by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent
“Italy was called on to lend aid to the Germans. Hitherto Germany has asked for Italian help. Now it is demanded.”
Readers would have found in the headline confirmation of American skepticism regarding alliances. Alliances were not our sort of thing. Obscure quarrels and sordid rivalries did not seem to fit given our separation from European affairs. George Washington in his Farewell Address stated that “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.” Jefferson, in his inaugural address advocated “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.” From 1789 until the Second World War, the United States maintained no treaties of alliance with anyone, with the exception of the nation’s relationship with Panama.
Europe, on the other hand, was tied in an interlocking series of alliances:
1879: The Dual Alliance. This alliance was made in order for Germany and Austria- Hungary to protect themselves from Russia.
1881: Austro-Serbian Alliance. This alliance was made in order to stop Russia from gaining control of Serbia.
1882: The Triple Alliance. This alliance was made by Germany and Austria Hungary in order to stop Italy from taking sides with Russia.
1894: Franco Russia Alliance. This alliance was made between France and Russia in order to protect Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary.
1904: Entente Cordiale. This was an agreement between Britain and France (not a formal alliance).
1907: Anglo Russian Entente. This was an agreement between Russia and Britain.
1907: Triple Entente. This was between France, Britain and Russia as a result to the threat imposed by Germany.
1914: Triple Entente. This agreement was between Britain, Russia, and France that stated that none would sign for peace separately.
“Salem Citizens Are Busy “Doing” Europe”
Practically every corner of the globe is affected by the conflict in Europe. Among the Salem citizens who are war-bound on the continent are Eugene Ecarlen and wife, who left here for Germany two months ago; Charles H. Hinges, Salem jeweler, who is in Germany; Louis Lachmund and daughters, who were in England waiting to come home; Kola Nels, hop buyer, who left Salem last winter for the Fatherland; Mrs. W. P. Lord and son, who are making a tour of the world and investigating the flax industry; Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Jenks, of the H. S. Gile company, who live on North Summer street, who are now in Germany, and Emmanuel Schindler, one of the proprietors of the Fairmount dairy, whose former home was in Switzerland.
Since the outbreak of hostilities in Europe and the continent placed in a state of chaos no word has come to Salem of these people. Cable communication with Germany has been cut by the British and the only way of communication is by letter, which chance is exceedingly slim on account of the danger in running the blockade. With the American cruiser Tennessee on its way with money it is expected that Salem’s war-bound citizens may soon escape from the theater of conflict.
Within days of the outbreak of war, the local economy learns that “War Will Advance The Price of Hops.”
That the war in Europe will raise the price of American hops is the opinion expressed by a prominent hop man of this city today. His opinion was based upon the theory that German shipping would be swept from the ocean by the fleets of the allied powers and that shipments of hops to England could be made with safety. England buys the surplus American hops and also buys hops from Germany. Now that the war has begun it is unlikely that the German hop crop can be harvested or if it were taken care of it is doubtful if the English merchants would be able to deal with the German hop firms until the war was settled. In the event that there is a scarcity of hops in England keener bidding for American hops will result and the price raised as a result.
In the Pacific, “The Japanese cabinet announced today that at present Japan is neutral in the European struggle, but that if England becomes involved so as to require the Mikado’s aid it will be extended.”
The paper reported that Great Britain formally declared war on Germany. The British demand that Germany provide a “satisfactory reply on the subject of Belgian neutrality, was answered by the summary rejection of the request that Belgian neutrality should be respected. The declaration of war followed shortly the receipt of Germany’s reply.”
August being the summer vacation season, the paper reported “Newport, Cool and Breezy, Draws Visitors From Cities.” Visitors from Portland, Seattle, San Francisco “and nearly every city in the Willamette valley . . . have made the trip to this resort during the season thus far, and, should the prevailing good weather continue, all indications point toward a still further increase during the balance of the season. The paper attributed the increase to “the increasing automobile traffic . . . due to the improvement of the roads in the state – particularly between Newport and Albany. During the past two years highways that were formerly impassible to cars have been graveled or macadamized; culverts and bridges have been built; grades considerably reduced and fills made.” The paper reports that “the drive to Newport is replete with beautiful scenery, the route penetrating some of the wildest and most untamed country in Oregon. For miles at a time the road stretches through land that has never been cultivated and is used principally for cattle and sheep range.” “At the present time,” the paper notes, “automobiles have been arriving in Newport at the rate of from five to 10 a week.”
Though the focus of the war lay in Flanders and France, the paper reported that British vessels were to remain in port along the Pacific coast. Two German cruisers, the Leipsic and the Nurnberg were patrolling the Pacific along the coasts of Mexico and California.
Buried on page five of the paper is the report that the Germans shot as traitors seventeen Alsatians who sought to to enter France to serve under the Tri-Color. the antagonism that existed between France and Germany stemmed in part from France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, as a consequence of which France lost to Germany the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine.
Belgians Check German Advance – City Bombarded
“Belgium’s army met the invaders in gallant style, and though outnumbered, taking advantage of the powerful defenses of Liege and Namur, held them in heck while it awaited help from France and England, upon both of which countries King Albert had called for aid in defending his people’s neutrality.”
This headline marked the opening of the Battle of Liege which would run from the fifth of August through the sixteenth. During this battle the Germans encountered stiff resistance which they had not expected and consequently experienced severe casualties.
Over the coming days headlines will describe for readers one of the crucial battles that will come to be known as First Ypres.