tv 1916 San Francisco Bombing CSPAN August 31, 2017 5:38pm-6:32pm EDT
flabergasted about what's happened. >> especially for the most recent ones, the records won't be open for 100 years and instead we're paying for celebration and legacy building. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on cspan's q & a. >> and now providence college professor jeffrey johnson teaches a class about the 1916 bombing of a parade in san francisco. the bombing took place on what's called preparedness day, organized by provigilance groups. it remains the worst act of terrorism in san francisco history. this is about 50 minutes. well, good morning, thanks for coming, i appreciate you all
being here on a drizzly day at providence college. today i wanted to share with you, i think, a story and a moment in american history that is one of the, for me, more important moments of the late 19th and the early 20th century. it holds a lot of significance in this period of the guilded age and the progressive era. it also happens to be the subject of my new book so i've been living and breathing in this period and in this moment which again i think is very, very significant for 1916 or for the nation, in ways i will try to make clear. so what i'll do today is kind of start by setting up the context of san francisco in 1916, during this moment, during this sunshine, and then i'll spend some time in really three parts talking about why it's significant and why it's important to american history and our story. but let me begin by kind of framing this story about this 1916 moment. many of you have probably seen
this character before, mark twain, of course the famous american play write and he had many quips during his life, but one of them that he said is the coldest winter i ever spend was a summer in san francisco. this is one of his jokes. if you have ever been to san francisco, you know this sometimes to be true. he said this reportedly about the bay city. july 1916, though, seemed a little different. the air was pretty mild, the summer weather had turned very fair and pleasant. fair and pleasant, the local weather forecaster by the name of t.r. reed who wrote for the san francisco chronicle predicted only a light wind for
july 22nd, 1916. so it had settled into a very pleasant summer. and there was a great deal of excitement surrounding the city that july. for lots of reasons, but san francisco in many ways was a far cry from the city that it had been with the famous san francisco earthquake a decade earlier. this was a famous moment in 1906 that many of you have probably heard of and the city had kind of rebuilt itself since 1906 and in the previous decade, so much so that the city had just had a world's fair and hosted one in 1915 as a kind of celebration of this revitalized city. and there were lots of other things happening in the city, you can see here this gentleman, this is charles evans hughes, he was a judge who was also running for president in 1916, so he came to san francisco and he promised republican party loyalists that he would win by an overwhelming majority, his words. if you have not heard of president hughes that's probably because he didn't win by an overwhelming majority, but he visited the city that summer as part of his campaign. another moment that happened around this weekend of july 22nd is that the new alaska steamship line which was a brand new shipping line announced new service from san francisco to new york. for the first time utilizing the
new and innovative panama canal. so this was a city that had really arrived, this these famous moments happening. if you took a quick glance at san francisco in 1915 and 1916 it seemed like a city that had revitalized and seemed very much on the scene. the economy was strong, the city had all kinds of sort of previous histories as a labor city that had a little bit of ferment, a little bit of unrest, except by this point the city seemed at relative peace while, as you know, the rest of the world was at war. well, on the morning of july 22nd, 1916, if we can kind of talk just about this saturday, there was a woman by the name of mrs. cecil wymore and she made her way across the bay from oakland to san francisco that day and that morning. she took the journey with her husband lloyd and her two young children, virginia, age 4 and billy age 2.
they left their 53rd avenue home in oakland to go across the bay to san francisco really in a trip that was about the children. they were going to san francisco so that they could marvel in the spectacle of the city's much anticipated preparedness day parade. by this point as many of you know of course this is 1916, by 1914 in europe war had been raging, world war i was very much under way, and the united states with involvement in the war a real possibility started to have parades like this as a show of kind of patriotism and maybe for the possibility of entering the war, to show enthusiasm for the possibility of world war i. newspaper accounts for the parade when they traveled downtown had estimated that about 50,000 people would show up and witness this parade including the wymore family and it seemed to kind of symbolize this harmonious moment of patriotism in san francisco,
perhaps. people could also buy along market street a famous street in downtown san francisco, in fact, where the parade would go up, this he could buy at local markets and shops and so on flags and buttons and banners and these kinds of things to demonstrate their patriotism. the san francisco chronicle as people prepared and bought all of these things even published the parade route, up market street from the famous ferry building which is still an iconic building in san francisco and then it would turn west on to van ness street. there was a lot of anticipation about the parade in san francisco and it's no wonder that this family went downtown. when the parade began and when it started here is a shot of what the parade looked like, this was market street, so you get a sense here of what this may have looked like. the official count said that there were 51,319 people in attendance to see this parade.
again, this kind of patriotic world war i parade. 52 bands participated and about 2,134 different groups, as you see here, soldiers, national guard, many of them veterans from the spanish american war, nurses groups, boy scouts, you name it. curiously, though, no labor groups. no unions. no working class folks. they purposefully chose to boycott the event to kind of send a message about what this display might have meant to them. well, one oregon newspaper called the san francisco preparedness day parade the greatest demonstration in support of a national movement that the west had ever seen. so here was this outpouring for this moment. well, once in the city the wymores grabbed a spot along market street, all four of them. by this point as you see here jammed shoulder to shoulder with these 50,000 plus onlookers. well, what happened next just after 2:00 p.m., about a half an hour into the parade the local
press would deem one of the most pathetic results of the explosion and of the parade. as she held billy up in her arms, mrs. wymore had him up to get a better look at this parade, a bomb exploded. and it instantly took off both of her legs, this young 26-year-old mother. surgeons quickly scrambled to help mrs. wymore, but the wounds, as you would imagine, proved fatal. dazed from the shock her husband lloyd stumbled away very kind of upset, of course, understandably by all of this, and the two children miraculously survived the attack. so it was an overwhelmingly kind of festive and sunny day that had turned inexplicably dark. well, the blast ultimately will kill ten parade goers that day including of course mrs. wymore. and shrapnel would wound about
another 40 people that had been witnessing the parade. so the tragedy i think that struck the wymore family and many others at 2:06 p.m. on july 22nd, 1916, stands as an underappreciated and yet critical point in american history. taken on the whole i think it marked 30 years, kind of a book ends of trouble between capital and labor. it also showed how the nation might respond to such an unsettling event. particularly how a nation might deal with discontented labor, critics of the war, immigrants in the country. just how the u.s. might just handle a high point, i think, of wartime dissent and division. so this was a decisive event for one summer and perhaps longer that turns the nation's attention on san francisco and the nation as we teetered on the edge of war.
>> so we know a lot about labor violence and we know a lot about conflict during the gilded age and progressive era for sure, but i tell this story in some ways because i think it matters in the broader context of american history, particularly in the early 20th century. what it gets us to think about, perhaps, is how war and anti-radicalism seemed to intertwine during a time of dissent. so i want to talk about why this matters really in three parts today and take this wymore story and this real tragedy and how we might kind of make sense of it. i will give you a few reasons for -- or frame works for how i will talk about this. the first theme i think and why this is so important is that it revealed for sure a division between labor and capital and, as you see here, also a reaction to the government, particularly dissent during world war i. that is objections to the war. secondly the aftermath of the parade and the bombing also
revealed some very serious and stark anti-immigrant attitudes. sometimes they would be rolled into anti-radical attitudes as well, but during a time of war the nation really had to kind of grapple with radicalism and that segment of the population. and finally as you will see it also revealed and kind of uncovered a problematic criminal justice system. certainly as many people were very nervous and fearful of radicalism gone awry in this country. so let me take up that first point and kind of talk about this relationship between capital and labor and this reaction to the government and criticism of war as this patriotism at least superficially seemed to take
route. san francisco is an interesting kind of labor city, i've got a picture here, this is, of course, more than a decade before the bombing but these are dock workers in san francisco. and san francisco in many ways replicated or paralleled the way labor functioned in the country at the time. you could expect if you were a worker in the 20th center century early day to work long days and in dangerous conditions. it was a time of reform and activism by unions and others to bring greater rights, fairer wages, safer working conditions, all of those things to workers. san francisco was very much a part of that. now it was notoriously a closed shop town. much to the chagrin of business interests. what that meant was you had to be a member of a union as a condition of employment, right? so lots of folks business interests in the city hoped for
the opposite. they would have hoped that it would have been a an open shop town. because it demonstrated the power of unions. union were important to san francisco, no question about it. and in fact labor had flexed muscles a number of times in san francisco. there was a streetcar strike against the united railroads around 1907. there was another one against the pacific gas company in 1913. union activism was a tradition in san francisco as elsewhere. but certainly this bombing and this connection to labor seemed to be one that was apparent. it seemed to be important in connection. it certainly mattered in some ways for sure. the dastardly act as it was called in the press, many people suspected might have ties to labor and particularly radical labors. the people on the front lines of strikes and activities, all of those things. this was part of this longer
american history since chicago and hay market in the 1880s and the tenuous relationship and the fights in san francisco and across the country had played out in newspapers, in minds in a number of places. in the ballot box. and sometimes the streets. so this was a tenuous relationship and the country seemed particularly because of capital and labor and workers and business interests to be at odds. that's safe to say. the other thing i'll tell but san francisco in 1916 and this image maybe doesn't have a lot to do with it because we don't have a lot of images of these groups. but you should also know there was a vibrant and alive a anarchists in the city. they were holding meetings, advertising in local newspapers. you could come to the meetings if you wanted. many of them held in german or
italian because many of the anarchists were immigrants. they had newspapers and they were often high profile groups. one of them was called volonta. so people knew about it in way we wouldn't identify with and i arkism in a public way now. in 1916 these were very public and active. you have the anarchist element as well. you have maybe conceptions about anarchism as bomb throwers. but they were concerned about despotic state powers. they were concerned about governments with too much power. it was an ideology about that. and there were certain of them that it had propaganda of the
deed or buy by the deed. meaning if you have a specific attack it could prove a spark, right, against the state, inspire other radicals and so on. you saw with this parade this was kind of a moment of one of these deeds perhaps. so we're eif we're still talking about labor and capital and dissent during the war. you should also know that world war i is happening. of course it breaks out in 1914. the united states doesn't get involved until 1917. it's a war that had been a long and bloody fight in europe and the united states had not participated. you should know that this broader american movement of preparedness, though, gained a lot of traction. it gained steam. the thick thinks with us if you luedke at the lusitania sinking and other ways the germans were using unrestricted submarine warfare. it's possible the united states
might get drawn in to the war. the united states and leaders in particular started to have the attitude we better be ready for war. the size flt u.s. army was woefully behind. we needed a bigger army and better equipped as well. there were lots of national figures who led the fight for preparedness. which bams a movement. this was a preparedness day parade. teddy roosevelt. woodrow wilson. you had all these figures former secretaries of war, former generals and so on saying we are way behind militarily and if the war drags the united states in we better be ready. so this notion of preparedness catches on for sure. rts parades like the one we started with today and the focus for today in san francisco was a phenomena that happened all over. in other words how local communities demonstrated
preparedness was part of in exercise. in other words having a parade that might demonstrate that community's patriotism andfer ver for the war. this is the preparedness day parade in washington, d.c. obviously you can see the capitol in the far distance there. you can make some sense that have. but these happened all over particular in the summer of 1916. kansas city has a preparedness parade mp saelts has one. the biggest one as you might imagine was in washington, d.c. you can see it playing out here. let me see a couple of things about it. it happened on june 14th, 1916, a little over a month before the one in san francisco. this was an estimated crowd of about 60,000 men women and children. paper attention billed it the most remarkable patriotic spectacle in the capital we've seen. and you can against a sense of
operatism being displayed. the president of the united states by his order closed all of the federal office that is day so folks could attend. so in the parade you had members of congress. you had women's you suffrage advocates marching. and again the president at the time hoped this would happen. at the very front of the parade was president woodrow wilson. this is him after he led the parade. then he goes to a viewing standing and the parade could come by. but he marched in front. saunterring at the front. had a big straw hat. had an american flag over his shoulder. everybody was cheering in the crowd and so on. and eventually he made his way to the grandstand to view the parade at the end. at one point there were viewers who released several hundred carrier pigeons in the air.
to release the message of preparedness. but the pigeons were sent out as a display perhaps of patriotism and so on. preparedness is aly live and well. world war i is looming and how the united states might handle that is interesting. prapd o part of the preparedness cycle was the fact that it wasn't unanimous support for prepzness. in other words not everybody was onboard for preparedness. that's for sure. and in fact there was great criticism about world war i from lots of different forces. as you might imagine criticism of it comes from people of the labor class, working class americans and also people on the american left, politicly left, socialists, certainly anarchists and others would have been opposed. if you've read remarks for any of the classes you know of
course that all wars are capitalist wars. who benefits from those? financiers and. randolph born was a famous social critic at the time. he said this manhatttra, who benefits within not the workers. >> the real divisive about the war with the draft. we didn't have a draft in the united states. but there was a selective service act that started to get debated and eventually signed into law in 1917. because remember the army is woefully small. so it means -- those of you young men in this class know when you turn 18 you get the selective service card. and you have to register for the draft. if you don't it's a crime, right? so we begin to see that process here. and there were many critics
outspoken about who would be doing the fighting. rank and file, average americans, right? certainly not the kinds of people with means. so there was this labor and leftist objections of course to the war generally but especially to conscription, especially to a draft and the idea of a draft. so all throughout the united states there was a kind of healthy dissent about war and the u.s. involvement and so on and san francisco was no different. in fact on july 20th, two days before the bombing at the dreamland rink, the fill more. this is two days before the bombing they show up at the venue to express their discontent about the possibility of war. and i'll give you another example on the very night of the bombing -- it didn't happen -- but emma goldman, a famous -- that's a name maybe might mean something to some of you -- a
famous american anarchist was in san francisco when the bombing happened and that night as you can see from this slide she was to give a lekt yur. so for 25 cents you could hear this famous radical of note- she was going to give the address for 25 cents. the title of the talk as you see here doesn't mince words. she said preparedness is the road to universal slaughter. it makes it clear what she thinks about preparedness and the draft and conscription means. universal slaughter. goldman was in town during the attack. let me share with you too one other ominous warning. that was to happen the night of the bombing. before the bombing in the few days before the newspaper editors in san francisco all got an ominous letter. the police chief did as well. and i want to read with you --
read to you this warning letter that was sent to these editors because i think it's an important message. again this was a few days they get this in the mail at the local newspaper offices before the bombing. "editors: our protests have been in vain in regard to preparedness propaganda so we're g going to use a little direct action on the 22nd which will echo around the earth and show that frist coreally knows how and that militaryism cannot be forced on us and children without a violent protest. things are going to happen to show that we will go to any extreme the same as the controlling classes to prerch what little democracy we still have. we don't take this as a joke. and you shouldn't be or truly awakened. awaken. we are swoern to our duty of the masses and only send warnings to those who are wise but forced to march to hold jobs as we want to give only the hypocritical patriots who shout for war but
never go to war a real taste of war" so if you read that statement and think about it it's ominous. it's playing on the fact that these are people shouting for war very patriotically but at the end of the day these aren't the people doing fighting in the war. so nobody knows where this ominous warning comes from but it's delivered to the newspaper offices and the chief of police. of course as we talked about at the beginning of today true to their word, whoever wrote this or someone associated with that in fact held up their end of the bargain, right, and did the deed as we know. so that's kind of the first part i think in kind of thinking about in and why it matters. it matters in terms of world war i and dissent and capital and labor and the kind of ominous warning signs. if you looked at that and licensed carefully to the letter it talks about the working classes and ruling classes. it speaks to the divide that
seemed to endemic in the time. let me talk about how this mattered in terms of anti-immigrant and absolute i labor attitudes. because after the bombing the manhunt is immediately under way. and it revealed a couple of things. one it was clear that the power that is be in the city were interested in strike ago blow at radical labor, in other words cracking down on labor. right? using in as an opportunity, right, against the closed shop, for example, and against label mts that had been so strong in the city. the other thing i'll give you a couple of examples in a second. this was very much a vibrant anti-immigrant attitude. those things seemed to go hand in hand. the condemnation of course as you would imagine came quickly from the press. this was a very dastardly act as we know. the los angeles herold kield it
a diabolical crime. the authorities acted quickly to find the swargty man that was responsible. their words. it has undertons about who might have been responsible. they focused on the perpetrator the lodging houses, single occupancy hotels places where immigrant workers might have moved through sometimes quickly san francisco. this is where they focused the energy. if you listen to clearly whoever committed the dastardly act was somebody darker. often poorer parts of city. it was targeted at a particular dmunt for sure. residents were told to remain vigilant as the manhunt was under way. a very agreeable press, of
course, continued to talk in those terms. and said that the authorities would get what they called a fanatic demon responsible for this, a fanatic demon. almost immediately of course blame fell on what were perceived at radicals. the san francisco mayor james ralph declared all agitators will be driven in the city. again the anti-labor anti-radical idea. one paper didn't hesitate to specify the source of the. the iww anarchists and socialists have been in denouncing the preparedness campaign and some of the people are no doubt responsible for the dastardly act. the paper said. there was one finnish immigrant arrested from a sailor's boarding house that he lived in on drum street. all he could do aerktd to the newspaper was i didn't do it he said that over and over funny. and he sat in the police station
trembling and so on. and the newspapers when joseph isn't was arrested and before had explicitly said that whoever committed the crime, right, clearly this was quote the act of some foreigner. the act of some foreigner. so it's no surprise that somebody like josephson, the finnish immigrant wab rowe would be nabbed and arrested and blamed. thankfully for josephson he was nervous and scared all these things. the police admitted that they had no connections between him and the bombing and they let him go. but i think it spoke to this attitude. in other words we know who did this it was clearly an immigrant. also implicated -- i'll mention this quickly were two other people in san francisco at the time of the attack. one of enemy is this guyed alexander berkeman. he had tried to assassinate henry clay frick, the famous
steel mogul in the 90s. i goes to the jail for over a decade. berkeman was proud of this. he labeled it the first terrorist act in american history. he doesn't actually kill frick. you but he tried. . but frick was living there in 1916. he was jewish, radical anarchist. he was very much in line with these attitudes. he also publishes and i think you will catch the subtlety of the headline of the newspaper processes this is the mast head he publishes a newspaper titled the blast. which of course is an anarchist newspaper. he is immediately catching some suspicion. with him was his friend and on again off again lover by the way, emma goldman, the same woman giving the preparedness, the road to universal slaughter speech. she is around san francisco at the time as well. and they were very much in
cahoots just give you one attitude of the attitudes from berkeman and goldman and they were both jewish. they were described as the kind of people who pop up at any radical movement that promises financial returns and the newspaper spoke of their money grabbing proclivities. this is a stoirpt stereotype about jewish people that they're just trying to profit from radicalism. anti-jewish, anti-semitic stuff for sure. so i think that anti-immigrant, anti-labor force is important. let me finish with the third kind of why in matters idea. and that's this kind of anti-wrad kalism and the climate in some ways of the red scare and this broader kind of miscarriage of justice which i think you'll find interesting as well. the district attorney was a guy by the name of charles fikkert, a big hulking fellow, had his
own political ambitions, moved quickly. he said, quote in the interest of justice -- second offense very interested in making quick arrests and finding the culprits very quickly. and he is doing this in less than scrupulous ways, quick arrests without warrants, these kinds of things to bring someone to justice. it was also clear that fikkert, the district attorney wanted to strike a blow against radical labor. this was part of his mission. he was working in cahoots with another guy by the name of martin swanson, a former pinker ton detective. they were kind of the before we had large bureaus of investigation and so on they were this kind of auxiliary hierz police force that lots of companies dsh if you know the story of the molly mcguires you know the pinker ton stories. so he was a former pinker ton
man who had worked against san francisco labor elements. the district attorney asks him i need a list of all the labor agitator in town on july 22nd, 1916, the day of the bombing. and that will be our list. so swanson draws up his kind of list of all the people that had given him trouble in the past and of the list there were five people who were former labor organizers or still labor organizers radicals in town on jewel 22nd, 1916. that's who they arrested. the group is as pictured here. they're brought into the police station. they're identified as the five suspects. and, again, brought in purely because of that list drawn up by swanson. warren billings who you can see second from the left there was arrested. he was 22 years old.
very young. very active in the shoe makers union. he was an active union guy. edward nolan on the are far right, active in the machinist union. he was a labor organizer as well. israel wine berg on the far left, an bus driver, involved in the strikes for car drivers. you can see in the bus operators union. these were all young and active labor organizers. but of most interest to swanson and fikkert were in the center, tom moony and rena moony as you see pictured here, particularly the young tom moony. young -- i don't know he was 33. that still seems young to me. but moony was a noted adderall agitate ner san francisco, had been involved in a number of
strikes, lots of organizing in the previous altercations and so on. he had been a socialist -- depends on how you might define that. but he had traveled with eugene dense at one point the famous perennial socialist candidate for president ppt moony was an active labor organizer certainly on the political left, no question about it. but he catches the real eye of the authorities. and his wife rena as well who was active in organizing with him she spent her days as a music teacher. she had a music studio in san francisco. the authorities would call it a den which makes it sound ominous but she had a couple pianos and had music students. moony and his wife but especially moony really attracted the attention of the authorities. when they were arrested, they were held in solitary confinement.
they weren't allowed to talk to family or friends or legal counsel. and the assistant d.a. told them they ought to be hung without ceremony. quick and would in a summary fashion. >> >> on august 16th they were charged with murder. this became part of the legal story. the authorities considered them part of the same conspiracy. when one was tried evidence would be used against the other one and so on. it was very complex and probably a little unfair. well i'll just tell you as the investigation got under way there was some problematic police work. there were macabre souvenir hunters. . they found a woman's watch
hundreds of yards away from the blast. so it was a really powerful bomb but with all the pieces of schrapnel and so on. souvenir hunters took this stuff. but of course that matters for the police work. the other problem with the police work as well complicating things you can see the -- oop, the whole blast here. is that the authorities came and they washed away all the dust and soot and that stuff which of course for police work is also a little bit of a problem in terms of finding valuable evidence and so on. the story of this and the trials that begin in 1916 and 1917 are a very long and complex story that i could talk about with you more. but you should know that during the course of the legal proceedings -- and this is pretty well documented. it's not hard to dispute. there were doctored photographs.
there was perjured testimony. meaning people lied under oath. and there was inincriminating elements to the prosecution case. and moony and billings in particular will both be convicted. billings convicted in december of 1916. moony convicted february of 1917. knows are important dates, 1916, 1917 these guys go to jail. now if you think about this they're not having a sympathetic public. et in the age of the roetd scare and the attorney general. the a. mitch palmer gets his front porch. we get the espionage act and we get the is he edition as you know which limits disloyal speech which of course open to interpretation. also you couldn't mail socialist and other kind of writing and newspapers and those things. things like the international socialist review and so on stop being mailed.
the blast as well, berkeman you can't mail those things anymore because the government cracks down on that stuff by 1917 or 1918. there is, as you can imagine, a long series of appeals for the fight. they go to jail 1916-1917. the legal fight lasts over 20 years. a series of governors review the case each time they kind of come into office. and each time they kind of all realize that it's a political hot potato. they refuse to give moony a new trial. and they refuse to exonerate him to give him a pardon. president wilson with, woodrow wilson even commissioned a special organization became known as the wilson commission to investigate the case and come to some conclusions. the conclusion attention were basically there had been some funny business with this trial with some of the photos some of the testimony and so on.
and since 1917 it always seemed to come out more appear more, more revelation was so and so had told this story on the stand that wasn't true. this happened with the evidence. that wasn't true. there started ton more and more kind of revelations. in the meantime moony became this cause celebrity. he became a martyr for american labor. there was a huge defense fund and there was this continual fight made on his behalf for his exon ration. remember this is a process lasting 20-plus years. it wasn't until the morning hours of january 7th, 1939 -- let me see that again, january 7th, 1939. they are rewent to jail in 1916, 1917, right. that moony now 56 years old, is visited by the governor and moony is taken to sacramento. the new governor was a guy by
the name of colbert olson. it was broadcast nationally on the radio. and he says -- the governor says i've signed and now hand to you tom moony the final and unconditional pardon. and the crowd rang out. and moony by the way understood this was a fight for democracy and justice. and he was sort of grinning wle it happened. he was able to make a statement. he kind of framed it in the kind of context of decay in the world. he was thinking about germany at the time and how much justice really mattered. but just to put this again in perspective -- this is moony when he gets out of jail. and that was moony when he went in. i think those are powerful photos. well let me finish with this. i think we know that this is a gross misappropriation of justice. it's clear it was a wrongful conviction.
having looked at the evidence it's not definitive at all that moony had anything to do with it in fact he probably had nothing to do with it. some have made lots of inferences about the whodunit question in other words who did the attack? there is one name bandied about, a guy name the selston. he is a famous speaker. there was an anarchist famous at the time a italian who had come to the united states who had followers in the united states. reremained very coy even in his last days. he was deported from the united states, actually questioned in boston harbor before he left not far from here. and the bureau of investigation asked him questions, if he knew anything. he just remained very coy and just denied moony's guilt when
he was deported. there were a couple of books that came out -- this is another image of the parade to give -- as we think about the whodunit question tlp trp there were a couple of books out in the 19 sixth and richard frost and they advanced the german sabotage theory. the germans had hoped to kret an explosion and the water front in san francisco. blowup some munitions these kind of things. this was part of a broader plot by the germans to create this disorder in the united states. so that's another theory. that's a very attractive hypothesize for some folks. and there's a book about alexander berkeman and emma goldman, that they had a role in all of this or possibly abmorically that group volonta,
the and i irkist group had something to do with it. but it's all speculation. any of this certainty about the perpetrator is kind of eager having looked at all the sources. and now as the 100-year anniversary has come and gone of the attack. only consensus there isn't consensus. the other consensus is that clearly moony and billings did not plant the bomb. but perhaps the whodunit question is not as significant as the broader story why it matters. as i outlined in the three parts for you today. what the events tells us. the san francisco bombing, the or the moony case, it stands an and underexplored or u.n. appreciated moment in american history. it's the high point for american radicalism and the 1910s.
up to 1920. the preparedness day bombing was not the first more was it the last moment of radicalism in u.s. history. but i think it gives us a valuable lens into the broader story. i'll say this too. i mean the bombings and attacks give us during this period some ominous and intimate parallel with other and more recent acts ever domestic terrorism. for example, the atlanta olympics in 1996, or when i was researching this very ominously the boston marathon bombing in 2013. shrouded in the debate were questions of loyalty, anti-immigrant attitudes, the rich/poor gap that seemed to be exacerbated in the american experience and the fear of radicalism that could have disastrous results. 100 years later the anniversary has come and gone of the
bombing. today san francisco residents and perhaps even more tourists walk by the bombing site not really appreciating it or maybe not taking notice. why would they? there is no plaque, no memorial, nothing to draw our attention to the moment. pu i think this moment stands as one of the most important reminders of the turbulent relationship about labor and ratted kalism and war and during the late 19th and early 20th century do you ever questions for me? surely you must. . what are you left wondering about? we have got a few minutes. if not i'll stick around and answer questions but if you've got a question. jenna. >> she they have no idea who did it. >> hum-um. this is one of my great -- i wish i could tell you as i mentioned at the end there are
many hypotheses and no definitive evidence. jenna let this be a lesson. you can try to find out. it doesn't surprise you. espionage, sabotage it's not like whoever was responsible whether anarchist or labor folks, they certainly weren't going to telegraph that. you know they thought they had the five people. but then they started to doctor the evidence and so on. you know -- they found bomb making materials and so on. they found out it's not really bomb making materials and so on. nobody really knows is the short answer. yeah other questions. >> what happened to the district attorney? interesting question. he ran for office and actually won in california. and then there was a recall election against him. and that failed. so he became a prominent citizen in california.
and so he had his own kind of political ambitions. and clearly he could kind of serve as the kind of candidate of business interests. and of course labor very much opposed him as a public official for sure. but he got his wish, charles fikkert and survived a recall election as well. so good question. other questions thanks molly. yeah, joey. >> did anything happen to the police department that arrested the five suspects and then jailed. >> no it's great question. no. you know, police work functions in such a different way then that there wasn't like a censure, boy you got this wrong or we're going to fire the chief of police. fikkert are great examples that this doesn't affect them. they continue other careers, run for other offices become judges
and these kinds of things. the short answer is no there wasn't any formal -- woe think now there would be an investigation of the police. but just police work when i sort of am digging into all this just functioned very differently at the time. and again you also had the kind of pinker ton element as well which was acting quasi independently. it was a different time for police work. good question. these are all good questions. i think we're out of time. but i will see you all tomorrow morning and we'll continue our work. and we'll have some presentations and friday i think. and we'll talk more about the housekeeping things then. thanks for coming. i'll stick around and answer any questions you might have, okay. cool. thanks for coming. >> you're a watching american history tv on c-span3. and we'll continue our look at the american west in just a moment. tonight we'll have more lekt
yurs in history in primetime. tonight focus on 1950s and the development of suburbs across the country. join us at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. >> sometimes we agree on something on both sides of the aisle in the body because there is nothing to it. it's national peaches week or something. and everybody is for that. when it's something big and when it's something consequential that's where difficulties begin to emerge. >> congress returns the summer break on tuesday. and among the list of issues on their plate raising the debt ceiling, tax reform and federal spending which includes funding the federal response to hurricane harvey. we'll have a detailed look at the congressional agenda for the fall tonight. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> country span city tour is in spoken wrkt with our comcast
cable partners as we explore that city's rich history and literary scene. saturday at 7:30 p.m. eastern. book tv features the history and economic development of spoken with tony bumty author our spoken our early history under all is the land. >> spoken was built from the money basically from the money from the mining drirkt. they had the gold rush in 1883. and that led to a silver strike. and it was one of the largest producing silver areas in the state of -- osh in the united states. and a lot of mansions and big builds are all built pr from the mining. >> and the life of one of the nation's and father of the park system. local author james hunt talks about his books were restless fires. >> john mu ir was one of the
most significant environmental leaders and thinkers. he was the protag invite for the national park system. >> and sunday at 2:00 p.m. american history features the environmentally theemd world's fairs. >> spokane. it was thefare firts fair to use the environment as a theme. and it followed close on i believe it's 1972 was earth day, the first earth day. there was a great consciousness around the world about environmentalism. and it became the theme and arguably the obsession of expo the 74. the city tour in spokane washington, 7:30 eastern. and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3. the c-span cities tour working
with the cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. >> up next we take to you the university of minnesota where professor erica lee teaches a class on asian grimes to the west coast from 1830 to 1930. she focus z on the prominent rool role of san francisco's angel island. this is about 90 minutes. >> well hello guys welcome back. i'm really excited to talk to you today for our session this afternoon because so many of us as americans we grow up learning about the history of immigration through ellis island. it's the history of european immigrants coming to the new world under the shadow of the statue of liberty. it's told as an uplifting and romantic story where immigrants become americans. but not mm of us know the history of angel