September 18, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The Capital Journal headlines relay the intense battles taking place:

TWO GREAT BATTLES IN PROGRESS
Russians and Austrians In Death Grip Along the River San

INTIMATES KAISER WOULD WELCOME PEACE OVERTURES
Germany’s Imperial Chancellor Broaches Subject to American Ambassador
SAYS ALLIES SHOULD STATE THEIR TERMS
Counter Proposals by Germany Might Then Lead to Final Agreement

BRITISH PREVENT BREAKING OF LINES
Extent of British Losses Not Made Known But They Are Said To Be Enormous

BLOODIES BATTLE OF THE WAR
Battle of Aisne Now In Its Fifth Day With No Decisive Results
GERMAN ARMY 1,100,000
ALLIES HAVE 1,500,000
Germans Strongly Entrenched Which Makes Armies About Equal

In “Story of the War Told Briefly For Journal Readers,” the paper attempts to summarize what they headline as “The War’s and the World’s Greatest Battle Rages at the End of the Fifth Day:”

This was the fifth [day] of the battle of the Aisne. There was some conflict between Franco-British and German accounts of the fighting.

The former declared the allies remained on the offensive.

The latter maintained the Germans were “slowly but surely advancing.”

The fact seemed to be that the issue was still in doubt.

Both sides were bringing up all available reinforcements.

Thousands had been killed.

The sufferings of the wounded, exposed for hours in a rain and windstorm, were dreadful.

The United States rebuffed the Belgian envoys, stating that neutrality precluded passing judgment on what was taking place in Belgium. The editor of the Statesman argues that this does not apply to the sympathies of the average American:

Whatever impression the Belgian envoys may gather from their official reception at Washington, they need have no doubt as to the attitude of the American people toward their outraged country. The hearts of our citizens are not subject to the diplomatic restraint that must control the words and acts of the president and secretary of state. The representatives who have come to America to lay before us their version of the aggressions and crimes perpetrated in Belgium by the German army cannot fail to grasp the fact trout our national sympathy is with them, as it has been with every oppressed, courageous race since the beginning of our history.

****

Belgium only did what any self-respecting American citizen would do if an insolent, armed neighbor invaded his home. Even the sporadic acts of violence by half-crazed Belgian citizens against German soldiers, which are alleged to justify German severity, are chargeable to Germany herself, for the mere presence of those soldiers in Belgium was an offense inventing reprisal.

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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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