Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Today -100: January 1, 1914: Of eugenic marriages, divorces, colonies, and battleships

At the end of 1913, Wisconsin marriage license clerks were swamped by couples trying to beat the start of the new eugenic marriage law and avoid having to get medical approval (which may prove difficult to get since doctors are refusing to perform the exams for $3, the max the law allows them to charge, and other doctors point out that it is impossible for them to certify that people are VD-free).

And a new law in Nevada dissolves the divorce colony at Reno by requiring a one-year residence in the state before a divorce can be granted.

Bernard Shaw has a (possibly facetious, you can never be quite sure with GBS) plan to ensure peace in Europe: Britain should “politely announc[e] that war between France and Germany would be so inconvenient to England that England is prepared to pledge herself to defend either country if it is attacked by the other. If we are asked how we are to decide which is the real aggressor, we can reply that we shall take our choice, or even, when the problem is insoluble, toss up for it”.

Mexico extends the bank holiday another 15 days.

The British Foreign Office denies that the UK and Germany have come to a deal on dividing up Portugal’s colonies (and Portugal denies that they’re for sale).

British Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George “opens a peace campaign.” Actually, he’s pushing back against the demands of Winston Churchill (the First Lord of the Admiralty) for more expensive battleships, pointing out that 1) Britain and Germany are so friendly these days that there’s little chance of war, 2) European powers are focusing on enlarging their armies, so Germany won’t be challenging British naval supremacy any time soon.

Have a peaceful and prosperous and peaceful 1914, everyone!

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