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Heroes’ Groves

(499 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Heroes’ Groves On December 8, 1914, an article by the head of the German Royal Horticultural College’s Department for Plant Production, Berliner Willy Lange, appeared in the entertainment section of the Täglichen Rundschau. In his article, “Oaks for Heroes and Lindens for Peace,” Lange proposed that every German community should establish heroes groves, planting there, in orderly rows, one oak tree for every fallen soldier from the community: “For each, who lost his life for Germany’s freedom; for the ideal of Germanness, with…

Guchkov, Alexander Ivanovich

(229 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Guchkov, Alexander Ivanovich (October 13/26, 1862, Moscow – February 14, 1936, Paris), Russian industrialist and politician. Guchkov came from a family of Moscow entrepreneurs. In November 1905, in the course of the first Russian Revolution, he was the founder and leader of the Union of the 17th October. In 1906 he became a member of the Imperial Council, in 1907 a member of the Imperial Duma, and its president in 1910–1911. From the end of 1906 Guchkov was the publisher of the Golos Moskvy ( Voice of Moscow) newspaper and from 1915 he was chairman of the Central War Industry Comm…

Iron Nail Memorials

(671 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Iron Nail Memorials The creation of Iron Nail Memorials was initiated in Vienna on March 6, 1915, with the Eisern Wehrmann (‘Iron-clad Soldier’). Beginning in mid-1916 and then tapering off until the war’s end, individuals in Germany and Austria-Hungary also began making these crude, symbolic figures studded with nails, sometimes with metal shields as well. Others were occasionally made at the fronts, such as the Adler der Champagne (‘Eagle of Champagne’). Shield-studded iron nail memorials were also undertaken by schools after 1916 as part of a charitable init…

Hero Cult

(1,197 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Hero Cult The First World War was the last war to have an explicit hero cult; it continued almost to the end of the war. Every day, and increasingly as the war situation intensified, the public was presented with war heroes, whether alive or killed in action, both collectively and individually. Their cult grew out of the national tradition; they were to be followed as examples of willpower and readiness for battle, staying power, and readiness for sacrifice. The World War, with its new weapon systems capable of killing anonymously, no longer provided any real basis for a …

Superstition

(464 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Superstition Superstition is a religious belief based on a magical perception of the world. Contemporary texts would seem to indicate that in addition to reviving older, well-known forms of war superstition, the First World War also created new ones. The uncertainty as to the successful outcome of the war, the threat of a premature, violent death, the worry over the fate of a relative, the suffering and hardship, the devastating consequences of individual battles with huge numbers of casualties, …