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Armed Forces (Russia)

(2,272 words)

Author(s): Brand, Bettina | Dahlmann, Dittmar
Armed Forces (Russia) One year before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905, the standing Russian army comprised approximately 41,000 officers, 10,000 military service personnel (including army dentists), and approximately 1 million non-commissioned officers and other ranks. There was provision for about 2 million reservists. Some 3 million non-commissioned officers and other ranks could thus be mobilized in the event of war. The guard regiments had a particular role and status in the Russian Imperial Army until the end of the First World War.…

ANZAC

(1,413 words)

Author(s): Prior, Robin | Wilson, Trevor
ANZAC The Allied operations on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli in 1915 marked the first time ANZAC forces fought in the European theater of war. The completion of this mission in January of 1916 also brought to an end the deployment of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) along this front. Troops from Australia and New Zealand were now sent to the more important theaters of the First World War. Initially the corps was transferred to Egypt for rest, training, and expansion. Divided into the I and II ANZAC Corps, the men were ordered in May of 1916 to …

Alain-Fournier, Henri

(324 words)

Author(s): Beaupré, Nicolas
Alain-Fournier, Henri (October 3, 1886, La Chapelle d’Angillon, Département Cher – September 22, 1914, killed in action near Saint-Rémy), French author whose real name was Henri-Alban Fournier. Along with Charles Péguy, Alain-Fournier is one of the best-known literary figures of the so-called Lost Generation of artists and writers killed in World War I. His parents were primary school teachers in the Berry region. After obtaining his baccalauréat from the Lycée Voltaire, he attended various courses in Paris in preparation for the École Normale Supérieure; howe…

Prisoners of War

(3,043 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Prisoners of War Persons with the status of combatants who fell into enemy hands during the war. Only rough estimates of the total number of prisoners of war can be given for the World War. It is assumed that some 6.6 to 8 million soldiers were taken captive, which represents at least 10% of the approximately 60 million soldiers who were mobilized during the war. By late 1918, according to statistics from the interwar period, 328,000 soldiers had been captured by the British, 350,000 by the French,…

Montenegro

(459 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Montenegro The smallest of the Balkan states, Montenegro was strategically defined by its borders with Austria-Hungary and Serbia. To the south the kingdom bordered Albania, from which it had won territory populated by Albanians during the Second Balkan War. Since the Montenegrin populace itself was ethnically mainly Serbian, during the July Crisis of 1914 their support for their Serbian neighbors arose. The land had been ruled since 1860 by Nikola Petrović I, who had crowned himself king in 1910…

Rationing

(634 words)

Author(s): Berghoff, Hartmut
Rationing The systematic registration and distribution of goods in short supply, in order to meet priority needs. The aim of rationing is to achieve distribution which is as fair as possible, and adequate to the war economy. All belligerent nations, and even the neutral countries, realized that the destruction of established structures of the international division of labor, together with enemy blockades and the enormous needs of the defense economy, created shortages of raw materials and foodstu…

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…

War Atrocities

(955 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
War Atrocities War atrocities may either be in direct violation of international law or contravene the generally accepted conventions of war, or else be conform to international law but nevertheless condemnable. The basic premise lies in the particular atrocity of the type of warfare or in the choice of victims. When defenseless people deliberately become the target of acts of war (civilians, shipwrecked persons, captured or wounded soldiers), the afflicted side perceives such acts as war atrociti…

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…

Poincaré, Raymond

(994 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Poincaré, Raymond (August 20, 1860, Bar-le-Duc [Département Meuse] – October 15, 1934, Paris), French politician, state president. Poincaré came from a prosperous French provincial bourgeois family. Despite a political career that took place predominantly in Paris, his home town of Bar-le-Duc (capital of the Meuse Department) remained for him a haven of social and political retreat. Poincaré became one of the defining personalities of moderate republicanism in France. A lawyer by profession, he wa…

German War Graves Commission

(615 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
German War Graves Commission Founded in 1919 this commission, entitled the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (VDK), was the most important private organization of the interwar period concerned with the creation and maintenance of German war graves. After 1923 the Zentralnachweiseamt für Kriegerverluste und Kriegergräber (‘Central Office for War Victims and War Graves,’ or ZAK) in Berlin was officially charged by the Interior Ministry with the many tasks involved in the care of war graves, and of fallen soldiers’ next-of-kin, as wa…

Paris Peace Conferences

(739 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Paris Peace Conferences In Paris between January 18 and June 28, 1919, peace conferences were held by the victorious powers of the First World War in order to make final decisions on a host of questions, and then to write them as regulations to which the signatories would be contractually obligated. Additionally the victorious powers would conclude so-called minority treaties with the allies of the German Empire after the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The Paris Peace Conferences were held in se…

Compiègne

(335 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Compiègne French town and railway junction on the River Oise, some 60 km northeast of Paris; in 1917 it became the seat of the French Headquarters (GQG) and later the site of the 1918 Armistice. On November 11, 1918, at around 5:20 am, the Armistice between the Entente represented by chief negotiator Marshal Ferdinand Foch, and the German Empire was signed in a wooded area near Compiègne. The act itself took place in a railway carriage parked in a siding that belonged to a disused railway gun emp…

Medical Services

(704 words)

Author(s): Gradmann, Christoph
Medical Services Under the pressure of the extremely high losses of the first months of the war, and the immobilization of the Western Front, medical services that had initially planned only for a war of movement developed in time into a deeply stratified system of medical care. Stretcher bearers brought the wounded to dressing stations situated close to the front lines. These provided only rudimentary first aid. The next stage was the field hospital, the most important institution for the care of…

Headquarters

(1,417 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Headquarters Command centers for the supreme military, sometimes also political, leadership set up in the field for the duration of the war. Composition, location, and function of such a headquarters depended on the constitutional position of the supreme military command of each belligerent and the demands of modern mass and coalition warfare. – By far the most comprehensive headquarters at the outbreak of the war was the German “Great Headquarters.” Aside from the German Emperor as the nominal c…

New Zealand

(743 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
New Zealand New Zealand shared many World War experiences with its larger Pacific neighbor Australia. Yet there existed just as many differences which could not be erased by the fact that the troops of both states fought in joint contingents like the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) for most of the war. The military organization before the war was based on a territorial militia established in 1909, with a total strength of 25,000 men. Under the military service laws, the stationing of…

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,…

Gas Warfare

(1,909 words)

Author(s): Müller, Rolf-Dieter
Gas Warfare With the large-scale use of poisonous chlorine gas at Ypres on April 22, 1915, the Germans opened a new chapter in the history of modern warfare. It marked the birth of a new “weapon of mass destruction,” which has had a profound impact on war and peace in the twentieth century and beyond. The use of poison gas became one of the hallmark phenomena of the First World War because it changed the image of the soldier and his “chivalrous struggle” much more radically than any other contemporary weapons development. The question of guilt – which side violated the Hague Convention…

Gaulle, Charles de

(360 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Gaulle, Charles de (November 22, 1890, Lille – November 9, 1970, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, Département Haute-Marne), French officer and politician. As a young officer, De Gaulle was decorated among other things, for Verdun. He fell prisoner to the Germans, and undertook several spectacular escape attempts. The World War came to have a special meaning for him, especially for his awareness of politics and history, and for his ideological formation. For De Gaulle, the Union sacrée achieved during the war became his lifelong ideal for a successful, domestic political or…

Reparations

(2,115 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Martin H.
Reparations Since the First World War the normal term for war compensation, by which a state is obliged to remedy damage illicitly caused by it on the sovereign territory of an enemy. In contrast to the traditional practice whereby financial obligations were imposed by the victors in a war in the form of tribute, the concept of reparations introduced the new idea that a state must pay for the damage it has caused another state by an illegal act. The first use in a treaty of the concept réparation des dommages (compensation for damages), drawn from French civil law, was in the cease-f…
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