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Richmond WW1 Diary 5 December

Armistice between Germany and Russia | The German government had been agitating to undermine the Russian rulers for some time. The withdrawal from the war of the huge Russian forces would release the Central Powers’ armies in the East and allow them to focus on winning the war on the Western Front. Despite the fact…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 1 December

Birthday of Ernst Toller | Born 1 December 1893 in Prussia, Ernst Toller volunteered for duty at the start of the war. After serving in the German Army for 13 months at the Western Front he suffered a breakdown and was invalided out of the army. Although he survived the war and went on to…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 24 October

Battle of Caporetto, defeat of the Italian Army | By late 1917, the strength of the Austro-Hungarian forces was failing and Germany feared its chief ally would pull out of the war. The decision was made to attack the Italian Army, then active on the Austro-Hungarian borders. The Battle of Caporetto, known as the Battle of…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 7 June 1917

Messines ridge destroyed | On 17 June 1917 a huge underground explosion destroyed the German-held Messines ridge south of Ypres. British, Australian and Canadian miners had worked for a year to dig tunnels and place 600 tonnes of explosives. Some 10,000 German soldiers were killed instantly and the blast was heard as far away as…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 1 February 1917

Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare campaign begins In January 1917, Germany renewed its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. The policy had been abandoned in 1915 after the sinking of the Lusitania, which had caused an international outcry. This was a particular concern since the ship had sailed from New York with hundreds of American citizens onboard,…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 21 November 1916

Death of Franz Josef I Franz Josef, ruler of Austria-Hungary, had ruled an empire that included Bohemia (modern Czech Republic) Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and parts of Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. His heir was his nephew, Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked the war. By the time of Franz…

Postcard showing buildings along the lakefront and a steamer boat

Richmond WW1 Diary 18 November 1916

The situation in Constance (Konstanz) Constance, Germany, was a small garrison town on the shores of Lake Constance, on the border with Switzerland. In August 1914 it hosted the last European Peace Conference before the continent and the world erupted into war. As elsewhere across Europe, Germany suffered from severe food shortages. Things were worse…