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Cent ans après : la mémoire de la Première Guerre mondiale

Elli Lemonidou

1914-1918-online: The International Encyclopedia of the First World War

A global project for a global war

Oliver Janz
Traduction de Christos Apostolopoulos


1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War est un travail exhaustif, en libre accès sur Internet et en langue anglaise, destiné à la fois à la communauté savante et au grand public. Il a l’intention de présenter la Première Guerre mondiale dans toutes ses dimensions sous un angle transnational, en tant qu’un événement européen et global dont les limites dépassent 1918. L’Encyclopédie résume l’expertise internationale la plus récente et contribue à une image post-nationale et mondiale de la Grande Guerre. Il vise également à identifier les lacunes et à faire avancer la recherche scientifique. L’auteur explique les choix éditoriaux et présente l’organisation du projet, dont le comité de rédaction et le réseau d’auteurs est composé de spécialistes de nombreux pays, ajoutant que la revendication transnationale et globale de l’Encyclopédie est soutenue par sa structure technique, la forme et le support de sa publication.

Texte intégral

  • 1 This text is an updated version of an article which was published in 2014 in the Geschichte in Wis (...)

1Since October 2014, 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War offers to both the scholarly community and the broader public a comprehensive, online, Open Access, English-language encyclopedia of the Great War. The project is coordinated at the Free University (Freie Universität) in Berlin and is financed by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). The 1914-1918-online project will be presented in the following pages. The paper will focus on how the Encyclopedia reflects and drives forward the transnational and global history approaches, which have gained such strong momentum in First World War Studies in recent years1.

The First World War in Transnational and Global Perspective

  • 2 See Overmans 2009.

2The general public’s perception of the First World War is still dominated by the Western Front, by images of endless trenches, static warfare and industrialized battles of attrition at the Somme and at Verdun. Historical scholarship itself is dominated by an image of the First World War concentrated on Central and Western Europe. The war appears mostly as a form of European Civil War between Germany, France and Great Britain. It’s rather forgotten, at least among the general public, that Eastern and Southeastern Europe were more affected by the war than Western and Central Europe. While, in the West, many countries like Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway were able to safeguard their neutrality, the whole of Eastern and Southeastern Europe were afflicted. It is even less well known that, for all the bloody battles that took place there, casualties on the Eastern and Southeastern front, as well as in the Near and Middle East, were higher than those in the West. Almost a third of the Serbian and Romanian troops lost their lives during the war, more than twice as many as in the German or in the French army. The Ottoman Army lost 20% of its soldiers, almost twice as many as the British or the Italians. The numbers are even less ambiguous if one includes civilian casualties in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor. The Near and Middle East can account for more than a third of all civilian victims of the First World War 2.

3The public’s and until recently also the academic community’s lack of awareness concerning the extent of Eastern European and Middle Eastern involvement in the First World War can be attributed to, amongst other things, the Soviet Union’s fixation on the Russian Revolution as its origin myth. This has overshadowed the memory of the First World War for a long time. In countries such as Poland or Czechoslovakia, the state-building processes and conflicts that followed the war are commemorated to a far greater extent than the war itself. In much the same way, the central point of reference for the collective memory in Turkey is not the First World War, but the Turkish War of Independence, which was fought against Greece and resulted in the proclamation of the Republic.

4The First World War was not only a pan-European war, but also a global war. In times which are marked by an experience of accelerated globalization, we have to refocus our attention on the global dimension of the First World War. For many European as well as non-European countries, the war was a turning point and ushered in the 20th century. No other experience heretofore has changed the lives of more people on all continents. The First World War proves how globalized the world and its international power system was as early as in 1914. It was not solely fought by European states outside of Europe as in past conflicts, i.e. in Africa or on the high seas. During the First World War sovereign non-European powers, above all Japan, the Ottoman Empire and the United States of America, participated also, like numerous other states.

  • 3 See Strachan 2010.

5The intense efforts on both sides to attract more allies rapidly expanded the scope of the war. To persuade states to enter the war, belligerents offered concessions to territorial claims. In this way, many regional conflicts, very much unrelated to the hostilities at the centre, were drawn into the war. This can be observed in Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, but also in Japan, the Ottoman Empire or China. These countries attempted to exploit the major European conflict to either protect themselves against powerful neighbours and regain lost sovereignty, as in the case of the Ottoman Empire and China, or to further expand their territories, such as Japan, which became a dominant power in Eastern Asia in the course of the First World War. Australia and South Africa also exploited the war for their own purposes, fueling it by way of sub-imperialism 3. Once the United States of America joined the fray, states could no longer afford to remain unengaged. It was now certain that the world would be reordered by the victors of the conflict. Taking heed, Latin American countries and others followed the example of the United States.

  • 4 See Aldrich, Hilliard 2010.
  • 5 See Xu 2011; Ma 2012.

6Furthermore, the war took on a truly global dimension in the wake of Great Britain’s and France’s mobilization of their colonial empires’ resources, which counted a quarter of the world’s population, not only in economic but also in military terms. France recruited 550  000 men from its colonies; 440  000 among them were deployed in Europe. 1.3 million soldiers were mobilized in India. More than 800  000 of these soldiers were deployed beyond the subcontinent. A large number of British troops fighting in Europe were from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. These countries of the British Empire accounted for a total of 1.2 million soldiers, 900  000 of which served in Europe 4. The Russian Army too, counting a total of 15 million men, was not exclusively European, but recruited soldiers from the empire’s Asian population. Moreover, Britain and France both made use of a large labour force in Europe, recruited from their colonies and from China 5.

  • 6 See Balderston 2010.

7In terms of economics, the war was from its very beginning a global event. Due to the British Naval Blockade, the Central Powers were largely cut off from the international markets. Consequentially, they were forced to rearrange their economies in radical ways. The Entente Powers were similarly required to concentrate their domestic resources only on those branches of the economy which were most vital for the war effort. They also regulated their imports. The key to the Entente Powers’ success however was not their increased rationing of limited domestic resources, but rather their massive intervention in the international markets, buying up raw materials, foodstuffs and other goods on a large scale. In this way, the British Ministry of Munitions became the largest trading company in the world. The global deployment of the state’s concentrated market power largely eliminated private competition and allowed prices to be kept at a relatively low level. The British increasingly cooperated with their allies on this issue in order to avoid unnecessary competition. The United States entry in the war further enhanced the Allies’ control on world trade. The success of this strategy was owed to the lack of markets outside of the Allied territory, in which producers of raw material would be able to sell their goods. Imports were also easily controlled, because they were run through a small number of mainly British and French ports. In addition, the Allies controlled international shipping and the maritime insurance system, whose center of activity was London. With their global network of coal stations, on which everyone depended, the British were able to put pressure on neutral maritime traffic. This also facilitated their control of world trade 6.

8If one turns the eye away from Central and Western Europe, conventional periodization comes into question. The First World War was not only a global war, it was a long one as well. In many respects, the war began before 1914, mainly in the Balkans and in colonial peripheries such as Libya. On the other hand, it was kept alive long after 1918; not only in the sense, that the Paris Peace Treaties were unable to create a stable international order and laid the groundwork for the rise of fascism and national socialism which in turn led to the Second World War. Even if one does not want to go so far, it is clear that the year 1918 does not mark the end of the war. Numerous other wars and armed conflicts followed thereafter, which emerged directly from the Great War and persisted partly up to the early 1920s. The list of these violent conflicts is long. The Russian Civil War in all probability cost more Russian lives than the First World War. there were numerous conflicts in Central Eastern Europe after 1918, the war between Turkey and Greece which ended in 1923 with the Treaty of Lausanne, and there was the struggle for Egyptian independence.

9These are some of the key historiographical perspectives, which have served as guidelines for the Encyclopedia. It intends to present the First World War in its entirety from a transnational view, as a pan-European and global war, which extended past 1918. One part of this transnational approach are the comparisons between countries and regions involved in the war, as well as a look at the multiple ties and interactions between them. Making use of a global perspective not limited to military events there is hardly any true neutrality, but only different ways of participation in the war. Therefore, the Encyclopedia systematically includes the neutral countries and regions, which were politically, economically, medially and mentally affected by the war to an often considerable extent.

10These perspectives are not novel to the experts. For the general public as well as for the wider community of scholars, however, they are not yet common knowledge. The Encyclopedia intends to summarize the latest international expertise and make it accessible to both the professional community and the broader public, in a more comprehensive way. In this way it moreover aims to contribute to a post-national and global image of the First World War also within commemorative culture. It furthermore intends, through its comparative and global design, to identify gaps and advance scholarly research.

11These perspectives and aims find expression in multiple ways both in the structure of the project and in that of the articles of the Encyclopedia.

The Structure of the Encyclopedia Project

12The Encyclopedia is directed by a central project team in Berlin. The contents of the project are coordinated at the Institute for History (Institut für Geschichte) of the Free University. The technical part is carried out by the Center for Digital Systems of the Free University. In addition, the Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) in Munich is responsible for the indexing of the contributions as well as their long-term archiving. Moreover, the Bavarian State Library catalogues each of the Encyclopedia articles, which can, in this way, be searched and found worldwide via the libraries’ common network catalogue.

13An editorial board is responsible for the contents of the Encyclopedia. It consists of a 13-member Editorial Advisory Board serving as consultants to the editors, seven General Editors and 86 Section Editors. The seven General Editors, who are from Europe, USA and South Africa, are the main editors of the Encyclopedia. They set the guidelines for the Encyclopedia and make all strategic decisions. In addition, and together with external specialists, they act as experts in a two-step review process, which every article on the Encyclopedia has to undergo.

14The Section Editors, which are also renowned and established experts, are in charge of the regional and thematic sections of the Encyclopedia. They develop concepts for the articles of their section and suggest authors. In addition, the Section Editors assume first peer review duties to the articles in their section.

15The Editorial Board consists of a total of 106 experts. They come from more than twenty countries. The United States of America (19) Germany (18) and the United Kingdom (11) dominate, while France (5), Russia (6), Ireland (7), Austria (4) and Italy (4) are also strongly represented. The other editors are from Australia (2), Belgium (2), China (1), Japan (3), Canada (2), Lebanon (1), Luxembourg (1), New Zealand (1), the Netherlands (3), Turkey (3) Poland (2), Portugal (2), Switzerland (2), Serbia (1), South Africa (1), Spain (1), Slovakia (1), Norway (1), Hungary (1), Denmark (1) and Sweden (1).

16In addition, more than 130 external experts support the review process. Within the anonymous peer-review process they, along with the General Editors, evaluate the articles in a second assessment phase. This two-step evaluation procedure, which every article of the Encyclopedia must undergo, ensures the high scholarly quality of the content.

  • 7 Jalonen, Richter, Szlanta 2014.

17More than 900 authors from around the world write for the Encyclopedia: authors from Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia and Nigeria, as well as from Germany, Great Britain or France. Sometimes, the articles are written collaboratively by several authors from different countries. The article Commemoration and Cult of the Fallen for example compares commemoration in Poland, the Baltic States and Finland. The article is co-authored by a German, an Austrian and a Finnish author 7.

18In addition, the project is supported by over thirty partners from ten countries. Project partners are mostly institutions, such as the Imperial War Museum in London, the Colonial Picture Archive (Koloniales Bildarchiv) in Frankfurt or the Library of Contemporary History (Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte) in Stuttgart, which have made documentary material –mainly visual resources– from their respective collections available to the Encyclopedia.

19The German Historical Institutes (Deutsche Historische Institute) in Moscow, Warsaw, London, Paris and Rome support the editorial board of the Encyclopedia and fund English translations. Additionally, some organize meetings for regional sections. For example, in December 2014 a meeting for the Italian section took place at the German Historical Institute in Rome. The German Historical Institutes in Warsaw and Moscow are responsible for the “East Central Europe” and “Russian Empire” sections. In these cases, the directors of the Institutes act as Section Editors. These institutions also offer scholarships for authors. They have specially recruited staff tasked with writing articles for the Encyclopedia or supervising the content of the sections. In the particular case of Poland, where research on First World War has been in arrears for many years, new studies are expected exclusively for the Encyclopedia.

20Some ongoing research projects on the First World War have approached 1914-1918- online and have offered to manage the content of sections, which –in several cases– had not initially been planned. The Switzerland in the First World War project, for example, which is run at the Universities of Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Lucerne works on the “Switzerland” section. Another example are the historians of the University of Lisbon, who manage the section “Portugal”, or the colleagues from Kyoto University, who are responsible for the “Japan” section. These collaborations make the Encyclopedia particularly innovative, because they bring attention to countries that have been hitherto neglected in First World War Studies.

21Another project partner is CENDARI (Collaborative European Digital Archive Infrastructure), a project funded by the European Union, which connects the First World War archives and their digital resources across national borders, thus building a digital research infrastructure for the First World War. Articles in 1914-1918-online are bound to this infrastructure, in order to enable the use of specific links to archival resources on relevant issues.

22Therefore, 1914-1918-online is the largest and most global project and network in the field of First World War Studies. It now includes more than 1  000 experts around the world, who are contributing to the project as editors, authors, reviewers and institutional partners.

The Structure of the Encyclopedia Articles

23The global approach of the Encyclopedia is reflected not only in the range of international participants in the project, but also in its content. Here we can only give a rough overview.

24The Encyclopedia offers four different types of articles:

25– Regional Survey Articles provide an overview of a region or a country;

26– Thematic Survey Articles give a transnational and comparative overview of a topic;

27– Regionalized Thematic Articles cover a topic for a specific region or country;

28– Encyclopedic Entries.


30Encyclopedic Entries are shorter articles, usually about one to five pages long. Handbook Articles can be fifteen to thirty pages long. 1914-1918- online is therefore not simply, in the strictest sense, an encyclopaedia, but also an extensive handbook.

31The Encyclopedia is divided into the following eleven world regions: Africa, Australasia, Central Europe, East Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East, South and South East Asia, Southeast Europe and Western Europe. This partitioning affirms the global aspirations of the project and demonstrates that hitherto underrepresented regions are represented equally.

32These regions are further divided into individual countries, for which there are Regional Survey Articles. The articles provide an overview of the development of individual countries during the First World War while systematically taking into account preliminary events as well as the aftermath and consequences of the war. Beyond political and military history, they also examine social, economic and cultural developments. Neutral countries such as Sweden, Switzerland and Spain, as well as states that emerged only during or after the First World War, such as Poland or Czechoslovakia are all considered.

  • 8 Donson 2014.
  • 9 Sumpf 2014.
  • 10 Jones 2014.
  • 11 Fulwider 2014.
  • 12 Pironti 2014.
  • 13 Kitchen 2014.

33In addition, the Encyclopedia is divided into six thematic sections: “Pre-war”, “Power”, “Violence”, “Media”, “Home Front” and “Post-war”. This division conforms to the priorities of First World War research. In these sections, thematic overview articles cover topics such as, for example, “Schools and Universities”8 in the “Home Front” section, or “Russian Civil War” 9 in the “Post-War” section. Further examples of these transnational and comparative thematic overview articles include “Prisoners of War” 10, “Revolutions” 11, “Post-war Welfare Politics” 12 or “Colonial Empires after the War” 13. In addition to comparative and transnational overview articles, some of these topics are also covered with a regional focus and are directly linked to the overview article; for example, “Science and Technology” during the war in Germany, France, Russia, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, or Portugal. In this way, users reading about German innovations in science and technology can find a link to respective developments in France or in Portugal, or consult the overview article based on the regional articles and comparing the different scientific and technological innovations during the First World War. Here are some further examples of issues that are examined both in comparative overview articles and in regional entries: “Warfare”, “Social Conflict and Control”, “Protest and Repression”, “Arts”, “Making Sense of the War”, “Labour”, “Film/Cinema”, “Women’s Mobilization for War”, “Post-War Societies”, “Bereavement and Mourning” or “Historiography 1918-today”, just to name a few.

  • 14 Riseman, Winegard 2014.
  • 15 Authaler, Michels 2014.

34Among the Regionalized Thematic Articles there are not only comparative articles as the above-mentioned, but also articles on issues that are exclusively related to individual countries and regions. For example, in the “Australia” section there is an article concerning the Indigenous Experience of War  14, which deals with the war experiences of the indigenous population of the continent. The “Africa” section has an article about Post-war Colonial Administration  15 dealing with changes in colonial administrations of territories whose “owners” changed during the war.

  • 16 Carlucci 2014.
  • 17 Brown 2014.
  • 18 Peeling 2014.
  • 19 Little 2014.
  • 20 Schneider 2014.
  • 21 Hüppauf 2014.
  • 22 Müller 2014.

35Handbook articles are complemented by Encyclopedic Entries, which are divided into the following categories: individuals, organizations, events, objects, concepts, and places. Here are some examples: “Sidney Sonnino” 16, “US race riots” 17, “Russian-Japanese War” 18, “Commission for Relief in Belgium” 19 and “All Quiet on the Western Front (novel)” 20. This is a lemma of the “object” category: the handbook article “Literature (Germany)” 21 is linked to the Encyclopaedic Entry “All Quiet on the Western Front”, which discusses the novel by Erich Maria Remarque. Other war novels from other countries, as Le Feu22 for example, are linked to this lemma via the taxonomy, which connects the content of the entire Encyclopedia.

  • 23 Frevert 2014.

36In this way, the Encyclopedia offers global, transnational and comparative, but also national and, especially at lemma level, local and individual perspectives. It traces a multifaceted history of First World War, weaving individual, local, regional, national and transnational histories together in new ways. Users can choose among accounts of varying breadth and degrees of complexity and abstraction, between transnational overview articles or encyclopaedic entries on individuals, organizations and events. The Encyclopedia reflects the current state of scholarship while also initiating new research. Users can find state-of-the-art information on central issues and key developments before, during and after the First World War. They can also make unexpected discoveries, as 1914-1918-online covers cutting-edge approaches, such as the History of Emotions, with articles on topics such as “Wartime Emotions” 23. Thanks to its comparative design, the Encyclopedia helps identify desiderata. With its innovative navigation and semantic links, it also helps make visible previously unidentified and surprising connections.

Regional Perspectives

  • 24 Richter 2014a.
  • 25 Richter, Szlanta 2014.
  • 26 Szlanta, Richter 2014.
  • 27 Richter 2014b.
  • 28 Tepora 2014.
  • 29 Borzęcki 2014.
  • 30 Richter 2014c.
  • 31 Leśniewski 2014.
  • 32 Svarauskas 2014.

37A few examples will now serve, without any claim to completeness, to demonstrate how the Encyclopedia takes into account the transnational and global expansion of the First World War Studies, and how it represents individual regions. The section “East Central Europe”, which covers a region long time neglected in scholarship, is particularly innovative. The section includes overview articles on Poland, the Baltic States and Finland 24. Other articles offer regionally tailored discussions on topics covered across multiple national sections, such as “Historiography 1918-today (East Central Europe)” 25 and “Warfare (East Central Europe)” 26, or issues particularly relevant for Central Europe, such as “Post-war Agrarian Economic Policies (East Central Europe)” 27. Entries in this section include, among others, the Finnish Civil War 28, the Treaty of Riga 29, postwar conflicts in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 30, and important people like the Polish military figure and politician Józef Piłsudski 31 or Antanas Smetona 32, the first President of the Republic of Lithuania, which declared its independence in 1918. Several scholars at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw are carrying out research in regional archives for new articles. The Encyclopedia thus not only contains the most recent research on the war in Eastern Europe, but also publishes completely new research findings.

38The role of neutral countries during the First World War has taken on increasing scholarly importance in recent years. It was practically impossible for any country to remain truly uninvolved in a war that covered not only all of Europe, but that also had many global dimensions. The Encyclopedia therefore includes separate sections on neutral countries. The Swiss section is a good and particularly innovative example, as it is closely linked to the aforementioned “Switzerland during World War I” research project. As a result, previously unpublished results of ongoing research find their way directly into the Encyclopedia.

  • 33 See on the following the article of Stefan Rinke, Section editor of the Encyclopedia for Latin Ame (...)

39One of the objectives of 1914-1918-online is to make clear that the First World War had a profound impact on those regions and countries outside Europe which gave up their neutrality late or not at all, or which were, from a military point of view, only marginally involved in the war, even if they did enter it. Latin America is a particularly good example 33. The region does not appear at all in many general histories of the First World War, with the sole exception of the sea battles between Germans and Britons close to Chile and in the Falkland Islands. Nevertheless, the war had many important effects on the region. The war in Europe meant that the United States of America, like Japan in East Asia, enjoyed significantly more freedom of action in the Western Hemisphere, and both powers moved to claim their interests in the region more aggressively. The economic consequences were also of great importance to Latin America: the blockade forced them to shift their exports to the Allies and to goods which were important for warfare. Due to the war, the United States of America likewise became the major trading partner of and lender to many Latin American countries.

40The war had also important intellectual and political consequences in the region. In terms of communication, Latin America, like Japan, participated fully in the war, being the target of a fierce propaganda war between the powers. It is particularly important that the image of Europe changed among leading intellectuals: to many of them, Europe ceased to be the admirable center of world progress. This devaluation of Europe led to a loss of legitimacy for the local oligarchies who had bet on the European model of development, as well as to a re-evaluation of local societies. All of this, in turn, gave impetus to nationalist and reform-oriented forces. The urban middle classes in particular were strengthened in their demand to social reforms in the name of an independent nation. Some of them joined nationalist parties, others movements advocating the rights of indigenous people or of the growing workforce. The women’s movement gained also momentum, as did the student movement, which was itself influenced by the wartime repudiation of European models, the rhetoric of reform and national awakening, and the idea of the special sustainability of Latin America in view of the European disaster, which was seen by many as a betrayal of civilization and as a reversion to barbarism.

  • 34 Bulmer-Thomas 2014.
  • 35 Rinke 2014a.
  • 36 Rinke 2014b.
  • 37 Jiménez 2014.
  • 38 Schuster 2014.
  • 39 Araujo 2014.

41These perspectives are reflected in the articles of the Latin America section, making this part of the project highly innovative. Articles have been published on topics such as “Post-War Economies (Latin America)” 34, “Propaganda War (Latin America)” 35, “Labour Movements, Trade Unions and Strikes (Latin America)” 36 and “Press (Latin America)” 37, as well as an article on social movements, which deals with the women and student movements, as well as with the Indigenismo movement. There are also shorter articles, for example on the Panama Canal (opened in August 1914) 38, whose protection against infringements by hostile powers was an important pretext for the United States to extend their influence in the region; or on Epitácio Pessoa 39, who represented Brazil in Versailles and later became Prime Minister of the country.

42Another region often neglected in the European perception of the First World War is Africa. While the war in Togo, Cameroon and South West Africa came to a fairly quick end, fighting continued in East Africa until the end of 1918. Though the number of soldiers deployed was relatively low, the consequences for the region were devastating. This was mainly because the war in Africa was a war of movement and, due to poor infrastructure, a large number of porters had to be recruited; the British alone used about one million. The death rate among them was as high as among the soldiers on the Western Front: in Kenya, victims accounted for one-eighth of the adult male population. Requisitions and plundering strained civilian life too, with famines and pestilences as a result. In German East Africa alone, an estimated 650,000 people –about one-tenth of the population– lost their lives during the war. France recruited soldiers and workers from its western and northern African colonies to be deployed in Europe. Across the continent, the war’s profound impact was felt far beyond 1918.

  • 40 Njung 2014.
  • 41 Storey Kelleher 2014.
  • 42 Samson 2014.

43In addition to four regional introductory articles about Northern Africa, West Africa 40, East and Central Africa and Southern Africa 41 and a few thematic articles in other sections, such as “Occupation During and After the War”, “Pre-War Military Planning” and “Post-War Societies”, this section also includes articles tailored to the specific conditions in the region, such as “Colonial Labour Requirements during Wartime”. Handbook articles are complemented by entries about, for example, the tirailleurs sénégalais recruited from France, the South African politician Louis Botha 42, the Battle of Tanga in November 1914 and the Carrier Corps.

44The Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war was one of the most important turning points in expanding the conflict beyond Europe. The war was extended to the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, Persia, the Sinai and Arabia, which in turn had repercussions across Europe. The Ottoman army, consisting of 1.6 million men, tied up strong Russian and British forces. The consequences for the region were dramatic, with genocide and deportations taking place in unprecedented degrees. Famine and epidemics decimated Asia Minor’s civilian population, so much so that one-third of the war’s civilian victims were from that region. At the end of the war, further displacements, as well as an exchange of population, ended the 2000-year history of the Greeks in Asia Minor. The war upended not only the political, but also the demographic, ethnic and social structures of the region.

  • 43 Yanıkdağ 2014a.
  • 44 Yanıkdağ 2014b.
  • 45 Schulze-Tanielian 2014.
  • 46 Werfel 1933.

45The section “Ottoman Empire/Middle East” is therefore of great importance to the project. Its content is supervised by experts from the United States and the German Orient Institut in Istanbul, which allows for the involvement of numerous authors from the region. A regional survey article 43 deals with the entire region, and there are regional articles on Persia, Afghanistan and Egypt. Several articles allow for a comparison with other regions, such as “Prisoners of War (Ottoman Empire/Middle East)” 44 and “Food and Nutrition (Ottoman Empire/Middle East)” 45, while others take into account regional specificities, such as the article on Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa, the intelligence and terrorist organization of the Committee of Union and Progress, which was subordinated to the Ministry of War, and, of course, the article on Armenian Genocide. Shorter entries cover topics such as Franz Werfel’s famous book Forty Days of Musa Dagh46.

  • 47 Sumpf 2014.
  • 48 Centek 2014.
  • 49 Pironti 2014.
  • 50 Kitchen 2014.
  • 51 Phillips 2014.
  • 52 Sharp 2014.
  • 53 Winter 2014b.

46The Encyclopedia does not end in the year 1918. Rather, it takes into account the conflicts that arose in the immediate aftermath of the war, as well as other cultural consequences including commemoration and memory. The postwar section contains articles on the Russian Civil War 47 and the Russo-Polish War of 1920-1921 48, as well as an overview article on “Post-war Welfare Policies” 49, which examines in a comparative way the significance of the war for the development of the welfare state. Other contributions cover such diverse topics as “Colonial Empires after the War/Decolonization” 50, “Influenza Pandemic” 51, “The Paris Peace Conference and its Consequences” 52, and “Historiography 1918-Today” 53.

47Overall, more than 1  700 articles are currently planned: 47 Regional Survey Articles, 137 Thematic Survey Articles, 604 Regionalized Thematic Articles and 945 Encyclopedic Entries.

48Finally, a few words should be said about the advantages of publishing such an encyclopedia online. 1914-1918-online is an English open-access publication: this ensures maximum visibility and spread beyond the circle of academic experts, making the Encyclopedia available to pupils, students, teachers and the general public worldwide.

49Another advantage of digital publishing is that articles can be gradually released and updated at any time (all versions of an article remain accessible at all times). Online publication also allows for the enrichment of individual entries with images, maps and geodata, video and other digital sources, as well as links to library catalogs and external web content, making relevant websites (evaluated by the editors), research literature published online, and digitized sources readily available to the user.

50Online publication furthermore allows for innovative navigation through an extensive collection of texts. The articles are elaborately connected and diversely searchable. Users can browse through the vast network of the Encyclopedia’s material in associative ways, while also being able to easily target specific information, and compile custom collections of articles based on topics, keywords, countries or regions. This makes it considerably easier for users not only to identify linkages and connections, but also to draw comparisons. The transnational and global claim of the Encyclopedia is thus supported and enhanced by its technical structure, the form and medium of its publication.


Aldrich, Hilliard 2010 = Aldrich Robert, Hilliard Christopher, “The French and British Empires”, in Horne John (ed.), A companion to World War I, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 524-539.

Araujo 2014 = Araujo Rafael Pinheiro de, “Pessoa, Epitácio”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL:http://dx.doi. org/10.15463/ie1418.10041.

Authaler, Michels 2014 = Authaler Caroline, Michels Stefanie, “Post-war Colonial Administration (Africa)”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL:

Balderston 2010 = Balderston Theo, “Industrial Mobilization and War Economics”, in Horne John (ed.), A companion to World War I, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 217-233.

Borzęcki 2014 = Borzęcki Jerzy, “Riga, Treaty of”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL: ie1418.10032.

Brown 2014 = Brown Charlene Fletcher, “U.S. Race Riots”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL: http://dx.doi. org/10.15463/ie1418.10029.

Bulmer-Thomas 2014 = Bulmer-Thomas Victor, “Post-war Economies (Latin America)”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL:

Carlucci 2014 = Carlucci Paola, “Sonnino, Sidney”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL: http://dx.doi. org/10.15463/ie1418.10627.

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Horne 2010 = Horne John (ed.), A companion to World War I, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Hüppauf 2014 = Hüppauf Bernd, “Literature (Germany)”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL: http://dx.doi. org/10.15463/ie1418.10391.

Jalonen, Richter, Szlanta 2014 = Jalonen Jussi, Richter Klaus, Szlanta Piotr, “Commemoration, Cult of the Fallen (East Central Europe)”, in Daniel et al. 2014. [online] URL:

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1 This text is an updated version of an article which was published in 2014 in the Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht review (Janz 2014a). The article is based on a lecture given in January 2014 at the Univer- sities of  Tokyo and Kyoto. For reasons of space, bibliographical indications for specific aspects of the First World War have been to a large extent avoided. One can find overviews about single countries, regions or issues, which reflect the current status of the research and offer bibliographical data in the respective areas, in: Winter 2014a; Horne 2010; Hirschfeld et al. 2009.

2 See Overmans 2009.

3 See Strachan 2010.

4 See Aldrich, Hilliard 2010.

5 See Xu 2011; Ma 2012.

6 See Balderston 2010.

7 Jalonen, Richter, Szlanta 2014.

8 Donson 2014.

9 Sumpf 2014.

10 Jones 2014.

11 Fulwider 2014.

12 Pironti 2014.

13 Kitchen 2014.

14 Riseman, Winegard 2014.

15 Authaler, Michels 2014.

16 Carlucci 2014.

17 Brown 2014.

18 Peeling 2014.

19 Little 2014.

20 Schneider 2014.

21 Hüppauf 2014.

22 Müller 2014.

23 Frevert 2014.

24 Richter 2014a.

25 Richter, Szlanta 2014.

26 Szlanta, Richter 2014.

27 Richter 2014b.

28 Tepora 2014.

29 Borzęcki 2014.

30 Richter 2014c.

31 Leśniewski 2014.

32 Svarauskas 2014.

33 See on the following the article of Stefan Rinke, Section editor of the Encyclopedia for Latin America: Rinke 2014a.

34 Bulmer-Thomas 2014.

35 Rinke 2014a.

36 Rinke 2014b.

37 Jiménez 2014.

38 Schuster 2014.

39 Araujo 2014.

40 Njung 2014.

41 Storey Kelleher 2014.

42 Samson 2014.

43 Yanıkdağ 2014a.

44 Yanıkdağ 2014b.

45 Schulze-Tanielian 2014.

46 Werfel 1933.

47 Sumpf 2014.

48 Centek 2014.

49 Pironti 2014.

50 Kitchen 2014.

51 Phillips 2014.

52 Sharp 2014.

53 Winter 2014b.

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Professeur à la Freie Universität de Berlin

Christos Apostolopoulos (Traducteur)

Translation from German to English

© École française d’Athènes, 2019

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