Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Today -100: October 8, 1914: Of shootouts, yaps, peripatetic governments, and submarines

Barney Bertsche, politician and gangster, convicted last year of fraud in connection with a “clairvoyant trust” – picture the criminal underground portrayed in Fritz Lang’s “M” but with fake clairvoyants and wiretapping and blackmail instead of fake crippled beggars – engages in a gun-battle in Chicago with some cops trying to take him in.  Bertsche, two cops, an arsonist and another friend of Bertsche are all shot.  The cops may have been trying to kill Bertsche to shut him up about the cops on his payroll.  For more, see here (pdf).

Japan captures an island with the obviously made-up name Yap, in the Caroline Islands, which Germany bought from Spain in 1899 for about $5 million.  The astonishing thing is that the LA Times didn’t use the headline “Japs Take Yap.”

The Belgian government, which moved from Brussels to Antwerp at the start of the war, now has to flee to Ostend.  The next step may be to London.

A few days ago an Italian retired naval lieutenant commandeered one of his country’s submarines, saying he’d explain later why he needed it. He landed it at Corsica.  A letter he left behind has been found saying that it was a protest, or something, against Italian neutrality.  The French will give the sub back.

Ivor Novello publishes the first great World War I song, “Keep the Home Fires Burning.” Here’s a 1915 recording by James F. Harrison and below that the Oh What a Lovely War version.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

No comments: