WWI: Fifty two months, fifty two posts – 29 – Another Month of War

A look at the major events of the conflict during December 1916:

December 1st
The Battle of the Arges begins along the line of the Arges River in Romania between Austro-German forces of the Central Powers and Romanian forces.

Battle of Arges

The Greek Government refuses the Entente demands of 19 November.

December 2nd
Russian premier Alexander Trepov announces that the Allies have acknowledged Russia’s right to Constantinople and the Dardanelles.

December 3rd
German submarines enter Funchal Harbourin Maderia, sink three ships and bombard the town.

December 4th
Admiral Sir John Jellicoe is appointed First Sea Lord, replacing Admiral Sir Henry Jackson.

December 5th
British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith resigns.

December 6th
German forces capture Bucharest in Romania.

December 7th
David Lloyd George succeeds Asquith as British Prime Minister.

lloyd george

December 8th
The Allied naval blockade of Greece begins.

December 9th
The new British War Cabinet is formed, replacing the old War Committee that held its last meeting earlier in the month.

December 11th
The Battle of Cerna Bend, between Bulgarian forces and French and Serbian troops ends after two months in a tactical victory for Entente powers.

December 12th
German, Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian and Turkish Governments all deliver Peace Notes to their respective United States embassies stating they are ready to negotiate for peace.

December 13th
British Forces in Mesopotamia begin operations to recapture Kut-al-Amara.

December 14th
Allied powers send an ultimatum to Greece demanding the removal of all forces from Thessaly.

December 15th
The Greek Government accept the Allied Ultimatum.

December 16th
The UK formally recognises the Sherif of Mecca as King of Hejaz.

December 17th
The Greek Government issue a warrant for the arrest of Eleftherios Venizelos on a charge of High Treason.

December 18th
The Battle of Verdun ends with both sides suffering huge losses and no gains, either tactical or strategic.


Woodrow Wilson (US President) issues a Circular Note requesting all belligerents to state their war objects, as a first step towards peace.

December 19th
The British Government institute National Service and also formally recognise the Venizelos Government of Greece.

December 20th
Count Heinrich Karl Clam-Martinic replaces Ernst von Koerber as Prime Minister of Austria.

December 21st
British Forces occupy El Arish as they advance across the Sinai Peninsula.

December 22nd
The British Government form new Ministries of Food, Pensions, and Shipping.

December 23rd
The Battle of Magdhaba takes place on the Sinai Peninsula (as part of the Defence of Egypt section of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign). Turkish troops surrender to the British at the end of the day.

December 25th
King George V sends messages to both the troops and the empire on what is now the third Christmas of the war:


Good Wishes for The Fighting Men

The king has sent the following messages to his soldiers and sailors and to the sick and wounded: –

I send you, my Sailors and Soldiers, hearty good wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

My grateful thoughts are ever with you for victories gained, for hardship endured, and your unfailing cheeriness.

Another Christmas has come round and we are still at war. But the Empire, confident in you, remains determined to win.

May God bless and protect you.

George R.I.

Message for the Empire

At this Christmastide the Queen and I are thinking more than ever of the sick and wounded among my Sailors and Soldiers.

From our hearts we wish them strength to beat their sufferings, speedy restoration to health, a peaceful Christmas and many happier years to come.

George R.I.

December 26th
The Times publishes the King’s messages.

An Anglo-French conference meet in London, discussing the German and US Peace Notes as well as the campaign in Salonika and the division of forces on the Western Front.

December 27th
The German colony of Togoland is divided into British and French administrative zones.

December 29th
Two relatives of Tsar Nicolas II, Grand Duke Purishkevich and Prince Felix Yusupov poison the confidant of the Tsarina, Father Grigori Yefimovich Novykh – better known as Rasputin – at Yusupov’s home in Petrograd (St Petersburg). They believe that Rasputin has control over the Tsarina and is turning the Tsar’s court and ministers into his puppets and must be killed for the sake of Russia.

When the poison seems to have no effect on Rasputin, Yusopov then shoots him, afterwards going to stage Rasputin’s return home so he and Purishkevich will not be suspected. Yusopov returns to check on Rasputin’s body and find him alive. Rasputin attacks Yusopov, who flees to the courtyard where Rasputin is shot again and then disposed of into the ice of the River Neva.

December 30th
The Bulgarian Government accept US President Wilson’s proposals for peace negotiations.

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