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Oncken, Hermann

(271 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Oncken, Hermann (November 16, 1869, Oldenburg – December 28, 1945, Göttingen), German historian. A lecturer in history at Heidelberg University before the war, in the years before 1914 Oncken was also well known to the public as an advocate of the foreign- and domestic-policy directions taken by Bethmann Hollweg’s government. This manifested itself in his publications promoting German-English conciliatory efforts. It also explains why Oncken was so extremely disappointed over the B…

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 radi…


(1,806 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
India In August 1914, the Indian subcontinent was the most important pillar of the British Empire. After the start of the First World War India’s importance to the war effort was apparent in the considerable numbers of Indian soldiers employed on the Allied fronts in Europe, Africa, and Asia. By the end of 1918, some 1.5 million Indians had been mobilized for the war. Of these, almost 900,000 belonged to fighting units. More than 60,000 Indian soldiers died in the war and about the same number suffered wounds. It was originally envisaged that only restricted use should be made of Indian soldiers, and then mainly in Egypt, where they would release the British garrison for employment in Europe. In view of the small number of British administrators and law enforcement personnel for a population of some 300 million, British exercise of power in India remained precariously dependent on the collaboration of indigenous peoples. As any variation in the balance of power could wreck this structure, the main con…

Lloyd George, David

(667 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Lloyd George, David (January 17, 1863, Manchester – March 26, 1945, Llanystumdwy [Gwynedd]; from 1945 First Earl of Dwyfor), British statesman. This Welsh politician was one of the dominant figures on the British political scene during the First World War. Thanks to his extraordinary rhetorical talent, from the time of his first election to the House of Commons (lower house of parliament) in 1890 Lloyd George quickly made a name for himself as one of the leaders of the radica…

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 state authorities were confronted by social problems that had been expected neither in their substance nor in their quantitative dimension. A total of 13.2 million men were called up; almost two million of them fell in the war. More than 4.2 million soldiers were wounded, 25% of them severely; 1.5 million soldiers suffered long-term injuries. More than four years after the war, there were 533,000 war widows; 1.2 million children had lost one parent and 58,000 both parents. Whereas before 1914, progress in social policy had been attempted mainly in the area of worker protection and social security, in the war, because of early intensive competition for labor between the army and industry, social policy proved to be mainly a function of the regulation of the war economy. This particularly affected matters of wages, worker protection and the regulation of labor law. Thus as soon as the war began, those parts of employment law relating to the protection of young and female workers were largely suspended, and remained so throughout the war, although the military authorities and trade unions repeatedly worked to have those conditions reinstated. Work at home greatly expended during the war, and remained practically without state control. Plans originally made for the compulsory health insurance of home workers did not materialize. Progress in social policy, on the contrary, included from the beginning of 1917 lowering the qualifying age for old age pension from 70 to 65. In the same year this was complemented by the introduction of weekly aid and the raising of the orphan’s allowance. In particular, largely thanks to pressure from the Prussian Ministry of War and initiatives of regional military authorities in social policy and against resistance from the emp…

North Africa

(2,498 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
North Africa Geographical area stretching from the Atlantic coast of present-day Morocco in the west to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. The territories in question experienced various phases of political and military subjugation by the European colonial powers before the outbreak of the First World War. The North African territories were subject to differing external and internal political arrangements, and were then administered under direct and indirect forms of rule. France claimed formal sovereignty in Al…

Wolff, Theodor

(305 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Wolff, Theodor (August 2, 1868, Berlin – September 23, 1943, Berlin), German journalist and politician. For more than 25 years, 1906–1933, the Berliner journalist was editor-in-chief of the Berliner Tageblatt, marked by his decidedly liberal orientation. Before 1914 Wolff already numbered among the most renowned representatives of his profession. Since 1894 he had been serving as the

Churchill, Winston Leonard Spencer

(631 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Churchill, Winston Leonard Spencer (November 30, 1874, Blenheim Palace – January 24, 1965, London), British politician. Churchill’s political development in the years leading up to World War I was significantly shaped by the events of the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911, in the wake of which he was named first lord of the Admiralty. Churchill held several ministerial posts after switching from the Conservatives to the Liberal Party in 1904: from 1905 to 1908 he served as under-secretary of state for …

Delbrück, Hans

(333 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Delbrück, Hans (November 11, 1848, Bergen [Rügen] – July 14, 1929, Berlin), German historian and political commentator. Delbrü…