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Friedrich, Ernst

(362 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Friedrich, Ernst (February 25, 1894, Breslau [modern Wrocław] – May 2, 1967, Le Perreux sur Marne), German pacifist. In 1924 Friedrich, a member of the SPD, published the still well-known volume of photographs titled Krieg dem Kriege! ( War against War!). With his multilingual captions he addressed an international audience. In 1925 he established the first International Antiwar Museum in Berlin. His life-long struggle against militarism and war was based on the conviction that an education for peace must start on the playground and, …

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 …

Delbrück, Hans

(333 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Delbrück, Hans (November 11, 1848, Bergen [Rügen] – July 14, 1929, Berlin), German historian and political commentator. Delbrück had become known before 1914 as an advocate both of Germany’s world role, and of internal and socio-political reform. Politically, the historian was identified with the Free Conservative Party. Appointed to Berlin University as su…


(514 words)

Author(s): van Ypersele, Laurence
Antwerp Belgian city and fortress. In the aftermath of the fall of Liège in mid-August of 1914 and the fighting on the River Gete, the Belgian king Albert I rejected the proposal of a joint Belgian and French withdrawal to Namur, choosing instead to retreat with his field army (80,000 men) to Antwerp. The fortified city with its 70,000 fortress garrison troops was regarded as the “national redoubt” ( réduit national), the stronghold – and refuge – of the nation. The king and his army were determined to defend themselves and to hold out there, awaiting the arrival of the Allied guarantors of Belgian neutrality. In order to take pressure off the French and British forces but also to prove the Belgians’ loyalty toward their guarantors, they undertook two large-scale sorties that resulted in heavy losses but were of little consequence. The first sortie took place on August 25–26, 1914, toward Mechelen and cost 4,000 casualties. Between September 8 and 13, the Army lost 8,000 more soldiers during the second raid. After the Battle of the Marne the Germans sent an additional 120,000 men under the command of General Hans von Beseler to deal the final blow to Antwerp. The advanced Belgian troops were pushed back on September 27, and from September 28 to 30 the fortress was shelled by heavy artillery. The Belgian Army was nearing exhaustion, and the French reinforcements failed to materialize. Even though the forts surrounding Antwerp were still putting up a fierce resistance, the Belgians were forced to retire to the River Nèthe. Relief eventually began to arrive on October 3 in the shape of 2,000 British troops. On October 2, after long hesitation, the decision was finally made to proceed with the military evacuation of the city. The period from October 4 to 8 saw intense fighting; the German troops broke through the lines around the city of Lier and threatened to cross the Scheldt. A retreat became unavoidable but the king was reluctant. At last, on October 6 he ordered the overdue withdrawal from Antwerp. The Belgian government went into exile at Le Havre, where it would remain for four years. On October 10 the mayor of Antwerp offered the capitulation of the city. Earlier, the evacuation had been conducted in a somewhat less than orderly fashion: 30,000 soldiers had fled to the Netherlands and another 30,000 were taken prisoner. The bulk of the army, however, had escaped and made its way into the Westhoek Region of the country (Flanders). After severe t…

Emergency Money (Notgeld)

(483 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
Emergency Money ( Notgeld) Money put temporarily into circulation, to replace either in whole or in part, the coinage that before its issue represented the currency, and that for a time could function as currency.

Cavell, Edith Louisa

(464 words)

Author(s): Winter, Jay
Cavell, Edith Louisa (December 4, 1865, Swardeston [Norfolk] – October 12, 1915, Brussels [executed]), British nurse. Cavell directed the nurses’ school ( École Belge d’Infirmières Diplomées) at Berkendael on the edge of Brussels from 1907 to 1915. In the autumn of 1914 she met Herman Capiau, a Belgian engineer engaged in aiding the escape of Allied soldiers caught behind the German lines after the fall of Mons. Capiau asked her to take in two British soldiers who had disguised themselves as Belgian workers. These two w…


(529 words)

Author(s): Bohn, Robert
Norway Constitutional monarchy under Regent Haakon VII (r. 1905–1957). Norway’s attitude to the World War is only understandable in view of the fact that Norway had only achieved independence from Sweden in 1905, and that Great Britain was Norway’s most important guarantor nation. These security policy considerations, the mainstay of Norway’s foreign policy, were strengthened by a corresponding trade policy orientation. The war having begun, Norway followed Sweden’s lead on August 8, 1914, by issuing a…

War Neuroses

(1,326 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
War Neuroses An increasingly accepted designation of the First World War for psychopathologically induced disorders that appeared among soldiers as a consequence of combat experiences. The specialized literature also spoke of traumatic neurosis, purpose neurosis (German Zweckneurose), fright neurosis (German Schreckneurose), shell-shock and nervous shock, war hysteria, or simply of nervous disorders. Due to the prevalent symptoms, the patients were colloquially known in Germany as “war-tremblers” (German Kriegszitterer) or “shakers” (German Schüttler). Careful esti…


(996 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Armistice This term refers to the cessation of hostilities between the Entente Powers and the Central Powers in 1918. In fact, the Armistice agreements concluded by the victors with Bulgaria (on September 30 at Salonica, now Thessalonika), with Turkey (on October 31 at the port of Moudros on the island of Lemnos), with the Habsburg Empire (on November 3 in the Villa Giusti near Padua), and with the German Reich (on November 11 at Compiègne-Rethondes) made it impossible for the Central Powers to resume hostilities. In reality, therefore, armistice amounted to capitulation. It was General Erich Ludendorff who gave the decisive impetus to the German Armistice, when, fearing the collapse of the front in the West, on September 29, 1918, he demanded, in the name of the Supreme Army Command (OHL) the immediate conclusion of an armistice and the initiation of peace negotiations. The German imperial leadership responded on October 3 by sending its request for an immediate armistice and the commencement of peace negotiations to the American President Woodrow Wilson. In doing so, the German governme…

Schlieffen Plan

(985 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Schlieffen Plan Right up to the outbreak of the war in August 1914, the memorandum submitted by Count Alfred von Schlieffen in the winter of 1905/1906 outlined the basic strategic conception with which the German Reich entered the First World War – albeit in a version that had been modified several times by Helmuth von Moltke (the Younger). Although the significance of the Schlieffen Plan has been radically challenged in recent historical research (Zuber, 2002), the plan’s offensive strategy has r…

Deployment Plans

(1,557 words)

Author(s): Bourne, John
Deployment Plans Deployment plans were plans for readying the mobilized uni…

Goltz, Baron Colmar von der

(454 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Goltz, Baron Colmar von der (August 12, 1843, Bielkenfeld near Labiau […

Neutral Borders, Neutral Waters, Neutral Skies: Protecting the Territorial Neutrality of the Netherlands in the Great War, 1914-1918

(9,124 words)

Author(s): Abbenhuis, Maartje M.
Abbenhuis, Maartje M. - Neutral Borders, Neutral Waters, Neutral Skies: Protecting the Territorial Neutrality of the Netherlands in the Great War, 1914-1918 Keywords: Netherlands | Neutral States | International Relations during the War | Home fronts | Naval Warfare | Aviation | Germany | Belgium | Economy Boundaries and their Meanings in the History of the Netherlands Benjamin Kaplan, Marybeth Carlson and Laura Cruz , (2009) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2009 e-ISBN: 9789047429814 DOI:10.1163/ej.9789004176379.i-258.30 © 2009 Koninklijke Brill NV, L…


(501 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Sabotage (French: sabot, wooden shoe) This expression refers to actions committed with the intention of weakening the resolve of a state. Sabotage may be further categorized into acts perpetrated by members of foreign powers, such as agents and prisoners of war, versus acts by individuals against their own nation. In the World War, sabotage was mainly committed by foreign agents. As a rule intelligence agents were responsible for the planning and execution of sabotage acts. Included under the head…

General Government/Occupation Government

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
General Government/Occupation Government In World War I, a general government was a conquered territory under the supreme command of a governor general. This territory would have its own administrative unit attached, and was divided into the front, and the administrative zones. The governor general possessed the highest legislative, judicial, and executive power in the general government, and the troops stationed in the area were also placed under his command. He had the task of organizing public l…

The Transformation of Local Public Spheres: German, Belgian and Dutch Border Towns during the First World War Compared

(9,388 words)

Author(s): Liemann, Bernhard
Liemann, Bernhard - The Transformation of Local Public Spheres: German, Belgian and Dutch Border Towns during the First World War Compared ISFWWS-Keywords: Home fronts | Germany | Belgium | Netherlands | Violence against civilians Other Fronts, Other Wars? Joachim Bürgschwentner, Matthias Egger and Gunda Barth-Scalmani , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004279513 DOI: 10.1163/9789004279513_017 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Liemann, Bernhard

Kluck, Alexander von

(406 words)

Author(s): Kleine Venekate, Erik
Kluck, Alexander von (May 20, 1846, Münster – October 19, 1934, Berlin), German general. Kluck entered the Prussian army in 1865 and participated in the wars of 1866 and 1870–1871. From 1881 to 1889 he was responsible in various positions for the training of non-commissioned officers. Subsequently he served with the 3rd Magdeburg Infantry Regiment until 1896. Kluck’s career was accelerated by his time in charge of the Landwehr (inactive reserve) in the First District headquartered in Berlin from 18…

Frontline Theater

(1,304 words)

Author(s): Baumeister, Martin
Frontline Theater Theatrical and related presentations by or for soldiers in the rear areas, in occupied zones, and close to the front lines. The term applies to a variety of practices that arose from a highly diverse set of circumstances. Dramatic presentations by and for members of the armed forces in times of war and peace have a long historical tradition. In the period leading up to the First World War interest in the subject grew steadily among military experts. During the war, however, music…

Troop Strength

(1,120 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Troop Strength The initial numbers of soldiers mobilized for immediate wartime service. The peacetime strength of the individual armies before 1914 provided the foundation for troop strength in the war. A cadre of commanders for reserve units and an attachment of reservists for these troop units were included in their mobilization plans. This would make it possible to raise units to wartime strength once the mobilization was begun. The troop strengths planned in the event of war, and the troop str…
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