Friday, January 09, 2015

Today -100: January 9, 1915: Of cardinals, animated conservatives, fraternization, and armchair generals

A German cruiser is using a supply base in Haiti, despite the US having specifically told Haiti not to allow that.

Kaiser Wilhelm sends a telegram to Pope Benedict saying that Cardinal Mercier was not arrested, just warned to stop his anti-German propaganda, and the kaiser is quite sure the pope will approve of that. The pope replies that in fact Mercier was duty-bound to work for Belgium independence, and he himself would have done the same. The Germans are claiming that the governor-general of conquered Belgium brought to the cardinal’s attention his view that the pastoral letter was an incitement, so the cardinal said it certainly wasn’t intended to be an incitement and withdrew it at once. I’m assuming this is no more true than the claim that Mercier isn’t under house arrest, or palace arrest, or whatever cardinals live in.

Germany protests to San Marino (that’s a country – look it up) against it supposedly encouraging espionage through its wireless station. Germany threatens to send in a commission of enquiry. San Marino says no you won’t.

Woodrow Wilson gives the Jackson Day speech at Indianapolis, saying that the Republicans haven’t had a new idea in 30 years. He says progressives should leave the R party for the D party, and says he himself is an “animated conservative,” whatever the hell that means. He also says, “There may come a time when the American people will have to judge whether I know what I am talking about or not,” which many people take as an announcement that he will be running for re-election.

French Prime Minister René Viviani’s son Jean is killed in action. Actually, he was killed in August but it’s only just been confirmed because he died near the German lines, and I guess the Germans told the Swiss, who Viviani had asked to make enquiries.

The German Army bans fraternization, as during the Christmas Truce. This article is the first mention I’ve seen of football during the truce.

French General Paul François Grossetti is so fat he likes to sit in an armchair on the battlefield. He hasn’t been hit yet, but he keeps having to find new people for his staff to replace the ones who get shot.

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