Today we take a trip around the world and see what else was happening as Dublin city was alight in rebellion. Indeed much of the world was in flames. As a tiny group of a couple of hundred poorly armed rebels fought in Dublin, millions of solders faced each other across the battlefields of Europe. World War 1 was of course raging.
Somewhere on the Eastern front a youngAustrian man in the German army was lying huddled in the mud, believing that the war was the defining moment in his life. 8 million solders died in World War 1. This young Austrian survived and went on to rule the third German Reich and once again throw Europe into war. This young Austrian was of course Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler.
As Patrick Pearse and James Connolly plotted the downfall of the British Empire in Ireland, a little known Russian intellectual was plotting the downfall of , not only the Russian Royal Family and Russian Empire, but of all Empires. As Dublin burnt, Vladamir Illionich Ulanov, better known to history as Lenin viewed the Irish rebellion as a further sign that world revolution was fast approaching. The following year, 1917 Lenin would be at the forefront of the Russian Bolshevik party that would sweep to power in Russia and remain there until 1991.
In 1916 as many German men fought and died in World War 1 another was busy publishing his theories about the world around us. In this year Albert Einstein published his Theory of General relativity. Documents that have been more influential are few and far between .
In 1916 another famous woman was also busy and involved in ww1. That was Madam Curie. As we know she won the Nobel Prize for her work with radiation. In 1916 she was busy setting up field X ray units to try and save the lives of wounded soldiers. Madam Curie would of course die from working with Radiation. But in her death she has saved the lives of countless people who have beaten cancer with the help of radiation therapy.
In 1916 two otherIrish Men were busy trying to stay alive thousands of miles from civilisation with very little food and very little chance of survival. That was of course Ernest Shackelton and Tom Crean. As the rebels fought in Dublin and Europe tore itself apart these two Irish men were trapped on a lump of sea ice in the Antarctic Sea, after their mission to try and cross the Antarctic Continent ended in disaster. The whole crew fought for survival completely unaware that back home wars were ragging.
In 1916 the aeroplane was 13 years old, Nelson Mandella would be born in2 years time, and anti biotics did not exist. A kidney infection could kill you and often did. TB was rampant and if you hadn’t died in childhood you would probably succumb by the age of 53, usually from bronchitis. If you were born in 1916 it is likely your parents would name you John, Patrick, or James if you were a boy, Mary Bridget or Margaret if you were a girl.
Dublin and indeed the world teemed with untimely death in the year 1916. To borrow a phrase from the philosopher Thomas Hobbs, life in 1916 for most people was “nasty, brutish and short”