Saturday, July 21, 2018

Today -100: July 21, 1918: Of ex-Romanovs, unnoticed retreats, juniors, and potatoes by the Pound


Former Czar Nicholas II is executed (last week actually, but it’s announced now). The Ural Regional Council, which is taking responsibility, says his wife and children are safe.  Don’t know why they’d lie about that. With bands of Czech soldiers roaming Siberia, the local Soviets were afraid the royals would be captured and used to front the counter-revolution.

The Germans are pushed back over the Marne. The Germans say they retreated “without being noticed by the enemy” and anyway they’d already achieved all their objectives so there was really no reason not to run away.

Another Roosevelt kid is a casualty of the war. Theodore Jr. is wounded. Also, a German plane drops a note confirming Quentin Roosevelt’s death, as was the custom.

NY Gov. Charles Whitman says even if Theodore Roosevelt enters the gubernatorial race, he’s staying in.

Social history of the Day -100:


Book review:


Yup, that’s definitely what he’s known for: being from Idaho. That’s why most of his poems were about potatoes.


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Friday, July 20, 2018

Today -100: July 20, 1918: Of darrows, victories, carpathias, and baseball


The US government is sending Clarence Darrow, of all people, to Europe on a speaking tour to tell the truth about America.

The unofficial NY Republican convention closes, and they still don’t know if Theodore Roosevelt is running for governor. TR still doesn’t know definitively that his son is dead, so may have other things on his mind.

A mob in Mount Vernon – I assume the one in New York – drags a Catholic priest out of his church. His crime: failing to toll the bell to celebrate US military victories. His church: Our Lady of Victory. They force him to kiss a flag and ring the bell, or maybe the other way around. The Rev. Edward Heinlein will be charged with disorderly conduct, of all things. The NYT seems to have nothing after that.

The Romanian Chamber of Deputies votes to prosecute the cabinet that brought Romania into the war.

Secretary of Labor William Wilson’s son, 2nd Lt. Joseph Wilson, is court-martialed for being absent without leave and getting arrested in Baltimore for gambling. The court-martial recommends he be dismissed from the service, but Pres. Wilson commutes his sentence.

The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued passengers from the Titanic, is sunk. Everyone is rescued, but 5 crew are killed by the blast from the torpedo. The Cunard liner was being used to transport troops across the Atlantic, and was headed towards Boston.

The NY Supreme Court rules that a white man refused service in a Harlem restaurant because he was sitting with a black friend can’t be awarded damages under the state’s civil rights laws because he wasn’t refused because of his race but because he was with someone of a different race. This is, of course, stupid law.

Secretary of War Newton Baker finally settles the fraught question of whether professional baseball is a necessary occupation. It isn’t. He suggests they get real jobs. This will leave the Yankees with just 1 player over draft age and the Brooklyn Giants 5.


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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today -100: July 19, 1918: Of ways to stop German spies, censorship, and women’s suffrage


The Allied counter-offensive is doing rather well.

Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, on the other hand, is still quite dead, although his father is informed that Quentin’s flying companion is sure he landed safely.

Still, the New York Republican Party, currently holding its “unofficial convention” in Saratoga, is trying to get Roosevelt to run for governor and trying to ignore the existence of their unloved incumbent governor, Charles Whitman. TR gives a speech (this is before he was informed about Quentin’s death) against the Enemy Within: “A glorious way to stop the activity of the German spy [by which I’m pretty sure he means anyone at all critical of the war] is to shoot him where he is found.” He says that German- and Austrian-Americans should be drafted because during the Revolutionary War Americans of English birth fought for independence, and their cause didn’t have 1/10 the reasons as the current war, because Lusitania and shit.

Recruiting officers are told to stop illegally enlisting boys under the age of 18, as it’s just embarrassing for everyone when their parents show up and demand they be released. Documentation will be required in the future.

A NY state Supreme Court justice allows Mount Vernon to ban German-language newspapers and the Hearst press.

Hungary’s Diet rejects women’s suffrage.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Today -100: July 18, 1918: Of best deaths, sawed-off shotguns, useless wars, amusing shells, and red hats


Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, son of the former president, is killed in aerial battle. He was 21. “The best of deaths,” the NYT calls it.

German newspapers are complaining over rumors that American troops have been issued sawed-off shotguns, which are apparently not “honorable,” presumably because no one’s bothered to train them to shoot. What next, they ask, tomahawks and scalping knives?

Headline of the Day -100: 


Oh, NOW he tells us.  Austrian Foreign Minister Count Burian says “we regard this war as senseless and purposeless bloodshed which might at any moment be ended by the re-emergence of feelings of humanity in our enemies.”

Headline of the Day -100:  


Émile-Joseph Duval, the manager of the newspaper Le Bonnet Rouge, is executed for allegedly taking money from Germany to publish defeatism. Another person associated with the paper, also arrested in 1917, the photographer Miguel Almereyda, the father of the great film-maker Jean Vigo, was mysteriously strangled in prison.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today -100: July 17, 1918: Our enemies want to paralyze us by an offensive of irritation and render us helpless


Baron Burian, the Austrian Foreign Minister, says Austria is ready to begin peace talks and is “prepared to discuss everything except our own territory.” It’s not the Central Powers who are annexationists,  he says (the terms that they imposed on Russia and Romania are a special case, or something), but the Entente countries that want to grab Alsace-Lorraine, Trieste, the Trentino and Germany’s colonies. He says, “Our enemies want to paralyze us by an offensive of irritation and render us helpless. They want to crush our very powerful organism in order to make weak parts one after the other serviceable to their own purposes.” Austrians, always bragging about their very powerful organisms.

The French Senate is trying former Interior Minister Louis-Jean Malvy for treason for allegedly giving information to Germany, which he didn’t.

Floyd Dell, managing editor of The Masses, whose first trial with Max Eastman and others connected to the paper for obstructing military recruitment ended in a mistrial, then, ironically, let himself be drafted before an intended retrial, has now been discharged from the army because he shouldn’t have been conscripted while an indictment hung over him. Spoiler Alert: The second trial will also end in a hung jury.


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Monday, July 16, 2018

Today -100: July 16, 1918: To hell with this blockheaded Hun


Haiti declares war on Germany, which is just adorable.

So too have some residents of Bismarck, North Dakota, who want that name changed. Someone painted out the city’s name at the railroad station and put up a sign saying “To hell with this blockheaded Hun. What did he ever do for us?”

Headline That’s Probably a Euphemism for Something of the Day -100: 



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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Today -100: July 15, 1918: Of productive baseball, roofs, and war wounds


Individual draft boards are making conflicting rulings on whether baseball players are “productive.” Boston’s says that baseball’s recreational benefits are overestimated, although it excuses Braves catcher John Park Henry from getting a real job because it would be such a financial loss to himself and others (others being the team owners).

Man, the food situation in Germany is getting really bad:


Theodore Roosevelt is informed that his son Archie’s war wound is worse than first reported and will take 8 months to heal. It’s not a great week for the Roosevelt boys.


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Today -100: July 14, 1918: There must be no hugger-mugger peace


The German government has a contract with the Westmark Land Company to purchase estates in Alsace-Lorraine and settle them with people “who are reliable from a national standpoint.”

German Chancellor Georg von Hertling says Germany does not intend to annex Belgium, but only to use it as “a pawn for future negotiations.” (A few days later he’ll say he means he wants Germany’s colonies back).

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100:


Headline of the Day -100:  


Um, you do you, Germans.

Lloyd George, while admitting that Britain decided its colonies and Dominions were going to war without consulting them, says the Dominions (i.e. the white colonies) will have a role in determining the peace terms. He adds, “There must be no hugger-mugger peace.” He says that Germany’s (he mostly means Prussia) past successful wars just encouraged it to more warfare, so this time it mustn’t get anything out of the war. “The god of brute force must this time forever be broken and burnt in its own furnace.” Probably best not to spend too long thinking about that sentence.

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100:  


Flight Sgt James Baugham crashed in No Man’s Land and was shot at by both sides until he waved his handkerchief at the French. I told you it was disappointing.


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Today -100: July 13, 1918: Of neutralizing ointment & special underwear


The War Department insists that not only are its gas masks completely effective against mustard gas, but there’s a “neutralizing ointment” now. And special underwear.

That’s what it says: “special underwear.”

Finland’s German-propped-up government’s Senate votes to expel all the Jews, because they funded the Red Guards. The Jews say they were forced to give money to the Red Guards.

Henceforth, all US war contracts will ban the use of prison and child labor.


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