by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

In the chaos of war, rumor spread faster than fact. Karl Von Wiegand, Berlin correspondent for the United Press rebutted the rumors reported about events inside Germany.

Stories of Shooting Socialists and Like Rumors Are Utterly False
The Air of Quiet Determination Bodes Ill for Those Whom She Fights

New York, Aug. 17. – The first complete story of events in Berlin following the outbreak of the European war was received here today from Karl. H. Von Wiegand, the United Press’ Berlin correspondent, who, unable to get dispatches out from the German capital, went to Hollands and filed a detailed account of the situation from The Hague.

It was transmitted via London, and the text indicated that the British censor held it up for two days.

Germany Isolated.

The Hague. – Germany is isolated. As a result of this many false reports of conditions there have gained currency. The completeness of the isolation may be judged from the fact that Mrs. Woodrow Wilson’s death was not known in Berlin when I left there Thursday.

The story that 100 socialists were shot, that Dr. Liebknecht was executed for refusing to do military duty, and that Rosa Luxemburg, the socialist worker, was put to death, is absolutely false.

Not a single socialist has been shot or arrested. Dr. Liebknecht and hundreds of thousands of other socialists are fighting for the fatherland. Eleven socialist members of the Reichstag are at the front. One socialist leader, released from prison after serving a year’s sentence for an anti-military speech, appealed to all socialists to rush to the front. Since the socialists have realized that war was inevitable they have loyally supported the government.

Though the United States was a neutral power belligerents on both sides sought to enlist public opinion for their sides as the following article illustrates:

Claim England Designs to Injure United States,
Classing Her With Germany As Her Most Formidable Rival.

Sacramento, Cal., Aug. 17 – Requesting the views of Governor Johnson on the action of Japan in submitting an ultimatum to Germany in the present European war, the chamber of German America commerce . . . send this telegram to the governor’s office here:

“We respectfully call your attention to the attempt of England to draw Japan into the present war.

“This is the same England, that, during the struggle of the American colonies for independence, aroused the Indians and armed them against the American patriots. England, having refused to localize the European troubles in the Balkans, is not content in having mobilized the Russian semi-barbarians against Germany’s civilization and culture but has now dragged into the sphere of war the mongolians and through them the Pacific ocean.

“The Japanese, being once let loose, may not rest satisfied to snap up the small German colony in China but may establish naval bases at the Carolines and at Samoa, giving them two fortifications had harbors between the Philippines and the United States. With their enormous army and navy mobilization they may use their opportunity to make themselves the complete masters of the Pacific ocean.

“Already the status quo in that part of the world has been upset by England’s perfidious action, and what will become of the open door on the Asiatic shore of the Pacific?

“There is great danger that under these circumstances the United States might also be embroiled in the worldwide conflict, and if so she has England to thank for it. We maintain that this is intended by England, as she considers the United States and Germany her most formidable commercial rivals. Kindly let us know your views by telegraph.”

The governor is in San Francisco and has not seen the telegram.

Locally, the Marion County German-Speaking Society passed a resolution seeking fairness in the reporting of the European conflict:


The Marion county German-Speaking Society passed the following resolution at its regular meeting held in Hurst hall:

“Whereas, about one-fourth of the people of the United States are of German birth or ancestry, who have done more than their fair share from early colonial times until now, in securing our liberty, in fighting to preserve the Union, in upbuilding the nation, in every department of commerce and industry, and in furthering its cultural development,

“Be it Resolved, that we as American citizens insist that the American press shall present its information in an unbiased and impartial manner, and that the editorials shall as far as possible, be without prejudice or hatred toward any class of American citizens; for this, though an English-speaking country, is not an English nation, and it is but fair in these trying times that the American spirit of fair play shall be exercised to further good feelings among American citizens of every extraction and creed.”

The meeting was largely attended and quite a number of well known citizens spoke upon the resolution, among them being Dr. Wislicensus, president; Aug. Kehrberger, John Stellman and many others. The resolution was passed unanimously and the general spirit of the meeting show how earnestly every member was affected. A call was made at the meeting for funds in support of the Red Cross society and over one hundred dollars was raised on the spot and ordered sent at once to headquarters of the society.

Impartiality and fairness would test the editors of both papers. On the editorial page, the Capital Journal editor compliments the courage of German soldiers before Liege:

Regardless of nationality or sympathy in the present war, every man with red blood in his veins is forced to admire the superb courage of the German soldiers who face death unflinchingly and deliberately. The charge at Balaklava has become historical, but that was a dash against impregnable defenses. The story of the Uhlans at Liege is of the same kind only it tells of these brave fellows going time after time back into this “valley of death” – this “jaws of hell” which Tennyson so graphically described and into which the Light Brigade rode – once.

The poem to which the editor refers is Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”:

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.


Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.


When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.