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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sun., Aug. 10, 2014, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane’s “local Teutons” (Germans) embarked on a campaign to supply the public with the “historical facts” which led to the great European war.

At a meeting of the German-American Central Verein in a Spokane meeting hall, Miss Emma Lietzow said many Americans were biased toward England because of distorted press accounts and history textbooks.

William Schecht said that censored news reports from England, France and Belgium were responsible for the biased accounts in the press.

The group resolved to explain to the public the “true causes which led to the present crisis, and thus prove that the Triple Alliance was but for the preservation of peace.” They also resolved to tell “of the forbearance exercised by Austria for years in the face of the greatest of provocation by Russia.”

Another man said that the late czar Peter the Great’s intention had always been to “possess Constantinople, disintegrate Austria and virtually extend the eastern frontier of Russia to Vienna.”

Judge Adolph Munter said the cause of the war was the “insatiable greed of Russia.” He said it boiled down to a “struggle between pan-Slavism and semi-barbarism on one side and Germanic civilization, enlightenment and culture on the other.”

F.S. Suksdorf summed up the causes of the war as “English envy, jealousy and commercial rivalry,” and the French desire for “revenge and the recovery of Alsace and Lorraine.”

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