Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today -100: April 22, 1914: It would be too bad, too bad, to shoot up this town

The US Senate passes the resolution endorsing the intervention in Mexico, 72-13. The 13 are all Republican, including former secretary of state Elihu Root, Fighting Bob La Follette, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Reed Smoot. There’s a rhyming slogan in there somewhere.... coot, boot, loot, toot... oh well, the war’s already started, so I guess it’s moot.

But it’s not an actual declaration of war. An amendment stating that a state of war exists with Mexico is tabled; another instructing Woodrow Wilson to accept Huerta’s apology is rejected by voice vote; a measure by Lodge giving as the reason for the intervention the ill-treatment of American citizens (implicitly, by both the government and the rebels) is defeated, as is one saying that the purpose of the intervention is to protect American citizens in Mexico. La Follette’s amendment disclaiming any intention of annexing bits of Mexico is defeated 39-44.

Not that any of that mattered, because US forces had already landed in Vera Cruz and seized the Custom House before the Senate voted. Wilson acted quickly because the Ypiranga, the German ship with all the arms and ammunition, was about to dock. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels says the landing is totally not an act of war, but refuses to answer when asked whether Mexicans firing at the landing party was an act of war. The US consul phoned Gen. Maas and asked him to surrender Vera Cruz. He says no. After the capture of the Custom House, serious fighting broke out. Capt. Rush says he regrets the Mexicans’ silly resistance and hopes not to have to bombard Vera Cruz: “It would be too bad, too bad, to shoot up this town. I hope it will not have to be done.”

Asked for comment by the NYT, Constitutionalist leader Venustiano Carranza declines.

The US military has only 15 functional airships (half of those obsolete) and 12 aviators. Wright will speed up production to one per week (Orville’s recent patent lawsuit win means other companies can’t supply the planes). This is compared to the British military’s 300 planes, Germany’s 800, Russia’s 800 and France’s 1,200. Even Brazil, China and Morocco have more military airplanes than the US.

War Headlines of the Day -100: 1) “War Spirit Sweeps Border.”
2) “Arizona Force Knows Spanish.”
3) “87, But Wants to Fight.” That’s Horatio Gates Gibson, a general during the Civil War. His letter to Pres. Wilson mentions his extensive antebellum experience Indian-fighting.
4) “Huerta Takes to Billiards.” On a $1,000 mahogany table he just bought.

Speaking of warfare, the NYT says this of the Ludlow Massacre: “The Ludlow camp is a mass of charred d├ębris, and buried beneath it is a story of horror unparalleled in the history of industrial warfare. In the holes which had been dug for their protection against the rifles’ fire the women and children died like trapped rats when the flames swept over them.” It is assumed that bullets set off the strikers’ ammo dump, setting fire to the camp, although Major Hamrock (!) claims the fire started “spontaneously.” Tomorrow, the state militia plans to bring out its machine guns. The United Mine Workers telegrams Pres. Wilson and Colorado’s congresscritters about the events in Ludlow: “Striking miners and families shot and burned to death at Ludlow, Col. Mine guards, with machine guns, riddled tents of striking miners and set fire to tent colony. Four men, three women, and seven children murdered. [The total will be 19] State not only fails to protest, but uses uniforms and ammunition of the commonwealth to destroy the lives of the workers and their families. We shall be compelled to call on volunteers in the name of humanity to defend these helpless persons unless something is done.” The commander of the state national guard, Gen. John Chase, the guy who keeps arresting Mother Jones, refuses to order the Guard back into the strike area, saying the Guard’s budget has run out (the state auditor, who is pro-union, is stalling payments). Train crew have refused to take trains of soldiers and ammo to Ludlow; they’ve been fired.

A half-black, half-Indian woman who was refused the seat she had paid for in a Rochester, NY theater sues and is awarded $200.

Former Pres. Taft addresses a meeting sponsored by the New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, but fails to mention women’s suffrage.

Here’s an ad from the NYT, in which some sort of breathmint trumpets this endorsement of sorts from George Bernard Shaw: “When a man... puts a Formamint lozenge in his mouth to kill a few thousand bacilli he is trying to wipe out the consequences of old mistakes of creation.” I can’t find online the GBS article in The Christian Commonwealth they’re quoting here.

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