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100 years ago, in Spokane: Newspaper editorial predicted the war in Europe might drag on for years

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review ran an editorial raising the alarming possibility that the war in Europe could drag on for many more years.

How many more?

A war of this nature could endure “for seven, 10 or possibly 20 years,” said the editorial.

There were plenty of precedents for such a long European war. The editorial writer admitted that this war was being waged on a much larger and bloodier scale than previous wars and that sheer “exhaustion” could end the war within a year.

However, it was more probable that a prolonged stalemate was in the future, with both sides helpless to fully crush the other side. Germany was so entrenched that the Allies would find an attack on Germany painfully slow going, and Germany would fare no better in an attack on the heartland of France or Russia. Neither side was in any mood to surrender.

So it was likely that more “desultory” warfare would continue along the borders for as many as 20 years.

The editorial said the only solution was a truce administered by the neutral countries of the world.

The editorial did not raise the possibility of the U.S. entering the war, tilting the balance of power toward the Allies and forcing the Germans to capitulate. That is, more or less, how the war would actually end, three years later.


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