100 Years Ago December 1918 – Wilson Goes To Paris
Selected from the pages of the Evening Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase
5,000 Soldiers Reach New York. New York, Dec 2, 1918: More than 5,000 American soldiers and marines from “over there” saw the skyline of New York city when they arose today. 4,000 of them were aboard a British liner. The hospital ship, Northern Pacific, brought back 1,100 wounded soldiers who have been in the thick of the fighting. Steaming toward the port today, are three other large vessels loaded with American troops.
House Will Not Embarrass Wilson. Washington, Dec 3, 1918: There will be no concerted move on the part of the republican members of the house to question the constitutionality of Presidents Wilson’s trip overseas or his participation in the peace conferences, Rep. James Mann announced.
U.S. Needs New Coast Defenses. Washington, Dec 3, 1918: There is an imperative need for immediate construction of modern coast fortifications to safe guard American harbors from future enemy naval raids. The recent rapid advance in range and power of guns has left many of our fortifications obsolete warns the chief of engineers of the United States army.
U.S. Prisoners Leaving Germany. Paris, Dec 3, 1918: The work of bringing American prisoners out of Germany is being hastened by the American Red Cross with the co-operations of the Swiss government. Arrangements have virtually been completed to send three Swiss hospital trains to the Ratstatt prison camp in Germany. The Swiss is furnishing fully equipped trains, including hospital cars with complete sanitary services. The French are to furnish coal and oil, which are in short supply in Switzerland.
Holland Must Surrender “Guest.” London, Dec 3, 1918: Tis absolute agreement among the allied conference regarding the proposed punishment for the Kaiser, but it will not act until President Wilson arrives in Europe. Pressure will be brought to bear upon the Dutch government to secure the ex-war lord’s extradition.
Wilson Leaves For Peace Conference. Hoboken, N.J., Dec 4, 1918: President and Mrs. Wilson sailed for Europe this morning to attend the peace conference, establishing a precedent in American history. Thousands of persons, in Hoboken and lower New York city joined in a thunderous burst of cheering while all of the crafts in the harbor united in their whistles. The liner is being convoyed by the battleship Pennsylvania and a squadron of warcraft.
Russia In Terrible Condition. London, Dec 9, 1918: Striking revelations of the abysmal depths of misery and starvation which the Russian people have reached as a result of the tactics of the Bolsheviki were made today by the Dutch minister who arrived from Petrograd. “Salvation for Russia can come only when the people have sunk to such debts that they will be forced to throw off the Bolshevik yoke,” he said. “The Bolsheviki are deliberately starving the people and enforcing them to join the Red Guard which they prefer to do because they are then sure of rations and better treatment.”
Exiled Prince Unhappy. London, Dec 9, 1918: Every day for an hour the one-time crown prince, now an exile on a tiny island off the Dutch coast, dons his uniform and paces up and down his room, imitating the movements of Napoleon at St. Helena. “I would much prefer being interned in England,” the royal exile was quoted as saying. “I pride myself on being a sportsman of the best English type and it is very lonely interned on this island.” The royal fugitive drinks beer with the village farm workers and engages in games of cards and billiards. But, when
enduring fits of melancholy, he has novels read to him.
To Deport Mexican War Laborers Soon. London, Dec 10, 1918: All Mexicans admitted to this country for emergency labor, due to the war, will be deported at an early date, if they do not possess the necessary qualifications to pass the immigration laws. The “qualifications” referred to is the application of the “illiteracy test,” section three of the immigration law, which makes it necessary for immigrants to be able to read and write either English or his own language. The Mexicans imported were sent for construction work, railroad work, mining and farming. Immigration officers have been in constant touch with them from the time of their admission.
French Go Wild Over “Democracy Leader.” Paris, Dec 14, 1918: The booming of six inch guns from the outskirts of Paris announced that President Wilson’s train was traversing the fortifications marking the limits of the city. A vast crowd had gathered in the streets leading to the railway station long before the train arrived and as it steamed to its stopping place, billows of cheers rang out and echoed up and down these thoroughfares. A flock of airplanes hovered in the sky adding thrills to the greeting.
Women Vote In England. London, Dec 14, 1918: A new parliament is being elected today with women voting for the first time. It is likely that at least two women will be elected to the House of Commons.
Army Fliers for Mail Carries. Washington, Dec 1, 1918: The transfer of the postal mail service to the army and the carrying of mails by army aviators in planes no longer needed for war purposes was advocated in the house yesterday by Rep. LaGuardia of New York.
Christmas With the Troops. With Expeditionary forces, Chaumont, France, Dec 25, 1918: A memorable Christmas passed into history, after President Wilson reviewed 10,000 American veterans. He expressed his own pride and that of the United States in the victorious campaigns and promised he would make a “good peace” for them, just as they had conducted a “good war.”
100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.