Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Film, The First World War in

(1,429 words)

Author(s): Chambers II, John W. | Rother, Rainer
Film, The First World War in ISFWWS-Keywords: Australia | Britain | Canada | Culture | France | Germany | Italy | Russia | The United States of America First published in: Brill's Encyclopedia of the First World War, Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich, Irina Renz, Markus Pöhlmann and James S. Corum, Leiden (2012) Documentaries and feature films, 1914–1943 (a selection) 1914–1918 England Expects (G.L. Tucker, Great Britain, 1914) The German Spy Peril (W. Barker, Great Britain, 1914) The Great European War (G. Pearson & G.B. Samuelson, Great Britain, 1914) It’s a Long Way to Tipperary…

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…

Ideas of 1914

(1,265 words)

Author(s): Verhey, Jeffrey
Ideas of 1914 The concept “Ideas of 1914” alludes to two different, yet related phenomena. The first meaning refers to all discursive reflections that were formulated and published by intellectuals in 1914, to all attempts to interpret the significance of the war. The second has to do with a particular category of “ideas” which the contemporaries subsumed under the notion “Ideas of 1914.” At the beginning of the war, the vast majority of German intellectuals were united in their almost unconditional support of the German war effort, which they attempted to …

Battlefield Tourism

(601 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Battlefield Tourism This term covers visits both to former war locations and landscapes and to military cemeteries of the First World War. The majority of “battlefield tourists” during the 1920s and 1930s were relatives of the fallen. Every French citizen, for example, received a free railway pass every year to visit the military cemeteries. The English travel bureau Thomas Cook specialized in accompanying British visitors to the cemeteries and memorials in Belgium and France, which had begun to be constructed soon a…

From Alliance to Conference: The British Empire, Japan and Pacific Multilateralism, 1911–1921

(8,446 words)

Author(s): Meehan, John D.
Meehan, John D. - From Alliance to Conference: The British Empire, Japan and Pacific Multilateralism, 1911–1921 ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | The French and British Empires | Naval Warfare | International Relations during the War | Australia | New Zealand | Canada | The United States of America 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_004 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Meehan, John D.

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…

North Africa

(2,498 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
North Africa Geographical area stretching from the Atlantic coast of present-day Morocco in the west to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. The territories in question experienced various phases of political and military subjugation by the European colonial powers before the outbreak of the First World War. The North African territories were subject to differing external and internal political arrangements, and were then administered under direct and indirect forms of rule. France claimed formal sovereignty in Al…

Fisher, John Arbuthnot

(493 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Fisher, John Arbuthnot (January 25, 1841, Ramboda [Ceylon] – July 10, 1920, London; from 1908 Baron Fisher of Kilberstone), British admiral. Fisher joined the Royal Navy in 1854, and, after a variety of seagoing posts, began a 14-year period of service on land in 1882. In 1899 he represented England at the First Hague Peace Conference. He was subsequently entrusted with the command of the Mediterranean Fleet. As Second Sea Lord (1901), Fisher undertook an intensive remodeling of the personnel struc…

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…

The Old Front Line: Returning to the Battlefields in the Writings of Ex-Servicemen

(8,979 words)

Author(s): Pegum, John
Pegum, John - The Old Front Line: Returning to the Battlefields in the Writings of Ex-Servicemen Keywords: battlefield | British women | ex-servicemen | old front lines | old Western Front | soldiers | The Daily Telegraph ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Western Front | Published memoirs and biographies | Experience of combat | Culture | Literature | Australia | Intellectuals and the War Abstract: The old battlefield is imagined as a mute witness to the horrors and traumas of the war which can nonetheless impart its profound and tragic lesson to those …

Film (Post-1918)

(1,028 words)

Author(s): Rother, Rainer
Film (Post-1918) Compared with the largely propagandistic style of films before 1918, postwar films reflected the immense destruction and cost of the war by making a different choice of material and narrative method. With the exception of a boom in explicitly anti-German films in the United States, which lasted a considerable time beyond the Armistice (the most significant of these is probably The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Rex Ingram, 1921), film transferred its main attention to experiences of loss, sorrow, and death. J’accuse (Abel Gance, France, 1919), with its pacifi…

Ottoman Empire

(2,352 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, Erik-Jan
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers in November 1914. The real decision to take this step was not made by the cabinet, but by an inner circle of Young Turk politicians on October 25. Two days later, on the orders of minister of war Enver Pasha, a Turkish naval force under the command of the German Admiral Souchon attacked the Russian Black Sea Fleet in its bases. The Turks later sought to justify this unprovoked attack by claiming that th…

Home Front

(853 words)

Author(s): Baumeister, Martin
Home Front In today’s usage in English and German (German Heimatfront), in terms of the geography of the First World War, the term signifies the home territory, defined essentially as the civilian sphere, as opposed to the battle zone and in particular the military front. Used in this sense, with the rise since the 1970s of the social and economic history of war as a subject of study, and also the growing significance of approaches based on sexual and cultural history, it has achieved broad currency in th…

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…

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…

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…

Richthofen, Manfred Baron von

(440 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Wolfgang
Richthofen, Manfred Baron von (May 2, 1892, Breslau – April 21, 1918, Vaux-sur-Somme near Amiens [killed in action]), German fighter pilot. Richthofen joined a Prussian Ulan regiment in 1911 after graduating from the cadet corps. He undertook patrol duties in 1914 and after the cavalry was in part transferred to the infantry in 1915, signed up to the Imperial Air Service. He was initially an observer, then a reconnaissance and bomber pilot. Between 1916 and April 1918, when he was shot down at Vaux-…

Internment

(1,392 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Internment During the World War, the notion of internment referred both to the sheltering of sick or invalid war prisoners in neutral states and to coercive measures against so-called enemy aliens. This conceptual ambiguity resulted from the fact that the large-scale repressive measures carried out against the civilian citizens of enemy countries were a relatively recent phenomenon. The reason for this was a fundamental redefinition of the “enemy” that went far beyond any military conception. As …

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…

Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of

(791 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of The word Opfer (‘victim’) has two different connotations in the German language. One can make an Opfer, a ‘sacrificial offering,’ by sacrificing a victim to the gods, and in extreme cases a human being can offer himself in sacrifice. In its other connotation, a person can become the passive victim or ‘target’ of fate, whether from decisions made by others or from unknown circumstances. In both connotations the word has been extensively used in the literature and public debates on the World War. This suggests that the word…
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