Persia in 1914

Persia in 1914

Persia (now Iran) is a country in south-west Asia. In the 19th century both Russia and Britain were keen to increase their influence over the Qajar dynasty in Persia. The Anglo-Russian Entente divided the country into sphere of interest, giving Britain economic control of the south and Russia the north. There was also a neutral zone in the centre that included Tehran. In 1909 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later BP) was founded and this helped to reinforce Britain's control over the southern part of Persia.

During the First World War Germany attempted to remove Britain and Russia from Persia. In the First World War. In 1915 Russia sent an army led by General Baratov to protect their economic interests in Persia. Baratov gradually forced the German soldiers from the north of the country.

Britain's main concern was to guard the Anglo-Persian oil refineries in the south of Persia. The British formed the South Persia Rifles and by the end of 1916 they had eliminated German influence over that part of the country.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, pro-German tribesmen under Kuchik Khan rebelled against the Russian forces in the north of the country. Britain sent General Dunsterville and an elite group of British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand soldiers from Mesopotamia. The Dunsterforce, as they became known, were soon able to regain control of the country.

The behaviour of the South Persia Rifles upset the Persian government and they were expelled in the spring of 1918. The following year an agreement was signed which secured British supervision of oil supplies from Persia.


The Serbian campaign, 1914

The first Austrian invasion of Serbia was launched with numerical inferiority (part of one of the armies originally destined for the Balkan front having been diverted to the Eastern Front on August 18), and the able Serbian commander, Radomir Putnik, brought the invasion to an early end by his victories on the Cer Mountain (August 15–20) and at Šabac (August 21–24). In early September, however, Putnik’s subsequent northward offensive on the Sava River, in the north, had to be broken off when the Austrians began a second offensive, against the Serbs’ western front on the Drina River. After some weeks of deadlock, the Austrians began a third offensive, which had some success in the Battle of the Kolubara, and forced the Serbs to evacuate Belgrade on November 30, but by December 15 a Serbian counterattack had retaken Belgrade and forced the Austrians to retreat. Mud and exhaustion kept the Serbs from turning the Austrian retreat into a rout, but the victory sufficed to allow Serbia a long spell of freedom from further Austrian advances.


Contents

The force was a large brigade which consisted of: [1]

  • 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
  • 1st Battalion, 42nd Deoli Regiment
  • 1st Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Rifles
  • 31st IndianPack Battery
  • 19th Company 3rd Sappers and Miners
  • Reinforcements sent from Mesopotamia:
    • 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment
    • 2 platoons of the 1st Battalion, 67th Punjabis were based at Tabriz

    The force was commanded by Brigadier General Hugh Bateman-Champain who was based at Kasvin.


    About this item

    A confidential publication compiled, by arrangement with the Government of India, under the direction of the Historical Section of The Committee of Imperial Defence, by Brigadier-General FJ Moberly. The volume is part of the Official History of the Great War series produced by the British Government.

    The volume begins with a preface by Moberly and is then divided into 11 (I-XI) chapters, plus appendices, as follows:

    • Chapter I: Introductory
    • Chapter II: August 1914 to June 1915, Enemy efforts to bring Persia into the War
    • Chapter III: July to November 1915, Enemy action and Persian weakness necessitate Allied intervention
    • Chapter IV: December 1915 to May 1916, Successful results of Allied operations
    • Chapter V: May to December 1916, Turkish invasion of Western Persia and British measures in South and East Persia
    • Chapter VI: December 1916 to August 1917, Effects of British success in Mesopotamia
    • Chapter VII: September 1917 to April 1918, The failure of Persia to maintain her neutrality necessitates further British intervention
    • Chapter VIII: May to July 1918, The effect in Persia of the German successes in France and the anti-British outbreak in Fars
    • Chapter IX: July to September 1918, The tide turns in favour of the Allies
    • Chapter X: October to 11th November 1918, The effect of our victories
    • Chapter XI: Conclusion

    The volume contains fourteen maps, some of which are in a pocket in the inside back cover, as follows:

    • 1. Operations at Bushire 1915 (folio 275)
    • 2. Portion of Perso-Afghan frontier (folio 276)
    • 3. Operations at Dilbar, 13th-15th August 1915 (folio 66)
    • 4. Operations of General Dyer in Sarhad, April-August 1916 (folio 277)
    • 5. Wanderings of German parties in Persia and Afghanistan (folio 278)
    • 6. Affair of Dasht-i-Arjan, 25th September 1916 (folio 128)
    • 7. Affair of Kafta, 5th July 1917 (folio 144)
    • 8. Northern Fars (folio 177)
    • 9. Action of Deh Shaikh, 25th May 1918 (folio 182)
    • 10. Shiraz (folio 194)
    • 11. Operations from Bushire, September 1918-January 1919 (folio 279)
    • 12. Plan of East Persia L. of C. (folio 231)
    • 13. Operations for relief of Firuzabad, October 1918 (folio 236)
    • 14. Persia (folio 280)

    The volume also includes a bibliography (folio 14).

    Extent and format 1 volume (279 folios) Arrangement

    At the front of the volume there is a contents page (ff 6-14), list of maps (f 14), and list of illustrations (f 14). At the back of the volume is a general index (ff 269-73). All refer to the volume's original pagination.

    Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 281 these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

    Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.


    Early history – 1909-1924

    The Field of Naphtha was 210 rugged kilometres from the mouth of the Persian Gulf, where Anglo-Persian was building a refinery complex to turn the flow of thick crude oil into a usable product. Just getting adequate exploration equipment to the site had taken months. Now a pipeline would have to be built across the winding, mountainous route.

    Segments of pipe arrived in bulk from the United States, and crews took them as far as they could upriver by barge. Mules dragged them the rest of the way, with labourers taking over where the land was too steep for animals to pass. The work was slow and painstaking. It took two years.

    Meanwhile construction delays plagued the refinery site. At its completion, Abadan refinery would be the world’s largest, supported by a diverse workforce: fitters, riveters, masons and clerks from India, carpenters from China and semi-skilled workers from the surrounding Arab countries.

    A legend in his own time

    The company’s British contingent included a medical doctor, Morris Young. He had come to Persia to look after the original exploration team and had found himself giving medical care to most of the people who lived near the drilling site.

    From a tent at Masjid-i-Suleiman, he went on to found a hospital there and another at Abadan. These would become two of the major medical centres in southwest Persia, helping the area cope with epidemic diseases and the problems of poor water quality. As for Dr Young, within Persia he would become something of a legend in his own time.

    Back from the brink of bankruptcy (again)

    By 1914 the Anglo-Persian project was nearly bankrupt for the second time in its short history.

    The company had plenty of oil but no one to sell it to. Cars were still too expensive to count as a mass market for fuel, and more established companies in Europe and the New World had the market in industrial oils cornered. Standard Oil of Indiana (later called Amoco), for example, had been in business for over 25 years. Besides that, refining couldn’t remove the Persian oil’s strong, sulphurous stench. It couldn’t be sold as kerosene for home heating, one of the main consumer uses for oil at the time.

    “This Persian business seems to get more complicated every day,” complained the chairman of Burmah Oil, Anglo-Persian’s parent company.

    Enter Winston Churchill

    Enter Winston Churchill, who had taken a new role in British politics as First Lord of the Admiralty. Britons were proud of their navy, and oil-powered vessels were the latest innovation. But while Anglo-Persian executives had courted the Royal Navy for years as a prospective customer for its oil, the old guard at Whitehall had been hesitant to endorse coal’s upstart rival.

    Churchill was a believer. He thought Britain needed a dedicated oil supply, and he argued the case in Parliament, urging his colleagues to “look out upon the wide expanse of the oil regions of the world!” Only the British-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company, he said, could protect British interests.

    Key dates

    The prospectus for a new company, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, is issued on 19 April in London and Glasgow.

    A 145-mile pipeline running from a new pumping station at Tembi to the banks of the Bahmashir River at Abadan is completed in April and construction of a refinery there is underway.

    The first shipment of crude oil leaves Abadan in April – bound for purchaser Royal Dutch-Shell.

    The Anglo-Persian Oil Company signs a deal with the British government to supply the navy with 40 million barrels of oil over the coming 20 years in return for £2 million and a majority shareholding.

    Six weeks later, the First World War begins.

    Anglo-Persian buys a Georgian mansion in Sunbury-on-Thames, England, as a centre of research focused on oil-refining.

    The British Tanker Company, a subsidiary set up in 1916, reaches a capacity of 150,000 tons across five tankers.

    Research by Hungarian geologist Professor Hugo de Böckh leads to the discovery of oil in commercial quantities at four new locations in Persia.

    The resolution passed resoundingly, and the UK government became a major shareholder in the company. Churchill had ended Anglo-Persian’s cash crisis, and no one had long to quietly ponder the long-term implications of a company entwining its financial interests with a political entity.

    Two weeks later, an assassin killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Six weeks after that, Germany attacked France. The Great War had begun. By its end, war without oil would be unimaginable.

    Two big purchases and a roaring decade

    Despite its name, the British Petroleum brand was originally created by a German firm as a way of marketing its products in Britain. During the war, the British government seized the company’s assets, and the Public Trustee sold them to Anglo-Persian in 1917.

    With that, Anglo-Persian had an instant distribution network in the UK, including 520 depots, 535 railway tank wagons, 1,102 road vehicles, four barges and 650 horses.

    That same year, with the war in its final throes, the Royal Navy complained that the oil from Anglo-Persian was causing engine problems in colder climates. Anglo-Persian bought an 18th-century mansion at Sunbury-on-Thames, near London, and set up a research laboratory in the basement to address such scientific challenges.

    Over the next decade, gas and electricity would largely replace kerosene for home heating, gasoline-fuelled delivery vehicles would challenge the railways for freight, and the age of the automobile would truly begin. These social changes would open a door that Anglo-Persian would step adeptly through, expanding its sales both in Britain and in mainland Europe.


    Persia in 1914 - History

    The Revolution . The public beating of two Tehran merchants accused of overcharging their customers in Dec. 1905 caused an outcry among the Tehran merchants. The clergy joined in the protest when armed men pursued protesters into a mosque, this caused an even greater outcry as the sanctity of a mosque was violated. In the face of public outrage, Shah Mozzafar ad-Din had to make the first of a series of concessions, which together converted Persia from an oriental autocracy into a constitutional monarchy.

    The New Constitution . A constitution modeled after that of Belgium was signed by the Shah in 1906. Key institution was the National Assembly (Majlis), which first convened in 1906. The cabinet was to be headed by a prime minister.
    Men aged 25 years or more, if born in the country and literate in Persian had the right to vote. The Majlis was to be a bicameral parliament. Islam was declared official religion all laws were to be approved by a committee of Shi'a clergymen.

    Civil War . In February 1908 the new Shah, Mohammad Ali Mirza, after surviving an assassination attempt, revoked the constitution and ordered his troops to attack the building where the Majlis met. An uprising began, centered in Tabriz (1908). The country was in the state of civil war the constitutionalists were victorious in 1909 Shah Mohammad Ali Mirza fled the country, into Russian exile he was declared deposed, the constitution reinstated (1909). Soltan Ahmad Qajar became new Shah.

    Iran and the Imperialist Powers . In the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 Britain and Russia partition Persia in three zones, a Russian sphere of interest in the north including capital Tehran, a British sphere in the southeast and a neutral zone between. In 1912 Shah Soltan Ahmad Qajar recognized the Anglo-Russian Convention (NIYB 1916).
    Britain and Russia were opposed to the Persian constitutional government. In 1908 the ambassadors of Britain and the Russian Empire warned the constitutional government to submit to the Shah.

    Khuzestan . In 1908 oil was found in Khuzistan production by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company began in 1911. Khuzestan was administrated rather independently since 1897 by Sheikh Khaz'al, who became a British protege.

    Social History . In 1910 the population of Iran was estimated at 9,000,000, that of Tehran at 280,000, that of Tabriz at 200,000, that of Isfahan at 70,000.


    The aftermath

    General Allenby with Iraq's King Feisal I, c 1920 © The war ended with the British occupying the territory that was to become Iraq, Palestine, Trans-Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. With the Ottoman Empire destroyed, Russia paralysed by foreign intervention and civil war, and French influence limited somewhat by their minor military role in the Middle East, Britain's military success made her the dominant power in the region. The resulting settlement, which fostered an instability that continues to be a source of conflict today, generated much controversy at the time and has continued to do so ever since.

    They believed that the western powers, especially the British, had acted with arrogance.

    Employing bags of gold, the diplomacy of Lawrence of Arabia, and promises of Arab independence, the British had encouraged an Arab uprising in 1916 against the Turks. Although the Hashemite Arabs were rewarded with considerable territory, they and other Arab nationalists believed that they had been 'robbed' when the British did not fully deliver on their pledges of independence. They believed that the western powers, especially the British, had acted with arrogance, drawing borders and creating nations with little or no regard for the wishes of the local inhabitants.

    The fate of Palestine, occupied by the British, especially provoked Arab frustration and anger. (In 1917 the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, had supported a Jewish home in Palestine.)

    But in important respects the Arab view of the peace settlement (which is supported by many western historians) is a caricature of what actually happened. In a revisionist work, Efraim Karsh and Inari Karsh have made a convincing argument that many forces, both local and foreign, were at work at the time the settlement was agreed. In their words, 'even at the weakest point in their modern history, during the First World War and its immediate wake, Middle Eastern actors were not hapless victims of predatory imperial powers, but active participants in the restructuring of their region.'

    And if the French and British had granted 'self-determination'. it is possible that the result would have been the balkanisation of the area.

    They argue, for example, that Iraq and Trans-Jordan were not simply British inventions, but owed their existence to a compromise between Hashemite imperial greed and well-intended British efforts to meet local needs and allay the fears and suspicions of their allies.

    It is perhaps only proper to note that if Germany had won the war, the Ottoman Empire would have been expanded, subjecting many Arabs and other nationalities to its rule. And if the French and British had granted 'self-determination' to the inhabitants of this region it is possible that the result would have been the balkanisation of the area, with fragile and often antagonistic fiefdoms and kingdoms prevailing. It seems likely that, no matter how this war in the Middle East had been resolved, the region was destined to suffer instability and conflict in the years ahead.


    Persia in 1914 - History

    1914 : War Erupts

    1871 - Following the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War, Germany is unified as an Imperial federation of states, led by the King of Prussia (Kaiser Wilhelm I). This spurs a new era of population growth and rapid industrialization. The Germans also forcibly annex the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine from France.

    1882 - Germany, Austria-Hungary (Hapsburg Empire) and Italy form the Triple Alliance.

    1891 - The Russian Empire and France form their own alliance in reaction to the Triple Alliance.

    1898 - Germany begins to build up its navy to challenge the British Navy's long-standing global supremacy.

    January 1902 - Britain and Japan form a naval alliance.

    April 1904 - The British reach a strategic agreement with France which includes mutual military support in the event of war.

    January 1905 - Troops of Russian Czar Nicholas II fire upon peaceful demonstrators in St. Petersburg killing hundreds in what comes to be known as Bloody Sunday.

    May 1905 - Russia suffers a military defeat at sea by newly industrialized Japan, thwarting Russia's territorial ambitions toward Manchuria and Korea.

    October 1905 - Continuing political unrest in Russia, including a general strike, results in the creation of a national legislative assembly (Duma) by the Czar.

    February 1906 - H.M.S. Dreadnought is launched by Britain, marking the advent of a new class of big-gun battleships. The Germans follow suit and begin building similar battleships as an all-out arms race ensues between Germany and Britain.

    August 1907 - The British reach a strategic agreement with Russia.

    October 1908 - Austria-Hungary, backed by Germany, annexes Bosnia-Herzegovina. Neighboring Serbia, with the backing of Russia, voices its objection in support of the Serbian minority living in Bosnia.

    March 1909 - Germany forces Russia to endorse the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary.

    1910 - Germany surpasses Britain as the leading manufacturing nation in Europe. The United States remains the world leader, surpassing all of the European manufacturing nations combined.

    October 1912 - The Balkan War erupts in southern Europe as Serbia leads an attack by members of the Balkan League (Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece) against the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire to drive the Turks out of Europe.

    May 1913 - The Balkan War ends with the Turks driven out of southern Europe. A peace settlement is then drawn up by the major European powers that divides up the former Turkish areas in southern Europe among the Balkan League nations. However, the peace is short-lived as Bulgaria, desiring a bigger share, attacks neighboring Greece and Serbia. Romania then attacks Bulgaria along with the Turks. This Second Balkan War results in Bulgaria losing territory and the Serbians becoming emboldened, leaving the Balkan region of southern Europe politically unstable.

    June 28, 1914 - Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife, visit Sarajevo in Bosnia. A bomb is thrown at their auto but misses. Undaunted, they continue their visit only to be shot and killed a short time later by a lone assassin. Believing the assassin to be a Serbian nationalist, the Austrians target their anger toward Serbia.

    July 23, 1914 - Austria-Hungary, with the backing of Germany, delivers an ultimatum to Serbia. The Serbs propose arbitration as a way to resolve dispute, but also begin mobilization of their troops.

    July 25, 1914 - Austria-Hungary severs diplomatic ties with Serbia and begins to mobilize its troops.

    July 26, 1914 - Britain attempts to organize a political conference among the major European powers to resolve the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. France and Italy agree to participate. Russia then agrees, but Germany refuses.

    July 28, 1914 - The Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Serbia.

    July 29, 1914 - Britain calls for international mediation to resolve the worsening crisis. Russia urges German restraint, but the Russians begin partial troop mobilization as a precaution. The Germans then warn Russia on its mobilization and begin to mobilize themselves.

    July 30, 1914 - Austrian warships bombard Belgrade, capital of Serbia.

    July 31, 1914 - Reacting to the Austrian attack on Serbia, Russia begins full mobilization of its troops. Germany demands that it stop.

    August 1, 1914 - Germany declares war on Russia. France and Belgium begin full mobilization.

    August 3, 1914 - Germany declares war on France, and invades neutral Belgium. Britain then sends an ultimatum, rejected by the Germans, to withdraw from Belgium.

    August 4, 1914 - Great Britain declares war on Germany. The declaration is binding on all Dominions within the British Empire including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.

    August 4, 1914 - The United States declares its neutrality.

    August 4-16, 1914 - The Siege of Liege occurs as Germans attack the Belgian fortress city but meet resistance from Belgian troops inside the Liege Forts. The twelve forts surrounding the city are then bombarded into submission by German and Austrian howitzers using high explosive shells. Remaining Belgian troops then retreat northward toward Antwerp as the German westward advance continues.

    August 6, 1914 - The Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Russia.

    August 6, 1914 - French and British troops invade the German colony of Togo in West Africa. Twenty days later, the German governor there surrenders.

    August 7, 1914 - The first British troops land in France. The 120,000 highly trained members of the regular British Army form the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) commanded by Field Marshal John French.

    August 7-24, 1914 - The French desire to score a quick victory ignites the first major French-German action of the war. The French Army invades Alsace and Lorraine according to their master strategy known as Plan XVII. However, the French offensive is met by effective German counter-attacks using heavy artillery and machine-guns. The French suffer heavy casualties including 27,000 soldiers killed in a single day, the worst one-day death toll in the history of the French Army. The French then fall back toward Paris amid 300,000 total casualties.

    August 8, 1914 - Britain enacts the Defense of the Realm Act (DORA) granting unprecedented powers to the government to control the economy and daily life.

    August 12, 1914 - Great Britain and France declare war on Austria-Hungary. Serbia is invaded by Austria-Hungary.

    August 17, 1914 - Russia invades Germany, attacking into East Prussia, forcing the outnumbered Germans there to fall back. This marks the advent of the Eastern Front in Europe in which Russia will oppose Germany and Austria-Hungary.

    August 20, 1914 - German troops occupy undefended Brussels, capital of Belgium. Following this, the main German armies continue westward and invade France according to their master strategy known as the Schlieffen Plan. It calls for a giant counter-clockwise movement of German armies wheeling into France, swallowing up Paris, and then attacking the rear of the French armies concentrated in the Alsace-Lorraine area. Under the overall command of Helmuth von Moltke, Chief of the German General Staff, the Germans seek to achieve victory over France within six weeks and then focus on defeating Russia in the East before Russia's six-million-man army, the world's largest, can fully mobilize.

    August 23, 1914 - Japan declares war on Germany. The Japanese then prepare to assist the British in expelling the Germans from the Far East. German possessions in the South Pacific include a naval base on the coast of China, part of New Guinea, Samoa, and the Caroline, Marshall and Mariana Islands.

    Battle of Tannenberg

    August 26, 1914 - On the Eastern Front, German troops in East Prussia under the new command of Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff oppose the Russian 2nd Army. Aided by aerial reconnaissance and the interception of uncoded Russian radio messages, the Germans effectively reposition their troops to counter the initial Russian advance. Five days later, after surrounding the Russians, the battle ends with a German victory and the capture of 125,000 Russians. Following this success, the Germans drive the Russians out of East Prussia with heavy casualties. The impressive victory elevates Hindenburg and Ludendorff to the status of heroes in Germany.

    August 30, 1914 - German possessions in the Far East are attacked as New Zealand troops occupy German Samoa. Three days later, Japanese forces land on the coast of China, preparing to attack the German naval base at Tsingtao (Qingdao). A month later, the Japanese begin their occupation of the Caroline, Marshall and Mariana Islands.

    Battle of the Marne

    September 5-12, 1914 - On the Western Front, Paris is saved as French and British troops disrupt the Schlieffen Plan by launching a major counter-offensive against the invading German armies to the east of Paris. Six hundred taxi cabs from the city help to move French troops to the Front. Aided by French aerial reconnaissance which reveals a gap has developed in the center of the whole German advance, the French and British exploit this weakness and press their advantage. The Germans then begin a strategic withdrawal northward as the Allies pursue. Each side repeatedly tries to outmaneuver the other and gain a tactical advantage as they move northward in what becomes known as the Race to the Sea.

    September 7, 1914 - In the Far East, a German naval squadron, commanded by Graf von Spee severs the British Pacific communications cable.

    September 8, 1914 - The French government enacts nationwide State of War regulations which include total control over the economy and national security, strict censorship, and suspension of civil liberties.

    September 17, 1914 - On the Eastern Front, Austrian forces steadily retreat from the advancing Russian 3rd and 8th armies fighting in southern Poland and along the Russian-Austrian border. The Germans then send the newly formed 9th Army to halt the Russians. This marks the beginning of a pattern in which the Germans will aid the weaker Austro-Hungarian Army.

    September 22, 1914 - The first-ever British air raid against Germany occurs as Zeppelin bases at Cologne and Düsseldorf are bombed.

    First Battle of Ypres
    October 19-November 22, 1914

    October 19, 1914 - Still hoping to score a quick victory in the West, the Germans launch a major attack on Ypres in Belgium. Despite heavy losses, British, French and Belgian troops fend off the attack and the Germans do not break through. During the battle, the Germans send waves of inexperienced 17 to 20-year-old volunteer soldiers, some fresh out of school. They advance shoulder-to-shoulder while singing patriotic songs only to be systematically gunned down in what the Germans themselves later call the "massacre of the innocents." By November, overall casualties will total 250,000 men, including nearly half of the British Regular Army.

    October 29, 1914 - The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) enters the war on the side of the Germans as three warships shell the Russian port of Odessa. Three days later, Russia declares war on Turkey. Russian and Turkish troops then prepare for battle along the common border of the Russian Caucasus and the Ottoman Empire.

    October-November, 1914 - Germans and Austrians launch a combined offensive against the Russians on the Eastern Front. The German 9th Army targets Warsaw, Poland, but is opposed by six Russian armies and withdraws. The Austrians attack the Russians in Galicia (a province in northeast Austria) with indecisive results. However, the Russians fail to press their advantage at Warsaw and instead begin a split counter-offensive moving both southward against the Austrians in Galicia and northward toward Germany. The German 9th Army then regroups and cuts off the Russians at Lodz, Poland, halting their advance and forcing an eastward withdrawal by the Russians.

    November 1, 1914 - Austria invades Serbia. This is the third attempt to conquer the Serbs in retaliation for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This attempt fails like the two before it, at the hands of highly motivated Serbs fighting on their home ground. The Austrians withdraw in mid-December, after suffering over 220,000 casualties from the three failed invasions.

    November 1, 1914 - The British Navy suffers its worst defeat in centuries during a sea battle in the Pacific. Two British ships, the Monmouth and Good Hope, are sunk with no survivors by a German squadron commanded by Admiral Graf von Spee.

    November 3, 1914 - Kaiser Wilhelm appoints Erich von Falkenhayn as the new Chief of the German General Staff, replacing Helmuth von Moltke who is sacked due to the failure of the Schlieffen Plan.

    November 5, 1914 - France and Britain declare war on the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire.

    November 6, 1914 - In the Persian Gulf, a major British offensive begins as the 6th Indian Division invades Mesopotamia. The objective is to protect the oil pipeline from Persia. Two weeks later they capture the city of Basra.

    November 7, 1914 - In the Far East, the German naval base at Tsingtao is captured by the Japanese, aided by a British and Indian battalion.

    Trench Warfare Begins

    December 1914 - The Western Front in Europe stabilizes in the aftermath of the First Battle of Ypres as the Germans go on the defensive and transfer troops to the East to fight the Russians. The 450-mile-long Western Front stretches from the Channel Coast southward through Belgium and Eastern France into Switzerland. Troops from both sides construct opposing trench fortifications and dugouts protected by barbed wire, machine-gun nests, snipers, and mortars, with an in-between area called No Man's Land. The Eastern Front also sees its share of trenches as troops dig in after the Russians hold off the Germans in Poland and the Austrians hold off the Russians at Limanowa. The 600-mile Eastern Front stretches from the Baltic Sea southward through East Prussia and Austria to the Carpathian Mountains.

    December 8, 1914 - The Battle of Falkland Islands occurs as British Navy warships destroy the German squadron of Admiral Graf von Spee in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina. Von Spee and two sons serving in his squadron are killed.

    December 10, 1914 - The French begin a series of attacks along the Western Front against the Germans in the Artois region of northern France and Champagne in the south. Hampered by a lack of heavy artillery and muddy winter conditions, the French fail to make any significant gains and both offensives are soon suspended.

    December 16, 1914 - Britain suffers its first civilian casualties at home in the war as the German Navy bombards the coastal towns of Whitby, Hartlepool and Scarborough, killing 40 persons and wounding hundreds.

    December 25, 1914 - A Christmas truce occurs between German and British soldiers in the trenches of northern France. All shooting stops as the soldiers exit their trenches, exchange gifts, sing carols and engage in a soccer game. This is the only Christmas truce of the war, as Allied commanders subsequently forbid fraternization with orders to shoot any violators.


    Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II


    German Youth and Military


    Germans Cheer Declaration


    The Mighty Russian Army


    French Infantry in Action


    Austrians Attack Russians

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    Invasions / Defeats

    Invasion of China by Japan

    This global conflict began with Japans invasion of Manchuria in 1931 which drew criticism from the League of Nations at which point Japan withdrew from the League and launched a full-scale invasion of China. This was important because of the way that they invaded, known as the "Rape of Nanjing" they waged war against civilians--bombings, rape, slaughter. This was important because of the devastating affects it had on the Chinese population and because the treatment of the Chinese by the Japanese brought them together and increased nationalist and communist ideals.

    Invasion of Poland by Germany

    Germany's invasion of Poland during World War II was important because it showed that the policy of appeasement was not going to work out causing Britain and France to guarantee the security of Poland. Then Germany made a treaty with the Soviet Union that said they wouldn't attack each other and a secret protocol that divided eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence (German control of western Poland and Soviet Union in eastern Poland)

    Germany Invasion of the Soviet Union

    Germany wanted to invade the Soviet Union because from their they could expel/exterminate the Jews, Slaves, and Bolsheviks and create more "living space" for resettled Germans, Hitler believed this would be easy because of their financial problems. They were able to capture the Russian heartland, put Leningrad under siege, and have troops outside of Moscow but Germany had underestimated the Russian troops. They had a lot more people than they realized, a better industrial capacity and the Russian winter was hard for the ill-prepared German troops. Although this did stall the troops in the spring the German forces regrouped and inflicted heavy loses to the Soviet forces. This was important because it brought the Soviet Unions much needed force for the Allies and allowed for German defeat at Stalingrad.


    Persia in 1914 - History


    Brief Overview of the History of Iran

    Throughout much of early history, the land known today as Iran was known as the Persian Empire. The first great dynasty in Iran was the Achaemenid which ruled from 550 to 330 BC. It was founded by Cyrus the Great. This period was followed by the conquest of Alexander the Great from Greece and the Hellenistic period. In the wake of Alexander's conquests, the Parthian dynasty ruled for nearly 500 years followed by the Sassanian dynasty until 661 AD.


    In the 7th century, the Arabs conquered Iran and introduced the people to Islam. More invasions came, first from the Turks and later from the Mongols. Starting in the early 1500s local dynasties once again took power including the Afsharid, the Zand, the Qajar, and the Pahlavi.

    In 1979 the Pahlavi dynasty was overthrown by revolution. The Shah (king) fled the country and Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini became leader of the theocratic republic. Iran's government has since been guided by Islamic principles.


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