World History 1916

About the history of the world in 1916, England creates daylights saving time, the U.S. chases Pancho Villa, the Easter Rebellion in Ireland.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1916

* To conserve fuel and light for the war effort, Great Britain introduced daylight saving time.

* Dadaists met in Zurich. Named by its founder Tristan Tzara for its nonsensical sound, Dadaism rejected all prevailing standards.in art and literature.

Feb.-Dec. In an attempt to break the stalemate on the western front. German forces under Crown Prince William set out to capture Verdun, the strategic and psychologically important for-tress in northeastern France. The longest single conflict of the war, the Battle of Verdun engaged 2 million soldiers and killed half of them. German hopes to lure the bulk of the French army to this one spot, where they might bleed it white, were nearly fulfilled. Although French troops held to their battle cry "They shall not pass" and slowed the German blitz to a crawl, the invaders were within 3 mi. of Verdun by July. In the end, the British march on the Somme siphoned off enough German troops to permit the French to turn back what was left of the invasion.

Mar. 9 Mexican revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa (original name Doroteo Arango), 39, became so enraged over President Wilson's recognition of the Carranza government in Mexico City that he crossed the border to Columbus, N.M., shot up the town, and left 17 Americans dead. The act drew the ire of Washington, and President Wilson dispatched Gen. John J. Pershing and 6,000 troops powerful Villa forces, now nothing more than a handful of bandits, led the gringos on a 300-mi. chase through the mountains of northern Mexico and thus eluded capture. Although no friend of Villa's, Carranza condemned the presence of foreign troops on Mexican soil. Frustrated and unwilling to court further trouble on its southern border while the war in Europe threatened to engulf it at any time, the U.S. called off the manhunt and ordered Pershing home in February, 1917. The punitive expedition cost the U.S. $130 million, prestige, and the friendship of a neighbor.

Apr. 24, Easter Monday Over 1,500 Irish rebels, taking advantage of Britain's vulnerability during W.W. I, took to the streets of Dublin, seized several public buildings, and declared Ireland an independent republic. In the six-day Easter Rebellion, separatists held off the Royal Irish Constabulary, city police, and British troops before surrendering. Killed in the crossfire were 52 rebels, 129 of the loyalist forces, and 450 city residents. The uprising failed to arouse the majority of Irishmen, because most considered it treasonous to so distract the home government when at any moment the empire might fall before the German war machine. British patriotism in Ireland no doubt would have continued to war's end--especially since many Irish boys were fighting on the Continent, too--if Britain had not undertaken reprisals. In 10 days, authorities swept 2,000 Dubliners into jail without trial. The leaders of the rebellion were court-martialed and executed, including James Connolly, who was so severely wounded in the fray that he had to face the firing squad strapped into an upright stretcher. The insurgents, who had been led to prison amid the taunts and jeers of the people, suddenly became heroes in death, their pictures joining those of saints on the walls of Irish Catholic homes.

May 31 The British fleet turned back the German navy in the Battle of Jutland.

Sept. 15 Great Britain introduced the tank to the battlefield during the Battle of the Somme. (See "Choose Your Weapon: The Tank," Chap. 10.)

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