Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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South Africa

(1,166 words)

Author(s): Nasson, Bill
South Africa The Union of South Africa came into being on May 31, 1910, with the coming into force of the South Africa Act, a common constitution for the British Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Natal, and Transvaal. Ruled by white settlers, the Union was granted the status of a self-governing dominion within Britain’s African Empire. South Africa was thus constitutionally bound to adhere to British foreign policy, including the event of a war. Although the question of the country’s joining the Fir…

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…

Colonial War

(1,529 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Colonial War The war against the German colonies of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, led by the forces of Japan, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and their respective colonies. The spread of the war to the colonies was undertaken by Great Britain and France, primarily for strategic reasons. By occupying the German colonies, their respective ports would be closed to the German navy. Also, the German worldwide communications network, which depended upon the wireless stations erected there, would be dis…

Colored Troops

(587 words)

Author(s): Koller, Christian
Colored Troops German war propaganda described the nonwhite colonial troops employed by the Entente Powers in the First World War in general terms as “colored auxiliaries.” The very use of such units in Europe caused a considerable sensation. All in all, some 485,000 nonwhite soldiers from the French colonies and 160,000 from the British colonies fought in the ranks of the Entente Powers in the European theater. Important contingents came from Algeria (173,000), India (153,000), French West Africa…

Rommel, Erwin

(313 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Rommel, Erwin (November 15, 1891, Heidenheim an der Brenz – October 14, 1944, Herrlingen [now Blaustein]; compelled suicide), German officer (after 1942, field marshal). The son of a gymnasium teacher, Rommel was commissioned a lieutenant and joined the 6th Württemberg Infantry Regiment. In 1914–1915 Rommel was decorated several times for personal valor. For his bravery in the storming of Monte Matajur on the Isonzo Front in 1917, Rommel received the highest German decoration for bravery, the order Pour la Mérite, and was promoted to captain. Accepted into the Reichswehr (regular ar…

Allenby, Edmund

(593 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Allenby, Edmund (April 23, 1861, Brackenhurst Hall, Nottinghamshire – May 14, 1936, London; from 1919, Viscount Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe), British field marshal. After completing his training at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, Allenby initially served with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons (1884–1888) in South Africa. He took part in the Boer War of 1899–1902 (5th Lancers). At the beginning of the World War, he was inspector general of the cavalry. Allenby was a man of powerful stature; both this and his violent temper earned him the nickname “The Bull…

The Impact of the East Africa Campaign, 1914–1918 On South Africa and Beyond

(6,645 words)

Author(s): Samson, Anne
Samson, Anne - The Impact of the East Africa Campaign, 1914–1918 On South Africa and Beyond Keywords: Africa | East Africa | The French and British Empires | Politics | Literature | Portugal | Legacy | India The World in World Wars Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber , Katharina Lange , Dyala Hamzah and Ravi Ahuja , (2010) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2010 e-ISBN: 9789004188471 DOI:10.1163/ej.9789004185456.i-618.118 © 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Samson, Anne

The Rhineland Horror Campaign and the Aftermath of War

(8,822 words)

Author(s): Kuhlman, Erika
Kuhlman, Erika - The Rhineland Horror Campaign and the Aftermath of War Keywords: Germany | Rhineland Horror campaign ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | French Army and its combattants | Africa | Violence against civilians | Gender | Politics | Culture | The United States of America Abstract: Beginning in April 1920, various German citizens' organisations, encouraged by their government, launched a campaign against France's stationing of colonial African soldiers in its zone of the German Rhineland. The goal of the drive - known as…

New Light on the East African Theater of the Great War: A Review Essay of English-Language Sources

(7,917 words)

Author(s): Vandervort, Bruce
Vandervort, Bruce - New Light on the East African Theater of the Great War: A Review Essay of English-Language Sources Keywords: East Africa | Military organisation of combat | Published memoirs and biographies | Literature | Africa | The French and British Empires | Germany | Legacy | India | Portugal | Belgium Abstract: The marine officers interest in the exploits of Colonel Lettow-Vorbeck reflects an earlier period, now superseded, at least as far as academic military history is concerned, in the historiography of the East Africa…

Australia

(2,831 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Australia Australia entered the First World War as a federal dominion of the British Empire (Commonwealth of Australia), having achieved that status in 1901. Although the Australian colonies had sent troops to the Boer War between 1899 and 1902, there was no military tradition in the sense of a high-echelon military leadership and administration and a defense policy, and precious little national experience of war. Yet, by the end of the First World War, almost seven Australian cavalry and infantr…

Smuts, Jan Christiaan

(365 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Smuts, Jan Christiaan (May 24, 1870, Bovenplaats [Cape Province] – September 11, 1950, Irene [near Pretoria]), South African general and politician. Born the son of a Boer farmer, Smuts became one of the most important politicians of South Africa. Between 1899 and 1902 he served as a Boer general in the Boer War against Great Britain. In 1907 he entered the cabinet of Louis Botha in the Transvaal and also worked under him in the government of the South African Union, founded in 1910. On the outbrea…

Protestantism

(641 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
Protestantism In the years before the outbreak of war, Anglo-Saxon Protestantism made repeated efforts to establish closer international relations with other churches. The World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches, financially supported by the American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, with Friedrich Siegmund Schultze as its German contact, had called its founding assembly in Constance for the 3rd and 4th August of 1914. However, as the war began all the churches qui…

September Program (Septemberprogramm)

(581 words)

Author(s): Roolf, Christoph
September Program ( Septemberprogramm) A four-page document issued by the Reich Chancellery in its final version on September 9, 1914, with the innocuous title of Vorläufige Richtlinien über unsere Politik bei Friedensschluß (Provisional Political Guidelines for when Peace is Concluded). The September Program bears the signature of Reich Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. It counts as the first, comprehensive war-objectives program of the German Reich leadership in the World War. It resulted from weeks of consultations by the Reich…

Suez Canal

(398 words)

Author(s): Mönch, Winfried
Suez Canal A ship canal in Egypt, running between Port Said in the north and Suez in the south. The Suez Canal links the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean, via the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea. The canal was the target of Ottoman/German offensives launched from the Sinai Peninsula in 1915 and 1916, and from the beginning of 1917 the starting point for British operations against Palestine. It was of great strategic importance to the British Empire, as it was the shortest route between Britain and its colonies in East Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. After the Ottoman Empire’s entry in…

Troop Strength

(1,120 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Troop Strength The initial numbers of soldiers mobilized for immediate wartime service. The peacetime strength of the individual armies before 1914 provided the foundation for troop strength in the war. A cadre of commanders for reserve units and an attachment of reservists for these troop units were included in their mobilization plans. This would make it possible to raise units to wartime strength once the mobilization was begun. The troop strengths planned in the event of war, and the troop str…

German East Africa

(848 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
German East Africa Situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, between Portuguese Mozambique to the south, British East Africa to the north, and the Belgian Congo to the west, German East Africa comprised the modern states of Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. Declared a territory of the German Reich in 1885, with 7.5 million inhabitants the country was the most populous German colony, and at 995,000 km2 also the largest. Some 5,300 Europeans lived in the colony in 1914. The British government decided to capture German East Africa as early as August 1914. As with t…

Wartime Coalitions

(2,117 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Wartime Coalitions Before the World War, the European system of states had become strongly polarized. On the one side stood the Central Powers, namely the Dual Alliance of German Reich and Austria-Hungary that had been formed in 1879 as well as the (independently concluded) Triple Alliance of German Reich, Austria-Hungary, and Italy; however, the latter country declared itself neutral at the beginning of the war. On the other side stood the Entente Powers, among which France and Russia had been bound by a military alliance since 1893/1894, while France and Great Bri…

Headquarters

(1,417 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Headquarters Command centers for the supreme military, sometimes also political, leadership set up in the field for the duration of the war. Composition, location, and function of such a headquarters depended on the constitutional position of the supreme military command of each belligerent and the demands of modern mass and coalition warfare. – By far the most comprehensive headquarters at the outbreak of the war was the German “Great Headquarters.” Aside from the German Emperor as the nominal c…

Introduction

(10,019 words)

Contributor(s): Liebau, Heike | Lange, Katharina | Bromber, Katrin | Ahuja, Ravi | Hamzah, Dyala
Liebau, Heike; Bromber, Katrin; Lange, Katharina; Hamzah, Dyala; Ahuja, Ravi - The World in World Wars Keywords:

Casement, Sir Roger

(326 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Casement, Sir Roger (September 1, 1864, Kingstown, now Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin – August 3, 1916, London [executed]), Irish nationalist. An Irish Protestant, Casement was a British diplomat, and served as consul in a number of African countries under European colonial rule, as well as in Brazil; he became famous for revealing the brutal behavior of the colonial rulers in the Congo Free State. At the same time, he identified increasingly with radical nationalist politics in Ireland. In July 1914 he went to the United States and worked for Clan na Gael, an Irish-American organization …
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