Friday, April 20, 2018

Today -100: April 20, 1918: Of ground, disloyalists, enemy aliens and spies

Headline of the Day -100: 

“Yup, looks like dirt alright,” he says.

In Collinsville, Oklahoma, a mob hangs one Henry Rheimer, though not to death, for refusing orders from a Committee of Defense Council to fly a US flag every day for the rest of the war. Hang a flag or get hanged, I guess. Also, his son is a conscientious objector.

By the way, the article about that uses the word “disloyalist,” which, while the OED dates it to 1885, seems to be new to the US.

Under a new extension of the Espionage Act,  enemy alien women will now be treated equally (yay!) with enemy alien men (boo!). Required to register with the police, banned from docks, wharves, the District of Columbia, etc.

Headline of the Day -100:  

That’s according to Norman White of the Secret Service, testifying before the Senate Military Affairs Committee. Actually, 20,000 is just an estimate of the number of aliens who have failed to register. White also says Germans are selling heroin to soldiers and sailors. He complains that spies keep being released on bail and fleeing to Mexico, or just going to ground.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Today -100: April 19, 1918: What have I not done to preserve the world from these horrors?

Kaiser Wilhelm recently visited the front and remarked to an officer, “What have I not done to preserve the world from these horrors?” The officer’s reply is not recorded.

The British have succeeded in bringing together the Irish Nationalist Party, Sinn Fein, the Catholic bishops, and a bunch of other normally squabbling Irish factions – in opposition to conscription being introduced into Ireland. Nationalist MPs will join in the boycott of the Westminster Parliament already practiced by Sinn Feiners.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Today -100: April 18, 1918: Chuckling Germans are especially irritating

Count Stephan Burián is brought back as Austrian foreign minister.

Hackensack, NJ bans German-language newspapers “because they were a source of irritation, particularly when some German resident was observed to be chuckling at something he was reading.”

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Today -100: April 17, 1918: We have lost territory, but we have lost nothing vital

France executes Bolo Pacha for using German money to spread defeatist propaganda. He is said to have given a confession implicating former Prime Minister Joseph Caillaux, who was brought to Pacha’s cell for the two to confront each other, because the French justice system is weird.

The British government will introduce a Home Rule Bill for Ireland, hoping this will make the Irish more compliant with the imposition of conscription. Lloyd George threatens to resign if the House of Lords blocks the bill, which he hopes will “produce something like contentment in Ireland and good-will in America.”

Lloyd George says of the German offensive, “We have lost territory, but we have lost nothing vital.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

The German offensive is going strong, but the Allies evidently still feel confident enough to stop for a wank (or, as they were colloquially known, “whizz bangs”).

Some days this blog is a better source of history than other days.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Today -100: April 16, 1918: Czernin out

Austrian Foreign Minister Count Ottokar Czernin resigns over the revelations of Emperor Charles’s free-lancing foreign policy last year behind Czernin’s back. The resignation may or may not have been forced on Austria by Germany, which hasn’t been happy with Czernin’s open discontent with a war policy increasingly based on German priorities, to the exclusion of Austria’s. And it’s not like they can demand that the emperor resign.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Today -100: April 15, 1918: Of zitas, glass, and piano profiteering

Emperor Charles of Austria reportedly also made peace approaches to Italy, through relatives of his wife, the gloriously named Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma. Zita is the 17th (!) child of the former duke of Parma, deposed when Parma was incorporated into Italy at Unification. Zita’s also been writing to the pope.

Headline of the Day -100 (that’s Attorney General Gregory): 

Police in Harlem shoot at people throwing stuff at them during a riot precipitated by the refusal of a cop to arrest a white man for stealing newspapers from a black news-stand owner.

A Berlin court refuses to pursue a charge of “profiteering” against a piano dealer, saying it’s okay to profiteer on non-vital goods as much as you like.

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Today -100: April 14, 1918: Of lines, paper clothing, and mothers-in-law

Headline of the Day -100: 


An exhibition opens in Berlin to introduce Germans to the delights of paper clothing.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Austria is claiming that the letter last year which France is saying acknowledged France’s claim to Alsace-Lorraine was actually written by the Duchess of Parma and anyway didn’t say what Clemenceau says it said, but rather said that the emperor would have supported French claims if they were just, which they totally weren’t.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Today -100: April 13, 1918: Because if you’re at war, you’d kind of like to be told you’re at war

Field Marshal Haig issues an order to the troops fighting the German offensive that “Every position must be held to the last man.” The troops reply, “The last what now?”

The Prussian state Diet discusses Poland, which is never a good thing. There are demands for annexation of large parts of Poland, demands that Poland take responsibility for part of Germany’s war debt, etc.

Austrian Emperor Charles says French PM Clemenceau is just making shit up about him recognizing France’s claim to Alsace-Lorraine.

A German u-boat captured a Uruguayan military commission, so Uruguay asks Germany if they’re at war.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Today -100: April 12, 1918: Of tones, just claims, and shock troops

Headline of the Day -100: 

They’re talking about his “gospel of force.”

France and Austria are disputing exactly what the diplomatic conversations a year ago consisted of. France releases a letter from Emperor Charles, using his brother-in-law Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma as intermediary (thus the “Sixtus Affair”), supporting France’s “just claims regarding Alsace-Lorraine.”

Special Assistant to the Secretary of War Emery Scott denies rumors that negro soldiers are being used as shock troops in France (you know what might allay that rumor? not segregating them into separate units), that they are abused by their officers, and that Germany has threatened to torture any captured negro soldier to death.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Today -100: April 11, 1918: Of germs, moral fronts, red flags, and sedition

That would just leave “any.”

John Dillon, the new leader of the Irish Nationalist Party, says that extending conscription to Ireland, which Parliament just voted to do, will open up a new front in the war, in Ireland, a moral front in which Britain would be wrong. Asquith also speaks out against the move.

Russia adopts a new flag. It’s red.

The Senate passes the Sedition Bill, making it illegal to speak or act in support of Germany or its allies, or use willful and “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, contemptuous, or abusive” language about the US form of government, military, flag or uniform. The inclusion of the word “willful” was a softening of the bill.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Today -100: April 10, 1918: Of conscription and new wars

British Prime Minister Lloyd George tells Parliament that conscription will be extended to all men up to 50, including ministers of religion, and will include Ireland for the first time. Irish MPs inform him that this will not go well.

Lenin says Russia may have to declare war on Japan for landing troops in Vladivostok.

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Monday, April 09, 2018

Today -100: April 9, 1918: Of insurance agents, lynchings, and insane proposals

The Justice Dept claims that German agents, disguised as insurance agents, book agents, and phonograph salesmen, have been roaming Harlem trying to get blacks not to enlist in the army. They’ve arrested one such insurance collector, Max Freudenheim, who was telling people that after Germany wins the war it will create a great negro state “somewhere in the world.”

At the coroner’s inquest into the lynching of Robert Prager for making disloyal remarks, the Collinsville, Illinois mayor admits that he let the mob into the City Hall where Prager was being held, claiming he thought the police had already moved Prager elsewhere.

The Dublin city government warns the British government against trying to impose conscription in Ireland, calling it as “insane proposal” which would be violently resisted.

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Sunday, April 08, 2018

Today -100: April 8, 1918: Every lover of freedom and of law must play his part

Gen. Pershing says “Every dollar subscribed to the Liberty Loan is a dollar invested in American manhood.”

NOTE: It was all I could do to stop myself entitling this post “Of German bondage and American manhood,” and it will receive a lot fewer Google hits as a result.

Lloyd George warns India about the German menace to Asia: “if we are to prevent the menace spreading to the east and gradually engulfing the world, every lover of freedom and of law must play his part.” Because nothing says freedom and law like the British Fucking Empire.

Japan says it is invading Vladivostok because a Japanese soldier was conveniently murdered and no one is maintaining law & order there. Despite all the talk recently about such a move, the actual landing seems to have taken the Entente (and the US) by surprise, evidently just ordered by an admiral on the scene. The Russians (when can I start calling them Soviets?) say it’s an invasion aimed at the Soviet Republic and anyway who knows who even killed that soldier.

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Saturday, April 07, 2018

Today -100: April 7, 1918: Force, force to the utmost, force without stint or limit

In Baltimore, Pres. Wilson gives a rousing speech opening the third Liberty Loan campaign as well as marking the anniversary of the US entry into the war. There’s a military parade. The NYT singles out the negro regiments, who “marched well.” Here’s the ending of Wilson’s speech: “Germany has once more said that force, and force alone, shall decide whether justice and peace shall reign in the affairs of men, whether right as America conceives it or dominion as she conceives it shall determine the destinies of mankind. There is, therefore, but one response possible from us: Force, force to the utmost, force without stint or limit, the righteous and triumphant force which shall make right the law of the world and cast every selfish dominion down in the dust.”

Does anyone want to read a letter from a professor of biology at City College of NY entitled “How Vivisection Saves Soldiers”? Me neither.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Enlarging the page revealed that they improved form, not porn. I was wondering what the oarsmen did. Intertitle: “Hello, I’m Deke Everett Harumphington III from Princeton and this... is my oar.”

Another Smutty Headline of the Day -100: 

I don’t know what any of that means, but it all sounds unspeakably depraved.

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Friday, April 06, 2018

Today -100: April 6, 1918: If you are going to rob and strangle your neighbour it is better not to talk of your moderation

Wilson’s Cabinet discusses the lynching of Robert Prager in Illinois for allegedly making pro-German remarks. They decide (like the federal government always has re lynchings of blacks in the South) that the federal government can’t interfere, and anyway it’s Congress’s fault for not passing the pending bills against sedition fast enough.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Austrian Foreign Minister Count Czernin has gone public about Austria’s attempts last year to end the war. France & Britain have accused him of distorting his proposals and the seriousness of discussions. French PM Clemenceau, for example, says he only sent a rep to listen and not speak. British Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Lord Robert Cecil says “I prefer Prussian brutality to Austrian hypocrisy. If you are going to rob and strangle your neighbour it is better not to talk of your moderation.”

Worried about the dangers of bombardment of Paris by the German “super-gun,” the Paris police first ban matinee performances, then reverse themselves.

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Thursday, April 05, 2018

Today -100: April 5, 1918: Of depressing sights, lynchings, liberty days, drills, and mass psychosis

Headline of the Day -100: 

Robert Prager, a German socialist, is lynched near Collinsville, Illinois for making disloyal remarks.

And in Athens, Illinois one John Rynders, who supposedly made pro-German remarks, is forced to kiss the flag, wear it around his neck, and swear allegiance. Also he will have to lead a Liberty Day parade, because irony.

I’m not sure I understand this “mob forces someone to swear allegiance” thing, but it’s becoming pretty common.

Male students aged 16 to 18 in New York state public schools will now be required to participate in military drills. Those who refuse will be expelled or not given diplomas.

A letter to the NYT from L. Pierce Clark, who is not identified in the paper but is presumably the shrink and plagiarist who in the 1920s will be president of the American Psychopathological Association and will write psycho-biographies of Napoleon and Lincoln, suggests that since it is “the popular belief that the German people are either suffering from a severe psychosis or they are racially defective,” these theories should be tested by studying captured German prisoners and figuring out how to reeducate the German people after the war to make them more “socially acceptable.” If they can’t be cured of Prussianism, they can be segregated from the rest of mankind.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Today -100: April 4, 1918: We can henceforward regard the future with tranquillity

The Germans say their offensive has only slowed down because of bad weather.

Gen. Ferdinand Foch says “We can henceforward regard the future with tranquillity.” So that’s okay then.

Former President Taft says spies should be court-martialed and executed, “their citizenship ended by bullets.” But mob violence is wrong, he says. Don’t be like the lawless Germans, he says.

The French claim to have captured a German document ordering that soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine not be put on the front lines or given jobs that would allow them to gather intelligence for the French.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Today -100: April 3, 1918: Remember that practically every pacifist is a suffragist

In a red-baiting election for Chicago aldermen, every Socialist candidate is beaten by “loyalists.”

The NY State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage is changing its name to the Women Voters’ Anti-Suffrage Party to push for a new referendum to reverse the one that gave the vote to NY women last year. Outgoing president Mary Kilbreth reminds the annual meeting, “Remember that practically every pacifist is a suffragist.”

Sen. Charles Thomas (D-Colo.) claims that German spies working in a factory making gas masks sabotaged more than half of them. With little tiny holes. He blames immigrants who can’t speak English, who he wants banned from voting, and plotters speaking in foreign languages, which thwarts the Secret Service, whose members can’t be expected to be bilingual.

The Senate Judiciary Committee adopts an amendment to the Espionage Act making it illegal to make false statements with the intention of interfering with US military success or discourage the sale of Liberty Bonds or “wilfully cause or attempt to cause, or incite or attempt to incite, insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty in the military or naval forces” or obstruct military recruiting or say disloyal or seditious things about the government, Constitution, president or the flag or military uniforms or bring the government into disrepute or incite resistance to federal authority, or favor the cause of enemy nations, etc etc., subject to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The NYT totally supports this as “proportionate to the magnitude of the crime.” It would also like sabotage to be subject to the death penalty.

The Texas Legislature bans peace officers who earn less than $40 a month from carrying guns, presumably because they’ll be tempted to use those guns to supplement their income.

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Monday, April 02, 2018

Today -100: April 2, 1918: Of machine guns, sedition, and dressing for war and/or Easter

The Canadian army actually uses those machine guns against anti-conscriptionists in Quebec City. The article claims the trouble there is being fomented by Outside Agitators, possibly IWW, possibly with German money.

A Friedrich Pawlik of Hoboken, New Jersey is sentenced to 1 year for making seditious remarks about the president. Stanley Rapiz of Brooklyn is sentenced to 1 year for insulting the crew of a US transport. 112 IWW members go on trial in Chicago. 5 Indians and one Agnes Smedley are indicted for attempting to stir up rebellion against the British Raj. Which doesn’t really seem like the business of US courts. And:

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Sunday, April 01, 2018

Today -100: April 1, 1918: Of the draft and wool grips

More anti-conscription rioting in Quebec. The army is bringing in machine guns.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Alien Property Custodian A. Mitchell Palmer plans to seize German-owned woolen mills in New Jersey.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Today -100: March 31, 1918: Of hard-working burglars, daylight savings, and bilingualism

A “hard-working burglar, supporting a large family” writes to the Manhattan IRS collector saying he’d like to pay income taxes so the US can fight “the biggest burglar in the world – the Kaiser,” but he wants to know if his income tax return would be turned over to the cops. He evidently signed the letter, and Collector Eisner is pondering how to respond.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Because nothing says patriotism like a rally marking the introduction of daylight saving as the clock on the Metropolitan Tower is set forward at 2:00 a.m.

Kentucky Governor Augustus Owsley Stanley (D) vetoes a bill that would have banned the teaching of German in public schools.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Today -100: March 30, 1918: Foched!

To coordinate the Allied response to the massive German offensive, the chief of the French General Staff, Gen. Ferdinand Foch, is put in charge of all allied forces on the western front, including American, Wilson having pushed for a unified command for some time. His new title is Généralissime, a title which is somehow much more impressive in Spanish than French.

The right-wing in the German Reichstag, getting cocky, are talking about demanding indemnities.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The German national is named Henry Fricker, the sailor A.M. Dengle, and if Fricker and Dengle doesn’t sound like a vaudeville act, I don’t know what does. Fricker is arrested for murder, but presumably not prosecuted since his name does not subsequently appear in the NYT index.

Anti-conscription riots in Quebec. The militia is called in.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Today -100: March 29, 1918: Ah, probably fake German atrocity stories, how we’ve missed you

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

German Chancellor Georg von Hertling receives to a deputation from Lithuania asking for recognition of Lithuania as an independent state. He does so, except... in confederation with Germany. And Lithuania will be expected to help pay for Germany’s war.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Today -100: March 28, 1918: Of planes, flags, and czars

George Creel’s Committee on Public Information has been telling newspapers that the US has shipped hundreds of warplanes to France when it has, in fact, shipped one warplane to France.

Mary Takeh of NYC, an Austrian national, is arrested for insulting an American flag. It started when she hung a German flag on her landing, to dry it after washing it, she said. The police confiscated it away and her neighbors told her to hang an American flag instead and then put one up. She took it down and threw it on the floor, at which point she was arrested and... sentenced to 6 months by a magistrate who says he’d have sentenced her to life if he could.

The Bolsheviks will move the ex-czar and his family to the Urals, presumably to prevent them being rescued by the anti-Bolshevik Whites.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Today -100: March 27, 1918: Let George do it

Turkey thinks that if Germany gets the Baltics, it should have Crimea, because... self-determination?

Theodore Roosevelt accuses the Wilson Administration of having a “Let George do it” policy toward the war (i.e., letting the British do all the fighting).

The city of Chicago will revoke all 6,000 business licenses held by non-US citizens.

And the NY Legislature’s lower house passes a bill to ban all teachers who are either not US citizens or have not taken out first naturalization papers. Only the Socialists vote no.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Today -100: March 26, 1918: Of crashing Christophers, muck, sex-ignorance, and wheat

For some reason the British are calling the shells hitting Paris from those far-off giant cannons “crashing Christophers.”

Karl Muck, the Boston Symphony’s conductor, is arrested as an enemy alien. The US is ignoring his Swiss citizenship and passport because he was born in Germany.

Marie Stopes’s book Married Love is published in Britain, providing information about sex and contraception. 37, Stopes is a geologist and paleobotanist (plant fossils). She is divorced, engaged to what will be her second husband, and a virgin. Her mother, also a university graduate and a feminist, didn’t clue her in before her wedding night. Some time later, wondering why she hadn’t gotten pregnant, Marie looked at some biology books in the secret section of the British Museum Reading Room which she only had access to because of her university degree, figured out what was going wrong and promptly, in 1916, got an annulment on the grounds of her husband’s impotence, presenting the court with a certificate from her doctor that her hymen had not been “penetrated by a normal male organ” (her ex, who was named Reginald Ruggles Gates, because of course he was, was not best pleased).  She writes in the preface, “In my first marriage I paid such a terrible price for sex-ignorance that I feel that knowledge gained at such a cost should be placed at the service of humanity.” As in the US, people who published on the subject of birth control had been prosecuted for decades (and books like the 1915 edition of T.H. Huxley’s Human Physiology still left out the reproductive bits of human physiology), but Stopes was not (her writings were banned in the Irish Republic from 1930 until at least 1998). The title of the book is intended, like Margaret Sanger’s coinage of the term “family planning,” to distance contraception from notions of free love (and prostitution). Stopes went on to open birth control clinics all over Britain and snipe back and forth with the Catholic Church.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Not proto-hipsters being precious about gluten, but the Dodgers rejecting outfielder Zack Wheat’s salary demands.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Today -100: March 25, 1918: When the European proletariat rises in revolt we shall say, We are here

The German offensive continues, Allies continue to pretend it’s no biggie.

What the NYT claims is the largest projector gas bombardment of the war is carried out by the Canadians, which doesn’t seem like a very Canadian thing to do.

Ingratitude of the Day -100:

Russian Military Chief Leon Trotsky calls for the creation of a new, large army to defend the Russian Revolution against European capital, and so that “when the European proletariat rises in revolt we shall say, ‘We are here.’”

Composer Claude Debussy dies.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Today -100: March 24, 1918: Of big guns and Wobblies

The German drive is rolling along nicely, if you like that sort of thing, and they’ve literally brought the big guns in, hitting Paris every 15 minutes with shells fired from 60 or 70 miles away and arcing down from the stratosphere. No one knew they could do that. For a while it is assumed they must be being dropped from invisible airships, but fragments of the giant shells are found to have rifling on them, so... really big gun. The battle can be heard from London. Kaiser Wilhelm is on the scene, directing the offensive personally, or pretending to direct the offensive personally, as was the custom.

US District Court in Chicago denies the IWW’s request for the return of its seized papers. US District Attorney Charles Clyne tells the court the IWW is not a labor organization but a group of insanely embittered men preaching the gospel of unremitting hatred toward all employers, demanding, just like the Germans, that the world be delivered into their hands.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Today -100: March 23, 1918: Of treaties, trenches, and tusks

The German Reichstag ratifies the Brest-Litovsk treaty, rejecting an Independent Socialist motion to stay the hell out of Finland.

The Liberty Loan Committee gets permission to dig trenches in Central Park as publicity for the next war loan, and New Yorkers are not happy. Really not happy. The plan will be dropped next week.

NYT Index Typo of the Day:

Turks, actually. The Turks have a battalion of women which they are trying to get all women aged 18-30 to join, but will keep them well away from the fighting.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Today -100: March 22, 1918: Give me some blow and Cracker Jacks

The German offensive begins. This is the Last Big Push for Victory.

Headline of the Day -100: 

That is, the failure of a bill in the NY Legislature to legalize Sunday baseball games, NOT the introduction of Cocaine Day to make Sunday baseball games more bearable.

During a debate in the Senate on a bill to empower the government to take over timber operations, senators from the north-west demand the suppression of the IWW, which Sen. William King (D-Utah) says is being “coddled” by the federal government. 

A Pentecostal preacher, Rev. Clarence Waldron of Windsor, Vermont, is convicted for disloyal speech and advising draft resistance, and is sentenced to 15 years. In fact, the accusation may have been false, part of an attempt by parishioners to force him out of his Baptist church after his conversion to Pentecostalism. His sentence will be commuted in 1919.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Today -100: March 21, 1918: Of seized ships and Fake News

Woodrow Wilson orders the seizure of all Dutch ships in US territorial waters, after failed negotiations in which neutral Netherlands tried to prevent its ships being used to carry troops and munitions, which its neighbor Germany would not be pleased about. Germany has threatened to retaliate by sinking ships bringing food to the Netherlands, but evidently Wilson considers a few starving Dutch people to be a price worth paying.

The editors of the German-language Philadelphia Tageblatt are on trial for presenting news in such a way as to favor Germany. The DA seems to be mostly quoting headlines. (The judge will direct a not guilty verdict because there was no “overt act.”)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Today -100: March 20, 1918: Great moments in prognostication

The NY Legislature decides to neither ratify the prohibition amendment nor hold a referendum.

South Dakota ratifies.

The NYT says American “observers” are convinced there will be no German offensive. So that’s okay then.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Today -100: March 19, 1918: Of prohibition and dangerous bluffs

New York Gov. Charles Whitman, a prohibitionist, calls the proposed state referendum on the federal prohibition amendment an “evasion and a deception,” saying the Legislature is trying to evade its duty to vote for the amendment, just as Boss Tweed engineered a referendum on the 15th Amendment in 1869 in an attempt to defeat negro suffrage.

Delaware ratifies the amendment, the 9th state to ratify.

NYC public school teachers are being required to sit through at least 5 patriotic lectures.

John Dillon, the new leader of the Irish Nationalist Party, says the Sinn Fein call for an independent republic, as opposed to Home Rule, is a “dangerous bluff,” but notes that it is supported largely by young people and encouraged by, well, he doesn’t say English perfidy, but that’s what he means. He warns republicans against another rising, which would just give the military an excuse to shoot them down (again).

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Today -100: March 18, 1918: Of questionable councils, gallantry, and dull and unsociable Czars

The hilariously unrepresentative puppet “Courland National Council” (Courland is the part of Latvia forcibly extracted from Russia by Germany, which is pretending Courland’s an independent duchy now) asks Kaiser Wilhelm if he’d like to be Duke of Courland. He doesn’t say yes, possibly because he’s planning absorb more of the Baltics and structure their governance along different lines, but he does effuse “My heart is deeply moved and is filled with thanks to god that it has been granted to me to save German blood and German kultur from perishing. God bless your land, upon which German fidelity, German courage, and German perseverance have made their impress.” Sure uses the word “German” a lot, almost like he didn’t recognize “Latvian” as a thing.

The deputies and senators of Belgium send a protest to German Chancellor Georg von Hertling against Germany basing its plans to split Flanders from Belgium on a mysterious self-proclaimed Council of Flanders which “has come into being no one knows how or by whose will” (although the Council has recently gotten itself re-elected in a public meeting called with one day’s notice to which anyone could come. You know, democracy).

Headline of the Day -100: 

But mostly with machine guns. Gallant machine guns.

Ex-Czar Nicholas is becoming dull and unsociable. He wants to return to Crimea (where he has a palace) and practice horticulture.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Today -100: March 17, 1918: Hey, Lenin: No Backsies!

The House and Senate vote for daylight saving.

Lenin hints that Russia will break the Brest-Litovsk treaty if circumstances change.

The lower house of the Austrian Parliament is adjourned after a fight between Czech and German deputies, the former complaining that Prague has been without food for days, “including potatoes,” and a German saying that Bohemia was failing to send enough food to German Austria because the Czechs are allies of the British.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Today -100: March 16, 1918: Peace-ish

The All-Russian Congress of Soviets ratifies the peace treaty 453 to 30. Germany says it will appoint commissions to oversee Russian ministries, with the power of veto, to make sure the provisions of the treaty are enacted. Pretty sure that wasn’t in the treaty.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today -100: March 15, 1918: Who invades what now?

Woodrow Wilson appeals to high school boys to do farm work over the summer.

A meeting on January 6 in Prague attended by all the Czech deputies in the Austrian Reichsrat and the Diets of Bohemia, Silesia and Moravia, and other prominent Czechs adopt a declaration for an independent Czech state. Austria ruthlessly suppressed news of this, which is why the NYT is only hearing about it now.

Tibet invades China.

Sinister Plot of the Day -100: 

A detective asks a magistrate for arrest warrants for all the actors appearing in a play by drama critic Alan Dale, “The Madonna of the Future,” which is about a pregnant unmarried woman who does not wish to get married (“cope with the perpetual man”) (eventually she changes her mind). Chief Magistrate McAdoo will investigate. The play has been running since January and is actually about to close. Update: After reading the play, McAdoo will say that the heroine “repeatedly and tiresomely states over and over again that the doctrines advanced by her are unconventional and, in the sense usually accepted by ordinary people, immoral. She says that her highest ideal of maternity is that of the cow, which might suggest that the proper place for this play would be a stable instead of the stage, committing the dialogue to learned veterinarians.” Everyone’s a critic.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Today -100: March 14, 1918: Of rectification, brotherhoods, conscription, garfields, and naked opera

Austria wants to “rectify” its border with Romania. I’m sure that sounds scarier in the original German.

German troops rectify invade Odessa.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George on food rationing: “I tell you what rationing means. It means that a nation in the furnace of war is becoming more of a brotherhood.”

The US and Britain have negotiated an agreement on conscripting each other’s nationals. US nationals in the UK won’t be conscripted into the British military if they’re older than the US age limit of 31, while Brits in the US can be conscripted up to 40, the British limit. Informally, British subjects born in Ireland will not be conscripted in the US because there is no draft in Ireland, although the Irish already drafted won’t be released.

Lucretia Rudolph Garfield, widow of the president assassinated in 1881, dies at 85.

New York Mayor John Hylan objects to nude dancing at the Met (no idea what this is about) and orders Police Commissioner Enright to ensure that “the good people who attend the Metropolitan Opera House do not have their morals corrupted.”

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Today -100: March 13, 1918: Of prohibition, POWs, and inebriates

The NY State Assembly defeats the Prohibitionists’ demand that it ratify the federal prohibition amendment without holding a referendum.

The Rhode Island State Senate defeats ratification but may also authorize a referendum.

Russia’s recently resigned foreign minister, Leon Trotsky, is named president of the Petrograd Military Revolution Committee. Which means he’ll be staying behind while the government moves to Moscow. [Actually, he’ll be People’s Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs].

Austria is reported to be isolating its prisoners of war who are coming home following the Brest-Litovsk treaty, afraid they’ve caught the Bolshevism bug and might spread it back home.

Pehr Svinhufvud, head of state of Finland, runs for his life after escaping the Red Guards, going to Berlin.

The secretary of NYC’s Board of Inebriety resigns. In other news, New York has a “Board of Inebriety.”

Speaking of inebriety, so many Irishmen are in the army that the NY St. Patrick’s Day parade has been forced to allow... women... to march. In other news, the parade this year will not feature the “Fighting 69th.”

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Today -100: March 12, 1918: As an American I had a legal right to keep my seat

Woodrow Wilson writes to the Russian people to tell them how sorry he is about the way Germany is treating them and promising that the US will “avail itself of every opportunity to secure for Russia once more complete sovereignty and independence in her own affairs and full restoration to her great role in the life of Europe and the modern world.” The timing of the message is presumed to intend to reassure Russia about the Japanese intervention in Siberia.

Rep. Henry De Flood (D-Virginia) introduces a bill to bar states from letting enemy aliens who have taken out their first naturalization papers but are not yet US citizens vote, as 10 states do.

A revival of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession opens on Broadway. Members of the police attend but do not arrest anyone, as they did at the NY premiere in 1905, when they arrested, well, everyone, right in the middle of the performance on the opening (and also closing) night. This version, like the 1905, stars Mary Shaw (no relation).

A Chicago lawyer is arrested in a theatre for failing to rise for the Star Spangled Banner, because he was tired and “As an American I had a legal right to keep my seat.” The judge disagrees and fines him $50 and tells him he’s lucky he wasn’t beaten up. The article neglects to say what the actual legal charge was.

Oh the humanity:

D.W. Griffith’s war movie Hearts of the World, starring the Gish sisters, premieres in Los Angeles.

I haven’t seen it, but it sounds like the same melodrama plot as Birth of a Nation, with German would-be rapists instead of black ones and French troops riding to the rescue instead of Kluxers.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Today -100: March 10, 1918: Only Lenin is left

Leon Trotsky resigns as Russian foreign minister. Ensign Nikolai Krylenko is also out as military Commander in Chief. The NYT, maintaining its track record of perfect precognition regarding Russia, says “only Lenine is left, and he not for long.”

A new anti-Bolshevik White movement pops up, headed by Prince Georgi Lvov (currently in China), who was prime minister after the February Revolution, and Admiral Alexander Kolchak (“The Night Stalker”), former commander of the Black Sea Fleet. They plan to ride into power, in Siberia at least, with the backing of the Japanese.

In Newark, an Austrian is jailed for 10 days for saying “To hell with the United States.” The judge also threatens him with being hanged from a lamppost “if your kind is not careful.”

New Jersey Gov. Walter Edge orders all law officers to enforce the Anti-Loafing Act requiring all men aged 18 to 50 to have some sort of employment, even if they’re too rich to need to work.

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Friday, March 09, 2018

Today -100: March 9, 1918: Of princes and grand duchesses, spring planting, and dead soldiers

Finland’s “government” asks Kaiser Wilhelm to appoint his #5 son Prince Oskar as Finland’s king.

On the other hand, Germany keeps sending princes to occupied Luxemburg to woo Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde, but she keeps refusing to marry them.

Russia issues the demobilization order to its army required under the Brest-Litovsk agreement, but simultaneously orders the arming of the entire people. The treaty needs to be ratified by the All-Russian Assembly of Soviets next week, which isn’t a slam dunk.

Congress passes a bill allowing furloughs for soldiers still in training camps in the US for spring planting.

The US Dept of War has decided to stop releasing the addresses or any other details beyond the names of dead soldiers. The Committee on Public Information, considering it of no use to anyone to give newspapers just a list of names, declines to pass the information on. It points out that some soldiers have the same names as other soldiers, so without an address...

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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Today -100: March 8, 1918: A war between Odin and Christ

Some of the German army is still advancing into Russia. Perhaps they haven’t gotten the word that they’re not supposed to? They are 68 miles from Petrograd.

Former secretary of state, secretary of war, and senator Elihu Root tells a Carnegie Hall meeting that “This is not a war for Serbia, for Alsace-Lorraine, for Poland, even for Belgium. It is a war between Odin and Christ.” You mean, Wotan, dummy, the US didn’t declare war on the Vikings.

Ford Motor Company will make tanks. Little baby tanks.

The chief of the military police in Hoboken, New Jersey says he will use the unlimited power which he claims to have to clean up vice in the city and suppress prostitution, arresting any woman found out at night and trying them by military tribunal. He’s also going after chop suey restaurants for some reason.

The Post Office bars Metropolitan Magazine from the mails (a little late, it’s already gone out), evidently because of an article by William Hard, “Is America Honest?” which suggests that the US treatment of Puerto Rico makes it hypocritical for Wilson to criticize, say, Germany. Fun fact: Theodore Roosevelt is a well-paid regular contributor to Metropolitan. (Update: the PO will claim it didn’t bar the magazine from the mails, merely told the local postmaster to exercise pre-censorship over future issues).

Headline of the Day -100: 
And in 3 days the first case of Spanish Flu in the US will show up at the army hospital in Fort Riley, Kansas.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Today -100: March 7, 1918: Of burning home fires, the cooperation of God, admirable qualities of the Irish character, and moving

Lena Guilbert Ford, who wrote the lyrics for “Keep the Home Fires Burning” (1914) dies in a fire in her home in London, started by a German bomb falling on it, because Germans are nothing if not literal. Her son is also killed. They are the first US citizens killed in a London air raid.

The Wisconsin State Assembly joins the state Senate in censuring Sen. Robert La Follette’s attitude toward the war.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Romania signs a preliminary peace treaty with the Central Powers. It will give up territory, Germany will control its railroads, German goods will enter Romania tariff-free but not vice versa, etc.

Irish Nationalist Party leader John Redmond dies. The NYT says he “had the admirable qualities of the Irish character without its defects,” unlike certain other Irishmen it could name.

The Russian government will move to Moscow. It’s almost like they don’t trust the Germans not to break the peace treaty.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Today -100: March 6, 1918: Of Romanian farts, women voters, and malingers

Headline of the Day -100: 

Oh, PART. I totally misread that.

Evidently the US won’t be silently consenting to Japan invading Siberia and occupying Vladivostok after all, but will weakly object because it violates the 14 Points.

Democrats win 4 special congressional elections in New York, giving them a small majority in Congress. Women vote in the state for the first time (the NYT is especially impressed, or something, by the presence of baby buggies at polling stations), and there’s even a woman candidate in the 21st District, Mamie Colvin for the Prohibition Party.

Woodrow Wilson orders the removal from the manual for medical advisory boards implementing the draft of these words: “The foreign born, and especially Jews, are more apt to malinger than the native born.” The sentence was included by “inadvertence.”

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Monday, March 05, 2018

Today -100: March 5, 1918: Of occupations, inbred courtesy, pickets, enemy aliens, and booty. Big booty.

Germany says it will occupy all of Finland “temporarily.” Sweden is not best pleased.

The British Parliament votes £25,000 for the widow of Maj. Gen. Frederick Stanley Maude, the commander of the Mesopotamian campaign who conquered Baghdad. The cause of his death in November, according to Lloyd George, was courtesy: he was too polite to refuse a cup of something or other when visiting natives in a cholera-ridden region of Iraq. Guess what he died from. Courtesy, that’s right, inbred courtesy. LG calls him “the gentlest conqueror who ever entered a city’s gates.”

The DC Court of Appeals rules that it was not illegal for suffragists to picket the White House. Their convictions are reversed and they will be suing for damages.

The House passes a bill to subject female enemy aliens to the same restrictions (registration, residency restrictions, other things beginning with R) as males.

The Allies will indeed ask Japan to occupy Vladivostok, except for the US, which nevertheless has no objections. Japan won’t be asked to promise not to annex territory, because that would just be insulting.

Howard Heinz, the federal food administrator for Pennsylvania and I’m pretty sure one of the baked beans Heinzes, says “We will not be a strictly free people until 10,000 German propagandists in this state have been hanged to telegraph poles and shot full of holes.” He blames rumors spread by German agents for food conservation not being more effective.

Germany has arrested and deported a bunch of Belgian judges, including some on the Court of Appeal in Brussels, which protests by suspending its activities. The judges protested German attempts to break Flanders off of Belgium. Germany bans all discussion of politics throughout Belgium.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Today -100: March 4, 1918: Of Brest-Litvosk, porkless Tuesdays, and suffragettes for senate

The Brest-Litovsk treaty is signed, and Germany finally stops its military actions against Russia, which included planes dropping bombs on Petrograd. Turkey will get back all the territory it lost to Russia in 4 wars over the last 90 years, including Russian Armenia, presumably because Turkey is running out of Armenians to massacre.

Food Administrator Herbert Hoover is now asking Americans to abstain from beef and pork only on Tuesday. But everyone should eat less bread. So no sandwiches, I guess.

Anne Martin announces that she is running for the US Senate for Nevada as an independent. A former professor of history in the University of Nevada, Martin led the successful women’s suffrage campaign in the state in 1914 and has since fought for the national amendment. She was one of the White House picketers last year and was sentenced to the workhouse. She will be the first woman to run for the Senate and receive 18% of the vote, not bad for an indy.

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