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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Perry: That time Larry MacPhail tried to kidnap the Kaiser

Even (scenes deleted) OSS Agent Michael Burke is intrigued!

And that brings us back to MacPhail and his buccaneering fellow travelers. Perhaps fearing the at-marathon-length bureaucratic run-up to bringing the Kaiser in to face justice, this crew decided to, as it were, “take back the streets” on their own time and without going up the chain of command. (I’ve read other accounts that cited unchecked group drunkenness as the scheme’s author and executor, which certainly sounds plausible enough.)

In any event, the original plan, hatched by one Col. Luke Lea (seated next to MacPhail in the top-most image above), involved—and know that I am not making this up—beating their way inside the castle with tire irons (“I was thinking of motoring up to Holland kidnapping the Kaiser,” Col. Lea said to Capt. MacPhail some time around Christmas 1918). Instead, Col. Lea, prior to the events of Jan. 4, 1919, settled on the illusion of statecraft rather than spare-tire violence.

...Before all that went down—and in keeping with the best practices of WWLMD (“What Would Lee Marvin Do?”)—they cut the phone lines to the castle. Things were going about as well as could be expected until one of the Kaiser’s valets attemped to call the Hague to verify the credentials of this most curious diplomatic envoy, the members of which were, as noted, possibly wrecked on whiskey.

At that point, things began to fall apart. The Dutch infantry summoned to the scene seemed inclined to laugh it off and let McPhail and company walk, but then Col. Lea prompted his men—whether by official order or in leading by example—to make a break for it. So they all leaped into their roadster and beat a hasty retreat. And because the story can end no other way, Capt. MacPhail, Col. Lea and rest of the boys careened into the loving arms of nearby Belgium with the headlights off and ushered out by gunfire at the border.

In Col. Lea’s own words, the point of the whole thing was to hand-deliver the Kaiser to President Woodrow Wilson, who was in Paris advancing his “14 Points.” That was the plan because of course that was the plan.

Repoz Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:51 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. winnipegwhip Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4644433)
In that complaint, the Kaiser noted that the American intruders "made him nervous" and also griped that missing from his personal effects was a certain monogrammed ashtray.

...taken in exchange for a pipe to be named later.
   2. Greg K Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4644510)
Weird, I was just in the shower thinking about the Kaiser 30 seconds ago.
   3. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4644532)
This sounds like the inspiration for Bugsy Siegel's plan to kill Mussolini. Though that might have only existed in the Warren Beatty movie.
   4. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4644548)
Weird, I was just in the shower thinking about the Kaiser 30 seconds ago.

Is that a new euphemism?
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4644623)
How come everybody wanna keep it like the Kaiser?
   6. #6bid rescued Ichiro the carpenter! Posted: January 22, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4644803)
Who put a Bengal tiger in the Kaiser's latrine?
It's the Sneak!
You know it's the Sneak!
   7. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 22, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4644805)
Is that a Strongbad reference? Sounds very familiar. Been ages since I watched any of those.
   8. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM (#4644809)
I once tried to steal Alanis Morissette's guitar pick. As I was slowly sidling over to it I noticed her harmonica laying nearby and made the decision that I would go for the harmonica instead. As I was about to reach for it someone else came up and I kind walked across some invisible boundary because a roadie came swooping out of the shadows to stop her. Alas, my plans were foiled that day. I did end up getting her Reese's pieces but I gave them away to some adoring fans who probably still have them on a shelf somewhere.
   9. #6bid rescued Ichiro the carpenter! Posted: January 22, 2014 at 10:33 PM (#4644813)
Is that a Strongbad reference? Sounds very familiar. Been ages since I watched any of those.

Ha yes, it was a music video featuring the "old timey" version of the characters, so Sneak = Cheat and Kaiser = King of Town.
   10. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4644839)
You buffoon! You carpetbagger! I'll give you what's for!
   11. bobm Posted: January 23, 2014 at 01:19 AM (#4644883),4853303

1938 article with photo about the ashtray

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