The Witch’s March: History Fact #4

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a constitutional monarchy in Central and Eastern Europe between 1867 and 1918.

When thinking of World War I, Budapest isn’t a city that often comes to mind, even though it served as capital to its empire.  With energy that rivaled Vienna and café society that rivaled Paris, Budapest entered the 20th century on the rise.  And although it never saw enemy faces inside its walls, the city was destroyed by the Great War all the same.  Although I take liberties to bring a group of Allies into the city, it wouldn’t be fair for me to not divulge into how terrible war can be even when it’s not right at your doorstep…

World War I helped lead to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and not only that but half of the Hungarian population was cut away by the Treaty of Trianon and made part of surrounding nations.  From 1918 to 1919, Budapest was shaken by two revolutions: The Aster Revolution followed by two years of White Terror.

The Aster Revolution received its name because the revolting citizens placed aster flowers in their hats and caps to symbolize support for the Hungarian National Council and Count Károlyi.  They even took it upon themselves to demobilize soldiers in the city.  They murdered the former Prime Minister István Tisza and forced Prime Minister Sándor Wekerle to resign.  By the end of the day, King Charles IV was forced to accept them and Károlyi became the new Prime Minister.  One of his first acts?  Dissolving the Austro-Hungarian union.

The victorious Entente powers then took steps to carve out any ethnicity that wasn’t white, including Czechoslovakia and Romania.  The overall efforts resulted in Hungary losing two thirds of its land area and one third of its Hungarian-speaking nationals.  You don’t have to be an expert in socioeconomics to understand that this drastic change was bound to pull out problem after problems…

The nation’s attempts to form a single stable government failed, and by March of 1919 communists had taken over.


The Witch’s March: History Fact #3

The Lebel Model 1886 M93 model was the main French sniper rifle used during WW1. Pictured is the rifle fited with an original A.P.X. 1916 scope, as used by Maréchal Beachêne in The Witch’s March.

The elfish have evolved with the times, no longer just  legendary for their skill with bow and arrow, but also the rifle.  His rivals have claimed it’s due to his enhanced sight, but that doesn’t mean they can’t argue the simple fact: Beachêne is the best of the best.

The Witch’s March: History Fact #3

 During World War I, or The Great War, the American military created two combat divisions for African Americans.  One, the 92nd Division, was composed of draftees and officers.  The second, the 93rd Division (later known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was mostly made up of National Guard units from cities like New York, Chicago, and Cleveland.

The 92nd Division faced one loss on the field that the world used as confirmation blacks weren’t fit to serve their country in war.  That was until the Harlem Hellfighters’ success.  When they returned to New York City after their victories at war, according to the Tribune, Never have white Americans accorded so heartfelt and hearty a reception to a contingent of their black country-men” and “the ebony warriors” felt it.

Although not introduced until The Witch’s March resolution, Martin Fox served as a Harlem Hellfighter.  One of Hattie’s love interests, he fought during the final Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

The Witch’s March: History Fact #2

SE5A at Old Warden.jpg

The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 is arguably the best airplane of World War i.  It was a British biplane fighter aircraft that was first used in April 1917.   It was one of the fastest aircraft of the war, while still being both stable and relatively maneuverable.  Per Robert Jackson, it was “the nimble fighter that has since been described as the ‘Spitfire of World War One'”.

While some pilots were still initially disappointed with the S.E.5, they all quickly came to appreciate its strengths.  In June 1917, any failings were addressed with the S.E.5a entering service.

The S.E.5b is the fictional model that makes an appearance in The Witch’s March.  In the novel, this  airplane is the only Ally plane that was successfully fireproofed, in order to be better protected against dragons.  This fantasy-influenced model is an upgrade from the S.E.5.


The Witch’s March: History Fact #1

Before I forget, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

With no promise on frequency, each week’s Thursday Picture posts will occasionally be a fun history fact that I learned while writing my current work-in-progress novel, The Witch’s March.  This is the first of a YA Fantasy series that starts during World War I.  More will come out on the book later.  For now, your first fact:

The main character, Hattie Lange, temporarily poses as a Hello Girl.  “Hello Girls” was a colloquial name for American female switchboard operators in World War I.  The group was formally known as ‘Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit’.  These switchboard operators were sworn into the U.S. Army Signal Corps.  The women left for Europe in March 1918 and were in many exchanges of the American Expeditionary Forces in France and Britain.  Despite the fact that they wore U.S. Army Uniforms and were subject to Army Regulations, they were not given honorable discharges, but were considered “civilians” employed by the military due to their gender.  It wasn’t until 1978 that Congress approved Veteran Status/Honorable discharges for the remaining “Hello Girls”.