Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Subject: History

Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is an online resource that contains over 700 encyclopedia entries plus 250 peer-reviewed articles of transnational and global historical perspectives on significant topics of World War I. This collection includes Brill’s Encyclopedia of the First World War, an unrivalled reference work that showcases the knowledge of experts from 15 countries and offers 26 additional essays on the major belligerents, wartime society and culture, diplomatic and military events, and the historiography of the Great War.

The 250 articles address not only the key issues from political, historical and cultural perspectives, but also engages with aspects of the war which have remained underexplored such as the neutrals, the role of women before, during and after the war, and memory. The chapters have been drawn from a select number of Brill publications that have been published in the last 15 years. Brill’s Digital Library of World War I is a unique digital library that will allow researchers to discover new perspectives and connections with the enhanced navigational tools provided.

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Baker, Newton Diehl

(399 words)

Author(s): Hoff, Henning
Baker, Newton Diehl (December 3, 1871, Martinsburg West Virginia – December 25, 1937, Cleveland, Ohio), American politician (secretary of war). After earning his law degree Baker worked as a solicitor in Martinsburg and served as the mayor of Cleveland from 1912 to 1916. He is thought to be one of the architects of the progressive movement and played a major part in the nomination of Woodrow Wilson as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party in 1912. Baker was highly regarded by President Wilson, who relied on him as a loyal follower and close advisor. In March…

Balfour Declaration

(486 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Balfour Declaration Statement by the British government made in a letter from the Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour to Lord Lionel Rothschild on November 2, 1917, expressing support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The Manchester-based British Palestine Committee had campaigned for the Declaration. The most prominent advocate was Chaim Weizmann, an advisor to the British government, who enjoyed good contacts with Lord Balfour and the (then) Chancello…

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…

Balloons

(471 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Balloons The early 19th century saw the first balloons employed for military purposes. The use of free balloons in the Franco-Prussian War attracted much attention. The balloons helped the beleaguered capital maintain communications with the surrounding countryside. After 1871 most European Powers created military airship detachments in particular to operate tethered balloons, as they offered a controllable observation platform at altitude. Interest in balloons declined with the emergence of diri…

Baltic States

(1,258 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Baltic States The countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are collectively known as the Baltic States. In 1914 they were part of the Russian Empire. In power-political terms, the Baltic States were repeatedly exposed to the expansionist pressure put on them by their larger neighbors: Germany, Russia, Poland, and Scandinavia. At the beginning of the First World War, the Latvian delegate to the Duma J. Goldmanis delivered a declaration of loyalty to the Russian government. Even though opposition movements existed, especially movements of the …

Baptism by Snow: The Ottoman Experience of Winter Warfare During the First World War

(12,771 words)

Author(s): Atlı, Altay
Atlı, Altay - Baptism by Snow: The Ottoman Experience of Winter Warfare During the First World War ISFWWS-Keywords: The Ottoman Empire and the Middle East | Published memoirs and biographies | Russian Front | Middle East | Experience of combat | Military organisation of combat 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_005 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Atlı, Altay

Barbarians

(892 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Barbarians In all warring societies, the topic of the Barbarians played a central role. In this war, it seemed to hinge upon nothing less than the survival, and the critical importance of humankind. Thus, there developed a script that depicted the war as a conflict between one’s own, idealized nation and a demonized enemy. “Civilization” was thereby commonly juxtaposed against “Barbarity.” This dualism was a powerful concept for two reasons. First, the nation-states of the 19th century were defined through a cultural construct that defined one’s own natio…

Barbusse, Henri

(571 words)

Author(s): Beaupré, Nicolas
Barbusse, Henri (March 17, 1872, Asnières near Paris – August 30, 1935, Moscow), French writer. Barbusse is undoubtedly one of France’s most famous war novelists. He moreover embodied the type of the left-wing intellectual wartime activist. His 1916 war novel Le Feu (English: Under Fire, 1917 and 2003) quickly earned him recognition in and outside of France. Henri Barbusse, 1915. Barbusse was a member of the intellectual bourgeoisie. In 1898 he married Helyonne, daughter of the influential poet Catulle Mendès. At that time he was primarily writing poetry…

Barrage Fire

(300 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Barrage Fire A “curtain of fire” created by the artillery, that is the intense, concentrated shelling of a section of terrain to prevent attacking infantry from approaching a defensive position, or to isolate an enemy position from its rear area. The barrage was not aimed at identified, visible targets, but instead sought to deny the enemy movement through a specific area by employing a maximum amount of firepower. Fire distribution and adjustment of the firing batteries had to be completed on schedule as part of the artillery prepara…

Barrès, Maurice

(394 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Barrès, Maurice (September 22, 1862, Charmes, département Vosges – December 4, 1923, Neuilly-sur-Seine), French writer and politician. Originally from Lorraine, Barrès was one of the most important exponents of prewar French nationalism. Having come to public attention as the author of a trilogy of novels ( Le Culte du moi, 1888–1891), Barrès turned to the politics and the ideology of nationalism in the wake of the political crisis triggered by General Georges Boulanger in the 1880s that shook the French state and society. Barrès believed that…

Battisti, Cesare

(467 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Battisti, Cesare (February 4, 1875, Trento – July 12, 1916, Trento), Italian politician and officer. The son of Italian-speaking parents, Battisti grew up in Trento, which belonged to Austria at the time. Between 1893 and 1897 Battisti studied in Graz, Florence, Turin, and Vienna. He became a supporter of irredentism, a movement calling for the separation of all Italian-speaking territories from the Habsburg Empire and their annexation by Italy. Upon earning his degree in geography Battisti began …

Battlefield Tourism

(601 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Battlefield Tourism This term covers visits both to former war locations and landscapes and to military cemeteries of the First World War. The majority of “battlefield tourists” during the 1920s and 1930s were relatives of the fallen. Every French citizen, for example, received a free railway pass every year to visit the military cemeteries. The English travel bureau Thomas Cook specialized in accompanying British visitors to the cemeteries and memorials in Belgium and France, which had begun to be constructed soon a…

Battle of the Frontiers

(647 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Battle of the Frontiers Collective term for a series of engagements that were fought in Belgium and France in the course of the German invasion between August 20 and 24, 1914. The German operational plan had envisioned a strong right wing enveloping the bulk of the French, British, and Belgian forces in northern France. Following the successful coup de main against Liège this right wing consisting of the First, Second, and Third Armies advanced through Belgium toward the French border. The Fourth and Fifth Armies moved through Luxembourg and the Ardenne…

Bauer, Max

(582 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Bauer, Max (January 31, 1869, Quedlinburg – May 6, 1929, Shanghai), Prussian officer. Bauer joined the Prussian Foot Artillery Regiment No. 2 in 1888. In 1908, as a captain, Bauer became an artillery expert with the Deployment Section of the General Staff, where he worked with Erich Ludendorff. In 1918 he was prooted to colonel. He remained a close member of Ludendorff ’s staff throughout the war and was considered to be an exceptionally gifted officer with a touch of genius. During the war he was…

Bäumer, Gertrud

(749 words)

Author(s): Rouette, Susanne
Bäumer, Gertrud (September 12, 1873, Hohenlimburg – March 25, 1954, Bethel, now part of Bielefeld), German literary author and women’s rights campaigner. Bäumer was a leading representative of the moderate wing within the bourgeois women’s movement, a distinguished liberal politician and commentator as well as an author of historical novels. From 1910 to 1919 she chaired the Federation of German Women’s Organizations (Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine, BDF), the umbrella organization of the bourgeois women’s movement. The trained teacher, who held a doctorate in German lit…

Bavarian Soviet Republic

(891 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Bavarian Soviet Republic A soviet republic is a state in which all executive, legislate, and jurisdictional power is in the hands of elected spokesmen for workers and soldiers, excluding parliament. For a short time in early 1919 there existed in Germany Soviet republics in Cuxhaven, Mannheim, Braunschweig, Bremen, and Munich. Of these, the ones which lasted longest were those in Bremen (25 days) and Munich (24 days). In the first months after the revolution, Bremen was a stronghold of the Spartakus movement. Together with t…

Beatty, David

(572 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Beatty, David (January 17, 1871, Howbeck, Cheshire – March 11, 1936, London; from 1919 Earl Beatty, Viscount Borodale of Borodale, Baron Beatty of the North Sea), British Admiral of the Fleet. Beatty joined the Royal Navy in 1884 and participated in various colonial operations, thus for instance in the Sudan (1896–1898) and in China (1900). After commanding several ships between 1902 and 1910, Beatty was promoted to rear admiral in 1910 – the youngest in 100 years. Having been appointed naval secretary to the First Lord of th…

Beckmann, Max

(348 words)

Author(s): Jürgens-Kirchhoff, Annegret
Beckmann, Max (February 12, 1884, Leipzig – December 27, 1950, New York NY), German painter and graphic artist. When Beckmann went to the Eastern Front as a medical volunteer in 1914 he was already a well-known painter. The war, which he experienced at the Western Front in 1915, at first appeared to him as a magnificent natural spectacle, a “wonder” that he hoped would expand and enrich his artistic work: “My art is being fed here.” However, Beckmann’s reaction to the war changed: he became increa…

Belgium

(3,743 words)

Author(s): van Ypersele, Laurence
Belgium The status of Belgium during the First World War was a special one. Not only as a small, neutral country that had been drawn into the war against its will, but also as an occupied country that only knew the difference between frontline and occupied territories, Belgium did not experience the war in the same way as the other warring nations. The memory of the war that developed after 1918 was accordingly a different one. An additional psychological burden resulted from the fact that Belgiu…

Below, Otto von

(480 words)

Author(s): Kleine Vennekate, Erik
Below, Otto von (January 18, 1857, Danzig, modern Gdańsk – March 9, 1944, Besenhausen near Göttingen), German general. After attending secondary school, Below joined the Prussian army as a cadet in 1871. From 1884 to 1887 he attended the Prussian Military Academy and was subsequently appointed to the General Staff. He was given command of a battalion in 1897, a regiment in 1905, and a brigade in 1909. In 1912 he was promoted to lieutenant-general, with command of the 2nd Division at Insterburg (Chernyakhovsk) in East Prussia. At the start of the war Below commanded the Ist Reserve…

Benedict XV

(414 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Benedict XV (November 21, 1854, Genoa – January 22, 1922, Rome; formerly Giacomo della Chiesa), Pope. Giacomo della Chiesa was elected Pope following the death of Pius X in September of 1914. He took the name of Benedict in memory of the great legislator Benedict XIV. Even though the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici in May 1917 was of considerable theological significance, Benedict made history as the “Pope of the Great War,” especially since he died only a few years after the war. His entire tenure was characterized by a keen awareness of …

Beneš, Edvard

(414 words)

Author(s): Hadler, Frank
Beneš, Edvard (May 28, 1884, Kožlany, Bohemia – September 3, 1948, Sezimovo Ústí, South Bohemian Region), Czechoslovak politician. Beneš was his country’s first minister of foreign affairs (1918–1935). In 1921–1922 he simultaneously held the office of prime minister before succeeding Tomáš Masaryk as president (1935–1938). From 1940 he headed the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London and finally became president of Czechoslovakia following the renewal of the country in the wake of World War I…

Benson, William Shepherd

(331 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Benson, William Shepherd (September 25, 1855, Bibb County GA – May 20, 1932, Washington DC), American admiral. Benson graduated from the Naval Academy 1877 and in 1888–1889 sailed around the world on the warship Dolphin. From 1890 to 1893 and 1896 to 1898 he taught at the Naval Academy, from 1910 to 1913 he commanded the battle ship Utah, and from 1913 to 1915 he was in command of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. On May 10, 1915, he was called to Washington as the new Chief of Naval Operations. In early 1917 Benson conducted a reorganization of the fle…

Berchtold, Leopold Count

(508 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Berchtold, Leopold Count (April 18, 1863, Vienna – November 21, 1942, Pereznye Castle near Ödenburg, modern Sopron, Hungary), Austro-Hungarian politician. Berchtold joined the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service in 1893 and served as the Dual Monarchy’s ambassador in Saint Petersburg from 1906 until 1911. In February of 1912 he took office as Foreign Minister, and in the autumn the First Balkan War presented him with a sudden, massive threat to Austria-Hungary’s position of power in the region. Ber…

Bernhardi, Friedrich Adam Julius von

(494 words)

Author(s): Gerhards, Thomas
Bernhardi, Friedrich Adam Julius von (November 22, 1849, Saint Petersburg – July 10, 1930, Kunnersdorf, Silesia), German general and military writer. After serving in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 Bernhardi was posted to Greece and then Switzerland as military attaché. This was followed in 1898 by his appointment as chief of the War Historical Section I at the Great General Staff, where he laid the foundations for his career as a military writer. From 1909, Bernhardi dedicated his entire time in retirement to that activity. Central to his writings was the propagation of t…

Berthelot, Henri-Mathias

(385 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Berthelot, Henri-Mathias (December 7, 1861, Feurs, Département Loire – January 28, 1931, Paris), French general. After a career in the colonial army Berthelot attained the rank of brigadier general when he joined the army’s administrative service at the ministry of war as an adjutant to General Noël Édouard de Castelnau in December of 1913. With mobilization in 1914 Berthelot was named aide-major général (assistant chief of staff ) to General Joseph Joffre, with whom he developed a close working r…

Beseler, Hans Hartwig von

(293 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Beseler, Hans Hartwig von (April 27, 1850, Greifswald – December 20, 1921, Neubabelsberg), German general. At the outbreak of World War I Beseler took command of IIIrd Reserve Corps, and was ordered on September 17, 1914, to besiege the city of Antwerp. The fall of this strategically important fortress on October 9, 1914, established Beseler’s reputation. In August of 1915 he was responsible for the successful siege of Modlin Fortress near Warsaw which helped push the Russian army out of Poland. On …

Best Boys and Aching Hearts: The Rhetoric of Romance as Social Control in Wartime Magazines for Young Women

(9,082 words)

Author(s): Acton, Carol
Acton, Carol - Best Boys and Aching Hearts: The Rhetoric of Romance as Social Control in Wartime Magazines for Young Women Keywords: aching heart | best boy | Our Girls | romance | The Girl's Friend | wartime magazines | young women ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Women and War | Literature | Society | Politics | Masculinity | Gender | Home fronts | Culture Abstract: Two very similar weekly one-penny magazines, The Girl’s Friend and Our Girls, targeting working- and lower middle-class girls in the fifteen-to-twenty age group with their combination of advice columns, fa…

Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von

(1,133 words)

Author(s): Tiefel, Marcus A.
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von (November 29, 1856, Hohenfinow near Eberswalde – January 2, 1921, Hohenfinow), German politician (chancellor). After studying law in Strasbourg, Leipzig and Berlin, Bethmann passed his Referendarexamen (first state examination required to enter the Prussian civil and administrative services) in 1879. For ten years, from 1886 to 1896, he held the office of Landrat (chief administrator) in his home district of Oberbarnim. Promoted to the position of Oberpräsidialrat (dep…

Between Passéisme and Modernisation? The Case of the Belgian Fortification System 1926–1940

(13,496 words)

Author(s): Vaesen, J.
Vaesen, J. - Between Passéisme and Modernisation? The Case of the Belgian Fortification System 1926–1940 Keywords: Belgian armed forces | decision-making process | fortification system | modernisation Abstract: The fortification system provides a fine example of the preparation of the Belgian armed forces in the inter-war period on the one hand, and of the relationship with the broader political debates, on the other. This chapter analyses the modernisation of the defensive system not by describing the…

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

Beyond and Below the Nations: Towards a Comparative History of Local Communities at War

(98 words)

Author(s): Purseigle, Pierre
Purseigle, Pierre - Beyond and Below the Nations: Towards a Comparative History of Local Communities at War Keywords: Home fronts | Britain | France | Society | Visual Arts ‛Uncovered Fields’ Jenny Macleod and Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2004 e-ISBN: 9789047402596 DOI: 10.1163/9789047402596.007 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Purseigle, Pierre
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