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War Enthusiasm

(799 words)

Author(s): Ullrich, Volker
War Enthusiasm In August 1914, the Germans went to war in a wave of general enthusiasm – or so it was claimed until recently in schoolbooks and in a number of representative works written by German historians. This stereotyped conception has, in the meantime, been increasingly challenged and corrected in a number of crucial points. Accordingly, it can now stated with certainty that an “August Experience” in the sense of an enthusiastic, nationwide approval of the war that would have mobilized all social classes did not take place. …

Animals

(1,008 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Animals The use of animals for war service is known from antiquity. Elephants, bears, or packs of bloodhounds were used to break open enemy lines. Clay balls containing poisonous snakes were used as projectiles. Most often used as “war equipment” was the horse, in a team to pull combat vehicles and naturally, as a mount for a rider. Surprisingly, it was not during the First World War – in which mechanization was at first of less significance – but during the Second World War that the use of horses was comparatively greater. Despite being engaged in pos…

Curzon Line

(287 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Curzon Line Demarcation line between Poland and Soviet Russia that was proposed by the British government on July 11, 1920, during the Interallied Conference at Spa, with the aim of establishing a cease-fire in the Polish-Soviet War. Named after the then British Foreign Secretary Lord (George) Curzon, it was based on the recommendation of the Commission for Polish Affairs that had been endorsed by the Entente Powers in Paris on December 8, 1919. The line was suggested as a possible eastern border …

Fourteen Points

(899 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Fourteen Points Fourteen Points stands for the peace aims of American President Woodrow Wilson, who made them public in a speech before the United States Congress on January 8, 1918. The basic reasons for American participation in the war were already clear. To justify America’s joining the war in April 1917, Wilson stressed that the United States was not interested in realizing any narrowly defined national demands. Rather, he meant to for liberal political principles to be implemented globally, …

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…

Eastern Front

(1,205 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Eastern Front The topography of the Eastern Front differed markedly from that of the Western Front. For one thing, it was twice as long as the Western Front, stretching in an irregular line from the southeast corner of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea – including the Bulgarian Front and all the way to the Aegean Sea. Although the terrain was mainly gently rolling, or else flat and forested, the Carpathian Mountains along the Polish and Hungarian borders could pose a significant obstacle for militar…

Brändström, Elsa

(445 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Brändström, Elsa (March 26, 1888, Saint Petersburg – March 4, 1948, Cambridge MA), Swedish philanthropist and nurse. The daughter of the Swedish ambassador in Saint Petersburg, Brändström continued to be known throughout Europe long after her death; in Germany she enjoyed nearly saintly status as the “Angel of Siberia.” This veneration was bestowed on her for the courage and commitment she had shown in caring for German and Austrian prisoners of war in Russia, and above all for her personal humanitarian work in Russian camps between 1915 and 1920. Living in Saint Petersburg at the o…

Potiorek, Oskar

(317 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Potiorek, Oskar (November 11, 1853, Bleiburg [Carinthia] – December 17, 1933, Klagenfurt), Austrian general. Potiorek had a brilliant career in the General Staff. From 1892 he was head of the Operations Bureau, and in 1902 he was officially appointed deputy head of the General Staff. It was the greatest disappointment for him when in 1906 not he, but Conrad von Hötzendorf, became the new chief of the Austrian Imperial General Staff. Despite this Potiorek was recognized as having great talent, and …

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…

Beseler, Hans Hartwig von

(293 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Beseler, Hans Hartwig von (April 27, 1850, Greifswald – December 20, 1921, Neubabelsberg), German general. At the outbreak of World War I Beseler took command of IIIrd Reserve Corps, and was ordered on September 17, 1914, to besiege the city of Antwerp. The fall of this strategically important fortress on October 9, 1914, established Beseler’s reputation. In August of 1915 he was responsible for the successful siege of Modlin Fortress near Warsaw which helped push the Russian army out of Poland. On …

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…

Russian Revolution

(1,052 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Russian Revolution Neither the Russian army, nor their economy, nor their political system was equal to the demands of the World War, contributing to the end of the Russian Tsarist Empire. Another major reason was the rapid loss of trust, at all levels of society, which the regime had endured during the war years. As the situation at the military front continued to worsen, an even deeper conflict developed between Tsar Nicholas II and the State Duma. The subsistence crisis engendered by the wartim…

Occupation (West)

(1,527 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
Occupation (West) Occupation is the temporary authority over foreign territory during war. According to international law, a territory is considered occupied when “it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army” ( Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Article 42). Not to be viewed as occupation are the systems of government in Ireland, Alsace-Lorraine, the non-Russian part of the Tsarist Empire etc., even though their administrations developed techniques of asserting their authority which resemble…

Drina

(966 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Drina Border river between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. The battle of the Drina (August 12–21, 1914) was, for Austria-Hungary, the most unfortunate conceivable prelude to the war against Serbia. The prime cause was the incomplete deployment of the Austro-Hungarian forces. The forces ranged against Serbia comprised not only the Fourth and Fifth Armies, but also the Second Army, which had been earmarked for use against the Russians in the event of the opening of a second front in Galicia. However…

Princip, Gavrilo

(382 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Princip, Gavrilo ( July 13, 1894, Grahovo, Bosnia – April 28, 1918, Theresienstadt), Bosnian Serbian student and assassin. As a high school student in Sarajevo, Princip first came in into contact with the Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia) movement in 1911. The Young Bosnia movement fought against Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia. In 1912 Princip was expelled from school for taking part in anti-Austrian demonstrations, and was obliged to continue his schooling in Belgrade. The assassin Bogdan Žerajíc, who …

Narew Offensive

(882 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Narew Offensive In mid-June of 1915, the Russian High Command (Stavka) reviewed the depressing military situation at a conference in Cholm (Chełm). The conference was called in the aftermath of the defeat in Galicia and the Russian Army was now half a million men understrength. In the north, in Courland, the German Army Group Lauenstein (later: Army of the Neman) was now in a favorable position that enabled it to level threats both at Riga, Russia’s most important Baltic port and one of Russia’s m…

Masuria

(1,257 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Masuria Masuria comprised the southeastern portion of the German province of East Prussia, the part of the Reich that was most exposed to a threat from Russia. Two great battles took place here and immediately across the border in Russian Poland in 1914/15. The Russian Army occupied Masuria at the beginning of the war, and remained there until it was defeated at Tannenberg at the end of August 1914. After this battle the remnants of the Russian Second Army, which had entered Masuria from the south, withdrew across the border into Poland.…

After the Vote was Won. The Fate of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Russia After the October Revolution: Individuals, Ideas and Deeds

(7,787 words)

Author(s): Shnyrova, Olga
Shnyrova, Olga - After the Vote was Won. The Fate of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Russia After the October Revolution: Individuals, Ideas and Deeds Keywords: October Revolution | Russia | women's suffrage ISFWWS-Keywords: Russia | Politics | Gender | Intellectuals and the War | Women and War | Society | Pre-war period Abstract: As the women's movement in Russia has its own specific history which is connected with the peculiarities of the political and economic development of the country, this chapter starts with a short preamble …
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