Friday, May 29, 2015

Today -100: May 29, 1915: Holy anger, Batman!

Next week, Woodrow Wilson will tell Mexicans to get their act together, or he’ll get it together for them. He’s specifically pissed off that Carranza’s men seized a relief committee shipment of corn intended for the starving people of Mexico City.

A surprise defense witness at the trial of those ten cops who shot up the strikers at the Roosevelt fertilizer plant in New Jersey in January: the secretary of the union, who turns out to be a police spy. The attorney general questions him: “You joined the union to sell it out, didn’t you? And in doing so, you sold your manhood, didn’t you?”

German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg says “Italy has now inscribed in the book of the world’s history in letters of blood, which will never fade, her violation of good faith.” He says Italy could have gotten everything it wanted without going to war and that distrust of Austria didn’t enter into it, because Germany guaranteed the concessions and everyone (Belgium aside) knows Germany’s word can totally be trusted. He says that Germany wages this war “not in hatred... but in anger – in holy anger.”

Lots of Italian princes are joining the army. I look forward to many false dead-prince rumors.

A special correspondent explains in the NYT why Italy went to war: Italians really don’t like Germans.

Italy and Britain are each offering contracts for any company in the US that can manufacture 1,000 high-power airplane engines, but US factories aren’t up to it, in part because they’re busy filling contracts for trucks and planes. I can’t imagine why Germans keep saying the US isn’t really neutral.

Austrian Gen. Moritz von Auffenberg, who was fired after losing the Battle of Rawa at the start of the war, is arrested, the NYT says as a political criminal, but actually for helping a friend profit from insider (and top secret) information when he was minister of war in 1912. Embarrassingly, the government only just found out about this – four days after the Emperor made him a baron. He will be found not guilty by a military tribunal.

Headline of the Day -100 Which Is Not a Euphemism, Probably: 

The NYT calls the Austrian 42-centimeter gun an elongated version of Big Bertha, which the Times calls Thick Bertha, both of which sound like a Berlin cabaret act, but not as much as the name in German: Dicke Bertha. Anyway, a German correspondent claims that Russian troops go insane from fright during the 90 seconds between the gun firing and its shell arriving on target. The Austrians are very proud of their big gun (cough), and claim that they invented it all by themselves without copying Dicke Bertha, it’s just pure coincidence.

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