It’s sometimes a challenge to write about Berlin’s goings-on in a fair manner. The perennial issue, as I mentioned a few months ago, is source bias. I think I may have jumped the gun on presenting that topic. Why? This month it the divide between my sources widened, and at times, it became difficult to take one newspaper’s reporting at face value. Details were conveniently omitted, headlines packaged unrelated events as corroborative, and the writer’s/editor’s/publisher’s/advertiser’s slant didn’t just tinge reportage, but singed it.
I did what I could to present matters as fairly as possible, but the angles, the fervour, and the period’s florid writing made it tough. It was an emotionally charged time when some felt their identities—whether as Britishers, Canadians, Germans or German-Canadians—were at risk. Unfortunately, some of their passionate can read as comical to modern audiences (just as some of the passion we currently exhibit might be considered funny to future audiences). Period readers may have read, “Think of the citizens!” with a less melodramatic tone than some (modern) readers and I did.
Then again, they may not have.
As someone who’s worked on various committees and boards, I’ve had some great experiences, and some interesting ones. Based on what I read in the newspapers, I guessed at how things would transpire—and I wasn’t too far off.
Whether or not Cleghorn et al. engineered the vetted list so The Committee couldn’t vote on “good names,” I don’t know. Of the 30,000 submissions, only 113 went to The Committee of 99–a surprisingly low number (less than 0.004 per cent). We do know that (as example), although “Cavelle” was submitted several times, Cleghorn decided it was ruled out long before the special committee met. From what I could tell Cavell wasn’t on the Post Office list and she wasn’t a political or military leader, so one could only guess how many of the remaining 29,887 names should have been considered.
I’m not offering a favourite article of the month. There were too many and they all focussed on The Committee of 99: its proceedings, decisions, and the reactions to the entire affair (which I wrote about in the 2 June post).
May 2016 Posts:
28 April – 04 May 1916: If you don’t go, we will!/Recipe: Bread
05-11 May 1916: Pennies, Pasteurisation, and popcorn/Recipe: Blumenkohl gebacken
12-18 May 1916: Mayor Hett in the hot seat/Recipe: Irish Stew
21-27 April 1916: Bye-bye, Berlin! Bye-bye, boys!/Recipe: Windsor Sandwiches