August 22, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

With the outbreak of war and bold headlines dominating the pages, the paper’s font changed to a bolder style.

READY TO STRIKE IF ULTIMATUM IS NOT COMPLIED WITH
Time Given Germany to Answer Expires at 7 O’clock This Evening
NOT PROBABLE KAISER WILL YIELD TO MIKADO
Germany Handicapped But Is Certain Not to Forget the Matter

Japan, an ally of Great Britain offered to assist Britain if it could seize Germany’s Pacific colonies. Early in August, Britain sought Japanese assistance in destroying German naval resources in East Asia. Within months, Japanese forces occupied German leased territories and islands in the Pacific and China. Japan launched the first ship-based air raids at this time.

SWEEPING ACROSS FRENCH BOARDER LIKE
GREAT TIDAL WAVE

German troops were sweeping on the Anglo French allies today in a monstrous tidal wave.

All experts agreed that a mighty test was near.

The German vanguard in the north was reported but 25 miles from the French city of Lille.

It was reported that Germany had taken Ostend, Bruges, and Brussels.

This was the developing sweeping movement through Belgium into France of the Schlieffen Plan. Ten years in development, Germany anticipated that in a war, German forces would be required to fight on two fronts – in the west against France and Great Britain, and in the east against Russia. The plan anticipated a quick defeat of any Anglo-French forces before Russia could properly mobilize.

ARMIES LINE UP FOR GREATEST BATTLE IN WORLD’S HISTORY

London, Aug. 22 – Warning that the allies were about to receive the brunt of the German attack reached the London Telegraph from its correspondent at Givet, on the French frontier today.

“The Germans,” he said, “are advancing like a tidal ave and all signs point to a conflict between the contending armies along the front 20 miles long.

“It is rumored that the allies have withdrawn to the fortified positions within the French frontier.”

In Belgium, the paper reported that the Germans were advancing practically unopposed toward Ostend. Advancing along both banks of the Meuse, allied forces were preparing for a heavy assault. Conditions were reported as “a desperate struggle was imminent.

The paper also reported that the official French Gazette “announced the promotion of Alfred Dreyfus, Jr., to the rank of Sergeant for gallantry at Mulhausen.” Dreyfus was the son of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. The Dreyfus Affair tore France apart during the years between 1894 and 1906. Alfred Dreyfus was an Alsatian-born artillery officer of Jewish descent who was charged and convicted of treason in circumstances that have come to represent a symbol for injustice.

Speculating still that this would be a short war, the headline contemplated what Britain would in the case of a German defeat:

DIVIDE GERMANY AND GUESS ABOUT ENGLAND’S COURSE
In Making the Political Pot-Pie Cooks Overlook One Salient Fact
THEY HAVE NOT YET CAUGHT THE RABBIT
Think England Would Turn Against Allies and Give Aid to Germany

London, Aug. 22 – In case the French and British should overwhelmingly defeat the Germans in Belgium before Russia gets fairly in action, would not Great Britain’s policy turn suddenly more or less pro-German?

Britain’s policy prior to the war, as was that of all the major powers, sought a balance of power designed to insure British supremacy at sea and insurance that no combination of powers could pose a threat to the security of any other power. The irony of the article was the implicit optimism that this would be a short conflict, over by Christmas as many thought.

The paper’s second page headlined “Creation of the Universe Shown In This City In Photo-Drama.” Movies, the paper wrote, would save souls. What we would today refer to as an infomercial, the illustrations included the burning of Servetus, the Witch of Endor, and a comparison of Saturn and Earth.

The editorial page addressed the appearance of war profiteering:

CAUSE OF INCREASED PRICES

People are complaining and the government is investigating, because following the beginning of the war in Europe the price of foodstuffs suddenly advanced. Prices of other things advanced also, but that did not hit the every day American below the belt, so to speak. No one cared much about the added cost of quinine or ipecac, because they are incidentals. They are not attractive at any price – or none. However when prices hit the meat and flour, the sugar and beans, and the various and sundry farm products and garden sass [vegetables] that form so pleasing and necessary a buffer between a man’s backbone and lower vest buttons, he feels the effects at once, for it is indeed a solar plexus blow. Naturally the man hit wants to know who hit him and why he did it. This [is] what our Uncle Samuel is undertaking to find out.

Taking a poke at Theodore Roosevelt, the editor commented and criticized both large military forces, and the Second Amendment:

The Rooseveltian idea that great armies and invincible navies tend toward peace is getting some decidedly hard knocks just now. The writer spent some years of his life in mining camps where every man wore a gun and went so to speak heavily armored. In all those years however he never observed that the fact that everybody was armed added to the longevity record of the camp. Neither did he notice that men were less disposed to fight because they were armed, but that on the contrary the habit of carrying a gun was largely the reason why the mining camp graveyard started almost as soon as the other industries of the camp.

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About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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