Victor Murdock (1871-1945) led a long productive life as a congressman, newspaperman, and broker. After seeing Europe first hand in 1915 and early 1916 he believed the Great War's end to be imminent.

Victor Murdock (1871-1945) led a long productive life as a congressman, newspaperman, and power broker. After touring¬†much of Europe, including the French front, first hand in 1915 and early 1916 he believed the Great War’s end to be imminent.

That is what former Kansas Congressman Victor Murdock said one hundred years ago today when he stepped off the Nieuw Amsterdam in Manhattan after returning from Europe. That was a bold, curious statement to make with the Battle of Verdun now raging in France. At least a quarter of a million German men were involved in that butcherous campaign, with their French enemies vowing determinedly that “They shall not pass.”

It is easy to scoff but Murdock was no lightweight. He was a respected Midwestern politician and newspaperman. Six months earlier his daughter had married Harvey Delano, a cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Murdock was also a Bull Moose Progressive, and good friend and political ally of Theodore Roosevelt as well. Indeed he was the National Chairman of the Progressive Party. With the Roosevelts Murdock campaigned for Preparedness ever since the war had begun in 1914. When Theodore Roosevelt declined to run for the White House in 1916 Murdock supported Wilson over Charles Evans Hughes. Thankfully for Murdock the world did not remember his February 24, 1916 statement about peace in our time coming before the end of the year. For his efforts Wilson appointed Murdock a Federal Trade Commissioner.

(image/Library of Congress)