World History 1919 Part 1

About the history of the world in 1919, the first triple crown winner, prohibition in the United States, Allies meet in Versailles for a peace treaty.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1919

* Matador Juan Belmonte, 27, of Spain, killed over 200 bulls in 109 bullfights during a single season. Belmonte's popularity with the aficionados arose as much from his unorthodox style as it did from his success at killing bulls. Early nicknamed un suicida loco, the scrawny Belmonte often would climax his performances by kneeling inches away from the bull's nose, daring the beast to gore him. Although many bulls obliged him, Belmonte managed to retire from the arena in reasonably good health. Another Belmonte innovation was to take the fight to the bull rather than waiting for the charge. Some days he would cover almost as much territory as the bull in his zeal for combat and thus earned another nickname, "the earthquake." Belmonte also scorned the accepted practice of sidestepping a charging bull. Once he had chosen his ground, Belmonte would dig his feet into the sand and maneuver his opponent around him with the cape. Most bulls cooperated; some did not. Ironically, the daring Belmonte, who so often bravely faced the moment of truth before thousands of cheering fans, nervously stuttered in conversation.

Jan. The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It banned "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors" in the U.S. Prohibition was already a fact of life for the nearly 50% of Americans who lived in dry states. All the western states, except California, and the entire South, save Louisiana, had banned booze within their borders before the amendment took effect. National prohibition was largely the work of the Anti-Saloon League and other temperance groups, who had stumped the country against the evils of alcohol. They proved particularly effective every election year. Wet candidates were harangued at every stop, while the Drys could expect contributions from the league's $400,000 annual budget and scores of sober campaign volunteers. But Prohibition did little more than break a few bottles. Onto both coasts, across the Canadian border, and in the bathtubs of America, liquor still flowed. Asked what he thought of Prohibition, veteran drinker and stage star John Barrymore replied, "Fortunately, I don't think of it." Neither, apparently, did many others, for the amendment was repealed in 1933.

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