Friday, December 08, 2017

Today -100: December 8, 1917: In matters of war I am a teetotaler


The US is at war with Austria. The declaration passes the Senate unanimously (La Follette is not present, claiming later he didn’t know the vote was going on) and the House by 363 to 1, the 1 being Meyer London (Socialist-NY), who says Socialists oppose war. “In matters of war I am a teetotaler. I refuse to take the first intoxicating drink.” Walter Chandler (R-NY) asks him to cite one instance in which Karl Marx denounces war.

Jeanette Rankin (R-Montana) says war is a “stupid and futile way of attempting to settle international difficulties” and this one was caused by “commercial and selfish interests,” but this time votes for war, saying it’s not a real declaration of war but a “technicality” arising from the previous declaration of war on Germany.

No one pushes for Bulgaria and Turkey to be included, grumpily accepting Wilson’s argument that, like Austria, “They too, are tools of Germany. But they are mere tools and do not yet stand in the direct path of our proposed actions.” The US will end the war without having declared war on the two countries, or vice versa.

Halifax, hundreds of its houses in ruins after the munitions ship explosion yesterday, now faces a blizzard, because of course it does. Rescue work halts. “Many of the injured necessarily died of neglect.”

Finland declares independence from Russia.

Romanian troops who were fighting alongside Russians join the cease-fire, because what choice do they have? Austria starts releasing Russian prisoners even before Russia begins releasing Austria’s.

Recent German air raids on London show that Germany has switched completely from zeppelins to airplanes.


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