May 9, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The Oregon Statesman headline reported:

Seventy-Two Americans Are Saved Out of 188; Twelve Hundred Bodies Are Missing

The paper also reported that Berlin newspapers expressed sorrow over the disaster:

All Blame is Placed On Lord Churchill – Claim Lusitania Was An Armed British Warship

Commenting upon the destruction of the Lusitania the Berliner Tageblatt says:

“With deep emotion we learn of the destruction of the Lusitania in which countless men lost their lives. We lament with sincere hearts their hard fate but we know we are completely devoid of blame.

“We may be sure that through the English telegrams communicated to the world indignation will again be raised against Germany but we must hope that calm reflection will later pronounce the verdict of condemnation against the British admiralty.

“The many who now are in sorrowing may raise complaint against Winston Spencer Churchill, British first lord of the admiralty, who by conscienceless instructions which must bring him the curse of mankind, conjure up this cruel warfare.”

The article then proceeds:

“The Lusitania was a warship on the list of English auxiliary cruisers and carried armament of twelve strongly mounted guns. She was more strongly mounted with guns than any German armored cruiser. As an auxiliary cruiser she must have been prepared for attack.”

The Sunday edition of the Oregon Statesman reported mobs attacking businesses owned by German immigrants in Victoria, British Columbia:

Victoria, B. C, Crowd Also Raids German Club

Mob Led By Soldiers – Authorities Helpless – Fire Department Refuses to Turn Hose On Rioters

Victoria, B. C., May 8 – A crowd of four or five hundred men and boys this evening gave expression of their indignation over the sinking of the Lusitania by raiding the premises of the Deutscher Verein and the Blanchard hotel, formerly the Kaiserhoff.

Led by a large party of soldiers in uniform the mob broke down the doors of the German club and dragged all the furniture in sight to the street, where it was smashed to pieces. They then paraded around the streets carrying a picture of King George with them, and amid cheers and enthusiasm that could not be choked by either the civilian or the military authorities made for the Blanchard hotel. Here short work was made of the mirrors, but class, etc. By this time the assembly had increased in size, the ringleaders had been joined by others, and the authorities were confronted with a difficult problem. The fire department was asked to turn out to give the mob a shower bath but the firemen absolutely refused.

The mob, however, dispersed soon afterwards and no one was hurt.


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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