Sunday, September 03, 2017

Today -100: September 3, 1917: A prince, a general, and a bishop walk into a bar...

A monarchist counter-revolutionary coup plot is uncovered in Russia. Many arrests are made. The government says, seemingly as a non sequitur, that it has no intention of replacing Gen. Lavr Kornilov as Commander in Chief of the Russian armies, giving no hint (perhaps it wasn’t clear to them yet?) that the plot is Kornilov’s. He was evidently attempting to march on Petersburg and put himself in charge, although it didn’t get far enough for his plans to become clear.

Germany replaces the Polish State Council, which just resigned, with a regency consisting of a prince, a general, and a bishop.

The People’s Council of America for Democracy and Peace hold a public meeting in Chicago after all, after being dispersed by police acting under Gov. Frank Lowden’s orders yesterday. This time, they’re under the protection of  Chicago police by order of Mayor Big Bill Thompson, who seems to have even arranged a venue for them. Gov. Lowden sends militia from Springfield to break it up, but they arrive too late. Thompson is now being threatened with prosecution and impeachment (which is not actually a thing under Illinois law).

The conductor Arturo Toscanini gets a medal for keeping his military band playing during the Battle of Monte Santo. Not many First World War battles had musical accompaniment, but this one did. Toscanini wrote to his son, “We played in the Austrians’ faces, and we sang our national anthems.”

NYC policemen are “mildly excited” by rumors that they may soon be required to wear wristwatches. One patrolman says that if ordered to wear one, will do so above the elbow, while others will probably strap them to the small of their back (which is evidently a thing), “but as I understand it that practice is not followed in good society.”

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  1. Apparently wrist watches were considered a gay thing at that time. The military forced the officers to wear them because of the need to coordinate attacks.

    There is a scene in "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" by Katherine Anne Porter that refers to that.

  2. The gay thing is new to me; presumably a secret signal, though a rather expensive one. Before WW1, they were definitely more of a girl thing, pocket watches requiring, you know, pockets. Pocket watches, of course, were inconvenient when carrying a rifle, so wrist watches were widely used for the first time during the war, and it stuck. I suspect there was some element of innovation as well, wrist watches having been generally less accurate and more subject to stopping due to shock, than pocket watches.

  3. Not too secret, since the scene in the book involves 2 actors on stage making "sissy" jokes about them.