Thursday, April 05, 2018

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


Headline of the Day -100: 


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

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

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

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

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


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