June 25, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The headlines in the Capital Journal addressed American grievances against England and Germany, cheating at the Naval Academy and the use of gas on the western front:

ENGLAND’S ANSWER EVADES ISSUE OF AMERICAN PROTEST
Secretary Lansing Will Prepare Rejoiner to British Note
CLAIMS PRIZE COURTS HAVE HASTENED ACTION
British Deny Having Harmed American Shipping On High Seas

PLEBS FORCED TO CHEAT BY HAZERS AT NAVAL ACADEMY
Midshipman Says Upperclassmen Compelled New Men To Steal Questions

ITALIANS CAPTURE AUSTRIAN FORTRESS NEAR MALBORGET
Italian Advance On Trieste Opposed by 200,000 Austrian Troops
GIRONA FALLS BEFORE ASSAULTS OF ARTILLERY
If Germany Wins Will Try America Next Says Garibaldi In Interview

LIQUID FIRE AND GAS BOMBS USED IN HOT BATTLE ALONG MEUSE
French Retire In Orderly Fashion When Sprinkled By Hot Stuff

FIRST DRAFT OF GERMANY’S REPLY IS NOT COMPLETE
Answer To Rejoiner suggests Willingness To Accept Arbitration
ADMITS POSSIBLE ERROR ON LUSITANIA ARMAMENT
Imperial Government Holds Undersea Warfare To Be Effective Weapon

The editorial in the Oregon Statesman commented on Germany’s war aims:

Tempering “Blood and Iron”

In a recent debate in the German Reichstag regarding the “aims of the war,” Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg represented Germany’s present status as on the whole satisfactory. He recognized the iron ring of enemies, but declared that they could “never break through.” He pictured a Germany going forward in spite of opposition, privation and loss, until “we have every possible guarantee and assurance for which we have fought, that none of our enemies, separate or together, will again take up arms against us.

There was in his words no hint of compromise, either in purpose or methods.

There is no such uncompromising spirit, however, in the comment made on his speech by the Frankfurter Zeitung. That newspaper strikes a liberal note which has for some time been lacking in German journalism.

There can be no absolute guarantees against future war, says the Zeitung, but the best guarantee will be a “wise, far sighted and honorable policy” on the part of Germany. It points out the folly of a nation “seeking her ends as if she were alone in the world,” and effuses to believe that “all world problems can be solved by cannon and submarine.”

“The great statesman to whom Germany owes her position,” remarks the Zeitung, “always believed that blood and iron were to be employed only when it was unavoidable, and that the German people were to fulfill their mission through making their policy as considerate as possible.”

Germany’s policy lately has been absolute “blood and iron.” When German editors begin to rebel against it, there is reason for anticipating some of the “considerateness” that wise old Bismarck would have brought into play long before this.

The Oregon Statesman’s editor, commenting on “Those Lusitania Guns” observes that evidence is relative and truth is whatever you think it is:

There really shouldn’t be any doubt about the Lusitania being an “armed cruiser.” One witness saw the guns plainly, mounted on the deck ready for action. Another saw them sticking over the side. Another saw them mounted on wooden blocks, beneath the decks. Another saw them hidden down in the hold. One witness knows they were steel guns; another knows they were made of copper.

In the light of all this harmonious and convincing testimony, it is of course sheer impudence for the United States government to insist that its inspectors and the collector of the port himself went over the ship thoroughly and found no guns.

It is the extreme limit, we must admit, to arrest some of the witnesses for alleged perjury. As a Berlin editor courteously remarks, “What about the American officials who committed perjury?”

All discussion is superfluous, so far as German editors are concerned. They don’t need any evidence. They know intuitively that the Lusitania was armed.

A century of war and a century of progress later, and this editorial could stand for any number of subjects agitating the public today.

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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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