A couple of motorcycle enthusiasts from France found a U.S. Army surplus 1918 Harley Davidson in pieces and have restored it to 1918 condition. They have embarked on a 5,000 mile ride around the U.S. and some time in the next few days they should pass through Cherokee County, KS. Folks in Baxter Springs should keep a lookout for them. You can read more about this here and also here.
The United States World War One Centennial Commission is now promoting the following activity for the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending The Great War. The program is entitled Bells of Peace: A National World War I Remembrance. We will let the following statement from the Commission explain:
I would like to say that this post is about the classic 1925 silent film about World War I. As the old joke goes, I would really like to say it. But it’s not.
Let me just say before I possibly dive in to where angels fear to tread, I am trying to avoid politically charged comments. If the reader feels I’ve failed to do this, the blame falls squarely on my shoulders and no one else.
In February 1918 the Bolsheviks, now in control in Russia, decide to pull out of the war at any cost rather than risk losing their revolution. Germany exploits Russian weakness by increasing its demands and sending its armies forward until Russia capitulates. In the United States, the President replies to statements made by leaders of the Central Powers in response to his “Fourteen Points,” and adds four more. The British Parliament debates and defeats a pacifist’s proposed response to the speech from the throne. President Wilson, facing a domestic challenge, opposes a Senate proposal to create a War Cabinet to direct the war effort, but supports his own proposal to give himself more power to do so. The workless Monday rule is suspended after less than a month. SS Tuscania, a British troop ship carrying American soldiers to Europe, is attacked by a U-boat and sunk off the coast of Ireland.
It’s January 1918. As a new year begins, President Wilson outlines his vision for a postwar world in an address to Congress. His “Fourteen Points,” which follow Prime Minister Lloyd George’s statement of British war aims by only three days, are based on study and analysis conducted by a group of intellectuals called the “Inquiry,” a precursor of the Council on Foreign Relations. The Bolsheviks walk away from the talks at Brest-Litovsk, but the reality of Russia’s military situation forces them to return. Workers demanding an end to the war go on strike in Austria-Hungary and Germany. The popularly elected Russian Constituent Assembly holds its first and only session before being shut down the next day by the Red Guards. In the Mediterranean, the Ottoman Navy loses the two German cruisers it gained in the early days of the war. In the United States, the government curtails manufacturing industries to conserve fuel. The House of Representatives approves a woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution. Americans enjoy music by Jerome Kern and George M. Cohan.
One of the most consequential years in world history, highlighted by the Communist revolution in Russia and the United States’ entry into the World War, has come to an end. In December 1917 the Bolsheviks, having driven the Provisional Government from power, occupy Russian Army headquarters and murder the Army’s former commander-in-chief. An armistice is declared on the Eastern Front and negotiations begin for a permanent peace treaty between the new Russian government and the Central Powers. The announced goal of the talks is a peace on the basis of no annexations and a withdrawal of occupying forces, but the difficulty of achieving that goal in practice becomes apparent when the two sides present their proposals. In Palestine, a British Army commanded by General Edmund Allenby occupies Jerusalem. On the Western Front the British stall German counterattacks at Cambrai and dig into defensive positions for the winter; Italian forces, aided by British reinforcements, turn back the Austrians on the Asiago Plateau. Ships collide in Halifax harbor, causing a fire and a massive explosion that kills thousands. An American destroyer is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine. The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary. Colonel House returns from Paris where he has been meeting with the Allies. President Wilson, using his war powers, takes control of the nation’s railroads. The House of Representatives joins the Senate in approving a prohibition amendment to the Constitution.
In November 1917 British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issues a declaration stating the British Government’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The Bolsheviks seize power in Russia and proclaim to the world that the new government intends to negotiate an “immediate democratic peace.” Prime Minister Kerensky escapes Petrograd and rallies the Army in an attempt to retake control, but is defeated and goes into hiding. Trotsky publishes the text of confidential diplomatic communications and secret treaties with foreign governments discovered in the Russian Foreign Office. Armistice negotiations between Russia and Germany begin. On the Western Front, the battle of Passchendaele comes to an end after weeks of intense combat and high casualties on both sides. The British Army launches a surprise tank attack at Cambrai; initial gains are lost in German counterattacks. Allied leaders meet in Rapallo to coordinate strategy. French Prime Minister Painleve is forced to resign after losing a vote of confidence; former Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau assumes leadership of a new government. An American delegation led by Colonel House arrives in Paris for the inaugural conference of the Inter-Allied Supreme War Council. In Great Britain, the Marquess of Lansdowne, a former Foreign Secretary, sends a letter to the Daily Telegraph urging the Government to seek a negotiated peace with Germany. In an agreement finalized in Washington, the United States agrees that Japan has “special interests” in China and Japan agrees to the “principle” of the “open door” policy; China is not consulted. President Wilson tells the annual convention of the American Federation of Labor in Buffalo that the way to a permanent peace is through victory. American forces achieve their first victories and suffer their first casualties of the war. Woman suffrage, still making slow but steady gains state by state, is approved in New York but rejected in Ohio. New York City’s reform mayor John Purroy Mitchel loses his bid for reelection to Tammany Hall’s candidate. The Espionage Act survives a First Amendment challenge.
In October 1917 the Allied offensive in Flanders bogs down in mud and heavy rains near Passchendaele. The Austro-Hungarian Army, aided by German reinforcements, breaks through the Italian Army’s lines at Caporetto, sending the Italians into a headlong retreat. French Army forces commanded by General Petain attack German Army positions on the Chemin des Dames, forcing them to withdraw.