20th Century, government, History, Intercession, Minnesota, war

World War I

Jul 1, 1917
Close to 120,000 soldiers and 1,000 nurses leave Minnesota to serve in World War I;
3,480 will not return.*

Lusitania leaving NY from Motography

We may wonder what prompted so many of the North Star state’s sons and daughters sign up for this war in Europe. It was so far away: geographically, emotionally, and politically. Yet, approximately 5 out of every 100 of our forbearers went to defend Minnesota and the United States.

What did our countrymen think of the prospect of joining the Great War? “Public sentiment leaned towards the British and French (Allied) forces but the country remained neutral towards the conflict in Europe. The Democrats’ re-election campaign slogan “He Kept Us Out of War” painted (President) Wilson as a peacemaker.”**

However, Wilson broke that pledge of peace when Germany sunk the Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. Granted, Germany had issued the following warning in 40 U.S. newspapers, “Travelers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany . . . and Great Britain . . . and that travelers sailing in the war zone on ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.” One hundred years after the fact this sounds like a fair warning; to remain neutral, stay out of a war zone.

Further, some party sympathetic to the Allies had tainted the innocence of the Lusitania as a mere luxury liner, by loading her with weapons. “In the context of a wartime crossing, the cargo of the Lusitania on her last voyage included war materiel for the Allied war effort, including 52 tons of shrapnel shells, more than 3,000 percussion fuses, and 4,200 cases of Remington rifle cartridges.” Kapitanleutnant Walter Schwieger of submarine U-20 sank the Lusitania; a luxury liner also carrying war materiel. Of the 1,959 people on board, 1,195 died, including more than 120 Americans on May 7, 1915.**** Perhaps those that decided to gamble 1,200 lives to smuggle weapons past Germany’s blockade bear some blame for this tragedy?

decoded-message-l

So the question remains, did we enter the Great War based on a single act of aggression based on a false premise, or were there other events that pushed public opinion in joining the war? Below is one potential answer cited by the National Archives on the infamous Zimmerman Telegram.
“In January of 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. This message helped draw the United States into the war and thus changed the course of history. The telegram had such an impact on American opinion that, according to David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, “No other single cryptanalysis has had such enormous consequences.” It is his opinion that “never before or since has so much turned upon the solution of a secret message.” In an effort to protect their intelligence from detection and to capitalize on growing anti-German sentiment in the United States, the British waited until February 24 to present the telegram to Woodrow Wilson. The American press published news of the telegram on March 1. On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress formally declared war on Germany and its allies.”***

Our Father, hear our prayer! We have offended Your justice in at least three ways in the commencement of World War I: we have lost our commitment to peace, we have tried to create righteous outcomes through deception, and we have eaten the bait of offense offered by the Enemy of all humankind. We have broken with the eternal principles of Your Kingdom, and chosen to exalt our own kingdoms. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of David, have mercy on our State; a sinning people.

Eternal Judge, will You forgive us for following President Wilson into World War I? Will You forgive us for the abandonment of the Monroe Doctrine and the warnings of the Founding Fathers:
Monroe Doctrine Introduction
“The occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”

Monroe Doctrine addressed to the “allied powers” of Europe (Holy Alliance)
“We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power, we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine

“Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.” -John Adams
“Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.” -Thomas Jefferson
“Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” -George Washington
http://www.humblelibertarian.com/2010/04/100-great-anti-war-quotes.html

We have followed our President and Congress into this Great War, and have broken faith with You; the Prince of Peace. Will You bless those who voluntarily served in the military with a clear conscience? Will You remove the curse received from those within our State, Federal Government, or unelected positions of influence that may have steered us into war because they lacked conscience?

Will You forgive us our judgments of the nation of Germany in the sinking of the Lusitania? Their nation provided clear boundaries of the risks of traveling within their war zone to our citizens, a warning heeded by some, and ignored by others. We amplify our offense to Germany by attempted smuggling of materiel on a civilian ship while maintaining a posture of neutrality. Will You forgive us our duplicity as a people? Will You forgive, specifically, those who may have intentionally deceived the passengers of the Lusitania?

Will You forgive the State of Minnesota, and the peoples of the United States, of our willingness to take the bait of offense through the means of media and war propaganda? We believed the reporting that innocent lives were taken, and they were, but under a false premise. Will You forgive us this offense and duplicity towards Your Sincerity? Will You forgive those of us who sincerely believed a lie?

Will You free us from the guilt of those who schemed to frame this event of abandoning our neutrality in favor of war? Will You judge both those who wrote the Zimerman Telegraph and interpreted it? Whether it was true or false, the outcome was that we chose war over maintaining relationship. Will You forgive Germany where it broke faith with the US? Will You forgive the United States where it broke faith with Germany? Will You forgive us all our ignorance and arrogance? We have believed the worst of enemy, the best of ourselves, and have not continued to believe in the G-d and Father of All Nations!

I want to be clear that I do not condemn those Minnesotans who served in this war, or paid the supreme sacrifice. I believe that they acted in good faith on the information they had. Lord, will You bless those who paid for our freedom with their lives and pain to their bodies, minds, and spirits? Will You bless their generations to be ready for war as a last resort of exhausting every avenue to peace? Amen.

 

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://www.woodrowwilsonhouse.org/1916-election
***https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/zimmermann
****Read an eyewitness account of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915? https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/eyewitness/html.php?section=18

Learn about Minnesotans drafted in WWI? https://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration/minnesota.html

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20th Century, History, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, State Government, Uncategorized

Burnquist Becomes Governor

J.A.A. Burnquist

Dec 30, 1915
J. A. A. Burnquist takes office as the states’ 19th governor upon the death of Governor Winfield S. Hammond.*

Below are a few tidbits from our state’s archive underscoring the career of Governor Jospeh Alfred Arner Burnquist’s career as a statesman.
“When Governor Hammond died on December 30, 1915, Burnquist
became the 19th governor of Minnesota. Although many people referred to 36-year-old Burnquist as “just a youngster,” he was the successful candidate for governor in 1916, and was continued in office until 1921. Governor Burnquist recommended and worked for many important laws which are still extant.”**
Let it be also noted that he had the second longest career as Attorney General at sixteen years and one day. He listened to dissent and “always respected the right of each member of his staff to have an opinion and to hold to it” resulting in “many sound opinions.”**
So we remember these characteristics to You, Eternal Governor. We give thanks for Burnquist’s leadership, especially the example of listening to objections. Thank You that we are blessed by leaders who will listen and consider voices of objections. Thank You that his leadership, spanning the breadth of WWI, gave solidity to the peoples of Minnesota during the trials of war.
We ask forgiveness of our failures, then and today, of hearing our neighbors’ voice, and more importantly, Your voice, that is prompting us to reconsider our position. Will You forgive us making an idol of our opinion? We have failed You and our neighbors by breaking relationship by closing our ears! Have mercy!
Will You remake us to be both an opinionated and considerate State? Will You bless our leaders to grow in discernment? May we neither betray our heart, or the hearts of those we lead. May our future be blessed with: accommodating, magnanimus, sympathetic, complaisant, and kindly decisions and judgments. Amen!

 

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/LegDB/Articles/11509LMTribute.pdf

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20th Century, Faith, government, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, Social Studies, State Government

Governor Hammond Dies in Office

Unknown

Dec 30, 1915
Governor Winfield S. Hammond dies only eight months after taking office, when he suffered ptomaine poisoning on a trip south and died of a stroke in a little bayou town in Louisiana.*

Governor Hammond was “a staunch Democrat in Republican community”, namely, the city of Mankato and Watonwan County. His ambitions politically were to minimize the bureaucracy of our state government, and eliminate waste. He achieved his political office with bipartisan support. **

What draws me to his story today is that he lived as a political minority in his hometown, yet achieved the highest post of leadership in the state. Politics, both in his era and the present, is more often a game of division than multiplication. The effects of partisanship, past and present, often turns friend against friend, spouse against spouse, and family against family.

What is Your wisdom for us in this, King of Kings? Each day, each moment, we are offered choice by You; will we make relationship, or break relationship? Daily You offer us this insight:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One.” Deuteronomy 6:4***

On the personal level, we can have a thriving connection with someone who disagrees with us. We often are married to such a person, work daily with them, or live nearby. We know that person so well, and love them, so we choose to agree to disagree in select areas for the sake of relationship.

Yet when it comes to politics, and its seasons of heated rhetoric, we allow our disagreements over knowledge to supersede our relational “knowing”. Why is this? Why does information trump partnership?

Eternal Father, have mercy on this condition, both in Hammond’s era and the present. We have asserted our superior knowledge against our resolve to continue relating in the context of relationships. We have broken faith with each other over the letters “D” or “R”.
Will You have mercy on on us? Will You help us to “love our enemies”? Will You especially give us grace for our beloved enemies; members of our own household whom we cannot reach agreement?

We offer thanks for Governor Hammond, and his propensity to listen and unite with his opponents. Will You bless him, his progeny, and those who work and especially listen to those across the aisle? Will You fulfill his incomplete visions to create a responsive system of leadership in Minnesota? Will You overcome the acceptance of faction and partisanship as a necessity for the civic leadership of our society? Will You replace knowledge with knowing, and make us one people? Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winfield_Scott_Hammond
***http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/6-4.htm

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