Sunday, March 01, 2015
Enrico Caruso will sing to benefit the French Red Cross, at the request of Prince Albert of Monaco. The German newspapers say, “We have no more use for Caruso than for Prince Albert.” There’s a joke in there somewhere.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George says the US is even more militarily unprepared for war than Britain was.
An American Legion is formed - not the current American Legion, which was formed by veterans in 1919, but a sort of informal military reserve organized privately but with the unofficial blessing of the War Department (update: or not. Secretary of War Garrison tomorrow will act as if this is all news to him. It looks like Gen. Leonard Wood was freelancing). The Legion will consist of former soldiers, national guards and the like, aged 18 to 55, ready to spring into action if the US enters some war or other. Its leaders “wanted to make clear, first, that it is not an attempt at militarism, and, second, that while all who are loyal and patriotic are wanted to join, there will be small place in its ranks for hyphenated Americans.” Theodore Roosevelt endorses the Legion because of course he does. He says in event of war he will ask Congress’s permission to raise his own cavalry division, just like the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. In fact, when the US entered WW1, he did ask the army for permission and was told no. It made him very sad. TR says “It is idle for us to trust to arbitration and neutrality treaties unbacked by force. It is idle to trust to the tepid good will of other nations. It is idle to trust to alliances.”
The NYT explains what’s at stake in the British Dardanelles campaign: “The capture of Constantinople will mean the extinction of Turkish rule in Europe and the collapse for all time of German plans for Asiatic dominion. It will not only check the Turks’ plan to invade Egypt, but will stop all German supplies to the Turkish troops in Asia Minor and afford a free passage from Black Sea ports of vast Russian stores of grain and oil”.
Cecil Chesterton, brother of G.K., who has been lecturing in the US, trying to win American support for the British war effort, is disavowed by the British government, which says it would never be so gauche as to propagandize in the United States.
Speaking of propaganda, Britain rolled out these passive-aggressive recruiting posters sometime this month: