Friday, August 15, 2014

Today -100: August 15, 1914: Of a half Asiatic and slightly cultured barbarism

Headline of the Day -100:  “3,000 in Forts Harass 250,000.”  Liège continues to hold out.

There was an article about censorship of war news in Russia yesterday, and one about Austria today. The civilians of both countries are being kept in absolute ignorance of who’s fighting where and how they’re doing.

Austria is evidently still trying to convince Italy that it is obligated by treaty to come to Austria’s aid.  This is only true if Austria is fighting a defensive war, but, Austria explains in a note to Italy, Britain declared war on it based on lies: “Austria’s war against Servia, an independent State, for a cause which did not affect international politics, cannot be considered as the cause for the present European war.”  And Austria’s declaration of war against Russia was purely defensive, because of Russian mobilization.

German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg also gives his interpretation of the causes of the war (hint: not Germany), asking the Americans to examine them with unprejudiced eyes: “The sympathy of the American nation will then lie with German culture and civilization, fighting against a half Asiatic and slightly cultured barbarism” (he means Russia).

Maj. Gen. von Bülow, brother of the former German chancellor, is killed in battle.  (Update: The Belgian story, which is a little too Boy’s Own to be true, will be that an 18-year-old Belgian soldier, the sole survivor of the Battle of Haelen, spotted a German officer reading a map, snuck up on him and shot him, then wore his uniform to slip through the German lines on his horse.  Also, there was $27,000 in cash in von Bülow’s pockets, which was appropriated for the Red Cross, and secret documents.)

German airplanes are reportedly dropping pamphlets on Russia’s Polish provinces, urging the Poles to revolt and promising them independence and liberty.

The NYT has stories asserting that the Russian Empire’s Finnish and Polish populations are entirely loyal to the Czar, no matter what you may have heard.

Turkey buys two cruisers from the Germans, and everyone (France, Britain, Russia, Greece, Italy) is quite upset by that.
The Austrian steamliner Baron Gautsch hits a mine off the Dalmatian coast and sinks, killing 150, half of its passengers.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: the London Times denounces rumors, including one that the Walton-on-the-Naze pier was blown up by the Germans. The rumor caused many holiday-makers to leave town.

Fog of War?  Supposedly the reason the Austrian Army hasn’t done much since the beginning of the war Austria started is that it’s been disintegrating into its constituent ethnic parts.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Fear Duty on New Clothes. Americans Who Lost Baggage on Continent Face a New Terror.”  Not a my-village-is-being-shelled terror, but an I-might-have-to-pay-40%-duties-on-clothes terror.

Married Canadian men volunteering for the war must get written permission from their wives.

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