Thursday, April 16, 2015

Today -100: April 16, 1915: Written by the old

The latest atrocity charges are contained in an Austrian “Red Book” accusing Britain, France, Russia and Serbia of war crimes.  One section accuses the first three countries of bringing “uncultured and barbaric troops” (meaning Indians, Senegalese and other non-European colonials) to Europe and letting them commit uncultured and barbaric acts. Also, Serbian women and children are said to have tortured wounded Austrian prisoners. Plus the usual fictional atrocities (“in one case Serbian civilians cut off the forearms and legs below the knees of a Hungarian hussar and placed him on a horse, which was chased round amid the applause of the people”).

Killed in action: Lt. William Glynne Charles Gladstone. He was 29, and had been a Liberal MP since he was 26. Shot by a sniper in France, as was the custom. His father, grandfather (Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone) and great-grandfather were all MPs; he was the last parliamentary Gladstone. His uncle Herbert Gladstone, another MP and home secretary, will write a memoir of him in 1918. Here is the first line of the The Spectator’s review: “It is one of the strange features of the war that, by a tragic inversion, the Lives of the young should have to be written by the old.”

Headline of the Day -100:

Well, whatever floats your boat, or in this case...  The Katwijk, a government-owned ship, was carrying corn from Baltimore to Rotterdam.

A bill to legalize professional baseball games on Sundays fails in the New York State Assembly. Assemblyman Arthur McElroy, the sponsor, says he will try again. “It’s sunshine, outdoors and peanuts against dives, gambling and vice.”

Former Mexican dictator Victoriano Huerta says the only thing that can save Mexico is not an outlaw but a strong Mexican. Which strong Mexican, he is too modest to say. Honestly, you’d think Mexico would have had enough of strong Mexicans by now, including all 823 self-proclaimed presidents of the republic.

Huerta also says he had nothing to do with the murder of President Madero, and someday the real culprit will be known. He could say, but it’s a “soldier’s secret.” Whatever that means.

Germany claims that public buildings in Paris are being used as military observation posts. Paris denies this, and thinks Germany is laying the ground-work for zeppelin attacks on, for example, the Louvre.

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