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The Great War

News Reports From the Front
100 Years Ago This Month

October 1914

Editor’s note: We found the following entry in the Oct 16th paper telling on the status of the war in Europe. As such we thought we would shift gears this month to run some of the ‘side stories’ related to the war the reader’s of the paper in October 1914 saw:

Satisfactory war news

The Germans are gaining, the French are ahead, the English are right on top; the Russians are licking the Austrian forces, the Cossack advance they cannot stop. The Belgians have captured a Prussian brigade, the Prussians have blown up the French, the Uhlans have taken a whole English corps, killed thousands in one single trench.

The Russians have cut down all the Germans in sight, the Germans killed Russians galore; the Austrians, wing their way in the fight, mow Russian men down by the score. The Prussians are running away from the French, the French are retreating in haste, the English are taking the Kaiser's best men, the Fatherland’s one arid wasteland.

The German Navy has sent the best ships that England can boast on the main, and England has blown up so many German warcraft that few German cruisers remain.

The German airships of their crack Army Corps as monarchs now rule the blue skies, while the French aviators have blown each one of and the victory’s all the allies.

Now this is the great satisfaction you get in the daily report of the news; and there is only one way to set wonder aside – simply believe what reports you may choose.

October 2

War stimulating America's biggest industries

The United States Steel Corporation is about to close a contract for 10,000 tons of special grade steel and inquiries are in the market for an additional 10,000 tons of cheap bars for Great Britain. Some of the independent mills have secured orders for several thousand tons of billets from England. This is the largest export order of steel in this country since foreign inquiry was stimulated by the war.

Manufacturers of shoes are preparing for a busy season and they are buying leather in anticipation of their needs. The Italian government has entered the American market for immediate delivery of upward of $5 million worth of Army regulation shoes, horse saddles, leather belts and knapsacks for soldiers and promises to pay cash.

Information came from the West that the English government has ordered 60,000 horses. A horse dealer in Boston said that several trains of horses have been shipped from the mid West to Toronto and Montréal for the English government. The price paid by the English official is around $150 to $265 per horse. Most of the horses are heavy draft horses, which will be used to haul supplies and artillery pieces.

A new industry - the shipping of coal, has sprung up as a result of the British government forbidding the shipment of coal from Great Britain. The government of Greece has placed one order here for 100,000 tons of coal, which is now being shipped to the seaboard for shipment. The Berwind-White Coal Company, the largest exporter of American coal, announced that inquiries are coming in quite rapidly concerning the delivery of coal.

Every branch of business in every class of manufacturers seems to be likewise benefited in the short term the war has been waging, everything from our automobiles to chewing gum and tobacco. This is cited from the report that Charles Schwab has secured a $5 million contract from Russia and France to furnish 3,000-armored machine gun mounted motor trucks

American consumption of tobacco and chewing gum has greatly increased since the war began. Everybody has taken on a case of the nerves over the big scrap. Men become so excited over war bulletins that they keep puffing ritually almost all the time.

The tobacco business has increased about 10%. There has been a particularly large increase in the sale of cheap cigars. Foreigners who have been unable to answer the call to their colors keep going being about the bulletin boards with a stogie being their sole source of comfort., or it may be a big wad of tobacco.

Women have you take their stress out on something else, and it has fallen to the lot of chewing gum to take the edge off their nerves. Agents of chewing gum factories tell me their factories have been working 24 hours each day, to supply the greatest demand in their history."

War will make best oysters cheap

The finest oysters grown along the Long Island Shores, which have always been held for the European, will this season be put on the domestic market, according to growers who predicted the crop would be the biggest in the history of the country and the prices would be low.

For many years Europe has taken the finest oysters produced by this country. There are numerous beds along the Long Island shores that have produced oysters for the European market exclusively, but now the owners are unable to make shipments and these oysters must be sold in the home market. The prices have always been high in this country. Aside from the fact that the war has made oysters cheap, the supply is so plentiful that they would have been cheaper than usual if there had been no war.

Preparing for any emergency

The National Rifle Association of America, closely allied to the War Department, has secured the passage by Congress of the measure to issue free to rifle club members rifles and ammunition so that the citizens, who in time of war, would compose a voluntary army would have some knowledge of the care and use of the military arm. Under the act, the government will issue the rifles for which the regular army was formally equipped, popularly called the "Krag," an equal of any other rifles now being used in the European war. With each rifle will go 120 rounds of ammunition. This ammunition will be issued annually to every club member who will guarantee to use the same in practice shooting as prescribed by the War Department.

October 9

With the armies in Europe

Not all the men, and especially not all the officers, who die in this war will be killed by the bullets of the enemy. As in all campaigns that have ever taken place, a number of men are doomed to death directly the guns begin to shoot. There is always a rough kind of justice about these executions - for that is what they amount to. An officer who has incurred the hatred of his men, who has shown himself a beast, but not a just beast, war offers the opportunity for revenge. In the heat of a general action there is no time to inquire whether a man receives his wound from the front or from the back.

The British officer, whether of commissioned or noncommissioned rank, has cultivated relations with the men under him such that, without destroying discipline, he is always sure of their loyalty. Soldiers’ letters from the front are full of praise not only of the courage of the officers, but also of their care for the comfort of the men. The German officers on the other hand have a reputation of a very different kind, and no doubt the arrangements by which they lead their regiments from the rear, with a revolver in one hand and a sword in the other has much to recommend it.

War progress reports coming from the front these days have somewhere in them a Red Cross nurse. Photographers have begun to realize that the only softening feature of the war is robed in white with a red band on her arm.

The Krupt factory in Essen seems to be about the only manufacturing concern in Germany whose employees were freed from the duty of going to the front and whose machinery is being kept running at full capacity. This great factory, with its 46,000 workmen, is the chief resource of the German army, and it will be protected to the last moment of the war.

Our danger in the Far East

A minority report on the Philippine independence bill declares Japan might seize all of Germany's Pacific possessions. A distinguished Japanese once observed that the "Philippine archipelago is but a continuation of her own." Territorially we are in closest relations with Japan, one of the nations now at war.

It angered by stubborn resistance, severe losses and pressed by already aroused war spirit among her people Japan should cease all of Germany's Pacific possessions, no one would be surprised. The Samoan Islands, in the South Pacific are divided between England, Germany and the United States. If Japan ceases the German Samoan islands she will be next door to our holdings there.

Half of Hawaii’s total population of 191,000 is Japanese, so they tend to think of that as their own also. Only 10,000 Americans call Hawaii home. This group of islands, in the center of the Pacific Ocean, is probably the most desirable strategic point in the world.

October 16

Count Zeppelin vindicated

Like most pioneers, Count Zeppelin has had to overcome and enormous amount of opposition. For many years he was regarded by an influential section of Berlin society as a madman. After the successful flight of the Zeppelin III, during the autumn of 1907, however, the government agreed to purchase the machine, and granted the inventor an additional 25,000 pounds for further experiments.

By this time Zeppelin was possibly the most popular man in Germany. Six weeks following the wreck of Zeppelin IV, in August 1908, Germany place 300,000 pounds at his disposal, in order that he might be freed for all time of a financial nightmare which had dogged his career without compensation for so many years.

Zeppelin’s prodigy is now a striking fear in the hearts of the allied capitals, hundreds of miles from the front lines, and in doing so, diverting resources that might otherwise be put to use in defeating the Kaiser's armies.

October 23

Recent reports of conditions and the operations of the contending fleets of Europe in the North Sea have brought the question of submarine mines prominently forward, and the subject is considered in an interesting article in the war issue of Scientific American, in which the following facts are given:

"Because of its absolute invisibility, the submarine mine in its present state of development is the most deadly form of naval warfare. Certainly it has to its credit the greatest disasters to ships of the first-class and the greatest number of such disasters during the past decade of naval history.

As compared with torpedo attack, mining has the advantage of greater secrecy and invisibility; and this is true even when the torpedo is launched from the submarine. For effective tract, torpedoes must be fired either from battleships, cruisers, or submarines. In the case of each of the classes of vessels, a ship, from the moment it sights the enemy, knows that within certain ranges it is liable to torpedo attack; and even in the case of the submarine, which must come occasionally to the surface and during most of the attack must occasionally have its periscope above the surface, there is a reasonable expectation that with a careful watch, some signs of the approaching danger will be detected and stoped.

In the case of the submarine mine, the element of secrecy is so perfect that if it so happens that the minefield has not been previously located, a fleet under way has no possible means of knowing when or where it may encounter these deadly machines."

October 30

The horse and the war

Representatives of the French government have started buying 100,000 horses and mules in the West, according to reports from St. Louis. It is said that they have purchased something like 10,000 horses to date. As the average price paid for our horses is about $125. The purchase of 100,000 head mean in expenditure of $12 million or more.

A New York company has been asked to submit prices for $20,000 worth of horses to supply the Army of one of the warring nations of Europe. The president of the company believes the demand for horses for the European armies is going to have a tremendous effect on the market for trotters. "Thousands of the cheaper grades of horses are being purchased for shipment abroad," he said, "and the demand has just only started. The men who sell these horses to your will soon be in the market for well bred youngsters to replace them, and this will mean even better prices for good horses."

Another New York horse dealer expect to see more than 1 million horses purchased in the United States by the warring nations of Europe, provided ships can be found to transport them. He says that if England "had to buy 300,000 horses, to whip 90,000 Boers, there is no telling how many horses will be needed for the British French and German armies in the war now going on."

Germany is said to have lost more than 1 million horses in the Franco Prussian war. About one half of the number succumbed to sickness and injuries on the battlefield. The French acknowledged the loss of 150,000 horses in that war.

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