Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Ottoman Empire

May 1917

The Century News roundup this week has some interesting trends, in addition to the expected war news and the militarization of the now officially belligerent USA. The Russian Revolution continues, but the big headlines for this month are about uprisings in France and Italy – reasons why people on both sides feared (or anticipated) a coming World Revolution. The Catholic Church has some major events, both at the top and the bottom of its hierarchical structure. And in a film world that is increasingly defined by major stars with huge salaries and unprecedented control of their work, we see important releases from Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, and Roscoe Arbuckle.

Phillippe Pétain

World War One

The Nivelle Offensive, an attack on the Aisne Front that resulted in over 180,000 French casualties, is abandoned on May 9.

Robert Nivelle is replaced on May 15 as Commander-in-Chief of the French Army by Philippe Pétain. Seen as a hero at this stage of his career, he will later lead the collaborationist regime of Vichy France.

The Selective Service Act passes the United States Congress on May 18, giving the President the power of conscription.

During the Stalemate in Southern Palestine the Raid on the Beersheba to Hafir el Auja railway by Desert Column of British Empire troops, destroys large sections of the railway line linking Beersheba to the main Ottoman desert base on May 23.

Over 30,000 French troops refuse to go to the trenches at Missy-aux-Bois on May27. This is one of several mutinies by French soldiers during the year 1917, as conditions at the Front become increasingly inhuman and the sense that generals sacrifice lives without concern spreads among the common people.

Pope Pius XII

Catholicism

The nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, is consecrated Archbishop by Pope Benedict XV on May 13.

Beginning May 13, 10-year-old Lúcia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto report experiencing a series of Marian apparitions near Fátima, Portugal, which become known as Our Lady of Fátima. These visions continue until October.

Pope Benedict XV promulgates the 1917 Code of Canon Law on May 27.

Disasters

Over 300 acres (73 blocks) are destroyed in the Great Atlanta fire of 1917 on May 21 in the United States.

A tornado strikes Mattoon, Illinois on May 26, causing devastation and killing 101 people.

Transportation

A new Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey is created on May 22, giving the Survey’s officers a commissioned status that protected them from treatment as spies if captured, as well as providing the United States armed forces with a ready source of officers skilled in surveying that could be rapidly assimilated for wartime support of the armed forces.

Crime

Eli Persons is lynched in Memphis on May 22 in connection with the rape and murder of 16-year-old Antoinette Rappal. Parsons was arrested on the evidence of authorities who claimed they could see his face frozen in the pupils of the victim. His death was a partial motivator for the foundation of the Memphis Chapter of the NAACP.

Civil Unrest

A month of civil violence in Milan, Italy, ends on May 23 after the Italian army forcibly takes over the city from anarchists and anti-war revolutionaries. Fifty people are killed and 800 arrested.

Film

Release of A Romance of the Redwoods, directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Mary Pickford on May 14.

Release of One Law for Both directed by Ivan Abramson on May 19.

Release of  Souls Triumphant, starring Lillian Gish on May 20

May 21 – A Reckless Romeo, a ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle short on May 21.

Release of Frank Hansen’s Fortune directed by Viggo Larsen – (Germany). Exact date unknown.

Births

May 1 – Danielle Darrieux, actress (in “5 Fingers” and “The Earrings of Madame de…”).

May 10 – Margo, actress (in “The Leopard Man” and “Lost Horizon”).

May 16 – George Gaynes, actor (in “Police Academy” and “Tootsie”).

May 21 – Raymond Burr, actor (known for “Perry Mason” TV series and also in the American release of “Godzilla”).

May 25 – Steve Cochran, actor (who was in “The Best Years of Our Lives” and “Copacabana“).

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.

January 1916

As an aside note, I’d like to point out that the United States Presidential campaign of 1916 didn’t start until June. If there is one thing that indicates a more civilized era, I’d vote for that.

Mutual ads World War One: The British evacuate the last troops from Gallipoli on January 9, acknowledging the defeat of their major operation to seize Istanbul after the loss of over a quarter million soldiers.

The Battle of Wadi in present-day Iraq on January 13 results in failure for allied forces in another offensive against the Ottoman Empire.

Air war: The first bombing of Paris by Zeppelins takes place January 29. Few seek shelter as crowds line the streets to watch the novelty, as if it were a fireworks show.

Medicine: The first successful blood transfusion is carried out using blood that had been stored and cooled on January 1 by the British Royal Army Medical Corps. This advance allows for the large-scale use of blood banks to save lives during the First World War.

Climate: The largest recorded change in temperature takes place January 24 in Browning, Montana, when the temperature drops from 44 degrees (6.7 Celsius) Fahrenheit to -56 (-48.8 Celsius) in less than 24 hours.

Law: The Supreme Court of the United States upholds the Federal Income Tax in its decision on Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, issued January 24.

Race: The Journal of Negro History is founded in January, 1916.

Pacifism: The Anti-Militarism Committee changes its name to the Anti-Preparedness Committee in January, apparently in response to the pro-war “Preparedness Movement” which has been agitating for American involvement since the sinking of the Lusitania the previous year.

MutualBirths: Maxine Andrews, born January 3 (future member of the “Andrews Sisters,” appeared in “Buck Privates” with Abbott & Costello), Betty Furness, born January 3 (actress, appeared in “Swing Time” with Astaire & Rogers, board member for “Consumer Reports”), Lionel Newman, born January 4 (composer, wrote the music for “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “The Girl Can’t Help It”).

Deaths: Arthur V. Johnson, January 17 at age 39 from tuberculosis (actor, appeared in “The Sealed Room” and “The Unchanging Sea”)

January 1915

Well, although I’m having trouble getting out of 1914, the New Year is here, and it’s time for a roundup off news items for the beginning of 1915.

World War One: HMS Formidable sunk January 1. British sink cruiser SMS Blücher January 24.

On January 18, German Zeppelins drop bombs on the English towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.

The Ottoman Empire begins the Raid on the Suez Canal January 26. The raid is ultimately unsuccessful, despite a large attacking force and fifth columnists within Egypt.

Germany’s first large-scale use of poison gas as a weapon occurs on January 31 when 18,000 artillery shells containing liquid xylyl bromide tear gas are fired on the Imperial Russian Army on the Rawka River west of Warsaw during the Battle of Bolimov; however, freezing temperatures prevent it being effective

Terrorism: The year in Australia begins with an attack on a train near Broken Hill, New South Wales by two Indian men who claim allegiance with the Ottoman Empire. The ensuing fight claims both their lives and those of four civilians.

Aviation: On January 5 Joseph E. Carberry sets an altitude record of 11,690 feet (3,560 m), carrying a passenger in a fixed-wing aircraft.

Politics: The United States Congress votes down a bill on January 12 that would have given women the right to vote in the USA.

Natural Disasters: On January 13, an Earthquake (6.8 on the Richter scale) centered in Avezzano, Italy, kills 29,000.

Diplomacy: On January 18, Japan issues “Twenty One Demands” to China, which would have increased control in Manchuria, a prelude to Japanese military control of the region in decades to come. These demands are rejected by the international community.

Inventions: The patent for neon tubing is awarded to Georges Claude on January 19.

Volunteer organizations: The Kiwanis club is founded on January 21.

Communications: On January 25, the coast-to-coast phone call is inaugurated at an event attended by Alexander Graham Bell (in New York) and his former assistant Thomas A. Watson (in San Francisco).

Born: Anita Louise, actress (in “The Phantom of Crestwood” and “Madame DuBarry”) and actor Fernando Lamas (from “The Story of a Bad Woman” and “Young, Rich, and Pretty”), both on Jan 9; Veda Ann Borg (who was in “Scared Stiff” and “Mildred Pierce”) on Jan 11; William Hopper (“Perry Mason’s” Paul Drake and also in “The Deadly Mantis”), Jan 26, and Dorothy Dell (who was in “Little Miss Marker” and was Shirley Temple’s close friend before her untimely death in an automobile accident at 19) on Jan 31.