The Electric City is in danger! One of those unconsciously revealing snips of history, from 1914.
"The inventor of the Lewis gun was not the only American who played an inconspicuous but none the less important part in [this first campaign of World War One]. A certain American corporation doing business in Belgium placed its huge Antwerp plant and the services of its corps of skilled engineers at the service of the Governmen . . . . This concern made shells and other ammunition for the Belgian army; it furnished aeroplanes and machine-guns; it constructed miles of barbed-wire entanglements and connected those entanglements with the city lighting system; one of its officers went on a secret mission to England and brought back with him a supply of cordite, not to mention six large-calibre guns which he smuggled through Dutch territorial waters hidden in the steamer's coal bunkers. And, as though all this were not enough, the Belgian Government confided to this foreign corporation the minting of the national currency. For obvious reasons I am not at liberty to mention the name of this concern, though it is known to practically every person in the United States, each month cheques being sent to the parent concern by eight hundred thousand people in New York alone.
Incidentally it publishes the most widely read volume in the world. I wish that I might tell you the name of this concern. Upon second thought, I think I will. . ."
And that's American war correspondent E. Alexander Powell's account of the Bell Telephone Company's part in the defence of Antwerp in his instant book, Fighting in Flanders, uploaded here at what appears to be a stranded web page, so that I don't know how to credit it. It was a defence, Powell has to admit, that did not go as well as hoped. Unbelievably, defences as strong as these
|Photo by Donald Thompson: Source: Wilson's History of the World War**|
weren't strong enough. Perhaps it was time to rethink things a bit.