Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Today -100: December 13, 1917: Of alien enemies, first shots, and rankins

There are a lot more citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire living in the United States than Germans, and many of them are essentially refugees from the oppressed minority nationalities of the Empire – Czechs, Slovenes, Poles, etc – so Wilson won’t make them register or restrict their movements like he did the Germans (males over 14 do have to get permission to leave the country). Also, the war would grind to a halt without  miners, steelworkers etc from the Dual Monarchy. Wilson’s proclamation on all this doesn’t even use the term “enemy aliens” (which the NYT mistakenly calls “alien enemies”).

The first American to shoot at Austria after the declaration of war is Rep. George Holden Tinkham (R-Massachusetts), who fires a shell into Gonfo. Since he’s not in the military, Tinkham committed a war crime punishable by execution. (Spoiler Alert: he will not be executed).

The House of Representatives gives the chairmanship of the new Committee on Woman Suffrage to John Raker (D-CA) rather than to the only, you know, woman in the House. Jeanette Rankin really wanted the job but wasn’t supported by her own Republican party. I know! Republicans being dicks to a woman.

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