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At the foot of the height 304 (near Malancourt-Haucourt)
The ten-month battle for Verdun
ended without any significant shift in the course of the front.
British soldiers in the battle of the Somme
The Battle of the Somme , with over a million killed, wounded and missing soldiers, the battle with the greatest losses in World War I, did not change the course of the front.
Arab Army soldiers during the Arab Revolt 1916–1918
The Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire begins in the Middle East .
US "punitive expedition" soldiers on the march;  Photo from 1916
The Mexican expedition under General John J. Pershing begins in the USA .
Emperor Franz Joseph on his death bed
The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I dies.
1916 in other calendars
Armenian calendar 1364/65 (turn of the year July)
Ethiopian calendar 1908/09 (September 10-11)
Baha'i calendar 72/73 (March 20/21)
Bengali solar calendar 1321/22 (beginning of April 14th or 15th)
Buddhist calendar 2459/60 (southern Buddhism); 2458/59 (alternative calculation according to Buddha's Parinirvana )
Chinese calendar 76th (77th) cycle

Year of the Fire Dragon丙辰 ( since February 14th , before that Wood Bunny乙卯)

Chuch'e ideology (North Korea) Chuch'e 5
Chula Sakarat (Siam, Myanmar) / Dai calendar (Vietnam) 1278/79 (turn of the year April)
Dangun era (Korea) 4249/50 (October 2/3)
Iranian calendar 1294/95 (around March 21)
Islamic calendar 1334/35 (October 27-28)
Japanese calendar Taishō 5 ( 大 正 元年);
Koki 2576
Jewish calendar 5676/77 (September 27-28)
Coptic Calendar 1632/33 (September 10-11)
Malayalam calendar 1091/92
Minguo calendar (China) Year 5 of the Republic
Rumi Calendar (Ottoman Empire) 1331/32 (March 1)
Seleucid era Babylon: 2226/27 (turn of the year April)

Syria: 2227/28 (turn of the year October)

Suriyakati Calendar (Thai Solar Calendar) 2458/59 (April 1)
Tibetan calendar 1662
Vikram Sambat (Nepalese Calendar) 1972/73 (April)


Politics and world events

First World War

Political and diplomatic developments
Poster for the introduction of conscription in Great Britain
Antonio José de Almeida
Karl Graf von Stürgkh
Taking the oath to Charles as King of Hungary on December 30th
David Lloyd George as Prime Minister
"Home front"
  • The Internationale Gruppe around Rosa Luxemburg , Franz Mehring and Karl Liebknecht is organized nationwide in Germany . On January 1, she adopts the guidelines on the tasks of international social democracy , written by Rosa Luxemburg while she was in custody, as her program. On January 27, the first of the so-called illegal Spartacus letters , which implements the group’s goals, appears. That is why the vernacular gives the group the name Spartacus , so that it is now called itself the Spartacus group .
  • January 12: Karl Liebknecht is expelled from the SPD . Otto Rühle then resigned himself from the parliamentary group out of solidarity.
  • March 24th: The SPD chairman Hugo Haase speaks surprisingly in the German Reichstag against the war and the acceptance of the note budget, which the SPD parliamentary group wanted to accept. He and 17 other MPs are expelled from the SPD parliamentary group and forced to resign as party leader. The excluded MPs form the Social Democratic Working Group .
  • May 1: Karl Liebknecht speaks at an illegal anti-war rally in Berlin on Potsdamer Platz and is arrested. Thereupon spontaneous solidarity strikes with around 50,000 participants.
Poster of the 1916 war exhibition
Western front
Prussian soldiers at the time of the First World War , 1916
Verdun with surrounding forts
British plan of attack for the first day of the Summer Battle
  • June 24th to June 30th: British units prepare for the Battle of the Somme with seven days of barrage .
Map of the battlefield
  • July 1: The Lochnagar mine is blown up and the Battle of the Somme begins, which will be the battle with the greatest losses in the First World War . July 1st goes down as the most loss-making day in British military history. Since the British are convinced that the German positions have been destroyed by the immense gunfire, the attacking troops are allowed to advance in dense ranks at marching speed. There, however, they get caught in unexpectedly strong machine-gun fire and suffer heavy losses. Only in a few places do they succeed in capturing the foremost German trenches, which, however, have to be abandoned again after a short time.
  • July 3: British units conquer Mametz and Fricourt .
  • July 6th to 14th: The Trones forest near Longueval changes hands 18 times.
  • July 14th: British units break into German positions deeply.
  • July 19-21: The Battle of Fromelles ends in disaster for the First Australian Imperial Force.
  • September 15: The British use tanks in the war for the first time in the Battle of the Somme .
  • October 24th: Fort Douaumont , hotly contested in the Battle of Verdun , is retaken by the French.
Soldiers of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment lie exhausted on the ground, November 1916
  • November 18: The Battle of the Somme ends. About 1.2 million British, German and French soldiers were killed or wounded in the battle. The battle brings the Allies a small gain in terrain.
Mountain war between Italy and Austria-Hungary
  • March 11 to March 16: The Fifth Battle of the Isonzo will only take place at the request of the Entente . France and Great Britain wanted to relieve their soldiers in the Battle of Verdun . The losses on both sides are around 2,000 men after five days.
The deployment and attack area of ​​the spring offensive
  • May 15 to June 25: With the South Tyrol offensive , Austria-Hungary tries to advance into Pavia and Venice , encircle the Italian forces east of the Piave and thus neutralize or at least relieve the heavily pressed Isonzo front. The latter succeeds, even if only temporarily. On June 18, the order to withdraw is issued. The reason for this is the Brusilov offensive started by Russia on June 4th , the catastrophic effects of which on the Austro-Hungarian eastern front can only be absorbed with troops from the South Tyrolean region. From the night of June 24th to June 25th, the front was therefore moved back to positions that were easier to defend by a strip of about three to four kilometers.
  • June 26th to July 8th: The Italian counter-offensive brings no significant gains in terrain.
Sixth Battle of the Isonzo
  • August 5th: Italian units carry out mock attacks south of Gorizia , near Selz and Monfalcone .
  • August 6 to August 16: During the Sixth Isonzo Battle , the first gas attack by Austro-Hungarian troops takes place. The poison gas is released into the opposing positions in the "blowing process" from pressure bottles using the wind conditions. The battle ends with the capture of the city of Gorizia by Italian units. However, it is not possible to advance beyond the straightened front and take Trieste as planned .
  • September 14th to September 18th: The Seventh Battle of the Isonzo ends after a few days without any significant success for the Italian attackers.
  • October 9th to October 12th: In the Eighth Battle of the Isonzo, the attacking Italians achieve a minimal gain in terrain.
  • October 31 to November 4: The ninth battle of the Isonzo brings the Austro-Hungarian army to the brink of collapse, but after the Italian units have hesitated too long, they can regroup and stabilize the front.
Eastern Front and Balkans
Signing of the armistice between Montenegro and Austria-Hungary on January 25, 1916 (far right: Viktor Weber von Webenau)
Situation development during the offensive
Conquest of Wallachia and Dobruja by the Central Powers
  • September 1st: Bulgaria declares war on Romania. The next day, Bulgarian units march into Dobruja .
  • September 6th: Bulgarian-German troops capture Tutrakan fortress .
  • September 12: The Allies begin an offensive on the Salonika Front in the direction of Monastir .
Flag ceremony in Salonika, 1916
Bucharest, parade of recruiting troops
Ottoman Empire
British artillery at Sheikh Saad
Russian soldiers with captured standards in Erzurum
Fenton Aylmer
Hussein ibn Ali
The war in the colonies
  • January 1st: Yaoundé in the German colony of Cameroon is occupied by French and British troops.
Ride the Marie January-May 1916
  • January 9th: The blockade breaker Marie leaves Wilhelmshaven to supply the troops in German East Africa with clothing, medicine, ammunition, provisions and weapons.
  • January: A large Allied force under South African leadership advances from several sides into German East Africa .
  • February 15: After Carl Zimmermann and most of the German Schutztruppe went over to the neutral colony of Spanish Guinea / Río Muni and were disarmed there, the last fighting units of the German colony of Cameroon surrender to the Allies under Ernst von Raben . Zimmermann and his units were brought to Fernando Póo Island until the end of the war .
  • After circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope on March 4th, Marie reached the Sudi Bay in German East Africa unnoticed on March 16th .
  • Iyasu V , Emperor of Ethiopia , attacks the Anglo-Egyptian South Sudan. There, German agents staged an uprising by Christian Africans and Muslim Darfuris, while pro-Turkish Senussi from Libya are supposed to advance through Egypt to Northern Sudan. However, Iyasu's venture failed at the outset, his clearly inferior Ethiopian troops were quickly defeated in May, while Anglo-Egyptian troops quickly and inexorably advanced into Addis Ababa .
  • August: The Allies have conquered all important places in German East Africa except Dar es Salaam .
  • September 4th: Allied troops occupy Dar es Salaam.
  • September 27th: Faned by British agents, a revolution begins by the nobles of Shewa against the Ethiopian Emperor Iyasu V with the aim of putting Zauditu , the daughter of Menelik II on the throne.
  • October 27: Zauditu's supporters decisively defeat Iyasu and his father in the Battle of Segale .
Sea and air war
French soldiers aboard La Provence, 1915
U 35 on patrol in the Mediterranean Sea, 1915
  • February 26: The German submarine U 35 under the command of Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière sinks the French troop transport Provence II off Cape Matapan on the southern tip of the Greek peninsula of Peloponnese . Around 1,000 people are killed in the process.
  • February 27: The British passenger steamer Maloja is sunk by a German submarine two miles off Dover , drowning 155 passengers and crew. The sinking of the Maloja is one of the greatest losses for the British shipping company P&O .
  • February 29: An artillery battle between the British auxiliary cruiser Alcantara and the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Greif ends with the sinking of both ships. 264 men are killed.
The Sussex after being torpedoed
  • March 24th: When the steamship Sussex was torpedoed during World War I, it did not sink, but around fifty passengers were killed, including the composer Enrique Granados and the former tennis player Manliffe Francis Goodbody . Several US passengers are injured, prompting US President Woodrow Wilson to call for an end to unqualified submarine warfare on April 18 . The reaction of the German government is the so-called "Sussex pledge" of May 4th, with which the Americans are assured not to attack passenger ships in the future, not to sink merchant ships until weapons have definitely been identified on board and also for them Ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
Street corner in Lowestoft after the bombardment (Freemantle Road)
  • 24./25. April: The shelling of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth is in the political context of the Irish Easter Rising . Through the combined air and sea operation of the Imperial Navy against the English east coast , parts of the British Grand Fleet are to be provided in order to turn the British-German balance of forces at sea, which is unfavorable for the German Empire, to the advantage of the Imperial Navy through a German victory. However, there are only minor fighting without any further consequences.
Explosion of the Queen Mary during the Battle of the Skagerrak
Britannic survivors aboard the Scourge
  • November 21: The sinking of the British hospital ship HMHS Britannic by a German sea mine (or a torpedo) near Greece kills 30 people and injures 40.

Other events in Europe

Easter proclamation

America and the Caribbean

Headquarters of the US Forces in Mexico, General Pershing and Lieutenant Collins
  • March 14th: The United States sends an expeditionary army of 12,000 men under the command of John Pershing to Mexico to capture the rebel leader Pancho Villa , who on March 9th attacked the small garrison town of Columbus in the US state of New Mexico . By June, the US units succeeded in several skirmishes and skirmishes in decimating the Villistas involved in the attack on Columbus and subsequently operating in small units, but they did not manage to capture or kill Villa. The presence of American soldiers on Mexican territory not only increases Villa’s popularity there, but also creates an ongoing conflict with the Mexican government under Venustiano Carranza , who repeatedly calls on the US government to withdraw its armed forces. Armed clashes between Mexican and American armies with dead and wounded on both sides finally bring the two states to the brink of war. The US armed forces then withdraw a large part of their units, but remain present in Mexico.
The pier after the explosion
US President Woodrow Wilson


Yuan Shikai , who only proclaimed the Empire of China in December of the previous year , wants to introduce a new calendar and proclaims year 5 of the republic to be Hongxian year 1 . In doing so, however, he encounters not only resistance from forces loyal to the republic, but also from the military. Since his support in the population is very weak, he postpones his official coronation again and again. On March 1st, the preparations will officially be stopped. The monarchy is abolished on March 22nd. The year Hongxian 1 will end on March 23rd and the Republican calendar will be reinstated. Yuan's reign as emperor only lasted 83 days.

President Yuan Shikai's funeral

With his death on June 6th, Yuan's presidency ends and former Vice President Li Yuanhong takes over. This appoints Duan Qirui as his prime minister and reinstates the national assembly and provisional constitution of the republic. Vice-president will be Cai E , one of the bitterest opponents of Yuan, who will, however, die in November at the age of 33. As a result of the uprisings during the brief imperial rule, the central government in Beijing lost control of large parts of the country. The army is quickly splintering into factions of warlords fighting each other, known as the Northern Militarists , and China is slipping into what has become known as the warlord era .

Other events in Asia


War economy

Routes of the Balkan suit and its train parts from 1916 to 1918
  • January 15: The first journey of the Balkanzug from Berlin to Constantinople, replacement for the Orient Express , which has been discontinued since the beginning of the war , begins. A total of twelve railway administrations from Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire are involved in the Balkans move. The journey of the trains, which run twice a week, takes just under three days. The Balkan train quickly became popular and also used by prominent passengers, although because of the war it was not classified as a luxury train , but as a normal express train.
Adolf von Batocki


Business start-ups

  • March 7th: The Bayerische Flugzeugwerke emerged from the flying machine works owned by Gustav Otto , which went bankrupt at the beginning of the year . The day is considered to be the official founding date of what would later become the Bayerische Motoren Werke ( BMW ).
Replica of the Boeing B&W

science and technology

Antarctic exploration

  • March 16: The members of the Ross Sea Party , who have set up depots for the planned endurance expedition to the South Pole since September 15 of the previous year , return to their base camp. A man died of scurvy and exhaustion during the strenuous activity. When trying to reach Cape Evans on May 8th, two more members of the expedition went missing.
Sketch showing the boat trips to Elephant Island (green) and from there to South Georgia (red)
  • April 8: The ice floe, on which the stranded members of the Endurance Expedition have been since the end of the previous year, breaks apart, which is why the lifeboats are launched the next day. On April 14th they reach the remote Elephant Island .
The departure of the James Caird from Elephant Island
  • April 24: Ernest Shackleton and five members of the endurance expedition in Antarctica set sail from Elephant Island in the James Caird lifeboat to organize aid for the crew who remained behind in South Georgia .
  • May 10: After a crossing with heavy storms, the six men reach South Georgia and land in King Haakon Bay . However, the island is only populated on the north coast, which is why the expedition has to cross the unexplored interior of the island because the condition of the lifeboat no longer allows circumnavigation.
  • May 20: After a 36-hour hike, Shackleton, Tom Crean and Frank Worsley arrive at the whaling town of Stromness . The next day, the remaining three men from King Haakon Bay are also rescued.
  • May 22nd: The ship The Southern Sky to rescue the other members of the expedition leaves South Georgia, but encounters impenetrable pack ice off Elephant Island .
  • June 10: A steamer made available by the Uruguayan government embarks on another rescue operation, but also has to give up because of the pack ice.
The men left behind on Elephant Island
  • August 30th: After another unsuccessful attempt, the Chilean steamer Yelcho finally succeeds in recovering all members of the expedition from Elephant Island.
  • Only in September can the men turn to the rescue of the Ross Sea Party , which however does not succeed by the end of the year.


Science and medicine

Albert Einstein

Teaching and Research


Construction of the railway bridge over the Amur near Khabarovsk




  • MAY 15: The silent film The Floor Walker ( The shop supervisor ) by and starring Charlie Chaplin appears in the United States. It is Chaplin's first film for Mutual Films . The action climaxes in a turbulent chase on an escalator .
  • The documentary and propaganda film The Battle of the Somme will open in British cinemas on August 21 . Around 20 million people - almost half of the population at the time - saw it within six weeks.
Production design out of intolerance
  • September 5: The groundbreaking epic film Intolerance ( Intolerance ) of D. W. Griffith has its premiere. The work becomes the first flop in film history .
  • October 2: The Pawnshop ( The Pawnshop ) , a comedy film directed by Charlie Chaplin, has its world premiere. The film established Chaplin's collaboration with Henry Bergman .
  • DECEMBER 4: Charlie Chaplin's comedy The Rink ( The Rink ) comes into the American cinema.


Music and theater

Hugo Ball at a performance in Cabaret Voltaire , 1916
Jan Brandts Buys


Map with the temporal and geographical course of the attacks


  • January 14th: The dikes on the Dutch Zuider Sea break in a storm . Large areas are flooded.
  • January 16: A large part of the Norwegian city of Bergen is destroyed by a major fire.
  • March 5: The Spanish luxury liner Príncipe de Asturias hits a rock off Santos on the Brazilian coast and sinks in just five minutes. 445 passengers and crew members die. It is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Spanish steam shipping.
Nantou after the quake
  • August 28: A series of tremors begins in the relatively sparsely populated Nantou district in China, which cost 71 lives by January 7, 1917. Agriculture and forestry are suffering severe damage.
Dessendorf after the dam burst
  • September 18: When the dam on the White Desse in the Jizera Mountains breaks , 62 people die. 33 houses have completely disappeared, 69 heavily damaged. 307 people become homeless and 1020 lose their jobs.
  • November 3: 90 people died in the collision of the passenger ferry Connemara with a coal freighter off Greenore on the coast of County Louth, Ireland .
  • December 13: A Nasschnee avalanche come on the Marmolada about 300 soldiers killed, who fought in the Italian-Austrian mountain warfare.

Minor accidents are listed in the sub-articles of Disaster .

nature and environment

Capulin Volcano 1916


Nobel Prizes

price person country Reason for awarding the prize image
Nobel Price for physics not awarded
Nobel Prize in Chemistry not awarded
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine not awarded
Nobel Prize in literature Verner von Heidenstam
SwedenSweden Sweden "As a recognition of his importance as a spokesman for a new era in our beautiful literature" Verner von Heidenstam
Nobel Peace Prize not awarded





Harold Wilson


Gregory Peck, 1973
Yehudi Menuhin (left) with Paulo Coelho, 1999


Glenn Ford, 1979


Francis Crick
Robert McNamara, 1961


Edward Heath, 1966


Richard Stücklen with Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker



François Mitterrand, 1984



Kirk Douglas
Maurice Wilkins

Exact date of birth unknown


January February

Ernst Mach, 1900
  • February 19: Ernst Mach , physicist, philosopher and scientific theorist (* 1838)
  • February 20: Klas Pontus Arnoldson , Swedish journalist, politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (* 1844)
  • February 28: Henry James , British writer (* 1843)

March April

  • 0March 2: Carmen Sylva , Romanian queen and writer (* 1843)
Franz Marc, 1910

May June

Karl Schwarzschild
Gorch Fock, 1916

July August

William Ramsay

September October

November December

Franz Joseph I., 1910
Hiram Maxim

Exact date of death unknown

Web links

Commons : 1916  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files