Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Today -100: April 8, 1920: Of scintillas of legality, sneers, and certain ferments

Banned from picketing the British Embassy in Washington, the women protesting British Irish policy are now picketing the State Department, with banners containing quotes from a speech Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby made 4 years ago, such as “There is not a scintilla of legality in England’s claim to rule Ireland.” Awkwaaaard.

Police in Ireland claim to have evidence that Sinn Féin was negotiating with Germans to acquire arms.

Georgia Republicans are split, and rival delegations (for Gen. Wood & Frank Lowden) will go to the national convention. Awkwaaaard.

Headline of the Day -100: 

German newspapers are saying that France is in effect protecting Bolshevism and anarchy and red terror in the Ruhr.

They’re also shooting Rhinelanders. “Colored” (Moroccan) French soldiers fire on a threatening mob in Frankfort, killing 7, one of them a child. Gen. Jean Degoutte, commander of the French Army of the Rhine says the first day of the occupation went fine, but then “suddenly, on orders from Berlin, a certain ferment seized the population,” leading to the incident.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Today -100: April 7, 1920: Of Whites, militarism, and pickets

Anton Denikin resigns as commander of the anti-Bolshevik forces and flees on a British warship.

German Chancellor Hermann Müller, mirroring French PM Alexandre Millerand’s comments yesterday about German militarism, says the French occupation of Rhine cities is “a fresh attempt of Gallic militarism on the peace of the world.” Germany claims to have fewer troops in the Ruhr than the 17,500 they have permission for; France says there are 38,000. Millerand says Germany will have to pay for France’s occupation costs. In the five occupied cities, the French army posts notices saying that “The French troops do not appear as conquerors, but as troops of occupation.” So that’s okay then.

Police remove all the war exhibits in the Belfast Museum – machine guns, mortars, etc. Some Sinn Féin prisoners are on hunger strike.

Herbert Hoover tried to register in California as a Republican, but his form arrived too late.

Since police ban those women picketing the British Embassy in Washington over the Irish issue, they drop leaflets on it from a plane. Four picketers are arrested for insulting diplomats from foreign countries, which is evidently a felony.

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Monday, April 06, 2020

Today -100: April 6, 1920: Of racing, coercive and precautionary measures, soviet plans, and political general strikes

Headline of the Day -100: 

So, no Easter Rising II then.

French Prime Minister Alexandre Millerand issues a note explaining the French occupation of Rhineland towns. It accuses Germany of yielding to militarist pressure in sending troops into the Ruhr. France’s military actions are not of course spurred by militarists; “The sole object of these measures is to bring Germany to a due respect of the treaty; they are exclusively of a coercive and precautionary character.” (Tomorrow’s paper will translate this as “restraint” rather than “coercive,” which seems a bit different; I don’t know which French word was used).

The Republican congressman from Ohio who rejoices in the name Simeon Fess (and will head the RNC during the Hoover administration) accuses Woodrow Wilson of displaying “marked socialism” and “partiality to the Soviet plan.”

The general strike in Denmark is called off after King Christian X agrees to dismiss the cabinet he unilaterally named and give amnesty to all political prisoners.

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Sunday, April 05, 2020

Today -100: April 5, 1920: Tax records on fire is the best kind of tax records, ammiright?

Latest Sinn Féin tactic: attacking tax offices, a lot of tax offices, burning tax records.

France will occupy four cities on the west bank of the Rhine in retaliation for Germany sending troops into the Ruhr to suppress the general strike, and to secure the coal France is owed as reparations. This is a unilateral action by France, which is not going over well with Britain and the US. Germany is now moving to crush resistance in the Ruhr quickly so it can declare victory before the French arrive.

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Saturday, April 04, 2020

Today -100: April 4, 1920: Of risings, lepers, and divorces

British soldiers pour into Irish cities, expecting another Easter Rising. They’re searching hay carts.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Paris and Vienna, not for the first and not for the last time, are wrong.

Obit of the Day -100:  Mark Lee, a Chinese leper, “Passaic’s only leper for ten years,” dies in the shack in the woods to which he’s been confined/imprisoned for 10 years, with his food served through the window and the head nurse of the Isolation Hospital trying to convert him to Christianity.

Kit Dalton, last surviving member of the James Gang (you know, Jesse and Frank James), dies.

The Nevada attorney general will file suit to overturn Mary Pickford’s divorce because she took an oath that she intended to become a resident of Nevada and he thinks she didn’t mean it. If he succeeds, the divorce decree will be set aside, which would be a bit awkward. Her manager says that if her subsequent marriage to Douglas Fairbanks is declared null she would do what any decent woman would do under the circumstances, whatever that means.

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Friday, April 03, 2020

Today -100: April 3, 1920: Of sieges, reigns of terrors, lynchings, duels, princes, and jazz-age marriages

Sinn Féin has a new tactic: its recent raids on police barracks have focused on destroying the buildings.

Women picket the British embassy in Washington with signs reading, “England, American women condemn your reign of terror in the Irish Republic,” “America cannot continue relations with an England ruled by assassins,” “England has perpetrated eighty military murders in Ireland,” etc.

A black man, George Robertson, is lynched in Laurens, Georgia, after allegedly cutting 3 white boys. He’s hanged from a bridge and used for target practice.

Former president of Uruguay José Batlle y Ordóñez kills Washington Beltrán Barbat, a newspaper editor and deputy, in a duel after an editorial about the last elections called Batlle the “champion of fraud.” This is not the first time Batlle has fought a duel with an editor of El País, but it is the first he has won (the last was with swords, this one with pistols).

Warren G. Harding withdraws his name from the New Jersey ballot, saying he doesn’t have enough money, so he’s only running in the Ohio and Indiana primaries (note that only 21 states have primaries).

Prince Joachim Albrecht, who started that fight in the Hotel Adlon which served as a pretext for the Kapp Putsch, is released from prison and banned from living in Berlin.

F. Scott Fitzgerald marries Zelda Sayre.

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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Today -100: April 2, 1920: Delaware was like the battle of the Marne

The Delaware Legislature’s lower house rejects the federal women’s suffrage Amendment 26-6. Mary Kilbreth, president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage says “Delaware was like the battle of the Marne. The suffragists, like the Germans, waged a campaign of frightfulness and threatened members of Legislatures with political reprisals. It needed only a few courageous men to block them, and those were found in Delaware.”

The NY State Assembly (again) votes to expel the 5 elected Socialist members and declares their seats vacant. Two of the not-assemblymen issue a statement: “A bi-partisan combination has overthrown representative government. ... The Constitution has been lynched... If the people are to be driven from the ballot box, where shall they go?” Where indeed. The NYT calls the decision “an American vote altogether, a patriotic and conservative vote.” The Judiciary Committee recommends that the Socialist Party be banned from the ballot until it stops being naughty; legislation is being drawn up to that effect, directing against any party that includes aliens on its governing committees (or even as members); is a member of the Third Internationale; requires pledges of members elected to office, such as not to vote for military spending; or has a policy of using general strikes & sabotage for political ends.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee votes 12 to 6 for the resolution declaring the war with Germany over, with no Democratic support.

Woodrow Wilson fails to respond to Georgia Democrats asking if he’s running again, so some of them remove their names from the petition to put his name on the ballot, and it will not appear.

Herbert Hoover’s name, on the other hand, will appear on both the R and D ballots in Michigan, the D’s having put him on it before he announced that he’s an R. The D’s worry that he’s so popular that many D’s will vote for him anyway.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Today -100: April 1, 1920: Of not-war, women’s suffrage, and Danish kinks

Republican in Congress think they can get around Wilson by voting that the state of war with Germany is at an end. Which is not the same as saying that there is a state of peace, which only the president has the legal authority to negotiate. If the move succeeds, it will automatically end all the wartime laws and presidential proclamations that were supposed to end when the war ended.

So much for Mississippi being the state to put the Anthony Amendment over the top. The Legislature’s lower house rejects ratification 94-23.

A general strike is called in Denmark protesting King (or, in a particularly enjoyable typo, “the Kink”) Christian X’s firing the government and replacing it with a temporary “business cabinet” (insert lego joke here).

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Today -100: March 31, 1920: I cannot refuse service

Herbert Hoover says “While I do not and will not myself seek the nomination, if it is felt that the issues necessitate it, and it is demanded of me, I cannot refuse service.” The issue he considers most important is the need to enter the League of Nations, with reservations. He is positioning himself against fellow Californian Hiram Johnson, who is very anti-League. Republican pooh-bahs grimly remember that when Hoover was Food Czar in 1918, he endorsed Wilson’s call for the election of a Democratic Congress.

Sen. Warren G. Harding gives some of his ideas, although he says the Republican platform should “represent the convictions, conscience and aspirations of the thinking Republicans of America,” which obviously leaves him out. He wants an “ample army” and air force, military training for young men paid for by the government but not compulsory, and to “get away from abnormal conditions of war”.

France, not able to get Britain and Italy to be as tough on Germany as it would like, is going to enforce the Versailles Treaty, as it interprets it, all by itself, and plans to occupy Frankfort and Darmstadt to ensure that German troops leave the Ruhr after putting down the armed strikers.

The Mississippi State Senate ratifies the federal women’s suffrage Amendment, reversing last month’s vote. Will the House follow suit?

Oxford University abolishes the compulsory study of ancient Greek for some students (math, science, law). Obviously this is the beginning of the end of the British Empire.

Bad-Ass of the Day -100:

Mary Pickford marries Douglas Fairbanks. Pickford got divorced just 3 weeks ago, Fairbanks last year. Both “are said to be wealthy.”

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Today -100: March 30, 1920: Of hoovers, white primaries, lynchings, coups, and barbarous words

Herbert Hoover refuses permission for his name to be put on the Oregon Democratic primary ballot.

The Alabama Democratic Party decides that blacks will not be allowed to vote in the party’s primary in May.

A black man, Grant Smith, is kidnapped by a lynch mob in Paris, Kentucky. His lynching is not yet confirmed.

King Christian X of Denmark fired the Social Liberal-Social Democrat government in a dispute over whether to demand the Schleswig port city of Flensburg, which voted to remain German but conservatives and the king say fuck that plebiscite). King Chris then chose a conservative government not representative of parliament (the Rigsdag) – his choice of prime minister isn’t even a member of parliament. Crowds are in the streets of Copenhagen, demanding a republic.

The British Parliament debates Lloyd George’s Irish Home Rule Bill.  Ian Macpherson, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, refers to “the era of that barbarous word, self-determination.” T.P. O’Connor predicts the bill will pass without a single Irish vote.

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Today -100: March 29, 1920: Or storms and very attractive dieticians

A series of storms and tornadoes hit the Midwest and the South but... is it necessary to specify this, NYT?

Budapest elects the first woman member of the Hungarian Diet, Margit Slachta. We are informed that she is “very attractive.” She very attractively saved a bunch of Jews during World War II.

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Today -100: March 28, 1920: Of red-displacement and javelins

Hermann Müller forms a new government in Germany.

An order is issued for the arrest of all Russians in Berlin, because all the unrest on the left is obviously down to Russians.

Einstein’s theory of relativity gets further proof: something about the red-displacement of spectral lines.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Today -100: March 27, 1920: That’s the worst kind of saturnalia

German Chancellor Gustav Bauer fails to form a new cabinet. So Pres. Ebert calls on Hermann Müller to give it a shot. He refuses, so Ebert calls on Carl Legien the chair of a trade union confederation who directed the general strike against the Kapp Putsch. Update: and by update, I mean the NYT tacked it onto the end of this article: Müller agrees to form a government after all.

Another thing the German government hasn’t managed to do is arrest the leaders of the Kapp Putsch. Kapp is laying low but Lüttwitz just went home.

Sen. William Borah (R-Idaho) worries about war profiteers buying control of both parties’ national conventions in a “saturnalia of corruption.” He seems to be especially concerned about Gen. Leonard Wood, whose campaign is paying Indianahoovians $2.50 for testimonials. If they’re paying that much just for testimonials, “what would they not pay for votes?” Borah asks. He will introduce a bill to cap primary candidates at $10,000 per state, with disclosure of donors.

In Dublin, Resident Magistrate Alan Bell is dragged from a tram car by a group of armed men and shot dead. This might be a response to his investigation of banks’ relationships with Sinn Féin and the Irish republican parliament (the banks refused to answer any questions and the inquiry was dropped).

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Today -100: March 26, 1920: Of red armies, Berlin herself, preserving industrial peace at the point of the bayonet, and furtive excitements

The NYT repeats the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant’s story that Russian Red Army officers are controlling the Spartacists in Germany and planning to capture Germany by July.

The Ebert government has been requesting the Allies’ permission to send troops into the Ruhr to fight the workers on strike. France has been... sceptical.

Headline of the Day -100: 

At the inquest into the assassination of the Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain/Thomas MacGurin, a witness says he saw 8 men carrying rifles, but not in uniform, enter the police barracks. Yup, that’s the assassins, all right.

By the way, the Black and Tans are arriving in Ireland about now.

Remember Stewart McMullin, the federal prohibition agent who shot a bootlegging cabby during an arrest or... something? Well, since the local judge refused to give him bail, the feds show up with a writ of habeas corpus, the first time in New York City history in which the feds have tried to override local authorities on a murder case. The feds say McMullin was acting as a federal agent, the locals say that since he never announced himself as such he was not a federal official at the time. They’re pretty convinced McMullin was actually conducting a holdup. You say potato...

James Cox, Democratic governor of Ohio, says Republicans plan to win the White House by raising huge sums from industry to elect a president who “will preserve industrial peace at the point of the bayonet.” He says he’s kept the peace in Ohio for years without a shot fired. He complains that both the wets and the drys think he’s on the other side, and he thinks that the Volstead Act will be amended to allow for beer and light wines.

Lady Cynthia Curzon is engaged to Lt. Oswald Mosley, MP. This seems to be the first time the future fascist leader is mentioned in the NYT.

F. Scott Fizgerald’s This Side of Paradise is published. The newness of the ‘20s is set out against the Olde Times:
All in all Beatrice O’Hara absorbed the sort of education that will be quite impossible ever again; a tutelage measured by the number of things and people one could be contemptuous of and charming about; a culture rich in all arts and traditions, barren of all ideas, in the last of those days when the great gardener clipped the inferior roses to produce one perfect bud.
Amory saw girls doing things that even in his memory would have been impossible: eating three-o’clock, after-dance suppers in impossible cafes, talking of every side of life with an air half of earnestness, half of mockery, yet with a furtive excitement that Amory considered stood for a real moral let-down.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Today -100: March 25, 1920: Of Spartacists and Misseses

The US chargé in Berlin claims that Spartacists hold half the city. He calls for Americans to leave.

The British novelist Mrs Humphry Ward (that’s how she gives her name on the covers of her books) dies at 68. She was acclaimed for Robert Elsmere (1888), a novel about a clergyman’s crisis of faith and therefore a best-seller for some reason. She was the niece of Matthew Arnold and the aunt of Aldous Huxley, who was not a fan. Nor am I, from the one novel of hers I’ve read. In the Edwardian period, as her novels came to be seen as old-fashioned, she was better known as the most prominent female anti-suffragist (where she signed herself Mary Augusta Ward), although she was a feminist in other ways, strongly advocating higher education for women. John Sutherland’s biography is worth reading. She is survived by her idiot husband and wastrel son.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Today -100: March 24, 1920: Of suffrage, general strikes, and sawing

The Delaware Legislature looks unlikely to ratify the federal women’s suffrage Amendment as another No is heard from, Rep. Silas J. Warrington of Sussex County. Actually, despite “Silas J. Warrington of Sussex County” being the most anti-suffrage name ever, Silas J. Warrington of Sussex County claims to support suffrage himself but his district really hates women, so.

Live by the general strike, die by the general strike: the German government, restored to power by the refusal of workers and much of the bureaucracy to work with the Kapp Putsch regime, gives in to various demands of the left. Noske resigned yesterday but now the entire cabinet will be Socialist until general elections can be called.

Headline of the Day -100:

The Chief Secretary for Ireland, Ian Macpherson, claims it was the crowd that opened fire on the soldiers, not the other way around.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Today -100: March 23, 1920: Spelling patriotism with a p-a-y

Washington State ratifies the federal women’s suffrage Amendment. 35 down, 1 to go. And here’s where it gets complicated. The Delaware Legislature has been called into special session specifically for this purpose, but it’s faffing about with other issues instead. Also, Ohio’s ratification is being challenged before the US Supreme Court next month after state courts insisted that there be a referendum. In light of that, suffragists are thinking that, just to be safe, they should get 37 states to ratify. 35 down, 2 to go.

British War Sec Winston Churchill proposes cutting down on the costs of “guarding” Mesopotamia by doing it primarily with aeroplanes. Guess how long it will take for him to start dropping bombs on Iraqis.

The New York branch of the American Legion is divided, as is the entire Legion, over whether veterans should be paid a bonus, whether it should be restricted to the disabled, or whether the demand should be repudiated because it means “spelling patriotism with a p-a-y,” as one delegate put it.

German Defense Minister Gustav Noske resigns, just like the left demanded.

The Senate finally confirms Bainbridge Colby as secretary of state, by voice vote.

King Faisal of Syria, as he calls himself, decrees a boycott of the occupying countries, Britain and France. The Syrian Congress asks foreigners to leave Syria.

The assassinated Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás Mac Curtain/Thomas MacGurin is buried, with a long funeral procession including Republican Volunteers marching in uniform. In Parliament, T.P. O’Connor suggests that the search of Mac Curtain’s home immediately after the murder, and by soldiers rather than police, might give rise to the suspicion that they were destroying evidence. Cries of “Monstrous!” greet this almost certainly accurate suggestion.

In Dublin, 300 British soldiers returning from the theatre, singing “God Save the King” in the streets, according to one account (the NYT just decided to print several conflicting versions and let God and its readers sort them out), clash with a crowd and open fire, as was the custom. 2 dead. “[T]here is considerable excitement in Dublin.”

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Today -100: March 22, 1920: I am optimistic enough to think that the damage has not been catastrophal

Pres. Ebert and the cabinet return to Berlin. Ebert says “I am optimistic enough to think that the damage has not been catastrophal, and that is also the opinion of the Cabinet. I am sorry the events of the last few days have proved there are still circles in Germany that think the distress of the last war was not great enough.” He plans treason trials, lots of treason trials, and maybe some executions.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Dutch have been keeping a close watch on him since the start of the Kapp Putsch to make sure he doesn’t return to Germany to resume kaisering.

Women vote for the first time in primaries (just Democratic?) in the Philippines.

Ad of the Day -100:

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Today -100: March 21, 1920: Of new berries, general strikes, straddling chairs, and bolshy monkeys

Sen. Truman Handy Newberry (R-Michigan), a former secretary of the Navy, is convicted, along with 16 co-defendants, including his brother and his campaign manager, of screwing with the election process in 1918. The senator is sentenced to 2 years and a $10,000 fine. He says he plans to appeal and to continue senatoring.

The general strike that helped defeat the Kapp Putsch is still on, even though Kapp is gone. Strike leaders have a few demands, including democratization of the bureaucracy, an entirely Socialist cabinet, punishment for those who led or supported the putsch, and the firing of War Minister Gustav Noske, who oversaw the bloody suppression of the Spartacists last year.

The AP reports that the events of the last week have made former kaiser Willy nervous and sleepless, and he’s taken to day-drinking and “his nervous habit of straddling chairs has increased.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

The circus arrives in New York. Elephants! Clowns! Freaks! (When did Barnum & Bailey stop having “freaks,” I wonder?) But what I found of etymological interest in this article is an uncooperative monkey being referred to with the adjective “bolshy.”

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Today -100: March 20, 1920: Has President Wilson changed his mind, or has his mind changed him?

The Senate again fails to ratify the Peace Treaty, 49 voting in favor, 35 against. It then adopts a resolution to return the treaty to the president, meaning there can be no more consideration of the treaty in the Senate. At one point in the debate, Irvine Lenroot (R-Wisconsin) complains that Pres. Wilson used to say that Article XI was the heart of the League of Nations Covenant but more recently has been assigning that role to Article X: “The president’s illness has affected either the president’s recollection or his judgment. Has President Wilson changed his mind, or has his mind changed him?” Wow.

So the US is still technically at war with Germany.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain/Thomas MacGurin, a Sinn Feiner veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising, is assassinated, shot dead in his home in front of his family by masked men. Cops, they’re cops.

The Kapp putschists, especially its Baltic soldier supporters, were responsible for anti-Semitic leaflets and speeches.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The federal prohibition commissioner for Mississippi accuses state legislators there of “openly and brazenly” purchasing liquor and asks them to stop it please. Last week the Legislature rejected a bill to fund prohibition enforcement.

Consuelo Spencer-Churchill, a Vanderbilt, sues her husband, the Duke of Marlborough (Winston Churchill’s cousin) for restitution of conjugal rights. She is trying to establish desertion as cause for divorce, which she will in fact get next year, ending one of the crappiest of those rich-American-impecunious-British-aristo marriages.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Today -100: March 19, 1920: Of self-determination

The US Senate passes a reservation to the Peace Treaty in favor of self-determination for Ireland and its joining the League of Nations once it’s independent. Britain would have to agree to any reservation, so... 

Henry Cabot Lodge is furious that this got tacked on to his reservations, not because he is opposed to Irish aspirations, but because he is opposed to the doctrine of self-determination. After all, the US fought for 4 years against the doctrine of self-determination (i.e., the Civil War).

Speaking of self-determination, Britain and France refuse to recognize Syria’s declaration of independence.

The NYT claims that ex-kaiser Willy and the ex-Crown ex-Prince knew about the Kapp Putsch beforehand and contributed money. “Wilhelm has lately felt himself neglected by the reactionary cliques”. As Kapp’s Baltic soldiers leave Berlin, crowds jeer them, so naturally they open fire.

The Chicago City Council raises the height limit for buildings to 260 feet, up from 200.

Presidential candidate Gen. Leonard Wood says critics of his appearing  in his military uniform at campaign events insult the memory of every dead American in France.

Two sisters, Phoebe and Ada Brush, 68 and 56 years old respectively, are released from a lunatic asylum 10 years after they were placed there by relatives after their money on a 10-day temporary commitment. There was never any subsequent committal process, and they seem to have always been entirely sane.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Today -100: March 18, 1920: Kapp doffed

Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz resign or give up or retire or whatever you do when you leave an office you claimed to have taken over. He says the government has agreed to his demands, so his mission is fulfilled and the threat from “the annihilating dangers of Bolshevism” (a national uprising is rumored) requires national unity. And then he flees Berlin. The leaders of the general strike also declare victory and call for the strike to end.

There was (supposedly) a Spartacist uprising in Westphalia, a Soviet republic declared in Frankfort, and increasingly bloody clashes between Kapp’s soldiers and crowds in Berlin, Leipzig, Essen and elsewhere. I guess these are those annihilating dangers of Bolshevism.

The Allies (France, Britain, Italy) occupy Constantinople, meeting relatively little resistance (a few killed when they took over the Ministry of War). Various military commanders and a prince and others are arrested.

Pres. Wilson allows photographs and moving pictures to be taken of him for the first time in six months, as he drives past reporters.

What To Watch: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, starring John Barrymore, premieres.

This is the first of three film adaptations of the Robert Louis Stevenson story opening this year, including The Head of Janus, a lost film by F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu), starring Conrad Veidt.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Today -100: March 17, 1920: Of leaves, grave concerns, putsches, and blizzards

Gen. Leonard Wood gets a two-month leave of absence from the Army so he can campaign for president.

Republican senators come up with a compromise reservation to the Peace Treaty: if the “freedom and peace of Europe” is again threatened, “the United States will regard such a situation with grave concern, and will consider what, if any, action it will take”. Not sure you really need a formal treaty to promise to regard a situation with grave concern. Oh, and St Patrick’s Day is coming up, so there WILL be talk in the Senate about recognizing the Irish Republic. And maybe Korea. And Egypt.

The Kapp regime is reportedly bombarding Kiel, where there has been fighting. The Imperial Finance Minister, following Pres. Ebert’s orders, refuses to pay the troops acting for Kapp. The general strike is spreading. Lüttwitz, Kapp’s defense minister, threatens to execute anyone fomenting the strike. Hindenburg (finally) announces that he has nothing to do with the putsch. Pres. Ebert denies that he is negotiating with Kapp.

Hiram Johnson wins the North Dakota Republican primary, which takes place in a blizzard, as is the custom. He was the only candidate on the ballot.

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Monday, March 16, 2020

Today -100: March 16, 1920: Of reservations, developments, secretaries of states, and dry killings

The Senate votes in favor of Lodge’s reservation to Article X of the Peace Treaty, specifying that the US military can only be used to defend other countries if Congress votes for it. The vote is 56-26, 14 D’s voting with all the R’s for the reservation, going against Pres. Wilson’s position. The treaty is thus, again, dead. Which also means that the US will not be participating in negotiating Turkey’s peace treaty.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George tells Parliament that he will “await developments” in Germany. Those developments suggest the Kapp Putsch regime is spreading, with copycat military coups in many towns.

There are rumors that the competing Ebert and Kapp regimes are negotiating. Or at least that Kapp has offered to let Ebert remain in office, with a cabinet of technocrats, until new elections are called in the very near future. Water has been restored in Berlin, but not electricity, gas, or newspapers.

The second Schleswig plebiscite is held, in zone 2, which includes the port of Flensburg.  Zone 2 decides to stay attached to Germany.

The Senate has sat on Wilson’s nomination of Bainbridge Colby to be secretary of state, and the term of the acting secretary has just expired, so there is no longer anyone at the head in State. This means, among other things, that there’s no one authorized to receive a ratified 19th Amendment. Also, new passports can’t be issued. And at the time secretary of state was next in succession to the presidency after Veep Whatsisname.

Stewart McMullin, the federal prohibition agent being held for shooting a cabby during an arrest, refuses to tell prosecutors whether or not he’s the same person as a former prison inmate. In fact, his real name is John Conway, maybe... well it’s certainly one of the names he’s used. He has served time for armed robbery, forgery, and didn’t serve time for involuntary manslaughter (at 14!) (he beat in some guy’s skull with a rock and got a $50 fine). He was recruited by the feds while still in Dannemora because of his helpfulness as a jail-house stool pigeon. Later this year he’ll be acquitted for the murder by a jury that evidently ignored all the evidence, although he is then immediately arrested for breaking parole in Indiana. Not sure what happened to him after that.

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Today -100: March 15, 1920: We do not want revolution, but a reconstruction

The Kapp coup regime has gotten no further in consolidating power. Right-wing political leaders are not rallying to it, so its power-base is almost entirely military and para-military. The Kappists, if I may, are stressing that they are not reactionaries looking to restore the monarchy. According to one of their leaflets, “We do not want revolution, but a reconstruction.” Kapp tells foreign reporters the republic is not being overturned and there’ll be new Reichstag elections... some time. The water supply to Berlin has been shut off. All the cafes are closed. Most state governments are opposed to the putsch, though August Winnig, Social Democratic governor of East Prussia, recognizes the Kapp regime.

Gen. Baron Walther von Lüttwitz, Kapp’s defense minister, says he took part in the putsch to protect all of Europe from Bolshevism. “Prussia must take a hand in it.”

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Today -100: March 14, 1920: Not a hand must move

Wolfgang Kapp (not von Kapp, NYT) declares himself chancellor of Germany and Gen. Baron Walther von Lüttwitz Defense Minister and dissolves the Reichstag as troops join his coup attempt and enter Berlin.

The Kapp regime announces that “The overthrow of the Government must not be taken as reactionary. On the contrary, it is a progressive measure of patriotic Germans of all parties, with a view to re-establishing law, order, discipline and honest government in Germany.” So that’s okay then. Kapp tells the foreign press that his coup is not monarchist (he knows that nothing will bring foreign military intervention faster than trying to put a Hollenzollern back on a restored throne) and that Germany will enforce the peace treaty... well, the “just” provisions of the peace treaty.

Various German state governments denounce the putsch, which for now seems to be confined to Berlin. President Friedrich Ebert and various cabinet members flee Berlin (some have been arrested), going to Dresden or somewhere. Ebert and the Social Democratic Party call for a general strike. The Social Democratic Party says “We did not make the revolution in order to recognize again today the bloody government of mercenaries [meaning the Freikorps].” “Paralyze all economic life. Not a hand must move. No proletariat shall help the military dictatorship.”

I would imagine the designation of these events as the “Kapp Putsch” was retrospective, but a word about that word: the German “putsch,” meaning roughly the same thing as coup d’etat, with an emphasis on suddenness, entered the English language with the Kapp Putsch. The German word originated in Swiss German, entering German German through reports of Swiss uprisings in the 1830s.

Woodrow Wilson sends the Allies a plan to resume trade with Russia without recognizing its government.

William Jennings Bryan says he’d accept the nomination for president if it was demanded of him, although he doesn’t think that will happen. He does want to go to the Convention as a delegate, to oppose “the reactionaries and friends of the saloon.”

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Today -100: March 13, 1920: Of kapps, coercing Turks, bachelor taxes, dry killings, and thrilling jewel robberies

German War Minister Gustav Noske orders the arrests of Capt. Waldemar Pabst (whose name the NYT has wrong) and bureaucrat Wolfgang Kapp of the Deutsche Vaterlandspartei for attempting a reactionary putsch, using the arrest order for Prince Joachim Albrecht for getting into a fight with French officers at the Hotel Adlon as a pretext. Well, it’s more about orders to demobilize the Freikorps, but close enough.

With the Allies thinking about how to force Turkey to stop killing Armenians (or Christians, as the AP chooses to identify them), US Sen. Lawrence Sherman (R-Illinois) introduces a resolution to end Turkish rule “over Christians everywhere”) and prevent the Young Turks returning to power, Greece generously

Gen. Álvaro Obregón, running for president in Mexico, offers a campaign promise not to start a revolution if he loses.

The French Parliament is working on a tax bill which will include a 10% tax on the incomes of bachelors. They’re really serious about having enough cannon fodder for the next war.

Stewart McMullin, the Internal Revenue prohibition enforcer who shot cabby Henry Carlton in the first enforcement death of the Prohibition era, will be prosecuted. Witnesses refute his story that he acted in self-defense, say that Carlton had in fact surrendered and that the dry agents failed to identify themselves, so Carlton probably thought he was being ripped off. Which may well have been what was actually going on. Also, the knife McMullin claimed Carlton brandished cannot be found.  Carlton was shot in the back of the head at close range, as was the custom.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Sadly, no Alexander Woollcott review.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Today -100: March 12, 1920: But it’s a dry killing

Headline of the Day -100: 

A Manhattan cabby/bootlegger, Henry Carlton, is shot dead by Internal Revenue prohibition enforcer Stewart McMullin during a sting operation. Carlton pulled a knife when the narcs tried to arrest him.

Or did he?

Syria (which was rather larger than the present country) declares independence, with Faisal as king.

El Salvador accepts the invitation to join the League of Nations.

Evangelist Billy Sunday is not only willing to run for president as a Republican, but names his potential Cabinet.

The Boston Symphony threatens to replace striking musicians. It may even hire women for the first time.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Today -100: March 11, 1920: Now commences war

Poet-Aviator Gabrielle D’Annunzio is irate that Italy is blocking entry to children being sent from starving Fiume. He threatens to use a warship to land them at Venice. He compares this to Italy’s sheltering starving children from Vienna. “I will not tolerate this infamy. I am preparing the roughest-edged tool to brand it. ... Yes, now commences war.”

The Ulster Unionists decide to accept Lloyd George’s Home Rule Bill. They still don’t like Ireland having any form of self-government, but will accept separate treatment for “Ulster,” even if it’s just 6 rather than 9 counties.

Norway and Denmark agree to join the League of Nations after getting assurances that they won’t be required to maintain a standing army ready to join in possible League military actions. Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands will also join.

West Virginia State Senator Bloch arrives at Charleston from his winter home in Pasadena (no word on whether he accepted the plane booked to get him part of the way) in time to vote for the federal women’s suffrage Amendment. Also, an Anti senator who no longer lives in the state is unseated, so ratification passes. 34 down, 2 to go.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Today -100: March 10, 1920: Of independent progressives, retiring from public life, and #NegotiationFail

Gen. Leonard Wood wins the New Hampshire Republican primary. Herbert Hoover seems to have won the Democrat primary. Hoover writes to some California Republicans who want him to run as an R, saying he is an “independent progressive,” equally opposed to the reactionary wing of the R’s and the radical wing of the D’s. Also, too, he’s not running for office. But... he seems to leave open the possibility of being drafted into office, which the NYT will characterize as “Mr. Hoover will accept a nomination, but he will not lift a hand to get one.”

The Duchess County, NY Democratic Committee endorses Assistant Navy Secretary Franklin D. Roosevelt for US Senate. FDR is not actually running for Senate, and says he wants to retire from public life.

Negotiations between Italy and Yugoslavia fail. Yugoslavia is now demanding that if Italy gets part of Albania, Valona (or Vlorë, as the Albanians call it), it wants Scutari (or Shkodër, as the Albanians call it). No one seems to be asking Albanians what they think. No one ever does.

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Monday, March 09, 2020

Today -100: March 9, 1920: Does any one really want to see the old game played again?

The West Virginia State Senate is evenly divided on the federal women’s suffrage Amendment, which the lower house has already passed. The suffrage side are trying to get Sen. Bloch (this article has his first name as William, a later one says Jesse) back from California, hiring a plane to take him the Chicago-to-Cincinnati leg of the trip. Assuming they can get him on a plane.

Pres. Wilson (or whoever) writes to Sen. Hitchcock, rejecting any and all reservations to the Peace Treaty – “I hear of reservationists and mild reservationists, but I cannot understand the difference between a nullifier and a mild nullifier.” He declares Article X (mutual self-defense and renunciation of war) “the essence of Americanism.” “The reservation proposed would perpetuate the old order. Does any one really want to see the old game played again?”

The Supreme Court rules that stock dividends are capital, not income, and therefore not subject to the income tax. The stock market tanks on the news after Dow-Jones and other news agencies initially report the exact opposite.

Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg announces that he is running for president of Germany. His supporters are claiming his is a non-partisan candidacy and are trying to convince voters that he would uphold the Republic (naturally he privately got permission to run from former kaiser Wilhelm).

Wilhelm’s cousin, Prince Joachim Albrecht, has taken to going around Berlin restaurants and paying the orchestra to strike up Deutschland Uber Alles. After doing so at the Hotel Adlon, he led an attack on two out-of-uniform French officers who failed to stand. When German patrons tried to stop him, telling him to at least remember that Germany lost the war, he insisted, “No! We won it.” His arrest has been ordered by the minister of defense.

Headline of the Day -100: 

“Her inhabitants do not promenade or saunter; they walk straight ahead with preoccupied, downward gaze and with definite if unhasty footsteps.”

Cardinal O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston, attacks “false feminism”: “The women are becoming masculine, if you please, and the men are becoming effeminate. This is disorder.”

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Sunday, March 08, 2020

Today -100: March 8, 1920: Of home rules, you sunk my battleship, train robberies, and love

Sir Edward Carson, Ulster Unionist leader and treasonist, urges acceptance of Lloyd George’s Home Rule Bill, because it’s better than the alternative of the 1914 Home Rule Act coming into effect.

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and the Senate Navy Sub-Committee are squabbling over whether awards should be given to officers whose ships were sunk.

The Allies are planning, or at least threatening, to occupy Constantinople to pressure Turkey to stop killing Armenians. They may also make the peace treaty terms harsher.

A band of Hungarians attempt to kidnap former dictator Béla Kun from his hospital bed in Austria. A watchman they bribed finks them out to the cops.

Pancho Villa is being blamed, maybe even correctly, for leading the robbery of a train in which 33 people (19 soldiers, 10 bandits, 4 civilians) are killed and others held for ransom.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Whereupon the Young Men's Bible Class to which John D. Jr. addressed these words beat him to death, I assume.

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Saturday, March 07, 2020

Today -100: March 7, 1920: Of hoovers, borders, Magyars, overstuffed chickens, and America’s Sweetheart

Herbert Hoover informs California Democrats that he is not a candidate for president, and please don’t put his name on the ballot.

Poland says it will only negotiate with Russia on the basis of the 1772 borders. Poland’s army is currently occupying parts of Russia well beyond the borders drawn by the Peace Conference along more or less ethnographic lines (that is, the Polish state should contain Poles and not too many Russians). The Allies tell Poland to knock it off.

The Czech Ministry of Education bans the word “Hungary.” It should henceforth be known as Magyar or Magyar Land (the case being that the old multi-ethnic Hungary is gone, replaced by a smaller mono-ethnic state).

Headline of the Day -100:

Also sand, wheat, and gravel. Legally they’re only allowed one ounce.

Hollywood Headline of the Day -100:

Well, not this month week anyway.

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Friday, March 06, 2020

Today -100: March 6, 1920: I didn’t know Prussia had a pre-nup

The German Reichstag is considering reimbursing the Hohenzollerns for their nationalized property. The Socialists think they should only be compensated for what they brought into Brandenburg-Prussia in 1415.

Chief Secretary for Ireland Ian Macpherson defends government repression in Ireland, saying Sinn Féin has at least 200,000 men prepared to commit murder at any time.

NYC Assistant District Attorney James Smith claims to have a list of 500 apartments in Manhattan used by women for immoral purposes. Mayor Hylan asks for a copy of the list for, ah, reasons.

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Thursday, March 05, 2020

Today -100: March 5, 1920: Of reservations and prohibitions

Senators trying to negotiate a compromise on Sen. Lodge’s reservations to Article X of the Peace Treaty send Sen. Carter Glass (until last month the Treasury Secretary) to the White House to ask Pres. Wilson for his views. He is turned away.

The House of Representatives rejects a motion to repeal the Volstead Act, 254-85 and a measure to kill the $4.5 million appropriation to enforce Prohibition.

The state of New Jersey files suit in the Supreme Court to have the 18th Amendment declared null and void. It argues that since Congress has no power under the Constitution to regulate morals, no Amendment can amend powers it does not have. NJ further argues that the Volstead Act to enforce this Amendment is void for that reason and for interfering with internal state matters, etc.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Today -100: March 4, 1920: Of women’s suffrage, newspapers, and America’s Sweetheart

The West Virginia State Senate defeats ratification of the women’s suffrage Amendment, 15-13, after the House of Delegates votes 47-40 in favor.

There’s a bill in the Senate to remove foreign-language newspapers’ second-class mail privileges.

Mary Pickford divorces Owen Moore in Reno. She had to pay him off to the tune of $100,000.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Today -100: March 3, 1920: Of shadows, false teeth, and simpletons

Headline of the Day -100: 

The proposed peace treaty will reduce Turkey’s population from 30 million to 6 million and practically eliminate its navy. The Allies might not be feeling too generous towards Turkey thanks to reports that it’s resumed massacring Armenians.

Schleswig-Holstein declares independence, which I’m pretty sure isn’t what was supposed to happen when the provinces separated from Prussia/Germany.

False teeth makers in NYC go on strike.

Headline of the Day -100:  

‘S a horse.

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Monday, March 02, 2020

Today -100: March 2, 1920: Of anti-saloonery, Jewish wine, palmers, and trusts

The West Virginia State Senate rejects the women’s suffrage Amendment, although it may be brought up again.

The New York State Assembly votes to investigate the political spending of the Anti-Saloon League.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George is asked in Parliament whether he’d appoint women as diplomats. No.

The government will allow Jewish families 15 gallons of wine per year for religious purposes.

Senators now all agree that the Peace Treaty can’t pass.

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer announces he is running for president. He says the people of Georgia, where he is being put on the ballot, should have a chance to vote on the Wilson Administration’s policies. So he’s running as a Wilsonian, which everyone assumes means Wilson isn’t running for a 3rd time and D’s who’ve been holding back can now enter the race.

The Supreme Court rules that US Steel is not an illegal trust, even though it obviously is. The majority cite the disorderly effects that would arise from dissolving the company as a reason to ignore the law.

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Sunday, March 01, 2020

Today -100: March 1, 1920: Everyone seems to be afraid of everyone

Secretary of the Interior Franklin Lane resigns because he is broke (and possibly for reasons of health). He writes to Wilson about the state of Washington DC: “it is poorly organized for the task that belongs to it. ... Everyone seems to be afraid of everyone. The self-protective sense is developed abnormally, the creative sense atrophies. ... there are too few in the Government whose business it is to plan. Every man is held to details, to the narrower view which comes too often to be the department view or some sort of parochial view.” He thinks helium will be very important in the future. He wants to stop the “drift to the cities,” in part by giving former soldiers farms; “The life of the great city is feverish and wars with that severity of spirit in which calm judgments are come at”.

A sheriff’s posse that invaded Mexico from Arizona looking for two Mexican bandits who killed a man and wounded his brother in Arivaca, AZ after robbing their store, returns after failing to find anyone.

Italy imposes an “iron blockade” of Fiume. Poet-Aviator Gabriele d’Annunzio orders Croats and other “foreigners” who are “pernicious by their presence for the proper defence of the city” deported. Also socialists.

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Today -100: February 29, 1920: Of treaties, women’s suffrage, arks, trapehooters, and anthills

Woodrow Wilson stomps on a move by some Democratic senators to accept the Lodge reservations to the peace treaty. He says if the reservations are attached, he will refuse to deposit the treaty. Can a president veto a ratified treaty? Or do amendments turn it into a different treaty?

Everyone in Ireland hates hates hates Lloyd George’s Home Rule Bill.

Oklahoma ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment, following a squabble over whether there should be a referendum. 33 down, 3 to go.

The Japanese government, afraid the Diet will vote to expand the franchise, asks the emperor to dissolve it. He does so.

Pres. Wilson ignores demands from railroad and other unions that he veto the bill returning railroad lines to private ownership. They particularly object to a board to establish wages which would have representatives of the companies, the workers, and the general public. The unions think the latter will side with the owners; Wilson says people hostile to labor shouldn’t be appointed. That’s totally reassuring, I’m sure.

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer says there will soon be more Soviet Arks carrying deportees to Russia. He alternates, in a speech to the Women’s Democratic Political League, between saying that there is absolutely no threat from Red Radicals, and that the situation is very serious indeed. He claims that thousands of propagandists had been sent to the US by the Soviets to teach the doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat “in a land that had no proletariat.” He insists that the bomb thrown at his house was not aimed at him, but was an attempt to destroy the US government, presumably because he thinks no one could possibly have anything against him personally.

Columbia University European history professor Charles Downer Hazen has a long book review of John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace, which was published in December, but whose US edition is just out, I believe. The review is a bit of a hazen, calling it “a very angry book.”

Thanks to a misspelling in the NYT Index, I’ve just  spent way too much time trying to figure out what a trapehooter might be. Someone who hoots trapes, presumably.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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