World War I Timeline, Digital History ID 2939
1871 January 18: Otto von Bismarck completes the unification of Germany into a single nation.
May 10: After its humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, France agrees France to pay a $1 billion indemnity and to cede large parts of Alsace-Lorrain. As a result of the Franco-Prussian war, Germany replaces France as the strongest power on the European continent.
1879 Germany forms the Triple Alliance with Austria and Italy.
1884 November: Delegations from fourteen nations meet to establish groundrules for European colonization in Africa.
1890 A secret treaty between Germany and Russia, promising neutrality in case of attacks by others, is not renewed by Germany, paving the way for France to form an alliance with Russia in 1894.
1904-1905 During the Russo-Japanese War, Russia lost every land and sea battle, sparking civil unrest that culminated in the revolution of 1905.
1905 January 22 When demonstrators try to present a petition of grievance to Tsar Nicholas II at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, they receive gunfire from Russian troops in the "Bloody Sunday Massacre.”
1906 Britain launches the first "dreadnought" class battleship.
1907 Following the failure of the 1905 Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin flees the country for Geneva, Switzerland.
1912-1913 In the first Balkan War, a Balkan alliance—consisting of Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Montenegro—succeeds in stripping the Ottoman empire of almost all of its remaining land in Europe.
1913 June 29-30: In the Second Balkan War, Greece, Serbia, and Romania defeat Bulgaria, and seize most of Macedonia. Bulgaria will turn to Austro-Hungary for support, while the Serbs grow increasingly hostile toward Austro-Hungary when they are forced to give up their conquests in Albania.
1914 June 28: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austo-Hungarian throne, by a Serbian nationalist, ignites a chain of events that results in World War I.
July 28: Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
July 31: As an ally of Serbia, Russia fully mobilizes its armed forces.
August 1: Germany declares war on Russia.
August 3: Germany declares war on France.
August 4: In an effort to capture Paris quickly, Germany invades neutral Belgium. Britain responds by declaring war on Germany.
August 6: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.
August 22: 27,000 French soldiers are killed on this day when France launches an offensive directed toward the German border.
August 26-30 On the Eastern Front, German forces roll over the Russian army at the Battle of Tennenberg.
September 5-10: Aided by 2,000 Parisian taxicabs which transport 50,000 French troops to the front, the French halt the German advance into France at the First Battle of the Marne.
September 15: The first trenches on the Western front are dug.
December 25: An unofficial Christmas Truce is declared by soldiers along the Western Front.
1915 January, 1915: Germany launches Zeppelin attacks on England.
February 4: Germany blockades Britain using submarines.
March 31: Britain announces a complete blockade of Germany.
April 22: The German Army uses chlorine gas at the Battle of Ypres.
April 25: Allies begin a nine-month battle for the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli.
May 7: The British ship, the Lusitania, is torpedoed and sinks off the Irish coast; 1,198 passengers drown, including 114 Americans.
July 6: Erich Muenter, a German instructor at Cornell University, commits suicide after detonating a bomb in the U.S. Senate reception room and shooting financier J. Pierpont Morgan.
August 30: Germany responds to U.S. anger by ending its policy of sinking ships without warning.
September 15: British deploy poison gas in battle near Loos; many British troops were poisoned by the gas.
December 4: Henry Ford charters a "Peace Ship," in an effort to end World War I.
December 28 The Allies troops begin to withdraw from Gallipoli.
1916 Britain institutes daylight savings time.
February 10: Britain institutes a military draft.
February 21 - December 18 In a failed effort to bleed the French army to death, Germany attacks the town of Verdun and its surrounding towns. When the battle is over, the combatants had suffered nearly a million casualties.
March 9: Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, along with 1,500 men, crosses the U.S. border to attack Columbus, N. Mex. Pres. Wilson orders Brig. Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing to capture Villa.
April 19: President Woodrow Wilson publicly demands that Germany end unrestricted submarine warfare.
April 24: During the six-day Easter Monday rebellion, Irish nationalists declare an independent Irish republic.
May 31-June 1: The only major naval engagement of World War I, the Battle of Jutland, had no clear victor.
July 1-November 18: The Allies fail to break through German lines at the Battle of the Somme. On July 1, the British suffered 60,000 casualties including 20,000 dead. Britain used the tank for the first time during this battle.
July 22: A bomb explodes at a pro-war preparedness parade in San Francisco, killing ten.
November 7 Woodrow Wilson re-elected President of the United States with campaign slogan: "He kept us out of the war"
December 7 David Lloyd George becomes Prime Minister of Britain.
December 31 Rasputin, an advisor to the Tsarina, is murdered by relatives of the Tsar.
1917 January 19: Britain intercepts and translates German Foreign Secretary Zimmermann's telegram to Mexico urging its entry into war against the United States.
February 1 Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare.
Revolution topples the Czarist government in Russia. On March 15, Czar Nicholas II abdicates and a provisional government follows. In November, the Bolsheviks overthrow the provisional government.
March 7: The Associated Press publishes the "Zimmermann Telegram," which proposed a German alliance with Mexico and promised Mexico recovery of lost territory in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
April 2: In a speech asking Congress to declare war against Germany, President Wilson says, "The world must be made safe for democracy."
April 6: The United States declares war on the Central Powers. Six Senators and 50 Representatives vote against the declaration.
April 14: The president creates Committee on Public Information to censor newspapers and magazines.
April 16-29: In a disastrous offensive at Chemin des Dames, French forces advance only 500 yards and suffer 250,000 plus casualties.
April – June: Over half a million French soldiers mutiny.
May 18: The United States institutes a military draft. All men 21-30 are required to register.
June 15: Congress passes the Espionage Act, providing for a $10,000 fine and 20 years in prison for anyone who encourages disloyalty or interferes with the draft. Over 1,500 people were charged with violations of the law.
July 1 – 16: Russian Army begins its last offensive in Galicia.
July 3: The first wave of the American Expeditionary Force lands in France.
July 28: The War Industries Board is established to mobilize industry and ration goods to support the war effort.
July 31-November 10: The Third Battle of Ypres produces no breakthrough and costs the combatants 700,000 casualties.
September 5: Federal agents raid IWW headquarters in 24 cities. Ten leaders are arrested including "Big Bill" Haywood.
October 23 American troops in France engage in combat for the first time.
November: The British Foreign Office issues the Balfour Declaration, pledging support for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
November 7: The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrow the provisional government in Russia.
December 3 The new Russian government signs an armistice with Germany.
December 9 Britain captures Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks.
1918 January 8: President Woodrow Wilson issues his 14 Point plan for a lasting peace. It calls for open peace treaties without secret agreements; freedom of the seas; arms reductions, and establishment of a League of Nations. French Prime Minister Clemenceau responds: "Even God Almighty has only ten."
March 21: Germans launch the first of five major offensives to win the war before American troops are present in large numbers. The German advance is halted in late June
April 25 British and Australian troops stop the German advance near Amiens.
May 31 Germans on the banks of the Marne near Paris are stopped by American forces at Chateau-Thierry.
June 3: The Supreme Court invalidates a law prohibiting the interstate shipment of goods made by under aged children.
July German troops being shipped from the Eastern to Western Front begin to desert in large numbers from their transport trains
July 16-17 Former Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, children, and members of his entourage are murdered by the Bolsheviks.
August 3: President Wilson agrees to send troops into Russia.
August 8: Allied counteroffensives on the Somme force German forces to retreat
September 14: Socialist party leader Eugene Debs is sentenced to ten years in prison for violating the Espionage Act. He was pardoned by President Warren Harding in 1921.
September 18: Bulgaria surrenders.
September 27: Allied troops break through the German fortifications.
October: A deadly influenza epidemic reaches its height. Altogether, the epidemic killed nearly 500,000 Americans.
October 30 Turks sign armistice
November 3: Austria Hungaria collapses.
November 4: Mutiny in the Germany armed forces spreads.
November 9: Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates.
November 10: A German republic is founded.
November 11: At eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the war ends as Germany and Allies sign an Armistice.
December 4: Woodrow Wilson sets sail for the Paris Peace conference.
1919 January 10-15: A coup launched by German revolutionaries in Berlin is suppressed.
January 15: German socialists Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg are murdered.
January 18: The Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War I strips Germany of land and natural resources; mandates steep reductions in the size of the Germany army and navy; and levies punitive reparations later set at $32 billion.
January 29: The 18th Amendment to the Constitution bans "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of liquors." At the time the amendment was adopted, prohibition was already in effect in all southern and western states except California and Louisiana.
June 28: A peace treaty is signed in Versailles.
September: 350,000 steelworkers strike, following by 400,000 miners 40 days later. Altogether, 4 million workers went on strike during the year.
September 25: President Wilson collapses from a stroke.
November 7: Palmer Raids. Under orders from Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, Department of Justice agents raid the headquarters of leftist organizations in a dozen cities.
November 19: The Senate fails to ratify the Versailles Peace Treaty. The Senate voted 55-9, nine votes short of the required two-thirds majority.
1919-1921 Civil War erupts in Russia; the Bolsheviks succeed in maintaining power.
1920 January 2: Government agents arrest members of the IWW and Communist Party in 33 cities. 556 aliens are deported for their political beliefs.
March 19: The Senate votes 49-35 to join the League of Nations, seven votes short of the two-thirds vote necessary for ratification. Defeat became certain when President Wilson instructed his supporters to vote down a League bill with Republican amendments attached.
1921 Russian Civil War ends after three years with Bolsheviks in full control.
1924-1925 Adolf Hitler imprisoned for sedition against the Weimar Republic; he writes Mein Kampf.
1933 January 30: Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany.
1939 September 1: World War II begins.