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This Day In History

October 17, 2009 by nick

On this crisp October the 17th, I shall return to the dusty tomes and scrolls to divulge more of history’s secrets, long lost to man.

Many attribute the United States’ entry into WWI to various factors – entrenched financial ties with Great Britain and France, the sinking of the Lusitania passenger ship by a German U-Boat, and the Zimmerman Telegram proposing a Mexican invasion of the United States. These reasons were all certainly contributing factors, but none were nearly as significant as a reason withheld from public knowledge.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, ruler of Germany, invited luminaries in American Society to high tea in Berlin in order to perhaps win over Americans to the camp of the Central Powers in the fall of 1916. Present at the secret, star-studded event were Charlie Chaplin, former president Teddy Roosevelt, and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb.

The occasion began without difficulty. Wilhelm was at his most cordial, proud to speak to his guests in the rudimentary English he had developed. Things turned south for the German leader when he made an abortive attempt at humor, making a comment that Americans “adore the African man.” Ty Cobb immediately leaped out of his seat. German guards restrained him, and prevented him from attacking the Kaiser – however, the Georgia Peach managed to slit the throat of one of the guards using a shiv hidden in the sleeve of his Tigers jersey.

Cobb was hauled off to a German prison, spitting racial slurs all the way. The resulting uproar behind closed political doors pushed the Americans into the war.


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