Elizabeth Glendower Evans to Boston and Massachusetts Newspapers, October 2, 1915


To the Editor:

Is it not time to pass a vote of renewed confidence in Miss Addams? Mr. E. Alexander Powell, war correspondent of the Daily Mail, in the current issue of Scribner's Magazine makes the stated "Rendered reckless by the rum and ether which is served out to German soldiers about to make an attack, they dashed forward, hoarsely cheering." The New York Evening Post of September 28th gives an extract from the Russkoye Slovo of September 23d. In it it is charged that the Germans killed the Russian wounded and that they were ordered not to leave behind them a single living Russian. "Even the iron discipline of the Germans shrank from the ordeal of attacking in such a hurricane of fire, and at Novogeorgievsk advancing troops were made drunk before being ordered to go forward." In an interview in the Boston Herald of September 21, Mr. C. Brewer Smith says "From a source that I consider perfectly trustworthy I learned that distilled liquors are by no means banished from the army. I was told that rum was served to the men in liberal quantities just before a bayonet charge or other arduous and dangerous tasks." He adds that he "does not believe the reports brought back by Miss Addams that the men are made drunk on such occasions."

But Miss Addams did not say they were "made drunk." Her words, reported [verbatim], may be found in the Survey of July 17th. "We heard in all countries similar statements in regard to the necessity for the use of stimulants before men would engage in bayonet charges, that they have a regular formula in Germany, that they [give] them rum in England and absinthe in France; that they all have to give them the 'dope' [before] the bayonet charge is possible." Miss Addams, far from questioning the courage of those soldiers, was paying tribute to the fact that they even in the battlefield had finer instincts which had to be dulled before they could be brought to butcher with the cold steel with enthusiasm.

Elizabeth Glendower Evans. [signed]