Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater

Prologue to the FDR Years

(Chapter in From the New Deal to the Raw Deal by Janette Rainwater)

Copyrighted Material

December 10, 1776

Common Sense, a 50-page pamphlet, is published anonymously by Thomas Paine.
It calls for the "Inhabitants of America" to rise up in revolution against that "Royal Brute"— George III of England— and join those already fighting in Massachusetts for the independence of the thirteen colonies.

[It sold 500,000 copies in just a few months and has been credited as a primary influence in the creation of a colony-wide movement for independence. The population at that time has been estimated at 2.5 million. The full text, which includes an interesting concept for a constitution and selection of a president, can be read online:]

November 17, 1803

A Second Revolution in the Americas: A slave revolt on the island of Saint Domingue— begun in 1791 in response to the revolution in France— ends in the decisive battle at Le Cap.

[St. Domingue (now Haiti) was the richest of France's slave colonies worldwide. Slaves there were treated more brutally than elsewhere. They were used up so fast that one-third of every new shipment of slaves from West Africa was dead within three years. Kidder, p. 63. By 1791 most had been born in Africa and many had been soldiers or officers in African armies. It was due to the military genius of native-born Generals Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines that this slave revolt succeeded. But at a cost: Of the 465,000 slaves living in Haiti at the start of the revolt, 150,000 would die fighting for their freedom.

Did the young United States welcome this new revolution near its shores? Most decidedly not! Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, the owner of 150 slaves or more, feared that
"this combustion [might be] introduced among us" and hinted to the French minister in America that "nothing would be easier than to furnish your army and fleet with everything, and reduce Toussaint to starvation." Yet he had endorsed the recognition of the revolutionary French government in 1792, stating that every nation has the right "to govern itself internally under what forms it pleases, and to change those forms at its own will."

After revolutionary France abolished slavery in 1794, Toussaint changed sides to fight the Spanish and the English who had invaded Haiti. Within two years he was essentially the governor of Haiti, restoring agriculture, making trade agreements with England and the United States in 1799— Alexander Hamilton was a strong supporter of both Haiti and his fellow Caribbean— and restoring order.

In 1801 Toussaint overran the Spanish colony in Santo Domingo— the other two-thirds of Hispaniola— and abolished slavery there. This was against the orders of the new First Consul of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, who had ideas of reinstituting slavery and building an empire in the Americas. The troops he sent to France were soon defeated by Toussaint's forces. The peace treaty signed in May, 1802 included a "no return to slavery" provision. Toussaint, like Cincinnatus, retired to his farm, but less than three weeks later Napoleon had him and his family kidnapped and shipped to France. Toussaint was thrown into prison and was dead in less than a year of malnutrition, beatings and pneumonia.

This betrayal enraged Toussaint's troops and generals who proceeded to destroy a second army sent by Napoleon. The man who had conquered most of Europe was bested by the inhabitants of an area the size of Belgium or Maryland. On January 1, 1804, as the last French soldiers set sail for France, Dessalines proclaimed the country to be independent; it would be called Haiti, the name given to the whole island of Hispaniola by the long-ago exterminated Taino people. President Jefferson not only refused recognition but proposed an embargo of the infant nation which was joined by European nations and the Vatican.

The loss of Haiti wrecked the structure of France's worldwide trade and doomed Napoleon's plans to rebuild an overseas empire. Hence his decision to offer the Louisiana Territory to the United States for 60 million francs, or less than three cents an acre— the best real estate bargain since the Dutch acquired Manhattan Island for a string of beads.

On signing the treaty, Napoleon said, "This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride." Napoleon at the time was planning to invade Britain. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the young country; the acquisition of New Orleans— Jefferson's original request of Napoleon— guaranteed commerce down the Mississippi and a secure port for goods from the western territories of the United States. The Federalists opposed the Purchase, favoring closer relations with Britain and fearing war with Spain (who had only recemtly ceded the territory to France.) The House vote to fund the Purchase passed by a slim margin— 59-57— so the Federalists came close to scuttling the Purchase.

In 1825 France demanded reparations of 150 million francs (or about $21 billion in 2004 dollars) from Haiti to compensate the former slave owners for the loss of their "property"— the recently emancipated slaves! Haiti would be required to make one loan after another to pay off its "debt" to France, a major reason why this once-richest colony became the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere. Robinson, An Unbroken Agony, pp. 5-26; Wikipedia's "Louisiana Purchase"; James, The Black Jacobins.

May 24, 1844

Communication: The first telegraph message , using the dots and dashes of the Morse Code, goes forth from Washington to Baltimore, forty miles away: "What hath God wrought!"

[Actually the credit goes to Samuel Morse, painter turned inventor. By 1859 telegraph lines had been constructed throughout the eastern half of the United States, connecting city to city as far west as St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1869 lines were constructed to California, making obsolete the Pony Express mail route which took between ten to twelve days of fast horseback riding.]

August 27, 1859

OIL: "Colonel" Edwin L. Drake strikes oil on a farm in northwestern Pennsylvania.
[This particular farm had been chosen to lease because it was the site of an oil spring from which three-to-six gallons were harvested daily by a mopping-up procedure. Drake and the other investors of the Seneca Oil Company were convinced that much larger quantities could be obtained by drilling. They were proven right at 69 feet, and the Oil Age began.
The subsequent frenzy for oil leases around Titusville is fascinatingly described in the first chapter of the Tarbell book,

The original profits came from its use as an illuminant for lamps; the biggest profits were made by the oil refineries. By 1879 John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company owned or controlled 90% of America's oil refining capacity as a result of ruthless business practices that Ida M. Tarbell would describe in her 1904 History of the Standard Oil Company. Originally a series of articles in McClure's Magazine, the articles and book were the primary stimulus for the judicial anti-trust decisions that culminated in the 1911 order of the Supreme Court to dissolve the Standard Oil trust. Yergin, The Prize, pp. 22-47. ]

July 27, 1866

Communication: The laying of the underwater trans-Atlantic telegraph cable is completed. It goes from Valentia Harbor in Ireland to Heart's Content, Newfoundland—
a distance of 1686 nautical miles. The first message received in North America: "A treaty of peace has been signed between Austria and Prussia."

[The initial fee was pretty steep: $1 a letter, payable in gold. (A workman's monthly wage was about $20.) Twenty years later there were 107.000 miles of underwater cables linking all parts of the world. The original two trans-Atlantic cables had been replaced. And the price of a cable had dropped considerably. Communication satellites began replacing the cable in the 1960s.]

June 13, 1872

Oil - in Russia: A gusher is hit near Baku in what is now Azerbaijan.
[Within three months the area was producing an average of 2600 barrels a day. There had always been oil seepage. Two centuries ago oil had been exported to Iraq, Iran and India. Marco Polo, a late 13th century traveler, wrote: "Near the Georgian border there is a spring which gushes a stream of oil . . . . This oil is not good to eat; but it is good for burning and as a salve for men or camels affected with itch or scab. Men come from a long distance to fetch this oil." The Nobel brothers and the Rothschilds became the major producers after the tsar opened the field to foreign investors. By 1898 the Russian oil production exceeded that of the United States. Yergin, Prize, pp. 57-63, 132-133, 182-183; Wikipedia "Oil Industry in Azerbaijan".]

February 12, 1873

Coinage: President Grant signs the Coinage Act of 1873. With this act the United States joins Great Britain and most of the major nations in de-monetizing silver. The government will no longer buy silver or mint silver coins. Gold is now the only metal backing United States notes.

September 18, 1873

The Panic of 1873 begins with the failure of the Philadelphia banking firm, Jay Cooke & Company.

[After the Civil War Jay Cooke, who had been the principal financier for the Union, became involved and overextended in the development of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The Cooke Company bankruptcy set off a chain of bank failures; the New York Stock Exchange closed for ten days, beginning on the 20th. By December there were 10,000 homeless in the streets of New York City with 183,000 skilled workmen unemployed. During what became known as the Long Depression— which lasted until at least 1878— a quarter of the railroads failed, unemployment rose to 14% (and 25% in New York City), wages were cut, and housing prices collapsed. Banks started withholding loans, small businesses failed with their workers becoming transients. The word "tramp" derives from this era.

The Panic essentially started in Europe with the crash of the Vienna Stock Exchange on May 9th. A multitude of new lending institutions, encouraged by the governments of the major continental empires, had participated in a building boom with low mortgages given on shaky collateral. At the same time manufacturers and farmers were being undermined by what they called the "American Commercial Invasion"— cheaper wheat, kerosene, beef, and so on. The end of French reparation payments to Germany (from the Franco-Prussian War) caused a money shortage and banks became ever more cautious about inter-bank lending and extending credit.

Scott Reynolds Nelson, a scholar of 19th century history, sees more parallels between the economic crisis of 2008 and the Panic of 1873 than between 2008 and 1929. He cites the residential over-construction, the flood of foreclosures from poorly-secured mortgages, and the tightening of credit by banks. The 1929 Depression was caused, he believes, by "overlarge factory inventories, a stock-market crash, and Germany's inability to pay back war debts, which then led to continuing strain on British gold reserves." Bowers, The Tragic Era,, pp. 408-413; Nelson, "The Real Great Depression", Chronicle Review, October 17, 2008:

September 4, 1882

Electricity: Thomas Edison gives the order to turn on his Pearl Street power plant. Immediately the 4000 Edison light bulbs in the New York financial district glow.

[Several establishments within the half-mile radius of Pearl Street had previously been wired—underground— to participate in this uncertain experiment, among them the Morgan bank on Wall Street, the New York Times, the New York Herald, and the Henry Villard interests. No longer would electricity, so much brighter and so much safer than gas light, be a luxury for the wealthy with their private (and noisy) generators. Orders poured in for power stations to be built throughout the country. However, Edison stubbornly persisted with DC— direct current— which was efficient no more than a mile from the central station. Samuel Insull, arrived only the year before from England, was Edison's secretary and major factotum in this enterprise as in all of Edison's scattered empire of companies. Wasik, pp. 15-28.]

November 18, 1883

Time of Day: Four standard time zones are established for the continental United States-Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.
[Before that, there had been more than 300 local "sun times" in use. Railroad travelers going west or east needed to change their watches one minute for every twelve miles!
The increasing use of this faster transportation required that there be a standardization. The US Naval Observatory coordinated its signal with the Greenwich Observatory in England. A year later similar international time zones were established.]

May 1, 1886

Labor - May Day: Rallies are held throughout the United States to prepare workers for the upcoming general strike for the eight-hour working day.

[Between 300,000 and 500,000 workers laid down their tools. The largest contingent was in Chicago where 80,000 people, led by anarchist Albert Parsons with his wife and two children, marched up Michigan Avenue. The press had predicted there would be a riot; policemen, Pinkertons and deputized civilians, all armed with Winchester rifles watched the parade from rooftops along their path. Militia with Gatling guns were sequestered in nearby armories awaiting orders. Yet there was no riot and no disorder and Chicago's citizens breathed sighs of relief. Avrich, pp. 186-187.]

May 3, 1886

Labor - Haymarket Tragedy - The Prelude: The police arrive at the McCormick Reaper Works on Blue Island Avenue in Chicago after reports that the strikers had jostled and pushed the scabs back into the factory at quitting time. They march on the strikers with clubs flailing. Some strikers respond with a volley of stones ; the police pull out their revolvers and start firing. The strikers turn and flee, but not before several are wounded. At least two are fatally wounded.

[Cyrus McCormick, in retaliation for a successful strike in 1885 which had restored a 15% wage cut, had ordered new machinery that replaced the jobs of the skilled iron molders, the leaders of the 1885 strike. Then in February, 1886 he declared a lockout and replaced all of the union workers. Many of these men joined the International Working Peoples Association (IWPA) - the anarchist organization that had joined hands with the growing agitation for the eight-hour day.

The predecessor of the AFL had declared in May, 1884 that by May Day of 1886 "eight hours should constitute a legal day's labor." On May 1st more than 130,000 workers walked out in 13,000 work places throughout the United States. In Chicago 40,000 went on strike and 80,000 joined in the traditional May Day march up Michigan Avenue. But there was no riot and no disorder which came as a relief to the business interests, many of whom were expecting the worst.

The March 18th celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of the Paris Commune with its incendiary speeches —"the day draws nigh when the workers of the whole world will rise and forever destroy class rule and the robbery of man's birthright"— had frightened Chicago's citizens. They feared "another 1877" or "another Paris Commune." The Chicago newspapers had covered every utterance of the IWPA leaders, thus inspiring further panic among the citizenry.

General Sherman — of Civil War fame and the Commanding General of the United States Army under President Grant— warned the public: "There will soon come an armed contest between Capital and Labor. They will oppose each other not with words and arguments and ballots, but with shot and shell, gunpowder and cannon. The better classes are tired of the insane howlings of the lower strata, and they mean to stop them." Avrich, pp. 138-140, 176, 181-196.]

May 4, 1886

Labor - Haymarket Tragedy - The Bomb: The rally to protest the police actions of the day before, scheduled for the spacious Haymarket Square, is moved a block north to a smaller area on Desplaines Street, as so few people had shown up. Mayor Carter Harrison is in the audience as an observer. He listens to the speeches of August Spies and Alfred Parsons. He hears nothing provocative, the audience is peaceful and orderly, so he leaves and stops by the Desplaines Street police station, a block south of Haymarket Square.

He tells Inspector Bonfield that it was a "tame" meeting and suggests that he dismiss his reserves. Bonfield replies that he wishes to keep them until the meeting has concluded, as there have been rumors that the crowd might go on to the freight yard where a strike is in progress. Mayor Harrison checks in again at the rally just as Parsons is finishing his speech and then rides home on his white horse shortly after 10 PM. Samuel Fielden is the next and last speaker; many have departed including Parsons, his wife and children and Spies.

In the crowd are two police plainclothes men who hear Fielden say: "A million men hold all the property in this country. The law has no use for the other fifty-four millions. You have nothing more to do with the law except to lay hands on it and throttle it and throttle it until it makes its last kick. It turns your brothers out on the wayside and has degraded them until they have lost the last vestige of humanity . . ." Hearing these words, the detectives return to the police station. Inspector Bonfield immediately sends columns of police running on the double up the street to the meeting place. Seeing the police, many in the crowd rush to leave. When ordered to "immediately and peaceably" disperse, Fielden, who was just concluding his speech, protests: "But we are peaceable." The captain repeats his command and Fielden begins to step down from the speaker's wagon.

At this moment someone (who will never be identified) throws a bomb into the ranks of
the police. Several officers fall wounded and there are a few seconds of stunned silence.
The police draw their revolvers and, blinded by the smoke of the explosion, start firing randomly at the direction of the crowd. People start running in all directions with the maddened police pursuing them. Lieutenant James Bowler shouts to his men, "Fire and kill all that you can!" After three minutes the firing stops. The streets are filled with bodies; patrol wagons rush to the scene to take the unfortunate ones to the hospital or to the police station or to the morgue.

[There were sixty-seven known casualties. Of the seven policemen who died before the trial, only one— Officer Matthias J. Degan— was a victim of the bomb. The others were shot by their fellow officers. Most of the sixty wounded policemen had been hit by bullets; some by bomb fragments. The number of workers and other civilians who died and were wounded is unknown; neither the newspapers nor the police seemed to care to make a definitive count. A reporter for the Chicago Herald estimated that fifty or more civilians lay dead or wounded in the streets after the "wild carnage." Many of the wounded anarchists went to drug stores or friends for treatment.

Chicago awoke on Wednesday, May 5th to a feverish account of the night before.
The Chicago Daily Tribune's front page read:

A Dynamite Bomb Thrown into a Crowd of Policemen
It Explodes and Covers the Street with Dead and Mutilated Officers
A Storm of Bullets Follows
The Police Return Fire and Wound a Number of Rioters
Harrowing Scenes at the Desplaines Street Station
A Night of Terror

The front page was filled with further details, many as imaginary as the accusation that the crowd fired first and the police only retaliated. (Several impartial observers would testify at the trial-to no avail-that there had been no firing from the crowd.) Fielden was alleged to have said, when asked to end the meeting: "Here come the bloodhounds. You do your duty and I'll do mine."

The newspapers assumed that this was a planned insurrection by the anarchists and most of Chicago agreed. The people were in a panic and demanded action. Most believed that the speakers at the Haymarket and "other labor agitators" were responsible for the dreadful event. There were cries of "Hang them first and try them afterwards." Mother Jones would later remark that "the city went insane and the newspapers did everything to keep it like a madhouse."

The resulting Red Scare was not confined to Chicago. The New York Times headlined its account of the bomb as "Anarchy's Red Hand." The Louisville Courier-Journal wanted all of the anarchists to be "strung up" and "the sooner, the better." The St. Louis Globe-Democrat agreed: "There are no good anarchists except dead anarchists."

The Chicago police went on a Red hunt, raiding homes and workplaces without a warrant and arresting all whom they suspected of either throwing the bomb or agitating for its use. The entire staff of the Arbeiter-Zeitung (Spies' newspaper) was arrested. Albert Parsons' wife was arrested several times and then released and followed, as Parsons had run for safety after he heard the news of the bombing, fearing one of those pre-trial hangings.

The bomb thrower was never identified. Most people assumed (and probably correctly) that he was an anarchist. However, none of the eight who finally stood trial knew who he was. One, Albert Parsons, was convinced that the bomber was a Pinkerton or someone with an interest in thwarting the progress being made toward an eight-hour day. Avrich, pp. 197-214; Green, pp. 5-14.]

May 10, 1886

The Rights of Corporations: In a preface to Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Morrison R. Waite remarks that the Court is of the opinion that corporations enjoy the same rights under the Fourteenth Amendment as do "natural persons."

[Subsequent decisions invoking the "due process" clause of that amendment have contributed to the growth and power of corporations in America, especially in their dealings with employees, unions, state legislatures and consumers. A 1978 decision, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, extended the First Amendment right of free speech to corporations, allowing them to spend money to influence elections. Hall, p. 755.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: On January 31, 2010 the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision would overturn those provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act (or Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) that had attempted to prohibit corporations and unions from "electioneering communications" that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. This opened the way for corporations and wealthy individuals to pour money anonymously into Super-PACs and thus influence election results.]

June 21, 1886

Labor - The Haymarket Tragedy - The Trial: Jury selection begins for the eight defendants selected from the eleven indicted by the Grand Jury that had examined the credentials of the several dozen people arrested by the police or suggested by the eager-to-help newspapers. They are: August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, Oscar Neebe, Adolf Fischer, Louis Lingg, George Engel and Albert Parsons. The last defendant makes a surprise entry to the courtroom, voluntarily surrenders and is added to the list of defendants. The Honorable Joseph E. Gary of the Superior Court presides.

[The trial was one of the worst miscarriages of justice in American history, with the judge exhibiting his bias at every opportunity. Since no evidence could be found linking any of the defendants to the bomb, the men were prosecuted for their writings and speeches which had so inflamed the unknown bomb-thrower that he was compelled to commit this act of murder. The exhibits of posters, speeches and bloody uniforms of the dead policemen went on for two months with the intent, of course, of arousing passion in the minds of the jury.

For any wavering juryman uncomfortable with the lack of connection between the bomber and the men on trial, Judge Gary undertook to make an unprecedented ruling: If the defendants "by print or speech advised, or encouraged the commission of murder, without designating time, place or occasion at which it should be done, and in pursuance of, and induced by such advice and encouragement, murder was committed, then all such conspirators are guilty of such murder, whether the person who perpetrated such murder can be identified or not."

The jury, who had all expressed prejudice against the defendants before empanelment, found all eight of the defendants to be guilty. Death by hanging was the sentence for all but Neebe, who was given fifteen years in the penitentiary.

During the year period of the appeal public opinion softened against the convicted anarchists who had been tried for their opinions rather than their actions. The fight for a new trial or a pardon was led by William Dean Howells, possibly the most prominent author and literary critic of the last quarter of the century. Governor Oglesby commuted the sentences of two of the men scheduled for the scaffold to life imprisonment; the other five had not made that personal appeal, so by law his hands were tied. One of the men, Lingg, managed to commit suicide. But on November 11, 1887 Parsons, Spies, Fischer and Engel were hung together— dying, not from broken necks, but of slow strangulation.

Nearly seven years later a second governor of Illinois, John Peter Altgeld, would unconditionally pardon the three survivors— Neebe, Fielden and Schwab— and deliver a harsh indictment of Judge Gary. He had, said Altgeld, conducted the trial with "malicious ferocity," had compelled the eight men to be tried together, and had permitted the state's attorney to introduce material "entirely foreign" to the case. As for Gary's ruling that it was not necessary to have the bomb-thrower identified or to demonstrate that his action had been influenced by the defendants, he said: " In all the centuries during which government has been maintained among men, and crime has been punished, no judge in a civilized country has ever laid down such a rule." Avrich, pp. 260-427.]

September 4, 1888

Photography:George Eastman registers the trademark, Kodak. [His company began marketing the first roll-film camera and the amateur photography craze was born, especially after the "Brownie" box camera was introduced in 1900. The cameras were inexpensive; the Eastman Kodak Company made its profits on the film cartridges. The company would be one of the Dow-Jones index companies from 1930-2004.

In 1976 Eastman Kodak sold 90% of the photographic film in the US and 85% of the cameras. One of their engineers invented the digital camera in 1975, but the company failed to exploit this innovation, fearing that it would harm the sales of their main product line.
In January 2012 the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. Wikipedia.

July 2, 1890

Slavery: Seventeen nations, including the United States sign the Brussels Conference Act of 1890 which seeks to end the "Negro Slave Trade by land as well as by sea" in Africa with special attention to the basin of the Congo. Article 8 requires signatories to embargo firearms and ammunition to the region from the Sahara Desert to South Africa.

[The Senate in executive session ratified the act in January, 1892. This is the first measure for arms control undertaken by the United States. Wiltz, p. 4.]

May 26, 1896

Economics - Dow Jones Industrial Average: Charles Dow announces the foundation of a new stock index: the average of the stock prices of twelve American publicly owned and traded industrial corporations. (The only survivor in the current thirty stocks is General Electric.) The initial average is 40.94; it would plummet to 28.48 later in the year in the Panic of 1896. (The earlier Dow Jones Averages (1884) surveyed nine railroads and two industrial companies and appeared in a daily bulletin that was the precursor of the Wall Street Journal.)

[In September, 1928 the "Dow," as it became known familiarly, was enlarged to include thirty corporations, now purely industrial. From a high of 381.17 on September 3, 1929 the average crashed to its Great Depression low of 41.22 on July 8, 1932. The decade of the 1940s saw a 39% in increase in Dow values from 148 to 206.

The 1950s registered a 200% increase despite the recessions of 1953 and 1958, ending at 616. The Dow would gain only 30% in the '60s, possibly due to foreign concerns such as the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the Vietnam War. It ended the decade at 800.

The Dow went all over the map in the Seventies. There was a brief flirtation with the 1000 mark in November, 1972, then the '73-'74 Stock Market Crash in which the Dow briefly lost 48% of its value, ending the decade with a value of 838, a gain of only 5%. In the Eighties the Dow enjoyed a rise of 228%, ending at 2,753 despite several major corrections : Black Monday (October 19, 1987) when the average fell nearly 23%, possibly due to program trading, and the Mini-Crash of October 13, 1989— a fall of 7%— for which the collapse of junk bonds was thought to be responsible.

The Nineties saw a rapid escalation in the Dow, reaching the 5000 mark in 1995, 6000 in 1996 and in 1997— 7000 in February and 8000 in July. Despite a Mini-Crash in October and a loss of over 7%, the Dow ended the decade at 11,497, a gain of 315%. The new century began with a presidential election decided by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision and a bear market reflecting public uncertainty.

The first day of trading after the attack on the World Center towers (9-11-2001) saw the largest one-day drop in the Dow in its history to that date: there was a loss of 1370 points in the week following the attack, or 14.3%. However, by the end of the year the Dow had climbed above the 10,000 level.

After the doldrums of 2002-2003 when the Dow vacillated in the 7000-9000 range, in 2006 the Dow experienced weekly and monthly highs and closed above the 12,000 level on October 19th, the anniversary of Black Monday in 1987. The highest Dow closing to date— 14,164.53— was achieved on October 9, 2007. Financial pundits were predicting further rapid advances in the market.

But they were proven quite wrong on September 15, 2008 when Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This and the record-high prices for oil brought about a steady see-saw decline of the Dow which closed at 6,547.05 on March 9. 2009. The Dow lost 20% of its value in only six weeks. The market rallied toward the end of 2009, settling in around the 10,000 level. It closed the decade at 10,428, a loss of a little over 9%.

The decade of the 2010s has seen some increases. On March 22, 2010 it celebrated the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with a close of 10,785.89. On April 26th it closed at 11,205.03, its highest since September 2008. On July 12, 2010 its closing value was 10216.27.

In the eyes of the general public the Dow has been a reliable recorder of the growth of the American economy and an equally reliable thermometer of its health. However, the composition of the group has hardly been constant. There has been a considerable reshuffling of constituent stocks even though the number has remained stabilized at thirty. For example, in 1999 Goodyear and Chevron got their pink slips to make room for Microsoft and Intel. Chevron was restored in 2008 along with the addition of Bank of America when Altria Group and Honeywell got the boot.

When there are mergers or stock splits, the index will be recalculated with a "Dow divisor" which seems to get more complicated with the passage of time. (See July 31, 1914 for a misconception produced by a recalculation.) Its description as an index of industrial corporations has been a misnomer for many years with the addition of banking, communication, entertainment and computer technology companies.

Also the Dow is a price-weighted average: higher-priced stocks have more influence on the Dow than its lower-priced constituents, e.g. IBM and 3M vs. Alcoa and Bank of America.
No weight is given to the relative industry size and market capitalization of the selected stocks. Many believe that a float-adjusted-market-value index such as Standard and Poor 500 would be a better barometer of the stock market. Or the Wilshire 5000 which includes all US stocks. Wikipedia

January 1, 1901

Oil - in Texas: Some wildcatters hit a gusher at Spindletop, near Beaumont. Yergin, Prize, pp. 82-92.

January 29, 1901

African-American Issues: Representative George Henry White (R-NC), the last former slave to serve in Congress-and since 1898 the only African-American in the House of Representatives-makes his farewell speech to the House: "This is perhaps the Negroes' temporary farewell to the American Congress; but let me say; Phoenix-like he will rise up some day and come again. These parting words are in behalf of an outraged, heart-broken bruised and bleeding, but God-fearing people, faithful, industrious, loyal, rising people - full of potential force."

[During his three terms in Congress he campaigned against all forms of discrimination and particularly urged the enforcement of the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment that would reduce the representation in the House of Representatives of states that denied African-Americans of the right to vote. Earlier in January White had introduced a bill that would make the lynching of an American citizen a federal crime. Any person participating in a lynching should be convicted of treason. This first anti-lynching bill was easily defeated.

White once responded to his white colleagues: "It is easy for these gentlemen to taunt us with our inferiority, at the same time not mentioning the cause of this inferiority. It is rather hard to be accused of shiftlessness and idleness when the accuser closes the avenue of labour and industrial pursuits to us. It is hardly fair to accuse us of ignorance when it was made a crime under the former order of things to learn enough about letters to even read the Word of God."

September 6, 1901

Assassination of a President: President William McKinley is leaving the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, shaking hands with bystanders, when an anarchist waves aside the proffered hand and shoots him twice point-blank. The assassin, Leon Czolgosz, allegedly yells: "I killed President McKinley because I done my duty. . . . I am an anarchist." Watson, p. 26

[Czolgosz was a loner who was inspired by the assassination of Italian King Umberto I on July 29, 1900. The anarchist Gaetano Bresci had said that he had to take matters into his own hands for the sake of the common man. Czolgosz decided to replicate the deed, even buying the same brand of revolver that Bresci had used. He was rejected by an anarchist group that he attempted to join; they were alarmed by his ravings and thought him to be an agent provocateur.

McKinley died on the 14th— from gangrene from an unremoved bullet— and was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. (Roosevelt, the very popular governor of New York had been propelled into the vice-presidential nomination by New York party bosses who wanted him out of the political scene. The unintended consequence, of course, was the assassination of McKinley which elevated TR to the presidency.) Blackmon, p. 158.
The assassin was tried and found guilty on September 23rd and electrocuted on October 29. Wikipedia.]

June 4, 1903

Involuntary Servitude and Slavery, aka Peonage: President Theodore Roosevelt speaks in Springfield in front of a monument to Abraham Lincoln. Among the audience is
an all-black company of the Illinois National Guard. TR: "It seems to me eminently fitting that the guard around the tomb of Lincoln should be composed of colored soldiers. . . . A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards." Blackmon, pp. 169-170.

[This speech was immediately condensed by the press into "a square deal for the negro" which profoundly irritated those white southerners who felt that the Negro was already getting a fair deal. Radical racists like Senator Ben "Pitchfork" Tillman of South Carolina were further inflamed. (Tillman had said in 1901 after Booker T. Washington dined at the White House with Roosevelt and his family, "The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that nigger will necessitate our killing a thousand niggers in the South before they will learn their place again." A Memphis newspaper had described the dinner invitation as the "most damnable outrage which has ever been perpetrated by any citizen of the United States.") Morris, Theodore Rex, pp. 16-17.

The speech gave hope to African-Americans who were beginning to realize that this accidental president, Roosevelt, was a different sort of Republican from McKinley and his predecessors. Indeed, as he was speaking, a federal grand jury in Montgomery, Alabama was examining a number of peonage cases in Tallapoosa and Coosa Counties. Presiding over the grand jury was a former Democratic governor of Alabama and a Confederate War hero, Thomas Goode Jones— one of Roosevelt's first appointments.

He was wholeheartedly supported by the US Attorney Warren S. Reese, Jr. who sent scores of investigators to examine claims. He was astonished and revolted by their reports.
He wrote to the Attorney General that he had "lived in this state my entire thirty-seven years and I never comprehended until now the extent of the present method of slavery through this present peonage system."

The peonage system throughout the 'New South' worked like this: A black man would be arrested for some trivial (and possibly fabricated) offense, such as vagrancy, leaving work without permission, boarding a train without a ticket, etc. He would be tried and convicted by the justice of the peace, a man who was usually in the pay of employers who needed laborers. The Negro's fine and court cost would be more than he could pay, so he was at risk of being shipped off with convicts to work in the Birmingham coal mines where the work was brutal and the mortality rate very high.

A friendly face would appear and offer to pay the black man's debt in exchange for a contract to work for this benefactor until his wages paid off his debt. He would then be worked from pre-dawn to post-sunset, routinely beaten by a whipping boss, and kept incarcerated on the plantation— or sawmill or turpentine farm or mine— often in chains.
If the Negro tried to run away, he would be chased by dogs and tortured after capture. Sinclair's Aftermath of Slavery (1905) and Daniel's The Shadow of Slavery (1972) contain many case histories of barbaric excesses— the rack, waterboarding, fatal flogging.

The Negro and his contract might be sold to another employer; there would be no communication with family and friends who often did not know where the man was working. (Or woman. Black women were held in peonage for domestic labor and were sexually abused just as in the old days.) The Negro would usually be re-arrested for some non-existent offense before his contract was finished, thus insuring a constant supply of labor for the employer and perpetual enslavement for the Negro. Pre-war slaves had received better treatment from their masters since they were property and represented an economic investment of the slaveholder. They got better food and more clothing than these quasi-slaves of the 'New South' who were often semi-starved and sometimes worked naked.

By 1901 all the southern states had made new constitutions or enacted new laws which prevented all but a handful of Negroes from voting. Sinclair, pp. 215-257; Daniel, pp. 43-109; Blackmon, pp. 175-

In mid-July the grand jury returned 99 indictments against 18 individuals.
The Montgomery Advertiser chortled that the grand jury had found peonage "in but two counties and involving only eighteen persons" in an attempt to refute the graphic attacks from the North— The New York Evening Post, the Outlook, Atlantic Monthly, and The Nation— whose readers were demanding that the federal government ensure justice for black people in the South. Therefore, Judge Jones wasted no time in empanelling juries to try the three categories indicted: the peonmasters, their whipping bosses, and the phony justices of the peace who delivered labor on demand. (According to Freeman, peonage was reported in every county in Alabama in this period and one-third of the farmers in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi used forced labor. Freeman, p. 31.)

The first case to be tried was that of John W. Pace, the notorious contractor for convict labor in Tallapoosa County. He topped the list with 36 indictments. He outwitted Judge Jones by pleading guilty to eleven counts of peonage but securing a writ of error which prevented the whole story being disclosed in open court and allowing for a future trial. (His lawyers would manage to delay the case for several years until Pace was pardoned by President Roosevelt in April, 1906 on a plea of old age and poor health. He spent not one day in jail and paid no fines.)

The second case was that of the two Cosbys, uncle and nephew, neighbors of John Pace with a smaller farm. They traded peons back and forth with John Pace. The two men pled guilty and were sentenced to serve a year and a day in the Atlanta penitentiary. Sawmill operator Fletch Turner was the third case. He pled "not guilty" and maintained that his laborers had volunteered to work for him rather than serving a jail sentence. Alabama's secretary of state, Thomas Heflin, served as a character witness and challenged the jury: "Are you going to brand Fletch Turner as a convict on such testimony from three negroes and one sorry white man?" Judge Jones in his instructions to the jury essentially told them to vote for conviction. The jury debated for several days, but ended with a hung jury, 7-5 for conviction. Judge Jones reprimanded the jury for declining to enforce the law "for no other reason than the base one that the defendant was a white man and the victim of the law he violated is a negro boy."

Heflin then took the occasion of a Sons of the Confederacy picnic to lambaste both the Northern press and Judge Jones, a vendetta which he continued throughout the summer. So when Turner pled guilty in a second trial, his lawyer explained that Turner was technically guilty of peonage, but did not understand the law when he broke it. Judge Jones fined Turner $1000, the lowest sentence allowed. In the many cases that followed, the men on trial would plead guilty, Judge Jones would instruct them about the peonage law, the men would promise to reform, and the judge would fine them. Frequently the fines were never paid, but Judge Jones seemed to believe that, due to his efforts, peonage was declining in Alabama. He was also responsible for securing, in a roundabout way, a presidential pardon for the Cosbys (in September 1903) since their three months in the penitentiary was a much harsher punishment then the fines that were subsequently levied for comparable offenses. Daniel, pp. 49-64.

And so ended what Pete Daniel has described as an "experiment in leniency." Peonage was not over in Alabama. The most egregious cases occurred in the larger plantations in the Black Belt, south of Tallapoosa and Coosa counties. The newly-minted history-sociology PhD from Harvard, Dr. W.E. B. Du Bois, secured a grant from the US Bureau of Labor to do a statistical study of peonage and sharecropping practices in Lowndes County, the Alabama county with the highest percentage of blacks. Scores of investigators, questionnaires in hand, went cabin to cabin throughout the county in the summer of 1906. Some were "shot at and run out of one corner of the county."

The report was devastating in its depiction of the extent of the problem and the brutalities involved. After the September race riot in Atlanta the Labor Department destroyed the report as it "touched on political matters." Du Bois wrote later in life that he considered the research the most important one he had ever done. In 1911 he wrote a novel, The Quest of the Silver Fleece, which used as its setting the economic, sociological and psychological insights of his destroyed and never-published research. (The silver fleece was cotton.) Blackmon, pp. 270-277.]

June 16, 1903

The Ford Motor Company is incorporated by 40-year-old Henry Ford with $28,000 capitalization from twelve investors. At this time there were about 8000 cars in the United States and only 144 miles of paved roads. His Model T would sell for $400 and his workers would make about $400 a year. Wasik, p. 88.

March 28, 1904

Involuntary Servitude and Slavery: William G. Brantley, a congressman from Georgia 1897-1913, argues on the floor of Congress that "Congress has never passed a law providing punishment for slavery or for involuntary servitude . . ." Daniel, pp. 12-14.

September 5, 1905

The Treaty of Portsmouth, engineered by Theodore Roosevelt, ends the Russo-Japanese War. The victorious Japanese, who had startled and somewhat frightened the rest of the world by their definitive besting of a European power, are awarded the southern half of Sakhalin Island and given Korea as a protectorate.

[Japan had earlier been favored by the US and Great Britain as a way to contain Russian expansion. (The tsarist troops— sent to quell the Boxer Rebellion in 1900— had remained in Manchuria.) Yet the treaty denied the Japanese both reparations from Russia and the right to annex southern Manchuria. They felt betrayed by Roosevelt and anti-American riots broke out in several cities. Five years later Japan annexed Korea, renamed it "Chosen," and began a repressive colonization which continued for 40 years. Whelan, Drawing the Line, pp. 16-17.]

November 22, 1905

OIL - in Oklahoma: A gusher is struck at Glenn Pool, near Tulsa, blowing out 75 barrels of oil a day. [It proved to be the richest oil field in the world up to that time, producing oil that was light and sweet and ready for the refinery, unlike the cruder oil of Texas' Spindletop. Oklahoma would be the largest producer of oil of any state until Texas resumed the #1 position in 1928. Yergin, Prize, pp. 87, 90, 94.]

September 22, 1906

Race Riot in Atlanta, Georgia: A newspaper account of an alleged assault on four white women sparks the beginning of a four- day rampage by a white mob throughout the black community. Between 25 and 40 African-Americans (and two white people) are killed; hundreds of African-Americans are injured. Thousands are driven from their homes. Many leave Atlanta and never return. Cone, p. 107.

January 27, 1908

Labor - Adair v. United States: The Supreme Court, 7-2, invalidates the Erdman Act of 1898 which prohibited "yellow-dog contracts"— agreements made as a condition of employment that the worker will not join a unio— and the blacklisting or discharge of employees for union activity. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in dissent says that the legislature is the proper arbiter of public policy and should be allowed to limit freedom of contract. Hall, Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 8.

[In 1917 the Supreme Court went further. With Hitchman Coal and Coke Co. v. Mitchell it became virtually illegal for a union to attempt to organize within a company without the consent of the employer. As a consequence, companies successfully appealed to the courts for legal injunctions against any enterprising union. The yellow-dog contract would remain as a major weapon against labor until the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 outlawed the practice. [See entry for March 23, 1932.] In 1933 the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and its clause 7(a) plus the industry codes agreed to by the producers further strengthened the unions. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 26-27.

However, an amendment to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, passed over President Truman's veto, would allow states to pass so-called "right-to-work" laws which would make it illegal for a company and a union to agree to hire only union labor; also, a union may not call a strike to prevent non-union workers from being hired. Currently there is a revival of the yellow-dog contract under another name, "mandatory arbitration" also called "front door contracts," under which employees forfeit their rights to due process in a court of law in return for getting a job.]

May 25, 1908

Oil - in Persia: Just as Burmah Oil is about to give up its explorations in Persia, a 75-foot gusher is struck at Masjid-i-Suleiman in an area called the Plain of Oil that is far removed from Tehran or any habitation.

[A previous strike at Chiah Surkh, closer to Baghdad than Tehran, had been quickly exhausted. It had taken seven years minus two days for the struggling company to reap any real reward from the Shah's concession. In 1909 Burmah Oil was incorporated as Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Glasgow; all shares were snapped up in less than an hour. Black, Banking on Baghdad, pp. 125-126; Yergin, The Prize , pp. 134-149.]

February 12, 1909

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, is founded in New York City by a group of 60 white and black activists who are answering "The Call" to form an organization that would fight for the end of discrimination and for civil and political rights for African-Americans. 1

[The race riot that had erupted the year before in Springfield, Illinois— where Abraham Lincoln practiced law— was the impetus for "The Call." The date chosen for the initial gathering was the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. Ida Wells-Barnett, Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, Dr. Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, and William English Walling were prominent among those issuing "The Call." Dr. DuBois left his teaching post in Atlanta to become the first editor of NAACP's magazine, The Crisis.

Some of the organization's earliest actions: legal support for blacks unjustly convicted of murders, protest against President Wilson's segregation in the federal government, and protest against the film, The Birth of a Nation. The legal arm of the NAACP successfully challenged the legality of the all-white primary (1944), segregation in interstate busing (1946), and segregation in public education (1954).]

1—The group was initially called the National Negro Committee. The name was changed to NAACP in 1910. Seven people died in the Springfield race riot; forty homes and twenty-four businesses were destroyed. Wikipedia.


Oil - in Mexico: A major strike—110,000 barrels a day— is made at Potrero de Llano
No. 4 near Tampico on Mexico's Gulf coast. [Other wells were successfully drilled in the area, soon to be known as the "Golden Lane." By 1921 Mexico was the second largest oil producer in the world, producing 193 million barrels a year. Yergin, Prize, pp. 229-233.]

March 25, 1911

Labor: The ninth floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory bursts into flames. Like most factories in New York City, Triangle has no automatic sprinklers, no fireproof door, and no firewall. The fire escape is poorly designed and quickly collapses from the weight of so many terrified workers. One of the two exit doors from the work space is locked. The owners plus a few workers escape up a stairway to the roof, others escape by elevator, but 146 workers— mostly young women, typically Jewish and Italian immigrants working for paltry wages— are trapped inside. Some die from the fire, others jump from windows to their death. A young Frances Perkins, already active in workers' rights as the executive secretary of the Consumers League, is among those watching the jumpers. (She was later Franklin Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor.)

[Public outrage was immediate; the city became swathed in black bunting; many people wore black mourning clothing. The funeral four days later attracted 350,000 marchers while a quarter of a million lined the route and watched in silence.

Eighteen months earlier twenty thousand shirtwaist workers had gone on strike for higher wages, a 52-hour work week, recognition of their newly-formed union, and a closed shop. The smaller factory owners caved into all demands within 48 hours. The owners of the Triangle factory organized the owners of the hundred largest factories to hang tight.
They employed thugs to waylay individual strikers and beat them up. They employed strikebreakers; when there were confrontations on the picket line, Tammany Hall policemen arrived and arrested the strikers. Society women from the Women's Trade Union League came to court to pay fines for the strikers. This practice sufficiently enraged a few magistrates that they started sending teen-aged waist workers to the workhouse to do hard labor.

This abuse enlisted the support of wealthy socialites such as Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont and Anne Morgan, the youngest daughter of America's foremost capitalist, J. P. Morgan, who raised money to support the strikers. The strike was front page news, with Pulitzer's World especially covering the strike's progress after the first girls were sent to the workhouse. Ironically, this heavyweight support splintered the movement: some of the socialist leaders felt they were patronized and exploited by these wealthy women who were at least as interested in women's suffrage. Some of the wealthy leaders were disturbed by the "fanatical doctrines of socialism"— Anne Morgan's phrase— that they heard expounded at a Carnegie Hall meeting. They opposed the demand for a closed shop and considered organizing a rival waist workers union. The strike ended after two months with an increase in wages and a shorter work week, but no closed shop. No one had thought to include worker safety as one of the bargaining conditions in the strike.

The Triangle Fire became the catalyst for incremental legislation for workers' safety leading up to the establishment of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in the Department of Labor in 1970. The Triangle factory owners— Max Blanck and Isaac Harris— were charged with six counts of manslaughter, based primarily on the exit door that was kept locked to guard against petty theft by the workers. They hired the best trial lawyer of the time, Max Steuer, Tammany Hall's favorite lawyer, who was able to secure their acquittal and also demolish the civil suits from relatives of Triangle Fire victims. Von Drehle, Triangle.]

May 15, 1911

Standard Oil Co. of NJ v. United States: The Supreme Court upholds the decision of the Eighth Circuit Court and orders the dissolution of the Standard Oil Company under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The company is given six months to complete the breakup- rather than the 30 days of the lower court's decision- and also allowed to continue doing business during the transition period.

[In the unanimous opinion written by Justice Edward D. White, the anti-trust statute was interpreted to apply only to "unreasonable" restraints of trade, unlike previous court decisions in the cases of railroads. This amendment of the law gave "big business" lots of wiggle room. Progressives such as Senator LaFollette were disheartened by the new language; trust-buster Senator William Kenyon (R-Iowa) called it a "dangerous decision." Standard Oil's business practices were deemed to be unreasonable. Hall, pp.818-819; New York Times, May 16, 1911.]

November 5, 1912

Presidential Election: Democrat Woodrow Wilson is elected thanks to a major split in the Republican Party.

[Former President Teddy Roosevelt(1901-1909) had unsuccessfully contested the incumbent (and conservative) president, William Howard Taft, in a contentious convention in June. Declaring fraud, TR led his delegates out of the convention and formed the Progressive Bull Moose Party. With 48 states now voting (including the newly admitted Arizona and New Mexico) the results were: Wilson 42% Roosevelt 27% Taft 23% Debs 6%.

Socialist Party Eugene Debs was running for president for the fourth time. The party elected about a thousand state legislators and city officials including the mayors of Butte, Montana, Berkeley, California, Flint, Michigan, Reading, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin as well as a congressman from Wisconsin, Victor Berger. Guttenplan, p. 42.]

December 23, 1913

How "the Fed" got born: President Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act, creating the Federal Reserve System. The bill had passed the House 282-60 and the Senate, 43-23.
It had been sold to the public as a measure that would prevent panics, benefit commerce, provide funding for industrial projects and lower interest rates.

[The bill was a cosmetic re-working of the "Aldrich Bill" sponsored by the wealthy senator from Rhode Island. This creation of a central bank, essentially a cartel of the leading New York banks, was designed to block the competition from the country's newer banks and get control of the reserves of all the banks, thereby curbing the activities of the more reckless ones.

The plan was hatched at a super-secret meeting in November, 1910 at J. P. Morgan's sumptuous retreat on Jekyll Island, Georgia.The seven men attending arrived separately at a New Jersey railroad station where they boarded Nelson Aldrich's private railroad car. First names only were used so that no servants or reporters could become aware of the concentration of wealth and power in this car and on the island. Together the seven men represented institutions controlling one-fourth of the world's wealth.

They were:

• Senator Nelson Aldrich- Republican "whip," business associate of J.P. Morgan,
• Abraham Piatt Andrew- Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury,

• Frank A. Vanderlip- National City Bank, Kuhn, Loeb & Company,
• William Rockefeller,
• Henry P. Davison- senior partner of J.P. Morgan Company,
• Charles D. Norton- President of the Morgan First National Bank of New York,
• Benjamin Strong- head of Morgan's Bankers Trust Company, and
• Paul Warburg- partner in Kuhn, Loeb, representative of the Rothschild banking empire in Europe and brother of Max Warburg, head of the Warburg banking consortium in Germany and the Netherlands.

Warburg was the intellectual author of the Aldrich Bill, using Germany's Reichsbank as his model.

President Taft, definitely a friend of Big Business, refused to support the bill as written; he wanted the government to have more control. Therefore the cartel advocates decided to sabotage his re-election. Some Morgan deputies persuaded Teddy Roosevelt to run against Taft on the "Bull Moose" ticket, thus assuring Wilson's election in the three-man race.
(The race was a most deceptive one. The Money Trust funneled donations to all three candidates; TR and Wilson both denounced the Aldrich Currency Bill.)

Colonel Edward House, the Karl Rove of Wilson's administration and a close associate of Morgan and Warburg, guided the renamed legislation to congressional passage and presidential signature. As Warburg would write in 1930: "While technically and legally the Federal Reserve note is an obligation of the United States Government, in reality it is an obligation, the sole actual responsibility for which rests on the reserve banks. . . . The government could only be called upon to take them up after the reserve banks had failed." In other words, the Federal Reserve notes are privately issued money and we, the taxpayers, are liable for any losses incurred by the banks that issue the notes. Griffin, Creature from Jekyll Island, pp. 3-23; 466-467.]

January 5, 1914

Labor: Henry Ford announces that the Ford Motor Company is establishing a minimum wage of $5 an hour. Ten million dollars of the $37 million profit of the previous year will be shared with 26,000 employees, added to their paychecks semi-monthly. The company will now be run continuously with three shifts of eight hours each instead of the current two shifts of nine hours each, thus giving employment to several thousand more men. New York Times, January 5, 1914.

February 18, 1914

OIL and the British Empire: First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, gains the assent of the cabinet for an expenditure of £2.2 million to purchase a controlling interest in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. (See May 25, 1908.)

[He converted the Royal Navy from coal-burning ships to oil-burning ships. The company, now in better financial shape, built a refinery at Abadan which, for fifty years, ranked as the largest refinery in the world. This foresighted intervention made Churchill both famous and powerful. According to Tim Weiner, Iranian oil became the "lifeblood of the British exchequer." Legacy, p. 81.]

March 19, 1914

OIL and the Turkish Petroleum Company: With the signing of the "Foreign Office Agreement" the British succeed in elbowing their way into a reconstituted Turkish Petroleum Company which will apply to the Ottoman Empire for rights to drill for oil in Mesopotamia.

[The original consortium had been organized in 1912 by Calouste Gulbenkian, the "Talleyrand of oil diplomacy." The Deutsche Bank and Royal Dutch/Shell each had a quarter interest. Half was owned by the Turkish National Bank. Since Gulbenkian was a silent owner of 30% of the bank, he became a 15% owner of the Turkish Petroleum Company.
In the reconstituted company the Anglo-Persian Group held a 50% interest; Shell and Deutsche Bank each retained a quarter interest. To accommodate Gulbenkian's claim, Anglo-Persian and Shell joined to give him a 5% "beneficiary interest" from their shares. (He would be known as "Mr. Five Percent" thereafter.) All the principals signed on to the "self-denying clause"— to refrain from any oil production anywhere in the Ottoman Empire except that undertaken jointly through the Turkish Petroleum Company.

Two months later the Grand Vizier promised in a diplomatic note that the Mesopotamian oil concession would be granted to the Turkish Petroleum Company. Unfortunately the note was signed on June 28, the same day as the assassination of the Austrian archduke. Britain and Germany would soon be at war with one another and by war's end, the Ottoman Empire had disappeared. Also, was the note as good as a contract or was it a non-binding agreement? To be continued: see entries for October 15, 1927 and July 31, 1928. Yergin, The Prize, pp. 184-192.]

June 24, 1914

Vatican's Canon Law: Engineered by Eugenio Pacelli—later Pope Pius XII— Serbia signs
a Concordat with the Vatican in which Serbia guarantees the Holy See the right to impose its newly-written Canon law on the country's Catholic clergy and communicants and guarantees freedom of worship, education and religion to its Catholic citizens.

[The treaty was important to the Vatican as it was the first concordat to endorse the Canon Law— to be announced in 1917— which vastly increased the papal authority, giving the Pope the sole right to appoint bishops and prelates. It also abrogated the long-standing protectorate rights that the Austro-Hungarian Empire held over Serbia's Roman Catholic enclaves, including the right to name bishops, causing an escalation in anti-Serbian feelings. John Cornwell believes that the Serbian Concordat "undoubtedly contributed to the uncompromising terms that the Austro-Hungarian Empire pressed upon Serbia" after the murder of the archduke four days later, thus "making war inevitable."
As a result of Serbia's victory over Turkey in the First Balkan War (1912) the population of Roman Catholics had increased from about seven thousand to forty thousand. Cornwell, Hitler's Pope, pp. 48-58.]

June 28, 1914

Assassination in Sarajevo: Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro Hungarian throne, is assassinated by a Serb.
[This leads to declarations of war by August 12th: Germany and Austria Hungary against Britain, France, Russia and Serbia. Later Japan, Italy, Romania and Greece join the Entente (Britain, France et al); Turkey and Bulgaria join the Central Powers (Germany et al). Tuchman, The Guns of August.]

July 28, 1914

Austria declares war against Serbia, following Serbia's rejection of Austria's outrageous ultimatum of July 23. The next day Belgrade was bombarded and Russia began mobilization of troops.

July 31, 1914

The New York Stock Exchange fails to open: It would not open again for four months.

[There had been a 10% drop in the value of securities since the beginning of the crisis in Europe. The Exchange lost 6% on July 30, so the general public assumption was that the board had voted to close the Exchange to prevent a hemorrhage. Not so. A secret phone call from Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo to the chairman of the board a half hour before the scheduled opening decreed the closure.

The last week of July had seen European investors selling off their Wall Street assets and transferring the gold— $25 million— to Europe to help finance the war. At that time Europeans held $4 billion in American securities; US Banks held about a billion dollars' worth of gold bullion. Continued trading could have wiped out all US gold.

Another solution to that dilemma—to go off the gold standard— was unacceptable to both McAdoo and the Wall Street bankers, as they had aspirations to see the United States as a dominant world financial center. To refuse payment in gold could forever damage US financial credibility, already quite tarnished by the Panic of 1907 and all the 19th century panics.

Secretary McAdoo quickly flooded the country with emergency currency, worked with the business community to promote export of American agricultural products—cotton, wheat, corn, etc.— and got the newly-authorized Federal Reserve banks established. By November 14 the dollar was no longer discounted on world markets and the Federal Reserve banks opened on November 16. McAdoo allowed a gradual re-opening of the NYSE: trading in bonds on November 28, stocks "not international in character" on December 12, all stocks on December 15.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had stood at 71.42 when the market closed in July, was now 54.62. This appears to be a decline of 24%. However, in 1916 the Dow was reconstituted with a new list of 20 stocks and previous stock closing averages were recalculated back to the 1914 reopening date. Thus the closing-reopening comparison is an apples-oranges comparison. (For more on the Dow, see May 26, 1896.) "Setting the Record Straight on the Dow Drop", New York Times, October 26, 1987.

January, 1915 saw the first dollar bonds issued for foreign countries— first Canada, then Argentina. By the end of the Great War the United States was firmly established as an international money-lender. However, it was not until after the Second World War that the dollar bested the pound as the international trading currency. Silber, When Washington Shut Down Wall Street (2007).]

September, 1914

Belgian Babies Massacred: The propaganda ministry of Charles Masterson and British newspapers disseminate atrocity stories about the behavior of German soldiers during their invasion of neutral Belgium.

[Allegedly babies were thrown into the air and caught by the tip of German bayonets;
their hands and arms were severed so that they might not grow up to bear arms against Germany, etc. The Bryce Commission investigated and "authenticated" these stories in May, 1915. In the early 1920s Prime Minister Lloyd George apologized to the German nation in the House of Commons for this vicious and false propaganda. The story of the Belgian babies was taken as gospel truth and was responsible for much of the war fervor and hatred of Germany among the Allies.
Its repudiation was also responsible for the initial disbelief in the rumors of Nazi death camps and the "Final Solution" for the Jews in World War II.

In the 1991 Gulf War the public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton, hired by Kuwait and paid $12-20 million, revised the story. Allegedly Iraqi soldiers pulled 312 premature Kuwaiti babies from their incubators— several times the number of incubators in Kuwait—, confiscated the incubators for Iraq and left the babies on the floor to die. This canard did not have the staying power of its 1914 predecessor. The young "Nayirah" who claimed to the House Human Rights Caucus to have been an eyewitness to this dastardly deed, was actually the daughter of Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, and had left Kuwait weeks before the invasion. Her story was debunked a year and a half later but not before President Bush I had milked the story for its full propaganda value. FAIR, December 4, 2002.]

December 14, 1914

Harrison Narcotics Act: Eighteen months after its approval by the House, the Senate finally passes the Harrison Narcotics Act with little or no public notice. Ostensibly designed to gather statistics on the drug trade to comply with the United States' international obligation to The Hague Convention, the measure requires everyone in the drug trade to buy a license and keep records. However, a seemingly innocuous clause— that a physician may prescribe narcotics "in the course of his professional practice only"— will be used by the Treasury Department to criminalize the use of narcotics. Gray, p. 51.

[In the early years of the century the typical American drug user was a middle-aged Southern white woman who had become addicted to the heroin, opium, or morphine in
the many patent medicines that could be bought without a prescription. When these patent medicine manufacturers were required to list the ingredients of their products under the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, people realized what they had been taking and many voluntarily ceased.

A 1914 survey indicated that most addicts were women, that whites outnumbered blacks 2-1, and about 80% of opiate users were hard-working, respectable people. Drug use, which had peaked about 1900, was steadily declining. The legislators who passed the Harrison Narcotics Act seemed not to have anticipated the emergence of the drug peddler; $150,000 was the annual budget for enforcement. That amount is spent every three minutes in the current "war on drugs." Gray, pp. 43-44, 53, 55.]


United States Population: Some time during this year— Census Bureau experts estimate either January or April— the population of the United States reaches 100 million. Sam Roberts, "Come October, Baby Will Make 300 Million or So", New York Times, January 13, 2006.]

January 25, 1915

Telephones: Alexander Graham Bell initiates the first transcontinental United States telephone service.

February 8, 1915

The Birth of a Nation: David Griffith's film, The Clansman, premieres in Los Angeles after a court order approves its release.

[It had been censored by the City Council because of its vicious racial content and protests from the newly-formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP.) It was based on the 1905 novel of the same name by Thomas Dixon. It depicts the "horrors" endured by the South during Reconstruction- barefooted black legislators guzzling liquor from the bottle in the South Carolina Assembly, white women raped by oversexed blacks, and so on— that impels the hero to enlist his white-sheeted cavalry to avenge these indignities to white honor. They lynch, they burn down black homes, and they prevent blacks from voting.

Dixon needed a prominent endorsement to ensure the viability of his and Griffiths' film.
He prevailed upon his old college classmate and fellow Southerner, Woodrow Wilson, to show the film in the White House. 3 On the 18th Wilson, his daughters and his cabinet saw The Clansman. Wilson congratulated Dixon: "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." Dray, pp. 197-198.

The film was truly spectacular. It was the longest made so far— two and a half hours— and had innovated some techniques, such as the close-up, the fade-out, the iris dissolve, the long vista shot and the climactic action sequence, that clearly differentiated it from earlier silent films and would be incorporated into the later "talkies." When it was released in New York in May under the title, The Birth of a Nation, there were riots and protests during its 11-month run.

The film became an excellent recruiting tool for the Ku Klux Klan, glorified by the film.
This new version of the KKK was the nativist reaction of white Protestants in small-town America to Roman Catholics, Jews, foreigners, and organized labor as well as to blacks.
By the early 1920s there were five million members and for a period the political structure of at least two states— Indiana and Oregon— would be controlled by Klan members.
When the film opened in Atlanta on Thanksgiving, 25,000 hooded Klansmen paraded down the streets. The film, made at a cost of $500,000 with a cast of 18,000, held the record as the most profitable Hollywood film until the 1937 release of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.] Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2004, E-1.; Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, p. 15.

3— The Wilson administration initiated segregation in several of the Departments— separate cafeterias and bathrooms— where there had been no separate facilities before. Many black officeholders from the Roosevelt and Taft administrations were downgraded or eliminated. Dray, pp. 198-199.

April 24, 1915

Turkey begins the genocide of its Armenian population. About 250 of Armenian intellectuals and leaders residing in Constantinople— journalists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, politicians, etc.— are arrested and immediately deported to destinations in Anatolia a day's journey away. A partial list of the "Armenian notables deported from the Ottoman capital in 1915" is available on Wikipedia, also their ultimate destiny—"survivor" or "killed", usually the latter.

[1.5 million people died before this 1915 genocide was concluded. The 1894-1896 Massacres, waged by the "Red Sultan", Abdul Hamid II, had claimed possibly 300,000 victims. According to the New York Times 50.000 children were orphaned. The sultan failed to finish the race extermination only because he feared intervention from the western powers (and he had already lost the territories of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro plus real authority in Cyprus, Egypt and the Sudan.)

In 1915 the picture was different: England and France were busy fighting Germany and Germany— Turkey's ally— didn't care. Russia had stood as a bulwark during the first part of the war, but a Russian retreat into the Caucasus in 1915 left the Armenians vulnerable. Usually a victorious army will pursue the defeated army. Instead the Turks under Enver and Talaat— the real rulers of the Ottoman Empire since the coup d'état of January, 1913— turned their attention to finishing the job of the Red Sultan. Villages were burned, males massacred, women raped and kidnapped to Turkish harems. The most horrendous event of spring, 1915 was the so-called "deportation" of the mass of Armenians— a forced march from Van into the deserts of Mesopotamia where those who didn't die of thirst, starvation, or heat exhaustion were clubbed to death by Kurdish nomads.

The rest of the world stood by and did nothing. The American Ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., 4 sent numerous cables to Washington detailing the atrocities but was unable to persuade Wilson to intervene. As a result, Hitler later stated that he believed he could exterminate the Jewish population with a similar indifference from the rest of the world. Currently the Republic of Turkey, the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, continues to deny that a genocide of the Armenians ever took place. Beschloss, The Conquerors p. 45; Morgenthau, pp. 236-320. ]

4— He is the father of Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury in Franklin Roosevelt's administration.

April 26, 1915

Treaty of London: Neutral Italy joins Britain, France and Tsarist Russia in the war against the Central Powers in a very secret meeting. Italy drives a hard bargain— Trentino and southern Tyrol with their German-speaking populations plus Trieste, the Istrian peninsula, Goritzia and Dalmatia with their Slavic populations. Additionally, if Turkey in Asia should be partitioned, Italy should receive a "just share" of the Mediterranean region adjacent to Adalia. Furthermore, if France and Great Britain should assume the German colonies in Africa, Italy should get a piece of the action. Italy received an immediate loan from Britain of 50 million pounds.

[The Allies didn't get their money's worth. Italian ships were supposed to patrol the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, but they seldom ventured out of port. Italy procrastinated on an attack against Austria; their troops then fled from the disaster at Caporetto in November, 1917. (Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver in Italy; part of his
A Farewell to Arms
is set in the retreat from Caporetto.) When Woodrow Wilson learned the terms of the Treaty of London, he was incensed and determined that Italy should not be given these non-Italian-speaking territories. MacMillan, pp. 280-287.]

May 7, 1915

The Lusitania, a British luxury liner bound for New York from Liverpool, is torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland. She sinks in 18 minutes; nearly 1200 passengers die, including 128 Americans.

[Wilson resisted the clamor by many newspapers and prominent persons to declare war against Germany; he insisted on maintaining "neutrality." Millman, p. 30. Allied reports called the sinking a "dastardly and heinous crime against civilians." George Seldes notes that the ship was carrying munitions. Seldes, Freedom of the Press, p. 33.

Anne Seward , the niece of Lincoln's Secretary of State, warned President Wilson about a Captain von Rintelen who was now in the United States and masquerading as a Swiss named Emile Gache. She urged Wilson to break diplomatic relations with Germany.
Von Rintelen had been conspiring with chemist Walter Scheele, a German "sleeper" spy in the United States since 1893, to manufacture small cigar-shaped bombs which, planted on ammunition ships or in chemical factories, caused devastating fires. A thin copper disk in
the center of the lead pipe separated the potassium chloride from the sulfuric acid. Depending on the thickness of the copper, the acid would eat its way to the potassium and explode within hours or days. The pipe bombs were manufactured on the Frederick the Great, an interned German ship conveniently docked in New York Harbor. Millman, pp. 20-24.]

July 28, 1915

Haiti: 330 US Marines land in Port-au-Prince to "protect American and foreign interests." Seventeen of the 24 presidents since 1806 had been overthrown by revolution. Eleven of them had served less than a year, only two presidents managed to retire peacefully at the end of their terms. The US Navy had made visits in 19 of these years— eleven of these in the new century— to "protect American lives and property."

[The initial Marines were immediately joined by Marines from other ports, bringing the invasion strength up to 2000 men. The precipitating event was the very gruesome coup d'état of President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam in which he was murdered by members of the mulatto elite in the garden of the French legation. His body was thrown over the wall where it was publicly dismembered by the noirs and his various body parts were paraded through the streets.

The sovereignty of the Dominican Republic's legation was likewise violated in order to seize Oscar Etienne, Sam's much-loathed chief executioner who had ordered the slaughter of 168 political prisoners. Admiral William Caperton and the USS Washington were conveniently anchored outside the harbor. In fact, the original contingent of marines was landed before Caperton received such orders from Washington.

Plans to invade and occupy Haiti had been underway in the United States for several years. This latest atrocity was just the excuse. The New York Times noted (July 31) that the force being sent to Haiti "is much larger than is necessary for mere protection of foreign interests."

The Caribbean Sea is the "American Mediterranean"— Alfred Thayer Mahan had so proclaimed in his influential book, The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1890), a book that was enthusiastically reviewed in the Atlantic Monthly by a thirty-one-year old Theodore Roosevelt.

After a survey of the Caribbean in 1897 Captain Mahan stressed the strategic importance of the Windward Passage which separates Cuba and Haiti by only 80 kilometers. This passage was the gateway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, a passage that would be critical for shipping from either of the two canals then under consideration— through Nicaragua or across Colombia's Panamanian isthmus— to ports on the Atlantic coasts.
He warned that the United States must control both Guantánamo Bay in Cuba and Môle Saint-Nicolas in northwestern Haiti.

The United States received a perpetual lease of Guantánamo Bay and de facto sovereignty in 1903, but the efforts to persuade the various Haitian governments to cede Môle Saint Nicolas were unsuccessful. The State Department became increasingly alarmed at the success of Germans in taking over the commercial interests of Haiti— and their interest in Môle Saint Nicolas. Not having the American disdain for the gens de couleur— who had become the powerful elite in Haiti since independence in 1804— German immigrants had been marrying mulatto women and through them purchasing land. (All of the constitutions since independence in 1804 had forbidden land ownership by foreigners.)

Implementation of the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine— that the US was entitled to police/occupy those countries in the western hemisphere that were delinquent in international debts to prevent European intervention to collect those debts— definitely was not relevant to Haiti. In 1915 Haiti was not in arrears in debt payments despite the loss of its major coffee market to France because of the war. Honduras was over $100 million in arrears, and Mexico owed $15 million. But it was Haiti that was to be occupied by the United States for the next nineteen years.

Authority was established more easily in the coastal cities and towns than in the interior. There the cacos— outlaws and bandits, currently faithful to Dr. Rosalvo Bobo— were in control. The occupation authorities chose Philippe Dartiguanave to be their client-president rather than Bobo, the poor people's choice. Dartiguanave was "elected" on August 12th by the Haitian congress; Admiral Caperton was compelled to declare martial law less than a month later due to the unrest. Dartiguanave would serve with the protection of a nine-man marine bodyguard and political offenders would be tried in US military courts until the strikes and riots of 1929.

The Wilson administration wanted the legitimacy of a treaty; the legislature was coerced into signing one that:

- legalized the United States occupation of their country,
- provided for a gendarmerie trained and officered by Americans,
- gave the United States control of all public utilities,
- granted receivership of the customs to the United States,
- agreed to settlement of claims to the Banque Nationale (soon to be an asset of the National City Bank of New York —now Citibank—
), and
- guaranteed the security of Môle Saint Nicolas.
In return the United States promised to aid the economic development of Haiti and to send a financial advisor.

The treaty negotiations were concluded in November. Soon after that Admiral Caperton and Captain Beach returned home. They had mingled with the mulatto elite and were well-liked. Not so their successors— Colonel Tony Waller and Major Smedley Butler— who had brought with them racial prejudice and an inability (or unwillingness) to differentiate between the two obvious castes in Haiti.

According to Waller, the descendant of a long line of Virginia slaveholders, including some slain in the Nat Turner Rebellion: "They are real nigger and no mistake. There are some very fine-looking, well-educated polished men here but they are real nigs beneath the surface." Jim Crow-type segregation was introduced; the American Club— the center of social life for Americans in Port-au-Prince— was closed to all Haitians, even the client-president.

The old French system of corvée— forced labor to repair and build roads in lieu of payment of taxes— was re-established. Haitian men were obliged to work outside their districts, "marched to and from their work bound together." There was much brutality and many illegal executions— 400 were killed in one corvée detachment of 3000 men. A network of roads connecting all the major towns as well as a 170-mile highway through the mountains from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitien was thereby achieved as well as mounting hostility from the proud independent landholding peasants. As Butler wrote to the assistant secretary of the navy, Franklin Roosevelt: "It would not do to ask too many questions as to how we accomplish this work."

After Haiti entered the war in Europe in 1918, the leading German nationals in Haiti were interned and all German property was sequestered. All other members of the German colony were required to register and report daily to the gendarmes. The prisoners were not released until some considerable time after the end of the war and then were kept under surveillance. In 1920 fifty leading Germans were deported and the main steamship line to Haiti from Europe was instructed to deny passage to Germans. So ended the German influence in Haiti which, in 1915, had been 80% of the economy.

The Americans wrote a new constitution for Haiti— a custom with each new presidency!
A major change was the elimination of the clause forbidding foreign ownership of land.
When the National Assembly refused to adopt this new constitution, it was dissolved by Major Butler, and would not meet again until after the strikes and riots of 1929. A plebiscite then "authorized" the constitution: 98,225 - 768. (Out of 96 polling places, 67 recorded NO negative votes.)

President Wilson— mindful that his policy of self-determination had not been applied to Haiti— would have liked to withdraw troops in 1919, but— that would have insured a victory for the cacos, the overthrow of the client government, and furious denunciations of American imperialism which had been so far censored and outlawed by the military.

In the first five years of the Occupation 3250 Haitians were killed, but only 14-16 Marines. The year 1919 was an exceptionally lethal year; a caco leader had set up a provisional government in the north. According to official Marine Corps statistics, 1891 Haitians were killed that year in an effort to subdue the uprising. The first instance of coordinated air-ground combat occurred in the pursuit of the cacos— machine guns firing from low-flying planes— in March, 1919.

During the 1920 presidential campaign the Republicans made good use of the reports of abuse and murders by the occupation forces to denigrate the Wilson administration. Especially effective was the 1919 order from the Marine Corps commandant to his subordinate in Haiti to stop the "indiscriminate killing of the natives." Presidential candidate Harding decried the "rape of Haiti"; newspapers ran atrocity stories about "slaughter" and "slavery in Haiti." Once elected president, Harding forgot about his advocacy of independence for Haiti; his main interest in the country seemed to be the replacement of competent treaty officials with his political appointees. A 1921 Senate inquiry failed to do a thorough investigation of the allegations but did result in the reorganization of the Occupation.

In 1922 the United States— through National City Bank— floated a loan to the Haitian government which repaid all previous loans and claims, including those stemming from the massive debt to France coerced in 1825. There was very little left over for Haitian economic development, but bondholders were paid 6.25% at maturity. Revenues from the prosperous years 1922-1929 were used to pay off the debt to American investors far in advance of scheduled payments, thus depriving Haiti of funds that could have been used for schools and public works.

The main benefits to Haiti from the Occupation: roads and bridges, sanitation projects, hospitals and clinics, currency reform, and the completion of many civic buildings, including the Presidential Palace. Neglected were efforts to teach self-government or to educate the populace which was 97% illiterate in 1915 with little or no improvement by 1934.
An attempt was made to re-introduce the plantation system which would have destroyed the economic and social fabric of small land-holdings of subsistence farmers. Schmidt, Occupation, pp. 3-188; Heinl, pp. 370-487; McCullough, Path, pp.250-255; Boot, pp. 156-167, 171-181.

August 15, 1915


[In July the German spy and paymaster, Heinrich Albert, had mistakenly left his briefcase on the 6th Avenue El where it was retrieved by the Secret Service agent who had been tailing him. Colonel House leaked the contents of the briefcase to the World— records of payments to individuals and newspapers to influence popular opinion plus the purchase of a munitions factory in Connecticut. Public outrage was instantaneous: sauerkraut was renamed "liberty cabbage," German operas were suspended at the Metropolitan, individuals with German last names were no longer allowed to roll bandages for the Red Cross— they might be including broken glass!—, libraries discarded German books, some schools ceased teaching the German language, and so on. Wilson was forced to acknowledge that the country was "infested with German spies." Millman, pp. 31-32.]

February 21, 1916

Battle for Verdun: The Germans launch a massive artillery bombardment against the fortified city of Verdun in the heaviest bombardment in any war to date, lasting nine hours. [The fight for Verdun continued until mid-December; there were 700,000 casualties in a ten kilometer square sector; more soldiers died per square yard than in any other conflict before or since- nearly 300,000 Frenchmen and Germans with another 450,000 wounded. In June the Germans used phosgene gas for the first time. Brendon, Dark Valley, pp. 3-6.]

May 19, 1916

Drawing Lines in the Sand —The Sykes-Picot Agreement: In this very secret arrangement Britain, France and Russia agree on the future division of Turkey's Arab possessions. Palestine and most of Mesopotamia (now Iraq) will go to Britain; Syria, Lebanon and the Mosul vilayet to France. Russia will receive the Turkish provinces adjacent to Russia in the Caucasus and, most importantly will be given Constantinople and the straits, thus gaining access to the Mediterranean through the Dardanelles, a goal of the Czars since Peter the Great. (Ironically, the Crimean War had been fought to prevent this, with Britain and France on the side of the Ottoman Turks!) Catherwood, pp. 41-42, MacMillan, p. 374.

[Turkey, the "sick man of Europe," had been hemorrhaging— losing territories— for a decade. In 1908 Bulgaria had declared independence of the Ottoman Empire and Austria had annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. Italy declared war in 1911 and seized Libya.
The Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 saw the loss of Albania, Macedonia and Salonika.
The British regretted Sykes-Picot almost immediately, as they did not want the French to acquire so much new territory, especially territory conquered and occupied by troops of the British Empire. Catherwood, pp. 57-58. Another problem: Britain had previously promised political independence and self-determination to the Arabs in return for their support in the war against Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Loftus and Aarons, Secret War, pp. 28-29.]

July 1, 1916

Opening Day of the Battle of the Somme: 21,000 British soldiers are killed or mortally wounded on this one day. Geoffrey Wheatcroft compares this monstrous loss of the "cream of British and Irish manhood" to the 4500 American deaths in eight years of war in Iraq. "Given respective populations, the present-day equivalent of that July 1 would be 280,000 GIs killed between dawn and dusk."

July 11, 1916

The "Good Roads Movement" wins a twenty-four year battle for federal funding of road construction when President Wilson signs the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916. The federal government will fund state highway departments to build specified roads on a 50-50 basis. This was the first use of the system of federal-state matching funds which would subsequently be employed in many other spheres.

[The original impetus for this legislation came from the new fad of bicycling whose enthusiasts formed the National League for Good Roads in 1892. In the next decade they were joined by the automobile owners and the American Automobile Association. Meanwhile agricultural groups were lobbying for "farm-to-market" roads which were derided by the proponents of long-distance highways as "roads from nowhere to nowhere."

The final impetus for a compromise bill came from the lesson of the First Battle of the Marne. In September, 1914 Paris had been saved by the mobilization of 600 taxicabs to ferry reservists to the battlefront. These taxis used roads considerably better than the average road in the United States; in 1919 it took Colonel Dwight Eisenhower two months to drive from Washington to San Francisco over dirt roads and crumbling bridges. Later as president he pressed Congress for the funding that established the Interstate Highway system that we know today. The federal share increased to 90%. Janette Rainwater's never-finished PhD dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University, 1949.]

July 15, 1916

Armenian "Extermination:" American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, cables Washington: "Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eyewitnesses it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion."

[Talat Pasha, one of the architects of the Armenian genocide, approached Morgenthau to have American life insurance companies send him lists of all their Armenian policy holders. "They are practically all dead now and have left no heirs to collect the money. It of course all escheats to the State. The Government is the beneficiary now." A livid Morgenthau refused his request. Morgenthau, pp. 333-336; Black, Banking on Baghdad, 231-233.]

July 30, 1916

The Black Tom Island munitions depot explodes shortly after midnight. Officially called the Jersey City Terminal, this is the largest munitions depot in the United States and, during the work week, is busy shipping ammunition to England and France.

[It started first with a small fire which soon ignited the supplies on the barge Johnson 17 which contained 200,000 pounds of TNT and 25,000 detonators. Soon there were other explosions. It "felt like an earthquake" as far away as Philadelphia and Maryland. The force was that of a 5.5 earthquake on the Richter scale.

There was panic in New York City; almost all windows in lower Manhattan were shattered; the glass roof on the aquarium in Battery Park caved in; the Statue of Liberty sustained some shrapnel in her back side. At 3 AM the 500 immigrants on Ellis Island were evacuated by ferry to Manhattan. Amazingly there were only five deaths (although many homeless who were sleeping on nearby barges should have enlarged the count.) Damage was estimated at $20 million-or $350 million in 2005 money. Four of the seven piers were destroyed as were thirteen of the 24 warehouses. Sugar in one of the warehouses continued to burn for a month.

It was widely believed that German saboteurs were responsible for this destruction, as indeed they were, although that would not be officially established until June, 1939.
In strategic spots on steamships and barges three German spies placed glass "pencils" containing potassium chlorate and sulfuric acid separated by a slim copper disc. These had been supplied by Section III-B of the German secret service in February. The "pencils" were an improvement on the "cigar" pipe bombs made in the US that had been responsible for fires and explosions-nearly 100 between April, 1915 and America's entry into the war-on merchant ships leaving New York harbor and in chemical factories.

It took the Mixed Claims Commission— established in 1921 to settle wartime damage claims against Germany— over two decades to settle the Black Tom claim, thanks to the stonewalling and outright lying by successive German governments. Final proof of the deception by the German officials came from the diligent legwork of John J. McCloy, a young partner in the firm of Cravath, Henderson & de Gersdorff.

In 1940 Henry Stimson, FDR's new secretary of war, impressed by McCloy's work on Black Tom, hired him as his consultant. And so began the rise to fame of "Chairman" McCloy— high commissioner for Germany after World War II, negotiator in the Cuban missile crisis, member of the Warren Commission to investigate the Kennedy assassination, chairman of the World Bank, chairman of Chase Bank, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, and so on. Millman, The Detonators; Bird, The Chairman.]

November 7, 1916

Presidential Election: Woodrow Wilson is re-elected president against the Republican candidate, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes (also a former governor of New York) in a cliff-hanger election.

[The final electoral vote was 277-254, with 266 needed to win.
The popular vote: Wilson 49%, Hughes 46%.
Hughes gained the early lead in New England and the East to the extent that several newspapers prematurely awarded him the victory, but Wilson refused to concede.
As the evening progressed, more states fell into Wilson's column. California's 13 votes decided the victor- and Wilson won the state by only 3800 votes out of around a million cast. He had campaigned with the slogan: "He kept us out of war."]

November 26-December 5, 1916

OIL and the Rumanian Oilfields: Colonel John Norton-Griffiths, M.P., arrives in Rumania from Russia at the behest of the British government and methodically destroys the jewel of Rumania's economy— seventy oil refineries and eight hundred thousand tons of crude oil.

[Rumania had become the sole European supplier of petroleum to the German war effort. The Allied blockade had severely limited the arrival of petroleum from overseas. So when neutral Rumania declared war against the Central Powers in August, Germany and Austria immediately sent troops to occupy Rumania and take over oil production. "We should not have been able to exist, much less carry on the war, without Rumania's corn and oil," General Erich Ludendorff, the army's mastermind, said in retrospect.
Troops arrived in Ploesti only hours after the last fire had been set. It took the Germans five months to get the oil fields back into production. The 1917 production was only one-third of that of 1914 yet this recovery plus the Rumanian corn "made the difference between shortage and collapse."

The Allies also experienced shortages of oil but not to the extent of Germany. Germany began its unrestricted submarine warfare at the beginning of 1917; in the first six months the Allies had lost twice the tonnage of the comparable period in 1916. Standard Oil of New Jersey lost six tankers in the summer, including the brand new John D. Archbold.
In October Britain's new official, the Petroleum Executive, completely banned pleasure-driving. The United States was attempting to fill the Allied war demands. Petroleum production in 1914 had been 266 million barrels, or 65% of the total world output. By 1917 these figures had risen to 335 million barrels, or 67% of world production.

At first a quarter of US oil had been exported to Europe. When the Russian Revolution had cut off that source of oil for the Allies, the United States bought more oil from Mexico and increased the proportion of its exports. The Fuel Administration, established by Wilson in August 1917, orchestrated the supply of oil for both domestic use and war export.
The leading player among the oil producers and refiners was the head of Standard Oil of New Jersey. Ironically the government was involved in organizing cooperation with business rather than trust-busting as it had been less than a decade earlier.

The bitterly cold winter of 1917-18 caused a shortage of coal in the United States; inmates in orphanages and asylums died of frostbite. In May 1918 Mark Requa, the newly-appointed and first energy czar, called for voluntary "Gasolineless Sundays" in an effort to conserve petrol; the number of automobiles in the United States had almost doubled since 1916. With exceptions for doctors, police and emergency vehicles, the appeal was pretty generally observed. "I suppose I must walk to church," President Wilson said. Yergin, The Prize, pp. 176-182.

Norton-Griffiths, a brilliant engineer, nicknamed "Empire Jack" and "The Sledge Hammer," made another significant contribution to the British war effort. Using his invention of "clay-kicking"— a silent method of tunneling through clay— he organized the construction of tunnels underneath No Man's Land to the German trenches where mines were exploded. The Battle of Messines in Belgium, 7 June 1917, has been considered the most successful operation on the Western Front in the Great War. Nineteen mines were simultaneously exploded with a roar that was heard in Dublin and by the Prime Minister in his Downing Street office. Twenty thousand German soldiers were killed in the explosion plus many more as Allied soldiers advanced to take the Messines Ridge, a vital observation post for the Germans.]

January 16, 1917

The Zimmerman Telegram: German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman sends a coded telegram to the German Ambassador in the United States for forwarding to the German ambassador to Mexico. The message announces that Germany will begin unrestricted submarine warfare on February 1st. If the United States should enter the war on the side of the Allies, Germany would like to propose that Mexico enter into the war on Germany's side and Germany would cede "the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona" to Mexico. 5

[This telegram was intercepted by British intelligence, deciphered, and its contents revealed to the Americans on February 22nd. When made public on March 1st, there was much anger in the US and a demand to go to war, even in the super-isolationalist middle of the country. David Kahn: "No other single cryptanalysis has had such enormous consequences. Never before or since has so much turned upon the solution of a secret message. . . . The codebreakers held history in the palm of their hand." Kaiser Wilhem II would later admit that his decree of unrestricted submarine warfare was "one of the most colossal military and strategic blunders in the history of the world." Karp, Politics of War, pp. 309-323; Kahn, The Codebreakers, pp. 282-297; Conrad Black, p. 77. ]

5— In the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Mexican government was forced to cede 55% of its territory— present-day Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah— to the United States in exchange for fifteen million dollars in compensation for war-related damage to Mexican property.

February 5, 1917

Immigration: Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Wilson's veto. It includes a literacy test; any immigrant over 16 must demonstrate that he can read a 40-word passage in his native language.

[Wilson decried this provision, saying that literacy was a "test of opportunity, not of character." The restrictionists had persuaded Congress to pass similar measures before, but they were vetoed by Cleveland in 1896, Taft in 1913 and Wilson in 1915. They believed that such a restriction would decrease immigration from southeastern Europe by at least 25%. Divine, American Immigration Policy, 1924-1952, pp. 3-5.]

March 8-16, 1917

Russia: The "February" Revolution 6 starts with a general strike in Petrograd 7 and riots in the streets— one of the first begins with women queuing for bread. The army, composed mainly of peasant conscripts, refuses to march against them. The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' Deputies is formed. The people are tired of the war and distrustful of the Tsar, Nicholas II, and his German-born Tsarina. The landlords and the bourgeoisie wish to continue the war, but get rid of the royal family. Railroad workers stop the train on which the Tsar is returning from the battlefield to Petrograd. He is forced to abdicate and then is arrested a few days later. The Duma establishes a Provisional Government— later headed by Alexander Kerensky— which will continue support for the war against Germany.
The Tsarist regime ends with only 169 deaths and less than 1000 wounded.

[Almost immediately the police system across the empire fell apart. The gendarmes took off their uniforms and went into hiding. Prison gates were flung open; political dissidents and criminals alike were set free. Two old Bolsheviks, Stalin and Kamenev, hastened to Petrograd from their exile in Krasnoyarsk. Their younger colleagues in the Soviet put them on the editorial board of Pravda which they soon controlled.

The US recognized this new regime on March 22nd. At the US cabinet meeting on the 20th, at which the decision was made to ask Congress for a declaration of war against the Central Powers, Secretary of State Robert Lansing argued that this event in Russia could aid the thesis that the war was a crusade for democracy. The Provisional Government formed after the Tsar's forced abdication was, according to Edmund Wilson's description, "recruited from a bourgeoisie whose tendencies toward liberalism were limited to the desire to get rid of the Romanovs." Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, pp. 14-16; Wilson, To the Finland Station, pp. 537-538; Reed, p. 15; Medvedev, Let History Judge, pp. 40-42, Heller and Nekrich, pp. 27-28.]

6— In 1917 Russia was still using the Julian calendar, so the two revolutions occurred in their calendar months of February and October. The adoption of the Gregorian calendar in February, 1918 was one of Lenin's first reforms. All the dates given here are in the Gregorian calendar in use in the United States and most of Europe at that time.
7— Saint Petersburg, the capital of Russia, had been renamed Petrograd at the beginning of the war in 1914, as the name sounded too German. After Lenin's death in 1924 it was renamed Leningrad in his honor. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the city reverted to its original name, given to it by Peter the Great in 1703.

April 2, 1917

War Declared: President Woodrow Wilson in a special session of Congress asks for a formal declaration of war on Germany and the Central Powers by the United States- to "accept the status of belligerent that has been thrust upon it.... The world must be made safe for democracy." 8

[Congress quickly approved, although six senators and fifty representatives voted against the measure. One was Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) on her fourth day in Congress. She was the first woman elected to Congress and served her first term before the 1920 ratification
of the Nineteenth Amendment which gave women the right to vote throughout the nation. Another was Meyer London, a socialist representing New York City's Lower East Side:
"In matters of war I am a teetotaler; I refuse to take the first intoxicating drink."
Both, however, supported the war once it was declared and voted for funding.

Wilson signed the war resolution on Good Friday, April 6th, and the US was at war after thirty-two months of neutrality. The principal events preceding Wilson's request had been Germany's submarine warfare on America's merchant ships and the interception of the "Zimmermann Telegram." In 1935 George Seldes stated the belief of many of his contemporaries that the United States had really gone to war for "the necessity of safeguarding the war loans." Seldes, Freedom of the Press, p. 34; Baker, Human Smoke, p. 4.
While campaigning for re-election in 1916 (on a "He kept us out of war" platform), Wilson privately conceded that any "little German lieutenant can put us into war at any time by some calculated outrage." Conrad Black, p. 75.

8— In January Wilson had said to Colonel House that the US was the "only one of the great white nations that is free from war today, and it would be a crime against civilization for us to go in." In May, 1921 the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James, George Harvey, created quite a stir when he said in a public address— with Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon in the audience— that the United States had not sent its men to Europe in 1917 to "save the world for democracy" but rather "we sent them solely to save the United States of America." Offner, Origins of the Second World War (1975), pp. 3-5.

April 16, 1917

Russia - To the Finland Station: Lenin, the exiled Bolshevik revolutionary, arrives at Finland Station in Petrograd, having been sent by the Germans in a sealed train from Switzerland through Germany, Sweden and Finland accompanied by about thirty other Russian political exiles, all of whom had been certified by Lenin as opposed to the continuation of the war with Germany— but none of them Mensheviks. 9 Welcomed by stage-managed crowds waving red flags and a band playing the "Marseillaise"- the sheet music for the "Internationale" being unavailable-, Lenin proclaims that this revolution is just the vanguard of the coming international socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat.

[The Provisional Government had blocked the return of the internationalists, but the Petrograd Soviet— controlled by Mensheviks—- who had much of the power on the streets agreed to Lenin's return along with exiled Mensheviks.
The programs that Lenin would institute were clear from the articles he had been sending to Pravda in his "Letters from Afar":
--- a new "people's" militia to replace the old police, which would distribute food to the needy and open the Tsar's palaces to the homeless;
--- disruption of the military and an end to the war with Germany;
--- repudiation of all debts incurred to fight the war; and
--- publication of all secret treaties.
These letters had either been ignored or heavily censored by Stalin and Kamenev, as editors of the Bolshevik party newspaper. (They had been planning to unite with the Mensheviks and collaborate with the Provisional Government on some measures.
Lenin, the acknowledged head of the international party, was adamant that the Provisional Government must be overthrown. Brendon, p. 11; Andrew, Defend the Realm, pp. 99-100; Wilson, pp. 538- 554; Heller, pp. 29-30; Medvedev, Roy, pp. 42-44.]

9— There was a split among the communists at the Second Party Congress in Brussels in July, 1903. Lenin wanted a ruling that no one be allowed to join the party without a commitment to work actively for the party. Comrade Martov felt this was too authoritarian; he wanted a party with thousands of working-class members. When Lenin's faction got more votes for the Central Committee and the editorial board of Iskra, Lenin named his group the Bol'sheviki (Majority Group) and Martov's faction the Men'sheviki (Minority Group.) Trotsky had voted with the minority group; he and Lenin were ideological opponents until the February Revolution. Service, pp. pp. 75-77.

June 15, 1917

Espionage Act: This act supersedes an espionage act of 1911; it mandates greater penalties (including death) for obtaining and/or transmitting information that could be used to the injury of the United States and/or to the advantage of a foreign nation. Section 3 provides a penalty of twenty years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 for anyone who, in time of war, should - make or convey false statements with intent to interfere with the success of US military operations, - obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, or - cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny or refusal of duty in the Army or the Navy of the United States.

[After Charles Schenck, the general secretary of the Socialist Party, was convicted on December 20th for the printing and distribution of anti-draft leaflets, he questioned the constitutionality of the Espionage Act on First Amendment grounds and appealed to the Supreme Court. See March 3, 1919.]

July 28, 1917

Negro Silent Protest Parade: Ten thousand black adults and children march down Fifth Avenue in New York City from 59th Street to Madison Square. The only sound is a muffled drum beat. The march has been organized by James Weldon Johnson of the NAACP to protest two recent particularly horrible lynchings— the immolation of Ell Persons in Memphis in front of a crowd of five thousand and the pogrom-like massacre of a community in East St. Louis, Illinois.

A military contingent's sign: "WE WERE FIRST IN FRANCE — ASK PERSHING."
Dray, pp. 231-237.

September 5, 1917

Federal agents raid forty-eight IWW offices across the US in a prelude to indictments of 166 organizers for "obstructing" the war. [Ultimately hundreds of members of the Industrial Workers of the World were jailed for sedition. The IWW (or "Wobblies") had been founded in 1905 and used violence against property as well as political action to further its aims of fair wages and safe working conditions for its members, many of whom were immigrant textile and mine workers.]

November 2, 1917

Palestine -- Balfour Declaration: Great Britain issues the "Balfour Declaration" which states: "His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people... it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."

[This declaration became the rallying point for the Zionist movement; recent scholarship implies that the declaration was a propaganda device designed to encourage the American press— erroneously believed to be controlled by Jews— to campaign for the commitment of major numbers of American troops in World War I. Loftus and Aarons, Secret War, p. 29.

The British cabinet approved this letter which was sent by Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leading member of the Jewish community in Britain. 10
Since Great Britain had no sovereign rights over Palestine in 1917, the letter had no legal force. At this time there were about 85,000 Jews living in Palestine and 600,000 Arabs. Bregman, Israel's Wars, pp. 4-6.]

10— Brian Klug states that the Balfour Declaration was promoted by anti-Semites within the civil and foreign service who believed that the Jews, acting collectively, were manipulating world events from behind the scenes. Its issuance was opposed and delayed by prominent Jews who were anti-Zionist. Balfour, when Prime Minister, had introduced the 1905 Aliens Bill which restricted immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe into Great Britain. "The Myth of the New Anti-Semitism," Nation, February 2, 2004.

November 7-8, 1917

Russia: The Bolsheviks seize power in the "October" Revolution.
[Children in the future Soviet Union would read that the revolution had been carefully planned and executed by the Bolsheviks, principally Stalin. Not so! Much of the impetus was provided by Minister of War Alexander Kerensky who ordered a major offensive against the Central Powers which began July 1st— at a time when the Bolsheviks were calling for "Peace! Bread! Land!" Although initially successful, the operation soon became a rout with the Germans advancing 240 kilometers. Except for the troops commanded by General Lavr Kornilov, there was widespread mutiny, sabotage and desertion by the soldiers plus some fragging of their officers.

Thus began the "July Days"— July 16-20-— when there were spontaneous demonstrations against the Provisional Government by half a million people. Socialist Kerensky, now the prime minister, responded with repression. Over 700 were killed or wounded. Lenin went into hiding; Trotsky and the other Bolshevik leaders were arrested and imprisoned.

In late August General Kornilov, a monarchist and no friend of the liberal Provisional Government, ordered his troops to march on Petrograd. To prevent this threatened coup d'état, Kerensky turned to the Petrograd Soviet for help. The Bolsheviks were released from prison; Lenin returned from Finland. Trotsky became head of the Petrograd Soviet and organized the Red Guards (with arms and ammunition supplied by the Kerensky government.) The railway workers stopped all trains entering Petrograd including those carrying Kornilov's soldiers and equipment. Bolshevik agents persuaded soldiers that to obey Kornilov's commands would be a betrayal of the Revolution, and so the coup was aborted.

On October 11, with the Provisional Government now substantially weakened, Lenin made still another proposal to the Central Committee of the Petrograd Soviet that they should overthrow the government. This time his plan won, 10-2, with Zinoviev and Kamenev dissenting. Several proposed dates for insurrection came and went — with no action. However, Kerensky, alarmed by the published dissent of Zinoviev and Kamenev, decided to take pre-emptive action. He ordered the Cadets to occupy the Pravda office, stop the presses and seal the doors. When Trotsky heard this, his response was "Break the seals."

Copies of Pravda were for sale on the streets the next day and at 2 AM on November 7th the Red Guards began their planned actions: seizure of banks and railway stations and occupation of the Post Office and the principal government buildings, culminating with the Winter Palace where most of the ministers were meeting. (Kerensky had already fled Petrograd with the help of a "borrowed" Renault from an American military attaché.)

Stalin, who would later claim credit for the organization and success of the revolution, was nowhere to be seen; he was occupied with his duties as editor of Rabochy Put. And there is not one mention of Stalin in John Reed's Ten Days That Shook the World. (In the 30s that book, with a commendatory introduction by Lenin, became a banned book in the Soviet Union.)

There were seven fatalities; in the space of 40 hours the Bolsheviks had taken control of Petrograd. By 1921 they were in control of all of Russia. On the 8th Lenin issued his
"Decree on Peace," which was addressed to "all belligerent peoples and their governments."
In it he called for the immediate negotiations for a "just and democratic peace"— one without indemnities and without annexation of territory or the forced movement of foreign individuals. In effect, Lenin's words, given to the newspapers and broadcast by wireless, called for people internationally to demand an end to the current war and also to those in colonies maintained by the imperialist powers to rebel. His decree was published in New York on the 10th. For the excitement of these events and the mood of the times, read John Reed's
Ten Days That Shook the World or watch Warren Beatty's film Reds. Service, pp. 183-191; Reed, pp. xxii- xvii, 29-163; Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, pp.71-82; Medvedev, Let History Judge, pp, 47-48; Heller and Nekrich, pp. 38-45

November 25-30, 1917

Russia-Elections: The Electoral Commission— established by the now-defunct Provisional Government— has continued with plans for elections to the Constituent Assembly. In the first genuine parliamentary election ever held in Russia, votes are cast throughout the country.
[The Social-Revolutionaries won 410 of the 707 seats; the Bolsheviks won only 175 seats even with the addition of some Left S-Rs. Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, p. 346.]

December 12, 1917

The British Manchester Guardian begins publication of the secret treaties signed by Britain, France and Tsarist Russia. [Trotsky, the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, had found them in the archives and released them to world newspapers, stating, "The abolition of secret diplomacy is the primary condition of an honorable, popular, really democratic foreign policy." These were treaties designed to induce other countries to join with the Allies against the Central Powers. Andrew and Gordievsky, pp.38-39.]

December 20, 1917

Russia: The Cheka —a secret police to combat counter-revolution and sabotage— is formed by Lenin. 11 It is intended as a temporary measure, as the new government of Russia expects that the coming world revolution will abolish capitalism and there will no longer be a need for spies or diplomats. Feliks Dzerzhinsky is the first head of this All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-revolution and Sabotage— the formal name for the Cheka.

[By 1921 the Cheka had 250,000 agents (as compared to 15,000 in the Tsar's secret police.) Executions were averaging 1000 a month (as compared to 14,000 in the fifty years before 1917.) Brendon, pp. 12-13. During the Civil War executions by the Cheka possibly exceeded the number of deaths on the battlefield. The Cheka attracted some pathologically sadistic agents who performed some horrifically brutal tortures by way of execution. Lenin and Dzerzhinsky made some attempts to outlaw the sadism, but the formidable secret police became necessary to support the totalitarian regime. Initially, it was intelligence that was needed during the three-year civil war. Then it was the Cheka's "ruthless mass terror" to counter those who opposed the swift "construction of the Socialist order." The State took control of everything: banks and factories were nationalized, private property ceased to exist, housing was shared, and farms would be collectivized. Andrew, Sword and Shield, pp. 28-29.]
11— The secret service went through a series of name changes: GPU (1922), OGPU (1923), NKVD (1934), KGB (1954) in the USSR; FSK (1993) in Russia.

December 22, 1917

Prohibition: Congress passes an amendment to the Constitution which would prohibit
the sale of alcohol. Many "wet" Senators are reluctant to vote for the bill, yet afraid to vote against it. Therefore, they insert a provision that, to be effective, the amendment must be ratified by three-fourth of the state legislatures within seven years.

[The fight against "demon rum" had been led by middle-class Protestant business men who had supported and pressured candidates and lawmakers to pass incremental pieces of legislation- initially local-option laws- to control the liquor traffic. By 1906 40% of Americans lived in communities that had banned saloons. The first example of a successful single-interest group in America, the ASL (Anti-Saloon League) used trained speakers, field workers, and collection days in churches, tactics that would be used by groups such as the anti-abortion movement later in the century.

The emphasis shifted from the saloon to "bone-dry" prohibition with the beginning of the war. ("Shall the many have food, or the few have drink?") The hatred of Germans easily spread to the breweries owned by German-Americans such as Pabst and Busch. Another subtext was the resentment of Protestant rural America against the growing tide of immigrants, many of whom were Catholic city-dwellers who were used to drinking wine and beer. Pegram, Battling Demon Rum: The Struggle for a Dry America, pp. 109-148.]

December 26, 1917

Russia - Anti-Bolshevik Action: Britain and France secretly agree on cooperative efforts against the Russian borderlands: France to attack in Bessarabia, the Ukraine and Crimea; Britain to take on the Caucasus, Armenia, Georgia, Kurdistan and the Cossack territory.

January 8, 1918

The Fourteen Points: President Woodrow Wilson enunciates his "Fourteen Points" which include: " no secret treaties " boundary lines to be determined by nationality " no punishment or reparations for the losers in the war " a League of Nations. [He subsequently backed down on all points except for the League of Nations.]

January 18, 1918

Russia - First (and last) Meeting of the Constituent Assembly: The meeting, originally set by the Provisional Government for December 11, finally meets in the Tauride Palace, the meeting place of the old Duma.

[The Bolsheviks had locked the Tauride and posted guards on December 11th to prevent any informal meetings of the non-Bolsheviki. On the 26th Lenin had posted an article declaring that the "interests of this revolution stand over the formal rights of the Constituent Assembly" and warning that if there was not a complete endorsement of all actions taken by the Soviet regime, the crisis would be resolved by "the most energetic, swift, firm and decisive revolutionary measures."

In the days immediately preceding the meeting, large guns were mounted around the Tauride. Sailors from the Baltic Fleet and Latvian sharpshooters patrolled the area surrounding the palace. Demonstrators in favor of the Constituent Assembly were unable to reach the palace; about thirty died and hundreds were wounded in the attempt.
The deputies were forced to enter the palace through a cordon of armed and highly agitated guards. Once inside, the opening was delayed for several hours.

A Bolshevik seized the gavel from the Social-Revolutionary who was attempting to open the meeting; he demanded that all the deputies sing the Internationale. There was din and disruption whenever an S-R deputy spoke. However, they managed to get a few constitutional measures passed. Around midnight the Bolshevik deputies walked out, followed by their allies, the Left S-Rs. The sailors then urged the dissidents to leave, saying they could no longer protect them. Only Lenin's orders of "no violence" saved the remaining delegates. The meeting broke up about 4:30; most of the dissident delegates left Russia, never to return.

By 10 AM the Soviets had dissolved the Assembly and barred the doors of the Tauride. And so ended Russia's first experiment in a kind of democracy.

According to Heller and Nekrich, Lenin had outlawed the Cadet party and declared its members to be "enemies of the people" a few days before the opening of the Constituent Assembly. One of the Cadet leaders, and a delegate to the Assembly, was murdered in the hospital. Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, pp. 347- 348; Heller, pp. 47-49.]

March 3, 1918

Russia - Brest-Litovsk Treaty: The Bolsheviks sign a separate peace treaty with the Germans on very unfavorable terms, giving up 1/3 of the population and 1/3 of the productive lands of the old Russian Empire, including Georgia, Finland, the Ukraine and the Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

[Negotiation with the Austro-Germans for a separate armistice had begun on December 3, 1917 and an armistice agreement was signed on the 15th. This provided for a cessation of hostilities until January 14 whereupon negotiations should begin for a full-fledged peace treaty. The terms were onerous; Soviet Foreign Minister Trotsky began delaying tactics, hoping that socialist revolutions would develop in Germany and Austro-Hungary and workers there would denounce and modify the stipulations that the Central Powers were demanding.

No such luck! After five weeks of off-and-on negotiations with no agreement, the Germans renounced the armistice and the German army resumed its advance toward Petrograd on February 18th. The Russian army had disintegrated by this time, so Chairman Lenin ordered Trotsky to sign the treaty, even with the enhanced terms demanded by the Germans on the 23rd. By the time of the signing the German Army had advanced as far as Narva, only a hundred miles from Petrograd.

On the 24th the staff of most of the foreign embassies left Petrograd. US Ambassador Francis left two days later for the train to Vologda in a sleigh led by horses with American flags pinned behind their ears. On March 6th the Bolsheviks made the decision to move the capital to Moscow; the move was completed by mid-March. Petrograd was never again the capital of Russia or the Soviet Union. Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, pp. 191-440.

Trotsky wrote in his autobiography: "On 21st February, we received new terms from Germany, framed, apparently, with the direct object of making the signing of peace impossible . . . All of us, including Lenin, were of the impression that the Germans had come to an agreement with the Allies about crushing the Soviets. And that a peace on the western front was to be built on the bones of the Russian revolution. On 3rd March our delegation signed the peace treaty without even reading it."
Eight months later the treaty was nullified with the victory of the Allies on the western front. The boundaries determined at Versailles, however, would reduce Russia's territory even further than Brest-Litovsk.

March 11, 1918

Spanish Flu Pandemic: The extremely virulent disease which in 1918-1919 would kill 50-100 million people worldwide— more people than those who succumbed to the Black Death in the 14th century— is first observed in Queens, New York.

[It was called the "Spanish Flu" as Spain was the principal country to give press coverage
to the disease, not being under wartime censorship as was most of the rest of the world.
In contrast to the usual epidemic, more than half the deaths were of young healthy adults, 20-40 years old. The global mortality rate is estimated at 2.5% of the human population with 20% of the world suffering from the disease to some extent. Wikipedia

In the United States 675,000 people died— ten times the number of deaths in the Great War. Half of the US soldiers who died in Europe died from influenza, not enemy action.
In the spring the disease was mostly in the military camps; its resurgence in the fall affected people throughout the country. The infection rate was 28%. People were required to wear gauze masks; stores were not allowed to hold sales; some towns would not permit entrance to those not holding a certificate of good health. With so many physicians abroad with the troops, in some communities medical care was left to third and fourth year medical students. In some places steam shovels dug mass graves.]

March, 1918

Russia - US Intervention: The first troops of the Allied Expeditionary Force 12 leave for Murmansk and Archangel to help the White Russians in the civil war against the Bolsheviks and to "strangle Bolshevism in the cradle," in Winston Churchill's phrase. [By the end of
the year they numbered 180,000 from the USA, Britain, France and Japan as well as Italian, Greek, Serb and Czech contingents. An additional 300,000 anti-Bolshevik Russians were armed and supplied.

From a War Department report of 1920: "This expedition affords one of the finest examples in history of honorable, unselfish dealings . . . under very difficult conditions to be helpful to a people struggling to achieve a new liberty." The Soviets viewed the expedition quite differently; it was responsible for much of the paranoia toward the West. An angry Khrushchev said in Los Angeles in 1959: "Never have any of our soldiers been on American soil, but your soldiers were on Russian soil." Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1991.]

12— The Japanese troops in Siberia eventually numbered eighty thousand. Wilson sent American troops as much to monitor the Japanese as to aid the anti-Bolsheviks.
By the time the American troops arrived— August 19, 1918— the Czech troops that US troops were ostensibly sent to rescue were mostly gone. LaFeber, The Clash, pp. 118-119.

May 16, 1918

The Sedition Act: Article 3 of the June 15, 1917 Espionage Act is amended to include penalties of imprisonment for twenty years and/or a fine of $10,000 to anyone who shall, in time of war,
—"willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States"
— "willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy"
— "urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production"
— "advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated"
— "by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States."
[The Espionage and Sedition Acts were repealed in 1921.]

July 16, 1918

Russia - Executions in Ekaterinburg: Czar Nicholas II of Russia and his family are murdered by officials of the Bolshevik government.

October 1, 1918

Russia and Germany: Lenin exults: "The international revolution has come so close within the course of one week that we may count on its outbreak during the next few days . . . We shall all stake our lives to help the German workers in expediting the revolution about to begin in Germany."

[The war was obviously coming to an end for Germany with the mid-September collapse of the Balkan Front and the loss of Bulgaria on September 27. On the 29th the Supreme Command informed the Kaiser that the war was lost; Erich Ludendorff --- the co-head with Paul von Hindenburg of the German military--- demanded that an immediate cease-fire be requested of the Allies. (He was the instigator and major promoter of the "stab-in-the-back" myth that Hitler would later use to his advantage.) Andrew and Gordievsky, pp. 65-66.

Revolution did not come to Germany until early November when the army fired into a group of demonstrators protesting the arrest of sailors who had mutinied to prevent the sailing of the fleet. Kiel quickly came under the control of 40,000 sailors, soldiers and workers. From there the revolt spread throughout the German Empire with revolutionaries forming "Council Republics". The first was in Bavaria where King Ludwig III was forced to abdicate--- the first of several monarchies to fall. Kaiser Wilhelm II fled to exile Holland.

However, the leaders of the SPD (Socialist Democratic Party) and the more revolutionary members of the Spartacist League were in conflict from Day One. The "January Revolt" was caused by popular outrage at the firing of the police chief (because he had refused to fire on demonstrators in the "Christmas Crisis.") This latest disturbance was put down by the armed Freikorps (volunteer soldiers supporting Ebert's new temporary government) with over a hundred people killed in Berlin and many thousands throughout Germany in the coming months. Two Spartacist leaders, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, were arrested mid-January and brutally treated in prison by the Freikorps before their execution.

And so the revolution failed. There was no Trotsky to orchestrate a quick takeover of government functions; Friedrich Ebert and the other cabinet members of the future Weimar Republic— not to be founded until February, 1919—, were mindful of the fate of Russia's Kerensky regime and hastened to take repressive measures. Wikipedia.]

October 30, 1918

End of the Ottoman Empire --- Turkish Armistice at Mudros: This agreement was signed by Rauf Bey, the Minister of the Marine of a hastily organized caretaker Ottoman Empire government, and British Admiral Gough-Calthorpe aboard HMS Agamemnon in the harbor of Mudros.

[By its terms the Ottoman Empire should cease hostilities and surrender all of its remaining garrisons outside of Turkish-speaking Anatolia— most of those in Arabic-speaking possessions were already occupied by over a million British troops— plus the forts on the Dardanelles. Safe passage of Allied ships into the Black Sea was guaranteed. The 37-year-old naval officer who signed the armistice was satisfied that the Turkish-speaking territories would not be occupied, but he had overlooked the significance of the sentence: "The Allies have the right to occupy any strategic points in the event of a situation arising which threatens the security of the Allies."

Bulgaria, after a successful offensive by the French, had collapsed and sought an armistice on September 26th which was unilaterally concluded by the French commander in the field. Bulgaria was Turkey's land link to its German and Austrian allies; Turkey was in chaos with half a million deserters rioting and pillaging; the Constantinople government resigned and set up a new regime. Word was sent to Admiral Calthorpe that the Turks wanted to end hostilities. An all-night meeting of Britain's War Cabinet, overjoyed at the opportunity, set out conditions and determined to act without the French— in hopes of minimizing French post-war gains in Ottoman Asia. Prime Minister Lloyd George also wanted a peace concluded before Wilson arrived in Europe with his pesky Fourteen Points. The Secretary of the War Cabinet recorded in his diary: "Ll G took a very intransigent attitude and wanted to go back on the Sykes-Picot agreement, so as to get Palestine for us and to bring Mosul into the British zone, and even to keep the French out of Syria. . . . [he] also thought it would attract less attention to our enormous gains in the war if we swallowed our share of Turkey now, and the German colonies later."

The Turkish government that had made the ill-fated decision to back Germany rather than the Allies fled the country the first week in October on a German battleship. The French were furious at their exclusion from the armistice, but their actions in the Bulgarian armistice had set a precedent. It was not only the French who were angry about Mudros. Mustafa Kemal, the Turkish hero of Gallipoli, (and the only Turkish commander not to suffer a defeat in the war) left his post near the Syrian border and rushed to Constantinople where he attempted to persuade all whom he could see to establish a strong nationalist government that would stand strong against the foreigners.

He wrote: "It is my sincere and frank opinion that if we demobilize our troops and give in to everything the British want, without taking steps to end misunderstandings and false interpretations of the armistice, it will be impossible for us to put any sort of brake on Britain's covetous designs." Some were convinced, but in November Sultan Mehmed VI decided he wanted to placate the Allies in hopes of keeping his throne. He dissolved the parliament and tried to govern himself with a few close aides. Fromkin, pp. 366-376 ; MacMillan, pp. 282-284, 366-372; Balfour, pp. 146-156.]

November 7, 1918

Drawing Lines in the Sand: The British and French governments issue a joint declaration in Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia that their goal is "the complete and final liberation of the peoples who have been so long oppressed by the Turks . . . and the setting up of national governments." Lord Robert Cecil, the principal British architect of the League of Nations, had warned that "the Americans will only support us if they think we are going in for something in the nature of a native Government." MacMillan, pp. 386-387.

[With no mention of a "national home for the Jews" this was interpreted by the Arabs as a pledge for an independent state for Palestinian Arabs. Bregman, p. 7.]

November 11, 1918

Armistice Day: The Germans sue for peace on the basis of Wilson's Fourteen Points. World War I is over.

[The British Empire was crippled by the war; they lost three million subjects, nearly a million in Britain itself. Another two million were wounded. The Empire lost 15% of its assets and owed $16 billion- $5 billion to the USA, now a global power, thanks to the war. France lost 1.3 million soldiers— more than a quarter of its male population 18-27 years of age— which led to a "demographic peril" that was "as formidable as the German army." Brendon, pp. 6-7. A total of ten million lives were lost, a statistic that felt like a "first" to western minds who were oblivious to the nearly thirty million who died in China's Taiping Rebellion, 1853-1864. BBC, November 2, 1998.]

December 1, 1918

Drawing Lines in the Sand: Prime Minister Clemenceau of France and Prime Minister Lloyd George of Great Britain meet in London to discuss Mesopotamia and Palestine before the arrival of President Woodrow Wilson of the United States. Clemenceau agrees that Jerusalem and Palestine should go to Britain as well as the Mosul vilayet which had been awarded to France in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. (See entry for May 19, 1916.) However, France should receive a share of any future oil production in the Mosul province. France should get Syria and Lebanon.

[Clemenceau was accommodating in these particular spoils in expectation of British support in the negotiations for the terms against the Germans. The British had regretted Sykes-Picot, "that unfortunate Agreement which has been hanging like a millstone round our necks"— Lord Curzon's phrase— almost as soon as it was written. With Tsarist Russia gone, the agreement was invalid, they argued. And with Russia out of the picture, there was no need for France as a buffer. Some in the cabinet were eager to exclude France from all of the Arab lands, including Syria. Possession of Syria would put France in a position to threaten Britain's route to India, although there was no indication that such a move was contemplated by the French. Lord Curzon: "I am seriously afraid that the great power from whom we have most to fear in the future is France."

The Mosul vilayet was inhabited mainly by Kurds, a non-Arab and mostly Sunni Moslem population. Other Kurds lived in what is now Turkey and Syria and also in Persia.
The Kurds were clamoring for the formation of a Kurdistan on the basis of Wilson's Fourteen Points. (They would be unsuccessful; after all the lands had been parceled out, according to "self-determination" principles or not, the Kurds would be the largest ethnic group left without a homeland.)

Lloyd George was aware of the possibility of oil deposits in Mosul vilayet, but none had been proved. Most of the world's oil at this time came from the US and Mexico; the Anglo-Persian refinery had just become operative in 1914. Catherwood believes that oil did not figure in Lloyd George's deliberations. He further states that Lord Curzon, the British Foreign Secretary, was unaware of any oil potential in the region. In light of later stubbornness regarding Mosul, these statements are simply not credible. There had been a common presumption that there was oil to be found in Mesopotamia— and especially in Mosul where it was seeping out of the ground— ever since 1892 when Calouste Gulbenkian compiled a comprehensive report on geological assessments of oil potential in Mesopotamia. Catherwood, pp. 63-66; MacMillan, pp. 381-.384; Fromkin, pp. 375-379; Black, Banking on Baghdad, p. 103.]

December 13, 1918

Paris Peace Conference: Woodrow Wilson arrives in France to a tumultuous welcome. Stéphen Pinchon, The French foreign minister: "We are so thankful that you have come over to give us the right kind of peace." MacMillan, p. 15.

January 12, 1919

Paris Peace Conference: The Supreme Council holds its first meeting: Lloyd George of Great Britain, Wilson of the United States, Clemenceau of France and Vittorio Orlando, the prime minister of Italy.

[Each man brought his foreign minister and a crew of advisors. The next day the Supreme Council was enlarged to include representatives of Japan. The smaller allies and neutrals were not invited to participate. At the end of March the foreign ministers and the Japanese were excluded and it became the very contentious Council of Four. In late April Orlando and the Italians staged a ten-day walkout over Fiume and the Dalmatian islands. MacMillan, pp. 53, 95-300.]

January 16, 1919

Prohibition: Nebraska becomes the 36th state to ratify the Prohibition Amendment which will become law in 1920 as the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
[It had taken only a little over a year for the requisite number of state legislatures to act, a record speed. The law allowed a year's delay before the beginning of enforcement.]

January 24, 1919

"Installment buying" makes its debut when General Motors forms the General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) to enable consumers to buy their cars without paying full cash. [A ploy to lure customers from Ford and to stretch a sagging market, the device soon spread to other merchandise areas. By 1929 there were 26 million cars on the road, or one for every five people. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 21-22.]

March 2-6, 1919

Russia - the Comintern: The Communist International (also known as the "Third International") is formed at an "international" congress called by Lenin in Moscow.
Its avowed purpose is to fight "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State."

[Andrew and Gordievsky describe the meeting as "a mostly fraudulent piece of Russian revolutionary theater"--- of the 52 delegates representing 32 parties, only five actually came from abroad. Some had never been to the countries they had been designated to represent; some of the parties were not yet in existence. European left-wing militants were jubilant with this new organization and its promise of the spread of socialism; however, the Comintern's insistence on strict party discipline and separation from other socialist groups caused much upheaval before straight Communist Parties were formed in the different countries. The governments of Europe and the United States, already upset by the Russian Revolution, reacted with surveillance, arrests and persecution of CP members; in some countries the party was outlawed. Andrew and Gordievsky, KGB, pp. 66-67.]

March 3, 1919

Schenck v. United States: In a unanimous decision the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Espionage Act and the convictions of socialists who had written and distributed anti-war leaflets. Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes writes that "words used
. . . to create a clear and present danger [such] that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent" do not qualify as "protected speech" under the First Amendment. Nor does the First Amendment protect a person who creates a panic by falsely shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Hall, p. 158.

March 10, 1919

Debs v. United States: The Supreme Court upholds the conviction of Eugene Debs for ten years imprisonment under the Sedition Act of May, 1918 for a speech he made in Canton, Ohio on June 16, 1918. The judgment was affirmed by Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

[In his speech Debs had praised Socialism, predicted its ultimate success and "attempted to obstruct the recruiting and enlistment service of the United States." He said that the master class has always declared war and the subject class has always fought the battles; that the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose, including their lives; that the working classes who furnish the corpses have never had a voice in declaring war or declaring peace. "You have your lives to lose; you certainly ought to have the right to declare war if you consider a war necessary. . . . You need to know that you are fit for something better than slavery and cannon fodder."]

March 14, 1919

Russia - Lenin makes an offer to William C. Bullitt (who is in Moscow on a secret mission sponsored by the British and Wilson's Colonel House): In return for a peace conference with the Allies, the removal of all foreign troops and cessation of military aid to the insurgents, the Soviets would accept responsibility for the repudiated Tsarist debt and allow all de facto governments to remain in control of the territory they occupied, thus relinquishing the Urals, Siberia, Finland, the Baltic states and most of the Ukraine.

[This extraordinary offer was good until April 10. But thanks to the strong anti-Bolshevik sentiments that were prevalent, Wilson and Lloyd George never seriously considered the proposal. Also Admiral Kolchak's troops had just made a surprising 100-mile advance in eastern Russia which led to predictions that Kolchak's White Russians would be in Moscow in another two weeks. The refusal of the West to accept Lenin's offer solidified the Soviet feeling of isolation and hostility. The history of the rest of the century might have been quite different if the Bullitt-Lenin plan had been accepted by the Allies, the blockade lifted, and the starving people fed. The threat of a new blockade might have been sufficient to cause the Russians to adopt a communist government less threatening to the West. Farnsworth, William C. Bullitt and the Soviet Union, pp. 32-54.] 13

13— Bullitt and the other two members of the mission left Moscow after their week's visit positively impressed with the changes the Bolsheviks had made and were planning to make. The journalist Lincoln Steffens exclaimed, "I have been over into the future, and it works." Bullitt, disappointed with the dismissal of Lenin's offer, resigned as a member of the American peace delegation to the Paris Peace Conference.

Later he was bitterly opposed to most of the provisions of the Versailles Treaty, predicting correctly that giving Germany's economic and railway concessions in China's Shantung peninsula to Japan and mandating the former German colonies in the Pacific to Japan and Great Britain would encourage German irredentism and Japanese imperialism and ultimately war between Japan and the United States. His testimony before Lodge's Senate Committee on Foreign Relations aided the defeat of the treaty and the ultimate resignation of Secretary of State Lansing. Farnsworth, pp. 47-70; LaFeber, The Clash, pp. 121-127.

April 13, 1919

Amritsar, India: A crowd of 10,000 unarmed Indians— men, women and children— gathers in a walled garden in the sacred Sikh capital. Some are there to celebrate the Sikh festival of the New Year. Others are there to protest the Rowlatt Acts which call for arbitrary imprisonment for those agitating against continued British rule. (In 1917 Secretary of State for India Montagu had promised the Indians autonomy similar to that of Canada and Australia in exchange for their support of the war against Germany.) Brigade-General Reginald Dyer orders troops to fire on the unarmed demonstrators with no warning given. The massacre continues for ten minutes; 379 people are killed and 1200 are wounded, according to the official count. (It is widely believed that the true number of dead and wounded is much higher.)

[Dyer's action was commended by the House of Lords and censured by Commons. Nobel Laureate Tagore returned his knighthood to King George. This atrocity marked the end of the cooperation of the Indian elites with the British and the beginning of the decline of British rule in India. Mahatma Gandhi launched his first satyagraha— "clinging to the truth"— campaign the following year. Wikipedia; Encyclopedia Brittanica.]

May Day, 1919

Anarchist Bombs: Of the thirty package bombs mailed to prominent Americans in hopes of simultaneous May Day explosions, all but one are discovered before any damage is done.

[The maid of an ex-senator in Georgia was the only casualty— she lost her hands.
The targets were men who had been suppressing radicals: Mayor Ole Hanson of Seattle, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, Judge Kennesaw Mountain whose court had sentenced many Wobblies for sedition, congressmen from both parties, and so on.
There were demands for increased suppression of "anarchists and Bolshevists."
Mayor Hanson demanded that Washington "hang or incarcerate for life all the anarchists
in the country." The mood in the United States was set for the capture and eventual execution of two Italian anarchists who would be falsely accused of a gangland robbery and murder— Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Watson, pp. 5-7.

May 7, 1919

Paris Peace Conference --- Versailles Treaty: The two hundred page text of the Versailles Treaty formally ending World War I is published to the consternation of the Germans and to liberals in all countries concerned. Other than a provision for a League of Nations, Wilson's Fourteen Points have vanished. Instead Germany will be required to make punitive reparations— later negotiated down to $33 billion. The army is to be vastly shrunk in size and forbidden to have planes or tanks or a general staff; the navy is forbidden to build submarines or ships over 10,000 tons. Alsace-Lorraine is to be restored to France and other territories to Belgium, Denmark and Poland. 14 Krupp is forbidden to manufacture armaments.

[The Paris Peace Conference had gone on for many months with many acrimonious discussions. Containment of Bolshevism was a major motivation with most participants. Clemenceau had to contend with the many Frenchmen who wanted an even more Carthaginian peace than the Versailles Treaty enacted. Marshal Foch, for instance, wanted to either extend French borders to the Rhine or to create a new "buffer state" in that space. The Chinese delegation refused to sign after the Shantung peninsula had been awarded to Japan. The Japanese were incensed that there was no clause confirming racial equality inserted into the Covenant of the League of Nations. (This clause had been most vigorously opposed by delegates from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.)
World's End, the first novel of Upton Sinclair's Lanny Budd series, paints a good picture of the difficulties with the conference and the personalities involved. Brendon, pp. 14-22; Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 57-62; MacMillan., 1919.]

14— The return of the "Polish Corridor" to Poland served to isolate East Prussia from the rest of Germany. This would be one of Hitler's major rallying points against the Versailles Treaty.

May 15, 1919

End of the Ottoman Empire --- Greek Invasion of Turkey: The Greeks, with the full approval of the British and French, land 20,000 men in Anatolia and occupy Smyrna— now Izmir—, a Turkish city on the Aegean Sea which has had a significant number of Greek residents since Biblical times.

[Lloyd George and Clemenceau embraced the Greek invasion as one way of counteracting the Italians who were making moves to claim the portion of the southern coast of Anatolia that had been promised to them in return for their entry into the war. But Italy had contributed very little to the Allied victory; its ships seldom ventured out of port despite a pledge to patrol the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, and their long-delayed attack on Austria was a complete disaster.

For many years the British had backed the decaying Ottoman Empire as a buffer against Tsarist Russia and as an ally who would help protect the Eastern Mediterranean entrance to the Suez Canal. They now needed a replacement and the fragile government of Greece was a more palatable ally than the Italians. The four secret agreements that the British had made throughout the war, if honored, would have reduced Turkey to a few provinces in central Anatolia with seaports only on the Black Sea.

Mustafa Kemal became the leading planner of a group of Nationalists who were determined to resist a partition of their country. Kemal got a lucky break. Some Turkish brigands were attacking Greek communities around Samsun on the Black Sea. The British demanded that the perpetrators be apprehended and punished. Kemal's name was suggested to the sultan as a possible commander for the military unit; the sultan, eager to get rid of the troublemaker, was happy to send Kemal off to eastern Anatolia and out of Constantinople. With his seal as Inspector for all of Anatolia, Mustafa Kemal rode on beyond Samsun to accomplish his pre-arranged plan— to organize centers of Nationalist resistance throughout the hinterland and to prevent any further demobilization of the Turkish army.

A Declaration of Independence was issued in June at Asmaya. A Congress in Sivas in September validated the "National Pact"— a document setting Nationalist terms for a future peace treaty. All Turkish-speaking territory was to remain intact; non-Turkish minorities would have no privileges. Constantinople, the seat of the caliphate of Islam, must be guaranteed security. If so, the Bosphorus may be opened to traffic and commerce.
The future of western Thrace (in Europe) and the Ottoman Arab lands should be determined by votes of the inhabitants. Kemal and his three fellow conspirators had been careful to construct the document as a preservation of the sultanate, although ultimately a republic, and a secular one, had been their intention from the outset. Catherwood, pp. 68-69; Fromkin, pp. 392-394; 407-408; MacMillan, pp. 282-284; Balfour, pp. 163-219; 571-572.]

June 2, 1919

Anarchist Bombs: This time the bombs are delivered in person and not by mail. First, in Washington to Attorney General Palmer's home— across the street from young, pre-polio Franklin Roosevelt—, then to the Cleveland mayor's home. In Pittsburgh, Boston, New York and New Jersey homes were destroyed of men who had suppressed anarchists and other radicals. At each explosion site pamphlets were left from "THE ANARCHIST FIGHTERS" claiming responsibility and promising continued revenge against "capitalism and tyranny." Watson, pp. 8-10.

June 28, 1919

The Treaty of Versailles is signed by reluctant German delegates on the threat of "sign or be invaded." The setting is the same Hall of Mirrors in the palace of Louis XIV where Bismarck had imposed a humiliating treaty on a defeated France in 1871.

[The treaty's terms had been forced on an exhausted Wilson by the vengeful French in collaboration with the British. At least one of the treaty's architects had doubts about its harsh terms: Prime Minister Lloyd George predicted that "we shall have to do the whole thing over again in twenty-five years time at three times the cost." Rowland, Lloyd George,
p. 495; Dimbleby and Reynolds, An Ocean Apart, pp. 73-78.

The treaty laid the groundwork for the widespread belief in Germany that they had been tricked, not defeated— Germany would not have laid down her arms had she known that the final treaty would not embody Wilson's Fourteen Points. For instance, Point V had guaranteed that Germany could keep her overseas colonies, but they had quickly been taken over by Japan, France and Britain. "Self-determination" was the heart of the Wilsonian program, yet there were millions of Germans in Austria, Poland and the newly-created country of Czechoslovakia that had been excluded from Germany.

The German Army disobeyed the restrictions of the treaty from the first day; those German liberals who reported violations were sentenced to long prison terms for "treason." The treaty and the miserable economy of the 1920s paved the way for Adolf Hitler. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 59-62. And peace terms with the Ottoman Empire were still to be arranged!]

September 12, 1919

Fiume: The poet Gabriele D'Annunzio— who is indignant that Italian Prime Minister Orlando had not bargained well for Italy at the Paris Peace Conference and succeeded in obtaining Fiume and some islands on the Dalmatian coast— leads a group of dissatisfied veterans to take the port of Fiume (with its mixed Italian and Slavic population) from the Allied forces who are occupying the city.

[He planned to have Italy annex Fiume— now Rijeka in Croatia— but Italy refused and instead blockaded the city and demanded that the plotters surrender. D'Annunzio held out for eighteen months and established a fascist government in the Independent State of Fiume which supported itself by piracy. Brendon, p. 23.]

September 16, 1919

Anarchist Bombing: A horse-drawn wagon loaded with TNT and cast-iron window sashes explodes on Wall Street between the J.P. Morgan Building and the New York Stock Exchange, killing 34 and injuring more than two hundred people. [No arrests were ever made, for this or other bombings but the perpetrators were widely assumed to be Bolsheviks, anarchists, or other enemies of American capitalism. Barnet, Rockets' Red Glare, p. 171.]

October 27, 1919

Volstead Act: Over-riding Wilson's veto, Congress passes the Volstead Act which establishes the regulations for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment:

1. An "intoxicating beverage" is defined as one containing 0.5% alcohol, not the 2.75% of the wartime regulations. (Many of the states would have failed to ratify the amendment if this regulation had been attached. Several Eastern states passed laws in 1920 allowing the production and sale of low-alcohol beer and wine. The Supreme Court, however, ruled them unconstitutional in the National Prohibition Cases.)

2. Enforcement will be carried out by a Prohibition Unit within the Internal Revenue Service which shall have the authority to seize and sell any cars, boats, planes or other vehicles used to transport illegal liquor.

3. Bootleggers could be fined $1000 or six months in prison for a first offense; $10,000 and five years for a second.

4. The so-called "Padlock Law" enables the authorities to close a place for a year where liquor is sold or manufactured. (Yet the law prohibited searches of private homes and permitted the use and possession of alcoholic beverages there. This gave the green light for home brewing.)

5. The enforcement officers will not be under civil service.

November 10, 1919

Abrams v. United States: The Supreme Court upholds, 7-2, the convictions of Jacob Abrams, a Russian immigrant and an anarchist, and five comrades.

[They had been found guilty under the Sedition Act of writing and distributing leaflets in English and Yiddish that condemned President Wilson for sending American troops to fight in the Soviet Union. Justice John Clarke in the majority opinion followed the reasoning of Chief Justice Holmes in Schenck and Debs.

Holmes, however, was in dissent in this case along with Justice Brandeis. He reasoned that the "surreptitious publishing of a silly leaflet by an unknown man" hardly qualified as a "clear and imminent danger." The First Amendment protects the expression of all opinions unless "an immediate check is required to save the country." He added: ". . . the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market. And that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment."

Holmes' view had been modified over the summer. He had been disturbed by the antiradical hysteria and repressive acts of the authorities. Several friends challenged his decisions in Schenck, especially Harvard Law School professor Zechariah Chafee, federal district judge Learned Hand and political theorist Harold J. Laski. Hall, pp. 5-6.]

November 19, 1919

United States Senate: Rejecting the League of Nations covenant, the Senate refuses to ratify the Treaty of Versailles. This also ends the possibility of a United States mandate for an independent Armenia, a proposal that the other Three of the Big Four at Versailles had urged on President Wilson.

[Wilson had gone on a tour of the country in September to enlist popular support for the League; he suffered a stroke on September 25th; isolationist elements in the Senate were able to defeat the treaty. There was also major opposition from the South. Senator James Reed of Missouri couldn't bear to think of "submitting questions involving the very life of the United States to a tribunal on which a nigger from Liberia, a nigger from Honduras, a nigger from India . . . each have votes equal to that of the great United States." Katznelson, p. 85.]

December 11, 1919

Revolt against British Occupation in the Middle East: The jihad against the British in Iraq begins. Several hundreds of tribesmen enter Dair-el-Zur, a town west-southwest of Mosul that was later ceded to Syria. They set fire to the Political Office, steal money from the safe, and free the prisoners in the town jail. They attack the hospital, the fuel depot, a church and even a mosque. The British soldiers and police are forced to retreat to a barracks outside of town, which is then surrounded. Two airplanes arrive from Mosul; their machine guns rake the village, causing a panic.

[Three days later Winston Churchill, the secretary of state for war and air, announced an expansion of the air force. He asked Parliament for an annual $75 million to purchase new aircraft; three squadrons were slated for Mesopotamia. Not soon enough for Dair; that outpost was abandoned— France's problem now!

However, the revolts spread south, especially after the news of the San Remo Conference in late April, 1920. Flags were sewn, leaflets printed and distributed, and an imam issued a fatwa: none but Moslems have any right to rule over Moslems. Atrocities escalated on both sides. On June 4 in the middle of the town of Tel Afar near Mosul the captain of the gendarmes was suddenly murdered by his Arab lieutenant. This was the signal to set upon all the British soldiers in the town and also the armored cars that came to rescue them and convoys on a nearby road. Retaliation was swift and severe. The next day troops marched out from Mosul, burning all the crops on their path to Tel Afar. There they destroyed houses of suspected persons and chased the entire population of the city into the desert without water, food or shelter—"innocent and guilty alike"— according to Commissioner Arnold Wilson's self-serving memoir. (He was later knighted for his service to the crown.) Wilson, pp. 227-247, 273-274; Black, Banking on Baghdad, 250-254.]

January 2, 1920

US Roundup of Anarchists: In response to the many bombings in 1919, Attorney General Palmer orders the roundup and deportation of all alien communists and anarchists, invoking the wartime Sedition Act under which any foreigner could be expelled from the country for having "dangerous thoughts."

[Four thousand people were arrested; no explosives were found and only three pistols. Palmer had hoped to capitalize on the rampant nativism and anti-communism of the period and win a ticket to the White House. He miscalculated; a resolution was introduced in Congress calling for his impeachment after the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a damning report on the "illegal practices" of the Department of Justice. Barnet, Rockets' Red Glare, pp. 171-172.

Special Assistant J. Edgar Hoover was in charge of gathering evidence on these "revolutionary and ultra-radical groups." One of his special triumphs was the deportation of anarchist Emma Goldman, claiming her speeches had inspired the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. He also started dossiers on people who condemned the "Palmer raids" and on the lawyers hired to represent the accused. One of these was a Harvard Law School professor who later became a Supreme Court Justice- Felix Frankfurter. Summers, Official, pp.36-38.]

January 16, 1920

The Eighteenth Amendment goes into effect: Ratified the year before, the amendment prohibits the sale of alcohol nationwide- 60% of the country is already "dry" due to local legislation.

[As a result of Prohibition, illegal "speakeasies" sprang up in all the major cities with the importation, manufacture and distribution of liquor soon controlled by the organized crime syndicates of racketeers such as Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frankie Costello, Al Capone, and Dutch Schultz. The drink of choice changed from beer to hard liquor, as the economics of the bootleg industry dictated the consumption of the higher content and more economically transported beverage. While overall drinking declined during Prohibition, it increased among the middle class. Working class drinkers were priced out of the market.
By the end of the period American drinking patterns had changed from the all-male camaraderie of the saloon to the mixed-gender environment of night clubs and homes. Pegram, pp.175 -177.]

April 15, 1920

Armed Robbery and Murder in Massachusetts: Paymaster Frederick Parmenter and his guard, Alessandro Berardelli, are murdered as they attempt to deliver the payroll to the Slater and Morill shoe factory in South Braintree. It happens so quickly that the many observers fail to agree on any details— number of robbers, their heights, clothing, complexions, etc. Their only agreement is the direction taken by the getaway blue Buick— which some said was "shiny" and others maintained was "dusty."
[Seven years later anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti would be electrocuted for the crime. Watson, Chapter Two.]

April 19-26, 1920

Drawing Lines in the Sand --- the San Remo Conference: The heads of state of Britain, France and Italy meet in San Remo, Italy to assign League of Nation mandates for administration of the Ottoman lands of the Middle East.

[Arab nationalists had acted six weeks earlier. The Second General Syrian Congress, an assemblage of Arabs from all areas, declared independence for "Greater Syria," an area that included Lebanon in the north and Palestine in the south. Faisal, the son of Hussein ibn Ali, the sharif of Mecca, was elected King of Syria. His brother Abdullah was elected King of Iraq, or Mesopotamia. The Arabs were acting on the ambiguous promise of "independence" after the war made by Britain in exchange for military action against the Turks.

There was no treaty, just a series of ten horse-trading letters between Hussein and Sir Henry McMahon, the British high commissioner in Egypt. One concession from Hussein was unambiguous: the Arab nation would cede Iraq to Great Britain. The "Arab Revolt" had not been militarily significant; only token platoons of Arabs had fought behind the lines.
The Arab raids were "a sideshow to a sideshow" according to Colonel T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") who was also Faisal's friend and mentor.

The Allies were outraged at the presumption of anyone in Damascus dictating the future of Syria or Iraq. The conference awarded mandates for both Syria and Lebanon to France. Britain received mandates for Iraq and Palestine with the provision to create a Jewish homeland there, thus writing the creation of a future Israel into international law. Black, Banking on Baghdad, pp. 177-185, 240-242, 246.]

June 12, 1920

Republican National Convention: Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio wins the nomination for the party's presidential candidate. For the first time in history there are women delegates— 27 out of 984.

[Harding was a lack-luster candidate rated eighth in popularity the day the convention opened. The jingoist General Leonard Wood was considered the favorite, receiving over half of the necessary 484 votes on the first ballot. He was approached by Jake Hamon, the "Oil King of Oklahoma," who guaranteed that he could win the nomination for him in exchange for his appointment as Secretary of the Interior and the naming of the ambassador to Mexico. Wood told him to go to Hell.

The party bosses huddled over booze and Cuban cigars. Seduced by the millions doled out by Hamon and Harry Sinclair of Sinclair Oil, they settled on Warren Harding. Hamon would contribute $1 million and deliver the delegates of seven pivotal states to the victory in November; Harding agreed to appoint him Secretary of the Interior; Hamon had arranged to lease the Teapot Dome naval oil preserve to Harry Sinclair of Sinclair Oil in exchange for one-third of the profits. McCartney, pp. 3-26.]

July 24, 1920

Drawing Lines in the Sand --- French Forces Occupy Damascus, after a battle of tanks and machine guns versus swords and bolt-action rifles. France assumes its mandate for Syria. The French Prime Minister declares that Syria is henceforth French: "The whole of it, and forever."

[Faisal, who had assumed administrative control of Syria after his election as King by the Second General Syrian Congress on March 8th, was summarily deposed and ordered out of the country. Great Britain then made him King of Iraq, a position that had been promised to his brother, Abdullah. But wait! No problem! The British carved a new country out of Palestine's back yard, named it Transjordan, and gave it to King Abdullah. Black, Banking on Baghdad, pp. 244-245; Fromkin, p.439.]

July 24, 1920

The Zionist Conference in London creates the Jewish National Fund which will solicit cash donations from Jews worldwide to enable the legal purchase of lands for kibbutzim and the construction of Jewish villages. A few days earlier, Sir Herbert Samuel had been appointed high commissioner for Palestine with instructions to oversee the orderly immigration of Jews into Palestine.

[This was not happy news for the Arabs. Not only were the Zionists making great plans
fora significant portion of Palestine but they had lost Syria to the French. And the details of the San Remo Agreement became public when the measure was brought to the House of Commons. Altogether not a good year. The Arabs would name it "The Year of the Catastrophe" —Am al-Nakba. Black, Banking, pp. 245-246.]

August 1, 1920

India: Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi begins the "non-violent non cooperation movement" against British rule in India.

August 10, 1920

End of Ottoman Empire --- Treaty of Sèvres: Sultan Mehmed VI signs the treaty that the British and French cobbled together in February (Treaty of London), confirmed in April (San Remo Agreement) and presented to the sultan for his signature in June.
It provides that Turkey should be reduced to about 1/3 of its current territory in Anatolia with its only seaports on the Black Sea. Greece would receive Smyrna and its hinterlands (with a mandatory plebiscite after five years) plus most of the Aegean islands and all of Thrace— Turkey-in-Europe. Italy and France would divide southern Anatolia and its seaports on the Mediterranean. Constantinople and the Dardanelles would be administered by the Allies and the British Navy. In eastern Anatolia there would be an independent Armenia and a Kurdistan of unspecified boundaries.

[The treaty was still-born. The politicians plotting the carve-up of the Turkish pie in early 1920 seemed unaware of the gains of the Nationalist movement. They didn't seem to notice in February when the newly-elected Turkish Chamber of Deputies endorsed the Nationalist Pact [see May 15, 1919] or when the French were decisively defeated at Marash in Cilicia. (The French would seek an armistice from Mustafa Kemal in May.) Kemal's army soon occupied most of the territory allotted to Armenia, thus forcing the fragile Armenian government to cede any claims to sovereignty of Turkish Armenia; in December Armenia chose "the lesser of two evils" and became a republic in the Soviet Union. Balfour, p. 235; Fromkin, pp. 427-434; MacMillan, pp. 448-449.]

August 26, 1920

The Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution goes into effect. Women now have the right to vote.

September 16, 1920

Anarchist Bombing in New York City: A few seconds after Trinity Church's noon bell, a horse-drawn wagon loaded with 500 pounds of TNT and cut-up window sash weights explodes on Wall Street in front of the J.P. Morgan building, killing thirty people immediately (and ten later) besides wounding about 300. Most of the casualties are the small-fry of Wall Street- stenographers, messengers, clerks, and unfortunate passersby. (One of the latter was a young Joseph P. Kennedy who was knocked to the ground.)

[There was immediate pandemonium with people fleeing the scene, the wounded lying in the street calling for help.. Soon people, no longer fearing a second bomb, returned to the area, joining the throngs who had fled adjacent buildings. The several thousand people milling in the area managed to destroy whatever evidence that might have been found to identify the culprits. All windows in the area were shattered. Historic Trinity Church, a short block away, with its landmark Gothic Revival spire, amazingly was untouched.

J. P. Morgan's older son, Junius, was pitched forward by the explosion and a flying glass shard nicked his backside. (The ever-obsequious New York Times would write that he incurred a nick to his hand.) The senior Morgan partners were either out of the building or in a conference room with no windows facing the blast. J.P. Morgan, the firm's head, was at his shooting lodge in Scotland.

No arrests were ever made. The perpetrators were widely assumed to be Bolsheviks, anarchists, or other enemies of American capitalism. The FBI suspected an Italian anarchist group, the Galleanists, whose motive would have been anger at the indictment of Sacco and Vanzetti earlier that week. The extensively-damaged Morgan building was repaired, but the pockmarks to the marble façade were left untouched, possibly in memory of the two Morgan employees who died. Brooks, pp. 1-20; Chernow, Morgan, pp. 212-214.]

October 9, 1920

Poland occupies the Lithuanian city of Vilna- currently called Vilnius, the capital of the country. This is the first defiance of the just-formed League of Nations.

November 2, 1920

The Wilson era ends with the election of Republican Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio as president and Calvin Coolidge as Vice President. The electoral count is 404-127, with Harding carrying 37 of the 48 states. The vice-presidential candidate for the Democrats is 38-year-old Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Wilson.
The popular vote, the largest margin of victory to date in a presidential election:

Harding 62 %
Cox 35 %
Debs 4 % 15
The Republicans make large gains in Congress, achieving a majority of 12 in the Senate and 113 in the House.

[Cox and Roosevelt had campaigned vigorously and extensively. With the exception of a whistle-stop tour to twenty states, the Harding campaign was conducted from the front porch of his home in Marion, Ohio. Oil money was called upon behind the scenes to pay off the many women in Harding's life who were threatening to come forward with the juicy details. Oil money also paid for the wide distribution of Harding's genealogy to dispel the rumors that he had African-American blood. McCartney, pp. 31-51.

The election results were broadcast by Pittsburgh's pioneer 100-watt radio station, KDKA. Four years later there were 530 stations in operation with an audience of 20 million. Sales of radio receivers approximated a million dollars a day. By 1928 stations were operating with ten thousand watts; commercially sponsored programs such as the very popular
Amos 'n' Andy were being broadcast by national networks. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 228-229.]

15— Eugene Victor Debs (1855-1926) had been the candidate of the Socialist Party for president for the elections of 1904, 1908, and 1912, as well as 1920. In 1920 he was in jail on a ten-year sentence for opposing US entry into World War I. In the 1912 election he had received more than 6% of the total votes cast.

December 6, 1920

Lenin: "We must exploit the contradictions and opposition between two imperialist power groups . . . and incite them to attack each other. . . . one must know how to group one's forces so that the two begin to fight each other." Topitsch, p. 15.

March 4, 1921

Inauguration Day: After an unusually brief speech, Harding and Coolidge make a surprise visit to the Senate where Harding presents his slate for the cabinet. Majority Leader Henry Cabot Lodge calls for a confirmation vote on the entire list. Caught unprepared, not a single senator raises an objection.

[Three names were quite unpopular: Harry Daugherty, the political fixer from Ohio for Attorney General; Herbert Hoover for Secretary of Commerce; and Albert Fall for Secretary of the Interior. Fall was a substitution for Jake Hamon. Florence Harding had mandated that Hamon must leave his mistress behind and bring his legal wife, Florence's second cousin, to Washington. When Jake explained the bad news to his mistress Clara after the election, she shot and killed him. (She was acquitted in a speedy trial the week after inauguration; the judge intervened to prevent any testimony about Hamon's relationship to President Harding.) McCartney, pp.3-61. According to the New Republic Fall and Daugherty were "unspeakably bad appointments." Stratton, p.202.]

April 9, 1921

Involuntary Servitude and Slavery (aka Peonage) plus Murder: A white man in Georgia, tried for the murder of one of his black plantation slaves, is found guilty by a jury of twelve white men— seven of them fellow farmers— and sentenced to life imprisonment. Astonishingly, his conviction was based on the testimony of a black man.

[Two agents from the federal Bureau of Investigation— forerunner of the FBI— had visited John S. Williams' 2000-acre farm in February to investigate the claims of peonage made by a successful runaway peon. They explained the peonage law to a spuriously innocent Williams. (See entry for June 4, 1903.) Before departing they told Williams that he need not be afraid of a grand jury summons as his workers were "well dressed and well fed and all we talked to seemed to be satisfied."

Williams, however, was fearful that the agents might return and his workers might talk— about the whippings, several killings, the evening lockup, and the use of dogs to retrieve runaways. He told his crew boss, black illiterate Clyde Manning, that he must "get rid of all the stockade niggers." When Manning protested, Mr. Johnny had replied, "It's your neck or theirs." In the next ten days ten black men were murdered by Williams and Manning, some with the help of Charlie Chisolm who would become the eleventh victim.

The first ones were killed with an axe and buried on the farm. The next six had their hands and feet chained and, with sacks of rocks attached to their necks, were pushed off bridges into the not-sufficiently- deep local rivers. Three bodies— two of them chained together— surfaced within days and were quickly identified as men from the Williams plantation.
After he was promised federal protection, Manning told the agents the entire story and was able to show them where all the bodies were buried, including those of men were murdered prior to the February visit.

Very quickly, thanks in part to pressure from the outgoing governor of Georgia, Hugh Dorsey, a grand jury was convened, both Williams and Manning were indicted, and a jury was selected for the first trial— that of Williams for the first black man who had surfaced in the river. Both the New York Times and the New York World sent correspondents to cover the sensational four day trial of the "death farm killings."

The jury immediately and unanimously voted for "guilty", but then were divided 8-4 on a recommendation of mercy with the majority voting to see their white peer hung. However, one of the men advocating mercy was a notoriously stubborn and hard-headed individual, so the majority gave in. The judge quickly sentenced Williams to life imprisonment to the gentleman farmer's astonishment. It would be forty-five years before another white man would be convicted in Georgia for killing a black person.

Following the verdict Governor Dorsey issued a controversial anti-peonage proclamation. He acknowledged the systematic abuse of blacks by the white people of Georgia. He called for the legislature to repeal the section of the Georgia Code that mandated the return to his employer of any worker who had not fulfilled his labor contract. He asked for compulsory education of both races and financial penalties to any county where a lynching occurred.
He would be known historically as the "anti-lynching governor."

Dorsey's opponents charged that he was cleaning his image prior to opening a law practice in New York City. His image had been severely tarnished with Northerners in 1913 by the inflammatory way in which he had successfully prosecuted Jewish Leo Frank, 16
the co-owner and superintendent of the pencil factory in which 13-year-old white Mary Phagan was found murdered, with her clothing ripped, and possibly raped.

Clyde Manning was tried six weeks after Williams. He pled "not guilty" based on his claim of actions under duress and intimidation. He was represented by some of the best attorneys in Atlanta who defended him eloquently. However, it took less than an hour for the jury to declare him guilty but with a recommendation for mercy, or life imprisonment.

The punishments of the two men were as unequal as their lives had been. Williams was a trusty at the state prison in Milledgeville, doing small jobs and having more privileges than the average inmate until his accidental death ten years later. Manning spent six years on a chain gang until his death in a prison hospital of tuberculosis. Freeman, Lay This Body Down: The 1921 Murders of Eleven Plantation Slaves.]

16— Leo Frank was the president of Atlanta's B'nai Brith and the manager and co-owner of the National Pencil Company where 13-year-old Mary Phagan was employed. Frank was clearly not guilty. Then-Governor Staton was convinced of Frank's innocence and believed a black man named Conley to be the guilty party. Therefore, he commuted Frank's sentence to life imprisonment. A month later the "Knights of Mary Phagan" arrived at the prison farm in a caravan of eight automobiles, wrested Frank from the prison guards, and lynched him. After the lynching about half of the Jewish population of Georgia left the state.

The mob that yelled "Hang the Jew, hang the Jew pervert" during the trial was animated not just by anti-Semitism but also a hatred of meddling Yankees, especially those who operated factories that employed young girls for ten hours a day at twelve cents an hour. The trial and the protracted appeals process saw the birth of the Anti-Defamation League. With new exculpatory evidence, Frank received a posthumous pardon from the State of Georgia in 1986. Dray, pp. 207-214.

April 27, 1921

Germany: The Allies' Reparation Commission notifies Germany of the amount of claims due the Allies: 132 billion gold marks to be paid in installments over the next 42 years. [Adam Klug estimates that this came to $500 per head of the German population at 1913 prices, or three times the GNP. "The Theory and Practice of Reparation and American Loans to Germany: 1925 -29."]

May 19, 1921

Immigration Act of 1921: President Harding signs the first bill in American history to restrict immigration from Europe. Immigration will be limited to a quota of 3% of the number of foreign-born from each European nation residing in the United States in 1910. The maximum will be 355,000 a year.

[This was a stopgap measure designed to severely limit immigration from the poverty-stricken areas of southern and southeastern Europe. It passed in the wake of the 1920 depression and fears of an "alien flood" of workers to compete for jobs at a time of grave unemployment. As a result immigration from these areas was reduced to 20% of the immigration in 1914. The American Legion had advocated stopping all immigration until the last wave of "new immigrants" had become Americanized. The final law would be passed in 1924. Divine, American Immigration Policy, , pp. 4-10.]

May 31, 1921

Teapot Dome Scandal: At the urging of Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall and with the agreement of the compliant Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby, President Harding signs Executive Order 3474 which transfers the naval petroleum reserves from the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Interior.

[The reserves consisted of three properties: Naval Reserve No. 1 in Elk Hills, California; Naval Reserve No. 2 in Buena Vista, California; and Naval Reserve No. 3 in Salt Creek, Wyoming. The last was commonly called "Teapot Dome" for the unusual geological formation that resembled a teapot. The Taft administration had set aside these oil-rich tracts of land for emergency use by the navy which had only recently made the shift from coal to oil.

One of Fall's first acts after taking office had been to clear out all the conservationists from the department, so there was no one to yell objections when Fall made plans to lease these tracts. The first was the Elk Hills tract which went to Edward Doheny who promised to build storage tanks at Pearl Harbor and fill them with oil. He must build a refinery in California and build a pipeline from Elk Hills to the refinery. All of Teapot Dome was leased to Harry Sinclair and his newly-incorporated Mammoth Oil Company in exchange for a pipeline from the tract and storage tanks on the Atlantic Coast to be filled with oil. There was no competitive bidding.

Fall would always maintain that he had acted in the national interest. The country was in the midst of the postwar "world oil crisis" with experts predicting the end of US oil resources in 10-20 years and the British and Dutch busily acquiring a monopoly on new oil fields worldwide. He was concerned that drainage was occurring in the naval reserve lands from pumping in adjacent fields. So wouldn't large storage tanks make a better strategic reserve? Stratton, pp. 229-230. These leases were quite legal, albeit extremely generous to the lessees, each tract being worth about $100 million. However, the bribes that Secretary Fall took from Sinclair and Doheny, a total of around $400,000, were scandalously illegal. (Fall would maintain until his death that they had been loans.) McCartney, pp. 89-113. See entries of June 12, 1920, November 2, 1920 and March 4. 1921 for background.]

June 23, 1921

Mesopotamia- Iraq: Faisal arrives in Baghdad to become King after having been dethroned as King of Greater Syria by the French. [See entries for April 19-26, 1920 and July 24, 1920.] You might say that this is the beginning of Iraq— or Mesopotamia until 1935— as a nation under Britain's mandate, but it's been a long journey.

[Weeks before the beginning of the Great War an Indian expeditionary force had been ordered to sail from Bombay to the Persian Gulf to protect Anglo-Persian Oil Company's recently-completed refinery on the island of Abadan in the Shatt-al-Arab, downstream from Basra in Mesopotamia. (And also His Majesty's Government's 51% interest in APOC which Winston Churchill— ever mindful of the Royal Navy's need for oil— had persuaded Parliament to purchase in June.)

After Turkey entered the war on Germany's side, British forces joined the Indians and they moved to take Basra on November 23rd to further secure Abadan. It is unclear who gave the order, but in September 1915 British and Indian forces began the march to Baghdad. Many in the military opposed such a venture— temperatures of 110°, no guaranteed supplies of water en route, and the possibility of formidable Ottoman resistance.

The military's chief political officer, Percy Cox, disagreed. "Arab element is already friendly and notables here volunteer that we should be received in Baghdad with the same cordiality as we have been here [in Basra.] . . . Baghdad in all probability will fall into our hands very easily." Oil enthusiast Admiral Fisher pressured Prime Minister Asquith: "I hope you are not losing any time annexing the Tigris and the Euphrates!"

Victories came easily and cheaply in their progress north until the troops reached a settlement just 16 miles south of Baghdad. Battle-hardened Turks were waiting for them in long defensive trenches. Routed, the British retreated to Kut, 100 miles to the south where they became encircled by 60,000 Turkish troops. After four months the starving troops, enfeebled by enteritis, were forced to surrender in late April, 1916. The 13,000 survivors were beaten mercilessly by both Turks and local Arabs, then forced to walk (or fall by the wayside) the hundred miles to Baghdad. A doctor of the International Red Cross who examined the men for a prisoner exchange described them: "They were wasted to wreathes of skin hanging upon a bone frame."

British Tommies and turbaned Indians marched triumphantly into Baghdad on March 11, 1917. With news of the armistice concluded with the Ottoman Empire at Mudros the Mesopotamian commander ordered the garrison at Mosul to surrender and evacuate the vilayet. British troops marched into Mosul on November 7, 1918; all three provinces were now completely occupied by the British. This would be handy in the oil concession ownership hassles to come. Possession is nine-tenths of the law!

A civilian administration modeled on India had been instituted the week after Basra was taken. This was extended to Baghdad. There were Indian policemen; the currency was rupees, and the taxes were paid to Bombay. Civil Commissioner Arnold Wilson proposed to Whitehall that Mesopotamia "be annexed to India as a colony for India and Indians, that the government of India would administer it, and gradually bring under cultivation its vast unpopulated desert plains, peopling them with martial races from the Punjab." Obviously he did not see Iraq— as its Arab inhabitants were increasingly naming the area— as an independent country-in-waiting.

When the War Cabinet issued instructions that pre-existing laws and customs were to remain in place, Wilson ignored them. He abolished the local elected municipal councils that the Ottomans had permitted. London, sensitive to the very different populations in Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, wanted the three areas administered separately. Wilson treated them as if they were one homogeneous area. Families were evicted from their homes which were then taken over for military housing or administrative purposes; men were forced from their fields or other business to labor at peon's wages on British work projects. He controlled the movement of food and other supplies, so he determined who ate and who starved, as a means of compliance.

The punishments he exacted for the increasing Arab "terrorist" activities were draconian. When the oppressive governor at Najaf was murdered in March, 1918 and the culprits couldn't be identified, Wilson had the city— one of the most sacred Shia places— blockaded for months until the starving citizens yielded up the guilty men. So the stage was set for jihad against Britain. Secret organized groups began murdering, kidnapping, pillaging, and committing acts of sabotage on an order that could not be handled by the ground troops and the Indian policemen.

Winston Churchill, the Secretary for both War and Air, told the House of Commons in March, 1920 that Britain could not afford the additional number of ground troops it would take to contain the escalating violence. Therefore, the Royal Air Force would be used.
Rebel villages and enemy concentrations were strafed and bombed throughout August and September, using the new strategy of Morale Bombing developed by Chief of Staff Hugo Trenchard. As he explained in a memo to Wilson: ". . . when air operations are resorted to, they should be carried out in a strength sufficient to inflict severe punishment and in numbers adequate to sustain the attack for as long a period as may be necessary. It will be realized then that aircraft . . . by their mere presence will often induce the natives to return to peaceful ways." (Arthur "Bomber" Harris was one of the pilots who bombed civilians.
He would later orchestrate the carpet bombing of Dresden in WWII.)

By October the rebels were running out of both ammunition and ardor. Wilson had been sacked and replaced by Percy Cox who immediately instituted a provisional government with an elected general assembly and a process leading to a constitution. There was never a need for the gas bombs whose manufacture had been ordered back in May, 1919 at the urging of Winston Churchill who had said, "I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected." Black, Banking on Baghdad, pp. 170-177, 186-190, 200-204, 208-217, 246-260; Yergin, The Prize, pp. 149, 160-163, 174.]

July 8, 1921

Electricity --- Muscle Shoals, Alabama: Henry Ford, responding to the War Department's announcement that it would take bids on two nitrate plants and the partially-built Dam No. 2— later named Wilson Dam— on the Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals, sends in his bid. He offers $5 million for the nitrate plants and will lease the power plant for 100 years, provided that the government construct a dam and an additional power plant fiteen miles north of Muscle Shoals and install additional horsepower at the first dam.
He will pay 4% interest on the cost of the power plants amd agrees to produce fertilizer that would be sold commercially at 8% profit. The Alabama Power Company, which already owns a transmission line from Muscle Shoals, is a second bidder.

[The public, entranced by the image of the motor mogul, was initially enthusiastic about the Ford proposal— the cheaper fertilizer that the Ford genius would undoubtedly produce, and the magnificent manufacturing city that Ford would construct on the 4600 acres he would be deeded. Others, such as Gifford Pinchot, saw the offer as "seven parts waterpower to one part fertilizer" wherein Ford would get huge quantities of electrical power free and pay no taxes, using the fertilizer provision as bait.

On April 10, 1922 Senator George Norris of Nebraska, the chairman of the Agriculture and Forestry Committee which had held hearings on all the proposals, introduced his own bill for a government corporation which would operate all the Muscle Shoals properties "for the purpose, first, of supplying explosives in time of war, and, second, fertilizer in time of peace. Surplus power would be sold with preference given to states, counties and municipalities.
He wanted the property developed in the interests of the American people, instead of some corporation making a profit venture out if it.

The government had spent $106 million on Muscle Shoals; Ford was offering to buy it all for $5 million. Ford planned to build an industrial city at Muscle Shoals that would consume the bulk of electricity generated; Norris' plan would extend electricity in a 300-mile radius to rural homes at an inexpensive rate. Norris' bill was a comprehensive package for the region, including navigation and flood concerns not covered by Ford's plan and would do more for the development of the South, he said, than anything Ford had proposed.

The House endorsed the Ford proposal, but it died in the Senate. Although the Norris bill was passed over in the House, Norris' arguments for public power made increasing headway with the public anger over Teapot Dome. In October 1924 Ford withdrew his offer.

The twisting Tennessee River and its tributaries make a catchment area of over 40,000 square miles in six states. The 2 million people who lived in the Tennessee Valley in 1920 were mostly small farmers who grew cash crops— corn, cotton and tobacco— and lived in terribly squalid conditions. The series of rapids at Muscle Shoals in northern Alabama provided a current with a fall four-fifths the height of the Niagara Falls, making it the greatest water power site east of the Rockies. Therefore, this was the site chosen in 1917 by President Wilson for the nitrate plants that were designed to utilize water power to extract nitrogen from the atmosphere for use in explosives. After the armistice there was no more need for nitrates. Lowitt, pp. 197-216.]

August 22, 1921

J. Edgar Hoover, aged 26, is appointed Assistant Director of the Bureau of Investigation.

December 19, 1921

Washington Naval Treaty of 1922: Japan accepts Secretary of State Charles Evan Hughes' terms for ending the global battleship-building race: a 10:10:6 ratio with the United States and Great Britain having the greater proportions.

[France and Italy were soon added to the Five-Power Treaty with each allowed half the tonnage of Japan. The Washington Conference concluded with a nine-power pact— including the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and China— which affirmed the battleship ratios, guaranteed the "open door policy" for China (which had been sought by the United States since its first enunciation by John Hay in 1899) and engineered the return of the Shantung peninsula to China in exchange for the recognition that Japan had special rights in Manchuria. This treaty essentially ended the old Anglo-Japanese alliance.

It was in the economic interest of all parties to halt the ferocious battleship competition; Japan, however, was possibly the ultimate victor as it won de facto naval superiority in the western Pacific despite having settled for less than the 10:10:7 ratio originally sought.
In order to secure Japan's participation, the United States agreed not to strengthen any bases that lay west of Pearl Harbor, such as Guam and Manila. Great Britain similarly agreed not to strengthen any of her bases east of Singapore or north of Australia.

The Allies would regret this in World War II; the Pacific island-hopping of bases fortified by the Japanese would prove very costly in American lives. Wall Street— especially J. P. Morgan— to the despair of a succession of Secretaries of State, would undermine any advantages that the United States had received in their half-century competition with Japan for Chinese trade by the massive loans which were given to Japan throughout the 1920s to develop Manchuria and northern China. The London Naval Treaty of 1930 set similar restrictions for cruisers. LaFeber, The Clash, pp. 135-143, 149-152; Morison, pp. 8-19.]

February 8, 1922

Radio, the New Technological Marvel: President Warren G. Harding has a radio installed in the White House. [His speech from the White House on Washington's Birthday was carried on 42 stations from coast to coast. Radio broadcasts would play a major role in Calvin Coolidge's 1924 election campaign.]

April 14, 1922

Teapot Dome Scandal: The Wall Street Journal breaks the story that Interior has leased all of Teapot Dome to Harry Sinclair's Mammoth Oil Company for drilling. A whistle-blower within the department had given the story to conservationist watchdog Harry Slattery who leaked it to the newspaper.

[There was immediate negative reaction in Congress, especially after the additional lease of Elk Hills was revealed. Why no competitive bidding? Why all of Teapot Dome when Wyoming was already over-producing? On the 29th the Senate unanimously passed a resolution from Senator Robert LaFollette, Sr. (R-WI) to investigate the oil leases. Senator Tom Walsh (D-MT) was urged by his colleagues to take the leadership of the investigation by the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys. He demurred until Senator Burton Wheeler told him he had been told that it was "a crooked deal."

Undaunted by the criticism of the oil leases, in May Secretary Fall had President Harding transfer the naval coal fields in Alaska from the Navy to the Department of the Interior.
He was preparing for a huge government initiative in Alaska costing $5 million— building and operating paper mills, saw mills and railroads until they could be sold to private investors. Fall advised Harding that this economic boom in Alaska would enrich the entire nation. Edward Doheny was cruising Alaska in his yacht to check out oil prospects.

This Alaska project came to a halt in July when Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace— the father of Henry Agard Wallace who would be Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice President under Franklin Roosevelt— threatened Harding that if he gave the U.S. Forest Service to Interior, he would "expose the case against Fall, his colleagues, forests, oil and everything in the nation." By "everything in the nation" Wallace may have meant the graft being pursued by Attorney General Daugherty and the 'Ohio Gang'— kickbacks for purchases by the Veteran's Bureau, bribes from Germans seeking return of their frozen alien property, licenses sold for the purchase of liquor for medicinal purposes, sale of pardons and paroles, and so on.

Each month Daugherty would make a half-million dollar deposit into his brother's bank in Washington Crossing, Ohio. Fall resigned as Secretary of the Interior in January, 1923.
The Walsh investigation began in October, 1923. The final legal word on Teapot Dome was not spoken until1928. McCartney, pp. 69-73, 108- 140. See entry of May 31, 1921 for background.]

April 16, 1922

Treaty of Rapallo: Germany and the Soviet Union sign an agreement in which both renounce all war claims against the other and cancel all pre-war debts. The Soviet Union receives de jure recognition for the first time; Germany gets a most-favored nation clause and significant trade agreements. In a secret section the Soviet Union grants Germany permission to use its territory for army maneuvers and exercises and the production of weapons? all of which are forbidden under the Treaty of Versailles. Topitsch, p. 20.

[ France, Great Britain and Italy, fearing a rapprochement between the Soviet Union and Germany and the other countries defeated in the Great War, attempted to construct a cordon sanitaire separating Germany and the USSR with a block of countries aligned with the Western defense system. Foremost was the Little Entente— Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Rumania— with France as its most enthusiastic backer. Walter Rathenau, one of the German officials involved in the treaty negotiations, was assassinated two months later by two right-wing (and anti-Semitic) Army officers.]

June 3, 1922

Churchill White Paper on Palestine: Following the Arab revolts in Palestine 17
in 1920 and 1921, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Winston Churchill, issues a document clarifying the 1917 Balfour Declaration. There will be a Jewish National Home in Palestine, but Palestine is not to become "as Jewish as England is English," according to the "exaggerated interpretations" of the Balfour Declaration that have alarmed many Arabs.
All citizens of Palestine shall be considered to be "Palestinians," and His Majesty's Government intends to "foster the establishment of a full measure of self government in Palestine . . . . by gradual stages and not suddenly." Jewish immigration "cannot be so great in volume as to exceed whatever may be the economic capacity of the country at the time to absorb new arrivals." The White Paper notes that the present Jewish population is about 80,000, 25,000 of whom came as immigrants since the beginning of the British occupation in 1917. 18

[To further quiet Arab fears the Mandate area east of the Jordan River— 76% of the territory— had been detached from Palestine, renamed Transjordan and given to the Hashemite Emir Abdullah as his kingdom, thus drastically reducing the area available for Jewish settlement.] The Avalon Project at Yale Law School;;

17— The most violent disturbance was in Jaffa on May Day 1921 when nearly 200 Jews and 120 Arabs died. Bregman, p. 8.
18— According to Bregman, the Jewish population had reached 120,000 by the beginning of 1923. p. 4.

July 24, 1922

The League of Nations formally mandates Palestine to Great Britain, incorporating the pledge of a national home for the Jews made in the Balfour Declaration.
Bregman, p. 7
BrBregman, egman, p. 7.

October 28, 1922

The "March on Rome:" Italy's Premier Luigi Facta receives a demand from the Fascist Party that he resign his post in favor of Benito Mussolini who had declared, "Either the government will be given to us or we shall seize it by marching on Rome."

[Facta declared a state of siege; the army could easily have routed the poorly-armed Fascist squads who had placed themselves in key positions around the city, but King Victor Emmanuel refused to sign the decree. The country was still reeling from the Great War and he wanted no further conflict. He invited Mussolini to come to Rome and start a government—  with the understanding that the king would retain his throne. Mussolini and his key followers arrived on the 30th----- by train and with first-class tickets. Mussolini would later fabricate the myth of 300,000 black-shirts marching on Rome, some barefoot, led by himself on horseback.

And so began the fascist rule which would last until 1945. Hitler is said to have remarked: "The brown shirt would not have existed without the black shirt. The march on Rome . . . was one of the turning-points of history." BBC News, October 29, 2002; Smith, Modern Italy, pp. 316-322; Brendon, p. 28; Ridley, Mussolini, pp.129-137.]

December 4, 1922

The Anti-Lynching Bill, introduced by Representative Leonidas Dyer (R-MO) in April, 1921, is allowed to die in the Senate after a week's filibuster led by Democrats Underwood of Alabama and Harrison of Mississippi.

[The Republicans controlled the Senate and had enough members to invoke cloture, had they so desired. They could now blame the Democrats for its failure to pass; by sponsoring the bill they could gain favor with the emerging bloc of black voters in the urban North.
On the 13th James Weldon Johnson of the NAACP sent an "Open Letter to Every Senator" in which he noted that in the week since the smothering of the Dyer Bill there had been four lynchings; one victim was tortured and burned at the stake. "This outbreak of barbarism, anarchy and degenerate bestiality and the blood of the victims rest upon the heads of those Southern senators who have obstructed even discussion of the measure designed to remedy this very condition. . . . And the responsibility rests equally with the Republican majority who surrendered with hardly a struggle to the lynching tactics of the Democrats." Dray, pp. 258-272.]

December 14, 1922

Oil - in Venezuela: Royal Dutch/Shell has a gusher in its Barroso No. 2 well on the eastern shore of Lake Maracaibo. [Many more strikes were made in the La Rosa field and the oil boom was on. By 1929 Venezuela was second only to the United States in worldwide production at 137 million barrels a year. It had displaced Mexico partly due to the political turmoil in that country which discouraged the investors who now flocked to Venezuela, among them: Royal Dutch/Shell, Gulf and Pan American. Yergin, Prize, pp. 233-237.]

December 30, 1922

Soviet Union - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or CCCP in Russian): The Soviet Socialist Republics of Russia, the Ukraine, Belorussia and Transcaucasia unite to form what will be familiarly known in the West as the "Soviet Union." Mikhail Kalinin signs for the Russian component.

[The USSR was recognized by the British Empire on February 1, 1924; many other nations followed the British lead; the United States would withhold recognition until November, 1933. Additional soviet socialist republics were formed through the years and added to the USSR. In September, 1991 they numbered 15.]

January 11, 1923

French and Belgian forces occupy the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland, as a response to Germany's default in coal deliveries— reparation payments that were owed under the Versailles Treaty.

[Germany responded by withholding all reparations and sponsoring passive resistance and strikes. The government was forced to print money to pay the strikers, further undermining the economy. The hyper-inflation caused the government to cancel the passive resistance and resulted in a European depression. The Americans and the British intervened with loans to prevent a total collapse of the German and French economies.
The last troops were withdrawn in November, 1924.]

February 19, 1923

Moore v. Dempsey: Voting 6-2, the Supreme Court rules that a mob-dominated trial is in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Oliver Wendell Homes, writing for the majority, holds that federal courts, when petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, must review claims of mob domination in state trials and order the release of defendants convicted in such trials.

[Seven hundred sharecroppers of rural Phillips County, Arkansas, despairing of getting a fair price (or timely pay) for their cotton, formed a sharecroppers' union in 1919. The white people, outnumbered in the county four to one, feared this was really a black insurrection. When the car of some white deputies "broke down" near a church where a union meeting was in progress, gunfire broke out and one of the white deputies was killed. Assured that the rebellion had started, the call was put out for help from other counties and neighboring Mississippi.

For several days there was "indiscriminate hunting, shooting and killing" of blacks, combatants and non-combatants alike. According to the NAACP two to three hundred African-Americans were killed and dozens taken prisoner. These prisoners were held incommunicado, denied counsel and sentenced by a kangaroo court. Floggings and other means of torture had produced "confessions" from some of the hundred. No motion was made for dismissal or change of venue despite the presence of a mob that threatened death to any juryman who voted for acquittal. Twelve of the prisoners received death sentences; sixty-seven others received prison sentences of up to twenty years. This in a trial that lasted 45 minutes and jury deliberations that took five minutes.

The ruling was a major victory for the NAACP. Walter White and Ida Wells-Barnett had worked ceaselessly to educate the public and persuade the Court to modify its 1915 decision in Frank v. Magnum which had1 acknowledged that the mob atmosphere had contributed substantially to the conviction of Leo Frank in the 1913 murder of Mary Phagan in Atlanta 19 but stated that "as long as a state court observed the form of a trial the federal government had no right to beyond the form and inquire into the spirit which animated the trial." Any denial of due process was now the concern of the federal government; Moore paved the way for Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. Dray, pp. 211,238-245.]
19— See entry for April 9, 1921.

March, 1923

OIL --- Gasoline Prices: The La Follette Oil Investigating Committee submits the results of a three-month inquiry into the sudden escalation of gasoline prices to the Senate. The report charges that nothing has changed since 1911, that the Standard Oil Companies still completely control the oil industry of the United States. "They have partitioned the territory of the United States among the member companies of the Standard group as spoils," and fix the price the producer of crude oil receives at the well, the price which the refiner receives for gasoline and kerosene, and the price that the consumer pays at the pump.

The chairman, populist Robert La Follette from Wisconsin, warns that "if a few great oil companies" are permitted to continue "to manipulate oil prices for the next few years, as they have been doing since January, 1920, the people of this country must be prepared, before long, to pay at least $1 a gallon for gasoline."

[Walter Teagle, the president of Standard Oil of New Jersey, immediately denied any such collusion, denounced the report as "political" and said that "dollar gasoline was an economic impossibility." La Follette's prediction took many decades to come true; indeed, as surpluses mounted, gas prices fell. A gallon cost 13¢ in San Francisco and 10.5¢ in Los Angeles in April, 1927. Time Magazine, March 10 and March 23, 1923; Yergin, Prize, p. 211.]

June 4, 1923

Meyer v. Nebraska: The Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision overturns the conviction of Robert Meyer for teaching a class using a German text. It thus invalidates the 1919 statute which prohibited the teaching of modern languages other than English before the ninth grade in school and also strikes down similar statutes in Ohio and Iowa. The statutes are in violation of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

[Meyer would be used in the1960s as a precedent for a constitutional right of privacy. Justice McReynolds wrote that the clause "denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, to establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. The established doctrine is that this liberty may not be interfered with, under the guise of protecting the common interest, by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state to effect. . . ."

The three English-only statutes were part of the nativist backlash at the large numbers of foreign immigrants entering the country. The Nebraska Supreme Court in upholding the law had written: "The Legislature had seen the baneful effects of permitting foreigners, who had taken residence in this country, to rear and educate their children in the language of their native land. The result of that condition was found to be inimical to our own safety. To allow the children of foreigners, who had emigrated here, to be taught from early childhood the language of the country of their parents was . . . to educate them so that they must always think in that language, and, as a consequence, naturally inculcate in them the ideas and sentiments foreign to the best interests of this country." Hall, pp. 543-544 .

July 24, 1923

End of the Ottoman Empire --- Treaty of Lausanne: The Allies agree to the essential provisions of the Nationalist Pact— annulling the Treaty of Sèvres— and recognize the Republic of Turkey as comprising all the Turkish-speaking part of Anatolia plus Eastern Thrace. (Mustafa Kemal had abolished the sultanate in November, 1922.) All Turkish claims to Cyprus (which would become a British Crown Colony), Syria and Iraq are relinquished. British forces are required to evacuate Constantinopl— now Istanbul— and the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus will be open to commerce. (The Montreux Convention of 1936 is the most recent international agreement concerning the Straits.)

[Only the disposition of Mosul remained unsolved and was left for the League of Nations to decide. Turkey was claiming that the Kurds were really Turks. Lord Curzon, more interested in Mosul for the oil than consideration for the Kurds, mocked this: "It was reserved for the Turkish delegation to discover for the first time in history that the Kurds were Turks. Nobody has ever found it out before." A majority of the Mosul province had voted for inclusion in Iraq in a plebiscite; only 1 /12 of the population were Turks. In June, 1926 the League awarded the prize to Iraq. Balfour, p. 407.

After the Treaty of Sèvres and the mounting Turkish anger at the proposed partition of their land, Kemal and the Nationalists gained more adherents and held the first Grand National Assembly. After settling with the Armenians in the east and the French in the south, Kemal's army— now equipped with guns and ammunition from the Soviet Union— was free to counterattack the Greeks who were coming closer to the new capital of Angora (now Ankara.)

Greek atrocities were escalating; the nationalists had no problems in recruiting angry peasants for their armies. "Your goal is the Mediterranean," Kemal allegedly told recruits. When they reached the port of Smyrna (now Izmir) on September 10, 1922, the pillaging began. Fires broke out, initially by accident, then later by design. Only the Turkish quarter of the city remained intact after the fires died out. A million and a half Greeks fled or were driven out. The death toll is unknown. Smyrna had been built and inhabited by Greeks for centuries. Tacitus described it as the "greatest port in Asia." Dobkin, Smyrna 1922.

The Treaty of Lausanne called for a mandatory transfer of populations— Christians out of Turkey and Muslims out of Greece— with the exception of Turks in western Thrace and Greeks in Istanbul and two Aegean islands. Lord Curzon warned against this "thoroughly bad and vicious solution for which the world will pay a heavy penalty for a hundred years to come." Wikipedia states that there were about 600,000 expulsions from Greece and between 1.2 -3 million expulsions from Turkey, making this the largest population exchange to date in the 20th century. It included many Muslims who spoke no Turkish and many Greek Orthodox Christians who spoke no Greek.

The treaty contained provisions for the protection of ethnic minorities in both Greece and Turkey. However, employment restrictions enacted against the Greek minority in the 1930s caused much voluntary emigration. This combined with the 1955 Istanbul Riots (or Pogrom, depending on whose side you take) caused the Greek population in Turkey to decline from about 200,000 in 1924 to about 5000 in 2005, according to Wikipedia. MacMillan, pp. 448-455; Fromkin, pp. 427-434, 540-547.

Kemal was elected president of the Turkish Republic. Over the years until his death in 1938, he and his friends, the first signers of the Nationalist Pact, made reforms that modernized and secularized the country. In 1924 the caliphate was abolished along with the religious schools and religious courts. The next year the fez was abolished and western dress encouraged. The western calendar replaced the Islamic solar calendar; the 24-hour clock was adopted. In 1926 a new civil code, based on Swiss law, gave women rights that they had not enjoyed before. They now had equal inheritance rights as a man, not the former 50%.
A man could no longer arbitrarily divorce his wife as under Muslim law.

The Third Grand National Assembly re-elected Kemal as president in 1927 and rubber-stamped the introduction of the Latin alphabet, (called the "Turkish script" to differentiate it from Arabic script and engender a feeling of patriotism and self-worth.) Turkey was invited to join the League of Nations in 1932. One of the last reforms was the requirement to adopt a surname. Kemal chose the name "Atatürk" or Father of Turkey. He dropped the name Mustafa and became Kemal Atatürk. Titles, such as Pasha, Bey and Efendi, were abolished. Clerics were not permitted to wear their ceremonial garments in public. And in 1935 Sunday became the day of rest rather than Friday. Balfour, pp. 467-474, 481-482, 501-505; Mango, pp. 433-435, 464-467; 498-499.]

August 2, 1923

Death of a President and More on Teapot Dome Scandal: President Harding dies of a stroke in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Vice President Calvin Coolidge succeeds him in office.

[Harding had just returned to the 48 states after a trip to Alaska, the first segment of a two-month trip designed to remove him from the growing Teapot Dome scandal. Secretary of Agriculture Wallace and his wife were part of the party; Wallace helped Harding to showcase his new-found enthusiasm for conservation. Laton McCartney refutes the Harding biographers who maintain that Harding knew nothing about Teapot Dome until after the fact and was definitely not complicit. He reminds readers that Harding had pressured Harry Sinclair to pay off the owners of the Denver Post who were relentless in their stories about Albert Fall and the petroleum leases the previous summer. The Post continued its demand that Sinclair reimburse their protégé Leo Stack $1 million for his prior claim on a portion of Teapot Dome.

Additionally Harding had a surprise visit shortly before the departure for Alaska from some newspaper owners who offered him $500,000 in Liberty bonds for his Marion Star— an amount three times what a comparable small town newspaper had brought the year before. McCartney, pp. 135-141,145-151.]

January 21, 1924

Soviet Union - Lenin dies; Stalin and Trotsky have contradictory views and vie for power. [Stalin was the victor by 1927; Trotsky was expelled from the USSR in 1929 and murdered in Mexico in 1940 by Stalin's agents. Heller, Utopia, pp. 181-191.]

January 24, 1924

Teapot Dome Scandal: Edward Doheny concedes to the Walsh committee that he made a "loan" to Albert Fall of $100,000 in November, 1921 and that it was delivered in cash by his son Ned.

[Armed with his first "smoking gun" Senator Walsh called for a special counsel. President Coolidge nominated two, since he chose to label Teapot Dome as a bipartisan crime!
They were Atlee Pomerene, a Democrat, and Owen Roberts, a Republican. They were confirmed by the Senate in mid-February, at the same time that Secretary of the Navy Denby sent in his resignation. Piggy-backing on Walsh's work and with investigative help from the Secret Service (since the Justice Department was hindering rather than helping the investigation) the special counsels were able within a month to obtain indictments against Albert Fall, Edward Doheny and Harry Sinclair and to begin proceedings to have the contracts for Elk Hills and Teapot Dome nullified. McCartney, pp. 202-228.]

February 20, 1924

Teapot Dome Scandal: Senator Burton Wheeler (R-MT) offers a resolution to investigate Attorney General Daugherty for his failure "to arrest and prosecute" Fall, Sinclair, Doheny and the rest of the oil men.

[The resolution passed 66-1 and Wheeler began a tandem investigation to that of Walsh and the special counsels. He found an outstanding witness in Roxy Stinson, the divorced wife of Jess Smith who had been Daugherty's right-hand man until his death in May, 1923.
(The death had been termed "suicide", but it is fairly unusual for a right-handed man to shoot himself in his left temple.) Roxy described how anxious Jess was in his last weeks. "They're going to get me," he had said. A fascinated audience listened to Roxy's revelations: the enormous amounts that Jess deposited monthly in Ohio, the $180,000 Daugherty and Smith had made from illegal showings around the country of the Dempsey-Carpentier fight, a crooked oil deal that netted $33 million, the house on H Street where the Ohio Gang had business meetings and Harding had trysts with call girls, and so on. When Daugherty refused to turn his papers over to Wheeler and the committee, Coolidge fired him on March 28th. Billy Burns, head of the Bureau of Investigation and Daugherty's 'enforcer,' resigned at the same time. Despite Roxy's testimony, the attorney general was never indicted for any crime nor brought to justice. McCartney, pp. 142-144, 229-255.]

March 3, 1924

Islam: Mustafa Kemal, the president of the Turkish Republic, newly-organized from the remains of the Ottoman Empire, deposes the caliph and abolishes the caliphate in Constantinople, thus ending an Islamic religious tradition of 1,292 years— something akin to bulldozing the Vatican.

[This created a spiritual crisis in the Muslim world outside of Turkey and was one of the seeds for the rise of religious fundamentalism. Under the militant leadership of Kemal Atatürk (Father of the Turks) Turkey would be secularized and modernized: equal rights for women, only western dress in public, Latin alphabet, western calendar and measurements, use of family names but no titles, separation of mosque and state, secular system of jurisprudence instead of religious law, industrialization, etc. Hiro, War without End, pp. 53-54, 59.]

April 9, 1924

Dawes Plan: A committee of the Allied Reparations Commission, chaired by American Charles Dawes, submits its plan to grant Germany a twelve-month moratorium on its payments and then a graduated scale for payment.

[A disastrous inflation had rendered the German mark worthless and Germany, as a result, was in complete default on its reparations payments. The plan went into effect in September, German currency was stabilized, and reparation payments were made for the next five years to the relief of those Americans worried about the influence of German inflation on world economy and the repayment of the $10 billion loaned to Allied countries (who were relying on reparations to repay their loans.) The plan was not popular with politicians like Adolf Hitler and Alfred Hugenberg because the reparations total was not decreased, but merely deferred.]

May 10, 1924

J. Edgar Hoover is made Acting Director of the Bureau of Investigation.
[After assuring Attorney General Harlan Stone and members of Congress that the days of the "Red Raids" were over and that the Bureau would never again investigate citizens because of their political opinions, he was appointed Director on December 22, 1924, a job he would continue to hold until his death in 1972. Summers, Official, pp. 43-45.]

May 26, 1924

Immigration Act of 1924: With the sunsetting of the 1921 act, Congress passes a new immigration law which even more strongly favors admission of immigrants from the northern European countries— Great Britain, the Irish Free State, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. It uses the device of "national origins" to mandate an annual immigration of no more than 2%, not 3%, of the nationality that was resident in the US according to the census of 1890— no longer 1910— except for the non-quota nations of Canada, the Philippines, and the countries of Latin America.

The total immigration allowed will be 150,000, a reduction of more than 50% from the 1921 allowance. A little-debated provision of the bill calls for a future "national origins of the American population" quota system to be determined from a statistical analysis of the 1790 census to be used after 1927.

[The large numbers of Italians, Russian Jews, Poles and other Eastern Europeans— the so-called "new immigrants"— had arrived mostly in the years after 1890. Japanese were excluded entirely, and they labeled the new law the 1924 Exclusion Act. This ended the "Gentleman's Agreement" of 1907 whereby Japan had denied passports to laborers bound for the United States; this had essentially eliminated Japanese immigration to the United States. The specific exclusion of the Japanese was humiliating to the Japanese; mobs tore down the American flag from the embassy in Tokyo, the American consul in Yokohama barely escaped assassination. Brazil became a preferred destination for worker migration. Some historians see this act as an important antecedent of Pearl Harbor.

The act as a whole was the culmination of a decade's vicious anti-immigrant campaign targeting Southern Europeans and Asians, who were called "the Yellow Peril." Madison Grant, a wealthy New York lawyer and an amateur anthropologist, was one of the leaders. His 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race, posited that only superior races, such as the Nordic one, were capable of producing great civilizations and a democracy. Racial interbreeding with non-Nordics would lead only to an inferior species and a mongrelization of the original American population which had founded the country.

In the several hearings that were held on the legislation the main opposition came from legislators in the urban districts of the Northeast and Chicago— where most of the "new immigrants" lived— and from the National Association of Manufacturers, who said immigrants were needed to do the nasty jobs that native-born Americans refused. The bill passed 323-71 and 62-6 with the South and the Far West in solid support.

It was signed by President Calvin Coolidge; he had once published an article in which he claimed that intermarriage between Nordics and those of the inferior ethnic groups would produce children who were "degenerate." LaFeber, pp. 144-146; Divine, American Immigration Policy, pp. 10-23.]

Manhattan's Lower East Side in the early 20th century had one of the highest population densities of any place on earth; it was home to the poorest of the poor of the "new immigrants"— Jews, Italians and Irish— who lived in filthy, dilapidated tenements some dating from the Civil War. Michael Gold's autobiographical novel, Jews without Money, paints a good picture of the grinding and pervasive poverty as well as the hostility between the groups.

June 10, 1924

Political Murder in Rome: Giacomo Matteotti, the head of the Socialist Party, disappears shortly after a fiery speech in which he labeled the 1924 election to be a "fraud" that had been won by Fascist thugs who intimidated voters (and also Socialist candidates) and by a corrupt revamped election law that had been railroaded in by Mussolini.

[When Matteotti's body was found six weeks later, public outrage was so great that Mussolini was forced to order the arrest of the murderers, who were professional gangsters from the "Cheka" that he had formed earlier in the year. One of them, Amerigo Dumini, implicated Mussolini in the murder. At this point, the king could have ousted the fascists, but he disliked the socialists even more.

The murderers spent but a brief time in prison; the opposition that had been aroused by Matteotti's murder was crushed. Protestors were beaten, opposition newspapers were closed down, and Mussolini became a complete dictator. In this he had the support of the king who disliked the republican sentiments of the "Aventine secession" protestors. 20

Pope Pius XI and the international conservative press fully supported Mussolini in the crisis; only the international Socialist movement condemned the murder, so Mussolini was able to move quickly to destroy socialism in Italy. Smith, Modern Italy: A Political History, pp. 329-330; Ridley, pp. 159-169.

20— The Socialist deputies left the Chamber of Deputies on June 27 in protest against the murder of Matteotti. They only figuratively went to the Aventine hill, the historic spot to which the plebs had withdrawn, ca 500 BCE, to force the patricians to allow them participation in the government of the Roman republic. Ridley, p.159.

July 9, 1924

Democratic National Convention: After 16 days and 103 ballots a deadlocked convention settles on compromise candidate, John W. Davis of West Virginia.

[The two principal contenders, after the 15 favorite sons had had their moments of glory, were: William McAdoo of California, who had been Wilson's Secretary of the Treasury and was Wilson's son-in-law and Al Smith, the governor of New York. McAdoo pulled support from the South and the West, rural and Protestant voters, and had the "dry" vote.
Smith represented urban, Eastern, Catholic and "wet" voters.

McAdoo had been considered a shoo-in until Edward Doheny testified to the Walsh committee that his oil company had employed McAdoo for matters unrelated to Elk Hills or Teapot Dome. Whenever McAdoo's name was mentioned, there were yells of "Oil! Oil!" from raucous delegates and spectators. McCartney, pp. 244-248.

Potential voters in November listened to the balloting on the radio, as the party proceeded to self-destruct. In retrospect, it is amazing that the Democrats allowed this debacle to happen in a year when the Republican Party was bearing the heavy stain of Teapot Dome.]

November 4, 1924

Presidential Election: Coolidge wins over Democratic candidate John William Davis, 382-136, with Davis prevailing in only the 12 Southern states. Senator Robert M. LaFollette, the Progressive Party candidate, carries his state of Wisconsin and garners an unprecedented four million votes nationally. The popular vote:
Coolidge 53.6 %
Davis 29.4 %
LaFollette 17.0 %

December 17, 1924

Electricity --- Muscle Shoals: George Norris (R-NE), still pushing his plan for public ownership and development of the Muscle Shoals complex [see entry for July 8, 1921], rails on the Senate floor against the bill introduced by Oscar Underwood (D-AL). Ostensibly a measure to deliver cheap fertilizer to the farmer, the bill would deliver the enormous hydroelectric potential of the Tennessee River dams to an unknown bidder, presumably the Alabama Power Company.

[If this bill should pass, Norris said, it would be "a rape upon the Treasury of the United States, a gold brick to the American farmer, and the giving of a concession of untold value to some corporation, whose identity has not yet been disclosed; a concession so great that it will make Tea Pot Dome look like a pinhead. Doheny and Sinclair will soon realize that they were only pikers when they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for the corrupting of public officials and the hiring of ex-public officials when a greater property is going to be conveyed to some private interest through the legislative channel without the expenditure of a dollar and without the necessity of any fraudulent methods."

The bill passed the Senate, 50-30. It was sent directly to a conference committee without ever being considered by the House. This lapse in parliamentary procedure doomed the Underwood bill; the controversy alerted the public to think about the nation's natural resources and to question the rectitude of giving them away to corporate interests. Lowitt, pp. 244-259.]

June 17, 1925

The Geneva Protocol emerges from the Geneva Conference for the Supervision of the International Traffic in Arms. It bans the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases as in the Versailles Treaty, adding a ban on the use of bacteriological weapons.

[By World War II the protocol had been ratified by all the great powers with the exception of Japan and the United States. Several countries, including France, the United Kingdom and the USSR, declared that the treaty would no longer be binding on them if their enemies or allies of their enemies failed to abide by the restrictions of the treaty, thus making it effectively a first-use prohibition. The treaty did not prohibit the manufacture, sale, or stockpiling of these weapons; this would be left for additional treaties in the '70s and '90s. The protocol also did not cover the use of such weapons in internal or civil conflicts.
The protocol was generally observed in World War II. However, Italy, an early signatory to the treaty, used poison gas in the Ethiopian war.]

July 21, 1925

John Thomas Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in contravention of Tennessee law and is fined $100. [His attorney, Clarence Darrow, described the trial as
"the first case of its kind since we stopped trying people for witchcraft." Darrow's arguments humiliated the opposing attorney, William Jennings Bryan, the hero of rural America, and demolished his reputation. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, p. 20.]

February 9, 1926

Germany: The German navy starts the usage of Enigma machines to encipher messages sent to ships.

[In 1923 the navy had learned— through some bragging accounts published by Winston Churchill and others— that the British had been reading their signals throughout the Great War. The navy then hastened to buy the machines offered to them in 1918 by their inventor, electrical engineer Arthur Scherbius. A less complicated Enigma was designed for the army and went into service in 1928.

After Hitler denounced the Versailles Treaty in 1935, many other branches of the German government— the railroad administration, the Abwehr (military espionage service), Sicherheitsdienst (SD- Nazi party spy branch)— ordered their own specially designed Enigma machines. All models were continually improved throughout the '30s. Security was very tight, especially with the navy which utilized three levels of Enigma machines. Only specified officers had access to the keys and the three rotors which engendered the complicated encryptment. Kahn, Seizing the Enigma, pp. 31-48.]

February 25, 1927

Agriculture: President Coolidge vetoes the Agricultural Surplus Control Bill that has been proposed in every Congress since 1924 by Senator McNary of Oregon and Representative Haugen of Iowa.

[After their heroic efforts to supply the world with food, the end of the Great War found American farmers with huge surpluses. Prices collapsed— wartime highs of sixty cents a pound for wool slid to twenty cents in 1920; cotton went from thirty-five cents a pound to sixteen cents. Corn that had earlier sold for $1.50 a bushel now was worth fifty-two cents. The debts that farmers had incurred to expand their holdings and to mechanize to meet the demands of the war now resulted in foreclosures. Many families were forced off their land and large areas became depopulated.

The McNary-Haugen bill would have authorized the government to buy up agricultural surpluses at a fair market value and sell them abroad at a loss. Coolidge would veto a second bill in 1928; this veto and the farm crisis would be an issue in the 1928 campaign. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, p. 17.]

April 12, 1927

Black Tuesday in China: Chiang Kai-Shek purges the communists from his government; thousands are executed. Chou En-Lai, one of Chiang's closest subordinates, flees from Shanghai. André Malraux's prize-winning novel, La Condition humaine (Gallimard, 1933), depicts a Communist uprising— and its annihilation— in Shanghai in this period. Behr, Hirohito, pp. 58-59.

May 21, 1927

Transportation - Lindbergh Flight: Charles A. "Lucky Lindy" Lindbergh arrives in Paris to cheering crowds after a 33-hour solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in his Ryan monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis.

[Lindbergh, a daredevil mail pilot, had opted to try for the renewal of the Raymond Orteig offer of $25,000 for the first flyer (or group of flyers) for the successful completion of a non-stop New York to Paris (or vice versa) transatlantic flight. Lindbergh found a group of St. Louis business men who would finance the building of a light plane designed to his specifications.

While other planes had flown shorter spans of the Atlantic, his was the first from the United States to Paris, and the world was kept appraised of his progress. Twenty-five thousand Frenchmen were there to greet him at his landing at Le Bourget; his first night in Paris he slept at the home of the United States Ambassador to France. He was feted on the continent and in England; he addressed the French Assembly and was received by King George V.

President Coolidge sent the cruiser Memphis to bring Lindbergh and his plane home from Europe, and then made him a colonel in the Officers Reserve Corps. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Congressional Medal of Honor, the French Legion of Honor and the British Air Force Cross. His celebratory motorcade in New York City drew four and a half million spectators— which is possibly still the record. Hundreds of business offers were thrust upon him, and he became Time magazine's first Man of the Year.

His subsequent memoir, We, was an instant best seller, earning him $100,000 in royalties. Ahlgren and Monier, Crime of the Century: The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax, pp. 35-43; Behn, Lindbergh: The Crime, pp. 26-32.]

May 26, 1927

Whitney v. California: The Supreme Court unanimously upholds the conviction of Charlotte Anita Whitney for violation of a California criminal syndicalism law designed to restrict the activities of the IWW.

[The jury found her guilty on grounds of association and attendance at a meeting. Justices Brandeis and Holmes, while concurring, contended that Whitney's attorneys should have used the "clear and present danger" test to distinguish between membership and dangerous activities. The "clear and present danger" test would later become accepted by the Court and Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969 would overturn Whitney. Hall, p. 929.]

August 23, 1927

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, "a good shoemaker and a poor fish peddler,"21 are executed in Massachusetts for the murder of a paymaster of a shoe factory and his guard on April 15, 1920.

[In the six and a half week trial in the summer of 1921 numerous witnesses testified that Sacco was in Boston and Vanzetti in Plymouth selling his fish at the time of the robbery and murder in South Braintree. But these witnesses were Italians testifying in broken English to an all Anglo-Saxon jury before a judge— Webster Thayer— who described the defendants as "those anarchist bastards." He had confided to friends at the University Club toward the end of the trial: "These two men are anarchists . . . they are not getting a fair trial, but I am working it so their counsel will think they are." Watson, Sacco and Vanzetti, p. 297.

There were widespread protests internationally that these anarchists were innocent, but being railroaded to the electric chair because of their radical political beliefs and their immigrant status. There were demands from an increasing number of prominent supporters— John Dos Passos, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Carl Sandburg. Edna St. Vincent Millay, Katharine Anne Porter and a signed petition from twenty members of Parliament—that the two Italians be given a second trial.

Numerous appeals based on witness recantations delayed sentencing and execution until 1927. All were denied by Judge Thayer. Two events in 1925-6 caused the Italians' newest (and most competent) lawyer to redouble efforts to seek a new trial. First, a jail companion of Sacco who was awaiting a second trial for a capital crime— Celestine Medeiros— confessed that he had been a participant in the South Braintree robbery/murder.
Detective work financed by the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Fund unearthed convincing evidence that the job had been the work of the Joe Morelli gang who had pulled off a previous heist at the Slater and Morill factory.

Secondly, two former agents of the Bureau of Investigation gave affidavits to lawyer William Thompson that Sacco and Vanzetti had been on a Bureau "watch list" before the South Braintree crime. G-Men had infiltrated the trial and the defense committee, funneling strategic information to District Attorney Katzman before and during the trial. The Bureau, they said, was convinced that Sacco and Vanzetti "were not highway robbers and had nothing to do with the South Braintree crime." But a murder conviction "would be one way of disposing of the two men."

Despite these two developments a new trial was denied by the vindictive Judge Thayer. Harvard law professor Felix Frankfurter wrote an article in the March, 1927 issue of the Atlantic Monthly which detailed the errors of "The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti" so concisely that passions in the United States were re-aroused. (Frankfurter enlarged the article into a small book, The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti: A Critical Analysis for Lawyers and Laymen. Booksellers in Boston hid copies under the counter, selling them only upon request. Judge Thayer called him "Professor Frankenstein.")

In April the state's high court denied the petition for a second trial with this most curious statement: "It is not imperative that a new trial be granted even though the evidence is newly discovered, and, if presented to a jury, would justify a new verdict." Governor Fuller was besieged with requests for clemency from all over the world. He appointed a three-man commission headed by Harvard University president, Abbot Lawrence Lowell, to investigate the fairness of the first trial and postponed the execution from July to August 10. Not surprisingly, the Lowell Commission vindicated the Thayer trial and on August 3rd Governor Fuller denied clemency. 22

Lowell received both congratulations and condemnations. Heywood Broun wrote in the New York World: "It is not every prisoner who has a president of Harvard University throw on the switch for him" and labeled his alma mater "Hangman's House." On August 9th and 10th there were pickets around Boston's State House and many arrests, including John Dos Passos and Dorothy Parker. Work stopped in Manhattan's garment district. Thousands assembled in Union Square and marched south, threatening to burn down City Hall.

Cities around the world were shut down by workers who left their factories to encircle American embassies with pickets. And the execution was once more postponed— to August 22. "No man . . . should be put to death where so much doubt exists," Walter Lippman wrote in the New York World on the 19th. The Ku Klux Klan held a rally protesting any further delay in the execution. Watson, pp. 328-336.

Dawn on the 23rd brought news of the actual executions to Europe where the response was violence. Tanks guarded the American embassies while mobs in Paris, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, and London stoned American businesses and destroyed American products.

On the 28th tens of thousands of mourners followed the hearse through Boston streets. They wore red carnations on their coats and red armbands that read: "Remember, Justice Crucified, August 22, 1927." Two hundred thousand lined the streets and doffed their hats as the hearse went by. The streets were strewn with petals in what the Boston Globe described as "one of the most tremendous funerals of modern times." And then violence: Boston police invaded the marchers with clubs and boots, snatching off armbands. Only a few hundred were left to accompany the coffins to the crematorium in Forest Hills Cemetery. Watson, pp. 347-360.

The case served to create an organized intellectual Left which had not existed before. Upton Sinclair's historically accurate novel, Boston, was published in 1928 and promptly banned in Boston. Reprinted in 1978 with an introduction by Howard Zinn, the novel paints a good picture of the period and the atmosphere in which Sacco and Vanzetti were tried, convicted and executed. In 1969 Supreme Court William O. Douglas wrote that Sacco and Vanzetti had deserved a second trial. Those reading the transcript of the 1921 Dedham trial, he wrote, "will have difficulty in believing that the trial . . . took place in the United States.. . . the rules were used to perpetuate an injustice." He said the Supreme Court of the 1960s would have accepted the case based on Judge Thayer's exhortations, the manner of jury selection— the rounding up of "bystanders" after only seven men in the jury pool had agreed to serve—, the identification of suspects without a police lineup, and the statement by police chief Proctor that Sacco's gun had not fired the fatal bullet into Barardelli. Watson, Sacco and Vanzetti.]

21—The phrase comes from Vanzetti. In the years between sentencing and execution, he studied English and started writing— eloquently, albeit in broken English. (He described his judge as a "black-gowned cobra.") Supporters published his writing which added to the pressure for clemency. Walter Lippman said of The Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti which appeared after their execution: "By every test that I know of for judging character, these are the letters of innocent men." Watson, p. 353.

22— Lowell was a man hardly lacking in prejudice. From a line of blue blood Boston families, as president of Harvard he had instituted a quota for Jewish students, expelled homosexuals, and refused to allow a black undergraduate to room in the dorms.

October 15, 1927

OIL --- in Mesopotamia: Drilling in the Mosul Vilayet six miles northwest of Kirkuk, oil men hit a gusher at fifteen hundred feet.

[The area had been chosen because of the two dozen holes in the ground which had been venting natural gas, always alit, for thousands of years. It was thought to be Nebuchadnezzar's "burning fiery furnace" into which he had cast the three Jews in the third chapter of Daniel. The gusher reached fifty feet above the derrick and drenched the surrounding country with oil, rocks from the bottom of the well and poisonous gas for eight days until dikes and walls were built to contain the oil and the well was capped. It is estimated that the gusher, which threatened the city of Kirkuk, emitted nearly 100,000 barrels a day. Yergin, The Prize, p. 204. ]

November 12, 1927

Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Union's Communist Party.

May 25, 1928

Electricity --- Muscle Shoals: Congress passes a joint resolution offered by George Norris, the persistent public power advocate from Nebraska. [See entries for July 8, 1921 and December 17, 1924] The resolution calls for the completion of (Wilson) Dam No. 2 and the steam plant at nitrate plant No.2 for the "manufacture and distribution of fertilizer and for other purposes." They will continue to be operated by the government. "Farm organizations instituted for the purpose of distributing electricity among farmers and not for profit, as well as municipalities, shall have the right to get electricity from Muscle Shoals" building their own transmission lines (and thus competing with private power companies.)

[This was not the comprehensive bill usually offered by Norris for the development of the Tennessee River and its tributaries in which the government would operate and manage the many dams and plants "with the object of producing the maximum amount of power, the maximum amount of navigation, and the maximum amount of flood control." Surplus power would be sold to consumers, with preference given to states, counties and municipalities. However, the resolution was a major victory for Norris and the Progressives; the question of whether or not to lease or sell the property to private interests had been decided.
When Congress adjourned four days later, President Coolidge had neither signed nor vetoed the measure. So it died by pocket-veto. Lowitt, pp. 330-347.]

June 4, 1928

Olmstead v. United States: In a 5-4 decision Olmstead's conviction for transporting and selling liquor—unlawful under the National Prohibition Ac—is overturned.

[This was the Supreme Court's first opportunity to make a ruling concerning the new technology of wire-tapping— which had provided the evidence to convict Olmstead.
Chief Justice Taft, speaking for the minority, held that conversations are not protected by the Fourth Amendment and no invasion of the defendant's home was involved in the wiretapping.

Justice Brandeis, writing for the majority, held that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments grant a general right to individual privacy rather than mere protection of material possessions. Increasingly intrusive technology required that the Constitution protect
"the right to be let alone . . . the right most valued by civilized man."

Further, in allowing the introduction of evidence acquired illegally, the government was itself a lawbreaker. In the 1934 Federal Communications Act Congress prohibited the interception of any communication and the divulgence of any intercepted communications. Hall, p. 606-607.]

July 31, 1928

Oil --- The Red Line Agreement: Meeting in a hotel room in Brussels, representatives of the world's leading oil companies sign a contract dividing up Mesopotamia/Iraq's recently verified oil reserves. They are:
---Anglo-Persian Oil (now British Petroleum),
---Royal Dutch/Shell,
--the French CFP and
---a consortium of American oil companies led by Walter Teagle, the president of Standard Oil of New Jersey (formerly ESSO, now Exxon).

[Each group was allowed to receive 23.75% of the petroleum revenues from an area demarcated by a red line on a map of the Middle East— Turkey, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Transjordan, but excluding Kuwait and Persia. They agreed to the self-denying clause in the 1914 agreement of the Turkish Petroleum Company— all would work together jointly in the area and would agree on the amount to be produced and the amount to be capped.

The last 5% went to Armenian entrepreneur Calouste Gulbenkian for his share of the successor company to the now-voided Turkish Petroleum Company. He made many millions as a reward for his tenacity; at his death in 1955 his wealth was estimated at between US$280 million and US$840 million.

Teagle would have liked, of course, for his company, the most powerful of the surviving companies of the old Standard Oil Company, to be the sole American oil company in the deal. But in 1921 Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes explained to a group of oilmen that the government could not negotiate a new Mesopotamian oil concession on behalf of a single company; they suggested that the companies combine into a consortium— an entity that a few years earlier would have been prosecuted under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act!

Allen Dulles and his legal team in the State Department's Division of Near Eastern Affairs diligently researched the specifics of the 1914 "contract" with the Ottoman Empire and by 1924 had declared it to be invalid. Yergin, The Prize, pp. 194-206.

While it may have been the critical shortages of oil during World War I that sparked interest in the then-unproven oil reserves of Mesopotamia in that period, by 1928 the oil companies were more interested in suppressing oil production, thus creating a demand for the supposedly short supply and the opportunity for higher prices. According to investigative reporter Greg Palast, there has been systematic suppression of Iraqi oil production ever since. To appease nationalist anger the Iraq Petroleum Company would occasionally drill a few "absurdly shallow" wells in places where there was no danger of striking oil.

In the early 1960s Iraqi dissatisfaction and anger peaked; Iraq cancelled the concession and took over the oil fields. The Brits were ready to challenge the "expropriation," but JFK suggested that they back off. Since the IPC had refused to honor their legal commitment to drill, he said, the Iraqis were entitled to take over and drill for as much of their oil as they wished.

OPEC, controlled by Saudi Arabia, came to the rescue and held Iraq's production to the same level as that of Iran despite the fact that Iraq's proven reserves were much greater. The Sauds, as unwilling as the oil companies represented in IPC to have additional oil on the market that would depress prices, eased the blow for Saddam Hussein and the Ba'athist leaders by handing out huge sums of money and financing the 1980-1988 war against Iran.

The UN oil embargo (zero legal exports) and the Oil-for-Food Program (two million barrels a day) from 1991 to 2003 further diminished the flow of Iraqi oil to the market. And, of course, the 2003 invasion was even more effective in suppressing oil production. As of 2006, only 15 of 74 known fields had seen any production; of the 528 known pools of oil only 125 had ever been drilled.

The real reason for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the ouster of Saddam Hussein according to Palast: Hussein was causing erratic "swings" in the market. One day he would cut off all oil shipments to support the Palestinian intifada; a few days later he would pump out the maximum. Palast quotes Lewis Lapham: "Control is what it's all about. It's not getting the oil, it's about controlling oil's price." Palast, Armed Madhouse, pp. 108-119.]

August 11, 1928

Triumph over Poverty: Herbert Hoover accepts the Republican nomination for president— won on the first ballot— and announces: "We in America today are nearer to the final trimph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land. The poorhouse is vanishing from among us . . . . We shall soon with the help of God be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation." Burner, p. 201.

August 27, 1928

War is renounced as "an instrument of national policy" by 16 nations, including Japan and the United States, in the Kellogg Briand Agreement, or Pact of Paris.

November 6, 1928

Election: Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected governor of New York by a slim margin in
a year in which the Republicans experience landslide victories nationwide including Hoover's defeat of Al Smith for the presidency— electorally, 444-87. This incongruity prompts speculation about FDR as a potential presidential candidate in 1932. The popular vote for president: Hoover 58.8 % Smith 41.2 %

[Smith, the first Roman Catholic candidate for president, had promised to repeal prohibition. 23 Hoover's campaign emphasized segregation of the races to the extent of his denial that, as Secretary, he had integrated the Commerce Department. This stance enabled him to carry seven southern states which since Reconstruction had been safe Democratic territory.

Republican Oscar DePriest of Chicago became the first African-American elected to Congress since Reconstruction— and the first ever from a northern district. In his three terms DePriest was an outspoken advocate of civil rights, introducing anti-lynching bills that failed and the successful 1933 amendment to the Civilian Conservation Corps legislation that barred discrimination.

His bill— to permit a transfer of jurisdiction if a defendant believed he or she could not get a fair trial due to race or religion— was passed by a later session of Congress. He was unsuccessful in his efforts to have the House restaurant de-segregated for visitors. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, p. 18.]

23— Hoover had described prohibition (in a letter to Senator Borah in February) as "a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose."

February 11, 1929

Lateran Treaty: Mussolini and the Vatican sign a pact in which Roman Catholicism becomes the sole recognized religion in the country, and Italy recognizes the new Code of Canon Law. The papacy's territorial claims from 1870 are settled: it will have sovereignty over only the 108-acre Vatican City, the summer palace at Castel Gandolpho, and several churches and monasteries in Rome.

[Pope Pius XI agreed to accept the authority of the fascist dictatorship; Catholic political parties were to be abolished. Priests throughout Italy were instructed to encourage their parishioners to support the fascists in the upcoming election- a referendum which would abolish future elections for deputies to the Chamber. (It passed with a 90% "yes" vote.) Pius praised Mussolini as "a man sent by Providence." Cornwell, Hitler's Pope, pp. 114-115; Ridley, pp. 194-200.]

February 14, 1929

St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago: Four of gangster Al Capone's men enter a garage in a trap set to ensnare Capone's chief rival, "Bugs" Moran. Two are dressed as policemen, so the seven men drop their guns and put their hands against the wall only to be mowed down by machine guns.

[Moran, the real target of the massacre, was late to the meeting and fled when he saw the stolen police car. The event made headlines nationally and Al Capone, already "Public Enemy Number One" in Chicago, became a national symbol of the corruption and racketeering of the Prohibition Decade. Capone controlled the speakeasies, bookie joints, brothels, gambling houses, distilleries and breweries, horse and race tracks in the Chicago area. His annual income was reported to be $100 million and he had never filed an income tax return.

However, in May 1927 the Supreme Court ruled that a bootlegger named Sullivan must report and pay income tax on his illegal earnings— that even though this would be self-incrimination, it was not unconstitutional. With this, a special unit of the Internal Revenue Service was established to go after Mr. Cash-and-Carry Capone. (One of Herbert Hoover's first actions as president was to command his first Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, to pursue Capone.) Bergreen, Capone: The Man and the Era.] (See entry for October 17, 1931.)

March 4, 1929

President Hoover: In his inaugural address Herbert Hoover is enthusiastic about the state of the country, saying that "we have reached a higher degree of comfort and security than ever existed before in the history of the world. Through liberation from widespread poverty we have reached a higher degree of individual freedom than ever before.
The devotion to and concern for our institutions are deep and sincere. We are steadily building a new race
—a new civilization great in its own attainments."

The only fly he sees in the ointment is the increase in crime and criminals. He calls upon state and local officials to prosecute violations of the Eighteenth (Prohibition) Amendment more vigorously and he scolds the "large numbers of law-abiding citizens" who are disobeying the law, supplying "rewards" to the criminals and "stimulating crime."Burner, p. 219.

September 14, 1929

Labor and the Southern Textile Industry: Ella May Wiggins, the 29-year-old ballad-writing labor activist and former spinner, is targeted and shot as she is riding in a truck to a strike meeting in Gastonia, North Carolina.

[On April 1st workers at the Loray Mill went on a strike organized by Fred Beal of the communist-dominated National Textile Workers Union. They demanded the elimination of piecework, a minimum wage of $20 a week, a five-day and forty-hour work week, abolition of the loathed "stretch-out," improvements in toilet facilities, equal pay for equal work for women and children, as well as union recognition. There was initial community support for the strike, as conditions at the mill were truly wretched- a condition that had inspired the communist union to choose this mill as a possible wedge into the non-union textile South.

But the AFL denounced the strike, and the governor sent a company of the National Guard after there had been a minor scuffle on the picket line. A full-page ad that appeared in the local Gazette declared that the strike was for "the purpose of overthrowing this Government and destroying property and to kill, kill, kill. The time is at hand for every American to do his duty." The strike was broken by April 18th, the Communist Party having been more interested in reaping publicity than insuring the resistance of the strikers with a few things like groceries.

Then the mobs took over, demolishing the union headquarters and burning the food in the commissary. When the mill evicted sixty-two families of strikers from their company homes, the NTWU set them up in a tent colony with armed guards in case of another reprisal. In the next mob action, shots were fired and the chief of police was killed.

An unarmed Beal was arrested with fifteen other union leaders and charged with conspiracy leading to murder. The August trial was followed by most of the country and much of the world (as in the Sacco and Vanzetti case). It ended in a mistrial, thanks to the outrageous and inflammatory conduct of the prosecution. The jurors had been ready to acquit; "If the State had no stronger evidence than that so far presented, we would never have voted to convict the defendants of any crime."

That evening mobs of men, incensed by the mistrial and the favorable comments from the jurors, toured the county in automobiles seeking out strike sympathizers, flogging them and destroying their property. Ella May Wiggins was on her way to a strike meeting called to protest the continuing violence when she was recognized and shot. One of her ballads:

We leave our homes in the morning, We kiss our children good-by,
While we slave for the bosses, Our children scream and cry.
It is for our little children That seem to us so dear,
But for them nor us, dear workers, The bosses do not care.
But listen to me, workers, A union they do fear;
Let's stand together, workers, And have a union here.

The prosecution was more restrained in the second trial, now with only seven defendants and the charge reduced to second-degree murder. Prosecutor Carpenter in his summation declaimed: "The union organizers came, fiends incarnate, stripped of their hoofs and horns, bearing guns instead of pitchforks . . ." The New York Times editorialized: "There have been histrionic efforts by lawyers before . . . but probably none ever rivaled in variety and gymnastics the exhibition given by this North Carolinian." The jury returmed a verdict of guilty in less than an hour; the four northerners received harsher sentences than their southern comrades.

The seven were released on bail pending their appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court and promptly eloped to the Soviet Union. Beal became thoroughly disillusioned with the "worker's paradise," escaped to the United States in 1933 where he lived underground for five years. When captured and sent to prison in North Carolina he declared, "I would rather be an American prisoner than a free man in Russia." He served about five years of his twenty-year sentence before receiving a full pardon. Bernstein, The Lean Years, pp.20-28; Beal, Proletarian Journey.]

October 24, 1929

"Black Thursday" on Wall Street: Stock market prices collapse and 13 million shares are sold on the New York Stock Exchange. Prices have been declining since the peak of a three-year bull market in September which had encouraged millions to invest their life savings, often "on margin" with the payment of as little as 10 percent of the current value of the stock. Gene Smith remarks that the losses that day were nearly as great as the entire sum the country had spent to fight the Great War. Shattered Dream, p. 14.

October 26, 1929

Teapot Dome Scandal: Albert Fall becomes the first cabinet member to be convicted of a felony when the jurors in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia find him guilty of having accepted a bribe from Edward Doheny of the Pan American Oil Company.

[The wheelchair-bound Fall was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and a $100,000 fine. A pardon having been denied by President Hoover, Fall served nine months and nine days in the New Mexico State Penitentiary in Santa Fé— all of it in the prison hospital.
He was never able to pay the fine; Doheny took possession of his Three Rivers Ranch when Fall was unable to repay his $100,000 "loan." He and his wife lived frugally on his pension from the Spanish-American War.

Edward Doheny's trial on the charge that he had given a $100,000 bribe to Albert Fall took place a few months after Fall's conviction. It took his jury one hour to acquit him. His lawyer, Frank Hogan, had done a masterful job; Doheny ended up looking like a big patriot. Hogan had also represented Fall at Doheny's expense. (If Hogan had allowed Fall to testify that he had been offered a position with Doheny and was going to repay the loan from his salary, Fall might have escaped conviction.)

Doheny's son Ned did not face trial. On February 17, 1929 Ned and his longtime sidekick Hugh Plunkett were found dead of bullet wounds in one of the guest suites of Ned's 55-room mansion, Greystone, in Beverly Hills, California. The official story was that a crazy Plunkett had killed Ned and then himself. Laton McCartney implies that the opposite was more likely the case— that a drunk Ned had killed Plunkett and then hinself. Their testimony about the delivery of the satchel of Doheny money to Fall would have been crucial in the two forthcoming trials of Fall and Doheny.

Harry Sinclair was acquitted in April, 1928 of criminal conspiracy to defraud the government. His lawyer was the oilmen's favorite, Frank Hogan. The previous trial in October, 1927 with Albert Fall as co-defendant had been declared a mistrial when it was discovered that Sinclair had men shadowing the jurors and offering bribes. So Sinclair did do jail time: seven months working as pharmacist— his occupation before he became involved in the oil business— in the District of Columbia prison pharmacy for his two convictions, contempt of Congress, and contempt of court for jury-tampering. He would make several more fortunes before he died in 1956, aged 80.

The special counsel had started proceedings in 1924 for the return of the fraudulently obtained oil leases. The lower court in California had no difficulty in voiding the Elk Hills lease and its decision was upheld in 1926 by the Circuit Court of Appeals which additionally ruled that Doheny's company was not entitled to reimbursement for the storage tanks they had built. The lower court in Wyoming, however, decided in favor of Harry Sinclair's company. Judge Kennedy's decision was widely criticized and was overturned by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1926. The Supreme Court had the final say in January, 1927 declaring that the leases were invalid and "tainted with corruption."

On February 25, 1928 the president returned the administration of Elk Hills and Teapot Dome naval reserves to the Department of the Navy. McCartney, pp. 250-315.]

October 29, 1929

"Black Tuesday" on Wall Street: Over 16 million shares are sold on the New York Stock Exchange.

[The day before the Dow Jones Industrial Index had dropped 13% of its value, closing at 200.64. In the next two weeks investors lost about $30 billion. By mid-November one-third of the value of stocks in September had disappeared. This crash is popularly considered to be the beginning of the Great Depression in the United States, a premise which is categorically refuted by business historian Robert Sobel.

Many people, farmers especially, had been experiencing hardship for many years. Residential building had begun to drop off in early 1929 and growth in the auromobile industry was declining. Profits were rising more rapidly than wages; as a result farmers and workers did not have the purchasing power to keep the economy growing.

Only about three million Americans— less than 2.5% of the population— owned stocks in 1928 and an even lower number in 1929. Sobel, Great Bull Market; Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 34-41; Winkler, p. 50.]

March 8, 1930

The Great Depression: President Hoover predicts that the worst effect of the crash upon unemployment will have been passed during the next sixty days.

March 12-April 6, 1930

Salt March to the Sea in India: Gandhi accompanied by 78 of his male followers leaves his ashram to begin a well-publicized 241-mile march to the sea in open defiance of the 1882 Salt Act.

[The tax from this act brought in 8% of the Raj's revenue and was a most regressive tax on the poor, both Hindu and Moslem. Following the declaration of independence by the Indian National Congress less than two months earlier, Gandhi seized on the idea of the Salt Satyagraha as a way to unite the two dissident groups in a dramatic fashion. He was accompanied by correspondents from leading Indian, European and American newspapers; the New York Times ran daily bulletins, sometimes on the front page. Newsreels of the march were shown in movie theaters. At each day's stop there was a welcoming committee and Gandhi would give a talk. Each day more and more Indians would join him on his march.

Upon reaching the sea at Dandi, Gandhi scooped up a mass of salty mud, boiled it in sea water, and exhibited his tax-free salt. He exhorted Indians to manufacture their own salt. They did and soon 60,000 - 80,000 Indians had been jailed for breaking the law. Including Gandhi. The government had hesitated to arrest him, but when he announced to Viceroy Lord Irwin that he would lead a raid on the Dharasana Salt Works in Gujarat, he was arrested while asleep on a cot in a mango grove.

The Dharasana Satyagraha continued without him— non-violently, the marchers not even raising their hands to protect their heads against the blows from lathis— stout clubs bound with iron. UP correspondent Webb Miller reported: "Not one of the marchers raised an arm to fend off the blows. They went down like ten-pins. . . . I heard the sickening sounds of the clubs on unprotected skulls. . . . .In two or three minutes the ground was quilted with bodies . . . unconscious or writhing in pain. . . . . The survivors without breaking ranks silently and doggedly marched on until struck down. . . . the police became enraged by the non-resistance . . . They commenced savagely kicking the men in the abdomen and the testicles . . . . then dragging them by the arms or feet, sometimes for a hundred yards, and throwing them into ditches."

British telegraph operators in India initially refused to send the story to Miller's publisher. It was released only after a threat to reveal British censorship and then ran in 1350 newspapers worldwide. Senator John Blaine had the story read into the Congressional Record. Time named Gandhi its Man of the Year at a time— January 5, 1931— when Gandhi was still in prison.

Twenty-five years later Gandhi's satyagraha would be the model for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. And in the 1980s it would inspire Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Wikipedia; Miller, I Found No Peace;,9171,930215,00.html]

May 1, 1930

The Great Depression: President Hoover, speaking to the US Chamber of Commerce:
"I am convinced we have passed the worst and with continued effort we shall rapidly recover."

[The next month he told a delegation that their pleas for more federal public works programs were "sixty days too late. The depression is over." Perhaps Hoover was overly encouraged by the stock market, which had recovered about 20% of the losses sustained in the fall of 1929. However, other indicators told of a steady decline in the economy— many business failures, four million unemployed, a drop of 12.6% in the GNP, steel mill production down 38%. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 58-59.]

May 7, 1930

Rejection of Hoover Nominee for Supreme Court: By a vote of 41-39 (or 49-47, if you count the paired absences) the nomination of Judge John J. Parker of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be an associate justice is rejected.

[Parker was defeated by a combination of labor and the NAACP working separately.
Parker had upheld an injunction against the United Mine Workers and essentially validated the yellow-dog contracts affirmed in Hitchman in 1917. [See entry for January 27, 1908.]
AFL president William Green, commenting on Parker's failure to condemn Hitchman in the 1927 UMW v. Red Jacket Coal and Coke Co.: "The effect of the Dred Scott decision was to perpetuate human slavery. The effect of the Hitchman decision is to establish and perpetuate industrial servitude."

Walter White mobilized the NAACP membership to protest the nomination in those northern and Midwestern districts where the African-American vote was becoming significant. Parker, when running for governor in 1920, had stated that "the participation of the negro in politics is a source of evil and danger to both races and is not desired by the wise men in either race.

Labor had not acted quickly enough earlier that year to defeat the appointment of Charles Evans Hughes as Chief Justice. He was confirmed on February 16th by a vote of 52-26 with 18 senators abstaining. The principal opposition to Hughes came from Progressive Republicans such as George Norris of Nebraska who said that "No man in public life so exemplifies the influence of powerful combinations in the political and financial world as does Mr. Hughes." Maltese, pp. 56-61; Gould, pp. 119-120.]

June 13, 1930

The National Origins Act of 1924 is finally completed: The Senate votes 43-37 against President Hoover's request to repeal the new immigrations quota standard based on the supposed national origins of the American population as of 1790. So Hoover reluctantly declares the new quota effective as of July 1st. The balance between "Nordics" and immigrants from southeastern Europe will remain the same as under the 1924 law; however, immigrants from Great Britain will have significantly increased quotas and those from Germany, the Irish Free State and the Scandinavian countries will have their quotas reduced.

[There had been an acrimonious debate in Congress for three years between representatives of the newer "Nordics" and those representing adherents of the various "patriotic" groups who wished to "keep America American" and opposed the "alien hyphenate groups" who had been "slackers"— evaded military service during the war.
In the several postponements and the final vote the South was as solidly in favor of the national origins plan as the Midwest was opposed.

The proposal launched by several Midwest congressmen of using a system of individual selection of potential immigrants rather than national quotas was dismissed as impractical. The prolonged controversy served to develop antagonisms among the various foreign groups rather than preserve the homogeneity of the nation which the act hoped to achieve.

The 1930 census recorded that of the 123 million Americans one in ten was foreign-born;
an additional 20% had at least one parent born abroad. Divine, American Immigration Policy, pp. 26-51; Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, p. 14.]

June 17, 1930

Tariffs: Hoover signs into law the controversial Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act which raises tariffs on many items imported from abroad.

[He signed despite the fact that he had characterized the bill to friends as "vicious, extortionate, and obnoxious" just before affixing his signature. Allen, pp. 65-66. The bill had been opposed by diplomats and more than one thousand prominent economists as a threat to international trade and foreign relations. Governor Roosevelt termed it "a new form of economic feudalism" and declared the need for a "complete separation of business and government."

Senator George Norris (R-Nebraska) had opposed the bill as "one of the most selfish and indefensible tariff measures that has ever been considered by the American people . . . conceived and written in the interests of victorious business organizations [who] will see that they have used their own power to bring about their own destruction [as] a tariff bill which builds up a part of our people to the damage and injury of other parts of our people will bring its own ruin. Already big business itself is seeing the signs of depression and destruction which the probability of the passage of this bill brings before the entire civilized world."

By 1932 exports would fall to 2.8% of the gross national product as a result of the tariff. Hardest hit would be the agricultural sector, as it proved to be harder to sell their products overseas and the manufactured goods they needed to buy were more costly. The Smoot-Hawley tariff exacerbated the depression that was already in progress, even if not acknowledged by politicians like Hoover.

Tariff rates had been steadily increasing since the Morrill Act of 1861; protectionism was a hallmark of the Republican Party. Senator Justin Morrill of Vermont had laid down the creed with his bill: "The time is long past when nations can be enormously enriched by any excessive profits from foreign trade . . . National wealth must now and hereafter be maninly created by labor at home; and the home market is the only one of value over which any nation now has absolute control." Davis, New York Years, pp. 89-90; Lowitt, p. 429; Schlesinger, Cycles, pp. 134-135 .]

July 1, 1930

The War on Drugs and the Birth of Big Pharma: Harry J. Anslinger is appointed to head the newly-formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

[The Porter Act of 1930 had, perhaps unwittingly, created the position of a czar.
Anslinger, who has been described as a "law-and-order evangelist" and as "a cross between William Jennings Bryan and Reverend Jerry Falwell," was given the authority to decide which companies could be licensed to manufacture narcotic pharmaceuticals. The eight companies 24 he permitted to be licensed would become very rich and would lobby Congress for any legislation and appropriations that Anslinger wanted passed. Gray, pp. 73-75.]

24— Merck, Mallinckrodt, Hoffman LaRoche, New York Quinine, Parke-Davis, Sharpe & Dohme, Eli Lilly, Squibb.

September 9, 1930

Immigration Policy: In a press release, the Department of State announces that those consuls who issue visas have been instructed to interpret more strictly the clause in the 1917 immigration act that prohibits the admission to the United States of persons "likely to become a public charge." From now on, only the most prosperous Europeans may be admitted as immigrants.

[This LPC device had been used in January, 1929 to limit Mexican immigration and was Hoover's response to the growing demand during this period of increasing unemployment figures for more restricted immigration from Europe. Various bills had been debated cutting immigration by 90% or forbidding it completely. Within five months of this administrative decree European immigration had declined 90%.

By July, 1932 immigration had been reduced to the level of 1831; Samuel Dickstein (D-NY) complained that the "Czar-like powers" of the US consuls were leading to a policy of permanent exclusion. The net increase in the American population in the decade of the '30s was less than 70,000. Divine, American Immigration Policy, pp. 54-63, 77-79, 87-89.]

September 14, 1930

Reichstag Elections in Germany: The National Socialist Party under Adolf Hitler becomes the second largest party, increasing its vote share from 2.6 % to 18.3% or from 800,000 votes to 6.4 million. The major party, the Social Democrats, slips by 5%.
The Catholic Center Party increases its share to 14.8%. Cornwell, pp. 108-109.

[This rise of Hitler's party was enthusiastically received in high places. Lord Rothemere, owner of Britain's Daily Mail, saw "all sorts of political advantages. . . . it erects a reinforced wall against Bolshevism. It eliminates the grave danger that the Soviet campaign against European civilization would advance to Germany and thus achieve an impregnable position in the strategic centre of Europe. . . . It would be the best thing for the welfare of Western civilization if Germany were to have a government imbued with the same healthy principles by which Mussolini in the last eight years has renewed Italy." Heiden, pp.354-355.]

November 4, 1930

Midterm Elections: The Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1916 and increase their numbers in the Senate to within one vote of a majority. In New York, Governor Roosevelt is re-elected by the greatest plurality in history— 750,000 votes, carrying upstate districts that had never gone Democratic before. Winkler, p. 51.

[The next day the very popular columnist, Will Rogers, wrote: "The Democrats nominated their President yesterday, Franklin D. Roosevelt." Freidel, Rendezvous, p. 65.

Senator Norris: Amid the Democratic sweep in Nebraska George W. Norris was elected for his fourth term in the Senate, carrying all but three counties. With the deaths of Robert LaFollette and William Jennings Bryan in July 1925, Norris had become the leading Progressive of the nation. After his support of Al Smith in 1928, a contingent of leading Republicans were determined tht this maverick Republican should not be returned to the Senate. Among their efforts to discourage Norris voters: a grocer in Broken Bow, Nebraska with the identical name was paid to file for the primary in August, a ploy that did not succeed thanks to late filing.

Norris' primary expenses were $3000, an amount which paled in comparison to the checks signed by leading Republicans of the state and members of the power trust. The New Republic wrote, "This conspiracy to drive Senator Norris out of the Senate was not concocted because he was a bad Republican, but because he is so much better than the majority. He holds the strange and almost unique belief that the Republican party ought to be devoted to the best interests of the American people, not to those of a little group of greedy capitalists." Lowitt, pp. 468-486.]

December 2, 1930

Drought and Poverty: In response to the alarming drought in Arkansas, President Hoover asks Congress for emergency legislation— a $25 million "loan" to the Department of Agriculture for animal feed and seed for areas stricken with drought. No relief is included for people, as there is "minimum actual suffering." Direct government relief would be, he said, "a dangerous precedent . . . the beginning of the dole in this country and [could] also be the end of the wonderful activities of the Red Cross."

[Hoover applauded the relief provided by private charities and local governments.
He maintained that the "opening of the doors of of the Federal Treasury is likely to stifle this giving." Federal relief would be "disastrous. . . . We cannot squander ourselves into prosperity." His persistent refusal to provide relief for people in genuine need prompted Senator George Norris (R-Nebraska) to say: "Blessed be those who starve while the asses and mules are fed, for they shall get buried at public expense."

Senator David Walsh (D-MA) observed that all relief bills in Congress were doomed because the Hoover administration had decided that "those who pay large income taxes and the corporation-income taxpayers of the country must not be burdened with relief obligations." The total federal budget was $3.3 billion; only 5% of Americans paid income tax. Burner, pp. 263-264; Cohen, pp. 27-30.]

December 12, 1930

Banking: The Bank of United States, known around New York City as the "pants-pressers" bank, closes its doors, leaving 450,000 depositors bereft of their savings.
They are mostly very poor Jewish immigrants employed in the garment industry and the average $400 on deposit represents all the money they have.

[This was not the first bank to collapse; the wave of failures started several months earlier in Nashville and spread throughout the South and Midwest. When the forty-three branch Peoples State Bank went under, there was panic throughout the state of South Carolina. Cohen, p. 49.]

March 2, 1931

Immigration Legislation: After several months of heated debate the House passes a bill to restrict immigration from Europe to 10 % of the quotas legislated nine months earlier. The vote is 299-82 with representatives from the Northeast voting 52-62.

[The restrictionists refused to accept amendments that would relax restrictions for family members of either citizens or resident immigrants. Secretary of State Stimson had cautioned against this clause as it would upset the Nordic-non-Nordic balance!
Fiorello LaGuardia, the leader of the New York City delegation, reacting to some slurs against the foreign-born, launched an attack on the restrictionists so violent that it was stricken from the Congressional Record. Calling their opponents "heartless" and "anti-Semitic" was the least of it.

The Senate failed to act before the Republican-controlled Congress ended, so the restrictionists had to be content with the "LPC" (likely to become a public charge) control.
A year and a half later President Hoover praised that administrative measure, saying,
"I propose to continue this policy until the end of the depression." For the decade of the 1930s the net increase in the population of the United States due to immigration was less than 70,000. The annual immigration since the Civil War had never before fallen below 100,000. Divine, American Immigration Policy, pp. 78-86, 89.]

March 3, 1931

Electricity --- Muscle Shoals: President Hoover vetoes the Norris resolution, after analyzing it "from a business point of view." He charges that the bill "would launch the Federal Government upon a policy of ownership and operation of public utilities upon a basis of competition instead of by the proper government function of regulation for the protection of all the people." Federal officials should be devoting themselves to the
"promotion of justice and equal opportunity" rather than "barter in the markets."

[Senator Hugo Black (D-AL) described the veto message as "the first blast of the 1932 campaign." The bill was essentially the same one that had been pocket-vetoed by Coolidge three years before [See entry for May 25, 1928] with the addition of a House provision for the leasing of the nitrate plants. Senator Norris immediately countered that "our President has not been fair." He pointed out that government was already in the "power business." Rather, it was a question of whether the Government should keep its own property or not. The President, he said, was firmly aligned with "the Power Trust."

Norris chose not to re-introduce his bill in the next session of Congress, preferring to have it passed under a Democratic president who would then appoint appropriate members for the government corporation that would operate Muscle Shoals. (Norris, a Republican, had supported Al Smith for president in 1928.) Lowitt, pp. 456-467.]

April 14, 1931

Spain: Alfonso XIII gives up his throne, goes into exile in England (where his vast fortune is) and Spain becomes a republic.

June 20, 1931

International Debt Moratoriem: President Hoover proposes that all nations observe a one-year moratorium on "all payments on intergovernmental debts, reparations and relief debts, both principal and interest."

[He was prompted to do this by the crisis in German banking which threatened to
de-stabilize the American economic situation even further. Criticism came from all sides. However, Hoover co-opted the opposition by sending long telegrams to congressional members and receiving their return telegrams of approval before formally submitting the proposal to Congress.

Senator George Norris prophesized correctly that this was "a fore-runner for the cancellation of the balance" of the war debts due the United States from the Allies. Why a moratorium for foreign creditors when one had not been requested? Why not a moratorium for the suffering farmer? Should he not "be treated as well as the European nation that is in the condition that it is now because of its own extravagance, because of its own useless and wicked expenditures in preparation for another great war?"

Only eleven senators joined Norris in voting against the moratorium. Norris remarked to a friend in late 1932: ". . . if we ever get out of our present difficulties , I do not believe anyone who has gone through it, will ever again consent that we mix up in European affairs, send an army over there and lend them money to help carry on a war. If we had stayed out of that war, we should not be afflicted with the troubles which confront us now." Lowitt, pp. 533-537; Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 73-76.]

August 28, 1931

Relief: Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York asks his legislature for an appropriation of $20 million for his proposed Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, saying that assistance to the unemployed "must be extended by government not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of social duty." At the same time he criticizes President Hoover for the failure of the federal government to take any similar action in view of the deepening depression nationwide. (There were fewer than 500,000 workers unemployed in October, 1929 as compared to four million in January, 1930; eight million in early 1931 and twelve million in 1932. There were a million people unemployed in New York City alone.)

In the next eighteen months under the direction of social worker Harry Hopkins, the agency would handle 412,882 relief cases and would spend nearly $137 million. Davis, New York Years, p. 240; Winkler. pp. 50-52.

September 18, 1931

The "Mukden Incident": An explosion destroys a section of the South Manchuria Railway at Mukden, the capital of the southernmost province of Manchuria. Fighting breaks out between Chinese and Japanese troops.

[Troops quickly arrived from Korea to bolster the aggressive Japanese Kwantung Army and within days the Japanese had occupied all of Manchuria. 25 It was widely believed in all of the world capitals including Tokyo that the explosion had been ordered by a Kwantung Army general.

The League of Nations sent an investigative commission that, a year later, issued a report that condemned the invasion, but no action was taken against the aggressor who simply withdrew from the League. Any chance that the League could provide collective security and world peace ended with the failure of the League members and the non-member United States to intervene. Britain refused to get involved without support from the United States; without British leadership, the other League members were unwilling to confront Japan. Olson, p. 72.

According to a leading diplomatic historian, "In a broad sense... World War II began in 1931 on the windswept plains of Manchuria." 26 Bailey and Ryan, Hitler vs. Roosevelt, pp. 6-7; LaFeber, 160-174.

Many provocations had preceded the "Mukden incident." The Emperor, wishing to ensure continued "friendly relations with China," had instructed his prime minister to warn the Kwantung Army against any rash actions. Colonel Itagaki Seishiro fed the messenger sake- he was drunk with his message undelivered as the explosion occurred. Itagaki would be one of the seven Class A war criminals to be executed in 1948. However, his junior officer, Ishiwara Kanji, who was the intellectual author of the Incident, would escape punishment. 27 Brendon, pp. 211-213.]

25— Manchuria was composed of the three northeastern provinces of China with an area one and a half times larger than Texas. Since 1907, Russia in the north and Japan in the south had exerted political control over the region through the Chinese Eastern Railway and the South Manchuria Railway respectively. Japan had become very dependent economically on its sphere for the raw materials of lumber, coal and ore and as a market for exports, especially with the Depression decline of the American market. Since Chiang Kai-Shek's forces were trying to reclaim northern China, an influential segment of Japanese society felt war might be necessary to protect its half-billion dollar investment in the area.

26— Since the turn of the century and Japan's victory over Russia in 1905, the military regime in Japan had taken over Korea, Taiwan, and the southern half of Sakhalin Island and had economic dominance in North China and Manchuria. Utley, p. 4.

27— Ishiwara proposed an imperial-fascist state in Manchuria and Mongolia to provide the food, mines, factories and other resources that Japan needed to climb out of the depression and take care of its population which had outgrown the Home Islands.

September 21, 1931

Great Britain goes off the gold standard. Many Americans, fearing their government will follow suit, begin to withdraw money from their banks.

[Five hundred and twenty American banks failed within a month; by year's end over two thousand banks had closed, nearly twice as many as in 1930. In the summer of 1932 Britain instituted the Imperial Preference System with a series of bilateral trade agreements among its dominions— Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa— as well as its territories that created a closed trading bloc and effectively sealed the British Empire from trade with other nations. Global traffic that had reached $36 billion in 1929 shrank to about $12 billion in 1932. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp.76-77.

Hoover's response to the bank crisis was adherence to the gold standard, an attempt to balance the buget by a substantial increase in federal taxes— passed in the Revenue Act of 1932—, and an unsuccessful secret effort to have the stronger banks voluntarily assist the weaker banks. By reducing the low-income exemptions, a half million new taxpayers were introduced into the system. The proposal for a regressive national sales tax was defeated. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 79-82.]

October 17, 1931

Crime and Conviction: Al Capone is convicted on five counts of tax evasion for the years 1925-1927. The jury, composed of rural white men, finds the Chicago gangster king guilty after nine hours of deliberation.

[Judge Wilkerson sentenced Capone to eleven years in prison and $80,000 in fines and court costs. Capone had expected a much lighter sentence as a part of a plea bargain which the federal judge refused to honor. The mob was successfully bribing members of the prospective jury, but on the morning the trial opened Judge Wilkerson swapped his panel of jurors with those of another judge.

Capone served his first year in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary where he ruled the roost, thanks to a complement of prisoners indebted to him and several thousands of dollars that had been secreted in the hollowed-out handle of a tennis racket. In 1934 Attorney General Cummings had him removed to Alcatraz where security was exceptionally tight and no extra amenities could be purchased. There he developed tertiary syphilis; he spent the last year of his sentence (reduced to six years and five months for good behavior) in the prison hospital. Bergreen, Capone.]

November 8, 1931

Enigma: Hans-Thilo Schmidt, a discontented clerk in the German signals corps, begins spying for the Deuxième Bureau. He sells the French two important documents: instructions for the use of the German army Enigma machine and the instructions for setting its keys.

[The French shared this material with Polish cryptographers, many of whom were mathematicians. The Poles succeeded in solving the Enigma riddle for army communications and built some actual machines. By this time, cryptography had become a game for mathematicians rather than linguists. Schmidt made twenty-four trips in all to Belgium and Switzerland to deliver additional information. After the Nazis overran Europe, Schmidt's handler was caught, cracked under interrogation and revealed Schmidt's identity. Schmidt was shot in 1943. Kahn, Seizing the Enigma, pp. 56-65, 115.]

January 7, 1932

China: Hoover's Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson, issues the Non-Recognition Doctrine, as it will be called, after the Japanese troops take Chinchow in north China proper and drive deep into the province of Jehol. The United States will not recognize any territorial changes brought about by force.

January 12, 1932

Hattie W. Caraway (D-Arkansas) becomes the first woman elected to the Senate.
[Two years earlier she had been appointed by the governor to fill the vacancy left by her husband's death. She was re-elected twice, but was defeated in 1944 by William Fulbright. She voted consistently against anti-lynching laws, but made no speeches from the floor.]

January 22, 1932

Reconstruction Finance Corporation: President Hoover signs the bill establishing the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) which will lend money to banks, mortgage companies, railroads and agricultural credit associations (if able to provide adequate security)— in a tardy acknowledgment that government aid will be required to combat the depression.

[Columbia University economics professor Rexford Tugwell expressed surprise that the well-known exponent of "rugged individualism" and voluntarism should support this bill for "bank relief." A July accounting revealed that most of the money was going to a few large corporations. Congressional Democrats wanted some RFC funds spent on federal grants to states, municipalities and individuals, but Hoover refused, saying that the only appropriate role for the federal government was to offer relief to businesses. 28

The first president was Charles G. Dawes whose résumé was "perhaps the most impressive of any in government." Geisst, pp. 204-205. 29 Three weeks after his June resignation, a loan if $90 million was made to the Central Republic Bank of Chicago which was headed by—— Charles Dawes. The loan represented 20% of the capital available to the RFC at that time. Initially the loans were made secretly so as not to cause a run by depositors. After Congress, prodded by John Nance Garner, demanded public disclosure of loan recipients, people joked that RFC stood for "Relief For Charlie" and was further demonstration that the Hoover administration operated only for the benefit of the wealthy.

The agency continued under FDR with a much widened role. Beginning in 1940 and continuing during World War II the agency was authorized to make loans to buy strategic war materials and to construct and operate defense plants. In the early '50s Senator Fulbright's committee found evidence of favoritism and influence-peddling. The agency was closed down in 1956. Cohen, pp. 49-50; Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 84-85.]

28— Hoover is famous for his 1931 statement: "The sole function of government is to bring about a condition of affairs favorable to the beneficial development of private enterprise." Cohen, p. 11. Tugwell would later become an important member of the New Deal's "Brain Trust."

29— Brigadier-General in First World War; Director of the Budget under Harding; head of American delegation to the Reparation Commission in 1923 which created the "Dawes Plan"; Nobel Peace Prize, 1926---with Sir Austen Chamberlain; Vice President 1925-1929 under Coolidge; Hoover's first Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Dawes was also a descendant of the William Dawes who rode with Paul Revere.

January 28, 1932

China -- Shanghai Attacked: The Japanese Navy, not to be outdone by the Japanese Army, attacks the Chaipei district of Shanghai just north of the International Settlement, raping, looting, and murdering civilians.

[The next day planes from aircraft carriers strafed the area and killed large numbers of civilians, an act that horrified the world. This first act of planes bombing civilians turned public opinion against Japan in both Europe and the United States. (The British bombing and strafing of Arab villages in the summer of 1920 had either never been widely known or had fallen into the Black Hole of History. See entry for June 23, 1921. )

The Navy was losing the fight against the Communist-trained Chinese soldiers and had to call in the Army which, despite superior equipment, was not able to defeat the Chinese, thanks partly to the effectiveness of their snipers. (A Japanese general complained to journalist Edgar Snow: "The Chinese have no sense of honour or what is proper in warfare. Sniping is outlawed by most civilized countries.") An armistice was signed under the auspices of the League of Nations and the United States. Brendon, pp. 219-221.]

February 2, 1932

Disdain for the League of Nations: Governor Roosevelt in an address before the New York Grange disavows his previous support for the League of Nations: "... the League of Nations today is not the League conceived by Woodrow Wilson," implying that instead of a force for world peace, it had become a trivial meeting place for political discussions of national difficulties. "Europe owes us. We do not owe her."

[One month before, the influential publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who abhorred the League of Nations, had endorsed the candidacy of the Texan Speaker of the House, Jack Garner. His newspapers mounted a campaign against the "internationalist" Roosevelt, citing his support for the League when he was a vice-presidential candidate in 1920. Shogan, Hard Bargain, pp. 34-35; Freidel, Roosevelt, p. 68.]

March 1, 1932

Lindbergh Kidnapping: Charles Lindbergh tells the police that his 20-month-old son has been stolen from his crib in their Hopewell, New Jersey home. He produces a crude ransom note that demands $50,000— which he says he found on the radiator in the second-floor nursery. 30

[Thanks to Lindbergh's celebrity and hero status, plus his story-book marriage to the daughter of millionaire Ambassador Dwight Morrow, news of the kidnapping brought hordes of reporters to the scene— four hundred in the first twenty-four hours. Lindbergh and his friend and attorney, Henry Breckinridge, took control of the investigation ftom the start and also controlled the information fed to the press corps.

The inept head of the State Police, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, 31 possibly in awe of Lindbergh's celebrity status, allowed this to happen. He had not considered that either Lindbergh or his wife could be considered as suspects— something that today is routine police procedure. Anne Lindbergh was never interviewed.

One of Lindbrgh's first actions was to publicly call for intermediaries to negotiate with the "kidnappers" who were presumed to be members of New York City's criminal population. Copies of the "ransom note" from the radiator were soon in wide circulation among the press and the criminal underworld— some copies appeared as far away as the Rocky Mountains, some had been purchased from members of the New Jersey State Police.

At one point Lindbergh and Breckinridge had four negotiations in progress involving hunts for boats that didn't exist and meetings in cemeteries. The handwriting on subsequent ransom messages did not match the handwriting on the initial radiator note, although all contained similar misspellings calculated to be from a German immigrant— many of whom lived in the NJ-NY area. At some point each of these "negotiations" made the front page and raised hopes in a public that was rooting for the American Hero's child to be found.

On April 2 intermediary Dr. John F. ('Jafsie") Condon delivered a box containing $50,000 to "Cemetery John" in exchange for a receipt which stated that Charles, Jr. could be found, unharmed, on a boat called Nelly.

Two books published in the early 1990s detail the mistakes made in the haphazard investigation. Both believe that Bruno Hauptmann, later executed for the crime, was innocent and framed by the police. Behn speculates that the kidnapping was a hoax perpetrated by Lindbergh himself to cover up the death of the baby three days earlier by his "jealous and mentally unstable" sister-in-law, Elisabeth Morrow. Behn, pp. 16-24, 376-404.

Ahlgren, a criminal defense attorney, and Monier, a chief of police in New Hampshire, postulate a more plausible scenario: Lindbergh, playing one of his sadistic "jokes," had taken the baby from his crib and climbed down the ladder from the nursery with the boy slung over his shoulder. The homemade ladder broke; the baby fell to the granite below and cracked his skull, killing him instantly.

The first thought of both the nursemaid and the toddler's mother when Lindbergh called out, "Anne, they have stolen our baby"— was that this was another of his "pranks."
Two months earlier he had hidden Charles, Jr. in a closet, causing a panic in the house.
After twenty minutes he produced the child and, "roaring heartily," said it had been a hoax. Ahlgren and Monier, pp. 7-6, 52-78.

Ahlgren and Monier detail a history of "sick and cruel jokes" that Limdbergh had perpetrated in the first part of his life. As a young man he put poisonous snakes in the bed of a fellow military cadet who was afraid of snakes. He substituted kerosene for ice water in the jug of someone who had gone out drinking against Lindbergh's advice; the victim had to be rushed to the hospital and nearly died.

These "pranks" combined with his inability to make friends, lack of empathy and need to control might well result in a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder from a 21st century psychiatrist. There were no more such "practical jokes" after the death of Charles, Jr. Ahlgren, pp. 34-36, 207-210, 251.]

30— Its twelve lines contained nearly a dozen misspellings and grammatical errors.

31— Schwarzkopf, a West Point graduate who had fought in World War I as a captain, quickly became the butt of press ridicule, particularly after the incompetence displayed by the State Police in the handling of the notorious Hall-Mills murder case a decade before and the discovery that his first postwar employment had been that of a floorwalker in a department store. His son would be the media-savvy General H. Norman "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf of 1991 Gulf War fame. Behn, pp. 62-66.

March 1, 1932

Manchuria: The Japanese install a puppet government in the country they re-name Manchukuo. The ruler is Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China and the heir of the Manchu dynasty.

[In 1935, with the approval of the Emperor, the Japanese Army set up Unit 731 in a remote Manchurian village. There, under the direction of Dr. Ishii Shiro, research was carried out for a decade on anthrax, typhoid, tetanus, plague, cholera, paratyphoid, and other diseases. Different vectors for infecting large populations were studied. Experiments, including vivisection, were performed on Manchurians, Koreans and prisoners of war from the US, Britain and Australia to study the effects and duration of various bacteria.

At the end of the war Lt. Gen. Ishii and his co-workers were granted immunity from prosecution by General MacArthur's administration. The unit's records and notes were sent to Fort Detrick, Maryland. The US POWs who survived the germ experiments in Mukden were debriefed in the Philippines and told that if they ever talked about what happened inside the camp, they would be court-martialed. Williams and Wallace, Unit 731, pp. 190-219; Harris, Factories of Death; Jeff Brazil, "Truth Emerging on Ailing POWs, Japan Germ Unit," Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1995, A1.]

March 23, 1932

Labor -- The Norris-LaGuardia Act, also known as the Anti-Injunction Act, is passed by Congress despite the contrary wishes of Herbert Hoover and vocal objections from the Republican minority.

[The measure was sponsored by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and shepherded through passage by Senator Norris of Nebraska and Representative LaGuardia of New York. Hoover's Secretary of Labor offered old Bull Mooser Donald Richberg a federal judgeship if he would cease his support of the measure. (The offer was summarily refused.)

The Act denied employers injunction relief from Federal courts against workers for striking, picketing, or joining a union and other union activities unless the workers were breaking a law or doing property damage. The Act also made "yellow-dog contracts" non-enforceable in Federal court. (As a condition of employment the worker had to agree not to belong to a union.) [See entry for January 27, 1908.]

Hoover reluctantly signed the bill; it had been passed by such large majorities that any veto would be overruled. However, he made public a letter from his Attorney General which suggested that parts of the act might be unconstitutional. The Act, described by an opposition congressman as "a long march in the direction of Moscow" would be the foundation for stronger labor legislation in the New Deal. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, pp. 26-27; Schlesinger, Crisis, pp. 114, 238-239; Lowitt, pp. 518-527.]

April 7, 1932

The 'Forgotten Man' Speech: Governor Roosevelt in a short national radio talk criticizes the RFC as an aid to "the big banks, the railroads and the corporations of the nation" while neglecting the farmer and "the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid." Davis, New York Years, pp. 272-3.

President Hoover continues to believe— and to announce— that "prosperity is just around the corner." (This was despite the fact that 20% of children in New York City were suffering from malnutrition or that the year before the Soviet Union had received 100,000 applications from Americans after a call for 6000 skilled workers. Carroll and Noble, p. 337. )

[The speech was writtem by Raymond Moley, professor of political science at Columbia University, who was FDR's principal adviser in the months before FDR declared his candidacy, throughout the campaign, and for the first several years in the White House. Moley was responsible for recruiting fellow Columbia professors to further advise candidate Roosevelt, a group who would come to be known as the "Brain Trust." Cohen, pp. 58-66.]

May 11, 1932

Portland Bonus March - On to Washington: 280 unemployed veterans led by Walter Waters of Portland, Oregon climb into empty Union Pacific boxcars for the first of their many boxcar rides east. Between them they have $30 and a drum.

There is military discipline: all the men have credentials of military service and all swear to uphold the Constitution and bear allegiance to the flag. They represent over one hundred professions: clerks, lumberjacks, railroad men, a sign painter (whose talents would come in handy) and a prizefighter, etc.

[The Adjusted Compensation Act, signed in 1924, had promised veterans a thank-you bonus for the services in the Great War, payable in 1945. None of the other Allies, especially Germany, had offered such a generous reward. But by 1932 most veterans were unemployed and many were hungry. Agitation began for early payment, especially after the International Debt Moratorium of 1931 had allowed the Europeans to forego payment of their wartime debts.

The House Ways and Means Committee, pressured by Rep. Wright Patman of Texas, held hearings on the proposition of an early payment. Opposition was vociferous from the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War, Charles Dawes of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (which had been handing out huge sums to desperate financial institutions), Representative Fiorello LaGuardia, and Senator Hiram Johnson. The idea of a Bonus March coalesced after the committee tabled the proposition.

The march got stalled in East St. Louis. Fifty railroad police were there to see that no one got to ride in a Baltimore and Ohio boxcar. The veterans responded with a lie-down on the tracks. For several days no produce moved east, and the protest began to be covered by the newspapers. As a result other bonus marchers emerged: Two regiments of 200 men each from San Francisco, three hundred men from Slidell, Louisiana, one hundred men from Sacramento. The movement was now named the Bonus Army by the press.

The impasse in Illinois was solved when the sheriff organized a series of cars and trucks to take the Marchers to the Indiana state line, escorted by the Illinois State Police. In each successive state— Indiana Ohio, Pennsylvania— the governors would see to it that the veterans were quickly moved on. They arrived in Washington on March 29. Smith, The Shattered Dream, pp. 127-136. [ See July 28, 1932.]

May 12, 1932

Lindbergh "Kidnapping": A truck driver, needing to tend to his bodily functions,
pulls off the road at Mount Rose, New Jersey— three miles south of the Lindbergh estate. He walks seventy-five feet into the woods where he discovers the decomposing body of a small child lying face down in a shallow depression and covered with leaves and vermin.

[The county coroner found an extensive skull fracture; a blood clot at the edge of the fracture demonstrated that the fracture occurred while the child was still alive. Enough of the facial muscles remained intact that he was able to conclude that the body was that of the missing Lindbergh toddler. Betty Gow, the nursemaid, identified the corpse and also a scrap of clothing. The extent of decomposition indicated that the body had been in the woods for at least two months which led the police to declare that the baby died the night that he was "kidnapped."

Colonel Lindbergh was cruising the Atlantic with Commodore John Curtis, searching for yet another missing ship, when he got the news of the discovery, so he was one of the last to learn of his son's death. (The radio had been bombarding the public with the sensational news for hours.) He rushed to the morgue, spent a minute and a half with the corpse, counted its teeth, and told the police: "I am perfectly satisfied that is my child." He ordered that there be no further autopsy and that the child be cremated immediately.

This rapid cremation in what was now an unsolved murder case was an outrageous disregard of police procedure and judicial requirements. But the parent was Col. Charles Lindbergh and the order was carried out. This did give rise to theories that the body was that of a different child, even though no other child of that general description had been reported missing.

Police attention was then turned to Curtis and Condon. Curtis confessed that he had led Lindbergh on fruitless journeys to meet with non-existent kidnappers. In June he was found guilty of "obstruction of justice" in a well-covered trial. He paid a fine of $1000. Ahlgren and Monier, pp. 107-113.]

May 31, 1932

OIL: Standard Oil of California, drilling in Bahrain, hits oil.
[Large quantities of oil were tapped in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in February and March of 1938. With the beginning of World War II the wells were sealed with concrete to prevent their seizure by the Germans. Yergin, The Prize, pp. 283, 300-301.]

July 1, 1932

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) is selected as the Democratic nominee for president on the fourth ballot.

[He had a majority of the votes on the first ballot, but was then faced with the "Stop Roosevelt" coalition headed by his former friend, Al Smith. FDR gained the necessary two-thirds majority 32 after Speaker of the House Jack Garner persuaded the California delegation to switch their votes. The Texas delegation switched only after Garner promised to accept the vice-presidential nomination. FDR innovatively accepted the nomination in person the next day, and pledged himself to obtain "a new deal for the American people." Miller, Intimate History, pp. 273-9. Davis, New York Years, pp. 326-335.]

32— By the fourth vote, some delegations were beginning to waver. Senator Huey "Kingfish" Long, the political boss of Louisiana, not only kept his state delegation in line,
but also threatened the delegations of neighboring states if they should break the unit rule.
He then claimed credit for FDR's nomination and attempted to co-opt him into sponsoring his proposal for immediate payment of the veterans' bonus. As early as the summer of 1932 FDR privately described Long as "one of the two most dangerous men in the country—
the other being General Douglas MacArthur. Brinkley, Voices, pp. 46, 57.

Joseph P. Kennedy used his influence with newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst to pressure Garner to release his delegates. Kennedy later felt that he had never been given proper credit for his efforts. Beschloss, Kennedy and Roosevelt, pp. 69-75. Isolationist Hearst feared the convention might select Newton Baker, a longtime advocate of the League of Nations, and was promised by FDR's managers that FDR would steer clear of foreign entanglements and accept Garner as his vice-president. Shogan, p. 33.

July 28, 1932

The "Bonus Marchers"— over 10,000 unemployed WW I veterans who were camping with their families in abandoned Treasury Department buildings and on the Anacostia Flats in Washington— are ordered by the Washington police to evacuate the buildings. (They had been there since June demanding an early payment of their pensions.) 33 Bricks fly, shots are fired, two veterans are killed and three policemen injured before Hoover calls out the Army.

[The marchers were then attacked by Army troops with fixed bayonets and tear gas.
The troops were led by Major George Patton on orders from Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur— who was convinced that the march was the work of communists and "animated by the essence of revolution"— and his protesting aide, Major Dwight Eisenhower. (These three were generals in World War II and became national heroes.)

President Hoover, in defending his action in calling out the army, said that many of the marchers were "communists and persons with criminal records." There were more than 100 casualties of the battle including an infant who died from tear gas. At the conclusion of the raid the army, in defiance of Hoover's order, torched the marchers' shanty town across the river and its inhabitants joined the other 2 million homeless Americans "on the road." Daniels, Bonus Marchers; Ambrose, Eisenhower, Vol. 1, pp. 96-99.

Upon reading the story and seeing the pictures in the newspaper the next day, Presidential candidate Roosevelt told his advisers that if he had been Hoover, he would have consented to see the leaders of the protest and had coffee and sandwiches sent out to the rest. Hoover's re-election, already unlikely, became doubly doomed by the popular reaction to his heartlessness. Movie theaters across the country screened newsreels of the military action which the narrator described as "a day of bloodshed and riot." Davis, New York Years, pp. 344-35, Cohen, p. 31.

33— The average bonus due in 1945 was $1000.

The massive unemployment and poverty in northeastern England triggered similar marches throughout the decade of the 1930s. In October, 1932, 3000 unemployed workers from Glasgow, northern England and south Wales marched to London to present petitions with a million signatures to Parliament. The Jarrow Crusade of October, 1936 was better publicized but no better received by Parliament: Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin refused to meet with any of the 200 miners and shipyard workers who had walked the 280 miles from Jarrow to London with public meetings held at their 22 overnight stops. BBC, September 26, 2006; Ellen Wilkinson, The Town That Was Murdered; Olson, p.65.]

July 31, 1932

Germany: In the elections to the Reichstag Adolf Hitler's NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party) wins 13 million more voters than in 1928, bringing its representation in the Reichstag from 107 seats to 230, and making it the largest party.
This, however, is only 37% of the total vote. Most of these votes come from the young and unemployed.

[Nevertheless, Hitler demanded the chancellorship and an enabling act giving him "full power" for a specified period. President von Hindenburg refused, despite the ostentatious and menacing presence of Hitler's brown-shirted SA (SturmAbsteilung or storm troopers) throughout Berlin. Hitler rules out a putsch by the SA; he wants to come to power "legally." Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 166-169; Black, Transfer Agreement, p. 24.]

October 25, 1932

Campaign Rhetoric: Speaking in Baltimore, Roosevelt warns against the Republican "Four Horsemen of Destruction, Delay, Deceit, Despair."

[Even more apocalyptically Hoover had warned that Roosevelt's program would "crack
the timbers of the Constitution" and "destroy the very foundation of our government."
His prediction that the "grass will grow in the streets of a hundred cities, a thousand towns, the weeds will overrun the fields of millions of farms" would prompt the Inauguration Day parade to include a quartet of men pushing lawn mowers down Pennsylvania Avenue. Cohen, pp. 34, 43.]

November 6, 1932

Germany: In new elections for the Reichstag the Nationalist Socialist party loses two million voters. They now hold 196 seats, the Communists 100, the Socialists 121,
the German National (conservative) Party 52.

[Hitler, despite the waning popularity of his party, again made conditions on accepting the chancellorship that were unacceptable to President von Hindenburg; General Kurt von Schleicher became the next and last chancellor of the Weimar Republic. Shirer, Rise, pp.72-175.]

November 7, 1932

Powell v. Alabama: The Supreme Court reverses the convictions and death sentences of eight African-Americans who had been charged with raping two white girls in March 1931. The decision states that the failure of the court to provide counsel for indigent defendants violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

[The case of the "Scottsboro Boys"— all were teenagers except for one who was twenty— had garnered almost as much outside attention as the Sacco-Vanzetti case a decade earlier. The complaining witnesses whom the prosecution had presented as the flower of Southern maidenhood were in reality mill hands and part-time prostitutes with frequent Negro clients. The Scottsboro Boys had the misfortune to be catching a ride on the same freight train as the women. The Communist Party and the NAACP had competed to represent the Boys in their appeals. Carter, Scottsboro.]

November 8, 1932

Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeats Herbert Hoover for president by an electoral vote of 472-59, representing 42 of the 48 states. In this genuine landslide, FDR takes 282 counties that had never before gone Democratic. Unger, LBJ: A Life, p. 38. FDR was the first Democratic candidate since Franklin Pierce in 1852 to win a majority of the popular vote. Alter, p. 134. The popular vote:
---- Roosevelt 57.7 %
---- Hoover 39.8 %
---- Norman Thomas (Socialist candidate) 2.2 %
---- William Foster (Communist candidate) 0.3 %
The Democrats win control of both houses of Congress, including a whopping gain of 101 seats in the House.

[There were two main factors behind Hoover's resounding defeat. The first was his failure to do anything to combat the devastating effects of the depression and the collapse of the banking industry upon most of the people.

The second was his 1929 decision to enforce vigorously the increasingly unpopular Prohibition laws. By 1930 the five federal prisons were seriously overcrowded; more than one-third of the inmates had been convicted under the Volstead Act. Hoover's solution was to build six new prisons.

In the election campaign the "wets" made the argument that repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment would create thousands of jobs and the federal treasury would benefit from the taxes imposed on liquor sales and the savings of funds spent in the prosecution of liquor-related criminals. Pegram, pp. 166-167.

By the end of the election campaign Hoover was possibly the most loathed candidate in several generations. He looked and sounded— most voters knew him only from radio speeches— ill and distracted. Disgruntled citizens threw eggs and tomatoes at his train;
in Detroit spectators chanted "Hang Hoover!" In this environment probably any Democratic candidate could have defeated him, possibly even the popular comedian Eddie Cantor who was making his own satirical run for the presidency. "We want Can-tor" was also heard at Hoover's train stops. Alter, p. 132.]

November 10, 1932

War Debts: Great Britain and France ask for a review of their debts and a postponement of the installment that is due on December 15th— $95,550,000 and $19,261,432 respectively.

[Two days later Hoover wired FDR asking for a meeting on the subject. (Hoover believed that the one-year moratorium he had negotiated in June, 1931 had saved the Europeans from economic disaster.) They met on November 22nd with Secretary of the Treasury Ogden Mills and Raymond Moley in attendance. There was much sparring; Roosevelt adamantly refused to take any responsibility for a possible deferral on Hoover's watch. (This would not be the last time during the interregnum that Hoover would attempt to get FDR involved in policy decisions.) On the 15th the Brits paid up and the French defaulted.

There was profound disagreement between the US and Europe on the question of repayment of the loans incurred during the Great War. The Americans believed that a debt is a debt and should be repaid. Europeans, on the other hand, felt the Americans had gotten off easy in the war; they had not lost a generation of young men, as the British and the French had. Uncle Sam was pictured as Uncle Scrooge. Alter, pp. 141-143, Bernstein, Turbulent Years, pp. 5-6.

January 30, 1933

Germany: As the result of a series of back-room deals instigated by old reactionaries such as Franz von Papen, Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany. This is the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of the Third Reich.

[Schleicher had not been able to form a government and resigned the chancellorship. Germany was falling apart, politically and economically. Hitler promised economic renewal and full employment. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 175-187. Indeed, in his first year in office industrial production would increase 30%; unemployment would be cut nearly in half. Kilzer, Churchill's Deception, p. 115.

The Weimar Republic had been de-stabilized by a series of unsolved political murders of at least 400 labor leaders, journalists, professors, artists and musicians who were attempting to warn the German people about the National Socialist party and the right-wing veterans' groups. Ingmar Bergman's film, The Serpent's Egg, is set in this scene. Judge, Judge for Yourself, pp. 134-136.]

February 14, 1933

Banking - "Comstock's Valentine": Michigan's Governor William Constock declares an eight-day banking holiday, as the state's 550 banks do not have enough cash to cover the deposits of anxious customers. (Hoover had asked Henry Ford to freeze his very large deposits in Detroit's Guardian bank and possibly avert a crash. Ford refused, allegedly saying, "Let the crash come. Everything will go down the chute. But I feel young, I can build again."

[Governor Comstock was following the lead of other states that had declared bank holidays for state-chartered banks: first Nevada in October, 1932, then Louisiana in early February. It was the Michigan closure that started the nation-wide panic with depositors standing in long lines to withdraw all of their money. New Jersey, Indiana and Maryland all closed their banks in late February, with Arkansas, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Nevada following close behind.

Hoover was reeling emotionally from the impact of his stunning electoral defeat and incapable of taking any action. His banking advisers urged him to declare a nation-wide bank holiday, using his authority in the wartime Trading with the Enemy Act. His legal advisers doubted that the law— which authorized the president to regulate transfers of gold and currency— could be stretched to cover closing all of the nation's banks.

Hoover's solution was to try to co-opt FDR into some sort of a joint program. On February 18th he sent a hand-delivered letter to Roosevelt asking him for a joint declaration— of Hoover's policies, not FDR's campaign promises! A balanced budget, maintenance of the gold standard, and so on. He insinuated that the current crisis could be attributed to Roosevelt's election which had produced a "steadily degenerating confidence in the future."

FDR ignored the "cheeky" letter for eleven days and Hoover continued to do nothing. Cohen, pp. 47-53; Kennedy, The Banking Crisis of 1933, pp. 54-102, 129-146; Alter, pp. 154-155.

By this time many areas and businesses had resorted to printing scrip. By the end of 1932 10,000 Utahans had joined the National Development Association and traded with one another with vallars which were printed in five denominations. One could buy a piano for
40 vallars! When Arizona declared its bank holiday, the legislature authorized the printing of Arizona state scrip. The scrip makers of Albion, Michigan and Evanston, Illinois positioned a portrait of FDR on their scrip in place of Washinton and Lincoln. An estimated million people were engaged in barter; along the Mexican border, the peso momentarily replaced the dollar as currency. Shlaes, pp.127-139, 146.]

February 15, 1933

Attempted Assassination in Miami, Florida: An angry, "capitalist-hating" unemployed man, Guiseppe Zangara, attempts to assassinate Franklin Roosevelt while the president-elect is sitting on the back of an open car in Miami following a speech. The five shots go wild, but several bystanders are hit including Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago.

[Cermak dies a few days later; Zangara is executed on March 20 after a speedy trial. Roosevelt's coolness in a crisis, his decisiveness in having his car stopped to pick up the wounded Cermak, and his compassion towards Cermak and the other victims endear him to the country and engender a greater feeling of confidence in their future leader than had been widely felt before. There was also talk of the necessity for legislation to control the sale of handguns; three presidents had already been assassinated by a "lone nut" with a pistol. Davis, New York Years, pp. 427-435.]

February 20, 1933

Prohibition Repeal: The lame-duck 72nd Congress, by a two-thirds vote in each house, passes a joint resolution calling for the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution by the ratification of a new constitutional amendment by special state conventions, not the legislatures.

[This novel device of using special conventions ensured a speedier passage of the measure. Within 10 months 36 states had ratified and the two Carolinas had rejected the amendment. The movement for repeal had started soon after the beginning of Prohibition; it was led by the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment which included some of the same people who had originally sponsored the measure. They were appalled by the unforeseen consequences of Prohibition— the rise of organized crime, the corruption of the police, and the infringement of the individual's constitutional rights by over-zealous enforcement.]

February 20, 1933

Germany: Reichstag president Hermann Göring and banker Hjalmar Schacht 34 host a secret meeting of two dozen of Germany's industrial leaders with Adolf Hitler. Hitler assures them that his first priority will be the rebuilding of the German economy. He promises to eliminate the Marxists, end the experiment in democracy and restore the German Army, the Wehrmacht. Göring asks for large contributions for the March 5th election campaign which he promises will be "the last one for the next ten years, probably even for the next hundred years."

[An unprecedented million dollars was raised among these capitalists— the heads of Krupp, I.G. Farben and the major steel companies as well as the top bankers of the country.
The funds were used in a saturation propaganda campaign— newspapers, pamphlets, and sound trucks throughout the country. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 189-190; Black, Transfer Agreement, p. 8.]

34— Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was highly revered in Germany as the "wizard banker" who had ended Germany's ruinous inflation of the early '20s. He became an enthusiastic backer of Hitler in 1931 and did much to introduce him to influential people who could be helpful. By the summer of 1938 he had come to regret these actions and joined the conspiracy group for the aborted "September Plot." Arrested after the failure of the July, 1944 assassination attempt, he spent the last months of the Third Reich in a concentration camp daily expecting execution. After the war he was one of the twenty-one defendants on trial at Nuremberg and one of the three acquitted, although he was later tried and convicted in a German de-nazification court and served a few months in prison. Quite rehabilitated, he became a banker and financial advisor and died in 1970, aged 93. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 112, 145, 373, 405, 1142; Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death, pp. 393-394.

February 21, 1933

Banking - The Pecora Hearings: Charles E. Mitchell, the head of National City Bank [now Citibank] appears before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee.

[The hearings to probe for the causes of the 1929 Crash— now in their second year— had been invigorated by the January hiring of Ferdinand Pecora as chief counsel. This was an inspired choice, as the Sicilian immigrant was a master prosecutor who did prodigious investigation in advance of interviewing witnesses. His record as assistant district attorney included the successful prosecution of over 150 fraudulent securities salesmen and many corrupt politicians in both the city and state of New York.

In 1911 the National City Bank had been one of the first commercial banks to incorporate an adjunct company, using bank funds and investment from some bank shareholders, to deal in investment securities, thus circumventing state and national laws that prohibited commercial banks from such investment activity. Mitchell had been president and chairman of the board of the National City combo for thirteen years.

The National City Company had grown from a staff of four (when Mitchell became president in 1916) to an enterprise with nineteen hundred employees. More importantly, he had used the adjunct company to train men and women to go door-to-door selling securities— which were often of questionable value. He was so successful that he was made president of National City Bank in 1921 and the chairman of its board in 1929. By the time of the Pecora hearings, Edmund Wilson would describe him as "the banker of bankers, the salesman of salesmen, the genius of the New Economic Era."

Pecora started by questioning Mitchell about his income from National City as well as that of his senior associates, six of whom accompanied him to the first meeting. Although each of them received a base salary of only $25,000 from the Company, each received huge bonuses from the profits of both the Company and the Bank. For each of the last three years Mitchell's share had been over a million dollars. Newspaper reporters busily scribbled the details for the morning headlines, already inflamed by the growing number of bank closures.

But the best was yet to come: In 1929 Mitchell had done a "wash sale" with his wife—18,300 shares of National City shares to establish a loss of over two million dollars
"for tax purposes." Three days later the United States Attorney for New York City launched a very public investigation. On February 26 Mitchell was forced to resign from all of his positions in the National City combo. 35

Further revelations of National City practices were obtained by Pecora from witnesses:
In 1927-28 the National City Company floated three Peruvian bond issues despite knowledge of Peru's shaky economy, "hodge-podge" of a tax system, and bond defaults. Their customers were given none of this information. At the time of the hearing Peruvian bond purchasers had lost nearly $75 million; the bankers had pocketed $4.5 in commissions.

The company had "loaned" $10,000 (never repaid) to the general manager of the Port Authority of New York to obtain the right to sell $66 million Port Authority bonds.
The public reaction to this investigation of National City Bank and subsequent hearings was indignation that fueled the passage of the Banking Act of 1933 and the Securities Act of 1933.

It was a Republican Senate, one dominated by Progressive Republicans, which had begun the hearings in 1932. In the period between September 1, 1929 and July 1, 1932 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange had lost 83% of their value, whereas bonds on the exchange lost only 37% of their value. (The "blue chip" securities, such as General Electric and U.S. Steel had incurred losses as great as 90 %.)

The committee wanted to know what caused the difference, and they suspected short-selling, pools and bear raids had depressed the market. Unfortunately the hearings began without a good investigative base. Richard Whitney, the president of the stock exchange, was able to tell the senators with a straight face that "bear raids do not exist" and not be challenged. Seligman, pp. 1-30.

35— Mitchell was prosecuted in federal court for tax evasion. He was found not guilty on criminal charges but incurred a million dollar penalty. He died penniless in New York City in 1955. Wikipedia.

February 27, 1933

Germany: Just days before the crucial election of March 5th, a fire destroys the main chamber of the Reichstag in Berlin. The Nazis immediately declare that this is the work of the Communists. Minister without Portfolio Hermann Göring shouts to the new Gestapo chief: "This is the beginning of the Communist revolution! We must not wait a minute.
We will show no mercy. Every Communist official must be shot, where he is found.
Every Communist deputy must this very night be strung up."

[The following day Hitler persuaded President von Hindenburg to sign an emergency decree that suspended seven crucial articles of the Constitution: freedom of the person, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, secrecy of mail and other forms of communication, sanctity of property and of the home as a place of refuge. Trucks of SA thugs swarmed over Berlin and the provinces, breaking into homes, and carting victims off to be beaten and tortured.

Over four thousand Communist leaders and Social Democrats were arrested, including many members of the Reichstag. The opposition press was closed down, and ten-year prison sentences were given to any person providing news to foreign governments that was "not in the best interests of Germany." Opposition rallies were banned or broken up by bullies; only the Nazis and their Nationalist Party allies were able to campaign unmolested. It was widely believed, in Germany and abroad, that the fire had been set by the Nazis themselves. Shirer, Rise and Fall, 191-195; Sherwin and Markmann, pp. 81-83.] 36

36—The fire was ostensibly set by Marinus van der Lubbe, a dim-witted Dutch communist who liked to play with matches. He was picked up by the SA after he had been heard boasting in a bar that he would set fire to the Reichstag. They encouraged him with his plans, but first a group of SA men— later eliminated by Hitler in the Night of the Long Knives, 6-30-34— carried quantities of gasoline and self-igniting chemicals through an underground passage from Göring's headquarters to the Reichstag. The SA men then set their combustible materials in strategic places.

At van der Lubbe's trial in Leipzig it was clear that he could not have set such fierce fires and in so many places simultaneously with the meager materials he had brought. He was, nevertheless, convicted and decapitated. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 192-194.

March 3, 1933

Afternoon Tea at the White House: President-elect Roosevelt arrives at the White House, accompamied by his wife Eleanor and his son James, for the traditional visit hosted by the outgoing president and his wife. Tipped off by the veteran White House usher, Ike Hoover, that Secretary of the Treasury Ogden Mills and Eugene Meyer, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, are on their way to join the tea party, FDR asks Ike Hoover to summon Raymond Moley to complete the invitation list. An hour's discussion of the crisis ensues with Roosevelt again refusing to be Hoover's partner in any solution.

[Behind the scenes Ogden Mills and his associates were trying to avert a final devastating run on the banks on Inauguration Day by persuading all 48 governors to declare (or continue) bank holidays in their states. That evening they were joined by Moley and the incoming Secretary of the Treasury, William Woodin, who helped persuade the two holdout governors— Lehman of New York and Horner of Illinois— to make it a nation-wide bank holiday.

Roosevelt was delighted when he learned of this successful (and unauthorized) bipartisan action. He further signed on to Mills' plan for a four-day federal bank holiday starting March 6th followed by a special session of Congress on March 9th to consider banking reform legislation. Alter, pp. 198-200; Cohen, pp. 53, 67-72; Kennedy, The Banking Crisis of 1933, pp.147-151.]




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