Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Pétain, Henri Philippe

(572 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Pétain, Henri Philippe (April 24, 1856, Cauchy-à-la-Tour [Département Pas-de-Calais] – July 23, 1951, Port-Joinville [L’Île d’Yeu]), French marshal. Pétain graduated from the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint- Cyr (Specialized Military School of St. Cyr) in 1876. In 1914, he actually was a colonel facing the end of his career as a professional soldier. Moreover, his defensive orientation was not well suited to the then-prevailing offensive doctrine. Nevertheless he was swiftly promoted upon the outbreak of war. By August …

Beneš, Edvard

(414 words)

Author(s): Hadler, Frank
Beneš, Edvard (May 28, 1884, Kožlany, Bohemia – September 3, 1948, Sezimovo Ústí, South Bohemian Region), Czechoslovak politician. Beneš was his country’s first minister of foreign affairs (1918–1935). In 1921–1922 he simultaneously held the office of prime minister before succeeding Tomáš Masaryk as president (1935–1938). From 1940 he headed the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London and finally became president of Czechoslovakia following the renewal of the country in the wake of World War I…

Japan as a Distant Friend: Scandinavian Countries Adjusting to Japan’s Emergence as a Great Power

(8,696 words)

Author(s): Edström, Bert
Edström, Bert - Japan as a Distant Friend: Scandinavian Countries Adjusting to Japan’s Emergence as a Great Power ISFWWS-Keywords: International Relations during the War | Asia | Scandinavia | Politics | Economy 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_012 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Edström, Bert

Jewish Census

(637 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Jewish Census A census of Jews in the German field forces, rear area, and army of occupation, including those rejected as unfit for service and those whose service had been deferred, ordered by Prussian War Minister Wild von Hohenborn in October 1916, and implemented on November 1, 1916. Owing to missing military documents, the administrative prehistory of the Jewish Census is largely unknown. It occurred at a time when the military position for Germany was characterized by a high casualty rate, fading prospects of victory, and a dire supply …

Small Nations under the Gun. Europe 1914–1940

(8,320 words)

Author(s): Murray, W.
Murray, W. - Small Nations under the Gun. Europe 1914–1940 Keywords: Europe | first world war | small nations ISFWWS-Keywords: Neutral States | General | Politics | Legacy Abstract: In the fifth century B.C. the greatest strategic historian of war recorded a conversation between Athenian negotiators and those of the island city state of Melos. Quite simply on the great stage of world politics, the United States and its Western allies were not going to risk a global conflict over the fate of Poland. This…

Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of

(1,047 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is the peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Soviet Russia. After the October Revolution, the fact that the Bolsheviks had included a call for an immediate end to the war in their October Manifesto introduced the prospect of concluding a separate peace with the Central Powers. Already on November 8, 1917, one day after the fall of the Provisional Government, the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets rejected Lenin’s Decree on Peace, his proposal for an immediate “peace witho…

New Jerusalems: Sacrifice and Redemption in the War Experiences of English and German Military Chaplains

(12,828 words)

Author(s): Porter, Patrick
Porter, Patrick - New Jerusalems: Sacrifice and Redemption in the War Experiences of English and German Military Chaplains Keywords: Religion | Culture | Legacy | Politics | Germany | Britain | Society | Home fronts ‛Warfare and Belligerence’ Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2005 e-ISBN: 9789047407362 DOI: 10.1163/9789047407362.005 © 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Porter, Patrick

Dmowski, Roman

(258 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Dmowski, Roman (August 9, 1864, Kamionek [near Warsaw] – January 2, 1939, Drozdowo [near Łomża]), Polish politician and commentator. As leader of the right-leaning National Democratic Party ( Narodowa Demokracja – ND) and member of the Russian Duma, Dmowski advocated a future Poland as a centralist-democratic national state, occupying large parts of the German Reich, and with close ties to a liberal-democratic Russia. He combined his commitment to the creation of a Polish state with a decidedly anti-German position (“Piasti…

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich

(600 words)

Author(s): Brand, Bettina
Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich (Real name V.I. Ulyanov; April 22, 1870, Simbirsk [from 1924 Ulyanovsk] – January 21, 1924, Gorki [near Moscow]), Russian revolutionary and politician. Lenin was born into an upper class family. A critical youthful influence was the conviction and execution in 1887 of his older brother Alexander, who had taken part in an assassination attempt against the Tsar. Lenin qualified to practice as a lawyer after studying law at the University of Kazan. In 1893 he moved to Saint Pete…

Berchtold, Leopold Count

(508 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Berchtold, Leopold Count (April 18, 1863, Vienna – November 21, 1942, Pereznye Castle near Ödenburg, modern Sopron, Hungary), Austro-Hungarian politician. Berchtold joined the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service in 1893 and served as the Dual Monarchy’s ambassador in Saint Petersburg from 1906 until 1911. In February of 1912 he took office as Foreign Minister, and in the autumn the First Balkan War presented him with a sudden, massive threat to Austria-Hungary’s position of power in the region. Ber…

Fraternizing

(470 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Fraternizing Spontaneous and unauthorized ending of fighting and leaving one’s own position with a view to making direct contact with enemy soldiers. Precise details of the extent of fraternizing are, of course, not available. The available sources, however, show clearly that the center of these events is to be found in those sectors of the Western Front in which German and British soldiers faced one another. Individual acts of camaraderie at Christmas, and informal truces, were also reported from German-French sectors and from the Eastern Front. The most spectacular case of frat…

Stürmer, Boris Vladimirovich

(315 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Mechthild
Stürmer, Boris Vladimirovich ( July 27, 1848, Bezhetsk – September 2, 1917, Petrograd), Russian politician (prime minister). Stürmer entered state service in 1872; he served in the Tsarist Council of Ministers, in the Ministry of the Interior, and as governor of Novgorod and then Yaroslavl. He became a member of the Imperial Council in 1904. On February 2, 1916, on the recommendation of the Tsarina and probably also Rasputin, the Tsar appointed him president of the Ministerial Council. Stürmer saw …

Freikorps (Free Corps)

(1,196 words)

Author(s): Ziemann, Benjamin
Freikorps (Free Corps) Generally, the term Freikorps (literally free corps) denotes military formations manned by volunteers. More specifically it refers to those units which were formed in Germany between 1918 and 1921 with the aim of conducting counter-revolutionary operations and to protect Germany’s eastern border against Poland and Bolshevik Russia ( Grenzschutz Ost). When the German Army marched home in November 1918 it literally fell apart as it reached the homeland, with units simply disbanding themselves and going home. At the same time, …

Tisza, Count István

(301 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Tisza, Count István (April 22, 1861, Pest [today Budapest] – October 31, 1918, Budapest [assassinated]), Hungarian statesman (prime minister). Tisza had already become a special confidant of the emperor and king of Hungary Franz Joseph during his first term of office as prime minister of the Hungarian Kingdom (1903–1905). He was not only a convinced supporter of the alliance with Germany, but also opposed the currents within Hungary that wished to dissolve the political union with the Dual Monarchy…

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…

Netherlands

(1,981 words)

Author(s): Blom, J.C.H.
Netherlands On the eve of the World War, the Netherlands held the same neutral stand regarding international relations as it had for the preceding three-quarters of a century. The Netherlands thus stood apart from the international alliances. This decision rested as much upon the safeguarding of Netherlands’s economic and military-political interests, as it did upon considerations of civil rights and ethics. The deciding question, however, was whether the Great Powers would respect Netherlands’s …

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…

Alsace-Lorraine

(1,831 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Alsace-Lorraine As a Reichsland, part of the German Reich from 1871. The desire on the part of France to exact revenge for defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/1871, and reverse the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the newly founded German Reich under the terms of the Frankfurt Peace Treaty, has often been regarded, particularly by the Germans, as an important causal factor in respect of the origins of the First World War. In the light of recent research, however, this conception must now be seen as o…

Hitler, Adolf

(814 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Hitler, Adolf (April 20, 1889, Braunau am Inn, Austria – April 30, 1945, Berlin [suicide]), soldier, private first class, subsequently German politician (1933–1945 Reich chancellor). By Hitler’s own account, the First World War was for him “the most unforgettable and greatest period of my life on this earth” ( Mein Kampf, 1925). Even during the Second World War, he repeatedly reminded those around him of his time as a soldier from 1914 to 1918, “when nothing troubled me”; he had “passionately enjoyed being a soldier” ( Monologe im Führerhauptquartier, 1941). Living as an artist in Mu…

‘Too Good to be True?’ European Hopes for Neutrality before 1914

(13,370 words)

Author(s): Abbenhuis, M. M.
Abbenhuis, M. M. - ‘Too Good to be True?’ European Hopes for Neutrality before 1914 Keywords: Congress of Vienna | European | neutrality | state behaviour ISFWWS-Keywords: Neutral States | Origins and Pre-war | Politics | Scandinavia Abstract: This chapter argues that judging neutrality as a naïve and fl awed foreign policy option in the context of the two world wars misses the point about the relevance of neutrality in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. Within the international system created and sustai…
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