Sunday, August 19, 2018

Today -100: August 19, 1918: Of premature obituaries, influenza, race riots, newspaper boycotts, and barrymores


The NYT reports on the assassination (no details beyond that one word are provided) in Petrograd of Jewish lawyer and advocate of the rights of Russian Jews Henri Sliosberg. In 1902 he was asked by Foreign Minister Count Witte if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was real. He said no. Anyway, he’s not really dead so here’s another NYT obituary of him, from 1937.

NY Port health officers will start checking incoming ships for cases of Spanish flu, but won’t quarantine ships with just “a few cases.”

2 black soldiers are killed during a “race riot” at Camp Merritt in New Jersey. The cause is unknown at this time. Will the NYT investigate? What do you think?

Kaiser Wilhelm says the Allied bombing of Frankfort violates international law.

80 Brooklyn newsdealers decide to stop selling Hearst newspapers and magazines, although this is supposedly not for political reasons (as it definitely is in Mt Vernon and other cities) but because Hearst agents have been pressuring them to take more papers than they want and if they don’t, stand near the offending newsstand selling papers. Alternately, the dealers might be trying to use Hearst’s present unpopularity to force a reduction in the wholesale price they pay.

Now Playing: Our Mrs. McChesney, starring Ethel Barrymore. The NYT is not impressed: “what one sees of her at the Strand is simply what is left after she is deprived of all of her voice, most of her personality, and much of her art.” And now even that is gone; it’s a lost film. Sigh.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Today -100: August 18, 1918: Boy, that Entente, quite an imagination, huh?


A Chicago jury convicts 100 members of the IWW for hindering the war effort and violating the Espionage Act. Every single defendant. Which suggests they didn’t put a lot of thought into working out who did what. That and the fact that they deliberated for an hour after a complex 4+-month trial.

Austria denounces the British recognition of Czechoslovakia, saying that the Czech National Council “is a committee of private persons who have no mandate from the Czechoslovak people and still less from the Czechoslovak ‘nation,’ which exists only in the imagination of the Entente.”

Poet Joyce Kilmer is killed in the Second Battle of Marne, at 31. The trees are in mourning.

A ship arrives in New York, this time from the Netherlands, after a voyage in which 200 passengers got sick with the Spanish flu and 5 died, all of the latter East Indians, which I take to mean Indonesians. The dead were buried at sea.

The Germans have adopted parachutes for their planes.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Today -100: August 17, 1918: Blanked in Boston


No aliens will be allowed to leave the US without permission from September 15.

Headline of the Day -100: 



Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Today -100: August 16, 1918: Of quarantines, diaries, and dicks


US troops arrive at Vladivostok.

Dr. Leland Cofer, health officer for the Port of New York, says there is no need to establish a quarantine for the Spanish flu or other “minor communicable diseases,” and anyway that would just clog up the workings of the port and there’s a war on, you know.

Another passenger from the Norwegian ship dies.

The Soviets have started publishing excerpts from dead former Czar Nicholas’s diaries. He ascribed the February Revolution to “treason and cowardice.”

Headline of the Day -100:



Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Today -100: August 15, 1918: No need for our people to worry over the matter


Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo calls for an 80% tax on war profits to raise the revenues needed to fight the war in 1919.

Port health officers now admit that that Norwegian ship’s passengers did have influenza, but President of the NYC Board of Health Royal S. Copeland, doing his best Mayor-Vaughan-refusing-to-close-Amity-beaches imitation, says there’s not the slightest chance of a Spanish flu epidemic in New York. Only malnourished people like German soldiers get it, so “No need for our people to worry over the matter.” So that’s okay then.

Copeland, by the way, is a homeopathist.

The War and Navy Offices’ commissions on training camps issues a warning asking girls not to talk with men in uniform unless they’ve been formally introduced.

Germany supposedly demands that Finland send troops into Murmansk within 2 weeks, or else.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Today -100: August 14, 1918: Of triumvirates, flu, and Czechoslovakias


The Second Soviet Congress names Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev a triumvirate with sole executive power during the present emergency.

Headline of the Day -100: 


A Norwegian ship arrives after a voyage in which pretty much everyone got sick, 4 died, 1 died after docking, and 9 are still quite sick. Doctors claim it isn’t Spanish flu, it’s pneumonia, and didn’t quarantine the sick. Did they not know that severe influenza leads to pneumonia? I guess not.

The article explains that “flue” is the British abbreviation of influenza. 

Britain formally recognizes Czechoslovakia as a nation and more importantly as a nation with an army. France and Italy have already recognized it, the US has not.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Today -100: August 13, 1918: Of mustard gas, assassinations, raincoats and pamphlets


The US Navy claims that a German u-boat launched a mustard gas attack on a North Carolina lighthouse. The crew of the lighthouse all survived but some chickens died. This all seems unlikely (u-boats are operating in that area, though).

The Germans in Ukraine publicly hang Boris Donskoy of the Left Social Revolutionaries for assassinating Field Marshal Hermann von Eichhorn with a bomb in Kiev.

Berlin papers claim that the Bolshevik government is preparing to flee Moscow for Kronstadt and that Lenin & Trotsky have already done so.

US Ambassador to Russia David Francis (well, the NYT calls him ambassador but the US doesn’t recognize the Bolshevik government so he’s not actually an ambassador any more) and the other Allied ambassadors refuse the Bolsheviks’ demand that they move to Moscow. Francis is going instead to Archangel.

Prussia bans the entry into Germany of Jewish workers from the East.

Corporations and people involved in making shoddy raincoats for US troops are indicted under the Sabotage Act.

Viennese authorities order the populace to turn in all the pamphlets dropped by d'Annunzio et al, or else.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Today -100: August 12, 1918: Of refuges, tsarinas, and intolerable distractions


Headline of the Day -100: 


The pope is urging Russia to free the (dead) former Tsarina Alexandra and her (dead) daughters.

The Women Voters' Anti-Suffrage Party of NY writes Pres. Wilson to complain about his switch from opposition to support of a federal women’s suffrage Amendment, which they call an “intolerable distraction.” They point out that the last 10 times states have held referenda on the subject, women’s suffrage won over (all-male) electorates only once, in “the Socialist-pacifist triumph in New York State.” They deny that a federal amendment is “a measure of democracy” or a war measure. Indeed, the fighting strength of countries like Russia is undermined by socialism and women’s suffrage is part of that, somehow.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Today -100: August 11, 1918: Of pushes, inventions, and illusions


The Allies continue to push the Germans back quite successfully. The Germans blame fog.

The British Munitions Ministry has been receiving helpful advice from the public, such as: freeze the clouds and mount artillery on them, train cormorants to pick apart the mortar on the Krupp’s weapons factories, use giant magnets mounted on balloons to grab German rifles, mount scythes on planes as protection, set Zeppelins on fire with heat rays, capture German soldiers with cement... And, of course, snake catapults.

The Sunday NYT Book Review section reviews Sigmund Freud’s Reflections on War and Death, a translation of a 1915 book in which he explains how the war stripped people of their illusions that humans never die, or something.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Today -100: August 10, 1918: We didn't come except for the joy of the daring


Italian poet/playwright/proto-fascist/pilot Capt. Gabriele d'Annunzio leads 9 planes (8?) on a 700-mile mission to drop 50,000 pamphlets on Vienna, which he wrote himself but didn’t bother to get translated. In them he informs the Viennese, “On this August morning, while the fourth year of your desperate convulsion comes to an end and luminously begins the year of our full power, suddenly there appears the three-color wing as an indication of the destiny that is turning. ... On the wind of victory that rises from freedom's rivers, we didn't come except for the joy of the daring, we didn't come except to prove what we could venture and do whenever we want, in an hour of our choice.” In other words, we can bomb Vienna if we want to.

R. H. Bruce Lockhart, acting consul general in Moscow, and members of his staff are arrested by the Soviet authorities. The British claim it is in reprisal for the landing at Archangel. In fact, Lockhart and Sidney “Ace of Spies” Reilly (not arrested) had been plotting a coup against the Soviet regime and the assassination of Lenin.

The British at Archangel, Murmansk and Vladivostok put out a declaration that the Allies have only invaded “as friends to help you save yourselves from dismemberment and destruction at the hands of Germany” and they don’t intend to impose a government on Russia (hah!). “Our one desire is to see Russia strong and free, and then to retire to watch the Russian people work out their own destinies.”

The US Food Administration lifts restrictions on beef consumption, including rationing to households and limits in restaurants.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Today -100: August 9, 1918: Of wars, governments of norths, women MPs or not, and old old old soldiers


Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda, Fake News and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: A German paper says Russia has declared war on England. Which isn’t precisely true but will lead to a particularly snotty NYT editorial tomorrow.

A “Government of the North” is formed by the Whites in Archangel. Very Game-of-Thronesey.

Britain’s law officers rule that women can’t be elected to Parliament.

Speaker of the House Champ Clark says if he had his druthers the draft age would be raised to 68 (his age) and he’d go to France and serve under his son.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Today -100: August 8, 1918: Of suffragists, trying to get my stupid word processor to show ă’s, and arch zeppelin raiders


The NYT suggests that suffragist protesters shouldn’t be sent to the workhouse, where they just disrupt discipline, but to the psychiatrist, presumably for committal.

The Romanian parliament votes unanimously to prosecute Ion Brătianu, who was prime minister from 1914 until January of this year, and four members of his cabinet, for bringing Romania into the war.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Führer der Luftschiffe (or, to translate his title into Steampunk, Arch Zeppelin Raider) Peter Strasser is shot down in what will turn out to be the last zeppelin raid on Britain of the war.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Today -100: August 7, 1918: Notwithstanding the fact that the people are opposed to any new war


Former French Interior Minister (1914-17) Louis Malvy, who was tried by the Senate, initially for treason although that charge was later withdrawn, is found guilty of negligence (having “ignored, violated and betrayed his duty”) for not cracking down hard enough on pacifists. They blame him for the 1917 army mutinies because of course they do. Malvy is sentenced to 5 years’ banishment, which he will spend in Spain. When he returns, he’ll be re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies and will even be interior minister again, in 1926.

Headline of the Day -100: 


They’re especially good with bayonets, apparently.

Suffragist (National Woman’s Party) protests outside the White House resume, as do arrests of suffragists protesting outside the White House, including Alice Paul. The demo is aimed at pressuring Pres. Wilson to force the suffrage amendment, which he supports, through the Senate. “The women were applauded when they attempted to speak. The crowd also applauded when they were arrested. There was no cheering.”

Lenin threatens to declare war on Japan, because of that whole invading Siberia thing, “notwithstanding the fact that the people are opposed to any new war.”


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Today -100: August 6, 1918: Of archangels, Big Bertha and Big Rubber Men


So when we were told that Woodrow Wilson had just decided to send troops into Russia, US troops were actually already in Archangel. According to the AP, “The Participation of the Americans in the landing has been greeted enthusiastically in Northern Russia. The people consider that the United States is absolutely without selfish interests as regards Russia, and look upon the Americans as a guarantee of the friendliness of the Allies toward the country.” One of those friendly invasions you hear so much about.

Paris is again being bombarded by the long-range run “Big Bertha,” which I hadn’t realized (or more likely had forgotten) was a French rather than a German coinage.

Headline of the Day -100: 


This is the Great Army Raincoat Scandal of 1918, not a particularly lame Captain America comic book story. I’m as disappointed as you are.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Today -100: August 5, 1918: Of fats


Headline of the Day -100: 


Well that’s just hurtful.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Today -100: August 4, 1918: Of interventions, booty, the draft, statues, and invitations


Woodrow Wilson finally decides to send troops to Russia (as does Japan). But he reassures Russia that his intention is not to interfere with its political sovereignty, which might be more reassuring if he had ever recognized the current government of Russia or if it wasn’t an obvious lie.

Headline of the Day -100: 


The Wilson administration wants the draft age extended to all men 18 to 45 from its current range of 21-31.

Germany has been melting down statues to make ammunition, but not those of any Hohenzollern.

King Alfonso of Spain is offering to host the former tsarina Alexandra of Russia and her remaining family as castleguests. Except they’re already dead.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Today -100: August 3, 1918: Of karelias, blimps, and gorkies


Germany tries to bribe Finland with Eastern Karelia (which would be grabbed from Russia) if it quickly establishes a monarchy.

The US Navy breaks the record for a blimp remaining in the air. 30 hours. Evidently I didn’t notice when the word “blimp” was coined a couple of years ago.

Maxim Gorky is ordered arrested (although I don’t think it ever happened) and his newspaper suppressed.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Today -100: August 2, 1918: American armies and numerical superiority do not frighten us


Headline of the Day -100: 


He says u-boats will just sink them all before they arrive. “American armies and numerical superiority do not frighten us. It is spirit which brings the decision.”

Contrariwise, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels says u-boats are no longer a leading factor in the war, as ship sinkings by them have steadily diminished.

The Onondaga, an Iroquois tribe, declare war on Germany, because they don’t like how tribe members in a Wild West show caught in Germany at the start of the war were treated. I haven’t been able to determine what that treatment was.

The Democrats nominate teacher/lawyer/prison-reform advocate Mary Lilly for the NY State Assembly.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Today -100: August 1, 1918: When ye see me ye will weep


The Entente, Japan and the US are still negotiating the terms of the proposed intervention in Russia.

Capt. Sarrat, a French aviator, jumps from a plane with a parachute, or a 36-foot umbrella, which the AP wrongly thinks is the first such jump. German pilots successfully parachuted to safety in June.

Headline of the Day -100:


In Bohemia. It’s a stone that appears in extremely low tide, inscribed “When ye see me ye will weep.” Not really a folkloric thing, just that if you can see the stone, it’s too dangerous for ships to pass, so agricultural goods can’t travel.

The NYT editorial page:


Still haven’t seen any official reaction from any country.

The Bolshevik government bans pogroms, which is more than the czar ever did. The Jewish bourgeoisie “is our enemy not as Jews but as bourgeoisie,” the government explains.


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.