Feb. 27—Forty British and French warships penetrate the Dardanelles for fourteen miles; French cruiser seizes, in the English Channel, the American steamer Dacia, which was formerly under German registry and belonged to the Hamburg-American Line, and takes her to Brest; a French prize court will determine the validity of her transfer to American registry; British skipper reports that the German converted cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich sank a British ship and a French ship in December.
Feb. 28—Allied fleet prepares to engage the strongest and last of the Dardanelles defenses; land attack in conjunction with the fleet is being considered; English and French flags now fly over wrecked forts; London welcomes seizure of Dacia by French.
Feb. 4—Germany proclaims the waters around Great Britain and Ireland, except a passage north of Scotland, a war zone from and after Feb. 18, and states that neutral ships entering the zone will be in danger, in consequence of the misuse of neutral flags said to have been ordered by the British Government.
Feb. 6—Decree is discussed by President Wilson and the Cabinet; dangers of complications for the United States are foreseen; indignation is expressed in Italy, Holland, and Denmark; text of the decree is submitted to the United States State Department by Ambassador Gerard.
Feb. 9—Some European neutrals intend to have the names of their ships printed in huge letters on ships’ sides and the national colors painted on.
Feb. 11—The State Department makes public the text of the American note, dated Feb. 10, sent to Ambassador Gerard for delivery to the German Government; the note is firm but friendly, and tells Germany that the United States will hold her “to a strict accountability” should commanders of German vessels of war “destroy on the high seas an American vessel or the lives of American citizens.”
Feb. 12—Ambassador Gerard delivers the American note to the German Foreign Secretary and has a long conference with him.
Feb. 13—The German Legation at The Hague warns neutral vessels against entering the war zone; German Foreign Office comments on the friendly tone of the American note; Germany has requested the United States to advise ship owners to man vessels sailing to German ports with subjects of neutral States.
Feb. 15—Germany communicates to the United States through Ambassador von Bernstorff a preliminary answer to the American note; Germany would be willing to recede from her decree if England would permit foodstuffs to enter Germany for use by the civilian population; the preliminary answer is cabled to Ambassador Page for presentation to the British Foreign Office as a matter of information; Italy and Holland protest to Germany against war zone decree; Winston Churchill, in Parliament, hints at retaliation.
Feb. 18—Germany replies to American note; reply is friendly in tone, but its substance causes concern in Washington; Germany still disclaims responsibility for fate of neutral vessels in war zone; war zone decree now in effect; ships are moving in and out of British ports as usual; Norwegian steamer Nordcap is blown up by a mine.