Saturday, August 16, 2014
Today -100: August 16, 1914: Russia expects from you only the loyalty to which history has bound you
The Panama Canal officially opens.
Former NY Gov. Sulzer, impeached last year, is chosen as the Prohibition Party’s candidate for governor, although he refused to sign a pledge of personal total abstinence (though he does claim to be a teetotaler). “He advised the members of the committee that it would be poor politics to take any such step. There were several who disagreed with him.”
Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Germany is said to be imprisoning all Russians in the Reich, because Czar Nicholas threatened to send all Germans to Siberia.
Germans are taking mayors, prefects, priests etc of Belgian towns hostage to ensure the towns’ good behaviour. They’ve supposedly executed a priest. In each town troops enter they post a proclamation: “The Kaiser Liberator [!] is the champion of the small nations of Europe against the [unreadable, possibly despotic something] of barbarian Russia.” Another story, which I can confirm, unlike the priest one, is that 11 men were shot in Linsmeau (the gruesome details given in the NYT I’m less sure about).
Russia promises autonomy to the Poles, as well as freedom of language and religion. After the war, of course. And the Poles will get “unity,” which either means Russia acquiring Austria’s and maybe Germany’s Polish provinces or possibly treating the Polish parts of Russia as a single unit. “Russia expects from you only the loyalty to which history has bound you.” In other words, they’ll still be ruled by the czar. Also, the Russian army has been ordered not to harm any Poles. Meanwhile the German Army, moving into Russian Polish territory, issues a proclamation which on one side of the page offers jewels to the Catholic Church and the Madonna, and on the other threatens to blow up any house from which someone fires at German troops. Poles are meanwhile taking advantage of the weakening of Russian authority to re-establish Polish local governments.
The Russian government is telling all its soldiers and peasants that there’s a solar eclipse coming and that it’s a natural phenomenon, not an evil omen. A likely story.
Headline of the Day -100: “Belgian Boy Princes Saddened By the War.”
The Senate passes a bill to regulate opiates, although there’s a loophole for products with under 2 grains of opium, ¼ grain of morphine, or 1 grain of cocaine. Which would be “soothing syrups” for babies, harmless stuff like that.
The Constitutionalist army enters Mexico City, without a shot fired.
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands will live the “simple life” during the war.
Secretary of State Bryan says that foreign reservists living in the US cannot be forced to return to their home countries to serve in the military.
The State Dept also says that it would prefer banks not make loans to any of the warring countries. While not having the power to block such loans, it says they are “inconsistent with the true spirit of neutrality.” So J. P. Morgan won’t give France a loan, it will give it a “commercial credit.”
Headline of the Day -100: “Horse Kicks Boy in Buggy.” Sounds like a euphemism.