Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Today -100: January 3, 1918: Of peace talks, trusts, plots, and translations

The Russo-German peace negotiations are not going well. Germany is claiming that Poland, Lithuania, Courland and parts of Estonia and Livonia have all declared their desire to be free of Russia, and Germany accordingly recognizes them and won’t withdraw troops from them because they’re no longer Russia (Germany is clearly planning to annex them). Trotsky notes that since those areas are under German occupation they can hardly have expressed themselves freely. Since Ukraine has said it won’t be bound by negotiations to which it is not party, Germany wants to retain its troops in strategic points, including Riga. Russia has demanded that Germany release imprisoned German socialists, which Germany says is an internal matter.

Attorney General Thomas Gregory asks the Supreme Court to defer hearings on 7 anti-trust cases (including suits against US Steel, Eastman Kodak, and Quaker Oats) because of the war.

Albert Kaltschmidt, on his way to Leavenworth for plotting (before the US entered the war) to blow up munitions plants and the like in the US and Canada, says “Germany will bring the United States to its knees, which would all have been prevented had not German-Americans been inefficient, stupid, white-feathered, and cowardly” and not defeated Wilson in 1916. For example, he says, he organized a Bund in Detroit ostensibly to raise funds for widows and orphans of German soldiers but really to propagandize against the US entering the war, and those stupid literal-minded Germans insisted the money go to widows and orphans of German soldiers.

The editor of the St. Paul Die Freie Presse is arrested for giving the government inaccurate translations of articles in his paper, such as ones praising the Austrian offensive in Italy.

In The Tribunal, the newspaper of the (British) No-Conscription Fellowship, Bertrand Russell writes that if the Allies refuse Germany’s peace offer, it will “make it clear to all that they are continuing the war for purposes of territorial aggrandisement.” Further warfare will lead to mass starvation. “The American Garrison which will by that time be occupying England and France, whether or not they will prove efficient against the Germans, will no doubt be capable of intimidating strikers, an occupation to which the American Army is accustomed when at home.” For criticizing an ally, Russell will be sentenced to 6 months in prison.

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