January 11, 1917

While President Woodrow Wilson was praised for his work in peace negotiations, both sides said it was not likely that the war would be ending any time soon, according to stories datelined Jan. 11, 1917.

Border troubles come to film (Jan. 11)

The entente allies (Great Britain, France, etc.) replied to Wilson’s peace note expressing the belief that it was impossible to attain peace because they could not be assured of reparations, restitution and other guarantees.

No peace likely in Europe

In hindsight, (and possibly in the opinion of many of the day), this edged the United States ever closer to joining in the battle against the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, etc.)

In addition to the note from the entente, Belgium added that it would only accept a settlement that would guarantee its security in the future.

The allies had received Wilson’s note on Dec. 19, and “studied it with the care imposed upon them both by the exact realization which they have of the gravity of the hour and by the sincere friendship which attaches them to the American people.”

The reply was in French, and was cabled to the U.S. ambassador in Paris. Though it acknowledged the burden of the war on neutrals, it clearly blamed the course of events on “the willful aggression Germany and Austria-Hungary to insure their hegemony over Europe and their economic domination over the world.”

And the cable detailed the horrors of war, as perpetrated by the central powers.

Response of the central powers

Germany, as would be expected, replied. It had received the Dec. 12 note from Wilson as well, and replied that “our adversaries declined this proposition, giving as the reason that it is a proposition without sincerity and without importance.

“The central powers have no reason to enter into any discussion regarding the origin of the war,” German wrote. “History will judge upon whom the immense guilt fo the war shall fall; history’s verdict will as little pass over the encircling polity of England, the revengeful policy of France and the endeavor of Russia to gain Constantinople as over the instigation of Russia which meant war against Germany.”

Germany added that the world “holds before its eyes the fate of the Irish people, the destruction of the liberty and independence of the Boer republic, the subjection of Northern Africa by England, France and Italy, the suppression of Russian alienations, and also the violation of Greece, which is without precedent in history.”

The central powers also referred to the “war of starvation against Germany” and the “barbarous treatment of prisoners.”

Answer to Belgium

In response to Belgium, Germany said it told the government that it didn’t come as an enemy and “asked it to spare the country the terrors of war. Germany offered to guarantee the integrity and independence of the kingdom to the full extent and compensate for all damage which might be caused by the passage of German troops.”

But Belgium “declined the repeated offer,” Germany said.

The central powers’ response said they they “have made an honest attempt to terminate the war and open the road for an understanding among the belligerents.” But the “hostile governments declined to accept this road. Upon them falls the full responsibility for the continuation of the bloodshed.”

The next move in the attempt at a peace process, The Bisbee Daily Review said, would be in secrecy.

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