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Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von

(1,133 words)

Author(s): Tiefel, Marcus A.
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von (November 29, 1856, Hohenfinow near Eberswalde – January 2, 1921, Hohenfinow), German politician (chancellor). After studying law in Strasbourg, Leipzig and Berlin, Bethmann passed his Referendarexamen (first state examination required to enter the Prussian civil and administrative services) in 1879. For ten years, from 1886 to 1896, he held the office of Landrat (chief administrator) in his home district of Oberbarnim. Promoted to the position of Oberpräsidialrat (dep…

Naval Warfare

(2,850 words)

Author(s): Salewski, Michael
Naval Warfare In all theoretical discussions of a future war the war at sea was expected to play a major, if not the decisive role. For this reason all leading industrial nations had from the early 1890s onward been building massive, homogenous battle fleets. The “naval race” played a central role in souring Anglo-German relations during Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz’ tenure as the German Naval Secretary. The fledgling détente in the maritime sector, which was noticeable two years prior to the outbreak of the war, came …

Versailles, Treaty of

(1,736 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Versailles, Treaty of The Versailles Treaty was negotiated and signed by the victors and the defeated Germany in the Parisian suburb of Versailles in May/June 1919. On May 7 at the Trianon Palace, the victorious powers, represented by Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, and Georges Clemenceau, David Lloyd George, and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, the prime ministers of Great Britain, France, and Italy, together with representatives of Germany’s other opponents in the war, presented a draft…

Barbusse, Henri

(571 words)

Author(s): Beaupré, Nicolas
Barbusse, Henri (March 17, 1872, Asnières near Paris – August 30, 1935, Moscow), French writer. Barbusse is undoubtedly one of France’s most famous war novelists. He moreover embodied the type of the left-wing intellectual wartime activist. His 1916 war novel Le Feu (English: Under Fire, 1917 and 2003) quickly earned him recognition in and outside of France. Henri Barbusse, 1915. Barbusse was a member of the intellectual bourgeoisie. In 1898 he married Helyonne, daughter of the influential poet Catulle Mendès. At that time he was primarily writing poetry…

German Revolution

(1,770 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
German Revolution With the German Revolution of 1918/1919, the German Empire became a German Republic. The deep roots of this upheaval lay in the war-weariness of the exhausted and malnourished civilian population and the overburdened soldiery. The German Revolution was more a collapse of the traditional order than a militant mass rebellion. In this, it resembled the Russian February Revolution of 1917 rather than the revolutions of 1848. The Russian October Revolution, with Lenin’s proclamation o…

Greece

(1,698 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Greece While the real tragedy of the World War played out on Europe’s theaters of war, Greece remained neutral until 1917. This neutrality was above all benevolent toward the Central Powers – at least, as far as the head of state, King Constantine, was concerned. Since the monarch admired his brother-in-law Kaiser Wilhelm II as the personification of the German martial spirit, he refused to march off to war against the Central Powers. Thereupon, Greek Premier Eleftherios Venizelos advocated stron…

Kühlmann, Richard von

(348 words)

Author(s): Beckers, Thomas
Kühlmann, Richard von (May 3, 1873, Constantinople – February 6, 1948, Ohlstadt), German diplomat and politician. The son of the director general of the Anatolian Railway, Kühlmann completed his law studies with a doctoral degree and entered the diplomatic service in 1898. After numerous international postings he served as counselor at the German Embassy in London from 1909 to 1914. In that position he worked to create an atmosphere of Anglo-German cooperation and prepared various agreements toward…

Armed Forces (France)

(2,071 words)

Author(s): Jauffret, Jean-Charles
Armed Forces (France) During the World War the French armed forces were faced with an extraordinary organizational challenge. Including foreign legionaries and the colonial troops, there were a total 8.7 million men assembled under arms. Until General Joffre was replaced as commander-in-chief in December 1916, Grand Quartier Général (General Staff, GQG) held the supreme command. According to the decree of December 2, 1913, in time of war its commander in chief would maintain supreme command of the zone des armées (militarized zone), while the minister of war would be respo…

Dardanelles

(1,004 words)

Author(s): Prior, Robin | Wilson, Trevor
Dardanelles Straits between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. After the outbreak of war in Europe, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire had envisioned joining the war on the side of the Central Powers. The arrival of two German warships, the Goeben and the Breslau, at Constantinople on August 10, 1914, reinforced this decision. For Turkey joining the war meant territorial gains at Russia’s expense; in the Caucasus, at British expense; as well as in Egypt. On October 27, the Turkish fleet put to sea against the Russian Black Sea base, thereby triggering war with the Entente. Mean…

Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger)

(578 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger) (May 25, 1848, Gersdorff [Mecklenburg] – June 18, 1916, Berlin), German general; chief of the Army General Staff and nephew of Field Marshal von Moltke. In 1869 Moltke joined Fusilier Regiment the Queen’s No. 86 (Schleswig-Holstein), taking part in the Franco-Prussian War as a lieutenant. In 1872 he succeeded in transferring to the 1st Foot Guards Regiment. Moltke’s later military career was shaped by his closeness to his famous uncle – Moltke was his a…

Flanders

(2,611 words)

Author(s): Bourne, John M.
Flanders A province in northwestern Belgium. Western Flanders was the theater of three major battles in 1914, 1915, and 1917, and to these must be added the battles fought during the course of the German spring offensive in 1918. For the British, the battles are inseparably associated with the market town of Ypres. It is accordingly not surprising that the British commission charged after the war with naming the battles and engagements designated the battles fought here as the First, Second, and …

Conrad von Hötzendorf, Franz

(940 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Conrad von Hötzendorf, Franz (November 11, 1852, Penzing near Vienna – August 25, 1925, Bad Mergentheim), Austro-Hungarian Field Marshal. Conrad, who was made a baron in 1910 and a count in 1918, not only had a typical career in the General Staff which predestined him for a higher office in the future, his participation in the 1878–1879 campaigns in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1882 in Dalmatia also provided him with direct battlefield experience. Service with various bureaus of the General Staff enha…

Barbarians

(892 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Barbarians In all warring societies, the topic of the Barbarians played a central role. In this war, it seemed to hinge upon nothing less than the survival, and the critical importance of humankind. Thus, there developed a script that depicted the war as a conflict between one’s own, idealized nation and a demonized enemy. “Civilization” was thereby commonly juxtaposed against “Barbarity.” This dualism was a powerful concept for two reasons. First, the nation-states of the 19th century were defined through a cultural construct that defined one’s own natio…

Sykes-Picot Agreement

(371 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, Erik Jan
Sykes-Picot Agreement An agreement between Great Britain and France concerning the postwar partitioning of the Arabian provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915 both allies agreed to formulate their war aims in the Middle East. The intention was to seek compensation for the territorial gains in the region that had been conceded to the Russian allies in the Treaty of Constantinople. The British government negotiated with the Sherif of Mecca concerning the creation of an Arab kingdom, trying to find …

Przemyśl

(618 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Przemyśl The main Austro-Hungarian fortress in Galicia, was situated above the River San, which represented a relatively advantageous line of defense in central Galicia. The Fortress of Przemyśl also controlled the communication lines running through the Carpathian Foothills to Hungary, but had only been insufficiently modernized prior to the war. It first attracted attention in mid-September 1914 when the Austro-Hungarian Army took refuge in Przemyśl after having been defeated in the east and no…

Boroevíc von Bojna, Baron Svetozar

(412 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Boroevíc von Bojna, Baron Svetozar (December 13, 1856, Umetić, Croatia – May 23, 1920, Klagenfurt), Austro-Hungarian field marshal. Upon graduation from cadet school, Boroevíc joined the army and in 1878 participated in the occupation of Bosnia. During 1881–1883 he attended the War School in Vienna, after which he served in various staff appointments. Having earlier been raised to the Hungarian nobility, Boroevíc was promoted to general of the infantry in 1908 and received command of the VIth Army Corps at Kaschau (modern Košice) in 1912. The outbreak of the First World War saw …

Supreme Army Command (OHL)

(996 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Supreme Army Command (OHL) When Germany mobilized for the war, the chief of the Prussian Army General Staff was named chief of the General Staff of the entire Armed Forces. According to law, of course, the Kaiser was commander in chief of the military. However, the chief of the General Staff actually led military operations. The department established for this purpose was the Supreme Army Command, which was placed under the control of the Supreme Headquarters. Early in the war the Supreme Army Comma…

India

(1,806 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
India In August 1914, the Indian subcontinent was the most important pillar of the British Empire. After the start of the First World War India’s importance to the war effort was apparent in the considerable numbers of Indian soldiers employed on the Allied fronts in Europe, Africa, and Asia. By the end of 1918, some 1.5 million Indians had been mobilized for the war. Of these, almost 900,000 belonged to fighting units. More than 60,000 Indian soldiers died in the war and about the same number suffered wounds. It was originally envisaged that only restricted use should be made of I…

Naval Blockade

(1,483 words)

Author(s): Neitzel, Sönke
Naval Blockade During the World War, the Allied naval blockade brought German foreign trade practically to a standstill, especially after 1916. It contributed significantly to the serious subsistence problems in Germany. On the eve of the World War Germany was one of the most important economic powers in the world. Obviously, accomplishing this required extensive trade relationships. This left the German economy highly vulnerable during such a long-lasting war. Indeed, Germany had to import 30% of all processed iron ore. The …

Kitchener, Horatio Herbert

(622 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Kitchener, Horatio Herbert (June 24, 1850, Crotter House near Listowel [County Kerry, Ireland] – June 5, 1916, off the Orkney Islands; from 1914 the First Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and of Broome), British field marshal (minister of war). Kitchener’s early military career took him predominantly to the Middle East, where in 1892 he became Sirdar (commander in chief ) of the Egyptian Army. In this function he conquered the Sudan, and in 1898 led the successful military expedition to Khartoum (Battle of Omdurman). This brought Kitchener the status of …
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