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Rotten eggs thrown at Hughes

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December 21, 2017

This week in 1917 the first secular Moslem state, the Crimean People’s Republic, declared its independence.

This week in 1917 the first secular Moslem state, the Crimean People’s Republic, declared its independence.

At that time, the Crimean Peninsula was mainly Moslem.

When the Russian Empire collapsed, countries like the Crimean People’s Republic, Finland, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine declared themselves independent.

The Bolshevik Empire under Stalin would re-incorporate most of them with great bloodshed.

In the case of the Crimea and the Ukraine, later large-scale genocide would make both these areas heavily Russian.

This week, Russia and the Central Powers agreed to an armistice while they negotiated the Brest-Livtosk treaty.

Germany took the opportunity to begin moving what would be 48 Divisions to the Western Front.

The best would be retrained as stormtroops for the forthcoming Michael Offensive.

In the meantime, German submarines continued to inflict heavy shipping losses.

However, the convoy system was now widely used.

German successes were neither enough to starve Britain into surrender nor stop American reinforcements landing in France.

In mid November, New Zealand Mounted Rifles had entered and occupied the Palestinian port of Jaffa.

Despite their efforts and those of the Australian Light Horse, this critical port remained within Ottoman artillery range.

As a result, it was unuseable.

This week, New Zealanders and two British Divisions made a 1.6km crossing over the Yarkon river at night.

They then advanced across swampy land sodden from three days of rain. They fired no shots.

By the evening of the next day, the Ottomans had been forced back 8km at bayonet point.

The ANZAC Mounted Division was then to pursue the retreating Ottomans.

However, the boggy ground prevented this.

This week, the infamous All-Russia Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-revolution and Sabotage or Cheka, predecessor of the KGB, was established at Lenin’s decree.

Felix Dzerzhinsky was its first head.

When Lenin was shot in 1918 in a failed assassination, Dzerzhinsky unleashed Red Terror.

This would result in some 15000 people being summarily shot.

Only at Lenin’s order was the Terror brought to a halt — for a time.

Meanwhile, Benalla voted ‘‘Yes’’ in the second Conscription Referendum as did Indi.

In Indi, out of 22000 votes, the ‘‘Yes’’ vote was just 104 votes ahead.

The question was: Are you in favour of the proposal of the Commonwealth Government for reinforcing the Commonwealth Forces overseas?

It had been a bitter campaign.

Rotten eggs were thrown at Billy Hughes in Warwick.

Hughes was furious and reached into his coat for his revolver. It had been left behind.

When he ordered Queensland police sergeant to arrest the malefactor, the sergeant loftily replied that Hughes was not his employer.

This time, only ‘‘loyal’’ Western Australia, the ACT and Northern Territory voted for conscription.

Nationally, there was an 81 per cent turnout.

— John Barry, ANZAC Commemorative Working Party, Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI heroes

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