More to Explore
People and Groups
This Day in History
World War I
At 9:05 a.m., in the harbor of Halifax in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, the most devastating manmade explosion in the pre-atomic age occurs when…
Cambrai was famous for two things: it saw the first great tank attack in history and, of equal importance, the first preregistration of artillery for an offensive.
The First Battle of the Marne was fought to the north and east of Paris in early September 1914
In September 1944, after the victorious end of the Normandy campaign, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery devised a daring operation to open the way to the Ruhr by seizing a bridgehead north of the Rhine, at Arnhem.
Jutland was the only major naval surface engagement of World War I.
Manfred von Richthofen began his career in World War I as a cavalry officer on the Eastern Front, but in 1915, when detailed for quartermaster duty, he rebelled: "I have not gone to war to collect cheese and eggs, but for another purpose." After initially failing his pilot's license, the future "ace of aces" saw action above Verdun and Kovel.
In August 1916, Baron von Richthofen joined a new fighter squadron at the Somme and recorded his first "kill" on September 17; his eightieth and last came in April 1918; on April 21 he was shot down, probably by ground fire over the Somme.
Richthofen's bright red Fokker aircraft earned him the nicknames "red knight," "red baron," and "diable rouge," and his habit of moving the squadron, tents, and equipment from base to base gave rise to the sobriquet "flying circus."
The war in the air became Richthofen's blood sport. He possessed the courage to kill or be killed, flaunting his daring with reckless abandon and dispatching his victims in a brutal, pitiless manner. Preferring not to fight alone, he remained above his squadron in a dogfight until he spied his chance to swoop down, hawklike, upon unfortunate stragglers. "Everything in the air," he once boasted, "belongs to me." Many of his "kills" were, in fact, joint efforts, but were credited to Richthofen to enhance his stature as a national hero.
The Reader's Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Fact Check We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!
The only people to see the war like this were the ones who lived it. Until now…
Keep up with the latest History shows, online features, special offers and more.Sign up