Saturday, October 31, 2015

Today -100: October 31, 1915: Trying to crow like the rooster

At an anti-suffrage rally in Carnegie Hall, Col. John P. Irish of California says that only 20% of the women there take advantage of the franchise while the rest “detest it.” Further, since those 20% started voting, “juvenile delinquency has been increased 300%, simply because the human chicks are left to the hawk while the hen is up on the fence trying to crow like the rooster.”

McSweeney’s presents: 1915’s Sluttiest Halloween Costumes. Sadly, no saucy pictures.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Today -100: October 30, 1915: Of cabinets, all the king’s horses, and aphasia

Aristide Briand announces his cabinet, which will be big enough to include every party and faction of the French Republic and several former prime ministers (in a couple of months he’ll cut it down to a size that can actually get things done).

War is hell:

Japan tells China not to restore the monarchy.

Judges overseeing naturalization cases in Chicago have taken to asking applicants whether they would bear arms for the US against their native country and whether they consider themselves Americans or European-Americans.

One form taken by shell shock is loss of speech. The Lancet reports some success in curing this with ether. Actually, that’s two cases, they’re really writing about just two cases? A third soldier achieved similar results by getting drunk.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Today -100: October 29, 1915: Selfishness so acknowledged, without any moral sputtering or make believe

Kaiser Wilhelm loosens his rules on when he’ll be a godfather. It used to be just 7th sons, for some reason, now it’s all 7th, 8th and 9th sons, even if there’s a lowly girl in between. And if that doesn’t spur the German birth rate, I don’t know what will.

The French government headed by René Viviani resigns. Aristide Briand is cobbling together a new ministry. This all comes as a surprise to the French public. Briand is nominally a socialist, although he has long since broken with the party and moved rightward, as is the custom.

Lloyd George, speaking for the British government, emphatically denies that there are any peace negotiations going on.

He also rejects a backbencher’s suggestion that Kaiser Wilhelm’s personal funds which he still holds in England be seized in recompense for zeppelin raids. Lloyd George says it wouldn’t be “a practical method of deterring the enemy from further violations of international law.”

The NYT is unimpressed with Bulgaria’s reasons for joining the Central Powers: “If there were nothing else to be said for Bulgaria, the fact that she had cited import and export statistics to justify her conduct in this war would deserve to be remembered. It confers upon her a kind of unexpected distinction. Bulgaria is not for Kultur, at least not in business hours. Neither is she hostile to Civilization. Those things do not interest her. ... It is business; it is selfishness so acknowledged, without any moral sputtering or make believe.”

Germany will conduct a census of all its rabbits.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Today -100: October 28, 1915: Baron Mumm keeps, well...

Baron Mumm von Schwarzenstein of the German Foreign Office denies having heard of the Germans arrested in the US for buying explosives to blow up munitions ships. He even denies the existence of a Secret Service.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: There are repeated stories in the press in Allied countries of military revolts and subsequent executions in Bulgaria.

The Allies are using the entry of Bulgaria into the war and the subsequent “Balkan crisis” as an excuse to cut their losses in Gallipoli.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Today -100: October 27, 1915: And Republicans have been trying to set women on fire ever since

Republican party members parading in Philadelphia take a detour to attack a street-corner women’s suffrage meeting with Roman candles.

Tammany Hall isn’t taking a position on the NY women’s suffrage referendum.

California voters reject an initiative to make all state and local offices non-partisan.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Today -100: October 26, 1915: And don’t get him started on semi-colons

Headline of the Day -100: 

Headline of the Day -100:

The US Supreme Court rules that immigration officials, in deciding whether immigrants are likely to become public charges, must consider only the immigrant (health, age and so on) and not, as some were doing, economic conditions in the area of the country the immigrants wanted to go.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Today -100: October 25, 1915: We hope it will not be necessary to have any more executions

The passengers of a ship arriving in NY from Liverpool include 250 Irishmen escaping conscription. There isn’t any conscription in Britain (and it’ll take another couple of years to reach Ireland), but they’re escaping it nonetheless.

German Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Zimmermann says “It was a pity that Miss Cavell had to be executed, but it was necessary. She was judged justly. We hope it will not be necessary to have any more executions.” He says the law makes no distinction between the sexes. Isn’t that jolly feminist of him? “Were special consideration shown to women we should open the door wide to such activities on the part of women, who are often more clever in such matters than the cleverest male spy.”

Two Germans, Robert Fay (a lieutenant in the German Army) and Walter Scholz, are arrested in New Jersey after attempting to buy picric acid. The two are suspected of several acts of explosive-type sabotage of trains, merchant ships carrying munitions to Europe, and ammunition factories. In fact, they never got that far, but they were building explosive devices designed to take out ships’ rudders. More Germans and German-Americans will be arrested tomorrow, some for supplying the active agents with funds. After holding out under Secret Service interrogation for... minutes... Fay and Scholz confess to everything, including having received German Secret Service money. However Lt Fay says that Franz von Papen and Karl Boy-Ed, the attachés at the German embassy in the US, refused to have anything to do with planting mines on ships in US harbors and suggested he do his sabotage in Canada instead (von Papen would claim after the war that they suspected Fay of being an English spy). The two would be sent to jail, but Fay escaped the Atlanta federal pen in August 1916 and, with the help of funds from von Papen, crossed into Mexico and eventually from there to Spain, where authorities sent him back to the US, where he went back to prison. He was released and deported in 1922. Here’s a more detailed account of the plot.

South African Prime Minister Louis Botha wins parliamentary elections, in a decisive victory for his pro-war policy.

John Albrecht Walz, a German lit professor at Harvard, calls a convention of 26 German-American organizations to encourage them to work against Woodrow Wilson’s re-election.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Today -100: October 24, 1915: Why Bulgaria fights

The Bulgarian government distributes a manifesto explaining why Bulgaria chose the side it did. What it comes down to is that the country has more foreign trade with Germany, Austria and Turkey than with the Allies. If young Bulgarian men don’t gladly march off to their deaths to ensure the continuance of dairy exports, I just don’t know what’s wrong with them. Also, it says, Serbs are total dicks and it would be fun to kill some of them (I paraphrase). It makes a rather better negative case for not joining the Allies, saying the Bulgarian army would be working for the territorial aggrandizement of Russia and Serbia without gaining much in return, especially since Serbia is unwilling to give up any land at all (such as the Bulgarian land it annexed after the Second Balkan War). Also, too, it thinks the Central Powers will win.

A women’s suffrage parade is held on Fifth Avenue in New York City ahead of next month’s referendum. The NYT counts 20,789 women marchers, 2,539 men, 74 women on horseback, 870 in cars, and 1,068 musicians in 57 bands.

One banner, which I don’t have a picture of, read “Make New York White.” Referring to the suffrage color, really.

Here’s historian Jean Baker’s blog post on the parade. With more pictures.

Texas ranchers along the Mexican border are demanding that the government either protect them from Mexican bandits or give them immunity from prosecution for crossing into Mexico to steal their cattle back.

Cricket dude W.G. Grace dies.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Today -100: October 23, 1915: It was not a mere coincidence that two-thirds of the accused were women

British Munitions Minister David Lloyd George says woman munitions workers will get equal pay for skilled work.

Evidently the pope is protesting to Kaiser Wilhelm about the execution of Edith Cavell because executing women is against the principles of Christianity and humanity.

Greece rejects the Allies’ offer of Cyprus in exchange for joining the war.

Germany bans the sale of all meat two days a week (including in restaurants), of pork on another day, and bans the sale in restaurants of food prepared in any form of fat on a different two days. Germany comes a little late to rationing and will never be as efficient about it as the British, which is cited as one reason they will (Spoiler Alert!) lose the war.

A Dutch newspaper is reporting that Edith Cavell’s firing squad aimed not to kill her, with only one bullet from the 12 men hitting her, so she had to be finished off by an officer. None of this is true. “The priest who was present at the execution, overcome with horror, is now suffering from a nervous breakdown.”

A Berlin newspaper, the Vossische Zeitung, paints a picture of a vast organized conspiracy centered on Cavell’s nursing school. “During the trial... the accused, almost without exception, gave the impression of persons cleverly simulating naïve innocence. It was not a mere coincidence that two-thirds of the accused were women.” In other words, they were trying to make Germany look bad if it executed them. Mission accomplished, then.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Today -100: October 22, 1915: A crime dwarfing even that of the Lusitania

At a Trafalgar Day service in the Church of St. Martin’s in the Fields, the Bishop of London calmly discusses the execution of Edith Cavell: “Their foulest and latest crime was the murder in cold blood of a poor defenseless English girl – a crime dwarfing even that of the Lusitania. This will settle the matter once and for all about recruiting in Great Britain. ... God’s curse is on a nation, however disciplined and efficient, that tramples under foot and openly defies the laws of chivalry which once relieved the horrors of war.”

The report of US Ambassador to Belgium Brand Whitlock suggests that the Germans failed to keep their promise to keep him informed of Cavell’s trial and executed her “despite our best efforts”. Actually, his best efforts were pretty feeble.

Wireless messages cross the Atlantic for the first time. Transmissions from Arlington, Virginia are heard in Paris (also Honolulu).

Germany will fine any Belgian town which is bombed by the Allies.

Turkey counter-charges that the (rapidly diminishing) Armenian population took part in barbarous acts against Muslims, aiding Russian troops.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Today -100: October 21, 1915: All the forces of wickedness were against the women

Russia declares war on Bulgaria (actually on the 18th, but they didn’t tell anyone for a couple of days).

Britain offers Greece a present if it joins the war on the Allied side: Cyprus.

Carrie Chapman Catt says suffragists never expected to win the NJ referendum because “all the forces of wickedness were against the women.”

The New York National Guard’s commanding officer, Maj. Gen. John F. O’Ryan, says the lesson of the European war is that soldiers have to have all initiative destroyed and be turned into “mere automatons” under the control of officers ready to shoot them if they disobey. “The recruits have got to put their heads into the military noose.” So join up today!

The US puts an embargo on arms shipments into Mexico, except to the Carranza regime.

Crowds in Petrograd demand the reopening of the Duma, while conservatives in Germany demand the closing of the Reichstag because, with so many Socialists, it is unfit to discuss peace terms.

Someone accidentally drops a grenade in a munitions factory in Paris which is now no longer a munitions factory. 52 dead. “Reports that the explosion was the result of the work of spies were absolutely denied.”

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Today -100: October 20, 1915: With bleeding heart it draws its sword against her

Headline of the Day -100: 

Male voters in New Jersey reject women’s suffrage in the referendum by roughly 133,000 to 184,000. It loses in every county except Ocean County (the Jersey Shore) and in every one of Hoboken’s 45 precincts. It is thought that some voters in Atlantic City rejected the amendment to express disapproval of the presence of black women poll-watchers.

Woodrow Wilson went to New Jersey to vote, while his fiancée, not a Jersey voter, announced her opposition to women’s suffrage. Other prominent Anti women include the wife of Vice President Marshall, the wife of Secretary of State Lansing, and the wife of Elihu Root, who many expect to be the next Republican candidate for president. And yes, the only women whose opinion the NYT cares about are wives of important men.

The new plan for the US Navy is to spend $500 million over the next 5 years to add 85 ships and 100 submarines.

Tsar Nicholas issues a manifesto about how upset he is with Bulgaria’s “treason... to the Slav cause. ... Bulgaria, our co-religionist, liberated just a short time ago from the Turkish yoke by the fraternal love of the Russia people, openly took sides with the enemies of the Christian faith, Slavism, and Russia. The Russian people regard with sorrow the treason of Bulgaria, which was so near to it until these last few days, and, with bleeding heart, it draws its sword against her, leaving the fate of the betrayer of the Slav cause to the just punishment of God.” Such a drama tsarina.

After a train is robbed near Brownsville, with bandits from Mexico killing 3 people, a posse kills (lynches) 10 Mexicans, some of them chosen more or less at random as near as I can tell.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Today -100: October 19, 1915: A small group of men has landed the nations over there in this awful cataclysm

Russia’s new minister of justice, Aleksandr Khvostov (the NYT wrongly says interior minister), is investigating the occult German forces who are doubtless behind the series of recent riots.

Harriot Stanton Blatch has returned from Europe more convinced than ever of the necessity for women’s suffrage: “No one can go to Europe without realizing that a small group of men has landed the nations over there in this awful cataclysm.”

The German people are focusing on the Balkans as the key to the outcome of the war, one way or the other, now that the Western Front is recognized as being completely stalemated.

Turkey bans the Red Cross from coming to help the (remaining) Armenian people.

Britain removes Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton from command of the Gallipoli expedition, replaces him with Maj. Gen. Sir Charles Carmichael Monro.

Serbia complains to the US that German troops are massacring Serb civilians.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Today -100: October 18, 1915: What Joisey women don’t want

France declares war on Bulgaria. And invades it, alongside British and Serbian troops.

Woodrow Wilson has evidently promised that when peace in Europe comes, he will advocate for the rights of Jews in Russia and Romania.

The Daily Mail (London) reports on Nurse Edith Cavell’s execution, including the untrue bit about how she fainted and was shot whilst unconscious. I wonder who started that story? MI5?

Headline of the Day -100:

The Times deduces this from the number who have joined suffrage organizations. Of course membership in the Anti organization is far smaller, but an (unnamed) Anti leader attributes this to the suffragists enrolling “infants in cradles as members in order to swell their numbers.”

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Today -100: October 17, 1915: Of redemption, St George, public executions, and movie murders

Headline of the Day -100: 

The region Italy and Austria are fighting over would prefer the fighting not take place right there.

Headline of the Day -100: 

I don’t think the NYT has previously mentioned the various ghost stories and supposed appearances of warrior angels, Joan of Arc and so on that spread early in the war, but today there’s a mention of this pamphlet,

which you can read or downloaded (free) here. The French thought it was St Michael, but the British soldiers knew it was St George, they recognized him from the money.

Joe Deberry, a negro, is executed in Murphysboro, Illinois, hanged in front of an audience of 2,000 (there wasn’t room for 3,000 more ghouls who showed up).

The NYT wonders why women are even trying to win the vote:

One Genevieve Hamilton writes a letter to the NYT complaining that there is too much killing shown in the movies, at least in those labeled as melodramas. Even when the villain is shot or stabbed, the emotion conveyed is relief that the hero and heroine can now be married rather than horror at the taking of a life. “Since the melodrama can rarely get along without the death of some one, why not let the villain pass from the films otherwise? Not by his own hand; that is not an idea to picture to youth. Let the villain become ill. Drown him!”

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Today -100: October 16, 1915: A man is only one man, after all

Britain declares war on Bulgaria. So does Serbia.

First report of the execution of Nurse Edith Cavell.

Thomas Edison says the US should prepare for a war which will be fought by machines. “A man is only one man, after all. A machine can be easily as good as twenty men. Then one man, using it, is as good as twenty men. He should be at least that good if he is American.” Properly preparing for such a war – stockpiling the materials for shells and such – would mean there would be no need for a large standing army in peacetime. Just robots or whatever the hell he’s talking about (probably not robots, but it’s hard to be sure because the word hadn’t been coined yet).

Sarah Lund of Chicago sues Dudley Field Malone, collector of the Port of New York, and Captain William Turner of the Lusitania for conspiring to allow explosives to be loaded illegally onto the ship. Lund survived the sinking, obviously, but her husband of less than a year and her father did not. Her mother also died in a maritime accident, that of the RMS Empress of Ireland in May 1914. In fact, the family was sailing for England to investigate the possibility that some random woman in an English asylum with amnesia and a fear of water was actually her. Which she wasn’t. A photograph would have cleared that up without the need for a dangerous ocean voyage. Anyway, Lund is suing for $40,000. I assume the case was dismissed, but eventually (1925) she’ll be awarded $5,629.75, covering her personal injuries and the loss of her husband and their luggage. She remarried in 1916 (a man employed in investigating Lusitania claims) and died in 1978 at the age of 92.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Today -100: October 15, 1915: Of repugnant work, yacht escapes, and suf profs

Following another zeppelin raid on London, a meeting demands reprisal raids on Germany. The motion was passed unanimously except for one call of No, by a man who was subsequently beaten with walking sticks. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes to the London Times supporting such reprisal raids, three for every attack by Germans on an open town in Britain. He admits that British airmen “would find such work repugnant,” but it’s the only way to stop the attacks.

Six (12, we’ll find out tomorrow) German officers interned in Norfolk, Virginia escape on a small yacht. The ship couldn’t possibly cross the Atlantic, which is presumably why they were given permission to buy it, so it’s not clear where they’ve gone.

The Daily Princetonian polls the Princeton faculty about the NJ women’s suffrage referendum. Of the professors who replied, 57 are for women’s suffrage, 33 opposed. There’s a breakdown by department, if anyone’s interested.

Princeton didn’t admit women until 1969.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Today -100: October 14, 1915: Of unselfish marriages, reserves, imposed responsibilities, and boy geniuses

A Rev. Ernest Houghton of Bristol, England starts a League for the Marrying of Broken Heroes. He says such marriages will be happier than normal marriages because they’ll be based on unselfishness. Well, unselfishness on the part of the woman, and that’s the important thing, I guess.

Greece refuses to come to Serbia’s aid against Bulgaria, denying that the 1911 Greek-Serb treaty applies here. Greece claims that “common interests demand that the Greek forces still be kept in reserve for a better use later.”

Gov. James Fielder of New Jersey (D) says that unlike Woodrow Wilson, he will vote against women’s suffrage next week “because I am very much opposed to imposing on women a responsibility which I feel certain a majority of women in the State do not seek.” Suffragists are alarmed to discover that the ballot are not numbered, making election fraud much easier.

Orville Wright sells the Wright Company. It is believed he will get $75,000 a year for the life of his patent, or $675,000, and $1.5 million for the company as a whole.

Norbert Wiener becomes a philosophy professor at Harvard at 19.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Today -100: October 13, 1915: Of weeping kaisers, massacres, hazing, and balls

Headline of the Day -100:

James Couzens, the vice president and general manager of Ford Motors, resigns to protest Henry Ford’s peace views.

Turkey has been celebrating Bulgaria’s entry into the war with a new massacre of Armenians, as was the custom.

The students (I refuse to call them midshipmen) at Annapolis voluntarily abolish hazing.

Headline of the Day -100: 

There’s a dirty joke in there somewhere.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Today -100: October 12, 1915: Patriotism is not enough

The German occupation authorities in Belgium execute Nurse Edith Cavell, age 49. A British nurse who operated a nursing training school in Belgium since before the war, Carvel last November started hiding British soldiers caught behind enemy lines and helping smuggle them out of Belgium. Soon she was performing that service for a stream of French soldiers, Belgian soldiers, young Belgians seeking to join the Belgian army, etc., as part of a loose underground railroad, most of which was rolled up by the Germans simultaneously, thanks to some German-paid infiltrators and a gossipy nurse. One other member of the group was executed, the rest were imprisoned and released at the end of the war; several of them did the exact same things during the Second World War.

Cavell was certainly breaking the rules of war and the Germans were within their rights to try and execute her, but boy it didn’t look good and the British exploited the story and mythologized it for all (and more than) it was worth (one of the posters below illustrates the made-up story that the German firing squad refused to carry out the order to shoot and an officer stepped in with his revolver or, alternately, that she fainted and was shot while laying on the ground unconscious). The night before her execution she told a chaplain: “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward any one.” In the ‘20s there was some debate over whether these words were too pacifist to be included on her memorial. After the war, her body was repatriated and buried at Norwich Cathedral and her dog Jack was stuffed and displayed at the Imperial War Museum.

For the month after the news of the execution reached England (a few days from now), enlistment doubled. British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey pointed out in Parliament that Britain never subjected even spies who happened to be women to more than penal servitude. Kaiser Wilhelm ordered that no more women be executed without his personal authorization, although a few more would be.

The NYT describes Minnie Reynolds, President of the Women’s Political Union of New Jersey: “She is a woman of middle age. There is nothing mannish about her except possibly the businesslike way in which she conducts the conversation”. Reynolds says that Woodrow Wilson’s endorsement is very helpful: “it will stop the vacant laughing of shallow minds and check these fools who go about yapping about woman suffrage, trying to make it a joke.”

Abigail Scott Duniway, Northwestern women’s suffragist and publisher, dies at 81. An early (1852) pioneer settler in Oregon, she published the New Northwest (“not a Woman’s Rights, but a Human Rights organ”) for 16 years. She opposed prohibition, mostly because she believed the association of some suffragists with that cause was responsible for the defeat of several women’s suffrage referenda in Oregon. She also blamed the opposition of The Oregonian and its editor – her brother.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The German press says there is rioting in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia, while the Italian press says there are mutinies in the Bulgarian army.

At a Daughters of the American Revolution event, Pres. Wilson says that Americans must declare whether they are for America first or not, whether they are “hyphenated Americans” who want to “use the might of America in some manner not of America’s originative.” (Huh, my spellcheck isn’t complaining about originative; I guess it is a real word).

Headline of the Day -100:

William Gillette revives his play “Sherlock Holmes” at the Empire Theatre, New York. Moriarty is played (by Joseph Brennan) as Irish.

By the way, the recently rediscovered 1916 film version, the only film Gillette ever shot, will play on Turner Classics on the 18th.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Today -100: October 11, 1915: Of secret treaties, treating, and dry Sundays

Greece hears of a secret treaty between the Central Powers and Bulgaria in which the former promised the latter the parts of Macedonia which are currently part of Greece and Serbia. Germany denies that such a treaty exists. It does.

London bans treating. Now everyone has to buy their own booze.

Chicago has survived – somehow – its first “dry” Sunday.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Today -100: October 10, 1915: You men are too belligerent to run the Government alone

Teutonic troops capture Belgrade.

At a women’s suffrage party, Carrie Chapman Catt says “You men are too belligerent to run the Government alone.”

Count Ernst von Reventlow, a retired German naval officer, writes in the Deutsche Tageszeitung that Turkey should be allowed to suppress the Armenians by any means it sees fit and suppress uprisings and intrigues “so that a repetition will be impossible.” That’s not chilling at all. And if you were wondering, why yes the good count will indeed join the Nazi party.

Pope Benedict gets all belligerents to promise not to make POWs work on Sundays.

The Rockefeller Foundation of Medical Research has found a cure for diabetes. Bicarbonate of sodium and salt.

Before their retreat from Poland, Russian troops evidently killed a lot of Jews who they claimed to suspect were spies (but mostly Jews who’d been denounced by Poles).

The Pan-American conference of Secretary of State Lansing and the ambassadors of six Latin American countries decide to recognize Carranza et al as the de facto government of Mexico.

Douglas Fairbanks, back from LA after shooting his first films, says of the movies, “They get me.” Also, they’re paying him a shitload of money. 5-year-old Douglas Jr makes an amusing cameo in this interview.

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Friday, October 09, 2015

Today -100: October 9, 1915: Or unserious riots, trees, ambassadors, abusive speaking, and ancient aunties

The head of the Russian Red Cross, Dr. Sosnowski, says that last month’s riots in Moscow were not serious and were totally started by German provocateurs, and everyone really leaves Tsar Nicholas. Just keep telling yourself that, comrade.

Karl Liebknecht, the socialist member of the German Reichstag illegally drafted despite his parliamentary immunity, is injured by a falling tree. War is hell.

The Allies’ ambassadors all leave Bulgaria.

Jacques Delcassé, son of French Foreign Minister Théophile Delcassé, is a prisoner of war of the Germans, who sentence him to one year in a fortress (which is probably not as cool as it sounds) for “speaking abusively of Germany” and refusing orders. His father will resign as foreign minister next week, although as far as I know that’s unrelated to this.

Headline of the Day -100:
“Auntie” Mahaley Gibbs of Memphis, age 137.

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Today -100: October 8, 1915: Of judges, spies, and torpedoes

William Willett, a former two-term United States congressman from New York, finally achieved his goal of becoming a judge. Well, a “judge” on the prisoners’ court which enforces the rules in Sing Sing, where he’s serving a stretch for attempting to buy a seat on the state Supreme Court. And now a boxer named Tim Cronin registers an objection to Willett sentencing him to 10 days confinement for attempting to evade prison mail censorship by punching him very hard indeed in the face.

A large force of Austrian and German soldiers attacks Serbia.

Last January, Kenneth Triest, a Princeton freshman, somehow snuck off to England and joined the Royal Navy, pretending to be a Canadian, with the intention of ferreting out naval secrets and giving them to Germany. He has been arrested and is being held in the Tower of London. His father (who was born in Germany) says he’s mentally unbalanced. He is believed, incorrectly, to have been sentenced to death. The US State Department and Theodore Roosevelt will put pressure on Britain, which will return him next month. I think the British government thought leniency would make a nice contrast with Germany’s execution of Nurse Edith Cavell. Er, spoiler alert.

Headline of the Day -100:

A Dutch couple planning to marry in the US, whose legal papers went down with the Arabic.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Today -100: October 7, 1915: Going Galt

Woodrow Wilson officially announces 1) that he will vote for the New Jersey women’s suffrage referendum and 2) that he is engaged to Edith Galt, a 38-year-old widow, the NYT says (actually she’s 42). Wilson makes clear that he is voting for the referendum as an individual, not as POTUS or as leader of the Democratic Party, although oddly he will be marrying Mrs. Galt as POTUS and the leader of the Democratic Party. He reiterates his opposition to a federal suffrage amendment.

Bulgaria rejects Russia’s demand that it expel the German officers who have recently arrived to run the Bulgarian Army. Russia and the Allies all break diplomatic relations with Bulgaria.

Bulgaria has also reportedly sent its own ultimatum to Serbia demanding all of Macedonia, within 24 hours.

Greece protests to France against the landing of its troops on Saloniki. Austria points out that the Allies are doing exactly the thing they complained about when Germany invaded Belgium.

Lord Bryce of Bryce Report fame says that 800,000 Armenians have been killed.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Today -100: October 6, 1915: Of the missing, ultimata, arabics, posses, and bacon

Rudyard Kipling’s only son John is “missing, believed killed” at the Battle of Loos. He was 18, barely, and had been in the war since the start. Rudyard used his influence to get him into the Irish Guards despite his weak constitution, even weaker eyesight, and his age. Rudyard will spend months trying to confirm that his son is in fact dead and find the body, which he never will, the shell that killed him not having left any identifiable remains.

Bulgaria is said to be disconcerted by Russia’s 24-hour ultimatum to expel German officers. They’d expected a much weaker response, like a simple request for information, which they planned to fudge by giving the Germans short leaves of absence and saying “Germans? No Germans here, mate.” The ultimatum has expired but the Russian ambassador hasn’t left; he recently had an appendicitis operation.

Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos resigns – for the second time this year – after a dispute with the king over whether Greece should join the war. The two disagree over whether there is still a treaty between Greece and Serbia which will oblige Greece to come to the defense of Serbia when Bulgaria attacks it and whether the promise of Kaiser Wilhelm (who is Greek King Constantine’s brother-in-law) that Bulgaria won’t attack Greece is sufficient guarantee. French troops are arriving in Saloniki to aid Serbia.

Germany apologizes to the US for the sinking of the Arabic in August, blaming the u-boat commander and promising to pay compensation for the 3 Americans killed. Amb. von Bernstorff says, that new orders to sub commanders have “been made so stringent that the recurrence of incidents similar to the Arabic case is considered out of the question.” It is thought on both sides that this puts to rest the whole unpleasantness between Germany and the US over submarine warfare in general.

Emmeline Pankhurst denounces trade unions which oppose the employment of women in munitions as “traitors.” Never one to mince words, is Mrs. P.

New Jersey’s political parties hold their conventions. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats come out officially for women’s suffrage. The Progressives do.

A letter to the NYT points out that unmarried women had the vote in New Jersey from 1797 to 1807, when women (and blacks, though the letter doesn’t mention them) were disfranchised.

A posse that prevents a lynching in Bowling Green, Missouri includes Speaker of the House Beauchamp “Champ” Clark.

Britain seizes three cargoes of bacon on their way to Denmark, presumably not believing the Danish claim that it’s for the home market and not re-export to Germany. Denmark is mad, because bacon.

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Monday, October 05, 2015

Today -100: October 5, 1915: Of American good feeling and supremely right moments

Bulgaria denies that its army is now run by German officers.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Frank Sheehy-Skeffington, editor of the Irish Citizen (Dublin) writes to the NYT that Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond fucked up at the start of the war. “That was the supremely right moment to emphasize Ireland’s national position, outside of and indifferent to all English politics.” In other words, he could have offered Irish assent to the war only on the condition of full autonomy. But he didn’t. And this was so unpopular in Ireland that Redmond can’t now address a public meeting in Dublin.

In six months or so, the English army will murder Mr. Sheehy-Skeffington. Um, spoiler alert.

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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Today -100: October 4, 1915: Civilization is spreading

The Committee on Armenian Atrocities reports that there have been atrocities in Armenia.

Russia, in the name of the Allies, gives Bulgaria an ultimatum: expel all the German and Austrian officers now directing its army within 24 hours, or else.

Turkey will cede a small strip of territory to Bulgaria, so now Turks are preparing for the handover by looting the property of all the Christians in the area and ethnically cleansing Christians from villages on their side of the border to make room for Turkish refugees from the ceded lands.

Theodore Roosevelt sends the Equal Suffrage League of New Jersey a message of support for the women’s suffrage referendum. He says it’s working pretty well in the Western states that have it, and the East should catch up. “Civilization is spreading,” he says. Even to New Jersey?

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Saturday, October 03, 2015

Today -100: October 3, 1915: Of torpedo ears, treacherous courses, and Woodrow and the women

Headline of the Day -100: 

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Sazonov (which is a seriously great name) warns the Bulgarian government that if they “persist in their present treacherous course they must answer to Russia.” That “treachery” is to “the Slavic cause.” Russia considers that Bulgaria owes its independence to it, so its feelings are seriously hurt by Bulgaria going over to the dark side.

In addition to those threats, both sides are trying to bribe Bulgaria. Germany et al offer it some Turkish territory if it refrains from declaring war on Turkey, and help in annexing all of Macedonia. The Entente powers are also offering part of Macedonia as well as parts of Turkey. The Teutons are only requesting that Bulgaria be neutral while the Entente wants active military action against Turkey.

Russia expands newspaper censorship from war news to all news.

Woodrow Wilson lets it be known that he will vote Yes on the New Jersey women’s suffrage referendum in two weeks. As will Secretary of War Lindley Garrison and Wilson’s secretary Joseph Tumulty.

Here’s an anti-suffrage poster from NJ:

The NYT Sunday Magazine has an article about NY women’s suffrage posters. Here are some:

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Today -100: October 2, 1915: Oh, Bulgaria

British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey tells Parliament that German officers are arriving in Bulgaria to lead its army, in a probable sign that Bulgaria will soon enter the war.

Britain claims to have developed a range of techniques which have defeated the German u-boat campaign, and to have sunk 50 to 70 subs (there was, supposedly, a recent secret dinner party to celebrate the 50th sinking)(actually they haven’t sunk half that many). It’s true that the height of effectiveness of the German u-boats is now past (and that’s before depth charges began to be used against them in 1916).

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Today -100: October 1, 1915: Don’t spend it all in one place, boys

Serbia offers a bit of Macedonia to Greece as a bribe to join in military action against Bulgaria (at least according to an Italian newspaper).

Russia’s Council of the Empire has its first ever Jew. Hurrah.

French army privates are getting a pay raise! From 1¢ a day to 5.

Sometime this month, Kafka’s Metamorphosis is published.

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