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The San Francisco "Preparedness Day" Bombing 1916

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    A mate posted a link to this on a FB group I run. Never heard of it previously.
    "A century ago, the only division in San Francisco more volatile than the San Andreas fault line was arguably the one between the labor union and business communities. These tensions exploded on July 22, 1916, when a suitcase bomb killed 10 and seriously injured 40, per some counts, at the city’s “Preparedness Day” parade—which would be one of the largest parades in the city’s history, if the Library of Congress’s count of 51,000 marchers is to be believed.
    The idea behind a “preparedness” demonstration—the likes of which took place nationwide, in cities like New York and Washington, D.C.—was to support bolstering the American military in the event of the nation entering World War I (which, sure enough, happened a year later). But even that idea wasn’t immune from the labor dispute. Some on the left and members of the labor movement saw such parades “as a way for munitions makers to get big, fat government contracts,” says John C. Ralston, author of Fremont Older and the 1916 San Francisco Bombing.
    “Part of ‘preparedness’ was a draft, which we didn’t have,” says Jeffrey A. Johnson, history professor at Providence College specializing in radical labor politics, who is writing a book on the bombing, adds, “so if you were member of working class, you were nervous.”
    So it was no surprise that, after a bombing that left little evidence behind, socialists, anarchists and pro-labor organizers were the first to be suspected. Detectives and the District Attorney’s office, in cahoots with the city’s chamber of commerce, worked off a list of people they perceived as “troublemakers” from previous strike incidents and those who had ties to radical politics, then went after the ones who were in town that day — an arrangement between business and law enforcement that Johnson said wasn’t unheard of at this time."
    The Bomb That Rocked San Francisco 100 Years Ago

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