1917: Events and Inventions

February 1, 1917. Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare, announcing that any ships trading in Allied waters will be liable to be sunk without warning.

February 26, 1917. U.S. Congress, still reluctant to go to war with Germany, agrees that U.S. ships can be armed to counter German submarine attacks.

March, 1917. Food riots break out in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Czar Nicholas II is forced to resign and abdicate his throne. A provisional government takes control of Russia. Below is a picture of the czar’s Winter Palace.

'St. Petersburg - Winter Palace' photo (c) 1999, Roger Wollstadt - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

April 6, 1917. The U.S. declares war on Germany. President Woodrow Wilson says that this war is a battle “to save democracy.”

April, 1917. Bolshevik (Communist) leader Vladimir Lenin returns to Russia from his exile in Switzerland, traveling with German assistance.

June 27, 1917. The first U.S. troops, called “doughboys”, arrive off the French coast under the command of Major General John “Black Jack” Pershing. U.S. troops will be sent to fight in northern France and in Belgium along the Western Front.

July, 1917. Lenin flees Russia after a Bolshevik uprising is crushed by the new Russian government led by Alexander Kerensky.

November 6, 1917. After months of fighting, the Allies capture what is left of the bomb-blasted village of Passchendale, Belgium.

November 9, 1917. British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour sends a letter to Jewish Zionist organizations promising the British government’s full support for Jewish homeland in Palestine. The British hope that the declaration will gain the full support of the Jews in Europe for the Allied war effort.

November 17, 1917. The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin who has returned to Russia, stage an armed coup in Petrograd. They capture all the bridges and public buildings and seize control of the Winter Palace. The Communists, now in power, organize the Red Army to defend the revolution and set about fulfilling their promise of “Peace, Bread, and Land!” through communism.

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