Sunday, March 20, 2016

Today -100: March 20, 1916: Of tubantias, milk propaganda, and potato cards

Holland is rather upset about Germany sinking their steamer Tubantia (impressively, all 374 passengers and crew were rescued). Germany has begun trying out excuses: It must have hit a British mine. Oh, you found torpedo fragments? Then it must have been a British torpedo. Oh, you found bronze in the torpedo fragments, which only Germany uses in torpedoes? Then it must have been a torpedo fired at a British ship 10 days earlier; that happens, right? The Dutch are correctly buying none of this and there is talk of war. The German press is feigning hurt feelings that Holland isn’t taking the German Navy’s word that it laid no mines in the area.

Headline of the Day -100:

British Blockade Minister Sir Robert Cecil accuses Germany of playing on American sentiment over children’s milk. There have been campaigns in the US to send milk to Germany, but Britain announced it would block those shipments. Cecil points out that Germany has largely stripped occupied France and Belgium of cows, so it’s French rather than German babies who are without milk.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Also, the ban on cakes in Berlin is over – the long national nightmare is over.

Issue 4 of The Wipers Times is out.
Military definitions: Infantryman: An animal of weird habits, whose peculiarities have only just been discovered. It displays a strong aversion to light, and lives in holes in the earth during the day, coming out at night seeking whom it may devour. In colour it assimilates itself to the ground in which it lies.

“To My Chum” (anon.)

What times we’ve had, both good and bad,
We’ve shared what shelter could be had,
The same crump-hole when the whizz-bangs shrieked,
The came old billet that always leaked,
And now – you’ve “stopped one.”

We'd weathered the storm two winters long,
We’d managed to grin when all went wrong,
Because together we fought and fed,
Our hearts were light; but now – you’re dead
And I am mateless. ...

Elsewhere the editors complain about the “hurricane of poetry” submitted to the paper, requesting prose instead. “Subalterns have been seen with a notebook in one hand, and bombs in the other absently walking near the wire in deep communion with the muse.”

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