by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent
Less than three weeks into the war, consumers in Salem were feeling the effects in terms of higher prices:
DRUG PRICES SOAR BECAUSE OF WAR
Quotations from Wholesale Houses show Advances of
From 10 to 30 Per Cent in Many Lines, Say Dealers
To the cost of living is to be added an ever greater doctor bill, according to advices received by Salem druggists. Prices of more than 200 drugs quoted in lists received from wholesale dealers show that price advances range all the way from 10 to 300 percent. One firm after submitting a long list of quotations say: “When the present stocks are exhausted it will be some time before they can be replenished and an ever greater increase in price is to be expected.”
All essential oils have advanced 50 to 300 percent, according to the point of origin. French proprietaries and toilet preparations have increased 25 per cent in price. English preparations have advanced 10 per cent and drugs from Germany range from 10 to 50 percent higher than quotations received two weeks ago.
The San Francisco house of the Eastman Kodak company advises the local agents that all quotations of photographic materials have been suspended, pending advices from the New York headquarters and it further states that it can not accept orders for photographic chemicals agreeing to made deliveries at any price.
Among the long list of drugs which have advanced in price are saltpeter, chloride of lime, carbolic acid, spirits of camphor, and many other of a common sort.
All rubber goods, according to quotations received from one concern, have advanced 25 per cent in price.
The practice of foreign policy in a large democracy such as ours dances to its own beat, the rhythm set by the partisan nature of our politics. Foreign policy is long term driven by much more than the politics of the major parties. As the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, when asked about his assessment of the French Revolution, reputedly said: “It is too soon to say.” In 1914, as it is today, the heaping of ridicule upon Presidents and Secretaries of State follows a predictable pattern. The editor, addressing the question “Which Diplomacy” wrote:
What has become of the ridicule and abuse until recently heaped upon President Wilson and Secretary Bryan by a partisan press because of their “watchful waiting” policy in Mexico? asks the Medford Mail Tribune.
The president and his secretary were held up as objects of scorn in the civilized world, and we were vociferously and repeatedly informed that American diplomacy was a joke, that our foreign policy made the world laugh and jeer, and caused the cheeks of Americans to crimson with the blush of shame.
But neither the attempts of big business to produce a panic, nor the coercion of captains of industry seeking new realms of exploitation, nor the threats and jeers of a hostile press could force the administration into an unjustifiable war. The president stood pat and has lived to see the policy of “watchful waiting” fully vindicated.
That thousands of American homes are not in mourning for lost loved ones, that the best blood in the nation has not been shed in a vulgar war of conquest, that Old Glory’s stripes have not been stained by the blood of a friendly nation, and that the envious, suspicious hostility of Latin America had been replaced by confidence and friendship that promises far more in a legitimate commercial way than the loot of a nation by freebooters would have yielded we have “watchful waiting” to thank.
And what has become of the vaunted diplomacy of the old world, in comparison with which the new American policy was so crude, futile and absurd? Why, it has reaped its crowning success – the conflagration universal – the world-wide war. Europe, already poverty stricken by the armaments of war. is plunged into a hopeless maelstrom of bankruptcy and millions of lives, of people that have no cause in the world for quarrel, are sacrificed to gratify the ruthless greed, medieval ambitions and blood lust of modern war lords.
The people – that fight the battles, tote royalty and standing armies upon their backs and pay the cost of war, that crimson continents with their life blood and leave their own fair fields for ghastly desolation – what part do they have in this glorious panoply of the old diplomacy?
Which the most successful – the despised Wilson-Bryan diplomacy of the “new freedom” or the brilliant diplomacy of the courts of the old world?