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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Social Democracy

(1,232 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Social Democracy A political movement in the German Imperial Reich seeking social and political emancipation of the workers. In the First World War, it suffered its greatest crisis, culminating in 1917 in a permanent split. On the eve of the war, with about a million members, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was the largest party in Germany, and with 110 members the strongest group in Parliament, but it split on the question of the “fortress truce” ( Burgfrieden) policy. Although shortly before the outbreak of war the party leadership called its membership to demo…

Social Injustice in the German Military

(663 words)

Author(s): Hettling, Manfred
Social Injustice in the German Military The beginning of the First World War encouraged the longing for a sense of community, and intensified aspirations for equality and equal rights within the German nation. While these expectations heightened political and national solidarity at the beginning of the war, in the long run they led to considerable difficulties within German society. As the war drew on, social inequality in particular became a serious challenge to political order in the German Reich. Significantly, the conflict first flared up within the military. Instances of socia…

Social Policy (Germany)

(1,215 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Social Policy (Germany) In 1914–18 this was understood as including all legal and administrative measures of the German Reich, the federal states and the communal administrations for the regulation of the labor market and the welfare of soldiers’ relatives, war victims and surviving dependents. In addition, social policy extended in the war years to ensuring food supplies, regulating the residential property market, and amending previous social security conditions. After the outbreak of war, German…

Soixante-Quinze

(621 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Soixante-Quinze French for 75. Nickname given to the M 1897 75 mm cannon, introduced in 1897 as the standard gun used by the French field artillery. The weapon combined several technical innovations, the most significant of which was the long barrel-recoil system. The energy of the recoil was no longer transmitted directly to the gun’s carriage; instead, the barrel slid on a cradle, which checked its backward motion by means of an integral braking device. At the end of the recoil stage the barrel…

Soldiers

(8,579 words)

Author(s): Ziemann, Benjamin
Soldiers The soldiers of the First World War, in all nations involved, have been since 1914 an important object of historical presentation. At the same time, they have served, albeit with varying intensity, as a foil for historiographical views. In this process, historians have particularly argued about the appropriate sociological placing of that broad swathe of physical violence that is distinctive for 20th-century German and European history, and the soldiers of 1914–1918 symbolized their poin…

Soldiers’ Humor

(395 words)

Author(s): Riemann, Aribert
Soldiers’ Humor The culture of popular humor during the First World War followed the structural features of prewar civilian humor, only with content related to the war. At its center was a mockery of the enemies in the war, the social élites, the relation between home and the front, problems in service and between comrades, and sexual relations. Several situational contexts of soldiers’ humor may be distinguished: – The culture of oral story-telling: confidentially repeating jokes and mocking stories opened a communicative space in which to express annoyance wi…

Soldiers’ Jargon

(393 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Soldiers’ Jargon In all armies in the First World War there developed during the war a vocabulary specific to the group. Soldiers’ jargon related primarily to soldiers’ immediate environment at the front and in rest areas; at its center were duties, equipment, and weapons. In general, soldiers’ jargon followed a minimizing tendency: for example, describing large caliber artillery shells as “coal boxes,” hand grenades as “pineapples,” and an artillery attack as “calico” or “music.” Onomatopoeic ele…

Soldiers’ Letters

(246 words)

Author(s): Latzel, Klaus
Soldiers’ Letters Soldiers’ letters conveyed by the German field post mail formed the only means of communication permitted to First World War soldiers for carrying on regular contact with their relatives, friends, and colleagues at home – at least in writing. In the period of the modern mass army, soldiers’ letters became themselves a mass phenomenon. For the soldiers, contact by letter was psychologically just as essential for survival as for their relatives; they were also an object of interest…

Soldiers, Members of Parliament, Social Activists: The Polish Women’s Movement after World War I

(8,489 words)

Author(s): kuźma-Markowska, Sylwia
kuźma-Markowska, Sylwia - Soldiers, Members of Parliament, Social Activists: The Polish Women’s Movement after World War I Keywords: civic organisations | commemoration | Ochotnicza Legia Kobiet (OLK) | Polish women | women's suffrage | World War I ISFWWS-Keywords: Poland | Women and War | Politics | Home fronts | Soldiers and Combat | Legacy | Russia | Politics | Society | Masculinity Abstract: At the beginning of the twentieth century, Polish women living in all three partitions not only lacked political rights but were also denied freedom of …

Soldiers’ Newspapers

(1,076 words)

Author(s): Nelson, Robert L.
Soldiers’ Newspapers Collective term for publications that were produced in the immediate vicinity of the front (front and trench newspapers) or in the rear areas by the official military authorities (army and corps newspapers). The editorial staffs of the soldiers’ newspapers consisted mostly of officers, but also of lower-ranking soldiers. Many soldiers’ newspapers printed official war bulletins and “eyewitness accounts” of recent events that had been written down by the war participants themsel…

Soldiers’ Packages (Liebesgaben)

(469 words)

Author(s): Latzel, Klaus
Soldiers’ Packages ( Liebesgaben) In the specific German context, gifts to soldiers from the home front, including homemade woolens and underwear, confectionery, handmade articles, and tobacco products, conveyed by the million to the front by the German Army Postal Services during the First World War. At the same time, the term Liebesgaben embraced the involvement of the German female population in particular in a comprehensive system of wartime welfare, “voluntary loving action,” creating an “army of love” behind the “army of weapons.” Organize…

Soldiers’ Suffering and Military Justice in the German Army of the Great War

(102 words)

Author(s): Duménil, Anne
Duménil, Anne - Soldiers’ Suffering and Military Justice in the German Army of the Great War Keywords: Germany | Experience of combat | Soldiers and Combat | Western Front | Published memoirs and biographies ‛Uncovered Fields’ Jenny Macleod and Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2004 e-ISBN: 9789047402596 DOI: 10.1163/9789047402596.004 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Duménil, Anne

Sombart, Werner

(323 words)

Author(s): Lenger, Friedrich
Sombart, Werner ( January 19, 1863, Ermsleben – May 18, 1941, Berlin), German economist and sociologist. In the first third of the 20th century Sombart was the best known German social scientist. As a pupil of Gustav Schmoller, he came from the historical school of political economy. He was one of the founders of sociology in Germany, and made an important contribution to it in his major work Der moderen Kapitalismus ( Modern Capitalism, 1902). In the 1890s he was still suspected as a sympathizer with the Marxist workers’ movement. He came to prominence as an advocat…

Somme

(2,475 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Somme River in northern France. The battle that took place between July 1 and November 25, 1916, in the French region of Picardy was the largest Franco-British offensive of that year. It was also the first major offensive of the British volunteer army (Kitchener’s Army) and the first battle in which tanks were used. In early December 1915, at a conference held in Chantilly, the representatives of the Allied Powers agreed to launch a general offensive in the following year. This coordinated action was meant to deprive the Central Powers of the abili…

Sonnino, Georgio Sidney

(475 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Sonnino, Georgio Sidney (March 11, 1847, Pisa – November 24, 1922, Rome), Italian politician (foreign minister). After a brief diplomatic career, Sonnino made his name with studies of the situation of the Italian rural population in Sicily. A member of parliament from 1880, he favored an alliance with the Central Powers, and was of the opinion that it was more important for Italy to maintain friendship with Austria than to acquire the Italian-speaking province of Trentino. He subsequently retained …

South Africa

(1,166 words)

Author(s): Nasson, Bill
South Africa The Union of South Africa came into being on May 31, 1910, with the coming into force of the South Africa Act, a common constitution for the British Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Natal, and Transvaal. Ruled by white settlers, the Union was granted the status of a self-governing dominion within Britain’s African Empire. South Africa was thus constitutionally bound to adhere to British foreign policy, including the event of a war. Although the question of the country’s joining the Fir…

South Africa and the First World War

(9,343 words)

Author(s): Samson, Anne
Samson, Anne - South Africa and the First World War ISFWWS-Keywords: Africa | Politics | International Relations during the War | East Africa | Society | Britain World War I and Propaganda Troy R.E. Paddock , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004264571 DOI: 10.1163/9789004264571_007 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Samson, Anne

South Tyrol

(754 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
South Tyrol The part of the Tyrol situated south of the Brenner. Between August 1914 and May 1915, South Tyrol was disputed territory between the Italians and Italy’s Triple Alliance partners Austria-Hungary and the German Reich. At issue initially was Trentino (according to the census of 1910: 393,111 inhabitants, of whom 366,844 were speakers of Italian and Ladin, 13,893 German-speakers, 2,666 speakers of other languages, and 9,708 foreigners, the greater portion of them North Italians), then th…

Sovereignty and Imperial Hygiene: Japan and the 1919 Cholera Epidemic in East Asia

(9,031 words)

Author(s): Chung, Yuehtsen Juliette
Chung, Yuehtsen Juliette - Sovereignty and Imperial Hygiene: Japan and the 1919 Cholera Epidemic in East Asia ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Legacy | Society | Home fronts | Politics 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_022 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Chung, Yuehtsen Juliette

Spain

(827 words)

Author(s): Albes, Jens
Spain This one-time world power had sunk to the level of a second-rate power after the 17th century. During the World War, however, it grew to become the most important neutral state of Europe. Favorably situated geo-strategically – two continents plus two oceans meeting at the Straits of Gibraltar – Spain constituted a veritable island of neutrality, surrounded by the warring states of France with Morocco, England with Gibraltar, and after March 1916 Portugal as well. That caused this land on the Iberian Peninsula to unexpectedly become the object of international interest. Despite co…
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