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Fourteen Points

(899 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Fourteen Points Fourteen Points stands for the peace aims of American President Woodrow Wilson, who made them public in a speech before the United States Congress on January 8, 1918. The basic reasons for American participation in the war were already clear. To justify America’s joining the war in April 1917, Wilson stressed that the United States was not interested in realizing any narrowly defined national demands. Rather, he meant to for liberal political principles to be implemented globally, …

Eastern Front

(1,205 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Eastern Front The topography of the Eastern Front differed markedly from that of the Western Front. For one thing, it was twice as long as the Western Front, stretching in an irregular line from the southeast corner of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea – including the Bulgarian Front and all the way to the Aegean Sea. Although the terrain was mainly gently rolling, or else flat and forested, the Carpathian Mountains along the Polish and Hungarian borders could pose a significant obstacle for militar…

Potiorek, Oskar

(317 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Potiorek, Oskar (November 11, 1853, Bleiburg [Carinthia] – December 17, 1933, Klagenfurt), Austrian general. Potiorek had a brilliant career in the General Staff. From 1892 he was head of the Operations Bureau, and in 1902 he was officially appointed deputy head of the General Staff. It was the greatest disappointment for him when in 1906 not he, but Conrad von Hötzendorf, became the new chief of the Austrian Imperial General Staff. Despite this Potiorek was recognized as having great talent, and …

Entente

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jaques
Entente Also referred to as the Triple Entente, this was one of the great alliances that had formed in Europe at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Although these alliances are ascribed a certain responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, they were far less stable and less systematically structured than was later claimed. The system of alliances created by Reich Chancellor Bismarck after the war of 1870/1871 had as its goal the isolation of France in Europe, and to that end the maintenance of good relations with…

Vermin

(445 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang U.
Vermin Animal pests and parasites that either attack human beings directly or contribute to the spread of infectious diseases as pathogenic agents, or else spoil or damage food supplies and implements in trenches and sleeping quarters. Bedbugs, lice, fleas, mice, rats, cockroaches, mealworms, and larder beetles in particular were regarded as vermin in this sense. In the European war theaters, bedbugs were not carriers of diseases, but still proved a nuisance as blood-feeding insects whose bites caused unpleasant wheals and itching…

Motor Vehicles

(664 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Motor Vehicles The technology of motor vehicles had already been progressing at a tremendous pace before the outbreak of the war. Dissatisfied with their cumbersome, horse-drawn supply convoys, all the armies were greatly interested in trucks. However, the technological advances were so rapid that motor vehicles soon became obsolete, which spoke against their acquisition for the army. Instead, most nations decided to help the private economy purchase trucks in exchange for the obligation to place …

Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary)

(3,011 words)

Author(s): Rauchensteiner, Manfried
Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary) The organization of the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces during the First World War originated in the Compromise of 1867. Under this agreement the Habsburg Monarchy sported the outward appearance of a dual monarchy, yet internally there was minimal uniformity, and the merest balance of interests. The major weakness of the Compromise between the Kingdom of Hungary and the remainder of the Double Monarchy was the fact that the Slavs within Austria-Hungary, who had mainly s…

Russian Revolution

(1,052 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Russian Revolution Neither the Russian army, nor their economy, nor their political system was equal to the demands of the World War, contributing to the end of the Russian Tsarist Empire. Another major reason was the rapid loss of trust, at all levels of society, which the regime had endured during the war years. As the situation at the military front continued to worsen, an even deeper conflict developed between Tsar Nicholas II and the State Duma. The subsistence crisis engendered by the wartim…

Drina

(966 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Drina Border river between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. The battle of the Drina (August 12–21, 1914) was, for Austria-Hungary, the most unfortunate conceivable prelude to the war against Serbia. The prime cause was the incomplete deployment of the Austro-Hungarian forces. The forces ranged against Serbia comprised not only the Fourth and Fifth Armies, but also the Second Army, which had been earmarked for use against the Russians in the event of the opening of a second front in Galicia. However…

Averescu, Alexandru

(351 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Averescu, Alexandru (April 9, 1859, Izmail – October 3, 1938, Bucharest), Romanian field marshal and politician. Averescu’s military career began in 1877 and led him to join the General Staff of the Romanian Army in 1888. As chief of the General Staff during the Second Balkan War, Averescu acquired a considerable military reputation and a far-reaching popularity within Romanian society. Following Romania’s entry into the First World War in 1916, the army was forced to suffer a series of defeats, c…

Bucharest

(352 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Bucharest Capital of Romania. On August 27, 1916, Romania entered the war against the Central Powers. As early as August 28, a German zeppelin attacked the city in response. Further airship raids followed on September 4, 5, and 24. On September 25, Bucharest experienced the first air raid carried out by aircraft from the German Bomber Wing 1. Until November 20, seven more raids flown either by Zeppelins or by aircraft, or a combination of both, targeted the city. When the “Army of the Danube,” a …

War Aims

(1,667 words)

Author(s): Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
War Aims Prior to the outbreak of the war, none of the European Powers had pursued concrete territorial annexation aims that might have significantly influenced their decision to take up arms. Soon after the beginning of the war, however, the issue of war aims began to be debated in all countries, at first mostly behind closed doors. The British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was able to prevent a public discussion of British war aims. Great Britain was quite resolute in its demand that the ind…

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…

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…

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…

Antisemitism

(880 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Antisemitism The First World War constituted a sharp turning point in the history of Antisemitism. It brought the radicalization of anti-Jewish stereotypes and gave rise to ideologies demanding the exclusion of Jews from what was perceived to be a völkisch (i.e. racially homogenous) German nation. The Burgfrieden (literally Fortress Truce: an agreement among political parties not to criticize the government or the war effort) declared by the Kaiser on August 4, 1914, was soon revealed to be no more than a “fair-weather” concept. In the very…

Albania

(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…

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…

Hoyos, Alexander, Count

(277 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Hoyos, Alexander, Count (May 13, 1876, Fiume – October 20, 1937, Schwertberg), Austro-Hungarian politician. Hoyos entered the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service in 1900, and served on many missions overseas. In April 1912 he became chief assistant to the foreign minister Leopold Count Berchtold. After the assassination of heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, the question arose of sounding out Germany’s attitude to a possible Austro-Hungarian war against Serbia, a war that might pro…

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…
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