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Title: The Little Book of the War Author: E. M. Tappan (Eva March Tappan) * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 2000411h.html Language: English Date first posted: April 2020 Most recent update: April 2020 This eBook was produced by: Colin Choat Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
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I. THE SPARK TRAT EXPLODED THE MAGAZINE
The Turks and Turkey—The unrest of the Balkan peoples—The Balkan Wars—Serbia—Belgrade—The independence of the Serbians.—The desire of the Balkan peoples to be divided according to their nationalities—Causes of their discontent—The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Serajevo—The Austro-Hungarian note and Serbia's reply—Russia's resources and wishes—Germany's aims—The condition of Austria-Hungary—The Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente—Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
II. THE DASH TOWARD PARIS
Attempts to prevent war—Why Germany wished for war—Her feelings toward the Entente countries—Germany's aims and preparations for war—Declarations of war—Mobilization of German troops—The troubles of American tourists—The Germans violate Luxemburg and Belgium—Belgium's honor—The "scrap of paper" incident—Why England entered the war—The Germans in Belgium—The dash toward Paris—General Joffre and the battle of the Marne.
III. "KITCHENER'S MOB"
Japan and Montenegro join the Allies—Japan captures Kiao-chau—German aims in Turkey—How Turkey was tricked into the war—The two groups of combatants—How Germans are trained for war—Rapidity of their mobilization—Lord Kitchener creates a volunteer army—His letter—His death—Trenches and trench fighting—Dangers in captured trenches—Pranks of the Irish—The double line of trenches—The Eastern Front—Von Hindenburg's success—The Russians in Galicia—How Serbia was saved by King Peter—How Germany's fleet was bottled up—Results of the war at the end of 1914.
IV. MODERN METHODS OF WARFARE
Camouflage—Barbed wire—Machine guns—Liquid fire—Poison gas—Hand grenades—Shrapnel—Wireless telegraphy and the telephone—Tanks—Flying machines and anti-aircraft guns—Work of the aircraft—Submarines—Teleferica—Value is war of mules, horses, pigeons, and dogs—The Blue Star and the Red Star.
V. THE TROUBLES OF NEUTRALS
"Quiet" times on the Western Front—Attacking a trench—Neuve Chapelle—The Canadians at Ypres—Energy of the French and the English—The duties and rights of neutrals—England interferes with American trade—Germany's undersea warfare—American sales of guns and ammunition—Torpedoing of Red Cross ships.
VI. THE WAR IN 1915
"Frightfulness"—Destruction of the Lusitania—Defeat of the Russians at the Mazurian Lakes—The siege of Przemysl—Retreat of the Russians in Galicia—Fall of Lemberg and Warsaw—The Grand Duke Nicholas sent to the Caucasus—Typhus fever in Serbia—Bulgaria joins the Central Powers—Serbia is overrun—Russia's geographical diillculties—The plan to capture Constantinople—The Dardanelles and their fortifications—Failure of the fleet—The struggle at Gallipoli—The Allied forces withdraw—Results of the year 1915.
VII. THE WAR IN 1916
Failure of the attempt to capture Verdun—Battle of the Somme—Naval battle of Jutland—Portugal and Italy enter the war—"Italia Irredenta"—San Marino becomes an ally—New "Fronts"—The Turks aim at the Suez Canal—Massacres of the Armenians—The Grand Duke Nicholas captures Erzerum and Trebizond—The Russians make a successful drive into Galicia—The English surrender to the Turks in Mesopotamia—Bravery of the Italians—Rumania joins the Allies, is overrun by the Central Powers—Montenegro is devastated—Results of the year 1916.
VIII. THE UNITED STATES ENTERS THE WAR
The United States proclaims her neutrality—German spies—Dishonorable acts of the German Embassy—The crimes of Germany—Submarine warfare—Count von Bernstorff receives his passports—The United States declares war—Democracy—Autocracy—The Government of Germany—Why we are fighting.
IX. THE CRUMBLING OF RUSSIA
The grievances of the Russian people—Their
revolution—Effect upon the war—"America is our
ally"—Service of our Navy—Many nations join the
Allies—"Spurlos versenkt"—Greece enters the
war—Explosion of mines—Armored tanks at
Cambrai—The Italians on the Piave—The English capture
Bagdad, Beersheba, Gaza, Jappa, and at length enter
Jerusalem—History of Jerusalem—Tact of General
Allenby—A national home for the Jews—Capture of
Jericho—Germany seizes the Ukraine—The allies in
Murmansk and Vladivostok—The Czecho-Slovaks—The
independence of Siberia—The unconditional surrender of
X. THE AMERICANS AS HELPERS
Plattsburg—"Intensive training"—"Selective draft"—Soldiers' and sailors' insurance—Cantonments—The salute—General Foch in command—Americans as soldiers—Teaching English at the cantonments—Americans struggle with French—Our Navy—How our Government gets money for the war—The Y.M.C.A.—The Knights of Columbus—The Y.M.H.A.—The Red Cross—Its Indian members—The American Fund for French Wounded—The Friends—Work of college boys and college girls—The nurses' camp at Vassar—The Salvation Army—Boy Scouts—Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls—The Red Star—A war that must be won.
POSTSCRIPT—THE END OF THE WAR
APPENDIX: PRESIDENT WILSON'S PEACE TERMS
INDEX [Not included in this ebook]
Europe about 1860
The Pan-German Plan
The Western Battle Lines, 1914-1918
The Italian Front
The German Penetration of Russia
The Eastern Front
Four Allied Commanders in France
One of our most powerful Battleships
A part of one of our great Army Training Camps
The following is a list of the twenty-two countries that have declared war against Germany up to the time of the publication of this book: Russia Aug. 1, 1914 France Aug. 3, 1914 Belgium Aug. 4, 1914 Great Britain Aug. 4, 1914 Serbia Aug. 9, 1914 Montenegro Aug. 9, 1914 Japan Aug. 23, 1914 San Marino (against Austria-Hungary) May 24, 1915 Portugal Mar. 8, 1916 Italy Aug. 27, 1916 Rumania Aug. 28, 1916 United States April 6, 1917 Cuba April 7, 1917 Panama April 7, 1917 Hayti June 17, 1917 Greece July 2, 1917 Siam July 22, 1917 Liberia Aug. 4, 1917 China Aug. 14, 1917 Brazil Oct. 26, 1917 Ecuador Dec. 8, 1917 Guatemala April 28, 1918 Russia and Rumania have eliminated themselves from the war by making peace with the Central Powers. The countries which have broken diplomatic relations with Germany are: Bolivia April 13, 1917 Nicaragua May 18, 1917 Santo Domingo —— Costa Rica Sept. 21, 1917 Peru Oct. 6, 1917 Uruguay Oct. 7, 1917 Honduras July 22, 1918
When the grandfathers of the present school-children were studying geography and came to the map of Europe, they found just north of Greece a broad band of country extending from the Black Sea to the Adriatic which was called Turkey. It was bounded on the north by the Save River, but at the northeast it stretched far up along the east side of the Carpathian Mountains. This was "Turkey in Europe," but the Turks ruled a much larger territory in Asia, just across the Straits of Bosphorus.
The original home of the Turks was in Persia. They had gradually pushed on to the westward, until they held Asia Minor, Constantinople, and much of what is now known as the Balkan States. They had forced their way to the north and had even besieged Vienna. Then came struggles with Russia. Russia was successful, but the other European countries feared that she might become so powerful as to threaten them, and so made her give up most of her Turkish conquests. Europe wanted the Turks driven back into Asia, but no state was willing that any other state should become heir to their territory. An attack upon them would be likely to bring on a general European war. That is why no one ventured to interfere in 1895, when the Turks, who are Mohammedans, massacred tens of thousands of Armenian Christians.
In Turkey in Europe there were several small nations. They were inclined to quarrel among themselves, but on one point they agreed, namely, they all hated their ruler and meant to get free. Greece had freed herself long before Germany began the present war, and one by one most of the other little nations had declared their independence. Bosnia and Herzegovina had fallen into the hands of Austria-Hungary and were helpless. In 1878, after a war between Russia and Turkey, the Treaty of Berlin had been signed, which allowed Austria-Hungary to "occupy" and rule these two countries. In 1908, she announced that she should retain them as permanent parts of her empire. This was not according to the treaty, but for one reason or another nothing was done to prevent it.
The Balkan peoples—for the district took its name from the Balkan Mountains—were all excellent fighters, and if they had held together and been willing to yield a point to one another now and then, they could have driven the Turks out of Macedonia and Albania, and perhaps even across the Bosphorus. "Those peoples will never unite," said the wiseheads of Europe; but in 1912 the unexpected happened, the little countries did unite, and they drove the Turks so far toward the Bosphorus that they had nothing left in Europe but Constantinople and a little of the country west of that city.
But now the Balkan countries began to quarrel again. Bulgaria did not think there had been a fair division of the land that she had won in the struggle. The result was that they had a little war of a few weeks among themselves, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Rumania lining up against Bulgaria, and winning the day.
In the first war the influence of Germany and Austria had been in favor of Turkey; in the second war it had been in favor of Bulgaria. In both wars they had favored the side that lost. Russia had favored Serbia, and therefore was on the side that won. Not long before the Balkan Wars, the interests of France and Germany in Morocco had clashed, and France had come off victor. Within a few years, then, Russia and France had gained in prestige, while Germany and Austria-Hungary had lost. It was practically certain that as soon as an opportunity appeared, the last two countries would try to make themselves more powerful.
Taken as a whole, the people of the Balkans are a quick-tempered folk; and whatever strikes them as showing the least shade of injustice, they are ready to resent—with a gun. Indeed, in many districts, the inhabitants have such a relish for gunpowder that they delight in using it to welcome their friends as well as to make away with their enemies. Like the Russians they belong to the great Slavic family, but they are of different nations and origins.
In the Balkan States there is much that is beautiful. There are grand old mountains, deep green valleys, wide fields of swaying grain, and everywhere there are flowers. Bulgaria is so well adapted to the growing of roses that they are raised there by the million to make the delicious attar of roses; but wherever you go, there are daisies, wild clematis, poppies, and scores of other kinds of flowers, and the summer air is always sweet with the perfume of the honeysuckle.
Serbia is called the "poor man's paradise." In many parts of the country there are two crops a year, and the soil is so rich that a very little land will support a family. There are gypsies who wander about and beg and tell fortunes, but there are no poorhouses, and it is exceedingly rare to find a really needy person.
The capital of Serbia was Belgrade. It was a clean white city, and stood high up on a hill, looking far away to the mountains on the horizon. At the foot of the hill the Save River meets the Danube and sweeps half around the town. In the streets were trolley cars and also lumbering ox-carts drawn by the biggest and slowest of oxen. There were peasants just in from the country, the men wearing sheepskin coats, fur inside, and the women in short skirts of blue or cream-colored homespun, and always displaying an apron gorgeous with bright embroidery. On féte days the women sometimes wore long velvet coats embroidered with gold thread and fastened with gold buttons as big as marbles.
The Serbians were as independent in dress as in other matters, and when parliament was in session, some of the members wore handsome frock coats and fine linen, while others appeared in their sheep-skin coats or whatever else they might choose. They were not ignorant, these roughly clad farmers, and many of them had very good incomes; but they saw no reason for changing their garb to suit the whim of any one else. Many of them sent their sons to the university. They were a kindly folk, pleasant and hospitable, and proud of keeping their word. They loved their ballads and fairy legends; they sang the magnificent old chants in their churches; they said a bit of a prayer when they kindled their fires; and when they went to battle, they were the bravest of the brave.
There were two things that the Balkan peoples wanted with their whole hearts. One was to be free from Turkish rule; and this they had succeeded in bringing about. The other was quite a different matter, for they were not satisfied to be divided by mountains and rivers and political boundaries; they wanted to include in each state all the people of the same nationality. This would have been difficult enough even if they had been willing to keep within the limits of the group of states, but that would not answer their purpose. East of Rumania, for instance, was Bessarabia. Here lived many Rumanians; but of course Russia had no idea of giving up this fertile district, larger than Switzerland, just to accommodate Rumania. West of Rumania, in eastern Hungary, there was the same condition, for here too lived many Rumanians, and Austria-Hungary would not for a moment consider surrendering this part of her territory.
With Serbia matters were even worse. Her one great wish was to bring the Serbs under one rule by uniting Serbia, Montenegro, and the two provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were in the hands of Austria-Hungary. If this had come to pass, Serbia would have been somewhat larger than the State of Michigan. Moreover, she would have won access to the sea, and would no longer have been obliged to get permission of her neighbors when she wished to send her products to market.
This is the way it stood with the Balkan nations at the end of 1913. None of them were contented. Bulgaria was angry because in the settlement after the war so much of the land which she had won from Turkey had been taken from her. Bosnia and Herzegovina were enraged at having been made a part of Austria-Hungary. Serbia was perhaps the most wrathful of all, for she was left with no hope of uniting the Serbian race. Moreover, in order to appease Austria-Hungary a port on the Adriatic which Serbia had captured had been taken from her, thus leaving her with no approach to the sea. The Balkan States had long been called the "powder magazine of Europe," and now the magazine was all ready to explode.
The spark that exploded the magazine flashed out in Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia. This is a wide-awake little city, whose inhabitants make a vast amount of pottery and metal ware, dye and weave silk, and carry on a large trade. It is a pleasant town. A river runs through it, and gardens are all around. Some fine modern buildings have been erected, and in contrast with them there are, high up on a hill overlooking the city, picturesque ruins of the stone walls of a castle seven centuries or more old.
One beautiful June day in 1914, a gentleman and his wife were riding in procession in Serajevo. The mayor of the place stood waiting in the town hall, all ready to make his address of welcome, for the gentleman was the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of the Emperor of Austria, and was himself heir to the Austrian throne. Suddenly a bomb exploded directly behind their automobile, evidently aimed at the Archduke and his wife. They were not harmed, but the occupants of the car following them, part of their escort, were fatally injured. Some hours later, while the royal guests were on their way to the hospital to inquire for the wounded, a student of only eighteen years sprang out of the crowd and threw a bomb at their car. This failed to explode. The young man then drew a revolver and fired three shots, two of which struck the Archduke and the third his wife. Both died within an hour.
Emerson writes, in his Concord Hymn, of the Massachusetts farmers who "fired the shot heard round the world," and surely this shot at Serajevo was heard round the world. The assassin belonged in Herzegovina, in Bosnia, but he had been living in Serbia, in Belgrade, and the Austro-Hungarian papers declared at once that Serbian influence had made him a murderer. They demanded that Serbia should be punished.
For one whole month Austria-Hungary plotted and prepared. Then a note was sent to Serbia. This accused the Serbian Government of planning or at least conniving at the assassination, and demanded that Serbia should suppress all newspapers and societies unfriendly to Austria-Hungary, and cut out from the public schools all teaching tending to the same result and to any thought of a possible future union under Serbian rule. It demanded the arrest and punishment of all connected with the crime, especially two men who were mentioned by name, one an officer in the army. It demanded that Austria-Hungary should share in the investigation of the conspiracy. Austria-Hungary had taken a month to prepare this note, but she required Serbia to present her reply within forty-eight hours.
Then the telegraph wires began to hum, and messages whizzed back and forth among the diplomats in the attempt on the part of several countries to avert war. England did not want war, neither did France, nor did Serbia's "big brother," Russia, and the little country was urged to return as conciliatory a reply as possible. Serbia put her pride into her pocket and yielded, but required that if any one was to be punished, proof should be given of his crime. One demand, however, she refused flatly, a demand to which no self-respecting country could yield. This was that Austria-Hungary should take part in the investigation of the conspiracy. She expressed her willingness, however, to leave the whole question to the Hague Court in case this reply should not be satisfactory. This was given to the Austro-Hungarian Minister within the forty-eight hours, and although Sir Edward Grey, English Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, declared that this reply was the greatest humiliation he had ever seen a country undergo, the Minister said that it could not be accepted, as Serbia had not yielded to the demands in every particular, and that same day he and his staff left Belgrade.
War between Serbia and Austria-Hungary now seemed unavoidable, but why need the other states of Europe have anything to do with it? Why, if there must be conflict between the two countries, could they not fight it out and leave the rest of the world in peace? The answer is, "Because of the aims of Germany and because of the Eastern Question." At the outbreak of the war few people thought much about any possible aims of Germany, but they thought a great deal about the Eastern Question, that is, the relations of Turkey and the Balkan States with the rest of Europe, especially Russia, Austria-Hungary, and England.
Russia is an enormous country. That portion of it which is in Europe is one fourth larger than all the rest of the Continent. It is a land of almost endless resources. It is rich in minerals and precious stones; it raises flax, hemp, timber, cotton, and quantities of sugar beets, besides great numbers of cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, and goats. It has millions of acres of the best wheat land in the world. Of course the Russian winters are long and cold and the summers are short; but when summer does come, it is so hot that vegetation grows wonderfully fast.
Naturally, after Russia has produced all these valuable articles, she wants to sell them to other nations. Then come difficulties, for transportation is not good. If Russia had as many miles of railroads in proportion to her size as France has, the big country would have six and one half times as much mileage as at present. She has rivers and canals, and at the north she has harbors, but from three to six months of every year all these are closed by ice. On the Black Sea she has her port of Odessa, but to carry her goods out of the Black Sea her ships must pass through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, which are controlled by Turkey. Russia, then, would be glad to have the Turks pushed over into Asia Minor. As to Serbia, her "little brother," both Russians and Serbians are of the same family of nations, the Slavic, and while Russia would hardly have wished Serbia to become powerful enough to rule all the Balkan States, she could not endure the thought of her becoming a part of Austria-Hungary, and thus enormously increasing the Austrian and the German power.
Germany had long felt what is called the "Drang nach Osten," that is, the push toward the East, for trade, agriculture, and colonization. She had already, as has been said, secured the right to build a railway from the Bosphorus to Baghdad, and had built one third of it. A "middle Europe" combination, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Balkan countries, and Turkey, would open Germany's way to Baghdad, to the Far East, and to the rich lands of southeastern Russia, the Ukraine. With Turkey Germany had made friends; Herzegovina had become a part of Germany's ally, Austria-Hungary; nothing blocked her way but the other Balkan countries, especially Serbia. If Serbia, then, fell under German control, Russia must give up all hope of ever holding Constantinople, and she had strong reason to fear losing the Ukraine, which was somewhat restless under Russian rule, and no one could say how much more of her territory. It is no wonder that, when Austria-Hungary threatened Serbia, Russia made her prompt declaration, "On the day that Austrian troops cross the boundary line of Serbia, Russian troops will mass for war."
Austria-Hungary is a combination of two countries, ruled by one man, but independent in many respects. Delegations from the parliaments of the two countries meet one year in Vienna in Austria, and the following year in Budapest in Hungary. These delegations settle questions of national finance of war, and of foreign relations. Other matters are settled by each country for itself. Each half of the "Dual Monarchy" is made up of numerous small states. No one of these forgets that it was once independent, and its people do their best to maintain their old language and their old customs. They have formed one kingdom, but they have never formed any real union. Indeed, neither Austria nor Hungary is a closely united state. In Austria, about one fourth of the inhabitants are Germans; but the government is so ordered that they are in control. In Hungary, the Magyar aristocracy hold the ruling power. In each state the Slavs are the "under dog." They have no political power, and small attention is paid to their interests or wishes. These Slavs belong to the great Aryan family whose home was in central Asia. They form nearly one half of the population of Austria-Hungary, but they are of many nations, and each little group cling together and look upon others with some jealousy and often with dislike.
The different peoples in the Dual Monarchy are discontented, and the two kingdoms are not happy together. Their union was formed merely as a matter of convenience. Between two and three centuries ago there were, instead of one Germany, two hundred or more tiny states, which were supposed to owe some allegiance to the Emperor of Austria. It was not a willing allegiance; nevertheless, a sort of union was at length formed with Austria at its head. But Prussia, one of these states, grew strong and began to rival Austria. The Prussian statesman Bismarck now brought it about that a confederation was formed with Prussia as its head and Austria left out. Then came the war with France in 1870, during which this confederation was changed into an empire, and William I, grandfather of the present Kaiser, and already King of Prussia, was proclaimed German Emperor. Neither Austria nor Hungary was quite strong enough to stand alone, and therefore they formed the twofold monarchy. Moreover, in 1879, Austria-Hungary and Germany formed an alliance for mutual defense. A little later, Italy joined them. This union was known as the Triple Alliance.
A war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia would serve Germany well, for of course the big country would subdue the little one, and the way to Constantinople would be open. But if Russia entered the fray, that was quite another matter, for if Russia gained power in the Balkans, Germany's plans for the Far East would fall through. Therefore, if Russia was to protect Serbia, Germany would enter the war as the ally of Austria-Hungary.
But what about France? After the Germans defeated France in the war of 1870, the two provinces, Alsace and Lorraine, had been taken by Germany, and France felt the need of a friend as a support against the increasing German power; therefore she had formed an alliance with Russia, and if Russia fought, France would fight.
Then one more country must be considered, England. It was England's policy to keep out of "Serbian quarrels," but England had large interests in the East; she must look out for a clear way to Egypt, Persia, India, Thibet, and Afghanistan. Those who are in charge of a country's interests must look far ahead, not only to what is reasonably certain to happen, but also to what might by any possibility happen. England had also interests in the Mediterranean, and she had agreed with France that in case of any necessity, the French navy should guard those interests. In return, England was to guard the western shores of France. Then, too, Dover Strait is hardly more than twenty miles wide at its narrowest point. If the Triple Alliance should crush France, then Belgium, then Holland, and so control the English Channel, Dover Strait, and the North Sea—England would be hemmed in by enemies. Of course, no one in England expected these things to come to pass, but it was the business of her statesmen to be on guard against whatever might be within the bounds of possibility. Therefore, some years earlier, England, Russia, and France had made an informal alliance called the Triple Entente, that is, the triple understanding or agreement. The object of this was to preserve the balance of power in Europe against the Triple Alliance. Its purpose was wholly defensive, for protection against the aggressive German plans.
At the beginning of the war, Germany announced her intention of standing by Austria-Hungary. Italy, as a member of the Triple Alliance, was bound to stand by Germany and Austria if they were attacked. They were not attacked, they were making the attack, and Italy declared her intention to be neutral.
Three days after Serbia handed her reply to the Austro-Hungarian Minister, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and two days later she began to bombard Belgrade.
A few months later it came to light that, one whole year before the Serajevo incident, Austria, certain of the aid of Germany, had determined to attack Serbia in order to clear the way to the East. The assassination of the Archduke was the spark that exploded the powder magazine of Europe; but if that had not occurred, some other pretext for war would surely have been found.
Two days after the Austrian Minister left Belgrade, a telegraphic conversation began among the representatives of several of the countries of Europe, which was in effect as follows:—
Sir Edward Grey, Minister of Foreign Affairs for England: I invite the German and the Italian Ambassadors to England, as friends of Austria, to meet the French Ambassador and myself, as friends of Russia, to try to find a way out of the difficulty.
Russia, France, and Italy: We will come.
Germany: I could not call Austria in her dispute with Serbia before a European tribunal.
Sir Edward Grey: But this would be only a private and informal discussion.
Germany: It is impossible. But will not France exert a moderating influence at St. Petersburg?
France: Will not Germany, especially as Serbia has shown herself so conciliatory, exert a moderating influence upon Austria-Hungary?
Germany: Oh, no, we have decided not to interfere. Russia and Austria might discuss the matter.
Austria: I decline.
The Kaiser to the Czar: I urge you to be a spectator only and not draw all Europe into war.
The Czar: Cannot the Austro-Serbian problem be given over to the Hague Tribunal?
Sir Edward Grey: Will not Austria at least give the other powers time and opportunity to mediate between Austria and Russia? Will not Germany "press the button" in the interests of peace?
Russia: If Austria will strike out from her note to Serbia the demands affecting Serbia's sovereignty, Russia will stop her military preparations.
Germany: That would be impossible.
Austria: I am ready to discuss the matter with the other powers.
But it was too late, as Germany had before this sent her ultimatum to Russia demanding that within twelve hours Russia cease her military measures.
The European powers, especially England, had done their best to prevent war, but their efforts had been in vain. It was evident that Germany wanted war. Most nations do all in their power to avoid war; why, then, should this nation be so eager for it? The answer is, Because she longed for empire. "A place in the sun" had long been the slogan of the Pan-German party. Jealous of Great Britain, the Kaiser determined to win by the sword the world empire to which industrial prosperity at home seemed, in his eyes, to entitle him. Other large nations had colonies. After a while, Germany, too, had some colonies; but Germany is a nation of recent formation, the best places for colonization had already been taken, and German emigrants did not care to go to the newer settlements. They made their homes in other countries, among other nations; and the result was that they or their children often gave up German citizenship, and their emigration was not, as was the case with other countries, a gain to the mother country. Then, too, Germany had but little seacoast. To reach the ocean, her ships must go around the British Isles or else pass through Dover Strait and sail within ten miles of either England or France.
Germany had some genuine fear of being crushed by Russia and France, but for England she had a hatred arising from jealousy. England held Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, and many islands scattered over the world. It is true that she threw open her ports to every nation; but Germany feared her enormous power on the sea and determined to take from her all possibility of exercising it. Germany and England were commercial rivals. Germany declared that England was trying to prevent her from reaching a market, and in the same breath boasted that she was underselling the English in England itself.
Between Germany and France there had been great bitterness ever since the war of 1870. In this war Germany had marched into Paris, she had seized Alsace and Lorraine and held them. She looked upon the French as a feeble, worn-out race, and supposed that she could easily crush them, then crush England, then attend to Russia.
The power at which Germany aimed was nothing less than the rule of the whole world. She believed that her ideals and customs were the best on earth, and that she was destined to control the world. As a beginning, she aimed at a "middle Europe," that is, at winning a broad belt running from the shores of the North and Baltic Seas, including Belgium, northern France, Austria-Hungary, the Balkan States, and a free "corridor" to Baghdad. She would then be well on her way to the world dominion for which she thirsted. By earlier wars Germany had gained in size, wealth, and influence, and she expected to make far greater gains in this war. The "Junkers"—that is, the wealthy landed nobility—longed for it. Moreover, opposition to autocracy was on the increase, and in Germany as well as in Austria-Hungary there was much internal strife. A short and victorious war would do away with this and unite the people.
Germany was the only country in the world that was prepared for war. In army, fleet, and munitions she was ready, and the officers of her "war machine" had long been eager for the time to come. Even in public banquets her naval chiefs had for many years drunk toasts to "The Day"—that is, the day when the Kaiser's new fleet would meet England's in a war which should finally destroy the English navy and the British Empire. There was no secrecy about it. Even little children were taught in school that their country was "surrounded by cruel and envious nations." Prominent writers and lecturers had taught that Germans were far superior to other races, and that the land which others were unfairly keeping from them would one day be theirs by conquest. They made ready for warfare. For three years before the war schoolhouses were so built that almost in a day they could be turned into hospitals. Machines—for making ploughs, for instance—were especially designed so they could be used in munition work. Not long before the war, Germany increased her army by sixty per cent, prepared an unusually large supply of munitions, widened and deepened the Kiel Canal to accommodate the largest warships, built more railroads to the Russian, French, and Belgian frontiers, increased greatly the importation of some articles used in war and decreased the exportation of others, called home her reservists from other countries; and only a few weeks before war was declared, she bought an enormous quantity of hospital supplies. There was no question who brought on the war.
Germany against Russia, Germany against France, England against Germany, Austria-Hungary against Russia—so much for the first week of warfare. The air fairly hissed with declarations of war, or rather with declarations that a "state of war" was existing, for each country wished to make it clear that it was at war only as a matter of self-defense. The declaration against France stated that French military aviators had dropped bombs in Germany. On the following morning Viviani, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared to the Chamber of Deputies that this was entirely false. The correctness of his statement has since then been admitted in Germany.
German troops were at once mobilized—that is, called into active service—and the French troops promptly followed their example. In tiny French villages drums were beaten as a signal, and men left their harvest fields on the run, abandoning the half-cut grain. The oxen gazed at them wonderingly as they sped down the roads to their homes for the hour of making ready and the hurried good-byes before they boarded the train for the front, wherever that might be.
There was another frantic rush, and this was the race of American tourists to get away from the war. Thousands of them were scattered over the contending countries. Trains ran, but they had not room for any one but soldiers. Mails came or not, as it might happen. Telegraph and telephone wires were cut. To "go west," to get to America, would be safety, and everybody wanted to sail by the first steamer.
Moreover, these tourists suddenly found that people would no longer cash their checks, so that many a man with a letter of credit in his pocket for thousands of dollars had to beg of some friend the money to pay for his dinner. But the United States took care of her wandering citizens. The Government sent over several million dollars to lend to them and also vessels enough to bring those home who could not get passage on regular lines.
But the tourists left behind them a continent full of trouble and anxiety. Just where Germany would strike, no one knew, but French troops were sent to the northeastern corner of France, just south of Belgium and Luxemburg, and a few miles away from the German border line. Luxemburg is a little independent duchy, a sort of toy kingdom, only four fifths as large as Rhode Island. It was a "neutralized" state; that is, by a treaty made in 1867, it was agreed that in case of war Luxemburg would be neutral, would give no aid to either side, and indeed would maintain no army. In return, France, England, Russia, and also Prussia, guaranteed her freedom from any invasion of her territory. Nevertheless, as this was the easiest road to the heart of France, the German forces took that road, saying that they would do no harm and that at the end of the war they would pay for whatever they had found it necessary to take. Luxemburg had already been violated by the French, they declared. The President of the Grand Ducal Government said that if this had been done, he knew nothing about it. The little state could make no resistance, but there is a report that the plucky Grand Duchess, an independent young girl of twenty, ran her automobile squarely across the road up which the German forces were marching, and indignantly protested against their entrance.
Belgium was also a neutralized state, protected since 1839 by treaties to which Prussia was a party. She was on friendly terms with both France and Germany, and only four years previous the Kaiser and his daughter had been guests of King Albert, ruler of Belgium, and had been received with every honor. The French Minister to Belgium had declared that his country would respect Belgium's neutrality unless it was first violated by the Germans. The Belgians hoped that Germany would follow the example of France. But behold, the German Minister announced that the German troops wished to enter the country. If Belgium was friendly, Germany would at the close of the war pay for all damages; but if anything was done to hinder the troops Belgium would be regarded as an enemy. This was at seven in the evening of August 2. A reply was demanded within twelve hours.
Of course, the easiest way would have been to say yes and make no opposition to the coming of the troops. Belgium, however, was not looking for the easiest way, but for the most honorable. The little country had promised to be neutral. If she did not now do her best to prevent either Germany or France from entering her territory, she would be breaking her promise. The Chamber of Deputies came together, many of the members already in uniform, prepared to start for the front at a moment's notice. Before them stood King Albert, tall, calm, and dignified. "I ask you, gentlemen," he said, "are you absolutely resolved to maintain intact the sacred patrimony of your fathers?" They were resolved.
In the afternoon the Cabinet and Ministers of State held another meeting, and decided to appeal for help to England, France, and Russia, who, together with Prussia, had guaranteed the neutrality of their country. On the following day German troops entered Belgium, and the appeal was sent.
This had been a busy day in England as well as in Belgium. England had asked Germany to assure her before midnight that the neutrality of Belgium would be respected. The German Chancellor and the British Ambassador to Germany had held a meeting. "It is terrible," said the Chancellor, "that just for a word—'Neutrality'—just for a scrap of paper [that is, the treaty]—Great Britain is going to make war upon a kindred nation who desires nothing better than to be friends with her." No answer was made to England's question. That night she declared war.
England had three reasons for entering the war. First, to keep her word to protect Belgium; second, to stand by her agreement with France; third, to protect herself. She was forced to the conviction that she would have to fight either in company with France and Russia or else, later, alone.
Meanwhile, German forces were streaming into Belgium. On the border line of France, south of Luxemburg, were forts and French troops. To pass these would be no easy matter; but with Belgium in her hands, Germany could mass her troops and supplies in that country. They pushed in toward the city of Liege. The Belgians tore up railways and blew up bridges as best they could; but the Germans built new bridges, and soon they were not far from the nine forts that stood on the heights above Liege. These forts commanded river, bridges, roads, and railroads, and until they were taken, German troops and supplies could not be brought into the town.
The forts resisted stubbornly, and the Belgian troops fought resolutely. Of course the little country could not withstand the big one, and within twenty-one days after the first German soldiers entered Belgium, they had taken Brussels, and a little later they forced the inhabitants to give them $40,000,000. They had also captured wonderful Louvain with its famous old churches, its superb cathedral, and its great university. The Germans declared that some of the people of Louvain fired upon them. Even if the charge is true, the revenge taken by the invaders was visited not upon these people only, but upon the whole town, for the city was now sacked and burned, and the famous university with its priceless library was ruthlessly destroyed.
Like the Roman hero in the story of Horatius at the bridge, Belgium with her slender might had held back the hostile armies. The Chancellor of Germany said of the invasion, "This is a breach of international law, but necessity knows no law." Belgium had lost her treasures, her cities, her homes, but she had done the noblest thing in the world, she had kept her word even to her own hurt.
Those were the times when every day counted. The resistance of Belgium delayed the invaders for two weeks. Neither France nor England was prepared for war, but this delay gave them time to bring up their standing armies and hurl them into Belgium. The plan of the Germans was already formed. They promptly seized bases over the French line and aimed at making a sudden dash upon Paris. Belgians, French, and English were driven by the Germans, back, back, back, until they came to the Marne River.
But in Paris a quiet man with a genial, trustworthy face had been hard at work. He was the son of people who lived in the Pyrenees, and had made his way into a military school. He was not remembered at school for any special brilliancy, but he was remembered as a good scholar who never shirked or grumbled and always did his best. He had risen slowly from one position to another, until, three years before the opening of the war, he had become commander-in-chief of the French army; but he was so modest and unassuming that few people knew much about him. This quiet soldier, General Joffre, had collected half a million men, had chosen a battle-field on the Marne, and there he awaited the enemy. They came nearer and nearer. "Paris within a week!" had been their cry, and now Paris was almost in sight, only twenty-three miles away. Then came the battle of the Marne, not one battle, but a series of terrible engagements over a battle-line one hundred and forty miles long. Years ago a book was written called The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World. One more will have to be added to the list—the battle of the Marne. The German forces were turned back and were pursued hotly to the banks of the sluggish Aisne River. The French dashed across the stream, and the Germans drove them back. There was no victory for either side. Germany still held a long strip of the land of France, but she had not taken Paris.
During the first two months of the war, two new countries joined the Allies besides those that have been named, Japan and Montenegro. Japan had before this made an agreement to stand by England, in the East; but she had also two strong reasons of her own for wishing to have a hand in the struggle. One was to win the friendship of Russia, so Russia would not interfere with her occupation of Korea and Manchuria; the other was to get possession of the district of Kiao-chau in China, and probably by returning it to China to make a firm alliance with the Chinese nation.
Some years earlier two German missionaries had been murdered in China, and in reprisal Germany had seized Kiao-chau and obliged the Chinese to give her a lease of the district for ninety-nine years together with other valuable privileges. Japan lost no time in sending her ultimatum, or last word, to Germany, advising her, in the interests of peace, to deliver up Kiao-chau within a certain number of days. The Japanese have a keen sense of humor, and they must have enjoyed writing this ultimatum, for they modeled it, phrase for phrase, upon one which Germany had sent to Japan, requiring her to give up some territory which she had taken in a war with China. Germany made no reply, and Japan promptly began a bombardment. Kiao-chau surrendered.
Montenegro, "glorious, immortal Montenegro," as Gladstone called it, is a tiny kingdom whose capital Cettinje is perched on a mountain-top thousands of feet above the Adriatic Sea. There is a story that an emperor of Austria once said to a prince of Montenegro, "My brother the prince lives high." "True," replied the prince, "my brother the emperor has taken all the sea, the Turks have taken all the land; so there is nothing left for me but the sky." The Montenegrins have always been famous as fighters and as patriots, and for centuries they maintained their freedom by frequent struggles with the Turks. They are a proud, honorable people, hospitable and courteous and brave as lions. They are Serbs by race, and they promptly joined Serbia in the war against Austria. Many Montenegrins were living in Canada when the war broke out, and as they could not reach their own country, they enlisted with the Canadian forces.
For many years Germany had been at work to gain control over Turkey. The Kaiser himself had paid a visit to Constantinople, and had declared himself to be the firm friend of all Mohammedans. Indeed, a story was spread throughout Turkey that he had become a convert to the faith of Mohammed. In the Balkan Wars, German officers aided the Turks. When the "Young Turks" brought about a revolution in 1908, Germany was more than ready to give her advice and help, to drill the Turkish troops, to provide officers and equipment, and little by little to get control into her own hands. "When our government is in shape, we shall say good-bye to Germany," declared the Young Turks; but Germany's aims were quite different. She wanted, first, a Turkish decree permitting her to build a railroad to Baghdad, which should open the way for Germany in the East; and this she had already obtained; second, she wanted Turkey, when "the day" should arrive, to be a well-trained and obedient military ally.
On the day that Germany began the war, Turkey signed a secret treaty with Germany, and, although posing as a neutral, soon began to perform unneutral acts. She closed the Dardanelles, thus cutting off Russia from communication with her allies, and she bombarded Russian seaports on the Black Sea. Moreover, when two of Germany's fastest cruisers were in danger of capture in the Mediterranean Sea and reached the closed Dardanelles, they hoisted the Turkish flag and sailed through into safety, as they had been ordered by wireless to do. By German trickery there had been a mock sale of the cruisers to Turkey, who could not possibly pay for them. So it was that she was forced into the war and was now in the power of Germany. There is a story that a Turk said, in friendly fashion to a Belgian then in Constantinople, "I have terrible news for you; the Germans have captured Brussels." "But I have even more terrible news for you," said the Belgian, pointing to the two cruisers lying at anchor. "The Germans have captured Turkey."
At the close of the year 1914 ten nations had entered the struggle. If a formal declaration of war had been necessary to precede fighting, matters would have been in a queer state of confusion. Japan, for instance, had declared war against Germany, but Germany had not declared war on Japan. Germany and Austria-Hungary had declared war on Belgium, but Belgium had simply tried her best to defend herself, and had not stopped for any declaration of her purposes. At the end of 1914 Germany and Austria-Hungary and their friend Turkey stood against England, France, Belgium, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Japan.
Almost every country of the world maintains a standing army, and in nearly all countries men are obliged to prepare themselves for war and to serve as soldiers if there is need. In Germany, for instance, every able-bodied young man is required to begin his military training at the age of twenty, and he may be called upon at seventeen. For seven years he is a member of, first, the standing army, and then of the reserves. Of course, this does not mean that he is under arms for seven years except in war-time. Cavalrymen and artillerymen are in service three years, others two years. Students who have passed a state examination are required to serve but one year. At the age of twenty-seven, the German becomes a member of the home guards. Twelve years later, he is put into a force known as the Landsturm; and here, for six years longer, or until he is forty-five, he may be called upon in any emergency for such services as guarding bridges or military supplies.
In the matter of equipment, too, Germany is thoroughly systematized. When the call was given to mobilize, every man in the land knew in just which storehouse his equipment was kept. His clothes, shoes, hat, etc., had all been tried on before, so there was no delay in finding a fit. All that he had to do was to walk into the storehouse, say, "I am Fritz ——," or, "I am number ——," and receive a large bundle, which he carried off to a dressing-room. In this bundle were two uniforms complete with leggings, trousers, shoes, and underwear. There were also four pairs of socks, a hat, blankets, housewife or "comfort bag," and a brass tag stamped with his official number. He put the cord of the brass tag around his neck, dressed himself, made up the rest of his equipment into one roll to carry with him, and the clothes in which he came into another to leave with the clerk. His rifle, belt, and ammunition he got either at the same building or another, but just as quickly; and in a few minutes the civilian had become a soldier all ready to march to battle.
England, however, had never introduced compulsory service. Her troops were made up of men who had volunteered to serve. The result of the two methods was that in Germany, when the war broke out, every man had been trained as a soldier. In less than two years England had to resort to conscription, but at the beginning of the war she had only her small standing army to fall back upon for immediate service. This is why she could send only 150,000 troops to aid the French in the battle of the Marne. Evidently a large force must be raised as soon as possible, and the business was put into the hands of "Kitchener of Khartum."
Earl Kitchener was an Irishman of brilliant military genius, which he had proved many times, but especially in the capture of Khartum in the Sudan. He now went to work to create the largest volunteer army in the history of the world. Men enlisted, but arms, equipment, even uniforms, were wanting. Before long, clothes were sometimes fastened together with shoestrings and safety pins, and shoes without holes were almost unknown. "All men needing boots, one pace forward, march!" the quartermaster once commanded a company, and the whole company moved briskly and hopefully forward. But only a single dozen pairs had arrived, and these were in just two sizes. The British soldier, whom his country nicknames "Tommy Atkins," has a keen sense of humor, and he promptly dubbed himself and his companions "Kitchener's Mob." Indeed, as far as outfit went, the "Mob" were hardly better off than the little ragamuffins of the town who paraded up and down the streets of London with paper caps and wooden swords, gravely bearing a banner with the legend, "We will fight for our country and defend the King." Among those who wished to enlist were many who were under the regulation height. Kitchener suggested that they form a division of their own. These were nicknamed the "Bantams."
Earl Kitchener was a silent man, and he was not much given to letter-writing, but when his "Mob" was ready to embark its first troops for "somewhere in France," each man received a copy of his letter to the troops ordered abroad. This said in part:—
You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the
King to help our French comrades against the invasion of a common
enemy. You have to perform a task which will need your courage,
your energy, your patience. Remember that the honor of the British
Army depends upon your individual conduct...You can do your country
no better service than in showing yourself, in France and Belgium,
in the true character of a British soldier.
Be invariably courteous, considerate, and kind. Never do anything likely to injure or destroy property, and always look upon looting as a disgraceful act. You are sure to meet with a welcome and to be trusted; and your conduct must justify that welcome and that trust.
>Do your duty bravely.
Honor the King.
"Kitchener's Mob" had become Kitchener's army, and when they went into battle, it was said of them, "Nothing stops them except being killed." Less than two years after the breaking-out of the war, Earl Kitchener was on his way to Russia on war business for the nation. His vessel either struck a mine or was torpedoed not far from the Orkney Islands. It was hard to think of the energetic soldier as quiet in death, and a myth quickly arose that he had been captured by a German submarine and was kept a prisoner in Germany.
When Kitchener's men reached the front, they found quite a different sort of warfare from any in which Englishmen had ever been engaged before. Modern explosives are of such terrific power that forts cannot withstand them. Bodies of men, advancing in regular formation, would be mowed down like grass. This led to "trench fighting." The general plan of the trench is a deep zigzag ditch stretching along on the front toward the enemy. Somewhat parallel with this and fourteen or fifteen yards behind it is a second trench, connected with the first by many passageways. In the walls of the second trench recesses were dug to serve as berths for the men; and running back from it were deep and narrow blind alleys in which they could take refuge when the bombs became too furious. Here and there were shell-proof "dug-outs," twenty feet or more under ground. In some of the captured German dug-outs, evidently meant for officers and prepared for a long residence, there were armchairs, electric lights, ventilating fans, bookcases, rugs, and even wall-paper. One dug-out is described by the soldiers as large enough to hold several thousand men. It had been a quarry, but now it contained, besides places for the men, a first-aid hospital, and a cooperative store. Later, the "pill-boxes" were introduced. These are turrets of concrete and steel, connected by short trenches. They give much better protection against barrage fire than do the open trenches. Both trenches and pill-boxes are protected from infantry attack by extensive barbed-wire entanglements.
As the war progressed, a captured trench became almost as dangerous as one occupied by the enemy, for the Germans left their trenches full of traps. Cutting a thread might explode a detonator. A piece of equipment left with scraps, an empty shell, a helmet, bayonet, anything that would be likely to attract a soldier's notice was risky to touch. Later, the brutal traps used for catching bears were sometimes chained firmly in No Man's Land in the hope of catching an opponent between their steel teeth.
When a trench was dry, it was fairly endurable, even though great fat lazy rats roamed through it at their own will; but when it was wet—! It is no wonder that the irrepressible Tommy sang,—
"I never knew till now how muddy mud is,
I never knew how muddy mud could be."
The Irish especially were full of pranks. In one terrific charge the members of the London Rugby Club kicked a football before them as they made the first dash. "On the ball, London Irish!" they shouted, and those who were not brought down by the storm of bullets actually kicked that ball straight into the enemy's trenches, which they captured with a jubilant shout of "Goal!" In another dash up a hill in the face of machine guns in full blast during the struggle near the Aisne, a tall Irish Guardsman rushed on in front of the line, flourishing the green flag, which he had tied round the barrel of his rifle, and shouting, "Ireland forever!"
Soon a double line of such trenches as have been described extended from the North Sea to Switzerland, one line held by the Germans, the other by the French and what the Kaiser called "the contemptible little English army." This line swayed from time to time a few miles toward Germany or a few miles toward France, as the case might be. The Germans overran nearly all of Belgium and twice made an effort to break through the French and English lines in that country, once at the Yser River in the attempt to reach Calais, and once at Ypres, which the disrespectful Tommy insisted upon pronouncing "Wipers." The attempts to reach Calais and Paris were unsuccessful. On the other hand, the Germans held Belgium and also northeastern France, the portion of France which is rich in coal and iron.
It was at Ypres that Tommy discovered an old printing-house with paper and ink, and in the spirit of conservation he set to work to publish a paper which he called the Wipers Times. It advises its subscribers to insure against submarines; describes the trench as "the best-ventilated hall in town"; advertises quack medicines warranted to cure cold feet; asks the loan of an umbrella as a protection against taking cold when going out to cut barbed wire; and finally bursts into verse and thus describes home life in the trenches:—
"Take a wilderness of ruin,
Spread with mud quite six feet deep;
In this mud now cut some channels,
Then you have the line we keep.
"Now you get some wire that's spiky,
Throw it round outside your line;
Get some pickets, drive in tightly,
And round these your wire entwine,
"Get a lot of Huns and plant them
In a ditch across the way;
Now you have war in the making,
As waged here from day to day."
But Tommy is not all fun, and he closes with,—
"Oft we're told 'Remember Belgium,' In the years that are to be; Crosses set by all her ditches Are our pledge of memory."
This was the condition of things on what came to be called the Western Front. There was also an Eastern Front, which gradually extended itself from Riga on the Gulf of Riga to the Black Sea. The Russians could not make their way into France, but they kept so much going on in the east that German troops had to be withdrawn from the Western Front and sent against them. Poland, in the western part of Russia, thrusts a square wedge between Germany and Austria. It looks on the map like an easy route for the Russians into the heart of the enemy's country; but the Grand Duke Nicholas knew very well that if he took it, the Germans could come from the north and the Austrians from the south and crush his forces between them; therefore he marched straight into the part of Germany which extends farthest into Russia. Now, there was in Germany a retired general, Von Hindenburg, who had long amused the military folk of the country by insisting that in case of war this region would be of the utmost importance. He made it such, for there he won a great victory over the Russian troops. No one smiled at Von Hindenburg's notions again.
Another army of Russians made a successful drive into Galicia, in northeastern Hungary. Unluckily for them, they were not so cautious as they were brave, and they were nearly destroyed by the German von Mackensen. They tried it again with fresh troops, and now they took Lemberg and began the siege of the unpronounceable Przemysl. This held out until well into 1915. Meanwhile, the Germans had made a drive into Poland and were aiming at Warsaw; but like Przemysl this did not change masters until 1915.
The Western and the Eastern were the two principal fronts, but as the war continued, other fronts developed. Just before the Germans occupied Louvain, the Austrians made a dash into Serbia, but were driven back. A second time they attacked Serbia, and from across the Danube they bombarded Belgrade into ruins and pushed on victoriously. Suddenly, as in Hawthorne's story of "The Gray Champion," there came galloping straight into the midst of the battle-field the white-haired Serbian King. More than forty years earlier King Peter had fought for the French in the Franco-Prussian War. Three times he had been captured by the Germans, and three times he had escaped. No fear had he of Prussian or Austrian, and he led his troops in so furious and unexpected an attack that the whole Austrian army retreated to their own country. Serbia's fall was yet to come, but for a year she was safe.
Germany had planned to become mistress of the seas. She had built the famous Kiel Canal, so that her war vessels could pass easily from the Baltic into the North Sea without having to go around Denmark; and here much of her fleet was gathered. In July, 1914, England had held in the English Channel a review of her warships, 215 in all. They had not dispersed, and so, the moment that war broke out, they were ready to do their part, and they bottled up the German fleet in Wilhelmshaven, west of the Kiel Canal. A few cruisers and torpedo boats escaped the patrol. Any one who knows the career of the German commerce raider Emden, how she destroyed shipping to the value of $10,000,000 before she was sunk by an Australian war vessel, can guess what damage the whole German navy might have done had it not been for the prompt action of the British fleet.
At the end of 1914, England still ruled the seas, but Germany had acquired nearly all of Belgium, about one tenth of France, and part of Russian Poland. At the Eastern Front, as at the Western, the war seemed to have come to a deadlock. The Russians had done excellent work not only in driving the Austrians out of the passes of the Carpathian Mountains, but in occupying the greater part of Austrian Galicia. The results of the war for 1914 have been summed up in one sentence—"Germany had failed to conquer Europe, but Europe had made no progress toward conquering her."
If some dead soldier of our Civil War could come to life and see the present methods of carrying on warfare, he would be far more dazed than Rip Van Winkle ever was. The trench system has already been spoken of. The use of camouflage, the disguise or concealment of objects of war, is not new by any means, but it never was so elaborately done before. Trenches are concealed by sods and branches of trees; vessels are painted, the lower part of the hull to look like waves, the upper in sky-blue; an apparently solid rock in a field may prove to be a gray canvas protection for a man with a gun. A little ammunition shelter was decorated with a picture of a hen and her chicks, and it easily passed for a hen-coop. The Emden changed her paint and set up an extra smokestack to persuade the English that she was one of their own cruisers. The English retaliated in kind by secretly building dummy dreadnaughts of wood, which lay idly in the harbors while the real dreadnaughts were serenely acting as convoy for transports.
Barbed wire has proved a better defense than stone walls. These can be easily shattered, but barbed wire, stretched from post to post in wild entanglements, "looking as if they had been woven by a crazy spider," is slow to yield, even to a storm of shrapnel. It can be cut, of course, but this is rather a dangerous proceeding when under a brisk fire from the enemy. Moreover, the wire is sometimes charged with a high power of electricity, and then any attempt at cutting it has two chances of proving fatal.
Machine guns have proved of great general value, though they look anything but dangerous, "so small, so fine, and such bits of workmanship that one would think to see them that they were a child's playthings."
The famous French "75's" are light in weight, but in general artillery has been growing larger and larger and able to throw shells at a constantly increasing distance. The man who fires the gun has sometimes not even a glimpse of what he is trying to hit. His orders come from the man with a view, who is perhaps hidden in some innocent-looking farm-house on a distant hill, far away from the scene of action, perhaps skillfully camouflaged in the top of a tree, perhaps high up in an airplane, whence he can "wireless" down his directions for the aim.
A weapon revived by the Germans from the Greek fire of ancient times is liquid fire, made of pitch and gasoline or similar substances. A large stream of this fire is started, then a small stream of some mixture that catches fire on reaching the air. This is so timed that it kindles the large stream at whatever moment the man in charge wishes. Besides the heat and flame, this causes a suffocating smell and a heavy smoke.
Even worse than liquid fire is the poison gas set free when the wind is in the right direction to blow it over the trenches of the enemy. It is heavier than air, and so sinks down into the trenches. Other gases are put into shells which burst on reaching the trenches. These gases not only kill men, but often, if they escape death, injure the lungs and cause years of suffering. Scientific men, however, soon invented masks, which, unless the soldier is caught unawares, will protect him from injury. Poison gas is strictly forbidden by the Articles of the Hague, but was introduced by the Germans.
Hand grenades have been much used to hurl into the trenches of the enemy. An instant before being thrown, the fuse is lighted; but if the soldier delays a moment too long, the bomb explodes in his hands.
Shrapnel consists of a case containing so many bullets that a single shell is more deadly than the machine gun at its best. Moreover, while the rifle bullets make a clean hole not difficult to heal, the shrapnel bullets fly unsteadily and tear whatever they touch. Then, too, the pieces of the shell itself make jagged and irregular wounds.
Without wireless telegraphy and the use of the telephone warfare of the present character could not be carried on. The commander of a warship can reach every part of his vessel by telephone. Even on a battle-field, the slender wire does in a moment what was in the Civil War the work of orderlies galloping about with commands. Telephone wires are strung with almost unbelievable rapidity. Two men start off on horseback. One carries a reel of slender wire which unwinds as he goes. The other carries a rod with a hook and lifts the wire to branches of trees. To make the return circuit, a metal rod is driven into the ground at each end of the line, or even into a living tree. By means of this, a commander knows the condition of every company, and they can receive his orders without a moment's delay.
Most interesting of all to the observer is the armored tank, clumsy, unwieldy, lifting up half its body and pawing about in the air as if searching for the best way to go. It rolls itself awkwardly into a deep shell-hole as if it really must see what is down there, then climbs the bank and rumbles on its course. It plunges through small trees and houses, if any are in its way; it roams about in barbed-wire entanglements as if it did not know they were there. It never makes a misstep or misroll—and wanders around with an irresistibly comical air of going all by itself and knowing just what it is about. And all this time it is giving perfect shelter to the men and machine guns which are protected by its plates of steel armor. Some one has said that all the tank lacks is a pocket for carrying prisoners.
The various sorts of flying machines are used in vast numbers. The German Zeppelin is an enormous cucumber-shaped dirigible balloon, lifted by gas bags and propelled by gasoline engines. It has a strong, light aluminum frame and is divided into gas-tight compartments. Compared with the little French Nieuport biplane, it is slow, but it can carry a large weight of bombs, and it can keep still in one place and report by wireless to friends below just what is going on from moment to moment in the enemy's lines. On the other hand, the "Zep" is a mark not especially difficult to hit, even if it is quite high up in the air. The Germans have employed these in raids not only upon London and Paris, but also upon little undefended villages and Red Cross hospitals. So many schools have been struck by their bombs and children killed that they are often called the "baby-killers." Just as the Allies long refused to employ poison gas, so for many months they refused to make air raids; but a stern demand for reprisals sent great battle-planes forth to drop bombs, not upon schoolhouses and hospitals, but upon German barracks and munition factories.
Anti-aircraft guns have now become common, and when the whir of an aircraft is heard, an alarm is given to warn people to keep out of the street and to go to their cellars. Then long rays from electric searchlights flash over the sky and the guns begin to roar. A storm of shrapnel beats upon the aircraft. If the gunners are fortunate in their aim, a Zeppelin or a "plane" tumbles down from the sky. Often airplanes go out to meet airplanes, and there are battles in the air, whose results are known sometimes by the fall of an enemy's shattered machines, sometimes by the failure of the defenders to return.
The "flyers" do many kinds of work. They take snapshots of the country beneath them, which are closely compared with the photographs of the preceding day, and if there is any new bit of camouflage or any change in the position of the enemy, it reveals itself in the film. They drop bombs to destroy railroad bridges and munition works, they direct by wireless from stationary balloons, or "sausages," as has been said before, the fire of the artillery, and they fight with the utmost fearlessness. A later form of the airplane is the hydroplane, an amphibious sort of invention which can fly in the air or float on the water, according to the need of the hour. Airplanes differ in speed and are thus adapted to the special work required of them. One variety can fly 110 miles per hour, carrying 700 pounds of bombs; another, which is called "slow," though it makes 80 miles per hour, can carry 4400 pounds of bombs.
One specially valuable work of the air machines is the discovery of submarines. The submarine under water is invisible at the surface, but from a distance above the surface it can be easily seen. The submarine is not wholly new; indeed, one is said to have been made three hundred years ago; but the kinds now in use were invented some years before the present war by the Americans John P. Holland and Simon Lake. The submarine is a cigar-shaped shell of steel, so filled with complicated machinery that the men who run it have very narrow quarters. It can go on water or under water, and can sink or rise at the will of its commander. When just under water a man in the conning tower can see what is on the surface by means of a periscope. This is an upright tube extending up into the air with such an arrangement of mirrors and lenses that whatever goes on above the water is reflected down into the submarine. When a ship comes into view, and the submarine has reached a convenient position, it fires a torpedo, rises to the surface to observe the result, and if necessary dives. It also carries guns of considerable range; and if the commander thinks it safe, the boat can remain on the surface and destroy any vessel whose guns are of less power.
Halfway between flying machines and railways are the teleferica of Italy. Up to the present time it had been taken for granted that fighting in the Alps must be done in the passes and on the low heights, and that no summits of lofty peaks could be held permanently, for there are no roads above the snow line, and even those below it are often deep in snow for perhaps half a winter at a time. The Italians made up their minds to use the summits if possible. Then came the question how to transport soldiers, munitions, and food from one mountain to another. The teleferica, or far carrier, was originally only a cable stretched from one point to another, on which buckets of ore could travel. The resourceful Italians adopted the idea, stretched hundreds of miles of strong wire cable from mountain to mountain, ran a cage on each cable, and set up a petrol engine to provide power. That is all, but by means of these, thousands of men and hundreds of thousands of tons of food and munitions have been carried, and not one passenger has ever lost his life in an accident. Wounded men, wrapped in blankets, are often sent a mile or so by teleferica, and sometimes—thanks to the slender cable—the prompt operation which will save a man's life can be performed within an hour after he has been wounded.
Perhaps not exactly "methods of warfare," but certainly of great assistance in warfare, are mules and horses, homing pigeons, and dogs. Motors do not fill the place of horses and mules by any means. It is estimated that, entirely aside from the requirements of the cavalry, one horse is needed to every four men. The horse will go over ground too rough for the motor, and even over ditches and through ploughed fields where a motor would flounder helplessly. The motor car can usually carry supplies of food and ammunition to within five miles of the fighting line, but the horse or mule must do the rest.
Homing pigeons are the best carriers of messages in the employ of the army. Pigeon lofts, looking like lunch carts, are drawn up behind the lines, and from there the birds are taken to the men who are to form scouting or attacking parties. Patrol boats and U-boats carry pigeons, aviators send them home with messages written on thin paper and fastened in a capsule to one of their legs. The pigeon never loses his sense of direction. Even if he is set free in the midst of a heavy barrage fire, he flies up as fearlessly as if he knew what an impossible mark he is for an enemy's gun, circles around once to get his bearings, and then starts for his own loft at astounding speed. Pigeons can fly sixty miles an hour and have been known to make eight hundred miles on a single flight. At one of our camps a message of moderate length was started at the same moment by dog, wireless, and pigeon, to a distant place. The pigeon-borne message arrived in two and one half minutes. Even the wireless lagged behind, for it took longer than that to relay the message and deliver it.
The work of the dog is exceedingly valuable and greatly varied. For drawing carts the Belgians have long used a cross between the Great Dane and the mastiff, such a dog as is the hero of Ouida's story, A Dog of Flanders. He now draws light guns, and with dogs of other breeds has been taught to search out wounded men, running back with a cap, a button gnawed from their clothing, or, as trained in some armies, carrying in his mouth a loose strap left hanging from his collar and thus showing that he has found some one in need. Dogs have been brought from Alaska to drag supplies and ammunition on narrow-gauge tracks laid over the Vosges Mountains. They also carry food and hot coffee to the men in the first trenches when the firing is protracted. They carry messages to the firing-line when communication has been in any manner cut off. They accompany sentinels and patrols and keep close beside listening-posts, ready to indicate the direction of the danger by "pointing." They help kill the rats in the trenches; and not the least of their services is acting as pets for the soldiers. They wear gas-masks like "other folk," though they were at first greatly mortified at appearing in public in such a costume; and if they are wounded, they are carried to hospitals and are cared for by skillful specialists. Like other folk, too, they receive badges of honor. More than one dog has got a message through, thus saving a whole battalion or system of trenches, and has received from France the highest decoration for bravery that the country can give.
England has a veterinary corps attached to every brigade. A horse that is injured hopelessly is put out of his suffering by a prompt and merciful death. One that can be saved is carried in a horse ambulance to the hospital and given water, food, and a bed of straw. If the horse is sleepy, he is first allowed to rest as long as he likes, for the veterinaries know well that sleep is his best medicine. Then he is washed, and his wounds dressed. Even after he recovers, if he needs rest he is sent to pasture for a while before returning to the front. Thousands of horses that would have died in lingering agony on the battle-field are saved by this treatment; and whenever a horse "over there" is saved, the need of sending one from "over here" is prevented. England soon found her regular corps insufficient, and appealed to the Royal Humane Society for help. The Blue Star, as the animal relief society is called in France, has twelve or more base hospitals and a number of first-aid hospitals, but very many more are needed. The American Humane Association, at the request of the Secretary of War, is doing the same kind of work under the name of the Red Star.
Dogs and horses are just as lonesome and nervous and homesick as people. In war they are just as much exposed to danger as are the men, and they suffer just as much from liquid fire burns, from gas, shrapnel wounds, and shell shock. Well deserved is the noble prayer of the Russians, "for the innocent beasts who, together with us, have borne the danger and burden of the day."
The old pictures of warfare with troops drawn up in opposing lines, graceful clouds of smoke rising here and there, and picturesque "tented fields" in the distance are quite out of date. In these days the men are hidden in trenches, often only two or three hundred yards apart, sometimes even less, but invisible to their opponents. Some of Kitchener's men did not see a German for weeks, even though they kept close watch with their field-glasses and periscopes.
Something was going on, however, most of the time. Shells were tearing great holes in the trenches, rifles were cracking, and when the shrapnel, or shells full of bullets, came, "It was just like trying to dodge raindrops in a shower," said one Tommy. At night things happened. Men slipped out in the darkness over "No Man's Land," a wild, shell-torn area between the lines which has been described as "all holes tied together." There they mended the barbed-wire tangles; they cut grass and weeds lest these should protect some patrol of the enemy; they brought up food and ammunition from the wagons back of the lines; and they always had trenches to repair after the usual bomb-throwing. There were "listening parties," who stole out in front of the enemy's trenches to learn if possible what was going on either above ground or below it, and there were bombing parties, when men crept in the darkness close up to the enemy, threw bombs wherever they heard voices, then dropped flat upon the ground to await a chance to wriggle toward the home lines. This was what went on while the newspapers were reporting "Nothing doing on the Western Front."
When an engagement was to come, aircraft became more numerous, watching the lines of the enemy; the front trenches and those back of them were crowded with soldiers and the batteries fired a barrage, or curtain of shells, at the enemy's trenches. Under shelter of this, the men dashed forward "over the top." Suddenly the barrage firing ceased, and a fierce attack on the trenches of the enemy was made. If the assault succeeded, men ran forward with sandbags to build up parapets on the farther side of the captured trench to shield them from the enemy's return fire; men of the signal corps darted across No Man's Land, unwinding spools of telephone wire as they ran; and the riflemen waited ready for the counter-attack.
Through 1915 there was an occasional attack on the Western Front by one side or the other. At Neuve Chapelle, not far from Lille in France, there was a three days' struggle. The English were gaining. Then came four and a half hours when every minute seemed to them an age, for their hope of victory lay in keeping up their barrage fire till reinforcements arrived, and ammunition was low. The German guns pounded away, but the English response was more and more feeble; the ammunition had given out. Neuve Chapelle was "a victory that halted."
In April, 1915, another struggle was made by the Germans for the town of Ypres—Tommy's "Wipers." Here for the first time poison gas was used. The Germans had compressed it into steel cylinders and when these were opened, the gas rolled along before the wind. It was a terrible surprise, and nearly a whole division of the French, 19,000 men, was destroyed. Germany had felt certain that England's colonies would never stand by her, and had expected some of them to seize the opportunity to cut loose from their allegiance. Instead of this, they vied with one another in rushing to her aid, and here at Ypres was a Canadian brigade. Owing to the direction of the wind, they escaped much of the gas. They charged upon the German troops and halted their advance. Again and again after this the Germans let loose the poisonous gas against the Canadians and also a division of England's Indian army. Gas-masks, however, were supplied, and soon the splendid valor of the Canadians had a better chance. The result was that, although the Allies were obliged to shorten their lines by Ypres, the Germans failed to take the city and were driven back to the eastward.
Both France and England had learned that they must make ready to meet an enemy who had long been preparing for this war. France had lost her coal-mines, her iron-mines, and her largest factories, and had not a ton of the chief high explosive on hand when the war opened. She sent to England for coal, to Spain for iron, to America for machinery. She made over automobile factories, repair shops, anything that contained a bit of machinery, into manufactories of shells and guns. She fed and clothed her armies. She sent ammunition to Serbia and artillery to Italy after that country entered the war. She put herself at the head of the flying business, and supplied airplanes not only for herself, but for Italy, Russia, and England. Wherever women could become the workers, men were spared to join the troops.
The English were even less prepared for war than France, but their lesson was soon learned. The later recruits to "Kitchener's Mob" had uniforms and whatever else was needed. When the moment came to take the train, the train was ready to be taken.
Half an hour was allowed for loading. In half an hour the loading was done, the train rolled out and a second rolled in. So it went on until every man was at the wharf ready to go "somewhere in France." Two mine-destroyers guarded each transport, one on either side, fifty yards distant.
As for the people who "kept the home fires burning," they too were hard at work for England. Tobacco factories began to manufacture shells; people who had worked on pianos now made rifle stocks; the gramophone ceased its wails, for its makers were now making fuses. Mechanics who had been stamping out the peaceful trousers button now began to stamp out disks for cartridges. The wonder of it was the rapidity with which everybody learned to do everything. Gardeners and porters worked in iron foundries as if they had been used to such labor from boyhood. Society women handled lathes and helped make munitions as if they had always done so.
Meanwhile, what was the great republic across the Atlantic about during those tempestuous days? She was trying hard to keep neutral, to favor neither side. Of course, every man, even in a neutral land, has a right to his own opinion, and if he chooses he may even lend money to a country at war. The behavior of a neutral government, however, is a different matter. A neutral government must treat contending nations exactly alike. It must not lend or give money or supplies to either nation; it must not allow troops for either to be enlisted within its boundaries; it must not allow its territory to become a base for fitting out ships or expeditions against either side.
These are the duties of a neutral government, but it also has rights. These are chiefly concerned with its commerce. This commerce must not be interfered with except in so far as may be necessary to maintain a blockade or shut from an opponent "contraband of war"—that is, articles of use in war.
In the matter of trade our first difference of opinion was with England, who had declared a blockade of German ports. This is permitted by international law, that is, the rules upon which the principal nations have agreed; but there has always been controversy in regard to details. Only one principle has been recognized by all nations, namely, that a blockade must not be a "paper blockade," but must be effective. This means that a coast declared to be blockaded must be so closely watched by its enemy that any vessel attempting to break through the blockade will be in real danger of capture. The mere proclamation of a blockade is not sufficient. Vessels enforcing a blockade have been expected to remain near the enemy's harbors, so as not to interfere with ocean traffic; but in these days of submarines, mines, and aircraft, it would be exceedingly dangerous for any vessel to attempt to remain near the harbor of an enemy; therefore England declared that ships passing a line drawn from the northern point of the Hebrides through the Faroe Islands to Iceland would do so at their own peril. This shut off a large area of the ocean from neutral trade.
Such trade was also interfered with in another way. The German Government had taken possession of all the food in Germany, in order that it might see to it first of all that the troops were well provisioned; therefore, England declared that she would prevent food and other contraband from going to Germany, not only directly, but also through neutral countries. The United States protested earnestly against this. England pointed out that neutral countries had increased their importation of certain substances used in war, like copper and rubber, far beyond what they themselves could use; and that Holland, for instance, even if she agreed to send no American leather to Germany, could easily export all that she produced if she was getting from the United States what she needed for herself. England also explained that in several cases our ships had brought in contraband under false manifestoes, and that, therefore, her only course was to take the vessels into port and examine their cargoes. Of course this caused delay, and sometimes perishable cargoes might be injured or even spoiled, but she agreed to pay for all damages that might be caused by her action. This was not very different from the policy that we had followed toward England during our Civil War in regard to her trade with Mexico and the West Indies.
Meanwhile Germany had been building submarines and sending them to sea as fast as she could. Her fleet was bottled up in the Baltic Sea, and she depended upon the underwater craft to destroy merchant vessels and so prevent food and munitions of war from reaching her enemies. She now declared that just as far as possible she should destroy without warning every enemy vessel coming into the waters surrounding the British Isles, from the Faroe Islands to Spain and from Norway to the twentieth degree of west longitude. To destroy a merchant ship without examination to see whether she carries contraband is contrary to international law; and to sink her without making sure of the safety of her passengers and crew is not only contrary to law, but to common humanity. Germany said that, if she gave warning, the merchant ships would escape, and that, as for passengers, a submarine had no accommodations for them; therefore, she would not be bound by any law unless the United States would induce England to give up her attempts to keep food from the Central Powers. She advised neutrals not to make use of the vessels of the Allies, and closed with the suggestion of a threat—that the submarines might not always be able to recognize neutrals. Apparently they were not able, for American ships were sunk without warning. Thus England and Germany interfered with our trade; but Germany also took the lives of American citizens, a very different matter. As to the question of indemnity, England promptly offered to make good all damages; Germany evaded and excused. This is the way matters stood at the end of 1914.
Germany was angry with us for not attempting to control England, but she was even more angry because our Government did not forbid the sale of ammunition and guns to the Allies. She was fully prepared for the short war that she had planned; but now that it threatened to be a long war needing a vast amount of ammunition, she wished, like the Allies, to be able to buy it. The merchants of every country have the legal right to sell such articles in war as well as in peace, and Germany had been perfectly willing to sell to belligerent nations in other wars. We were willing to sell to Germany as well as to the Allies, but we had not the ships to deliver the articles to either party. The Allies could send vessels, while Germany could not; therefore, Germany wanted the trade stopped; that is, she wanted the rules changed in the middle of the game. Yet Germany had sold munitions to Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904; to Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898; and in the Boer War of 1899 she had sold to England, although the Boers, like the Germans to-day, were shut away from markets. Moreover, taking a wider view of the subject, if a nation could not in its hour of need buy munitions in the open market, then a militarist nation like Germany, which at all times makes a business of manufacturing and exporting them, one firm alone employing 42,000 men in time of peace, would have a great advantage over nations which did not engage in such manufactures. The result would be that in order to provide for its own defense, each nation would be forced to accumulate to the extent of its ability whatever would be of use in war.
Germany became more and more angry. The United States, too, was becoming aroused, for many fires and explosions in this country had been found to be the work of Germans in the pay of the German Government. American ships flying the American flag, and even Red Cross ships with their symbol and their names painted on their sides were torpedoed without warning. In one case, indeed, a warning was given, and the captain was allowed just five minutes to get off his 250 passengers and crew! The ship was torpedoed before the lifeboats could be lowered, and nearly half of those on board lost their lives. This was about as near a state of war as anything could be. Protests to Germany met the reply that Germany was not to blame; it was all the fault of England, who was trying to starve her.
By both words and deeds Germany had declared that she believed in conducting war with "frightfulness"; that is, with such cruelty and ferocity that her adversaries would in mortal terror yield to her at once. In accordance with this theory, she decided to destroy the Lusitania, a great passenger steamer plying between this country and England. Apparently she preferred not to become any further involved with the United States, for several persons were warned by anonymous telephone messages not to sail by this vessel, and the German Embassy in this country published a warning over its own signature. No one was alarmed, for no one supposed it possible that any country would commit such a deed as Germany had planned, and a number of Americans sailed on the steamer. To sink a transport carrying troops is as much an act of war as a battle is; but to sink a passenger vessel of non-combatants is not war, it is murder. The Lusitania was torpedoed without warning, and 1153 of her 1917 passengers were drowned, men, women, and little children, 114 of them citizens of the United States. Americans were overwhelmed with the horror of such an atrocity. Germany expressed her regret at the loss of life, but said it was the fault of her enemies; that England was trying to starve her, and she was forced to retaliate. She struck a medal in honor of the crime and gave her school-children a three-days' holiday for rejoicing.
President Wilson sent to Germany a series of dignified notes, and declared that she would be held to strict accountability, but did not succeed in inducing her even to agree to any reparation. How little real regret was felt for the act was well indicated by one of the Berlin papers, which published a picture of an American vessel with its bow-sprit piercing a note. Germans doubled up with laughter stood on the wharf, exclaiming, "Another!"
Americans began to think. We had heard reports of the cruelty of the Germans to the Belgians and others; and we had sent money and food to the suffering people, but we could hardly believe that these reports had not been greatly exaggerated. Careful investigations were now made. It was shown that the Germans had poisoned wells, scattered germs of disease, bombed hospitals, schoolhouses, and orphan asylums; that non-combatants, not only men but women and little children, had been killed in large numbers; that they had been forced with bayonet thrusts to walk in front of German troops in order to shield them from bullets; that prisoners and wounded had been murdered in order to get rid of them. German soldiers were asked to keep diaries. From those found on prisoners and from articles in the German newspapers it was seen that these crimes had not been committed by excited, disobedient soldiers, but under strict orders from headquarters, and that this "frightfulness" was the kind of warfare which Germany deliberately planned. War is horrible at the best, and the chief nations of the world have held several conferences at The Hague in Holland, and there agreed never to commit such crimes as those that have been mentioned. Germany was one of those nations, and these acts of cruelty were violations of her solemn pledges.
In 1914, the Russians, as has been said, were in possession of most of Galicia, and they were so sure of getting it all that they appointed a governor-general for "the new Russian province." They were besieging Przemysl at the end of the year. Russia and Germany each maintained a line of forts along the boundary; and in Poland no enemies had come within range of the Russian fortifications. At the end of 1914, the Russians held the best position. They now made a plan to advance in the same eastern corner of Germany that they had tried in 1914. On the German line of defense there were forests and swamps and lakes, with fortifications wherever they were needed. The Russians, pushed on eagerly. They made their way through forests, they dashed into frozen morasses. No large numbers of Germans had appeared, and what they had met were gradually falling back. The Russians did not guess that this was a trick, and they pushed on and on, far into the country of the Mazurian Lakes. Then there sprang up before them a great German force with Von Hindenburg as its leader. The Russians lost vast numbers of men either killed or captured. One whole corps disappeared. Many days later, one division of this corps made their appearance. They had been struggling over frozen morasses, in pathless forests, and through deep snows. Little by little, other divisions succeeded in joining their own troops.
At the end of 1914 the Russians had taken Lemberg and were besieging Przemysl. Przemysl would have fared better if it had not had so many men to use up its food. When the Austrians had been obliged to retreat before the Russians, many of them had taken refuge in this place, and there they had remained. In every siege that is kept up long enough, provisions are certain to fail. The Russians did not trouble themselves to make attacks on the fort; they had only to wait until the Austrians within were hungry enough to surrender. The Austrians without tried to slip through the Carpathian passes to help their friends. They themselves made sorties, at first trying to break the siege, then trying only to capture supplies. Scores of men were dying every day. At length, after seven months' resistance, the Austrians within the fort surrendered to the besieging Russian army.
The 100,000 men who had been carrying on the siege of Przemysl were now free to meet the troops of the Central Powers in the Carpathian passes. Unfortunately for the Russians, these men were chiefly cavalry and artillery, neither of which is of much use in mountain fighting. The German and Austrian troops swarmed into Galicia. They had 4000 guns, half of them of large size. It has been estimated that shells enough were thrown to average 140 pounds of iron for every Russian engaged in the struggle. The Russians were in as bad a condition as the English at Neuve Chapelle, for now they had not nearly enough artillery. To save the men or save the guns was the question. There were so few guns that they did not dare to lose them, and the men were sacrificed. The Russians were forced to retreat. Then came a struggle of nearly three weeks to recapture Przemysl. The Germans were successful. Lemberg also soon fell into their hands. Warsaw had to yield, and the Russians were again driven into retreat.
Russia had vast numbers of trained men, but not many guns; and there are reasons for thinking that certain high officials favored the Germans and sent thousands of their countrymen to their death rather than harm the Central Powers. It is possible that this is why the Grand Duke Nicholas could not risk large battles, knowing that if his ammunition failed, Russia might be out of the war for months. Evidently he and the Czar had some disagreement, for the Grand Duke was sent to take command of the troops in the Caucasus, a less important position, and the Czar himself became the head of the forces on the western boundary. This leadership of the Czar was only in name, and his chief of staff was the real commander.
The Austrians had been driven out of Serbia, but they had no idea of staying out, and one commander after another tried his luck against the resolute Serbians. These Serbians had also another enemy, typhus fever. To overcome this, a company of American Red Cross nurses and physicians went to Serbia, established camps and hospitals, and so brought the disease under control. In the autumn the German general Von Mackensen massed his troops at the northern boundary of Serbia. Bulgaria now joined the Central Powers. After the Second Balkan War she had been deprived of districts wherein lived many of her nation. She was especially angry with Serbia, and it was not a difficult matter for Germany to induce her by promises of territory to become an ally. This alliance cleared the way for Germany's direct route from Berlin to Constantinople, save for the short distance across the corner of Serbia. The struggle of Serbia against Bulgaria and the Central Powers went on for months, but at the end of the year 1915 the Serbians held only a tiny strip of territory in the west and another in the south of their country.
Russia in all her military actions was badly handicapped by her position. On a map she looks at the first glance big enough to subdue the rest of Europe all by herself; but during this war she was almost as helpless in getting supplies as little San Marino would have been if Italy had been unfriendly. What Russia needed was a way of getting into the Mediterranean, for the Mediterranean would be open at all seasons of the year. The only way to bring this about was to take the Strait of the Dardanelles, bring a fleet through it, and capture Constantinople. If this could be done, the power of Turkey would be broken; her attacks on Egypt and the Suez Canal and her mischief-making in Persia would cease. Russia would be immensely strengthened because she could then reach markets where she could buy all that she needed to carry on the war. Moreover, it was quite probable that if Constantinople was held by the Allies, the Balkan States that had not quite decided where to stand would join them. And, too, there was another reason, not so unimportant as it may seem; Constantinople is a city with a history stretching back many centuries. It has been besieged more than thirty times, but captured only three times, the last time having been nearly five hundred years ago. To take Constantinople would be a vast gain in itself, of course, but it would loom up in men's minds even greater than it really was and would give more encouragement to the Allies than any other single event could do. It was a great undertaking with enormous risk, but the French and English decided to attempt it.
The Strait of the Dardanelles is forty-seven miles long. Most of it is three or four miles wide, although at its narrowest place it is only one mile in width, and with wind and current permitting, one could row from Europe to Asia in a few minutes. It is more like a river than a strait, only its current flows both ways at the same time, for there is a surface current from the Black Sea and an undercurrent from the Mediterranean. The surface current would help the Turks in using floating mines, and the undercurrent would help the Allies in sending their submarines from the Mediterranean toward Constantinople.
The Allies expected to have aid from Greece, because Venizelos, the Greek Premier, favored them and had invited them to come; but just at this time Venizelos was put out of office. They made no change in their plans, however, but brought a great fleet of French and English ships together and took for their base the little islands of Lemnos and Tenedos. This is the part of the world which was the scene of many of the stories of ancient times. When after the Trojan War the Greeks pretended to have sailed away from Troy and left the wooden horse behind them filled with armed men, they hid their ships behind Tenedos; and when Alexander the Great set out to conquer Asia, he built a bridge of boats across the Dardanelles.
The strait was splendidly protected by fortifications at either end, by forts between, by the best of artillery, by mine fields, floating mines, and torpedo boats. Any nation might well hesitate to attack such a place, but the English and French sent a magnificent fleet against it. The guns of the ships had a much longer range than those of the forts at the entrance of the strait, and before many days had passed, the batteries were silenced. This, however, was only the beginning. By the bombardment the mines at the western end of the strait had been cleared away, and now the ships steamed in to attack the forts at the narrowest part of the strait, which were much stronger than those at the entrance. After some resistance these forts ceased firing. Apparently they had been silenced, and the warships moved on. Suddenly the Turkish guns began to blaze and mines floated swiftly down upon the fleet. Three of the great battleships were sunk. The others withdrew into the Mediterranean.
Military experts declare that there is one lesson which has to be learned anew in almost every war. It is that coast defenses of the best sort can resist the attacks of any fleet of the day. The Allies had now found this to be true. They made another plan. They decided to land on Gallipoli, the long, narrow peninsula which forms the western shore of the strait. It is a rich, fertile country, but a particularly poor place for the landing of troops, for it is bordered by steep cliffs, and there are only a few beaches where landing is possible. These beaches were of fine, slippery sand, and back of them was a steeply rising ground or cliff of sandstone and clay. In the little hollows of the shore barbed-wire entanglements were cunningly hidden. In the face of the cliffs holes had been cut, and here sat sharp-shooters, with machine guns, while at the top of the cliffs were Turks, good fighters, particularly behind fortifications, and they had been trained by the Germans in all the latest fashions of warfare.
Nevertheless, the troops determined to land. The men were French, English, Irish, Indian, and "Anzac," whose name was manufactured from the initials of "Australian-New Zealand Army Corps." They have been described as a "fine lot of men, generally tall, broad-shouldered, and young. They swing along at an easy pace, their big hats turned up at one side, their jackets rather loose, high boots, and enormous spurs." They were a very independent troop and had not much regard for military etiquette. One of them said the world was so full of officers it made him feel like a human windmill to salute whenever he met one of them.
These Anzacs had no notion of fear, and when the landing at Suvla Bay was to be made, they swung up the beach on the run, apparently not noticing the fact that they were in a storm of bullets. Straight up the cliffs they scrambled in spite of the Turks, and quite as if they were on their way to a picnic. It was two days before a line of the Allies could be formed, for there were encounters everywhere. In some the Allies won, in some the Turks. The Anzacs fought splendidly; but so did the French and the English and the Irish and the Indians. There were no cowards at Gallipoli. But there was no permanent success for the Allies. The submarines ran all risks of mines, nets, underwater bombs, and slipped into the Sea of Marmora, sinking vessel after vessel, one of them actually close to the Constantinople quay; but the Allies had no land forces to back them up. The losses from battle were enormous, and the swarms of flies and the poor water brought sickness upon the troops. Just after the close of the year the Allied forces were withdrawn; the attempt to take Constantinople had failed completely.
The Allies had but little success to show for the year 1915. On the Western Front they had met with small losses, it is true, but their gains were equally small. On the Eastern Front, Germany had practically driven the Russians out of eastern Germany, Poland, and Galicia. She had overpowered Serbia, and had held Constantinople. She had lost no territory on the Continent of Europe. On the other hand, the sinking of neutral ships and the torpedoing of the Lusitania had aroused the indignation of the United States, and the Allies had been busy among the German colonies. Japan had taken Kiao-chau in China, and also several groups of islands lying to the southeast of that district. England had taken the German settlements of New Guinea and also some neighboring islands. Germany still held some of her territory in Africa, German East Africa on the eastern coast and Kamerun on the western. If she could win the war, it would be an easy matter to recover her colonial possessions. It was a hard year for the Allies.
The year 1916 began with a struggle which lasted for six long months to decide whether a certain little town in France should be captured by the Central Powers or remain in the hands of the French.
That little town was Verdun. It runs up the hill from the Meuse River to the cathedral built long before America was discovered. It is not far from the border-line between France and Germany, and after the Franco-Prussian War the French set to work to make it the strongest town in their country. It is much more than merely a "fortified town"; it is a wide area of land with fortified positions at every turn—not in plain view by any means, but concealed so cunningly that the sharpest eyes could not discover them. There are secret roads, mysterious gun-pits, where one would never think of looking for a gun, but so placed that one or another of them can command every approach. Underground there is a whole labyrinth of passageways, besides galleries, tunnels, winding staircases, and a great number of rooms for all purposes, well ventilated and lighted with electricity. One might be roaming about aboveground, thinking himself almost alone; but if an alarm was signaled, troops would suddenly spring up from cellars and caves in the rock and all sorts of unexpected places. Around Verdun are wooded hills, and they too have been skillfully fortified. All these are the older defenses. More recently trenches have been made in most intricate arrangement and wild entanglements of barbed wire have been placed.
This is the fortress that the Crown Prince of Germany strove for six months to capture. It was the military key to western France, and, like Constantinople, it had a great sentimental value. Then too, thrones are a bit uncertain in these days, and many people thought that the German Crown Prince was determined to strengthen his hold upon the German folk by so notable a conquest. However that may be, the military people of Verdun suspected early in the year that something was going to happen. Soldiers and guns were brought up in great numbers. There were attacks on the Allies here and there along the Western Front, and the Kaiser paid a visit to his troops. Moreover, there was a certain stir and restlessness which soldiers known how to interpret. In the later part of February the attack began, and it continued until almost the end of the year with now and then a lull of a few days.
The hero of Verdun was General Pétain, tall, slender, and inclined to be silent. Before the war he was a retired colonel. Joffre, however, has a way of finding out when people have anything in them, and he called him back to service. Twice he was promoted within a year, and the was put in command at Verdun. This was the silent man's opportunity, and he showed himself a genius in military strategy. The attack upon Verdun was carried on with ammunition in unlimited quantities and guns and men in unlimited numbers. The fighting as a whole was of the most terrible nature, with all the horrors of modern guns and modern explosives, but by the skill of the French general and the bravery of the French soldiers Verdun stood.
But what was England about that she did not come to the help of Verdun? That is what the fault-finders were asking. England was no "slacker." Within one week of the outbreak of war, she had sent 40,000 men across the Channel. Within one month 500,000 had enlisted; two months later, the sum was 1,000,000; and in three months from then, 500,000 more had joined the ranks. "As to the women," said the superintendent of one of the government factories, "I can tell you of a surgical-dressing factory near here, where for nearly a year the women never had a holiday. They simply would not take one. 'And what'll our men at the front do, if we go holiday-making?' they said." Just now England was hard at work on her plans and had no idea of explaining them to anybody. General Haig was in command, a canny Scot, with a charming manner but an expression that said, "I purpose to see this job through." He had been examining the lay of the land opposite the English front on the Somme River. He was quietly building roads and a railway, and before long motor trucks and caterpillar tractors were bringing guns, shells, barbed wire, howitzers, bombs, and hospital tents. Landscape painters were called upon to help in the camouflage, and airmen sailed aloft to see how well they had succeeded. One succeeded altogether too well, if we may trust the story, for he camouflaged so perfectly the van in which homing pigeons had been brought that on their return they did not recognize it.
The preparations for what is now called the battle of the Somme continued. At length the word was given, and on the morning of July 1 the struggle began, directed by General Haig and Marshal Joffre. It did not end until the November rains brought it to a close. Fighting went on furiously, frequently as severe as at Verdun. It was here that the Germans had their first experience of a great lumbering "tank," that roamed about like a gigantic caterpillar, but sent forth death and destruction in a fashion quite unlike caterpillars or anything else that the Germans had ever seen. Of course the commanders had hoped to break through the German lines and drive the invaders out of France. They had not done this, but they had kept large forces away from Verdun and had also made it possible for Russia to win a victory in the East.
During this year 1916 there were three especially important events in the history of the war. One was the siege of Verdun; one was the battle of the Somme; and the third was an engagement which took place in the North Sea on the last day of May, between the English and the German fleets.
During the war the English took the Orkney Islands for their naval base, and frequently they made "sweeps" through the North Sea. One afternoon in May, when the English cruisers were off the coast of Jutland, they met the German fleet, "spoiling for a fight." In the old stories of pirates a sea-fight was carried on by grappling two vessels together, the men of one boarding the other, and fighting hand to hand with swords and cutlasses and anything else that was convenient. In a modern naval battle the ships are miles apart, and the gunners would find swords and cutlasses somewhat in their way. All the afternoon the vessels of the two fleets fought, but the English kept an eye to the north, for Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, one hundred miles away, had been sent for by wireless. Just before six o'clock his fleet of battleships made their appearance. Twilight soon came on, and the rest of the fighting was done in the dark. The English had no idea of ceasing to fight, but they discovered that their enemies had slipped away. To follow them into their mine-strewn area would have been utter folly, so they waited till morning. The Germans hastened to publish it abroad that they had won a great victory; but in the morning, when the English were patrolling off Jutland, not a German vessel appeared, nor was the German fleet seen again till one day nearly three months later, when it showed itself in the North Sea. Luck was against it, for the English were there also, and the fleet withdrew. The English navy has a proud record. It has cleared the ocean of German craft, has practically ended German commerce, and has by its protection made the commerce of the Allies possible.
Several other countries had now entered the war. Portugal was bound by treaty to assist England if at any time her aid should be needed. She had other reasons for fighting Germany, however, for both countries had territory in Africa, and to make sure of her own possessions, Portugal had promptly attacked those of Germany. Early in 1916 she confiscated some German ships which lay in her harbors; and not many days later Germany declared war on the little country.
Italy had belonged to the Triple Alliance for thirty years; but in this time her relations with the Allies, and especially with France, had been growing more cordial, while her relations with the Central Powers had been growing less cordial. The cause of this was chiefly a question of territory. When the present kingdom of Italy was formed, in 1861, there was considerable territory which was inhabited by Italians, but had not become part of the new kingdom. Winning this from foreign control came to be called "redeeming Italy," and the Italian districts still remaining in the hands of Austria were spoken of as "Italia irredenta," or unredeemed Italy. These districts lay about Trieste and the Trentino, and the lay of the land was such that it would be comparatively easy for Austria to push down into Italy, and not at all easy for Italy to thrust herself up into Austria. Italy wanted these districts, but Austria held on to them. Moreover, Austria, supported by Germany, had violated the Treaty of Berlin and had already seized upon Bosnia and Herzegovina. If she also got possession of Serbia, she would be able to stretch still farther down the eastern side of the Adriatic. Austria had no idea of yielding, and in 1915 Italy declared war on her.
Italy's example was followed by her little friend San Marino, the oldest state in Europe, and the smallest republic in the world, for it contains only thirty-eight square miles. It looks upon Americans as its foster children, and declares proudly that the United States has adopted the Sammarinese form of Government. The independent little republic lies in the mountains about one hundred miles south of Venice, and near the eastern coast of Italy. It has been described as "a piece of land entirely surrounded by Italy." In 1916 Italy, but not San Marino, declared war on Germany.
The "Fronts" had become many. There was now an Italian Front, a Galician Front, and an Armenian Front, to say nothing of invasions and attacks in numerous other places.
Of course long before this, when the war was only a few months old, the Turks had set their eyes upon Egypt and the Suez Canal. Egypt is ruled by England, and the Suez Canal is of great importance to all nations that trade with the East, and especially to England. That is why the Turks determined to attack it. Aside from the question of fighting, this was rather a difficult task, for the Turks had to cross the Sinai Peninsula, which extends into the Red Sea, and carry their artillery and supplies with them. Moreover, there are no railroads on this peninsula. Nevertheless, they succeeded and launched their boats on the canal. It was night, but the English troops discovered them, and the Turks fled. Through 1916, they kept troops in sight of the canal as a threat, but the English also kept troops there and were ready at any moment to defend the canal if necessary.
Things were particularly active near the Caucasus Mountains, to which the Grand Duke Nicholas had been sent after his disagreement with the Czar. Southwest of Caucasia is Armenia, a part of Turkey in Asia. The Armenians have for hundreds of years been oppressed by the Turks. During the last quarter of a century there have been at least three savage attempts, which the Turkish Government either planned or connived at, to destroy the whole race. In 1915 came the most terrible persecution of all. Thousands of Armenians were slaughtered on the spot. Other thousands were driven from their homes out into the deserts of Arabia, where starvation and exhaustion and the brutality of their merciless guards ended their lives. So far as the Turks gave any excuse for this barbarous act, it was that the Armenians would aid the Russians. During the earlier massacres England, France, and Russia had threatened and protested and had at length brought Turkey to terms. In this, the most terrible massacre of all, there was only one country that could have stopped her—Germany. And Germany said not a word.
When the Allies gave up the attempt to capture Constantinople and their troops moved away, the Grand Duke knew very well that some of the Turks would come at once to fight his Russian army in Armenia. He had been planning an attack upon two important cities in Armenia, Erzerum and Trebizond; and now he hastened to make the attack before the coming of the Turks from Gallipoli.
The Grand Duke had the advantage of a railroad which would land his supplies only eighty miles from Erzerum; but the Turks had a hard time getting theirs, for their nearest railroad was four hundred and forty miles from Erzerum. It would have been simple and easy if the Black Sea had been open to them, but that was in the hands of the Russians, and the Russians were decidedly successful in sinking ships. The Russians captured Erzerum with its guns and ammunition and stores of all sorts. A little later they took Trebizond. The Grand Duke had made a fine record for himself in Armenia.
The Russians had been driven out of Germany and Galicia and they had lost Poland; but they held a line from the Gulf of Riga to the border of Rumania. They had had a busy winter, and they had brought together a vast amount of ammunition. They planned a drive into Galicia, and they made it, for they captured Czernovitz, a city which they had taken in 1914, but had been obliged to surrender; then took one place after another, successful in whatever they attempted and taking thousands of Austrian prisoners. Russia was in her glory.
While the Grand Duke was capturing towns in Armenia, the English were attacking the Turks in Mesopotamia, or the country between the rivers, the place where some people think the Garden of Eden was situated. Late in 1914 the English with troops from India had sailed up the Persian Gulf and defeated the Turks near the head of the Gulf. They hoped to get possession of Baghdad, the city of the Arabian Nights, and the place which Germany planned to make the terminus of her railroad. They now came within about one hundred miles of the city of many stories, but when they had reached the little Arab village of Kut-el-Amara, the Turks surrounded them and settled down comfortably to starve them out. The native Arabs tried their best to leave the town, but "the more, the hungrier," reasoned the Turks, and drove them back. The besieged troops were not strong enough to make a sortie. Sickness appeared among them, and the medicines gave out. English aeroplanes dropped into the village, not bombs, but 1800 pounds of food; but this did not last long when there were so many starving people to eat it. An expedition sent out for their relief had to turn back; and soon the Turks were rejoicing over a surrender.
Waging war on the Italian Front was no easy matter. Indeed, the Italians have struggled under greater difficulties than any other nation. Their line of trenches is longer than the whole Western Front; and many of these trenches have been dug out of snow and ice or blasted out of solid rock. In the valleys the Italians have fought in a burning heat, in the lowlands they have fought in water up to their waists. The Italian mountaineers, the wonderful Alpini, are not only experts on skis, but they know how to drive iron pegs into rocky walls and so clamber up precipices. They can make their barracks in caverns of ice, and more than once sudden storms have shut them up on their mountain peaks from December to April.
In the struggle for Trieste the Austrians quietly brought their troops from Russia to Trent, and collected supplies and ammunition in that place. They had the great advantage of being on high land, while the Italians were on low land. Suddenly the Austrians attacked their adversaries with heavy bombardment and drove them back to their frontier. General Cadorna was now made commander-in-chief. His plans did not include retreating, and before long he pushed forward, and now it was the turn of the Austrians to retreat. The Italians drove onward, and soon did part of what they had wanted to do, they captured Gorizia, thirteen miles from Trieste, and detachments of Italian cavalry entered the city in triumph with the King of Italy at their head. But they had only begun to carry out their plans. Trieste, the port that they had longed for, was so near that they hoped to push on and capture it. But the winter came upon them and the fulfillment of their hopes was delayed.
Rumania had been hesitating whether to join Germany or the Allies. She knew just what she wanted, and she was trying to select the winning side so as to get it. Like Serbia, she wanted to bring under one rule all neighboring people of her blood.
The Russians, her next-door neighbors, had been meeting with much success, and the Germans had not succeeded in taking Verdun; therefore she decided to join the Allies. Many Rumanians lived in Transylvania, just across the Hungarian border. Poor Rumania did not stop to consider what her allies were doing, or whether she was planning the wisest course that could be taken; she dashed across the border into Transylvania so suddenly that the Austria-Hungarian forces retreated before her. Then came fierce counter-attacks under Generals Von Mackensen and Von Falkenhayn. The Russians had come to Rumania, but they were in the extreme southeast of the land. The full force of a terrible drive came upon the little country. Early in December the Central Powers captured Bucharest, the Rumanian capital, and imposed upon its people a tax amounting to $380 a head. Straight through the land they went, from Hungary to the Black Sea; they had won rich wheat-fields and oil-lands. Little Montenegro, too, had been overcome, and King Nicholas had departed for France. Neutral countries had been shown what fate would befall them if they ventured to oppose the Central Powers.
This was the story of the year 1916. It was as a whole favorable to the Allies. They had had the advantage at Verdun, on the Somme, in Armenia, and on the sea. On the other hand, the expedition to Mesopotamia was a failure and Rumania had been crushed.
January, 1917, had come, and the war had been going on for two years and a half. When it first broke out, it was announced in big headlines in the newspapers, and some of us took down atlases to make sure just where Serbia was, but we did not expect the United States to be seriously affected by a little fighting in a remote corner of Europe. When England and France took up arms, the trouble began to seem rather nearer home; but still we were on the other side of the Atlantic, we had followed Jefferson's advice and avoided European entanglements, and there seemed no reason why we should have anything to do with this one. Therefore we had issued promptly a proclamation of neutrality.
Of course Americans, as well as people of other nations, had read German books declaring German aims; but we had never taken them seriously. Perhaps one reason was that with our own great country, "the blessed land of room enough," and our long lines of seacoast, we could hardly understand the feelings of a rapidly increasing people who felt themselves shut into too narrow boundaries. However that may be, there was certainly one thing which we had not suspected, and this was that German spies were scattered throughout our land. We found that the German Government was paying men to place bombs on ships sailing from the United States, to burn our factories, to bring about strikes, and to wreck railroads. These men were also attempting to use the United States as a base from which to outfit steamers to supply German raiders. They were making efforts to induce the Hindoos in this country to arouse those of their race in India to rebel against the rule of England, and they were trying to excite the people of India, Mexico, Haiti, and Cuba to hatred of the United States. They planned to involve Japan in their plots. Japan is our friend, and if we treat her fairly, there is no reason to suppose that she will ever be otherwise; but Germany schemed to unite Japan and Mexico against us, their reward to be land in our Southwest. Germans living in this country were advised from "home" to oppose military training and arming, so that the United States might be the more easily overcome in case of war. All this was before there was any break between this country and Germany.
These things were done partly in revenge for our sales of ammunition, and partly that we might be kept too busy at home to join in the war in Europe if the time should come when we discovered the wisdom of so doing. The German Embassy was the head and front of this work. It even issued passports by forging the name of the United States, a particularly dishonorable act, as a foreign minister is regarded as the guest of the country to which he is sent, and is accorded special privileges and courtesies. We learned at last that we must meet bribery, treachery, and crime.
Before the beginning of the war we had felt as kindly toward Germany as toward any other country, but as the months passed, our feelings underwent a change. War is horrible under all conditions, but civilized nations have tried to lessen its terrors by international laws and agreements forbidding certain methods of warfare. Among the forbidden acts are the destruction of private property; the bombardment of undefended towns, and the bombardment of any towns without warning; injury to churches, art galleries, hospitals, and hospital ships; the use of anything causing unnecessary suffering, such as poison on weapons or in wells, poison gas, or liquid fire. It is forbidden to impose upon any community fines or other penalties for deeds of individuals for which the community is not responsible. All these regulations, and many others, Germany had violated again and again. She had treated her prisoners with cruelty; she had spread germs of disease; in Belgium, Poland, and elsewhere she had torn many thousands from their families and driven them away into slavery; she had recognized no law but her own will.
In great free America we could hardly believe that such crimes as these could be committed anywhere in the world. When it was proved not only that the charges were true, but that the crimes had been committed, not by lawless soldiers, but under strict orders from headquarters, it was impossible not to take sides. What had happened in our own country increased our indignation. Still we waited, until at last Germany's methods of carrying on submarine warfare became unendurable. These were briefly:—
Early in 1915 Germany marked off a large area of the high seas in which she declared she would sink all enemy ships without warning. Three months later she sank the Lusitania. One year after this, she promised to sink no more vessels without warning. Eight months later, February 1, 1917, she declared that she would sink without warning every vessel that she met. This was nothing more nor less than piracy, and it aroused the indignation of the world.
Our Government had learned before this that the German Ambassador, Count Von Bernstorff, was at the head of the plots against the United States, and two days after the declaration of unrestricted warfare, he was given his passports. This was not declaring war, but it was a threat of war if Germany did not mend her ways. Germany continued in the same course, and two months after the departure of Count Von Bernstorff, President Wilson stood before Congress, called in special session. He summed up the injuries which Germany had inflicted upon the United States and the efforts of the Government to keep the peace. Then he said: "With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibility which it involves, but in unhesitating obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the Government and people of the United States." Congress voted, "Resolved, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial German Government which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared."
We are in this war for the reason which the President stated in just eight words, "The world must be made safe for democracy." The word democracy comes from two Greek words meaning people and power, and a democratic government is one in which the people are the source of power. The United States is a democracy. We choose men to represent us, Representatives, Senators, and President; but if even the President does not do for the country what the majority think is wise and honorable, we have the right to try him, and if he is proved guilty, to put him out of his office. France, like the United States, is a republic. England is not a republic, but it is a democracy. It has a king, to be sure, but politically he is hardly more than a figurehead. The Prime Minister and his party rule; but if they propose an important measure and Parliament—chosen by the people—refuses to pass it, they understand this as a broad hint that they are not representing the will of the people; they resign and another election is held. The Government of Italy is much like that of England. Italy has a king and a legislature of two houses. Its Cabinet, like the English Prime Minister and his party, resigns if Parliament refuses to pass any important measure which it has presented. Such is a democratic government, "Of the people, by the people, and for the people," as Lincoln so well expressed it.
The Government of Germany is an autocracy. This word comes from two Greek words meaning self and power, that is, the ruler himself and not the people is the source of power. The German Empire was formed, as has been said before, by the union of a number of kingdoms, duchies, free cities, etc. The States of the United States united on equal terms, no State having more privileges or rights than another. The number of Representatives which each State sends to Congress depends, as is fair and just, upon the number of the State's inhabitants; but every State, whether large or small, sends two Senators. The German union of States is quite different from ours. When it was formed, some States refused to join unless they could have special privileges. Bavaria, for instance, pays no taxes to the Empire on beer and domestic liquors. Of all these States, Prussia was by far the strongest, and when her king became also German Emperor, she was able to secure whatever special privileges she wanted.
The Government of Germany consists of the Kaiser, the Chancellor, and two houses. The members of one of these, the Bundesrat, are appointed by the rulers of the twenty-five States, each one having a fixed number of votes. The other, the Reichstag, represents the people, and its members are chosen by the people's vote. At the first glance, this seems much like the Government of England, with King, Prime Minister, and the two houses of Parliament; but there is a great difference, as will be seen later.
The Kaiser is of course at the head of the Government. Under him is the Chancellor, whom he appoints or puts out of office as he chooses. The Chancellor is President of the Bundesrat, and he has also a seat in the Reichstag. In England, as has just been said, if the Prime Minister proposes an important bill and Parliament refuses to make it a law, the Prime Minister resigns. In Germany, if the Chancellor proposes an important bill, and the Reichstag refuses to make it a law, the Reichstag may be dissolved and a new election held. This may be done again and again until a Reichstag has been formed that will vote as the Chancellor—that is, the Kaiser—wishes, and the Chancellor remains in power until the Kaiser desires to make a change. The Reichstag, then, has almost no power, and is practically, as it has often been called, only a debating club.
The Bundesrat represents the States as States; but the number of representatives varies with the different States. There are in all 61 members. Of these Prussia has 17, while 17 of the States have only one apiece. Alsace-Lorraine has three votes, but the Kaiser "instructs" how they shall be cast. The delegates from each State vote as a unit and as they have been bidden by the Prince of their State to vote. Now, the Kaiser is also King of Prussia, so the twenty delegates are subject to his will. The meetings of the Bundesrat are held in secret. If the Reichstag passes a law, it is not valid unless the Bundesrat agrees to it. As the Kaiser controls one third of the votes of the Bundesrat, it is an easy matter for the Chancellor to secure for him enough more votes to make a majority and pass whatever measures he may please. The Kaiser, then, controls both the Reichstag and the Bundesrat. He also controls the army and the navy. To make offensive war, he must ask the assent of the Bundesrat—not difficult to obtain, as has been seen—but if, in his own opinion, the war is defensive, all he needs to do is to say, "Let there be war," and the vast war machine of the Empire is set in motion. The present war the Kaiser averred to be defensive, and he did not officially notify the Bundesrat until three days after it had been declared.
As Prussia is the leading State of Germany, it is of interest to know that Prussian voters are divided into three classes according to their property. Four per cent of the wealthy folk of the land count in voting for as much as eighty-two per cent of the working-people, and the vote of one man of wealth or of noble birth may be equal to the votes of ten thousand working-men. This is why a "junker," that is, son of a noble house which has always been devoted to military service, holds so much power. Bismarck was a junker. The Government of the United States, of England, of France, and of Italy, is a government of the people by themselves—a democracy. The Government of Germany is a government of the people by one person—an autocracy.
Lincoln said, "This country cannot endure half slave and half free." Neither can the nations endure half democratic and half autocratic. As long as there is a man in the world who has the power to bring war upon a country, simply by saying the word, the world is not safe. That is why we are fighting. Our boys do not cross the ocean to enter "European entanglements," but to keep autocracy from our own land. This is our war; we fight to defend our own country and ourselves just as certainly as if German troops had landed on our shores. "Paris in three weeks, London in three months, New York in three years," was a common saying among German officers. From the beginning of the war France and England and little Belgium have been fighting our battles. The Atlantic is wide, but if England had not been our friend and had not protected us by keeping the German fleet shut up in the North Sea, who can doubt that Germany would have strained every nerve in the effort to bombard our coast towns and turn parts at least of our country into a second Belgium?
In 1916, the Allies had attacked the Central Powers on all sides, and they planned to do this again in 1917, but on a larger scale. There were great hopes that this course would bring the war to an end. Before anything could be done, however, an event came to pass in Russia which gave the Allies great encouragement and delighted every lover of freedom.
Russia had a strong army, and when the war broke out the Russian troops showed themselves fine soldiers. But again and again they lost thousands of lives because of the lack of ammunition. Then their favorite commander, the Grand Duke Nicholas, was transferred to a much less important position than he had been holding. A strong pro-German was made Prime Minister, and there was reason to believe that the Czarina herself was at the head of a pro-German movement. The soldiers had suspected that the failure to send them ammunition had been caused partly because the government officials were inefficient, and partly because they meant to make money, no matter what happened to the soldiers. But far back of these grievances was the fact that the Russian people had hardly any part in their own government.
The Czar and his officials had built up a strong army, and felt safe in its protection to do what they chose; but one Sunday morning in March, 1917, there were such crowds in the streets of Petrograd that the military and especially the Cossacks, who were the special dependence of the Czar, were ordered to shoot at them to make them disperse. The Cossacks fired as ordered, but they used blank cartridges, while the crowds cheered. A regiment of soldiers commanded to shoot the people, shot their officers instead. The Duma was the nearest approach in Russia to a parliament, and the Czar had ordered it to dissolve.
Instead of this, the Duma sent him a telegram, saying, "The hour has struck. The will of the people must prevail," and shut him up in his palace. The Duma announced promptly that the Russian people would stand by the Allies; but liberty was so new to the Russians that they did not know what to do with it. They did not understand that freedom does not mean freedom to do whatever you choose, regardless of the rights of others, and they seemed to have the notion that if only they stopped fighting, everybody would be friendly. German influence was as strong as ever, and the anarchists, who believe in having no government at all, became powerful. Kerensky, who led the new government, did his best, but a new party, the Bolsheviki, overthrew his rule, declaring openly that they meant to make peace with Germany.
Russia had failed us. She had broken all her promises to the Allies never to make a separate peace with Germany; but most thinking people realized that the Bolsheviki did not represent the Russian people as a whole, but only one party, and were more desirous of helping Russia to find herself than angry with her, though, of course, they were bitterly disappointed. With Russia making no opposition, many German troops could be released from the East and brought to the West, and so there was no longer any hope of ending the war in 1917. This was a dark moment, but it was of this very moment that the following story was told. It seems that some officers of a certain Belgian battery of artillery, relieved from active duty for four days, were at supper in their dug-out late one evening when a loud knocking was heard at the street door of the farmhouse overhead. As the story-teller puts it:—
"Presently the Colonel's orderly showed in a mud-begrimed dispatch-rider, who, after saluting, handed the Colonel a sealed envelope. We were all electrified and could hardly wait to hear the news contained in this urgent dispatch.
"The Colonel, drawing a little closer to him one of the bottles holding a lighted candle, tore open the envelope and proceeded to read.
"Heavens, what a long time did he study that paper! Was he ever going to share the news with us? We tried to read it from his eyes. Was it good or was it bad? Were we to 'attack at dawn,' or did it mean 'retreat'? Perhaps it contained news about his son, who was reported 'missing' in October, 1914, and whom he would not believe dead. But the Colonel was slow to solve our questions. For what seemed to us an interminably long time he sat there staring at that sheet of white paper. The old alarm clock on the table ticked the seconds, and I wondered whether it was not my heart that was beating so loudly. At last he showed some signs of action. The Colonel had sat down in order to be near the light; now he rose. For a second or so longer he stood there with large, wide-opened eyes staring straight in front of him, and then he announced, in a slow and trembling voice:—
"GENTLEMEN, AMERICA IS OUR ALLY."
Russia had given soldiers, but, brave as they were, they could not be depended upon, for no one knew at what moment the Russian officials would do something or leave something undone that would make all their bravery of little value. The United States had no troops ready to send, but it could lend money by millions of dollars, while Russia had been a borrower. Our navy, however, could give at once a most valuable service; it could help dispose of the German submarines.
More and more countries declared war, and all on the side of the Allies. Cuba, Panama, Siam, Liberia, China, Brazil, all joined in the struggle for freedom. Siam's declaration said that she was opposing countries "showing contempt for the principles of humanity and of respect for small nations." Diplomatic relations were broken off by Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Costa Rica, Peru, Uruguay, Ecuador. This was chiefly because of Germany's piratical warfare and her scorn of small nations. There was much indignation at the trickery of the German charge d'affaires in Argentina, for he had induced the Swedish Legation to send as their own correspondence cipher cablegrams recommending, for instance, that Argentine vessels should either be spared altogether or else "spurlos versenkt," that is, sunk without a trace. Not all these countries had any idea of fighting, but all wished to protest against the methods and aims of Germany.
Greece had by treaty agreed to help Serbia if she was attacked by another power; and when the capture of the Dardanelles was planned, the Premier Venizelos promptly invited the French and English to land at the Greek port of Saloniki and help his country to keep her word. The Greek people favored the Allies, but King Constantine had been educated in Berlin and had married a sister of the Kaiser. His sympathies were with the Central Powers, and he refused to keep the treaty, declaring that the country should be neutral. He dismissed the Premier, although, since Venizelos possessed the confidence of Parliament, this was contrary to the constitution. Venizelos now established a provisional government at Saloniki. There was much reason to fear, first, that the unity of Greece would be destroyed; and, second, that if Germany should offer sufficient inducement to the King, even his so-called neutrality would vanish. The Allies now interfered on three grounds: first, Greece had been made a kingdom through their efforts; second, they had placed the present dynasty upon the throne; and, third, they had guaranteed a constitutional government. They called upon Constantine to resign, permitting him to name one of his family as successor. He named Alexander, his second son. Alexander recalled Venizelos, and in a few days the Greeks formally entered the war on the side of the Allies.
There was now no hope that the war could be brought to an end in 1917, but the fighting had to go on, of course, for every loss to the enemy would make the later campaigns less difficult. The French had borne the brunt of the battles of the Marne and of Verdun, and now the English took the leading place and attacked the Germans in northeastern France and in Belgium. Here English, French, Canadians, and Belgians united. The most tremendous explosion of mines ever known was caused by a mine laid by the English, in which 1,000,000 pounds of high explosives were suddenly set off. Field Marshal Haig had a fashion of striking a blow now here, now there, just where it was not expected and of driving the Germans back at every attack. When the year was almost at an end, an advance upon the French town of Cambrai, held by the Germans, gave the armored tanks an opportunity to show what they could do. They waddled on unconcernedly, paying no attention to holes, small trees, or barbed wire, and apparently not seeing them at all. Some one said of a favorite tank, "If it cannot silence a machine gun in any other way, it can simply sit down upon it." Against these monsters, nothing was of any power except a heavy siege gun brought to close range, not a particularly easy matter to manage. The Germans were forced to draw back in several places. As was their custom, they took pains to devastate every foot of the country over which they passed. The Allies were forced to retire somewhat, but, taken as a whole, the campaign in Flanders was in their favor.
On the Italian Front matters had been going on well through the summer. The Italians had captured many prisoners, they had taken mountains whose position made them of great value, and they had pushed on till only ten miles lay between them and Trieste. Then came the dropping-out of Russia. The Italians were splendid fighters, but German troops were set free, not only for the Western, but also for the Italian Front. German forces and guns were rushed to the rescue of Austria-Hungary. The Italians fought like the heroes they were. They were obliged to retreat slowly to the Piave River, but there they took their stand and faced the invaders. This halted the invasion, and England and France soon sent troops to Italy.
In 1916 the English were in Mesopotamia, trying to get to Baghdad; but when they reached Kut-el-Amara, they were forced to surrender or starve. They chose to surrender; but in 1917 they made a "whirlwind campaign "from Kut-el-Amara straight to Baghdad. There was a three-days battle, the Turks were completely routed, and the English soldiers were free to dream as many dreams as they liked about the good Caliph, Haroun al Raschid. But the capture of Baghdad gave more than the pleasure of dreaming; it produced a strong effect upon the people of the Orient generally. The failure of 1916 had jostled the English from their pedestal of power in the East, but now they were restored in the eyes of the Orientals.
More than six hundred miles from Baghdad, across the Syrian Desert, is the most famous country of the world, Palestine, where Jesus was born. In the southern part of Palestine is Beersheba, and people use the expression "from Dan to Beersheba," meaning from one end of a land to the other. Near Beersheba were English troops under General Allenby, and they soon captured the place. The story of the war in the East is now connected at every turn with Bible history, for the English next took Gaza, and Gaza is where the Old Testament story says that Samson took hold of the two middle pillars of the prison and brought the building down upon his enemies and himself. It was on the road between Gaza and Jerusalem that the Apostle Philip met the treasurer of Queen Candace riding in his chariot and reading some of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and on his invitation took a seat beside him and explained to him that they referred to Jesus.
After a number of fights the Turks fell back on Jerusalem, while the English pushed on after them, the right moving up directly from Beersheba, the left marching up the Mediterranean coast to Joppa, where Saint Peter visited Simon the tanner. Joppa was captured, and soon the English were only three and a half miles from Jerusalem. A line of hills lay between them, but in two weeks they had crossed these and were before the gates of the city. The Turks were obliged to evacuate it, and retreated to the northward. In 1898 the Kaiser had visited Jerusalem, and a break was made in the walls so that he might ride in where no one had ever ridden before. The English troops entered in no such fashion. They dismounted before the Jaffa (Joppa) Gate, and walked into the Holy City as simply and reverently as the pilgrims of centuries ago.
Jerusalem has had a strange and varied history. It has been captured again and again—by Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, Rome, and in the seventh century by the Mohammedans. In 1096 the series of expeditions called crusades began whose object was to rescue the Holy Land from the Turks. Jerusalem was captured and was Christian for a century. Then it was taken by Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria. He is the brave and knightly enemy whom Scott pictures in The Talisman, the enemy whom the equally brave and knightly Richard the Lion-hearted tried in vain to conquer. Jerusalem remained in the hands of the Mohammedans from that day to the one when General Allenby brought it again under Christian control.
Jerusalem is sacred in the eyes of Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans. The Mohammedans, of course, expected no favors from the conquerors, but General Allenby, by a single act of tactful courtesy, made it clear to them that Jerusalem would be free to all. He not only issued a proclamation that every building, shrine, and holy place would be carefully maintained, but he asked the Mohammedan guardian of the Holy Sepulcher to retain his office and its salary, not as an emblem of power, but in memory of one Caliph Omar and the early Mohammedans, who, long before the days of Turkish rule, had taken the utmost care to preserve the sacred places.
The Jews have been for many centuries a people without a country, and long before the war a strong desire was felt among them to establish a national home for themselves in the Holy Land. England has expressed her interest in this plan and has declared that she will do all in her power to assist in carrying it out.
Jerusalem was taken during the last month of 1917. During this year, the piratical submarine warfare of Germany had destroyed much shipping, but it had brought the United States into the war. Germany and Austria had made gains in Italy, and Russia had fallen out of the race; but on the other hand, the Allies had made progress on the Western Front and had won important victories in Mesopotamia and Palestine.
In the early days of 1918 the English army reported the taking of Jericho. This was not especially difficult, though probably less easy than its capture as described in the Old Testament story, when its walls are said to have fallen at the sound of the Hebrew trumpets. For military reasons, this is a valuable place for the Allies to hold.
Toward the end of 1917, the Germans took Riga and threatened Petrograd. They then summoned the Bolsheviki to a peace conference at Brest-Litovsk. Meanwhile, the Ukraine, an exceedingly fertile district in southwestern Russia, the home of 20,000,000 people, declared itself independent of Russia and made peace with Germany. This was the work of the "Reactionaries" of Ukraine. The Bolsheviki of the district opposed the peace, and Germany overcame them by force of arms. The Germans, then, were fighting the Bolsheviki in the Ukraine and holding a peace conference with them in central Russia at the same time. The Bolsheviki seem to have been obliged to yield; and they signed a German peace treaty by which Germany holds not only the Ukraine, but nearly all the Baltic provinces and much of Esthonia and Poland. Germany never forgets to look far ahead, and the Bolsheviki were forced as the price of peace to grant her many commercial privileges. So much of Russia now being in her hands, Germany took from her quantities of booty—cannon, machine guns, thousands of motor cars, and a vast amount of food and other supplies.
Russia is not so much a country that has broken her promises as one that has crumbled to pieces. To help Russia to find herself is an important part of the business of the Allies. The intelligent Russians long for peace and law and order. They are eager to win liberty and to free themselves from the clutches of Germany, and are begging for the aid of the Allies; and the Allies are ready to give this aid.
In Murmansk on the Arctic Ocean and in Archangel on the White Sea immense quantities of food and munitions are stored. The Russians living in this part of the country asked the Allies to protect these, and to keep them from falling into the hands of the Germans. The result was the prompt appearance of American marines, bluejackets, and soldiers, together with English and French naval forces in the White Sea. To the eastward, on the Siberian coast, a quarter of the way around the world, lies Vladivostok, and here, too, were similar stores. Japan lies close at hand, and with the aid of the other allies, her forces entered this city and saved it from the Germans.
A new ally has arisen from the very heart of the Central Powers, the Czecho-Slovaks, inhabitants of northwestern Austria and the adjoining territory of Hungary. Four hundred years ago, these people, in order to drive back the Turks, formed a free federation with Austria and Hungary, and elected a king. Later, Austria declared the crown hereditary. The Czechs resisted in the Thirty Years' War, but were beaten, their nobles beheaded or exiled, and their property confiscated. Although thus overpowered, the Czechs have always longed for independence. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, they alone among the Austrian parliaments protested against Germany's annexation of Alsace and Lorraine.
When the war began, in 1914, the Czechs were forced to join the Austrian army, but thousands deserted and other thousands were made willing captives by the Russians, and many of these joined the Russian army. Early in 1918, the Bolsheviki Government agreed to allow these Czechs to cross Siberia and go on their way around the world to join the French army. Germany objected, and in spite of their agreement the Bolsheviki suddenly attacked the Czechs. The indignant Czechs fought fiercely and won the day, marching to the northward to the railroad that runs from Petrograd to the Pacific, and entering Vladivostok.
Thus it is that those Russians and Siberians who love liberty can gather around the Czechs as around a standard. There are 10,000,000 Czechs and about the same number of Siberians. Siberia has declared her independence and her enmity to Germany. It is the business of the Allies to strengthen Siberia and central Russia, and in so doing to hold fast many millions of strong friends of liberty and enlightenment.
The failure of the German offensive in the spring of 1918 led, throughout the following summer, to a continually improved situation for the Allies. Gains of importance were made on all fronts, and the doom of the Central Powers to ultimate defeat appeared inevitable. During September, the Allies' success reached even to the forcing of Bulgaria to unconditional surrender. That country was put out of the war, and the first breach was made in the Pan-German plan for Middle Europe, and for the Berlin to Baghdad Railway. There seemed also to be fore-shadowed the collapse of Turkey, and perhaps of Austria. To hasten this, the Allies prepared to fight on—harder than ever.
It is one thing to become an ally, and quite another to have an army prepared to make our proffered alliance of value. After the indifference with which Germany met American protests in regard to the sinking of the Lusitania and the U-boat warfare, the thinking people of the country realized that war would probably be forced upon us. In the summer of 1915 training camps were formed at Plattsburg and elsewhere; and there business men, college professors and students, lawyers, authors, publishers, and others spent a month in learning how to be soldiers. Here was the "intensive training" of which we hear so much. The only difference between this and ordinary training is that in the intensive there is no dawdling; every man has a reason for doing his best, and he does it. The result at Plattsburg was that in one month many hundreds of men learned about warfare and the use of arms what would ordinarily have required four months of training. They were not prepared to command armies in battle, but they were prepared to train raw troops in the manual of arms, to teach them how to care for their health in a campaign, and, perhaps most valuable of all, to inspire them with a fuller appreciation of team work, with an eagerness to serve their country and a comprehension of, the nobility of such service.
An army was raised by "selective draft," that is, composed of strong, well men upon whom, as far as possible, no one was dependent for support, and who were not engaged in work necessary to the war, such as shipbuilding, munition-making, etc. To every soldier or sailor the Government gave a life insurance policy, in amounts varying up to $10,000; the premiums, amounting to 80 or 90 cents a month on each $1000, to be taken from his pay. The Government also gave him the privilege of taking out additional insurance up to another $10,000 at the same rates that he would pay in time of peace. For each $1000 of this he pays about $8 a year.
The preparations ordered by the Government were enormous. As one small detail, 45,000,000 yards of cotton cloth had to be purchased, besides 21,000,000 yards of drilling; the building of ships, aeroplanes, and submarine chasers was ordered. Cantonments, or camps wherein our troops may live and be trained for the army, had to be built; and it is no small matter to build almost in a night sixteen wooden cities capable of housing some 40,000 men each, with water-supply, drainage, electric lights and power, barracks, hospitals, stables, sheds, shops, and storehouses. The average cantonment has twenty miles of sewer and forty miles of water mains. In these cantonments the men are taught not only to know the manual of arms, but to dig trenches, to handle guns and take care of them, to use bayonets, hand grenades, and bombs, to keep clean, to care for their feet, to stand and run and walk in the least fatiguing manner, to obey orders, and, as one detail, to learn that the salute is a mark, not merely of the deference of a private to an officer, but of the respect due to the uniform of the United States. The prescribed form is for the man of lower rank to salute first, but if the officer neglected to return the salute, he would be punished.
Before the summer of 1918 had come to an end, some 3,300,000 American boys were under arms, half of them in France and the other half in training camps. Command of the Allied forces had been put into the hands of General Foch, whom Marshal Joffre called "the first strategist in Europe." Week after week Foch repulsed the drives of the Germans, holding firmly to his positions. At length the hour came for which he had been planning and preparing. He now took the offensive; blow followed blow, and from the middle of July the Germans have been in retreat. Territory has been gained, of course, but the greatest gain has been the defeat of Germany's plans to win the war before the end of 1918. From all directions come praises of the bravery of the American boys. The Germans had not supposed it possible for a few months' training to make the Americans into acceptable soldiers; but these same boys, fresh from college and farm and workshop, have held their own against the flower of the German army, the famous "Prussian Guards" and the Bavarian Guards, veterans of many battles.
Immigrants have been coming to this country in vast numbers, and we have not taken sufficient pains to see that they learned to speak English. Now that many of them are in our army, they must learn to understand orders at least, and therefore the cantonments have classes for them. A visitor to one of these classes thus pictures a lesson:—
"In one of these groups one of the exercises for the evening consisted in practicing the challenge when on sentry duty. Each pupil of the group (there were four of Italian and two of Slavic birth) shouldered in turn the long-handled stove shovel and aimed it at the teacher, who ran along the side of the room as if to evade the guard. The pupil called out in broken speech: 'Halt! Who goes there?' The answer came from the teacher: 'Friend.' And then, in as yet unintelligible English (the voices of innumerable ancestors struggling in their throats to pronounce it), the words: 'Advance and give the countersign.'"
So it is that these men of foreign birth are learning the language of the country which has given them a home and which they are preparing to defend.
Americans who have gone to France have not all been expert linguists, and amusing stories come back to us of their struggles with the French language. One is said to have wondered why so many Frenchmen named their dogs "Ici" (here). Another wanted to tell his peasant hostess that her cow had wandered away, but could say only, "Madame du Tait promenades"; and there is also the pathetic tale of a sturdy Australian who wanted a bath, but knew no French except "Bonjour."
In our navy officers and men had received a thorough and systematic training, and were quite accustomed to being prompt and efficient. It is now, in man power, five times as large as it was before the war; but its needs are great, for it has the task of protecting our coast, of convoying merchantmen and troop ships, of helping our allies to destroy submarines, and of being ready at a moment's notice for anything that may need to be done. Only first-class men can find any place in the navy. Every ship maintains a school, and any man who is willing to work can acquire the education necessary for a commissioned officer.
All this preparation for war has been enormously costly. We no longer talk about hundreds of thousands of dollars, we talk about millions and billions. Every bit of wood or iron or platinum must be paid for, every workman who drives a nail into a ship must have his wages. Where does the money come from? The Government pays the bills, but the Government has no money except what it gets from the people, and there are in general only two ways in which it can get it from them. One is by taxation, and the other is by "Liberty Loans," that is, by selling government bonds or promises to pay. This is the safest investment in the land. Manufacturers and railroads and all sorts of companies might fail, but the Government would be the last thing in the country to fail. A bond is exactly as safe as a bank bill, and in one respect it is of more value, namely, the bond draws interest, and the bank bill does not. Not every one can put $50 into even so safe an investment as a government bond; and therefore War Savings Stamps were issued at $4.12, which in 1923 will be redeemed by the Government at $5. There are also Thrift Stamps at 25 cents each. Sixteen of these, with the addition of a few cents, will purchase a War Savings Stamp.
The Government builds the cantonments, pays the troops, and feeds and clothes them; but a very large amount of money is spent on troops which is the free gift of the people at home to those who will defend them and their rights abroad. Much of this money goes through various organizations. One of these is the Young Men's Christian Association. When this Association asked for volunteers, this is what it said:—
"This is no call to ninnies and milksops. The Y.M.C.A. needs real men, preferably men who have had some broad and grueling experience of life; men of education, yes; but, above that, men capable of understanding, sympathy, and an indefinite deal of hard, exacting work. Men who can turn a Ford inside out; men who can play the piano and lead five hundred others in singing; men who are trained in athletics; men six feet high and three feet wide and eighteen inches thick; men who understand what Christianity really means; men with humor and leadership who have been earning a hundred dollars a week and are willing to live on ten dollars a week. In other words, MEN."
The Y.M.C.A. does its best for the soldier boys both here and across the ocean. It provides "huts," which are sometimes a comfortable building that will hold several thousand, sometimes a tiny shed carefully camouflaged from the eyes of the enemy, and sometimes a dug-out twenty-five feet under ground; but whatever the hut may be, it is always a place where the men are welcome, where they can rest, play games, write letters, read magazines, see moving pictures and minstrel shows, and listen to concerts and phonographs. It opens classes and gets books for those who wish to study or read. It cheers up the man who is blue and discouraged and lonely, arranges talks by bright and interesting lecturers, and good strong religious talks, often by men who know what it is to be under fire. The secretaries of the "Y" are sometimes in as much danger as the men; and when a secretary hands a half-frozen soldier a cup of hot coffee, it may have been made at the risk of the secretary's life.
Often a Y.M.C.A. secretary rather enjoys attempting the impossible, and he usually succeeds. One evening the secretary at one of the cantonments learned that four hundred men were to start on a two-days march the following day. It took quick work, but when the men arrived, in the afternoon, there stood a 40 x 60 foot tent with piano, tables, chairs, couches, graphophones, stationery, games, the daily papers, bats, balls, gloves, etc. Even a telephone had been installed, and souvenir postals from the nearest town were on sale.
The Y.M.C.A. is a Protestant organization, and the Knights of Columbus is a Roman Catholic. Mass is celebrated in the Knights of Columbus building, and is not in the huts, unless a priest borrows one for the purpose; but the work of the two organizations is exactly the same, and one description applies to both. Every man in camp is invited to both buildings at all times, and is just as free to go to one secretary as to the other.
It is estimated that at least 50,000 Jews are in the American army, and to add to their comfort and give them the services of their own faith, the Young Men's Hebrew Association and the order of B'nai B'rith have been most active. In the cantonments the rooms of the Y.M.C.A. are thrown open for the use of the Jewish chaplains; and Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Jews work together in sincere harmony and appreciation of one another's value.
The Red Cross is known wherever there is war or fire or famine or earthquake or any suffering that needs its help. To respect its flag is not only common decency, but it is international law, which forty-three nations have solemnly agreed to observe. To fire upon a Red Cross ship or hospital is an atrocious crime; yet this crime has been committed by the Germans over and over. Of course, in the European war the Red Cross is on hand. Large numbers of the best doctors and nurses have entered its work, and by their skillful treatment have saved thousands of lives. Prisoners worked by Germany until they are feeble and helpless are sent back to France to die; but the Red Cross cares for them and restores them to health if possible.
The Red Cross specializes in emergencies. Nearly 7,000,000 slings, bandages, hammocks, etc., were asked for, and within two weeks they were on their way. One hundred and seventy Americans were rescued from a ship torpedoed on the French coast. A telegram went to Paris, and on the instant a worker started for the spot, telegraphed to Washington the names of the survivors, lent money to those who had lost their own, and saw to it that the injured were well cared for. A more startling summons was received by a Red Cross official in Paris. It said, "750 children have been thrust upon my hands." It is no wonder that it added, "Send help." These were children from a town under bombardment. Gas bombs were used, and as the children were too young to wear gas masks, they had been hurried away. The day after the reception of the telegram, eight Red Cross workers were on hand, and in an amazingly short time the little folk were clean and comfortable and well cared for. Each nation has its own branch of the Red Cross. The Red Cross in France not only cares for the children and the sick, but it sees to it that the families of soldiers do not starve. It teaches young mothers how to care for their babies. It has even established lines of transportation. The railroads had more than they could do, and the Red Cross, without regard to weather or red tape or anything else, set lines of motor trucks to work, and before long was doing its own transporting both promptly and well.
The Omaha Indians of this country have a chapter of the Red Cross, and early in 1918 they held an auction sale for its benefit. After a prayer the bidding began, and it was reckless bidding, for every Indian was ready to open his purse wide to buy chickens, pigs, corn, goats, preserved fruit—no matter what—so long as the money went to help the soldiers. The Indians from the first have been deeply interested in the war. "I have heard of a peaceful people brought low by mighty guns," said an aged chief. He promptly sold a load of corn and sent twenty dollars to the Belgian Minister at Washington, who responded by a note thanking him "not alone for his gift of money, but more particularly for the kindness of an understanding heart." The Indians fully appreciated the need of Liberty Loans and to the first three they subscribed $13,000,000. Who was it that said the only good Indian was a dead Indian?
Since the war began, societies without number have been formed to help the suffering people of Europe. One of the oldest is that of the "American Fund for French Wounded." We have never forgotten that France came to our help in Revolutionary days, when we were struggling—not with the people of England—they were never against us—but with an obstinate and short-sighted sovereign. Moreover, to help France was to keep the enemy from our own shores. So it was that surgical dressings, garments of all needed varieties, and all sorts of hospital supplies went to France from the "French Wounded" by thousands, and did much to strengthen the old friendship between the two countries.
The Society of Friends does not as a whole approve of fighting, but it does approve of helping to build up again. Friends have gone to France, Italy, Russia, wherever there is need, and there is need everywhere. They make an old chateau into a hospital, a former barracks into a children's home, they run a factory for making the most practical sort of artificial limbs and also one to make furniture for the people who are coming back to their ruined homes. They sew and nurse and care for refugees. Every week they send great cases of clothing across the water, and they do not forget to slip in boxes of candy for the little folk. The Friends go to the barren and ragged country where once stood neat little villages and happy homes. They repair the cottages or set up portable ones, and give to the suffering refugees a hope of having once more a home.
The college boys were prompt in looking about to see what they could do for the country in her hour of need. Many enlisted. Some entered aviation, some drove ambulances for the wounded, often a college sent half her students to the army or navy. Others formed companies and were drilled by army officers so as to be ready when their time should come. Soon it was plain that with the Allies depending upon us for food and so many of our men in the army, some one must do farmwork. Thousands of boys from colleges and high schools set to work and helped to raise corn and potatoes and whatever else would help to keep hunger away.
College girls, too, were thinking hard. They knit and sewed and gave their spending money for the soldiers and sailors. War courses in hygiene were promptly arranged. Canning, first aid, food conservation, and care of the sick were soon added to their studies. Several colleges for women sent each an ambulance or more to the field. Many college girls spent their summer vacation doing farmwork—not the kind that is composed of one hour in the field and three in a hammock, but eight hours a day of real work for the season. "I didn't raise my hand to be a blister," said one, looking ruefully at her palm; but evidently she changed her mind, for she and every other girl of her group worked till the end of the summer. In the spring of 1918 Vassar announced that as soon as commencement was over the college buildings and grounds would become a great training camp for college women from twenty-one to thirty-one years of age who wished to become trained nurses. This is the college women's Plattsburg, and just as at Plattsburg men were rapidly and "intensively" trained to become officers, so at this training camp for nurses the summer's work was arranged to count for one year in the three-years course for registered nurses. Before the middle of May five hundred had applied for admission, and a waiting list was begun.
The Salvation Army has from the first been at the front in war work. It has no wealthy members, but during the first year of the war the American branch raised $25,000 for the troops. It has no office hours, and even when the drivers of the supply wagons come in at unearthly times in the morning, biscuits, hot coffee, doughnuts, and sometimes even pies are waiting with a word of cheer and appreciation for every man. "Salvationists go," said Commander Evangeline Booth, "to comfort and encourage in every way possible—with rest rooms, refreshment bars, recreation arrangements; with song, with music, with dispatching and securing messages to and from the boys' homes, with the Bible, with affection, with advice, with teaching, with prayer, and with a glad spirit." A soldier who had lost his way and was creeping cautiously about in the darkness described the joy that he felt when he heard singing,—
"Then we'll roll the old chariot along,
And we won't drag on behind,"—
and realized that he was close to a Salvationist tent. It is the rule for the military salute to be given to men only, but the French troops at Rheims always gave it to two women officers of the Salvation Army who fearlessly remained in town and served them in every possible way. The climax came when the hungry soldiers brought a whole ox for the two women to cook for them over a small gas stove and an oil lamp. It was done within twenty-four hours, and surely women who could accomplish that feat deserved the salute of at least one army.
The Boy Scouts had decided, even before we entered the war, what they could do to help. They carry no guns, but it is not the man with the gun who does all the work of a great war. Not every one realizes that there are about 200,000 on the lists of the Boy Scouts, besides 350,000 young men who have had the valuable Boy Scout training, to say nothing of 50,000 men who have been connected with them as advisers and scout masters. More than half a million of boys and men who have been trained to see and hear exactly, to think quickly, and to know what to do in an emergency, is a valuable asset for any country, whether in war or out of it. In war a Scout can render first aid to the sick or injured. He can send messages by wire, wireless, or wigwagging, he can carry a message promptly and repeat it accurately, and he can get through places where a man cannot. He can work on a farm; he can act as guard of property and give alarm in case of danger. All these things he has often done, and when the United States entered the war, the Boy Scouts was one of the few organizations that were prepared to do their part from the first.
Girl Scouts, too, and Camp-Fire Girls had promised to be loyal, and when war came, they translated their promise of loyalty into service. Their work was not limited to carrying pretty knitting-bags by any means, for they offered themselves promptly to the Red Cross for orders, and the work assigned them was not always agreeable. From Eastport, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, they swept workroom floors and picked oakum. In New York they opened a Red Cross workroom of their own. In Philadelphia they raised by a bazaar $800 for buying knitting yarn. They have learned the best methods of canning, and some of them have been specially trained to teach these things to schools, clubs, and churches. In short, "wherever a girl's size war job has offered itself, these Girls have taken it on." Both they and the Boy Scouts have been excellent solicitors for the Liberty Loans, and both fully deserve to wear a badge on which is written "America first."
The Government, of course, provides for the care of its animals in the war, but many emergencies arise in which a private society can act much more quickly. Therefore, the Secretary of War invited the American Humane Association to aid in this work, and the American Red Star was promptly organized. More than six hundred anti-cruelty societies were eager to help, and even the natives of Alaska are contributing generously and wearing Red Star buttons with the utmost pride and satisfaction. The Red Star, like the Red Cross, "specializes in emergencies," and at times of immediate need officers are free to call for whatever is needed. Their requests have ranged all the way from blankets and bandages to a veterinary hospital, and every one has been promptly filled.
The American Library Association is doing a fine work in providing books for the men in camp and "over there." Not rubbish, of course, but books of value in all lines are in demand. In one camp there are seven hundred college boys. Some colleges give credit for study done in camp, and the boys want up-to-date college textbooks. Many foreigners want simple books for beginners in English. Good novels, interesting histories and biographies, especially on French subjects, are called for. The Association collects money for books, and every public library is a station to which books for the soldiers may be sent.
So it is that every person in the land who has any genuine love for his country is trying to help her. Well-known artists are designing posters and doing rough camouflage work; actors and musicians are using their popularity to gain dollars for the soldiers, and using their talents to entertain them in the camps; men with heavy business cares are neglecting these and devoting their time and ability to the needs of the Government. "My country asks me to help her," may well be the proud slogan of those who help make munitions, or drive nails into ships, or save food from careless waste, or do their bit in any other way. Even little children are helping to win the war; and this is right, for the war is waged expressly for their sake. Every man in the trenches of the Allies is fighting for them. "You must always remember," one brave soldier wrote home to his boys and girls, "that your father came into this great war for the sake of all little children. The grown folk will not stay here many years longer, and it would not have been difficult for them to make some sort of peace that would endure for a time. They are not struggling for themselves, but to make the world safe for their children and the children of those children. "The glory of the Present is to make the Future Free"—and this is why we are in the war.
There is only one thing worse than war, and that is to stand one side when we ought to be fighting. We have not taken up arms for revenge, or to gain land or wealth or power. We have entered this war to make sure that right rather than might shall rule. It is a struggle between truth and falsehood, between mercy and cruelty, between freedom and slavery. It is a struggle that we have got to win.
"For right is right, since God is God;
And right the day must win;
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin."
When the last sentence was written, no one doubted that Germany would surrender some time; the only question was "When?" Her last frantic drive came to an end with her defeat in the second battle of the Marne. In the autumn of 1918 she requested an armistice, with a view, it was generally believed, to creating an opportunity to get her troops, ordnance, munitions, and supplies safely back into Germany. She could then rest and prepare for another drive in the spring of 1919.
Nothing but unconditional surrender could be accepted, and the Allied lines pushed on. "Are you going to France?" some one asked an American soldier as he stood waiting on the wharf. "No, ma'am; to Berlin," he replied.
People who were following on their maps the course of the war moved every day the flags of the Allies a little nearer the German boundaries. The German plan had been to make a drive, then rest and take plenty of time to prepare for another drive. General Foch's plan was to keep up a continuous battle, striking first at one point, then at another, then at two together, no German ever knowing where the next blow would fall. The result was that at the end of his nine weeks' campaign the line of the Germans on the Western Front was everywhere crumbling, while the Allies' line was as powerful as at first. Guns, supplies, and prisoners were captured in large numbers by the Allies. Japan was winning victories in Siberia, and England in Palestine. On the Italian Front and in the Balkans the Allies were moving resistlessly forward. Austria begged for peace. Turkey signed an armistice that was really a surrender. Troops of the Allies took possession of the forts on the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The Turkish army was demobilized, and a great force of Allied mine-sweepers set to work to clear the straits of mines.
It was evident that the end of the war was at hand. Before the middle of October, 1918, the Belgian authorities sent word to the Belgian refugees in England to prepare for a return to their own country. People watched eagerly for news of the ending of the war, and in the gray of the morning of November 11, which it has since been proposed to call "Victory Day," the cable under the sea thrilled with the announcement of an armistice between the Allies and Germany. Sleepy travelers were aroused by the tooting of their locomotives responding to the bells and whistles and shouts in every city and village along their lines. Long before daylight the streets of cities were full of happy, good-natured crowds. "The boys are coming home!" millions of Americans were saying joyfully to themselves. It is no wonder that boys and girls danced and sang; that men tossed up their hats and raided the toy shops for everything that would make a noise; that they rang bells and blew horns; that clouds of confetti swept around the sky-scrapers of New York; that processions marched through the streets of every city; and that when evening came, buildings were illuminated, bands played, and the whole country gave itself up to rejoicing. Most interesting of all the celebrations was that of the Sioux Indians of South Dakota. They danced their ancient Victory Dance and made as many speeches as their white brothers. One chief gravely expressed his joy for the victory over "barbarism such as Indians never heard of before." Another said of the Germans, "Let them put away their barbarism, and then we will give their nation its old place by the sacred campfire of the nations."
This armistice was the same as a surrender, because of the strictness of its terms. They were neither cruel nor unmilitary, but they were severe, because the nations could put no trust in the word of their treacherous foe, and to protect themselves they were obliged to leave Germany powerless to renew the warfare. They required that she should withdraw from the lands that she had invaded and make good all damage as far as possible. She must also vacate a long stretch of territory on the western side of the Rhine. Three great cities in this territory, Cologne, Coblenz, and Mayence, were to be occupied by the Allies. Another stretch of land, twenty-five miles wide, lying on the eastern side of the Rhine, the German troops were required to evacuate. Military stores and equipments must be surrendered, and both military and civilian prisoners must be set free. The quantity of material to be given up was enormous; for instance, 30,000 machine guns and 10,000 motor trucks. All money and securities which had been stolen from the countries of the Allies must be restored. The treaties imposed upon Russia and Rumania must be abandoned.
Most humiliating of all, perhaps, but necessary, were the terms imposed upon the German navy. Battleships, cruisers, submarines, and destroyers in large numbers had to be surrendered. To receive their surrender, two hundred and forty British ships of war were drawn up in the North Sea, together with French and American fighting ships, "Comrades of the Mist," as Admiral Beatty called them. No opportunity for treachery was allowed, and the guns which had last been fired at the battle of Jutland were in such order that in thirty seconds a broadside could have been poured out. "German fleet in sight on the starboard bow," called the lookout man in a matter-of-fact fashion, as the fleet advanced in procession. "The German flag will be lowered at sunset," commanded Admiral Beatty, "and will not be hoisted again without permission." At the close of the ceremonial, the English sailors gave three rousing cheers for their commander. "Thank you," said the Admiral; and added, "I always told you they would have to come out."
So it is that the end of the war has come, but not the end of difficulties. Germany is in the uproar of anarchy, and the streets of Berlin have flowed with the blood of her citizens. The Kaiser has abdicated his throne; he fled to Holland even before the armistice was signed. The Crown Prince is virtually a prisoner on a little island belonging to Holland. Germans bitterly regret that they have lost the war and are angry with the leaders who brought them into disaster and downfall; but neither Kaiser, junkers, nor everyday citizens have expressed the least penitence for the suffering which they have brought upon the world. How can these people be helped to "put away their barbarism," as the Sioux Indian said, and be fitted to take a place "by the sacred campfire of the nations"?
And shall this barbarism go unpunished? "The country that recklessly plunged the world into agony must accept a stern reckoning," said Lloyd George, Premier of England. This stern "reckoning" is not because, in the madness of warfare, occasional cruelty might have been shown, but because such cruelty is the settled policy and belief of a nation of more than 60,000,000 people, and the world must never again be called upon to suffer from it.
Many other questions are pressing upon us. How shall Russia be aided to find herself? Where shall the border-lines of the various countries—new and old—be drawn? Shall there be disarmament, and to what extent? What laws of trade must be formed? What is meant by the "freedom of the seas"? How can it be made sure that the smaller peoples may live unmolested by more powerful neighbors, greedy of wealth and territory? Shall there be a League of Nations, and what shall be its province and its powers?
It is such questions as these that must be answered at the Peace Table by representatives of the nations that have struggled together to withstand the onslaught of Germany. It is upon the wisdom and justice with which these questions are answered that, perhaps for many generations to come, the peace of the world will depend.
The following are the general terms of peace, as stated by President Wilson, with the agreement of the Allies.
From the President's Message of January 8, 1918
1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
3. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
4. Adequate guaranties given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
5. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the Government whose title is to be determined.
6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest co-operation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good-will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
7. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with the other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and demanded for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
8. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.
9. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
10. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.
11. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan States to one another determined by friendly council along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guaranties of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan States should be entered into.
12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guaranties.
13. An independent Polish State should be erected which should include territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence should be guarantied by inter-national covenant.
14. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guaranties of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
From the President's Speech of February 11, 1918
1. That each part of the final settlement must be based upon the essential justice of that particular case and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be permanent.2
2. That peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game, even the great game, now forever discredited, of the balance of power; but that—
3. Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival states; and—
4. That all well-defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and antagonism that would be likely in time to break the peace of Europe and consequently of the world.
From the President's Speech of July 4, 1918
1. The destruction of every arbitrary power anywhere that can separately, secretly, and of its single choice disturb the peace of the world; or, if it cannot be presently destroyed, at the least its reduction to virtual impotence.
2. The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship, upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery.
3. The consent of all nations to be governed in their conduct toward each other by the same principles of honor and of respect for the common law of civilized society that govern the individual citizens of all modern States in their relations with one another, to the end that all promises and covenants may be sacredly observed, no private plots or conspiracies hatched, no selfish injuries wrought with impunity, and a mutual trust established upon the handsome foundation of a mutual respect for right.
4. The establishment of an organization of peace which shall make it certain that the combined power of free nations will check every invasion of right, and serve to make peace and justice the more secure by affording a definite tribunal of opinion to which all must submit and by which every international readjustment that cannot be amicably agreed upon by the peoples directly concerned shall be sanctioned.
These great objects can be put into a single sentence: What we seek is reign of law, based upon the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.
From the President's Speech of September 27, 1918
1. The impartial justice meted out must involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and those to whom we do not wish to be just. It must be a justice that plays no favorites and knows no standard but the equal rights of the several peoples concerned.
2. No special or separate interest of any single nation or any group of nations can be made the basis of any part of the settlement which is not consistent with the common interest of all.
3. There can be no leagues or alliances or special covenants and understandings within the general and common family of the league of nations.
4. And more specifically, there can be no special, selfish economic combinations within the league and no employment of any form of economic boycott or exdusion except as the power of economic penalty by exclusion from the markets of the world may be vested in the league of nations itself as a means of discipline and control.
5. All international agreements and treaties of every kind must be made known in their entirety to the rest of the world.
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