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1916 January 7 Germany notifies the U.S. State Department that it will abide by strict international rules of maritime warfare.
1916 January 8-9 The remaining 35,000 Allied troops at Gallipoli are secretly withdrawn without alerting the Turks. Allied casualties for the entire campaign are estimated at 252,000, with the Turks suffering about 251,000.
1916 January 10 General Francisco "Pancho" Villa, in an attempt to embroil the U.S. in the turmoil in Mexico, forces 18 American mining engineers off a train and shoots them in cold blood.
1916 January 11 General Yudenich, one of the most capable Russian commanders, advances from Kars toward Erzerum in the Caucasus.
1916 February 13 General Yudenich reaches Erzerum and breaks through its ring of forts in a 3-day battle (February 16).
1916 February 21 Following an enormous bombardment, the crown prince's German Fifth Army attacks the fortified but lightly garrisoned area around Verdun. The assault gains considerable territory, capturing a key position, Fort Douaumont. Joffre prohibits any further retreat and sends Gen. Henri Philippe Petain with reinforcements to defend the region.
1916 January 24 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a federal income tax is constitutional.
1916 March Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and 17 other Social Democrats are expelled from the party's Reichstag delegation for their radiacal extremism.
1916 March 6 The second German attack at Verdun, launched on the western face of the salient, is eventually checked by French counterattacks. For the remainder of the month, attacks and counterattacks litter the battlefield with corpses. The watchword for the defense becomes France's motto for the rest of the war: Ils ne passeront pas! ("They shall not pass!")
1916 March 9 Pancho Villa leads a raid into New Mexico, killing 17 Americans.
1916 March 11 The Italians launch the Fifth Battle of the Isonzo. Like its predecessors, this battle is a succession of inconclusive conflicts.
1916 March 12 Russian General N. N. Baratov reaches Karind and advances on Baghdad.
1916 March 18 The Russians, responding to French appeals, launch a two-pronged drive in the Vilna-Naroch area as a counter to the German Verdun assault in the west. The Russian assault soon breaks down in the mud of the spring thaw, costing 70,000 to 100,000 casualties and 10,000 prisoners. German losses are about 20,000 men.
1916 March 24 German U-boats torpedo another passenger ship, the Sussex, and several more Americans are killed, despite Germany's guarantees of 1915.
1916 April Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and their associates found the radical Independent Socialist Party, commonly referred to as the Spartacus League.
(Rosa Luxemburg, while in prison (1916-18) for revolutionary activity writes the so-called Spartacus Letters.)
1916 April 9 The third German offensive at Verdun strikes both sides of the salient, but is checked by May 19.
1916 April 18 General Yudenich captures Trebizond (Trabzon), facilitating Russian logistical support
1916 April 20 The Lafayette Escadrille, a French squadron made up of American volunteers, flies in action for the first time on the Western Front.
1916 April 29 In Mesopotamia, General Townshend's besieged and starving force at Kut-el-Amara capitulates, surrendering 2,070 British and 6,000 Indian troops to the Turks. The British had already taken 21,000 casualties in a series of unsuccessful rescue attempts.
1916 Spring Prescott Bush, the father of future President George Bush, and Roland "Bunny" Harriman are chosen for membership in the elite Yale secret society known as Skull and Bones.
1916 May 9 President Wilson orders mobilization of U.S. troops along the Mexican border. This will lead Carranza, the Mexican president, to order U.S. troops out of Mexico.
1916 May 10 Germany announces abandonment of its extended submarine campaign. During this period Great Britain, seeking to maintain a blockade, illegally seizes American vessels with such frequency, that Wilson threatens to provide convoys for all American merchant ships to guarantee their neutrality rights.
1916 May 15 The Austrians begin a long-planned offensive in the Trentino area, catching the Italians unprepared.
1916 May 30 The German High Seas Fleet under Adm. Reinhard Scheer puts to sea, led by Hipper's scouting fleet--40 fast ships with a nucleus of five battle cruisers. Following well behind is the main fleet of 59 ships.
1916 May 30 Alerted by German radio chatter, the British Grand Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe heads toward the Skagerrak. Leading is Beatty's scouting force of 52 ships, including 6 battle cruisers and 4 new super-dreadnoughts. Following behind is Jellicoe's main fleet of 99 vessels. Overall, the British have 37 capital ships: 28 dreadnoughts and 9 battle cruisers; the Germans had 27: 16 dreadnoughts, 6 older battleships, and 5 battle cruisers.
1916 May 31 At about 3:30pm, The Battle of Jutland, the most important naval engagement of the war begins. Fewer than four hours later the British have lost three battle cruisers, three cruisers, and eight destroyers; with 6,784 casualties. The Germans have lost only one old battleship, one battle cruiser, four light cruisers, and five destroyers; with 3,039 casualties. The Battle of Jutland is the end of an era: the last great fleet action in which both opponents slug it out within eyesight of one another. Yet neither side can claim a victory, and the German High Sea Fleet will not put to sea for the remainder of the war.
1916 June 1 Turkish commander Halil Pasha repulses a Russian attack at Khanikin in Mesopotamia.
1916 June 4 The Austrian spring offensive against Italy brings yet another appeal to Czar Nicholas for help. General Aleksei A. Brusilov, the commander of the Russian Southwestern Army Group, attacks along a 300- mile-long front. Well-planned and well executed, The Brusilov Offensive devastates the Austro-German line in two places and drives forward.
1916 June 5 British Minister of War, Lord Kitchener, dies when HMS Hampshire is sunk.
1916 June 5 An Arab revolt breaks out against the Turks in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia. The revolt spreads to Palestine and Syria under the leadership of British archaeologist T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), a brilliant tactician who joins forces with Husayn Ibn Ali. Lawrence, with a force of only a few thousand Arabs, threatens the Turks' entire line of communications through Syria to the Taurus Mountains.
1916 June-September The Brusilov Offensive, although successful, demoralizes the Russians, and costs them one million men, significantlycontributing to the hardships and resentments that lead to the Russian Revolutions of 1917.
(Note: Austrian losses were even greater, and their defeat by the Russians was the single most important element in the disintegration of the Habsburg Empire.)
1916 June-July Renewed German assaults at Verdun almost break the French line, but the French hang on to their positions until demands for replacements on the Eastern Front drain 15 German divisions from Verdun.
1916 June 10 The Austrian drive in the Trentino area is halted by difficult terrain and arrival of Italian reinforcements. An Italian counteroffensive and the desperate need to rush troops to the Eastern Front causes the Austrians to withdraw to defensive positions. Italian casualties reach more than 147,000; Austrian 81,000.
1916 June 12 Rudolf Hess is wounded at Verdun, but manages to continue fighting despite his injury.
1916 June 14 President Wilson leads a "preparedness" parade in Washington, D.C.
1916 June 16 Brusilov, receiving little or no aid from the two other Russian army groups on the front, is battered by a German counteroffensive.
1916 June 16 President Wilson is renominated for president at the Democratic Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. Thomas R. Marshall is nominated for vice president. Wilson campaigns on the slogan "He kept us out of war," while skillfully preparing the way for entrance on the side of the Allies. (Schlesinger I)
1916 June 18 General Helmuth von Moltke dies, a broken and disillusioned man.
1916 June 20 Frau Eliza von Moltke, the widow of General Moltke, begins "speaking in tongues" and soon begins writing hundreds of pages of what she claims are the General's supernatural "prophesies," delivered from beyond the grave. Frau Moltke soon names Adolf Hitler as the future leader of Germany, while Hitler is still an unknown messenger on the Western Front. Frau Moltke says it will be General von Ludendorff who will bring Hitler to power and the well-known English writer, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who will name Hitler as the long-awaited German Messiah. (Frau Moltke, Spear)
1916 June 21 President Carranza orders his troops to attack American troops still on Mexican soil. 18 Americans are killed or wounded. The Mexicans warn that a repetition will occurr unless Americans leave Mexico. Wilson refusesuntil order is restored along the border.
1916 June 24 Joffre launches his long-planned Allied offensive on the Somme with a week-long artillery bombardment.
1916 July David Lloyd George succeeds Lord Horatio Kitchener as British Secretary of War.
1916 July A reconstituted Serbian army of about 118,000 men arrives by ship in the Balkans, and with additional reinforcements rises to more than 250,000.
1916 July The Germanenorden's newsletter begins featuring a swastika superimposed on a cross on its cover. All future issues will carry this same symbol. (Roots)
1916 July Allied forces begin active operations in Albania
1916 July 1 The British infantry, following the artillery barrage on the Somme, are mowed down by German machine guns as they attempt their assault. By nightfall the British have lost about 60,000 men, 19,000 of them dead -- the greatest single, 1-day loss in the history of the British army.
1916 July 2 Despite the appalling British losses of the first day, Gen. Henry S. Rawlinson's British Fourth Army and Gen. Edmund Sllenby's Third Army continue with a series of small, limited attacks. Falkenhayn, determined to check the advance, begins shifting reinforcements from the Verdun front.
1916 July 13 The second German line in the Somme is cracked, but little advantage is gained.
1916 July 25 General Yudenich routs the Turkish Third Army, and then turns on the Turkish Second Army.
1916 Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph dies.
1916 Allen W. Dulles enters U.S. diplomatic service.
1916 August Italy declares war against Germany.
1916 August Kemal, the Turkish hero of Gallipoli and now a corps commander, captures the Caucasian cities of Mus and Bitlis.
1916 August In Persia, Halil Pasha retakes Kermanshah.
1916 August General Sir Frederick S. Maude becomes commander in Mesopotamian.
1916 August 3 German Gen. Kress von Kressenstein, with 15,000 Turkish troops and German machine gunners, makes a surprise attack on the British Sinai railhead at Rumani, but is repelled.
1916 August 6 General Cadorna again strikes the Austrian Isonzo front. In this Sixth Battle of the Isonzo the Italians take Gorizia, but no breakthrough is achieved. Psychologically, the operation boosts Italian morale, lowered by the heavy losses in the Trentino.
1916 August 17 Bulgarian-German attacks begin the Battle of Florina in the Balkans.
1916 August 19 Falkenhayn is relieved of command and replaced by General Paul von Hindenburg. Soon he and General Erich von Ludendorff will take full control of both the war and civilian affairs. Kaiser Wilhelm II becomes a mere figurehead.
1916 August 27 The Romanian government, impressed by the early success of the Brusilov Offensive, declares war on Germany and Austria-Hungary.
1916 August 27 The Allied-Serbian forces in the Balkans are driven back to the Struma River line.
1916 August-September Romanian armies advance into Transylvania, where they were repulsed by Falkenhayn, now commanding the Ninth Army.
1916 September Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff visits Hermann Pohl, leader of the mysterious Germanenorden in Berlin. Pohl tells Sebottendorff he first became interested in the esoteric study of the runes through Guido von List, and that he is convinced racial miscegenation, especially with Jews, was responsible for obscuring the "Aryan's" knowledge of the mystical powers of the runes. Pohl says he believes this gnosis can be revived once the race has been purified of foreign contamination. (Sebottendorff; Roots)
1916 September 10 French Gen. Maurice Sarrail,technically in command in the Balkans, launches an abortive counteroffensive while bickering with his British subordinates.
1916 September 15 Gen. Haig, commander of the BEF, launches another major offensive in the Somme. British tanks, secretly shipped to the front and used in combat for the first time, spearhead the attack. Although a surprise to the Germans, the tanks are underpowered, unreliable, too slow, and too few in number to gain a decisive victory (out of 47 brought up, only 9 completed their assigned tasks). As at Verdun, the casualties were horrendous: British losses are about 420,000; French about 195,000; German nearly 650,000.
1916 Sept 20 Brusilov, slowed by ammunition shortages, reaches the Carpathian foothills. The offensive ends when German reinforcements, rushed from Verdun, bolster the shattered Austrians, who are in danger of being knocked out of the war.
1916 October-November The French, now under command of General Robert Nivelle, retake Forts Douaumont and Vaux.
1916 October 7 Hitler is wounded in combat and is taken to an army hospital at Beelitz.
1916 October 8 During a provincial meeting of the Germanenorden at Gotha in Thuringia, members from Berlin urge the Gotha assembly to remove Hermann Pohl as Chancellor. Pohl is incensed and declares himself Chancellor of a schismatic Germanenorden Walvater of the Holy Grail. Pohl succeeds in carrying with him the already established lodges in Silesia (Breslau), Hamburg, Berlin and the Osterland (Gera). Pohl's supporters in Berlin are G.W. Freese and Bräunlich, who founded new Berlin lodges in the city and at Gross-Lichterfelde. (Roots)
1916 October 20 General major Erwin von Heimerdinger becomes the new Chancellor of the original Germanenorden. Dr. Gensch becomes Treasurer and Bernhard Koerner, Grand Keeper of Pedigrees. Philipp Stauff and Eberhard von Brockhusen are principle officers of the Berlin province. (Bundesarchiv, Koblenz; Roots)
1916 November The Battle of the Somme comes to an end, costing the British more than 400,000 troops; the French 200,000; and the Germans about 450,000; with no strategic results (see June 24).
1916 November 3 Mackensen, commander of the German-reinforced Bulgarian Danube Army, crosses the Danube after driving north through the Dobruja.
1916 November 7 President Wilson is reelected. He has repeatedly promised the American people that if reelected he will keep them out of war.
1916 November 10 An Italian corps pushes an Austrian corps north and links with Sarrail's main body at Lake Ochrida in Albania.
1916 November 21 Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef dies.
1916 December From New York, Paul Warburg sends a letter to his brother, Max Warburg, in Germany, telling him that the Allies have nearly exhausted the market for American loans, but that unrestricted U-boat warfare would foster sympathy and expand the market. (The Warburgs)
1916 December David Lloyd George becomes Prime Minister of Britain's wartime coalition government.
1916 December 4 Romanian Gen. Alexandru Averescu, is disastrously defeated in the Battle of the Arges River (December 1-4).
1916 December 6 Bucharest, the Romanian capital, is captured.
1916 December 13 General Maude begins a movement up both banks of the Tigris River with 166,000 men, two-thirds of them Indian.
1916 December 18 The French front almost reaches the lines held prior to February, bringing the Verdun campaign to an end. Casualties in this bitterly fought battle are about 542,000 French and 434,000 Germans.
1916 December 18 President Wilson asks the warring powers to state their conditions for peace negotiations.
1916 December Shortly before Christmas, Hermann Pohl informs Baron Sebottendorf that the Germanenorden has been reconstructed with Pohl, himself, as Chancellor. (Roots)
1916 December 31 Rasputin, a politically powerful Russian monk who is also a confidant and advisor to the Czar's family, is murdered by a group of noblemen lead by Prince Felix Yussoupov, the Czarina's cousin. Rasputin is poisoned, shot, clubbed and then thrown into the Neva River. Rasputin's real name was Grigori Yefimovich.
1916 December 31 General Joffre retires, and is succeeded by General Nivelle.
1916 December 31 The Romanian army, with belated Russian support, holds only one tiny foothold in their own country. The remnants of the Romanian armies have been driven north into Russia, and the bulk of Romania's wheat fields and oil wells fallen into German hands.
1916 Lazar Kaganovich, now a member of the Kiev Bolshevik Committee, makes a speech opposing the "imperialist war." He is quickly arrested and banished from Kiev. He then began a period of travelling and union organizing using various aliases.
1916 General Josef Pilsudski is imprisoned by the Germans after refusing to join the Central Powers.
1916 The Trans-Siberian railway, the longest continuous railroad line in the world, is completed.
1916 U.S. Marines land in Santo Domingo to quell unrest and will not leave until 1924.
1916 U.S. troops under General Pershing invade Mexico in retaliation for raids by Pancho Villa.
1916 Henry Ford spends $465,000 to finance a so-called "Peace Ship," and travels to Europe in an unsuccessful attempt to personally negotiate an end to the war. Ford later blames his failure on the Jews.