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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: As World War I approached, pacifists were pessimistic

Spokane’s Church of Truth held a “peace meeting” for about 800 local pacifists – although most of the speakers were plainly pessimistic about the prospects for peace, The Spokesman-Review reported on March 12, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Spokane’s Church of Truth held a “peace meeting” for about 800 local pacifists – although most of the speakers were plainly pessimistic about the prospects for peace, The Spokesman-Review reported on March 12, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Spokane’s Church of Truth held a “peace meeting” for about 800 local pacifists – although most of the speakers were plainly pessimistic about the prospects for peace.

“There need be no war in the world – but there is war,” said the Rev. Mr. Scafe of the Fourth Presbyterian Church. “Humanity will not learn by the bloodshed of the Carthaginians; it will only learn by the bloodshed of Europe and by the bloodshed of the United States, which is surely coming. … Before I cease speaking the first gun, involving the United States in war, may be fired.”

A. Upton, an organizer for the Workers International Industrial Union, had this dark warning: “Capitalism is looking with longing eyes for the introduction of the Prussian militaristic system in this country. If we stand out against it, we shall be classed as traitors. … We shall have to destroy the capitalistic system or it will destroy us.”

Richard Brazier, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies), said, “Laboring men hope to bring about the utopian dream that Christians have been talking about for 2,000 years and toward which they have not taken one step. … The only reason we oppose war is because it retards the accomplishment of our utopian dreams.”

The most optimistic note was struck by Anne Angier, a representative of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

“Should we be drawn into war, we can only hope that it will work out for a greater peace,” she said.

History would prove her to be too optimistic on that score.

From the museum beat: A farmer offered a gruesome contribution to a fledgling civic museum in Spokane.

He owned the land where several Indians had been hung on Hangman Creek in 1858 (giving the creek its name). He had the skulls from that incident and agreed to give them to the museum.

A museum booster said “these skulls would certainly make quite an addition.”

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