Monday, December 17, 2018

Today -100: December 17, 1918: I did not want to come to this dump in the first place


Pres. Wilson commutes the death sentence imposed on Priv. Solomon Losofsky of Newark, who said on arriving at Camp Dix “I did not want to come to this dump in the first place and I have no respect for the flag or the country.”

Pres. Wilson is made a citizen of Paris, receiving a gold medal, a beret, and a baguette to commemorate the occasion. Or whatever the stereotypes about the French were  in 1918.

The Portuguese government takes advantage of the assassination of President Sidónio Pais to arrest
https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1918/12/17/96867109.pdf
the leaders of the opposition parties, as was the custom.

It’s rumored that Pope Benedict will wander outside the precincts of the Vatican, which all popes have refused to do since 1871 to protest Italy’s refusal to recognize the Vatican as a separate state (the Church also orders Catholics not to participate in Italian politics). I could be wrong, but I don’t think any pope does leave the Vatican until the Concordat with Mussolini.


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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Today -100: December 16, 1918: Of assassinations and mobs of Dutch women


Portuguese President Sidónio Pais is assassinated in a Lisbon train station, just over a year after he took power in a military coup. The NYT reports, wrongly, that his assassin is killed by an angry crowd. They do beat him up. He will be placed in an asylum, where he will die in 1946.

Wishful Thinking Headline of the Day -100: 


Headline of the Day -100:  


We’ve all been there, ammiright guys?


[gif from https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/GloomyWhirlwindErmine]


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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Today -100: December 15, 1918: Of armistices and overstaying guests


The armistice is extended for a month. The Allies reserve the right to occupy the neutral zone on the German side of the Rhine.

Dutch Prime Minister Ruys de Beerenbrouck tells Parliament that the government did not know in advance that ex-kaiser Wilhelm was going to cross into the Netherlands, and really would have preferred him to choose somewhere else, but he didn’t and there’s such a thing as asylum and.... The PM is pretty wishy-washy about what the kaiser’s future might be. Reading between the lines, it all depends on how much pressure other countries put on the Netherlands.


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Friday, December 14, 2018

Today -100: December 14, 1918: Of uniforms, overstaying guests, teaching turkeys, and bumpuses


The War Department will allow discharged soldiers to keep their uniforms. The previous plan was to require them to return the uniforms within 3 months.

Headline of the Day -100: 



Headline of the Day -100:  

The country, not the bird. Evidently this is being suggested by various British people, including former foreign secretary Viscount Grey. Presumably it’s one of many schemes to keep the US engaged with the world and not withdraw back into itself.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George says that the peace conference will be a failure and a sham if conscription is not abolished everywhere. Britain, of course, intends to maintain a huge navy to continue its dominance over the oceans. They’re very wary of the 2nd of Wilson’s 14 Points, freedom of the seas.

Headline of the Day -100:  


For I am... President Bumpus of Tufts!


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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Today -100: December 13, 1918: Of Spanish Flu, trials, and red flags


NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland (he’s a homeopathist, you know) doesn’t think. Oh, sorry, NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland doesn’t think the Spanish Flu will recur in New York. He thinks every New Yorker has already been exposed to the germ (he thinks it’s a germ). He’s just back from the American Public Health Association meeting in Chicago, where public health professionals completely failed to come to any agreement on how to fight influenza.

The German government decides not to oppose Willy Hohenzollern being put on trial by the Allies (this story may be bullshit).

The (German) Spartacus Group’s newspaper The Red Flag warns radicals to be ready, warns that returning troops will be used in Berlin against the revolution. They’re not wrong.


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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Today -100: December 12, 1918: Germany should pay to the utmost limit of her capacity


British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, campaigning, says the war bill which the Allies will present to Germany (not including the US, which doesn’t want any indemnities from Germany, according to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels) is $120 billion. That’s considerably more than the entire wealth of Germany, so it will only be required to “pay to the utmost limit of her capacity.” “The first consideration in the minds of the Allies will be the interests of the people upon whom the Germans have made war, and not in the interests of the German people who have made war and have been guilty of that crime.” Ah, collective guilt and collective punishment, always the best foundations for a lasting peace. France will also be demanding the return of the indemnity it was forced to pay after the Franco-Prussian War, with interest, naturally.

Page 13 Headline of the Day -100:



Headline of the Day -100:


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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Today -100: December 11, 1918: Of suicides, national security, and Transylvania


The Leipzig Tageblatt says former kaiser Wilhelm tried to kill himself (doesn’t say how) but was stopped by one of his retinue, which has now been reduced to a pitiful 18.

The House of Representatives orders an investigation of the National Security League and other groups which attacked the loyalty of members of Congress during the last elections. The League failed to file campaign expense accounts.

I guess the NYT missed this, but on the 1st Transylvania’s National Assembly declared the union of Transylvania (formerly a province of Hungary in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and Romania. Transylvanian Socialists only agreed after Romania introduced universal male suffrage and banned garlic.

I thought I’d be able to write about Transylvania without making a stupid vampire joke, but I was wrong.


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Monday, December 10, 2018

Today -100: December 10, 1918: Of mobs in terror, and red flags


Headline of the Day -100: 


Germany is kind of a mess right now. Evidently the executive of the Soldiers’ and Workers’ Council has been arrested, possibly not on orders of the government. Allegedly there’s a counter-revolution beginning in Potsdam.
There are rumors of violent crackdowns, rumors that the Spartacists will name Karl Liebknecht president of Germany, etc. Also, too, how many “Spartacus group”s are there, anyway?

The Serb, Croat and Slovenian bits that declared independence from Austria-Hungary officially announce their plans to join with Serbia, and now they’d like Italy’s troops to get the hell out, please and thank you.

It is now illegal to display a red flag in Chicago.


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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Today -100: December 9, 1918: Of khaki kandidates, batons, just reparations, and vanquished victors


14 women are standing for the British Parliament in the general election. There are also 256 soldiers, from 19 generals down to a private, in what will be known as the “khaki election.”

Gen. Philippe Pétain is promoted to Marshal of France. A baton comes with that. I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do with it, but I have a few suggestions...

The NYT accuses separatists in the Rhineland and Westphalia of trying to split up the German empire “in the hope of bilking the Allies of their just reparation.”

Headline of the Day -100: 


“Vanquished victors,” the Germans are calling themselves, in this start of the Dolchstoßlegende.



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Saturday, December 08, 2018

Today -100: December 8, 1918: Kill Liebknecht wherever you meet him


The Netherlands will extradite Willy Hohenzollern and the former crown prince if the Allies insist (don’t know how official this story really is), but suggests instead that they be exiled to one of the Dutch colonies.

Posters mysteriously appear in Berlin advising readers to “Kill Liebknecht wherever you meet him; he is your and your country’s worst enemy.”

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

Also: no one wants your uncleaned hair, probably.


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Friday, December 07, 2018

Today -100: December 7, 1918: Of crowns, reparations, tied-up men, apoplexy, and straight dickermans


German/Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm finally renounces his crowns. Prussia withdraws the Hohenzollerns’ immunity from the law.

Britain will present Germany with a bill for £8 billion in reparations. France is still doing the math on its bill.

In the German state of Brunswick, the president is evidently a clothes-mender, the vice president a professional juggler, and the education minister a semi-literate woman.

Headline of the Day -100: 


As punishment, not for fetishistic sex – at least that was the story they were going with. Secretary of War Newton Baker says this type of punishment used to be useful in “breaking” prisoners of “the usual military type,” but now there are stronger-willed political prisoners (I assume he means conscientious objectors) and punishments against them have... escalated.

Headline of the Day -100:  


Because if there’s anyone whose cause of death will be “apoplexy,” it’s a prominent lawyer named Luther Laflin Kellogg, while playing golf.

Also in the obits, I was trying to decide if there was anything funny about Major Straight. Reading further, I see his full name is Willard Dickerman Straight. So no, nothing funny about that name, not at all.


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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Today -100: December 6, 1918: Of war crimes, well-tried and well-deserved supremacy, martial law, and rubber heads


Germany’s Ebert government is undecided on the fate of the former kaiser. They’re still reading documents related to the start of the war to determine whether those “responsible” for the war should be put on trial.

Winston Churchill says the British delegates to the peace conference will demand abolition of conscription in Europe. And that Britain will ignore any peace arrangement that limits the size of its navy and threatens “its well-tried and well-deserved supremacy.”

The French government says it won’t lift martial law in France, even though the war is, like, over, because of Bolshevik propaganda.

Headline of the Day -100: 





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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Today -100: December 5, 1918: Of coupons, food, and kings


One result of the Liberals and Tories fighting the British general election as a Coalition is that many MPs are running unopposed, including 69 coupon candidates (those given the “coupon” of approval to run under the Coalition banner) and, fighting for the 105 Irish seats, 22 Sinn Feiners including future Irish president Éamon de Valera.

Yesterday there were rumors of a conspiracy to bring back Kaiser Wilhelm; today’s rumors, which are a bit more likely, are of a Bolshevik uprising led by Karl Liebknecht. Liebknecht’s Spartacus Group’s The Red Flag complains that Woodrow Wilson, representing international capitalism, has made the delivery of food relief to Germany conditional on the maintenance of “order.” Still, I’m not sure how popular the message “Any attempt to send food to Germany must be opposed as a capitalistic effort to beat Bolshevist aims” will be with hungry Germans.

Evidently Kaiser Wilhelm initially planned to abdicate as kaiser but not as king of Prussia.


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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Today -100: December 4, 1918: I have not renounced anything and I have not signed any document whatever


Germany’s former crown prince Frederick Wilhelm insists he’s still crown prince: “I have not renounced anything and I have not signed any document whatever.” But he says if Germany declares itself a republic (it has, dude), he’d be happy to return and take up a job as a simple factory worker. He says he had nothing to do with the decision to go to war. According to the AP reporter who interviewed him in Holland, “The Prince is living a very simple life now. He strolls about the island, chats with peasants, and is learning the Dutch language from a small boy.” According to the crown prince, “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

George Bernard Shaw is running for Parliament as a Labour candidate.

Former Women’s Social and Political Union (now the Women's Party) leader Christabel Pankhurst is also running, for Smethwick (near Birmingham). Lloyd George and Bonar Law prevail on the previous Coalition candidate in the constituency, Major Thompson (whose first name is evidently lost to history), to step aside. She’ll be beaten narrowly by the candidate of the Labour Party, which she will accuse during the campaign of Bolshevism; Labour will respond that it works for social reform without breaking windows or setting post boxes on fire (irrelevant side note: British post boxes were introduced by the novelist Anthony Trollope in his day job).

Theodore Roosevelt attacks Wilson’s State of the Union speech. He says if the American people have expressed any opinion on the 14 Points it was to reject them at the ballot box last month, and he denies that the Army was fighting for them: “Why, there was not one American soldier in a thousand that ever heard of them. The American Army was fighting to smash Germany.” Of the Points, he’s especially critical of freedom of the seas. “The British must, of course, keep the colonies they have conquered.” Of course.

The Allies are holding off on pressuring the Netherlands to hand over Willy Hohenzollern until Wilson arrives in Europe. They say extradition laws don’t even enter it, he should be treated as someone who doesn’t have the right to sanctuary, like a pirate or a slave trader. Meanwhile, a Catherine Callan Hayden of Chicago, whose father died on the Lusitania, applies for an arrest warrant against Willy for murder. “The only thing I object to,” she says, “is that hanging is the severest penalty which can be inflicted.”

The National War Labor Board decides that the best way to end the strike of male employees at the Cleveland Railway Company is to fire all its women employees.

Headline of the Day -100:


That’s a bit over-dramatic. Actually they mostly won’t sell stuff to Austria. Also, none of them will allow trains from what was the Austrian State Railroad to cross their new national borders in case they don’t get them back. Every country is also banning export of hard cash (they’re still using the old Austrian currency, presumably while they decide on quaint names for their new currencies).


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Monday, December 03, 2018

Today -100: December 3, 1918: Of private thoughts or purposes, vacant offices, pogroms, cyranos, ex-kings, and kangaroos


Before setting off for Europe, Pres. Wilson goes to Congress to deliver his State of the Union Address (still not called that). Doesn’t sound like much of a speech: praises soldiers and the American people for their work in the war, wants to reduce taxes but not to pre-war levels, something should be done about railroads but he doesn’t know what, says he isn’t going to the peace talks with any “private thought or purpose” and hopes for the support of Congress and the public. Most of Congress just sits grumpily during the speech.

Sen. Lawrence Sherman (R-Illinois) threatens to introduce a resolution declaring the office of president vacant, evidently permanently, when Wilson goes to Europe. A resolution introduced in the House by William Rodenberg (R-Ill.) would do the same but only while Wilson is out of the country. Sen. Albert Cummins (R-Iowa) proposes that a bipartisan Senate committee go to Paris (uninvited) to keep the Senate informed of all the doings.

The NYT, citing a “well-informed Pole,” says Józef Pilsudski is now the dictator of Poland, arresting Bolsheviks. The NYT’s Pole is indeed well-informed, about that anyway, but less informed is his description of the recent pogroms in Galicia as “fomented by agitators of suspicious origins,” as opposed to plain old anti-Semitic mobs, cops, and soldiers.

French playwright/poet Edmond Rostand, author of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Chantecler” and “Les Romanesques,” dies at 50 of the Spanish Flu (insert runny nose joke here).

The Montenegrin parliament, which is delightfully called the Skupshtina, deposes King Nikola, preparatory to merging the country into Serbia. Nick has ruled since 1860.

Belgium decides that damage and seizures of raw materials and machinery during the German occupation amounted to $1,200,112,000. They’ll be sending an invoice.

Frank Morrison, secretary of the American Federation of Labor, proposes that the US ban all immigration for 5 years.

I’ll spare you the ad on page 6 for The Edwin Chapp Shoe store, which asks the question, “Why Kangaroo For A Gentleman’s Shoe?”


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Sunday, December 02, 2018

Today -100: December 2, 1918: Against my will they sent me to Norway


The NYT says that the newly enfranchised British women will probably vote for Lloyd George because he’s the one politician they’ve heard of.

Former kaiser Willy Hohenzollern says the blame for the war is not his but that of his chancellor and foreign minister at the time, who sent him out of the country so they could scheme: “Against my will they sent me to Norway.”

The NYPD is getting an aviation division. Police planes could be used in case of fire, riot, whatever.


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Saturday, December 01, 2018

Today -100: December 1, 1918: Of happy Alsatians, the kaiser’s bed, and actual natural radium


Headline of the Day -100: 



Residents of Alsace-Lorraine are happy to be part of France again, which just pisses Germans off.

Iceland becomes mostly independent of Denmark. The NYT doesn’t notice.

Headline of the Day -100:  


Lithuania declares itself a republic.

William Howard Taft decides not to be the commissioner of baseball.

Ad of the Day -100:


Guaranteed to have “a definite quantity of Actual Natural Radium” – beware the fake stuff, which I believe is called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Radium – and to retain its radioactivity for at least 20 years, not unlike your glowing corpse. Contains no animal fat.

Douglas Fairbanks’s wife divorces him... ladies.

Sugar rationing over, the restrictions on Christmas candy are lifted.


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