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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 4, 2012 1:15am-2:15am EDT

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and one day my wife said, scotty, andrew wants to see you. she didn't say who it was, but something hit me. it was andrew harris, the boy who i had taught sunday school with three years earlier had driven down from west point, new york, with his dad to come and see me. and i don't know if i knew that day or in the days to come that the impact that i had made on >> tranter recounts on new york city reacted to conflict from its earliest days as a trading post to the 19th and 20th century. the author examines how each conflict reacted to the city, including the american revolution 18,000 american
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prisoners of war died in british prisons to an explosion in a harvard freight depot executed by german agents prior to the u.s. participation in world war i. this event held at the 10 main pc in a new york city is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you, boris. it is a pleasure to be here. thank you offer coming out for this. i just want to second what saab want the same about the museum, the tenement museum. if you have not taken the tour down the block here, which is really the core mission of this museum is to interpret that tenement house built in 1863 and the generations of immigrants who became new yorkers partly through living there. you really know what to yourself. it's indispensable to
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understanding new york city's history in the 19th and early 20th century histories. it's really a gift to the city of new york that we have this museum. so i encourage you, even if you take a mature before, please come back and take it again because the tours are changing and it's a wonderful it areas. as someone mentioned, i'm here tonight to talk about my book, "new york at war." publishers and images, powerpoint presentations come as some of which are in the book, others not in the book. the book itself really covers almost four centuries. i mean, really stirs up henry had been sailing into the harbor in 1609 in his initial encounters with bill and not be indian people here, all the way up through september 11, 2001 and beyond. what i'm going to do tonight however is too narrow
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chronologically the focus of my presentation to really kind of make it go hand-in-hand with the period of 97 orchard street down a block comeaux which was built in 1863 by a german immigrant and was occupied by successive generations, mostly immigrants, newcomers, really up until 1935 when the building was closed. what i'm going to be doing today is given a slice of the story, really from the civil war, the 1860s up through the 1930s and the onset of world war ii. and the book does deal with a bunch of intersect team, overlapping themes. economic, political, defense, what morris was suggesting is the fortification is the key element of course. what i want to do in addition to nehr when the chronological focus is to focus tonight on one of the particular themes of the
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book, which is that new york really repeatedly through its history, i would argue, has been a city of war with itself. there is a paradox really about new york's role in its various wars. i suppose you could say this about america generally. i'm not trying to say new york is the only place in the united states that this has happened. but wars have often been an occasion for unity, for cohesion. you know, we're all in this together. we've all got to win this together, so we've got to put our more parochial interests aside and pulled together to win whatever word might be. but at the same time, new york is the great magnet for immigrants, from around the world from its very earliest days in the 1620s onward has been a place where discrete,
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separate populations of newcomers have often brought their own political culture, their own loyalties and allegiances come in their ethnic and national religious cultures and have ended up jostling each other often. and especially at times of war, this has been the case in new york. sometimes with tragic consequences. so i'm going to start by showing you these images, starting with the civil war. and again, the book starts well before that, but this is where we're starting today. so this is april of 1861, after the confederacy fired on fort sumter in this world war began. this is one of the mass rallies in union square that ensued in new york in april of 1861. and you see this outpouring of patriotism, flag-waving, enthusiasm within a few weeks,
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16,000 men from manhattan, which was then new york city and brooklyn have enlisted and were going south to guard washington d.c. it is a moment where many new yorkers hope that this unity will persist to allow them to fight the war, to support the war. what to me is kind of ironic and perhaps a harbinger of things to come in this view as you follow the red dot. this guy seems like it's not that happy. militia men dressed in revolutionary war, peach or credit card seemed to take him out. new york was the city that fight its own civil war during the civil war. and to understand why, we have to step back a little in the history to understand
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antebellum, pre-civil war new york. new york was one center of the northern anti-slave movement. this is actually a cover sheet for the american antislavery almanac, which was an abolitionist periodicals published both jointly and new york and boston. we tend to think of boston if we know anything about abolitionism, we think about william lloyd garrison, the new england movement and philadelphia with his quaker population in the forefront of the antislavery movement. but there were a cadre of new yorkers. evangelicals are evangelical protestants or quakers who felt very strongly that slavery was an abomination and a sin and the brothers, lewis and arthur tap in her wealthy dry goods
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merchants howled basically bankrolled the abolitionist movement throughout the north. henry ford teacher and brooklyn became one of the spokesman, great protestant clergymen for the antislavery movement. this actually shows the cover illustration, which is probably kind of hard to make out is basically showing bounty hunters, before the 1850 slave act. but even in 1830s, bounty hunters in new york working for southern slave masters was literally kidnapped overseas fugitive slaves who had come north to new york and spirit them back to the south could sometimes they grab people who had been freeborn and basically carry people back to a slave they never even knew. so new york is a battleground for the antislavery movement. it's also home to a very vigorous african-american
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community that is working with some of those white, wealthy are professional business abolitionist. this is albro lions, who ran a boarding house for african american sailors on vande water street. and no longer exists. it was subsumed into the knickerbocker houses were not public housing project was built in the 20th century, really gave it to the south and east of us towards the east river. but anyhow, he had a boarding house that was the underground railroad. and he as well as other black and, both groups helped hundreds if not thousands of fugitive slaves, making their way to the north, who came to new york and these folks help hide them away from the bounty hunters and then help them get either further north of new england are ultimately to canada as
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frederick douglass was one of the people who pass through new york on his way out of slavery in the 1830s. but new york -- there's another side to new york, which is the side that is really embedded economically and politically in the slave system of the south. new york was absolutely critical financially and economically to slavery before the civil war. this is a painting showing vessels -- i'm going to wait until that stops. yeah, don't leave without buying my book, you know, anyhow, this is a view of sailor ships from the south on the east river dock, right before the civil war. and new york was the place that
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bankrolled really the harvesting, the planting, harvesting and shipping of southern cotton to the north and across the atlantic to liverpool, from which it was sent into the manchester textile fact or reason england. new york merchants, not the abolitionist ones by and large, but pro-southern merchants who invested interest in being pro-southern played a role as a middleman between the slave south, financing the slave south, letting southern planters profit. their new yorkers are the middlemen between the slave south and the industrial revolution in the sense that the english factories are the ones taking southern cotton and turning it into cotton textiles. so many new yorkers come in terms of the economic aspect have a real vested interest leading up to the civil war in this system. new york hopes to create some of
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the most recess popular culture in america in the years before the civil war. this is one of the black faced minestrone songs that were pioneered on the stage at the bowery theatre and other theaters in lower manhattan. the other connection to the south was that many new yorkers of course, including tammany hall, where democratic parties had ties to the national democratic party from which by and large was proslavery and pro-southern in the years before the civil war. so new york has both of these things going on. it has an antislavery movement, but it's got a real reservoir of proslavery, pro-southern racist thought as well. and then at the bottom of new york society, you have really tinderbox, by the civil war,
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200,000 irish immigrants from a quarter of the city population and about 13,000 african-americans. and these two groups are competing at the bottom of new york society for the poorest housing, for the lowest paying jobs and there's tremendous friction in many parts of the city economy between men's this is actually germane to where we are today. the five points neighborhood, probably 10, 12 blocks from where we are right now, really the creator of the lower east side, placer please are immigrants or getting off the ships in the 1820s, 30s and 40s in the old colonial era wood frame houses by the mid-19th century you can see is so lopsided and family of her family is cream into these things. what you do have next to it
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though is one of these new tenement houses, which the next generation of immigrants will occupy. but you have at the bottom of new york city society racism. you have irish catholics feeling discriminated against by white anglo-saxon protestaprotesta nts. they resent also the republicans in the irish becoming democrat and you have the racial friction between these two groups at the bottom of the hierarchy. at the beginning of the war as i said, new yorkers volunteered by the thousands and they volunteered often as many of you know with a very strong ethnic identification. so they were irish regiments. there were the garibaldi guard, which included not only at times, but hungarians another central europeans. they were polish contingents, german regiments and so on. but by 1862, 63, the war is
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dragging on with no end in sight. and in 1863, the lincoln administration and congress passed a draft law. prior to this is all volunteers. the draft law of 1863 requires men to register in the north and throughout the north. but it has this clause whereby if you pay $300, you can be exempted from the draft in basically the money goes to pay for a substitute, you poor man going to take her place. promised $300 in 1863 is a phenomenally large amount of money. people aren't making -- day laborers are making 1 dollar a day. you're being asked to take him if you're poor, it is a years worth of not your salary, but your wages that you don't have because you then sending it.
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the basic rate is seen as class legislation. it is seen as coming in now, part of the rich man's war and a poor man's fight was the motto that became common in new york and other cities. so in july of 1863, when the draft law was implemented, all of these background refinance explode. the large late irish working class in new york see this as a republican plot against them, see it as discrimination in a class that is fair. they blame the war by this point on slaves. the fact that slavery exists, so the scapegoat becomes free african-americans in new york crude they are also fearful that the emancipation proclamation, which lincoln has heard he implemented that it's going to be a flood of free african-americans coming from the south to work in new york and take jobs away from them.
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they fear that he stand by some of the new york city newspapers including the "new york herald." so you have this tremendous riot that starts and goes on for four days. it is today the worst riot in american history. at least 100 people died, maybe as many as 500. are not sure. over 100 buildings have burned down and you see the city state and federal government had to bring up troops who just won the battle of gettysburg a few days before in pennsylvania up to this act of civil insurrection who literally have warfare in the streets of manhattan. over the course of four days in the middle of 1863. you also have what becomes an anti-black program because as i said the racism and resentment
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result in indiscriminate attacks that african-americans. many people don't know there was flinching in the the streets of new york. but in july 1863 there was. this is the william jones who was lynched on clarkson street on what is now the lower west side. two other men, black men were lynched. three other black men were beaten to death. at least 18 african-americans coming men, women and children were injured during this outpouring of rage and racism. i should say that one of the things that i point out in the book is that there are tiny number of irish new yorkers who tried to intervene to help african-americans. there's a number of white new yorkers, but the mob was just so out of control that they couldn't help tragedies like this from happening. so basically at the end of the civil war, the rioters to some
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extent had got what they wanted. many african-americans left new york not to return. this is the rich alliance, the daughter of al gore lands, the boarding house keeper and underground devastation matter who i showed you before. lovely picture of her taken around this time in the 1860s and she was a little girl living in the underground railroad system and into water street, lower manhattan. the family on the third night of the riot, they're boarding houses burned down and they have to remove -- they basically moved to providence, rhode island. as she sat in a memoir she wrote as an adult, we were living in exile from new york city. so there is a sense in which this riot, so traumatizes the black community that it's not for a while before the black population in new york starts
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questioning again, later in an 18th century. the years after the civil war hot new kinds of tensions, actually building before the war, but even though the u.s. has had keys, there is no foreign war in the 1870s and 80s to speak out. you have the sense that perhaps the class war in the making. new york after all is that the richest in arguably the poorest place in the country with all these immigrants pouring in, but with wall street and manufacturing and shipping, in which a minority of property businessmen in the city. they get conspicuous extremes, not only wealth, the conspicuous poverty unparalleled by any place in the country.
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it's the mansion fifth avenue and 68th street across from central park. it's not there anymore. one of those big fifth avenue buildings. this is william whitney was the financier. his daughter-in-law sounded to what museum. they are for grover cleveland, but this is just an indication of the kind of great wealth that successful, the hat city well, the 1% in new york in late 19th century could enjoy. of course the other extreme is this, this is in some ways is a byron photographs from about the turn-of-the-century kids in new york city playing by the dead horse. i don't know if this is the actual street has been identified for this specifically was, but this of course is the other extreme of life in new
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york. by the 1870s, and you have a growing stance as to new york's, which might come into collision that early in the streets of the city during the 1870s, starting in 1873 is a bad recession. the recession of 1873 last for several years and brings some of this class antagonisms to a head. this is 1874, tom skins square park, a location in the city which currently has been a site of controversy and confrontation between new yorkers. this was during the depression, various labor unions and worker men's groups wanted the city to provide public works projects, defend public works projects of people were starving. and due to a misunderstanding,
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the police basically attacked them at d.c. in the background come you have all these labor radicals, labor militants in district reformists in some cases basically flee for their lives as mounted policeman clubbed them. samuel gompers scum eventually the founder of the american federation of labor, who at this point was an immigrant, english that are make or in the lower east side was that this event and left a lifelong indelible mark on him in terms of understanding class relations in the city. so what do you do when the sense of a city out war with itself seems to threaten the property classes and maybe even the city government. this is -- these are national guardsmen in 1895 in brooklyn,
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streetcar workers strike that year. by the late 1800s, national guards units, which are state-sponsored often of wealthy businessmen and professionals who join join or form these units see themselves as kind of the airsick class war, we are going to be the front line or responsibility for property, for stability and for security at the city. and of course there is a physical dimension or architectural dimension for this, which is the primary, which by 19 tenderer 20 armories in new york city built partly with state money, saving money, also with donations, contributions from the guard units themselves to occupy these buildings. this is the seventh regiment armory in its initial state on park avenue. it has since been altered of
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course. but the whole point is to build the psalmist castle lake or fortresslike buildings, or the national guard units cantril, have their headquarters and some of the rhetoric on both sides by 1900 from labor act to this and the best deals of death will send the troops out to kill us, whereas you have a spokesman for the guardsmen talking about when the revolution comes, if it comes. this is where we are going to shoot down. this is where they will send the troops out from. but if attacked both shoot down on the pro-to speak from the citadel's. 1898 we enter both a shooting war again, of course a splendid little war, which new yorkers played a very important role in promoting the spanish-american
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war as you probably will remember, the hearst and pulitzer in new york helped stir up a lot of war fever against the spanish. particularly in cuba, this is actually a scary topic view at the end of the war the celebratory parade for a world do these troops in new york. admiral dewey sailors i should say and u.s. troops in new york in 1899. of course teddy roosevelt, a new yorker played a key role in that war as well. it is important to recognize of course there's a lot of jingoism. here you have this industrial, financial, gun nation in the united states flexing its muscles. new york is perhaps the most muscular part of this country and we need to expand overseas, takeover colonies and markets that we deserved.
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and yet, there is also again a sense of unity around that. they are dissenting voices in new york from both sides. you have, for example on the left daniel de leon of the socialist labour party, one of the most important marxists in this. he denounces the spanish-american war and then against the filipino rebels in the philippines has succeeded in 1899. these are wars started by our expansionist capitalists. on the other hand, in other new york old, coral shirts who was himself a german immigrant from a liberal from the german revolution of 1848 who came over and became a republic can come antislavery this was certainly a liberal in the early stages of his public career in america.
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by the 1880s, when the battles in new york city, he becomes more conservative and he's one of the anti-imperialist in new york. in other words, people who say not from the left that we shouldn't take colonies or extend the status to cuba and puerto rico and guam and the philippines. he was against it from the right because he sees it as racially dangerous. he says it's dangerous for the united states of america to incorporate a subject population of spanish americans with ultimate shirt and begin an blood and malays and other unspeakable at asiatics. so even though new york is a great endocrine destination of this period, it is far from being immune from a racialist and ethnically discriminatory rhetoric and ideology. there is a long-term jumping
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ahead a little bit chronologically. there is a long-term repercussion and ramification of the country's role in new york stroll in particular in taking over parts of the spanish overseas empire in 1898. certainly any bigger businessmen wanted the sugar. they wanted to have a captive market for banking capital and so on. you also have as a result, new york becomes more and more destination for puerto ricans and then in 1917, they are made u.s. citizens and new york because even before the 1940s has become the great diaspora city for puerto ricans, the same way it already becomes the third largest german-speaking city of
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the country, the largest jewish city in the world. and so, you have and the 1940s this gentleman, pager obviously campos who is the great either of puerto rican independence national is some actually is spending the last few years of a suspended jail sentence in new york and new york becomes a node of puerto rican activism for the ensuing decades. and if you want not to taint all of puerto rican independence national his son with the terrorist brush by any means, but if some of you may remember 1975 the bomb that went off from a terrorist bomb that went off at the tavern and lower them in hot that killed actually five people and hurt 53. that was a legacy of a tradition
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of militant puerto rican nationalists and verging into terrorists and that out of alviso campuses followers became a part and parcel of new york's covert political culture. so all of these ways in which new yorkers this place that is bringing people and, in magnet for people gives it a turbulence and recurrent turmoil that really passes on down through the decades. world war i, in 1814. we have to remember when the great war, the world war i began in europe in the summer of 1914, the u.s. then joined the war until 19 team. so we remain the great neutral. and because of that, you have england and germany particularly
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competing for the hearts and minds of americans. the way to do that is to propagandize in new york, which is now the media capital of the country. so in 1914, the german government covertly deposited a lot of german banknotes into a a bank of lower broadway. so that money is used for the good graces of the german industry in washington with this consulate offices in new york to start this magazine, the fatherland, george sylvester varick, german-american poetess hired and this was basically a pro-german propaganda sheet. very cleverly done, claimed 100,000 american readers within a few months. now obviously, a large contingent of the readers here are german-american to feel proud. they see no reason to denigrate their home countries military
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ambitions. after all, france, england and germany cannot be claiming to follow their patriotic destiny. and in fact, new york about what i was trying to say before, what i meant to say is that the turn-of-the-century, new york city was the third-largest german-speaking community and the world after berlin and vienna. their 750,000 non-german-americans in new york city. so there is a pride. this is also an attempt by the german government without being open about it because it is covert initially that they found us to counter what is seen as anglophilia, the pro-english and pro-french feeling that they see as emanating out of new york city, under this media, under wall street and particular. but new york is not so simple in
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new york. and never is. german versus england or germany versus france. the world war, the first word from 1914 onward engages all the different ethnic group, national groups in new york city. many irish new yorkers are sympathetic with the movement for irish independence from england or in the east for sort of a more emphatic home rule. and so they see no reason to be pro-ally. remember that allies from world war i are primarily england, french and czarist russia. so there is pro-german or at least anti-english feeling in new york city, very prominently among irish-americans beard polish americans are split. who's going to get us independence? is it going to be bizarre or the kaiser? is sort of a topic and there's
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different factions within poland, as in the homeland there's factions in each group is looking across the ocean and really thinking about its national ambitions. jews. the czar of russia is one of the principal allies. so you've got england with this constitutional monarchy. the bow work of literal ascent in the world. you've got french with this republican in some sense is revolutionary liberty equality. and then you've got czarist russia, which is the most backward, corrupt monarchy in europe and is also of course bitterly anti-semitic and a larger reason why so many jews come over from russia and russia poland, lithuania and parts of
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the russian empire is because of this anti-semitic policies and because of the progressive draft coming military draft and russia. so vera, ran into pro-german fatherland very shrewdly plays that card to try to get eastern european jewish immigrants in new york to be pro-german or at least anti-allied and this refers to, my beloved jews, nicholas icann on the left holding a shield with a jewish captive. this referred to the fact that during world war i on the eastern front, the czarist troops would often go to jewish villages and sort of drive the jews out towards the german lines, almost like a human shield as they move for a word
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so that the germans would shoot the jews and fewer czarist soldiers. so they are trying to mobilize, again, mobilizing hearts and minds in new york throughout the war is an ongoing business. the germans in addition to propagandizing for their cost covertly are sabotaging new york in a certain sense before we joined the war because by 1915, wall street and the railroads and the manufacturers who have headquarters in new york are selling armaments, weapons, supplies, food, credit and so one hand over fist to the allies so that really in the western front, on the western front with the french and english troops
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are holding on desperately against the german. wall street really gives an important place as london or paris for the allied war effort. and jpmorgan and manufacturers are making a lot of money. it's also putting a lot of new yorkers to work, the economy before we were even in the war is good for new york in that sense. much of the staff is being sent out of new york harbor from a place called blackcomb pendency let in new york city, that is now liberty state park. there is a little plaque embedded in the grass but if you look with a magnifying glass you might go to find. i'm being sarcastic here you can find it, i'm glad it's there. you don't have a sense of the magnitude of this place, this compound, this depot on the
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jersey started the harbor where trains from across the midwest or and the northeast are pouring into jersey city, unloading guns, ammunition, food, uniforms, mules, horses, all of which are loaded onto cargo ships, american and neutral nla cargo ships and sent to france to fight in the war, to help the allies continue fighting. in 1916, the german government unless a small number of saboteurs to get into this place at night and managed to detonate some explosive and the whole thing goes sky high. throughout the whole harbor area, about five people are killed, only five. the window class is shattering all over manhattan. jersey city hoboken. it's a big mess, cost a lot of money. what is interesting that the
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time, although the u.s. government was aware of german sabotage efforts going on, it's the kind the investigation inquest concluded this had been a freak accident. this only after the war, after dogged investigation was a proven that the german at kaiser's government had actually triggered this thing. that was decided by a joint german american court in an inquiry in 1939. guess what? adolf hitler wanted to hand over money for this to america as reparations. no, but the west government did and the payments continued all the way from wes germany up to 1979. well, we finally entered the war on the allied side in april 1917 after the germans had resumed
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their submarine warfare against american vessels at sea. and again, there is this sense of a moment of unity, of new yorkers and americans coming together. this is a photograph from june of 1917. the new yorkers lining up to register or to draft. my favorite is half of a woman on the right, but the sense we are all going to pull together here and win this thing. but as many of you know, it was not to unfold precisely that way. a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, a lot of paranoia about the polyglot mixed nature of american society of which new york city was the most salient example above is different in the current groups. how to unify that? lots of germans persuading people and lots of germans are working to sabotage as we speak.
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and the war. , that brief. in 1917, 1918 with the woodrow wilson leading the charge, there is a real vehement absurd to sort of intimidate, deter and really to shame german-americans and anyone else who might dare to question our entering the war on the allied side. this is a newspaper cartoon with the enemy lam minus let me know very to woolworth building and singer building and the old post office on lower broadway south of where city hall is. and the actual title of this cartoon is the breath of the hon. the hon being the german drive. but this sort of spilled over
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into, for example, real the wilson administration passed the sedition act, which really crack down on anything that smacked radicalism, pacifism, resistance of the war and true to form, the most -- the most careful scrutiny are the most critical scrutiny was aimed at immigrants not only germans, but the sense that for example, jews made because they're anti-czarist, pro-german enters into sort of the public consciousness in new york. also, the very real threat that the germans they actually attack. the german military from outside, that a german fleet might fail and this is actually just a banal, one of the war bond, liberty loan posters from
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1980 team, which is trying to get you to be patriotic and buy war bonds to help fund the government war effort by showing this sort of scary image of the statue of liberty destroyed in the background, maybe hard to see. but this is manhattan in flames. this is a german u-boat and they've managed to somehow send flames to bomb and destroy new york. here's the statue of liberty reminds me of charlton heston at the end of planet of the apes. but anyhow, this was as far-fetched as this was the never one realize that this is a longshot at anything like this would happen, the germans did send you goes to the coast in 1918, which took out a lot of cargo ships. one of the u-boat is so close to new york off of the narrows, off of long island to one of the
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crew member later wrote, i look at night and saw the lights of manhattan on the class of the, just over the horizon. and i was sort of tantalizing. ironically enough to have a german in 1842 seen exactly the same thing when the nazis u-boats came back in the war. it was actually a scare in 1918. the rumors started that maybe the germans figured out a way of putting planes on board these u-boats.
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