Monday, November 30, 2020

Today -100: November 30, 1920: The boys of Kilmichael

At Kilmichael, County Cork, a large number of Sinn Féiners ambush 17 police auxiliaries (a goon squad of military vets not unlike the Black and Tans) who were patrolling in two trucks, killing all but one. 3 on the Sinn Féin/IRA side are also killed. This is retaliation for the Croke Park massacre. There is, of course, a song commemorating it.

Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Hamar Greenwood, giving Parliament some questionable details about the ambush, says he cannot ask the men trying to put down such murders to stop to make inquiries about burning of houses and whatnot. Greenwood is getting less and less reticent in support of retaliation. And retaliation has already started...

The Houses of Parliament are closed to the public to prevent Sinn Féin outrages.

Notre Dame halfback George “The Gipp” Gipper (or whatever) is ill with pneumonia.

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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Today -100: November 29, 1920: God help our country, moaning under the affliction of this competition in murder

A bunch of fires are started by Sinn Féin in Liverpool. Warehouses, timber yards, etc. Arsonists are stopped in London before setting fires.

There’s also quite a bit of arson on the other side, in Cork, including the Sinn Féin Club, which... how is there a Sinn Féin Club building in the first place?

A letter from Cardinal Michael Logue is read in all Armagh churches condemning Sinn Féin assassinations but saying the Croke Park massacre was worse. “God help our country, moaning under the affliction of this competition in murder.”

There’s a coup, or something, in Tabasco State, Mexico. The backers of Gen. Carlos Greene Ramírez, who was recently removed as governor after his soldiers assassinated two members of the Chamber of Deputies and is currently awaiting trial, install Tomás Garrido Canabal as the new governor. Canabal will run the state as a dictatorship for many years, with proto-fascist Red Shirts and murderous persecution of the Catholic Church.

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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Today -100: November 28, 1920: Of immigrants, an Oxford comma joke that seemed cleverer when I first thought it up, refugees, and tigers on ice

The American Federation of Labor wants Congress to suspend all immigration for two years to alleviate unemployment. It seems particularly worried about the influx of... Dutch people.

France and Britain decide not to try to block the return of Greece’s former king Constantine to the throne if the plebiscite supports him.

Poet-Aviator-Duce Gabriele d’Annunzio complains to Italy, again, about the Rapallo Treaty, which fixed Fiume’s borders without its consent and which refers to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which Fiume doesn’t recognize (they’re big fans of the Oxford comma in Fiume and are incensed at its absence. It’s a whole thing). Notwithstanding the little duce’s intervention, the Italian Chamber of Deputies votes 221-12 to ratify the treaty.

Britain wants to relocate refugees who fled the Crimea after the defeat of the Whites to somewhere in North Africa. At least the ones who wound up in Constantinople, which can’t handle the numbers (30,000).

The small nations in the League of Nations want to begin the process of disarmament. The large nations do not.

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100:  

Sadly, the Princeton hockey team, not actual tigers.

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Today -100: November 27, 1920: Of murder gangs, dancing teachers, and zorro marks

Arthur Griffith, the acting president of the Irish Republic (while De Valera is in the US), and several members of the Dáil Éireann (Irish republican Parliament) are arrested, possibly to be interned without trial. There are rumors that Lloyd George was not consulted and is not pleased by the arrest of the relatively moderate Griffith.

A wall is being built to keep the public and Irish bombers out of Downing Street. And Cork will pay for it.

I see that an official report issued by the British Embassy to the US refers to the “Sinn Féin murder gang.”

The Methodist Episcopal Church refuses to lift its ban on dancing teachers joining the church.

The premiere of Douglas Fairbanks in The Mark of Zorro. Very athletic, lots of jumping around. The non-action scenes are not great. Also, Zorro is supposed to have a mustache and Fairbanks is supposed to have a mustache, but he doesn’t have one in this film.

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Today -100: November 26, 1920: Of mediators, mandates, dead legs, and flags

The League of Nations asks the US to mediate between Armenia and Atatürk.

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby says the US has a right to be consulted on the terms of League of Nations mandates. To put it another way, the US wants some of that sweet, sweet Mesopotamian oil. 

How is an article entitled “Death Certificate for Leg” not more interesting?

In NYC, 5,000 supporters of Irish independence, leaving a service in St Patrick’s for Terence MacSwiney, demand the Union Club on 5th Avenue remove the British flag flying alongside the US and French flags. When the Club refuses, they throw bricks and stones at the clubhouse. “The sight of the gray-haired men in the club who seemed coolly indifferent to the stones landing close to them, roused still higher the anger of the rioters.” The police break it up, under orders not to use their clubs. 3 in the crowd are arrested along with one club member, the latter for having a concealed weapon. A sword-cane, if you were wondering what sort of club the Union Club was (and is).

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Today -100: November 25, 1920: Who is for the Empire and who is for assassination?

The 33 remaining imprisoned conscientious objectors from the war are released, including one who was hunger striking.

Connecticut now has 5 women in its Legislature, the highest number in the country, followed by Kansas with 4 and 3 in California.

Ireland Secretary Sir Hamar Greenwood claims in Parliament to have captured IRA plans to blow up the Liverpool docks and Manchester’s water and power plants, among other things. Greenwood says, “There is only one issue left. That is, Who is for the Empire and who is for assassination?” Like they’re mutually exclusive. Former Prime Minister Asquith’s resolution condemning reprisals is defeated 303-83.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Don’t you hate it when that happens? In Georgia, a lynch mob hangs and shoots up the brother of the man they actually meant to lynch.

Russia plans to abolish money by January 1st.

Some federal government departments gave employees the afternoon off for Thanksgiving but Woodrow Wilson rescinds the permission.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Mexico will take in 10,000 Russian Mennonites. The colonists will run their own schools.

Germany asks the Allies to be allowed to keep some war materials to turn them into church bells (which were seized during the war to make war materials). There are also complaints in the Reichstag about how much they’re being charged to maintain Allied occupying forces in the Rhineland. And that some of them are black.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Today -100: November 24, 1920: Of escaping prisoners, states of rebellion, and lynchings

Calvin Coolidge says the election results showed the country expressing its opinion against organized labor. He doesn’t think it was much about the League of Nations. 

Three Sinn Féin prisoners are shot dead at Dublin Castle, supposedly while trying to escape, as was the custom. The ridiculous story is that they were kept lightly guarded in a room filled with bombs, loaded rifles, etc and attempted to take advantage of the situation.

War Minister Winston Churchill, asked whether the Irish situation is in fact a war, says “Ireland is in a state of rebellion, which imposes many hardships upon our troops.”

Churchill notes that Britain is currently engaged in warlike operations in Persia, Mesopotamia, India, and around Constantinople.

Ireland Secretary Sir Hamar Greenwood says he hadn’t heard that a machine gun was used on the Croke Park crowd and he doesn’t believe that a 10-year-old was bayoneted to death.

A black man accused of assaulting a white woman is lynched in Tylertown, Mississippi, dragged to death behind a car, then hung and shot repeatedly, two weeks after his brother was also lynched. There is one bright spot: one of the lynchers is accidentally shot.

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Monday, November 23, 2020

Today -100: November 23, 1920: The League intervenes meekly, and Bloody Sunday aftermath

The League of Nations Council decides to intervene in the war between Armenia and Turkish nationalist forces, although only through negotiation with Atatürk (France’s position), rather than crushing him like a bug (Britain’s).

Following Bloody Sunday, Dublin is in lockdown, with a curfew, all trains suspended, raids and mass arrests. The city halls of Cork, Waterford, and Kilkenny are raided and documents seized. The government seems to be having trouble proving their claim that Sinn Féin gunmen started the shooting at Croke Park.

The House of Commons has to be suspended when a fight breaks out during questioning of the chief secretary for Ireland by Joseph Devlin. Lady Astor tells squabbling MPs to “behave yourselves.”

De Valera issues a statement saying British soldiers are engaged in massacres of an unarmed populace and Irish people are justified in killing them. He compares Croke Park to the Amritsar Massacre.

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Today -100: November 22, 1920: Of bloody Sundays, united communists, wars, and railway track

Yesterday, “Bloody Sunday,” Sinn Féin hit squads killed 14 officials connected with courts-martial, some in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin and some in their homes in simultaneous raids coordinated by Michael Collins. Several hours later the police, army and Black and Tans supposedly track some of them to Croke Park stadium and are shot at – well, that’s their story, anyway – so they open fire, indiscriminately, on the football spectators, killing 14. A couple of people are then trampled to death in the panic.

Dublin Castle insists the assassinations were an act of desperation because the Irish administration has been closing in on them, arresting the usual suspects and collecting intelligence, so the raids were intended to disrupt that process and destroy evidence.

I’ve just run across a description of the Black and Tans in Roy Jenkins’ biography of Churchill: “a sort of Freikorps of those for whom the war had not provided enough violence or the peace enough employment opportunity.”

Edward Brennan of the Justice Dept’s Bureau of Justice (the proto-FBI) says there’s a massive underground United Communist Party, with Russians in control.

Lithuania demands the League of Nations invoke Article 16 of the Covenant and put an economic blockade of Poland for going to war with Lithuania without first trying not to go to war with Lithuania.

Four men posing as railroad officials in Transylvania steal an entire line of track (the article doesn’t say how long it was).

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Today -100: November 21, 1920: Of infantile disorders, bourgeois parliaments, and pocket knives

Lenin’s book “‘Left-Wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder” is published in England. He attacks Labour Party leaders as “hopelessly reactionary” but accuses Sylvia Pankhurst of being too rigid ideologically – yup, our Sylvia is now to the left of Lenin. She’s against compromise, but Lenin thinks the hopelessly reactionary Labour leaders should be supported into power so everyone can see them fail, like the Mensheviks in Russia. 

A 3-month-old letter from Lenin to the Austrian Communist Party has surfaced. He ordered it not to boycott the elections to the “bourgeois parliament,” but to “work against it from within and without.” They followed his advice and participated in the elections and elected zero MPs.

Greece will hold a plebiscite on the 28th on whether Constantine can return to the throne (Update: it will be delayed a week). France is really not happy with the idea.

Fashion Tip of the Day -100: pocket knives are getting thinner, because men’s pockets are getting smaller.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Today -100: November 20, 1920: Funny how occupations always lead to murder, huh?

Corp. Freeman Lang denies he killed Haitian prisoners, well except that one he machine-gunned, but he was totally trying to escape. He admits to a little light electrocution-torture of prisoners. He explains the many accusations against him: you know what those Haitians are like, soooo prone to exaggeration.

Former British Prime Minister Asquith says the policy of reprisals in Ireland is bad. He says something called The Weekly Summary, which is (exclusively?) circulated among the Royal Irish Constabulary, cites the Federal Order issued in 1864 by Unionist Gen. Burbridge calling for the execution of 4 Confederate prisoners for every Unionist citizen killed.

That said, the threat of reprisals if the kidnapped Cork jail warder wasn’t released does result in his release.

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Today -100: November 19, 1920: Of new armies, lynchings, freemen, regimes of arrest and murder, and typhoid

The League of Nations will send its very own army, sort of, to Lithuania to oversee the plebiscite in the Vilna area on whether the area goes to Poland or Lithuania. The army will consist of British, French, Belgian and Spanish troops (Spain will quickly reverse itself).

Headline of the Day -100:  “Negro Woman Lynched.” Actually three negroes were lynched, including her husband and another black man were also lynched, in Douglas, Georgia. The couple were Minnie Ivory and Willy Ivory, which I’m sure you’ll agree were delightful names.

The naval court of inquiry into US actions in Haiti hears about a Marine corporal, one Freeman Lang, who tortured and murdered several Haitian prisoners.

Dimitrios Rallis takes office as Greek prime minister, purges the civil service, demands the resignation of the regent, and says his election victory was a “revolt against the regime of arrest and murder which has been in power for the past three years” and against the “foreign domination” supporting Venizelos (who has wisely fled the country).

Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir Hamar Greenwood tells Parliament that he intercepted a Sinn Féin document about infecting British troops with typhoid and their horses with glanders. 

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Today -100: November 18, 1920: Of royal plebiscites, poison gas, and where to go to get murdered

Deposed king Constantine of Greece says he doesn’t want to be the head of any political party, so if he is to graciously agree to return to the throne, there should be a plebiscite. “If the people of Greece want me I shall return to Athens, unless, of course, prevented by unjust force.” He wants to go home because Switzerland is too fucking cold, he says. The next prime minister, Dimitrios Rallis, tells the Allies that Constantine is “more pro-Greek than pro-German. He is also something of a militarist.” Keep that one in mind.

70,552 US soldiers were gassed during the war, of whom 1,221 died and 2,803 injured enough to be discharged.

The most murdery city in the US over the last decade was Memphis, at 55.9 homicides per 100,000. Which was actually an improvement. The safest city is Milwaukee, at 2.5.

Russia legalizes abortion.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Today -100: November 17, 1920: Of secret commissions, monarchist revolutions, and returning champs

The League of Nations sets up 6 commissions to do the actual work and make the actual decisions, with representatives of all 42 nations (wasn’t it 41 yesterday?), whose meetings are to be held in secret and with no minutes taken (there’s a fight about this).

Supposedly a right-wing revolution is brewing in Bavaria, aiming to make the state independent and restore its monarchy, and to negotiate not having to pay German war indemnities.

Dimitrios Rallis will be the new Greek prime minister, and by new I mean old; this is his 4th time in the job since the 1890s.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Today -100: November 16, 1920: Of landslides, leagues, armistices, and chemical warfare

Greek elections produce a result no one, but no one, expected: Venizelos is out, the monarchist supporters of deposed king Constantine are in.

The League of Nations convenes. “All important countries of the world were represented in that Hall of Nations, except unhappy Russia, unrepentant Germany, uncertain America, and unasked Mexico.” 41 nations, count ‘em, 41.

Armenia and Turkey have an armistice, very much not in Armenia’s favor.

Russia captures Sebastopol. 

Fiume – pardon me, the Italian Regency of Quarnero – says the Treaty of Rapallo doesn’t count because it wasn’t represented. It expresses its own views as to what the border between Italy and Yugoslavia should rightfully be. Poet-Aviator-Duce Gabriele d’Annunzio personally leads his forces into Susak.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George defends his country’s continued work in chemical warfare in violation of the Treaty of Versailles (news of which just leaked) by saying one country not in the League of Nations, which he doesn’t name, is also doing poison gas experiments (is it Mexico? it’s probably Mexico, right?).

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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Today -100: November 15, 1920: Of unacceptable treaties, the Third International, refugees, and great train robberies

As the Rapallo Treaty is being signed, Poet-Aviator-Duce Gabriele d’Annunzio announces plans to seize some islands and other territory from Yugoslavia. The Fiume regime says Rapallo is unacceptable.

Achille Richard, who d’Annunzio once offered the post of foreign minister, says d’A will probably retire to a monastery. Spoiler Alert: no.

The Communist International sets hard-line rules for national communist parties wishing to join. There must be a “complete breach” with reformism and “center elements” and “social pacifism” and “notorious opportunists” (some of whom it names, including Karl Kautsky and Ramsay MacDonald). The Communist press must be under the complete control of the party executive, and all parties must be called the Communist Party of (Insert Country Here). CPs must support every movement for freedom in the colonies. Also centralism, iron discipline, purges of petit-bourgeois elements, blah blah blah.

Brazil offers free land to 2,500 Jewish Ukrainian refugee families in Romania.

Jewish organizations in the US call for Jews to resist a proselytization scheme by the Presbyterians in NYC.

A train robbery outside Omaha, Nebraska, nabs a US Mint shipment. The government denies this was a gold shipment. It was totally a gold shipment. The robbers are said to have gotten at least $20,000. In fact, it was in the millions. And none of them older than 17 (they haven’t been caught yet).

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Today -100: November 14, 1920: Cork will remember his abduction

The League of Nations will convene Monday at a converted skating rink in Geneva. Swamped by delegates and their entourages, the good burghers of Geneva are price-gouging to the limit.

There’s a rumor that Britain will make Prince Albert, the Duke of York (the future George VI), the king of Ireland.

White general Pyotr Wrangel takes refuge in the Crimea on a French warship. The Russian Civil War is almost over. Wangel will live the rest of his life in exile in Turkey, Serbia, and Belgium, dying in 1928.

A notice signed “by order of the Black and Tans” is posted on the front door of the Cork Examiner offices, threatening that if a Cork Gaol warder kidnapped a month ago isn’t released within 48 hours, “Cork will remember his abduction.”

The NAACP says 30 to 60 black people were killed during election riots in Florida, and says the Justice Dept should annul the state’s vote.

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Today -100: November 13, 1920: The nation got value for his life

The 9 remaining hunger-strikers in Cork Gaol (2 died) give up their hunger strike on the 94th day under instruction from Sinn Féin, prodded by the Bishop of Cork, who said MacSwiney’s death had attracted world attention and “The nation got value for his life, but the continuance of the present strike is only a waste.” Oddly economistic language for a bishop.

The use of private automobiles in Ireland will be limited from December 1st, not allowed to be used at night and only within 20 miles of the owner’s home. In January existing permits expire and may not be renewed.

The British military will take over parts of the Irish railway system, which keeps firing employees who refuse to run trains carrying military or munitions and now has, like 5 employees left.

Col. Cecil L’Estrange Malone, an MP elected at the last election as a Liberal but is now the first Communist Party MP, is arrested in Dublin for a speech he made last week at the Albert Hall calling for revolution:“What are a few Churchills or Curzons on lamp posts compared to the massacre of thousands of human beings? What are a few Churchills or Curzons against a wall compared to the bombing of harmless Egyptians, compared with reprisals in Ireland?” He is let out on bail on condition he not make similar speeches. “He can, however, say what he likes in the House of Commons.” He will be sentenced to 6 months in prison for sedition and bound over. The prosecutor will say that Malone’s audience included many weak-minded aliens who might be inspired to loot, burn and murder.

Austria applies to join the League of Nations. Germany does not, but France would veto it anyway.

The marriage of Ann Wong Kee, age 12, who was sold by her foster mother to a laundryman in Binghamton who is described as elderly for $700, is annulled.

Mildred Harris and Charlie Chaplin are officially divorced. She gets a reasonably large settlement ($200,000) and agrees not to call herself Mildred Chaplin professionally.

Headline of the Day -100:  

That’s almost dramatic enough to make me read an article about baseball. Almost.

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Today -100: November 12, 1920: Of unknown soldiers, home rule, Rapallo, and grateful and contented Haitians

France buries an Unknown Soldier and Britain buries an Unknown Soldier.

The Irish Home Rule Bill passes its 3rd Reading in the House of Commons, with a lot of talk about Armistice Day and reconciliation. Hey, says PM Lloyd George, that unknown soldier might even be Irish (there was no Armistice Day celebration in Dublin, although Belfast had a small, presumably celebratory, riot). Ireland, LG says, “should not in a moment of anger” – a several-hundred-year-long moment – “cast away an inheritance which is as much hers as ours, but join in the empire it helped to build and adorn.” He also claims to have documents proving that Sinn Féin was involved in a German plot in 1918, which he says proves that Britain has to keep complete control of Irish harbors forever. Also, a conscript army in Ireland would be a danger to Britain, and Ireland can’t be permitted a navy either. 

President-Elect Harding gives an Armistice Day speech in Brownsville, Texas. He says the US was not, in fact, fighting to make the world safe for democracy or for humanity’s sake, but only for our national rights (sending ships carrying munitions to one side in a war without getting blowed up, you know, those national rights). I know Woodrow Wilson gave self-righteous idealism a bad odor, but wow.

Italy and Yugoslavia have more or less completed negotiations for a treaty (Rapallo). Italy gives up Dalmatia (Italy already contains more Slavs than it feels comfortable with), Fiume is independent (for now) but contiguous with Italy, Italy gets a bunch of small islands in the Adriatic.

Rear Admiral Harry Knapp, who was sent to Haiti to “investigate” conditions under US occupation (he was the US’s military governor in St. Domingo, so, you know, totally objective). His investigation consisted of going, “unannounced,” to military camps and having commanders invite chosen Haitian citizens to meet him. They all expressed “gratitude” and “contentment.” So that’s okay then.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Today -100: November 11, 1920: Of flags, shop closings, duels, and Chicago crooks

At the Capitol Theatre on Broadway a group of protesters trying to remove the British flag (among flags of other Great War allies) get into a fight with the police.

British troops tell owners of Dublin shops which closed for Terence MacSwiney’s funeral that they’d better also close for Armistice Day or their shops will be wrecked. And the British Embassy asks the US State Dept to do something about a cable sent by J.V. O’Connor, president of the Amalgamated Irish Societies of America, to the chief secretary for Ireland, I think, promising reprisals against English citizens in the US if there are any more reprisals in Ireland, at 3:1. It’s quite possible that neither J.V. O’Connor or the Amalgamated Irish Societies of America actually exist.

Rep. Finis Garrett (D-Tenn.) is arrested for driving drunk and running over a Post Office clerk.

Léon Daudet, monarchist member of the French Chamber of Deputies and a frequent duellist before the war, declines a challenge from another deputy, saying “Dueling is a foolish practice and there is no place for it in France since the war.”

Chicago Mayor Big Bill Thompson fires Police Chief John Garrity and appoints his own secretary for the purpose of “ridding Chicago of crooks.” Who would that leave? Chicago cops are being investigated for providing protection for saloons.

What to See: George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House at the Garrick, reviewed by Alexander Woollcott.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Today -100: November 10, 1920: Violence is the sad inheritance of war

Headline of the Day -100:  

In Texas, he lands a seven-foot tarpon, except when he restaged the struggle for the movie cameras the fish got away. That may be some sort of metaphor.

Japanese PM Hara plays down California’s latest racist land law, saying it’s just a sectional agitation that won’t affect relations between the two countries.

Only a few people are killed and only a few bombs thrown during Italy’s elections. PM Giolitti says “Violence is the sad inheritance of war.”

Immigration Commissioner Frederick Wallis claims that 25,000 “Soviet propagandists” are trying to come to the US via the Netherlands. They’re coming as stowaways or seamen in order to avoid the questions asked of immigrants at Ellis Island.

8 dead French soldiers are dug up at Verdun so that one can be chosen as the Unknown Soldier. The other seven will be dumped in the Seine at midnight, I’m assuming. Each unknown is coming from one of the 9 sectors of the Front (they’re skipping the 9th sector, where French and German bodies are mixed together in mass graves).

The pope saw an Italian movie called The Holy Bible (I can’t find it on imdb) and was shocked by seeing Adam and Eve naked, so he tried to get the film destroyed and, failing that, bans Catholics from seeing it.

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Monday, November 09, 2020

Today -100: November 9, 1920: You are hiding the republic behind the body of a dead soldier

The Supreme Court rules that liquor for personal use may legally be stored in a warehouse and transported. However some states, such as Illinois, have their own laws against this.

In Parliament, Prime Minister David Lloyd George calls the shooting dead of a pregnant woman holding a baby by police in Keltaran, County Galway, “one of those unfortunate accidents that always happen in war.” Queried about the war thing, he says “It is war on the other side. It is rebellion.”

The laughable Irish Home Rule Bill is working its way through Parliament, with the government adding provisions that if half the members of the two devolved parliaments (North and South) aren’t properly elected or fail to show up the bodies can be dissolved and their powers given to a committee named by the Lord Lieutenant. Both parliaments can set up an upper house (or not, it sounds like). The usual oath to the Crown has been dropped.

The French government decides that the unknown soldier to be buried on Armistice Day will go under the Arc de Triomphe rather than the Pantheon. At the same time the heart of long-dead prime minister Léon Gambetta will go the Pantheon. In the National Assembly, socialist Alexandre Bracke-Desrousseaux objects to the funding for the unknown soldier: “You are hiding the republic behind the body of a dead soldier.” Worst. Game of Hide and Seek. Ever. His complaint is that the anti-republican Right forced this amalgamation of Armistice Day with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Third Republic, which should have been celebrated in September.

D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, that novel about Alan Bates and Oliver Reed wrestling nekked, is published in New York but not London because its predecessor The Rainbow is still banned in Britain. I don’t seem to have underlined any passages in my copy (also, I can’t believe I was ever able to read such tiny print; jesus, Penguin).

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Sunday, November 08, 2020

Today -100: November 8, 1920: Reds shall not pass

Turkey says it won’t ratify the peace treaty for the foreseeable future.

Cops shot in Londonderry, retaliation arson on alleged Sinn Féiner-owned properties. And rioting in Belfast.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Spoiler Alert: The Reds shall totally pass.

Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes says the League of Nations will not be allowed to complain about the White Australia policy, which is as necessary to Australia’s defense as the Monroe Doctrine is for the US or freedom of the seas to the British. 

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Saturday, November 07, 2020

Cheer up, Donnie, there are worse ways to be removed from public life

(I originally composed this post, prematurely, on November 2, 2004. I was very cross that I didn't get to use it.)

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Today -100: November 7, 1920: We can’t do much worse than the men

Asquith calls for a truce in Ireland, which “has become the worst form of civil war.” Opposition to the policy of reprisals is growing, including from Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat).

Yoncalla, Oregon, pop. 323, votes out the city council in favor of an all-women ticket. They organized secretly, so the election results are a complete surprise, including to Mayor Jess Lasswell, whose wife is elected to the council. Another council member is also displaced by his wife. (A recent Atlantic article finds this story a little too pat to be true). Mayor-elect Mary Burt says “At the worst, we can’t do much worse than the men.”

Fess Whitaker, a county jailer in Letcher County, Kentucky, currently serving time in his own jail for a street fight, is elected county judge, so Gov. Morrow pardons him.

Alexander Woollcott reviews Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones, which opened last week at the Provincetown Playhouse, NYC. He likes the play, hates the clumsy production, but likes the actor playing Brutus Jones, Charles Gilpin. Who is black. Eventually Gilpin will clash with O’Neill over the latter’s insistence on using the n–word (a lot), and will be replaced by Paul Robeson, who also starred in the abbreviated 1933 film version (which deployed the word 29 times). There’s a good but not great recent movie about the play and Gilpin, The Black Emperor of Broadway (could have used a different actor as O’Neill).

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Friday, November 06, 2020

Today -100: November 6, 1920: Of cycling, hip flasks, show trials, spheres of influences, and samoas

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100:  

Actually MOTORcycling, which is somehow so much less interesting a story. Anyway, 4 men are arrested and two are shot dead “attempting to escape,” as was the custom.

Chicago District Attorney Charles Clyne – which is a Chicago district attorney kind of name – threatens to close down cabarets that allow customers to bring in hip flasks.

The Russian government is collapsing, because the Russian government is always collapsing. The NYT claims that Lenin was put on trial, or a sort of trial in a theatre (yes, we’re all thinking it), by Bolsheviks who accuse him of graft and trying to make himself absolute ruler. This is supposed to have happened last month, but the outcome is not known. Another totally true report says 100 to 300 people are executed every day in Moscow.

France, Britain and Italy sign an agreement setting out their spheres of influence in Turkey. How very nineteenth-century of them. Oh wait, they signed it 3 months ago and it’s not a secret treaty but just happens to have been kept secret since August, got it.

Warren Terhune, governor of American Samoa, was suspended pending an investigation into his heavy-handed approach to the natives. Three days before a battleship bringing a Naval Board of Inquiry is due to arrive, he kills himself.

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Thursday, November 05, 2020

Today -100: November 5, 1920: Of deceased leagues, evaders not crusaders, pardons, pot-pourris of indiscretions, and ethnic cleansings

Harding says the League of Nations is “now deceased.”

Massachusetts voted Tuesday to legalize the sale of light wines and beer.

William Jennings Bryan, ever full of helpful advice, suggests that Woodrow Wilson should resign immediately, then Veep Whatsisname should appoint Harding as his secretary of state and then resign so that Harding becomes president next month instead of in March (the order of succession was different in 1920 than it is now). Then Harding could get on with that “association of nations” and world peace would be assured. Bryan is an idiot. He says that the reason he made no speeches during the campaign season was that the Democratic Party “has become a party of evaders and not crusaders.” He says Cox’s problem was that he was a prohibitionist in the West and a wet in the East.

Former Vermont Governor Horace F. Graham is convicted of embezzling state funds (when he was state auditor, before he was governor), and sentenced to 5-8 years. By the end of the day, his successor Gov. Percival Clement pardons him. They’re both Republicans. 

Margot Asquith, wife of the former prime minister, has written an autobiography, which has to be a first. Supposedly when she told Herbert she was getting £13,000 for it, he said “I hope they’re not worth all that!” Winston Churchill writes a review for The Daily Mail and questions are asked in the House about whether the secretary of state for war doesn’t have more important duties to attend to. The London Times calls the book “a scandal which cannot be justified or excused.” A “pot-pourri of indiscretions,” the Daily Chronicle calls it.

Cork Deputy Lord Mayor Donal O’Callaghan replaces the late Terence MacSwiney as lord mayor. Don’t know much about him, except he’s also Sinn Féin and doesn’t die in office, which must have made a nice change.

Blacks are fleeing Ocoee, Florida. White people are having to harvest the citrus crop, which is what happens when you drive the cheap labor out.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Today -100: November 4, 1920: Of extreme voter suppression, and radium

In Ocoee, Florida, a black man is prevented from voting because he hasn’t paid the poll tax. He returns with a shotgun but is fought off. He comes back at night with a few of his friends, and a race war commences. A couple of the white posse are shot dead and 20+ buildings burned down with black people inside. The prospective voter, July Perry, is lynched. Several dozen blacks will be murdered and the remaining ones will be driven out of the town, never to return.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Today -100: November 3, 1920: Pleased but not exultant

Headline of the Day -100:  

Harding gets 60.2% of the popular vote, a record, 16,152,200 votes to Cox’s 9,147,353.  Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs gets nearly 1 million votes, 3.4%.

Harding says he is “more given to prayer to God to make me capable of playing my part.” Spoiler Alert: God will say no.

Debs, from prison, says Socialists will sweep the 1924 elections. Spoiler Alert: yes, that will totally happen.

It’s a landslide for Republicans everywhere.

Thirty-four governorships were up for grabs. Republicans capture twenty-five. Alfred E. Smith, future Democratic candidate for president, loses his re-election bid for governor of New York to Nathan Miller (he’ll get it back in ‘22). 4 of the 5 Socialists the NY Legislature keeps refusing to take their seats are elected again (um, I think this is wrong), but the state senate gets its first Socialist ever, Edmund Seidel. The strong opposition of women who remembered US Sen. James Wadsworth Jr (R)’s vociferous opposition to women’s suffrage does not prevent his re-election.

In the House of Representatives, R’s gain 61 seats. They will have 299 v. 131 for the D’s. Socialist Victor Berger, expelled by the House in 1919, loses for re-election, but will be back. Meyer London of Manhattan is now the only Socialist. Other D’s losing their seats: former Speaker of the House Champ Clark, future secretary of state Cordell Hull.

Rep. Andrew Volstead (R-Minn.) of Volstead Act fame is re-elected. I must have missed this: he actually lost his primary, but the winner was disqualified for having libeled Volstead.

There’s a woman in the House again, the second after Jeanette Rankin, Oklahoma’s Alice M. Robertson, a 66-year-old spinster former teacher in Indian boarding schools and, um, president of the state Anti-Suffrage Association. Campaign motto: “I am a Christian. I am an American. I am a Republican.” She will serve one term.

The Republican majority in the Senate, slight in the 66th Congress, expands to 59-37.

In New Jersey, only one Democrat, Harry Runyon of Warren County, is elected to the Legislature’s lower house, meaning he’ll be on every single committee.

Eleanor Roosevelt casts her first vote.

Election judges in Savannah, Georgia, ignore the ruling that the registration period doesn’t apply to women this time and refuse to let black women vote. Why just black women, beyond the obvious? Evidently no white women showed up at the polls.

KDKA Pittsburgh begins operating, the first commercially licensed radio in the US (give or take), whose first broadcast is the election results.

California overwhelmingly passes the racist Alien Land initiative, making it illegal to lease to Japanese people or companies owned by them. It will be overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1952. A California ballot measure to ban vivisection fails. One to add kindergartens to the public school system succeeds.

Baron Pyotr Wrangel, the last White general standing, is carrying out a “strategic retreat.”

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Monday, November 02, 2020

Today -100: November 2, 1920: Of the civilization of the world, complacency, crude work, and opera

Gov. James Cox says if ever a campaign was based entirely on a great moral issue, it’s definitely his, “because the thing to be decided is whether the civilization of the world shall tie itself together into a concerted purpose to prevent the tragedies of war”.

Harding says he awaits the vote with complacency.

Harding’s father accosts Judge W.S. Spencer of the Marion County Probate Court on the streets of Marion, accusing him of spreading stories (yes, the secret negro thing, not that you’d know it from the NYT). Spencer denies it and knocks down a farmhand who claims to have heard him do so. Later in the day, Spencer signs an affidavit denying having spread the rumor and Dr. Harding apologizes.

Eight die in fights during Cuban elections.

Six cops are killed in Ireland, presumably in retaliation for Lord Mayor MacSwiney’s death. And Kevin Barry, an 18-year-old who killed a cop in September and was convicted by a military court-martial, is hanged. This will be a big deal because of his age. It’s the first execution of the Sinn Féin disturbances, unless you count the people killed by Black and Tans and other government hit squads.

Montgomery, Alabama cops, assisted, if I interpret the article correctly, by Klansman, have killed 3 black men and arrested 13 in an alleged gang that burned cotton mills, 3 black churches, and a couple of homes. The chief of the state Law Enforcement Department says “White men are not back of the lawlessness because the work is too crude.”

Although the Georgia attorney general ruled that the 19th Amendment overrode for the new women voters the state’s normal 6-month voter registration period, some precincts might reject women’s ballots anyway.

Paris Opera musicians are on strike. Musicians want to be paid according to the rarity and difficulty of their instruments, with extra pay, for example, for players of the heckelphone and sarrusophone. Also extra pay for musicians playing the French horn call in “Siegfried.” Male actors who put on blackface are to get an extra 5 francs, women 3 francs. Blueface (as in Salome) is also 5 francs.

(2020 Update: the Paris Opera is considering banning blackface, probably because they don’t want to pay that 5 francs.)

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Sunday, November 01, 2020

Today -100: November 1, 1920: Suffering humanity waits upon the voice of America

Today’s betting odds are still 6:1 in favor of Harding.

Cox says the fight for the League is over. Harding says the League is dead.

Cox says “Suffering humanity waits upon the voice of America. The vote on Nov. 2 means joy or despair, worldwide.”

The Italian government claims to have seized documents proving that the anarchist movement there is receiving huge sums of money from abroad.

Prince Paul says he’ll only accept the Greek throne if The People don’t prefer his dethroned father or elder brother. He doesn’t seem to have said how the populace are to make their wishes on this subject known.

Headline of the Day -100: 

This article comes the closest the NYT has yet come to explaining the nature of the whisper campaign (do pamphlets whisper?): “anonymous circulars giving ‘fake’ family trees, easily disproved by consulting the Harding genealogy”. I think the scare quotes around the word fake just indicate that the NYT considers the word to be slang.

KKK Imperial Wizard William Simmons orders all Klansmen to suppress the night riders burning cotton gins. Mostly because people think they’re Klansmen because they’re wearing similar clothes, which pisses Simmons off, probably because he gets a hefty cut from each set of Klan regalia sold.

Catholics march in Detroit to oppose a proposed amendment to the Michigan State Constitution banning parochial and other private schools (and compulsory attendance of children until 16 at public schools). Spoiler Alert: It will lose.

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