Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Today -100: May 13, 1915: Murder, lust, and pillage prevailed

Boats are still out looking for Lusitania corpses. Will be for the next couple of weeks.

Headline of the Day -100: 

This is the Bryce Report, the result of an “investigation” of German war atrocities in Belgium headed by Viscount James Bryce, 77, former British ambassador to the United States, chief secretary for Ireland, etc, distinguished Liberal politician, jurist and historian who, with his equally distinguished colleagues, no one would even suspect of putting his name to a piece of out-and-out propaganda because Jesus Christ was it a more innocent time. It’s all here: rape (including a mass rape of 20 Belgian girls by many soldiers in the Liège market square, from the “eyewitness” testimony of a Belgian soldier), mutilation (breasts cut off women, hands cut off children, that kind of thing), baby-bayoneting, and so on. The committee interviewed no one, just repeated as fact any atrocity story peddled by Belgian refugees, then sold the whole lurid thing to the great British public at a penny a copy but it was also obviously aimed at an American audience and was rushed into print as soon as the Lusitania news came. It concludes that all the atrocities were not done by a few bad apples but as part of official policy. The report concludes: “There were in many parts of Belgium deliberate and systematically organized massacres of the civil population, accompanied by many isolated murders and other outrages. ... in the conduct of the war generally innocent civilians, both men and women, were murdered in large numbers, women violated, and children murdered. ... Murder, lust, and pillage prevailed over many parts of Belgium on a scale unparalleled in any war between civilized nations during the last three centuries.” I guess that makes the 30 Years’ War the previous standard for brutality. The report includes 500 depositions (none taken under oath) detailing these mostly made-up outrages. The NYT has three full pages of it.

A NYT editorial on the Bryce Report says that US newspapers in the past refused to publish some of these stories because they were “too horrible for belief” and, you know, entirely unsupported by evidence. But now this report has totally proven everything because of how trustworthy the commission is.

Pres. Wilson sends a note to Germany about the Lusitania as well as the German attacks on the Falaba, the Gulflight, etc. He asks Germany to “correct the unfortunate impressions which have been created and vindicate once more the position of that Government with regard to the sacred freedom of the seas.” If that doesn’t show ‘em, I don’t know what will.  “The Government and the people of the United States look to the Imperial German Government for just, prompt, and enlightened [!] action in this vital matter with the greater confidence because the United States and Germany are bound together not only for special ties of friendship but also by the explicit stipulations of the treaty of 1828 between the United States and the Kingdom of Prussia.” So basically: please stop killing Americans, kthxby.

No doubt purely coincidentally, German and Austrian ships docked at Hoboken are thoroughly inspected just in case they’re smuggling explosives.

There have been riots and looting in London, Liverpool, Manchester and elsewhere aimed at German nationals, not to mention Russians suspected of being German nationals, Americans with cameras suspected of being German-American spies, and shops and other businesses owned by Germans or Austrians. The first Lusitania riots start in the Liverpool neighborhoods in which sailors live. 150 Germans in Liverpool ask to be interned for their own protection. 500,000 people petition Parliament for the internment of all male enemy aliens. Asquith says they’ve already interned all the Germans they need to intern.

The St Paul Pioneer Press thinks the Lusitania sinking had to have been aided by spies in New York.

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