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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…

Birdwood, Lord William Riddell

(457 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Birdwood, Lord William Riddell (September 13, 1865, Khadki, India – May 17, 1951, London; from 1919 First Baron Birdwood of Anzac and Totnes), British field marshal. After his training with the Scots Fusiliers, in 1885 Birdwood served as an officer with the 12th Lancers before being transferred to the 11th Bengal Lancers at the end of 1886. He served on Kitchener’s staff during the Boer War and established a personal connection that would be an advantage to him in his career. He went to India as Kit…

Sexuality

(1,427 words)

Author(s): Sauerteig, Lutz
Sexuality The crisis-related effects of the World War also had consequences for the sexual life of human beings. The separation of (married and non-married) couples became a mass phenomenon of hitherto unknown extent. Extramarital sexuality and prostitution reached new dimensions. Even though the frequency with which soldiers sought extramarital contacts during the war cannot be assessed with precision, a number of indications suggest that soldiers no longer felt bound to middle-class sexual morals as a result of their direct experiencing of war and death. The debate over issue…

Gallipoli

(1,150 words)

Author(s): Prior, Robin | Wilson, Trevor
Gallipoli A peninsula bordering on the Dardanelles. The military conflict at Gallipoli was a direct consequence of the failed naval operation in the Dardanelles. The British leadership wished to make up for this reverse by conducting a landing operation on the northern Turkish coast. This was remarkable inasmuch as it had always argued in front of the War Council that the great advantage of the Dardanelles operation lay in the fact that it could easily be called off in the event of a failure. It …

Australian Prisoners of the Turks: Negotiating Culture Clash in Captivity

(8,635 words)

Author(s): Ariotti, Kate
Ariotti, Kate - Australian Prisoners of the Turks: Negotiating Culture Clash in Captivity ISFWWS-Keywords: Australia | Prisoners of War | The Ottoman Empire and the Middle East | Published memoirs and biographies | Masculinity | Medicine Other Fronts, Other Wars? Joachim Bürgschwentner, Matthias Egger and Gunda Barth-Scalmani , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004279513 DOI: 10.1163/9789004279513_008 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Ariotti, Kate

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…

Armed Forces (Dominions)

(3,147 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Armed Forces (Dominions) The settler colonies of the British Empire (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa) had already acquired the status of dominions prior to 1914, as part of a constitutional development towards full independence. Self-determination in domestic matters had already been granted to Canada in 1867, to Australia in 1901, to New Zealand in 1907, and to South Africa in 1910. The British declaration of war on Germany in 1914 was binding for all dominions, since London still…
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