It’s a treasure trove of fantasies and deceptions, great and small — Russian troops marching through Crewe with snow on their boots, babies with their hands cut off, mutilated nurses and branded nuns, corpse factories, enamelled adverts with secret spy info hidden on the back.
One enterprising Austrian firm supplied atrocity photographs to both sides, ready for captioning as required.
In among the small fry swim mighty Koi — great Lies of State. As late as 1913, Hansard records fervent, lofty denials of any understanding with France that could lead to a British Expeditionary Force being sent to war on the continent. As well as lies of commission came lies of ommission. The violation of the “scrap of paper” that resulted in the invasion of Belgian was true, but less heinous when one remembers the French had laid eerily similar plans to do the same thing if necessary. All nations were on the game, fuelled by fear and hysteria:
- When Antwerp Fell [Köln] Church Bells were rung — Kölnische Zeitung
- According to the Kölnische Zeitung, the clergy of Antwerp were compelled to ring the Church bells when the fortress fell — Le Matin
- According to what Le Matin has heard from Cologne, the Belgian priests who refused to ring the Church Bells when Antwerp was taken have been driven away from their places — The Times
- According to what The Times has learnt from Cologne via Paris, the unfortunate Belgian priests who refused to ring the church bells when Antwerp was taken have been sentenced to hard labour — Corriére della Sera
- According to information to the Corriére della Sera from Cologne via London it is confirmed that the barbaric conquerors of Antwerp punished the unfortunate Belgian priests for their heroic refusal to ring the church bells by hanging them as living clappers to the bells with their heads down — Le Matin