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Rennenkampf, Paul Karlovich Edler von

(302 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Rennenkampf, Paul Karlovich Edler von (April 17, 1854, Konuvere, Estonia – April 1, 1918, Taganrog, Russia), Russian general. Born into a Baltic German noble family, Rennenkampf graduated from the Helsinki Junker School in 1873, and from the General Staff Academy in 1882. He commanded a division in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, he was given the task of suppressing uprisings in eastern Siberia. In 1910 he was promoted general of cavalry, and in 1913/1914 commanded the Vilna (Vilnius) military district. At the beginning of the First Wor…

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 …

Millerand, Alexandre Etienne

(352 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Millerand, Alexandre Etienne (February 10, 1859, Paris – April 6, 1943, Versailles), French politician. For more than 40 years, Millerand had an undisputed place among the leading figures of the French Third Republic. He came to national attention at the beginning of the 1890s as leader of the reform wing of the Socialist Party. In 1899, at the peak of the Dreyfus Affair, he entered the gouvernement de défense républicaine (Government for the Defense of the Republic) of Pierre Waldeck-Rousseau. As minister of commerce, Millerand then quickly became alienated from…

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…

Naval Warfare

(2,850 words)

Author(s): Salewski, Michael
Naval Warfare In all theoretical discussions of a future war the war at sea was expected to play a major, if not the decisive role. For this reason all leading industrial nations had from the early 1890s onward been building massive, homogenous battle fleets. The “naval race” played a central role in souring Anglo-German relations during Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz’ tenure as the German Naval Secretary. The fledgling détente in the maritime sector, which was noticeable two years prior to the outbreak of the war, came …

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…

Barbusse, Henri

(571 words)

Author(s): Beaupré, Nicolas
Barbusse, Henri (March 17, 1872, Asnières near Paris – August 30, 1935, Moscow), French writer. Barbusse is undoubtedly one of France’s most famous war novelists. He moreover embodied the type of the left-wing intellectual wartime activist. His 1916 war novel Le Feu (English: Under Fire, 1917 and 2003) quickly earned him recognition in and outside of France. Henri Barbusse, 1915. Barbusse was a member of the intellectual bourgeoisie. In 1898 he married Helyonne, daughter of the influential poet Catulle Mendès. At that time he was primarily writing poetry…

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…

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…

Armed Forces (France)

(2,071 words)

Author(s): Jauffret, Jean-Charles
Armed Forces (France) During the World War the French armed forces were faced with an extraordinary organizational challenge. Including foreign legionaries and the colonial troops, there were a total 8.7 million men assembled under arms. Until General Joffre was replaced as commander-in-chief in December 1916, Grand Quartier Général (General Staff, GQG) held the supreme command. According to the decree of December 2, 1913, in time of war its commander in chief would maintain supreme command of the zone des armées (militarized zone), while the minister of war would be respo…

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…

Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger)

(578 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger) (May 25, 1848, Gersdorff [Mecklenburg] – June 18, 1916, Berlin), German general; chief of the Army General Staff and nephew of Field Marshal von Moltke. In 1869 Moltke joined Fusilier Regiment the Queen’s No. 86 (Schleswig-Holstein), taking part in the Franco-Prussian War as a lieutenant. In 1872 he succeeded in transferring to the 1st Foot Guards Regiment. Moltke’s later military career was shaped by his closeness to his famous uncle – Moltke was his a…

Flanders

(2,611 words)

Author(s): Bourne, John M.
Flanders A province in northwestern Belgium. Western Flanders was the theater of three major battles in 1914, 1915, and 1917, and to these must be added the battles fought during the course of the German spring offensive in 1918. For the British, the battles are inseparably associated with the market town of Ypres. It is accordingly not surprising that the British commission charged after the war with naming the battles and engagements designated the battles fought here as the First, Second, and …

Conrad von Hötzendorf, Franz

(940 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Conrad von Hötzendorf, Franz (November 11, 1852, Penzing near Vienna – August 25, 1925, Bad Mergentheim), Austro-Hungarian Field Marshal. Conrad, who was made a baron in 1910 and a count in 1918, not only had a typical career in the General Staff which predestined him for a higher office in the future, his participation in the 1878–1879 campaigns in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1882 in Dalmatia also provided him with direct battlefield experience. Service with various bureaus of the General Staff enha…

Barbarians

(892 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Barbarians In all warring societies, the topic of the Barbarians played a central role. In this war, it seemed to hinge upon nothing less than the survival, and the critical importance of humankind. Thus, there developed a script that depicted the war as a conflict between one’s own, idealized nation and a demonized enemy. “Civilization” was thereby commonly juxtaposed against “Barbarity.” This dualism was a powerful concept for two reasons. First, the nation-states of the 19th century were defined through a cultural construct that defined one’s own natio…

Sykes-Picot Agreement

(371 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, Erik Jan
Sykes-Picot Agreement An agreement between Great Britain and France concerning the postwar partitioning of the Arabian provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915 both allies agreed to formulate their war aims in the Middle East. The intention was to seek compensation for the territorial gains in the region that had been conceded to the Russian allies in the Treaty of Constantinople. The British government negotiated with the Sherif of Mecca concerning the creation of an Arab kingdom, trying to find …

Przemyśl

(618 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Przemyśl The main Austro-Hungarian fortress in Galicia, was situated above the River San, which represented a relatively advantageous line of defense in central Galicia. The Fortress of Przemyśl also controlled the communication lines running through the Carpathian Foothills to Hungary, but had only been insufficiently modernized prior to the war. It first attracted attention in mid-September 1914 when the Austro-Hungarian Army took refuge in Przemyśl after having been defeated in the east and no…
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