Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Verdun

(2,073 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Verdun A French fortress that was continually expanded since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871. With its 20 forts and 40 intermediate redoubts, Verdun was without any doubt the strongest defense work in France. The principal forts in the vicinity of Verdun included Douaumont, Vaux, Souville, and Tavannes. Verdun was considered to be practically impregnable. During the German advance of August 1914, the German Fifth Army (under Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia) operated in the sector before Verd…

German and French Regiments on the Western Front, 1914–1918

(18,055 words)

Author(s): Meteling, Wencke
Meteling, Wencke - German and French Regiments on the Western Front, 1914–1918 Keywords: First World War | French armies | German army | Western Front ISFWWS-Keywords: Western Front | French Army and its combattants | Germany | Military organisation of combat | Experience of combat | Published memoirs and biographies | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Society | Legacy Abstract: This chapter talks about how the fundamental changes in the German and French armies developed at regimental level during the First World War. It explores a central …

Kaiser kī jay (Long Live the Kaiser): Perceptions of World War I and the Socio-Religious Movement Among the Oraons in Chota Nagpur 1914–1916

(10,800 words)

Author(s): Liebau, Heike
Liebau, Heike - Kaiser kī jay (Long Live the Kaiser): Perceptions of World War I and the Socio-Religious Movement Among the Oraons in Chota Nagpur 1914–1916 Keywords: India | Religion | Home fronts | Politics | The French and British Empires | Germany | Literature 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-618.59 © 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Liebau, Heike

Hindenburg Program

(1,030 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Martin H.
Hindenburg Program Economic and armaments program of the Supreme Army Command. Two days after taking over military leadership in Germany, on August 31, 1916, the Operations Branch of the Supreme Army Command (Hindenburg/Ludendorff ) presented the Prussian War Ministry with demands for the wholesale impressment of all economic resources for the war effort and a considerable expansion of armaments production. It was soon common parlance to speak of the “Hindenburg Program.” The armaments program was…

War Experience

(654 words)

Author(s): Hettling, Manfred
War Experience Experience as such had been discovered around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. Authors such as Wilhelm Dilthey and Georg Simmel popularized the concept, which expressed a longing for wholeness and a need for totality. Within the process of experiencing, distinctions such as those between reflection and sensory perception or thought and action were believed to disappear. Simmel gave this notion a more emphatic note by comparing experience with adventure. Experience thus stoo…

January Strikes

(1,075 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
January Strikes Between January 28 and February 2, 1918, there arose in Berlin and other industrial and economic centers (Kiel, Hamburg, and the Rhine-Westphalia industrial area) mass protests and strike actions, in which between 200,000 and 500,000 workers took part. In contrast with the 1917 strikes, which may be understood primarily as social protest, the January Strikes had to a great extent a direct political motive. In light of the Soviet government’s offer of peace, and the brutally extreme claims for annexation of the German S…

Controlling Urban Society during World War I: Cooperation between Belgian Authorities and the Forces of Military Occupation

(106 words)

Author(s): Majerus, Benoît
Benoît, Majerus - Controlling Urban Society during World War I: Cooperation between Belgian Authorities and the Forces of Military Occupation Keywords: Belgium | Germany | Western Front | Home fronts | Society | Economy ‛Endangered Cities’ Marcus Funck and Roger Chickering, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2004 e-ISBN: 9789047409812 DOI: 10.1163/9789047409812.005 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Majerus, Benoît

The First World War and German Memory

(13,798 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
Kramer, Alan - The First World War and German Memory Keywords: First World War | German memory | lightning warfare | Weimar Republic ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | Legacy | Intellectuals and the War | Literature | Culture | Politics | Belgium Abstract: This chapter outlines the German memory of the First World War. It discusses collective memory, political culture and historical scholarship in the period 1918 to 1939, the Second World War, and since 1945. The memory of the war was increasingly a battleground in the final …

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…

Ottoman Empire

(2,352 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, Erik-Jan
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers in November 1914. The real decision to take this step was not made by the cabinet, but by an inner circle of Young Turk politicians on October 25. Two days later, on the orders of minister of war Enver Pasha, a Turkish naval force under the command of the German Admiral Souchon attacked the Russian Black Sea Fleet in its bases. The Turks later sought to justify this unprovoked attack by claiming that th…

War Toys

(531 words)

Author(s): Audoin-Rouzeau, Stéphane
War Toys The leisure activities of children changed during the First World War in conformity with national propaganda interests. Such pastimes had to adjust to the laws of the market as they applied to the youth culture in wartime. Children’s expectations (or the expectations of family circles) were to be met by the commercial production of toys, games, and children’s books. Long before the war of 1914, politics had found access to the nursery through the medium of toys in Europe. There was already a tradition of patriotic and military toys, and their pro…

Norway

(529 words)

Author(s): Bohn, Robert
Norway Constitutional monarchy under Regent Haakon VII (r. 1905–1957). Norway’s attitude to the World War is only understandable in view of the fact that Norway had only achieved independence from Sweden in 1905, and that Great Britain was Norway’s most important guarantor nation. These security policy considerations, the mainstay of Norway’s foreign policy, were strengthened by a corresponding trade policy orientation. The war having begun, Norway followed Sweden’s lead on August 8, 1914, by iss…

Balloons

(471 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Balloons The early 19th century saw the first balloons employed for military purposes. The use of free balloons in the Franco-Prussian War attracted much attention. The balloons helped the beleaguered capital maintain communications with the surrounding countryside. After 1871 most European Powers created military airship detachments in particular to operate tethered balloons, as they offered a controllable observation platform at altitude. Interest in balloons declined with the emergence of diri…

Marne

(1,369 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Marne River in France. Two battles of far-reaching significance in the First World War occurred on the Marne. In September 1914, after a long period when the Allies were retreating, the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) resumed the offensive and forced the German Army to retreat, bringing about the failure of the original German operational plan. France had not been defeated in six weeks, and a long war became a possibility. This was the First Battle of the Marne. In July 1918…

Nicolai, Walter

(321 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Nicolai, Walter (August 1, 1873, Braunschweig [Brunswick] – May 4, 1947, Moscow), German officer and leader of the Military Intelligence Service of the German Supreme Army Command. Nicolai joined the 2nd Hessian Infantry Regiment, No. 82 in 1893; in 1907, he was promoted to captain. As a major in 1912, he was entrusted with the directorship of Department IIIb, the Military Intelligence Bureau of the General Staff. In early August 1914, he was named chief of the section. The work of Department IIIb…

Schulenburg, Friedrich von der

(292 words)

Author(s): Beckers, Thomas
Schulenburg, Friedrich von der (November 21, 1865, Bobitz – May 20, 1939, St. Blasien), German general. After completing his secondary education Schulenburg took a law degree at Heidelberg and then began a military career. In 1888 he became an officer in the Gardes du Corps Regiment in Potsdam, and in 1988 was transferred to the General Staff. There followed an assignment as German military attaché in London (1902–1906). In 1913 he was promoted and became commander of the Gardes du Corps Regiment. H…

Naumann, Friedrich

(545 words)

Author(s): Theiner, Peter
Naumann, Friedrich (March 25, 1860, Störmthal [Leipzig] – August 24, 1919, Travemünde), German politician and publicist. After completing his theological studies, Naumann had many experiences at the Rauh Haus, a Protestant aid foundation for children and youth that influenced him regarding the social problems of his heavily industrialized era. He became a spokesman for the young Christian socialists at the Evangelical Social Congress of 1890, speaking out for a renewal of the institution of German Protestantism. Under the …

Entente

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jaques
Entente Also referred to as the Triple Entente, this was one of the great alliances that had formed in Europe at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Although these alliances are ascribed a certain responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, they were far less stable and less systematically structured than was later claimed. The system of alliances created by Reich Chancellor Bismarck after the war of 1870/1871 had as its goal the isolation of France in Europe, and to that end the maintenance of good relations with…

Zimmermann Telegram

(358 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Zimmermann Telegram On January 16, 1917, after the German government’s decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare (from February 1, 1917), Arthur Zimmermann, secretary of state at the German foreign ministry, sent a coded telegram to the German ambassador in Washington, Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff, to be forwarded to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram instructed Eckardt to propose to the Mexican government an alliance against the United States. In re…

War Neuroses

(1,326 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
War Neuroses An increasingly accepted designation of the First World War for psychopathologically induced disorders that appeared among soldiers as a consequence of combat experiences. The specialized literature also spoke of traumatic neurosis, purpose neurosis (German Zweckneurose), fright neurosis (German Schreckneurose), shell-shock and nervous shock, war hysteria, or simply of nervous disorders. Due to the prevalent symptoms, the patients were colloquially known in Germany as “war-tremblers” (German Kriegszitterer) or “shakers” (German Schüttler). Careful esti…
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