Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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‘The Germans Have Landed!’: Invasion Fears in the South-East of England, August to December 1914

(9,095 words)

Author(s): Pennell, Catriona
Pennell, Catriona - ‘The Germans Have Landed!’: Invasion Fears in the South-East of England, August to December 1914 Keywords: Essex population | First World War | German army | invasion | Southend-on-Sea ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Society | Pre-war period | Germany | Home fronts | Violence against civilians | Literature | Belgium | Politics Abstract: The British coastal town of Southend-on-Sea, Essex is situated less than one hun…

Demobilization

(1,503 words)

Author(s): Bessel, Richard
Demobilization The task of bringing a society out of a state of war into one of peace is incomparably more difficult than that of releasing soldiers from war service. The term “demobilization” is used for both processes. When the Armistice came into force on November 11, 1918, some six million German soldiers stood under arms. The German economy was almost entirely geared to the requirements of the war; demobilization now…

Armed Forces (Great Britain)

(4,680 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Armed Forces (Great Britain) The First World War was a highly unpleasant experience for the British. The perception of this war in public opinion was once summed up by the historian A.J.P. Taylor in the disparaging words “brave, helpless soldiers; blundering, obstinate generals; nothing achieved.” This negative view was primarily the consequence of the losses of human life, as the number of casualties among the soldiers was without precedent in the history of Great Britain. The majority of these los…

Letters From Captivity: The First World War Correspondence of the German Prisoners of War in the United Kingdom

(10,203 words)

Author(s): Feltman, Brian K.
Feltman, Brian K. - Letters From Captivity: The First World War Correspondence of the German Prisoners of War in the United Kingdom Keywords: correspondence | First World War | German prisoners | letters from captivity | Mecklenburgischer Hilfsverein | surrender | UK ISFWWS-Keywords: Prisoners of War | Germany | Literature | Masculinity | Home fronts | Published memoirs and biographies Abstract: This study aims to contribute to the growing field of scholarship concerned with the cultural implications of surrender and wartime captivity by sheddi…

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…

Manifesto of the 93

(963 words)

Author(s): vom Bruch, Rüdiger
Manifesto of the 93 Published on October 4, 1914, an appeal addressed “to the civilized world” ( An die Kulturwelt! Ein Aufruf ) and endorsed by 93 German men of letters, scientists, scholars and artists, rejected as “untrue” allegations made by the Entente against the German “militarism” and atrocities verifiably committed by the German Army in neutral Belgium. The Manifesto followed numerous other, similar declarations made especially by well-known cultural figures on both sides in the “war of the minds” ( Krieg der Geister, the title of a 1915 collection of international es…

Bild- und Filmamt (Photo and Film Office)

(575 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Bild- und Filmamt (Photo and Film Office) The Bild- und Filmamt (BUFA, “Photo and Film Office”) was created in January of 1917 by order of the Prussian War Ministry to facilitate and coordinate the use of film and photography for the German propaganda effort. As it formed part of the Supreme Army Command (OHL) and was also attached to the Military Department of the Foreign Office (Militärische Stelle des Auswärtigen Amtes, MAA), it reported to both institutions. Among other responsibilities the BUFA pr…

Elsa Brändström and the Reintegration of Returning Prisoners of War and their Families in Post-War Germany and Austria

(8,776 words)

Author(s): Stibbe, Matthew
Stibbe, Matthew - Elsa Brändström and the Reintegration of Returning Prisoners of War and their Families in Post-War Germany and Austria Keywords: Austrian society | Elsa Brändström | First World War | Germany | prisoners of war | women's activism ISFWWS-Keywords: Prisoners of War | Germany | Austria-Hungary | Russia | Scandinavia | Switzerland | The United States of America | Literature Abstract: Less is known about Elsa Brändström's contribution to the reintegration of returning POWs and their families in post-war German and Austrian society,…

Armed Forces (Dominions)

(3,147 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Armed Forces (Dominions) The settler colonies of the British Empire (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa) had already acquired the status of dominions prior to 1914, as part of a constitutional development towards full independence. Self-determination in domestic matters had already been granted to Canada in 1867, to Australia in 1901, to New Zealand in 1907, and to South Africa in 1910. The British declaration of war on Germany in 1914 was binding for all dominions, since London still…

Railways

(539 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Railways A means of mass transportation of persons and goods, developed in the 19th century, and adapted for military purposes in the second half of the century. The first extensive and operationally effective implementation of plans for the transportation of major bodies of troops by rail occurred in the wars of 1866 and 1870/1871. From that point on, all general staffs included the railways in their operational plans, and created specialized military units for the construction, safeguarding, an…

Military Chaplaincy

(856 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Military Chaplaincy (German Militärseelsorge), collective pastoral care for soldiers and other members of the armed forces. During the World War, both Christian confessions as well as the Jewish communities organized their own military chaplaincies on the basis of the two Prussian military church regulations of 1902 ( preussische militärkirchliche Dienstordnungen). In doing so, the German military chaplaincy underwent the greatest expansion of its entire history. The military chaplaincy was a state organization that was subordinated to the war…

Macedonia

(926 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Macedonia With the outbreak of the First World War, the multinational region of Macedonia became a battlefield of the Great Powers. Germany’s strategic goal of advancing eastwards and maintaining an open route to Turkey led to the establishment of the Balkan Front. For the various peoples living in the Balkans, this simultaneously represented a continuation of the struggle for Macedonia. This struggle resulted from a number of factors: the emergence of nationalisms in the 19th century, the founding of national states, and the all too belated and half-hearted attempt to reform the Ottoman Empire. In the early 20th century, the expected collapse of Ottoman rule had already provoked a bloody partisan conflict between Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Koutsovlachs (Aromanians), who strove to gain influence over the ethnic groups living in this area. Last but not least, this conflict was also influenced by the antagonisms of the Great Powers and raged with varying intensity and with changing fortunes until the Balkan Wars of 1912/1913. The Treaty of Bucharest (1913), which regulated the status quo in the Balkans, initially appeared to have ended the conflict. However, the efforts of all sides to achieve sovereignty as nation states entered a critical phase with the partitioning of Macedonia between Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria and with the resulting fragmentation of its geographical and economic unity. As a result, the only just begun process of modernization came to an abrupt end, to the detriment of all Balkan states. This had serious consequences for the social services and for the further development of urgently needed public tasks, and especially for the resolution of the agrarian problem, namely the distribution of the newly acquired territories to the landless farmers. The situation continued to deteriorate during the World War, seeing that the whole of Macedonia became a war zon…

Renn, Ludwig

(569 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Thomas F.
Renn, Ludwig (April 22, 1889, Dresden – July 21, 1979, Berlin [East]; Arnold Friedrich Vieth von Golssenau), German author. Renn was born into a Saxon noble family. His father educated the royal Saxon princes. After his abitur, Renn began the typical officer’s career path. When war first broke out Renn welcomed it, serving as lieutenant of an infantry unit. Once positional warfare had commenced, however, his duties as regimental adjutant led him to doubt the moral and military meaning of warfare. Wounded and decorated several time…

Piłsudski, Józef Klemens

(325 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Piłsudski, Józef Klemens (December 5, 1867, Zułowo [now Zalavas, near Vilnius] – May 12, 1935, Warsaw), Polish politician and marshal. Co-founder of the Polish Socialist Party in 1892, Piłsudski was a determined opponent of Russia. He pursued the goal of a Polish federal republic on the model of the old Polish-Lithuanian Union, reaching far to the east and including non-Polish nationalities. This national revolutionary activist organized paramilitary groups from 1908 on and sent his forces over the…

Malvy, Louis-Jean

(370 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Malvy, Louis-Jean (December 1, 1875, Figeac [Département Lot] – June 9, 1949, Paris), French politician. A radical socialist (and member of the French National Assembly from 1906), and a friend of Joseph Caillaux, Malvy was interior minister from the outbreak of the First World War until August 31, 1917, having already held that office in René Viviani’s prewar administration. He frequently demonstrated his trust in the patriotism of the labor movement, for example when, in August 1914, he refused …

Deployment Plans

(1,557 words)

Author(s): Bourne, John
Deployment Plans Deployment plans were plans for readying the mobilized units of a land army. To what degree the warring states of World War I actually sought after this conflict is one of the most intensively researched, and most sharply contended subjects of 20th century historiography. It is agreed, however, that most powers had worked out detailed mobilization and attack plans in case of war. These, they also realized to a greater or lesser degree when war broke out in August 1914. The war plans of the German Reich are customarily referred to as the Schlieffen Plan, even …

Toys, Games and Juvenile Literature in Germany and Britain During the First World War. A Comparison

(10,962 words)

Author(s): Müller, Sonja
Müller, Sonja - Toys, Games and Juvenile Literature in Germany and Britain During the First World War. A Comparison Keywords: Britain | First World War | games | Germany | juvenile literature | toys ISFWWS-Keywords: Children and War | Germany | Britain | Economy | Masculinity | Literature | Culture | Home fronts | Society | Violence against civilians Abstract: This chapter focuses on German and British children's daily lives during the First World War, particularly emphasizing their wartime experiences. It also focuses on individual toys and …

Desertion

(1,634 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Desertion Denotes a soldier’s unauthorized absence from his unit, without the permission of his superior officers. Related offences are “unauthorized absence” and “defection to the enemy.” In common with all other legal offenses, desertion does not necessarily reflect objective circumstances, but depends on national legal provisions and their interpretation on a particular occasion, that is to say their practical application. In particular, the distinction between desertion, unauthorized absence, defection, refusal of wa…

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…
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