Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Today -100: October 20, 1920: Of vacillation of mind, sedition, felonious suicide, and crowd control

Harding’s handlers deny that his mysterious French contact was writer Maurice Dekobra, but still won’t give a name. They are claiming that Dekobra, who was refused an interview with Harding, had been sent by Cox as part of some sort of elaborate sting operation. Franklin Roosevelt says Harding “either by accident or design tried to fool the American people into believing that France is ready to negotiate a new League of Nations. ...It is simply another glaring example, either of looseness of tongue or of vacillation of mind”.

Sylvia Pankhurst is arrested for publishing allegedly seditious articles in her newspaper The Workers’ Dreadnought (formerly The Womens’ Dreadnought in the suffragette days).

A military court rules that Michael Fitzgerald, the first Irish hunger striker to die, “did feloniously kill himself.” As his funeral begins, soldiers enter the church, gun in hands, to ban a public funeral and limit the number of people accompanying the coffin to 100. An officer threatens to fire on the crowd if it exceeds 100.

In Parliament, former Labour leader Arthur Henderson denounces the “policy of military terrorism” in Ireland, comparing it to the “policy of frighfulness” practiced by the Germans during the Great War. A motion of censure is defeated 79-346.

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