Thursday, February 11, 2016

Today -100: February 11, 1916: Of garrisons, eras of infinite prosperity, new frightfulness, and bad soup

Secretary of War Lindley Garrison resigns. He is upset that Pres. Wilson backed away from the plan for a “Continental Army” after it proved to be deeply unpopular amongst the general public and Congress, which didn’t want the state national guards superseded. Garrison also opposes Filipino independence, which Wilson supports. Assistant Secretary of War Henry Breckinridge (who is only 29, although he has the name of a 59-year-old) also resigns, out of loyalty to Garrison.

Woodrow Wilson tells a Chamber of Commerce dinner that if the US can keep out of the war, “an era of infinite prosperity is ahead of us.” His speech makes no mention of Garrison’s resignation.

Germany and Austria will announce that starting March 1st any merchant ships armed with guns will be treated as hostile and sunk without warning. Or, as the Daily Mail (London) puts it, “New U-Boat Murder Campaign to Start March 1.” Other British papers report “New Plea for Piracy” (The Times) and “Germany Prepares World for New Frightfulness” (the Express).

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: A Canadian doctor claims to have seen a German u-boat, caught in British nets, whose crew had all been shot in the head by the sub’s commander, who had then killed himself, and that the same thing happened in 3 other captured subs.

At Senate sub-committee hearings on the Louis Brandeis nomination of to the Supreme Court, C.W. Barron of the Wall Street Journal accuses Brandeis of various acts of professional malfeasance, including “procur[ing] the signature of an old and dying man to a deed of trust by questionable means.” He also accuses him of having tried to wreck the New York & England Railroad and of switching sides on cases (which is one way to interpret Brandeis’s insistence on following his conscience as a lawyer, usually refusing to take fees on public interest cases so that he could do so).

150 guests at a banquet in honor of George Mundelein, the new archbishop of Chicago, are taken ill. More will be heard of this.

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