Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today -100: March 14, 1917: If we sink an American ship, we shall get war

War Paranoia of the Day -100: The NYT claims that Germany is trying to “involve [South America] in a general war as well as to infuse into the countries there a distrust for the United States”. Uruguay would “play the role of Serbia” in this all-out war.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Johann von Bernstorff, the expelled German ambassador to the US, asked by a reporter whether there will be war between the US and Germany, says “If we sink an American ship, we shall get war. If not, I suppose we can avoid it.” He thinks it’ll be okay if Germany sinks a British ship (like the Laconia) with Americans onboard. He says it was just silly of the US to have gotten so worked up about the Zimmermann telegram, since Mexico would only have been approached if the US declared war on Germany. Actually, the instructions to the ambassador to Mexico said to talk to the government if it looked like the US would declare war, i.e., in advance. And there was a second telegram ordering immediate contact.

The Navy “guards” that will be put on American commercial ships to operate the cannons will work on the assumption that any German u-boat they see will sink them without warning; they are authorized to shoot at u-boats without warning. War by “wacky misunderstanding.” The guards will be placed even on ships carrying munitions.

Railroad workers’ unions are arranging a strike to get the RR companies to follow the Adamson 8-Hour Law (the owners say they won’t obey the law until the Supreme Court rules on it), and to resolve this before any war is declared. Both sides will now accuse the other of being unpatriotic, as was the custom.

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