Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Today -100: February 10, 1915: Of strict accountability, things you find in coffins, annoying shells, and selling munitions for fun and profit

Woodrow Wilson sends Germany a secret note saying that if they start sinking ships without warning, the US will hold them to “a strict accountability,” whatever that means.

The Russian Duma convenes for the first time in six months. It approves of the war, in case anyone was wondering. Prime Minister Goremykin says the war has brought the Russian people closer together and brought about a rapprochement between the Russian and Polish people, who don’t mind at all a war being fought on their soil. He talks about all the land Russia is planning to seize from Austria and Turkey in Galicia and the Black Sea region. Foreign Minister Sazonov denies that there have been any pogroms against the Jews, which he says is just German propaganda to stir up the Americans.

Woodrow Wilson claims that Col. House is not in Europe as any sort of peace envoy. No, he always takes a European vacation this time of year, war or no war, just like Chevy Chase.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: the London Times claims that relatives of German soldiers killed in Belgium are being allowed to go to Belgium to find their dead and bring them back in coffins, which they are also filling up with loot. “On Jan. 30 one of these coffins fell off a truck. The lid came off and silver teapots and trays fell out.”

Headline of the Day -100:

Luxembourg’s 20-year-old monarch, the Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde, has refused to leave her palace since the Germans occupied her country, in case she might be forced to meet some of them. She even refused an invitation to visit Kaiser Wilhelm on his birthday, though she did send kind wishes. (This article suggests she was more opposed to the occupation than was actually the case, a stance which led to her being forced to resign after the war and become a nun).

Former Pres. Taft makes public a letter he wrote declining to support a bill to forbid the export of arms to nations at war. He makes an interesting case that such a policy would give an advantage to the more militaristic and heavily armed countries and incentivize the sort of arms race we saw in Europe before this war broke out.

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