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

Advertisements
Standard
20th Century, German Americans, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Political Suppression

th

Meintz was tarred and feathered for not supporting War Bond drives.

1917
Anti-German hysteria runs rampant during the war. The Minnesota Commission of Public Safety is given sweeping powers to bully German Minnesotans, suppress the right of free speech, break strikes, and even remove elected officials from office.*

Our Constitution is designed to protect us from both tyranny of the majority or tyranny of the minority.
“In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” – Speech, Constitutional Convention June 29th 1787 (https://thefederalistpapers.org/founders/james-madison-quotes)

To offer some more specific historical context, read the excerpt from Matt Reicher’s article on the MNopedia site.
“The U.S. entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Minnesota legislators worked quickly to pass war-related laws before the end of their spring session. As a result, the Sullivan bill saw very little debate. It passed both houses and was signed into law by Burnquist on April 16, 1917. The MCPS took control of many of the state’s regulatory, public safety, and military functions.

Throughout its tenure the MCPS provided useful services. It distributed food, controlled the prices of goods, and conserved fuel. However, it is best known for its use of secret surveillance, intimidation, and other extreme tactics in the name of protecting Minnesota’s citizens.

Ensuring clear-cut loyalty to America eventually overtook the MCPS’s other efforts. Commissioners regarded any lack of patriotism as rebellion. Political beliefs were irrelevant. Governor Burnquist maintained that there were only two parties during the war: “loyal” and “disloyal”. He and the MCPS praised the former and tried to eliminate the latter.” (ibid http://www.mnopedia.org/group/minnesota-commission-public-safety)

As defined by the American Psychological Association, ambiguity is “a perceptual object that may have more than one interpretation. (http://www.apa.org/research/action/glossary.aspx) One problem with loyalty litmus tests is that they often force emotional ambiguity upon society. Citizens face the dilemma of feigning outward compliance to the law, but inwardly rejecting its divisiveness and lack of subtlety.

It is significant that this bifurcating mania existed towards our State’s most populous ethnicity during the run up to World War I. “The largest flow of German immigration to America occurred between 1820 and World War I, during which time nearly six million Germans immigrated to the United States. From 1840 to 1880, they were the largest group of immigrants.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Americans#World_War_I_anti-German_sentiment)
German Americans compose a plurality in New York, Pennsylvania, and the Midwestern states. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Americans)

Lord, hear our prayer! In the era of WWI, we allowed a consensus opinion to beat down the rights of German Americans solely on the basis of their race. In offending them, the largest and most populous group of Minnesotans, we have offended You. We have treated citizens as suspects: in social circles, in their work life, in their property, and in their faith. Have mercy!

Will You restore to German Americans the damages done to them in this chapter of history? Will You forgive our fears that overcame wise law during the Great War? Will You forgive us from literally erasing their names from the persons, places, and things of Minnesota? Will You forgive the MCPS and Minnesotans from “piling on” of shame over imagined offenses, instead of dealing solely with real guilt of actually breaking the law through collaborating with an enemy during wartime?

Contrarily, will You forgive the judgments of German Americans towards the MCPS and the State? Will You free them from the weight of maintaining the offense of their humilations? Will You remove this historic offense up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Only You can bear our sins, and change us into overcomers!

In our present and future, will You help us slow down our destructive reactionary responses to war and rumors of war through the gateway of our fears? Your Word says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear is by suspicion, but he who fears is not grown up in love. 1John 4:18 Aramaic Bible in Plain English*** Will You help us to trust our neighbors, and honor the rights, privileges, and duties of their citizenship as much as our own?

Will You protect us from societal damages through the means of group and identity politics? We cherish our race, or our subculture, but You have called us beyond our ethnicities as individuals! Our worth to You is not based one our “ism”, “hyphen”, our other marker; we are worthy because You have called us worthy!

Further, will You heal Your Church to be cognizant that our first citizenship is in Heaven? Will You free us from the Enemy’s triggers, and the bait of ethnic-based offense? We relinquish our rights to maintain an offense and declare the Jubilee of Your grace towards all people of Minnesota now and always. Maranatha!

*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!
**Find primary sources of the Minnesota commission of Public Safety. http://invention.si.edu/minnesota-commission-public-safety-main-files-1917-1919
***http://biblehub.com/1_john/4-18.htm

Standard