Socialism in Italy: a “rising star” of the Italian socialist party, one Benito Mussolini, expresses the view that “Italian workers should give ‘not a penny’ to the cause of war, nor spill ‘one drop of blood’ for a cause that had ‘nothing to do with it’. If the government failed to declare neutrality, the proletatriat would force it to do so”. [Mark Thompson: “The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919”].
Fire in Constantinople: A great fire in Istanbul, later attributed to Russian areoplane bombing, destroys over 3000 buildings.
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]
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.
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.
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]
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.”
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]
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].
Western Front: in German held Mezieres in France, the commander of XV Corps attends a meetingof 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.
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.
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]