Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today -100: May 25, 1917: I do not think I should have enjoyed my luncheon if I had known I was eating off a German plate

It is now illegal in the US to sell booze to members of the Army in uniform. Sailors and marines seem not to come under this law.

The Washington Herald complains that after it wrote about the fatally defective shells supplied by the Navy to the Mongolia, the new chief propagandist George Creel called them up, “questioning the spirit and correctness” of the editorial. The Herald warns of censorship. Creel denies attempting to control them. He was totally attempting to control them.

Sinn Fein officially rejects Lloyd George’s proposed Irish convention unless it is elected by universal suffrage (unclear if this includes women), has the power to declare independence, and can’t have its decisions vetoed by the British government.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Baseball’s National Commission bans the bean ball.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Today -100: May 24, 1917: Of passports, tiszas, and potatoes

The US refuses passports to socialists who had intended to travel to the Stockholm peace congress, and threatens to prosecute any Americans who manage to attend it anyway.

Hungarian Prime Minister Count István Tisza and his cabinet resign. Tisza has been increasingly at odds with the Empire’s central government since the accession of Emperor Karl, and he especially opposes moves to expand Hungary’s very limited franchise (although he was willing to grant it to soldiers... if they had medals of courage).

Headline of the Day -100: 

Pretty sure these are euphemisms for sex acts which commoners are forbidden from engaging in upon pain of death (see also “eating a swan”).

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Today -100: May 23, 1917: Of censorship, deserters, dissolving empires, black empire menaces, and lynchings

The Republican caucus votes to oppose press censorship being reintroduced in the Espionage Bill’s reconciliation process. Pres. Wilson, however, demands censorship.

Russian War Minister Kerensky orders an operation that captures 30 army deserters. Since the Revolution, soldiers have been deserting with impunity.

Finland would like to be independent of Russia now, please and thank you.

And Hungary, whose equivocal commitment to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was based in part on a fear of Russian territorial acquisitiveness which is now assuaged by the Russian Revolution, is also thinking seriously about independence.

Headline of the Day -100: 

South African Gen. Jan Smuts says Germany wants a large empire (citing a captured map) in central and southern Africa so that it can use Africa’s “huge population” to create “the most powerful army the world had ever known,” a black army that would threaten South Africa and of course “the whole of the civilized world.” He hopes that the future League of Nations will ban the military training of African colonial populations (perhaps unaware of the role of Senegalese Tirailleurs, among others, in the French Army).

Wisconsin Governor Emanuel Philipp vetoes a bill for a referendum on prohibition.

Headline of the Day -100:

She did, however, decline an offer to apply the match herself. Southern ladies do not do such things themselves, they have baying mobs for that.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Today -100: May 22, 1917: Lenin always did love a good balcony

The US steamship Mongolia, which last month sunk a u-boat, limps back into port after a shell explodes (or something like that) during target practice, killing a couple of nurses who were on their way to the war. Evidently there have been two other such incidents on the commercial vessels which Pres. Wilson ordered armed, suggesting the Navy is supplying them with defective ammunition. The St. Louis found, when practicing targeting by shooting at glaciers, that 14 of 48 shells fired were duds.

Atlanta, or at any rate 73 blocks of it, burns down. The fire started in “an obscure negro section” of the city. Dynamite is used (ineffectively) in a 10-hour struggle to put the fire out.

A Russian court orders Lenin and his followers to vacate the expropriated palace of ballet dancer (and former mistress of Tsar Nicholas II) Mathilde Kschessinskaya, who skedaddled for Paris. Presumably the government wants him out because he’s been using the balcony to make incendiary speeches.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The NYT scoffs at a new California law requiring windows in hotel rooms.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Today -100: May 21, 1917: Of Belgians, compulsory labor, and anti-coup coups

Germany is deporting Belgian officials who oppose the splitting of Belgium into Flemish & Walloon units.

Theodore Roosevelt gives up on leading troops into battle, but takes credit for the US sending troops to France earlier than Wilson had planned.

West Virginia enacts a law requiring able-bodied men aged 16 to 60 to work at least 36 hours a week or be forced to work for city or county governments.

Costa Rica has uncovered a plot to reverse the coup that put Federico Tinoco into power in January. Tinoco is portraying the plot as instigated and funded by Germans in the United States.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Today -100: May 20, 1917: Eat Plenty, Wisely, and Without Waste

The new Russian Cabinet declares against a separate peace and for a peace without annexations or indemnities, based on national self-determination. Aleksandr Kerensky, promoted from Justice Minister to War Minister, says he will enforce discipline in the army. Good luck with that, Alex.

Pres. Wilson asks Congress for extensive powers over food production and appoints Herbert Hoover as his Food Administrator, rejecting the titles “food dictator” or “food controller.” Hoover has a motto and everything: “Eat Plenty, Wisely, and Without Waste. Also, Pineapple on Pizza is Just Wrong.”

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Today -100: May 19, 1917: The business now at hand is undramatic, practical, and of scientific directness and precision

Pres. Wilson sets June 5th as Registration Day, when 10 million men aged 21 to 30 are required to register for the draft. They will be chosen and sent (in a few months) to train in 32, um, concentration camps. Man, Hitler just ruined that phrase for everyone, didn’t he?

Fun fact: the term concentration camp was coined by the British during the Boer War for the places they stuck Boer women and children, some of whom starved to death.

But Roosevelt won’t be going, the White House says. Wilson dismisses the argument that TR would rally morale, saying “The business now at hand is undramatic, practical, and of scientific directness [or definiteness; the story uses both in different places] and precision.” Dude should totally write motivational posters.

Sinn Fein says it will boycott the proposed Irish convention and ignore any constitution it comes up with.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today -100: May 18, 1917: When was this ever denied to any man?

The Army Draft bill passes the Senate 65 to 8. The amendment allowing Roosevelt’s volunteer divisions is put back in after a debate in which William Stone (D-Missouri) attacks TR’s temperament and military competence, noting that he led the Rough Riders into a hole from which they had to be rescued... by a negro regiment. TR is defended by his former running mate Hiram Johnson, who says “This privilege is asked by a man who is in the twilight of life [He’s 58!], so that he may lay down his life for his country. ... When was this ever denied to any man?” Ominously, the Senate rejects a clause that would have ended conscription when the war is over. The good news: Registration Day will be a holiday! With parades and speeches and mandatory signing up for possible death and everything!

Headline of the Day -100: 

Army commanders complain that the soldiers have heard the phrase “peace without annexations” and are interpreting it as a reason not to engage in offensive warfare. Which seems like as good an excuse as any, actually.

There’s some agitation in Russia for the publication of secret treaties.

The Irish Nationalist Party rejects Lloyd George’s nice offer of Home Rule plus partition. They do accept the “well if you don’t like my idea just hold a convention of Irish people” part, but of course the Ulsterites reject that. As will Sinn Fein.

Headline of the Day -100: 

I’m not a beer drinker, but I understand they have a lot to answer for here. Kennedy Jones, the Daily Mail editor who was just appointed director-general of Food Economy, explains (to people who wonder why they should ration their bread intake while others are drinking beer) that barley will no longer be malted. He says science proves that beer is nutritious and “beer has been, for centuries, a part of the daily diet of our working classes” and men who work at heavy manual labor “must drink considerable malty liquid. ... It is a scientific fact.” Can’t argue with science.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Today -100: May 17, 1917: He is the very model...

New York Gov. Charles Whitman offers Theodore Roosevelt the rank of major general in the state militia.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George proposes Home Rule for Ireland that excludes Northern Ireland for at least 5 years. Or alternately, the Irish might hold a convention and work it out for themselves. Basically, he wants this issue out of the way because of its effect on the US.

US destroyers join the British fleet on anti-u-boat patrol.

The Senate holds a closed-door session on war appropriations, during which the Wilson administration is assailed for failing to explain much of anything about how it plans to spend all that money. Every single detail of the closed-door session leaks to the press, as is the custom.

Wilson gives up on getting Congress to pass a censorship law. For now.

Germany seems to be considering a compromise on the future of Alsace-Lorraine, but not the one you’d think. They might split it between Prussia and Bavaria. Evidently this is a bribe to get the Catholic Zentrum party, which is strong in heavily Catholic Bavaria, to continue supporting Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg.

In solidarity with the food economy being practiced by his subjects, the food served by King George V has been reduced to “the utmost simplicity” and guests must cut their own bread. And no toast.


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