Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today -100: September 10, 1914: My heart bleeds for Louvain

Kaiser Wilhelm, in a letter to Woodrow Wilson (leaked to a Danish newspaper; the text will leak a week later) which mostly consists of complaints about supposed British and French use of dum-dum bullets (which they deny, although some soldiers are probably making their own) – “I solemnly protest to you against the way in which this war is being waged by our opponents, whose methods are making it one of the most barbarous in history” – and the audacity of Belgium’s “bloodthirsty population” resisting German occupation, says he regrets the necessity for reprisals and “My heart bleeds for Louvain,” and hints that he’s willing to negotiate an end to the war.  Britain is saying that any peace would require compensation by Germany to Belgium.

One discovery from the war: dirigibles are a lot less useful than expected, and more vulnerable to artillery.

Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times):  “Please Don’t Fire, It’s Our Airship.”  The British Admiralty announces that one of its airships will be cruising over London and please don’t shoot at it.

The Seattle school board bans any mention of the war by teachers.  Similarly, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Edward Hyatt issues an order to teachers not to discuss the war “until the war has closed, until man recovers his senses.”  “Is it not a worthy task, to keep the feet of a hundred million people in the path of honest industry and away from the gory fields of war?”

One of France’s Algerian soldiers brought back a trophy: a German’s head.  He is not happy that it was taken away from him.

A Butte, Montana barber who refused to cut the hair of a national guard private, for fear of offending his regular customers who don’t like the military occupation of Butte to break the miners’ strike.  Given martial law, the barber is tried by a major, who says he is guilty of insulting the governor, the uniform of the National Guard, the US Army, and the American flag, and sentences him to 60 days.

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