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Modern History Glossary Terms

By stephanieHSC12 Dec 04, 2012 1435 Words
Stalemate Deadlock from which neither side can progress

Total war Government’s mobilisation of all its resources to support the efforts of its own troops and undermine those of its opponents

Western Front The area of fighting in western Europe during World War I. It stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss border and encompassed territory in Belgium and northern France.

War of attrition War in which competing sides attempt to achieve victory through the tactic of wearing down their opponents’ armies, fighting power, morale and economies to the point of collapse

Trench warfare form of military conflict in which opposing sides fight one another from trenches facing one another

Dugouts Shelters dug into the sides of the trenches

No man’s land The area separating opposing armies in trench warfare

Salient A military position that bulges forward into enemy-held territory and, as a result, could be vulnerable to attack from three sides

Hindenburg Line the German trench system, devised by Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff and constructed in northern France between 1916 and 1917. The system shortened the front line and enabled the Germans to transfer men to reserve trenches. It incorporated concrete pillboxes armed with machine guns. The goal was to maximise the effectiveness of men and munitions at a time when both were in short supply.

Infantry Soldiers that fight on foot, generally with bayonets, machine guns and mortars

Bayonets A knife blade which soldiers attached to their rifles and used in close combat with the enemy

Snipers Marksmen who waited in hiding for opportunities to shoot soldiers in the opposing trenches

Cop a blighty Obtain a wound which was serious enough to require the victim to be sent back to England

Shell shock A psychological disorder with physical symptoms ranging from irritability and poor concentration to inability to move in a coordinated manner

Trench foot A problem caused by long-term exposure to conditions where feet could not be kept dry. Untreated, it would result in amputation.

Trench fever A disease, caused by lice, affecting up to 15 per cent of any army. It kept men out of battle but wasn’t fatal.

Dysentery An illness related to the inflammation of the lining of the large intestine. Symptoms include stomach pains and diarrhoea and perhaps also vomiting. Tactics Actions taken to deal with specific problems and achieve the goal of a particular military strategy

Diphosgene gas Used in artillery shells, its vapours could penetrate gas masks

Creeping barrage The use of a wall of artillery fire immediately in front of the advancing infantry. As the artillery gunners moved forward to destroy enemy trenches, the infantry, following behind, was ready to take control of a trench once the artillery fire had ceased.

Nivelle Offensive General Nivelle’s massive French attack on German lines between Royle and Reims in 1917. It began on 16 April and ended on 9 May. The battle gained no territory and resulted in 187,000 French casualties and troops no longer willing to support their leaders.

Leap frog The tactic of moving by stages, from one objective to another, with new troops moving forward to take on each successive stage

Bite and hold A tactic requiring soldiers to use speed and surprise to occupy a small section of the enemy’s front line and then to defeat counterattacks

Infiltration small-scale assault platoon attacks on poorly defended areas in the enemy front line

Bolshevik Revolution Russian revolution of 1917, which brought to power a government proclaiming to recreate society for the benefit of its workers

Total war a government’s mobilisation of all its resources to support the efforts of its own troops and undermine those of its opponents

Stalemate a deadlock from which neither side can progress

Internal combustion an engine of one or more working cylinders in which the process of combustion takes place within the cylinders

Zeppelin a large airship or dirigible used by the Germans in the war for reconnaissance and bombing

Liberal favouring reform and progress

Laissez-faire the attitude of minimum interference by a government in the lives of people and the conduct of business

Munitions materials used in war, especially weapons and ammunition

Nationalists supporters of nationalism, a powerful movement in the nineteenth century and one of the causes of World War I. Nationalists believed that people of a common religious, linguistic, cultural and geographic heritage should be united as one nation.

Solidarity a union or fellowship

Inflation a rise in prices and cost of living

Profiteering making excessive profits by taking advantage of the public at a time of need

Conscription calling people up for compulsory service

Arbitration to settle a dispute, or reach an agreement, through a hearing held by a person appointed by the law

Rationing a system of limiting the quantities of food and essential goods by setting a fixed allowance

Autocratic unwilling to share power or have any limits placed on it

Capitalist one who is involved in the running and owning of private business enterprises

Conservative favouring the preservation of existing conditions and institutions

Reichstag the lower house or popularly elected assembly of the German parliament

Occupied territory that has been invaded and taken possession of

Suffrage the right to vote

Censorship government control over what the public can view, read or hear

Propaganda information, ideas, arguments or doctrine used to further a cause or to damage an opponent’s cause

Self-determination a people’s right to express their own identity and determine their own destiny

Interned held and prohibited from leaving a certain prescribed area

Socialist belief in a doctrine promoting the people’s ownership of a nation’s resources and the redistribution of its wealth Forage the act of searching for provisions

Franchise the right of a citizen to vote

Gender stereotype a belief or idea determined by an image of how a particular sex should behave

Feminists advocates of equal rights and opportunity for women

Militant a combative or aggressive person working for a particular cause

Liberated released to a state of freedom from oppression

Isolationism a principle of foreign policy that avoided direct involvement in European affairs

Logistical organisation behind the transport, supply and movement of troops

Abdicate to give up or renounce a position of power, right or claim

Provisional a temporary and conditional agreement or system

Bolsheviks members of the Bolshevik party that took power in Russia in October 1917 after another revolution

Armistice a temporary halt to fighting in order to allow peace negotiations

Annexations territories lost through takeover

Indemnities payments of compensation for damage or loss

Neutrality a nation which does not become involved in the wars of others

Mediation to settle disputes through agreement and reconciliation

Convoy an armed force or formation of ships that acts as an escort for protection

Destroyers small, fast warships

Howitzers short- barrelled artillery, particularly useful for shelling at a steep angle

Mortars short tubular weapons used to fire shells at high angles

Creeping barrage the use of a wall of artillery fire immediately in front of the advancing infantry. As the artillery gunners moved forward to destroy enemy trenches, the infantry, following behind, was ready to take control of a trench once the artillery fire had ceased.

Flank the extreme left or right wing of an army or fleet, or the subdivision of an army or fleet

Scourge an affliction or disaster

Strafe to attack by aircraft with heavy, persistent machine gun fire or to bomb heavily

Batteries fortifications equipped with artillery

Salient a military position that bulges forward into enemy-held territory and, as a result, could be vulnerable to attack from three sides

Sue to make an appeal

Armistice a temporary halt to fighting in order to allow peace negotiations

Hohenzollern the German family that ruled Prussia from 1701, and became rulers of Germany in 1871 until Wilhelm II was dethroned in 1918

Scapegoats people made to bear the blame for others’ actions

Blockade the closing off of a port or harbour by hostile ships, preventing entrance or exit

Plebiscite a direct vote by the people of a state on a question of public importance or political affiliation

Demilitarise to prevent by treaty or force an independent state from arming itself

Mandate a responsibility granted to a nation, by an official body, to administer the government and affairs of a people in an underdeveloped nation or territory

Reparations the compensation in money paid by a defeated nation for damage and injury

Humanitarian someone who has regard for the interest of all man kind

Congress the national legislative body of the United States

Forum an assembly for the discussion of questions of public interest

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