Thursday, October 18, 2018

Today -100: October 18, 1918: Of lesser wars, surly tones, Polish treason, and flu-doctoring

The war is over! The war is over! Oh, wait....

It’s weird that they’re casually throwing around war metaphors during an actual, you know, world war, right?

Berlin newspapers are more concerned about the “surly” tone of Wilson’s note than about its contents.

The Polish Regency Council tells the German governor-general of occupied Russian Poland, Hans Beseler, that they will take over all administrative functions, or else. Beseler agrees and it’s all published in the German press. It sounds like up to now German papers have been muttering about Polish “treason” without being allowed to say to what they’re referring. They’re also upbraiding the Poles for their ingratitude for being “freed” from Russia.

It is announced that the Austro-Hungarian Empire will be reorganized on a federal basis. Hungary, not impressed, declares independence. German papers are playing with the idea that after the A-H Empire breaks apart completely, the ethnic-German parts of Austria might join Germany.

NYC draft boards halt their conscripting activities to free up their doctors to fight the Spanish Flu.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Today -100: October 17, 1918: Hope for peace must be lowered a few pegs

German newspapers are rather disappointed with Woodrow Wilson. The Cologne Gazette says, “After President Wilson’s note, hope for peace must be lowered a few pegs.” The Cologne Volkszeitung says “The Germans must lower their hopes of a near peace of justice without humiliation.” The Pan-German Deutsche Zeitung is suppressed, evidently for declaring the note disgraceful and telling soldiers “You are unconquered by the enemy, but beaten by the crumbling home front.”

British troops occupy Tripoli and Homs.

Germany changes its constitution, stripping the kaiser of his power to declare war and make treaties, which will now require the consent of the Federal Council and the Reichstag.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Allies have brought their fiercest weapons into play: geometric shapes.

Rumor of the Day: Lenin is shot, again.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda, Fake News and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Germany tells Turkey that its Black Sea Fleet will fire on Constantinople if Turkey shows any signs of leaving the war.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Today -100: October 16, 1918: Oh no, he’s ghosted Austria!

Headline of the Day -100: 

Evidently Wilson’s non-response is part of a cunning plan to split Austria from Germany.

Denmark, which is not a combatant, would still like to get back Schleswig, lost to Prussia in the war of 1866, and is annoyed that it wasn’t even mentioned in Woodrow Wilson’s peace program.

The Bolshevik government orders 63 new statues for Moscow, including ones of Tolstoy, Bakunin, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Marx, Engels, Bebel, Jaurès, Gracchus, Robespierre, Marat & Danton, Beethoven and Chopin.

The Bolsheviks tell Pope Benedict that they have no idea where the former Tsarina and her children are. The latest rumor is that they all died when a Red mob set their house on fire.

The most recent reported 24-hour period saw 4,925 new cases of Spanish Flu in New York City and 479 of pneumonia. Health Commissioner Royal Copeland is asking people with more than one servant to send one to the Health Dept to help out. He says their health will be protected, but then he said that about the city of fucking New York and look how that’s turning out. Gov. Charles Whitman and challenger Al Smith may cancel all their campaign speeches outside of NYC, most towns having closed their theatres and banned public meetings.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Today -100: October 15, 1918: Never mind the peace rumors

Woodrow Wilson sends another note to Germany. Evidently this note is not a “reply” but a “decision.” He says the terms of armistice will be up to the various Allied generals (Foch, Pétain, Pershing, Haig etc., which leaves a lot of vetoes in the hands of people with no interest in an armistice), that an armistice must maintain the present Allied military supremacy, and Germany must first stop the “illegal and inhumane practices which they persist in,” like torpedoing passenger ships and destroying the French and Belgian towns they’re evacuating. Also, autocracy must end and Kaiser Wilhelm must abdicate. Well, he doesn’t explicitly state the last part, but it’s clear enough.

The Wolff News Agency of Berlin denies that Kaiser Bill intends to abdicate.

The new Turkish cabinet, under Ahmed Izzet Pasha (the NYT is a few weeks premature about it being Tevfik Pasha), informs Austria that it will be seeking a separate peace.

Because of the Spanish Flu epidemic, no new prisoners will be sent to Sing Sing.

This is from a full-page ad for Liberty Bonds:

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Today -100: October 14, 1918: We bow our still undefeated heads for righteousness' sake

German newspapers are claiming that Germany is not offering peace terms because it is actually losing the war, no no. Rather, its offer is “founded on a decision for a righteous peace... We bow our still undefeated heads for righteousness' sake.” (Berliner Zeitung am Mittag) The papers are particularly concerned that an armistice not permit Allied troops to enter Germany.

Theodore Roosevelt issues a statement from on high, regretting that Wilson has begun negotiations and hoping that they will be stopped at once and Germany told to surrender unconditionally without any talks because we “refuse to compound a felony by discussing terms with felons.” Also he wants the US to declare war on Turkey. Also the Senate should repudiate the 14 Points, which are “couched in such vague language that many of them may mean anything or nothing and have merely a rhetorical value, while others [like freedom of the sea and disarmament] are absolutely mischievous.”

Every US senator interviewed by the NYT thinks Germany is not “sincere” in its acceptance of the 14 Points. They support a “dictated” rather than a negotiated peace.

Finland asks Germany to remove its soldiers from Finnish soil, please and thank you.

The Grazer Tagespost (Austria) reports the death of a man who was sentenced to hang early in the war for “highly treasonable utterances” after his son was executed. His sentence was commuted to 15 years, but then he went insane, and has now died in an asylum at... wait for it... 106 years old. BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

Helen Keller appeals to people to buy bonds: “The air is tremulous with the soundless feet of the new day.”

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Today -100: October 13, 1918: Of imperial governments and mustard gas

The US hasn’t officially received the German reply to Wilson’s note yet, but based on what’s been heard about it via German wireless, politicians are saying that it only SEEMS to be complete acceptance of his terms.

It’s pointed out that the note refers to “the German Government” seven times, instead of the usual “Imperial German Government.” British newspapers are speculating about what this means.

Theodore Roosevelt, speaking at a Liberty Loan rally, says there should be no discussion of peace terms with the enemy, and that allowing Germany, Austria and Turkey into the League of Nations would be like letting all the burglars and gunmen into the NYPD.

Corp. Adolf Hitler is mustard-gassed, temporarily blinding him.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Today -100: October 12, 1918: Brutes they were... brutes they remain

A u-boat torpedoes the US cargo ship Ticonderoga, killing 213, capturing 2. The ship had fallen behind its convoy. After a lengthy battle the ship was sinking and, as its crew tried to escape to lifeboats, a white flag (ok, blanket) was raised, but the dirty Germans continued to fire.

British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour says Germany changing its constitution is not enough, there has to be “a change of hearts whereby that Government is to be directed and animated.” He doesn’t explain how this change is heart is to be verified. And war certainly hasn’t improved the Germans: “Brutes they were when they began the war. As far as I can judge, brutes they remain at the present moment.”

NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland says there are 4,293 new cases of Spanish Flu and 394 new cases of pneumonia and there STILL is no cause for undue alarm. The Red Cross plans to go house to house looking for women willing to act as nurses, for money.

Austro-Hungarian Emperor Charles issues a manifesto for the unification of Croatia, Slavonica, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Dalmatia into one state. Too little, too late.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Today -100: October 11, 1918: Of kaisers and nurses

Rumor of the Day -100: Kaiser Wilhelm has abdicated!

NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland suggests drafting nurses. Actually, on re-reading, it says “eligible women be drafted to serve as nurses,” which is not the same thing.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Today -100: October 10, 1918: Of notes, peace traps, provisional governments, and Spanish Flu at the movies

Headline of the Day -100: 

His birthday’s in a couple of weeks (happy 60th! and last! spoiler alert!) and he just hates having to write thank you notes. Hates it I tell you.

Actually, TR is annoyed with Woodrow Wilson for writing that note to German Chancellor Prince Max and more annoyed that there might be further exchanges, rather than just fighting until Germany is totally beaten.

Fortunately for him, 

Ousted Russian prime minister Kerensky is in London trying to get Britain to recognize the new “Russia Provisional Government.”

The National Association of Motion Picture Industries decides to discontinue all new releases of movies until after the Spanish Flu epidemic abates. Which makes sense since theaters are closed in many parts of the country. That’s still not the case in New York City, but cops will be stationed in cinemas to make sure the windows are kept open.

Mexico closes its border with the US (or at least with Texas) to prevent the Spanish Flu entering the country. Too little, too late.

I was going to make a joke about onions replacing popcorn in movie theaters, then asked myself when popcorn was actually first eaten at the movies. Evidently the 1930s.

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