Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wars and Rumors of War May 1916

One hundred years ago this month. Remembering one war while trying to avoid another. (Note: click on images to enlarge them)

While Conway's residents received little actual news about the war raging in Europe, the Reporter's May 4, 1916 editorial page opined on President Wilson's diplomatic efforts to avoid war with Germany.
Germany had been sinking ships and according to the paper, Wilson was writing "yet another note" to complain and ask them to stop. The writer commented ironically and dramatically that Wilson "gave Germany four days to make a reply, and he said he really meant it. But the Kaiser didn't believe it and has taken his time."
The implication is that Wilson's efforts were useless. The editor concludes sarcastically that, it is "Pretty near time Wilson was writing another note" suggesting that Wilson will continue doing paperwork while Germany destroys ships and kills people.
Wilson's inaction (other than writing complaint letters) is contrasted in a paragraph below on England's problems with the Irish insurrection on the home front, the surrender of 10,000 troops in Turkey, the loss of a battleship and 25,000 men (wonder why the battleship takes priority over the loss of life?). In any case, the "indomitable spirit" of Britain in the form of "Johnny Bull" is contrasted sharply with Wilson's lack of effective action.

The criticism of Wilson continued in the May 18 edition of the paper with the editor taunting the "school-teacher President" with his continued intellectual efforts to stop the German war machine.

Also in May, there is news about the "Usual Exercises for Memorial Day." The focus is on the Custer Post of the GAR, a civil war era veteran's group. The article points out that the ranks grow thinner as the veterans of that war age and pass on. The commemoration began the Sunday before the holiday with church services.  
Memorial Day proper would begin when "comrades and others appointed, will decorate the graves of soldiers..." followed by an assembly at Red Men's Hall in Conway at noon for a dinner provided by the Women's Relief Corp. This would be followed with a parade that was to include a long list of other fraternal orders.

Continuation of this article


May 31, 1916 will see the Battle of Jutland, but we won't hear the news until June. Stay tuned to see how that is reported ...

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