Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Today -100: August 16, 1917: If ever there was a holy war...

The IWW threatens to call a general strike in Montana, Washington, Oregon and Idaho unless its demands are met: the release of IWW prisoners, no discrimination against IWWers or interference with IWW activities, a 10-hour day for harvest workers and better sanitary conditions.

Sen. Majority Whip J. Hamilton Lewis (D-Illinois) introduces a resolution for Congress to shut up about peace terms and leave it solely with Pres. Wilson to decide when it’s time to issue them. Sounds a bit like the Gag Rule of the 1830s, when Congress banned itself from receiving anti-slavery petitions.

Former Czar Nicholas and his family are removed from the palace they’ve been held prisoner in and sent to an unknown destination, presumably (and actually) Tobolsk in Siberia, the birthplace of Rasputin. He’s still got 50 servants.

Henry Ford, who financed the fiasco that was the Peace Ship, is no longer opposed to the war. He now favors “crushing militarism” by, um, military means. In unrelated news, Ford is now making airplane cylinders for the military.

Elihu Root, former US senator, former secretary of war, and former secretary of state, back from his trip to Russia, says that Americans who oppose the war should be shot at sunrise. Did I mention he has a Nobel Peace Prize?

The American Defense Society, consulting with the NYPD & the US District Attorney’s office, will work to stamp out street speeches it considers unpatriotic. Pres. Wilson will be asked to define treason (they’re hoping his definition will include simple speech acts), Mayor John Purroy Mitchel will be asked to require licenses for street meetings, and a Vigilantes committee will be formed. Theodore Roosevelt tells the Society that anyone who says treasonable things should be arrested, and at the Harvard Club he says “If ever there was a holy war, it is this war.” He rejects Wilson’s notion that we are fighting the German government and not the German people, until such time as the German people separate themselves from their government.

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