Monday, April 22, 2019

Today -100: April 22, 1919: Of Fiume and hearty welcomes


Germany is grumbling that it won’t sign the peace treaty without negotiations.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) says Germany has signed a treaty with Lenin’s government for the two countries to aid each other, Russia feeding Germany, Germany sending military instructors, etc. Obvious horseshit.

And the city of Vienna is taken back by the government. The communist takeover seems to have been premature, encouraged by Hungarian leader Béla Kun on his visit last week. Either that or the government is just blaming Hungarian “outside agitators.”

Things are coming to a head at the peace conference over Fiume, claimed by both Yugoslavia and Italy.  Fiume, a small town which only has an Italian majority if you don’t count the suburbs, is fast becoming a right-wing nationalist fetish object.

Italy would also like to absorb the Southern Tyrol. The Tyrolese National Council tells Woodrow Wilson that they want to be an independent country instead.

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Today -100: April 21, 1919: Of songs, ideal anarchists, and caged envoys


A bunch of soldiers and sailors invade a concert of the Master Bakers’ – bakers! bakers! bakers with a k! – Association in New York City and demand that German songs on the program be omitted, or else. The German songs are dropped.

The city of Vienna is taken over by soldiers’ councils.

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Self-described “Ideal anarchists” take over the Wittelsbach Palace, using the former king of Bavaria’s bed chambers as a council room and his bathroom as their anteroom. No word on what they use as a bathroom.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Today -100: April 20, 1919: Of sullen attitudes, frequent shootings of a casual nature, and moral fibre


India: “The people are reported to be maintaining a sullen attitude.” Possibly because the British keep shooting them.

Mobs of unemployed people set fire to the Austrian parliament buildings in Vienna. The fires are put out. “As the evening wore on, there were frequent shootings of a casual nature, but the city bore to a great extent its accustomed aspect of the night life which it has taken on during the last few weeks.”

It is now legal in the state of New York (subject to local regulations or bans) to show movies, play baseball (after 2 p.m.) or fish on Sundays. Gov. Al Smith, signing the legislation, says of watching baseball, “It is in no sense deteriorating to the moral fibre of the witness.”


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Friday, April 19, 2019

Today -100: April 19, 1919: Do not get the idea that we are lying awake nights, trying to do you an injustice


The India Office reports that on the 13th a mob in Amritsar ignored the ban on public meetings, there was some shooting and there were 200 casualties and I guess that’s all they have to say about that.

“Reds” try, but fail, to storm the Austrian Parliament building.

Ousted Bavarian PM Johannes Hoffmann calls for military intervention by the German federal government to retake Munich. They are on their way, bringing artillery. The communists in Munich are blocking roads and emplacing their own artillery in preparation for a siege.

Rep. Joseph Cannon, the former Speaker of the House, addresses – and by addresses I mean condescends to – Puerto Rico’s Insular Legislature, asking it “Why are you worrying about statehood and independence? You will get either or both just as soon as you are ready. Do not get the idea that we are lying awake nights, trying to do you an injustice.”

The French Black Sea Fleet stationed off Sevastopol mutinies, the sailors insisting that no war against Russia had been declared and they should have been demobilized by now, since the actual war was over, and the food sucks.  After a few days, the French Navy will agree to their demands and the warships are withdrawn.

Now Playing:


About some misguided lefties who buy an island and establish a socialist utopia.


The utopia degenerates into a dictatorship and yadda yadda yadda. The film is based on a novel by Thomas Dixon, whose novels were also the basis for Birth of a Nation. Watch it... if you dare!



Secretary of Labor William Wilson is outraged by the advice in Moving Picture World to distributors that they advertise “Bolshevism on Trial” by such stunts as “put up red flags about town and hire soldiers to tear them down if necessary”.


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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Today -100: April 18, 1919: Of censorship and ufas


The US Navy has stopped censoring cables to parts of Europe and Latin America and the Far East. Britain, which controls much of cable traffic, bans coded messages, which pisses off businesses which don’t want their secrets leaked.

Bolsheviks kill several hundred prisoners in Ufa.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Today -100: April 17, 1919: Belgium does not seek revenge


British Prime Minister Lloyd George returns from the peace talks to make a speech to Parliament challenging his enemies, i.e., the Northcliffe-owned newspapers. He insists on being left alone to negotiate peace, which is really really complicated (“Before I went to the Peace Conference, I had never heard of Teschen, but it very nearly produced an angry conflict between two allied states [Poland & Czechoslovakia]”), without any more obnoxious telegrams from Parliament. He reassures MPs that he’s not planning military intervention in Russia - “a volcano which is still in furious eruption.” Actually, he spends quite a while justifying non-intervention, mostly on the grounds that it won’t work anyway because you know what those Russians are like.

The French parliament votes 334-166 to allow the government to continue to leave it in the dark about what’s going on at the peace talks.

The India Office says that “all is quiet at Amritsar, Lahore, and Bombay.” How long are they going to pretend that the Amritsar Massacre didn’t happen? The stacks of corpses should be kind of a giveaway.

The Iowa Legislature ignores the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation to impeach Gov. William Harding for soliciting a $5,000 bribe in return for pardoning a convicted rapist, instead censuring him.

If you’re wondering what happened to the race to be the first to cross the Atlantic by air: bad weather. Everybody’s just sitting around, waiting for it to clear up.

New Zealand’s prohibition referendum was initially announced as having passed, but it loses once the votes of soldiers abroad are counted.

The Big Four had got it into their heads that the former kaiser should be tried by Belgium. Belgium says no. “Belgium does not seek revenge,” they say, “It wants only justice.”

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How will that man from Nantucket cope?


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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Today -100: April 16, 1919: Of riots, commissioners, and communization of women


An article entitled “India Riots Widespread,” which blames the passive resistance movement because of course it does, refers in passing to “a few casualties at Amritsar”.

Mrs. F.H. Wilder, a women’s suffrage and temperance activist, is elected commissioner of police in Fargo.

Munich is again captured by the communists, according to a source who also says they ordered the communization of all women, including wives, so take that for what it’s worth. Oh, and Bavarian Soviet Republic Foreign Minister Franz Lipp has been put in a lunatic asylum (again), supposedly.

I have found an its/it’s error in the New York Times.


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Monday, April 15, 2019

Today -100: April 15, 1919: Of hunger strikers, red orgies, race riots, and five and dimes


Britain releases 89 hunger-striking Irish political prisoners, most of whom were unconvicted, either awaiting trial by court-martial or interned without trial under the Defence of the Realm Act. They were originally supposed to be released temporarily so they could see doctors and then return to prison after six weeks (under the Cat and Mouse Act passed in 1913 to deal with suffragette hunger-strikers), but they refused to promise to come back. Well, so did the suffragettes back in the day, for all the good that did them, but the Irish have the threat of a general strike behind them, so they’re released unconditionally.

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There’s a race riot in Millen, Georgia. A couple of cops and 5 blacks killed, one of them taken from the jail and lynched, black churches burned, etc. No explanation for the events is given in the article.

F.W. Woolworth, the five-and-dime man, died last week. He died unexpectedly and before he could sign a new will, so under a 30-year-old will his millions will go to his “demented” wife.


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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Today -100: April 14, 1919: Of crimes against humanity, red rules, wine, and pension protests


Turkey executes Kemal Bey, the governor of Diarbekr, by public hanging for his role in the Armenian Genocide, making him the first person executed for crimes against humanity.

Armenians are being killed by mobs in Cairo and Alexandria, for some reason. Armenians are killed, Egyptians are shot by British troops, British troops are killed, rinse and repeat.

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Harsh but not entirely unfair. But the Bavarian Soviet Republic really doomed itself when it ordered all cafés to close at 6 pm, an order soon rescinded after popular outrage.

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A Franco-American League for the Protection of Individual Liberty will be formed to fight prohibition, because wine.

Gustav Neuring, Saxony’s war minister, is killed by a mob of veterans outraged over proposed cuts to their pensions. They storm the ministry in Dresden, drag Neuring out, throw him in the Elbe, and shoot him as he tries to get out. The government claims, as was the custom, that Russian agents were behind the incident.


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