The Great War
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Glossary
This glossary is organised in alphabetical order. If you are looking for a word (e.g. entente) it might be a part of a phrase (e.g Triple Entente).
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A Top of page Top of page
abrogation formally ending something you have agreed to legally (e.g. a treaty)
alliance an agreement between countries to work together to try to achieve the same thing, to protect each other or to protect other things which are important to both countries
ambassador an important person who lives in a foreign country and is accepted as representing their home country to the government of the foreign country
annihilated completely destroyed
ANZAC Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
artillery very large and heavy guns
assassination when someone important is killed, often for political reasons
attrition a gradual wearing down (in war this would mean gradually wearing down the enemy before destroying them, rather than capturing land)
Austria-Hungary empire in central Europe which ruled over most of the countries that now make up Eastern Europe (e.g. Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia etc)
B Top of page Top of page
Balkans area in the south-east of Europe
battalion army unit made up of 2 regiments, usually about 2,000 soldiers
bellicose warlike
Bethmann-Hollweg, Theobald von German Chancellor in 1914
billets places where soldiers stayed when not in the trenches – could be farmhouses, cottages, tents etc
blockade stopping people or goods (such as ammunition) getting through
Bolsheviks people belonging to the group who took control of Russia in 1917, later known as the (Russian) Communist Party; also used as a name for someone who was suspected of being against their society or wanting a revolution
brazier a metal container holding burning coals or charcoal, used for heat and cooking
brigade military unit of about 4,000 men
C Top of page Top of page
Cabinet a group of people appointed by a Prime Minister to hold the most important posts in government (in Britain they are MPs and appointed Ministers)
casualty a person injured, killed or missing; someone who is not fit and able to fight (in the case of a soldier)
cede to give up or to hand over
cession the action of giving up, handing over, or 'ceding', especially territory
Clemenceau, Georges French Prime Minister at the end of the Great War
commission term used in the armed forces to explain the rank and power given to officers to command other soldiers, e.g. a person receives a commission to become an officer
Communism political belief based on the ideas that all people should be equal, the government should own all industry and business, no one should own private property, and all people should work as hard as they can and receive all that they need in return
company military unit of about 130 men
compel to make or force someone to do something
compensation money paid to someone to make up for something, to make up for a loss
Congress the group of elected politicians who run the USA, similar to Parliament in the UK
conscription making people join and serve in the armed forces by law
D Top of page Top of page
Dardanelles a narrow stretch of water between Turkey and Europe, near to the Turkish capital of Constantinople (now called Istanbul)
dire very bad
division military unit of about 15-20,000 men
draft 1. a first attempt at a document
2. a group of fresh troops brought in as reinforcements
3. troops brought together through conscription
Dreadnought a large and powerful type of battleship, developed by the British to try and end the naval race with Germany before the war broke out
Dual Alliance alliance between Austria-Hungary and Germany
E Top of page Top of page
embargo ban
embassy the building an ambassador works in
enfilade intense gun fire which sweeps along a line (of troops) from end to end
F Top of page Top of page
field gun small artillery weapon, usually on wheels and easy to move around
formulate to put together the details of a plan
G Top of page Top of page
garrison unit of troops used to guard a particular place
German Navy Law law passed in Germany to pay for the building of a large fleet of German battleships
Gladstone, William Ewart British political leader in the 19th century
Goschen, Sir Edward British ambassador in Germany in the run-up to the Great War
grenade a small bomb which is thrown by hand
Grey, Sir Edward British Foreign Secretary
H Top of page Top of page
heir someone who will receive money, property and/or titles (e.g. duke, baron) when someone else dies, often a relative
howitzer a large gun which fires artillery shells
Hun 1. a person belonging to a tribe who attacked Europe in ancient times
2. a brutal or vicious person
3. an insulting way of referring to a German or German soldier used to build up anti-German feeling in the propaganda war
I, J Top of page Top of page
There are no entries for the letters "I & J".
K Top of page Top of page
Kaiser German Emperor
Kiel Canal canal in Germany, which allowed German warships easy access to the North Sea
knight-errantry doing good deeds like a medieval knight in old stories
L Top of page Top of page
lieutenant junior officer in the British Army
limber carriage used for transporting artillery pieces
Lloyd George, David British government minister and Prime Minister from 1916
logistics process of moving food, ammunition, weapons etc around so that soldiers have them in the right place at the right time
M Top of page Top of page
mobilise make ready for action; cause to move around; get ready for war by preparing an army to fight and by recruiting soldiers
morale the spirit and confidence and state of well-being of people
N Top of page Top of page
necessity a need; something which cannot be avoided
neutral/ neutrality not on any side in a war; not doing or saying anything that would help any side
O Top of page Top of page
Ottoman ruling family of the Turkish Ottoman Empire
P Top of page Top of page
peninsula piece of land mostly surrounded by water but not completely (so not an island)
platoon military unit of 32 men
plebiscite vote in which people decide on an important political question, also called a referendum
propaganda information that is spread for the purpose of putting forward a particular idea
Q Top of page Top of page
quartermaster army officer in charge of supplies
R Top of page Top of page
recruit 1. a new member of the armed forces (noun)
2. to raise or strengthen an armed force by getting people to join up (verb)
redoubt somewhere for soldiers to hide while they are fighting
reparations see compensation
revanche revenge (French)
S Top of page Top of page
salient area of the line of trenches which jutted out into no man's land and was exposed to enemy attack
Schlieffen, Count Alfred von German general who came up with Germany's original battle plan for war
section military unit of 8 men
self-determination process in which a national group rules themselves
spartacists a radical socialist group from Germany who tried to take over the country and end the war
stalemate a chess term meaning a situation where neither side can win or lose, so no action can be taken and no advantage gained
straits narrow stretch of water
subaltern junior officer in the British Army
T Top of page Top of page
terrain land
terrorist someone who tries to force a government to do what the terrorist wants by carrying out violent acts
Triple Alliance alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy before 1914
Triple Entente alliance of Britain, France and Russia
U Top of page Top of page
  There are no entries for the letter "U".
V Top of page Top of page
Victoria Cross highest award for bravery for British soldiers
volunteer to offer to do something
W Top of page Top of page
Wilhelmshaven main German naval base
Wilson, Woodrow President of the USA during the Great War
X, Y, Z Top of page Top of page
  There are no entries for the letters "X, Y, & Z".
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
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