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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Other Date That Will Live in Infamy Posted by Sanford Rose on September 1, 2013 | The Weekly Hubris


The Other Date That Will Live in Infamy

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Not the famous date, December 7, 1941. But another, July 30, 1914—one almost unknown but only slightly less momentous. That’s the day that Germany stops trying to cajole its ally, Austria, into adopting a more conciliatory stance toward Serbia. It is the last day to avoid World War I.” Sanford Rose
Dolors & Sense
By Sanford Rose
Kaiser Wilhelm.

Kaiser Wilhelm.

KISSIMMEE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—9/2/2013—Not the famous date, December 7, 1941. But another, July 30, 1914—one almost unknown but only slightly less momentous.

That’s the day that Germany stops trying to cajole its ally, Austria, into adopting a more conciliatory stance toward Serbia. It is the last day to avoid World War I.

Not that Germany spends a lot of time in the business of urging conciliation. It spends only one day in that activity. It starts on July 29 and stops on July 30.

If all this sounds insane, it is, and the insanity is traceable to Kaiser Wilhelm, who is almost certainly bipolar, or, as it was described in his time, “maniacally depressed.”

Let’s briefly recapitulate:

On June 28, the Austrian archduke gets gunned down by Bosnian terrorists operating under the orders of the Serbian “Black Hand” and funded, incidentally, with Russian money.

The archduke is a friend of the kaiser, one of his few friends. The kaiser becomes enraged, rebuking his ambassador to Austria for urging the Austrians to be cautious in their reaction. No caution for him; he advocates rapid and draconian measures.

The Austrians, who cannot do anything rapidly, in part because they have to get the support of the Hungarians (the other half of the Dual Monarchy), wait until July 23 to send Serbia an ultimatum asking, among other things, for the right to participate in the investigation of, or even perhaps in the judicial proceedings against, the Serbian organizers of the assassination plot and of other anti-Austrian activities. Austria demands “integral” Serbian acceptance of the ultimatum.

Serbia asks Russia whether it should yield. Russia says: “No, we’ll protect you.”

Serbia yields on most but not all of the points in the ultimatum.

Austria severs diplomatic relations.

Russia starts preparing for war against Austria.

France, which is Russia’s ally, affirms that alliance.

Britain, which is France’s ally (although Britain’s leaders claim disingenuously that there is only an entente, not a pact), starts dropping hints that if France goes to war to support Russia, it will go to war to support France.

Suddenly, the kaiser, faced with the danger of a war against Russia, France, and Britain, and supported only by a militarily unreliable Austria, does an abrupt volte-face. He counsels moderation. In answer to an appeal from the Russian tsar that he mediate the dispute, he finds a settlement formula that would be agreeable to Britain and urges Austrian acceptance.

That’s on July 29. Then the kaiser gets a last-ditch telegram from the Russian tsar begging him to do something, lest war measures “agreed upon five days ago” go into effect.

The kaiser goes apoplectic, charging that the duplicitous tsar was mobilizing for days while at the same time urging his mediation.

Under such circumstances, says the huffy kaiser, he can’t continue mediating and urging restraint on the Austrians.

Thus an effort to make the Austrians compromise their differences with Serbia, which is prerequisite to halting Russian war preparations, abruptly stops. It starts late in the day on July 29. It ends in the afternoon of July 30. On August 1, Germany mobilizes.

“Whom the Gods would destroy . . . .”

About Sanford Rose

Sanford Rose, of New Jersey and Florida, served as Associate Editor of Fortune Magazine from 1968 till 1972; Vice President of Chase Manhattan Bank in 1972; Senior Editor of Fortune between 1972 and 1979; and Associate Editor, Financial Editor and Senior Columnist of American Banker newspaper between 1979 and 1991. From 1991 till 2001, Rose worked as a consultant in the banking industry and a professional ghost writer in the field of finance. He has also taught as an adjunct professor of banking at Columbia University and an adjunct instructor of economics at New York University. He states that he left gainful employment in 2001 to concentrate on gain-less investing. (A lifelong photo-phobe, Rose also claims that the head shot accompanying his Weekly Hubris columns is not his own, but belongs, instead, to a skilled woodworker residing in South Carolina.)
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5 Responses to The Other Date That Will Live in Infamy

  1. Tim Bayer says:
    I have always appreciated your succinct writing style. You grab onto complicated concepts; Banking, mortgages, medical discussions, economics and in your recent posts, the events surrounding World War, and break them down into concise chunks suitable for general consumption. Well done! Please keep up the fine complicated-to-understandable-language conversions.
    I, for one, appreciate the translations.
  2. S. Rose says:
    Kudos much appreciated.
  4. Danny M Reed says:
    Greetings Sanford Rose Sir,
    I have really believed for many years that if accurate historical details about the Great War and surrounding forces that contributed to the first World War in our history can be examined thoroughly, it could manifest profound answers to what has been happening ever since that time. It is said WWII was a continuation of the Great War. With the physical passing of that generation of people that lived it, I genuinely feel it is imperative that what you are publishing here be preserved.
  5. S. Rose says:
    You’re quite right. WWII was caused by WWI in two senses: First, because revanchism, which was a French attribute before WWI, became a German attribute after Versailles. And, second, because WWI, though not primarily a racist war, had undercurrents of racism–Germandom vs. Slavdom–which, after Germany’s defeat in WWI, could be, and indeed were, fully exploited by Hitler.
    There is also a close link between what happened then and what is happening now. The causal chain: defeat in WWI led to Hitlerism, which led to WWII, which led to the Holocaust, which led to the demand for a Jewish homeland, which led to Israel, which led to the Arab-Isreali conflict, which led to terrorist violence in the Mideast, exported whenever possible to other countries.

New Yorker: Love Transformed Me: Confessions of a Serially Monogamous Shape-Shifter Posted by Cirocco Dunlap

July 7, 2014

Love Transformed Me: Confessions of a Serially Monogamous Shape-Shifter

When you don’t have a constant physical form, it can be tricky to have a strong sense of self. As a shape-shifter, I’m constantly looking to others for validation, wondering, Will he think I’m more attractive as a cephalopod? Does being an arachnid make my legs look too numerous?

The first guy I really loved was a water beast. You know the Loch Ness “monster”? Krink was like him, but obviously younger. He was three or four centuries old, at most. He was very handsome, with the face of an anglerfish and the body of a beluga whale. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but that’s how he looked to me—not that physical appearance matters when it comes to romance. You know what they say: love looks not with the eyes but with an array of sensors along the body called “neuromasts.”

Soon after meeting Krink, I shape-shifted into a water beast and I moved into his cozy underwater cavern, in Lake George. For a while, things were wonderful. Krink’s laughter lit up the room. He was bioluminescent, so this was annoying when we were trying to hide from a predator. But right before he laughed he always made the cutest gargle-choke, which appeased both my anger and my pragmatic fear for our survival. On a typical day, we would gather moss in the morning and spend the next twenty-three hours not moving at the bottom of the lake. It was a comfortable relationship, but I eventually left him. He wanted a life partner, and I just wasn’t ready to commit for the next six thousand years.

I had been single for a few months when I met Rog. I’d travelled to the Himalayas in the hopes of getting some alone time, but my plans changed when I fell in with the tribe of the man-bears.

After I shifted into one of them, I was struck by how welcoming they were. Almost immediately, they cornered me and batted at me with their sharp claws to draw blood, which was a typical way to show affection in the tribe. Rog was the most brutal of the man-bears. He killed ruthlessly and without reason, so he was the majority choice for leader. Because he and I never went head to head in a death battle, I became his man-wife and co-king of the man-bears. It was a clan that consisted only of males, so, although I am a female, for this period in my life I identified as a male. Gender identity is even more confusing if you’re a shape-shifter. I left Rog soon after he ate his mother-father. I couldn’t forgive him for not saving me any of the leg bones.

I moved back home and planned to be a homebody for a while. I couldn’t date someone if I wasn’t going out, right? But, of course, that’s how I met Cleve, a ghost from 1813 who lived in my pantry. He had died in the War of 1812. He was so excited to get to the fight that he tripped on his unfastened shoe buckle and ran himself through with his own musket. He helped with the war as a ghost for a while, by knocking around wind chimes to creep out the other side, which was surprisingly effective. When the war ended, he lost his purpose and mostly took to moping.

After we met, he started to open up. He’d do small things, like heat his ethereal mass if we were in the same room so I wouldn’t feel pure terror. It was sweet. I shifted into a ghost frequently so we could swish our misty genitals together, and sneak into the neighbors’ house to watch their HBO Go. It was fun until he suddenly crossed over during a particularly bloody battle on “Game of Thrones.”

So here I am. Thirty-five, single, and doing well. I’m lonely sometimes, but it’s by choice. I’m trying to avoid the advances of the cute wood gnome who recently grew into a tree down the block. I want to take this time to figure out who I am. Am I the Cyclops I woke up as, or am I the winged horse I went to sleep as? Maybe I’m neither, but maybe—just maybe—I’m both.
Illustration by Warwick Goble.