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World War I Dictionary (1905-1918)

Abd黮 Hamid II (1842/09/21 ~ 1918/02/10)
Ottoman Sultan (1876/08/31 ~ 1909/04). In 1908, Discontent with his despotic rule and resentment against European intervention in the Balkans led to the military revolution of the Young Turks. After a short-lived reactionary uprising in April, 1909, he was deposed, and his brother was proclaimed as Mehmed V.
Adrianople (or Hadrianople, now Edirne)
City in European Turkey, about 120 miles north-west of Constantinople. In the first Balkan war, which broke out in October 1912, Adrianople was taken in March 1913 by the Bulgarian army after heavy fighting. In the second Balkan war, Turkey recaptured Adrianople in July 1913.
Aehrenthal, Aloys, Count Graf Lexa von, (1854/09/27 ~ 1912/02/17)
Foreign minister of Austria-Hungary (1906-1912). Aehrenthal succeeded Goluchowski as foreign minister in the autumn of 1906. On September 15, 1908, Aehrenthal met Russian foreign minister Izvolski at Buchlov and agreed that Russia support the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary in return for Austria-Hungary's support of Russian designs at the Straits.
Alfonso XIII (1886/05/17 ~ 1941/02/28)
Spanish king (1886-1931). In December 1905, he alleged that the Germans were trying to win him over, with the real intention to extract a new promise of support from the French or to be free to go over to the German side if they refused.
Alge鏸ras Conference (1906/01/16 ~ 04/07)
International conference of the great Powers held at Alge鏸ras, Spain, during the first Moroccan crisis. German emperor William II's visit to Tangier on March 31, 1905 started the crisis. Contrary to German expectations, only Austria-Hungary supported German's views. Britain, US, Italy, and Russia lined up behind France. The Act of Alge鏸ras, signed on April 7, reaffirmed the independence of the sultan and gave France and Spain control of Moroccan police.
Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902-1923)
Alliance that bound Britain and Japan to assist on another in safeguarding their respective interests in China and Korea. The alliance served Japan in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) by discouraging France from entering the war on the Russian side. It was renewed in August 1905 and again in 1911 after Japan's annexation of Korea. On the basis of its tie with Britain, Japan participated in World War I on the side of the Allies.
country of Transcaucasia. From the beginning of the 16th century, Armenia was the object of contention between the Ottoman Empire and Iran. In January 1916, Britain and France concluded the Sykes-Picot agreement on the partition of Syria and Mesopotamia. The Russians claimed a further reward for approving this agreement, and on September 16, They were allotted Armenia and Kurdistan.
Asquith, Herbert Henry (1852/09/12 ~ 1928/02/15)
Liberal prime minister of Britain (1908/04~1916/12). Following the Liberals' victory at the polls in 1906, Asquith served as chancellor of the Exchequer under Campbell-Bannerman. Early in April 1908 he succeeded Campbell-Bannerman as prime minister. He appointed David Lloyd George to the Exchequer and made Winston Churchill president of the Board of Trade. In may 1915 Asquith had to reconstruct his cabinet on a coalition basis, admitting Unionists as well as Liberals, and appointing Lloyd George minister of munitions. In 1916 the Battle of the Somme resulted in terrible British losses on the Western Front and he had to resign in December and was replaced by Lloyd George.
Baghdad Railway
major rail line connecting Constantinople with the Persian Gulf region. Work on the first phase of the railway was begun in 1888 by the Ottoman Empire with German financial assistance. In 1902 the Ottoman government granted a German firm the concession to lay new track eastward from Ankara to Baghdad. Financial difficulties and the technical problems made progress extremely slow. Because of its potential strategic importance, work on the line was accelerated after the empire entered World War I on the side of Germany and the other Central Powers. By the end of the war in 1918 the line was still several hundred miles short of Baghdad.
Balfour, Arthur James (1848/07/25 ~ 1930/03/19)
British statesman. After his uncle, Lord Salisbury's retirement, Balfour served as prime minister from July 12, 1902 to December 4, 1905. He gained prestige in the completion of negotiations for the Anglo-French agreement (Entente Cordiale, 1904). On May 25, 1915, he succeeded Winston Churchill as first lord of the Admiralty in the Asquith wartime coalition ministry. On December 7, 1916 he ceased to support Asquith and became foreign secretary in Lloyd George's new coalition until 1919. From April to June in 1917, he headed a diplomatic mission to the United States.
Balkan War, the First (1912-1913)
a military conflict that deprived the Ottoman Empire of almost all its remaining territory in Europe. The First Balkan War was fought between the members of the Balkan League -- Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Montenegro -- and the Ottoman Empire. Montenegro declared war on Turkey on October 8, 1912, and the other members of the league followed suit 10 days later. The Balkan allies were soon victorious, and all parties concluded an armistice on December 3, 1912. A peace conference began in London, but after a coup d'etat by the Young Turks in Constantinople in January 1913, war with the Ottomans was resumed. Again the allies were victorious. Under a peace treaty signed in London on May 30, 1913, the Ottoman Empire lost almost all of its remaining European territory, including all Macedonia and Albania. Albanian independence was insisted upon by the European powers, especially Austria-Hungary.
Balkan War, the Second (1913)
The Second Balkan War was fought between Serbia, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria. On the night of June 29/30, 1913, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria ordered attacks on Serbian and Greek forces in Macedonia. The Bulgarians were defeated and a peace treaty was signed between the combatants on August 10, 1913. Under the terms of the treaty, Greece and Serbia divided up most of Macedonia, leaving Bulgaria with only a small part of the region.
Berchtold, Leopold, Count (Graf) von (1863/04/18 ~ 1942/11/21)
Austro-Hungarian foreign minister. In 1906 he was appointed ambassador to Russia. On February 19, 1912, after the death of Aehrenthal, he succeeded as foreign minister. After the First Balkan War, he prevented Serbia from gaining a corridor to the Adriatic Sea. In June 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Bosnian Serb at Sarajevo, Berchtold, with the consent of the council of joint ministers, decided on an ultimatum. He informed Germany, which granted Austria-Hungary unconditional support. After the outbreak of the war, when Italy demanded territory in return for only "benevolent neutrality", he was forced to resign on January 13, 1915.
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von (1856/11/29 ~ 1921/01/01)
German imperial chancellor before and during World War I. He was appointed Prussian minister of the Interior in 1905 and state secretary in the Imperial Office of the Interior in 1907. He succeeded Prince Bernhard von B黮ow, who resigned as chancellor on July 14, 1909. His negotiations with the British over reduction of naval armaments (March 1909 and February 1912) came to nothing because of the opposition of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, supported by the emperor William II. He is thought to have initiated the July crisis of 1914 with the "blank check" to Austria-Hungary for measures against Serbia. Bethmann capitulated to the German general staff, which wanted war immediately. In 1916, he tried to secure the mediation of the United States, and, realizing that US entry into the war would be decisive, he resisted the advocates of unrestricted submarine warfare. In the debate on the peace resolution that was passed by the Reichstag in July 1917, Bethmann was forced to resign. He was replaced by Georg Michaelis.
Bj鰎k? Treaty of (1905/07/24)
A defensive alliance signed by the German emperor William II and Russian tsar Nicholas II at Bj鰎k?on July 24, 1905, which was against attack by any European Power. At the last moment, William II added that mutual aid was only to be given "in Europe."
Bolshevik (Russian: "One of the Majority")
member of a wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers Party, which, led by Lenin, seized control of the government in Russia (October 1917) and became the dominant political power.
Brest-Litovsk, Treaties of (1918/02/09 ~ 1918/03/03)
peace treaties signed at Brest-Litovsk (now in Belarus) by the Central Powers with the Ukrainian Republic (February 9, 1918) and with Soviet Russia (March 3, 1918), which concluded hostilities between those countries during World War I. Peace negotiations, which the Soviet government had requested on November 8, 1917, began on December 22. After the Central Powers concluded a separate peace with the nationalist Ukrainian delegation (February 9), Leon Trotsky, head of the Soviet delegation since January 9, announced the new Soviet policy under which Russia would leave the war but sign no peace treaty. On March 3, after a German ultimatum, the Soviet government accepted a treaty by which Russia lost Ukraine, its Polish and Baltic territories, and Finland. Both the Ukrainian and Russian treaties were annulled by the Armistice on November 11, 1918, which marked the Allied defeat of Germany.
Briand, Aristide (1862/03/28 ~ 1932/03/07)
French statesman who served 11 times as premier, holding a total of 26 ministerial posts between 1906 and 1932. After serving two terms as education minister in the first government of Georges Clemenceau (1906-09), he became premier from July 1909 to November 1910. He served two more terms, briefly before March 1913. On the fall of the Cabinet of Rene Viviani in October 1915, Briand again became premier; he also took control of foreign affairs. He formed his sixth Cabinet in December 1916 but still failed to cope with the lagging war effort. He was forced to resign (March 1917) because of mounting pressures and the unsuccessful Balkan campaign.
Brusilov, Aleksey Alekseyevich (1853/08/31 ~ 1926/03/17)
Russian general distinguished for the "Brusilov breakthrough" on the Eastern Front with Austria-Hungary (June-August 1916), which aided Russia's Western allies at a crucial time during World War I.
Bucharest, Treaty of (1918/05/07)
settlement forced upon Romania after it had been defeated by the Central Powers during World War I. When the Central Powers collapsed in November, the Treaty of Bucharest was nullified.
B黮ow, Bernhard (Heinrich Martin Karl), Furst von (prince of) (1849/05/03 ~ 1929/10/28)
German imperial chancellor and Prussian prim minister from October 17, 1900 to July 14, 1909. In co-operation with the emperor William II, he pursued a policy of German aggrandizement in the years preceding World War I. In 1897, William II appointed him state secretary, and after three years he succeeded to the chancellorship. In his foreign policy, B黮ow employed what he understood as Bismarckian Realpolitik to advance William II's policy of "place in the sun" for the Reich among world powers. B黮ow was less successful in his attempts to prevent the formation of an English-French-Russian combination against Germany. William II's indiscreet remarks printed in The Daily Telegraph of London in 1908 led to B黮ow's resignation in the following year.
Caillaux, Joseph (1863/03/30 ~ 1944/11/22)
French statesman whose opposition to World War I led to his imprisonment for treason in 1920. He twice served as minister of finance (1899-1902, 1906-1909). After six weeks in the government of Ernest Monis, Cailliaux was named premier on June 27, 1911. He negotiated a settlement that gave France a protectorate over Morocco in exchange for generous concessions to Germany in central Africa -- a compromise that brought a massive public attack upon his patriotism. He was forced to resign in January 1912.
Cambon, Jules-Martin (1845/04/05 ~ 1935/09/19)
French diplomat who played an important role in the peace negotiations between the United States and Spain (1898) and was influential in the formation of French policy toward Germany in the decade before World War I. He was appointed ambassador to the United States in October 1897, and served as ambassador to Spain from 1902 to 1907 and ambassador to Germany from 1907 to 1914. When the hostilities began in 1914, he returned to Paris and became secretary-general of the Foreign Ministry in 1915.
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry (1836/09/07 ~ 1908/04/22)
British prime minister from December 4, 1905 to April 5, 1908. After the resignation of the Conservative prime minister Arthur James Balfour late in 1905, He accepted the post from King Edward VII, whose friend he had become. He took the lead in granting self-government to the Transvaal (1906) and the Orange River Colony (1907).
Caporetto, Battle of (1917/10/24)
Italian military disaster during World War I in which Italian troops retreated before an Austro-German offensive on the Isonzo front, north-west of Trieste, where the Italian and Austrian forces had been stalemated for two and a half years. The defeat prompted Italy's allies, France and Britain, to send reinforcements and eventually to establish the Supreme War Council to unify the Allied war effort.
Charles (1887/08/17 ~ 1922/04/01)
emperor (Kaiser) of Austria and, as Charles IV, king of Hungary, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (1916/11/21 ~ 1918/11/11). A grandnephew of the emperor Francis Joseph I, Charles became heir presumptive to the Habsburg throne upon the assassination of his uncle Francis Ferdinand. After his accession, He made attempts to take Austria-Hungary out of World War I through secret overtures to the Allied powers, the most promising being through his brother-in-law, Prince Sixtus von Bourbon-Parma. All failed, largely because the emperor refused to cede any territories to Italy.
Churchill, Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) (1874/11/30 ~ 1965/01/24)
British statesman and author. He entered politics as a Conservative and won a seat in Parliament (1900). In 1904, he joined the Liberals and in 1906 became under secretary of state for the colonies in a Liberal government. In 1908 he became a member of the Cabinet, first holding the post of president of the Board of Trade and later that of home secretary. Transferred to the Admiralty in 1911, he strengthened the British navy. After World War I broke out, and after the failure of the Dardanelles expedition (which he had promoted), he resigned from his post with the Admiralty and served as an active military officer (1915-1916). He returned as minister of munitions in 1917-1918.
Clemenceau, Georges (1841/09/28 ~ 1929/11/24)
French statesman and journalist who was a dominant figure in the French Third Republic and, as premier (1917-1920), a major contributor to the Allied victory in World War I and a framer of the post war Treaty of Versailles. He became a member of the Cabinet in 1906 as interior minister and was premier from 1906 to 1909. Finally, in 1917, after three years of World War I, when France's morale and resources were at their lowest ebb, he accepted President Raymond Poincar?s invitation to head the war government (1917 - 1920).
Conrad von Hotzendorf, Franz (Xaver Josef), Graf (Count) (1852/11/11 ~ 1925/08/25)
an outstanding military strategist and one of the most influential conservative propagandists of Austria-Hungary, who planned the Habsburg monarchy's campaigns during World War I. He became chief of staff in 1906 on the recommendation of the heir to the throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Conrad advocated preventive wars against both Serbia and Italy. He devised tow plans for an eventual war in the East. During the war, his invasion of Serbia failed, and his offensives on the Russian front also were repulsed at first. When the new emperor, Charles I, took over command in 1916, he dismissed the strong-willed Conrad, who commanded an army group on the Italian front until the summer of 1918.
Crowe, Sir Eyre (Alexander Barby Wichart) (1864/07/30 ~ 1925/04/28)
British diplomat who strongly urged an anti-German policy in the years before World War I. In January 1907 he wrote a memorandum on the German aim of European domination to the foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey. He became assistant under secretary of state for foreign affairs in 1912.
Czernin, Ottokar, Count (Graf) (1872/09/26 ~ 1932/04/04)
foreign minister of Austria-Hungary (1916-18), whose efforts to disengage his country from its participation in World War I failed to prevent the dissolution of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918. He was minister to Romania from 1913 to 1916. With the accession of the new emperor Charles I in 1916, he was appointed foreign minister for Austria-Hungary in December. His plans for extricating Austria swiftly from World War I were wrecked by Germany's opposition and the military and economic entanglements of the Central Powers. He fell from office over the Sixtus Affair in April 1918, an Austrian-Allied secret negotiation.
Serbo-Croatian Dalmacija, region of Croatia, comprising a central coastal strip and a fringe of islands along the Adriatic Sea. It was returned to Austria after Napoleon's fall and remained an Austrian crownland until 1918. During World War I, by the secret Treaty of London (1915), the Allies had promised large territories, including northern Dalmatia, to the Italians in return for their support.
narrow strait in north-western Turkey, 38 miles long, linking the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. It is 3/4 to 4 miles wide.
Dardanelles Campaign (1915/02 ~ 1916/01)
in World War I, an Anglo-French operation against Turkey, intended to force the 38-mile-long Dardanelles channel and to occupy Constantinople. War between the Allies and Turkey began early in November. On January 2, 1915, in response to an appeal by the Russian Grand Duke Nicholas, the British government agreed to stage a demonstration against Turkey to relieve pressure on the Russians on the Caucasus front. The naval bombardment began on February 16, and troop landings began on April 25, 1915. On January 9, 1916, Allied withdrawal from the peninsula was completed. The campaign failed to produce decisive results and was a success only in so far as it attracted large Turkish forces away from the Russians.
Delcass? Th閛phile (1852/03/01 ~ 1923/02/22)
French foreign minister (1898 - 1905 and 1914 - 1915) who was a principal architect of the new system of European alliances formed in the years preceding World War I. In 1898 he was given the post of foreign minister in the government of Henri Brisson. He remained in charge of foreign affairs in six successive governments. In 1904 he reached agreement with Britain on a broad range of questions, establishing the basis for the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale (April 8, 1904). At the same time he paved the way for the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907, thus bringing the three powers together in the Triple Entente that was to be the nucleus of the Allied coalition in World War I. Opposition to his policies by Prime Minister Maurice Rouvier led to Delcass?s resignation in 1905. He returned in 1909 as chairman of a navy commission before serving as minister of marine from 1911 to 1913. During the war he served as foreign minister in the government of Ren?Viviani until his retirement in 1915.
Edward VII (1841/11/09 ~ 1910/05/06)
king of the United Kingdom from 1901/01/22.
Falkenhayn, Erich (Georg Anton Sebastian) von (1861/11/11 ~ 1922/04/08)
Prussian minister of war and chief of the imperial German General Staff early in World War I. On September 14, 1914, after the German retreat from the Marne, William II chose Falkenhayn as Moltke's successor. On August 29, 1916, following the long and unsuccessful German assault on the French fortress-city Verdun, he was dismissed as chief of the General Staff by the Emperor in favour of the more aggressive Hindenburg.
Fez, also spelled Fes
city in northern Morocco, the oldest of Morocco's four imperial cities. In 1911, France occupied Fez.
Fourteen Points (1918/01/08)
declaration by US president Woodrow Wilson during World War I outlining his proposals for a post-war peace settlement in his address to the joint session of the United States Congress.
Francis Ferdinand (1863/12/18 ~ 1914/06/28)
Archduke of Austria-Este whose assassination was the immediate cause of World War I. In foreign affairs he tried, without endangering the alliance with Germany, to restore Austro-Russian understanding. In 1913 he became inspector general of the army.
Francis Joseph (1830/08/18 ~ 1916/11/21)
emperor of Austria from 1848 and king of Hungary from 1867, who divided his empire into the Dual Monarchy. In 1879 he formed an alliance with Prussian-led Germany and in 1914 his ultimatum to Serbia led Austria and Germany into World War I.
George V (1865/06/03 ~ 1936/01/20)
king of the United Kingdom from May 6, 1910 after his father, King Edward VII. During World War I, respect for King George increased, and he visited the front in France several times.
Grey, Sir Edward (1862/04/25 ~ 1933/09/07)
British statesman whose 11 years (1905 - 1916) as British foreign secretary is the longest uninterrupted tenure of that office in history. On December 10, 1905, Grey began his service as foreign secretary, under the new Liberal prime minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. He supported France against Germany, but with reservations that caused serious diplomatic confusion up to the outbreak of war in 1914. He maintained the British alliance with Japan and, in 1907, concluded an agreement with Russia. He was responsible for the secret Treaty of London (1915/04/26), by which Italy joined Britain and her allies. On December 5, 1916, Grey retired from office with Asquith.
Haldane, Richard Burdon (1856/07/30 ~ 1928/08/19)
Scottish lawyer, philosopher and statesman who instituted important military reforms while serving as British secretary of state for war (1905-12). The speedy mobilization of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914 was largely the result of his planning.
Holstein, Friedrich (August) von (1837/04/24 ~ 1909/05/08)
the most influential maker of German foreign policy from 1890 to 1909, during the emperor William II's reign, after the departure of Otto von Bismarck. His most notable diplomatic campaign, his attempt to break up the newly formed Anglo-French entente of 1904 by fomenting a crisis over Morocco, only served to expose Germany's global isolation. At the height of the crisis, in April 1906, the Emperor dismissed him.
House, Edward M. (1858/07/26 ~ 1938/03/28)
American diplomat and confidential adviser to President Woodrow Wilson (1913 -1921) who played a key role in framing the conditions of peace to end World War I. He visited Europe in 1915 and again in 1916 to explore the possibility of mediation by the United States but found those leaders generally evasive or unresponsible.
Izvolsky, Aleksandr, Count (1856/03/18 ~ 1919/08/16)
diplomat who was responsible for a major Russian diplomatic defeat in the Balkans (1908-09) that increased tensions between Russia and Austria-Hungary prior to World War I. He became Russia's minister of foreign affairs in May 1906. in 1907 he resolved the Anglo-Russian rivalries in Iran, Tibet, and Afghanistan by concluding a treaty with Great Britain. He reached an agreement with Austria at Buchlau, Moravia (1908/09/15), and supported Austria's annexation of Bosnia and Hercegovina. He was dismissed in September 1910.
Joffre, Joseph-Jacques-Cesaire (1852/01/12 ~ 1931/01/03)
commander in chief (1914-16) of the French armies on the Western Front in World War I. Before the War broke out, he believed that France could actually defeat the Germans without British assistance and therefore planned a great offensive from the Vosges across the Rhine. In September 6, 1914 his army halted the Germans on the Marne and drove them back. In December 26, 1916 he was replaced by Nivelle, who had defended Verdun.
Kiderlen-Wachter, Alfred von (1852/07/10 ~ 1912/12/30)
German statesman and foreign secretary remembered for his role in the second Moroccan crisis (1911) before World War I. In 1910 the new chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, named him secretary of state for foreign affairs. Kiderlen opposed the attempt of the emperor and Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz to build up the German fleet to parity with the British. In 1911 he dispatched the German gunboat Panther to Agadir, provoking a crisis.
Lansdowne, Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquis of (1845/01/14 ~ 1927/06/03)
British statesman, born January 14, 1845 in London. He entered politics in 1868 and by 1883 was governor-general of Canada, a post he held for five years. During his tenure, the second rebellion of the Canadian insurgent Louis David Riel was suppressed, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, and settlement talks to end disputes over the North American fisheries were started. From 1888 to 1893 Lansdowne was viceroy of India, where he was successful in stabilizing the rupee. After his return to England, he served as secretary of state for war from 1895 to 1900. From 1900 to 1905 he held the title of foreign secretary, and as such was influential in establishing an alliance with Japan in 1902 and with France in 1904. The alliance with France was called the Entente Cordiale (French, "friendly understanding"). From 1915 to 1916 he served as minister without portfolio in the ministry of the British statesman Herbert Henry Asquith. He died on June 3, 1927. Lansdowne is remembered for his beseeching letter to the London Daily Telegraph in November 1917, asking for a statement of Allied peace terms so that negotiations with Germany to end World War I could be conducted.
Lloyd George, David, 1st Earl of Dwyfor (1863/01/17 ~ 1945/03/26)
British prime minister (1916-1922), who led Britain through the latter part of World War I and the early postwar years. Born of Welsh parents on January 17, 1863, in Manchester, England, Lloyd George was raised in Caernarvonshire, Wales, and was educated in law as an apprentice in a law firm. From the start of his legal career, Lloyd George was active in local Welsh politics; in 1890 he was elected to Parliament. He was radical in his social views, and supported Welsh nationalism while opposing the war against the Boers in South Africa. In 1905 he was appointed to the cabinet position of president of the Board of Trade with the newly elected Liberal government, and in 1908 he was made chancellor of the Exchequer. The budget he submitted in 1909 contained numerous appropriations for social legislation benefiting the workers, and it met with vigorous opposition from the Conservatives and from the House of Lords, which voted it down. In a speech made in the Limehouse parish of London in 1909, Lloyd George defended his budget and abused his opposition so vociferously that the term limehouse has remained in the English language as a synonym for denunciation of one's political opponents. Shortly thereafter the House of Lords was forbidden by law to consider finance bills, and many of Lloyd George's reforms were adopted, including national sickness and invalidity insurance and unemployment insurance. At the beginning of World War I, Lloyd George, as chancellor of the Exchequer, secured Britain's credit and placed the country in a financial position strong enough to endure the war. In 1915 he was appointed to the newly created ministry of munitions, and in 1916 he was made secretary of state for war. He proposed limiting the war cabinet to a smaller, more efficient membership, headed not by the prime minister but by someone concentrating solely on the problems of war. The Liberal prime minister Herbert H. Asquith resigned, and Lloyd George became prime minister of a coalition government. He reduced the policymaking cabinet from 20 to 5 members and worked for a unified Allied command. After the armistice, he participated in the peace conference and helped frame the Treaty of Versailles. In 1920 he introduced the Home Rule Bill for Ireland; largely through his efforts the Irish state was established. The Conservatives withdrew from his coalition government in 1922 in protest against Irish home rule and support by Britain of Greece against Turkey; Lloyd George resigned, and a general election was called in which the Conservatives were elected to power. Lloyd George was reelected to Parliament from his borough and was leader of the opposition until 1931. He was made an earl shortly before his death on March 26, 1945.
Mansion House speech (1911/07/21)
A speech made by Lloyd George, leader of the British radical group during the crisis of Agadir. He declared that Britain could not be treated as of no account "where her interests were vitally affected? It was a warning that Britain could not be left out of any new partition of Morocco.
Marne, Battle of the (September 6-9, 1914)
a decisive battle that halted the German advance near the Marne River, less than 48 km (30 miles) from Paris. The German forces had been encountering little resistance in their march on Paris. Then, supposedly because of an error in decoding an order, they wheeled to the southeast. Joseph Simon Gallieni, the military governor of Paris, persuaded the French commander in chief, Joseph Jacques C閟aire Joffre, to attack the flank thus exposed. Under Joffre's orders troops were rushed to the front by all available means, including taxicabs, and the Allied attack was begun on September 6. By September 9 the German armies had retreated, and the threat to Paris was ended.
Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig, Graf von (1848-1916)
German military commander, born in Gersdorf, near Chemnitz. In 1906 he became chief of the German general staff, and he directed the invasion of France following the outbreak of World War I. After a German defeat in 1914 at the First Battle of the Marne, Moltke was relieved of his command and succeeded by General Erich von Falkenhayn.
Mukden, Battle of (1905/02/19 ~ 03/10)
A battle in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese War. Between February 19 and March 10 the Japanese took the offensive. Although their forces were outnumbered 270,000 to 330,000 and were inferior in artillery, the Japanese forced the Russians to surrender Shenyang and withdraw northward. The Russians lost some 90,000 men and the Japanese about 50,000. The battle practically ended hostilities on land, but Japan still faced the threat of Russian naval power.
Nicholas II (1868-1918)
the last emperor of Russia (1894-1917), deposed by the Russian Revolution of 1917, and killed with his wife and children. His reign was marked domestically by increasingly sharp conflict between classes and ethnic groups, and externally by wars against Japan (1904-1905) and Germany (1914-1917).
Nicholas, in Russian Nikolay Nikolayevich (1856-1929)
Russian grand duke and army officer, born in Saint Petersburg; he was a nephew of Emperor Alexander II and was educated for the military service. As a member of the Russian general staff he distinguished himself during the war with Turkey (1877-1878). Becoming inspector general of the cavalry in 1895, he introduced training and organizational reforms in the cavalry schools. In 1905 he was appointed commander in chief of the Saint Petersburg military district and made president of the newly created council for national defense. At the outbreak of World War I he was appointed commander in chief of the Russian army. The following year Emperor Nicholas II personally took command of the Russian armies, and the grand duke was made commander in the Caucasus region. In 1917, after the Russian Revolution, the grand duke went into exile in Paris, where he spent his remaining years.
Poincar? Raymond (1860-1934)
strongly nationalist French statesman, who served five times as prime minister and was president of France from 1913 to 1920. Born in Bar-le-Duc, Poincar?was educated at the University of Paris and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1887. A right-wing Republican, he served as education and finance minister in various governments, beginning in 1893, before heading his own first cabinet in 1912-13. As premier, he strengthened France's alliance with Britain and Russia in the tense period before World War I. As president during the war, he worked for national unity in the struggle against Germany; he even appointed (1917) his former political enemy Georges Clemenceau as premier because Clemenceau, like himself, staunchly opposed a negotiated peace. As head of two consecutive governments from 1922 to 1924, Poincar?insisted on complete payment of reparations by the Germans and, when they defaulted, ordered the occupation of the Ruhr by French troops in 1923. Defeated by a leftist coalition in 1924, he was recalled to the premiership two years later. Heading two more ministries between 1926 and 1929, he succeeded in stabilizing the French franc, the value of which had declined sharply under his predecessor.
Port Arthur (now L黶hun)
L黶hun was an important port as early as the 6th century AD. It was occupied (1858) by the British and was fortified as a naval base by the Chinese in the 1880s. It was attacked and briefly held by the Japanese in 1895; subsequently it was granted, with adjacent parts of the peninsula, to Russia as part of the Liaodong lease. While under Russian control (1898-1905), L黶hun was renamed Port Arthur. It was valued by the Russians for its year-round access to the Pacific Ocean and was extensively refortified for naval use. The Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), transferred the Liaodong territory to the Japanese, who renamed it Kwangtung. L黶hun, renamed Ryojun, became an important Japanese naval base and was (1905-1937) the administrative center of the territory.
Russo-Japanese War
armed conflict between Russia and Japan in 1904-5. The cause of the war was that Russian expansion in eastern Asia ran counter to Japanese plans for gaining a foothold on the Asian mainland. On the night of February 8, 1904, the Japanese navy launched a surprise attack on Port Arthur and then blockaded the damaged Russian fleet. After Port Arthur and the defeats at Shenyang and Tsushima, the tsar accepted the offer of mediation extended by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. The Japanese, who were victorious but financially exhausted, also agreed to negotiate. On September 5, 1905, the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed. Russia surrendered its lease to Liaoyang and Port Arthur, ceded the southern half of Sakhalin, evacuated Manchuria, and recognized Korea as a Japanese sphere of influence.
Sazonov, Sergey Dmitriyevich (1860/08/10 ~ 1927/12/25)
statesman and diplomat, Russia's minister of foreign affairs (1910 - 1916) during the period immediately preceding and following the outbreak of World War I. He served in Russian embassies in London, Washington, D. C., and the Vatican (1904 - 1909) before becoming deputy foreign minister in May 1909 and minister of foreign affairs on September 28, 1910. Directing his policy primarily toward maintaining close relations with France and Britain, Sazobov also eased Russia's relations with Germany (November 1910). When Austia issued an ultimatum to Serbia on July 23, 1914, Sazonov made it clear that Russia would not allow Austria to annihilate Serbia. In 1916, when he urged tsar Nicholas to promise to grant Poland autonomy and allow it to enter into a free union with Russia after the war, he was dismissed on July 23.
Smyrna (now Izmir)
city and seaport in western Turkey, capital of Izmir Province, at the head of the Gulf of Izmir. Izmir is one of the chief seaports of Turkey and is served by several railroads. It is also a commercial and industrial center; dyes, soaps, and textiles are manufactured and foods and tobacco are processed. The chief exports include carpets, foodstuffs, and minerals. The Greeks claimed Smyrna after World War I (1914-1918), and according to the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, the city was awarded to Turkey.
Somme, battle of (1916/07 ~ 1916/11)
The First Battle of the Somme was fought from July to November 1916. The British forces were commanded by General Douglas Haig and the French by General Joseph Jacques C閟aire Joffre; the German forces were commanded by generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. The main purpose of the five-month Allied offensive was to relieve the German pressure on Verdun in northeastern France by a large-scale attack against the strongly fortified German positions along the Somme River. In this, the Allies were successful, because the Germans abandoned the Verdun offensive on July 16, 1916, and by the end of November had retreated from the Somme River to a previously prepared line of fortification and trenches, known as the Hindenburg Line. The French had also gained important ground at Verdun, and although the Allies gained only 324 square km (125 square miles) of territory at the Somme, the battle is often considered the real turning point in the war for the Allies. The battle, however, was costly: Allied troops sustained about 600,000 casualties, two-thirds of them British, and the Germans about 450,000. The battle is renowned for the first use, by the British, of the modern tank.
Tangier, also Tanger (Arabic Tanjah)
city, northern Morocco, in Tangier Province, a seaport on a small bay of the Strait of Gibraltar. The city is a shipping center and has few other industries. Tangier was taken (1471) from the Arabs by the Portuguese and given to Charles II of England as part of the dowry from Catherine of Braganza; the English abandoned (1684) the city to the Moors when it became a pirate haunt. Together with a surrounding zone of about 360 square km (about 140 square miles), Tangier was temporarily internationalized (1911-1912).
Tirpitz, Alfred Peter Friedrich von (1849/03/19 ~ 1930/03/06)
German admiral, born in K黶trin (now Kostrzyn, Poland). He joined the Prussian navy in 1865 and from 1897 to 1916 was secretary of state for the German imperial navy. Largely through his efforts, a German navy was created second only to that of Britain. In World War I, Tirpitz was an advocate of unrestricted submarine warfare, which led to the sinking of many neutral as well as belligerent ships. The destruction of the British passenger ship Lusitania on May 7, 1915, caused such worldwide indignation that Tirpitz was forced to resign his office in the following year. He remained inactive until 1924, when he became a member of the German Reichstag (lower house of the legislature), an office he held for the next four years.
Triple Alliance
The Triple Alliance of 1882, the most famous of the triple alliances, was concluded by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. During the ensuing three decades, Europe was the scene of a steady heightening of tensions between the nations of the Triple Alliance and the other major European powers. France, Britain, and Russia, alarmed by the threat to their security posed by the powerful combination of the Triple Alliance, concluded a rival pact known as the Triple Entente. The resulting division of Europe into two armed camps led eventually to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. For some years before 1914, the relations between Italy and its allies had been strained, and as a result Italy did not carry out its obligations under the Triple Alliance by entering the war on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Instead, after considerable secret negotiation in which the Triple Entente powers promised Italy substantial territorial gains, Italy in 1915 declared war upon its former allies, thereby openly dissolving the Triple Alliance.
Triple Entente
name given to the diplomatic and military alliance that developed between Britain, France, and Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was designed primarily to counterbalance the military coalition known as the Triple Alliance, which had been concluded earlier by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The negotiations leading to the formation of the Triple Entente were initiated by France, and in 1895 the conclusion of a comprehensive alliance was publicly acknowledged. Under the leadership of the French minister of foreign affairs Th閛phile Delcasse, the French government began negotiations aimed at an alliance with Britain. Although no formal military alliance was ever negotiated, a so-called Entente Cordiale, or friendly understanding, was reached. With the arrangement of a similar agreement between the United Kingdom and Russia in 1907, the system of alliances known as the Triple Entente was complete. Thereafter, the tension between the nations of the Triple Entente and those of the Triple Alliance became increasingly severe, culminating in 1914 in the outbreak of World War I.
Verdun, Battle of (1916/02 ~ 1916/12)
major engagement of World War I, fought between German and French forces from February to December 1916. On February 21 the Germans launched an attack on the French town and fortress of Verdun. Verdun occupied a vital position on the heights above the Meuse River at the eastern extremity of the trench line in France. The attack began with a German artillery bombardment, unprecedented in intensity, of the outlying forts. The French fell back to prepared positions, and the German command, intensifying the onslaught, pushed forward, disregarding the enormous loss of life. Fort Douaumont fell to the Germans on February 25. That same day General Henri Philippe P閠ain was placed in command of the French troops at Verdun. With French reserves arriving continuously, P閠ain's men met with increasing confidence the unceasing attacks by densely massed German formations. Although Harcourt was lost to the Germans on March 22, and Malancourt a week later, the initial German drive for Verdun had failed. German attacks continued, however, with little intermission. By April the French air force gained control of the skies over the battlefield, and this played an important role in the successful defense of the area. In June a new German drive succeeded in capturing the forts of Vaux and Thiaumont. On September 24 the French under General Charles Mangin advanced on a 6-km (4-mile) front, recapturing Douaumont and Thiaumont. The French attacks persisted throughout October, and Fort Vaux was evacuated by the Germans early in November. By the end of the year the French occupied substantially the positions from which they had been routed in February. The losses on both sides were high, the French admitting to nearly 350,000 casualties and the Germans to 330,000. The battle itself was totally indecisive, gaining no strategic advantage to either side.
William II, Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert (1859/01/27 ~ 1941/06/04)
emperor of Germany and king of Prussia (1888-1918), whose policies helped bring about World War I (1914-1918). William, also known as Kaiser Wilhelm, was born in Berlin and educated at the University of Bonn. He was the son of Prince Frederick William, later German emperor as Frederick III, and Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of Britain. In 1881, after a period of military service, he was married to Augusta Victoria, princess of Schleswig-Holstein. He became emperor in 1888 upon the death of his father, who had reigned for only three months. William II's first major action as emperor was his dismissal in 1890 of the aged chancellor Prince Otto von Bismarck, who had been largely responsible for the growth of the German Empire under the emperor's grandfather, William I. Thereafter William II participated significantly, often decisively, in the formulation of foreign and domestic policies. His administration of internal affairs was marked by the rapid transformation of Germany from an agricultural to a major industrial state and by the accompanying development of serious problems in capital-labor relations. William was only partially successful in his attempts to curb the growth of Germany's Social Democratic Party, which ultimately became the largest political group in the empire. The emperor believed that he ruled by divine right. Foreign affairs interested him, but his policies were contradictory and confused. He professed deep friendship for Britain but drove that country into an alliance with France and Russia by his aggressive program of colonial, commercial, and naval expansion. Similarly, his policy of friendship with Russia and support of Russian ambitions in East Asia was negated by his encouragement of Austro-Hungarian actions in the Balkans. He believed firmly in the efficacy of the Triple Alliance of Germany with Austria-Hungary and Italy as a deterrent to war. Imperial policy under his impulsive guidance severely aggravated the international frictions that culminated in World War I. During the war William's position became increasingly that of a figurehead. Realizing his own incapacity as a military leader, he left the responsibility for military decisions increasingly to the German generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. He ignored the 1917 peace resolutions submitted by the Reichstag and urged continuation of the war. After the German offensive of 1918 failed, unrest mounted among the German armies and people, and William left his country and went to the Netherlands. He was forced to abdicate his throne on November 9, 1918.
Wilson, (Thomas) Woodrow (1856/12/28 ~ 1924/02/03)
28th president of the United States (1913-1921), enacted significant reform legislation and led the United States during World War I (1914-1918). His dream of humanizing "every process of our common life" was shattered in his lifetime by the arrival of the war, but the programs he so earnestly advocated inspired the next generation of political leaders and were reflected in the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Wilson's belief in international cooperation through an association of nations led to the creation of the League of Nations and ultimately to the United Nations. For his efforts in this direction, he was awarded the 1919 Nobel Prize for peace. More than any president before him, Wilson was responsible for increasing United States participation in world affairs. Wilson's leadership had made him known all over the world. American troops to support the tired Allied lines arrived in June 1917 and helped them withstand the last desperate German assaults. The new German chancellor, Prince Maximilian, on October 6, 1918, decided that Wilson's Fourteen Points gave his government a way to surrender without admitting defeat. Wilson was at the height of his career. On November 11 an armistice was signed by Wilson and his discontented Allies, who would have preferred total military victory. In less than a year, however, Wilson would lose all direct influence on world events. On October 24, 1918, he appealed to voters to reelect a Democratic Congress so that he could "continue to be your unembarrassed spokesman in affairs at home and abroad." The voters, however, gave narrow control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives to the Republicans, and control of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed to some of Wilson's strongest enemies. Nevertheless, Wilson sailed for Europe on December 4, a move that shocked many citizens. A president had never before left the United States during his term of office, and in doing so he removed himself from the rapid social and political change at home. In Europe he was given extraordinary receptions and spontaneous demonstrations reminiscent of his election campaign in 1912. The response persuaded him that popular opinion was overwhelmingly in his favor and would overcome any effort to halt the construction of a league of nations.