Detailed Timeline of
Great War/World War I (1914
German Gains of Russian Territories (1917): The Germans gain Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus from the Russians. Russia withdraws from the war when the Communist Party takes the reigns of the government, ceding possession of these territories to Germany, temporarily ending the threat from the east.
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Allies Fail to Gain Ground Against Germany on Western Front (1917): In 1917, the Allies carry out concerted efforts to break the German line, with disastrous results. The Germans maintain air superiority, and along with their entrenched position on the ground, are able to decimate advancing Allied forces. French morale suffers as commanders continue to send them into harm's way, leading to large numbers of soldiers refusing orders.
February Revolution in Russia (Feb, 1917): Due to Russia's poor performance in the war, and food shortages at home, the citizens of Petrograd (capital) initiated a mass revolt. It was soon joined by the army which had been recalled to restore order, as well as the police, who were also incapable of restoring order. As a result, the Tsar resigned. A Provisional Government was established.
Dual Authority in Russia (Feb-Oct, 1917): The Provisional Government was primarily run by nobles, aristocrats and merchants, with the objective of keeping the country held together until a permanent, democratically-elected government could be established. No longer illegalized, the Soviet Party (the workers party) was also established, and proved to be much more popular with the bulk of the public, as it promised equality for all. The aristocratic and merchant classes promoted a capitalistic republic mirroring western governments, which was viewed as imperialistic by the working class (Soviets). Western-style democracies were perceived to breed inequality. Initially, the Soviets allowed the Provisional Government to rule, but became assertive as the popular opinion was squarely in their corner. This resulted dual governance, leading to confusion and chaos, which would bring the Communist Revolution in October. The Russians remained in the war, but their war effort was unorganized and unenthusiastic under the Provisional Government.
October Revolution in Russia, Withdrawal from War (Oct, 1917): The Lenin-led Bolshevik (Communist) party rose to leadership within the Soviet party. As the dual government became unworkable, the Lenin-led Bolsheviks finally marched on the Winter Imperial Palace where the Provisional Government was headquartered, overthrowing the government and assuming rule. As promised, Lenin officially withdrew Russia from the Great War (WWI). In order to end the advance of the German army, they were forced to cede most of its buffer possessions, including Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, while also ceding its gains in the Caucasus back to the Ottoman Empire.
Russian Civil War Begins (Oct, 1917): Upon the Communist take over of Russia, opposition forces immediately formed to contest Lenin's new government. The Bolsheviks (Communist Party) became known as the Red Army, while the opposition was named the White Movement. It was not a cohesive movement like the Communists. Instead, it was a collection of groups that merely shared a common enemy in the communists, such as those loyal to the Tsar, and those in favor of a democratic republic (including those that largely supported the Provisional Government before it was overthrown). The White Movement would be supported by the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) from 1917-18, and the Allies from 1918-22. The Bolsheviks would achieve final victory in 1922.
Ukrainian People's Republic (1917): When Russia ceded Ukraine to Germany upon its withdrawal, the Ukrainians declared itself a sovereign republic, although it largely remained under German control.
Austria-Hungary Progress Against Italy (1917): With the withdrawal of the Russians and the stabilization of the Eastern Front, the Austrians were able to send reinforcements to the Italian front. Germany was also able to lend troops to the Italian front. As a result, Austria-Hungary made modest gains in northeast Italy, forcing the Italians to retreat a bit.
Allies Break Through Into South Serbia (1917): Greece joins the Allies in 1917, enabling the British and French to launch attacks from Greece in support of the Serbs. They push the Bulgarians out of Macedonia, leading to the Bulgarian withdrawal from the war.
Bulgaria Withdraws from War (1917): Despite military victories in Macedonia and along the Romanian border to the north, the war effort proves to be too much of a hardship for the Bulgarian people, causing their withdrawal.
Most of Romania Controlled by Central Powers (1917): With the support of the French, the Romanians regroup in the NE, and successfully defend this portion of their nations from the German and Austria-Hungarian armies.
Finland Independence from Russia (1917): Finland asserted independence in the wake of the February Revolution in Russia. In its state of turmoil, Russia was unable to intervene. However, the battle for political power propelled Finland toward civil war, which would commence in 1918. The Social Democrats had gained the support of the majority of the Finnish citizens, with its left-wing, workers' rights agenda. The conservatives were headed by the traditional elite, who were primarily concerned with retaining their economic and political power.
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Arab revolt is a success, British capture Palestine from Ottomans (1917).
British forces finally capture Baghdad from Ottoman Empire (1917).
Due to Russian withdrawal, Ottomans regain territories lost earlier in war (1917).
German Unrestricted Submarine Warfare (1917): Until 1917, the Germans had honored an agreement to avoid attacks against U.S. merchant vessels. The Germans complied with U.S. demands to prevent their entry into the war on the side of the Allies. By the beginning of 1917, the Germans realized that it was a matter of time before the U.S. would enter the war. Plus, most of their naval fleet was rendered useless due to the UK naval blockade. In which case, Germany resorted to unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, where its U-boats indiscriminately targeted all Allied and U.S. vessels, whether they be military or commercial. This tactic brought the U.S. into the war, tilting the advantage toward the favor of the Allies. U-boat attacks also became much less devastating by the end of 1917, as the Allies and U.S. adopted the convoy mode of sea transportation. Also, naval destroyers became equipped with depth charges, so they were now capable of striking back against submarines.
U.S. Joins the Allies (Nov, 1917): The U.S. enters the war in 1917, provoked by German U-boat (submarine) attacks on commercial ships. German U-boat attacks were carried out to stop U.S. trade with the Allied nations in Europe, particularly UK and France. The U.S. found the civilian loss of life and economic damage from U-boat attackes to be unacceptable. As a highly industrialized nation, it relied heavily on exports to Europe. The U.S. had hoped to avoid war and remain isolationist, but the economic harm from interrupted Atlantic trade was too severe. The entry of the U.S. played a major part in tilting the advantage toward the Allies, especially from a naval standpoint, as the powerful U.S. navy was able to protect the Atlantic from the Germans' unrestricted submarine warfare, enabling trans-Atlantic trade and military logistics.
African Theater (1917): German armies in Africa had all been defeated by 1917, with the exception of German East Africa, which was on the run from the Allies.