Saturday, January 2, 2016

Thoughts About the Year Past . . . 100 Years Ago

Searching old Hudson newspapers for items of interest to share at the beginning of the new year, Gossips uncovered this op-ed piece in the Columbia Republican for January 4, 1916. It is unclear if it was written by the editors of the Republican or if it was picked up from another source, but it provides what seems a curious analysis of the year past. Positing that "real progress" is "a thing of the human spirit," it proposes that the events of 1915 "emphasize one idea, the value of systematic disciplined organization, working in unity for community ends." It then goes on to praise Germany and France for their "disciplined unity" and to assert that "lack of unity and discipline has made the English results disappointing." The final message of the the piece, which it says "applies to the greatest nation and the smallest village alike," is this: "Negative criticism destroys power."

The historic context for this essay is the Great War, now known as World War I, which at the end of 1915 had been going on for more than a year. The Central Powers--Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire--were at war with the Allied Powers--Great Britain France, Russia, Italy, and Japan. It would be another year before the United States would enter the war, on April 6, 1917.  

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