Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lovecraft's Motivations For Enlisting?

(Above are images of a special pamphlet issued by the Providence Journal showing the inevitability of war with Germany. The paper systematically published exposes of German espionage and notably much of it in the New Ehngland and New York area)
Below are excerpts from some historic documents that I've recently noted. Apparently Providence was in the middle of uncovering a hotbed of German spies. Lovecraft would have devoured the local newspaper daily. Systematically, the Aryan-devoted HPL would have had his idealism shattered. HPL, as is well known, was a fan of all things British, and in his belief system of the time (as with many) the Germans were brothers to the British. This is no mystery, as the royal family were intimately tied by marriage (i.e. Queen Victoria). He proudly announced that the "Teuton is the summit of evolution". On 16 May 1917, he himself applied for enlistment with the Rhode Island National Guard. Why? While Mr. Joshi has written much about this (see for instance A Dreamer and a Visionary}, I think that HPL was following for years the information in the Rhode Island Providence Journal. Indeed, it would be folly to think that he didn't read it daily.

SAYS GERMAN SPIES REVEAL OUR SECRETS; Two in State Department, Four in Treasury Suspected, Providence Journal Asserts. CAPT. HORN HAS CONFESSED Name of German Officer, Now in Prison, Headed List to be Saved by False Passports.
Special to The New York Times. August 17, 1915, Tuesday Page 2
PROVIDENCE, Aug. 16. -- The Providence Journal will say tomorrow morning ... {rest of text not readily available}.

In a document (online starting with and following).

In April, 1915, the Providence Journal exposed the German Embassy's plot to discredit the Washington Administration by means of false affidavits of neutrality
violations "to enable British men-of-war to get supplies from this country." Beginning with this exposure the Journal began its series of revelations concerning German Government plots which focused the attention of the whole civilized world on this newspaper and its exposures.
On June 10 the Providence Journal published a story exposing an attempt on the part of Germans to buy the Bethlehem Steel plant, engaged in making munitions of various kinds, with the intention of breaking the contracts with the allied nations. The next day came the exposure by the same paper of threats against munition plants, which resulted in small armies of private guards being stationed about the various properties.
William Jennings Bryan's "peace at any price" doctrine was disclosed on July 3, when the Journal published the facts of the interview between Baron Konstantin T. Dumba, the Austrian Ambassador, and the Secretary of State. This was the famous meeting
where Bryan promised that President Wilson would accept Germany's proposition to end the submarine warfare if the United States would publicly suggest that its citizens refrain from sailing on passenger ships of the belligerent countries carrying munitions; that the United States would make provision for such boats; and that the President would issue a proclamation advising United States citizens not to sail on such boats. The Journal secured from the files of the German Embassy and printed the original memorandum of the conversation between Ambassador Dumba and Mr. Bryan, which the former had given to Ambassador Bernstorff.
The first of the labor troubles, declared by the Journal to have been incited by the Germans, began on July 13, when the Remington Arms Company plant at Bridgeport was tied up, and this was followed by a rapid spread of the trouble to other munition plants at Bridgeport and elsewhere.
On July 20 the Journal printed the statement that a woman agent of the German Embassy had approached Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, and had twice offered him enough money to make him independent for life if
he would use his influence to call strikes in factories making munitions of war. The offers were refused.
Another sensation was caused throughout the country when the Journal, on August 4, published a story showing the connection that Von Bernstorff and Capt. Boy-Ed had had with Victoriano Huerta's attempt to re-enter Mexico and embroil the United States in war with that country. This plot included shipment of arms and German reservists to Mexico.
On August 18 the Journal published a story showing that, at the request of President Wilson, it had presented to the Navy Department and the Neutrality Board evidence to show that German spies had worked in this country long before the outbreak of the war and that they had tried to steal the fire control secrets of our navy. It also showed that Germany had planned a series of wireless stations completely surrounding the Western Hemisphere.
In 1916, the evidence mounted toward war. On the 1st {of Match, 1916} the office of the Providence Journal was visited by an explosion and fire of incendiary origin.
In 1917: On January 1st, 1917, the Journal printed a story from its Washington office in which it declared that the Administration had, in its peace effort, seemed
to the Allied governments to be attempting to aid Germany at the price of immunity from submarine warfare and, at the same time, appearing before the Allies as giving the Kaiser warning that the United States might enter the war on the side of the Allies.
The same day {1 February} the Journal published a story showing
that the reason New York Harbor had been closed tightly on the 1st was because a plot had been discovered to send German ships to sea and then sink them in the channel, blocking the harbor.
On April 2nd the Journal printed the story of the arrest, of Dr. Iriis and declared that his incarceration had seriously crippled German intrigue in Central America. The existence of a state of war between the United States and Germany was proclaimed
on April 6. It was also on the 9th that the Journal published a story showing how the Germans were spreading tuberculosis throughout France in order to decimate
the population.
On the 16th April a German with wireless signal code was arrested near the Marconi plant at Elizabeth, N. J. On May 2 the Journal showed that the aid of Germans in Mexico had been promised to the Kaiser in a war against the United States and also that the Morgan office had been the aim of the Wall street bomb plotters. {The last day of the month (April 1917) two Germans were arrested charged with trying to explode a bomb in Wall street}.

With a few days of the Elizabeth, NJ arrest, and Wall Street bombing, Lovecraft may have finally had enough. Nearl three years of almost daily ponding by the Providence Journal may have battered his "Teutonic" brotherhood philosophy. Morton's argumentation may have also swayed him.

"I resolved to attempt enlistment despite my almsot invalid condition... I presented myself at the recruiting station of the R.I. National Guard ... was given a ... application for the coast artileery ... the sensation created at home was far from slight ... {and} soon brought my military to a close .."

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