IN HIS OWN RIGHT III
by Paul MacLeod
A Search for Stability
1913 opened with the dissolution of the Balkan League. Since the end of the Balkan War, the League had stood its ground against the threat of the Ottoman Empire, but there no longer seemed a continued need for its operation. The arrangements that have proven to be so vital only a few short years ago were now defunct, given the collapse of all threat to the east and west. Each of the members, Greece, Serbia and Romania, felt adequately prepared to stand on their own two feet.
In addition, it was felt that the growing power of the Balkan League would mean that its continued existence would encourage the Greeks to behave in a threatening manner towards the Ottoman Empire. Undoubtedly, the three powers could operate together into the future without an alliance, but Romania and Serbia had no desire to be caught up in a war with the Turks again. They were more concerned the operation of warlord types in Tirana and the occasional uprising. Aragon was understandably a tad edgy about its security outlook, concerned about the status of Genoa and the difficulty in defending the western Mediterranean. They did not want hassles involving the Adriatic. The Austrians still did not trust the Serbians to behave themselves. All in all, the alliance was about to start more problems than it should cause.
The dissolution of the treaty felt like a moment of opportunity to Emperor Franz Joseph and his Minister President, Count Karl von Sturgkh. Plans were already well advanced towards a customs union with Serbia and monetary union with the Cisalpine Kingdom (despite French concerns about the latter). From the advice the Emperor was receiving from his economists, particularly the young Ludwig van Mises, "methodological individualism" was the way to go. So was the idea of "economies of scale". When trying to explain the later term, Mises had told the Emperor, "it just means that big is better". The Emperor had laughed and agreed.
It was thus, in January 1913, that Crown Prince Alexander of Montenegro received a visit from an imperial envoy, addressing him as the new Regent of Serbia. The argument was based on the proposition that the strategic doctrine of alliance with Germany was no longer working. After thirty one years, it was more than overdue for a review; Germany and Austria were moving in different directions and Austria needed to look beyond. Austria had been good to Serbia, with the offer of southern Bosnia. It was time to repeal the rift permanently and become allies.
Prince Alexander agreed. He balked at further proposals from the Austrian School of Economics. They warned about the future potential interference of the Strasbourg Commission and the opportunity for Serbian products to have a greater market if they entered into full monetary union.
Austria-Hungary was at the forefront of economic efficiency; now it was necessary for it to move to the front of political planning. Archduke Franz Ferdinand (painted left, on his enthronement, in 1916) had been granted the opportunity to speak to the Reichsrat, parliament of the Crown Land of Cisleithania. His speech was called "The Future Empire".
He opened with an argument that the collapse of the Alliance system with Germany indicated one thing only – that Austria-Hungary no longer felt threatened. A lack of threat meant that the people would be free to focus on the internal problems of the Empire and there were many. Austria was starting to fall behind the French in living standards and some countries, like the United States, were offering much higher wages. If they removed their immigration controls, the drain of intelligent citizens would spark a demise for the Empire. Secondly, the governmental balance between Austria and Hungary no longer reflected reality; the 1867 agreement between them was no longer working.
What Austria-Hungary needed, argued the Archduke, was efficient government. These would require a close modelling of the British and American systems, to determine the best management model. He argued for the creation of the United States of Austria-Hungary (USAH). There would be fifteen states of the Union. The largest would, of course, be Hungary, which would control 78 seats in a new 471-member House of Representatives. Austria would be the second largest state, with 68 seats, and followed by Bohemia on 64 seats. These three large states would dominate the new Parliament.
In the next rung of states would be Transylvania, Slovakia, and Croatia, with 40, 37 and 32 seats, respectively. The remaining states and their seat appropriations would be as follows:
West Galicia…..23 seats
North Bosnia…...22 seats
East Bohemia…..20 seats
East Galicia…….15 seats
The states would be issued with a guarantee that their representation can only rise; it can never fall. This appealed to the regional self-interest of the smaller bureaucracies in the states. Above the Reichsrat would sit a House of Lords, with a limited number of noble seats, elected from the nobility by the nobility.
Finally, at the end of his reign as Emperor, there would be a new law of succession. Franz Ferdinand’s children were ineligible to hold the throne; he had a marriage of love rather than arrangement. On his death, the House of Representatives would vote, by a three-quarters majority, to send three nominees for the Crown to the House of Lords. The House of Lords would choose the successor by the same margin. The House of Lords would be open to public viewing; the House of Representatives would not.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand argued that the new economic and political system would allow the Empire to demonstrate strength, despite its diversity. However, elements among the Hungarians, particularly Count Istvan Tisza, the Hungarian Premier, would find the so-called Popovici Plan appalling and they were not yet prepared to sacrifice the advantages of the Augsleich for a new, untested and potential troublesome federation.
The First Irish Government
Sir John Redmond, Prime Minister of Ireland and later Chief Justice, had three major issues confronting him as he began his first term. The first was the Ulster and Nationalist paramilitaries. While there would be the occasional hiccup, Ireland would integrate or disband all the potential sources of disorder by steadily purchasing or registering all firearms held in the Dominion over the next five years. This was undoubtedly assisted by the Government’s willingness to allow a very high level of local autonomy, particularly in the Four Counties (that area of Ulster that was resistant to rule from Leinster House, pictured just above).
The second issue related to the appointment of one-third of the members of the Senate by the King. Of the twenty-three members of the Senate appointed by the King, there was an early complaint regarding their diversity and their leaning towards Britain. A full eleven of the contingent were from Britain and had previously been members of the House of Lords. Only five of the new appointees were Irish. Due to Britain’s insistence on appointing the chieftains of the clans, the remainder came from South Africa, Aragon, Australia, Castile, France and Portugal. There were questions as to whether or not Ireland should tolerate the fact that over one-quarter of its upper house consisted of foreigners; others insisted that the Irish had been scattered by centuries of British rule and it was necessary to bring home its leaders in order to cement the future of the country.
Finally, there was a need for Ireland to have jobs, houses, sanitation and health care. Much of this had been neglected for generations by the British and there was a distinct lack of trust between the two sides. It was the decision of the British that any assistance could not, therefore, be seen to come from them. Instead, it was agreed that Australia, Canada and New Zealand would take responsibility for assistance and aid to the Irish Government in return for additional assistance to those dominions from Great Britain. It would take a good many years for Ireland to recover from the abuses of the past, but, in time, it rose to be a steady and solid partner within the Indo-British Empire.
The Persian War of 1913
In late 1912, the Arabic demands for greater autonomy within the Ottoman Empire gave way to equal demands by the Kurdish and Armenian minorities. As part of the rationalisation of governance instituted by the Grand Vizier, Nafi al-Jabiri Pasha, it was agreed that the two minorities would also receive homelands. However, this raised problems of its own. A large number of Kurds were living across the border in Persia and any political deal for the Kurds would inevitably place pressure on Teheran.
The Shah of Persia, Ahmad Shah Qajar, was already dealing with the British-backed militia in Laristan, fighting to reinstall Mohammed Ali as Shah. There were suspicions regarding the sudden rise in power and influence of Mirza Kouchek Khan in the north and the potential for a challenge to the Qajar Dynasty there. Now the destabilisation of the western provinces by this Ottoman move led the Persian government to declare that a Kurdish homeland was, in itself, a threat by the Ottoman Empire against Persia’s territorial integrity. Tensions between the two nations grew until on 23 January, 1913, two border patrols came into contact. While it remains uncertain who shot first, by week’s end, the Ottoman and Persian Empires were at war.
Great Britain declared its open support for the Ottoman Empire and for the restoration of Mohammed Ali. The Russian Prime Minister, Sir Leon Trotsky, was heavily involved in preparations for the 300th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty and, as much as the Tsar wanted action to interfere in Persia, Trotsky knew that such interference would inevitably spell war with Great Britain and the Ottomans. The nation could not afford this. In addition, there was no evidence of any illegal interference by Russia in Persia to date, which meant that Britain was still obliged by treaty to recognise the status quo ante. That was the worst possible outcome for Russia, but better than risking blood on a war you could not win.
In the end, the Russians decided that the only course of action available to them was to lodge formal protests at the British and Ottoman embassies. The Russian Ambassador to London, in a meeting with Sir Edward Grey, explained that Russia was gravely concerned about the stretch of British military capability and there were concerns that Britain would be unavailable to assist under the terms of its alliance if Russia came under threat. Russia would continue to endorse the alliance with Britain, but, in return, Britain must grant to Russia the same freedom of action that it had been granted.
By the end of June, against all expectations, the Qajar Dynasty had managed to win the conflict. The two threats to the Shah were both dead. Mirza Kouchek Khan had been killed on the western front, preventing the Ottomans from pushing through toward the capital. Mohammed Ali Shah had held large parts of Baluchistan in the south-east, but his tendency to lead from the front had ultimately seen him brought down in battle. The masterstroke at ending the war, however, had been the decision by the Persians to invade Afghanistan. On 11 June, when the last British division between Indian rebels and Persian fighters had collapsed, it became inevitable that the great British Empire would capitulate.
In the treaty that followed, the Ottomans were granted most of the territory that they held in the north-west and the ceasefire line in the east would become the new border. The peace treaty, signed in Kabul on 10 October, cancelled the concessions held on Persian oil by Great Britain. Under the Treaty of Kabul, Persia lost western territories and cities, such as Khvoy, Orumiyeh, Mahabad, Sanandai and Kermanshah, to Ottoman advances. The western border south of the 34th parallel was left intact. In the east, the British were given Chabahar and Zahedan, but were denied control of Bam. By its advances into Afghanistan, the Persians have taken Herat, Farah, Chaghcharan, Bamlah, then across to Kabul and Jalalabad, plus everything north of those points. The only valuable strategic city in Afghanistan left to the British was Kandahar.
A new agreement was reached on the creation of an international consortium to take possession of the assets of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The Persian and British governments would receive an equal share of the stock (40%), with the remaining 20% offered for sale for purchase by other sovereign governments. Russia, France and the Netherlands eventually purchased equal 5% shares, while the remaining stock was sold through the Teheran Exchange to citizens of Persia.
An Era of Jubilees
The handwritten invitations of Her Imperial Majesty, Viktoriya Valeska, Empress of all Russias, had gone out to the capitals of Europe. With them had been included a family photo of herself, her husband Tsar Michael II, and the young Grand Duke Yuri, their four-year-old son. Included among the invitees was King Viljo of Finland, and his Prime Minister, Sir Leopold Mechelin – a landmark event considering the lack of contact between the two countries over Finland’s nine years of independence.
At 8am, on 21 February, a 21 gun salute had echoed from the Fortress of Saints Peter and Paul and a proclamation was read in all churches across the Empire. The Cossack squadron, dressed in resplendent red coats, had begun the imperial procession to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, followed by His Majesty and the Tsarevitch in an open carriage. The young heir apparent was occasionally confused, but waved to the exultantly cheering crowd as he had been taught. Behind them came the carriage bearing the Tsarina and the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna, sister of the King of Greece and aunt of Britain’s King George. Each coach was drawn by four white horses in traditional Russian harness.
It was at the reception afterwards that the Empress, dressed in blue velvet, approached King Viljo on behalf of her husband. It was the Tsar’s feeling that the Baltic provinces were an unnecessary distraction to the future development of the Empire and that the future of Esthonia could form the basis of a new relationship between Finland and Russia. In return for a treaty of eternal friendship, Finland would be granted all the lands of Esthonia, from the Bay of Narva to Saulep, as well as sovereignty over Dago Island. The two nations would become allies, Russia would withdraw all her forces and the border would be open and free.
A similar party was held the following month in Athens, where King George I of Greece was celebrating his Golden Jubilee. All of the leading players attended, including the Chinese Ambassador who had arrived especially to promote trade with the new coalition government of Sung Chiao-Jen. He was assuring everyone that China was now stable, that the leading political parties had agreed to disavow republicanism. The audience was less interested in the Bulgarian Tsar, who was having a great deal of difficulty making friends. Everyone present was aware that he was responsible for the low-level insurgency in Macedonia that was causing grief for the Greek government.
Sir Leon Trotsky used the event to open discussions with Count von Sturgkh, his Austrian counterpart. Russia wanted to express, informally, its "grave displeasure" at the Austrian funding of "recreational social clubs" in Poland. These groups were nothing more than paramilitaries and the King of Poland was having enormous problems already dealing with heavily armed troublemakers, such as Jozef Pilsudski. Trotsky suggested that. if Austria could not locate the sources of the funding and weapon shipments and shut them down, Russia may find it necessary to take action to support the Polish government. Either way, a formal protest would shortly be on its way to Vienna.
The Inauguration of President Clark
James Beauchamp Clark was sworn in as the successor to Theodore Roosevelt on 4 March, 1913, sworn in by Chief Justice Hughes on the steps of the Capitol. Prior to his inauguration, he had visited with Mexican President Francisco Madero and had pledged to ignore Roosevelt’s interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine. He also pledged to end the period of US colonialism and imperialism. His sentiments are clear in the excerpts from his Inaugural Address:
Our nation is one of incomparable
wealth, great in its unlimited genius and enterprise. We have an enduring and
stable system of government that has stood against the storms and ravages of
time, and is now being imitated in other lands. The rich abundance cannot,
however, forgive inexcusable waste, the squandering of our great gifts to rob
others of their bounty, the impotence of enterprise when plundered by those who
have been given all of life's benefits, the theft of lives to achieve one dollar
more, and the miserly stealing of government through over- taxation. We will
look at each of our shortcomings with candid and fearless eyes. We will take
back the governance of this country from those who have used us for their
selfish and private ends and restore it to the people….
It is our duty to cleanse, to
restore, to purify the crude, heartless machinery that threatens to tear
morality, sentiment and hope from the heart of the nation. It is our duty to
serve the humblest of citizens, to serve justice and to remember the
achievements of the next four years with pride in our history and our character.
It is our duty to rebuild America….
I stand here today because the nation has been stirred from its apathy, stirred to end the wrongs we know exist, stirred to recapture our ideals, stirred to make governance an instrument of good. We have heard the stirring of our hearts to restore justice and mercy and fraternity. We have been challenged to search our hearts and to take the highest course of action. Today, I dedicate myself, and this great Union, to a defence of the hearts, lives and hopes of all men. I summon all of you who are honest and patriotic, all of you who have vision to my side, and God helping us, we shall not fail."
The Spread of Suffrage
The marriage of Crown Prince Georg of Aragon and the daughter of the Duke of Teschen, in February, 1912, had been meant as a grand affair. Instead, the Crown Prince had left his wife during the honeymoon to spend time with his mistress in Innsbruck. When the Archduchess sought an annulment, the Aragon royal family was scandalised. The King had already publicly indicated his intention to abdicate in favour of his son and heir in the coming year, but there could be no way that he could pursue such an option now. As to his other children, the Princess Elisabeth had already disappointed the family with a morganatic marriage and Prince Konrad, now in his fourth decade, showed no indication of a willingness to follow the family business. It motivated the King to pass a
decree in which succession was based on birth order, and the position as heir apparent moved to the Princess Augusta Maria (left), who, despite having never lived in Aragon, was the wife of Prince Joseph August, Palatine and Viceroy of Hungary.
A major influence in his decision was Queen Gisela, who, as a Hapsburg, saw the modernisation projected by Archduke Franz Ferdinand as an instrument through which Aragon and its minorities could be absorbed into the Hapsburg Empire. Her grandchildren, as Hungarians, would stand a good chance of advancing union, and representation in the Reichsrat would give Aragon a sizable bloc of votes. Her daughter, as cousin of both the Cisalpine monarch and the Austrian heir, could also guarantee national security.
There was a great deal of uncertainty about the change in succession law and it fell to Princess Augusta to deal with the fallout. To ensure popular support, she announced that, upon her enthronement in March, 1913, she would immediately pursue universal adult suffrage to give all adult citizens a voice in the management of the kingdom.
A similar debate could be heard across the channel in Great Britain, where the Liberal Government of H.H. Asquith was beginning to tire of the suffragette movement. The Prime Minister believed that their social action had prevented him from gaining the electoral advantage he deserved from the Bonar Law Scandal; Opposition Leader Chamberlain had managed to convince the country that the imprisoned Conservatives, more than ten percent of the party’s representation, were nothing more than "a few bad eggs". There were grumblings on his own backbench about his failure to make the Conservatives pay for the political failures. In addition, the Liberal Party share of the popular vote was clearly in decline, being squeezed by the Conservatives on the right and the Labour Party on the left. Asquith felt that, should he be the one to grant female suffrage, it would convince the females to vote Liberal.
The Suffrage Act of 1913 made the first move toward a female franchise, opening the vote to all women aged thirty or older, as well as any women aged between eighteen and thirty who owned property. The bill provided that, following a period of ten years, universal suffrage would be introduced in all of the United Kingdom.
Another country where there was a
similar concern was the Kingdom of Belgium, which in April found its trade
unions declaring a general strike in favour of the extension of voting rights.
However, street protests turned ugly when supporters of Flemish independence
called for liberation by their "Dutch and German brothers". In Ghent,
a statue of King Leopold II was defaced and torn down and anti-royalist slogans
were written on public buildings. There had been similar outrages in 1909 when,
during the burial procession, his coffin had been booed. There was soon
declarations in the Flemish press about a desire for "reunification"
with the Netherlands. This referred to the outcome of the Belgian Revolution of
1830, in which a large number of Dutch speakers had been incorporated into the
Belgian state. And, as the citizens of Flanders held a majority, it soon became
clear that any future move toward democracy could be the end of Belgian unity.
The Foundations of the Satyagraha Movement
In the history of the Union of South Africa, there are many great names, but few as great as Mohandas K. Gandhi (right). Up until the Indian Mutiny of 1911-14, the Indian-born, English-trained lawyer had always intended to return home. However, the violence in his homeland led him to continue in South Africa, working on political issues, such as the abolition of taxation on ex-indentured Indian workers and the recognition of Hind marriage by the Government of South Africa. The Indian Mutiny increased his workload considerably.
During his time in South Africa, Gandhi had matured into an astute politician and had led the fight against racism and discrimination. From 1911, the size of the Indian population of South Africa swelled enormously, from an estimated 150,000 to over one quarter of a million people. As refugees continued to flee the troubled subcontinent, South Africa was one of the few places they could find safety and an established community. Not surprisingly, the influx of cheap labour was welcomed by some, particularly those involved in farming, sugar and tea plantations and mining. Regrettably, there were elements of the society that were outraged by the arrival of the new coloured migrants and the seeming lack of ability by the government to curtail the numbers.
For these new arrivals, Mohandas Gandhi was an unquestioned leader. Boer resistance to immigration required him to build alliances outside the Indian community. On 14 June, 1913, the Indian Congress became a founding member of the new National African Congress, a political body led by the Oxford-educated Zulu prince, Pixley Seme, and the son of an American missionary, John Langalibalele Dube. The leaders called on all Indians who wished to find sanctuary from the troubles of India to defy any laws restricting immigration to South Africa and find refuge there.
During his later term as ANC Chairman, Gandhi would admit that he often dreamed of returning to India, but that the Mutiny had made his presence in South Africa necessary and his return somewhat difficult. It is a confluence of events for which Asians, and other citizens of South Africa, remain grateful. Without Gandhi’s later Satyagraha Resistance Movement and his leadership of non-white South Africans, it is quite possible that there would have been no Smuts Compromise and the future of South Africa would have been considerably altered forever.
The Federal Trade Commission
US President James Clark had been elected on a platform under which he had pledged to attack big business interests on the East Coast. For an economy that was experiencing sporadic growth, it was not an ideal time to start restricting business opportunities. Nonetheless, in October 1913, President Clark announced his intention to disband the Corporations Commission and to replace it with an enormously powerful Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC was to act as a licensing body for all corporations. It would design and enforce standards to which companies, their suppliers and their contractors would be expected to comply. All companies wishing to operate in the United States, or wishing to trade with the United States, would have to apply for certification that they met those standards. Without certification, they would receive a warning of non-compliance, followed by fines for non-compliance. Those who continued to operate without meeting the guidelines would have their directors prosecuted and their assets seized by the Federal Government. The minimum standards set by the Administration were as follows:
The Federal Trade Commission was also responsible for consulting with the Department of the Interior to determine the level of ecological damage created by American industry, to ascertain the costs involved in removing waste from the environment and to take measures to remove such costs. The environmentalism of the Roosevelt years certainly spilled over into the Clark Administration. However, nobody was prepared for the costs once they became clear. When the report came through in 1915, it made clear that the cost of cleaning up ALL corporate pollution annually was $130 billion (26% of gross domestic product). The FTC would establish the world’s first pollution trading system to deal with the costs. To continue to qualify for certification, companies would need to purchase a government license to pollute.
Corporate America was outraged. The effect of these provisions meant that some companies suddenly found their tax burden minimised to virtually nil. Others found themselves completely unable to continue operations. One such company was Standard Oil, which was seized by the Federal Government in 1915. The Rockefeller companies became the focus of the government in April, 1914, when state troopers massacred two hundred striking workers in Ludlow, Colorado. The assets of numerous Rockefeller companies (Colorado Fuel & Iron, Colorado Mining, Colorado Supply Company and Colorado & Wyoming Railroad) were all seized, as federal authorities began a comprehensive investigation of business practices in the Rockefeller empire. By November, John D. Rockefeller Jnr had filed for bankruptcy to protect his family’s personal assets and it would not be until 1922 that the family could begin to recover its fortunes. Other companies that suffered were the Aluminium Company of America (Alcoa), which forced a dramatic increase in the price of aluminium, and Eastman Kodak, which faced enormous chemical pollution costs.
With a more competitive labour market, downward pressure on wages came into effect for the first time in years, and corporate pressure for immigration also dissipated. This was balanced by the demand for raw materials and products not produced by "compulsory or enforced labor", which meant America began to use and produce much higher quantities of her own raw materials, rather than sourcing them from abroad. Where companies chose to operate off-shore to reduce wage costs even further, they entered labour markets where American working conditions were regarded as nirvana. The best and brightest of foreign nations would pursue the opportunity to work for American companies bound by American regulations. The move of large amounts of American investment offshore placed further downward pressure on tariffs and led to a 50% cut in May, 1914. However, Senator Pinchot of Pennsylvania did manage to convince the Tariff Board that tariff cuts on raw minerals would encourage bad environmental practices and thus those tariffs were maintained.
The role of the United States in the global marketplace (20% of all trade) meant it was somewhat inevitable that other industrialised countries were required to follow her lead if they wish to continue to conduct business. This became especially the case when the Supreme Court ruled that a subsidiary organisation in another legal domain was liable to have all its assets in the United States seized if it undertook actions in that jurisdiction that were illegal in the United States.
In the short term, however, the American economy suffered a bad blow. Between 1913 and 1914, American gross domestic product fell by eight percent. Most countries, including the USA, were caught in the recession that followed. Only three economies survived the decline into negative growth. Great Britain managed to eke out a small 1.1% growth that year, much lower than had been expected. Mexico’s absorption of fleeing US capital gave it a poor but sufficient 0.6% growth rate. The only booming economy was that of Joseon, where investment directed out of the home islands meant Japan grew at a rate of 5.4% per annum. Nonetheless, the anti-corporate agenda of James Clark left a massive dent in the world economy and in support for the Democratic Party. While he asked for the nation’s continued confidence, many voters would never forgive him for the recession.
His lack of popularity was reflected in his decision to avoid the October celebrations in Panama, at which former President Theodore Roosevelt was on hand to blow up the Gamboa Dike. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans flowed into the Calebra Cut and the Panama Canal fundamentally changed the nature of world trade and travel. In 1917, it would be renamed the Roosevelt Canal.
The Balkan Crises
On 29 May, 1913, Tsar Michael II spoke to the Russian people by radio. It was the first time that many of them had heard the voice of their Emperor and he called them to war. He was followed by Prime Minister Trotsky, who explained that, since the Revolution, Russia had sought peace, had intervened only where necessary and had sought international cooperation as the basis for all its endeavours. He stated that consultations had been made with the Grand Vizier of the Sublime Porte and the Minister President of Austria and both had agreed to allow this annexation to proceed "in the interests of peace".
Trotsky raised a number of issues in his justification for the war. He warned that Tsar Ferdinand (below) had "undisclosed sexual proclivities" that made him susceptible to blackmail and exploitation by those who wished to hurt the
Bulgar people. He stated that the Crown Prince Boris had openly consorted with radical elements that showed no allegiance to Russia. There was substantial evidence that Bulgaria was funding the continued violence and insurgency in Macedonia; the loss of life could not be permitted to continue. Finally, Trotsky stated that Okhranka intelligence had revealed the Bulgarian leader was preparing for a widespread genocide against the Pomak, who though Muslim, were Slavic brothers. None of this has ever been proven to be true. However, it was sufficient to garner popular support for the conflict.
Varna, the third largest city in Bulgaria, was the first target of the Russian Imperial Navy and it surrendered after just five days. Its neighbour and Bulgaria’s fourth largest city, Burgas, fell the following day. Within a week of the declaration of war, the Bulgarian navy lay at the bottom of the Black Sea and Russia controlled its coastline absolutely. On 9 June, 1913, the strategically vital city of Shumen surrendered, as did the industrial stronghold of Sliven. The remainder of Bulgaria fell as follows:
10 June – Yambol
13 June – Silistra
15 June – Razgrad
16 June – Ruse
17 June – Haskovo
20 June – Targovishte
21 June – Stova Zagora
23 June – Veliko Tarnovo
On 26 June, with the fall of the city of Plovdiv, the defeat of Bulgaria became inevitable. It was only five days later that the Russian army reached the gates of the capital and demanded an unconditional surrender. The ease of the conquest was indicative of the willingness of the Bulgarian Army to confront its northern neighbour. It is estimated that less than forty percent of the armed forces answered the call to defend the nation.
With the invasion over by early July, the cost to Russia soon became apparent. It was announced that Romania had been granted the right to purchase Bessarabia, while Eastern Rumelia would be granted a referendum to determine whether or not it should return to Ottoman rule. Russia also recognised all Persian territory held by the Ottomans (this was prior to the Treaty of Kabul). It is unclear how many military casualties occurred, but military strategists generally agree the number was minimal. The royal family of Bulgaria was exiled to Egypt before setting up residence in Madrid in 1917.
The fall of Bulgaria did not stop resistance in some portions of Macedonia, particularly among Albanians, who had lived under Serbian and Greek occupation since the Balkan War. On 10 October, 1913, protests in the south disrupted Greek control and an initial attempt to repress the protestors by Greek police led to the growth of resistance. By 13 October, all of the Greek-held territory was in revolt and it was spreading north, encompassing Tirana and Skopje. The day after, as it became clear that there was a significant political movement underway, foreigners began to evacuate and the Greek and Serbian armies began to mobilise.
When a declaration of independence
was made to the rest of the world on 16 October, it became clear that this was
an issue for the Great Powers. War could not be permitted on the peninsula.
Telegrams ran between the European capitals at lightning pace, as Greece and
Serbia were both ordered to hold off. The Russian Ambassador to Greece entered
rebel-held territory the following day to survey the situation and Audrey
Herbert, a British MP and the brother of Lord Carnarvon, was also dispatched to
investigate. On 28 October, the Great Powers agreed to recognise the Albanian
declaration of independence and it was further agreed that Britain would
immediately send five thousand troops to prevent an attack. Greece reluctantly
agreed to the ultimatum of the Great Powers until discussions could be held on
the final borders of the new country in December.
Serbia, confident in its
relationships with Vienna and St Petersburg, stated that the claim by the new
state on Kosovo would lead to war and resumed its mobilisation. The nominal
leader of Albania, Essad Toptani, enjoyed popular support and had control of a
formidable militia. He stated plainly that Albania would defend its interests in
Kosovo and hastily moved to Durres, where he was established a provisional
government and called on Britain to defend his country, even offering King
George V the crown. (He declined on the advice of his Prime Minister.) Toptani
knew that Britain would thus only be committed for so long, given the situation
in Central Asia, and turned his attention north, offering the crown to Emperor
Franz Joseph and stating his wish to be included within the new United States
proposed by the Archduke.
Serbia warned Vienna not to
interfere and threatened to cancel their recently established bonds, as well as
withdraw from the planned customs union. However, the Austrians were not going
to allow such an opportunity to go to waste. They agreed to join the British in
defending Albania from aggression until such time as the borders of the country
were decided. An enraged Belgrade immediately provided the requisite diplomatic
retaliations and, after years of conciliation, the relationship between Serbia
and Austria plunged back to the depths of hostility.
A Democratic Challenger
The National Labor Court was due to meet in late January, 1914, to decide on the national minimum wage for the coming year. Companies, already struggling under the new environmental levies and labor regulations, began to vent their hatred at Justice Samuel Gompers and his bench. They stated that there should be no wage rises until the corporations had a chance to stomach the government's changes. The unions were not so impressed. They were demanding that the $3.95 should be raised to $5.00, far above the rate of inflation. President Clark labelled the union campaign as "irresponsible in the extreme". The national accounts were already demonstrating the downturn that many had predicted. However, there were elements in his own party who strongly disagreed with the President’s direction and were not above saying so.
In the city of Detroit, Michigan,
resided one of the giants of American industry, whose massive publicity machine
and national network of supporters was threatening. This same man was also
looking for a way to drive his business partners, the Dodge brothers, out of his
company. Henry Ford (right) saw an opportunity to outflank the President and the
naysayers in one hit, as well as build expertise, raise productivity and cut
training costs. He immediately announced that the $5 a day claim was
"doable" and introduced it.
As per the ruling of previous wage
cases, he offered his employees the opportunity to receive up to 15% of all
wages in non-voting company stock. This stock would be held in a corporate
account and would be cashed in at the end of an individual's employment with
Ford Motor Company. This reduced both his immediate wage bill and allowed him to
garner publicity for a wage that he wasn't actually paying. In addition, it
would reduce the share of the business held by his partners and undercut their
profits. Ford was exceptionally pleased with his efforts.
It wasn't only the voters that noticed these efforts. In Democratic Party headquarters, where loyalties were meaningless and the President was, at least temporarily, out of favour, some began to look towards Michigan for a future Presidential candidate. With an ego the size of Ford, not to mention his vast resources, he was a consideration that could not be ignored.
The unpopular President had, in the interim, fled to somewhere he was popular. Greeted on the train at the station in central San Salvador, with flags, banners and cheering crowds awaiting his arrival, he was astonished at the general acclamation. People reached out to touch him as he walked through the crowds and one small women broke through the military guard and embraced him. It was little wonder - he had promised to bring freedom to these people.
During his tour of Central America,
Clark spoke to crowds across the region about living a life free of American
control and the pre-requisites for doing so. He spoke of the need for trial by
jury, representative government, a free press and other symbols of liberty and
democracy. He had pointed out that the new Panama (soon to be Roosevelt) Canal
would bring a massive economic boost to the region, while American policies had
led to vast improvements in education, transport, communications and general
quality of life. The most important element of his standard speech was his
comparisons between US and Central American history. In the 1770's, he said, the
thirteen colonies had a similar population and standard of living; however, he
believed firmly that what the United States had achieved through war, the
Central Americans could achieve through peace and negotiation. America was
prepared to hand over her colonies, if only the Central American aristocracy
would ensure the prosperity and success of their peoples.
Clark called for the immediate
establishment of a Federal Council, consisting of El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala. Those countries under US control
would be entitled to elect their own representatives, uncensored by US
authorities. The Federal Council, consisting of 150 members, would have the
Guatemala: 50 members
El Salvador: 34 members
Honduras: 22 members
Nicaragua: 19 members
Costa Rica: 13 members
Panama: 12 members;
and would be empowered to pass
binding resolutions relating to defence and foreign affairs by a majority of
two-thirds on all countries of the region. If it worked, then the United States
would sponsor a national constitutional convention in 1916, and relinquish all
its holdings to a newly comprised federal state shortly thereafter. The
provisional capital would be San Salvador. And, Clark pointed out, only a
federated Central America would be sufficiently strong to stand against any
further "imperialism" by the United States in the future.
Guatemala was initially incredibly reluctant. President Cabrera would not agree to allow his citizens to participate in the Federal Council until the events of March, 1915. In that month, a keen astronomer, Percival Lowell, located the ninth planet of the solar system and an international competition began to find a name. There were three popular choices. However, the name likely to be runner-up, Minerva, was boosted by Cabrera's indication that he would be willing to change his mind about the Federal Council if that name was chosen for the ninth planet. Thus the planet out from Neptune became Minerva rather than Kronos or Pluto, the other leading contenders, and Central America held its first functional federal conference.
With Guatemala's assent to the
Federal Council, Cabrera became the leading force in the Constitutional
Conference of 1915, examining multiple constitutions and eventually deciding
that the United States and Switzerland were two models that deserved attention.
The 1916 conference voted to adopt the nomenclature of the United States
Congress, but to have a nominal President with power vested in the Congress.
However, the debate over the division of powers between the House of
Representatives and the Senate. However, despite the impetus of Cabrera, the
idea broke down late in 1916 and it would be a decade before the birth of the
Federation of Central America. As to President Clark, he would stay in Nicaragua
for the next month, having arranged meetings with the leaders of Argentina,
Brazil and Chile, who had agreed to travel north to discuss foreign policy
between their nations and the developing behemoth of the United States, which
was soon to expand.
The Expansion of the Union
The consent of the Californian legislature had been somewhat difficult to obtain, but eventually it had been achieved on the back of a plan to keep out Asian immigrants. It was thus on 25 April, 1914, that President James Clark asked for the admission of four new states into the Union. The Californian legislature had undertaken two acts: firstly, it had ceded part of its south to become the new state of California and secondly, it had changed the name of its own state to Jefferson.
The new state of California had a
border that ran, from east to west, along the 35th parallel latitude through the
Mohave Desert to the border of what was once Kern County, then ran a dog-leg up
to the northern border of Kern and back down to Point Conception. It included
all of what had once been Mexico's province of Baja California. San Diego was
the new state capital. California was voted into being on the day that the
proposal reached Congress.
The second was the island of Cuba. Under sixteen years of US rule, it was now approaching a population of 2.6 million and an economy of $12.5 billion. It was growing and at an exceptionally fast rate. Its size would guarantee it a place among the largest of the Union states and the same number of electoral college votes as Georgia. It was the intent of Clark that he would win both these states in any coming election. Cuba became the 50th state of the Union on 29 April, with an overwhelming approval of the Democratic Party.
A third consideration was Hispaniola. Though Haiti had sufficient population and Santo Domingo sufficient economic strength, it was believed that neither had the capacity to emerge into statehood themselves. While together they had a larger population than either of the other two states mentioned above, they were economically underdeveloped and it was generally agreed by Congress that it should be regarded as a "territory", but should not be admitted as a state. Thus it was delayed for further consideration until 1921.
The remaining contender was Puerto Rico. While half the size of Cuba, it had benefited from American rule and had grown into a strong economy as well. There was considerable debate, but the Congress eventually agreed to call
the matter to a vote and it passed narrowly in both Houses. The Congress made Puerto Rico the 51st state of the Union on 19 May, 1914. A new flag was flown over the Capitol shortly thereafter for the first time.
Once the vote had been completed,
Clark travelled to the south-west to implement his plan to wind back Asian
migration. There were already large numbers of Mexican nationals living inside
this area of the United States. The Government in Washington was prepared to
finance the licensing and administrative structure that allowed Mexicans to live
and work in the states of California, New Mexico and Arizona without undertaking
formal immigration. Instead, they would function as "guest workers",
just as the Asians had before them, provided they could show documentation that
they were Mexican nationals and formally signed away any rights guaranteed to US
workers. If an American and a Mexican applied for the same job, the American
would receive priority.
Russian Concerns Expressed
Tsar Michael II conducted his first state visit to Germany in early 1914. Those on his political right had been advising him that it was time to reach a compromise with Germany; those on his left often thought that the whole system of monarchy was the flaw and that once removed, Germany and Russia would naturally draw together. What he earnestly had attempted to explain to the left was that one hundred ten million rude and ignorant Russian peasants could not really exercise sufficient nous to run a democracy. At some point, certainly. In fifty or sixty years from now, certainly. However, Russia was not yet ready for the system they wished to impose. He had even read the work of their prophet, Karl Marx. Certainly, many of the criticisms by Marx were well justified. However, even he predicted that capitalism must precede communism and the Tsar disagreed most strongly that a physical revolution was required. As the Islamic cleric from Tehran had said to him and as he said to Trotsky, "the true revolution is the revolution of the mind". No nation could afford to romanticise the power of the gun. Enough people had died in Russia. From here on forward, minimal casualties were the way. He had accepted that war was sometimes necessary, but he believed it should be avoided.
It was to avoid war that the Tsar had come to Germany. He knew that Trotsky had raised the issue of Austria funding Pilsudski's "sporting clubs" without result. He had not liberated his lands in the west simply to have them destroyed by terrorist thugs. Russian finances had assisted in the implementation of law and order in Poland-Lithuania. Russian finances had located the criminal propaganda being circulated by groups full of hatred in Poland-Lithuania. It was apparent to all that Germany understood the gravity of the situation. There was no other clear reason for the sudden rise in the size of her armed forces in June last year. Pilsudski was dangerous and he needed to be stopped.
The Tsar had discussed the matter with his brother-in-law, the Kaiser. Ongoing Austrian interference in the affairs of Poland-Lithuania was moronic. The Okhranka had incontrovertible evidence of Austrian involvement in Pilsudski's bid for power. Did Vienna honestly think that they could control Pilsudski? Didn't they understand the outcry that was being raised in the north of his country about their actions? The Chancellor had nodded sagely when he had heard the news. Those who were not socialist, like Russia and Germany, did not understand. It was quite clear to Berlin that any conflict between Russia and Austria over the question of Poland would be one that Austria had provoked, but Ebert suspected that it might have been a blind spot on the Austrian radar and pledged that he would point it out on his next meeting with von Sturgkh. He also suggested that he would have the Kaiser raise the matter with the British Emperor when the former visited the latter in June.
The Dominion of India
When Baron Chelmsford replaced the assassinated Lord Hardinge as Viceroy of India, he was given one task: to reach an end to the rebellion. With the lost war in Persia and the fall of northern Afghanistan, as well as a growing concern in the Dominions, Great Britain needed relief from the violence and the costs of restraining the three-year uprising. He pointedly asked the Indian populace to appoint a team to negotiate with the Imperial Government.
The chief negotiator was Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a regular visitor to Great Britain who had strongly petitioned Westminster to grant greater autonomy to the people of India. There was speculation at the time, confirmed since, that he had made his way to Ireland and South Africa, to talk to anti-imperialist leadership there, about potential tactics for resisting the British. There can be no doubt that he was the mastermind beyond the resistance. Gokhale was joined by a team which included:
Professor Dadabhai Naoroji – President and Founder of the Indian National Congress Party, soon to become the first Prime Minister of India (1914-1917);
Bal Gangadhar Tilak – leader of the "Indian Independence Movement", founder of the daily newspaper Kesari, recently released from prison in Burma, where he was serving time for sedition;
Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Prominent lawyer, member of the Imperial Legislative Council and committee member of the Dehra Dun Military Academy, President of the Muslim League;
Bipin Chandra Pal – Bengali leader of religious movement, Brahmo Samaj, who had organised a boycott of British manufactured goods, as well as strikes and lockouts of British owned businesses and industries in India;
Lala Lajpat Rai – the "Lion of Punjab", President of the Indian Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU); and
Annie Besant – a British human rights activist and President of the Theosophical Society.
From the start of talks, it became clear that India was insisting upon home rule. Without it, rebellion would not only continue, but intensify. The negotiators had their preferred plan for government. It included:
1. There would be an independent Legislative Assembly governing all of India in Delhi, elected by universal suffrage, and a Legislative Council, consisting of half popularly-elected Indian members and half members appointed by the Emperor-King. It would have five year terms.
2. The Governor General would appoint Ministers from the Parliament, all of whom could be removed by the Parliament by majority vote, and one-third of all ministers must be Muslim.
3. There would be, wherever possible, parliamentary districts representing one religious community or another.
4. At provincial levels, the same conditions would apply, except that instead of appointing half of the members of provincial legislative councils, the Crown would only be entitled to appoint one fifth.
5. No bill affecting a particular community could become law unless it had the agreement of a majority of persons elected from those communities.
6. The British could maintain whatever apparatus they wished in India, but it would not have power over Indian affairs and would not be paid for by the Indian people.
The Viceroy sought the following changes:
1. All bills passed by the Indian Parliament would be referred to a Council of State, chaired by the Governor General, of which one quarter of the members would be Ministers elected by the Parliament. All members of the Council of State must be Indian or have lived in India for in excess of a decade.
2. The British would retain responsibility for the defence of India and the Indian Parliament would provide funds for that purpose.
3. The Legislative Council would be 55% elected, 45% appointed with a five year tenure. The Legislative Assembly would be 70% elected, 30% appointed with a three year tenure.
4. The Parliament could not remove Ministers.
5. Provincial parliaments would become unicameral and would be, like the Legislative Assembly, 70% elected and 30% appointed.
The differences between the two parties on the legislative structure were limited and it led to a speedy compromise of that issue. It was agreed that the Legislative Assembly (lower house) would have four year terms and would be 80% popularly elected, 20% appointed. The Legislative Council (upper house) would be half appointed, half elected and have a five-year term. There would be guaranteed seats not only for Muslim and Hindu, but also for Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and other minority groups. Provincial parliaments would become unicameral, with a ratio of three quarters elected, one quarter appointed. The judiciary would be appointed by the Governor General but he must listen to advice from the Parliament, though he was not obliged to take it, and judges could only be recalled for proven misbehaviour or criminal activity. It was further agreed that the area of the new Dominion would include all territory under British administration, including Burma, the new areas taken from Persia and the remnants of what had once been Afghanistan.
A new flag was also designed. The red stripes represented the Hindu people and the green stripes symbolised the Muslim people. The pattern of stars is the Sapta Rishi (the seven great sages of Hindu astronomy), while the crescent moon was the symbolised the dream of Osman, first Ottoman Emperor. The British Union Jack was, as per custom, left in the upper left of the new flag.
However, the structure of the executive and military expenditure remained the sticking points. There were some among the negotiators who were never going to give ground; however, the majority did agree to a compromise. The Governor General would name a Secretary and Undersecretary for each portfolio of the Cabinet. The Secretary would be appointed by the Governor General and would not be subject to parliamentary oversight. The Undersecretary would be appointed by the Parliament and would be responsible for reporting on the Secretary's behaviour. The Secretary could be removed by the Governor General at his discretion on a plea from the Parliament, carried by a two-thirds majority in both Houses. One-third of all Secretaries would be of Indian nationality. Costs of defence would be met half by Britain, half by India.
The Treaty of Calcutta was signed on
25 May, 1914. The effective outcome was that it split the Indian resistance
movement, allowing the British to effectively crush those who were unwilling to
compromise. Bal Gangadhar Tilak returned to prison on charges of sedition, dying
behind bars in 1917, aged sixty-one. Bipin Chandra Pal was imprisoned for seven
years, before being exiled to Britain in 1921.
The Restoration of Cyprus
In 1914, the Sublime Porte, government of the Ottoman Empire, began to face a growing movement towards expansionism within its political ranks. The fortunate aspect was that the expansionist parties were politically divided, with some wishing for a move against Russia and others wishing for a conquest of Arabia. However, there was agreement between the two parties on one issue – Cyprus.
Since the occupation of the island by the British, the Greek nationals living in Cyprus had steadily gained the upper hand and, in the view of Beirut, were conducting a persecution and oppression of the Turk minority. For the past three years, the Ottoman Empire had promoted migration to the island, pushing the Turkish population to about twenty percent of the total. In addition, she had worked diplomatically to encourage natural divisions with the Greek government. Athens had gone so far as to demand Britain assist her in annexation, but there were factions demanding full political union, others who believed Cyprus should be an autonomous territory of Greece and others who believed that Cyprus was not yet prepared for self-government. Greek disagreements over foreign policy had been further exacerbated by the Albanian revolt and, for the Ottomans, the division in Athens made the timing perfect for an attempt to retake the island.
In June, 1914, a proposal was made to the British Ambassador that Cyprus, still legally part of the Ottoman Empire, be returned to their rule. The Sublime Porte offered the British a 100-year lease on its military facilities and stated it would agree to fund the repatriation of all Greeks who did not wish to live under Ottoman rule. To encourage acceptance, there would be a Council of Cyprus, consisting of equal numbers from both ethnic groups, with a rotating presidency and Cypriots would be permitted to elect delegates to the Parliament in Beirut. It also allowed citizen-initiated veto – if any person believed a law to be unjust and could obtain the signatures of ten percent of the population against such a law, the legislation would be suspended and resubmitted to the Council of Cyprus, where it would need to obtain a three-quarters majority.
The British Ambassador, Sir Louis Mallet, began negotiations with the new Grand Vizier, Ahmed Tevfik Pasha, in the grounds of the new Beirut Embassy. during the month of October. Given recent events in Europe (see next section), the British were prepared to recognise the return of Cyprus, save for Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which would remain British territory until 2015. With that settlement, discussion could now turn to other matters.
According to letters kept by
Mallet's family, the first matter that came up for discussion was the
improvements in Egypt. The Earl of Koubah had agreed to the establishment of a
bicameral parliament and recognition of King George V as monarch of Egypt, in
return for a guarantee that only the family of Mehemet Ali could serve as
British Governors-General. In doing so, Egypt had joined Canada, Australia,
South Africa, India, Ireland and Newfoundland as the seventh dominion of the
British Empire. There were already significant plans in the pipeline to raise
the general living standard, including the construction of the second major
upgrade to the dam at Aswan. It would make possible more intensive farming of
cotton, rice, wheat, corn and sugar; there would be a complete end to seasonal
flooding. In addition, there would be a hydroelectric power generation station.
There were also investigations into dredging the canals built by the ancient
Egyptians through the Western Desert. The Grand Vizier also expressed the
Sultan's pleasure at the decision by the British to make Alexandria a sanctuary
for the Copts.
A second matter was the rebellion the previous month. Muhammed Ibn Ali Al-Idrisi, Prince of Asir, had risen in revolt against Beirut. He had stated that rule on the Yemeni border had been corrupt and lax. Fortunately, other vassals in the region had assisted in putting him in his place. However, that did not address the long-term need for consolidation of the Arabian peninsula. Of particular concern to the British were the provocations of the Sultan of Nejd, Ibn Saud. The Emir of Rashid had repeatedly requested assistance to deal with the Saudi menace. However, the Rashidi instability had not been entirely the fault of the House of Saud. Their continual bloody infighting had made them a target for Saudi expansion. The Grand Vizier made clear that he understood the need to contain the Ikhwan, the religious militia which formed the main military force of Ibn Saud's restoration to power in 1912. Britain was concerned that a growing extremist Islamic militia could ultimately effect the transition of India into a functional dominion. In this matter, they had a convergence of opinion. However, the Sublime Porte would appreciate British assistance in acquiring weapons that were more effective than bayonets. The war in Persia had taught them they would not survive on their current weaponry alone.
Their intelligence had told them of
a number of German advances: the Flammenwerfer, for example. Did the British
have anything similar? the Grand Vizier asked. The Royal Navy's new self-loading
Webley or the Lee-Enfield rifle might be helpful. The Germans also had something
called the Maschinengewehr 08 - the Porte could understand why the British
didn't want it. Too bulky. However, they wondered whether it might be possible
to have such a weapon made on a smaller, more portable scale. An offer was made
for joint development of such a weapon, but the Ambassador declined, well aware
that such technology would never sell to the British High Command.
As discussions rounded up, the Grand Vizier made clear to the Ambassador that the Porte would not be ready for some time to take on the task of "liberating" the Arabian peninsula. However, it was clear that, sooner or later, this was a matter that required their attention and they were willing to pay Britain to supply the tools to achieve it.
The Polish War
While Britain negotiated with the Porte over Cyprus, Kaiser Wilhelm III undertook a twelve-day state visit to both Britain and France. In London, he had secured the rights to the design of the King George V, the newest British battleship, a majestic giant with a displacement of nearly 25,000 tonnes. In Paris, he had discussed the behaviour of Austria-Hungary. President Leon Bourgeois was tiring of the Triple Alliance, stating that the behaviour of Austria in relation to Poland-Lithuania and her growing interference in Aragon and the Cisalpine Kingdom made her unlikely to defend her strategic partner, irregardless of the current treaty.
When Chancellor Friedrich Ebert received this advice, he immediately presented the Kaiser with a joint operation plan prepared by his office and that of the Russian Prime Minister. On 5 July, 1914, King Karol I of Poland-Lithuania received a visit from the Ambassadors of both countries, advising that his neighbours could no longer tolerate his intransigence in failing to deal with the paramilitary organisations organised around the troublesome Jozef Pilsudski. He had illegally dispatched arms into German cities to sponsor unrest among Germany’s Polish minority. He had conspired to undermine the stability of the Polish-Lithuanian state. He should be charged with treason. A continued tolerance of his actions would only result in withdrawal of recognition of the borders of the Polish state and military action to ensure the stability of the country and the lawfulness of its citizens.
To show their support, Berlin and St Petersburg would both advise Vienna that it must immediately end all contact with Pilsudski and his criminal gangs. Russian forces would mobilise to the border to "act in support of the loyal citizens of the Commonwealth" and "assist in the removal of dangerous criminal elements at the request of His Majesty". It was made very clear: there would be no annexation or threat to Polish sovereignty. This would simply be a police action to remove parties interested in overthrowing the legitimate government of the country.
On 25 July, King Karol order the arrest of Jozef Pilsudski and, minutes later, the monarch was taken into custody by his own armed forces. In a radio address, Pilsudski declared himself to be Commander in Chief and President of the Socialist Republic of Poland-Lithuania. Russia and Germany had planned for this turn of events and Antanas Smetona, the leader of the Lithuanian faction of the National Democratic Party, was temporarily recognised as the head of government de jure of Poland-Lithuania. He then issued an invitation to Russia and Germany to liberate Poland, and declared Lithuania an independent state.
By the time Russian artillery reached Warsaw on 29 July, the situation in Eastern Europe was already in chaos. There had been uprisings in West Galicia around the cities of Krakow, Lemberg, Tarnopol and Stanislau, as well as a number of other cities, putting the Austrians on high alert. As much as five percent of the Hapsburg Empire was in active revolt, calling on the Emperor to intervene and defend Poland against Russian and German assaults. In the Grand Duchy of Poznan, former Prussian collaborators had declared their support for Pilsudski and were firing on German troops.
The following day, Emperor Franz
Joseph mobilised his armies, not to prevent Russia and Germany from activities
in Poland, but to attempt to control his own population. In response, President
Pilsudski called for a general uprising of all Polish people to "defend the
homeland". He issued a declaration of independence for "Greater
Poland", which included all the territory he currently held, as well as
large chunks of his neighbouring countries. Kaiser Wilhelm III issued a
statement that he would utterly crush all resistance. On 31 July, the New York
and London Stock Exchanges closed to avoid panic buying and selling.
There were, however, those in Poland who suddenly found themselves without a friend. They were neither Polish nor Lithuanian. Many were Jewish and were as keen as possible to get out of the war zone. In the midst of the chaos came a champion for these people. On 4 August, Sultan Mehmed advised the German government that he was sending $5 million in gold to finance the evacuation of the Jewish population of Poland from the nearest available ports. He said that he would finance their transportation to Uhyun and that the monies would be transferred to a bank account in London within two days. The Kaiser, happy to assist his Ottoman ally, complied. While there was no way to evacuate them all, over the course of the war some 350,000 Jewish people were evacuated. Ultimately, a percentage of those chose not to return to Poland after the war, boosting the Jewish population of the Ottoman Empire to 165,000. The boost led to the growth of Hebrew newspapers, literature and the establishment of a local governing council similar to that given to the Arabs, Kurds and Armenians. Much of the financial benefit of the migration came from the migrants themselves, as they brought their movable assets with them and purchased and refurbished the port cities of Haifa and Jaffa, making them almost exclusively Jewish cities.
Meanwhile, back in Europe, the
Kaiser was advising his citizens to evacuate the city of Posen, within his own
borders, so that artillery could be brought to bear against the rebels within
his own country. There was a cry of "Remember 1806", a reference to
the Dabrowski-led uprising that had aided the liberation of Poland from Prussian
occupation in that year. By month's end, the rebellion in Germany was out of the
control of the Kaiser, who had lost the cities of Gratz, Wronke, Wongrowitz and
Kosten to the rebels.
By 1 September, a little over a
month into the war, there was no question that Pilsudski had gained ground.
However, it was estimated that over a quarter of the Polish army had been killed
in running battles with the Russians and the rebellions in Austria and Germany
were slowly being dismembered. On the 4th, President Pilsudski was killed during
an attack upon a base outside Warsaw. Within a week, the rebellion was dwindling
and, on 14 September, Acting Prime Minister Roman Dmowski requested a ceasefire
from Russia, Germany and Austria.
In the United States,
multi-millionaire businessman Herbert Hoover established the International
Commission for the Relief of Poland and travelled to Europe to convince the
parties to allow delivery of food and relief from all countries and persons
wishing to participate. In the end, his delivery of aid, valued at the time at
$150 million, did much to rebuild and rejuvenate Poland from the horrors of the
Pilsudski rebellion and the Polish War. In addition, it made Hoover a hero to
many Europeans and Americans while the process of deciding the future of Poland
would commence in a December conference in Berlin.
The 1914 Conclave
The name had been called three times without response. The Cardinal Chamberlain, Francisco Salesio della Volpe, declared that there was a sede vacante - Pope Pius X was dead. The controversial and aggressive pontiff had made many enemies among liberals, modernists and socialists. He had antagonised governments in France, Portugal, Ireland, Britain, Russia and Ethiopia. He had persecuted and condemned the priesthood through espionage in the seminaries and use of the Sacrorum antistitum. Now, he was gone and many in Europe breathed a sigh of relief.
The question was now with whom to
replace him. Representing the traditionalist faction that had provided the last
pontiff was Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, Cardinal Secretary of State. On the
side of the modernists was Giacomo Cardinal della Chiesa, Archbishop of Bologna.
There was also the consideration of the existence of a Papal State to rule, the
first time that had factored into decision making since 1861. That made the
conclave look at Italians born within their new borders. In the first ballot, it
is said that there were seven candidates.
While there is no definitive
information as to the process which occurred, it is agreed that della Chiesa led
the voting for most of the ballots. However, he continued to be opposed by Merry
del Val and no party was able to get the required two-thirds vote. On the 11th
ballot, the name of another rose and, on 4 September, the balance was tipped by
the late arrivals of three cardinals, the Archbishops of Boston, Baltimore and
Quebec, who threw their support behind the leading candidate to ensure a
progressive pontiff. The bells of St Peters Basilica rang out as the white smoke
appeared above the Sistine Chapel. The Dean of the College, Serafino Cardinal
Vannutelli, emerged to declare "Annutio vobis gaudium magnum! Habemus Papam!
The most Eminent and Most Reverend Lord, Lord Pietro, Cardinal of the Holy Roman
Church Gasparri, who takes to himself the name Gregory XVII".
During his years in office, driven by a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1917, Pope Gregory XVII (above) would undertake a major reform of the Church to unify Rome with the Orthodox faith. He continued to declare that the Pontiff is infallible when speaking "ex cathedra", but specified that such declarations can only be made "in consilium". He convinced the Orthodox Churches to accept the use of unleavened bread. He stated, like Leo XIII, that the Bible can only be interpreted in the context of the world in which God gave it. He declared that the Bishopric of Rome, while "primus inter pares", was equal to the Bishoprics of Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria.
However, the largest change would be
a statement issued in June, 1918 which stated:
"The confusions and schism that
occurred within the Church in the latter centuries, we realise today, in now way
affects or touches the substance of our faith, since they arose only because of
difference in terminology and culture and in the various formulae adopted by
different theological schools to express the same matter. Accordingly, we find
today no real basis for the sad divisions and schisms that subsequently arose
between us concerning the doctrine of Incarnation. In words and life, we confess
the true doctrine concerning Christ our Lord, notwithstanding the difference in
interpretation of such a doctrine which arose at the time of the Council of
In accordance with that statement, the Creed was altered for both Orthodox and Roman followers of Catholicism to express that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and through the Son".
The 1914 Congress
The sluggish economy was weighing down on President Clark and, more importantly, on his numbers. His most recent effort, the Anti-Trust Act, had been called a "charter of freedom" by Justice Samuel Gompers of the Federal Labor Court. The epithets attached by the Constitutional Party and a good percentage of the Republicans were not as flattering.
The growing numbers of the Socialist
Party and the Republican Party were putting a squeeze on the Democrats from both
directions. With an election due in the next few months for Congress, Clark
desperately wanted to take ground from the relative newcomer and struck out with
an embrace of labor. Trade unions would be exempted from trust laws, while
strikes, picketing and boycotts were all legalised formally. In an attack on
business, having the same director on two different company boards now implied
an attempt to violate anti-trust provisions and the Federal Government could
review prices of products and force companies to establish new prices where the
Government believed that the prices were conducive to the establishment of a
It was on these policies that the
American people reflected when they went to elect a new Congress in 1914. Their
view of the policies, and the continued economic stagnancy, quickly became
clear. The result was a landslide. Republicans took fifty-five seats in the
House of Representatives, with an eight percent swing nationally against the
Democrats. They also took control of the Senate for the first time in four
years, winning 58 out of 104 seats. In the House, the new balance was Republican
182, Democrat 135, Socialist 66, Constitution 52.
Clark's personal standing was not
the only thing that took a battering. In thirteen of the fifty-two states, the
Constitution Party found they had insufficient members to get on the ballot
paper. The party leader, William Howard Taft, would announce the dissolution of
the party on 17 June, 1915, and would encourage his members to join the
Republicans, giving them a 33-seat majority in the House as well. Senior
Democrats, like Senator Woodrow Wilson, were also dumped in the landslide,
placing a serious dent in his hope of running for the Presidency in 1916 (Wilson
would die in 1919 during the Red Scare).
However, the most important outcome of the 1914 Congressional elections was the return of Senator Albert Beveridge. Beveridge almost immediately began his campaign for the presidency in 1916, giving a key speech in California. He stated that the Socialist Party was the cause of the problems in America, internally sabotaging the country and attempting to sell it out to Russian and German philosophies. He stated that Eugene Debs and his Socialist Party were the "sons of foreigners" who had no true loyalty to America and were encouraging racial tension in the nation. The reason for this were clear, he believed. Research done by the Carnegie Institute in New York showed that interbreeding between black and white populations had weakened the country. Both races should stand proud and strong, but separate, in order to oppose this attempt to take over the country by foreign interests. He appealed to the need for a greater military and national security infrastructure to defend the country against "uncivilised" and "irrational" philosophies while promoting a "Greater America".
Referring to the recent addition of
Spanish speaking states, he warned that English must be the only acceptable
language and that America should not tolerate any "parasitic
behaviour" by the new states. He attacked other "parasites", such
as the larger corporations, stating that they should be "forced to
work" in service to the nation through high asset taxes, seizure of assets
where necessary, the funding of large scale national infrastructure and a large
social welfare net for "deserving Americans". Lastly, he warned that
his plan for the nation would not be without hiccups. He called for powers to
more easily reform the Constitution and remove judges who stood in the way of
James Clark just couldn't get a break. Shortly after his crushing defeat in the mid-term congressional elections, he recognised the need to change tack on the ship of state. The Constitution Party had wanted to abolish the literacy test explicit in the US immigration laws to put further downward pressure on inflation and wages. The President stepped up to the plate, took a swing and missed. There was no way that Senator Beveridge was giving the man a victory. Beveridge accused the President of "selling out the people of the United States" and had "suspicions" that the immigration debate might be a way for the Socialists "to divide and conquer". He refused to let the President score a legislative victory.
Then, in February, 1915, African
American groups began to picket the screening of a new movie, Birth of a
Nation, leading to the first ethnic clashes in quite some time. The relative
racial harmony since he had come to office had been a hook on which the
President had often raised his banner and, while he called it a "regretful
and unfortunate piece of work", the President was criticised by Congressman
Dubois of the Socialist Party for failing to ban the film and by Senator
Beveridge for failing to protect the civil rights of African Americans.
Seven days after the showing of the
film, he launched the campaign that he hoped would turn the country, and the
party, around. Standing on newly reclaimed land in the national capital, he laid
the first stone in a memorial to President Abraham Lincoln (photo of
construction, 1916). He had decided that if he would be condemned for racial
problems, he might as well make some progress in that area. Announcing that he
would emulate the Great Emancipator, he announced the "New
Citizenship" scheme, to promote African Americans to sign up for the vote.
He also assumed control of the National Guard, an act which Beveridge endorsed,
bringing it into the National Investigations Bureau to force desegregation in
the South against the screams of his own party members.
Finally, he announced the Civil
Rights Act of 1915, closing on the unsuccessful Civil Rights Act of 1912. It
established the right of the National Investigations Bureau to inspect local
voter registration rolls, a duty to participate in a door knock campaign to
increase voter registration (particularly in the South) and to make it a
criminal offence to actively discourage a person from registering to vote or
from actually voting. As Senate Majority Leader, Beveridge endorsed the scheme.
However, the President had shot his party in the foot. One by one, Southern
Democrats lined up to oppose and filibuster. While the President stumbled,
Beveridge announced his opposition to the filibuster rule and pledged that he
would have its power curtailed once the President managed to get the legislation
through the Congress. Though the Act would eventually pass due to Republican
support, the staunch opposition of Democrats continued to embarrass the
As a result of the Act,
registrations of African Americans rose by a further 6% by the time of the 1916
Presidential elections. Regrettably, violence in the South also rose and, in
October, Congressman Dubois would spend nine days in a Georgia prison, allegedly
for inciting violence, before the President was forced to intervene and have him
released. The Georgian police involved were removed by the National Guard and
charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. And most of the new
additions to the roll would decide to vote Republican.
The Strasbourg Commission
In the city of Strasbourg, in the Neutral Zone of Alsace, the new year of 1915 was marked by a gathering of the elite of Europe's powerful. They had come to sign the Treaty named for the city, a treaty which they hoped would prevent all future war on the continent and beyond. It occurred two years earlier than expected, with France and Germany deciding that Austria's interference in Polish affairs and the resultant war justified an earlier dissolution of the Triple Alliance.
The conditions of the treaty were
outlined as follows:
- The member states would commit to fulfill obligations and regulations
prescribed by the Commission with regard to the exercise of military power. No
member state could legally declare war without the consent of two-thirds of the
Commission's governing bodies. No new member could be permitted without the
consent of two-thirds of the Commission's governing bodies. Members could only
withdraw from the Commission with the consent of their people expressed by
popular referendum and must provide two years' notice of such an action.
Article II - The
Commission would form a governing Assembly and Council, with a permanent
Article III - Representatives
in the Assembly must be in proportion to population of the individual member
states and must be chosen by the same method and on such terms in which the
member state selects members of their own national parliament. It would be
empowered to discuss and make decisions on any matter that affects world peace.
Article IV - The
Council would consist of one delegate appointed by the Government of each member
state and may be changed at any time. Where a matter under consideration
directly involved a member or members of the Council, that nation or those
nations would be required to exclude themselves from voting, but may debate the
issue before the Council.
Article V - All
members must be present for a decision of the Assembly or the Council to have
effect, though a three-quarters majority of all members of either body (not just
those present) may choose to waive this restriction.
Article VI - The
Assembly would appoint a Secretary General to manage the affairs of the
Commission, with costs for the Secretariat being borne according to the decision
of the Assembly. However, costs must be borne proportionally.
Article VII - A permanent seat would be established in Strasbourg and the territory of Alsace will be eternally neutral and inviolable. All attendees will have diplomatic immunity.
Article VIII - Members
would agree to reduce their military forces in line with recommendations from
the Commission and would provide the Secretariat with all information requested
about their military position, readiness and armaments. The Commission would
retain a permanent force of 5000, to be dispatched as necessary for the purposes
of peace and defence.
Article IX - The member states could only act together against all threats to territorial integrity and political independence with consent of the Assembly and Council, and an attack upon one member will be treated as an attack on all members.
Article X - Disputes
between member states would be referred to the International Court of Justice
for settlement and the members agree to abide by the terms arbitrated by the
International Court of Justice. They further agree that, if they unwilling to
comply, they would withdraw from membership of the Commission under the terms
specified in Article I before launching war against the Commission. The
International Court of Justice could also provide advisory opinions as requested
by the Assembly or the Council. Disputes may be settled by the Council instead
of the Court if parties agreed to abide by the decisions of the Council as
though it were the Court.
Article XI - If
a member state declared war on another member state, the aggressor shall be
expelled from the Commission and shall be at war with all other members of the
Commission. Trade sanctions should apply against the aggressor state and all
financial, commercial and personal relations between the citizens of the
aggressor state and the citizens of remaining member states would be regarded as
a crime. Member states would contribute military personnel to a campaign against
the aggressor state at such levels as the Commission regards as necessary and
would provide aid to the member state attacked to ensure loss is minimised.
Article XII - Where
the dispute involves a member of the Commission and a non-member of the
Commission, the non-member would be invited to take up interim membership and to
allow the Commission to arbitrate a settlement that would prevent conflict.
Article XIII - All
treaties made by member states could not be effective until they have been
reviewed and accepted by the Commission. The members agreed not to seek treaties
and obligations that would be inconsistent with being a Commission member.
Article XIV - The
Commission was empowered to create international organisations under its
direction to further the cause of peace.
Article XV – The Commission would set aside recurrent funds for strategic research and development.
Treaty was signed and ratified by Germany (8 delegates), France (4 delegates),
Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Sweden. The
nineteen Assembly members and nine Council members elected France's Rene Viviani
(left) as Secretary General, but it was Aristide Briand who won the Nobel Prize.
A supplemental treaty was also signed by the members, allowing for the
Franco-German common market in strategic resources, such as oil, gas, iron and
coal, to be expanded to all members. It was agreed that the treaty would expire
in seven years, but would be renewable for whatever term the members wished
The first decision to come before
the Commission was the argument over the status of Belgium, with France and
Germany bringing the matter before the Commission in its early months. The
International Court of Justice ordered that there should be a plebiscite for the
people of Belgium to decide the matter. Each province was given the chance to
choose between eleven different options.
In the ballot, Flanders voted overwhelmingly for independence, with only a tiny minority (7.7%) voting for union with the Netherlands. In Wallonia, 63.7% voted in favour of union with France, but in the province of Luxemburg, the vote was more divided. 26.7% voted for union with Luxembourg, 27.6% voted for independence and 45.7% voted for union with France. A second plebiscite came down in favour of French nationality over independence. The vote in Brussels had to be redone as well. Just under 50% voted to stay within Flanders, while the remaining votes were evenly split between going with Wallonia and becoming an independent city-state. When the independence option was removed as the lowest scoring of the two and the ballot repeated, the numbers went in favour of Flanders.
The end result of all the voting was
that Flanders became an independent state with its capital at Brussels; Wallonia
became part of the French Republic. His Majesty, King Albert, remained King of
Flanders. And the Commission of Strausborg counted its first success. Belgium
had only one colony of any significance: the Congo. As it was already
administered in the French language and Wallonia was entitled to a proportion of
its territory, King Albert instructed his nation to sell the colony to the
French. The price was $3.25 billion.
In June, 1915, three political giants left the political spotlight. Each had contributed in his own unique way to the future of their countries. Each of them left their parties somewhat damaged and diminished.
The first departure came on the
first day of the month when the 63-year-old British Prime Minister Herbert
Asquith announced that he was stepping down to allow his Chancellor of the
Exchequer, David Lloyd George, sufficient time to prepare for an election in
1918. During his seven years as head of the British Government, he had fulfilled
the dream of Irish and Indian self-government, redistributed the wealth of the
nation, broken the power of the House of Lords and, against his better judgment,
given women the vote. He announced that he would retire from Parliament in 1918.
At that point, he would become Viscount Asquith, Earl of Oxford, remaining in
the House of Lords until his death in 1928.
The second departure came on 9 June,
when US Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned from office rather
than accept an order to commence negotiations with Britain regarding the
potential sale of the Philippines. In Bryan's opinion, too many Americans had
shed their blood on that soil. America had begun the job, against his better
judgment, but he believed they were now obliged to stay the course until Manila
was ready for independence. The President disagreed. For the remainder of his
life, Bryan was dedicated to fighting on behalf of Christian fundamentalism on a
global scale, attacking Darwin's discoveries and modern theology, and calling
for an expansion of the treaty between the United States, the Netherlands and
China to prohibit opium. He would die on his way home from London in 1925,
having finally convinced the British Empire and its dominions to end their
participation in the opium trade.
The third departure involved the
retirement of 60-year-old William Howard Taft from the chairmanship of the
Constitutional Party. The former Secretary of War stated that he would continue
as Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale, as a Justice on the Federal Labor
Court and as President of the American Bar Association, but would instead devote
his time to convincing Americans of the need for the United States to join the
European move towards peace and free trade. He entrusted the party leadership to
his protégé, the former Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Warren Harding, with the
charge to seek reunification with the Republicans.
The Story of Billy Hughes
The Australian Labor Party had governed the Commonwealth for half of the nation's existence and Andrew Fisher had served six years as Prime Minister by the time of his retirement in October, 1915. Fisher had been a miner and a trade unionist who had become the Minister for Railways and Public Works in the first parliamentary socialist government in the world.
As Prime Minister, he had already
taken a number of steps to alter the constitution, strongly centralising the
Australian state and earned his government a reputation for financial soundness.
It was an element that was becoming common in all socialist regimes. Russia,
Germany, France and Australia had all been experiencing good growth until the
capitalist American system had dragged everyone down. Just one more proof of the
benefits of a gradual transition to communism over a revolutionary one. Clearly,
Marx had not understood that the transition could be painless.
not all the caucus thought that Fisher was the best leader. William Morris
"Billy" Hughes (left), his abrasive, pushy and ambitious Attorney
General, was clearly pushing for the top job. However, with a long run of
success, many believed that Fisher was entitled to name his successor. He
indicated his intention to do so, selecting instead his Trade Minister, Frank
Tudor. Hughes was furious, setting off a chain of events which would bring down
In March, 1916, Hughes would cross the floor of the House of Representatives to vote with the Opposition, taking a large number of the caucus with him. The Government fell and, in the ensuing election, the seats of the Parliament came back:
Liberal Party (Joseph Cook): 34
Labor Party (Frank Tudor): 23 seats
National Party (Billy Hughes): 18 seats
Hughes had hoped to be leader of a
new coalition government, but instead, relegated to the position of holding the
balance of power, he spoiled, keeping the Australian government hamstrung for
the period of a year at a time when the nation was still finding its feet. And
it was quite clear to the electorate that the only reason he was doing so was
that he thought he deserved to be Prime Minister. When both Prime Minister Cook
and the new ALP leader Matthew Charlton gave up trying to find a working
relationship with Hughes, they decided to work for each other to maintain the
For the first time, the Liberal and Labor parties threw their preferences to each other, guaranteeing that the Nationalists would be relegated to last position in every parliamentary district. They then voted to dissolve the House in December, 1916, and called a general election. In the vote that followed, Matthew Charlton was elected as Australia's seventh Prime Minister, taking forty-one out of seventy-five seats. Billy Hughes was swept out of his own seat and his party decimated. For the rest of his days, Hughes continually sought election to public office and failed, never understanding why the electorate held him in such contempt. In Australian political folklore, Billy Hughes is today remembered mostly for the term used by Andrew Fisher to describe him - "a petulant pestilence, a vermin, an appallingly chronic little rat".
Two New Candidates
In the latter half of 1915, the Administration of James Clark began to truly fall apart. The Bolivarian Pact was enraged by loans to Brazil and Bolivia, who were both outside the alliance, despite the fact that the money was never directly towards military investment. The President's military cuts led to the resignation of Major General Franklin Bell, the Army Chief of Staff, who proceeded to crucify the President's military policy. When, in December, he moved to break up and sell off Standard Oil, some in the Democratic Party had had enough.
Henry Ford was addressing a scrum of
reporters on 2 December, announcing a further wage increase for Ford workers.
The Federal Labor Court had voted that, for 1916, the wage would increase to
$4.60 per day; in a publicity exercise extraordinaire, Ford announced that his
workers would get $5.30 per day. It was during this discussion that Ford was
asked about the President's performance. His answer: "I will seek the
Democratic nomination for President." From the day of that announcement,
the Clark Presidency was unofficially dead. In the coming year, he would have a
battle filling the new vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice
Lamar. The Senate could drag that out forever. The Senate Majority Leader,
Albert Beveridge, was also stating that there was no way he would approve the
sale of the Philippines to Great Britain, hinting at a long fight on a difficult
Within weeks, Henry Ford was on the
campaign trail, pledging to bring new levels of prosperity to all Americans. He
launched his bid in St Louis, the President's home town, to wide acclaim,
talking about cheap housing and a national pension scheme, protection for
business and low taxes. The Republicans were somewhat stumped, uncertain of how
to deal with this new electoral factor. Even Senator Beveridge wrote in his
diary at this time that "Ford represents a significant threat" to his
planned run for the Presidency. However, on 20 January, 1916, a speech was
delivered that would fundamentally shape the coming campaign. It ended:
"Friends, our task as
Republicans is to strive for justice, achieved through the genuine rule of the
people. This is our end, our purpose. The methods for achieving the end are
merely expedients, to be finally accepted or rejected according as actual
experience shows that they work well or ill. But in our hearts we must have this
lofty purpose, and we must strive for it in all earnestness and sincerity, or
our work will come to nothing. In order to succeed we need leaders of inspired
idealism, leaders to whom are granted great visions, who dream greatly and
strive to make their dreams come true; who can kindle the people with the fire
from their own burning souls. The leader for the time being, whoever he may be,
is but an instrument, to be used until broken and then to be cast aside; and if
he is worth his salt he will care no more when he is broken than a soldier cares
when he is sent where his life is forfeit in order that the victory may be won.
In the long fight for righteousness the watchword for all of us is spend and be
spent. It is of little matter whether any one man fails or succeeds; but the
cause shall not fail, for it is the cause of mankind.
Rather than allowing vacancies to occur for political gain, the Senate Judiciary Committee would send a list of names to the Attorney General for each vacancy. All names would have to be approved unanimously, meaning that both Republicans and Democrats would need to appear on the list as part of a process of political compromise. The Cabinet would then vote on the list and the President would then appoint someone approved by the Cabinet. He encouraged the Senate to initiate the procedure and allow the President to fill the gap left by the death of Justice Lamar. To further oversight, the Senate would be able to recall a judge by a three-quarters vote.
On 28 January, the Congress sent a list of names to the White House. The new Justice, appointed shortly thereafter, was Bainbridge Colby, a graduate of Columbia University, Missouri-born, former State Assembly member for New York with connections to both the Republicans and the Democrats. The Court, following his appointment was then:
Joseph McKenna (California);
Oliver Wendell Holmes (Massachusetts);
William Rufus Day (Ohio);
William Henry Moody (Massachusetts);
Robert Marion La Follette (Wisconsin);
Louis Brandeis (Kentucky);
Charles Evans Hughes (New York - Chief Justice);
John Hessin Clarke (Ohio); and
Bainbridge Colby (Missouri).
Roosevelt also commented on the
arrest of Emma Goldman, a woman who had issued detailed pamphlets to women,
describing birth control methods. He stated that the Administration should be
condemned for not addressing the growing poverty of mothers and that Goldman was
only pointing out "substantial evils that the Congress has a responsibility
to address". He also defended free speech, stating that it should always be
permitted without a clear demonstration that the speech could be shown to have
"evil purpose", the malicious harm of another human being.
The Sale of the Philippines
The vehicle carrying US Secretary of State Robert Lansing (right) turned off Mendiola Street and, as his door was opened, he was glad it was only February. Imagine how hot it would be in summer here. Directly ahead was the newly-renovated Malacanang complex and the small gentleman waiting for him ahead was the long-serving and inaugural Prime Minister of the Philippines, Sergio Osmena. Next year, Osmena would complete a decade in office and was not a man with whom the United States would trifle unnecessarily.
With Osmena stood his deputy, Manuel Quezon, and Francis Harrison, the Governor General of the Philippines. Lansing did not know how Harrison would take the idea that the President wanted to put him out of a job, but as a former Representative, at least he would understand the politics behind it all. It had been an open secret that the United States under President Clark had wanted out of the colonial game. Lansing was here to advise that the British had finally opened negotiations for the purpose of purchasing the Philippines from the United States.
The plan had some support at home,
particularly in the Caribbean states where there was concern about the growing
competitiveness of Philippino sugar. In the West, there were as many complaints
about Philippino migration as there was regarding the Japanese and Chinese. All
in all, Congress was likely to pass the bill provided the price was right,
irregardless of the rants of the Republican Senate leadership.
There were two hiccups. Firstly,
Britain was hesitant about the US price, being $1.9 billion per annum over a
period of 25 years. While this was significant, inflation meant that it was
lower much than the price paid for Egypt. Nonetheless, it still represented a
significant investment by Britain and she needed to be sure that it would pay
off. She wanted to bring the price down and wanted a provision in the treaty
that, if the Philippines revolted against British rule before the end of the
payment period, Britain would be entitled to cease payment. Secondly, Osmena
wanted built into any treaty a series of guarantees regarding Philippino
self-rule. He wanted a guarantee that there would be no change to the current
governance system for the interim, but that:
1. At five years, all appointed members of Parliament would make way for elected members. (1921)
2. At fifteen years, the Philippines would be granted full dominion status. (1931)
3. At twenty-five years, the right to appoint its own Governor General would pass from the British Parliament to the Philippino Parliament. (1941)
Osmena also wanted a guarantee that
there would be no attempt to combine the Philippines with another British
The treaty was finally signed on 4
August and approved by the United Kingdom and the United States on 29 August.
The final approved price was $1.4 billion per annum. In order to achieve Senate
approval, the President was required to throw a sop to the imperialists: the
purchase of the West Indies from Denmark. Over the next five years, the United
Kingdom would spend a massive $2.5 billion on the development of the
This reversal for imperialism was immediately brought to the great imperialist, Theodore Roosevelt, for comment. Roosevelt arrived at the border of Mexico on 9 March. The resemblance to Clark's journey before his inauguration was clear and deliberate. He was here to meet with President Carranza and to speak to a crowd of somewhat angry Mexicans, who feared that this man might once again occupy the White House. Roosevelt knew that, for the future to be secured, Mexico must once again feel safe.
He rose to the podium and a
less-than-receptive audience. His words were as follows:
"There are always in nature those minds that have been inflamed to weak and to vicious acts of violence. There will always be those who will abuse and slander. There will always be those who brutally and bitterly assault all that is good. I have truly endeavoured never to be one of those men. I give you my word that my only care has ever been for my country. I have said no thing that I could not substantiate, done no deed that I could not justify.
Nonetheless, the issues that have
divided in the past have brought sadness and misery to both sides of the border,
to both great nations. However, it does not reduce - rather, it emphasises -
that we both share a common need. Citizens of Mexico, we see, as you do, a world
of those who have and those who have not. We see the day when wars will not be
between countries, but between the creed of the great and powerful against the
creed of the meek and lowly. When that day comes where those who have not,
swayed by their injury, rise up, when they loose their passions to reclaim what
is rightfully theirs, when they turn against those who have improperly claimed
what is not their own, that will be an ill day for both our countries.
We ask the citizens of Mexico to
join with us and forestall the war of creed. We ask them to stand with just men
of generous and forgiving hearts, to put aside the grievances that have held us
apart, and to stand together for the elementary rights of humanity. Never in my
life have I realised the futility of our division as I do today; never in my
life have I been as committed to repairing the bridges between us and standing
up for what is our common good. I do not regard creed or birthplace as being the
essential makeup of a good man; it is a matter of spirit and purpose and your
President represents both.
I have today sincerely asked
President Carranza to take the lead in denouncing militarism and disorder, to
denouncing riot and rebellion, and, in return, the day I am elected, I will
offer your country the protection and defence of the United States. A foundation
will be established between our two great countries as the nucleus of our
eternal peace, and we will turn aside from a relationship that has been
dominated by cruel greed and violence to one dominated by righteousness and
justice. This will not be a peace marked of cowardice and sloth, or an
instrument to further the ends of despotism and anarchy. It will not be a tool
of heartless and all-absorbing commercialism, nor one of indulgence and
sentimentality. This will not be a peace of giant leaps, but one of confident
and practical steps toward that lofty ideal.
The advance in the relationship of
the United States with Mexico can be made along several lines. Firstly, we need
to arbitrate our differences and draw together to resolve the questions that
have explicitly dealt with the controversies between us. I am prepared to submit
to international arbitration where we are unable to resolve these differences
ourselves, but I believe that we have the capacity and intelligence to resolve
our own problems. Secondly, it is clear that the international framework I
encouraged has expanded to create a rule of law for nations, an ideal for which
we might strive. It is my hope that we can work together to advance this ideal
throughout Europe, throughout Asia, throughout the Americas to secure a
framework that will prevent all hostility between sovereign and supreme states.
Thirdly, under my Administration, America will endorse the masterstroke of the
Strasbourg Commission, joining together with those Great Powers honestly bent on
peace, and will encourage the formation of an international police power,
competent and willing to prevent hostilities between nations. Together, Mr
Carranza and I, as international statesmen, will work together to bring about a
world of nations that desire peace and that are incapable of aggression, earning
our peoples a place in history for all time and the eternal gratitude of all
The Fall of Ibn Saud
The Sultan of Nejd, Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (left), received the notice of jihad bis saif on 5 June, 1916, signed by the Caliph himself and endorsed by the Porte in Beirut. The muhajadeen of the Ottoman Empire would soon be on their way. With the notice came a letter, reported drafted by the Caliph himself and accusing Ibn Saud and his family of multiple crimes.
The Caliph claimed that this was a
war of defence, citing numerous justifications. He quoted Quran 22:39-40,
arguing that the destruction of churches, mosques and synagogues by Saudis was a
wrongfully waged war. He stated that Quran 60:10 made clear that alliance with
those who fought against you to change your religion was unjust and thus Saud’s
persecution of other Muslims to convert them to Wahabi ideas was sinful. He then
stated that his duty, under Quran 2:190-191, was to ensure that the Saudis ended
their persecutions and to continue hostilities until all people were free to
worship the Most Wise and Compassionate.
Ibn Saud had been born in 1876, the
son of the then Sultan of Nejd. However, his father had been deposed in 1890 and
the young prince went into exile in Kuwait. In 1902, he had returned to depose
the Rashidi and to retake his father's throne. However, his ongoing harassment
of the Rashidi tribes made him an enemy of Constantinople and the Ottomans sent
assistance to the Rashidi on a continual basis from 1904 until finally declaring
war themselves in 1916. In October of that year, the United Kingdom agreed to
end its trade with the Saudis and to detain any Ikhwan who went outside Saudi
territory. The Sherif of Mecca and Prince of the Arabs, Hussein Ibn Ali, joined
with the Ottomans and the Rashidis, riding into Riyadh in October and sacking
Masmak Castle. The fort was razed to the ground, but no sign was found of Ibn
Saud and many of his defenders dissolved into the streets of Al-Bathaa. The
Saudi chieftain's eldest son, Turki, was killed in the fighting.
As for the leader himself, Ibn Saud
was captured on 11 March, 1917, by troops loyal to Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah,
Emir of Kuwait. After conferral with both the British and the Ottomans, he was
transferred to Baghdad where he lived under house arrest for the next eleven
years, receiving a stipend from the Ottoman government but separated from his
children and wives. In, November, 1928, he was killed while making an attempt to
escape from custody and is buried in an unmarked grave south of the Jabrin
Recovery from Recession
In the period to 1916, as the world economy began to recover from the impact of the new US trade and wage regulations, there were three countries that increasingly found that wage inflation, driven by large current account surpluses, was begin to severely erode their competitive position. The first of these was the United States of America, which due to its scale of operations, made the most enormous impact on the global economy. Although GDP growth was not incredibly strong, the US had already established a superior trading position.
From 1913, new trade and wage
regulations discouraged US companies from investing heavily in their own
country, although they did invest in greater raw material production. Therefore,
in the years 1913-1915, US companies, despite their complaints regarding
congressional regulation, actually found themselves swimming in a pool of
significant cash assets. Some estimates have put that unproductive liquid asset
base at $70 billion by the year 1915. We can therefore begin to understand the
sudden boom of Latin America once the Congress lifted foreign investment
The Great Boom, as it is known
today, lasted only three years in total, but it was sufficient to drag the world
economy out of the rut it had endured since 1912. Over the course of two years,
the productive output of Latin America rose by 68%. Looking at the individual
figures for where US companies spent monies, there is no doubt that the largest
recipient was Brazil. Into an economy that had previously been $19 billion in
size went $29 billion of US money. The results were staggering. Per capita
incomes rose from $811 to $2050 and unemployment virtually disappeared.
Argentina attracted the next largest input (about $9.2 billion) before wage
inflation made it uncompetitive. Another country to benefit enormously was Peru
($8.8 billion). In just two short years, the average per capita income of Latin
America rose from about $1600 to close to $2800.
The second country to have
significant impact, though on a much smaller scale, was the Commonwealth of
Australia. Riding on high commodity prices, the Government found itself with a
current account surplus approaching $1.1 billion per annum, or 22% of GDP, and
continuing to rise. However, like its Anglophone cousin on the other side of the
Pacific, Australian wages were extremely high and business was reluctant to
invest. During the administration of Andrew (later Sir Andrew) Fisher, the
Australian government demanded from Britain a transfer of sovereignty for New
Guinea so that it could control the market. Britain had already transferred
administrative control in 1906; it was a relatively small step to pass over full
control from London to Melbourne.
By the time Matthew Charlton (right) became Prime Minister, New Guinea had enjoyed an influx of $8.4 billion over a period of five years as well as an influx of residents from Australia itself. In 1918, using the constitutional proscription on indigenous voting to prevent power sharing, Australia named New Guinea as its seventh state and expressed an interest to Berlin about purchasing control of German New Guinea, a deal that was concluded the following year.
The third country was the tiny
Pacific dominion of New Zealand, established in only 1907. Because of the scale
of its economy, benefits ran only into the hundreds of million, rather than the
billions, and impact on the external world was minimal. Nonetheless, it did
reach an arrangement with cash-strapped Portugal over the eastern half of Timor
and, even though Lisbon remained official sovereign, most of the titles on land
were held by New Zealand companies and citizens. A similar situation soon
existed in Fiji and large amounts of European and Indian labour were brought to
both countries to work an estimated additional 50,000 jobs.
The Death of Roosevelt
On 6 June, 1916, former President Roosevelt was in a meeting with Republican Party officials on the eve of the convention in Chicago. As he left the Coliseum at about 5pm local time, making his way to his car and waving to the gathered crowd with his hat in hand, a former Socialist Labor Party member fired a bullet at short range into his chest. The gunman then took his own life.
Bystanders reported that Roosevelt was initially confused as to what had occurred. The growing stain of blood on his white vest soon became apparent, however, and Roosevelt collapsed. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Emergency Hospital, the bullet having perforated his thoracic cavity and penetrated the pleura, severing a number of pulmonary veins.
Senator Beveridge announced the death to the convention, having come from a meeting with members of the Constitutional Party, whose decision to seek reconciliation with Roosevelt had seemed to mark a new day for the Republican movement. Beveridge said from the podium:
We can be full of bitterness and
hatred and revenge, we can use his departure from among us as a cause for
further division among us. Or we can make the dedication that he called from all
of us - to forgive, to stand against this violence, to have compassion on the
people he loved. It will be difficult, but Teddy always called on us to do the
impossible. It will be a time of suffering, but we will work, like him, to ease
the suffering of all Americans, whatever the cause.
I ask you tonight to pray for Edith
and the children, and to also pray for our nation - to remember a man and a
country that we all loved before the throne of Almighty God. And I ask you to
dedicate yourselves to the cause he set out before us: to bring justice to abide
in the hearts and lives of all God's creatures."
With his failure to win re-nomination, President James Clark became a shadow to the boxing match between Republican candidate Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana and Democratic candidate Henry Ford of Michigan for the position of President.
The shadow of the late President
Roosevelt hung over the election, a martyr to the reconciliation of the
Constitutional Party, which had folded back into the Republican fold after it
became clear they would lose their last Senator and over half their House seats.
Suitably chastised, they were a broken force. The President's assassin had been
a former member of the Socialist Labor Party and both main candidates were
talking about the "Red Scare" - the rise of the threat of socialist
revolution in America, in the hope to contain the SLP's result.
Another major issue in the election was Democrat corruption of the electoral system. There was a clear gerrymander in the House in favour of the Democrats of between 3.5% and 4%. The Republicans and Socialists were calling on all voters to come out on election day and ensure that the Democrats were not re-elected through fraud, undermining confidence in the strength of the political system and its fragility under abuse. There were also grave concerns in some camps about the Republican campaign. Beveridge's less-than-veiled attacks upon his political rivals as enemies of the state, his allegiance to the new ideas of eugenics, his appeal for a greater security apparatus and his call to disempower the judiciary all contributed to a greater sense of nervousness abroad and at home.
When asked by his Prime Minister
which candidate Britain should hope won the election, the British Ambassador
wrote back, "None of the above". Nonetheless, it was inevitable that a
victor must emerge and one did. Riding on the tail of popular sympathy, Albert
Beveridge was elected as the 28th President of the United States of America.
While he lost a total of 47 congressional districts, he retained a large
majority in the Senate and control of the largest party in the House of
Representatives. The result was:
Republican Party: 47.3%
Democratic Party: 37.0%
Socialist Labor Party: 15.7%
Those who were actively concerned
about Beveridge wondered if this might be the last days of the Republic and
whether or not there would ever again be in America such a thing as a free and
Death of the Emperor
On 21 November, 1916, Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary entered immortality. For sixty-six years, he had overseen the decline of his Empire. He had betrayed the Russians during the Crimean War, creating lingering ill will between the two countries. He had allowed the unification of Italy and, even though Austria had regained most of its Italian possessions, the quality of life was in decline on the peninsula and large numbers of Italians were leaving for points abroad. The rise of Prussia and the war of 1866 had ensured the further decline of his empire. And now he was gone.
Emperor Franz Ferdinand, his
successor, had already laid out a plan for his nation's future and it was one
that was distasteful to many. It was therefore no surprise that, as the imperial
family began to make preparations for a funeral, forces claiming to be loyal to
Count Istvan Tisza, Prime Minister of Hungary, seized control of public
buildings in Vienna and Budapest and declared a provisional government. The
Treasury Minister, Ernst von Koerber of Trento, in nominal control of the
Government, declared Tisza and his supporters rebels. For a few days, it
appeared as though the Empire would break down into civil war.
However, many of Tisza's supporters were shocked by the direct assault on Austria and backed away from their former master. Large numbers took to the streets of the empire, shutting it down in a general strike. He was sacked four days after the initial coup and placed under arrest. While the Emperor gave him a reprieve from the death penalty, Tisva nonetheless died in prison in 1919 as the new Emperor proceeded with his plans for federalisation and the formation of the United States of Greater Austria, with Mihaly Karolyi taking on the task of Governor of Hungary.
Unfortunately, there were some
deaths as a result of the violence that gripped the Empire during the attempted
coup. Count von Sturgkh, the long-serving Minister President of Austria, was
shot in his offices on the first day of the violence. Prince Consort Joseph
August of Aragon and his children were on holiday in Budapest at the time and
were caught in their car by a firebombing that killed them all. In the trashing
of the ministries, a number of bureaucrats were killed, including a Bohemian
count, Fidel Palffy, murdered by crossfire in Prague.
The Roland Steiner School
Professor Romain Rolland of Sorbonne University, Nobel laureate in literature, shifted the papers on his desk. There was last week's Le Monde, with an article about the uprising by Greek Cypriots which Britain had crushed on behalf of its Ottoman allies. Athens had fumed over that one. There was the papers that required marking and the notice of a new history lecture that he had to distribute. On the other side sat the latest novel by Ernest Poole, just brought in from America, about the concept of "the generation gap". All of these had to be clear. It would not do any good to have a messy office when his visitor arrived. A knock at the door announced his arrival in good time and Professor Roland welcomed in his long-haired dark-eyed guest, bowing to the youthful man as he entered. It was a distinct honour to have in his presence a swami who had set him, and many others, on the course to self-realisation.
Paramahansa Yogananda (left) had started a cultural revolution, establishing a Hindu school in Bordeaux that combined regular education with yoga training. Much of it had been funded by Rolland, who had been in correspondence with Indian leaders for some time and was excited by the events of the Revolt and the subsequent creation of the Dominion. He had learned of Yogananda from Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali poet he had met in 1913. Roland and Tagore had been in regular correspondence since Tagore's visit and the guru had also introduced him to South African political activist, Mohandas Gandhi.
The success of the International
Hindu (Roland) School movement was largely influenced by French distaste for the
Roman Catholic Church. Roland was keen to see the spiritual vacuum filled by
religions of the East and had sponsored Yogananda on a tour of France, taking in
Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Strasbourg and Nantes. In each city,
there had been a large amount of curiosity, interest and support and, in Paris,
it appeared like there may be sufficient numbers for two schools. From France,
it was hoped that interest would spread across the Channel and throughout
In 1918, Roland would go on to write
his texts on world government, bringing even more attention to his work with the
Hindu School movement. The schools would later absorb large elements of the
pedagogy of Rudolf Steiner, becoming very student-oriented. As a result of his
work, 23% of all students in the world today have been educated at a Roland
Steiner School, a combination of Western pedagogy and Eastern philosophy.
President Beveridge Threatens
On 4 March, 1917, President Beveridge was sworn in on the steps of the Capitol. His inaugural address was one of menace. It went as follows:
The needs of our security and military forces are many. I want to call upon the members of Congress to do what is necessary, to stand up for the American people, to display leadership and to serve this country - not the vested political interests of a small minority who threaten our very soul, who wish to bring bloodshed, who wish to bring us to a state of war. America has known and fought war, but this is not being fought on foreign soil, nor is it being declared by a sovereign government. This is a war that is not attacking our bodies or our cities, but our very freedom.
Why has our great nation
stumbled? Because people who wish to remake the world, who wish to impose
their radical beliefs upon us, extremists who have killed our most
illustrious leaders, McKinley and Roosevelt, have been allowed to pretend
they are innocent of this shed blood. The socialists are linked to
organisations in other countries, all of whom have recruited and trained
with one object - to take over peaceful democratic nations everywhere and
bring them under their control.
So today, I am announcing that
we will not quietly. We will fight. We will take in hand those who have
conspired against this country. We will liberate those whom they have
oppressed. We will cease apologising to the world for defending those things
we hold dear. We will demand our right to continue as a sovereign and free
people. We will neither negotiate nor surrender.
Now, there are those Americans
among us who believe in the right of the working man. I respect that belief
because I share it. It is good that all men should have share in the bounty
of this country. To prove this, I will sign the Eight Hour Day Bill into
law. However, the socialists are traitors to that belief, using it to build
support so that they may hijack this nation. They are our enemy and I will
endeavour to prove to you over the next four years that this enemy can be
found, that it can be stopped and that it can be defeated. Those who want to
depose legitimate governments, those who wish to take away our freedom,
those who wish to disrupt and end our capitalist way of life must learn that
we will stand in their way, every step of the way. We will not grow fearful
and retreat. We will not forsake others to fall under their sway. We will
stand up against every atrocity they commit, we will point our their lies
and we will not abandon our values in favour of totalitarianism.
I pledge to America that I will
use every resource, every tool of diplomacy and intelligence, every arm of
law enforcement, every weapon of war, every dollar down to our last cent, to
disrupt and defeat this global menace. We will drive them out and give them
no refuge or rest until they are gone. And those countries who harbour and
protect such people will be regarded as an enemy and hostile regime.
Over the next year, we will get
American industry back on its feet. We will block deport those who have come
to this country only to attack it. We will fight a war to clean up sedition
and clean out the traitors, to shut down the support network of the enemy,
to close up its voice, to bring their plots and their plans and their moral
corruption to nought. We will actively rip out the root of socialism
wherever it grows and kill it.
This is a war that we fight not
just for ourselves, but for all humanity. It is a fight for freedom, for
democracy, for progress. We call on those who yet remain free, who still
have control of their governments, to rally to our side and to stand against
this assault upon our souls. We have nothing to fear for the hand of the
Supreme Governor of the Universe will stand with us. We face struggles and
dangers but we will be determined and strong and we shall not fail. I
promise you - the President of the United States will not rest until this
war is won.
We are confident of victory in
the wisdom of God and may He watch over the United States of America. Thank
The words of the American President reverberated across the world, but even more so in his country, where a Socialist Governor had just been elected in the state of Oklahoma. In the Senate, John Calloway Walton had only been in political office for two years. An outsider to win the position of US Senator, he had slipped between the two major parties and become the first Socialist Senator in US history. There was grave concern among Socialist Party members that their party was going to be under direct attack.
Senator Walton did not regard
himself as a radical. He had previously spoken on an expanded farm cooperative
program to aid troubled farms, demanded improvements in workers compensation to
increase benefits to employees and criticised the Congress' failure to enact
stronger warehouse inspection laws to protect Oklahoma's cotton and wheat
markets. He had campaigned on free books for children, increased welfare
spending and strong law and order. In April, 1917, he found himself willing to
speak on anything. And everything. He had an assistant running back and forward
to the Library of Congress just to get him something new to read. And, as he was
viciously attacking the White House, the Democrats were content to allow him to
For 35 hours and 17 minutes, the
Senator would continue to read in the longest filibuster to date the chamber had
known. The bill under debate was the Military Reform Bill. The President was
attempting to expand the military again; the Socialist Party was standing
against it. Instead, they wanted the extra $4 billion redirected towards a
stimulus package for American education, employee benefits and welfare to
rebuild prosperity. Walton also wanted a tax break to business in return for a
15% increase in wages - with every cent of the new wages going into the National
Savings Fund, in the name of the employee, rather than directly to workers for
expenditure. This should ensure that all citizens could retire at 65 and be paid
by the government the same income they earned prior to retirement, ongoing, for
the rest of their lives. If the employee (generally a man) died prior to
retirement, his family would receive the benefit upon his death and the
government will make up extra money required.
Eventually, the President would
manage to get his increases, but not before committing another $2 billion to
socialist ideas. The rest of the expenditure would come on 10 April, 1917, when
the President again had to negotiate with the Socialists to reform the
immigration laws. Beveridge got a complete ban on Chinese immigration and
allowed for the deportation of immigrants who were "mentally or physically
defective". In the years to come, that term would be contested in courts
across the country. In Utah, federal persecution of Mormonism occurred, with
Mormons arrested as "mentally defective" for their belief in polygamy.
Anarchist and socialist groups were rounded up and all foreign nationals in them
With each barrier, the President
grew more frustrated. He eventually asked the Senate to introduce a rule that a
filibuster could be brought to an end by a two-thirds vote. He received a
compromise, and the cloture rule was set at three-quarters. The assault on the
Senate was, however, only Beveridge’s first step in his fervent campaign
against "the Reds". What nobody appreciated was that it was also the
first attack on the freedoms that had made America great and the first signal of
The Einstein Factor
In 1905, German scientist Albert Einstein (right) had determined that the cause of light was the movement of electrons within an atom from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. The radiation or surplus energy that an atom gave off was called a photon, and appeared to us as light. In an ordinary light bulb, these electrons moved randomly in a process called spontaneous emission, producing a low level of coherent light.
What Einstein wondered was whether
you could stimulate the movement of these electrons by bombarding the electrons
with photons. Not only would the photon bound back as light, but it would bring
more photons with it, dramatically amplifying the wave of light energy. He then
decided that, if this process could be repeated en masse, with a whole lot of
atoms, these breakaway photons would hit other atoms and produce large amounts
of light energy. While the technology would not exist to test this process in
1917, Einstein had just laid the mathematical and theoretical basis for the
laser. He would participate in Russian experiments to solve the problem of
continuous output from 1924, but it would be 1931 before he would manage to
produce the first working laser.
Government of that time would look
upon the laser as a potential weapons, and both Germany and Russia contributed
considerable funding towards development. They achieved an operational model in
1931, but Einstein demonstrated in 1933 that output through a diode could only
be achieved in a pulsed operation and that it required a temperature state of 77
degrees Kelvin. It would be 1941 before lasers could operate at room temperature
and they would not begin to enter visible application in our daily lives until
1945. The first major consumer device equipped with lasers was the compact disc
player, which began selling in European stores in 1953, having taken two decades
to convert a military application into a civilian one.
Other scientific and cultural
advances were made in the year 1917. Another field of discovery was that of
morphogenesis. D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson of Scotland was a mathematician who
applied his understanding to biology and came to the conclusion that
evolutionary divergence of biological forms was limited by physics. Therefore,
to achieve evolutionary growth, he speculated that there must have been another
factor in play and Thompson would finally discover what that was in 1941, just
seven years before his death - DNA.
Finally, in 1917, there were further
discoveries about our past. The British, inspired to strike a closer
relationship with Mexico, funded their first expedition in the Mayan
territories. Dr Thomas Gann was the chief medical officer of the British
Honduras, but his foremost love was archaeology and he was chosen to lead the
expedition. He crawled over sites across the Yucatan, discovered a few unknowns
and, at Tulum, discovered a stucco idol completely intact. By the time he
returned to Britain in 1923, Gann was the foremost expert on the Mayan
civilisation and his continued insights made him the last great European
explorer of central America.
Foundation of the USSR
The Russian Empire ceased to exist on 17 March, 1917, with the passage of the new Russian constitution. The new nation, the Union of Socialist States of Russia (USSR), had long been in the plan of Baron Trotsky, now in his fifth year and retitled as Chancellor, to revamp Russia's outdated bureaucratic nightmare. The new Constitution, which continued to bind all parts of the former Empire together, devolved a large amount of power to the constituent parts of that Empire, which designating that all authority came from the Tsar.
There were a number of state kingdoms within the realm: Ukraine, White Russia, Bulgaria, Caucasia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizstan, Turkmenistan, and, of course, Russia. The capital of Russia would be moved to Moscow, while St Petersburg would remain the federal capital in a territory that was separated from Russia entirely. The new kingdoms would be permitted to exercise any power which was not restricted to St Petersburg by the new Constitution. Each would have a Premier, who would be responsible to the Tsar, but Trotsky alone would hold the title of Chancellor.
powers outlined for the central government were very similar to those outlined
for the federal government of the United States of America. However, there were
additions to the Federal Duma's powers. They would be in charge of all banking,
registration of corporations, marriage and divorce, welfare provision, railways,
and relations between commerce and labour. In addition, there was one additional
power which entitled the government to "assume ownership of property from
any State or any person for any purpose, provided compensation for such
assumption can be considered just." All other powers were devolved to the
new state kingdom governments, including education, health and police powers.
They would be required to hold their own constitutional conventions and agree on
how to govern their new regions. To represent the new federation, they adopted a
new flag (above). The Duma was elected on the basis of universal suffrage from
each of the kingdoms of the USSR. There are 351 seats, which are divided between
the state kingdoms as follows:
Ukraine: 61 seats
Uzbekistan: 32 seats
Kazakhstan: 21 seats
Caucasia: 20 seats
White Russia: 13 seats
Bulgaria: 10 seats
Kirghizstan: 6 seats
Turkmenistan: 6 seats
Of greater importance to Trotsky,
however, was the coming conference in St Petersburg in July. Representatives
from socialist parties across the world would gather as part of the Second
International (Socintern). It would include the Prime Ministers of France,
Germany, the USSR, Austria-Hungary and Australia (Charlton was sending a
representative), as well as delegations from China, Japan, Finland, Lithuania,
Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland,
Ireland, Britain and the United States. It would also include representatives
from the International Workers of the World and other trade unions.
It was necessary for them all to
develop a common ground on which to deal with the potential threat of the United
States Administration. With the four major powers of continental Europe allied,
there was little that the Americans could hope to achieve outside their sphere
of influence. However, the question was whether socialist movements should
actively oppose the Americans. In the end, the question would be deferred until
1920 due to disagreements among those present on a course of action.
Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes (right) turned over the pages of the newspaper, waiting the call that he knew would be coming. The leading story was that the Commission of Strasbourg had decided to allow Alsace-Lorraine a referendum on independence next year. It was competing with the death of King George I of Greece after 54 years on the throne. Undoubtedly, the paper said, the new King Constantine would seek to distance himself from Great Britain and move closer to Germany, given the situation with the Cypriots. However, Hughes knew that tomorrow he would be on the headlines.
The ruling that was about to be
published today, 4 July, 1917, would enrage, infuriate and aggravate the
President. Hughes had felt uncomfortable with the President ever since he had
passed the Sedition Act, creating the National Security Council, which Beveridge
had then used to harass trade unions, prevent publications that disagreed with
the government and to threaten Socialist Party members. The response had been a
massive protest in Chicago, creating racial conflict for the first time in years
as white supporters of the President (many suggested that they were members of
the National Investigations Bureau) had clashed with African American supporters
of the Socialist Party. The President had allowed the violence to escalate
until, with three hundred people dead, he had instituted martial law across the
whole state of Illinois.
The Chief Justice had immediately
hijacked a case of an individual arrested under the Sedition Act, despite the
recent vacancy caused by the retirement of the ailing Justice Moody. The
brethren had agreed unanimously with his decision to do so. And together, they
attacked the Sedition Act, stating that prohibitions on the spread of political
activities and information were a violation of the First Amendment. Congress had
no power to prevent agitation against the Government or to prohibit citizens
from conducting political activism unless they became violent. And, under close
examination of the Chicago riot, the people who should have been arrested were
those who initiated the violence - the supporters of the President. Those who
had been detained had been detained illegally and were free to go.
Congressman Dubois would take over
the campaign against the President later in the month and under the protection
of the Supreme Court, would stage rallies in New York, Philadelphia and Houston.
Their complaint was that, during the Administration, the tide was turning in
favour of greater segregation based on the President's doctrine of the purity of
the races. Then, in August, the Governors of Oklahoma and Arkansas issued a
joint statement, arguing that the President's use of the National Guard was a
direct attack on states rights. A protest march to Washington had been attacked,
resulting in eight deaths.
It soon became clear that the level
of conflict in the United States was on the rise and this time, there may be no
stopping it. The government of the Dominion of Canada, under Sir Robert Borden,
formally expressed its concerns and contacted London, suggesting that the
British Army might like to engage in some friendly troop rotations. Prime
Minister Lloyd George agreed, with the proviso that Canada agree to raise its
own forces. Over the period between July and December, 1917, Canada raised a
total of sixteen thousand troops. The British would steadily send a further
thirteen thousand. While these figures couldn't compare to the US military,
being only about one third the size, the organisation of the Canadian forces
into "shock infantry", with sniper, grenadier and demolition brigades
becoming the core of the units, gave the Americans considerable pause. The new
slogan of the Canadian armed forces to those of the south: "Dare If You
Will, but Prepare for the Worst".
The Fall of Serbia
There could be no doubt of the intent. General Dragutin Dimitijevic, a professor at the Serbian Military Academy and a senior member of their General Staff, had been captured on Austrian soil on 20 July, 1917, with documentation that demonstrated clearly the plans of his organisation to assassinate the Emperor. To say that the Emperor had been furious was an understatement. This was just one of a series of offences since the dampening of relations between the United States of Austria-Hungary and its southern neighbour had been caused by Albanian rebellion, and this time, it was clear that the Serbian government was involved in the plot. In the Reichsrat, there was uproar and demands for an immediate move against Serbia. In the streets, the Minister for Industry, Benito Mussolini, attempted to calm the trade unions who had joined demands for war. Prime Minister Ernst von Koerber met with the Russian Ambassador.
In St Petersburg, it was agreed that
Vienna had made every attempt possible to rectify the difficulties between the
two nations, including granting southern Bosnia and refusing to annex Albania
outright into the Empire. Russia was also working with Austria toward a steady
revival of the Polish nation. Serbia was without support on this one. Britain,
Germany, France, the Ottomans, even her neighbours in Romania and Greece, made
clear that Serbia had overstepped the mark. Austria-Hungary was given a free
Her demands were simple. Serbia
should allow Austrian forces to enter its borders without resistance to remove
those people who were engaged in criminal activity. There was a list of names of
those to be detained, including six members of the Government, Prime Minister
Pasic among them, as well as four members of the General Staff. There was also a
warning that further investigations may produce even more names. Essentially,
the Serbian ruling class, with the exception of their King, would become the
hunted. Austria would "temporarily" take over a number of functions of
government until all those involved in the activities had been removed. Once all
conditions were met, Austria would withdraw and allow Serbia to resume full
sovereignty. The Serbians were given 72 hours to reply.
On 22 July, the Regent, Prince
Aleksander, working with Field Marshal Zivojin Misic and his assistant, General
Petar Bojovic, orchestrated a coup d'etat and arrested all the persons named by
the Austrian government. They detained all known associates of the named
conspirators, including judges, military officers, professors, bureaucrats and
diplomats, offering them up to the Austrians as a sacrificial lamb. However, on
23 July, the Reichsrat decided that the Serbians had failed to meet their
demands and mobilised their forces for war.
The invasion began on 10 August,
with the crossing of the Sava and Drina Rivers and an offensive across the
mountains near Cer. In a battle lasting three days, the Austrians took
twenty-five thousand casualties, while the Serbians, fielding a smaller force,
lost sixteen thousand. By 1 September, the Serbian army was running out of
artillery shells and gradually, in a war of attrition on both sides, the
Austrians progressed steadily. On 22 November, Prince Aleksander ordered the
evacuation of the capital and Serbia surrendered two days later. The Serbian
royal family were granted refuge in Russia.
The official death toll was nearly
four hundred thousands, with Austria bearing a slight disadvantage in number of
deaths. However, the shattered infrastructure of Serbia led to a number of
deadly epidemics during the winter months that followed the occupation. There
was also considerable evidence of atrocities committed by the imperial forces
against unarmed defenceless Serbians (above). In all, over nine hundred thousand
Serbians (23% of the total population) died, the vast majority of them male.
Serbia was incorporated into the United States of Austria-Hungary, initially as
a protectorate, later as a state. However, it would be difficult to
underestimate the degree of hatred and animosity the invasion created and it was
appreciated, at the time, that Serbia may never be fully integrated into the
The Aragon Marriage
The "Spanish Curse" - that is what some called it. For Queen Auguste Marie of Aragon, now thirty-nine, widowed and without an heir thanks to the Hungarian revolt, giving it a label hardly helped her state of mind. The near extinguishment of the Spanish line, the fall of the Spanish kingdom and now her own losses could not be covered by a journalistic epithet. Across the way in Madrid, King Alfonso XIV of Castile, now a 16-year-old youth, was just becoming aware of the disasters his own father had brought to bear upon his own kingdom and upon Italy.
The instability of their individual
dynasties could not be undone through cooperation. The age difference and the
lack of marriageable stock made that impossible. There were growing movements
towards republicanism and anarchism and growing political instability in both
countries. This was particularly obvious when one considered that they were,
without comparison, the poorest countries in Europe. Even tiny Portugal and
Greece had begun to pull ahead. In Castile, the El Turno Pacifico system was
The King dealt with the emerging chaos the only way he knew how. He turned to his advisors and, in particular, his Andalusian-born Chief of Staff, General Miguel Primo de Rivera, nephew and heir of the Marques de Estella. Primo de Rivera had tutored the young monarch in military tactics, but had also led him through political discussions about the worthlessness of constitutional rule, the futility of political parties, the value of building the military and national infrastructure to subjugate the "rebels" in the east.
On 13 August, 1917, the Duke of Parma, Regent of Spain, was removed in a palace coup and replaced by General Primo de Rivera. It is from this date that we can begin to record the massive expenditure on business and public services that raised living standards in Spain, but also produced unsustainable inflation. It is also from this date that we can begin to observe the steady preparations of the Castilian armed forces for a new war against Aragon.
For Queen Auguste Marie, the Spanish curse appeared set to continue, but the widow had a counterpart in her cousin. King Roberto of the Cisalpine Kingdom had lost his wife, Marie, in 1909 during childbirth, and now all his children save one - Irmingard in 1903, Rudolf in 1912, Luitpold in 1914 and the other unnamed child who had been stillborn. The two cousins had much in common: grief, loss, the duties of royalty when they wished for anything else. And there were always things you could share with family that you could not share with outsiders.
Over the course of a year and a
half, the two spent much time travelling between Zaragosa and Florence, between
the refurbished Aljaferia Palace and Palazzo Pitti. Both had their share of
concerns about the future of their dynasties. For the Queen, she no longer had
an heir and she was past her child-bearing days. She was under extreme pressure
from the Spanish court to adopt the King of Castile as her heir. For the King,
the steady decline of his father, King Ludwig III of Bavaria, meant that he
would soon inherit that throne too. As King of Bavaria, he would be liege to the
Kaiser. However, as King of the Cisalpine, he owed a loyalty to nobody. The
Kaiser was insistent that he either relinquish his claim to Bavaria, or that he
bring the Cisalpinians into loyalty to Berlin. In addition, his father's Prime
Minister, Georg, Graf von Hertling, was nearly eighty and quite incapable.
Despite Roberto's continual warnings, the King refused to do anything about him.
In addition, the recent incorporation of Genoa back into the kingdom, in a
treaty signed early in 1918, was causing headaches. Who would have thought that
the tiny state could cause so many headaches?
She needed an heir apparent; he
needed strength to be able to determine the future course of his inheritance
without having to follow orders from the Kaiser. It was thus somewhat inevitable
that on 9 November, 1918, they wed. As part of their contract, they became joint
monarchs of the United Kingdom of Aragon, with both their assents required to
any law; each named the other as successor; his son, the 13-year-old Crown
Prince Albert, would succeed to the throne only once both of them were deceased.
As for a reorganisation of the
government, they pursued a line similar to their cousin, Emperor Franz
Ferdinand, dividing the territory up into states and distributing representation
accordingly. The new Parliament was, at 556 members, going to require a new
building. Following are the names of the states and their individual number of
Milan - 94 seats
Barcelona - 70 seats
Naples - 57 seats
Palermo - 50 seats
Valencia - 47 seats
Bologna - 40 seats
Bari - 40 seats
Florence - 35 seats
Vitoria Gastiez - 21 seats
Catanzaro - 20 seats
Cagliari - 16 seats
Genoa - 16 seats
L'Aquila - 13 seats
Zaragoza - 12 seats
Palma - 10 seats
Potenza - 6 seats
Pamplona - 6 seats
Campobasso - 3 seats
The Question of Jerusalem
At the ripe old age of seventy-three, it had been a significant journey for the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to make. The legitimate excuse for the trip had been to undertake discussions with the Americans as part of a "getting to know you" exercise. However, in truth, he had wanted to come to meet with the French artist, Marcel Duchamp, who had newly established the International Society of Independent Art at Yale University. Mehmet V regarded himself as an artist and poet and was keen to make contact with this philosopher of the avant-garde.
It was during his stay in New York
that he went to visit the Statue of Liberty and read the "New
Colossus". He stirred when asked the poet's name: Emma Lazarus, a Jew who
had fled from persecution in Russia. On further discussion, he learned that she
had called for a Jewish homeland in Uhyun in the 1880's. It encouraged him to
consult with American Jewry about the future of his refugee experiment on the
coasts of Palestine.
On 2 November, upon his return to
Beirut, he announced that he had excised Jerusalem from Arab control, making it
a city-state comparable to what the Egyptians had done in Alexandria and his own
people had done in Constantinople. The management of the city would be placed
under a council of clerics, with representation from each of the traditions: the
Tawrat, the Injil and the Qu'ran. As to Uhyun, it would become a province in its
own right, though the Sultan would remain monarch to balance the growing
influence of the Hashemites. To celebrate the change, it would receive a new
How Democracy Dies
The nationalisation of the railways under anti-trust legislation had not been expected. Nor had the decision of Congress to pass legislation that made all sexual interaction outside marriage illegal. The Supreme Court had been doing their best to hold off the tide by stating that this could only apply to relationships of a commercial nature, but that didn't stop the National Security Agency from enforcing it somewhat differently. And until elections were held in 1918, it was supposed that nothing could be done to stop the President.
It didn't stop resistance, however. There had been more protests in Pennsylvania again, and then Nebraska had joined the case, with large numbers of immigrant families claiming that they had been harassed. It was enough for some states to make a definitive stand. There was legislation on the books in most of the southern states that had been used to ban the operations of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Dubois' experiment in agitation. However, it did not specifically mention that organisation or any other. It simply said that the states had the power to deregister or prevent the operations of organisations that threatened the safety and security of others.
For Governor Hugh Dorsey of Georgia,
the answer could not have been more obvious. On 13 November, 1917, he issued an
Executive Order stating that the Republican Party met the criteria of his state
and that it would be deregistered as an organisation. Louisiana, Mississippi and
South Carolina followed suit the following day. And the Governors of Arkansas,
Florida, Texas and Virginia indicated that they may follow the lead. Alabama
merely endorsed their decision, but stated that, at this stage, they would not
ban the Republican Party.
Socialist minority governments in
Washington, Oklahoma and South Dakota stated they would stand by the decisions
of the southern states. However, their tactics were different. On 7 December,
the day the railways became national property, they passed a bill requesting a
constitutional convention. Their proposal was that the states, by a majority of
two-thirds, could recall the Congress to an election. Initiated in South Dakota,
the movement quickly swept the country. It passed through the state congresses
in every state except for:
Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine,
Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.
This provided 39 out of 52 states, requesting a constitutional convention. However, a gubernatorial veto in a number of states reduced this considerably. Those states where a veto was exercised were:
California, Connecticut, Indiana,
Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin.
In Idaho, North Dakota and Kansas, Republican Governors voted in favour of a convention, allowing legislation to pass and earning themselves expulsions from the Republican Party. However, it was insufficient as gubernatorial vetos reduced the number of states requesting a constitutional convention to thirty-two out of fifty-two. This was clearly insufficient to make the necessary two-thirds to provide for a convention.
To get an increase in those numbers,
the Democrats and the Socialists struck an interim alliance, insisting that
Minnesota Governor Joseph Burnquist (right) had, through his operation of the
"Public Safety Commission", violated his constitutional
responsibility. They immediately moved for his impeachment. There was more
direct attempt to influence the situation in California, when Governor Williams
Stephens was killed during a bombing of the Governor's mansion. The new
Governor, Clement Young, signalled his intention to not veto any more attempts
by the state congress to call a convention.
Either way, the tensions were clear as the United States marched warily into 1918, unsure of its future.
The President, however, had a new economic plan. Albert Beveridge introduced his new greenback currency on 23 April, 1918, and it commenced an economic boom in America the likes of which had been unprecedented. Abandoning the principles of fiat currency, President Beveridge stated that the dollar would be issued based on the credit of the United States Government, ending the influence of unemployment and inflation. For many voters, it almost excused his tyrannical approach to national security the previous year. In fact, many Socialists in Congress lined up to support the enabling legislation. They also endorsed his decision to allow General Motors to buy Chevrolet, rather than applying the anti-trust provisions.
What they did not support was the
Executive Order of 16 May. Under this directive to the National Security Council
and the National Investigations Bureau, it became a criminal offence to speak,
print, write or publish anything that was critical of the US Executive, any
government department, any national symbol or any act or person within the
military. The Postmaster General was ordered to begin searches on all
correspondence, to remove any such comments from correspondence and to notify
the police of the criminal behaviour of the author. It was under this
legislation that author Sherwood Anderson was arrested on 4 May when he
described the President as a "grotesque, stunted and inarticulate
being". Actor Charlie Chaplin, who wrote to the President demanding freedom
of expression for his new United Artists, likewise found himself detained. Even
the Chief Justice, who commented in June that child labour was "inherently
evil", found himself being warned about "inappropriate language".
There has often been discussion
about the direction in which the United States was headed under Beveridge and
what might have happened had it not been for the events of August that year. It
is fairly certain that the Great Plague, the pandemic of influenza, began in the
Great Plains. Why and how, nobody has yet been able to ascertain. What is
definitely certain is that the world would never be the same. The Great Plague
swept through American society and, subsequently, the entire human population of
the planet. A virulent disease, it is believed that one in four people (475
million total) contracted the virus, including over twenty-two million people in
the United States alone.
Within the first months, modern
scientists estimate that it had spread to every continent and every people. Fear
of contagion brought much of modern society to a standstill. Theatres, churches,
schools, the court system, public transport, even hospitals all ceased to
function. The symptoms became clear to the American population earlier than any
other and a number of clerics declared it to be the judgment of God on the
Administration. With the police unable and, in some cases, unwilling to enforce
order for fear of infection, the growing national security apparatus began to
fall apart. In the end, close to 4.5 million Americans, and 90 million people
worldwide, would die. It is uncertain who spread the disease into the Capitol,
but twenty-two members of the House and five Senators died in the Great Plague
as well. Globally, the disease would have similar effects, with Sultan Mehmed V
of the Ottoman Empire being the most "high profile" of its victims. In
later years, he would be remembered as the leader who revived the Ottoman
fortunes and as a great humanitarian by Jewish people of all nations.
On 30 August, the lack of response
by the White House to the growing list of casualties, the growing list of
military dead and the growing chaos in the streets led to an unprecedented
crisis in American political history. On that date, it was confirmed that
President Albert Beveridge had fallen ill. With a 20% chance he would succumb to
the disease, people looked to the line of succession. Vice President Harding
(left) was generally regarded as incompetent, with little formal education. It
was also general knowledge that he was in violation of legislation prohibiting
sex outside marriage, although the President had seemed disinclined to act.
Furthermore, he was a drinker at a time when there was widespread support for
restrictions on alcohol and there had been discussions about his potential
replacement. The Secretary of State, Knute Nelson, had been born in Norway and
was thus constitutionally incapable of holding the office. The Secretary of War,
John Wingate Weeks, had little Republican support in the Congress, despite his
perceived competence and honesty.
The oppression of the Beveridge
Administration continued under Vice President Harding’s oversight. Harding
co-opted the best intelligence resources of the defence forces into the National
Security Council and sacked the rest. The blatant attacks on every minority
group within society had spurred a great degree of antagonism towards the
Administration and a feeling that half measures were no longer acceptable.
The feeling was reflected strongly
in the 1918 Congressional elections, with a higher than expected turnout. There
had been no chance as yet to alter the Constitution, despite growing support to
do so. Thus, there was little chance of absolute defeat for the Republican
Party. Nonetheless, a large number of African Americans turned out for the first
time in American history. They voted, not with the Republicans who had
originally granted them the vote and not with the Democrats who continued to
represent their former oppressors in the south, but for the Socialists, who had
formed a strong alliance with Dubois' NAACP. Dubois, already a Socialist member
of Congress, had a subscriber list of nearly two hundred thousand for his
monthly newsletter and had strongly called for the workers and African Americans
Days prior to the election, a number of state congresses changed their voting systems from first-past-the-post, to preferential voting, and began a campaign of "Put the Republicans Last". They argued that the power was granted them under Article 1, Section 4 of the US Constitution. On election eve, Vice President Harding sought a Supreme Court injunction to bar the states from using the new voting procedure, arguing that federal regulations were already in place and that federal law overrode state law. However, the brethren, more than uncomfortable with the behaviour of Beveridge and his Cabinet (much of which remained unchanged under Harding) refused to issue the injunction, stating that the power to make election regulations lay with the states. They interpreted the meaning of the Constitution in this way:
The current federal regulations
governing elections were "revisions" of previous state regulations.
These state regulations had now been repealed and replaced with new regulations.
If the federal government wished to revise or change these new regulations, it
was free to do so. However, it could not prevent the states from issuing new
regulations on elections. To do so would be to make the power of the states to
draft electoral regulations null and void from the time of the first Congress.
What this judgment effectively meant is that, unless the Republicans gained an
absolute majority of votes in the district, Socialist preferences would flow to
the Democrats or vice versa.
In South Carolina, Mississippi,
Georgia and Louisiana, the Republican Party did not contest the election. Strong
anti-government feelings in Texas led large numbers to abandon the Republicans.
They fell from a 23% share of the vote in 1916 to less than 6% in 1918; a
similar result in Virginia saw their share slip from 36% at the previous poll to
a meagre 7%. In Arkansas, it slipped from 28% to 10%. Nationally, the Republican
Party's share of the popular vote fell from 47.3% to 38.8%. What was amazing was
that the Democrats' primary vote barely registered a change, rising from 37.0%
to 37.7%. The largest swing went to the Socialists, who rose from 15.7% to
The new House of Representatives saw
the Republicans crushed, losing a massive fifty-four districts. Despite the
damage, the landslide could have been much worse. In Connecticut, Kansas,
Montana, Oregon and Rhode Island, the Socialist romp and the lack of response
from Republican faithful reduced the Republican primary vote to a level where
many other seats came close to falling to the Democrats. In the Caribbean
states, where there had always been distaste for the Republicans, they didn't
stand a chance. The new House of Representatives was Democrats 188 (+12);
Republicans 135 (-54); Socialist 112 (+42).
In the Senate, where a clear
majority was necessary across the whole state rather than in isolated areas of
it, the Socialists also took the lion's share of the falling Republican numbers.
They scored higher than the Democrats in a number of key states, but lower than
the Republicans and Democrat votes flowed their way. They took Senate spots in
California, Illinois, Jefferson, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,
Sth Dakota and Washington, pushing their total numbers to eleven. The
Republicans, while heavily damaged, managed to retain the large numbers from the
days of the Clark recession and thus scraped together a four-seat majority over
the combined power of the Socialist and Democrats.
The election also marked the
beginning of agitation by the Native American Nationalist Association (NANA),
encouraged and led by anthropologist James Mooney. He had worked with the
Cherokee, the Sioux and the Kiowa and wanted the same protections for them as
had been gained under the law by African Americans. The last chief of the
Cherokees, William C Rogers, had died in 1917, still calling for the return of
eastern Oklahoma as an Indian territory, including the cities of Tulsa and
Broken Arrow. The Sioux in South Dakota wanted demanding recognition as citizens
and land. The Kiowa still believed that they owned the mountains north of the
Mooney had led a campaign in Oklahoma and South Dakota, getting the Socialist Party to promise Native America self-determination in return for logistical support for their campaign. It had worked amazingly well and, in 1919, for the first time, a Socialist Representative would stand on the floor of the Congress and demand restoration for the indigenous peoples of America.
Debate Over the Caliphate
With the death of Sultan Mehmed V on 4 July, 1918, the Islamic world went into mourning. It was three days later, when his successor and brother, Mehmed VI (left), stumbled across a document in his personal files. It had not been written by the Sultan; in fact, the author was unknown. What it contained was a proposal for a new Constitution for the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed VI published it, along with all his brother’s papers. However, he had no idea of the revolution in thought it would spark.
The document proposed a state built entirely on the Islamic faith, with freedom of worship, Arabic as the national language and Caliph, rather than the Sultan, as head of the unitary state. It included new doctrines as well: innocence until proven guilty, no imprisonment without trial, forbidding of torture. It outlined the qualifications for the Caliph, his method of election and substantial powers.
The document sparked debate about the role of the Caliph and the entitlement of the Ottoman dynasty to hold the title. This, in turn, encouraged input from the Shi’a of Persia, who felt that the position of Caliph had long ago been corrupted. It sparked anger by the secularists in the Turkish State Assembly, supported by Brigadier General Mustafa Kemal Bey, a recent promotion to the General Staff. It also sparked ambition, from all those who coveted the title of Caliph. Wrenching it from the Ottomans would require an alliance, but no alliance could be sustained without an agreement as to whom might succeed.
In the coming years, the personage and role of the Caliph would continue to be a subject of emotional debate and fiery rhetoric. Ultimately, although Mehmed VI had no realisation of what he had done, the publication of the papers would be the catalyst that would destroy the Ottoman Empire.
The Keynes Plan
The Consequences of Trade, published on 4 December, 1918, was the first of the landmark economic treatises of the 20th century. Professor John Maynard Keynes, as he was then, addressed the growing population and trade deficits of the colonial system. He stated that, long term, continuing trade deficits would enrich the people of Britain (and other colonial powers), but would cripple the long-term economic prospects of the dominions and colonies. As a result, the Empire's economic future could not be assured.