Sunday, April 30, 2017

Today -100: April 30, 1917: Of non-neutrals, offensives, commissions, and processions

Police in Berlin ordered American citizens to report to police stations every day, not leave the city without permission, and to observe a curfew. But the Foreign Office says Americans are being treated as non-neutrals rather than as enemies because Germany hasn’t recognized the American declaration of war. I didn’t know you could just do that.

Robert Nivelle didn’t last very long as commander-in-chief of the French Army. Following the failure of the Nivelle Offensive, he is replaced by Philippe Pétain, or rather he is left in his post but Pétain is given the newly re-created post of chief of staff so the power can be shifted to him without the government having to admit that Nivelle’s appointment was a mistake. The offensive will be abandoned in a week or so.

Following the British commission’s visit to the US last week, there’s a French one this week, headed by former prime minister René Viviani and Marshal Joseph Joffre, who says he’d like to see US troops sent to the front sooner than the US plans, one unit at a time as they become ready.

Austrian socialists and unions will hold a general strike on May Day.

Carrie Chapman Catt of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association writes to chambers of commerce throughout the US urging that women who replace men at work during the war be paid equal wages. SPOILER ALERT: they won’t be.

In Petrograd, an anti-pacifist, anti-Lenin procession consisting of wounded soldiers (suggesting that they are acting under orders) is addressed by US Ambassador David Francis, who says Americans were thrilled at news of the Russian Revolution. He also rejects Lenin’s idea of a separate peace.

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