Jan 21  John D. Rockefeller pledges $1,000,000 as relief for Europe's destitute.

Feb12  Lenin has given his consent to move against rule in Georgia by his old opponents within the socialist movement, the Social Democrats (Mensheviks). The Republic of Georgia is invaded by the Red Army.

Feb 20  Backed by the British, who are afraid of Bolshevik expansion, a soldier in Iran, Riza Khan Pahlevi, marches into Tehran with 2,500 soldiers and takes control of the government. Iran's corrupt and ineffectual Qajar dynasty is abolished. In 1926, Riza Khan Pahlevi is to be coronated King of Kings (Shahenshah).

Feb 21  Benito Mussolini joins his Fascist militia to Italy's regular army.

Feb 25  The Red Army enters the Georgian capital Tbilisi and installs a Moscow-directed government.

Mar 4  Warren G. Harding is inaugurated as the 29th President of the United States. Liberty and civilization were threatened he says, but "we find them both now secure." He looks forward to America's new era of Republican domination of the presidency and congress: "The forward course of the business cycle is unmistakable. ... I know that Congress and the Administration will favor every wise Government policy to aid the resumption and encourage continued progress."

Mar 7  Hardship and Bolshevik authoritarianism is accompanied by rebellion among the sailors at Russia's Kronstadt naval base. The sailors call for "real Soviet power." After several days of fighting the Red Army will crush the rebellion and chase surviving rebels across the border into Finland.

Mar 13  A counter-revolutionary Russian army captures Mongolia from China. Its leader, Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg, age 35, declares himself Mongolia's ruler.

Mar 16  The Soviets have decided to pursue trade opportunities with the Western powers. A trade agreement is concluded with Britain.

Mar 18  The Bolsheviks want an end to the Polish-Soviet War. They sign the Treaty of Riga, a settlement favorable to the Poles that puts many Ukrainians and Byelorussians inside Poland. The treaty is to be undone following the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Mar 18  The Mongolian military leader Damdiny Sükhbaatar, fighting on behalf of Mongolia's People's Part and heavily outnumbered, defeats a Chinese force inside Mongolia. Into the 21st century this day is to be a holiday in Mongolia..

Mar 21  For Lenin the Kronstadt rebellion is a sign of the need to ease up wartime government authoritarianism. He begins what is called the New Economic Policy. Lenin allows some free Markets to reappear and small-scale capitalist industries to function. The Soviet government stops forced confiscations of grain and allows peasants to sell their surplus grain on the opened market.

Mar 23  A plebiscite in Silesia votes for re-annexation to Germany.

Mar 31  Abkhazia (in the Caucasus region) becomes an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union.

Apr 1  Abdullah, a member of the Hashimite family, brother of Faisal, becomes Emir of Transjordan.

Apr 11  Iowa becomes the first state to impose a cigarette tax.

Apr 14  In Britain, labour unions for mining, railway and transportation workers call for a strike; the government threatens to call in the army.

May 1  In Palestine, fighting breaks out between rival Jewish socialist groups commemorating May Day (one of them belonging to a communist party). Arabs hear of the fighting and assume Arabs are being attacked. Within a week, in what will be known as the Jaffa Riots, 47 Jews and 48 Arabs will be killed. In the wake of the Jaffa Riot, Tel Aviv will become a separate city, the first all Jewish municipality.

May 2  Poles in Silesia (an industrial area surrounded by Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia) rise again against German rule. They want to be a part of the new Polish republic. Uncertainty has reigns among the Allies, France siding with the Poles and Britain and Italy siding with the German claim that they could not pay war reparations if they were to lose their Silesian industries. The crisis will last to July. Silesia will be divided between Germany and Poland. German-Polish hostility increases.

May 23  War crimes trials commissioned by the Allies of World War I against Germans begins In Leipzig. Nine German veterans are tried. Outside Germany the trials will be viewed as a travesty. In 1922 the trials will be quietly abandoned.

May 31  Tulsa has white migrants from the South. A prosperous black community exists in the Greenwood district in Tulsa. An incident escalates into an assault by whites into the Greenwood area. Businesses will be set afire. There will be 39 official deaths and more than 800 wounded.

Jun 30  The death penalty for all crimes in peacetime is abolished in Sweden.

Jul 1  The Communist Party of China is officially founded in Shanghai by a young librarian, Mao Zedung.

Jul 1  The Rif War (1920-26) is underway. In north-eastern Morocco, Abd el-Krim's fighters present the Spanish with what will be known as the disaster of Annua. Of some 20,000 Spanish troops an estimated 8,000 are killed or disappear.

July 11  The Irish War of Independence (since January 1919) comes to an end when a truce is signed between the British Government and Irish forces.

Jul 11  Mongolian nationalists have asked for Red Army support against anti-Communist (White) Russian troops. A combined Red Army Mongolian force has defeated Baron Ungern von Sternberg's forces. The Mongolian People's Party acquires political power. The country's Buddhist spiritual leader and monarch, Bogd Kahn, remains as a figurehead.


Faisal I, King of Iraq, formerly King of Syria, for three months in 1920. (Played by Alec Guiness in Lawrence of Arabia.) He had wanted unity between Sunnit and Shiite in an Arab state that would include Syria, Iraq and the rest of the Fertile Crescent. But France and Britain were had more control in what had been part of the Ottoman Empire.

Jul 13  Famine in raging in Russia's Volga-Urals region. Russia population this year will fall 3.8 percent. There will be reports of cannibalism. The writer Maxim Gorky publishes an appeal "to all honorable people" in the world for food and medicine.

Jul 28  Adolf Hitler becomes chairman of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Aug 9  Albanian forces occupy Yugoslav territory, starting a war to last into November.

Aug 21  After three weeks of difficult negotiations, the Soviet Union agrees to allow the American Relief Administration to function with some independence. Participants will include Herbert Hoover's American Relief Administration, the American Friends Service Committee and the International Save the Children Union. The first feeding center will open in October.

Aug 23  Faisal, a brother of Abdullah I of TransJordan and an ally with Britain against the Turks during World War I, is installed by the British as King of Iraq. He is crowned in Baghdad.

Aug 26  Matthias Erzberger, an influential centrist Catholic politician, who signed the armistice with the Allies, is hated by German rightists. He is shot while on vacation. His assassins return to Munich and are given false passports by the Bavarian Police.

Sep 2  At the Battle of Blair Mountain in West Virginia an army of 10 to 15 thousand miners and their families face a private army of some 2,000 men and 2,100 state and federal troops. The fledgling US Air Force drops a few bombs as a demonstration meant to overawe the labor organizers. The death toll from the battle will be estimated as fewer than 20 and more than 50.

Sep 3  In Horton Bay, Michigan, Ernest Hemingway (age 22) marries Hadley Richardson, a wealthy debutante 8 years his senior.

Sep 16  The Greek army, favored by Turkey's World War I enemies have been advancing, spreading their forces thin and extending their supply lines. Kemal Ataturk checks the Greek advance at the 23-day Battle of Sakarya, which began on August 24. The morale of the Turkish nation soars at Kemal's victory, adding to Kemal's strength.

Oct 1  An agreement concluded between the Soviet and the Norwegian governments that regulates their relations, signed on September 2, goes into effect. The Communist Party no longer faces an acute military threat to its existence. The civil war in effect is over. Russia is exhausted and its Great Famine continues, to last into the spring of 1922.

Nov 9  In Italy, a paramilitary group declares itself a political party: the National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascist). The party's leader (El Duce) is Benito Mussolini.

Nov 18  The war between Albania and Yugoslvia that began on August 9 is resolved by a League of Nations conference that has defined the border between these two powers.

Dec 6  British and Irish representatives sign a treaty in London formally ending the Irish War of Independence. The treaty provides for the creation of the Irish Free State. According to the treaty, Ireland is to be a self-governing dominion within the Commonwealth of Nations (a new term to replace the British Empire). Six counties in north-east Ireland will have the option of withdrawing from the Irish Free State within one month of the Treaty coming into effect one year hence.

Dec 21  The US Supreme Court rules labor injunctions and picketing unconstitutional.

Dec 23  President Harding commutes the ten-year prison sentence of the socialist and former presidential candidate Eugene Debs, who has been in prison for the last four years for an anti-war speech he had made in 1918. Harding disturbs some anti-Communists by inviting Debs to the White House, where he shakes Debs' hand and says that he had always wanted to meet him.

to 1911-1920 | to 1922

Copyright © 2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.