Many of the barns that Aged Woods uses for reclaimed wood are between 100 and 200 years old with the wood itself being even older. Today we take a look back at some of the events that were happening in the world a century ago in 1917.
The most important world event of 1917 was World War I. 1917 began with victory for the Allies on January 9 when the last substantial Ottoman force surrendered on the Sinai following the Battle of Rafa. On February 1 the Germans announce they would resume unrestricted submarine warfare prompting the United States to sever diplomatic ties two days later. With tensions boiling in the United States the Zimmermann Telegram is turned over to American diplomats on February 24 which stated that Germany would aid Mexico in recovering its territory lost during the Mexican War if Mexico would join them. Mexico did not. The February Revolution begins in Russia on March 8 when hungry women begin rioting. Just in case you are wondering the Orthodox calendar used in Russia was still in February. A week later Tsar Nicholas II abdicates ending 196 years of familial rule. It got worse in Russia when Vladimir Lenin arrives in Petrograd (modern Saint Petersburg) on April 16 and releases his April Theses the next day. The Bolshevik Revolution has begun.
Despite the turmoil in Russia American President Woodrow Wilson asked and received a declaration of war on Germany in early April. American soldiers would begin heading to Europe where things were not going well for their new Allies. Following the disastrous Nivelle Offensive, which promised victory in 48 hours in April and May the bloodied French Army mutinied in May and June. The mutiny was suppressed but Robert Nivelle was removed from command and replaced by Philippe Petain who promised to stop suicidal assaults and granted extended leave to worn out regiments. 3,400 soldiers were court-martialed and 554 were sentenced to death (with only 43 carried out).
On June 13 the Germans launch the first fixed-wing bombing raid in world history against London. In other news the soon-to-be-famous T.E. Lawrence leads the forces that capture Aqaba in modern Jordan on July 6. With the Russian government collapsing their troops mutiny and abandon their posts on July 16. Fighting breaks out in the streets of Petrograd forcing Lenin to flee to Finland. When the dust settles four days later Alexander Kerensky becomes the premier. Fighting continued on the Western Front on July 31 at Passchendaele and continues through the rest of the year in one of the bloodiest campaigns of the war. Turmoil continues in Russia on October 25 with the beginning of the October Revolution. Good news came out of Palestine on October 31 with the British victory at Beersheba. Two days later the British release the Balfour Declaration creating Palestine as a home for the Jewish people.
On November 7 Bolshevik workers led by the returned Lenin storm the Winter Palace collapsing the Kerensky government. Fighting begins around Jerusalem on November 17 and continues until December 9. Two days later British soldiers enter the city through the Jaffa Gate. On December 23 the Checka, the predecessor to the KGB is formed. In the United States on December 26 Woodrow Wilson nationalized the railroads in the country.
In other news, in January the US Army gave up trying to capture or kill Pancho Villa and pulled out of Mexico ending the Punitive Expedition. In Paris on February 13 Dutch dancer turned German spy Mata Hari is arrested. She will be executed October 15. In the Caribbean the United States purchased the Danish West Indies, or as we know it today the U.S. Virgin Islands and on March 2 Puerto Ricans are granted American citizenship. The Selective Service Act is passed on May 18 requiring American males to register for military service. On May 21 the Great Atlanta Fire begins, the worst in the city’s history since William T. Sherman had been in the neighborhood. On November 24 nine Milwaukee police officers are killed by a bomb, the single bloodiest event in American law enforcement until 9-11.
Other events include the release of the first commercial musical recording in world history featuring Livery Stable Blues by the Original Dixieland Jass Band on March 7. In Portugal Lucia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinto Marto see several visions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima beginning on May 13 and occurring on monthly intervals until October. The first Pulitzer prizes are awarded on June 4. The Lions Club is founded on July 7. On November 22 the National Hockey Association is disbanded in Canada, four days later the National Hockey League is formed in Montreal. The Chicago White Sox defeated the New York Giants 4 games to 2 to win the World Series. Babe Ruth had his finest season as a pitcher winning 24 games for the Boston Red Sox. He only hit two home runs during the season but then the league leader hit only 12. Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers led baseball with a .383 batting average and Pete Alexander of the Philadelphia Phillies led the league with 30 wins. Oregon defeated Pennsylvania to win the Rose Bowl.
Notable births in 1917 include actor Ernest Borgnine (January 24), Hungarian actress Zsa Zsa Gabor (February 6), Cuban-born actor/producer Desi Arnaz (March 6), Triple Crown winner Man o’War (March 29), Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald (April 25), Chinese architect I.M. Pei (April 26), Canadian actor Raymond Burr (May 21), future U.S. President John F. Kennedy (May 29), singer Dean Martin (June 7), American painter Andrew Wyeth (July 12), American actor Robert Mitchum (August 6), American singer John Lee Hooker (August 22), basketball coach Red Auerbach (September 20), future baseball manager Danny Murtaugh (October 8), Jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie (October 21) and longtime US Senator Robert Byrd (November 20).
Those who left us include William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (January 10), Spanish-American war hero Admiral George Dewey (January 16), German inventor Ferdinand von Zeppelin (March 8), American composer and pianist Scott Joplin (April 1), French painter Edgar Degas (September 27), Hawaiian Queen and the last monarch of Hawaii Liliuokalani (November 11) and French sculptor Auguste Rodin (November 17).