World History 1911 Part 1

About the history of the world in 1911, Mexico has another revolution, Italy is the first to use air combat, the Mona Lisa is stolen.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1911

* Mexican revolutionary Francisco Madero, 38, succeeded in overthrowing octogenarian dictator Porfirio Diaz at the end of a bloody civil war, but was unable to restore order long enough to bring about any real reforms. He fell from power in 1913.

* Italy became the first country to use airplanes in combat. The aerial warfare took place in Libya during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912.

May The first practical electric self-starter was installed in a Cadillac in Detroit. It was the invention of Charles Kettering.

Aug. 21 The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. The thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, a Louvre employee, stored the Da Vinci painting in the false bottom of a trunk in his apartment for two years and then tried to sell it to his native Italy for $95,000. Italian officials promptly arrested him and returned the 300-year-old masterpiece to France without a scratch. At his trial in Florence, Peruggia convinced the tribunal that his act was one of patriotism--that his sole motive was to return the portrait to the land of its creator. Thus, he received the relatively light sentence of 1 year and 15 days.

Dec. 28 Dr. Sun Yat-sen, 45, was elected the first president of the Chinese republic following a revolution in that country and the downfall of the Ch'ing dynasty. The election capped a rebellious career which began when Sun as a teenager spoke out against Chinese slavery, ancestor worship, and idolatry. Educated at a Christian school in Hawaii, Sun returned to China to foment rebellion. He narrowly escaped capture and execution when a hastily planned coup collapsed. While touring the U.S. in 1911, Sun learned of the revolution in China and his election as president. Returning to his native land, he joined his future brother-in-law and chief aide, Chiang Kai-shek, in bringing China into the 20th century with a blend of nationalism, socialism, and democracy. Sun founded the Kuomintang party as the chief vehicle for reform, but intraparty wrangling soon convinced him to step down in favor of someone with sharper political skills. The regime of his successor, Yuan Shin-k'ai, lapsed into a dictatorship, and Sun struggled to restore democracy until his death in 1925, A man of great integrity, Sun was so highly regarded among the Chinese that both Mao Tse-tung and Chiang Kai-shek considered themselves his rightful heir.

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