November 17, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

From the pages of the Daily Capital Journal:

A single headline and its accompanying reportage relates what the war had become after three and a half months of fighting:

CONDITIONS WORST SINCE WAR BEGAN; SUFFERING INTENSE
Trenches Are Flooded Over Their Tops and Great Numbers Drown
ELECTRIC CURRENT TURNED OFF WIRES
Little Groups Huddled On Islets and Helpless Killed by Artillery Fire

Paris, Nov. 17. – Conditions in the flooded districts of the fighting zone in northwestern Belgium were frightful today almost beyond belief.

From Dixmude to the coast the German trenches were flooded above their tops. Great numbers of the kaiser’s troops were drowned. Numerous small commands were marooned on small islets of high land, where the allies’ artillery wiped them out, while they huddled together powerless to resist.

In other places, where the Germans had the better of the fighting, the allies’ troops stood knee deep in icy water, holding their positions in the face of terrific fire.

Both sides had cut off the electric current from the barbed wire entanglements, owing to the danger of electrocuting their own men.

WAR OFFICE CLAIM TWO BIG VICTORIES OVER THE RUSSIANS
Germans Say Victories So Important Western War Zone Was Forgotten
RUSSIANS GIVE WAY ALL ALONG FRONTIER
Czar Loss Half An Army Corps – Germans and Austrians Take Offensive

On the editorial page, readers read of the editor’s outrage at modern warfare and death from the air:

The dispatches Monday tell of an English aviator dropping a bomb into a small village and killing fourteen of its people. What better is he than any other cold-blooded assassin? It is bad enough for armed men to meet in desperate battle and destroy each other, but the cowardly assassins who from the skies drop deadly bombs into peaceful villages should be hanged as soon as caught. There should be no hesitation in administering the punishment when the offense is proven, and the nation, no matter which one, that permits this kind of warfare deserves the condemnation and contempt of all humanity. All the warring nations alike have been guilty of similar outrages against civilization.

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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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