Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today -100: July 29, 1914: With a serene conscience I set out on the path to which my duty points

Austria declares war on Serbia. A manifesto from Emperor Franz Josef says “The intrigues of a malevolent opponent compel me, in defense of the honor of my monarchy and for the protection of its dignity and for the security of its possessions, to grasp the sword after long years of peace. ... In this solemn hour I am fully conscious of the whole significance of my resolve and my responsibility before the Almighty. I have examined and weighed everything, and with a serene conscience I set out on the path to which my duty points.” No other countries are at war yet.

Germany rejects Sir Edward Grey’s proposal of an ambassadorial conference.

Germany has told Russia that if it mobilizes, even partially, it will mean war.

(Tsar Nicholas’s diary entry for today: “played tennis; the weather was magnificent.”)

Serbia’s war plans involve invading the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s province Bosnia to raise an insurrection among Bosnian Serbs.

Austria offers amnesty to anyone who deserted the military or left the country to evade mandatory service. This means you, Adolf Hitler (Spoiler Alert: Adolf joined the German Army instead. This meant that when he’d served his time for the Beerhall Putsch and Germany tried to deport him, Austria refused to take him back, saying he’d relinquished his Austrian citizenship by joining the German Army, so Hitler was stateless for seven years until 1932, when he ran for president of Germany.)

Conscription might be more... interesting in Serbia, which greatly enlarged itself during the two Balkan Wars, and which has not treated the people in the annexed regions especially well.

In Los Angeles, a mob led by Austrian sympathizers attacks the Serbian Red Cross hq (which doubles as the Balkan Coffee House) with stones and bullets. No one is injured.

50 French socialist members of parliament meet and issue a statement that France shouldn’t be drawn into a war by “occult agreements.” Meaning secret treaties, not deals with the devil. Probably. Although the French alliance with Czarist Russia is arguably a bit of both.

The trial of Madame Caillaux concludes. In their closing statements, the prosecutor attacks Henriette as a mere mistress who had triumphed over and displaced Joseph’s legitimate wife. I read this as an attempt to head off a “crime passionnel” acquittal by attacking her character, arguing in effect that she doesn’t deserve the benefit of the traditional jury nullification afforded bourgeois women in murder trials. He also says that she lacked the requisite femininity: “She is a cool, sensible woman, without emotion or pity. ... she prepared the assassination with as much calm as a society woman fitting in calls between two tea parties.” When he describes the shooting, she faints, as was the custom. Her lawyer Fernand Labori (who during the Dreyfus Affair defended both Capt. Dreyfus and Emile Zola) asks the jury to “keep our anger for our enemies abroad. Let us leave this court resolute and united to face the perils which threaten us.” The jury takes less than an hour to acquit her. Le Figaro says the acquittal for the murder of its editor “is the most enormous scandal of our epoch and covers the radical republic with mud and blood.”

The US Senate has postponed consideration of the 20 peace treaties Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan negotiated.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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