Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is an online resource that contains over 700 encyclopedia entries plus 250 peer-reviewed articles of transnational and global historical perspectives on significant topics of World War I. This collection includes Brill’s Encyclopedia of the First World War, an unrivalled reference work that showcases the knowledge of experts from 15 countries and offers 26 additional essays on the major belligerents, wartime society and culture, diplomatic and military events, and the historiography of the Great War.

The 250 articles address not only the key issues from political, historical and cultural perspectives, but also engages with aspects of the war which have remained underexplored such as the neutrals, the role of women before, during and after the war, and memory. The chapters have been drawn from a select number of Brill publications that have been published in the last 15 years. Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is a unique digital library that will allow researchers to discover new perspectives and connections with the enhanced navigational tools provided.

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Sabotage

(501 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Sabotage (French: sabot, wooden shoe) This expression refers to actions committed with the intention of weakening the resolve of a state. Sabotage may be further categorized into acts perpetrated by members of foreign powers, such as agents and prisoners of war, versus acts by individuals against their own nation. In the World War, sabotage was mainly committed by foreign agents. As a rule intelligence agents were responsible for the planning and execution of sabotage acts. Included under the head…

Sailors’ Revolt (Kiel Mutiny)

(1,108 words)

Author(s): Epkenhans, Michael
Sailors’ Revolt (Kiel Mutiny) Beginning in late October 1918, the Sailors’ Revolt ushered in the end of Imperial Germany. Within only just a few days the mutiny spread from Kiel to the entire German Reich. Mutinous sailors, soldiers stationed in the homeland, and industrial workers joined forces to overthrow the antiquated old order. The High Seas Fleet had already been shaken by commotions in the summer of 1917. These had been caused by monotonous on-board duties as well as by poor and unequal foods rations. Another cause of unrest was the latent…

Saint-Mihiel Salient

(390 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Saint-Mihiel Salient Located southeast of Verdun, this salient was the theater of the first independent World War offensive of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), September 12–15, 1918. Created at the very beginning of positional warfare in 1914, the Saint-Mihiel Salient extended from Combres to St. Mihiel, then from there to Pont-à-Mousson. It interrupted the French communication lines running from the south toward Verdun and posed the constant threat of a flanking attack on the fortresses. …

Salandra, Antonio

(328 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
Salandra, Antonio (August 13, 1853, Troia [Foggia Province] – December 9, 1931, Rome), Italian politician, prime minister. A lawyer from Apulia, later Professor of Constitutional Studies and Constitutional Law, was from 1886 a liberal right-wing member of parliament under Sidney Sonnino. He held office several times as secretary of state and minister, always playing a mediating role between the leaders of the Liberal Party, Sonnino and Giolitti. He became prime minister in March 1914. His period i…

Salonica (Thessalonika)

(669 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Salonica (Thessalonika) Port in northern Greece. From October 1915 the base of the Entente’s so-called Army of the Orient. The multinational Entente campaign against Bulgaria was fought from the end of 1915 in inhospitable territory, and remained bogged down for long periods. In this theater of war the soldiers suffered most casualties from disease. The Entente forces finally achieved a sudden and decisive breakthrough in September 1918. After Bulgaria had received guarantees in respect of territorial gains in the Macedonian part of Serbia, its government signe…

Samsonov, Aleksandr Vassilievich

(254 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Samsonov, Aleksandr Vassilievich (November 14, 1859 – August 30, 1914, near Neidenburg), Russian general. Samsonov was a graduate of the Nikolaev Cavalry School (1877) and the General Staff Academy (1884). He became commander of a brigade in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905, and later commander of a division of Siberian Cossacks. Ataman of the Don Cossacks from 1907 to 1909, from 1909 to 1914 he was governor general of Turkestan and commandant of the Turkestan military district. In August 1914 S…

San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di

(368 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di (December 10, 1852, Catania – October 16, 1914, Rome), Italian politician (foreign minister). San Giuliano’s political career began in the ranks of the liberal right wing, at a time when many political figures of national standing, among them Francesco Crispi, were emerging from Sicily. A member of the Italian parliament from 1882, he became undersecretary of state in 1892, and in 1898 served as a minister in the reactionary government of General Pell…

Sarajevo

(729 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Sarajevo Capital of the Austro-Hungarian provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Austria-Hungary’s annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 had aroused strong hostility against the dual monarchy among the Serbian population in Bosnia. Radicalization had led to the emergence of secret societies that were prepared to use violence. One of those societies, the “Black Hand,” enjoyed the protection of Serbian military circles, and planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the Austrian throne, on the occasion of his visit to Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. In the pro…

Sarrail, Maurice

(322 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Sarrail, Maurice (April 6, 1856, Carcassonne – March 23, 1929, Paris), French general. All his life Sarrail was a politically engaged soldier, close to the republican left. He was involved in the “republicanization of the army” after the Dreyfus affair. During the years after 1905, Sarrail was initially commandant of the Saint-Maixent military academy and from 1907 until 1911, head of the infantry department at the Ministry of War. At the beginning of the First World War he was given command of th…

Sassoon, Siegfried Lorraine

(753 words)

Author(s): Winter, Jay
Sassoon, Siegfried Lorraine (September 8, 1886, Weirleigh [Kent] – September 1, 1967, Heytesbury [Wiltshire]), British writer. Sassoon joined the Sussex Yeomanry in 1914, and in the following year signed up with the Royal Welch Fusiliers, an elite British regiment. At the end of June 1916, Second Lieutenant Sassoon was awarded the Military Cross for outstanding courage in the field. He was seen as an audaciously daring soldier (“Mad Jack”), who frequently volunteered for nighttime assaults. Some we…

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…

Sazonov, Sergei Dmitrievich

(338 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Mechtild
Sazonov, Sergei Dmitrievich (August 10, 1860, Ryazan territory – December 25, 1927, Nice), Russian politician and diplomat. In the diplomatic service since 1883, Sazonov became deputy foreign minister in 1909. After being appointed foreign minister in 1910 he sought to improve relations with France, and especially with Britain, in order to secure the support of the British fleet in the event of war. In this, Sazonov pursued a policy of war avoidance, motivated in particular by Russia’s need for tim…

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…

Scheer, Reinhard

(408 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Scheer, Reinhard (September 30, 1863, Obernkirchen [Kreis Schaumburg] – November 26, 1928, Marktredwitz [Bavaria]), German admiral. Scheer entered the German navy in 1879, and, after several overseas postings, was employed from 1890 in the torpedo service. Transferred to the Reichsmarineamt (Reich Naval Office) in 1903, in 1907 he became commander of the pre-dreadnought battleship Elsass and two years later became chief of staff of the High Seas Fleet. In 1911 he became the director of the general naval department within the Reich Naval office. Sch…

Scheidemann, Philipp

(314 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Scheidemann, Philipp ( July 26, 1865, Kassel – November 29, 1939, Copenhagen), German politician. From 1911 he was a member of the governing body of the SPD, and from 1913 one of the three chairmen of the SPD parliamentary party. During World War I, he was one of the best known Social Democrats in German public life. A brilliant speaker, he defended the Burgfrieden policy, but at the same time worked for a settlement with forces in the party opposed to war. In countless interventions he called for “peace by rapprochement” without reparations or annexations.…

Scheler, Max Ferdinand

(332 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
Scheler, Max Ferdinand (August 22, 1874, Munich – May 19, 1928, Frankfurt am Main), German philosopher, a pupil of Rudolf Eucken. After losing his unsalaried post at the University of Munich, Scheler lived in Göttingen and Berlin as a private scholar and freelance author. His book The Genius of War and the German War (1915) made him one of the protagonists of the “Ideas of 1914.” At the same time, as a convert to Catholicism, he undertook lecture tours on behalf of the Foreign Office in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Austria, with the aim of for…

Schlieffen Plan

(985 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Schlieffen Plan Right up to the outbreak of the war in August 1914, the memorandum submitted by Count Alfred von Schlieffen in the winter of 1905/1906 outlined the basic strategic conception with which the German Reich entered the First World War – albeit in a version that had been modified several times by Helmuth von Moltke (the Younger). Although the significance of the Schlieffen Plan has been radically challenged in recent historical research (Zuber, 2002), the plan’s offensive strategy has r…

Schmidt von Knobelsdorf, Konstantin

(283 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Schmidt von Knobelsdorf, Konstantin (December 13, 1860, Frankfurt an der Oder – September 1, 1936, Frankfurt an der Oder), German general. Schmidt joined the army in 1878. After attending the Staff College he held various posts in the General Staff and in the army, including chief of staff of the Xth Army Corps (1904–1908) and commander of the 4th Infantry Guards Regiment (1908–1911). In 1911 Schmidt was promoted to major-general, and a year later appointed chief quartermaster. At the outbreak of wa…

Schools

(1,037 words)

Author(s): Bendick, Rainer
Schools In all societies involved in the war, the start of hostilities also brought changes in the everyday life of schools. For example, the first Prussian war decrees allowed school children to work, if necessary, to harvest crops. In the course of the war German schools increasingly took on the role of a labor reserve, on which the authorities drew as a matter of course. French ministers of education particularly stressed the importance of schooling for the political and moral mobilization of youth. Their decrees and speeches repeatedly gave precise outlin…

Schools, State-Building, and National Conflict in German-Occupied Poland, 1915–1918

(10,678 words)

Author(s): Kauffman, Jesse
Kauffman, Jesse - Schools, State-Building, and National Conflict in German-Occupied Poland, 1915–1918 Keywords: conflicting | Germans | Poland | state-sanctioned schools | Verwaltungschef ISFWWS-Keywords: Poland | Children and War | Society | Germany | Russian Front Abstract: According to this chapter, directly overseen by the Government-General's highest-ranking civilian, Administrative Chief (Verwaltungschef) Wolfgang von Kries, the Germans' actions in field were intended to serve three frequently conflicting purp…

Schulenburg, Friedrich von der

(292 words)

Author(s): Beckers, Thomas
Schulenburg, Friedrich von der (November 21, 1865, Bobitz – May 20, 1939, St. Blasien), German general. After completing his secondary education Schulenburg took a law degree at Heidelberg and then began a military career. In 1888 he became an officer in the Gardes du Corps Regiment in Potsdam, and in 1988 was transferred to the General Staff. There followed an assignment as German military attaché in London (1902–1906). In 1913 he was promoted and became commander of the Gardes du Corps Regiment. H…

Scientists

(4,312 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen
Scientists If August 1914 is correctly viewed as the start of Europe’s 20th-century “fundamental catastrophe,” then this expression is essentially linked to the collapse of the Artists’ and Scholars’ Internationale, which happened almost from one day to the next. It was clear to all its members, as soon as war broke out, that this opened up a gulf that would be slow to close. No one expressed this so clearly as the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who before the war had had good relations with G…

Scorched Earth Tactics

(1,283 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Michael
Scorched Earth Tactics Systematically laying waste to enemy territory as a battle tactic, rendering the area militarily useless for a time, sometimes lastingly. Scorched earth as a combat strategy was described by Carl von Clausewitz in his work Vom Kriege, as follows: First, all that the country has to offer will be taken for the benefit of the retreating army, and mostly consumed. Nothing will remain but wasted villages and towns; fields emptied of their crops and then trampled; wells run dry; and contaminated brooks. Thus right from …

Second International

(537 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Second International International federation of national Socialist parties; founded in 1889 in succession to the First International (1864–1876), collapsed during the First World War. The attitude of the Second International to war was constantly debated at its congresses before the First World War. Although a resolution passed at the Stuttgart Congress in 1907 had called on the sections in the various countries to take countermeasures if war threatened, it had left the choice of means to the aff…

Securing the Maritime Trade: Triangular Frictions between the Merchant Marines of the US, UK and Japan

(10,057 words)

Author(s): Kimura, Masato
Kimura, Masato - Securing the Maritime Trade: Triangular Frictions between the Merchant Marines of the US, UK and Japan ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Economy | Britain | The United States of America | International Relations during the War The Decade of the Great War Tosh Minohara , Tze-ki Hon and Evan Dawley , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004274273 DOI: 10.1163/9789004274273_007 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Kimura, Masato

Seeckt, Hans von

(480 words)

Author(s): Beckers, Thomas
Seeckt, Hans von (April 22, 1866, Schleswig – December 27, 1936, Berlin), German colonel general, commander in chief of the German Army 1920–1926. The son of a Prussian general, von Seeckt entered the army in 1885. After various postings, including one in the General Staff, in 1913 he became chief of staff of the 3rd Army Corps. His corps took part in the battles in France in August 1914 and von Seeckt was mainly responsible for the German success near Soissons in January 1915 when his corps took s…

Sembat, Marcel

(398 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Sembat, Marcel (October 19, 1862, Bonnières-sur-Seine – September 5, 1922, Chamonix Mont Blanc), French politician. A lawyer and journalist, Sembat belonged along with Jean Jaurès and Alexandre Millerand to a group of bourgeois intellectuals who significantly influenced the French form of socialism. After early work in the left-republican and socialist press, in 1893 Sembat was elected for the first time to a seat in the National Assembly representing Paris’s Grandes-Carrières working-class district, an office which he was to …

Senses

(1,068 words)

Author(s): Encke, Julia
Senses The hierarchy of the senses has been largely established over the course of history. According to Walter Benjamin in his essay Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction), “Over long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception has changed along with the rest of human existence. The manner in which the senses are organized, the medium in which sensation is accomplished, is determined not only by nature but also by the historical circumstances.” Since antiquity eyesight has dominated the …

September Program (Septemberprogramm)

(581 words)

Author(s): Roolf, Christoph
September Program ( Septemberprogramm) A four-page document issued by the Reich Chancellery in its final version on September 9, 1914, with the innocuous title of Vorläufige Richtlinien über unsere Politik bei Friedensschluß (Provisional Political Guidelines for when Peace is Concluded). The September Program bears the signature of Reich Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. It counts as the first, comprehensive war-objectives program of the German Reich leadership in the World War. It resulted from weeks of consultations by the Reich…

Serbia

(1,820 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Serbia Established in 1882, the Southern Slavic Kingdom of Serbia was governed until 1914 by Petar I of Serbia (1844–1921), who an officers’ conspiracy had brought to power in 1903 and who was subsequently elected king by the Serbian National Assembly. Relying on the support of the Radical Party of Prime Minister Nikola Pašić (1846–1926), the king championed a Greater Serbian policy that was particularly directed against the interests of Austria-Hungary. In 1906, this policy led to a trade war, t…

Serbia as a Health Threat to Europe: The Wartime Typhus Epidemic, 1914–1915

(9,053 words)

Author(s): Duraković, Indira
Duraković, Indira - Serbia as a Health Threat to Europe: The Wartime Typhus Epidemic, 1914–1915 ISFWWS-Keywords: The Balkans and Eastern Europe | Medicine | Balkans | Austria-Hungary | The United States of America Other Fronts, Other Wars? Joachim Bürgschwentner, Matthias Egger and Gunda Barth-Scalmani , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004279513 DOI: 10.1163/9789004279513_013 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Duraković, Indira

Sexuality

(1,427 words)

Author(s): Sauerteig, Lutz
Sexuality The crisis-related effects of the World War also had consequences for the sexual life of human beings. The separation of (married and non-married) couples became a mass phenomenon of hitherto unknown extent. Extramarital sexuality and prostitution reached new dimensions. Even though the frequency with which soldiers sought extramarital contacts during the war cannot be assessed with precision, a number of indications suggest that soldiers no longer felt bound to middle-class sexual morals as a result of their direct experiencing of war and death. The debate over issue…
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