- August 1914
- Bullets, Bottles and Gardenias
- Gringo Rebel
- A Fine Fellow
- Timeline of Revolution
- Battle of Tierra Blanca
- Gray Automobile Affair
- Gringo Rebel
- Gun Running
- John Reed
- Lifelong Friends
- Massacre of Huitzilac
- Nordenskjold Lives!
- Pancho Villa
- Soldier Under 13 Flags
- The Devil's Dictionary
- Villa's Swedish Gunner
- Yaquis capture Acaponeta
- ¡Vamanos Con Pancho Villa!
- Centennial Edition
- Veracruz Expedition
WMD's and the April 1914 U.S. Invasion of Veracruz
The US invaded Veracruz, Mexico in April 1914, and interestingly enough, one might still wonder why: nearly a century has passed, and the actual objectives of the war are still rather obscure. The cover story that ran at the time was of a valiant effort to stop weapons of mass destruction (machine guns) from falling into the hand of a dictator.
Ironically, the reactionary US ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, a holdout from the Taft administration, had given the diplomatic green light for General Huerta to climb over the dead bodies of President Francisco Madero and Vice President Jóse Mária Pino Suarez, to assume the presidency that the Wilson administration sought to bring down.
The most common narrative in many history books and even museums exhibits today goes like this: the Wilson administration, already on edge over a diplomatic incident in Tampico, sought to interdict weapons aboard the SS Ypiranga, bound for Victoriano Huerta’s federal army. If the Ypiranga had as many holes in it as this story, it would still be on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico today.
Customs House at Veracruz today. The mission was to seize this facility.
The Ypiranga was identified in newspaper reports at the time as a German ship, and that bit of misinformation is still repeated today. The ship belonged to the Hamburg-American Packet Line, which was controlled by American financiers including J.P. Morgan. The ship’s cargo included some of the most deadly weapons available at the time, 250 Colt machine guns manufactured by the American firm Remington Arms, along with 10,000 Mauser rifles and 15,000,000 rounds of ammunition.
James A. Stillman sat on the Remington Board, as well as on that of J.P. Morgan’s flagship National City Bank which controlled the Hamburg-American line. Stillman and Morgan had long been associates in many interlocking ventures, and were among the biggest players in Mexican rail, mining and timber. Together they had been principle arms suppliers to Mexican governments and insurrections going back at least to their support of the Liberals against the French in the 1870s and their subsequent support of Diaz against the Liberals.
The SS Ypiranga was a German run, American owned ship carrying American arms, bearing an export license granted by the same Wilson administration which later saw fit to invade Mexico to prevent their delivery, (which, in the end, they failed to do anyway.) The arms were shipped from New York to Germany, and then on to Veracruz, presumably to avoid the appearance of flaunting the Wilson administrations arm embargo in effect against the Huerta regime.
The cover story springs another leak, as we finds that the logistics for the invasion of Veracruz, numbering hundreds of warships and a cast of thousands, began in November 1913, six months before the invasion: the mission to interdict the arms aboard the Ypringa was not a motive for invasion but rather, an arranged pretext.
You'll see as we develop the story that the cast of characters is quite interesting, and, in case you were wondering, Ivor Thord-Gray had a major role in how things eventually worked out....