February 27, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The headline on the front page describes the first reported use of a fire as a weapon of war:

Motors Throw Big Bombs full of flaming Fluid On French

Liquid fire is being used by the Germans as an instrument of war against the French.

This was announced in the official statement here by the French war office this afternoon. It declared that this weapon of death had been thrown on the advance French trenches between the Argonne and the ruse river. Several hundred French soldiers were burned by the flaming liquid which was dropped by bombs thrown up by German mortars. The clothing of the troops was set afire and they ran from the trenches screaming in agony.

A determined advance by the French second line, however, forced the enemy to abandon the trenches taken by these methods.

The paper reported the sale of leather by Muir & McDonald to make saddles for the French army: Continue reading

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February 25, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondence

The opposite of a blockade is an embargo. Today’s paper headlines a suggestion that the United States use the threat of starvation as a means to bring the belligerents to the bargaining table:

Will Bring Both England and Germany to their Knees By embargo
Mayor Mitchell of New York and Others Urge Wilson To Use This Weapon Continue reading

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February 24, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

Truth suffers when righteousness abounds, as this article in the Capital Journal illustrates:

Father of Salem Residents Says Not to Send Any More Newspaper Clippings As They Are Full of Lies.

The following is an except from a letter written by the father of J. G. and Fred Voget who is now in Germany. The letter is dated January 16, 1915:

Please do not send us any more newspaper clippings, we are only grieved at the lies, and cannot change matters anyway. Let them write about constant victories over “dying Germany,” they can neither lie our armies out of France nor out of Russia, and “dying Germany” still will have enough strength left to settle with John Bull. If the big english fleet would only come out into the open North sea, but they keep in hiding and dare neither attack Borkum nor Heligoland. We expected that they would – Buzzard like – take our few scattered cruisers, but Germany hopes confidentially that we shall win over all our enemies, impossible as it may seem at this time. The Germans fear nobody, and will know to sweep their country with iron brooms, and keep it free from any enemy whatever. Yes the allies shall find out that it is not so easy to ransack houses and to outrage German some “in Germany.” The poor Jewish women and girls in Poland, in large numbers are committing suicide, because of the terrible conduct of the Russians. Things too terrible to tell are happening there, and [they] are the allies of Christian England. But no cock crows for that, even in America. “Poor Belgium, Belgium” they have looked themselves blind looking at Belgium, it would be far more necessary to send food to Poland than to Belgium. Last Monday Timo Bahn entered service with the guard at Berlin. His brother Julius is with his regiment before Verdun. But although many regiments are in the field in double and even triple strength, yet every garrison in the country is just as full of soldiers as during times of peace. If you should come to Schwerin, Garfield, you would find your regiment in full numbers, yes, even in war strength, and likewise the infantry regiments. It seems as though the string will never break. Everywhere you hear the heavy step of the Prussian military boot. Kitchener will have to drum some, before he will be able to send better trained soldiers in sufficient numbers across the channel. He will have to call on Canada and Australia for more cannon fodder.

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February 23, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The front page of the Capital Journal reported the opinion of a British admiral as to Germany’s policies regarding American shipping:


Lord Charles Beresford, England’s Best Known and Best Loved Sailor Gives Interview to Keen on Germany’s Reasons for Wanting United States in Conflict – Two Theories Advanced By British Admiral Continue reading

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February 21, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

As the attempt to blockade Great Britain continues, the headline in the Oregon Statesman reads:

Will Probably Stand on Original Warning to Belligerents

The United States probably will make no reply, for the present at least, to either the British or German notes, regarding, respectively, the use of the American flag on foreign vessels and the dangers to neutral ships in the naval war zone about the British isles, but will stand firmly on its warning against destruction of American lives or vessels.

Continuing to set the Oregon Statesman’s position on neutrality, the editor writes: Continue reading

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February 20, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

Following its consideration of the war from yesterday, the following editorial in the Oregon Statesman discusses “Flags and Accidents:”

Here are the essential facts which should never be lost sight on in considering our relations with Great Britain and Germany:

As regard Great Britain – We have no legitimate grievance against her because of the occasional use of our flag to protect one of her ships in an emergency. All modern nations have used this subterfuge. International custom sanctions it, and any law that might be enacted against it by the United States alone would have no force. But we may properly object to the abuse of the privilege. We cannot permit the British government to authorize or sanction a general and systematic use of our flag.

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February 19, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

A growing cynicism regarding the war comes out in a Oregon Statesman editorial:


We don’t hear much babbling of military “glory” any more. We’re learning what war really is; and the more of it we see, the more sordid and disreputable it appears.

Just take the matter of truth, for instance. Truthfulness is perhaps the most fundamental virtue of society, the cornerstone of civilization. And war, with all its pretended heroic virtues, stands unmasked as the inveterate enemy of truth.

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