Sunday, January 03, 2021

Today -100: January 3, 1921: Of whole foreign policies, balloons, harmonium taxes, poet-aviator-theatre-producers, reprisals, and moose & dynamite

“France starts the New Year with the resolution to make Germany pay and make Germany disarm. The whole foreign policy of her Government will be shaped by those considerations.”

Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, German chancellor 1909-17, dies.

In a story I haven’t bothered covering, a US Navy balloon went missing after leaving Long Island, with three on board, on December 13th. There’s been a lot of fuss since then. Surprisingly, it turns up, in Canada with the balloonists (I refuse to call them aeronauts) safe and sound in Moose Factory, Ontario (I believe these days Moose Factory just assembles the finished moose from parts manufactured in China. Globalization, eh?).

Parisians are now being taxed if they own a piano (or a harmonium or an organ; I guess harpsichords are tax-free) or keep a servant.

Italy refuses to let d’Annunzio leave Fiume at the head of his legionaries. He is expected to travel to Rome, give all his wartime medals to the king, then go to Paris to write his memoirs and become a theatrical producer (when has he ever been anything else?). This may all be bullshit.

An attack on a police patrol at Midleton, County Cork leads, as was the custom, to reprisals. The local brigade major issues a proclamation that houses near the ambush will be destroyed, “as the inhabitants were bound to have known of the ambush and attack and that they neglected to give any information either to the military or police authorities.” They’re given an hour before their houses were burned, and allowed to take valuables but not furniture. In the future, the proclamation says, anyone who doesn’t “do their utmost” to prevent attacks “will be liable to be confiscated or destroyed.” So this is an official policy of reprisal, the thing they used to say was just the actions of a few troops/Black and Tans/police.

Headline of the Day -100:  

“The mule was unhurt.”

The man not so much.

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