13th February 1915 (Saturday)

 BORN TODAY: in Natmauk, in British Burma (now Myanmar) to lawyer U Pha and his wife Daw Suu – Bogyoke (General) Aung San, revolutionary, nationalist, founder of the modern Burmese army and of the Communist Party of Burma. Considered also to be the “father” of modern-day Burma [Wikipedia]. Father of Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner. Aung San was assassinated in 1947 in a military putsch, at the ege of 32.

A sculpture of Aung San will go on display this month in his home town of Natmauk, to commemorate his 100th birthday.




Crime and punishment: In Wellington, New Zealand, German internee Arthur Rottman is found guilty of murdering farmer Joseph McCann and his wife and baby son at their farm in Ruahine (“the Ruahine axe murders”), and is sentenced to death by hanging.



3rd February 1915 (Wednesday)


~ in Sarajevo, then in the condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Austria-Hungarian Empire (now the capital of independent Bosnia Herzegovina) – Danilo Ilic, a member of the “black hand” secret society who recruited Gavrillo Princip, is executed (along with two others) for his part in the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand in the summer of 1914.


In Malawi, the Reverend John Chilembwe, “freedom fighter”, is shot dead by colonial police forces while allegedly resisting arrest for his part in a recent attack on, and murder of, several European settlers. “Chilembwe led the uprising in early January fighting for freedom from social injustices faced by his countrymen, and was killed at noon [on] 3rd February 1915” [The Maravi Post].




In the Middle East: British and Egyptian troops, including a British naval contingent, defeat the long expected Turkish attack on the Suez Canal. The German advisers to the Turkish forces begin to realise that their hopes of an Islamic uprising against British power in Egypt and India are misplaced, with evidence before and after the attack that the local Arab forces show no particular loyalty or botherhood with their Turkish masters, and that the Egyptian forces will not easily be turned against their colonial masters  [Scott Anderson: “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East” ].




31st July 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: Louis Germain David de Funès de Galarza, French comic.



Across Europe, Governments are ordering full mobilisation of armies, each afraid that the others will “steal a march” and gain a day’s movement of forces.

! Germany issues ultimata to both Russia and France

! Austria moves from limited aggression against Serbia to full mobilisation

! Turkey order mobilization for 3rd August

! Britain asks both Germany and France whether they will respect Belgian neutrality, and meantime issues order to its fleet in the Mediterranean to aid French transportation of troops back from Africa, and to interfere with German vessels if it can be done without undue risk.

[Almanac of Worlds War 1]


Assassination: In the “Croissant Cafe” in the Rue Montmartre in Paris, French socialist and anti-militarist Jean Jaures is shot dead by a French nationalist in retaliation for his (Jaure’s) efforts to preserve peace between France and Germany.





6th July, 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Halifax Nova Scotia – Viola Davis (later Desmond), Canadian black activist  wrongly convicted for tax evasion as a result of a protest over segregation in a New Glasgow theatre, and pardoned posthumously, in 2010, forty five years after her death [Wikipedia].


World Affairs: In St Petersburg, the Russian government warns Austria not to make unreasonable demands of the Serbians in response to their alleged involvement in the Archduke’s assassination.

Society and Culture: In Kiel, Germany, where the German and British navies have been jointly celebrating “Kiel Week” together, the Kaiser sets off on his annual holiday cruise, heading for Norway. {Almanac of World War 1].



1st July 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Tikrit in the Ottoman Empire (now Iraq) – Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, President of Iraq, 1968-79, and cousin of Saddam Hussein.


Europe’s “July Crisis”…

Across Europe, diplomats and politicians are consulting and manoeuvering to evaluate the threats and opportunities created by the assassination of the Archduke on Sunday.

“The nations slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war” [David Lloyd George, currently the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer; later leader of the wartime coalition government”



29th June, 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY:   in Little Tew, in Oxfordshire – Nancy Sandars, archaeologist.


World Affairs: In Sarajevo, Catholic Croats and Muslims riot (together), attacking Serbians and their homes and businesses. [“Almanac of World War 1“]. Fifty are injured, and one is killed. There are also anti-Serbian riots in Vienna.


~ in Pokrovskoye, in the Tyumen Oblast, in Russia – Khioniya Guseva tries to assassinate Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, the Russian mystic, faith healer and private adviser to the Romanovs. She is judged to be insane and committed to an asylum until 1917.


A wandering archaeologist: Thomas Edward Lawrence, a twenty five year old Oxford graduate and archaeologist, is taking a break in England and writes to a friend that he will be in England for another 2 or 3 weeks, after which he expects to return to his duties at Carchemish in Syria. [“Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East”, by Scott Anderson].




28th June 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: A century of strife…

World Affairs: In Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 19 year old Gavrilo Princip, Serbian by descent, Bosnian by birth, and Austro-Hungarian by Habsburg diktat, steps into the sunlight from a crowd of onlookers and fires two shots from his Belgian John Browning pistol, killing both the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife, Sophia Maria Josephine Albina Countess Chotek of Chotkova and Wognin and Duchess of Hohenberg. This single act unleashes the accumulated political tensions of the last twenty years, triggering a hundred years of conflict, analysis, accusations and debate. The rest, as they say, is history.

At his trial Princip declared: “I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be freed from Austria”…



21st June 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Victoria, British Columbia – Wiliam Spencer Vickrey, post Keynesian economist and Nobel Laureate.


World Affairs: Serbian diplomat Jovan Jovanovic warns Leon Bilinski, the Austrian finance minister, that there may be an assassination plot against Archduke Franz Ferdinand when he visits Sarajevo next week. His warning is ignored.


Extreme Weather: the city of Termez in Central Asia (previously belonging to the Emirate of Bukhara, at this time part of Imperial Russia, later in the Soviet Union, and now the most Southern point in Uzbekistan)  experiences the hottest temperature ever recorded in Uzbekistan – 49.6 celsius.


Sport: In Buenos Aires – England’s Exeter City football club beat a team representing Southern Argentina 3-0.



1st June 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Vienna, Austria-Hungary – Franz Kraemer, Canadian broadcaster, and “pioneer of opera on TV”.


Society and Culture: In Vienna, Generalmajor Viktor Weber von Webenau becomes a member of the “Supreme Military Court”, quickly rising to the position of Vice President in July.


World Affairs: On a quiet Monday evening in the Balkans, 19 year old Gavrilo Princip and 18 year old Trifun Grabež, two young men with dreams of a better world, cross over the Drina River from Serbia to Bosnia with assassination on their minds.


Women’s suffrage: In the village of Wargrave in central England, suffragettes are suspected of starting the blaze which destroys the village church. (more dreams of a better world?).


Irish suffragettes: In Belfast, in British Ireland, suffragettes stage a “counter demonstration” when large numbers of mill-girls turn out to welcome the Unionist leader, Sir Edward Carson. In the ensuing fracas, “the [mill] girls caught one of the militant women, and, stripping her of nearly all clothing, spanked her with her own shoes. It was only with difficulty that the police,who were stopped by the mill hands, rescued the suffragette from her painful predicament.”  [The Melbourne Argus, 3rd June 1914]

(multiple dreams of a better world…)


9th May 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY:   Louis Denham Fouts, “male prostitue and outstandingly and handsomely in demand literary muse”



World Affairs: The “Morning Post” reports the killing of three Britons and three “native constables” on the North West frontier, in Waziristan on the North West Frontier of British India (now on the Pakistan/ Afganistan border). Major Dodd, the “political agent” and two military colleagues (plus the three “natives”) are shot dead by a “native orderly”, who also dies in the attack [Spectator, 16th May 1914].


Sport: In Louisville, Kentucky, John McCabe, riding “Old Rosebud”, wins the 40th Kentucky Derby, by eight lengths. “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” [Wikipedia]


Social research: the Polish anthropologist and Somerville College (Oxford) student Marya Czaplicka applies for funds for an expedition to Siberia, which are granted to her later this month. Three days later the trilingual student leaves for Sibeia to study the social anthropology of Northern Asia, “her subject being shamanism in the tribes of Siberia” [Somerville College, Oxford – some.ox.ac.uk]



~ one day after his twenty fifth birthday, Arthur Cumming, British figure skater and Olympic silver medalist, dies from tetanus contracted in a recent motor cycle accident.


~ The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette reports the untimely death, late last month, of Charles Shute “son of a Naval petty officer, [who] was paddling in a stream near his home at Heavitree when he severely cut his foot. He was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital at 5.20 p.m., but it was 6.10 p.m. before a doctor could be found. He progressed favourably till the following Monday, when lockjaw  [tetanus] set in, and he died on Tuesday.”