Battle of Adrianople (1913): The Turkish city of Adrianople (Edirne in Turkish, Odrin in Bulgaria), at one time the capital of the Ottoman Empire, was captured Bulgarian troops under the command of General Savov. Four months later, after the Second Balkan War broke out between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, the Turkish Ottoman troops would recapture on July 23, 1913.
The fall of Erdine (Adrianople) to the Bulgarians after a four month siege is the most significant news in the past week. Tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia-Montenegro over Skutari and Albania more generally appear to be on the wane as well.
Also note the article on Japanese naval expansion, particularly its reference to being able to face a “certain power” capable of massing 22 battleships in the Pacific. That power could only be the United States.
Also note the 40-odd page long overview of the Russian economy in the Times of London. We can only show its extent by listing its table of contents! This followed last weeks’ 3- full column length review of U.S. agriculture, noting its general stagnation. It was quite interesting, but simply too lengthy to post here. All in all, it is a measure of the habits of an imperial hegemony at the end of its historic tenure.
A sharper contrast could not be drawn with the low and vulgar quality of standard U.S. journalistic fare as evidenced in the New York Times, the legacy of the influence of Pulitzer and Hearst. Not to mention its propensity for the mindless peddling of falsehoods and other disinformation, a habit that continues to this day.
This is epitomized by the Time’s memoir to a certain Lord Wolseley, a career that typified the British Empire. It is highly recommended that the reader check out the Wikipedia on Wolseley, of Anglo-Irish gentry “settled in the time of William II” at the end of the 17th century. There was hardly a corner of the planet Earth that did not feel the jackboot of 1st Viscount Wolseley’s presence. While stationed in Canada during the U.S. Civil War, Wolseley even had himself smuggled into Virginia on a Confederate blockade runner, where he was pleased to fraternize with the military command of the Slaveowners’ Republic, and wrote an apologetic for the infamous Nathan Bedford Forrest, future founder of the Ku Klux Klan terror organization, after one of his frequent massacres of Black prisoners of war. The bloody bastard!
Exactly 50 years after his March 18, 1863 selection, King George I of Greece was assassinated in Salonika while walking the streets of the city recently captured from Turkey. The King, who had refused bodyguards and was accompanied only by his equerry, was shot in the back by Aleko Schinas, a Greek citizen.
U.S. President Wilson announced that the U.S. government was withdrawing approval of American banks in the
Quotation from Woodrow Wilson’s History of the American People as reproduced in the film The Birth of a Nation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
proposed six-nation loan to China.
Song Jiaoren (Sung Chiao-jen), the President of the Kuomingtang Party in the Republic of China, was shot and fatally wounded while waiting for a train in Shanghai; Song would die two days later. Song’s killer, Wu Shiying, had been assisted by Ying Guixing, and a search of their apartments found documents linking the murder to cabinet Minister Hong Shuzu, Interior Minister Zhao Bingjun, and even President Yuan Shikai.
Wireless communication between the United States and France began when the U.S. station at Arlington, Maryland sent a message received at the Eiffel Tower in Paris
It continues to be a slow news period. The main items of note include Woodrow Wilson’s’ withdrawal of U.S. government backing for a multinational loan to the new Chinese Republic. Back in the days before the IMF and other such international financial institutions, the leading imperialist powers would typically float loans to less developed countries in exchange for being granted key positions in the state financial institutions of the target country. From this vantage point they could then squeeze the target country without mercy. The Ottoman Empire, Egypt and the Latin American republics had been typical victims. In the case of China, the leading powers tended to gang-bang in a sort of wolf-pack, just as they did in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. In the long run the attempted subjugation of China would not succeed, marking probably the most signal failure of imperialism’s attempted conquest of the world, though the Japanese imperialists would eventually make the most determined, and the most destructive, attempt.
The other current events of note are the assassination of the Greek King, George I, and his replacement by the new (and pro-German) King Constantine. the ominous noises coming from Vienna (Austria-Hungary) concerning the continued Montenegrin-Serbian assault on Scutari, and on the Albanians generally. Meanwhile the New York Times suggests for the first time that Victoriano Huerta’s claims concerning the strength of the opposition to the coup are less than credible.
Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, who had been living at the Hotel Roma in El Paso, Texas under the alias “Doroteo Arango“, crossed the Rio Grande back into Mexico, along with eight companions, to rebuild his army and to overthrow Mexican President Victoriano Huerta. By year’s end, Villa would have control of the state of Chihuahua, which served as his base for anti-government raids.
Pancho Villa (3rd from right)
The tercentenary of the reign of the Romanov dynasty was celebrated across the Russian Empire, although on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia and 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar used in the rest of the world, the date was February 21. Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the dynasty, would be deposed less than five years later.
Contrary to the tone of faux confidence of the Anglo-American press, Victoriano Huerta faced increasing armed opposition to the stabilization of his rule. Venustiano Carranza had immediately begun to organize a resistance to the Huerta-Diaz coup from his base in Coahuila state in North Mexico. Carranza was joined by the arrival of Pancho Villa in Chihuahua state from the United States, to where he had fled in 1912 to escape execution by Huerta when he was at the head of the Federal armies under the Madero presidency. Here Villa was to reorganize the famous Division del Norte, at its maximum consisting of up to 50,000 soldiers. Despite their alliance, Carranza and Villa came from completely different social origins: Carranza was the son of wealthy ranchers from Coahuila state, politically a liberal of the Francisco Madero type, and would be the key force behind the Constitution of 1917. Villa, from Durango state, was the son of peones de hacienda, essentially a post-feudal sharecropping economic institution that could also include mining and ranching operations. Many were owned by the Catholic Church, explaining the hostility to the Church in the Revolution. The hacienda system was legally abolished in 1917. Villa’s army led the expropriation of land for redistribution to peasants, going beyond the liberalism of Madero and Carranza at that time.