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.

to 1915 | to 1917

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