Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100 Years Ago: Quotes from May 1914

This paradise of light, beauty, charm & light, but duty calls.
Kaiser Wilhelm from Corfu, 3 May

I, Woodrow Wilson, . . . do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.
Proclamation, 9 May 

The Sprightly Cover Image Belies the Multiple Diplomatic Problems
with Mexico Hinted at in the Secondary Headlines

To wait any longer meant a diminishing of our chances
Conrad von Hötzendorf to Moltke, 12 May

[There is] no reason whatever to avoid [war] but quite the opposite [with] good prospects today to conduct a great European war quickly and victoriously.
Quartermaster General Georg von Waldersee (Moltke Deputy), 18 May

But what will you do if the British do not appear in the German Bight?
Admiral Tirpitz criticizing the German Navy's assumption that the Royal Navy would attempt a close-in blockade

All that is really necessary for the peace of Europe is that nations should give each other the credit for good will and good intentions.  Nations only hate each other if they first think they are hated. . .on the whole it is true today that Governments in the present day are much too busy to be nearly so clever as people think. (Laughter)
Sir Edward Grey, Speech to Foreign Press Association, 20 May

You had enough of sorrow before death —
Away, away! You are safer in the Tomb
William Butler Yeats, To a Shade, May 1914

RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence River the night of 29 May 1914, after colliding with the Norwegian collier S/S Storstad. The accident took 1012 lives.

The project of the Channel Tunnel is once more under the consideration of the Government. The Liberal party is still in power, building Dreadnoughts and talking peace. Our friendship with France has stood the test of time. Our relations with Germany have become normal and even cordial. But it seems doubtful whether even now the project will be sanctioned, and if sanctioned it should be, the chief reason will be that a fresh terror, due to novel forms of warfare, has in the interval begun to prey upon our minds. Fear vetoed the scheme then; it is just conceivable that a rival fear may advocate it now. A Europe in which such alarms may be seriously entertained by great masses of educated and civilised men is a continent dominated by the nightmare of war, a society in which nation no more trusts nation than man trusts man under a lawless oriental despotism. The refusal to construct a tunnel betrayed our knowledge that we live in an epoch of militarism. . . 
Henry Noel Brailsford, The War of Steel and Gold: A Study of the Armed Peace, published May 1914

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