Sunday, August 03, 2014

Today -100: August 3, 1914: The lamps are going out all over Europe

Labour MP Keir Hardie calls for a general strike against the war.

Germany refuses to answer Britain’s question as to whether it will respect Belgium’s neutrality. Then it orders Belgium to allow and facilitate the movement of German troops through the country.

Russia invades Germany.

Germany invades France. No one’s declaring war, France because that would make it a defensive war for Germany, and Italy would be obligated by treaty to join on Germany’s side; Germany because that would make it an offensive war by Germany, and Italy would not be obligated to join it, and also because the leftist Social Democratic Party might not fall into line.

Introducing a new rubric under which I will post bullshit stories, propaganda, and rumors reported as facts: Fog of War of the Day -100: “Switzerland Now Invaded by Germans, Basle Seized.”

Who Knows If It’s Really True Stories of the Day -100: 1) French aviator Roland Garros shoots down a German airship. 2) German soldiers shoot down a French plane.

Montenegro mobilizes its army.

Germany orders foreigners to leave its tiny colony in China, Kiao-Chau (Kiautschou).

A NYT editorial begins: “With vast satisfaction does each of the Powers prove to itself that it is the injured party, the victim of aggression by another, that it desires peace above all, but is unwillingly forced to self-defense.” The Times says history will know the real cause, but doesn’t hint at what it thinks that cause might be.

The LA Times sees the bright side: “The United States must feed and clothe Europe: Now is the time to get busy and raise things. Our Industries will hum and big money will be made.”

European countries are calling on men in their army reserves who are currently in the US and elsewhere to return, promising to reimburse them later. The NYT is able to interview an Austrian captain, who will sail home tomorrow, cutting short his vacation with the in-laws in the US. “Austria is entering into no war of conquest or aggrandizement. She does not want nor covet Servian territory. She enters a war for peace, paradoxical as it may seem. Servia is, and has very long been, an irritant in the internal and external affairs of the Dual Monarchy. Only peace can come by crushing the Slav. Then we may have peace for fifty years.” And you were worried that Austria didn’t have lofty motives.

Some American tourists are stuck in Europe, including 3 US senators. With a cash shortage, some are having to leave Paris hotels with their bills unpaid (in some cases being forced to leave their luggage, Paris hoteliers not being the most trusting people in the world, as I can say from experience). So many US teachers tour Europe during the summer that there is concern they may not make it back by the time school starts up.

One thing the war isn’t interfering with: arms-smugg]ing into Ireland. 10,000 rifles arrive in Ballyshannon for the Nationalists.

British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey later quoted himself as having said to a friend on this day, “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

I can’t think of any way of slipping this in subtly, but Grey’s wife was killed after being thrown by a horse, and both his brothers died while hunting in Africa in separate incidents, his elder brother eaten by a lion and his younger trampled by a buffalo.

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