Friday, December 09, 2016

Today -100: December 9, 1916: I have come to punish your felon of a King

Prospective and actual members of Lloyd George’s new government are being discussed, and everyone hates someone. The Northcliffe paper The Times complains that Arthur Balfour, the possible next foreign minister, would be misplaced in a post “where ruthlessness is needed.” The Daily Mail (another Northcliffe paper) warns against Robert Cecil, the under-secretary of state for foreign affairs, being too much a “sentimentalist” with “tenderness for neutrals” to be in charge of the naval blockade of Germany.

Asquith says pathetically that he can best serve the new government outside the Cabinet, with “the sole object of lending such help as I can to the new government in the great task confronting them.”

The Liberal Party is now strongly divided between followers of Asquith and Lloyd George, whose government therefore depends heavily on Conservative support. The Liberal Party will never recover.

Germany believes that the conquest of Romania, with its vast wheat fields, will win the war by defeating the British blockade. Some of that wheat was intended for export to Britain, which had already paid for it. Germans will be chortling about that little irony for some time to come. Who doesn’t love free wheat?

Germany says that it was necessary to deport all those Belgians to Germany for forced labor because they were all unemployed (actually, Germany has been going after specific categories of employed workers it needs, like miners, employed or not), which is totally Britain’s fault, and all those unemployed people were “degenerating” into drunkenness and social depravity, as was the custom.

Germany and Austria decree the creation of a provisional national council for their truncated Polish puppet state. Presumably all 25 members will be appointed by the Germans and Austrians, and they will be “conversant with the wishes and needs of the Polish nation and by reason of their position in life competent to represent all classes of the population.”

Headline of the Day -100:

King Ferdinand’s brother, who is unnamed in the article and could be either Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern or Prince Wilhelm, who renounced his right to succeed to the Romanian throne 30 years ago, issues a proclamation: “Compose yourselves. Go on with your business. I have come to punish your felon of a King.” (Update: Wilhelm, I’m pretty sure, though both brothers are serving in the German army).

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