Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Today -100: December 4, 1913: Of sabre dictatorships, cunning plans, Christmas in Mexico City, sea fights, and mustaches
The German Reichstag is debating the poor relations between the army and the people in annexed Alsace, which some are now calling “sabre dictatorship.” Chancellor Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg gave the Reichstag “a lengthy dissertation on philology with a view to proving that the word ‘wackes’ used by Lieut. Baron von Forstner was not nearly so insulting as people thought.” The war minister blamed the press and the “systematically organized provocation” against the army, and reminded the deputies that without the army “there would not be a stone in its place in Germany to-day”.
The US House passes a bill allowing the president to organize volunteer military forces whenever a war is imminent (such as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War), but with enlistment being for the duration of the war rather than for short terms.
Nicaragua’s former president José Zelaya is released from the Tombs. His lawyers are still saying that it’s conditional on him leaving the country for Spain on the next ship, but Zelaya says there are no conditions, and the assistant US attorney backs him. Don’t know what’s going on here.
Mexican Pres. Huerta says the rebels weren’t actually successful when they captured Juarez, Victoria, and Culiacan. Rather, the government evacuated all those cities (and more) as part of a clever plan of campaign.
Gen. Mercado has just fled Chihuahua, presumably another part of this awesome plan, after sending a peace commission to Pancho Villa as a ruse to give himself time to escape. Since the Federal troops hadn’t been paid in weeks, the locals in Chihuahua were very happy to see them go.
Villa says he’ll be in Mexico City by Christmas.
Headline of the Day -100: “May Be Sea Fight for Mrs. Pankhurst.” Emmeline Pankhurst is on her way back to England, and there will be a race between her supporters trying to spirit her away from her ship before it docks and police trying to arrest her (she’s out of Holloway Prison on a Cat and Mouse Act license).
Hirsute Headline of the Day -100: “Kaiser Decrees Mustaches.” He is dismayed that army officers have taken to shaving off their mustaches, thereby “Americanizing” their faces.