Sunday, June 24, 2018

Today -100: June 24, 1918: Of cold negroes and Russian propagandists


Headline of the Day -100: 


The NYT suggests sending Russian volunteers presently in the US into Russia to organize anti-German propaganda. Not anti-Bolshevik propaganda, it says, just anti-German. They can speak to the Russians on their own terms, and would be better than newspapers, which the Russians mostly can’t read.


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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
https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1918/06/17/102710964.pdf
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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