World War I Timeline
June - August
- June 28: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo, Serbia.
- June 28: Germany declared war on Serbia.
- July 31: Russia mobilized its armed forces against Germany in defense of Serbia.
- August 1: Germany declared war on Russia.
- August 3: Germany declared war on France.
- August 4: In a daring movie to surprise and overwhelm France, Germany invades the neighboring Belgium. This prompted Great Britain to declare war on the German Empire.
- August 6: The Austrian-Hungarian Empire declared war on Russia.
- August 22: The Battle of the Frontiersresulted in 27,000 French casualties on a single day.
- August 26-30: Germany scored a decisive victory on the Eastern Front against the Russian Imperial Army at the Battle of Tennenberg.
September - December
- September 5-10: The First Battle of the Marne halted the German advance through France.
- September 15: Trench warfare in Europe began.
- December 25: Soldiers on both sides on the Western Front declared an unofficial Christmas truce. German and British soldiers sang Christmas hymns together, exchanged cigarettes and played a friendly game of soccer. In addition, some Germans who lived in Great Britain before the war, received updates from British soldiers about life on the British Isles.
February - September
- February 4: Germany established a submarine blockade around Great Britain and promised to sink any vessel deemed aiding the British. This included ships from the United States.
- May 7: German submarine, U- 20, sank the HMS Lusitania and killed 1,198 people. 128 Americans were onboard the ocean liner.
- August 30: Germany declared it would warn civilian vessels before sinking them – largely in response to grievances from the United States regarding unrestricted, submarine warfare.
- September 5: Russian Tsar Nicholas II took command of the Russian forces.
- September 15: The British Army used chlorine yellow gas against the Germans near Loos, France, although shifting winds resulted in 60,000 British casualties.
February - December
- February 21-December 18: The longest battle of World War I, the Battle of Verdun, took place without a decisive victory and finished with an estimated one million casualties.
- April 9: The Canadian Army captured the French village of Vimy Ridge. Upon the American entry into the war, the Arkansas town of Germania changed its name to Vimy Ridge to avoid anti-American accusations.
- April 19: President Woodrow Wilson warned Germany against continuing unrestricted, submarine warfare.
- May 31-June 1: The Battle of Jutland in the North Atlantic, the only major naval engagement of the war, resulted in no decisive victory.
- July 1-November 18: The stalemate on the Western front continues. The Battle of the Somme concluded with an estimated one million casualities with no decisive victor.
- November 7: Woodrow Wilson elected to another term against Republican opponent Charles E. Hughes. Wilson campaigned on a slogan that “He kept us out of war.”
- December 7: David Lloyd George formed a new government in Great Britain and became a new prime minister.
- December 31: Russian nobles murdered Grigori Rasputin, a Russian monk and confidant to the Russian Imperial family.
- 1917: The first Red Cross chapter formed in Garland County.
January - February
- January 19: British intelligence agents intercepted and decoded a telegram from German Foreign Affairs Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the Mexican government. This message from Zimmermann encouraged Mexico to declare war on the United States and reclaim territory lost during the Mexican-American War.
- February 1: Germany resumed unrestricted, submarine warfare.
- February 7: The U.S. Senate voted on a resolution that supported President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to sever the country’s ties with Germany. Senator William F. Kirby of Arkansas was one of four nay votes on the motion.
- March 1: Newspapers across the country published the Zimmermann Telegram.
- March 3: Melchior Eberts of Little Rockand a West Point graduate received his rank of junior military aviator.
- March 4: In the early morning as the Senate debated the Armed Ship Bill, which would allow the government to arm merchant vessels, Senator Joe T. Robinson confronted Senators Robert LaFollette, Sr., of Wisconsin and Wesley Jones of Washington in a boisterous tirade. With spectators including foreign diplomats in the gallery, Robinson accused Jones of hypocrisy and declared, “Let men of courage rise to speak. The hour has arrived.”
- March 4: Members of the U.S. Senate led by Senator Robert LaFollette, Sr. of Wisconsin launched a filibuster against the proposed bill allowing the government to arm merchant vessels. Senator William F. Kirby of Arkansas was among the opposition that killed the bill, although he did not take part in the filibuster. In response, President Woodrow Wilson unilaterally armed American merchant ships.
- March 5: Arkansas Governor Charles H. Brough sent a message to the General Assembly expressing his support for President Woodrow Wilson’s policies and congratulated Wilson for his inauguration. The General Assembly responded favorably to Brough’s message. In addition, the State Senate commended Senator Joseph T. Robinson for being “true to the people of Arkansas on the ‘Armed Neutrality Resolution’,” in an indirect reproach to Senator William F. Kirby.
- March 15: Russian Tsar Nicholas II abdicated. Alexander Kerensky, a lawyer, led a provisional government.
- April 2: President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war on the German Empire due to revelations from the Zimmermann Telegram.
- April 6: The United States Congress declared war on Germany and entered an alliance with Great Britain and France.
- April 7: The day after Congress declared war on Germany, police arrested a Helena man because he “uttered sentiments disloyal to the United States.”
April 7: At the dedication of a Confederate monument in front of the White County Courthouse, speakers urged young White County men to enlist in the armed forces. Twenty-five men from White County died in the war and are honored on a granite war monument located at the courthouse lawn.
- April 13: Logan County government officials stormed the Subiaco Abby; in suspicion, that the German government sent covert messages to the monks. As a result, Logan County destroyed the Abby’s radio.
- April 15: The Pulaski County Guard, a patriotic men’s society, held a mass meeting at the Circuit Courtroom at the Pulaski County Courthouse. Speakers spoke about the war and asked men to enroll in the organization.
- April 16-17: The Arkansas Gazette reported that Little Rock “preparedness boosters” toured Pulaski County to solicit foodstuff donations. Two hundred traveled in automobiles and visited 2,500 homes within two days.
- April 17: Girls of Ouachita College joined a military organization that included drill instructions. Captain W.D. Geary of the U.S. Army managed the group.
- April 18: One hundred boys of Little Rock High School participated in military drills in the high school auditorium. Sargent Joseph Savage of the U.S. Army instructed the boys, who were ages eighteen and older.
- April 18: A Harrison man displayed the German flag, although neighbors riddled it with bullets.
- April 20: Governor Charles Hillman Brough presided over a flag raising in Argenta (present-day North Little Rock). Two thousand attended the ceremony at the corner of 4th and Olive streets.
- April 20: Alice Ellington, president of the Arkansas Equal Suffrage Central Committee, announced that “considerable progress is being made in organizing suffrage workers over the state for special service during the war.” Also, she expressed her happiness that several Red Cross chapters had begun across the state.
- April 20: Josephine Miller, a prominent Arkansas suffragette, volunteered as a Red Cross nurse. She organized war-work groups in Desha, Chicot, Ashley, Union, Bradley and Dallas counties, a sign that some suffragettes were setting aside the political movement to support the war effort.
- April 21: The Council of National Defense appointed the Women’s Committee to aid the war effort.
- April 23: Police arrest John Turner of Hot Springs for suggesting that President Woodrow Wilson be tarred and feathered due to high food and clothing prices. Prosecutors later dropped charges.
- April 24: Alice Ellington, the president of the Arkansas Equal Suffrage State Central Committee, called for women to join the Red Cross at 217 Louisiana Street in Little Rock. The location’s owner, Fred Hotze, offered the property and its large storeroom to the local Red Cross chapter, and C.J. Griffith of the Little Rock Electric Company donated the lights. Dues to join the Red Cross included $1 for annual membership, $25 for life membership or $100 to become a patron. All supplies from Little Rock and other cities went to Chicago, then to a New York City terminal for shipping to overseas. Boxes, which were stored in the Little Rock storeroom, included sterilized surgical dressings, bedding, clothing, and comfort bags for those on the front line.
- April 24: The National League for Women’s Service hosted a military ball at the Hotel Marian.
- April 25: Anti-German sentiment overtook Calhoun County when police arrested many within the black community, as whites feared that German and Mexican agents were infiltrating black organizations to sabotage the American war effort.
- April 26: A group ofVan Buren citizens demanded that Senator William F. Kirby resign over his opposition to the war draft. This call resulted from an exchange of telegrams between Kirby and the Van Buren Business Men’s Club. Kirby refused to resign, although he faced more calls to resign over the following months.
- April 26: The U.S. Navy reported that Conway, Arkansas, has produced more naval recruits than any other city in the country with a similar size.
- April 28: An Argenta man (present-day North Little Rock) donated 7,000 cabbage plants to the National League of Women’s Service at its headquarters, located at 605 Main Street in Little Rock. The organization used the opportunity to encourage more Arkansans to grow foodstuffs.
- April 30: Margaret Woodrow Wilson, daughter of President Wilson, headlined a recital at an Osceola Baptist church to benefit the Red Cross.
May 1: Col. Robert Bullard arrived in Little Rock to take command of Fort Logan H. Roots and prepare it as a base to train U.S. Army officers.
May 4: In a meeting at the Little Rock City Hall, the Navy League – Arkansas Chapter organized with Governor Charles Brough as its president. The organization’s mission was to supply winter clothing to sailors of the U.S.S. Arkansas and draftees at naval training stations.
May 7: Margaret Woodrow Wilson led a recital in Jonesboro to benefit the Red Cross.
- May 8: The Arkansas Gazette reported that Fort Roots, a U.S. Army post in Argenta (present-day North Little Rock), would be an important training facility for World War I. The Gazette stated that 2,500 would train as army reserve officers. After the recruits’ 90-day training period at Fort Roots, they graduated and became company officers for the 97th Army Division. Fort Roots’ notable graduates included George C. Marshall, a future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during World War II and a critical figure in American foreign policymaking during the Cold War.
- May 10: The Red Cross held a mass meeting at Christ Church in Little Rock, located at Capitol and Scott Streets. Its purpose was to help Red Cross chapters in Arkansas better organize and grow.
- May 14: The Saline County Defense Council screened a patriotic film, Life and Training in the U.S. Navy, at the Imperial Theater in Benton, Arkansas. As a result, three men enlisted in the Navy.
- May 15: Melchior Eberts was killed during a routine flight.The Army named the airfield in Lonoke in his honor.
- May 18: The United States established the Selective Service Act, which required all eligible men twenty-one to thirty-five to register for military service.
- May 21: Margaret Woodrow Wilson sang at Little Rock’s Kempner Theater. Governor Charles Hillman Brough invited the first daughter, and all proceeds went to the Red Cross.
- May 22: The Arkansas Third Regiment led a parade at Little Rock beginning at the Old State House and down Main Street, where a mass meeting took place at 605 Main Street. Governor Charles Hillman Brough, Adjunct General Lloyd England, Mayor Charles E. Taylor and Mayor D.M. Pixley of Argenta (now present-day North Little Rock) attended the event. Additionally, a recruiting station encouraged men to volunteer for military service.
- May 24: A rally is held on the Saline County Courthouse lawn in Benton. Speakers included John Rison Gibbons, a Confederate Army general.
- June: A Red Cross drive in Saline County raised $17,816. In 2016 dollars, that equates to just under $335,000.
- June: Alice Ellington, a leading Arkansas suffragette, organized war work-activities in Columbia County. This included registering women to contribute to the war effort, child welfare, organizing community musical programs, and raising $340,150 in Liberty Loan drives.
- June 1: Jefferson County draft officials requested that Pine Bluff ministers explain the draft, registration and the June 5th deadline in their sermons.
- June 2: Police arrestedAlvin Dode of Fort Smith, Arkansas, for using “treasonable language.”
- June 3: Bishop J.M. Connor, the head of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Arkansas and Oklahoma, requested that pastors explain the draft in their sermons.
- June 5: A total of 149,207 Arkansans registered for military service (only 600 eligible men did not register).
- June 8: Before a baseball game at Kavanaugh Field, the Arkansas Travelers’ stadium in Little Rock, three speakers gave five-minute speeches simultaneously through megaphones: George A. McConnell, J. Frank Keeley and Vincent Miles.
- June 8: A Liberty Bond rally occurred at Fourth and Main Streets in Little Rock with Florence Brown Cotnam and Rabbi Louis Witt among the speakers.
- June 11: The Federal Government awarded Little Rock the money needed to purchase the 6,480 acres of land for Camp Pike. The money came from public donations, which amounted to $9 million in 2016 dollars. Construction began that month, ended in November and employed over 10,000 laborers. James Stewart & Company of St. Louis and New York won the contract-bidding process and used workers from Texas, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico.
- June 11: To encourage the war effort and reach wide audiences, speakers gave short “Four Minute Talks” at any public gathering they could find including school assemblies, entertainment programs and fraternal-lodge meetings. The first known of these addresses in Arkansas included motion-picture theaters and vaudeville houses in Little Rock and Argenta.
- June 12: Little Rock Chamber of Commerce President W.B. Smith, Florence Brown Cotnam, and J. Frank Keely addressed employees of the Gus Blass Company in Little Rock to raise Liberty Bonds.
- June 12: Liberty Bond fundraisers occurred at seven theaters in Little Rock and Argenta.
- June 13: Liberty Bond rallies occurred at Fourth and Main streets and Eighth and Main streets in Little Rock. Governor Charles Hillman Brough, Colonel C.D. James and Florence Brown Cotnam were among the speakers, along with bands playing musical numbers.
- June 15:Some 3,500 marchers gathered in a patriotic parade in Little Rock. It began at the Old State House, and included likes of people dressed as Uncle Sam and members of the First Arkansas Regiment. A dance then commenced on Capital Avenue, between Scott and Cumberland streets, where soldiers danced with young Little Rock women.
- June 15: Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917.
- June 17: Little Rock women focused on making hospital supplies for the Western Front. An Arkansas Gazette article detailed that “one complete outfit consists of six sheets, four draw shirts, two spreads, four pillow cases, four pajama suits, three hospital bed shirts, one convalescent gown, four pairs of socks, two pairs [of] bed socks, four bath towels, three face towels, one wash cloth, one pair [of] slippers, one hot water bag cover, one ice water bag cover and six handkerchiefs.” In addition, the Gus Blass and M.M. Cohn companies displayed a full ensemble needed for hospitalized soldiers.
- June 17: A Red Cross meeting assembled at the Hotel Marion in Little Rock, where women readied their plans for a week long campaign
- June 22: The Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense distributed letters stating women’s role in food conservation and its importance to the war effort.
- June 30: Members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity organized a dinner party at the Hotel Marion to honor members of the fraternity training at the Fort Logan H. Roots camp. Governor Brough, an alumnus of the fraternity, was present.
- July 1: Arkansas Governor Charles H. Brough formed the Arkansas Women’s Committee of the Council of Defense. First Lady Anne Brough served as honorary chairman, while Ida Frauenthal of Conway led the organization until the end of 1918.
- July 2: Arkansas Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense met at the Hotel Marion in Little Rock to organize. Twenty-five women attended, and elected six permanent officers and the chairmen of three of the sixteen total departments: education, welfare of women and children and registration. The assembly also set the goal to send 250,000 pledge cards to follow the government’s conservation guidelines.
- July 6: Women gathered at the Little Rock Board of Commerce building and discussed preparations of a food conservation campaign.
- July 23: The U.S. Army closed Fort Roots’ officer training school because of overcrowding and poor facilities, which dated back to the establishment’s opening in 1893. Trainees moved to a new officer’s school at Leon Springs, Texas, near San Antonio.
- July 27: Propaganda and entertainment merged for one night at Little Rock’s Royal Theater. Betty Brooks, a native of Hot Springs and mainstay on the musical stages of New York City and Chicago, sang a four-minute talk titled “We Will Make the Kaiser Wiser” to aid the war effort. She took over the slot from E.J. Brodman, a secretary for the Union Trust Company, who had planned to just speak it to the audience.
- August 1: The Arkansas Gazette reported that women were working on seawalls in Arkansas because of the war and the resulting labor shortage.
- August 5: The First Battalion of the Arkansas National Guard, just back from the Mexican border as part of General John J. Pershing’s expedition to find Pancho Villa, is federalized again and becomes the 142nd Field Artillery, Thirty-ninth Division.
- August 9: At its annual convention in Russellville, the Arkansas Farmer’s Union pledged $5,000 to the Red Cross for the purchase of an ambulance. Florence Brown Cotnam and Lula Scruggs, two workers in the women’s suffrage movement, secured the measure as well as the Farmer’s Union endorsement for women’s suffrage. The Red Cross presented the ambulance, named after former U.S. Senator Jeff Davis, to Arkansas soldiers leaving the state for Europe.
- August 10: At the Little Rock Mayor’s office, Deputy U.S. Marshall C.W. Stegall arrested Charles E. Taylor, Jr., the son of Mayor Taylor, for failing to register for the draft. The arrest occurred at 2:45 p.m. and resulted in confusion over the young Taylor’s age. Mayor Taylor decried the arrest and pointed to an Arkansas Gazette article from September 1, 1896, which stated that “a ten-pound boy was a Sunday arrival at the home of Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Taylor.” This made the young Taylor’s arrest weeks shy of his twenty-first birthday, the age that the federal government designated as when all eligible men must register under the Selective Service Act.
- August 10: A German-language newspaper, the Arkansas Staatszeitung, published its last issue.
- August 11: Law enforcement arrested the Arkansas Staatszeitung editor, Curtis Ackerman, and charged him with violating the Espionage Act.
- August 14: The Little Rock Country Club hosted a farewell dinner for members of the Twelfth
Provisional Regiment as they prepared to leave for Europe.
- September 7: The first African American soldier arrived at Camp Pike. His name was Lambert Hayes from Magee, Mississippi. Other recruits from Louisiana, Missouri and Nebraska came to the post later on.
- September 12: Arkansas suffragist and active participant in war work Florence Brown Cotnam echoed President Woodrow Wilson’s call to “Americanize the American Woman.”
“There never was a time when the love of nationality was more alive than now, and yet a married woman may not choose her nationality in the United States. If she is married to an alien, though he is the enemy of her country, she cannot claim American citizenship. This is working a hardship against the woman of this county who are eager to serve and giving the enemy a decided advantage…President Wilson says: ‘We are a nation mobilized for war.’ Wouldn’t it not be nice at this time to strengthen the weak links in the national chain? Americanize the American woman.”
- September 19: Thirty-five organizations, including the Board of Commerce and women’s clubs, met in the Little Rock YMCA gymnasium to form the Health and Recreation Association.
- September 23: The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville announced that over 150 students, alumni and members of the facility joined the military services, many of whom earned high-ranking commissions.
- October 6: Senator Joseph T. Robinson made a speech encouraging the war effort stating that “There is no compromise…there are only two sides – Germanism and Americanism.”
- October 16: The Union Trust Company sponsored an advertisement in the Arkansas Gazette titled “On to Berlin, We’re in to Win,” as part of a war bond effort.
- October 24: By October 24, 1917, the Mosaic Templars of Arkansas donated more than $100,000 of Liberty Loans. This included a public event at which Scipio Jones, a renowned Little Rock attorney, handed $50,000 to Treasury Secretary William Bibbs McAdoo.
- October 24: African American soldiers from Camp Pike orchestrated a parade in Little Rock along with two local bands. Following the parade, W.A. Singfield, a prominent black attorney in Little Rock, made an address on “The Liberty Loan and Democracy.”
November 2–3: A substantial force of German troops “staged a fierce raid” on the isolated “small salient” occupied by the Americansin the first active combat between elements of the American and Germans armies during World War I. Lt. William Heber McLaughlin of Lonoke County became one of the first American officers wounded in WWI.
- November 3: The first World War I monument in Arkansas was erected on the lawn of the Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren. Colonel Sam Chew, a local attorney, placed it. The monument commemorated the first three U.S. soldiers to die in combat: Merle D. Hay, Thomas Enwright and James B. Gresham.
- November 7: Bolshevik socialists, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian provisional government.
- November 13: The Scottish Rites Masons gathered for a reunion at the Albert Pike Masonic Temple in Little Rock. Attendees came from across the state, with the Little Rock newspapers noting that a large number of men wore their military uniforms.
- November 18: While Mrs. Ernest Henderson of New York was in Little
Rock visiting her mother and sister, she gathered donations of marmalade from Little Rock residents for the use of American soldiers in
France. She led similar campaigns in New York and New Jersey and worked in Arkansas under the auspices of the Nicholas Heading Chapter
of the Daughters of 1812. After a month in the city, she collected 3,000 pounds of the Arkansas fruit and shipped it to New York for transport
across the Atlantic Ocean.
- November 19: The Federal Government accepted an offer from Lonoke for an aviation training facility to be called Eberts Field. The Army paid Lonoke $1 a year for renting the property. By the war’s end, the military invested $2 million on the site.
- November 22: The National Farmers’ Union concluded its annual convention in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with a proclamation supporting the war effort. Its leadership included A.C. Davis of Rogers, Arkansas. The organization “pledged our upmost loyalty to our government in the great struggle in which our nation is now engaged.”
- November 23: The first Craighead County meeting of the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Defense was held in Jonesboro. Earl Brannon of the State Agricultural School (now Arkansas State University) spoke on the topic, “Feeding a Nation at War.” Every county would have a similar organization that aided the war effort in various ways.
- November 23: Reverend S.O. Odom, a resident of Brinkley and vice president of the Arkansas Negro Baptist Convention, urged blacks in Arkansas to enlist before being drafted. “Go right into the game and come out of it with honor,” Odom said.
- November 27: ConcernedArkansans organized a state chapter of the Fatherless Children of France. They met at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. Thompson in Little Rock.
- December: Camp Pike experienced a forty percent rise of disease cases.
- December 1: The women of the Navy League of the United States-Arkansas Chapter set the goal to prepare comfort kits and woolen garments for the crew of the USS Arkansas (BB-33). With officers and enlisted men, that included 1,600 people.
- December 3: Soviet Russia signed an armistice with Germany.
- December 16:The Rogers Red Cross chapter sent a shipment to the St. Louis branch of $300 worth of supplies including 12 knitted sweaters, 115 wash cloths, 38 bed shirts, 130 napkins, 70 handkerchiefs, 6 pairs of knitted socks, 25 bath robes, among other things.
- December 16: The Conway Commercial Club announced plans to plant a memorial tree on behalf of displaced children in Belgium and France.
- December 18: The Red Cross begins a campaign across Greene County beginning in Paragould. Workers included County Judge J.L Light and other prominent local figures.
- December 19: Construction began on Eberts Field. The first cadets and soldiers arrived in the spring of 1918, but they never trained pilots fully in time for combat duty.
- December 23: Governor Charles Brough declared the week of December 23rd as Loyalty Week. Its purpose was to encourage women to take jobs in industry.
- 1918: The Northeast Arkansas Red Cross chapter formed.
- January: The Arkansas Gazette encourages its readers to buy Liberty Loan subscriptions and admonished those who did not. “If every man did his duty the county would absorb the Liberty Loan issues with the greatest ease, but selfishness stands in the way. Too many men jeopardize their fortunes and their country by failing to do their duty, hoping that other and nobler men will do their duty so well that the slackers will be carried through to safety.”
- January 8: President Woodrow Wilson issued his Fourteen Points in his effort to achieve world peace.
- January 9: Little Rock women organized the Joan of Arc Service Club, which sewed garments for the soldiers at three Knights of Columbus buildings in the city.
- February: The Benton Red Cross chapter shipped supplies to St. Louis for the war effort. This included 100 pajama sets, 100 bed shirts, thirty pairs of bed socks, a dozen pairs of bed socks, five helmets, thirteen pairs of socks, and one muffler.
- February: Arkansas’s War Savings organization appointed Florence Brown Cotnam, leader of the Arkansas Equal Suffrage Central Committee, as vice-chairman of the Arkansas effort to sell war savings stamps. Moorhead Wright served as state chairman.
- February 3: The First Presbyterian Church in Little Rock hosted a large flag celebration in honor of the twenty-seven members of the congregation that served in the military and to raise donations for army chaplains.
- February 18-26: The Arkansas Women’s Committee of National Defense, specifically its Department of Registration, organized a week long woman-only registration campaign. The purpose being to show Arkansas women’s usefulness in the war effort. Some 43,000 women signed-up in more than sixty-five counties. Jobs included agriculture, clerical, industrial and Red Cross work.
- March: The influenza epidemic began and spread across the globe.
- March: The Arkansas Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, the Arkansas Equal Suffrage Central Committee, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) passed the following resolution: “Resolved, That the Arkansas division of the Council of Defense urge that national commission be appointed by the president of the United States as soon as practical, the study to improve the social life of our country, particularly stressing the adequacy of buildings, villages and rural districts as public centers for recreation and amusement.”
- March 1: Red Cross installed executive figures, called matrons, at the Iron Mountain and Rock Island stations. This brought the total of matrons in Arkansas to six. These leadership roles had police authority and several governmental and private entities contributed to pay the salaries.
- March 4: Herman Davis of Manila, Arkansas, joined the U.S. Army through the draft. Davis served as a scout and gained fame as a skilled marksman.
- March 5: Racial hostilities boiled at Camp Pike when military police arrested twenty-six African Americans for refusing to follow a white officer’s orders. Punishment included time in the stockades and extra disciplinary work time.
- March 24: Police arrested a Newport man for making unpatriotic remarks and disturbing the peace. According to the Arkansas Gazette, the man said, “Men volunteered in the army and bought war savings stamps because they were forced to do so and [for] selfish motives, rather than for patriotism.”
- March 25: In one unusual incident, the Hot Springs prosecuting attorney and the State Council of Defense investigated a local man for doubting a series of fake news reports. These stories, carried over by a private wire that a stock firm controlled, offered wild claims that the Allies captured 150,000 German soldiers including the crown prince, neither of which was true. However, authorities still suspected the accused’s patriotism.
- March 27: The Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Boston Red Sox (the 1918 World Series champions) at an exhibition game at Camp Pike.
- March 28: In Jamestown, Arkansas, a mob of thirty beat a German-born merchant for failing to hang the American flag at his store or buying war bonds. In addition, the assembly broke into his store, threw merchandise onto the street and ordered the man to leave town.
- March 30: The Dodgers and Red Sox played game two of the series, which resulted in a Boston win after Babe Ruth blasted a ninth-inning home run.
- April 1: Jefferson County, Arkansas, prohibited the sale of wheat within its borders.
- April 2: Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, a figure in the women’s suffrage movement and chair of the Women’s Committee of the United States Council of National Defense, spoke about the war effort at the Liberty Hall in Little Rock.
- April 13: Little Rock public schools halted German-language classes.
- April 14: The State Food Administration organized an effort to make all hotels and restaurants in Little Rock wheatless, which allowed for more agricultural products to be shipped overseas.
- April 16: Public schools in Stuttgart, Arkansas, banned German-language classes.
- April 20: The Catholic Board of Education for Johnson County halted German-language courses in its Clarksville parochial schools.
- April 21: Police arrested a Magnolia man for distributing German propaganda to African Americans throughout Columbia County.
- April 30-May 8: Hot Springs and the Arlington Hotel hosted the National Federation of Women’s Clubs biennial convention, which the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs considered a great honor. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, the chairman of the Women’s Committee of the National Defense Council and renowned suffragette, addressed the gathered as well as Governor Charles H. Brough. Throughout the week, delegates discussed war work such as food conservation.
- May: A Saline County man was publically beaten after speaking out against the Red Cross.
- May: While serving at Camp Pike, a recruit from Mississippi named Captain Eugene C. Rowan refused to drill alongside black soldiers. The Army court-martialed Rowan for disobeying orders, but the Mississippi Bar Association sent a memo to President Woodrow Wilson and argued for a lighter sentence. The Army discharged Rowan, but there was no conviction.
- May: The Health and Recreation Committee chair, Mrs. H.H. Foster, along with Governor Brough sent a letter to Congressman Henderson Jacoway lobbying for a national conservatory of music and fine arts. Its purpose was to help improve American social life during the war. Additionally, the Health and Recreation Department also organized social events at Camp Pike.
- May 17: Jonesboro featured a curious display of justice and sentencing. After a factory watchman made disparaging remarks towards the government, the Red Cross and the war effort, a mass meeting convened in the city square to deal with the issue. The accused confessed to some of what was said. In response, the mob demanded a public whipping. Among those to implement the punishment was a soldier who had lost both his legs in combat.
- May 18: A draft war ensued outside of Mena when local law enforcement exchanged gunfire with a group of draft-resisters and resulted in the death of a sheriff’s deputy. Police caught the presumed leader, Ben Caughron, and the rest surrendered soon after. A state judge sentenced Caughron to death for the deputy’s killing and the rest to lengthy prison terms for crimes unrelated to their resistance activities.
- May 22: John McGavock Grider of Mississippi County, Arkansas, joined the British Royal Flying Corps and flew combat missions on the Western Front.
- June: Herman Davis transported to Europe as a private in Company A, 113th Infantry, Twenty-Ninth Division. The Army credited him for killing thirty German soldiers in the last major offensive of the war, the Meise-Argonne Offensive. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Gurre with Palm and Gilt Star, the French Medaille Militarie, and General John J. Pershing listed Davis fourth on a list of the greatest heroes of World War I. Years later, his exposure to poison gas during the war affected his health. He died in 1923 at the age of thirty-five.
- June: The Arkansas Women’s Committee for the Council of National Defense considered child welfare a priority for a nation at total war. For example, the Logan County chapter reported that volunteers weighed and measured 1,300 babies over the month.
- June 1: 10,000 draftees arrived at the completed Camp Pike, which was the first large group to encamp there.
- June 5: A draft war began in Leslie, Arkansas, between local law enforcement and members of the Goodwin family. A shootout ensued that resulted in the death of draftee Steve Goodwin and the incarceration of his father. The Goodwin family already dealt with matters of draft resistance the following year when a relative, Miller Goodwin, committed suicide when he faced the likelihood of military service.
- June 10: Saline County Sheriff Cox led a team of four deputies and four U.S. marshals to arrest a group of draft-resisters.
- June 18: Lieutenant John McGavock Grider’s plane disappeared while returning from a mission near Armentieres, France. A German pilot confirmed Grider’s death and dropped a note describing his burial, although the lieutenant’s body was never recovered. Grider was credited with shooting down four German planes.
- June 20: 17,000 draftees arrived at Camp Pike.
- June 20: David King, a lawyer and local politician from Hardy, Arkansas, sought to rally the people of Sharp County. He called for “every county officer, every road overseer, every food administrator, every justice of the peace, constable and every school director in the county” to attend patriotic meetings.
- June 27: Albert Duane Swift of Batesville, a local football star and member of a prominent family, made headlines for failing to report for military service. Swift suggested his Christian faith made him a conscientious objector to war, although local reporters asserted that Swift was a “self-appointed preacher” and had no denominational affiliation.
- June 28: Around 2,500 Arkansas women across the state participated in a war savings stamps drive. Activities included soliciting pledges, clerical work, and even included high school girls. In the end, these women raised an astounding $23 million worth of stamps.
- June-October: First Lieutenant Field Eugene Kindley of Gravette, Arkansas, served on the Western Front. Like other American pilots, Kindley previously served in the British Royal Flying Corps before the Americans had formed their own air units. Later, he joined the 148th Squadron of the U.S. Army, which patrolled over the battlefront. He was one of the first pilots of the new unit and gave the 148th its first victory when he shot down a German Albatros D-3 plane. Eventually, he assumed command of the unit. At the end of the war, he ranked third among American pilots in number of enemy aircraft shot down with twelve total planes to his record. He earned the British Distinguished Flying Cross and an Oak Leaf Cluster for the American Distinguished Service Cross.
- July 4: Fourth of July parades across Arkansas included patriotic displays and propaganda to continue the war effort.
- July 7: On an early Sunday morning, Cleburne County Sheriff Jasper Duke led a posse in search for draft-resisters. These resisters were Jehovah’s Witnesses, or also known as Russellites, who refused to take part in military affairs. The posse searched the home of Tom Adkisson, whose son Bliss did not register for military service. A shoot-out between Duke’s posse and other resisters with Adkisson lasted for forty-five minutes. One of Duke’s posse members died, and the resisters retreated. The Cleburne County Draft War began.
- July 8: Governor Charles Brough sent detachments from the National Guard and the Fourth Arkansas Infantry to join Sheriff Jasper Duke, law enforcement from neighboring counties and a team of bloodhounds in pursuit of the Cleburne County draft-resisters. The force confiscated food and ammunition suspected of being available to the resisters.
- July 9: Two hundred armed men continued to search for the Cleburne County draft-resisters for a third day. The force arrested Houston Osbourne, a Russellite preacher, under suspicion that he would aid the resisters. In addition, other family members and friends of the resisters were forcibly interned at the Edwards Hotel in Heber Springs.
- July 13-16: The resisters surrendered themselves outside of Cleburne County, therefore ending the county’s draft war. Later, a jury convicted Tom Adkisson of manslaughter and Bliss Adkisson of second degree murder, which earned him twenty years in prison.
- July 16-17: Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandria, and their children are executed.
- July 25: Arkansas’s top food administrator, Hamp Williams, announced sixty-six food violations across fourteen counties. The infringements included restaurants and retail store owners conducting illegal sugar and flour sales, which suggested a black market for goods in the state.
- August: The Student Army Training Corps (SATC), a type of unit placed in universities and colleges, arrived at Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville.
- August 6: Arkansans observe Belgian Relief Day, with the Arkansas Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense organizing a clothing drive to be sent to the war-torn country.
- August 8: A draft war erupted near the slopes of Mount Magazine in Logan County. Law enforcement and draft-resisters exchanged gunfire, which resulted in the death of a police officer. Eventually, local officials arrested resisters Oscar Scott and his two brothers, and identified them as part of the Green Corn Rebellion in Oklahoma. This was an event where Native American and African American tenant farmers, supported by the Socialist Party, resisted against the draft.
- August 10: Many southern newspapers countered the European press’ tendency in calling American soldiers, “Yanks.” A Helena Shield writerscolded its regional counterparts by stating that “Dixie and Yankeedom will join hands in opposing” Germans. In addition, the reporter provided a subjective anecdote about his experiences during the Civil War and argued that two-thirds of the Union Army was foreign soldiers including Germans, who were “hired and brought over here to help overpower and subjugate the south.”
- August 21: Dr. W.T. Blackburn of the Lincoln Council of Defense detained F.D. Davidson, a local preacher, for making disparaging remarks towards President Woodrow Wilson. Davidson compared Wilson to the beast in the Book of Revelations and asserted that female Red Cross volunteers were “no better than harlots.”
- August 31: The Arkansas National Guard was deployed to France from Camp Mills, New York, with the 142nd Field Artillery. Arkansan William Claude Bradford of the Arkansas National Guard, now promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, is assigned as base commander of Camp Guthrie in France.
- September: The Colored Auxiliary State Council is formed.
- September: The last of the Arkansas Draft Wars occurred in Newton County. Draft-resisters encamped under cliffs and in the caves of the region, particularly in Cecil Cave. The War Department resolved the incident peacefully by offering amnesty in exchange for the resisters’ military service. The government filed no desertion charges.
- September: The influenza reached Arkansas.
- September 28: Oscar Franklin Miller of Franklin County, Arkansas, was wounded while leading his unit from 361st Infantry on the Western Front near Gesnes, France. Already wounded twice, Miller continued his advance until a third injury in the abdomen forced him to stop.
- September 29: Oscar Franklin Miller died from his injuries. He earned the Medal of Honor, which stated that he “inspired his men by personal courage.” In addition, he won the Bronze Star for his valor during a battle.
- October 1: The SATC unit stationed at Arkadelphia’s Henderson-Brown College (now Henderson State College) and its cross-town rival Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) officially joined the U.S. Army. Most of Arkadelphia’s population, as well as many in the surrounding area, attended the ceremony. Its most prestigious graduate was John Steelman, a future White House Chief of Staff for President Harry Truman. Steelman graduated from Henderson-Brown College in 1922.
- October 3: Hendrix College’s fall semester begins with an enrollment of 400 students, including 200 SATC members. The campus closed almost immediately after influenza struck the campus. Classes resumed on October 29, although two SATC members died.
- October 3: Corporal John Henry Pruitt of Newton County, Arkansas, earned fame after capturing two enemy machine gun nests and forty German soldiers at the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge. He served in the Marine Corps.
- October 4: Corporal John Henry Pruitt died due to injuries from the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge. It was his twenty-second birthday. He is one of only nineteen Americans to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor, as Pruitt posthumously gained one from the U.S. Navy and another from the U.S. Army.
- October 4: Dr. James Geiger, U.S. Public Health Service Officer at Arkansas, described influenza as a “simple, plain, old-fashioned la grippe.” He also stated there wasn’t a need for a medical quarantine.
- October 6: Quarantine placed on Little Rock.
- October 9: The University of Arkansas announced 235 cases of the influenza. The entire town of Fayetteville was placed under a medical quarantine. Six students died on campus.
- October 28: Due to the influenza, the fall term at the University of Arkansas was pushed back and classes began on this day.
- November: Many Arkansans returned one-fourth of their sugar rations so that American soldiers on the front could receive a box of candy for Christmas.
- November 3: After his superior officers were killed in action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Army Captain Marcellus Holmes Chiles of Eureka Springs took command of his battalion of the 356th Infantry and pushed them to advance near the French village of Le Champy-Bas. A German sniper shot him as Chiles crossed a stream, but he refused to leave the battlefield until he relayed intelligence to the next-in-command.
- November 4: Pulaski County’s medical quarantine lifted.
- November 5: Captain Chiles of Eureka Springs died from his injuries at a military hospital. He earned a Medal of Honor for his service. The inscription cited that “under the inspiration of his fearless leadership his battalion reached its objective.”
- November 5: Spanish influenza affects voter turnout on Election Day in the United States, as many voters were too sick or too scared to go to the precincts. The proposed 1918 Arkansas state constitution failed to pass with the required majority.
- November 5: The wartime midterm elections resulted in party shifts in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, as the Republican Party became the majority party. Arkansas’s entire congressional delegation remained in office.
- November 9: German Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates.
- November 10: The German Republic is formed.
- November 10: A number of churches in Arkansas hosted special services honoring American armed forces and the war effort. Those in the Little Rock area included the First Methodist Church, the Winfield Methodist Church, the Forest Park Methodist Church, the Twenty-Eighth Street Methodist Church, the Church of Christ at Twelfth and Valmar streets, the Capitol View Methodist Church, the Second Presbyterian Church and the Immanuel Baptist Church.
- November 11: At 5:00 a.m., German and Allied representatives signed an armistice and ended the Great War. At 11:00 a.m., combat on the Western Front ended.
- November 11: Newsboys from the Arkansas Democrat distributed an extra issue hot-off-the-presses at 2:17 a.m. and declared to Arkansans that the war ended. Later in the day, an impromptu parade formed at Little Rock’s 3rd and Main and was made up of workers, high school students and women from the Food Administration. The assembly marched through the business district. At 10:00 a.m., church bells rang for five minutes and urged people to pray in silence. Most business closed at noon, and mobs burned effigies of the Kaiser in the streets. Celebrations continued throughout the day and ended at 7:00 p.m.
- December: A picric acid plant in Little Rock, which was a critical element in making explosives, closed. A total of 1,436 Puerto Ricans worked at the plant and lived at the Liberty Hall; 176 died during the production and are buried in Little Rock cemeteries.
- December 3: Hot Springs doctors met at the Business Men’s League headquarters at 7:30 p.m. for an emergency meeting on the influenza.
- December 4: President Woodrow Wilson embarked for Europe for the Paris Peace Conference.
- December 14: The SATC received their discharges while stationed at the First District Agricultural School (now Arkansas State University) in Jonesboro. This program provided recruits the opportunity to gain higher education, and in return the Army received educated soldiers.
- December 20: The SATC unit at Arkansas College in Batesville disbanded. Four SATC members graduated with degrees from the school.
- December 21: The SATC unit at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville received their discharges if they desired one. Much of the unit remained on campus to complete their classwork.
February - June
- February: The Allied armies launched a covert military intervention into Russia in order to suppress the Bolsheviks.
- May 12: Arkansas veterans incorporated the American Legion in the Pulaski County Circuit Court upon returning from a national conference in St. Louis, which made them the first in the United States to do so. Eberts Post on East Capitol Street in Little Rock was the first post in the state.
- May 29: During the debate over President Woodrow Wilson’s proposed League of Nations, Senator Joe T. Robinson of Arkansas proposed to League opponent Senator James A. Reed of Missouri that they test public opinion by both resigning their seats. The subsequent elections would then prove where voters stood on the issue. Reed rejected the idea as “impractical.”
- June 25: Former Arkansas Staatszeitung editor Curtis Ackerman sailed for Germany with his wife, who moved to the United States from Germany at the age of two, and their daughter, who was born in the United States.
- June 28: Parties signed the Treaty of Versailles.