Paris War Days Diary of an American

Biography & Autobiography/
#Biography & Autobiography #Personal Memoirs & Diaries
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Excerpt PARIS WAR DAYS Saturday, August 1, 1914 This war comes like the traditional "Bolt from the Blue!" I had made arrangements to retire from active journalism and relinquish the duties of Paris correspondent of the New York Tribune, which I had fulfilled for sixteen consecutive years. In reply to a request from Mr. Ogden Reid, I had expressed willingness to remain at my post in Paris until the early autumn, inasmuch as "a quiet summer was expected." Spring was a busy time for newspaper men. There had been the sensational assassination of Gaston Calmette, editor of the Figaro, by Mme. Caillaux, wife of the cabinet minister. Then there was the "caving-in" of the streets of Paris, owing to the effect of storms on the thin surface left by the underground tunnelling for the electric tramways, and for the new metropolitan "tubes." The big prize fight between Jack Johnson and Frank Moran for the heavy-weight championship of the world followed. Next came the trial of Mme. Caillaux and her acquittal. Then followed the newspaper campaign of the brothers, MM. Paul and Guy de Cassagnac, against German newspaper correspondents in Paris. The Cassagnacs demanded that certain German correspondents should quit French territory within twenty-four hours. As several German correspondents were members of the "Association of the Foreign Press," of which I happen to be president, I was able to smooth matters over a little. Although my personal sympathies were strongly with the Cassagnacs, who are editors of L'Autorité, especially in their condemnation of the severity of the German Government in regard to "Hansi," the Alsatian caricaturist and author of Mon Village, I managed with the help of some of my Russian, Italian, English, and Spanish colleagues to avoid needless duels and quarrels between French and German journalists. Finally, the day of the "Grand Prix de Paris" brought the news of the murder at Sarajevo of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. My friend, Mr. Edward Schuler, was despatched by the Associated Press to Vienna, and when he returned, I readily saw, from the state of feeling that he described as existing in Vienna, that war between Austria and Servia was inevitable, and that unless some supreme effort should be made for peace by Emperor William, a general European war must follow. Wednesday, July 29, the day after Austria's declaration of war against Servia, I lunched at the Hotel Ritz with Mrs. Marshall Field and her nephew, Mr. Spencer Eddy. Mrs. Field was about to leave Paris for Aix-les-Bains. We talked about the probability of Russia being forced to make war with Germany. I warned Mrs. Field of the risk she would run in going to Aix-les-Bains, and in the event of mobilization, of being deprived of her motor-car and of all means of getting away. At that time no one seemed to think that war really would break out. Mrs. Field finally gave up her plan of going to Aix-les-Bains and went to London. The following evening Maître Charles Philippe of the Paris Bar and M....
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