England is warned but instead jokes about American swimwear

Very little of London's news coverage of July 3, 1914, involved the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an act that triggered “The Great War”—World War One—which would begin in one month. Granted, the news was being written from the British perspective. But it is instructive that so few people in the country recognized the imminence of a war that would change their lives and that of the world forever.

The top story in The Telegraph that day was about hail damage from a storm that ended a prolonged heat wave. On the previous day, page 12 told of the “breezy and fresh” magazine article on the threat of a German submarine attack on Britain “even though that enemy is not actually a very powerful one.”

The reviewer called the article "dangerous but interesting," and spoke to British naval officials about the article. ”We have done something to meet the dangers to our food supplies to arming some of our merchantmen, but we shall never be really secure until we have installed granaries in this country. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s article will bring this important question well to the front,” a leading Naval official was quoted as saying.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In fact, the threat of German submarine attack was much greater than either the famed novelist or the Navy imagined. During the war, German battleships were kept at anchor while submarines sunk not only  merchant ships carrying grain but also a full range of armaments, oil, goods and supplies needed for the war effort and consumer consumption.

But, as far as the public was concerned, Doyle's comments were the exception to the rule.

Several of the newspaper’s prominent stories on July 3 involved odd news from America. These included a salacious report from the United States concerning the shooting death of a physician by his jealous wife. The wife secretly used a dictagraph to monitor her husband’s conversations with female patients whom she suspected might be involved in liaisons with the doctor.

On the same page there was news about male swimwear.

Under the headline “Ethics of the Beach. Kilts for Male Bathers,” The Telegraph noted, “Bathing costume for men is now exciting as much concern in American seaside resorts as costume for women. It is alleged that in neither case are the requirements for propriety and art completely met, and in a country where mixed bathing is universal and the ‘bathing parades’ on the sand sometimes last the entire forenoon, this question is considered important.

Swimwear for males in the 1910s
“In Newport, as I have described it in a previous despatch to The Daily Telegraph, women policemen patrol the bathing quarters and insist upon fair bathers being dressed—or undressed—decorously. The fashion for lady bathers, as set at Atlantic City recently, when a sort of modified Tango costume was introduced, is being adopted generally. Dancing on the sands and exercise with a ‘medicine ball,’ in which bathers of all ages participate, have been successfully inaugurated during the last few days.
 “At Dayton, Ohio, ‘The Welfare Director,’ as he is called, that the role being akin to a censor of public morals, has to-day ordered men bathers to wear skirts. Moreover, he has been provided skirts—a kind of kilt effect, reaching about half-way to the knee. ‘They are modern and proper,’ says he. The newspapers criticice Dayton’s example, but after an impartial preview of bathing fashions recently popular here there seems some reason for men to wear skirts as women have shown a tendency to discard them.”

Also in the news: continued discourse over Ireland’s demand to separate from the United Kingdom to form its own nation, or at least local autonomy, and Ulster’s demand that no such separation occur. Finally, the newspaper presented a full page of news from the Henley Royal Regatta. Selfridge’s advertised sale prices for summer suits for men.

As to the June 28 assassination of the Archduke, the newspaper provided shed light on the plot to kill the Austro-Hungarian heir apparent. The killer, Gavrilo Princip, was one of 11 members of “The Black Hand,” a criminal organization formed with the specific principal of bringing the multicultural Bosnia-Herzegovina into the Serbian orbit (an action Serbia tried again in the 1990s). The hearing further established that money to finance the group’s activities was provided by the Serbian National Party.

Martial law remained in effect in place in Sarajevo ever since the assassination of the Archduke. Before martial law took effect:


“The anger of the Moslem and Croation inhabitants [in the city] is very great, and there were several gave disturbances,” The Telegraphreported. 

The non-Serbian majority demolished a Serbian school and social club, two major hotels owned by Serbs, and 200 houses and shops belonging to Serbs. Muslim and Croat activists paraded through the streets carrying a portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph as a demonstration of their support for the empire.

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