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Re-visiting World War I

Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James

This book discusses various aspects of World War I. It focuses on topics proposed by contributors resulting from their own research interests. Nevertheless, as a result of common efforts, re-visiting those chosen aspects of the Great War of 1914–1918 enables the presentation of a volume that shows the multidimensional nature and consequences of this turning point in the history of particular nations, if not all mankind. This book, if treated as an intellectual journey through several continents, shows that World War I was not exclusively Europe’s war, and that it touched – in different ways – more parts of the globe than usually considered.
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Jan Asmussen - Heligoland during the Great War. A Major Theatre of War That Never Was


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Jan Asmussen

Faculty of Command and Naval Operations Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia, Poland Institute for Social Sciences Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Germany

Heligoland during the Great War. A Major Theatre of War That Never Was

Abstract: Heligoland (German: Helgoland) was occupied by the British during the Napoleonic wars in 1807. For the next 76 years the island remained British. In 1890 the island became part of a deal that lead to German acceptance of British suzerainty over Uganda, Kenya and Zanzibar. Germany received Heligoland in exchange. At the time the treaty, arranged by Salisbury, was seen as a net gain for the Empire and only few regarded the surrender of British territory to Germany as a problem. Germany swiftly transformed the island into a major naval fortress. During the Great War the sea at Heligoland became the spot of the first major Anglo-German sea battle. British operational planning foresaw on several occasions the occupation of the island. This paper examines the perceived military value of the island for Britain and Germany as opposed to its actual importance for Allied and German naval war efforts. It will be argued that while Heligoland did not play any decisive part in the war, this was not the view of major decision makers in Berlin and London. As a result the island narrowly escaped being another major theatre of war that would probably have entered the records as another military disaster like Gallipoli or Verdun...

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