100 Years Ago January 1919
After 4 Years Of War, Dawn Of A New Year
Selected from the pages of the Evening Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase
NY Open Wide For Soldiers. New York, Jan. 1, 1919: After celebrating New Year’s eve, New Yorkers turned over the “freedom of the city” to more than 100,000 soldiers, sailors and marines on furlough visits to the metropolis. Entertainments were provided for the soldiers in every section of the metropolitan district. Theatres, dances, and dinners predominated in the program. Clubs, armories, huts and many others arranged to keep open house throughout the day. At the Seventy-first regiment armory, 3,000 women are ready and willing to trip the light fantastic with all comers in uniform.
Army To Auction Horses And Mules. Washington, Jan. 1, 1919: Camps at which the war department will auction 44,455 horses and mules were announced by Secretary Baker today. Among them, Camp Devens, Mass., will auction 2,200 animals.
Country In Need Of Skilled Workers. Washington, Jan. 1, 1919: A shortage of skilled labor in many lines of work is given as a reason for urging demobilization of the army by trades and professions in the employment service bulletin of the department of labor. Many of these skilled workers are “key men” or those upon whom many hundreds of other workers depend for employment and until these men are returned to work there is bound to be a certain amount of unemployment in large industrial centers.
Paderewski Leads Fighting Poles. Amsterdam, Jan. 1, 1919: Two hundred persons have been killed or wounded in the fighting between German and Polish soldiers in the Posen district, when the rebellious Poles surrounded the Germans. Ignace Jan Paderewski, the famous musician, is leading the fight against the Germans. It was reported that there was a movement of foot to make Paderewski president of the Polish republic.
Refugee Tells of Turkish Cruelty. Westbrook, Mass., Jan. 2, 1919: “Near Harpoot, Armenia, I saw 6,000 Armenian children placed in a cave on a hillside and covered over with dirt,” declared Harutune Fashijam, a refugee from that worn –torn land. “[An Armenian-American,] I saw my mother, father, two brothers as well as my own son massacred. I, myself, escaped from a crowd of 8,000 Armenian men and boys who were being murdered. There was a Christian population of 100,000 in Harpoot and everyone was massacred. The women and girls were marched away in different groups from the men folks. The prettiest of the women and girls were taken to the Turkish harems, while the old women were killed two hours after leaving the city.”[The Turks continue to deny the existence of the “Armenian Genocide,” instead calling them traitors who were about to join the Russians in WWI. The West, including the US, to this day, has not formally challenged the Turks on this subject for fear of damaging our relationship with Turkey in this sensitive geographical location.]
An Army Of 500,000. Washington, Jan. 3, 1919: A temporary volunteer army of 500,000 to replace the military establishment created for the war was advocated by Secretary Baker. Baker said he would ask congress to authorize the organization of this new army so that demobilization of America’s present army could be more rapidly pushed.
Former-President Theodore Roosevelt Dies. Oyster Bay N.Y., Jan.6, 1919: Death came to Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth president of the United States, in his sleep as a result of a pulmonary embolism. He had been preparing a statement that he would not be a presidential candidate in 1920. The family announced that the funeral will be private.
Nation To Pay Tribute To Col. Roosevelt. Oyster Bay N.Y., Jan.7, 1919: While the nation is anxious to honor the memory of a great man, the family is firm that the funeral will remain simple. His son, Captain Archibald Roosevelt, explained the e-president’s wished to be buried in Oyster Bay where he had so long happily lived. There will be no flowers, no music and no honorary pallbearers.
Trees To Honor Roosevelt. Washington, Jan.8, 1919: C. L. Pack, of the American Forestry Association, suggested a nation-wide planting of memorial trees and the naming of a great national highway to honor Theodore Roosevelt. “No finer tribute can be paid to a man who did so much to awaken the country to the value of our national resources,” said Pack. “We want to take action that will prevent the advent of a woodless age.”
Alarming Drug Traffic In U.S. Washington, Jan.10, 1919: Startling revelations concerning the constant use of drugs by not less than 150,000 persons in the United States and suggestions for international control of the evil were made before the house subcommittee on appropriations today. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Daniel Roper told the committee, “There is an underground system about which little is known, by which drugs are introduced into this country. The excitement under which the people lived during war times resulted in the increased use of drugs and the operation of the selective service act revealed many drug users who never would have had their secret exposed had it not been for the examinations they were compelled to undergo.” Roper asked for an increased appropriation to fight the evil.
Doughboys Are Safe In Paris. Paris, Jan. 11, 1919: “American mothers need have no fear of the dangers and pitfalls lurking to ensnare their sons in Paris,” said the commanding officer in Paris. The French capital is as moral and safe for a young man as any community in the United States. The cases of intoxication, disorderly conduct, and contraction of venereal diseases among the members of the American expeditionary forces in Paris is lower in proportion than that of camps and post in the states.
First Session Of Peace Conference. Paris, Jan. 18, 1919: The World’s greatest statesmen, representing twenty-five nations are to decide Germany’s fate. Big crowds cheered the delegates as they arrived for the initial meeting. Members of the central powers were not represented at the preliminaries. Questions affecting all of the people of the earth including the creation of a league of nations designed to make war forever impossible will be settled before the conference comes to an end. Premier Clemenceau of France was elected president of the peace conference.
Trotzky’s Iron Hand. Stockholm, Jan. 22, 1919: Iron discipline is being imposed upon the Bolshevik armies by Leon Trotzky and in the past three months 2,000 soldiers have been shot for insubordination said a dispatch from Moscow quoting the secretly published bolshevik newspaper. Mutinies in the bolshevik armies are frequent but are attended with terrible punishment such as floggings and torture.
Birth Of Polish Nation. Washington, Jan. 25, 1919: “Polish day” is being celebrated here in America with the news of the general election from the great restored nation –Poland, fourth in Europe in population. It will include the partitions of Poland by Prussia, Austria, and Russian after a lapse of 125 years.
100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.