Thursday, December 17, 2020

Today -100: December 17, 1920: Of mandates, veeps, race riots, anonymous letter writers, and concentration camps

The League of Nations Council’s big powers refuse to let the Assembly know anything about how they plan to run the former Turkish colonies (Mesopotamia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) as mandates. Similar opacity reigns over the mandate system in the former German colonies, with France already planning to break the mandate rules by raising troops in its African mandates and Britain by trying to monopolize oil production in Mesopotamia.

Bulgaria, Finland, Luxembourg and Costa Rica are admitted to the League. Armenia is rejected, as are Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. French rep René Viviani explains that the Covenant calls for mutual defense and who would defend the Baltic states? No one, that’s who.

Calvin Coolidge agrees to sit in the Cabinet. No VP has ever done this before, and Harding had to pressure him into accepting. Also, Coolidge says he doesn’t need an official residence (there wasn’t one until 1974).

The Senate votes for a bill against strikes, which is brought up suddenly without notice when opponents are not on the floor. It outlaws writing or speaking or advising or persuading anyone to engage in a strike in a common carrier that disrupts commerce between states or with foreign countries or threatens strikebreakers.

A race riot in Independence, Kansas has resulted in 2 deaths and several wounded, possibly fatally. It started when a black man held up a grocer. Hundreds of white men then searched the houses of every black family in town looking for him, leading to gun fire from both races.

Notices signed “Ku Klux Klan” appear in Anniston, Alabama, threatening “Reds, undesirables and anonymous letter writers.”

The US orders the deporation of Soviet Russia’s unofficial ambassador to the US Ludwig Martens because he is affiliated with an organization seeking the overthrow of the US government by force and violence. That organization: the Russian government. No one is suggesting Martens did anything bad himself.

The Boston Election Department says women are going to have to re-register if they want to vote next year. This year they were only required to give their age and obviously the Election Department needs to know their height and weight as well.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The British Labour Party commission that investigated conditions in Ireland reports that the burning of Cork was definitely done by Crown forces deliberately targeting valuable properties according to a preconceived plan. Also, the fires were started after Black and Tans forced the Corkonians indoors.

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