Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Today -100: April 21, 1915: If any man wants a scrap that is an interesting scrap and worth while, I am his man

Austria is rushing troops to its border with Italy. Just in case.

A few days ago, German zeppelins flew over Britain, got a little lost, dropped some bombs more or less at random, and flew away again. German newspapers, naturally, are thrilled. The Hamburger Fremdenblatt says “Britons have learned that between heaven and earth there are things undreamed of in their philosophy, and they are German things.”

Lloyd George says the British government won’t be introducing conscription.

In retaliation for the Austrians supposedly cutting out the tongue of a Russian scout, Austrian officers taken prisoner by Russia will no longer be allowed to keep their swords, which is evidently humiliating.

Woodrow Wilson gives a speech calling for a policy of “America First,” because one day all those European countries will come to us begging for our “cooler assessment” and help in settling their little differences because “We are the mediating nation of the world.” Because the US is a melting pot, he says, we can understand all nations. Further, the US has no “hampering ambitions” as a world power, or at least no colonial ambitions: “We do not want anything that does not belong to us.” Cough. His desire for neutrality, he says, is not from a “petty desire to keep out of trouble. ... I do not want to walk around trouble. If any man wants a scrap that is an interesting scrap and worth while, I am his man.” But nations, like people, are most respected not when they fight at the drop of a hat, “whether he knows what the hat is dropped for or not” (he doesn’t utter the name Theodore Roosevelt here, but he doesn’t have to, does he) but those with “absolute self-control and self-mastery.” Didn’t George Costanza win that one? “Now, I covet for America this splendid courage of reserve moral force”.

Speaking of hampering ambitions, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan criticizes Rear Admiral Peary (the Arctic explorer)(did someone call him Shnorrer?) for proclaiming, “We cannot stand still. A hundred years hence we shall either be obliterated as a nation or we shall occupy the entire North American world segment.”

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times):

The Wisconsin Legislature rejects a resolution for a referendum for women’s suffrage. The New Jersey Legislature votes for a special election on women’s suffrage (and other constitutional amendments), but sets it for October 19, so that if it passes it will be too late for the November general elections.

A mob attacks the Louisiana, Missouri jail, attempting to lynch a black man under arrest for stabbing a white man, but are driven off by police gunshots.

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