WWI / Russian Revolution

  • Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

    Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
    Two shots in Sarajevo ignited the fires of war and drew Europe toward World War I. Just hours after narrowly escaping an assassin’s bomb, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, are killed by Gavrilo Princip. A month later, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia and Europe rapidly descends into chaos.
  • Austria-Hungary Declares War on Serbia

    Austria-Hungary Declares War on Serbia
    On July 28, 1914, one month to the day after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, effectively beginning the First World War. Threatened by Serbian ambition in the tumultuous Balkans region of Europe, Austria-Hungary determined that the proper response to the assassinations was to prepare for a possible military invasion of Serbia.
  • Russia Declares War

    Russia Declares War
    The next day, on August 1, Germany declared war on Russia, followed by Austria-Hungary on August 6. Russia and the Entente declared war on the Ottoman Empire in November 1914, after Ottoman warships had bombarded the Black Sea port of Odessa in late October.
  • France Declares War

    France Declares War
    Two days after declaring war on Russia, Germany declares war on France, moving ahead with a long-held strategy, conceived by the former chief of staff of the German army, Alfred von Schlieffen, for a two-front war against France and Russia. Hours later, France makes its own declaration of war against Germany, readying its troops to move into the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, which it had forfeited to Germany in the settlement that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
  • Britain Declares War

    Britain Declares War
    Britain entered World War I on 4 August 1914 when the King declared war after the expiration of an ultimatum to Germany. The official explanation focused on protecting Belgium as a neutral country; the main reason, however, was to prevent a French defeat that would have left Germany in control of Western Europe.
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    Battle of Tanneneberg

    On August 26, 1914, the German 8th Army, under the leadership of Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, strikes with lethal force against the advancing Russian 2nd Army, led by General Aleksandr Samsonov, in East Prussia during the opening weeks of the First World War. In the middle of August 1914, much sooner than had been anticipated, Russia sent two armies into East Prussia, while Germany, according to its war strategy, had the bulk of its forces concentrated to the west, against France.
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    First Battle of Marne

    First Battle of the Marne, (September 6–12, 1914), an offensive during World War I by the French army and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) against the advancing Germans who had invaded Belgium and northeastern France and were within 30 miles (48 km) of Paris. The French threw back the massive German advance and thwarted German plans for a quick and total victory on the Western Front.
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    First Battle of Ypres

    The French lost at least 50,000 at Ypres, while the Belgians suffered more than 20,000 casualties at the Yser and Ypres. A month of fighting at Ypres cost the Germans more than 130,000 casualties, a staggering total that would ultimately pale before later actions on the Western Front.
  • Christmas Truce

    Christmas Truce
    They were dreading having to spend Christmas away from their families. Then something incredible happened on December 24, 1914. Soldiers from both sides put down their weapons, stepped out of their trenches and the enemy really did meet the enemy between the trenches. For a short time, there was peace.
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    Second Battle of Ypres

    More than 6,500 Canadians were killed, wounded or captured in the Second Battle of Ypres. The Second Battle of Ypres was fought during the First World War from 22 April to 25 May 1915. It was the first major battle fought by Canadian troops in the Great War.
  • Armenian Massacre

    Armenian Massacre
    Sometimes called the first genocide of the twentieth century, the Armenian genocide refers to the physical annihilation of Armenian Christian people living in the Ottoman Empire from spring 1915 through autumn 1916. There were approximately 1.5 million Armenians living in the multiethnic Ottoman Empire in 1915. At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million died during the genocide, either in massacres and individual killings, or from systematic ill treatment, exposure, and starvation.
  • Sinking of Lusitania

    Sinking of Lusitania
    On May 7, 1915, a German U-boat torpedoed the British-owned luxury steamship Lusitania, killing 1,195 people including 128 Americans, according to the Library of Congress. The disaster immediately strained relations between Germany and the neutral United States, fueled anti-German sentiment and set off a chain of events that eventually led to the United States entering World War I.
  • Battle of Verdun

    Battle of Verdun
    Battle of Verdun, (February 21–December 18, 1916), World War I engagement in which the French repulsed a major German offensive. It was one of the longest, bloodiest, and most-ferocious battles of the war; French casualties amounted to about 400,000, German ones to about 350,000. Some 300,000 were killed.
  • German Suspension of Submarine Warfare

    German Suspension of Submarine Warfare
    On May 4, 1916, Germany responds to a demand by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson by agreeing to limit its submarine warfare in order to avert a diplomatic break with the United States. Unrestricted submarine warfare was first introduced in World War I in early 1915, when Germany declared the area around the British Isles a war zone, in which all merchant ships, including those from neutral countries, would be attacked by the German navy.
  • Battle of Somme

    Battle of Somme
    After failing in 1914-15 to break the muddy stalemate of trench warfare, the Allies developed a new plan. A ‘Big Push’ on the Western Front would coincide with attacks by Russia and Italy elsewhere. The British wanted to attack in Belgium. But the French demanded an operation at the point in the Allied line where the two armies met. This was along a 25-mile (40km) front on the River Somme in northern France.
  • Re-election of Woodrow Wilson

    Re-election of Woodrow Wilson
    Wilson was re-nominated at the 1916 Democratic National Convention a few days later, without opposition. While Wilson's Vice President Thomas R. Marshall was re-nominated, Hughes's running mate was Charles W. Fairbanks, who had been Theodore Roosevelt's vice president in his second term. His campaign slogan was "He kept us out of war."
  • Zimmermann Telegram

    Zimmermann Telegram
    he Zimmermann Telegram had such an impact on American opinion that, according to David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, "No other single cryptanalysis has had such enormous consequences." It is his opinion that "never before or since has so much turned upon the solution of a secret message.
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    February Revolution

    The February revolution began on March 8, 1917. Because Russia used the Julian Calendar at the time it is known as the February Revolution. The Julian calendar date of the revolution is given as February 23. Protesters took to the streets of the capital of St.
  • President Wilson Asks Congress to Declare War

    President Wilson Asks Congress to Declare War
    On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked a special joint session of the United States Congress for a declaration of war against the German Empire. Congress responded with the declaration on April 6.
  • Germany Declares War

    Germany Declares War
    Germany entered into World War I on August 1, 1914, when it declared war on Russia. In accordance with its war plan, it ignored Russia and moved first against France–declaring war on August 3 and sending its main armies through Belgium to capture Paris from the north.
  • US Declares War on Germany

    US Declares War on Germany
    On 6 April 1917, American president Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany. Until that day, the United States had remained neutral. The declaration of war was a response to the submarine war that Germany had been waging on its enemies since January 1917.
  • Vladimir Lenin's Return to Russia

    Vladimir Lenin's Return to Russia
    On April 16, 1917, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the revolutionary Bolshevik Party, returns to Petrograd after a decade of exile to take the reins of the Russian Revolution. Born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in 1870, Lenin was drawn to the revolutionary cause after his brother was executed in 1887 for plotting to assassinate Czar Alexander III.
  • First Day of Selective Service Act

    First Day of Selective Service Act
    On May 18, 1917, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which authorized the Federal Government to temporarily expand the military through conscription. The act eventually required all men between the ages of 21 to 45 to register for military service.
  • American Troops Land In France for the First Time

    American Troops Land In France for the First Time
    The first US troops arrived in France in June 1917. John Figarovsky, of the 1st Infantry Division, was amongst them. When we landed one of the first things we did is to parade through the town.
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    Third Battle of Ypres

    The Allies suffered over 250,000 casualties - soldiers killed wounded or missing - during the Third Battle of Ypres. Casualties among German forces were also in the region of 200,000. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates over 76,000 soldiers who died during the Third Battle of Ypres.
  • October Revolution

    October Revolution
    On November 7, 1917, members of the Bolshevik political party seized power in the capital of Russia, Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). This conflict, ultimately, led to a Bolshevik victory in the Russian civil war that followed, and the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922. The October Revolution was actually the second Russian revolution of 1917.
  • Bolsheviks Seize Power in Russia

    Bolsheviks Seize Power in Russia
    Led by Bolshevik Party leader Vladimir Lenin, leftist revolutionaries launch a nearly bloodless coup d'État against Russia's ineffectual Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks and their allies occupied government buildings and other strategic locations in the Russian capital of Petrograd.
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    Russian Civil War

    The Civil War was a result of the emergence of opposition against the Bolsheviks after November 1917. These groups included monarchists, militarists, and, for a short time, foreign nations. Collectively, they were known as the Whites while the Bolsheviks were known as the Reds.
  • President Wilson Presents his "Fourteen Points"

    President Wilson Presents his "Fourteen Points"
    In this January 8, 1918, address to Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proposed a 14-point program for world peace. These points were later taken as the basis for peace negotiations at the end of World War I.
  • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is Signed

    Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is Signed
    On March 3, 1918, in the city of Brest-Litovsk, located in modern-day Belarus near the Polish border, Russia signed a treaty with the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria) ending its participation in World War I (1914-18). With the November 11, 1918, armistice ending World War I and marking the Allies’ victory over Germany, the treaty was annulled.
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    Second Battle of Marne

    On July 15, 1918, near the Marne River in the Champagne region of France, the Germans begin what would be their final offensive push of World War I. Dubbed the Second Battle of the Marne, the conflict ended several days later in a major victory for the Allies.
  • Bolsheviks Murder the Czar of Russia and His Family

    Bolsheviks Murder the Czar of Russia and His Family
    In Yekaterinburg, Russia, Czar Nicholas II and his family are executed by the Bolsheviks, bringing an end to the three-century-old Romanov dynasty. Crowned in 1896, Nicholas was neither trained nor inclined to rule, which did not help the autocracy he sought to preserve among a people desperate for change.
  • Separation of Austria-Hungary

    Separation of Austria-Hungary
    The dissolution of Austria-Hungary was a major geopolitical event that occurred as a result of the growth of internal social contradictions and the separation of different parts of Austria-Hungary. The reason for the collapse of the state was World War I, the 1918 crop failure and the economic crisis.
  • German Kaiser Wilhelm II Abdicates Throne

    German Kaiser Wilhelm II Abdicates Throne
    On 9 November 1918, having lost the support of the military, and with a revolution underway at home, Kaiser Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate his throne and flee Germany for Holland. Power was handed to a government led by the leader of the left-wing Social Democratic Party, Friedrich Ebert.
  • Armistice Day

    Armistice Day
    World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
  • Paris Peace Conference

    Paris Peace Conference
    The Paris Peace Conference convened in January 1919 at Versailles just outside Paris. The conference was called to establish the terms of the peace after World War I. Though nearly thirty nations participated, the representatives of the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Italy became known as the “Big Four.” The “Big Four” dominated the proceedings that led to the formulation of the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty that ended World War I.
  • Germany Agrees to Treaty of Versailles

    Germany Agrees to Treaty of Versailles
    Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles under protest, and the United States did not ratify the treaty. France and Britain at first tried to enforce the treaty, but over the next several years a number of modifications were made. Germany ignored the limits that the treaty placed on its rearmament.
  • Creation of the Soviet Union

    Creation of the Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union had its origins in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Radical leftist revolutionaries overthrew Russia's Czar Nicholas II, ending centuries of Romanov rule. The Bolsheviks established a socialist state in the territory that was once the Russian Empire.
  • Death of Lenin

    Death of Lenin
    On January 21, 1924 Vladimir Il’ich Lenin, the architect of the October Revolution and the “leader of the world’s proletariat,” died, having succumbed to complications from the three strokes that progressively robbed him of his faculties. He was not quite fifty-four. For more than a year before his death, the Communist Party and the Soviet government had soldiered on without him. Now the question was what purposes could the deceased leader serve.
  • Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday
    The Allies suffered over 250,000 casualties - soldiers killed wounded or missing - during the Third Battle of Ypres. Casualties among German forces were also in the region of 200,000. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates over 76,000 soldiers who died during the Third Battle of Ypres.