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World War I Diary of Events & Timeline

World War I - Diary of Events & Timeline (1914-1919)

The kings, emperors, czars, and sultans of Europe were, during the apocalyptic years from 1914 to 1918, like dinosaurs self- destructively lashing out against each other, hastening their own end, thrashing about in their own graveyard while new and more total tyrannies looked on, waiting to build upon the bones. As a result, the twentieth century did not begin in 1900; it began in the trenches along the Western Front and at the erected barricades.


Index of content


World War I - 1914


June 1914

28. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and wife Sophie assassinated, Sarajevo.

July 1914

23. Austria sends an ultimatum to Serbia.

25. Austria-Hungary mobilizes.

August 1914

1. Germany declares war on Russia. France mobilizes.

2. Germany invades Luxembourg.

3. Germany declares war on France.

4. Germany declares war on Belgium. Great Britain declares war on Germany.

5. U.S. offers mediation.

6. Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. Serbia declares war on Germany. France invades Alsace-Lorraine. BEF arrives in France.

12. Great Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary invades Poland and Serbia.

13. France declares war on Austria-Hungary.

17. Belgium moves capital from Brussels to Antwerp.

18. Russia invades Galicia.

20. Germans take Brussels.

22. Battle of Mons.

23. Japan declares war on Germany.

26. Battle of Tannenberg. Battle of Le Cateau. Viviani becomes a Premier in France.

28. Austria declares war on Belgium.

29. Russians invade Konigsberg.

30. Germans take Amiens.

31. Germans defeat the Russian army at Tannenberg.

September 1914

3. French Government quits Paris for Bordeaux.

4. Germans take Rheims.

5. Battle of the Marne.

10. 1st Battle of the Masurian Lakes.

14. French reoccupy Amiens and Rheims.

20. Rheims cathedral shelled by Germans.

24. Allies occupy Peronne.

29. Antwerp bombardment begins.

October 1914

2. British Navy mines North Sea areas.

9. Antwerp surrenders to Germans. Belgian Government removed to Ostend.

13. British occupy Ypres.

14. Canadian Expeditionary Force lands in Britain.

15. Germans take Ostend. Belgian Government moves to Le Havre, France.

December 1914

14. First Battle of Champagne.

16. Germans bomb Hartlepool, Scarborough, and Whitby on east coast of England.


World War I - 1915


February 1915

10. Russians defeated by Germans in Battle of Masurian Lakes.

18. German submarines begin “blockade” of the British Isles.

19-20. First German Zeppelin raid on England.

March 1915

10. British take Neuve Chapelle in Flanders.

April 1915

22. Second Battle of Ypres. Poison gas first used by Germans in attack on Canadians.

May 1915

7. Lusitania sunk by German submarine off the Irish coast, with a loss of 1,152 lives; 102 Americans.

23. Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary.

31. German Zeppelins bomb London for the first time.

June 1915

4-6. German aircraft bombs English towns.

15. Allied aircraft bombs Karlsruhe in retaliation for raids on England.

August 1915

19. Colonel “Boom” Trenchard placed in command of the RFC in France.

September 1915

25. Artois offensive: Allies occupy Lens.

October 1915

12. Nurse Edith Cavell shot by Germans for aiding British prisoners to escape from Belgium.

13. London bombed by Zeppelins; 55 killed, 114 injured.

14. Bulgaria at war with Serbia.

15. Great Britain declares war on Bulgaria.

17. France at war with Bulgaria.

19. Italy and Russia at war with Bulgaria.

29. Briand becomes Premier of France, succeeding Viviani.

November 1915

17. Anglo-French war council hold first meeting in Paris.

December 1915

15. General Sir Douglas Haig succeeds Field-Marshal Sir John French as Commander-in-Chief of British forces in France.


World War I - 1916


February 1916

10. British conscription law goes into effect.

21. Battle of Verdun begins; Germans take Haumont.

25. Fort Douaumont falls to Germans.

March 1916

9. Germany declares war on Portugal.

15. Austria-Hungary at war with Portugal.

31. Battle of Verdun: Germans take Malancourt.

April 1916

19. President Woodrow Wilson publicly warns Germany not to pursue submarine policies.

20. Russian troops arrive for service on the French front. Sergeant Elliot Cowdin, first American, awarded French Medaille Militaire.

May 1916

15. Vimy Ridge taken by the British.

31. Battle of Jutland; British and German fleets engaged heavy losses on both sides.

June 1916

5. Lord Kitchener, British War Secretary, dies when cruiser Hampshire is sunk off the Orkney Islands.

6. Germans capture Fort Vaux in Verdun attack.

July 1916

1. British and French offensive on the Somme.

14. British Cavalry penetrate German second line.

15. Longueval captured by the British.

25. Pozieres occupied by the British.

30. British and French advance between Delville Wood and the Somme.

August 1916

3. French recapture Fleury.

27. Rumania declares war on Austria-Hungary and begins offensive in Transylvania.

28. Italy at war with Germany. Germany at war with Rumania.

31. Bulgaria at war with Rumania. Turkey at war with Rumania.

September 1916

15. British take Flers, Courcelette, and other German positions on Western Front.

26. Combles and Thiepval captured by British and French.

October 1916

24. Fort Douaumont recaptured by French.

November 1916

2. Fort Vaux evacuated by Germans.

7. Woodrow Wilson re-elected President of the United States.

13. British advance along the Ancre.

22. Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary dies. Succeeded by Charles I.

23. German warships bombard Scarborough on the English coast.

28. First German seaplane raid on London.

December 1916

7. David Lloyd George succeeds Asquith as British Prime Minister.

15. French recapture ground taken by Germans in Battle of Verdun.

18. President Woodrow Wilson makes peace overtures to belligerents.

26. Germany replies to President’s note and suggests a peace conference.

30. French Government on behalf of Allies replies to President Wilson’s note and refuses to discuss peace until Germany agrees to give “restitution, reparation and guarantees”.


World War I - 1917


January 1917

22. President Wilson suggests ‘peace without victory’.

31. Germany announces unrestricted submarine warfare from February 1.

February 1917

3. United States severe diplomatic relations with Germany.

17. British troops on the Ancre capture German positions.

28. United States makes public a communication from Germany to Mexico proposing an alliance, and offering as a reward the return of Mexico’s lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona (Zimmerman Telegram).

March 1917

3. British advance on Bapaume.

4. Germans begin withdrawal along Hindenburg Line.

14. China breaks with Germany.

15. Czar Nicholas abdicates. Prince Lvov heads a new cabinet.

17. Bapaume falls to the British. Roye and Lassigny are occupied by French.

18. Peronne, Chaulnes, Nesle and Noyon evacuated by Germans, who retreat on an 135km (85-mile) front.

19. Alexandre Ribot becomes French Premier, succeeding Briand.

26-31. British advance on Cambrai.

April 1917

6. United States declares war on Germany.

8. Austria-Hungary breaks with United States.

9. Battle of Arras.

13. Vimy, Givenchy, Bailleul and positions about Lens taken by Canadians.

20. Turkey breaks with United States.

May 1917

7. German bombers make first night raid on London.

15. Marshal Philippe Petain succeeds Marshal Nivelle as Commander-in-Chief of French armies.

16. Bullecourt captured by British in the Battle of Arras.

18. U.S. conscription bill signed by President Wilson.

25. Twenty-one Gotha bombers make first mass daylight attack on England. 200 casualties.

June 1917

5. Registration day for the new draft army in United States.

7. Messines-Wytschaete ridge in English hands.

8. General John Pershing, Commander-in-Chief of American Expeditionary Force (AEF), arrives in England en route to France.

13. First mass daylight raid on London by Germany using 14 Gotha bombers. 600 casualties.

July 1917

1. Russians begin offensive in Galícia. Kerensky, minister of war, leading in person.

3. AEF arrives in France.

6. Canadian House of Commons passes Compulsory Military Service Bill.

12. King Constantine of Greece abdicates in favor of his son, Alexander.

16-23. Retreat of Russians on a front of 250km (155 miles). Alexander Kerensky becomes Russian Premier, succeeding Lvov.

August 1917

8. Canadian Conscription Bill passes its third reading in the Senate.

14. China at war with Germany and Austria-Hungary.

15. St. Quentin Cathedral destroyed by Germans. Canadian troops capture Hill 70, dominating Lens.

September 1917

5. New American National Army assembles.

14. Painleve becomes French Premier, succeeding Ribot.

16. Russia proclaimed a republic by Kerensky.

26. Zonnebeke, Polygon Wood and Tower Hamlets, east of Ypres, taken by British.

October 1917

9. Poelcapelle captured in Franco-British attack.

23. American troops in France fire their first shot in trench warfare. French advance northeast of Soissons.

November 1917

1. Germans abandon Chemin des Dames.

6. Passchendaele captured by Canadians.

7. Bolsheviks, under Lenin and Trotsky, seize Petrograd and depose Kerensky.

9. Italians retreat to the Piave.

10. Lenin Premier of Russia, succeeding Kerensky.

15. Clemenceau Premier of France, succeeding Painleve.

21. Ribécourt, Flesquieres, Havrincourt, Marcoing, captured by the British.

23. Italians repulse Germans on the entire front from the Asiago Plateau to the Brenta River.

24. Battle of Cambrai. British tanks approach within five kilometers (three miles), capturing Bourlon Wood.

December 1917

1. German East Africa reported completely conquered. Allies’ Supreme War Council, representing the United States, France, Great Britain and Italy, holds the first meeting at Versailles.

3. Russian Bolsheviks arrange an armistice with Germans.

5. British retire from Bourlon Wood, Graincourt, and other positions west of Cambrai.

7. Finland declares independence.

8. Jerusalem surrenders to British, under General Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby.

11. United States at war with Austria-Hungary.

15. Armistice signed between Germany and Russia at Brest-Litovsk.

17. The Coalition government of Sir Robert Borden is returned and conscription confirmed in Canada.


World War I - 1918


January 1918

8. President Wilson proclaims his “Fourteen Points”.

18. Major-General Sir John Salmond succeeds Major General Sir Hugh “Boom” Trenchard as commander of the RFC, BEF.

19. American troops take over sector northwest of Toul.

February 1918

22. American troops in Chemin des Dames sector.

March 1918

1. Americans gain victory in Toul salient.

3. Peace treaty between the Bolshevik government of Russia and the Central Powers signed at Brest-Litovsk.

4. Treaty signed between Germany and Finland.

5. Rumania signs peace treaty with Central Powers.

9. The Russian capital moved from Petrograd to Moscow.

14. Russo-German peace treaty ratified by Soviets.

21. Germans begin a great drive on the 80km (50-mile) front from Arras to La Fere. Bombardment of Paris by German long-range “Big Bertha” gun from a distance of 120km (76 miles).

24. Peronne, Ham and Chauny evacuated by Allies.

25. Bapaume and Nesle occupied by Germans.

29. Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch Commander-in-Chief of all Allied armies on the Western Front.

April 1918

1. Formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

9. Second German drive begun in Flanders.

10. The first German drive halted before Amiens, after a maximum advance of 55km (35 miles).

15. Second German drive halted before Ypres, after a maximum advance of 17km (10 miles).

22. Baron von Richthofen, ranking German flier, killed.

23. British naval forces raid German submarine base in Zeebrugge, Belgium. First United States shipment of Liberty engines arrives in France.

May 1918

7. Nicaragua at war with Germany and her allies.

27. Third German drive begins on the Aisne-Marne front between Soissons and Rheims.

28. Germans’ advance beyond the Chemin des Dames and cross the Vesle at Fismes. Cantigny taken by Americans.

29. Soissons evacuated by French.

31. Marne River crossed by Germans, who reach Chateau Thierry, 65km (40 miles) from Paris.

June 1918

3-6. American Marines and soldiers check the advance of Germans at Chateau Thierry and Neuilly. Beginning of American co-operation on a major scale.

9-14. German drive on Western Front ends.

15-24. Austrian drive on Italian front fails.

July 1918

1. Vaux taken by Americans.

3. Mohammed V, Sultan of Turkey, dies.

10. Czecho-Slovaks take a long stretch of the Trans-Siberian Railway, with Allied help.

15. Defence of Chateau Thierry blocks new German drive on Paris.

18. French and Americans begin counteroffensive on the Aisne-Marne front.

23. French take Oulchy-le-Château and drive the Germans back between the Aisne and the Marne.

30. Allies astride the Ourcq; Germans retreat to the Vesle.

August 1918

2. French troops recapture Soissons.

3. President Wilson agrees to co-operate with the Allies in sending forces to Russia. Allies’ advance between Soissons and Rheims, driving Germans from Fismes and capturing Aisne-Vesle front.

7. Franco-American troops cross the Vesle.

8. New Allied drive begun by Field-Marshal Haig in Picardy.

10. Montdidier recaptured.

13. Lassigny massif taken by French.

15. Canadians capture Damery and Parvillers.

29. Noyon and Bapaume fall in new Allied advance.

September 1918

1. Australians take Peronne. Americans capture Voormezeele in Belgium.

11. Germans are driven back to the November 1917 Hindenburg Line.

12. Registration day for the new U.S. draft of men between 18 and 45.

13. Americans begin vigorous offence in St. Mihiel Sector on a 65km (40-mile) front.

14. St. Mihiel recaptured from Germans. It had been in German hands since 1914.

25. British take 40,000 prisoners in Palestine offensive.

27. Franco-Americans take 30,000 prisoners at Verdun.

28. Belgians attack enemy from Ypres to North Sea, gaining six kilometers (four miles).

29. Bulgaria surrenders.

30. British-Belgian advance reaches Roulers.

October 1918

1. St. Quentin captured. Damascus occupied by the British in Palestine campaign.

2. Lens evacuated by Germans.

3. Albania cleared of Austrians by Italians.

4. King Ferdinand of Bulgaria abdicates.

5. Prince Maximilian, new German Chancellor, pleads with President Wilson to ask Allies for armistice.

7. Berry-au-Bac taken by French.

9. Cambrai in Allied hands.

11. Americans advance through Argonne forest.

12. German foreign secretary agrees to evacuate all foreign soil.

13. Laon and La Fere abandoned by Germans. Grandpré captured by Americans.

14. President Wilson refers Germans to Marshal Foch for armistice terms.

16. Lille entered by British patrols.

17. Ostend, German submarine base, taken by land and sea forces. Douai falls to the Allies.

19. Bruges and Zeebrugge, taken by Belgian and British forces.

26. Trenchard appointed Commander-in-Chief, Inter-Allied Independent Air Force.

31. Turkey surrenders.

November 1918

1. Clery-le-Grand captured by American First Army troops.

3. German Fleet mutinies at Kiel. Austria surrenders, signing an armistice with Italy.

4. Americans strike at Sedan.

7. American Rainbow Division enter suburbs of Sedan.

8. Heights south of Sedan seized by Americans.

9. Maubeuge captured by Allies.

10. Canadians take Mons.

11. Germany surrenders; armistice takes effect at 11 a.m. American flag hoisted on the Sedan front.




January 1919

18. Treaty of Versailles between the Allies and Germany: the Peace Conference opens in Paris.

June 1919

21. German High Seas Fleet (53 ships) scuttled in Scapa Flow with nine deaths, the last casualties of the war.

28. Treaty of Versailles signed.

July 1919

8. Germany ratifies the Treaty of Versailles.

WWI (1914-1918)
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