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§Of World Interest

An influenza pandemic killed one-fifth of the world's population.

The 1918 flu pandemic (commonly referred to as the Spanish flu) was an influenza pandemic that spread to nearly every part of the world. It was caused by an unusually severe and deadly Influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1. Historical and epidemiologic data are inadequate to identify the geographic origin of the virus. Many of its victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or otherwise weakened patients. The Spanish flu lasted from March 1918 to June 1920, spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. It is estimated that anywhere from 20 to 100 million people were killed worldwide, or the approximate equivalent of one third of the population of Europe, more than double the number killed in World War I. This extraordinary toll resulted from the extremely high illness rate of up to 50% and the extreme severity of the symptoms, suspected to be caused by cytokine storms.

The disease was first observed at Fort Riley, Kansas, United States, on March 4, 1918, and Queens, New York, on March 11, 1918. In August 1918, a more virulent strain appeared simultaneously in Brest, France, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and in the U.S. at Boston, Massachusetts. The Allies of World War I came to call it the Spanish flu, primarily because the pandemic received greater press attention after it moved from France to Spain in November 1918. Spain was not involved in the war and had not imposed wartime censorship.

Scientists have used tissue samples from frozen victims to reproduce the virus for study. Given the strain's extreme virulence there has been controversy regarding the wisdom of such research. Among the conclusions of this research is that the virus kills via a cytokine storm, which explains its unusually severe nature and the unusual age profile of its victims (the virus caused an overreaction of the body's immune system—the strong immune systems of young adults ravaged the body, while the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults caused fewer deaths).

"We believe that the mismatch between antibodies trained to H3 virus protein and the H1 protein of the 1918 virus may have resulted in the heightened mortality in the age group that happened to be in their late 20s during the pandemic,” said study author Michael Worobey, a professor in UA College of Science's department of ecology and evolutionary biology.


§Hong Kong

February 26 - Stands at Hong Kong Jockey Club collapse and burn, killing 604


July 12 - Japanese battleship explodes in Bay of Tokayama, 500 killed

July 23 - The Rice Riots of 1918 (米騒動, kome sōdō?) were a series of popular disturbances that erupted throughout Japan from July to September 1918, which brought about the collapse of the Terauchi Masatake administration. The initial protest occurred in the small fishing town of Ouzu, Toyama Prefecture.

A sharp rise in the price of rice caused economic hardship, especially in rural areas where rice was the main food staple. Farmers, when comparing the low prices they were receiving due to government regulation, with the high market prices, had tremendous hostility against rice merchants and government officials who had allowed the consumer price to spiral out of control. The rice price increase came at the peak of a post-war (World War I) inflationary spiral that also affected most consumer goods and rents, and thus urban dwellers also had considerable scope for grievances. However, the Siberian Intervention further inflamed the situation, with the government buying up existing rice stocks to support the troops overseas, which further drove rice prices higher. The government failed to intervene in economic affairs, and rural protests spread to the towns and cities.

September 29 - Prime Minister Terauchi and his cabinet resigned.



November 22 - The Belgian royal family returns to Brussels after the war.


Dissolved in 1918 with the fall of Austria-Hungary when the last king of Bohemia, Charles III of Habsburg-Lorraine, abdicated.


October 3 - Ferdinand I abdicated after the defeat in World War I.

§Czechoslovak Republic

August 30 - Czechoslovakia forms independent republic

October 28 Czechoslovakia gained its independence.

November 14 - Republic of Czechoslovakia created with T.G. Masaryk as president

December 20 - Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk returns to the Czechoslovak Republic.


March 23 - Crepy-en-Laonnoise: German artillery shells Paris, 256 killed

March 23 - Paris bombs "Thick Bertha's Dike" (nickname for the widow Krupp)

April 15 - Clemenceau publishes secret French/Austrian documents

June 12 - First airplane bombing raid by an American unit, France

July 18 - U.S. and French forces launch Aisne-Marne offensive in WW I

July 19 - German armies retreat across Marne River in France (WW I)

August 6 - Ferdinand Foch becomes marshal of France

August 6 - In WW I 2nd battle of the Marne ends

August 8 - Canada/Australian/British breakthrough with 600 tanks at Amiens

August 11 - Battle of Amiens ends in WW I, Allieds beat Germans

September 26 - Battle of the Argonne, final major battle of WW I

October 8 - 7 U.S. soldiers are surrounded by Germans in France, Alvin York is given command and shoots 20 Germans and captures 132 more

December 13 - Wilson, becomes 1st to make a foreign visit as president (France)


January 28 - Strike on Berlin ammunition's factory

February 22 - Germany claims Baltic states, Finland and Ukraine from Russia

March 3 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk: Germany, Austria and Russia sign

November 9 - Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates after German defeat in WW I

November 9 - Republic Germany proclaimed

November 10 - German emperor Wilhelm II flees to Netherlands.

Wilhelm was at the Imperial Army headquarters in Spa, Belgium, when the uprisings in Berlin and other centres took him by surprise in late 1918. Mutiny among the ranks of his beloved Kaiserliche Marine, the imperial navy, profoundly shocked him. After the outbreak of the German Revolution, Wilhelm could not make up his mind whether or not to abdicate. Up to that point, he accepted that he would likely have to give up the imperial crown, but still hoped to retain the Prussian kingship. However, this was impossible under the imperial constitution. While Wilhelm thought he ruled as emperor in a personal union with Prussia, the constitution actually tied the imperial crown to the Prussian crown, meaning that Wilhelm could not renounce one crown without renouncing the other.

Wilhelm's hopes of retaining at least one of his crowns was revealed as unrealistic when, in the hope of preserving the monarchy in the face of growing revolutionary unrest, Chancellor Prince Max of Baden announced Wilhelm's abdication of both titles on 9 November 1918. Prince Max himself was forced to resign later the same day, when it became clear that only Friedrich Ebert, leader of the SPD, could effectively exert control. Later that day, one of Ebert's secretaries of state (ministers), Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann, proclaimed Germany a republic.

Wilhelm consented to the abdication only after Ludendorff's replacement, General Wilhelm Groener, had informed him that the officers and men of the army would march back in good order under Paul von Hindenburg's command, but would certainly not fight for Wilhelm's throne on the home front. The monarchy's last and strongest support had been broken, and finally even Hindenburg, himself a lifelong royalist, was obliged, with some embarrassment, to advise the Emperor to give up the crown.

A memorial to German soldiers killed in the First World War The fact that the High Command might one day abandon the Kaiser had been foreseen in December 1897, when Wilhelm had visited Otto von Bismarck for the last time. Bismarck had again warned the Kaiser about the increasing influence of militarists, especially of the admirals who were pushing for the construction of a battle fleet. Bismarck's last warning had been:

Your Majesty, so long as you have this present officer corps, you can do as you please. But when this is no longer the case, it will be very different for you.[56]

Subsequently, Bismarck had predicted accurately:

"Jena came twenty years after the death of Frederick the Great; the crash will come twenty years after my departure if things go on like this" ― a prophecy fulfilled almost to the month."

On 10 November, Wilhelm crossed the border by train and went into exile in the Netherlands, which had remained neutral throughout the war.

November 11 Germany surrenders ending WW I, Allies and Germany sign armistice

§Great Britain

January 5 - British premier Lloyd George demand for unified peace

February 6 - Women aged 30 and over are granted the vote

September 15 - CH Chubb gives Stonehenge to English state

December 13 - U.S. Army of occupation crosses Rhine, enters Germany

December 28 - Constance Markiewicz becomes the first woman elected to the British House of Commons.

December 31 – A British-brokered ceasefire ends 2 weeks of Armeno-Georgian fighting.


November 16 - Hungarian People's Republic declared


February 15 - First WW I U.S. Army troop ship torpedoed and sunk by Germany, off the coast of Ireland

July 17 - RMS Carpathia, famous for rescuing the Titanic survivors, was used to transfer American troops to Europe during the First World War. She was part of a convoy when she was torpedoed off the east coast of Ireland by the German submarine U-55, the explosions killing five crewmen. The Carpathia listed to port and sank bow first. 57 passengers and the surviving crew were rescued by Snowdrop the following day.


April 4 - Food riot in Amsterdam

July 14 - Dutch government reclaims South seas

September 4 - Jhr Ch Ruijs de Beerenbrouck becomes 1st Dutch Catholic premier

September 9 - Dutch government of Ruijs de Beerenbrouck forms

November 28 - Exiled German Emperor Wilhelm II first settled in Amerongen, where on 28 November he issued a belated statement of abdication from both the Prussian and imperial thrones, thus formally ending the Hohenzollerns' 400-year rule over Prussia. Accepting the reality that he had lost both of his crowns for good, he gave up his rights to "the throne of Prussia and to the German Imperial throne connected therewith." He also released his soldiers and officials in both Prussia and the empire from their oath of loyalty to him.[60] He purchased a country house in the municipality of Doorn, known as Huis Doorn.


November 11 - Poland declares independence

November 21 - Polish soldiers organize a pogrom against Jews of Galicia Poland

November 22 - Marshal J Pilsudski becomes 1st president (dictator) of Poland

November 22 - Polish forces attack Jewish community of Lemberg (Lvov)

December 27 - Great Poland Uprising: The Poles in Greater Poland (or Grand Duchy of Poznań) rise up against the Germans.

§former Yugoslavia

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) is proclaimed.

§Middle East


February 21 - Australians chase Turkish troop out of Jericho, Dutch Palestine

September 18 - Battle of Megiddo (Palestine) starts

§North America

During World War I, when the Anti-Saloon league exploited America's anti-German hysteria by deliberately associating beer with German-American brewers. 'Kaiserism abroad and booze at home must go,' declared the league's general counsel and wily Washington lobbyist, Wayne Wheeler. The amendment starting prohibition was passed.

§United States

January 8 - Mississippi becomes 1st state to ratify 18th amendment (prohibition)

March 4 - A soldier at Camp Fuston, Kansas falls sick with the first confirmed case of the Spanish flu.

March 19 - Congress authorizes time zones and approves daylight saving time

May 15 - First airmail postal service (New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.)

May 18 - TNT explosion in chemical factory in Oakdale, Pennsylvania kills 200

June 22 Circus train rammed by troop train kills 68, Ivanhoe, Illinois

July 9 - The Great Train Wreck of 1918 occurred in Nashville, Tennessee. Two passenger trains, operated by the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad ("NC&StL"), collided head-on, killing 101 people and injuring an additional 171. It is considered the deadliest rail accident in United States history.

July 25 - Annette Adams sworn in as 1st woman district attorney of U.S., California

July 25 - Race riot in Chester Pennsylvania (3 blacks and 2 whites killed)

July 26 - Race riot in Philadelphia (3 whites and 1 black killed)

October 12 - First use of iron lung (Boston's Children Hospital)

October 12 - Cloquet Minnesota and 25 other communities destroyed by forest fire, 559 die

October 31 - Spanish flu-virus kills 21,000 in U.S. in 1 week

November 1 - 102 die in a New York City BMT subway derailment at Malbone Street Brooklyn

November 7 - United Press erroneously reports WW I armistice had been signed

The Cleveland Orchestra plays its first performance in December.

December 3 - Nineteen year old, Al Capone married Mae Josephine Coughlin, who was Irish Catholic and who, earlier that month, had given birth to their first son, Albert Francis ("Sonny") Capone. As Capone was under the age of 21, his parents had to consent to the marriage in writing.

§U.S. Business

In 1918, Charles Strite invented the timer that turns off the toaster when the bread is toasted.

March 19 - The U.S. Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time (DST goes into effect on March 31).

May 15 - The United States Post Office Department (later renamed the United States Postal Service) begins the first regular airmail service in the world (between New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC).

May 20 - The small town of Codell, Kansas is hit for the third year in a row by a tornado. Coincidentally, all three tornadoes hit on May 20th, 1916, 1917, and 1918 respectively.

June 22 - Suspects in the Chicago Restaurant Poisonings are arrested, and more than 100 waiters are taken into custody, for poisoning restaurant customers with a lethal powder called Mickey Finn (drugs).

October 11 - The city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and other adjacent towns are nearly destroyed by an 7.5 earthquake and a tsunami.

October 12 - 1918 Cloquet Fire: The city of Cloquet, Minnesota and nearby areas are destroyed in a fire, killing 453.

December 30 - John E Hoover decides to be called J Edgar Hoover

§U.S. Entertainment

January 27 - "Tarzan of the Apes," 1st Tarzan film, premieres at Broadway Theater

December 19 - Robert Ripley began his "Believe It or Not" column (New York Globe)

§U.S. Industry

May 2 - General Motors acquires the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware.

§U.S. Law

May 16 - The Sedition Act of 1918 is approved by the U.S. Congress.

May 21 - House of Representatives passes amendment allowing women to vote

June 3 - Supreme Court rules child labor laws unconstitutional

September 3 - Five soldiers hanged for alleged participation in Houston riot of 1917

Condoms become legal in the U.S. Troops fighting in World War I ignored official Army advice to abstain from sex. They obtained condoms overseas -- and brought them home.

§U.S. Politics

January 3 - U.S. Employment Service opens as a unit of Department of Labor

January 8 - President Wilson outlines his 14 points for peace after WW I

January 26 - President Hoover calls for "wheatless" and "meatless" days for war effort

March 7 - President Wilson authorizes U.S. Army's Distinguished Service Medal

December 4 - U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails for the Paris Peace Conference, becoming the first U.S. president to travel to Europe while in office.


January 19 - Soviets disallows a Constitution Assembly

January 22 - Ukraine proclaimed a free republic (German puppet)

January 25 - Russia declared a republic of Soviets

January 28 - Trotsky becomes leader of Reds

February 5 - Separation of church and state begins in U.S.S.R.

February 14 - Russia switches from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar; the date skips from February 1 to February 14.

March 5 - Soviet Russia moves its national capital from Petrograd to Moscow.

March 9 Russian Bolshevik Party becomes the Communist Party

March 9 Ukrainian mobs massacre Jews of Seredino Buda

March 12 – Moscow becomes the capital of Soviet Russia.

April 30 - Czar Nicholas and family were transferred to their final destination: the town of Yekaterinburg, where they were imprisoned in the two-story Ipatiev House, the home of the military engineer Nikolay Nikolayevich Ipatiev, which ominously became referred to as the "house of special purpose".

July 3- The Siberian Expedition is launched to extract the Czechoslovak Legion from the Russian Civil War.

July 10 Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic forms

July 17 - By order of the Bolshevik Party and carried out by the Cheka, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, his immediate family, and retainers are murdered at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The royal family was awakened around 2:00 am, got dressed, and were led down into a half-basement room at the back of the Ipatiev house. The pretext for this move was the family's safety, i.e. that anti-Bolshevik forces were approaching Yekaterinburg, and the house might be fired upon.

Present with Nicholas, Alexandra and their children were their doctor and three of their servants, who had voluntarily chosen to remain with the family: the Tsar's personal physician Eugene Botkin, his wife's maid Anna Demidova, and the family's chef, Ivan Kharitonov, and footman, Alexei Trupp. A firing squad had been assembled and was waiting in an adjoining room, composed of seven Communist soldiers from Central Europe, and three local Bolsheviks, all under the command of Bolshevik officer Yakov Yurovsky. The soldiers are often described as Hungarians; in his account, Yurovsky described them as "Latvians".

Nicholas was carrying his son; when the family arrived in the basement, the former empress complained that there were no chairs for them to sit on. Yurovsky ordered two chairs brought in, and when the empress and the heir were seated, the executioners filed into the room. Yurovsky announced to them that they had been condemned to death by the Ural Soviet of Workers' Deputies. A stunned Nicholas asked, "What? What?" and turned toward his family. Yurovsky quickly repeated the order and shot the former emperor outright.

The executioners drew revolvers and the shooting began. Nicholas was the first to die; Yurovsky shot him several times in the chest (sometimes incorrectly said to have been in his head, but his skull bore no bullet wounds when it was discovered in 1991). Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first hail of bullets; the sisters were wearing over 1.3 kilograms of diamonds and precious gems sewn into their clothing, which provided some initial protection from the bullets and bayonets. They were stabbed with bayonets and then shot at close range in their heads

Chemically damaged and burnt remains found outside the city of Yekaterinburg in 2007 are those of Crown Prince Alexei, 13, the last emperor's only son and heir to the throne, and his sister Grand Duchess Maria, about 19, according to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office. DNA tests in 2009 confirm that finding, ending all hope that one of the Romanov's might still be alive.

August 1 - British troops enter Vladivostok

August 10 - Russian Revolution: The British commander in Archangel is told to help the White Russians.

August 15 - Russia severs diplomatic ties with U.S.

August 30 - Russian Revolution: Vladmir Lenin is shot by Fanya Kaplan, but he survives. Moisei Uritsky, the Petrograd head of the Cheka, is assassinated the same day.

September 1 - U.S. troops land in Vladivostok, Siberia, stay until 1920

November 13 - Russia cancels Treaty of Brest-Litovsk


May 28 - Armenia declares its independence as the Democratic Republic of Armenia.


May 28 - Azerbaijan declares its independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

August 17 - British troops attack Baku Azerbaijan


March 25 - Belarus declares independence.


February 24 - After 7 centuries of foreign rule, Estonia declares its independence from the Russian Empire. The country is occupied by Germany the next day. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia also declare their independence from the Russian Empire but as the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.


May 26 - The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic is abolished. Georgia declares its independence as the Democratic Republic of Georgia.


February 16 - Lithuania declares independence from Russia and Germany (National Day)



December 1 - Danish parliament passed an act to grant Iceland independence


January 1 - Last day of the Julian calendar in Finland

January 14 - Finland and U.S.S.R. adopts New Style (Gregorian) calendar


December 1 - Iceland becomes a self-governing kingdom, yet remains in personal union with the King of Denmark who also becomes King of Iceland.


December 1 - New voting laws in Sweden makes votes no longer dependent on taxable assets; one person, one vote.

§South Pacific


December 17 - Culmination of the Darwin Rebellion as some 1000 demonstrators marched on Government House in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

§Hawaiian Islands

In early 1918, visitors came to Kilauea Volcano to see a splendid show. The molten lake in Halema‘uma‘u had been rising and the pit was almost full. Soon, lava spilled over the crater rim onto the floor of Kilauea’s summit caldera, destroying part of an automobile road, as well as the visitor viewing area near the rim.

June 28 - First flight between Hawaiian Islands


While the number of deaths due to WWI is astronomical, this is a list of significant deaths

  • St. Marianne Cope died of natural causes in 1918 at Kalaupapa, an isolated peninsula of the island of Molokai where the Hawaiian kingdom began exiling leprosy patients in 1866 to control the disease.


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Page last modified on July 27, 2016, at 12:48 AM