Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Today -100: December 7, 1916: Of fallen capitals, prime ministers, généralissimos, and the greatest enemy of the home

Bucharest falls.

David Lloyd George becomes prime minister, although it is unclear if he’ll be able to form a government.

French Gen. Joseph Joffre is being kicked upstairs, promoted to Marshal (maréchal) of France, a title which hasn’t been given in decades (and not at all under the Third Republic) and given new responsibilities in control of, he will soon discover, nothing. Gen. Philippe Pétain is being considered to take over from Joffre as généralissimo, but he’s demanding authority over all Allied forces in France, which the British would never agree to. So instead the job will go to Robert Nivelle.

Evidently Germany is deporting Russian Poles for forced labor in Germany, and has been for some time, but a lot less is known about this than about the Belgians.

William Jennings Bryan says the Democratic Party has to support prohibition, it “cannot hesitate to choose the home against the greatest enemy that has arisen to menace it.” He warns against proposals by railroads to remove the power of states to regulate them and give exclusive control to Congress, as “lead[ing] to a centralization which would threaten the very existence of our dual form of government.”

Hans Richter, the foremost conductor of Richard Wagner operas and Brahams, dies in Bayreuth. He seems to have made no recordings, so we’ll just have to take the word of contemporaries that he was pretty good.

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