Friday, January 12, 2018

Today -100: January 12, 1918: Morally dished

Germany withdraws its Christmas offer of a peace without annexations or indemnities, since only Russia was willing to talk to them about it.

Former NYC Boy-Mayor John Purroy Mitchel joins the Army Aviation Service. Don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt, Mr. Boy-Mayor!

Spoiler Alert: He will totally forget to fasten his seatbelt.

Food Czar Herbert Hoover calls for still more food savings in the US so meat exports to France, Britain and Italy can be doubled. While he’s not proposing rationing, he does plan to send out thousands of agents to prosecute hoarders – regular consumers as well as wholesalers.

On Feb. 4, the US will start registering all Germans in the Southern District of New York, which means photographing and fingerprinting all males 14 and older.

Christabel Pankhurst says women’s suffrage will be used in Britain for “disciplining democracy.” Kinky!

Mary Kilbreth, acting president of the New York Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, says “representative government has been wrecked” by Congress’s vote for the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, and a “woman autocracy” established. She hopes the American people won’t “tamely submit to the yoke.” Kinky! Anti-suffragist women will have to use their ballots to elect men who have not yet lost “all the male instincts of domination and sovereignty.” JUST. SO. KINKY!

George Bernard Shaw writes a letter to the Daily Chronicle about the recent proliferation of statements (from Wilson, Lloyd George, etc) about war aims: “The bidding for peace took a long time to start, but now that it is started it is bewilderingly brisk. It seems only yesterday that to have any war aims at all was denounced as the blackest pro-German treason. Victory, a smashing, triumphant victory, without any ulterior object whatever except ‘the crushing of Prussian militarism,’ (the same thing in other words,) was the whole aspiration of the pugnacious patriot.” It suited Germany’s rulers that “we should keep declaring that we were out to crush them. That was precisely what they had been telling the German people”. But with the Russian Revolution there is a new situation “in which it was extremely important to all belligerents that they should appear in the character of grievously molested Quakers, reluctantly forced to defend their countries against imperialist aggression.  To take up the pacifist position in the moral tug-of-war that goes on between Governments in their appeals to the conscience of civilization the Germans suddenly let go the rope, and we sat down with a crash. We were morally dished.” Wilson backed down from demanding a complete democratization of Prussia and set out the 14 Points (which no one is calling that yet , by the way), and “any sort of definite war aims must seem so clear and reasonable in contrast with the crude ravings they replace, that we are for the moment cheated into believing that the Germans must think them as moderate as they seem to us.” Shaw declines to “join the ranks of those kindly people who cry peace when there is no peace.” Rather, “When both sides become convinced that neither of them can both win and survive the effort, then it will be time to talk of peace.”

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