Monday, October 24, 2016

Today -100: October 24, 1916: At least when he dodged the draft, he did it en pointe

The London Times says the British government is considering changing the election laws to allow proxy votes for military personnel on active service.

Charles Evans Hughes’s story is that when he met Jeremiah O’Leary and the other pro-Germans, he had never heard of O’Leary before.

Republicans counter-charge that it’s actually the D’s who are going after the hyphen vote, that they are in fact putting out campaign literature in... gasp... German.

Theodore Roosevelt says that Wilson not firing Secretary of War Newton Baker shows that Wilson “in his heart believes that Washington was no better than Villa or Carranza”.

Women voters are expected to tip the balance in the presidential election in Illinois, but neither party knows how to deal with that.

Russia demands that the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, currently touring the US, return to join the army, or be declared a deserter (actually, he was declared a deserter in 1911 for not doing 3 years of military service). In 1915 Austria interned him as an enemy alien, and he was released only after promising not to bear arms.

The mayor of Eckernförde in Schleswig-Holstein bans the peeling of potatoes. 3 months in jail or a fine. They take food shortages seriously in Eckernförde. Also potatoes.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Today -100: October 23, 1916: Of secret racial organizations, comparative rebels, and assassins

The Allies are now demanding that Greece remove all its troops from Thessaly and hand over to the Allies those troops’ military supplies.

The DNC accuses Charles Evans Hughes of making a secret deal with Irish- and German-Americans. Hughes admits having met with the American Independence Conference (which the DNC calls a “secret racial organization... a weapon of vengeance and force against Anglo-Saxon influence”), but says there was no deal.

The Daughters of the American Revolution demand the resignation of Secretary of War Newton Baker for supposedly saying that Pancho Villa’s followers are just like George Washington’s soldiers at Valley Forge, who were also big ol’ thieves (which Baker denies saying).

Friedrich Adler says he assassinated Austrian Prime Minister Count Karl von Stürgkh because he refused to recall the parliament, which hasn’t met since several months before the war began. Austrian authorities are already trying to portray him as a lunatic, because they’d really prefer to commit him rather than let him speak at a trial.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Today -100: October 22, 1916: Everyone is justified to use force when the laws are destroyed

Count Karl von Stürgkh, the authoritarian minister-president (prime minister) of Austria (but not of Hungary) since 1911, is assassinated in a Viennese restaurant by Friedrich Adler, 37, son of Victor Adler, the founder of the Austrian Social Democratic Party. Friedrich, a publisher, was upset that his anti-war writings were censored. At his trial, he will say that his act of killing was exactly the same as the war which Stürgkh waged without the permission or consent of the Austrian people; “Everyone is justified to use force when the laws are destroyed,” Adler says. After a delayed trial he will be sentenced to death but the emperor will commute his sentence and then release him altogether, which is a little odd if you consider that this whole stupid war started because of an Austrian assassination.

Adler was also a physicist and a friend of Albert Einstein. Freddy will stay active in Socialist politics, fleeing Austria in 1938. He’ll then live in exile the rest of his life, first in New York and then Switzerland, dying in 1960 at 80. His father’s political career doesn’t seem to have been affected: he became foreign minister in the last days of the war, and died of a heart attack on the last day.

Stürgkh will be replaced by a series of short-lived minister-presidents, five over the next two years.

If it’s Sunday, it must be the Sunday New York Times Magazine’s special English Authors Prettying Up the War issue. There’s H.G. Wells’s “Italy’s Picturesque Mountain War” and Rudyard Kipling writing about British destroyers in the North Sea looking for German u-boats, which is just like fox-hunting, he says. Just like it.

Congressional elections in Mexico tomorrow. Only Constitutionalists are eligible for office. And no secret ballot.

German soldiers have been given a letter they’re supposed to mail to their relatives, asking them not to send any depressing news from home because it would just be a “drag” on the army – “many a letter speaks of discouragement, a feeling to which we would remain foreign; we at the front ignore the meaning of the word discouragement.” The German Army is especially annoyed that letters from home describing the hardships of daily life have been found on POWs and published by the Allies.

The letter makes interesting reading, although the translation comes from the London Times, which has been known to be less than trustworthy in this regard – in 1917 it will accuse Germany of rendering soldiers’ corpses to produce glycerine based on a deliberate mistranslation. Anyway, the letter refers in passing to “the hypocrisy of the United States, who is merely playing the ignoble role of moneylender.”

Theodore Roosevelt gets in a debate/shouting match with hecklers in Gallup, New Mexico about the 8-hour day, Mexico, etc. And then there was this exchange, which I’m a little confused by:
“Didn’t yet let the Japs sit beside our children in the schools of California?” 
“Ha! I sent the battle fleet [the “Great White Fleet”’s round-the-world tour of 1907-9] around the world to protect just such men as you against the Japs.”

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Today -100: October 21, 1916: Of chief inspectors, u-boats, blackouts, and legions

A French officer has been appointed “chief inspector” to the Greek Interior Ministry. He will have approval over all orders to police.

Hindenburg yesterday, and Ludendorf today, ask Germans who are agitating loudly for unrestricted submarine warfare to knock it off.

The Canadian military orders a nighttime blackout for Halifax, Nova Scotia, for some mysterious reason. Fear of zeppelin raids? They’re not saying.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The Allies are claiming that the Central Powers’ Polish Legion has mutinied and most of its members imprisoned.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Today -100: October 20, 1916: Of banners, Standards, quarantines, and klucks

Members of the National Women’s Party picket a Woodrow Wilson speech in Chicago, but the crowd tears up their banners (“Wilson is against women,” “Wilson prevented the passage of suffrage amendment”, etc).

Inside, Wilson says that the function of women will be “the element of mediation, or comprehending and drawing all the elements together. It is the power of sympathy, as contrasted with the power of contests.”

In another Chicago speech (or possibly the same one? not worth going back to check), he tells immigrants not to be so... foreign. He says the US can help in the settlement of the Great War because Americans come from all stocks and can “interpret the thought of the world [and...] the needs of the future.” I’m not sure if he realizes that he’s assigning the US the same place in the world as he assigned to women in politics.

The Bayonne Standard Oil strike breaks up when American-born workers desert their immigrant (mostly Poles) compatriots.  Standard offered nothing, but will “investigate” any grievances – except those involving pay.

The Harvard football team is quarantined (well, confined to campus) after a half-back comes down with suspected polio.

German Field Marshal Alexander von Kluck retires, at 70, to the doubtless disappointment of British soldiers, who sang songs about him.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Today -100: October 19, 1916: Of inconsistent principles and polio

Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond introduces a resolution in Parliament declaring that the treatment of Ireland is “inconsistent with the principles wherefor the Allies are fighting in Europe”. He demands immediate Home Rule, the ending of martial law, and the release of prisoners from the Easter Rising (500 still held without trial).

As there were “only” two polio deaths in New York yesterday, the health commissioner has decided the epidemic is over and will stop issuing daily reports.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Today -100: October 18, 1916: A surrender can’t be repealed

A heckler asks Charles Evans Hughes if he would repeal the Adamson Act, the law which established the 8-hour day in the railroad sector. Hughes says a surrender can’t be repealed. He says if he’d been faced with a threatened rail strike as Wilson was, he’d have appointed a commission so impartial and so fair that neither side would have gone against its recommendations. Oh, Charles Evans, you’re just too pure for this wicked world.

Woodrow Wilson fails to get the belligerents to agree a plan to allow relief supplies into Poland.

The Justice Dept is investigating claims that Republicans are “colonizing” Southern negroes into Illinois and Indiana to register to vote, although Illinois law requires one year of residence to register. However, the article also notes that many of them are taking meat-packing jobs formerly held by immigrants who have returned to Europe to fight, so maybe this is just normal economic migration and racist D’s then, like racist R’s now, just automatically equate black people voting with voter fraud.

Under some sort of deal with Germany, Switzerland bans exports of munitions to the Allies if those munitions are made using German coal or steel.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Today -100: October 17, 1916: Of provisional governments, lynchings & laudings, operatic menaces, newsprint, and obedient wives

The Allies recognize Eleftherios Venizelos’s “Provisional Government,” although possibly only in Crete?

The NYT has its first picture of a tank.

Two black men are lynched in Paducah, Kentucky. One is accused of attacking a white woman, the other supposedly “lauded” the first’s attack.

Headline of the Day -100:  

There’s a newsprint shortage in the US, so the FTC asks big-city newspapers to cut down the size of their Sunday papers, so as not to put smaller newspapers out of business.

The Episcopalians refuse to remove the word “obey” from the marriage vow for women.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Today -100: October 16, 1916: Babies vs. dogs

Princeton University is under quarantine after a freshman dies of polio.

Margaret Sanger opens a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brooklyn.

Norway has banned armed submarines from its ports and Germany’s afraid other neutrals will follow suit.

The train of pro-Hughes women continues its campaign tour. In Medford, Oregon, Democratic women planned to bring stray dogs to greet them, but Republican women arranged to bring babies to the train station, because politics.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.