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09 December 2018


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"We thought Huerta meant order and profi--I mean progress." I died there; that was great.

Love how you're doing this series. Easily now my favorite series.

Ron Sparks

Warren Zevon:


Papa Curt

Regarding the lifting of the arms embargo in early 1914:

I found some cool stuff on the archives of the Historian of the U.S. Department of State (full disclosure: I work at State, but not for the Historian).

It looks to me like the reason your sources don't specify who arms sales were opened up to is because the official U.S. position was deliberately vague. In their public pronouncements, it sounds like President Wilson was trying to project a neutral stance and, not to put too fine a point on it, let the various Mexican factions fight it out among themselves (helpfully adding a whole bunch of guns and stuff to speed up the process). I'll venture to guess that Wilson didn't want to publicly come out in full support of one side or the other in case the Constitutionalists didn't come out on top of whatever firestorm that Wilson himself was fanning.

That being said, the sentiment in non-public communications (diplomatic cables and letters) seems pretty clear that the U.S. was angling to undermine Huerta.

Here is the link to the relevant place in "Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations Of The United States":


Paging through this you get a sense for the sentiment, even though the way it gets expressed publicly is pretty bland.

Here's an interesting cable from the Secretary of State to the U.S. Ambassador in London, making arguments to try to bring the European powers around to supporting "the men in the north" (Villa/the Constitutionalists):


(Side note: this site is a fun place to dig around, although it's all The Official Story (you won't find much in the way of smoking guns or unflattering revelations)).


Great post Papa curt. Very interesting


Interesting note: Smedley Butler, a US Marine Corps officer who was mentioned previously in this podcast (during the wrap-up of the Haitian Revolution, I believe), lead the US Marine contingent during the invasion and occupation of Veracruz. He was awarded a Medal of Honor (his first of two) for his actions.

From there, he was sent to Haiti, won his second Medal of Honor, and made his way into the Revolutions podcast.

Medal of Honor Citation (December 4, 1915):
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor (First Award) to Major Smedley Darlington Butler, United States Marine Corps, for distinguished conduct in battle, in the engagement of Vera Cruz, Mexico, on 22 April 1914. Major Butler was eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22d and in the final occupation of the city.


I’m wondering if there will ever be more Revolutions tours, anywhere. Or is that stage over?

Marcos Lomeli

Hi Mike, just wanted to say I love the show. Started listening because of my interest in the Mexican revolution (I'm originally from Chiapas, where the Zapatistas still fight today, after a fashion), and now I've gone and listened to the whole first series. Hope you can keep churning out more episodes before I can catch up to you!

Samuil Abdullaev

Not as good as finding the official executive order that ended the embargo (EO1889), but I did find this newspaper from the time that seems to indicate that lifting the embargo meant the US could return to selling guns TO EVERYONE.

The executive order enforcing embargo allowed exception for particular forces, allowing the US to pick its winners, but it seems like President Wilson lifted the embargo entirely, making arms sales legal to the rebels and Huerta.


P.S.: Keep up the great work Mike! Your podcast is one of the best things out there

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