April 1918

by popegrutch

For our Century News in April, things are deceptively “stable” on the Western Front and in Russia/the new USSR. A Germany rapidly depleted of resources like food and ammunition continues its desperate Spring Offensive, achieving territorial gains, but little strategic advantage. While the Bolsheviks can now claim to be the officially recognized government of the former Russian Empire, their territory remains in dispute, and new regions are breaking off and claiming independence each month, and “white” officers are in revolt against the Red Army. Events in Europe and Russian territory continue to shape a volatile future for the world in 1918.

General Erich Ludendorff

World War I:

General Erich Ludendorff calls off Operation Michael, the first of the Spring Offensive operations, on April 5, after failing to capture Amiens.

The Fourth Battle of Ypres takes place from April 7-29 with a German assault. Another extension of the Spring Offensive, it too failed to achieve its objectives and was called off.

The Zeebrugge Raid and First Ostend Raid, attempts by the British Royal Navy to seal off the German U-boat base takes place April 23. Both raids are ultimately unsuccessful, but emphasize German vulnerability to naval blockade.

The Second Transjordan attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt launched on April 30 by units of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force ends on 4 May with their withdrawal back to the Jordan Valley.

Military Administration:

The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in Britain are merged on April 1 to form the Royal Air Force, the first autonomous Air Force in the world.

Sālote Tupou III of Tonga

Political Leadership:

Sālote succeeds as Queen of Tonga on April 5; she will remain on the throne until her death in 1965.

Geopolitics:

Union of Bessarabia with Romania: Bessarabia votes on April 9 to become part of the Kingdom of Romania.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia declare their independence from Russia on April 22 as the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.

Social Unrest:

Conscription Crisis of 1918 in Ireland: a general strike is held April 23 against conscription.

Film:

A Dog’s Life,” starring Charlie Chaplin, released April 14.

Deaths:

Manfred von Richthofen, “The Red Baron”, the war’s most successful fighter pilot, dies on April 21 in combat at Morlancourt Ridge near the Somme River.

Gavrilo Princip, assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, dies April 28 in Terezin, Austria-Hungary, after three years in prison.

Lavr Kornilov is killed fighting against Bolshevik forces outside Ekaterinodar.

Births:

Anne Shirley, actress (in “Anne of Green Gables” and “Stella Dallas”), born April 17.

William Holden, actor (in “Picnic” and “Sunset Boulevard”), born April 17.

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