Friday, September 08, 2017

Today -100: September 8, 1917: Where are our ideals to go when we have to bribe our men to fight the battle of liberty?

Sen. Thomas Hardwick (D-Georgia) is loudly attacked by several other senators as unpatriotic for supporting Bob La Follette’s proposal to give $50 a month extra to every soldier sent to France. The alliterative Knute Nelson (R-Minnesota): “Tax the rich so as to bribe our men to go France? Where are our ideals to go when we have to bribe our men to fight the battle of liberty?” Nelson, who volunteered to fight in the Civil War without ever asking what his pay would be, says we have to fight the Germans there or they’ll invade, “and then I should like to see the senator from Georgia at the head of a battalion of colored troops leading them down there.” Nelson calls offering soldiers extra money “humiliating, belittling legislation”. I would imagine most soldiers would quite like to be humiliated and belittled.

The government of Alexandre Ribot resigns. It was France’s fourth government of the war.

The Canadian Parliament is working on a bill to extend the vote for the duration of the war to female relatives of overseas soldiers. The Liberal opposition asks instead for proper women’s suffrage.

The Hoboken School Board removes German from the curriculum. It’s been mandatory in grammar schools there for the last 25 years, because more than half the students used to be German. Italians were probably never especially happy about that, but really don’t appreciate it now.

China now has a military government under Sun Yat Sen.

Karel Kramář, a member of the Austrian Imperial Council until he was sentenced to death in 1915 for supporting Czech independence but was recently amnestied by the new emperor, is elected to the Hungarian Parliament.

Secret Service agents and members of the American Protective League arrest 66 suspected IWW members in Cleveland.

Another issue of The B.E.F. Times, formerly the Wipers Times, appears, and it’s a rather alcohol-themed issue from the parody of Longfellow’s Excelsior (which I can never read without picturing Thurber’s illustrations):

The shades of night were falling fast,
When up the muddy C.T.* passed
A youth who bore, though looking glum,
A mighty gallon jar of rum.

* C.T. = communication trench.

to the letter in support of the Society for Providing Free Gin for Generals. “‘Jack’ and ‘Tommy’ have their rum provided by a benevolent government what about our generals? ‘Gin for Generals’ should be on everyone’s lips during the coming months.”

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