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World War 1: A Short Timeline 1917


Britain and France begin 1917 under the aegis of Neville, a man determined to launch an ambitious plan of attack, while German High Command is similarly influenced, accepting predictions that a full submarine campaign against all shipping would break Britain before the US responded. Meanwhile, the Russian government has been fatally damaged...

• January 1: Turkey declares independence from European suzerainty.
• January 10: Entente powers respond to Wilson's peace note, giving their objectives.
• February 1: Germany resumes USW.
• February 3: US severs diplomatic ties with Germany.
• February 6 - March 16: Operation Alberich, where German troops withdraw 25 miles to the Hindenburg line.
• February 24: The UK releases The Zimmermann Telegram to the US: it contains a German offer to Mexico, proposing an alliance against the US.
• March - July: The February Revolution convulses Russia, damaging the armies willpower and ability.
• March 15: Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates.
• April 2: Wilson's war address to the US Congress.
• April 6: The US declares war on Germany.
• April 9 - May 16: Battles of Arras and Vimy Ridge, in which the BEF and CEF launch attacks in support of the Nivelle offensive. (WF)
• April 16 - May 9: The Nivelle Offensive, a large and deeply flawed French assault that fails, destroying French morale.
• April 16: Having been ferried by the Germans, Lenin arrives back in Russia.
• April 17 - June 10: Many French soldiers 'mutiny', defending their lines but refusing new assaults.
• May 10: Pershing placed in command of US troops; Britain introduces the 'convoy system' to protect shipping.
• May 15: Nivelle is replaced by Petain as C-in-C; two days later he announces a temporary French switch to defence. (WF)
• May 26: First US troops arrive in France.
• July 1 -18: The Kerensky Offensive, an initially successful Russian assault which ends, after a German counter offensive, with a 150 mile retreat by July 23.
• July 2: Pershing requests a million men.
• July 11: Pershing revises his estimate: requests 3 million men.
• July 31 - November 18: The Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) begins, a British campaign against the Germans.
• September 1 - 5: Capture of Riga by the Germans, using new tactics based on lightning assault.
• October 12: First Battle of Passchendaele. (WF)
• October 24 - December 20: Austro-German Caporetto offensive pushes Italian front firmly into Italy.
• October 26 - November 10: Second Battle of Passchendaele.
• November 7: The Bolsheviks, lead by Lenin, seize power in Russia - they want an end to the war.
• November 15: Clemenceau becomes French Prime Minister.
• November 20 - December 3: Battle of Cambrai. Massed tanks are used for the first time (by the British), but the initial breakthrough cannot be supported and fails. (WF)
• December 1: First meeting of the Allied Supreme War Council, including Britain, France, Italy and the US.
• December 8: The British capture Jerusalem, ending 673 years of Turkish/Ottoman rule.
• December 15: Russia and Germany sign an armistice at Brest-Litovsk.

Nivelle's failure forced the French to become defensive and await their allies, while Haig drove Britain forward alone in a campaign that seemingly produced little; however, the Allies formed a Supreme War Council to co-ordinate and millions of fresh soldiers are forthcoming from America. In contrast, Russia's new Soviet leaders have all but officially surrendered: Germany has won the Eastern Front.

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