Crimson Banners Fly: The Rise of the American Left

I've been reading this timeline over the past few weeks, and it's quickly become one of my favorite stories on this entire website. @PyroTheFox, I must really commend you for creating such a coherent and engaging narrative. While it's certainly a slow burn from the late Gilded Age to whenever the socialist revolution finally unfolds, you've made that road itself into a fascinating alternate history. I particularly enjoyed the tension of elections and party conventions; rarely did I feel like they were all too predictable in advance. It takes some skill to balance plausibility and spectacle, but you thread that needle well.

Here are some more specific notes:
- Perhaps most importantly, I noticed that you forgot to threadmark a chapter between 'page' 140 and 141. Specifically this post: https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...he-american-left.488521/page-28#post-21304045
- Next, I am quite curious how you've managed to plan and write this timeline. From the very start, you're alluding to events or perspectives which won't properly unfold for many chapters to come, so I wonder how you're able to plot so far ahead if you seem to be writing the chapters themselves one by one. Do you keep to some sort of rigorous outline?
- As much as I enjoy the electoral component of TTL, I think it would also benefit from a bit more focus on social history. Sometimes it seemed the actual presidencies were mere leadups to the next election. Recently though, the outbreak of WW1 and the present wave of strikes has eluded this trend, so it's hardly a fundamental problem. Still, I think certain segments of US society, such as its Black and Indigenous populations, have been kind of left out in the story so far. What's going on with them?
- It's not that important, but I've noticed that you persistently misspell populace as 'populous' and martial as 'marshal'. That's hardly worth noting, were it not that your writing is otherwise impeccable. Thus, those small fixes would make it near-perfect.
- Lastly, have you given any thought to publishing this timeline as an e-book? I'm sure that the people at Sea Lion Press would be interested in such a subtle and well-written narrative. Especially since you're already involving graphs, maps, and in-universe excerpts. I think it has real potential!

Well, that's all I have to say for now. I'm looking forward to the next chapters, as the US turns steadily towards socialism. Solidarity forever!
 
I've been reading this timeline over the past few weeks, and it's quickly become one of my favorite stories on this entire website. @PyroTheFox, I must really commend you for creating such a coherent and engaging narrative. While it's certainly a slow burn from the late Gilded Age to whenever the socialist revolution finally unfolds, you've made that road itself into a fascinating alternate history. I particularly enjoyed the tension of elections and party conventions; rarely did I feel like they were all too predictable in advance. It takes some skill to balance plausibility and spectacle, but you thread that needle well.

Wow, thank you! I appreciate that!

Here are some more specific notes:
- Perhaps most importantly, I noticed that you forgot to threadmark a chapter between 'page' 140 and 141. Specifically this post: https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...he-american-left.488521/page-28#post-21304045

Fixed! Sorry about that.

- Next, I am quite curious how you've managed to plan and write this timeline. From the very start, you're alluding to events or perspectives which won't properly unfold for many chapters to come, so I wonder how you're able to plot so far ahead if you seem to be writing the chapters themselves one by one. Do you keep to some sort of rigorous outline?

From the beginning, I planned for certain major events in this timeline to take place, and I have a fairly good picture of where everything will end up in the end. The general direction of the TL is modeled after my original concept for this story which I had written years back, and both share the same opening "flash forward" scene. I know ahead of time most of the consequential story beats, but the meat of the plot I basically work through one or two parts at a time.

- As much as I enjoy the electoral component of TTL, I think it would also benefit from a bit more focus on social history. Sometimes it seemed the actual presidencies were mere leadups to the next election. Recently though, the outbreak of WW1 and the present wave of strikes has eluded this trend, so it's hardly a fundamental problem. Still, I think certain segments of US society, such as its Black and Indigenous populations, have been kind of left out in the story so far. What's going on with them?

That's a fair criticism, I suppose. I've tried to weave into TTL elements of social history in conjunction with electoral/political and labor history, touching on some of the struggles pertaining to racial and gender discrimination and how they relate to the greater fight for social and economic justice. We'll be seeing more of that in the future. As for your other point, I will say that I prefer to bookend parts of my alternate history TLs with elections, and I have a ton of fun writing them (more so than, say, military history).

- It's not that important, but I've noticed that you persistently misspell populace as 'populous' and martial as 'marshal'. That's hardly worth noting, were it not that your writing is otherwise impeccable. Thus, those small fixes would make it near-perfect.

Fixed!

- Lastly, have you given any thought to publishing this timeline as an e-book? I'm sure that the people at Sea Lion Press would be interested in such a subtle and well-written narrative. Especially since you're already involving graphs, maps, and in-universe excerpts. I think it has real potential!

Perhaps at some point. I'm never satisfied with my work, though :p
Thanks for the feedback!
 
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That's a fair criticism, I suppose. I've tried to weave into TTL elements of social history in conjunction with electoral/political and labor history, touching on some of the struggles pertaining to racial and gender discrimination and how they relate to the greater fight for social and economic justice. We'll be seeing more of that in the future. As for your other point, I will say that I prefer to bookend parts of my alternate history TLs with elections, and I have a ton of fun writing them (more so than, say, military history).
I was just assuming that the social changes are either in line with OTL, or are long-term trends that have political consequences slowly, and since this TL has a focus on the political consequences, we were just seeing the effects of those trends marching slightly differently. If societal or social changes diverge significantly enough, or if there are some key events that change the course of society in some way then I assume you'd give it attention - I'd say the current wave of strikes and protests ITTL count, though!

I expect that the postwar period will see a complete divergence from OTL in terms of the political impact of social trends. Ongoing instability due to the Canadian occupation will mean that the key to a lot of cultural anxieties will be found in the restive Canadians. The British-sympathetic protestant churches (eg, Anglican) were anti-war and thus inherently aligned against the government, rather than being pro-war and aligned with the government. The restive urban and ethnic communities, that led to a white backlash in the 20s, are part of broader coalitions with significant white periurban and rural support. Will prohibition, immigration, and catholicism be the key cultural issues of contemporary politics ITTL? I don't think so. I am, as usual, fascinated to see where things go!
 
Part 7: Chapter XXV - Page 167
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Destruction in Chicago, July 1918 - Source: Wiki Commons

"Theodore Roosevelt, fueled by rage and adrenaline, stormed through the White House doors and re-entered the gates of bureaucratic hell. His own trusted friends and allies had not the ability to soak in the knowledge and wisdom the president deliberately hoped to instill. He saw no men sitting around the rustic Cabinet Room table, only failures, guilt-ridden children. Albeit tainted in the long shadow of depression and unnervingly quick aging, Roosevelt tossed aside his old way of methodical reasoning and charged headfirst into the inferno. The darkest American summer was thereby interrupted by the wick of a relit candle." For the quoted commentator, conservative author N.L. McPherson, Roosevelt's return to Washington exemplified hope in what would otherwise be deemed an American Doomsday. This sentiment was likewise shared by Progressive pillars, chiefly businessmen donors, desirous of some semblance of order.

The president's plate was piled up with disconcerting news, and not one word spoken by his Cabinet officials appeared to ease the stress. Preserved federal records, including Roosevelt's own journal entries and various staff retrospectives, do indicate an exceptionally erratic president completely disinterested in the opinions of secretaries Temple and Cortelyou. Vice President Johnson was wholly shut out, as was Attorney General McKenna. Taking the reins as if flashing back to his service in the military, the bristled president commanded a new, multifaceted direction. Domestic reform was well overdue, that much was clear. Once outlandish concepts like the general strike could only emerge from years of deep-seated anger and resentment in the workplace. Reform alone would not rid the country of the Red Scourge, however. Strike at the heart, Roosevelt claimed, and the beast shall die, no matter its size.

McKenna handed in his resignation letter as instructed. The new vacancy was immediately offered to USIC Chairman Palmer. This critical move, the sole suggestion from Johnson adopted by Roosevelt, meant an internal shift in the conduct of the Department of Justice. The United States Information Council was renamed to better fit in with its standing as a permanent fixture of the federal government. Known from July of 1918 as the Federal Intelligence Authority, the security office fused with certain elements of the Justice Department, therefore granting it a wider range of resources and the opportunity for simplified cross-departmental cooperation. With its new capabilities, communicating sophisticated objectives like organizational infiltration proved a cinch. In the meantime, the president rubber stamped a slew of anti-socialist projects drafted by the A.G.-to be. Johnson's other proposed ideas, including persuading Roosevelt to commit militarily to oppose the burgeoning Soviet state, did not find success.

In the streets of Seattle, Milwaukee, and Boston, state police doubled down on their repression tactics. They uprooted organizers and union advocates from crowds, arresting them in droves, and mercilessly beat any who dared to resist. SA vigilantes gleefully joined in the pummeling, often appearing from side streets and wagons to kettle the unruly picketers. A new dimension also started to unfold as the labor rebellion reached its apex, that of interracial friction. Southern-based postwar tabloids did not shy away from targeting, or blatantly scapegoating, black communities for the nation's woes. Whether it be for instilling supposed radical, un-American ideas among striking workers or threatening the livelihood of white workers (returning black servicemen were hired for a lesser rate), white supremacist provocateurs always found an excuse. Horrific, destructive race riots erupted in South Carolina, Texas, and in Washington, D.C., between June and July, costing about a dozen lives and wreaking havoc on predominantly black residential districts. The Roosevelt Administration gave no response.

Enter Chicago. For over a month, thousands of public-sector workers hopped on the general strike bandwagon and demanded more reasonable conditions. Municipal employees, clerks, engineers, and others joined the five concurrent labor stoppages engulfing the Windy City. Strikers were of varied ancestry, language, and skin tone, and in that truth Mayor Carter Harrison, Jr. (D-IL), a machine politician and fervent anti-socialist, envisioned his chance to deal the labor rebellion a significant blow. His administration, one that openly affiliated with the SA and celebrated the USIC, communicated the directive to instill racial strife betwixt the dissimilar unions. Conservative Democrats like Harrison theorized racial equality as a key component to a successful labor movement, although the latter outcome they sought to prevent. Per Representative Woodrow Wilson (D-NJ), "the American Negro returning from abroad would be our greatest medium in conveying Bolshevism to America." Stirring division was their only means to conquer the tide of solidarity, in other words. Harrison's office fomented rumors of a sudden yet inevitable betrayal from the black strikers, whispers of under-the-table deals and assistance to strikebreakers, sparking a torch of anger from a fidgety, on-edge workforce. Agents of the state sowed dissent not only among workers, but throughout the entire city, emitting a surefire dog-whistle for any resident connoting black organizing with "Bolshevism."

Members of the Chicago Socialist Party and local IWW organizers fought hard to temper the flames, yet by mid-July race-oriented resentment managed to seep through and inject itself beyond simply the labor strike. On the evening of the 11th, large crowds of armed whites, shepherded by the South Side branch of the Society for Americanism and Irish American athletic clubs, launched the first of many violent patrols through Chicago's "Black Belt". They fired weapons indiscriminately into homes and at black individuals, targeting everything and everyone in sight. These patrols were, per declassified city records, condoned by the Chicago Police Department and Mayor Harrison's office. Determined to protect their families and neighborhoods, however, and in a dramatic turnabout from prior riots in Texas and Washington, the black communities of Chicago fought back. Black veterans of the Great War organized themselves into improvised defense militias and returned fire. Back-and-forth violence endured until the Illinois National Guard, at the insistence of the governor, finally quieted the disruptive city. 32 had died, hundreds injured, and entire blocks were burned to the ground. Union members may indeed have been on both sides of this race riot, perhaps signaling a previously undiagnosed pitfall in the present movement.

The brief Chicago General Strike collapsed. Its failure at the heels of a tumultuous race riot gave way to fear from Americans across the country that the ongoing labor rebellion was furthering racial antagonisms, in addition to putting the national economy at risk. Mayor Harrison, as one may imagine, blamed the IWW and the Socialist Party for driving up tensions that otherwise would not have existed. He berated, "foreign agents," for intruding in the affairs of the city and inflicting, "the plague of Bolshevism," upon a vulnerable America. The mayor concluded that IWW activists, many of whom were second-wave immigrants, brought to the United States European social conflict along with European political ideals - again insinuating that the heart of the labor movement was a foreign plot. Somewhat ironically, albeit in a tragic sense, Harrison's July 17th speech shared the front page with a developing story concerning a legitimate plague breaking out in Central Europe. News of a particularly infectious strain of influenza circulated earlier in 1918, but thus far the disease had not surpassed mortality rates of a regular flu season. Starting in July, the sickness began spreading much faster. It decimated thousands in Central and Eastern Europe, with the bleakest numbers arising out of Warsaw, Zagreb, and Budapest.
 
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The reason I bring this up was because of what came out the day before the update:

It's pretty prominent.

So I imagine that Teddy would blame the increasing violence and worse issues on the Democrats here and probably some of the Republicans. Basically, as we saw in Russia, the communists only took over because everyone else failed them and I think Teddy would note that.

As such, he'd see that the only reason socialism is supposedly rising in the US is because well, his opposition is making life difficult for people.
 
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So I imagine that Teddy would blame the increasing violence and worse issues on the Democrats here and probably some of the Republicans. Basically, as we saw in Russia, the communists only took over because everyone else failed them and I think Teddy would note that.

Yes, I believe that is a fair assertion.
 
Part 7: Chapter XXV - Page 168
flu.png

Walter Reed Hospital Flu Ward, Summer 1918 - Source: Wiki Commons

Nothing is exempt from the political sphere, not even the rise of a mysterious disease. An incredibly vile and contagious virus suddenly grasped the world by the jaw in the second half of 1918. This plague-like strain was dubbed the "Serbian Flu," a name with an uncertain history. Its etymology is muddled, a rather bizarre development considering initial cases were discovered not among Serbs, but Croats, although one may deduce this as a purposeful mistake. Anti-Serb biases were in no short supply in the postwar period. Serbia itself was specifically cited within the Vienna Treaty as the chief malefactor responsible for the Great War, so it was by no mere coincidence that the Balkan nation was once again burdened with blame. With that said, the terminology has gone unchanged since the outbreak.

Influenza hysteria was soon commonplace in Europe, but not quite so in the United States. Sparse cases were diagnosed within North America as a whole, and rampant misinformation in the early stages of the virus led scores to believe that the sickness had merely been an ordinary, run-of-the-mill flu, thus staving off widespread alarm. Despite an upswing in mortalities throughout Central and Eastern Europe as a direct result of the Serbian flu, nothing seemed to pierce the disinterested American consciousness. "The Serbian flu," wrote Philip Brown in Historical Ailments and Afflictions, "included symptoms often associated with influenza; sore throat, fever, headache [...] Respiratory complications came to epitomize the 1918 strain of H1N1. Bacterial pneumonia was common in the lungs of victims, a side-effect of damaged bronchial tubes. Rapid respiratory failure was the leading cause of death."

A slow yet steady uptick in American cases caught the attention of publishers and investigatory epidemiologists, however, it was not Manhattan nor Atlanta that initially stirred unease. It was Vienna. Relatively few instances of the virus were unearthed in the Austrian capital as participants learned of the deadly strain taking hold in fellow European capitals like Sarajevo and Budapest, temporarily soothing fears that it had infiltrated the peacemaking venue. Whether it be hubris or optimism, those present at the event elected not to cancel it outright, but rather to introduce an 'open windows' policy and suggest all persons attending be more attentive to covering one's mouth when coughing. President Roosevelt and the greater part of his caravan had already departed Vienna and were well on their way to Washington when the first Viennese diplomats revealed their potential infections and instituted self-imposed quarantines.

News broke at the tail end of July, mere days after the riots in Chicago, that Secretary Garfield was hospitalized for the virus. The head of the U.S. State Department elected to remain in Vienna to oversee any further treaty alterations and solidify arrangements with the German Empire, a decision mutually agreed to by the president, and was scheduled to return to Washington by August 10th. Garfield and four other reputable diplomats commanded the downsized American delegation as residual talks petered out. His loyal service to the president was thereupon interrupted with the sudden onset of a dizzying fever, prompting the entire party to fall back into quarantine. Roosevelt immediately ordered plans be made to convoy the remaining Americans from Vienna. "That damned war cannot be permitted to collect another American life," he penned to an associate.

Public health authorities began to enact maritime quarantines as numbers fluctuated in the states. They did so to protect against ships arriving from the most perilous of European 'hot spots.' Some governors went the extra mile, forbidding the acceptance of travelers from Central Europe altogether. This tactic joined dozens more utilized by public officials as the reality of the pandemic began to set in. Upticks across the country led to the introduction of social distancing initiatives, limited public transport schedules, and the closing of public meeting places. Without any shred of a reliable cure, health experts could only advise against the formation of crowds wherever possible to curb exposure to the virus. It is vital to recall that the arrival of the Serbian flu coincided with the most explosive labor rebellion seen in a generation, further complicating the matter.

Seeing as some city and state authorities saw fit to limit crowd sizes and shut down most closed-in facilities (like union halls), law enforcement had the chance to seriously clamp down on the ongoing labor rallies. Regardless of how sympathetic elected officials were to the ambitious, resilient strikers, it was purely irresponsible, in their view, to excuse violations of health protocols. Yet, the laborers themselves, hardened by their own experiences and supremely skeptical of the government, did not trust in the authenticity of their reasoning. Were city-wide quarantines and the prohibition of public gatherings truly designed first and foremost to prevent the transmission of H1N1, or were their motives a bit more nefarious? Truth be told, we may never know for certain. Scientific data has since concluded that the viral wave spread due to unhygienic conditions in conjunction with tightly packed trains, factories, and places of worship. Implementing preventative measures was certainly the correct step to restrain the outbreak, however police-abetted skirmishes with strikers had little to do with containing the pandemic.

An upsurge of Serbian flu cases by the end of July and in early August crippled IWW recruitment drives in places like Seattle. It was impossible to organize effectively when stepping onboard a picket line provoked fierce brutality by so-called "crowd control" enforcement. Efforts to rally support for sympathy strikes in the heart of Boston collapsed, as was true for New York and Philadelphia. Indicating a semi-reversal to the trends in the North, tens of thousands in Dallas, Texas, joined in a massive general strike led by IWW-affiliated oil field and refinery workers. The hesitancy of the UMWA to permit an industry-wide work stoppage of its own while disallowing UMW locals from taking part in regional stoppages led to an additional 4,500 coal miners taking part in the Dallas strike. The week-long event, which did eventually stumble as Governor William P. Hobby (D-TX) expectantly called in the National Guard, culminated in a 10,000-man march on Dallas City Hall. Workers famously hoisted a crimson-colored flag in the plaza just outside of the government building on August 3rd as a symbol of working-class resistance. Their banner, in the words of one anti-socialist observer, "...was a warning shot. [Strikers] did not burn the flag. They clamored, ''Paint it Red'" It was a short-lived moment of victory for the labor movement, but it confirmed that spontaneous labor uprisings could spring up anywhere, and even in the middle of a ravenous flu season.


Vienna -- Mr. James Rudolph Garfield, son of James A. Garfield, twentieth President of the United States, died at his Viennese lodgings from pneumonia. Mr. Garfield has a long history of public service, beginning as an Ohio State Senator from 1896 to 1899. He served as an advisor to Theodore Roosevelt and governed the Department of the Interior from 1905 to 1909. Mr. Garfield was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1910 from Ohio and served a partial term before resuming his service to the president as Secretary of State in 1913. He is survived by his spouse Helen Garfield and four children. Mr. Garfield would have been 54 years old October 17th.
Western Newspaper Union, "James Garfield Dies at Vienna," The Idaho Springs Siftings-News, August 7th, 1918
 
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Yes, I believe that is a fair assertion.
I mean, yeah the commies took over, but the fact was that they got in and did what they promised to do and what the people wanted: No. More. War.

If nothing else, I could see Teddy have a grudging respect for that (outside of the fact that it meant no more war with russia). Yeah, they’re commies, but they kept their word when no one else did.

And then compare to the US, especially with what the Democrats just tried to incite race riots. I think there he’d pretty much view them as the bigger problem since they just provided the opportunity for him to turn the frenzy against them.

Been a little over 50 years since the Civil War and certain scoundrels refuse to change without being made to...
 
flu.png

Walter Reed Hospital Flu Ward, Summer 1918 - Source: Wiki Commons

Nothing is exempt from the political sphere, not even the rise of a mysterious disease. An incredibly vile and contagious virus suddenly grasped the world by the jaw in the second half of 1918. This plague-like strain was dubbed the "Serbian Flu," a name with an uncertain history. Its etymology is muddled, a rather bizarre development considering initial cases were discovered not among Serbs, but Croats, although one may deduce this as a purposeful mistake. Anti-Serb biases were in no short supply in the postwar period. Serbia itself was specifically cited within the Vienna Treaty as the chief malefactor responsible for the Great War, so it was by no mere coincidence that the Balkan nation was once again burdened with blame. With that said, the terminology has gone unchanged since the outbreak.

Influenza hysteria was soon commonplace in Europe, but not quite so in the United States. Sparse cases were diagnosed within North America as a whole, and rampant misinformation in the early stages of the virus led scores to believe that the sickness had merely been an ordinary, run-of-the-mill flu, thus staving off widespread alarm. Despite an upswing in mortalities throughout Central and Eastern Europe as a direct result of the Serbian flu, nothing seemed to pierce the disinterested American consciousness. "The Serbian flu," wrote Philip Brown in Historical Ailments and Afflictions, "included symptoms often associated with influenza; sore throat, fever, headache [...] Respiratory complications came to epitomize the 1918 strain of H1N1. Bacterial pneumonia was common in the lungs of victims, a side-effect of damaged bronchial tubes. Rapid respiratory failure was the leading cause of death."

A slow yet steady uptick in American cases caught the attention of publishers and investigatory epidemiologists, however, it was not Manhattan nor Atlanta that initially stirred unease. It was Vienna. Relatively few instances of the virus were unearthed in the Austrian capital as participants learned of the deadly strain taking hold in fellow European capitals like Sarajevo and Budapest, temporarily soothing fears that it had infiltrated the peacemaking venue. Whether it be hubris or optimism, those present at the event elected not to cancel it outright, but rather to introduce an 'open windows' policy and suggest all persons attending be more attentive to covering one's mouth when coughing. President Roosevelt and the greater part of his caravan had already departed Vienna and were well on their way to Washington when the first Viennese diplomats revealed their potential infections and instituted self-imposed quarantines.

News broke at the tail end of July, mere days after the riots in Chicago, that Secretary Garfield was hospitalized for the virus. The head of the U.S. State Department elected to remain in Vienna to oversee any further treaty alterations and solidify arrangements with the German Empire, a decision mutually agreed to by the president, and was scheduled to return to Washington by August 10th. Garfield and four other reputable diplomats commanded the downsized American delegation as residual talks petered out. His loyal service to the president was thereupon interrupted with the sudden onset of a dizzying fever, prompting the entire party to fall back into quarantine. Roosevelt immediately ordered plans be made to convoy the remaining Americans from Vienna. "That damned war cannot be permitted to collect another American life," he penned to an associate.

Public health authorities began to enact maritime quarantines as numbers fluctuated in the states. They did so to protect against ships arriving from the most perilous of European 'hot spots.' Some governors went the extra mile, forbidding the acceptance of travelers from Central Europe altogether. This tactic joined dozens more utilized by public officials as the reality of the pandemic began to set in. Upticks across the country led to the introduction of social distancing initiatives, limited public transport schedules, and the closing of public meeting places. Without any shred of a reliable cure, health experts could only advise against the formation of crowds wherever possible to curb exposure to the virus. It is vital to recall that the arrival of the Serbian flu coincided with the most explosive labor rebellion seen in a generation, further complicating the matter.

Seeing as some city and state authorities saw fit to limit crowd sizes and shut down most closed-in facilities (like union halls), law enforcement had the chance to seriously clamp down on the ongoing labor rallies. Regardless of how sympathetic elected officials were to the ambitious, resilient strikers, it was purely irresponsible, in their view, to excuse violations of health protocols. Yet, the laborers themselves, hardened by their own experiences and supremely skeptical of the government, did not trust in the authenticity of their reasoning. Were city-wide quarantines and the prohibition of public gatherings truly designed first and foremost to prevent the transmission of H1N1, or were their motives a bit more nefarious? Truth be told, we may never know for certain. Scientific data has since concluded that the viral wave spread due to unhygienic conditions in conjunction with tightly packed trains, factories, and places of worship. Implementing preventative measures was certainly the correct step to restrain the outbreak, however police-abetted skirmishes with strikers had little to do with containing the pandemic.

An upsurge of Serbian flu cases by the end of July and in early August crippled IWW recruitment drives in places like Seattle. It was impossible to organize effectively when stepping onboard a picket line provoked fierce brutality by so-called "crowd control" enforcement. Efforts to rally support for sympathy strikes in the heart of Boston collapsed, as was true for New York and Philadelphia. Indicating a semi-reversal to the trends in the North, tens of thousands in Dallas, Texas, joined in a massive general strike led by IWW-affiliated oil field and refinery workers. The hesitancy of the UMWA to permit an industry-wide work stoppage of its own while out disallowing UMW locals from taking part in regional stoppages led to an additional 4,500 coal miners taking part in the Dallas strike. The week-long event, which did eventually stumble as Governor William P. Hobby (D-TX) expectantly called in the National Guard, culminated in a 10,000-man march on Dallas City Hall. Workers famously hoisted a crimson-colored flag in the plaza just outside of the government building on August 3rd as a symbol of working-class resistance. Their banner, in the words of one anti-socialist observer, "...was a warning shot. [Strikers] did not burn the flag. They clamored, ''Paint it Red'" It was a short-lived moment of victory for the labor movement, but it confirmed that spontaneous labor uprisings could spring up anywhere, and even in the middle of a ravenous flu season.


Vienna -- Mr. James Rudolph Garfield, son of James A. Garfield, twentieth President of the United States, died at his Viennese lodgings from pneumonia. Mr. Garfield has a long history of public service, beginning as an Ohio State Senator from 1896 to 1899. He served as an advisor to Theodore Roosevelt and governed the Department of the Interior from 1905 to 1909. Mr. Garfield was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1910 from Ohio and served a partial term before resuming his service to the president as Secretary of State in 1913. He is survived by his spouse Helen Garfield and four children. Mr. Garfield would have been 54 years old October 17th.
Western Newspaper Union, "James Garfield Dies at Vienna," The Idaho Springs Siftings-News, August 7th, 1918
Wonderful updates as always.
I want to see what the american labor movement has to offer in these trying times.
Somehow i feel the UK is at risk of falling to the reds.
 
Part 7: Chapter XXV - Page 169
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President Roosevelt and Vice President Johnson, 1916 - Source: OAC

Secretary Garfield's passing evoked an outcry of grief from former colleagues as well as the fourth estate, but more than all else it underscored the precariousness of the nineteen-teens and moreover needled the necessity for President Roosevelt to appear before the country and assuage its fears. Virtually the entirety of Washington, even the incumbent's greatest political foes, understood the significance of doing so. Recent evaluations had confirmed the spread of influenza within the very heart of Vienna, infecting not only the Progressive Ohioan, but six others including Emperor Charles' younger brother, Archduke Maximilian Eugen. The frightening specter of Serbian Flu afflicting world leaders, yet another worrisome development to add to the pile, served to accelerate economic uncertainty, deepen the evolving industrial downturn, and send another blow to the promise of postwar security. Undoubtedly, the best method to slow the compounding national crises and stop the bleeding was for a healthy and active president to confront the matter head-on and declare his plan to lead the United States out from the proverbial fog.

Roosevelt aspired to do just that, yet his body refused. According to notes from the White House medical staff, Roosevelt's agonizing joint discomfort had grown so intense that the leader was nigh hourly downing medicinal painkillers to curb the worst of it. He suffered from endless migraines and tumultuous insomnia, aggravating his temperament and crumbling information retention. Most obvious above all was the deterioration of his physical appearance. Putting aside his all-white top, a feature known of the president since the start of his third term, the elected leader had grown remarkably gaunt. His weight loss often made the man unrecognizable to those unawares, and it was reported through the grapevine that he had lost upwards of fifty pounds over the span of his European visit. White House medics, theorizing an assortment of ailments, insisted he submit to boundless tests and appraisals, but Roosevelt personally brushed aside any health-related concerns. "He'd avoid the sensitive topic," wrote Ackerman, "either to comment on the poor quality of Viennese cuisine or interject with an unrelated anecdote. [...] His symptoms did not correspond with the flu, so suffice it to say he was not concerned."

The incumbent nevertheless worked through the pain in an attempt to bring his shattered country back together. He poured over every shred of news about the virus, the strikes, and the declining state of the economy. Struggling both physically and mentally to chart out a step-by-step course for the offices of the Executive Branch to follow, Roosevelt progressively leaned on the expertise of his Cabinet officials (despite his initial adrenaline-laced denigration). The broad sentiment in the party, and indeed among men like Crowell and Temple, honed in on retribution alone. Dormant political issues from social welfare and regulation to women's suffrage and the protection of black voting rights no longer appeared to factor in the equation. Roosevelt's own letters indicate a rush of depression and alienation at this stage, exemplified most vividly with the words, "I fear I no longer recognize them as allies." By August 13th, he was all but completely incapacitated, resigned to do the business of the presidency from the seat of a bed. Five days later, weakened and sapped of life, the aged Rough Rider passed away.

Per McPherson, "The Old Lion never again awoke. His Pride mourned the loss, but life must go on." Men crowded around the room. First Lady Edith Roosevelt sat solemnly at her husband's side as the Physician to the President verified the assumption. Palmer, Crowell and Cortelyou rushed to the scene, joining Vice President Hiram Johnson and others soon present at the dismal site. As the realization set in, the wandering, tear-filled eyes of the staff found their way to the vice president. Johnson, a known entity in the administration, was no stranger to his peers. He was austere, though not unsociable. Principled and astute, yet not at all boisterous like his partner in the West Wing. Johnson, the reform-minded attorney from California, was met with the epitome of a 'make-or-break' opportunity - to either follow in the footsteps of his predecessor or cast a new shadow. As insinuated above, the moment at hand called for a nimble, dynamic presence at the helm. Johnson elected to embrace that need, and furthermore utilized the passing of his friend to help accomplish it.

Johnson was immediately sworn in as the 31st President of the United States upon the arrival of Justice William R. Day to the White House. Word of Theodore Roosevelt's passing was released to the press that evening, coinciding with plans for the new president to deliver a public statement the following morning. In his first official act in the executive position, one that stayed under wraps for the next twenty years, Johnson opted to deliberately misconstrue the circumstances surrounding Roosevelt's demise. Upon careful consideration, no official cause of death was announced to the press alongside the bleak announcement. The discernable catalyst for Roosevelt's death, according to official federal documents on the subject, was a debilitating overnight stroke: Ostensibly a by-product of chronic lead intoxication due to the projectile lodged in his scapulothoracic joint. Yet, that unfortunate reality was unappealing for Johnson. Therefore, it was essentially rewritten. None apart from the president's personal surgeon learned the hard facts, and the physician himself was ordered to keep the details classified. In harnessing the dreadful passing of his once-close friend and colleague for political purposes, Hiram Johnson gave a glimpse into his brand of rulership. Nothing was off-limits.


An abhorrent bereavement has betided our land. We have lost a giant and a patriot, perchance the finest ever borne from these United States. President Roosevelt was my dear friend, an inspiration for honest governance and personal nobility. To America, he was a far greater presence. His real ability and fearless courage, rare attributes in this day and age, won us a world safe for prosperity and liberty. We as a nation do and will express our enduring respect and admiration for his life, our true and deep sorrow for his death. This is a day of remembrance, and of reflection. We mourn a good and great President who is dead; but while we mourn, we are lifted up by the splendid achievements and grand heroism of his life.
Now, it is with a heavy heart that I uphold my solemn duty as President of the United States. It will be my resolve, as it was for President Roosevelt, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. [...] Our American ideals rest primarily on recognition of the rights of men and the absolute sovereignty of the people, and it is the maintenance and perpetuation of these principles that measure the life of the republic. Only a government responsive to the interest of the public good may claim itself representative. Prosperity cannot thrive in a divided government, and an industrious economy cannot be born in the thorny laurels of anarchy.
President Roosevelt, my friends, gave his life for the pursuit of Pax Americana. His crusade for justice in government, fairness in policy, and balance in perspective was met with discordance. Reckless conspirators and foreign-born demagogues have bred unrest and social discontent, endangering the livelihood of the workingmen, and hampering societal progress. Their obstruction came at the irreparable detriment of law-abiding citizens and their public officials, the president chief among them. Dogmatic foes of liberty and democracy are pure malefactors and nothing else. It is a travesty, a stain on Roosevelt's memory, to permit them the privilege to preach their heinous, un-American doctrines. Their activities are treacherous and seditious.
From the throngs of tragedy and the shadows of disorder, our America will rise to greet the dawn. The Torch of Columbia cannot be extinguished.
Hiram Johnson, Address to the Nation Excerpt, August 19th, 1918
 
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RIP Teddy. Great man and a great President. Hope Johnson is up to the challenge. Maybe he will now handle the labor movement and the Flu different to how Teddy would if he had lived? Great update! :)
 
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