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Happy 4th of July! Enjoy this Independence Day!

Happy Memorial Day! To all of our men and women servicing to protect our freedom, Thank You!!! You are greatly appreciated!

1912 was the year of the Presidents. It was an election year, but it saw the prominence of three Presidents {Past, Present and Future} involved.

To learn about a candidate in 1912 you had to depend on the newspaper or go to a political rally, if he came to your area. These were the days before candidates spoke on the radio, TV, held debates or took their cause to a talk show.

Theodore Roosevelt

Past—President Theodore Roosevelt—Roosevelt left the Presidency in 1908. He did not want to serve more than 2 terms, since none of his predecessors had. He disagreed with the job his handpicked successor, William Taft, was doing. In essence he ended up tearing the Republican party in two.
Theodore Roosevelt served as New York City Police Commissioner in 1895. He gained notability when he resigned his post in the Department of the Navy and formed the Rough Riders in 1898 {Spanish American War}. He became New York Governor later that year in President William McKinley’s running mate in the 1900 election.
Teddy Roosevelt became President after William McKinley was assassinated in 1901. He was returning from a hike when he received a telegram stating McKinley’s condition was critical. He and his family took a train towards Washington, when he received word of McKinley’s death. Roosevelt promised to keep McKinley’s policies. In 1904 he won the election in his own right. In 1905 he issued the Monroe Doctrine to help smaller countries in need. He made the White House a daily news center. He chose not to run for another term and supported Taft, who won.
Taft and Roosevelt remained friends until Taft filed papers against the US Steel, which greatly upset Roosevelt. This happened in October 1911, while Taft was already running for re-election. Roosevelt began his campaign for the presidency, but the bid came too late and most Republicans supported Taft. The primaries of 1912 was the first time a presidential primary was extensively used.
When Roosevelt did not win the bid of the Republican party, he formed the Progressive party, also known as the Bull Moose Party. An assassination attempt was made on his life on October 14, 1912. He carried the bullet with him for the rest of his life. The election was three weeks later, but Roosevelt was off of the campaign trail, recovering from his wound.
When The Great War {WWI} began, Roosevelt supported the allies and spoke out against Wilson’s reluctance to get involved. Quentin Roosevelt, his youngest son, was killed in service in 1918. He died in his sleep on January 6, 1919 of a heart attack. Vice President Thomas Marshall said “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”

William Taft
Present—President William Taft—Taft was the sitting President, having been handpicked to take over for Teddy Roosevelt, when he left office. Roosevelt was not happy with the job Taft was doing in office and decided to challenge him. He was a very conservative President and didn’t particularly enjoy the job. Taft proposed and passed the bill to begin taxing the income of corporations. Before taking the office of President he was the administrator of the Panama Canal, a former judge, and Secretary of War under Roosevelt. He established a Postal Savings System and a Parcel Post System. Taft lost the 1912 election. He was our largest President ever, but lost considerable weight after leaving office.
After leaving office he taught law at Yale for a while. He supported a League of Nations, going so far as to found and serve on several boards to promote peace during the Great War. In 1921 he was appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court {the only President to sit on the Supreme Court}. He retired in February 1930, and five weeks later, on March 8, he died. He became the first president buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He is the only Chief Justice to have a state funeral.

Future—President Woodrow Wilson—Wilson completed a doctorate in 1883 from John Hopkins University, making him the only president to hold such an advanced degree. He became President of Princeton University in 1902. Historian John Cooper said “Wilson’s tenure set Princeton on the path to become one of America’s great universities.”
In 1910 he became Governor of New Jersey. His popularity led to him running for President in 1912. He was elected President in 1912 and held the position for the next eight years. He tried to keep America out of the Great War {WWI}. When the Germans attacked American ships in 1917, he asked Congress to declare war. He was a great wartime leader, a leading person in the Peace Conference and the mastermind behind the League of Nations.
His wife, Ellen, died in 1914, making him one of three men to be left a widower while in office. The next year he married, Edith.
In 1919 he suffered a stroke and was very ill. He left politics the following year very disappointed in his perceived accomplishments. He passed away on February 3, 1924 and was buried at the Washington National Cathedral. He is the only president buried in Washington, DC.
Woodrow Wilson

For the past month we’ve been discussing the Titanic. This month we’re going to wrap up life in 1912.

A quick look at historical events that took place in 1912:

January 1 republic of china is proclaimed

• January 4 – The Scout Association is incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal Charter.

• March 1 – Albert Berry makes the first parachute jump from a moving airplane.

• March 5 – Italian forces are the first to use airships for a military purpose, using them for reconnaissance west of Tripoli behind Turkish lines.

• March 27 – Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gives 3,000 cherry blossom trees to be planted in Washington, D.C., to symbolize the friendship between the two countries.

• April 14 RMS Titanic collides with an iceberg and sinks

• April 16 – Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

• May 5 – The Olympic Games open in Stockholm, Sweden.

• May 13 – In the United Kingdom, the Royal Flying Corps (forerunner of the Royal Air Force) is established.

• May 23 – The Hamburg America Line’s SS Imperator is launched in Hamburg and is the world’s largest ship.

• June 4 – A fire in Istanbul destroys 1,120 buildings.

• June 5 – U.S. Marines land in Cuba.

• July 12 – United States release of Sarah Bernhardt’s film Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth is influential on the development of the movie feature. Adolf Zukor, who incorporates Paramount Pictures on May 8, 1914, launches his company as the distributor. Paramount celebrates its centennial in 2012.

• July 30 – Emperor Meiji of Japan dies. He is succeeded by his son Yoshihito who becomes Emperor Taishō. In Japanese History, the event marks the end of the Meiji era and the beginning of the Taishō era.

• August 12 – Sultan Abd Al-Hafid of Morocco abdicates.

• August 25 – The Kuomintang, the Chinese nationalist party, is founded.

• October 8 – The First Balkan War begins: Montenegro declares war against Turkey.

• October 16 – Bulgarian pilots Radul Minkov and Prodan Toprakchiev perform the first bombing with an airplane in history, at the railway station of Karaagac near Edirne against Turkey.

• October 18 – Italy and the Ottoman Empire signed a treaty in Ouchy near Lausanne ending the Italo-Turkish War.

• November 28 – Albania declares independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Upon hearing of the Titanic’s sinking, Senator William Alden Smith called for an immediate investigation. The senate agreed to Smith heading a subcommittee to hear testimony.

One of the first aspects to catch Senator Smith’s attention was correspondence by Bruce Ismay to hold White Star’s RMS Cedric over so he and the crew could immediately return to England. One of these messages was: “Most desirable Titanic crew aboard Carpathia should be returned home earliest moment possible. Suggest you hold Cedric, sailing daylight Friday unless you see any reason contrary. Propose returning in her myself. Please send outfit of clothes, including shoes, for me to Cedric. Have nothing of my own. Please Reply. Yamsi” {Ismay backwards}

Senator Smith left Washington, DC and arrived in New York City as Carpathia was docking. He immediately spoke with Bruce Ismay, who was willing to cooperate.

The hearings began at 10:30am on April 19th at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel {owned by John Jacob Astor}. Bruce Ismay was the first witness called. A week into the hearing the proceedings were moved to the new caucus room of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. They were the first hearings to be held in that room.

Included is a small sampling of Frederick Fleet’s Testimony:
Senator Smith: Did you make any request for glasses on the Titanic?
Fleet: We asked (for) them in Southampton (England), and they said there was none for us. . . .
Smith: You had a pair of glasses from Belfast to Southampton?
Fleet: Yes, sir, but none from Southampton to New York. . . .
Smith: Suppose you had glasses such as you had between Belfast and Southampton, could you have seen this black object (the iceberg) at a greater distance?
Fleet: We could have seen it a bit sooner.
Smith: How much sooner?
Fleet: Well, enough to get out of the way.

Testimony lasted for over seventeen days, ending on May 25th, with eighty-two witnesses called and over eleven hundred pages of testimony taken.

Issues covered included but were not limited to:

–confusion of crew
–weight capacity of lifeboats
–lifeboats not filed to capacity
–no boat drills for passengers
–why there were not enough lifeboats on board {due to outdated British Board of Trade Regulations}
–ice warnings not heeded
–ice warnings not properly posted
–Titanic trying to set a record
–Captain Smith was blamed for traveling too fast and not slowing down in ice
–failure of nearby ships to respond to the distress signals
–treatment of passengers in the different classes
–efforts to identify the mystery ship believed to be seen

Final testimony ended when Senator Smith visited Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic, to interview it’s crew. The Olympic was now in Port in New York.

The final report was published on May 28th. Senator Smith and the American Senate Investigation was criticized in Britain for their lack of knowledge concerning shipping and sometimes foolish questions.

Here is a portion of the testimony of Second Officer Lightoller, as he was questioned by Thomas Scanlan:
Scanlan: “Although there were abnormal difficulties you took no extra precautions whatever.”
Lightoller: “Have I said so?”
Scanlan: “In view of the abnormal conditions and of the fact that you were nearing ice at ten o’clock, was there not a very obvious reason for going slower?”
Lightoller: “Well, I can only quote you my experience throughout the last twenty-four years, that I have been crossing the Atlantic most of the time, that I have never seen the speed reduced.”
Scanlan: “Is it not quite clear that the most obvious way to avoid it is by slackening speed?”
Lightoller: “Not necessarily the most obvious.”
Scanlan: “Well, is it one way?”
Lightoller: “It is one way. – Naturally, if you stop the ship you will not collide with anything.”
Scanlan: “What I want to suggest to you is that it was recklessness, utter recklessness, in view of the conditions which you have described as abnormal, and in view of the knowledge you had from various sources that ice was in your immediate vicinity, to proceed at 21 ½ knots?”
Lightoller: “Then all I can say is that recklessness applies to practically every commander and every ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean.”
Scanlan: “I am not disputing that with you, but can you describe it yourself as other than recklessness?”
Lightoller: “Yes”
Scanlan: “Is it careful navigation in your view?”
Lightoller: “It is ordinary navigation which embodies careful navigation.”

Immediately upon the end of the American Senate Investigation, Bruce Ismay and the Titanic crew returned to England. There they appeared before the British Inquiry, conducted by the British Board of Trade. Due to their own outdated laws, there were few repercussions. Lord Mersey presided over the hearings with several experts. The hearings were opened in the Wreck Commissioner’s Court, Royal Scottish Drill Hall, Buckingham Gate, Westminster, on 2nd May, 1912. Ninety-eight witnesses were questioned during May and June. The final report was published towards the end of July. The employees of the White Star Line have been noted as trying to avert any testimony that would damage the shipping line and Captain Smith. The British Inquiry cleared Captain Smith and the White Star Line of any negligence in the loss of the Titanic. There are over eight thousand pages of documents on the Titanic with the British Board of Trade. One very important piece is “Correspondence dealing with the original plans of the Titanic, showing the ship was originally to be fitted with 32 boats. This would have given capacity for over 2,000 people, significantly greater than the 1,178 that were ultimately provided for.”

Both inquiries placed little blame on anyone. Senator Smith did blame Captain Smith for not slowing down in those ice conditions. The British inquiry stated that “maintaining speed and course in such conditions was common practice.”

Both inquiries blamed Captain Stanley Lord of the Californian. Stating “could have rescued all aboard the Titanic if he had taken immediate action to steam towards the liner firing the distress rockets.”

Both investigations presented recommendations for safer travel. Including:
–regular lifeboat drills
–twenty-four hour radio watch on every liner
–all ships accommodate lifeboats for everyone on board
–ship construction should feature watertight decks
— transverse and longitudinal watertight bulkheads as well as high double bottoms
–speed should be reduced in fog, ice or other zones of possible danger

After the inquiries many first class male passengers came under scrutiny for surviving, especially J. Bruce Ismay and Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon.

The Titanic disaster also led to the following changes:

1914 establishment of International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea

International Ice Patrol established

The Titanic disaster marked the end of the Edwardian Era. The general feeling of confidence ended, including faith in technology. The rich began to question the meaning of their wealth and the chivalry seen the night of the sinking has not been seen since. Nobody believed in an unsinkable ship after the Titanic disaster.

Note: James Cameron used the Senate Records when writing his script for the hit movie, Titanic. Mr. Cameron has written. “Those scenes in my film are scripted and staged precisely as the event was described by witnesses.”

Before Carpathia even arrived in New York, The White Star Line made efforts to recover the dead from the Titanic disaster. Four ships, including the Mackay-Bennett, were chartered to retrieve the bodies left in the disaster area.

John Snow and Company Ltd, Halifax’s largest funeral directors, were hired to assist with funeral arrangements.

The MacKay-Bennett left Halifax on Wednesday, April 17 for the disaster area. Many vessels reported seeing bodies or wreckage in the Atlantic waters. The crew arrived in the area on Saturday, April 20.

These ships searched for the disaster site for six weeks. The MacKay-Bennett gathered so many bodies they were overwhelmed and quickly ran out of supplies to embalm the corpse. For this reason many third class passengers and crew members were returned to the sea. First class passengers were given priority to be preserved in packed ice and embalmed and placed in a casket. Captain Larnder justified this by saying these first class passengers were wealthy men with large estates to be settled.

Some of the bodies were so badly disconfigured that identification would be impossible. They were wrapped in a cloth and weighted down to be recommitted to the sea. Rev. K. C. Hind conducted a service for the bodies before they were returned to the sea. Each body that was preserved was given a number and the possessions on their body were bagged with the same number.

The Minia, Montmagny and Algerine assisted the MacKay-Bennett in recovering the bodies. The last body recovered was saloon steward, James McGrady. A month later the RMS Oceanic came across Collapsible lifeboat A while on a transatlantic voyage. This lifeboat had three bodies inside.

These vessels retrieved three hundred and twenty eight bodies. One hundred and nineteen of these bodies were buried at sea.

John Jacob Astor IV, the richest man aboard Titanic, was found. His remains were released to his son, Vincent.

The remaining two hundred and nine bodies were brought to the Canadian port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Most of the victims of the Titanic disaster were never recovered, including Captain Edward J. Smith.

Fifty-nine bodies were returned to their families for burial.

One hundred and fifty bodies were not identified and returned to Halifax for burial. The city’s Mayflower Curling Rink was turned into a temporary morgue. Three different cities in Halifax were prepared to bury the victims. The burials began on May 3rd with many Halifax families turning out to pay their respects.

One hundred and twenty-one bodies were buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Nineteen were buried in the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery and ten in the Baron de Hirsch Jewish Cemetery. Headstones were erected by the White Star Line that fall with the victim’s body number {in hopes of identification} and date of death. Some families or groups did commission more elaborate gravestones. Memorials have been erected to Captain Smith, the Titanic musicians and the Titanic engineers.

Fairview Lawn Cemetery also holds the dead from the Great Halifax Disaster of 1917.

Years later when the Titanic wreckage was found pairs of shoes were found lying with the debris on the seabed.

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