Thursday, June 15, 2017

Today -100: June 15, 1917: Deceitful peaces are the worst kind

Headline of the Day -100:

In a Flag Day address, Pres. Woodrow Wilson lays out the case for war against Germany, which “denied us the right to be neutral” by sending “vicious spies and conspirators” (vicious spies and conspirators are the worst kind), and by “impudently” denying us the use of the high seas. But we are not at war with the German people we will be attempting to slaughter. “They did not originate or desire this hideous war or wish that we should be drawn into it; and we are vaguely conscious that we are fighting their cause, as they will some day see it, as well as our own.” (Historical question: have the Germans ever seen it, and have they sent us a nice card and maybe an edible arrangement?). He spends a surprising amount of time painting Austria as a puppet of Germany, considering the US and Austria are not at war. He describes Germany’s calls for peace as a “sinister intrigue” (sinister intrigues are the worst kind) because Germany’s bargaining position can only decline from here.

Theodore Roosevelt also speaks, at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Nebraska’s statehood. He complains that we didn’t go to war much earlier, calls for “an absolute and undivided Americanism” during this “war for liberty and democracy” and for the suppression of German-language newspapers, and says churches which don’t fly flags should be closed. Also, everyone should give to the Red Cross. He says, “I wanted to go to war and the people wanted me to go. But now I am feeling fine. I keep my good health by having a very bad temper, kept under good control.”

Japan thinks that with the US and Japan now on the same side of the war, the US should recognize Japanese paramountcy in China.

The first result of the forced abdication of Greece’s King Constantine: the Allies occupy Athens, because of course they do.

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