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On the twenty-eighth of June, 1914, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was murdered by a Serb in Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia. The murder was the most momentous crime ever committed in the world, for it altered the geography and the political and social history of that planet, and changed the entire face of the civilized and uncivilized globe. Generations unborn were to feel the consequences of that murder. Incidentally, it vitally affected the life and career of the girl Philippa. Before the press of the United States received the news, Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, the British Ambassador, had been notified of the tragedy, and a few minutes later he was in secret conference with the President. The British Ambassador knew what he wanted, which was more than the administration knew, and at this hasty and secret conference he bluntly informed the President that, in his opinion, war before midsummer had now become inevitable; that there was every probability of England being drawn into a world-wide conflict; and that, therefore, an immediate decision was necessary concerning certain pending negotiations. The truth of this became apparent to the President. The State Department's ominous information concerning a certain Asiatic Empire, the amazing knowledge in regard to the secret military and political activities of Germany in the United States, the crass stupidity of a Congress which was no better than an uneducated nation deserved, the intellectual tatterdemalions in whose care certain vitally important departments had been confideda momentary vision of what all this might signify flickered fitfully in the presidential brain. And, before Sir Cecil left, it was understood that certain secret negotiations should be immediately resumed and concluded as soon as possibleamong other matters the question of the Harkness shell. About the middle of July the two governments had arrived at an understanding concerning the Harkness shell. The basis of this transaction involved the following principles, proposed and mutually accepted: 1st. The Government of the United States agreed to disclose to the British Government, and to no other government, the secret of the Harkness shell, known to ordnance experts as "the candle shell." 2nd. The British Government agreed to disclose to the United States Government, and to no other government, the secrets of its new submarine seaplane, known as "the flying fish," the inventor of which was one Pillsbury, a Yankee, who had offered it in vain to his own country before selling it to England. 3rd. Both Governments solemnly engaged not to employ either of these devices against each other in the event of war. 4th. The British Government further pledged itself to restrain from violence a certain warlike and Asiatic nation until the Government of the United States could discover some method of placating that nation. But other and even more important negotiations, based upon the principle that the United States should insure its people and its wealth by maintaining an army and a navy commensurate with its population, its importance, and its international obligations, fell through owing to presidential indifference, congressional ignorance, the historic imbecility of a political party, and the smug vanity of a vast and half-educated nation, among whose employees were numbered several of the most perfect demagogues that the purlieus of politics had ever germinated. This, then, was the condition of affairs in the United States when, on the nineteenth of July, the British Ambassador was informed that through the treachery of certain employees the plans and formula for the Harkness shell had been abstracted. But the British Embassy had learned of this catastrophe through certain occult channels even before it was reported to the United States Government; and five hours after the information had reached Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, two young men stepped aboard the Antwerp liner Zeeduyne a few sec


Generi Storia e Biografie » Storia: opere generali » Storia: specifici argomenti , Romanzi e Letterature » Romanzi contemporanei , Salute Benessere Self Help » Mente, corpo, spirito

Editore Library Of Alexandria

Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM

Pubblicato 08/03/2015

Lingua Inglese

EAN-13 9781465608581

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