Monday, November 20, 2017

Today -100: November 20, 1917: Of masses, war dinners, teachers, and enemy aliens


A federal grand jury indicts 7 members of the staff of The Masses, including Max Eastman and John Reed,  under the Espionage Act for knowingly distributed unmailable material and for conspiring to cause “Insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny and refusal of [military] duty”. Reed (who is in Russia) is charged for writing an article, “Knit a Straitjacket for Your Soldier Boy,” and Arthur Young and Henry Glinterkamp are indicted for drawings, Glinterkamp for a cartoon of Death taking the measurements of a draftee for his coffin.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Hey, that’s what we call it in my house too!

The specific charges against the De Witt Clinton High School (Bronx) teachers who were suspended or transferred are made public. Thomas Mufson evidently thought it was proper to be neutral during a discussion of anarchism, A. Henry Schneer said patriotism should not be discussed in school, and Samuel Schmalhausen has a funny name and also doesn’t think it’s his job to inculcate an instinctive respect for the president and other government officials and did I mention he has a funny name? At the hearing, a faculty member complained that (this quote is from the newspaper, not necessarily the verbatim words of Isaac A. Dotey, who also has a funny name) “the pupils had of late consulted their own individual opinion, and that this had been subversive of discipline.”

Pres. Wilson bans enemy aliens (Germans only for now; the US is not at war with Austria or Turkey) from the District of Columbia, the Panama Canal Zone, within 3 miles of navigable streams or 100 yards of docks, piers, canals, railroad terminals, etc. Enemy aliens must register and must get government permission to travel or change jobs. They are not allowed to fly in airplanes or balloons. Within a few hours, before the news could reasonably be expected to have been disseminated, soldiers are sent into River Street in Hoboken (which also has a funny name). They grab 200 suspected Germans out of stores, rooming houses, saloons, and just off the streets. Before being sent to Ellis Island, some are held on an army transport ship. Which then mysteriously bursts into flame.


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