Saturday, 19 July 2014

Countdown to War, Day 22. 19 July: Germany puts weapons before democracy, Huerta gets out of Mexico, Pankhurst gets out of gaol, US money gets into Ireland

One hundred years ago today, on Sunday 19 July 1914, Martin the railwayman from Manchester might have collected the Observer from his Methodist Minister, and read about an exercise in Dulwich, South London, the previous day. Though it sounded gruesome, it had apparently been a good-humoured event.

Dulwich Village was under fire yesterday afternoon. According to the programme of the fourth annual inspection of the Camberwell Red Cross Nurses, England had been invaded but it cannot be said that the inhabitants of the district treated the situation with much gravity, for they turned out in their best white frocks and sporting suits to gloat over the “wounded”. ...

The injured, who wore their ills with astonishing optimism, were cared for by beaming nurses in smart blue uniforms and many of the spectators would have willingly been injured for the sake of the smiles given...

Amusing, he thought. Though he suspected that with real injuries, it might have taken more than a smile to lighten the mood.

Oh, that Huerta chap in Mexico was in trouble again. In fact he wasn’t even in Mexico any more.

General Huerta has decided to depart on board the German cruiser Dresden... It is understood that Jamaica is the destination... In the course of an interview General Huerta said: “When I assumed the presidency I said publicly that I would restore peace, come what might. I have paid. It has cost me the Presidency. To restore peace has been my whole and sole ambition.”

If Huerta’s only ambition had been peace and he’d been driven out by a military uprising, Martin couldn’t help feeling he’d fallen somewhat short of his aspirations.

Then there were some snippets that caught his eye, such as one under the headline: “American Money for Volunteers”.

The United Irish League has forwarded to Mr. Redmond £2,000 of the promised £20,000 to be used for the Nationalist cause.

Money from the US for John Redmond, leader of the Irish Party in Parliament? What business was it of Americans to meddle in the affairs of the United Kingdom?

An article headlined “Mrs. Pankhurst again released” reported laconically that the great Suffragette leader was back out of prison, if only for twelve days. But there was no talk of her speaking at any further meeting, as had been the plan before her previous arrest. 

French armoured cruiser Ernest Renan
The article “Brothers in Arms” was about one of the leading figures in the Royal Navy, Sir John Jellicoe, who wrote to a Frenchman and fellow vice-Admiral:

My dear de Marolles, – Last night nearly 70 officers, who took part in Chinese operations in 1900, dined together under the presidency of Sir Edward Seymour. I have been asked to write to you and say that they have not forgotten our French comrades, and that they drank their health and that of their brave leader, yourself. It is with great pleasure that I perform this duty. 

Comrades in arms, then. Some people rated the Frogs. Though Martin still wondered whether the safer money wouldn’t be on the Germans. But the Germans: they seemed terribly earnest about keeping their people down and their arms plentiful.

The Liberal papers are drawing attention to another telegram from the Crown Prince expressing approval of a political pamphlet in which the present Chancellor and his policy are handled in a not very flattering manner.

The recipient of the telegram is Professor Bueholz, of Posen, who, in his pamphlet, strongly combats the modern tendencies towards the democratisation of the German Government and affirms the necessity of further armaments.

Crown Prince Wilhelm with German troops
No more a bundle of laughs than last time we saw him
Depressing. Though not as depressing as finding out that Surrey had racked up an impressive 402 against Lancashire at the Oval the previous day. 

That wasn’t a match Martin’s county was likely to win.


Anonymous said...

To be honest, I thought that the picture of the Crown Prince with the funny-helmeted German soldiers was MUCH MORE a bundle of laughs than the previous one, in which I failed to see any humour.
Anyway, the 19th of july was a very interesting day.


Anonymous said...

I just tried something perverse. Instead of writing the code written tom prove I was not a robot, I typed some rubbish.

And my comment was printed just the same.