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” ].




26th October 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Los Angeles – Uncle Fester.



In Africa: in German Kamerun (now independent Cameroon), British and French forces successfully eject the German garrison from the town of Edea in the “first battle of Edea”.


Crime and punishment: In Sarajevo, the group who plotted successfully to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th June are found guilty. Those over the age of 20 are sentenced to death, and the younger perpetrators, including the actual assassin, Gavrilo Princip, are given twenty year sentences. [Burg and Purcell]


Fashion: In London, the Guardian newspaper reports on the impact of the war on high fashion:

“One is decidedly struck with the tendency to adopt – or rather adapt – several military styles of coats and capes. The cavalier cape of the summer has become more ample and closely fitting round the throat, while the loose military coat, slightly double-breasted and buttoning close to the neck, with a band collar or edging of narrow fur, is both extremely becoming and useful. These are usually made of a heavy face-cloth or velour, and must, of course, be lined with a silk of contrasting colour. An adaptation of the Russian soldier coat is another favourite. This is cut on somewhat straighter lines than the former and has a sash or girdle of heavy cord and tassel round the waist, tied loosely to the front or side.” [The Guardian, 26th October 1914].


Leisure: In New Zealand, farmer George is studying the geology of the USA in his free time.


20th August 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Stockholm, Sweden –  Sven “Svenne Berka” Bergqvist, “bandy, ice-hockey and football player” [Wikipedia].



Eastern Front: German forces attack Russians at the Battle of Gumbinnen in East Prussia, but are repulsed and driven back with heavy losses.


Balkan Front:  Towards the conclusion of the Battle of Jadar, also known as the Battle of Cer,  the Austro-Hungarian 5th army is forced back into Austro-Hungarian Bosnia Herzegovina by Serbian troops. “Many Austro-Hungarian soldiers drown in the water [of the Driva River] as they flee in panic”. [Misha Glenny: “The Balkans”, quoted on Wikipedia].

Western Front: German troops occupy Brussels in great numbers.

[Peter Chassaud: “Mapping the First World War”]


In The Vatican City at Rome, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, better known as Pope Pius X, dies, after living in poor health following a heart attack in 1913.



19th August 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Tyldesley, Lancashire, England – Frank Seddon, dreamer, musician, miner, poet, tubman and fireman, home guard sergeant, family man and migrant.



In Aerschot, in Belgium, German soldiers perpetrate a massacre of priests and civilians, around 150 in total,  ostensibly in retaliation for the murder of a german officer, but believed by some to be part of a deliberate policy of inflicting terror on the civilian population.


At Lesnica in Serbia, Austrian soldiers shoot150 peasants during the army’s forced retreat towards the Drina river, which forms the nearby border with (Austro-Hungarian) Bosnia Herzegovina.

[Burg and Purcell: Almanac of World War 1]

Delivering a speech to the US Senate in Washington, President Woodrow Wilson urges Americans to remain neutral both in actions and in speech:

“The effect of the war upon the United States will depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned. The spirit of the nation in this critical matter will be determined largely by what individuals and society and those gathered in public meetings do and say, upon what newspapers and magazines contain, upon what ministers utter in their pulpits, and men proclaim as their opinions upon the street.

The people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war. It is natural and inevitable that there should be the utmost variety of sympathy and desire among them with regard to the issues and circumstances of the conflict. Some will wish one nation, others another, to succeed in the momentous struggle. It will be easy to excite passion and difficult to allay it. Those responsible for exciting it will assume a heavy responsibility, responsibility for no less a thing than that the people of the United States, whose love of their country and whose loyalty to its government should unite them as Americans all, bound in honor and affection to think first of her and her interests, may be divided in camps of hostile opinion, hot against each other, involved in the war itself in impulse and opinion if not in action…

I venture, therefore, my fellow countrymen, to speak a solemn word of warning to you against that deepest, most subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which may spring out of partisanship, out of passionately taking sides. The United States must be neutral in fact, as well as in name, during these days that are to try men’s souls. We must be impartial in thought, as well as action, must put a curb upon our sentiments, as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another.”


28th July 1914 (Tuesday)


Exactly one month after the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo (in Bosnia-Herzegovina) – a month filled with military, political and diplomatic manoeuvering and deceit, all of it with very little real connection to the assassination – Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.


1st February 1914 (Sunday)


~ in Mostar, in the Herzegovina region (at that time) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Bosnia-Herzegovina) – Avdo Humo, Yugoslav and Bosnian communist politician; recipient of the “Order of the Peoples’ Hero”; campaigner for equality for muslims; co-founder of the famous Bosnian newspaper “Oslobođenje” (liberation); and second president of the executive council of the Peoples’ Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


~ In Sialkot, Punjab, in British India (now part of Pakistan) – Avtar Kishan Hangal, Indian freedom fighter and (later) stage and film actor. Jailed for two years for being a communist in newly formed Pakistan (1947 to 1949), following which he settled in Mumbai, India.