On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 1918
Four more inches of snow fell on Philadelphia overnight. The snow once again, like last week, slowed transportation both into the city and along its roads and streets. All reports are that a severe cold wave will soon encompass the entire east coast of the United States. For Philadelphia today’s high may reach 33° with tonight’s low about 22°.
Philadelphia industries are facing a total shutdown due to the lack of coal. Overnight, William Potter, Federal fuel administrator for Pennsylvania, ordered the seizure of 200 carloads of coal. The fuel was distributed to 44 plants to avoid them shutting down. But that coal will be exhausted today. Mr. Potter said today that the bitter cold and last night’s snow storm has again paralyzed coal train deliveries into the city. He warned that if more coal is not forthcoming he will not hesitate to seize all available coal and divert it to be used for home heating, even if that means shutting down war work.
Women, yes women will be permitted to apply for the positions of mail clerks and mail carriers beginning on March 9. The Post Office Department of Philadelphia has announced that any woman between the age of 18 and 45 with a grammar school education may take the examination. The test includes spelling, arithmetic, letter writing and correcting a wrong address. The Post Office also makes clear that men are still welcome to apply.
Reports from Germany are that a general strike has taken place. Almost 1,000,000 workers have walked away from their jobs, most of which are in war related industries. In response the government has suspended newspapers, prohibited public meetings and threaten to impose martial law. Soldiers have been used to break up demonstrations. Rioting has reportedly occurred in Berlin, Kiel, Bremen and Hamburg. The government’s threats of martial law are being met with cries of peace, food and political reform from the strikers.
On the Alpine front, the Italians are reporting the infliction of enormous losses on the Austro-German forces between the Asiago Plateau and the Brenta Valley. The Italians opened an offensive on Monday and so far claim Austrian-German casualties of up to 20,000 with 3000 prisoners taken.
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