Sunday, June 30, 2019

Today -100: June 30, 1919: Of taxes, pilots, firemen, and fraternization


Germany is going to have to drastically raise taxes to pay all those reparations.

The Peace Conference adopts minimum standards for international aerial navigation: pilots must be 19 and have a license and be medically examined and come from good families and have no mental, moral or physical defect, must “possess heart, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system capable of withstanding the effects of altitude and also the effects of prolonged flight,” not be color-blind, etc.

Peace Conference talks with Turkey are at an impasse, and the Turkish delegates are told to go home.

Former German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg offers to be put on trial in place of ex-kaiser Wilhelm, saying he takes responsibility for Germany’s actions during the war (until July 1917 anyway).

Chicago firemen threaten to go on strike – on the Fourth of July. The cops also want a raise.

The ban on fraternization between US soldiers and civilians in occupied Germany is lifted. 20 soldiers immediately announce their hitherto secret engagements.


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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Today -100: June 29, 1919: Peace-ish


The peace is signed, the Great War is over. Now it only needs a proper name...

The signing yesterday was on the 5th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and was conducted in the same hall in Versailles where the French were forced to sign their own abject surrender after the Franco-Prussian War. The Chinese refuse to sign. Jan Smuts, representing South Africa, signs but adds a protest that it is too hard on Germany. Lloyd George signs with a fountain pen, which is a first in diplomatic history. Not a very interesting first, but a first nonetheless.

Wilson begins his voyage home.

Woodrow Wilson says he’ll lift the “wartime” prohibition, but not before it goes into effect in 2 days, only when demobilization is complete. He blames the terms of the law for tying his hands.

The government is going on a deportation binge, 15 in the last week, 18 upcoming, including editors of two anarchist newspapers. It’s claiming that late in the war foreign agitators were smuggled into the US by Germany. They’re a mixed bag of Spaniards, English, Italians, and the occasional Scandinavian. None are Russian. None are accused of actually doing anything violent.

Almost all the US forces pull out of Archangel, ending the hot war against the Bolshevik government.

A Brooklyn magistrate rules that teachers can slap students in the face.


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Friday, June 28, 2019

Today -100: June 28, 1919: What’s black and white and red all over?


Headlines of the Day -100:
Lotta “Reds,” is what I’m saying.

Asked if Hungarians actually want Communism, Béla Kun says “The majority is passive, but the minority is active.”

German Foreign Minister Hermann Müller and Colonial Minister Johannes Bell arrive in Versailles for the treaty signing. They had to leave Germany in secret so they wouldn’t be assassinated, which probably isn’t the greatest portent.

There was a rumor that the former German crown prince Friedrich Wilhelm had returned to Germany. He hadn’t.

Troops arrive in Hamburg to put down the “red revolt.” Threatening to court-martial and execute anyone found with arms. The Commission of Twelve, whatever that might be, says the riots are actually just protests against adulterated food.

NY state Attorney General Charles Newton plans to revoke the charter of the Rand School of Social Science. Amongst the evidence cited against them from the papers seized in that raid is a plan to organize among the negroes by such insidious means as: “1. Condemn all acts of injustice to the negro. 2. Socialists must stress lynchings in the South and condemn them.” State Sen. Lusk says the plans to spread Bolshevist propaganda among Southern blacks is the greatest menace discovered. The NYT will agree (6/30/19) that the worst thing the Rand School is guilty of is trying to “undermine the loyalty of the negroes”, who are “ill prepared by education or experience for judging the value of these doctrines.” “White Southerners must have quite clear-cut opinions as to the propriety of inculcating their colored neighbors with the tenets of Bolshevism.”


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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Today -100: June 27, 1919: Nobody can keep the inevitable from happening


Wartime prohibition (as opposed to 18th Amendment prohibition) will go into effect on the 30th (because the war isn’t officially over), but Congress hasn’t passed enforcement legislation. So they’re thinking of writing legislation that will provide enforcement for it and the 18th when it goes into effect. This is being spearheaded by chair of the House Judiciary Committee Andrew Volstead (R-Minn.). Fun fact about Volstead: he sat in Congress 20 years and is also famous for... no, there’s only one thing he’s famous for.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Supposedly Communists & Spartacists use food riots as cover to seize City Hall. Also, a crowd invade a preserved meat factory and discover the remains of dogs, cats, and rats. The owner & foreman are then forced to eat their own repulsive product.

John Hartfield, a black man, is lynched in Ellisville, Mississippi for an alleged sexual assault. A posse chased him for days, during which time Gov. Theodore Gilmore Bilbo, a huuuuge racist, declared himself “utterly powerless” to intervene because the state has no troops and “excitement is at such a high pitch throughout South Mississippi that any armed attempt to interfere would doubtless result in the deaths of hundreds of persons. The negro has confessed, says he is ready to die, and nobody can keep the inevitable from happening.” Well not with that attitude, mister. Hartfield is hanged from a gum tree, shot while he strangles, and his body burned.

Germany has finally found people willing to sign the peace treaty: Foreign Minister Hermann Müller and Colonial Minister Johannes Bell.

Turkey’s position at the peace talks seems to be that Turkey has no responsibility for the war and was actually entered into the war against its will by a German admiral and any massacres of Armenians are the responsibility of the previous government and anyway lots of Muslims were also slaughtered, so Turkey should be allowed to keep all its territory. The Allies’ reply displays some slight scepticism about this viewpoint and says that peoples should be held responsible for the actions of their government, even ones that installed themselves by a coup. It “wishes well to the Turkish people and admires their excellent qualities. But it cannot admit that among those qualities are to be counted capacity to rule over alien races.”


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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Today -100: June 26, 1919: As far as it is possible


The Allies give an ultimatum to Hungary to remove its troops from Czechoslovakia by the 28th. At that time, Romanian troops will leave Hungary.

German President Ebert, Chancellor Bauer & the current government issue a proclamation asking the German people to carry out the peace treaty, “as far as it is possible to carry it out.”

That’s if they can get someone to go to France to sign it. Foreign Minister Hermann Müller refuses. Hindenburg resigns as head of the army.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is going to Palestine.

A Coney Island magistrate reprimands the police for arresting a woman for wearing a bathing suit underneath a skirt and sweater.

Éamon de Valera wrote Georges Clemenceau last month informing him that Ireland would not be bound by the peace treaty, since the British have no authority to sign on Ireland’s behalf. He did offer to send an Irish delegation, including himself, to sign.

Massachusetts ratifies the women’s suffrage amendment, 185-47 in the House, 34-5 in the Senate.


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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Today -100: June 25, 1919: It will be used for the Irish Republic


With the new Bauer government in Germany shaky and not expected to survive long and German emissaries to the Peace Conference mostly having left, there’s some question over when the treaty might be signed by Germany, and by whom. Edgar Haniel von Haimhausen is the highest-ranking diplomat remaining at Versailles, but he’s just the delegation’s secretary and the Allies don’t think he has high enough rank. Which is okay, because his wife has told him if he signs he needn’t bother coming home.

Éamon de Valera’s goal in the US, he says, is not just to get the US to recognize the Irish Republic, but to raise part of a £1 million loan. What will all that dosh be spent on? “It will be used for the Irish Republic.” See, the State Dept (quoted in yesterday’s paper) said that de Valera, escaped jailbird tho’ he is, won’t be detained as long as he doesn’t raise money in the US for a military force in violation of the Neutrality Acts. So with that “used for the Irish Republic” thing he’s carefully not saying that is the purpose nor denying that it is. (Also, de Valera was born in the US and may or not be a citizen).


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Monday, June 24, 2019

Today -100: June 24, 1919: The Government of the German Republic declares that it is ready to accept and sign the peace conditions imposed


Éamon de Valera, Sinn Féin’s putative president of Ireland and escaped British prisoner, is in New York.  Staying at the Waldorf, no less. On his fund-raising tour of the US, he’s spoken with several US senators and a cardinal or two.

The Canadian government, eager to blame the general strike in Winnipeg on foreign agitators, says it will put foreigners who take part in demonstrations in internment camps.

One of the planes of the “Flying Circus,” on an exhibition tour to encourage recruiting for the Air Service, lands on Franklin Field, Boston, more specifically it lands on some children on Franklin Field, killing at least 2 of them.

The German National Assembly authorizes the government to sign the peace treaty without reservations, after the Allies refused a request for a delay of just 48 hours The German government graciously informs the peace conference: “It appears to the Government of the German Republic, in consternation at the last communication of the allied and associated Governments, that these Governments have decided to wrest from Germany by force acceptance of the peace conditions, even those, which, without presenting any material significance, aim at divesting the German people of their honor. ... Yielding to superior force, and without renouncing in the meantime its own view of the unheard of injustice of the peace conditions, the Government of the German Republic declares that it is ready to accept and sign the peace conditions imposed.”

A couple of Republican senators (Walter Edge and Albert Fall) each offer resolutions to simply declare the war over. The idea is that the US can take its time ratifying the treaty – or not – and so be able to resume trade with the former enemy nations like the signatories of the treaty.

An English postal inspector gets a divorce based on a letter a waiter wrote to his wife, which he opened.

Britain says it will court-martial Admiral Ludwig von Reuter for scuttling the German fleet, thus violating the armistice.


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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Today -100: June 23, 1919: The time for discussion is past


The German National Assembly votes 237 to 138 to sign the peace treaty. However, the government plans to reject the war guilt part of the treaty and the try-the-kaiser provision and say that since the reparations exceed its ability to pay, Germany won’t accept responsibility for fulfilling them. The Allies respond: “the time for discussion is past” and no qualifications are acceptable.

Marshal Ferdinand Foch is preparing for a possible invasion of Germany in case it refuses to sign. He’s drawn up a proclamation telling Germans not to resist the occupation and hand over weapons, warning that any house from which civilians shoot at Allied troops will be burned down, as was the custom. The NYT correspondent points out a problem if it comes down to a shootin’ war on German territory: will US soldiers be able to identify German soldiers, when pretty much everyone in Germany wears uniforms, from cops and telephone operators to messengers and street-car conductors?

Romania grants citizenship to Jews born in Romania. Or if they served in the military during the Balkan Wars or WW1.

Admiral Ludwig von Reuter says he scuttled the interned ships because he thought the armistice had been terminated, and the kaiser’s wartime orders were for no German ship to be surrendered. The NYT calls the scuttling “a characteristic piece of German treachery”.

British troops in Surrey have been refusing to salute or obey orders, and are especially displeased at orders to go to France. Troops with, yes, machine guns, are sent in to subdue them.


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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Today -100: June 22, 1919: Scuttled


Since the Armistice, much of the Germany Navy has been interned at Scapa Flow, Scotland, while the Allies argue about what to do with them. With the signing of the peace treaty imminent, rather than turn the ships over,  Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, using a pre-arranged flag signal, orders the ships scuttled. Which is a fun word to say. Try it now: scuttled scuttled scuttled. 10 battleships, 5 battle cruisers, 5 light cruisers, and 32 torpedo boats are sunk, all without benefit of explosives. Just one capital ship survives. The German sailors then take to life boats. As they approach shore, the British order them to surrender and fire on those that don’t, killing 9, who are the last dead of World War I (unless you count all the people blown up by unexploded ordinance for decades to come).



Winnipeg is placed under martial law after the Royal Northwest Mounted Police shoot into a crowd of strikers, killing 2. Troops with machine guns are stationed throughout the city. Sort of a theme of 1919: the willingness of authorities in many countries to deploy machine guns for crowd control.

The Lusk Committee of the NY Legislature orders raids on the socialist-founded Rand School of Social Science and the offices of the local IWW and of John Reed’s Left Wing Socialists and seize tons of documents . They’re also searching for seditious books and pamphlets.

A new German cabinet forms, with Gustav Bauer (Social Democratic Party) as chancellor. Funny that there’s still a colonial minister.


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Friday, June 21, 2019

Today -100: June 21, 1919: The Huns of the East have come


Headline of the Day -100: 


Literally the Antichrist.  “The Bolsheviki, it is said, are opposing the movement by means of an active propaganda.”

Pres. Wilson will appoint a commission to investigate the pogroms in Poland, headed by Henry Morgenthau, who as ambassador to Turkey did so much to investigate and make public the Armenian Genocide. 2 other members of the 7-person commission will be Jews-to-be-named-later.

German Chancellor Philipp Scheidemann and his cabinet resign because no one wants to take responsibility for Germany signing the peace terms, even though pretty much everyone grudgingly accepts that there is no alternative. The Reichstag is considering putting the thing to a referendum.

Sen. James Phelan (D-California) tells the House Immigration Committee that the US should ban all Japanese immigration. “The Huns of the East have come. Already they have spread over California and are stripping the state of its Americanism.” Also they’re taking over Mexico. They “must be eliminated entirely like a swarm of locusts.” The problem, he says, is that they want to become landowners and work for themselves (just like locusts!), so they take the means of livelihood from whites, who naturally become Bolsheviks and Wobblies, that’s just science.

F.E. Morris of the National Safety Council says that during the 19 months the US was in the war, 56,000 soldiers died while in the US 226,000 people were killed in accidents. Morris has also discovered that women get into accidents getting off street cars at much higher rates than men because they do so backwards, which he explains with some nonsense about women being right-handed and men more ambidextrous.

Catholic priests in Loreto, Italy, go on strike for higher wages.


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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Today -100: June 20, 1919: Of ruins, confidence, brutality, and brass & machine guns


Headline of the Day -100: 


Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando 


loses a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies, 259-78. I’m not sure to what extent this is about disappointment over the peace terms and how much about internal matters, namely the high cost of living. (The NYT suggests tomorrow that Orlando took up the annexationists’ maximal territorial demands in order to distract from economic conditions, which just lead to disappointment when he failed to get the Allies to agree to all his demands.)

Headline of the Day -100:  


The lower house of the Ohio Legislature passes a resolution asking Governor James Cox to block the Jack Dempsey-Jess Willard heavyweight world champion boxing match, saying such matches are “brutal in their nature and not conducive to good morals.” I assume their real reason it that they all put money on Willard before seeing how fat he’s gotten.

A strike at brass factories in Waterbury, Connecticut leads to violence between picketers and scabs and fights with the cops, one of whom is probably fatally wounded. Machine guns are set up on roofs, but not used on the strikers, yet.


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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Today -100: June 19, 1919: Of rejections, noisy incidents, canals, and censorship


The German delegates to the peace conference recommend that Germany reject the terms.

French Prime Minister Clemenceau apologizes to the German delegates for “some noisy incidents” at Versailles, by which he means a crowd throwing stones at the delegates’ cars, hitting one or two in the head. The prefect of the Seine and the police commissioner have been fired.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is considering a new treaty with Colombia, giving it $25m in compensation for stealing Panama, but not apologizing for stealing Panama.

US postal censorship will end this week.


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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Today -100: June 18, 1919: Of hotbeds of war, ignored Ireland, and pastor piles


The Austrian delegation to the peace talks presents a memorandum complaining about the peace terms and saying that the creation of all those new Balkan states just creates “another hotbed of war.”

Headline of the Day -100: 


Secretary of State Lansing will pass the Senate’s resolution on Ireland along to the conference without comment.

The Illinois Legislature ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment, again. There was some sort of error in the text the first time.

Headline of the Day -100:  


That’s Sgt. Alvin York’s pastor, accompanying him on a visit to Nashville, who says the show was not what he expected and “that was no place for Pastor Pile,” because of course Sgt. York’s pastor is called “Pastor Pile.”


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Monday, June 17, 2019

Today -100: June 17, 1919: Of suffrage, armies, and pointed toes


Both houses of the New York Legislature ratify the women’s suffrage amendment, with no opposing votes.

Ohio and Kansas also ratify.

The US troops that invaded Mexico are already back in the US, with a few prisoners and claims to have killed 50 of Pancho Villa’s men, with one US dead.

Secretary of War Newton Baker asks Congress to fund a 500,000-man Army instead of the 300,000 they voted for. Army Chief of Staff Gen. March says 500,000 would require conscription; Baker disagrees, provided soldiers are given education, entertainment, and girls. Baker says the Army needs to buttress the Mexican border and break down all the military installations it built in France, requiring a lot of warm bodies.

Also, the US is currently moving forces into place to, potentially, invade Costa Rica to crush the revolution there.

Headline of the Day -100: 



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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Today -100: June 16, 1919: Of alcocks, knoxes, and burning cars


Alcock and Brown successfully cross the Atlantic in a non-stop flight, sometimes upside down. 1,980 miles in 16 hours, 12 minutes, Newfoundland to Ireland.

Republicans in the Senate are pushing the Knox Resolution (sponsored by Philander Knox, Taft’s secretary of state), which demands that the treaty be rewritten so that the US and other nations can join the League of Nations at some later date or, you know, not. Others point out that the League is so woven into the treaty that the treaty falls apart without it.

US troops cross into Mexico to go after Pancho Villa’s followers, whose bullets crossed the border into El Paso during a firefight with Federal forces.

The US Army has lots of cars in France, and would prefer to sell them to French people rather than ship them home. But the French government says no as part of its protectionist policy. So the Army is burning them.


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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Today -100: June 15, 1919: Of long flights, deadlines, and Charlie Chaplin sunnyside up


In yet another attempt at yet another aviation milestone, Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Arthur Brown begin an attempt to make a non-stop cross-Atlantic flight in a Vickers-Vimy biplane.

The Allies complete their reply to Germany’s objections to peace treaty terms with minor modifications (for example, Germany will be admitted to the League of Nations, after it fulfills every single requirement of the treaty). Germany will now have 5 days to sign or be invaded and blockaded again. Incidentally, the Big Five haven’t bothered informing other allies of the changes they’ve made. The changes we know about include changing the occupation authority in the Rhine from a military one to a civilian commission, with one member appointed by each Big Power.

Gen. Leonard Wood, the commander of the Central Department, says if ex-soldiers don’t get jobs, they’ll go Bolshevik, and you wouldn’t like them when they’re Bolshevik. There is a federal employment agency for discharged soldiers, but industry is lobbying to shut it down, because capitalism. The Re-Employment Bureau for Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines’ NYC branch says that some returning military folks are upset at not getting their old jobs back, because those were given to pacifists and aliens, and some aren’t getting their old salaries, because the women who filled their jobs during the war did the same work just as well for less money.

Now Playing:





Not the best Chaplin, not the worst. Also opening today, and also playing at the Strand: Fatty Arbuckle’s A Desert Hero (a lost film).


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Friday, June 14, 2019

Today -100: June 14, 1919: Of ignored Turks, dissatisfied Berlin, and parlor coal diggers


Headline of the Day -100: 


The Turkish delegation to the peace conference arrived a couple of days ago, and nobody is talking to them.

Headline of the Day -100:  


By some minor changes to the peace terms.

Secretary of Labor William Wilson tells the annual convention of the American Federation of Labor that the IWW and Bolsheviks are not significant among “real” wage workers but only among “parlor coal diggers.” American workers, he says, don’t want a dictatorship of the proletariat.

The AFL convention votes to allow blacks into international unions, but if any unions continue to discriminate against negroes, the AFL will grant separate charters to negro organizations.

Race riots continue in Cardiff, Wales between locals and non-white workers (blacks, Arabs) brought in during the war.


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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Today -100: June 13, 1919: Of red raids, white bread, and ruined children


Just as the NY Legislature begins its investigation into Teh Reds, cops and, for some reason, private detectives raid the Russian Soviet Bureau. Papers are removed and people questioned, and the chair of the investigating committee, Sen. Clayton Lusk (it will soon become known as the Lusk Committee), has come to the conclusion that the Russian Soviet Bureau is issuing propaganda intended to justify the Russian Soviet form of government. Gasp horrors.

Speaking of soviet forms of government, one is rumored to be proclaimed in Austria this coming Sunday. So something to look forward to.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Headline of the Day -100:  


According to an unnamed Swiss schoolteacher who has recently left Russia, children are now subjected to a regime of “unlimited indulgence of idleness and pleasure,” with no school books or homework, lots of dancing, illiterate teachers, and co-education (which, since religious education is banned, will obviously lead to moral depravity in a primitive country like Russia, she says).

In New York, high school students will be asked questions about the war. They can choose 4 questions to answer from 6 about battles, people, why the US entered the war, etc. But there’s a deeply suspicious question which is the only one mandatory for everyone to answer:


Accompanying this are these instructions to teachers: “call the Principal’s attention to any papers which show an especially intimate knowledge of this subject, those particularly which indicate that the pupils have been submitted to systematic training along this line. We are desirous of finding out to what extent Bolshevist ideas have been impressed upon the students of our high schools.”  The teachers’ union will object to this test, possibly believing that the administration is trying to fire teachers who may have taught radical ideas to their classes.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Today -100: June 12, 1919: Of treaties and royal suicides


The Senate investigation of the leak of the draft peace treaty points the finger at employees of J.P. Morgan. Republicans deny Gilbert Hitchcock’s (D-Neb.) charge that senators who’d been shown copies were “receiving stolen goods.”

Crown Prince Carol of Romania, 25, attempts suicide by, um, shooting himself in the leg, in reaction to his parents forcing him to divorce the commoner he married against their wishes last year.


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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Today -100: June 11, 1919: Of unions, women’s suffrage, undying fires, and jazz credit


The Negro Workers’ Advisory Committee, which represents black labor, welfare, religious etc groups in the Chicago area (?), asks the AFL to get international unions to stop banning black members. And 2,000 members of the Richmond branch of the Virginia Federation of Labor withdraw (unclear if that means they quit as individuals or seceded as a body) in protest at a black man being seated as a member of the Executive Committee. 

Illinois ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment, the first state to do so, followed later in the day by Michigan. Gov. Al Smith has called the NY Legislature into a special session. Assembly Speaker Thaddeus Sweet complains that it’s an unnecessary expense, which is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect someone named Thaddeus Sweet to say.

The US tells Costa Rica not to invade Nicaragua.

An ad for H.G. Wells’s new novel The Undying Fire quotes a New York Sun review, “It may stand out as a landmark of our time a century from today.” Nope.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Literal cats. One senses that Le Matin does not appreciate jazz music.


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Monday, June 10, 2019

Today -100: June 10, 1919: Of treaties, suffrage, and pickle deluges


Woodrow Wilson refused to provide the Senate a copy of the draft treaty, so Sen. William Borah (R-Idaho) starts to read out the leaked version, which he was given by the Chicago Tribune. Dems object (Marcus Smith of Arizona calls the illicit acquisition of the treaty a “crime against humanity”). Several hours of debate ensue, but finally the document is put into the Senate record.

Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge passes the federal women’s suffrage Amendment to the General Court, with his personal recommendation that they ratify it.

The hopes for an independent Rhineland are fading (and French support falling away).

Liechtenstein threatens to cut communications with the peace conference (which would also cut Paris-Vienna communications) if it doesn’t get a response to its request to join the League of Nations.

Headline of the Day -100:


A low-flying airplane panics horses pulling a pickle wagon...


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Sunday, June 09, 2019

Today -100: June 9, 1919: Of treaties, shimmies, and cranky conductors


The NYT prints excerpts from the leaked draft peace treaty across pages 1 to 6 of today’s paper. That’s the treaty the Wilson Administration is stubbornly refusing to provide to the Senate.

Costa Rica, having crushed a revolt, is threatening to invade Nicaragua, which it says aided that revolt. Nicaragua asks the US to land Marines to protect it from Costa Rica.

Police in Coney Island ban “modern” dances and are now patrolling dance halls, expelling anyone dancing the “shimmy.” You can find examples of that dance on YouTube, but be sure you have a fainting couch handy.

In other cultural news, Arturo Toscanini beats up his second violinist during a concert in Turin, hitting him with his baton and then with his fist. The performance was a Beethoven symphony. Which symphony is not stated; No. 6, the Pastoral, would be funniest.


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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Today -100: June 8, 1919: Of pogroms, princely canines, driver’s licenses, and monkey speech


The US’s acting ambassador to Poland Hugh Gibson says the stories of pogroms against Jews have been exaggerated, and anyway the feeling against certain classes of Jews is more economic than religious. So that’s okay then.

Headline of the Day -100:


Yeah, some random German lieutenant totally sold Major Thatcher “the crown prince’s dog.”

When the NY Legislature decided to add a test for driver’s licenses (in New York City only), I kind of assumed it’d be about traffic laws and suchlike. Instead, the 24 questions will include: “Are you crippled in any manner?” “Have you ever been confined in an asylum or institution for the insane or for other mental affections?” Also, drug & alcohol use, vision or hearing impairment, epilepsy, fainting spells...

Prof. Charles  Aschemeier, Smithsonian-funded African explorer, denies Prof. Richard Lynch Garner’s claim to have captured the Missing Link, saying he himself did that. He also denies that Garner, author of The Speech of Monkeys, can in fact speak with monkeys. Aschemeier says even African jungle natives, themselves barely more intelligent than apes, can’t speak with monkeys.

He said that, not me.

Ecuador abolishes debt peonage.


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Friday, June 07, 2019

Today -100: June 7, 1919: Of Rhinelands, certain interests, and air records


French officers send pro-Rhineland-independence posters to the US occupation authorities in Coblenz, but the Americans refuse to put them up. The Americans have also ordered the president of the Rhine Province to ignore orders from Berlin transferring him.

The US Senate votes to ask the US delegation at the peace talks to get a hearing for the Irish nationalists.

The Senate also calls on Secretary of State Lansing to give them the full text of the treaty, noting that copies have already leaked to “certain interests” in New York (i.e., bankers). Also, a German publisher is selling copies throughout Europe and helpfully sent copies addressed to every member of the US Congress, but these have been held up in the post, mysteriously. Anyway, the Senate would like an investigation of the leak.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Evidently aviation records are His and Hers (also, it was more than 15,000 feet). Raymonde de Laroche was the first woman to get a pilot’s license (1910) and probably the first woman to fly a plane (1909).


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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Today -100: June 6, 1919: Of French wallets and mine explosions


The German delegation to the peace talks protests against France’s machinations in support of the independence movement in the Rhineland. I don’t know how much support there really is for independence among the Rhenish, but there’s no question France is supporting this to achieve the division of Germany which it couldn’t persuade the rest of the Allies to agree to (but France only occupies one zone in the Rhineland, the US & Britain having their own zones).

The city of Winnipeg holds a rally of war veterans who it wants to volunteer to be special constables to crush the strike movement.

The cops think the man who died trying to bomb Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer’s house is European because his wallet was.... French.

A coal mine fire in the Delaware and Hudson Coal Company’s Baltimore Mine in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania kills 92 miners. An underground train was carrying both miners and explosives. The state has a safety code that covers the storage of explosives but not its transportation, so the company won’t be held legally responsible.


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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Today -100: June 5, 1919: The modern stage is set for hell


The Senate passes the Susan B. Anthony amendment to the Constitution for women’s suffrage, 56-25. It now goes to the states for ratification.

Would anybody like to hear the opinions of clergymen on the state of the theater? Of course you would!  The Rev. William Burgess of Chicago, the director of the Illinois Vigilance Association, tells the Conference of Social Work in Atlantic City, “The modern stage is set for hell,” what with its “moral filth and sensual exhibits which might make devils blush.” And the Rev. H.R.L. Sheppard of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields in London, where I once attended a rather nice concert, calls for the Christian church to establish its own theatres so audiences can avoid “bedroom scenes” which are “an insult to their intelligence.”

The reaction to the anarchist bombings goes about how you’d expect:


Those lists, which we are hearing about for the first time, are the Justice Department’s file cards on alleged radicals. The 20,000 is for NYC alone.


NY Governor Alfred E. Smith comes from Albany to NYC to speak with the state attorney general Charles Newton and give him authorization to go medieval on the reds’ asses, only to find that Newton had left for Buffalo.


That’s Cleveland Mayor Harry Davis, whose house was bombed, who wants to deport all immigrants who fail to become US citizens or, as he refers to them, “the cancer which is gnawing at [the US’s] political life.”

The Austrian government doesn’t like the peace terms presented to it. Austria’s borders were decided by different committees dealing with the Italian-Austrian border, the Yugoslav-Austrian border, the Czech-Austrian border, etc without consulting each other, so the total picture is actually harsher for Austria than the Allies had intended.

Leaflets appear in Rhineland cities denouncing the Rhenish Republic as a Catholic plot and calling for a 24-hour general strike.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Today -100: June 4, 1919: Of bomb attacks, promises, and breakaway states


Headline of the Day -100: 


Just ask Mrs. Palmer. A. Mitchell appoints William Flynn, former head of the Secret Service, as chief of the Bureau of Investigation (the future FBI), with carte blanche to go after the bombers. In a couple of months, Flynn will put a kid named John Edgar Hoover in charge of the General Intelligence Division.

The Times prints another rumor that Petrograd has been captured, this time by Estonians and Finns.

Headline of the Day -100:  


So that’s okay then.

A strike at the Willys-Overland auto plant in Toledo, Ohio turns to rioting. Mayor Cornell Schreiber is driven from his home by threats, or so he says, and wires Gov. Cox asking for troops. Guards for the plant shoot strikers.

The German delegation to the peace talks protests French support for the declaration of independence in the Rhine. The provisional president of the new state, Hans Dorten, has asked the French for protection. He also asks the US for recognition. The NYT is finally spelling his name right, if that’s any help.


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Monday, June 03, 2019

Today -100: June 3, 1919: We will kill, because it is necessary


8 bombs explode in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and D.C., at the homes of Cleveland Mayor Harry Davis (presumably for his actions during the May Day riots), Massachusetts Justice Albert Hayden, who sentenced rioters, Mass. State Rep. Leland Powers, NY judge Charles Cooper Nott, Jr. (who never had Reds in his court, but may have been mistaken for judge John Knox), Bureau of Immigration Chief Inspector W.W. Sibray, an official of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, VPs of two coal companies and a train dispatcher, and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. The bombs were pretty big, but all the intended targets escaped death (some were not in their homes, some were sleeping upstairs). There are two deaths, at the Knott and Palmer bombings, believed at this time to be the bomb-planters. One was actually a night watchman investigating the mysterious package, but the other was indeed a bomber, Carlo Valdinoci. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt walked by the Palmer home (they live across the street) 3 minutes before the explosion. Their windows are blown in and some (unidentified) body part of Signor Valdinoci lands on their doorstep. Another body part goes through a window (whether open or closed is not clear) of the Norwegian ambassador, landing near a baby, like a Keystone comedy on acid. Sen. Claude Swanson also finds a bit of Valdinoci in front of his house. The police will have to jigsaw-puzzle the parts together to see if they’ve got one body or two.

Police suspect, correctly, that the perpetrators are the same people responsible for the spate of letter-bombs in April, which were also pretty ineffective at killing their intended targets, which also included the attorney general.

The bombers are in fact followers of Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani (Galleanists), who do this sort of thing. Flyers are planted at each bomb target:
The powers that be make no secret of their will to stop here in America the worldwide spread of revolution. The powers that be must reckon that they will have to accept the fight they have provoked. ... Do not say we are acting cowardly because we keep in hiding; do not say it is abominable; it is war, class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws, behind the guns of your bone-headed slaves. ... There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.
They’re signed The Anarchist Fighters. Galleani is actually already in federal custody awaiting deportation, but the Justice Dept won’t figure out his relation to the bombings before he goes. They’re convinced that Bolsheviks are behind it rather than, I guess, anarchist fighters. Probably why they’ll never catch anyone for these bombings.

Strikes break out against the declaration of the Palatinate Republic. The independence statements say that the republic will be pacific, unlike those fucking Prussians.


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Sunday, June 02, 2019

Today -100: June 2, 1919: A matter of pure Bolshevism


An “Independent Rhenish Republic” or “Palatinate Republic” is proclaimed in Wiesbaden by Hans Adam Dorten. The new separatist state will include (in Dorten’s mind, anyway) the Rhineland Province plus bits of Bavaria and Hesse.

Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau, head of the German peace delegation, is trying to resign because it would be too humiliating to have to sign the peace treaty.

Ignace Jan Paderewski, the Polish prime minister, again denies to a reporter that there are pogroms, although he admits there are lots and lots of murders because Poland is pure anarchy right now. What about the execution of those 37 Jews in Pinsk in April? That was “a matter of pure Bolshevism,” he says. After Bolsheviks killed a bunch of Polish soldiers, Poles responded by executing those responsible who, by a bizarre coincidence, all happened to be Jewish. Oh, and some of them weren’t guilty of anything, but war is hell. (Actually, the meeting was probably about how to distribute food aid from American Jewish organizations. Or how to distribute Bolshevism, who really knows). Paderewski whatabouts: “Many Christians were also killed by mistake.” So that’s okay then. Paderewski also thinks Poland is getting blame for a pogrom which actually occurred across the border in Russia.


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Saturday, June 01, 2019

Today -100: June 1, 1919: Of kings, mountain girls, souvenirs, and new horrors


Hungary has supposedly asked Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia if he’d like to be their king.

British planes bomb Kabul and Jalalabad.

Sgt York’s girlfriend, “mountain girl” Gracie Williams, says yes! The US Army didn’t turn individual soldiers into heroes during the war, but they’ve really been mythologizing ol’ Alvin since April.

Congress will leave it to governors to distribute souvenirs of the war to communities in their respective states – 4,000 German cannon and 20,000 machine guns are available, way less than the demand.

Headline of the Day -100: 


A German newspaper claims the treaty includes a provision forcing prohibition on Germany. (It doesn’t)


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