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1924

Jan 21  Vladimir Lenin, age 53, has been mute and bedridden since March last year. Today he dies.

Jan 23  Russia changes Petrograd to Leningrad.

Jan 23  Lenin is moved from Petrograd to Moscow. Mourners gather at every station along the way. His body will be put on display at the House of Trade Unions, and in the coming days a million mourners from across the Soviet Union will wait in line for hours in the freezing cold.

Jan 25  The French government signs a treaty of mutual aid with Czechoslovakia regarding the possibility of an unprovoked attack by a third country, i.e. Germany.

Jan 27  Lenin's body is put in a wooden tomb by the Kremlin Wall in Moscow's Red Square. A granite Mausoleum will soon be built, in which Lenin's head and hands will be visible to visitors.

Jan 31  A constitution is ratified by the Congress of Soviets. It is a treaty that embodies separate nations – Belorussian, Ukrainian, Transcaucasian – into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Feb 1  The new British labour government, led by Ramsey McDonald, recognizes the Soviet Union.

Feb 2  The Turkish National Assembly formally abolishes the caliphate that for more than four centuries had been claimed by sultans of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire ends. The caliphate's authority and properties are transferred to Turkey's Grand National Assembly.

Feb 3  Woodrow Wilson dies peacefully after a long illness. A former opponent in politics, Republican President Calvin Coolidge, and Mrs Coolidge, express their condolences and will attend the funeral.

Feb 7  Prime Minister Mussolini's government recognizes the Soviet Union.

Feb 24  After servicing less than two years of a six year sentence for sedition, the British release Mohandas Gandhi from prison due to ill-health following surgery to treat his appendicitis. Gandhi wants to avoid political action and focus on writing about improvements for India.

Mar 8  At the coal mine near Castle Gate Utah, an employee investigating gas near the roof of the mine attempts to relight his lamp with a match which ignites the gas and coal dust, setting off an explosion powerful enough to launch a mining car, telephone poles, and other equipment nearly a mile from the entrance to the mine. The steel gates of the mine are ripped from their concrete foundations. Recovery of the bodies will take nine days. All 171 miners, ages 15 to 73, die. Most (126) are immigrants: 50 native-born Greeks, 25 Italians, 32 English or Scots, 12 Welsh, 4 Japanese, and 3 Austrian or Southern Slav.

Mar 9  Squabbling over the Adriatic port city of Fiume (today Rijeka and a part of Croatia) has had some resolution. A city of mostly Italians (24,000 in 1910) but also Hungarians, Croatians and others has been settled by diplomats and their Treaty of Rome, giving the city to Italy. Today, Italy annexes it.

Mar 15  A presidential election is won by Horacio Vásquez Lajara, an American ally. With his inauguration in July the United States will end its eight-year occupation of his country, the Dominican Republic.

Mar 25  Greece proclaims itself a republic. Greece's king has been George II, 33, the grandson of a Dane, George I (r. 1863-1913) and the son of Sophia of Prussia. Parliament asked His Majesty to leave Greece so the nation could decide what form of government it should adopt, and George II did so late last year, to his wife's home country, Romania, but he refused to abdicate. A referendum on April 13 will express the public's desire to have a republic rather than a monarchy.

Apr 1  Adolf Hitler is sentenced to 5 years in jail for his participation in an attempt with General Ludendorff to take power in Munich, late last year. Hitler had promised to shoot himself if his coup failed – mere bombast. Ludendorff, seen as a military hero, has not been charged or tried. Germany's judiciary is conservative and has great respect for its veteran generals. Hitler was a mere corporal.

Apr 27  A group of Alawites kill several nuns in Syria. French troops retaliate and kill Alawites.

April 28  The Benwood Mine Disaster in West Virginia kills 119 men. Another coal mine has exploded. The majority of the miners killed are recent immigrants from Poland, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Russia, the Ukraine and Lithuania.

May 31 Lenin's widow has mailed his testament to the Communist Party's Central Committee. Contrary to Lenin's wishes before his final stroke, a Party Congress ends without the document having been read to the delegates. The document is critical of Stalin and his allies Kamenev and Zinoviev. These three, the most influential members of the Party, are protecting their status in the Party by keeping the document secret. It will be published in 1925 in the United States by Max Eastman, an admirer of Stalin's rival, Leon Trotsky.

May 24  President Coolidge signs into law the Immigration Act of 1924. It includes the Asian Exclusion Act which bars immigration from Japan, China, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Burma, Malaya, India and elsewhere in Asia. In Japan, anti-American rises. Some newspapers in Japan denounce the law as an "insult" or "a slap in the face." Japan lodges a formal protest through its embassy in Washington and declares May 26, the effective date of the legislation, a day of national humiliation.

Jun 2  Coolidge signs a bill making all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States citizens of the United States. Accompanying this act is the Revenue Act of 1924.

Jun 10  Mussolini's Fascists kidnap and kill Italian socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti. Prime Minister Mussolini is perplexed. He wants respectability.

Jun 12  Ho Chi Minh has left Paris and is in Moscow. He attends the Fifth Comintern Congress and urges Communists from West European countries to agitate more against the evils of colonialism.

Aug 16  A plan by an international commission chaired by a Chicago banker, Charles G. Dawes, has been accepted by the former allies of the last great war. The plan provides for France ending its occupation of Germany's Ruhr region and for a staggered payment plan for Germany making its reparation payments. Many French people believe their government is being too lenient with the Germans. Many Germans think their country paying reparations to France is nonsense.

Aug 28  In Georgia, one of the republics within the Soviet Union, an insurrection against Soviet rule has been organized across the country. In one area the rising starts today, a day early, and alarms Moscow. Stalin, a Georgian, immediately sends the Red Army against the insurgents. A book published in 1999, The Black Book of Communism, by Harvard University Press, will describe the Soviet regime as having killed 12,578 between August 29 and September 5 and as having deported about 20,000 people to Siberia and Central Asian deserts. The failed insurrection will leave pro-independence Georgians either exterminated or powerless. Georgia's Tiflis University will be purged of "unreliable" elements and placed under the complete control of the Communist Party, with substantial changes made to its curriculum.

Sep 9  In the Hawaiian Islands, Filipino agricultural workers are on strike demanding a wage of $2 per day and reduction of the workday to eight hours. Plantation owners have been employing strike breakers, and strike leaders have been arrested and people have been bribed to testify against them. Outraged strikers seize two strike breakers and prevent them from going to work. The police, armed with clubs and guns, arrive at union headquarters to "rescue" the strike breakers. Strikers are armed with homemade weapons and knives. The reported result is sixteen Filipinos and four policemen killed, to be known as the Hanapepe massacre. The police round up protesting workers and arrest 101 Filipinos. Seventy-six will be brought to trial and of these sixty will receive four-year jail sentences.

Oct 19  Hussein bin Aii, of the Hashimite family that claims direct descent from Muhammad the Prophet and a family that has ruled the Hejaz in unbroken succession since 1201 (to be played by Alec Guiness in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia), has declared himself Caliph. He has lost the Battle of Mecca against the Saudi warlord Ibn Saud. On this day, Ibn Saud declares himself protector of the holy places in Mecca.

Nov 4  President Coolidge, of the Republican Party, who had stepped into the presidency from the vice presidency, wins the presidency in his own right. The Democratic Party had split between a conservative, John Davies, and Robert LaFollete, who ran as a progressive. Coolidge wins in a landslide, running like Davis on a platform of limited government, reduced taxes and less regulation. The public has given Coolidge credit for a booming economy. Coolidge didn't leave the Whitehouse to campaign. Davis is described as having lost votes because of his denunciation of the Ku Klux Klan and his defense of black voting rights when he was Solicitor General in the Woodrow Wilson administration.

Nov 11 Ho Chi Minh arrives in Guangzhou, China. This is where Vietnamese running from the French go. Ho becomes an assistant to Michael Borodin, the Soviet Union's advisor to Sun Yat-sen. Ho begins organizing Vietnamese in exile and directing rebel activities in Vietnam. 

Nov 27   New York City has its first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Dec 1  A coup attempt in Estonia staged by Communists, most of them from the Soviet Union, fails. Of the 279 actively participating in the coup, 125 are killed in action. Later, more than 500 people will be arrested. Government forces lose 26 killed.

Dec 15  In a letter to Prime Minister Baldwin, Winston Churchill considers the chance of a war against Japan. Churchill writes: "I do not believe there is the slightest chance of it in our lifetime." (Modern Times, by Paul Johnson, p.175.)

Dec 20  Hitler is released from prison after 8 1/2 months of comfort and book writing. His failed coup attempt in 1923 has turned out to be a success. He has made a name for himself. The book is Mein Kampf (My Struggle).

Dec 31  Earlier this year, Stalin wrote a book titled Foundations of Leninism, supporting Lenin's position that the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 needs revolutions in other countries. A second edition of the book is published that deviates from Lenin's position. Stalin goes along with a Party theoretician, Nikolai Bukharin, who is arguing that socialism could be built in a single country, even an underdeveloped one like Russia. Stalin would rather have better relations with capitalist powers rather than antagonize them with Soviet sponsored subversion. Stalin favors Communist Parties in capitalist countries joining forces with non-communist "bourgeois" parties. This puts him opposite Leon Trotsky, who will be the champion of "Permanent Revolution".

to 1923 | to 1925

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