Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Month: May 2017 (Page 2 of 4)

The Trial of the Topeka Conspirators

Seymour Stedman (Library of Congress)

Following a January 1918 postponement to rule on the double jeopardy motion entered by the members of the Federation for Democratic Control, the trial of the Kansas conspirators began on April 11, 1918 in a federal courtroom in Topeka, Judge John C. Pollock presiding. Fred Felten, having agreed to testify on behalf of the prosecution, escaped indictment. U.S. District Attorney Fred Robertson, handled the prosecution and Seymour Steadman, a socialist attorney from Chicago, headed the defense. more

The Trial of the Federation for Democratic Control

On December 11, 1917, the government opened its case in Kansas City, Missouri against the Moores, Browder and six others also charged with conspiring to obstruct the draft law in that state.   Harvey Kleinschmidt was not indicted having agreed to serve as a witness for the government. Judge A. S. Van Valkenburgh left no doubt the case focused on the issue of patriotism. The constitutional right of free speech, the judge admonished the jury, “cannot be made a cloak for deliberate or intentional lawbreaking.” With scrutiny of First Amendment rights removed, Van Valkenburgh branded the defendants with an image of secrecy and evil plotting, cautioning it was rare that a conspiracy can be proven directly as those who band together to do wrong seldom act openly in such a manner as to furnish direct evidence of their purposes. The prosecution need only show that a conspiracy was not improbable. Likening the soldiers the defendants attempted to dissuade from fulfilling their duty to the “instrumentality of the Almighty,” the judge declared in apocryphal language that should the nation fail to raise an army to protect women and children on foreign shores, it would inevitably have to do so at home. more

The African American Soldier: George Alexander Sweatt

George Alexander Sweatt is best remembered as one of the ballplayers from the glory days of baseball’s Negro Leagues, one of the many who was likely good enough to play in the major leagues but never got the chance due to their race.  Sweatt would play in the first four Negro Leagues World Series, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1924 and 1925, and the Chicago American Giants in 1926 and 1927. more

Memorials to the Missing – Vimy

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is situated about five miles from Arras, France in a 250 acre park that is considered sovereign Canadian territory. The park is operated and maintained by Veteran’s Affairs Canada rather than by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The ridge is an escarpment seven miles long and 475 feet above sea level at the highest point. more

Kansans of the Great War Era: Ike Gilberg

Long before 1917, Ike Gilberg had earned a reputation as the “leader of Topeka radicalism.”

Born in 1873 in Bialystok, Russia, a major Jewish textile manufacturing center, Gilberg boarded a Red Star liner in 1889 bound for New York City. For whatever reason, Gilberg seemed intent on obfuscating the reason he fled his homeland giving at least three different accounts of what he described as “my feeble attempts to bring on the revolution.” Traveling first to Missouri, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1896, Gilberg arrived in Topeka by 1907, opening a tailor shop in the basement of the Copeland Hotel. more

C-SPAN2 & 3, May 20-21

Time once again to preview C-SPAN’S World War I programming.  As usual, all times given here are Central, and most shows can be found on the C-SPAN website after their first viewing.

First, on C-SPAN2 on Sunday, May 21st, some repeat programming.  At 4:00 p.m. Andrew Carroll talks on his book, My Fellow Soldiers, that was taped in April at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.  It is followed at 5:00 p.m by Robert Dalessandro’s talk about his book, Over There:  America in the Great War. more

The Annals of Kansas, #9

100 years ago in Kansas, May 21-27, 1917.

May 21, 1917

  • Enlistment of hundreds of men and the federal literacy law, which stopped immigration from Mexico, had caused a serious labor shortage affecting the railroads and the increased crop production program, the State Labor Commissioner announced.
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    Where WWI Ended for the United States

    Thanks to the National World War I Museum and Memorial, I return to New Jersey and the Great War sooner than expected.

    We tend to forget that since we rejected the Treaty of Versailles, a separate peace had to be negotiated, and wasn’t accomplished until 1921.  I’d advise that you keep July 2, 2021 open for the big celebration. more

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