Sunday, October 20, 2019

Today -100: October 20, 1919: Of falls, indigestion, longshoremen, Americanized peace, and Astors

Headline of the Day -100: 

And if they keep reporting it and wishing reeeeally hard...

Headline of the Day -100:  

Dr. Grayson says the president is “holding his own.” Wow, did a tasteless joke just occur to me.

No, not that joke. More tasteless.

New York Mayor John Hylan asks the federal government not to send troops to replace striking longshoremen at the Port of New York.

Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge says the peace treaty won’t be ratified without reservations to “Americanize” it. And senators are coming up with new reservations, including preventing the US from accepting a League of Nations mandate (Armenia, say) without Congressional approval. Which doesn’t seem unreasonable. Also, rejection of any ruling by the International Labor Council on immigration (i.e., the US’s racist immigration policy). There is also a proposal for the US to bring the issue of Irish independence before the League of Nations. 

Three French army officers who during the war wrote for the German-published Gazette des Ardennes are sentenced to death. 7 non-military writers get sentences of 5 to 7 years.

The American-born but British-naturalized Viscount Astor dies. He will be succeeded in the Lords by his son Waldorf Astor, who will therefore be removed from his House of Commons seat representing Plymouth (very much against his will, but them’s the rules). Whoever will they find to replace him?

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Today -100: October 19, 1919: Of decrees, debates, and grips

Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio decrees that anyone expressing sentiments hostile to the cause of Fiume will be executed.

NY Gov. Alfred E. Smith, pissed off at the constant attacks on him by the Hearst press, challenges William Randolph Hearst to debate him publicly.

Headline of the Day -100:

Doomed, doomed I tells ya!

The (modern-day) NYT obit of Samuel Hynes fails to mention two of his books possibly of interest to readers of this blog: War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture and The Edwardian Turn of Mind. Both recommended.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Today -100: October 18, 1919: We cannot be beaten because death is our victory

White general Nikolai Yudenich’s forces are quite near Petrograd, although not actually inside the city, as the article’s headline claims.

Woodrow Wilson’s prostate became enlarged from an infection, and was thought to require surgery, but Wilson was considered too weak for surgery because of his stroke (the White House isn’t saying that part, obviously), so they’ve held off while Wilson lay close to death (they’re not disclosing this either). The White House also finally says what Wilson has been suffering from all this time: fatigue neurosis.

The Senate defeats some more amendments to the Peace Treaty, and discusses whether the US should accept a mandate over Armenia. There are some questions about whether there is oil in Armenia, but it’s agreed that if there were, the British wouldn’t be withdrawing their troops from it, that’s just science.

Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio has plans:  “If nobody will attack me – and I am ready to fight any aggression – I will march on Rome, or I will throw myself against the nearest enemy with my comrades. We want to offer ourselves in sacrifice. We want to light a fire that will burn high. It will awake in a portentous flame the deceived hopes of oppressed peoples, and no power of arms and money will be able to put it out. ... We cannot be beaten because death is our victory.” Put a pin in that idea, “march on Rome,” for 3 years.

Two striking picketers are shot outside the American Steel and Wire Company plant in Cuyahoga, Ohio, by guns, possibly machine guns, fired from inside the plant.

Hunger-striking Irish political prisoners are released from prison.

After Thomas Bellon is executed at San Quentin, glands are taken from his body and implanted in a 60-year-old inmate to see if they make him younger.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Today -100: October 17, 1919: A fairly satisfactory day

The House votes 284-1 to extend wartime passport regulations on incoming aliens  for a year, so that “radicals” can be excluded from the country.

Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge’s amendments/reservations to the Peace Treaty are rejected by the Senate, 35-35, 3 D’s joining 32 R’s in favor. This vote focused on the award of Shantung to Japan.

The latest White House bulletin:  “The President had a fairly satisfactory day.” His doctors allow him to be told of the Senate vote.

A “high military source” in Gary, Indiana informs the press that seized documents prove that the steel strike’s leaders are linked to Soviet Russia. Tear gas shells are being sent to Gary, which is odd because my understanding is that tear gas wasn’t used for crowd control until 1921.

A Waukegan, Illinois deputy sheriff posts a notice: “If you do not like this country, go back to your own. If you have no country, go to hell.”

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Today -100: October 16, 1919: Build build build pay pay pay

The latest White House bulletin: “The President has had a satisfactory day.” The US delegation to the Peace Conference asked, last week I guess, who is currently responsible for giving it instructions, and has been told that Wilson will be incapacitated “for some weeks.” Which doesn’t answer the question.

The commander of the British naval forces in the Baltic tells the German troops to evacuate the suburbs of Riga or be shelled out.

Latest RussiaRumors™: Petrograd’s fall imminent! Entente invites Germany to join the blockade of Soviet Russia!

The American Legion is campaigning against German opera.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says that if the US doesn’t join the League of Nations, it should be prepared to build a huge navy – “build, build, build, while the rest of our country must pay, pay, pay.”

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Today -100: October 15, 1919: Of restless and uncomfortable days, Red plots, passports, insignificant annexations, and divorces

The latest White House bulletin: “The President had a restless and uncomfortable day, but is better tonight.”

The feds claim to have uncovered a “Red” scheme for a general uprising, beginning with those bombings in May and June, which they’re linking with Gary, Indiana “Reds” in an unsubtle attempt to discredit the steel strikers. They name several alleged bombers, only one of whom is in custody, and say one of them made his bombs in the Indiana Steel Company factory. There is/was also a plot to blow up Gary Mayor William Hodges who, to be fair, is something of a dick.

Secretary of State Lansing recommends that wartime passport restrictions be continued another year, so the government can exclude foreign “undesirables.”

Italian Foreign Minister Tommaso Tittoni thinks he has the solution to the Fiume mess: make Fiume a buffer state, with Italy doing an “insignificant annexation” of the land between Fiume and Trieste.

Hungary’s White Terror government annuls all the divorces granted by the Soviet government, except where one of the parties has since re-married.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Today -100: October 14, 1919: Only one thing left

The latest White House bulletin: “The President’s condition is about the same.” Dr. Grayson says for the first time something I hadn’t realized he hasn’t said until now, that Wilson’s mind is “clear as a bell.” He says that while Wilson still needs absolute rest, he could sign bills if need be. Some Republican senators are not so sure about this, and are whipping out their magnifying classes and examining Wilson’s “signatures” on several recent communications.

Germany accedes to Allied demands and stops sending supplies to the Baltic for General Rüdiger von der Goltz’s troops, who will return home. Hey I guess Germany did have control over him after all. There are accusations by the Germans and the Letts over which of them is siding with the Bolsheviks.

A steel worker striking in Gary, Indiana is searched and four copies found of a leaflet, allegedly from the Communist Party, calling for the overthrow of the military in Gary. Col. Mapes responds, “Before we leave we intend to clean Gary of Red agitators.” He sends soldiers to printing shops to try to track down the authors.

And a circular from the “American Anarchist Federated Commune Soviet of New York City” (!) is discovered, threatening reprisals for every worker killed. “Since the Government has Czaristically Russianized its methods in clubbing and murdering you whenever you raise your voices in protest against injustice or dare to go out on strike, there remains for you, the workers, only one thing left, and that is to arm yourselves.” It also asks soldiers to stop clubbing workers. The police are now protecting cops and judges and DAs involved in the prosecution of anarchists.

The Kalihi Territorial Hospital in Hawaii claims to have found a cure for leprosy. It hasn’t.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Today -100: October 13, 1919: A restful day

The latest White House bulletin: “The President is in good spirits and has had a restful day.” Dr. Grayson refuses to respond to Sen. Moses’s claim that Wilson suffered a cerebral lesion, although he does scoff at “long-distance diagnosis.” While wrong about the cerebral lesion, Moses is still closer to the truth than the official bulletins, which have yet to specify Wilson’s malady beyond “nervous exhaustion.” After two weeks, that’s beginning to wear a little thin.

The Allies order Germany to recall its ships from the Baltic, responding to German participation in a White Russian attack on Riga, Latvia. They also send  a note accusing Germany of duplicity for claiming to have no control over Gen. Rüdiger von der Goltz but not taking any action against him for this alleged insubordination, such as, f’r instance, firing him.  The NYT thinks this is “the beginning of a new war for German supremacy”. France is worried that Germany is doing a better job of cozying up to the anti-Bolshevik Russian forces (who are surely going to win, everyone knows that) than France is.

France declares the state of war over. Censorship is lifted, early closing-hour rules are ended, and the people of Paris may even have to pay rent again.

Headline of the Day -100:

Headline of the Day -100:

Aren’t they always?

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Today -100: October 12, 1919: A comfortable day

The latest White House bulletin: “The president has had a comfortable day.”
Nevertheless, his doctors are saying that he will need bed-rest for an extended period. For the first time, we’re hearing of discussions of whether Wilson is suffering a “disability” such that his powers should be transferred to Vice President Whatshisname. One problem is that many of his powers are new ones granted by wartime legislation and cannot be transferred. The Constitution, people are discovering, fails to specify who decides whether a president is disabled. Sen. George Moses (R-NH) writes a letter to a friend that mysteriously leaks to the press, in which he gossips that Wilson had a cerebral lesion and that while he “may live,” he “will not be any material force or factor in anything.”

An Italian steamer sets off from Genoa, bound for Vladivostok with a shipment for the Whites fighting in Russia. However, the crew mutinies and diverts the ship to Fiume.

The German government bans the film “Wilhelm’s Good Fortune and Bad Finish,” which conservative groups have been complaining about, unseen. Anti-Semitic groups have been giving out free rubber clubs in anticipation of protesting the premiere. I have no idea what the content of this film is, and neither nor Wikipedia have heard of it.

A letter to the NYT asks for donations to the Home for Ex-Slaves in Nacogdoches, Texas, which it deems necessary to mention is “operated by a white advisory board.”

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