Monday, August 29, 2016

Today -100: August 29, 1916: And still more war is declared

Romania declares war on Austria, Germany declares war on Romania, and Austria gets so excited it accidentally declares war on itself. That’s 15 nations/empires at war with each other (don’t forget San Marino!) and 26 or 27 declarations of war.

Romania sets out its reasons: ethnic Romanians in the Habsburg Empire (specifically in Transylvania) are exposed to the hazards of war; Romanian entry will totally shorten the war, possibly by hours; the Entente are best positioned to help Romania realize its national ideal (I think that means annexing Transylvania). Long expected, the declaration seems to have been delayed until the harvest was in.

This (combined with Italy’s declaration of war on Germany) is not good news for the Central Powers, stretching out their forces along an additional 900 miles of front. Also, Romania had been supplying a lot of their oil, as well as wheat and copper. And Germany had been paying them in ammunition, which will now be returned to Germany – at high speed.

The Berliner Tageblatt affects boredom with Italy’s move: “We have waiting for this declaration of war without impatience of unrest, with the same apathy with which one awaits a thunderstorm that is already visible in the sky. Our umbrella has long been raised. In Italy the declaration may be regarded as a great deed, and may be accompanied with the usual demonstration. In Germany it leaves the public ice-cold.”

Supposedly the Austrian authorities in the Chelm District of Poland have banned Jews from traveling. And if Jews keep “spreading for speculative purposes [that is, to affect the prices of goods] alarming rumors” about military conditions, the Jewish community will be fined.

The railroad unions have issued a strike order for September 4th, and Pres. Wilson is not best pleased.

Former President Taft says he walked four city blocks in Chicago and shopped in a store without anyone recognizing him. He says this convinced him that he is through in politics. Evidently he didn’t already know that he is through in politics.

A member of an exclusive London club (which the NYT does not name) breaks  the rule of silence (the Diogenes Club?) to tell a waiter, “Remove that member,” pointing to a member in the next chair who had been dead for three days.

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