Saturday, June 23, 2018

Today -100: June 23, 1918: We shall see whether I can build anything but automobiles, tractors, and ships

Germany will seize restaurants’ & hotels’ tablecloths and napkins, because there’s a war on.

The mayor (burgomaster) of Vienna appeals to Germany’s Gen. Ludendorff for food aid. Ludendorff says no.

Henry Ford unveils what I can only assume is his campaign slogan for his Senate race: “We shall see whether I can build anything but automobiles, tractors, and ships.”

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Today -100: June 22, 1918: Of non-productive baseball, manhood, and anarchists

The US Army clarifies which professions are considered “non-productive” and thus subject to the draft, and yes it does seem that professional baseball players are non-productive. Clerks and store salesmen are non-productive, but store managers and traveling salesmen are not.

Court Case of the Day -100:

William Bergh regains custody of his 3 sons because his wife taught them to play with dolls and teddy bears. Bergh told the court, “Her conduct, while intended to be motherly, has been such as to absolutely disqualify them from developing into manhood.”

The House votes unanimously to allow deportation without hearing of “anarchists.”

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Today -100: June 21, 1918: Think of the white bread you may win for all

The NYT advances a theory that the Hindenburg offensive failed because some of the troops were diverted by Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria so he could share in the glory.

The AP is calling the (failed) Austrian drive against Italy a “hunger offensive,” citing a regimental commander’s address, found on a POW: “Soldiers, remember the spoils we got last Fall from the Italians: the sheep, cows, steers, warehouses full of good clothes and grocery stores full of wines, canned gods [sic!], flour and sugar. Think of your family. Think of the white bread you may win for all.” Italians are claiming they can get Austrian troops to surrender by promising them a meal.

The Temps (Paris) claims that the peace treaty with Romania gives Germany/Austria the right to purchase all of Romania’s oil and agriculture and for all Romanian males 14 to 60 to do forced labor for Germany.

Earl Curzon, a member of the British War Cabinet, says the alleged Sinn Fein plot Changes Everything, and the government will now drop Home Rule because going ahead under these circumstances “would almost amount to a crime.” Another reason he gives is the Irish Catholic clergy’s opposition to conscription, which puts them in opposition to imperial supremacy. I’m not sure I follow the logic. Curzon says the Sinn Feiners won’t be put on trial because that would expose how the government discovered their treasonous conspiracy, which totally exists and isn’t a made-up excuse to ditch the government’s promises to the Irish people.

Rioting in Vienna in response to the reduced bread ration. Bakeries are broken into (the Viennese love their bakeries) and the emperor’s Hofburg Palace stoned.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Today -100: June 20, 1918: Hungry and clamoring

Headline of the Day -100:

I can’t figure out if “Hungry Austrians” is an intentional play on Austro-Hungarians or not. Anyway, Vienna City Council protests against the bread ration being cut in half. The Austrian prime minister has been telling people that the short rationing won’t be for long because Germany will send food soon. Germany is telling everyone it has no food to send. The conquest of Ukraine has not turned out to be the opening of a cornucopia that was promised.

The price of bread in Germany is being increased to 5 pfennigs a pound (increased from what, the NYT fails to say; 1918 NYT sucks at this sort of thing).

Hungry-Austrian Emperor Charles really wants the Austrian army to get sole credit for accomplishing... something, anything... in the offensive against Italy, and is therefore holding off on asking Germany to help now that it’s gone pear-shaped.

Former Bulgarian prime minister Aleksandar Malinov is given that job again. In 1915 he opposed Bulgaria entering the war on Germany’s side, so it is (correctly) suspected that he has been appointed now in order to extricate the country from the war. The pro-German prime minister Vasil Radoslavov, who resigned last week, was widely blamed for the failure to extract more territory from Romania in the peace treaty.

The US will allow Mexicans into the country to work to deal with labor shortages, without the usual head tax and literacy test. Some of their wages will only be available to them when/if they leave the country at the end of the war, although I’m guessing, based on what I know happened with later bracero programs, that they never actually saw that money.

In response to the Supreme Court decision invalidating the Keating-Owen child labor law, Sen. William Kenyon (R-Iowa), who was one of its co-sponsors, introduces a bill to bar child-labor employers from using the US mails.

Germany has heard, whether correctly or incorrectly I do not know, that 10,000 Germans have been expelled from China and interned in Australia. It is threatening to take 10,000 French people hostage until the Germans are returned to China.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Today -100: June 19, 1918: Wherein is revealed what is in question

Just as Allied politicians have increasingly been describing their war goal as destroying the world-view “Prussianism,” Kaiser Wilhelm in a speech on the 30th anniversary of his ascending the imperial throne speaks about a conflict between the German and Anglo-Saxon weltanschauungen: “Either German principles of right, freedom, honor, and morality must be upheld, or Anglo-Saxon principles with their idolatry of mammon must be victorious. ... we shall gain victory – the victory of the German standpoint. That is what is in question.” The Anglo-Saxons intend, he says, to reduce all other races to their slaves.

(Note: the NYT has screwed up the skip on that story. The rest is on the second page here.)

Edward Cornplanter, Chief of the Senecas, dies, killed by flu (the pandemic, which by the way hasn’t been noticed by the NYT yet) along with much of his family; “although educated, [he] believed in a restoration of pagan customs.”

Kenelm Chase Winslow, in prison for strangling his girlfriend, asks for clemency so he can join the army. NY Gov. Whitman refuses, saying the army is no place for murderers. All right, he says criminals, but still.

The Soviet Central Committee ousts every non-Bolshevik party and demands a similar purge by local soviets. Evidently the Social Revolutionaries, Kadets, Mensheviks, etc are all organizing a revolt against the workers and peasants in conjunction with the counter-revolutionaries.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Today -100: June 18, 1918: Not everyone wants to shoot people, apparently

Austria is supposedly putting all its Slavic troops at the front of the front, with Tyrolese troops behind them, to prevent mass desertions.

Secretary of War Newton Baker approves sentences of up to 20 years imposed on 12 privates who refuse to fight against Germany and Austria, where they have relatives. He also wants them deported after the war.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Today -100: June 17, 1918: Of gas duels, cooties, and debseses

Headline of the Day -100: 

Is this the first US use of gas warfare?

Headline of the Day -100: 

In which the NYT’s war correspondent describes the de-lousing of American soldiers in France (conditions in the trenches during the Great War gave the English language the words “cooties” and “lousy”). Don’t know what “grough” is; possibly a typo for grouch.

Eugene Debs, in a speech in Canton, Ohio which will get him imprisoned, says
the war is a cover for Junkerism in the US and for plunder in Europe.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Today -100: June 16, 1918: Hammer, meet child factory worker

The Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Hammer v. Dagenhart that the Keating-Owen Act of 1916 banning products from interstate commerce if they are produced by child labor (13 years and under, or by 14-16 year olds if they worked more than 8 hours a day) is unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment. There’s some bad legal logic at play here, since the Court does allow the banning of interstate commerce in booze or gambling or prostitution but says that these products are inherently immoral whereas cotton, the product at issue in this case, is not, even if produced by children. The Court will reverse this decision in 1941.

Headline of the Day -100: 

As opposed to the generals of every other army?

The Senate votes to ban D.C. schools teaching German.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Today -100: June 15, 1918: Of nickel-plated cars, meatless Bavarians, and ambassadors

Former Michigan Governor Chase Osborn (R) says Henry Ford’s candidacy for the US Senate might be illegal, although he’s not clear on what grounds – something to do with his Peace Ship in 1915? Osborn says Ford is dangerous because of his wealth and former pacifism, doesn’t pay his workers enough, took out “hysterical advertising” in support of Wilson’s re-election, and when Osborn was governor Ford offered him a free nickel-plated car. “His offer was in bad taste, and I was disgusted with him and have had no use for him since that episode.” In other words, Osborn will also be running for the Senate seat.

Bavaria will implement meatless weeks.

The US Justice Department arrests Cornelius Lehane, the “ambassador” of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic for circulating treasonable literature. Treasonable to whom is not immediately clear.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Today -100: June 14, 1918: Better at gas!

Carl Alsberg, head of the Bureau of Chemistry, tells the Senate Agriculture Committee that the Allies are now better at gas warfare than the Germans. The US will start making mustard gas soon.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Today -100: June 13, 1918: Of secret treaties, lynchings, and Fords

Despite Wilson’s 14 Points’ call for “open covenants of peace, openly arrived at”, the Senate, at Wilson’s urging, defeats Borah’s amendment for treaties to be negotiated in public, 50-23.

Speaking of secret treaties, another one surfaces, in which Austria and Ukraine divided up Galicia, which violates promises Austria & Germany made to the Poles.

Germany formally protests the lynching of Robert Prager in Illinois in April. In the Reichstag, Privy Councilor Simons says the lynching is the fault of the US government, which “permitted hatred of Germans to be fanned among the American people.” They’re not impressed by the US federal government claim that it can’t intervene in Illinois’ affairs. (Actually, the US claims this protest hasn’t reached it.)

The Michigan Democratic Party endorses Henry Ford, a Republican, for US Senate. Evidently Woodrow Wilson asked them to, and asked Ford to run.

Woodrow Wilson is said to still oppose military intervention in Russia. He thinks the Russian people wouldn’t like it.

A long-time reader has pointed out the Tumblr page “This Day in WW I” (also available as a Twitter feed) Pictures! Lots of pictures!

And I can’t remember if I’ve recommended “My Year In 1918” or only chatted with her in our respective comments sections.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Today -100: June 12, 1918: This is a time when kings must stick together

US troops capture Belleau Wood, and very proud of themselves they are too.

Headline of the Day -100: 

How many people in 1918 read “negroes with tanks” over breakfast and shit themselves?

Headline of the Day -100:  

Evidently, “The German mother thinks only of her own son. To the American mother every son is her son in a patriotic sense.”

Headline of the Day -100:  

Pitiless suppression is the worst kind. The Austro-Hungarian Empire has gone past the point where it can pretend that the centrifugal forces of nationalism are not gaining strength, thus the impotent threats.

A letter from February from Emperor Charles of Austria to Romania’s King Ferdinand, before the latter signed a peace deal, leaks out. “This is a time when kings must stick together,” Chuck wrote.

France bans the mailing outside of the country of newspapers with classified ads, because they might contain secret codes.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Today -100: June 11, 1918: We have got to whip the Germans, and we have got to whip them right

Sen. William King (D-Utah) introduces a resolution in favor of military intervention in Russia to expel German troops and “overcome and neutralize German propaganda in Russia”.

William Howard Taft tells the commencement of Delaware College (which has just decided to eliminate the study of German) that the US must “go into Russia and make an eastern front” because “We have got to whip the Germans, and we have got to whip them right”.

The War Dept thinks it can reduce the time to train new soldiers by weeks through films. Anyone know if those films are still around?

The Supreme Court rules that courts can order newspapers not to print articles which “embarrass the administration of justice,” which near as I can tell means anything about a court case that the judge doesn’t like. In effect, this extends the jurisdiction of a judge over contempt of court from actual disruption of a courtroom to the reporting of issues before the court, in this case a dispute over the streetcar franchise in Toledo. The lower court insisted, and the Supremes agree, that the newspaper “interfered and obstructed” the court by suggesting that if the court made the wrong decision it would create suspicions about its integrity and fairness.

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Today -100: June 10, 1918: Of drilling

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Today -100: June 9, 1918: Of sinister influences, stateless people, Czechs, letters home, ACD and ghosts, and bombardments

Rep. Clarence Miller (R-Minnesota) denounces the Non-Partisan League and its candidate for governor of Minnesota, former congresscritter Charles Lindbergh. He says the League is a “sinister influence,” run by socialists and anarchists and pro-Germans (by which he means people opposed to the war).

Vienna’s Jewish community protests the peace treaty with Romania allowing it to refuse to naturalize Jewish residents, thus creating a new category of “stateless” persons.

Britain recognizes the “Czechoslovak National Council” as a provisional government for the (non-existent) Czech state. France, Italy and Russia had already done this.

The War Department issues an order to soldiers to write to their mothers.

The Sunday NYT Book Review reviews Arthur Conan Doyle’s The New Revelation, his declaration that spiritualism is totally real and even scientific.

Headline of the Day -100:

Frank Wedekind died in March, but the news has just reached the US. The German playwright wrote Spring Awakening (1906) and Pandora’s Box (1904), which was filmed under the same name by G.W. Pabst with Louise Brooks in 1929.

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Today -100: June 8, 1918: Nothing more ominous than a German laughing

Headline of the Day -100: 

And in other war propaganda news:

But did they laugh?

Rep. Henry Rainey (D-Ill), the speaker of the House in the 1930s, asserts darkly that a German – well, naturalized US citizen Charles Engelhard Sr. – controls 80% of the US’s platinum supply, and “modern wars cannot be fought without platinum.”

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Today -100: June 7, 1918: So there’s a department?

British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst is visiting the US, drumming up support for the war and talking shit about the Bolsheviks. She spent a few days in Russia last year, between the two revolutions, and is therefore an expert. She says that women of Russia are all now considered public property, forced to register at 18 with the free love department, and so on.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Today -100: June 6, 1918: Force is the one way to end Prussianism

Headline of the Day -100: 

Boy, the French, it’s just sex sex sex with them.

Secretary of State Robert Lansing, speaking at Columbia U., says the 2 greatest obstacles to be overcome in the war are unconstructive criticism (which is “unpatriotic and un-American”) and suggestions of peace that allow “Prussianism” to continue.  “Force is the one way to end Prussianism, for it is the only thing which the Prussian respects.”

Priv. Philip Grossner is court-martialed for making “disloyal remarks” and sentenced to 30 years.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Today -100: June 5, 1918: Of street lights, our present interest in democracy, and Poland

New York will order the street lighting reduced on certain streets to reduce the ability of German bombers launched at night from submarines (which is not a thing) to identify from the air streets with more lighting, such as 5th Avenue and Broadway, and thus figure out where bombing targets are located.

Woodrow Wilson telegrams the Louisiana Legislature, urging it to adopt women’s suffrage (this is at the state level, not the federal amendment). He says it is of “worldwide significance... affording a standard by which to judge our present interest in the complete establishment of democracy.”

Charles Warren Fairbanks, Theodore Roosevelt’s vice president and Charles Evans Hughes’s reluctant running mate in 1916, dies.

The German Reichstag is working on a bill to create army units of convicts.

The primes minister of Britain, France and Italy agree that the creation of a unified independent Polish state is now one of their goals. They also “note with satisfaction” US Secretary of State Lansing’s declaration in favor of the national aspirations of the Czechs and Jugoslavs. It’s impressive how fast the latter term has come into common usage.

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Today -100: June 4, 1918: Of secret treaties

A Swedish newspaper claims there is a secret treaty between Germany and the Finnish government, secret even from the Finnish Diet, to establish a monarchy under one of Germany’s many spare princelings, and for Germany to control Finland’s army.

I don’t think there was actually a secret treaty, though Finnish conservatives did install Frederick Charles of Hesse, Kaiser Wilhelm’s brother-in-law, as king late in the war – it didn’t last long.

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Sunday, June 03, 2018

Today -100: June 3, 1918: Of crucifixions, ice, and the music of conquest

Herbert Pratt, VP of Standard Oil of New York, just back from doing something or other for the YMCA in France – ensuring that they had tobacco to sell soldiers I think – says he keeps hearing that German soldiers crucified 2 American soldiers and decapitated a bunch more. He’s sure these stories are true because he heard them several times from soldiers who knew a guy who knew a guy who’d seen the bodies. It’s nice to see fake atrocity stories from early in the war being recycled for gullible Americans.

Herbert Hoover’s Food Administration is doing a survey of ice throughout the country.

The first Pulitzer Prize for drama goes to Jesse Lynch Williams for “Why Marry?

The Los Angeles Board of Education withdraws 3,000 copies of its “Elementary Song Book” because it has too much German music (Brahms, Schubert, Handel’s “Joy to the World,” a Bavarian yodel – you know, pro-German propaganda like that). Superintendent Albert Shiels orders a purge of “any poem, musical selection, illustration, or other reference complimenting the civilization of Germany, the rulers or officials of that country.” The LA Times (June 18th) approves: “German music, as a whole, is dangerous in that it preaches the same philosophy, or, rather sophistry, as most of the German literature. It is the music of conquest, the music of the storm, of disorder and devastation. It is symbolical of neither the sunbeams singing among the daisies nor of grand cathedral bells calling worshipers to prayer. It is rather a combination of the howl of the cave man and the roaring of the north winds.” Well, the yodel maybe.

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Saturday, June 02, 2018

Today -100: June 2, 1918: Of women’s suffrage, unwritten laws, and aces

The Hungarian parliament rejects women’s suffrage.

A jury takes 45 whole minutes to acquit the 11 men charged with the lynching of Robert Prager near Collinsville, Illinois in April. Their lawyer told the jury that the war had created a new “unwritten law” in which it is now ok for mobs to murder people they suspect of disloyalty.

The US has its first (more or less) “ace,” a pilot who shoots down 5 enemy planes, Lt. Douglas Campbell. He will later be the general manager of Pan-Am.

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Today -100: June 1, 1918: Why the long gas mask?

The US War Department is making gas masks for horses.

Chemical Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Germany is rumored to be dropping poison gas on whole villages in Ukraine, killing everyone in them.

Ahead of implementation of NY’s anti-loafing law, the police are drawing up lists of people in non-productive professions, including

Fashion of the Day -100:

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Today -100: May 31, 1918: America does not want to win this war on points

Theodore Roosevelt’s Memorial Day speech: “America does not want to win this war on points, we want a knockout.”

Lady Randolph Churchill, aka Jennie, aka Winston’s mother, will remarry tomorrow. She is 64 and Montagu Phippen Porch (known as “Porchy,” as though you could possibly improve on Montagu Phippen Porch),  an officer in the colonial government of various African colonies, is 41, younger than Winston by 3 years.

And Margaret Vanderbilt, widow of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt of the rich-as-fuck Vanderbilts, who died on (or, um, near) the Lusitania, will also remarry, to Raymond Baker, director of the US Mint and former warden of the Nevada State Prison.

In Britain, the Maud Allan libel suit against MP Noel Pemberton Billing for his article about the 47,000 perverts being blackmailed by the German government began in April but now reaches the NYT for the first time. I covered this in February when Pemberton Billing published “The Cult of the Clitoris.” The NYT manages to avoid using the word clitoris, because the NYT is no fun.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Today -100: May 30, 1918: This great city is unwilling to endure any longer their language

Headline of the Day -100: 

Although I prefer the version in the NYT index:

If the food situation in Germany is bad, it’s even worse in the ethnic-German parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where they blame the Slavic regions of the Empire for not sending food.

The NYC Board of Education votes unanimously to have no more classes in beginning German for the duration of the war. They say that with the “best” American teachers now being so anti-German that they can’t teach the course with enthusiasm, it would be left in the hands of German-born teachers, which would interfere with the teaching of “Americanism” to the pupils [As atrocious as current political language is, I am thankful not to have to hear the word Americanism repeated ad nauseum]. Abolishing the teaching of German will make a dent in the spread of Pan-Germanism “by shaking possibly the morale of the German people as they come to realize that this great city was unwilling to endure any longer their language, and that it desired thus to break off more completely the possibility of intimate relations with them through the medium of language.” Interpretive dance is quite another matter.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Today -100: May 29, 1918: Insidious German Plot of the Day

William Guggenheim of the American Defense Society (and one of the lesser members of the mining/museum family) says that before the US entered the war, German agents bought up all the black walnut wood necessary to make airplane propellers.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Today -100: May 28, 1918: Politics is adjourned

Former Congresscritter Charles Lindbergh, grandfather of the Lindbergh Baby, can’t find a hall in Duluth willing to rent him space for a rally for his gubernatorial bid, presumably because of his opposition to the war.

Yesterday there was a story which I didn’t bother passing on about a soldier whose Bible stopped a bullet. But this...

Pres. Wilson shows up unexpectedly at Congress, as was his custom, and gives a speech asking for more war taxes, especially on war profits, incomes & luxuries, to be voted on this session rather than after the November elections. Congress doesn’t want to do that because, you know, DC in summer without air-conditioning, but, says Wilson, “Politics is adjourned.”

One tax the US doesn’t like: Mexico’s new tax on oil, which the Wilson administration claims amounts to confiscating the property of US businesses without due process.

Draft Dodger of the Day -100:

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Today -100: May 27, 1918: Oh the infectious humanity!

Rumor of the Day -100:

This replaces the recent rumor that he is in fact dead.

Headline of the Day -100:  

You had one job!

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Today -100: May 26, 1918: Of insidious German plots and loafing

The British are claiming that the Germans planned an uprising in Ireland, to start around the time the spring offensive succeeded. They’d establish u-boat bases in Ireland and... oh c’mon, who’s falling for this crap?

Secretary of War Newton Baker says the anti-loafing order is not intended to bring all of labor under military control. A likely story. He also says that it’s not supposed to apply to people on strike.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Today -100: May 25, 1918: Of declarations of war, women’s suffrage, and wheat

Costa Rica declares war on the Central Powers (but won’t actually do any war stuff).  However the current CR government was put in place by a military coup last year and is not recognized by the US, so it won’t be represented at the Versailles peace talks and will technically still be at war until after World War II.

Canada extends the vote in federal elections to women of British or Canadian citizenship over 21, except in Quebec, where women won't have the vote until 1940. Also not included: women banned from voting by the provinces because of race (Chinese in Saskatchewan, all Asians in British Columbia until 1948), Inuits or First Nations women.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Thompson Restaurant (one of a chain) says it mostly serves sandwiches and pastries, so, you know, wheat, and it’s following all governmental guidelines.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Today -100: May 24, 1918: No Government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people

A Mrs. Rose Pastor Stokes is convicted in federal court for writing a letter to the Kansas City Star saying, “No Government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people, and I am for the people, while the Government is for the profiteers.” The judge instructed the jury: “Anything which lowers the morale of our forces, which serves to chill enthusiasm, extinguish confidence, and retard cooperation, may very well cause insubordination, disloyalty, or mutiny.”

The House of Representatives adopts a provision to force the president to ban the production of beer and wine.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin wants to come to the US to see Pres. Wilson but the British government is demanding that he submit any documents he intends to bring with him for their approval or they will refuse him a passport. He may have planned to demand that the future League of Nations deal with the Irish question.

The federal government plans to take the “anti-loafing” laws adopted by several states national, or at least ask all the states to force young men to do useful work or go into the military. Jobs the government considers not useful include race track attendants, clairvoyants, waiters, elevator operators, servants, and sales clerks. Secretary of War Newton Baker refuses to say whether professional baseball players will be spared.

A black man is lynched in Georgia.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Today -100: May 23, 1918: Stormy waves of imperialistic reaction are broken one against another

Rumors keep cropping up that deposed Russian Prime Minister Kerensky is about to arrive in New York, which keep not being true (although he is in fact in the process of sneaking out of Russia). Rich Russian exiles rent a brownstone for him on Riverside Drive. It sounds nice.

Lenin tells the Central Executive Committee, “The situation is that stormy waves of imperialistic reaction, which seem ready any moment to drown the little island of the Socialist Soviet Republic, are broken one against another.” But he warns that Russia may not remain safe, as the bourgeoisie of Germany, the US, Japan etc “have a common interest in dividing up the globe.” So Russia needs a proper army. This will come when the peasant soldiers return home and realize they now have something to defend.

France, Britain, Italy and the UK reject the German-Romanian peace deal.

Austria will try to divide (and conquer) the Czechs by creating 12 decentralized provinces in Bohemia to “take the first step towards the reestablishment of order in Bohemia.” The plan is to give the ethnic German minority electoral and other power way out of disproportion to its numbers. Austria may also later create a “German Bohemia.” This is not just about subjugating Bohemia, but rigging elections to ensure a German majority in the federal parliament (Reichsrath), where Czechs, Croats, Poles, Ruthenians etc are increasingly working together.

The Federation of Russian Associations of America, a recently formed group, will ask Pres. Wilson for permission to send Russian volunteers into Russia to fight Germany and, too, also, the Bolsheviks.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Enemy cotton is the worst kind of cotton.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Today -100: May 22, 1918: Of railroads, suppressing all things German, monarchies, and insidious German plots

The Wilson administration fires the presidents of all the railroads. It may rehire them (at a lower salary) as government employees, following government orders only.

Mrs. Oliver Cromwell Field, chair of the American Defense Society's Committee for Suppressing All Things German, fails to persuade NYC Mayor Hylan to ban all German newspapers.

Headline of the Day -100: 

New Finnish dictator Pehr Evind Svinhufvud says what the country really needs is a constitutional monarchy. He does not mean himself.

Austria bans correspondence in Hebrew.

The US government leaks that German agents are inciting Irish people in the US. Also Finns. And Lithuanians. And negroes. The US evidently provided the British with some of the intel they used in the mass arrest of Sinn Feiners this week.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Today -100: May 21, 1918: Of dictators, air mail, and cops

Headline of the Day -100: 

Pehr Evind Svinhufvud (pronounced exactly like it’s spelled, probably). With German backing. 

Yet another air mail mishap. A plane on the DC-Philly leg snaps a propeller when landing for gas, tries to resume anyway, develops engine trouble, flips upside down and is badly damaged on landing (the pilot is ok).

An NYPD patrolman who was originally born in Germany is suspended for refusing to put Red Cross placards on doorknobs during his patrol.

The NYPD will add 12 women police officers to the current 5. They’ll have guns and badges and everything. I don’t know if this is the first time women cops are given guns.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Today -100: May 20, 1918: Of regime changes, mass arrests, lynchings, and side deals

A curious NYT article says that certain unnamed people in Washington think Russia can be brought back into the war. Of course it would involve overthrowing the Bolsheviks first.

The Chief Secretary of Ireland, Edward Shortt, tells an American reporter that he didn’t have all those Sinn Fein leaders arrested because of home rule or conscription, it’s just about the German plot that totally exists to start a rebellion and maybe land some soldiers to help.

Four negroes are lynched, in separate incidents, in Valdosta, Georgia, in connection with the home invasion and murder of a white farmer.

The new Entente treaty may (or may not) include the deal made between Italy and the “Jugoslavs” to create a nation of Yugoslavia (yes, I’m going to have to figure out how I want to handle the J/Y thing) combining Serbia with the Croatian and Slovenian bits of the Austrian Empire.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Today -100: May 19, 1918: I am still optimistic enough to believe we shall have peace this year

German Chancellor Count von Hertling says “I am still optimistic enough to believe we shall have peace this year. I cherish firm confidence that further events in the west will bring us nearer a speedy end of the war.” SPOILER: He’s not wrong.

Germany will seize 3 million suits of clothes from anyone who has more than one, to supply war workers who are presently being supplied with paper clothes, which are proving less than satisfactory. Evening clothes and smoking jackets are exempt. The military will also be inspecting household fittings like doorknobs and sinks for copper, nickel, aluminum, etc that might be seized.

A new treaty has been signed between Italy and the remaining members of the Entente, replacing the secret 1915 treaty the Bolshevik government published, which contained a laundry list of territorial bribes to get Italy into the war. So Italy is giving up those demands, because at this stage that sort of thing just looks bad. Next year when the Treaty of Versailles is being negotiated, Italy will pretend this never happened and demand everything it thinks it has coming to it.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Today -100: May 18, 1918: Of treasonable communication, effeminization, peace leagues, air mail, and compulsory reproduction

Throughout Ireland, Sinn Fein leaders (De Valera, Markievicz, etc), including all SF’s MPs, are arrested, as was the custom, for “treasonable communication with the German enemy,” and transported to England. This follows the recent capture of a man put ashore by a German u-boat, which I guess is the hook for this particular made-up Insidious German Plot. The proclamation from Lord Lieutenant Viscount John French also talks up voluntary enlistments in the army, suggesting that the British might be backing off trying to enforce conscription in Ireland.

Austria is at risk of losing the war and at risk of losing its autonomy to German dictation, so what are Austrian newspapers worried about? The “effeminization” of the army by the recruitment of women clerks and other auxiliary services.

Unclear on the concept:

For the second time in the 3-day history of US air mail, a plane fails to make its appointed rounds. Since mechanical difficulties forced it down, keeping it from making its connection, the plane doing the Philadelphia-NY leg takes off with just 4½ pounds of mail. Another air mail plane, leaving from DC, is forced to land at the Philadelphia Country Club, scattering people on the field and hitting a fence, because the pilot ran out of fuel after getting really lost (using road maps is turning out to be unsatisfactory).

A German government commission into the declining birth rate recommends punishing people who haven’t married by 21 and couples who haven’t produced children.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Today -100: May 17, 1918: Phew

Germany finally responds to Uruguay’s repeated requests that it clarify whether the two countries are at war: No, they are not.

Mary Macarthur of the Women’s Trade Union League becomes the first woman adopted as a candidate for the British Parliament by one of the parties – Labour. For Stourbridge. She was a long-time women’s suffrage activist, a champion of working women, and opposes the war. Her husband is a Labour MP. She will not win.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Today -100: May 16, 1918: Of air mail

The first air mail service anywhere (for a whopping 24¢) begins between New York and Washington via Philadelphia. It takes 200 minutes, despite the first pilot, after being seen off ceremoniously by the president and first lady, getting lost on the way to Philadelphia and having to land and breaking his propeller in the landing, so that his mail had to continue by truck, so only the Philadelphia-DC mail actually made it to its destination by air. Or, as the post office measures such things, close enough.

Hearst’s New York American and New York Evening Journal get an injunction against the town of Mount Vernon, NY’s plan to ban the Hearst press. It’s unclear (to me) whether German-language papers, also banned, are protected by the injunction.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today -100: May 15, 1918: Of Mitteleuropa, rationing, shared war burdens, and censorship

The Austrian and German kaisers met recently, and everyone thinks the purpose was to subordinate Austria to German, not just in the war (Germany wants Austria to send more troops against Italy), but in internal matters, and tie the countries together forever (“Mitteleuropa”). Also, it looks like Germany intends to keep parts of Poland it had promised to Austria.

Meat rationing begins in Paris. It’s going slowly because butchers are having difficulty cutting precisely the 200g of meat allowed per person.

The Germans have captured Rostov, cutting off northern Russia from the Caucasus. It’s almost like the Peace of Brest-Litovsk wasn’t a real peace. German control over Ukraine is tightening.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: This particular rumor, sent to Secretary of State Robert Lansing from the ambassador to Sweden, who got it from who knows where, says that Germany has demanded that Russia let it occupy Moscow and other major Russian cities.

Kaiser Wilhelm recognizes an independent Lithuania, if a Lithuania “allied to the German Empire by an eternal, steadfast alliance” can be called independent, which it cannot. Willy expects Lithuania to “participate in the war burdens of Germany, which secured her liberation.”

The city of Mount Vernon, New York, bans all German-language newspapers and also, just for the hell of it, the Hearst press, for the duration of the war.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Today -100: May 14, 1918: Oh the huma... no, I guess not

German POWs are saying that Field Marshal Hindenburg is dead. He isn’t.

New York now has an “anti-loafing” law, requiring men aged 18 to 50 to have a job. Loitering in the streets, pool halls, saloons, etc will be considered prima facie evidence of loafing. Students and men out on strike are ok. Gov. Whitman admits that the law is of questionable constitutionality, but since New Jersey enacted its own anti-loafing law, “undesirable persons” have been coming to NY to escape it.

The US citizenship of Frederick Wusterbarth, the former postmaster of Clifton, New Jersey, is revoked because he said he wants Germany to win the war. The grounds are that he obtained citizenship fraudulently 36 years ago, swearing allegiance to his new country while retaining a superior allegiance to his old one. This involves the court taking his current feelings as proof of his state of mind 36 years ago (the court says that attachment to the US always grows over time, so he must have been even more disloyal back then), which is bad logic and even worse lawyering. There’s a lot of crappy lawyering aimed at dissent in 1918.

Jewish peddlers on the East Side of New York City, you know, the old-timey ones with the push-carts selling fish and whatnot, are now selling Thrift Stamps (the cheap version of War Stamps).

Infantry sergeant Ernst Flentje is court-martialed for saying that Woodrow Wilson is incompetent and that the US shouldn’t have entered the war. He is sentenced to 30 years.

Czech members of the Austrian House of Lords (Herrenhaus) demand an independent Czech state.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Today -100: May 13, 1918: Of secret treaties and over there

A Swiss newspaper publishes what it claims is a secret treaty in which Russia “gives” Poland to Germany, promising, for example, to support Germany’s view at any peace conference that the Polish question is not an international one but one for Germany alone.

The Entente decides not to use the US army until it’s, you know, ready. In the meantime, they will use the minimal force necessary to hold off the Germans, as they use up their reserves.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Today -100: May 12, 1918: Of huskies, meat, and insubordination

Headline of the Day -100: 

Fat shaming is NOT okay.

Headline of the Day -100. I do not know what is up with race-horse names. I passed a couple of days ago on naming “Cudgel Beats Omar Khayyam” as a headline of the day, but this....

“Bondage was intrusted to the apprentice rider, Rodriguez, and it looked as though the rider had him in difficulties in the early part of the race. While Mary Maud was racing the fleet Nutcracker into submission Bondage was in seventh place and in tight quarters.”

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Germany is telling its people that US military training camps are so rife with insubordination that after a wave of execution they’ve had to stop because they’d just be killing all the soldiers.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Today -100: May 11, 1918: Teddy Roosevelt vs. the Post Office

Theodore Roosevelt responds to Postmaster-General Albert Burleson’s demand that he back up his claim that Burleson is selectively censoring newspapers for honest criticism while leaving traitorous papers alone. TR says the papers he had in mind as having been unfairly censored were Metropolitan Magazine (for which he writes), Collier’s Weekly, and the NY Tribune, and the ones which “excite hatred between the United States and England” are of course the Hearst press (by exciting hatred, he means supporting Irish independence).

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Today -100: May 10, 1918: Aviation is almost altogether a neurological problem

The House of Commons rejects Asquith’s motion to investigate Gen. Sir Frederick Barton Maurice’s charge that the government lied about the number of soldiers at the front, after Prime Minister Lloyd George gives a speech blaming any error on... Maurice’s department. Maurice will be forcibly retired from the Army as a punishment for going public.

Secretary of State Robert Lansing instructs US Ambassador to Russia David Francis to deny to Russia that the consul in Vladivostok interfered in Russia’s internal affairs. The consul in Vladivostok, of course, is totally interfering in Russia’s internal affairs.

A Lt. Col. Colin Russell tells the American Neurological Association convention that shell shock has been “mastered” and that he can sometimes cure it in a few minutes. With electric shocks, evidently. The Association’s president, Dr. T.H. Weisenburg, praises the Army for embracing neurology. “Aviation,” he says, “is almost altogether a neurological problem.”

German Chancellor Georg von Hertling, who is also prime minister of Prussia, threatens to dissolve the Prussian Diet if it rejects franchise reform.

Queen Marie of Romania says she will never recognize the peace treaty with Germany and will abdicate if it’s ratified. Marie is a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and is married to King Ferdinand, who may have other ideas.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Today -100: May 9, 1918: If we hold, we win

Theodore Roosevelt accuses the Wilson Administration of enforcing the Espionage Act selectively, censoring newspapers that question the efficiency of its conduct of the war. Postmaster-General Albert Burleson demands TR name any periodicals censored for doing that.

British Minister of Munitions Winston Churchill says British and French troops will hold the lines through the summer while waiting for “our kith and kin from the United States” to arrive, but, like, no pressure or anything. Meanwhile, Germany will pour in its reserves, but Churchill thinks (correctly) there aren’t enough of them for Germany’s plan to work. “If we hold, we win. If we win, the cruel system which let loose these horrors on the world will perish amid the execrations of those who are its dupes or slaves.”

The Soviet government’s new ambassador to Germany, Adolph Joffe, refuses to meet the kaiser, but has had a nice dinner with German socialists. Too nice, according to starving Berliners, or at least the right-wing press.

The New York anti-suffragists give up on their goal of revoking women’s suffrage in NY and will now concentrate on telling women how they should vote (against socialism and pacifism). They have renamed themselves the Women Voters’ Anti-Suffrage Party (!). “A new duty has been imposed upon us. We neglect it at the nation’s peril. If we fail to vote, we are moral shirkers. ... We still hold the conviction that politics and bad for women and women are bad for politics.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

Tobacco is now being rationed in France, and only men can get it.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Today -100: May 8, 1918: Of censures, treaties, and pacifists

Nicaragua declares war on Germany, Austria, et al. 20 countries are now at war with Germany. Which seems like a lot until you realize one of them is Nicaragua.

Liberal former Prime Minister H.H. Asquith moves a resolution of censure on Liberal current Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s government relating to a letter by Gen. Sir Frederick Barton Maurice that appeared in the Times yesterday accusing Lloyd George of lying when he told Parliament a month ago that the number of troops on the Western Front was at an all-time high. The government will fall if it loses this vote, and Asquith is ready – ready, I tell you! – to take over again.

Romania signs the peace treaty forced on it by being, you know, defeated and occupied by Germany. Somehow, though, it will manage not to ratify it before the war ends.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Pastor Charles Wagner of Paris, a little unclear on the concept of “pacifist.”

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Monday, May 07, 2018

Today -100: May 7, 1918: Of peace plots, sneezing powder, and lords lieutenantses

There are rumors that Berlin has put out peace feelers, but

The NYT claims Germany is now firing shells filled with sneezing powder just before poison gas attacks to force soldiers to take off their gas masks. It’s like the worst Mack Sennett comedy ever.

Field Marshal Viscount John French is appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a marked militarization of British rule in Ireland.

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Today -100: May 6, 1918: Of gravel, former tsarevitches, and imbeciles

Germany promises, after all, not to use gravel and sand transported through the Netherlands for military purposes.

Russia asks the US, UK, and France to explain their attitudes towards Russia and to explain their attempts to interfere in Russian internal matters, in particular their dealings with the breakaway Siberian autonomous government.

The Soviets move former Tsar Nicholas and some of his family from Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg. His 13-year-old hemophilic son Alexis remains in Tobolsk.

Connecticut Gov. Marcus Holcomb (R) says 90% of his state’s population is loyal, 5% are disloyal, and 5% are “pacifists, who ought to be in the Lakeville Institution for Imbeciles.”

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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Today -100: May 5, 1918: Of ballots, marxes, thimbles, sedition, and sauerkraut

The Prussian Diet agrees to introduce the secret ballot. And to make voting compulsory, which is just adding insult to the injury of its rejection of one man one vote.

The British home secretary bans a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth. There would have been resolutions against the capitalist war.

For its own celebration, the NYT Sunday Magazine has managed to find the one socialist, John Spargo, who thinks Marx would have supported the US entering this war.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The First Lady donates a gold thimble for American pilots. Which sounds like the start of a crappy fairy tale.

The Senate passes the Sedition Bill 48-26. 24 of the 26 no votes are Republicans. It provides for 20 years in prison or $10,000 fines for anyone who “makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies” or obstruct the sale of bonds or attempt to incite “insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, or shall obstruct recruiting or enlistment; or shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of Government of the United States, or its flag, or the uniform of its army or navy, or any language intended to bring the form of Government of the United States, or the Constitution, into contempt, scorn, contumely or disrepute” etc. An amendment to protect people “who speak the truth for good motives and for justifiable ends” is rejected on the urging of Attorney General Thomas Gregory. It gives the postmaster-general the power to stop any mail he personally considers seditious. At one point in the debate, Sen. Sherman waves a clipping from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in which the president of the Missouri branch of the German-American Alliance predicts that Germany will win the war. Sherman says the paper should have been excluded from the mails, and Sen. King adds that any editor who prints such articles should be put in prison under this act.

In the ongoing discussion on the NYT letters page on what else sauerkraut might be called, one Matthew Craig of Brooklyn suggests sour slaw, to complement cold/cole slaw. He rejects the suggestion kapovsta, because what if we find ourselves at war with Russia some day?

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