…

Bissing, Baron Moritz Ferdinand von

(475 words)

Author(s): Gerhards, Thomas
Bissing, Baron Moritz Ferdinand von ( January 30, 1844, Bellmannsdorf, Silesia – April 18, 1917, Trois Fontaines, Belgium), German general. The son of a Prussian chamberlain and estate holder from a Saxon noble family Bissing chose a military career early, serving as an officer in the wars of 1866 and 1870–1871. In 1887 he became adjutant to Crown Prince Wilhelm, and after the latter’s accession to the Imperial throne in 1888, was named the emperor’s aide-de-camp. It was this appointment which laid t…

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…

German Revolution

(1,770 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
German Revolution With the German Revolution of 1918/1919, the German Empire became a German Republic. The deep roots of this upheaval lay in the war-weariness of the exhausted and malnourished civilian population and the overburdened soldiery. The German Revolution was more a collapse of the traditional order than a militant mass rebellion. In this, it resembled the Russian February Revolution of 1917 rather than the revolutions of 1848. The Russian October Revolution, with Lenin’s proclamation o…

Greece

(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…

Scapa Flow

(665 words)

Author(s): Krüger, Friederike
Scapa Flow A body of water in the Scottish Orkney Islands. On June 21, 1919, at 11 in the morning, the German Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued the order to scuttle the 16 battleships, eight cruisers, and 50 destroyers and torpedo boats lying in Scapa Flow. Within a few hours 64 ships, totaling about 400,000 tons, were destroyed, eight further vessels having been beached in time by the British. Nine Germans were shot and killed and nine wounded by Royal Navy guards in connection with the scutt…

Colonial War

(1,529 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Colonial War The war against the German colonies of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, led by the forces of Japan, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and their respective colonies. The spread of the war to the colonies was undertaken by Great Britain and France, primarily for strategic reasons. By occupying the German colonies, their respective ports would be closed to the German navy. Also, the German worldwide communications network, which depended upon the wireless stations erected there, would be dis…

Kühlmann, Richard von

(348 words)

Author(s): Beckers, Thomas
Kühlmann, Richard von (May 3, 1873, Constantinople – February 6, 1948, Ohlstadt), German diplomat and politician. The son of the director general of the Anatolian Railway, Kühlmann completed his law studies with a doctoral degree and entered the diplomatic service in 1898. After numerous international postings he served as counselor at the German Embassy in London from 1909 to 1914. In that position he worked to create an atmosphere of Anglo-German cooperation and prepared various agreements toward…

Rolland, Romain

(602 words)

Author(s): Beaupré, Nicolas
Rolland, Romain ( January 29, 1866, Clamecy [département Nièvre] – December 30, 1944, Vézelay [Département Nièvre]), French writer. Rolland was born in Burgundy to a republican-minded solicitor’s family. In 1886 he passed the entrance examination for the École Normale Supérieure, where he graduated in history and geography. In 1889 he received a grant to attend the École Française in Rome. During his two-year stay in Rome, he made the acquaintance of Malwida von Meysenburg, who introduced him to G…

Peace Movements

(1,734 words)

Author(s): Holl, Karl
Peace Movements Social and political movements, at first based in the middle class, appearing from the early 19th century. “Pacifism” was organized in the form of peace societies and unions on national and local levels. In Germany the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft, DFG (German Peace Society), was founded in 1892. Their aim was cooperation with peace organizations in other countries, at first by means of international peace congresses, and from the end of the 19th century through the International Peace Office in Bern. The expectation of so-called organized pacifism, accordin…

Dardanelles

(1,004 words)

Author(s): Prior, Robin | Wilson, Trevor
Dardanelles Straits between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. After the outbreak of war in Europe, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire had envisioned joining the war on the side of the Central Powers. The arrival of two German warships, the Goeben and the Breslau, at Constantinople on August 10, 1914, reinforced this decision. For Turkey joining the war meant territorial gains at Russia’s expense; in the Caucasus, at British expense; as well as in Egypt. On October 27, the Turkish fleet put to sea against the Russian Black Sea base, thereby triggering war with the Entente. Mean…

Macedonia

(926 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Macedonia With the outbreak of the First World War, the multinational region of Macedonia became a battlefield of the Great Powers. Germany’s strategic goal of advancing eastwards and maintaining an open route to Turkey led to the establishment of the Balkan Front. For the various peoples living in the Balkans, this simultaneously represented a continuation of the struggle for Macedonia. This struggle resulted from a number of factors: the emergence of nationalisms in the 19th century, the founding of national states, and the all too be…

War Interpretations

(2,359 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
War Interpretations During the first days of the World War people already began to suspect that this was not an ordinary conflict that might be seen as a continuation of 19th-century European wars. This perception of the war called for an interpretation, which the writers, intellectuals, philosophers, and scholars of all warring nations were only too willing to provide. The prominent public persons (though seldom women) of all major powers and of their former colonies …
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