What Is the Difference between Knowledge and News?

Kaiser Wilhelm first said he had “knowledge” that French soldiers were preparing to enter Belgium, but he changed that word to “news” in a message he penned to U.S President Wilson.

Why was the Kaiser writing to the President? Because he was explaining why Germany's troops had rolled through Belgium, without permission, on their way to fight against France.

In the days before typewritten documents, which only reveal the final copy after all changes are made, handwritten notes - with scratched-out words - revealed interesting information. A great example is in Kaiser Wilhelm’s letter to Woodrow Wilson.

From it, we learn that German troops were sent into Belgium based on news, not on knowledge. And ... as it happened ... the news was wrong.

Can you think of events, in the recent past, where countries went to war based on “news” as opposed to “knowledge?” Explain your answer.

What were the consequences of those news-based decisions?

Why do you think Kaiser Wilhelm edited his letter to President Wilson, changing “knowledge” to “news?”

What is the difference between “knowledge” and “news?” Which of the two is more reliable?

Is it appropriate to take action, leading to war, if a country's rulers have information based on “news” instead of “knowledge?” Explain your answer.

In today’s world, the edit would not have been seen because the Kaiser would have sent a “clean copy” of his words to Wilson.  Is it better for the person receiving the communication to see the edited version (instead of the clean version) to better-assess the mind set of the writer? Explain your answer.

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