January 23, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

A Capital Journal article reports German distress at American manufacturers selling armaments to the British:

SALE OF ARMS TO ALLIES STIRS GERMAN PRESS
Editorials Make Many Comments On Attitude of the United States

By Karl H. Von Wiegand

Berlin, via The Hague, Jan. 23. – A semi-official statement issued by the government protesting against American manufacturers selling arms to the allies was applauded by all the newspapers here today. The statement charged that the spirit, if not the letter of American neutrality was being violated by such sales.

Some of the more radical newspapers displayed a strong anti-American tone in their editorials commenting on the statement. Some charge that it has been revealed that the terms under which the allies have been purchasing arms in America make the purchases nothing short of a subsidy to the United States under the veil of a trade war.

One of the radical papers published this ominous statement:

“Once Germany is convinced that the United States is determined to continue supporting the allies against Germany, the knowledge will leave deep traces on the German mind, the importance of which America can hardly afford to disregard.”

German distress might appear as valid. Britain had the largest and most powerful navy and used it to blockade German ports. American trade with the Central Powers dropped from $170,000,000 in 1914 to almost nothing by 1916. Britain and France needed manufactured goods from this country and trade quadrupled between 1914 and 1916. The health of the American economy, as it recovered from the pre-war recession, relied upon trade with the Allies.

Enforcing its blockade of the Central Powers, the British would stop U.S. ships to search for contraband and blockaded neutral ports through which contraband could reach the Germans. Trade with the Allies, of course, could proceed uninterrupted. German use of the submarines to disrupt trade would grow during the year and culminate with the sinking of the Lusitania.

On the submarine front, the Oregon Statesman reported the testing of a new super-submarine by the German navy:

NEW CRAFT IS TESTED
German Super-Submarine Can Cruise for Three Months

The Daily Mail’s Copenhagen correspondent says he learns from Hamburg that one of the new German super-submarines has just finished trial runs in the Bay of Helgoland and that she proved well suited for the purpose for which she was constructed.

This giant submarine, the correspondent adds, is of the type that carries supplies for three months and is not under the necessity of putting into port or having recourse to the parent ship.

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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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