Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Today -100: April 20, 1916: Tragedy has followed tragedy on the seas

Woodrow Wilson addresses a joint session of Congress, informing it that he has notified German that if it doesn’t abandon submarine warfare against passenger and cargo ships, the US will break off relations. And he wants a response “immediately.” He says such warfare is “incompatible with the principles of humanity, the long-established and incontrovertible rights of neutrals, and the sacred immunities of noncombatants.” “Tragedy has followed tragedy on the seas in such fashion, with such attendant circumstances, as to make it grossly evident that warfare of such a sort, if warfare it be, cannot be carried on without the most palpable violation of the dictates alike of right and of humanity.” Wilson says he is willing to negotiate with Germany, but they have to end sub warfare first as a sign of good faith. Which won’t happen, obviously.

The Kaiser reportedly decorates the commander of the u-boat which sank the Sussex. This may be wrong, since the story seems to be premised on the belief that it was the U-28, which has since been wrongly reported sunk, which did for the Sussex, but it was actually the U-29.

Congress is almost uniformly supportive of Wilson, although a few Republicans grumble that there was no need for him to come and address them in person, which they see as a campaign move.

Headline of the Day -100:

After some fuss about a recent Stop the War demonstration that was permitted to go ahead in Trafalgar Square simply because there wasn’t actually a law against it, the British government issues a new regulation under the Defence of the Realm Act allowing any government minister, mayor, magistrate or chief of police to ban a meeting in a public place if it might lead to disorder.

Soap is now rationed in Germany.

Rose Pastor Stokes, a Socialist activist (later Communist), speaks about birth control at a public meeting at the Hotel Brevoort in NYC. For some reason, the NYT uses the term “birth control” this time; its coverage of Emma Goldman’s arrest in February studiously avoided explaining the subject she was arrested for speaking about.

Mexicans are digging up the area they think Pancho Villa’s corpse was buried in. No one seems to be talking anymore about Villa’s, um, other corpse, the one that Carranza’s nephew was supposed to have.

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