Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Today -100: May 31, 1917: The first duty of a man is to be a man

In his Memorial Day address, Woodrow Wilson says “We did not set this government up in order that we might have a separate and selfish liberty”. “America will once more have an opportunity to show to the world that she was born to serve mankind.” (Warning to the world: It’s a cook book!).

At his own speech, Theodore Roosevelt tells young men not to wait to be drafted. “The first duty of a man is to be a man.”

What is it with race riots this week? A couple of hundred negroes in Harlem fight cops trying to arrest a man.

The Germans have evidently been asking Turkey not to expel Jews from Jerusalem, because it looks bad.

Anti-black violence continues in East St. Louis, although reduced by rain and the National Guard. Blacks are fleeing the city.

Some draft-age males are escaping to Cuba and Mexico to avoid registration. France plans to force expatriates to register, or something. Also, June 5, National Registration Day, doesn’t really work in Alaska, because ice, so they’ll need a later date. Attorney-General Thomas Watt Gregory orders stenographers to attend anti-draft meetings to take down speeches with a view to prosecution.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Today -100: May 30, 1917: No evasive reply is acceptable

The Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet says that its policy of “peace without annexations or indemnities” means there should be an immediate offer of peace negotiations. And if Russia’s allies don’t agree to make this offer, they “take equal responsibility on themselves with the Governments of Germany and Austria-Hungary for the continuance of the war. No evasive reply is acceptable.”

The Russian War Ministry orders all monks sent to the front lines to work in sanitation. Try not to think about how long Russian Orthodox monks’ beards are.

And in other news from Russia: vodka riots! Or, as they call that in Russia: Tuesday.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Today -100: May 29, 1917: I think it would be a good thing if all our young Quakers should go to jail

Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies votes 136-3 in favor of war on Germany, or to be more precise, to revoke the decree of neutrality. Brazil won’t actually declare war until October.

The Justice Department arrests 9 men in Texas, claiming that a co-op had been infiltrated by German spies, or something, and turned into an anti-conscription action group, or something, with weapons and a secret oath and everything. And some others in the “feud region” of Virginia (including a McCoy) are arrested for plotting to murder draft officials and declare a rebellion. And 10 Detroit socialists are arrested for distributing anti-conscription literature.

There have been a lot of wild tales lately about forthcoming miracle weapons. The latest: a Brooklynite, Dr. Dayve De Waltoff claims to have invented a vastly superior explosive which he has named... wait for it... Terrorall. A mere five (5) grains of Terrorall would suffice to blow up the Woolworth Building, if that’s your idea of a good time.

Race war in East St. Louis, Illinois, with white mobs determined to force out the blacks who have been arriving from Mississippi to work, including in munitions factories.

Some Quakers are annoyed that the government so readily exempted them from the draft, depriving them of “their much cherished privilege of suffering for their convictions.” Says Isaac Sharpnell, president of Haverford College, “I think it would be a good thing if all our young Quakers should go to jail.” It would certainly make running an all-male Quaker college easier, huh Ike? The Quakers (at least at a NYC meeting) won’t admit any new members who are military-age males (which is irrelevant to the Draft Act, since the exemption doesn’t apply to those who joined after conscription was announced).

Russian monks want the vote.

Arthur Balfour, who was touring the US with great fanfare, has moved on to Canada, where he tells the Canadian Parliament “No greater miracle has ever happened in the history of civilisation than the way in which the co-ordinated British democracies worked together with a uniform spirit of self-sacrifice in the cause in which they believed not merely their own individual security, but the safety of the empire and the progress of civilisation and liberty itself were at stake,” which might have been more convincing if not for the anti-conscription riots a few days ago in Quebec.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Today -100: May 28, 1917: Half the fun is saluting, ammiright?

Food dictator Herbert Hoover wants to “enlist” every housewife in the nation in his food administration and sign a pledge to carry out its culinary instructions. There will be serious pressure on women to do so.

The new censorship & propaganda czar George Creel releases proposed regulations of things newspapers should not write about. In addition to the obvious (troop movements, etc), it includes: disagreements between the Allies, speculation about peace, articles offensive to allies or neutral countries, etc. The idea was that if newspapers would agree to this voluntarily, there would be no need for the censorship law the administration is having trouble getting Congress to pass. There has been no such agreement.

Russian Minister of War Kerensky promulgates new rights for soldiers including freedom of opinion, no obligatory saluting, etc.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Today -100: May 27, 1917: Of race riots, deadly pencils, and millionaire actors

There’s a race riot in NYC’s Upper East Side, following an incident where a bartender over-charged a black man that escalated thanks in part to some incompetent policing by National Defense Guards, who were covering for regular cops taking the sergeant’s exam. White and black men attack each other with razors and guns, and police shoot one black men dead.

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Baron von Rosen of Sweden is arrested in Norway with “an amazing collection of bombs, poisons, and deadly bacilli”. And exploding pencils! Which blow up whoever tries to sharpen them. But evidently the good baron is breaking no Norwegian law, so they let him go and tell him to leave the country.

The film industry has stopped blabbing about how much it’s paying its stars now that Congress is looking for sectors of the economy to soak in order to pay for the war, but three stars are evidently making more than $1,000,000 a year. And yes, they’re Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford (the Bank of America’s sweetheart), and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Today -100: May 26, 1917: Base instruments have begun to speak of the preservation of each soldier’s life

Rear Admiral William Sims, in charge of the US destroyers off Europe, complains that “the German spy system” informed Berlin that the destroyers were coming four days before they arrived (how he knows this is unclear).

The Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet “menaces” Gen. Mikhail Alexiev, telling him to shut up after he gives a speech denigrating the notion of a peace without annexations or indemnities and complaining about the tendency among soldiers “to peace and ease instead of activity” while “base instruments have begun to speak of the preservation of each soldier’s life.”

New Jersey socialist Frederick Superior (!) has been posting circulars saying “Impeach Wilson” and “Free Speech Denied.” The police rather make his point by arresting him for sedition.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today -100: May 25, 1917: I do not think I should have enjoyed my luncheon if I had known I was eating off a German plate

It is now illegal in the US to sell booze to members of the Army in uniform. Sailors and marines seem not to come under this law.

The Washington Herald complains that after it wrote about the fatally defective shells supplied by the Navy to the Mongolia, the new chief propagandist George Creel called them up, “questioning the spirit and correctness” of the editorial. The Herald warns of censorship. Creel denies attempting to control them. He was totally attempting to control them.

Sinn Fein officially rejects Lloyd George’s proposed Irish convention unless it is elected by universal suffrage (unclear if this includes women), has the power to declare independence, and can’t have its decisions vetoed by the British government.

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Baseball’s National Commission bans the bean ball.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Today -100: May 24, 1917: Of passports, tiszas, and potatoes

The US refuses passports to socialists who had intended to travel to the Stockholm peace congress, and threatens to prosecute any Americans who manage to attend it anyway.

Hungarian Prime Minister Count István Tisza and his cabinet resign. Tisza has been increasingly at odds with the Empire’s central government since the accession of Emperor Karl, and he especially opposes moves to expand Hungary’s very limited franchise (although he was willing to grant it to soldiers... if they had medals of courage).

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Pretty sure these are euphemisms for sex acts which commoners are forbidden from engaging in upon pain of death (see also “eating a swan”).

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Today -100: May 23, 1917: Of censorship, deserters, dissolving empires, black empire menaces, and lynchings

The Republican caucus votes to oppose press censorship being reintroduced in the Espionage Bill’s reconciliation process. Pres. Wilson, however, demands censorship.

Russian War Minister Kerensky orders an operation that captures 30 army deserters. Since the Revolution, soldiers have been deserting with impunity.

Finland would like to be independent of Russia now, please and thank you.

And Hungary, whose equivocal commitment to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was based in part on a fear of Russian territorial acquisitiveness which is now assuaged by the Russian Revolution, is also thinking seriously about independence.

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South African Gen. Jan Smuts says Germany wants a large empire (citing a captured map) in central and southern Africa so that it can use Africa’s “huge population” to create “the most powerful army the world had ever known,” a black army that would threaten South Africa and of course “the whole of the civilized world.” He hopes that the future League of Nations will ban the military training of African colonial populations (perhaps unaware of the role of Senegalese Tirailleurs, among others, in the French Army).

Wisconsin Governor Emanuel Philipp vetoes a bill for a referendum on prohibition.

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She did, however, decline an offer to apply the match herself. Southern ladies do not do such things themselves, they have baying mobs for that.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Today -100: May 22, 1917: Lenin always did love a good balcony

The US steamship Mongolia, which last month sunk a u-boat, limps back into port after a shell explodes (or something like that) during target practice, killing a couple of nurses who were on their way to the war. Evidently there have been two other such incidents on the commercial vessels which Pres. Wilson ordered armed, suggesting the Navy is supplying them with defective ammunition. The St. Louis found, when practicing targeting by shooting at glaciers, that 14 of 48 shells fired were duds.

Atlanta, or at any rate 73 blocks of it, burns down. The fire started in “an obscure negro section” of the city. Dynamite is used (ineffectively) in a 10-hour struggle to put the fire out.

A Russian court orders Lenin and his followers to vacate the expropriated palace of ballet dancer (and former mistress of Tsar Nicholas II) Mathilde Kschessinskaya, who skedaddled for Paris. Presumably the government wants him out because he’s been using the balcony to make incendiary speeches.

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The NYT scoffs at a new California law requiring windows in hotel rooms.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Today -100: May 21, 1917: Of Belgians, compulsory labor, and anti-coup coups

Germany is deporting Belgian officials who oppose the splitting of Belgium into Flemish & Walloon units.

Theodore Roosevelt gives up on leading troops into battle, but takes credit for the US sending troops to France earlier than Wilson had planned.

West Virginia enacts a law requiring able-bodied men aged 16 to 60 to work at least 36 hours a week or be forced to work for city or county governments.

Costa Rica has uncovered a plot to reverse the coup that put Federico Tinoco into power in January. Tinoco is portraying the plot as instigated and funded by Germans in the United States.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Today -100: May 20, 1917: Eat Plenty, Wisely, and Without Waste

The new Russian Cabinet declares against a separate peace and for a peace without annexations or indemnities, based on national self-determination. Aleksandr Kerensky, promoted from Justice Minister to War Minister, says he will enforce discipline in the army. Good luck with that, Alex.

Pres. Wilson asks Congress for extensive powers over food production and appoints Herbert Hoover as his Food Administrator, rejecting the titles “food dictator” or “food controller.” Hoover has a motto and everything: “Eat Plenty, Wisely, and Without Waste. Also, Pineapple on Pizza is Just Wrong.”

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Today -100: May 19, 1917: The business now at hand is undramatic, practical, and of scientific directness and precision

Pres. Wilson sets June 5th as Registration Day, when 10 million men aged 21 to 30 are required to register for the draft. They will be chosen and sent (in a few months) to train in 32, um, concentration camps. Man, Hitler just ruined that phrase for everyone, didn’t he?

Fun fact: the term concentration camp was coined by the British during the Boer War for the places they stuck Boer women and children, some of whom starved to death.

But Roosevelt won’t be going, the White House says. Wilson dismisses the argument that TR would rally morale, saying “The business now at hand is undramatic, practical, and of scientific directness [or definiteness; the story uses both in different places] and precision.” Dude should totally write motivational posters.

Sinn Fein says it will boycott the proposed Irish convention and ignore any constitution it comes up with.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today -100: May 18, 1917: When was this ever denied to any man?

The Army Draft bill passes the Senate 65 to 8. The amendment allowing Roosevelt’s volunteer divisions is put back in after a debate in which William Stone (D-Missouri) attacks TR’s temperament and military competence, noting that he led the Rough Riders into a hole from which they had to be rescued... by a negro regiment. TR is defended by his former running mate Hiram Johnson, who says “This privilege is asked by a man who is in the twilight of life [He’s 58!], so that he may lay down his life for his country. ... When was this ever denied to any man?” Ominously, the Senate rejects a clause that would have ended conscription when the war is over. The good news: Registration Day will be a holiday! With parades and speeches and mandatory signing up for possible death and everything!

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Army commanders complain that the soldiers have heard the phrase “peace without annexations” and are interpreting it as a reason not to engage in offensive warfare. Which seems like as good an excuse as any, actually.

There’s some agitation in Russia for the publication of secret treaties.

The Irish Nationalist Party rejects Lloyd George’s nice offer of Home Rule plus partition. They do accept the “well if you don’t like my idea just hold a convention of Irish people” part, but of course the Ulsterites reject that. As will Sinn Fein.

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I’m not a beer drinker, but I understand they have a lot to answer for here. Kennedy Jones, the Daily Mail editor who was just appointed director-general of Food Economy, explains (to people who wonder why they should ration their bread intake while others are drinking beer) that barley will no longer be malted. He says science proves that beer is nutritious and “beer has been, for centuries, a part of the daily diet of our working classes” and men who work at heavy manual labor “must drink considerable malty liquid. ... It is a scientific fact.” Can’t argue with science.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Today -100: May 17, 1917: He is the very model...

New York Gov. Charles Whitman offers Theodore Roosevelt the rank of major general in the state militia.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George proposes Home Rule for Ireland that excludes Northern Ireland for at least 5 years. Or alternately, the Irish might hold a convention and work it out for themselves. Basically, he wants this issue out of the way because of its effect on the US.

US destroyers join the British fleet on anti-u-boat patrol.

The Senate holds a closed-door session on war appropriations, during which the Wilson administration is assailed for failing to explain much of anything about how it plans to spend all that money. Every single detail of the closed-door session leaks to the press, as is the custom.

Wilson gives up on getting Congress to pass a censorship law. For now.

Germany seems to be considering a compromise on the future of Alsace-Lorraine, but not the one you’d think. They might split it between Prussia and Bavaria. Evidently this is a bribe to get the Catholic Zentrum party, which is strong in heavily Catholic Bavaria, to continue supporting Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg.

In solidarity with the food economy being practiced by his subjects, the food served by King George V has been reduced to “the utmost simplicity” and guests must cut their own bread. And no toast.


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Today -100: May 16, 1917: A program of conquest helps us as little as a program of reconciliation to win victory and the war

Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg tells the Reichstag that he rejects demands that he express Germany’s war aims coming from both the left (no annexations or indemnities) and the right (big-ass annexations and indemnities). To declare what Germany is fighting for, he says, “would not serve the country’s interests.” He says if he renounced annexations, the enemy could continue to fight without risk. And he has the kaiser on his side, so suck it.

He does make an exception for Russia, which he tells that there is a No Annexations deal to be made which “excludes every thought of oppression and which would leave behind no sting and no discord.”

The Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet agrees to join a coalition government. Meanwhile, several commanding generals have resigned over the new policy allowing soldiers to vote on whether to obey orders. The Petrograd Soviet’s main strategy seems to be encouraging Socialists in Germany and Austria to prevent their armies being used as “the executioners of Russian liberty.”

The Turks are supposedly deporting the Jewish population of Jaffa. During Passover, no less.

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You’d think he’d have more important things to do than stand in an intersection in a yellow rain jacket and wave cars through, but...

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Today -100: May 15, 1917: Of espionage, choates, and purely destructive

The Senate passes the Espionage Bill, with the censorship (and prohibition) provisions stripped out.

Famous lawyer (and former US ambassador to Britain) Joseph Choate, dies.

The NYT calls the Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet “a purely destructive force.” In general, the Times is soooo over the Russian Revolution.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Today -100: May 14, 1917: Ours is not a true democracy

Carrie Chapman Catt points out that the US can’t talk about making the world safe for democracy until it gives all women the vote: “There is nothing more illogical than to insist that men have the divine right to rule over women and say at the same time that kings haven’t divine right to rule over men.”

Gen. Lavr Kornilov reportedly resigns as commander of the Petrograd Military District, unwilling to continue to tolerate the interference of the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet. I know he didn’t resign at this time, so I guess he’ll change his mind.

Germany allows (and indeed encourages) another 280 Russian “agitators” to return to Russia from exile in Switzerland, including future secretary of the Comintern Angelica Balabanov.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Today -100: May 13, 1917: This is no war for mere spontaneous impulse

The House is delaying the conscription bill, in part to try to force Theodore Roosevelt’s volunteer divisions into it. That amendment is sponsored in the Senate by Warren G. Harding, by the way. Says former Speaker of the House Uncle Joe Cannon, “I want Theodore Roosevelt to carry the heart of America to the trenches of France”. Walter Chandler (R-NY) says “Roosevelt will fight, and everybody knows it. He is the fighter of the age”.

At a Red Cross event, Woodrow Wilson says, “This is no war for amateurs.” I wonder who he could mean? “This is no war for mere spontaneous impulse. It means grim business on every side of it.” But he finds a bright side too: it will heal the last division between North and South, “and when effort and suffering and sacrifice have completed the union, men will no longer speak of any lines either of race or association cutting athwart the great body of the nation.”

Rep. J. Thomas Heflin (D-Land of Cotton) suggests that ships could survive a u-boat torpedo if bales of cotton were placed along the sides so if the ship is holed it will still float. And when the submarine surfaces to check out the damage, you could just shoot it.

It is quite possible that Rep. Heflin is 6 years old.

The Virgin Mary appears to 10-year-old Lúcia Santos and her younger cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto in Fátima, Portugal, tells them secrets and promises to appear again. A Felliniesque carnival will grow up around the subsequent appearances. There will be an official cult and everything. And today, Pope Francis is going to canonize the girls, unjustly spurning the girls in Cottingley who just about the same time took pictures of fairies that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thought were real.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Today -100: May 12, 1917: Of strikes and Romanovs

The British gov warns munitions workers not to strike and that anyone inciting strikes is liable to imprisonment for life.

The Russian provisional government reportedly had plans to deport the czar and his family, but they were vetoed by the Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet, which want to make sure all of the Romanov’s money is seized.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Today -100: May 11, 1917: Of separate peaces and peaces that pay, concentration camps, and conscription

The US will not make a separate peace with Germany. This needed to be made explicit because the US has no formal alliance with the Allies.

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The French were never going to be onboard for a No Annexations, No Indemnity peace deal given their demand for the return of the lost territories of Alsace-Lorraine, but they’d also like to make Germany pay for the French cost of fighting the war. They might also take the Saar. This from a report by the Finance Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, which also says that “the towns and villages destroyed by a criminal race of barbarians shall be rebuilt by German hands.” Which sounds rather like slave labor.

The US government rented a property from the Kanauga Club in North Carolina for use as a concentration camp – yes, that’s the term they’re using – for interned Germans, but there’s some dispute over whether the club manager had the authority to rent it out, so the government has to postpone sending the first contingent of prisoners from Ellis Island.

The War Department says there is no possibility that the local draft boards will practice favoritism. None at all. Spoiler Alert: they will totally practice favoritism. Especially in the South. But in truth, class favoritism is built into the law. People can be exempted from service because they are more “valuable” at home, and many boards determined this by how much money people earned. People with religious objections to war will be required to perform jobs the president deems noncombatant.

Joseph McGuiness is elected to the British Parliament at the South Longford by-election. He is a Sinn Fein activist currently in jail for his participation in the Easter Rising.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Today -100: May 10, 1917: The woman who wastes a crust wastes a bullet

The British Food Ministry issues some slogans:

Former ambassador to Mexico Henry Lane Wilson wins his libel suit against Harper’s Weekly for correctly reporting about his complicity in the Huerta coup and murder of Pres. Madero. He is awarded six (6) cents.

Herbert Hoover wants prohibition introduced as a war measure to conserve grain. He visits Pres. Wilson to talk food policy, but tells reporters he doesn’t want to be a food dictator. “The man who accepts such a position will die on the barbed wire of the first entrenchments.”

Only 30 of 20,000 NYC teachers refuse to sign the loyalty oath.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Today -100: May 9, 1917: Of state gags, u-boats, and non-revolutions

Secretary of State Robert Lansing prohibits State Department officials talking to reporters. The State Dept cites as examples of confidential news that has leaked without authorization a telegram quoting the German consul in Mexico claiming that the US ambassador was hissed in the Mexican Assembly.

Theodore Roosevelt is now giving speeches demanding to be allowed to raise a division and go to France. He says 9 out of 10 of those opposing him do so because they think he’ll do too good a job, whatever that means. We’d have so much winning we’d get tired of winning, I guess.

There have been a lot of rumors that the US has a secret plan to defeat German u-boats. Possibly involving an invention, possibly from Thomas Edison.

The NYT thinks there’s a revolution going on in Bolivia. There isn’t.

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Monday, May 08, 2017

Today -100: May 8, 1917: Of food and dancing in wartime

Herbert Hoover, the new head of the American Food Commission, testifies to the House Ag Committee but insists some of it remain secret because reasons. Hoover does not support government fixing the price of agricultural goods.

War is Hell:

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Sunday, May 07, 2017

Today -100: May 7, 1917: Of volunteers, powerful masses, Birth Control The Motion Picture, potatoes, secret treaties, and lynchings

200,000 men have volunteered to join Theodore Roosevelt if he is allowed to raise his own army (he won’t be).

William Howard Taft says the war is the fault of the German and Austrian monarchies and if the two kaisers abdicated there would be peace in two weeks.

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The NYC Commissioner of Licenses George Bell bans Margaret Sanger’s film Birth Control. IMDB has no information on it, but I see that Jennifer Laurence has bought rights to do a biopic, which is, um...

You know it’s truly war when the lawn of the Wisconsin governor’s Executive Mansion is plowed up and potatoes planted. Says Gov. Emanuel Philipp, “we shall not ask others to work on the farms producing crops unless we do our share also.” Because the governor will totally by planting those potatoes himself.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The Hamburg Fremdenblatt says it has unearthed a secret treaty between Britain and the US to prevent Germany ever having colonies again. Germany’s surplus population, deprived of this safety valve, will be sent to regions controlled by the US & UK, where they will be “absorbed” like Germans have been in the US.

We haven’t had a lynching for a while. Now we have Arizona’s last ever lynching, that of Starr Daley (presumably white since they don’t give his race), who shot a man and raped his wife. He is arrested and a mob chases the sheriff’s car 40 miles from Phoenix before running it off the road and grabbing Daley, who they take back to the scene of his crime and hang. Supposedly he gives the mob instructions in how to tie a noose. A coroner’s jury rules it a justifiable homicide by unknown parties, as was the custom.

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Saturday, May 06, 2017

Today -100: May 6, 1917: Of governors, soviets, suicides, and steam airplanes

The new German “governor” of Belgium, Baron Ludwig von Falkenhausen, takes up his post. His nephew will hold the same post when Germany again occupies Belgium in the Second World War.

Everything is fine in Russia again: the Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet passes a vote of confidence in the government (by a narrow majority). The Duma will soon be re-convened for the first time since the February Revolution.

Eldon Jacob Crull, who lost the primary race for Congress to Jeanette Rankin, commits suicide.

Abner Doble of the Abner Doble Motor Vehicle Company says the future of airplanes is steam power (guess how his cars are powered). One (1) steam-powered airplane will successfully fly in 1933, but that’s it.

To summarize, the names in this post are: Ludwig von Falkenhausen, Eldon Crull, and Abner Doble.

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Friday, May 05, 2017

Today -100: May 5, 1917: Making some sacrifices like the rest of us

The censorship bill passes the House. Somehow the amendment requiring that publishing prohibited information could only be prosecuted if there was intent to harm the US has disappeared. The stupidest thing said during the debate was probably Edwin Webb (D-NC)’s “The newspaper ought to be required to make some sacrifices like the rest of us.”

The Russian provisional government’s note to the Allies promising to continue with the war provokes demonstrations by “the easily aroused crowds of Petrograd” in a struggle for power between the provisional government and the Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet, which feels that the government should have asked permission before sending the note.

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A Brooklyn man slapped a Bronx man for saying that Americans would only enlist if you got them drunk first.

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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Today -100: May 4, 1917: Of food powers, war aims, and the Jews of Palestine

President Wilson sends a bill to Congress giving the president the power to control food production, distribution and prices during wartime. Also fuel, clothing, etc. And the power to seize factories, mines, etc. And to limit the use of grain for liquor. Not that Wilson wants to use all these powers, he says, he just wants the threat.

German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg will soon say more about Germany’s war aims. He is under attack for this from the right, who are calling him weak because being specific about terms for peace is something the Socialists want. The Socialists have been pushing No Annexations, No Indemnity. The right, while evidently having given up on annexing, say, parts of Belgium and France (specifically the parts with coal under them), still strongly demand that Germany’s enemies pay indemnities so Germany doesn’t wind up in debt or have its taxes put up.

The Ottoman governor of Palestine allegedly threatened to exterminate all Jews there.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Today -100: May 3, 1917: Sagacious pigs are the worst kind

Assistant Treasury Secretary Byron Rufus Newton attacks recent price increases for flags. As much as double. Which he calls a penalty on patriotism imposed by “a few opportunists and sagacious pigs.” Newton has asked the attorney general if something can be done.

Posters go up in Berlin offering a $750 reward for anyone turning in “spies” spreading discontent. Why, they might even be disguised as good-natured old men or soldiers in uniform.

In the House of Lords, the archbishop of Canterbury objects to the bombing of the German city of Freiburg in retaliation for a German attack on a hospital ship. The only support for the attack comes from Lords Curzon and Milner, who are both former colonial governors.

A New York Supreme Court justice bans The Awakening of Spring, an old play by Frank Wedekind of Pandora’s Box fame. He thinks it’s too sexy and shit.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Today -100: May 2, 1917: Only madmen or enemies of national liberty are capable of such revolting acts

There were street riots in Petrograd on Monday, with a little bomb-throwing, as was the custom. Someone assassinates Gen. Kashtalinski, who generaled in the Russo-Japanese War. The Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet condemns the disorder: “Only madmen or enemies of national liberty are capable of such revolting acts, which might compromise the Russian Revolution.” But Tuesday was nice, with big May Day celebrations.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Venustiano Carranza exchanges the title of First Leader of Mexico for Presidente. His first official act is pardoning the leader of a strike.

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Monday, May 01, 2017

Today -100: May 1, 1917: Of flags

The French commission to the US is really pushing for the US to dispatch troops as soon as possible. They think the sight of American flag will seriously demoralize the Germans.

The Germans are being reassured by their government and newspapers that the US will only send money to the Allies, not troops. But what about flags?

The NYT says the Russian government was right to let “the German agent” Lenin give speeches which lost him sympathy instead of making a martyr of him by imprisoning him.

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