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1919

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.

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