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1915CE

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Of World Interest

January 19th, Georges Claude patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

Asia

China

December 12 - Chinese president Yuan Shikai declares himself Emperor.

Japan

January 18 - Twenty-One Demands from Japan to China are made.

Europe

March 14 - Britain, France and Russia agree to give Constantinople and the Bosporus to Russia in case of victory (the treaty is later nullified by the Bolshevik Revolution).

November - Sykes-Picot Agreement: The governments of Britain and France secretly agree to overtake the Middle-Eastern regions of the Ottoman Empire (mostly Syria and Iraq), and establish their own zones of influence.

November 14 - A vision is allegedly encountered by various military personnel in Europe at 22:30 hours (as recounted on the television series One Step Beyond).

Belgium

April 22 - World War I - Second Battle of Ypres: German troops introduce poison gas at Ypres, Belgium.

Work was begun on the construction of an electrified fence on the Belgian-Dutch border and work was completed by August of the same year by German engineer troops working along with Belgian and Russian conscript laborers. German soldiers guarding the fence had standing orders to shoot to kill and instances are known in which successful escapees were shot while on Dutch territory but still within rifle range. Nevertheless large numbers of escapees and smugglers managed to safely cross the fence.

It is estimated that some 30,000 to 35,000 Belgians passed safely through the wire and enlisted in the Belgian Army after regaining France or England by way of the Netherlands. An undetermined number of Allied soldiers also escaped by this route as did Russian POWs used as forced labor in Belgium and German deserters. Some 500 to 3000 people (including careless German soldiers) are estimated to have died as a result of electrocution. Not all of these were escapees however, as many people, especially those in rural areas were not yet acquainted with the use and dangers of electricty.

Nurse Edith Cavell

Edith Cavell trained as a nurse at The Royal London Hospital and in 1907 was appointed matron of the Berkendael Institute in Brussels, Belgium. When World War I broke out, the hospital was taken over by the Red Cross. Nurse Cavell is alleged to have helped hundreds of soldiers from the allied forces to escape from occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands, in violation of military law. In 1915, she was arrested and court-martialled by the Germans for this offence. UK and US diplomats disagreed about whether anything could be done to help her case, with Sir Horace Rowland, from the Foreign Office suggesting "I am afraid that it is likely to go hard with Miss Cavell, I am afraid we are powerless." The sentiment was echoed by Lord Robert Cecil, who joined the coalition government in 1915 as an under secretary for foreign affairs after working for the Red Cross. "Any representation by us," he advised, "will do her more harm than good."

Representing the United States, which had not yet joined the war, Hugh Gibson, First Secretary of the American legation at Brussels, made clear to the German government that executing Cavell would further harm their nation's already damaged reputation. In a statement issued afterward, he noted: "We reminded him (Baron von der Lancken) of the burning of Louvain and the sinking of the Lusitania, and told him that this murder would stir all civilized countries with horror and disgust. Count Harrach broke in at this with the rather irrelevant remark that he would rather see Miss Cavell shot than have harm come to one of the humblest German soldiers, and his only regret was that they had not 'three or four English old women to shoot.'"

She made no defence, admitting her actions, and was executed by firing squad at 2am on October 12, becoming a popular martyr and entering British history as a heroine. The execution took place at the Tir National, a State military site (today a memorial, near the State television buildings), where she was buried. Edith Cavell's case became an important article of British propaganda throughout the war. The German medical officer assisting was the expressionist poet Gottfried Benn (1886-1956), who gave an account of the event.

The night before her execution she told the Anglican chaplain, Rev. Gahan, who had been allowed to see to give her Holy Communion, "Patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone." These words are inscribed on her statue in St. Martin's Place, near Trafalgar Square in London.

Her final words to the German pastor, Le Saur were recorded as 'Ask Mr. Gahan to tell my loved ones later on that my soul, as I believe, is safe, and that I am glad to die for my country.'

Cyprus

Britain offered Cyprus to Constantine I of Greece on condition that Greece join the war on the side of the British, which he declined.

France

19 January - Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

9 May - Second Battle of Artois starts.

15 May - Second Battle of Artois ends in stalemate.

15 September - Third Battle of Artois begins.

25 September - Battle of Loos begins, a major British offensive on the Western Front, first British use of poison gas during World War I.

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25 September – 6 November - The French suffered "extraordinary casualties" from the German heavy artillery, which Falkenhayn considered offered a way out of the dilemma of material inferiority and the growing strength of the Allies.

25 September - Second Battle of Champagne begins

28 September - Battle of Loos ends with British retreat.

4 November - Third Battle of Artois ends.

6 November - Second Battle of Champagne ends.

Germany

October 12 - World War I: British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape from Belgium.

December 25 - British and German forces get out of the trenches in World War I and have a free-for-all kick-around football game in no-man's land.

Great Britain

January 1st, the battleship HMS Formidable was sunk off Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, by a German U-Boat.

German zeppelins bombed the cities of Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn in the United Kingdom for the first time, killing more than 20 on January 19th.

January 19 - German zeppelins bomb the cities of Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn in the United Kingdom for the first time, killing more than 20.

September 6 - The first prototype tank is tested for the British Army for the first time.

In the Advent sermon preached by the Bishop of London, A. F. Winnington-Ingram (later published in a collection of his sermons in 1917), he described the war as: 'a great crusade--we cannot deny it--to kill Germans: to kill them, not for the sake of killing, but to save the world.

December 23 - The HMHS Britannic, the largest individual British loss in World War I, departs Liverpool on her maiden voyage.

Italy

January 13th, an earthquake (6.8 in Richter scale) struck Avezzano, Italy causing more than 12,000 deaths.

Italy signed several secret treaties committing to enter the war on the side of the Triple Entente.

Serbia

October 15 - World War I: Austria-Hungary invades the Kingdom of Serbia. Bulgaria enters the war, invading Kingdom of Serbia. The retreat of the Serbian First Army towards Greece begins the Serbian Campaign (World War I).

Near East

Ottoman Empire (Modern Armenia)

April 24 - The Ottoman Empire arrests hundreds of Armenian intellectuals. Armenians mark this as the start of the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, the Great Calamity refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction (genocide) of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterised by the use of massacres, and the use of deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of Armenian deaths generally held to have been between one and one-and-a-half million. Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Greeks, and some scholars consider the events to be part of the same policy of extermination.

It is widely acknowledged to have been one of the first modern, systematic genocides, as many Western sources point to the sheer scale of the death toll as evidence for a systematic, organized plan to eliminate the Armenians.

The date of the onset of the genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Thereafter, the Ottoman military uprooted Armenians from their homes and forced them to march for hundreds of miles, depriving them of food and water, to the desert of what is now Syria. Massacres were indiscriminate of age or gender, with rape and other sexual abuse commonplace. The Armenian Genocide is the second most-studied case of genocide.

Portugal

May 29 - Teófilo Braga becomes president of Portugal.

Turkey

March 18 - World War I: A British attack on the Dardanelles fails.

The Gallipoli Campaign took place at Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey from 25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916, during the First World War. A joint British Empire and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), and secure a sea route to Russia. The attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides.

The Gallipoli campaign resonated profoundly among all nations involved. In Turkey, the battle is perceived as a defining moment in the history of the Turkish people—a final surge in the defense of the motherland as the centuries-old Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The struggle laid the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Turkish Republic eight years later under Atatürk, himself a commander at Gallipoli.

In Australia and New Zealand, the campaign was the first major battle undertaken by a joint military formation, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), and is often considered to mark the birth of national consciousness in both of these countries. Anzac Day (25 April) remains the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in Australia and New Zealand, surpassing Armistice Day/Remembrance Day.

May 5 - World War I: The Turks begin shelling Anzac Cove from a new position behind their lines.

August 6 - World War I - Battle of Sari Bair: The Allies mount a diversionary attack timed to coincide with a major Allied landing of reinforcements at Suvla Bay.

Middle East

Palestine

March to October - The 1915 locust plague breaks out in Palestine.

North America

Haiti

July 28 - The United States occupation of Haiti begins.

Mexico

April 13 - Mexican Revolution: Pancho Villa attacks Alvaro Obregon's troops in Celaya, but his troops are no match against Obregon's barbed wire and machine guns.

Venustiano Carranza assumed the presidency on May 1, 1915. He introduced an independent judiciary, greater decentralization of power, and land reform under the ejido system.

June 3 - Mexican Revolution: Troops of Obregon and Villa clash at León: Obregon loses his right arm in grenade attack but Villa is decisively defeated.

September - The Caste War of Yucatán was officially declared over for the final time in September 1915 by General Salvador Alvarado. General Alvarado, sent by the revolutionary government in Mexico City to restore order in Yucatán, implemented reforms which more or less eliminated the conflicts that had been the cause of the wars.

October 19 - Mexican Revolution: The U.S. recognizes the Mexican government of Venustiano Carranza de facto (not de jure until 1917).

United States

On January 12th the Rocky Mountain National Park was established by an act of the U.S. Congress while the House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote.

January - While working as a cook at New York's Sloan Hospital under an assumed name, Typhoid Mary infects 25 people, and is placed in quarantine for life.

January 12 - The Rocky Mountain National Park is established by an act of the U.S. Congress.

January 28th, an act of Congress designated the United States Coast Guard, begun in 1790, as a military branch.

February 8 - The controversial film The Birth of a Nation by D.W. Griffith premieres in Los Angeles, California.

February 12 - In Washington, D.C. the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place.

February 20 - In San Francisco, CA the Panama-Pacific International Exposition is opened.

March 3 - NACA, the predecessor of NASA, is founded.

May 6 - Babe Ruth hits his first career home run off of Jack Warhop.

June 9 - U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigns over a disagreement regarding his nation's handling of the RMS Lusitania sinking.

July 24 - The steamer Eastland capsizes in central Chicago, with the loss of 845 lives.

August 5-August 23 - Hurricane Two of the 1915 Atlantic hurricane season over Galveston and New Orleans leaves 275 dead.

August 17 - Jewish American Leo Frank is lynched for the alleged murder of a 13-year-old girl in Atlanta, Georgia.

August 31 - Jimmy Lavender of the Chicago Cubs pitches a no hitter against the New York Giants.

September 11 - The Pennsylvania Railroad begins electrified commuter rail service between Paoli and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, using overhead AC trolley wires for power. This type of system is later used in long-distance passenger trains between New York City, Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

An automobile speed record of 102.6 m.p.h. is set at Sheepshead Bay, N.Y. by Gil Anderson, driving a Stutz.

The first stop sign appears in Detroit, Michigan.

U.S. Religion

March 28 - The first Roman Catholic Liturgy is celebrated by Archbishop John Ireland at the newly consecrated Cathedral of Saint Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

North Atlantic

May 7 - A submarine sank the Lusitania. The first bulletin to President Wilson reported no loss of life. The great liner sank in eighteen minutes, taking 1,198 souls with it, 413 crew members and 785 passengers, 128 of whom were American citizens. The Germans had posted an ad in 50 US newspapers warning them of the danger of traveling on the Lusitania. The ship was carrying munitions. The Lusitania became a battle cry drawing the US into World War I. Secretary Bryan said the 4,200 cases of rifle cartridges and 1,250 cases of shrapnel, along with cases of fuses, shell castings, and high explosives meant the United States should rebuke not only Germany for destroying the Lusitania but also England for interference in international shipping, particularly for 'using our citizens to protect her ammunition.'

From London, Colonel House cabled that an 'immediate demand should be made upon Germany for assurance that this shall not occur again.' More than that, the United States must consider the inevitability of going to war. America, he added, 'must determine whether she stands for civilized or uncivilized warfare. Think we can no longer remain neutral spectators. Our action in this crisis will determine the part we will play when peace is made, and how far we may influence the settlement for the lasting good of humanity.'

Ordinary citizens were even more outspoken. One wired the White House, 'In the name of God and humanity, declare war on Germany.' To that, Wilson took offense, telling his secretary, Charles Swem, 'War isn't declared in the name of God; it is a human affair entirely.' The Washington Post editorialized that it had faith in the 'courage, patience and wisdom of President Wilson,' and it waited to see how he intended to 'uphold the honor and interests of the United States.'

Russia

January 31st, Germany used poison gas against the Russians.

South America

Chile

March 14 - World War I: Off the coast of Chile, the Royal Navy forces the German light cruiser SMS Dresden to scuttle.

South Pacific

Australia

October 27 - William Morris Hughes becomes the 7th Prime Minister of Australia.

Hawaii

March 25 - The U.S. submarine F-4 sinks off Hawaii; 21 are killed.

Ongoing

  • World War I (1914-1918).

Births

  • Augusto Jose Ramon Pinochet Ugarte, former dictator of Chile, born November 25th

Sources

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Page last modified on July 27, 2016, at 12:17 AM