Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Today -100: June 10, 1915: Of God and his mighty gases

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The Financial News (UK) claims that Kaiser Wilhelm ordered German aviators to try to bomb the children of Belgium’s King Albert. It also says he doubled the rewards to U-boat crews for sinking ships if they carried women and children, and that he specified the tortures to be used on 3-year-old children.

William Jennings Bryan is going to campaign actively for a softer approach to Germany than Wilson’s. He wants some sort of “investigation” by an international commission of the dispute with Germany over the Lusitania, lasting at least one blood-cooling year (as per all those arbitration treaties he’s been negotiating with various countries, but not Germany, I think), and for the government to warn Americans against traveling on ships, like the Lusi, registered in belligerent nations or carrying ammunition – “Passengers and ammunition should not travel together,” he says, in a statement issued simultaneously with Pres. Wilson’s note being sent to Germany. “Why should an American citizen be permitted to involve his country in war by traveling upon a belligerent ship, when he knows that the ship will pass through a danger zone... It is a very one-sided citizenship that compels a government to go to war over a citizen’s rights and yet relieves the citizen of all obligations to consider his nation’s welfare.” Bryan’s campaigning will probably consist mostly of statements and articles, he says. Amusingly, given his practice of going on paid lecture tours while still secretary of state, he is obligated to say that any speeches he gives on this subject will not be for pay.

The NYT complains that Bryan is talking publicly about private matters, if you think things like a note sent to Germany that might lead to war are private matters, which the NYT does. Bryan “takes no account of the embarrassment he may cause the Administration,” like some sort of former-day Edward Snowden.

The German military issues a staff order to troops in Poland: “God himself is on our side and fights for us in the conflict against the whole world. We, by the will of the Almighty, have had put into our hands a new and mighty weapon – those gases wherewith we have defeated our enemies.” Also, the war will obviously be won in a couple of months, max.

The Georgia Prison Commission rejects Leo Frank’s plea for commutation of his death sentence.

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