Thursday, October 04, 2018

Today -100: October 4, 1918: Of flu, evacuations, betrayals, and reconstruction

King Alfonso of Spain has the Spanish Flu, which seems only fair (in Spain it’s called the French Flu). Actually, I’ve been meaning to explain the etymology: in the belligerent countries, censorship is tamping down stories about the extent of the influenza outbreak. Spain had no such restrictions and its newspapers reported honestly (including about what was going on in France and elsewhere), thus the name. There’s some debate, but the Spanish Flu originated, depending on which theory you believe, in France or Kansas.

Spanish Flu is now reported in 43 states. All theatres, dance halls, schools, etc in D.C. are ordered closed (ditto Philadelphia, which adds churches) and office hours in government departments are being staggered to cut down on street car crowding. The Chicago health commissioner orders the police to arrest anyone sneezing or coughing without a handkerchief. There are epidemics in most or all army training camps.

Austrian troops are evacuating Albania.

Turkish troops are evacuating Persia.

Kaiser Wilhelm says he wanted a government of “men who enjoy the confidence of the people,” so he chooses as his new chancellor... Prince Maximilian of Baden. Max von Baden to his friends. Prince Max. The Princinator. Maximus Princius.... The NYT says he was once put in an insane asylum after being jilted by the Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna in 1895 because of his philandering. No he wasn’t, and I’d love to know where that story came from. Also, the Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna would have been 13.

German newspapers are finally reporting that Bulgaria is out of the war, after a few days of the government hoping that it was just Prime Minister Malinov’s initiative and he would be overthrown or the people would rise up and demand more war. The word “betrayal” is frequently used to describe Bulgaria’s act.

Senate Democrats, on the urging of the Wilson Administration, introduce a bill for a post-war Commission on Reconstruction, giving the president vast powers to organize the economy.

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