Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und von

(1,692 words)

Author(s): Chickering, Roger
Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und von (October 2, 1847, Posen – August 2, 1934, Neudeck [West Prussia]), German field marshal (chief of the field army). Hindenburg’s military career began with his entry into the military academy at Wahlstatt in Silesia at the age of 12. He was a product of the army of King Wilhelm I of Prussia and his socialization and intellectual development took place within the narrow confines of that institution. Hindenburg’s political loyalties were unconditionally linked t…

Enver Pasha, Ismail

(471 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, Eric N.
Enver Pasha, Ismail (Ismail Enver Efendi; November 22, 1881, Constantinople – August 4, 1922, near Baljuvon [Tajikistan]), Ottoman general and politician (war minister). Enver Pasha’s family was from Macedonia. His father was a minor official. Enver attended various military academies and in 1902 graduated from the general staff academy in Constantinople. He was one of the initiators of the Young Turks’ coup in January 1913. He was finally appointed minister of war in January 1914, and in that posi…

Nationalities Question

(1,312 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Nationalities Question The nationalities question in Eastern and Southeastern Europe developed in the course of the 19th century from the greatly mixed population that inhabited Russia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Prussia in the German Reich, plus the newly independent states of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece – a great variety of nationalities, with their different languages, religions, cultures, and interests. Although the murder of the Austro-Hungarian he…

Looted Art

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Kott, Christina
Looted Art Originally a term for cultural assets taken away by the enemy in times of war, the looting of art today denotes an illegal act under international law that is perpetrated by belligerent powers and involves the theft of artistic and cultural items in the course of military operations or during occupation. The protection of cultural property had since the end of the 19th century, if not earlier, been one of the fundamental tenets of international law: in particular Article 56 of the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907) banned “[a]ll seizure of, …

War Aims

(1,667 words)

Author(s): Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
War Aims Prior to the outbreak of the war, none of the European Powers had pursued concrete territorial annexation aims that might have significantly influenced their decision to take up arms. Soon after the beginning of the war, however, the issue of war aims began to be debated in all countries, at first mostly behind closed doors. The British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was able to prevent a public discussion of British war aims. Great Britain was quite resolute in its demand that the ind…

Cavalry

(738 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Cavalry The combat arm of the land forces that fought primarily on horseback. The increased firepower of the infantry had since the middle of the 19th century forced the cavalry into playing a diminished supporting role in military campaigns. Paradoxically, the size of the cavalry forces maintained by the European Powers rose continually throughout the period. At the beginning of the 20th century, nearly all states uniformly modified the tactics and weapons of their mounted troops, creating a largely standar…

Eastern Command

(721 words)

Author(s): Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel
Eastern Command A military state established by German occupation forces under the auspices of General Erich Ludendorff in Russian Empire territory. Between 1915 and 1918, Eastern Command included what are now the countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Belarus. The full title of Eastern Command was “Supreme Command of All German Forces in the East,” entrusted since November 1914 to Field Marshal von Hindenburg. When Hindenburg and his Chief of Staff Ludendorff assumed command of the…

Guchkov, Alexander Ivanovich

(229 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Guchkov, Alexander Ivanovich (October 13/26, 1862, Moscow – February 14, 1936, Paris), Russian industrialist and politician. Guchkov came from a family of Moscow entrepreneurs. In November 1905, in the course of the first Russian Revolution, he was the founder and leader of the Union of the 17th October. In 1906 he became a member of the Imperial Council, in 1907 a member of the Imperial Duma, and its president in 1910–1911. From the end of 1906 Guchkov was the publisher of the Golos Moskvy ( Voice of Moscow) newspaper and from 1915 he was chairman of the Central War Industry Comm…

The Ukraine

(688 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Mechthild
The Ukraine Borderland at the edge of the steppes, north of the Black Sea and east of the Carpathian Mountains. Until the 17th century the Western Ukraine (Galicia) had belonged to the Polish crown; after 1772 it belonged to Austria. The Eastern Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire. The commencement of the war in 1914 made the Ukrainian Question into an international issue. However, it also placed the Ukraine between war fronts. On August 1, 1914, the All-Party Supreme Ukrainian Council pledged …

War Atrocities

(955 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
War Atrocities War atrocities may either be in direct violation of international law or contravene the generally accepted conventions of war, or else be conform to international law but nevertheless condemnable. The basic premise lies in the particular atrocity of the type of warfare or in the choice of victims. When defenseless people deliberately become the target of acts of war (civilians, shipwrecked persons, captured or wounded soldiers), the afflicted side perceives such acts as war atrociti…

Falkenhayn, Erich von

(1,204 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Falkenhayn, Erich von (September 11, 1861, Burg Belchau [Kreis Graudenz] – April 8, 1922, Schloss Lindstedt [near Potsdam]), German general and chief of the General Staff. Falkenhayn came from a West-Prussian “Junker” family with a strong military tradition. He entered the cadet corps at the early age of ten. He had a successful career as a young officer, and attended military academy. His life took an unusual turn when, in 1896, he took leave from the army and, for professional and financial reaso…

Kerensky, Alexander Fyodorvich

(522 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Kerensky, Alexander Fyodorvich (May 4, 1881, Simbirsk [Ulyanovsk] – June 11, 1970, New York), Russian politician (prime minister of the Provisional Government). The son of a headmaster, Kerensky studied law in St. Petersburg, and initially worked as a legal counsel before becoming politically active. Elected to the Fourth State Duma in 1912 as a representative of the socialist Trudoviki party, he was later to emerge as one of the Russian government’s severest critics. Kerensky was one of the central figures of the February Revolution. He belonged to the Executive Com…

From Cooperation to Conflict: Japanese-Russian Relations from the Formation of the Russo-Japanese Entente to the Siberian Intervention

(8,180 words)

Author(s): Chiba, Isao
Chiba, Isao - From Cooperation to Conflict: Japanese-Russian Relations from the Formation of the Russo-Japanese Entente to the Siberian Intervention ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Russia | Politics | Russian Front | International Relations during the War The Decade of the Great War Tosh Minohara , Tze-ki Hon and Evan Dawley , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004274273 DOI: 10.1163/9789004274273_008 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Chiba, Isao

Serbia

(1,820 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Serbia Established in 1882, the Southern Slavic Kingdom of Serbia was governed until 1914 by Petar I of Serbia (1844–1921), who an officers’ conspiracy had brought to power in 1903 and who was subsequently elected king by the Serbian National Assembly. Relying on the support of the Radical Party of Prime Minister Nikola Pašić (1846–1926), the king championed a Greater Serbian policy that was particularly directed against the interests of Austria-Hungary. In 1906, this policy led to a trade war, t…

Infantry Weaponry/Weapons

(3,025 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Infantry Weaponry/Weapons Weapons technology during the First World War was geared mainly to the ground war, drawn from traditional types of infantry and artillery weapons. At the beginning of the war, cavalry was still relatively important, though they no longer had a decisive function in battle. For equipment early in the war, troops relied upon firearms such as rifles, carbines, machine guns and pistols; cutting and thrusting blades including bayonets, sabers, and lances; and explosive devices …

August Experience

(1,226 words)

Author(s): Verhey, Jeffrey
August Experience Augusterlebnis (August Experience) was the contemporary German term for the patriotic enthusiasm among the German population at the outbreak of the war. The well-known images from the last weeks of July and from August of 1914 depict masses of people in the streets. The contemporary captions under the pictures suggest that these people were unanimously filled with “war enthusiasm.” The pictures are impressive but they do not tell the whole truth. In reality there was no near-ecst…

Paris Peace Conferences

(739 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Paris Peace Conferences In Paris between January 18 and June 28, 1919, peace conferences were held by the victorious powers of the First World War in order to make final decisions on a host of questions, and then to write them as regulations to which the signatories would be contractually obligated. Additionally the victorious powers would conclude so-called minority treaties with the allies of the German Empire after the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The Paris Peace Conferences were held in se…

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…

Gallwitz, Max von

(481 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Gallwitz, Max von (May 2, 1852, Breslau [modern Wrocław] – April 18, 1937, Naples), German general. The son of a sergeant, Gallwitz served as a volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War. He later made his career in the General Staff and in the Prussian War Ministry. He was appointed divisional commander in 1905, inspector of the field artillery in 1911, and raised to the nobility in 1913. Gallwitz was commander of the Guard Reserve Corps when the war broke out; one of his first tasks was the capture of the fortress of Namur. As early as August 1914, the corps was t…

Kessler, Harry Graf

(817 words)

Author(s): Riederer, Günter
Kessler, Harry Graf (May 5, 1868, Paris – November 30, 1937, Lyon), German author, journalist, politician and diplomat. Kessler spent his childhood and youth in France, Germany and England. After studying law in Bonn and Leipzig, he fulfilled his one-year military obligation serving with the 3rd Guard Uhlan Regiment in Potsdam. Kessler did not enter the diplomatic service as originally planned, owing to his developing talents and interests. He served instead as a patron of the arts, supporting arti…
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