Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Painlevé, Paul

(466 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Painlevé, Paul (December 5, 1863, Paris – October 29, 1933, Paris), French politician (minister for war, prime minister). Painlevé was not only a politically prominent personality, twice a prime minister and later the minister for war, but also a renowned mathematician. A professor of mathematics in Lille since 1887, Painlevé first came to the attention of the public when in 1890, he received the Grand Prix des Sciences Mathématiques (‘Grand Prize in Mathematical Sciences’) of the Académie Française. His primary research area was related to friction energy. He w…

The Ukraine

(688 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Mechthild
The Ukraine Borderland at the edge of the steppes, north of the Black Sea and east of the Carpathian Mountains. Until the 17th century the Western Ukraine (Galicia) had belonged to the Polish crown; after 1772 it belonged to Austria. The Eastern Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire. The commencement of the war in 1914 made the Ukrainian Question into an international issue. However, it also placed the Ukraine between war fronts. On August 1, 1914, the All-Party Supreme Ukrainian Council pledged …

Social Injustice in the German Military

(663 words)

Author(s): Hettling, Manfred
Social Injustice in the German Military The beginning of the First World War encouraged the longing for a sense of community, and intensified aspirations for equality and equal rights within the German nation. While these expectations heightened political and national solidarity at the beginning of the war, in the long run they led to considerable difficulties within German society. As the war drew on, social inequality in particular became a serious challenge to political order in the German Reich. Significantly, the conflict first flared up within the military. Instances of socia…

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…

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…

Heroes’ Groves

(499 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Heroes’ Groves On December 8, 1914, an article by the head of the German Royal Horticultural College’s Department for Plant Production, Berliner Willy Lange, appeared in the entertainment section of the Täglichen Rundschau. In his article, “Oaks for Heroes and Lindens for Peace,” Lange proposed that every German community should establish heroes groves, planting there, in orderly rows, one oak tree for every fallen soldier from the community: “For each, who lost his life for Germany’s freedom; for the ideal of Germanness, with…

Alberich, Operation

(374 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Alberich, Operation Code name for the planned German rearward movement to the Hindenburg Line in February and March of 1917. Preparations for the withdrawal from the salient between Arras and Soissons had begun in the autumn of 1916 with the aim of disrupting Allied plans for an offensive in the spring of 1917 and shortening the German front line. Prior to the actual retreat, during the so-called Alberich period (February 9–March 15), the scheme called for the systematic devastation of the withdra…

Lost Generation

(423 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Lost Generation A collective expression in postwar Anglo-American culture denoting a group of American writers of the generation of World War I. The formula goes back to a remark of Gertrude Stein about Ernest Hemingway, “You are all a lost generation.” Hemingway himself used the expression as an epitaph in his novel The Sun also Rises (1926). The literary “lost generation” movement was characterized by a feeling of lost worth, existential disorientation, and opposition to postwar normality – particularly to the civilian middle-class attitude, and t…

Sabotage

(501 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Sabotage (French: sabot, wooden shoe) This expression refers to actions committed with the intention of weakening the resolve of a state. Sabotage may be further categorized into acts perpetrated by members of foreign powers, such as agents and prisoners of war, versus acts by individuals against their own nation. In the World War, sabotage was mainly committed by foreign agents. As a rule intelligence agents were responsible for the planning and execution of sabotage acts. Included under the head…

War Toys

(531 words)

Author(s): Audoin-Rouzeau, Stéphane
War Toys The leisure activities of children changed during the First World War in conformity with national propaganda interests. Such pastimes had to adjust to the laws of the market as they applied to the youth culture in wartime. Children’s expectations (or the expectations of family circles) were to be met by the commercial production of toys, games, and children’s books. Long before the war of 1914, politics had found access to the nursery through the medium of toys in Europe. There was already a tradition of patriotic and military toys, and their pro…

The Rhineland Horror Campaign and the Aftermath of War

(8,822 words)

Author(s): Kuhlman, Erika
Kuhlman, Erika - The Rhineland Horror Campaign and the Aftermath of War Keywords: Germany | Rhineland Horror campaign ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | French Army and its combattants | Africa | Violence against civilians | Gender | Politics | Culture | The United States of America Abstract: Beginning in April 1920, various German citizens' organisations, encouraged by their government, launched a campaign against France's stationing of colonial African soldiers in its zone of the German Rhineland. The goal of the drive - known as…

Visual Propaganda

(1,183 words)

Author(s): Holzer, Anton
Visual Propaganda The term refers to the use of modern visual media for the specific purpose of influencing attitudes among the population. Film and photography were systematically employed as propaganda tools for the first time during World War I. It was mainly during the second half of the war that new forms visual propaganda began to emerge, which were centrally directed and controlled by the military. In 1914 propaganda methods employed by the state were still largely based on traditional text media. It was only with some delay that film and photography we…

Military Historiography, Official German

(1,063 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Military Historiography, Official German Immediately after the end of the war, nearly all the states that had participated in the war began elaborating an official military historiography. These early efforts to produce standard official publications were not only a consequence of historical interest or of the wish to honor the achievements of one’s respective army, but should also be viewed in the light of the international debate on war guilt, which began with the Treaty of Versailles. Hence, the …

Jünger, Ernst

(573 words)

Author(s): Sieferle, Rolf Peter
Jünger, Ernst (March 29, 1895, Heidelberg – February 17, 1998, Riedlingen), German writer. Jünger signed on as a volunteer shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. He initially served as a private but was promoted to lieutenant and became an infantry company commander. He was wounded on several occasions, and in 1918 was awarded the Pour le mérite. He passed into the Reichswehr in 1919, and was active in the Heeresvorschriftenkommission (Military Procedures Commission), where he was able to build on his experience of shock troop tactics. He later left the …

Christmas Truce (1914)

(555 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Christmas Truce (1914) Also known as the “Wartime Christmas,” this title recalls a time of widespread fraternization on all fronts, especially between German and British soldiers on the Western Front, the so-called “Christmas Truce.” When the fronts solidified in late fall 1914, all hopes were dashed for that victorious campaign, initially promised by governments and armed forces, which was to have brought the troops “home for Christmas.” Now the soldiers would have to manage Christmas Eve in the trenches. “Love tokens” were sen…

Galicia

(837 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Galicia This province, for the most part ceded to Austria in 1772 upon the first partitioning of Poland, never lost its reputation as a slowly developing region. Accountable for this was its overwhelmingly agrarian character and its prevailing social and national structures. The gentry, almost exclusively Polish, owned vast tracts of land. They were somewhat close to the Polish inhabitants, while the Ukrainian inhabitants (called Ruthenians by the Austrians), who dominated considerable territory,…

Alpine Warfare

(2,447 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Alpine Warfare When the Italian declaration of war was delivered on May 23, 1915, it plunged Austria-Hungary into a desperate situation. While this move by Italy did not come unexpected, almost all the forces of the Danube Monarchy were tied up on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans, where the Central Powers had in that year taken the initiative. Only weak, improvised forces were available to secure the 600-km long border with Italy, among them almost 30,000 militia reserves (Standschützen). By t…

Tsingtao (Qingdao)

(510 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Tsingtao (Qingdao) Administrative center of Jiaozhou, a German colony established on the northeastern coast of China in 1897. It was militarily important as the base for their East-Asia Cruiser Squadron. Unlike the other German colonies, Tsingtao was controlled by the Reich Naval Office rather than the Reich Colonial Office. Tsingtao later lost its strategic significance when the Imperial Navy transitioned from war cruisers to a battleship-fleet based doctrine. Still, the 500 km2 protectorate of Jiaozhou (Kiautschou) remained important as the economic and political…

General Government/Occupation Government

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
General Government/Occupation Government In World War I, a general government was a conquered territory under the supreme command of a governor general. This territory would have its own administrative unit attached, and was divided into the front, and the administrative zones. The governor general possessed the highest legislative, judicial, and executive power in the general government, and the troops stationed in the area were also placed under his command. He had the task of organizing public l…

Asquith, Herbert Henry

(520 words)

Author(s): Winter, Jay
Asquith, Herbert Henry (September 12, 1863, Morley [West Yorkshire] – February 15, 1928, London; from 1925 Earl of Oxford and Asquith), British politician and leader of the Liberal Party; prime minister 1908–1916. Asquith belonged to the liberal-imperialist wing of his party. A member of the House of Commons from 1886, from 1891 he served as home secretary under William Gladstone. After the landslide victory in the 1906 election, which ended a period of nearly ten years in opposition for the Libera…
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