Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Today -100: December 15, 1915: Of anconas, saboteurs, land grabs, and Koolbergen and Bopp

Austria thinks the US note about the sinking of the Ancona is unfair because Austria wasn’t officially aware of the American position about sinking civilian ships without warning (that position: against it). I mean, yeah, the US explained that position to Germany after the Lusitania, but it’s not like Germany ever tells us anything, all we know is what we read in the newspapers and you know how unreliable they are.

The federal investigation of German plotting in the US discovers that military attachĂ© Franz von Papen discussed how much it would cost to destroy an explosives plant in Pinole, California (these being Germans, there are detailed itemized expense reports, and Papen once objected to one item, reducing the check paid to the saboteur-in-chief by 50¢).

The US protests to France about its cruiser Descartes, which has been stopping US passenger ships heading to Puerto Rico and seizing German and Austrian passengers and crew members. France will (eventually) release the captives and apologize.

The important takeaway from that story, of course, is that France had a military cruiser named the Descartes.

Woodrow Wilson receives deputations from both sides of the women’s suffrage issue, regarding a possible federal constitutional amendment. He commits himself to neither side.

Bulgaria’s government claims that the country is now 31,000 square miles larger.

The Providence Journal, reliable purveyor of questionable news, reports that a German agent who was part of the ring attempting to blow up munitions plants in the US, Johannes Hendrikus von Koolbergen, has implicated the German consul general in San Francisco, Franz Bopp. I’m assuming after the war “Koolbergen and Bopp” formed a soft jazz band that performed just once at the hungry i, to poor reviews and an unprintable heckle from Lenny Bruce.

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