Friday, December 04, 2015

Today -100: December 4, 1915: Fight preparedness

The US asks Germany to recall Karl Boy-Ed and Franz von Papen, its naval attaché and military attaché in Washington respectively, because of their “improper activities.” They are personae non gratae. Although both have been involved in espionage, sabotage and the like on US soil since the start of the war, there’s no clear reason why the Wilson administration is acting now. Papen says “I have no regrets. I have simply done my duty as a soldier and have obeyed instructions”. He will be Hitler’s vice-chancellor.

Germany retaliates by saying that US ambassador to Belgium Brand Whitlock, currently visiting home, will not be returning, although they’re claiming he has retired. Which is news to him.

Henry Ford and William Jennings Bryan meet at the Biltmore, where Bryan explains that he can be more useful working against military preparedness in the US than by joining the Peace Ship (or Ship of Fools, as some of the British press have taken to calling it). He endorses Ford’s mission without quite saying that he expects anything to come of it. A reporter asks Ford about accusations that “some people” are making that he has German blood. Ford says he investigated that today and no he doesn’t. His last word to the US before leaving: “Fight preparedness.”

Carranza says US recognition of his government isn’t enough, he needs the US to enforce its supposed embargo against non-Carranza groups.

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