Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today -100: August 28, 1914: Of bombs & birthdays, titles, royal orphans, zeppelin plots, and getting the shaft

King George of England writes to Albert, King of the Belgians: “I am shocked to hear of the dangers you have run from the throwing of bombs.  I hope that the Queen and the children have not suffered.”  Well, they have had to cancel the usual public celebrations of Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday this week and ban street music, so suffer she most certain has.

Kaiser Wilhelm renounces his British titles (field marshal in the British army, admiral in the Royal Navy).

The “royal orphans,” the children of the late Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, have been sent to Switzerland for the remainder of the war.  After the war they were barred from their ancestral home on their mother’s side, now Czechoslovakia, and their lands confiscated (their descendants are still trying to get their castle back), so they went to Vienna.  The two brothers were put in Dachau after Anschluss, but both survived.  Duke Maximilian was elected mayor of Artstetten after World War II.

The Yorkville (NY) Record prints a letter that explains that the Germans once kidnapped King George of Great Britain with a zeppelin and released him only after a, how you say, king’s ransom was paid – you didn’t hear about it because the British government covered it up out of embarrassment – and can do so again ANY TIME THEY WANT.

The Bull Moose party’s NY state committee decisively rejects impeached former governor William Sulzer’s application to be their gubernatorial candidate (although they can’t stop him running in their primary).  The committee selects a slate of candidates for the upcoming NY constitution convention that includes one negro, James C. Thomas, Jr., and one woman, Katherine Davis, the commissioner of corrections.

Woodrow Wilson vetoes his first bill, one to reinstate a captain in the army medical corps who was honorably discharged.

17 British suffragettes are arrested attempting to see the home secretary to talk about forcible feeding.

The new French cabinet, full of heavy-hitters including no less than three former prime ministers, orders Paris readied for a possible siege.

Unlikely Headline of the Day -100:  “Man Who Fell 24 Stories Still Alive.”  John Bosci fell down an elevator shaft in the Park Row Building, which was the world’s tallest building until 1908 and therefore a prestigious location from which to fall a great distance, as the anarchist Andrea Salsedo must have thought when the police shoved him out one of the building’s windows in 1920.

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  1. With my pedantically semantic hat on, Kaiser W didn't renounce titles, he resigned. For us Brits, a title is, for example, Duke, Lord, Sir, whereas Field Marshal and Admiral of the Fleet are ranks.

    Interesting (maybe) factoid; officers of those ranks (and the RAF equivalent)are considered always to be on the active list, they can never retire.

  2. OK re ranks/titles, although I'd think of a position in the military that required no actual military work ever to be a title.

    However, I'll stick with renounce over resign, since I don't believe he actually sent in a letter of resignation. "Resign" to me has an element of direct communication; renounce is something you can do unilaterally.

  3. You're undoubtedly right that he didn't send a letter of resignation. Being a military matter, that would make him a deserter from his enemy's army and navy. Oh what a tangled web - though I don't suppose anyone cared.