The Key Events in the First 6 Months of The Great War

The Key Events in the First 6 Months of The Great War

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Austrian Archduke and heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Bosnia by terrorists hostile to Austria’s presence in the Balkans. In response the Austrian government issued an ultimatum to Serbia. When Serbia did not submit unconditionally to its demands the Austrians declared war.

Austrian Emperor Franz Josef believed wrongly that he could do this without attracting hostility from other countries. The Austrian declaration of war gradually drew many of the other powers into the war via a complex system of alliances.

After the First World War broke out, Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson established a hospital in a vast and derelict old workhouse in Covent Garden's Endell Street. The medical marvel which sprung up treated 26,000 wounded men over the next four years, and was staffed entirely by women. Wendy Moore joined Dan on the pod to tell this remarkable story, and discuss the legacy of these pioneering women.

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War in the West

At the end of these 6 months a stalemate on the western front had emerged. Early battles were different and tended to involve much more dynamic changes of possession.

At Liege the Germans established the importance of artillery by bombarding a fortress held by the Allies (British, French and Belgian). The British held them at the Battle of Mons not long after though, highlighting that a small and well trained force could hold off a numerically superior enemy of lesser ability.

In their first engagements of the war the French suffered huge losses due to outdated approaches to war. At the Battle of the Frontiers they invaded Alsace and incurred catastrophic losses including 27,000 deaths in a single day, the highest death toll by one Western Front army of any day in the war.

The Battle of the Frontiers.

On 20 August 1914 German soldiers captured Brussels as part of their march to France via Belgium, the first part of the Schlieffen Plan. The Allies halted this advance outside Paris at the First Battle of the Marne.

The Germans then fell back to a defensive ridge on the Aisne River where they began to entrench. This began the stalemate on the Western Front and marked the start of the race to the sea.

By late 1914 it was increasingly clear that neither army would outflank the other and the battle in the west became for strategic points on the front which now stretched in trenches from the North Sea coast to the Alps. In a month long battle from 19 October 1914 a German army, many of them student reservists, attacked unsuccessfully with massive casualties.

In December 1914 the French launched the Champagne Offensive in hopes of breaking the deadlock. Many of its battles were inconclusive but it continued into 1915 with few gains but thousands of casualties.

November 2020 marks 100 years since the Unknown Warrior was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey. For the centenary, Dan Snow visits the Abbey and the National Army Museum, to learn more about an untold story behind the Unknown Warrior.

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On 16 December German ships fired on civilians in the British towns of Scarborough, Whitley and Hartlepool. The bombardment caused 40 deaths and was the first attack on British civilians on home soil since the 17th century.

In an unexpected moment of good will soldiers on all sides declared a Christmas truce in 1914, an event which has now become legendary but at the time was seen with suspicion and led to commanders working towards restricting future fraternization.

War in the East

In the east the most combatants had seen both successes and failures but the Austrian performance had been nothing short of disastrous. Not planning for a long war, the Austrians deployed 2 armies in Serbia and only 4 in Russia.

One of the first important battles of the north eastern campaign came in late August when the Germans defeated the Russian army near Tannenberg.

Further south around the same time the Austians were driven out from Serbia and beaten by the Russians at Galicia which in turn led them to garrison a large force at Przemyśl fortress where they would remain under siege by the Russians for a long time.

By mid-October Hindenburg’s advance in Poland had been stopped when he Russian reinforcements arrived around Warsaw.

Following Hindenburg’s retreat the Russians attempted to invade German East Prussia but were too slow and were driven back to Łódź where after initial difficulties the Germans defeated them at the second attempt and took control of the city.

Hindenberg talks with his staff on the Eastern Front by Hugo Vogel.

A second Austrian invasion of Serbia showed initial promise but after catastrophic losses trying to cross the Kolubara river under fire they were eventually driven out. This happened in spite of their having taken the Serbian capital Belgrade and so officially speaking fulfilled their objective for the campaign.

The Ottoman Empire joined the war on 29 October and though at first they were successful against the Russians in the Caucasus Enver Pasha’s attempt to finish off a Russian force based at Sarıkamış lost thousands of men needlessly due to the cold and hugely undermined the Ottoman Empire on the south eastern front.

On 31 January gas was used for the first time, albeit ineffectively, by Germany at the Battle of Bolimow against Russia.

Outside Europe

On 23 August Japan declared war on Germany and entered on the side of Britain and France by attacking German colonies in the Pacific. Also in the Pacific January saw the Battle of the Falklands in which the Royal Navy destroyed the fleet of German Admiral von Spee ending German naval presence outside of landlocked seas like the Adriatic and Baltic.

The Battle of the Falklands: 1914.

To preserve its oil supply Britain sent Indian troops to Mesopotamia on 26 October where they achieved a series of victories against the Ottomans at Fao, Basra and Qurna.

Elsewhere overseas Britain was performing less well being defeated by German General von Lettow-Vorbeck repeatedly in East Africa and seeing the defeat of its South African troops by German forces in what is now Namibia.

American Experience

In the Beginning
According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the Garden of Eden in which God placed Adam and Eve is located in Jackson County, Missouri, near the town of Independence.

Circa 600 B.C.
According to Mormon belief, an Israelite named Lehi journeys with his family from the Middle East to the Americas. Lehi's descendants divide into two tribes, the Nephites and the Lamanites, named after two of Lehi's sons. The Nephites, initially more prosperous and religious, become corrupt over time and are locked into centuries of warfare with the nomadic Lamanites, whom Mormons consider the ancestors of Native Americans.

Jesus Christ visits the Americans. Courtesy: Intellectual Reserve Inc.

33 A.D.
After his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ appears in the Americas and preaches to the Nephites. Christ's appearance inaugurates a period of harmony with the Lamanites that lasts 200 years, but eventually the tribes fall into conflict again.

385 A.D.
A Nephite prophet named Mormon has been writing the story of his people. On the eve of a climatic battle with the Lamanites, Mormon turns over the core of what will become known as the Book of Mormon, transcribed on gold plates, to his son Moroni. Mormon is mortally wounded in the battle at a place called Cumorah, and the Nephites are nearly obliterated, but Moroni survives another 36 years and adds material to the Book of Mormon before sealing up the plates in 421.

June 1: Brigham Young is born in the town of Whitingham to a family of Vermont farmers.

December 23: Joseph Smith, Junior is born in Sharon, Vermont, fifth child of Lucy and Joseph Smith, a hard-luck farmer whose family moves frequently as his business ventures fail. Joseph, Sr. and his sons spend part of the warm weather months treasure hunting using various divination tools, including seer stones that, when viewed at the bottom of a hat, are said to convey special sight.

The Smith family moves to Lebanon, New Hampshire, where their financial situation improves and the children are able to begin school.

A local typhoid epidemic kills 6,000 and infects the Smith children. Although none die, young Joseph develops a leg infection that doctors initially think will require amputation. A novel type of surgery saves the boy's limb, but he must use crutches for the next three years and will walk with a limp thereafter.

Following a third straight year of crop failure, the Smith family moves to Palmyra, New York, a town of 4,000 situated near the planned route of the Erie Canal. Palmyra lies within an area known as the "Burned-over District" for the evangelical fervor of its residents.

Young leaves his family, who have settled in New York, and sets out on his own as a carpenter and handyman.

Joseph Smith, now 14, has become increasingly troubled by denominational differences among local Christians, but remains unsure which church is the right one to follow. One spring morning, he goes into the woods and witnesses a pillar of light descending from heaven, followed by an image of God and Jesus Christ (who are perceived by Joseph as separate "personages") forgiving his sins and warning Smith that all denominations have strayed from the truth and he should not join any of them. This event, known to Mormons as the First Vision, does not dramatically change Smith's life. He continues to work the farm and treasure hunt with his father, and when he mentions the vision to a local minister, he is scorned. Smith will not give his followers a detailed description of this vision until 1839.

September 21: Fearing that he has fallen off the right path, Smith prays forgiveness for all his "sins and follies" and receives a vision of the angel named Moroni, who speaks of a book written on gold plates and buried in a nearby hillside. According to Moroni, the book describes the people who used to inhabit America and contains "the fullness of the everlasting Gospel."

September 22: Guided by his vision, Smith locates the book in a box in the Hill Cumorah, just three miles from the Smith farm, but is told by Moroni that he cannot take the gold plates yet instead he must return on September 22 for each of the next four years and be instructed on the mission God has in store for him. When Smith attempts to touch the box anyway, he receives a shock and is thrown to the ground.

November 19: Joseph Smith's eldest brother Alvin dies, putting greater financial strain on the family.

October: Smith and his father join a treasure hunting expedition 135 miles away in Harmony, Pennsylvania. No treasure is found, but Smith meets and falls in love with 21-year-old Emma Hale while boarding at her father's house.

March: A criminal complaint is sworn out against Smith for fraudulent use of seer stones. He admits to using them in the past but says he has now given up the practice.

January 18: Joseph Smith and Emma Hale marry against her father's wishes.

September 22: Now that four years have passed, Smith successfully digs up the gold plates. Warned by Moroni not to let anyone else see them, he does show his mother an unusual pair of spectacles with precious stones where the eyepieces would normally be. These stones are to help Smith translate the book from the "reformed Egyptian" in which it is written. But rumors of a golden Bible have begun to circulate in the neighborhood, so Joseph and Emma Smith must flee potential thieves. Financially assisted by a local farmer named Martin Harris, the couple sets out for Harmony, hiding the gold plates in a barrel of beans.

December: Emma's father allows the couple to stay in a small house on his property, and Joseph begins the task of translating the writing of the gold book, using his interpretation device and dictating the results to Emma.

April: Harris, who has followed Joseph Smith to Harmony, takes up work on the book, writing down Smith's dictation. Over the next two months, they produce 116 pages of text, but then Harris takes it back to Palmyra to show his doubting wife and loses the only copy.

June 15: Emma gives birth to a child, Alvin, who dies that same day (only five of the couple's 11 children will live beyond infancy). When weeks pass with no word from Harris, Joseph heads back to Palmyra and discovers the loss. Begging for forgiveness, he is visited by an angel who takes the gold plates for a time as punishment for Smith's indiscretion.

September 22: Smith gets the gold plates and interpretation device back.

April 5: Young schoolteacher Oliver Cowdery arrives in Harmony and becomes a scribe for Smith as he resumes the translation of the gold plates. The two men finish work in June.

May 15: In the midst of their translation, Cowdery and Smith take to the woods to pray and are visited by John the Baptist, who confers the Aaronic priesthood upon them. This is a critically important event in the history of the church since it precedes the restoration of the church. John the Baptist also tells the two young men that the Melchizedek Priesthood will also be restored and that when it is restored, it will give them power to "lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost." Then, in anticipation of the organization of the "Church of Christ," John the Baptist announces that Smith will be "the first Elder of the Church" and Cowdery the second. The two men then baptize each other in the Susquehanna River.

June: Smith, who has completed the translation at Peter Whitmer's farm in Fayette, New York, receives a copyright for The Book of Mormon. Eleven witnesses will later sign statements that they have seen the gold plates from which The Book of Mormon was translated three of them, including Harris and Cowdery, further assert that they saw an angel bearing the plates.

August: Smith locates a publisher for the Book of Mormon in Palmyra and typesetting begins. The 5,000 copy initial print run is financed by a $3,000 mortgage on Harris' farm.

March 26: The Book of Mormon is published, each copy selling for $1.25. Young, a practicing Methodist who has moved to the area near Palmyra with his wife, reads the Book shortly after publication and will be baptized as a Mormon two years later.

April 6: The first organization meeting of the LDS is held at the Whitmer farm with about 50 people in attendance. Smith and Cowdery are ordained "elders," and Smith will also become known as "prophet." The first four Mormon missionaries (including Cowdery) head west that October.

June: Smith is arrested and charged with "being a disorderly person" for his preaching, but is acquitted.

October: The missionaries taking The Book of Mormon's message to the Indians in Ohio and Missouri have stopped in Kirtland, Ohio. A Baptist minister named Sidney Rigdon decides to join the LDS and bring his 100-member congregation with him. Soon afterward, a vision instructs Smith to move the nascent Mormon community west to Kirtland. Other missionaries proceed to Missouri and settle in Independence.

February: Joseph and Emma Smith reach Kirtland other church members will join them in the spring. For the next six years, Smith will be based there and will announce some 65 revelations, most pertaining to church structure and organization.

The concept of the gathering is put in place during this year.

June: After missionaries reach Missouri and settle in Independence, Smith leads a group of Mormons from Kirtland west to Independence, which, according to the story, God has revealed will be the gathering place for Mormons and the site of a "New Jerusalem." In August they lay the cornerstone for a temple within a year, more than 800 more church members have moved to the area. Yet Smith decides to keep his headquarters in Kirtland.

Joseph Smith begins work on an inspired translation of the Bible.

Smith and two counselors form the First Presidency of the Latter-day Saints, with authority over all church matters.

March 24: A mob resentful of growing Mormon influence tars and feathers Smith in front of his Kirtland house.

Work begins on a grand Mormon Temple in Kirtland. It will take three years to complete and measure 55 by 65 feet, soaring 110 feet high.

The first collection of Smith's revelations is prepared for publication as The Book of Commandments.

Summer: The Missouri Mormons begin to suffer violence at the hands of other locals their printing press (on which The Book of Commandments is being printed) is destroyed in July. Mob violence will drive the Mormons out of Jackson County and across the Missouri River to Clay County in November. The pages of The Book of Commandments are rescued from the muddy streets and bound, creating the first published collection of Smith's revelations.

September: Brigham Young, now a widower, arrives with his two young children in Kirtland.

One hundred thirty eight of Smith's revelations are published in a book called Doctrine and Covenants. Included among these are the sixty-five revelations published in The Book of Commandments, plus seven "Lectures on Faith" prepared by Joseph Smith, which are not described as revelations.

The Missouri Mormons are forced to leave Clay County for the more remote Caldwell and Daviess Counties in the northern part of the state.

March 27: One thousand worshippers begin a week of temple dedication ceremonies in Kirtland. Witnesses report rushing winds, a pillar of fire, and the presence of angels. During the dedication, a critical visionary experience occurs in which the prophet and Oliver Cowdery, who have retired behind a veil that separates an elevated pulpit from the rest of the temple, see a personage they believe is Jesus, accepting the temple as a place where he will manifest himself to his people. In addition, they see the Old Testament prophets Moses, Elijah, and Elias, who commit into LDS hands the keys of the gathering of Israel and the new dispensation of the fullness of times.

November: Smith forms the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, but a national economic panic begins in March 1837 and soon leads to his bank's collapse. Accusations of both financial and sexual impropriety arise.

Mormons begin evangelizing in England.

C.C.A Christensen's Depiction of Missouri Militia raid on the Mormon settlement of Haun's Mill, ca. 1865. Courtesy: Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

January 12: Smith escapes Kirtland and heads for Missouri, arriving there with his family in March. Many of the Ohio Mormons follow, and soon there are thousands of church members in the settlement of Far West in Caldwell County. Smith makes plans for a new temple and excommunicates old friends and current adversaries including Cowdery, who has turned against him, accusing him of adultery. But peace with neighboring non-Mormons proves elusive.

July 4: While giving a patriotic oration, Rigdon promises that Mormons will defend themselves and warns of a "war of extermination" with hostile neighbors.

August 6: Non-Mormons attempt to prevent church members from voting, leading to a bloody melee. In the charged aftermath of the violence, Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs orders all Mormons to either be driven from the state or wiped out.

October 30: Stirred up by the governor's decree, an anti-Mormon mob massacres church members at Haun's Mill, killing 17, including unarmed children. Opposition to the Mormons rages. Smith is arrested, charged with treason, and sentenced to death, his life only spared when the officer ordered to carry out the execution refuses. Smith instead will spend the next five months in jail.

Led by Brigham Young, the Missouri Mormons reach safety in Illinois, where they are welcomed by a sympathetic populace.

April: While being moved from one trial location to another, Smith is permitted to escape and makes his way to Illinois. There he buys land for a new settlement named Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi River, about 200 miles from St. Louis.

November 29: Smith travels to Washington to meet President Martin Van Buren. He demands compensation for the Mormon losses in Missouri. Van Buren expresses sympathy but says he "can do nothing."

December: The Mormons receive a city charter establishing expansive home rule and a local militia. After the first mayor is excommunicated, Smith becomes both mayor and military leader. Nauvoo quickly grows and within four years is nearly the size of Chicago, the population bolstered by an influx of Mormon converts from Europe.

July 12: Smith announces revelations about two new practices. First, the dead can be baptized. [This practice is disclosed as a part of three different revelations.] Second, polygamy, or plural marriage, is not only permissible but in certain cases required. The second pronouncement, in particular, causes great division among Mormons, with Brigham Young stating he would rather die and Joseph Smith's wife Emma expressing opposition even though the revelation (now Section 132 in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants) expressly directs Emma Smith to accept plural marriage.) And although the doctrine will not be publicly announced for nearly a decade, rumors quickly spread, increasing anti-Mormon feeling. Joseph Smith will eventually have more than 25 wives, while Young will come to embrace the doctrine, take 20 wives, and father 57 children.

Smith declares that he will run for president of the United States, announces in a sermon that those who obey God's commands can become gods themselves, and orders the destruction of an opposition newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. The ensuing outcry leads to criminal charges, and after starting to flee, Smith changes his mind and surrenders to state authorities.

June 27: While in jail, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum are shot and killed by members of a mob. No one will ever be convicted of the crime.

A struggle for the leadership of the Mormon movement follows, in which the Saints are divided over whether to follow (a) the Council of the Twelve (b) the surviving members of the Smith family (c) the remaining members of the First Presidency or (d) a variety of other potential leaders such as James J. Strang or Lyman Wight. During these two years many of the Mormons who had settled in Nauvoo leave the area, but most remain.

February 4: Facing further harassment, thousands of the Mormons, but not all, leave Nauvoo on a great march west. Some of them follow James J. Strang and settle in Michigan others follow Rigdon to the east, while others settle in other parts of the Midwest. Brigham Young, who is head of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a church leadership body, directs the exodus. Their winter departure causes great hardship, but in four months the Mormons will travel more than 300 miles to temporary quarters along the Missouri River where it divides Iowa and Nebraska. There they will wait out the winter of 1846-47 before beginning their westward trek again.

April 25: Mexican troops fire on American soldiers who have been provocatively placed by President James Polk in a disputed part of Texas. The U.S. declares war on Mexico in May, and a Mormon Battalion of some 500 soldiers enlists, although they see no action.

April 30: The Nauvoo Temple is completed and dedicated. During the days and nights of the following ten months, great numbers of Latter-day Saints go through the temple to receive their "Endowments" and a substantial number of polygamous marriages are solemnized in its sealing rooms.

Main Street, Salt Lake City, looking south from First North. Courtesy: Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

April: The Mormon pioneer company led by Young leave their winter quarters in western Iowa and head west. Young has been plagued by self-doubt, but a February vision of Smith renews his confidence.

July 24: A Mormon advance party including Young reaches the valley of the Great Salt Lake, and Brigham, who will be made church president later in the year, confirms that this is where the Mormons will settle, beyond the boundaries of the United States. His followers promptly mark off an acre that will be reserved for a temple and then begin laying out city streets and setting up irrigation systems.

September: American soldiers led by General Winfield Scott capture Mexico City and end the war.

February: In California, Mormons working for John Sutter, whose sawmill on the American River is the site of the start of the Gold Rush, make a large gold find at what becomes known as Mormon Island.

March 10: Congress approves the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which cedes much of Mexico's western territory, including Utah, to the United States.

Beginning in 1848, thousands of Mormons make the trek from Winter Quarters to the Great Salt Lake Valley. In the first months they suffer terribly, but they begin to create a "kingdom in the tops of the mountains." Young sends groups of Mormons to settle in various parts of the intermountain west.

A provisional State of Deseret is organized, but it is not approved by the U.S. Congress. Instead, as a part of the Compromise of 1850, Deseret is renamed Utah and made a U.S. territory.

Brigham Young is appointed governor of the Utah territory.

The doctrine of polygamy is made public outside the church, leading to widespread condemnation. Some 20,000 Mormons now live in the Salt Lake area.

April 6: The Mormons who rejected the leadership of Brigham Young and never accepted the idea that polygamy was revealed doctrine hold a conference in Wisconsin to found the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This organization brings together many of the Saints who believe that the church should be led by members of the Smith family.

Mormon missionaries establish a settlement in what will become Las Vegas. Settlements are also established in San Bernardino, California and in the Wind River area of Wyoming.

President James Buchanan, reacting to reports that Young is ruling Utah as a personal theocracy, declares the territory in rebellion and sends 2,500 soldiers west from Kansas. While offering no armed resistance, the Mormons harass the military's supply trains.

September: Mormon militia led by John Lee and acting in tandem with a group of Native Americans attack a wagon train of settlers from Arkansas, slaughtering 120 men, women, and children in what becomes known as the Mountain Meadows massacre. Only 17 children under the age of eight are spared. Young's possible role in authorizing the atrocity will be hotly debated over the years, but the evidence suggests that at the very least, he covered up the truth of the crimes committed.

After a new governor is allowed to take control in Utah and federal troops march unopposed through Salt Lake City, Buchanan declares the "Mormon War" over and issues a blanket amnesty. But the continuing practice of plural marriage will prevent Utah's admission to the Union as a state for the next four decades.

Joseph Smith III, the Mormon prophet's eldest son, becomes the president of the Reorganized Church. Its headquarters are established in Independence, Missouri.

The Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act criminalizes plural marriage in U.S. territories, but President Abraham Lincoln declines to enforce it.

The LDS Church (headquartered in Salt Lake City) has almost 60,000 members.

Mormon laborers assist with the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Anti-polygamy activity increases, and Young is charged, though not convicted, with that offense.

John D. Lee becomes the only individual brought to trial for the Mountain Meadows massacre, but the proceeding ends with a hung jury.

Lee is re-tried and convicted of murder.

March 23: Lee is executed at Mountain Meadows.

August 29: Brigham Young dies. Fifty thousand people attend the viewing.

The Church of the Latter-day Saints has 109,894 members.

The Supreme Court upholds the Morrill Act.

The Edmunds Act declares polygamy a felony and disenfranchises all who practice it. By 1893 more than a thousand Mormons have been convicted of "unlawful cohabitation."

The Edmunds-Tucker Act disincorporates the Mormon Church and gives the federal government all church property above $50,000. The Supreme Court will subsequently uphold this law.

In the Manifesto, church president Wilford Woodruff renounces polygamy on behalf of the LDS, although this act is never described as a revelation.

The Church of the Latter-day Saints has 201,047 members.

January 4: Utah is granted statehood.

The church threatens polygamists with excommunication and subsequently cooperates with federal authorities in prosecuting them.

The LDS Church has more than a million members.

A federal raid on the Short Creek polygamist community creates mass sympathy for the practitioners of plural marriage, and the LDS Church stops cooperating with these prosecutions.

The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changes its name to the Community of Christ.

Mormon missionary baptizing line of converts.

Today there are nearly 13 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide, with more church members living outside than inside the United States. The Community of Christ has more than 150,000 members and there are several schismatic groups who continue to call themselves Reorganized Latter Day Saints who probably have another 100,000 members. In addition, a variety of Mormon Fundamentalist groups continue to practice polygamy. The estimated number of fundamentalists is somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000.

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Austria has a ruler of the “von Habsburg” dynasty: ×0.75

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Austria has a ruler of the “von Habsburg” dynasty: ×0.75

  • loses 0.25 yearly income.
  • gets the modifier “The Triumphal Procession” until the ruler changes, giving the following effect:
      +1 yearly prestige.
  • Styrian Nobles' Revolt

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          A recession is period of negative economic growth over the period of at least two quarters. This is measured in a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), although this isn’t always necessary to declare that a country is in a recession.

          What is a Recession?

          Since the Articles of Confederation – the first US constitution signed in the 18th century – there have been almost 50 recessions in the United States. Through the last 80 years alone, there have been a total of 15 official recessions, including the latest financial crisis which started in 2007 and ended in 2009, as some of you may be familiar with. However, what is an official recession, what are the causes of it and should you invest during a recession period? This and more will be covered in the following lines.

          For an economic decline to be identified as a recession, there has to be a significant downturn in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than two quarters, i.e. 6 months. This definition of a recession by the US National Bureau of Economic Research also states that a recession usually implies negative economic growth, lower employment rates caused by a stop in hiring, lower personal demand, personal spending, company earnings, industrial production and retail sales.

          Major US Recessions in the 20th and 21st Century

          The absence of economic statistics makes it more difficult to determine the occurrence of economic downturns prior the 20th century, so economists and researchers have to use various unofficial sources to identify those recessions, such as newspapers and business ledgers. It was not until after the Second World War that countries, including the US, started to adopt modern economic statistics that include the unemployment rate and GDP, which makes it significantly easier to spot the early stages of a recession and its effects on economic activity.

          The following list shows some of the most important recessions in the United States during the 20th and 21st century. However, bear in mind that no recession after World War II has come anywhere near the depth of the Great Depression of 1929, which lasted 3 years and 7 months. The average duration of recessions after 1945 is around 10 months.

          The Great Depression started with the collapse of the stock market in 1929 and was by far the most devastating recession of US history. The economic downturn rapidly spread across the whole country and was followed by a banking panic and a collapse in the money supply, partly because of the commitment to the Gold Standard.

          Many companies went bankrupt and unemployment rates skyrocketed as manufacturers had to lay off workers. While fresh gold inflow led to larger money supply and slight economic recovery in the mid-30s, the recession double dipped in 1937. Looser monetary policy and the consecutive increase in the money supply ultimately led to a recovery in the early 1940s. During the Great Depression, the unemployment rate peaked at 24.9 percent, while the economic decline reached 26.7 percent in GDP terms.

          In October 1973, OPEC countries proclaimed an oil embargo which was targeted at countries that were supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The United States was one of the targeted countries, along with Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The oil embargo caused oil prices to quadruple from $3 to $12 globally, which led to a growth recession and stagflation in the US. Stagflation refers to a combination of a contraction in economic activity coupled with high inflation.

          The early 1990s recession was a brief economic downturn caused by a number of factors, including a rate hike cycle by the Federal Reserve from 1986 to 1989, the 1990 oil price shock, growing pessimism among US consumers and accumulating debt. The 1990s recession lasted 8 months, with the unemployment rate peaking at 7.8% and the GDP declining 1.4%.

          Another shallow recession happened in the early 2000s. After a long period of growth in the United States during the 1990s, the 2000s recession emerged with the collapse of the dot-com bubble, falling investments and the September 11th attacks, which led to a fall in the GDP of 0.3%.

          The great recession of 2007-2009 was a widespread global financial crisis which began with the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States and spread soon across the world. Many housing-related assets experienced a free-fall, which led to major problems and bankruptcies in some of the most important financial institutions in the United States, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citi Bank, AIG, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

          To stabilise the US financial market, the government injected a breathtaking $700 billion bank bailout and a $787 billion fiscal stimulus package. The increase in government spending is a typical Keynesian solution to a recession, which – according to the theory – should stimulate aggregate demand and cause the GDP to rise.

          The 360/30 Calendar in the Old Testament

          Is that even possible? Yes, it is not only possible, but it appears to have happened before(!).

          Most educated people assume that the earth has been going around the sun the same way for thousands or even billions of years. They are not aware of catastrophism or the theory that the earth has been affected by sudden violent planetary-wide events in the past. (Immanuel Velikovsky was one of the more noteworthy proponents of this view with his book "World's in Collision.")

          Catastrophism should not be a strange concept to those who have read the Bible. The deluge in Noah's day was just such a thing.

          Even atheists commonly accept that the dinosaurs were wiped out when an asteroid or comet struck the earth. That, too, is catastrophism—and of a kind that could explain how the calendar of the earth could change and probably changed before.

          You see, the Old Testament implies that the Hebrews and other ancient peoples knew nothing about the 365¼/29½ cosmology of today. The implication is always a 360 day year and 30 day month. Some examples:

          • Noah's Flood: During the time of the flood Genesis tells us that 150 days started on the 17th day of the second month, and ended on the 17th day of the seventh month or exactly five months later (Genesis 7:11, 24 and 8:3-4). 150 days ÷ 5 months = 30 days per month. 30 days × 12 months = 360 days per year.
          • Month Of Mourning Statute: Mourning for the dead is ordered for a "full month" and is recorded as carried on for thirty days (Dt 34:8 21:13 Nu 20:29). If it were as today that some lunar months were 29 days and others 30 days, why is there never a record of a 29 day month anywhere in Scripture but many accounts of 30 days? (In fact, the number 29 never appears in the Bible.)
          • King Ahaseurus' 180 Day Feast: Esther 1:4 implies a 360 day year or consistently 30 day month by recording that the feast continued exactly 180 days. Whether the feast is meant to fulfill half a year or six months, neither approach would arrive at 180 days under a 365¼/29½ cosmology but both approaches would work under a 360/30 calendar.

          Harem [ edit ]

          The Sons of [Root.Monarch.GetName]

          "His Imperial Majesty [Root.Monarch.GetName] [Root.Monarch.GetTitle], sovereign of the house of Osman, Sultan of Sultans, Khan of Khans, Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the lord of the Universe, Custodian of the Two Noble Sanctuaries, Qayser-i Rum, Emperor of the Three Cities of Constantinople, Adrianople and Bursa has a reputation as a great man and is unchallenged as a ruler.

          As befits a man of his caliber and stature the Sultan has fathered several capable children and many who show great promise as future rulers. Both the sons themselves and our government officials are acutely aware that only one can inherit and what awaits the others. Our Viziers are adamant that it is now high time for [Root.Monarch.GetName] to name a favorite among the possible successors. This is unlikely to end the competition for [Root.Monarch.GetHerHis] favor but it will hopefully stop the worst succession struggles that might follow if our [Root.Monarch.GetTitle] should meet his maker without having picked a clear successor."

            Rights of Man DLC is enabled.
        • Government is Ottoman Government.
        • Ruler age is at least 30.
        • There is no available heir.
          • One of the following will happen:
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_fairest_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_strong_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_leadership_heir being set.
            • 1% chance of the country flag harem_genious_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_studious_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_pious_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_inquisitive_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_gregarious_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_entrepreneurial_heir being set.
            • 33% chance of the country flag harem_generous_heir being set.

            Enabled if:

            • A male heir of this dynasty is born with:
              • an administrative skill of at least 1.
              • a diplomatic skill of at most 5.
              • an age of 10.

              Enabled if:

              • A male heir of this dynasty is born with:
                • a military skill of at least 1.
                • a diplomatic skill of at most 5.
                • an age of 10.

                Enabled if:

                • A male heir of this dynasty is born with:
                  • an administrative skill of at least 1.
                  • a military skill of at most 5.
                  • an age of 10.

                  Enabled if:

                  • A male heir of this dynasty is born with:
                    • a military skill of at least 1.
                    • an administrative skill of at most 5.
                    • an age of 10.

                    Enabled if:

                    • A male heir of this dynasty is born with:
                      • a diplomatic skill of at least 1.
                      • a military skill of at most 5.
                      • an age of 10.

                      Enabled if:

                      Enabled if:

                      • A male heir of this dynasty is born with:
                        • a diplomatic skill of at least 1.
                        • an administrative skill of at most 5.
                        • an age of 10.

                        Enabled if:

                        Enabled if:

                        • A male heir of this dynasty is born with:
                          • an administrative skill of at least 1.
                          • a diplomatic skill of at least 1.
                          • a military skill of at least 1.
                          • an age of 10.

                          Enabled if:

                          Churchill’s Character: Hardiness, Resilience and Personal Toughness

                          Above: Nearing 80, Churchill arrives for a visit to Washington, 25 June 1954. L-R: Mamie Eisenhower, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, President Eisenhower, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Vice President Richard Nixon.

                          Speaking of Britain and its Empire in 1941, Winston Churchill said: “We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.” 1 A few weeks earlier he had advised the boys at Harrow School: “Never give in—never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” 2 The image he conveyed is one of hardiness and personal toughness, and it galvanized his countrymen. Yet we rarely give thought to where he found the hardiness and resilience he conveyed.

                          At sixty-five—an age much older then than it is now—Churchill became leader in a seemingly hopeless war with Nazi Germany. At times he found himself fatigued with the stress of it—yet somehow he found the inner strength to soldier on. We rightly admire his ability to hold fast and never despair. But what were his sources of physical resilience, mental hardiness and spiritual strength?

                          Great figures have personal trials and tribulations like everybody else. We sometimes overlook this. It seems that they have magical powers or special insight into coping with stress. With Churchill, we may imagine that he was immune from things that wear down ordinary people. He was not. But he did develop strengths in his formative years which he was able to build upon in great crises. This forged a physical resilience and mental hardiness, the sinews of a personal toughness, which stood him in good stead throughout the Second World War and beyond.

                          Sources of Hardiness and Resilience

                          His physical and mental characteristics formed a subtle interplay that shaped Churchill’s personality and response to challenges. Still, these are components of many a healthy person. We each develop responses to life’s stress and, unless devastated, we usually rebound. Our effectiveness comes from both genetic makeup and acquired capacity to cope. How “nature and nurture” combine to form human response mechanisms remains the subject of speculation and controversy.

                          Churchill’s upbringing certainly seemed to him a valuable and stern preparation for the challenges ahead. He revealed his own identification with this early experience in his life of his illustrious ancestor, the First Duke of Marlborough: “It is said that famous men are usually the product of unhappy childhood. The stern compression of circumstances, the twinges of adversity, the spur of slights and taunts in early years, are needed to evoke that ruthless fixity of purpose and tenacious mother wit without which great actions are seldom accomplished.” 3

                          The Ultimate Challenge

                          The first quarter century of his life saw numerous illnesses and accidents, none of which were serious enough to incapacitate or handicap him. His first premiership, 1940 to 1945, was a significant transition period. Braced by the battle, his hardiness waxed. He appeared to be not only indomitable, but also apparently indefatigable. He had reached an age when most persons retire, when physiologically, their vital forces begin to decline.

                          Yet Churchill tackled the greatest task of his life, the most fearful and intense war in history, with verve and zest. He maintained a work schedule which would exhausted an ordinary man. Indeed he wore out some of his colleagues and contemporaries. He may have suffered a heart attack during those years, and had three bouts of pneumonia which in earlier days would have permanently disabled if not killed him. It didn’t matter. After recovery from each bout of pneumonia, he maintained a grueling work schedule with few periods of rest and relaxation apart from his regular afternoon nap.

                          Churchill by then had conquered any predisposition to melancholia with a personality that found comfort in a loving and supportive family. His daughters Sarah and Mary were joys to him his wife Clementine was his rock. Partly, he maintained his hardiness by taking life in stride, finding equanimity in laughter and good fun, which contributed to his overall health and longevity. He did not take himself too seriously, often poking fun at both friends and enemies. His daughter Mary, Lady Soames, who spent a lot of time with him during the war, said of his tenacity and endurance: “Papa had this enormous quality of never despairing.” 5

                          Of course, Churchill was not the only war leader who had to bear up under great duress. When, in early 1945, he met Stalin and Roosevelt at Yalta, he was as feisty as ever, no doubt invigorated by another “meeting at the summit.” 6 Alas Roosevelt was “the sick man at the table,” as his critics said. And by virtue of being the only head of state, FDR always presided. Even Churchill’s staff noticed the President’s failing health. “He sat looking straight ahead with his mouth open, as if he were not taking things in,” wrote Churchill’s doctor. “Everyone was shocked by his appearance.” 7 Churchill might not have been at his best at Yalta, but he was able to discern the flow of events and predict the likely outcome, while remaining unable to influence a better result.

                          Great Climacterics and Their Memory

                          Appearances can of course be deceptive. Churchill was always stirred by some momentous event or, very late in life, by the memories of it. Yet despite his towering image, from a medical standpoint he was as human as any of us. If he had been merely ordinary, his medical history would be of little interest to anyone except his doctors—assuming that as an ordinary man he would have had the luxury of a personal physician.

                          His habits of cigars and alcohol were certainly those of many who lived shorter lives, perhaps lacking the stimulus that again and again made Churchill rise to the occasion. (Asked at 76 why he never exercised—which is not quite accurate—he cracked: “I get my exercise serving as pall-bearer to my many friends who exercised all their lives.”) 8

                          At the sunset of his life he was less buoyant. Yet there can be little or no doubt about his essential physical resilience and mental hardiness. There are many lessons to be learned from his tenacious spirit and determination. The biggest is to react as he did to challenges. His would have felled many a lesser man. The truly great do not wilt when faced with such odds. They revel in it, they strike out against it. Thus Churchill struck out at tyranny. His record, and the memory of it, invigorated him, and he fought on.


                          The writer in him ultimately captured the essence of his hardiness: “The more serious physical wounds are often surprisingly endurable at the moment they are received,” he wrote. “There is an interval of uncertain length before sensation is renewed. The shock numbs but does not paralyze, the wound bleeds but does not smart. So it is with the great reverses of life.” 9

                          Churchill buoyed himself up by a sense of fatalism: “Live dangerously take things as they come dread naught, all will be well.” 10 In 1945, as he landed in France after D-Day, Field Marshal Alan Brooke thought that sustained him more than anything: “I knew that he longed to get into the most exposed position possible. I honestly believe that he would really have liked to be killed on the front at this moment of success. He had often told me that the way to die is to pass out fighting when your blood is up and you feel nothing.” 11


                          1 Speech to the Canadian Parliament, Ottawa, 30 December 1941 in Richard M. Langworth, ed., Churchill by Himself (London: Ebury Press, 2012, New York: Rosetta Books, 2016), 8.

                          2 Speech at Harrow School, 29 October 1941, in Churchill by Himself, 23.

                          3 Winston S. Churchill, Marlborough: His Life and Times, 2 vols. (London: Harrap, 1947), I, 33

                          5 Martin Gilbert, In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey (London: HarperCollins, 1994), 209.

                          6 Churchill’s term for plenary meetings between top leaders, beginning at Teheran in 1943. Churchill by Himself, 311.

                          7 Lord Moran, Winston Churchill: The Struggle for Survival, 1940-1945 (London: Constable, 1966), 218.

                          9 Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis, Vol. 2, 1915 (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1923), 371.

                          The Author

                          Dr. Mather is archivist-historian of the Churchill Society of Tennessee, and has spent many years researching Churchill’s medical history.

                          The Calendar

                          A month is hardly a unit of measurement. It can start on any day of the week and last anywhere from 28 to 31 days. Sometimes a month is four weeks long, sometimes five, sometimes six. You have to buy a new calendar with new dates every single year. It’s a strange design.

                          The calendar that the world uses right now is mostly a combination of the Roman lunar calendar and the Egyptian solar calendar, a product of the love affair between Caesar and Cleopatra. She was 21 and he was 52, and when they got together, they did what lovers do: discuss the true nature of the earth&rsquos rotation.

                          The Egyptians had already discovered that the year is roughly 365 days long because of the Nile river. Egyptians had “Nilometers,” structures that went into the Nile that could predict the seasons, thanks to the Nile’s tendency to flood to the same height on virtually the same day every year.

                          A Nilometer on Rhoda Island, Cairo. Credit: Baldiri

                          The Egyptians also figured out that the year isn&rsquot always exactly 365 days, so they added an extra day every four years, just to make sure the calendar year matched up with the seasons. In other words, they invented the leap year.

                          This was all fantastic news to Caesar because he had a feeling that the Roman calendar wasn&rsquot quite right. At that time, the Roman calendar year, which was based on the phases of the Moon, was only 354 days long.

                          A Roman calendar before the Julian reform

                          The Julian calendar, which added the eleven missing days and put a leap day in February, was instituted throughout the Roman empire. Still, the Julian calendar was about 11 minutes and 14 seconds off each year. These minutes added up to lost days and then an entire lost week.

                          By 1582, Pope Gregory finally realized that everyone was worshipping all the holy days on the wrong dates from what they originally were. He made a few adjustments to realign the year with the seasons (including losing ten days), and created the Gregorian calendar, which is what&rsquos on your wall or your phone.

                          Courtesy of the George Eastman House

                          Now we basically live with the Gregorian calendar and don’t question it. However, throughout history, there have been a number of attempts to redesign the calendar.

                          One calendar re-design came after the French Revolution revolutionaries decreed the first year of the revolution was the year 1, and they made the week ten days long. This calendar endured for more than a decade, lasting until Napoleon crowned himself emperor.

                          In 1849, another Frenchman, August Comte, created the so-called positivist calendar, which reorganized the months and renamed them after great men of history (Moses, Homer, Aristotle, etc.).

                          The positivist calendar didn&rsquot take off. But there was another radical attempt at calendar reform that did.

                          Courtesy of the George Eastman House

                          Moses B. Cotsworth worked the books for the British railway, and the wonky, weirdly-divided Gregorian Calendar was making his job difficult. In 1902, Cotsworth presented a design for a calendar of 13 months where every month was exactly 28 days. No more, no less. Four perfect weeks.

                          This meant the dates were all standardized as well. Regardless of the month, the 5th was a Thursday. The 1st was always a Sunday. The 10th was always a Tuesday. There would be a Friday the 13th every single month&mdashclearly, rational railwaymen were not superstitious.

                          All the month’s names would stay the same and an additional 28-day month would fall between June and July. This additional month would be called &ldquoSol,&rdquo standing for the month when the summer solstice occurs. Leap Day would be added to the end of Sol, not February, so every four years, Sol would have 29 Days.

                          13 months of 28 days make for 364 days in a year. To make it 365, Cotsworth added a new holiday after December 28&mdash”Year Day,” a floating day, not part of any month. It would be a global sabbath.

                          Aside from year day, all other vacations would be moved to a Monday. All holidays would be three day weekends.

                          Cotsworth toured the United States giving talks about his calendar’s myriad benefits, but he couldn&rsquot find many takers. Though he did attract the interest of one of the wealthiest and most successful men of that time: George Eastman, the founder of Kodak.

                          Eastman took it upon himself to promote Cotsworth&rsquos calendar design. He started a calendar league headquarters in Rochester, in Kodak&rsquos office. There they published and printed different flyers to hand out to local businesses and actually convinced a few local businesses to switch to a 13-month calendar. Including, of course, Mr. Eastman&rsquos own company, Kodak.

                          Courtesy of George Eastman House

                          The Eastman Kodak company adopted the 13-month calendar in 1924 and they continued to use it until 1989. The 13-month calendar was in use for 65 years.

                          However, within Kodak, Eastman couldn’t fully institute the 13-month calendar in its truest form. Kodak employees didn&rsquot observe “Sol&rdquo or &ldquoYear Day&rdquo or change every holiday to a Monday. They used it like how some bankers work in quarters or some schools function in semesters- Kodak&rsquos internal schedule was organized into 13 &ldquoperiods&rdquo, labeled period 1 to period 13. They used the 13-month calendar as an organizational tool for planning finances and production schedules, but employees still lived their lives on the Gregorian calendar.

                          George Eastman knew that if he wanted to truly standardize the calendar, Kodak couldn&rsquot do it alone. He would have to convince the rest of the world to make the switch. Eastman and Cotsworth presented the calendar to various committees in the U.S. Congress, and calendar reform became an actual issue of debate for the League of Nations, the precursor to the U.N. At one point The League of Nations was considering 185 different calendar redesigns, and Cotsworth and Eastman’s proposal was one of a few finalists.

                          Even after Eastman passed away in 1932, the League of Nations continued discussing calendar redesign, but they couldn’t come to a consensus. And then, Hitler and World War II made the project of redesigning the calendar thoroughly unimportant. And then, the League of Nations folded.

                          We haven&rsquot really considered calendar reform since. But there’s no reason we can’t take our vacations in Sol and celebrate Year Day.

                          How to Use Virtual Field Trips in the Classroom or for Distance Learning

                          When my kids were little we would take daily field trips to places around the world with the help of the internet. As they got older I strategically chose the locations we “visited” based on what we were studying in our homeschooling. Classroom teachers can employ the same technique and tailor class field trips to the units currently being taught.

                          Studying the Revolutionary War? Take a trip to Philadelphia!

                          Talking about the history of flight? Maybe a virtual trip to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is in order.

                          The key is to integrate the virtual field trip with things already being studied so that a deeper connection with the subject matter is forged. The possibilities are endless!


                          An adopted boy from an orphanage in Bosnia, uncovering family secrets that could hold the key to stop his family from being torn apart. A sensitive approach to discussing Alzheimer's - beautiful ideas around scrapbooking and helping people remember their most treasured memories. A child battling their own demons to try and help others.

                          Before using this with a class, be mindful of the experiences that the class has already had. Covers topics like adoption and bereavement in a sensitive way. Could be used to help a child that us grieving the loss of a loved one.

                          Receptive context - hang reels of photography film down from parts of the ceiling, allow children time to explore them, and create a dark room for 'old style' photography in part of the classroom.

                          History - Using the book yo form a timeline of events throughout, or creating a timeline of events within the children in your class history.
                          Art - Create a scrapbook of class memories throughout the year including a range of different media, or allowing a child to take a scrapbook home each week of the year and place a memory of the weekend inside using words, pictures, or objects (e.g. leaves).

                          Absolutely fantastic book. Studied teaching ideas on this book for a few months.

                          Great for introducing sensitive topics such as adoption into the class. Being adopted myself I feel as though this would be a great discussion point with the children.

                          Also great for introducing the topic of refugees, too.

                          'The Memory Cage' is a debut novel by British author Ruth Eastham, who has been compared to Michael Morpurgo. That's high-praise indeed but it's also well-deserved. It's a powerful and emotional story, dealing with universal themes such as family and war.

                          Alex was adopted from Bosnia during the Yugoslav Wars. He's formed a close bond with his new Grandad, who rescued him and brought him to England. Alex loves his Grandad immensely but his grandfather's memory is failing and he's in danger of being taken away. Alex determines to stop this from happening by helping him remember the events of his life. This however, leads to a number of long-buried secrets being revealed and painful memories resurfacing of his time during the Second World War. As Alex's Grandad begins to deal with the events of his past, Alex too has to face his own history before he can begin to move forward.

                          This book deals with a number of difficult and serious subjects such as adoption and alzheimer's disease, in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. I found myself being caught up in the lives of the characters and becoming engrossed in the story. I'll also admit to crying a fair bit near the end!

                          This is a beautiful debut novel and I look forward to future books by a talented first-time author.


  1. Marceau

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  3. Venjamin

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  4. Dakinos

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