Sunday, May 24, 2015

Today -100: May 24, 1915: Of wars, Saxons, crimes against humanity, beards, and telescribes

Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary (it won’t declare war on Germany until August 1916).

On paper, the Italian military looks pretty strong and likely to break the stalemate in the war. 3.3 million soldiers, a surprising number of airplanes, a reasonably good navy. In practice, though, they will kind of suck and won’t significantly affect the outcome or duration of the war.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The British claim that Prussian troops fired on Saxons trying to surrender. The official report says “The fact that the victims of this slaughter were Saxons was a source of regret to us, since Saxons always have proved more chivalrous and less brutal than either Prussians or Bavarians.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

Britain, France and Russia tell Turkey to stop massacring Armenians, and say they will hold members of the government responsible. They term Turkish actions “mass murders” and “a crime against humanity and civilization” – this seems to be the origin of the term “crime against humanity.”

French soldiers are complaining about an order that soldiers at the front must be clean-shaven (because of lice, presumably).

Thomas Edison invents the telephone answer machine, which he calls a telescribe, although he thinks the primary function of this telephone-with-a-recording-phonograph thing will be for businessmen to have an accurate recording of their business conversations.

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