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Somme

(2,475 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Somme River in northern France. The battle that took place between July 1 and November 25, 1916, in the French region of Picardy was the largest Franco-British offensive of that year. It was also the first major offensive of the British volunteer army (Kitchener’s Army) and the first battle in which tanks were used. In early December 1915, at a conference held in Chantilly, the representatives of the Allied Powers agreed to launch a general offensive in the following year. This coordinated action was meant to deprive the Central Powers of the abili…

Raps across the Knuckles: The Extension of War Culture by Radical Nationalist Women Journalists in Post-1918 Germany

(8,310 words)

Author(s): Streubel, Christiane
Streubel, Christiane - Raps across the Knuckles: The Extension of War Culture by Radical Nationalist Women Journalists in Post-1918 Germany Keywords: culture of war | Der Tag | Deutsche Zeitung | German Right | Radical Nationalist Women Journalists ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | Politics | Legacy | Society | Literature | Masculinity | Gender | Culture Abstract: This chapter explores the role of radical nationalist women journalists in rebuilding the nation after defeat and in contesting Germany's redrawn national boundaries by analysing two i…

Brittain, Vera

(232 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Brittain, Vera (December 29, 1893, Newcastle-under-Lyme – March 29, 1970, London), English writer. Brittain became particularly well-known through her memoir Testament of Youth (1933), which was based on her correspondence with her younger brother Edward, her fiancé Roland Leighton and other friends, as well as her own diaries from the time of the First World War. Already a student at Somerville College (Oxford) at the beginning of the war, she decided to go to France, Malta, and London first to work as a Voluntary A…

War Poetry

(1,081 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
War Poetry Prophecies of a coming war had been a theme in German poetry since the beginning of the century. Expressionist poets conjured up the war in apocalyptic images that alternated between the fear of its violence and a yearning for its purifying and regenerative power. Feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction over a long and “foul” peace gave rise to fantasies of war in the sense of a longed-for renewal, often expressed through theological formulations such as J…

Entente Cordiale

(491 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Entente Cordiale Cordial understanding. Agreement of April 8, 1904, between Great Britain and France, settling a number of colonial differences. The Entente cordiale represented the culmination of the policy of French Foreign Minister Delcassé. He saw an understanding with Great Britain as the best means to make France secure against the German Reich. For such an understanding to come about, the antagonism between France and Britain outside Europe had to be overcome. The confrontation at Fashoda in the Sudan in 1898 …

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 …

Michael Offensive

(1,595 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, Martin
Michael Offensive Official title for the German offensive conducted in March 1918, also called the Great Battle in France. Plans for the offensive had begun in October 1917, with the recommendations of Von Ludendorff ’s newly appointed operations chief Major Wetzell. The new chief called for a series of exploratory attacks in Flanders. These attacks were intended to discover any weaknesses in the British defenses, as suitable sites for a major offensive. Army Group Crown Prince was deployed in the terrain between…

Shrapnel

(344 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Shrapnel Artillery projectile for anti-personnel purposes, introduced in the 19th century. At the outbreak of the First World War shrapnel was the principal type of ammunition employed by the field artillery of all the combatant nations. Designed to scatter its contents in mid-air, a shrapnel shell can be imagined as a kind of “flying shotgun.” A time fuse caused the shell to burst at a certain distance from its intended target. The explosive charge was most often built into the bottom of the pro…

March, Peyton Conway

(449 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis E.
March, Peyton Conway (December 27, 1864, Easton PA – April 13, 1955, Washington DC), United States Army chief of staff. March was a talented and ambitious artillery specialist. Owing to his many and varied battlefield and staff postings, he was preceded by an outstanding reputation. The commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), General Pershing, accordingly chose him in 1917 to command first a brigade of artillery, and then all the AEF’s artillery. March was seen as overbearing …

Weddigen, Otto

(337 words)

Author(s): Epkenhans, Michael
Weddigen, Otto (September 15, 1882, Herford – March 18, 1915, in the North Sea), German U-boat commander. If not a particularly successful U-boat captain, Weddigen was at least the best known. A naval officer since 1901, Weddigen returned from duty with the German East Asia Squadron in fall 1908 for assignment to the U-boat service. In 1911 he became commander of one of the first U-boats, U-9. On September 22, 1914, under Weddigen’s command, U-9 sank three aging armored cruisers, the Aboukir, the Cressy, and the Hogue, in an operation against British troop transports in the shipp…

Hood, Sir Horace

(385 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Hood, Sir Horace (October 2, 1870, Tunbridge Wells – May 31, 1916, off the Skagerrak), British admiral. Hood entered the Royal Navy as a sea cadet in 1882. He took part in various imperial military operations: in 1897 on board a gunboat on the Nile, in the Boer War of 1898–1900, and in 1904 against the Dervishes in Somalia. Between 1910 and 1913 he commanded the Royal Naval College at Osborne. He then became captain of HMS Centurion, and in June 1914 Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. In October 1914 Hood took command of a flotilla of …

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…

Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von

(1,133 words)

Author(s): Tiefel, Marcus A.
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von (November 29, 1856, Hohenfinow near Eberswalde – January 2, 1921, Hohenfinow), German politician (chancellor). After studying law in Strasbourg, Leipzig and Berlin, Bethmann passed his Referendarexamen (first state examination required to enter the Prussian civil and administrative services) in 1879. For ten years, from 1886 to 1896, he held the office of Landrat (chief administrator) in his home district of Oberbarnim. Promoted to the position of Oberpräsidialrat (dep…

Espionage

(613 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Espionage Clandestine gathering of information about the military opponent, usually through agents acting on behalf of intelligence services. In times of war espionage is regulated under international law. Articles 29 and 30 of the Annex to the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907) recognized espionage as a legitimate means of warfare and required that a spy caught in the act must not be punished without a proper trial. In World War I the intelligence services of all belligerent nations recruited agents for o…

Spartakus League

(540 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walther
Spartakus League The most important radical left group in the SPD, so called from its Politische Briefe (“Political Letters”), signed “Spartakus,” illegally distributed from 1916. These decisively rejected the Burgfrieden policy adopted by the majority of the Social Democratic Party. Leading figures in the Spartakus Group (later League) were Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Clara Zetkin, Julian Marschlewski, and Käte and Hermann Duncker. The group’s support came predominantly from the existing intellectual …

Verdun

(2,073 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Verdun A French fortress that was continually expanded since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871. With its 20 forts and 40 intermediate redoubts, Verdun was without any doubt the strongest defense work in France. The principal forts in the vicinity of Verdun included Douaumont, Vaux, Souville, and Tavannes. Verdun was considered to be practically impregnable. During the German advance of August 1914, the German Fifth Army (under Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia) operated in the sector before Verd…

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…

Chemin des Dames

(350 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Chemin des Dames A prominent ridge running north of the River Aisne between Vailly and Craonne (département Aisne) with a paved promenade dating from the 18th century. German troops held the Chemin des Dames since the start of trench warfare and had taken up defensive positions along the steep slopes and in the numerous caves underlying the ridge. It was not until the Nivelle Offensive was launched in 1917 that the Chemin des Dames became a military focal point. From the middle of April the French Sixth Army commanded by …

Bissing, Baron Moritz Ferdinand von

(475 words)

Author(s): Gerhards, Thomas
Bissing, Baron Moritz Ferdinand von ( January 30, 1844, Bellmannsdorf, Silesia – April 18, 1917, Trois Fontaines, Belgium), German general. The son of a Prussian chamberlain and estate holder from a Saxon noble family Bissing chose a military career early, serving as an officer in the wars of 1866 and 1870–1871. In 1887 he became adjutant to Crown Prince Wilhelm, and after the latter’s accession to the Imperial throne in 1888, was named the emperor’s aide-de-camp. It was this appointment which laid t…

Naval Warfare

(2,850 words)

Author(s): Salewski, Michael
Naval Warfare In all theoretical discussions of a future war the war at sea was expected to play a major, if not the decisive role. For this reason all leading industrial nations had from the early 1890s onward been building massive, homogenous battle fleets. The “naval race” played a central role in souring Anglo-German relations during Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz’ tenure as the German Naval Secretary. The fledgling détente in the maritime sector, which was noticeable two years prior to the outbreak of the war, came …
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