It has been one hundred years since 1918, the year best known for seeing the end to World War I. However, there were many other important events that took place in 1918 that were unrelated to the first World War. These events fall into the categories of the Russian Civil War, politics, culture, disaster, and of course, the biggest disaster of all, World War I. Use the categories to easily navigate the map below, or read on for highlights from one hundred years ago.
View 1918: Map of Historical Significance in a full screen map
World War I, the war that resulted in the deaths of 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians, was one of the deadliest conflicts in all of history. Among the countries with WWI-related events, based on Wikipedia’s list, are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Israel (then Palestine), Italy, Jordan, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Syria, and the United States. There’s a good reason it became known as a World War.
Using the map above, click the WWI category in order to isolate the events related to World War I.
The war began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June of 1914. The two sides fighting in the war were the Allies, which consisted of Britain, France, Italy, Russia, and the U.S. and the Central Powers, which consisted of Germany and Austria-Hungary, later to be joined by the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. The Allies and the Central Powers ended the conflict on November 11th, 1918 with the Armistice of Compiègne named after the location in which the armistice was signed in Compiègne, France. However, the severity of the aftermath of the war was a factor that led to World War II in 1939.
Russia’s Civil War began at the end of 1917 and continued on into 1918. It was the immediate result of the Russian Revolutions of 1917. The Revolutions led to many different political parties vying for control of Russia’s future. The most active political parties in the Russian Civil War were the Red Army and the White Army. The Red Army fought for Bolshevik socialism and was led by Vladimir Lenin. The White Army was an anti-communist group who fought the Bolsheviks. The Allied Powers of World War I backed the White Army, and a total of eight other countries intervened in this Civil War in opposition to the Red Army.
The Russian Civil War ended in 1922 with an estimate of between 7,000,000 and 12,000,000 casualties, a large majority of which were civilians. The Russian Civil War has been described as being the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen at this point in history.
Other political events of importance that occurred in 1918 include the last of the battles of the American Indian Wars between the United States and Native Americans, new voting laws in various countries, including women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom, a variety of successions and elections in several countries and the founding of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment, an organization created to fight Prohibition in the United States.
Some of the highlights of the cultural events of 1918 include the death of the last captive Carolina parakeet, the test run of the first pilotless drone in New York, the death of a magician from a trick gone awry, a new bright nova discovered, and the release of a movie in the U.S. which featured one of the oldest actors to ever star in a movie at the age of 114.
While many amazing political and cultural gains were made in 1918, disaster also struck the year hard. The Spanish influenza ran rampant throughout the world, and many transportation systems faced disaster. This included the Great Train Wreck of 1918 in Tennessee, the sinking of Princess Sophia in what is known as the greatest maritime disaster in the Pacific Northwest, the explosion of a Japanese Naval battleship, and the worst railroad accident in world history located in Brooklyn, New York. Natural disasters also made frequent appearances in 1918. Earthquakes, fires, and tornados struck the world and 1,000 pilot whales became stranded in the Chatham Islands.
1918 was a very memorable year indeed, and here we are, one hundred years later! Click around to see more, or plot some history with your own map today.