Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Raw Materials, Rationing, and Procurement

(2,348 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
Raw Materials, Rationing, and Procurement The war had scarcely begun before the mass armies ran short of vital raw materials and replacement supplies. State intervention in the procurement and distribution of raw materials followed in the warring nations’ economies with the goal of making maximum use of the raw materials available for the war effort. This effort was linked with intense efforts to depress private consumption. To this end, the state intervened in the economy to requisition and distribu…

Masuria

(1,257 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Masuria Masuria comprised the southeastern portion of the German province of East Prussia, the part of the Reich that was most exposed to a threat from Russia. Two great battles took place here and immediately across the border in Russian Poland in 1914/15. The Russian Army occupied Masuria at the beginning of the war, and remained there until it was defeated at Tannenberg at the end of August 1914. After this battle the remnants of the Russian Second Army, which had entered Masuria from the south, withdrew across the border into Poland.…

Apollinaire, Guillaume

(280 words)

Author(s): Beaupré, Nicolas
Apollinaire, Guillaume (August 26, 1880, Rome – November 9, 1918, Paris), French poet and art critic whose real name was Wilhelm Apollinaris de Kostrowitzky. Not least because of the scandal surrounding his volume of poetry, Alcools, published in 1913, Apollinaire was thought to be one of the most important modern French poets alongside Blaise Cendrars at the outbreak of the war. As a Russian national (his mother was Polish) he was not drafted into the army at the beginning of the war, but he became a volunteer and enlisted with the artillery. At his own …

Fourteen Points

(899 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Fourteen Points Fourteen Points stands for the peace aims of American President Woodrow Wilson, who made them public in a speech before the United States Congress on January 8, 1918. The basic reasons for American participation in the war were already clear. To justify America’s joining the war in April 1917, Wilson stressed that the United States was not interested in realizing any narrowly defined national demands. Rather, he meant to for liberal political principles to be implemented globally, …

Reconnaissance

(522 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Wolfgang
Reconnaissance Military procedure by which information is gathered about the enemy situation as well as terrain and weather conditions; it is a vital prerequisite for the decision-making processes on all levels of command. In addition to peace-time intelligence gathering, war-time reconnaissance operations were broken down according to the type of theater or battlefield into long-range, short-range and battlefield, or combat, reconnaissance. While the purpose of long-range reconnaissance was to c…

Djemal Pasha, Ahmed

(387 words)

Author(s): Cem Oguz, C.
Djemal Pasha, Ahmed (May 6, 1872, Constantinople – July 21, 1922, Tiflis [assassinated]), Ottoman general and politician. Djemal Pasha was educated in military schools. He concluded his training at the general staff academy in 1895. He was a member of the Committee for Unity and Progress, and used his position as inspector of railways to expand the railway network. After the Constitutional Revolution of 1908, as a member of the Central Committee Djemal Pasha was seen as one of the most influential …

July Crisis

(720 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
July Crisis Few topics from the history of the First World War have been discussed more intensively by historians and in the public arena than the July Crisis of 1914. Into the 1930s in Germany, the foremost question was that of the justice of the accusation of “war guilt” as expressed in Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty. In this case the predominant opinion initially, and even after the Second World War, was that all the powers “stumbled” into war. In the 1960s, Fritz Fischer brought to the c…

Bloch, Ivan Stanislavovich

(468 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Bloch, Ivan Stanislavovich (August 24, 1836, Radom – January 6, 1902, Warsaw), Polish economist. Born into a poor family, the Warsaw-based banker applied himself to financing the construction of the Russian railway network between the Baltic and the Black Sea. He became very wealthy as a result and published several volumes on the general aspects of this activity. As a Jewish convert to Calvinism Bloch was an outspoken supporter of the Jewish community in the Tsarist Empire and wrote a number of bo…

Drina

(966 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Drina Border river between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. The battle of the Drina (August 12–21, 1914) was, for Austria-Hungary, the most unfortunate conceivable prelude to the war against Serbia. The prime cause was the incomplete deployment of the Austro-Hungarian forces. The forces ranged against Serbia comprised not only the Fourth and Fifth Armies, but also the Second Army, which had been earmarked for use against the Russians in the event of the opening of a second front in Galicia. However…

Climax in the Baltic: The German Maritime Offensive in the Gulf of Riga in October 1917

(6,634 words)

Author(s): Grove, Eric
Grove, Eric - Climax in the Baltic: The German Maritime Offensive in the Gulf of Riga in October 1917 Keywords: German Maritime | Gulf of Riga | Russia ISFWWS-Keywords: Russian Front | Naval Warfare | Germany | Russia | Military organisation of combat Abstract: On 17 October 1917, only three weeks before the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd on 7 November, an engagement occurred in the Gulf of Riga between the German dreadnought battleships Konig and Kronprinz and three Russian capital ships of the previous generation, the pre-dreadnought battleships Slava and Grazhdanin and the ar…

Peace Initiatives

(1,049 words)

Author(s): Hoff, Henning
Peace Initiatives In the course of the World War there were repeated attempts to end hostile activities. However, right until the end the war aims of the two sides were irreconcilable so that the chances for the success of peace initiatives remained small. The first serious attempts to bring the European belligerents to the negotiating table were made by American President Woodrow Wilson, who in the spring of 1915 sent his trusted “Colonel” Edward M. House to London, Berlin and Paris to hold exploratory talks. The trip foundered on the G…

Komarów

(674 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Komarów A town in Russian Poland. The war on the Austrian-Russian Front began with a Russian offensive. Four Russian armies were to advance concentrically on Galicia. Facing them were initially three, then four, Austro-Hungarian armies. The Austrians would, at every opportunity, go on the tactical offense as the basis of their defensive strategy. The Austro-Hungarian First and Fourth Armies (Dankl and Auffenberg) met the Russian Fourth (Evert) and Fifth (Plehve) in late summer 1914 east of Kraków (Cracow). The opposing armies were of roughly equal…

Auffenberg von Komarów, Baron Moritz

(292 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Auffenberg von Komarów, Baron Moritz (May 22, 1852, Troppau, modern Opava in the Czech Republic – May 18, 1928, Vienna), Austro-Hungarian minister of war and army general. Auffenberg graduated from the Theresian Military Academy and chose to pursue a career with the General Staff. Commanding a brigade in Győr and later a division in Zagreb, he experienced the conflict-laden internal structure of the Habsburg Monarchy. As a corps commander in Sarajevo from 1909 to 1911 he distinguished himself with hi…

Brusilov Offensive

(1,136 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Brusilov Offensive The designation “Brusilov Offensive” refers to the Russian army’s last major military operation in the summer of 1916. It was named after the commander of the Russian Southwest Front (Army Group Brusilov), General A.A. Brusilov, whose offensive in the first days of June 1916 annihilated two Austro-Hungarian armies and badly crippled two others. It was one of the greatest Russian victories of the war, but nevertheless exhausted itself in frontal attacks. Born into an aristocratic family, Brusilov earned a reputation as a competent senior commander a…

Pan-German League

(886 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Pan-German League Radical nationalistic organization in Germany. The Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband, ADV) was founded in Berlin in April 1891 and (until 1894) operated under the name Allgemeiner Deutscher Verband (“General German Association”). It was formed as a non-party organization on the initiative of a small circle of activists that included representatives from the community of “ethnic Germans” living outside of the German Empire ( Volksdeutsche), several colonial propagandists with ties to Carl Peters, and Alfred Hugenberg, who was still a yo…

Szögyény-Marich, László (Ladislaus) de

(262 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Szögyény-Marich, László (Ladislaus) de (November 12, 1841, Vienna – June 11, 1916, Csór), Austro-Hungarian diplomat. At first Szögyény-Marich participated in Hungarian politics as a nobleman. After 1883, he worked in the Foreign Ministry of the Habsburg Monarchy. Later as minister, he represented the Hungarian government at the Royal Court in Vienna. In 1892 he was named Austria-Hungary’s ambassador to Berlin, an office which he held until 1914. Szögyény-Marich was actually scheduled to retire in sp…

War Guilt

(797 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
War Guilt The question of responsibility for the First World War was actually the subject of controversial discussion even before the outbreak of war, during the July Crisis of 1914, and was even answered propagandistically, to justify positions taken. Proclamations at the outset of the war, such as the “balcony speech” of Kaiser Wilhelm II on August 4 (“It is not the desire for conquest that drives us . . .”) or Poincaré’s “ Union sacrée” address on the same date (“In the war now breaking out, France has right on her side.”) always emphasize the defensive character of…

Rumors

(703 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Rumors In all societies involved in the World War, social culture was influenced by “informal communication” media. In addition to military letters, trench newspapers, and unofficial leaflets and pamphlets, a large number of rumors supplied the lack of social information once censorship had caused the public media to lose credibility. In many places these rumors contained could a mixture of propaganda, popular cultural mythology, visions driven by panic fear, and (though very rarely) genuine information. An initial surge in war rumors can be observed in connection with…

War Damage

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
War Damage Damages and costs incurred during the war through the destruction of milit…

Heinrich (Henry), Prince of Prussia

(395 words)

Author(s): Schranz, Daniel
Heinrich (Henry), Prince of Prussia (August 14, 1862, Potsdam – April 20, 1929, Hemmelmark [now belonging to Barkelsby]), German grand admiral. Heinrich was born in 1862 the second son of the future Kaiser Friedrich III. At the age of 15 he became the only Prussian prince to embark upon a military career in the Imperial Navy. After completing naval college Heinrich was promoted lieutenant commander in 1882. He was given his first command, a torpedo boat, in 1886. This was followed by a series sea-goi…
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