William Denis Browne dies during Third Battle of Krithia

June 4th, 2015

Arabia (Song)

Far are the shades of Arabia,
Where the Princes ride at noon,
'Mid the verdurous vales and thickets,
Under the ghost of the moon;
And so dark is that vaulted purple
Flowers in the forest rise
And toss into blossom 'gainst the phantom stars
Pale in the noonday skies.

Sweet is the music of Arabia
In my heart, when out of dreams
I still in the thin clear mirk of dawn
Descry her gliding streams;
Hear her strange lutes on the green banks
Ring loud with the grief and delight
Of the dim-silked, dark-haired Musicians
In the brooding silence of night.

They haunt me - her lutes and her forests:
No beauty on earth I see
But shadowed with that dream recalls
Her loveliness to me:
Still eyes look coldly upon me,
Cold voices whisper and say -
"He is crazed with the spell of far Arabia,
They have stolen his wits away."

René Fonck, high scoring French ace, flies his first mission.

June 3rd, 2015

Italy declares war on Austro-Hungary

May 23rd, 2015

RMS Lusitania sank by Submarine U-20

May 7th, 2015

On 7 May, 1915, Walther Schwieger, the commander of submarine U-20, was on war patrol off the cost of Ireland when he spotted a large liner.  Liners at the time where not the neutral targets the press made them out to be - they were often pressed into service as troop transports, and most had extensive cargo holds which were often used illegally to carry war materials.  In addition, many liners had been converted into Armed Merchant Cruisers and had the capacity to carry deck mounted weapons, even including space in their designs for protected magazines.  The copy of Janes carried by U-20 said as much, with Lusitania and her sisters considered armed merchant cruisers.  In any case the ship was also not carrying any flags at all, which made Schwieger confident that his target was a legitimate prize of war.

Despite British policy that major liners be protected as they entered the busy shipping waters, Lusitania was unescorted.  A small force of ships had been assigned to escort her, but the admiralty was refused the codes to contact her captain by the ship's owners.  Although often the subject of conspiracy theories, and certianly not the innocent liner she appeared to be, the main issues that resulted in the loss of the Lusitania were incompetence and the brutality of unrestricted submarine warfare.

The sinking killed 1,200 civilians, including 128 Americans, and caused a world wide outrage.  The loss was easily reason for the U.S. to enter the war, but British propaganda manipulation had an effect on Woodrow Wilson.  He refused to outright declare war and instead used diplomatic means to pressure Germany to cease its submarine campaign.  

In Flanders Fields

May 5th, 2015

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian medical officer, writes the pown In Flander's Field.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.