Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Subject: History

Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is an online resource that contains over 700 encyclopedia entries plus 250 peer-reviewed articles of transnational and global historical perspectives on significant topics of World War I. This collection includes Brill’s Encyclopedia of the First World War, an unrivalled reference work that showcases the knowledge of experts from 15 countries and offers 26 additional essays on the major belligerents, wartime society and culture, diplomatic and military events, and the historiography of the Great War.

The 250 articles address not only the key issues from political, historical and cultural perspectives, but also engages with aspects of the war which have remained underexplored such as the neutrals, the role of women before, during and after the war, and memory. The chapters have been drawn from a select number of Brill publications that have been published in the last 15 years. Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is a unique digital library that will allow researchers to discover new perspectives and connections with the enhanced navigational tools provided.

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Cadorna, Count Luigi

(286 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Cadorna, Count Luigi (September 4, 1850, Pallanza, now part of Verbania – December 23, 1928, Bordighera), Italian general and chief of staff. The son of a prominent general, Cadorna joined the cadet corps at the age of ten. A lieutenant in 1870, he rose to major-general in 1898, lieutenant-general in 1905. In 1909 he was given command of the army corps at Genoa, and in 1914 Cadorna received the appointment to serve as chief of staff, succeeding the late Alberto Pollio. Cadorna used the ten-month period of Italian ne…

Caillaux, Joseph

(565 words)

Author(s): Allain, Jean-Claude
Caillaux, Joseph (March 30, 1863, Le Mans – November 22, 1944, Mamers, département Sarthe), French politician. The eldest son of a former minister of the Conservative Republic, or…

Cambrai

(605 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Cambrai City in the north of France on the canalized River Scheldt (L’Escaut). The “Tank Battle of Cambrai” in November of 1917 saw the first operational massed deployment of British tank forces – a veritable revolution on the battlefield. On November 20, after only a brief burst of fire and without the normal artillery preparation lasting several days, the newly-created British Tank Corps breached the German Hindenburg Line near Havrincourt. The 400 tracked vehicles were supported by six infantry and three …

Camouflage

(373 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Camouflage Measures undertaken to prevent, or at least to hamper the detection and identification of targets by merging their visual appearance as closely as possible with the surrounding terrain. With the rapid development of aerial reconnaissance during the First World War the use of camouflage came to be of vital importance. Key weapons systems and facilities whose loss would cripple the army, such as heavy artillery and supply depots, needed to be hidden from enemy air and artillery bombardment. Thus, efforts were made …

Canada

(1,457 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, Martin
Canada Canada was ill prepared for war in August 1914. The affluent were enjoying the August 1–3 civic holiday at their country houses. The less affluent were suffering from the effects of the worst economic depression since the early 1890s. Only the energetic but unpredictable Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes was enthused by the prospect of war. His only concern was that the British might miss the opportunity. Under his command, some 55,000 militiamen and 44,000 cadets were trained in 1913. These men would comprise the bulk of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). At first re…

Capelle, Eduard von

(329 words)

Author(s): Krüger, Friederike
Capelle, Eduard von (October 10, 1855, Celle – February 23, 1931, Wiesbaden), German admiral. Capelle joined the navy as an officer cadet at the age of 16. He subsequently served on several vessels before transferring to the military department of the Reichsmarineamt (Imperial Naval Office), where from 1897 he was engaged in drafting involved in drafting the various so-called Naval Laws and their amendments. Before long he advanced to become one of the closest collaborators of the secretary of stat…

Caporetto

(993 words)

Author(s): Massignani, Alessandro
Caporetto Town on the Isonzo River (modern Kobarid, Slovenia). During the battle fought in the Julian Alps from October 24 to November 9, 1917, Austro-Hungarian and German forces brought about the collapse of the Italian Front on the upper Isonzo and forced the Italians to retreat behind the Piave River. The Battle of Caporetto is also known as the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo. In August/September of 1917 the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo and the capture of the Bainsizza Plateau by the Italian Second Army plunged the Austro-Hungarian forces into a profound c…

Caritas Association

(522 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Caritas Association In 1897 the various charitable services of the Catholic Church were gathered in the newly formed Caritas Association for Catholic Germany (since 1921: German Caritas Association). The principal purpose of the association was peacetime welfare work founded on Christian principles. During World War I the Caritas Association cared primarily for German prisoners of war and returning former prisoners. In cooperation with the Prussian War Ministry steps were taken to ensure that in the transit camps for returning prisoners…

Carol I, King of Romania

(296 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Carol I, King of Romania (April 20, 1839, Sigmaringen – October 10, 1914, Peleş Castle near Sinaia), born Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrin of Hohenzollern, Prince of Romania (1866–1881), from 1881 King of Romania. After Alexandru Cuza, the first ruler of the Romanian state created from the united principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, was deposed in April 1866, the Romanian Parliament elected Carol, a member of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, as the new head of state. Despite the initial skepticism of Austria in particul…

Carpathians

(916 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Carpathians A mountain range between Hungary and Galicia, the site of several battles from January to April 1915. The Austro-Hungarian general staff was quite aware of the Carpathians’ strategic importance. The Austro-Hungarian troops in Galicia, which were enclosed on all sides, were left with little possibility of evading attack due to the mountain range, while the enemy was at all cost to be prevented from overcoming it. Large parts of the Carpathians also placed mountain-trained or specially …

Carson, Sir Edward Henry

(338 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Carson, Sir Edward Henry (February 9, 1854, Dublin – October 22, 1935; from 1921 Baron Carson of Duncairn), Minster (Kent), Anglo-Irish politician (British First Lord of the Admiralty). As a Protestant, Carson was a lifelong committed advocate of the union of Ireland with Great Britain. He began his career as a barrister, and eventually became a leading English Conservative politician. Carson led the Unionists in the north of Ireland during the Ireland Crisis of 1912, supporting their threat to oppo…

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 …

Castelnau, Noël Marie Joseph Édouard,Vicomte de Curières de

(263 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Castelnau, Noël Marie Joseph Édouard,Vicomte de Curières de (December 24, 1851, Saint-Affrique, départe-ment Aveyron – March 19, 1944, Montastruc-la-Conseillère, département Haute-Garonne), French general. After taking part in the Franco-German War of 1870–1871 and studying at the École Supérieure de Guerre, Castelnau joined the French General Staff, where he became one of the leading figures behind the development of the offensive 1914 mobilization plan known as Plan VXII. Castelnau was a member of the…

Catholicism

(584 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Catholicism A view and attitude influenced by the Catholic Church and oriented to it, but not to be unconditionally equated with the Catholic Church as an institution. Within the German Reich before 1914 the Catholic Church, with just 40% of all Christian believers, constituted a political minority within the society of the Reich and was especially influential in the Center Party. The World War threw Catholicism in the warring European states into an insoluble dilemma. On the one hand, the Catholic Church maintained its claim to universalism. It was long …

Caucasian Front

(1,438 words)

Author(s): Cem Oguz, C.
Caucasian Front Between 1914 and 1918 the Ottoman Empire fought on more than half a dozen fronts that were spread out over a vast geographical area, but the Caucasian Front was given high priority in the plans of the Minister of War Enver Pasha – as indicated by the fact that he increased the number of troops in the region at the beginning of the war and placed himself in command of the Ottoman Third Army in eastern Anatolia. Contrary to the original plan, the Third Army received reinforcements fr…

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…

Cavell, Edith Louisa

(464 words)

Author(s): Winter, Jay
Cavell, Edith Louisa (December 4, 1865, Swardeston [Norfolk] – October 12, 1915, Brussels [executed]), British nurse. Cavell directed the nurses’ school ( École Belge d’Infirmières Diplomées) at Berkendael on the edge of Brussels from 1907 to 1915. In the autumn of 1914 she met Herman Capiau, a Belgian engineer engaged in aiding the escape of Allied soldiers caught behind the German lines after the fall of Mons. Capiau asked her to take in two British soldiers who had disguised themselves as Belgian workers. These two w…

Cecil (of Chelwood), Edgar Algernon Robert

(318 words)

Author(s): Winter, Jay
Cecil (of Chelwood), Edgar Algernon Robert (September 14, 1864, London – November 24, 1958, Tunbridge Wells; from 1923 First Viscount), British politician. Cecil was one of the architects and longstanding champions of the League of Nations. After training as a lawyer, he began his political career in 1906 as Conservative Member of Parliament for East Marylebone. At the outbreak of the First World War he first became involved with the Red Cross. He became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Fore…

Censorship

(739 words)

Author(s): Albes, Jens
Censorship At every juncture during the First World War, each participating power did its utmost, by means of considerable measures of censorship, to create a united front of opinion that would identify as much as possible with the national political and military leadership. Such suppression of undesired information was the reverse aspect of the propaganda by which all the combatant states sought to influence in their favor both their own population and the populations of friendly and opposing countries. The Prussian State of Siege Law ( Gesetz über den Belagerungszustand) of June 4…

Central Office for Public Information

(370 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Central Office for Public Information A public opinion bureau conceived in March 1918 under the aegis of the Foreign Office, to be officially free from military oversight. Initially established in October 1918 as the Zentrale für Heimatdienst (Central Office for Homeland Service) under State Secretary Erzberger, it was renamed the Reichszentrale für Heimatdienst in November 1919. The establishment of the Central Office indicates the growing opposition among the German Supreme Army Command, the Kaiser, and the civilian Reich leadership. Politician…
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