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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago: As Germans launch major offensive, editorial page urges resolve

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

This was one of the most trying days of the Great War, as the Germans mounted their biggest offensive since the arrival of large masses of American troops on the French front.

“The Germans launched a heavy gas attack against a certain town in our (American) lines,” wrote a correspondent. “The wind was blowing and the fumes of mustard gas from the shells hung low over the lines for several hours.”

Elsewhere on the front, Germans shelled Paris from long range, and German troops broke through British lines west of St. Quentin.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle’s editorial page urged resolve on the “darkest day of the war.”

“But Americans must learn as England has learned – that the greatest defeats are not those suffered on the battle front,” said the Chronicle. “The armies ‘over there’ fight on the morale of those at home. The Britishers keep cool and keep going at their tasks. They know that the most severe loss they could suffer would be the loss of this very calmness and courage.”

The paper urged Spokane readers to “keep going, count victory as certain, as right is more powerful than wrong, as purity is above bestiality, as heaven is above hell.”

From the medical beat: The family of John Toms Jr., 3, finally gave up hope and admitted the little boy was dead.

Symptoms of mortification, they said, had finally become “manifest.”

A funeral was set for the next Sunday.

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