Saturday, July 24, 2010

How Grandpa Haddad Started World War I

A new account of the German/Ottoman relationship brings me back to Frank Haddad of Louisville--that would be Frank Senior, the building inspector and jovial raconteur, not his sons, the far better housetrained criminal lawyers. It was Frank who told me how his father started World War I.

Recall that Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered arm (You knew? You can more or less see it here). The Kaiser came to visit Istanbul. Grandpa Haddad was part of the Imperial guard. He was to stand in front of the arm.

Grandpa Haddad executed his responsibilities with crisp efficiency. And so the Turks never knew that the German leader had a withered arm. Of course, explained Frank, they would never have permitted their country to go to war under the leadership of a man with a withered arm. The rest is history.

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