The Centuries of Sound episode for 1915 is now up for Patreon subscribers – get early access and my radio podcast where I discuss the music at https://www.patreon.com/centuriesofsound
January 1 – The Royal Navy battleship HMS Formidable is sunk off Lyme Regis, by an Imperial German Navy U-boat, with the loss of 547 crew.
January 13 – The vezzano earthquake shakes L’Aquila in Italy, with a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). Around 30,000 are killed.
January 17 – Russia defeats Ottoman Turkey at the Battle of Sarikamish
January 24 – The British Grand Fleet defeats the German High Seas Fleet at Dogger bank, sinking the armoured cruiser SMS Blücher.
January 25 – The first United States coast-to-coast long-distance telephone call is facilitated by a newly invented vacuum tube amplifier, is made by Alexander Graham Bell in New York City and Thomas Watson, in San Francisco
February 8 – The Birth of a Nation, directed by D. W. Griffith, premieres in Los Angeles. It will be the highest-grossing film for around 25 years.
March – The 1915 Palestine locust infestation breaks out in Palestine; it continues until October.
March 10 – In the first deliberately planned British offensive of the war, British Indian troops overrun German positions at Neuve Chapelle in France, but are unable to sustain the advance.
April 11 – Charlie Chaplin’s film The Tramp is released
April 22 – At the start of Second Battle of Ypres Germany makes its first large scale use of poison gas on the Western Front.
April 24 – The Armenian Genocide begins, with the deportation of Armenian notables from Istanbul.
April 25 – A landing at Anzac Cove is conducted by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and a landing at Cape Helles by British and French troops, to begin the Allied invasion of Turkey
April 26 – Italy secretly agrees to leave the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and join with the Triple Entente, in exchange for certain territories of Austria-Hungary on its borders.
May 5 – Forces of the Ottoman Empire begin shelling ANZAC Cove from a new position behind their lines.
May 7 – The British ocean liner RMS Lusitania is sunk by German U-boat U-20 off the south-west coast of Ireland, killing 1,198 civilians en route from New York to Liverpool.
May 9 – German and French forces fight to a standstill at The Second Battle of Artois, German forces defeat the British at the Battle of Aubers Ridge.
May 22 – Quintinshill rail disaster in Scotland – The collision and fire kill 226, mostly troops, the largest number of fatalities in a rail accident in the United Kingdom.
May 25 – China agrees to the Twenty-One Demands of the Japanese.These demands would greatly extend Japanese control of Manchuria and of the Chinese economy.
July 1 – German fighter pilot Kurt Wintgens becomes the first person to shoot down another plane, using a machine gun equipped with synchronization gear.
July 22 – The ‘Great Retreat’ is ordered on the Eastern Front, Russian forces pull back out of Poland (then part of Russia), taking machinery and equipment with them.
August 5 – Hurricane Two of the 1915 Atlantic hurricane season over Galveston and New Orleans leaves 275 dead.
August 8 – The Allies mount a diversionary attack timed to coincide with a major Allied landing of reinforcements at Suvla Bay.
September 6 – The prototype military tank is first tested by the British Army.
September 25 – British forces take the French town of Loos, but with substantial casualties, and are unable to press their advantage. This is the first time the British use poison gas in World War I.
October – Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) is first published in Germany.
October 15 – Austria-Hungary invades Serbia. Bulgaria enters the war, also invading Serbia. The Serbian First Army retreats towards Greece.
October 19 – The U.S. recognizes the de facto Mexican government of Venustiano Carranza
October 23 – The torpedoing of armored cruiser SMS Prinz Adalbert results in 672 deaths, the greatest single loss of life for the Imperial German Navy in the Baltic Sea during the war.
November 24 – William J. Simmons revives the American Civil War era Ku Klux Klan at Stone Mountain, Georgia.
November 25 – Albert Einstein presents part of his theory of general relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
December 12 – President of the Republic of China Yuan Shikai declares himself Emperor.