December 27, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

“Bits for Breakfast,” a daily column of short observations had the following to say about the war:

All the participants in the great European game of wholesale murder reported progress yesterday.

To argue that the growth of Belgium’s population impairs the treaties of neutralization is absurd enough, but on the contrary it does add powerful reasons why Belgium should be immune. The whole of this little country has become practically one big industrial center, and war there is something what war would be in Greater New York. Under such conditions warfare is seen at its worst; to spare the civilian population is practically impossible, and if some of the civilians resent the sufferings and abuses incident to a gigantic invasion, there is hardly a limit to the atrocities which may follow. Belgium has little reserve power such as is found in a sparsely settled agricultural community. Its value is as a going concern. Its people depend upon their daily wages, and when the business of the country stops they are in straits. Food supplies are limited, and even these are drawn upon by the conqueror. War can take no more hideous form than when it involves in its horrors a dense population of helpless civilians, and whatever the conditions of peace may be, they should include terms which will make impossible a repetition of these atrocities.

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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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