Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Botha, Louis

(310 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Botha, Louis (September 27, 1862, Greytown, Natal – August 27, 1919, Rusthof, Pretoria), South African general and politician. Botha was perhaps the most gifted member of the Boer military and one of the leading politicians of South Africa. He demonstrated his superior tactical skills as a general in the Boer War (1899–1902). Serving as prime minister of the Transvaal from 1907, Botha worked towards reconciling the Boers and the British. From 1910 he headed the government of the newly established …

Protestantism

(641 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
Protestantism In the years before the outbreak of war, Anglo-Saxon Protestantism made repeated efforts to establish closer international relations with other churches. The World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches, financially supported by the American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, with Friedrich Siegmund Schultze as its German contact, had called its founding assembly in Constance for the 3rd and 4th August of 1914. However, as the war began all the churches qui…

September Program (Septemberprogramm)

(581 words)

Author(s): Roolf, Christoph
September Program ( Septemberprogramm) A four-page document issued by the Reich Chancellery in its final version on September 9, 1914, with the innocuous title of Vorläufige Richtlinien über unsere Politik bei Friedensschluß (Provisional Political Guidelines for when Peace is Concluded). The September Program bears the signature of Reich Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. It counts as the first, comprehensive war-objectives program of the German Reich leadership in the World War. It resulted from weeks of consultations by the Reich…

South Africa

(1,166 words)

Author(s): Nasson, Bill
South Africa The Union of South Africa came into being on May 31, 1910, with the coming into force of the South Africa Act, a common constitution for the British Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Natal, and Transvaal. Ruled by white settlers, the Union was granted the status of a self-governing dominion within Britain’s African Empire. South Africa was thus constitutionally bound to adhere to British foreign policy, including the event of a war. Although the question of the country’s joining the Fir…

Armed Forces (Great Britain)

(4,680 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Armed Forces (Great Britain) The First World War was a highly unpleasant experience for the British. The perception of this war in public opinion was once summed up by the historian A.J.P. Taylor in the disparaging words “brave, helpless soldiers; blundering, obstinate generals; nothing achieved.” This negative view was primarily the consequence of the losses of human life, as the number of casualties among the soldiers was without precedent in the history of Great Britain. The majority of these los…

Military Collaboration, Conscription and Citizenship Rights in the Four Communes of Senegal and in French West Africa (1912–1946)

(11,408 words)

Author(s): Bruschi, Francesca
Bruschi, Francesca - Military Collaboration, Conscription and Citizenship Rights in the Four Communes of Senegal and in French West Africa (1912–1946) Keywords: Africa | The French and British Empires | Politics | Legacy | Pre-war period | French society during the war The World in World Wars Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber , Katharina Lange , Dyala Hamzah and Ravi Ahuja , (2010) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2010 e-ISBN: 9789004188471 DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004185456.i-618.101 © 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Bruschi, Francesca

North Africa

(2,498 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
North Africa Geographical area stretching from the Atlantic coast of present-day Morocco in the west to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. The territories in question experienced various phases of political and military subjugation by the European colonial powers before the outbreak of the First World War. The North African territories were subject to differing external and internal political arrangements, and were then administered under direct and indirect forms of rule. France claimed formal sovereignty in Al…

Pan-German League

(886 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Pan-German League Radical nationalistic organization in Germany. The Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband, ADV) was founded in Berlin in April 1891 and (until 1894) operated under the name Allgemeiner Deutscher Verband (“General German Association”). It was formed as a non-party organization on the initiative of a small circle of activists that included representatives from the community of “ethnic Germans” living outside of the German Empire ( Volksdeutsche), several colonial propagandists with ties to Carl Peters, and Alfred Hugenberg, who was still a yo…

Lettow-Vorbeck, Paul von

(330 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Lettow-Vorbeck, Paul von (March 20, 1870, Saarlouis – March 9, 1964, Hamburg), German general. Lettow-Vorbeck was celebrated during the First World War as the commander of the German colonial forces in German East Africa. He began his military career in 1881. In 1900/1901 he took part in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China, and between 1904 and 1907 served as a captain in the war against the Herero and the Nama tribes in German Southwest Africa. As a lieutenant-colonel, Lettow-Vorbeck b…

Smuts, Jan Christiaan

(365 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Smuts, Jan Christiaan (May 24, 1870, Bovenplaats [Cape Province] – September 11, 1950, Irene [near Pretoria]), South African general and politician. Born the son of a Boer farmer, Smuts became one of the most important politicians of South Africa. Between 1899 and 1902 he served as a Boer general in the Boer War against Great Britain. In 1907 he entered the cabinet of Louis Botha in the Transvaal and also worked under him in the government of the South African Union, founded in 1910. On the outbrea…

Scorched Earth Tactics

(1,283 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Michael
Scorched Earth Tactics Systematically laying waste to enemy territory as a battle tactic, rendering the area militarily useless for a time, sometimes lastingly. Scorched earth as a combat strategy was described by Carl von Clausewitz in his work Vom Kriege, as follows: First, all that the country has to offer will be taken for the benefit of the retreating army, and mostly consumed. Nothing will remain but wasted villages and towns; fields emptied of their crops and then trampled; wells run dry; and contaminated brooks. Thus right from …

Allenby, Edmund

(593 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Allenby, Edmund (April 23, 1861, Brackenhurst Hall, Nottinghamshire – May 14, 1936, London; from 1919, Viscount Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe), British field marshal. After completing his training at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, Allenby initially served with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons (1884–1888) in South Africa. He took part in the Boer War of 1899–1902 (5th Lancers). At the beginning of the World War, he was inspector general of the cavalry. Allenby was a man of powerful stature; both this and his violent temper earned him the nickname “The Bull…

Moroccan Crises, First and Second

(692 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin | Allain, Jean-Claude
Moroccan Crises, First and Second Two situations of international tension (1905, 1911) that were provoked by the rivalry between the German Reich and France over influence in Morocco. France’s interest in Morocco resulted from the latter’s proximity to Algeria. The aim was to extend French rule to the entire Maghreb. By concluding bilateral agreements with Italy (1902), England (Entente Cordiale), and Spain (1904), as well as by weakening Moroccan rule in the areas bordering on Algeria, France strove to establish itself as the dominant political power in the region. The German Reich…

Australia

(2,831 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Australia Australia entered the First World War as a federal dominion of the British Empire (Commonwealth of Australia), having achieved that status in 1901. Although the Australian colonies had sent troops to the Boer War between 1899 and 1902, there was no military tradition in the sense of a high-echelon military leadership and administration and a defense policy, and precious little national experience of war. Yet, by the end of the First World War, almost seven Australian cavalry and infantr…

South Africa and the First World War

(9,343 words)

Author(s): Samson, Anne
Samson, Anne - South Africa and the First World War ISFWWS-Keywords: Africa | Politics | International Relations during the War | East Africa | Society | Britain World War I and Propaganda Troy R.E. Paddock , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004264571 DOI: 10.1163/9789004264571_007 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Samson, Anne

Suez Canal

(398 words)

Author(s): Mönch, Winfried
Suez Canal A ship canal in Egypt, running between Port Said in the north and Suez in the south. The Suez Canal links the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean, via the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea. The canal was the target of Ottoman/German offensives launched from the Sinai Peninsula in 1915 and 1916, and from the beginning of 1917 the starting point for British operations against Palestine. It was of great strategic importance to the British Empire, as it was the shortest route between Britain and its colonies in East Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. After the Ottoman Empire’s entry in…

Still behind Enemy Lines? Algerian and Tunisian Veterans after the World Wars

(11,362 words)

Author(s): DeGeorges, Thomas
DeGeorges, Thomas - Still behind Enemy Lines? Algerian and Tunisian Veterans after the World Wars Keywords: The French and British Empires | Africa | Legacy | Politics | Western Front | Economy | Experience of combat The World in World Wars Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber , Katharina Lange , Dyala Hamzah and Ravi Ahuja , (2010) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2010 e-ISBN: 9789004188471 DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004185456.i-618.126 © 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands DeGeorges, Thomas

Colored Troops

(587 words)

Author(s): Koller, Christian
Colored Troops German war propaganda described the nonwhite colonial troops employed by the Entente Powers in the First World War in general terms as “colored auxiliaries.” The very use of such units in Europe caused a considerable sensation. All in all, some 485,000 nonwhite soldiers from the French colonies and 160,000 from the British colonies fought in the ranks of the Entente Powers in the European theater. Important contingents came from Algeria (173,000), India (153,000), French West Africa…

Defending the Heimat: The Germans in South-West Africa and East Africa During the First World War

(12,890 words)

Author(s): Rouven Steinbach, Daniel
Rouven Steinbach, Daniel - Defending the Heimat: The Germans in South-West Africa and East Africa During the First World War Keywords: First World War | German East Africa | German Schutzgebiete | Heimat | South-West Africa ISFWWS-Keywords: Africa | East Africa | Germany | Society | Pre-war period | Culture | Home fronts Abstract: This chapter examines wartime mobilization of German settlers in Africa with particular reference to the German concept of Heimat. It focuses on the two German Schutzgebiete which had the largest white populations and that experienced the mo…

Colonial War

(1,529 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Colonial War The war against the German colonies of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, led by the forces of Japan, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and their respective colonies. The spread of the war to the colonies was undertaken by Great Britain and France, primarily for strategic reasons. By occupying the German colonies, their respective ports would be closed to the German navy. Also, the German worldwide communications network, which depended upon the wireless stations erected there, would be dis…
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