Friday, October 24, 2014

Today -100: October 24, 1914: Yet you’re still alive

Headline of the Day -100:  “GERMAN WOMEN SPIES MEET DEATH BRAVELY; Allies Shoot Many Suspects Whose Accent Betrays Their Teutonic Origin.”  Which doesn’t really sound like they’re shooting actual spies.  “So many spies have been caught in France recently that the possession of papers apparently in good order avails a man or woman nothing once an accusation has been made or suspicion aroused.  It is asserted that no German tongue can ever pronounce certain French words without betraying itself.”  Um, right.

There are demands in India that the British do more to protect Indian shipping from German attacks.  The Times of India calls for convoys and “alludes to the possible effect on the crude native mind of the [cruiser] Emden’s successes, which will seem to their humble intelligences an indication of German success in the naval war.”

Carranza says he’s willing to resign as chief executive, provided Pancho Villa doesn’t come to power - or get any of the credit for Carranza leaving.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Kaiser Wilhelm supposedly rebukes one of his generals, who retreated from the Marne, for not going down fighting: “You fell back, and yet you’re still alive.”

Haiti now has two people claiming to be president, Orestes Zamor and Davilmar Théodore.  Which are both fantastic names.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today -100: October 23, 1914: Got it by a mile

Former Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz is reported dead.  He isn’t.

The round-up and internment of German- and Austrian-born men in Britain is, not surprisingly, creating hardship among the wives and children left behind.  So it’s up to the US embassy, which is responsible for looking after those countries’ interests in Britain, to deal with them, dispersing funds from the German and Austrian governments.

Italy invades Albania.

The Constitutionalist military Convention names a cabinet, or five cabinet members anyway, but Carranza may ignore them.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Lille a Ruined City.”

In the NY governor’s race, District Attorney Charles Whitman accuses Gov. Martin Glynn of putting a convicted forger on the payroll in the Audit Bureau of the State Controller’s office on behalf of Tammany Hall, one Thomas Torpy.  Whitman’s campaign is very prosecutorial, talking about rooting out the various Tammany crooks, with as little discussion of actual governance issues as he can get away with.

Here is Whitman’s campaign song:
    Who is, who is, who is he?
    He is, he is, he is he
    He is in it, I should smile
    Whitman’s got it by a mile.
The NYT claims that the whispering campaign against Gov. Glynn for his religion (he’s the first Catholic governor of NY) is strictly a rural business – they’d never think of asking a man’s religion in the Big Apple.

In the first income tax returns, just 44 people declare themselves to have an income over $1 million, 91 between $500,000 and $1 million, out of 357,598 tax returns filed.  The income tax produced much less revenue than expected, and the Internal Revenue Bureau will start going after the tax dodgers – they estimate there are 140,000 of them.

Now the fun begins: guessing who the 44 plutocrats are.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Today -100: October 22, 1914: Mud, mud, inglorious mud

With artillery playing a dominant role in the Great War, armies are finding an obstacle: mud. All that tromping of armies, with their horses and motor vehicles, has turned roads to shit.  Add rain and you’ve got mud, which bogs down the movement of artillery.

NY Gov. Martin Glynn, running for re-election, bravely comes out in favor of playgrounds.

Germany makes more complaints about France violating the rules of war: killing or mutilating wounded German soldiers, sniping at ambulances, etc.

Headline of the Day -100:  “German Ban Put on Hostile Poets; Outer Darkness for D’Annunzio and Maeterlinck as Lacking ‘Particular Genius.’”

Congress rejects a measure to support the cotton industry, whose exports have been hit badly by the war.

Italy is threatening to occupy Albania.

Russia ends the exemption of high school and university students from conscription.

A rather brief insurrection is suppressed in Portugal.

Another dead prince: Maximilian of Hesse-Kassel, the kaiser’s nephew, just before his 20th birthday. The Daily News (London) says his body was stripped and just left there and that he was shot in the back, possibly by his own men.

The US protests the British seizure of an American oil ship, the John D. Rockefeller.

Britain will intern all unnaturalized German- and Austrian-born males age 17-45, evidently in response to last week’s anti-German riots.  Hundreds of arrests of “enemy aliens” have been made.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Today -100: October 21, 1914: The Germans want to conquer what now?

Le Matin says that 35 French army cooks tricked 140 Germans into surrendering by pretending to surround them.

Tageblatt (presumably the German newspaper rather than the Luxembourger one) says that when the French took 3 German envoys prisoner, the kaiser threatened to kill 300 POWs unless they were released, which they were.

The NYT has “certain information” from “an authoritative source” that Germany is building 200 extra-large airplanes, each capable of carrying 1,000 pounds of bombs to drop on London.  The bombs will still have to be dropped by hand.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Villa Threatens to Seize Chiefs.”  While the Constitutionalist’s Convention of Military Chiefs meets to work out Mexico’s future, Pancho Villa moves troops worryingly close to where it’s being held.

Actual dead prince: Wolrad of Waldeck and Pyrmont, 22, killed in action in Belgium.

At the annual meeting of the American Bar Association, former Pres. Taft calls for making US treaties the supreme law of the land.  At present, the federal government can’t force states to abide by treaties, for example California’s discrimination against Japanese.

The upper house of the Prussian Diet debates German hat fashions (or maybe it’s just a meeting in the Diet building?)  One speaker (all of whom are unnamed, dammit) says it is the job of those who cannot fight to prepare for the consequences of war and the newly awakened German national feeling as it affects, you know, ladies’ hats.  “He predicted that the first consequences of the war would be a tendency to simplicity and a suppression of individuality.  Other speakers did not seem satisfied with this and declared that Germany must make fashions capable of conquering the international market.”

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Today -100: October 20, 1914: Of oaths, Latin, and riots

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: new Austrian soldiers are said to have to take an oath to the German kaiser as well as the Austrian emperor.  Seems unlikely.

The Haitian government has fled as rebels take Cape Haytien.  US Marines land, as was the custom.

Charles Taft, son of the former president, takes first prize in Latin in his Yale entrance exams, and if that doesn’t set you up to be... (checks Wikipedia)... mayor of Cincinnati, nothing does.

More anti-German riots in the London ‘burb Deptford. “The Prosecutor said that he regretted the necessity of appearing against citizens the object of whose attack had been German shopkeepers, but he explained that great damage had been done to English property as well.”  So do be more careful next time, rioters.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today -100: October 19, 1914: Hasn’t been kissed in forty years

Evidently there used to be a ban in international law on dropping explosives from balloons etc, but this expired in 1905.

France has recaptured Armentières.

In a letter to House Majority Leader Oscar Underwood, Woodrow Wilson expresses confidence about the November elections: “The voters of the United States have never failed to reward real service.”  He don’t know us very well, do he?

Anti-German riots in London, with attacks on bakeries, butcher shops, saloons etc owned by Germans.

The new Constitutionalist governor of Chiapas, Mexico bans confession, restricts mass to once a week, and orders priests to wear non-clerical clothes.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Today -100: October 18, 1914: Of assassinations, murder, war taxes, and the World League for the Peace of Righteousness

Gen. Uribe-Uribe, the head of the Liberal Party in Colombia, is assassinated. With an axe.

The German Social Democratic Party newspaper Vorwärts is banned again.

France is expropriating German-owned businesses, including a department store.

The insurance industry newspaper The Spectator says that the murder rate in the US is increasing. 6,500 last year.

Rumor of the Day: The airplane flown by British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey’s brother is shot down and he is taken prisoner by the Germans.  I couldn’t confirm that Grey actually had any brothers still alive (following the unfortunate lion and buffalo incidents).

The “war tax” passes the US Senate, with no Republicans voting in favor, and a minor revolt amongst the cotton Southern Democrats.

Theodore Roosevelt has an article in the Sunday NYT about how silly Woodrow Wilson’s arbitration treaties are, and what would really preserve the peace is a tribunal of the great powers, a World League for the Peace of Righteousness, all pledged to militarily back the decision of a world court.

Major Clarence Wiener offers to leave Harvard University $10 million in his will if they fire psych professor Hugo Münsterberg, a prominent advocate of Germany’s position in the war.  Wiener is remembered at Harvard for a rather brief undergraduate career and for once getting drunk and shooting a stuffed lion he kept in his rooms.  Münsterberg offers his resignation but Harvard refuses to accept it.  Also, they correctly disbelieve that Wiener actually has $10 million (he’s also not really a major) despite his invention of an expandable boot-tree.  Wiener in fact left nothing but debts when he hanged himself in 1932.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Today -100: October 17, 1914: Vot you mean, you Gott dam fool?

Herbert Gladstone, son of William and until recently the governor-general of South Africa, tells the NYT that Salmon Maritz’s rebellion is insignificant.  One reason he gives why the Boers would never ally with Germany is the lesson of the Herero, who the Germans slaughtered in next-door Southwest Africa.  Gladstone doesn’t mention that the British sent soldiers to help the Germans put down the Herero.  Including Maritz.

War comes to Nyassaland (Malawi).  A British steamer, the Guendolen, is sent to capture a German steamer Von Pismann.  Except no one had informed the Germans that there was a war on, so when the Guendolen fired at it, missing the first three times, the skipper yelled, evidently in music-hall German, “Vot you mean, you Gott dam fool? If you fire again, you will hit the ship.”

The Germans are demanding that Antwerp, many of whose occupants have fled, provide the occupying troops every day with 21,000 pounds of potatoes, 1,000 pounds of meat, 2,000 bottles of wine and 85,000 cigars.

Or maybe Carranza hasn’t resigned.

Germany claims two British prisoners have admitted that dumdum bullets were issued to them.  They even have a photograph of two bullets, so it must be true.

The Russian Governor-General of Galicia plans to annex Eastern Galicia to Russia, while West Galicia will be part of a Kingdom of Poland, which will be part of the Russian Empire.  He says there is no need for compulsion in religion, “for the peasants pass over very easily to Orthodoxy.”  Fighting is said to be within 8 miles of Warsaw.

Press hysteria has forced London hotels to fire Germans and Austrians (there were a lot of German waiters).

Santa Rosa, California considers helping Belgian refugees immigrate and settle in Santa Rosa.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today -100: October 16, 1914: Of contagious diseases, submarines on choo-choos, arson in arsenals, buxtons, and spies

The Watch Committee of the navy town of Plymouth, England recommends reestablishing the old Contagious Diseases Acts requiring compulsory examination of prostitutes (and anyone the police suspected of being prostitutes) for venereal diseases, to preserve the health of sailors.  Women’s suffrage groups oppose this (as feminists and evangelicals and evangelical feminists did in the 19th century).

Louis Botha, South African prime minister, will personally lead commandos against Salmon Maritz’s rebellion.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The rumor in London is that the Germans plan to move submarines by rail to the French and Belgian coasts.

More fog, probably: a fire in the Austrian arsenal is said to have destroyed a just-completed dreadnought and six torpedo-boat destroyers; the fire is believed to have been set deliberately.

German troops occupy Bruges.

A British newspaper claims that German estimates of losses (killed, wounded, missing and POW) in France and Belgium at 700,000 men, and maybe 150,000 on the Russian front; Austrian losses are 500,000.

Noel and Charles Buxton, brothers from a political family, Noel a Liberal MP, are both shot by a Turk in Bucharest, on their way back from a mission to preserve Bulgaria’s neutrality in the war and planning to attend King Carol of Romania’s funeral.  Noel is shot in the leg, Charles in the lung.  Charles will be a major player in the sort-of-anti-war Union of Democratic Control.

Russia says that many of the German civilians in Poland have turned out to be spies and have been dealt with accordingly.

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