Saturday, June 22, 2019

Today -100: June 22, 1919: Scuttled

Since the Armistice, much of the Germany Navy has been interned at Scapa Flow, Scotland, while the Allies argue about what to do with them. With the signing of the peace treaty imminent, rather than turn the ships over,  Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, using a pre-arranged flag signal, orders the ships scuttled. Which is a fun word to say. Try it now: scuttled scuttled scuttled. 10 battleships, 5 battle cruisers, 5 light cruisers, and 32 torpedo boats are sunk, all without benefit of explosives. Just one capital ship survives. The German sailors then take to life boats. As they approach shore, the British order them to surrender and fire on those that don’t, killing 9, who are the last dead of World War I (unless you count all the people blown up by unexploded ordinance for decades to come).

Winnipeg is placed under martial law after the Royal Northwest Mounted Police shoot into a crowd of strikers, killing 2. Troops with machine guns are stationed throughout the city. Sort of a theme of 1919: the willingness of authorities in many countries to deploy machine guns for crowd control.

The Lusk Committee of the NY Legislature orders raids on the socialist-founded Rand School of Social Science and the offices of the local IWW and of John Reed’s Left Wing Socialists and seize tons of documents . They’re also searching for seditious books and pamphlets.

A new German cabinet forms, with Gustav Bauer (Social Democratic Party) as chancellor. Funny that there’s still a colonial minister.

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