There’s a lot going on in this month’s headlines. Here’s a sampling of what the world was experiencing 100 years ago. In addition to “the war” proper, we’ve now got independence movements turning into outright Civil War in various parts of what had been the Russian Empire, including Finland, Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia.
World War I:
British troops capture Kirkuk, in Iraq, on May 7.
German troops seize Rostov, Ukraine, on May 8.
Germany launches its largest and last air raid of World War I against Great Britain on May 20, killing 49 people.
German forces launched the third stage of their offensive against the Allies on the Western Front with Operation Blücher-Yorck, beginning with the attack on Aisne River in France on May 27. Taking advantage of thinly spread out defenses, the Germans advanced through a 40 km (25 mi) gap in the Allied line, punched through eight Allied divisions between Reims and Soissons, and gained another 15 km to the Vesle River by nightfall
Finnish Civil War:
The Battle of Lahti ends on May 1. Together with German forces, Finnish Whites defeat the Red Guard.
Word of the Vyborg Massacre (began April 28), reaches White Guard commander Mannerheim on May 2, who immediately orders it halted. By the time it has ceased, 360-420 Finnish Red Guards and Russians have been killed.
The Battle of Ahvenkoski ends May 5 with the surrender of Red forces there, assuring that Finland will not join the new USSR.
The Civil War ends with the capture of the Russian-held Fort Ino on May 15.
Russian Civil War:
Women in Canada (excluding Quebec) are granted the right to vote on May 24.
Hazel Turner, a black farmer in Georgia, is lynched on May 16. When his widow threatens the vigilantes with arrest, she and her unborn child are also murdered on May 19. No one is ever charged with either crime.
Axeman of New Orleans: on May 22, Joseph Maggio, an Italian grocer in New Orleans, and his wife Catherine, were murdered in their own home while sleeping. The killer cut both of their throats with a razor and bludgeoned them with an axe. Joseph survived long enough to be found by his brothers to report the attack. It set off a string of similar murders that terrorized the city until 1919 when the murder spree stopped. None of the serial murders have been solved
Nicaragua declares war on the Central Powers, May 6.
Costa Rica declares war on Germany, May 23.
The first of the Sisson Documents, alleging to prove that Germany had conspired with Bolsheviks to bring about the end of the war, is released on May 9. (The documents are later proved to be forgeries).