Saturday, May 26, 2018

Today -100: May 26, 1918: Of insidious German plots and loafing

The British are claiming that the Germans planned an uprising in Ireland, to start around the time the spring offensive succeeded. They’d establish u-boat bases in Ireland and... oh c’mon, who’s falling for this crap?

Secretary of War Newton Baker says the anti-loafing order is not intended to bring all of labor under military control. A likely story. He also says that it’s not supposed to apply to people on strike.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Today -100: May 25, 1918: Of declarations of war, women’s suffrage, and wheat

Costa Rica declares war on the Central Powers (but won’t actually do any war stuff).  However the current CR government was put in place by a military coup last year and is not recognized by the US, so it won’t be represented at the Versailles peace talks and will technically still be at war until after World War II.

Canada extends the vote in federal elections to women of British or Canadian citizenship over 21, except in Quebec, where women won't have the vote until 1940. Also not included: women banned from voting by the provinces because of race (Chinese in Saskatchewan, all Asians in British Columbia until 1948), Inuits or First Nations women.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Thompson Restaurant (one of a chain) says it mostly serves sandwiches and pastries, so, you know, wheat, and it’s following all governmental guidelines.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Today -100: May 24, 1918: No Government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people

A Mrs. Rose Pastor Stokes is convicted in federal court for writing a letter to the Kansas City Star saying, “No Government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people, and I am for the people, while the Government is for the profiteers.” The judge instructed the jury: “Anything which lowers the morale of our forces, which serves to chill enthusiasm, extinguish confidence, and retard cooperation, may very well cause insubordination, disloyalty, or mutiny.”

The House of Representatives adopts a provision to force the president to ban the production of beer and wine.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin wants to come to the US to see Pres. Wilson but the British government is demanding that he submit any documents he intends to bring with him for their approval or they will refuse him a passport. He may have planned to demand that the future League of Nations deal with the Irish question.

The federal government plans to take the “anti-loafing” laws adopted by several states national, or at least ask all the states to force young men to do useful work or go into the military. Jobs the government considers not useful include race track attendants, clairvoyants, waiters, elevator operators, servants, and sales clerks. Secretary of War Newton Baker refuses to say whether professional baseball players will be spared.

A black man is lynched in Georgia.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Today -100: May 23, 1918: Stormy waves of imperialistic reaction are broken one against another

Rumors keep cropping up that deposed Russian Prime Minister Kerensky is about to arrive in New York, which keep not being true (although he is in fact in the process of sneaking out of Russia). Rich Russian exiles rent a brownstone for him on Riverside Drive. It sounds nice.

Lenin tells the Central Executive Committee, “The situation is that stormy waves of imperialistic reaction, which seem ready any moment to drown the little island of the Socialist Soviet Republic, are broken one against another.” But he warns that Russia may not remain safe, as the bourgeoisie of Germany, the US, Japan etc “have a common interest in dividing up the globe.” So Russia needs a proper army. This will come when the peasant soldiers return home and realize they now have something to defend.

France, Britain, Italy and the UK reject the German-Romanian peace deal.

Austria will try to divide (and conquer) the Czechs by creating 12 decentralized provinces in Bohemia to “take the first step towards the reestablishment of order in Bohemia.” The plan is to give the ethnic German minority electoral and other power way out of disproportion to its numbers. Austria may also later create a “German Bohemia.” This is not just about subjugating Bohemia, but rigging elections to ensure a German majority in the federal parliament (Reichsrath), where Czechs, Croats, Poles, Ruthenians etc are increasingly working together.

The Federation of Russian Associations of America, a recently formed group, will ask Pres. Wilson for permission to send Russian volunteers into Russia to fight Germany and, too, also, the Bolsheviks.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Enemy cotton is the worst kind of cotton.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Today -100: May 22, 1918: Of railroads, suppressing all things German, monarchies, and insidious German plots

The Wilson administration fires the presidents of all the railroads. It may rehire them (at a lower salary) as government employees, following government orders only.

Mrs. Oliver Cromwell Field, chair of the American Defense Society's Committee for Suppressing All Things German, fails to persuade NYC Mayor Hylan to ban all German newspapers.

Headline of the Day -100: 

New Finnish dictator Pehr Evind Svinhufvud says what the country really needs is a constitutional monarchy. He does not mean himself.

Austria bans correspondence in Hebrew.

The US government leaks that German agents are inciting Irish people in the US. Also Finns. And Lithuanians. And negroes. The US evidently provided the British with some of the intel they used in the mass arrest of Sinn Feiners this week.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Today -100: May 21, 1918: Of dictators, air mail, and cops

Headline of the Day -100: 

Pehr Evind Svinhufvud (pronounced exactly like it’s spelled, probably). With German backing. 

Yet another air mail mishap. A plane on the DC-Philly leg snaps a propeller when landing for gas, tries to resume anyway, develops engine trouble, flips upside down and is badly damaged on landing (the pilot is ok).

An NYPD patrolman who was originally born in Germany is suspended for refusing to put Red Cross placards on doorknobs during his patrol.

The NYPD will add 12 women police officers to the current 5. They’ll have guns and badges and everything. I don’t know if this is the first time women cops are given guns.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Today -100: May 20, 1918: Of regime changes, mass arrests, lynchings, and side deals

A curious NYT article says that certain unnamed people in Washington think Russia can be brought back into the war. Of course it would involve overthrowing the Bolsheviks first.

The Chief Secretary of Ireland, Edward Shortt, tells an American reporter that he didn’t have all those Sinn Fein leaders arrested because of home rule or conscription, it’s just about the German plot that totally exists to start a rebellion and maybe land some soldiers to help.

Four negroes are lynched, in separate incidents, in Valdosta, Georgia, in connection with the home invasion and murder of a white farmer.

The new Entente treaty may (or may not) include the deal made between Italy and the “Jugoslavs” to create a nation of Yugoslavia (yes, I’m going to have to figure out how I want to handle the J/Y thing) combining Serbia with the Croatian and Slovenian bits of the Austrian Empire.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Today -100: May 19, 1918: I am still optimistic enough to believe we shall have peace this year

German Chancellor Count von Hertling says “I am still optimistic enough to believe we shall have peace this year. I cherish firm confidence that further events in the west will bring us nearer a speedy end of the war.” SPOILER: He’s not wrong.

Germany will seize 3 million suits of clothes from anyone who has more than one, to supply war workers who are presently being supplied with paper clothes, which are proving less than satisfactory. Evening clothes and smoking jackets are exempt. The military will also be inspecting household fittings like doorknobs and sinks for copper, nickel, aluminum, etc that might be seized.

A new treaty has been signed between Italy and the remaining members of the Entente, replacing the secret 1915 treaty the Bolshevik government published, which contained a laundry list of territorial bribes to get Italy into the war. So Italy is giving up those demands, because at this stage that sort of thing just looks bad. Next year when the Treaty of Versailles is being negotiated, Italy will pretend this never happened and demand everything it thinks it has coming to it.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Today -100: May 18, 1918: Of treasonable communication, effeminization, peace leagues, air mail, and compulsory reproduction

Throughout Ireland, Sinn Fein leaders (De Valera, Markievicz, etc), including all SF’s MPs, are arrested, as was the custom, for “treasonable communication with the German enemy,” and transported to England. This follows the recent capture of a man put ashore by a German u-boat, which I guess is the hook for this particular made-up Insidious German Plot. The proclamation from Lord Lieutenant Viscount John French also talks up voluntary enlistments in the army, suggesting that the British might be backing off trying to enforce conscription in Ireland.

Austria is at risk of losing the war and at risk of losing its autonomy to German dictation, so what are Austrian newspapers worried about? The “effeminization” of the army by the recruitment of women clerks and other auxiliary services.

Unclear on the concept:

For the second time in the 3-day history of US air mail, a plane fails to make its appointed rounds. Since mechanical difficulties forced it down, keeping it from making its connection, the plane doing the Philadelphia-NY leg takes off with just 4½ pounds of mail. Another air mail plane, leaving from DC, is forced to land at the Philadelphia Country Club, scattering people on the field and hitting a fence, because the pilot ran out of fuel after getting really lost (using road maps is turning out to be unsatisfactory).

A German government commission into the declining birth rate recommends punishing people who haven’t married by 21 and couples who haven’t produced children.

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