Thursday, December 10, 2015

Today -100: December 10, 1915: I love America first, then I hate England and then I love Germany

Headlines of the Day -100: 

Is this a war or an extended alcohol-fueled orgy?

German Chancellor Dr. Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg tells the Reichstag that “if our enemies make peace proposals compatible with Germany’s dignity and safety, then we shall always be ready to discuss them,” but he won’t make any himself because that would just give them the wrong idea. In fact, he says they’ve already gotten the wrong idea because of the parliamentary question on this subject, to which he is now responding, posed by Social Democratic Party leader Philipp Scheidemann. That question, he says, “has attracted great attention in the hostile countries, mostly of a joyous nature. The question regarding the German terms of peace is interpreted as a sign of the diminution of German strength or the beginning of the end of the unanimous will of the German people.” He assures the Reichstag that Germany is totally gonna win this thing and that Germany can’t be starved into submission because it has enough food, the only problem is working out distribution (Germany never will manage that). “Against the logic of facts even our enemies can do nothing. Our calculation shows no flaws, and there are no uncertain factors to shatter our firm confidence. If our enemies are not yet inclined to yield to facts they will have to do so later.”

Alphonse Koelble of the United German Societies of Greater New York announces the creation of a fund to produce literature refuting Wilson’s accusations of German-American disloyalty. He says Wilson is unduly influenced by information given him by Secret Service officers working with British detectives. Koelble says he hates traitors to the US. “I love America first, then I hate England and then I love Germany.”

Hopewell, Virginia, a boomtown created by DuPont to house a gunpowder plant servicing the burgeoning European market, burns down. Which is followed by looting, as was the custom. One of the looters is lynched, as was also the custom. Although a suspected saboteur was arrested inside the plant a few hours before the fire, the fire actually started in a Greek restaurant, as was the custom. Ironically, pretty much every structure in town burns down except the gunpowder plant.

War Secretary Lindley Garrison issues his annual report, supporting his plan for an increased military augmented by a Continental Army. Much of the report is devoted to a philosophical defense of military preparedness and a refutation of the notion of passive non-resistance. “So long as right and wrong exist in the world there will be an inevitable conflict between them. The rightdoers must be prepared to protect and defend the right as against the wrong.” He rejects the idea of passive resistance to evil, because if you can use mental force or moral force to repel evil, surely physical force is just the same thing. He also denies that establishing what amounts to a standing army would lead to militarism, because 1) the US can absolutely be trusted as a nation to possess force without misusing it – “Why should it be presumed that a just man or a just nation will cease to be just because it has the power to be unjust? We must either trust others or trust ourselves.” 2) if the US were defeated in a war because of lack of preparedness, the public reaction would be far worse, more militaristic.

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1 comment:

David Chappell said...

So, Hopewell went out not with a bang but a blaze. It is tempting fate rather to describe a town built for a gunpowder plant as a "boom" town.