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.

to 1913 | to 1915

Copyright © 1998-2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.