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Of World Interest

Europe controlled 84 percent of the world.



August 8 – German colonial forces execute Martin-Paul Samba for high treason. He had tried to secure weapons to fight against the Germans. He is considered a hero in Cameroon.



March 1 - The Republic of China joins the Universal Postal Union.

November 7 – The Japanese seize Jiaozhou Bay in China, the base of the German East Asia Squadron.


At the outset of First World War Japan had seized the territory granted to Germany in 1897. They also seized the German islands in the Pacific north of the equator.

Central America


August 15 - The Panama Canal is inaugurated with the passage of the steamship U.S.S. Ancon.



June 29 - The Secretary of the Legation at Belgrade sends a dispatch to Vienna suggesting Serbian complicity in the crime of Sarajevo. Anti-Serb riots erupt in Sarajevo and throughout Bosnia generally.

July 4 – The Archduke's funeral takes place at Artstetten (50 miles west of Vienna), Austria-Hungary.

July 7 – Austria-Hungary convenes a Council of Ministers, including Ministers for Foreign Affairs and War, the Chief of the General Staff and Naval Commander-in-Chief; the Council lasts from 11.30 a.m. to 6.15 p.m.

July 9 - The Emperor of Austria-Hungary receives the report of Austro-Hungarian investigation into the Sarajevo crime. The Times publishes an account of the Austro-Hungarian press campaign against the Serbians (who are described as "pestilent rats").

July 19 - A press scare concerning an alleged "Greater Serbia" conspiracy occurs.

July 23 – Austria-Hungary presents Serbia with an unconditional ultimatum.

July 28 - Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia and its army bombards Belgrade.

August 6 – Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.


August 3 - At 7:00 am (local time) Belgium declines to accept Germany's ultimatum of August 2.

August 4 – German troops invade neutral Belgium at 8:02 am (local time).

August 5 - German zeppelins drop bombs on Liège, killing 9 civilians.

August 5 – 16 – Battle of Liège: The Battle of Liège (French: Bataille de Liège) was the opening engagement of the German invasion of Belgium and the first battle of World War I. The German Army overruns and defeats the Belgians. In 2009 Herwig wrote that the Belgian army had 20,000 casualties at Liège and that by 8 August the German attack had cost 5,300 men. Other sources give 2,000–3,000 Belgian killed or wounded and 4,000 prisoners

August 12 – Battle of Haelen: Belgian troops repulse the Germans.

Seige of Antwerp

Once the Belgian field army retreated from Liege in August, it fell back to the fortified camp of Antwerp, the Belgian National Redoubt, to await assistance from either France or Great Britain. Antwerp, with its triple ring of fortifications spanning a circumference of more than 100 kilometers was at the time considered an impregnable position. But the Belgian Field Army and Antwerp garrison of some 120,000 to 150,000 men was not strong enough to hold the forts in face of a determined assault, especially when the assaulting forces were backed by mobile heavy siege aritillery, at the time a technological marvel weapon.

Antwerp was the third largest port in the world, but as per treaty with the Netherlands, in time of war the river Scheldt was blocked to all military traffic at Dutch discretion. The river was closed in early August and no British reinforcements could be expected via that route without provoking Dutch entry into the war on the German side. And in any case, neither of the two Entente Powers were able to spare forces until early October, after the Battles of the Marne and the Aisne. By then the British forces sent to Antwerp, some 8000 Naval Brigade troops, were insufficient to hold the line.

Meanwhile, from mid-August onwards, the Belgian field army, government and King remained in the Antwerp fortified camp, conducting several large scale sorties against German positions to the south. This so unmoved the German command that at critical points during the Battle of the Marne, German units were sent north to reinforce the line against Belgian attacks.

By September it was decided to definitively remove the threat posed by the Belgian army. Albert I, King of the Belgians refused German diplomatic offers to take no further part in the fighting in Europe. German forces besieging the line of forts protecting the city were reinforced and heavy German and Austrian siege artillery was brought up. The intention was to take Antwerp and force Belgium out of the war by either capturing or decisively defeating the Belgian army. This had to be done before British and French reinforcements arrived at the besieged city.

The main battle for Antwerp started on September 27. The last fort surrendered on October 10, one day after German forces took possesion of the city. On the whole, the Belgian Army and British forces were able to escape the city to make their way to the Belgian coast. Later events during the Great War far eclipsed the siege and capture of Antwerp in terms of manpower, duration, destruction, loss of life and misery : but at the time the fall of the fortified camp of Antwerp was considered a dramatic event and a grave loss to the cause of the Entente Powers. The Germans made much of the fall of Antwerp, regarding it as a consolation prize for having failed to take Paris the month before; but as military river traffic was forbidden by the Netherlands authorities who held control over the river mouthing, and as other maritime transport was blockaded by the Royal Navy, in the end Antwerp was never turned into the proverbial 'pistol aimed at the heart of England.' Nor did the city play a part in German defensive strategy as planned during the final months of the war in 1918. Plans to turn the great fortress into the northern lynchpin of a German line of defense running along the Nethe and Meuse rivers, were never carried out due to the sudden cessation of hostilities in November 1918.

An electrified barbed wire fence was used during the siege of Antwerp by the Belgian Army, to no great effect.

Christmas Truce

The "Christmas truce" was a brief unofficial cessation of hostilities that occurred between German and British troops stationed on the Western Front of World War I during Christmas 1914. The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, jam, cigars, chocolate, and the like. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

The truce spread to other areas of the lines, and there are many stories of football matches between the opposing forces. The film Joyeux Noël suggests that letters sent home from both British and German soldiers related that the score was 3-2 in favour of the Germans.

In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in some areas, it continued until New Year's Day.

The truce occurred in spite of opposition at higher levels of the military. Earlier in the autumn, a call by Pope Benedict XV for an official truce between the warring governments had been ignored.

British commanders Sir John French and Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien vowed that no such truce would be allowed again. (However, both had left command before Christmas 1915.) In all of the following years of the war, artillery bombardments were ordered on Christmas Eve to ensure that there were no further lulls in the combat. Troops were also rotated through various sectors of the front to prevent them from becoming overly familiar with the enemy. Despite those measures, there were a few friendly encounters between enemy soldiers, but on a much smaller scale than the previous year.


On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife, in Sarajevo launching the first World War. The Archduke and his wife were in a motorcade. The plot was to kill him as he drove through Sarajevo. One of the would-be assassins threw a bomb at the Archduke’s car. The Archduke narrowly escaped. The story went that the Archduke insisted on visiting an aid at a hospital, who had been hurt in the blast. His driver completely unfamiliar with the roads made a wrong turn and decided to ask for directions of a young man on the road. The young man on the road must’ve looked defeated, lifeless, as he, unbeknownst to the driver, was one of the conspirators involved in the foiled plot. You can imagine his surprise when he realized, he’d gotten a second chance to kill the Archduke. He drew his pistol and killed the Archduke and his wife.


The United Kingdom annexed the island.


The Battle of Tannenberg was fought in Stębark, Polan in 1914 and was the decisive engagement between the Russian Empire and the German Empire in the first days of The Great War, fought by the Russian First and Second Armies and the German Eighth Army between 17 August and 2 September 1914. The battle resulted in the almost complete destruction of the Russian Second Army. A series of follow-up battles kept the Russians off-balance until the spring of 1915. The battle is notable particularly for a number of rapid movements of complete corps by train, allowing the single German Army to present a single front to both Russian Armies.


Germany's initial thrust according with the Schlieffen Plan limited France's ability to successfully implement Plan 17 in August 1914 and immediately placed a greater focus on the Russian front. The Allied battle plan prior to the Battle of Tannenberg had been based on France and the United Kingdom simply halting the German Armies in the west while the huge Russian Armies--which required more time to mobilize--could be organized and brought to the front, thus forcing Germany to balance her troop allocation. The numbers were overwhelming; in perhaps as little as a month, the Russians could field around ten complete armies, more men than the German Army could muster on both fronts. Frustrating this plan was the Russians' lack of a quality railroad network that operated on a different gauge than the German railroad network, meaning that unless the Russians acquired German railroad cars, most of their armies could only be brought to the German border. The presence of the armies of Austria-Hungary to the south as well as (at first) those of Japan to the east limited Russia's involvement in the beginning.

The Germans likewise, considered the Russians to be their primary threat. The entire Schlieffen Plan was based on the idea of defeating France and Britain as quickly as possible, and then transporting their armies by train to the eastern front. This allowed the Germans to garrison Prussia fairly lightly, with a single army, the Eighth. That said, there was little allowance for anything other than a spoiling retreat while the outcome in the west was decided. In order to delay the Russian forces as long as possible, the entire area around Königsberg, near the Russian border, was heavily fortified with a long series of fieldworks.

Just prior to the opening of the war the situation developed largely as pre-war planning had expected. The German Eighth Army was in place southwest of Königsberg, while the two available Russian armies were located to the east and south, the latter in what was known as the "Polish Salient". Russian battle plans called for an immediate advance by the First Army under General Paul von Rennenkampf into East Prussia, with Königsberg as their short-term goal. The Russian Second Army under General Alexander Samsonov, located to the south, was to move westward around the Masurian Lakes and then swing north over a hilly area to cut off the Germans, who would by this point be forced into defending the area around Königsberg. Executed successfully, the Germans would be surrounded.


When the war opened, the battle initially went largely according to the Russians' plan. The Germans had moved up about half of the units of the Eighth Army, re-enforced by small groups of the Königsberg garrison, to points to the east of Königsberg near the border. The Battle of Stalluponen, a small engagement by the German I Corps under Hermann von François was initially successful. The German theater commander, General Maximilian von Prittwitz, nevertheless ordered a spoiling retreat towards Gumbinnen. A counterattack planned for the 20th had a fair chance of succeeding but François, apparently emboldened by his success at Stalluponen, attacked early and ruined the chance for surprise. The Battle of Gumbinnen ended with the Germans forced to retreat, in many cases via rail, to positions to the south of Königsberg.

Worried about his loss at Gumbinnen and the continued advance of the Russian Second to the south, von Prittwitz ordered a retreat to Vistula River, effectively abandoning the eastern portions of Prussia. When he heard of this, Helmuth von Moltke, the German Army Chief of Staff, recalled Prittwitz and his deputy von Waldersee to Berlin. They were replaced by Paul von Hindenburg, called out of retirement, and Erich Ludendorff as his Chief of Staff.

But things were not entirely as they seemed to the German commanders in Berlin. The two Russian commanders, Samsonov and Rennenkampf, hated each other after Samsonov had publicly complained about Rennenkampf's behavior at the Battle of Mukden in 1905. Although the common belief that the two generals had come to blows at a railway station has proved to be incorrect (see Showalter, 1991, p. 134), Rennenkampf would be disinclined to help Samsonov except under dire circumstances. Meanwhile, Samsonov's Second was having serious problems moving forward due to fragile supply lines to the rear, and unknown even to Samsonov, Rennenkampf had decided to delay the First's advance to regroup after Gumbinnen.

Nevertheless, the scale of the forces deployed still meant the Russians had the upper hand. As they were currently deployed, the Eighth Army could not even cover the entire front along Samsonov's line of march, leaving his left wing in the southwest open to advance with no opposition. Unless troops from the Königsberg area, currently the I and XVII Corps, could be moved to check this advance, the Germans were in serious danger of being cut off.

The Plan

Colonel Max Hoffmann, von Prittwitz's deputy chief of operations, was well aware of the bad blood between the two Russian generals, and what it was likely to mean for the two armies' plan of action. Guessing that they would remain separated, as they were at the time, he proposed moving everyone not already in Königsberg's eastern defense line to the southwest, moving the I Corps by train to the left of Samsonov's line, a distance of over 100 miles. The XVII Corp, south of the I, would be readied for a move directly south to face Samsonov's right flank, the VI Corps. Additionally the small cavalry forces nearby would move to the Vistula River area to the west. It appears he hoped the cavalry would draw Samsonov westward, further separating the armies. This left only a small portion of the Königsberg area directly in front of the First Army defended, while the approaches from the south were entirely open.

In theory, the plan was extremely risky. If the First Army turned to the southwest instead of advancing directly westward towards Königsberg, they would appear on the Eight Army's extreme left flank, allowing for either a counterattack against the Eighth, or alternately turn north towards Königsberg from the south, which was now undefended. However, Hoffmann remained convinced of the plan, both because he was aware of the animosity between the generals, as well as the fact that the Russians continually sent out their next day's marching orders over unencrypted radio communications. It appears they believed that the Germans would not have access to Russian translators (see note below), but the Germans easily intercepted and translated the transmissions.

When von Hindenburg and Ludendorff arrived on 23 August they immediately stopped the retreat and put Hoffmann's plan into action. They did, however, leave the cavalry where they were, forming a screening force in front of the Russian First's left flank. François's I Corps were transported over 100 miles by rail to the far southwest to meet the left wing of Second. Hindenburg's remaining two corps, under Mackensen and Below, were to await orders to move south by foot so as to confront Samsonov's right wing. Finally, a fourth garrison corps was ordered to remain near the Vistula to meet Samsonov as his army moved north. The trap was being set.

Ludendorff also learned at this point that von Moltke had also decided to take three Corps and a cavalry division from the western front and redeploy them to the East. Ludendorff protested that they would arrive too late to have any effect, while at the same time weakening the battle against France. von Moltke considered Prussia too politically important to possibly lose, and ignored Ludendorff's protests.

Opening moves

Starting on 22 August, Samsonov's forces had met the Germans all along his front, and had successfully pushed them back in several places. On the 24th they met the Germans at the minor Battle of Orlau-Frankenau, where the heavily-entrenched German XX Corps had stopped the Russian advance. Undeterred, Samsonov saw this as a wonderful opportunity to cut this unit off completely, because, as far as he was aware, both of his flanks were unopposed. He ordered most of his units to the northwest, towards the Vistula, leaving only the VI Corps to continue towards their original objective, Seeburg.

Ludendorff issued an order to François' now-deployed I Corp to initiate the attack on Samsonov's left wing at Usdau on 25 August. François rejected this direct order, choosing to wait until his artillery support was ready on the 27th. Ludendorff and Hoffmann would have none of this, and traveled to meet François to repeat the order to his face. François agreed to commence the attack, but complained of a lack of shells.

On the way back from the meeting, Hoffmann received new intercepts from the Russian radio. Rennenkampf was going to continue the next day's march due west, ignoring Samsonov, just as Hoffmann had hoped. No matter the outcome of the next few day's battle, the Russian First Army would not be a serious concern. A second intercept of Samsonov's own plans made it clear that he would continue his march northwest, having concluded that the Germans would continue to retreat in front of Tannenburg.

Ludendorff and Hindenburg were skeptical that the intercepts were real -- after all, what commander would be stupid enough to transmit orders in the clear, let alone two commanders? Nevertheless they were eventually convinced they were indeed real, and the plans were put into action. The I Corp would open its attack on the Russian left flank on the 25th, while orders were sent to the XVII Corp to move south and meet the Russian right flank as soon as possible.

Given that the pressure for immediate action was no longer pressing, François once again demanded he be allowed to wait for his artillery supplies to arrive. Ludendorff and François began arguing, and eventually François delayed enough to allow the battle to open on the 27th, as he had wished.

The Battle

The morning of the 25th opened with the Russian First Army advancing westward, meeting little resistance. The troops that were formerly directly in front of them had moved to the south, facing the Second Army's right flank. There was still time to close the gap between the armies and thereby threaten the German movements, which by this point were being reported back to Russian headquarters. Nevertheless, on the night of the 25th, the Russian field commander sent orders for the First to continue directly to Königsberg, orders that were once again intercepted.

Due to François' delays, it was the German XVII Corp that opened the battle proper. They met the two separated divisions of the Russian VI Corps near Seeborg and Birchafstein, turning them both back toward the border in disarray. The right flank of the Russian Second Army was now open. In the meantime, the Russian advance toward Tannenberg continued to be blocked by the XX Corp in front of them. Their only successes were in the middle, where their XIII Corp advanced towards Allenstein unopposed.

François opened his own attack on the Russian left on the 27th, held by the Russian's own I Corp. His artillery proved to be decisive, and by the night the Russians were falling back. In order to help stabilize the line, Samsonov ordered the seemingly successful XIII Corp to abandon Allenstein and turn southwest to help break through at Tannenberg. By the time this maneuver was complete, the bulk of the Russian Second Army were all in the Tannenberg area, consisting of the newly-arrived XIII, the XV and parts of the XXIII.

By the evening of 28 August the full extent of the potential danger to the Russians was evident. The I Corps on the left and the VI Corp on the right were both retreating. Meanwhile the center was having serious supply problems and could no longer hope to maintain an offensive. Samsonov had no option but to order a retreat to re-form the lines to their southeast near the border. Meanwhile he asked Rennenkampf to ignore Königsberg and turn southwest to help.

But it was too late. François by this time had advanced due east to form a line to the south of the Russians between Niedenburg and Willenburg, directly in front of their retreat. At the same time, the XVII in the north had moved southwest to meet him. The next day the Russian center met these troops on their way to regroup, and realized they were surrounded. A pocket formed east of Tannenberg, near Frogenau, and was pounded throughout 29 August.

Attempts by the Russian First Army to come to their aid were also far too late to help. The cavalry screen proved effective at delaying them, and by the time the battle was already over their closest unit was still to the northwest of where the initial contact between the German XVII and Russian VI, perhaps as much as 45 miles from the now developed pocket. Other units were scattered back along the line to Königsberg, and now the First was itself in a dangerously spread-out position.

By the time the battle ended on 30 August, 95,000 Russians troops were captured, another 30,000 killed or wounded, and only 10,000, mostly from the retreating flanks, managed to escape. The Second Army no longer existed. The Germans suffered fewer than 20,000 casualties and captured over 500 guns. Sixty trains were required to transport captured equipment to Germany.

Rather than report the loss of his army to the Czar, Samsonov committed suicide by shooting himself in the head on 29 August 1914.

After the battle

The German Eighth Army now faced only the Russian First. In a series of follow-up battles, notably the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, the First was almost completely destroyed, and turned back over their borders. A Russian Army would not march on German soil again until the end of World War II.

Hindenburg and Ludendorff were both hailed as heroes, although Hoffmann was generally ignored in the press. Apparently not amused by Hindenburg's role, Hoffmann later gave tours of the area noting "this is where the Field Marshal slept before the battle, this is where he slept after the battle, and this is where he slept during the battle."

Ludendorff sent the official dispatch from Tannenberg, and the battle was named Battle of Tannenberg at the direct request of Hindenburg. Hindenburg chose Tannenberg because of its historical significance; it is the location where the Teutonic Knights were defeated by the Slavic forces at the Battle of Grunwald. Interestingly, an ancestor of Hindenburg's had fallen at the battle in 1410.

One interesting side-effect of the battle has since become a major arguing point among historians. The three corps, one complete army, that von Moltke had sent to bolster the east never arrived in time to have any effect. However, over a week was lost due to this confusion. Many have suggested that the removal of an army in the west in the midst of battle was the only reason the Schlieffen Plan failed. If this is true, it means that Tannenberg was possibly the battle won that lost the war for Germany.

Belgian Medicine

March 27 - Belgian surgeon Albert Hustin makes the first successful non-direct blood transfusion, using anticoagulants.


March 16 - The wife of French minister Joseph Caillaux shoots Gaston Calmette, the editor of Le Figaro, because he threatened to publish Caillaux's love letters to her during his previous marriage (she is later acquitted).

August 1 - France orders general mobilization.


June 23 - The Kiel Canal is reopened (having been deepened) by the Kaiser; the British Fleet under Sir G. Warrender visits; the Kaiser inspects the dreadnought HMS King George

July 2 – The German Kaiser announces that he will not attend the Archduke's funeral.

July 5 – A council is held at Potsdam.

July 6 – The German Kaiser leaves Kiel for a cruise in northern German waters.

August 1 - Germany declares war on Russia, following Russia's military mobilization in support of Serbia; Germany also begins mobilization.

August 2 - At 7:00 pm (local time) Germany issues a 12-hour ultimatum to Belgium to allow German passage into France.

August 3 - Germany declares war on Russia's ally, France.

German Industry

Commercial production of ammonia, which had revolutionized agriculture, was turned toward the manufacture of saltpeter, a major ingredient of gunpowder. Germany had no natural sources of saltpeter and thus had to synthesize its own. Without this process, Germany would never have been able to fight the first World War.

Great Britain

March 10 - Suffragette Mary Richardson damages Velázquez' painting Rokeby Venus in London's National Gallery with a meat chopper.

June 30 – In Great Britain, addresses in Parliament on the murdered Archduke include Lords Crewe & Lansdowne in the House of Lords, and Messrs. Asquith & Law in the House of Commons

July 9 - The House of Lords completes the recasting of the Amendment Bill

July 14 – The Government of Ireland Amending Bill is passed by the House of Lords.

July 19 - King George V of the United Kingdom summons a conference to discuss the Irish Home Rule problem.

August 4 - Britain declares war on Germany for this violation of Belgian neutrality. This move effectively means a declaration of war by the whole British Commonwealth and Empire against Germany.

August 5 - The German minelayer Königin Luise lays a minefield about 40 miles off the Thames Estuary (Lowestoft). She is intercepted and sunk by the British light-cruiser HMS Amphion.


February 26 - The HMHS Britannic, sister to the RMS Titanic, is launched at Harland & Wolff Shipyards in Belfast.

May 25 - The United Kingdom's House of Commons passes Irish Home Rule.

July 12 – Demonstrations in Ulster suggest civil war.


November 24 – Benito Mussolini is expelled from the Italian Socialist Party.


August 2 - German troops occupy Luxembourg in accordance with its Schlieffen Plan.

Modern Bosnia and Herzegovina

June 28 - Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinates Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo.

July 13 – Reports surface of a projected Serbian attack upon the Austro-Hungarian Legation at Belgrade.

August 16–August 19 – Battle of Cer: Serbian troops defeat the Austro-Hungarian armies, in the first Entente victory in World War I.


Montenegro declares war on Austria-Hungary.

Near East


March 7 - Prince William of Wied arrives in Albania to begin his reign.


August 2 - A secret treaty between Turkey and Germany secures Turkish neutrality.

North America


April 11 - Canadian Margaret C. MacDonald is appointed Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian Nursing service band and becomes the first woman in the British Empire to reach the rank of major.

October 3 – World War I: 33,000 Canadian troops depart for Europe, the largest force to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean at the time.


August 1 - Marcus Garvey founds the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Jamaica.


January 10 - Mexican Revolution: Pancho Villa's troops take Ojinaga in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

April 9 - The Tampico Affair results in the occupation of the Mexican port city of Veracruz for over 6 months.

April 21 - 3,000 U.S. Marines land in Vera Cruz, Mexico.

June 18 - Mexican Revolution: The Constitutionals take San Luis Potosí; Venustiano Carranza demands Victoriano Huerta's surrender.

July 15 - Mexican Revolution: Victoriano Huerta resigns the presidency of Mexico and leaves for Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

August 15 - Mexican Revolution: Venustiano Carranza's troops under general Alvaro Obregon enter Mexico City.

November 23 – U.S. troops withdraw from Veracruz. Venustiano Carranza's troops take over and Carranza makes the town his headquarters.

United States

January 1 - The first commercial airline flight takes place between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. Tony Jannus flew the former mayor of St. Petersburg across Tampa Bay. In the middle of the flight the propeller chain came off the sprocket. The pilot and passenger repaired the plane and landed in Tampa. This created the St. Petersburg - Tampa Airboat Line, the first commercial airline. A roundtrip flight cost $10.

May 14 - Woodrow Wilson signs a Mother's Day proclamation.

May 29 - The ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence; 1,012 lives are lost.

July 11 – Baseball legend Babe Ruth makes his major league debut with the Red Sox.

July 18 - The Signal Corps of the United States Army is formed, giving definite status to its air service for the first time.

August 4 - The United States declares neutrality.

September 1 - Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, Ohio. Her body was frozen into a block of ice and sent to the Smithsonian Institution, where it was skinned, dissected, photographed and mounted.[54] Currently, Martha (named after Martha Washington) is in the museum's archived collection, and not on display

U.S. Economy

August 1 - New York Stock Exchange closed due to war in Europe, where nearly all stock exchanges were already closed. The New York Stock Exchange was closed shortly after the beginning of World War I (July 1914), but it was re-opened on November 28th of that year in order to help the war effort by trading bonds.

The attempt to pass prohibition failed despite a large letter writing campaign sponsored by the Anti-Saloon league.

November 16 - A year after being created by passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opens for business.

U.S. Industry

January 5 - The Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage of $5 for a day's labor. Henry Ford sells 248,000 cars.

February 13 - Copyright: In New York City the ASCAP (for American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) is established to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

April 20 - Colorado coalfield Massacre or Ludlow Massacre: The Colorado National Guard attacks a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners in Ludlow, killing 24 people.

U.S. Law

December 17 - The passage of Harrison Narcotics Act which aims to curb drug (especially cocaine but also heroin) abuse and addiction. It requires doctors, pharmacists and others who prescribed narcotics to register and pay a tax.

U.S. Politics

June 1 - Woodrow Wilson's envoy Edward Mandell House meets with Kaiser Wilhelm II.

U.S. Religion

April 2-12 - As the Azusa Street revival spread East, Pentecostals saw the need for greater organization and accountability. The founders of the Assemblies of God met in Hot Springs, Arkansas on April 2-12, 1914 to promote unity and doctrinal stability, establish legal standing, coordinate the mission enterprise, and establish a ministerial training school. These founders constituted the first General Council and elected two officers: Eudorus N. Bell as chairman (title later changed to general superintendent) and J. Roswell Flower as secretary, as well as the first executive presbytery.


July 28 - Tsar Nicholas II of Russia orders a partial mobilization against Austria-Hungary.

July 29 – Russia orders full mobilization.

Southeastern Pacific

Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

March 29 - Katherine Routledge and her husband arrive in Easter Island to make the first true study of it (they depart August 1915)

New Britain Papua New Guinea

September 14 - HMAS AE1 became the first Australian submarine to be lost in WW1 with 35 men aboard. It was not found until 2017. The AE1 and the HMAS Parramatta, went on patrol. The Parramatta returned, but the AE1 did not.


  • March 12 - George Westinghouse, inventor and industrialist, proponent of AC electricity
  • May 27 - Sir Joseph Swan, first inventor of the electric light


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