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February 3: ON THIS DAY in 1917, President Breaks Relations With Germany

February 3, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1913, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Washington — An income tax is now one of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States. Wyoming’s ratification today of the income tax amendment — the sixteenth change in the Constitution and the first since the reconstruction — completed a list of thirty-six states — three-fourths of this Union, which have approved the provision. Congress now will enact a law to levy the tax, and it probably will become effective during the extraordinary session to be called by President-elect [Woodrow] Wilson in March. The tax itself, its provisions and its limitations are all left to Congress. The new law probably would supersede the corporation tax and provide for a tax on all incomes above $5,000, although there has been some sentiment in favor of making the limit as low as $4,000. Congressional leaders who have been preparing for the final ratification by the states estimate an income tax would bring in about $160,000,000 a year to the government.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1917, the Eagle reported, “Washington — Diplomatic relations with Germany have been broken. Ambassador Gerard is being withdrawn from Berlin, and Count von Bernstorff, German ambassador, is making preparations to leave Washington immediately. At 2 o’clock this afternoon, the President is to appear before a joint session of Congress, at which time he will officially inform that body of what has been done. Opinion is universal that the United States and Germany will be in a state of war within a short time. This is regarded as the inevitable result of the severing of relations. The recall and dismissal of ambassadors in 1898 was a prelude to the Spanish-American war and the present situation is similar. The decision of the president, which has been inevitable since Germany’s program of frightfulness at sea was promulgated, became known at the White House at 10:30 o’clock this morning, immediately following an announcement that Mr. Wilson would appear before Congress at 2 o’clock.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1941, the Eagle reported, “Continuation of its drive for a higher rapid transit fare to place the city’s unified system on a self-sustaining basis and thereby relieve the budget of a subway deficit approximating $30,000,000 a year was announced today by the Citizens Budget Commission in its annual report. The commission charged in its report, which was signed by Maj. Gen. Dennis E. Nolan (retired), chairman, that the heavy subway deficits are a burden ‘the people can no longer bear. Our rapid transit system is city-owned and operated. It can and must be self-sustaining if the city’s finances are to be placed on a sound basis.’ Last year the commission proposed a 7-cent fare.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1952, the Eagle reported, “Hong Kong — ‘Refugees from Canton say that Bishop Francis X. Ford, Brooklyn-born Maryknoll missioner, imprisoned last year, has been placed in chains,’ Father Maurice Ahern, Maryknoll missioner stationed here, reported today. ‘They feel that as soon as the excitement over the recent public trial of five Canadian sisters dies down, he will be brought to trial to keep the young people and students aroused against all foreigners.’ Bishop Ford, after 30 years in the China missions, was placed under house arrest in December, 1950. Four months later he was taken to a Canton jail. Since then he has been held incommunicado by the Communists.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “Saigon (Special) — The young West Point captain stood in the shade of a palm tree and watched the Vietnamese troops splash through the flooded rice field. ‘Sometimes I think people back home don’t know there is a war on in Viet Nam,’ he said. ‘My wife’s neighbors don’t even know where Viet Nam is.’ The comment was typical of the lonely, often frustrating and always intensely personal kind of war which U.S. fighting men are waging in Southeast Asia. There are now 12,000 American soldiers, sailors and airmen in Viet Nam. About 4,000 of these — field advisers, helicopter and airplane crews, pilots and special forces teams — have almost daily contact with the enemy.” 


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