20 2nd Decade
Century 1911-1920 AD
Jan 1 In Belgian a mining law introduces a 9.5 hour work day.
Jan 2 Charles Ebbets of the Brooklyn Dodgers announces
purchase of grounds to build a concrete-and-steel stadium to seat
Jan 31 Germany's Parliament (Reichstag) exempts royal
families from tax obligations.
Feb 8 The US wants stabililty in Honduras. It backs the
overthrow of General Miguel R. Dávila, President of Honduras since 1907.
Mar 25 The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146 garment
workers, young women, in New York City. Managers had locked the doors
to the stairwells and exits. Some of the workers died jumping from the
eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the street below.
Apr 11 Albert Einstein becomes a professor at Karl-Ferdinand
University in Prague. He will lecture three times a week during the
summer semester on mechanics and kinetic heat theory.
Apr 17 Moroccan infantrymen rebel against the Sultan
Abdelhafid at his palace in Fez. He is allied with France, and the
French move troops to Morocco to "protect its citizens in Morocco."
Mar 18 In Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,
International Women's Day is celebrated for the first time, inspired by
the Second Socialist International.
May 3 In Britain, New Zealand chemist and physicist Ernest
Rutherford deduces the existence of a compact atomic nucleus. He is to
be known as the father of nuclear physics.
May 4 San Francisco's police chief, Seymour, gives
instructions to notify proprietors of brothels that $2 per day will be
the maximum they will be allowed to charge customers.
May 7 An appearance of weakness by Mexico's Diaz regime
inspires armed anti-Diaz risings throughout Mexico.
May 9 Ten Serbs meet and form a secret organization dedicated
to uniting Serbs, including those under Habsburg rule in Bosnia, into a
greater Serbia. The group calls itself Unification or Death. It will be
better known as the Black Hand. It is led by a military officer,
Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic, to be known as Apis. He is not connected
with those making decisions for Serbia's government. Before the year is
over he will send someone on a failed mission to assassinate Emperor
May 21 The French military rescues the Sultan of Morocco.
May 24 In Mexico City, Federal troops shoot at anti-Diaz
demonstrators, killing about 200, with government officials admitting
only 40 deaths.
May 25 President Porfirio Diaz signs his resignation and
leaves Mexico City for Veracruz.
May 30 The first long-distance auto race in Indianapolis was
won by Ray Harroun. One driver was killed and the average speed was
May 31 Porfirio Diaz sails from Veracruz to exile in France.
Jun 7 Madero enters Mexico City, accompanied by more than
100,000 supporters and celebrated by ecstatic crowds.
Jun 22 Madero's military drives an anarchist force from power
Jul 1 Germany has commercial interests in Morocco. Germans
want a "manly" demonstration against French military involvement in
Morocco. Germany sends the warship Panther to the port of Agadri on
Morocco's southwest Atlantic coast. This creates anti-German torchlight
parades in France. During the crisis that follows, Oswald Spengler
decides to write Decline of the West. He thinks the West is entering
two centuries of wars for world power.
Jul 21 France's Commander-in-Chief Michel advocates defensive
warfare against a possible German invasion. Belief in an offensive
warfare is common. Michel is described as a "loony." The military's
Superior Council replaces him. France's army will hold on to combat
uniforms of red trousers and blue jackets, colors that the military
leadership thinks match the army's élan and glory - needed, they
believe, for victory.
Aug 18 Britain's Parliament Act makes it possible for the
House of Commons to pass legislation without the approval of the House
of Lords, revolutionizing British politics.
Sep 29 Italy responds to France's move in Morocco by seeking
gains for itself in North Africa. It declares war against the Ottoman
Empire, intending to take from the empire possession of Tripoli and
Cyrenaica (today Libya).
Oct 1 In Mexico, Madero wins the presidency in what is
described as reasonably fair voting.
Oct 10 An accidental explosion in the city of Wuchang reveals
a cache of weapons and a list of military officers who belonged to a
secret revolutionary group. To defend themselves following this
exposure, young officers revolt. Enlisted men under them obey their
commands. Government forces sent against them join the rebellion. Sun
Yat-sen has been trying to make revolution against the Manchu monarchy
since around 1895, with little success. Now, with military involvement,
in two months most of China's provinces will proclaim independence from
the Manchu monarchy.
Oct 28 For the sake of order, Madero has allied himself with
Mexico's military establishment. General Huerta has been fighting
"illegal" armies in the state of Morelos and has failed in an attempt
to capture Zapata. Zapata's army takes the town of Milpa Alta, 24
kilometers from the heart of Mexico City. What is Madero to do? He has
General Huerta fired.
Oct 31 It is one week before Madero is to assume the
presidency. In the state of Chihuahua, revolutionaries to the left of
Madero announce their opposition to him in a manifesto: the Plan of
Takubaya. They accuse Madero of mocking promises he had made, excluding
revolutionary chiefs from positions of authority, having declared
revolutionaries to be "bandits," and nepotism. Meanwhile, in a speech
to rail workers, Madero endorses labor unions.
Nov 1 The Italians use aerial bombing in their attempt to
establish control in Libya. Second Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti drops
several small bombs.
Nov 4 Danes launch the most advanced ocean-going diesel
powered ship, the Selandia, built for the Danish trading East Asiatic
Nov 4 The Treaty of Berlin brings the Agadir Crisis to a
close. Morocco is to be divided between France (as a protectorate) and
Spain (as a colony). Germany forfeits all claims to Morocco in return
for a portion of the French Congo (as Kamerun), and Germany cedes some
of German Kamerun to France's colony of Chad. Germany's hawks accuse
Germany's chancellor and its secretary of state of "unforgivable"
Nov 6 Madero, 38, officially becomes President of Mexico.
Nov 8 Talks between Madero and Zapata anger Zapata. Madero,
himself a wealthy landowner, appears to be supporting plantation owners
rather than reforms that return lands stolen from the people Zapata is
Nov 25 Having fled to his birthplace, the town of Ayala, 80
kilometers south of Mexico City, Zapata and others create the Plan of
Ayala. It declares President Madero a traitor to the revolution and
names Pascual Orozco as the revolution's leader, and it outlines land
Dec 29 The Khalkha people of Outer Mongolia declare their
independence from China. They install as a theocratic sovereign the
highest authority of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia, who takes of the
title of "Holy Ruler."
Jan 6 New Mexico becomes the 47th state in the US.
Jan 9 President Taft sends the Marines back to Honduras, the
superficial reason commonly given: to quell disorder and protect US
Jan 11 In France, Joseph Caillaux's government falls. He
wanted good relations with Germany. Germany's standing up to France in
"a manly way" last year was an embarrassment to Caillaux. France's new
government will be led by Raymond Poincaré. The possibility of
reconciliation between Germany and France has been lost. Poincaré is a
hardliner regarding Germany and opposed to "internationalists" and
pacifists. An arms race between Germany and France will begin. Another
step toward the Great War of 1914 has occurred.
Jan 22 American troops occupy Tientsin, China, to protect
American interests during social upheaval. A contingent is to remain
there until 1938.
Feb 12 In China, Emperor Puyi abdicates, ending the Manchu
Dynasty's 268 years of rule.
Feb14 Arizona becomes the 48th US state.
Feb 24 Italy's war against the Ottoman Empire continues. Two
of its warships bombard the port of Beirut (Lebanon), killing 97
sailors and civilians.
Feb 25 Italy's parliament formalizes the annexation of
Tripoli and Cyrenaica (Libya).
Feb 29 Serbia and Bulgaria secretly sign an alliance pledging
to come to the defense of the other during war.
Mar 3 Orozco proclaims his revolt against Madero's government.
Mar 5 In Libya, Italians are using airplanes for
reconnaissance behind Ottoman lines.
Mar 10 China has its first parliament. Sun Yat-sen, a
revolutionary since 1895, is selected as China's provisional president.
He is replaced by Yuan Shikai, a Chinese (rather than Manchu) general
with an army who has been ruling in the populous northeast. Sun
describes Yuan Shikai as "the right man."
Mar 23 In Mexico, Orozco's forces smash Madero's Federalist
army in the northern, Chihuahua, area. Madero is alarmed and brings
Victoriano Huerta out of retirement, hoping to quell Orozco's rebellion.
Mar 27 Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gives 3,000 cherry trees to
be planted in Washington DC to symbolize the friendship between the two
Apr 14-15 The Titanic strikes an iceberg in the northern
Atlantic Ocean and sinks. Deaths number 1517.
May 11 Alaska becomes a territory of the United States.
May 23 Huerta and his federal army defeats Orozco's force,
and retreats north to Chihuahua.
Jun 5 US Marines return to Cuba, a contingent of 570, to
protect US citizens, justified by the 1901 Platt Amendment. They will
withdraw in early August.
Jun 7 Pius X issues an encyclical on "the deplorable
condition of the Indians" in South America.
Jul 1 Pursued by Huerta, Orozco moves his headquarters
farther north to the city Juarez, on the US border.
Jul 15 Britain's National Health Insurance Act goes into
effect. The Liberal Party is in power, led by Herbert Asquith, and the
Liberals are moving from classical liberalism to more welfare.
Jul 16 Since the Morocco incident, a desire for a
rapprochement with Germany has evaporated. The British sign a military
agreement with France that allows a more efficient use of both their
Jul 22 The British move battleships from the Mediterranean to
oppose the growing strength of the German High Seas Fleet. France takes
responsibility for both French and British naval interests in the
Jul 30 Emperor Meiji dies. Japan's Meiji era, which began in
1868, comes to an end. The Japanese adjulated him and the country goes
into shock. Shops close and economic activity stops.
Aug 16 Madero's General Huerta defeats Orozco in several
battles. Huerta takes the city of Jaures, and Orozco goes into exile to
Los Angeles. Angry responses of some communities to Orozco's
undisciplined men will be said to have contributed to Orozco's losses.
Aug 25 In China the Guomingdang "nationalist" party is
Sep 24 US President Taft signs the Panama Canal Act, which
exempts American shipping from paying tolls. Some in the US and Britain
consider this a violation of the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1901.
Sep 24 President Taft sends a force of 750 Marines to Santo
Domingo to compel the reopening of the Dominican-Custom House on its
border with Haiti, which has been closed by revolutionaries.
Oct 8 The war between Italy and the Ottoman Empire, known in
Italy as the Libyan War, is ending. The Ottoman Empire is losing
prestige and an appearance of military strength. Montenegro sees
opportunity and declares war against the Turks. The First Balkan War
Oct 18 Serbia's King Peter joins Serbia to the war against
Turkey. He claims that the Turks (Ottoman Empire) "showed no interest
in their duties towards their citizens and turned a deaf ear to all
complaints and suggestions." He pledges support to Serbs outside his
kingdom nominally under Turkey's rule and help to Albanians in conflict
with Turks. Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia call themselves the Balkan League,
and with Montenegro they are now at war against the Turks. Germany
backs the Turks, supplying them with arms to be tested on the field of
battle. France backs Serbia.
Oct 23 Felix Diaz, the nephew of the former dictator Porfirio Diaz ,has
started a revolt against Madero. He tries to appeal to military men who
appreciate the order created by his uncle. His uprising lasts a few
days, and he goes to prison.
Oct 24 At the Battle of Kumanovo (in Kosovo province), Serb
forces defeat the Ottoman army, the Serbs suffering 687 killed, the
Ottomans about 1,200. The Serb army numbered an estimated 132,000, the
Ottomans an estimated 58,000.
Nov 21 The Serb victory at the Battle of Kumanovo is followed
by Serbian forces reaching the Adriatic Sea at Alessio. Austria-Hungary
threatens war against Serbia.
Nov 22 Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm promises his friend, Archduke
Ferdinand that Germany would back Austria-Hungary in a confrontation
with Serbia. He dislikes Serbs, having described them as Asiatics.
Nov 23 Russians are sympathetic with their fellow Orthodox
Christians, the Serbs. Tsar Nicholas of Russia tells his Council of
Ministers that he has decided to mobilize three Russian army districts
- Kiev, Warsaw and Odessa - in response to Austria-Hungary (Roman
Catholic) having mobilized against Serbia. France's Raymond Poincare
has already, on the 17th, assured the Russian ambassador to France that
France would honor its alliance with Russia in the event of war.
Nov 28 Albania declares independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Austria-Hungary is supporting territory held by Serbia and Montenegro
to be given to Albania.
Dec 10 The German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, views
"Germandom" in a Darwinian struggle with Slavic people ("Slavdom").
Today he tells the Swiss ambassador in Berlin: 'we will not leave
Austria in the lurch: if diplomacy fails we shall have to fight this
racial war'. (Max Hastings, 1914: Europe Goes to War, p9)
Dec 31 Madero believed that drafting young men into military
service would make the army a people's army and less likely to follow
reactionary commanders who might want to overthrow him. But people are
unenthusiastic about military conscription, and the year ends with many
disappointed that Madero has not made the great change in their lives
that they expected.
Jan 23 In Turkey, following military defeats, young military
men forcibly take control of the government, overthrowing the Sultan.
These are men influenced by reformers who had studied in France. Their
leader, Ismail Enver, a military officer, belong to the Committee of
Union and Progress.
Jan 30 The British House of Lords rejects a bill designed to
give a measure of self-government to much of Ireland.
Feb 3 The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is
ratified, authorizing Congress the "power to lay and collect taxes on
incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the
several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
Feb 19 Encouraged by President Taft's ambassador to Mexico,
General Victoriano Huerta overthrows President Madero and proclaims
himself Provisional President of Mexico. Huerta puts Madero under guard
at the national palace.
Feb 22 Huerta has Madero murdered. The Huerta administration
claims that Madero was ambushed by a group not under its orders while
Madero was being transferred to a prison.
Mar 4 Woodrow Wilson succeeds William Howard Taft as
President of the United States.
Mar 11 Austria-Hungary and Russia agree to demobilizations
that end their war crisis. Austro-Hungarian armies in the northeastern
province of Galicia are to demobilize and Russia is to allow conscripts
to return home, lowering Russia's military strength to normal peacetime
levels. It signals to Serbia that Russia is not going to back Serbian
ambitions to gain access to the Adriatic Sea or Montenegro's ambition
to take the city of Scutari (Shkodër). The Habsburg regime in Austria
is left with the impression that Russia will respond to intimidation.
Some Russians believe that the tsar's government has sold out the
Serbs. Meanwhile, Serbia has been willing to give up gains to the
Adriatic coast. It doesn't want war with Austria-Hungary.
Mar 13 Pancho Villa, who has supported the presidency of
Madero and has been in self-imposed exile in El Paso, Texas, returns to
Mexico to rebuild his army and fight Huerta.
Mar 22 Sung Chiao-jen, a founder of the Guomindang political
party and an outspoken critic of President Yuan Shikai's policies, is
assassinated. A military advisor to the president is implicated.
Newspapers supporting the Guomindang begin attacking President Yuan.
With money from foreign banks, Yuan buys the loyalty of provincial
governors and their armies.
Mar 26 In Mexico the governor of Coahuila, Venustiano
Carranza, a wealthy, educated and dour liberal from a cattle-raising
family, begins a well-organized rebellion against Huerta's government.
Mar 26 Since mid-November, Bulgarian forces have been
surrounding the Ottoman Empire's city of Adrianople, in Thrace. Today
they take the city.
Apr 6 The World's Fair opens in Ghent, Belgium, to run to
October. Also in Belgium, in this Age of Empire, at the Palais du
Congo, an open book commemorates Belgium's imperialism. It reads: "Does
she [Belgium] not owe it to herself, to her honor, to continue the work
of civilisation begun by the valiant colonizers, sleeping in the
African bush, far from the Mother Country?" (from 1913, by Charles
Emmerson, p 4)
Apr 8 The 17th Amendment to the US Constitution is passed,
dictating the elections of senators in each state by popular vote.
Senators had been chosen by their state legislators.
May 5 The US has put a limit on Japanese immigration, and
Japanese in the United States are excluded from acquiring citizenship.
Two days ago California passed a law restricting Japanese immigrants
from owning land. Today California's governor, Hiram Johnson says "We
have prevented the Japanese from driving the root of their civilization
deep into Californian soil."
May 14 The Japanese feel they have been slapped in the face
by the California law. They are angry over what they see as Americans
believing that whites and the US are superior to them. Today, US Rear
Admiral Bradley Fiske warns that a war with Japan is "not only
possible, but even probable."
May 30 The Treaty of London is signed at an international
conference of Europe's ambassadors. It focuses on borders and settles
what will be called the First Balkan War.
Jun 4 Emily Davison, a British suffragette, runs in front of
the King's horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby. She is trampled and dies 4
days later in hospital, never having regained consciousness.
Jun 8 In Berlin a stadium constructed for the 1916 Summer
Olympics is dedicated with the release of 10,000 pigeons in front of an
audience of 60,000 people. These Olympics will not be held.
Jun 8 In the New York Times, an article about Germany's
emperor, Wilhelm II, appears. It's written by the founder of the German
peace movement, Alfred Fried. He writes: His glory [King Wilhelm] as a
man of peace, great enough now, will become greater, and his wish to
figure in history as a hero of peace will be fulfilled."
Jun 11-15 In the Philippine Islands, the Battle of Bud Bagsak
is won in four days by US and Philippine troops commanded by General
John J. "Black Jack" Pershing. Their enemy is 500 Moro rebels, Muslims
armed mostly with kampilan swords.
Jun 19 In South Africa, parliament passes a law forbidding
blacks from owning or buying land from whites.
Jun 29 The Second Balkan War erupts when Bulgaria,
dissatisfied with its share of the spoils of the First Balkan War,
attacks its former allies Serbia and Greece. Bulgaria now has a defense
treaty with Austria. Montenegro is siding with Serbia. Romania has
warned Bulgaria that it will not remain neutral.
Jul 10 Romania declares war on Bulgaria.
Jul 12 The Ottoman Empire declares war on Bulgaria and
advances into Thrace.
Jul 22 Bulgaria ends its alignment toward Russia and allies
with Austria and German (the Central Powers).
Aug 10 Bulgaria has been defeated militarily by the combined
forces of Serbia, Greece and Romania. Delegates from Bulgaria, Romania,
Serbia, Montenegro and Greece sign the Treaty of Bucharest, which ends
the Second Balkan War. Romania is given a southern portion of the
Dobruja region on the Black Sea, between it and Bulgaria. Bulgaria is
granted a small portion of Macedonia and a strip of Aegean coastline
including the port of Dedeagach (Alexandroúpolis). Serbia gains control
over what had been northern and central Macedonia. Greece acquires what
had been southern Macedonia.
Sep 16 Archduke Franz Ferdinand has plans to inspect Habsburg
troops in Bosnia in 1914.
Sep 29 The Treaty of Constantinople (Istanbul) ends
hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria.
Oct 1 Pancho Villa's troops take Torreón in north-central
Mexico (about 600 kilometers south of the US border) after a 3-day
battle, following a retreat by Huerta's force. President Wilson
announces that if Huerta doesn't resign from power the US will force
him out of office.
Oct 3 President Wilson signs the Revenue Act of 1913. A
federal income tax is wanted to compensate for revenue lost with the
reduction of tariff duties.
Nov 6 Mohandas Gandhi is arrested while leading a march of
Indian miners in South Africa.
Dec 1 The Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving
assembly line, reducing chassis assembly time from 12½ hours in October
to 2 hours, 40 minutes.
Dec 3 A Serbian journal in Chicago editorializes on Archduke
Ferdinand's proposed visit to Sarajevo in 1914: "Take holy vengeance!
Death to the Habsburg dynasty!" Serb youths in Bosnia have been
oppressed by Austrian authorities responding to Serb nationalism.
Teenage boys in Sarajevo jumped at the opportunity to join a conspiracy
to assassinate the Archduke. Their leader is a nineteen year-old:
Dec 9 Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm sends one of his generals,
Liman von Sanders, to Turkey to advance that country militarily. This
will disturb Russia's military leaders.
Dec 26 In London, The Daily Chronicle editorializes, stating:
"It requires no gift of prophecy to foretell that this mad competition
in military expenditure will end in disaster." (Charles Emmerson, 1913,
Dec 31 The year 1913 ends with leading strategists in
Austria-Hungary still favoring war against Serbia, and against Russia
if Russia intervenes. Austria-Hungary's military leaders fear Russia's
growing military capability, and they favor getting the war with Serbia
over with before Russia strengthened its military forces.
Dec 31 In London, The Daily Graphic welcomes Europe having
weathered wars in the Balkans. The paper expresses concern about Mexico
and the Middle East but looks back on the year 1913 as having "spared
Jan 5 Henry Ford increases the minimum wage of his workers to
$5 an hour, a move designed to boost worker morale and production
efficiency. It is an improvement in the division of wealth and will
help the nation's economy, and it will help increase Ford's profits.
His fellow manufacturers denounce him. The Wall Street Journal
describes Ford's move as blatant immorality and a misapplication of
Jan 10 In China, President Yuan Shikai shuts down parliament.
China's socialist party is banned. A new constitution is created that
gives Yuan Shikai dictatorial powers. Yuan fortifies press censorship
and his agents search for dissenters. Sun Yat-sen flees to Japan and
tries to sell the Japanese on arming and assisting the Guomindang
forces against Yuan.
Mar 1 More globalization: China joins the world postal system
(the Universal Postal Union).
Apr 20 The Colorado National Guard attacks a tent colony of
1,200 miners on strike against Rockefeller-owned coal mines, to be
known as the Ludlow Massacre.
Apr 21 In Mexico the Huerta regime is upset by President
Wilson not having recognized his government. He has made prisoners of
some unarmed US sailors at the port of Tampico. President Wilson sends
the US Navy and Marines that land at Veracruz. This arouses Mexican
patriotism and elevates President Huerta, who will be perceived as
fighting the invaders. Mobs in Mexico City will assault American
May 7 For goodness sake, the US Congress creates Mother's
Day, for the second Sunday in May. President Wilson will proclaim this
two days later.
May 25 Britain's House of Commons passes "Home Rule"
legislation designed to give a measure of self-government and dominion
status to "Southern Ireland," what will eventually become the Irish
Jun 28 Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne in
Vienna and Inspector General of the armed forces, journeys to Bosnia
without the usual protection against assassins. He remarks that all is
in the hands of God. In Sarajevo he is assassinated. The elderly
Habsburg emperor, Franz Joseph, is relieved. He didn't like the idea of
Ferdinand as his successor but had accepted it because it was the order
Jul 5 Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany agrees that the Ferdinand's
assassins and regicide should be punished. He believes that his cousin,
the Tsar of Russia, will agree. He goes on a sailing vacation off the
coast of Norway.
Jul 14 Austria-Hungary secretly moves to start its war
Jul 14 In Mexico, from different directions, armies led by
Carranza, Villa and Zapata have been converging on Mexico City. The US
at Veracruz has cut arms shipments to President Huerta. Huerta's
posturing against the United States has not saved him. He resigns and
will go into exile on a German ship to Spain.
Jul 23 Austria-Hungary sends an ultimatum to Serbia that It
expects Serbia to reject, giving it cause to make war.
Jul 26 Kaiser Wilhelm learns of the ultimatum. He doesn't
want war, and he starts his return to Berlin.
Jul 28 Pope Pius X refuses a request to bless
Austria-Hungary's armies. Without Germany's support, Austria-Hungary
will not go to war against Serbia, but it has that support, given by
Germany's prime minister. Emperor Franz Joseph launches his war against
Jul 30 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia signs the order to mobilize
his army, ostensibly to defend Serbia from the Austria. Russia believes
it is necessary to mobilize against Germany as well as Austria-Hungary.
For the Germans this mobilization is a declaration of war and military
considerations will now trump diplomatic considerations. Wilhelm's
friendship with his cousin Tsar Nicholas will not prevent war.
Aug 1 The German nation approves what it sees as a war to
defend their homeland. Germany declares war on Russia. France's
government orders general mobilization. Kaiser Wilhelm responds to
false information that France is not going to war against Germany. He
shocks his generals by calling off their preparations for war against
Aug 2 Germany would have been better off fighting a defensive
war on its frontiers, but its military is pursuing a planned offensive
against France, believing as do the French in offensive warfare. The
plan (the Schlieffen Plan) has Germany attacking France through
Belgium. Germany demands that Belgium allow its troops passage across
Aug 3 Belgium refuses the Germans and has a guarantee of
armed support from Britain. Wilhelm has learned that France will indeed
make war on Germany and the Schlieffen Plan proceeds. Germany declares
war on France. Britain has already moved to fulfill its naval agreement
with France, and the British government orders general mobilization.
Aug 4 Britain stands by its agreements with France and
Belgium and declares war on Germany.
Aug 6 Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. Serbia declares
war on Germany.
Aug 7 British troops begin to arrive in France. As German
troops are moving toward France through Belgium, French troops begin
their invasion of Germany, through Lorraine.
Aug 8 In the Battle of Mulhouse, the French push into Alsace
yesterday is thrown back by the Germans. Alsace has been German
territory since 1871.
Aug 12 Great Britain and France declare war on
Aug 14 The French offensive begins against the Germans in
Lorraine, a part of France's Plan XVII.
Aug 15 Britain has requested help from its ally, Japan, and
that country sends an ultimatum to Germany demanding evacuation of its
colonial force at Qingdao (on China's the Shandong Peninsula).
Aug 17 Russia invades Germany's homeland in East Prussia.
Aug 20 Carranza has won broad support across Mexico. He is a
moderate who favors political reform but not land redistribution or
social reform. He declares himself president over the objections of
Pancho Villa. Villa and his fellow revolutionary, Zapata, refuse to lay
down the arms of their armies.
Aug 22 German troops have reached the Belgium-France border
and are fighting in the Ardennes Forest. Wounded and suffering young
Germans who had gone off to war thinking they are manly and
invulnerable have lost their fantasy and are crying for their mothers.
Aug 23 Germans have broken France's Plan XVII offensive. They
are driving the French out of German territory. In the the first few
weeks the French have suffered about 200,000 wounded and 100,000 dead.
Aug 23 Japan declares war on Germany.
Aug 24 German troops cross the border into France.
Aug 29 Britain has asked New Zealand to do a "great and
urgent imperial service" by seizing German Samoa, which New Zealand
does with no resistance from Germans or Samoans.
Aug 30 German armies are pushing toward Paris and reach the
French city of Amiens. The French have already lost more than 100,000
Aug 31 Germans defeat Russians at the Battle of Tannenberg -
successful defensive warfare.
Sep 5 The German army in France is stopped at the Battle of
Sep 15 On German territory In East Prussia, the Russians are
defeated at the Battle of Masurian Lakes.
Sep 15 In France, defensive warfare is proven superior.
Neither side will be able to penetrate the enemy's line. Rather than
race around enemy positions, trenches will be extended.
Sep 21 Germans in the Bismarck Archipelago surrender to the
Oct 3 Japan takes control of the Marshall and Caroline
Islands from the Germans.
Oct 14 Canadian troops arrive in Britain.
Oct 17 Trenches now extend from the Swiss border to the
English Channel on the coast of Belgium. The frontline runs through
France, and with German troops still on French territory their success
in getting there helps make Germany appear as the aggressor, unlike
France's invasion of Germany (Plan XVII) which was driven back in late
August. But the superiority of defensive warfare in Europe at this time
in history remains largely unrecognized.
Oct 17 Indian troops arrive in France, welcomed in the press as "the
wonderful little brown men we have been waiting to see."
Oct 18 The Battle of Ypres, near the English channel, begins.
The "race to the sea" (the English channel) and the "war of movement"
on the Western Front is over for a while. A force of 3,400,000 tries to
continue the German offensive. (One of their number is Adolf Hitler.)
The Battle of Ypres will continue to November 22. The Germans will not
succeed in breaking through the French and British defense line. The
Germans will suffer 8,050 killed and 29,170 wounded.
Oct 20 A German submarine stops a British freighter, the
Glitra, on its way to Norway with coal, oil and steel plate. The
Glitra's crew is ordered into lifeboats. Then the Germans open the
ship's sea valves and the ship sinks. It's the first British merchant
ship sunk in the war.
Oct 25 The destroyer HMS Badger, becomes the first British
ship to report a successful attack on a German submarine. It rammed the
submarine which then submerged.
Nov 1 Russia declares war on Turkey.
Nov 5 Britain and France declare war on Turkey.
Nov 7 Germany's colonial troops at Qingdao surrender to the
Nov 22 Fighting the Ottoman Empire, British and India troops
win the Battle of Basra (in Iraq). The British-led force suffers less
than 500 casualties and Turk casualties are estimated as greater than
Nov 22 The United States withdraws from Veracruz.
Nov 22 The Battle of Ypres ends after 34 days. The French
have lost from 50,000 to 85,000 killed, the British 7,960 killed, and
the Germans 19,530 killed. These deaths and the many other deaths
already suffered by Germany is hardening the attitudes of German
civilians against anything but defeating the enemy militarily.
Nov 23 Benito Mussolini is excited about the manliness,
heroism and drama of war. He supports Italy participating in the Great
War and is expelled from the Italian Socialist Party.
Dec 3 Serbian Army forces Austria-Hungary's army out of
Serbia, demonstrating that Russia's intervention on Serbia's behalf on
July 30 was not needed. (If Russia had not intervened the war between
Serbia and Austria-Hungary might not have spread to include Germany,
France and Britain.)
Dec 25 At places along the Western Front, German and Allied
troops sing Christmas songs. Hearing the singing from the other side
they venture across no man's land to visit and exchange friendship and
gifts. Military commands are shocked and order no more fraternizing.
Jan 3 In a five-day battle ending today the Russians have
smashed Turkey's offensive. Of the 95,000 men that the Turks sent on
the offensive only 18,000 will return - about 50,000 of them having
frozen to death.
Jan 5 The Turkish government publicly charges that Armenian
army bakers were poisoning their bread. A group of doctors examine and
eat the bread and conclude that the charges are false. No matter. The
government does not rescind the charge and the bakers are beaten.
Jan 12 The United States House of Representatives rejects a
proposal to give women the right to vote. In favor are 174; against
204. It is seen by many as a defeat for the Suffragettes rather than
for women in general. Four states already allow women to vote, and
there are complaints from conservatives that it should be for
individual states to decide the issue.
Jan 18 Japan moves to extend its control over China. It
presents China with Twenty-one Demands, which include economic
privileges, the power to "advise," and joint Japanese-Chinese
administration of police departments.
Jan 25 In the United States the first coast-to-coast (New
York City to San Francisco) telephone call is made, facilitated by a
recently invented vacuum tube amplifier.
Feb 28 Turkey's government remains suspicious of their
Armenian ethnic minority - also a religious minority in that the
Armenians are Christians. In the last days of this month the Turks have
dismissed Armenian government officials. They have removed Armenians
from combat units and put them into labor battalions.
Apr 13 Carranza's army, led by Álvaro Obregón, defeats the
forces of Pancho Villa at Celaya, 265 kilometers north-west of Mexico
City. Villa loses around 4000 killed, Obregón from 600 to 1,000.
Obregón wins using defense tactics learned from watching the Western
Front in Europe. Villa employed frontal cavalary charges (offensive
Apr 25 The British strategy, suggested by First Lord of the
Admiralty Winston Churchill, is to attack the enemy alliance at its
"soft underbelly." British troops land at Cape Hellas, French at Kum
Kale, and New Zealanders and Australians at Anzac. The Turks will
contain these offensives.
May 6 In major league baseball in the United States, Babe
Ruth hits his first career home run.
May 7 The war looms larger to people in the United States as
the Germans sink the British liner the Lusitania. Among the 1,198
people who die are 128 Americans who chose to ignore German warnings.
The ship was carrying munitions and was a legitimate target in the
naval blockade warfare that Britain had initiated against Germany. Some
in the US respond with a view of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany as a Satan
responsible for the war. President Wilson announces that he is "too
proud to fight." He favors neutrality.
May 15 Because of an upsurge in police harassment and
violence from other anarchists, the anarchist Francisco Ferrer
Association moves from New York City to a 140-acre tract of land near
New Brunswick, New Jersey. Colonists can buy an acre of land for $100
and resold for $150. The use of government money is not questioned.
May 23 Some Italians see opportunity in joining the war.
Italy has more to lose by warring against Britain and France, so Italy
chooses to war against Austria-Hungary, with whom it has had
May 25 China's dictator-president, Yuan Shikai, signs an
agreement with Japan. Indignation sweeps through China. Yuan seeks
support from his fellow Chinese by appealing to tradition. He makes
himself an emperor.
Jun 5 Denmark and Iceland give their women the right to vote.
Jun 19 In John Bull Magazine, Horatio Bottomley argues that
Ramsay MacDonald (future prime minister) and James Keir Hardie are
leaders of a pro-German campaign, that they should be tried by Court
Martial as an aider and abetter of the King's enemies and taken to the
Tower and shot at dawn.
Jul 28 President Wilson sends the US Navy and Marinese to
Haiti to protect US business interests amid the political turmoil
there. The Marines will remain until 1934.
Aug 4 The German army has been advancing against the poorly equipped
Russians. The Germans drive the Russians out of Warsaw. Despite their
failures the Russians soldier on.
Aug 6 Another offensive begins at Gallipoli. In four days the Turks,
led in person by Mustafa Kemal, will push the invaders back, with great
losses for New Zealanders. Kemal (the future Ataturk, a secularist) is
being transformed into a national hero.
Sept 18 Reacting to international outrage at the sinking of
the Lusitania and other neutral passenger lines, Kaiser Wilhelm sees
himself as honorable and suspends Germany's unrestricted submarine
warfare. The German navy is ordered not to sink passenger ships.
Sep 25 - Oct 14 In the Battle of Loos the British push
Germans out of the French town of Loos. The British have joined the
Germans in using poison gas. Suffering 50,000 casualties the British
are unable to press their advantage. The Germans have suffered around
Oct 19 The US recognizes Carranza's government, a slap
against Villa, Zapata and other social revolutionaries.
Nov 17 Henry Ford tells fellow peace activist Rosika
Schwimmer, "I know who caused the war - the German Jewish bankers. I
have the evidence here. Facts!"
Dec 7 Facing stalemate in what Churchill called a "soft
underbelly," Allied forces begin a withdrawal from their Gallipoli
campaign. The number of Allies having died in the campaign is
approximately 46,000. The wounded number around 219,000. Nothing was
Jan 1 The Royal Army Medical Corps performs the first
successful blood transfusion.
Feb 11 Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth
control. She is accused of violating the Comstock Act of 1873, which
made it a federal offense to disseminate contraceptive devices and
information through the mail or across state lines. Goldman had spent
time working as a nurse and midwife among the poor.
Feb 21 The Battle of Verdun begins. The Germans have lured
French troops into defending Verdun where they would be more vulnerable
to German fire power.
Mar 8-9 Pancho Villa has bought faulty ammunition in
Columbus, New Mexico. He and around 500 of his soldiers seek revenge
and raid the town.
Mar 16 President Wilson sends 12,000 troops on horseback into
Mexico to chase down Villa. Mexico's President Carranza, although an
enemy of Villa, is opposed to the US move, and Wilson's expedition will
anger much of Mexico.
Mar 24 The SS Sussex, carrying passengers between France and
Britain on the English channel, is torpedoed. Of the 53 crew and 325
passengers at least 50 are killed, maybe 100.
Apr 21 The German-controlled cargo steamer SMS Libau,
masquerading as SS Aud, is intercepted by the Royal Navy and scuttled
following an unsuccessful attempt to land arms for an Irish uprising
against Britain. Roger Casement and two others involved in the arms
shipment are arrested.
Apr 24 The Easter uprising begins in Dublin. Participants
occupy the post office, courts of law, and several other locations. A
proclamation is read from the steps of the post office.
May 1 Those rising in Dublin against British rule have failed
to gather substantial support for their fellow Irish. The Easter
uprising collapses. The Commander-in-Chief of the British forces
announces that all involved in the insurrection have surrendered.
Within a week eight who are associated with the uprising are executed,
which inflames Irish opinion and creates sympathy for the rebels.
May 4 The sinking of the SS Sussex has prompted President
Woodrow Wilson to threatened to break diplomatic relations with
Germany. Germany responds by again promising not to target passenger
ships. It promises also not to sink merchant ships until the presence
of weapons has been established, if necessary by a search of the ship.
Germany also claims that merchant ships will not be sunk without
providing for the safety of passengers and crew.
May 5 Political instability in the Dominican Republic
inspires the US to send its Marines to occupy and establish order. The
occupation will create resentment among the Dominicans.
May 16 In secret the British and French establish the
Sykes-Picot Agreement, a plan to carve up the Ottoman Empire to their
advantage. France is to control southeastern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and
northern Mesopotamia (Iraq). Britain is to control the rest of
Mesopotamia, Jordan and an area around Haifa in Palestine.
Jun 4 Out of artillery shells, a Russian general, Brusilov,
begins an offensive against the Austro-Hungarians without the usual
bombardment, and his attack catches the enemy enemy off-guard. Rather
than strike at their enemy's strongest point, as military tradition
demanded, the Russians strike at a weak point and break through the
Austro-Hungarian lines, pushing the Austro-Hungarian forces, plus some
Germans and Turks with them, into retreat.
Jul 1 The Allies begin their Somme offensive. Men rise out of
their trenches against machine guns manned by forewarned Germans. The
first day the British infantry loses 60,000 men. The offensive appears
a failure from the first day, but it is to continue as generals don't
want to admit failure.
Aug 3 Roger Casement is hanged at Pentonville Prison for high
Aug 27 Romania is impressed by the Brusilov offensive. It has
been promised territory at the expense of Hungary and chooses to join
the war on the side of the Allies.
Sep 1 Bulgaria declares war on Romania.
Oct 16 In the United States, Margaret Sanger opens the
country's first birth control clinic, a forerunner of Planned
Nov 5 In a move against the Russian empire, the German and
Austro-Hungarian "emperors" jointly proclaim a new Kingdom of Poland.
Nov 18 Britain's general commanding the Somme offensive
finally calls off the battle. The Allies have suffered 623,907
casualties, the Germans an estimated 465,000.
Nov 21 The Austro-Hungarian emperor, Franz Joseph, who
started it all, dies of old age.
Dec 18 Battle of Verdun ends. France has lost 362,000 dead,
the Germans 336,000.
Dec 21 In the British House of Commons, it is announced that
all Irish prisoners are to be released.
Dec 22 Yuan Shikai dies. China's military governors
(warlords) are now more free of central authority.
Dec 31 The year ends with Europe exhausted by war. Britain's
naval blockade of Germany is creating starvation there. Germans are
working fourteen hours per day. Across Europe prices are
skyrocketing. In Russia, transportation fails and food isn't
being delivered to major cities. But the war goes on. From such
absurdity world come more absurdity and a changed world.
Jan 28 The US ordered General Pershing to end his drive
against Pancho Villa. Pershing is unhappy about it. He has the same
macho sentiments that have been displayed by German and French military
leaders. He complains that we "are now sneaking home under cover, like
a whipped curr with its tail between its legs." His troops will cross
into the United States in eight days.
Feb 1 Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm has been under pressure from
his military to let them have the tools they need for victory. He gives
in to the call from his admirals to unleash their submarines, which
they claim will win the war. Germany announces that its submarines will
engage in unrestricted submarine warfare.
Feb 3 The US severs diplomatic relations with Germany, of
little concern to German military strategists. They want to end the war
before the US can have a greater impact. They see the US as already on
the side of their enemies, supplying them as it does.
Feb 5 Mexico establishes a liberal political constitution.
Feb 22 Italy's Benito Mussolini has finally made it near the
front opposite the Austrians. He is wounded in a training exercise by
an accidental explosion of a mortar. So much for his combat experience.
He is sent to a hospital.
Mar 1 Germany has sent the secret message - the Zimmermann
Telegram - offering to return to Mexico border states that the US took
from Mexico after the US-Mexican War if Mexico joins Germany against
the US. The British have intercepted the telegram, and the US
government makes the text of the telegram public.
Mar 2 The US Congress grants citizenship to Puerto Ricans.
Mar 4 In the US, Woodrow Wilson begins his second term as
president. Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman member
of the House of Representatives.
Mar 5 Hitler has been on duty in Munich after having been
wounded and hospitalized. He is appauled by the apathy and anti-war
sentiment among German civilians. He eagerly returns to his regiment at
the front to fight the Battle of Arras which begins in little more than
Mar 8 On International Woman's Day, Russian women demonstrate
for women's issues and are joined by women who are just hungry and by a
few labor union males. The demonstrations will grow day by day and
focus on the nation's leader, Tsar Nicholas.
Mar 11 Carranza is elected President of Mexico. The United
States gives de jure recognition of his government.
Mar 15 Tsar Nicholas lacks the support from his military that
he would need to remain in power. He abdicates. Councils (soviets)
spring up as democratic gatherings and a spontaneous government grass
Apr 2 Wilson is overwhelmed by public opinion. His advisors
favor war against Germany, and now that Russia has overthrown its tsar
it is argued that the US would be fighting a war against autocracy.
Wilson tells Congress that the US will not choose "the path of
submission." He asks Congress for a declaration of war on Germany to
make the world "safe for democracy."
Apr 6 In the US, the House of Representatives votes 373 to 50
in favor of declaring war, and the Senate votes in favor by 82 to 6.
Congress goes wild with joy.
Apr 16 Lenin arrives by train from Switzerland in Russia's
capital, Petrograd (formerly Saint Petersburg), and speaks to people
fed up with war, hunger and exploitation. It will be months before
troops will be put on transport ships for Europe.
Apr 16 France's General Nivelle has been commander-in-chief
of the French Armies on the Western Front since December. He thinks he
knows how to make an offensive work. With 1.2 million soldiers he
launches France's new offensive which he claims will break through the
German line and end the war.
May 9 Nivelle's offensive has failed and is abandoned. French
casualties are 187,000 including 29,000 killed. German casualties are
163,000 including more than 15,000 killed. Nivelle is replaced as
May 18 The US Congress passes the Selective Service Act,
giving the President the power to draft people into the military.
May 23 In Milan, Italy, loyal soldiers end a month of
anti-war rioting. Fifty people are killed and 800 arrested.
May 27 As many as 30,000 French soldiers refuse to man their
trenches. Troops refuse to go to the trenches. They want their
superiors to realize that offensives are futile. In eleven days there
will be arrests, trials and executions of soldiers randomly selected.
It is to be dramatized by a book and movie titled "Paths of Glory."
Jul 1 Russia's Provisional Government follows urging from
Allies and a promise of aid from the US to launch an offensive. Some
who are wealthy or devout support the Provisional Government and look
forward to winning back Constantinople from the Turks and for their
Jul 7 Alexander Kerensky, a believer in Russia staying in the
war and the new offensive, which he helped organize, becomes premier of
the Russian Provisional Government.
Jul 16-17 Russia's new offensive, led by General Brusilov,
doesn't repeat his 1916 successes. Failure is accompanied by troop
mutinies with soldiers abandoning the front lines. Hundreds are shot by
their commanding officers, and officers are shot by their troops.
Jul 17 Britain's King George V responds to wartime passion by issuing a
royal proclamation that changes the name of his family's royal house to
the House of Windsor. It had been the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
King George and his relatives in British relinquish their German titles
and styles and adopt British-sounding surnames.
Jul 16-18 There is fighting in the streets of Petrograd. A
coup is attempted against the Provisional Government. The Provisional
Government goes after radicals opposed to the war. Lenin, who has
considered the coup premature, escapes to Finland. The government
arrests Leon Trotsky, a leader in the Petrograd Soviet.
Jul 28 A parade in silence is organized by the NAACP in New
York to protest the East St. Louis Riot of July 2 and lynchings in
Texas and Tennessee.
Aug 10 In Spain a strike organized by socialists and with
some anarchist participants is in its third day. Barricades have been
erected and trolleys stopped. Government forces with machine guns crush
the strike, leaving 70 dead and hundreds wounded. Around 2,000 are
Sep 16 Trotsky is released from prison.
Sep 18 The Bolsheviks are leading the anti-war movement in
Russia. Voting gives them a majority in the Moscow Soviet.
Sep 23 Voting gives the Bolsheviks a majority in the
Oct 8 Trotsky is elected President of the Petrograd Soviet.
Oct 12 New Zealand troops have their greatest loss of life in
one day, losing over 800 men at the First Battle of Passchendaele.
Oct 26 A German U-boat has sunk a Brazilian ship. Brazil
declares war against the Central Powers.
Nov 2 Britain's government is looking forward to removing
Ottoman authority in Palestine, and it wants to appeal to Germany's
Jews. Britain's Balfour Declaration proclaims support for
"establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
It adds, "that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and
religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities."
Nov 7 With Trotsky's blessing and In the name of the Soviets,
armed revolutionary soldiers led by Bolsheviks occupy Petrograd's
communication centers: the telegraph exchange, post office and
telephone exchange. They surround the state bank and then take over the
Winter Palace, which contains offices of the Provisional Government,
now proclaimed defunct. Lenin comes out of hiding.
Nov 8 Lenin gives his keynote address to the Soviet assembly.
"We shall now proceed to the construction of the socialist order," he
declares and is wildly applauded. During a four-day convocation,
democracy is proclaimed, including complete democratization of the
army. Local power is to be put in the hands of workers' and peasants'
Soviets. The eight-hour work day is proclaimed. Anti-Jewish pogroms or
incidents are declared illegal. All nationalities that have been under
tsarist rule are declared as having self-determination. Newspapers
hostile to the revolution are to be closed because, it is said,
newspapers have been under the control of wealthy persons who should be
prevented from "poisoning and confusing" the minds of the masses.
Nov 23 The Bolsheviks have gained access to secret government
documents and they release the full text of the Sykes-Picot Agreement
to carve up the Middle East.
Dec 6 Finland declares independence from Russia.
Dec 18 in the new atmosphere of righteousness in war and
creation of a more perfect and moral United States, the US Congress
passes a law amending the US Constitution - the 18th Amendment -
prohibiting the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcoholic
beverages. The Amendment now needs ratification by the states.
Dec 30 The Battle of Jerusalem, on-going since November 17,
ends with a British victory.
Jan 1 Kaiser Wilhelm's New Year message: "God will aid us in
the New Year, and will know how to break the ill will of our enemies,
who cling to their program of destruction."
Jan 14 To her mother-in-law, Eleanor Roosevelt writes that
she had to go to a party attended mostly by Jews, a party to honor the
financier Bernard Baruch, at which, she writes, she would "rather be
hung than seen at." (Human Smoke, p. 4.)
Jan 25 The Ukrainian People's Republic declares independence
Jan 31 In Russia, armed detachments of workers and poor
peasants are confiscating food that farmers had stored.
Feb 19 Lenin is leading Russia's government, and he has opted
for peace at any price. At the border town of Brest-Litovsk his
government signs a treaty with the Germans that involves the loss of
territory, including the Ukraine, desired by Germany as a source of
food. This will create a conflict with his allies in the soviets.
Meanwhile, rather than apply regulations to some business enterprises
and nationalize some others, the Bolsheviks aim at elimination of all
privately owned businesses, large and small.
Mar 11 At Fort Riley in Kansas, where new recruits are being
trained, an outbreak of a new and most virulent form of flu occurs.
Mar 1 The promised victory by Germany's admirals has not
materialized. A naval convoy system introduced by the Allies in May
1917 had reduced the effectiveness of Germany's submarines. But rather
than respond with an offer at a negotiated settlement, Germany's
military command wanted to go for victory with a huge ground offensive.
Mar 21 The German military begins an offensive, Plan Michael,
employing 182 divisions opposite the French and British, hoping to
knock France out of the war. They kill 20,000 British soldiers on the
first day. After six days the Germans advance 40 miles but have to wait
for other units to catch up. The Germans have a large artillery piece
with a range of 130 kilometers that has begun to shell Paris.
Mar 21 The Belarusian People's Republic, formerly a part of
the tsar's empire but recently overrun by Germany, declares
May 15 The virulent flu that began at Fort Riley in Kansas
appears among French soldiers. It is soon to appear in nearly all
European countries and is to be called the Spanish Flu. Spain is not in
the war and lacks wartime press censorship and reported the flu, hence
the Spanish flu. Death often comes within two days.
May 16 The US Congress passes the Sedition Act of 1918, an
extension of the Espionage Act of 1917. It extends offenses to include
expressions of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a
May 26 Formerly a part of the tsar's empire, the Democratic
Republic of Georgia declares its independence.
May 30 The Germans have advanced to within 90 kilometers (56
miles) of Paris, with an advance party within 63 kilometers (39 miles)
of Paris. The Germans need a break. The British and French have a few
days to recuperate and to bring up reinforcements.
Jun 6 President Woodrow Wilson agrees to US intervention in
Siberia. The purpose is said to be to help the withdrawal of Czech and
Slovak former prisoners of war passing through Siberia on their way
Jun 9 Eager American troops have entered the war in force.
The Battle of Belleau Wood has been underway since June 1. They halt
the German advance.
Jun 15 The Italians smash Austro-Hungarians at the Battle of
Piave River. Austria-Hungary's military begins to disintegrate.
Jun 16 Eugene Debs (62) makes an anti-war speech in Canton,
Ohio. For this he will be arrested under the Sedition Act and convicted
in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio. In England, the philosopher
Bertrand Russell is already serving a six-month sentence for writing an
article critical of the war. Russell advocates young men declaring
conscientious objection to Britain's draft law. For this in 1916 he was
fined and dismissed as a lecturer at Cambridge University. Russell
advocates a negotiated settlement of the war.
Jun 28 The Bolsheviks have lost control of eastern Siberia.
Japan has troops in Vladivostok and were advancing along the
trans-Siberian railway. British and French troops were in Murmansk. The
Soviet government institutes "War Communism." All major branches of
industry come under military discipline.
Jul 17 The Bolsheviks shoot Tsar Nicholas II, his wife
Alexandra Feodorovna, their children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia
and Alexei, rather than allow them to be rescued and used by forces
advancing in Siberia.
Jul 18 Second Battle of the Marne has been underway since the
15th. The French and US infantry are using a new weapon, the tank. The
last of Germany's offensives in France collapses. General Ludendorff is
making decisions for the government and rejects retreating to defensive
positions, saying this would help enemy morale and have a negative
affect on German troops and people on the homefront.
Aug 8 The British and French begin an offensive. With 430
tanks the British advance nine miles by evening on the first day, and
they capture 16,000 German prisoners, including division staffs, and
161 big guns. Ludendorff calls August 8 a "black day" for the German
Aug 31 A second wave of the "Spanish flu" strikes three port
cities: Boston, Brest (France) and Freetown (Sierra Leone).
Sep 28 General Ludendorff is under enormous pressure. He has
been drinking alcohol, suffering crying spells and temper tantrums. He
is fantasizing that a miracle can save Germany, that the flu will
destroy the French army. He learns that Germany's ally Bulgaria is
seeking a peace deal, and he will be described as having collapsed.
Sep 29 Allied forces break through the Hindenburg Line.
Oct 4 Germany has a new parliamentary government responsible
to the chancellor rather than Kaiser Wilhelm and responsible for the
Oct 14 Wilson tells the Germans they must immediately
evacuate occupied lands, end their submarine warfare, guarantee
constitutional reforms and transform Germany into a democracy - a
polite way of demanding that Wilhelm abdicate.
Oct 20 Germany's General Hindenburg, Chief of the German
General Staff, has aroused himself and tells the German chancellor that
the government should keep Germany fighting "for our honor to the very
last man," and if this results in Germany breaking off negotiations
with Wilson so be it.
Oct 24 In the US, Congressional elections are 12 days away.
Woodrow Wilson issues an open letter to his "fellow countryman"
suggesting that a Republican victory would somehow provide aid and
comfort Kaiser William II. It backfires. Wilson's popularity has been
Oct 28 Czechoslovakia declares its independence from
Oct 30 The Allied powers sign an armistice with the Ottoman
Nov 3 Austria-Hungary signs an armistice with the Allies.
Nov 3 Poland (the Second Polish Republic) declares
independence from Russia.
Nov 3 Sailors in the German fleet at Kiel mutiny and
throughout northern Germany soldiers and workers begin to establish
revolutionary councils on the Russian soviet model.
Nov 5 Elections in the US give a big win for the Republicans.
They gain 25 seats and a majority in the House of Representatives and 5
seats and a majority in the Senate.
Nov 8 In Germany the Kaiser is being scapegoated. The German
army withdraws its support of him.
Nov 9 Germany is declared a republic, not to have a
constitutional monarch like Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and many
other European countries. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates and goes into
exile in the Netherlands.
Nov 9 Revolt has spread to enlisted German sailors, to
soldiers and some civilians. A rebel group of socialists have taken
power in Munich and have proclaimed Bavaria a democratic republic.
Nov 10 in a French forest in Compiègne, a German and French
delegation meet to arrange an armistice.
Nov 11 Warsaw is free of German troops. This is to be
Poland's Independence Day.
Nov 11 The armistice is signed. Government is handed a new
chancellor, a Social Democrat, Friedrich Ebert. Kaiser Wilhelm objects
but he is powerless without an army to back him up. People from Germany
to the US crowd together for the noisiest celebration ever. General
Pershing is disappointed because he wanted to take the war into Germany.
Nov 11 influenza has almost disappeared from the city of
Nov 12 The Habsburg monarchy ends in Austria, which becomes a
Nov 14 Czechoslovakia is free from Habsburg rule and becomes
a republic. The empire that Franz Joseph went to war to maintain is
disintegrating - as is he.
Nov 16 Hungary is declared a Democratic Republic .
Nov 18 Latvia declares its independence from Russia.
Nov 21 With the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy, Poles are
fighting Ukrainians for domination of Lviv (formerly Lemberg). Both see
the city as theirs. Polish troops, volunteers and freed criminals
massacre at least 320 Ukrainian Christians and Jews.
Nov 22 The Sparticist League founds the German Communist
Nov 23 In Palestine, Britain's military government begins.
Nov 29 In Sweden voting is extended to include those without
taxable assets. Each adult is to have one vote.
Dec 1 A union of Serbs (with Montenegrins), Croats and
Slovenes is formed and declared be a kingdom (later to be called
Dec 4 President Woodrow Wilson departs by ship to the Paris
Peace Conference, becoming the first United States President to travel
to any foreign country while holding office.
Dec 27 Poles in and around the city of Posen rebel against
German control. Posen is about to become Posnan.
Dec 28 In the United Kingdom's general election, extending to
representatives from Ireland, the party of "moderates" loses to the
political party Sinn Féin (We Ourselves), which is dedicated to Irish
sovereignty. Elected Sinn Féin will refuse to attend parliament in
London. Instead they will form a parliament in Dublin.
Dec 31 In the United States, Britain and Australia the first
mass-marketed laundry detergent, Rinso, is selling well.
Jan 5 A majority at a recent "Congress of Workers and
Soldiers Councils" supported the moderate Social Democratic government
of Friedrich Ebert. There were those called Sparticists who favored an
armed uprising, a copy-cat revolution with the Bolsheviks in mind. In
Berlin they attempt a Communist revolution, and their call to battle
spreads to other cities.
Jan 13 After days of fighting, Ebert's government, using a
military force of veterans called the Freikorps, defeats the Sparticist
Jan 15 The Sparticist leaders, Rosa Luxemburg (who had
opposed the uprising) and Karl Liebknecht are rounded up by Freikorps
combatants and murdered.
Jan 16 The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, authorizing Prohibition, is ratified.
Jan 18 The conference aimed at a settlement of World War I
opens in Paris. Twenty-seven nations are to attend, but Germany hasn't
Jan 21 Korea's King Gojong has been a prisoner in his palace.
He dies at the age of 67, twelve years to the day since the Japanese
forced him to abdicate. Some suspect that the Japanese speeded his
death by poisoning him.
Jan 25 At the Paris conference the League of Nations is
founded. Its goals, as stated in its Covenant, includes preventing wars
through collective security and disarmament, and settling international
disputes through negotiation and arbitration.
Jan 31 In Glasgow, Scotland, the British Army is called out
to deal with riots and protests against high rents.
Feb 3 Some Ukrainians are anti-soviet and some are
pro-soviet. Pro-soviet troops occupy Ukraine.
Feb 11 Friedrich Ebert is elected first President of Germany.
Feb 11 In Seattle, Washington, a five-day general strike
affecting more than 65,000 workers is ended by federal troops. The
strike has been described as the work of Bolsheviks, people with an
Feb 14 Soviet Russia is in a civil war and conducting a
westward offensive to establish revolution and to gain security for
itself in areas abandoned by Germany and no longer under tsarist
authority. War between the new Polish Republic and Soviet Russia begins
near Brest: the Battle of Bereza Kartusk. On the side of Soviet Russia
are Poles who want a Bolshevik Poland.
Feb 24 While the conference in Paris has been talking about
peace and disarmament, in Estonia, anti-Bolshevik forces have pushed
back a Soviet Red Army advance. Estonian independence is declared. A
new Red Army drive that includes communist Estonians will soon begin.
Mar 1 Inspired with hope by President Wilson's much
publicized Fourteen Points, which included a call for democracy and
self-determination, Koreans have planned peaceful demonstrations for
independence. Japan represses independence movement by military power.
The official Japanese count of Korean casualties includes 553 killed,
1,409 injured, and 12,522 arrested, but the Korean estimates are much
higher: over 7,500 killed, about 15,000 injured, and 45,000 arrested.
Japanese authorities claim that the trouble in Korea stems from their
having been too lenient.
Mar 3 The US Supreme Court upholds the Espionage Act of 1917.
Charles Schenck is to spend six months in prison for distributing
Mar 8 In Russia's civil war, the Bolsheviks have been holding center
ground with various anti-Bolshevik forces coming from different
directions. In central Siberia, the forces of anti-Bolshevik Admiral
Alexander Kolchak have advanced to the towns of Okhansk and Osa. Where
Kolchak rules, thousands of people suspected of supporting the
Bolsheviks are to be exterminated.
Mar 9 Inspired in part by Wilson's Fourteen Points, an
uprising occurs across Egypt opposed to Britain's occupation of their
country. Delegates in Paris continue their strategies for peace.
Mar 18 The French have been interested
in control over Cilicia, in southern Turkey, where extensive coal
mining exists. Two French gunboats bring French troops to the region. A
Franco-Turkish war is months into the future. In Paris, France's
delegation has been arguing protection for French sovereignty by
destroying Germany as a power.
Mar 20 In Hungary hard economic times prevail. The Social
Democrat Party is larger than the Communist Party, but the communists
manage to overthrow the government and establish a "dictatorship of the
proletariat" (after failing to get backing from Lenin). Some Social
Democrats have sided with the communist revolution.
April 6 The revolution in Hungary has excited communists in
Munich. A defenseless Social Democrat government is replaced and a
Soviet Republic proclaimed. Weapons are to be forbidden to all except
those with the revolution.
Apr 10 In Mexico, President Carranza is still at
war with an army led by Emiliano Zapata. A unit of Carranza's army
pretends to desert to join Zapata. Zapata goes to confer with them and
is promptly assassinated.
Apr 13 In India, a mob murders five Europeans. A British
senior officer overreacts, firing into a crowd, killing 379 and
wounding 1,208 in less than ten minutes - to be known as that
Jallianvala Bach (Amritsar) massacre. Many in India who had been for
gradual steps toward self-rule now want complete independence.
Apr 13 Eugene V. Debs begins to serve a ten-year sentence for
speaking against the draft during World War I.
Apr 18 The US State Department instructs its embassy in Tokyo
to tell its consulate in Seoul (Korea) to be "extremely careful not to
encourage any belief that the United States will assist the Korean
nationalists in carrying out their plans and that it should not do
anything which may cause Japanese authorities to suspect [the] American
Government sympathizes with the Korean nationalist movement."
Apr 30 Several bombs are intercepted in the first wave of the
1919 United States anarchist bombings
May 1 A May Day parade in Cleveland protests the jailing of
Eugene V. Debs. They are confronted by Victory Liberty Loan workers.
Fighting erupts that spreads through the downtown area. Order is
restored by mounted police, army trucks and tanks. Casualties amount to
two people killed, forty injured and 116 arrested.
May 3 In Munich the Soviet regime, fearing overthrow, has
made hostages of unfriendly leading citizens. An anti-Bolshevik
Freikorps force of around 9,000 drives the Soviet regime from power.
Some of the hostages have been massacred. About 700 men and women will
be summarily executed by the Freikorps troops.
May 4 Disclosed at the Peace Conference is the promise made
to Japan for control of what had been Germany's holdings in China.
Students in China learn that the Japanese bribed the warlord in Beijing
to accept the move. Students invade the warlord's home and beat him
senseless. Student protests give birth to the May 4th Movement, whose
slogans are "struggle for sovereignty" and "throw out the warlord
traitors." A boycott of Japanese goods begins.
May 7 The Bolshevik government in Moscow forms units of
35,000 Central Asian Muslim draftees - former subjects of tsarist
colonialism. Many of the conscripts will rebel, fleeing with their
weapons to the anti-Russian Basmachi fighters.
May 18 Ending World War I on the side of
the Allies, Greece has landed forces that are expanding in Western
Turkey, in areas that in ancient times were largely Greek. The
Greco-Turkish war of 1919-22 begins.
May 26 John Maynard Keynes resigns his position with the
British at the Paris Peace Conference. He denounces the treaty taking
shape as ruinous for Germany and as damaging the international economic
structure of Europe.
Jun 2 Since late April, anarchists in the US have been
mailing bombs to politicians and officials, believing that blowing up a
few people will change the world in the direction they prefer. Eight of
these bombs explode, creating injuries but no deaths. The result will
be an intensification of the Red Scare.
Jun 4 The US Congress passes the 19th Amendment to the United
States Constitution, which makes it illegal to deny women their right
to vote. Congress sends it to the states for ratification.
Jun 14 Turks push back against the Greeks in Western Turkey. Greek
forces retreat in disorder to Menemen.
Jun 28 In Paris the Treaty of Versailles is signed, formally
ending the war that President Wilson said was to make the world safe
for democracy. The peace conference has been impacted by hostility to
Germany. Ten percent of Germany's population is put outside Germany's
new borders. Germans are to pay reparations, all of which will weaken
Germany's democratic government. Pope Benedict XV will describe the
treaty as a "consecration of hatred" and a "perpetuation of war."
Jul 27 A race riot occurs in Chicago following a white
throwing stones at four black teenagers on a raft.
Aug 4 The Hungarian Soviet Republic has been at war with
Romania, one of the Allies hostile to Austria-Hungary at the end of the
war. Territorial issues have arisen. The Romanians occupy Budapest. The
Hungarian Soviet Republic collapses.
Sep 6 The US Army has sent a convoy across the US to assess
the possibility of crossing the country by road. It arrives in San
Francisco 61 days after having left Washington DC.
Sep 20 Gabriele D'Annunzio, a World War I aviator and a
romantic poet, puts his private army of about 1,000 in power in the
small city of Fiume on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. Fiume had
a large Italian population, and D'Annunzio and many other Italians
believe Fiume should be a part of Italy.
Oct 2 President Wilson suffers a serious stroke, rendering
him an invalid.
Oct 6 In the United States, prices are twice what they had
been in 1916. Unemployment has risen. Strikes have erupted. Steel
workers have been on strike since September 21. The strikes are
sponsored by the American Federation of Labor but described as
Bolshevist in origin. Local authorities and steel companies are
cooperating. Mass meetings have been prohibited in most strike-stricken
areas. Gatherings of people have been broken up. The Pennsylvania state
police have clubbed picketers, dragged strikers from their homes and
jailed thousands on flimsy charges. In Gary Indiana, strikebreakers
have joined with police in attacking striking unionists. The army takes
over the city and martial law is declared.
Oct 19 An anti-Bolshevik drive led by the Russian General
Yudenich has been threatening Petrograd. Rather than his little army
fighting a city of 700,000 inhabitants organized against him, he
returns toward Estonia.
Nov 1 Led by a tough-minded liberal, John L. Lewis, 400,000
coal workers go out on strike.
Nov 2 Since late April, Bolshevik forces in central Siberia
have been pushing against Kolchak's forces. The anti-Bolshevik forces
are now disorganized and falling back toward Omsk.
Nov 7 The first Palmer Raid is conducted on the second
anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Over 10,000 suspected communists
and anarchists are arrested in twenty-three different US cities.
Nov 14 The Bolshevik Red Army takes the city of Omsk without
any serious resistance. It captures large amounts of ammunition, almost
50,000 soldiers and ten generals.
Nov 19 Many in the US Senate, right and left, kill
ratification of the Paris Peace Treaty (The Treaty of Versailles). A
few Republican senators wished to deny Wilson any glory he had won
during his trip to Paris, and some were still disappointed that he had
not included any prominent Republicans in his mission.
Dec 10 The Wilson administration is cooperating with those
hostile to the miner's strike. Lewis says he will not fight the
"greatest government on earth." He has won a 14 percent wage increase
and joins other labor leaders in calling on the miners to return to
Dec 21 Emma Goldman, age 46, is a US citizen born in
Lithuania when it was part of the Russian Empire. She had been in
prison for encouraging people to resist the draft. Philosophically she
is an anarchist strongly committed to individualism. Justice Department
agent J Edgar Hoover has recently described her as one of the two most
dangerous individuals in the United States. Today she is deported with
248 others on a ship to Russia.
Jan 3 Russia's civil war is winding down. The Bolsheviks
secure an armistice with Estonia. The Russian anti-Bolshevik army
leader, Yudenich, in Estonia, will be arrested in a couple of weeks as
he tries to escape to western Europe.
Jan 16 In the United States, prohibition becomes law.
Jan 19 US Senators vote against joining the League of
Nations. There was opposition especially to Article X of the League
Covenant, which called on giving assistance to a member who is a victim
of external aggression.
Jan 21 Independence from Britain is proclaimed in Ireland.
The Irish Republican Army begins Ireland's War of Independence.
Jan 23 The Netherlands, ruled by the young and strong-willed
Queen Wilhelmina, doesn't buy the exaggerations of the Allied nations
of World War I and refuses to extradite Kaiser Wilhelm to them for
Feb 2 A treaty between Bolshevik Russia and Estonia
recognizes Estonia's independence.
Feb 7 The anti-Bolshevik military leader in central Siberia, Kolchak,
has surrendered and is executed.
Feb 24 In Munich, Adolf Hitler presents a program to his tiny
Mar 13-17 In Germany an attempted coup by anti-Marxists - the
Kapp putsch - briefly ousts the Weimar Republic government from Berlin.
The coup fails because of public resistance and a general strike.
Mar 25 A police force of former soldiers from England, to be
known as the Black and Tans, arrives in Ireland. They are less than
disciplined police professionals and are sent to assist the Irish
government loyal to British rule to maintain that rule.
Apr 4 Violence erupts between Arab and Jewish residents in
Jerusalem. Nine are killed and 216 injured.
Apr 12 In Germany's Ruhr, occupied by the French, the German
government has French approval to combat a communist rebel army
numbering around 6,000 men. After ten days of fighting, German
government forces, including Freikorps paramilitary units, defeat the
rebel army. The government force loses about 250 men, the rebels lose
over a thousand.
Apr 20 In Mexico, President Carranza prefers civilian rule.
The man he doesn't want as his successor, a former general on his left
politically, Álvaro Obregón, announces that he intends to fight
Apr 20 Summer Olympics Games open in Antwerp, Belgium.
Apr 23 The Grand National Assembly of Turkey is founded by
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara. It denounces the government of Sultan
Mehmed VI and announces a temporary constitution.
Apl 24 The Bolsheviks are fighting to establish Soviet
republics among the Poles, Ukrainians and Lithuanians, with help from
communists among each ethnicity.
Apr 19-26 A seven-day conference at San Remo, in Italy, ends.
in the name of League of Nation mandates, Italy, France, Britain and
Japan agree to precise boundaries in the partitioning of the Ottoman
May 2 In Indianapolis, the first game of Negro National
League baseball is played.
May 7 In the ongoing war between Polish and Soviet troops,
Polish troops occupy Kiev.
May 7 A Bolshevik coup has failed against a government of
moderate socialists (Social Democrats) in Georgia. The Soviet
government signs a treaty recognizing Georgia's independence.
May 19-20 Álvaro Obregón's army pushes into Mexico City.
Carranza flees by train and is shot and killed.
May 24 Carranza is buried in Mexico City. His allies gathered
at his funeral are arrested. Adolfo de la Huerta, an Obregón ally, is
appointed provisional president by Mexico's congress.
Jun 4 Hungary signs a peace agreement with its World War I
enemies: France, Britain, the US, Italy and Japan. The agreement
establishes new borders for Hungary. Hungary loses 71 percent of its
territory and 66 percent of its population. About one-third of the
ethnic Hungarian population (3.4 of 10 million Hungarians) become
minorities in neighboring countries. The new borders separate Hungary's
industrial base from its sources of raw materials, and Hungary also
loses its only sea port, at Fiume (today Rijeka).
Jun 15 A new border treaty between Germany and Denmark gives
northern Schleswig to Denmark.
Jul 1 Scientists in 2014 will trace the AIDs virus to sometime in the
1920s in Léopoldville (Kinshasa) in the Belgian Congo. Its spread is
linked to urban growth and a rise in railway links during colonial rule.
Jul 12 Soviet Russia signs a peace treaty with Lithuania,
recognizing Lithuanian independence In exchange for Lithuanian
neutrality and permission to let Soviet Red Army forces pass through
against hostile Polish forces.
Jul 24 The French are moving to impose what they believe to
be their authority in Syria. At the Battle of Maysalun Pass, about 12
miles west of Damascus, a French army easily defeats a few hundred Arab
soldiers and some hastily-summoned citizen volunteers.
Jul 28 Pancho Villa signs a surrender and retires.
Aug 3 The Irish War of Independence continues. Catholics in
Belfast protest against the continuing presence of the British Army.
Aug 10 The Treaty of Sèvres ends the war between
the Allies and Turkey. The treaty limits Turkey to a military force of
50,000. It gives Britain, France and Italy control over Turkey's
financial affairs. It gives France and Italy zones of control and
influence, and it grants autonomy to the Kurds. Ottoman Sultan Mehmed
VI's representatives sign the treaty confirming arrangements for
partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. Turks in general refuse to
recognize the treaty. A Greek army is advancing into Turkey from Smyrna
Aug 11 Soviet troops have been pushed out of Latvia. Soviet
Russia recognizes Latvian independence.
Aug 13-25 An anti-Soviet Polish army decisively defeats and
routes the Soviet Red Army in the Battle of Warsaw, to be remembered by
Poles as the "Miracle on the Vistula." Stalin, age 41, was there as a
political commissar and would resent the defeat for the rest of his
life. (Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain, p 41)
Aug 26 Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US
Constitution by the states guarantees women's suffrage.
Sep 16 A bomb in a horse wagon explodes in front of the JP
Morgan building in New York City, killing 38 and injuring 400. It's to
be known as the Wall Street bombing. A half-day of trading is lost. The
capitalist system survives. The bombers are never found.
Oct 18 Thousands of unemployed demonstrate in London. Fifty
Oct 26 Álvaro Obregón is elected president of Mexico.
Nov 2 In the United States, people long for the "good old
days" before the war. They elect Warren Harding as their president, who
has campaigned against ratification of the peace treaty and for a
return to "normalcy." Republicans gain ten seats in the Senate,
extending their majority there to 59 of 96 seats. House Republicans
gain 67 seats for 302 out of 433 seats. The Civil War is still within
the country. The red and blue states are divided in presidential
election results between the South and elsewhere, except for Tennessee,
which went for the Republican, Harding.
Nov 21 It is Bloody Sunday. The Irish Republican Army, on the
instructions of Michael Collins, kill fourteen British undercover
agents in Dublin, most in their homes. In retaliation the Auxiliary
Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary open fire on a crowd at a
Gaelic Athletic Association Football match in Croke Park, killing
thirteen spectators and one player and wounding 60.
Dec 11 In Ireland, a British trooper is killed by a guerrilla
ambush. British forces set fire to some 5 acres, including the city
hall, in the center of the city of Cork.
Dec 1 Obregón becomes Mexico's 39th President.
Dec 15-22 The Brussels Conference establishes a timetable for
German war reparations intended to extend for over 42 years.
Dec 16 in northwest China an 8.5-magnitude earthquake will
within a few days kill an estimated 273,400 people.
Dec 23 Britain passes the Government of Ireland Act,
providing for the partition of Ireland into Northern Ireland and
Southern Ireland with separate parliaments and granting a measure of
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