Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Balkan Wars

(957 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Balkan Wars Two wars in the Balkans region (1912–1913) that caused the Ottoman Empire to lose most of its European territories. During this period of conflict there were differences between the Great Powers concerning the consequences of the Balkan Wars. Against the backdrop of the Italo-Turkish war (1911–1912), the ethnically diverse and unstable Southeastern European States led by Serbia attempted to secure for themselves a share of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. A direct consequence of the Turkish weakness wa…

Luring Neutrals: Allied and German Propaganda in Argentina during the First World War

(10,707 words)

Author(s): Tato, María Inés
Tato, María Inés - Luring Neutrals: Allied and German Propaganda in Argentina during the First World War ISFWWS-Keywords: South America | Economy | Literature | Culture | Britain | The United States of America | France | Germany | Naval Warfare World War I and Propaganda Troy R.E. Paddock , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004264571 DOI: 10.1163/9789004264571_016 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Tato, María Inés

Brusilov, Aleksei Alekseevich

(338 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Brusilov, Aleksei Alekseevich (August 31, 1853, Tiflis, modern Tbilisi – March 17, 1926, Moscow), Russian general and commander in chief of the Russian Army. Brusilov was born into an ancient Russian noble family with a long military tradition. After completing his preparatory military training with the Imperial Corps of Pages he joined the Dragoons of the Tver Regiment in the Caucasus. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and was decorated multiple times. At the élite Cavalry Officer Sc…

Judaism

(604 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Judaism In all the belligerent states, Jews strove to give evidence of national loyalty. It would be well, however, to take care before singling out a particular Jewish patriotism. Western European Jewry was already largely integrated before 1914. Its national engagement was self-evident, and by no means a form of “total assimilation.” Statements by Jewish organizations that are usually interpreted as an expression of Jewish “hyper-patriotism” can be understood against the background of the press…

League of Nations

(487 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
League of Nations (German: Völkerbund, French: Société des Nations). The measures instituted by the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 proved insufficient to prevent war. Therefore, during the World War, the peace movements of several nations considered founding a new institution. After 1917–1918 government representatives in Great Britain, France, the United States, and also the German Reich increasingly considered the possibilities. For American President Woodrow Wilson, the creation of a League…

January Strikes

(1,075 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
January Strikes Between January 28 and February 2, 1918, there arose in Berlin and other industrial and economic centers (Kiel, Hamburg, and the Rhine-Westphalia industrial area) mass protests and strike actions, in which between 200,000 and 500,000 workers took part. In contrast with the 1917 strikes, which may be understood primarily as social protest, the January Strikes had to a great extent a direct political motive. In light of the Soviet government’s offer of peace, and the brutally extreme claims for annexation of the German S…

Scorched Earth Tactics

(1,283 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Michael
Scorched Earth Tactics Systematically laying waste to enemy territory as a battle tactic, rendering the area militarily useless for a time, sometimes lastingly. Scorched earth as a combat strategy was described by Carl von Clausewitz in his work Vom Kriege, as follows: First, all that the country has to offer will be taken for the benefit of the retreating army, and mostly consumed. Nothing will remain but wasted villages and towns; fields emptied of their crops and then trampled; wells run dry; and contaminated brooks. Thus right from …

Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Este

(274 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Este (December 18, 1863, Graz – June 28, 1914, Sarajevo [murdered]), Archduke of Austria-Este. Obligatory for archdukes, Franz Ferdinand underwent military service, soon advancing in royal succession after the suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf in 1889. Convinced that the struggle for independence of the Magyar political elites would very soon destroy the Habsburg Empire, Franz Ferdinand opposed, without compromising, every concession to Hungary. Instead, he planned a…

Flex, Walter

(544 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Thomas F.
Flex, Walter (July 6, 1887, Eisenach – October 16, 1917 [killed in action], Ösel, Estonia), German author. Flex was the son of a teacher. After studying and earning a doctorate (1910), he worked as a private tutor, among others, for the Bismarck family. Having volunteered for the war in 1914, he initially served in the Argonne before being trained as an officer in the vicinity of Posen (1915). He was subsequently deployed in Lithuania, but returned to the Western Front in 1917. From July 1917 onward, Flex spent a short time in Berlin revising the book The Russian Spring Offensive of 1916 ( Die ru…

Baker, Newton Diehl

(399 words)

Author(s): Hoff, Henning
Baker, Newton Diehl (December 3, 1871, Martinsburg West Virginia – December 25, 1937, Cleveland, Ohio), American politician (secretary of war). After earning his law degree Baker worked as a solicitor in Martinsburg and served as the mayor of Cleveland from 1912 to 1916. He is thought to be one of the architects of the progressive movement and played a major part in the nomination of Woodrow Wilson as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party in 1912. Baker was highly regarded by President Wilson, who relied on him as a loyal follower and close advisor. In March…

Occupation (East)

(1,730 words)

Author(s): Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel
Occupation (East) In 1915, the German Reich and Austria-Hungary conquered enormous areas of Eastern Europe, and subjected them to an occupation regime. Among the areas in question were Russian Poland and Lithuania, and parts of the Baltic provinces (now Estonia and Latvia), Belarus (White Russia), the Ukraine, Russia, and Serbia. These conquests were joined by Romania in 1916. As there was no detailed prewar planning for such an event, the occupation was initially characterized by improvisation and ad hoc policies with various different plans being proposed for the future…

Parliamentarization

(630 words)

Author(s): Mai, Günther
Parliamentarization From 1871 the German Reich was a constitutional monarchy. The Kaiser appointed and dismissed the chancellor, who was the only member of the imperial government responsible to the Reichstag (the lower house of parliament), and without whose agreement the Kaiser could not take political action. The chancellor could not rule for long against a majority of the Reichstag, since the Reichstag had the right to adopt the budget. Even before 1914, constitutional reality had changed in …

Burgfrieden (Fortress Truce)

(937 words)

Author(s): Verhey, Jeffrey
Burgfrieden (Fortress Truce) On August 1, 1914, Emperor Wilhelm II spoke the following words from his balcony: “Should it now come to a battle, then there will be no more political parties. Today we are all German brothers.” These words mark the beginning of the propagated state of peace within German society of which the term Burgfrieden (“fortress truce”) became constitutive. Wilhelm repeated his message, in slightly altered form, when he opened the Reichstag on August 4: “I no longer recognize any parties, I recognize only Germans.” Wilhelm thus m…

Luxembourg

(1,322 words)

Author(s): Majerus, Benoît
Luxembourg The First World War scarcely has a presence in the collective memory of Luxembourgers, and the country’s historians have until now shown little interest in the period. Luxembourg’s entry into the Zollverein (German Customs Union, 1842) engendered very close economic links between the Grand Duchy and the neighboring German territories. Luxembourg’s railways passed into German Reich ownership in 1872, and the rise of the iron industry was facilitated by both German capital (e.g. Gelsenkirchener Bergwerk AG) and German workers (more than half the foreigners livi…

July Crisis

(720 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
July Crisis Few topics from the history of the First World War have been discussed more intensively by historians and in the public arena than the July Crisis of 1914. Into the 1930s in Germany, the foremost question was that of the justice of the accusation of “war guilt” as expressed in Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty. In this case the predominant opinion initially, and even after the Second World War, was that all the powers “stumbled” into war. In the 1960s, Fritz Fischer brought to the c…

Turnip Winter

(295 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Turnip Winter The German expression Kohlrübenwinter or Steckrübenwinter (both mean “Turnip Winter”) refers to one of the worst food crises of the war in Germany. During the winter of 1916/1917 several developments came together, among others things a particularly poor harvest caused by bad weather. The entire price structure was configured in such a way that it was more profitable for the producers to use potatoes as fodder or to sell them to distilleries than to sell them to the consumers. The same wa…

Malvy, Louis-Jean

(370 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Malvy, Louis-Jean (December 1, 1875, Figeac [Département Lot] – June 9, 1949, Paris), French politician. A radical socialist (and member of the French National Assembly from 1906), and a friend of Joseph Caillaux, Malvy was interior minister from the outbreak of the First World War until August 31, 1917, having already held that office in René Viviani’s prewar administration. He frequently demonstrated his trust in the patriotism of the labor movement, for example when, in August 1914, he refused …

Scheer, Reinhard

(408 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Scheer, Reinhard (September 30, 1863, Obernkirchen [Kreis Schaumburg] – November 26, 1928, Marktredwitz [Bavaria]), German admiral. Scheer entered the German navy in 1879, and, after several overseas postings, was employed from 1890 in the torpedo service. Transferred to the Reichsmarineamt (Reich Naval Office) in 1903, in 1907 he became commander of the pre-dreadnought battleship Elsass and two years later became chief of staff of the High Seas Fleet. In 1911 he became the director of the general naval department within the Reich Naval office. Sch…

Women’s Movement

(601 words)

Author(s): Süchting-Hänger, Andrea
Women’s Movement The women’s movement in the World War embraced a number of efforts working for the improvement of the economic, social and political position of women. There was a distinction between the moderate and radical middle class, and the proletarian and the confessional women’s movement. Whereas, before the war, lines of conflict were mostly drawn between a middle-class and a proletarian women’s movement, during the war the women’s movement was divided between the large majority of supporters of the war and the small minority of those who opposed it. At the start of the war…

Nivelle, Georges Robert

(529 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Nivelle, Georges Robert (October 15, 1856, Tulle – March 23, 1924, Paris), French general and chief of the General Staff. A graduate of the École Polytechnique, Nivelle was an artilleryman. When war broke out in 1914, he was a 58-year-old colonel. Nivelle proved his military skill in the first weeks of the war, for the artillery tactics he had employed in the Battles of the Marne were new and successful. His career took a sharp upturn when he was made a brigadier general in October 1914 and in Febr…
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