Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Irish Easter Rising

April 1916

Depiction of the James Caird arriving at South Georgia Island

Depiction of the James Caird arriving at South Georgia Island

A lot of the news this month is war news. Millions have already died, and millions more will die, in the conflict already being called “The Great War” or “The World War” on battlefields in Europe and elsewhere. In addition to that, rationing, privation, and even the formation of compulsory labor battalions has become a part of the lives of the millions more civilians among the combatant nations. The poor in the larger cities are hit especially hard – in Berlin there were riots over inadequate food and uncontrolled prices in Autumn in 1915 – but farmers also suffer as governments enforce price-controls on their products but not on necessities they need to produce them. A stationary front in the West meant that many thousands of Frenchmen and Belgians now had lived under occupation for a year and a half, while the highly mobile frontline in the East meant that some areas changed hands regularly. Within these areas, resistance movements grew up which often meant harsh reprisals against populations seen as supporting them, with collaborators now at risk of being attacked by their own people. Meanwhile, another kind of resistance is brewing in Ireland…

Specific news for the month of April includes

World War One

Egypt: The Egyptian Expeditionary Force, under the United Kingdom, begins the occupation of the Sinai Peninsula to drive out Ottoman (Turkish) forces on April 11. This action protects the Suez Canal and the power of the British Navy to travel via the Mediterranean to points in their Eastern empire.

China: The troop ship SS Hsin-Yu capsizes with a loss of over 1000 lives, April 22.

France: The Germans make one of the largest-scale attacks using chemical weapons near Hulluch on April 27 and again on April 29, although winds on this second date push the gas back towards their own lines, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides.

Iraq: The Siege of Kut ends with British forces surrendering to the Ottomans on April 29. With inadequate food supplies, the garrison and civilians there had been near starvation, surrounded by enemy forces since December. Their commanding officer, Charles Townshend, would sit out the war in relative security while thousands of his men were killed in forced labor or from disease caused by the starvation, and later denied that there had been any mistreatment of British soldiers by the Ottomans.

Diplomacy: Almost a year after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, President Woodrow Wilson issues a warning to Germany not to continue unrestricted submarine warfare.

Easter Rising:

Ireland: Timed to coincide with Easter Week, a coalition of Irish Republican groups stages a major rebellion to demand home rule, deferred by British Parliament until after the War ends. The rising begins on April 25 and continues until its suppression by superior British Army forces on April 29, leaving 500 dead and 2600 wounded – the majority are citizens with no direct ties to the rebellion.

Sports: The first game at Weeghman Park (now known as Wrigley Field), Chicago, April 20. The Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds.

Exploration: In Antarctica, Ernest Shackleton and five companions board the lifeboat James Caird on April 24, making for South Georgia Island in search of rescue after the sinking of the Endurance. While they will make the island May 10, they are unable to reach any of the whaling communities and several survivors must make a difficult overland journey, the first to cross the island successfully.

Births: Gregory Peck, actor (“To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Boys from Brazil”), April 5; Vic Perrin, actor (radio, “Gunsmoke”, television, “The Outer Limits:” “control voice” ), April 26.

December 1915

Well, it’s time to wrap up the news of the year 1915. It’s been an exciting year, both in and out of the movie theater. The First World War extended far longer than anyone had foreseen and also began to affect areas outside of Europe. The sinking of the Lusitania brought the war to the US, even though the country would remain neutral for two more years. The Gallipoli campaign brought heavy casualties to Turkish and Australian forces. And even African colonies began to get swept up into the war. Meanwhile, a new lease on making feature-length films and a beginning of recognition for film as an art form transformed cinema in the United States, while Chaplin-mania swept the world. American movies were finally beginning to dominate international distribution channels, and “Hollywood” was becoming another word for the American film industry as more and more production moved West.

Burlesque on carmen

Here are some of the headlines for December

World War I: Military higher-ups on both sides work to prevent another “Christmas Truce,” seen as bad for morale and likely to encourage spying. Units that broke ranks and attempted to communicate with the enemy faced harsh discipline. Some individual units were made to conduct raids on Christmas day and artillery barrages were scheduled to keep men in their trenches along the front.

Industry: on December 12, the one millionth Ford automobile rolls off the assembly line. Cars will transform American culture at least as much as the movies.

Politics: Yuan Shikai, the President of the Republic of China, declares himself Emperor, filling the gap left by the abdication of Puyi, the “Last Emperor.” This attempt to reinstate monarchy in China lasts only a few months, and is succeeded by years of internal warfare and instability.

First female President of the US? Edith Wilson nee Galt

First female President of the US? Edith Wilson nee Galt

Romance: on December 18, President Woodrow Wilson marries Edith B. Galt. The new Mrs. Wilson will become an important factor in American politics as the President’s health declines, becoming de facto head of the executive branch of government after he suffers a crippling stroke in 1919.

Shipping: HMHS Britannic, which shares design features with the Titanic, is launched December 23 as a hospital ship for the British Navy. Although it too sinks, after colliding with an underwater mine in 1916, nearly all crew and passengers will be saved due to improved safety features.

Revolts: The Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood formalizes its decision in favor of an “Easter Rising” for Easter weekend, 1916. This has been planned since the beginning of the war, and members of the council have met with German representatives to seek German assistance against British Rule.

Film News:

Cheat_FilmPosterDecember 13, release of “The Cheat” by Cecil B. DeMille.

December 18, release of “Burlesque on Carmen” (in edited form), starring Charlie Chaplin.

December 30, release of “The Golden Chance” by Cecil B. DeMille.

Births:

Frank Sinatra, Dec 12. Singer and star of movies such as “The Man with the Golden Arm” and “Oceans 11.”

Curd Jürgens, Dec 13. Actor, appeared in “The Devil’s General” and “The Longest Day,” in both of which he played German generals during the Third Reich.

Dan Dailey, Dec 14. Actor, appeared in “The Mortal Storm” and “When My Baby Smiles at Me,” for which he won an Oscar.