Saturday, February 16, 2019

Today -100: February 16, 1919: If it is an unjust peace, 70,000,000 people in their hearts will never forgive or forget

New German Chancellor Philipp Scheidemann warns: “The Entente is able to force any kind of peace on Germany, but if it is an unjust peace, 70,000,000 people in their hearts will never forgive or forget.” Also, he wants to annex Austria.

German Foreign Minister Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau (what a name!) says “Germany cannot enter a League of Nations without colonies.” He accepts the internationalization of colonies (the mandate system), but only so long as all colonial powers also do so and Germany receives a proportional share of colonial products.

Some Republican senators do not like the draft League of Nations constitution, which they see as violating the Monroe Doctrine and surrendering US independence. Wilson has asked the Senate not to start discussing the League until he gets back to the US and has a chance to talk down to them about it, but they may go ahead anyway (they will become especially pissed off at Wilson tomorrow when they hear that he’s planning to land in Boston and make pro-League speeches before talking to the Sen. Foreign Relations Committee).

Immigration Commissioner Richard Campbell bans immigrants who withdrew their declarations of intent to naturalize in order to avoid the draft from ever becoming citizens.

NYT political cartoons are soooo subtle:

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Today -100: February 15, 1919: Definitely

The draft constitution of the League of Nations has been agreed upon. Woodrow Wilson says “It is a union which cannot be resisted, and, I dare say, one which no nation will attempt to resist.” “It is definite as a guarantee of peace. It is definite as a guarantee against aggression. It is definite against renewal of such a cataclysm as has just shaken civilization.”

New York’s Republican Legislature is working on enforcement legislation for the 18th Amendment. It’s thinking of continuing to allow the manufacture and sale of beer and light wines, defying the Anti-Saloon League, which had its own stronger draft bill.

The royalist revolt in Portugal has failed.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Today -100: February 14, 1919: Of armistices and food terms

The Allies add yet more terms to the next armistice renewal: Germany must halt military activity against the Poles in Posen and reduce its total military to 20 or 25 divisions.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Today -100: February 13, 1919: Of island, armies, and assassinations

The Peace Conference hasn’t decided where the League of Nations should meet, but thinks it should be an internationalized territory, maybe Constantinople or some island.

The US and Britain object to France’s call for a League of Nations army because their countries are constitutionally prohibited from committing to a war in advance.

The Secret Service claims to have foiled an IWW plot to assassinate Pres. Wilson. 20 Wobblies due to be released from prison decided on the plan and drew lots, with the alliterative and delightfully named Pietro Pierre winning the honor.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Today -100: February 12, 1919: No beer, no work

The French  propose that the League of Nations have its own military to enforce its decisions. Léon Bourgeois, the French delegate, says this army should be stationed in... France, which is, after all, at the center of the universe. The out-of-the-blue amendment threatens to derail talks and thwart Wilson’s hopes to have the League done and dusted before he returns home.

The NYT names the Seattle anarchists being deported and their supposed crimes, which mostly consist of “preaching of doctrine of unlawful destruction of property.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Central Federated Union’s affiliated unions in New York will vote on a “No Beer, No Work” strike against prohibition. The union points out that many of the legislatures that voted for ratification did so either without consulting the voters or disregarding referenda that went against prohibition.

The German National Assembly at Weimar elects Friedrich Ebert president. A provisional constitution is approved, despite Independent Socialist objections to its use of the word “empire” instead of “republic” and the lack of an unequivocal ban on secret treaties.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Today -100: February 11, 1919: Of suffrage and general strikes

The Senate votes 55-29 for the women’s suffrage amend to the Constitution, 1 short of the necessary 2/3. The blame falls on Southern Democrats.

British planes are dropping bombs on Bolshevik forces in the north of Russia.

The US delegation to the Peace Conference is threatening to demand that the conference be moved from France to some neutral country because of relentless French propaganda for imposing crushing peace terms on Germany as well as censorship (an American statement was censored a day or two ago but we’re not sure what was censored because it was, you know, censored).

The Seattle general strike is called off.

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Today -100: February 10, 1919: He preaches democracy abroad and thwarts democracy here

With a Senate vote on the women’s suffrage amendment scheduled for this week, National Woman’s Party members demonstrate in front of the White House, burn Wilson in effigy for not doing enough to pressure senators, and wave banners with mottos like “He preaches democracy abroad and thwarts democracy here.” 40+ are arrested.

The US begins deportations of 54 of what the Chicago Tribune calls “a motley company of I.W.W. troublemakers, bearded labor fanatics, and red flag supporters,” grabbed up in Seattle to smother the general strike, then put on a train for the Atlantic coast and points east (presumably Russia for most of them). This was ordered by Immigration Commissioner Anthony Caminetti, who has the authority to expel anarchists or IWW members, whether or not they have broken any law. IWW men attempt to rescue the prisoners in Butte, Montana, but are foiled when the authorities get advance word and play switcheroo with train cars.

Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson says “The general strike has failed. ... The revolution has failed. The attempt to establish a Soviet Government and control and operate all enterprises and industries has collapsed.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

The French are claiming that the reason two trains crashed into each other was that one of them was one of those turned over by Germany as part of the armistice deal and it had a bomb in it.

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Saturday, February 09, 2019

Today -100: February 9, 1919: Of calm Seattle and Jews voting

Headline of the Day -100: 

Because nothing says “calm” like “troops with machine guns.” Also, the unions were pretty serious about preventing any un-calm themselves. The Citizens’ Committee says that business interests consider the general strike a “rebellion against the government” and not a real strike. Sure they do.

The Japanese delegation to the Peace Conference tells the Chinese delegation to shut up. China is planning to show the conference the secret treaties by which Japan “leased” Jiaozhou, which China wants back. Japan would prefer those secret treaties to remain secret and that China not say anything at the talks which Japan hasn’t approved first. China, however, is still under the impression that it’s an independent country.

Poland grants Jews the vote. Yay.

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Friday, February 08, 2019

Today -100: February 8, 1919: We warn our opponents not to push us too far

German Chancellor Friedrich Ebert tells the National Assembly, assembled in Weimar, that the armistice terms are of “unheard of severity” and “carried out without shame.” They are also unnecessary, because “Our enemies declare that they are fighting militarism, but militarism has been dethroned.” “We warn our opponents not to push us too far. Hunger is preferable to disgrace, and deprivation is to be preferred to dishonor.” Oh, and he’d like to annex Austria, please and thank you. He threatens to break off peace negotiations with the Allies, who respond by suggesting that new terms might be imposed on Germany for the next extension of the armistice. Germany has been slow in fulfilling earlier armistice terms, like handing over ships.

Talks to end the general strike in Seattle fail. Mayor Ole Hanson threatens that if it’s not called off, he will “place this city under control of the Federal Government.” The strike is reasonably complete, but the Tacoma version isn’t, and has been called off.

The IWW calls a strike on the Montana copper mines against wage reductions from $5.75 a day to $4.75.

As I mentioned, the Senate will extend its investigation of German propaganda in the US to Bolshevik propaganda. So the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage will ask it to include suffragist groups, “to determine what relationship exists between American suffrage societies and organizations of Socialists and Feminists in Europe”.

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Thursday, February 07, 2019

Today -100: February 7, 1919: Of general strikes

Federal troops are sent into Seattle to “stand ready,” but not (yet) to suppress the city’s just-begun general strike. The strike was called in sympathy with shipyard workers who are on strike for higher wages and who were enraged to find (through a mis-sent telegram) that the federal government threatened owners with the loss of their contracts if they gave in to union demands. Mayor Ole Hanson says “Any man who attempts to take over control of municipal government functions here will be shot on sight.” That’s his response to strikers’ plans to keep the city’s essential services – light, garbage, telephones and coffee shops probably because Seattle – functioning during the strike. The cops have a machine gun, so that’s good.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Today -100: February 6, 1919: Who can hate Americans, we’re so cuddly

Headline of the Day -100: 

US censors are still holding all letters sent from Germany to the US, because the two countries are still technically at war.

German government troops invade and bombard Bremen to oust the Spartacists.

The British government uses the wartime emergency Defence of the Realm Act to declare an electricians’ strike a crime.

The British were totally going to release interned Sinn Féin members, but after that prison escape, they totally aren’t. Rumor says escapee Éamon de Valera plans to go to the Peace Conference. 

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Today -100: February 5, 1919: Of propaganda, prison escapes, and artists united

The Senate Judiciary sub-committee which has been investigating German propaganda will now turn its attentions to Bolshevism and other radicalism (on the left) in the US. And speaking of pre-McCarthy McCarthyism, A. Mitchell Palmer, currently the man in charge of seized enemy property, is expected to be the next attorney general. Other candidates for the position have been eliminated because it’s been decided, for some reason, not to give it to any Southerner.

Sinn Féin leaders Éamon de Valera, Seán Milroy, and Seán McGarry escape from Lincoln Gaol. The prisoners communicated the details of the plot, which literally involve a key in a cake, to each other by singing them in Gaelic.

Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith form the United Artists film studio.

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Monday, February 04, 2019

Today -100: February 4, 1919: Of tired Germans and Constantinople

Headline of the Day -100: 

Bavarian Prime Minister Kurt Eisner says strikes are the result of workers being underfed and therefore too weak to work. He also says that German Austria will probably be merged into Germany.

At the Peace Conference, Greece puts in a claim for Constantinople and other bits of Ottoman territory which Greece claims are inhabited by ethnic Greeks. Although if the League of Nations becomes a real thing, Greece might be okay with an internationalized Constantinople under the League, as long as no one changes its name and makes a stupid song about it.

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Sunday, February 03, 2019

Today -100: February 3, 1919: Of zitas, desires to avoid bloodshed, and student strikes

Rumor of the Day -100: Former Emperor Charles of Austria is getting a divorce from Zita.

Rumor of the Day -100: The Bolsheviks are bombarding Petrograd to put down a revolt by former soldiers.

Bremen is preparing for a siege by the German government but, the NYT says, “seem to count on... the Government’s well-known desire to avoid bloodshed if at all possible.”  Well-known to whom?

Students at the Berlin Gymnasium (high school) go on strike to protest the return of murdered Spartacist leader Karl Liebknecht’s son Paul two weeks after the murder.

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Saturday, February 02, 2019

Today -100: February 2, 1919: Already treated like slaves

The big powers decide on some of the details of the League of Nations: countries are to submit disputes between themselves to the League; economic sanctions on disobedient nations will be mandatory but military force is optional for each nation. There is disagreement on banning conscription: Italy in particular thinks it can’t pay enough to attract volunteers. Responsibility for “the moral guardianship of uncivilized races.” League of Nations mandates will be lighter in areas with more “advanced” civilizations and heavier in, well, you know.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Lokal-Anzeiger complains without even a hint of self-awareness, “We no longer have any say concerning our fate and future, but are already treated like slaves.”

The German government sends troops into Bremen to suppress the Spartacists.

The US government refuses passports to African-Americans to attend the Pan African Congress in Paris, citing the French government’s position that this is not a “favorable time” for such a conference. France, of course, has colonies in Africa.

The State Dept also cancels the passports of two suffragists who had said they were going to France for war work, because they once picketed the White House and might be intending to harass Pres. Wilson in Paris about, you know, girl stuff.

Rosika Schwimmer, the first woman ambassador, is fired by the Hungarian government as its ambassador to Switzerland, for unclear reasons.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Headline of the Day -100:  

A Sgt. Williamson enters his hun-chasing dog Gas in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Gas’s breed is not mentioned.

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Friday, February 01, 2019

Today -100: February 1, 1919: Wong place, Wong time

Philadelphia Mayor Thomas Smith (R) is acquitted of violating election laws in the 1917 city council primaries in which a cop protecting one of the candidates was killed and thugs were brought in from Jersey City.

Theodore Wong, the head of the Chinese Educational Mission in the US, which oversees Chinese students in the US, is shot dead, along with two secretaries, at their home/hq in Washington DC. To skip ahead on this one, police will arrest one Ziang Sung Wan, hold him in secret in a hotel room for a week to interrogate him while he was badly sick, finally extracting a confession which will be thrown out, along with his conviction, as the result of that coercion by the Supreme Court in a 1924 case that ultimately led to Miranda. He will be retried twice but never convicted. There’s a recent book on all this which sounds pretty good.

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