17th July 1915 (Saturday)

War!

On the British Home Front: in ‘deplorable’ weather, outside the Houses of Parliament, British “lionesses” demand a share of the burden of war.

“Some scoffed, but others sympathised and encouraged, and the resulting Women’s War Register saw thousands of women sign up to work in the factories.The results were impressive. The number of women in the workforce rose from 3.214 million in July 1914 to 4.08 million in July 1916, and 4.94 million in November 1918. Unfortunately, however, many would be pushed out of their jobs when the munitions factories closed and the men came back from the front.” [The Independent]

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-history/history-of-the-first-world-war-in-100-moments/a-history-of-the-first-world-war-in-100-moments-british-women-demand-a-share-of-the-burden-9322644.html

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/britain1906to1918/transcript/g4cs4s1t.htm

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/583565/

On the Australian Home Front: Australasian films releases “The Hero of the Dardanelles”, a patriotic war recruiting film.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_of_the_Dardanelles

2nd July, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Rome – Brigadier Arthur Valerian Wellesley: 8th Duke of Wellington; 8th Prince of Waterloo; 9th Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo; Eton; Oxford; Royal Horse Guards; Household Cavalry Regiment; KG (Most Noble Order of the Garter);  OBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire); MC (Military Cross); Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the Yorkshire Regiment (deputy to the Duke of York); Deputy Colonel to the Blues and Royals (deputy to Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal); and Honorary Colonel of the 2nd Battalion Wessex Regiment.

In short, a pukka toff.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Valerian_Wellesley,_8th_Duke_of_Wellington

War!

On the British home front: the UK Parliament passes the Munitions of War Act, giving it sweeping powers for compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes; to ban strikes and lock-outs; to limit profits; and declare any factory a “controlled operation”, and with powers to approve all wage changes etc. [Burg & Purcell].

On the American home front: German-American Erich Muenter, also known as Erich Holt or  Frank Holt, plants and explodes a bomb in the US Senate in Washington DC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Muenter

14th June 1915 (Monday)

War!

Gallipoli: Australian soldier Herbert Reynolds from Victoria records in his diary one of war’s quieter days, for him at least:

“A T.B.Destroyer went in close to Kaba Tepe this morning and shelled the enemy tranches from a while, she returned again this afternoon and shelled the enemy away inland, on this occasion the enemy fired at her with their field gun from behind Kaba Tepe but did not succeed in hitting her. I managed to buy 3 tins of milk one shilling each from some sailors on the beach, we get very little here other than our rations which are bully beef, biscuits, cheese and bacon, so anything is very welcome as change. The sea has been rather rough today. At about 11pm some of us sat and watched heavy action down at Cape Helles from the top of the ridge above our camp, the flash of guns and explosion of the shells proved that the artillery on both sides was very heavily engaged and the start shells and flares illuminated the whole ridge from Achi Baba to the Cape”. 

[Australian War Memorial blog – the diary of H.V. Reynolds]

https://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2010/06/14/monday-14th-june-1915-diary-of-hv-reynolds/

Peace

Strike! The Chicago Livestock World (“The world’s greatest farm newspaper”) reports the “Street Car Men on Strike”

“The general strike order for all union employes of the surface and elevated railway lines in Chicago became effective at I2 o’clock last night.  Since 4 o’clock this morning not a wheel has turned on the 1200 miles of elevated and surface tracks within the city limits. The decision to make the strike order effective was reached shortly before midnight after a day spent by the officers of the unions and officials of the railway companies ln a vain exchange of notes and parleys looking to arbitration. Half a million men and women, upon business bent, found themselves without their usual means of transportation this morning.”

http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=d&d=CLW19150614.2.24

14th May, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Bergen – Olaf Sunde, Norwegian resistance fighter, lawyer and workers’ rights activist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olaf_Sunde

War!

The politics of the arms race: The Times of London reports on the “shell crisis” facing British forces on the Western Front, thereby implicitly criticising the government for the supply chain failures:

“Need for shells: British attacks checked: Limited supply the cause: A Lesson From France… We had not sufficient high explosives to lower the enemy’s parapets to the ground … The want of an unlimited supply of high explosives was a fatal bar to our success”. [Wikipedia]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_Crisis_of_1915

25th January 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Salford, England – James Henry Miller, better known to posterity as the singer songwriter and folk musician Ewan MacColl. The son of “an iron moulder and militant trade unionist who had moved to Salford with his wife, a charwoman, to look for work after being blacklisted in almost every foundry in Scotland” [Wikipedia].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewan_MacColl

War!

Western Front: in German held Mezieres in France, the commander of XV Corps attends a meeting of the German Supreme Command for the Western Front. The attendees agree that the XV Corps sector, south of Ypres, will be used to test the new “gas cloud” weapon.

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/battles/second-ypres-1915/prelude/gas-weapon-trial.htm

Peace:

Science and technology: the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurates the U.S. transcontinental telephone service by making a demonstration call to Thomas Watson, his former assistant, in San Francisco.

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/25/jan-25-1915-alexander-graham-bell-demonstrates-atts-transcontinental-telephone-line/?_r=0

 

17th January 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: (only in the USA) – Vincent Kosuga – American onion farmer “best known for manipulating the onion futures market. Though he made millions of dollars on commodity trading, his actions were highly controversial and attracted government scrutiny. This scrutiny led to the passing of the Onion Future Act, which banned the trading of futures contracts  on onions.” [Wikipedia]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Kosuga

War!

In the East: Russia occupies the historic region of Bukovina (now divided between Ukraine and Romania), and also Western Ukraine.

http://www.historyorb.com/events/date/1915/january

 

Peace

Mining accidents: At the village of Halmer End, in England’s North Staffordshire coal-fields, a coal gas explosion kills 9 miners, including Arthur Shufflebottom, aged just 16.

http://www.healeyhero.co.uk/rescue/Collection/jl/mini1915_A.htm

Society and culture: in the USA, the radical labour organizer and anarchist Lucy Parsons lead a hunger march in Chicago.

http://unionsong.com/u025.html

28th October 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in New York City – Dr Jonas Edward Salk, who brought the world an effective vaccine against polio:

“In the five years before 1955, when mass inoculations with the vaccine began, cases of paralytic polio averaged about 25,000 a year in the United States. A few years after polio vaccination became routine, the annual number of cases dropped to a dozen or so, sometimes fewer.” [NY TImes obituary].

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1028.html

War!

Eastern Front: Russian troops recapture Lodz and Radon from German forces. [Burg & Purcell]

War at Sea: The German cruiser “Emden” makes a surprise attack on Penang in Malaya (now Malaysia), sinking the Russian Cruiser “Zemtchug” and the French destroyer “Mousquet”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Penang

Society and Culture: At the Bank of England (the UK’s central bank) – one of the City’s most traditional bastions –  the Treasury Committee minutes provide a brief glimpse of the impact of war on the labour market, as now recorded on the contemporary bank’s web-site:

The impact of the war on the Bank is illustrated by a change in the workforce between 1914 and 1918. In August 1914, women clerks at the Bank numbered just 66 and their work was predominantly typing and counting notes. As a result of the enlistment of many of the  Bank’s junior male clerks, the number of temporary and permanent women clerks increased to a peak of 2,463 in June 1919. The responsibilities of the women clerks was (sic) also changing. An extract from the Committee of Treasury minutes on 28 October 1914 discusses that as it was now, ‘desirable to employ women clerks permanently on the coupon work of the Securities Office, the Committee agreed to recommend to the Court of Directors that the staff of the Women Clerks Department be increased by eight clerks.’ ”  [Bank of England archives].

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Pages/digitalcontent/archivedocs/ww1servicerecords.aspx