Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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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…

The ‘Rebirth of Greater Germany’: The Austro-German Alliance and the Outbreak of War

(9,858 words)

Author(s): Vermeiren, Jan
Vermeiren, Jan - The ‘Rebirth of Greater Germany’: The Austro-German Alliance and the Outbreak of War Keywords: Austro-Hungarian declaration | German war | Habsburg Monarchy | outbreak ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | Austria-Hungary | Pre-war period | Home fronts | Politics | Society Abstract: This chapter examines the outbreak of Greater German euphoria at the start of the war and the altered Reich German perception (and more precisely, public depiction) of an ally previously seen as an anachronistic and mortally ill entity,…

Luring Neutrals: Allied and German Propaganda in Argentina during the First World War

(10,707 words)

Author(s): Tato, María Inés
Tato, María Inés - Luring Neutrals: Allied and German Propaganda in Argentina during the First World War ISFWWS-Keywords: South America | Economy | Literature | Culture | Britain | The United States of America | France | Germany | Naval Warfare World War I and Propaganda Troy R.E. Paddock , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004264571 DOI: 10.1163/9789004264571_016 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Tato, María Inés

Mackensen, August von

(576 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Mackensen, August von (December 6, 1849, Haus Leipnitz [Kreis Wittenberg] – November 8, 1945, Burghorn [now part of Habighorst, Kreis Celle]), German field marshal. The son of an estate manager, Mackensen took part in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871 before studying for two years in Halle and subsequently returning to the army, where he pursued a rapid and brilliant career as a cavalryman in spite of his not having attended the Kriegsakademie (War Academy). Among his assignments, his appointment as adjutant to Alfred von Schlieffen (1891) is particularly worthy…

Noske, Gustav

(415 words)

Author(s): Schulz, Petra
Noske, Gustav ( July 9, 1868, Brandenburg an der Havel – November 30, 1946, Hannover), German politician. Noske, a skilled basket maker, joined the union in 1885, and Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD, ‘Social Democratic Party of Germany’) in Brandenburg in 1886. In 1897 he took charge of the editorial staff of the Social Democratic newspapers in Königsberg and Chemnitz, gathering his first political experience at the local level. In 1906 he was first elected to the Reichstag, styling himself as an expert on household, colonial, and military affairs. Noske belonged to th…

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…

Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of

(791 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of The word Opfer (‘victim’) has two different connotations in the German language. One can make an Opfer, a ‘sacrificial offering,’ by sacrificing a victim to the gods, and in extreme cases a human being can offer himself in sacrifice. In its other connotation, a person can become the passive victim or ‘target’ of fate, whether from decisions made by others or from unknown circumstances. In both connotations the word has been extensively used in the literature and public debates on the World War. This suggests that the word…

Judaism

(604 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Judaism In all the belligerent states, Jews strove to give evidence of national loyalty. It would be well, however, to take care before singling out a particular Jewish patriotism. Western European Jewry was already largely integrated before 1914. Its national engagement was self-evident, and by no means a form of “total assimilation.” Statements by Jewish organizations that are usually interpreted as an expression of Jewish “hyper-patriotism” can be understood against the background of the press…

Jellicoe, John R.

(609 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Jellicoe, John R. (December 5, 1859, Southampton – November, 20, 1935, London; Viscount of Scapa from 1918; Earl Jellicoe from 1915), British admiral. Jellicoe joined the Royal Navy in 1872 and took part in the Russo-Turkish War in 1877 as well as in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. As director of naval ordnance, he had been responsible for equipping HMS Dreadnought with heavy gunnery in 1905. Appointed rear admiral in 1907, Jellicoe was made Third Sea Lord in the following year and supervised the construction of 90 battleships, including eig…

Gaulle, Charles de

(360 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Gaulle, Charles de (November 22, 1890, Lille – November 9, 1970, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, Département Haute-Marne), French officer and politician. As a young officer, De Gaulle was decorated among other things, for Verdun. He fell prisoner to the Germans, and undertook several spectacular escape attempts. The World War came to have a special meaning for him, especially for his awareness of politics and history, and for his ideological formation. For De Gaulle, the Union sacrée achieved during the war became his lifelong ideal for a successful, domestic political or…

Nietzsche, Friedrich

(488 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
Nietzsche, Friedrich (October 15, 1844, Röcken – August 25, 1900, Weimar), German classicist and philosopher. It is rumored that German soldiers were sent into the field with Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra in their knapsacks. Nietzsche served as the representative for the new German philosophy, the founder of a philosophy of life in which the young war enthusiast was seeking to corroborate his image of war according to ideas and formulae. Most vindications of the war were related, albeit not always explicitly, to Nietzs…

Pamphlets

(390 words)

Author(s): Bohrmann, Hans
Pamphlets A single sheet of paper which is printed on both sides with a political, social, commercial, or other message and which is distributed free of charge to a wide public. The special newspaper editions containing breaking news that came in after the printing deadline may also be regarded as pamphlets. Such special editions were more frequent during the World War, since the actuality of the newspapers regularly lagged behind the pace of events in spite of multiple issues per day. A precise …

Compiègne

(335 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Compiègne French town and railway junction on the River Oise, some 60 km northeast of Paris; in 1917 it became the seat of the French Headquarters (GQG) and later the site of the 1918 Armistice. On November 11, 1918, at around 5:20 am, the Armistice between the Entente represented by chief negotiator Marshal Ferdinand Foch, and the German Empire was signed in a wooded area near Compiègne. The act itself took place in a railway carriage parked in a siding that belonged to a disused railway gun emp…

Ludendorff, Erich

(775 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, Martin
Ludendorff, Erich (April 9, 1865, Kruszewnia [near Posen, now Poznań, Poland] – December 20, 1937, Tutzing), German general, and First Quartermaster General on the General Staff of the field army. Although he is often represented as the archetypal middle class technocrat, Ludendorff in fact sprang from the landed nobility. The son of an officer and landed estate owner, he was educated at an army cadet school. He received his officer’s commission in 1881, and in 1894 was appointed to the Imperial G…

Red Cross

(1,371 words)

Author(s): Mönch, Winfried
Red Cross The red cross on a white ground signifies neutrality in war, and thus protection. The Ottoman Empire introduced the alternative symbol of the red crescent on a white ground during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878, and also used it during the First World War. The red crescent continues to be used by Muslim states in place of the red cross, in order to avoid using the Christian symbol. The associations that had assumed the voluntary, and most importantly unpaid, task of caring for the wounded in war, as well as preparing for that activity in peacetime, w…

Antisemitism

(880 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Antisemitism The First World War constituted a sharp turning point in the history of Antisemitism. It brought the radicalization of anti-Jewish stereotypes and gave rise to ideologies demanding the exclusion of Jews from what was perceived to be a völkisch (i.e. racially homogenous) German nation. The Burgfrieden (literally Fortress Truce: an agreement among political parties not to criticize the government or the war effort) declared by the Kaiser on August 4, 1914, was soon revealed to be no more than a “fair-weather” concept. In the very…

Greece

(1,698 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Greece While the real tragedy of the World War played out on Europe’s theaters of war, Greece remained neutral until 1917. This neutrality was above all benevolent toward the Central Powers – at least, as far as the head of state, King Constantine, was concerned. Since the monarch admired his brother-in-law Kaiser Wilhelm II as the personification of the German martial spirit, he refused to march off to war against the Central Powers. Thereupon, Greek Premier Eleftherios Venizelos advocated stron…

Reweaving the Urban Fabric: Multiethnicity and Occupation in Łodź, 1914–1918

(96 words)

Author(s): Hofmann, Andreas R.
Hofmann, Andreas R. - Reweaving the Urban Fabric: Multiethnicity and Occupation in Łodź, 1914–1918 Keywords: Poland | Russian Front | Economy | Society | Home fronts | Germany | Politics ‛Endangered Cities’ Marcus Funck and Roger Chickering, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2004 e-ISBN: 9789047409812 DOI: 10.1163/9789047409812.006 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Hofmann, Andreas R.

War Credits

(773 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Credits War credits were one of the crucial means of financing the war. They were raised in various forms, by various methods, and in various amounts, by all belligerent nations at home and sometimes abroad. War credits were necessary because some elements of normal state receipts fell drastically upon the outbreak of war, while the financial burden abruptly multiplied. War credits were raised at home in the form of short- or long-term government bonds, or by increasing the amount of paper cur…
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