Friday, July 11, 2014

Today -100: July 11, 1914: Of aerial espionage, the law of flight, heckled bankers, and eyres


The US begins its first ever prosecution for aerial espionage, of the men responsible for an article in The Sunset Magazine entitled “Can the Panama Canal Be Destroyed from the Air?” featuring pictures of Canal fortifications. The article notes that from the position where their plane took the photos, an enemy plane could drop bombs which would take out the massive gun that protects the Canal. The authors say they had permission to take the photos.

The German government is politely asking banks to keep 10% of their deposits on hand in cash, in case of war. Not that they’re expecting a war. Just, you know, in case.

Huerta fills some of the vacancies in his government, most notably, because he will now become president if Huerta resigns, Chief Justice Francisco Carbajal, a sympathizer with the rebels, is named foreign minister. Rumors say this appointment was approved by Carranza and the United States.

Carranza rejects the invitation of the ABC mediators to send delegates to negotiate a provisional president with Huerta’s delegates.

US Secretary of War Garrison orders a war correspondent, Fred Boalt, deported from Mexico for sending out sensational and untrue dispatches. Boalt accused a US ensign (not named but with enough details to be identifiable) of shooting prisoners “while escaping,” following the familiar Mexican custom of “the law of flight.” The Navy says it didn’t happen.

British Foreign Minister Sir Edward Grey rumbles at China for refusing to agree on a border between Tibet and British India.

Grey also says that Britain’s ever-increasing military spending is not his fault. He did his darnedest to get foreign countries (he means Germany) to agree to limitations, but they just resented the suggestion.

Boy, this story seems like there almost has to be more to it given, you know, subsequent events: “The Russian minister to Servia, N. Hartwig, died suddenly today while conversing with the Austrian Minister at the Austrian Legation.” (Indeed theories of poisoning will spread, and his daughter inspected the scene and took away the cigarettes he’d been smoking for analysis, but the dude was known to have a heart condition; he just happened to drop dead literally in the middle of explaining to the Austrian ambassador how Serbia wasn’t behind the assassinations in Sarajevo.)

The Boston Post, in an editorial entitled “The Heckled Bankers,” says that the Senate Banking Committee daring to call in Wilson’s nominees to the Federal Reserve Board and even “cross-questioning him as if he were suspected of a crime”, is “taking the very course that will result in making men of the highest grade unwilling to accept appointments to the board.” Remember that Wilson’s entire cabinet was approved in a day without any questioning.

Berlin police release those Serbian students, who evidently weren’t conspiring to assassinate the kaiser after all.

The self-proclaimed Ulster Provisional Government holds its first meeting. “Nothing sensational developed,” says the NYT, which is not easily impressed by treason.

NYT Index Typo of the Day: “DANISH REFORM WINS.; Erections to Upper House Assure Amendment of Constitution.” Is that what they’re calling it now.

Germany is expelling Danes from Schleswig-Holstein. Mostly domestic servants and farm workers employed by ethnic Danes. They’re being told they can either go to work for German families or leave the country within 8 days.

Headline of the Day -100 or chapter title from a 19th-century English novel?: “Severn Eyre Dies at Eyre Hall.”


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