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National Socialism

(2,472 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
National Socialism The first industrialized mass war had considerable effects on political and social relationships, and on the mentality of people. Italian Fascism and German National Socialism owe their particular characteristics and their legitimization to the First World War, described by Eric J. Hobsbawm as a “machine for brutalizing the world.” By his own testimony, Hitler himself was a “son of the war.” In repeated references to the war in Mein Kampf and in numerous statements and documented conversations ( Hitler’s Table Talks), Hitler returned time and again to his p…

Mobile Warfare

(1,059 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Mobile Warfare A form of warfare which seeks to bring about a military decision through the tactical movement of forces for the purpose of achieving advantageous territorial concentrations without having to rely on fortified positions at all times. At the beginning of the war in 1914 the military doctrines and operational plans of all belligerent powers were based on mobile warfare. In the first instance these offensive operations were motivated by the strategic and economic objective of ensuring …

Reconnaissance

(522 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Wolfgang
Reconnaissance Military procedure by which information is gathered about the enemy situation as well as terrain and weather conditions; it is a vital prerequisite for the decision-making processes on all levels of command. In addition to peace-time intelligence gathering, war-time reconnaissance opera…

Film (1914–1918)

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Film (1914–1918) The triumphal progress of film began with the first cinema shows in Paris and Berlin in 1895. In Berlin alone, in 1914 there were already more than 200 cinemas, with a total capacity of 120,000. And the audience constantly grew in number: according to contemporary estimates, between 1 million and 1.5 million people visited the cinema each day in Germany before the First World War. Many attended regularly, with a third of the total seeing a performance every week. Most of the regul…

Finland

(2,352 words)

Author(s): Wegner, Bernd
Finland This small country (1910: 2.94 million inhabitants) located at the northeastern periphery of Europe entered the First World War as an autonomous grand duchy within the Russian Empire, and emerged from it an independent republic and parliamentary democracy. The process was not foreseeable, and by no means straightforward. Apart from the final months of the civil war, the sea change in the country’s status was primarily the result of external events – October Revolution, Peace of Brest-Lito…

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, …

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…

Communications Technology

(1,973 words)

Author(s): Kaufmann, Stefan
Communications Technology The purpose of communications technology is to convey information over distance. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905 was to foreshadow developments during the First World War in communications technology, as in many other areas. In his conduct of the Battle of Mukden, the Japanese Marshal Oyama acquired the reputation of being the first modern commander in his use of communications technology as he directed his units from 20 km behi…

Armed Forces (United States)

(3,756 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis E.
Armed Forces (United States) During the First World War the armed forces of the United States were crafted by national politics. The Russian Provisional Government of 1917 had promised resolutely to continue the war in the East. On the Western Front, the Germans were unequivocally on the defensive. In no way was America itself directly threatened. Nevertheless, the pattern developed in the World War would guide the …

Zimmermann Telegram

(358 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Zimmermann Telegram On January 16, 1917, after the German government’s decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare (from February 1, 1917), Arthur Zimmermann, secretary of state at the German foreign ministry, sent a coded telegram to the German ambassador in Washington, Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff, to be forwarded to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram instructed Eckardt to propose to the Mexican government an alliance against the United States. In return, Mexico was offered the prospect of German support in regaining lost territories, that is to say the American states of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. In the event that Mexican President Carranza should agree to the German proposal, his good offices were also to be sought in obtaining Japan’s entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers. This message, together with another sent by Bernstorff to Mexico on January 19, was intercepted and decoded by British naval intelligence. The British government had a strong interest in obtaining America’s entry into the war, and, after due consideration, informed the American ambassador in London. Press publication of the text of the telegram caused something approaching a sensation, and finally weakened those political circles within the United States who had until then argued for an isolationist course. Also influenced by Germany’s resumption of submarine warfare, the United States finally declared war on the German Reich on April 6, 1917. Ever since, the decoding of the Zimmermann Telegram has been regarded as one of the most significant single successes of wireless i…

Fuller, John Frederick Charles

(373 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Fuller, John Frederick Charles (September 1, 1878, Chichester – February 10, 1966, Falmouth), British general. Fuller was full of ideas and energy, but he was always controversial and inclined to contradiction. The army bored him, causing him to take comfort in books – primarily on military history – and he also developed an intense preoccupation with Eastern mysticism and the occult. Only gradually did he begin to take his profession seriously. After a failed attempt, he finally ga…

Looted Art

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Kott, Christina
Looted Art Originally a term for cultural…

Armed Forces (Dominions)

(3,147 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Armed Forces (Dominions) The settler colonies of the British Empire (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa) had already acquired the status of dominions prior to 1914, as part of a constitutional development towards full independence. Self-determin…

Dreadnought

(456 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Dreadnought British capital ship, and the name used for an entire type of modern battleships. By what has been termed the “Dreadnought leap” – superiority in firepower, protection, and speed – the Royal Navy rendered obsolete all large battleships built before that time. This qualitative advance in British naval technology was the consequence of military necessity. After the sea-battle of Tsushima on May 27/28, 1905, in which the Japanese fleet destroyed three Russian warships from a distance of …

“German Women Help to Win!” Women and the German Military in the Age of World Wars

(11,862 words)

Author(s): Hagemann, Karen
Hagemann, Karen - “German Women Help to Win!” Women and the German Military in the Age of World Wars Keywords: Germany | Home fronts | Women and War | Economy | Legacy | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Military organisation of combat A Companion to Women’s Military History Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining , (2012) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2012 e-ISBN: 9789004206823 DOI: 10.1163/9789004206823_017 © 2012 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Hagemann, Karen

Krobatin, Baron Alexander von

(475 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Krobatin, Baron Alexander von (September 12, 1849, Olmütz [modern Olomouc, Czech Republic] – December 27, 1933, Vienna), Austrian general and minister of war. As an artillery staff officer with a university education in chemical engineering, Krobatin was predestined from an early stage for a higher calling. Appointed to the Imperial War Ministry in 1896 as an expert in artillery technology, he was a section chief at the Ministry in 1904. In addition to weapons and munitions, his responsibilities now…

Between Veiling and Unveiling: Modern Camouflage and the City as a Theater of War

(110 words)

Author(s): Deriu, Davide
Deriu, Davide - Between Veiling and Unveiling: Modern Camouflage and the City as a Theater of War Keywords: Aviation | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Intellectuals and the War | Home fronts | Visual Arts | Violence against civilians | General ‛Endangered Cities’ Marcus Funck and Roger Chickering, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2004 e-ISBN: 9789047409812 DOI: 10.1163/9789047409812.002 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Deriu, Davide

Total War

(813 words)

Author(s): Förster, Stig
Total War This expression first appeared in the French press in 1917 as la guerre totale, meant to stir the French to their ultimate war effort. “Total war” and related expressions played a major role in international discussions concerning military policy in the 1920s and 1930s. The Italian General Giulio Douhet and German General Erich Ludendorff in particular promoted total war as the warfare of the future. In the Second World War the call for total war became a thoroughly universal phenomenon. Joseph Goebb…

Disability

(1,876 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang U.
Disability In 1934, the Medical Report of the German Army estimated the number of German soldiers who had died of wounds, accident, suicide, or disease between August 2, 1914, and July 31, 1918, at 1,202,042. This number, which rose considerably in the period between the cessation of military casualty reports in July 1918 and the end of the war, must be viewed alongside the 702,778 dismissed from the armed forces in the same period as being unfit for service (503,713 with medical support, 199,065 without…

Japan

(2,146 words)

Author(s): Schwentker, Wolfgang
Japan Japan rose to become a Great Power in East Asia during the two centuries preceding 1914. Although the Japanese Empire had become the object of Western imperialism during the late 19th century, they had resisted all attempts at colonization. After victories in both the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, Japan itself stepped into the imperialist arena in East Asia as the new colonial power. As Japan expanded its empire upon the Asian continent before 1914,…
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