Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Balkan Wars

October, 1914

Belgian troops defend Antwerp

Belgian troops defend Antwerp

The news 100 years ago was pretty dominated by the First World War (especially in participating countries), which was underway for good by now.

As usual, let’s start by getting war news out of the way. Much of it can be summarized by saying that things weren’t going as well for either side as their military experts had predicted only two months earlier:

World War One: After a long siege, the city of Antwerp in Belgium falls to German troops, October 9-10.

The Battle of the Yser, from October 16-31, in which Belgian troops make a heroic stand against the German invaders, tying up troops that had been intended to fight in France.

The First Battle of Ypres, also in Belgium, breaks out on October 19, between German and Allied troops, significantly including much of the British regular army, which suffered crushing losses.

On the Eastern front, the Battle of the Vistula River ends in Russian victory at Warsaw.

In the Balkans, Greek forces, with Allied encouragement, invade and occupy the short-lived Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus.

Religion: October 2, the first date predicted by the Watchtower Society (or Jehovah’s Witnesses) comes and goes without witnessing the end of the world or the coming of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. The Society will begin its long-standing practice of reinterpreting its own interpretations of scripture to explain this

Disasters: in Turkey near Lake Burdur, an earthquake estimated as 7.0 on the Richter scale hits on October 7, starting fires that will destroy 17,000 homes.

Crime: Gavrilo Princip is sentenced for the Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on October 28. Because he was a minor at the time, he receives 20 years imprisonment instead of the death sentence.

Sports: the Boston Braves beat the Philadelphia Athletics in a four-game World Series, from October 9-13.

Movies: releases of “His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz” (October 14), “Mabel’s Blunder” (October 14) and “What’s Her Name,” directed by Cecil B. DeMille (October 22).

Births: Actor Jackie Coogan (who starred with Chaplin in the title role of “The Kid” and would grow up to be Uncle Fester on the original “Addams Family” TV show) is born on October 26. Anna Wing (from Britain’s “EastEnders” and also a small role in the “Doctor Who” episode “Kinda”) and Ruth Hussey (best known for her role in “The Philadelphia Story” and who also starred in “The Uninvited,” a 40’s ghost story) are both born on October 30.

Deaths: Gustav Wied, Danish writer, died on October 24.

May, 1914

Africans exhibited at the 1914 Jubilee Exhibition in Christiania (Oslo), Norway. Image from Oslo Museum,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Norway license.

Africans exhibited at the 1914 Jubilee Exhibition in Christiania (Oslo), Norway. Image from Oslo Museum, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Norway license.

Here’s a roundup of what took place during the month of May in 1914.

Politics: On May 1, President Yuan Shikai replaces China’s constitution with a new “consitutional compact,” giving himself dictatorial powers. He justifies this by pointing to the many corruptions and inefficiencies of democratic government in China.

Spectacle: In honor of the centenary of their Constitution, Norwegians hold a “Jubilee Exhibition” in Kristiana, opening on May 5. One of its major features is a “Kongo Village” in which native Africans could be seen. This was not the first time Africans had visited Norway, but it was a very rare opportunity for everyday Norwegians to encounter them in person and see their “exotic” lifestyle.

Women: On May 6th, the British House of Lords rejects Women’s Suffrage

Holidays: On May 14, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day officially a national holiday.

Diplomacy: On May 17, the Protocol of Corfu was signed by the Albanian Government and the Provisional Government of Northern Epirus. This is another effort (see previous months) to stabilize the situation in Southeastern Europe subsequent to the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, which had created various tensions between regional governments and minority populations. In this case, many Greeks living in Northern Epirus had rebelled against Albanian rule, leading to an agreement to limited autonomy, ratified in this document, which was never fully implemented, due to the outbreak of World War One later in 1914.

Business: On May 21, failed car salesman Carl Erick Wickman begins using his show car to transport workers in Hibbing, Minnesota to and from mines for 15 cents a ride. This is the birth of Greyhound Bus Lines.

Disasters: The ocean liner “Empress of Ireland” collides with the Norwegian vessal “SS Storstad” in the early hours of May 29 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, leading to a loss of more than 1000 lives.

Opera: The opera Mârouf, savetier du Caire (Marouf, Cobbler of Cairo) by Henri Ribaud opens May 15 in Paris. This will be Ribaud’s most popular opera, based on a tale from The Arabian Nights and using “oriental” themes in the music.

Movies: The release of “The Master Mind” is May 11, and “Mr. Barnes of New York” is also in May, 1914.

Births: Tyrone Power, who would star in “The Mark of Zorro” and “The Black Swan” is born on May 5, and Lilli Palmer, later to appear in “Mädchen in Uniform” and “Body and Soul,” born on May 21.