One hundred, five years, ago…
Hello Central! Give Me No Man’s Land is a World War I era song released in 1918. Lyrics were written by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young. Jean Schwartz composed the music. The song was published by Waterson Berlin & Snyder, Co. of New York City. Artist Albert Wilfred Barbelle designed the sheet music cover, which features a photo of Al Jolson next to a shadow of a child on the phone. Explosions in No Man’s Land take up the rest of the red background. The song was written for both voice and piano. It was first introduced in the 1918 musical Sinbad.
The song tells the story of a child attempting to call her father in No Man’s Land. She is unable to reach him over the telephone because her father has been killed fighting on the Western Front.
There is very little else written about this song. When I have gone to the Tsort charts, with these older pieces, I have usually chosen whatever was at the top of the particular chart, for the particular year. This time, I looked, specifically, for this month in 1918. According to (old) US Billboard 1, this song was on the chart for eight weeks. ~Vic
Fifty years, ago, today…
Shortly after midnight on July 12, 1973, a fire was reported at the National Personnel Records Center’s Military Personnel Records Building, [a branch of the NPRC], in St. Louis County, Missouri. The fire burned out of control for 22 hours and it took two days before firefighters were able to re-enter the building. Due to the extensive damage, investigators were never able to determine the source of the fire.
The National Archives focused its immediate attention on salvaging as much as possible and quickly resuming operations at the facility. Even before the final flames were out, staff at the NPRC had begun work towards these efforts, as vital records were removed from the burning building for safekeeping.
“In terms of loss to the cultural heritage of our nation, the 1973 NPRC fire was an unparalleled disaster. In the aftermath of the blaze, recovery and reconstruction efforts took place at an unprecedented level. Thanks to such recovery efforts and, the use of alternate sources to reconstruct files, today’s NPRC is able to continue its primary mission of serving our country’s military and civil servants.”
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
The estimated loss of Army personnel records, for those discharged from November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1950, was about 80 percent. In addition, approximately 75 percent of Air Force personnel records, for those discharged from September 25, 1947, through January 1, 1964, were also destroyed in the catastrophe [all records after the last name Hubbard].
Archives Recalls Fire That Claimed Millions Of Military Personnel Files
National Archives News
One-hundred, five years, ago, today…the silent black & white, comedy-drama To Hell With The Kaiser! was released. Written by June Mathis and directed by George Irving, it starred Lawrence Grant (as The Kaiser/actor Robert Graubel), Olive Tell, Betty Howe, John Sunderland, Earl Schenck (as the Crown Prince), Mabel Wright, Frank Currier, Karl Dane and Walter P. Lewis as Satan.
Following the death of his father, Frederick III of Germany, Wilhelm Hohenzollern becomes the German Kaiser and forms a pact with the devil that, he will conquer the globe in exchange for his soul. During the Kaiser’s invasion of Belgium, the Crown Prince enters a church and rapes Ruth Monroe, the daughter of an American inventor who has perfected a noiseless communications device. When the professor denounces the Crown Prince, he immediately is shot, whereupon his other daughter Alice vows to obtain revenge. While Alice’s sweetheart, Winslow Dodge, fights with the Americans as an aviator, she arranges to meet the Crown Prince through her friend Robert Graubel, an actor who impersonates the Kaiser at public functions. With her father’s wireless [device], Alice informs Winslow of the Kaiser’s whereabouts and, as he captures the German emperor, she kills the Crown Prince. Now a prisoner, the Kaiser drowns himself and wakes up in Hell, where Satan abdicates in his favor, saying that the Kaiser’s tortures are more fiendish than any he ever devised.
Lawrence Grant, who spent his lengthy career playing odious villains, appeared in the dual role of Kaiser Wilhelm II and his look-alike, German actor Robert Graubel. Terrified of being assassinated, the Kaiser hires Graubel to impersonate him at various political functions. In the film, the Kaiser achieves military success through an infernal pact with Satan. Once this is established, the film concentrates on the seemingly endless tally of misdeeds perpetrated by the Kaiser during his quarter-century reign over Germany. His “partner in crime” is the Crown Prince […], who thinks nothing of casually raping convent girls and gunning down protesting nuns. The Crown Prince’s latest conquest is Ruth Monroe […], the daughter of an American inventor. When Ruth’s father protests this outrage, he is brutally murdered, whereupon Ruth’s sister Alice […] vows revenge. Using her father’s newest invention, a wireless machine whose coded messages cannot be intercepted, Alice directs a battalion of planes to bomb the small German village where the Kaiser is hiding. Captured by the Allies, the Kaiser is ignominiously dumped in a POW camp but, not before enduring a well-aimed sock on the jaw from a pugnacious dough-boy. In despair, the Kaiser commits suicide and sends his soul to hell. In hell, the devil […] gives up his throne, confessing that the Kaiser is far more sinister than he could ever hope to be.
[On June 8, 1918], Motography ran a Screen Classics press release explaining that To Hell With The Kaiser “reveals the machinations of Europe’s military monster before and during the war, his contempt for Americans […], his elaborate plans to crush France, […] destroy Russia, […] partition the world, […] his [order] to employ deadly gases in the war, the true circumstances under which he ordered the sinking of the Lusitania, the raiding of hospitals […].” Years before the war, Mr. Grant’s physical likeness to the German ruler was noted by a high official of the Kaiser’s court and a proposition was made for Grant to play the Kaiser in a dramatization […]. The war broke out before discussions went any further.
Actor John Sunderland, playing American pilot Winslow Dodge, was himself “an aviator who has seen service in Belgium.”
[It] had been released in the press that Kaiser Wilhelm II had half a dozen doubles who were employed to pose for him in various parts of the country, where there might be danger of assassination, while the real Kaiser, himself, remained safe behind this cloak.
To Hell With The Kaiser opened in New York City at the Broadway Theatre on June 30, 1918, immediately after it had emerged from the cutting and editing rooms […].
The film turned out to be an effective propaganda tool […]. Not only has the picture been shown in munitions plants and training camps […] but, this power has now been demonstrated in a new way…to convert conscientious objectors.
The National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) included this film on its list of Lost U.S. Silent Feature Films as of February 2021.
I found the building of this post fascinating. What started out as a simple movie post, turned into a history lesson. It’s a shame that it is lost. There are photographs of still pictures on IMDb. ~Vic
I certainly like her name! ~Vic
One-hundred, thirty years, ago, today…
[The] HMS Victoria was the lead ship in her class of two battleships of the Royal Navy. On June 22, 1893, she collided with [the] HMS Camperdown near Tripoli […] during maneuvers and quickly sank, killing 358 crew members, including the commander of the British Mediterranean Fleet, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon. One of the survivors was executive officer John Jellicoe, later commander-in-chief of the British Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland.
Victoria was constructed at a time of innovation and rapid development in ship design. Her name was originally to be Renown but, this was changed to Victoria while still under construction to celebrate Queen Victoria‘s Golden Jubilee, which took place the year the ship was launched. Her arrival was accompanied by considerable publicity. She was the largest, fastest and most powerful ironclad afloat, with the heaviest guns. Despite the ship’s many impressive features, compromises in the design meant that she proved less than successful in service.
A detailed model of the ship was exhibited at the Royal Navy exhibition in 1892 and another in silver was given to Queen Victoria by the officers of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines as a Jubilee gift.
The ship was nicknamed The Slipper (or when with her sister ship, [the] HMS Sans Pareil […] The Pair of Slippers) because of a tendency for her low fore-deck to disappear from view, in even slight seas, especially as a result of the low forward deck and raised aft superstructure…the two ships [had a] humorously perceived resemblance to the indoor footwear.
In clear, sunny weather, off the coast of Syria…
The officer in command, Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon, was a fearsome martinet with a reputation as a master of complicated ship handling. He had an elaborate plan for bringing his fleet to anchor, providing onlookers a spectacle of precision maneuvering. [Ten] battleships of the Mediterranean fleet were drawn up in two parallel columns, 1200 yards apart, heading directly away from port out to sea. Tryon then ordered a crash 180-degree turn in succession. The intention, apparently, was for each pair of ships…in order…to turn inwards and create a breathtaking view of the ships’ wakes fanning out, while the ships came about, only 400 yards from each other, [then proceeding] in the opposite direction from their original course, heading towards the land. Then, the ships were to turn 90 degrees to form one column and anchor in unison.
[The] Victoria capsized just 13 minutes after the collision, rotating to starboard with a terrible crash, as her boats and anything, free fell to the side and, as water, entering the funnels, caused explosions when it reached the boilers. With her keel uppermost, she slipped down into the water, bow first, propellers still rotating and threatening anyone near them. Most of the crew managed to abandon ship, although those in the engine room never received orders to leave their posts and were drowned. Those who escaped had to contend with the suction from the sinking ship. A circular wave spread out from it which repeatedly drew down those in the water. All manner of items broke loose from the ship as it sank and came shooting up among the men. Onlookers watched as the number of live men in the water steadily reduced.
[On August 22, 2004], the wreck of the Victoria was discovered by Lebanese-Austrian diver Christian Francis, aided by British diver Mark Ellyatt. She was found in [460 feet] of water off the coast near Tripoli […] and was located using sonar. The most amazing aspect of the wreck is that, unlike all others, she sits vertically with about two thirds of her above the sea bed. The upright position is assumed to have been caused by the huge weight of her fore guns, which would have dragged her down, bow first. The wreck has already been declared a war grave and an exclusion zone has been imposed around her, while the English and Lebanese authorities determine her legal status.
Christian Francis Finding HMS Victoria
Fifty years ago, today…
The Pentagon acknowledged for the first time that Bạch Mai Hospital and Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi had been accidentally damaged during December’s Operation Linebacker II bombing raids but, without clarifying if the damage was caused by bombing, falling debris or anti-aircraft weapons.
During Nixon’s Christmas bombing, Operation Linebacker II, on December 22, 1972, American bombs struck the hospital, obliterating the building, […] killing 28 hospital staff members and an unconfirmed number of patients.
On the 22nd, a wing of the Bach Mai Hospital, located in the southern suburbs of Hanoi, was struck by a stick of bombs from a B-52. The US military claimed that the hospital “frequently housed anti-aircraft positions.” The civilian deaths were criticized by the North Vietnamese and U.S. peace activists. The hospital sat one kilometer from the runway of [the] Bach Mai Airfield and a major fuel storage facility was only 180 metres (200 yds) away. While the patients of the hospital wing had been evacuated from the city, 28 doctors, nurses and pharmacists were killed.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed today for the first time reports of damage to the Bach Mai Hospital and Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi during heavy air raids last month over North Vietnam but, he denied that the damage was either massive or intentional. Jerry W. Friedheim, Pentagon spokesman, said at a morning news briefing:
“It appears that some limited accidental damage has occurred to some facilities at Gia Lam Airport and at a hospital the enemy calls Bach Mai. The exact extent of this damage is uncertain, as is its cause. Our information does not square with Hanoi’s propaganda claims of massive destruction at these sites.”
Report of Damage to Hanoi Hospital Confirmed By U.S.
New York Times
January 2, 1973
The True Story of the Christmas Bombing in North Vietnam 1972 (Americong/Roger Canfield/November 11, 2011)
Vietnam Christmas Bombings: 1972 Mutiny of B-52 Crews (The Veteran/VVAW/Summer 1977)
One hundred and fifty years ago, today…
The Challenger expedition of 1872–1876 was a scientific program that made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography. The expedition was named after the naval vessel that undertook the trip, HMS Challenger.
The expedition, initiated by William Benjamin Carpenter, was placed under the scientific supervision of Sir Charles Wyville Thomson of the University of Edinburgh and Merchiston Castle School, assisted by five other scientists, including Sir John Murray, a secretary-artist and, a photographer. The Royal Society of London obtained the use of Challenger from the Royal Navy and, in 1872, modified the ship for scientific tasks, equipping it with separate laboratories for natural history & chemistry. The expedition, led by Captain Sir George Strong Nares, sailed from Portsmouth, England, on [December 21, 1872]. Other naval officers included Commander John Maclear.
Under the scientific supervision of Thomson himself, the ship traveled approximately 68,890 nautical miles (79,280 miles/127,580 kilometres) surveying and exploring. The result was the Report of the Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873–76 which, among many other discoveries, catalogued over 4,000 previously unknown species. John Murray, who supervised the publication, described the report as “the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.” Challenger sailed close to Antarctica but, not within sight of it. However, it was the first scientific expedition to take pictures of icebergs.
From Deep Sea to Laboratory (The First Explorations of the Deep Sea by H.M.S. Challenger 1872-1876)/ISTE UK Website
Then & Now: The HMS Challenger Expedition & the Mountains in the Sea Expedition/NOAA Ocean Explorer/2003
HMS Challenger Expedition/Natural History Museum UK/2014 (Web Archive)
HMS Challenger/USCD Aquarium/2008 (Web Archive)
Attila was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. He was also the leader of a tribal empire consisting of Ostrogoths, Alans and Bulgars, among others, in Central and Eastern Europe. He is also considered one of the most powerful rulers in world history.
Attila [invaded] and [ravaged] Italy on June 8, 452, one-thousand, five hundred and seventy years, ago, today. Communities became established in what would later become Venice as a result of these attacks when the residents fled to small islands in the Venetian Lagoon. His army sacked numerous cities and razed Aquileia so completely that it was afterwards hard to recognize its original site. Aëtius lacked the strength to offer battle, but managed to harass and slow Attila’s advance with only a shadow force. Attila finally halted at the River Po. By this point, disease and starvation may have taken hold in Attila’s camp, thus hindering his war efforts and potentially contributing to the cessation of invasion.
Attila, by-name Flagellum Dei (Latin: “Scourge of God”) [ruled] jointly with his elder brother Bleda until 445. In legend, he appears under the name Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and under the name Atli in Icelandic sagas. The empire that Attila and his elder brother Bleda inherited seems to have stretched from the Alps and the Baltic in the west to somewhere near the Caspian Sea in the east.
In 452, the Huns invaded Italy and sacked several cities, including Aquileia, Patavium (Padua), Verona, Brixia (Brescia), Bergomum (Bergamo), and Mediolanum (Milan). Aetius could do nothing to halt them but, the famine and pestilence raging in Italy in that year compelled the Huns to leave without crossing the Apennines.
Attila, King of the Huns
Attila invaded northern Italy in 452 but, spared the city of Rome due to the diplomacy of Pope Leo I and the rough shape of his own troops. Legend has it that St. Peter and St. Paul appeared to Attila, threatening to strike him dead if he did not settle with Pope Leo I. Attila died the following year, in 453, before he could try once again to take Italy.
Attlia the Hun
One thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven years ago, today…
In the 440s, the Vandal king Genseric and the Roman Emperor Valentinian III had betrothed their children, Huneric and Eudocia, to strengthen their alliance, reached in 442 with a peace treaty (the marriage was delayed as Eudocia was too young). In 455 Valentinian was killed and Petronius Maximus rose to the throne. Petronius married Valentinian’s widow, Licinia Eudoxia and had his son Palladius marry Eudocia. [In] this way, Petronius was to strengthen his bond with the Theodosian Dynasty. Unhappy, however, with her husband’s murder and the usurpation of Maximus, Eudoxia turned to aid from the Vandals to remove Maximus from his undeserved throne. The overture was favorably met because Maximus’ revolution was damaging to Genseric’s ambitions. The king of the Vandals claimed that the broken betrothal between Huneric and Eudocia invalidated his peace treaty with Valentinian and set sail to attack Rome, landing at Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.
On this day in 455, the Vandals sacked Rome. It wasn’t too awful, as sackings go, because the Vandal king Genseric agreed to refrain from slaughtering all the inhabitants and burning down the entire city if the Romans didn’t put up any military resistance…which, they didn’t. They just threw the gates right open. So, for the next two weeks, the Vandals merely drank all the wine, stole all the treasure, enslaved an unlucky few thousand locals and generally vandalized the place. A few hundred of the impromptu wine-tastings, as it were, got out of hand and some buildings, or some people, ended up on fire but, hey…relatively speaking, the Romans got off pretty easy.
Jeannette Rankin was an American politician and women’s rights advocate and, the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana in 1916 and, again, in 1940. As of 2022, Rankin is still the only woman ever elected to Congress from Montana.
Each of Rankin’s Congressional terms coincided with initiation of U.S. military intervention in the two World Wars. A lifelong pacifist, she was one of 50 House members who opposed the declaration of war on Germany in 1917. In 1941, she was the only member of Congress to vote against the declaration of war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
A suffragist during the Progressive Era, Rankin organized and lobbied for legislation enfranchising women in several states including Montana, New York and North Dakota. While in Congress, she introduced legislation that eventually became the 19th Constitutional Amendment, granting unrestricted voting rights to women nationwide. She championed a multitude of diverse women’s rights and civil rights causes throughout a career that spanned more than six decades.
Rankin was born on June 11, 1880, to John and Olive Rankin at Grant Creek Ranch near Missoula, in what was then the Montana Territory. She was the first of seven children […] in a prosperous family. Her father […] was a rancher and builder who had come to Montana from Canada. Her mother […] had moved from New Hampshire to teach before marrying John Rankin and becoming a housewife. Jeannette attended Montana State University in Missoula (now the University of Montana) and graduated in 1902 with a degree in biology. [Her] career in politics began as a student volunteer with a local women’s suffrage campaign in Washington State, preparing for a referendum on voting rights. [In] February 1911, she became the first woman to address the Montana legislature when she testified in support of women’s suffrage.
History, Art & Archives
United States House of Representatives
Rankin held office in her first term from March 4, 1917, one-hundred and five years, ago, today, to March 3, 1919. Her second term was from January 3, 1941 to January 3, 1943. Powerful enemies made sure she could not get re-elected. Twenty-four years later, she reclaimed her seat. She never married and passed away May 18, 1973 at the age of 92. ~Vic
Jeannette Rankin (Biography/February 27, 2018)
Montana’s Women Candidates Are Out To Set Another Record (Billings Gazette/Web Archive/October 25, 2016)
Seven Things About Jeannette Rankin (History Channel/Jesse Greenspan/September 1, 2018)
Yes, a new heading. Phil suggested that I try to write more so…
I lived in Virginia Beach for a year (July 2001 – July 2002) with my, then, Marine Corps husband. I don’t remember the exact date but, one evening, we happened to be wandering the streets of Norfolk, near Norfolk Harbor. We saw a neon sign in a window of a bar: O’Malley’s. The place was full of what appeared to be sailors but, they weren’t Americans. They were busy drinking and singing Irish drinking songs. The Marine and I did manage to find a couple of empty bar stools, way at the end of the bar, deep into the establishment. The Marine took the very last stool to my left and I tried to position myself into the remaining empty stool. It was a tight squeeze and I began to think to myself… “How in the hell am I going to get my big ass thru that narrow space to get onto that stool?” For the split-second pondering it took, the full-bearded gentleman to my right, turned to me and said “Do you not want to sit next to me for some reason? I know I look rough but…” I immediately jumped in to reassure him that, that was not the case and shared my “OMG, I won’t fit…” fears, out loud, right there in front of God and everybody. He threw his head back and roared. “Have a seat, my dear…and, have drink.” He turned out to be the COTB (Chief of the Boat) of the Canadian Frigate HMCS St. John’s, that was in Norfolk for degaussing. It was a fun evening and that COTB invited us to tour the ship the next day.
We arrived around 4:00pm and I noticed that a Canadian Frigate really stands out next to American Navy vessels. It’s an odd green color, next to the blue of the American ships and I was told that it doesn’t have any right angles on it. We boarded the ship and asked for the Chief. They retrieved him and he rolled out looking like he’d been on a three day drunk. He was clearly hung over. He called for a much younger seaman to give us the tour of the ship and joined us later.
One neat thing aboard a Canadian vessel is…the bar. They had a beautiful, stained wooden bar and, a full stock of beer and wine. They also had a few women on board, which I found odd, even though women were allowed on board American war ships, beginning in 1994. It was still a rare sight back then.
We were invited to stay for dinner. It was a simple meal for sailing men but, I’m pretty sure that, not many people can say that they dined with the entire crew of a Canadian Frigate…and not been a crew member. It was really cool. I wish I could remember the name of that COTB. He offered me a St. John’s sweatshirt and I declined because I didn’t have any money. I intended to return to the ship with money but, we never made it back. That would have been a cool souvenir.
The Athenian Coup of 411 BC was a revolutionary movement during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta that overthrew the democratic government of ancient Athens and replaced it with a short-lived oligarchy known as The Four Hundred. The movement was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians who held positions of power in the Athenian army at Samos, in coordination with Alcibiades (and Antiphon) who promised to deliver Persian support to Athens if the democracy was overthrown. Negotiations with Alcibiades eventually broke down as he proved incapable of delivering his promise. Nevertheless, the leaders of the oligarchic movement went forward with their plans to overthrow Athenian democratic government.
The Four Hundred government in Athens suffered from instability as conflict soon arose between moderates and extremists among the oligarchs. The moderates, led by Theramenes and Aristocrates, called for the replacement of The Four Hundred with a broader oligarchy of “the 5,000” […]. After the leader of the extremists Phrynichus was assassinated, the moderates grew bolder and arrested an extremist general in Piraeus. A confrontation ensued, which ended with the hoplites in Piraeus tearing down the new fortification. Several days later, the Four Hundred were officially replaced by “the 5,000”, who ruled for several more months until after the Athenian victory at Cyzicus.
The Oligarchic Coup in Athens (Brewminate Blog)
Council of the Four Hundred (Britannica)
The Oligarchic Coup of 411 (Thomas R. Martin/Tufts University)
Athenian Coup of 411 (Wikipedia)
One hundred, fifty-seven years ago, today, President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous speech at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg had just been 4 1/2 months prior. Lincoln was in the early stages of a mild case of small pox.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.