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1923

Jan 2  In Florida a white woman fearful of being caught in an affair has falsely claimed that she was raped and beaten by a black man. The local Ku Klux Klan takes action and attacks the residential town of 120 black people: Rosewood. At least eight people in Rosewood are killed. The town is burned to the ground and abandoned.

Jan 4  In New York City a psychologist and pharmicist from France, Emile Coué, proclaims that positive thinking can cure diseases. He recommends chanting "every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." He believes in the efficacy of medicines but also in will power. He will die in 1926. Whether he died chanting is unknown.

Jan 10  Poland and Lithuania have recently regained their independence and have conducted territorial war against each other. Both have claimed the region around the city of Vilnius, which has a mixed population. Polish occupational forces there have been deeply resented by Lithuanians. Unfruitful negotiations have taken place in the League of Nations, and today Poland annexes the area.

Jan 11  Germany has been defaulting on its reparation payments in coal to France. Britain favors limits on reparations from Germany for the sake of reconstruction and economic growth for everybody. France has been taking a hard line, and France's President Raymond Poincaré has decided to occupy Germany's Ruhr, the center of Germany's coal and steel production, to force coal deliveries to France. Germany responds with passive resistance, The orator Adolf Hitler will feed off outrage among the Germans. His political party, or movement, will be growing rapidly. A police report to be issued in the summer of will estimate that the party rose from 6,000 to 35,000 in Munich alone, and to approximately 50,000 in all of Bavaria.

Jan 24  The United States withdraws the last of its troops from Germany, from the Rhine, vacating the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which is promptly occupied by the French.

Feb 2  Britain's Air Commodore Charlton takes up the post of Chief Staff Officer at the headquarters of the RAF's Iraq Command. Within a year he will resign in opposition to the bombing of Iraqi villages.

Feb 16  Bessie Smith (1898-1937) makes her first recording, "Down Hearted Blues."

Mar 2  In Italy, Mussolini says that women have a right to vote, but he declares that the time is not right for it.

Mar 3  The US Senate rejects having the US as a member of the International Court of Justice.

Mar 5  Montana and Nevada pass the first old age pension grants in the US, grants of $25 per month, $333 in 2012 dollars..

Mar 9  Vladimir Lenin suffers his third stroke, which renders him bedridden and unable to speak. He will now be retired from his position as Chairman of the Soviet government.

Mar 31  In New York City, the first US dance marathon ends. Alma Cummings (age 32) sets a world record of 27 hours on her feet. Six younger male partners helped her.

Mar 31  In the Ruhr, French soldiers fire on workers at the Krupp factory. Thirteen die.

Apr 6  Louis Armstrong makes his first recording, "Chimes Blues," with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band.

May 24  In Ireland, Irish Republican Army (IRA) fighters, who oppose the 1921 treaty with Britain, have been told by their leader, Frank Aiken, to "dump arms" and return home. They are told that "further sacrifice on your part would be in vain." The Irish Civil War ends.

May 15  Britain convinces the Abullah, second son of the Hashimite Emir of Mecca, not to attack the French. Abdullah agrees. Britain rewards him with rule in the area to be called the Transjordan. On this day, Britain recognizes Transjordan as a state.

May 27  in Bavaria, Heinz Alfred Kissinger is born.

Jun 9  Prime Minister Aleksandar Stamboliyskii has signed the Treaty of Niš with the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – to correct instabilities created by World War I. Today, Stamboliyski and his government are overthrown by right wing factions of the Military League, the National Alliance and the army, with Aleksandar Tsankov, a Professor of Political Economy, as leader. He becomes Prime Minister. In five days, Stamolisyski will be arrested, brutally tortured, his hand that signed the treaty cut off, and his head sent to Bulgaria's capital, Sophia, in a box of biscuits.

Jun 9  In the US, Brinks unveiled its first armored security vans.

Jul 20  Pancho Villa is assassinated at Hidalgo de Parral, Chihuahua, by a team of gunmen waiting for him while he is driving his Dodge roadster home from the bank.

Jul 24  The Treaty of Lausanne is signed. It officially ends the war between Turkey and Allies (Britain, France, et cetera). It defines the borders of the modern Turkish state except for its border with Iraq. Turkey gives up all claims to the empire beyond these borders, bringing an end to the Ottoman Empire after 624 years.

Jun 28  Pope Pius XI criticizes the French for their occupation of the Ruhr. He sees international relations as having grown worse.

Jul 31  Inflation in Germany has seen the number of marks needed to purchase a single American dollar reach 353,000 – more than 200 times the amount needed at the start of the year. With Germany's industries idle, scarcity has added to the increase in inflation, and Germany is printing money to pay its bills and to give to people out of work.

Aug 2  Warren Harding dies of a heart attack. Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes President.

Aug 13  Gustav Stresemann is named Chancellor of Germany.

Aug 17  Britain has been uneasy about Japanese imperialism. Today the Anglo-Japanese Alliance is officially terminated, a step in the direction of war in 1941.

Aug 25  In Britain a ten-man committee headed by a conservative Member of Parliament, Sir Frederick Sykes Sykes, rejects advertising for the BBC, believing it would lower standards. The committee recommends a 10 shillings licence fee to fund broadcasts.

Aug 27  In Ireland a general election goes to the political party that has favored the 1921 treaty with Britain – the Cumann na nGaedheal. It has won 63 seats in parliament. The party opposed to the treaty, Sinn Féin, wins 44 seats. Political Power in the Irish Free State will remain with the Cumann na nGaedheal and its leader, WT Cosgrave.

Aug 27  An Italian general and three of his assistants are assassinated by unknown assailants in Kakavia, on the border between Albania and Greece. In two days Mussolini sends an ultimatum to Greece demanding reparations. None is received and on the 31st Italy bombs and occupies the Greek island of Corfu, killing at least fifteen civilians.

Sep 1  An earthquake – 7.9 on the Richter scale – hits Tokyo and surrounding areas. Rampaging flames follow that destroy 694,000 homes. Unfed homeless people roam the city. They include people of Korean descent. Pacts of Japanese attack and murder the Koreans – men, women and children – wherever they can find them. Some Chinese are also slaughtered. Police with a conservative and national security orientation take advantage of the quake and fires to strike against people with dangerous ideas. Police swoop down on hundreds of labor leaders and known socialists, communists and anarchists.

Sep 10  Ireland joins the League of Nations.

Sep 13  An aristocratic military officer, Miguel Primo de Rivera, has the support of Spain's king, Alfonso XIII, and the army. He takes power in a military coup, overthrowing the Liberal Party's somewhat progressive Prime Minister Manuel García-Prieto. Many in Spain who are not a part of the labor movement are tired of turmoil and economic problems and look for a strong leader to produce clarity and order. Primo de Rivera promises to eliminate corruption and to regenerate Spain and to serve only ninety days. He sets up a dictatorship, bans trade unions, censors the press and stays in power for years. His government will also do a lot of investing in infrastructure. Barcelona will have its Metro in 1924. By 1930, Spain will have Europe's best network of automobile roads.

Sep 20  In Bulgaria, the Communist Party allied with the Agrarian Patry and others rise against the illegal rightists government led by Alexander Tsankov. Tsankov does not have popular support but he has the military. He crushes the uprising quickly with outrages against populations in regions that have revolted against him, with particularly large atrocities around the town of Ferdinand. Communists and Agrarians are massacred, including some not taking part in the uprising. Casualties among the civil population will amount to more than 25,000.

Sep 26  Germany's Chancellor Stresemann announces the end of passive resistance against the French occupation of the Ruhr. He argues that there was no other way to get hyperinflation under control. This provokes hostility toward him from the extreme right. The government In Bavaria declares a state of emergency and installs a dictatorship led by Ritter von Kahr. Von Kahr wants to imitate Mussolini's march on Rome. In collaboration with Hitler's followers he plans a march on Berlin to install a dictatorship at the national level.

Sep 27  Greece has appealed to the League of Nations regarding Italy's occupation of Corfu. Italy and Greece have agreed to be bound by the decision of the League's Conference of Ambassadors. The Conference orders Greece to apologise and pay reparations. Greece accepts, and today Italian forces leave Corfu.

Oct 23  Unrest rising from France's occupation of the Ruhr continues. The Communist Party in Hamburg (around14,000 members) doesn't have the votes to win power in Hamburg, but it moves to overthrow Hamburg's government. They attack twenty-four police stations in and near the city. In some areas street barricades are built. Most of the uprising is quelled within a few hours, but street fighting continues into the next day. The uprising adds to the antagonism between Germany's Communists and Social Democrats, who a decade later might have benefitted from unity against the political Right and Hitler. The uprising alarms Germany's middle class and helps give credence to claims from Hitler concerning a communist menace. Stalin has been urging restraint by Germany's Communists. His rival in Moscow, Trotsky, is eager for armed revolution.

Oct 25  A United States Senate Subcommittee reveals what will become known as the Teapot Dome scandal. It's about corruption regarding oil reserves. Albert B. Fall, former Secretary of the Interior in the Harding administration, will be found guilty of conspiracy and bribery and will serve one year in prison.

Oct 29  An African-American show called "Runin' Wild" introduces the Charleston, a dance seen by whites as cheerfully impudent.

Nov This month the Social Democratic Labour Party of Norway withdraws from the Comintern (Communist International). A minority of its membership forms the Communist Party of Norway and stays associated with the Comintern. The Social Democrats are on their way to becoming a dominant political party, describing its policies as in the interest of working people. The Communist Party will be described as playing "an important role in the resistance to German occupation during the Second World." Then it will decline.

Nov 8  In Munich, Adolf Hitler leads his followers in an unsuccessful attempt to take charge of the Bavarian dictatorship and planned coup for Berlin. The Munich coup will be known at the Beer Hall Putch. Hitler has as an ally the former general and war leader Erich Ludendorff.

Nov 9  Police and army forces crush the Hilter-Ludendorff coup attempt. Four policemen and fourteen of Hitler's supporters – mostly youths – have died. Hitler has promised to shoot himself if his coup failed, but he reconsiders. In two days Hitler will be arrested. Hitler will stand trial. Ludendorff, considered a millitary hero, will not.

Nov 15  Inflation in Germany peaks. One United States dollar is worth 4,200,000,000,000 marks.

Nov 23  Germany's Social Democrats are upset with Chancellor Gustav Stresemann. Stresemann's coalition government ends. After three months as chancellor, Stresemann resigns. Wilhelm Marx of the Centre Party becomes chancellor, with Stresemann hanging on as Foreign Minister.

Dec 21  Nepal's status changes from a British protectorate to an independent naton.

Dec 31  The Sahara desert is traversed by an automobile.

Dec 31  Norway's Labour Party, founded in 1887, has been a member of the Comintern (Communist International) since 1918. This year it leaves the Comintern and establishes its identity more clearly as Social Democratic. A minority of its members leave the party and form the Communist Party of Norway.

Dec 31  This year, North Dakota has outlawed dancing on Sundays.

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Copyright © 2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.