Monday, May 19, 2008

1917 Society (4)

1917. Halifax, Nova Scotia, is destroyed December 6 by an explosion that levels two square miles, kills 1,654 and blinds, maims or disfigures 1,028. The Norwegian relief ship Imo loaded with supplies for war-torn Europe has plowed into the French munitions ship Mont Blanc loaded with 4,000 tons of TNT. A tidal wave created by the explosion washes the city's remains out to sea.

1917. Drought begins on the Western plains.

1917. Britain's House of Commons is stunned by news that 2 million tons of shipping have been lost to German U-boats and that the country has only 3 to 4 weeks' supply of food in stock.

1917. Nathan Handwerker counters rumors spread by his Coney Island rivals who say that 5-cent hot dogs cannot be of the best quality. He hires college students to stand at his counters wearing white jackets with stethoscopes hanging out of their pockets and word spreads that doctors from Coney Island Hospital are eating Nathan's hot dogs.

1917. A U.S. immigration bill enacted January 29 over a second veto by President Wilson requires that immigrants pass a literacy test in any language. To relieve the distress of Russian Jews it exempts refugees from religious persecution. The U.S. population passes 100 million.

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