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The German Plot to Invade the USA

Seriously. Germany cannot win this war, but they have not yet lost it. Great Britain has cut off Germany's food supply, so the German U-boats need to get aggressive against British shipping, but if they do that, the USA will come into the war. The Kaiser believes that German-Americans will rise up against President Wilson, but German agents within the USA know that this is a mistaken assumption, badly mistaken. The Kaiser also believes that Mexico will fight for Germany due to the recent US acts of war against Mexico, and the threat of Japanese invasion... "The Yellow Peril" as he puts it. (He really thinks this. Honest.) A telegram is sent by German Foreign Secretary Zimmermann to their ambassador in Mexico informing him of their plans and to ask for Mexico's help. In exchange, Germany will help Mexico take back Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. (The Mexicans have their hands full with a civil war right now. They pass.) Meanwhile, the Brits are tapping the telegraph lines. They decode the Zimmermann Telegram, and through intrigue, pass it on to the USA. It is published, and the public goes wild. A lot of German pubs in the USA suddenly change their names to "The Swiss Gardens", if you know what I mean. It's war! [1] [2][3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It has been difficult not to shout vulgar words during these history segments. These guys sound insane, but we are the product of those who survived.... those who were less insane. When it became clear that the German Navy was kaput, the admirals (mostly old-time aristocrats) planned to go down in a blaze of glory. The German sailors didn't like that plan. Now you know why so many people have disdain for the aristocracy. Don't get me wrong. The aristocracy has it's place. Preferably some place cool and dry, and out of the sun. [5]

The October Revolution Begins in February

  • "Rivers of blood," they say. Let us analyse this aspect of the question as well.
--Lenin in 1917, comparing death through revolution to death in a senseless war. [6]

It is February. Over a thousand locomotives lay dormant, their boilers frozen and burst at the seams. The Russians on the home front (a new turn of phrase) have had enough. Food strikes, and work strikes have turned into riots. The people want bread, and meat and a life! Their military has been tossing young lives away like leaves in an autumn wind. Well... winter has come. Time's up. Emperor Nicolas the 2nd orders his troops to clear the streets of the rioters, so the St. Petersburg garrison is called out: 170,000 young men... farm boys, really. Their officers are unknown to them being mostly transients recovering from war wounds. The order comes to fire into the crowd. One regiment refuses. Another turns its rifles on the officer and shoots him instead. It's mutiny. By March 12th the streets of St. Petersburg are deadly quiet. 25,000 troops have joined the rebellion. By nightfall that number more than doubles. The Emperor orders the suspension of the Duma (that's the parliament) and edges out the door. The Duma judges that law and order have been suspended... therefore... the Emperor's order is invalid! Duma rules! The city is in the hands of the revolution... sort of. [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
You'd think a little revolution would be enough, but the Duma attempted to maintain Russia's previous obligations... like fighting in the war. Bad move, Duma. The Russians held their ground, but refused to advance. It was chaos. By October, V.I. Lenin had returned to Russia. The Duma's hope was that Lenin could lead the people to a new republican form of government like the United States, but instead of calming the crowds, he wound them up to a fever pitch. They don't call it "Red October" for nothing. The resulting civil war left almost 3 million dead. By 1922, the Soviet Union was formed. It was the greatest experiment in government since the American Revolution. Yes. I know. Socialism doesn't work, but at the time it was untried, it looked good on paper, and they wanted something different real bad, and that is what they got... something different... and real bad. [11]

The East St. Louis Massacre

This is the year that was. World War 1 has caused a boom in manufacturing. The Europeans need everything, and they need it now. But the USA is joining the war, so most able-bodied young men are signing up for the military. The factories need workers, so they hire black laborers looking for better pay. The unions, which are mostly white, see the black labor force as driving down wages. The unions block membership of blacks, but a man's gotta eat. That means a man's gotta work. Many black men become strikebreakers. So, with this background in mind, a car rolls through the black neighborhood of East St. Louis, Illinois, and fires into a crowd of black people. It's a drive-by shooting. The occupants of the car are identified as white men. An hour later, another car drives through the neighborhood. It is filled with white men too. Shots are fired into the car killing one police officer instantly, and mortally wounding another. The white community is outraged. They march on the neighborhood, setting fire to everything and clubbing down anyone who tries to escape. In the end, 312 homes are burned. Thousands of black men, women and children are left homeless. The exact death toll cannot be determined, but most people think it was around 100 to 150 black people killed and 9 white. [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Union leader, Samuel Gompers, attempted to say that it was not unions that were to blame but the evil factory owners who were enticing black workers North. This is somewhat like blaming the victim. I say "somewhat" only because someone fired into the second car. That was not self-defense. That was murder. However, the reaction of white people thereafter was vicious. Frankly, most people across the country were outraged. After all... the United States was sending young men to Europe to save democracy and establish freedom "over there" while black people could not walk down the street in peace in America. The irony was not lost on most people... like Teddy Roosevelt, for example. He was torqued off at Gompers.

Notable Births

  • John F. Kennedy (President of the United States, and assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.) [3]
  • Carl Karcher (Founder of the Carl's Jr. Restaurant chain, he starts by hocking his car to buy a hotdog stand.) [15] [16]
  • Arthur C. Clarke (Sci-Fi author who states, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.") [17] [18]
  • Jane Wyman (Actress and 1st wife of President Reagan. Rumors that she is really Jane Wyatt are false... though I've never see them together. Hmmmm.) [19]

In Other News

  • The 100-inch reflector telescope is installed at Mount Wilson, California. Unfortunately, the light from the city of Los Angeles will become a problem later on. [3]
  • Rutherford splits the atom. It had to happen. He also discovers the proton and names it as such. [20] [21]
  • The Lions Club is founded. "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else." --Melvin Jones, founder of the Lions Club. [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1917, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. Zimmermann Telegram, The. Dell. ISBN 9780345324252. “Late in the year 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm had a revelation. He decided to commit it to paper in the form of a drawing, and when he had finished he was delighted with his artistry; the ominous Oriental figure dominating the picture was truly admirable. Suddenly it inspired in his fertile mind a title in one succinct and striking phrase: Die Gelbe Gefahr! -- the Yellow Peril.” 
  2. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. Zimmermann Telegram, The. Dell. ISBN 9780345324252. “
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 470-471. 
  4. Alex Shrugged notes: Those who have read Robert A. Heinlein novels will recognize the "Swiss Gardens" remark. I wish I could give a more detailed citation than that. And, as I have said before, I thank Dan Carlin for his excellent series on World War I, "Blueprint for Armageddon".
  5. Kaput - definition of kaput (2016). Retrieved on 16 December 2016. “kaput A German word meaning done for, used to mean broken, destroyed, or out of order.”
  6. The Russian Revolution And Civil War. Marxists.org (September 29, 1917). Retrieved on 16 December 2016. “'Rivers of blood,' they say. Let us analyse this aspect of the question as well.”
  7. Massie, Robert K.. Nicholas and Alexandra. Dell. ISBN 0440363586. “In February 1917, winter weather dealt Russia's railroads a final blow. In a month of extreme cold and heavy snowfall, 1,200 locomotive boilers froze and burst, deep drifts blocked long sections of track and 57,000 railway cars stood motionless. In Petrograd, supplies of flour, coal and wood dwindled and disappeared.” 
  8. October Revolution - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Don Cossacks - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 28 December 2014.
  10. Home front - definition of home front (2016). Retrieved on 16 December 2016. “home′ front, n. the civilian sector of a nation at war when its armed forces are in combat abroad. [1915–20]”
  11. October Revolution - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 December 2016. “The October Revolution, officially known in the Soviet literature as the Great October Socialist Revolution, and commonly referred to as Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a seizure of state power instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd traditionally dated to 25 October 1917 (by the Julian or Old Style calendar, which corresponds to 7 November 1917 in the Gregorian or New Style calendar).”
  12. East St. Louis riots - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 December 2016. “A Congressional Investigating Committee concluded that no precise death toll could be determined, but reported that at least 8 whites and 39 blacks died. While the coroner specified nine white deaths, the deaths of black victims were less clearly recorded. Activists who disputed the Committee's conclusion, argued that the true number of deaths would never be known because many corpses were not recovered, or did not pass through the hands of undertakers.”
  13. St. Louis Argus, July 6, 1917. archive.org (2016). Retrieved on 16 December 2016. “RIOT A NATIONAL DISGRACE”
  14. East St. Louis Massacre - Teachinghistory.org (2016). Retrieved on 16 December 2016. “Roving mobs rampaged through the city for a day and a night, burning the homes and businesses of African Americans, stopping street cars to pull their victims into the street, and assaulting and murdering men, women, and children who they happened to encounter. A memorial petition to the U.S. Congress, sent by a citizen committee from East St. Louis described it as 'a very orgy of inhuman butchery during which more than fifty colored men, women and children were beaten with bludgeons, stoned, shot, drowned, hanged or burned to death—all without any effective interference on the part of the police, sheriff or military authorities.' In fact, estimates of the number of people killed ranged from 40 to more than 150. Six thousand people fled from their homes in the city, either out of fear for their lives or because mobs had burned their houses.”
  15. Carl Karcher - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 December 2016. “Karcher and his wife started their first business, a hot dog stand, on July 17, 1941 in Los Angeles, California when they borrowed $311 against their Plymouth automobile and added $15 from Margaret's purse. The stand initially sold hot dogs and Mexican tamales. On his 28th birthday, January 16, 1945, they opened their first restaurant, Carl's Drive-In Barbecue, in Anaheim.”
  16. Hocking - definition of hocking (2016). Retrieved on 15 December 2016. “vb (tr) to pawn or pledge”
  17. Arthur C. Clarke - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 December 2016. “In 1945, he proposed a satellite communication system, an idea which won him the Franklin Institute's Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1963, and other honours.”
  18. Clarke's three laws - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 December 2016. “British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated three adages that are known as Clarke's three laws, of which the third law is the best known and most widely cited:
    1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
    2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
    3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
  19. Jane Wyman - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 December 2016. “She was also the first wife of Ronald Reagan; they married in 1940 and divorced in 1949.”
  20. Ernest Rutherford - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 14 June 2015. “He is widely credited with first 'splitting the atom' in 1917 in a nuclear reaction between nitrogen and alpha particles, in which he also discovered (and named) the proton.”
  21. Ernest Rutherford. New Zealand History Online (Ministry for Culture and Heritage) (15 May 2015). Retrieved on 14 June 2015. “In 1917 Rutherford claimed that he had 'broken the machine and touched the ghost of matter’. In his third major breakthrough, he had succeeded in 'splitting' the atom – making him the world's first successful alchemist. This research was published in 1919, the same year he became Director of the Cavendish Laboratory. There he proved a humane and supportive leader who never failed to let his students take credit for research he had mentored.”
  22. Lions Clubs International - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 May 2016. “Lions Clubs International, a service membership organization of over 1.4 million members worldwide (as of April 2015), was founded in the United States on June 7, 1917, by Melvin Jones, a Chicago businessman. Jones asked, with regard to his colleagues, 'What if these men who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?' Jones' personal code, 'You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else,' reminds many Lions of the importance of community service.”

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