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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Aircraft

(895 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Wolfgang
Aircraft After the Wright brothers achieved lift with the aid of a propeller driven by a combustion engine and thus in 1903 completed the first powered flight, most industrial nations saw rapid improvements taking place in the technical reliability, endurance and range of airplanes. France, as the leading European aircraft builder, possessed 100 military planes as early as 1911, while Germany had only begun training military pilots in 1910 on planes purchased from private owners. The Prussian Gen…

Alain-Fournier, Henri

(324 words)

Author(s): Beaupré, Nicolas
Alain-Fournier, Henri (October 3, 1886, La Chapelle d’Angillon, Département Cher – September 22, 1914, killed in action near Saint-Rémy), French author whose real name was Henri-Alban Fournier. Along with Charles Péguy, Alain-Fournier is one of the best-known literary figures of the so-called Lost Generation of artists and writers killed in World War I. His parents were primary school teachers in the Berry region. After obtaining his baccalauréat from the Lycée Voltaire, he attended various courses in Paris in preparation for the École Normale Supérieure; howe…

Albania

(1,185 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Albania Compared to other ethnic groups in the Balkan region the Albanians were relatively late to develop national aspirations of their own. Religious divisions within the population, the lack of a unified social stratum that would support a “modern” national movement, and the traditional, deeply fractured structure of Albanian society with its regional and clan affiliations delayed the creation of a politically organized movement of national rebirth ( Rilindja), which only emerged in the last quarter of the 19th century. When the peace negotiations after the R…

Alberich, Operation

(374 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Alberich, Operation Code name for the planned German rearward movement to the Hindenburg Line in February and March of 1917. Preparations for the withdrawal from the salient between Arras and Soissons had begun in the autumn of 1916 with the aim of disrupting Allied plans for an offensive in the spring of 1917 and shortening the German front line. Prior to the actual retreat, during the so-called Alberich period (February 9–March 15), the scheme called for the systematic devastation of the withdra…

Albert I, King of the Belgians

(707 words)

Author(s): van Ypersele, Laurence
Albert I, King of the Belgians (April 8, 1875, Brussels – February 17, 1934, accident near Namur), King of the Belgians. Albert was the youngest son of Philippe Count of Flanders and Maria of Hohenzollern. In 1900 he married Elisabeth of Bavaria. They had three children: Leopold, Charles, and Marie-José. In 1909 he inherited the Belgian throne from his uncle Leopold II, and in stark contrast to the latter, immediately enjoyed enormous popularity. Instilled with a sense of duty, Albert also turned out to be a man of sober and level-headed conduct. In political terms Albert strove to end…

Albion

(236 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Albion (Celtic: white-land) Earliest known name given to the island of Great Britain by Greek geographers of the 5th century BC, transmitted by the Roman poet Avianus. In Roman times the term was also associated with the white cliffs of Dover (Lat. albus = white). During the Middle Ages, “Albion” came to be used as a synonym for the Kingdom of England, and later the British Empire, most often in a negative connotation as “perfidious Albion.” This derogatory slogan has its origins in France, where it can be traced as far back as the 14th…

Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg

(291 words)

Author(s): Kress, Wolfgang
Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg (December 23, 1865, Vienna – October 29, 1939, Altshausen Castle in the district of Ravensburg), Prussian and Wuerttemberg field marshal. Albrecht had joined the army in 1883; at the start of the war the then colonel general and Wuerttembergian heir to the throne was given command of the German Fourth Army, which he led through the Ardennes into France. In October the Fourth Army was transferred to Flanders where it participated in the fighting at the Ypres salient (Fir…

Alekseyev, Mikhail Vasiliyevich

(302 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Alekseyev, Mikhail Vasiliyevich (November 15, 1857, Tver Province – October 9, 1918, Yekaterinodar, modern Krasnodar), Russian general. Born into a military family, Alekseyev graduated from the Moscow Infantry School in 1876 and in 1890 completed his training at the General Staff Academy. He served with the General Staff while also teaching military history at the Staff Academy from 1898 to 1904. From October 1904 and throughout 1905 he held the post of quartermaster general with the Third Manchurian Army, after…

Allenby, Edmund

(593 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Allenby, Edmund (April 23, 1861, Brackenhurst Hall, Nottinghamshire – May 14, 1936, London; from 1919, Viscount Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe), British field marshal. After completing his training at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, Allenby initially served with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons (1884–1888) in South Africa. He took part in the Boer War of 1899–1902 (5th Lancers). At the beginning of the World War, he was inspector general of the cavalry. Allenby was a man of powerful stature; both this and his violent temper earned him the nickname “The Bull…

Allies to a Declining Power: The Martial Races, the Second World War and the End of the British Empire in South Asia

(6,852 words)

Author(s): Rand, Gavin
Rand, Gavin - Allies to a Declining Power: The Martial Races, the Second World War and the End of the British Empire in South Asia Keywords: British Empire | interwar | martial races | Second World War | South Asia Abstract: In retrospect, it is hardly surprising that the massive upheaval which the Second World War wrought in South Asia precipitated the termination of British rule in India. This chapter seeks to contribute to this literature by exploring how attitudes towards the so called martial races were influe…

“All That is Best of the Modern Woman”? Representations of Female Military Auxiliaries in British Popular Culture, 1914–1919

(11,249 words)

Author(s): Robert, Krisztina
Robert, Krisztina - “All That is Best of the Modern Woman”? Representations of Female Military Auxiliaries in British Popular Culture, 1914–1919 Keywords: British popular culture | conflicting representations | female military auxiliaries | First World War | military parades | military women | modern military discourses | wartime popular culture | wartime propaganda battle ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Women and War | Home fronts | Society | Gender | Politics | Legacy Abstract: In Britain during the First World War, members of the female auxiliary corps became th…

Alpine Warfare

(2,447 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Alpine Warfare When the Italian declaration of war was delivered on May 23, 1915, it plunged Austria-Hungary into a desperate situation. While this move by Italy did not come unexpected, almost all the forces of the Danube Monarchy were tied up on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans, where the Central Powers had in that year taken the initiative. Only weak, improvised forces were available to secure the 600-km long border with Italy, among them almost 30,000 militia reserves (Standschützen). By t…

Alsace-Lorraine

(1,831 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Alsace-Lorraine As a Reichsland, part of the German Reich from 1871. The desire on the part of France to exact revenge for defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/1871, and reverse the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the newly founded German Reich under the terms of the Frankfurt Peace Treaty, has often been regarded, particularly by the Germans, as an important causal factor in respect of the origins of the First World War. In the light of recent research, however, this conception must now be seen as o…

Ambiguities of the Modern: The Great War in the Memoirs and Poetry of the Iraqis

(12,053 words)

Author(s): Khoury, Dina Rizk
Khoury, Dina Rizk - Ambiguities of the Modern: The Great War in the Memoirs and Poetry of the Iraqis Keywords: The Ottoman Empire and the Middle East | Society | Politics | Literature | Legacy | Violence against civilians | Pre-war period | Religion | Published memoirs and biographies | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Experience of combat The World in World Wars Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber , Katharina Lange , Dyala Hamzah and Ravi Ahuja , (2010) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2010 e-ISBN: 9789004188471 DOI:10.1163/ej.9789004185456.i-618.78 © 2010 Koninklijk…

An American Geographer between Science and Diplomacy: The Mission of Douglas W. Johnson in Europe, May–November 1918

(12,296 words)

Author(s): Ginsburger, Nicolas
Ginsburger, Nicolas - An American Geographer between Science and Diplomacy: The Mission of Douglas W. Johnson in Europe, May–November 1918 Keywords: The United States of America | Intellectuals and the War | Culture | Peacemaking and Continued Conflict | Britain | Politics | France | Legacy ‛Warfare and Belligerence’ Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2005 e-ISBN: 9789047407362 DOI: 10.1163/9789047407362.011 © 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Ginsburger, Nicolas

A Neutral Country

(3,597 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Susanne
Wolf, Susanne - A Neutral Country Keywords: First World War | Holland | military internees | neutrality | refugees Abstract: As a neutral nation, Holland had an obligation to intern any soldiers from the belligerent forces that crossed its border and prevent them from reentering the war. The Dutch were not combatants in this new global war but they were certainly not unaffected by it. The impact of the war on the Dutch, at all levels, very much influenced their response to the demands plac…

A New Look at Japan’s Twenty-One Demands: Reconsidering Katō Takaaki’s Motives in 1915

(9,632 words)

Author(s): Naraoka, Sōchi
Naraoka, Sōchi - A New Look at Japan’s Twenty-One Demands: Reconsidering Katō Takaaki’s Motives in 1915 ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Politics | Britain | The French and British Empires | International Relations during the War | The United States of America 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_011 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Naraoka, Sōchi

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…

Antisemitism

(880 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Antisemitism The First World War constituted a sharp turning point in the history of Antisemitism. It brought the radicalization of anti-Jewish stereotypes and gave rise to ideologies demanding the exclusion of Jews from what was perceived to be a völkisch (i.e. racially homogenous) German nation. The Burgfrieden (literally Fortress Truce: an agreement among political parties not to criticize the government or the war effort) declared by the Kaiser on August 4, 1914, was soon revealed to be no more than a “fair-weather” concept. In the very…

Antwerp

(514 words)

Author(s): van Ypersele, Laurence
Antwerp Belgian city and fortress. In the aftermath of the fall of Liège in mid-August of 1914 and the fighting on the River Gete, the Belgian king Albert I rejected the proposal of a joint Belgian and French withdrawal to Namur, choosing instead to retreat with his field army (80,000 men) to Antwerp. The fortified city with its 70,000 fortress garrison troops was regarded as the “national redoubt” ( réduit national), the stronghold – and refuge – of the nation. The king and his army were determined to defend themselves and to hold out there, awaiting the arrival …
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