A Painting Of Bloody Sunday
January 22nd, 1905.
This is the day the Russian Empire fell.
Oh, the corpse shambled on for another twelve years, but it’s soul was dead, gunned down by soldiers outside the Narva Gate and on the Nevsky Prospect.
Let’s start at the beginning.
1904 had not been a good year for Russia, for reasons that were not new. The rapid pace of industrialization had created a peasant proletariat in the cities, beaten down by the managers and owners and seething with resentment. The bourgeois middle class that should have supported the state against the poor resented the Imperial Government’s autocratic grip on power. Strikes and labor stoppages became more and more common in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as did support for socialists, anarchists, and other subversive groups. Meanwhile, the children of the privileged increasingly turned to revolutionary terrorism, and the number of nobles and generals shot down or blown up increased exponentially. Finally, the spark: war with Japan had begun in the Far East and it was not going well. The Russo-Japanese War was supposed to be, in the words of Interior Minister Plehve “a short, victorious war” that would restore the people’s confidence in the Tsar and his government. Instead, Japan had delivered a series of humiliating defeats to the Russian armies and was even now driving deep into Manchuria. Casualties were reported to have been in the hundreds of thousands. Plehve did not appreciate the depth of his failure, as a Jewish terrorist had thrown a bomb into his carriage last July.
Worse Than Hitler
I am a man who hates Woodrow Wilson. That is a central part of my identity. This may not be a thing to be proud of, but it is a thing that is true nevertheless. There’s been a shift in recent years, with President Wilson’s prior status as a progressive icon substantially revised, but I don’t think this revisionism goes far enough. Thus, I will take on the heavy burden myself. Today, in my magnum opus, I will attempt to enumerate the many reasons that Wilson was a Bad Person.
(1) Woodrow Wilson Was A White Supremacist: Wilson believed in the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race, and as President, he took actions to secure it. Under his administration, the Navy Department, the Treasury, and the Post Office were segregated for the first time. He was an open supporter of segregation throughout the south, declaring that “segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen” when African-American leaders protested the discriminatory treatment of Black soldiers in the U.S. Army during the Great War. Though 100,000s of African-Americans served during the war, they were kept segregated in units with all-white officers and the vast majority were placed in noncombat positions. Wilson also wrote defenses of the KKK and of public lynchings, believing them to be necessary for the defense of the South during Reconstruction. Internationally, Wilson opposed all efforts at decolonization or self-determination for anyone who was not white. Misconception over this in East Asia had unfortunate results. W.E.B DuBois refereed to the Wilson Administration as “The worst attempt at Jim Crow legislation and discrimination in civil service that blacks had experienced since the Civil War.”