IN HIS OWN RIGHT
BOOK TWO - Volume Two
By Paul MacLeod
Roosevelt Cracks Down
While the tradition was for much celebration on 4 July and still is to this day, the 134th anniversary of the foundation of the Union was a dark chapter in the history of the United States. The continuing threat of ethnic tensions, desegregation, White House interference in the South and concern over the status of Mexican citizens spilled over once again into violence, when members of the White Citizens Movement, now with an estimated 15% of the white male population, took to the streets with arms. The WCM had spread from the South into the Midwest and North, and even into Canada, and thus the violence was national in scope.
WCM members had committed themselves to four planks: 1) American for the White Race; 2) Catholics and Jews out; 3) No more immigrants; and 4) No Negro equality. The disorganised gangs that now hit the streets, emotionally driven by the boxing victory of Jack Johnson the previous day, attacked desegregated schools and businesses, lynched African Americans (particularly targeting school teachers and ministers of religion) and raped women. Later, history would should the WCM to be a chaotic multitude of anti-black vigilantes, disgruntled farmers, Democratic Party members, bored youths, sadists, workers fearful of competition for jobs, employers trying to bypass labour laws, neighbours with grudges and criminals using the network to advance their own agendas. Nonetheless, they could form an army of fifty thousand within days if required.President Roosevelt again ordered military intervention, including the occupation of the states of South Carolina and Mississippi, stating that the WCM had become "injurious to the public peace". Federal troops not only entered private residences; they broke into private rifle clubs and seized weapons. Senate candidate, Woodrow Wilson (right), stated that the actions of the WCM were of a people reacting to "the instinct of self-preservation". Southern newspapers argued that the WCM was "protecting the weak and defenceless from the indignities imposed by the brutal and lawless who had sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, but were instead executing unconstitutional acts."
While the violence was once again oppressed, by the end of
a week, millions of dollars of damage had been inflicted upon the US economy and
untold scores of people had been murdered. Legislation was introduced to the
Congress to outlaw the organisation and passed, beginning a three year campaign
to eradicate the organisation. (The WCM Act would eventually be judged to be
unconstitutional in 1922.) The campaign met with some success, disbanding the
actual organisation, but a small and concentrated minority would remain
committed to its goals (an estimated thirty thousand by 1920). Over the next
decade, they would continue to infect American politics.
There were also accusations against left extremists. In the early afternoon of 30 September, 1910, a bomb exploded in the alley besides the Constitution Party Headquarters in Elm Street, Manchester. The citizens of New Hampshire were horrified to learn that the three storey building had collapsed on to office workers inside. Fire destroyed what remained of the building before emergency services finally managed to put it out. In all, twenty-one people were killed. The list of injured included the party chairman, former Vice President Nelson Aldrich.
The police were unable to trace the dynamite. However, Constitution Party members immediately began to hint at conspiracy, including Senator Jacob Galliger, who visited his home state to view the damage. He pointed out numerous attacks made by the Constitution Party on the Socialist Labor Party, and stated that the attack could well have been retaliation. They also called on the Administration to reveal anything it knew about the bombing.
The news media, which had staunchly supported the Constitution Party since its foundation, rallied behind the call, arguing that such an attack must have been organised by the party's political opponents. Coming only weeks before the Congressional elections, it threw the Constitution Party's campaign into a spin. However, historians have argued that the party benefited from the attack, motivating its support base to come out and vote. While the President had predicted its demise due to its elitist attitudes, the bomb would ensure the survival of the Constitution movement.
The 1910 elections marked clearly that the traditional two-party dominance was facing a meaningful threat. In the House, the Constitution Party held on to the overwhelming majority of their seats and the Socialist Labor Party doubled its contingent from two years previous. No party, and certainly not the Administration, would be able to claim control of the House for the foreseeable future, as the numbers were divided as follows:
Democrats: 168 Representatives
Republicans: 145 Representatives
Constitutionals: 74 Representatives
Socialists: 48 Representatives
Missouri Democrat, James Beauchamp Clark, continued as
Speaker. The new House Majority Leader was Oscar Underwood of Alabama; the new
House Minority Leader was James Mann of Illinois. The full Senate election
prescribed by the constitutional amendment meant that, of the 92 Senate
positions not being elected for the first time, 41 were new Senators.
Significant shifts in a number of states confirmed all the more the possibility
that the Republican Party may face a crunch in 1912 if Roosevelt remained at the
helm. There was an increasing level of concern in the electorate about the
violence and crime in American life and the size of America’s commitment
abroad, despite higher standards of living. The media again mentioned potential
Republican pretenders, such as Elihu Root and Albert Beveridge.
The new President pro tempore was Augustus O Bacon of Georgia, who presided over a Democratic Senate majority (49 Democratic Senators, 38 Republican Senators, 9 Constitutional Senators). William Jennings Bryan, recently returned from Britain, confirmed that he would be a candidate for the Presidency in 1912 and stated, unequivocally, that he expected the Democrats to emerge triumphant. The popular vote was:
Bryan had been in Scotland as a guest of Archbishop Randall Davidson of Canterbury (below), attending a conference that was described as having "no parallel in the history of either of this or other lands". The largest communion of Protestants of all descriptions are gathered in Edinburgh for the World Missionary Conference to devise a plan to make Christianity triumphant abroad. "The problems of Christian unity, education and society, even the academic problems of criticism and theology can be solved through the white light of missionary passion".The 1,200 specialist delegates began with the hymn, "Crown Him with Many Crowns" and then were led in prayer by Bishop Charles Brent of Manila, one who has given his life to the establishment of the pure faith in the Orient. The Chairman, Dr. John Mott, then opened proceedings for the representatives of many faiths and nations. Seated on the stage beside the Archbishop of Canterbury was a Korean Methodist, Professor Moore of Harvard, Lord William Gascoyne-Cecil (son of Lord Salisbury), Lord Balfour and, of course, Jennings Bryan.
Mr Bryan, when given his chance, spoke of the power of Christianity in "educating the inferior peoples of the world". He continued to speak of the "confluence of great men of the kingdom of God" and agreed to participate in the discussion team for "Cooperation and the Promotion of Christian Unity". He asked the discussion team whether it thought that Christianity was "fit and spiritually ready for the great confluence, equal to its providential calling, of unity." He also stated that Christianity needed to develop an appropriate response to the growing idea of socialism. Assisting in the discussion were Dong King En of China and Dr Chatterji of India.
The Conference is, of course, long remembered for its plaintive appeal that the Church of God re-establish her long lost unity. Delegates from the United Free Church of Scotland demonstrated themselves as a potential model and called for unity. Of course, it would be many years before the Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists formed the United Church of God, which today comprises a total of 99.5 million adherents, making it the largest Protestant denomination. However, it is from this conference that it dates its beginnings.
A Threat Against China
It had started at a discussion during the funeral of King Edward VII. A comment by Tsar to the Japanese Crown Prince, repeated to the French President, relayed to the British Prime Minister and then discussed with the Kaiser as it became a fully blown idea. Ten years ago, they had all been outmanoeuvred by the Americans as they sought to expand their empires in the East. Secretary of State Hay had announced they had all agreed to an open door policy (even though they hadn't) and, because they had each had other disagreements with each other, they had allowed the opportunity to annex China slip through their fingers.
Now, the European powers were feeling reasonably comfortable and the threat of war on the Continent had been pretty much averted. The Russians had sorted out their differences with the Japanese and the two had actually been looking at a possible alliance to combine the Anglo-Russian and Anglo-Japanese pacts. Why couldn't they now tell the Americans frankly what they could do with their Open Door Policy and proceed to carve up the resources of the Chinese Empire? It wasn't as if there would be an enormous resistance. The Qing Dynasty was already broken and dying, irregardless of Prince Chun, and they could even be left with a rump China to rule.
On 5 July, the representatives of Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Russia met in St Petersburg to discuss options. The British were insistent upon getting the Tibetan Plateau, as well as Yunnan, Qinghai and parts of Sichuan (though not Chengdu). The French wanted to extend north into Kwangsi. Japan was happy with its spheres of influence being recognised. The Germans wanted to keep Shandong. The Russian Prime Minister stated that he wanted Xinjiang and an expanded Mongolia to create an appropriate buffer state between the two countries. Despite lengthy preparations, it appeared as though no country was eager for land that another wanted, all were prepared to grant open door trade after their individual complaints had been settled and a large proportion of China would be left intact. None were overly concerned about potential Chinese resistance. What did concern them was the potential American response. However, it did seem as though America had enough problems of its own. The only real question was the logistics of conquest.
The decision of Japan to join the potential anti-Chinese alliance was driven not by expansion, but by access to resources and consideration of British needs. The conquest of Joseon was quickly following by a dispatch of correspondence to the Chinese regent by Emperor Meiji's governments. He started by stating that eastern Manchuria and Fukien were areas of special interest to Japan, and that China should not undertake any actions within a designated region of Manchuria or all Fukien which Japan could interpret as threatening. Japanese businesses must also be free to operate within the territories. In return, Japan would pay for and thus own all future infrastructure development in the region to "more closely build the amity and good neighbourhood between our two countries".Meiji also stated that Japan wanted a 100-year lease on some Chinese resources and freedom of its citizens to buy land in China. It wanted its nationals to have liberty to enter, reside and travel in China, and for Japanese hospital, temples and schools to be built to support their culture. They also insisted that China buy no armaments except from Japan. For Prince Chun (left), the letter was interpreted as nothing more than a demand of unconditional surrender. He treated the correspondence with the contempt he believed it deserved and ignored the letter completely. The next letter from Kyoto would not be as pleasant.
The Prince Regent did all he could, including approaching Russia, who he suspected would be willing to back China’s wish to contain Japanese interests. Instead, he found himself met with new demands and the threat of war from all sides. Special delegations arrived from all powers, demanding increased concessions and special treatment. When the SMS Pommern, with a displacement of 13200 tons, sailed into Tsingtao Harbour, the excuse provided by the German Ambassador in Peking was that the battleship was necessary to deal with bandits in the nearby hills affecting trade with Nanjing in the south. However, that deceit was particularly unconvincing. So was the claim that gathering number of French vessels in the Gulf of Tonquin were there simply for a naval exercise. Russian activities in the north had also taken on a suspicious form, while British troops in Burma and India were undertaking irregular military manoeuvres.
For Prince Chun, Regent of the Emperor, the warnings could not have been made more clear. Indochinese troops have gathered under French generals. Australia, Canada, India and South Africa were calling for significant increases in enlistment. Twelve days after the arrival of the Pommern, the British and the Japanese renewed their alliance for a further four years, including a provision that prevented either party from making a separate peace in the event of an offensive war. The Regent considered his options few. Most of the retainers were probably in the pay of foreigners already. The only way for China to stand was for it to remain unified under a strong leader; Chun felt that he did not have the necessary lust for power and knew it. However, there were no alternatives presenting themselves. On 13 July, 1911, the decision was taken from his hands, when his young son, the Emperor Xuantong, was killed by imperial retainers who, it emerged in later years, were paid by the Japanese. Chun declared himself Emperor Zaifeng.
The new Emperor Zaifeng made contact with Britain and Russia. He had travelled their countries as a youth and knew the people well. He spoke to their ambassadors in the most flowery of terms. He had been on personal acquaintance with the British Royal Family and had met the Russian Foreign Minister. He realised the only way to stay afloat was to lock himself into the alliance system. Would they consider an alliance to defend China against the teeth of the dragon, in return for being permitted to gain land, trade and territorial advantages from China? They would obtain what they wanted without a struggle and they would, the Emperor suggested, be benefited by having an ally in the East that would resolve the Sino-Japanese standoff and strengthen their respective powers in the East.Panicked by the Anglo-Russian willingness for discussion, France, Germany and Japan suspended the plans for invasion until early October and then abandoned. The new map of China was drawn to reflect the cost of the alliance to Beijing.
Increasing US Isolation
The newly-elected Prime Minister of Canada, Sir Robert Borden, met with President Roosevelt at Niagara on 22 February, 1911. For some time now, Roosevelt and Borden's predecessor, Laurier, had been working steadily toward a reciprocal trade agreement that would allow the US to bypass the imperial preference system. The proposed trade agreement had become one of the central issues in the election and his opposition to the deal had resulted in a landslide victory for Borden. He was here now to tell the President that, instead of providing great access to American trade, Canada was shutting up shop.
Borden, who like Roosevelt was a "progressive", was profusely apologetic to the US President, but stated that the democratic principle had been followed and closer relations between Canada and the United States had been categorically rejected. Borden also advised that Canada, in light of growing security tensions within China, would be training new regiments for the British Empire, joining Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa. What was not discussed directly was the increasingly uneasy attitude in Whitehall that the relationship between London and Washington was becoming distinctly uncomfortable. The avowed neutrality of the Congress, despite the sympathies of the President for Britain, combined with Roosevelt's loss of control over his legislature meant there was no little room for compromise or discussion with the Administration. While Roosevelt had held the levers of power, he was a person of interest. Now he was viewed as a lame duck and his activities in Latin America as a potential concern to British possessions in the Caribbean and South America. The continued support of the Administration for an open door policy on China when that position had also been clearly abandoned actually put an enormous strain on the relationship as well. In Canada and in Britain, the decision had been made that the United States must be neutralised.
Thus part of the discussion between Borden and Roosevelt was a missive from London that bypassed their Washington Embassy, where the local representative was not really trusted by the White House. The United Kingdom and her Empire were keenly interested in a non-aggression pact with the United States of America.
Reacting to economic and political pressures, President Roosevelt was also beginning to face that his restrictions on immigration could not hold for long. Roosevelt's old friend Katsuro Taro, now a Marquess and Prime Minister of Naichi, suggested in a letter on 24 February, 1911, that the President might resolve the standoff with supporters of immigration by creating a new class of temporary migrant workers.
Stating that America's attempt to restrain immigration from Naichi and Joseon had failed (nearly two hundred thousand had made their way into the country during the last ten years), he argued that both empires could benefit from a controlled program. It was expected that Japanese workers in the United States would return some of their earnings home and it would alleviate the unemployment problem in Naichi and Joseon. In the interim, America would gain the workforce it needed without having to plan for their long term integration. Roosevelt, he argued, would also get the pro-immigrant factions in Congress off his back and improve the chances of repairing the rift in the Republican Party.
The President's interest was sparked and over the next few months, the Imperial Ambassador and the President met on seven occasions to finalise terms of a "Gentleman's Agreement". The United States would accept on temporary visas males aged fifteen to thirty-five and immediate family (wives, children and parents). All visa holders had to have at least six years of formal education. Each visa would be issued for five years and could be revoked for criminal behaviour. Once the age limit was reached, the person and all their associated family members were required to return home to Naichi or Joseon.
The Constitutional Party, which had favoured a strong immigration program, immediately backed the move enthusiastically. The Socialists condemned it as an attack on the conditions and wages of the American working class. However, it had the numbers to record Roosevelt his first congressional victory in some time, passing the House by 303 votes to 132 and the Senate by 71 votes to 22 (there were some abstentions).
Roosevelt also struck new alliances in labour relations. Congressman Eugene Debs of Indiana, Congressman Emil Seidel of Wisconsin and Congresswoman Rose Schneidermann of New York were all horrified and unbelieving at the death toll when ninety-one were burnt alive and fifty-four threw themselves from the ninth story of the Asch Building. The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company was, according to future speeches by Debs, "a symbol of the exploitation of a new generation of American slavery".
The Roosevelt Administration's Labor Secretary, Henry Stimson, said the President was "disgusted" at the fire, but could not be held responsible. Instead, voters should look to the Constitutional and Democratic parties for those who had resisted "necessary workplace reform". The President stated that the Republican Party was ready to deal with "progressive" Democrats to ensure that such a tragedy could not repeat itself, including those in Tammany Hall, and trade unionists.
Given the mood of the country, the trade unions tried their hand at a modification to corporate common law through what the Constitutional Party regarded as a crass publicity stunt. They brought a case before the National Labor Court, a body now reinstituted and made constitutional by a stacked Supreme Court, asking it to declare that all persons receiving money from a corporate entity, including the directors and owners of that entity, were classified as "employees" of the company for the purposes of corporate law. They asked for an increase in the minimum wage from $558 per year to $743 per year and asked the Court to define what would be a reasonable maximum wage.Under the Act which founded it, the Court had been given the right to define at what rate it was fair for employees to be paid. If it accepted the case of the trade unions, the Court could set the maximum "wages" that company owners paid to themselves from the business, with all remaining monies required to be used to fund pay rises across the board or to reinvest into the business structure. The Socialist Labor Party made itself, as an employer, a party to the case and argued that, instead of payments in cash, corporations could pay people in company shares. Business interests accepted the link between maximum and minimum wages, hoping to be able to reduce wages at the upper end of their cost structures, but argued that the wage increase was too high and that owners could not be defined as employees.
For the Federal Labor Court, Justice Samuel Gompers (left) ruled that a fair minimum wage was $653 per annum ($12.55 per week), or $3.95 per day for people not employed on a weekly basis. It also ruled that a fair maximum wage was $9142 per annum ($175.80 per week) or $55.30 per day. It agreed that all persons who provided services to a company would be defined as "employees" and that owners could claim the maximum wage, but no more. Business interests immediately appealed to the Supreme Court and received an injunction against the Labor Court's ruling, preventing any implementation of the order until the Supreme Court had heard the arguments.
The 1911 Wages Case was the last case ever heard by the 78-year-old Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan of Kentucky. During his final years, he had watched as the brethren had steadily begun to espouse the principles he had defended during a more conservative era. He had built good alliance with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, who had a particularly disposition against the rights of property, and now with the progressive, almost socialist, Justice Robert Marion La Follette. These three were determined that the decisions of the Labor Court should stand.
Standing alongside this clique was another newcomer to the bench, former litigator Justice Louis Brandeis. In private conversations with Harlan, Brandeis had expressed his grave concerns about the effect of economic policies on social equality and had stated that "big business is inherently inefficient and dangerous to American values". There was no doubt which way his vote was headed. On the other side of the equation, Justice Joseph Rucker Lamar of Georgia left no doubt. A staunch defender of large corporations as a lawyer, he had been forced upon Roosevelt to contain a threat from conservative interests within the Congress. He had no problem in stating that he had voted against the Labor Court repeatedly and could not hold any of its decisions as valid law. He was supported by Justice William Rufus Day, a former Republican who was gravely concerned by the directions in which the White House had taken the country.
Sitting between these six ideologues were
three pragmatists. Justice Joseph McKenna of California was, as usual, centrist.
Justice William Moody, now terribly afflicted with rheumatism, had been on
sporadic leave since 1909. However, the President had asked him to remain on,
telling him he was a "vital element in the development of a hopeful future
for the Republic". Finally, there was the Chief Justice Charles Evan
Hughes, whose appointment had been encouraged by Secretary of State Elihu Root.
(Root had been concerned about Hughes as a potential rival for the Republican
nomination in 1912.) Hughes had been a law professor at Cornell and had served
as Governor of New York. He was popular for his staunch anti-corruption.
South of the Border
President Madero of Mexico faced a shattered country. He had lost the north-west to the Americans and the so-called "Republic of Chihuahua" under Pascual Orozco and his general, Pancho Villa. The American Ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson, was, in his opinion, an arrogant and patronising alcoholic. His general of the army, Victoriano Huerta, was a sinister plotter with despotic potential. In the south, Emiliano Zapata was holding down the province of Morelos and demanding the devolution of land ownership before he would submit to rule from Mexico City.
The key to a political solution in the north lay with General Villa. The legitimate Governor of Chihuahua, Abraham Gonzalez, had been deposed by Orozco during the war, under claims that Gonzalez had betrayed the nation through his contacts with Senator Beveridge of Indiana. (Gonzalez was a graduate of Notre Dame.) President Madero encouraged General Villa, in secret correspondence, to speak to his imprisoned former mentor and establish his loyalty to the principles of the revolution. When Villa realised the fabrications of Orozco, Orozco was removed on 7 March, 1911 and the "Republic of Chihuahua" was restored to Mexican rule.
Orozco would remain in prison until June 1914, when he escaped to the United States. American authorities in El Paso, operating at an extradition request from Mexico City, tracked him down in August 1914 and he was killed while resisting arrest. General Huerta demanded the arrest and execution of Villa for treason. However, President Madero extended an unconditional pardon and appointed Villa to the position of Commander of the Federal Police Service, with a pledge that he would replace Gonzalez as Governor of Chihuahua at the election. Despite his good intentions, Madero created a tension that threatened future pain for Mexico. During his rebellion, Orozco had accessed superior weapons from the US and Villa now used these to arm his police - weapons that were superior to those held by the military leadership under Huerta. Huerta and Villa were implacable enemies and it was viewed as a potential source of trouble for the Mexican republic.However, Madero was now confident that he had a well-armed support base that could not be threatened by "reactionary forces". He subsequently advised Zapata that his grand plan of land reform could be implemented, and, in fact, should be overseen by a sympathetic supporter. Later that year, on 25 May, Emiliano Zapata (left) was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Lands by the President and his rebellious Army of the South was incorporated into the military under General Huerta, who steadfastly complained about their potential inclusion under his command. When Huerta refused to allow full incorporation, he was removed by Minister of War Venustiano Carranza and sent into exile, with Zapata taking over his role. Huerta would die in Germany in January, 1916.
Further south, President Jose Ordonez of Uruguay heard of comments by President Roosevelt when asked about the role of the United States in relations to the Monroe Doctrine. It was said that President Roosevelt had expanded upon it, stating that the United States reserved the right to interfere in the internal affairs of Latin American countries. While Roosevelt was technically responding to the recent approach by London for a non-aggression pact, Ordonez was convinced that Roosevelt had crossed the line.
He approached the President of Argentina, Roque Saenz Pena, a reformer who was attempted to create universal suffrage in his country for the first time and bring some stability to the political process. There was no doubt that Argentina was the power of Latin America. It had recently eclipsed Mexico, a country with a population twice its size, and its economy was now 40% larger than neighbouring Brazil, who as recently as 1902 had been on parity. The two discussed an approach to the threat of US imperialism and quickly recognised both the size of the threat and a solution that was neither imaginative nor new. The Bolivarian Pact was announced by the two nations on 2 March, 1911 and all countries from Mexico south were invited to join and to submit any outstanding disputes between them to a conciliation commission - all nations not party to the dispute would vote on a settlement. Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay each expressed an interest, but wished to know how their disputes would be resolved before any signatures were made. Brazil generally ignored the offer, stating that it would consider the matter at a later date.
Thus, the First Bolivarian Pact, when it was established in 1911, included only Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Colombia. Its most important component was, of course, that of military cooperation and gave Argentina a sphere of influence against the threat of American interference, with a duration of fifty years. However, it also allowed for trade in strategic resources, such as steel and coal, with all duties and subsidies on these products to be abolished by March, 1912. It provided for an annual meeting of heads of government and a court of arbitration on which all members would have a representative. Finally, it provided a start-up fund for military research with an annual contribution of $2.5 million. Lastly, the Bolivarian Pact offered a treaty of non-aggression to Britain, France and the Netherlands, clearly demonstrating the direction and intent of the proposal.
With the fall of the rebels in Chihuahua and the move of Zapata to the post of Army Chief of Staff, Madero's transitional government became secure for the first time. He now began to turn his attentions to the future security of the country as a whole. Rather than relying upon the goodwill of a historical aggressor, it made sense for Mexico to be the front-line of defence. In May, President Madero's ambassador in Buenos Aires made approaches regarding Mexico becoming a member of the Bolivarian Pact. The Americans were not happy about agrarian reforms Madero had earmarked, nor were they pleased with the appointment of Zapata. It was inevitable that, sooner or later, the Americans would once again threaten to move south and Madero was determined they should face a potential enemy who would not be easily conquered. In addition, with Mexico as the front-line, it would be entitled to a greater share of any joint defence measures that occurred into the future. All in all, it made sense.
When asked by American media as to whether or
not the action was provocative, Madero replied that America invaded Mexico
whenever it felt the need for expansion, not when it was provoked. He stated
that Mexico had no desire on American territory and should regard the pact as a
defensive measure only. He also encouraged other nations to come on board.
The State of the Alliances
Vice Regent Azadulmolk of Persia had communicated regularly with the Russian Ambassador about his continued concerns with the Persian economy. While the Russian military was now in some order, due to the hard work of the Persian Cossack Command under General Liakhov, correspondence between Tehran and St Petersburg made it clear that significant economic repairs were still required.
The Russian government, which continued to function strongly
under its second post-revolutionary Prime Minister, Pavel Milyukov, decided that
it was vital to send someone to take over the economic and social planning for
their southern neighbour. The military control would also be strengthened by
three thousand soldiers for internal security purposes. After some debate, the
55-year-old Minister of the Economy, Georgi Plekhanov, agreed to make room for
some new blood and took on the journey to become Comptroller General of Persia.
(Also helping the decision making process was Milyukov's ongoing drive to gain
the upper-hand in an expanded coalition government.)
By May of 1911, Sultan Abdelhafid was concerned about the
growing French population in Morocco. Originally, the French influence had been
symbolic. The 1905 crisis had changed all of that. France had steadily increased
the number of settlers and restrictions on travel outside the cities had been
lifted, despite the Berber threat. The indigenous government itself was coming
under increasing pressure from Paris. On the other side of that equation, the
Berbers were threatening again in the south. They would no doubt happily have
slit his throat and taken the throne. Their growth in strength, combined with
the increasing demands of France, made the Sultan a solitary figure stuck
between two juggernauts. Only the French could protect him from the Berbers;
however, cooperation with the French meant the end of indigenous government.
With this change in the balance of power in northern Africa, France moved quickly over the next few months to consolidate its hold in Morocco. Troops moved swiftly into a vicious suppression of Berbers. They took over responsibility for finance, post, education, telegraph, public works and agriculture. They moved their economic advisors to the office of the Conseil General, established a dual sharia-civil law court system, strengthening local officials. The largest change was in immigration. In 1906, there were less than twenty thousand French immigrants per year. It steadily climbed until, by 1950, French citizens were arriving at a rate of over 70,000 per annum.
The combined power of Germany and France, working as a diplomatic bloc for the past five years, had demonstrated clearly their potential. Germany, having cut back on its military expenditure, had found enormous industrial growth in the southern provinces. This year, it was clear that she would surpass Britain's industrial output. Incomes were increasing in both countries and other than Britain and Belgium, there was no greater level of prosperity on the Continent. France had also taken advantage of the alliance to extend and solidify its gains in Africa, and the two countries were soon to reach an agreement on a joint administration zone in central Africa. She had also taken a significant bite out of Italy's north.
The original 1906 treaty had made provisions for a demilitarised zone between the two countries. It was decided that, given the level of goodwill, the DMZ could be abolished completely. That did, however, require the resolution of the status of Alsace Lorraine. After protracted negotiations, the new Franco-German Entente Cordiale declared that Alsace Lorraine would become an autonomous territory, with its own legislature and judiciary. Germany would retain sovereignty until 1921, at which point Alsace Lorraine would be granted its independence as a buffer-state between the two countries.One idea that was discussed at the conference was the potential for both nations to reach a far more comprehensive agreement. A 26-year-old French economist, Jean Monnet (left), had been inspired by the resources deal achieved by the Bolivarian Pact. He proposed that a similar deal, organising all resources that could possibly be used for strategic purposes, be signed between France and Germany. It would cover the extensive coal fields and iron ore that were located within the disputed territory. In the end, the two countries agreed in principle to pursue such an agreement. Historically, the talks formed the basis for Franco-German cooperation into the future.
His idea of the European Security Treaty Organisation (ESTO) found support too. Austria's Reichsrat passed a motion endorsing the concept and declared that it should extend to Aragon. Germany's Chancellor Ebert, recently returned to office for a second term, stated that his Socialist government would back the move. However, the first sign of significant success came on 8 February, when the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sir Edward Grey, indicated that he would be willing to meet with his French counterpart in London in March. The French instead sent the President.
Paul Doumer had a year remaining in his service as President of the French Republic. Filling out the tenure of Armand Fallieres had been a greater pleasure than he had expected and, once he had pushed aside Poincare in favour of Briand, a lot less stressful as well. On this trip, he became only the second head of state to travel by airplane and the experience, while occasionally frightening, he later described as "exhilarating". His pilot, Henri Seimet, had assured him he would arrive on time to get to Buckingham Palace for a state dinner with Emperor George V.
Since the collapse of the Entente Cordiale,
there were those in France (such as Poincare) who were all too willing to stir
up anti-British sentiment for electoral advantage. A victory in Anglo-French
diplomacy was needed to prevent Poincare or Clemenceau from succeeding to the
Presidency. Doumer personally favoured Leon Bourgeois, the architect of
Algericas, which is why he had brought him on the trip. They hoped to succeed on
1. All nations would commit to settling disputes by
peaceful means and to refrain from force, the use of force, or behaviour that
might threaten peace in Europe.
2. All nations would actively work toward economic collaboration so as to avoid economic conflicts and to promote conditions of economic stability in Europe.
3. All nations would commit themselves to reaching an agreement upon a balance of individual and collective military capacity.
4. The nations would establish a commission in Strausborg
to oversee implementation of the treaty and to set up any necessary subsidiary
5. As required, the nations could agree to admit
individual colonies, protectorates or dominions to join the security
6. The Commission would continue in existence for fifteen
years. From 1927, nations could request consultation for the purpose of
reviewing the work and purview of the Commission and potential additions or
amendments to the treaty.
7. The official languages of the Commission would be, at a minimum, English, German and French.
Prime Minister Asquith would confirm on 13 May that the
British had agreed to pursue the treaty as a replacement to its arrangement with
Russia and would encourage the Russians to do likewise. Letters would also be
sent from London to Constantinople to encourage the Ottomans to come on board.
The second point of the talks related to concerns that the French and the British already had in common: resistance by their nationals towards emigration to the African territories. While the British continued their suppression of revolt in India, the French had found the Berbers as difficult a dilemma as the Moroccan sultans that preceded them. To encourage migration and to ensure the success of the Commission, the European powers needed to reach a final agreement on the borders and divisions of the African continent. Doumer believed that only certainty and stability could ensure the long-term success of the African project.Doumer proposed an All-Africa Conference, to start in Rabat on 1 April, and including representatives from both their nations, as well as Germany, Belgium and Portugal. He also suggested that representatives of the Berbers and the Ethiopians should attend. Delegates would be locked down for as long as it took to sort out differences between them peacefully. As an incentive, he added that Germany was prepared to look at giving Britain control of Tanzania in return for Wallis Bay and access to Bechuanaland's considerable wealth, giving Britain the Cairo to Cape that it had long sought. The All-Africa Conference would endure for the remainder of 1912 and would not finish its work until early 1913. By the time it was finished, the map of Africa as we know it today had been completed.
The Death of Spain and Italy
Pope Pius X had endured uncomfortable conditions with his Italian hosts since the war, but his focus of ill-feeling was not directed towards Rome, but Lisbon. Since the republican revolution in Portugal in October, 1910, the new government, with the support of both England and France, had been targeting the Catholic Church in a repeat of the anti-clericalism that had earlier gripped France.
Churches had been stripped of assets and convents closed. All religious orders had been suppressed and Jesuits had been asked to choose between their loyalties to the Church and the state. However, much worse, in Pius' view, was the decay of morals. Divorce had been legalised, cremations had been authorised, children born outside wedlock had been declared legitimate, religious teaching in public schools had been stopped - and on 20 April, 1911, the law of Separation of Church and State had been passed.
The Pope was declaring the Portuguese to be in rebellion against the laws of God and a Masonic conspiracy against the Church. On 24 August, Pope Pius X declared that, due to apostasy, heresy, simony, desecration of the Eucharist, ordination with papal mandates and violation of the seal of the confession, an interdict now existed in Portugal. All public worship would be suspended and the sacraments of the Church would be withdrawn.
He brought his concerns to the attention of Prince Carlos de Bourbon, Regent of Spain, who had been busy planning the marriage of his ten year old son, Alfonso XIV, to the Prince Sophie of Hohenberg, daughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este. Offering the title of Defender of the Faith, he suggested a further expansion of Spain's European empire through the crush of anti-Papal elements in Portugal. A quick diplomatic check revealed that the Austrians were willing to hold the Italians in check while Spain went after Portugal. France was unimpressed and expressed its grave concerns, but Spain immediately began to direct Vatican funds to the monarchist cause of the former Governor of Angola, Henrique Mitchel de Paiva Couciero.
For years, the French had been struggling to restrain anti-Spanish movements in Catalan, Navarre, the Basque Country, Valencia and Aragon. It was only this assistance that had prevented the country of Prince Regent Carlos from exploding into chaos in the aftermath of the war with Italy.
An unstable and distracted Spain was no longer a useful ally for France and their sycophantic relationship to the Pope made relations ever harder. However, the French were very much aware that once its pressure had been fully removed, much of Spain would revolt, including most probably those parts recently taken from the Italians, Sardinia and Sicily. France desperately needed a solution; it didn't want an open wound of a Spanish civil war at its back door, particularly as it would invite Britain and Russia, now in alliance with Portugal, to interfere.In terms of alliances, France was closely knit to Germany and Austria-Hungary; Britain was in a deal with the Russians, the Portuguese, and it appeared increasingly likely that they would reach some arrangement with the Ottomans. Spain had been completely left out; its arrangement with France had been the tenuous link to the European security balance and now it was in the same position as Italy only a few years before: without a defender and vulnerable. Direct action would not be possible. The French had to move surreptitiously.
In mid-August, Prince Leopold of Bavaria and Archduchess Gisela of Austria, son in law and daughter of the Austrian Emperor (pictured), met with the personal envoy of the French President in a secret rendezvous in Munich. The French proposal, backed by the Austrians and Germans, would see the French provide support to the rebels, who would declare their solidarity with the other oppressed people of Spain and would rise up against the Spanish central government. The French would then have a cause to intervene to "prevent civil war", allowing the separation of Spanish rebels behind French protection. The two nobles present were slated as the future monarchs, with their 29-year-old son, a major in the German Army, would become Crown Prince. With the region under Hapsburg rule, it could be slated to join the Franco-German-Austrian side in any dispute.
On 28 September, 1911, a rebel faction of the conscripted army seized control of key facilities in Barcelona, Vitoria-Gastiez, Pamplona, Zaragoza and Valencia. On Majorca, in Cagliari and Palermo, well coordinated teams staged an effective coup d'etat, declaring the independence of the new Kingdom of Aragon. Much of the loyal Spanish forces had already moved into positions along the Portuguese border and a response was delayed. By the time they were moving in the right direction, France and Austria had already pledged themselves to the defence of the rebels and offered to resettle any Spanish nationals caught up on the wrong side of the line.
Of Spain's 24.2 million citizens, nearly 12 million were now in revolt. The army had split almost in half. Spain's industrial heartland, needed to pursue any war effort, was very much in rebel territory. There was hesitation in Madrid until France mentioned a potential interest by Morocco in Andalusia. Shortly before his resignation on 2 November, Prince Regent Carlos signed away half of the kingdom he had tried to build for his son. He was replaced as regent by Elias of Bourbon, Duke of Parma, as head of a now discredited and dying monarchy.
With the rise of the new Kingdom of Aragon, the stability of the Mediterranean was once again thrown into chaos. Many began to fear, given Italian talk about Aragon's "occupied territories", that the Italian War of 1908 had not been concluded. In the opinion of Italian Premier Antonio Salandra, the lands ceded to Spain could not be legally seized by the Aragonite rebels and should be returned to Spain or Italy.
However, Italy quickly faced its own breakdown. Since the end of the war in 1909, the Italian state had travelled from crisis to crisis. The Government was, to all intents and purposes, bankrupt, with insufficient monies to continue funding the bureaucracy and the monarchy. Resentment in the north, meanwhile, was at an all time high, with many feeling, correctly, that there were subsiding the south to the tune of millions of lira.
Inflation had also threatened the currency itself, with prices rising several fold since the war. The Government had attempted to fix exchange rates, but in reality, Italy was now experiencing 140-150 lira to each British pound following a series of crises that were never adequately resolved. The official doctrine, that the lira and the franc were equal, had been completely shattered. The leaders of industries that survived in the rump of Italy were keen to separate themselves from the chaos.
The right of Italian politics had also used the defeat to claim that the nation had been defeated due to the socialists. They made attempts to purge the judiciary and bureaucracy, appointed reactionary judges and failed to punish violence by paramilitary organisations of former soldiers, disillusioned by the war's outcome. At the time, it is estimated that their numbers may have reached 250,000. The violence and inflation inevitably led to a growing nationalism in the north, especially when the central government removed the Socialist provincial government in Tuscany on 28 February.
The Italian Prime Minister, Antonio Salandra,
facing financial ruin, contacted the Bank of England to seek a loan of 800
million pounds to see it through the crisis. But the British answer did not
arrive before the Italian state fell apart. And it arrived long after three
years of strenuous diplomatic and economic initiatives by the Austrians. On 5
March, Count Karl von Sturgkh, Minister-President of Austria, was pleased to
announce that the Italian states of Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Lombardy were
being offered the opportunity to abandon the lira and to establish a new
currency underwritten by Vienna. Called the florin, it would be interchangeable
with the Austro-Hungarian gulden and Austria would be glad for both currencies
to be permitted use in Venetia.
Unemployment in the south can be tracked by the following
March: Unemployment 14.6% Casual Workers 9.4%
April: Unemployment 24.4% Casual Workers 16.2%
May: Unemployment 37.0% Casual Workers 21.7%
June: Unemployment 48.0% Casual Workers 24.2%
By June, however, Italy no longer existed. The new
Cisalpine Kingdom, consisting of Lombardy, Tuscany and Modena, invited Crown
Prince Rupert of Bavaria (left), nephew of the Aragonite monarch, to take over
as King. The south threw in its lot with the new Kingdom of Aragon. As
to the rump, Umbria, Roma and Marches, it was left for a political brawl between
King Vittorio Emmanuelle’s House of Savoy and Pope Pius' Roman Curia, a battle
that would finally be settled with the election of a new pope in 1914.
China Purges the Ranks
Far across the seas, another state, the Empire of China, was attempting to survive into the modern age. Emperor Zaifeng had begun to make significant changes since his reprieve in July. Kang Youwei and his protégé, Liang Qichao, had returned from exile, the former taking over the post of Prime Minister of the Imperial Government. Kang had asked the Emperor to refrain from interfering in politics and had been granted his request. Kang had, in turn, sought to negotiate with the potential revolutionaries. The primary message of the new Prime Minister to the country, to rebuild support for the monarchy, was that the death of the last Emperor had fulfilled the demands of the heavens, which had expressed their displeasure with the flooding of the Yangtze.
Minister Kang (right) immediately authorised intervention by Xu Shichang, head
of the army and recently promoted to the rank of Marquis. Within three weeks,
the mutineers had been crushed. The fast response by the central authorities and
the lack of financial resources among the rebels were the clinching argument. It
gave the Prime Minister the necessary moral authority to commence negotiations
with the various rebel factions in December. Those invited included a number of
exiles, including the famous head of the Tongmenghui, Dr Sun Yat-sen. The German
Foreign Minister, Friedrich Ebert, was invited as a neutral chairman to preside
over the negotiations.
In early January, 1912, Imperial Minister Kang Youwei commenced negotiations with the rebel factions, including members of the New Army, Tongmenghui and other groups. His objective was to reach a new Constitution that protected the status of the Emperor, but that stripped Zaifeng and his dynasty of enough power to make him acceptable. The Constitution of 1912 thus retained the Emperor and reputed to give His Majesty the power to run government policy and to make laws. However, in reality, the sole power remaining to the Crown was the power to declare China at a state of war if it was invaded. Everything else had to obtain approval from the new Parliament. All treaties and alliances required ratification. All Ambassadors had to be examined and endorsed. All Imperial officials had to receive parliamentary consent to remain in their positions. Needless to say, the days of the grand retinue were over and the Emperor ultimately had to ask the military to purge the Forbidden City.
The new Chinese Parliament was made up of two bodies. The Council of the People was a body elected by universal suffrage under secret ballot (a virtual impossibility in that era, but nonetheless one which future public officials strived toward). It retained the right to initiate all legislation and had three-year terms. Proceedings of the Council were conducted in public, no paid officials were permitted to enter the chamber and they were required to elect the Imperial Chancellor, whose signature would be required on all Imperial decrees for them to take effect.
Above the Council of the People was the Imperial Council, of whom only 15% were permitted to be Manchu. The remainder were to be Han or minority representatives, given noble title by the Emperor on recommendation of the Imperial Chancellor. The Emperor was also to gain a new title: Grand Duke of Manchuria. Manchuria was provided with a special status as the personal estate of the Emperor, in which he was able to make laws provided they did not conflict with the laws of China itself. The first elections for the Council were scheduled to take place later in the year. Kang Youwei became Interim Imperial Chancellor until that time by consent of the constitutional convention.
Russia Seeks a New Deal
In Tehran, the news was not so great. Eugen Samuilovich Varga was a Hungarian economist, who had converted to the socialist cause. As such, he had made a perfect appointee for the Russia when Persia was looking for an expert to take control of the economy as Treasurer-General. The Majlis, who implicitly trusted the Russians, welcomed his input and advice. Varga was also very much aware that the Qajar Dynasty must be brought to an end. The Regent had refused to cooperate with Majlis planning, so it fell to Varga, as the most senior Russian on the inside, to find a new Shah. However, the longer he remained in Persia, the quicker he realised the culture of the Persian people. A change of dynasty can only be done in one way here: war. It followed that one side would have to be armed by Russia. Russia must pick who they wanted for Shah and then empower him to take the throne.
Varga's great concern, which he reported back to Minister Trotsky, was that eventually Britain might choose to empower another side. The British problem was they had a candidate for Shah who had done it before and been overthrown; Russian could get a clean candidate. In a battle of arms, it was increasingly likely that Russia would have the natural advantage of land, with superior ability to use the high countries.
In Moscow, Minister Trotsky was determined to avoid war with Britain, but there were some clear issues that needed to be resolved in Persia. A re-negotiation was overdue on the portion of the treaty defining sphere of influence. Some new influence was coming Trotsky's way as well. The SDLP leader, Deputy Prime Minister Martov, was in a bitter leadership dispute with one of his own former Ministers, Plekhanov, harassing him on the floor of the Duma from the upper gallery reserved for junior politicians. There was no way that Martov could continue as leader, but Plekhanov should never be allowed to take over the party. On this, he and other Central Committee members had strongly agreed. They had decided together that Martov should resign as well and take on responsibilities outside politics. After all, Martov was already had his Viskont; did he want a Graf too?
So who was the next Deputy Prime Minister to be? All eyes in the Central Committee room had fallen on Trotsky, the one they had labelled a lunatic firebrand, who thought the country needed a new name and was perhaps the most left within his own party room. He had even publicly toyed with defection to the Bolsheviks. The Central Committee thought that with Trotsky as Party Secretary-General would appeal to those Bolsheviks who defected to the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Reunifying the party support base was absolutely vital if the Communist movement was to grow. They had improved by only 4% (to 23%) since 1908 and it looked as though the coalition government would need to continue. The SDLP had managed to keep the Chernov's Socialist Revolutionaries out of power and Chernov knew this would be his last shot at the Prime Ministership. What better way to undercut him than to split his own party? And maybe, just maybe, get enough votes to come up top dog in the coalition. And begin to integrate the first Communist government in human history.
For Trotsky, his next course of action was, however, clear. Before taking the promotion he had to get to London and sound out the British on changes to the governance and borders of Persia. But, if all else failed, there was always Mirza Kouchek Khan for Shah. The party had already established fraternal greetings with him and was funnelling money. If Russia would ever elect a Communist government to power, they would be able to funnel armaments and advance the cause of socialist revolution in Persia. Trying to smuggle through the Cossack Brigade was too slow and there was always the chance you could be caught. The diplomatic attaché case really wasn't that big either.
The elections for the Duma in June brought together a few old hands. The oldest hand was former Prime Minister Viktor Chernov, who was facing astrong challenge within his own party from the highly populist Alexander Kerensky (left). The Socialist Revolutionary Party had been in opposition now for too many successive terms and Kerensky stated quite clearly that the time was ripe for a change in leadership to restore the party, which had lost seats in every election under Chernov. He warned that a continuation of the status quo would see the reunited Communist Party take even more SRP seats.
In a July caucus showdown, Kerensky seized control of Russia's largest political party on the eve of elections and offered a hand towards unity with Deputy Prime Minister Trotsky. While it was certain that the party could recover its numbers somewhat before the polling day, Kerensky knew that the two socialist parties could not continue to battle without one eventually dying (and it was his party that seemed to be falling behind). Trotsky, surveying the political landscape, declined his offer and remained steadfast to the coalition agreement. However, he stated that, following the election, all options remained open.
When the seats for the new Duma were allocated, they were
divided as follows:
Socialist Revolutionary Party (Kerensky): 32.1%
Communist Party (Trotsky): 29.9%
Constitutional Democrat Party (Neksarov): 26.4%
Octobrist Party (Rodzyanko): 11.6%
It was clear that another coalition government would form
and Trotsky, long desirous of the Prime Ministership, stuck with a weaker
partner. The coalition Government, which had lasted since 1908, would survive.
However, the leadership role would now pass from Neksarov to Trotsky, who was
installed as the fifth Prime Minister of the Russian Empire. Kerensky, having
managed to stem the bleed and retain the SRP's largest party status against all
expectations, stayed on as Opposition Leader.
One of the first Cabinet decisions of the new Government was to increase exponentially its support of Persian warlord, Mirza Kouchek Khan. Of course, they wouldn't be Russian weapons; Britain, Germany and Austria were all in the arms selling business and selected anonymous purchases transported through the Ottoman Empire would leave no trace as to their source or organisation. Britain's "loyal" ally, Russia, should never be suspect. In fact, it was inevitable that the loyal Russian navy, operating in the Caspian, might even "capture" ammunition supplies on their way to Persia to demonstrate their loyalty.
Kouchek would rise up with a call to be the saviour of the downtrodden peasants and a protector of the constitutional revolution from Britain. With a few victories, the nationalist bourgeoisie would come on side. The only hope then for Britain would be a full military commitment in Persia, and it was Trotsky's bet that, with its government in crisis and rebellions in India and Ireland, it was a commitment that London could not afford.
Across the border in the Ottoman Empire, they had a new Grand
Vizier. Nafi al-Jabiri Pasha was the first non-Turk to hold the post in over
three decades. As he reflected upon his new responsibilities, he viewed the
changes to the Empire in just the last three years. Law and order was greatly
advanced, with French specialists training his officers and members of the
Parliament. One-fifth of eligible citizens were now receiving free primary and
secondary education, and the numbers continued to expand. Improvements to
communications and infrastructure had helped to boost the empire's manufacturing
base by 22%. By the end of the Seven Year Plan, it was hoped that the Ottoman
Empire would approach the economic size of the Austrians and that incomes would
match those of the citizens of the Iberian Peninsula and Eastern Europe. All
this had been driven by the French and British payments for the Empire's African
colonies, allowing the Porte to increase its spending by 25% and significantly
reduce duties without incurring any debt.
The briefings that would now become part of al-Jabiri's daily life also made clear one thing. Despite improved relations with Greece and a trade agreement with the Russian Empire, the Ottomans still had no firm ally. For al-Jabiri, who had watched the collapse of Italy with some satisfaction, he had nonetheless learned the lesson. Upon his ascension to the post, he would seek to discuss with London the potential for his nation to join this nascent Strausborg Commission.
It was indeed fortunate that the British had sent the extra troops to India when they had. In preparation for a possible war against China, Britain had begun to transfer troops to the east. They had set up camp in the middle of a political firestorm - the partition of Bengal. Five years earlier, the British Empire had decided to create a Muslim enclave by dividing Bengal. It had begun unprecedented agitation by the Hindus.
The situation at the arrival of Emperor King George V in early December could not have been more tense. The new monarch of the British Empire had arrived to be feted as the new lord of India at a durbar (right). Instead, he was faced with a swadeshi movement, the boycott of British goods and a national cry to Shivaji. They had, in turn, begun spouting anarchist philosophy and rioting communally. They had even wanted the Emperor King to celebrate a Hindu ceremony. The Emperor King was most displeased, but his government at least had many troops on hand to contain the terrorists.
The arrival of his well-protected entourage prevented him from directly observing the anger of his Hindu subjects, but he encouraged the troops to stand by British policy. The day after his departure, 13 December, the dam holding back the potential violence burst with the shooting of a British soldier in Lucknow.
For the next two years and a half years,
Britain would fight at its hardest in a protracted but undeclared war against
the Hindu on the subcontinent. In the end, the Indian Revolt of 1911-14 would
fail. However, this would not precede the deaths of nearly 32,000 British
soldiers, 17,000 rebel soldiers and an estimated sixty thousand civilians in the
violence. The most high profile victim would be the British viceroy, Lord
Hardinge, himself. During the Revolt, nearly 26,000 Australians volunteered to
serve under British command and, by the war's end, the Australian public were
very disenchanted with British human rights abuses and had lost nearly 1,500
troops. They were driven by media propaganda about the emerging threat of an
India free of British control and ready to invade their land. Ultimately, most
worked out that the greatest threat to Australian lives were the British, who
executed twelve Australian soldiers.
The domestic front did not look pretty either. Prime Minister Asquith had just been through a bitter fight with the House of Lords and he now had the chance to work with toward what had been the dream of the Liberals since Gladstone - to establish home rule in Ireland. Only, this time, it would have to occur as part of an open process. No closed-door discussions would be permitted. No secret handshakes and deals that had destroyed the last attempts. In his discussions with the numerous party leaders, he had found some agreement. His Majesty would retain the right to appoint a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (similar to the Governors-General of Canada and Australia). There would be no role for the aristocracy in the new government and Britain would be expected to arrange compensation for landlords so that Irish property could return to Irish hands. In addition, the new Irish government must have the power to raise and spend its own money. Beyond that point, there were difficulties.The man most likely to be Prime Minister of Ireland was John Redmond (left), head of the Irish Nationalist Party. He was prepared to allow "temporary special status" to some of the nine regions of Ulster, but no more. Others wanted no compromise with the unionists whatsoever, such as Joseph Devlin. William O'Brien wanted a higher degree of local autonomy and a less powerful central government. In the end, however, Asquith's main concern was to produce a bill that could make it through the House of Lords.
He proceeded with the Dominion of Ireland Act. Like other Dominions, Ireland would have no power to decide its own foreign affairs and defence, which would be handled from London. In the Act, Ireland was divided into four provinces, Connacht, Ulster, Leinster and Munster, and one capital territory, Meath. The seats in the Legislative Assembly were divided as follows:
Leinster Province - capital: Dublin - 36 seats
Ulster Province - capital: Belfast - 34 seats
Munster Province - capital: Cork - 20 seats
Connacht Province - capital: Galway - 9 seats
Meath Capital Territory - 1 seat
Each province would get an equal number of votes in the
Senate, but in order for a law to be sent to the Lord Lieutenant, it had to
achieve a majority of the Senate as a whole, as well as a majority of Senators
from Ulster. In addition, it was entrenched that three of the nine judges of the
Irish Supreme Court had to come from Ulster and all judges would be appointed by
the Lord Lieutenant. While this was still unlikely to satisfy the Unionists, it
was the stand that Asquith was willing to take and he knew he could get it
passed before the next election thanks to recent restrictions on the power of
the Lords. He was reminded by Redmond that the latter had control of the Irish
Volunteers, a paramilitary of nearly 190,000 which could be moved formally into
the British Army and used to suppress any rebellion in Ulster. At best, any
rebellion could field half that amount of soldiers.
Asquith knew it might come to war, but he was concerned about the outcome on the mainland as well. Only weeks before, there had been unrest among some British officers in the north when they were warned they might need to fight unionists. The local commander, Sir Arthur Paget, and 57 of the 70 officers were replaced. The new commander had been pleased to advise that he had quickly become aware of plans for a large arms shipment arriving for the Ulster rebels and hinted that, at least, this was conspiracy to commit treason by a number of pro-Union supporters. His investigation had turned up a number of names.
It is the worst threat to the nation in centuries. The political crisis that engulfed the United Kingdom began in May, 1912 with the arrest of Major Francis Crawford, a former officer in Her Majesty's royal artillery. Major Crawford stood accused of attempting to illegally import nearly twenty thousand Mannlicher and Mauser pistols, plus nearly four million rounds of ammunition. He and fourteen co-conspirators, arrested on the docks at Bangor and Donaghadee (County Down), were further accused of treason for plotting an armed rebellion against Her Majesty's Government. It is generally understood that the weapons were to be used for armed resistance against the Government.
During early interrogation, Major Crawford confessed to being hired by a member of the British Parliament, the Conservative Party's James Craig. He also told military police that Craig had advised him that the finances for the purchase, called Operation Lion, had been provided by Sir Edward Carson, former Solicitor General and a member of the Privy Council. He allegedly claimed to have had no idea of the purpose of the weapons and ammunition, stating that he believed that they were being used as part of a legitimate government-authorised intelligence organisation. Mr Craig immediately locked himself inside his Parliament House office, where under parliamentary privilege, he had immunity from arrest.
On 1 May, Prime Minister Asquith asked the House of Commons to revoke Mr Craig's immunity to allow him to be interrogated by Scotland Yard. The vote was split along party lines, with the Liberals, Labour and the Irish National Party all voting for Mr Craig to be removed from the House. Mr Craig, a former soldier during the Boer War, had been a member of Parliament for six years. Mr Craig and his lawyer left Westminster in the presence of police officers later that evening. His solicitor stated that Mr Craig was the victim of political muckraking. However, forty-eight hours later, it was revealed that Viscount Haldane had authorised immunity from the death penalty for Mr Craig in return for evidence against other parties.
On the evening of 3 May, Sir Edward Carson and
the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Bonar Law, were both called in for
questioning and hours later, it was advised that both would be indicted to stand
before a grand jury. It was uncertain whether the charge will be high treason or
misprision of treason, but nonetheless, Mr Bonar Law immediately announced his
resignation from Parliament and as leader of the Conservative Party. Sir Edward
retained his knighthood until his conviction, but nonetheless agreed to step
aside from the Privy Council. People named as "persons of interest" in
the ongoing investigation included former Chief Secretary of Ireland, Walter
Long, his Parliamentary Secretary, William Bull, as well as twenty-seven other
Members of Parliament and undisclosed officers in the Imperial Defence
The Last Days of the Republicans
General Emiliano Zapata's limousine travelled across Plaza de la Constitucion, locally known as El Zocalo, to the Palacio Nacional. In his hands were documents that had been stolen by a Mexican spy placed in the US Embassy in Mexico City. The documents clearly indicated that between March and May, 1911, US Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson had actively conspired to overthrow President Madero. They also demonstrated that he was actively attempting to work towards a coup d'etat even now.
General Zapata had known about the American dislike of Mexico's reformist government - it was openly acknowledged on both sides of the border. However, the provisions of the Bolivarian Pact allowed for member states to provide military assistance to any country that was threatened. It had been thought that this would prevent US interference, but clearly, such a situation did not apply. Prior to his morning appointment with the President, Zapata had spoken to his counterparts in other Bolivarian Pact countries and they had agreed to offer all necessary assistance. In those discussions, the Presidents of Costa Rica and Colombia, Ricardo Jimenez Oreamuno and Carlos Eduardo Restrepo, both stated a preference to strike back at the United States in their central American territories. Such an idea had been floated to President Roque Saenz Pena of Argentina, who believed that both Panama and Central America were vulnerable.
When President Madero sighted the documents,
he immediately requested that the Bolivarian Pact establish links with
anti-American forces in Central America and Panama with the aim to
"liberating" those areas from US control. Unrest was already
substantial in Central America in particular and it had already spent six months
tottering on the edge of full civil war. The Mexican hope was that, with a
little assistance, American fatalities in the region would climb further,
draining support away from the Roosevelt Administration and perhaps creating a
full scale conflict in the US territories. In addition, on 22 February, Madero
would order the expulsion of Ambassador Wilson from Mexico.
The President was increasingly aware that the Republican
Party may lose the 1912 election. The only chance for a Republican victory was a
Democratic split. And he knew what buttons to push. In addition, there was a
need to lock in black voters to the Republican Party and provide them with an
impetus to get out and vote. Liberals and leftists in the Congress had long
demanded the White House pass legislation that would allow the Justice
Department to be in charge of minority rights protection and for verdicts for
infringement of rights to be handed out by federal judges - not biased all-white
Southern juries. Most Southerners were, of course, opposed to such a radical
change. Nonetheless, the Democrats needed to compromise in order to maintain
party unity. They took a stand that they would endorse a bill that supported
minority rights protection in principle, but that they would not allow for
Nonetheless, the Civil Rights Act of 1912 failed to achieve any results of note, due to the removal of the enforcement provisions. Over the next two presidential elections, the number of African American voters in the South would not substantially change.
The defeat in the Senate was followed by another foreign policy fiasco for the Administration. In the first days of June in the streets of Monrovia, the financial crisis that was apparent to the Government had not yet become clear to the public. While the employees of the State may have noticed the gaps in their pay checks, the Americo-Liberians were still surviving reasonably well. Their children were being educated abroad as they oppressed native Liberians, took their lands, taxed them and controlled their trade. Unfortunately, they hadn't done a great job at it.
President Daniel Howard was particularly concerned with the increasing self-determination that the European colonisers were granting their African subjects. If the natives got any ideas that they could expect the same here, then the economy really would implode. As it was, the Government was borrowing against assets that it didn't legally own to keep the economy afloat and was in dire need of assistance. Where else to turn but to the United States and their expansive President Roosevelt?
The addition of Liberia as an American
territory, followed days later by Cuba's demands to be recognised as a state and
the break out of civil war in Central America in early July, was regarded by
many as the death knell for America's age of imperialism. The Democrats stated
that Roosevelt had dragged the United States into more conflict during his years
as President than any of his predecessors and had burdened the Union with
responsibilities that weren't hers to bear. The fact that many Americans were
inclined to agree, combined with the division of the Grand Old Party, meant that
the death knell was also sounding for sixteen uninterrupted years of Republican
Since 1865, the Republican Party had dominated the White House, controlling it for three-quarters of that era. The only Democrat in all that time had been Grover Cleveland. It was to Cleveland that many were now comparing Roosevelt, stating that he had lost control of his party and then lost direction in his governance. It was with this sense of foreboding that the Republican Party gathered in Chicago to endorse a candidate to succeed the longest-serving President in American history.
Secretary of State and Nobel Prize winner, Elihu Root, opened up an early lead, taking the delegates from eight of the first nine states. Only California voted for Senator Albert Beveridge. However, the votes from Indiana and Illinois put Beveridge narrowly in the lead for the first time. Iowa and Kansas joined the flow, but by the time Louisiana's delegates had declared their hand, Secretary Root was back in front. When Michigan and Massachusetts voted for the Senator, he again took the lead. And there he stayed until New York cast its vote for its favourite son. Elihu Root took the lead and stayed there, ultimately winning 630 of the 1024 votes.
At age 67, Root pledged to continue trade liberalisation, revamp the bureaucracy, re-open immigration by working on deals with China and Japan, seek closer relations with Britain and Canada and work towards cooperation of all countries under international law. He stated that the radicalism of the Constitutionals and Democrats made them untrustworthy and dangerous. As his Vice President, he nominated the Secretary of War, James Rudolph Garfield, son of the late President Garfield.
With the Republican Administration bogged down in a police action in Central America, suffering from the impeachment of one of their industrial court judges, and generally giving off the scent of a carcass to the Democratic vultures, those gathering in Baltimore were positively salivating in preparation for their feast on power. Five candidates had thrown their hat into the ring for the ultimate right to serve up that power.
William Jennings Bryan, the two-time nominee for the Presidency, opened the convention in his deep and commanding tones, stating his belief in the ability of the party to choose that which was good and right. He called on the party to fight the big business and banks of New York, the "new nationalism", the imperialism of the age and to stand for "true Christianity", temperance and peace. The Republicans, long believing him to be the preferred candidate, had attacked him in the press repeatedly, building the image of a religious fanatic surrounded by dangerous people who would drive the American economy into the ground. There was genuine concern among some factions of the party that he would be nominated.
Among them were those from the House of Representatives. Speaker James Beauchamp Clark and House Majority Leader Oscar Underwood played to the audience, pledging to retain those aspects of progressive America that had "benefited us all" but viciously criticising the Administration's foreign policy. Underwood earned the ire of Clark, however, when he warned against allowing the Democratic Party to become the bastion of moral values, a veiled assault on Bryan, stating that America stood for "religious and moral freedom, not prescription". It has since been suggested that Clark encouraged Underwood's attack, precisely to win Bryan's sympathies by defending him.
They were followed by Senator Woodrow Wilson, who called for stiff penalties against the wealthy, affiliation between the Democrats and trade unions, nationalisation of key industries, low tariffs and benefits for farmers. He also spoke about the need to repair "the radical defects in our system of government". On the latter point, the audience response and applause was muted, uncertain due to his failure to specify exactly what they were. They were likewise confused by the technical ramblings of Governor Judson Harmon of Ohio. Their failure to capture the crowds would play into the eventual ballot for President.
In the first round, Oscar Underwood was eliminated, scoring only 94 out of a possible 1030 votes. He released his supporters and the ballot in the second round was:
James Beauchamp Clark: 447 votes
Woodrow Wilson: 259 votes
William Jennings Bryan: 206 votes
Gov. Judson Harmon: 118 votes
All quickly realised that, should Harmon join the Clark
camp, the convention would be over. However, Harmon despised all three of his
other contenders equally for their advocacy of social reform. He released his
votes to go where they would. In the 3rd ballot, the result was:
James Beauchamp Clark: 480 votes
Woodrow Wilson: 286 votes
William Jennings Bryan: 264 votes
Bryan knew that Clark needed all his votes to get the
two-thirds required and that Wilson was unlikely to get full party support.
Valuing Clark's defence of his beliefs against Underwood, he threw his support
to the Speaker. Speaker Clark looked at a number of potential Vice Presidents
before finally deciding that the unity of the party required him to reach out to
Wilson by appointing one of his closest supporters, Senator John Williams of
On election day, the first reports came in from Indiana and indicated that there was a rout underway. Senator Albert Beveridge was confirmed as the first casualty, losing his Senate seat to the Democrats. Over the course of the evening, a number of Senate seats would change hands, taking the Democrats from 49 to 55 Senators and strengthening their majority in the upper house of the Congress.
Until 8:17PM, there were no pieces of good news for the Republicans, as figures from Kentucky, Florida and Georgia strengthened the Democrat stranglehold. Florida provided an interesting piece of news for the Socialist Labor Party, where they moved into second place in front of poor showings from the Constitution and Republican Parties. As figures then began to arrive from New England, the state of Vermont fell to the Democrats, while the Republicans managed to hold on to New Hampshire. Nonetheless, by 8:30PM, more figures had arrived from South Carolina and Virginia and James Beauchamp Clark had opened up a 71-vote lead in the Electoral College. Shortly thereafter, North Carolina and West Virginia confirmed the trend, although the latter state remained uncertain for about forty minutes until the trend became undeniable.
At 8:46PM, the Republicans were dealt a blow
when the President's son-in-law, Nicholas Longworth, was dumped from his Ohio
seat. The heartland state, home to both Republican James Garfield and
Constitutional leader William Taft, turned to the Democratic Party in large
numbers. By 9PM, three hours into counting, the Electoral College stood at Clark
119 votes to Root 4 votes.
Over the next ten minutes, calls came in from Mississippi, Oklahoma and Missouri for the Democrats, and New Jersey and Pennsylvania for the Republicans. But by 9:30 PM, with the declarations of Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas for the Democrats, the vote was once again headed against the GOP. The Electoral College stood at 221 votes for Clark to 124 for Root.
Two southern states, Alambama and Louisiana, were yet to declare a result, but they were certain Democrat winners. With 22 votes between them, that would take Clark half the remaining way to victory. They had both declared by 10:20PM, along with Arizona, Colorado and Kansas. Only Kansas had supported the Republicans, and the vote then stood at Clark 251; Root 134. By 10:30PM, Minnesota had joined the Republican camp and Nebraska and New Mexico the Democratic side, and the vote stood at Clark 262/Root 146. It was at 10:36PM that the largest state, New York, concluded the contest, declaring its 45 electoral votes for the next President of the United States: James Beauchamp Clark.
In the final summary, Clark took 44.9% of the Presidential vote, easily besting Root on 30.8%. William Howard Taft came in last place on 11.2%, having been beaten by Eugene Debs, who took 13.1%. It had been a landslide, with Clark winning 325 out of 529 Electoral votes. The only place where the Constitution Party made a firm showing was in Utah. As a result, its Senate delegation was virtually wiped out. The new Senate would consist of 55 Democrats, 39 Republicans and 2 Constitutionals (both from Utah). The House contests saw further losses for the Republicans. They lost eighteen seats to fall to 127 seats. Four of those went to the Democrats, who climbed to 172 seats, six went to the Constitution Party (80 seats) and the remaining eight went to Socialist Labor candidates (8 seats).
President Theodore Roosevelt sat on the bench, smoking his pipe, when a shadow fell over him. He looked up to see the Speaker and President-elect standing over him. Forcing his mouth into a smile, he arose and opened the door to the Oval Office. "Mr Speaker, let me show you around."
"Thank you, Mr President. I very much appreciate your time."
"Don't be silly, James. It's the least I can do for you." After all, come 4 March, James Beauchamp Clark would be President in his own right.