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Century 20 2nd Decade
20 th Century 1911-1920 AD

1911

 
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 30,000.

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 Franz Joseph.

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 74.4 mph.

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 in Tijuana.

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 Company.

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" timidity.

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 leading.

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 reform.

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."

1912
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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 economic interests.

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 countries.

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 navies.

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 Mediterranean Sea.

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 founded.

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 begins.

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.

1913
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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: Gavrilo Princip.

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, p 448.)

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 us Armageddon."

1914
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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 "Biblical principle."

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 businesses.

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 Free State.

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 or things.

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 against Serbia.

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 Serbia.

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 France.

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 their country.

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 Austria-Hungary.

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 soldiers killed.

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 the Marne.

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 Australians.

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 Japanese.

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 1,000.

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.


1915
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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 warfare).

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 territorial conflicts.

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 25,000 casualties.

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 gained.


1916
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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 treason.

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 Parenthood.

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.

1917
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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 a month.

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 roots.

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 commander-in-chief.

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 Christianity.

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 arrested.

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 Petrograd Soviet.

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.


1918
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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 from Russia.

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 independence.

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 negative light.

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 home.

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 army.

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 war effort.

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 ebbing.

Oct 28  Czechoslovakia declares its independence from Austria-Hungary.

Oct 30  The Allied powers sign an armistice with the Ottoman Empire (Turkey).

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 Philadelphia.

Nov 12  The Habsburg monarchy ends in Austria, which becomes a republic.

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 Party.

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 Yugoslavia).

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.


1919 
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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 armed uprising.

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 been invited.

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 un-American ideology.

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 anti-draft literature.

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 work.

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.

1920
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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 prosecution.

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 political party.

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 Carranza.

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 Empire.

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 are injured.

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 home rule.





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