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Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und von

(1,692 words)

Author(s): Chickering, Roger
Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und von (October 2, 1847, Posen – August 2, 1934, Neudeck [West Prussia]), German field marshal (chief of the field army). Hindenburg’s military career began with his entry into the military academy at Wahlstatt in Silesia at the age of 12. He was a product of the army of King Wilhelm I of Prussia and his socialization and intellectual development took place within the narrow confines of that institution. Hindenburg’s political loyalties were unconditionally linked t…

Flamethrower

(468 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Flamethrower Weapon designed for tactical attacks against military targets by means of a stream of fire. Flammable oil is sprayed from a pressurized container through a tube and automatically ignited upon leaving the tube. The development of flamethrowers began in Germany shortly before the First World War. The Germans produced heavy-duty stationary flamethrowers with a capacity to hold 100 liters of fuel oil, which had a range of about 50 m, and small, portable units with a fuel reservoir of 10 …

War Guilt

(797 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
War Guilt The question of responsibility for the First World War was actually the subject of controversial discussion even before the outbreak of war, during the July Crisis of 1914, and was even answered propagandistically, to justify positions taken. Proclamations at the outset of the war, such as the “balcony speech” of Kaiser Wilhelm II on August 4 (“It is not the desire for conquest that drives us . . .”) or Poincaré’s “ Union sacrée” address on the same date (“In the war now breaking out, France has right on her side.”) always emphasize the defensive character of…

Assault Battalions

(304 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Assault Battalions Army formations that were raised specifically to be used in trench warfare and as training units. Beginning in 1916, the Germans deployed assault battalions primarily on the Western Front. France, Russia, and Austria-Hungary also fielded assault troops from 1917. The first German unit of this type, “Assault Battalion Rohr,” was organized in 1915 and initially comprised two pioneer companies. Its success led to the creation of 16 more assault battalions of this type, with infantry and pioneers p…

Danilov, Yuri Nikiforovich

(350 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Danilov, Yuri Nikiforovich (August 25, 1866 – November 3, 1937), Russian general and military historian. Graduated from the School of Artillery at Mikhailovskoe in 1886, and from the General Staff academy in 1892. From 1908 to 1909 he was quartermaster-general, then senior quartermaster-general. From 1914 he was a general of infantry. Danilov took the leading role in drafting the Russian army’s plan of attack in case of war, entitled “Plan 19.” The plan envisaged a concentration of Russian forces f…

Delcassé, Théophile

(468 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Delcassé, Théophile (March 1, 1852, Pamiers [Ariège] – February 22, 1923, Nice), French politician (foreign minister). Delcassé was a journalist who entered politics as a disciple of Léon Gambetta. He remained deputy for his home department of Ariège from 1889 until 1919. His uninterrupted seven years’ service as foreign minister, from 1898 to 1905, was the most important period of his political career. Although his stance was for a long time anti-British rather than anti-German, it was during his…

Inflation

(1,440 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Martin H.
Inflation An increase in the money supply and a rise of the monetary demand that is not matched by a corresponding amount of goods. Until long after the end of the war, people were accustomed to speak of “rising prices” instead of inflation or devaluation. In current research, the “age of inflation” denotes the period extending from the war to the beginning of the currency stabilization in November 1923. It also alludes to the economic, political, social, and cultural changes that resulted from the currency devaluation as well as to the ways of coming to terms with inflation. The causes of w…

Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy

(482 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy (November 11, 1869, Naples – December 28, 1947, Alexandria, Egypt), Italian king. As heir apparent Prince Victor Emmanuel pursued the usual, meteoric career in the Italian Army. In 1896 he married Princess Helena, daughter to the Prince of Montenegro, whereupon he acquired an especial interest in Balkan politics. The diminutive Prince Victor Emmanuel was reputed to be great in intelligence, reserved and skeptical. He ascended to the Italian throne in 1900 upon the mu…

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…
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