After more than two years of bitter fighting and mass slaughter, there will be no Christmas Truce on the front lines of World War I this year. The war is grinding on with no end in sight, although in general the Allies seem to be coming out ahead of the Central Powers in one battle after another. No one knows for sure, but the war still has almost two more years to go before Armistice. This month’s roundup of headlines mostly reflects the ongoing massacre in Europe. On the lighter side of entertainment, Christmas, 1916, seems to have been a great day to spend in a movie theater!
Soldiers in a trench at Verdun
World War I:
On December 13, an avalanche on Mount Marmolada crushes an Austrian barracks, killing approximate 100 soldiers. An estimated 9000 men will be lost to avalanches in the Dolomites this December.
The Battle of Verdun ends in France with German troops defeated on December 18.
El Arish occupied by the British Empire Desert Column during advance across the Sinai Peninsula on December 21.
The Desert Column captures the Ottoman garrison during the Battle of Magdhaba on December 23.
A Sopwith Camel.
The British Sopwith Camel aircraft makes its maiden flight on December 22.
Robert Baden-Powell gives the first public display of the new Wolf Cub section of Scouting December 16 at Caxton Hall, Westminster.
The criminal Humberto Gómez and thirty seven mercenaries seize Arauca in Colombia December 30 and declare the Republic of Arauca. The action is largely an act of revenge on the police commissioner, who is killed in the raid.
The mystic Grigori Rasputin is murdered in Saint Petersburg on December 31 (December 17 by the Russian Old Style calendar).
The Hampton Terrace Hotel in North Augusta, South Carolina, one of the largest and most luxurious hotels in the United States at the time, burns to the ground on December 31.
“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is released December 24. It is estimated to be the second-highest grossing movie of the year, after “Intolerance.”
“The Americano,” starring Douglas Fairbanks, is released December 24.
“Joan the Woman,” directed by Cecil B. DeMille, is released December 25.
“Snow White,” starring Marguerite Clark, is released December 25. Walt Disney will later cite this film as an inspiration for the animated version.
Kirk Douglas (actor, known for “Spartacus” and the later “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”) born December 9.
Betty Grable (actress, who was in “Down Argentine Way” and “How to Marry a Millionaire,” and numerous World War II pinups) born December 18.
Roy Ward Baker (director, who made “Five Million Years to Earth” and “The Vampire Lovers”) born December 19.