Thursday, December 17, 2015

Today -100: December 17, 1915: Of credible commanders, big navies, raids, war taxes, and Uncle Toms

Austria responds to the US note on the sinking of the Ancona by its u-boat with a request for more information, and asks for the names of those witnesses “to whom [the US] apparently believes it may attribute a higher degree of credibility than to the [u-boat] commander of the Imperial and Royal Fleet.”

Adm. George Dewey, famed of the Spanish-American War and evidently still employed by the Navy at 77, warns that the US needs a really big navy to prevent an invasion. An invasion by whom, he does not say.

The Pankhursts’ newspaper Britannia (formerly The Suffragette) is raided by police, presumably because of last week’s attack on the foreign secretary (front page headline: Sir Edward Grey plays the German Game!).

The House of Representatives extends the war taxes (passed to make up for lost revenue due to the war-related decline in foreign commerce) another year.

Hungarian opposition leader Count Károlyi demands that the government – the Hungarian government, mind, not the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s – make peace proposals to the enemy, since Hungary has already achieved all its war aims. And in return for Hungarian soldiers having made Austrian successes possible, he wants a reward in the form of greater Hungarian independence. He accuses the government of hiding its many mistakes in its conduct of the war through censorship. Not surprisingly, this speech too is banned from the newspapers.

Daniel Worcester, the actor who first played Harriet Beecher Stowe’s character Uncle Tom on stage in 1851, dies. Was he a white man wearing blackface? The obit doesn’t say, but I’m going to guess that he was.

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