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Forced Labor

(1,842 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Forced Labor It is entirely possible to see the development of state-organized forced labor in Germany between 1914 and 1918 as a kind of “trial run” for the Second World War (Ulrich Herbert). It is necessary first of all to distinguish between legitimate military forms of forced labor (in accordance with the laws of war as they stood at the time, for prisoners of war) and forced labor for civilians. The latter affected many civilians forced to work in Germany, and transported to Germany in breach of international law for that purpose. The use of the labor of captured ordinary soldiers…

War Comes to the Fields: Sacrifice, Localism and Ploughing Up the English Countryside in 1917

(7,308 words)

Author(s): Grieves, Keith
Grieves, Keith - War Comes to the Fields: Sacrifice, Localism and Ploughing Up the English Countryside in 1917 Keywords: English countryside | food production | localism | ploughing ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Home fronts | Economy | Politics | The French and British Empires | Women and War | Children and War Abstract: In 1917 the British home front faced a test of endurance and its most obvious expression throughout the year was the food question. The strategic importance of food production in 1917 was accompanied by the clamour o…

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…

War Enthusiasm

(799 words)

Author(s): Ullrich, Volker
War Enthusiasm In August 1914, the Germans went to war in a wave of general enthusiasm – or so it was claimed until recently in schoolbooks and in a number of representative works written by German historians. This stereotyped conception has, in the meantime, been increasingly challenged and corrected in a number of crucial points. Accordingly, it can now stated with certainty that an “August Experience” in the sense of an enthusiastic, nationwide approval of the war that would have mobilized all social classes did not take place. …

Arab Revolt

(808 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
Arab Revolt Bedouin uprising against Turkish suzerainty. In July of 1915 the Emir of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, began negotiations with the British High Commissioner in Egypt regarding the Arab desire for independence and British support for a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. For Great Britain this presented an opportunity to increase its influence in the Middle East considerably. While making promises to Hussein, the British simultaneously divided the Middle East into a French and a British sph…

Famine

(1,380 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Famine The long duration of the war, reciprocal blockades of food imports, and the exploitation of regions occupied by the Central Powers all caused occasional dramatic occurrences of famine in the World War. In the German Reich and Austria especially, the food situation during the second half of the war was appalling. In Germany, the lack of planning to maintain the food supply in case of war was partly the blame for the quantitative and qualitative decline in the diet of a majority of the German civilian population. The weekly flour ration fell…

Animals

(1,008 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Animals The use of animals for war service is known from antiquity. Elephants, bears, or packs of bloodhounds were used to break open enemy lines. Clay balls containing poisonous snakes were used as projectiles. Most often used as “war equipment” was the horse, in a team to pull combat vehicles and naturally, as a mount for a rider. Surprisingly, it was not during the First World War – in which mechanization was at first of less significance – but during the Second World War that the use of horses was comparatively greater. Despite being engaged in pos…

Fourteen Points

(899 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Fourteen Points Fourteen Points stands for the peace aims of American President Woodrow Wilson, who made them public in a speech before the United States Congress on January 8, 1918. The basic reasons for American participation in the war were already clear. To justify America’s joining the war in April 1917, Wilson stressed that the United States was not interested in realizing any narrowly defined national demands. Rather, he meant to for liberal political principles to be implemented globally, …

‘Tailoring in the Trenches’: The Making of First World War British Army Uniform

(9,853 words)

Author(s): Tynan, Jane
Tynan, Jane - ‘Tailoring in the Trenches’: The Making of First World War British Army Uniform Keywords: British army uniform | drafting guides | dressing techniques | First World War | soldier tailors | tailoring trade | trenches | wartime representations ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Masculinity | Home fronts | Society | Soldiers and Combat | Published memoirs and biographies | Economy Abstract: While soldiers’ bodies were disciplined by dressing techniques long before the First World War, this chapter explores specific wartime representations of …

Rainbow Books

(583 words)

Author(s): Zala, Sacha
Rainbow Books Official printed texts or collections of diplomatic documents, appearing on an ad hoc basis treating primarily questions of foreign policy. A government published “rainbow books,” frequently during or after an international crisis, in order to inform its parliament and/or public, to legitimize its own policy, and/or to criticize the policy of a foreign state. The books owe their name to the colors of their bindings, used on a consistent basis by the various governments: Great Britain blue; Germa…

Fall K. German Offensive Plans against the Netherlands 1916–1918

(14,497 words)

Author(s): Klinkert, W.
Klinkert, W. - Fall K. German Offensive Plans against the Netherlands 1916–1918 Keywords: army leadership | Dutch neutrality | Netherlands | Operationsentwurf Fall K ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | Netherlands | International Relations during the War | Naval Warfare | Britain Abstract: This chapter is divided into the following parts: 1914, when the fortified positions take shape, 1915, when the tension rose, 1916, when the Operationsentwurf Fall K took form, 1917, when attack on the Netherlands was planned and 1918, which …

Uniforms

(1,390 words)

Author(s): Kraus, Jürgen
Uniforms At the beginning of the war, the armies of most warring states were outfitted with a special field uniform, camouflaged to blend into the terrain, in addition to their colorful parade uniforms. Such a camouflage uniform was necessary because of modern weapons technology including smokeless powder. This was already well known from the Boer Wars and the Russo-Japanese War. Still, camouflage uniforms dated back to the colonial wars of the 19th century. Based on experience in India, Great Br…

Public Opinion, Study of

(594 words)

Author(s): Ziemann, Benjamin
Public Opinion, Study of Opinion polls, often systematically organized, were taken periodically regarding the outlook of different population groups on politics, the war situation, the economic situation, and other topics, with the object of obtaining information for official use concerning public opinion The study of public opinion was based upon various kinds of reports officially collected as part of government reforms after 1812, including the Prussian Zeitungsberichte, and the weekly reports on the workers’ movement beginning in 1848 in Bavaria, the Wochenberichte. Thes…

Military Losses (Casualties)

(1,331 words)

Author(s): Overmans, Rüdiger
Military Losses (Casualties) There is little agreement in the literature as to the casualties sustained by the states that took part in the First World War. Figures vary between about 6 and about 13 million. A principle reason for the different estimates lies in the fact that definitions of the term “casualties” differ greatly. In the narrow military terminology of the time and in the specialized military literature, “casualties” frequently included all those soldiers who were no longer available t…

Entente

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jaques
Entente Also referred to as the Triple Entente, this was one of the great alliances that had formed in Europe at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Although these alliances are ascribed a certain responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, they were far less stable and less systematically structured than was later claimed. The system of alliances created by Reich Chancellor Bismarck after the war of 1870/1871 had as its goal the isolation of France in Europe, and to that end the maintenance of good relations with…

Motor Vehicles

(664 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Motor Vehicles The technology of motor vehicles had already been progressing at a tremendous pace before the outbreak of the war. Dissatisfied with their cumbersome, horse-drawn supply convoys, all the armies were greatly interested in trucks. However, the technological advances were so rapid that motor vehicles soon became obsolete, which spoke against their acquisition for the army. Instead, most nations decided to help the private economy purchase trucks in exchange for the obligation to place …

Practical Memory: Organized Veterans and the Politics of Commemoration

(8,659 words)

Author(s): Higbee, Douglas
Higbee, Douglas - Practical Memory: Organized Veterans and the Politics of Commemoration Keywords: British veterans' movement | civilian life | commemoration | non-veterans | organized veterans | political programs | public memory ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Legacy | Politics | Society | Soldiers and Combat | Economy | Masculinity | Home fronts | Culture Abstract: This chapter pursues two inter-related points in its discussion of the often conflicted relations between veterans, non-veterans, and the state over the modes of commemoration: …

Russian Revolution

(1,052 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Russian Revolution Neither the Russian army, nor their economy, nor their political system was equal to the demands of the World War, contributing to the end of the Russian Tsarist Empire. Another major reason was the rapid loss of trust, at all levels of society, which the regime had endured during the war years. As the situation at the military front continued to worsen, an even deeper conflict developed between Tsar Nicholas II and the State Duma. The subsistence crisis engendered by the wartim…

Occupation (West)

(1,527 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
Occupation (West) Occupation is the temporary authority over foreign territory during war. According to international law, a territory is considered occupied when “it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army” ( Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Article 42). Not to be viewed as occupation are the systems of government in Ireland, Alsace-Lorraine, the non-Russian part of the Tsarist Empire etc., even though their administrations developed techniques of asserting their authority which resemble…

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…
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