Thursday, March 09, 2017
Today -100: March 9, 1917: Of wirelesses, plots, pacifists, boy disloyalists, war crimes, and zeppelins
In the continuing ostracization of senators who filibustered the Armed Ships Bill, Sen. Moses Clapp (R-Minnesota) is disinvited from addressing a men’s Bible class.
The US government leaks to the press that there exists a secret wireless connection between Mexico and Germany, free of the benevolent censorship the US imposes. Actually, it seems that the Mexican wireless station, which was intended to keep the Mexican government in touch with its far-flung armies, isn’t strong enough to transmit to Germany but it can receive.
Headline of the Day -100:
In the pro-war propaganda campaign in the US, the Zimmermann Telegram is portrayed as just one strand in a complex, insidious web of German plots. That word gets used a lot. Too much, really, when you consider how quickly it loses meaning when you repeat it: plot plot plot plot plot plot. It should also be noted that the Zimmermann thing only came into play if the US declared war on Germany, in which case, Germany asks, were we not supposed to seek allies? it’s kind of what you do in war. Of course “it’s what you do in war” is also their excuse for invading Belgium, using poison gas, and sinking ships without warning, but I think they are genuinely puzzled that other people refuse to see these things through the same “pragmatic” lens they do.
Another “plot” mentioned in that story, which as far as I know is fictional, was a German attempt to persuade Mexico to annex Guatemala.
Headline of the Day -100:
400 US Marines land in Santiago, Cuba, allegedly at the request of its Civil Governor and at the orders of Commander Belknap on his own authority, without orders from the Navy.
The NYT welcomes Columbia University’s un-American activities committee, saying every school and college should have one: “We do not charge that such doctrines are taught in Columbia or elsewhere, but where does the noisy brood of boy disloyalists, anarchists, pacifists, come from?”
Irish Nationalists in the British Parliament respond to Lloyd George’s statement that Ulster won’t be coerced into joining a Home Rule Ireland. They say this “would involve denial of self-government to Ireland forever.”
Russia complains about violations of the rules of warfare by its enemies, including poison gas, explosive bullets, poisoned wells, the misuse of Red Cross flags and flags of truce, throwing bombs at sanitary trains, and the sinking of a hospital ship by a Turkish sub.
Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Bulgarian Prime Minister Vasil Radoslavov is said to be planning to pull Bulgaria out of the war if it isn’t over by summer.
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, inventor of the you-know-what, dies at 78.