Saturday, October 04, 2014

Today -100: October 4, 1914: Were it not for German militarism, German civilization would long since have been extirpated

Oct. 4 was a Sunday, which Woodrow Wilson had designated a day of national prayer for peace, the eighth such day in US history, and the first for a war not involving the US.

Headline of the Day -100:  “European War Sure to Harm Future American Type.”  Frederic Clemson Howe, the new commissioner of immigration at the Port of New York, says the European war will reduce the moral and physical quality of immigrants to the US.  And more of them will be girls.  And the men will be more self-reliant, which is a bad thing, since many of the miners who went on strike in Colorado last year were veterans of the Balkan Wars.  Worse, the women might be made “more self-reliant and more venturesome” by their experiences of the war.

The real murderer of Mary Phagan was not Leo Frank but Jim Conley, says... Conley’s lawyer.

Gen. Lothar von Trotha, who ten years ago was in charge of the first genocide of the 20th century, that of the Herero in German South-West Africa (Namibia), is reported dead in fighting in East Prussia.  Not true, I’m afraid.

Mexico: a conference of generals rejects Carranza’s resignation as First Chief.  No civilians were allowed to speak.

King Carol of Romania is said to be really sick; most Romanians don’t believe it, but think he’s faking to end the popular agitation to join the war against the Central Powers.  Spoiler Alert: he’s not faking it.

A large women’s suffrage parade is held in Cleveland.

93 of Germany’s scientists, artists and other intellectuals sign an “Appeal to the World of Culture” that basically repeats every bit of German propaganda about the war (attacks on helpless German soldiers by vicious Belgian women and children, denial of atrocities, etc).  Mostly it’s about upholding the superior civilization of Germany against claims of barbarism: “Those who have allied themselves with Russians and Serbians, and present such a shameful scene to the world as that of inciting Mongolians and negroes against the white race, have no right whatever to call themselves upholders of civilization” [the NYT, which catches up with this a few days later, mis-translates that bit as “mongrels and niggers” – “Neger” can have that connotation, but “Mongolen” means Mongolian not mongrel, presumably a reference to troops from India).  “It is not true that the combat against our so-called militarism is not a combat against our civilization, as our enemies hypocritically pretend it is. Were it not for German militarism, German civilization would long since have been extirpated.”  The appeal is signed by no fewer than 14 past and future Nobel Prize winners including Paul Ehrlich, Engelbert Humperdinck, Max Planck (the inventor of quantum theory), Felix Klein (the inventor of the Klein bottle), Wilhelm Roentgen (the inventor of x-rays), Albert Neisser (the inventor of gonorrhea), the painter Max Liebermann, and Max Reinhardt.

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