Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Today -100: January 17, 1918: Of idle Mondays, Armenias, and assassination attempts

Fuel Administrator Harry Augustus Garfield responds to the coal shortage (really more a distribution problem than a supply problem) by ordering non-essential industries east of the Mississippi to close for 5 days and then for every one of the following 10 Mondays. No one is happy about this. Some congresscritters are wondering from where Garfield thinks the legal authority for this order derives. Garfield, who is the son of Pres. James Garfield and president of Williams College but is basically unknown, issued this far-reaching order with no advance notice.

It’s not just factories either, and Broadway theatres are pissed off, as, presumably, are the people whose jobs will be shut down on Monday but won’t be able to take advantage of the day off.

The Hungarian Cabinet resigns after Emperor Charles refuses their request for a separate Hungarian army.

Russia supports a free Armenia, including territory now held by both Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

A break (or even a coup) between German military and political leaders is averted, reports say, by a compromise in which there will be no annexations in the east that might screw up a peace with Russia but Hindenburg retains full authority to grab whatever land he wants in the West. Provided he wins the war, of course.

Someone shoots at Lenin’s car in Petrograd, breaking the windshield.

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