Peace returns after 100 years of First World War!

Finally, Britain’s forces will not be at war, for the first time in 100 years. They are withdrawing from Afghanistan by this year end. But do you know that the country has been in conflict continuously, every year, since 1914 !!!

Let’s take this opportunity to explore what major events happened in 1914, as we were hit by The First World War hundred years ago. Not everyone was fighting, of course – so so many other important things happened during the same year.

In 1914, London-born actor, writer, director and producer Charlie Chaplin made his film debut when he appeared in silent comedy Making A Living.

1914 is also remembered as a revolutionary year for transport as Panama Canal was officially opened after 10 years of construction. And in America, the world’s first red and green traffic lights were installed in Cleveland. Same year, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of Apes was also published and Winsor McCay also unleashed Gertie The Dinosaur, the first animated cartoon.

In 1914 only, George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion opened to rave reviews. Other notable books that were also published that year include James Joyce’s Dubliners and Robert Tressel’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

On the financial front, stock brokerage firm Merrill Lynch was founded in 1914 when world’s first airline, St Petersburg Tampa Airboat Line, began its operation, while in Brussels the first successful blood transfusion took place. In another important development in the entertainment world, Paramount Pictures was formed in 1914, when also the US Congress established mother’s day. And what a year that was when Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was arrested for the first time while campaigning for Indian rights in South Africa. Bapu, incidentally, returned to India this very year to spearhead Indian independence movement.

In India, the Simla Accord was agreed upon between India and Tibet to finalise the boundaries between the two territories. The same year Sam Manekshaw was also born to become the first Field Marshal of the Indian Army. The year also saw the births of B R Chopra who established himself as a great director and producer, and Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, another great film director, a novelist and producer, as also another great politician Jyoti Basu, and independence activist Lakshmi Sahgal and social reformer Baba Amte.

Sheila Kaul
Sheila Kaul

1914 also saw the birth of Sheila Kaul who is the longest surviving Indian politician. This year in 2014 the social activist, who has also been a Badminton champion, celebrates her 100th birthday.

A three-time MP from Lucknow and having been elected twice from Rae Bareli, the centenarian also served as the Governor of Himachal Pradesh.

And this day, who doesn’t click? But do you know that the biggest breakthrough in photography actually happened back in 1914 – when Oskar Barnack invented the Leica!


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