A Lull in the Fighting

Today, November 21st, 1912:

  • The Turkish government rejected, as unacceptable, the Balkan nations’ terms for peace, and war resumed on all fronts.
  • The Japanese Imperial Navy batteship Hiei was launched. On November 13, 1942, in the Battle of Guadalcanal, it would become the first Japanese battleship to face American ships in war, and the first ever to be sunk in war.

Today’s news clippings are about 24 hours behind events, and report a lull in the fighting that in fact ended today. Meanwhile the “Prisrend Incident” between Serbia and Austria-Hungary came to an end when the Serbians permitted visitation of the Austria-Hungarian consul by a Viennese envoy.

The launch of the Japanese battleship Hiei is an item added, as always, to provide a bit of contemporary flavor to the main events of the day, even if not directly connected to them.  Named after a famous mountain outside of Kyoto, Japan that was the historic site of the equally famous Enryaku-ji temple, destroyed by Oda Nobunaga in 1571 in an effort to dislodge its warrior monks (sohei) of the Buddhist Tendai sect, the Hiei was designed by the British naval architect George Thurston.  This is another illustration of the close ties between British and Japanese imperialism in the Meiji and early Taisho eras, as the former sought to build up the latter as a barrier to Russian expansion in the Northwest Pacific.  It was the financial decline of British power as a result of the First World War that led to a shift in the stance of Japanese imperialism to a more aggressive, “go it alone” posture, beginning in the early 1930’s.  Hence in a small case of imperialist “blowback”, the Americans in World War II were to be battling against warships designed by their British allies.



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