November 23, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

From the Monday edition of The Daily Capital Journal:

RUSSIANS CLAIM GREAT VICTORY ON BANKS OF VISTULA
Say Kaiser’s Advance Checked and Twelve Thousand Prisoners Taken
ANOTHER BLOODY BATTLE IS RAGING
Also Claim Situation in East Prussia Is Improved by Swamps Freezing

BLAME GOVERNMENT FOR CENSORSHIP
Much Complaint in England Over Censorship, Navy Management and Tax

THINK THE KAISER PERFECTING PLANS TO INVADE ENGLAND
Moving of Entire Belgian Population from Coast Awakens Suspicion
GERMAN WARSHIPS GET READY FOR SEA
These and Other Things Mean Either Invasion or a Big Naval Battle

GERMAN ADVANCE REACHES CRITICAL STAGE OF JOURNEY
Danger of Being Flanked Is Imminent but Position Must Be Held
IF ARMY IS FLANKED DISASTER IS CERTAIN
Safety of Army Depends Largely on Incompetence of Russian Generals

On the editorial page the lead editorial discusses how the Deity seems to be on the side of each belligerent:

GOD IN THE WAR

It is lucky for the warring kings that God is omnipotent and omni-present. That enables every army to claim Him on its side in battle.

Napoleon, the greatest of all soldiers, said that God was on the side of the heaviest battalions. And it does seem to work out that way.

The latest to enlist God in his cause is the Sultan, who gravely announces that “with the help of the Almighty,” the Turkish army has invaded Egypt.

At the very outset of the war, the Kaiser made it clear to his own people that God was carrying the Prussian banners. “Forward with God” was his battle-cry.

At about the same time the president of France was assuring his army and his people that the Almighty was with their colors and their cause.

The British officials in their pronunciamentoes also commandeered the Ruler of the universe into their ranks.

The Czar has no less boldly proclaimed that God is in the saddle with the Cossacks.

Perhaps it is possible for some people to believe that killing Christians in Turkey and knouting Jews in Russia have in no way alienated the Jehovah’s desire to see both Cossack and Turk rule the world. But it is infinitely more probable that none of these warring rulers has a monopoly of God as an ally.

This conflict of claims strikingly emphasizes the fact that the trinity of king, cannon and a partisan God has outlived its usefulness. If civilization is to go forward, if it is indeed better than savagery, the God we worship must be other and worthier than one of good and devastation.

The part attributed to the loving Father of us all, in this great war, must give fiendish delight to the devil.

An article, “Letter Written From the War Zone” describes life in Germany. Written to a Mrs. I. K. Page by her sister, Alwine, excerpts describe daily life in Hannover:

We are certainly being tried very, very had now. How much heartache, worry and sorrow this war causes will never be known. We feel so sorry for the people of every country who live near the border, for they are the ones who suffer most. They are obliged to flee for safety and leave all their belongings, be it much or little of this world’s goods, behind them. I can not express to you how sincerely I pity those who have to leave the battlefield – the injured, the crippled – there are so many of them – and to think of the suffering they must endure! Yet, were they to get well and could have their choice they would enter into the battle today, tomorrow or at any time to help save their country. They do not mind scars, wounds, the loss of eye or limb, a shattered jaw or shoulder. To you or me their cheerful answer would be, “if I have only been of some help to our vaterland.” All around us is the enemy; power after power has declared war against us, and yet it is said those great powers who so readily and jointly declared war against us had no intention of doing so. If they had no such intentions how could all those great powers declare war in such a short time? What have we done! Can you or are are you able to answer this question? What have we done to them? They wanted war and drove us into war, our kaiser only waited too long before declaring war. Had we fought at an earlier date it would no doubt have been entirely different.

****

We began rightly and hope it will have a good ending but it is terrible to know what loss of life and property, how much more sorrow and pain it brings into our peaceful homes and not to know when there will be an end to it; it all seems so dreadful.

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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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