"It was indeed like a medieval plague, transmitted from person to person, but precisely why some were susceptible and others not was no more understood than why at this particular time in history the plague should occur. The Judgement of God was suspected by some; the German high command by others. Many believed that German scientists had poisoned the reservoirs of the western world. The fact that the influenza had surfaced most virulently in Germany was put down either to carelessness or, again, to God's inscrutable judgement. Alarmists declared that many millions would die before the plague had run its course. Even greater alarmists suggested that the plague would end when the last of the human race had expired, burned first by fever, then drowned in pneumonia's tidal wave. All this, and a world war--and in an election year."