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100 Years Ago Sept 1918 Nat’l News

100 Years Ago September 1918

Pushing ‘Em Back & Spanish Flu


Selected from the pages of the Evening Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase


Czecho-Slovaks Takes Up Arms Against Central Powers. Washington, Sept. 3, 1918:  The U.S. formally recognized the Czecho-Slovak national council as a defacto belligerent government clothed with proper authority to direct the military and political affairs of the Czecho-Slovak peoples. It recognized that a state of belligerency exits between the Czecho-Slovaks and the German and Austro-German peoples.  Also, it is prepared to enter into relations with the defacto government for the purpose of prosecuting the war against the common enemy.

Germans In Big Retreat. Washington, Sept. 5, 1918: The Germans are falling back over a front estimated covering nearly 200 miles of ground, stretching from Ypres through the Aisne-Vesle zone. American troops, driving forward from the Vesle river, have captured high ground of great strategic importance dominating the Aisne valley. Ploegsteert, in Belgium, has been captured by the British and the Germans are retiring from the Messines ridge. This piece of ground was taken at a terrific cost of life by the Germans in April. The French have taken and passed Guiscard and have forced a crossing of the Somme canal east of Nesle.

Americans Fleeing Russia. Washington, Sept. 5, 1918: According to reports American officers, members of the American consular forces in Russia, Y.M.C.A. workers, Red Cross workers and others are fleeing Petrograd via the Russo-Finnish frontier on a special train. There have been renewed wholesale arrests of British subjects in Petrograd and Moscow. Up to the present Americans have not been molested.

Profiteering Ballplayers. Boston, Sept. 9, 1918: There will be no meeting of the national commission to receive a committee of players of the Red Sox and Cubs before today’s game. “Arrangements for the division of the receipts were made some time ago. If the players want more money why don’t they go out and sell more tickets,” said a member of the commission. Reduced prices, the war and lukewarm interest, in the series this year have held box office receipts down to an unusually low figure. It is estimated that the winners will get only $900 each and the losers $600 for their share of the swag.

German’s New Gas Shells. With the American Army in France, Sept. 11, 1918: The Germans are using a new type of gas shells. They were first employed against the New Zealanders, when salvos were fired at short range. Several hundred projectiles, the size of oranges, rained thick over about two acres. According to the army report, they “gave off gas and burned the grass.”  The New Zealanders were amused at what they termed the “fruit barrage.”

Petrograd Burning. Washington, Sept. 11, 1918: Petrograd is burning with fires raging in different places, and indiscriminate massacres are taking place in the streets of the Russian capital. The Bolsheviki have been making wholesale arrests, and have been executing without trial and without warning, all leaders of the factions that are opposed to them. Many victims have been intellectuals and members of the so-called bourgeois class that have been persecuted since the Lenine-Trotzky regime came to power.

New York Flock To Register. New York, Sept. 12, 1918: With flags flying, bands playing and with the appearance of a big holiday, the tramp to the registration booths by thousands of New York’s cosmopolitans continued through the day. The younger Rockefellers and Vanderbilts; film stars; the Broadway matinee idols; the golden-voiced song birds of the Metropolitan opera; playwrights and novelists rubbed elbows with the humble laborers and aliens.

Bakers To Help with Pits. Washington, Sept. 12, 1918: Bakers throughout the country were asked by the war department to save the pits of peaches, apricots, prunes, dates, and olives to help win the war. The pits will be collected and forwarded to the gas defense division. From the pits a carbon is manufactured for use in making gas masks.

Americans Smash Ahead. With the American Army on the Lorraine front, Sept. 13, 1918: The Americans made a valorous record for themselves in their first great  drive conducted under all-American leadership, advancing to a maximum depth of ten miles.  Twenty villages were wrested from the enemy and it is likely that by nightfall the number of prisoners in the hands of General Pershing’s army will far exceed 10,000.

Red Sox Champs Again. Boston, Sept. 12, 1918: The war-time World’s Series is over and taps have been sounded for professional baseball until the war is over. The Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs yesterday and earned what little prestige will go with the championship of a bob-tailed season. The series was played out before the slimmest crowd that has been seen in any World’s Series game in ten years.

We Reject Austria Peace. Washington, Sept. 16, 1918: Replying to Austria’s bid for peace with an unqualified rejection of the letter; President Wilson will make it plain that the United States cannot accept any such suggestion as having been made in good faith. He is expected to refer to the fact that the central powers have known for months the terms upon which the entente and the United States will make peace. Until these terms are accepted and the central powers show readiness to withdraw from all invaded territory and to make reparations, a peace conference would be a waste of time.

New England Hit By Spanish “Flu”. Boston, Sept. 18, 1918: Camp Devens has now approximately 6,000 cases of Spanish flu at the base hospital. Brigham Hospital will be opened to provide 300 additional beds. In Gloucester, schools, public amusements and dance halls have been closed because of the influenza epidemic.

Flu Hits Army Camps. Washington, Sept. 20, 1918: Extensive epidemics of influenza have been reported from Camp Devens, Mass.; Camp Upton, L.I.; Camp Dix, N.J.; Camp lee, Va.; and the disease may be expected to appear to other camps soon. The Great Lakes naval training station is under a complete quarantine, affecting the 50,000 jackies [sailors] there.  A wave of the Spanish Flu is sweeping the north shore of Lake Michigan.

Germany Accepts Austria’s Offer. Washington, Sept. 21, 1918: Germany’s reply “accepting” the Austrian proposal to “talk peace in a non-binding conference” was exactly what was expected here. It does not change the situation. The entire matter is a closed book so far as the United States is concerned.

Germany Realizes She Is Beaten. Washington, Sept. 25, 1918: Germany knows she is defeated. High officials believe in commenting on the speech of German chancellor, in which Count von Hertling referred to the “deep discontent which has seized wide circles of the population.” It means, that the unrest has grown to such an extent that it cannot be ignored…and a revolt of the German people would mean the speedy termination of the war.

100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.



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