Friday, July 20, 2018

Today -100: July 20, 1918: Of darrows, victories, carpathias, and baseball


The US government is sending Clarence Darrow, of all people, to Europe on a speaking tour to tell the truth about America.

The unofficial NY Republican convention closes, and they still don’t know if Theodore Roosevelt is running for governor. TR still doesn’t know definitively that his son is dead, so may have other things on his mind.

A mob in Mount Vernon – I assume the one in New York – drags a Catholic priest out of his church. His crime: failing to toll the bell to celebrate US military victories. His church: Our Lady of Victory. They force him to kiss a flag and ring the bell, or maybe the other way around. The Rev. Edward Heinlein will be charged with disorderly conduct, of all things. The NYT seems to have nothing after that.

The Romanian Chamber of Deputies votes to prosecute the cabinet that brought Romania into the war.

Secretary of Labor William Wilson’s son, 2nd Lt. Joseph Wilson, is court-martialed for being absent without leave and getting arrested in Baltimore for gambling. The court-martial recommends he be dismissed from the service, but Pres. Wilson commutes his sentence.

The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued passengers from the Titanic, is sunk. Everyone is rescued, but 5 crew are killed by the blast from the torpedo. The Cunard liner was being used to transport troops across the Atlantic, and was headed towards Boston.

The NY Supreme Court rules that a white man refused service in a Harlem restaurant because he was sitting with a black friend can’t be awarded damages under the state’s civil rights laws because he wasn’t refused because of his race but because he was with someone of a different race. This is, of course, stupid law.

Secretary of War Newton Baker finally settles the fraught question of whether professional baseball is a necessary occupation. It isn’t. He suggests they get real jobs. This will leave the Yankees with just 1 player over draft age and the Brooklyn Giants 5.


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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today -100: July 19, 1918: Of ways to stop German spies, censorship, and women’s suffrage


The Allied counter-offensive is doing rather well.

Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, on the other hand, is still quite dead, although his father is informed that Quentin’s flying companion is sure he landed safely.

Still, the New York Republican Party, currently holding its “unofficial convention” in Saratoga, is trying to get Roosevelt to run for governor and trying to ignore the existence of their unloved incumbent governor, Charles Whitman. TR gives a speech (this is before he was informed about Quentin’s death) against the Enemy Within: “A glorious way to stop the activity of the German spy [by which I’m pretty sure he means anyone at all critical of the war] is to shoot him where he is found.” He says that German- and Austrian-Americans should be drafted because during the Revolutionary War Americans of English birth fought for independence, and their cause didn’t have 1/10 the reasons as the current war, because Lusitania and shit.

Recruiting officers are told to stop illegally enlisting boys under the age of 18, as it’s just embarrassing for everyone when their parents show up and demand they be released. Documentation will be required in the future.

A NY state Supreme Court justice allows Mount Vernon to ban German-language newspapers and the Hearst press.

Hungary’s Diet rejects women’s suffrage.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Today -100: July 18, 1918: Of best deaths, sawed-off shotguns, useless wars, amusing shells, and red hats


Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, son of the former president, is killed in aerial battle. He was 21. “The best of deaths,” the NYT calls it.

German newspapers are complaining over rumors that American troops have been issued sawed-off shotguns, which are apparently not “honorable,” presumably because no one’s bothered to train them to shoot. What next, they ask, tomahawks and scalping knives?

Headline of the Day -100: 


Oh, NOW he tells us.  Austrian Foreign Minister Count Burian says “we regard this war as senseless and purposeless bloodshed which might at any moment be ended by the re-emergence of feelings of humanity in our enemies.”

Headline of the Day -100:  


Émile-Joseph Duval, the manager of the newspaper Le Bonnet Rouge, is executed for allegedly taking money from Germany to publish defeatism. Another person associated with the paper, also arrested in 1917, the photographer Miguel Almereyda, the father of the great film-maker Jean Vigo, was mysteriously strangled in prison.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today -100: July 17, 1918: Our enemies want to paralyze us by an offensive of irritation and render us helpless


Baron Burian, the Austrian Foreign Minister, says Austria is ready to begin peace talks and is “prepared to discuss everything except our own territory.” It’s not the Central Powers who are annexationists,  he says (the terms that they imposed on Russia and Romania are a special case, or something), but the Entente countries that want to grab Alsace-Lorraine, Trieste, the Trentino and Germany’s colonies. He says, “Our enemies want to paralyze us by an offensive of irritation and render us helpless. They want to crush our very powerful organism in order to make weak parts one after the other serviceable to their own purposes.” Austrians, always bragging about their very powerful organisms.

The French Senate is trying former Interior Minister Louis-Jean Malvy for treason for allegedly giving information to Germany, which he didn’t.

Floyd Dell, managing editor of The Masses, whose first trial with Max Eastman and others connected to the paper for obstructing military recruitment ended in a mistrial, then, ironically, let himself be drafted before an intended retrial, has now been discharged from the army because he shouldn’t have been conscripted while an indictment hung over him. Spoiler Alert: The second trial will also end in a hung jury.


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Monday, July 16, 2018

Today -100: July 16, 1918: To hell with this blockheaded Hun


Haiti declares war on Germany, which is just adorable.

So too have some residents of Bismarck, North Dakota, who want that name changed. Someone painted out the city’s name at the railroad station and put up a sign saying “To hell with this blockheaded Hun. What did he ever do for us?”

Headline That’s Probably a Euphemism for Something of the Day -100: 



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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Today -100: July 15, 1918: Of productive baseball, roofs, and war wounds


Individual draft boards are making conflicting rulings on whether baseball players are “productive.” Boston’s says that baseball’s recreational benefits are overestimated, although it excuses Braves catcher John Park Henry from getting a real job because it would be such a financial loss to himself and others (others being the team owners).

Man, the food situation in Germany is getting really bad:


Theodore Roosevelt is informed that his son Archie’s war wound is worse than first reported and will take 8 months to heal. It’s not a great week for the Roosevelt boys.


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Today -100: July 14, 1918: There must be no hugger-mugger peace


The German government has a contract with the Westmark Land Company to purchase estates in Alsace-Lorraine and settle them with people “who are reliable from a national standpoint.”

German Chancellor Georg von Hertling says Germany does not intend to annex Belgium, but only to use it as “a pawn for future negotiations.” (A few days later he’ll say he means he wants Germany’s colonies back).

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100:


Headline of the Day -100:  


Um, you do you, Germans.

Lloyd George, while admitting that Britain decided its colonies and Dominions were going to war without consulting them, says the Dominions (i.e. the white colonies) will have a role in determining the peace terms. He adds, “There must be no hugger-mugger peace.” He says that Germany’s (he mostly means Prussia) past successful wars just encouraged it to more warfare, so this time it mustn’t get anything out of the war. “The god of brute force must this time forever be broken and burnt in its own furnace.” Probably best not to spend too long thinking about that sentence.

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100:  


Flight Sgt James Baugham crashed in No Man’s Land and was shot at by both sides until he waved his handkerchief at the French. I told you it was disappointing.


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Today -100: July 13, 1918: Of neutralizing ointment & special underwear


The War Department insists that not only are its gas masks completely effective against mustard gas, but there’s a “neutralizing ointment” now. And special underwear.

That’s what it says: “special underwear.”

Finland’s German-propped-up government’s Senate votes to expel all the Jews, because they funded the Red Guards. The Jews say they were forced to give money to the Red Guards.

Henceforth, all US war contracts will ban the use of prison and child labor.


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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Today -100: July 12, 1918: Of mustard, grocery shopping, violent pan-Germans, and zitas


US forces in Europe now have a supply of mustard gas, so they can begin setting German skin on fire, which is something they’ve been wanting to do.

Germany demands that neutral Holland supply it with 60,000 cows, 3,000 horses, 10,000 tons of cheese, 2 million eggs, etc. I think they’re planning a party.

Germany’s new foreign minister, replacing the ousted Richard von Kühlmann, is Adm. Paul von Hintze, described by the NYT as a “violent pan-German” (violent pan-Germans are the worst kind) shoved into office by Kaiser Wilhelm & the military rulers of Germany without any consultation with the Reichstag.

A Swedish lieutenant, who claims to have stayed at the hotel in which Grand Duke Michael was imprisoned, says he heard that the former tsarevitch died of fright when someone threw a bomb at the house the Romanovs were staying at. The NYT will publish any rumor from any rando who spent any time at all in Russia.

The NYT also purveys a story that Austria’s Empress Zita twice considered divorce, but the pope said no. Elsewhere in the paper, it is reported that Austria has been complaining about an Allied propaganda offensive against the royal couple. According to a British correspondent stationed in Geneva, “Exactly the same sort of stories which were circulated at the expense of Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution and about the Empress of Russia two years ago are now being repeated about Zita.” Soooooo... sex stuff? That is annoyingly vague. Yet another article suggests pro-Germans are starting these rumors against Zita to undermine her as she pushes for peace. That’s not implausible.


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Today -100: July 11, 1918: Of influenza, aerial combat, constitutions, interventions, and fairy wands


Kaiser Wilhelm has the Spanish flu!

Theodore Roosevelt’s son Quentin shoots down a German plane. Good for him.

An anti-Bolshevik Provisional Government for Siberia is formed.

A Russian constitution was adopted yesterday by the Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets. There seems to be nothing about it in the NYT in the days and weeks ahead. Russia is declared a republic of the soviets of the workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ deputies. The “exploiters” are to have no political power including the vote, but all citizens have equal rights, however that’s supposed to work. Clergy can’t vote either. Private property is abolished and “He shall not eat who does not work.”

Woodrow Wilson is still working out how he wants to intervene in Russia. He is meeting “persons who are familiar with conditions in Russia.” Today:  Marie Botcharova of the Women’s Battalion of Death. I wonder what was said.

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


Hey, I saved some pictures of 1918 Paul Nash paintings years ago and forgot to post them, so I’m two months late with We Are Making a New World, and I’m not sure about the exact dates of Void and Mule Track.





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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Today -100: July 10, 1918: Of social revolutionaries and searching for the true assassins


Some of the people arrested by the Bolsheviks for alleged participation in this week’s revolt were Social Revolutionary party members of Kerensky’s old cabinet, including assistant war minister Boris Savinkov and interior minister Irakli Tseretelli. ...aaaaand a little more research suggests that none of these people were actually arrested.

With the killers of German ambassador to Russia Count Wilhelm von Mirbach uncaught, Germany is blaming England, based on no evidence (although some German papers are claiming that Mirbach was so well-loved in Russia that they must have been paid by foreigners, that’s just science).


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Monday, July 09, 2018

Today -100: July 9, 1918: It would appear that the government wishes to know the extreme limits of the people’s endurance


The Bolsheviks rather easily defeat a counter-revolution in Moscow, if something organized by the “Left Social-Revolutionary Party” can properly be called a counter-revolution, which was timed to coincide with the assassination of the German ambassador. Chief Moscow Military Commissar Semyon Aralov issues a communique: “I beg to announce that the mutiny was caused by a group of cheeky fools, and was suppressed without difficulty by the Moscow garrison.” The SRs are now fucked.

Trotsky has been calling for universal conscription, but says the bourgeois can’t be trusted with actual fighting, so it’ll be trench-digging for them. It’ll be fun to see how the government defines proletariat/bourg.

The Allies, including the US, are working out how to “help” or “aid” Russia, which is the way everyone’s referring to sending a “commission” and a bunch of soldiers, to help/aid the Russian people if not necessarily the de facto Russian government.  Other phrases used in this article to describe the proposed military intervention: “encourage the Russian people to re-establish their nationality,” “leaving to the Russian people to carry out the program of regeneration which the Allies will initiate and support,” “bring back Russia, economically and politically, into the sisterhood of nations,” “the peaceful penetration of Siberia”...

The Berlin potato ration, reduced last week from 7 pounds per person to 3, is again reduced, to 1, not that it matters since there are none available. Meatless weeks will begin in August. In the Reichstag, one deputy objects to any food being sent to Austria, and a socialist deputy says “It would appear that the government wishes to know the extreme limits of the people’s endurance.”

Field Marshal Hindenburg calls for 1 million more men. There aren’t 1 million more men available, so they’ll be drafting 16-year-olds, as well as prisoners, foreigners etc.

Edward Rumely, publisher of the New York Evening Mail, is arrested for perjury for telling the government his paper is American-owned. The government claims the German government really owns it.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels tells a YMCA rally at Carnegie Hall that the war is to make the world safe not just  for democracy but for Christian civilization.

Two trains crash into each other, head on, near Nashville, killing 101 or more people, which is a record still unbroken in the US. In part, this was due to the passenger cars being made of wood rather than steel. Most of the victims were black workers traveling to work at a gunpowder factory.



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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Today -100: July 8, 1918: Of murmen, political maneuvers to provoke trouble, ardor, and draft evaders


The Murman Coast and its population of half-men-half-fish secedes from Russia to join the Entente.

Lenin condemns the assassination of German Ambassador Count Wilhelm von Mirbach, calling it “a political maneuver to provoke trouble.” For some reason he says the assassination involved a bomb, and yesterday’s report mentioned grenades. Nope, just ordinary garden-variety guns.

Headline of the Day -100: 


A gun battle between a sheriff and his deputies and some draft evaders in the woods of Arkansas leaves 3 dead, but 30 or so armed resisters escaped. The governor is sending troops and machine guns.


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Saturday, July 07, 2018

Today -100: July 7, 1918: It’s like he wasn’t even paying attention to the stewardess


Headline of the Day -100: 


Not as salacious as they make it sound. NY’s former Boy Mayor John Purroy Mitchel, training as a pilot, forgets to fasten his seat-belt and falls out of his plane. He was 38.

Prussia’s Diet’s lower house passes a half-hearted reform of the 3-tiered franchise system, giving equal votes to all men 25 and older but with residency requirements designed to suppress the working-class vote.

Count Wilhelm von Mirbach, the German ambassador to Russia, is assassinated at the German embassy in Moscow by two unknown men. They are, in fact, members of the Left Social Revolutionary Party, assisted, maybe? by Cheka chief Felix Dzerzhinsky, part of a Left SR plan to restart the war between Germany and Russia and seize power from the Bolsheviks. Yakov Blumkin, the chief assassin, will go on to do all sorts of exciting secret agent stuff before being executed on Stalin’s orders in 1929, as was the custom.



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Friday, July 06, 2018

Today -100: July 6, 1918: Of sultans, frogs, budgets, executions, dry virgins, and prayers


Mohammed V, Ottoman Sultan, dies at 73. One could be forgiven for having forgotten that Turkey still has a sultan. There are rumors that he was murdered, as was the custom. Next up: Mohammed VI, Five’s brother.

Yarn of the Day -100:


At the battle of the Chemin des Dames (May 27), Mr Prince says, the croaking of millions of mating frogs covered up the sound of the Germans moving into position, then made it impossible for the French to gauge the position of their machine guns. This story seems to be true.

Philipp Scheidemann, leader of the German Social Democratic Party, says the SPD won’t vote for any more budgets until the government states its peace terms.

Headline of the Day -100:  

3 black soldiers who supposedly sexually assaulted a white 17-year-old. Everyone is ordered to watch. Is that the case when white soldiers are executed?

Rep. Jeanette Rankin of Montana announces that she will run for Senate. The article doesn’t say, but I believe this is because her chances for re-election to the House dropped significantly when the state Legislature finally got off its ass and divided the state into two congressional districts – when she was elected last time, everyone could vote for 2 people for the 2 at-large seats, which helped her.

Headline of the Day -100:  

There’s a joke in there somewhere.

The US Senate passes a resolution asking Pres. Wilson to call on the American people to observe a prayer every day at noon for the rest of the war.


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Thursday, July 05, 2018

Today -100: July 5, 1918: Of strange trappings and primitive authority, crappy Christmases, and gas


Headline of the Day -100: 

At a 4th of July thing, he says we must eliminate “governments clothed with strange trappings and the primitive authority of an age that is altogether alien and hostile to our own.”

The National Council of Defense has suggested that gifts not be given this Christmas, just cards and letters, because there’s a war on. The National Retail Dry Goods Association is not best pleased.

Headline of the Day -100:  



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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Today -100: July 4, 1918: Of big armies, pogroms, pitchforks, and sox


The US Army now has more than 2 million men.

Austria: there are anti-Semitic riots in several Galician towns. And the state (ok, duchy) of Styria is under martial law due to mutiny and desertion.

Sen. (and former governor) Benjamin Tillman (D-SC) dies at 70. Pitchfork Ben (the nickname is from an election speech in 1894 in which he promised to stick a pitchfork in Pres. Cleveland’s “fat old ribs”) is best remembered as a virulently racist piece of shit.

Sports Headline of the Day -100:

In fact, he plans to play a game in the Delaware River Shipbuilding League. The Sox are threatening an injunction. I believe what’s going on here is that he has acquired, or will acquire, a no-show factory job to keep him out of the draft.

It’s July 4th and I did a baseball story. I feel so cheap.


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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Today -100: July 3, 1918: Of influenza and polar bears


Passengers on a ship arriving from Spain are fumigated. “Spanish” flu, you know.

The Ausburg Abendzeitung reports what it says are the terms agreed between the Central Powers on the future of Poland. Its borders will be set by the German military according to military necessity. Its army will be restricted to 90,000. Most favored nation status for Germany & Austria for 50 years. In any locality where there are 10 German children a German school will be established. An elective monarchy. Any change in the constitution requires approval by the Central Powers.

Headline of the Day -100: 



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Monday, July 02, 2018

Today -100: July 2, 1918: Of secret fictional treaties, supreme representatives, and adoptions


Russia denies the rumor that there’s a secret treaty with Germany giving Poland to Germany.

Headline of the Day -100: 


France recognizes the Czech National Council as the “supreme representative of the future Czechoslovak Government” in a letter to Edvard Beneš.

Vice President Thomas Marshall and wife Lois “adopt” a baby from parents who can’t afford his medical treatment. He will die at 3.


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Sunday, July 01, 2018

Today -100: July 1, 1918: Of buried princes and opposing the cause of the United States by words


Four-time Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs is arrested for making a speech the government didn’t like. There are believed to be 10 charges against him under the Espionage Act, including “opposing the cause of the United States by words.” The “cause” of the United States evidently doesn’t include free speech. Simultaneously, the Socialist Party in Indiana’s 5th congressional district nominates Debs for Congress (Debs will decline).

Kaiser Wilhelm tells his forces not to bombard the Mont des Cats monastery because its prior is the only person who knows where Prince Max of Hesse (d.1914) is buried and he won’t say where until Belgium is evacuated.


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