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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Boelcke, Oswald

(281 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Wolfgang
Boelcke, Oswald (May 19, 1891, Giebichenstein, now part of Halle [Saale] – October 28, 1916, near Bapaume, Somme region), German fighter pilot. Initially an officer with a Prussian telegraph battalion, Boelcke became a military pilot in 1914 and was posted to a field flying unit set up for reconnaissance work on the Western Front. Beginning in 1915 he flew a single-seat fighter plane specifically designed to engage enemy aircraft, scoring a total of 40 victories. He developed standard offensive an…

Boroevíc von Bojna, Baron Svetozar

(412 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Boroevíc von Bojna, Baron Svetozar (December 13, 1856, Umetić, Croatia – May 23, 1920, Klagenfurt), Austro-Hungarian field marshal. Upon graduation from cadet school, Boroevíc joined the army and in 1878 participated in the occupation of Bosnia. During 1881–1883 he attended the War School in Vienna, after which he served in various staff appointments. Having earlier been raised to the Hungarian nobility, Boroevíc was promoted to general of the infantry in 1908 and received command of the VIth Army Corps at Kaschau (modern Košice) in 1912. The outbreak of the First World War saw …

Bosnian Crisis

(445 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Bosnian Crisis International crisis following the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary (1908). At the Congress of Berlin (under the terms of the Treaty of Berlin, 1878) the Dual Monarchy was granted the right to occupy and administer both provinces. In formal terms they remained within the Ottoman union of states, but de facto they became absorbed into the Austro-Hungarian sphere of control. Neither of the two multi-ethnic states was able to achieve a successful integration of the ethnically diverse population. Fully aware of its…

Botha, Louis

(310 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Botha, Louis (September 27, 1862, Greytown, Natal – August 27, 1919, Rusthof, Pretoria), South African general and politician. Botha was perhaps the most gifted member of the Boer military and one of the leading politicians of South Africa. He demonstrated his superior tactical skills as a general in the Boer War (1899–1902). Serving as prime minister of the Transvaal from 1907, Botha worked towards reconciling the Boers and the British. From 1910 he headed the government of the newly established …

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…

“Breaking the Chains with Which We were Bound”: The Interrogation Chamber, the Indian National Army and the Negation of Military Identities, 1941–1947

(11,021 words)

Author(s): Singh, Gajendra
Singh, Gajendra - “Breaking the Chains with Which We were Bound”: The Interrogation Chamber, the Indian National Army and the Negation of Military Identities, 1941–1947 Keywords: battalion | Indian National Army (INA) | Interrogation Chamber | Japanese | jawanled histories | military identities Abstract: During the Second World War the second largest rebellion of personnel in British Imperial military history occurred with the formation of the INA from among the 50,000 jawans captured during the Japanese offensive through …

Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of

(1,047 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is the peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Soviet Russia. After the October Revolution, the fact that the Bolsheviks had included a call for an immediate end to the war in their October Manifesto introduced the prospect of concluding a separate peace with the Central Powers. Already on November 8, 1917, one day after the fall of the Provisional Government, the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets rejected Lenin’s Decree on Peace, his proposal for an immediate “peace witho…

Briand, Aristide

(480 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Briand, Aristide (March 28, 1862, Nantes – March 7, 1932, Paris), French politician (prime minister). For a period of more than 30 years Briand remained one of the most influential politicians in France; serving as a deputy in the National Assembly without interruption from 1902 to his death. He was a member of 25 governments, in various posts, and held the office of prime minister several times (e.g. between October of 1915 and March of 1917 in two separate cabinets of the “union sacrée”). Briand…

Britain in the Balkans: The Response of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Units

(8,315 words)

Author(s): Liddington, Jill
Liddington, Jill - Britain in the Balkans: The Response of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Units Keywords: Balkans | Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH) | Serbia ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Women and War | Medicine | The Balkans and Eastern Europe | Russia | The United States of America | Legacy | Politics Abstract: This chapter assesses the significance of the contribution of one selected Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH) relief initiative during aftermath of war, that of the American Unit. It has been selected because of its close rel…

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…

Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von

(740 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von (May 29, 1869, Schleswig – September, 8, 1928, Berlin), German diplomat. The first foreign minister of the Weimar Republic was descended from the ancient nobility of Holstein. After obtaining his doctorate in law Brockdorff-Rantzau chose to pursue a diplomatic career which took him from Brussels via Saint Petersburg to Vienna, where in 1901 he became embassy secretary, and the influential German ambassador Count Carl von Wedel was his mentor. It was also thanks t…

Brooke, Rupert Chawner

(370 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Brooke, Rupert Chawner (August 3, 1887, Rugby, Warwickshire – April 23, 1915, off Skyros, Greece), English poet. While studying at King’s College (Cambridge) from 1906 to 1909, Brooke was an active member of the Fabian Society (an association of British Intellectuals with socialist leanings) and became a popular focal figure for a circle of friends and nature lovers (“Neo-Pagans”) that had emerged from the youth movement. After travelling through Europe and North America he spent some considerable …

Brücken, Beethoven und Baumkuchen: German and Austro-Hungarian Prisoners of War and the Japanese Home Front

(8,584 words)

Author(s): Murphy, Mahon
Murphy, Mahon - Brücken, Beethoven und Baumkuchen: German and Austro-Hungarian Prisoners of War and the Japanese Home Front ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Germany | Prisoners of War | Published memoirs and biographies | Home fronts | Politics 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_007 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Murphy, Mahon

Brusilov, Aleksei Alekseevich

(338 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Brusilov, Aleksei Alekseevich (August 31, 1853, Tiflis, modern Tbilisi – March 17, 1926, Moscow), Russian general and commander in chief of the Russian Army. Brusilov was born into an ancient Russian noble family with a long military tradition. After completing his preparatory military training with the Imperial Corps of Pages he joined the Dragoons of the Tver Regiment in the Caucasus. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and was decorated multiple times. At the élite Cavalry Officer Sc…

Brusilov Offensive

(1,136 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Brusilov Offensive The designation “Brusilov Offensive” refers to the Russian army’s last major military operation in the summer of 1916. It was named after the commander of the Russian Southwest Front (Army Group Brusilov), General A.A. Brusilov, whose offensive in the first days of June 1916 annihilated two Austro-Hungarian armies and badly crippled two others. It was one of the greatest Russian victories of the war, but nevertheless exhausted itself in frontal attacks. Born into an aristocratic family, Brusilov earned a reputation as a competent senior commander a…

Bucharest

(352 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Bucharest Capital of Romania. On August 27, 1916, Romania entered the war against the Central Powers. As early as August 28, a German zeppelin attacked the city in response. Further airship raids followed on September 4, 5, and 24. On September 25, Bucharest experienced the first air raid carried out by aircraft from the German Bomber Wing 1. Until November 20, seven more raids flown either by Zeppelins or by aircraft, or a combination of both, targeted the city. When the “Army of the Danube,” a …

Buddhism and the Twenty-One Demands: The Politics Behind the International Movement of Japanese Buddhists

(8,935 words)

Author(s): Okamoto, Yoshiko
Okamoto, Yoshiko - Buddhism and the Twenty-One Demands: The Politics Behind the International Movement of Japanese Buddhists ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Religion | Politics | 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_020 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Okamoto, Yoshiko

Bug Offensive

(785 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Bug Offensive On June 22, 1915, the Austro-Hungarian Second Army recaptured Lemberg (Lviv), the capital of Galicia, which had been held by the Russians since September of the previous year. For the Central Powers, this event marked the high point of an important series of successes that had begun in May with the breakthrough at Gorlice-Tarnów. The reduction of the salient in Russian Poland seemed within reach, and there appeared to be a realistic chance of encircling the strong Russian forces in t…

Bulgaria

(1,164 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Bulgaria In the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 Bulgaria had not been able to fulfill its hopes of creating an “ethnographic” Bulgaria that would include Macedonia, parts of Thrace and the Dobrudja. In the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest it was moreover forced to concede to its neighbors practically all the territory it had captured in the First Balkan War of 1912. The outbreak of the First World War seemed to offer a new opportunity for the military realization of a “Greater Bulgaria,” a dream pursued since t…

Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin von

(648 words)

Author(s): Canis, Konrad
Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin von (May 3, 1849, Klein Flottbek, now part of Hamburg – October 28, 1929, Rome), German politician (chancellor). Prince (from 1905) von Bülow, whose father was a high-ranking diplomat and whose mother came from a Hamburg bourgeois family, entered the diplomatic service at the age of 25 after completing his law studies. Rising quickly through the ranks, he became secretary of state for foreign affairs in 1897. In that capacity he directed the foreign policy of the Germa…
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