100 Years Ago March 1919 – Still Chaos
Selected from the pages of the Penny Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase
Armies Lose 7 Million. Washington, March 1: Death’s battle toll in the great war was 7,254,000 according to reports made public today. That is the total number of men killed in action or dead from wounds received in battle. The United States suffered the least number of battlefield deaths at 50,000. Other army battle deaths were: Russia 1,700,000; Germany 1,600,000; France 1,385,300; Austria 800,000; England 706,700; Italy 460,000; Turkey 250,000; Belgium 102,000; Bulgaria 100,000; Serbia and Montenegro 100,000.
Education To Best Bolshevism. Washington, March 1: More than 8,500,000 residents of this country cannot read, write or speak English declared Senator Kenyon in urging the passage of the “Americanization” bill. It would be the best insurance against bolshevism. Illiteracy, the senator said, was responsible for most of the bolshevism in this country. He asked the senators how they expect foreigners to understand and appreciate the ideals of the republic, when they could not read the constitution. “This bill will provide the fire to put under the melting pot” he concluded.
Germany To Send Millions. London, March 1: Germany is planning to send millions of immigrants to the United States to launch the greatest commercial offensive ever known. It will be more insidious than the pre-war propaganda and will try to swamp the United States with “made in Germany” stuff. Their idea is that if they lose their colonies and the greater part of their former markets, Germany will be unable to support her present population. Germans are being told that the best way to serve the fatherland is to go to American and open new markets for German goods. If immigration is not restricted, Germans will come over in millions.
The Proletariat Must Rule! Copenhagen/Berlin, March 3: German radical politicians are now talking of a forthcoming revolution in which the extremists will proclaim a proletariat republic. A proclamation was published in the radical newspaper, the “Red Flag,” calling for a strike in Berlin. Among the headlines are: “Down with President Ebert,” “Down with the Traitors,” and “Renew the Battle for the Revolution.”
Senate Will Not Ratify the “League.” Washington, March 4: The senate of the new congress has given notice to the president and the world that it will not ratify the constitution [as it now stands] for a League of Nations now before the Paris conference.
Bolshevik Propaganda Spreading. Washington, March 10: A great mass of bolshevik literature gathered by justice agents, at New York city and other large American cities, was presented to the senate committee investigating bolshevik propaganda in this country. The seeds of bolshevism are being sowed among the credulous, the uninformed and the discontented, they were told. One expert, testifying before the committee, viewed the proposed legislation to prohibit immigration for at least four years would lead to serious international complications between the United States and its allies and prove to be an embarrassment to President Wilson at the peace conference. He was then informed that members of the committee felt that “unless the bars were put up for at least some time to come, that bolsheviki will come here in such numbers” and that “we must exclude all those whose presence might prove detrimental to this country.
Hoover Will Feed Central Europe. Washington, March 10: Uncle Sam is now in for the biggest job in history in feeding the millions of under-nourished peoples in central Europe. It is a greater problem than revictualing the armies because it means that, in addition to furnishing the greater part of the supplies, the Americans will be forced to supervise the distribution of foodstuffs to the vast territories now overrun with anarchy, reorganize railway transportation and arrange financial matters. In short, the United States will have to act as big brother to the whole world. “It’s up to Hoover,” is the common expression at the peace conference.
Terms for Germany. Paris, March 11: The following military [peace] terms for Germany have been decided upon by the big five thus reducing to impotency the greatest single military power the world has ever known. Among them are: The army shall consist of 100,000 volunteers with a limited number of officers; All military aircraft shall be surrendered and destroyed; The army shall not be equipped with artillery above the caliber of field guns. All other artillery is to be surrendered and destroyed; an allied mission will supervise munition plants.
Concern Over map Of Europe. Paris, March 13: Some concern is now being felt over the reshaping of the map of central Europe as a result of the turbulent conditions prevailing there. The whole of central Europe may be split up into a number of small states which must become virtual wards of the League of Nations and thus provide a job too big to handle. The fact is that the peace conference does not intend that any one state shall have an opportunity of building up a military force such as that which for four and one half years threatened the whole of civilization.
Korea Proclaims Independence. Washington, March 19: Korea has proclaimed her national independence. There were no disorders in the parade in honor of the event. Revolutionary agitations against Japanese rule in Korea culminated recently in outbreaks of fighting. The Japanese troops were called upon to restore order and many arrests were made. China exercised suzerainty [i.e. exercising control over a dependent state] over Korea until 1895, when, by a treaty Japan began to introduce her influence into the country. Korea was brought under full control of Japan by the Russo-Japanese war.
U.S. Turned Japan To Allies. Washington, March 20: After the armistice, Rep. Fuller of Massachusetts met with the French ambassador to Japan, who told him that the Japanese intended to support Germany, but after they saw how whole-heartedly we (U.S.) were going into the war, they were afraid to do so. When Austria had surrendered, he said the Japanese were visibly disappointed. The ambassador likened the emperor and the military caste of Japan to that of Germany along with their ideas and ideals.
Germans still Eye Russia. Warsaw, March 21: “Germany is ready to acknowledge herself beaten in the west, but not in the east. The same men who organized the present war count on re-organizing Russia in their own interests.” This declaration was made by Ignace Jan Paderewski, prime minister of the Polish government. “Germany,” he said, “made war not for honor and ideals, but for markets and raw materials. The war has not yet been won. “
100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.