Sunday, December 16, 2018

Today -100: December 16, 1918: Of assassinations and mobs of Dutch women

Portuguese President Sidónio Pais is assassinated in a Lisbon train station, just over a year after he took power in a military coup. The NYT reports, wrongly, that his assassin is killed by an angry crowd. They do beat him up. He will be placed in an asylum, where he will die in 1946.

Wishful Thinking Headline of the Day -100: 

Headline of the Day -100:  

We’ve all been there, ammiright guys?

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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Today -100: December 15, 1918: Of armistices and overstaying guests

The armistice is extended for a month. The Allies reserve the right to occupy the neutral zone on the German side of the Rhine.

Dutch Prime Minister Ruys de Beerenbrouck tells Parliament that the government did not know in advance that ex-kaiser Wilhelm was going to cross into the Netherlands, and really would have preferred him to choose somewhere else, but he didn’t and there’s such a thing as asylum and.... The PM is pretty wishy-washy about what the kaiser’s future might be. Reading between the lines, it all depends on how much pressure other countries put on the Netherlands.

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Today -100: December 14, 1918: Of uniforms, overstaying guests, teaching turkeys, and bumpuses

The War Department will allow discharged soldiers to keep their uniforms. The previous plan was to require them to return the uniforms within 3 months.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Headline of the Day -100:  

The country, not the bird. Evidently this is being suggested by various British people, including former foreign secretary Viscount Grey. Presumably it’s one of many schemes to keep the US engaged with the world and not withdraw back into itself.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George says that the peace conference will be a failure and a sham if conscription is not abolished everywhere. Britain, of course, intends to maintain a huge navy to continue its dominance over the oceans. They’re very wary of the 2nd of Wilson’s 14 Points, freedom of the seas.

Headline of the Day -100:  

For I am... President Bumpus of Tufts!

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Today -100: December 13, 1918: Of Spanish Flu, trials, and red flags

NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland (he’s a homeopathist, you know) doesn’t think. Oh, sorry, NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland doesn’t think the Spanish Flu will recur in New York. He thinks every New Yorker has already been exposed to the germ (he thinks it’s a germ). He’s just back from the American Public Health Association meeting in Chicago, where public health professionals completely failed to come to any agreement on how to fight influenza.

The German government decides not to oppose Willy Hohenzollern being put on trial by the Allies (this story may be bullshit).

The (German) Spartacus Group’s newspaper The Red Flag warns radicals to be ready, warns that returning troops will be used in Berlin against the revolution. They’re not wrong.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Today -100: December 12, 1918: Germany should pay to the utmost limit of her capacity

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, campaigning, says the war bill which the Allies will present to Germany (not including the US, which doesn’t want any indemnities from Germany, according to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels) is $120 billion. That’s considerably more than the entire wealth of Germany, so it will only be required to “pay to the utmost limit of her capacity.” “The first consideration in the minds of the Allies will be the interests of the people upon whom the Germans have made war, and not in the interests of the German people who have made war and have been guilty of that crime.” Ah, collective guilt and collective punishment, always the best foundations for a lasting peace. France will also be demanding the return of the indemnity it was forced to pay after the Franco-Prussian War, with interest, naturally.

Page 13 Headline of the Day -100:

Headline of the Day -100:

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Today -100: December 11, 1918: Of suicides, national security, and Transylvania

The Leipzig Tageblatt says former kaiser Wilhelm tried to kill himself (doesn’t say how) but was stopped by one of his retinue, which has now been reduced to a pitiful 18.

The House of Representatives orders an investigation of the National Security League and other groups which attacked the loyalty of members of Congress during the last elections. The League failed to file campaign expense accounts.

I guess the NYT missed this, but on the 1st Transylvania’s National Assembly declared the union of Transylvania (formerly a province of Hungary in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and Romania. Transylvanian Socialists only agreed after Romania introduced universal male suffrage and banned garlic.

I thought I’d be able to write about Transylvania without making a stupid vampire joke, but I was wrong.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Today -100: December 10, 1918: Of mobs in terror, and red flags

Headline of the Day -100: 

Germany is kind of a mess right now. Evidently the executive of the Soldiers’ and Workers’ Council has been arrested, possibly not on orders of the government. Allegedly there’s a counter-revolution beginning in Potsdam.
There are rumors of violent crackdowns, rumors that the Spartacists will name Karl Liebknecht president of Germany, etc. Also, too, how many “Spartacus group”s are there, anyway?

The Serb, Croat and Slovenian bits that declared independence from Austria-Hungary officially announce their plans to join with Serbia, and now they’d like Italy’s troops to get the hell out, please and thank you.

It is now illegal to display a red flag in Chicago.

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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Today -100: December 9, 1918: Of khaki kandidates, batons, just reparations, and vanquished victors

14 women are standing for the British Parliament in the general election. There are also 256 soldiers, from 19 generals down to a private, in what will be known as the “khaki election.”

Gen. Philippe Pétain is promoted to Marshal of France. A baton comes with that. I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do with it, but I have a few suggestions...

The NYT accuses separatists in the Rhineland and Westphalia of trying to split up the German empire “in the hope of bilking the Allies of their just reparation.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

“Vanquished victors,” the Germans are calling themselves, in this start of the Dolchstoßlegende.

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Saturday, December 08, 2018

Today -100: December 8, 1918: Kill Liebknecht wherever you meet him

The Netherlands will extradite Willy Hohenzollern and the former crown prince if the Allies insist (don’t know how official this story really is), but suggests instead that they be exiled to one of the Dutch colonies.

Posters mysteriously appear in Berlin advising readers to “Kill Liebknecht wherever you meet him; he is your and your country’s worst enemy.”

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

Also: no one wants your uncleaned hair, probably.

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Friday, December 07, 2018

Today -100: December 7, 1918: Of crowns, reparations, tied-up men, apoplexy, and straight dickermans

German/Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm finally renounces his crowns. Prussia withdraws the Hohenzollerns’ immunity from the law.

Britain will present Germany with a bill for £8 billion in reparations. France is still doing the math on its bill.

In the German state of Brunswick, the president is evidently a clothes-mender, the vice president a professional juggler, and the education minister a semi-literate woman.

Headline of the Day -100: 

As punishment, not for fetishistic sex – at least that was the story they were going with. Secretary of War Newton Baker says this type of punishment used to be useful in “breaking” prisoners of “the usual military type,” but now there are stronger-willed political prisoners (I assume he means conscientious objectors) and punishments against them have... escalated.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Because if there’s anyone whose cause of death will be “apoplexy,” it’s a prominent lawyer named Luther Laflin Kellogg, while playing golf.

Also in the obits, I was trying to decide if there was anything funny about Major Straight. Reading further, I see his full name is Willard Dickerman Straight. So no, nothing funny about that name, not at all.

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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Today -100: December 6, 1918: Of war crimes, well-tried and well-deserved supremacy, martial law, and rubber heads

Germany’s Ebert government is undecided on the fate of the former kaiser. They’re still reading documents related to the start of the war to determine whether those “responsible” for the war should be put on trial.

Winston Churchill says the British delegates to the peace conference will demand abolition of conscription in Europe. And that Britain will ignore any peace arrangement that limits the size of its navy and threatens “its well-tried and well-deserved supremacy.”

The French government says it won’t lift martial law in France, even though the war is, like, over, because of Bolshevik propaganda.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Today -100: December 5, 1918: Of coupons, food, and kings

One result of the Liberals and Tories fighting the British general election as a Coalition is that many MPs are running unopposed, including 69 coupon candidates (those given the “coupon” of approval to run under the Coalition banner) and, fighting for the 105 Irish seats, 22 Sinn Feiners including future Irish president Éamon de Valera.

Yesterday there were rumors of a conspiracy to bring back Kaiser Wilhelm; today’s rumors, which are a bit more likely, are of a Bolshevik uprising led by Karl Liebknecht. Liebknecht’s Spartacus Group’s The Red Flag complains that Woodrow Wilson, representing international capitalism, has made the delivery of food relief to Germany conditional on the maintenance of “order.” Still, I’m not sure how popular the message “Any attempt to send food to Germany must be opposed as a capitalistic effort to beat Bolshevist aims” will be with hungry Germans.

Evidently Kaiser Wilhelm initially planned to abdicate as kaiser but not as king of Prussia.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Today -100: December 4, 1918: I have not renounced anything and I have not signed any document whatever

Germany’s former crown prince Frederick Wilhelm insists he’s still crown prince: “I have not renounced anything and I have not signed any document whatever.” But he says if Germany declares itself a republic (it has, dude), he’d be happy to return and take up a job as a simple factory worker. He says he had nothing to do with the decision to go to war. According to the AP reporter who interviewed him in Holland, “The Prince is living a very simple life now. He strolls about the island, chats with peasants, and is learning the Dutch language from a small boy.” According to the crown prince, “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

George Bernard Shaw is running for Parliament as a Labour candidate.

Former Women’s Social and Political Union (now the Women's Party) leader Christabel Pankhurst is also running, for Smethwick (near Birmingham). Lloyd George and Bonar Law prevail on the previous Coalition candidate in the constituency, Major Thompson (whose first name is evidently lost to history), to step aside. She’ll be beaten narrowly by the candidate of the Labour Party, which she will accuse during the campaign of Bolshevism; Labour will respond that it works for social reform without breaking windows or setting post boxes on fire (irrelevant side note: British post boxes were introduced by the novelist Anthony Trollope in his day job).

Theodore Roosevelt attacks Wilson’s State of the Union speech. He says if the American people have expressed any opinion on the 14 Points it was to reject them at the ballot box last month, and he denies that the Army was fighting for them: “Why, there was not one American soldier in a thousand that ever heard of them. The American Army was fighting to smash Germany.” Of the Points, he’s especially critical of freedom of the seas. “The British must, of course, keep the colonies they have conquered.” Of course.

The Allies are holding off on pressuring the Netherlands to hand over Willy Hohenzollern until Wilson arrives in Europe. They say extradition laws don’t even enter it, he should be treated as someone who doesn’t have the right to sanctuary, like a pirate or a slave trader. Meanwhile, a Catherine Callan Hayden of Chicago, whose father died on the Lusitania, applies for an arrest warrant against Willy for murder. “The only thing I object to,” she says, “is that hanging is the severest penalty which can be inflicted.”

The National War Labor Board decides that the best way to end the strike of male employees at the Cleveland Railway Company is to fire all its women employees.

Headline of the Day -100:

That’s a bit over-dramatic. Actually they mostly won’t sell stuff to Austria. Also, none of them will allow trains from what was the Austrian State Railroad to cross their new national borders in case they don’t get them back. Every country is also banning export of hard cash (they’re still using the old Austrian currency, presumably while they decide on quaint names for their new currencies).

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Monday, December 03, 2018

Today -100: December 3, 1918: Of private thoughts or purposes, vacant offices, pogroms, cyranos, ex-kings, and kangaroos

Before setting off for Europe, Pres. Wilson goes to Congress to deliver his State of the Union Address (still not called that). Doesn’t sound like much of a speech: praises soldiers and the American people for their work in the war, wants to reduce taxes but not to pre-war levels, something should be done about railroads but he doesn’t know what, says he isn’t going to the peace talks with any “private thought or purpose” and hopes for the support of Congress and the public. Most of Congress just sits grumpily during the speech.

Sen. Lawrence Sherman (R-Illinois) threatens to introduce a resolution declaring the office of president vacant, evidently permanently, when Wilson goes to Europe. A resolution introduced in the House by William Rodenberg (R-Ill.) would do the same but only while Wilson is out of the country. Sen. Albert Cummins (R-Iowa) proposes that a bipartisan Senate committee go to Paris (uninvited) to keep the Senate informed of all the doings.

The NYT, citing a “well-informed Pole,” says Józef Pilsudski is now the dictator of Poland, arresting Bolsheviks. The NYT’s Pole is indeed well-informed, about that anyway, but less informed is his description of the recent pogroms in Galicia as “fomented by agitators of suspicious origins,” as opposed to plain old anti-Semitic mobs, cops, and soldiers.

French playwright/poet Edmond Rostand, author of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Chantecler” and “Les Romanesques,” dies at 50 of the Spanish Flu (insert runny nose joke here).

The Montenegrin parliament, which is delightfully called the Skupshtina, deposes King Nikola, preparatory to merging the country into Serbia. Nick has ruled since 1860.

Belgium decides that damage and seizures of raw materials and machinery during the German occupation amounted to $1,200,112,000. They’ll be sending an invoice.

Frank Morrison, secretary of the American Federation of Labor, proposes that the US ban all immigration for 5 years.

I’ll spare you the ad on page 6 for The Edwin Chapp Shoe store, which asks the question, “Why Kangaroo For A Gentleman’s Shoe?”

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Sunday, December 02, 2018

Today -100: December 2, 1918: Against my will they sent me to Norway

The NYT says that the newly enfranchised British women will probably vote for Lloyd George because he’s the one politician they’ve heard of.

Former kaiser Willy Hohenzollern says the blame for the war is not his but that of his chancellor and foreign minister at the time, who sent him out of the country so they could scheme: “Against my will they sent me to Norway.”

The NYPD is getting an aviation division. Police planes could be used in case of fire, riot, whatever.

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Saturday, December 01, 2018

Today -100: December 1, 1918: Of happy Alsatians, the kaiser’s bed, and actual natural radium

Headline of the Day -100: 

Residents of Alsace-Lorraine are happy to be part of France again, which just pisses Germans off.

Iceland becomes mostly independent of Denmark. The NYT doesn’t notice.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Lithuania declares itself a republic.

William Howard Taft decides not to be the commissioner of baseball.

Ad of the Day -100:

Guaranteed to have “a definite quantity of Actual Natural Radium” – beware the fake stuff, which I believe is called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Radium – and to retain its radioactivity for at least 20 years, not unlike your glowing corpse. Contains no animal fat.

Douglas Fairbanks’s wife divorces him... ladies.

Sugar rationing over, the restrictions on Christmas candy are lifted.

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Today -100: November 30, 1918: I am not going to be a Bolshevist president

The names of the US commissioners to the peace conference are announced: Pres. Wilson (to be replaced later in the process by Secretary of War Newton Baker), Secretary of State Robert Lansing, Col. House, former ambassador to Italy and France Henry White, and Gen. Tasker Bliss. While White is a Republican, Republicans would rather have had a more important, more Republican, Republican, like Taft or Charles Evans Hughes or Elihu Root. There will also be 4 Harvard and 2 Yale professors in the party. What, no Princeton?

Vice President Whatsisname will remain in Washington while Wilson is out of the country. He says it’s just so someone’s there to greet the visiting Japanese prince, not to sign or veto legislation: “I am not going to be a Bolshevist president.”

The German government asks Wilhelm for an official abdication, gets it.

Former Austrian Emperor Charles is supposedly ordered to leave Austria. Also, he’s depressed; “He sits for hours at his desk staring vacantly.”

German employers, no longer fearing a socialist revolution quite so much, are reneging on the concessions they made to workers (especially the abolition of piece-work pay) at the start of the revolution. Naturally, there are now strikes. Unemployment is rising, in part due to no longer getting coal and other raw materials from Alsace-Lorraine and Silesia.

The Berlin press is attacking The People’s State of Bavaria’s socialist Prime Minister Kurt Eisner for undermining the unity of the empire (they’re still saying empire, I guess), for leaking those secret papers from the start of the war, and ffor being a, you know, Jew.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George tells an election meeting that Wilhelm should be tried. By what court he does not say, but I guess LG is campaigning on a “hang the kaiser” plank.

The Justice Dept is considering prosecuting Eugene Debs for a speech he gave in Toledo Wednesday in which he said that the common people of the US did not declare war and “all wars are wrong.” Debs’ supporters point out that he can hardly be interfering with the conduct of the war, which is over, dudes.

The Allies ask Herbert Hoover to be Director General of Relief, in charge of feeding Europe.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Today -100: November 29, 1918: Of court intrigues, pogroms, and lady delegates

“The New York Times correspondent can state authoritatively that since his arrival in Holland the ex-Kaiser has not ceased to endeavor to prove Germany guiltless in the war.” He asserts his lack of responsibility and blames “court intrigues.” At least he didn’t have a fucking Twitter account.

Last week there was a pogrom in Lemberg (aka Lvov, aka Lviv, aka Lwów), Poland, following the Polish expulsion of troops from Ukraine, which claims the region. Polish soldiers and civilians attacked the Jewish and Ukrainian quarters of the city. Dozens are killed, shops are looted, and houses burned, as was the custom. The Polish Information Bureau in NY denies there was any pogrom, saying it’s a story spread by Germans to bias the Allies against the creation of an independent Poland. It isn’t.

The New Jersey Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage writes to Pres. Wilson objecting to Carrie Chapman Catt’s proposal that there be at least one woman on the US delegation to the peace talks.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Today -100: November 28, 1918: Of Wilson’s disfavor, Spartacides, 20 bullet holes, and physical training

The White House is shipping 13 automobiles for Wilson and his party to use in France, because... France doesn’t have any cars?

Headline of the Day -100: 

The refusal of Adm. Beatty to receive three members of the Soldiers' Council as part of a German naval delegation is being taken as indicative of the Allies picking and choosing which forms of German governance to recognize. Moderates (including non-revolutionary socialists) are pushing for a quick constitutional convention to establish representative government (rather than the various councils) in Germany on a legitimate basis.

Why is the NYT referring to the Spartacus League as “Spartacides?”

Soldiers’ groups in Cologne offer a $20,000 reward for the former kaiser and crown prince, dead or alive.

Or is it actually “former” kaiser? It seems there are no official documents of his abdication in Germany.

Reporter Carl Ackerman ventures into Ekaterinburg to find out whether Czar Nicholas and his family were really executed there. “There is no evidence except some twenty bullet holes in the wall”. Which he discounts, but doesn’t say where he thinks the Romanovs are now. Alive and well and living in Argentina?

Transylvania has declared itself independent of Hungary. Hungary says no, but I don’t recall anyone asking them.

The US army transfers 40 shell-shocked soldiers to Fort Sheridan, where it will try to cure them with... “physical training.”

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Today -100: November 27, 1918: Of unspoiled soldiers, temp presidents, extraditions, and ambassadorial jazz

Headline of the Day -100: 

European borders are totally up in the air. The Rhineland is talking about splitting from Germany as an independent country, as is Southern Germany (Bavaria and such).

Chile and Peru don’t go to war.

Former Attorney General George Wickersham says if Pres. Wilson leaves the country to attend the peace talks, Vice President Whatsisname might have to be sworn in because Wilson wouldn’t have the ability to veto a bill and therefore would be unable to discharge the duties of his office. VP Whatsisname responds that he would not “voluntarily” assume the office, although he says a court might order him to. And he doesn’t know what he’d do if asked to by a joint resolution of Congress. During the time Wilson will be away, Whatsisname was supposed to be touring the country for the League to Enforce Peace, but may decide that he needs to stay in Washington.

The British and French are trying to figure out how they can extradite Willy Hohenzollern from the Netherlands. The Dutch says it probably can’t extradite him without permission from Germany. In Germany, Karl Liebknecht’s paper The Red Flag calls for the former kaiser, along with the former crown prince and Bethmann-Hollweg, who was chancellor at the start of the war, to be put on trial by a revolutionary tribunal. The Bavarian government’s recent release of secret government papers from 1914 has made it clear that Germany – Bavarian Prime Minister Kurt Eisner would say Prussia – was more responsible for the Austrian policies that led to the war than was previously known.

A NYT editorial about the appointment of Rosika Schwimmer as Hungarian ambassador to Switzerland is, not surprisingly, rather dickish, delving into her association with Henry Ford’s Peace Ship. It says sarcastically that her appointment  “injected desirable ‘jazz’ into the stagnant art of diplomacy”. The term jazz probably refers here to energy, zippiness, its original meaning in baseball parlance, rather than the musical form, although that fairly new usage did appear in the paper in April.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Today -100: November 26, 1918: Of black jacks, borders, and lady ambassadors

Some Republicans in Ohio start a campaign for Gen. Black Jack Pershing for president in 1920. The organizers claim not to know whether Pershing actually wants to be president.

A bunch of soldiers, sailors and marines try to storm a socialist meeting in Madison Square Garden, but are pushed back by mounted cops.

The French are discussing what the borders of Alsace-Lorraine should be, and they’re getting greedy, suggesting they should get back not just territory lost in 1870 but in 1815 as well.

Supposedly German Chancellor Friedrich Ebert gives up real power to the Soldiers’ and Workers’ Council.

Rosika Schwimmer, the Jewish Hungarian suffragist, active during the war in the international feminist anti-war movement, is appointed Hungarian ambassador to Switzerland, making her the first woman ambassador ever (depending on whether you count St. Catherine of Siena. Do you?).

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Today -100: November 25, 1918: When any one is without food he is apt to do many unusual and violent things

Mrs Minnie Grinstead, a former lecturer for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, is elected the first woman to enter the Kansas House of Representatives, in an election which sees her fellow Republicans take 113 out of 125 seats. 48 are farmers and 1 is a tombstone dealer. In her 6 years in the legislature, she will attempt to ban cigarettes in the state and will introduce a bill for court awards for injuries to women to go to them rather than their husbands. Neither will pass.

Headline of the Day -100:

In an AP interview, former Austrian emperor Charles says the Allies should start feeding the Austrians quickly, or risk Bolshevism: “The people here are fine, kind and patient, but when any one is without food he is apt to do many unusual and violent things.”

King Albert of Belgium, back in Brussels to a rapturous reception and only a few calls for a republic, calls for equal suffrage “for all men of the mature age required” (there was a system of plural voting in which educated or wealthy men’s votes counted 2 or 3 times). I think the mature age thing means he wants to keep the voting age at 25 (30 for the senate). Next year plural voting will be abolished and the male voting age lowered to 21; women will get the national franchise in 1948.

Taft says he’d accept the job as baseball commissioner only if  he’d be sole decider of law and fact in arbitration cases.

Headline of the Day -100:  

They’re pretty sure it’s a lion or panther that escaped from a circus.

Now Playing: “My Cousin,” starring Enrico Caruso in two roles as identical cousins, a poor sculptor and a big opera star, featuring Caruso singing (we’ll have to take their word for it) Pagliacci. Flicking through it on YouTube, I saw an intertitle that began “Mama mia, sir.”

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Today -100: November 24, 1918: A fit country for heroes

Former president Taft has been offered the job of baseball commissioner. He’s thinking it over. Taft is a big baseball fan. When he was the governor of the Philippines, he introduced baseball and genocide to the natives.

Supposedly the Bolsheviks have executed 500 former army officers.

Woodrow Wilson is talking about nationalizing wifi wireless.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George declares in an election address that the Liberal-Conservative coalition’s task will be “To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in.” He plans a series of public works to prevent Britain falling into the post-war depression that most economists expect, including work on roads and canals, and housing and small farms or allotments for returning soldiers.

German Chancellor Friedrich Ebert tells Russia to recognize his government and stop calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat, please and thank you. The Central Soldiers’ and Workers’ Council has informed Ebert and the rest of the government that they are subject to the instructions of the Council.

Germany has 278 fewer kings & princes than it did at the beginning of the month. Cheers to the NYT for using “deposal” in the headline.

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Today -100: November 23, 1918: Of hoards of gold and Henry Ford’s definite ideas and ideals

200 sacks of former kaiser Willy Hohenzollern’s gold coins arrive in the Netherlands. It is not clear where it’s now being stored. It’s also not clear if he ever actually abdicated. NYT reporters are frantically making calculations trying to figure out how much real money 200 sacks of coins amounts to.

Secretary of the Treasury and Director-General of the Railroads William Gibbs McAdoo, Pres. Wilson’s son-in-law, resigns, because he wants to make more money. That’s the only reason he gives; his resignation letter complains of the “inadequate compensation” for cabinet officers and the “very burdensome cost of living in Washington.”

Henry Ford hands over the reins of Ford Motor to his son Edsel to devote himself to making The Dearborn Independent into a wide-circulation national newspaper so he can spread his “definite ideas and ideals.” Some of those ideas will be about The Jews.

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Today -100: November 22, 1918: Of sea power, supreme governors, future dread, and house flus

Headline of the Day -100: 

Germany surrenders 9 battleships, 5 battle cruisers, 7 light cruisers & 50 destroyers. U-boats are also surrendering.

“Admiral” Alexander Kolchak (pictured below, probably)  becomes dictator of the anti-Bolshevik Provisional All-Russian Government in Omsk in a coup, although not one he started. He’s calling himself Supreme Governor now.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The last remaining German monarch-type standing, more or less, is Prince Friedrich of Waldeck-Pyrmont, who was deposed last week but refuses to abdicate. He is being held prisoner by a Soldiers’ Council until he does.

Woodrow Wilson’s chief advisor Col. House (who is neither a colonel nor a house) has the Spanish Flu.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Today -100: November 21, 1918: Of POWs, Bolshevik plots, and larceny

Germany has been simply releasing British prisoners, without food or transportation, leaving them to make their own ways back, so Britain is threatening to “take this into account in any question of revictualing Germany or satisfying the requirements of the German population.”

Hundreds arrested in Vienna for a supposed Bolshevik revolutionary plot.

Vermont Governor Horace Graham (R) is indicted for larceny and embezzling funds when he was state auditor.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Today -100: November 20, 1918: Of innocents abroad, starving emperors, demobilization, and civil liberties

Pres. Wilson seems to now plan to be in Europe longer than the two weeks that was first suggested. He says he can do all his presidenting from abroad, sending vetoes by cable and getting the texts of bills by courier via trans-Atlantic dispatch boat, which is like the world’s most expensive pdf. There isn’t much experience of a president being out of the country for an extended period; Roosevelt was the first to leave the country at all during his term of office. They’re saying there’s no need to delegate any of his powers to Vice President Whatsisname. Congress has agreed to delay finalizing legislation until he gets back.

Headline of the Day -100: 

They’ve had to lay off most of the servants at their castle. How does this not make you weep bitter tears, you monsters?

Joseph F. Smith, president of the Mormon church, dies at 80. He was the nephew of the original Joseph Smith. He also served in the Utah territorial and state legislatures, was president of the failed state constitutional convention of 1882 and president of Brigham Young University. He leaves behind 5 wives (not counting his first wife, who was his under-aged cousin and divorced him) and 32 living children (13 others are already dead).

German demobilization/evacuation is going... well, it’s going. Soldiers in Belgium are selling their weapons to Belgian civilians, including machine guns and the occasional airplane.

The Justice Dept warns not to contribute to “so-called ‘civil liberties’” organizations like the National Civil Liberties Bureau because it might be used by other, anti-war groups. The NCLB denies this and also charges, in a letter to the War Dept, that conscientious objectors in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth are being mistreated. The War Dept, lying, denies this.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Today -100: November 19, 1918: Of guests, prohibition, and red flags

Former kaiser Wilhelm Hohenzollern is already thinking about going back to Germany. Which must be a relief to Count Bentinck, who didn’t offer to put him up but was asked to by the Dutch government. When Willy arrived Bentinck asked how long he was going to stay and Willy said, “That depends upon the Dutch government,” which is just what you want to hear from a house guest.

Wilson says he will go the peace conference, at least for the start of it, because discussing things via cable is just so impersonal.

The Senate passes “wartime” prohibition, effective until the end of demobilization.

NYC Mayor John Hylan orders the police to pull down any red flags, which he calls “emblematic of unbridled license and an insignia for law hating and anarchy” and to disperse unauthorized gatherings.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Today -100: November 18, 1918: Of flu, abdications, grand dukes in a well, and race riots

The Census Bureau says that Spanish Flu killed more Americans than the war did. Indeed, the number of influenza deaths just in army camps nearly matched the number of soldiers killed. Philadelphia and Baltimore had it the worst.

Germany’s political parties are splitting apart and re-forming in exciting new combinations. A Republican Party is expected to form (if it did it wasn’t under that name) from the Progressives and the left-wing of the National Liberals. And the Spartacus group is forming what will eventually be the German Communist Party (KPD).

In the Red Flag (Berlin), Rosa Luxemburg writes that rumors are being spread about the Spartacists having killed 200 army officers, attacking the royal stables, etc etc in order to prepare the public for an anti-Spartacist pogrom.

More abdications in German principalities: Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (he also has British titles: he’s a prince, an earl, a duke and a baron, but he’ll lose those titles next year as well. He won’t get another title until he becomes an obergruppenführer in the Brownshirts). Also Grand Duke Friedrich “Fritz” II of Baden and Duke Bernhard III of Saxe-Meiningen.

Headline of the Day -100:

Is this 1) Just the sort of thing the Whites would make up? 2) Just the sort of thing the Reds would do? 3) An homage to the old nursery rhyme “Five grand dukes down a well?” It’s true, actually!

There is agitation in Luxembourg for Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde to abdicate because of her perceived closeness to the Germans while the country was occupied. Some Luxembourgers want the country annexed by France. M-A is demanding a referendum before she abdicates. She will be forced out in a couple of months in favor of her sister Charlotte, and then there’ll be a referendum.

A race riot in Winston-Salem, North Carolina results in 5 or more deaths: 3 blacks, a spectator and a fireman. A mob tried to storm the jail, going after a black prisoner. They shot one, but later heard that he wasn’t the right black prisoner (I think he actually was), so they came back later in the day, overcame the fire department’s hoses and the Home Guard, but couldn’t find the prisoner. Gov. Thomas Bickett is sending in a tank battalion. 

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Today -100: November 17, 1918: Of coalitions, abdications, delegations, and stout women

British Prime Minister Lloyd George proposes that the wartime coalition in Parliament continue in next month’s general election and beyond. He says the problems facing the country are just as difficult as the war, and require non-party solutions. He wants imperial tariff preferences, which the Tories will like, and postponing Irish Home Rule “until he condition of Ireland makes it possible,” which the Tories will also like. There isn’t a lot of Lloyd George’s Liberalism left. LG slags off the Labour Party for withdrawing from the coalition government.

Prince Adolf II of Schaumburg-Lippe abdicates. The NYT says King Ludwig III of Bavaria also abdicated but it is wrong. It also says Queen Maria Theresa has died but it is wrong.

The Senate is discussing whether Wilson should submit the names of the delegation to the peace conference to the Senate for approval. He isn’t obligated to do so, but some of them think it would be nice if he did.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Today -100: November 16, 1918: Of moral revolutions, peace conferences, and thirsty thirsty princes

Former French prime minister Léon Bourgeois, who is in charge of French preparation for the League of Nations, says Germany must undergo a “moral revolution” before being allowed in.

The Allies, who had been inclined to hold off the peace conference until the political situation in Germany and elsewhere settled down, are instead now planning to start quickly to create a more stable environment for food operations to prevent famine. Which rather assumes that negotiations won’t drag on for months. In the US, in addition to the question of whether Wilson will attend in person is that of whether Congress will be represented, as it was in the conference that ended the Spanish-American War.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Today -100: November 15, 1918: The place of the President is here

The German government, a coalition of Socialists and Independent Socialists (SPD, USPD), confiscates the property of the Prussian crown. New elections soon, with universal suffrage for both sexes over 20 (it’s interesting that there’s almost no public discussion of the introduction of women’s suffrage. The pre-war suffrage movement was pretty small and quiet in Germany). Censorship is abolished.

The US also abolishes censorship.

Ex-Kaiser Willy is semi-interned by the Dutch in the undistinguished (if you ask me) castle of Count Bentinck.

Prince Friedrich I of Waldock and Pyrmont and Duke Eduard of Anhalt are reported to have abdicated, which is quite a trick for the latter, since he died two months ago. It’s his 17-year-old son Joachim Ernst who abdicated, or actually his uncle, acting as regent, abdicated on his behalf. Joachim Ernst will die in 1947 in the prison camp the Soviet NKVD established at Buchenwald.

There is talk of Woodrow Wilson going to Europe to participate in the peace conference. The NYT finds that other newspapers are mostly against the idea, as is the NYT: “The place of the President is here”. Furthermore, negotiating is beneath the dignity of his office (Fun Historical Fact: the office of the president had dignity in Ye Olde Times): “We are accustomed to feel that when the President speaks he speaks with authority. It is not quite the thing that he should engage in argument”. There’s a fine line between authority and arrogance. We’ll see on which side of that line Wilson chooses to stand. (Spoiler Alert: the same side he always stands on).

Parliamentary elections are called in Britain for next month.

Anti-Jewish riots with the occasional murder in Poland, as was the custom.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Today -100: November 14, 1918: Of premature anschlusses, non-flights, and abdications

The State Council of German Austria says German Austria is now part of Germany. I think some other countries might want to weigh in on that one. There is some question about whether Bavaria will declare itself independent from Germany.

Ex-Kaiser-Now-Herr Wilhelm Hohenzollern says his leaving Germany was not a “flight,” he just wanted to assist the new socialist government by removing the embarrassments his presence would cause. Isn’t that helpful of him?

Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and Prince Leopold IV of Lippe-Detmold abdicate.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Today -100: November 13, 1918: Germany has completed her revolution

Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary abdicates. “Filled with an unalterable love for my peoples I will not, with my person, be a hindrance to their free development.”

There are (false) reports that German Crown Prince Wilhelm is dead, possibly shot.

Germany asks – begs, really – for peace talks to be sped up, because Germany is facing famine.

Prince Heinrich XXVII of Reuß abdicates. Reuß is a place. Two of them, actually, German micro-states. Every male in both their ruling houses is named Heinrich and has been since 1200 or so.  One branch of the family numbers its Heinrichs up to 100 and then starts over, the other branch starts over every century. And the numbering is across the entire family, not father->son->grandson. So this is Heinrich XXVII, son of Heinrich XIV, father of Heinrichs XL, XLIII and XLV.

German Chancellor Friedrich Ebert says “Germany has completed her revolution.” Oh, he hopes. He says Prince Maximilian has handed over the government to him; in fact, “the people had already elected me as chancellor by their elementary will.” Whatever that means.

The NYT considers what should be done with ex-kaiser Wilhelm, “this man of altogether unspeakable sin,” “this incomparable malefactor.” It thinks he shouldn’t be executed but left alive to suffer the humiliation of his fall from kaiserdom. “He knows that earth’s millions detest him, loathe him, hate him with a hatred never before visited upon mortal man.”

Russian composer/conductor Sergei Rachmaninov, who fled Russia last year, arrives in New York, where he’s greeted by Prokofiev. He will remain in the US until his death in 1943.

The US plans to demobilize the 4 million members of the military only as and when civilian jobs open up for them.

The last issue of the British trench newspaper The Wipers Times next month refers to being demobilized (which etymonline says isn’t being called “demobbed” quite yet) as being given “the order of the bowler hat.” The last 2 issues (now renamed The Better Times) don’t have specific dates so here are two pieces from the penultimate issue:

A letter: “Dear Sir. – I hear that the people who joined early are going to be demobilised first. I think this is very unjust. Surely those who joined first were much more eager to join the Army than we who were combed out later. As they were more eager to join, it must have been because they liked it. Therefore they should be demobilised much later than we who joined up reluctantly.”

And excerpts from a poem titled “Cease Fire”:
“Oofs!! Compree, eggs?”
Will you e’er forget the jargon? Will these four years pass away
Till their memory is but an ugly dream?
Yet I would not lose the friends one found when life was less worth while
Than I had thought that life could ever seem.
“Hostilities cease at 11 a.m.!”
Though these words marked hours which hist’ry well may hold divide the world
And the centuries in half by all they mean,
Yet our brains could not conceive it, and the Column plodded on–
You cannot blot out years as from a screen!
‘Tis the small things make one’s world up,
and the greatest slither by,
‘Tis “the canteen’s closed” “late rations”
make you curse;
What do emperors and empires going bust
concern you when
The mud and rain and filth are getting worse?
There’s a phrase in a part of that poem I didn’t quote which is worth separating out: “while greedy Belgium laps up blood.”

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Today -100: November 12, 1918: We made the broom that swept the Hohenzollerns out

Woodrow Wilson addresses a joint session of Congress: “The war thus comes to an end; for, having accepted these terms of armistice, it will be impossible for the German command to renew it.”

He enumerates those terms: The armistice to last 30 days, extendable. Germany to withdraw its troops from all occupied territories (including Russia)(and Alsace-Lorraine) within 14 days, preferably without looting, please and thank you. The return to occupied countries of their prisoners and hostages. Surrender of various war materials including specified numbers of ships, u-boats, planes, machine guns, as well as non-materials including 150,000 railway cars, etc. Abandonment of the treaties forced on Romania and Russia. Etc etc etc.

Wilson: “Armed imperialism such as the men conceived who were but yesterday the masters of Germany is at an end, its illicit ambitions engulfed in black disaster. Who will now seek to revive it?” Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, Woodrow. He admits he has no idea what form of government may take hold in Germany and that this makes things a little tricky. But, “I am confident that the nations that have learned the discipline of freedom and that have settled with self-possession to its ordered practice are now about to make conquest of the world by the sheer power of example and of friendly helpfulness.”

Allied troops continued to fight the war right up until armistice, with some new advances ordered that morning, even though the armistice was signed at 5:10 a.m. and the time of armistice was well known. A lot of people died for no particular reason before 11:00. Gen. Pershing will tell Congress a year from now that no one had informed him that the armistice was about to be signed, which is nonsense. Messages informing US units that the war would end at 11:00 failed to give any orders about what to do in the meantime, and different commanders made different decisions. Some wanted to be able to claim that their unit fired the last shots of the war.  There were 11,000 casualties on all sides on November 11th before 11:00, more than on D-Day.

Hindenburg hands over command of the German army to the revolutionary People’s Government, supposedly.

One German king (Friedrich August III of Saxony) and two grand dukes (Frederick Augustus II of Oldenburg and Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin) are out. Hesse-Darmstadt declares itself a free socialist republic.

People celebrate the end of the war. Not, the NYT thinks, quite as enthusiastically as they celebrated the false armistice news last Thursday, but still pretty fucking enthusiastically. Schools and places of work closed, mostly because no one showed up.

The kaiser is burned in effigy. Lots of burning effigies. Municipal Judge William Wadhams announces that the former Kaiser Wilhelm is a fugitive from justice and orders a bench warrant for his arrest. Soldiers and sailors in Newport News, Virginia destroy street cars, break windows, raid restaurants and set fires to, you know, celebrate. There’s a small riot in Harlem when a cop tries to arrest black soldiers & sailors engaging in similar “alcoholic patriotism.” The people who are really pissed off are the hotels, which could have made a fortune from the celebrations but for the waiters’ strike.

The Netherlands is not exactly thrilled that Willy has chosen their country as his new home, and may intern him. In a nice château.

Theodore Roosevelt celebrates by checking into Roosevelt Hospital with “lumbago.”

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

I blogged about it 100 years later

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Today -100: November 11, 1918: On the 11th hour of the 11th day...

Headline of the Day -100: 

Kaiser Wilhelm and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm go into exile in Holland.

King Wilhelm II of Württemberg abdicates (no he doesn’t, but never mind).  The kings of Bavaria and Saxony probably will soon, the NYT says (Ludwig of Bavaria fled but didn’t actually abdicate; I don’t think he ever actually did). Hesse-Darmstadt declares itself a republic.

Revolutionaries are trying to set up a German People’s Government while Friedrich Ebert tries to establish a Social Democratic one. In a fight with army officers, the revolutionaries shell the “Cockchafer” Barracks (hi, disappointed Google searchers!). The Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council of Berlin declares a general strike. Ebert says his government’s job will be to “preserve the German people from civil war and famine”. He appeals to officials, who he assumes with good reason are mostly right-wing: “I know it will be difficult for some to work with the new men who have taken charge of the empire, but I appeal to their love of the people. Lack of organization would in this heavy time mean anarchy in Germany and the surrender of the country to tremendous misery.”

The NYT celebrates “The Overthrow of Autocracy.” “Autocracy dies with the Hohenzollern,” it says. Autocracy-lovers “were fools not to see and understand that the world long ago had outgrown them. They sought to perpetuate in Western lands an Oriental form of government, fit only for the ignorant and superstitious.” It goes on to bitch about the aftermath of The Overthrow of Autocracy: “There are omens of evil in the character of the revolt. The red flag is everywhere, the Bolshevist spirit rages, there is a general strike, and in place of government we see Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Councils... That virus of the proletariat pestilence with which the Imperial Government infected Russia at the cost of millions of marks now courses through German veins. A Socialist is made Chancellor... the German insurgents set out upon the road that leads to the tyranny of one class over all others, that ends inevitably in social disorganization, the horror of indiscriminate murder and ruin, until reason and law resume their sway.”

A Polish republic is proclaimed.

Gen. Rudolf Gaida of the Czechoslovak Legions fighting the Bolsheviks in Siberia makes an urgent appeal for assistance. He wants a $100,000 Interallied Siberian Winter Tobacco Fund because they have NOTHING TO SMOKE!

Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (NY) asks for the captured German colonies in Africa to be turned over to the natives. 

Now Playing: Little Women, actually filmed in Louisa May Alcott’s home. The NYT gives it a mixed review. The acting is “satisfactory” but with “too much conscious posing” and there are too many inter-titles.  It is not the first movie to be made from the book. The film is now lost.

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