WW1 Veteran Timeline: Harold W. Riley

Timeline created by Jazmin.
In History
  • Assassination of the Archduke

    Assassination of the Archduke
    Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were on an official visit driving through Sarajevo. The car they drove had the top open, which was good for the shooter. That morning they were both killed by Gavrillo Pincip, a Bosnian Serb Nationalist. The Archduke was shot in the neck and his wife in the stomach; which killed them both minutes after impact. This event set in motion World War One.
    [https://theculturetrip.com/europe/hungary/articles/a-brief-history-of-franz-ferdinands-assassination/]
  • Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia

    Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
    One month after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, war was declared. Austria-Hungary felt threatened by the assassination of the Archduke. They needed to be prepared in case Serbia tried to invade. After receiving support from their allies, Germany, Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia.
    [https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/austria-hungary-declares-war-on-serbia]
  • A Christmas Truce

    A Christmas Truce
    The German soldiers could be heard singing Christmas carols when one called out “come here.” German soldiers and British soldiers decided to meet halfway on No Mans Land. A spontaneous truce was made on the western front by hundreds, maybe thousands of soldiers. A ball was even brought forth and began to get kicked around, then goals were put up. It was a remarkable event during the war.
    [https://www.history.com/topics/christmas-truce-1914-world-war-i-soldier-accounts]
  • The Lusitania

    The Lusitania
    A passenger ship called Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat. In the matter of minutes, the entire ship sunk. It killed about 1,200 people, 128 who were American Citizens. This attack caused a worldwide outrage. The ship carried ammunition, so Germany felt as if it was an actual target.
  • The Battle of Verdun

    The Battle of Verdun
    The battle of Verdun lasted around 10 months. The battle was between France and Germany. It resulted in over 700,000 casualties and about 300,000 deaths. The nine villages surrounding the area of the battle were left completely destroyed. Over 150,000 bodies of soldiers were left unidentified.
    [https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Verdun/The-tide-turns-at-Verdun#ref326095]
  • The First Battle of the Somme

    The First Battle of the Somme
    The battle of the Somme was meant to draw German soldiers attention away from the battle of Verdun. In just one day, 20,000 British troops were killed and 40,000 were wounded. The battle lasted nearly four and a half months. It resulted in over 1,000,000 casualties including French, British, and German soldiers.
  • Zimmerman Telegram

    Zimmerman Telegram
    The Zimmerman telegram was a coded message sent from Germany to Mexico. The message promised Mexico the return of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas if Mexico sided with Germany, if the United States entered the war. Mexico politely refused because they didn’t have an army to fight the U.S., and they knew Germany couldn’t actually help with anything because they were basically broke themselves. The Zimmerman telegram was decoded by Britain who later alerted the U.S.
  • The U.S. Enters the War

    The U.S. Enters the War
    The Senate voted for war so President Wilson signed the declaration. That began the pathway to war. Submarine warfare and the Zimmerman telegram were key reasons as to why war was declared against Germany. There were about 133,000 men in the U.S. army, but over the next two years more men were drafted.
  • Setting Sail

    Setting Sail
    Riley sailed “The Chicago” for France. He was supposed to depart early morning but didn’t end up leaving till the evening. Everyone on the ship looked excited for what came next. In reality the people of the ship were scared for what the future held.
  • Arriving to Paris

    Arriving to Paris
    When Harold arrived in France, he was undecided on what to join. He was interested in joining the flying service. After having visited the French Aviation Headquarters, he wasn’t convinced. Harold didn’t find much encouragement and something told him to continue with the Ambulance Corps. In reality, he didn’t want to make the wrong choice and spend the rest of his life with regret of his decision.
  • Fourteen Points Speech

    Fourteen Points Speech
    The Fourteen Points speech was a declaration by President Wilson. In it were his proposals for a post war peace settlement. It included independence for Poland and restoring Belgium's independence. It also included an end to secret diplomacy and a proposal for the formation of a League of Nations.
    [https://www.theworldwar.org/explore/interactive-wwi-timeline]
  • Taken Captive

    Taken Captive
    During the was Riley flew a Spad, Type 7, which was mostly flown by Americans. The aircraft carried two machine guns. Riley’s plane was shot down by 4 German planes on October 8, 1918. When the plane crashed, Riley and his observer were taken in captivity.
  • Recovery

    Recovery
    After being taken captive by Germans, Harold and Sam, his observer, were taken to an aid station to be treated for their wounds. Sam was unlucky and didn’t survive the wounds. At the aid station, Harold met a nice German who took him to a hospital where he met with Americans who were there recovering. From there he was transported to a hospital in Trier; he was taken there to get surgery on his leg.
  • World War One Ends

    World War One Ends
    An armistice based on President Wilson’s Fourteen Points speech is made between Germany and the Allies. The fighting on the western front stopped at 11:00 am, Paris time, the morning of November 11, 1918. The armistice had hard punishments on Germany, but they were meant to show Germany that they were defeated. The armistice was also made to prevent Germany from trying to start a war back up again.
  • Free Man

    Free Man
    Riley arrived in New York and was checked by several doctors. He was finally discharged after saying he had enough of the war. He wrote in his memoir, “I was discharged and once again a free man.” Finally the war was a thing of the past, and experiences were just a memory.
  • Treaty of Versailles

    Treaty of Versailles
    World War One officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty was made mainly by the Allies with little to no help from Germany. The treaty contained a total of 440 articles. It established Germany’s boundaries and said that they would be responsible for reparations from the war. The first part of the Treaty talked about the League of Nations, which Germany wouldn’t be allowed to join until 1926.
  • Period: to

    Countries Declare War...

    Over the course of a month the world was at war. Germany, which was allied with Austria- Hungary, declared war against Russia, France, and Belgium. Britain and Montenegro declared war on Germany. Britain, France, and Montenegro declared war on Austria. Japan also entered and declared war on Germany. Just like that sides were chosen and allies were made.