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Holtzendorff, Henning von

(337 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Holtzendorff, Henning von (January 9, 1853, Prenzlau – June 7, 1919, Jagow [Uckermark]), German grand admiral. Holtzendorff entered the navy in 1869, took part in the war of 1870/1871, and in 1900 served as commander of a capital ship during the Boxer Rebellion. After various commands on land (commander in chief of the navy, chief of staff of the Baltic Division, commander of the dockyard at Danzig [Gdańsk]), from 1906 to 1909 he was commander of the First Squadron, and in 1910 took command of the …

Military Historiography, Official German

(1,063 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Military Historiography, Official German Immediately after the end of the war, nearly all the states that had participated in the war began elaborating an official military historiography. These early efforts to produce standard official publications were not only a consequence of historical interest or of the wish to honor the achievements of one’s respective army, but should also be viewed in the light of the international debate on war guilt, which began with the Treaty of Versailles. Hence, the …

Jutland, Battle of/Skagerrak

(760 words)

Author(s): Krüger, Friederike | Rahn, Werner
Jutland, Battle of/Skagerrak Sea battle fought in 1916 between British and German naval forces off the mouth of the Skagerrak, an arm of the North Sea between Jutland and Norway. In the afternoon of May 31, 1916, about 100 nautical miles west-southwest of the Danish Jammerbugten, off the Skagerrak, the British Grand Fleet under Admiral Jellicoe encountered the German High Seas Fleet under Admiral Reinhard Scheer. The 28 battleships, nine battlecruisers and eight older armored cruisers, 26 light cruisers, and 80 destroyers on the British si…

Armed Forces (Italy)

(3,527 words)

Author(s): Massignani, Alessandro
Armed Forces (Italy) The defense of the Italian Kingdom proclaimed on February 18, 1861, was the duty of the Royal Army and the Royal Navy. The King was nominally the supreme commander of the military in peacetime, but the chiefs of the General Staff and the Admiralty functioned as the de facto Supreme Command in time of war. Italy’s new national army evolved from the Piedmontese Army that had fought in the Wars of Independence. Though gradually restructured into the Royal Italian Army, it maintained its traditional character, especially the imprint of…

Adriatic

(463 words)

Author(s): Massignani, Alessandro
Encyclopedia Adriatic For most of the belligerents the Adriatic was of secondary importance, but for Italy and Austria-Hungary it was a major theater of naval warfare. Unlike the Italian coastline, that of Dalmatia is very rugged; the naval bases of the Austro-Hungarian navy located there were protected by numerous offshore islands. Their heavy units were stationed in Pola (modern Pula in Croatia); the lighter warships lay in Cattaro (modern Kotor in Montenegro). When the war opened the Habsburg n…

The Development of the Air Defence of Copenhagen

(7,638 words)

Author(s): Clemmesen, M. H.
Clemmesen, M. H. - The Development of the Air Defence of Copenhagen Keywords: army development | Copenhagen air defence ISFWWS-Keywords: Scandinavia | Aviation | The Military and Naval War | Science | Technology | Medicine | Germany Abstract: Military history and experience was considered highly relevant both by politicians and the professional military in Europe at the beginning of the last century. The natural place to be developed into a fortress was Copenhagen. The artillery defence should be supplemented with a …

Armed Forces (United States)

(3,756 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis E.
Armed Forces (United States) During the First World War the armed forces of the United States were crafted by national politics. The Russian Provisional Government of 1917 had promised resolutely to continue the war in the East. On the Western Front, the Germans were unequivocally on the defensive. In no way was America itself directly threatened. Nevertheless, the pattern developed in the World War would guide the United States in 20th century warfare. Politics would determine the strategy, the org…

Zimmermann Telegram

(358 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Zimmermann Telegram On January 16, 1917, after the German government’s decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare (from February 1, 1917), Arthur Zimmermann, secretary of state at the German foreign ministry, sent a coded telegram to the German ambassador in Washington, Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff, to be forwarded to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram instructed Eckardt to propose to the Mexican government an alliance against the United States. In re…

Maximilian, Prince of Baden

(1,091 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Maximilian, Prince of Baden ( July 10, 1867, Baden-Baden – November 6, 1925, Salem; real name: Maximilian Alexander Friedrich Wilhelm; also known as Max von Baden), German Reich Chancellor. The son of Prince Wilhelm of Baden, and last German Reich Chancellor before the collapse of the Wilhelmine Reich, Max von Baden became heir apparent to his childless cousin, Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden, in 1907. After attending humanistisches Gymnasium (high school emphasizing classical studies) and studying law, the prince took up an officer’s career, which he dropped ag…

Armed Forces (German Empire)

(4,574 words)

Author(s): Deist, Wilhelm
Armed Forces (German Empire) In July 1914 the Army of the German Empire numbered 761,000 men, organized in 25 army corps. An additional 79,000 men served in the navy, and 9,000 in the colonial protection force. Those mobilized at the beginning of the war numbered 3.820 million in all, 2.086 million of whom made up the field army, divided into 40 army corps. Thus began a development that, during the years that followed, led to the general, extended mobilization of the German nation’s human resources for war. Some 13 million men served in the forces of the German Reich during the war. These figure…

Dreadnought

(456 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Dreadnought British capital ship, and the name used for an entire type of modern battleships. By what has been termed the “Dreadnought leap” – superiority in firepower, protection, and speed – the Royal Navy rendered obsolete all large battleships built before that time. This qualitative advance in British naval technology was the consequence of military necessity. After the sea-battle of Tsushima on May 27/28, 1905, in which the Japanese fleet destroyed three Russian warships from a distance of …

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…

German War Plans against Denmark 1916–1918

(6,394 words)

Author(s): Paulin, C.
Paulin, C. - German War Plans against Denmark 1916–1918 Keywords: bureaucratic quarrels | Denmark | German war plans ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | Scandinavia | The Military and Naval War | Politics | Naval Warfare | Britain | International Relations during the War Abstract: This chapter firstly uncovers wie es eigentlich gewesen regarding the planning and the German-Danish foreign policy relations. Secondly, it explores why the plans did not materialize. Historical analysis often runs the risk of getting deterministic because it i…

Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von

(740 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von (May 29, 1869, Schleswig – September, 8, 1928, Berlin), German diplomat. The first foreign minister of the Weimar Republic was descended from the ancient nobility of Holstein. After obtaining his doctorate in law Brockdorff-Rantzau chose to pursue a diplomatic career which took him from Brussels via Saint Petersburg to Vienna, where in 1901 he became embassy secretary, and the influential German ambassador Count Carl von Wedel was his mentor. It was also thanks to Wedel’s protection that he was appointed in 1912 to serve as the German envoy in Copenhagen. With the outbreak of the First World War he came to occupy a key position in neutral Denmark. He worked from this “listening post” to initiate a separate peace with Russia and when this failed, to revolutionize the Tsarist Empire. The Russian socialist Alexander Parvus-Helphand became his go-between. Because the February Revolution did not have the desired effect of removing Russia from the Entente, Brockdorff-Rantzau decided to back Vladimir Lenin. In Brockdorff-Rantzau’s view, Great Britain was Germany’s chief adversary, and he did not object to annexationist war aims, but out of respect for Danish neutrality (among other things) he…

Falkenhayn, Erich von

(1,204 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Falkenhayn, Erich von (September 11, 1861, Burg Belchau [Kreis Graudenz] – April 8, 1922, Schloss Lindstedt [near Potsdam]), German general and chief of the General Staff. Falkenhayn came from a West-Prussian “Junker” family with a strong military tradition. He entered the cadet corps at the early age of ten. He had a successful career as a young officer, and attended military academy. His life took an unusual turn when, in 1896, he took leave from the army and, for professional and financial reaso…

Jagow, Gottlieb von

(361 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Jagow, Gottlieb von (June 22, 1863, Berlin – January 11, 1935, Potsdam), German diplomat. Jagow was from a noble Brandenburg family. He studied law and served in the Prussian administration, until, in 1895, he succeeded in entering upon a diplomatic career under the protection of the later Reich Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow. He worked in various overseas legations and his career reached an initial high point with his appointment as ambassador to Rome on 28 March 1909. There, he achieved a diplomat…

Capelle, Eduard von

(329 words)

Author(s): Krüger, Friederike
Capelle, Eduard von (October 10, 1855, Celle – February 23, 1931, Wiesbaden), German admiral. Capelle joined the navy as an officer cadet at the age of 16. He subsequently served on several vessels before transferring to the military department of the Reichsmarineamt (Imperial Naval Office), where from 1897 he was engaged in drafting involved in drafting the various so-called Naval Laws and their amendments. Before long he advanced to become one of the closest collaborators of the secretary of state for the Imperia…

Food Supplies

(2,616 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Food Supplies The supply of food to the civilian population, as well as to the fighting forces, is one of the most important elements in the waging of any war. This applies especially to the First World War, in which food supplies to millions of people had to be assured in the face of mutual blockades that severely compromised trade routes. A deterioration in food supplies was experienced in all belligerent nations and occupied territories during the course of the war, causing governments repeatedly to revise and modify their supply strategies. All sides …

Two-Front War

(612 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Two-Front War The specific strategic situation of the Central Powers, surrounded by the “Iron Ring” (W. Groener) of the opposing coalition. This was mostly seen as a grave strategic disadvantage, and was instrumental in the emergence before 1914 of the hazardous Schlieffen Plan: the attempt to forestall a two-front war, and so avoid the dissipation of Germany’s strength. German policy during the Crisis of July 1914 has frequently been interpreted as having been motivated by the necessity to meet the threat of a two-front war, or “encirclement,” while i…

German Patriotic Associations

(931 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
German Patriotic Associations Designation for the nationalist clubs of the German Empire. Beneath the banners of imperialism and nationalism, numerous nationalist organizations arose in Germany after the 1880s. These associations mostly occupied themselves with foreign policy issues. There was for example the Verband für das Deutschtum im Ausland (‘Association for German Culture Abroad’), founded in 1881; the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (‘German Colonial Society’), founded in 1887; as well as the greatest national association of the German Empire, the Deutsche Flottenv…
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