Sunday, September 30, 2018

Today -100: September 30, 1918: Of armistices, shotguns, and Spanish Flu

German troops are pulling out of Romania. And going to “reinforce” Bulgaria where they plan to march right through Sofia so that the Bulgarians can all see how much reinforcing the Germans are doing and they certainly wouldn’t want to try to pull out of the war now that there are all these German soldiers reinforcing them in their capital, would they?

Bulgarian delegates (a general, the finance minister, and a former cabinet minister) arrive in Saloniki to discuss an armistice.

Germany complains to the US about its soldiers’ use of shotguns, which it says are illegal under the Hague Convention of 1899 (which the US denies applies to repeating shotguns). It’s threatening to execute soldiers captured with shotguns. The US says, Yeah, well we’ll execute your guys right back.

The US Dept of War stops NY from sending people to Europe to collect ballots from the 200,000 New Yorkers serving in the military there. Republicans say those soldiers would certainly all have voted Republican; the Dems say nuh ah.

Massachusetts is up to 85,000+ sick with Spanish Flu. And 1,226 dead so far. The Boston Elevated Railway Company discontinues all smoking cars for the duration.

This BBC doc on the Spanish Flu that aired this week is nothing mind-blowing, but worth watching.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Today -100: September 29, 1918: Potatoes are ok

German Chancellor Count Georg von Hertling resigns.

Suffragists have failed to get 2/3 of senators to support the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as Christie Benet (D-SC), who was just appointed to replace the late Pitchfork Ben Tillman, says he won’t vote for it. Antis may have been pulling a fast one on the suffragists regarding Benet, making them think they had 2/3 so they’d push for a vote and lose.

At a war bonds talk, Theodore Roosevelt calls for draft registration to continue after the war and to include women, “for the purposes of peace no less than for the purposes of war.” He’s rather unclear about what the training for women would consist of during peacetime. Only those who so serve should have the vote, he says. He says we must stop all profiteering by capitalists and all slacking and loafing. And if you didn’t think he would suggest super-tough measures against profiteering by capitalists, you’d be wrong: “any man who makes a fortune out of this war ought to be held up to derision and scorn.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

No it doesn’t.

The Senate passes a resolution to create a $1 million emergency fund to fight the Spanish Flu.

Speaking at the dedication of the Altar of Liberty in Madison Square,

Vice President Thomas Marshall apologizes to America for having supported neutrality for the first 2½ years of the war. America responded, “Oh, did you? We weren’t paying attention. To be honest, we’d forgotten all about you.”

The troop ship Leviathan leaves Hoboken, despite the fact that hundreds of its soldiers are already sick with Spanish Flu (Woodrow Wilson at some point explicitly decided that the certainty of spreading infection through Europe was worth it). At least 80 will die onboard before it reaches Brest on October 8, at least 100 will die soon afterwards, and some of the rest will spread the flu to other troops. The numbers are approximate because no one’s bothering to count.

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Today -100: September 28, 1918: A people’s war

Woodrow Wilson makes a speech at the Met for the 4th Liberty Loan bond drive. The war, he says, “has become a people’s war.” Democracy blah blah League of Nations yadda yadda.

Philadelphia will have a big parade today to promote the Liberty Loan, followed by a John Philip Sousa concert. Thousands will catch the Spanish Flu as a result. Here’s an article about it.

Bulgaria asks for an armistice. Germany claims PM Aleksandar Malinov made this plea without asking the cabinet or King Ferdinand, so he should immediately be put on trial for high treason.

The War Dept wants colleges under contract with it to run military training courses not to allow the men on those courses to join fraternities which are just, like, distracting.

A couple of boys in Jersey City spot two men digging a hole under a railway trestle and fetch the cops, thus obviously foiling another dastardly German plot.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Today -100: September 27, 1918: Of the timidity of white men, reigns of terror, leaflets, and Spanish Flu

Allied troops (British, Greek) have pushed into Bulgaria.

Pro-suffrage senators filibuster the Susan B. Anthony women’s suffrage Amendment because they are still short of the 2/3 votes required. Sen. John Sharp Williams (D-Miss.), the former House minority leader, offers an amendment to change the word “citizens” to “white citizens.” Mississippi’s other racist senator, James Vardaman, supports this, criticizing the “timidity of white men of the South to make a political issue of the negro question in suffrage.”  Joseph S. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) objects to the vote being given to immigrant women naturalized through marriage.

of the Day -100: 

Um... good?

An Austrian military order says any captured Allied pilot who dropped leaflets is subject to the death penalty. Evidently dropping leaflets is worse than dropping bombs. (I have my doubts about this story).

The NYC Department of Health says the Spanish Flu is actually an epidemic of pneumonia and they have no idea what the connection between the two is (also, they’re saying influenza is passed by germs, because they don’t really know what a virus is yet or that it’s not the same thing as bacteria). The Dept says the rapid spread of the flu is “nothing alarming” but suggests people stop crowding each other on subways and whatnot.

Boston had 156 Spanish Flu/pneumonia deaths yesterday. Theatres, dance halls etc are ordered closed, as are schools and churches in many Massachusetts towns. Lt. Gov. Calvin Coolidge appeals for aid to Pres. Wilson, the governors of Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island, and the mayor of Toronto.

So many army training camps have flu outbreaks that next month’s draftees won’t be sent to them until it’s run its course.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Today -100: September 26, 1918: Of strikes, fords, flu and Stonehenge

Headline of the Day -100: 

That’s J.H. Thomas, the Labour MP for Derby and general secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen, pictured below:

Henry Ford, the car guy and Democratic candidate for US Senate in Michigan, sends a letter to the state Democratic convention to tell them they’re not the boss of him and he won’t be bound by any decisions they come to. He also says he doesn’t plan to spend any of his own money on this election.

Brazil more or less declares war on Austria.

The Spanish Flu is now present in 26 of the 48 states. It is epidemic in New England and present but not yet epidemic on the West Coast. There are a few scattered cases in fly-over country.

The owner of Stonehenge, one C.H.E. Chubb, donates it to the nation.

Crown Prince Carol of Romania is being held in close confinement for 75 days for sneaking out of the country to get married. King Ferdinand is not happy with him.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Today -100: September 25, 1918: Of Whites, flu, and lynchings

A conference is being held at Ufa in Bashkortostan, Russia, to form a single, unified anti-Bolshevik shadow government for Russia.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Another 150 cases of Spanish Flu reported in NY City yesterday, including 47 newly arrived immigrants, but Health Commissioner Royal Copeland isn’t alarmed.

There haven’t been a lot of lynchings lately, at least none that are reported in the NYT. But a 17-year-old black man, Sandy Reeves, is hanged by a mob in Georgia after allegedly assaulting a 3-year-old girl.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Today -100: September 24, 1918: Of prohibition, handkerchiefs, and dead czars

The war is going badly for all the Central Powers. Bulgarian forces are being badly beaten in Macedonia and Gen. Edmund Allenby is capturing huge numbers of Turkish troops in Palestine. Even the Italians are winning battles now. Constantinople is bombed.

The House votes 171-34 to introduce prohibition from June 1919 until the end of the war.

The NY Board of Health posts 10,000 placards in subways, movie theatres etc about influenza: “sneeze, cough, or expectorate, (if you must) in your handkerchief. You are in no danger if every one heeds this warning.”

Russian White soldiers dig up and hold a little ceremony for what they claim are the remains of Czar Nicholas II, but which are not.

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Today -100: September 23, 1918: Of hard Germans and crown princes

Headline of the Day -100:

The NYT reports, and then instantly casts doubt on, rumors that Crown Prince Carol of Romania has married, rumors which have presumably been spread by Germany to discredit the deeply divided Romanian royal family. As it happens, it is true that he married “Zizi” Lambrino, daughter of a Romanian general. They both snuck into Odessa to do it before his family caught on, which makes him technically a deserter, but hey he’s the crown prince. The Supreme Court will decide next year that the marriage is unconstitutional, and annul it, which the couple will disregard, producing a child 9 months and 10 days after the annulment. The marriage will peter out and he’ll marry a Greek princess and that won’t work out either. Oh, and a court in 1996 will rule that the annulment was invalid, which would make Carol’s next two marriages bigamous and King Michael a bastard.

In other crown prince news, German POWs pass on a rumor that a Bavarian Crown Prince Rupprecht tried to shoot Hindenburg but missed.

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Today -100: September 22, 1918: All civilized nations should register their abhorrence of such barbarism

The US sends a note to Allied and neutral governments asking them to condemn the killings in Russia. The ones by the Bolshevik government, which it calls “mass terrorism,” not the ones by the Whites. “[A]ll civilized nations should register their abhorrence of such barbarism,” it says. It asks the nations whether they’re interested in taking “some immediate” but unspecified “action, which is entirely divorced from the atmosphere of belligerency and the conduct of the war, to impress upon the perpetrators of these crimes the aversion with which civilization regards their present wanton acts.” The US in taking this initiative is “acting... solely in the interests of the Russian people themselves”.

Supposedly, there is an assassination attempt on Trotsky. By a soldier in Kursk.

The documents that the NYT has been printing “proving” that the Bolsheviks were in the pay of Germany and following its orders have been called forgeries by Santeri Nuorteva of the Finnish Information Bureau, who says that some of them had been given to the Kerensky government last year at the time it was actively trying to prosecute Bolsheviks but even it wouldn’t use such obvious forgeries. George Creel of the Committee on Public Information responds, “The documents are absolutely authentic, and when a Bolshevik makes an unsupported attack against them, it’s hardly worth bothering about.”

Another day, another article on how the Spanish Flu isn’t really that dangerous.

A letter to the NYT from the father of a soldier objects to the term "doughboy," which "is surely undignified, as it seems to imply that our troops are either half-baked or not baked at all and is also unpatriotic."

Now playing: "Laughing Bill Hyde," Will Rogers’s first movie. A lost film, I believe.

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Today -100: September 21, 1918: Frederick the Great, we hardly knew ye

NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland asks clergymen to give information about Spanish Flu this Sunday. What to do if you have it, how not to spread/catch it, etc.

Germany has been melting down bronze statues to make ammunition but excluded those of the ruling Hohenzollern family. Popular uproar is now forcing them to melt those as well.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Today -100: September 20, 1918: Readiness for peace is not in contradiction to the spirit with which we are waging the struggle for the homeland

Austrian Foreign Minister Baron Burian says that his note to belligerents calling for closed-door talks on peace was indeed approved by Germany, and it was considered for weeks and so it was certainly not a panicked response to recent military setbacks, how could you suggest such a thing? And Field Marshal von Hindenburg tells the German army that the proposal doesn’t mean they can slack off: “Readiness for peace is not in contradiction to the spirit with which we are waging the struggle for the homeland.” German planes drop leaflets containing the proposal on the Western Front.

Today in forged anti-Soviet documents: Germany ordered Russia to withdraw the Red Guards from Finland so it could be taken over; the Soviets recruited notorious anarchists to assassinate counter-revolutionaries.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt arrives back from Europe with Spanish Flu (contracted on the boat) and double pneumonia. He’s met at the dock by an ambulance and taken to his mother’s house. And then Eleanor unpacks his bags and finds a bundle of letters from Lucy Mercer...

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Today -100: September 19, 1918: Of Spanish Flu and u-boats: That’s just science.

Lt. Col. Phillip Doane, the head of the Health and Sanitation Section of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, whatever that might be, thinks the Spanish Flu was probably brought to the US by German agents on u-boats.

I probably should have been linking to the daily disgorgement of forged anti-Soviet documents, but here’s today’s.

Former Russian Minister of War Vladimir Sukhomlinov is court-martialed and shot in the same day, the NYT reports. There’ll be a serves-him-right editorial in tomorrow’s paper. Sukhomlinov is not dead (or even in prison).

Sergei Prokofiev is in New York. I’m a little surprised the NYT has heard of the 27-year-old Russian composer.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Today -100: September 18, 1918: Of strikes and Spanish Flu

A few days ago Pres. Wilson sent a note to striking machinists in gun & ammo factories in Bridgeport, Connecticut telling them to get back to work, or else. They now vote to do so but their employers refuse to let them, so Wilson sends a letter to them which, while taking the same scolding tone as his letter to the strikers, does not threaten the factory owners with being drafted.

The NYC Board of Health now requires doctors to report all cases of influenza and pneumonia.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Today -100: September 17, 1918: Of peace talks, blackmail, Spanish flu, burning words, and ideal husbands

The US rejects Austria’s call for non-binding peace talks, saying everyone already knows the US’s position so there’s nothing to talk about. British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour calls it a cynical attempt to divide the Allies. German newspapers are all insisting that the Austrian feelers were made entirely on its own initiative. Presumably if there had been a positive response Germany would be taking the credit.

A janitor is arrested for attempting to blackmail J.P. Morgan Jr. and his daughters. He sent letters claiming to have infected them with a horrid but slow-acting disease which had already killed J.P. Sr and would kill them too within 3 years unless they paid $20,000 for the antidote. Thorn, the janitor, will be sentenced to 15 months in Leavenworth.

Camp Upton on Long Island is shut down – no one in, no one out – because of an influenza outbreak.

Woodrow Wilson tells a group of Democratic women that he will urge the passage of the women’s suffrage amendment. Later, members of the National Woman’s Party, finding this inadequate and Wilson complicit in the Senate’s foot-dragging on the amendment, burn his words in front of the Lafayette monument.

Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” has its New York premiere, a quarter century after it was written.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Today -100: September 16, 1918: Of peace talks, Germany’s hired tools & pressed trousers, flu, and the dangers of gaslessness

Austria invites all belligerent nations to send delegates to hold talks. Behind closed doors and non-binding, you know, just talkin’, on the principle that statements directed by the powers at each other have tended, by their public nature, to “strike a higher tone and stubbornly to adhere to extreme standpoints.” While the formal invitation hasn’t yet wended its way to the US, officially anyway, the reception is already not perhaps what Austria had hoped.

Germany generously proposes to restore Belgium’s independence (after the war), if it will remain neutral until then, restore commercial treaties with Germany, do something about the Flemish, and, astonishingly, lobby for Germany to get its colonies back.

The NYT editorializes on the forged documents it’s been publishing, “proving” that the October Revolution was “a counter-revolution, plotted by Germany and carried out by Germany’s hired tools... Nowhere does it appear that any German officer ever commanded Lenine or Trotzky to press his trousers for him; but the correspondence, as a whole, proves that if any such order had been given they would have regarded it as comprehended within the terms on which they entered the German service.” The Bolshies even supposedly changed the results of elections to the Soviet on the orders of the German General Staff.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George’s Spanish Flu relapses. Traffic is diverted from around the hotel where he’s staying so he can get some sleep.


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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Today -100: September 15, 1918: Could I have my way there would be no soldiers

Camp Devens, Mass. is hit badly by Spanish Flu. Ditto Camp Lee, Virginia, whose commandant has banned any gatherings including religious services but claims the situation is not serious.

Eugene Debs is sentenced to 10 years. He tells the judge, “I believe the soldier has no more sympathetic friend than I am. Could I have my way there would be no soldiers.”

The War Department says it will not accept deaf-mutes as pilots. A rumor’s been going around that deafness gives you special ability to sense motion (don’t know what muteness has to do with anything). The rumor is said to have been started by German agents because reasons.

The NYT prints (and will for days to come) documents handed out by the Committee on Public Information (the Creel Committee) purporting to be communications between Germany and Russian Bolshevik leaders, proving conclusively that Lenin, Trotsky etc are paid German agents. The Creel Committee will publish the documents (known as the Sisson Documents) as a pamphlet, despite doubts about their authenticity. They are forgeries.

In Detroit, 3 arrested Russians confess to a secret Bolshevik plot to enroll 20,000 Russian Bolsheviks in Detroit to impede the war effort and start a revolution.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Today -100: September 14, 1918: Where do we go from here?

Pres. Wilson sends a letter to the union of striking machinists in Bridgeport, Connecticut who refuse to accept a National War Labor Board ruling. He calls their strike “disloyalty and dishonor” and threatens to revoke their draft exemptions. Simultaneously, to prove his even-handedness between management & labor, Wilson orders the take-over of Smith & Wesson after its refusal to accept the Board’s order that it stop (for the duration of the war) making workers sign contracts not to join a union.

Surgeon General Rupert Blue admits that there was a Spanish flu outbreak at Fort Morgan, Alabama in August. The last influenza pandemic was in 1889-90, so Blue offers information on how to handle it to doctors who have never seen one. He has concluded that quarantines are useless against the disease. The Navy is banning sailors from Boston because of the spread of flu there.

Headline of the Day -100:

And we’re gonna keep printing these rumors in the hope that eventually it might be true.

The public is informed of Lloyd George’s influenza.

Journalist John Reed, in a lecture, says Russia wouldn’t have signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty if the US had promised it food and ammunition, and Lenin & Trotsky had sent Woodrow Wilson a cable to that effect 6 days before signing but received no reply. The anonymous but presumably governmental response to this claim is that that cable was just another sneaky attempt to get the US to recognize the Bolshevik government. Reed also accuses Britain of being behind the attempted assassination of Lenin. He will, of course, be arrested for this speech.

Headline of the Day -100:  

“The battle's done and we kind of won, So we sound our vict’ry cheer...”

Oh all right, here’s the actual song.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Today -100: September 13, 1918: This must be the last war

Eugene Debs is convicted of violating the Espionage Act, specifically inciting insubordination, mutiny etc in the military, obstructing recruitment, and language intended to incite resistance to the US and promote the cause of the enemy. He is acquitted of “opposition to the cause of the United States.”

NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland says that despite passengers arriving on ships with the Spanish flu, there is no danger of it spreading. But anybody to whom it does spread should just lie down for, like, 3 days.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George gives a speech in Manchester promising (this is essentially the start of his election campaign) promising to improve the health of the nation: “You cannot maintain an A1 Empire with a C3 population.” And then...

Yup, that’s the Spanish flu. He may have to lie down for considerably more than 3 days. With a respirator.

Elsewhere in the speech, LG is quite optimistic about the war, which “must be the last war”: “Nothing but heart failure on the part of the British nation can prevent our achieving a real victory.” He supports a League of Nations – but only after the complete and utter defeat of Germany, otherwise it would be “a league of fox and geese – one fox and many geese. The geese would greatly diminish in numbers.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

That’s a lot of drug fiends.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Today -100: September 12, 1918: Of dead Romanovs, deserters, flaming cities, slacker raids, and possible kings

The Daily Express (London) says that former Russian Tsarina Alexandra and her daughters are definitely dead. Still no official Russian announcement.

The NYT claims that a couple of weeks ago 25,000 German soldiers on leave in Berlin simply refused to return to the front, so soldiers are now banned from taking leave in Berlin. Also, the Germans are supposedly building a huge trench system along the Dutch-Belgian border to prevent German troops deserting to the Netherlands when/if Belgium is evacuated.

In other rumors, Petrograd is “in flames” and there are indiscriminate massacres (conducted by whom is not clear) on the streets, and Germany is using women pilots in its fighters.

Eugene Debs refuses to present any evidence or argument in his defense beyond pointing out that there is such a thing as the First Amendment. He will find out that there is not. He also points out that Abraham Lincoln opposed the Mexican-American War. The DA says there wasn’t an Espionage Act back then.

US Attorney General Thomas W. Gregory defends the “slacker raids,” the dragnets looking for draft-dodgers, but admits that the use of the military in those raids was contrary to his instructions.

Yet another German princeling, Friedrich Karl of Hesse, says that yes, he’d like to be king of Finland. He’s currently touring the country campaigning for the job. He is married to Kaiser Wilhelm’s sister.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Today -100: September 11, 1918: Of retaliations, ears, indirection & insinuation, new blows, executions, and hangmen

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda, Fake News, and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Trotsky is said to have threatened, in a cable to White Gen. Mikhail Alekseyev, to shoot one officer for every Bolshevik killed by the White Guard or Czech Legion, to which Alekseyev allegedly responded that if they did that, he would retaliate against Jews. The Jews respond, “Hey, what?”

German soldiers are said to be afraid of US black soldiers because they’ve heard that they cut the ears off prisoners.

The Eugene Debs trial continues. Evidently his crime is not that he directly said bad things, but that he imparted an anti-war message “by indirection and insinuation.”

Headline That Sounds Dirty But Isn’t of the Day -100:

Some of the most recently announced executions in Russia include tsarist ministers of interior and of justice.

Luxembourg is pissed that Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde’s sister Antonia is engaged to Bavarian Crown Prince Rupprecht, who commands the German Sixth Army and is evidently known as “Luxembourg’s Hangman.”

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Today -100: September 10, 1918: Of Jews, red terrors, and trials

Lev Kamenev is named temporary replacement for Lenin. The NYT points out that the 3 now holding the top positions in Russia (Stalin isn’t on their radar yet), Kamenev, Trotsky, and Yakov Sverdlov, the chair of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, are all Jews (well, they all have at least one Jewish parent, if that counts).

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Bolsheviks are openly using the term Red Terror as a, like, good thing.

Eugene Debs’ trial begins in Cleveland. 7 members of the audience are arrested for applauding his lawyer’s opening speech. 

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Today -100: September 9, 1918: I would much rather be a man in jail than a coward outside of it

Fanya Kaplan, who shot Lenin, is executed.

NYT Index Typo of the Day:

And boy, if you don’t have “delight in war” any more, what can you have delight in?

The NYT complains that German newspapers exaggerate the number of Germans who are lynched in the US.

Police raid the Socialist State Convention in Detroit, ostensibly looking for draft evaders. Addressing the convention, presumably before the raid, Eugene Debs says of his forthcoming trial, “I would much rather be a man in jail than a coward outside of it,” adding “but being a man outside of jail would be even better, ammiright?”

Pennsylvania anthracite coal miners meet and agree to respond to the fuel administrator’s refusal to increase their wages with a general strike. They demand to be drafted, since they can’t support their families through mining.

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Today -100: September 8, 1918: Of Junker trickery, gum, and dead Lenins

Headline of the Day -100: 

Oh no, not moderate ideas!

Novelist Gertrude Atherton writes to the NYT imploring Herbert Hoover to ban chewing gum from being sent to US soldiers in Europe. She fears that the French are already picking up the horrid habit.

“Travelers” arriving in Sweden from Moscow say Lenin is definitely dead.

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Friday, September 07, 2018

Today -100: September 7, 1918: Why does the enemy incite colored people against the German soldiers?

Xu Shichang is elected president of China.  He will spend the next 4 years trying to balance various warlords off against each other.

Columbia, NYU, City College of NY, along with many other colleges, plan to cease to be academic institutions and exist purely for military training.

The Food Administration orders all breweries to shut down on December 1st.

The NYT interviews Maj. Gen. William Luther Sibert, the Director of Chemical Warfare – and wow, you’d think they’d use a euphemism but no, it’s just straight-up Director of Chemical Warfare – bragging about mustard gas and the quality of American gas masks.

Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg issues an address to the German people saying that Entente planes have been dropping pamphlets containing “most insane rumors,” such as that Germany is losing the war. “Why,” asks Mr. von H, “does the enemy incite colored people against the German soldiers? Because he wants to annihilate us.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Thursday, September 06, 2018

Today -100: September 6, 1918: Of roundups, dead Romanovs, pacifists, Zionists, and daddies

Some senators are pissed at the “slacker roundups,” pointing out that fewer than 1% of those arrested were actual draft dodgers. They’re asking who is responsible for soldiers and sailors being used to seize Americans off the streets of American cities.

Headline of the Day -100:

It’s on page 13, which is what you do when you don’t really believe the rumor but you’re printing it anyway because what the hell.

An Italian military court sentences Giovanni Fassina, a Socialist member of the Milan City Council who refused to be drafted, to be shot – in the back, which is just, like, sarcastic. It sounds like he’s in Switzerland and was tried in absentia.

Pres. Wilson sends a Rosh Hashanah greeting to Rabbi Stephen Wise praising Chaim Weizmann’s Zionist commission. The Rabbis’ National Committee of New York protests, saying Zionism poses a religious and political problem for Jews and would lead to divided allegiances for American Jews.

Now playing: John Hobble’s play “Daddies” at the Belasco Theatre. The NYT reviewer says “The sentimental comedy of the war orphan has arrived.” Evidently it’s sort of a Three Men and a Baby thing about a club of anti-marriage bachelors who find themselves in charge of war orphans through various hilarious mixups, and one of the orphans is twins and one is a 17-year-old French girl one of them eventually marries, I guess? And one agrees to marry, sight unseen, the French mother of the baby he’s been caring for. Sounds kind of terrible, but it will run and run and be made into a movie in 1924.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Today -100: September 5, 1918: Of censorship, German fear propaganda, places of refuge, and bad headaches and worse grouches

Gen. Pershing evidently got French authorities to suspend the Socialist newspaper L’Heure for some reason.

A couple of Post Office workers, a sailor and a random woman are killed by a bomb presumably planted by member(s) of the IWW in the Chicago Post Office Building where the trial of the Wobbly leaders was held last week. Big Bill Haywood says it must have been “German fear propaganda” because no Wobbly would do such a thing.

The British embassy in Petrograd is attacked by Soviet troops. A British soldier, the alliterative Captain Cromie, is killed, but only after himself shooting down 3 Russian soldiers, according to the story the Brits will be putting out. Embassy staff are arrested on suspicion of plotting with counter-revolutionaries, which they are totally doing. Britain demands satisfaction – satisfaction, I say! – or it will ensure that members of the Soviet government are treated as international outlaws and “no place of refuge shall be left to them.”

Another ship arrives in NY from Europe after a mid-Atlantic outbreak of Spanish Flu. 2 dead, both Italian steerage passengers, 23 other cases, including one non-steerage passenger, a Claude Almyr, Wales of the Locomobile Company of Bridgeport, CT, who says this version of influenza is much worse than other diseases: “It gives its victims a bad headache and a worse grouch.”

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Today -100: September 4, 1918: Of round-ups domestic and foreign, primaries, and governments clothed with proper authority

Another mass roundup of suspected “slackers” inconveniences 20,000 young men in New York City, 12,000 in New Jersey, 27,000 in Chicago, etc. This will, as usual, be a colossal waste of time and manpower, yielding just a handful of actual draft evaders, while men who didn’t happen to have their documents on them (some because they’re too old to be eligible for the draft and thus have no documents) are held overnight while trying to get someone to bring documents.

In response to the assassination attempt on Lenin, thousands of arrests are made, focusing on the Social Revolutionary (SR) Party, and an order is issued that everyone found with a gun will be instantly executed and every active opponent of the Soviet government will be placed in a concentration camp and their property seized. Non-residents of Moscow and Petrograd are ordered to leave those cities.

New York gubernatorial primaries: it’ll be Charles Whitman, going for a 3rd term, for the R’s, and Al Smith for the D’s.

The US recognizes Czechoslovakia as a nation, and Tomáš Masaryk’s Czechoslovak National Council as its de facto government, “clothed with proper authority to direct the political and military affairs of the Czechoslovaks.” It does not explain who it was who so clothed them. Masaryk is currently in the US, and his wife is American.

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Monday, September 03, 2018

Today -100: September 3, 1918: Nature abhors anarchy

Evidently Lenin’s not dead after all. The NYT editorializes, dickishly: “The shooting of Nikolai Lenine, like the shooting of Nikolai Romanoff, was a thing that was bound to come. If he is not dead of his wounds, as reported, it is probable that he will be shot again. ... Nature abhors anarchy, and has its own way of curing it”.

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Sunday, September 02, 2018

Today -100: September 2, 1918: Of horses and carriages and paid agents, political tools/plain fanatics

Important Correction: Pres. and Mrs. Wilson did not walk to church to observe Motorless Sunday, they rode in a horse-drawn carriage.

Headline of the Day -100: 

His premature obit begins, “Nickolai Lenine, the man who brought Russia to the verge of ruin, and then delivered her to the Germans in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk... Paid agent, political tool or plain fanatic there is no doubt of the man’s ability or the strong impression he made upon those with whom he came in contact.”

The assassin, Fanya Kaplan, “a young girl belonging to the intellectual class,” has been arrested.

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Saturday, September 01, 2018

Today -100: September 1, 1918: Of assassinations, fruit pits, and some of the best men in the community

Lenin is shot twice by Fanya Kaplan (sometimes called Dora Kaplan), a Jewish member of the banned Social Revolutionary (SR) Party and former prisoner for her part as a 16-year-old in a plot to assassinate a Tsarist official. Lenin is pretty badly injured and will never fully recover.

Also assassinated: Moisei Uritsky, the head of the Cheka in Petrograd, by a former military cadet.

The London police strike ends swiftly with a nice raise and sort-of recognition of their union.

Since the administration asked the American people not to drive on Sundays, Pres. Wilson has to walk to church.

The War Dept asks people to save their fruit pits and nut shells to make into charcoal for gas masks.

The Ku Klux Klan revived in 1915. I believe this is the first time the NYT has mentioned it. Some Kluxers grab a strike organizer in Mobile, Alabama from the police. He hasn’t been seen since. They also seem to have kidnapped another unionist in Birmingham, Alabama. The article’s tone is supportive of these activities: “Wherever it is organized it is made up of some of the best men in the community.” (Voiceover: It isn’t.)

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