Sunday, August 19, 2018

Today -100: August 19, 1918: Of premature obituaries, influenza, race riots, newspaper boycotts, and barrymores


The NYT reports on the assassination (no details beyond that one word are provided) in Petrograd of Jewish lawyer and advocate of the rights of Russian Jews Henri Sliosberg. In 1902 he was asked by Foreign Minister Count Witte if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was real. He said no. Anyway, he’s not really dead so here’s another NYT obituary of him, from 1937.

NY Port health officers will start checking incoming ships for cases of Spanish flu, but won’t quarantine ships with just “a few cases.”

2 black soldiers are killed during a “race riot” at Camp Merritt in New Jersey. The cause is unknown at this time. Will the NYT investigate? What do you think?

Kaiser Wilhelm says the Allied bombing of Frankfort violates international law.

80 Brooklyn newsdealers decide to stop selling Hearst newspapers and magazines, although this is supposedly not for political reasons (as it definitely is in Mt Vernon and other cities) but because Hearst agents have been pressuring them to take more papers than they want and if they don’t, stand near the offending newsstand selling papers. Alternately, the dealers might be trying to use Hearst’s present unpopularity to force a reduction in the wholesale price they pay.

Now Playing: Our Mrs. McChesney, starring Ethel Barrymore. The NYT is not impressed: “what one sees of her at the Strand is simply what is left after she is deprived of all of her voice, most of her personality, and much of her art.” And now even that is gone; it’s a lost film. Sigh.


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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Today -100: August 18, 1918: Boy, that Entente, quite an imagination, huh?


A Chicago jury convicts 100 members of the IWW for hindering the war effort and violating the Espionage Act. Every single defendant. Which suggests they didn’t put a lot of thought into working out who did what. That and the fact that they deliberated for an hour after a complex 4+-month trial.

Austria denounces the British recognition of Czechoslovakia, saying that the Czech National Council “is a committee of private persons who have no mandate from the Czechoslovak people and still less from the Czechoslovak ‘nation,’ which exists only in the imagination of the Entente.”

Poet Joyce Kilmer is killed in the Second Battle of Marne, at 31. The trees are in mourning.

A ship arrives in New York, this time from the Netherlands, after a voyage in which 200 passengers got sick with the Spanish flu and 5 died, all of the latter East Indians, which I take to mean Indonesians. The dead were buried at sea.

The Germans have adopted parachutes for their planes.


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Friday, August 17, 2018

Today -100: August 17, 1918: Blanked in Boston


No aliens will be allowed to leave the US without permission from September 15.

Headline of the Day -100: 



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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Today -100: August 16, 1918: Of quarantines, diaries, and dicks


US troops arrive at Vladivostok.

Dr. Leland Cofer, health officer for the Port of New York, says there is no need to establish a quarantine for the Spanish flu or other “minor communicable diseases,” and anyway that would just clog up the workings of the port and there’s a war on, you know.

Another passenger from the Norwegian ship dies.

The Soviets have started publishing excerpts from dead former Czar Nicholas’s diaries. He ascribed the February Revolution to “treason and cowardice.”

Headline of the Day -100:



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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Today -100: August 15, 1918: No need for our people to worry over the matter


Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo calls for an 80% tax on war profits to raise the revenues needed to fight the war in 1919.

Port health officers now admit that that Norwegian ship’s passengers did have influenza, but President of the NYC Board of Health Royal S. Copeland, doing his best Mayor-Vaughan-refusing-to-close-Amity-beaches imitation, says there’s not the slightest chance of a Spanish flu epidemic in New York. Only malnourished people like German soldiers get it, so “No need for our people to worry over the matter.” So that’s okay then.

Copeland, by the way, is a homeopathist.

The War and Navy Offices’ commissions on training camps issues a warning asking girls not to talk with men in uniform unless they’ve been formally introduced.

Germany supposedly demands that Finland send troops into Murmansk within 2 weeks, or else.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Today -100: August 14, 1918: Of triumvirates, flu, and Czechoslovakias


The Second Soviet Congress names Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev a triumvirate with sole executive power during the present emergency.

Headline of the Day -100: 


A Norwegian ship arrives after a voyage in which pretty much everyone got sick, 4 died, 1 died after docking, and 9 are still quite sick. Doctors claim it isn’t Spanish flu, it’s pneumonia, and didn’t quarantine the sick. Did they not know that severe influenza leads to pneumonia? I guess not.

The article explains that “flue” is the British abbreviation of influenza. 

Britain formally recognizes Czechoslovakia as a nation and more importantly as a nation with an army. France and Italy have already recognized it, the US has not.


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Monday, August 13, 2018

Today -100: August 13, 1918: Of mustard gas, assassinations, raincoats and pamphlets


The US Navy claims that a German u-boat launched a mustard gas attack on a North Carolina lighthouse. The crew of the lighthouse all survived but some chickens died. This all seems unlikely (u-boats are operating in that area, though).

The Germans in Ukraine publicly hang Boris Donskoy of the Left Social Revolutionaries for assassinating Field Marshal Hermann von Eichhorn with a bomb in Kiev.

Berlin papers claim that the Bolshevik government is preparing to flee Moscow for Kronstadt and that Lenin & Trotsky have already done so.

US Ambassador to Russia David Francis (well, the NYT calls him ambassador but the US doesn’t recognize the Bolshevik government so he’s not actually an ambassador any more) and the other Allied ambassadors refuse the Bolsheviks’ demand that they move to Moscow. Francis is going instead to Archangel.

Prussia bans the entry into Germany of Jewish workers from the East.

Corporations and people involved in making shoddy raincoats for US troops are indicted under the Sabotage Act.

Viennese authorities order the populace to turn in all the pamphlets dropped by d'Annunzio et al, or else.


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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Today -100: August 12, 1918: Of refuges, tsarinas, and intolerable distractions


Headline of the Day -100: 


The pope is urging Russia to free the (dead) former Tsarina Alexandra and her (dead) daughters.

The Women Voters' Anti-Suffrage Party of NY writes Pres. Wilson to complain about his switch from opposition to support of a federal women’s suffrage Amendment, which they call an “intolerable distraction.” They point out that the last 10 times states have held referenda on the subject, women’s suffrage won over (all-male) electorates only once, in “the Socialist-pacifist triumph in New York State.” They deny that a federal amendment is “a measure of democracy” or a war measure. Indeed, the fighting strength of countries like Russia is undermined by socialism and women’s suffrage is part of that, somehow.


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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Today -100: August 11, 1918: Of pushes, inventions, and illusions


The Allies continue to push the Germans back quite successfully. The Germans blame fog.

The British Munitions Ministry has been receiving helpful advice from the public, such as: freeze the clouds and mount artillery on them, train cormorants to pick apart the mortar on the Krupp’s weapons factories, use giant magnets mounted on balloons to grab German rifles, mount scythes on planes as protection, set Zeppelins on fire with heat rays, capture German soldiers with cement... And, of course, snake catapults.

The Sunday NYT Book Review section reviews Sigmund Freud’s Reflections on War and Death, a translation of a 1915 book in which he explains how the war stripped people of their illusions that humans never die, or something.


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