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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Army officer predicts Germany to fall

Col. W.R. Abercrombie, a retired U.S. Army officer said in a speech to the Spokane Chamber of Commerce luncheon that Germany would be defeated, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 19, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Col. W.R. Abercrombie, a retired U.S. Army officer said in a speech to the Spokane Chamber of Commerce luncheon that Germany would be defeated, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 19, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Col. W.R. Abercrombie, a retired U.S. Army officer, delivered his firm (and no doubt welcome) opinion about the state of the war to the Spokane Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“The allies have today more guns than Germany,” said the colonel. “Just remember this: Napoleon had every country in Europe on its back except England when he was defeated. Germany has beaten two or three small nations and has corrupted some others. She still has to face the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Italy. Can she win? She can’t. She is defeated today.”

Col. Abercrombie said that “Germany has had but one policy – war – since 1870, and that was what allowed Germany to mobilize its troops so quickly at the war’s beginning.

From the auto beat: The inexorable increase in automobiles in Spokane County continued at a record pace in 1917. The auditor’s office said it issued 12,028 motor vehicle licenses in 1917, compared to 9,197 in 1916.

From the health beat: The state board of health informed Spokane doctors that they must report to the city health officers any cases of “social diseases” that they treat.

Further, those cases might be subject to quarantine, just the same as cases of measles or smallpox.

“The regulation was adopted primarily to protect the thousands of soldiers in the state,” said the state board.

“Any of these diseases can be cured if taken in time and there is no reason why persons afflicted with them should be allowed circulate as though they were not carrying an infection which is easily communicable and possibly fatal.”

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