§ 60 -- Two Hundred and Fifty-Five Days!
After leaving Hoboken, August 3rd, 1914, the German cruiser roamed the seas for two hundred and fifty-five days, subsisting on supplies taken from French and British merchantmen before she bombed them. During this period of two hundred and fifty-five days she touched at no port, depending entirely for coal and provisions on her raiding ability and her speed in escaping French and British warships.
The cruiser's troubles began September 4th, 1914, when she sank the British steamer Indian Prince, bound from Bahia to New York, after seizing all her coal, meat, white flour, oleomargarine, canned vegetables, coffee and soda crackers. Her own supply of fresh meat was nearly exhausted when the Indian Prince crawled into view. The white flour was looked upon as manna from heaven. A month passed.
October 7th, 1917, the British refrigerator steamer La Correntina, bound from Argentina to London with 5,600,000 pounds of fresh beef, was sighted. The Germans ran her down and took from her enough fresh meat to supply her needs for several years. She crammed her own spacious refrigerators with hind quarters and ribs. She corned 150,000 pounds of rounds in addition to her supply of the chilled and frozen quarters.
She stowed enough meat to give each member of her crew as much as three pounds a day for an entire year. She also seized all the La Correntina's butter, white flour, tea, biscuits, sweet crackers, potatoes, canned vegetables, and her meagre supply of fresh vegetables before blowing her up. Six weeks passed.
November 21st, 1914, she captured the French bark Anne De Bretagne on her way from Fredrickstad to Sydney. This boat, before she was blown up, surrendered all her coal, white flour, butter, potatoes, canned vegetables, champagne and dried peas. The rest of her provisions went to the bottom.
The Germans had all the meat and bread and oleomargarine they could eat. With their twenty-six knots an hour they knew they could continue to scour the seas until the end of the war, sinking vessel after vessel, and obtaining coal and provisions as long as they kept their health.
Fresh meat, bread, and oleo and boiled potatoes are generally assumed to be life-sustaining foods. The Germans unwittingly had commenced to explode that theory.
December 4th, 1914, after she had been out four months, she sank the British steamer Bellevue, bound from Liverpool to South America. From this ship she secured four thousand tons of coal and an immense shipment of sweet biscuit with all the white flour, butter and canned vegetables the Englishman carried.
The subtle, slow-moving influence of their refined and demineralised diet had not yet broken the sturdy Germans. They had no suspicion that the fruits of their raids were actually eating into their lives.
On the afternoon of the same day she sank the French steamer Mont Agel, bound from Marseilles to South America. Before blowing her up she confiscated all her butter, white flour and potatoes. Each raid, while supplying tons of food, was intensifying the chronic acidosis that was finally destined to overcome her crew and compel her to make her last dash through darkness with all lights out and a full head of steam, into a neutral port. She would be out there yet sinking the Allies' ships if it were not for her typical American meals, plenty of fresh meat, mashed potatoes, canned vegetables, white bread, butter, sweet cakes and coffee. Christmas of 1914 passed quietly, and three days later, December 28th, she sank the British steamer Hemisphere, bound from Hull to Rosario, obtaining five thousand tons of coal with a great quantity of white flour, butter, sweet cakes, potatoes and canned vegetables.
January 19th, 1915, she sank the British steamer Porato, bound from Liverpool to South America, after absorbing her coal, white flour, sugar, canned vegetables, oleo and a great quantity of Huntley & Palmer's sweet biscuits. So many of these biscuits were seized that tin boxes of them were given away as tips to the boys who ran out to her in small boats on the James River with messages, papers, etc.
I watched the boys take away their prize boxes of Huntley & Palmer's biscuits and after I had learned the truth I wondered whether the people would really never hear about it through the magazines and ladies' journals and other organs of uplift that carry the costly advertising of so many foodless foods.
January 14th, 1915, she sank the British refrigerator steamer Highland Brae, running between the slaughterhouses of Argentina and the meat markets of London. The temptation to seize more fresh meat was not resisted and in addition she took enough shoes to supply a small city. She also took all the oleo, white flour, potatoes and canned vegetables which the Highland Brae had aboard.
Scarcely had the bomb exploded which caused the British steamer to gurgle to the bottom when the British schooner Wilfred M., from St. Johns to Bahia, came peeping over the horizon. In half an hour the Germans overhauled her and took possession of her cargo of salt fish, potatoes, white flour and butter.
The pallor of her crew and the dilation of the pupils of their eyes and marked shortness of breath here and there were observed by the ship's surgeon but were not considered significant and the men went on devouring their typical American meals, so highly rated by the advertising geniuses of the refined food industry.
February 5th, 1915, she sank the Norwegian bark Samentha, from Linton to Falmouth, loaded with a cargo of wheat -- whole wheat. The germ and bran of that wheat would have been worth more to the rapidly succumbing Germans than its weight in gold and precious stones, but the Germans did not know they were sick. 'They did not know how badly they needed that whole wheat with its alkaline calcium and potassium salts.
They did not know that within a few weeks a hundred of them would pass just one inch beyond the limit of toleration and then fall without warning, paralysed, to the deck. In consequence of their faith in fresh meat, white flour, oleo, boiled potatoes and coffee, those thousands of bushels of whole wheat with their priceless salts were sent to the bottom. Not a bushel was transferred to the German ship.
February 23rd, 1915, she sank the French passenger steamer Guadeloupe, from Buenos Ayres to Bordeaux. There was more red meat aboard and plenty of ham, butter, white flour and canned vegetables. She seized it all. Some of her crew were complaining of swollen ankles and pains in the nerves of the legs below the knees. Otherwise they seemed able to eat, sleep and work, and apparently no plague was in sight, for there still remained to them plenty of meat, lots of potatoes and enough white bread and butter to last seemingly forever.
March 25th, 1915, with fifty of her men acting "queerly" and none of them any too vigorous, she sank the British steamer Tamar, from Santos to Havre, with sixty-eight thousand bags of green coffee, seizing all her butter, lard, white flour and canned vegetables.
She did not heed the fact that there is a balance of acid and base-forming elements in the "ash" content of all food.
She did not heed the fact that in the food she seized, the base-forming elements had all been processed out.
She did not heed the fact that after a diet of refined food a mild chronic acidosis is set up which abstracts the lime salts from the fibrous tissues, muscles, nerves, cartilages and bones. When the limbs of the German sailors began to swell they did not know that the swelling was due to the abstraction of these lime salts with the increased vascularity which follows.
They did not heed the fact that loss of lime salts causes irritability and weakness of the muscles with neuralgic pains. They did not know that the continued loss of lime salts causes effusion into the joints.
They did not know that following these stages in the progress of acidosis the cartilages soon become involved and that this condition is in turn followed by thinning and erosion.
They were consuming enormous quantities of the refined foods of high caloric value now so extensively relied upon throughout the United States and they looked in all directions for the cause of their trouble but the right direction.
They did not know that the abstraction of lime salts is a cause of the rapid progress of tuberculosis. They simply continued to raid as long as any strength remained in their fanatical bodies.
March 27th, 1915, they sank the British steamer Coleby, bound from Rosario to St. Vincent with another cargo of whole wheat. They took her coal, white flour, butter, potatoes and canned vegetables, but sent the precious wheat to the bottom.
Alarming conditions began to develop. Typical symptoms of paralysis, dilated heart, atrophy of muscles and pain on pressure over nerves, with anemia, were marked. Fifty of the men could not stand on their feet. They were dropping at the rate of two a day. It seemed that a curse had descended upon the cruiser and it was plain that the whole crew was rapidly going to pieces.
The Kronprinz Wilhelm would either be manned by five hundred dead bodies in a few more weeks or she would have to make a run for it to the nearest port. Her wireless had told her that Newport News had given harbor to the Prinz Eitel (Attila) Friedrich. She would take a desperate chance against the enemy and make a dash. April 11th, 1915, having been out 255 days, she made that dash.
That is why the German cruiser lay at anchor in the James River, a floating wreck, a hospital ship, a lesson to the American experts who cry "beri-beri and polished rice," when red meat and white bread are the real issue. Their scientific murmurings only serve to further mislead the American people and cloud refined food in a maze of professional ignorance. Of course there really is a disease called beri-beri that really is caused by polished rice, but there is no rice connection between the acidosis of the Kronprinz Wilhelm and the beri-beri of Billibid Prison.
Here was a crew of men living in the open air, eating the staple articles of diet for which the American scientists claim so much. Fresh meat, all the fat and cheese they could eat, boiled potatoes, canned vegetables, condensed milk, sugar, tons of fancy cakes, biscuits and white bread, and all the coffee and tea they could drink constituted their diet.
"But if German sailors eat typical American meals for two hundred and fifty-five days and develop on that diet of white bread and meat a condition of malnutrition that has resulted so disastrously, why do not the Americans themselves develop the same conditions ?" you ask.
Americans do develop the same conditions, but because they eat many other offsetting foods, which were outside the reach of the German sailors, the severity of the condition is modified accordingly.
On the Kronprinz Wilhelm the intensity of the cause determined the gravity of the effect. There was no outside assistance in the form of offsetting fresh vegetables and fruits or whole grain foods to lessen that intensity. The canned vegetables consumed, although theoretically contributing base-forming elenients, were consumed in comparatively small quantities.
Their juices, contaminated to some extent with salts of tin and sheet iron, acted possibly as an irritant to the kidneys, already taxed beyond their capacity with excess quantities of sulphuric, phosphoric and amino acids, elaborated in the digestion of high protein and refined carbohydrate foods.
Americans before the war, as far as they could afford, ate more or less generously of onions, lettuce, asparagus, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, celery, apples, berries, oranges, grapes and other base-forming foods, all of which assist Nature to combat or to modify some of the evil effects of the refined diet on which the Germans attempted to thrive for a long period.
Thousands of children of the poor in the United States have always been like the crew of the Kronprinz Wilhelm. During the era of high war prices they have been more than ever like that crew. They do not now obtain these offsetting foods in adequate quantities, and in the case of adults there are thousands who, making improper choices, deprive themselves needlessly of these offsetting bases.
In the meantime the condition of acidosis does progress sufficiently to interfere with the growth of the young and to rob the body of the adult, through lowered vitality, of its natural defence against disease. It imposes a tremendous handicap upon pregnancy and lactation. It predisposes to tuberculosis, pneumonia, appendicitis, measles, meningitis, constipation and cancer.
It does not pile up its woes in a heap as was done on the German cruiser. It spreads them out thinly over a larger area and provokes many preventable ills.
The Kronprinz Wilhelm's experience should be illuminating to Doctors Dufour, Giroux, Quirin and Rudolf, who have reported on the outbreak of war nephritis and trench edema, but they probably have never heard of the Kronprinz Wilhelm and her trouble.
The lesson of the Kronprinz Wilhelm is this: She has proved almost conclusively the inadequacies of the very foods on which America relies so heavily for the protection of her troops, as well as the protection of her so-called middle and lower class civilians.
No prolonged experiments had ever been conducted to determine the evil result of living exclusively on such foods. The Kronprinz Wilhelm furnished that experiment.
There can be no greater or more picturesque proof of the folly of unbalancing food by refinement, of the folly of ignoring the meaning of the salts, colloids and vitamines natural to all unprocessed foods; of the folly of claiming for high caloric foods the absurd virtues they do not possess.
With Dr. Perrenon, the ship's surgeon, I went over all these points, and many more, treating them in detail. I did not suggest to him that it was beri-beri which had so tragically affected his men, for the reason that the cure for beri-beri, pellagra, acidosis, nephritis, edema and scurvy is the same. It consists in restoring by unrefined foods to the sapped body the bases stolen from it.
Dr. Perrenon asked me to write a formula for feeding his stricken men. I did so, left him an article I had written on the subject and returned to New York.
Then came the following response in writing:
"With respect to the disease we have on board we are satisfied now that this condition is due to the impoverished character of our food supply. The remedy you have suggested is obviously the correct one and I shall immediately order its application. I shall read your monograph studiously.
S. S. Kronprinz Wilhelm."
The formula which it was my privilege to suggest, after all medical treatment had failed, and the extraordinary result which followed its application, will constitute the final chapters of this dramatic, and, at the same time, truly scientific episode.
What was the cause of the breakdown aboard the Kronprinz Wilhelm, and what was the nature of the remedy which, after all medical treatment had failed, restored the broken men to health?
From the ship's cook, with the chief surgeon's assistance, I obtained the following chart, showing just what each meal consisted of prior to the breaking out of the disease described by the scientific men as "beri-beri." The chart, explaining the origin of the disease that caused the collapse of 110 of the crew of 500 in 255 days, and was taking off the others at a rate which promised that the entire crew would be down in two weeks, tells just what was behind the beri-beri, acidosis, neuritis, jail edema, trench edema, war nephritis, pellagra, or whatever term is adopted to describe the sufferings of the men.
MONDAY Breakfast Dinner Cheese, oatmeal, condensed milk, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, sugar. Pea soup, canned vegetables served in juice that stood in cans, roast beef, boiled potatoes, white bread, coffee, condensed milk, sugar. TUESDAY Breakfast Dinner Sausage, white bread, butter (oleo), fried potatoes, coffee, condensed milk, sugar. Potato soup, canned vegetables served in juice that stood in cans, pot roast of beef, boiled potatoes, white bread, butter, coffee, condensed milk, sugar. WEDNESDAY Breakfast Dinner Corned beef, white bread, butter (oleo), fried potatoes, coffee, condensed milk, sugar. Beef soup, roast beef, boiled potatoes, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk, sugar. THURSDAY Breakfast Dinner Smoked ham, cheese, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk, sugar. Lentil soup, fried steak, fried potatoes, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk, sugar. FRIDAY Breakfast Dinner Boiled rice, cheese, white bread, butter (oleo), fried beef, coffee, condensed milk, sugar. Pea soup, salt fish and pot roast, boiled potatoes, canned vegetables served in juice that stood in the cans, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk, sugar. SATURDAY Breakfast Dinner Corned beef, cheese, fried potatoes, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk, sugar. Potato soup, roast beef, boiled potatoes, white bread, butter (oleo), potatoes, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk, sugar. SUNDAY Breakfast Dinner Beef stew, cheese, fried potatoes, white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk, sugar. Beef soup, pot roast, canned vegetables, served in juice that stood in the cans, boiled potatoes, white bread, butter (oleo). At four o'clock every afternoon the men were served with a plate of Huntley & Palmer's fancy biscuits or sweet cakes with coffee, condensed milk and sugar. SUPPER Evening meal consisted either of fried steak, cold roast beef, corned beef hash, beef stew with potatoes or cold roast beef with white bread, butter (oleo), coffee, condensed milk and sugar.
The raids, which resulted in the sinking of so many French and British merchantmen (fourteen), yielded, as we have seen, enormous quantities of coal for fuel, enormous quantities of fresh beef, white flour, sugar, oleomargarine, potatoes, cheese, condensed milk, white crackers, sweet biscuit, coffee, tea and sugar, with considerable quantities of canned vegetables, ham, bacon, beans, peas, beer, wine and spirits.
The raids never resulted in any large quantity of fresh vegetables or fruits. If such fresh vegetables and fruits as were confiscated had been divided among the crew they would not have sufficed for more than one day. In consequence they were reserved for the officers' table, which they managed to provide with fair quantities from one raid to another.
All the officers showed symptoms of anemia and mild acidosis, but none of them was prostrated. From their tissues and blood the lime, iron and potassium had not been robbed to the degree suffered by the tissues and blood of the men. The formula, designed to restore these lost salts which it was my privilege to suggest to the ship's chief surgeon, and which was followed by him after it became evident that the men would not respond to medication, was as follows:
- "To one hundred pounds of wheat bran add two hundred pounds water. Leach for twelve hours at one hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit. Drain off liquor. Give each man eight ounces each morning.
- "Give each man one teaspoonful wheat bran, morning and night, until contra-indicated by loose stools.
- "Boil cabbage, carrots, parsnips, spinach, onions, turnips together two hours. Drain off liquor. Discard residue. Feed liquor as soup in generous quantities with unbuttered whole wheat bread.
- "Wash and peel potatoes. Discard potatoes. Retain the skins. Boil skins and give liquor to men to drink four ounces a day.
- "Give to each man yolks of four eggs a day in fresh, sweet, unskimmed milk, one yolk every three hours, with as much milk as he will drink by sipping.
- "At noon, with dry whole wheat bread, give one ounce fresh roast beef, for the psychological effect upon the men who have been taught to believe that without meat they cannot live.
- "One hour before drinking milk give juice of ripe oranges or lemon juice, diluted with water without sugar, to each man.
- "Keep apples or apple sauce within reach of men all the time.
- "At end of first week let the men eat solids of vegetable soup as well as liquor.
- "It is imperative that the men shall avoid all cheese, whites of eggs, lard, fat of any kind, white bread, crackers, pastry, puddings, mashed potatoes, sugar, saccharine, salt meat, fish, polished rice, pearled barley, degerminated corn meal and gravy (acid-forming foods).
Aboard the cruiser we have a diet of typical American foods which, as to its adequacy, completely satisfies the standards of the modern scientist.
At the end of two hundred and fifty-five days we have a disease of "mysterious" origin. To top off these conditions we have what appears to be the most outlandish and ridiculous corrective diet ever proposed. What then is the explanation of the seemingly well-balanced diet which went wrong, and of the apparently foolish diet which went right?
Certainly it was the duty of scientific men to keep the crew of the Kronprinz Wilhelm under surveillance that the effects of their extraordinary dietetic experience might be properly interpreted for humanity at large.
If exclusive feeding on white bread, butter, potatoes, fresh meat, canned vegetables, sweet cakes, tea, coffee, condensed milk and sugar with a little rice, a few beans and an occasional piece of ham, is followed by any consequences at all, the experience of the Kronprinz Wilhelm afforded an opportunity to determine what those consequences are.
The Kaiser's sailors were crippled. They were subsequently put back on their feet. Their sufferings and the result of their sufferings demonstrated at last to the American people the alarming inadequacy of the most typical American foods.
Out of the crew of five hundred the one hundred and ten who had reached the limit of toleration on the two hundred and fifty-fifth day had gone right up to the breaking point. The other three hundred and ninety had not completely collapsed. They were merely on the verge.
Prior to the sudden prostration of these victims of demineralised food none of them had any suspicion that he was about to be stricken, but those who through pain and exhaustion finally realised the gravity of their condition, were now prepared to submit to heroic treatment, however absurd it might appear. Yet the men who were still able to walk the deck possessed no adequate conception of the gravity of the slow moving, insidious attack which their typical American foods had made upon their tissues. Like most of us they were the victims of habit which they were reluctant to change.
None of them realised that the secondary consequences of acidosis, even of its milder forms, are more dangerous than nervous prostration, neuritis, edema, beri-beri, or whatsoever other terms is employed to describe malnutrition.
None of them cared a sailor's knot about the function performed by the alkaline salts necessary to neutralise the acid end-products of a meat and white flour diet.
They were not interested in the fact that meat as dressed for human consumption is stripped of its bones and drained of its blood, and therefore does not furnish the alkaline substances upon which the normal alkalinity of the internal secretions depends.
They were not worried about the fact that in the ordinary meat-containing diet, man to some extent offsets the acidosis that follows such diet by consuming milk, egg yolks, celery, lettuce, spinach, carrots, parsnips, beets, cauliflower, onions, string beans, asparagus, apples, oranges, berries, and other fruits and vegetables.
They were not interested in the fact that acidosis, even of the mildest type, is the forerunner of tuberculosis and other diseases, which follow in the wake of lowered vitality.
They were too busy sinking ships to bother with the fact that acidosis is the most relentless calcium destroyer now engaged in breaking down human tissue.
They had never heard of Scandola, who has demonstrated that nothing promotes the elimination and loss of calcium more than the use of decalcified foods, such as white bread, degerminated corn, sugar and meat
To them the work of Drennan, indicating that the withdrawal of calcium may cause a fatty infiltration and fatty degeneration of the liver cells, meant nothing.
They had too much to do to worry over the proofs that where the calcium supply of the blood is diminished the blood will not coagulate on demand, and that after a diet deficient in calcium post-mortem examination shows hemorrhages even in the long bones, thus revealing the hidden ravages that progress unseen until too late to be averted.
They were eating foods not only deficient in calcium but deficient in the other mineral salts that accompany calcium, but they had no thought of the fact that where the mother is deprived of a sufficiency of calcium foods the fetus is handicapped by lime deficiency, its bones do not grow properly, its teeth do not erupt normally, and later they quickly decay.
That their own diet had been robbed of calcium for purely commercial reasons meant no more to them than it now means to the Americans who also ignore it.
For many years it has been known to the medical profession that the auto-intoxications or acid intoxications known as acidosis can be experimentally produced on a diet free from the alkaline salts.
The sailors of the Kronprinz Wilhelm cared no more for this truth than does the American public. For many years it has been known to the medical profession that Nature, attempting to neutralise these acid conditions, sets up a process in which ammonia is withdrawn from the urea to such an extent that the quantity of "acetone bodies," acetone, diacetic acid, and beta-oxybutyric acid can be gauged by it, and that these acetone bodies are found in many diseases, including diabetes.
Did these facts have any significance for the raiding sailors of the Kronprinz Wilhelm? They did not.
Ott and Crofton have shown that twenty times the normal quantity of calcium salts is excreted in tuberculosis, but the sailors cared no more for that than they cared for the fact that the complete withdrawal of calcium destroys the defence of the tissues not only against the invasion of the tubercle bacilli but against the assaults of many other diseases; that a normal food calcium content is indispensable to human life.
That foods not processed or refined provided this normal calcium content meant nothing to the crew of the Kronprinz Wilhelm, who for two hundred and fifty-five days suffered such a loss of calcium that they established with considerable precision the fact that two hundred and fifty-five days constitutes approximately the maximum length of life on a diet of such demineralised or decalcified food.
The German sailors were not concerned with the fact that demineralisation or refinement of foodstuffs involves not alone the loss of calcium but also the loss of all other "ash" constituents of normal food, such as potassium, iron, magnesium, silicon, fluorine, iodine, etc., and the other substances, fat soluble "A" and water soluble "B," found in leaves and grasses, and the germ or fat containing substances of cereals, each of which performs a function in the economy of nutrition no less picturesque or important than the role played by calcium.
It was certain that if removed from the German cruiser to a hospital and subjected to the conventional hospital treatment, including tea, white toast, white bread, butter, cornstarch pudding, farina, cream of wheat, mashed potatoes and chops, all of the victims of the Kronprinz Wilhelm would have been doomed to tuberculosis, if tuberculosis had not already taken residence in their tissues.
Their only hope of complete restoration to health, which meant complete repair of all the damage already done, and a return of nutritional immunity against disease, lay in a prolonged diet of food containing an excess of base-forming elements and a deficiency of acid-forming elements.
This was the idea responsible for the "crazy" dietetic treatment I was permitted to suggest to the ship's surgeon, and which he applied with results that speak for themselves.
It was clear that the tissues of the stricken men hungered for alkalines of vegetable origin, and that these alkalines had to be supplied.
It was also clear that there was no better way of supplying them than by saturating the tissues with fluids containing them in solution. All the foods proposed, particularly the vegetable liquors, were rich in alkaline salts. That is why the potato skins were employed.
I was convinced, and Dr. Perrenon agreed with me, that inasmuch as the men had failed to respond to every other treatment, it would have been wrong to withhold the alkaline treatment, even though it might be laughed at in high places.
We know that April 11th, 1915, the stricken men aboard the cruiser numbered one hundred and ten.
April 12th, two new cases were reported.
April 13th, one new case was reported.
April 14th, four new cases were reported.
April 15th, three new cases were reported.
April 16th, the men began to be saturated with soluble alkalines of vegetable origin, to neutralise as quickly as possible the acidity of their internal secretions, and the toxins poisoning them.
April 17th, 1915, no new cases were reported, and Dr. Perrenon expressed great confidence in the treatment.
April 18th, no new cases were reported. Many of the more recent cases manifested marked improvement. In eighteen cases the swelling in the ankles subsided, and in a number of cases it was marked that the pain on pressure over the nerves was not so acute.
April 19th, four men were so much improved that Dr. Perrenon permitted them to go on deck. Many others showed signs of improvement.
April 20th, fourteen men were able to leave the ship's hospital, and return to their own bunks.
Dr. Perrenon said: "The effects of the new treatment are remarkable."
April 21st, eight men were dismissed from the ship's hospital.
April 22nd, eight more were dismissed.
April 23rd, four more were so much improved as to be pronounced out of danger.
April 24th, seven more cases were dismissed from the hospital, and one of the completely paralysed victims could stand on his feet without help.
Ten days had passed and forty-seven men were so far advanced toward recovery that Dr. Perrenon said: "We can safely say they are cured." The phenomenon was so striking that I had again journeyed to the vessel to be an eye-witness of it.
Dr. Perrenon escorted me on the tenth day to one of the worst cases, that of a sailor who spoke English well. He was the second man aboard to collapse, going down in January, 1915. After a diet from the officers' table he recovered until February 23, when he again went down.
When I visited the ship for the first time Dr. Perrenon thought the man might die. When I saw him on the tenth day he said: "I have had three days without pain. I am now hoping to be well."
I examined him with Dr. Perrenon. The swelling of his legs had subsided, but the pain still existed when pressure was applied. His condition was indeed pathetic.
"You know you owe this to white bread and meat," I said to him, "Yes," he answered, "my case is the worst, but the other cases are bad enough. We all owe it to white bread and meat, but there will be no more such food in the German Navy when they know what happened to us. They will profit by this, all of them."
I wondered then whether his words were prophecy, but so far their application in America reveals nothing prophetic about them.
Returning to Dr. Perrenon's headquarters, after visiting the men, he brought out his history of all the cases, each of which is complete, with an exhaustive record of all the symptoms, including the date on which each man was seized.
In January there were two cases.
In February, the 23rd and 25th, there were two more.
In March, the 4th, 16th, and 25th, there were three.
In April the men went down like ten-pins, and they continued to go down until their prolonged mineral fast was broken by the strangest prescription ever written.
"What can American scientists do in the presence of such a crisis ?" I asked Dr. Perrenon. "They can bow their heads," he said.
"Will they not find some way to explain the situation that will still show the world that their knowledge of disease is ample, and the present habits of the people no real cause for anxiety ?" I continued.
"Some of them may be big men," he replied. "Big men will accept the truth no matter where they find it. As for me, my record is complete. Our German authorities will not let it escape them. Our experience will not be lost to Germany."
He pointed significantly to the written records in his hand, and patted them affectionately, as if he realised their priceless character.
The Kronprinz Wilhelm was putting on coal as if she were making ready for another dash to the sea. "But what will happen if you run the gauntlet again and are pursued and -- " I did not finish the sentence. He looked at me. There was a pause. Then he spoke.
"If we should be lost and our records destroyed a hundred of your American physicians and other authorities have seen the cases. The effects of the remedy have also been seen. I think nothing can happen -- " It was his turn to leave a sentence hanging in the air unfinished.
Summing up the experience of the Kronprinz Wilhelm prior to her appearance in the James River, Dr. Perrenon said: "We had many cases of pneumonia, pleurisy and rheumatism among the men. They seemed to lose all resistance long before the epidemic broke out. We had superficial wounds, cuts, to deal with. They usually refused to heal for a long time. We had much hemorrhage. There were a number of accidents aboard, fractures, and dislocations. The broken bones were slow to mend. Nature was not doing her duty. Food is indeed the cause of much disease. In nine months we can learn much that is not to be found in the text-books."
At 5:30 P.M., Saturday, April 24th, 1915, Dr. Perrenon was ordered by his superiors to repress all facts concerning the conditions aboard the vessel. He would not admit that Bernstorff issued the orders but I was led to believe as much.
I left Newport News at once for Washington, where I reported to Congressman Walter M. Chandler, who escorted me immediately to the headquarters of Surgeon-General Blue.
"Apart from all considerations of public policy or official recognition of unofficial but well corroborated facts," said the congressman, "there is an element in this Kronprinz Wilhelm situation which demands the recognition of this government and the profound attention of its experts."
Surgeon-General Blue, after learning in detail the facts reported here, turned us over to Dr. Arthur H. Glennan, acting surgeon-general, and Dr. J. W. Kerr, chief of the Research Laboratory.
Drs. Glennan and Kerr grasped the situation instantly. The magnitude and significance of the incident were obvious. The general bearing on the welfare of millions of growing children in America, who rely with profound confidence on the wholly inadequate foods which figured so largely in the general breakdown of the crew of the German raider, was clear to them.
By their admissions they indicated they realised that perhaps they really were on the peak of a newer and wider outlook upon the sadly neglected field of food research.
In minute detail they reviewed with me the work of Drs. H. C. Sherman and J. Edwin Sinclair, reported by them as far back as 1907 from the Havemeyer Laboratories, Columbia University, in connection with those foods that contain an excess of acid-forming elements as compared with other foods containing an excess of base-forming elements, or alkaline ash.
They noted the conspicuous fact that in the dietary of the German seamen the alkaline bases were distinctly absent, and that their food was almost totally deficient in these indispensable elements.
They noted that Sherman's and Gettler's research revealed nearly every one of the foods on which the Germans subsisted for two hundred and fifty-five days to be of the type that contains an excess of acid-forming elements.
That the Germans responded almost instantly to a diet rich in alkaline ash was obviously significant.
That forty-seven men should be dismissed from the ship's hospital within a period of ten days, following the ingestion of fresh vegetable soup, potato-skin liquor, wheat bran, whole wheat bread, egg yolks, whole milk, orange juice and apples, was worthy of notice.
That no drugs were acfministered, and that all fat, egg albumen, cheese, meat, white flour and sugar were withdrawn from the crew's diet, was worthy of notice.
That conflicting stories had already made their appearance in the American press, concerning the kind of food consumed by the Germans, was also worthy of notice.
"An investigation now," they said, "depends upon the courtesy of the German government in permitting us the privilege of making an extended study of the situation. We cannot, of course, invade the ship, and would not dream of doing so if we could. Doubtless a request from the Secretary of the Treasury to this department to study the situation would be followed by the permission of the commander of the vessel to our men to probe the facts."
We were not then at war with Germany, but our Government did not probe the facts. When we later went to war with Germany, the facts not only affected our physical power to deal with Germany in the trenches, but they also affected the productivity of our civilian population at home.
They now affect our second line of defence, the child.
The Kronprinz Wilhelm, a German raider, taught us a truth which to some degree may have helped the Germans, just as our American inventions -- the submarine and the aeroplane -- helped them.
As far as America, England and France are concerned, the Kronprinz Wilhelm episode had no significance.
God's laws, so easily discerned, remain ignored.
The report of the Health Commissioner of New York City for January, 1918, showing the complete loss in Manhattan and Brooklyn in one month of 18,000,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables, including pineapples, oranges, potatoes, onions, string beans, squash and turnips, only serves to emphasise the fact that in America we do not hold our public officials responsible for failure.
Here was food of the very kind the people needed most, yet it was allowed to perish because authority to avert the catastrophe had been centralised in nobody.
In Great Britain they kick a prime minister down stairs, throw a cabinet out of doors, and hoist a general upstairs when results do not suit them.
In France the political career of a world-famous official is chloroformed over-night and in dire extremity the English submit to a French generalissimo.
The Prussian government, finding the efficiency of this or that professional murderer on its staff not sufficiently horrible, appoints another official murderer.
In America we handle our worst bunglers, our most selfish, inefficient and inactive officials and politicians, our most useless servants, with deference and sloth. We criticise them day in and day out, but rarely hold them responsible. There is nothing superlatively American in that.
In all our expenditure of money and all the beautifully carved planks of our political platforms, we have ignored the child.
The well-laid plans of Germany for an enormous army included for many years the expenditure of vast sums to promote the health of children.
France, facing a declining birth-rate, began the supervision of the health of school children back in 1842, and was the first to establish milk stations in 1892.
Going further than this, but for self-preservation alone, France enacted laws governing the employment of expectant mothers, and created a money subsidy for mothers who nursed their babies.
In America the Department of Agriculture, spending millions of dollars annually, has played politics with food industries, with the packers and their agents, with special privileges, with manufacturers and distributors, and while issuing hundreds of thousands of bulletins, has permitted the standards on which child welfare is founded to be lowered right and left. The facts, for the very safety of America, should inspire a congressional review of the Department of Agriculture similar in scope to the probe made by the Federal Trade Commission, 1917-1918, into the affairs of the packers.
In confirmation of the disclosures paraded through these pages, Dr. Thomas D. Wood, professor of physical education, Columbia University, declared early in 1918 that the war had already brought to America as well as to Europe an increase in ill health, due to undernourishment among children, a fact all the more alarming because it strikes at the very foundation of childhood, burdening the future citizen with a handicap to be carried throughout adult life.
Dr. Lucas, examining the poorly nourished war children of Belgium, to whom hundreds of shiploads of American white flour were fed by the Belgian Relief, found tuberculosis and rickets had increased to such an extraordinary extent that the hospitals and sanatoriums, supplemented with many additional clinics, were wholly unable to care for the cases.
In France and England tuberculosis among children, due to undernourishment, first doubled during the early years of the war and then quadrupled. Even the height of children during the growing period between twelve and fifteen years of age was cut down one and one-fifth inches, and the older children who had finished their growth as far as height was concerned, according to Dr. S. Josephine Baker, suffered an appalling loss of vitality due to underfeeding.
The increase in wages in 1918 did not offset the decrease in the buying power of the dollar, and Dr. Baker declares from her specialised investigations that "never before have our children been so underfed or so lacking in vitality."
"There is no actual starving among them, it is merely a question of habitual underfeeding, the real significance of which is lessened resistance to disease.
"Such underfed children will not only contract the diseases of childhood more readily, but they will be the first to fall victims of tuberculosis."
Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Food Administration attempted to avert the destruction of the millions of pounds of food which these undernourished children required, but which they did not obtain.
The Department of Agriculture is on record to the effect that it knows how to avert these tragedies. Surely the results of our sloth are sufficiently visible to inspire the application of this knowledge.
We know, for instance, that during the first six months of 1915, two years before we entered the war, of 11,000 applicants for enlistment in the United States Marine Corps only 365 were considered physically fit.
The report of the surgeon-general of the Navy for 1916 shows 70 per cent. rejections for the Navy and Marine Corps. Of 278,537 applicants for enlistment in the army between 1914 and 1917, 205,281, or nearly 74 percent, were rejected at the recruiting offices because of physical defects, apparent even to observers who had no medical training. Even a red light is recognised as a danger signal and when we see it we promptly heed the ditch, but we saw no danger signal in these rejections .
At the recruiting depots where the men were subjected to more rigid examinations, an additional 10,062 were rejected, a total of nearly 78 percent. Nobody asked the cause.
It is now known that fully 10 percent of all our boys were thrown out because of underdevelopment, no surprise to those familiar with the conditions existing among our school children.
All these rejects had all the red meat and white bread they could eat. They had all the corn flakes, corn starch, biscuits, pancake flour, syrups, degerminated corn meal, polished rice and patented breakfast foods they could consume. Yet the policy of the Department of Agriculture and of the Food Administration was not to interfere with business or the established order of things.
It was enough for their purpose to get stuff labelled food regardless of whether it was adequate food or not. It was the easiest solution of a truly heroic problem, but the easiest way is usually not the best way.
According to the Food Administration's policy the quality and adequacy of food received no attention, but it was of paramount importance that commercial interests should in war time make their pre-war normal profits, for the reason that in Herbert Hoover's belief, although no one should make any profit out of war, he held that as an economic system the country could not revolve twenty-four hours without it.
This statement, never published in the newspapers, is found on page 933 in the testimony of Herbert C. Hoover at the hearings before the sub-committee of the Committee of Manufacturers, United States Senate, Thursday, January 3, 1918.
In the light of the neglected facts which our many war activities completely submerged, it is manifest now that we must heed the pressing truth.
Mere tonnage, bulk and volume may suffice for a time, but if at the root of the nation undernourishment is permitted to gnaw, all its heroic efforts must result in ghastly failure.
General Pershing himself, in February, 1918, manifested no little solicitude with regard to the food supply of our forces in France. A despatch from his headquarters informed us that on an inspection tour he asked the boys if they were getting enough to eat.
It was not generally known in America at the time that a disease called war nephritis was prevalent as an epidemic among French and British troops, as well as among those of the Central Powers.
The Canadian Medical Association in April, 1917, reported the frequency of war nephritis among the troops, declaring that the disease was the subject of an investigation in the military hospitals at the front.
In 1916 "Bulletin et Memoires de la Societe Medicale des Hospitaux," Paris, published the report of Dufour, Giroux and Qurrin on war nephritis, which substantially agreed with the findings reported by Rudolf of the Canadian Hospital Service in France.
The medical observers declared that the disease was due to a limited diet, "particularly a too exclusive consumption of meat."
The most significant symptoms of the disease are described as edema, which yields to a milk diet. Considerable vomiting, severe headache, roaring in the ears, difficulty in breathing and increased blood pressure accompanied the edema.
These symptoms are identical with the poison squad white bread and meat symptoms heretofore reviewed.
Immediately after the outbreak of war in 1914, I was called into consultation by the Belgian Relief and asked to devise a formula to cover the purchase and shipment of supplies for the stricken victims of Prussian violence.
I submitted all the facts concerning the dangers of a white flour diet that up to that time had been determined by various government agencies. I made recommendations accordingly.
These recommendations were not acted upon.
Why were they not acted upon? Why are they not acted upon now?
White bread has not saved the children of Belgium. It has not saved the children of France and England. It has not saved the children of America.
If the governments of the United States, France and England were not already in possession of data proving that the whole grain contains substances not found in the refined grain, the tragedy symbolised by war nephritis among the troops could be properly charged to invincible ignorance, a state of darkness which is at the root of so many miseries sufferod by the human family, but our own government has spent thousands of dollars to determine the facts, all of which are on file in the archives of the United States Public Health Service at Washington, even though they were not utilised by the Department of Agriculture, the Food Administration, or the Quartermaster's Department.
We now know that the manufacturers of patent flour are on record with the assertion that they vigorously opposed all efforts of the Department of Agriculture and the Food Administration to interfere with the white flour milling process, asserting in their defence that they insisted properly upon the retention in their refined product of all the elements of the grain "fit for human food," and the rejection of all the elements of the grain "unfit for human food."
If they really believe that their discarded substances are unfit for human food, why do they advertise some of them so extensively even in the medical journals as "most fit," "most necessary" and "most indispensable" to human health, after appropriating enormous advertising funds for the exploitation of their fancy by-product packages?
No wonder in March, 1918, from behind the American front in France, through an Associated Press despatch, came the announcement that "for a time our troops had to eat dark bread, but now they receive an ample supply of pure white bread."
The commercial influences, working in America for white bread, had made American officials in France believe that white bread was superior. They did not suspect that bread made of wheat bled white might be a tremendous aid to the enemy.
They had never heard of the experience of Donald B. McMillan, leader of the Croaker Land Expedition, 1913-1917.
They had never heard of the similar experience of Roald Amundsen, leader of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the Fram, 1910-1912.
The Fram crew knew nothing of white bread. Not a man was ill for an hour, yet they faced colossal hardships for two full years upon a diet of pemican, consisting chiefly of oatmeal and dehydrated vegetables, 'with a little dried ground meat and oat biscuits made of whole oat meal and milk powder.
Thursday, December 6, 1917, from Donald B. McMillan in his office, American Museum of Natural History, New York City, I obtained the extraordinary record of his dietetic experience. Its significance is of priceless value to the entire world.
"Four years of eating whole wheat biscuits, whole wheat bread, chocolate, dehydrated fruits and vegetables," he said, "surely ought to constitute a very thorough test of the nutritive value of these foods. Just such a prolonged test has convinced me that I could live indefinitely even in the Arctic upon such foods. My own experience has confirmed my conviction that they are truly ideal for the use of all explorers and expeditionary forces."
In spite of the vicissitudes of his long struggle with the elements, McMillan was unchanged in appearance. During his long absence he suffered no loss in health, weight, vigour or strength, and what he says is of moment to us in this hour of intensified endeavour, the rugged demands of which have nothing in common with that delicate substance-bread bled white.
McMillan sailed from the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the ill-fated steamship Diana, July 5, 1913. At one period during his four years' absence the world gave him up for lost. But the world is richer, immeasurably richer, as a result of his return to civilisation with the fruits of his inspiring adventure, fruits which I reverently pray America will not refuse to eat.
Here are his words as they were taken down by my friend, E. H. Tunnison, an earnest disciple of food truth:
"Perhaps Small and I of our original party of seven were the only two who remained in the Arctic for the full term of four years. I believe, therefore, that we two have been subjected to a diet test longer than any other human beings whose experience has been recorded.
"Eckblaw, who returned to South Greenland in 1916, with Danish officials, and Small, ate ships biscuits until our stock of them was depleted, after which they were forced to eat dog biscuits composed of inferior ingredients, in some instances horse meat. The dog biscuits did not seem to disagree with them." (The Bennett dog biscuits are made from meat and whole wheat).
"The Eskimaux, both parents and children, are very fond of dog biscuits. They are also fond of whole wheat biscuits. When we left for home we gave them three hundred pounds of whole wheat biscuits which still remained among our supplies.
"I ate the whole wheat biscuits exclusively, although by the end of the last year they had become very hard and irritated my mouth slightly when I chewed them.
"They had been baked specially for our use, and at my request had been made harder than usual because of the natural tendency of biscuits to become soft and crumbly. Our cook soon devised a way to remedy the unexpected defect of extreme hardness. He placed them in a canvas bag and beat them with a hammer until they were pulverised. He then added a little flour and converted them into appetising loaves of bread.
"During the entire period I suffered no disturbance either of digestion or of intestinal action, due, I believe, to the use of the whole wheat.
"When I was with Peary on his trip to the North Pole in 1909 it was the common experience of all of us to suffer from bleeding intestines.
"Peary believed in beef, suet and raisins, tea, ships biscuits (white flour) and condensed milk. He took with him 10,000 pounds of white flour, 1,000 pounds coffee, 800 pounds tea, 10,000 pounds sugar, 7,000 pounds bacon, 10,000 pounds white biscuit, 100 cases condensed milk, 30,000 pounds pemican, 3,000 pounds dried fish.
"I took with me 5,000 pounds whole wheat biscuits, 2,000 pounds whole wheat flour, 1,080 pounds dehydrated vegetables, equivalent to 10,000 pounds fresh vegetables, including potatoes, rhubarb, turnips, spinach and onions; 12 cases assorted dehydrated soup, 19 crates yellow-eyed beans, 12 crates pea beans, 150 pounds Scotch green peas, 200 pounds yellow split peas, 1,000 pounds dried apples and apricots, 608 pounds prunes, 300 pounds raisins, 900 pounds chocolate, bitter and sweet, 1,000 pounds brown sugar, 42 cases baked beans, and assortment of nuts, dates, figs, lime juice and grape juice, and a small assortment of canned peaches, pears, cranberries, apples, cherries, plums, corn, peas, tomatoes and squash."
A casual comparison of the food taken by Peary and the evil results that followed its consumption, with the foods taken by McMillan and the remarkably uneventful results experienced by his party reveals the fact that Peary's supplies, with the exception of the raisins, contained in his pemican, were strikingly deficient in the base-forming or alkaline salts and vitamines so essential to health, strength and endurance.
McMillan's superior judgment in the matter of diet, aided by his observation of Peary's unfortunate experience, enabled him to overcome the deficiencies of the Peary diet with results so striking that the Army and Navy of the United States might well analyse them and appropriate their virtues.
Among McMillan's illuminating observations the following is especially significant.
"We all were most decidedly impressed by the wonderful flavour and invigorating quality of the dehydrated fruits and vegetables. We also ate with gusto the baked beans (rich in alkaline substances).
"Explorers in the past, Kane in 1853 and Scott and Shackelton in 1902, frequently collapsed for the reason that they did not take an adequate supply of foods containing these essential substances. They were deceived by their belief that fresh meat was a suitable preventive of scurvy" (sometimes called acidosis, sometimes beri-beri, pellagra, neuritis, jail edema, pernicious anemia, etc.).
Scurvy is a symptom of impoverished or de-alkalised blood, due to the consumption of acid-forming foods, white flour, meat, sugar.
Scurvy or one of its many kindred disorders always develops when the blood is robbed of its potassium and calcium salts.
These disorders are feared by explorers although they are typical deficiency diseases, practically identical with beri-beri and pellagra, which are not feared at all by the people who stay at home.
Elisha K. Kane, M.D., U. S. N., leader of the second Grinnell Expedition, 1853-1855, a group of Americans who penetrated the polar regions in search of Sir John Franklin, British explorer lost in the Arctic in 1845, describes in his report of his unsuccessful and costly experience the evils with which malnutrition cursed his heroic and noble effort.
"Not a man now," he wrote, "except Pierre and Morton, is exempt from disease, and as I look around upon the pale faces and haggard looks of my comrades, I feel that we are fighting the battle of life at a disadvantage, and that an Arctic night and an Arctic day ages a man more rapidly and more harshly than a year anywhere else in all this weary world."
Dr. Kane's supplies, though he had the medical knowledge of his time to guide him in their selection, consisted of pemican, biscuits, pickled cabbage and a small stock of American dried fruits and vegetables, which was only too soon exhausted. Had the vegetables held out his men would have been saved.
Following their exhaustion his crew lived upon hard tack (pilot crackers) from which the bran and germ had been foolishly sifted out; stewed dried apples, tea, coffee, sugar and small portions of potato and fat.
Whole wheat would have brightened his melancholy lament, but Kane had never heard of it, although Sylvester Graham, M.D., had tried to make it famous.
As their supplies became thinner, the Kane crew resorted to the use of fresh meat, easily obtained in the Arctic. Meat did not save them. Soon muscular weakness, such as chickens, guinea pigs, white mice and human poison squad subjects experience when fed on white flour and meat, asserted themselves.
The men bled from the nose at the slightest provocation. Their blood had lost the power of coagulation, as all blood does when robbed of its calcium.
McMillan, profiting by his studies of polar adventures, saw to it that his supplies contained an abundance of these salts so grossly disregarded in our American diet.
Shackelton, too, in his "The Heart of the Antarctic," has something to say on this subject. These are his words: "In the first place the food must be wholesome and nourishing in the highest degree. At one time the dread disease scurvy was regarded as the inevitable result of a prolonged stay in ice-bound regions, and even the Discovery Expedition, during its labours in the Antarctic, 1902-1904, suffered from scurvy, but during our entire trip from 1907 to 1909 we did not develop a single case of sickness, relying almost exclusively upon whole wheat biscuit, de-hydrated fruits and vegetables, marrowfat peas, lentils and kidney beans.
"We carried with us dried prunes, peaches, apricots, raisins, currants, apples, dehydrated potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, spinach, parsley, mint, rhubarb, mushrooms and artichokes to the extent of 3,800 pounds, with 2,240 pounds of whole wheat biscuit."
Anthony Fiala, commander of the Ziegler Polar Expedition, 1903-1905, says in his "Fighting the Polar Ice":
"The remark of General Grant that an army travels on its stomach, is now a maxim in text books on military logistics."
Fiala's experiences emphasise the truths which all other polar explorers have contributed to the sum total of wisdom under which not alone armies, but civilians and their children, should be fed.
McMillan tells us that he took with him five barrels of corned beef, but did not touch a mouthful of it, and that during the day, between meals, his party stood hunger off by munching upon whole wheat which they carried in their pockets, now and then chewing upon a pilot biscuit or a piece of bitter chocolate.
"When I accompanied Peary," he declared, "our pemican which had been prepared by one of the Chicago packers, was found to contain numerous particles of foreign substance and therefore became useless to us. I made sure to obtain a different kind of pemican when I went North," he said.
I have before me as I write a six-pound tin of the McMillan pemican which he brought back with him from the frozen north.
This experience of McMillan's was not without its significance to Francis J. Heney, who encountered so much organised effort to interfere with his 1917-1918 investigation of the crimes of the packers.
Next: Five: Amazing Confusion of Clinic and Classroom
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