Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Submarine Warfare

(2,604 words)

Author(s): Rohwer, Jürgen
Submarine Warfare Grossadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz, secretary of state for the German Imperial Navy Bureau, was mainly interested in the battle fleet and initially had little regard for submarines. So the construction of U1 did not begin until 1904/1905, and, by the beginning of the First World War, only 28 submarines were in service in the German Navy. Of these, only the final ten were equipped with operationally safe diesel engines for running on the surface. Tirpitz’ intention at the beginning of the war was to use submarines for reconnaissance against the British Gra…

Hindenburg Line

(426 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hindenburg Line The name in British and French literature for the German defensive line on the Western Front in 1917/18, known in German as Siegfried-Stellung. After the close of the costly battles of 1916, the OHL (German Supreme Army Command) and the Army Group Kronprinz Rupprecht had decided to pull the front back to the Arras – Saint-Quentin – Vailly line. Their reasons had been strategic and operational: building on successes on the Eastern Front and in the unrestricted submarine war, the war in the West was to be waged defensively in…

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…

Wilhelm II, German Kaiser

(1,402 words)

Author(s): C.G. Röhl, John
Wilhelm II, German Kaiser ( January 27, 1859, Berlin – June 4, 1941, Doorn, Netherlands), German Kaiser and King of Prussia. Kaiser Wilhelm was characterized by Germany’s enemies during the First World War as an aggressive warmonger, the personification of the German lust for conquest. Not only among the Allied populace, showered as it was with bloodthirsty caricatures and poisonous propaganda, but also in well-informed government circles (not least in the White House), the war was seen simply as “t…

Maximilian, Prince of Baden

(1,091 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Maximilian, Prince of Baden ( July 10, 1867, Baden-Baden – November 6, 1925, Salem; real name: Maximilian Alexander Friedrich Wilhelm; also known as Max von Baden), German Reich Chancellor. The son of Prince Wilhelm of Baden, and last German Reich Chancellor before the collapse of the Wilhelmine Reich, Max von Baden became heir apparent to his childless cousin, Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden, in 1907. After attending humanistisches Gymnasium (high school emphasizing classical studies) and studying law, the prince took up an officer’s career, which he dropped ag…

Dardanelles

(1,004 words)

Author(s): Prior, Robin | Wilson, Trevor
Dardanelles Straits between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. After the outbreak of war in Europe, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire had envisioned joining the war on the side of the Central Powers. The arrival of two German warships, the Goeben and the Breslau, at Constantinople on August 10, 1914, reinforced this decision. For Turkey joining the war meant territorial gains at Russia’s expense; in the Caucasus, at British expense; as well as in Egypt. On October 27, the Turkish fleet put to sea against the Russian Black Sea base, thereby triggering war with the Entente. Mean…

Daniels, Josephus

(342 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis E.
Daniels, Josephus (May 18, 1862, Washington NC – January 15, 1948, Raleigh NC), American Secretary of the Navy during World War I, his appointment to the post in 1913 seemed straight from the plot of HMS Pinafore. A journalist from North Carolina, Daniels had no background or interest in naval affairs. His primary qualification was his contribution to Woodrow Wilson’s election. Daniels disliked naval officers as a class. He was indifferent to naval traditions. His banning of alcohol from shipboard messes did nothing to improve his…
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