Thursday, August 16, 2018

Today -100: August 16, 1918: Of quarantines, diaries, and dicks


US troops arrive at Vladivostok.

Dr. Leland Cofer, health officer for the Port of New York, says there is no need to establish a quarantine for the Spanish flu or other “minor communicable diseases,” and anyway that would just clog up the workings of the port and there’s a war on, you know.

Another passenger from the Norwegian ship dies.

The Soviets have started publishing excerpts from dead former Czar Nicholas’s diaries. He ascribed the February Revolution to “treason and cowardice.”

Headline of the Day -100:



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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Today -100: August 15, 1918: No need for our people to worry over the matter


Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo calls for an 80% tax on war profits to raise the revenues needed to fight the war in 1919.

Port health officers now admit that that Norwegian ship’s passengers did have influenza, but President of the NYC Board of Health Royal S. Copeland, doing his best Mayor-Vaughan-refusing-to-close-Amity-beaches imitation, says there’s not the slightest chance of a Spanish flu epidemic in New York. Only malnourished people like German soldiers get it, so “No need for our people to worry over the matter.” So that’s okay then.

Copeland, by the way, is a homeopathist.

The War and Navy Offices’ commissions on training camps issues a warning asking girls not to talk with men in uniform unless they’ve been formally introduced.

Germany supposedly demands that Finland send troops into Murmansk within 2 weeks, or else.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Today -100: August 14, 1918: Of triumvirates, flu, and Czechoslovakias


The Second Soviet Congress names Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev a triumvirate with sole executive power during the present emergency.

Headline of the Day -100: 


A Norwegian ship arrives after a voyage in which pretty much everyone got sick, 4 died, 1 died after docking, and 9 are still quite sick. Doctors claim it isn’t Spanish flu, it’s pneumonia, and didn’t quarantine the sick. Did they not know that severe influenza leads to pneumonia? I guess not.

The article explains that “flue” is the British abbreviation of influenza. 

Britain formally recognizes Czechoslovakia as a nation and more importantly as a nation with an army. France and Italy have already recognized it, the US has not.


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Monday, August 13, 2018

Today -100: August 13, 1918: Of mustard gas, assassinations, raincoats and pamphlets


The US Navy claims that a German u-boat launched a mustard gas attack on a North Carolina lighthouse. The crew of the lighthouse all survived but some chickens died. This all seems unlikely (u-boats are operating in that area, though).

The Germans in Ukraine publicly hang Boris Donskoy of the Left Social Revolutionaries for assassinating Field Marshal Hermann von Eichhorn with a bomb in Kiev.

Berlin papers claim that the Bolshevik government is preparing to flee Moscow for Kronstadt and that Lenin & Trotsky have already done so.

US Ambassador to Russia David Francis (well, the NYT calls him ambassador but the US doesn’t recognize the Bolshevik government so he’s not actually an ambassador any more) and the other Allied ambassadors refuse the Bolsheviks’ demand that they move to Moscow. Francis is going instead to Archangel.

Prussia bans the entry into Germany of Jewish workers from the East.

Corporations and people involved in making shoddy raincoats for US troops are indicted under the Sabotage Act.

Viennese authorities order the populace to turn in all the pamphlets dropped by d'Annunzio et al, or else.


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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Today -100: August 12, 1918: Of refuges, tsarinas, and intolerable distractions


Headline of the Day -100: 


The pope is urging Russia to free the (dead) former Tsarina Alexandra and her (dead) daughters.

The Women Voters' Anti-Suffrage Party of NY writes Pres. Wilson to complain about his switch from opposition to support of a federal women’s suffrage Amendment, which they call an “intolerable distraction.” They point out that the last 10 times states have held referenda on the subject, women’s suffrage won over (all-male) electorates only once, in “the Socialist-pacifist triumph in New York State.” They deny that a federal amendment is “a measure of democracy” or a war measure. Indeed, the fighting strength of countries like Russia is undermined by socialism and women’s suffrage is part of that, somehow.


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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Today -100: August 11, 1918: Of pushes, inventions, and illusions


The Allies continue to push the Germans back quite successfully. The Germans blame fog.

The British Munitions Ministry has been receiving helpful advice from the public, such as: freeze the clouds and mount artillery on them, train cormorants to pick apart the mortar on the Krupp’s weapons factories, use giant magnets mounted on balloons to grab German rifles, mount scythes on planes as protection, set Zeppelins on fire with heat rays, capture German soldiers with cement... And, of course, snake catapults.

The Sunday NYT Book Review section reviews Sigmund Freud’s Reflections on War and Death, a translation of a 1915 book in which he explains how the war stripped people of their illusions that humans never die, or something.


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Friday, August 10, 2018

Today -100: August 10, 1918: We didn't come except for the joy of the daring


Italian poet/playwright/proto-fascist/pilot Capt. Gabriele d'Annunzio leads 9 planes (8?) on a 700-mile mission to drop 50,000 pamphlets on Vienna, which he wrote himself but didn’t bother to get translated. In them he informs the Viennese, “On this August morning, while the fourth year of your desperate convulsion comes to an end and luminously begins the year of our full power, suddenly there appears the three-color wing as an indication of the destiny that is turning. ... On the wind of victory that rises from freedom's rivers, we didn't come except for the joy of the daring, we didn't come except to prove what we could venture and do whenever we want, in an hour of our choice.” In other words, we can bomb Vienna if we want to.

R. H. Bruce Lockhart, acting consul general in Moscow, and members of his staff are arrested by the Soviet authorities. The British claim it is in reprisal for the landing at Archangel. In fact, Lockhart and Sidney “Ace of Spies” Reilly (not arrested) had been plotting a coup against the Soviet regime and the assassination of Lenin.

The British at Archangel, Murmansk and Vladivostok put out a declaration that the Allies have only invaded “as friends to help you save yourselves from dismemberment and destruction at the hands of Germany” and they don’t intend to impose a government on Russia (hah!). “Our one desire is to see Russia strong and free, and then to retire to watch the Russian people work out their own destinies.”

The US Food Administration lifts restrictions on beef consumption, including rationing to households and limits in restaurants.


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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Today -100: August 9, 1918: Of wars, governments of norths, women MPs or not, and old old old soldiers


Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda, Fake News and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: A German paper says Russia has declared war on England. Which isn’t precisely true but will lead to a particularly snotty NYT editorial tomorrow.

A “Government of the North” is formed by the Whites in Archangel. Very Game-of-Thronesey.

Britain’s law officers rule that women can’t be elected to Parliament.

Speaker of the House Champ Clark says if he had his druthers the draft age would be raised to 68 (his age) and he’d go to France and serve under his son.


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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Today -100: August 8, 1918: Of suffragists, trying to get my stupid word processor to show ă’s, and arch zeppelin raiders


The NYT suggests that suffragist protesters shouldn’t be sent to the workhouse, where they just disrupt discipline, but to the psychiatrist, presumably for committal.

The Romanian parliament votes unanimously to prosecute Ion Brătianu, who was prime minister from 1914 until January of this year, and four members of his cabinet, for bringing Romania into the war.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Führer der Luftschiffe (or, to translate his title into Steampunk, Arch Zeppelin Raider) Peter Strasser is shot down in what will turn out to be the last zeppelin raid on Britain of the war.


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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Today -100: August 7, 1918: Notwithstanding the fact that the people are opposed to any new war


Former French Interior Minister (1914-17) Louis Malvy, who was tried by the Senate, initially for treason although that charge was later withdrawn, is found guilty of negligence (having “ignored, violated and betrayed his duty”) for not cracking down hard enough on pacifists. They blame him for the 1917 army mutinies because of course they do. Malvy is sentenced to 5 years’ banishment, which he will spend in Spain. When he returns, he’ll be re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies and will even be interior minister again, in 1926.

Headline of the Day -100: 


They’re especially good with bayonets, apparently.

Suffragist (National Woman’s Party) protests outside the White House resume, as do arrests of suffragists protesting outside the White House, including Alice Paul. The demo is aimed at pressuring Pres. Wilson to force the suffrage amendment, which he supports, through the Senate. “The women were applauded when they attempted to speak. The crowd also applauded when they were arrested. There was no cheering.”

Lenin threatens to declare war on Japan, because of that whole invading Siberia thing, “notwithstanding the fact that the people are opposed to any new war.”


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Monday, August 06, 2018

Today -100: August 6, 1918: Of archangels, Big Bertha and Big Rubber Men


So when we were told that Woodrow Wilson had just decided to send troops into Russia, US troops were actually already in Archangel. According to the AP, “The Participation of the Americans in the landing has been greeted enthusiastically in Northern Russia. The people consider that the United States is absolutely without selfish interests as regards Russia, and look upon the Americans as a guarantee of the friendliness of the Allies toward the country.” One of those friendly invasions you hear so much about.

Paris is again being bombarded by the long-range run “Big Bertha,” which I hadn’t realized (or more likely had forgotten) was a French rather than a German coinage.

Headline of the Day -100: 


This is the Great Army Raincoat Scandal of 1918, not a particularly lame Captain America comic book story. I’m as disappointed as you are.


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Sunday, August 05, 2018

Today -100: August 5, 1918: Of fats


Headline of the Day -100: 


Well that’s just hurtful.


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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Today -100: August 4, 1918: Of interventions, booty, the draft, statues, and invitations


Woodrow Wilson finally decides to send troops to Russia (as does Japan). But he reassures Russia that his intention is not to interfere with its political sovereignty, which might be more reassuring if he had ever recognized the current government of Russia or if it wasn’t an obvious lie.

Headline of the Day -100: 


The Wilson administration wants the draft age extended to all men 18 to 45 from its current range of 21-31.

Germany has been melting down statues to make ammunition, but not those of any Hohenzollern.

King Alfonso of Spain is offering to host the former tsarina Alexandra of Russia and her remaining family as castleguests. Except they’re already dead.


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Friday, August 03, 2018

Today -100: August 3, 1918: Of karelias, blimps, and gorkies


Germany tries to bribe Finland with Eastern Karelia (which would be grabbed from Russia) if it quickly establishes a monarchy.

The US Navy breaks the record for a blimp remaining in the air. 30 hours. Evidently I didn’t notice when the word “blimp” was coined a couple of years ago.

Maxim Gorky is ordered arrested (although I don’t think it ever happened) and his newspaper suppressed.


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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Today -100: August 2, 1918: American armies and numerical superiority do not frighten us


Headline of the Day -100: 


He says u-boats will just sink them all before they arrive. “American armies and numerical superiority do not frighten us. It is spirit which brings the decision.”

Contrariwise, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels says u-boats are no longer a leading factor in the war, as ship sinkings by them have steadily diminished.

The Onondaga, an Iroquois tribe, declare war on Germany, because they don’t like how tribe members in a Wild West show caught in Germany at the start of the war were treated. I haven’t been able to determine what that treatment was.

The Democrats nominate teacher/lawyer/prison-reform advocate Mary Lilly for the NY State Assembly.


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Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Today -100: August 1, 1918: When ye see me ye will weep


The Entente, Japan and the US are still negotiating the terms of the proposed intervention in Russia.

Capt. Sarrat, a French aviator, jumps from a plane with a parachute, or a 36-foot umbrella, which the AP wrongly thinks is the first such jump. German pilots successfully parachuted to safety in June.

Headline of the Day -100:


In Bohemia. It’s a stone that appears in extremely low tide, inscribed “When ye see me ye will weep.” Not really a folkloric thing, just that if you can see the stone, it’s too dangerous for ships to pass, so agricultural goods can’t travel.

The NYT editorial page:


Still haven’t seen any official reaction from any country.

The Bolshevik government bans pogroms, which is more than the czar ever did. The Jewish bourgeoisie “is our enemy not as Jews but as bourgeoisie,” the government explains.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Today -100: July 31, 1918: Of real affairs of the heart


Austrian Premier Baron Max Hussarek von Heinlein, brushing aside rumors about disagreements with Germany over the fate of Poland, calls the Austro-German alliance “a real affair of the heart”.

Kinky Headline of the Day -100: 



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Monday, July 30, 2018

Today -100: July 30, 1918: And the front just looks shorter because it’s kind of cold today


Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda, Fake News, and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Relations between Turkey and Germany have been totally severed. The NYT almost immediately admits that this story is not believed by the US government or by anyone really. But it was good click-bait for the front page, I guess.

The Berlin government issues a pamphlet explaining that German forces in the West are not retreating, they are shortening the German front. So that’s okay then.


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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Today -100: July 29, 1918: And where’s your proof that New Zealanders aren’t cannibals?


Headline of the Day -100: 


Also by yarn. Germans are weird.

A race riot erupts in South Philly. A black woman, Elsie Bond, a city probation worker, bought a home in a white neighborhood and her new neighbors made her welcome by gathering and throwing rocks through all her windows, as was the custom. She defended herself with a gun, all hell broke loose. Two cops are dead and 60 black people and presumably 0 white people are arrested.


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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Today -100: July 28, 1918: Is there a cake? There’s probably a cake.


Happy 4th anniversary of Austria declaring war on Serbia.

Finland offers its crown to Adolphus Friedrick of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who accepts.


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Friday, July 27, 2018

Today -100: July 27, 1918: Every mob contributes to German lies about the United States


Woodrow Wilson condemns lynchings and the “mob spirit.” He’s referring to mob action against people they consider insufficiently patriotic, not to lynchings of black men in the South, which he doesn’t specifically call out because god forbid he ever criticize racist violence. “Every mob contributes to German lies about the United States, what her most gifted liars cannot improve upon by the way of calumny.”

The Czech troops in Siberia capture Simbirsk, which I am told is a place. Pravda says “may the fall of Simbirsk make the proletariat tremble for the fate of the proletariat revolution.”

Austrian Social Democrats want the new cabinet to get Germany to set joint war aims and peace terms, without annexations or indemnities.

German newspapers claim that former Russian Tsarina Alexandra asked permission to take her daughters and enter a convent in Sweden, but was refused, presumably because she’s dead.

Charles Lippman of the Bronx tells his draft board that they can’t draft him because he’s a bigamist. In fact he became a bigamist just so he could make this argument, convincing his first wife to remarry him. He’s sentenced to 2-4 years.


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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Today -100: July 26, 1918: An Alpine load of tyranny


The resignation of the Austrian cabinet a few days ago was preceded by accusations and attacks in the Reichsrath (parliament) by Czechs. Dr. (Jaroslav?) Stránský: “We impeach this premier as a typical representative of that Germanized Austria, the existence of which means the prolongation of the war. ... Austria is simply a century-old crime against the freedom of humanity. ... Austria is not a state, but a hideous dream of a hundred years, an Alpine load of tyranny, and nothing else. Austria is a state without patriots and without patriotism. It is an absurdity.” (Update: oh, literally impeach. Czech deputies offer a resolution to impeach the prime minister and interior minister even though they have resigned. It is rejected 215-162.) Baron Max Hussarek von Heinlein is the new Austrian prime minister (“minister president”). So he gets to run around for three months trying to hold the pieces together.

Headline of the Day -100: 



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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Today -100: July 25, 1918: Of smiths, sedition, and tsarevitches


In a win for Tammany, NY Democrats nominate Alfred E. Smith, the president of the NYC Board of Aldermen, for governor. The guy who was supposed to nominate William Randolph Hearst decides not to bother.

The NYT steadfastly neglects to mention that Smith is a Catholic, although NY has never had a Catholic governor and it’s kind of a big deal.

Simon Engle, originally of the Netherlands, gets 30 days for sedition for saying that the only way Americans would reach Berlin would be as prisoners. No lawyer would defend him.

The French Chamber of Deputies is considering a bill to punish generals who fail to hold positions or otherwise fail to achieve a task assigned to them, or is negligent or loses troops, with up to 5 years in prison.

News (finally) of the death of Tsarevitch Alexei Romanov, the 13-year-old hemophilic son of the former tsar. The report says he died of exposure some days after his father was executed. Nope.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Today -100: July 24, 1918: No one likes a truckler


The New York Democratic Convention opens by adopting a resolution designed as a jab at William Randolph Hearst’s bid to become governor. It gives Woodrow Wilson “their whole-hearted support and confidence in his magnificent struggle to make the world free for democracy” and “repudiate[s] every truckler with our country’s enemies who strives or has striven to extenuate or excuse such crimes against humanity as the rape of Belgium, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the German policy of assassination by submarines; who seeks or has sought to sow dissension among our allies [a reference to supporting Irish independence] or now seeks to capitalize by election to public office the latent treason whose total annihilation is the most pressing need of the hour.”

Al Smith is expected to be the Dems’ candidate. Last night he received the distressing news that his 11-year-old son Arthur had disappeared from the family summer cottage. This morning Arthur turned up in Saratoga because he just had to see his father get nominated.


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Monday, July 23, 2018

Today -100: July 23, 1918: Of declarations of war, dead czars and new kings, and nurses


Honduras declares war on Germany.

Theodore Roosevelt will not run for governor of New York. Too busy with the war, he says. Doing what? Telling other people how he’d run the war if he were in charge, I guess.

The Austrian cabinet resigns.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Germany doesn’t mind, evidently. Actually, if there’ve been official responses from any countries yet, I haven’t seen them.

Lithuania, nominally independent, picks a king, Duke Wilhelm of Urach, who will be known as Mindaugas II if Germany allows him to, which it won’t, because Kaiser Wilhelm wants the job to go to one of his sons.

The US Army will accept black nurses. Nursing only black patients, of course, because 1918. And only in army camps in the US.


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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Today -100: July 22, 1918: Of Romanovs, lost sailors, and cannibals


Russia seizes the Romanovs’ property. I would have thought they’d done that already.

The USS San Diego, an armored cruiser, is sunk off New York, probably by a mine despite the captain’s insistence that it was a U-boat torpedo. This article says there might be 62 dead. There are in fact 6, but some of the survivors somehow wind up wandering around Manhattan unsure where they’re supposed to go. A cop buys them sandwiches and coffee and gets the night watchman of the Riverside Theatre to let them in so they can sleep.

Now Playing: Among the Cannibal Isles of the South Pacific, a film by Martin and Osa Johnson documenting their travels in the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides. I could only find excerpts online, but


Clifford Geertz it ain’t, is what I’m saying.


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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Today -100: July 21, 1918: Of ex-Romanovs, unnoticed retreats, juniors, and potatoes by the Pound


Former Czar Nicholas II is executed (last week actually, but it’s announced now). The Ural Regional Council, which is taking responsibility, says his wife and children are safe.  Don’t know why they’d lie about that. With bands of Czech soldiers roaming Siberia, the local Soviets were afraid the royals would be captured and used to front the counter-revolution.

The Germans are pushed back over the Marne. The Germans say they retreated “without being noticed by the enemy” and anyway they’d already achieved all their objectives so there was really no reason not to run away.

Another Roosevelt kid is a casualty of the war. Theodore Jr. is wounded. Also, a German plane drops a note confirming Quentin Roosevelt’s death, as was the custom.

NY Gov. Charles Whitman says even if Theodore Roosevelt enters the gubernatorial race, he’s staying in.

Social history of the Day -100:


Book review:


Yup, that’s definitely what he’s known for: being from Idaho. That’s why most of his poems were about potatoes.


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Friday, July 20, 2018

Today -100: July 20, 1918: Of darrows, victories, carpathias, and baseball


The US government is sending Clarence Darrow, of all people, to Europe on a speaking tour to tell the truth about America.

The unofficial NY Republican convention closes, and they still don’t know if Theodore Roosevelt is running for governor. TR still doesn’t know definitively that his son is dead, so may have other things on his mind.

A mob in Mount Vernon – I assume the one in New York – drags a Catholic priest out of his church. His crime: failing to toll the bell to celebrate US military victories. His church: Our Lady of Victory. They force him to kiss a flag and ring the bell, or maybe the other way around. The Rev. Edward Heinlein will be charged with disorderly conduct, of all things. The NYT seems to have nothing after that.

The Romanian Chamber of Deputies votes to prosecute the cabinet that brought Romania into the war.

Secretary of Labor William Wilson’s son, 2nd Lt. Joseph Wilson, is court-martialed for being absent without leave and getting arrested in Baltimore for gambling. The court-martial recommends he be dismissed from the service, but Pres. Wilson commutes his sentence.

The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued passengers from the Titanic, is sunk. Everyone is rescued, but 5 crew are killed by the blast from the torpedo. The Cunard liner was being used to transport troops across the Atlantic, and was headed towards Boston.

The NY Supreme Court rules that a white man refused service in a Harlem restaurant because he was sitting with a black friend can’t be awarded damages under the state’s civil rights laws because he wasn’t refused because of his race but because he was with someone of a different race. This is, of course, stupid law.

Secretary of War Newton Baker finally settles the fraught question of whether professional baseball is a necessary occupation. It isn’t. He suggests they get real jobs. This will leave the Yankees with just 1 player over draft age and the Brooklyn Giants 5.


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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today -100: July 19, 1918: Of ways to stop German spies, censorship, and women’s suffrage


The Allied counter-offensive is doing rather well.

Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, on the other hand, is still quite dead, although his father is informed that Quentin’s flying companion is sure he landed safely.

Still, the New York Republican Party, currently holding its “unofficial convention” in Saratoga, is trying to get Roosevelt to run for governor and trying to ignore the existence of their unloved incumbent governor, Charles Whitman. TR gives a speech (this is before he was informed about Quentin’s death) against the Enemy Within: “A glorious way to stop the activity of the German spy [by which I’m pretty sure he means anyone at all critical of the war] is to shoot him where he is found.” He says that German- and Austrian-Americans should be drafted because during the Revolutionary War Americans of English birth fought for independence, and their cause didn’t have 1/10 the reasons as the current war, because Lusitania and shit.

Recruiting officers are told to stop illegally enlisting boys under the age of 18, as it’s just embarrassing for everyone when their parents show up and demand they be released. Documentation will be required in the future.

A NY state Supreme Court justice allows Mount Vernon to ban German-language newspapers and the Hearst press.

Hungary’s Diet rejects women’s suffrage.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Today -100: July 18, 1918: Of best deaths, sawed-off shotguns, useless wars, amusing shells, and red hats


Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, son of the former president, is killed in aerial battle. He was 21. “The best of deaths,” the NYT calls it.

German newspapers are complaining over rumors that American troops have been issued sawed-off shotguns, which are apparently not “honorable,” presumably because no one’s bothered to train them to shoot. What next, they ask, tomahawks and scalping knives?

Headline of the Day -100: 


Oh, NOW he tells us.  Austrian Foreign Minister Count Burian says “we regard this war as senseless and purposeless bloodshed which might at any moment be ended by the re-emergence of feelings of humanity in our enemies.”

Headline of the Day -100:  


Émile-Joseph Duval, the manager of the newspaper Le Bonnet Rouge, is executed for allegedly taking money from Germany to publish defeatism. Another person associated with the paper, also arrested in 1917, the photographer Miguel Almereyda, the father of the great film-maker Jean Vigo, was mysteriously strangled in prison.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today -100: July 17, 1918: Our enemies want to paralyze us by an offensive of irritation and render us helpless


Baron Burian, the Austrian Foreign Minister, says Austria is ready to begin peace talks and is “prepared to discuss everything except our own territory.” It’s not the Central Powers who are annexationists,  he says (the terms that they imposed on Russia and Romania are a special case, or something), but the Entente countries that want to grab Alsace-Lorraine, Trieste, the Trentino and Germany’s colonies. He says, “Our enemies want to paralyze us by an offensive of irritation and render us helpless. They want to crush our very powerful organism in order to make weak parts one after the other serviceable to their own purposes.” Austrians, always bragging about their very powerful organisms.

The French Senate is trying former Interior Minister Louis-Jean Malvy for treason for allegedly giving information to Germany, which he didn’t.

Floyd Dell, managing editor of The Masses, whose first trial with Max Eastman and others connected to the paper for obstructing military recruitment ended in a mistrial, then, ironically, let himself be drafted before an intended retrial, has now been discharged from the army because he shouldn’t have been conscripted while an indictment hung over him. Spoiler Alert: The second trial will also end in a hung jury.


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Monday, July 16, 2018

Today -100: July 16, 1918: To hell with this blockheaded Hun


Haiti declares war on Germany, which is just adorable.

So too have some residents of Bismarck, North Dakota, who want that name changed. Someone painted out the city’s name at the railroad station and put up a sign saying “To hell with this blockheaded Hun. What did he ever do for us?”

Headline That’s Probably a Euphemism for Something of the Day -100: 



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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Today -100: July 15, 1918: Of productive baseball, roofs, and war wounds


Individual draft boards are making conflicting rulings on whether baseball players are “productive.” Boston’s says that baseball’s recreational benefits are overestimated, although it excuses Braves catcher John Park Henry from getting a real job because it would be such a financial loss to himself and others (others being the team owners).

Man, the food situation in Germany is getting really bad:


Theodore Roosevelt is informed that his son Archie’s war wound is worse than first reported and will take 8 months to heal. It’s not a great week for the Roosevelt boys.


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Today -100: July 14, 1918: There must be no hugger-mugger peace


The German government has a contract with the Westmark Land Company to purchase estates in Alsace-Lorraine and settle them with people “who are reliable from a national standpoint.”

German Chancellor Georg von Hertling says Germany does not intend to annex Belgium, but only to use it as “a pawn for future negotiations.” (A few days later he’ll say he means he wants Germany’s colonies back).

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100:


Headline of the Day -100:  


Um, you do you, Germans.

Lloyd George, while admitting that Britain decided its colonies and Dominions were going to war without consulting them, says the Dominions (i.e. the white colonies) will have a role in determining the peace terms. He adds, “There must be no hugger-mugger peace.” He says that Germany’s (he mostly means Prussia) past successful wars just encouraged it to more warfare, so this time it mustn’t get anything out of the war. “The god of brute force must this time forever be broken and burnt in its own furnace.” Probably best not to spend too long thinking about that sentence.

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100:  


Flight Sgt James Baugham crashed in No Man’s Land and was shot at by both sides until he waved his handkerchief at the French. I told you it was disappointing.


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Today -100: July 13, 1918: Of neutralizing ointment & special underwear


The War Department insists that not only are its gas masks completely effective against mustard gas, but there’s a “neutralizing ointment” now. And special underwear.

That’s what it says: “special underwear.”

Finland’s German-propped-up government’s Senate votes to expel all the Jews, because they funded the Red Guards. The Jews say they were forced to give money to the Red Guards.

Henceforth, all US war contracts will ban the use of prison and child labor.


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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Today -100: July 12, 1918: Of mustard, grocery shopping, violent pan-Germans, and zitas


US forces in Europe now have a supply of mustard gas, so they can begin setting German skin on fire, which is something they’ve been wanting to do.

Germany demands that neutral Holland supply it with 60,000 cows, 3,000 horses, 10,000 tons of cheese, 2 million eggs, etc. I think they’re planning a party.

Germany’s new foreign minister, replacing the ousted Richard von Kühlmann, is Adm. Paul von Hintze, described by the NYT as a “violent pan-German” (violent pan-Germans are the worst kind) shoved into office by Kaiser Wilhelm & the military rulers of Germany without any consultation with the Reichstag.

A Swedish lieutenant, who claims to have stayed at the hotel in which Grand Duke Michael was imprisoned, says he heard that the former tsarevitch died of fright when someone threw a bomb at the house the Romanovs were staying at. The NYT will publish any rumor from any rando who spent any time at all in Russia.

The NYT also purveys a story that Austria’s Empress Zita twice considered divorce, but the pope said no. Elsewhere in the paper, it is reported that Austria has been complaining about an Allied propaganda offensive against the royal couple. According to a British correspondent stationed in Geneva, “Exactly the same sort of stories which were circulated at the expense of Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution and about the Empress of Russia two years ago are now being repeated about Zita.” Soooooo... sex stuff? That is annoyingly vague. Yet another article suggests pro-Germans are starting these rumors against Zita to undermine her as she pushes for peace. That’s not implausible.


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Today -100: July 11, 1918: Of influenza, aerial combat, constitutions, interventions, and fairy wands


Kaiser Wilhelm has the Spanish flu!

Theodore Roosevelt’s son Quentin shoots down a German plane. Good for him.

An anti-Bolshevik Provisional Government for Siberia is formed.

A Russian constitution was adopted yesterday by the Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets. There seems to be nothing about it in the NYT in the days and weeks ahead. Russia is declared a republic of the soviets of the workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ deputies. The “exploiters” are to have no political power including the vote, but all citizens have equal rights, however that’s supposed to work. Clergy can’t vote either. Private property is abolished and “He shall not eat who does not work.”

Woodrow Wilson is still working out how he wants to intervene in Russia. He is meeting “persons who are familiar with conditions in Russia.” Today:  Marie Botcharova of the Women’s Battalion of Death. I wonder what was said.

Headline That Raises More Questions Than It Answers of the Day -100:


Hey, I saved some pictures of 1918 Paul Nash paintings years ago and forgot to post them, so I’m two months late with We Are Making a New World, and I’m not sure about the exact dates of Void and Mule Track.





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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Today -100: July 10, 1918: Of social revolutionaries and searching for the true assassins


Some of the people arrested by the Bolsheviks for alleged participation in this week’s revolt were Social Revolutionary party members of Kerensky’s old cabinet, including assistant war minister Boris Savinkov and interior minister Irakli Tseretelli. ...aaaaand a little more research suggests that none of these people were actually arrested.

With the killers of German ambassador to Russia Count Wilhelm von Mirbach uncaught, Germany is blaming England, based on no evidence (although some German papers are claiming that Mirbach was so well-loved in Russia that they must have been paid by foreigners, that’s just science).


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Monday, July 09, 2018

Today -100: July 9, 1918: It would appear that the government wishes to know the extreme limits of the people’s endurance


The Bolsheviks rather easily defeat a counter-revolution in Moscow, if something organized by the “Left Social-Revolutionary Party” can properly be called a counter-revolution, which was timed to coincide with the assassination of the German ambassador. Chief Moscow Military Commissar Semyon Aralov issues a communique: “I beg to announce that the mutiny was caused by a group of cheeky fools, and was suppressed without difficulty by the Moscow garrison.” The SRs are now fucked.

Trotsky has been calling for universal conscription, but says the bourgeois can’t be trusted with actual fighting, so it’ll be trench-digging for them. It’ll be fun to see how the government defines proletariat/bourg.

The Allies, including the US, are working out how to “help” or “aid” Russia, which is the way everyone’s referring to sending a “commission” and a bunch of soldiers, to help/aid the Russian people if not necessarily the de facto Russian government.  Other phrases used in this article to describe the proposed military intervention: “encourage the Russian people to re-establish their nationality,” “leaving to the Russian people to carry out the program of regeneration which the Allies will initiate and support,” “bring back Russia, economically and politically, into the sisterhood of nations,” “the peaceful penetration of Siberia”...

The Berlin potato ration, reduced last week from 7 pounds per person to 3, is again reduced, to 1, not that it matters since there are none available. Meatless weeks will begin in August. In the Reichstag, one deputy objects to any food being sent to Austria, and a socialist deputy says “It would appear that the government wishes to know the extreme limits of the people’s endurance.”

Field Marshal Hindenburg calls for 1 million more men. There aren’t 1 million more men available, so they’ll be drafting 16-year-olds, as well as prisoners, foreigners etc.

Edward Rumely, publisher of the New York Evening Mail, is arrested for perjury for telling the government his paper is American-owned. The government claims the German government really owns it.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels tells a YMCA rally at Carnegie Hall that the war is to make the world safe not just  for democracy but for Christian civilization.

Two trains crash into each other, head on, near Nashville, killing 101 or more people, which is a record still unbroken in the US. In part, this was due to the passenger cars being made of wood rather than steel. Most of the victims were black workers traveling to work at a gunpowder factory.



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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Today -100: July 8, 1918: Of murmen, political maneuvers to provoke trouble, ardor, and draft evaders


The Murman Coast and its population of half-men-half-fish secedes from Russia to join the Entente.

Lenin condemns the assassination of German Ambassador Count Wilhelm von Mirbach, calling it “a political maneuver to provoke trouble.” For some reason he says the assassination involved a bomb, and yesterday’s report mentioned grenades. Nope, just ordinary garden-variety guns.

Headline of the Day -100: 


A gun battle between a sheriff and his deputies and some draft evaders in the woods of Arkansas leaves 3 dead, but 30 or so armed resisters escaped. The governor is sending troops and machine guns.


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Saturday, July 07, 2018

Today -100: July 7, 1918: It’s like he wasn’t even paying attention to the stewardess


Headline of the Day -100: 


Not as salacious as they make it sound. NY’s former Boy Mayor John Purroy Mitchel, training as a pilot, forgets to fasten his seat-belt and falls out of his plane. He was 38.

Prussia’s Diet’s lower house passes a half-hearted reform of the 3-tiered franchise system, giving equal votes to all men 25 and older but with residency requirements designed to suppress the working-class vote.

Count Wilhelm von Mirbach, the German ambassador to Russia, is assassinated at the German embassy in Moscow by two unknown men. They are, in fact, members of the Left Social Revolutionary Party, assisted, maybe? by Cheka chief Felix Dzerzhinsky, part of a Left SR plan to restart the war between Germany and Russia and seize power from the Bolsheviks. Yakov Blumkin, the chief assassin, will go on to do all sorts of exciting secret agent stuff before being executed on Stalin’s orders in 1929, as was the custom.



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Friday, July 06, 2018

Today -100: July 6, 1918: Of sultans, frogs, budgets, executions, dry virgins, and prayers


Mohammed V, Ottoman Sultan, dies at 73. One could be forgiven for having forgotten that Turkey still has a sultan. There are rumors that he was murdered, as was the custom. Next up: Mohammed VI, Five’s brother.

Yarn of the Day -100:


At the battle of the Chemin des Dames (May 27), Mr Prince says, the croaking of millions of mating frogs covered up the sound of the Germans moving into position, then made it impossible for the French to gauge the position of their machine guns. This story seems to be true.

Philipp Scheidemann, leader of the German Social Democratic Party, says the SPD won’t vote for any more budgets until the government states its peace terms.

Headline of the Day -100:  

3 black soldiers who supposedly sexually assaulted a white 17-year-old. Everyone is ordered to watch. Is that the case when white soldiers are executed?

Rep. Jeanette Rankin of Montana announces that she will run for Senate. The article doesn’t say, but I believe this is because her chances for re-election to the House dropped significantly when the state Legislature finally got off its ass and divided the state into two congressional districts – when she was elected last time, everyone could vote for 2 people for the 2 at-large seats, which helped her.

Headline of the Day -100:  

There’s a joke in there somewhere.

The US Senate passes a resolution asking Pres. Wilson to call on the American people to observe a prayer every day at noon for the rest of the war.


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Thursday, July 05, 2018

Today -100: July 5, 1918: Of strange trappings and primitive authority, crappy Christmases, and gas


Headline of the Day -100: 

At a 4th of July thing, he says we must eliminate “governments clothed with strange trappings and the primitive authority of an age that is altogether alien and hostile to our own.”

The National Council of Defense has suggested that gifts not be given this Christmas, just cards and letters, because there’s a war on. The National Retail Dry Goods Association is not best pleased.

Headline of the Day -100:  



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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Today -100: July 4, 1918: Of big armies, pogroms, pitchforks, and sox


The US Army now has more than 2 million men.

Austria: there are anti-Semitic riots in several Galician towns. And the state (ok, duchy) of Styria is under martial law due to mutiny and desertion.

Sen. (and former governor) Benjamin Tillman (D-SC) dies at 70. Pitchfork Ben (the nickname is from an election speech in 1894 in which he promised to stick a pitchfork in Pres. Cleveland’s “fat old ribs”) is best remembered as a virulently racist piece of shit.

Sports Headline of the Day -100:

In fact, he plans to play a game in the Delaware River Shipbuilding League. The Sox are threatening an injunction. I believe what’s going on here is that he has acquired, or will acquire, a no-show factory job to keep him out of the draft.

It’s July 4th and I did a baseball story. I feel so cheap.


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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Today -100: July 3, 1918: Of influenza and polar bears


Passengers on a ship arriving from Spain are fumigated. “Spanish” flu, you know.

The Ausburg Abendzeitung reports what it says are the terms agreed between the Central Powers on the future of Poland. Its borders will be set by the German military according to military necessity. Its army will be restricted to 90,000. Most favored nation status for Germany & Austria for 50 years. In any locality where there are 10 German children a German school will be established. An elective monarchy. Any change in the constitution requires approval by the Central Powers.

Headline of the Day -100: 



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Monday, July 02, 2018

Today -100: July 2, 1918: Of secret fictional treaties, supreme representatives, and adoptions


Russia denies the rumor that there’s a secret treaty with Germany giving Poland to Germany.

Headline of the Day -100: 


France recognizes the Czech National Council as the “supreme representative of the future Czechoslovak Government” in a letter to Edvard Beneš.

Vice President Thomas Marshall and wife Lois “adopt” a baby from parents who can’t afford his medical treatment. He will die at 3.


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