Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21st, 1915

- Over the past two days the British have attacked German lines near Festubert, but with the latter having received reinforcements, the British are unable to make gains comparable to those of a week earlier.

- Today the Entente powers sign a military convention with Italy, which details how the allied armies will cooperate once the latter enters the war.  The key aim of Italy has been to secure a guarantee of a Serbian offensive to draw off Austro-Hungarian forces from the Italian frontier.  In exchange, the Russian government had wanted Italy to transfer supplies to the Serbian army when they (hopefully) linked up.  This the Italians declined to do, and since the Entente want active Italian participation in the war the 'compromise' is that Russia will send supplies to Italy, which the Italians will then hand over to the Serbs if they two armies make contact.  It is another good deal for the Italians, and another setback for the Russians - not only have they been able to secure third-party assistance for their Serbian allies, but, given the continuing disaster in Galicia, the Russians are hardly in a position to be helping anyone out anyway.

- As the remaining German forces in German South-West Africa fall back towards Kalkfeld along the rail line leading to the north-eastern interior, Theodor Seitz, the German governor, sends a proposal to South African Prime Minister Louis Botha for an armistice.  The terms proposed by Seitz are for a territorial division of the colony based on the status quo, with the fate of the colony to be decided after the war.  Though the South Africans have fulfilled the objectives that Britain had emphasized - the occupation of the coast and the destruction of the main wireless tower at Windhoek - Botha has no intention of calling off the South African campaign in the colony until it has been fully occupied.  Botha's objectives in German South-West Africa are imperial, but as defined by South Africa: they wish to control all of German South-West Africa so they can claim it as a colony of their own after the war.

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