63 votes
Accepted

Why didn't the British Grand Fleet force an engagement with the German Imperial Navy in WW1?

tl;dr Sea control is good. Sea denial is not that much worse. Sinking an enemy ship at the cost of significant damage to your own is less desirable than keeping your enemy holed up in port (where his ...
user avatar
  • 12.1k
48 votes
Accepted

In the "Christmas truce" of 1914 were there any football (soccer) matches between British and German troops?

This depends a bit on the definition of "match": modern rules 90 minutes kicking, level playfield, three referees, 11 players on each side, two nicely timbered goals, etc. Most popular accounts now ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
41 votes
Accepted

Did the Germans purposefully arrange to send Lenin to Russia to start a revolution?

A Russian revolution caused by the Bolsheviks was most definitely the goal of the Germans when they allowed Lenin to pass through their lands. Germany wished to undermine, or end, the Russian war ...
user avatar
  • 9,597
39 votes
Accepted

What was the "Favorable result" that the German admiralty was expecting from the naval attack on the Royal Navy in 1918?

The point was not to cripple the Royal Navy, or even win the war. The point was to "go down in glory". (Edit: Or having a moment of glory, if you like that better.) Admiral Scheer's take on ...
user avatar
  • 12.1k
24 votes
Accepted

Was there any practical use for German spiked helmets (Pickelhaube)?

Helmet spikes and flanges were originally intended to deflect saber blows. Those on the Pickelhaube are somewhat stylized, but they still served the original purpose. Source: German Wikipedia. I ...
user avatar
  • 16.1k
18 votes

Did the Germans purposefully arrange to send Lenin to Russia to start a revolution?

I'll just try to put some further tidbits into the three questions. "Lenins Rückkehr nach Russland 1917: Die deutschen Akten" has from Page 39 on a telegram conversation between the German ...
user avatar
  • 1,107
18 votes
Accepted

The WWI Christmas truce of 1914 resulted in no consequences, in spite of clear warnings against such beforehand - why were there no courts-martial?

First, for clarity, it is worth noting the commanding officers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in December 1914: Sir John French was the Commander-in-Chief of the BEF. Under him were ...
user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

Why did the Schlieffen Plan prioritize invading France?

Plan, what plan, exactly? The "Schlieffen Plan" did not "prioritize" invading France. That plan was a relatively short memorandum and solely about invading France, with the ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
17 votes

What was the "Favorable result" that the German admiralty was expecting from the naval attack on the Royal Navy in 1918?

Note: The original question title read: Q Why German admiralty was so optimistic about the possible outcome of the naval attack on Royal Navy in 1918? This answer still responds to both versions of ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
16 votes
Accepted

How did Germany claim self-defense in WW1?

By naming Russian mobilisation as the initial aggression. One needs to look no further than the German declaration of war itself. That document succinctly laid out Berlin's position that the Russian ...
user avatar
  • 96.2k
16 votes

Why didn't the British Grand Fleet force an engagement with the German Imperial Navy in WW1?

Because if they did, they would have been playing into German hands. The Germans did not plan to match the British navy. What they did was create a Risk Fleet about 60% of the British fleet, one that ...
user avatar
  • 103k
16 votes
Accepted

Where did Otto von Bismarck say "lying awake all night, hating"?

1) 1897 The earliest reference I could find is Christoph von Tiedemann on p. 42 of Persönliche Erinnerungen an den Fürsten Bismarck (S. Hirze, 1898, link) based on a 1897 talk: "ich habe nicht ...
user avatar
16 votes

Why did the Schlieffen Plan prioritize invading France?

Railroads. The French and especially the Germans had elaborate mobilization plans involving railways. The Russians had not. They have a much smaller railroad network and their logistics weren't up to ...
user avatar
  • 17.9k
15 votes

Why didn't the linguistic split overlap with the religion split in Prussian Silesia?

The maps are simplifications for a very complicated setup. As such they are misleading in several ways. Spatially they represent large swathes of land with a limited number of gradients to ease ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
14 votes

How did the German royal families lose power so quickly in 1918? What happened to them afterwards?

All legal privileges of the aristocracy were abolished when the Weimar Republic was founded. The current Federal Republic of Germany does not recognize any nobility but allows the use of hereditary ...
user avatar
  • 8,133
14 votes
Accepted

Besides Mexico, who was considered as a potential ally of the Central Powers?

(Presumably the question rules out the many co-belligerents of the Central Powers, for which Wikipedia has a detailed article.) The Kingdom of Romania is possibly the best example. In fact, the ...
user avatar
  • 96.2k
11 votes

How long would it take a Victorian to travel from central Germany to the UK?

(The maps are from an Atlas Obscura article on Isochronic maps and the wikipedia entry on German Railways.) Here's an isochronic map centered on London from the early 1880s to give a feel of how long ...
user avatar
11 votes

Is there any good reason to call the German Emperor "the Kaiser", implying something uniquely German about him?

This is indeed a hold-over from he propaganda of the First World War. Although the term started its career earlier. Compare the official definition for Kaiser on the Wikipedia disambiguation page: ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
11 votes
Accepted

Did anyone face consequences (charges / court-martial) for the 1914 Christmas truce in WWI?

On the British side, no one was court-martialed. This also appears to be true for the French, Belgians and Germans. French and Belgian participation in the Christmas truce was, in any case, very ...
user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Where could I find a map of the communes for Bavaria region before 1930?

Update Here is a 1931 overview map of Bavaria (click on the link Zur historischen Karte im DigiTool-Viewer) appearing to show the municipal (ie gemeinden) divisions, labelled as Bezirksamtsgr(enze). ...
user avatar
10 votes

When was the first usage of the slogan "Wer hat uns verraten..."?

Summary Members of the radical left started to speak of "betrayal" by the Social-Democrats in 1914, as a workers' party wasn't supposed to vote for financing a war. The conservatives as war-...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
10 votes

What was the "Favorable result" that the German admiralty was expecting from the naval attack on the Royal Navy in 1918?

The Battle of Jutland was not a German defeat. Although the German navy failed to achieve their strategic goal of breaking the power of the British Grand Fleet, they scored a tactical victory, ...
user avatar
  • 8,464
9 votes
Accepted

How did Hindenburg and Ludendorff lose WWI?

It is easy for an "armchair general" to criticize an actual general who was fighting a war without a benefit of a 20/20 hindsight. Both sides made numerous mistakes, and the the Entente's victory was ...
user avatar
  • 25.7k
9 votes

Did the Germans occupy Kiev or Odessa in WW I?

The Germans and Austrians did occupy Kiev, and they did so as a result from military action, albeit one with less resistance than otherwise expected on that front. When the Bolshevik delegation tried ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
9 votes

Was Erich Ludendorff any form of nobility?

There seems to be three different claims as to why Ludendorff should be considered noble in the question: Ludendorff being descended from Eric XIV of Sweden. Ludendorff being descended from several ...
user avatar
  • 5,411
8 votes
Accepted

How democratic was Imperial Germany?

The Reichstag was the Parliament of the German Empire from 1871- 1918. It had less force than government, but still was very powerful. The legislature was bicameral; the two houses were the Reichstag ...
user avatar
  • 2,281
8 votes

Besides Mexico, who was considered as a potential ally of the Central Powers?

'Naturally' Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey would be interested in anyone joining their cause. This is not about who ended up in 1918 being at war with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k
7 votes

Was there any practical use for German spiked helmets (Pickelhaube)?

The main utility of spiked helmets is against cavalry, specifically to deflect sabers being swung from "overhead." Its value basically declined over the course of the 19th century, as the growing ...
user avatar
  • 103k
7 votes
Accepted

How was the Karwendel railway important to Germany's plans for WW1?

They didn't trust Italians… German Empire and Austria-Hungary were allies and agreed for mutual support in case of war. That means Germany may rush South to help, or Austria may rush North to do ...
user avatar
  • 77.3k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible