The Germans realised that their, now public, offer to Mexico would bring America into the war.
They calculated, correctly, that American troops in significant numbers would not arrive on the Western Front for another year.
They reasoned that they had that year to knock Britain out of the war and so end it.
Accordingly, today in 1917, the Germans resumed unrestricted submarine warfare on all shipping with the goal of starving Britain into submission in 12 months.
Anticipating this move, the British had earlier announced the laying of a minefield across the Channel from the Yorkshire coast to Jutland on the Danish coast.
It was designed to prevent movement of German submarines and surface ships from their bases into the English Channel.
In defiance of the Geneva Convention, Germany also announced that British hospital ships would be sunk on sight.
This was because of a claimed breach of Red Cross neutrality.
This week, king tides and easterly gales breached seawalls at Hallsands in Devon washing all but one of the village’s houses into the sea. The beach and rock ledge on which it was built disappeared.
The town was never rebuilt.
Meanwhile, in Russia, the small part of the food and fuel distribution network still functioning broke down.
Threats of death by starvation and by freezing were added to the woes of the Russians.
By now, Russian troops were deserting in larger and larger numbers. Most of them took their rifles and ammunition with them.
The Allies met this week with the Russians in Petrograd.
They recognised Russia’s fading resolve and sought to keep Russia in the war by offers of military and financial assistance.
Early this year, T.S. Eliot published at his own expense his first poetry collection under the name Prufrock and Other Observations.
Five-hundred copies were printed. A review in the Times Literary Supplement gave an indication of its reception — ‘‘The fact that these things occurred to the mind of Mr Eliot is surely of the very smallest importance to anyone, even to himself. They certainly have no relation to poetry’’.
In Australia, for the first time, Murray cod and yellowbelly fry were artificially hatched and reared for release.
A wet spring in 1917 meant that Dookie and other areas near Benalla now had a mouse plague.
Meanwhile, Goorambat’s typhoid epidemic had worsened with cases now in one third of its houses.
There had been three deaths so far and three cases were reported now in Benalla.
Analysis of rotten wheat fed to poultry revealed no connection to the outbreak.
The Health Department suggested that a carrier was responsible.
The Minister of Health sent an experienced inspector to make preliminary inquiries. A medical specialist would follow.
— John Barry, Anzac Commemorative Working Party. Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI Heroes