As the First World War raged, 1917 saw some important developments. Most notably, this was the year that the United States entered the Great War.


Having remained officially neutral to this point, the United States took issue with the resumption of the German U-boat campaign in the Atlantic. Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare on February 1st, and it was on February 24th that the infamous “Zimmerman Telegram” was shown to the US ambassador to the United Kingdom. The contents of the telegram were disclosed to the American public days later, adding fuel to the cause of Americans who wished to intervene on the side of the Allies. With the telegram and several other factors at play, the United States would ultimately declare war on Germany on April 6th.

In another major political development, Czar Nicholas II abdicated his throne, officially bringing the Russian Empire and the Romanov Dynasty to an end. 1917 was also the year of the October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Russian Civil War, which would lead to the establishment of the communist regime of the Soviet Union.

Another interesting note revolves around the British Royal Family. In July of 1917, King George V proclaimed that his family and descendants would use the surname of Windsor, changing the name from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Despite headlines this year revolving around the war, there were some notable cultural developments as well. In an important literary development, this was the year that J.R.R. Tolkien began writing The Book of Lost Tales, which was the first version of his famous Silmarillion. Tolkien worked while on medical leave from the British Army after becoming ill from the brutal conditions of trench warfare.

In film, Buster Keaton made his debut in “The Butcher Boy,” a short film that was the first in a series of films involving Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. In another development, the world’s first feature-length animated film, El Apostol, was made in Argentina.

Discover how the world looked like in 1917

Nobel Prize

Nobel Prizes

All Nobel Prize winners of 1917

Peace Prize

  • International Committee of the Red Cross


  • Karl Adolph Gjellerup
  • Henrik Pontoppidan


  • Charles Glover Barkla
vinyl songs

Music charts

Which were the top hits of 1917?

Top #1 songs in the USA


Which were the most popular Movies released in those months?
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A Man There Was

A Man There Was

Directed by: Victor Sjöström

Starring: Victor Sjöström, August Falck, Edith Erastoff, Bergliot Husberg

Country: United States of America

The Man from Painted Post

The Man from Painted Post

Directed by: Joseph Henabery

Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Eileen Percy, Frank Campeau, Frank Clark

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Directed by: Marshall Neilan

Starring: Mary Pickford, Eugene O'Brien, Helen Jerome Eddy, Charles Ogle

Country: United States of America

Wild and Woolly

Wild and Woolly

Directed by: John Emerson

Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Eileen Percy, Calvert Carter, Charles Stevens

Country: United States of America

The Poor Little Rich Girl

The Poor Little Rich Girl

Directed by: Maurice Tourneur

Starring: Mary Pickford, Madlaine Traverse, Charles Wellesley, Gladys Fairbanks

Country: United States of America

Popular names

Which were the top popular names given to babies born in 1917 in the USA ?


Historical Events

Which were the important events of 1917?


  • 01 Jan The University of Oregon defeats The University of Pennsylvania 14–0 in college football's 3rd Annual Rose Bowl.
  • 08 Jan Austria-Hungarian troops conquer Forlani Italy.
  • 09 Jan World War I: the Battle of Rafa occurs near the Egyptian border with Palestine.
  • 11 Jan The Kingsland munitions factory explosion occurs as a result of sabotage.
  • 17 Jan The United States pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
  • 19 Jan Silvertown explosion: 73 are killed and 400 injured in an explosion in a munitions plant in London.
  • 22 Jan World War I: President Woodrow Wilson of the still-neutral United States calls for ''peace without victory'' in Europe.
  • 26 Jan The sea defences at the English village of Hallsands are breached, leading to all but one of the houses becoming uninhabitable.
  • 27 Jan Coen de Koning wins second official 11 cities race (9 53) (record).
  • 28 Jan Municipally owned streetcars take to the streets of San Francisco, California.
  • 29 Jan English submarine K13 leaves Gaire Loch.
  • 30 Jan Pershing's troops in Mexico begin withdrawing back to the United States. They reach Columbus, New Mexico February 5.
  • 31 Jan Germany notifies US that U-boats will attack neutral merchant ship.
  • 01 Feb Admiral Tirpitz announces unlimited submarine war.
  • 03 Feb US liner Housatonic sunk by German sub and diplomatic relations severed
  • 04 Feb Belgium Council of Flanders established.
  • 05 Feb Morosco Theater opens at 217 W 45th Steet New York City (demolished 1982).
  • 10 Feb End of Punitive Expedition of General Pershing into Mexico.
  • 13 Feb Mata Hari is arrested for spying.
  • 15 Feb San Francisco Public Library (Main Branch at Civic center) dedicated.
  • 20 Feb Ammunitions ship explodes in Archangelsk harbor, about 1,500 die.
  • 21 Feb Train near Chirurcha Romania catches fire and explodes; 100s die.
  • 22 Feb German Navy torpedoes 7 Dutch ships.
  • 23 Feb February revolution begins in Russia.
  • 24 Feb Russian revolution breaks out (3 / 8 NS)
  • 26 Feb The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.
  • 28 Feb Russian Duma sets up Provisional Committee; workers set up Soviets.
  • 01 Mar The U.S. government releases the unencrypted text of the Zimmermann Telegram to the public.
  • 02 Mar Jones Act: Puerto Rico territory created, US citizenship granted.
  • 03 Mar Nicholas II, last Russian tsar, abdicates (OS)
  • 04 Mar Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first female member of the United States House of Representatives.
  • 08 Mar The United States Senate votes to limit filibusters by adopting the cloture rule.
  • 10 Mar Batangas is formally founded as one of the Philippines's earliest encomiendas.
  • 11 Mar British troops occupy Baghdad.
  • 12 Mar Stalin, Kamenev and Muranov arrive in Saint Petersburg.
  • 15 Mar Nicholas II, last Russian tsar, says he will abdicate [3 / 3 OS]
  • 17 Mar N.S.) (March 4, O.S.) ampndash Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia refuses the throne, and power passes to the newly formed Provisional Government under Prince Georgy Lvov.
  • 19 Mar US Supreme Court upheld 8-hour work day for railroad employees (Adamson Act).
  • 23 Mar Tornadoes kills 211 over 4 days in Midwest US
  • 25 Mar The Georgian Orthodox Church restores its autocephaly abolished by Imperial Russia in 1811.
  • 26 Mar Stanley Cup: Seattle Metropolitans (PCHA) beat Montreal Canadiens (NHL), 3 games to 1; Seattle is first US team to win Stanley Cup.
  • 28 Mar Jews are expelled from Tel Aviv and Jaffa by Turkish authorities.
  • 30 Mar The independence of Poland is recognized.
  • 31 Mar US purchases Danish West Indies for $25M and renames them Virgin Islands
  • 02 Apr Jeannette Rankin becomes 1st women member of US House of Reps
  • 03 Apr Lenin leaves Switzerland for Petrograd.
  • 06 Apr World War I: The United States declares war on Germany (see President Woodrow Wilson's address to Congress).
  • 09 Apr Vimy Ridge France stormed by Canadian troops.
  • 10 Apr Munition factory explosion at Eddystone Pennsylvania, kills 133 workers.
  • 11 Apr Babe Ruth beats New York Yankees, pitching 3-hit 10-3 win for Boston Red Sox.
  • 12 Apr Domenico Scarlatti and Jean Cocteau's ballet premieres in Rome.
  • 14 Apr Chicago White Sox Ed Cicotte no-hits Saint Louis Browns, 11-0.
  • 16 Apr Lenin returns to Russia to start Bolshevik Revolution.
  • 19 Apr 21st Boston Marathon won by Bill Kennedy of New York in 2:28:37.2.
  • 20 Apr Pravda (Lenin names Russia "Free land of world").
  • 24 Apr Congress passes the First Liberty Bond Act.
  • 04 May Arabs sack Tel Aviv.
  • 09 May WWI: The Nivelle Offensive is abandoned.
  • 10 May Atlantic ships get destroyer escorts to stop German attacks.
  • 11 May Britain grants Royal Letters Patent to New Zealand.
  • 12 May 42nd Preakness: E Haynes aboard Kalitan wins in 1:54.4
  • 13 May Three children report the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal.
  • 18 May US passes Selective Service act.
  • 20 May Turkish Government authorizes Jews to return to Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
  • 21 May Leo Pinckney, first American drafted during WWI.
  • 22 May Commissioned Officer Corps of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.
  • 23 May A month of civil violence in Milan, Italy ends after the Italian army forcefully takes over the city from anarchists and anti-war revolutionaries. Fifty people are killed and 800 people are arrested.Seton-Watson, Christopher. 1967. Italy from Liberalism to Fascism: 1870 to 1925. London: Methuen amp Co. Ltd. Pp. 468–9
  • 26 May Walt Cruise hit first homerun out of Braves Field.
  • 27 May Race riot in East Saint Louis Illinois, one black killed.
  • 30 May Alexander I becomes king of Greece.
  • 01 Jun Hank Gowdy is 1st baseball player to enlist during WWI
  • 04 Jun American men begin registering for the draft
  • 05 Jun World War I: Conscription begins in the United States as ''Army registration day''.
  • 07 Jun World War I: Battle of Messines : Allied ammonal mines underneath German trenches at Messines Ridge are detonated, killing 10,000 German troops.
  • 08 Jun Walt Disney graduates from Benton High School.
  • 10 Jun 60,000 people of Petrograd welcome Prince Kropotkin (banned 41 years)
  • 11 Jun King Alexander assumes the throne of Greece after his father Constantine I abdicates under pressure by allied armies occupying Athens.
  • 12 Jun Secret Service extends protection of president to his family.
  • 13 Jun Germany bombs London
  • 14 Jun 1e German air attack on England, 100+ killed in East-London
  • 15 Jun The United States enacts the Espionage Act.
  • 16 Jun 49th Belmont: James Butwell aboard Hourless wins in 2:17.8
  • 17 Jun British King George V takes the name Windsor
  • 19 Jun After WWI King George V ordered members of British royal family to dispense with German titles and surnames, they take the name Windsor
  • 21 Jun Hawaiian Red Cross founded.
  • 23 Jun 31st US Womens Tennis: Molla Mallory beat Marion Vanderhoef (46 60 62)
  • 24 Jun Russian Black Sea fleet mutiny at Sebastopol
  • 26 Jun The first U.S. troops arrive in France to fight alongside Britain, France, Italy, and Russia against Germany, and Austria-Hungary in World War I.
  • 28 Jun Potato entrepreneurs begins in Amsterdam
  • 01 Jul 257cm-mirror for Mount Wilson Observatory mounted
  • 02 Jul Riots in East St. Louis, Missouri
  • 03 Jul Spontaneous demonstration at Tauride-palace Petrograd
  • 06 Jul World War I: Arabian troops led by T. E. Lawrence (''Lawrence of Arabia'') and Auda ibu Tayi capture Aqaba from the Ottoman Empire during the Arab Revolt.
  • 09 Jul British warship "Vanguard" explodes at Scapa Flow killing 800.
  • 10 Jul Emma Goldman imprisoned for obstructing the draft.
  • 12 Jul The Bisbee Deportation occurs as vigilantes kidnap and deport nearly 1,300 striking miners and others from Bisbee, Arizona.
  • 16 Jul July 17 ampndash Russian troops mutiny, abandon the Austrian front, and retreat to the Ukraine hundreds are shot by their commanding officers during the retreat.
  • 17 Jul British Royal family changes its name from Hanover to Windsor.
  • 20 Jul Pact of Corfu signed: Serbs, Croats and Slovenes form Yugoslavia
  • 22 Jul British bomb German lines at Ypres, 4,250,000 grenades
  • 23 Jul Cleveland Metropolitan Park District establishes
  • 25 Jul Sir William Thomas White introduces the first income tax in Canada as a quottemporaryquot measure (lowest bracket is 4% and highest is 25%).
  • 26 Jul J Edgar Hoover gets job on ministry of Justice
  • 27 Jul The Allies reach the Yser Canal at the Battle of Passchendaele.
  • 28 Jul Silent Parade in NYC to protest murders of blacks in race riots
  • 30 Jul Board of Commissioners of Cleveland Metroparks has its 1st meeting
  • 31 Jul 3rd battle of Ypres begins
  • 02 Aug Squadron Commander E.H. Dunning lands his aircraft on the ship in Scapa Flow, Orkney. He is killed 5 days later during another landing on the ship.
  • 03 Aug The New York Guard is founded.
  • 04 Aug Pravda calls for killing all capitalists, priests and officers
  • 05 Aug British troops attack canal of Ypres in Boesinghe Belgium
  • 06 Aug World War I: Battle of Marasesti between the Romanian and German armies begins.
  • 10 Aug A general strike begins in Spain it is smashed after 3 days with 70 left dead, hundreds of wounded and 2,000 arrests.
  • 14 Aug Leeuwen soccer team forms
  • 17 Aug Italy declares war on Germany and Turkey
  • 18 Aug Dutch Naval Air Force forms (MLD)
  • 22 Aug Pittsburgh Pirates play fourth straight extra inning game, Carson Bigbee sets record of 11 at-bats, they lose in 22 innings to Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • 23 Aug Race riot in Houston Texas (two blacks and 11 whites killed).
  • 25 Aug 37th US Mens Tennis: R Lindley Murray beats N W Niles (57 86 63 63)
  • 27 Aug Indians set club record by stealing eight bases in a game
  • 28 Aug 10 suffragists arrested as they picket White House
  • 29 Aug WWI: The Military Service Act is passed in the Canadian House of Commons, giving the Government of Canada the right to conscript men into the army.
  • 01 Sep The US government prohibits gold exports.
  • 02 Sep Deutsche Vaterlands Party forms (by Admiral Tirpitz)
  • 03 Sep 1st night bombing of London by German fighter planes
  • 06 Sep French pilot Georges Guynemer shoots down 54th German aircraft
  • 14 Sep Kerenski regime declares Russian Republic
  • 15 Sep Russia proclaimed a republic by Alexander Kerensky.
  • 20 Sep British assault on Polygon-forest, France
  • 26 Sep British assault on Menin-street, France
  • 27 Sep Broadhurst Theater opens at 235 W 44th St, New York City
  • 04 Oct British assault on Broodseinde, France
  • 06 Oct The US Trading with the Enemy Act becomes law, giving the US President authority to ban holding of gold and silver coins and other objects.
  • 08 Oct Trotski named Chairman of Petrograd Soviet
  • 10 Oct Giants Rube Benton is 1st lefty to pitch a World Series no hitter
  • 12 Oct World War I: The First Battle of Passchendaele takes place resulting in the largest single day loss of life in New Zealand history.
  • 13 Oct Soviet accept establishment of Petrograd Military
  • 15 Oct Chicago White Sox beat New York Giants, four games to two in 14th World Series.
  • 17 Oct 1st British bombing of Germany
  • 19 Oct The Love Field in Dallas, Texas is opened.
  • 21 Oct Petrograds garrison accepts Revolutionary Military Committee
  • 23 Oct 1st Infantry division Big Red One shoots 1st US shot in WWI
  • 24 Oct Battle of Caporetto; Italy suffers a catastrophic defeat by the forces of Austria-Hungary and Germany on the Austro-Italian front of World War I (lasts until 19 November - also called Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo).
  • 25 Oct In Russia, Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin seizes power
  • 26 Oct Petrograd Soviet accepts establishment of Military
  • 30 Oct British government gives final approval to Balfour Declaration
  • 31 Oct World War I: Battle of Beersheba : ''last successful cavalry charge in history''.
  • 01 Nov In WWI, the 1st US soldiers are killed in combat
  • 02 Nov The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the ''establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people'' with the clear understanding ''that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities''.
  • 03 Nov 1st class mail now costs 3 cents per ounce
  • 05 Nov October Revolution: In Tallinn, Estonia, Communist leader Jaan Anvelt leads revolutionaries in overthrowing the Provisional Government (As Estonia and Russia are still using the Julian Calendar, subsequent period references show an October 23 date).
  • 06 Nov New York allows women to vote
  • 07 Nov British capture Gaza Palestine from the Turks.
  • 08 Nov Telephone Co runs 1st ad for Army operators, gets 7,000 applicants
  • 09 Nov Joseph Stalin enters the provisional government of Bolshevik Russia.
  • 10 Nov New soviet government suspends freedom of press (temporary)
  • 16 Nov British occupy Tel Aviv and Jaffa
  • 17 Nov Lenin defended temporary removal of freedom of the press
  • 20 Nov 1st tank battle (Britain breaks through German lines)
  • 21 Nov M Gorki calls Lenin a blind fanatic / unthinking adventurer
  • 23 Nov The Bolsheviks release the full text of the previously secret Sykes-Picot Agreement in ''Izvestia'' and ''Pravda'' it is subsequently printed in the ''Manchester Guardian'' on November 26.
  • 24 Nov In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 9 members of the Milwaukee Police Department are killed by a bomb, the most deaths in a single event in U.S. police history until the September 11 attacks in 2001.
  • 25 Nov German forces defeat Portuguese army of about 1200 at Negomano on the border of modern-day Mozambique and Tanzania.
  • 26 Nov The National Hockey League is formed, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, and Toronto Arenas as its first teams.
  • 28 Nov Sigmund Rombergs revue Over the Top, premieres in New York City
  • 29 Nov Don Cossacks declare the Don Republic, which lasts two weeks.
  • 01 Dec Boys Town founded by Father Edward Flanagan, west of Omaha Nebraska.
  • 02 Dec Han Yong-woon, found Zen awakening at Osean Monastery Korea.
  • 03 Dec After nearly 20 years of planning and construction, including two collapses causing 89 deaths, the Quebec Bridge opens to traffic.
  • 06 Dec French munition ship Mont Blanc explodes in Halifax, kills 1,700
  • 07 Dec US becomes 13th country to declare war on Austria during World War I.
  • 09 Dec British forces under General Allenby capture Jerusalem.
  • 11 Dec German-occupied Lithuania proclaims independence from Russia.
  • 12 Dec French troop train derails in French Alps killing 543
  • 15 Dec Moldavian Republic declares independence from Russia.
  • 18 Dec Soviet regiment (Stalin / Lenin) declares Finland Independent
  • 20 Dec Russian secret police in Czechoslovakia forms under Felix Dzerzjinski.
  • 26 Dec United States president Woodrow Wilson uses the Federal Possession and Control Act to place most U.S. railroads under the United States Railroad Administration, hoping to more efficiently transport troops and materials for the war effort.
  • 30 Dec -37 degrees F (-38 degrees C) in Lewisburg West Virginia (state record).
  • 31 Dec Dutch Social-democratic trade union NVV counts 159,450 members.