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The Great War

News Reports From the Front
100 Years Ago This Month

August 1914

August 7

All of Europe is divided

Now that the great European clash has finally begun, and the various nations are at each otherís throats, it is interesting to note the motives they have for taking the different sides in the struggle.

All of Europe is divided into two armed alliances, the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. The Triple Alliance was formed in 1883 between Germany, Austria- Hungary, and Italy for the purposes of checking encroachments by Russia and France. The three powers are bound to support one another in certain contingencies.

The exact provisions of the alliance have not been devulged, but are said to have been modified as between France and Italy in 1893. In 1902 and in 1907 the agreement was renewed for certain periods, and the last annual extension ended on June 14, 1914. For many years Great Britain, though not a party to the alliance, was closely linked to it through apprehension of French and Russian aggressiveness, but later, becoming disquieted by the growth of German naval power, adopted in 1902, a decided change of policy with a view to seeking in the balance of power greater security against invasion. In pursuance of this policy Great Britain entered into an agreement with France in 1904 and with Russia in 1907.

In both the forces of land and sea, as far as numbers go, the Triple Entente would seem to have a considerable advantage. The Army exceeds that of the Alliance by one million men, while its fleet in ships, tonnage, armament and number of men exceeds the naval strength of the Alliance. This is especially true since Italy has preferred to disregard her part in the Alliance, and has so far refused to be drawn into the conflict. To some extent however, this advantage in numbers is offset by the splendid German fighting machine, which is conceded to be the best in the world in training and equipment.

War Dispatches

On Saturday, the most prominent bankers of Europe headed by the Rothchilds, announced that they would refuse to finance a general European war. It was authoritatively stated that President Wilson would pursue a course of absolute non-interference in the European war crisis. Germany and Russia severed diplomatic relations.

On Sunday, Russia began the invasion of German territory of Schwinden.

On Monday, Germany appealed to Great Britain to remain neutral in European struggle. That same day German troops captured three Polish cities near the Russian frontier. The advance guard of the French army repulsed the Germans near Petit Croix.

On Tuesday, Great Britain declared war on Germany for not observing the Belgians neutrality. The English House of Commons voted $525 million for emergency purposes. President Wilson formally proclaimed the neutrality of the United States.

On Wednesday, the German Embassy at St. Petersburg, Russia, was wrecked, and bonfire made of the furniture and pictures by an angry crowd. The police prevented the mob from fire in the building. An attempt was also made to destroy the Austrian Embassy but that building was too strongly guarded. Several thousand Germans were killed or wounded in their attack on Liege, according to a cable from Brussels. President Wilson has offered his good offices to all European powers and has sent a message to that effect.

August 14

Causes of the War

Questions are being asked concerning the great European conflict now being waged-a devastating conflict greater than the world has ever before witness. By consensus of opinion, is believed that the German Kaiser sought war; eager for war for years past, he has been quietly preparing for it - waiting for a pretext, no matter how flimsy. Why? To carry out the aim of Germanizing everything; to prevent the advancement of political reforms; to express by the cannonís mouth its hatred of the Slavs.

There is no other realm in the world that is so mixed and diverse a composition as Austria. That is true of its political divisions as well as of its population. It consists of 17 states. Each of the 17 states has its own local legislature. These bodies elected for six years, meeting yearly and legislate like American state legislatures on all matters not specifically reserved for the Imperial Parliament. They control taxation, education and public works.

The total population of the Austrian Empire is 29 million, of which 9.5 million are Germans, and the rest Slavs or Italians. Thus the Slavs, with whom the empire is fighting, form an overwhelming majority in the empire. Why, then, it may be asked, do they not rule the empire instead of permitting the German minority to do so?

The answer is found largely in the fact that the Slavs are subdivided into a number of tribes, between which there is little cooperation and not much sympathy. First of all they are divided into two great classes, the Northern and Southern. The former comprise the Czechs, the Ruthenians, the Poles and the Slovaks. The southern Slavs comprise the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes. Thus there are the six distinct divisions of Slavs, and while together they outnumber the Germans about two to one, not one of the divisions comes anywhere as near to equaling the Germans. The Germans, therefore, while they are in the minority, form a strong plurity, and have been able to maintain their control over the Slavic tribes.

Within the last generation, the Slavs have come forward to be fully the equals of the Germans in education and prosperity, so that for the latter to look down upon them as inferiors has become absurd. It was this realization that led the late Archduke Ferdinand to contemplate transforming the empire into a federation, in which the Slav states would have equal rank with the Germans. But with his death that design perished, and the empire is now under the control of those who deem it the divine right of the Germans to lord it over all others.

War Dispatches

On Thursday, Belgium reportedly repulsed German invaders in a severe battle near Liege.

On Friday, in the reply to another demand for aid made by Germany, Italy emphatically reaffirmed its neutrality. That same day Germany began the invasion of Russia with an army of 40,000 men supported by artillery and cavalry.

On Saturday, French troops invading Alsace-Lorraine won the first victory of the war in a light engagement near the frontier.

On Sunday, it was reported that Germany had taken Liege. The Belgiumís lost 24 guns, 5,000 men and one general. That same day Russia began the invasion of Austria with an army of 50,000 men. On the approach of a large French army, the Germans evacuated the greater part of Luxembourg.

On Monday, 600 Germans were reported to have been arrested as spies in Belgium. Austria ceased its invasion of Serbia and began defensive tactics. German losses at Liege amounted to 8,000 men killed and 1,700 captured. The German liner Kron Wilhem was captured by the British cruiser Essex.

August 21

War Dispatches

On Sunday, the first sentence of death by a French court martial in the present war was announced today. It was pronounced on a French tradesmen. It was proved that he sent reports on aviation, on the defense of the country and on the wireless telegraph stations on the Eiffel Tower to a French secret service agent, believing him to be a German spy.

On Monday, Japan sent an ultimatum to Germany demanding the withdrawal of German warships from the Orient and evacuation of Kiauchau and giving Germany until Sunday, August 23, to comply with the demands. Otherwise, the ultimatums stated Japan would take action.

On Tuesday, more than 1,600 passengers, most of them Americans, who scurried out of Europe at the outbreak of hostilities, reached New York today on the Cunard Liner Lacona. 2,500 Americans are waiting in Italy for transportation home and another 5,000 have been evacuated to Switzerland.

On Thursday, what is thought to be the beginning of the first big battle was indicated in a Brusselsí dispatch to London: "A fierce battle is in progress between Belgiums and Germans along an extended front. Large numbers of refugees are arriving from the front."

August 28

Getting War News

In these days when everyone eagerly awaits the latest news from the European war, there are many who complain the scarcity of definitive reports. The public should realize that there are immense difficulties to surmount before any news at all can be obtained. Various important transatlantic cables have been cut; the censorship is extremely strict; no foreign correspondents are allowed in any of the armies engaged in the war; and, all the usual channels of news or closed even to the most influential papers.

War Dispatches

On Tuesday, the city of Brussels paid $4 million towards a war indemnity of $40 million demanded of that city by the Germans. Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria reported to be dying, issued a decree ordering Vienna to prepare for siege.

On Thursday, the German steamship, Kaiser Wilhelm Grosse was sunk off the west coast of Africa by the British cruiser High Flyer.

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