Friday, March 18, 2016

Today -100: March 18, 1916: They ought to lower their arms and direct them against the common enemy

The Senate passes a resolution in support of Wilson’s invasion of Mexico, proposed by Robert La Follette.

Britain will soon ban the importation of luxuries, including automobiles, musical instruments, yarns, china, and soap. And Berlin bans cake. Restaurants are selling “war tarts” made from “ingredients heretofore not found in cake.”

Speaking of war tarts, in the German Reichstag Karl Liebknecht says that many in Germany saw the assassination of Franz Ferdinand as “a gift from God.” Deputies leave the chamber in protest (all but the Socialists). (Update: here’s the text of the speech, from tomorrow’s paper. The last line he was able to make heard is “The troops must not fight merely in the trenches. They ought to lower their arms and direct them against the common enemy.”)

There is great upset in Britain, including in Parliament, over the way conscription is affecting married men. The whole premise under which the government presented the legislation was that it would affect only single men until absolutely necessary, which turned out to be like a week after the program started. Also, they’re calling up the married men who “attested” last year to being ready to be called up, which means those who didn’t volunteer are just going about their business, which doesn’t seem fair.

Austria, where such things are easier because monarchy, will call up every 18-year-old male physically fit for service.

British insurance companies are selling policies against peace breaking out. Companies with war contracts which have to order materials in advance take out these policies to cover losses if the war ends and their contracts are cancelled. But insurance companies aren’t offering policies covering periods after December, and rates are pretty high approaching December, suggesting that they believe the war will be over soon due to Germany’s failures to break through at Verdun.

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