November 30, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

From the pages of The Daily Capital Journal for the last day of the month:


By Karl H. Von Wiegand

Headquarters of the army of the German Crown Prince, France, Nov. 20. -(By courier via Namur, Aix La Chapelle and The Hague to London, and from London by cable to New York.) – “Undoubtedly this is the stupidest, most senseless, most unnecessary war of modern times.

“It is a war Germany did not want, I can assure you, but it was forced on us, and the fact that we were so effectually prepared to defend ourselves is now being used as an argument to convince the world that we desired a conflict.”

The above were the words with which Frederick Wilhelm, crown prince of Germany, opened the first interview he has ever given to a foreign newspaper man. They were prefaced by the first direct statement made to the press by any member of the German royal family since the outbreak of war.

On the other side of the front line in an interview with William Philip Sims, the headline reads:

French General Says: “The War Is for Humanity and We Will Finally Win

Meaux, Nov. 30. – General Joffre received me, with the other correspondents from the neutral countries appointed to tour the French battle front, in the city hall here today. He made a special trip to meet us, and in an interview with us stated France’s cause to the neutral countries of the world.

“France did not desire this war,” he said. “It was thrust upon her, but now the nation is prepared for any sacrifices and will do its duty to the absolute end until the final success crowns its efforts.

Undoubtedly we had already noted the excellent spirits of the French troops at the front, he remarked.

“And I hope,” he added, “that you have been able to see all you wished of the fighting forces.”

Then he shook hands with us and in bidding us good by, repeated:

“This war is for humanity, and the final triumph will be ours.”

Two items in the paper addressed the nature of American neutrality. In the first, the headline reads “Misplaced Kindness Says One Minister:”

Spokane, Wash., Nov. 30. – The declaration in a sermon Sunday by Rev. Frank D. Adams, pastor of the First Universalist church, that American generosity to European wars sufferers only contributes to the prolongation of the conflict and its added miseries is creating a great deal of discussion here today.

“For us to succor the victims of the war is cruel, blundering and blind,” said Dr. Adams. “It is lifting a burden from those responsible for suffering and laying it upon innocent shoulders. Every dollar of relief means another corpse at the cannon’s mouth; every shipload of provisions the indefinite prolongation of the war.”

A letter to the editor from E. L. Cannon asks, “Is This Country Neutral?”

My Dear Sir: I noticed the following statement in our editorials of November 24th:

“In the first three months after the war started this country was given a contract for more than three hundred million dollars worth of food stuffs, war material, horses and other things. Daily this long list is being added to until practically every industry feels the effect of the increased business, etc.”

I am a regular subscriber to your paper and have often noticed that you have praised this government for its “neutrality” in the present European war. How can you explain the neutrality of our country when we are daily supplying the combatants wight he necessities for carrying on war?

The fact that our National Administration nominally stands neutral is not answer to this question. It matters but little what our National Administration says so long as the Nations at war can get from private concerns in this country all the food and war material they desire for slaughtering their enemies.

Is it not a fact that the only absolute neutrality that we could maintain would be such a neutrality that we would not permit the exportation of any material directly or indirectly, to the warring nations that would in any way assist them in prolonging their struggle?

It amounts to naught to advocate peace and still supply the combatants with war material.


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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