Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Today -100: April 25, 1918: Of gas, liberty cabbage, and hangmen

Headline of the Day -100: 


Sauerkraut-mongers, whose product has not been selling well of late, are thinking about changing the name to “liberty cabbage.”

Hans Kordess, a German immigrant living in White Plains, New York, failed to register as an enemy alien. When the authorities caught up to him, he explained that it was because in Germany he was a town hangman and it’s illegal there to take his picture, so he assumed that was the case here too. It’s not.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Today -100: April 24, 1918: Of conscription, quiet in the court, and gravel

Ireland’s one-day anti-conscription general strike passes off peacefully. It was observed almost 100% in Dublin and almost 0% in Northern Ireland.

The trial of 32 Indians in San Francisco for plotting revolution in India – I’m still not sure how that would violate US law – concludes with 29 convictions and 3 acquittals. Oh, also one defendant shoots another one to death in court and is then killed by a US marshal.

That German ultimatum to the Netherlands: they want to be able to send war material (and gravel) through Neth., using its canals and railroads. The US put Neth. in a bad position by seizing its ships and rejecting a plea not to use them in the war zone.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Today -100: April 23, 1918: Of lynchings, gravel, disloyalists, and barons red

Romania will absorb Bessarabia (which used to be part of Russia).

A black man, Berry Noyes, accused of shooting a sheriff trying to arrest him for violating prohibition, is lynched in Lexington, Tennessee. Hanged and his body burned at the stake.

Germany has been trying to force the Netherlands into the war and to that end has been ramping up a dispute about gravel. Germany is said to have issued an ultimatum.

Woodrow Wilson writes to Congress to oppose a proposed law to try spies and disloyalists by court-martial, saying it’s unnecessary, unconstitutional, and would put us on the level of the fucking Germans. Sen. Chamberlain (D-Oregon) will withdraw it tomorrow.

German pilot Capt. Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Baron, is shot down and killed, possibly by another plane, possibly by ground fire, possibly by Snoopy. The Baron is officially credited with 80 aerial victories.

Guatemala declares war on Germany and the Germanettes.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Today -100: April 22, 1918: Of conscription, dead generals, and horse

The British military takes over the Irish railroads, post office, and telephone, preparing to deal with the inevitable resistance to conscription. On Sunday (yesterday), Catholic priests and bishops administered the pledge (covenant, even) to resist conscription. Unions call a one-day general strike for tomorrow. Even saloons will close. And the electricity will be off in Dublin.

There are rumors that the anti-Bolshevik leaders Gen. Kornilov and Gen. Semyonov are dead. Yes on the former, hit by a shell, no on the latter.

French Minister of Provisions Victor Boret suggests saving on meat by having one meatless week per month. But you can eat horse, because it’s... classified as fruit, probably? Some of the horses being sold for food come from the British army.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Today -100: April 21, 1918: Of cops, priests, brutal acts of tyranny and oppression, and symphonies

The federal government takes over the massively corrupt Philadelphia police dept in order to clean up vice to protect soldiers and sailors from themselves.

Today (Sunday) Catholic priests in Ireland will administer a pledge to resist conscription “by the most effective means at their disposal,” and while the priests are calling only for non-violent resistance, that wording is carefully phrased so as not to preclude other kinds of resistance.

55 Irish Nationalist MPs meet and agree to boycott Parliament and remain in Ireland to organize resistance. Conscription, they say, imposed “on a nation without its assent constitutes one of the most brutal acts of tyranny and oppression of which any Government can be guilty.”

Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 (Classical) premiers in Petrograd, Prokofiev conducting.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Today -100: April 20, 1918: Of ground, disloyalists, enemy aliens and spies

Headline of the Day -100: 

“Yup, looks like dirt alright,” he says.

In Collinsville, Oklahoma, a mob hangs one Henry Rheimer, though not to death, for refusing orders from a Committee of Defense Council to fly a US flag every day for the rest of the war. Hang a flag or get hanged, I guess. Also, his son is a conscientious objector.

By the way, the article about that uses the word “disloyalist,” which, while the OED dates it to 1885, seems to be new to the US.

Under a new extension of the Espionage Act,  enemy alien women will now be treated equally (yay!) with enemy alien men (boo!). Required to register with the police, banned from docks, wharves, the District of Columbia, etc.

Headline of the Day -100:  

That’s according to Norman White of the Secret Service, testifying before the Senate Military Affairs Committee. Actually, 20,000 is just an estimate of the number of aliens who have failed to register. White also says Germans are selling heroin to soldiers and sailors. He complains that spies keep being released on bail and fleeing to Mexico, or just going to ground.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Today -100: April 19, 1918: What have I not done to preserve the world from these horrors?

Kaiser Wilhelm recently visited the front and remarked to an officer, “What have I not done to preserve the world from these horrors?” The officer’s reply is not recorded.

The British have succeeded in bringing together the Irish Nationalist Party, Sinn Fein, the Catholic bishops, and a bunch of other normally squabbling Irish factions – in opposition to conscription being introduced into Ireland. Nationalist MPs will join in the boycott of the Westminster Parliament already practiced by Sinn Feiners.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Today -100: April 18, 1918: Chuckling Germans are especially irritating

Count Stephan Burián is brought back as Austrian foreign minister.

Hackensack, NJ bans German-language newspapers “because they were a source of irritation, particularly when some German resident was observed to be chuckling at something he was reading.”

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Today -100: April 17, 1918: We have lost territory, but we have lost nothing vital

France executes Bolo Pacha for using German money to spread defeatist propaganda. He is said to have given a confession implicating former Prime Minister Joseph Caillaux, who was brought to Pacha’s cell for the two to confront each other, because the French justice system is weird.

The British government will introduce a Home Rule Bill for Ireland, hoping this will make the Irish more compliant with the imposition of conscription. Lloyd George threatens to resign if the House of Lords blocks the bill, which he hopes will “produce something like contentment in Ireland and good-will in America.”

Lloyd George says of the German offensive, “We have lost territory, but we have lost nothing vital.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

The German offensive is going strong, but the Allies evidently still feel confident enough to stop for a wank (or, as they were colloquially known, “whizz bangs”).

Some days this blog is a better source of history than other days.

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