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(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…

Military Courts

(861 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Military Courts This special law jurisdiction is limited to military personnel. It provides for a host of criminal offense categories that are not included in civilian criminal law. It is noteworthy that, as in civilian jurisprudence, criminal law is handled separately from procedural law. A comprehensive modernization of the military legal system was undertaken in numerous countries in the closing years of the 19th century. During the World War, the following regulations applied in the specified warring states: in Germany, the Militärstrafgesetzbuch of 1872; in France, the Code d…


(1,185 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Albania Compared to other ethnic groups in the Balkan region the Albanians were relatively late to develop national aspirations of their own. Religious divisions within the population, the lack of a unified social stratum that would support a “modern” national movement, and the traditional, deeply fractured structure of Albanian society with its regional and clan affiliations delayed the creation of a politically organized movement of national rebirth ( Rilindja), which only emerged in the last quarter of the 19th century. When the peace negotiations after the R…

Hindenburg Line

(426 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hindenburg Line The name in British and French literature for the German defensive line on the Western Front in 1917/18, known in German as Siegfried-Stellung. After the close of the costly battles of 1916, the OHL (German Supreme Army Command) and the Army Group Kronprinz Rupprecht had decided to pull the front back to the Arras – Saint-Quentin – Vailly line. Their reasons had been strategic and operational: building on successes on the Eastern Front and in the unrestricted submarine war, the war in the West was to be waged defensively in…


(1,831 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Alsace-Lorraine As a Reichsland, part of the German Reich from 1871. The desire on the part of France to exact revenge for defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/1871, and reverse the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the newly founded German Reich under the terms of the Frankfurt Peace Treaty, has often been regarded, particularly by the Germans, as an important causal factor in respect of the origins of the First World War. In the light of recent research, however, this conception must now be seen as o…

Benedict XV

(414 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Benedict XV (November 21, 1854, Genoa – January 22, 1922, Rome; formerly Giacomo della Chiesa), Pope. Giacomo della Chiesa was elected Pope following the death of Pius X in September of 1914. He took the name of Benedict in memory of the great legislator Benedict XIV. Even though the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici in May 1917 was of considerable theological significance, Benedict made history as the “Pope of the Great War,” especially since he died only a few years after the war. His entire tenure was characterized by a keen awareness of …

Venizelos, Eleftherios Kyriakos

(447 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Venizelos, Eleftherios Kyriakos (August 23, 1864, Mournies [Crete] – March 18, 1936, Paris), Greek politician. Regarded by many Greeks as the most significant national politician of the 20th century, Venizelos was a visionary and at the same time a practical politician. Moreover, he has the reputation of having created and fashioned modern Greece. As founder and leader of the Liberal Party, he played a vital role in the country’s development. Venizelos’ political career began when he emerged as lea…

Sonnino, Georgio Sidney

(475 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Sonnino, Georgio Sidney (March 11, 1847, Pisa – November 24, 1922, Rome), Italian politician (foreign minister). After a brief diplomatic career, Sonnino made his name with studies of the situation of the Italian rural population in Sicily. A member of parliament from 1880, he favored an alliance with the Central Powers, and was of the opinion that it was more important for Italy to maintain friendship with Austria than to acquire the Italian-speaking province of Trentino. He subsequently retained …

Haller de Hallenburg, Józef

(282 words)

Author(s): Hans, Hecker,
Haller de Hallenburg, Józef (August 13, 1873, Jurczyce [Galicia] – June 4,1960, London), Polish general and politician. Haller de Hallenburg was among the Polish forces that resisted cooperating with the Central Powers in early 1918, in view of their Polish policy. He also commanded a Polish Legion serving with the Austro-Hungarian forces. Under their commander Colonel Haller de Hallenburg, the Second Polish Legion Brigade in East Galicia succeeded in breaking through to the Polish troops stationed …

An American Geographer between Science and Diplomacy: The Mission of Douglas W. Johnson in Europe, May–November 1918

(12,296 words)

Author(s): Ginsburger, Nicolas
Ginsburger, Nicolas - An American Geographer between Science and Diplomacy: The Mission of Douglas W. Johnson in Europe, May–November 1918 Keywords: The United States of America | Intellectuals and the War | Culture | Peacemaking and Continued Conflict | Britain | Politics | France | Legacy ‛Warfare and Belligerence’ Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2005 e-ISBN: 9789047407362 DOI: 10.1163/9789047407362.011 © 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Ginsburger, Nicolas

Social Policy (Germany)

(1,215 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Social Policy (Germany) In 1914–18 this was understood as including all legal and administrative measures of the German Reich, the federal states and the communal administrations for the regulation of the labor market and the welfare of soldiers’ relatives, war victims and surviving dependents. In addition, social policy extended in the war years to ensuring food supplies, regulating the residential property market, and amending previous social security conditions. After the outbreak of war, German…

Ribot, Alexandre

(268 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Ribot, Alexandre (February 7, 1842, Saint-Omer – January 14, 1923, Paris), French politician (prime minister). A lawyer by profession, Ribot belonged to France’s innermost parliamentary leadership from the beginning of the 1880s as an expert on financial matters and foreign affairs, representing the liberal right wing of the Republican Party (1878–1909 deputy, 1909–1923 senator). As foreign minister between 1890 and 1892 he played a decisive role in bringing about the Franco-Russian alliance and c…

Eastern Command

(721 words)

Author(s): Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel
Eastern Command A military state established by German occupation forces under the auspices of General Erich Ludendorff in Russian Empire territory. Between 1915 and 1918, Eastern Command included what are now the countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Belarus. The full title of Eastern Command was “Supreme Command of All German Forces in the East,” entrusted since November 1914 to Field Marshal von Hindenburg. When Hindenburg and his Chief of Staff Ludendorff assumed command of the…

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…

Nicolai, Georg Friedrich

(446 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Nicolai, Georg Friedrich (February 6, 1874, Berlin – October 8, 1964, Santiago de Chile; Georg Lewinstein until 1897), German physician. Nicolai studied medicine, specializing in electrocardiology. Before the war, he was already a respected physician in his private practice, and as the assistant medical director of Charité Hospital. As a war volunteer, in 1914 he became the medical superintendent of the military infirmary at Tempelhof. Nonetheless, from the beginning he spoke out very sharply against the war. He and other intellectuals signed Aufruf an die Europäer (Appeal to th…


(769 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
Louvain (Flemish: Leuven) Belgian university town west of Brussels, celebrated for its university and magnificent Gothic buildings. Here between August 25 and 28, 1914, German troops killed 248 civilians and destroyed a sixth of the buildings. The university library, with its valuable collection of manuscripts from the Middle Ages, was burned to the ground. One of the best known single events of the war, Louvain became known worldwide as a symbol of German war atrocities. The German military leadership explained the destruction of Louvain as a justified punitive measur…

Hoffmann, Max

(436 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Hoffmann, Max (January 25, 1869, Homberg near Kassel – July 8, 1927, Bad Reichenhall), German general. The son of a judge, Hoffmann was first posted to the Russian section of the general staff in 1899 and permanently assigned in 1901. In 1904/1905 he was assigned as an observer to the Russo-Japanese War where he was with the Japanese army in Manchuria. He was promoted lieutenant colonel in 1914 and assigned to the staff of the Eighth Army under General von Prittwitz with the task of defending the …

Burián von Rajecz, Stephan

(383 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Burián von Rajecz, Stephan (January 16, 1851, Stampfen near Pressburg, modern Stupuva near Bratislava – October 20, 1922, Vienna), Hungarian politician (foreign minister). Baron (from 1918 Count) Burián belonged to an ancient Hungarian noble family. After an initial period in the diplomatic service with postings to Alexandria, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sofia, Moscow, Stuttgart, and Athens, he became finance minister of Austria-Hungary in 1903. In that capacity he was also responsible for the administrati…

Brittain, Vera

(232 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Brittain, Vera (December 29, 1893, Newcastle-under-Lyme – March 29, 1970, London), English writer. Brittain became particularly well-known through her memoir Testament of Youth (1933), which was based on her correspondence with her younger brother Edward, her fiancé Roland Leighton and other friends, as well as her own diaries from the time of the First World War. Already a student at Somerville College (Oxford) at the beginning of the war, she decided to go to France, Malta, and London first to work as a Voluntary A…

War Poetry

(1,081 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
War Poetry Prophecies of a coming war had been a theme in German poetry since the beginning of the century. Expressionist poets conjured up the war in apocalyptic images that alternated between the fear of its violence and a yearning for its purifying and regenerative power. Feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction over a long and “foul” peace gave rise to fantasies of war in the sense of a longed-for renewal, often expressed through theological formulations such as J…
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