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Thanksgiving Leftovers Before the Main Course

November 22, 2006 |  5:30 pm

Tomorrow we will devote the entire Editorial page to a collection of Times Thanksgiving-related editorials of the past 125 years (well, really from the last 106, but who's counting!).

As you can imagine, much of interest did not make the cut. So to whet your appetite for the main course tomorrow, here's a look at some editorials from the 1910s, with an emphasis placed on how we felt about our warring cousins in Europe. First up, 1912:

From the Black Sea to the Adriatic the land is filled with the graves of the victims of battle and pestilence. While the great powers of Europe will probably not engage in actual battle over the carving of Turkey, yet their maxim is "the best security for peace is the most tremendous preparation for war," and they are building dreadnoughts, and equipping arsenals, and withdrawing hundreds of thousands of men from productive industry and drilling them as soldiers.

In Southeastern Europe the air is murky with the smoke of battle and thick with the fragments of dissolving empire. In our own favored land peace and plenty abound. America is favored by Almighty Power.

Then 1914:

[T]oday in this queen city of the queenliest realm beneath the sun, in this fairest of all the fair daughters of America, we gather around the plenteous boards and thank God that the war and sorrows and desolation of the lands beyond the sea have touched us not.

1915:

For across the Atlantic the lands of Europe are steeped in blood, the industries of Europe are wrecked, the homes of Europe are desolated, and over the empty treasure boxes of nine nations bankruptcy hovers like a bird of night.

The best manhood of Europe has been slaughtered, wives have been widowed, children made fatherless, and hunger and sickness and death stalk abroad.

Oh, God, the pity of it!

We return thanks to the Infinite Father who has prospered this land while other lands have sorely suffered, and again and yet again we repeat the prayer which thus far the God of the Nations has abundantly answered:

"From battle, murder and sudden death, good Lord deliver us."

1916:

To the people of Southern California almost every day in the year is a thanksgiving day. No better evidence of this fact is to be found than in the campaign in which Los Angeles and surrounding cities are now engaged, securing funds for the relief of the suffering widows and orphans of Germany.... This is a cause to which offerings are being contributed by rich and poor alike and by people of all nationalities and all walks of life. Yesterday a one-armed man walked into the room and deposited a silver dollar, refusing to give his name. That is the kind of charity that counts and that is true thanksgiving.

1917:

Success continues to follow the fighting flags of freedom. Seven days ago Gen. Byng drove his unexpected wedge clean through the middle of the German entrenchments, smashing the Hindenburg line like a plate of glass. The news from the battle front is still full of encouragement to the champions of democracy.

For the first time since the battle of the Marne the Boche has been driven from his dug-outs and cellars and "pill boxes" and forced to fight in the open. In such open fighting scientific mathematical organization counts for little against the gallant and chivalrous spirit. On a front thirty-two miles long to a depth of eight mils at the apex Gen. Haig's intrepid soldiers are driving cold steel and the fear of God into the hearts of the Hun invaders.

Every branch of the Allied armies has felt the electric thrill of coming victory.

Stay tuned tomorrow, for red-baiting the Pilgrims, kicking William Jennings Bryan when he's down, referring to God as "Him" as late as 1966, and other fun Thanksgiving-editorial highlights. This blog will likely be gorging on bird until Friday.

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