July 1918

Germany’s last offensive fails. The Tsar and his family are murdered. The Allies prepare to attack.


1/7/1918 Writing on the wall for Austria-Hungary as France declares support for an independent Czechoslovakia

3/7/1918 “Wholesale jollification”: Lettow-Vorbeck’s victory at Nhamacurra

3/7/1918 The death of Mehmed V of Turkey

4/7/1918 Hamel: a local victory for the Australians and a worrying portent for the Germans

6/7/1918 The Left SR uprising: a deadly threat to the Bolsheviks at the heart of their power

7/7/1918 The Bolshevik regime secure once more as the Left SR uprising fizzles out

9/7/1918 The dangerous folly of low level acrobatics

15/7/1918 Round Five: Ludendorff’s Peace Offensive

17/7/1918 The sinking of the Carpathia

17/7/1918 The Tsar and his family killed

18/7/1918 2nd Marne: the French strike back

22/7/1918 Ludendorff shaken as French troops advance across the Marne

24/7/1918 Foch meets the Allied commanders, calls for them to go on the attack

26/7/1918 The last flight of Mick Mannock, Britain’s highest scoring fighter ace

29/7/1918 Trotsky drafts the Tsar’s officers

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918

June 1918

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

World War 1 Live Blog (Facebook)

images

German prisoners, July 1918 (Wikipedia Commons)

1926 depiction of the Tsar’s murder (History: Why Czar Nicholas II and the Romanovs Were Murdered)

June 1918

German offensives on the Western Front blocked. The cold grip of influenza. More and more Americans. Austria-Hungary’s disastrous attack across the Piave. More turmoil in Russia.

1/6/1918 Beethoven comes to Japan

1/6/1918 Roderic Dallas is promoted too late

4/6/1918 Pemberton Billing wins “Cult of the Clitoris” libel trial

4/6/1918 Trotsky: “Long Live Civil War!”

6/6/1918 US troops halt one German offensive as Ludendorff prepares another

7/6/1918 Influenza spreads its tentacles

8/6/1918 The Komuch: an anti-Bolshevik government in Siberia, supported by the Czechoslovaks

9/6/1918 Round four: Ludendorff unleashes Operation Gneisenau

10/6/1918 Austria-Hungary’s failed naval breakout

10/6/1918 Vorontsovka: Germany and Turkey come to blows

11/6/1918 French counterattack blocks Germany’s latest offensive

13/6/1918 An inconvenient Grand Duke meets his end

15/6/1918 Austria-Hungary attacks across the Piave

16/6/1918 Failure on the Piave for Austria-Hungary

17/6/1918 Ludendorff prepares for Round Five

19/6/1918 Italy strikes back on the Piave river

19/6/1918 Francesco Baracca’s last patrol over the Piave

20/6/1918 Arthur Griffith wins East Cavan by-election from his English prison cell

21/6/1918 Austria-Hungary retreats across the Piave

23/6/1918 Piave: for Italy a triumph, for Austria-Hungary disaster

25/6/1918 US Marines clear the Germans from Belleau Wood

28/6/1918 In response to industrial unrest the Bolsheviks nationalise industry

29/6/1918 Vladivostok falls to the Czechoslovak Legion

30/6/1918 Time begins to run out for the Germans

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918

May 1918

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

World War 1 Live Blog (Facebook)

image sources:

German machine gunners advance (German History in Documents and Image – Advance of a German Machine Gun Unit on the Western Front (June 1918))

Ludendorff’s first four offensives (100 Years Ago Today, @CenturyAgoToday on Twitter)

US Marines attacking in Belleau Wood (War on the Rocks: The importance of the Battle of Belleau Wood)

Europe and the Near East, June 1918 (Mental Floss WW1 Centennial: Austria Hungary’s last gasp)

May 1918

Civil war escalates in Russia but comes to an end in Finland. British forces round up malcontents accused of preparing for German invasion of Ireland. After a lull, Ludendorff’s third offensive smashes the French. And American troops receive their baptism of fire.

4/5/1918 Turkey in the ascendant as the British retreat across the Jordan

6/5/1918 Ludendorff ponders his next move

7/5/1918 Romania agrees to harsh peace terms with Germany

9/5/1918 Britain raids Ostend again

9/5/1918 Bolshevik problems: sulky workers and stingy peasants

11/5/1918 Emperor Karl takes his punishment

12/5/1918 Alienated Cossacks revolt against the Bolsheviks

14/5/1918 The Chelyabinsk Incident: violence breaks out between the Czechoslovak Legion and the Bolsheviks

14/5/1918 Diaz reforms the Italian army but angers Foch by refusing to attack

16/5/1918 Finland’s Whites celebrate victory as the civil war comes to an end

17/5/1918 Sinn Féin leaders arrested as Britain strikes against “German plot”

19/5/1918 The last Gotha bombing raid on London

19/5/1918 Gervais Lufbery’s fatal fall

21/5/1918 Ludendorff’s gaze turns to India

23/5/1918 The former Tsar and Tsarina are joined in Ekaterinburg by their children

25/5/1918 Trotsky orders the Czechoslovak Legion’s suppression

26/5/1918 Georgia exits the Transcaucasian Federation

27/5/1918 Blücher-Yorck: German stormtroopers smash the French

28/5/1918 Hubert Rees meets the Kaiser

28/5/1918 Cantigny: US troops have their baptism of fire

31/5/1918 A new French tank

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918

April 1918

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

World War 1 Live Blog (Facebook)

image sources:

German stormtroopers advance (CWGC: Operation Blücher-Yorck)

map (Mental Floss – Erik Sass’s WWI Centennial: America’s Fighting Debut)

Dark Corners: “Westfront 1918” (1930)

Over on my other blog I wrote about a German film from 1930 set in 1918 as the tide begins to turn in favour of the Allies.

Secret Panda

Nearly three years ago the Irish Film Institute hosted the Dark Corners season of films from the Weimar Republic. I wrote about them in the pages of popular journal Frank’s APA and now at last I am sharing my thoughts on these films with you, starting with this one. Popular films like Cabaret have fixed Weimar in the public mind as a period of decadent excess that almost deserved to be swept away by the Nazis. Weimar cinema meanwhile is usually associated with expressionism (funny camera angles, strange sets, fantastic plots), but the programming of this season attempted to present a broader picture of the films produced in that era. Old favourites like Dr Mabuse, Caligari, Nosferatu and Metropolis were avoided in favour of other types of picture, particularly ones showcasing the New Objectivity style of the 1920s, though they did still show expressionist classic Der Golem (which…

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31/12/1918 Pestilence in Samoa

The armistice has paused the fighting on the Western Front, but the struggle of mankind against the influenza pandemic continues. The second, extremely virulent strain of the epidemic is cutting a swathe across the world, bringing death and destruction to places that the war barely touched. One of these is German Samoa, which has been occupied by New Zealand since 1914. Unlike in nearby American Samoa, the New Zealanders failed to institute an effective quarantine, so when a ship landed in November, its infected passengers were able to spread the contagion throughout the colony.

The Samoans prove to be exceptionally vulnerable to the influenza. By now nearly 90% of them have been infected and a fifth of the islanders (7,542 people) have died. In American Samoa however the governor’s quarantine has meant that there have been no flu cases. As the shock of the last two months of horror begin to pass, the German Samoans begin to compare their situation with that of their neighbours, seeing their calamity as the product of New Zealand’s maladministration. Some begin to argue that if they cannot be entirely free of imperialist shackles they would be better off under US rule.

image sources:

New Zealand news paper report (New Zealand History: Reporting Samoa’s influenza pandemic)

Samoan obituaries (New Zealand History: Samoan influenza obituaries)

Holding the line

I am a bit tied up with Important Things right now and so am falling a bit behind in this important Great War endeavour. These are some of the things that happened since the my last post, which I hope to return to shortly.

29/12/1918 The Independent Social Democrats leave Ebert‘s coalition in protest at the German Chancellor’s decision to send troops against the People’s Navy Division on Christmas Eve.

31/12/1918 In less than two months flu has claimed the lives of 20% of Western Samoa‘s population.

2/1/1919 Criminal investigations open into atrocities ordered by Turkey’s leaders during the war.

3/1/1919 Emir Faisal reaches an agreement with Zionist leader Chaim Weizman to support Jewish immigration into Palestine.

3/1/1919 The Red Army occupies Riga. In response to the Bolshevik invasion, Latvia’s government seeks to form an armed force of German volunteers.

4/1/1919 A bizarre and ultimately unsuccessful attempt by an American officer to kidnap the Kaiser.

5/1/1919 Demonstrations in Berlin by the far left Spartacists escalate into an armed uprising against Ebert’s government.

image source:

Spartacists (Wikipedia: Spartacist uprising)

28/12/1918 Ireland’s election results: Sinn Féin landslide and the first woman elected to the House of Commons #1918

Ireland voted on 14 December as part of the United Kingdom’s first general election since 1911. Today the votes are finally counted and the results reveal that Sinn Féin has definitively supplanted the Irish Parliamentary Party as the voice of Irish nationalism, with the IPP winning just 6 seats to Sinn Féin’s 73. John Dillon, the IPP’s leader, loses his East Mayo seat to Sinn Féín leader Éamon de Valera, who is currently in prison in England after being arrested earlier this year on suspicion of involvement in an outlandish German plot to invade Ireland. Unionist parties meanwhile dominate in the north east of the country, where many Protestant voters fear the consequences of self-rule in mainly Catholic Ireland. This is also where the Irish Parliamentary Party wins most of its seats; IPP candidates are more used to battling on against adverse circumstances here.

Apart from the north east, the electoral map of Ireland is now a sea of dark green, representing Sinn Féin victories. The only exceptions to the Sinn Féin sweep are Waterford City, where William Redmond is elected to the seat previously held by the late John Redmond, his father and the former leader of the IPP, and Rathmines in Dublin, where Unionist candidate Maurice Dockrell is elected.

Two women ran for Sinn Féin and one of these, Constance Markievicz, is elected. Like De Valera she played a leading role in the 1916 Rising and like him she is also currently in jail in England.

Sinn Féin candidates have secured election on an abstentionist ticket: they have promised not to take their seats in Westminster but instead to assemble as an Irish parliament in Dublin. Now those elected Sinn Féin representatives who are not on the run or in jail prepare to meet in January as the first sitting of a sovereign Irish parliament, to be known in the Irish language as Dáil Éireann.

images:

Sinn Féin election poster (RTÉ: Election 1918 – what you need to know about how Ireland voted)

Constance Markievicz (Wikipedia: Constance Markievicz)

28/12/1918 Britain’s votes are counted: Lloyd George’s coalition wins a landslide victory #1918Live

Two weeks ago the United Kingdom held its first election since 1911. Because of the large numbers of postal ballots from men serving overseas with the armed forces, the votes are only counted today. And the result is a landslide victory for the Conservatives and Prime Minister Lloyd George‘s faction of the Liberals. Lloyd George has just led the country to victory against Germany, so it is perhaps not too surprising that voters have rallied to him and his Conservative allies.

Asquith‘s faction of the Liberals win an impressive number of votes (only slightly less than Lloyd George’s) but lose most of their seats; Asquith himself fails to secure re-election. Aside from the coalition’s popularity, Asquith suffers from his own association with the less successful early years of the war. His long opposition to votes for women may also have counted against him now that women are voting for the first time. Labour meanwhile win more seats than the Asquith Liberals and substantially more votes than Lloyd George’s Liberals; although they are only the fourth largest party in parliament, their power is clearly on the rise.

Although women now have the vote, the election is not a particularly successful one for women candidates. Christabel Pankhurst, a leading suffragette, narrowly fails to secure election and is defeated by John Davison of Labour. The only one of the sixteen women’s candidates elected is Constance Markievicz of Sinn Féin. Markievicz stood on an abstentionist ticket and is currently in jail, so she will not be taking her seat in the House of Commons.

Markievicz was elected in Ireland. The results there have followed an entirely different pattern to the rest of the United Kingdom.

image sources:

David Lloyd George (Wikipedia: David Lloyd George)

Constance Markievicz (Badass of the Week)

Results map (Wikipedia: 1918 United Kingdom general election)

24/12/1918 Berlin’s Christmas Eve Battle #1918Live

It is Christmas Eve. Across Europe people are preparing for the season of goodwill to all men. But not in Berlin, where rival groups of men are today trading gunshots.

The German revolution first stopped the German navy from launching a suicidal attack on the British fleet, before overthrowing the Kaiser and hastening the end of the war. Now Friedrich Ebert leads a coalition government of his own Social Democrats (the SPD) and the slightly more radical Independent Social Democrats (the USPD). Preparations are underway for fully democratic elections to be held early next year.

No one really knows whether the German revolution is now essentially over, with the future being one of gradual reforms improving the lives of the SPD’s working class supporters, or if this is just a transitional phase akin to the rule of Kerensky‘s Provisional Government in Russia. Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League hope that Ebert’s government will soon be replaced by a government based on workers’ councils, as supposedly is the case in Soviet Russia. Ebert meanwhile fears that any sign of unrest has been whipped up the Spartacists as a prelude to a coup attempt by them.

The Volksmarinedivision (People’s Navy Division) is a unit of revolutionary marines that were stationed in Berlin in the early days of the revolution, currently billeted in the former royal palace. Now a dispute has arisen between them and the commander of the city garrison, Otto Wels. Wels held back the marines’ pay; in return they have now mutinied, abducting him and roughing him up.

Ebert fears that the marines are preparing to spearhead a Spartacist putsch. He may also be coming under pressure from Groener, the army’s quartermaster-general, to do something about the unruly marines. So he orders regular troops to attack the palace and suppress the marines.

The assault on the palace begins with an artillery bombardment and then a fire fight erupts between the two sides. However the attack turns into something of a fiasco. The marines easily repel the army’s assault. They find themselves being assisted by armed civilians and members of the police force. There are even reports of soldiers switching sides and joining the Volksmarinedivision.

At the end of the day Ebert’s attempt to crush the marines has proved an embarrassing failure. His coalition partners in the USPD meanwhile are furious, as he launched the attack without consulting them. But the Volksmarinedivision makes no move to overthrow Ebert’s government; perhaps they are not actually in league with the Spartacists after all?

image sources:

Soldiers of the People’s Navy Division (LeMo – Lebendiges Museum Online: Die Weihnachtskämpfe 1918)

Members of the Volksmarinedivision defending the Neptune Fountain (Wikipedia: Skirmish of the Berlin Schloss)

24/12/1918 Striking back against the Bolsheviks: Kolchak routs the Red Army and storms Perm #1918Live

With the defeat of Germany on the Western Front the main threat to the established order of Europe is now Bolshevism. Lenin and his Bolsheviks have taken power in Russia and overturned the prevailing order of society there, executing the royal family, seizing property and reversing traditional hierarchies. Across Europe and beyond the fear of those in power is that something similar might now happen in their own countries. Consequently their policemen are on guard for any sign of Bolshevik contagion spreading to their own disgruntled working classes.

The end of fighting on the Western Front and the Middle East has freed up large numbers of Allied troops. Large stocks of war materials are no longer needed for the struggle against Germany and Turkey. Could some of these soldiers and some of this materiel be sent to aid the White armies fighting against the Bolsheviks? Allied troops have already established themselves in ports on the periphery of the former Russian Empire: Archangelsk and Murmansk in the north, Vladivostok in the far east, and Odessa, Sevastopol and Novorossiysk in the south. The Allied forces thus far deployed are too small to seriously affect the outcome of the Russian Civil War, but White leaders hope that they are just the advance guard of larger intervention forces. Allied material aid to the Whites has also been relatively modest thus far, but again, the anti-Bolshevik leaders hope that more is on its way.

Trotsky‘s reorganisation of the Red Army had seen it win a number of victories but now perhaps the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. Admiral Kolchak has reinvigorated White forces in the Siberian theatre, with his troops no longer needing the backing of the Czechoslovak Legion to take on the Red Army. Today Kolchak’s men capture Perm, an industrial city in the Urals. In the fighting large numbers of Red Army troops surrender to Kolchak; they appear to have been sent into the battle without adequate training or winter clothing. The Red Army troops appear also to be suffering from food shortages, a consequence of disorganisation in the Bolsheviks’ rear and the alienation of the peasantry by the Red Terror. This is all very promising for Kolchak, as it suggests that the Red Army might just be on the brink of disintegration.

image source:

Kolchak reviewing troops (Wikipedia: Russian Civil War)