LXVI The Revolution and Famine in Russia

But a good year and more before the collapse of the Central Powers the half oriental monarchy of Russia, which had professed to be the continuation of the Byzantine Empire, had collapsed. The Tsardom had been showing signs of profound rottenness for some years before the war; the court was under the sway of a fantastic religious impostor, Rasputin, and the public administration, civil and military, was in a state of extreme inefficiency and corruption. At the outset of the war there was a great flare of patriotic enthusiasm in Russia. A vast conscript army was called up, for which there was neither adequate military equipment nor a proper supply of competent officers, and this great host, ill supplied and badly handled, was hurled against the German and Austrian frontiers.

There can be no doubt that the early appearance of Russian armies in East Prussia in September, 1914, diverted the energies and attention of the Germans from their first victorious drive upon Paris. The sufferings and deaths of scores of thousands of ill-led Russian peasants saved France from complete overthrow in that momentous opening campaign, and made all western Europe the debtors of that great and tragic people. But the strain of the war upon this sprawling, ill-organized empire was too heavy for its strength. The Russian common soldiers were sent into battle without guns to support them, without even rifle ammunition; they were wasted by their officers and generals in a delirium of militarist enthusiasm. For a time they seemed to be suffering mutely as the beasts suffer; but there is a limit to the endurance even of the most ignorant. A profound disgust for Tsardom was creeping through these armies of betrayed and wasted men. From the close of 1915 onward Russia was a source of deepening anxiety to her Western Allies. Throughout 1916 she remained largely on the defensive, and there were rumours of a separate peace with Germany.

On December 29th, 1916, the monk Rasputin was murdered at a dinner party in Petrograd, and a belated attempt was made to put the Tsardom in order. By March things were moving rapidly; food riots in Petrograd developed into a revolutionary insurrection; there was an attempted suppression of the Duma, the representative body, there were attempted arrests of liberal leaders, the formation of a provisional government under Prince Lvoff, and an abdication (March 15th) by the Tsar. For a time it seemed that a moderate and controlled revolution might be possible – perhaps under a new Tsar. Then it became evident that the destruction of popular confidence in Russia had gone too far for any such adjustments. The Russian people were sick to death of the old order of things in Europe, of Tsars and wars and of Great Powers; it wanted relief, and that speedily, from unendurable miseries. The Allies had no understanding of Russian realities; their diplomatists were ignorant of Russian, genteel persons with their attention directed to the Russian Court rather than to Russia, they blundered steadily with the new situation. There was little goodwill among these diplomatists for republicanism, and a manifest disposition to embarrass the new government as much as possible. At the head of the Russian republican government was an eloquent and picturesque leader, Kerensky, who found himself assailed by the forces of a profounder revolutionary movement, the “social revolution,” at home and cold-shouldered by the Allied governments abroad. His Allies would neither let him give the Russian peasants the land for which they craved nor peace beyond their frontiers. The French and the British press pestered their exhausted ally for a fresh offensive, but when presently the Germans made a strong attack by sea and land upon Riga, the British Admiralty quailed before the prospect of a Baltic expedition in relief. The new Russian Republic had to fight unsupported. In spite of their naval predominance and the bitter protests of the great English admiral, Lord Fisher (1841–1920), it is to be noted that the British and their Allies, except for some submarine attacks, left the Germans the complete mastery of the Baltic throughout the war. The Russian masses, however, were resolute to end the war. At any cost. There had come into existence in Petrograd a body representing the workers and common soldiers, the Soviet, and this body clamoured for an international conference of socialists at Stockholm. Food riots were occurring in Berlin at this time, war weariness in Austria and Germany was profound, and there can be little doubt, in the light of subsequent events, that such a conference would have precipitated a reasonable peace on democratic lines in 1917 and a German revolution. Kerensky implored his Western allies to allow this conference to take place, but, fearful of a worldwide outbreak of socialism and republicanism, they refused, in spite of the favourable response of a small majority of the British Labour Party. Without either moral or physical help from the Allies, the unhappy “moderate” Russian Republic still fought on and made a last desperate offensive effort in July. It failed after some preliminary successes, and there came another great slaughtering of Russians.

The limit of Russian endurance was reached. Mutinies broke out in the Russian armies, and particularly upon the northern front, and on November 7th, 1917, Kerensky’s government was overthrown and power was seized by the Soviets, dominated by the Bolshevik socialists under Lenin, and pledged to make peace regardless of the Western powers. On March 2nd, 1918, a separate peace between Russia and Germany was signed at Brest-Litovsk.

A view in Petersburg under bolshevik rule — A wooden house has been demolished for firewood.

It speedily became evident that these Bolshevik socialists were men of a very different quality from the rhetorical constitutionalists and revolutionaries of the Kerensky phase. They were fanatical Marxist communists. They believed that their accession to power in Russia was only the opening of a world-wide social revolution, and they set about changing the social and economic order with the thoroughness of perfect faith and absolute inexperience. The western European and the American governments were themselves much too ill-informed and incapable to guide or help this extraordinary experiment, and the press set itself to discredit and the ruling classes to wreck these usurpers upon any terms and at any cost to themselves or to Russia. A propaganda of abominable and disgusting inventions went on unchecked in the press of the world; the Bolshevik leaders were represented as incredible monsters glutted with blood and plunder and living lives of sensuality before which the realities of the Tsarist court during the Rasputin regime paled to a white purity. Expeditions were launched at the exhausted country, insurgents and raiders were encouraged, armed and subsidized, and no method of attack was too mean or too monstrous for the frightened enemies of the Bolshevik regime. In 1919, the Russian Bolsheviks, ruling a country already exhausted and disorganized by five years of intensive warfare, were fighting a British Expedition at Archangel, Japanese invaders in Eastern Siberia, Roumanians with French and Greek contingents in the south, the Russian Admiral Koltchak in Siberia and General Deniken, supported by the French fleet, in the Crimea. In July of that year an Esthonian army, under General Yudenitch, almost got to Petersburg. In 1920 the Poles, incited by the French, made a new attack on Russia; and a new reactionary raider, General Wrangel, took over the task of General Deniken in invading and devastating his own country. In March, 1921, the sailors at Cronstadt revolted. The Russian Government under its president, Lenin, survived all these various attacks. It showed an amazing tenacity, and the common people of Russia sustained it unswervingly under conditions of extreme hardship. By the end of 1921 both Britain and Italy had made a sort of recognition of the communist rule.

But if the Bolshevik Government was successful in its struggle against foreign intervention and internal revolt, it was far less happy in its attempts to set up a new social order based upon communist ideas in Russia. The Russian peasant is a small land-hungry proprietor, as far from communism in his thoughts and methods as a whale is from flying; the revolution gave him the land of the great landowners but could not make him grow food for anything but negotiable money, and the revolution, among other things, had practically destroyed the value of money. Agricultural production, already greatly disordered by the collapse of the railways through war-strain, shrank to a mere cultivation of food by the peasants for their own consumption. The towns starved. Hasty and ill-planned attempts to make over industrial production in accordance with communist ideas were equally unsuccessful. By 1920 Russia presented the unprecedented spectacle of a modern civilization in complete collapse. Railways were rusting and passing out of use, towns were falling into ruin, everywhere there was an immense mortality. Yet the country still fought with its enemies at its gates. In 1921 came a drought and a great famine among the peasant cultivators in the war-devastated south-east provinces. Millions of people starved.

But the question of the distresses and the possible recuperation of Russia brings us too close to current controversies to be discussed here.

LXVII The Political and Social Reconstruction of the World

The scheme and scale upon which this History is planned do not permit us to enter into the complicated and acrimonious disputes that centre about the treaties, and particularly of the treaty of Versailles, which concluded the Great War. We are beginning to realize that that conflict, terrible and enormous as it was, ended nothing, began nothing and settled nothing. It killed millions of people; it wasted and impoverished the world. It smashed Russia altogether. It was at best an acute and frightful reminder that we were living foolishly and confusedly without much plan or foresight in a dangerous and unsympathetic universe. The crudely organized egotisms and passions of national and imperial greed that carried mankind into that tragedy, emerged from it sufficiently unimpaired to make some other similar disaster highly probable so soon as the world has a little recovered from its war exhaustion and fatigue. Wars and revolutions make nothing; their utmost service to mankind is that, in a very rough and painful way, they destroy superannuated and obstructive things. The great war lifted the threat of German imperialism from Europe, and shattered the imperialism of Russia. It cleared away a number of monarchies. But a multitude of flags still waves in Europe, the frontiers still exasperate, great armies accumulate fresh stores of equipment.

The Peace Conference at Versailles was a gathering very ill adapted to do more than carry out the conflicts and defeats of the war to their logical conclusions. The Germans, Austrians, Turks and Bulgarians were permitted no share in its deliberations; they were only to accept the decisions it dictated to them. From the point of view of human welfare the choice of the place of meeting was particularly unfortunate. It was at Versailles in 1871 that, with every circumstance of triumphant vulgarity, the new German Empire had been proclaimed. The suggestion of a melodramatic reversal of that scene, in the same Hall of Mirrors, was overpowering.

Whatever generosities had appeared in the opening phases of the Great War had long been exhausted. The populations of the victorious countries were acutely aware of their own losses and sufferings, and entirely regardless of the fact that the defeated had paid in the like manner. The war had arisen as a natural and inevitable consequence of the competitive nationalisms of Europe and the absence of any Federal adjustment of these competitive forces; war is the necessary logical consummation of independent sovereign nationalities living in too small an area with too powerful an armament; and if the great war had not come in the form it did it would have come in some similar form – just as it will certainly return upon a still more disastrous scale in twenty or thirty years’ time if no political unification anticipates and prevents it. States organized for war will make wars as surely as hens will lay eggs, but the feeling of these distressed and war-worn countries disregarded this fact, and the whole of the defeated peoples were treated as morally and materially responsible for all the damage, as they would no doubt have treated the victor peoples had the issue of war been different. The French and English thought the Germans were to blame, the Germans thought the Russians, French and English were to blame, and only an intelligent minority thought that there was anything to blame in the fragmentary political constitution of Europe. The treaty of Versailles was intended to be exemplary and vindictive; it provided tremendous penalties for the vanquished; it sought to provide compensations for the wounded and suffering victors by imposing enormous debts upon nations already bankrupt, and its attempts to reconstitute international relations by the establishment of a League of Nations against war were manifestly insincere and inadequate.

Passenger aeroplane flying over Northolt — Photo taken by another plane

So far as Europe was concerned it is doubtful if there would have been any attempt whatever to organize international relations for a permanent peace. The proposal of the League of Nations was brought into practical politics by the President of the United States of America, President Wilson. Its chief support was in America. So far the United States, this new modern state, had developed no distinctive ideas of international relationship beyond the Monroe Doctrine, which protected the new world from European interference. Now suddenly it was called upon for its mental contribution to the vast problem of the time. It had none. The natural disposition of the American people was towards a permanent world peace. With this however was linked a strong traditional distrust of old-world polities and a habit of isolation from old-world entanglements. The Americans had hardly begun to think out an American solution of world problems when the submarine campaign of the Germans dragged them into the war on the side of the anti-German allies. President Wilson’s scheme of a League of Nations was an attempt at short notice to create a distinctively American world project. It was a sketchy, inadequate and dangerous scheme. In Europe however it was taken as a matured American point of view. The generality of mankind in 1918–19 was intensely weary of war and anxious at almost any sacrifice to erect barriers against its recurrence, but there was not a single government in the old world willing to waive one iota of its sovereign independence to attain any such end. The public utterances of President Wilson leading up to the project of a World League of Nations seemed for a time to appeal right over the heads of the governments to the peoples of the world; they were taken as expressing the ripe intentions of America, and the response was enormous. Unhappily President Wilson had to deal with governments and not with peoples; he was a man capable of tremendous flashes of vision and yet when put to the test egotistical and limited, and the great wave of enthusiasm he evoked passed and was wasted.

Says Dr. Dillon in his book, The Peace Conference: “Europe, when the President touched its shores, was as clay ready for the creative potter. Never before were the nations so eager to follow a Moses who would take them to the long-promised land where wars are prohibited and blockades unknown. And to their thinking he was just that great leader. In France men bowed down before him with awe and affection. Labour leaders in Paris told me that they shed tears of joy in his presence, and that their comrades would go through fire and water to help him to realize his noble schemes. To the working classes in Italy his name was a heavenly clarion at the sound of which the earth would be renewed. The Germans regarded him and his doctrine as their sheet-anchor of safety. The fearless Herr Muehlon said: ‘If President Wilson were to address the Germans and pronounce a severe sentence upon them, they would accept it with resignation and without a murmur and set to work at once.’ In German-Austria his fame was that of a saviour, and the mere mention of his name brought balm to the suffering and surcease of sorrow to the afflicted ….”

Such were the overpowering expectations that President Wilson raised. How completely he disappointed them and how weak and futile was the League of Nations he made is too long and too distreesful a story to tell here. He exaggerated in his person our common human tragedy, he was so very great in his dreams and so incapable in his performance. America dissented from the acts of its President and would not join the League Europe accepted from him. There was a slow realization on the part of the American people that it had been rushed into something for which it was totally unprepared. There was a corresponding realization on the part of Europe that America had nothing ready to give to the old world in its extremity. Born prematurely and crippled at its birth, that League has become indeed, with its elaborate and unpractical constitution and its manifest limitations of power, a serious obstacle in the way of any effective reorganization of international relationships. The problem would be a clearer one if the League did not yet exist. Yet that world-wide blaze of enthusiasm that first welcomed the project, that readiness of men everywhere round and about the earth, of men, that is, as distinguished from governments, for a world control of war, is a thing to be recorded with emphasis in any history. Behind the short-sighted governments that divide and mismanage human affairs, a real force for world unity and world order exists and grows.

From 1918 onward the world entered upon an age of conferences. Of these the Conference at Washington called by President Harding (1921) has been the most successful and suggestive. Notable, too, is the Genoa Conference (1922) for the appearance of German and Russian delegates at its deliberations. We will not discuss this long procession of conferences and tentatives in any detail. It becomes more and more clearly manifest that a huge work of reconstruction has to be done by mankind if a crescendo of such convulsions and world massacres as that of the great war is to be averted. No such hasty improvisation as the League of Nations, no patched-up system of Conferences between this group of states and that, which change nothing with an air of settling everything, will meet the complex political needs of the new age that lies before us. A systematic development and a systematic application of the sciences of human relationship, of personal and group psychology, of financial and economic science and of education, sciences still only in their infancy, is required. Narrow and obsolete, dead and dying moral and political ideas have to be replaced by a clearer and a simpler conception of the common origins and destinies of our kind.

A peaceful garden in England — Given wisdom, all mankind might live in such gardens

But if the dangers, confusions and disasters that crowd upon man in these days are enormous beyond any experience of the past, it is because science has brought him such powers as he never had before. And the scientific method of fearless thought, exhaustively lucid statement, and exhaustively criticized planning, which has given him these as yet uncontrollable powers, gives him also the hope of controlling these powers. Man is still only adolescent. His troubles are not the troubles of senility and exhaustion but of increasing and still undisciplined strength. When we look at all history as one process, as we have been doing in this book, when we see the steadfast upward struggle of life towards vision and control, then we see in their true proportions the hopes and dangers of the present time. As yet we are hardly in the earliest dawn of human greatness. But in the beauty of flower and sunset, in the happy and perfect movement of young animals and in the delight of ten thousand various landscapes, we have some intimations of what life can do for us, and in some few works of plastic and pictorial art, in some great music, in a few noble buildings and happy gardens, we have an intimation of what the human will can do with material possibilities. We have dreams; we have at present undisciplined but ever increasing power. Can we doubt that presently our race will more than realize our boldest imaginations, that it will achieve unity and peace, that it will live, the children of our blood and lives will live, in a world made more splendid and lovely than any palace or garden that we know, going on from strength to strength in an ever widening circle of adventure and achievement? What man has done, the little triumphs of his present state, and all this history we have told, form but the prelude to the things that man has got to do.

Chronological Table

About the year 1000 B.C. the Aryan peoples were establishing themselves in the peninsulas of Spain, Italy and the Balkans, and they were established in North India; Cnossos was already destroyed and the spacious times of Egypt, of Thothmes III, Amenophis III and Rameses II were three or four centuries away. Weak monarchs of the XXIst Dynasty were ruling in the Nile Valley. Israel was united under her early kings; Saul or David or possibly even Solomon may have been reigning. Sargon I (2750 B.C.) of the Akkadian Sumerian Empire was a remote memory in Babylonian history, more remote than is Constantine the Great from the world of the present day. Hammurabi had been dead a thousand years. The Assyrians were already dominating the less military Babylonians. In 1100 B.C. Tiglath Pileser I had taken Babylon. But there was no permanent conquest; Assyria and Babylonia were still separate empires. In China the new Chow dynasty was flourishing. Stonehenge in England was already some hundreds of years old.

The next two centuries saw a renascence of Egypt under the XXIInd Dynasty, the splitting up of the brief little Hebrew kingdom of Solomon, the spreading of the Greeks in the Balkans, South Italy and Asia Minor, and the days of Etruscan predominance in Central Italy. We begin our list of ascertainable dates with

B.C.
800The building of Carthage.
790The Ethiopian conquest of Egypt (founding the XXVth Dynasty).
776First Olympiad.
753Rome built.
745Tiglath Pileser III conquered Babylonia and founded the New Assyrian Empire.
722Sargon II armed the Assyrians with iron weapons.
721He deported the Israelites.
680Esarhaddon took Thebes in Egypt (overthrowing the Ethiopian XXVth Dynasty).
664Psammetichus I restored the freedom of Egypt and founded the XXVIth Dynasty (to 610).
608Necho of Egypt defeated Josiah, king of Judah, at the battle of Megiddo.
606Capture of Nineveh by the Chaldeans and Medes.
Foundation of the Chaldean Empire.
604Necho pushed to the Euphrates and was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar II.
(Nebuchadnezzar carried off the Jews to Babylon.)
550Cyrus the Persian succeeded Cyaxares the Mede.
Cyrus conquered Croesus.
Buddha lived about this time.
So also did Confucius and Lao Tse.
539Cyrus took Babylon and founded the Persian Empire.
521Darius I, the son of Hystaspes, ruled from the Hellespont to the Indus.
His expedition to Scythia.
490Battle of Marathon.
480Battles of Thermopylï and Salamis.
479The battles of Platea and Mycale completed the repulse of Persia.
474Etruscan fleet destroyed by the Sicilian Greeks.
431Peloponnesian War began (to 404)
401Retreat of the Ten Thousand.
359Philip became king of Macedonia.
338Battle of Chïronia.
336Macedonian troops crossed into Asia. Philip murdered.
334Battle of the Granicus.
333Battle of Issus.
331Battle of Arbela.
330Darius III killed.
323Death of Alexander the Great.
321Rise of Chandragupta in the Punjab.
The Romans completely beaten by the Samnites at the battle of the Caudine Forks.
281Pyrrhus invaded Italy.
280Battle of Heraclea.
279Battle of Ausculum.
278Gauls raided into Asia Minor and settled in Galatia.
275Pyrrhus left Italy.
264First Punic War. (Asoka began to reign in Behar – to 227.)
260Battle of Mylï.
256Battle of Ecnomus.
246Shi-Hwang-ti became King of Ts’in.
220Shi-Hwang-ti became Emperor of China.
214Great Wall of China begun.
210Death of Shi-Hwang-ti.
202Battle of Zama.
146Carthage destroyed.
133Attalus bequeathed Pergamum to Rome.
102Marius drove back Germans.
100Triumph of Marius. (Chinese conquering the Tarim valley.)
89All Italians became Roman citizens.
73The revolt of the slaves under Spartacus.
71Defeat and end of Spartacus.
66Pompey led Roman troops to the Caspian and Euphrates. He encountered the Alani.
48Julius Cïsar defeated Pompey at Pharsalos.
44Julius Cïsar assassinated.
27Augustus Cïsar princeps (until 14 A.D.).
4True date of birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
A.D.Christian Era began.
14Augustus died. Tiberius emperor.
30Jesus of Nazareth crucified.
41Claudius (the first emperor of the legions) made emperor by pretorian guard after murder of Caligula.
68Suicide of Nero. (Galba, Otho, Vitellus, emperors in succession.)
69Vespasian.
102Pan Chau on the Caspian Sea.
117Hadrian succeeded Trajan. Roman Empire at its greatest extent.
138(The Indo-Scythians at this time were destroying the last traces of Hellenic rule in India.)
161Marcus Aurelius succeeded Antoninus Pius.
164Great plague began, and lasted to the death of M. Aurelius (180). This also devastated all Asia.
(Nearly a century of war and disorder began in the Roman Empire.)
220End of the Han dynasty. Beginning of four hundred years of division in China.
227Ardashir I (first Sassanid shah) put an end to Arsacid line in Persia.
242Mani began his teaching.
247Goths crossed Danube in a great raid.
251Great victory of Goths. Emperor Decius killed.
260Sapor I, the second Sassanid shah, took Antioch, captured the Emperor Valerian, and was cut up on his return from Asia Minor by Odenathus of Palmyra.
277Mani crucified in Persia.
284Diocletian became emperor.
303Diocletian persecuted the Christians.
311Galerius abandoned the persecution of the Christians.
312Constantine the Great became emperor.
323Constantine presided over the Council of Nicïa.
337Constantine baptized on his deathbed.
361–63Julian the Apostate attempted to substitute Mithraism for Christianity.
392Theodosius the Great emperor of east and west.
395Theodosius the Great died. Honorius and Arcadius redivided the empire with Stilicho and Alaric as their masters and protectors.
410The Visigoths under Alaric captured Rome.
425Vandals settling in south of Spain. Huns in Pannonia, Goths in Dalmatia. Visigoths and Suevi in Portugal and North Spain. English invading Britain.
439Vandals took Carthage.
451Attila raided Gaul and was defeated by Franks, Alemanni and Romans at Troyes.
453Death of Attila.
455Vandals sacked Rome.
470Odoacer, king of a medley of Teutonic tribes, informed Constantinople that there was no emperor in the West. End of the Western Empire.
493Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, conquered Italy and became King of Italy, but was nominally subject to Constantinople. (Gothic kings in Italy. Goths settled on special confiscated lands as a garrison.)
527Justinian emperor.
529Justinian closed the schools at Athens, which had flourished nearly a thousand years. Belisarius (Justinian’s general) took Naples.
531Chosroes I began to reign.
543Great plague in Constantinople.
553Goths expelled from Italy by Justinian. Justinian died. The Lombards conquered most of North Italy (leaving Ravenna and Rome Byzantine).
570Muhammad born.
579Chosroes I died.
(The Lombards dominant in Italy.)
590Plague raged in Rome. Chosroes II began to reign.
610Heraclius began to reign.
619Chosroes II held Egypt, Jerusalem, Damascus, and armies on Hellespont. Tang dynasty began in China.
622The Hegira.
627Great Persian defeat at Nineveh by Heraclius. Tai-tsung became Emperor of China.
628Kavadh II murdered and succeeded his father, Chosroes II.
Muhammad wrote letters to all the rulers of the earth.
629Muhammad returned to Mecca.
632Muhammad died. Abu Bekr Caliph.
634Battle of the Yarmuk. Moslems took Syria. Omar second Caliph.
635Tai-tsung received Nestorian missionaries.
637Battle of Kadessia.
638Jerusalem surrendered to the Caliph Omar.
642Heraclius died.
643Othman third Caliph.
655Defeat of the Byzantine fleet by the Moslems.
668The Caliph Moawija attacked Constantinople by sea.
687Pepin of Hersthal, mayor of the palace, reunited Austrasia and Neustria.
711Moslem army invaded Spain from Africa.
715The domains of the Caliph Walid I extended from the Pyrenees to China.
717–18Suleiman, son and successor of Walid, failed to take Constantinople.
732Charles Martel defeated the Moslems near Poitiers.
751Pepin crowned King of the French.
768Pepin died.
771Charlemagne sole king.
774Charlemagne conquered Lombardy.
786Haroun-al-Raschid Abbasid Caliph in Bagdad (to 809).
795Leo III became Pope (to 816).
800Leo crowned Charlemagne Emperor of the West.
802Egbert, formerly an English refugee at the court of Charlemagne, established himself as King of Wessex.
810Krum of Bulgaria defeated and killed the Emperor Nicephorus.
814Charlemagne died.
828Egbert became first King of England.
843Louis the Pious died, and the Carlovingian Empire went to pieces. Until 962 there was no regular succession of Holy Roman Emperors, though the title appeared intermittently.
850About this time Rurik (a Northman) became ruler of Novgorod and Kieff.
852Boris first Christian King of Bulgaria (to 884).
865The fleet of the Russians (Northmen) threatened Constantinople.
904Russian (Northmen) fleet off Constantinople.
912Rolf the Ganger established himself in Normandy.
919Henry the Fowler elected King of Germany.
936Otto I became King of Germany in succession to his father, Henry the Fowler.
941Russian fleet again threatened Constantinople.
962Otto I, King of Germany, crowned Emperor (first Saxon Emperor) by John XII.
987Hugh Capet became King of France. End of the Carlovingian line of French kings.
1016Canute became King of England, Denmark and Norway.
1043Russian fleet threatened Constantinople.
1066Conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy.
1071Revival of Islam under the Seljuk Turks. Battle of Melasgird.
1073Hildebrand became Pope (Gregory VII) to 1085.
1084Robert Guiscard, the Norman, sacked Rome.
1087–99Urban II Pope.
1095Urban II at Clermont summoned the First Crusade.
1096Massacre of the People’s Crusade.
1099Godfrey of Bouillon captured Jerusalem.
1147The Second Crusade.
1169Saladin Sultan of Egypt.
1176Frederick Barbarossa acknowledged supremacy of the Pope (Alexander III) at Venice.
1187Saladin captured Jerusalem.
1189The Third Crusade.
1198Innocent III Pope (to 1216). Frederick II (aged four), King of Sicily, became his ward.
1202The Fourth Crusade attacked the Eastern Empire.
1204Capture of Constantinople by the Latins.
1214Jengis Khan took Pekin.
1226St. Francis of Assisi died. (The Franciscans.)
1227Jengis Khan died. Khan from the Caspian to the Pacific, and was succeeded by Ogdai Khan.
1228Frederick II embarked upon the Sixth Crusade, and acquired Jerusalem.
1240Mongols destroyed Kieff. Russia tributary to the Mongols.
1241Mongol victory in Liegnitz in Silesia.
1250Frederick II, the last Hohenstaufen Emperor, died. German interregnum until 1273.
1251Mangu Khan became Great Khan. Kublai Khan governor of China.
1258Hulagu Khan took and destroyed Bagdad.
1260Kublai Khan became Great Khan.
1261The Greeks recaptured Constantinople from the Latins.
1273Rudolf of Habsburg elected Emperor. The Swiss formed their Everlasting League.
1280Kublai Khan founded the Yuan dynasty in China.
1292Death of Kublai Khan.
1293Roger Bacon, the prophet of experimental science, died.
1348The Great Plague, the Black Death.
1360In China the Mongol (Yuan) dynasty fell, and was succeeded by the Ming dynasty (to 1644).
1377Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome.
1378The Great Schism. Urban VI in Rome, Clement VII at Avignon.
1398Huss preached Wycliffism at Prague.
1414–18The Council of Constance.
Huss burnt (1415).
1417The Great Schism ended.
1453Ottoman Turks under Muhammad II took Constantinople.
1480Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow, threw off the Mongol allegiance.
1481Death of the Sultan Muhammad II while preparing for the conquest of Italy.
1486Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope.
1492Columbus crossed the Atlantic to America.
1498Maximilian I became Emperor.
1498Vasco da Gama sailed round the Cape to India.
1499Switzerland became an independent republic.
1500Charles V born.
1509Henry VIII King of England.
1513Leo X Pope.
1515Francis I King of France.
1520Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan (to 1566), who ruled from Bagdad to Hungary. Charles V Emperor.
1525Baber won the battle of Panipat, captured Delhi, and founded the Mogul Empire.
1527The German troops in Italy, under the Constable of Bourbon, took and pillaged Rome.
1529Suleiman besieged Vienna.
1530Charles V crowned by the Pope.
Henry VIII began his quarrel with the Papacy.
1539The Society of Jesus founded.
1546Martin Luther died.
1547Ivan IV (the Terrible) took the Title of Tsar of Russia.
1556Charles V abdicated. Akbar, Great Mogul (to 1605). Ignatius of Loyola died.
1558Death of Charles V.
1566Suleiman the Magnificent died.
1603James I King of England and Scotland.
1620Mayflower expedition founded New Plymouth. First negro slaves landed at Jamestown (Va.).
1625Charles I of England.
1626Sir Francis Bacon (Lord Verulam) died.
1643Louis XIV began his reign of seventy-two year’s.
1644The Manchus ended the Ming dynasty.
1648Treaty of Westphalia. There-by Holland and Switzerland were recognized as free republics and Prussia became important. The treaty gave a complete victory neither to the Imperial Crown nor to the Princes.
War of the Fronde; it ended in the complete victory of the French crown.
1649Execution of Charles I of England.
1658Aurungzeb Great Mogul. Cromwell died.
1660Charles II of England.
1674Nieuw Amsterdam finally became British by treaty and was renamed New York.
1683The last Turkish attack on Vienna defeated by John III of Poland.
1689Peter the Great of Russia. (To 1725.)
1701Frederick I first King of Prussia.
1707Death of Aurungzeb. The empire of the Great Mogul disintegrated.
1713Frederick the Great of Prussia born.
1715Louis XV of France.
1755–63Britain and France struggled for America and India. France in alliance with Austria and Russia against Prussia and Britain (1756–63); the Seven Years’ War.
1759The British general, Wolfe, took Quebec.
1760George III of Britain.
1763Peace of Paris; Canada ceded to Britain. British dominant in India.
1769Napoleon Bonaparte born.
1774Louis XVI began his reign.
1776Declaration of Independence by the United States of America.
1783Treaty of Peace between Britain and the new United States of America.
1787The Constitutional Convention of Philadelphia set up the Federal Government of the United States. France discovered to be bankrupt.
1788First Federal Congress of the United States at New York.
1789The French States-General assembled. Storming of the Bastille.
1791Flight to Varennes.
1792France declared war on Austria. Prussia declared war on France. Battle of Valmy. France became a republic.
1793Louis XVI beheaded.
1794Execution of Robespierre and end of the Jacobin republic.
1795The Directory. Bonaparte suppressed a revolt and went to Italy as commander-in-chief.
1798Bonaparte went to Egypt. Battle of the Nile.
1799Bonaparte returned to France. He became First Consul with enormous powers.
1804Bonaparte became Emperor. Francis II took the title of Emperor of Austria in 1805, and in 1806 he dropped the title of Holy Roman Emperor. So the “Holy Roman Empire” came to an end.
1806Prussia overthrown at Jena.
1808Napoleon made his brother Joseph King of Spain.
1810Spanish America became republican.
1812Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.
1814Abdication of Napoleon. Louis XVIII.
1824Charles X of France.
1825Nicholas I of Russia. First railway, Stockton to Darlington.
1827Battle of Navarino.
1829Greece independent.
1830A year of disturbance. Louis Philippe ousted Charles X. Belgium broke away from Holland. Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became king of this new country, Belgium. Russian Poland revolted ineffectually.
1835The word “socialism” first used.
1837Queen Victoria.
1840Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
1852Napoleon III Emperor of the French.
1854–56Crimean War.
1856Alexander II of Russia.
1861Victor Emmanuel First King of Italy. Abraham Lincoln became President, U. S. A. The American Civil War began.
1865Surrender of Appomattox Court House. Japan opened to the world.
1870Napoleon III declared war against Prussia.
1871Paris surrendered (January). The King of Prussia became “German Emperor.” The Peace of Frankfort.
1878The Treaty of Berlin. The Armed Peace of forty-six years began in western Europe.
1888Frederick II (March), William II (June), German Emperors.
1912China became a republic.
1914The Great War in Europe began.
1917The two Russian revolutions. Establishment of the Bolshevik regime in Russia.
1918The Armistice.
1920First meeting of the League of Nations, from which Germany, Austria, Russia and Turkey were excluded and at which the United States was not represented.
1921The Greeks, in complete disregard of the League of Nations, make war upon the Turks.
1922Great defeat of the Greeks in Asia Minor by the Turks.