19th August 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Tyldesley, Lancashire, England – Frank Seddon, dreamer, musician, miner, poet, tubman and fireman, home guard sergeant, family man and migrant.

http://poets.agcm.org.uk/frank_seddon.shtml

War!

In Aerschot, in Belgium, German soldiers perpetrate a massacre of priests and civilians, around 150 in total,  ostensibly in retaliation for the murder of a german officer, but believed by some to be part of a deliberate policy of inflicting terror on the civilian population.

http://archive.thetablet.co.uk/article/19th-september-1914/16/the-massacre-at-aerschot

At Lesnica in Serbia, Austrian soldiers shoot150 peasants during the army’s forced retreat towards the Drina river, which forms the nearby border with (Austro-Hungarian) Bosnia Herzegovina.

[Burg and Purcell: Almanac of World War 1]

Delivering a speech to the US Senate in Washington, President Woodrow Wilson urges Americans to remain neutral both in actions and in speech:

“The effect of the war upon the United States will depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned. The spirit of the nation in this critical matter will be determined largely by what individuals and society and those gathered in public meetings do and say, upon what newspapers and magazines contain, upon what ministers utter in their pulpits, and men proclaim as their opinions upon the street.

The people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war. It is natural and inevitable that there should be the utmost variety of sympathy and desire among them with regard to the issues and circumstances of the conflict. Some will wish one nation, others another, to succeed in the momentous struggle. It will be easy to excite passion and difficult to allay it. Those responsible for exciting it will assume a heavy responsibility, responsibility for no less a thing than that the people of the United States, whose love of their country and whose loyalty to its government should unite them as Americans all, bound in honor and affection to think first of her and her interests, may be divided in camps of hostile opinion, hot against each other, involved in the war itself in impulse and opinion if not in action…

I venture, therefore, my fellow countrymen, to speak a solemn word of warning to you against that deepest, most subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which may spring out of partisanship, out of passionately taking sides. The United States must be neutral in fact, as well as in name, during these days that are to try men’s souls. We must be impartial in thought, as well as action, must put a curb upon our sentiments, as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another.”

 

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