March 1918

by popegrutch

The War is still at the forefront of this month’s Century News, along with the developing situation in the new Soviet Union, which is transitioning from revolution to civil war. Germany is momentarily ascendant, or at least optimistic, with the collapse of Russia and the beginning of a new offensive prior to the large-scale arrival of troops from the USA, but these hopes will soon be dashed as the offensive stalls and shortages at home raise new tensions. The United States meanwhile shows its dedication by moving its clocks forward one hour, arresting an innocent man and releasing a movie about a little girl looking for a bird.

The Paris Gun

World War One

German submarine U-19 sinks HMS Calgarian off Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland on March 1.

Battle of Tell ‘Asur launched on March 8 by units of the British Army‘s Egyptian Expeditionary Force against Ottoman defences from the Mediterranean Sea, across the Judaean Mountains to the edge of the Jordan Valley ends on March 12 with the move of much of the front line north into Ottoman territory.

Spring Offensive  launched March 21 by the German Army along the Western Front. It fails to make a breakthrough despite large losses on each side, including nearly 20,000 British Army dead on the first day, Operation Michael.

First Transjordan attack on Amman by units of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force begins with the passage of the Jordan River on March 21.

On March 23, the giant German cannon, the ‘Paris Gun‘ (Kaiser Wilhelm Geschütz), begins to shell Paris from 114 km (71 mi) away.

First Battle of Amman launched March 27 by units of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the First Transjordan attack on Amman, ends with their withdrawal on 31 March back to the Jordan Valley.

Signing of the armistice between Russia and Germany

Diplomacy

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ends Russia’s involvement in the war on March 3. This deal is engineered by the Bolsheviks, who came to power largely through the promise to end the war, however Germany treats her defeated foe shabbily, plundering territory and demanding exorbitant reparations, setting a precedent that would be raised at the time of the Treaty of Versailles.

Finland forms an alliance with Germany, formalized on March 7.

Russian Revolution and Civil War

Moscow becomes the capital of Soviet Russia on March 12.

The Belarusian People’s Republic declares independence March 25.

Bolshevik and Armenian Revolutionary Federation forces suppress a Muslim revolt in Baku, Azerbaijan, resulting in up to 30,000 deaths beginning March 30. The “March Days” will continue through April 2 (new calendar).

Karl Muck

Political Arrest

Dr. Karl Muck, music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is arrested March 25 under the Alien Enemies Act and imprisoned for the duration of WWI. He is accused of “treason” in the press for refusing to play the “Star Spangled Banner” at the beginning of concerts, a false accusation.

Aerospace

The Finnish Army Corps of Aviation is founded March 6 as a forerunner of the Finnish Air Force to be established on 4 May 1928. The blue swastika is adopted as its symbol as a tribute to the Swedish explorer and aviator Eric von Rosen, who donated the first plane. Von Rosen had painted the Viking symbol on the plane as his personal lucky insignia.

The first pilotless drone, the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane developed by Elmer Sperry and Peter Cooper Hewitt, is test-flown on March 6 in Long Island, New York, but development is scrapped in 1925 after its guidance system proves unreliable.

Standardization

The United States Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time on March 19 (DST goes into effect on March 31).

Birth Control Literature

Dr. Marie Stopes publishes her influential book Married Love in the U.K on March 26. The book is banned in the United States until 1931.

 

Film

The Blue Bird,” directed by Maurice Tourneur, released March 31.

Births

Roger Delgado, actor (played the Master on “Doctor Who”), born March 1.

Mickey Spillane, writer (created “Mike Hammer” thrillers), born March 9.

Deaths

In London at the Wood Green Empire, Chung Ling Soo (William E. Robinson, U.S.-born magician) dies on March 23 during his trick where he is supposed to “catch” two separate bullets – but one of them perforates his lung.

French composer Claude Debussy dies of colorectal cancer March 25 in Paris.

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