Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Today -100: March 12, 1919: Of kaiser-hanging, king-drowning, and trillions

The Peace Conference is debating whether ex-kaiser Willy Hohenzollern can be put on trial for starting the war. The US thinks he can’t be. Others realize that war is not actually a crime under international law. They may still go after some of Germany’s wartime military and political leaders for war crimes.

The former King Wilhelm of Württemberg nearly drowns, the NYT exaggerates, probably, in a scuffle when some German sailors seize his yacht on Lake Constance to use as a fishing boat.

Postmaster General Albert Burleson tells the Senate committee investigating Bolshevism that the IWW is carrying on a widespread propaganda effort mostly through the foreign-language press. He also says the Wobblies are really all Bolshevists, as do other witnesses who don’t understand Bolshevism or anarchism but are happy to lump all their ideological enemies together. Not a lot of subtlety in a Red Scare.

The NYT on the peace terms being worked out (which seem to consist mostly of reducing, then reducing again the size military Germany is permitted and the things it’s allowed to have – no u-boats, tanks, airplanes, etc): “The consideration of reparations has introduced the word ‘trillion’ in recognizing money, probably for the first time in any single financial operation, for, although millions and billions often have been used in war finance, no sum has yet been reached touching a trillion.”

The evidently-famous novelist Amelia Barr dies at 87. She turned to novel-writing in her 50’s, churning out 80 of them, including Jan Vedder’s Wife, She Loved a Sailor, The Maid of Maiden Lane, and The Strawberry Handkerchief.

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