100 Years Ago November 1919 – Treaty Failed!
Selected from the pages of The Middletown Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase
National Coal Strike. Washington, Nov. 03, 1919: The full effect of the coal strike was felt today. Officials of the United Mine Workers of America claimed that few of the miners who obeyed the strike order had gone back to work. There was no change in the situation in the great Pennsylvania bituminous fields as 14,000 non-union miners were reported at work. Union officials at Columbus declared that the 40,000 organized miners who obeyed the strike order in Ohio would remain out. Not a mine working was the word from Springfield, Ill. Plans are underway for a great legal battle when the federal injunction against the officials of the United Mine Workers comes up at United States court at Indianapolis.
Wilson Receives Election Results. Washington, Nov. 05, 1919: President Wilson’s condition was so greatly improved that Dr. Grayson permitted his patient to receive the [Congressional and state] election results in his sick chamber last night. The returns were relayed by messenger to the sick room where they were read to Mr. Wilson by Mrs. Wilson.
Women Plan Big Sex Fight For Equality. New York, Nov. 06, 1919: War – sex war – by women upon men for equal control in political, economic and social matters, is to be waged with bitter relentlessness beginning in the presidential campaign for 1920. The National Woman’s Party asserted that women will force the reforms they want by the sex vote—the women for women candidates only. They foresee in the next 25 years a revolution through “moral” force. “Rarely have men candidates fulfilled their pledges when once in office,” said their official. “One of woman’s chief weapons will be her sex. Marriage will be made a more lovely thing, women will take her rightful place in government, and she shall have her say. No system of government can be called civilized where the cry of women for herself and her children is unheeded. Man has always been in control. He has taught women to be good slaves. Too many of us love our chains,” she said.
Million and Half On Strike. Washington, Nov. 06, 1919: President Wilson’s call for a new industrial conference cannot be longer deferred. With an army of strikers estimated at 1,500,000 and another 1,500,000 putting forward demands and threatening to strike, the administration is determined to act. Official figures are unknown, but it is known that there has never been in the history of the United States greater unrest than at present. Higher wages and improved conditions are fully behind 90 percent of the walkouts. The next disastrous strike which threatens the country may be looked for on the railways.
Wilson Will Accept Reservations. Washington, Nov. 07, 1919: President Wilson will accept reservations (conditions) to the treaty of Versailles which are “acceptable to the friends of the treaty and which will not nullify the League of Nations.” Senator Hitchcock, who spent half an hour with the president, said the president appears to have undergone “considerable suffering…although he discussed the treaty in a very decided manner.”
Wilson Writes With Two Hands. Washington, Nov. 07, 1919: President Wilson is ambidextrous. Roughly speaking, Mr. Wilson signs his name to 15,000 documents in addition to personal correspondence and autographs. As the burden of signing his name grew he began to notice a sharp pain in his right hand – neuritis. He was recommended to rest [it.] So, unknown to his doctor, he commenced to practice writing with his left hand. President Wilson retains his ability even in the present serious illness and recently signed pardons for six men confined in Federal prison with his good left hand.
Bodies Arrive From Russia. Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 13, 1919: Before a tragic little congregation of weeping relatives, the nation today gave final tribute to 103 young American heroes who had paid their last full measure of devotion on the battlefield amidst the frozen wastes of northern Russia. The coffins, draped with the flags almost hidden beneath the heaped up roses, held the mortal remains of the youthful American soldiers who had fallen in action against the bolsheviks on the Archangel front. These soldiers, members of the 339th infantry, had been called from their peaceful homes to fight the Germans, but were ordered into Russia from their training camps in England. All had perished since the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918.
Want Our Dead Brought Home. Washington, Nov. 13, 1919: Ambassador Wallace at Paris has been instructed to urge on the French government early action permitting the return of the bodies of dead soldiers to the United States. In reply to a questionnaire sent out to the next of kin on the 65,000 American soldiers who are buried in France requests have been received to return 40,000 of the bodies.
Espionage Law Dies When Treaty Passes. Washington, Nov. 14, 1919: Revolutionary agitators are waiting the ratification of the peace treaty to launch a great campaign for the overthrow of the government according to information in the possession of the justice department. The espionage law, part of the trading with the enemy act, becomes ineffective with the proclamation of peace. Vast amounts of bolshevik and other radical literature are now being held for importation into the United States upon the ratification of the treaty. The department of justice has learned that more than 50 new radical publications have appeared within the past few weeks and these are devoted to anarchy and communism. Reports of a new paper started by the International Workers of the World under the name of “Das Klassenkamp” or “class struggle,” published in German, has reached the department.
Treaty Of Versailles Dead. Washington, Nov. 20, 1919: At the close of one of the most dramatic sessions the senate has ever seen, that body adjourned sine die (indefinitely) after turning down the peace treaty. The next move must come from the White House. It was announced that the president will not take any action or make any comment for the present, allowing a few days to allow public opinion to crystalize. He is said to be confident that the country is behind him. The peace treaty is to become effective Dec. 1, it was decided today in Paris, despite the action of the United Sates senate.[Note: The treaty gave the League the power to declare war. If one nation was at war, all the League members were at war.]
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100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.