October 21, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The day’s headlines from The Daily Capital Journal:


Turning Movement Develops in Northern France to Drive Germans From Ostend


On the editorial page, the editor addresses the “real feeling lying back of the great war:”


The desperate efforts of the Germans to gain the coast of the North sea and from there strike England shows the real feeling lying back of the great war.

As German newspapers come through and German thought is understood, it is amazing to find how intense is the German hatred of England. It is equaled only by the English hatred of Germany.

One of the most remarkable features of the present conflict is the animosity aroused in the breasts of the German people against the British nation.

Germany’s leaders in philosophy and science, Rudolf Eucken and Ernst Haeckel, declare that “the whole German world of letters is today filled with deep indignation and strong moral wrath at the present behavior of England in extending the war into a world war.”

The great German dramatist, Gerhart Hauptmann, whose plays have profoundly moved peoples of all lands, asserts that Germany has and has had no hatred against France or Russia, and that war was forced upon Germany by England. “Who was it,” he asks, “that did conspire to bring about this war? Who even whistled for the Mongolian, for the Jap, that he should come to bite viciously and in cowardly wise at Europe’s heels? It is with great pain and bitterness that I pronounce the word ‘England’.” Everywhere throughout Germany, among her citizens, in her army, the rising indignation over England’s participation in the war has fanned Germany’s smoldering rivalry of Great Britain into a hot blast of consuming

The German troops made herculean efforts to cut off, capture and annihilate the British army in France, and it was only by the most desperate efforts that the British army escaped.

The individual soldiers in the German army feel little animosity toward the French or the Russian soldiers, apparently, but they eagerly desire to meet and to crush in the field their deeply hated foe, the English.

Who knows but that the real deadly conflict and carnage are yet to begin, and that England is to be the real battlefield of the war?

The editor further comments on the war from the perspective of eugenics:


A dozen years or so ago David Starr Jordan wrote a monograph, “The Blood of the Nations,” “A Study of the Decay of the Nations Through the Survival of the Unfit.” The author takes the position that in every war it is the strongest and most virile who enter the armies, and if the war is long and severe, the fit are followed by those less fit, and these as necessity demands, by the still more unfit, until those left at home in case of a war to a finish are the physically deficient and incapable. It is from these sires, from whom the stronger have been eliminated, the race must be continued. That the race must deteriorate under such a system is undeniable. It would seem from this that it is not high living and idleness that causes the race to deteriorate, but the destruction of the strong and virile by their selection to fight their countries’ battles.

The evidence of this condition is before us, where the warring nations are calling first to their colors the very best of each nation’s young blood, followed by the second grade, and these by the third, and so on until those absolutely unable to fight will be left”if the war is continued long enough. The dispatches Tuesday gave the total killed during the war as about 100,000 and the wounded as three times that, and this does not include the deaths from sickness which will make a larger and still larger proportion of the total death list as exposure and hard living get in their work. The very flower of every one of the warring nations is being sacrificed and the physical standing of the nation in the future is bound to be lowered thereby.


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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