Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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

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

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

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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

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

South Dakota ratifies.

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

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Monday, March 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

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

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

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

But mostly with machine guns. Gallant machine guns.

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

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

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

The House and Senate vote for daylight saving.

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

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

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Friday, March 16, 2018

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

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

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

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

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

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

Tibet invades China.

Sinister Plot of the Day -100: 

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

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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

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

German troops rectify invade Odessa.

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, March 12, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Oh the humanity:

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

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

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, March 09, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, March 08, 2018

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

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

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

Ford Motor Company will make tanks. Little baby tanks.

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

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

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

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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

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

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

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

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

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

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Tuesday, March 06, 2018

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

Oh, PART. I totally misread that.

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

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

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

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Monday, March 05, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, March 03, 2018

Today -100: March 3, 1918: We could not refuse our help

Germany captures Kiev. Or “liberated” it, as they put it.

Austria will also send troops into Ukraine. Because Ukraine asked it to, or so Austria says. “We could not refuse our help,” says Prime Minister Ernst Seidler. That would have just been rude.

Labor Secretary William Wilson orders immigration officials in the Northwest to start deporting foreign anarchists (i.e., IWW members), whether or not they’ve actually done anything.

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Friday, March 02, 2018

Today -100: March 2, 1918: Of peace talks, barbed wire, Broadway lights, and kats

A rather unclear message from Brest-Litovsk leads the Russian government to believe that the Germans have broken off peace talks. At any rate, Germany plans to keep invading right up to the signing of the peace treaty. Petrograd prepares for a siege.

The Allies ask Japan to invade Russia to secure Allied interests – protecting weapons stores in Vladivostok, that sort of thing – and certainly not to help overthrow the Bolshevik government, furthest thing from our minds.

The Cologne Gazettereports” that New York City is now completely surrounded by 1,000 km of barbed wire fencing and that Hoboken is now empty because all the Germans have been forced out.

Austria will start drafting 17-year-olds.

Broadway theaters are allowed to turn their lights on again, the warmer weather having mitigated the coal shortage.

I’d forgotten about the new literacy requirement for immigrants, passed over Pres. Wilson’s veto. Roberto Piccinini of the Bronx has his citizenship blocked because he spelled cat with a K.

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Today -100: March 1, 1918: Of the Wigwam and evolution

Women can now join Tammany (the NY County Democratic Committee) as equal members.

Prof. Frederic Wood Jones, anatomy prof and physical anthropologist, gives a lecture at King’s College, London, in which he claims that humans are not descended from hominoid apes, but diverged substantially earlier, which is here presented as “Man Was Ancestor of Apes,” which is not what Jones is saying, but he’s still quite wrong.

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