5th September 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Colombo in British Ceylon  – Arthur Terence Sahanandan Paul, pioneering Sri Lankan cardiothoracic surgeon.

http://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E002039b.htm

War!

Protest: In Zimmerwald, Switzerland, delegates from international socialist parties in 11 countries hold a conference to advocate anti-militarist and pacifist policies and (for some) international socialist revolution, later making this small Swiss town a part of the foundation myth of the Soviet Union.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimmerwald_Conference#Signatories_of_the_Zimmerwald_Manifesto

23rd August 1915 (Monday)

Empire and global finance

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin, publishes his thoughts on the Social Democratic idea of a “United States of Europe”, focussing in particular on the challenge of economic union in the context of political differences:

” Capital has become international and monopolist. The world has been carved up by a handful of Great Powers, i.e., powers successful in the great plunder and oppression of nations. The four Great Powers of Europe—Britain, France, Russia and Germany, with an aggregate population of between 250,000,000 and 300,000,000, and an area of about 7,000,000 square kilometres—possess colonies with a population of almost 500 million (494,500,000) and an area of 64,600,000 square kilometres, i.e., almost half the surface of the globe (133,000,000 square kilometres, exclusive of Arctic and Antarctic regions). Add to this the three Asian states—China, Turkey and Persia, now being rent piecemeal by thugs that are waging a war of “liberation”, namely, Japan, Russia, Britain and France. Those three Asian states, which may be called semi-colonies (in reality they are now 90 per cent colonies), have a total population of 360,000,000 and an area of 14,500,000 square kilometres (almost one and a half times the area of all Europe).

Furthermore, Britain, France and Germany have invested capital abroad to the value of no less than 70,000 million rubles. The business of securing “legitimate” profits from this tidy sum—these exceed 3,000 million rubles annually—committees of the millionaires, known as governments, which are equipped with armies and navies and which provide the sons and brothers of the millionaires with jobs in the colonies and semi-colonies as viceroys, consuls, ambassadors, officials of all kinds, clergymen, and other leeches.

That is how the plunder of about a thousand million of the earth’s population by a handful of Great Powers is organised in the epoch of the highest development of capitalism. No other organisation is possible under capitalism. Renounce colonies, “spheres of influence”, and the export of capital? To think that it is possible means coming down to the level of some snivelling parson who every Sunday preaches to the rich on the lofty principles of Christianity and advises them to give the poor, well, if not millions, at least several hundred rubles yearly.

“A United States of Europe under capitalism is tantamount to an agreement on the partition of colonies.”

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/aug/23.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15th May 1915 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in London – Hilda Schwarz (later Bernstein), journalist, author, artist, activist, communist and exile.

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

War!

The Dardanelles: Senior British Admiral Sir John Fisher resigns in protest at what he perceives to be Churchill’s misplaced obsession with forcing the Dardanelles, a strategy which has so far yielded nothing but many thousands of deaths [Burg & Purcell].

The Western Front: After a 60 hour bombardment by 433 artillery pieces   firing about 100,000 shells, British General Sir Douglas Haig launches his British, Indian and Canadian  army against the German defences on the first day of the Battle of Festubert.  After 10 days and over 20,000 casualities the Allies will have gained approximately 3 kilometres. Overall losses for the Second Battle of Artois (of which this forms part) are in the order of 200,000 German, French, British, Indian and Canadian men, including over 100,000 Frenchmen [Wikipedia].

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

Revolution!

The Reuters News Agency files unconfirmed reports (from the Spanish government) of a revolutionary coup in Portugal, where all communications (railway, telegraph etc) have been cut and there are (unfounded) rumours that the ex-Premier, Afonso Costa, has been assassinated.

http://www.cphrc.org/index.php/documents/firstrepublic/475-1915-05-15-commune-in-portugal

30th March 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Barcelona – Francisco Sabaté Llopart (known as ‘El Quico’), Spanish resistance fighter, French resistance fighter, anti-Franco rebel and bandit, Spanish “public enemy No 1”, “Anarquista”. Shot and killed by the Spanish civil guard in January 1960, aged 44.

https://libcom.org/history/articles/1915-1960-francisco-sabate-llopart

War!

The Home Front: In Britain, “after Lloyd George [the ‘Chancellor of the Exchequer’ or Finance Minister] denounces drinking as an enemy of the war effort, George V declares the royal household’s willingness to abstain from consumption of alcoholic beverages for the duration of the war” [Burg & Purcell].

4th March, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade: “Shipped to Egypt without horses where it was broken up 26 August 1915″. [http://www.diggerhistory.info/].

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-a-l-horse/4th_lh_bde.htm

War!

Counting chickens: The Allied “Triple Entente” nations – Russia, France and Britain – begin secret talks on how to divide up the lands of the Ottoman Empire (The “Constantinople Agreement”, agreed two weeks from today on 18th March 1915). In the event, the agreement is never implemented because: firstly, the British and French campaign in the Dardanelles fails; and secondly, the Russian empire collapses (temporarily at least) with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, which takes Russia out the war (and the subsequent peace) completely.

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

In the Dardanelles: HMS Agamemnon spends the day with its 9.2 inch Mk XI guns trained relentlessly on the Turkish forts at Sedd el Bahr (“Walls of the Sea”).

Across Turkey’s north west frontier, in Bulgaria (its recent foe in the second Balkan War): The Bulgarian Armenian Committee telegraphs to London confirming a force of 20.000 Armenian Volunteers who want to fight against the Turks and await British assistance to assist them to Iskenderun province (the ancient greek city of Alexandretta on the borders of Turkey and what is now Syria).

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=80c_1416808936

Peace:

Life on the land: In Connecticut, USA – farmer Frank Seger records his day in his diary:

“8 Above” [that is,  8 Fahreneit – well below freezing]

“Clear & cold as Hell and Damnation. Began to warm up after noon. Heman took the milk. Lewis dug load of dirt down in the little meadow for box stall was 8 inches of frost. Cleaned out barn to load of munare [sic] up to Comestocks. Boys cut some stalks. I went up and helped Rubin Wolf saw down trees.”

http://www.onsegermountain.org/seger/march1915.html

28th January, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY:

~ in Inskip, in Lancashire, England – Albert Long, palaeobotanist, naturalist and teacher.

“Education is no good if it makes people greedy or selfish or unjust. It should cure these evils. All the certificates in the world therefore cannot be compared to a kind Spirit.” [Royal Society website]

http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/obits_alpha/Long_a.pdf

~ Also, Sir John Colville “knight and civil servant”, son of the Honourable George Colville and Lady Cynthia Colville, educated at Harrow and  Trinity College, Cambridge, and later the Assistant Private Secretary to three British Prime Ministers. “Although he should not have done so, Colville kept a diary from 1939 – 1957, parts of which have been published”.[The Janus library project in Cambridge].

http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0014%2FCLVL

~ and in Beijing – Nien Cheng, “Chinese writer scarred by the Cultural Revolution” [Guardian newspaper obituary].

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/nov/10/nien-cheng-obituary

War!

The Dardanelles: In London, the War Council is split over the planned Dardanelles operation, but with help from Kitchener and Asquith (the Prime Minister) Churchill’s will prevails and the plan will proceed. [Burg & Purcell]

War at Sea: Off the coast of Brazil, the American cargo ship, the William P. Frye, a four-masted steel barque heading for England with a cargo of wheat, has been intercepted by a German cruiser. When the crew fails to fulfill orders from the German captain to jettison its cargo, the ship is sunk, inciting indignation in the US.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/germans-sink-american-merchant-ship

 

14th December 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Gò Công, in Cochinchina (now Vietnam) – Marie-Thérèse Nguyễn Hữu Thị Lan, schoolgirl at the Couvent des Oiseaux, in Neuilly-sur-Seine in France, distant cousin of Bảo Đại, King of Annam (the central region of what is now Vietnam), whom she married in 1934 to become Empress Nam Phương, the “first and primary wife” of the last Emperor of Vietnam. Promoted from “Her Majesty” to “Her Imperial Majesty” in 1945, but then self-exiled to Cannes in France in 1947 following the communist takeover. [Wikipedia].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nam_Ph%C6%B0%C6%A1ng

Also Born today: Maserati!

http://www.maserati-alfieri.co.uk/alfieri307.htm