Friday, December 23, 2016

Today -100: December 23, 1916: Terror and savagery have become the very air we breathe

Rep. W.R. Wood (R-Indiana) wants an investigation into reports that Woodrow Wilson’s letter to the belligerent powers was leaked in advance to stock speculators.

The Germans have been rather pleased with Wilson’s letter, taking it as reinforcing their own call for peace talks, which the White House strenuously denies was the intention.

King George V gives a speech which is seen as a big No to Wilson, saying “The vigorous prosecution of the war must be our single endeavour until we have vindicated the rights so ruthlessly violated by our enemies and established the security of Europe on a sure foundation.”

Bertrand Russell evades British censorship by sending a letter by a mysterious female messenger to the American Neutral Conference Committee, which will pass it on to Pres. Wilson. Russell asks Wilson to intervene to stop the war before it destroys European civilization. He says that the Germans dominate on the mainland, the Allies on sea, and so neither can win a decisive, crushing victory. He says the war has lowered “the whole standard of civilisation. ... Fear has invaded man’s inmost being, and with fear has come the ferocity that always attends it. Hatred has become the rule of life, and injury to others is more desired than benefit to ourselves. ... Terror and savagery have become the very air we breathe. The liberties which our ancestors won by centuries of struggle were sacrificed in a day, and all the nations are regimented to the one ghastly end of mutual destruction.”

Charles Evans Hughes, who resigned from the Supreme Court for his failed run for the presidency, is back before it,  as a lawyer for the Corn Products Company, something about stock dividends. I’m sure it was in no way awkward.

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