by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent
The front page of the Capital Journal assessed the first six months of the war, women on juries, and the first stretch of a road from Salem to Bend:
Six Months of War Tomorrow and No Sign of Peace Yet
By J.W.T. Mason
The sixth month of the war ends tomorrow, without apparent evidence of the peace negotiations which so many predicted last summer would be opened when half a year’s hostilities had been wages. Instead, both sides are preparing for a new conflict with new millions.
Only in Hungary is there any sign of dissatisfaction with the war. The Hungarian attitude is not due to exhaustion but to resentment because the Magyar interests were subordinated to German, in arranging the early strategy.
The fighting . . . has not caused the exhaustion of any of the combatants. Prophets who were certain human endurance could not stand more than a half year of modern war’s devastation underestimated man’s tenacity. The supposed enervating effects of civilization have had no influence on the war. The end of the conflict seemingly is as far way as when it began.
The probabilities of the conclusion of the war, based on the condition of the belligerents at present, are far different from what appeared likely in August. A decisive victory is now not to be looked for, nor will either Germany, Austria or the allies dominate Europe when peace comes.
German successes on land and English successes on the seas are the predominant, positive military results of the six months’ campaign. The Germans have carried the war far into the territories of their enemies and have fought themselves free from invasion except along narrow, unimportant strips in Alsace and East Prussia. They have shown military tenacity coupled with a probably unprecedentedly high average of intelligence among their commanding officers. Never before have system and scientific management been carried to as high a plane as by the Germans during the last half year.
England’s command of the seas has been fully as efficient as Germany’s land operations. There have been isolated instances of German naval successes, but all have been without military importance.
The second development of importance . . . has been the failure of the Russian offensive. The Slavs have gravely disappointed their western allies. Russian successes against Austria have removed some of the despondency in Petrograd over the German victories, but England and France have not found military satisfaction in them.
France’s position is in no sense satisfactory. The Germans have not been driven backward to any serious extent since they established themselves along the Aisne. On the contrary, several important gains along the south and west fronts have been made by the Germans. A succession of French generals failed to get to the Rhine through Alsace.
If the Germans ultimately are driven from France, the brunt of the work will fall on Lord Kitchener’s new army of a million men.
The six months’ fighting has been satisfactory only to Servia, whose rivalry of Austria was the immediate cause of the war.
BILL GIVING RIGHT TO SERVE ON JURY TO WOMEN KILLED
Senate Indefinitely Postpones Langguth Bill This Morning
STEAM ROLLER TREADS ON SEN. DIMICK’S TOES
Say He Likes Underhanded Methods But Is Too Pleased
ROAD FROM HERE TO BEND WELL UNDERWAY
Twenty Mile Stretch Between Salem and Stayton Will Be In By June 1
The growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few has dominated the news and it did so as well in 1915. The French economist Thomas Piketty has published a well received history of capital (Capital In The Twenty-First Century, Belkanp/Harvard, 2014) and he notes the inequality that existed in 1914:
What we see in the period 1870-1914 is at best a stabilization of inequality at an extremely high level, and in certain respects an endless inegalitarian spiral, marked in particular by increasing concentration of wealth. It is quite difficult to say where this trajectory would have led without the major economic and political shocks initiated by the war. With the aid of historical analysis and a little perspective, we can now see those shocks as the only forces since the Industrial Revolution powerful enough to reduce inequality. (Piketty, Page 8)
What was the good of industrial development, what was the good of all the technological innovations, toil, and population movements if, after half a century of industrial growth, the condition of the masses was still just as miserable as before, and all lawmakers could do was prohibit factory labor by children under the age of eight?
Piketty discusses Marx’s analysis: