America's War for Humanity eBook

America's War for Humanity

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1
HOPED FOR MODIFIED WARFARE1
RELIED ON LAW OF NATIONS1
CHALLENGE TO ALL MANKIND1
MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY2
COURSE WE MUST PURSUE3
ARMY OF 500,000 MEN3
MUST SUPPLY THE ALLIES3
SEEKS FREEDOM OF WORLD4
NO QUARREL WITH GERMANS4
MENACE OF INTRIGUES5
WELCOME TO FREE RUSSIA5
SOUGHT TO IGNORE PLOTS6
FIGHT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS6
SEEK NO SELFISH ENDS6
GERMANS IN AMERICA7
CIVILIZATION IN BALANCE7
CHAPTER I8
BY HON.  JAMES MARTIN MILLER8
WHY I WAS NOT ACCEPTED AS CONSUL TO GERMANY10
WHY WE WENT TO WAR11
WHY WE WENT TO WAR11
WORK OR FIGHT13
RATIONING THE NATIONS14
CHAPTER II.14
MARSHAL JOFFRE IN WASHINGTON19
GERMAN LOSSES TO JULY21
FURTHER GAINS IN FLANDERS21
CANADIAN VICTORIES AT LENS21
FIGHT IN CELLARS AND DUGOUTS22
RUSSIAN VICTORIES AND COLLAPSE23
GERMAN SUBMARINE CAMPAIGN FAILS24
KING OF GREECE DEPOSED25
THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN26
BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN THE EAST26
WAR MISSIONS OF THE ALLIES26
AERIAL ATTACKS ON LONDON27
AN ESTIMATE OP CASUALTIES27
WHEN THE THIRD YEAR CLOSED27
UNITED STATES WAR ACTIVITIES27
AMERICAN TROOPS IN FRANCE28
U.S.  WARSHIPS BUSY28
FOOD CONTROL BILL PASSED29
INTERNAL HANDICAPS IN AMERICA29
INTERNAL TROUBLES IN GERMANY30
THE POPE PROPOSES PEACE30
CANADIANS HOLD THEIR GAINS31
ITALIANS IN A GREAT OFFENSIVE32
RUSSIAN CAPITAL IN PERIL33
CLOSING IN ON LENS34
MANY GERMANS CAPTURED35
ALLIED GAINS IN THE WEST35
THE FIRST AMERICAN CASUALTIES36
FRENCH TRIBUTE TO U.S.  DEAD36
ITALY INVADED BY TEUTONS37
ANARCHY RAMPANT IN RUSSIA39
SECOND “LIBERTY LOAN” OVERSUBSCRIBED40
BRITISH SMASH HINDENBURG LINE40
AMERICAN COMMISSION IN EUROPE42
BRITISH NEAR JERUSALEM42
WIN AND LOSE AT CAMBRAI42
DISASTER AT HALIFAX43
JERUSALEM CAPTURED BY BRITISH43
WAR DECLARED AGAINST AUSTRIA43
LONG-DISTANCE PEACE TALK45
THE WORLD’S GREATEST BATTLE46
GENERAL PERSHING OFFERS AID46
GERMANY PREPARES TO STRIKE47
OPENING DATS OF THE BATTLE47
ALLIED LINES BEGIN TO HOLD FIRM48
GERMAN DRIVE IS HALTED49
PARIS BOMBARDED AT LONG RANGE50
ANOTHER ATTACK ON AMIENS50
BATTLE RENEWED IN THE NORTH50
SHELLS FIRED BY THE MILLION50
ALLIES CONTROL IN THE AIR51
GERMANS FAIL IN THEIR OBJECT52
BRITISH LOSSES MADE GOOD52
GERMANS START ANOTHER ATTACK52
BOTTLING UP U-BOAT BASES53
GERMAN ATTACK ON YPRES FAILS54
AMERICAN TROOPS IN ACTION55
U.S.  TROOPS BUSHED TO PRANCE55
AN ARMY OF 5,000,000 PLANNED55
DEFEATING THE SUBMARINE DANGER56
AMERICANS PROVE THEIR METTLE56
ANOTHER ENEMY OFFENSIVE57
JULY 4 CELEBRATED ABROAD57
STINGING DEFEAT FOR AUSTRIA57
A WATERLOO FOR THE CROWN PRINCE58
GENERAL FOCH STRIKES58
FOCH A MARSHAL OF FRANCE60
AMERICANS AT FISMES60
BRITISH VICTORY IN THE NORTH60
ALLIED GAINS IN PICARDY60
JOY IN AMIENS AND PARIS61
BOLSHEVIKI EXECUTE EX-CZAR61
CHAPTER III62
AMERICANS CAN FIGHT AND YELL63
A PERSONAL ACCOUNT64
GETTING TO THE FRONT UNDER DIFFICULTIES65
THE BIG DAY DAWNS65
GAS AND SHELL SHOCK65
MARINES ADVANCE UNDER FIRE66
DIGGING IN66
THE SHELLS COME FAST66
A FUNERAL, AT THE FRONT67
IMPRESSION OF A FRENCH LIEUTENANT67
KEEPING THE GERMANS ON THE RUN68
A STRANGER TO HIS OWN CHILD68
WHAT PERSHING THOUGHT OF HIS YANKS69
HEALTH OF ARMY SURPRISING69
ARMY REACHED TOTAL OF 3,66469
CHAPTER IV.70
STORIES TO THE FOLKS BACK HOME70
HUNS CARRY OFF CAPTIVE WOMEN71
MAJOR TELLS HIS STORY71
ENORMOUS NUMBERS OF GUNS72
UNDER ENFILADING FIRE72
ON DEAD MAN’S HILL73
A FIGHTING CHAPLAIN75
TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA TROOPS SHOW GREAT FIGHTING FORM75
OUR COLORED TROOPS WIN CREDIT76
CHAPTER V.76
LIBERTY MOTORS AND AIR SERVICE77
AMERICAN FLYERS DOWN 473 PLANES IN TWO MONTHS77
THE WAR IN THE AIR77
CHANCE OF LIVING NOW78
AIR PLANE’S TAIL SHOT OFF78
JOINS THE SKY FIGHTERS79
LEHR’S STORY79
FLYING AT THE FRONT79
CONSIDERS HIS OWN TACTICS80
MEN DIE IN FAULTY PLANES80
FIGHTS WITH FLYING CIRCUS81
IN THE BIG GERMAN DRIVE82
SEVERE BOMBING BY GERMANS82
COMMENTS ON HIS WAR CROSS83
GREAT FRENCH FLYER BRINGS DOWN83
OTHER CHAMPIONS OF THE AIR83
ENEMY ACES ALSO SCORE84
QUENTIN ROOSEVELT LOSES HIS LIFE84
AMERICAN AVIATOR GETS IRON CROSS84
EYES OF THE ARMY ALWAYS OPEN84
AMERICAN INFORMATION SERVICE CHART84
CHAPTER VI.  CAUSES OF THE WAR85
AMBITIONS OF SERVIA86
AUSTRIA DECLARES WAR87
PLOTS AND COUNTERPLOTS87
HOW WAR WAS DECLARED88
EFFORTS TO LOCALIZE THE WAR88
GERMANY’S ATTITUDE PRO-AUSTRIAN89
GERMAN ULTIMATUM TO RUSSIA90
TO PROTECT BELGIAN AUTONOMY90
SCENES IN PARLIAMENT91
TELEGRAM SENT TO BERLIN91
ENGLAND AND GERMANY AT WAR92
CHAPTER VII.92
THE ATTACK ON LIEGE93
THE FALL OF LIEGE93
PEASANTS AND TOWNSPEOPLE FLEE93
FALL OF NAMUR94
DESTRUCTION OF LOUVAIN95
SURRENDER OP BRUSSELS95
SURRENDER OF CITY DEMANDED96
HISTORIC TREASURES OF BRUSSELS97
HEAVY WAR TAX LEVIED97
BELGIANS RETREAT TO ANTWERP97
THE CITY AND PORT OF ANTWERP97
BLOODLESS CAPITULATION OF GHENT98
THE BURGOMASTER’S APPEAL99
DINANT AND TERMONDE FALL100
BOMBARDMENT OF MALINES100
CHAPTER VIII BRITAIN RAISES AN ARMY101
BRITISH TROOPS LAND IN FRANCE101
FIELD-MARSHAL FRENCH IN COMMAND102
COLONIES RALLY TO BRITAIN103
CANADA OFFERS MEN103
TROOPSHIPS SAIL UNDER CONVOY103
THE FINAL REVIEW AT VALCARTIER104
CANADA FIGHTS AGAINST AUTOCRACY104
INDIAN TROOPS CALLED FOR105
KING GEORGE PRAISES COLONIES106
CHAPTER IX107
VISE ATTACKED AND FIRED108
BATTLES OF HAELEN-DIEST108
ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF DIEST109
THOUGHT THEY WERE IN FRANCE111
TIRLEMONT AKD LOUVAIN111
BELGIANS RETIRE AT LOUVAIN111
TOWN IN PANIC WITH REFUGEES111
TROOPS HINDERED BY CIVILIANS112
ALLIES MEET THE INVADERS112
THE BATTLE OF MONS——­FOUR DAYS OF FIGHTING——­RETREAT OF THE ALLIES113
FIELD MARSHAL FRENCH’S REPORT114
CHOSE A NEW POSITION114
NIGHT ATTACK ON THE LEFT115
GENERAL SMITH-DORRIEN IN RETREAT115
ARMY IN GEEAT PERIL115
RETREAT IS ORDERED116
FRENCH AID IS GIVEN116
GERMANS USE HEAVY GUNS117
ARMY FACED ANNIHILATION117
PRAISES SORDET’S HELP117
TOLD BY A WOUNDED SOLDIER118
DESTROY BRIDGES BEHIND THEM118
WATCH DUEL IN AIR119
OFFICER, SPIKES THE GUNS119
THE BATTLE AT CHABLEROI120
AEROS CONSTANTLY ABOVE120
THE FRENCH IN ALSACE-LORRAINE120
FIGHTING AROUND NANCY121
FRENCH TRAPPED IN ALSACE121
A SOLDIER’S EXPERIENCE UNDER FIRE122
THE REAL TRAGEDY OF WAR123
CHAPTER X123
ALLIES MAKE STRENUOUS RESISTANCE124
RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF THE BRITISH125
MASTERLY TACTICS IN RETIRING126
GOVERNMENT MOVED TO BORDEAUX126
THE FORTIFICATIONS OP PARIS128
FORM LARGE FORTIFIED CAMPS128
GERMAN AMMUNITION CAPTURED129
ALLIES PLAN TO PROTECT PARIS129
CHAPTER XI129
BATTLE OF THE MARNE130
THE CHANGE IN GERMAN STRATEGY131
ALLIES TAKE THE OFFENSIVE131
GERMAN RETREAT IS HASTENED132
TRAPPED IN A SUNKEN ROAD132
SUCCESS OF THE FLYING CORPS133
FIVE GERMAN PILOTS SHOT133
LOSSES AT THE MARNE ENORMOUS134
COUNTRY STREWN WITH DEAD134
GERMAN GUNS ARE SILENCED135
GERMANS LEAVE SPOILS BEHIND135
BRITISH KEEP UP PURSUIT135
RETREAT SEEN FROM THE SKY136
GERMANS ABANDON GUNS136
FIGHTING DESCRIBED BY U.S.  OFFICERS137
THIRTY THOUSAND MEN KILLED137
TURCOS FIERCEST FIGHTERS OF ALL138
NIGHT BATTLE DESCRIBED BY SOLDIER138
COMMANDS ARE WHISPERED139
FIRST SHOT IS HEARD139
ATTACKED WITH BAYONETS139
SCENES ON THE BATTLEFIELD140
FOUGHT ON BEAUTIFUL CHATEAU LAWNS140
A SERIES OF BATTLES141
MANY SANGUINARY INCIDENTS142
VAST GRAVEYARD AT MEAUX142
THE BATTLE AT CRECY142
BRITISH BLOW UP A BRIDGE143
GERMAN LOSSES AT THE MARNE143
FALL OF MAUBEUGE143
CHAPTER XII144
MOBILIZATION WAS SLOW144
ARMY REORGANIZED RECENTLY145
THE RUSSIAN COSSACKS145
RUSSIAN PLAN OF CAMPAIGN146
GERMAN TROOPS HURRIED EAST147
CZAR NICHOLAS AT THE FRONT147
RUSSIA PREPARES TO STRIKE AUSTRIA148
INVASION OF PRUSSIA148
THE FALL OF LEMBERG149
RUSSIAN ARTILLERY SUPERIOR150
LOSSES BECOME HEAVIER150
THE BATTLE BEFORE LEMBERG150
GERMANY RUSHES REINFORCEMENTS151
GENERAL RENNENKAMPF’S DEFEAT151
STRATEGY IS SUCCESSFUL152
AUSTRIA STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE153
RUSSIANS AT PRZEMYSL153
ESTIMATE OF AUSTRIAN LOSSES154
RUSSIANS TRY NEW RANGE155
RUSSIAN INFANTRY CHARGES155
GUN BARRELS SIZZLING HOT156
ATTACKS BY RUSSIAN INFANTRY157
MEN PAUSE ONLY TO FIRE157
MACHINE GUN FIRE TELLS157
DEAD MEN COVER ACRES158
CHAPTER XIII158
SERVIA AND ITS ASPIRATIONS160
THE SERVIAN ARMY160
CHANCES AGAINST SERVIA161
AUSTRIANS BOMBARD BELGRADE162
SERVIANS CAPTURE SEMLIN163
CHAPTER XIV164
HAND-TO-HAND FIGHTING164
FRIGHTFUL MORTALITY AMONG OFFICERS164
SAYS GEBMANS FOUGHT EVERY DAY165
HOW IT FEELS TO BE WOUNDED165
HOW GENEBAL FINDLEY DIED165
KILLED FOE IN REVOLVER DUEL166
LITTLE STORIES FROM FRANCE166
SAYS DEAD FILLED THE MEUSE167
DETROIT ARTIST’S NARROW ESCAPE167
SAD PLIGHT OF FRENCH FUGITIVES167
CHAUNCEY DEPEW ON A RUNNING-BOARD168
GENERAL USE OF KHAKI UNIFORMS168
A BELGIAN BOY HERO169
PRINCE JOACHIM WOUNDED169
EX-EMPRESS DEVOTED TO FRANCE170
GAVE HIM A FORK TO MATCH171
DECORATED ON THE BATTLEFIELD171
A “WALKING WOOD” AT CRECY172
CHAPLAIN CAPTURES AUSTRIAN TROOPERS172
A BRITISH CAVALRY CHARGE172
BOY SCOUT HERO OF THE WAR173
KAISER ASKS FOR PRAYERS173
SPIRIT OF FRENCH WOMEN174
KILLS MANY WITH ARMORED CAR174
A GERMAN RUSE THAT FAILED174
IN THE PARIS MILITARY HOSPITAL175
SMOKE AS WOUNDS ARE TREATED175
SPIRIT OF BELGIAN SOLDIERS175
RIFLES USED BY NATIONS OF WAR177
GERMAN UHLANS AS SCOUTS177
FOUGHT WITHOUT SHOES177
KILLED A GENERAL178
HOW A GERMAN PRINCE DIED178
RAILWAY STATION A SHAMBLES178
BURIED ON THE FIELD179
GERMAN LISTS OF THE DEAD179
THE LANCE AS A WEAPON179
GERMAN PLANS WELL LAID180
THE TERRIBLE KRUPP GUNS180
GERMANS DEFY DEATH180
SPIRIT OF GERMAN WOMEN180
FATHER AND TEN SONS ENLIST180
FEARFUL STATE OF BATTLEFIELDS181
PRINCES WOUNDED BY THE FOE182
HOW THE SCOTSMEN FOUGHT182
TWO TRAGIC INCIDENTS182
IN THE BRUSSELS HOSPITALS182
GERMAN WARNING TO FRENCH TOWNS183
MOTORS IN THE RUSSIAN ARMY183
JENNIE DUFAU’S NARROW ESCAPE184
VALLEY OF DEATH ON THE AISNE184
BRITISH AID FOR FRENCH WOUNDED185
COMPARATIVE WEALTH OF NATIONS AT WAR186
CHAPTER XV187
AN ADMIRALTY ANNOUNCEMENT188
LOSS OF THE CRUISER AMPHION189
SINKING A GERMAN SUBMARINE190
CRUISER FIRES ON SHIPS191
A MARVELOUS RESCUE192
THREE BRITISH CRUISERS SUNK192
THE GERMAN COMMANDER’S STORY193
STRIKES THE SECOND CRUISER194
MERCHANTMEN CAPTURED AND SUNK195
GERMAN CRUISERS ACTIVE195
GERMAN COLONY OCCUPIED196
GERMANS SINK RUSS CRUISER196
BRITISH CRUISER HAWKE SUNK196
BRITISH AVENGE AMPHION’S LOSS196
CHAPTER XVI196
A PRACTICAL MAN’S VIEWS197
RUN BY COMPRESSED AIR198
CAN CUT TORPEDO NETS199
SUBMARINE STRENGTH OF THE POWERS199
CHAPTER XVII200
BRITISH ATTACK ON DUSSELDORF200
HEROIC ACTS BY AIRMEN201
A DUEL HIGH IN THE AIR201
HOW A GERMAN AVIATOR ESCAPED202
ZEPPELINS IN ACTION203
AVIATION CAMPS IN EUROPE204
CHAPTER XVIII205
FIGHTING CONTINUOUS DAY AND NIGHT206
REPORTS OF THE BATTLE207
OPENING OF THE GREAT BATTLE207
FATEFUL ENCOUNTER BEGINS209
RHEIMS OCCUPIED BY GERMANS209
HOW THE BATTLE DEVELOPED210
FIRST CORPS MAKES CAPTURE210
NATURE OF THE FIGHTING211
HEAVY BOMBARDMENT BY BOTH SIDES211
CHEERING MESSAGE TO THE FRENCH212
LETTER FROM A GERMAN SOLDIER212
EVENTS FROM SEPTEMBER 21 TO213
ARTILLERY FIRE BECOMES MONOTONOUS214
OBJECT OF GERMAN ATTACKS214
LETTER FOUND ON GERMAN OFFICER215
TELEPHONE AN AID TO SPIES216
REFERS TO RHEIMS CATHEDRAL216
FIVE MORE DAYS OF BATTLE217
AN ALL-DAY ATTACK217
A TYPICAL BATTLE INCIDENT218
TRYING TO ENFILADE THE TRENCHES218
ARMIES IN A DEADLOCK219
A BLAZING VALE OF DEATH220
HEROISM IN THE TRENCHES220
THE GRIM STORY OF SENLIS221
RHEIMS CATHEDRAL DAMAGED222
SAVING THE GERMAN WOUNDED222
SEVEN DAYS OF HELL224
CHAPTER XIX224
THE SIEGE OF ANTWERP225
BRITISH MARINES AID DEFENDERS225
THE FIGHTING OUTSIDE ANTWERP226
FIERCE FIGHT TO CROSS NETHE228
GERMAN GUNS CONCEALED229
MANY HARROWING SCENES229
FOUGHT TO GET ON THE BOATS230
APPALLED BY THE HORROR OF WAR230
A GREAT EXODUS OF INHABITANTS230
CITY ALMOST DESERTED231
KILLED BEFORE HIS WIFE’S EYES231
TAKE REFUGE IN CELLARS232
BURGOMASTER PARLEYS WITH GERMANS232
GERMAN MILITARY GOVERNOR OF ANTWERP APPOINTED—­GERMAN OFFICIAL REPORTS233
CHAPTER XX233
HOSPITALS IN VILLAGE CHURCHES234
MOVED TO HOSPITALS IN CITIES234
HORROR IN HOSPITAL SIGHTS234
GRAVEYARDS ON BATTLEFIELDS235
KAISER INSISTS ON ENTERING235
SURGEONS WIN IRON CROSSES235
REGULATIONS ARE HUMANE TO ALL236
PRISONERS MAY BE CONFINED237
ATTEMPTS AT ESCAPE237
CAPTIVES MUST BE PAID FOR WORK237
BREAKER OF A PAROLE238
CHAPTER XXI238
CALLS IT COMPULSORY SUICIDE239
MILLIONS OF POLES DESTITUTE240
THOUSANDS OF VILLAGES DESTROYED241
RELIEF FOR BELGIAN SUFFERERS242
RELIEF ASKED FOR SERBIA242
GERMAN REPORT OF VILLAGES RAZED243
CHAPTER XXII243
FIERCE FIGHTING IN FLANDERS243
BRITISH WARSHIPS AID BELGIANS244
INDIAN TROOPS IN ACTION245
THE FRENCH CAMPAIGN IN ALSACE245
THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN245
THE AUSTRO-SERVIAN CAMPAIGN246
THE CAMPAIGN IN THE PACIFIC246
MAIN FLEETS STILL INACTIVE246
CARING FOR BELGIAN REFUGEES247
MORE CANADIANS FOR THE FRONT247
THE “EMDEN” DRIVEN ASHORE A WRECK248
NAVAL BATTLE OFF CHILEAN COAST248
DAILY COST OF WAR248
TURKEY ENTERS THE WAR248
FOURTH MONTH OF THE WAR249
DECEMBER IN THE TRENCHES250
IN THE GERMAN TRENCHES251
GERMAN ADVANCE HALTED252
PROGRESS OF THE EASTERN CAMPAIGN253
BELGIUM THANKS AMERICA254
GOVERNMENT RETURNS TO PARIS255
BRITISH NAVAL VICTORY256
RULERS AT THE FRONT256
CANADIANS AT THE FRONT258
SERVIANS REOCCUPY BELGRADE259
GERMAN ATTACK ON BRITISH COAST259
BRITISH RAID GERMAN PORT259
U.S.  PROTEST ON MARINE CONDITIONS260
ON THE WESTERN BATTLE FRONT260
NAVAL BATTLE IN THE NORTH SEA261
GREAT GERMAN VICTORY IN EAST PRUSSIA262
ALLIES FORCE THE DARDANELLES262
ADMIRAL DE ROBECK’S TRIBUTE TO THE FRENCH264
BATTLE OF NEUVE CHAPELLE264
GERMAN ADVANCE IN POLAND266
BRITISH RELIEVE THE PRESSURE266
BRITISH AUXILIARY CRUISER LOST267
GERMAN CRUISER DRESDEN SUNK267
THE FALL OF PKZEMYSL267
ENORMOUS LOSSES ON BOTH SIDES270
TERRIFIC FIGHTING IN MIDWINTER271
FRENCH MAKE GAINS IN MARCH271
STIRRING EVENTS OF THE SPRING271
HOW CANADIAN COMMANDER DIED LEADING YPRES CHARGE272
GERMAN DRIVE TO THE COAST273
PRAISE FOR THE CANADIANS274
ALLIED TROOPS AT THE DARDANELLES274
CHAPTER XXIII274
CHAPTER XXIV276
INVASION OF AUSTRIA278
STRUGGLE FOR THE DARDANELLES278
LEMBERG IS RECAPTURED278
HEROIC FEAT OF A CANADIAN279
DEADLOCK IN THE WEST279
FALL OF WARSAW280
BATTLE OF THE BAY OF RIGA280
WHITE STAB LINER ARABIC SUNK281
CHAPTER XXV287
ON THE WESTERN FRONT288
CONSCRIPTION IN ENGLAND288
BRITISH BATTLESHIPS SUNK288
RUSSIA’S WINTER CAMPAIGN289
THE BALKAN CAMPAIGN289
SINKING OF THE PERSIA290
FROM BERLIN TO CONSTANTINOPLE290
CANADIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING BURNED290
RUSSIAN SUCCESSES IN ASIA MINOR291
GREAT BATTLE BEFORE VERDUN291
GERMAN SUBMARINE ACTIVITIES293
CHAPTER.  XXVI293
CHAPTER XXVII306
STORY OF THE BATTLE.308
CHAPTER XXVIII.312
RUSSIA COMPELS AUSTRIAN RETREAT314
CONTINUATION OF THE GREAT BATTLE316
TRAGIC TALE OF A GERMAN PRISONER317
GERMAN SUBMARINE REACHES BALTIMORE318
CANADIANS STRENGTHEN THEIR FRONTS319
NEW RUSSIAN DRIVE NEAR RIGA319
TWO TEARS’ WAR CASUALTIES319
ITALY AT WAR WITH GERMANY320
RUMANIA ENTERS THE WAR321
RUSSIAN ARMIES ACTIVE321
ALLIED PROGRESS ON THE WESTERN FRONT321
CHAPTER XXIX.333
FRENCH CONTINUE ADVANCE IN APRIL341
CHAPTER XXX341
COMBAT OPERATIONS342
AMERICAN DIVISIONS IN THE FIGHTING343
BATTLE OF ST. MIHIEL344
MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE, FIRST PHASE346
OTHER UNITS WITH ALLIES347
MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE, SECOND PHASE348
DIVISIONS IN BELGIUM349
MEUSE-ARGONNE—­LAST PHASE350
OPERATIONS EAST OF THE MEUSE351
RELATIONS WITH THE ALLIES351
STRENGTH352
CHAPTER XXXI352
AMERICAN TROOPS ON ALL FRONTS352
CHANGES COME FAST AND FURIOUS353
FERDINAND FALLS FROM THE WAR WAGON353
PRINCE MAX WRITES A NOTE355
FIRST HUN CRY FOR PEACE355
VIRTUE, VICE AND VIOLENCE356
RESULTS OF A FEW BUSY MONTHS356
OPENS UP THE DARDANELLES357
AUSTRIA SURRENDERS357
THE KILLING OF TISZA358
TERMS PREPARDED FOR GERMANY359
ARMISTICE SIGNED BY GERMANY359
CLOSING DAYS OF HOHENZOLLERN REIGN360
FINAL ACT OF THE HUN AT SEA361
FOLLOWING THE DAYS OF RECKONING361
AMONG THE LAST SHOTS FIRED362
AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR363
THE ALL PULL TOGETHER SHOT363
AT THE END OF THE WORLD WAR363
THE CROWNING HUMILIATION365
CHAPTER XXXII366
NEARLY 28,000,000 WORKERS366
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVE367
ALL PULL TOGETHER368
ALL MODERN IDEAS368
CARING FOR THE BOYS368
WOUNDED YANKS ARE CHEERFUL369
BOY SCOUTS PLAY THEIR PART WELL369
BOYS HELP MOST WONDERFUL369
THIRTY-THREE Y.M.C.A.  WORKERS GIVE LIVES IN WAR370
GREATEST MAIL SERVICE IN THE WORLD370
GERMANS ABANDONED MUCH EQUIPMENT370
CHAPTER XXXIII.370
THE NATION LISTENS AND APPLAUDS371
PRESIDENT MAKES ARMISTICE PUBLIC371
TERMS OF THE ARMISTICE371
MUST SURRENDER MILITARY SUPPLIES372
MUST REVEAL ALL MINES373
REPATRIATION AND REPARATION374
EVACUATED ALL BLACK SEA PORTS375
PRESIDENT’S COMMENT ON ARMISTICE376
GERMAN MALTREATMENT OF PRISONERS378
CHAPTER XXXIV.378
SERVICE MEDAL TO GENERAL PERSHING378
PERSHING’S SPLENDID RECORD379
HONORS TO MARSHAL FOCH379
MARSHAL FOCH’S RECORD380
GENERAL PERSHING’S THANKSGIVING ADDRESS381
THE HOMECOMING OF KING ALBERT382
AMERICA’S TREMENDOUS ACHIEVEMENT BEHIND THE LINES383
AMERICAN FORCES AND CASUALTIES384
TOTAL OF CIVIL WAR CASUALTIES COMPARED ARE AS FOLLOWS385
BRITISH, FRENCH AND ITALIAN LOSSES385
CANADA’S CASUALTIES385
GERMAN LOSSES385
TOTAL LOSSES386
GERMANY’S NAVAL SURRENDER386
FORMER KAISERIN WEEPS386
FORMER KAISER’S ACT OF RENUNCIATION387
PERSHING PAYS TRIBUTE TO HIS MEN387
CHAPTER XXXV.387

Page 1

HOPED FOR MODIFIED WARFARE

“That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year the imperial government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy, when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats.

“The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel and unmanly business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed.

“The new policy has swept every restriction aside.  Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents.

“Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed area by the German government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

RELIED ON LAW OF NATIONS

“I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would be in fact done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to the humane practices of civilized nations.

“International law had its origin in the attempt to set up some law which would be respected and observed upon the seas, where no nation had right of dominion and where lay the free highways of the world.  By painful stage after stage has that law been built up, with meager enough results, indeed, after all was accomplished that could be accomplished, but always with a clear view, at least, of what the heart and conscience of mankind demanded.

“This minimum of right the German government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world.

PRESIDENT WILSON’S WAR ADDRESS

CHALLENGE TO ALL MANKIND

“I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate.  Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be.  The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

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“It is a war against all nations.  American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way.

“There has been no discrimination.  The challenge is to all mankind.  Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it.  The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation.  We must put excited feelings away.  Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right—­of human right—­of which we are only a single champion.

“When I addressed the congress on the 26th of February last I thought that it would suffice to assert our neutral rights with arms, our right to use the seas against unlawful interference, our right to keep our people safe against unlawful violence.

“But armed neutrality, it now appears, is impracticable.  Because submarines are in effect outlaws when used as the German submarines have been used against merchant shipping, it is impossible to defend ships against their attacks, as the law of nations has assumed that merchantmen would defend themselves against privateers or cruisers, visible craft giving chase upon the open sea.

“It is common prudence in such circumstances, grim necessity, indeed, to endeavor to destroy them before they have shown their own intentions.  They must be dealt with upon sight if dealt with at all.

“The German government denies the right of neutrals to use arms at all within the areas of the sea which it has proscribed, even in the defense of rights which no modern publicist has ever before questioned their right to defend.

“The intimation is conveyed that the armed guards which we have placed on our merchant ships will be treated as beyond the pale of law and subject to be dealt with as pirates would be.  Armed neutrality is ineffectual enough at best.  In such circumstances and in the face of such pretensions it is worse than ineffectual; it is likely only to produce what it was meant to prevent; it is practically certain to draw us into the war without either the rights or the effectiveness of belligerents.

“There is one choice we cannot make, we are incapable of making:  We will not choose the path of submission and suffer the most sacred rights of our nation and our people to be ignored or violated.  The wrongs against which we now array ourselves are no common wrongs.  They cut to the very roots of human life.

MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY

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“With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities 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; that it formally accept the status of belligerent which has thus been thrust upon it; and that it take immediate steps not only to put the country in a more thorough state of defense but also to exert all its power and employ all its resources to bring the government of the German empire to terms and end the war.

COURSE WE MUST PURSUE

“What this will involve is clear.  It will involve the utmost practicable co-operation in counsel and action with the governments now at war with Germany and, as incident to that, the extension to those governments of the most liberal financial credits, in order that our resources may so far as possible be added to theirs.

“It will involve the organization and mobilization of all the material resources of the country to supply the materials of war and serve the incidental needs of the nation in the most abundant and yet the most economical and efficient way possible.

“It will involve the immediate full equipment of the navy in all respects, but particularly in supplying it with the best means of dealing with the enemy’s submarines.

ARMY OF 500,000 MEN

“It will involve the immediate addition to the armed force of the United States already provided for by law in case of war at least 500,000 men, who should, in my opinion, be chosen upon the principal of universal liability to service, and also the authorization of subsequent additional increments of equal force so soon as they may be needed and can be handled in training.

“It will involve also, of course, the granting of adequate credits to the government, sustained, I hope, so far as they can equitably be sustained by the present generation, by well conceived taxation.

“I say sustained so far as may be equitable by taxation because it seems to me that it would be most unwise to base the credits which will now be necessary entirely on money borrowed.  It is our duty, I most respectfully urge, to protect our people, so far as we may, against the very serious hardships and evils which would be likely to arise out of the inflation which would be produced by vast loans.

MUST SUPPLY THE ALLIES

“In carrying out the measures by which these things are to be accomplished we should keep constantly in mind the wisdom of interfering as little as possible in our own preparation and in the equipment of our own military forces with the duty—­for it will be a very practical duty—­of supplying the nations already at war with Germany with the materials which they can obtain only from us or by our assistance.  They are in the field, and we should help them in every way to be effective there.

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“I shall take the liberty of suggesting, through the several executive departments of the government, for the consideration of your committees, measures for the accomplishment of the several objects I have mentioned.  I hope that it will be your pleasure to deal with them, as having been framed after very careful thought by the branch of the government upon which the responsibility of conducting the war and safeguarding the nation will most directly fall.

SEEKS FREEDOM OF WORLD

“While we do these things, these deeply momentous things, let us be very clear, and make very clear to all the world, what our motives and our objects are.  My own thought has not been driven from its habitual and normal course by the unhappy events of the last months, and I do not believe that the thought of the nation has been altered or clouded by them.

“I have exactly the same things in mind now that I had in mind when I addressed the senate on the twenty-second of January last; the same that I had in mind when I addressed the congress on the third of February and on the twenty-sixth of February.  “Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power and to set up amongst the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth insure the observance of those principles.

“Neutrality is no longer feasible or desirable where the peace of the world is involved and the freedom of its peoples, and the menace to that peace and freedom lies in the existence of autocratic governments backed by organized force which is controlled wholly by their will—­not by the will of their people.

“We have seen the last of neutrality in such circumstances.  We are at the beginning of an age in which it will be insisted that the same standards of conduct and of responsibility for wrong done shall be observed among nations and their governments that are observed among the individual citizens of civilized states.

NO QUARREL WITH GERMANS

“We have no quarrel with the German people.  We have no feeling towards them but one of sympathy and friendship.  It was not upon their impulse that their government acted in entering this war.  It was not with their previous knowledge or approval.  It was a war determined upon as wars used to be determined upon in the old, unhappy days when peoples were nowhere consulted by their rulers and wars were provoked and waged in the interest of dynasties or of little groups of ambitious men who were accustomed to use their fellow-men as pawns and tools.

“Self-governed nations do not fill their neighbor states with spies or set the course of intrigue to bring about some critical posture of affairs which will give them an opportunity to strike and make conquest.

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“Such designs can be successfully worked out only under cover and where no one has the right to ask questions.  Cunningly contrived plans of deception or aggression, carried, it may be, from generation to generation, can be worked out and kept from the light only within the privacy of courts or behind the carefully guarded confidences of a narrow and privileged class.  They are happily impossible where public opinion commands and insists upon full information concerning all the nation’s affairs.

MENACE OF INTRIGUES

“A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations.  No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within or observe its covenants.  It must be a league of honor, a partnership of opinion.

“Intrigue would eat its vitals away; the plottings of inner circles who could plan what they would and give account to no one, would be a corruption seated at its very heart.

“Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a common end and prefer the interest of mankind to any narrow interest of their own.

WELCOME TO FREE RUSSIA

“Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia?

“Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact democratic at heart in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual attitude toward life.  The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, as long as it had stood and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin, character or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great, generous Russian people have added in all their native majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace.  Here is a fit partner for a league of honor.

“One of the things that has served to convince us that the Prussian autocracy was not and could never be our friend is that from the very outset of the present war it has filled our unsuspecting communities and even our offices of government with spies and set criminal intrigues everywhere afoot against our national unity of counsel, our peace within and without, our industries, and our commerce.

“Indeed, it is now evident that its spies were here even before the war began, and it is unhappily not a matter of conjecture, but a fact proved in our courts of justice, that the intrigues which have more than once come perilously near to disturbing the peace and dislocating the industries of the country have been carried on at the instigation, with the support, and even under the personal direction of official agents of the imperial government accredited to the government of the United States.

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SOUGHT TO IGNORE PLOTS

“Even in checking these things and trying to extirpate them we have sought to put the most generous interpretation possible upon them because we knew that their source lay not in any hostile feeling or purpose of the German people towards us (who were, no doubt, as ignorant of them as we ourselves were) but only in the selfish designs of a government that did what it pleased and told its people nothing.

“But they played their part in serving to convince us at last that that government entertains no real friendship for us and means to act against our peace and security at its convenience.  That it means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors the intercepted note to the German minister at Mexico City is eloquent evidence.

FIGHT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

“We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that in such a government, following such methods, we can never have a friend, and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security for the democratic governments of the world.

“We are now about to accept gage of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power.  We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its people, the German people included; for the rights of nations, great and small; the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience.

SEEK NO SELFISH ENDS

“The world must be made safe for democracy.  Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.  We have no selfish ends to serve.  We desire no conquest, no dominion.  We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make.  We are but one of the champions of the right of mankind.  We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.

“Just because we fight without rancor and without selfish object, seeking nothing for ourselves but what we shall wish to share with all free peoples, we shall, I feel confident, conduct our operations as belligerents without passion and ourselves observe with proud punctilio the principles of right and of fair play we profess to be fighting for.  SILENT AS TO AUSTRIA

“I have said nothing of the governments allied with the imperial German government because they have not made war upon us or challenged us to defend our right and our honor.

“The Austro-Hungarian government has, indeed, avowed its unqualified endorsement and acceptance of the reckless and lawless submarine warfare adopted now without disguise by the imperial German government, and it has therefore not been possible for this government to receive Count Tarnowski, the ambassador recently accredited to this government by the imperial and royal government of Austria-Hungary; but that government has not actually engaged in warfare against citizens of the United States on the seas.

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“On these premises I take the liberty, for the present at least, of postponing a discussion of our relations with the authorities at Vienna.  We enter this war only where we are clearly forced into it because there are no other means of defending our rights.

“It will be all the easier for us to conduct ourselves as belligerents in a high spirit of right and fairness because we act without animus, not in enmity towards a people or with the desire to bring any injury or disadvantage upon them, but only in armed opposition to an irresponsible government which has thrown aside all considerations of humanity and of right and is running amuck.

GERMANS IN AMERICA

“We are, let me say again, the sincere friends of the German people, and shall desire nothing so much as the early reestablishment of intimate relations of mutual advantage between us, however hard it may be for them, for the time being, to believe that this is spoken from our hearts.

“We have borne with their present government through all these bitter months because of that friendship, exercising a patience and forbearance which would otherwise have been impossible.

“We shall, happily, still have an opportunity to prove that friendship in our daily attitude and actions towards the millions of men and women of German birth and native sympathy who live amongst us and share our life, and we shall be proud to prove it towards all who are in fact loyal to their neighbors and to the government in the hour of test.  They are, most of them, as true and loyal Americans as if they had never known any other fealty or allegiance.  They will be prompt to stand with us in rebuking and restraining the few who may be of a different mind and purpose.  If there should be disloyalty it will be dealt with with a firm hand of stern repression; but if it lifts its head at all it will lift it only here and there and without countenance except from a lawless and malignant few.

CIVILIZATION IN BALANCE

“It is a distressing and oppressive duty, gentlemen of the congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you.  There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us.  It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance.

“But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—­for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.

“To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured.  God helping her, she can do no other.”

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CHAPTER I

WHY WE WENT TO WAR

MEMORIES OF BEAUTIFUL FRANCE—­WHY I WAS NOT ACCEPTED AS CONSUL TO GERMANY

BY HON.  JAMES MARTIN MILLER

FORMER UNITED STATES CONSUL IN FRANCE

To have lived on the principal battle ground of the world war was a privilege the author did not appreciate at the time.  As representative of the United States Government in the Consular district of France that includes the departments of the Aisne, Ardennes, Marne, Aube, Meuse, Vosges, Haute-Marne and Meurthe-et-Moselle, he lived and had his headquarters at Reims, some years before the war.  Reims is (or rather was) a beautiful city of 112,000 people.  The story of the city goes back to the days of the Roman empire, and bears the mark of many Gallic insurrections.  In comparatively later times Joan of Arc caused Charles VII to be crowned in the great Cathedral there—­one of the most glorious and stately in all Europe, now a ruin.  A history of the eight departments (or small states) mentioned above would include a history of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, and of the greatest and most desperate of all wars, the one just brought to a close.

My Consular district bordered on Belgium, Luxemburg and Alsace-Lorraine.  The Marne, the Aisne, the Vesle, and other streams whose names adorn with sad pride so many of America’s battle-flags, flow through it.  After 1914 Belgium saw very little fighting; but this district saw almost four years of continuous and enormous battle.  It was overrun time and again.  Neither Belgium nor any other country suffered such devastation, nor such material destruction.  Today it is a vast graveyard.  Hundreds of thousands of men dyed its soil with their lifeblood.  All America and all the world knows about Chateau Thierry and St. Mihiel, and the gallantry of American troops in those two brilliant and significant actions.  It is difficult to realize the stupendous tragedy that through all those years hung over that beautiful country, whose fields were once as familiar to me as any fields of home.  I look back to that time with affection, in the glow of happy memories.

Americans before this war had held the Monroe Doctrine in high reverence.  Presidents had strengthened it in their messages.  Candidates for office for more than half a century had argued as a campaign issue that the United States must never be drawn into foreign entanglements; that no European nation ever would be allowed to interfere in the affairs of the American continents.  This doctrine was so deeply rooted that objectors everywhere rose up when we began to talk of “preparedness” against the ultimate day when we could no longer keep out of the fight.  Many declared it would be “unconstitutional” for the United States to send troops to Europe.  The war lords of Germany took advantage of this traditional

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sentiment among our people and felt sure that the United States never would come in, no matter how many American lives nor how much American property Germany might destroy, nor how many of our ships German pirates might sink at sea, without warning.  The German government had built up a propaganda in this country that at one time threatened to poison the minds of all our people.  There were some among us who hated England, and wanted to see Germany win for no other reason than that.  Others hated Russia, and so desired Germany to win.  Germany’s secret intrigues in Mexico came near to getting us into a war with that country.  In the face of all these things there was a strong sentiment among our people and even in Congress favorable to Germany.  It is easy now to say that we should have gone to war when the Lusitania was sunk, but pro-German feeling was so noisy and so strong, even though it was held by a minority, that the Congress itself was affected and withheld its hand.

Public sentiment had to be crystalized so that it would stand back of the administration.  With our lack of a secret service capable of coping with the German agents who were busy everywhere and all the time, we were at a disadvantage in gathering evidence to convince our people that the Germans were menacing our very existence.  Even after the secret service was built up it took many months of hard work and several thousand government men to uncover and stamp out their organizations and their ruthless plots.  The slimy tracks of the German ambassador at Washington had to be followed through devious underground channels that no one had suspected.  The embassy had filled the country with German poison gas, and backed the German campaign of wholesale arson.  Germans living here, many of them American born, were busily counteracting public opinion as the evidences accumulated.

Democracies are always at a disadvantage in dealing with monarchies; in the initial stages of war at least.  We have seen it demonstrated that a democracy must become autocratic if it is to carry on a war successfully.  But an American autocracy takes the shape of a temporary delegation of unusual power in conditions that cannot wait for the slow action of ordinary times; and those who exercise it are put in power by the people themselves, to do the people’s will.  It was necessary to consolidate not only the direction of the nation itself, but of our military affairs abroad.  We soon got the home situation in hand, and then the President of the United States threw his influence, backed by all the American people, toward bringing the allied armies and those of the United States under one head in the person of General Foch as Field Marshal.  This was not accomplished until after the great Italian disaster, when it looked as though the Austro-Hungarian armies would crush Italy.  The same may be said of the threatened disaster to the British army early in 1918, when von Hindenburg began his great drive toward Calais and Paris.  Here were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria, four monarchies dominated by the German government, fighting nearly all the democracies of the world, not considering Russia, which dropped out shortly before the United States effectively entered the war.

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We will not consider Japan’s position as a nominal member of the entente, except for her action at the beginning of the war in capturing Kiauchau, China, the German fortified port and naval base in the Orient, and sweeping Germany out of the Pacific by taking the Marshall islands.  Beyond this, Japan sent soldiers to Eastern Siberia to help in police duty, and in guarding the great stores of supplies accumulated by the Russians at Vladivostok.  These stores had been bought largely upon the credit extended to Russia by the United States.

With Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary gone as monarchies, Japan is the greatest of the remaining imperial states.  We have seen more than a dozen kings, emperors, princes and grand dukes pass into the discard as a result of a war which they themselves brought on.

France tried to discard kings and princes in 1798.  The sovereignty of the people was proclaimed in that war, but the governments which have ruled France since have been many, and presented wide differences.  In this present age, no doubt it will be much easier to establish a stable democracy upon the wreck of a monarchy than it could have been a century ago.  Still, the construction of a democracy is a difficult ordeal for people who have always been imperialists.  The several monarchies, big and little, that have fallen in this war, present most perplexing problems.  There are boundary and racial disputes of the most bitter kind between some of their peoples.  But the great democracies of the world that won this war are taking the part of “big brothers” to these, and are seeing to it that their petty quarrels and internal differences are held in check.  Each of these countries, even though they establish democracies, will have strong royalist parties that will constitute a standing threat.  France even to this day has a royalist group of considerable strength.  Their persistent claim is that France will again be a monarchy.  The United States is really the only democracy without such a party.  It is the only republic that was not founded on the ruin of a monarchy.

WHY I WAS NOT ACCEPTED AS CONSUL TO GERMANY

I have had some personal experience with the late German Imperial Government.  As a war correspondent it was my duty to give to the world an account of the forcible deportation of King Mataafa from Samoa to the Marshall Islands, where he was kept in exile six years.  The Germans had shoved him aside to make room for Malieto, an imbecile and a German figurehead.  I was there again when Mataafa, at the end of those six years, returned to Samoa, to the great joy of his people.

A few years later I discovered that Germany’s policy was to “mark” any individual who wrote or spoke in criticism of anything German.

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I was appointed United States Consul to Aix la Chapelle, Germany, four years after those articles appeared.  My appointment came from President Roosevelt, and was confirmed by the United States Senate.  When I arrived in Germany I found I was United States Consul so far as the United States Government was concerned, but I was put off in the matter of my exequatur (certificate of authority) from the government to which I was accredited; and without an exequatur, I could not act.  I was kept cooling my heels in the consulate several months before I found out what was the matter.  My newspaper articles describing what the Germans had done in Samoa, published four years earlier, were being held against me.  My presence in Germany was not desired.

I had crossed the Atlantic with Prince Henry, the Kaiser’s brother and Admiral of the German Navy, in February, 1901, when the Prince brought his party of a dozen or so militarists to this country to “further cement the amity and good will” existing between the great republic and the great empire.  It later developed that this was a well planned operation in German propaganda.  As a representative of the Associated Press, I had written of it.  That was just after I had written the Samoan articles.

Speck von Sternberg was the German Ambassador to Washington.  He was in Paris.  I went there to see him and ascertain, if I could, why my exequatur was withheld.  The Government at Washington could get no information on the subject.  The whole affair was clothed in mystery.

After some conversation I suggested to Ambassador von Sternberg that perhaps the foreign office at Berlin was withholding the document because of my writings on German colonial matters.  Then it came out—­my guess was true.  Some underlings in the foreign office had the case in charge.  The Ambassador suggested that as I knew Prince Henry, I would better write him at Kiel.  I did this, with the result that the obstacle was removed and the exequatur issued.

WHY WE WENT TO WAR

German Propaganda in the United States and Mexico—­Sinking of the Lusitania—­Unrestricted Submarine Warfare.

WHY WE WENT TO WAR

During two years preceding our entrance upon war, Germany had been carrying on open warfare against us, within our own borders.  For more than thirty years Germany’s policy of preparatory penetration had been in course.  As we know now, every country, all round the globe, but especially the United States in North America and Brazil and Venezuela in South America, had been filled with Germans, ostensibly settlers, business men and followers of the higher professions, but for the greater part agents of Germany, in continuous contact with Potsdam and under Potsdam direction.  It was the business of these imported Germans to foster the German idea, exalt Germany’s leadership in military power and in science and the arts, impress their language, their literature, music and customs upon our people, and to do all those things which might work for the day when Germany, having faked a partnership with Almighty God, should reach out for world dominion.

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The processes were pressed with that strange blend of industry, stupidity, mendacity and cunning which characterize the Prussian and all his acts.  Under our noses a German solidarity was attempted here, and in part achieved.  Organizations having Prussian ends in view were numerous, large, popular and unsuspected.  Threading them through and through was a spy system unbelievably thorough and amazingly adroit.  Potsdam had us marked as a nation of easy going money getters, to be bled white, crammed with her muddy kultur and taught the goose-step, at her imperial leisure, after France and England had fallen to her guns.

But her blend of qualities, no matter how strong in itself, was nullified by just one lack:  the total inability of the Prussian mind to understand the mind of the world exterior to Germany.  In the day of test it failed.

Because of that inability, and knowing full well how readily the German mind could be terrorized, the outbreak of war in Europe brought an outbreak of blind German violence in the United States.  We were to be impressed by the German power to strike.  Our soil was chosen as a garden of domestic sedition, and of foreign conspiracy against powers with which we were at peace.  To keep us busy with troubles of our own, German propaganda and German money in Mexico raised on our southern border a threatening spectre of war.  We were to have been rushed into conflict with Mexico and kept employed there while being terrorized by wholesale arson and sabotage at home, so that by no chance could any friendly European power look to us for help.  The scheme came near to succeeding, for our people were aroused by Mexican aggression, and the flaunting insults of Mexican authority, prompted by German agents.  The policy of our Government saved us from falling into a trap that might have held us fast while Germany overran the whole of Europe and made ready to come a-plundering here at her own time and convenience.

If the truth had been known by the people then as clearly as it was known at Washington, nothing could have held us back:  We would not have bothered with Mexico at all.  We would have joined the free nations of Europe, and nobody may guess what would have happened.  Certainly we could not have assembled the men and the resources we actually and swiftly did assemble later, when the real hour sounded.  We would have cut a sorry figure and gone into the mess confusedly.  Washington knew.  The President knew so well that through 1915 and 1916 he and others in high places never ceased crying a warning to “prepare.”  The President himself toured the country and told the people everywhere that with a world on fire we could not hope to escape unsinged.

He said openly as much as he dared.  Under the surface the Government did much more.  The rapid movement of events once we were declared a combatant would have been impossible otherwise.  That rapidity of effective action surprised the world only because it had all been planned before a word was said.

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In the years of our neutrality our course as a nation was surely shaping itself for war, without an outward sign or act.  Ruthless destruction of property and of life became too open, too frequent, too outrageous, for the patience of even a long-suffering, tolerant people such as we.  The first impulse of genuine resentment was given when the Lusitania went down with its neutral passengers, a defenseless ship on a peaceful errand, drowning more than a hundred Americans of both sexes and all ages without the slightest notice, or the faintest chance of escape.

Any nation other than ours would have gone to war in a moment over such a blow in the face.  We did not.  Farther, we endured a sudden and flagrant increase of German propaganda in high quarters and low, and of German insolence openly and defiantly parading itself.  The catalogue of provocations grew daily, and daily bred anger, but our temper held until in February of 1917, when Germany proclaimed unrestricted piracy by submarines, and under the thin pretext of starving out the British Isles, American and other ships were destroyed with all on board, wholesale.

Even then our hand was withheld until Germany advised us that we might send just one ship a week to Europe, one ship and no more, provided that solitary ship were painted in a manner prescribed in the permission, and then held strictly to a course laid down by the German admiralty.  Germany, a third rate naval power, had arbitrarily forbidden us the freedom of the seas.

Then our patience broke.  For this and all the other causes Germany had given us, and for our own safety and the rescue of a world that without us would have perished, the United States went to war.

WORK OR FIGHT

Back of every American soldier about fifty men and women were needed in order that he be supplied with everything his physical, moral and military well being might require.  They were put there.  The result was a sweeping change, an immense expansion of energy in the United States itself.  The draft took care of the army.  No time or trouble had to be given to filling the ranks and keeping them full.  The enormous sums of money necessary to finance our allies as well as ourselves were promptly oversubscribed in a series of loans, the first and least of which ran into three billion dollars, the fourth into six billions, a sum larger than any single loan ever floated by any other nation.  Idleness was abolished.  The order to “work or fight” was strictly enforced upon all the people, rich and poor alike, for any attempt to except any one or any class would have been blown away in a gale of laughter.  In a space incredibly brief the United States became a nation of actual workers, in which every individual did his or her share, submitting meanwhile, with good grace and no murmuring, to being rationed.  Interstate utilities were taken over and operated by the government, including the railway, telegraph and telephone lines; and government fixed prices on the necessaries of life.  Everything was subordinated to the one and only purpose of winning the war.  All that we were and all that we had was thoroughly mobilized behind the fighting arms, the army and the navy.

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RATIONING THE NATIONS

Almost immediately after the first military and naval preparations had been set in operation the United States Government, taking no chance as against the future, began to regulate the lives and living of Americans at home.  A policy of conservation, so well devised that it went into effect without the slightest disturbance of daily living and daily routine, was at once adopted.

England, France and Belgium had to be fed.  Belgium had to be clothed and housed as well as fed.  Out of our abundance had to come the means to those ends, as well as to equip and maintain vast armies of our own, from bases three thousand miles away in Europe and twice as far in Asia.  The whole nation was mobilized for war.

Britain and France had come through more than three years of close-lipped but bone-cracking effort, in which every aspect of domestic life was changed, the final ounce of strength exerted, privations unheard of endured in grim silence.  America saved them, and not alone by force of arms against the common enemy.

  WHAT THE YANKEE DUDE’LL DO

  BY TOM H. DEVEREAUX.

  Uncle Samuel blew the bugle call,
  For his boys to fall in line,
  And they came, yes, by the million,
  On the march at double time,
  With muskets on their shoulders
  They answered to the call
  To defend our nation’s honor,
  And for Liberty of all. 
  They buckled on their knapsacks,
  And they loaded up their guns,
  To the tune of Yankee Doodle,
  They whipped those Turks and Huns;
  For their hearts were with the colors
  Of the red, the white and blue,
  And they’ve shown those fiendish Prussians
  What the Yankee Dude’ll Do.

  REFRAIN

  Singing rally round Old Glory, boys,
  And fight for freedom true,
  Rally to the Stars and Stripes
  As your fathers did for you. 
  Oh! we sailed across the ocean deep,
  With the red, the white and blue,
  And we’ve shown that devilish Kaiser
  What the Yankee Dude’ll Do.

  From our north land, and our east land,
  To our far-off Golden Gate,
  From our south way down in Dixie
  And the old Palmetto State,
  Bravest sons of all the nation came
  To fight our country’s foe,
  Who would follow our Old Glory,
  Where her stars and stripes might go;
  To the battle cry of Freedom,
  All our men would surely come,
  And fight for world-wide Victory
  At the call of fife and drum. 
  We have proved to all creation
  That our boys are real true blue,
  And we’ve shown those fiendish Prussians,
  What the Yankee Dude’ll Do.

CHAPTER II.

UNITED STATES ENTERS THE WAR

The President Proclaims War—­Interned Ships Are Seized—­Congress Votes $7,000,000,000 for War—­Raising an American Army—­War to Victory Wilson Pledge—­British and French Commission Reaches America.

Page 15

On April 2, 1917, Congress having been called in special session, President Wilson appeared before a joint session of both houses and in an address worthy of its historical importance asked for a formal declaration that a state of war existed with Germany, owing to the ruthless and unrestricted submarine campaign.  He recommended the utmost practical co-operation with the Entente Allies in counsel and action; the extension of liberal financial credit to them, the mobilization of all the material resources of the United States for the purpose of providing adequate munitions of war, the full equipment of the Navy, especially in supplying it with means for dealing with submarines, and the immediate enrollment of an army of 500,000 men, preferably by a system of universal service, to be increased later by an additional army of equal size.  The President took pains to point out that in taking these measures against the German government, the United States had no quarrel with the German people, who were innocent, because kept in ignorance of the lawless acts of their autocratic government, which had become a menace not only to the peace of the world, but to the cause of fundamental human liberty.  The object of the United States, said the President, was to vindicate the principles of peace and justice as against selfish and autocratic power, and to insure the future observance of these principles.

After due debate the following joint resolution, declaring war with Germany was adopted by the Senate and House of Representatives and signed by the President on April 6, 1917: 

“Whereas, the imperial German government has committed repeated acts of war against the government and the people of the United States of America; therefore, be it

“Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 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; and that the President be, and he is, hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the government to carry on war against the imperial German government; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.”

THE PRESIDENT PROCLAIMS WAR.

Immediately after signing the resolution of Congress, President Wilson issued a formal proclamation of war, embodying in it an earnest appeal to all American citizens “that they, in loyal devotion to their country, dedicated from its foundation to the principles of liberty and justice, uphold the laws of the land and give undivided and willing support to those measures which may be adopted by the constitutional authorities in prosecuting the war to a successful issue and in obtaining a secure and just peace.”

Page 16

The President further enjoined all alien enemies within the United States to preserve the peace and refrain from crime against the public safety, and from giving information, aid, or comfort to the enemy, assuring them of protection so long as they conducted themselves in accordance with law and with regulations which might be promulgated from time to time for their guidance.  The great mass of German-American citizens promptly avowed the utmost loyalty to the United States, but numerous arrests of suspected spies followed all over the country.

INTERNED SHIPS ARE SEIZED.

Following the declaration of war all the German merchant vessels interned in ports of the United States were seized by representatives of the Federal authority, their crews removed and interned, and guardians placed aboard.  These ships in American waters numbered 99, of an aggregate value of about $100,000,000, and included some of the finest vessels of the German merchant marine; for instance, the Vaterland, of 54,283 tons, valued at $8,000,000, and numerous other Atlantic liners.  The disposition to be made of the German ships was left to the future for decision, with great probability, however, that they would be used to transport munitions and supplies to the Allies in Europe through the German submarine blockade.

CONGRESS VOTES $7,000,000,000 FOR WAR.

Prompt action was taken by Congress to furnish the sinews of war.  By April 14 a bond and certificate issue of $7,000,000,000 had been unanimously voted by both houses, and preparations were made to float a popular subscription for the bonds.  Three billions of the amount was intended for loans to the Allies, and the remainder for active prosecution of the war by the United States.  The debates in Congress indicated that the country stood solidly behind the President in a determination to bring the military autocracy of Germany to a realizing sense of its responsibility to civilization.  RAISING AN AMERICAN ARMY.

Legislation was immediately presented by the War Department to the military committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, to provide for raising an army for active participation in the war.  This legislation was described by President Wilson as follows: 

“It proposes to raise the forces necessary to meet the present emergency by bringing the regular army and the National Guard to war strength and by adding the additional forces which will now be needed, so that the national army will comprise three elements—­the regular army, the National Guard and the so-called additional forces, of which at first 500,000 are to be authorized immediately and later increments of the same size as they may be needed.

“In order that all these forces may comprise a single army, the term of enlistment in the three is equalized and will be for the period of the emergency.

“The necessary men will be secured for the regular army and the National Guard by volunteering, as at present, until, in the judgment of the President, a resort to a selective draft is desirable.  The additional forces, however, are to be raised by selective draft from men ranging in age from 19 to 25 years.  The quotas of the several states in all of these forces will be in proportion to their population.”

Page 17

Recruiting for the army and navy became active as soon as war was declared.  On April 15 President Wilson issued an address to the nation, calling on all citizens to enroll themselves in a vast “army of service,” military or industrial, and stating that the hour of supreme test for the nation had come.  The United States prepared to rise to its full measure of duty, confident in the patent justice of its cause, and echoing the sentiment of its President when he said: 

“The hope of the world is that when the European war is over arrangements will have been made composing many of the questions which have hitherto seemed to require the arming of the nations, and that in some ordered and just way the peace of the world may be maintained by such co-operations of force among the great nations as may be necessary to maintain peace and freedom throughout the world.”

ENGLAND WELCOMES U.S.  AS AN ALLY.

The news of the President’s proclamation of war, following the action of Congress, was received in England and France, Russia and Italy, with enthusiasm.  A great service of thanksgiving was held in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, attended by the King and Queen, ministers of state, and an enormous congregation that joined in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the national anthem, while the Stars and Stripes by official order was flown for the first time in history from the tower of the Parliament buildings at Westminster and on public buildings throughout the British empire.  A high commission was appointed to visit the United States for a series of war conferences, and Premier Lloyd George expressed the national satisfaction in glowing terms of welcome to the United States as an ally against Germany, paying at the same time an eloquent tribute to the masterly address of President Wilson to Congress, which stated the case for humanity against military autocracy in such an unanswerable manner, the British premier said, that it placed the seal of humanity’s approval on the Allied cause and furnished final justification of the British attitude toward Germany in the war.

POPULAR DEMONSTRATION IN PARIS.

In France, the Stars and Stripes were flung to the breeze from the Eiffel Tower on April 22, and saluted by twenty-one guns.  This marked the opening of the ceremonies of “United States day” in Paris.

The French tricolor and the star-spangled banner were at the same hour unfurled together from the residence of William G. Sharp, the American ambassador, in the Avenue d’Eylau, from the American Embassy, from the city hall, and from other municipal government buildings.

It was a great day for the red, white and blue, 40,000 American flags being handed out gratis by the committee and waved by the people who thronged the vicinity of the manifestations, which included the decoration of the statues of Washington and Lafayette.

Members of the American Lafayette flying corps, a delegation from the American Ambulance at Neuilly and the American Field Ambulances were the guard of honor before the Lafayette statue.

Page 18

Ambassador Sharp and his escort were received at the city hall by the members of the municipal council and other distinguished persons.  Adrien Mithouard, president of the municipal council, welcomed Ambassador Sharp, who was greeted with great applause when addressing the people of Paris.  He said: 

“Citizens of Paris:  May I say to you, on this day you have with such fine sentiment set apart to honor my country, that America remains no longer content to express to France merely her sympathy.  In a cause which she believes as verily as you believe to be a sacred one, she will consecrate all her power and the blood of her patriotic sons, if necessary, to achieve a victory that shall for all time to come insure the domination of right over wrong, freedom over oppression, and the blessings of peace over the brutality of war.”

The French Government also appointed a war commission to visit the United States forthwith for conference.

Resolutions expressing the great satisfaction of the Allied nations at the action of the United States were adopted by the British House of Commons, the French Chamber of Deputies, the Russian Duma, and the Italian Parliament.  ENTHUSIASM IN THE UNITED STATES.

War being declared, the people of the United States were not slow in letting the President know that they stood solidly behind him.  From all parts of the country came assurances that the action of the Government was approved.  Organizations of every conceivable kind passed resolutions pledging their support to all war measures decided to be necessary to carry the war to a successful issue.  Recruiting was at once started for both the Army and the Navy.  The recruiting depots were thronged daily and thousands were enrolled for active service while Congress was debating the respective merits of the volunteer system and the “selective draft” advocated by the general staff of the Army and approved by the President and his cabinet.

The full quota of men desired for the Navy, to place the ships already in commission in a high state of efficiency, was soon secured.  More men offered themselves for naval service, indeed, than could be accepted pending the action of Congress.  Volunteers for the aviation corps, the marines, the field artillery, the engineer corps, and all the various branches of the military establishments came forward freely, and a general desire was expressed to send an American force to the trenches in Europe at the earliest possible moment consistent with proper training for the field.

As the reports of American diplomats from the war zone, freed from German censorship, were given to the public, the martial spirit of America grew apace.  Ambassador Gerard’s corroboration of German atrocities in the occupied territory of France, and Minister Brand Whitlock’s report on the situation in Belgium and the illegal and atrocious deportation of Belgian citizens for hard labor, ill treatment, and starvation in Germany, added fuel to the flame of national indignation, already running high as the result of continued destruction of American merchant vessels and the loss of American lives by submarine piracy and murder, continued almost without cessation since the infamous sinking of the Lusitania, one of the never-to-be-forgotten crimes of German ruthlessness.

Page 19

One hundred million free-born people were at length aroused to action.  The Navy was ready for immediate service where it could do most good, and promptly took over patrol duty in the western Atlantic, relieving British and French men-of-war for service elsewhere.  The raising of an army of a million or more men for active participation in the war waited only on the action of Congress.

American women responded nobly to the President’s call for universal service, flocking to the Red Cross headquarters in every city and setting to work immediately in the preparation of comforts for the great army gathering on the horizon.  They were promptly organized, so that their efforts might count to the best advantage.  In August, 1916, the United States Navy included 356 war craft of all kinds, as against credited to Great Britain, 404 to France, and 309 to Germany, The latter figure does not include an unknown number of submarines of recent construction.

THE BRITISH COMMISSION ARRIVES.

On Sunday, April 22, the British war commission reached Washington, headed by the Right Hon. Arthur James Balfour, secretary of state for foreign affairs and former premier.  The commission included Rear Admiral Sir Dudley R.S.  De Chair, naval adviser to the foreign office; Major-General G.T.M.  Bridges, representing the British army; Lord Cunliffe of Headley, governor of the Bank of England; and a number of other distinguished officials and naval and military officers, with clerical assistants.  The party met with an enthusiastic welcome in Washington.  Mr. Balfour was received by the President in private conference next day, and after a round of receptions and social functions of various kinds, arrangements were made for the business meetings affecting war policies, which were the object of the visit.

Mr. Balfour informed the President that the British commission had come to Washington not to ask favors, concessions, or agreements from the United States, but to offer their services for the organization of the stupendous undertaking of fighting Germany.  He said that if the United States was confronted by the same problems that confronted England at the outset of the war, the British commission could be of service in pointing out many grievous mistakes of policy and organization that proved costly to the British cause.  He was, in turn, assured by the President that the United States would fight in conjunction with the Allied until the Prussian autocracy was crushed and Americans at home and abroad were safe from the ruthlessness of the Berlin government.

MARSHAL JOFFRE IN WASHINGTON

Page 20

The French war commission soon followed the British envoys, arriving in Washington on Wednesday, April 25, on board the presidential yacht Mayflower from Hampton Roads.  Headed by M. Rene Viviani, minister of justice and former premier of France, the commission included the famous hero of the Marne and idol of the French army and people, Marshal Joffre; also Admiral Chocheprat, representing the French navy; the Marquis de Chambrun (Lafayette’s grandson), and other distinguished Frenchmen.  The fame of Marshal Joffre and the traditional friendship for France secured for the party an enthusiastic popular greeting.  Its members were accorded similar official receptions to those of the British commissioners, and they similarly expressed their desire to be of service to the American people by giving the Washington government the benefit of their costly experience in three years of war.  ALLIES CONTINUE THEIR WESTERN DRIVE

Following the spring drive of the Allies on the western front and the retirement of the Germans to the so-called Hindenburg line, the British and French continued their offensive during the months of May, June and July, 1917, which concluded the third year of the great struggle.  Great battles in the Champagne and along the Aisne were fought by the French, who in April had captured Auberive, and they advanced their forces from one to five miles along a fifty-mile front, inflicting great and continual losses on the enemy.  At the end of the third year, the French line ran from northwest of Soissons, through Rheims, to Auberive.  French troops also appeared in Flanders during this period and co-operated with the British on the left of Field Marshal Haig’s forces.  The chief command of the French armies was in the hands of General Petain, the gallant defender of Verdun, who was appointed chief of staff after the battle of Craonne.

The continuation of the British offensive northeast of Arras, following the bloody battle of Vimy Ridge, which was firmly held by the Canadians against desperate counter-attacks, placed the British astride the Hindenburg line, and the Germans retired to positions a mile or two west of the Drocourt-Queant line.  These they held as the third year closed at the end of July.

In June, 1917, the British began an attack on Messines and Wytschaete, in an effort to straighten out the Ypres salient.  By this time their flyers dominated the air, and they had gained the immense advantage of artillery superiority.  By way of preparation, the British sappers and miners had spent an entire year in mining the earth beneath the German positions, and the offensive was begun with an explosion so terrific, when the mines were sprung, that it was heard in London.  Following immediately with the attack, the British won and consolidated the objective ground, capturing more than 7,500 German prisoners and great stores of artillery.  This victory placed them astride the Ypres-Commines canal, having advanced three miles on an eight-mile front.  Portuguese and Belgian troops assisted in this offensive, which resulted in the greatest gain the Allies had made in Belgium since the German invasion.  Fighting in this terrain had been confined for many months to trench-raiding operations.

Page 21

GERMAN LOSSES TO JULY

It is estimated that during April, May, and June the Germans suffered 350,000 casualties on the western front.  The totals of the German official lists of losses for the entire war to July 19, 1917, were as follows:  Killed or died of wounds, 1,032,800; died of sickness, 72,960; prisoners and missing, 591,966; wounded, 2,825,581; making a grand total of casualties of 4,523,307.  The German naval and colonial casualties were not included in this total.

FURTHER GAINS IN FLANDERS

Fighting continued almost steadily in Flanders during the month of August, although the Allies were greatly hampered in their operations by heavy rains and mud.  On a nine-mile front east and north of Ypres, a long drawn-out battle carried the advancing French and British troops more than a mile into the intricate hostile trench system on August 16, after successive advances on previous days.  From Dreigrachten southward the French surged across the River Steenbeke, capturing all objectives, while at the same time the British occupied considerable territory in the region of St. Julien and Langemarck, captured the latter town, and carried the fighting beyond Langemarck.  The main difficulty encountered was the mud in the approaches to the town, the infantry plunging deep into the bog at every step.  Not infrequently the soldiers had to rescue a comrade who had sunk to the waist in the morass, but they continued to push forward steadily, facing machine-gun fire from hidden redoubts and battling their way past with bombs and rifle fire.  There were concrete gunpits about the positions in front of the town, which was flooded from the Steenbeke River, but the infantry divided and bombed their way about on either side until they had encircled the town and passed beyond, where the Germans could be seen running away.  Little resistance was offered in the town itself, but the Germans suffered severely from the preliminary bombardment, which worked havoc in their ranks, according to the prisoners taken in the Langemarck region.  The contact between the French and British forces was excellent throughout the fight; in fact, the perfect co-operation of the two armies continued to be one of the minor wonders of the war.

CANADIAN VICTORIES AT LENS

Canadian troops added to their laurels by the storming and capture of Hill 70, dominating the important mining center of Lens, in northern France, August 15, following up their victory by the occupation of the fortified suburbs of the city and apparently insuring its redemption from German hands, after a struggle that had lasted for two years.

The men of the Dominion swept the Germans from the famous hill, defeated all counter-attacks, and thus gained command of the entire Loos salient.  It was on this hill that the British forces under Sir John French were badly broken in their efforts to reach Lens in the first battle of Loos, in September, 1915.  Hill 70 was the last high ground held by the Germans in the region of the Artois, and its fall menaced their whole line south to Queant and north to La Bassee.

Page 22

The Canadian attack began at 4:25 o’clock, just as the first hint of dawn was appearing.  All night the British big guns had been pouring a steady stream of high explosive shells into the German positions, great detonations overlapping one another like the rapid crackling of machine-gun fire and swelling into a mighty volume of thunder that shook the earth and stunned the senses.  Then, a short time before the hour set for the attack arrived, the batteries ceased abruptly and a strange, almost oppressive stillness crept over the terrain which until then had been an inferno of crashing noise and death.  It had been raining and gray clouds still hung over the trenches where crouched the Canadian infantrymen, waiting eagerly for the arrival of the moment which would summon them to attack.

Suddenly, ten minutes before the time set for the advance, every British gun within range broke out with a hurricane of shelling, and solid lines of crimson lightning belched from the German trenches as the explosives broke about them.  To this lurid picture was added the spectacle of burning oil, which the British threw on the enemy lines.  Great clouds of pinkish colored smoke rolled across the country from the flaming liquid and the murky sky threw back myriad colors from the conflagration below.

The moment of attack arrived, and as the British guns dropped their protecting barrage fire in front of the Canadian trenches, the clouds parted and the yellow crescent moon appeared.  Under the light of this beacon the Canadians leaped over the parapets and began their methodical advance behind their barrage fire.

The British barrage was without a flaw, says an eyewitness.  Behind it the Canadians mounted Hill 70 and swept along the rest of the line.  On the crest of the hill, where so much blood had been, spilled before, heavy fighting might have been expected, for the position was well manned with machine guns.  The resistance here, however, was not strong, and it was not until the dwellings in the outskirts of the suburbs were reached that vigorous fighting occurred.  The ground over which the infantry advanced was honeycombed with British shell holes and the barbed wire defenses had been leveled, so that they gave little trouble.

FIGHT IN CELLARS AND DUGOUTS

The first serious resistance from the Germans was met at a point where the enemy was strongly intrenched in connecting cellars and there sanguinary fighting occurred.  The place was a sample of many other suburbs about Lens.  The city is surrounded by colliery communities which are so close together and so near the city proper that they really form part of the town.  Lens, before the war, had a population of 30,000, but had become a mass of ruins.

Following their usual tactics, the Germans had carried out systematic destruction of the houses and had constructed strong underground defenses.  The whole city was undermined with tunnels and dugouts, which had been reinforced with concrete, and most of the ruined buildings had been turned into machine-gun emplacements.

Page 23

The effect of the preliminary British bombardment was most demoralizing to the enemy.  The first German prisoners taken were in a completely dazed state as a result of the terrific bombardment they had undergone, and other Germans were seen to flee to the rear, deserting their posts as the attack began.

The result of this preliminary fire was shown in the speed of the Canadian infantry’s advance.  The extreme depth reached in the first stage was 1,500 yards, and this was achieved in ninety-three minutes.  This new front, taken into conjunction with positions secured previously in the southwestern outskirts of Lens, established an angular line like a pair of shears whose points reached out to the north and south of the city.

As the Canadians pushed in on the northwest, a simultaneous advance was started by the troops on the lower blade of the shears, and close fighting began, with the Germans intrenched in their concreted cellars, which were linked up with barbed wire and filled with hundreds of machine guns.  The capture of the entire city of Lens was then only a matter of time, as Hill 70 insured the holding of the ground won by the Canadians, German reinforcements being placed under the range of irresistible fire from that dominating height.  Among the prisoners taken in the attack were many German lads apparently not more than 17 years of age.

The German commander, Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, made frantic efforts to recapture the lost positions around Lens.  The taking of Hill stirred the German high command as nothing else had done on the western front for many months, and a grim battle was waged for several days.  On August 16 the enemy came on ten separate times, but they seldom got close enough to the Canadians for fighting with bayonet or bomb.  The Prussian Guards participated in the counter-attacks and were subjected to a terrible concentrated fire from the British artillery and Canadian machine guns.  Their losses were frightful and all German efforts to retake Hill 70 came to naught, while their hold on the central portion of the mining city became most precarious, as the Canadians consolidated the advantageous positions their valor had finally won.

RUSSIAN VICTORIES AND COLLAPSE

After the Russian revolution in March, 1917, the military affairs of the new nation entered upon a curious phase.  At first the Russian army made a feint to advance on Pinsk, to cover the actual operations resumed in the month of July against Lemberg.  This latter front extended for eighteen and a half miles and was held by troops known as “Regiments July First.”  These troops, reinvigorated by the consciousness of political liberty, confounded German military prophets by the magnitude and extent of the offensive which they began.  Led by Alexander Kerensky, the revolutionary minister of war, and observed by American army officers, they forced the Teutons to evacuate Brzezany, and then captured many important positions, including terrain west and south of Halicz and strongly-defended positions northwest of Stanislau.  On July 11 Halicz was taken, thus smashing the Austro-German front between Brzezany and the Carpathians.

Page 24

This Russian operation broadened by mid-July, so that it extended from the Gulf of Riga to the Roumanian front, a distance of 800 miles.  The Germans were reported to be rushing troops from the Italian and French fronts.  Widespread enthusiasm was created throughout Russia, and the moral effect on the other entente powers was tremendous.

Before the third year closed, at the end of July, however, Russia’s offensive suffered a collapse.  German spies, anarchists, peace fanatics, and other agitators succeeded in destroying the morale of some of the Russian troops in Galicia, where a retreat became necessary when unit after unit refused to obey orders.  Brzezany, Halicz, Tarnopol, Stanislau and Kaloma were lost, together with all the remaining ground gained during the offensive.  The Russians surrendered many prisoners, heavy guns, and an abundance of supplies and ammunition.

The death penalty was invoked as a check to further insubordinations and the provisional government introduced a policy of “blood and iron” in an effort to avert disaster.

South of the Carpathians and in the Vilna region there was little disaffection among the Russian troops, and Russia had not yet thrown up her hands, although the situation on the eastern front was disappointing to the Allies.  Alexander Kerensky, a popular hero, became the strong man of Russia.  A counter-revolution was promptly and forcibly crushed in Petrograd and an “extraordinary national council,” meeting at Moscow, August 25, took steps to end the crisis.  All loyal Russians, conservative and radical, were called to the aid of Kerensky, who ignored factional and party lines and succeeded in bringing something like order out of the political chaos in the new republic.  Every effort was made to restore the power as well as the will of Russia to gain ultimate victory, and Elihu Root, head of a United States commission to Russia, assured the American people on his return from Petrograd that the ill effects of the revolution would soon pass away, leaving Russia once more united for action against the Teuton foe.

On August 15, Nicholas Romanoff, the deposed czar of Russia, and his entire family were removed from the palace at Tsarskoe-Selo, near Petrograd, and transported to Tobolsk in Siberia.  Fifty servants who were devoted to him accompanied the ex-emperor into exile.  Instead of the gorgeous imperial train in which he was wont to travel, an ordinary train composed of three sleeping cars, a dining car, and several third-class coaches was used for the transportation of Nicholas and his party, which included the former Empress Alexandra, whose pro-German attitude was a prime cause of his downfall.  On arrival at Tobolsk the ex-czar and his entourage were received as political prisoners.

GERMAN SUBMARINE CAMPAIGN FAILS

Page 25

The campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare, which was relied upon by Germany to win the war by the extinction of the British mercantile marine and the stoppage of transatlantic supplies, had proved a failure by August, 1917, after six months’ duration.  While the tonnage destroyed by the undersea instruments of frightfulness was sufficiently serious to cause grave alarm on both sides of the Atlantic, it formed but a small percentage of the ships actively and continually engaged in the transportation of munitions and supplies, while it was practically counterbalanced by the activities of Allied shipbuilders and by the seizure for Allied service of interned German ships in the countries that entered the war subsequent to February 1, 1917, when the campaign of unrestricted destruction began.  Determined efforts were made by the British, French and United States navies to cope with the undersea enemy, and these were increasingly successful.  Many merchant ships and transports were convoyed to safety by the destroyers of the three great naval Allies, and by August the fear that Britain could be starved out by means of German submarines had practically disappeared.  The record of sinkings of British vessels for the first twenty-four weeks after the “unrestricted” warfare began was as follows: 

Over           Under
1,600          1,600          Smaller
Week                          tons.          tons.
First............               14             9
Second...........               13             4
Third............               16             8
Fourth ..........               19             7
Fifth............               18            13
Sixth ...........               17             2
Seventh..........               19             9
Eighth ..........               40            15
Ninth............               38            13
Tenth............               24            22
Eleventh ........               18             5
Twelfth..........               18             5
Thirteenth ......               18             1
Fourteenth ......               15             3
Fifteenth........               22            10
Sixteenth........               27             5
Seventeenth .....               21             7
Eighteenth ......               15             5
Nineteenth ......               14             3
Twentieth........               14             4
Twenty-first.....               21             3
Twenty-second ...               18             3
Twenty-third.....               21             2
Twenty-fourth ...               14             2
Total............              474           164
Grand total of ships sunk......

KING OF GREECE DEPOSED

Page 26

King Constantine I of Greece was forced by the Allies to abdicate his throne on June 12, 1917, in favor of his second son, Prince Alexander.  The kingdom remained, but not a pro-German one as before.  In order to block the designs of the King and court, who were doing their best to deliver Greece to the Germans, the Entente powers were obliged to make a succession of demands upon the Greek government, including the demobilization of most of the army, the surrender of the fleet, and the withdrawal of Greek troops from Thessaly.  In an effort to enforce their demands the Entente allies landed marines in Athens—­who were fired upon—­and finally declared an embargo on imports into Greece.  Turmoil and intrigue continued, and pressure was brought to bear upon Constantine which compelled him to abdicate the throne.  Venizelos returned as premier and Greece was announced as a belligerent on the side of the Entente.

THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN

In the Trentino the Italians took the offensive in June and after terrible fighting captured the Austrian positions on Monte Ortigara and Agnello Pass.  These they were forced to relinquish, however, in the face of Austrian counter-attacks.

The Italian campaign on the Isonzo and in the Trentino, continued throughout the summer, was perhaps the most scientific of all the campaigns, involving tremendous technical difficulties, which were solved with amazing ingenuity and skill.  The campaign was largely an engineers’ and an artilleryman’s war, waged in the mountains, much of it in regions of perpetual snow—­highly picturesque and spectacular.  Finally, it was as little destructive as war well can be, because the Italians were fighting in territories which they hoped to hold after the conflict, and they spared the towns and villages to the greatest extent possible.

BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN THE EAST

The capture of Bagdad by the British in March, 1917, after a brilliant campaign in Mesopotamia, had a deep moral effect in the Orient, particularly in Arabia, where the natives revolted against Turkish rule and established an independent government in Mecca.

In the Holy Land the British in 1917 opened a new era in the history of the East.  Their advance by August 1 had carried them nearly to Gaza.  Their objective was Jerusalem, which the Turks partly evacuated at their approach, after doing untold damage in the holy city and inflicting many atrocities upon the inhabitants.

WAR MISSIONS OF THE ALLIES

In cementing America’s association with the nations which had become her allies, numerous exchanges of missions were arranged.  France, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Japan and other entente belligerents sent delegations to the United States as a step toward unification, military, financial and otherwise.  The United States sent missions to Russia and other countries.

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AERIAL ATTACKS ON LONDON

Cities from Bagdad to London were subject to aerial raids by the Germans during the summer, notable attacks being those by Zeppelins and aeroplanes on London and the eastern coast cities of England.  In five attacks on England in May, June and July, 298 persons were killed and 863 injured.  Insistent demands were then made by the English people for reprisals in kind.

AN ESTIMATE OP CASUALTIES

An estimate of the total war losses, made near the close of the third year of the war and voiced by Arthur Henderson of the British War Council, placed the number of men killed at 7,000,000 since August, 1914.  French general headquarters on August 1 estimated that 1,500, Germans had been killed up to March 1.  Mr. Henderson estimated the total casualties of the war at more than 45,000,000.

WHEN THE THIRD YEAR CLOSED

The third year of the world war closed in July, 1917, with the fortunes of conflict favoring the Entente, except for uncertainty as to the outcome of the Russian situation.  On the western front in Europe the Teutons found themselves on the defensive at the advent of the fourth year.  They were fighting on lines newly established after forced retirement from terrain which they had won in earlier days at a tremendous sacrifice.

Following the declaration of war by the United States, Cuba and Liberia declared themselves on the side of the Allies.  Panama pledged the United States her aid in defending the Panama Canal.  Costa Rica put her naval bases at its disposal.  China, Bolivia, Guatemala and Brazil severed diplomatic relations with Germany.  Uruguay expressed her sympathy with the United States.  Late in July Siam entered the war against the central powers, and on August 14 China formally declared war against Germany and Austria.  This made a total of seventeen nations arrayed against the central powers.

As to the prospects for the fourth year of the war, which opened in August, 1917, American sentiment was expressed by the New York Sun, which said editorially:  “We expect today as at first that the end will be catastrophic overthrow for the Kaiser and the military party of Germany, and a dreary expiation by the German people of their sin in allowing themselves to be dragooned into the most immoral enterprise of the ages.”

UNITED STATES WAR ACTIVITIES

The Army bill providing for raising a new national army by selective draft duly passed the House of Representatives and the United States Senate and was signed by President Wilson on May 18, 1917.  The President forthwith issued a proclamation calling on all male inhabitants of the United States between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for the draft on the following June 5.  At the same time he formally declined the offer of Col.  Roosevelt to raise a volunteer army for immediate service in France.

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On June 5, the day of registration, 9,700,000 young men of all classes registered in their home districts throughout the country.  It was then decided to call approximately 650,000 men to the colors as the first national army.  The formal drawing of the serial numbers allotted to registrants occurred in Washington late in July.  District boards were appointed to examine the men drafted and receive applications for exemption, also appeal boards in every State.  The month of August was largely occupied in preparing the quotas from each district and meanwhile cantonments were made ready for the training of the new army, while thousands of prospective officers received intensive training in special camps at various points, east and west, and were commissioned in due course.  Orders were then issued for the men selected to report at the cantonments in three divisions of 200,000 men each, at intervals of fifteen days, beginning September 5.  The National Guards of the various States were also mobilized August 9, mustered into the Federal service, and ordered to special training camps, mostly situated in the South.  The work of assembling equipment and supplies for the new army was rushed and the whole country hummed with the task of preparation.

AMERICAN TROOPS IN FRANCE

France and Great Britain having joined in a request for the dispatch of an American expeditionary force to France at the earliest possible moment, the United States government on May 18 ordered 25,000 troops to France under the command of Major-General John J. Pershing.  A large force of marines was subsequently ordered to join them, bringing the strength of the expedition up to approximately 40,000 men.  General Pershing and his staff preceded the troops to Europe, reaching London June 8 and Paris June 13, and being enthusiastically welcomed in both the Allied capitals.

Convoyed by American warships, the first and second contingents of American troops crossed the Atlantic in safety, despite two submarine attacks on the transports in which at least one U-boat was sunk.  Without the loss of a ship or a man the troops were landed in France on June and 27, to be received with outbursts of joy by the French populace, who saw in their coming the assurance of final delivery from the German invaders.  Training camps awaited their coming and there, behind the French lines they spent the months of July and August in active preparation for service under the Stars and Stripes against the German enemy on the western front.

U.S.  WARSHIPS BUSY

America’s destroyer flotilla arrived in British waters in May and immediately co-operated with the British fleet in the patrol of its home waters and the hunt for German submarines.  The flotilla was commanded by Vice-Admiral Sims and did effective work from the very start.

On August 11 it was announced in Washington that Admiral Sims had sent to the Navy Department a series of reports detailing the work of the American ships and men under his command.  These were said to present a thrilling story of accomplishment, telling of many encounters with U-boats and also of the rescue of numerous crews of ships which had been destroyed by submarines off the coasts of England and Ireland.

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Soon after war was declared by the United States, American warships took over from British and French vessels the patrol of American coasts, while Brazil added her navy to that of the United States for the protection of South American waters against the common enemy.

THE FIRST “LIBERTY LOAN”

On May 2, a few weeks after the United States entered the war, subscriptions were opened for the first block of $2,000,000,000 of the “Liberty loan” of $7,000,000,000 authorized by Congress in April.  Great popular interest was evinced and all classes of the American people hastened to subscribe for the 3-1/2 per cent bonds, so that when the books were closed on June 15 it was found that the loan had been oversubscribed by $1,035,226,850 and the list of subscribers contained no fewer than 4,000,000 names.  Most of the amount raised was used for loans to the Allies, to be expended in the United States for war munitions and supplies.

A war budget appropriating $3,340,000,000 for current expenses of the war was passed by Congress and signed by the President June 15; also an Espionage bill which among other important provisions gave the President power to place an embargo on all exports.  On July 14 the House of Representatives passed an Aviation bill appropriating the sum of $640,000,000 for the construction and maintenance of an aerial fleet for home and foreign service.

FOOD CONTROL BILL PASSED

On August 10 President Wilson signed the Food Control bill adopted by Congress after prolonged debate, and he at once announced the formal appointment of Mr. Herbert C. Hoover as United States food administrator.  Mr. Hoover, whose work as chief of the Belgian Relief Commission had made him world famous, stated the threefold objects of the food administration under the bill as follows: 

“First, to so guide the trade in the fundamental food commodities as to eliminate vicious speculation, extortion, and wasteful practices, and to stabilize prices in the essential staples.  Second, to guard our exports so that against the world’s shortage we retain sufficient supplies for our own people, and to cooeperate with the Allies to prevent inflation of prices; and, third, that we stimulate in every manner within our power the saving of our food in order that we may increase exports to our Allies to a point which will enable them to properly provision their armies and to feed their peoples during the coming winter.”

INTERNAL HANDICAPS IN AMERICA

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While the United States was busily engaged in raising its new national army, innumerable difficulties arose to be contended with by the Federal and State governments and local authorities.  Not the least of these was caused by enemy propaganda of various kinds, designed to interfere with the success of the selective draft.  Active opposition to the draft developed in many districts, especially in the Western states where the organization calling itself the “Industrial Workers of the World,” notorious as the “I.W.W.,” had a considerable following, including many aliens, and gave the State and municipal authorities much trouble.  Attacks on munition plants, strikes, and incipient riots were frequent, until the Federal government declared its determination to meet all such demonstrations with the strong arm of the law.  Pacifists and pro-Germans of various stripes did their utmost to retard war preparations, and caused much annoyance, without, however, preventing the steady march of the selected men to the training cantonments, where the first divisions of the national army gradually assembled.  The presence in the country of so many aliens of enemy birth constituted a difficulty, but this had been foreseen and partly provided against, and the true American spirit of patriotism steadily prevailed over all obstacles to the successful prosecution of the war for humanity.  Uncle Sam prepared to strike—­and strike hard.

INTERNAL TROUBLES IN GERMANY

Meanwhile, internal troubles developed in the German empire.  Weary of the war, with hopes of final victory dwindling month by month, a strong peace party arose in the Reichstag, committing itself to the policy of a peace without annexations or indemnities, and for a brief time the Reichstag refused to vote a war credit.  This brought the Kaiser, Von Hindenburg, and Von Ludendorff in hot haste to Berlin, to exert the utmost possible pressure of the military party on the recalcitrants.  For the time being their power prevailed, but the German Chancellor, Von Bethmann Hollweg, was sacrificed, together with the Foreign Minister and other leading officials of the empire.  The Chancellor was succeeded by Dr. Georg Michaelis, a statesman of colorless and practically unknown quality, suspected of being a mere mouthpiece of the Kaiser, appointed to register his decrees and continue the policy of the autocracy in the conduct of the war.  But many peace proposals came out of Germany during the summer and every possible German effort was made to break the solidarity of the Allies.

THE POPE PROPOSES PEACE

On August 14 Pope Benedict addressed to all the belligerent nations a proposal for a peace agreement, stating the general terms which he believed might be found acceptable as a basis for the cessation of hostilities.  These included disarmament of the nations, mutual condonation of damages, the establishment of the principle of arbitration for the future, the evacuation of Belgian and French territory by the Germans, reciprocal restoration of the German colonies, and a peace-table agreement as to Alsace-Lorraine, Poland, the Trentino, Armenia and the Balkan states.

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Nothing being said as to the causes of the war and the criminal responsibility attaching to the authors of the great conflict, and all the nations at issue being classed as equally entitled to the benefits of the condonation proposed, the message from the Vatican met with a cool reception from the Allied nations, including the United States, especially as they entertained grave suspicions that it was inspired from Berlin, by way of Vienna.  The answers of President Wilson and the British and French governments were therefore awaited with little expectation that the hour for peace had struck.

The British attitude toward peace proposals was expressed July 20 by Sir Edward Carson, member of the war cabinet, who said: 

“If the Germans want peace we are prepared tomorrow to treat not with Prussianism, but with the best of the German nation, and as a preliminary to such a treaty and as an earnest of their sincerity that they don’t want to acquire any territory or show violence towards others, we tell them to come forward and offer to enter negotiations.  We make as the first condition of such a parley that they shall withdraw their troops behind the Rhine.

“When they have shown something like contrition for the wrongs and outrages against humanity which they have committed on poor little Belgium, in northern France, in Serbia, and in those other regions which they needlessly drenched with blood, we will be willing to enter into negotiations to see what can be done for release of the world from the terror of arms.”

CANADIANS HOLD THEIR GAINS

On August 21 Canadian troops smashed their way with bombs and cold steel farther into the German defenses of the ruins of Lens, and defeated a desperate simultaneous attack by the enemy, which developed into one of the most sanguinary hand-to-hand conflicts on this battle-scarred front.  The attack began at dawn with the capture of 2,000 yards of German positions on the outskirts of the shell-torn mining center, the Canadians driving their lines closer about the heart of the city and gaining possession of many railway embankments and colliery sidings in the northwest and southwest suburbs which had been strongly fortified for defense with a series of shell-hole nests of machine guns.  The battle raged fiercely for twenty-four hours.

When the Canadians went “over the top” in the thick haze of early dawn of the 21st, they saw masses of shadowy gray figures advancing toward them.  The Germans had planned an attack to be delivered at the same moment, and sent in wave after wave of infantry in desperate efforts to regain their lost positions.  In the words of an eyewitness, the Germans fought like cornered rats among the shell holes and wire incumbrances of “No man’s Land,” where the struggle raged, bomb and bayonet being the principal weapons.  As the Canadian bayonet did its deadly work, in some of the bitterest

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fighting of the war, the German officers tried in vain to rally their men and the enemy infantry gradually fell back to the trenches they had left.  The Canadians followed closely and, leaping on the parapets, hurled masses of bombs down among great numbers of troops which had been collected for the attack.  The Germans tried to flee through the communication trenches, but the Canadians leaped among them with bayonets and bombs, killing many and sparing few as prisoners.  Throughout the day the entire line was a seething caldron, but the new Canadian positions were firmly held as night fell.

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig after the battle sent a message of congratulation to Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, commanding the Canadian forces, and refuted the German claim that the Canadians had attacked with four instead of two divisions when Hill 70 was captured by the gallant fellows from the Dominion.  The commander-in-chief also gave the Canadians credit for having reached all their objectives in the battles of the previous week.

Eight heavy assaults were delivered against the Canadians at Lens by the Germans during the night of the 21st, but in each case the enemy was thrown back at the point of the bayonet and by afternoon of August the Canadians had consolidated all the new positions gained.  During the battle of Lens up to this time (from August 15 to 22) the Canadians took 1,378 prisoners, 34 machine guns and 21 trench mortars.  The number of prisoners taken bore only a small ratio to the losses inflicted on the Germans, who appeared exhausted when the assaults ceased.

On August 22 the British launched another fierce attack on the enemy in the Langemarck sector of the front and forced their way to a considerable depth in the neighborhood of the ridge known as Hill 35, strongly defended by Irish troops against Prince Rupprecht’s Bavarians.  At the same time a new battle at Verdun was in progress, but the French held all their gains against reserves massed by the Germans for desperate counter-attacks.

ITALIANS IN A GREAT OFFENSIVE

On the Isonzo front the Italian commander, General Cadorna, launched a great offensive while the British were active in Flanders and by August 23 had broken through the whole Austrian line, capturing the town of Selo, which was the pivot of the Austrian defense, and considered impregnable, and inflicting upon the enemy, in this eleventh battle of the Isonzo, the greatest losses he had sustained since the capture of Goritz.  More than 13,000 Austro-Hungarian prisoners were captured during the battle, with thirty guns, and all counter-attacks were repulsed with heavy losses.  The whole Selo line fell before the heroic onslaught of the Italians, and the loss of this important position was a serious blow to the Austrians.  On August 22 Italian warships were showering shells on Trieste, the big Austrian port on the Adriatic which was the objective of the Italian campaign.

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HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN!

“In the welter of the conflict an emperor of Austria-Hungary has died, full of years and of sorrow, a czar of Russia has stepped from his throne, and a king of Greece has lost his crown,” said a well-known publicist, reviewing the war up to this time.

“Not one of the prime ministers or ministers of foreign affairs who conducted the diplomatic maneuvers preceding of immediately following the beginning of the war in the six most important countries of Europe is still in power.  In Russia, Goremykin and Sazonoff are forgotten behind a line of successors, equally unstable.  In France, Delcasse left the foreign office and Viviani ceased to head the cabinet, following the collapse of Serbia in the second autumn of the war.

“The tragedy of Roumania a year later contributed to the overthrow of Asquith and his foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, in Great Britain.  San Giuliano of the Italian foreign office and Salandra, the prime minister, have passed.  Count Berchtold, foreign minister of Austria-Hungary in 1914 (the empire has no prime minister), has passed into oblivion, while Von Jagow gave up the management of Germany’s foreign affairs last autumn.  Von Bethmann-Hollweg, the last of the group to lose his grip, has just gone down, despite the fact that he was not responsible to any elective body.

“Ministers of war in the belligerent countries have not been more stable.  Kerensky follows a long procession in Russia.  France has had four war ministers from Millerand to Painleve, inclusive, while Lord Kitchener, organizer of Great Britain’s most marvelous war achievement, a volunteer army of some 4,000,000 men, sleeps below the waters of the North Sea.

“History has as ruthlessly brushed aside most of the army commanders of the early days.  Von Kluck, who led the Germans on Paris, is retired.  Rennenkampf, with whom the Russians meanwhile swarmed into East Prussia, is a memory only.  Sir John French has been recalled to England.  That little group of generals who saved France and Europe at the Marne is decimated.  Foch and Castelnau, and Manoury are no longer in command, while Gallieni, worn out in the service of his country, was borne on his last journey through the streets of Paris on a sunny spring day in 1916.

“Even Joffre has been superseded in a military sense, though not as an idol of the nation.  France still holds him as close to her heart as Germany possibly could hold Von Hindenburg—­almost the only one of the war’s early commanders to retain his military power.”

RUSSIAN CAPITAL IN PERIL

On August 23, Riga, the Russian seaport which is the gateway to Petrograd, was reported in peril from the Germans, who were conducting a determined advance on the north of the eastern front under the immediate direction of Field Marshal Von Hindenburg.  With a Japanese mission in Washington, headed by Viscount Ishii, it was expected that steps might be taken to send Japanese troops to the aid of the Russians.

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Russia’s critical internal situation, aggravated by the new German drive against Riga, was watched by officials in Washington with the gravest concern.  While the taking of Riga would not necessarily be a decisive blow, it would make the Baltic more than ever a German lake, leaving the Russian fleet in the position of the mouse in the rathole to the German cat, just as the Kaiser’s fleet was the mouse to the English fleet outside.

The outcome of the forthcoming extraordinary national council to be held at Moscow was therefore awaited in Washington with the keenest interest, scarcely less keen than in Russia itself.  The immediate fate of Russia, it was felt, depended upon the action of the council in its efforts to throw off the demoralizing socialistic control of the Russian army and workmen.  German intrigues in Russia were known to be exerting powerful influence to bring about anarchy within the new democracy.

CLOSING IN ON LENS

An advance by the Canadians in the neighborhood of the Green Grassier on the southern edge of Lens added greatly to the strength of the British line, which continued to tighten steadily about the heart of the city.

The Grassier is a great slag heap, and lies only about 300 yards south of the central railway station of Lens, and overlooks it.

The Canadians made their assault before dawn this time, and the attack was preceded by a protracted and exceedingly intense bombardment of the German positions.  The Germans, exhausted by the long strain of constant counter-attacks, found the Canadians in their midst with little warning.  But the defenders did not give up without a struggle, and there was fierce bayonet fighting.

The Grassier was an important buffer between the Canadians and the defenses of the city proper, and the Germans reached it through tunnels connected with the network of passages and dugouts beneath Lens.

Part of the ground about the Grassier was inundated, due to the waterway near by having broken its banks, and this, in conjunction with the great number of machine-gun emplacements on the elevation, made it a particularly difficult position for attack.

An advance upon two German colliery positions adjoining the Grassier to the northwest, earlier in the night, also involved stiff hand-to-hand fighting.  About the Grassier were numerous shell-shattered buildings, many of which had been strongly fortified by the Germans.  The Canadians bombed their way systematically through these defenses, silencing the machine guns and clearing out the defenders.

The fighting on August 23 was on the edge of the city proper, rather than in the suburbs.  Notwithstanding the tremendous strain upon the Canadians during the previous week, there was no diminution in the strength of their attacks.  They worked steadily and methodically, gradually weaving a net about the Germans, who were living miserably in their underground positions within the great coal center.

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MANY GERMANS CAPTURED

In the three days’ fighting on the western front from August 21 to 23, the Entente Allies captured 25,000 German prisoners and by September 1 the total for August had reached more than 40,000, according to Major-General Frederick B. Maurice, chief director of the British war intelligence office.  This topped the figure of prisoners which the Germans claimed to have taken in a single month on the Russian front, although their total undoubtedly was composed by at least half of mere stragglers from the mutinous and disorganized Russian units.

On September 1, 1917, the positions recaptured by the French around Verdun were safely consolidated in their possession, every German effort being thrown back in disorder.  The fighting had developed into a big-gun duel, in which the French continued to maintain undoubted mastery, and they were firmly established once more on the left bank of the Meuse, which the Germans had intended to hold at all costs.  Thus ended the last hope of the Crown Prince of Germany, who apparently was obsessed with the desire to conquer Verdun, in the neighborhood of which thousands of the flower of the German army found only a burial place, without any laurels of victory.

ALLIED GAINS IN THE WEST

The early autumn of 1917 witnessed steady gains by the British and French forces co-operating in Flanders and to the South of the Belgian border along the western front.  The artillery on both sides was constantly active, but with evident superiority on the part of the Allies.  Repeated German attacks were repulsed in the Champagne and along the Meuse, while in the Ypres region the Allied troops made frequent gains in spite of the concrete defenses established by the enemy to strengthen their entrenched positions.

Repeated successes of the Allies along the Chemin des Dames finally forced a German retreat along a fifteen-mile front which the Crown Prince had made strenuous efforts to hold.  The Germans were compelled to retire because French victories on October 21-23 enabled French guns to enfilade the Ailette Valley behind the German positions, exposing the enemy to a series of disastrous flanking attacks and hampering the German communications.  On October 30-31 the French bombarded the German lines vigorously.  The enemy had already moved their artillery across the Ailette to a ridge north of the river.  On the night of November 1 they completed their preparations for retreat and withdrew their infantry.  French patrols approaching the German lines on the morning of November 2 were fired upon at first, but on renewing their reconnoissance soon after dawn found the German trenches empty.

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It was impossible for the Germans to keep their front line supplied with ammunition or food, the carriers of which were obliged to pass through a tornado of shells and machine gun bullets while crossing the Valley of the Ailette, where their every movement could be observed by the French.  Eventually the position became untenable and the Germans retired during the night to the Northern side of the Ailette Valley.  The best elements of the Crown Prince’s army had sustained severe losses and were compelled to go to the rear to reconstitute their diminished ranks.  The evacuated territory North of the crest of Chemin des Dames included several towns that had been pulverized by bombardment, and the retreat brought the important city of Laon within range of the French guns.

The captures by the French in this sector from September 23 to November 1 included 12,000 prisoners, 200 heavy field guns, 220 trench mortars, and 720 machine guns.  In ten days, from September 21 to 30, twenty-three German airplanes were destroyed and twenty-eight forced to descend badly damaged.

THE FIRST AMERICAN CASUALTIES

The first list of Americans killed and wounded in combat with the enemy reached Washington on October 17, in an official report from Rear Admiral Sims of an encounter between a German submarine and an American destroyer.  One American sailor was killed and five sailors were wounded when the submarine torpedoed the destroyer Cassin on patrol duty in European waters.  The destroyer was not sunk and after making a gallant fight reached a British port.

Two days later Rear Admiral Sims reported that the American troop transport Antilles, homeward bound from France, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on October 17.  Seventy men of the 237 aboard lost their lives, including four naval enlisted men, sixteen army enlisted men, three ship’s officers, and 47 members of the ship’s crew.  The Antilles was under convoy of American patrol vessels at the time it was sunk.

FRENCH TRIBUTE TO U.S.  DEAD

At the burial on November 7 of the first three American soldiers killed in the trenches in France by a raiding party of Germans, a guard of French infantrymen, in their picturesque uniforms of red and horizon blue, stood on one side and a detachment of American soldiers on the other while the flag-wrapped coffins were lowered into the grave, as a bugler blew taps and the batteries nearby fired minute guns.  The French officer commanding in the sector paid an eloquent tribute to the fallen Americans, his words being punctuated by the roar of the guns and the whistle of shells.  In conclusion he said: 

“In the name of the French army and in the name of France, I bid farewell to Private Enright, Private Gresham and Private Hay of the American army.

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“Of their own free will they had left a prosperous and happy country to come over here.  They knew war was continuing in Europe; they knew that the forces fighting for honor, love of justice and civilization were still checked by the long-prepared forces serving the powers of brutal domination, oppression and barbarity.  They knew that efforts were still necessary.  They wished to give up their generous hearts and they had not forgotten old historical memories while others forgot more recent ones.

“They ignored nothing of the circumstances and nothing had been concealed from them—­neither the length and hardships of war nor the violence of battle, nor the dreadfulness of new weapons, nor the perfidy of the foe.  Nothing stopped them.  They accepted the hard and strenuous life; they crossed the ocean at great peril; they took their places on the front by our side and they have fallen facing the foe in a hard and desperate hand-to-hand fight.  Honor to them!  Their families, friends and fellow-citizens will be proud when they learn of their deaths.

“Men!  These graves, the first to be dug in our national soil and only a short distance from the enemy, are as a mark of the mighty land we and our Allies firmly cling to in the common task, confirming the will of the people and the army of the United States to fight with us to a finish, ready to sacrifice as long as is necessary until final victory for the most noble of causes, that of the liberty of nations, the weak as well as the mighty.  Thus the deaths of these humble soldiers appeal to us with extraordinary grandeur.

“We will therefore ask that the mortal remains of these young men be left here, left with us forever.  We inscribe on the tombs, ’Here lie the first soldiers of the republic of the United States to fall on the soil of France for liberty and justice.’  The passer-by will stop and uncover his head.  Travelers and men of heart will go out of their way to come here to pay their respective tributes.

“Private Enright!  Private Gresham!  Private Hay!  In the name of France, I thank you.  God receive your souls!  Farewell!”

ITALY INVADED BY TEUTONS

In the first week of October Austrian forces, heavily reinforced by Germans, opened a gigantic drive in an effort to crush Italy.  It soon resulted in wiping out all the gains made by the Italians under General Cadorna on the Isonzo and in the Trentino, and in a determined invasion of Northern Italy by the enemy, with the city of Venice as its immediate objective.

The Teuton attack began on the morning of October 24, after an intensive artillery fire in which specially constructed gas shells were thrown at various places.  The offensive covered a 23-mile front, from Monte Rombon Southeast through Flitsch and Tolmino and thence Southward to the Bainsizza Plateau, about ten miles Northeast of Goritz, the scene of desperate fighting in the drive by the Italians which wrested important mountain positions from the Austrians.

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The greatest shock came from the North, where the Isonzo was first crossed by the enemy.  At this point there occurred a weakening of certain troops of the second Italian army, which gave the overwhelming German contingents an opportunity to pass forward between a portion of the army on the North and that on a line farther South.  Then began the double exposure of the Southern force to fire in the front and on the flank which required a steady falling back until the entire Italian army was moving towards newly-established positions farther West.  The commanding height of Monte Nero, which the Italians had occupied after deeds of great valor, was defended against onslaughts from three sides which gradually resulted in envelopment and the capture of many thousands of Italian troops and hundreds of guns.

A general retreat of the Italian forces was then carried out, with shielding operations by rear guards, and the main body of General Cadorna’s army retired to the Tagliamento.  The Germans encountered stubborn resistance on the Bainsizza Plateau and heaps of enemy dead marked the lines of their advance.  In one of the mountain passes a small village, commanding the pass, was taken and retaken eight times during desperate artillery, infantry and hand-to-hand fighting.

Goritz was shelled heavily and what remained of the city was further reduced to a mass of debris.  One of the main bridges from Goritz across the Isonzo was blown up by the Italians and the enemy movement thus was further impeded.

West of Goritz the town of Cormons also was shelled heavily.  The great German guns opened enormous craters and literally tore the towns to pieces.

The heaviest pressure began to be felt on the Carso front on Friday, October 26.  The Teutons then increased their bombardment to deafening intensity and supplemented this with huge volumes of poison gas and tear-shells.  The humid air and light winds permitted great waves of the deadly gases to creep low toward the Italian lines, the rear guards protecting themselves with gas masks and by hiding in caverns.

Amid the onslaught of overwhelming masses of the enemy, the Italians fell back slowly.  The retreat, as in other instances of the war, was the most terrible for the civilian inhabitants.  There was an enormous movement Westward.  All the roads were packed with dense traffic, with four or five lines abreast of teams, automobiles, motor trucks, pack mules, artillery wagons, and ox carts.  The soldiers marched or rode, singly, in groups, in regiments, in brigades, or in divisions.

“It was such a time as the world has seldom witnessed,” said a Red Cross spectator.  “Even fields and by-roads were utilized for the colossal migration.  The only wonder was that the great army was able to withdraw at all and establish itself along the new line of defense.

“Many heartrending scenes were witnessed along the route, as the torrential rain and the vast zone of mud increased the misery of the moving multitude.  Food was scarce and many went without it for days, while sleep was impossible as the throng trudged westward.  The military hospitals were evacuated, with all other establishments, and pale and wounded patients obliged to join in the rearguard march or fall into the hands of the enemy.  The roads were strewn with dead horses.

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“Families with eight or ten children, the youngest clinging tightly to the grandfather, trudged amid ranks of soldiers of many descriptions.”  The safe retirement of the Tagliamento was due to the unexampled heroism of large bodies of Italians, of such spirit as the Alpine troops on Monte Nero, who refused to surrender, and the regiments of Bersaglieri at Monte Maggiore, the members of which perished to the last man rather than yield ground.  It was by such resistance in the face of overwhelming forces of the enemy that the civil population was able to retire.  And it was owing to the valor of Italian aviators, combating the Austro-German army of the air, that the fleeing women, children and old men, who crowded the roads, were not struck down by bursting bombs.

By November 1 General Cadorna’s forces had effected their retirement behind the Tagliamento River line, but at the cost of tremendous losses, aggregating 180,000 prisoners and 1,500 guns.  It was soon seen, however, that the Tagliamento line could not be successfully held against the enemy and a further retirement was carried out, Southward through the mountainous country to a shorter line along the Piave River East of Venice and Northwesterly to the Trentino boundary.  This gave French and British reinforcements the opportunity to arrive in sufficient numbers to aid in checking the invaders.

As one result of the Italian reverses, General Cadorna was relieved of the chief command, though he was credited with a masterly retreat.  He was succeeded by General Diaz.

The Austro-German offensive continued steadily for three weeks and on November 21 was being pressed on three main fronts:  First, along the Piave River; second, from the Piave to the Brenta; third, from the Brenta across the Asiago Plateau.  The Italian troops were holding firm and inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.  The spirit of the Italian people was calm and public opinion strongly supported the most stubborn resistance to the invader.  Although all the fruits of Italy’s two years of strife had been swept away in a single month and a dread enemy was reaching ever forward, seeking her most treasured possessions of art and industry, the internal dissensions which Germany probably hoped to start had not appeared.  The population of Venice, however, had been reduced from 160,000 to 20,000.

ANARCHY RAMPANT IN RUSSIA

The Imperial government of Russia, headed by Premier Kerensky, was ousted on November 7, when a period of practical anarchy set in.  On the evening of that day a congress of workmen’s and soldiers’ delegates assembled in Petrograd, with 560 delegates in attendance.  Without preliminary discussion the congress elected officers pledged to make “a democratic peace.”  They included fourteen so-called Maximalists or members of the Bolsheviki (majority), the radical Socialist party suspected of pro-German tendencies, headed by Nikolai Lenine

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and Leon Trotzky; also seven revolutionary Socialists.  These leaders at once sent an ultimatum to the Kerensky government, demanding their surrender within 20 minutes.  The government replied indirectly, refusing to recognize the Bolsheviki committee.  Rioting then broke out and the Winter Palace, headquarters of the provisional government, was besieged by troops favorable to the rebels.  The cruiser Aurora, firing from the Neva River, and the guns of the St. Peter and St. Paul fortress bombarded the palace and early next morning compelled the surrender of the government forces defending it.  Women of the “Battalion of Death,” armed with machine guns and rifles, were among the defenders, who held out for four hours.  Soon the Bolsheviki were in complete control of the city, Kerensky was in flight, several members of his cabinet were arrested by the rebels, and the provisional government was no more.

Several weeks of political and industrial chaos in Russia followed the Lenine coup d’ etat, which was a triumph, probably temporary, of extremists.  A number of the commissioners appointed by the Lenine-Trotzky faction to carry on the government, gave up their posts within a few days, characterizing the Bolsheviki regime as “impossible” and as inevitably involving “the destruction of the revolution and the country.”

On November 23, Leon Trotzky, styling himself “National Commissioner for foreign affairs,” addressed to the embassies of the Allies in Petrograd a note proposing “an immediate armistice on all fronts and the immediate opening of peace negotiations.”  An official announcement was also made that the Bolsheviki government had decided to undertake without delay the reduction of the Russian armies, beginning with the release from their military duties of all citizen soldiers conscripted in 1899.

SECOND “LIBERTY LOAN” OVERSUBSCRIBED

The second “Liberty Loan” of the United States war bond issues was largely oversubscribed by the patriotic citizens of the country.  When the books closed on October 27 it was announced that the subscriptions received from approximately 9,000,000 persons amounted to over $5,000,000,000, the amount of the bond issue being $3,000,000,000.

BRITISH SMASH HINDENBURG LINE

By a series of attacks on the morning of November 21 that took the German enemy completely by surprise, the British Third army, under command of Lieut.-Gen. Sir Julian Byng, broke through the Hindenburg line on a front of 32 miles between St Quentin and the Scarpe.  The following day, when they consolidated the new positions gained, 10, German prisoners were sent to the rear, with a large number of guns and quantities of material abandoned by the astonished enemy, while at one point the victorious troops were 6-1/2 miles in advance of their former positions and the city of Cambrai was brought within easy range of their guns.

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It was the greatest and most successful surprise of the war.  There was no preliminary bombardment to warn the enemy, and the advance continued steadily for two days, when the towns of Masnieres, Marcoing, Ribecourt, Havrincourt, Graincourt, and Flesquieres, long occupied by the enemy, all were behind the British lines.

Just before dawn on the 20th there was absolute quiet along the whole line.  A few minutes later British tanks were rumbling along over “No Man’s Land” flanked and followed by the infantry.  The tanks smashed down the barbed wire entanglements and were atop the trenches and, dugouts before their German defenders were aware of their peril.

The German artillery could lay down no barrage, and line after line of trenches had been captured before they got into action.  Then the British guns opened, but not for barrage purposes.  They were shelling and silencing the enemy artillery.

Following through the gaps made by the tanks, English, Scottish, and Irish regiments swept over the enemy’s outposts and stormed the first defensive system of the Hindenburg line on the whole front.

The infantry and tanks then swept on in accordance with the program and captured the German second system of defense, more than a mile beyond.  This latter was known as the Hindenburg support line.

English rifle regiments and light infantry captured La Vacquerie and the formidable defense on the spur known as Welsh ridge.  Other English county troops stormed the village of Ribecourt and fought their way through Coillet wood.

In severe hand-to-hand fighting at Flesquieres near Cambrai, on the 21st, British troops, preceded by tanks, stormed the town.  The Germans fired on the tanks with seven big guns at short range.  The British infantry charged the guns, captured them, and killed the crews.  Three other big guns were captured in a similar manner at Premy Chapelle.  British cavalry captured a battery at Rumilly, sabering the crews.

Highland territorial battalions crossed the Grand ravine and entered Flesquieres, where fighting took place.  West Biding terriorials captured Havrincourt and the German trench, systems north of the village, while the Ulster battalions, covering the latter’s left flank, moved Northward up the West bank of the Canal du Nord.

Later in the day the advance was continued and rapid progress was made at all points, English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh battalions secured the crossings on the canal at Masnieres and captured Marcoing and Neuf Wood.  On the following day, Wednesday, November 21, reinforcements which the enemy hurried up to the battlefield to oppose the British advance were driven out of a further series of villages and other fortified positions.

Thousands of cavalry co-operated with the great army of tanks and infantry in continuing the successful assault begun on November 20.  Open fighting went on at many places and the mounted troops, who long had waited for a chance to vindicate their existence in this war, rendered invaluable services in “mopping up”.

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AMERICAN COMMISSION IN EUROPE

A special American Commission, headed by Colonel Edward M. House, personal friend and trusted adviser of President Wilson, arrived in London on November 8, on its way to attend the Allies’ conference which met in Paris November 22, to perfect a system of co-ordination among the nations at war with Germany and secure a better understanding of their respective needs.

BRITISH NEAR JERUSALEM

On November 24 the British forces contending against the Turks in Palestine had advanced to the suburbs of Jerusalem, after inflicting a severe defeat upon the enemy at Askelon, with Turkish casualties of 10,000.  More than seventy guns were captured at Askelon, and the British subsequently occupied the ancient port of Jaffa (Poppa).  The fall of Jerusalem was then considered imminent and the end of Turkish dominion in the Holy Land was plainly in sight.

[Illustration:  ITALIAN BATTLE FRONT, MAY 4, 1918.

The Heavy Line Shows the Position of the Hostile Armies, When the Austrians Threatened A New Drive in 1918.  The Shaded Line Shows the Italian Positions Before the Austro-German Offensive, in the Fall of 1917.]

WIN AND LOSE AT CAMBRAI

For the first time since the war began England celebrated on November the victory of Field Marshal Haig and General Byng at Cambrai, in the old-fashioned way, by the ringing of bells in London and other cities.  Heavy fighting continued for several days at the apex of the wedge driven into the German line, especially at Bourlon Wood and the village of Fontaine, where attacks and counter-attacks followed in rapid succession.

Up to November 30 the British held their gains near Cambrai and that city lay under their guns.  Then the Germans in a determined attack surprised the British in their turn, and forced them, back from their new positions for a distance of about two miles, nearly to the Bapaume-Cambrai road.

Next day, by fierce fighting, the British recaptured Gouzeau-court.  The battle then raged over a fifteen-mile front, desperate efforts being made by the Germans to regain all the ground taken by the British west and south of Cambrai.  The British had had no chance to dig themselves in and consolidate their positions in the ground won, and on December 1 and 2 the struggle was in the open, a fierce hand-to-hand conflict unlike anything previously seen in the war.  The British lost guns, for the first time in more than thirty months.  They also lost many men, taken prisoner by the enemy, but soon succeeded in checking the counter-offensive.

In their attempt to deliver a great simultaneous encircling attack, to surround the victorious British in their new Cambrai salient, the Germans sent forward great forces of infantry, supported by a terrific bombardment.  The British met the shock brilliantly, finally held their own, and the German drive was declared to have missed its end, at enormous sacrifice of life.

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On the night of December 5 the British strengthened their line by abandoning certain untenable positions near Cambrai, falling back deliberately and successfully, unknown to the enemy, upon a well-chosen line which ruled out the dangerous salient made by Bourlon Wood.  Here they prepared to maintain their hold upon the captured length of the Hindenburg line against any pressure.

The German casualties in the battle of Cambrai were estimated at 100, men, greatly exceeding those of the British in consequence of the nature of the massed attacks made by infantry in the counteroffensive.

As the year 1917 closed there was a succession of German attacks and counter-attacks by the British in the Cambrai sector, the British lines holding firmly at all points and continuing to hold during the winter.  SOME RESULTS OP THE YEAR

The British War Office issued the following statement of captures and losses during 1917:  Captures—­prisoners on all fronts, 114,544; guns, 781.  Losses—­prisoners, 28,379; guns, 166.

The following figures, obtained from reliable sources, tell the real story of Germany’s “ruthless” submarine campaign against British shipping.  Tonnage of British, ships of more than 1,600 tons in August, 1914—­16,841,519; loss by enemy action in 3-1/2 years, less new construction, purchase, and captures, 2,750,000; remaining tonnage January I,1918—­14,091,519.

On December 3, 1917, it was announced officially in London that East Africa had been completely cleared of the enemy.  Every German-colony was then occupied by Allied forces.

DISASTER AT HALIFAX

As the result of a collision in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, between the French munition ship “Mont Blanc” and the Belgian relief ship “Imo” on December 6, thousands of tons of high explosives blew up, killing more than 1,260 persons, injuring thousands, and destroying millions of dollars in property in the city.

JERUSALEM CAPTURED BY BRITISH

Advancing steadily upon Jerusalem in the Palestine campaign against the Turks, the British forces under General Allenby finally, on December 10, captured the Holy City and restored it to Christendom.  The Turks were driven to the north, with heavy losses, the port of Joppa was occupied, and Palestine was slowly but surely freed from Mussulman dominion.  General Allenby formally entered and took possession of Jerusalem on December 11 with a small representative force of British and colonial troops, being received and welcomed with impressive ceremonies by the inhabitants.

WAR DECLARED AGAINST AUSTRIA

The United Stages Congress on December 7, 1917, passed a resolution declaring a state of war to exist with Austria-Hungary.  Austrian aliens, however, were permitted free movement in the United States, only Germans being classed as alien enemies and subjected to restrictions as such.

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It was announced by the Secretary of War during the winter that 500, American troops would be on the fighting line in France in the spring of 1918 and that a total of 1,500,000 men would be available for the front during the year.

A portion of the French front was taken over by the United States troops under General Pershing early in 1918 and in a number of trench raids and patrol engagements in the last weeks of winter they gave a good account of themselves, receiving their baptism of enemy fire and gas with the utmost gallantry and winning several minor engagements.  A small number of Americans were captured in German raids up to March 10, but the losses inflicted upon the enemy more than counterbalanced those sustained.

RUSSIA FORCED INTO “PEACE”

On November 28, a few days after German emissaries had been sent to Petrograd to parley with the peace faction in disorganized Russia, the Bolshevik de facto government under Nicolai Lenine and Leon Trotzky began negotiations for an armistice with Germany; and on December 3 an armistice was arranged.  The Cossacks under General Kaledines and General Korniloff began a revolt against the Bolsheviki, who organized their forces as Red Guards, and a virtual reign of terror was inaugurated in Russia while negotiations for a separate peace with Germany proceeded with numerous interruptions.  The administration of Lenine and Trotzky became an absolutely despotic regime, all forms of opposition, being summarily dealt with, while crime was rampant and blood flowed freely in Petrograd and Moscow.  The Ukrainian provinces formed a separate republic and proceeded to make peace with Germany and Austria.

Formal announcement of the armistice with the Petrograd government was made at Berlin December 16, with the statement that peace negotiations would begin immediately at Brest-Litovsk on the Eastern front.  Russia thus violated her pledge to the Allies not to make a separate peace.

The peace delegates of Russia and Germany began their sessions December 23.  On Christmas Day Ensign Krylenko, the Bolshevik commander-in-chief, reported that the Germans were transferring large numbers of troops to the Western front against the Allies, contrary to one of the Russian conditions of the armistice.  Early in the new year, January 2. 1918, the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk were suspended for several days, owing to the nature of the German terms of peace, which demanded that Russia surrender to Germany the territory including Poland, Courland, Esthonia and Lithuania.  Foreign Minister Trotzky declared that the Russian workers would not accept the German terms.

Germany, however, stood pat and on January 10 negotiations were resumed, continuing at intervals for several weeks.  In the middle of February the Bolshevik government announced that it had withdrawn Russia from the war with the Central Empires and had ordered the demobilization of the Russian armies, but refused to sign a formal treaty of peace with Germany.  Premature rejoicing ensued in Germany, and on February Berlin announced a resumption of war with Russia.  Two days later the German armies began an advance into Russia along the whole front from Riga south to Lutsk; occupying the latter city without fighting.

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A complete surrender to Germany followed.  Lenine and Trotzky stating that they would sign the peace treaty on the German terms, which included all the territory claimed by Germany along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, comprising the western part of Esthonia, Courland with the Moon Islands in the Gulf of Riga, most of the provinces of Kovno and Grodno, and nearly all of Vilna, with a huge indemnity.  Despite the surrender, the Germans continued their invasion of Russia, with an eye to booty, and captured without organized resistance of any kind thousands of guns and vast quantities of rolling stock, motor trucks, automobiles, and munitions of war.  The invasion continued well into the month of March in the general direction of Petrograd, while to the south Austria, at first seemingly reluctant to join the German incursion into helpless territory, also invaded the Ukraine on the pretense of “restoring order.”

SINKING OF THE “TUSCANIA.”

The first serious disaster to American troops on the voyage to France occurred on February 5, when the steamship “Tuscania,” a British transport with 2,179 United States troops on board, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the north coast of Ireland.  The close proximity of British convoy and patrol boats enabled most of those on board to be rescued, 1912 survivors being landed within a few hours at Buncrana and Larne in Ireland.  The lives lost included 267 American soldiers besides a number of the crew.  The attacking submarine is believed to have been destroyed by the British patrol before the “Tuscania” sank.

LONG-DISTANCE PEACE TALK

Early in 1918, while the Russian debacle complicated the war situation in Europe and the United States hummed with war activities, a series of speeches by statesmen of the powers at war resulted in demonstrating the futility of all hopes of a general peace.

In an address to Congress on January 8 President Wilson, following and indorsing a notable speech by the English premier, Mr. Lloyd-George, laid down fourteen definite peace and war aims of the United States, closely agreeing with the expressed aims of the European Allies; “and for these,” said Mr. Wilson, “we will fight to the death.”  Subsequently, in February, Mr. Wilson stated four general principles on which the nations at war should agree in seeking a satisfactory peace.  The German chancellor, Von Hertling, addressing the Reichstag, declared that Germany could agree to Mr. Wilson’s basic principles of peace, but British and French statesmen promptly pointed out that the German practices in Russia, and elsewhere as opportunity offered, failed to agree with Von Hertling’s profession of the Wilson principles.  German suggestions of an informal discussion of peace terms were therefore declined by the allied powers, and in March, 1918, all eyes were turned toward the Western front in anticipation of a long-threatened German drive.

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THE WORLD’S GREATEST BATTLE

All previous battles of the Great War paled into comparative insignificance when the German offensive of 1918 opened on the Western front, March 21, with a desperate and partially successful attempt of a million men to break through the British line, attacking fiercely from the Ailette to the Scarpe, along a front of sixty miles.  For weeks the battle raged over the territory of the Somme, and when a second German drive occurred farther north, from Givenchy to Ypres, fully 3,000, men were engaged on both sides, and all records of human combat were broken.

The loss of life was appalling, but in the absence of official reports while the fighting was in progress, could only be guessed at, though the world knew that the rivers of France and Flanders ran with blood.  The Germans attacked in masses and successive waves, and paid the penalty of their desperate strategy.  For though the British, and later the French, lines were bent backward for miles, and gaps were occasionally torn in them by the foe’s furious attack, the Allied defensive withstood the onslaught and after a month of the most terrific struggle the world has ever seen, both British and French forces presented an unbroken front to the disappointed enemy.

The city of Amiens, one of the keys to Paris, had been a chief objective of the German drive, but all efforts to capture that important railroad center failed.  True, Noyon, Peronne, Bapaume, Albert and Montdidier, on the south, and Festubert, Neuve Chappelle, Armentieres, and Paaschendaele, to the north, were successively captured from the Allies, in spite of the most gallant and heroic resistance.  But then the lines held firmly, and all the Germans had to show for an awful sacrifice of life and morale was a few miles of advance into territory already devastated by war.

On April 21, when the Hun offensive had lasted a full month, not only were the armies of the Allies intact, and better still, their spirit and morale unbroken, but the utmost confidence prevailed among them.  All the Allied forces, British, French, Canadian, and American, on the Western front, had been by this time placed under the supreme command of the eminent French strategist, General Ferdinand Foch, an important step in the co-ordination of effort that met with universal approval among the Allied nations.

GENERAL PERSHING OFFERS AID

A magnanimous offer by General Pershing, approved by President Wilson, to brigade the United States troops in France with the British and French forces, was gratefully accepted by General Foch.  While the Americans bore only a minor part in the big battles, or rather the continuous battle of March and April on the Somme, and had no part at all in the fighting in Flanders, they held splendidly to their section of the front-line trenches in the vicinity of Toul, and gave the enemy a taste of their quality in many a trench raid.  Several attacks by German storm troops were also beaten off, the most important of these occurring late in April, when the Americans defeated a force of some 1,200 picked Hun troops, driving them back to their own lines with a loss of 400, while the total losses of the Americans was about 200.

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GERMANY PREPARES TO STRIKE

The great German drive had been in course of preparation for months before it began.  The Russian situation had been settled, and large bodies of troops were thereby released for service on the Western front.  The Kaiser and his general staff then determined upon a final effort to win a decisive victory in the west.  Their plan was to vanquish the British and French, if possible, before the United States could transport a sufficient number of men to France to turn the tide of numbers in favor of the Allies, and enable them to take the offensive with good prospects of success.

German troops were therefore concentrated near the points chosen for attack, and this was done with the utmost secrecy, the troop trains running unlighted at night, so as to escape the observation of Allied aviators.  Two hundred divisions in all were gathered for the German drive, and fully half of them were assembled near the British front on the Somme.  March 21 was set as the date for the attack and every precaution was taken to render it a surprise to the British.  The German troops were led to believe that they would be irresistible, and that Paris, their long-looked-for goal, would soon be won.

Meanwhile the Allies had not been idle.  Expecting the drive, but not knowing where it would strike first, preparations had been made all along the line, not merely for strenuous defense of the positions held, but also for eventualities in case of enforced retreat.  New positions back of the lines were prepared, reserves were distributed at strategic points, and full co-operation between the Allied armies was arranged for.  The British took over the section of the French front between St. Quentin and Chauny, in addition to their former front, and by so doing relieved the strain on the far-flung French line.

The Germans counted for victory upon their concentration of vast bodies of troops and the element of surprise, hoping to break through between the British and French armies before Allied reserves could be brought up in sufficient numbers to halt them.

OPENING DATS OF THE BATTLE

On the day set, Thursday, March 21, the great battle opened, after a six-hour bombardment, the British 3rd and 5th armies being attacked simultaneously.  The German infantry advanced in waves, of which there seemed no end, and these were followed by batteries of trench mortars, until the front line of German trenches had been reached.  Then, wave after wave, the advance was continued, in the face of a furious British fire, until the defenders were compelled to draw back through sheer force and weight of numbers.  The German waves moved forward at the calculated rate of 200 yards every four minutes, wherever it was found possible to do so.  Each wave, on reaching its objective point, dropped to the ground and opened

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fire with rifles and machine guns, placing a barrage 2,000 yards ahead of them, under cover of which the succeeding wave advanced.  Thus each wave passed over the one ahead of it, and fresh troops were constantly coming to the front.  With such tactics, against a spirited and determined foe, the losses of the attackers were naturally enormous.  In fact, it was estimated that the casualties suffered by the Germans during the first few days of such fighting amounted to 250, men.  But, driven on by ruthless commanders, they continued to advance in masses, though mowed down by the British at every successive step.

“All the German storm troops, including the guards, were in brand-new uniforms,” said the correspondent of the New York Times.  “They advanced in dense masses and never faltered until shattered by the machine-gun fire.  The supporting waves advanced over the bodies of the dead and wounded.  The German commanders were ruthless in the sacrifice of life, in the hope of overwhelming the defense by the sheer weight of numbers. * * * Still they came on, with most fanatical courage of sacrifice.  When the first lines fell, their places were filled by others, and the British guns and machine-guns could not kill them fast enough.”  Two batteries of field artillery at Epehy, it is said, “fired steadily with open sights (that is, pointblank) at four hundred yards for four hours, into the German masses swarming over No Man’s Land.”

On the first day, some field batteries aided the Germans, but these were soon left behind in the advance over difficult and shell-torn ground, and the battle became one of rifle and machine-gun fire and hand-to-hand combat.

On the north the British 3rd army made a splendid resistance and held its ground well, but the 5th army farther south, which bore the principal brunt of the attack, under General Gough, was gradually forced to retreat, though in good order, in a northwesterly direction, towards Amiens.  French troops were ordered from the southwest to reinforce the British in the vicinity of Noyon.  There the French stemmed the tide of Germans, and the drive was soon turned northward, with Amiens as its evident objective.

ALLIED LINES BEGIN TO HOLD FIRM

The battle continued along these lines, with the British still slowly retiring, with their faces to the foe, until the 26th of March, the French stretching their lines farther and farther to the left to keep in touch with the British, and never failing to maintain connection between the two armies.  The Germans’ fond hope of cutting them apart was doomed to disappointment.  French and British cavalry aided in keeping the line intact, and for the second time since the early days of the war the horsemen came into their own, doing valiant service in covering the retreat of the British and impeding the enemy’s advance at many points where their aid proved invaluable.

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On March 27 and 28, the situation began to improve.  British reinforcements arrived at the points of greatest danger, and the defense stiffened, then held the lines firmly before Amiens, and at a distance from that threatened city sufficiently great to prevent its successful bombardment by all but the heaviest artillery of the enemy.  The devastated and shell-torn condition of the terrain taken over by the Germans was unfavorable for bringing up the great guns to within striking distance.  From that time on, the Allies were supremely confident of their ability to cope with any forces.

While the Allied armies, especially the British, lost heavily in men and guns during the Hun advance, many of the German divisions engaged in the drive were literally cut to pieces.  The 88th division was reported by prisoners to be practically annihilated.  The same prisoners, taken in counter-attacks, expressed the utmost surprise at the relatively small number of dead whom they had found in the British and French trenches as they advanced.  They had been informed by their officers that the offensive would be over in eight days, and that a complete victory over the Allies would be won within three or four weeks.

GERMAN DRIVE IS HALTED

The eighth day of the German offensive, far from finding the Huns victorious, resulted in tremendous attacks by the Germans being stopped by the unbeatable British, while the French won a brilliant victory at the south of the line.  Meanwhile the Germans had begun another attack in the Flanders sector, with the object of wresting from the British the control of Messines Ridge, which dominated the lowlands of Flanders and had been so gallantly won by the Canadians in the previous year.  They gained a partial footing on the ridge, but the greater part of it was grimly held, and all efforts of the enemy to advance through Ypres towards the Channel ports were frustrated.

Another sector was added to the north end of the battle line on the eighth day, March 28, when the Germans attacked heavily on both sides of the River Scarpe toward Arras.  Here some of the fiercest fighting of the offensive soon developed, but the ground gained by the Germans was insignificant.  Daily, however, they claimed to have captured thousands of Allied troops and hundreds of guns; while, on the other hand, enormously long ambulance trains were reported passing through Belgium with the German wounded, the hospitals in northern France not having sufficient accommodation for the sufferers.  On every battlefield of the 100-mile front—­for the fighting now covered that enormous stretch of territory, in two sections, north of La Bassee and south of Arras—­the German dead lay literally in heaps.

On March 29, the ninth day of the great battle in France, the German drive was practically halted, and both British and French reports noted a decrease of the fighting, enemy activity being manifested only by local attacks all along the front, which was being strengthened each day by the arrival of Allied reinforcements.

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PARIS BOMBARDED AT LONG RANGE

Soon after the great offensive opened, the city of Paris was surprised by being bombarded from a distance of approximately 70 miles by a new German long-range gun, which was discovered by French airmen to be concealed in a concrete tunnel in a wood behind the German lines, A number of persons were killed and wounded by the nine-inch shells from this new weapon, 54 women being killed when a shell struck a church in the suburbs of the city on Good Friday.  The Allied commanders refused to regard the long-range gun as of any great military importance except as a means of spreading terror among the civilian population,—­and the population of Paris refused to be terrorized by such a method, exhibiting the same spirit as that of the people of England with regard to the futile aerial raids.

French estimates of the German losses for the first eleven days of the offensive placed them at between 275,000 and 300,000 men.  The Germans claimed that during the same period they had captured 70,000 prisoners and 1,000 field guns.

ANOTHER ATTACK ON AMIENS

Having been foiled in an attempt on March 31 to break through the valley of the Oise, Paris ceased to be the German objective, and another offensive against Amiens was undertaken on April 4.  By this time a French army had repaired the ragged line between the French on the south and the remainder of the British army of General Gough, whose enforced retirement had been conducted in good order.  Though outnumbered two to one, the British and French repulsed the attack on Amiens with heavy losses to the Germans, who were effectually stopped at a distance of fifteen kilometers (nine miles) from that city.  This ended the first phase of the great battle.

BATTLE RENEWED IN THE NORTH

The second phase of the battle which was expected to prove decisive began April 9 with an attack on the British, aided by Portuguese troops, on a front of fifteen miles, from La Bassee to Ypres.  The center, held by three Portuguese divisions, was broken through, and on April 12 the situation seemed critical.  Determined counterattacks by the British, however, and reinforcements by the French, stopped the Germans in the next few days, and this offensive, like that farther south in the valley of the Somme, gradually died out, leaving the Germans with gains of only a few square miles of devastated territory to show for their continued heavy losses.  And the reserve forces of the Allies were still intact, the strategy of General Foch in this respect being universally applauded as correct under the circumstances.

SHELLS FIRED BY THE MILLION

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In the beginning of the offensive which thus failed to accomplish its object, the most desperate means were employed by the Germans to break down resistance; In the first six hours of bombardment on March 21, when three great German armies were massed for the attack, under Generals Von Bulow, Von Marwitz, and Von Hutier, commanding from the north to south in the order named, it is estimated that at least 1,500,000 shells were fired by one single army—­that opposed to General Gough’s forces on the south, while the British 3rd army, under General Byng, to the north, was similarly assailed.  Most of the shells contained gas and were designed to destroy the occupants of the trenches about to be stormed.  Only the utmost individual valor and persistency of the thin British line, as it retired still fighting, prevented the desperate and over-confident foe from turning the gradual retreat into a decisive defeat.  As it was, the Germans paid dearly for every yard of ground they gained, as their successive waves of troops swept over the zone of trenches and then engaged the groups of Allied forces in the open beyond.

All the German units were under orders to advance as far and as fast as possible, being provided with three days’ rations and two days’ water.  After the first few days, the difficulty of bringing up supplies, with the expected objectives far from being gained, aided in slowing up and then halting their advance.  Behind the German storm troops great numbers of reserves were assembled, to fill up the gaps torn in the ranks and restore the divisions to their normal strength as fast as they were depleted by the defense.  The German tactics took no account of human life, but expended it in the most reckless manner, with appalling results throughout the drive.  The Allies, on the other hand, sought at all times to conserve their forces by intrenching as fast as possible at every point during the period of their retirement.  Their artillery was constantly in action, and aided greatly in checking the German. advance.

ALLIES CONTROL IN THE AIR

German aeroplanes played no great part in the advance, although they bombed the British and French rear nightly, and the air service of the Allies proved superior throughout the battle.  For the first time in a great battle British and French airmen attacked the enemy infantry from low altitudes with their machine guns and bombs, and rendered invaluable assistance in damming the swelling tide of the Hun hordes.  Having gained the mastery of the air, as they did prior to the British drive on the Somme in 1916, they retained it until the foe was halted.  To a considerable extent they replaced the heavy guns of the Allies by their constant bombing and gun fire.

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Between March 21 and March 31, the French and British pilots shot down more than 100 German planes, losing about one-third of that number in the air battles.  After the first few clays there were practically no German machines in the air over the fighting front, as was the case on the Somme in 1916, but at the end of March the Hun planes began to reappear in mass formation patrols, sometimes consisting of as many as fifty planes in a group of patrols.  Then followed a period of intense air fighting, of which a single day’s record of the French may be cited as an example.  On April 12, the Allied aviation report shows that French fighting scouts made 250 flights, fought 120 combats in the sky, shot down eight Germans and damaged 23 others, burned five enemy balloons, damaged five more, and bombarded German troops with 45 tons of explosives.

GERMANS FAIL IN THEIR OBJECT

The last part of the month of April was marked by a succession of minor attacks by the Germans along the entire front of the halted offensive, and by the development of counter-attacks by the Allies at various points where it was deemed necessary or advisable to strengthen their defensive positions, but up to May 1 the Germans were as far as ever from their main objectives in the west.  Judged from the standpoint of their confident expectations, and the promises of success held out as an encouragement to their troops, the long-heralded and long-prepared spring offensive of 1918 was a failure.  Their much-vaunted strength of numbers and of organization failed as completely to gain a decisive result as their initial drive on Paris in 1914.  Though they threw into the fighting in March and April about 125 divisions, they failed to separate the French and British armies, which was a prime object of their strategy, and they sustained losses which, while not irreparable, must have greatly affected the morale of their men.  “Remember Verdun!” said a famous French commander, commenting on the drive.  “The Boche is making this tremendous effort and sustaining these losses to effect a complete rupture of our front, and if he does not do that he has failed.”

BRITISH LOSSES MADE GOOD

On April 25 the British minister of munitions announced in the House of Commons that the losses of guns and ammunition sustained by Field Marshal Haig’s forces in France and Flanders during the big German drive had been more than replaced.  The losses were placed by Mr. Winston Spencer Churchill at nearly 1,000 guns, between 4,000 and 5,000 machine guns, and a quantity of ammunition “requiring from one to three weeks to manufacture.”  More than twice the number of guns lost or destroyed had been placed at the disposal of the British air and ground services, said the minister.

GERMANS START ANOTHER ATTACK

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Another determined attack in the Somme region was begun by the Germans on April 24, after three weeks’ further preparation.  The enemy evidently had not abandoned hope of capturing Amiens, and, he again began hammering at the gateway to that city.  The first onslaught was repulsed by the British, but on the following day, April 25, the enemy succeeded in gaining about a mile of ground.  The combined British and French armies were covering the roads to Amiens, with reserves close at hand, and part of General Pershing’s American forces were co-operating with the French.  The utmost confidence prevailed that the united forces under General Foch, who was called by Marshal Joffre “the greatest strategist in Europe,” would not only meet and defeat this renewed drive by the enemy, but that before long the tide of battle would turn strongly in favor of the Allies, whose reserve armies were held in leash by their supreme commander, awaiting the strategic hour to strike.

BOTTLING UP U-BOAT BASES

One of the most thrilling exploits of the war occurred on the night of April 22, 1918, when British naval forces performed an almost incredible feat, by entering the harbors of Ostend and Zeebrugge, German submarine bases, and practically bottling them up.  French destroyers co-operated with the British in the daring undertaking.

At midnight, under cover of a remarkably developed smoke screen, furnished by the raiders themselves, five old British cruisers were run aground in the harbor channels, blown up, and abandoned by their crews.  The ships were loaded with concrete.  An old submarine, loaded with explosives, was also run under a bridge connecting the mole, or breakwater, at Zeebrugge with the shore, and there blown up, so as to prevent interruption of the raiders while they were doing their work alongside the mole.

Facing dangerous and unknown conditions of navigation, the harbor was rushed by British monitors and destroyers, under heavy fire from the shore batteries.  A storming party of volunteers, sailors and marines, was landed under extreme difficulties from the cruiser Vindictive.  This party boarded a German destroyer lying alongside the mole, defeated her crew, and sank the ship.  The concrete-laden vessels were duly sunk with a view to blocking both harbors, and every gun on the mole at Zeebrugge was destroyed.  The effects of the raid were not easily ascertainable.  It was soon learned that the submarine base at Zeebrugge at least had been put out of business for a while.  The gallantry and daring of the deed were generally recognized as fully in keeping with the best traditions of the British navy.  The loss of life was quite heavy, but the British lost only one destroyer and two coastal motor boats, many of the raiders returning safely to the other side of the Channel.  Even the men on the exploded submarine succeeded in escaping.  The officer who planned the raid, however, was among the killed.

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GERMAN ATTACK ON YPRES FAILS

On Monday, April 29, the German 4th army under General von Arnim, having gained possession of Mount Kemmel, a dominating position, began a general assault on the British hill positions on the Kemmel front, southwest of Ypres.  The intention was to capture Ypres forthwith, by the overwhelming power of numbers, and the day’s fighting was a crucial test of the holding power of the Allies in the Ypres salient.  The result of the attack was a stunning defeat for the enemy, who was repulsed all along the line and suffered frightful losses.

In the words of a French general, “It was a great day for the Allies!” The repulse of the German attack was a real defeat, for it upset all the confident calculations of the enemy, who from the height of Mount Kemmel had seen, first Ypres, and then channel ports, within his grasp.  It brought disappointment and disillusion to his troops, who had been urged on to their disastrous massed attacks by flamboyant promises of success.  The effect was seen in a renewal of German peace propaganda, which all the Allies had learned by this time to disregard as unworthy of the slightest serious attention.

“Extraordinary nervousness and depression prevail in Germany, owing to the losses in the western offensive,” said Reuter’s correspondent at Amsterdam on April 29, quoting a German military writer, Capt. von Salzmann, who said:  “Our losses have been enormous.  The offensive in the west has arrived at a deadlock.  The enemy is much stronger than our supreme command assumed.  The region before Ypres is a great lake, and therefore impassable.  The whole country between our Amiens front and Paris is mined and will be blown up should we attempt to pass.”

The preliminary bombardment southwest of Ypres April 29 started in the early morning and took in the ten-mile front from Meteren, west of Bailleul, to Voormezeele, two miles south of Ypres.  Infantry attacks in this area followed with great fury, and sanguinary fighting continued all day.  The Germans at the outset advanced with fixed bayonets, but they came under such an intense machine-gun fire that most of them were never able to employ the steel.  The French at Locre and the British at Voormezeele repulsed every attack, thrusting the enemy back whenever he gained a footing in advanced positions, and firmly holding every point around Ypres at the end of the day.

General von Arnim’s losses were particularly staggering at Locre, where he used battalion after battalion in a vain attempt to hold the village, a key to Mount Rouge.  The previous German capture of Mount Kemmel did the enemy little good, for the Allied artillery kept the crest of the hill so smothered with shell fire that it was impossible for the Huns to occupy it in force.

The attack, which was the fourth great battle of Ypres, was the biggest effort the Germans had made in the Flanders offensive, the enemy employing thirty fresh battalions of reserves, in addition to the large number of divisions in position at the beginning of the battle.  The net result was a tremendous setback for the Germans, who paid an awful price.  Next morning the battlefield in front of the defenders’ positions was covered with the bodies of gray-uniformed men.

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AMERICAN TROOPS IN ACTION

American units were in action in Picardy, east of Amiens, on April 28, having reinforced the British and French in that sector, to aid in keeping the foe from Amiens and Paris.  Their baptism of fire in the direct line of the German offensive made their previous experiences pale into the insignificance of skirmishes.  During the various engagements in which they participated in the last days of April and the first week of May they acquitted themselves with great credit.

After a preliminary bombardment of two hours, a heavy German attack was launched against the Americans in the afternoon of April 30 in the vicinity of Villers-Bretonneux, and was repulsed with heavy losses to the enemy, who left dead and wounded on the field, while the American losses were reported as “rather severe.”  There was hand-to-hand fighting all along the line, and the violent struggle lasted for a considerable time before the enemy was finally thrust back, leaving prisoners in the American hands.  Their French comrades were full of praise for the marked bravery displayed throughout by the American troops, who were fighting at one of the most difficult points on the whole battle front.

U.S.  TROOPS BUSHED TO PRANCE

As a result of the great German offensive movements and territorial gains in the spring of 1918, there was a tremendous increase in the military activities of the United States, particularly in rushing troops to Europe.  After the selection of General Foch as generalissimo of the Allied forces, the American troops in the war zone were brigaded with the French and British all the way from the North Sea to Switzerland, and their numbers steadily increased.

In the United States the training of the new National Army, national guards, and officers in the numerous cantonments and training camps was intensified and hurried.  As fast as the men were brought into condition they were shipped to France.  At first much of the space on the transports was devoted to supplies and materials for the camps and depots in France, but as the situation became critical owing to successful enemy offensives, fewer supplies and more men were sent.  Great Britain lent her ships and the number of transports was largely increased, so that each month of 1918 showed a greater movement of troops across the Atlantic.

The troop movement record for the spring and summer months of 1918 was a wonderful one, in view of the submarine menace.  In April, 117, American troops were successfully transported; in May, 244,345; in June, 276,382, and in July 300,000, The month of August found more than 1,500,000 Americans in France, England and Italy.  This immense number of men were carried over without the loss of a single eastbound American transport.

AN ARMY OF 5,000,000 PLANNED

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On August 5, 1918, plans were announced for increasing the effective strength of the United States army to 5,000,000 forthwith, by an extension of the draft age limits and rapid intensive training.  Official statements showed that the armed forces of the United States already amounted to a total of 3,074,572 men, including 2,570,780 in the army and 503,792 in the navy.  The national army at this date contained 1,400,000 men, the regular army 525,741, the national guard 434,511 and the reserve corps 210,528.  The regular navy had 219,158 men, the marine corps 58,463, the coast guard 6,605, and the reserve 219,566.  On June of this year 744,865 men reaching the age of 21 since June 5, 1917, were registered for selective draft purposes.

DEFEATING THE SUBMARINE DANGER

Meanwhile giant strides were taken in the American program of shipbuilding to offset the ravages of submarine warfare.  The U.S.  Shipping Board was reorganized and galvanized into a high state of efficiency.  Under the leadership of Charles M. Schwab, director-general of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, and Edward M. Hurley, chairman of the board, the work in the shipyards on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and on the Great Lakes, was speeded up until ships were being built at the rate of 5,000,000 tons a year.  In the first three weeks of July, 1918, twenty-three ships of 122,721 deadweight tons were completed, making a total of 223 new vessels built under the direction of the board up to that time, the aggregate tonnage being 1,415,022 tons.  On July alone eighty-two vessels were launched, their splash being “heard around the world.”

With the increased tonnage being put out by the British, French, and Italian shipyards, and the output of neutral countries friendly to the Allies, this practically put an end to the submarine peril.  In addition the United States requisitioned seventy-seven Dutch ships with an aggregate tonnage of about 600,000, while arrangements were made with Sweden for about 400,000 tons of shipping and contracts were let for the building of a considerable number of ships in Japanese shipyards.

The knowledge that there were over a million American troops facing the enemy on the battle fronts in Europe came as a decided shock to the German army and people, who were forced to realize the failure of their submarine campaign.

AMERICANS PROVE THEIR METTLE

After the American forces in France had their first serious encounter with the Germans on April 20 at Seicheprey, a village near Renners forest, which they recovered from the enemy in a gallant counter-attack, the fighting was of a more or less local character throughout the rest of the month and in May, with varying fortunes.

On May 27 the Germans began another great offensive, taking the Chemin des Dames from the French and crossing the Aisne.  On the following day they crossed the Vesle river at Fismes.  But on this day also the Americans won their first notable victory, by capturing the village of Cantigny and taking 200 prisoners.  The United States marines added to their laurels in this fight and held the position firmly against many subsequent counter-attacks.

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Continuing their drive toward Paris, the Germans occupied Soissons on May 29, Fere-en-Tardenois May 30, and next day reached Chateau Thierry and other points on the Marne, where they were halted by the French.

In the early days of June several towns and villages fell to the Germans, but the French by counter-attacks recaptured Longpont, Corcy, and some other places.  On June 6 American marines by a spirited attack gained two miles on a two and a half mile front, taking Hill 142 near Torcy and entering Torcy itself.  The following day, with French aid, they completed the capture of Vilny, Belleau, and important heights nearby.  In another battle northwest of Chateau Thierry the Americans advanced nearly two and a half miles on a six-mile front, taking about 300 prisoners.

These battles confirmed the impression that the American troops as fighters were equal to their allies.

ANOTHER ENEMY OFFENSIVE

On June 9 the Germans began the fourth phase of their offensive, planned by their high command to enforce peace.  They attacked between Montdidier and the Oise, advancing about four miles and taking several villages.  On the next day they claimed the capture of 8,000 French.  The same day the American marines took the greater part of Belleau Wood.  On June 11 they completed the capture of Belleau Wood, taking 300 prisoners, machine guns and mortars.  The French at the same time defeated the Germans between Rubescourt and St. Maur, taking 1,000 prisoners.  Other battles followed on the 12th and 13th, but on the 14th the latest German offensive was pronounced a costly failure.

From this time to the end of the month the fighting was of a less serious character, though the Americans in the Belleau and Vaux region gave the Germans no rest, attacking them continually and taking prisoners at will.

JULY 4 CELEBRATED ABROAD

America’s Independence day, 1918, was officially celebrated in England, France, and Italy, as well as in the United States, making it a truly historic occasion.  On that day Americans assisted the Australians in taking Hamel with many prisoners.  On the 8th and 9th the French advanced in the region of Longpont and northwest of Compiegne, taking Castel and other strong points near the west bank of the Avre river.  July 14, the French national holiday, was generally observed in America and by the American soldiers in France.  Then, on July 15, the Germans began the fifth and disastrous last phase of the offensive which they started in the spring, on March 21.

STINGING DEFEAT FOR AUSTRIA

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But Italy meanwhile had scored a great success against the Austrians.  French and British regiments, with some Americans, were helping to hold the Italian line when, on June 15, the Austrians, driven by their German masters, began an offensive along a 100-mile front, crossing the Piave river in several places.  For two days they continued violent attacks, penetrating to within 20 miles of Venice, at Capo Silo.  Then the Italians, British, and French counter-attacked with great vigor and soon turned the Austrian offensive into a great rout, killing thousands, taking other thousands prisoner, and capturing a vast amount of war material, including many of the Austrian heavy-caliber guns.  The entire Austrian, plan to advance into the rich Italian plains, where they hoped to find great stores of food for their hungry soldiers, resulted in miserable failure.

The defeat increased the discontent in Austria-Hungary and added to the bad feeling entertained towards Germany.  Peace feelers were thrown out by Austrian statesmen, but the continued influence of German militarism prevented them from receiving serious attention by the Allies.

A WATERLOO FOR THE CROWN PRINCE

When the German divisions of the Crown Prince of Prussia began their last desperate offensive on July 15, they attacked from Chateau Thierry on the west to Massiges, along a 65-mile front, crossing the Marne at several places.

East and west of Reims the battle raged, with the Allies holding strongly everywhere and the Germans suffering heavy losses.  The enemy aimed at Chalons and Epernay and hoped by turning the French flank at Reims to capture the cathedral city without a direct assault upon its formidable defenses.  General Gouraud, the hero of Gallipoli, was in command of the French forces on the right, while General Mangin and General de Goutte held the left.  Most of the Americans taking part in the battle were under the command of these noted generals, and strong Italian and British forces were with General Gouraud’s army.  The French constituted about 70 per cent of the Allies engaged.

GENERAL FOCH STRIKES

In a single day the German offensive was effectually blocked at the Marne.  Despite the enemy’s utmost efforts he could make no further advance.

Then Foch, the great French strategist and Allied generalissimo, struck the blow for which he had patiently bided his time!

Apparently having advance information of the German plans, or perhaps surmising them, General Foch had been preparing a surprise for the Crown Prince.  In the forest of Villers-Cotterets on the German right flank, he had quietly massed large forces, including some of the best French regiments, together with the foreign legion, Moroccan and other crack troops, and many Americans.  Everything possible had been done to keep these troop movements secret from the enemy.

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On Thursday morning, July 18, 1918, a heavy attack was launched in force at the Germans under General von Boehm all along the line from Chateau Thierry on the Marne to the Aisne river northwest of Soissons.

The Germans were taken completely by surprise, and town after town was captured from them with comparatively slight resistance.  When the first shock of surprise was over, their resistance stiffened, but the Allies continued to advance.  Mounted cavalry were once more used to assist the infantry in the open, while tanks in large numbers were used to clear out enemy machine-gun nests.

The American troops, fighting side by side with the French, did their work in a manner to excite the admiration of their allies, and acquitted themselves like veterans.  Thousands of prisoners were taken, with large numbers of heavy guns and great stores of ammunition, besides thousands of machine guns, many of which were turned against the enemy.  The strategy of General Foch received world-wide applause.  His master stroke met with immediate success.

By the 20th of July Soissons was threatened by the Allies.  The Germans, finding themselves caught in a dangerous salient and attacked fiercely on both flanks, hurriedly retreated to the north bank of the Marne and were rapidly pressed back farther.  Their condition was critical and the German Crown Prince was obliged to call for assistance from Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, commanding in the north.  Taking advantage of this, the British and French in the north made frequent attacks, gaining ground and taking prisoners at numerous points.

For ten days the Allies continued their victorious progress on both sides of the Soissons-Reims salient, the Germans continuing to retire under strong pressure.  They were forced back to the Oureq river, then to the Vesle, where they made a determined stand.  Fere-en-Tardenois and Fismes fell into the hands of the victorious French and Americans, the latter gaining a notable victory in the occupation of Fismes over the vaunted Prussian guards, who had been brought up to endeavor to stay their progress.  The first week of August saw most of the Reims salient wiped out by the German retreat, while rear-guard actions were being fought along the Vesle as the Germans sought defensive positions farther in the rear.

The prisoners captured by the Allies in their drive up to that time numbered more than 35,000 and more than 700 heavy guns also fell into their possession, with immense quantities of ammunition and stores.  The Germans, however, succeeded in destroying many of the ammunition dumps and vast supplies which had been stored in the salient for their expected drive on Paris.

As they retired the Germans burned many of the occupied French villages, pursuing their usual policy.  As many as forty fires were observed on the horizon at one time as the Allies advanced.

Soissons was retaken on August 2, and the valley of the Crise was crossed by the Allies, who dominated the plains in the German rear with their big guns.

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The German losses in the great battle and retreat from the Marne were variously estimated at from 120,000 to 200,000.  General von Boehm avoided a first-class disaster, but his defeat was a serious one and had far-reaching moral consequences among the enemy.

It was estimated that from the beginning of their offensive in March, the German armies lost more than 1,000,000 men in killed, wounded and prisoners.  The Austrians in their ill-fated offensive of 1918 lost more than 250,000 men.

FOCH A MARSHAL OF FRANCE

On August 6 General Ferdinand Foch, commander-in-chief of the Allied forces, was elevated by the French council of ministers to the rank of a Marshal of France.  In presenting his name Premier Clemenceau said: 

“At the hour when the enemy, by a formidable offensive, counted on snatching the decision and imposing a German peace upon us, General Foch and his admirable troops vanquished him.  Paris is not in danger, Soissons and Chateau Thierry have been reconquered, and more than villages have been delivered.  The glorious Allied armies have thrown the enemy from the banks of the Marne to the Aisne.”

AMERICANS AT FISMES

The American troops covered themselves with glory at many points in the Allied drive, notably in the hand-to-hand fighting in the streets of Fismes on August 4, when they captured that German base.  The fighting was said to have been the bitterest of the whole war, the Prussian guards asking no quarter and being bayoneted or clubbed to death as they stood by their machine guns.

BRITISH VICTORY IN THE NORTH

On the Amiens front, in Picardy, the British Fourth Army, under General Rawlinson, and the French First Army, under General Debentry, stormed the German positions on August 8 on a front of over 20 miles, capturing 14,000 prisoners and 150 guns, and making an advance of over seven miles.

ALLIED GAINS IN PICARDY

Before the Germans had time to recover from the surprise of Marshal Foch’s attack on the Marne, and while they were still retreating to the Vesle, the Allies delivered another heavy blow, this time on the Albert-Montdidier front in Picardy.  Here the British and French suddenly attacked in force on the morning of August 8, stormed the enemy positions along a thirty-mile front and on the first day of the attack penetrated to a depth of seven miles.

For several days the enemy retreated, closely pursued by allied cavalry and tanks, which for the first time fought in a combination that proved irresistible.  The tanks used were of a new small variety, known as “whippets,” which rapidly wiped out the machine-gun nests with which the enemy sought to stem the tide of the victorious onrush.  Some American troops fought with the British in their advance and gained high praise from the Allied commanders.

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By August 15 the total number of prisoners captured by the British Fourth Army, under General Rawlinson, was 21,844.  In the same period of one week the prisoners taken by the French First Army amounted to 8,500, making a total of 30,344 Germans captured in the operations of the Allied armies on the Montdidier-Albert front, besides 700 heavy guns, quantities of machine guns, and other important spoils of war.

North of the Somme, between Albert and Arras, the Germans continued to fall back to the old Hindenburg line, where there were strong defensive positions, with the British and French keeping in close touch with their retreat.  On August 15 they had definitely given up the towns of Beaumont-Hamel, Serre, Bucquoy, and Puisieux-au-Mont, and at several points had crossed the Ancre river.

Field Marshal Haig announced that the proportion of German losses to those of the Allies in the Picardy offensive were greater than at any other period of the war.  The total Allied casualties were not as large as the number of Germans taken prisoner.

JOY IN AMIENS AND PARIS

One important result of the British drive was that Amiens, the “dead city of Picardy,” began to come to life again.  Its population of 150,000, including 40,000 refugees, had fled before the German offensive in March, 1918, but the former inhabitants began to return when the menace of the invader disappeared, as the invader himself was chased back toward the Somme.  A service of thanks to the Allied arms was held in the Great Cathedral of Notre Dame in Amiens, August 15.  Despite the damage from German guns and bombs, the cathedral retained the title of the most beautiful in all France.

The city of Paris, at the same time, quietly celebrated the great change in the situation wrought in one short month.  Just four weeks before, on July 18, the residents of Paris had been awakened by the sounds of such a cannonade as they never had heard before.  It was General Mangin’s counter-preparation against the great German attack which the enemy believed was to bring him to the gates of Paris.  In the meantime the Germans, who were at the gates of Amiens, Reims, and Compiegne, had been soundly beaten and outgeneraled at every point, and the initiative had been forced from them by the military genius of Marshal Foch.  The effect upon the Germans was apparent from the fact that General Hans von Boehm, the German “retreat specialist” had been appointed to the supreme command on the Somme front.  The German withdrawal north of Albert was looked upon as the first application of his tactics.  It was General von Boehm and his former command, the German Eighth Army, that stood the brunt of the Allied pressure in the Marne salient previous to the retreat of the Huns to the north of the Vesle river, where they were still standing in the middle of August.

BOLSHEVIKI EXECUTE EX-CZAR

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Former Czar Nicholas of Russia was executed by the Bolsheviki in July, 1918, having been held as a prisoner since his dethronement.

[Illustration:  BATTLE LINE ON THE WESTERN FRONT AUGUST 21,

Shaded portions of map show territory gained by American and Allied troops during July and August, 1918.  Most of the territory gained by the Germans in their 1918 offensive was recaptured by the Allies before September 1, 1918.]

CHAPTER III

AMERICANS AT CHATEAU THIERRY

Personal Accounts of Battle—­Gas and Shell Shock—­Marines Under Fire—­Americans Can Fight and Yell—­Getting to the Front Under Difficulties—­The Big Day Dawns—­The Shells Come Fast—­A Funeral at the Front—­Impression of a French Lieutenant—­ Keeping the Germans on the Run._

The name of Chateau Thierry will be long remembered in the United States, for it was there the American fighting quality was for the first time clearly impressed upon the Germans, to their immense astonishment, and with far-reaching effect.  The German people and the German army had been told that the United States had no army, navy, or fighting quality; that the talk of an American army in Europe was “Yankee bluff,” and nothing more; that even if we could raise an army we could not send it across the ocean, first because we had no ships, second because if we had ships the submarines of Germany would surely sink them.  Yet here at Chateau Thierry they were confronted by United States troops and soundly beaten.

That effect upon the Germans was in itself of tremendous significance; but the historic effect was greater, and will grow in importance with the passage of time, for it is a fact, unperceived by onlooking nations at the moment, that it was the turning point of the war; and that the turning was accomplished by troops of a nation that hated war and was supposed to be incapable of military development; and that these troops had met and whipped the choicest troops of a power that above all things was military, that had assumed proprietary rights in the art of war, and believed itself invincible.

Late in February, 1918, General Ludendorff had told a Berlin newspaper correspondent that on the first of April he would be in Paris.  It was inconceivable to the Germans that with the thorough preparation of a mighty army for an offensive that by sheer weight of numbers should drive through an opposition twenty times as strong as that which then confronted them, they could not with ease push in between the French and British forces, thrust straight through to Paris (as a spectacular performance rather than a vital military operation), and then walk over to the channel ports of France and bring both France and England to a plea for mercy.

From the 21st of March until along in May, 1918, it looked as though they might succeed.  That is, to anyone unaware of the strategy of Marshal Foch, who sold terrain by the foot for awful prices in German lives, and held an unbroken front until such time as American forces could be brought into action, instead of wearing out his reserves and weakening his power for an offensive.

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Unity of command had been accomplished by that time at the urgent demand of the United States Government.  Foch had saved France and the world at the first battle of the Marne.  Being given supreme authority over all the allied forces, as soon as the arrival of American troops in great numbers had been thoroughly established, he was ready; and the offensive passed from German to allied hands.

The tremendous German drive, which Ludendorff had confidently promised the German people would bring a smashing and decisive victory, was stopped.  Retrocession began.  On the Marne again, in July, 1918, in the sector held by Americans an action began at Chateau Thierry which forced the German retreat that in a few weeks was to shake the heart of Germany, scare out Bulgaria, Austria and Turkey, in the early autumn bring Germany to a plea for peace, send Ludendorff himself into retirement, dethrone the Kaiser, do away with the imperial form of government, set up a republic, and create conditions that would quash for all time the power of Prussia to disturb a decent world.

Floyd Gibbons, correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, a noncombatant who wanted to see the combat he was there to report, was in that memorable action.  He lost his left eye there, and was otherwise severely shattered, but he got his story through.  His home paper some months afterward gave Gibbons well earned credit for that contribution to current history.  It said he “helped to put the Marines where they belong in the war’s history, for he was with them in their early exploits and fell in one of their battles.  Six thousand out of 8,000 engaged was their toll.  They fought with the French through Belleau Wood, heartening the brave, tired, discouraged poilus, and after they came out upon the other side the name of the battlefield was changed to the ’Wood of the American Marines.’  Mr. Gibbons says that when Marshal Foch began his great offensive, which in cosmic importance is second only to creation, he selected the units in which he had the most faith.  These units were chosen not because they were braver nor more sacrificial, but because they knew.  They were the Foreign Legion of France, two divisions of American Regulars, and the United States Marines.”

From that day there was no change in the favorable fortunes of war on the western front.

AMERICANS CAN FIGHT AND YELL

An eyewitness of the first days of the Chateau Thierry battle thus describes the capture of the Beauleau wood: 

“The Americans moved stealthily with fixed bayonet until they got into the edge of the woods and atop of the German machine gun-tiers.  Then the farm boys cheered, and the lumberjacks shouted, and the Indians yelled.  They were where they could mix it at close range with the Boche, and that was what they wanted.

“Their yells could be heard a mile away.  They were up against two of the Kaiser’s redoubtable divisions, the Two Hundredth Jaegers and the Two Hundred and Sixteenth reserve division.  They fought with vim and joy.

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“They had lost comrades at the hands of the Germans and now were to avenge them.  No quarter was asked or expected.  The Germans had orders to fight to the death and the Americans needed no such order.

“Without much artillery on either side and without gas, the Americans fought the Germans through that woods, four kilometers (nearly three miles) long, for six hours.  At last we got through and took up a position across the northern end of the woods.

“Perhaps the most sensational part of the fight was when about Germans got around behind our men.  They were chased into a clearing, where the Americans went at them from all sides with the bayonet, and I am told that three prisoners were all that were left of the Germans.”

“How did you do it?” inquired a dazed Prussian officer, taken prisoner at Chateau Thierry by an American soldier.  “We are storm troops.”

“Storm hell!” said the American.  “I come from Kansas, where we have cyclones.”

That was and is the idea.  This spirit enabled American soldiers to go wherever they wanted to go.  A European officer on observation duty with the United States force at Chateau Thierry wanted to know how our soldiers got through as they did.

“They seem to have been trained somewhere,” he said, “for they fight all right.  But that doesn’t explain to me the way they keep going.”

The American officer with whom he was talking gave this explanation: 

“They were thoroughly trained in our camps at home in all but one thing.  They were not trained to stop going.”

It was a splendid exhibition, the first of many of its kind.

A PERSONAL ACCOUNT

The following is one of hundreds of thrilling experience stories that could be told by officers and men who fought at that front.

Details of the participation of the United States Marines in the counter-attack of the allies against German forces on the Marne, July 18, are given in a letter written shortly afterward by Major Robert L. Denig, of the United States Marines, to his wife, in Philadelphia, and which had been forwarded to Washington for the historical files of the Marine Corps.

It is the best and truest form of war history, and important in that it gives details of action during those July days when American troops stopped the German drive.

It also establishes the fact that the Marines who helped stop the German drive on Paris at Belleau wood early in June were honored by being brought from this wood to Vierzy and Tigny, near Soissons, for participation with a crack French division in the great counter-attack which started the disintegration of the German front in the west.

Names that became familiar through the fighting in Belleau wood are mentioned in Major Denig’s letter as being prominent in the allied counter-attack—­Lieut.  Col.  Thomas Holcomb, Lieut.  Col.  Benton W. Sibley, Lieut.  Col.  John A. Hughes, Capt Pere Wilmer and others who took a prominent part in the fighting.  The letter in substance follows: 

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“We took our positions at various places to wait for camions that were to take us somewhere in France, when or for what purpose we did not know.  Our turn to enbus came near midnight.

GETTING TO THE FRONT UNDER DIFFICULTIES

“We at last got under way after a few big ‘sea bags’ had hit near by.  We went at a good clip and nearly got ditched in a couple of new shell holes.  Shells were falling fast by now and as the tenth truck went under the bridge a big one landed near with a crash and wounded the two drivers, killed two Marines and wounded five more.

“We did not know it at the time and did not notice anything wrong till we came to a crossroad, when we found we had only eleven cars all told.  We found the rest of the convoy after a hunt, but even then were not told of the loss, and did not find it out till the next day.

“After twelve hours’ ride we were dumped in a big field, and after a few hours’ rest started our march.  It was hot as hades and we had had nothing to eat since the day before.  We at last entered a forest; troops seemed to converge on it from all points.  We marched some six miles in the forest.  A finer one I have never seen—­deer would scamper ahead and we could have eaten one raw.

“At 10 that night, without food, we lay down in a pouring rain to sleep.  Troops of all kinds passed us in the night—­a shadowy stream, more than a half-million men.  Some French officers told us that they had never seen such concentration since Verdun, if then.

THE BIG DAY DAWNS

“The next day, July 18, we marched ahead through a jam of troops, trucks, etc., and came at last to a ration dump, where we fell to and ate our heads off for the first time in nearly two days.  When we left there the men had bread stuck on their bayonets.  I lugged a ham.  All were loaded down.

“We finally stopped at the far end of the forest, nearing a dressing station.  This station had been a big, fine stone farmhouse, but was now a complete ruin—­wounded and dead lay all about.  Joe Murray came by with his head all done up—­his helmet had saved him.  The lines had gone on ahead, so we were quite safe.

“Late in the afternoon we advanced again.  Our route lay over an open field covered with dead.

“We lay down on a hillside for the night near some captured German guns, and until dark I watched the cavalry, some 4,000, come up and take positions.

“At 3:30 the next morning the regiment was soon under way to attack.  We picked our way under cover of a gas infected valley to a town where we got our final instructions and left our packs.

GAS AND SHELL SHOCK

“We formed up in a sunken road on two sides of a valley that was perpendicular to the enemy’s front.  We now began to get a few wounded; one man with ashen face came charging to the rear with shell shock.  He shook all over, foamed at the mouth, could not speak.  I put him under a tent and he acted as if he had a fit.

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MARINES ADVANCE UNDER FIRE

“At 8:30 we jumped off with a line of tanks in the lead.  For two ‘kilos’ the four lines of Marines were as straight as a die, and their advance over the open plain in the bright sunlight was a picture I shall never forget.  The fire got hotter and hotter, men fell, bullets sung, shells whizzed-banged and the dust of battle got thick.

“Lieut.  Overton was hit by a big piece of shell and fell.  Afterwards I heard he was hit in the heart.  He was buried that night and the pin found, which he had asked to have sent to his wife.

“A man near me was cut in two.  Others when hit would stand, it seemed, an hour, then fall in a heap.  I yelled to Wilmer that each gun in the barrage worked from right to left, then a rabbit ran ahead and I watched him, wondering if he would get hit.  Good rabbit—­it took my mind off the carnage.

“About sixty Germans jumped up out of a trench and tried to surrender, but their machine guns opened up, we fired back, they ran and our left company after them.  That made a gap that had to be filled, so Sibley advanced one of his to do the job, then a shell lit in a machine gun crew of ours and cleaned it out completely.

DIGGING IN

“At 10:30 we dug in—­the attack just died out, I found a hole or old trench and when I was flat on my back I got some protection Holcomb was next me; Wilmer some way off.  We then tried to get reports.  Two companies we never could get in touch with.  Lloyd came in and reported he was holding some trenches near a mill with six men.

“Gates, with his trousers blown off, said he had sixteen men of various companies; another officer on the right reported he had and could see some forty men, all told.  That, with the headquarters, was all we could find out about the battalion of nearly 800.  Of the twenty company officers who went in, three came out, and one, Cates, was slightly wounded.

THE SHELLS COME FAST

“From then on to about 8 p. m. life was a chance and mighty uncomfortable.  It was hot as a furnace, no water, and they had our range to a ‘T.’  Three men lying in a shallow trench near me were blown to bits.

“You could hear men calling for help in the wheat fields.  Their cries would get weaker and weaker and die out.  The German planes were thick in the air; they were in groups of from three to twenty.  They would look us over and then we would get a pounding.

“We had a machine gun officer with us, and at 6 o’clock a runner came up and reported that Sumner was killed.  He commanded the machine gun company with us.  He was hit early in the fight, by a bullet, I hear.  At the start he remarked:  ’This looks easy; they do not seem to have much art.’

“Well, we just lay there all through the hot afternoon.

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“It was great—­a shell would land near by and you would bounce in your hole.

“As twilight came we sent out water parties for the relief of the wounded.  At 9 o’clock we got a message congratulating us, and saying the Algerians would take us over at midnight.  We then began to collect our wounded.  Some had been evacuated during the day, but at that, we soon had about twenty on the field near us.

“A man who had been blinded wanted me to hold his hand.  Another, wounded in the back, wanted his head patted; and so it went; one man got up on his hands and knees; I asked him what he wanted.  He said:  ’Look at the full moon,’ then fell dead.  I had him buried, and all the rest I could find.

“The Algerians came up at midnight and we pushed out.  They went over at daybreak and got all shot up.  We made the relief under German flares and the light from a burning town.

“We went out as we came, through the gully and town, the latter by now all in ruins.  The place was full of gas.  We pushed on to the forest and fell down in our tracks and slept all day.

A FUNERAL, AT THE FRONT

“That night the Germans shelled us and got three killed and seventeen wounded.  We move a bit farther back to the cross road and after burying a few Germans, some of whom showed signs of having been wounded before, we settled down to a short stay.

“It looked like rain, and so Wilmer and I went to an old dressing station to salvage some cover.  We were about to go when we stopped to look at a new grave.  A rude cross made of two slats from a box had written on it: 

“Lester S. Wass, Captain U. S. Marines.  July 18, 1918.”

“The old crowd at St. Nazaire and Bordeaux—­Wass and Sumner killed, Baston and Capt.  LeRoy T. Hunt wounded.  We then moved further to the rear and camped for the night.  Dunlap came to look us over.  A carrier pigeon perched on a tree with a message.  We decided to shoot him.  It was then quite dark, so the shot missed.  I then heard the following remarks as I tried to sleep:  ‘Hell! he only turned around!’ ‘Send up a flare!’ ‘Call for a barrage!’ etc.

“The next day we were back in a town for some rest and to lick our wounds.”

IMPRESSION OF A FRENCH LIEUTENANT

A French lieutenant thus describes the American fighting quality: 

“The finest thing in the combat was the dash of the Americans.  It was splendid to see those grand fellows, with their tunics thrown off and their shirt sleeves rolled up above their elbows, wading the rivers with the water to their shoulders and throwing themselves on the Boche like bulldogs.

“Any one who has seen such a sight knows what the American army is good for henceforth and to the end of the war.  At the sight of these men, magnificent in their youth, physical force, good temper and dash, the Germans fled ‘with every leg’ or surrendered without awaiting the order to throw away their arms and take off their suspenders, which is the first thing a prisoner is told to do, in order that he may be compelled to keep his hands employed and out of mischief.

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“The Germans hurried toward our lines gripping their trousers, haggard and mad with terror.

“Would that every mother in France who has lost a son in the war could have seen that epic sight.  They would have seen themselves revenged, and it would have been some consolation to them in their sorrow.”

KEEPING THE GERMANS ON THE RUN

The trench deadlock in northern France and Belgium was broken by Ludendorff’s fatuous drive in March, 1918.  After the allies had stopped it and inaugurated their counter-offensive all Europe made a startling discovery.  The Germans were tenacious enough in trench warfare; in open fighting, known as war of maneouvre, they could not stand before American and the allied troops.  Incessant attacks, rapidly delivered at the same time at many points on the long line between the North Sea and the Swiss border, were more than they could withstand.  The mechanically trained troops of the central empires were futile before armies of men who did their own thinking and delighted in fighting an enemy they could see from the feet up.  German armies had twice been almost at the gates of Paris.  The first time they were driven back they dug themselves in.  That was in 1915.  The second time, in the spring of 1918, they were allowed no time for digging in.  From the July days of 1918, when American soldiers at Chateau Thierry beat the best troops that ever were trained in Prussia, they were kept going.  How industriously may be inferred from the story of the young corporal who was sitting on the roadside trying to tie the soles of his shoes to the uppers, in a hurry.  Somebody asked him what was the matter.

“O, nothing much,” said he.  “Only I came over here to kill Germans, but they never told me I’d have to run ’em to death.”

A STRANGER TO HIS OWN CHILD

There never was a war so prolific of personal incident in every shade of experience possible to human life.  The devastated provinces of France offer perhaps more of these happenings than any other part of the steel-swept, shell-wrecked fronts of all Europe.  An Associated Press correspondent tells one that is especially touching.

He was motoring toward Denaen, one of the cities the Germans had occupied through four hard years, when a French officer going in the same direction asked him for a lift, explaining that he had lived there but had neither seen nor heard from his wife during all that time.

Entering the city and turning into his street the officer saw the first house was in ruins.  He gave a nervous start.  A few doors farther on was his home.  The officer climbed out with an effort, his eyes fixed on the place.

There was no sign of life.  The windows were shuttered and on the door was a sign showing German officers had been living there.  The officer pulled the bell with shaking hand.  No one answered.  He backed away like a man in a trance and leaned against the car, trembling.

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Suddenly the door opened and an aged servant appeared, leading a beautiful baby girl with a wealth of golden curls.  The officer took one step toward the child and halted.  He was a stranger to his own flesh and blood.  The child hid behind the nurse, peering out in fright.

The half blind eyes of the old nurse had recognized her master and she held out her hands, repeating, “Monsieur!  Monsieur!” in ecstasy.  He crossed the road and grasped her hands, but the baby drew back.

A door opened end a comely young matron came to see what was going on.  She caught sight of her husband, then stopped.  Her hands flew to her breast.  She swayed for a second.  With a sob of joy she hurled herself into his arms.

The correspondent moved away.  And thus they were left, the nurse beaming on the happy couple and the curly headed youngster looking with troubled eyes at this strong man who had appropriated her mother so completely without a word.

WHAT PERSHING THOUGHT OF HIS YANKS

An American newspaper man who returned from Europe about the time hostilities ceased was informed that General Pershing suggested to Marshal Foch in June 1918, that he thought it bad policy to stick around waiting for the boche and that he felt the time had come to jump in and attack—­“But” he was told, “we have not got the troops.”

“Whats the matter with the Americans?” Pershing asked.

“They are not yet trained” was Foch’s reply.

“Try them and see” said General Pershing.  “They will go, anywhere you send them, and I will bet my life on it.”

Pershing took the initiative in urging the offensive, supplied the troops that gave Foch his mobile reserve enabling him to strike his blow, and those American troops “delivered the goods.”

HEALTH OF ARMY SURPRISING

Official reports to the war department show that the general health of the American army during the war had been surprisingly good.  The death rate for all forces at home and abroad up to August 30th, 1918, was 5. per 1,000 men per year, or little more than the civilian death rate for men of the same age groups.

There were 316,000 cases of influenza among the troops in the United States during the late summer and fall of 1918 and of 20,500 deaths, between September 14th and November 8th, 19,800 were ascribed to the epidemic.

ARMY REACHED TOTAL OF 3,664

An official report shows that on the day the Armistice was signed more than twenty-five per cent of the male population of the United States between the ages of 19 and 31 years, were in military service, the army having reached a total of 3,664,000, with more than 2,000,000 of this number in Europe.  As compared with an army strength of 189,674 in March 1917, one week before war was declared by the United States.

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CHAPTER IV.

AMERICAN VICTORY AT ST. MIHIEL

First Major Action by All American Army—­Stories to Folks at Home—­Huns Carry Off Captive Women—­Hell Has Cut Loose—­ Major Tells His Story—­Enormous Numbers of Guns and Tanks—­ Over the Top at 5:30 A. M.—­Texas and Oklahoma Troops Fight in True Ranger Style—­Our Colored Boys Win Credit.

The first major action by an all American army was that which began before the St. Mihiel salient September 11, 1918.  The Germans had occupied that salient almost four years, and had built it into what they believed to be an impregnable position.  The Americans, under direct command of General Pershing, reduced it in a three days’ advance.

The salient was a huge bulge, almost twenty miles in depth, turning southwest from Combres at the north base and Hattonville at the south and looping down around the towns of St. Mihiel and Ailly.  It was powerfully held by masses of enemy troops.

General Pershing’s army attacked from the west, south and east all the way from Bouzee to Norroy, and by September 13th had pushed it back to a straight line drawn from Combres to Hattonville.  The French attacked at Ailly, the apex of the salient as it was on September 11.

The entire operation was conducted with rapidity and with irresistible energy.  The dash and enthusiasm of the American soldiers astonished and delighted the French and British as completely as it staggered the Germans.

By September 13th the Americans had taken forty-seven towns and villages, reduced the German front from forty miles to twenty, captured the railway that connects Verdun with Commercy, opened the cities of Nancy and Toul to the allies, and with the French and British on the east, created a new battle front on a line running from Hattonville on the west to Pagny on the east—­Pagny being a town on the Moselle river, at the German border.

The importance of this victory could hardly be overestimated.  It opened the way to and was followed up by the demolition of the whole German line from the Swiss border to the North Sea, and hastened the great German retreat.  In the action itself, September 11 to 13, about 15, Germans were taken prisoner by the Americans.

STORIES TO THE FOLKS BACK HOME

Sidelight stories of what happened in the St. Mihiel fight, mostly in letters written home by men who were in it, go far toward showing how completely the Germans were taken off their guard.  Corp.  Ray Fick of the 103d Infantry wrote home in this wise: 

“We got into the woods and then kept on going until we reached a big city where there was a brewery, but they had set fire to the whole city before they left.  We got some beer and wine just the same.  It was a little stale, but it was fine.  The Huns’ warehouses were all fixed for the winter and the boys got cigars and cigarettes, but I was a little too late to get in on it.

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“The whole thing was very interesting all the way through.  The Huns sure did make themselves scarce in a hurry, but they kept many prisoners, a troop train and an ammunition train.

“Cigarettes are scarce and we look for smokes all the time.  The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are the ones who look to our comforts.  If any one wants to give, tell them the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are the ones to get it.”

HUNS CARRY OFF CAPTIVE WOMEN

But Corporal Fick uncovers another Hun procedure that has no fun in it.  While the Huns lost no time in getting away from there, they took care to carry off their captured women slaves.

“The women they have held captives for the last four years,” he writes, “were driven ahead of them, but they were brought back by the Americans.  Truckload after truckload passed us on the way, and they sure were happy to be free again.”

“HELL HAS CUT LOOSE”

Another soldier wrote to his father telling about the first day of attack as he saw it: 

“Hell has let loose.  The woods are a mass of whistling shell and shrapnel.  Every time the big twelves go off the flash lights up the entire camp like a flashlight picture, then the ground heaves and tumbles like old Lake Michigan does on a stormy day.

“The infantry have cleared the top and have gone on far in advance, almost outside of the range of fire.  Our big objective has been wiped off the map and our men are preparing to keep right on going after them and backing up the doughboys who are doing such great work.

“I went up to the front last night on an ammunition caisson (which is the only way to get up there) and saw the thing commence.  It started with one solitary gun of ours (a big one, too).  Then the others joined in on the chorus, and it has been steady ever since.

“When the doughboys were told that they were going over the top at the zero hour, you never heard shouting to equal it; the Board of Trade on a Monday morning was just a whisper in comparison.

“Dad, that is the general feeling of our boys over here—­always waiting to move up.  I told a lad in one of the outfits that the artillery was right back of them and would blow them through to the objective if they did not make it, and he laughed and said, ‘Hoboken by Christmas.’  They were all in the best of mood and roaring to go.”

These letters are good specimens of the thousands that have come over the sea.  They not only give good sidelights on an event that will loom large in history, but they show the indomitable cheer and high spirit of our soldiers.

MAJOR TELLS HIS STORY

Concurrently with the action that originated at St. Mihiel on September 11, 1918, another great battle developed northwest of Verdun.  It lasted about three weeks, and is graphically described by Lt.  Col.  B.M.  Chipperfield (then a major) of the 23d Division.  Lt.  Col.  Chipperfield was a participant in as well as an eyewitness of the whole engagement.  Under date of September 29, 1918, the described it substantially as follows, in a letter to a friend at home: 

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“For several days preparations had been in progress for the action that began on Thursday, September 26th.  The American troops were moved up by night, jamming the roads with their advancing columns and transport trains.

“Thousands and thousands of them,” wrote Major Chipperfield, “trudged along without a light and in almost quiet.

ENORMOUS NUMBERS OF GUNS

“Tanks and cannon and guns of all sorts, every kind of vehicle, ambulance wagon, and transport passed in this continuous procession.  It seemed that there was no end to it, and one could not help but admire the wonderful resources that had been gathered together by the United States to help perform its part in this great struggle for freedom.

“I think the greatest collection of guns that has ever been gathered together for participation in any conflict of the world was taken to the front where the attack was about to be made.  It is estimated there were 6,000 of these guns, and the soldiers that were gathered together numbered hundreds of thousands.

“These guns and soldiers were conducted to their places so secretly and quietly that, although they marched many miles, the enemy did not even know a small part of the strength and could only speculate what it all meant.

UNDER ENFILADING FIRE

“In the arrangement of the plan of battle our division was on the extreme right.  Across the river was a German stronghold.  Here there were located a large quantity of artillery and many machine guns.  Our officers understood that it was going to be a difficult advance, for a bridge had to be built across a creek, but everything in our division went like clockwork.  It had all been planned in advance, and the plan was carried out exactly as made.

“It was arranged that at 11:30 o’clock on Thursday night the battle was to begin.  Before that time I had reached my destination at the headquarters of the other division, and together with the rest of the headquarters staff we were in a favorable place to watch the commencement.

“At 11:25 it was silent as the grave, and the night was beautiful.  Precisely at 11:30 from every conceivable direction the great bombardment commenced.  In an instant the whole night was filled with a roar and thunder and reverberation of the cannon from, every quarter.  The shriek and whistle and whine and clamor of the shells made a fearful chorus as they were hurled in the direction of the field occupied by our adversaries.

“From every quarter came the flash of the explosions, until the night was lighted as bright as day.  Signal rockets rose from every portion and part of our lines and also from the enemy lines.  It looked as though the heavens were ablaze and raining fire.  It was a scene which has probably never been seen before upon any battlefield and may never be witnessed again.

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“Apparently this fierce bombardment took the enemy entirely by surprise because our fire was so deadly and the extent so great that they could only make uncertain reply.  They seemed to be stupefied.

“For six hours this terrific bombardment continued.  It is estimated that each of the guns fired an average of three shots a minute and that 1,000,000 projectiles and charges of ammunition were used.

OVER THE TOP AT 5:30 A.M.

“As 5:30 approached the bombardment increased.  The machine guns joined in the chorus and a curtain of steel and fire was placed in front of our troops and rained upon the guns and cannon of the enemy.

“After a brief period of this fire our men started over the top, and as they did so they swept the enemy before them in their irresistible rush.  They advanced kilometer after kilometer.  They could not be resisted or stayed at any stage of the attack.

“Soon the prisoners commenced to come in, and they told of the terrific effect that the great bombardment had upon the Germans.  They said the bombardment was so terrible that it disrupted their plans so that they could not be carried out and that they could not resist the attack.

“Several times during the night I went out to witness the scene and as long as life lasts it will be remembered.

ON DEAD MAN’S HILL

“Once when two of our regiments came over a hill and saw the valley that lay before them being terrifically shelled by the cannon and assailed by hail from the machine guns, the whole column was seen to pause and a look of worry came over the faces of these men that for just an instant was pitiful.  They knew that ahead of them lay death for many and it is not strange that for several seconds the lines were held up, but then a look of fierce determination and of courage took the place of the former expression and with a great resolve and courage, dash, and daring, the lines shot forward at a redoubled step and the determination to do or die was manifested in every action.
“These machine guns were speedily put out of business, and then the attack would go on.  That portion of the lines that the division of which I am a member was given for the purpose of the attack, it was thought would take the entire day, but our division was on its objective by early afternoon and had commenced to dig in, from which position they could defy the Germans with impunity.

  “While the attack was going on I went up to Dead Man’s Hill. 
  This hill is the last word in the destructiveness of war.

“It is literally rent to atoms.  Dugouts have been blown to pieces.  Hundreds of thousands of men had been killed in the earlier battles before Verdun, and many of the bodies could not be reached for burial, the place was so torn up.”

OTHER PERSONAL GLIMPSES

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Many other personal glimpses of the fighting come from officers and men.  One division was made up largely of Illinois regiments, among others the 3d Illinois Infantry, commanded by Col.  John V. Clinnin.  The position held by these troops was vital to the entire advance, and it required rapid action on the first day to reach the objective at the same time as the other units.

Menomme creek is a little stream which is not shown on maps.  It runs eastward from the village of Septsarges to the Meuse.  The stream holds vivid memories for the Illinois infantry.  It was there that it met the most severe resistance, the Germans catching our men just as they were relieving other young soldiers.  The men fought their way down to the creek.  On the other side along the highway between Septsarge and Dannevoux the Germans had entrenched themselves and were shelling the road which the Americans had crossed.  They were also using intrenched machine guns at the edge of the woods.

  “I heard bullets whistling overhead,” said a wounded soldier in
  a hospital.  “We were lying near the edge of the creek at the time
and knew that a machine gun was shooting at us, so I just started out and got it.”

“Our colonel was right up there with us getting into line.” said Private Hiram E. Burnett.  “One night when the shells were bursting all around and several men were wounded the colonel went over the top just like any of us.”

The Bois des Forges has been a battle ground since the war began, with trenches in front and miles of barbed wire, machine gun nests and concrete pillboxes inside.  A frontal attack on such a stronghold apparently meant suicide, but the Illinois men, led by Col.  Sanborn and Col.  Abel Davis, took it so neatly and quickly that they bagged nearly 1,000 soldiers, fifteen officers, twenty-six guns ranging from 105s down, 126 machine guns, twenty-one flatcars, two rolling kitchens, an ambulance and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

“We were looking for you in front,” said a captured German officer.  “We did not expect that you would come through the swamp and outflank us.  We did not think that any Yankee outfit was so foxy.”

“A GREAT SHOW”

“It was a great show when we crossed that river and rushed on through the woods, cleaning up machine gun nests,” said Private Gray McKindy of Woodstock, “The machine guns in the woods started throwing bullets as soon as we reached the river.  They thought they could stop us from going up the opposite hill, but we did it and got every gun there.”

Private Kenneth W. Steiger was one of those who went in on the second night when his captain called for volunteers to make up a patrol.  Steiger became separated from the others in the darkness and ran into a party of three Germans.  Quickly covering them with his rifle he brought all three back.

Private Bernard Snyder returned with prisoners before dark on the first day.  Making use of his ability to speak German, he induced a dozen Germans to lay down their arms, pick up stretchers and carry American wounded back five kilometers (three miles) to where ambulances were waiting.

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A FIGHTING CHAPLAIN

Lieut.  Jorgen R. Enger, the chaplain of a Kansas-Missouri outfit, carried the wounded for three days from the Montfaucon woods two miles to the ambulance.  Searching in the woods in the darkness one night with shells bursting and bullets whistling he found a husky sergeant wounded in the foot and growing weaker and weaker from loss of blood.  The chaplain shouldered the man and carried him back to a dressing station, saving his life.

“I didn’t think a chaplain would do a thing like that,” said the sergeant.  “I would rather save you than save a general,” replied the chaplain.

When not searching for wounded hidden in the tangle of under-brush the chaplain was busy helping the surgeons at a first aid dressing station.

“I never thought any clergyman would have the opportunities for doing good such as I am haying,” he said when I saw him.

Col.  Eugene Houghton, Wisconsin, who was a British major until America entered the war, distinguished himself by personally leading a unit of New York men.  According to them he escaped death repeatedly as by a miracle.

“DESERT?  NO, WANTED TO FIGHT”

Capt.  Carl F. Laurer while assisting in the examination of German prisoners, was surprised when an American prisoner was brought before him.  “Where do you belong?” asked the captain.  “I am with an aerial squadron in the south of France” replied the prisoner.  “I walked fourteen days to get here.”  “Did you desert?” asked Captain Lauer.  “No,” the man replied, “I want to fight.  That is what I came to France for.  When I get home the folks will ask what I did in the war and when I answer ‘worked’ they will say ‘Why the devil didn’t you fight?’” The boy’s wish was gratified and he was sent forward.

“We have everything good and plenty—­rations, ammunition and other things.  It looks like a regular Sunday.”

TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA TROOPS SHOW GREAT FIGHTING FORM

In this district, the 36th Division, made up of troops from Texas and Oklahoma, veterans and raw recruits together, showed splendid fighting form.  They were under terrific shell fire day after day, but they met several murderous attacks firmly, and drove the boches back in brilliant counter attack, chasing them in true Ranger style.  All these men showed the same spirit that animated Roosevelt’s renowned Rough Riders in the war with Spain, so many of whom were Texas and Oklahoma men.

Reporting this fight, General Naulin, commanding the Corps of which the 2d and 36th Divisions were parts, said “the 36th Division, a recent formation not yet completely organized, was ordered into line on the night of October 6-7 to relieve, under conditions particularly delicate, the 2d Division, and to dislodge the enemy from the crest north of St. Etienne and throw him back to the Aisne.  Although being under

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fire for the first time, the young soldiers of Maj.  Gen. W. R. Smith, rivaling in combative spirit and tenacity the old and valiant regiment of General LeJeune, accomplished all the tasks set for them.”  Every American knows full well the bright record of the 2d Division of Infantry, the regulars of which were composed of the 5th and 6th Marines and the 9th and 23rd Infantry.  These are the boys who stopped the Germans up in Belleau Wood when the boches were headed for Paris and cocksure of getting there, blandly unaware that they were goose-stepping toward an American knock-out.

OUR COLORED TROOPS WIN CREDIT

American negro troops had a considerable share in the last few months of fighting, and acquitted themselves in a highly creditable manner.  They were great trench diggers and trench fighters, and their endurance on the march was a marvel to the allied armies.  They were very popular with the French people, who were delighted with their good nature and their never-ceasing songs.  Regular negro melodies these songs were, nearly all of them of the camp-meeting variety—­and sung with that choral beauty which especially distinguishes all of their musical performances.  The negro notion of war and indifference to death was instanced in the case where a white officer overheard one of them at the zero hour call out, “Good night ol’ world!  Good mawin,’ Mistah Jesus!” as he went over the top.

“The colored boys,” said Charles N. Wheeler, a distinguished correspondent with the American armies, “are great fighters, and are no better and no worse than any other group of American soldiers in France, whatever the blood strain.  They do take pardonable pride in the fact that ‘Mistah’ Johnson, a colored boy, was the first American soldier in France to be decorated for extraordinary bravery under fire.

  THEY CAN FIGHT AND SING

“The color line has about died out in the American army—­in France.  They play together, sing their songs together—­the blacks and the white—­and they go over the top together.  They come back together, too, the wounded, and there is no thought of the color of a man’s skin.  They mix together on the convoy trains going up to the front, and all sing together, sharing each other’s dangers and their joys.  It is not an uncommon sight to see a crowd of white doughboys around a piano in some ‘Y’ or Red Cross hut, singing to beat the band, with a colored jass expert pounding the stuffing out of the piano.  The white boys enjoy immensely the wit of the colored comrades, and many a bleak and drab day of privation and suffering is made a bit brighter by the humor that comes spontaneously to the lips of the ‘bronze boys.’
“The children of France love them.  I suppose that is because they wear American soldiers’ uniforms.  I have seen scores of white children holding the hands of colored boys and trudging along on the march with them or romping into their tents and sitting on their knees and just exuding the affection that all the children of France have for anything and everybody from the United States.”

CHAPTER V.

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THE WAR IN THE AIR

The Hughes report on air craft, submitted in October, 1918, contained a full account of the difficulties, drawbacks and questionable management that had held back the manufacture and shipment of airplanes to Europe.  In September there were on the French-Belgian front between 300 and machines, all of which were in the scout and observation classes, with no regulation combat planes of American build; but American airmen had conducted many successful actions against German battle planes, and a good many Americans were operating French and British battle planes in action back of the German lines.  The combined American, British, French and Canadian planes had before that time cleared the air of German observation and other machines in front of the allied lines, thereby preventing hostile observation of allied camps and artillery positions and movements of troops preparatory to attack.

The efficiency of this combined air service is credited with having contributed in an important degree, first to retarding the movement of supplies from the enemy rear to the enemy fighting line, and next to disturbance of the enemy in retreat.  The Americans especially distinguished themselves by flying at high speed along the last of the enemy trenches and clearing up the German troops therein by continuous streams of machine gun fire.  American flyers also made successful raids across the German border, blowing up munitions works, railway centers, and German troops at concentration points.  Between early September and late October, 1918, they dropped thousands of tons of high explosives inside of Germany.  At the same time, in association with British and Canadian aviators, they put a definite end to German air raids upon the British Isles and interior France.  The Canadian air service during the summer and early autumn of 1918 increased at the rate of 300 planes per month, all manufactured in Canada.

LIBERTY MOTORS AND AIR SERVICE

After July, 1918, the output of Liberty motors for the Government caught up with the immediate demand.  It increased until in October it reached a rate of about 5,000 a month.  The Ford factory at Detroit alone reported at the end of October an established monthly rate of increase of over 1,500.

AMERICAN FLYERS DOWN 473 PLANES IN TWO MONTHS

American flyers made a great record in the closing days of war.  In the period from September 12 to 11:00 o’clock on the morning of November 11, American aviators claim they brought down 473 German machines.  Of this number, 353 have been confirmed officially.  Day bombing groups from the time they began operations dropped a total of 116,818 kilograms of bombs within the German lines.

THE WAR IN THE AIR

Aviation is the most perilous of all services, calling for young bodies, high spirit, quick wit, personal initiative, and unshakable nerve.  Thus it has drawn in the best and brightest of America’s sons—­brilliant, clear-eyed, steady youths, who take the air and its perils with joyous ardor.

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The danger, the romance, the thrill of air fighting, are things that never were known in war until this one called into being vast aerial navies that grappled in the sky and rained upon the earth below “a ghastly dew” of blood.

There are no tales of this war more fascinating than those that have been told by these men.  Courage and modesty being inseparable, our aviators avoid print and cannot be interviewed with any satisfaction.  But sometimes they write home to a mother, a sweetheart or a pal, and these letters now and then come to light.

CHANCE OF LIVING NOW

“I cannot describe my feelings, right off the bat,” said Eddie Rickenbacker, the ace of American aces, the day following the signing of the armistice.  “But I can say I feel ninety-nine per cent better.  There is a chance of living now and the gang is glad.”  Rickenbacker became a captain during the last phase of the war and has twenty-four victories over enemy airmen to his credit.  To Rickenbacker, whose home is in Columbus, Ohio, the allied command gave the honor of making the last flight over the German front and firing the last shot from the air on the morning of November 11, 1918.

AIR PLANE’S TAIL SHOT OFF

In reporting this most remarkable occurrence Edward Price Bell, an American correspondent, wrote as follows from the front: 

A British observer, flying a powerful machine at 16,000 feet over Ostend, had the machine’s tail shot off by the direct hit of a shell—­a very unusual occurrence.  The machine turned upside down, out of control, and the pilot was thrown out of his seat.  By some inexplicable maneuver he managed to clamber on to the bottom of the fuselage of the machine, astride of which he sat as if he was riding a horse.

Though the machine was out of control, owing to the loss of its tail planes, yet by moving forward and backward he so managed to balance it that it glided fairly steadily downward, although upside down.

He successfully brought it across the German lines, and came safely to within a few hundred feet of the ground.  Then he crashed and was injured, but is now recovering in a hospital.

When it is considered that this incident occurred at a height of 16, feet, over hostile territory, and that during the airman’s terribly precarious ride he was subject to antiaircraft fire, and liable to the attack of hostile scouts, it is not too much to say that his was a record achievement.

Recently, another airman was shot down, out of control, from 13, feet, and fell fluttering like a leaf, toward the ground.  At a height of 9,000 feet he fainted.  Shortly afterward he came to and found himself in the machine upside down, in a marsh, absolutely unhurt.  Many airmen, of course, have been through several “crashes” without sustaining so much as a broken collar bone.

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JOINS THE SKY FIGHTERS

This story of Lieut.  Manderson Lehr, who refused a transfer home and shortly after died in combat, is taken (by permission) from his personal letters written to a friend in this country.  It is typical of many that might be told by or about brilliant young Americans who would not wait for America’s participation in the war, but went voluntarily, with high hearts and eager hands, to help those other boys of France and the British Empire to whom had fallen so large and so momentous a part in the world’s salvation.

Nearly all of these American lads, the choicest spirits of our nation, took up whatever work they could find—­anything, so long as it was useful, or contributed in any way to winning out against the German hordes, or stem the flood of German crime that was sweeping over Europe, that would later, if it were not stopped, cover our continent with an inundation of blood and desolation.  Most of them, like Lieutenant Lehr, went into ambulance service; and afterward when the air planes were ready and needed men to fly them, took to the air.  These were the men who “put out the eyes” of the German armies and piloted the allies to many a victory.  And alas!  Many of them, like Lehr, gave up their lives—­though not in vain, nor without having sent down to crashing death, each one, his share of the flyers of the foe.

LEHR’S STORY

Lieutenant Lehr’s story begins with a letter from France just after his arrival in Paris on May 15, 1917, when he joined the Ambulance Corps—­later entering the air service.  It covered a period of more than a year’s experiences at the front.

The last letter from Lieut.  Lehr was dated June 14th, 1918, when the big German drive was about at its climax.  According to news reports from the front Lehr had a period of intense activity up to July 15th, when he was reported missing.  “Bud” was regarded as one of the most adept of American fliers.

One of the last news reports from the front told of him still flying under French colors and having twice returned from raids with his passenger killed by enemy attacks and of his being awarded the war cross.  The same report told of a 150 mile raid into Germany with eight other French Machines—­when a patrol of twelve German planes were attacked and three of them sent down in flames, while all the nine French machines returned safely.

The following are a few of Lehr’s later letters from the front: 

FLYING AT THE FRONT

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Sector——­at the Front, Oct. 12, 1917.—­It’s blowing terrifically, wind and rain.  You can’t imagine how I picture you people at home, warm, happy and safe.  I’ve been out here a week now.  Three days of it has been flying weather.  Up 25,000 feet and ten miles into Germany is my record so far and I’ve actually had one combat with a boche.  He was below me, at first, far in the distance.  I was supposed to be protecting a bombing expedition of ten machines.  I saw this spot, started away from the rest and through excitement, anticipation and the goodness knows what, I climbed, went faster and faster until I had the sun between us and the German below me.  Then I dived; he heard me and “banked”; we both looped and then came head on, firing incessantly.

My machine gun was empty and the boche had more, for he got in behind me and “Putt!  Putt!  Putt!” past my ear he came, so I dove, went into a “vrille” with him on top, came out and squared off, and he let me have it again.  All I could do was to maneuver, for I had no shells left and I did not want to beat it, so I stuck.  We both came head on again and I said a little prayer, but the next time I looked Mr. Boche was going home.  I “peaked” straight down, made my escadrille, accompanied them home and when I got out of my furs I was wringing wet in spite of the fact it was cold as ice where I had done my fighting.

CONSIDERS HIS OWN TACTICS

I looked my machine over and found five holes in it, but nothing serious.  Tomorrow is going to be bad and no one will fly unless they call for volunteers, and then I think most of us will go.  I’d like to figure out what I did wrong.  First of all, I was so excited that I fired all my shots at the German and he maneuvered out of my way and then came at me as I was helpless.  My captain gave me “harkey” for staying when out of bullets, so I guess the rest was O.K., but I’d hate to run from any boche.

MEN DIE IN FAULTY PLANES

The machine I’ve been flying has been condemned, so I expect to be sent back to get another one, a brand new one that has never been on the front.  Twenty-five pilots in the last month have been killed by wings dropping off.  I’ve seen twelve go and it surely takes the old pep out of you.  I was above one and saw his wing crumple, then fall.  A man is so utterly helpless he must merely sit there and wait to be killed, and when you’re flying the same type of machine it doesn’t help your confidence any.  I was glad they condemned mine, for I’ve put my old “cuckoo” through some awful tests and it’s about ready to fall apart.

We expect to change soon and go up to a new offensive in F——.  If I get through that I’m going to change over to the American army.  They have offered me a commission and I think I’ll take it.  My fingers are cramped and my feet have long since been numb.  Now I’m going to wrap up in my fur leathers and go to bed.  This is war.

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FIGHTS WITH FLYING CIRCUS

Feb. 1, 1918.—­Had a great time this last week, and made six long bombardments.  For the first three times we had no trouble getting across whatsoever.  Coming out the last three times we got some real competition.  It was in the form of the flying circus or “tangoes,” which consists of fifteen of the best pilots in Germany, commanded by Baron von Richthofen, who seems a good sort, for when you fight him and you both miss he waves and we wave back.  We had been at it consistently for four days, and so they sent these birds down opposite us to stop us.  We had been in Germany for some distance and had reached our objective and bombed it.  There was a heavy fog below us, so I took a couple of turns to make sure we could see our objective.  We dropped our bombs and then I turned to the right to see the damage.  I had to take a large turn, for the “archies” were shooting pretty close.  I looked for my escadrille, and saw these machines way off in the distance.  I started for them and soon caught up with them.  Then I swerved and dipped up to them, for I thought them a little strange.  I got up closer, and, wow! all three dived at me like a rock and bullets flew by me, cutting my plane, so I pulled up at them, fired, swerved so my gunner could let them have it also and then saw the iron cross flash by, so I knew it was the Huns.  I started getting altitude and went up high and then the boches got the sun between them and my plane and came again, but I thought this would happen and “peaked.”  They went under me and that left me on top, so I gave them about 120 bullets, and one went for home.  The other two came by again and I went into a tight spiral so my gunner could pump at them—­but nothing doing.  They beat it home and so did I, for it had been three to one.  When I landed I had five holes in my machine.  One of the wires had been shot away and gave me some trouble in landing.

Feb. 10, 1918.—­We have been pretty busy and had some exciting times.  I almost got mine day before yesterday and feel pretty lucky to be here.  We started out on a long trip into Germany and all the way over we had no trouble at all.  After we bombed, my observer and I dived down on some villages and used our own guns on them.  We got so low that the anti-aircraft guns were popping too close, so we beat it.  We soon saw a bunch of hangars below us and we dived down on them and shot at them.  In a few minutes a bunch of Huns came up from the hangars after us and we beat it to catch up with the others.  We got up with them and looked behind us and there were a number of Germans sneaking down on us.

Then the battle commenced and for forty minutes we had a hot fight.  We picked off (censored) of them and they went plunging down in flames.  Then the others went back and we all returned safely, but I noticed that my machine worked queerly, and when I landed I had a hard time, and barely got to the ground without smashing to pieces.

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I looked the machine over, and you should have seen it.  From top to bottom it was one mass of holes.  One bullet passed through my combination and hit a can of tobacco.  Another cut a main spar on one of my wings, and another hit my stabilizer, tearing it half in two.  One other hit my gas tank and put a hole clear through it.  Luckily my gas was low and it did not explode, but, believe me, I was lucky.

IN THE BIG GERMAN DRIVE

April 20, 1918.—­The orderly has just tapped on my window to put down my shade, which means the Gothas are on their way.  The guns are starting.  This attack has been frightful—­day after day long lines of ambulances roll by our camp carrying large numbers of wounded.  Tomorrow we shall continue our work of knocking down their batteries and bombing their railroads.  To-night, now, they are trying to get us.

I started on a “permission” about three weeks ago and had beautiful visions of peace and content for a week, but was called back immediately at the beginning of this horrible attack.  Things look bad, and in a few days we are moving farther up.

Our work here has been hard and exciting and always working in any kind of weather.  While our loss has been heavy we have accomplished wonders.  Going over on cloudy days when the heavy black clouds hang down to within fifty meters of the ground, spotting a group of trucks, a line of cars, or a battery of troops, then bombing them, shooting them up with your machine guns and shooting back up into the clouds midst a rain of luminous machine gun bullets from the ground is interesting work.  But the terror of those on the ground, poor devils!  Yet it’s got to be brought home.  Out of twenty-four trips we lost eight machines.  Poor Chuck Kerwood was among them.  Chuck is an American boy from Philadelphia, and he has been with us for five months.

I had a chance to go back to the states as an instructor, and almost took it, but when the time came around to leave this band of men who have been in it for almost four years, I couldn’t do it.  They are men, and have pulled me out of tight holes when I was green at this game, and they did it at the risk of their lives.  Now I’ve seen them drop off one at a time, fine young Frenchmen, and I guess the least I can do is to stay right by them and I feel my work is here.

In Hospital, May 3, 1918.—­Well, here I am at last, but I fooled them for six months.  Finally one slipped up behind me.  I never saw him, but felt him.  Only got it in the leg, so it isn’t very serious, except that the bullet was incendiary.  They have oodles of sulphur on them and I’m afraid of complications.  This is a nice hospital in a nice location; only thing that I hate about it is that I may not be able to get back to my escradrille for fifteen or twenty days.

SEVERE BOMBING BY GERMANS

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May 16, 1918—­Going to have another operation tomorrow and then I think I’ll be well.  And, believe me, if I am I am going back and get somebody for this.  We are now on the Somme, near Rouen.  I suppose you know Baron von Richthofen has been brought down.  I’m sorry, for he was a game, clean scrapper, and I know, for I’ve had several brushes with him.  The Huns came over here last night and dropped sixty bombs, killing people and wounding I don’t know how many.  Several of the bombs hit about 300 meters from here and our beds shook like the dickens.

COMMENTS ON HIS WAR CROSS

At the Front, June 14, 1918.—­I’ve been back here from the hospital for several days and we are having beautiful weather, doing lots of work and losing lots of men, but getting results.  I think by now you have all my letters explaining the change into the American army and the croix de guerre, which doesn’t signify a great deal.  Things look pretty bad now, but the French are holding strong with the constant arrival of Americans and I think the Hun advance is stopped.  We have been working at very low altitudes and while we have lost men heavily the work was extremely effective.  We have been shifted from one part of the front to another so that one hardly has time to unpack before we go to a new attack.  Our car has a broken piston, so we have had to walk more than usual and my leg gets so worn out in a short time that it is slow going.

GREAT FRENCH FLYER BRINGS DOWN

At the beginning of the year, Lieut.  Rene Fonck, the great French flyer and ace of aces of all the belligerent forces, had only nineteen successes to his credit, but during the last days of fighting the wily Lieutenant scored many victories bringing his totals up to seventy five enemy airplanes officially destroyed, with forty more probable successes awaiting official verification.  The final list of Lieut Fonck is all the more astonishing when it is considered that he made flights only when he thought himself in the fittest condition, and every time he flew he triumphed over the German Aviators.  His wonderful success is accredited to his incomparable tactics, keen eyesight and most remarkable skill.

OTHER CHAMPIONS OF THE AIR

Among other champion flyers of the allied forces Major Bishop of the British is credited with seventy-two victories; Lieutenant Coppens of Belgium, wounded during the late fighting, and with a leg amputated, holds the record of thirty-six victories; Lieutenant Baracchini the Italian flyer has thirty victories to his credit; Eddie Rickenbacker the American ace is responsible for twenty-four enemy victims, and Edward Parsons, another American flyer is credited with eight official victories and seven more unconfirmed.  Captain Kosakoff the Russian ace held seventeen successes to his credit at the close of Russias fighting.

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ENEMY ACES ALSO SCORE

Lieutenant Udet of Germany is the ace of enemy aces and holds the record of sixty victories; Captain Brunmwsky of the Austrian forces is next with thirty-four to his credit; Sergeant Fiselier the German flyer serving for Bulgaria is credited with seven victims, and Captain Schults also a German serving for Turkey had eleven victories.

QUENTIN ROOSEVELT LOSES HIS LIFE

On Sunday July 14th, 1918, a violent encounter took place between German battleplanes and American Air forces trying to break through the German defense over the Marne.  In this engagement Lieut, Quentin Roosevelt was brought down and killed near Chambry, then behind the German lines.  He was buried with military honors by German airmen, at the spot where he fell.  His grave was located later by one of his fellow air scouts.

AMERICAN AVIATOR GETS IRON CROSS

One of the remarkable feats performed by Yankee air men, was that of Lieut.  Wm. T. Webb Jr. of Buffalo, a member of an American squadron which encountered a German battleplane while flying over the German lines.  The American flyers surrounded the German Fokker like a flock of birds, and instead of shooting it down, which would have been easy, they maneuvered their planes so the boche machine was forced toward the American lines.  The German airmen fought desperately, but in vain, to break through, and was forced lower and lower to the ground.  Upon reaching the ground he refused to stop his motor until, after bumping over two fields, a bullet was fired through his gas tank setting it afire.  The two Germans jumped from the machine to the ground uninjured.  Both wore iron crosses.  Lieut.  Webb landed his machine, jumped out, grabbed an iron cross from one of the terrified Germans, and rose again to join his companions.

EYES OF THE ARMY ALWAYS OPEN

Few civilians have any idea of the intense, close watch that was kept upon the enemy throughout the struggle.  Soldiers on “listening post” would crawl out every night to and sometimes into the enemy lines and on their return report what they had heard.  By day, aviators came back from flights over enemy positions and gave details of what they had seen.  Every hill, tree-top, church spire, tall building and captive balloon watched every move of the enemy and reported it.  These reports by the ears and eyes of the armies enabled American and allied commanders to plan their infantry and artillery attacks.

AMERICAN INFORMATION SERVICE CHART

Knowledge of conditions in Germany during the war was so accurate that the American general staff had computed many weeks in advance almost the exact date on which the breaking point would be reached.  A chart in Secretary Baker’s office shows the fluctuations in the “morale of the German nation” from August, 1914, to the month of November, 1918.

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The chart shows how German morale fell and rose under the influence of the military situation, the results of the submarine campaign, the unanimity of purpose evidenced by the different groups in the reichstag, and the economic condition of the country.  So accurate was the information that the “morale line” reached the zero point between Nov. 10 and 15.

The chart indicates clearly that practically every major operation of the German military forces was inaugurated when the morale line showed dangerous slumps.

A big map in the war office locates not only every allied unit but the composition of the opposition forces, their commanders, and, in most cases, their headquarters.

Opposite each German army unit the map shows a list of the “used” and reserve organizations.  On Nov. 11, when the armistice was signed, long lists of divisions which had been entirely used up were noted, but the reserves had disappeared entirely, with the single exception of two fresh German divisions in Belgium.

CHAPTER VI.  CAUSES OF THE WAR

National and Race Prejudices—­The Triple Alliance—­The Triple Entente—­Teuton vs.  Slav—­Influence of Russian Diplomacy—­Russia vs.  Austria—­Control of Balkan Seaports—­England’s Commercial Supremacy Challenged by Germany—­Assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria by a Serb.

Within the space of less than a week from August 1, 1914, five of the six “great powers” of Europe became involved in a war that quickly developed into the greatest and most sanguinary struggle of all time.  The European conflagration, long foreseen by statesmen and diplomats, and dreaded of all alike, had broken out.

Beginning with the thunder of Austrian guns at Belgrade, the reverberations of war were heard in every capital of the Old World.  Austria’s declaration of war against Servia was followed by the alignment of Germany with its Teuton neighbor against the forces of Russia, France and England.  Italy alone, of the six great powers, declined to align itself with its formal allies and made a determined effort at the outset to maintain its neutrality.

Soon the highways of Europe resounded with the hoof-beats and the tramp of marching hosts, with the rattle of arms and the rumble of artillery.  Of such a war, once begun, no man could predict the end.  But the world realized that it was a catastrophe of unparalleled proportions, a failure of civilization in its stronghold, a disaster to humanity.

For more than forty years the great powers of Europe had been at peace with one another.  Though war had threatened now and then, diplomacy had avoided the actual outbreak.  But that the dreaded conflict was inevitable had long been recognized.  For its coming immense armaments had been prepared, until the burdens of taxation laid upon the people had become in themselves a source of danger.  But behind it

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all lay the sinister influence of the “junker” element of Germany—­the military party, swollen with pride in the development of the German army by more than forty years of preparation for conflict, and the naval party, eager for “der Tag” which should bring a trial of the new German navy against the battle fleets of an enemy.  Fostering and encouraging these militaristic sentiments was the growing desire of Germany for “a place in the sun,” which was translatable only as a desire for world domination.  Greater and wider markets for German commerce were urgently demanded, and visions of Germany as mistress of the seas, with a great colonial empire, and of the Kaiser as the undisputed military overlord of Europe, already filled and fired the Teuton imagination.

The political alignment of the great powers prior to the war was as follows:  On the one side was the Triple Alliance, including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy; while on the other was the Triple Entente, comprising Great Britain, France and Russia.  As the event proved, the uncertain element in this line-up was Italy, which had a real grievance against Austria in the latter’s possession of the former Italian territory known as the Trentino, and which was not consulted by Germany and Austria prior to the outbreak of hostilities.  She therefore declined to enter the war as a member of the Triple Alliance, but was later found in the field against Austria, and thenceforth rendered powerful aid to the cause of “the Allies,” as the members of the Triple Entente and their supporters soon came to be known.

It was in the Balkans, long regarded as the zone of danger to European peace, that the war-clouds gathered and darkened rapidly.  For generations Austria and Russia had struggled diplomatically for the control of Balkan seaports, with the Balkan states acting as buffers in the diplomatic strife.  Servia acted as a bar to Austria’s commercial route to the AEgean, by way of the Sanjak of Novi Bazar to Saloniki, while Russia was Servia’s great ally and stood stoutly behind the little Slav kingdom in its opposition to Austrian aggression.

AMBITIONS OF SERVIA

Then came the recent Balkan Wars, and their outcome was viewed with alarm.  Austria uneasily watched the approach of Servia to the Adriatic and the Aegean.  The formation of the new new autonomous state of Albania, between Servia and the Adriatic, was all that prevented Austria from attacking Servia during that crisis.  The terms of peace left the situation, as it concerned Austria and Russia, practically as it had been.  Austria made no further progress toward the sea, and Russia remained the ally of Servia.  Bulgaria had failed in its efforts to reach Salonica.

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At this stage another element exerted its influence.  Servia awoke to the possibility of a Greater Servia.  An Empire of the Slavs had long been dreamed of.  In Austria-Hungary itself millions of Slavs were dreaming of it and awaiting the disruption of Austria-Hungary, held together now, as they argue, only by the indomitable will of the old Emperor, Franz Joseph.  The hatred between the Slavs and the Teutonic Austrians is intense.  The annexation by Austria of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which Servians predominate, increased the Servian hatred and the indignation of the whole Slav world to the point of violence.  A conflict was avoided with difficulty.  These principalities had hoped to form part of a Greater Servia.  Had not Russia been exhausted by the war with Japan, Servia would have called upon her ally and the crisis would have come then.  As it was, the Balkans teemed with plots and counterplots against the Austrians, culminating in the assassination of the Arch-Duke and heir-apparent to the Austrian throne, Francis Ferdinand, known for his anti-Slav principles, and therefore feared and hated as the king to be.  The assassination occurred at Serajevo in Bosnia, where Servian disaffection was seething.  Austria immediately laid the crime on the Servian government.

AUSTRIA DECLARES WAR

Failing in her peremptory demands for satisfaction, Austria declared war, July 28, 1914, apparently for revenge, but behind her righteous indignation she still held in view her traditional ambition, a port on the Mediterranean, to be secured by the complete control of the Novi Bazar route to Salonica, a route which, besides its commercial importance, is of tremendous strategic value to the nation which commands it.  The treaty of Berlin of 1878, after the Russo-Turkish War, had given Austria the military, political, and commercial control of the route within the Sanjak of Novi Bazar, then a part of Turkey.

But now, in the division of spoils following the Balkan Wars, Servia gained control of Novi Bazar, Pristina, Uskub, and Istip, or practically the entire route to a short distance north of Salonica, where the new boundaries of Greece had been extended.  This meant that Austria saw herself shut out from the Sanjak, and only by the destruction and subsequent occupation of Servia could Austria regain her ascendancy over the route.  Victory would mean a long step by Austria toward the sea.

PLOTS AND COUNTERPLOTS

The “balance of power” among European nations has hitherto been maintained because the formation of a single nation out of the Balkan States has not been possible.  Although the people of these states have similar pursuits, and live much alike in all regions, they have preserved their original racial differences.  A village of Albanians may be within a few miles of a village of Greeks.  Yet through centuries both

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have remained racially distinct.  Here and there the barriers have given way somewhat, but in general the races persist side by side, sometimes peaceably, more often in mutual distrust or open feud.  Such division has been fostered by the great nations, and new states have been created, as recently Albania, since the formation of a great state in the Balkans by the union of all or the absorbing greatness of one, would overthrow the balance of power, and besides interpose an insurmountable obstacle between Austria and Russia, and the sea.

Thus the states have been played against each other.  Sometimes the game has been one of diplomacy, or one of force, hurling the states at each other’s throats.

HOW WAR WAS DECLARED

Ultimatum, by Austria to Servia—­War Declared by Austria—­ Russia Mobilizes—­Germany Declares War on Russia August 1—­France and England Involved—­Germans Enter Belgium—­Scenes in European Capitals.

On Sunday, June 28, 1914, a Servian student named Prinzep shot and killed the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the thrones of Austria-Hungary, and his morganatic wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, in the streets of Serajevo, a town in Bosnia which the royal couple were visiting.

Nearly four weeks later, on July 23, the Austro-Hungarian government, fixing responsibility for the assassination upon Servian intrigues, presented to Servia a number of demands which formed a very drastic ultimatum, requiring compliance within forty-eight hours, with the alternative of war.  Servia was required to condemn “the propaganda directed against Austria” and to take proceedings against all accessories to the plot against the Archduke Francis Ferdinand who were in Servia.  Austrian delegates were to supervise the proceedings, and Servia was also to arrest certain Servian officials whose guilt was alleged.  These exorbitant conditions made it quite obvious that no concessions on Servians part would be accepted.  It was a plain prelude to war.

Nevertheless, a virtual acceptance by Servia followed.  Acting on the advice of Russia, Servia acceded to all that was required of her, making only two reservations of the most reasonable character.  These reservations were found enough to serve as an excuse for war.  Austria at once declared herself dissatisfied and though the actual declaration of war was delayed for a brief period, a state of war practically existed between the two countries from Saturday evening, July 25.

EFFORTS TO LOCALIZE THE WAR

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Then began efforts on the part of Great Britain to localize the war.  Sir Edward Grey, the able foreign secretary in Mr. Asquith’s cabinet, repeated solemn warnings in every chancellery of Europe.  According to the English “white book,” the very day that he was notified of the violent tone of Austria’s note to Servia—­the day it was presented—­he warned the Austrian Ambassador in London that if as many as four of the Great Powers of Europe were to engage in war, it would involve the expenditure of such a vast sum of money and such interference with trade, that a complete collapse of European credit and industry would follow.  The reply of Russia to this warning was quite conciliatory.  The Russian foreign minister, M. Sazonoff, assured the British minister that Russia had no aggressive intentions, and would take no action unless forced.  Austria’s action, M. Sazonoff added, in reality aimed at over-throwing Russia’s influence in the Balkans.

Thus, on Monday, July 27, Sir Edward Grey was able to state in the House of Commons that his suggestion of a joint conference, composed of the Ambassadors of Germany, France and Italy, and himself, with a view to mediation between Austria and Russia, had been accepted by all except Germany, which power had expressed its concurrence with the plan in principle, but opposed the details on the ground that there was a prospect of direct “conversations” (diplomatic exchanges) between Austria and Russia.  This statement was believed in England to lack sincerity.  On that Monday afternoon the Russian Ambassador at Vienna warned Austria that Russia would not give way and expressed his hope that some arrangement might be arrived at before Servia was invaded.

Austria’s reply came next day in the shape of a formal declaration of war against Servia.

GERMANY’S ATTITUDE PRO-AUSTRIAN

On July 30 Sir M. de Bunsen, British Ambassador at Vienna, made the following statement to Sir Edward Grey regarding the attitude of Germany in the crisis:  “Although I am not able to verify it, I have private information that the German Ambassador (at Vienna) knew the text of the Austrian ultimatum to Servia before it was dispatched, and telegraphed it to the German Emperor.  I know from the German Ambassador himself that he endorses every line of it.”

Naturally enough the Russian foreign minister complained that “conversations” with Austria were useless in the face of such facts.  Russia then declared that her forces would be mobilized the day that Austria crossed the Servian frontier.  The attitude of Germany at once stiffened and it became evident that Germany meant to regard even the partial mobilization of Russia as a ground for war, not only against Russia, but also against the latter’s ally, France.

In vain Russia protested that her partial mobilization was merely a precaution.  In vain did the Czar himself offer to give his word that no use would be made of any of his forces.  Germany was aware, as subsequent facts have proved, that her own state of mobilization was very much further advanced than that of Russia.

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GERMAN ULTIMATUM TO RUSSIA

By Friday, July 31, Germany was ready for the fray and a final ultimatum to St. Petersburg was launched.  On the same day Russia declared war against Austria.  By six o’clock on Saturday evening, August 1, war between Germany and Russia began, when Germany dismissed the Russian Ambassador, and by Sunday morning Germany was invading France.  The next day, August 3, the German Ambassador left Paris and the French Ambassador at Berlin was ordered to demand his passports.

At this point Great Britain passed from the position of general peacemaker to that of a principal.  In the House of Commons on Monday, August 3, Sir Edward Grey stated that the question whether Austria or Russia should dominate the Southern Slav races was no concern of England, nor was she bound by any secret alliance to France.  She was absolutely free to choose her course with regard to the crisis which had overtaken her.  But there were two cardinal points in the situation which had arisen which ultimately concerned Great Britain.  The first essential feature of British diplomacy, said Sir Edward, was that France should not be brought into such a condition in Europe that she became a species of vassal state to Germany.  On the morning of July 31, therefore, he had informed the German Ambassador that if the efforts to maintain peace failed and France became involved Great Britain would be drawn into the conflict.

In his speech of August 3 the British foreign minister also stated that he had given France on the previous day the written assurance that if the German fleet came into the English Channel or through the North Sea to assail her, the British fleet would protect her to the uttermost.

TO PROTECT BELGIAN AUTONOMY

On the same afternoon, in the same place, Sir Edward Grey reiterated the other dominant principle of British foreign policy—­that England can never look with indifference on the seizure by a great continental power of any portion of Belgium and Holland.  More than a hundred years ago it was declared by Napoleon, who was a master of political geography, that Antwerp was “a pistol leveled at the head of London.”

When on July 31 the British foreign minister inquired by telegraph both at Paris and Berlin whether the two governments would engage to respect the neutrality of Belgium, France replied with an assurance that she was resolved to do so unless compelled to act otherwise by reason of the violation of Belgium’s neutrality at the hands of another power.  The German secretary of state, Herr von Jagow, replied that he could give no such assurance until he had consulted the Emperor and Chancellor, and doubted whether he could give any answer without revealing the German plan of campaign.  He furthermore alleged the commission of hostile acts by Belgium.

Developments quickly followed.  The German government proposed that Belgium should grant its armies free passage through Belgian territory.  The proposal was accompanied by an intimation that Belgium would be crushed out of existence if it refused to comply.  In fact, it was an ultimatum presented at 7 o’clock on Sunday evening, August 2, to expire within twelve hours.

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Then came Sir Edward Grey’s speech in parliament on August 3, when it was fully realized that Germany and England were on the verge of war.  What followed was related in the House of Commons next day.

SCENES IN PARLIAMENT

Germany’s reply to the speech by Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary, indicating the attitude of Great Britain in regard to the contemplated violation of Belgian territory by Germany was a second ultimatum from Berlin to Brussels, saying Germany was prepared to carry through her plans by force of arms if necessary.

The British government was officially informed by Belgium on August that German troops had invaded Belgium and that the violation of that country’s neutrality, which the British, foreign secretary had intimated must be followed by action on the part of the British, had become an accomplished fact.

Definite announcement of Great Britain’s intentions under these circumstances was expected in the house of commons that afternoon.

TELEGRAM SENT TO BERLIN

On the assembly of the house the premier, Mr. Asquith, said that a telegram had been sent early in the morning to Sir Edward Goschen, British ambassador in Berlin, to the following effect: 

“The king of the Belgians has appealed to His Britannic Majesty’s government for diplomatic intervention on behalf of Belgium.  The British government is also informed that the German government has delivered to the Belgian government a note proposing friendly neutrality pending a free passage of German troops through Belgium and promising to maintain the independence and integrity of the kingdom and its possessions on the conclusion of peace, threatening in case of refusal to treat Belgium as an enemy.”  Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary, had requested an answer within twelve hours.

Premier Asquith then read a telegram from the German foreign minister, which the German ambassador in London had sent to Sir Edward Grey.  It was as follows: 

“Please dispel any distrust that may subsist on the part of the British government with regard to our intentions by repeating most positively the formal assurance that even in case of armed conflict with Belgium, Germany will under no pretensions whatever annex Belgian territory.”

The reading of this telegram was greeted with derisive laughter by the members of the house.

Premier Asquith continued: 

  “We understand that Belgium categorically refused to
  assent to a flagrant violation of the law of nations.

“His majesty’s government was bound to protest against this violation of a treaty to which Germany was a party in common with England and must request an assurance that the demand made upon Belgium by Germany be not proceeded with and that Belgium’s neutrality be respected by Germany and we have asked for an immediate reply.

  “We received this morning from our minister in Brussels
  the following telegram: 

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“’The German minister has this morning addressed a note to the Belgian minister for foreign affairs stating that as the Belgian government has declined a well intentioned proposal submitted to it by the imperial German government the latter, deeply to its regret, will be compelled to carry out, if necessary by force of arms, the measures considered indispensable in view of the French menace.’”

ENGLAND AND GERMANY AT WAR

By 11 o’clock that evening England and Germany were at war.  Their respective ambassadors were handed their passports and Great Britain braced herself for a conflict that was felt to threaten her very existence as a nation.

CHAPTER VII.

THE INVASION OF BELGIUM

  Belgians Rush to Defense of Their Frontier—­Towns Bombarded
  and Burned—­Defense of Liege—­Fall of Liege—­
 —­Fall of Namur—­Peasants and Townspeople Flee—­
  Destruction of Louvain
.

At 10 o’clock on the night of August 2 German troops crossed the Belgian frontier, coming from Aix-la-Chapelle, or Aachen, temporary headquarters of the general staff, and the bloody invasion of Belgium, involving the violation of its neutral treaty rights, began.  Simultaneously the German forces entered the independent duchy of Luxemburg to the south, en route to the French border, and also came in touch with French outposts in the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine.

The events that followed in Belgium furnished a genuine surprise to the world.  Instead of finding the Belgian people indifferent to the violation of their territory and the Belgian army only a slight obstacle in the road to Paris, as was probably expected by the German general staff, a most gallant and determined resistance was offered to the progress of the German hosts.  The army of the little State was quickly mobilized for defense and its operations, while ineffectual in stopping the Kaiser’s irresistible force, delayed its advance for three invaluable weeks, giving time for the complete mobilization of the French and for the landing of a British expeditionary force to co-operate with the latter in resisting the German approach to Paris.

Just across the Belgian border lay the little towns of Vise and Verviers, and these were the first objects of German attack and Belgian defense.  Both were occupied after desperate resistance by the Belgians and Vise was partly demolished by fire in reprisal, it was claimed, for the firing by civilians on the German invaders.  The subsequent bombardment and burning of towns and villages by the Germans were explained in every case as measures of revenge for hostile acts on the part of non-combatants and intended to prevent their occurrence elsewhere by striking terror into the hearts of the Belgian populace.  Whatever the pretext or the excuse, the historical fact remains that the result of the German progress toward the Franco-Belgian frontier constituted a martyrdom for Belgium and gained for the plucky little kingdom the fullest sympathy of the civilized world.

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[Illustration:—­From the Literary Digest BELGIUM—­THE FIRST BATTLEFIELD OF THE WAR

The map shows the more important railroad lines connecting the cities of Brussels, Antwerp and Namur and those of Northern France.  Paris is 200 miles by rail from Brussels and 190 from Namur.]

THE ATTACK ON LIEGE

The ancient city of Liege was attacked by the German artillery on August 4.  The town itself was occupied, five days later, but the modern forts surrounding it continued for some time longer to hold out against the fierce German attack.  It became necessary to bring up the heaviest modern Krupp siege guns in order to reduce them.

Amidst all the plethora of events which crowded themselves into the first few days following the outbreak of the war, none was more remarkable than the Belgian stand at Liege against the German advance.

The struggle round Liege bids fair to become historic, and the garrisons of the Liege forts when they looked out fearlessly from the banks of the Meuse on the vanguard of the German host, and took decision to block its further progress, proved their claim once again to Julius Caesar’s description of their ancestors, “The Belgians are the bravest of the Gauls.”

THE FALL OF LIEGE

News of the fall of Liege and the occupation of the city by German troops was received with great rejoicing in Berlin on August 8th.  Dispatches received at Amsterdam from the German capital said: 

The news of the fall of Liege spread with lightning rapidity throughout Berlin and created boundless enthusiasm.  The Emperor sent an aide-de-camp to announce the capture of the city to crowds that assembled outside the palace.

Policemen on bicycles dashed along Unter den Linden proclaiming the joyful tidings.  Imperial Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg drove to the castle to congratulate the Emperor on the victory and was enthusiastically cheered along the way.

PEASANTS AND TOWNSPEOPLE FLEE

Following the fall of Liege came a number of sanguinary engagements in northern Belgium; the unopposed occupation of Brussels on August 20, and a four days’ battle beginning on August 23, in which the Germans forced back the French and British allies to the line of Noyon-LaFere across the northern frontier of France.  In the northern engagements the Belgians gave a good account of themselves, but were everywhere forced to give way before the innumerable hosts of the Kaiser, though not without inflicting tremendous losses on the invaders.

The retirement of the civilian population before the advancing masses of the German army was a pathetic spectacle.  It was a flight in terror and distress.

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On Tuesday, August 18, the German troops surged down upon Tirlemont, a town twenty miles southeast of Louvain, around which they had been massing for some days, presumably by rail and motor cars.  The stories which had reached the inhabitants of Tirlemont of the happenings at surrounding towns and villages had not added to their peace of mind, and soon the moment for flight arrived.  All kinds of civilians set out towards Brussels and Ghent for refuge.  At times the road was full of carts bearing entire families, with pots and pans swaying and banging against the sides as the vehicles bumped over the roadway.  The younger women, boys and menfolk who had been left in the towns and villages fled on foot.  Priests, officials and Red Cross helpers mingled with the crowd.  This stream of unfortunates uprooted from their homes was thus described by an eyewitness: 

“These masses of broken-hearted people moved silently along, many weeping, few talking.  With them they brought a few of their possessions, as pathetically miscellaneous as the effects one might seize in the panic haste of a hotel fire.  Ox wagons, bundles and babies on dog-drawn carts or on men’s backs, bicycles and handcarts laden with kitchen utensils, all mingled with the human stream.  Here were to be seen sewing machines, beds, bedding, food, and there a little girl or boy with some toy clasped uncomprehendingly in a dirty hand; they also knew that danger threatened and that they must save what they held most dear.  And even among these unhappy people there were some more unfortunate than the others—­men and women who had no bundle, children who had no doll.  All the way to Louvain there flowed this human stream of misery.  Back along the Tirlemont road rifle firing could be heard and entrenchments were to be seen in the town itself.”

These scenes between Tirlemont and Louvain were typical of those on every road leading to the larger cities of Belgium as the inhabitants fled before the approach of the dreaded Uhlans.

FALL OF NAMUR

On the afternoon of Sunday, August 23, the fortress of Namur was evacuated by the Belgians, and the town was later occupied by the Germans.

The fortress was said to be as strong as Liege and it owed its importance in the present war to the fact that it was the apex of the two French flanks.  One ran from Namur to Charleroi and the other by Givet to Mezieres.

Warned by their experiences at Liege, the Germans made most determined efforts against Namur.  From the north, south and east they were able to bring up their big guns unhindered, and by assaults at Charleroi and Dinant they endeavored to break the sides of the French triangle.  Namur finally collapsed but clever strategy enabled the French to fall back upon their main lines.

The fall of Namur, nevertheless, was a decided blow to the allies.  This was admitted by the French minister of war, who said at midnight Monday, August 24, of the failure of the “Namur triangle”: 

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“It is, of course, regrettable that owing to difficulties of execution which could not have been foreseen our plan of attack has not achieved its object.  Had it done so it would have shortened the war, but in any case our defense remains intact in the face of an already weakened enemy.  Our losses are severe.  It will be premature to estimate them or to estimate those of the German army, which, however, has suffered so severely as to be compelled to halt in its counterattack and establish itself in new positions.”

The object of the French triangle, having its apex at Namur, was to break the German army in two.  The British troops, as related in another chapter, were cooperating with the French at Mons. When the Belgians evacuated Namur the Germans had knocked to pieces three of the forts to the northeast of the town with howitzer fire.  Between these forts they advanced and bombarded the town, which was defended by the Belgian Fourth Division.  Namur was evacuated when the defenders found themselves unable to support a heavy artillery fire.

The Germans attacked in a formation three ranks deep, the front rank lying down, the second kneeling, and the third standing.  They afforded a target which was fully used by the men behind the Belgian machine guns.  Some fifty or sixty howitzers were brought into action by the Germans, who concentrated several guns simultaneously on each fort and smothered it with fire.

DESTRUCTION OF LOUVAIN

At this stage of the war in Belgium an event occurred that riveted universal attention upon the German operations.  On Tuesday, August 25, the beautiful, historic, scholastic city of Louvain, containing 42, inhabitants, was bombarded by the Germans and later put to the torch.  The fire, which burned for several days, devastated the city.  Many artistic and historical treasures, including the priceless library of Louvain University and several magnificent churches, centuries old, were totally destroyed.  Only the Hotel de Ville (City Hall), one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe, was spared and left standing in the midst of ruins.

The Rotterdam Telegraf, a neutral newspaper, declared that in the devastation of Louvain “a wound that can never be healed” was inflicted “on the whole of civilized humanity.”  Frank Jewett Mather, the well-known American art critic, bitterly denounced the act as one of wanton destruction, saying that Louvain “contained more beautiful works of art than the Prussian nation has produced in its entire history.”

Thus when the first month of war ended, the Germans had made good with their plan of seizing Belgium as a base of operations against France and had arrived in full force at the first line of French defenses, well on the way to the coveted goal, Paris.

But poor little Belgium, the “cockpit of Europe,” ran red with blood.

SURRENDER OP BRUSSELS

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Belgian Capital Occupied by the Germans Without Bloodshed—­Important Part Played by American Minister Brand Whittock—–­Belgian Forces Retreat to Antwerp—­Dinant and Termonde Fall.

After the usual reconnaissances by Uhlans and motorcycle scouts, the van of the German army arrived at Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, on August 20.  The seat of government had been removed three days before to Antwerp.  The French and Russian ministers also moved to Antwerp, leaving the affairs of their respective countries in the hands of the Spanish legation.  Brand Whitlock, United States minister to Belgium, remained at Brussels and played an important part in negotiations which led to the unresisted occupation and march through the city by the Germans in force on August 21 and the consequent escape of Brussels from bombardment and probable ruin.

At the approach of the German army the inhabitants of the capital were stricken with fear of the outcome.  When the Belgian civic guards and refugees began pouring into the city from the direction of Louvain, they brought stories of unspeakable German atrocities, maltreatment of old men and children, and the violation of women.

“The Belgian capital reeled with apprehension,” said an American resident.  “Within an hour the gaiety, the vivacity, and brilliancy of the city went out like a broken arclight.  The radiance of the cafes was exchanged for darkness; whispering groups of residents broke up hurriedly and locked themselves into their homes, where they put up the shutters and drew in their tricolored Belgian flags.  “The historic Belgian city went through a state of morbid consternation, remarkably like that from which it suffered on June 18,1815, when it trembled with the fear of a French victory at Waterloo.

“In less than twenty-four hours the Belgian citizens were chatting comfortably with the German invaders and the allegations of German brutality and demoniacal torture dissolved into one of the myths which have accompanied all wars.

“Neither in Brussels nor in its environs was a single offensive act, so far as I know, committed by a German soldier.  In a city of over half a million people, invaded by a hostile army of perhaps a quarter of a million soldiers, no act, sufficiently flagrant to demand punishment or to awaken protest came to my attention.”

SURRENDER OF CITY DEMANDED

Prior to the occupation the German commander had sent forward a flag of truce demanding the surrender of the city.  This was at midnight of Wednesday, August 19.  The Belgian commandant replied that he was bound in honor to defend the town.

Brand Whitlock, the United States minister, then came to the fore.  He recommended to the commandant and to Burgomaster Max the unconditional surrender of the city, pointing out how resistance might bring increased misfortune on the citizens.  But the military commander remained adamant until orders arrived from King Albert consenting to the surrender of the city.

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Mr. Whitlock was later congratulated officially by the king for his action.  Undoubtedly he had a great deal to do with saving Brussels.

HISTORIC TREASURES OF BRUSSELS

The city of Brussels, thus occupied by the Germans, contains art treasures that are priceless.  The museum and public galleries are filled with masterpieces of the Flemish and old Dutch school, while the royal library comprises 600,000 volumes, 100,000 manuscripts and 50,000 rare coins.  Unquestionably the Brussels Museum is one of the most complete on the Continent.  A prominent historic landmark of Brussels is the King’s House (also called the Dreadhouse), an ancient structure, recently renovated.  Within its walls both the Counts Egmont and Hoorn spent the last night before their execution, in 1567, by the hirelings of the Duke of Alva, the Spanish Philip II’s tyrannical governor of the Netherlands, who, by means of the sword and the Inquisition, sought to establish the Catholic religion in those countries.  Brussels boasts another historic relic known the world over—­the equestrian statue of Godfrey of Bouillon, who led the Crusaders to the Holy Land.  It stands upon the Place Royale, and was unveiled in 1848.

The magnificent Town Hall of Brussels would probably have suffered destruction, together with the city’s other beautiful buildings, had not the government yielded without a struggle.

HEAVY WAR TAX LEVIED

General von der Goltz, appointed by the Kaiser military governor of Belgium, levied a war tax of $40,000,000 on the capture of the capital.  Other cities occupied by the Germans were also assessed for large sums, which in several instances had to be paid immediately on pain of bombardment.  It was announced September 1 that the four richest men in Belgium had guaranteed the payment to Germany of the war tax.  The four men were Ernest Solvay, the alkali king; Baron Lambert, the Belgian representative of the Rothschilds; Raoul Warocque, the mine owner, and Baron Empain, the railway magnate.

BELGIANS RETREAT TO ANTWERP

After the German occupation almost normal conditions were soon restored in Brussels, so far as civic life was concerned.  It was speedily announced that the Germans intended to regard the whole of Belgium as a German province and to administer it as such, at least during the continuance of the war.  The Belgian army retired to the north within the fortifications of Antwerp, where they were joined by French troops, but desultory fighting against the German invader continued at many points and the Franco-British allies soon came into contact with the advancing German army.

THE CITY AND PORT OF ANTWERP

Antwerp is one of the largest, most modernly equipped and efficient ports in Europe.  It is only a short distance across the English Channel, and is the head of 1,200 miles of canals in Belgium which connect with the canal systems of Holland, France and Germany.  On the harbor alone over $100,000,000 has been spent and extensions are in progress which will cost $15,000,000 more.

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For the prosperity of Belgium, Antwerp is many times more important than Brussels, the capital.  While the country has an enormous amount of coal and many factories and other industries, these would be of little value without the imports which enter through Antwerp.

The city has about 360,000 inhabitants.  Although located fifty-three miles inland on the Scheldt River, it has natural advantages for harbor purposes which have been recognized since the seventh century.  Napoleon looked over the spot and started large harbor construction.

[Illustration:  ANTWERP AND ITS FORTIFICATIONS]

Ever since that time, according to popular belief, Antwerp has encouraged commerce.  Over eighty different steamboat lines use the docks and quays.  The passenger lines include boats to New York and Boston, New Orleans, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Grimsby, South American ports, Cuba, the Congo, East and South Africa and the far East.

In 1912 a total of 6,973 ocean-going vessels entered the port, and 41,000 other vessels.

Antwerp in 1870 ranked fifth in the ports of the world.  Today it is believed to be second or third.  Ten years ago the freight received from the inland was principally by the canals.  Approximately 2,300,000 tons were received by rail and 5,500,000 tons by canal boats.

This ratio has not been maintained, but the canal traffic now is much larger than the rail tonnage.  This gives an idea of the extensive use to which the European countries put their canals, and the reader may guess the value of the city at the head of the canal system to the Germans.

BLOODLESS CAPITULATION OF GHENT

Historic Ghent, with its quarter of a million inhabitants, was also surrendered peaceably to the Germans, and again the energy and initiative of an American, United States Vice-Consul J. A. Van Hee, had much to do with the avoidance of tragedy and destruction.

Learning that the advance guard of the German army was only a few miles outside the city, the burgomaster went out on the morning of September to parley with Gen. von Boehn—­in the hope of arranging for the German forces not to enter.  An agreement finally was reached whereby the Germans should go around Ghent on condition that all Belgian troops should evacuate the city, the civic guard be disarmed, their weapons surrendered, and the municipal authorities should supply the Germans with specified quantities of provisions and other supplies.

The burgomaster was not back an hour when a motor car driven by two armed German soldiers appeared in the streets.

At almost the same moment that the German car entered the city from the south a Belgian armored car, armed with a machine gun, with a crew of three men, entered from the east on a scouting expedition.

The two cars, both speeding, encountered each other at the head of the Rue Agneau, directly in front of the American consulate.  Vice-consul Van Hee, standing in the doorway, was an eyewitness to what followed.

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The Germans, taken completely by surprise at the sight of the foe’s grim war car in its coat of elephant gray, bearing down upon them, attempted to escape, firing with their carbines as they fled.  Notwithstanding the fact that the sidewalks were lined with onlookers, the Belgians opened on the fleeing Germans with their machine guns, which spurted lead as a garden hose spurts water.

The driver, fearing the Germans might escape, swerved his powerful car against the German motor precisely as a polo player “rides off” his opponent.  The machine gun never ceased its angry snarl.

The Germans surrendered, both being wounded.

Appreciating that Ghent stood in imminent danger of meeting the terrible fate of its sister cities, Aerschot and Louvain, sacked and burned for far less cause, Mr. Van Hee hurriedly found the burgomaster and urged him to go along instantly to German headquarters.

They found General von Boehn and his staff at a chateau a few miles outside the city.  The German commander at first was furious with anger and threatened Ghent with the same punishment he had meted out to the other places where Germans were fired on.  Van Hee took a very firm stand, however.  He told the general the burning of Ghent would do more than anything else to lose the Germans all American sympathy.  He reminded him that Americans have a great sentimental interest in Ghent because the treaty of peace between England and the United States was signed there just a century ago.

The general finally said:  “If you will give me your word that there will be no further attacks upon Germans in Ghent, and that the wounded soldiers will be taken under American protection and returned to Brussels by the consular authorities when they have recovered, I will agree to spare Ghent and will not even demand a money indemnity.”

The news that Mr. Van Hee had succeeded in his mission spread through the city like fire in dry grass and when he returned he was acclaimed by cheering crowds as the saviour of Ghent.

THE BURGOMASTER’S APPEAL

Blazoned on the front of the Town Hall suddenly appeared a great black-lettered document.  It was a manly and inspiring proclamation by the burgomaster, similar to the splendid proclamation issued by M. Adolphe Max, burgomaster of Brussels, just before the German entry.  He assured the inhabitants that he and all the town officials were remaining in their places, and that so long as life and liberty remained to him he would do all in his power to protect their honor and their interests.  He reminded them that under the laws of war they had the right to refuse all information and help to the invaders; and called upon each citizen, or his wife, to refuse such information and help.  Finally, he urged the citizens to remain calm, and stay in their homes.

“Vive la Belgique!  Vive Ghent!” The proclamation ended in great capitals with this patriotic cry.

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DINANT AND TERMONDE FALL

But other cities and towns of Belgium were not as fortunate as Brussels and Ghent in escaping damage and destruction.

Dinant, a town of 8,000 inhabitants, fifteen miles south of Namur, and dating back to the sixth century, was partially destroyed by the Germans in their advance on September 3 and 4.  Early reports stated that a number of the most prominent citizens had been executed, including Mr. Humbert, owner of a large factory, who was slain in the presence of his wife and children.

The Germans alleged that citizens had fired on them from the heights about the city.  They then drove all of the inhabitants out, shot some of the men as examples, took the gold from the branch of the National Bank and burned the business section.  On September 4 the town of Termonde met a similar fate.  This town, 16 miles from Ghent, was fired in several places before the Kaiser’s troops passed on.  They also blew up a bridge over the River Escaut to the north, seeming to renounce for the moment their intrusion into the country of the Waes district.  Afterward they directed an attack against the southwest front position of the Antwerp army and were repulsed with great losses.

Describing the burning of Termonde by the Germans, a Ghent correspondent said: 

“By midday Sunday the blaze had assumed gigantic proportions and by Sunday evening not a house stood upright.  This was verified at Zele, where there were thousands of refugees from Termonde.  The Germans also pillaged Zele.  The suburb of St. Giles also suffered from bombardment and fire.”

A courier who knew Termonde as a flourishing town with fine shops, an ancient town hall of singular beauty and a number of churches of historic interest, found the place on September 11 a smoldering ruin, except for the town hall and one church, on a stone of which he saw the inscription “1311.”  These two structures were left intact, without so much as a broken window.

Termonde was burned for much the same reason as Louvain.  On September 4 a German force came back from the field after having been severely handled by the Belgians, and the German commander, it is said, exclaimed: 

“It is our duty to burn them down!”

The inhabitants were given two hours’ grace, and German soldiers filed through the town, breaking windows with their rifles.  They were followed by other files of troops, who sprayed kerosene into the houses, others applied lighted fuses and the town was systematically destroyed.

BOMBARDMENT OF MALINES

On Thursday night, August 27, the German artillery bombarded the ancient Belgian town of Malines.  During the bombardment many of the monuments in the town were hit by shells and destroyed.  When the artillery had ceased firing the inhabitants of Malines were advised to leave the town.

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CHAPTER VIII BRITAIN RAISES AN ARMY

Earl Kitchener Appointed Secretary for War—­A New Volunteer Army—­Expeditionary Force Landed in France—­Marshal Sir John French in Command—­Colonies Rally to Britain’s Aid—­The Canadian Contingent—­Indian Troops Called For—­Native Princes Offer Aid.

After the declaration of war by Great Britain against Germany on August 4, the first important development in England was the appointment of Earl Kitchener of Khartoum as secretary of state for war.  This portfolio had been previously held by the Rt.  Hon. H.H.  Asquith, premier and first lord of the treasury.  Lord Kitchener being the idol of the British army and most highly esteemed by the nation generally for his powers of organization and administration, as well as for his military fame, the appointment increased the confidence of the British people in the Liberal Government and awakened their enthusiasm for war.  Parliament unanimously passed a vote of credit for $500,000,000 on August 6.

Lord Kitchener immediately realized the serious nature of the task confronting his country as an ally of France against the military power of Germany.  His first step was to increase the regular army.  The first call was for 100,000 additional men.  This was soon increased to 500,000.  Within a month there were 439,000 voluntary enlistments and then a further call was made for 500,000 more, bringing the strength of the British army up to 1,854,000 men, a figure unprecedented for Great Britain.

The war fever grew apace in England.  All classes of society furnished their quota to the colors for service in Belgium and France.  The period of enlistment was “for the war” and a wave of patriotic fervor swept over the British Isles and over all the colonies of Britain beyond the seas.  Political differences were forgotten and the empire presented a united front, as never before.  If Germany had counted on internal dissension keeping England out of the fray, the expectation proved unfounded.  Englishmen, Irishmen and Scotsmen stood shoulder to shoulder.  The Irish Home Rule controversy was dropped by common consent.  The men of Ulster and the Irish Nationalists struck hands and agreed to forget their differences in the presence of national danger.

Trade resumed normal conditions and the Bank of England rate, which earlier in the week had mounted to 10 per cent, was reduced on August to 5 per cent.

There were some panicky conditions and a disquieting collapse on the London Stock Exchange during the last days of feverish diplomacy, and it was due to the financial solidity of the British nation, no less than to its level-headedness and the promptness of government measures, that the declaration of war, instead of precipitating worse conditions, cleared the atmosphere.

BRITISH TROOPS LAND IN FRANCE

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While the British army was being mobilized, the utmost secrecy was observed regarding all movements of troops.  The newspapers refrained from publishing even the little they knew and an expeditionary force, composed of the flower of the British army and numbering approximately 94,000 men of all arms of the service, was assembled, transported across the English Channel and landed at Boulogne and other French ports behind a veil of deepest mystery, so far as the British public and the world at large were concerned.

The old town of Plymouth, on the Channel, was the chief port of embarkation for the troops and the main concentration point in England, but troops embarked also at Dublin, Ireland; Liverpool; Eastbourne; Southampton, and other cities.  Not a mention of the midnight sailings of transports carrying troops, horses, automobiles, artillery, hospital and commissary equipment and supplies was allowed to be printed in the newspapers, nor was it known how many troops were being sent across the Channel.

The landing in France was effected between the 10th and the 20th of August without the loss of a single man, and on the 23d, having joined forces with the French army under General Joffre, commander-in-chief, the British found themselves in touch with the German enemy at Mons in Belgium.

FIELD-MARSHAL FRENCH IN COMMAND

The expeditionary force was in supreme command of Field Marshal Sir John D. P. French, a veteran officer of high military repute, with Maj.-Gen. Sir A. Murray as chief of staff.  Other noted officers were Lieut.-Gen. Sir Douglas Haig, commander of the First Corps; Lieut.-Gen. Sir James Grierson, commander of the Second Corps; Maj.-Gen. W. P. Pulteney, commander of the Third Corps, and Maj.-Gen. Edmund Allenby, in command of the Cavalry Division.  The home army was left in command of Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton.

Hardly had the expedition landed in France when the death was reported of the commander of the Second Corps, Sir James Grierson, who succumbed to heart disease while on his way to the front, dropping dead on a train.  He was given a notable military funeral in London.  Gen. Sir H. L. Smith-Dorrien was appointed to succeed him in command of the Second Corps.

The British troops were received in France with loud acclaim and Field Marshal French, on visiting Paris for a conference at the French war office before proceeding to the front, was greeted by a popular demonstration that showed how welcome British aid was to the French in their critical hour.

The British field force was composed of three army corps, each comprising two divisions, and there was also an extra cavalry division.

Each army corps consists of twenty-four infantry battalions of about one thousand men each on a war footing; six cavalry regiments, eight batteries of horse artillery of six guns each, eighteen batteries of field artillery, two howitzer batteries, and troops of engineers, signal corps, army service corps and other details.

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Thus the first British field force landed in France aggregated about 94,000 men, including the extra Cavalry division.  These were added to almost daily during the following weeks, until by September 20 the British had probably 200,000 men co-operating with the French army north and east of Paris.

COLONIES RALLY TO BRITAIN

At the prospect of war with Germany the dominions of the British Empire overseas eagerly offered their aid.  Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, all came forward with offers of men, money, ships and supplies.  The Australian premier issued a statement to the people in which he said:  “We owe it to those who have gone before to preserve the great fabric of British freedom and hand it on to our children.  Our duty is quite clear.  Remember we are Britons.”

CANADA OFFERS MEN

A formal offer of military contingents was cabled to England by the Canadian government August 1.  A meeting of the cabinet was presided over by Premier Borden.  It was called to deal with the situation in which Canada found herself as the result of the European war.

The government unanimously decided to make England an offer of men.  Infantry, cavalry and artillery would be included in any force sent forward and it would number 20,000 men if transportation could be obtained for that number.  It was estimated that within two weeks it would be possible to dispatch 10,000 efficient soldiers, and within three months this number could be increased to 50,000.

Many offers for foreign service arrived from the commandants of militia corps throughout the dominion.  In all 40,000 Canadian troops were tendered to and accepted by the British Government in the early days of the war; also 20,000 men from Australia and 8,000 from New Zealand, a total of 68,000 men.

By the request of the Dominions in each case, the cost of the equipment, maintenance and pay of the forces was defrayed by the three governments—­in itself a generous and patriotic additional offer.  The Dominions at the same time declared their readiness to send additional contingents if required, as well as drafts from time to time to maintain their field forces at full strength.

TROOPSHIPS SAIL UNDER CONVOY

The first intimation that Canadian troops had been dispatched to the front from Valcartier Camp came on September 24, when the Hon. T. W. Crothers, the Dominion minister of labor, announced in a speech before the Canadian Trades and Labor Congress, assembled in convention at St. John, New Brunswick, that 32,000 Canadian volunteers “left for the front a day or two ago.”  It was understood that the troops had sailed from Quebec in twenty armed transports, convoyed by a fleet of British warships, which had been collected at convenient ports for the purpose.

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There were two army divisions in the force that sailed, each comprising three brigades of infantry (12,000 men), 27 guns, 500 cavalry, and 2, staff, signallers, medical corps and supermimaries.

THE FINAL REVIEW AT VALCARTIER

Before they sailed away the Canadian army marched past the reviewing stand at the Valcartier Camp, Quebec, under the eyes of 10, civilians.  There were 32,000 soldiers equipped for active service and everyone was impressed with the serious scene.

The Duke and Duchess of Connaught, the Princess Patricia, Col.  Sam Hughes, the Canadian minister of militia, and Col.  V. H. C. Williams, commandant of the camp, looked on with pride as the great parade, almost a full army corps, passed the royal standard.  They marched in column of half battalions, and took a full hour to go by.  Officers commanding the four infantry brigades:  Lieut.-Col.  R.E.W.  Turner, V.C., D.S.O., of Quebec, a veteran of the South African war, mentioned in dispatches for especially gallant service; Lieut.-Col.  S.M.  Mercer, Toronto, Commanding Officer of the Queen’s Own Rifles; Lieut.-Col.  A.W.  Currie of Victoria, Commanding Officer of the 50th Fusiliers; Lieut.-Col.  J.E.  Cohoe of St. Catharines, Commanding Officer of the 5th Militia Infantry Brigade.

The officer appointed to command the artillery brigade was Lieut.-Col.  H.E.  Burstall of Quebec, of the Artillery Headquarters Staff.

Officer in command of the Strathcona Horse, Lieut.-Col.  A.C.  Macdonnell, D.S.O., of Winnipeg, a South African veteran.

Officer in command of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lieut-Col.  C.M.  Nelles of Toronto, Inspector of Cavalry for Militia Headquarters.

The commanding officer of the whole army division was an English general selected by the British War Office.

It was understood that the Canadian troops would land in the south of England and march through London to training quarters at Aldershot and Salisbury Plains, the infantry going to Aldershot and the artillery to Salisbury Plains, for several weeks’ training under active service conditions before going to the firing line.

CANADA FIGHTS AGAINST AUTOCRACY

“Canada will spend its last dollar and shed its last drop of blood fighting for the principle of democracy, against that of autocracy, as exemplified in the present European conflict.”

This was the emphatic statement made by Sir Douglas Cameron, lieutenant-governor—­chief executive—­of the province of Manitoba, passing through Chicago on September 28.

“Great Britain is not fighting for empire,” he said.  “It is not fighting for greater commercial gains.  We are fighting for the annihilation of autocracy and it is the sentiment of the people of Canada that they will fight against Germany’s domination to the bitter end.

“England does not want more commerce, except as it can be gained through the paths of peace.  We would not draw the sword to increase it, but we will fight to the last drop of blood to protect it.

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“The men of Canada have responded nobly to the call to arms.  We have sent about 31,800 provincial troops, every one a volunteer, and we have that many more already enlisted if they are needed.  Our trouble is to equip them as fast as they enlist.

“In Canada we are turning our attention to agricultural pursuits.  Wheat is at a premium; a farmer can get from $1 to $1.10 per bushel in cash for wheat on his wagon.  All Europe will be in dire need of foodstuffs next year and for some years to come and we in Canada hope to profit by the opportunity.

“Economic conditions in the dominion received a terrible blow when the war came; we were shocked, staggered, and business has received a hard setback; finances are depressed.  The government has offered help to the banks, but they do not need it yet.

“We want immigrants in our country—­Germans or any other good, strong, virile nationality.  We have no quarrel with the German people.  We like them; they are used to a high standard of living and are the finest kind of citizens.

“To my mind, this war cannot be of long duration.  Germany, with all its preparedness, could not lay by stores enough to support 65,000, people for any great length of time when there is no raw material coming in.  The country will be starved out, if not beaten in the field, for I do not believe Germany can gain control of the high seas and cover the world with its merchantmen.”

INDIAN TROOPS CALLED FOR

The announcement by Lord Kitchener in the House of Commons late in August that native troops from India were to be summoned to the aid of the British army in France “came like a crash of thunder and revealed a grim determination to fight the struggle out to a successful finish.”

There was some talk in England of increasing the army by temporary conscription, but Premier Asquith declined to consider any such proposal.

In the House of Commons on September 9 a message was read from the Viceroy of India, which said that the rulers of the Indian native states, nearly 700 in number, had with one accord rallied to the defense of the empire with personal offers of services as well as the resources of their states.

Many of the native rulers of India also sent cables to King George offering him their entire military and financial resources, while the people of India by thousands offered to volunteer.

Conditions in India were indeed so satisfactory, from the British standpoint, that Premier Asquith was able to announce that two divisions (40,000) of British (white) soldiers were to be removed from India.

The aid that India could offer was not lightly to be considered.  The soldiery retained by the British and the rajahs, constituting India’s standing army, amount to about 400,000, not taking into consideration the reserves and the volunteers.  The rajahs maintain about 23, soldiers, who are named Imperial Service Troops, expressly for purposes of Imperial defense, and these have served in many wars.  They served with British, German, French, and United States troops in China from September, 1900, to August, 1901, and gained the highest laurels for efficiency and good conduct.

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The first Indian troops called for by Lord Kitchener included two divisions of infantry and a brigade of cavalry, adding about 70, combatants to the allied armies in France, with approximately 130 pieces of artillery, both light and heavy, and howitzers.

Twelve Indian potentates were selected to accompany this expeditionary force.  These included the veteran Sir Pertab Singh, regent of Jodhpur; Sir Ganga Bahadur, Maharajah of Bikanir, and Sir Bhupindra Singh, Maharajah of Patiala.

The expeditionary force contained units of the regular army and contingents of the Imperial Service Troops in India, From twelve states the viceroy accepted contingents of cavalry, infantry, sappers and transport, besides a camel corps from Bikanir.

The Maharajah of Mysore placed $1,600,000 at the disposal of the Government in connection with the expenditure for the expeditionary force.  In addition to this gift, the Maharajahs of Gwalior and Bhopal contributed large sums of money and provided thousands of horses as remounts.  Maharajah Repa offered his troops and treasure, even his privately-owned jewelry, for the service of the British King and Emperor of India.  Maharajah Holkar of Indore made a gift of all the horses in the army of his state.

A similar desire to help the British Government was shown by committees representing religious, political, and social associations of all classes and creeds in India.

In the House of Lords on August 28 Earl Kitchener announced that the first division of the troops from India was already on the way to the front in France.  At the same time the Marquis of Crewe, secretary of state for India, said:  “It has been deeply impressed upon us by what we have heard from India that the wonderful wave of enthusiasm and loyalty now passing over that country is to a great extent based upon the desire of the Indian people that Indian soldiers should stand side by side with their comrades of the British army in repelling the invasion of our friends’ territory and the attack made upon Belgium.  We shall find our army there reinforced by native Indian soldiers—­high-souled men of first-rate training and representing an ancient civilization; and we feel certain that if they are called upon they will give the best possible account of themselves side by side with our British troops in encountering the enemy.”

KING GEORGE PRAISES COLONIES

On September 9 a message from King George to the British colonies, thanking them for their aid in Britain’s emergency, was published as follows: 

“During the last few weeks the peoples of my whole empire at home and overseas have moved with one mind and purpose to confront and overthrow an unparalleled assault upon the continuity of civilization and the peace of mankind.

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“The calamitous conflict is not of my seeking.  My voice has been cast throughout on the side of peace.  My ministers earnestly strove to allay the causes of the strife and to appease differences with which my empire was not concerned.  Had I stood aside when in defiance of pledges to which my kingdom was a party, the soil of Belgium was violated and her cities made desolate, when the very life of the French nation was threatened with extinction, I should have sacrificed my honor and given to destruction the liberties of my empire and of mankind.

“I rejoice that every part of the empire is with me in this decision.

“Paramount regard for a treaty of faith and the pledged word of rulers and peoples is the common heritage of Great Britain and of the empire.  My peoples in the self-governing dominions have shown beyond all doubt that they whole-heartedly indorse the grave decision it was necessary to take, and I am proud to be able to show to the world that my peoples oversea are as determined as the people of the United Kingdom to prosecute a just cause to a successful end.

“The Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia and the Dominion of New Zealand have placed at my disposal their naval forces, which have already rendered good service for the empire.  Strong expeditionary forces are being prepared in Canada, Australia and New Zealand for service at the front, and the Union of South Africa has released all British troops and undertaken other important military responsibilities.

“Newfoundland has doubled the number of its branch of the royal naval reserve, and is sending a body of men to take part in the operations at the front.  From the Dominion and Provincial governments of Canada, large and welcome gifts of supplies are on their way for use both by my naval and military forces.

“All parts of my oversea dominions have thus demonstrated in the most unmistakable manner the fundamental unity of the empire amidst all its diversity of situation and circumstance.”

A message similar to the foregoing was addressed by King George to the princes and the people of India.

The King’s eldest son, the young Prince of Wales, volunteered for active service at the outset of the war and was gazetted as a second lieutenant in the First Battalion, Grenadier Guards.  He also inaugurated and acted as treasurer of a national fund for the relief of sufferers by the war.  This fund soon grew to $10,000,000 and steadily climbed beyond that amount.

CHAPTER IX

EARLY BATTLES OF THE WAR

Belgian Resistance to the German Advance—­The Fighting at Vise, Haelen, Diest, Aerschot and Tirlemont—­Mons and Charleroi the First Great Battles of the War—­Make a Gallant Stand, but Forced to Retire Across the French Border_.

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From the first day of the German entry into Belgium brief and hazy reports of battles between the patriotic Belgians and the invaders came across the Atlantic.  Many absurd and mischievous reports of repeated Belgian “victories” were received throughout the month of August.  These were for the most part rendered ridiculous by the steady advance of the German troops.  The resistance of the Belgians was gallant and persistent, but availed only to hinder and delay the German advance which it was powerless to stop.  Up to August 23, there were no “victories” possible for either side, because never until then were the opposing armies definitely pitted against each other in an engagement in which one or the other must be broken.

All the time these Belgian “victories,” which were no more than resistances to German reconnoissances, were being reported, the German line was not touched, and behind that line the Germans were methodically massing.

When they were ready they came on.  The Belgian army retired from the Diest-Tirlemont line, from Aerschot and Louvain, from Brussels, because to have held these positions against the overwhelming force opposed to them would have meant certain destruction.  The rearguards held each of these points with the greatest heroism so long as that was necessary, and then retired in good order on the main force.

VISE ATTACKED AND FIRED

The first fighting of any severity in Belgium occurred at Vise, near the frontier, early in the German advance.  German troops crossed the frontier in motors, followed by large bodies of cavalry, but the Belgians put up a stubborn resistance.  The chiefs of the Belgian staff had foreseen the invasion and had blown up the bridges of the River Meuse outside the town, as well as the railway tunnels.  Time after time the Belgians foiled with their heavy fire the attempts of the Germans to cross by means of pontoons.  Vise itself was stubbornly defended.  Only after a protracted struggle did the Germans master the town, which they fired in several places on entering.

BATTLES OF HAELEN-DIEST

At the end of the first week of the Belgian invasion it was estimated that the Germans had concentrated most of their field troops, probably about 900,000 combatants, along a 75-mile line running from Liege to the entrance into Luxemburg at Treves.  With this immense army it was said there were no less than 5,894 pieces of artillery.  This was only the first-line strength of the Germans, the reserves being massed in the rear.  Part of the right wing was swung northward and westward in the direction of Antwerp, and swept the whole of northern Belgium to the Dutch frontier.

On August 10 the Belgian defenders fought a heavy engagement with the Germans at Haelen, which was described in the dispatches as the first battle of the war.  A Belgian victory was claimed as the result, the German losses, it was said, being very heavy, especially in cavalry, while the Belgian casualties were reported relatively small.  But the German advance was merely checked.  The covering troops were speedily reinforced from the main body of the army and the advance swept on.

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The result of the Haelen engagement was thus described in the dispatches of August 13: 

“The battle centered around Haelen, in the Belgian province of Limbourg, extending to Diest, in the north of the province of Brabant, after passing round Zeelhem.

“At 7 o’clock last evening all the country between the three towns mentioned had been cleared of German troops, except the dead and wounded, who were thickly strewn about the fire zone.  Upward of 200 dead German soldiers were counted in a space of fifty yards square.

“A church, a brewery and some houses in Haelen. were set afire, and two bridges over the Denier were destroyed by Belgian engineers.

“Great quantities of booty were collected on the battlefield, and this has been stacked in front of the town hall of Diest.  Many horses also were captured.

“The strength of the German column was about 5,000 men.”

Another report said of the encounter: 

“A division of Belgian cavalry, supported by a brigade of infantry and by artillery, engaged and defeated, near the fortress of Diest, eighteen miles northeast of Louvain, a division of German cavalry, also supported by infantry and by artillery.

“The fighting was extremely fierce and resulted in the Germans being thrown back toward Hasselt and St. Trond.”

Meanwhile the forts at Liege, to the southeast, still held out, though fiercely bombarded by German siege guns.  The fortress of Namur was also being attacked.  The Germans had bridged the river Meuse and were moving their crack artillery against the Belgian lines.  French troops had joined the Belgian defenders and the main battle line extended from Liege on the north to Metz on the south.

A visit to Haelen and other towns by a Brussels correspondent August 17, “showed the frightful devastation which the Germans perpetrated in Belgian territory.

“For instance, at Haelen itself houses belonging to the townspeople have been completely wrecked.  Windows were broken, furniture destroyed, and the walls demolished by shell fire.  Even the churches have not been respected.  The parish church at Haelen has been damaged considerably from shrapnel fire, “On the battlefield there are many graves of Germans marked by German lances erected in the form of a cross.”

ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF DIEST

A correspondent of the New York Tribune said: 

“Across the battlefield of Diest there is a brown stretch of harrowed ground half a furlong in length.  It is the grave of twelve hundred Germans who fell in the fight of August 11.  All over the field there are other graves, some of Germans, some of Belgians, some of horses.  When I reached the place peasants with long mattocks and spades were turning in the soil.  For two full days they had been at the work of burial and they were sick at heart.  Their corn is ripe for cutting in the battlefield, but little of it will be harvested.  Dark paths in their turnip fields are sodden with the blood of men and horses.”

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The Belgians, in contempt of German markmanship, had forced the enemy to the attack, which had been made from three points of the field simultaneously.  The fighting had been fierce, but now that both sides had swept on, no one seemed to know how those in the fight had really fared.  Only by the heaps of dead could one make estimate: 

“At least, there were most dead on the side toward the bridge.  A charge of 300 Uhlans, who were held in check for a short time by seventeen Belgians at a corner, seems, however, to have come near success.  The derelict helmets and lances that covered the fields show that the charge pressed well up to the guns and to the trenches in the turnip fields where the Belgian soldiers lay.  On the German left mitrailleuses got in their work behind, and in the houses on the outskirts of the villages.  Five of these houses were burned to the ground, and two others farther out broken all to pieces and burned.  In a shed was a peasant weeping over the dead bodies of his cows.

“It would be easy now at the beginning of this war to write of its tragedy.  The villages have each a tale of loss to tell.  All of the twelve hundred men in the long grave were men with wives, sweethearts, and parents.  All the Belgian soldiers and others who were buried where they fell have mourners.  A LETTER FROM THE GRAVE

“A letter which I picked up on the field and am endeavoring to have identified and sent her for whom it is intended will speak for all.  It is written in ink on half a sheet of thin notepaper.  There is no date and no place.  It probably was written on the eve of battle in the hope that it would reach its destination if the writer died.  This is the translation: 

“’Sweetheart:  Fate in this present war has treated us more cruelly than many others.  If I have not lived to create for you the happiness of which both our hearts dreamed, remember my sole wish now is that you should be happy.  Forget me and create for yourself some happy home that may restore to you some of the greater pleasures of life.  For myself, I shall have died happy in the thought of your love.  My last thought has been for you and for those I leave at home.  Accept this, the last kiss from him who loved you.’

“Postcards from fathers with blessings to their gallant sons I found, too, on the field, little mementos of people and of places carried by men as mascots.  Everywhere were broken lances of German and Belgian, side by side; scabbards and helmets, saddles and guns.  These the peasants were collecting in a pile, to be removed by the military.  High up over the graves of twelve hundred, as we stood there, a German biplane came and went, hovering like a carrion crow, seeking other victims for death.

“In the village itself death is still busy.  A wounded German died as we stood by his side and a Belgian soldier placed his handkerchief over his face.  Soldiers who filled the little market-place may be fighting for life now as I write.  The enemy is in force not a mile away from them, and in a moment they may be attacked.  It is significant that all German prisoners believed they were in France.  The deception, it appears, was necessary to encourage them in their attack, and twelve hundred dead in the harrowed field died without knowing whom or what they were fighting.”

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THOUGHT THEY WERE IN FRANCE

A number of German prisoners were taken by the Belgians during the fighting at Haelen-Diest.  From these it was learned that the German soldiers really believed they were fighting in France.  At Diest it is said that 400 surrendered the moment they lost their officers and were surprised to learn that they were in Belgium.

King Albert of Belgium was constantly in the field during the early engagements of the war, moving from point to point inside the Belgian lines by means of a high-powered automobile, in which he was slightly wounded by the explosion of a shell.  He was thus enabled to keep in touch with the field forces, as well as with his general staff, and speedily endeared himself to the Belgian soldiery by his personal disregard of danger.

The Belgians by their gallant fight against the trained legions of Germany quickly won the admiration even of their foes.  The army of Belgium was brought up to its full strength of 300,000 men and everywhere the soldiers of the little country battled to halt the invaders.  Often their efforts proved effective.  The losses on both sides were truly appalling, the Germans suffering most on account of their open methods of attack in close order.  But their forces were like the sands of the sea and every gap in the ranks of the onrushing host was promptly filled by more Germans.

TIRLEMONT AKD LOUVAIN

The fighting at Tirlemont and Louvain was described by a citizen of Ostend, who says he witnessed it from a church tower at Tirlemont first and later proceeded to Louvain.  He says: 

“Until luncheon time Tuesday, August 18, Tirlemont was quiet and normal.  Suddenly, about 1 o’clock, came the sound of the first German gun.  The artillery had opened fire.

“From the church tower it was possible to see distinctly the position of the German guns and the bursting of their shells.  The Belgians replied from their positions east of Louvain.  It was a striking sight, to the accompaniment of the ceaseless thud-thud of bursting shells with their puffs of cottonlike smoke, tearing up the peaceful wheat fields not far away.

BELGIANS RETIRE AT LOUVAIN

“Gradually working nearer, the shells began to strike the houses in Tirlemont.  This was a signal for the populace, which had been confident that the Belgian army would protect them, to flee.  All they knew was that the Germans were coming.  From the tower the scene was like the rushing of rats from a disturbed nest.  The people fled in every direction except one.

“I moved down to Louvain, where everything seemed quiet and peaceful.  The people sat in the cafes drinking their evening beer and smoking.  Meanwhile the Belgian troops were retiring in good order toward Louvain.

TOWN IN PANIC WITH REFUGEES

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“By midnight the town was in the throes of a panic.  Long before midnight throngs of refugees had begun to arrive, followed later by soldiers.  By 11 o’clock the Belgian rear guard was engaging the enemy at the railroad bridge at the entrance to the town.

“The firing was heavy.  The wounded began to come in.  Riderless horses came along, both German and Belgian.  These were caught and mounted by civilians glad to have so rapid a mode of escape.

TROOPS HINDERED BY CIVILIANS

“I remember watching a black clad Belgian woman running straight down the middle of a road away from the Germans.  Behind her came the retiring Belgian troops, disheartened but valiant.  This woman, clad in mourning, was the symbol of the Belgian populace.

“At some of the barricades along the route the refugees and soldiers arrived simultaneously, making the defense difficult.  All about Tirlemont and Louvain the refugees interfered with the work of the troops.  The road to Brussels always was crowded with refugees and many sorrowful sights were witnessed among them as they fled from the homes that had been peaceful and prosperous a few days before.  BRUSSELS FILLED WITH REFUGEES

“Brussels is filled with refugees from surrounding towns, despite the large numbers who left the city for Ghent and Ostend during the last few days,” said a correspondent, writing from Ghent on August 20.

“The plight of most of the refugees is pitiable.  Many are camped in the public square whose homes in the suburbs have been fired by the Prussians.  The roads leading into Brussels have been crowded all day with all kinds of conveyances, many drawn by dogs and others by girls, women and aged peasants.

“Most of these people have lost everything.  Few of them have any money.  The peasant is considered lucky who succeeded in saving a single horse or a cow.

“Military men characterize the German force which is moving across Belgium as overwhelming, saying it consists of at least two or three army corps.  The advance of this huge force is covered over the entire thirty-mile front by a screen of cavalry.  The Germans had no difficulty in taking Louvain, which was virtually undefended.

“In the high wooded country between Louvain and Brussels the Germans found an excellent defensive position.  Having occupied Louvain, the Kaiser’s troops pushed forward with great celerity, the cavalry opening out in fan-shaped formation, spreading across country.

“At one point they ran into a strong force of Belgian artillery, which punished them severely.  Later in the day a Belgian scouting force reached Louvain and found it unoccupied, but received imperative orders to fall back, because of the danger of being outflanked and annihilated.”

ALLIES MEET THE INVADERS

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By August 20 the Germans were in touch with the French army that had advanced into Belgium and occupied the line Dinant-Charleroi-Mons, the right of the French resting on Dinant and the left on Mons, where they were reinforced by the British expeditionary force under Field Marshal French.  There was a heavy engagement at Charleroi, and a four days’ battle was begun at Mons August 23.  Slowly but surely the Franco-British army was forced back across the French border, to take up a new position on the line, Noyon-Chant-La Fere, which constituted the second line of the French defense.

The German right, opposing the British, was under command of General von Kluck; General von Buelow and General von Hausen commanded the German center opposing the Franco-Belgian forces between the Sambre and Namur and the Meuse.  The Grand Duke Albrecht of Wuerttemberg operated between Charleroi and the French border fortress of Maubeuge.  The German Crown Prince led an army farther east, advancing toward the Meuse.  The Crown Prince of Bavaria commanded the German forces farther south toward Nancy, and General von Heeringen was engaged in repulsing French attacks on Alsace-Lorraine, in the region of the Vosges mountains, where the French had met with early successes.

Meanwhile on August 18 the town of Aerschot had been the scene of a bloody engagement and was occupied and partly destroyed by the Germans.  The occupation of Brussels followed on August 20-21 and the German line of communications was kept open by a line of occupied towns.

After overwhelming the Belgians the Kaiser’s great advance army swept quickly into deadly conflict with the allies.  The first mighty shock came at Charleroi, where the French were forced back, and on August came the first battle with the British at Mons.

THE BATTLE OF MONS——­FOUR DAYS OF FIGHTING——­RETREAT OF THE ALLIES

All England was thrilled on the morning of September 10 when the British government permitted the newspapers to publish the first report from Field Marshal Sir John D.P.  French, commander-in-chief of the British army allied with the French and Belgians on the continent, telling of the heroic fight made by the British troops, August 23-26, to keep from being annihilated by the Germans.  The withdrawal of the British army before the German advance was compared to the pursuit of a wildcat by hounds, the English force backing stubbornly toward the River Oise, constantly showing its teeth, but realizing that it must reach the river or perish.  The report of Field Marshal French created much surprise in England, as it was not known until his statement was made public just how hard pressed the British army had been.

The communication was addressed to Earl Kitchener, the secretary for war, and its publication indicated that the government was responding to the public demand for fuller information on the progress of operations, so far as the British forces in France were concerned.

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The report, as published in the London Gazette, the official organ, was as follows: 

FIELD MARSHAL FRENCH’S REPORT

“The transportation of the troops from England by rail and sea was effected in the best order and without a check.  Concentration was practically completed on the evening of Friday, August 21, and I was able to make dispositions to move the force during Saturday to positions I considered most favorable from which to commence the operations which General Joffre requested me to undertake.  The line extended along the line of the canal from Conde on the west, through Mons and Binche on the east.

“During August 22 and 23 the advance squadrons did some excellent work, some of them penetrating as far as Soignies (a town of Belgium ten miles northeast of Mons) and several encounters took place in which our troops showed to great advantage.

“On Sunday, the 23d, reports began to come in to the effect that the enemy was commencing an attack on the Mons line, apparently in some strength, but that the right of the position from Mons was being particularly threatened.

“The commander of the First Corps had pushed his flank back to some high ground south of Bray and the Fifth Cavalry evacuated Binche, moving slightly south.  The enemy thereupon occupied Binche.  “The right of the third division under General Hamilton was at Mons, which formed a somewhat dangerous salient and I directed the commander of the Second Corps if threatened seriously to draw back the center behind Mons.

“In the meantime, about five in the afternoon, I received a most unexpected message from General Joffre by telegraph, telling me that at least three German corps were moving on my position in front and that a second corps was engaged in a turning movement from the direction of Tournai.  He also informed me that the two reserve French divisions and the Fifth French Army Corps on my right were retiring.

CHOSE A NEW POSITION

“In view of the possibility of my being driven from the Mons position, I had previously ordered a position in the rear to be reconnoitered.

“This position rested on the fortress of Maubeuge on the right and extended west to Jenlain, southeast of Valenciennes on the left.  The position was reported difficult to hold because standing crops and buildings limited the fire in many important localities.

“When the news of the retirement of the French and the heavy German threatening on my front reached me, I endeavored to confirm it by aeroplane reconnaissance, and as a result of this I determined to effect a retirement to the Maubeuge position at daybreak on the 24th.

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“A certain amount of fighting continued along the whole line throughout the night and at daybreak on the 24th the second division from the neighborhood of Harmignies made a powerful demonstration as if to retake Binche.  This was supported by the artillery of both the first and the second divisions while the first division took up a supporting position in the neighborhood of Peissant.  Under cover of this demonstration The Second Corps retired on the line of Dour, Quarouble and Frameries.  The third division on the right of the corps suffered considerable loss in this operation from the enemy, who had retaken Mons.

“The Second Corps halted on this line, where they intrenched themselves, enabling Sir Douglas Haig, with the First Corps, to withdraw to the new position.

NIGHT ATTACK ON THE LEFT

“Toward midnight the enemy appeared to be directing his principal effort against our left.  I had previously ordered General Allenby with the cavalry to act vigorously in advance of my left front and endeavor to take the pressure off.

“About 7:30 in the morning General Allenby received a message from Sir Charles Fergusson, commanding the fifth division, saying he was very hard pressed and in urgent need of support.  On receipt of this message General Allenby drew in his cavalry and endeavored to bring direct support to the fifth division.

“During the course of this operation General DeLisle of the Second Cavalry Brigade thought he saw a good opportunity to paralyze the further advance of the enemy’s infantry by making a mounted attack on his flank.  He formed up and advanced for this purpose, but was held up by wire about 500 yards from his objective.

GENERAL SMITH-DORRIEN IN RETREAT

“The Nineteenth Infantry Brigade was brought by rail to Valenciennes on the 22d and 23d.  On the morning of the 24th, they were moved out to a position south of Quarouble to support the left flank of the Second Corps.  With the assistance of cavalry Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was enabled to effect his retreat to a new position.

“At nightfall a position was occupied by the Second Corps to the west of Bavay, the First Corps to the right.  The right was protected by the fortress of Maubeuge, the left by the Nineteenth Brigade in position between Jenlain and Bavay and cavalry on the outer flank.  The French were still retiring and I had no support except such as was afforded by the fortress of Maubeuge.

ARMY IN GEEAT PERIL

“I felt that not a moment must be lost in retiring to another position.  I had every reason to believe that the enemy’s forces were somewhat exhausted and I knew that they had suffered heavy losses.  The operation, however, was full of danger and difficulty, not only owing to the very superior forces in my front, but also to the exhaustion of the troops.  “The retirement was recommenced in the early morning of the 25th to a position in the neighborhood of Le Catean and the rear guard were ordered to be clear of Maubeuge and Bavay by 5:30 a. m.

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“The fourth division commenced its detrainment at Le Cateau on Sunday, August 23, and by the morning of the 25th eleven battalions and a brigade of artillery with the divisional staff were available for service.  I ordered General Snow to move out to take up a position with his right south of Solesmes, his left resting on the Cambrai-Le Cateau road south of La Chapriz.  In this position the division rendered great help.

“Although the troops had been ordered to occupy Cam-brai-Le Cateau-Landrecies position and ground had, during the 25th, been partially prepared and entrenched, I had grave doubts as to the wisdom of standing there to fight.

“Having regard to the continued retirement of the French right, my exposed left flank, the tendency of the enemy’s western corps to envelop me, and, more than all, the exhausted condition of the troops, I determined to make a great effort to continue the retreat till I could put some substantial obstacle, such as the Somme or the Oise between my troops and the enemy.

RETREAT IS ORDERED

“Orders were therefore sent to the corps commanders to continue their retreat as soon as they possibly could toward the general line of Vermand, St. Quentin and Ribemont, and the cavalry under General Allenby were ordered to cover the retirement.  Throughout the 25th and far into the evening the First Corps continued to march on Landrecies, following the road along the eastern border of the forest of Mormal, and arrived at Landrecies about 10 o’clock.  I had intended that the corps should come further west so as to fill up the gap between Le Cateau and Landrecies, but the men were exhausted and could not get further in without a rest.

“The enemy, however, would not allow them this rest and about 9:  that evening the report was received that the Fourth Guards brigade in Landrecies was heavily attacked by troops of the Ninth German army corps, who were coming through the forest to the north of the town.

FRENCH AID IS GIVEN

“At the same time information reached me from Sir Douglas Haig that his first division was also heavily engaged south and east of Marilles.  I sent urgent messages to the commander of two French reserve divisions on my right to come up to the assistance of the First Corps, which they eventually did.

“By about 6 in the afternoon the Second Corps had got Into position, with their right on Le Cateau, their left in the neighborhood of Caudry, and the line of defense was continued thence by the fourth division toward Seranvillers.

“During the fighting on the 24th and 25th the cavalry became a good deal scattered, but by early morning of the 26th General Allenby had succeeded in concentrating two brigades to the south of Cambrai.

“On the 24th the French cavalry corps, consisting of three divisions under General Sordet, had been in billets, north of Avesnes.  On my way back from Vavay, which was my paste de commandemente during the fighting of the 23d and the 24th, I visited General Sordet and earnestly requested his cooperation and support.  He promised to obtain sanction from his army commander to act on my left flank, but said that his horses were too tired to move before the next day.

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“Although he rendered me valuable assistance later on in the course of the retirement, he was unable for the reasons given to afford me any support on the most critical day of all—­namely, the 26th.

GERMANS USE HEAVY GUNS

“At daybreak it became apparent that the enemy was throwing the bulk of his strength against the left of the position occupied by the Second Corps and the fourth division.  At this time the guns of four German army corps were in position against them, and Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien reported to me that he judged it impossible to continue his retirement at daybreak.

“I sent him orders to use his utmost endeavors to break off the action and retire at the earliest possible moment, as it was impossible for me to send him support.

“The French cavalry corps under General Sordet was coming up on our left rear early in the morning, and I sent him an urgent message to do his utmost to come up and support the retirement of my left flank, but owing to the fatigue of his horses he found himself unable to intervene in any way.

“There had been no time to intrench the position properly, but the troops showed a magnificent front to the terrible fire which confronted them.

ARMY FACED ANNIHILATION

“At length it became apparent that if complete annihilation was to be avoided retirement must be attempted, and the order was given to commence it about 3:30 in the afternoon.  The movement was covered with most devoted intrepidity and determination by the artillery, which had itself suffered heavily, and the fine work done by the cavalry in the further retreat from the position assisted materially the final completion of this most difficult and dangerous operation.

“I cannot close the brief account of this glorious stand of the British troops without putting on record my deep appreciation of the valuable services rendered by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien.  I say without hesitation that the saving of the left wing of the army under my command on the morning of the 26th could never have been accomplished unless a commander of rare and unusual coolness, intrepidity and determination bad been present to personally conduct the operations.

“The retreat was continued far into the night of the 26th and through the 27th and the 28th, on which date the troops halted on the line from Noyon, Chauny and LeFere.

PRAISES SORDET’S HELP

“On the 27th and 28th I was much indebted to General Sordet and the French cavalry division which he commands for materially assisting my retirement and successfully driving back some of the enemy on Cambrai.  General d’Amade also, with the Sixty-first and Sixty-second Reserve divisions, moved down from the neighborhood of Arras on the enemy’s right flank and took much pressure off the rear of the British forces.

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“This closed the period covering the heavy fighting which commenced at Mons on Sunday afternoon, August 23, and which really constituted a four days’ battle.

“I deeply deplore the very serious losses which the British forces suffered in this great battle, but they were inevitable, in view of the fact that the British army—­only a few days after concentration by rail—­was called upon to withstand the vigorous attack of five German army corps.

“It is impossible for me to speak too highly of the skill evinced by the two general officers commanding army corps, the self-sacrificing and devoted exertions of their staffs, the direction of troops by the divisional, brigade and regimental leaders, the command of small units by their officers and the magnificent fighting spirit displayed by the noncommissioned officers and men.

[Signed] “J.  D. P. FRENCH, “Field Marshal.”

TOLD BY A WOUNDED SOLDIER

A British soldier, who was wounded in the fight during the retreat from Mons, told the following story of the battle there: 

“It was Sunday, August 23, and the British regiments at Mons were merry-making and enjoying themselves in leisure along the streets.  Belgian ladies, returning from church, handed the soldiers their prayer books as souvenirs, while the Belgian men gave the men cigarettes and tobacco.

“About noon, when the men were beginning to think about dinner, a German aeroplane appeared overhead and began throwing out a cloud of black powder, which is one of their favorite methods of assisting batteries to get the range.

“No sooner had the powder cloud appeared than shrapnel began to burst overhead and in a moment all was confusion and uproar.  But it didn’t take the regiments long to get into fighting trim and race through the city to the scene of operations, which was on the other side of the small canal, in the suburbs.  “Here our outposts were engaging the enemy fiercely.  The outposts lost very heavily, most of the damage being done by shells.  The rifle fire was ineffective, although at times the lines of contenders were not more than 300 yards apart.

“The first reinforcements to arrive were posted in a glass factory, the walls of which were loop-holed, and we doggedly held that position until nightfall, when we fixed bayonets and lay in wait in case the enemy made an attempt to rush the position in the darkness.

DESTROY BRIDGES BEHIND THEM

“About midnight orders came to retire over the canal and two companies were left behind to keep the enemy in check temporarily.  After the main body had crossed the bridge was blown up, leaving the two outpost companies to get across as best they could by boats or swimming.  Most of them managed to reach the main body again.

“The main body retired from the town and fell back through open country, being kept moving all night.  When daylight arrived it was apparent from higher ground that Mons had been practically blown away by the German artillery.

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“Throughout the morning we continued to fight a rearguard action, but the steady march in retreat did not stop until 6 o’clock in the evening, when the British found themselves well out of range of the German artillery in a quiet valley.

“Here all the troops were ordered to rest and eat.  As they had been without food since the previous morning’s breakfast it was rather amusing to see the soldiers going into the turnip fields and eating turnips as though they were apples.

“At 8 o’clock all lights were extinguished, the soldiers were ordered to make no noise and the pickets pushed a long distance backward.  Long before dawn the troops were hastily started again and continued the retirement.

“By noon the enemy was again heard from and a large detachment was assigned the task of fighting to protect our rear.

WATCH DUEL IN AIR

“During the afternoon both the German and British armies watched a duel in the air between French and German aeroplanes.  The Frenchman was wonderfully clever, and succeeded in maneuvering himself to the upper position, which he gained after fifteen minutes of reckless effort.  Then the Frenchman began blazing away at the German with a revolver.

“Finally he hit him, and the wounded German attempted to glide down into his own lines.  The glide, however, ended in the British lines near my detachment, the West Kent Infantry.  We found the aviator dead when we reached the machine.  We buried him and burned the aeroplane.

“At dusk a halt was made for food, and as the Germans had fallen behind the English spent a quiet night.  At dawn, however, we found the Germans close to our heels, and several regiments were ordered to prepare intrenchments.  This is tedious and tiresome work, especially in the heat and without proper food, but we quickly put up fortifications which were sufficient to protect us somewhat from the artillery fire.

“It was not long before the German gunners found the range and began tearing up those rough fortifications, concentrating their fire on the British batteries, one of which was completely demolished.  Another found itself with only six men.  Both these disasters bore testimony to the excellent markmanship of the German gunners.

OFFICER, SPIKES THE GUNS

“As it became evident that we must leave these guns behind and continue the retreat, an officer was seen going around putting the guns out of action, so that they would be of no use to the Germans.  His action required cool bravery, because the Germans, having found the range, continued firing directly at these batteries.

“Things rapidly got hotter, and the commanding officer ordered a double-quick retreat.  We were not long in doing the retiring movement to save our own skins.

“I was wounded at this time by a Maxim bullet.  For a moment I thought my head had been blown off, but I recovered and kept on running until I reached a trench, where I had an opportunity to bandage the wound.  I rushed off to the ambulances, but found the doctors so busy with men worse off than I that I went back to my place in the line.”

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THE BATTLE AT CHABLEROI

The loss of life in the Franco-German battle near Charleroi was admittedly the greatest of any engagement up to that time.  It was at Charleroi that the Germans struck their most terrific blow at the allies’ lines in their determination to gain the French frontier.  Though the tide of battle ebbed and flowed for awhile the French were finally forced to give way and to retreat behind their own frontier, while the British were being forced back from their position at Mons. The fighting along the line was of the fiercest kind.  It was a titanic clash of armies in which the allies were compelled to yield ground before the superior numbers of the German host.

One of the wounded, who was taken to hospital at Dieppe, said of the fighting at Charleroi: 

“Our army was engaging what we believed to be a section of the German forces commanded by the crown prince when I was wounded.  The Germans at one stage of the battle seemed lost.  They had been defending themselves almost entirely with howitzers from strongly intrenched positions.  The Germans were seemingly surrounded and cut off and were summoned to surrender.  The reply came back that so long as they had ammunition they would continue to fight.

“The howitzer shells of the Germans seemed enormous things and only exploded when they struck the earth.  When one would descend it would dig a hole a yard deep and split into hundreds of pieces.  Peculiarly enough the howitzer shells did much more wounding than killing.  The other shells of the Germans, like cartridges, the supply of which they seemed to be short of, did only little damage.

AEROS CONSTANTLY ABOVE

“The German aeroplane service was perfect.  An aircraft was always hovering over us out of range.  We were certain within an hour after we sighted an aeroplane to get the howitzers among us.  Whenever we fired, however, we did terrific execution with our seventy-five pieces of artillery.  I counted in one trench 185 dead.  Many of them were killed as they were in the act of firing or loading.

“The ground occupied by the Germans was so thick with dead that I believe I saw one soldier to every two yards.  You might have walked for a mile on bodies without ever putting foot to the ground.  They buried their dead when they had time, piling fifteen or twenty in a shallow pit.”

THE FRENCH IN ALSACE-LORRAINE

On August 9 the advance guard brigade of the French right wing, under General Pau, a veteran of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, invaded Alsace, fought a victorious action with an intrenched German force of equal numbers and occupied Muelhausen and Kolmar.  The news of the French entry into the province lost in 1871 was received all over France with wild enthusiasm.  The mourning emblems on the Strasburg monument in Paris were removed by the excited populace and replaced by the tricolor flag and flowers in token of their joy.  Muelhausen was soon after retaken by the German forces, only to be recaptured later by the French and then evacuated once more.

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On the day of the first French occupation of Muelhausen France declared war against Austria in consequence of the arrival of two Austrian army corps on the Rhine to assist the main German army.

After the French occupation of Muelhausen a large German army was sent to the front in Alsace-Lorraine and succeeded in dislodging the French from that city, but not without severe fighting.

Two weeks after the war began the French defeated a Bavarian corps in Alsace and for awhile General Pau more than held his own in that former province of France.  On August 21 the Germans drove back the French who had invaded Lorraine, and occupied Luneville, ten miles inside the French border.

About the same time the French reoccupied Muelhausen, after three days’ fighting around the city.  Another French army was reported to be within nineteen miles of Metz, But before the end of the month the French had been compelled to evacuate both their former provinces.  They continued during September, however, to make frequent assaults on the German frontier positions, but without regaining a sure foothold on German soil, the bulk of their efforts being devoted to the defense of their own frontier strongholds.

FIGHTING AROUND NANCY

An official dispatch from the foreign office in Paris, dated August 28, said: 

“Yesterday the French troops took the offensive in the Vosges mountains and in the region between the Vosges and Nancy, and their offensive has been interrupted, but the German loss has been considerable.
“Our forces found, near Nancy, on a front of three kilometers, 2,500 dead Germans, and near Vitrimont, on a front of four kilometers, 4,500 dead.  Longwy, where the garrison consisted of only one battalion, has capitulated to the Crown Prince of Germany after a siege of twenty-four days.”

FRENCH TRAPPED IN ALSACE

The German view of early operations in Alsace-Lorraine was given in the following dispatch September 2 from the headquarters of the general staff at Aix-la-Chapelle: 

“The French forces were trapped in Alsace-Lorraine.  Realizing that the French temperament was more likely to be swayed by sentiment than by stern adherence to the rules of actual warfare, the German staff selected its own battle line and waited.  The French did not disappoint.  They rushed across the border.  They took Altkirch with little opposition.  Then they rushed on to Muelhausen.  Through the passes in the Vosges mountains they poured, horse, artillery, foot—­all branches of the service.  Strasburg was to fall and so swift was the French movement that lines of communication were not guarded.
“Then the German general staff struck.  Their troops from Saarburg, from Strasburg and from Metz, under the command of General von Heeringen,

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attacked the French all along the line.  They were utterly crushed.  The Germans took 10,000 Frenchmen prisoners and more than one hundred guns of every description.  Alsace-Lorraine is now reported absolutely cleared of French troops.
“The armies of Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm and of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria are moving in an irresistible manner into France.  In a 3-day battle below Metz the French were terribly cut up and forced to retreat in almost a rout.  It is declared that in this engagement the French lost 151 guns and were unable to make a stand against the victorious Germans until they had passed inside of their secondary line of defense.”

THE GERMAN “SPY POSTERS”

Just prior to the declaration of war, cable dispatches from Paris told of a remarkable series of posters dotting the countryside of France.  These posters, innocently advertising “Bouillon Kub,” a German soup preparation, were so cleverly printed by the German concern advertising the soup, that they would act as signals to German army officers leading their troops through France.

In one of our photographic illustrations, one of these “spy posters” is seen posted on the left of an archway past which the French soldiers are marching en route to meet the Germans near the Alsace frontier.

The ingenuity of the signs was remarkable.  Thus a square yellow poster would carry the information, “Food in abundance found here,” while a round red sign would advertise, “This ground is mined.”  Many geometrical figures and most of the colors were utilized, and animal forms, flowers and even the American Stars and Stripes were employed to convey their messages of information.

The French Minister of the Interior got wind of the system, and orders were telegraphed throughout France to destroy these posters.  Bouillon Kub, therefore, is no longer advertised in France.

A SOLDIER’S EXPERIENCE UNDER FIRE

A wounded French soldier described his experiences under fire during the Alsace campaign.  He said in part:  “There!  A blow in the breast, a tearing in the body, a fall with a loud cry and a terrible pain; there I lay one of the victims of this terrible day.  My first sensation was anger at the blow, my second an expectation of seeing myself explode, for, judging by the sound of the ball, I believed I had a grenade in my body; then came the pain, and with it helplessness and falling.

“Oh, how frightful are those first moments!  Where I was hit, how I was wounded, I could form no idea; I only felt that I could not stir, saw the battalion disappear from sight and myself alone on the ground, amid the fearful howling and whistling of the balls which were incessantly striking the ground around me.

“With difficulty could I turn my head a little, and saw behind me two soldiers attending on a third, who was lying on the ground.  Of what happened I can give no account except that I cried for help several times as well as I could, for the pain and burning thirst had the upper hand.  At last both of them ran to me, and with joy I recognized the doctor and hospital attendant of my company.

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“‘Where are you wounded?’ was the first question.  I could only point.  My blouse was quickly opened, and in the middle of the breast a bloody wound was found.  The balls still constantly whizzed around us; one struck the doctor’s helmet, and immediately I felt a violent blow on the left arm.  Another wound!  With difficulty I was turned round, to look for the outlet of the bullet; but it was still in my body, near the spine.  At last it was cut out.  They were going away—­’The wound in the arm, doctor.’  This, fortunately, was looked for in vain; the ball had merely caused a blue spot and had sunk harmlessly into the ground.

“I extended my hand to the doctor and thanked him, as also the attendant, whom I commissioned to ask the sergeant to send word to my family.  The doctor had carefully placed my cloak over me, with my helmet firmly on my head, in order in some measure to protect me from the leaden hail.

“Thus I lay alone with my own thoughts amid the most terrible fire for perhaps an hour and a half.  All my thoughts, as far as pain and increasing weakness allowed, were fixed on my family.  Gradually I got accustomed to the danger which surrounded me, and only when too much sand from the striking bullets was thrown on my body did I remember my little enviable position.  At last, after long, long waiting, the sanitary detachment came for me.”

THE REAL TRAGEDY OF WAR

It is not a pleasant picture—­this story of the French soldier.  It has little in it of the grandeur, the beat of drums, the sound of martial music, which is supposed to accompany war.  The tread of marching feet has died away, the excitement is gone, and man the demon is supplanted by man the everyday human creature of suffering and home folks and fear.

It is only a personal account of an individual experience, yet in it may be found the real significance and the real tragedy of war; for, after the fighting is over, after the intoxication of legalized murder has gone, after nations turn their attention from victories to men, it is the aggregate of individual experiences which counts the costs of war.

Thousands of German, French, Belgian, Austrian, Russian, and British men in the prime of life have been miserably slain and lie in obscure graves of which the enemy now is the guardian, while others writhe in the agony of lingering wounds or sullenly brood over their fate in the dull routine of military prisons.  In every part of the warring countries mothers weep over the sons they shall see no more, and wives over the husbands snatched from them forever.  In many a mansion, in many a comfortable home, in many a peasant’s cottage, the empty chair is eloquent of the absent father, brother, husband or son who shall be absent forever.

CHAPTER X

GERMAN ADVANCE ON PARIS

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Allies Withdraw for Ten Days, Disputing Every Inch of Ground With the Kaiser’s Troops—­Germans Push Their Way Through France in Three Main Columns—­ Reports of the Withdrawing Engagements—­ Paris Almost in Sight.

Flushed with their successes over the Allies at Mons and Charleroi, the Germans pushed their advance toward the French capital with great celerity and vigor.  During the last week of August and the first few days of September, it appeared inevitable that the experience of Paris in 1870-71 was to be repeated and that a siege of the city by the German forces would follow immediately.

It was conceded that the armies of the Allies had been forced back and that Paris was endangered.  The German advance was general, all along the line.  The flower of the Kaiser’s army had marched through Belgium and pushed back the lines of the Allies to the formidable rows of fortifications that surround Paris.  The Germans advanced in three main columns, constantly in touch with one another, from the right, passing through Mons, Cambrai and Amiens, to the extreme left in Lorraine.  The center threatened Verdun, and from that point the right advance swept through Northern France like an opening fan, with the fortress of Verdun as the pivot.

Three million men were engaged in the main struggle.  When the Germans first reached the Franco-Belgian frontier near Charleroi they were opposed by 700,000 French and 150,000 British troops.  After being driven back the Allies began assembling 1,000,000 men between the frontier and Paris, The Allies hoped to hold the whole German army in check while the Russians pursued their successes in eastern Germany.  French troops guarded the entire frontier, battling to check the other German invading columns.  The holding of the Germans, once they broke through the fortifications that formed the chief reliance of the French, would be impossible.  The next stand would be around Paris, which was well fortified.  The invaders were, of course, attempting to get through where there were no forts.

ALLIES MAKE STRENUOUS RESISTANCE

Strenuous resistance to the onward movement of the German enemy was made by the Allies from day to day, but for a period of ten days there was an almost continual retirement of the French and British upon Paris.  It was in fact a masterly retreat, but a retreat nevertheless.  From the line of La Fere and Mezieres, occupied by the Allies after the battles at Mons and Charleroi, they fell back 70 miles in seven days, disputing every step of the way, but withdrawing gradually to the line of defenses around the French capital.  From Cambrai the Germans pushed through Amiens to Beauvais; from Peronne to Roye, Montdidier, Creil, and on to the forest of Chantilly.  From the region of Le Cateau and St. Quentin the German advance was by Noyon to Compiegne (famous for its memories of Joan of Arc’s famous sortie), at which point the Allies made a desperate stand and the Germans had to fight for every inch of ground.  They then passed through Senlis, which was first bombarded, down to Meaux, almost within sight of Paris, the head of the German army resting on a line between Beaumont, Meaux and La Ferte, at which point the resistance of the Allies finally forced a change in German plans.

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Other German forces passed through Laon, Soissons and Chateau Thierry.  Farther to the east, the road from Mezieres led the Germans to Rheims, Mourmelon, and opposite Chalons on the River Marne.

Another German army from the direction of Longwy, under the command of the Crown Prince, was operating through Suippes and on the wooded Argonne plateau, with its five passes, famous in the action of which preceded the battle of Valmy.  At the entrance to this hilly country stands the little town of Sainte Menehould, where there was severe fighting with the French.  Here the German Crown Prince made his headquarters.

The great plain of the Argonne is full of most wonderful ecclesiastical buildings and many magnificent cathedrals, townhalls and ancient fortresses were passed by the warring armies in their advance and withdrawal, some of these historic structures sustaining irreparable damage.

The German advance continued southward toward Paris until September 4.

RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF THE BRITISH

All reports agree that during the retirement of the Allies, the Germans pursued the British headquarters staff with uncanny precision throughout the ten days from Mons back to Compiegne.  After fierce street fighting in Denain and Landrecies Sir John French withdrew his headquarters to Le Cateau, which was at once made the target of a terrific bombardment.  The town caught fire, burning throughout one night, and the British headquarters had to be evacuated, this time in favor of St. Quentin, in the local college.  Here the same thing happened and Field Marshal French was compelled once more to retire, to the neighborhood of Compiegne.

In an official report issued on Sunday, September 6, it is stated that, “The 5th French army on August 29 advanced from the line of the Oise River to meet and counter the German forward movement and a considerable battle developed to the south of Guise.  In this the 5th French army gained a marked and solid success, driving back with heavy loss and in disorder three German army corps, the 10th, the Guard, and a reserve corps.  In spite of this success, however, and all the benefits which flowed from it, the general retirement to the south continued and the German armies, seeking persistently after the British troops, remained in practically continuous contact with the rearguards.

“On August 30 and 31 the British covering and delaying troops were frequently engaged, and on September 1 a very vigorous effort was made by the Germans, which brought about a sharp action in the neighborhood of Compiegne.  This action was fought principally by the 1st British Cavalry Brigade and the 4th Guards Brigade and was entirely satisfactory to the British.  The German attack, which was most strongly pressed, was not brought to a standstill until much slaughter had been inflicted upon them and until ten German guns had been captured.  The brunt of this affair fell upon the Guards Brigade, which lost in killed and wounded about 300 men.”

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This affair was typical of the numerous rearguard engagements fought by both the British and the French forces during their retirement.

MASTERLY TACTICS IN RETIRING

Pressing hard upon the rear of the Allies for ten days was the greatest military machine that has ever been assembled in one cohesive force.  Through Belgium had poured nearly 2,000,000 German troops, made up of about 800,000 first-line soldiers and more than 1,000,000 reserves.  The twenty-six-hour march of part of the German army through Brussels was stunning evidence of the might of the “war machine,” and despite fierce fighting all the way, the great army had never faltered in its 150-mile advance in Belgium.

But the numerical might of the German advance was matched by the masterly tactics of the Allies in retiring.  By these tactics, in which General Joffre, the French commander-in-chief, co-operated with the British field-marshal, Sir John French, the Allies prevented their lines being overwhelmed by the superior numbers of their foe, but the German right flank and center, strung out over a line more than 150 miles long, northeast of Paris, kept smashing on.  Losses were frightfully heavy, but the Kaiser’s order was “Take Paris!”

It was believed certain that the German general staff had staked everything on investing Paris immediately, by completely breaking down the opposition massed between the German lines and the city.  Paris had therefore prepared for the siege, with her great circles of forts strengthened and her food supply replenished.  Many of the residents fled the city in panic, fearing a repetition of the dread days of 1871, with their privation and distress, but the spirit of the French people generally remained unshaken and General Gallieni, military governor of Paris, assumed complete control of the situation in the city.

GOVERNMENT MOVED TO BORDEAUX

On August 26 the French cabinet had resigned in a body and it was reconstructed on broader lines under Premier Viviani to meet the demands of the national emergency.

German troops were reported within 40 miles of Paris on September 3, and at 3 A. M. of that day a proclamation was issued by President Poincare, announcing that the seat of government would be temporarily transferred from Paris to Bordeaux.  The minister of the interior stated that this decision had been taken “solely upon the demand of the military authorities because the fortified places of Paris, while not necessarily likely to be attacked, would become the pivot of the field operations of the two armies.”

The text of President Poincare’s proclamation was as follows: 

“ENDURE AND FIGHT!”

“FEENCHMEN:  For several weeks our heroic troops have been engaged in the fierce combat with the enemy.  The courage of our soldiers has won for them a number of marked advantages.  But in the north the pressure of the German forces has constrained us to retire.  This situation imposes on the president of the Republic and the government a painful decision.

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“To safeguard the national safety the public authorities are obliged to leave for the moment the city of Paris.  Under the command of its eminent chief, the French army, full of courage and spirit, will defend the capital and its patriotic population against the invader.  But the war must be pursued at the same time in the rest of the French territory.

“The sacred struggle for the honor of the nation and the reparation of violated rights will continue without peace or truce and without a stop or a failure.  None of our armies has been broken.

“If some of them have suffered only too evident losses, the gaps in the ranks have been filled up from the waiting reserve forces, while the calling out of a new class of reserves brings us tomorrow new resources in men and energy.

“Endure and fight!  Such should be the motto of the allied army, British, Russians, Belgians and French.

“Endure and fight!  While on the sea our allies aid us to cut the enemy’s communications with the world.

“Endure and fight!  While the Russians continue to carry a decisive blow to the heart of the German empire.

“It is for the government of this republic to direct this resistance to the very end and to give to this formidable struggle all its vigor and efficiency.  It is indispensable that the government retain the mastery of its own actions.  On the demand of the military authorities the government therefore transfers its seat momentarily to a point of the territory whence it may remain in constant relations with the rest of the country.  It invites the members of parliament not to remain distant from the government, in order to form, in the face of the enemy, with the government and their colleagues, a group of national unity.

“The government does not leave Paris without having assured a defense of the city and its entrenched camp by all means in its power.  It knows it has not the need to recommend to the admirable Parisian population a calm resolution and sangfroid, for it shows every day it is equal to its greatest duties.

“Frenchmen, let us all be worthy of these tragic circumstances.  We shall gain a final victory and we shall gain it by untiring will, endurance and tenacity.  A nation that will not perish, and which, to live, retreats before neither suffering nor sacrifice, is sure to vanquish.”

The removal of the French government departments to Bordeaux was accomplished within twenty-four hours and the southern city became at once a center of remarkable activity.  Ambassador Herrick, representing the United States, remained in Paris to render aid to his fellow-countrymen who were seeking means of returning to America and were more than ever anxious to get away when a state of siege became imminent.  A radical change in the French military operations was put in effect after the Germans had swept in from Belgium, and had taken the cities of Lille, Roubaix, and Longwy.  The French army had attempted to strike and shatter the Germans at their weakest point, and failed.

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Paris prepared for the worst when the Kaiser’s conquering army reached La Fere, about seventy miles away.  From Amiens to La Fere the Germans pressed their attack hardest.  As the Allies were seen to be gradually falling back, reserve troops were assembled in Paris and the forts put in readiness for siege.

THE FORTIFICATIONS OP PARIS

Paris has one of the strongest fortification systems of any city in the world.  The siege of the giant city would be a much greater undertaking than forty-four years ago, as the fortifications have been essentially augmented and strengthened since the Franco-Prussian war.

[Illustration:  MAP OF FRENCH CAPITAL WITH STARS INDICATING POSITION OF FORTIFICATIONS]

The fortifications consist of the old city walls, the old belt of forts and the new enceinture of the fortified camps, which have been advanced far outside of the reach of the old forts.  The main wall, ten meters (33 feet) high, consists of ninety-four bastions and is surrounded by a ditch fifteen meters wide.  Behind the wall a ringroad and a belt line run around the city.

The belt of old forts surrounds this main fortification of the city at a little distance and consists of not less than sixteen forts.  Those farthest advanced are hardly half a mile distant from the main wall.  The experiences of the last war, the immense progress of the artillery, and especially the wider reach of the modern siege guns induced the French army authorities to build a belt of still stronger forts, which surrounds the old fortress of 1870 like a protective net.  The forts, redoubts and batteries belonging to this last belt of fortifications are situated at least two miles from the city limits proper, and even Versailles is taken into this belt of fortifications.

The circumference of the circle formed by them is 124 kilometers (nearly 77 miles) and the space included in it amounts to 1,200 square kilometers.  This new belt of fortifications consists of seven forts of the first class, sixteen forts of the second class and fifty redoubts or batteries, which are connected with each other by the “Great Belt Line,” of 113 kilometers (71 miles).

FORM LARGE FORTIFIED CAMPS

The strongest of these forts form fortified camps, large enough to give protection to strong armies and also the possibility for a new reconcentration.  There are three of these camps.  The northern camp includes the fortifications from the Fort de Cormeilles on the left to the Fort de Stains on the right wing, with the forts of the first class, Cormeilles and Domont, and the forts of the second class, Montlignon, Montmorency, Ecouen and Stains, and it is protected in the rear by the strong forts in the vicinity of St. Denis.  The eastern camp goes from the Ourcq canal and the forest of Bondy to the Seine, and its main strongholds are the forts of Vaujours and Villeneuve-St. Georges, with the smaller forts of Chelles, Villiers, Champigny and Sully.

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On the left bank of the Seine the southwestern camp is situated, including Versailles, whose main forts are those of St. Cyr, Haut-Bue, Villeras and Palaiseau, to which the large redubt of Bois d’Arey and the forts of Chatillon and Hautes-Bruyeres, situated a little to the rear, belong likewise.

To invest this strongest fortress of the world the line of the Germans ought to have a length of 175 kilometers and to its continuous occupation, even if the ring of the investing masses were not very deep, a much greater number of troops would be necessary than were used in 1870 for the siege of Paris.

GERMAN AMMUNITION CAPTURED

A correspondent at Nanteuil, September 12, thus described the capture of a German ammunition column while the Germans were feeling their way toward Paris: 

“The seven-kilometer column was winding its way along Crepy-en-Valois when General Pan sent cavalry and artillery to intercept it.  The column was too weakly guarded to cope with the attack, and so was captured and destroyed.  This capture had an important bearing on the subsequent fighting.

“A noticeable feature of the operations has been the splendid marching qualities of the French troops.  This was displayed especially when two divisions, which were sent to intercept the expected attempt of the Germans to invest Paris, covered eighty kilometers (491/2 miles) in two stages.”

ALLIES PLAN TO PROTECT PARIS

The plan of the Allies on September 1 was to make a determined stand before Paris, in the effort to protect the city from the horrors of a siege.  With their left wing resting on the strongly fortified line of the Paris forts and with their right wing strengthened by the defensive line from Verdun to Belfort, they would occupy a position of enormous military strength.  If the Germans concentrated to move against their front the French reserve armies could assemble west of the Seine, move forward and attack the German invading columns in flank.  If in their effort to continue the great turning movement the Germans pushed forward across the Seine and attempted by encircling Paris to gain the rear of the allied armies, the French could mass their reserve corps behind their center at Reims, push forward against the weakened German center in an attack that if successful would cut off the German invading columns and expose them to annihilation.

Such were the conditions and the possibilities when the German advance reached its climax on September 4.

[Illustration:  POSITION OF HOSTILE ARMIES, SEPTEMBER 4, 1914 Heavy dotted line denotes battle front of the Allies; lighter line the position of the German Troops.]

CHAPTER XI

BATTLE OF THE MARNE

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German Plans Suddenly Changed—­Direction of Advance Swings to the Southeast When Close to the French Capital—­Successful Resistance by the Allies—­The Prolonged Encounter at the Marne—­Germans Retreat With Allies in Hot Pursuit for Many Miles.

Suddenly the German plans were changed.  With Paris almost in sight, almost within the range of their heavy artillery, the German forces on the right of the line on September 4 changed the direction of their advance to a southeasterly course, which would leave Paris to the west.  The people of the gay capital, who for several days had been preparing themselves once more for the thunder of the Prussian guns, began to breathe more freely, while all the world wondered at the sudden and spectacular transformation in the conditions of the conflict.

What had happened?  Why was the advance thus checked and the march on Paris abandoned?  Was it a trick, designed to lead the Allies into a trap?  Or were the German troops too exhausted by forced marches and lack of rest to face the determined resistance of the allied forces before Paris?

These were the questions on every tongue, on both sides of the Atlantic, while the military experts sought strategic reasons for the change in German plans.

When the movement towards the east began the right of the German forces moved through Beaumont and L’Isle towards Meaux, apparently with the intention of avoiding Paris.  Their front some twenty-four hours later was found to be extending across the River Marne as far south as Conlommiers and La Ferte-Gaucher, the two opposing lines at that time stretching between Paris on the left flank and Verdun on the right.

On Monday, September 7, there came news that the southward movement of the German army had been arrested, and that it had been forced back across the Marne to positions where the German right wing curved back from La Ferte-sous-Jouarre along the bank of the River Ourcq, a tributary of the Marne, to the northward of Chateau Thierry.  All this territory forms part of the district known as the “Bassin de Paris.”

Then came a turn in the tide of war and the German plans were temporarily lost sight of when the Allies assumed the offensive along the Marne and the Ourcq and the Germans began to fall back.  For four days their retreat continued.  Ten miles, thirty miles, forty-five miles, back toward the northeast and east the invaders retired and Paris was relieved.  The tide of battle had thrown the Germans away from the French capital and Frenchmen believed their retirement was permanent.

BATTLE OF THE MARNE

Important and interesting details of the battle of the Marne and the movements that preceded it are given in an official report compiled from information sent from the headquarters of Field Marshal Sir John French (commander-in-chief of the British expeditionary forces), under date of September 11.  This account describes the movements both of the British force and of the French armies in immediate touch with it.  It carries the operations from the 4th to the 10th of September, both days inclusive, and says: 

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“The general position of our troops Sunday, September 6, was south of the River Marne, with the French forces in line on our right and left.  Practically there had been no change since Saturday, September 5, which marked the end of our army’s long retirement from the Belgian frontier through Northern France.

“On Friday, September 4, it became apparent that there was an alteration in the advance of almost the whole of the first German army.  That army since the battle near Mons on the 23d of August had been playing its part in a colossal strategic endeavor to create a Sedan for the Allies by out-flanking and enveloping the left of their whole line so as to encircle and drive both the British and French to the south.

THE CHANGE IN GERMAN STRATEGY

“There was now a change in its objective and it was observed that the German forces opposite the British were beginning to move in a southeasterly direction instead of continuing southwest on to the capital, leaving a strong rear guard along the line of the River Ourcq (which flows south of and joins the Marne at Lizy-sur-Ourcq) to keep off the French Sixth Army, which by then had been formed and was to the northwest of Paris.  They were evidently executing what amounted to a flank march diagonally across our front.

“Prepared to ignore the British as being driven out of the fight, they were initiating an effort to attack the left flank of the main French army, which stretched in a long curved line from our right toward the east, and so to carry out against it alone an envelopment which so far had failed against the combined forces of the Allies.

“On Saturday, the 5th, this movement on the part of the Germans was continued and large advance parties crossed the Marne southward at Trilport, Sammeron, La Ferte-sous-Jouarre and Chateau Thierry.  There was considerable fighting with the French Fifth Army on the French left, which fell back from its position south of the Marne toward the Seine.

“On Sunday large hostile forces crossed the Marne and pushed on through Coulommiers and past the British right, farther to the east.  They were attacked at night by the French Fifth, which captured three villages at the point of bayonets.

ALLIES TAKE THE OFFENSIVE

“On Monday, September 7, there was a general advance on the part of the Allies.  In this quarter of the field our forces, which had now been reinforced, pushed on in a northeasterly direction in co-operation with the advance of the French Fifth Army to the north and of the French Sixth Army to the eastward against the German rearguard along the River Ourcq.

“Possibly weakened by the detachment of troops to the eastern theater of operations and realizing that the action of the French Sixth Army against the line of Ourcq and the advance of the British placed their own flanking movement in considerable danger of being taken in the rear and on its flank, the Germans on this day commenced to retire toward the northeast.

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“This was the first time that these troops had turned back since their attack at Mons a fortnight before and from reports received the order to retreat when so close to Paris was a bitter disappointment.  From letters found on dead soldiers there is no doubt there was a general impression among the enemy’s troops that they were about to enter Paris.

GERMAN RETREAT IS HASTENED

“On Tuesday, September 8, the German movement north-eastward was continued.  Their rear guards on the south of the Marne were being pressed back to that river by our troops and by the French on our right, the latter capturing three villages after a hand-to-hand fight and the infliction of severe loss on the enemy.

“The fighting along the Ourcq continued on this day and was of the most sanguinary character, for the Germans had massed a great force of artillery along this line.  Very few of their infantry were seen by the French.  The French Fifth Army also made a fierce attack on the Germans in Montmirail, regaining that place.

“On Wednesday, September 9, the battle between the French Sixth Army and what was now the German flank guard along the Ourcq continued.

“The British corps, overcoming some resistance on the River Petit Morin, crossed the Marne in pursuit of the Germans, who now were hastily retreating northwest.  One of our corps was delayed by an obstinate defense made by a strong rear guard with machine guns at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, where the bridge had been destroyed.

“On Thursday, September 10, the French Sixth Army continued its pressure on the west while the Fifth Army by forced marches reached the line of Chateau Thierry and Dormans on the Marne.  Our troops also continued the pursuit on the north of the latter river and after a considerable amount of fighting captured some 1,500 prisoners, four guns, six machine guns and fifty transport wagons.

“Many of the enemy were killed or wounded and the numerous thick woods which dot the country north of the Marne are filled with German stragglers.  Most of them appear to have been without food for at least two days.

“Indeed, in this area of the operations, the Germans seem to be demoralized and inclined to surrender in small parties.  The general situation appears to be most favorable to the Allies.

“Much brutal and senseless damage has been done in the villages occupied by the enemy.  Property has been wantonly destroyed.  Pictures in chateaus have been ripped up and houses generally have been pillaged.

“It is stated on unimpeachable authority also that the inhabitants have been much ill-treated.

TRAPPED IN A SUNKEN ROAD

“Interesting incidents have occurred during the fighting.  On the 10th of September part of our Second Army Corps, advancing into the north, found itself marching parallel with another infantry force some little distance away.  At first it was thought this was another British unit.  After some time, however, it was discovered that it was a body of Germans retreating.

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“Measures promptly were taken to head off the enemy, who were surrounded and trapped in a sunken road, where over 400 men surrendered.

“On September 10 a small party under a noncommissioned officer was cut off and surrounded.  After a desperate resistance it was decided to go on fighting to the end.  Finally the noncommissioned officer and one man only were left, both of them being wounded.

“The Germans came up and shouted to them:  ‘Lay down your arms!’ The German commander, however, signed to them to keep their arms and then asked to shake hands with the wounded noncommissioned officer, who was carried off on his stretcher with his rifle by his side.

“Arrival of reinforcements and the continued advance have delighted our troops, who are full of zeal and anxious to press on.

SUCCESS OF THE FLYING CORPS

“One of the features of the campaign on our side has been the success obtained by the Royal Flying Corps.  In regard to the collection of information it is impossible either to award too much praise to our aviators for the way they have carried out their duties or to overestimate the value of the intelligence collected, more especially during the recent advance.

“In due course certain examples of what has been effected may be specified and the far-reaching nature of the results fully explained, but that time has not arrived.

“That the services of our Flying Corps, which, has really been on trial, are fully appreciated by our allies is shown by the following message from the commander-in-chief of the French armies, received September by Field Marshal Lord Kitchener: 

“’Please express most particularly to Marshal French my thanks for the services rendered on every day by the English flying corps.  The precision, exactitude and regularity of the news brought in by its members are evidence of their perfect organization and also of the perfect training of the pilots and the observers.—­JOSEPH JOFFRE, General,’

“To give a rough idea of the amount of work carried out it is sufficient to mention that during a period of twenty days up to the 10th of September a daily average of more than nine reconnaissance flights of over 100 miles each has been maintained.

FIVE GERMAN PILOTS SHOT

“The constant object of our aviators has been to effect an accurate location of the enemy’s forces and, incidentally, since the operations cover so large an area, of our own units.  Nevertheless, the tactics adopted for dealing with hostile air craft are to attack them instantly with one or more British machines.  This has been so far successful that in five cases German pilots or observers have been shot while in the air and their machines brought to ground.

“As a consequence the British Flying Corps has succeeded in establishing an individual ascendancy which is as serviceable to us as it is dangerous to the enemy.

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“How far it is due to this cause it is not possible at present to ascertain definitely, but the fact remains that the enemy have recently become much less enterprising in their flights.  Something in the direction of the mastery of the air already has been gained in pursuance of the principle that the main object of military aviators is the collection of information.

“Bomb dropping has not been indulged in to any great extent.  On one occasion a petrol bomb was successfully exploded in a German bivouac at night, while from a diary found on a dead German cavalry soldier it has been discovered that a high explosive bomb, thrown at a cavalry column from one of our aeroplanes, struck an ammunition wagon, resulting in an explosion which killed fifteen of the enemy.”

LOSSES AT THE MARNE ENORMOUS

Some idea of the terrific character of the fighting at the Marne and of the great losses in the prolonged battle may be gained from the following story, telegraphed on September 14 by a correspondent who followed in the rear of the allied army: 

“General von Kluck’s host in coming down over the Marne and the Grand Morin rivers to Sezanne, twenty-five miles southwest of Epernay, met little opposition, and I believe little opposition was intended.  The Allies, in fact, led their opponents straight into a trap.  The English cavalry led the tired Germans mile after mile, and the Germans believed the Englishmen were running away.  When the tremendous advance reached Provins the Allies’ plan was accomplished, and it got no farther.

“Fighting Sunday, September 6, was of a terrible character, and began at dawn in the region of La Ferte-Gaucher.  The Allies’ troops, who were drawn up to receive the Germans, understood it would be their duty to hold on their very best that the attacking force at Meaux might achieve its task in security.  The battle lasted all night and until late Monday.

“The Germany artillery fire was very severe, but not accurate.  The French and English fought sternly on and slowly beat the enemy back.

“Attempts of the Germans to cross the Marne at Meaux entailed terrible losses.  Sixteen attempts were foiled by the French artillery fire directed on the river and in one trench 600 dead Germans were counted.

COUNTRY STREWN WITH DEAD

“The whole country was strewn with the dead and dying.  When at last the Germans retired they slackened their rifle fire and in once place retired twelve miles without firing a single shot.  One prisoner declared that they were short of ammunition and had been told to spare it as much as possible.

“Monday saw a tremendous encounter on the Oureq.  In one village, which the Germans hurriedly vacated, the French in a large house found a dinner table beautifully set, with candles still burning on the table, where evidently the German staff had been dining.  A woman occupant said they fled precipitately.

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“There was a great deal of hand-to-hand fighting and bayonet work on the Ourcq, which resulted in the terrible Magdeburg regiment beating a retreat.

“Monday night General von Kluck’s army had been thrown back from the Marne and from the Morin and to the region of Sezanne and his position was serious.  Immediate steps were necessary to save his line of communications and retreat.  To this end reinforcements were hurried north to the Meaux district and the Ourcq and tremendous efforts were made to break up the French resistance in this section.

GERMAN GUNS ARE SILENCED

“The second attempt on the Oureq shared the fate of the first.  Though all Monday night and well on into Tuesday the great German guns boomed along this river, the resistance of the allies could not be broken.  ‘Hold on!’ was the command and every man braced himself to obey.  While the Ourcq was being held the struggle of Sezanne was bearing fruit.

“The German resistance on Thursday morning was broken.  I heard the news in two ways:  from the silence of the German guns and from the wounded who poured down to the bases.

“The wounded men no longer were downhearted, but eager to rejoin the fray.  On every French lip was the exclamation that ’They are in full retreat!’ and ‘They are rushing back home!’ and in the same breath came generous recognition of the great help given by the British army.

“The number of wounded entailed colossal transportation work.  I counted fifteen trains in eight hours.  A fine, grim set of men, terribly weary but amiable, except for the officers.

GERMANS LEAVE SPOILS BEHIND

“The enemy crossed the Marne on the return journey north under great difficulties and beneath a withering fire from the British troops, who pursued them hotly.  The German artillery operated from a height.  There was again much hand-to-hand fighting and the river was swollen with dead.

“Tuesday night the British were in possession of La Ferte-sous-Jouarre and Chateau Thierry and the Germans had fallen back forty miles, leaving a long train of spoils behind them.

“On the same day, in the neighborhood of Vitry-le-Francois, the French troops achieved a victory.  Incidentally they drove back the famous Imperial Guard of Germany from Sezanne, toward the swamps of Saint Cond, where, a century ago, Napoleon achieved one of his last successes.  The main body of the guard passed to the north of the swamps, but I heard of men and horses engulfed and destroyed.

“‘It is our revenge for 1814,’ the French officers said.  ’If only the emperor were here to see.’

BRITISH KEEP UP PURSUIT

“Wednesday the English army continued the pursuit toward the north, taking guns and prisoners.

“On that day I found myself in a new France.  The good news had spread.  Girls threw flowers at the passing soldiers and joy was manifested everywhere.

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“The incidents of Wednesday will astound the world when made known in full.  I know that two German detachments of 1,000 men each, which were surrounded and cornered but which refused to surrender, were wiped out almost to the last man.  The keynote of these operations was the tremendous attack of the Allies along the Ourcq Tuesday, which showed the German commander that his lines were threatened.  Then came the crowning stroke.

“The army of the Ourcq and of Meaux and the army of Sezanne drew together like the blades of a pair of shears, the pivot of which was in the region of the Grand Morin.  The German retreat was thus forced toward the east and it speedily became a rout.”

RETREAT SEEN FROM THE SKY

The best view of the retreating German armies was obtained, according to a Paris report, by a French military airman, who, ascending from a point near Vitry, flew northward across the Marne and then eastward by way of Rheims down to the region of Verdun and back again in a zigzag course to a spot near Soissons.

He saw the German hosts not merely in retreat, but in flight, and in some places in disorderly flight.

“It was a wonderful sight,” the airman said, “to look down upon these hundreds and thousands of moving military columns, the long gray lines of the Kaiser’s picked troops, some marching in a northerly, others in a northeasterly direction, and all moving with a tremendous rapidity.

“The retreat was not confined to the highways, but many German soldiers were running across fields, jumping over fences, crawling through hedges, and making their way through woods without any semblance of order or discipline.

“These men doubtless belonged to regiments which were badly cut up in the fierce fighting which preceded the general retreat.  Deprived of the majority of their officers, they made a mere rabble of fugitives, Many were without rifles, having abandoned their weapons in their haste to escape their French and British pursuers.”

GERMANS ABANDON GUNS

The London Times correspondent describes the German retreat in a hurricane, with rain descending in torrents, the wayside brooks swollen to little torrents.

  “The gun wheels sank deep in the mud, and the soldiers,
  unable to extricate them, abandoned the guns,” he said.

  “A wounded soldier, returned from the front, told me
  that the Germans fled as animals flee which are cornered and
  know it.

  “Imagine the roadway littered with guns, knapsacks, cartridge
  belts, Maxims and heavy cannon.  There were miles of
  roads like this.

  “And the dead!  Those piles of horses and those stacks
  of men I have seen again and again.  I have seen men shot so
  close to one another that they remained standing after death.

  “At night time the sight was horrible beyond description. 
  They cannot bury whole armies.

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“In the day time over the fields of dead carrion birds gathered, led by the gray-throated crow of evil omen with a host of lesser marauders at his back.  Robbers, too, have descended upon these fields.

  “Trainload after trainload of British and French troops
  swept toward the weak points of the retreating host.

  “The Allies benefited by this advantage of the battle-ground;
  there is a network of railways, like the network of a
  spider’s web.”

FIGHTING DESCRIBED BY U.S.  OFFICERS

Two military attaches of the United States embassy at Paris, Lieut.-Col.  H. T. Allen and Capt.  Frank Parker, both of the Eleventh cavalry, U.S.A., returned on September 15 from an automobile trip over the battlefield where from September 8 until the night of September 11 the French and Germans were fiercely engaged.  This battle was the one which assured the safety of Paris.

On September 1 the German left and center were separated, but like a letter “V” were approaching each other, with Paris as their objective.  Had the Allies attacked at that time they would have had to divide their forces and, so weakened, give battle to two armies.  By retreating they drew after them the two converging lines of the V and when the Germans were in wedge-shaped formation, attacked them on the flank and center at Meaux and made a direct attack at Sezanne.

The four days’ battle at Meaux ended with the Germans crossing the river Aisne and retreating to the hills north and west of Soissons.  Col.  Allen and Capt.  Parker saw the end of the battle north of Sezanne, which resulted in the retreat of the Germans to Rheims.

The battles, as Col.  Allen and Capt.  Parker describe them, were as follows: 

On the 8th the Germans advanced from a line stretching from Epernay and Chalons, a distance of twenty-five kilometers (sixteen miles).  In this front, counting from the German right, were the Tenth, the Guards, the Ninth and Twelfth Army Corps.  The presence of the Guards, the corps d’elite of the German army, suggested that this was intended to be a main attack upon Paris and that the army at Meaux was to occupy the center.  The four combined corps numbered over 200,000.  The French met them, they assert, with 190,000.

The Germans advanced until their left was at Vitry-le-Francois and their right rested at Sezanne, making a column 15 miles long, headed west toward Paris.  The French butted the line six miles east of Sezanne, in the forests of La Fere and Champenoise.  It was here that the greater part of the fight occurred.  It was fighting at long distance with artillery and from trench to trench with the bayonet.

THIRTY THOUSAND MEN KILLED

During the four days in which fortune rested first on one flag and then on another 30,000 men of both armies are said to have been killed and a considerable number of villages were wiped from the map by the artillery of both armies.

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Two miles from Sezanne a French regiment was destroyed by an ambush.  The Germans had thrown up conspicuous trenches and with decoys sparsely filled them.  From the forest in the rear the mitrailleuse was trained on the French.  The French infantry charged this trench and the decoys fled, making toward the flanks, and as the French poured over the trenches the hidden guns swept them.

In another trench the American attaches counted the bodies of more than 900 German guards, not one of whom had attempted to retreat.  They had stood fast with their shoulders against the parapet and taken the cold steel.  Everywhere the loss of life was appalling.  In places the dead lay across each other three and four deep.

TURCOS FIERCEST FIGHTERS OF ALL

“The fiercest fighting of all seems to have been done by the Turcos and Senegalese.  In trenches taken by them from the guards and the famous Death’s Head Hussars, the Germans showed no bullet wounds.  In nearly every attack the men from the desert had flung themselves upon the enemy, using only the butt or the bayonet.  Man for man no white man drugged for years with meat and alcohol is a physical match for these Turcos, who eat dates and drink water,” said Richard Harding Davis, who saw the end of the fighting at Meaux.  “They are as lean as starved wolves.  They move like panthers.  They are muscle and nerves and they have the warrior’s disregard of their own personal safety in battle, and a perfect scorn of the foe.

“As Kipling says, ’A man who has a sneaking desire to live has a poor chance against one who is indifferent whether he kills you or you kill him.’”

NIGHT BATTLE DESCRIBED BY SOLDIER

The following narrative of a night engagement during the prolonged battle of the Marne is quoted from a French soldier’s letter to a compatriot in London: 

“Our strength was about 400 infantrymen.  Toward midnight we broke up our camp and marched off in great silence, of course not in closed files, but in open order.  We were not allowed to speak to each other or to make any unnecessary noise, and as we walked through the forest the only sound to be heard was that of our steps and the rustling of the leaves.  It was a perfectly lovely night; the sky was so clear, the atmosphere so pure, the forest so romantic, everything seemed so charming and peaceful that I could not imagine that we were on the warpath, and that perhaps in a few hours this forest would be aflame, the soil drenched by human blood, and the fragrant herbs covered with broken limbs.

“Yet all those silent, armed men, marching in the same direction as I did, were ever so many proofs that no peace meeting or any delightful romantic adventure was near, and I wondered what thoughts were stirring all those brains.  Suddenly a whisper passed on from man to man.  It was the officer’s command.  A halt was made, and in the same whisper we were told that part of us had to change our direction so that the two directions would form a V. A third division proceeded slowly in the original direction.

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COMMANDS ARE WHISPERED

“I belonged to what may be called the left leg of the V. After what seemed to be about half an hour, we reached the edge of the forest, and from behind the trees we saw an almost flat country before us, with here and there a tiny little hill, a mere hump four or five feet high.  On the extreme left-hand side the land seemed to be intersected by ditches and trenches.

“Another whispered command was passed from man to man, and we all had to lie down on the soil.  A moment afterward we were thus making our way to the above-mentioned ditches and trenches.  It is neither the easiest nor the quickest way to move, but undoubtedly the safest, for an occasional enemy somewhere on the hills at the farther end of the field would not possibly be able to detect us.  I don’t know how long it took us to reach the ditches, which were, for the greater part, dry; nor do I know how long we remained there or what was happening.  We were perfectly hidden from view, lying flat down on our stomachs, but we were also unable to see anything.  Everybody’s ears were attentive, every nerve was strained.  The sun was rising.  It promised to be a hot day.

FIRST SHOT IS HEARD

“Suddenly we heard a shot, at a distance of what seemed to be a mile or so, followed by several other shots.  I ventured to lift my body up in order to see what was happening.  But the next moment my sergeant, who was close by me, warned me with a knock on my shoulder not to move, and the whispered order ran, ‘Keep quiet!  Hide yourself!’ Still, the short glance had been sufficient to see what was going on.  Our troops, probably those who had been left behind in the forest, were crossing the plain and shooting at the Germans on the crest of the hill, who returned the fire.

“The silence was gone.  We heard the rushing of feet at a short distance; then, suddenly, it ceased when the attacking soldiers dropped to aim and shoot.  Some firing was heard, and then again a swift rush followed.  This seemed to last a long time, but it was broken by distant cries, coming apparently from the enemy.  I was wondering all the time why we kept hidden and did not share in the assault.

“The rifle fire was incessant.  I saw nothing of the battle.  Would, our troops be able to repulse the Germans?  How strong were the enemy!  They seemed to have no guns, but the number of our soldiers in that field was not very large.

ATTACKED WITH BAYONETS

“A piercing yell rose from the enemy.  Was it a cry of triumph?  A short command rang over the field in French, an order to retreat.  A swift rush followed; our troops were being pursued by the enemy.  What on earth were we waiting for in our ditches?  A bugle signal, clear and bright.  We sprang to our feet, and ‘At the bayonet!’ the order came.  We threw ourselves on the enemy, who were at the same time attacked on the other side by the division which formed the other ‘leg’ of the V, while the ‘fleeing’ French soldiers turned and made a savage attack.

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“It is impossible to say or to describe what one feels at such a moment.  I believe one is in a state of temporary madness, of perfect rage.  It is terrible, and if we could see ourselves in such a state I feel sure we would shrink with horror.

“In a few minutes the field was covered with dead and wounded men, almost all of them Germans, and our hands and bayonets were dripping with blood.  I felt hot spurts of blood in my face, of other men’s blood, and as I paused to wipe them off, I saw a narrow stream of blood running along the barrel of my rifle.

“Such was the beginning of a summer day.”

SCENES ON THE BATTLEFIELD

Writing from Sezanne a few days after the battle of the Marne a visitor to the battlefield described the conditions at that time as follows: 

“The territory over which the battle of the Marne was fought is now a picture of devastation, abomination and death almost too awful to describe.

“Many sons of the fatherland are sleeping their last sleep in the open fields and in ditches where they fell or under hedges where they crawled after being caught by a rifle bullet or piece of shell, or where they sought shelter from the mad rush of the franc-tireurs, who have not lost their natural dexterity with the knife and who at close quarters frequently throw away their rifles and fight hand to hand.

“The German prisoners are being used on the battlefield in searching for and burying their dead comrades.  Over the greater part of the huge battlefield there have been buried at least those who died in open trenches on the plateaus or on the high roads.  The extensive forest area, however, has hardly been searched for bodies, although hundreds of both French and Germans must have sought refuge and died there.  The difficulty of finding bodies is considerable on account of the undergrowth.

“Long lines of newly broken brown earth mark the graves of the victims.  Some of these burial trenches are 150 yards long.  The dead are placed shoulder to shoulder and often in layers.  This gives some idea of the slaughter that took place in this battle.

“The peasants, who are rapidly coming back to the scene, are marking the grave trenches with crosses and planting flowers above or placing on them simple bouquets of dahlias, sunflowers and roses.

FOUGHT ON BEAUTIFUL CHATEAU LAWNS

“Some of the hottest fighting of the prolonged battle took place around the beautiful chateau of Mondement, on a hill six miles east of Sezanne.  This relic of the architectural art of Louis XIV occupied a position which both sides regarded as strategically important.

“To the east it looked down into a great declivity in the shape of an immense Greek lamp, with the concealed marshes of St. Sond at the bottom.  Beyond are the downs and heaths of Epernay, Rheims and Champagne, while the heights of Argonne stand out boldly in the distance.  To the west is a rich agricultural country.

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“The possession of the ridge of Mondement was vital to either the attackers or the defenders.  The conflict here was of furnace intensity for four days.  The Germans drove the French out in a terrific assault, and then the French guns were brought to bear, followed by hand-to-hand fighting on the gardens and lawns of the chateau and even through the breached walls.

“Frenchmen again held the building for a few hours, only to retire before another determined German attack.  On the fourth day they swept the Germans out again with shell fire, under which the walls of the chateau, although two or three feet thick, crumpled like paper.”

The same correspondent described evidences on the battlefields of how abundantly the Germans were equipped with ammunition and other material.  He saw pyramid after pyramid of shrapnel shells abandoned in the rout, also innumerable paniers for carrying such ammunition.  These paniers are carefully constructed of wicker and hold three shells in exactly fitting tubes so that there can be no movement.

The villages of Oyes, Villeneuve, Chatillon and Soizy-aux-Bois were all bombarded and completely destroyed.  Some fantastic capers were played by the shells, such as blowing away half a house and leaving the other half intact; going through a window and out by the back wall without damaging the interior, or going a few inches into the wall and remaining fast without exploding.

Villeneuve, which was retaken three times, was, including its fine old church, in absolute ruins.

A SERIES OF BATTLES

The battle line along the Marne was so extended that the four-days’ fighting from Sunday, September 6, to Thursday morning, September 10, when the Germans were in full retreat, comprised a series of bloody engagements, each worthy of being called a battle.  There were hot encounters south of the Marne at Crecy, Montmirail and other points.  At Chalons-sur-Marne the French fought for twenty-four hours and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.  General Exelmans, one of France’s most brilliant cavalry leaders, was dangerously wounded in leading a charge.

There was hard fighting on September 7 between Lagny and Meaux, on the Trilport and Crecy-en-Brie line, the Germans under General von Kluck being compelled to give way and retire on Meaux, at which point their resistance was broken on the 9th.

General French’s army advanced to meet the German hosts with forced marches from their temporary base to the southeast of Paris.

The whole British army, except cavalry, passed through Lagny, and the incoming troops were so wearied that many of them at the first opportunity lay down in the dust and slept where they were.

But a few hours’ rest worked a great change, and a little later the British troops were following the German retreat up the valley with bulldog tenacity.

The British artillery did notable work in those days, according to the French military surgeons who were stationed at Lagny.  At points near there the bodies of slain Germans who fell before the British gunners still littered the ground on September 10, and the grim crop was still heavier on the soil farther up the valley, where the fighting was more desperate.

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As far as possible the bodies were buried at night, each attending to its own fallen.

MANY SANGUINARY INCIDENTS

Sanguinary incidents were plentiful in the week of fighting to the south of the Marne.  In an engagement not far from Lagny the British captured thirty Germans who had given up their arms and were standing under guard when, encouraged by a sudden forward effort of the German front, they made a dash for their rifles.  They were cut down by a volley from their British guards before they could reach their weapons.

“Among dramatic incidents in the fighting,” according to an English correspondent, “may be mentioned the grim work at the ancient fishponds near Ermenonville.  These ponds are shut in by high trees.  Driving the enemy through the woods, a Scotch regiment hustled its foes right into the fishponds, the Scotchmen jumping in after the Germans up to the middle to finish them in the water, which was packed with their bodies.”  This scene is illustrated on another page.

VAST GRAVEYARD AT MEAUX

Some idea of how the Germans were harassed by artillery fire during their retreat was obtained on a visit to the fields near Meaux, the scene of severe fighting.  The German infantry had taken a position in a sunken road, on either side of which were stretched in extended lines hummocks, some of them natural and some the work of spades in the hands of German soldiers.

The sunken road was littered with bodies.  Sprawling in ghastly fashion, the faces had almost the same greenish-gray hue as the uniforms worn.  The road is lined with poplars, the branches of which, severed by fragments of shells, were strewn among the dead.  In places whole tops of trees had been torn away by the artillery fire.

Beside many bodies were forty or fifty empty cartridge shells, while fragments of clothing, caps and knapsacks were scattered about.  This destruction was wrought by batteries a little more than three miles distant.  Straggling clumps of wood intervened between the batteries and their mark, but the range had been determined by an officer on an elevation a mile from the gunners.  He telephoned directions for the firing and through glasses watched the bursting shells.

THE BATTLE AT CRECY

A graphic picture of the fight in Crecy wood was given by a correspondent who said:  The French and English in overwhelming numbers had poured in from Lagny toward the River Marne to reinforce the flanking skirmishers.  One of the smaller woods southeast of Crecy furnished cover for the enemy for a time, but led to their undoing.  The Allies’ patrols discovered them in the night as the Germans were moving about with lanterns.

Suddenly the invaders found their twinkling glow-worms the mark for a foe of whom they had been unaware.  Without warning a midnight hail storm from Maxims screamed through the trees.  The next morning scores of lanterns were picked up in the wood, with the glasses shattered.  A dashing cavalry charge by the British finally cleared the tragic wood of the Germans.

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BRITISH BLOW UP A BRIDGE

At Lagny one of the sights of the town was a shattered bridge, which was blown up by General French as soon as he got his army across it.  At that time British infantry and artillery had poured through the town and over the bridge for several days.  General French’s idea was to keep raiding detachments of German cavalry from incursions into the beautiful villas and gardens of the western suburbs.

Fifteen minutes after the bridge had been reduced to a twisted mass of steel and broken masonry a belated order came to save it, but the British engineers who had received the order to destroy it had done their work well.

The inhabitants were cleared out of all the neighboring houses, which were shaken by the terrific explosion when the charge was set off.  Every window in the nearby houses was shattered.

The people of Lagny took the destruction of their beautiful bridge in good part.  They were too grateful for their deliverance from the Germans to grumble about the wrecked bridge.

GERMAN LOSSES AT THE MARNE

There is no doubt that the German losses in the engagements at the Marne far exceeded those of the Allies and were most severe, in both men and material.  The Germans made incredible efforts to cross the Marne.  The French having destroyed all the bridges, the Germans tried to construct three bridges of boats.  Sixteen times the bridges were on the point of completion, but each time they were reduced to matchwood by the French artillery.

“There is not the slightest doubt,” said a reliable correspondent, “that but for the superb handling of the German right by General von Kluck, a large part of Emperor William’s forces would have been captured at the Marne.  The allied cavalry did wonders, and three or four additional divisions of cavalry could have contributed towards a complete rout of the Germans.”

The general direction of the German retirement was northeast, and it was continued for seventy miles, to a line drawn between Soissons, Rheims and Verdun.

A week after the battle the field around Meaux had been cleared of dead and wounded, and only little mounds with tiny crosses, flowers and tricolored flags recalled the terrible struggle.

The inhabitants of neighboring villages soon returned to their homes and resumed their ordinary occupations.

FALL OF MAUBEUGE

While the fighting at the Marne was in progress, German troops achieved some successes in other parts of the theater of war.  Thus, the fortified French town of Maubeuge, on the Sambre river midway between Namur in Belgium and St. Quentin, France, fell to the Germans on September 7.  The investment began on August 25.  More than a thousand shells fell in one night near the railway station and the Rue de France was partially destroyed.  The loss of life, however, was comparatively slight.

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At 11:50 o’clock on the morning of September 7 a white flag was hoisted on the church tower and trumpets sounded “cease firing,” but the firing only ceased at 3:08 o’clock that afternoon.  In the meantime the greater part of the garrison succeeded in evacuating the town.  The German forces marched in at 7:08 o’clock that evening.

The retreat of the German forces from the Marne ended the second stage of the great war.

CHAPTER XII

THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN

Slow Mobilization of Troops—­Invasion of German and Austrian Territory—­Cossacks Lead the Van—­Early Successes in East Prussia—­“On to Berlin”—­Heavy Losses Inflicted on Austrians—­German Troops Rushed to the Defense of the Eastern Territory.

When at 7:30 o’clock on the evening of August 1, 1914, the German Ambassador at St. Petersburg handed the declaration of war to the Russian foreign minister, the immediate reason was that Russia had refused to stop mobilizing her army, as requested by Germany on July 30.

The general mobilization of the Russian army and fleet was proclaimed on July 31 and martial law was proclaimed forthwith in Germany.  The government of the Kaiser had given Russia twenty-four hours in which to reply to its ultimatum of the 30th.  Russia paid no attention to the ultimatum, but M. Goremykin, president of the Council of the Russian Empire, issued a manifesto which read: 

“Russia is determined not to allow Servia to be crushed and will fulfill its duty in regard to that small kingdom, which has already suffered so much at Austria’s hands.”

Austria-Hungary declared war against Russia on August 6.  From that time on the Russian army had two main objectives—­first, the Austrian province of Galicia, and second the eastern frontier of Germany, across which lay the territory known as East Prussia.  And while the early days of the great conflict saw a German host pouring into Belgium, animated by the battle-cry, “On to Paris!” the gathering legions of the Czar headed to the west and crossed the Prussian frontier with hoarse, resounding shouts of “On to Berlin!”

MOBILIZATION WAS SLOW

The mobilization of the Russian army was slow compared with that of Germany, France and Austria, and some weeks elapsed after the declaration of war before Russia was prepared to attack Germany with the full force of which it was capable.  The immense distances to be traversed by troops proceeding to the frontier and by the reserves to their respective depots caused delays that were unavoidable but were minimized by the eagerness of the Russian soldiery to get to the front.  In Russia, as in all the other great countries engaged in the conflict, with the probable exception of Austria, the war was popular and a wave of patriotic enthusiasm and martial ardor swept over the land, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from St. Petersburg to Siberia.

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In Russia military service is universal and begins at the age of 20, continuing for twenty-three years.  There are three divisions of the Russian army—­the European, Caucasian and Asiatic armies.  Military service of the Russian consists of three years in the first line, fourteen years in the reserve (during which time he has to undergo two periods of training of six weeks each) and five years in the territorial reserve.  The Cossacks, however, hold their land by military tenure and are liable to serve at any time in the army.  They provide their own horses and accouterments.  The total strength of the Russian army is about 5,500,000 men; the field force of the European army consists of 1,000,000 soldiers with about the same number in the second line.  There were besides at the beginning of the war over 5,000,000 men unorganized but available for duty.

ARMY REORGANIZED RECENTLY

Since the disastrous war with Japan the Russian army has been reorganized and it has profited largely by the harsh experience of the Manchurian campaign.

The physique of the Russian infantryman is second to none in Europe.  The Russian “moujik” (peasant) is from childhood accustomed to cover long distances on foot, so that marches of from 30 to 40 miles are covered without fatigue by even the youngest recruits.  They wear long boots, which are made of excellent soft leather, so that sore feet were quite the exception even in Manchuria, where very long marches were undergone by many of the units.

Each regiment of infantry contains four battalions commanded by a major or lieutenant-colonel.  The battalion consists of four companies of men, commanded by a captain, so that each regiment on a war footing numbers upwards of 2,000 men.

The Russian cavalry is divided into two main categories.  There are the heavy regiments of the Guard, which consist mainly of Lancer regiments, and there are also numberless Cossack or irregular cavalry regiments, which are recruited chiefly from the districts of the River Don and the highlands of the Caucasus.

The horses of the Russian horse and field artillery are distinctly poor and very inferior to those of the cavalry.  The artillery is therefore somewhat slow in coming into action.  But the horses, while weedy-looking, are very hardy and pull the guns up steep gradients.  The Russian gunners prefer to take up “indirect” rather than “direct” positions.  Batteries are also rather slow in changing positions and in moving up in support of their infantry units.

THE RUSSIAN COSSACKS

What the Uhlans are to the German army, the Cossacks of the Don and the Caucasus are to the Russians—­scouts, advance guards and “covering” cavalry.  They are good all-round fighters, capable of long-continued effort and tireless in the saddle; they are also trained to fight in dismounted action.

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As a soldier the Cossack is altogether unique; his ways are his own and his confidence in his officers and himself is perfect.  His passionate love of horses makes his work a pleasure.  The Cossack seat on horseback is on a high pad-saddle, with the knee almost vertical and the heel well drawn back.  Spurs are not worn, and another remarkable thing is that he has absolutely no guard to his sword.  The Russian soldier scorns buttons; he says, “They are a nuisance; they have to be cleaned, they wear away the cloth, they are heavy, and they attract the attention of the enemy.”

The Cossack pony is a quaint little beast to look at, but the finest animal living for his work, and very remarkable for his wonderful powers of endurance.  The Cossack and his mount have been likened to a clever nurse and a spoilt child—­each understands and loves the other, but neither is completely under control.  The Cossack does not want his horse to be a slave, and recognizes perfectly that horses, like children, have their whims and humors and must be coaxed and reasoned with, but rarely punished.  The famous knout (whip) is carried by the Cossacks at the end of a strap across the left shoulder.  Most of the men are bearded and in full dress, with the high fur cap stuck jauntily on the head of square cut hair, the Cossack presents a picturesque and martial figure.  The appearance of these men is quite different from that of the clean-shaven regular infantryman of the Russian army.

RUSSIAN PLAN OF CAMPAIGN

“While the direct objective of the Russians was Berlin, there were many reasons why a bee-line course could not be followed.  Germany had prepared an elaborate defense system to cover the direct approaches to Berlin, and the fortresses of Danzig, Graudenz, Thorn, and Posen were important points in this scheme.  The nature of the country also adapts itself to these defensive works and would make progress slow for an attacker.

Moreover, as Austria and her forces mobilized before Russia, a diversion was created by the Austrian invasion of south Poland, in which the Germans also took the offensive.  Under these circumstances the Russian plan of campaign resolved itself into three parts:—­

(1) A northern movement from Kovno and Grodno on Insterburg and Koenigsberg as a counter-attack.

(2) A central movement from Warsaw towards Posen with supporting movements north and south.

(3) A southern movement on Lublin in Poland to repulse the invaders combined with a movement from the east on Lemberg in order to turn the Austrian flank.

The first purpose of Russia was to clear Poland of enemies, as they threatened the Russian left flank.  At the same time Russia took the offensive by an invasion of Prussia in the north.  This latter movement led to a victory at Gumbinnen and the investment of Koenigsberg.  Later came victory at Lublin, rolling back the Austrians, and the capture of Lemberg, which signalized the Russian invasion of Austrian territory.  Thus Russia was for awhile clear of the enemy, while she established a strong footing in both Prussia and Austria.

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[Illustration:  THE RUSSIAN PLAN OF CAMPAIGN In the above view the German lines of defense are shown black, the Austrian lines of defense are indicated by crossed lines, and the Russian advances are shown by arrows.]

We can now understand the main Russian plan a little better.  In the north the army was to advance from Koenigsberg and endeavor to cut off Danzig and break the line of defenses between that place and Thorn, thus leaving this fortress in the rear.  In the south the Austrians, already heavily punished, would be driven back on the Carpathian passes to the south, and westward also toward Cracow, which is the key to the situation.  If Cracow fell Russia would have a good route into Germany, and the move would be supported by advances from Warsaw, thus threatening Breslau from two sides.

GERMAN TROOPS HURRIED EAST

Early in September, however, the danger of the Russian advance into Germany, which apparently had given the German general staff but little concern at first, was fully realized and large bodies of German troops were detached from the western theater of war and hurried to the eastern frontier.  Germany had evidently reckoned on Austria being able to hold its ground better, and was badly prepared for a flanking move on Breslau so early in the campaign.  But the Servian and Russian defeats of Austria left Germany to bear the full force of the terrific Russian onslaught, and her forces proved equal to the occasion.  Under General von Hindenberg the German army of the east soon repelled the Russian invaders and forced them to retire from East Prussia across their own border, where they were followed by the Germans.  A series of engagements on Russian soil followed, in which the advantage lay as a rule with the Germans.  The losses on both sides were heavy, but the Germans captured many thousands of Russian prisoners and considerable quantities of arms and munitions of war.  The immense resources of the Russian empire in men and material made the problem of Russian invasion a very serious one for Germany.  This was fully realized by the Kaiser, who about October 1, at the end of the second month of the war, proceeded in person to his eastern frontier to direct the defensive operations against Russia.

CZAR NICHOLAS AT THE FRONT

About the same time the Czar, Nicholas II, also took the field in person, arriving at the front on October 5, accompanied by General Soukhomlinoff, the Russian minister of war.

“I am resolved to go to Berlin itself, even if it causes me to lose my last moujik (peasant),” the Czar is reported as saying in September.  The spirit and temper of the Russian government may be judged by the fact that before the war was many days old the name of the Russian capital was officially changed from “St. Petersburg,” which was considered to have a German flavor, to “Petrograd,” a purely Russian or Slavic form of nomenclature.

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RUSSIA PREPARES TO STRIKE AUSTRIA

By the third week of August, according to an announcement from Petrograd, Russian troops had checked an attempt by the Austrians to enter Poland from the Galician frontier and were preparing to invade Austria on a large scale.  At that time Russia was said to have 2,000, men under arms for the invasion of Germany and Austria, also 500,000 on the Roumanian and Turkish borders, and 3,000,000 men in reserve. (The latter were called out by imperial ukase before Czar Nicholas started for the front.) The Poles had been promised self-government and had been called on to support Russia.  The Jews throughout the Russian empire were also promised a greater measure of protection, freedom of action and civil rights.  These measures inaugurated an era of better feeling in Russia and Poland and were strongly approved by the allies of Russia.

Most of the Austrian reserves were mobilized by August 15 and Germany’s ally announced that she would soon have her total war strength of 2,000,000 men in the field.  Austria sent some troops to join the German forces in Belgium and an army of several hundred thousand men was gathered along the Austro-Russian frontier under command of the Archduke Frederick.  General Rennenkampf was in command of the Russian forces for the invasion of East Prussia, while General Russky led the Russian army operating against Galicia.

INVASION OF PRUSSIA

Within a week the Russian movement in eastern Germany assumed menacing proportions, the great army of invasion having moved rapidly, considering the natural obstacles.  More than 800,000 men were sent over the border into Prussia.  The Germans evacuated a number of towns, after setting them afire, and a considerable part of the Kaiser’s eastern field forces was bottled up in military centers.  Germany’s active field force was at this time inferior in numbers to the invading army.

By the capture of Insterberg the Russians paralyzed one of the main German strategic centers and gained control of an important railroad.  The German Twentieth Army Corps was reported to have been routed near Lyck.  At the start the Russian forces extended from Insterberg to Goldapp, a distance of about thirty-two miles.  Seventy-five miles further on was the first of the two strong German lines of fortifications.

Early victories were claimed by the Russians in their advance into Austria, which was made slowly.  Austria then turned to fight the Russian invasion.  It was forced to gather all its forces for this principal struggle and hence retired from offensive operations against the Servians.  Unless she could halt the Russians pouring in from the north, a success against Servia could do her no good.

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By the first of September the Russian advance into East Prussia was well under way and the strong fortress of Koenigsberg was in danger of a siege, German troops were being rushed to its defense.  In Galicia there were fierce encounters between the Russian invaders and the Austrians.  Several victories were claimed by the Russians all along the line and whole brigades of Austrian troops were reported destroyed, while the Russian losses were also admittedly heavy.  The fiercest fighting occurred in the vicinity of Lemberg, the capital of Galicia, which was soon to fall to General Russky.  The Austrian attack on Russian Poland failed and the Austrians were driven back across their own frontier.  The Russians were seeking to destroy the hope of the Kaiser for help from Austria in Eastern Germany, where the Russian advance, ridiculed or belittled by Germany before it began, became more menacing every day.  The German war plans had contemplated a quick, decisive blow in France and then a rapid turn to the East to meet the Russians with a tremendous force.  But the belligerency of the Belgians and the cooperation of the British balked these plans, while the Russians moved faster than was expected by their foe.  Austria had failed everywhere to stop the Czar’s forces, and then came a crushing blow to Austrian hopes in a ruinous defeat near Lemberg and the loss of that fortress.

THE FALL OF LEMBERG

The capture of Lemberg from the Austrians early in September after a four days’ battle was one of the striking Russian successes of the war.  Details reached the outer world on September 10th from Petrograd (St. Petersburg) as follows, the story being that of an eyewitness: 

“The commencement of the fighting which resulted in the capture of Lemberg began August 29th, when the Russians drove the enemy from Zisczow (forty-five miles east of Lemberg) and moved on to Golaya Gorka—­a name which means ‘the naked hill.’

“We spent the night on Naked Hill, and the actual storming of the town was begun at 2:30 o’clock in the morning.  Then followed a four days’ battle.  A virtually continuous cannonade continued from dawn to darkness without cessation.

“Even in the darkness the weary fighters got little sleep.  Whenever a single shot was heard the men dashed for their places and the battle boiled again with renewed fury.

“The enemy’s counter attacks were delivered with great energy and a dense hail of lead and iron was poured over our ranks.  The Russian advance was greatly impeded by the hilly nature of the ground and the great number of extinct craters, which formed splendid natural fortifications for the enemy, which held them doggedly.  Out of these, however, the enemy was driven in succession.

“We suffered much from thirst, for the stony, country was devoid of springs.  The days were oppressively hot and the nights bitterly cold.

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RUSSIAN ARTILLERY SUPERIOR

“Both sides fought with great obstinacy, but the nearer we approached Lemberg the harder the struggle became.  However, it soon was evident that we were superior in artillery.

“At length the enemy was driven from all sides beneath the protection of the Lemberg forts.  Our troops were very weary, but in high spirits.

“For two days the fight raged around the forts, but we were always confident of the prowess of our artillery.  The big guns of both sides rained a terrific hail down on the armies, which suffered terrific losses.

“At last we noticed that the resistance of the forts was growing weaker.  A charge at double quick was ordered, and we carried the first line of works.

“It was evident from that point that many of the enemy’s guns had been destroyed.  Not enough of them had been left to continue an effective defense, but the enemy was undiscouraged and tried to make up with rifle fire what it lacked in artillery.

LOSSES BECOME HEAVIER

“Between the first and second lines our losses were heavier than before, but under bayonet charges the enemy broke and fled in panic.

“Our troops entered the town at the enemy’s heels.  We ran into the town, despite our fatigue, with thunderous cheering.

“An episode which had much to do with ending the enemy’s dogged resistance occurred during the fighting between the first and second lines.  The Austrians in the hope of checking the Russian effort to encircle the town had thrown out a heavy screen of Slav troops with a backing of Magyars who had been ordered to shoot down the Slavs from behind if they showed any hesitation.

“This circumstance became known to the Russian commander, who ordered a terrific artillery fire over the heads of the Slavs and into the ranks of the Magyars.  This well-directed fire set the whole line in panic.”

More than 35,000 Austrians and Russian wounded were abandoned on the field of battle between Tarnow, Lemberg and Tarnopol owing to lack of means of transportation, according to reliable reports.  Both armies declined to ask for an armistice for the burial of the dead and the collection of the wounded, each fearing to give an advantage to the other.

THE BATTLE BEFORE LEMBERG

The immense superiority of the Austrian forces east of Lemberg enabled the Austrians at first to adopt the offensive.  As soon, however, as the Austrians realized the impossibility of an advance on Warsaw they concentrated their large and overwhelming forces in an attempt to outflank the right wing of the Russian army, which was drawing slowly but surely towards Lemberg, On the other Russian flank the two Russian army corps, after crossing the River Zlota Lipa without much opposition, continued their advance to the River Knila Lipa, where they found the bridges had all been destroyed by the Austrian advance guards.  Two bridges were constructed on the Rogarten-Halicz line, which enabled a crossing to be effected in spite of heavy and incessant artillery fire from the Austrian 24-centimeter guns.

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Once across the river, the two Russian corps crossed the upper reaches of the River Boog and so approached the town of Lemberg from the east.  The main Austrian army, however, had by this time moved up to bar the further advance of the Russian forces, and the whole of their armies on the left bank of the River Vistula being in front of the three Russian corps, the latter were compelled to adopt a defensive role for three or four days, after which, having received large reinforcements, the Russian force moved forward and drove the Austrian troops out of their entrenchments outside Lemberg at the point of the bayonet.  A desperate attempt was made by means of a counter-attack to arrest the advance of the Russian troops, but this only resulted in the capture of 6,000 Austrian prisoners.

[Illustration:  WHERE RUSSIA FIGHTS.  Battle grounds of Eastern Prussia and of Galicia, where the Austrians were repeatedly defeated with heavy losses.]

Lemberg was not a fortress but was recently converted into a semi-fortified place, as a series of lunettes, redoubts, etc., had been hastily prepared.  It was the headquarters of the 11th Austrian Corps, which consisted of the famous 43rd Landwehr infantry division, and was further divided into three Landwehr brigades.  There was also a Landwehr Uhlan regiment, together with a howitzer division of field artillery.  These batteries were armed with 10.5-centimeter guns, fitted with the German or Krupp eccentric breech action.  The forts outside the town were said to be armed with the 15-centimeter siege gun made of steel, also with a Krupp action.  The ammunition for these guns is chiefly high explosive shell and shrapnel; one of the forts is also said to have had a battery of three 24-centimeter heavy siege guns of quite a modern pattern.

GERMANY RUSHES REINFORCEMENTS

When Lemberg fell the Russian advance covered a line extending from far up in Eastern Prussia, near Tilsit, across the frontier and on down south into Austrian Galicia.  Koenigsberg was hearing the sound of the Russian guns and its besiegers seemed on the verge of victory.  A central column of mighty strength was pushing its way into Germany, despite a stubborn resistance.  Then the tide turned.  German reinforcements were brought up and under General von Hindenberg the Germans administered a severe defeat to General Rennenkampf’s army near Allenstein, in which it was claimed that 60,000 prisoners were taken.  Other reverses were suffered by the Russians and soon after the middle of September they had been forced to retire from German territory, the German troops following them into Russia, where a series of minor engagements occurred near the frontier.

GENERAL RENNENKAMPF’S DEFEAT

The operations leading to the defeat of General Rennenkampf’s Russian army by the Germans were as follows: 

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From September 7 to 13 the Russians took a strong position on the line from Angerburg to Gerdauen, Allenburg, and Kehlau, the left wing resting on the Mazurian lakes and the right wing protected in the rear and flank by the forest of Frisching, whose pathless woods and swamps furnished an almost impregnable position.  The Russians devoted great efforts to intrenching their position and brought up besides their heavy artillery.  Russian cavalry scouted far to the west and south, but otherwise the army-undertook no offensive operations in the days following a battle at Tannenberg.

The German forces, according to the German official account, were composed of the Second, Third, Fourth and Twentieth corps, two reserve divisions and five cavalry divisions.

General von Hindenburg, the German commander, meanwhile was assembling every available man, depriving the fortresses of their garrisons and calling in all but a bare remnant of the force protecting the southern frontier in the vicinity of Soldau, adding them to reinforcements received from the west.

General von Hindenburg again resorted to the customary German flanking movement, and since the German right, protected by the forest and marshes, seemed too strong, he adopted the daring strategy of sending the flanking force to the lake region to the south, the same character of movement by which the Russian Narew army had been defeated on August 28, in the vicinity of Ortelsburg, and which in case of failure might have been equally as disastrous for the Germans.

STRATEGY IS SUCCESSFUL

The strategy, however, succeeded, although General Rennenkampf offered a desperate resistance to the frontal attacks.  After three days’ fighting the Russians were forced back slightly in the center.  When the flank movement of the Germans was discovered already threatening the flank, a counter-movement was launched with a new army collected at Lyck, including the Twenty-second corps and parts of the Third Siberian corps, just arriving from Irkutsk, and the balance of the defeated army.  The counter-attacks failed and on September 10 the Russians began to fall back on their main position, retreating in good order and well covered.

The Russian artillery on the right wing appears to have made a good retreat owing to a timely start, while the left wing was hard pressed by the enveloping German infantry.  From this wing the Russians retreated across the border in two columns, while the main body went northward and the others in an easterly direction, pursued by the Germans, who advanced far from the border.

The German government appointed Count von Merveldt as governor of the Russian province of Suwalki and other points occupied by them.

The University of Koenigsberg on September 18 conferred upon General von Hindenburg honorary doctors’ degrees from all four of the departments of philosophy, theology, law and medicine, in recognition of his success against the Russian invader.

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AUSTRIA STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE

In Galicia, however, Russian successes continued.  The important fortress of Mikolajoff, 25 miles south of Lemberg, was captured and this cleared away every Austrian stronghold east of Przemysl, which was then invested by the Russians.

Austria was now struggling for her very existence as a monarchy.  Following the crushing defeats administered to the Austrian troops and with the Czar’s forces sweeping Galicia, Vienna was hurriedly fortified.  All reports indicated that the large Austrian force, nearly 1,000, men in all, opposing the main Russian invasion had proved ineffective.  Help from Germany did not arrive in time.  Official dispatches reported the main Austrian army retreating, pursued and harassed by the Russians.  The other important Austrian army was surrounded near Lublin.

While the Muscovite host went smashing through Galicia, chasing the Austrian army before it, the Russian staff belittled the retreat from East Prussia, saying that the Russian army was merely falling back on a new defensive position.  The German artillery had been getting in its deadly work and the pressure on Koenigsberg was soon to be relieved.

There were many reports at this time of a popular demand in Austria that an end be made to the struggle.  Peace talk was a marked feature of the sixth week of the war, but there were no definite results in any part of the immense theater of war.

The third week of September found the Germans, greatly reinforced, making a strong resistance to Russian progress, with the aid of the heavy German artillery.  The shattered Austrian armies, under Generals von Auffenberg and Dankl, were making desperate endeavors to concentrate in the vicinity of Rawaruska, but were apparently surrounded by the Russians, who continued to capture Austrian prisoners by the thousand.  Fears were entertained for Cracow, one of the strongest fortresses in Austria, if not in Europe, which seemed likely soon to fall into the hands of Russia.

It was stated in Rome, and said to be admitted in Vienna, that the Archduke Frederick, commanding the Austrian forces in Galicia, had lost 120,000 men, or one-fourth of his entire army.  German troops were reported marching south toward Poland to assist the Austrians.

The Russian successes in Galicia gave them command of the Galician oil-fields, upon which Germany largely depended for her supply of gasoline, which is a prime necessary in modern war.

RUSSIANS AT PRZEMYSL

On September 21 the Russians began the bombardment of Przemysl, having previously occupied Grodek and Mosciska, west of Lemberg.  The shattered second Austrian army was evidently incapable of staying the Russian advance, and took refuge in Przemysl.  A part of this Galician stronghold was soon captured by the Russians, forcing the Austrians to take refuge in the eastern forts, where the entire garrison was concentrated at the end of September, preparing to make a final resistance.  The situation of the garrison was critical, as it was entirely surrounded by the enemy.  On September 21 also the Russian troops took by storm the fortifications of Jaroslav, on the river San, and captured many guns.

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The German offensive from East Prussia was apparently halted October by the almost impassable condition of the Russian roads in the north.  Germany was said to have at this time thirty army corps of the line and the first reserve prepared to operate against Russia and to resist the Russian advance upon Cracow.

The German main defenses against Russia extended in a general line from Koenigsberg to Danzig, thence south along the Vistula to the great fortress of Thorn.  From there the fortified line swung to the southwest to Posen, thence south to Breslau, the main fortress along the Oder, and from there to Cracow.

Early in October the Russian invasion of Hungary began.  The Russian armies continued to sweep through Galicia and that province was reported clear of Austrian troops.  The German successes claimed against the Czar farther north included victories at Krasnik and Zamoso, in Russian Poland; Insterburg and Tannenburg, in East Prussia.

ESTIMATE OF AUSTRIAN LOSSES

A Russian estimate places the Austrian losses in Galicia at 300, in killed, wounded and prisoners, or nearly one-third of their total forces.  They also lost, it was claimed at Petrograd, 1,000 guns, more than two-thirds of their available artillery.

The Russian newspaper correspondents described horrible scenes on the battlefields abandoned by the Austro-German forces in Galicia.

“Streams,” said one eyewitness, “were choked full with slain men, trodden down in the headlong flight till the waters were dammed and overflowing the banks.  Piles of dead are awaiting burial or burning.  Hundreds of acres are sown with bodies and littered with weapons and battle debris, while wounded and riderless horses are careering madly over the abandoned country.  The trophies captured comprise much German equipment.  An ammunition train captured at Janow (eleven miles northwest of Lemberg) was German, while the guns taken included thirty-six of heavy caliber bearing Emperor William’s initials and belonging to the German Sixth army corps.

“The line of retreat of the Austro-German forces was blocked with debris of every kind—­valuable military supplies, telephone and telegraph installations, light railway and other stores, bridging material—­in fact, everything needed by a modern army was flung away in flight.  Over 1,000 wagons with commissariat supplies alone were captured.”

Forty-five thousand Austro-German prisoners were reported to have arrived at Lublin.  Russian correspondents with the armies in Galicia asserted that German troops were interspersed with Austrian troops in the intrenchments in order to raise the morale of the Austrians.  One correspondent declared that while the Austrians often took flight the Germans were ready, to the last man, to perish.

ON THE FIRING LINE IN RUSSIAN POLAND—­VIVID DESCRIPTION BY AN AMERICAN EYEWITNESS

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The first American permitted to witness actual battles near the eastern frontier of Germany was Karl H. von Wiegand, who wrote as follows from the firing line near East Wirballen, Russian Poland, October 9: 

“The German artillery today beat back, in a bloody, ghastly smear of men, the Russian advance.

“Yesterday I saw an infantry engagement.  Today it was mostly an artillery encounter.  The infantry attack is the more ghastly, but the artillery the more awe-inspiring.  This was the fifth day of constant fighting and still the German trenches hold.

“Today’s battle opened at dawn.  With two staff officers assigned as my chaperons, I had been attached overnight to the field headquarters.  I slept well, exhausted by the excitement of my first sight of modern war, but when dawn once again revealed the two long lines of the Russian and German positions the Russian guns began to hurl their loads of shrapnel at the German trenches.

“We had breakfast calmly enough despite the din of guns.  Then we went to one of the German batteries on the left center.  They were already in action, though it was only 6 o’clock.  The men got the range from observers a little in advance, cunningly masked, and slowly, methodically, and enthusiastically fed the guns with their loads of death.

“The Russians didn’t have our range.  All of their shells flew screaming 1,000 yards to our left.  Through my glasses I watched them strike.  The effect on the hillock was exactly as though a geyser had suddenly spurted up.  A vast cloud of dirt and stones and grass spouted up, and when the debris cleared away a great hole showed.

RUSSIANS TRY NEW RANGE

“While we watched the Russians seemed to tire of shooting holes in an inoffensive hill.  They began to try chance shots to the right and to the left.  It wasn’t many minutes before I realized that, standing near a battery, the execution of which must have been noted on the Russian side, I had a fine chance of experiencing shrapnel bursting overhead.  It was a queer sensation to peer through field glasses and see the Russian shells veer a few hundred feet to the right.  I saw one strike a windmill, shattering the long arms and crumpling it over in a slow burning heap.  Then we beat a retreat, further toward the center.

“We had been standing behind a slight declivity.  I hadn’t caught a glimpse of the enemy.  Shells were the only things that apprised us of the Russian nearness.  But as we passed out on an open field, considerably out of range of the field guns, I could see occasional flashes that bespoke field pieces, a mile or so away.

RUSSIAN INFANTRY CHARGES

“Back behind us, on the extreme left, I was told the Russians were attacking the German trenches by an infantry charge, the German field telephone service having apprised the commanders along the front.  With glasses we could see a faint line of what must have been the Russian infantry rushing across the open fields.

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“We passed on to the center, going slightly to the rear for horses.  As we arrived at the right wing we witnessed the last of a Russian infantry advance at that end.  The wave of Russians had swept nearly to the German trenches, situated between two sections of field artillery, and there had been repulsed.  Russians were smeared across in front of these pits, dead, dying, or wounded—­cut down by the terrible spray of German machine guns.

“I got up to the trenches as the German fire slackened because of the lack of targets.  The Russians had gone back.  Strewn in the trenches were countless empty shells, the bullets of which had, as it looked to inexpert eyes, slain thousands.  As a matter of fact, there were hundreds of dead in the field ahead.

GUN BARRELS SIZZLING HOT

“German infantrymen spat on their rapid firers as we reached the trench and delightedly called our attention to the sizzle that told how hot the barrels were from the firing.

“The men stretched their cramped limbs, helped a few wounded to the rear, and waited for breakfast.  It was not long forthcoming.  Small lines of men struggling along tinder steaming buckets came hurrying up to the accompaniment of cheers and shouts.  They bore soup that the men in the trenches gulped down ravenously.  Meanwhile men with the white brassard and the red Geneva cross were busy out in the open, lending succor to the Russian wounded.  The battle seemed to have come to a sudden halt.

“But even as I was getting soup, the artillery fusillade broke forth again.  From 9 o’clock to noon the Russians hurled their heavy shells at the German trenches and the German guns.  The German batteries replied slowly.

“There was mighty little fuss and feathers about this business of dealing death from guns.  The crews at each piece laughed among themselves, but there were none of the picturesque shouts of command, the indiscriminate blowing of bugles, and the flashy waving of battle flags that the word battle usually conjures up.  It was merely a deadly business of killing.

“Over to the right, a scant 300 yards away, the Russians had apparently succeeded in getting the range.  As I watched through the glasses I saw shrapnel burst over the battery there and watched a noncommissioned soldier fall with three of his comrades.  I was told that one had been killed and three wounded.  The Red Cross crew came up and bore away the four—­the dead and the live—­and before they were gone the gun was speaking away with four fresh men working it.

“But the shrapnel kept bursting away over it and soon an orderly came riding furiously back on his horse, saluted the officers with me, and shouted as he hurried back to the artillery reserve:  ’Six inch shells to the front; more ammunition.’

“I went back to see the wounded, but the surgeon wouldn’t let me.  I expressed to him my wonder at the few wounded.  I had seen only a few in the trenches, and no German dead until I saw the artilleryman killed.  He explained that the losses on the German side were light because the trenches were well constructed and because there had been no hand-to-hand, bayonet to bayonet fighting.

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ATTACKS BY RUSSIAN INFANTRY

“Yesterday, my first day at Wirballen, I saw the third attempt of the Russians to carry the German center by storm.  Twice on Wednesday their infantry had advanced under cover of their artillery, only to be repulsed.  Their third effort proved no more successful.

“The preliminaries were well under way, without my appreciating their significance, until one of my officer escorts explained.

“At a number of points along their line, observable to us, but screened from the observation of the German trenches in the center, the Russian infantry came tumbling out, and, rushing forward, took up advanced positions, awaiting the formation of the new and irregular battle line.  Dozens of light rapid-firers were dragged along by hand.  Other troops—­the reserves—­took up semi-advanced positions.  All the while the Russian shrapnel was raining over the German trenches.

“Finally came the Russian order to advance.  At the word hundreds of yards of the Russian fighting line leaped, forward, deployed in open order, and came on.  Some of them came into range of the German trench fire almost at once.  These lines began to wilt and thin out.

MEN PAUSE ONLY TO FIRE

“But on they came, all along the line, protected and unprotected alike, rushing forward with a yell, pausing, firing, and advancing again.

“From the outset of the advance the German artillery, ignoring for the moment the Russian artillery action, began shelling the onrushing mass with wonderfully timed shrapnel, which burst low over the advancing lines and tore sickening gaps.

“But the Russian line never stopped.  For the third time in two days they came tearing on, with no indication of having been affected by the terrible consequences of the two previous charges.  As a spectacle the whole thing was maddening.

“On came the Slav swarm, into the range of the German trenches, with wild yells and never a waver.  Russian battle flags—­the first I had seen—­appeared in the front of the charging ranks.  The advance line thinned and the second line moved up.

“Nearer and nearer they swept toward the German positions.  And then came a new sight.  A few seconds later came a new sound.  First I saw a sudden, almost grotesque melting of the advancing line.  It was different from anything that had taken place before.  The men literally went down like dominoes in a row.  Those who kept their feet were hurled back as though by a terrible gust of wind.  Almost in the second that I pondered, puzzled, the staccato rattle of machine guns reached us.  My ear answered the query of my eye.

MACHINE GUN FIRE TELLS

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“For the first time the advancing line hesitated, apparently bewildered.  Mounted officers dashed along the line, urging the men forward.  Horses fell with the men.  I saw a dozen riderless horses dashing madly through the lines, adding a new terror.  Another horse was obviously running away with his officer rider.  The crucial period for the section of the charge on which I had riveted my attention probably lasted less than a minute.  To my throbbing brain it seemed an hour.  Then, with the withering fire raking them even as they faltered, the lines broke.  Panic ensued.  It was every man for himself.  The entire Russian charge turned and went tearing back to cover and the shelter of the Russian trenches.

“I swept the entire line of the Russian advance with my glasses—­as far as it was visible from our position.  The whole advance of the enemy was in retreat, making for its intrenched position.

DEAD MEN COVER ACRES

“After the assault had failed and the battle had resumed its normal trend I swept the field with my glasses.  The dead were everywhere.  They were not piled up, but were strewn over acres.  More horrible than the sight of the dead, though, were the other pictures brought up by the glasses.  Squirming, tossing, writhing figures everywhere!  The wounded!  All who could stumble or crawl were working their way back toward their own lines or back to the friendly cover of hills or wooded spots.

“After the charge we moved along back of the German lines at a safe distance and found the hospital corps bringing back the German wounded.

“The artillerymen had resumed their duel and as we came up in the lee of the outbuildings of a deserted farmhouse a shell struck and fired the farmhouse immediately in front of us.  As we paused to see if the shot was a chance one, or if the Russian gunners had actually gotten the range, a regiment of fresh reserves, young men who had just come up from the west, passed us on their way to get their baptism of fire.

“Their demeanor was more suggestive of a group of college students going to a football game than the serious business on which they were bent.  They were singing and laughing, and as they went by a noncommissioned officer inquired rather ruefully whether there were any Russians left for them.

“Throughout the day we watched the fight waged from the opposing trenches and by the artillery.

“Suddenly at sundown the fighting ceased as if by mutual agreement.  As I write this I can see occasional flashes of light like the flare of giant fireflies out over the scene of the Russian charge—­the flashes of small electrical lamps in the hands of the Russian hospital corps.

“I’m glad I don’t have to look at what the flashes reveal out there in the night.”

CHAPTER XIII

THE AUSTRO-SERVIAN CAMPAIGN

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Declaration of War by Austria—­Bombardment of Belgrade—­ Servian Capital Removed—­Seasoned Soldiers of Servia Give a Good Account of Themselves—­Many Indecisive Engagements—­Servians in Austrian Territory.

Formal declaration of war against Servia was proclaimed by Austria on Tuesday, July 28.  The text of the official announcement was as follows: 

“The Royal Government of Servia not having given a satisfactory reply to the note presented to it by the Austro-Hungarian Ministry in Belgrade on July 23, 1914, the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary finds it necessary itself to safeguard its rights and interests and to have recourse for this purpose to the force of arms.  Austria-Hungary, therefore, considers itself from this moment in a state of war with Servia.”

This declaration was signed by Count Berchtold, the Austrian minister for foreign affairs.

The events that immediately preceded the declaration of war, as summarized in a previous chapter, were as follows: 

On June 28 a Slav student who thought he was a patriot killed the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, at Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia, which had been lately made a province of Austria.  An inquiry was begun in which evidence was introduced to show that the assassin’s work was part of a plot for the revolt of the Southern Slav provinces of Austria, and that it was instigated by Servians, if not by the Servian Government.  On July 23, however, before the investigation was completed, Austria sent an ultimatum to Servia demanding that it use every means in its power to punish the assassins and also to stop all further anti-Austrian propaganda.  Austria demanded that she be permitted to have representatives in the work of investigation in Servia.

The next day, July 24, Russia joined the little Slav country in asking for a delay.  Austria refused to grant this.

On July 25, ten minutes before 6 p.m., the hour at which the ultimatum expired, the Servian premier, M. Pashitch, gave his reply to the Austrian ambassador at Belgrade.  Servia agreed to all the conditions and apologies demanded by Austria, except the requirement that Austrian officials should be allowed to participate in the inquiry to be conducted in Servia into the assassination of the Archduke.  Even this was not definitely refused.

On July 27 the Austrian foreign office issued a statement in which appeared these words: 

“The object of the Servian note is to create the false impression that the Servian Government is prepared in great measure to comply with our demands.

“As a matter of fact, however, Servians note is filled with the spirit of dishonesty, which clearly lets it be seen that the Servian Government is not seriously determined to put an end to the culpable tolerance it hitherto has extended to intrigues against the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.”

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Russia at once notified Austria that it could not permit Servian territory to be invaded.  It was then realized in Europe that the great Slav nation would support its little brother.  Germany let it be known that no other country must interfere with the Austro-Servian embroglio, which meant that Germany was prepared to back Austria.

An eleventh-hour proposal by the British foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, that mediation between Servia and Austria be undertaken by a conference of the Ambassadors in London, was accepted by France and Italy, but declined by Germany and Austria.  Then next day, July 28, came Austria’s declaration of war, which soon made Europe the theater of the bloodiest struggle of all the ages.

SERVIA AND ITS ASPIRATIONS

Servians reply to the declaration of war was to concentrate a strong division of its forces in the Sanjak of Novi-Bazar, from which they would be in a position to threaten Bosnia and Herzegovina, the two Balkan provinces that Austria had lately annexed.  It was also reported that Servia intended to invade Bosnia with the object of enlisting further support from the Bosnian Serbs, who were said to be on the point of rising against Austria-Hungary.

The country of the Servians being well suited for defense, they were never completely overrun by the Turks, as other Balkan states were, and as a consequence they still retain, like the Greeks, a native aristocracy of culture.  Physically, they are fairer than most of the Balkan Slavs and more refined in appearance.  By temperament they are light-hearted, joyous, frivolous, and charming to deal with.

In Servia itself, including territory acquired in recent wars, there are about 4,500,000 Serbs.  In Austria there are about 3,500,000 Serbs, including Croats who belong to the Servian race.

The Servians have long dreamed and talked and written of a greater Servia, that should take in all the Servian race.  They look back to the time of King Stephen Dushan, in the fourteenth century, when Servia was supreme in the Balkans and was nearly as advanced in civilization as the most advanced nations of Europe.  The re-establishment of this ancient kingdom had become a passion with the Serbs—­not only with those in Servia, but with many in Hungary as well.  Hence, their animus against Austria and Austrian rule, while Austria’s fight was, primarily, for the preservation and solidification of her heterogeneous dominions; secondarily, for revenge for the Archduke’s death.  Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the Archduke Francis Ferdinand was a close personal friend of the German Kaiser.

THE SERVIAN ARMY

The Servian forces under General Radumil Putnik, consist of ten divisions, divided into four army corps, with a peace footing of 160, and a war strength of over 380,000.  Most of the men called to arms against Austria were veterans of the two recent Balkan wars, and hence probably the most seasoned troops in Europe.

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The rifle of the Servian army is the Mauser, model of 1899, with a caliber of 7 millimeters, but it is doubtful if Servia possessed enough of them to arm the reserves.  The Servian field piece is a quick-firing gun of the French Schneider-Canet system.  The army has some 350 modern guns.

At the outbreak of the war Servia had ten of the most modern aircraft, but she had not developed their efficiency to a degree at which they would be of much material benefit to her in the struggle.

The extremely mountainous nature of Servia and of the adjacent territory of Bosnia make military movements somewhat slow and difficult, especially for troops unaccustomed to mountain warfare.  Compared with this mountainous region, the district of Agram, where one Austrian army corps had its headquarters, is easy country to operate in, while the plain of Hungary on the opposite side of the Danube made the task of concentrating troops an easy one for the Austrians.

Another Austrian army corps had its base at Serajevo in Bosnia.  A railway to the northeast from this Bosnian capital touches the Servian border at Mokragora.  To the north of this point lies Kragujevac, the new capital of Servia, to which King Peter, his court and the Government repaired from Belgrade just before the declaration of war.  Southeast of the new capital is the important Servian city of Nish.

The western frontier of Servia follows the windings of the Biver Drina, a tributary of the Danube.  The Danube itself forms part of the northern boundary and the former capital.  Belgrade, is picturesquely situated on the south bank of the Danube at its junction with a tributary.  Two Austrian fortresses command the city from across the Danube.  On the plain of Hungary to the north is Temesvar, an important point at which another Austrian army corps was located.

CHANCES AGAINST SERVIA

At the outset the chances of war were heavily against Servia.  Such artificial defenses as she possessed were on the Bulgarian frontier.  Many of her troops were engaged in endeavoring to establish Servian rule among the neighboring peoples in her new Albanian possessions.  Austria was prepared to bring against her immediately the three army corps from Temesvar, Serajevo and Agram, and four more corps, from Hermanstadt, Budapest, Graz, and Kaschau, within a fortnight.  Servians one hope appeared to be the difficulty of the country, otherwise she could not oppose for a moment the advance of 250,000 troops supported by pieces of artillery.  Then, too, Austria had warships on the Danube and it was partly through this fact that it was decided by the Servian Government to evacuate Belgrade and to retire to Kragujevac, sixty miles southeast.

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In spite, however, of the seeming futility of opposition, Servia, encouraged by Russian support, prepared for a strenuous campaign against the Austrian forces, and the first two months of the war ended without any decisive advantage to Austria.  The Servians, on the other hand, claimed numerous successes.  Their task was lightened by the Russian invasion of Austrian territory and the determined advance of the Czar’s host, which demanded the fullest strength of the Austrian forces to resist.  As the Russians hammered their enemy in Galicia the spirits of the Servians rose and their seasoned soldiers gave a good account of themselves in every encounter with Austrian troops.  They crossed the Drina and carried the war into Bosnia, putting up a stiff fight wherever they encountered the enemy, and while they sustained severe losses in killed and wounded during August and September, the losses they inflicted upon the Austrians were still heavier.

AUSTRIANS BOMBARD BELGRADE

The Austrian troops on the banks of the Danube became active soon after war was declared.  In the first few days they seized two Servian steamers and a number of river boats.  Belgrade was bombarded from across the river and many of its public buildings, churches and private residences suffered damage.

The hostile armies came into contact for the first time on the River Drina, between Bosnia and Servia, and Vienna was compelled to admit defeat in this preliminary engagement of the war.  The Servians forced a passage through the Austrian ranks, but only at the cost of many killed and wounded.

When Crown Prince Alexander of Servia began the invasion of Bosnia in earnest, in the middle of August, Austria found herself at a disadvantage because of the necessity of massing most of her forces against the Russians.  Roumania and Montenegro were then preparing to join the Servians in the field against Austria.

Later in August the Servians captured several of the enemy’s strongholds in Bosnia.  After a four-day battle on the banks of the Drina the Austrians were defeated with heavy loss, a large number of guns and prisoners being captured by the Servians.  The Montenegrin troops repulsed an Austrian invading force and took several hundred prisoners in an all-day battle on the frontier.

Early in September a heavy engagement was fought by the Servian and Austrian armies near Jadar, resulting in Servian victory.  It was claimed that the Austrians left 10,000 dead on the field of battle.  The Servians also successfully defended Belgrade, which had been bombarded on several occasions.  Fifteen or twenty miles west of Belgrade on the Save River, an Austrian force was decisively defeated by the Servians, who then seemed to be duplicating the successes of the Russian army against Austria.

The attitude of Turkey was being closely watched at this time, Greece and Bulgaria being prepared to enter the war against the Ottoman Empire if the latter decided on belligerency, but on September 5 Turkey again declared her intention to remain neutral.

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SERVIANS CAPTURE SEMLIN

Crossing the Save River into Hungary, the Servians scored a brilliant stroke in the capture of Semlin, an important Austrian city.  They also reported continued successes in Bosnia.  Reports of wholesale desertions of Slavs from the Austrian army were received daily and probably had considerable foundation in fact.  It was said that the Servians were being received enthusiastically by the people of Hungary.

These Servian triumphs led to the reorganization of the Balkan League, including Servia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece.

On September 20 the Servian Government announced that an Austrian attacking army which attempted to cross the frontier near the Sabatz Mountains had been routed with a loss of 15,000 killed and wounded.  The Servian losses in this and other engagements were claimed to have been small in comparison with those of the enemy.

Continuing their forward movement into Hungary, the Servians inflicted further losses on the Austrians near Noviapazow, while the Montenegrins reported a victory in the mountain slopes over their border.

On October 1 it was reported that the Servians had again repulsed an Austrian attempt at invasion and had driven the Austrians back across the Drina with loss.  They had also checked another Austrian attempt to take Belgrade.  The Servian war office claimed that the combined Servian-Montenegrin armies had made material progress in their invasion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that they were within striking distance of Serajevo, which they expected to capture.  This, however, was denied by the Vienna ministry of war, which claimed that the Servian situation was entirely satisfactory to Austria.

On October 5 Servian troops were reported to have begun a northeast advance from Semlin, to effect a junction with two Russian columns advancing southward in Hungary.  One of these columns was then assaulting a fortress in Northwest Hungary, sixty-six miles southeast of Olmutz, while the other was descending the valley of the Nagyan against Huszt in the province of Marmaros.  This latter province or county, which the Russians invaded through the Carpathian passes, lies in the northeast of Hungary, bordering on Galicia, Bukowina and Transylvania.  There was a legend that the eastern Carpathians are impregnable, but this legend was destroyed by the Russian invasion.

Before attaining Uzsok pass, in the Carpathians, the Russians successively captured by a wide flanking movement three well-masked positions which were strongly defended by guns.  Each time the Russians charged the enemy fled and the Russians followed up the Austrian retreat with shrapnel and quick fire, inflicting heavy losses.

German troops joined the Austrian forces in Hungary and at some points succeeded in repulsing the invaders, though their general advance was not decisively checked and they continued the endeavor to effect a junction with the Servians to the south.  Advices from Budapest, October 6, declared that the Russians had captured Marmaros-Sziget, capital of the county of Marmaros, necessitating the removal of the government of that department to Huszt, twenty-eight miles west-northwest of Sziget.  A second Russian column was reported to be threatening Huszt and Austro-German reinforcements were being hurried up to check the Russian advance.

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[Illustration:  “BY ALLAH, I MAY HAVE TO INTERFERE IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY” —­Kessler in the New York Evening Sun.]

CHAPTER XIV

STORIES FROM THE BATTLEFIELD

Thrilling Incidents of the Great War Told by Actual Combatants —­Personal Experiences from the Lips of Survivors of the World’s Bloodiest Battles—­Tales of Prisoners of War, Wounded Soldiers and Refugees Rendered Homeless in Blighted Arena of Conflict.

HAND-TO-HAND FIGHTING

Cavalry fighting on the banks of the River Marne in the year 1914 was almost identical with the charge in the days when Hannibal’s Numidian horse charged at Romans at Lake Trasimene, or when Charles Martel and the chivalry of France worsted the Moors and saved Europe on the plains of Tours.

A good description of a cavalry charge was given by Private Capel of the Third British Hussars, a veteran of the Boer war, who took part in the fighting beginning at Mons and was separated from his regiment in a charge at Coulommiers, in the battle of the Marne, when his horse fell.

“You hear,” said he, “the enemy’s bugles sounding the charge.  Half a mile away you see the Germans coming and it seems that in an instant they will be on you.  You watch fascinated and cold with a terror that makes you unable to lift an arm or do anything but wait and tremble.

“They come closer and still you are horrorstruck.  Then you feel your horse fretting and suddenly you start from your daze, and fear changes suddenly to hate.  Your hand goes to the saber hilt, your teeth clinch and you realize that you must strike hard before the enemy, who is now very close, can strike.  Every muscle tightens with the waiting.

“Before your own bugles have sounded two notes of the charge you find yourself leaning forward over the neck of your galloping horse.  All the rest is a mad gallop, yells of the enemy and your own answer, a terrible shock in which you are almost dismounted, and then you find yourself face to face with a single opponent who, standing up in the stirrups, is about to split your head.  You notice that you are striking like a fiend with the saber.

“After that madness passes it seems almost like a complex maneuver and soon you find yourself riding for dear life—­perhaps to escape, perhaps after the Germans.  You then realize that you have been whipped and that the charge has failed, or you see the backs of the fleeing enemy, feel your horse straining in pursuit and know that you have gained a victory.”

FRIGHTFUL MORTALITY AMONG OFFICERS

The official reports of the loss of life in the battles in France tell of the large number of officers killed.  Sharp-shooters on both sides have had instructions to aim at officers.  These sharpshooters are often concealed far in advance of their troops.  Their small number and their smokeless powder make their discovery most difficult.  This lesson was learned at great cost to the British during the Boer war.

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Dispatches from Bordeaux stated that letters found on dead and captured German officers prove the truth of reports regarding the terrible mortality in the German ranks, especially among officers.  In the Tenth and Imperial Guard Corps of the German army it is said that only a few high ranking officers escaped being shot, and many have been killed.  The German officers have distinguished themselves by their courage, according to the stories of both British and French who fought them.

An officer of an Imperial Guard regiment, who was taken prisoner after being wounded, said: 

“My regiment left for the front with sixty officers; it counts today only five.  “We underwent terrible trials.”

A German artillery officer wrote: 

“Modern war is the greatest of follies.  Companies of 250 men in the Tenth Army Corps have been reduced to seventy men, and there are companies of the guard commanded by volunteers of a year, all the officers having disappeared.”

SAYS GEBMANS FOUGHT EVERY DAY

The following is from a letter, written during the prolonged battle of the Aisne by a lieutenant of the Twenty-sixth German Artillery: 

“The Tenth Corps has been constantly in action since the opening of the campaign.  Nearly all our horses have fallen.  We fight every day from 5 in the morning till 8 at night, without eating or drinking.  The artillery fire of the French is frightful.  We get so tired that we cannot ride a horse, even at a walk.  Toward noon our battery was literally under a rain of shrapnel shells and that lasted for three days.  We hope for a decisive battle to end the situation, for our troops cannot rest.  A French aviator last night threw four bombs, killing four men and wounding eight, and killing twenty horses and wounding ten more.  We do not receive any more mail, for the postal automobiles of the Tenth Corps have been destroyed.”

HOW IT FEELS TO BE WOUNDED

Many men in the trenches have proved themselves heroes in the war.  A wounded British private told this story: 

“We lay in the trench, my friend and I, and when the order to fire came we shot, and shot till our rifles burned up.  Still the Germans swarmed on toward us, and then my friend received a bad wound.  I turned to my work again, continuing to shoot slowly.  Then I rose a little too high on my shoulder.

“Do you know what it is like to be wounded?  A little sting pierced my arm like a hot wire; too sharp almost to be sore, and my rifle fell from me.  I looked at my friend then and he was dead.”

In one casualty list made public by the British war office in September, sixteen officers were reported killed, thirty-eight wounded and ten missing.  The famous Coldstream Guards and the Black Watch regiments were among the sufferers.

HOW GENEBAL FINDLEY DIED

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A correspondent in France described the death of General Neil Douglas Findley of the British Royal Artillery as follows: 

“When at dawn the British advance continued toward Soissons the enemy was fighting an exceptionally fierce rearguard action.  A terrible shell fire was directed against our artillery under General Findley, temporarily situated in a valley by the village of Prise.  It seemed a matter of moments when we should have to spike our guns and General Findley saw the urgency for action.

“‘Boys,’ his voice echoed down the line, ’we are going to get every gun into position,’ Then deliberately the general approached a regimental chaplain kneeling beside a gunner.  ’Here are some of my personal belongings, chaplain.  See that they don’t go astray,’

“One by one our guns began to blaze away and the general had a word of encouragement and advice for every man.  In vain his staff tried to persuade him to leave the danger zone.

“Our range was perfect, the German fire slackened and died away and with a yell our men prepared to advance.  The outburst came too soon, one parting shell exploding in a contact with Findley’s horse, shattering man and beast.”

KILLED FOE IN REVOLVER DUEL

While their men battled on a road near Antwerp, it is said that a Belgian cavalry sergeant and an officer of German Uhlans fought a revolver duel which ended when the Belgian killed his foe, sending a bullet into his neck at close range.

The daring Uhlans had approached close to the Antwerp fortifications on a reconnoitering expedition.  They were seen by a small Belgian force, which immediately went out on the road to give battle.  As they neared each other, the German commander shouted a jibe at the Belgian sergeant.  There was no answer, but the sergeant rode at a gallop straight for the Uhlan.  Miraculously escaping the shots aimed at him, he drew up alongside the officer and informed him that his life was to be forfeited for the insulting words he had uttered.  Both began firing with their revolvers, while at the same time their men clashed.

Only a few of the soldiers witnessed the thrilling duel, for they themselves were fighting desperately.  After their officer’s death the Uhlans withdrew, leaving a number of dead.  Someone carried word of the duel to King Albert, who had just arrived in Antwerp, and he called before him and personally congratulated the sergeant, Henri Pyppes.  The latter was wounded in the arm by one of the Uhlan’s bullets, but he refused to be taken to the hospital and remained on duty in the field.

LITTLE STORIES FROM FRANCE

Count Guerry de Beauregard, a French veteran of the war of 1870, thus announced the death of a son at the front:  “One son already has met the death of the brave beyond the frontier at the head of a squadron of the Seventh Hussars.  Others will avenge him.  Another of my sons, an artilleryman, is with the general staff.  My eldest son is with the Twenty-first Chasseurs.  Long live France!”

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A wounded French soldier who was taken to Marseilles verified a remarkable story of his escape from death while fighting in German Lorraine.  The soldier owes his life to a small bust of Emperor William, which he picked up in a village school and placed in his haversack.  A German bullet struck the bust and, thus deflected, inflicted only a slight wound on the soldier.

Twenty German prisoners taken during the melee near Crecy, were herded together in a clearing, their rifles being stacked nearby.  In a rash moment they thought that they were loosely guarded and made a combined rush for the rifles.  “They will never make another,” was the laconic report of the guard.

SAYS DEAD FILLED THE MEUSE

Edouard Helsey of the Paris newspaper, Le Journal, reported to be serving with the colors, wrote under date of August 29: 

“It would be difficult to estimate the number of Germans killed last week.  Whole regiments were annihilated at some points.  They came out of the woods section by section.  One section, one shell—­and everything was wiped out.

“At two or three places which I am forbidden to name corpses filled the Meuse until the river overflowed.  This is no figure of speech.  The river bed literally was choked by the mass of dead Germans.  The effect of our artillery surpasses even our dreams.”

DETROIT ARTIST’S NARROW ESCAPE

Lawrence Stern Stevens, an artist of Detroit, narrowly escaped death near Aix-la-Chapelle at the hands of a crazed German lieutenant, by whom he was suspected of being a spy.

Stevens left Brussels on Aug. 24 in an automobile.  He was accompanied by a photographer and a Belgian newspaper correspondent, and his intention had been to make sketches on the battlefield.  His arrest at Laneffe thwarted this plan.  He underwent a terrifying ordeal at the hands of his demented captor, although he was not actually injured.

On the evening of Aug. 24 he was court-martialed and sentenced to death and held in close confinement over night.  Early on the morning of Aug. 25 he was led out, as he supposed, to be shot, but the plans had been changed and instead he was taken before Gen. von Arnim.  After being forced to march with German troops for two days, Stevens fell in with a party of American correspondents at Beaumont, from which point he traveled to Aix-la-Chapelle on a prison train, and eventually reached Rotterdam and safety.

SAD PLIGHT OF FRENCH FUGITIVES

M. Brieux, the noted French dramatist, who witnessed the arrival at Chartres of a train full of fugitives who had fled from their homes before the German advance, described his experience for the Figaro.  The fleeing people gathered round him and told him stories and he wrote his impressions as follows: 

“Children weep or gaze wide-eyed, wondering what is the matter.  Old folks sit in gloomy silence.  Women with haggard cheeks and disheveled hair seem to belong to another age.

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“They tell of invaders who scattered powder around or threw petroleum into their houses and then set them afire.

“And when did this happen?  Yesterday!  It is not a matter of centuries ago in distant climes, but yesterday, and quite near to us.  Yet one cannot believe it was really yesterday that these things were done.”

One of the fugitives explained to M. Brieux why after the first hour of their flight she had to carry her elder child as well as her baby.  She showed him a pair of boots.

“I felt the inside with my fingers,” says Brieux.  “Nails had come through the soles.  I looked at the child’s feet.  They were dirty with red brown clots.  It was blood.”

CHAUNCEY DEPEW ON A RUNNING-BOARD

Chauncey M. Depew, former United States Senator for New York, was in Geneva when the trouble began.  He said on his return:  “After crossing the border into France we picked up men joining the colors on the way to Paris, until our train could hold no more.

“Whenever I stuck my head into a corridor the soldiers would set up a cheer on seeing my side whiskers.  They mistook me for an Englishman and cried:  ‘Long live the entente cordiale!’”

IN THE “VALLEY OF DEATH”

The fiercest fighting of all that preceded the Russian victory at Lublin was in a gorge near the village of Mikolaiff, which the Russian soldiers reverently named the “Valley of Death.”

The gorge was full of dead men, lying in heaps, according to an officer who participated in the battle.  “When we attacked at 3 o’clock in the morning,” he said, “the gorge contained 15,000 Austrians, a large proportion of whom were mowed down by the artillery fire which plowed through the valley in the darkness.  The Austrians surrendered and we entered the gorge to receive their arms, while their general stood quietly on a hill watching the scene.  Eight of his standards being turned over to the Russians was more than he could bear, for he drew a pistol and shot himself.”

GENERAL USE OF KHAKI UNIFORMS

The war put everybody into khaki, with a few exceptions.  On the battle line or in the field the English soldier and the English officer get out of their richly colored and historic uniforms and into khaki, of a neutral hue.  The Germans are in gray.  The Austrians have most of their soldiers in khaki, and the Russians all wear khaki-colored cloth.  The French still cling to their blue coats and brilliant red trousers, although steps are being taken to reclothe the army in more modern fashion, and the Belgians have a uniform that is very similar to the French.

The French and Belgian officers are dangerously ornamented with gilt trimmings during warfare and present such brilliant targets that some of the Belgian regiments during hard fighting with the Germans have lost nearly all of their leaders.

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The new twentieth century mode of warfare puts the ban on anything that glitters, even the rifle barrels, bayonets and sabers.

A BELGIAN BOY HERO

On a cot in the Red Cross hospital at Ostend, September 12, lay one of the heroes of the war.  He is Sergeant van der Bern of the Belgian army, and only 17 years old.  He was only a corporal when he started out with twenty-nine men on a reconnoitering expedition during which he was wounded, but displayed such valor that his bravery was publicly related to all the soldiers, and Van der Bern was promoted.

Van der Bern and his little command came suddenly upon a band of fifty Uhlans while on their expedition.  Outnumbered, his men turned and fled.  The corporal shouted to them and dashed alone toward the Germans.  The other Belgians rallied and threw themselves upon the Uhlans.  Within a few minutes only Van der Bern and two others of his command remained.  Twenty-seven Belgians were dead or wounded.  Within a few minutes more of the corporal’s companions fell, mortally wounded.  Then the boy picked them up and displaying almost superhuman strength carried them to safety.  As he was making his retreat, burdened by the two wounded men, Van der Bern was hit twice by German bullets.  He staggered on, placed his men in charge of the Red Cross and without a word walked to headquarters and reported the engagement.  Then he fell in a faint.  WHEN THE GERMANS RETREATED

A vivid description of the rout and retreat of the Germans during hurricane and rain on September 10, which turned the roads into river ways so that the wheels of the artillery sank deep in the mire, was given by a correspondent writing from a point near Melun.  He described how the horses strained and struggled, often in vain, to drag the guns away, and continued: 

“I have just spoken with a soldier who has returned wounded from the pursuit that will go down with the terrible retreat from Moscow as one of the crowning catastrophes of the world.  They fled, he declares, as animals flee who are cornered, and know it.

“Imagine a roadway littered with guns, knapsacks, cartridge belts, Maxims and heavy cannons even.  There were miles and miles of it.  And the dead—­those piles of horses and those stacks of men!  I have seen it again and again, men shot so close to one another that they remained standing after death.  The sight was terrible and horrible beyond words.

“The retreat rolls back and trainload after trainload of British and French are swept toward the weak points of the retreating host.  This is the advantage of the battleground which the Allies have chosen.  The network of railways is like a spider’s web.  As all railways center upon Paris, it is possible to thrust troops upon the foe at any point with almost incredible speed, and food and munitions are within arm’s reach.”

PRINCE JOACHIM WOUNDED

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Prince Joachim, youngest son of Emperor William, was wounded during a battle with the Russians and taken to Berlin.  On September 15 it was reported from Berlin that the wound was healing rapidly, despite the tearing effect of a shrapnel ball through the thigh.  The empress and the surgeons were having considerable trouble in keeping the patient quiet in bed.  He wanted to get on his feet again and insisted that he ought to be able to rejoin his command at the front in about a fortnight.

“The prince treats the wound as a trifle,” said the Berlin dispatch.  “He smilingly greeted an old palace servant whom he had known since childhood with the remark:  ‘Am I not a lucky dog?’”

From an officer who was with Prince Joachim when he was wounded the following description of the incident was obtained: 

“It was during the hottest part of the battle, shortly before the Russian resistance was broken, that the prince, who was with the staff as information officer, was dispatched to the firing line to learn how the situation stood.  He rode off with Adjutant Captain von Tahlzahn and had to traverse the distance, almost a mile, under a heavy hail of shell and occasional volleys.

“As the Russian artillery was well served and knew all the ranges from previous measurements, the ride was not a particularly pleasant one, but he came through safely and stood talking with the officers when a shrapnel burst in their vicinity.  The prince and the adjutant were both hit, the latter receiving contusions on the leg, but the shot not penetrating.

“To stop and whip out an emergency bandage which the prince, like every officer and private, carries sewed inside the blouse, and bind it around the thigh to check the bleeding was the work of but a moment.  It was a long and dangerous task, however, to get him back to the first bandaging station, about a mile to the rear, under fire and from there he was transported to the advanced hospital at Allenstein, where he remained until he was able to travel.

“Prince Joachim, who was already recommended for the Iron Cross for bravery before Namur, received the decoration shortly before he was wounded.  The prince, who has many friends in America, conveyed through his adjutant his thanks for assurances of American sympathy and interest.”

EX-EMPRESS DEVOTED TO FRANCE

The aged ex-Empress Eugenie of France, widow of Napoleon III, has been living for many years in retirement in the county of Hampshire, England.  She was recently visited by Lord Portsmouth, an old friend, who found the illustrious lady full of courage and devotion to the French cause in the present war.  In explaining her failure to treat her guest as she would have desired, the empress said: 

“I cannot give you dinner because most of the men of my kitchen have gone to war.”

A “BATTLESHIP ON WHEELS”

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Just before the war France added to its equipment the most modern of fighting devices.  It is a train of armored cars with rapid-fire guns, conning towers and fighting tops.  As a death-dealing war apparatus it is the most unique of anything used by any of the nations.  This “battleship” on wheels consists of an armored locomotive, two rapid-fire gun carriages and two armored cars for transporting troops.  The rapid-fire guns are mounted in such manner that they can be swung and directed to any point of the compass.  Rising from the car behind the locomotive, is a conning tower from which an officer takes observations and directs the fire of the rapid-fire guns.  Rails running on top of the cars permit troops to fire from the roof of the cars.  For opening railway communications this “battleship on wheels” is unexcelled.

GAVE HIM A FORK TO MATCH

The scene is a village on the outskirts of Muelhausen, in Alsace.  A lieutenant of German scouts dashes up to the door of the only inn in the village, posts men at the doorway and entering, seats himself at a table.

He draws his saber and places it on the table at his side and orders food in menacing tones.

The village waiter is equal to the occasion.  He goes to the stables and fetches a pitchfork and places it at the other side of the visitor.

“Stop!  What does this mean?” roared the lieutenant, furiously.

“Why,” said the waiter, innocently, pointing to the saber, “I thought that was your knife, so I brought you a fork to match.”

DECORATED ON THE BATTLEFIELD

On a train loaded with wounded which passed through Limoges, September 11, was a young French officer, Albert Palaphy, whose unusual bravery on the field of battle won for him the Legion of Honor.

As a corporal of the Tenth Dragoons at the beginning of the war, Palaphy took part in the violent combat with the Germans west of Paris, In the thick of the battle the cavalryman, finding his colonel wounded and helpless, rushed to his aid.

Palaphy hoisted the injured man upon his shoulders, and under a rain of machine gun bullets carried him safely to the French lines.  That same day Palaphy was promoted to be a sergeant.

Shortly afterward, although wounded, he distinguished himself in another affair, leading a charge of his squad against the Baden guard, whose standard he himself captured.

Wounded by a ball which had plowed through the lower part of his stomach and covered with lance thrusts, he was removed from the battlefield during the night, and learned he had been promoted to be a sublieutenant and nominated chevalier in the Legion of Honor.

This incident of decorating a soldier on the battlefield recalls Napoleonic times.

“AFTER YOU,” SAID THE FRENCHMAN

Lieutenant de Lupel of the French army is said to have endeared himself to his command by a most unusual exhibition of what they are pleased to term “old-fashioned French gallantry.”

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Accompanied by a few men, Lieutenant de Lupel succeeded in surrounding a German detachment occupying the station at Mezieres.  The lieutenant, on searching the premises, came upon the German officer hiding behind a stack of coal.  Both men leveled their guns, and for a moment faced each other.

“After you,” finally said the Frenchman courteously.

The German fired and missed and Lieutenant de Lupel killed his man.

The French soldiers cheered their leader, and he has been praised everywhere for his action.

A “WALKING WOOD” AT CRECY

A correspondent describes a “walking wood” at Crecy.  The French and British cut down trees and armed themselves with the branches.  Line after line of infantry, each man bearing a branch, then moved forward unobserved toward the enemy.

Behind them, amid the lopped tree trunks, the artillerymen fixed themselves and placed thirteen-pounders to cover the moving wood.

The attack, which followed, won success.  It almost went wrong, however, for the French cavalry, which was following, made a detour to pass the wood and dashed into view near the ammunition reserves of the Allies.

German shells began falling thereabouts, but British soldiers went up the hills and pulled the boxes of ammunition out of the way of the German shells.  Ammunition and men came through unscathed.  By evening the Germans had been cleared from the Marne district.

CHAPLAIN CAPTURES AUSTRIAN TROOPERS

The Bourse Gazette relates the story of a Russian regimental chaplain who, single-handed, captured twenty-six Austrian troopers.  He was strolling on the steppes outside of Lemberg, when suddenly he was confronted by a patrol of twenty-six men, who tried to force him to tell the details of the position of the Russian troops.

While talking to the men, the priest found that they were all Slavs, whereupon he delivered an impassioned address, dwelling on the sin of shedding the blood of their Slav brethren.

At the end of the address, the story concludes, the troopers with bent heads followed the priest into the Russian camp.

A BRITISH CAVALRY CHARGE

Here is a picturesque story of a British cavalry charge at Thuin, a town in Belgium near Charleroi, and the subsequent retreat to Compiegne: 

“On Monday morning, August 24, after chafing at the long delay, the 2nd British Cavalry Brigade let loose at the enemy’s guns.  The 9th Lancers went into action singing and shouting like schoolboys.

“For a time all seemed well; few saddles were emptied, and the leaders had charged almost within reach of the enemy’s guns when suddenly the Germans opened a murderous fire from at least twenty concealed machine guns at a range of 150 yards.

“The result was shattering, and the Lancers caught the full force of the storm, Vicomte Vauvineux, a French cavalry officer who rode with the brigade as interpreter, was killed instantly.  Captain Letourey, who was the French master of a school in Devon, was riding by the side of Vauvineux, and had a narrow escape, as his horse was shot from under him.  Other officers also fell.

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“While the bulk of the brigade swerved to the right the others held on and rode full tilt into wire entanglements buried in the grass thirty yards in front of the machine guns, and were made prisoners.  Three regiments of the best cavalry in the British went into the charge, and suffered severely.  The 18th Hussars and the 4th Dragoons also suffered, but not to the same extent as the others.

“A happy feature of the charge was the gallant conduct of Captain Grenfell, who, though twice wounded, called for volunteers and saved the guns.  It is said that he has been recommended for the Victoria Cross.

“After this terrible ordeal the British brigade was harassed for fourteen days of retreat, the enemy giving them rest neither day nor night.  At 2 o’clock each morning they were roused by artillery fire, and every day they fought a retiring action, pursued relentlessly by the guns.

“It was a wonderful retreat.  Daily the cavalry begged to be allowed to go for the enemy in force to recover lost ground, but only once were they permitted to taste that joy, at the village of Lassigny, which they passed and repassed three times.

“The Germans made repeated efforts, which were always foiled, to capture the retreating transport.  It had, however, many narrow escapes.  At one point it escaped by a furious gallop which enabled the wagons to cross a bridge less than an hour ahead of the enemy.  The engineers had mined the bridge and were waiting to blow it up.  They sent a hurry-up call to the transport, and the latter responded with alacrity.  The bridge was blown up just in time to separate the two forces.  “At Compiegne the brigade for the first time saw and welcomed their French brothers-in-arms.”

BOY SCOUT HERO OF THE WAR

One of the popular heroes of Belgium is Boy Scout Leysen, who has been decorated by King Albert for his valor and devotion to his country.

This young man, who was born at Liege, is described as of almost uncanny sharpness, with senses and perceptions as keen as an Indian.  He was able to find his way through the woods and pass the German sentinels with unerring accuracy.

Leysen made his way through the German lines from Antwerp for the tenth time on Sunday, September 6, carrying dispatches to secret representatives of the Belgian government in Brussels.  He discovered and denounced eleven German spies in Belgium, and performed a variety of other services, and all without impairing his boyish simplicity.

KAISER ASKS FOR PRAYERS

After the first three weeks of war, Emperor William requested the supreme council of the Evangelical Church throughout the German empire to include the following prayer in the liturgy at all public services during the war: 

“Almighty and most merciful God, God of the armies, we beseech Thee in humility for Thy almighty aid for German Fatherland.  Bless our forces of war; lead us to victory and give us grace that we may show ourselves to be Christians toward our enemies as well.  Let us soon arrive at a peace which will everlastingly safeguard our free and independent Germany.”

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SPIRIT OF FRENCH WOMEN

When sympathy was expressed in Paris for a poor woman, mother of nine sons, eight of whom were at the front, she replied:  “I need no consolation.  I have never forgotten that I was flogged by Prussians in 1870.  I have urged my sons to avenge me and they will.”

As one train of soldiers for the front moved out of a Paris railway station two girls who had bravely kissed farewell to a departing man turned away, and one began to cry, but the other said:  “Keep up a little longer, he can still see us.”  Another carried a baby, and as her husband leaned out of the window and the train started she threw it into his arms, crying:  “Leave it with, the station master at the next station, and I will fetch it; you must have it for another few minutes.”

A Paris painter, called for military duty, was obliged to leave his wife and four children almost destitute.  When he communicated with his wife on the subject she replied:  “Do your duty without worrying about us.  The city, state and our associations will look after us women and children.”  In her letter, the wife enclosed a money order for $1 out of $1.20, the total amount of money which she possessed.

KILLS MANY WITH ARMORED CAR

Lieutenant Henkart, attached to the general staff of the Belgian Army, perfected a monitor armored motor car which was successfully used by the Belgians.

During the war the officer engaged in reconnoitering in one of his armored cars.  He had several encounters with Uhlans, of whom he killed a considerable number, virtually single-handed.  His only assistants in his scouting trips were a chauffeur, an engineer and a sharpshooter.

On one occasion the party killed five Uhlans.  Two days later it killed seven and on another occasion near Waterloo, the auto ran into a force of 500 Germans and escaped after killing twenty-five with a rapid-fire gun, which was mounted on the motor car.

A GERMAN RUSE THAT FAILED

A Belgian diplomat in Paris related an incident he observed at Charleroi.  He said: 

“Twenty Death’s Head Hussars entered the town at 7 o’clock in the morning and rode quickly down the street, saluting and calling out ‘Good-day’ to those they met, saying, ‘We are friends of the people.’

“Mistaking them for English cavalrymen, the people cried ’Long live England!’ The Belgian soldiers themselves were deceived until an officer at a window, realizing their mistake, ran to the street and gave the alarm.  The Belgian soldiers rushed quickly to arms and opened fire on the fleeing Germans, of whom several were killed.”  DIED WRITING TO HIS WIFE

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Here is a story of a heroic death on the battlefield, told simply in a letter found in the cold hands of a French soldier who had just finished writing it when the end came.  “I am awaiting help which does not come,” the letter ran.  “I pray God to take me, for I suffer atrociously.  Adieu, my wife and dear children.  Adieu, all my family, whom I so loved.  I request that whoever finds me will send this letter to Paris to my wife, with the pocketbook which is in my coat pocket.  Gathering my last strength I write this, lying prostrate under the shell fire.  Both my legs are broken.  My last thoughts are for my children and for thee, my cherished wife and companion of my life, my beloved wife.  Vive la France!”

IN THE PARIS MILITARY HOSPITAL

A visitor to the military hospital within the intrenched camp of Paris, just outside the city walls, said on September 18: 

“Men of all ranks are there, from the simple private to a general of division.  There is no sign of discouragement or sadness on the pale faces, which light up with the thought of returning to battle.

“I saw hundreds of men lying on the beds in the wards with varieties of wounds, no two being identical.  This Turco—­or African soldier—­suffered from a torn tongue, cut by a bullet, which traversed his cheek.  Another had lost three fingers of his left hand.  A bullet entered the temple of this infantryman and fell into his mouth, where by some curious reaction he swallowed it.

“Many of the patients are suffering from mere flesh wounds.  One poor fellow whose eye was put out by a bullet said:  “That’s nothing.  It is only my left eye and I aim with my right.  I need the lives of just three Germans to pay for it.”

SMOKE AS WOUNDS ARE TREATED

“The Turcos, though terrible hand-to-hand fighters, are hard to care for.  They have great fear of pain and it is difficult to bandage their wounds.  The doctors give them cigarettes, which they smoke with dignity as if performing a ritual.

“All the African soldiers were wrathful at a German officer lying in a neighboring room.  They muttered in a sinister fashion, ‘To-morrow!’ and put two hands to the neck.  I understood this to mean that they would strangle him to-morrow.  Much vigilance is required to keep the officer out of their reach.

“One Turco killed two Prussians with his bayonet and two with the stock of the gun in a single fight.  His body is covered with the scars of years of fighting in the service of France.  When asked if he liked France he replied:  ‘France good country, good leaders, good doctors.’  He seemed to mind his wound less than the lack of cigarettes.”

SPIRIT OF BELGIAN SOLDIERS

Writing from Antwerp on September 1, William G. Shepherd, United Press staff correspondent, illustrated the spirit of the soldiery of Belgium by the following story: 

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“The little Belgian soldier who climbed into the compartment with me was dead tired; he trailed his rifle behind him, threw himself into the seat and fell sound asleep.  He was ready to talk when he awoke an hour later.

“‘Yes, I was up all night with German prisoners,’ he said.  ’It was a bad job, there were only sixteen of us to handle 200 Germans.  We had four box cars and we put twenty-five prisoners in one end of the car and twenty-five in the other, and the four of us with rifles sat guard by the car door.

“’We rode five hours that way and I expected every minute that the whole fifty Germans in the car would jump on us four and kill us.  Four to fifty; that’s heavy odds.  But we had to do it.  You see there aren’t enough soldiers in Belgium to do all the work, so we have to make out the best we can.’

“That’s the plucky little Belgian soldier, all over.

“In the first place, he’s different from most soldiers, because he is willing to fight when he knows he’s going to lose.

“‘We have to make out the best we can,’ is his motto.

“In the second place, he’s a common-sense little fellow.  Even while he’s fighting, he’s doing it coolly, and there is no blind hatred in his heart that causes him to waste any effort.  He gets down to the why and wherefore of things.

“‘I really felt sorry for those German prisoners,’ said a comrade of the first soldier.  ’They were all decent fellows.  They told me their officers had fooled them.  They said the officers gave them French money on the German frontier and then yelled to them, “On into France!” They went on three days and got to Liege before they knew they were in Belgium instead of France.

“‘We didn’t want to hurt Belgium,’ they told us, because we’re from Alsace-Lorraine ourselves.’

“‘You see,’ continued the logical little Belgian, ’it wasn’t their fault, so we couldn’t be mad at them.’

“That is the Belgian idea—­cool logic.

“‘Why did you fight the Germans?’ I asked a high government official.

“’Because civilization can’t exist without treaties, and it is the duty that a nation owes to civilization to fight to the death when written treaties are broken,’ was the reply.

“’It must be a rule among nations that to break a treaty means to fight.  The Germans broke the neutrality treaty with Belgium and we had to fight.’

“‘But did you expect to whip the Germans?’

“’How could we?  We knew that hordes of Germans would follow the first comers, but we had no right to worry about who would be whipped; all we had to do was to fight, and we’ve done it the best we could.’

“It has been a cool-headed logical matter with the Belgians from the start.  Treaties are made with ink; they’re broken with blood, and just as naturally and coolly as the Belgian diplomats used ink in signing the treaties with Germany so the Belgian soldiers have used their blood in trying to maintain the agreements.”

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RIFLES USED BY NATIONS OF WAR

In the present war Germany uses a Mauser rifle, with a bullet of millimeters caliber, steel and copper coated.  Great Britain’s missile is the Lee-Enfield, caliber 7.7 mm., the coating being cupro-nickel.

The French weapon is the Lebel rifle, of 8 mm. caliber, with bullets coated with nickel.  Russia uses Mossin-Nagant rifles, 7.62 mm., with bullets cupro-nickel coated.  Austria’s chief small arm is the Mannlicher, caliber 8 mm., with a steel sheet over the tip.

Hitting a man beyond 350 yards, the wounds inflicted by all these bullets are clean cut.  They frequently pass through bone tissue without splintering.

When meeting an artery the bullet seems to push it to one side and goes around without cutting the blood channel.

Amputations are very rare compared with wars of more than fifty years ago.  A bullet wound through a joint, such as the knee or the elbow, then necessitated the amputation of the limb.  Now such a wound is easily opened and dressed.

Even Russia, which made a sad sanitary showing in the war with Japan, now has learned her lesson and has efficient surgical arrangements.

All the nations use vaccine to combat typhoid, the scourge which once decimated camps, and killed 1,600 in the Spanish-American war.

GERMAN UHLANS AS SCOUTS

Concerning the German Uhlans, of whom so much has been heard in the European war, Luigi Barzini, a widely known Italian war correspondent, said: 

“The swarms of cavalry which the Germans send out ahead of their advance are to be found everywhere—­on any highway, on any path.  It is their business to see as much as possible.  They show themselves everywhere and they ride until they are fired upon, keeping this up until they have located the enemy.

“Theirs is the task of riding into death.  The entire front of the enemy is established by them, and many of them are killed—­that is a certainty they face.  Now and then, however, one of them manages to escape to bring the information himself, which otherwise is obtained by officers in their rear making observation.

“At every bush, every heap of earth, the Uhlan must say to himself:  ‘Here I will meet an enemy in hiding.’  He knows that he cannot defend himself against a fire that may open on him from all sides.  Everywhere there is danger for the Uhlan—­hidden danger.  “Nevertheless he keeps on riding, calmly and undisturbed, in keeping with German discipline.”

FOUGHT WITHOUT SHOES

The Paris Matin relates that on the arrival of a train bringing wounded Senegalese riflemen nearly all were found smoking furiously from long porcelain pipes taken from the enemy and seemingly indifferent to their wounds.  One gayly told of the daring capture of a machine gun by eighteen of his comrades.  The gun, he said, was brought up by a detachment of German dragoons and the Senegalese bravely charged and captured everything.

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Though their arms and bodies were hacked by sabers, the Senegalese complained of nothing but the obligation to fight with shoes on.  Before going into battle at Charleroi they slyly rid themselves of these impediments and came back shod in German footwear to avoid punishment for losing equipment.

KILLED A GENERAL

The shot which resulted in the death of Prince von Buelow, one of the German generals, was fired by a Belgian private named Rosseau, who was decorated by King Albert for his conduct in the battle of Haelen.

Rosseau was lying badly wounded among his dead comrades when he saw a German officer standing beside his horse and studying a map.  Picking up a rifle beside a dead German, Rosseau fired at this officer and wounded him.  The officer proved to be Prince von Buelow.  Exchanging his hat for the German general’s helmet and taking the general’s horse, Rosseau made his way to the Belgian lines and was placed in a hospital at Ghent.

HOW A GERMAN PRINCE DIED

The Hanover Courier gave the following account by an eyewitness of the death of Prince Frederick William of Lippe at Liege: 

“On all sides our detachment was surrounded by Belgian troops, who were gradually closing in for purposes of exterminating us.  At the prince’s command we formed a circle eight deep, maintaining a stubborn defense.  At length a strong division arrived to support us.  The prince raised himself from a kneeling position and turned to the standard bearer, who lay prone beside him, covering the standard with his body.

“‘Raise the standard,’ commanded the prince, ’so that we may be recognized by our friends.’

“The standard bearer raised the flag, waving it to and fro.  This action immediately brought upon the standard bearer and the prince a violent fusillade.  The standard was shot away and at the same moment the prince was struck in the chest and expired instantly.”

RAILWAY STATION A SHAMBLES

Mrs. Herman H. Harjes, wife of the Paris banker, who, with other American women, was deeply interested in relief work, visited the North railroad station at Paris on September 1 and was shocked by the sights she saw among the Belgian refugees.

“The station,” said Mrs. Harjes, “presented the aspect of a shambles.  It was the saddest sight I ever saw.  It is impossible to believe the tortures and cruelties the poor unfortunates had undergone.

“I saw many boys with both their hands cut off so that it was impossible for them to carry guns.  Everywhere was filth and utter desolation.  The helpless little babies, lying on the cold, wet cement floor and crying for proper nourishment, were enough to bring hot tears to any mother’s eyes.

“Mothers were vainly besieging the authorities, begging for milk or soup.  A mother with twelve children said: 

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“What is to become of us?  It seems impossible to suffer more.  I saw my husband bound to a lamppost.  He was gagged and being tortured by bayonets.  When I tried to intercede in his behalf, I was knocked senseless with a rifle.  I never saw him again.’”

BURIED ON THE FIELD

The bodies of the dead in this war were not, with occasional exceptions, returned to their relatives, but were buried on the field and where numbers required it, in common graves.  Valuables, papers and mementoes were taken from the bodies and made up in little packets to be sent to the relatives, and the dead soldiers, each wrapped in his canvas shelter tent, as shroud, were laid, friend and foe, side by side in long trenches in the ground for which they had contested.

GERMAN LISTS OF THE DEAD

In the German official Gazette daily lists of the dead, wounded and missing were published.  The names marched by in long columns of the Gazette, arrayed with military precision by regiments and companies, batteries or squadrons—­first the infantry and then cavalry, artillery and train.

The company lists were headed usually by the names of the officers, killed or wounded; then came the casualties from the enlisted strength—­first the dead, then the wounded and the missing.  A feature of the early lists was the large proportion of this last class, reports from some units running monotonously, name after name, “missing” or “wounded and missing”—­in mute testimony of scouting patrols which did not return, or of regiments compelled to retire and leave behind them dead, wounded and prisoners, or sometimes of men wandering so far from their comrades in the confusion of battle that they could not find and rejoin their companies for days.

THE LANCE AS A WEAPON

An attempt was made in lists of the German wounded to give the nature and location of the wound.  These were principally from rifle or shrapnel fire.  A scanty few in the cavalry were labeled “lance thrust,” indicating that the favorite weapon of the European cavalry has not done the damage expected of it, although the lance came more into play in the later engagements between the Russian and German cavalry divisions.

“FATHERLAND OR DEATH!”

Writing from Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany, on August 29th, Karl H. von Wiegand, who is considered by the Allies a German mouthpiece, said: 

“America has not the faintest realization of the terrible carnage going on in Europe.  She cannot realize the determination of Germany, all Germany—­men, women and children—­in this war.  The German Empire is like one man.  And that man’s motto is ‘Vaterland oder Tod!’ (Fatherland or Death!)

“English news sources are reported here as telling of the masterly retreat of the allies.  Here in the German field headquarters, where every move on the great chess-board of Belgium and France is analyzed, the war to date is referred to as the greatest offensive movement in the history of modern warfare.”

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GERMAN PLANS WELL LAID

The German offensive plans were well laid.  No army that ever took the field was ever so mobile.  Thousands of army autos have been in use.  Each regiment had its supply.  The highways were mapped in advance.  There was not a crossroad that was not known.  Even the trifling brooks had been located.  Nothing had been left to chance and the advance guard was accompanied by enormous automobiles filled with corps of sappers who carried bridge and road building materials.

THE TERRIBLE KRUPP GUNS

How well the German plans worked was shown when Namur, which, it was boasted, would resist for months, fell in two days.  The terrible work of the great Krupp weapons, whose existence had been kept secret, is hard to realize.  One shot from one of these guns went through what was considered an impregnable wall of concrete and armored steel at Namur, exploded and killed 150 men.

And aside from the effectiveness of these terrible weapons, Belgian prisoners who were in the Namur forts declare their fire absolutely shattered the nerves of the defenders, whose guns had not sufficient range to reach them.

GERMANS DEFY DEATH

“It makes you sick to see the way that the Germans literally walk into the very mouth of the machine guns and cannon spouting short-fused shrapnel that mow down their lines and tear great gaps in them,” said a Belgian major who was badly wounded.  “Nothing seems to stop them.  It is like an inhuman machine and it takes the very nerve out of you to watch it.”

SPIRIT OF GERMAN WOMEN

“The women of Germany are facing the situation with heroic calmness,” said Eleanor Painter, an American opera singer on landing in New York September 7th, direct from Berlin, where she had spent the last four years.  “It is all for the Fatherland.  The spirit of the people is wonderful.  If the men are swept away in the maelstrom of war, the women will continue to fight.  They are prepared now to do so.

“There are few tears in Berlin.  Of course there is sorrow, deep sorrow.  But the German women and the few men still left in the capital realize that the national life itself is at stake and accept the inevitable losses of a successful military occupation.  There is a grim dignity everywhere.  There are no false ideas as to the enormity of the struggle for existence.  A great many Germans, in fact, realizing that it is nearly the whole world against Germany, do not believe that the Fatherland can survive.  But they are determined that while there is a living German so long will Germany fight.

FATHER AND TEN SONS ENLIST

“A German father with his ten sons enlisted.  General von Haessler, more than the allotted three-score years and ten, veteran of two wars, offered his sword.  Boys who volunteered and who were not needed at the time wept when the recruiting officers sent them back home, telling them their time would come.

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“The German women fight their own battles in keeping back tears and praying for the success of the German arms.  Hundreds of titled women are at the front with the Red Cross, sacrificing everything to aid their country.  Baroness von Ziegler and her daughter wrote from Wiesbaden that they were en route to the front and were ready to fight if need be.

“Even the stupendous losses which the army is incurring cannot dim the love of the Fatherland nor the desire of the Germans, as a whole nation, to fight on.  I speak of vast losses.  An officer with whom I talked while en route from Berlin to Rotterdam, told me of his own experience.  He was one of 2,000 men on the eastern frontier.  They saw a detachment of Russians ahead.  The German forces went into battle singing and confident, although the Russian columns numbered 12,000.  Of that German force of 2,000 just fifty survived.  None surrendered.”

FEARFUL STATE OF BATTLEFIELDS

Dead men and horses, heaped up by thousands, lay putrefying on the battlefields of the Aisne, Colonel Webb C. Hayes, U.S.A., son of former President Hayes, declared in Washington on Oct. 7, on his return from observing the war and its battlefields.  He was the bearer of a personal message to President Wilson from the acting burgomaster of Louvain.

“When I left Havre on Sept. 27,” he said, “the Allies were fearful that they would not be able to penetrate to the German line through the mass of putrefying men and horses on the battlefields, which unfortunately the combatants seem not to heed about burying.  I don’t see how they could pass through these fields.  The stench was horrible, and the idea of climbing over the bodies must be revolting even to brave soldiers.”

Col.  Hayes had been on the firing line; he had visited the sacked city of Louvain as the guest of Germans in an armored car; he had been in Aix-la-Chapelle, at the German base, and had seen some of the fighting in the historic Aisne struggle.

“It is a sausage grinder,” he declared.

“On one side are the Allies, apparently willing to sacrifice their last man in defense of France; on the other are the Germans, seemingly prodigal of their millions of men and money and throwing man after man into the war.”

“What about the alleged atrocities in Belgium?” he was asked.

“Well, war is hell; that’s about the only answer I can give you.  The real tragic feature of the whole war is Belgium.  Its people are wonderful folk—­clean, decent, respectable.  What this nation should do is to concentrate its efforts to aid the women and children of Belgium.  Help for hospitals is not so much needed, but the fate of these people is really pathetic.”  Asked for a brief description of what he saw along the battle line, Col.  Hayes declared: 

“The battle front these days is far different from what it used to be.  There are few men to be seen, and practically no guns.  All are concealed.  Shrapnel flies through the air and bursts.  That is the scene most of the time.  In the hand-to-hand fighting bayonets are used much by the French, while the Turcos use knives.”

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“Shall you go back?” Col.  Hayes was asked.

“Does anyone wish to visit a slaughterhouse a second time?” he replied.

PRINCES WOUNDED BY THE FOE

Prince August William, the fourth son of Emperor William, was shot in the left arm during the battle of the Marne and Emperor William bestowed the Iron Cross of the first class on him.

Prince Eitel, the Kaiser’s second son, was wounded during the battle of the Aisne.  Up to October 7 four of Emperor William’s sons had been placed temporarily hors de combat.

Prince George of Servia, while leading his battalion against the Austrians September 18, was hit by a ball which entered near the spinal column and came out at the right shoulder.  The wound was said not to be dangerous.

HOW THE SCOTSMEN FOUGHT

At St. Quentin, France, the Highland infantrymen burst into the thick of the Germans, holding on to the stirrups of the Scots Greys as the horsemen galloped, and attacked hand to hand.  The Germans were taken aback at the sudden and totally unexpected double irruption, and broke up before the Scottish onslaught, suffering severe losses alike from the swords of the cavalry and from the Highlanders’ bayonets.  The scene of this charge is depicted in one of our illustrations.

TWO TRAGIC INCIDENTS

During the Russian retreat through the Mazur lake district, in East Prussia, a Russian battery was surrounded on three sides by the enemy’s quick firers.  The infantry was on the other side of the lake, and the Russian ammunition was exhausted.  In order to avoid capture, the commander ordered the battery to gallop over the declivity into the lake.  His order was obeyed and he himself was among the drowned.

During an assault on the fortress of Ossowetz, a German column got into a bog.  The Russians shelled the bog and the single road crossing it.  The Germans, in trying to extricate themselves, sank deeper into the mire, and hundreds were killed or wounded.  Of the whole column, about forty survived.

IN THE BRUSSELS HOSPITALS

A peculiar incident of the war is noted by a doctor writing in the New York American, who went through several of the great Brussels hospitals and noted the condition of the wounded Belgian soldiers.  These soldiers carried on the defense of their country with a valor which the fighting men of any nation might admire and envy.  The writer remarks: 

“Two facts struck me very forcibly.  The first was the very large number of Belgian soldiers wounded only in the legs, and, secondly, many of the soldiers seem to have collapsed through sheer exhaustion.

“In peace times one sees and hears little or nothing of extreme exhaustion, because in times of peace the almost superphysical is not demanded.  War brings new conditions.

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“These Belgian soldiers were at work and on the march during stupendous days, practically without a moment’s respite.  They went, literally, until they dropped.  As a medical man, their condition interested me enormously.

“What force of will to fight and struggle until the last gasp!  The exhaustion one sees often in heat strokes and in hot climates is commonplace, but this type of exhaustion is, by itself, the final triumph of brave spirits.

“The victims presented a very alarming appearance when first I met them.  They seemed almost dead; limp, pale, and cold.  Recovery usually is not protracted; in every case the men knocked out in this manner expressed a fervent desire to return at once to the ranks.

GERMAN WARNING TO FRENCH TOWNS

Following is the text of a proclamation published in French and posted in all towns occupied by the Germans: 

“All the authorities and the municipality are informed that every peaceful inhabitant can follow his regular occupation in full security.  Private property will be absolutely respected and provisions paid for.

“If the population dare under any form whatever to take part in hostilities the severest punishment will be inflicted on the refractory.

“The people must give up their arms.  Every armed individual will be put to death.  Whoever cuts telegraph wires, destroys railway bridges or roads or commits any act in detriment to the Germans will be shot.

“Towns and villages whose inhabitants take part in the combat or who fire upon us from ambush will be burned down and the guilty shot at once.  The civil authorities will be held responsible. (Signed) VON MOLTKE.”

MOTORS IN THE RUSSIAN ARMY

The Russian army has always placed much dependence on its horses, having a vast number, but it has realized the importance of the motor vehicle in warfare and already it is much better equipped than other nations suppose.  An illustration of the fact is the following, related by a Bed Cross man who accompanied the Russian forces into eastern Germany: 

“I was walking beside one of our carts.  We could hear heavy artillery fire as we went, when shouts from our people behind warned us to get off the road.  We pulled onto the grass as there came thundering past, bumping from one rough place to another on the poor road and going at a sickening pace, a string of huge motor cars crowded with infantrymen.  They looked like vehicles of the army establishment, all apparently alike in size and pattern and each carrying about thirty men.

“They were traveling like no motor wagon that I ever saw—­certainly at not less than forty miles an hour.  The procession seemed endless.  I didn’t count them, but there were not less than a hundred, and perhaps a good many more.  That was General Rennenkampf reinforcing his threatened flank.”

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JENNIE DUFAU’S NARROW ESCAPE

Jennie Dufau, the American opera singer, had one of the most thrilling experiences told by a refugee from the war zone.

Miss Dufau was visiting in Saulxures, Province of Alsace, when the war started, and was in the hitherto peaceful valley of that region until August 24.  She was with her sister, Elizabeth, and her two brothers, Paul and Daniel.

On August 6 the German artillery occupied the heights on one side of the valley, overlooking the town.  On the 12th the Germans occupied the town itself.  At that time there were but two French regiments near Saulxures.

The French, however, opened fire on the Germans, and Miss Dufau with her father and sister at once retreated to the cellar in an effort to escape the flying shells.

“Then began a tremendous artillery duel that lasted for days,” she said.  “All this time we were living in the cellar, where we were caring for ten wounded French officers.  I often went out over the battlefield when the fire slackened and did what I could for the wounded and dying.

“My brothers Paul and Daniel were drafted into the German army.  They had sworn an oath not to fire a shot at a Frenchman, and their greatest hope was that they would be captured and permitted to put on the French uniform.

“Between August 12 and 24 the artillery duel raged, and finally the opposing armies came to a hand-to-hand fight with the bayonet.  First it was the Germans who occupied the town, then the French.  The Germans finally came to our house and accused my sister, my father, and myself of being spies because they found a telephone there.  The soldiers lined us up against the wall to shoot us, but we fell on our knees and begged them to spare the life of our father.  They gave no heed till a German colonel came along and, after questioning us, ordered that we be set free.”

VALLEY OF DEATH ON THE AISNE

A non-combatant who succeeded in getting close to the firing lines on the Aisne when the great battle had raged continuously for five weeks, wrote as follows on October 21st of the horrors he had witnessed: 

“Between the lines of battle there is a narrow strip, varying from seventy yards to a quarter of a mile, which is a neutral valley of death.  Neither side is able to cross that strip without being crumpled by fire against which no body of men can stand.  The Germans have attempted to break through the British and French forces hundreds of times but have been compelled to withdraw, and always with severe losses.

“A number of small towns are distributed in this narrow strip, the most important being Craonne.  The Germans and French have reoccupied it six times and each in turn has been driven out.  The streets of Craonne are littered with the dead of both armies.  The houses, nearly all of which have been demolished by exploding shells, are also full of bodies of men who crawled into them to get out of the withering fire and have there died.  Many of these men died of sheer exhaustion and starvation while the battle raged day after day.

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“Both armies have apparently abandoned the struggle to hold Craonne permanently, and it is now literally a city of the dead.

“It is a typical French village of ancient stone structures; the tiny houses all have, or had, gables and tiled roofs.  These have mostly been broken by shell fire.  Under the shelter of its buildings both the Germans and French have been able at times to rescue their wounded.

“This is more than can be said of the strip of death between the battle lines.  There the wounded lie and the dead go unburied, while the opposing forces direct their merciless fire a few feet above the field of suffering and carnage.  I did not know until I looked upon the horrors of Craonne that such conditions could exist in modern warfare.

“I thought that frequent truces would be negotiated to give the opposing armies an opportunity to collect their wounded and bury their dead.  I had an idea that the Red Cross had made war less terrible.  The world thinks so yet, perhaps, but the conditions along the Aisne do not justify that belief.  If a man is wounded in that strip between the lines he never gets back alive unless he is within a short distance of his own lines or is protected from the enemy’s fire by the lay of the land.

“This protracted and momentous battle, which raged day and night for so many weeks, became a continuous nightmare to the men engaged in it, every one of whom knew that upon its issue rested one of the great deciding factors of the war.”

BRITISH AID FOR FRENCH WOUNDED

The following paragraphs from a letter received October 15th by the author from an English lady interested in the suffrage movement, give some idea of the spirit in which the people of England met the emergency; and also indicate the frightful conditions attending the care of the wounded in France: 

“London, October 7, 1914.—­The world is a quite different place from what it was in July—­dear, peaceful July!  It seems years ago that we lived in a time of peace.  It all still seems a nightmare over England and one feels that the morning must come when one will wake up and find it has all been a hideous dream, and that peace is the reality.  But the facts grow sadder every day, as one realizes the frightful slaughter and waste of young lives. * * *

“But now that we are in the midst of this horrible time, we can only stop all criticism of our Government, set our teeth, and try to help in every possible way.  All suffrage work has stopped and all the hundred-and-one interests in societies of every kind are in abeyance as well.  The offices of every kind of society are being used for refugees, Bed Cross work, unemployment work, and to meet other needs of the moment.

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“Every day of our time is taken up with helping to equip ’hospital units,’ private bodies of doctors and nurses with equipment, to go to France and help the French Red Cross work among the French wounded.  The situation in France at present is more horrible than one can imagine.  Our English soldiers have medical and surgical help enough with them for first aid.  Then they are sent back to England, and here all our hospitals are ready and private houses everywhere have been given to the War Office for the wounded.  But the battlefield is in France; many of the French doctors have been shot; the battle-line is 200 miles long, and the carnage is frightful.

“Last week we sent off one hospital unit, and a messenger came back from it yesterday to tell us awful facts—­16,000 wounded in Limoges for one place, and equal numbers in several other little places south of Paris—­just trains full of them—­with so little ready for them in the way of doctors or nurses.  One hears of doctors performing operations without chloroform, and the suffering of the poor fellows is awful.”

COMPARATIVE WEALTH OF NATIONS AT WAR

The wealth of the principal belligerent nations, in terms of property, goods and appraisable resources of all kinds, is estimated as follows: 

National           National      Percent
Wealth               Debt
United States.............$260,000,000,000    $18,000,000,000    6.
Great Britain.............. 90,000,000,000     36,675,000,000   40.
France..................... 65,000,000,000     23,000,000,000   35.
Russia..................... 40,000,000,000     25,400,000,000   63.
Italy...................... 25,000,000,000      7,000,000,000   28.
Japan...................... 28,000,000,000      1,300,000,000    4.
Germany.................... 80,000,000,000     33,000,000,000   38.
Austria-Hungary............ 25,000,000,000     20,000,000,000   80.

It is worth noting in this connection that the fourth liberty bond issue of six billions was oversubscribed to extent $866,416,300—­almost an extra billion.  There were over 21,000,000 individual subscribers.

The war bills of the United States between April 6, 1917, and October 31st, 1918, as officially reported at Washington November 2, 1918, amounted to twenty billions, five hundred and sixty-one million dollars ($20,561,000,000).  Of this sum, seven billions and seventeen millions ($7,017,000,000) have been loaned to the allies and will be repaid.

Only a little more than one-fourth of the expense had up to the date of the report been raised by taxation.  Most of the remainder had been raised by bond issues practically all of which were subscribed by our own people, so that the debt is owing not to foreign creditors, but to ourselves.

The same report shows that on November 1st, 1918, the treasury’s working balance stood at one billion, eight hundred and forty-five millions, seven hundred and thirty-nine thousand dollars ($1,845,739,000) the largest sum ever available at any one time in the history of the nation—­with continuing receipts of instalment payments on the fourth liberty loan coming in at the rate of two billions per month, and preparations for the fifth loan well under way.

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FIGURES THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO COMPREHEND.

The direct cost of the war for all belligerent nations to May 1, 1918, was reported at about $175,000,000,000 by the Federal Reserve board bulletin, issued November 18.  It was estimated that the cost would amount to nearly $200,000,000,000 before the end of the year.

For purely military and naval purposes, it appears that all belligerents had spent about $132,000,000,000 to May 1.  The remainder represented interest on debt, and other indirect war expenses.

The mobilization and the first five months of the war in 1914 cost all belligerents about $10,000,000,000.  In 1915 the expenses jumped to $26,000,000,000, in 1916 they increased to $38,000,000,000; and in they were estimated at $60,000,000,000.  In 1918 expenses ran only a little above the rate of 1917.

The public debt of the principal entente allies is calculated at approximately $105,000,000,000, not counting the debt incurred since May 1918.  The annual burden to all belligerents to pay interest and sinking fund allowances will be not less than $10,000,000,000, and probably much more.

Unofficial reports indicate that Germany’s national debt, represented mainly by war bonds held within the empire, is now nearly $35,000,000,000 (almost two-fifths of the estimate national wealth of $80,000,000,000).  Besides this, France claims a return of the indemnity, $20,000,000,000; $28,000,000,000 for pensions; and reparation of damages, $20,000,000,000; being $68,000,000,000 in all.

Whatever may be the weight of the final burden of reparation and restitution to be placed on Germany, the size of the task ahead of her may be illustrated by comparison of her national debt with that of the United States, Germany has 66,000,000 population and $80,000,000,000 of estimated wealth, to pay $35,000,000,000 of war debt already created.

The United States has 110,000,000 population and an estimated national wealth of $250,000,000,000, to pay nearly $18,000,000,000 war debt already created, or approximately $23,000,000,000 up to the end of May, 1919.  This means that the per capita burden will be at least three times greater in Germany than in the United States.

CHAPTER XV

THE MYSTERY OF THE FLEETS

Movements of British Battleships Veiled in Secrecy—­German Dreadnoughts in North Sea and Baltic Ports—­Activity of Smaller Craft—­English Keep Trade Routes Open—­ Several Minor Battles at Sea.

Shortly before war was declared a great review of the British navy was held at Spithead, on the English Channel, when several hundred vessels were gathered in mighty array for inspection by King George and the lords of the Admiralty.  The salutes they fired had hardly ceased to reverberate along the shores of the Channel when the momentous struggle was on.  It found the British fleet fully mobilized and ready for action.  The ships had their magazines filled, their bunkers and oil tanks charged, their victualing completed, and last, but not least, their full crews aboard.

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Then, without a moment’s delay, they disappeared, under orders to proceed to stations in the North Sea, to cruise in the Channel, the Atlantic or the Mediterranean; to keep trade routes open for British and neutral ships and capture or destroy the ships of the enemy.  Silently and swiftly they sailed, and for weeks the world knew little or nothing of their movements or whereabouts.

Mystery equally deep shrouded the German fleet.  In all probability it lay under the guns of the coast cities and forts of Germany, but nothing definite was permitted to leak out.  The test of the two great navies, the supreme test of dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts, failed to materialize, and for weeks the people of Great Britain and Germany could only wonder what had become of their naval forces and why they did not come into contact with each other.  A few minor engagements in the North Sea, in which light cruisers and torpedo-boat destroyers were concerned, served only to deepen the mystery.

Only naval men and well-informed civilians realized that Germany was biding her time, waiting to choose her own hour for action, realizing the strength of the opposing force and determined not to risk her own ships until the opportune moment should arrive which would offer the best possible chances for success.  And meanwhile the main British fleet lay in the North Sea, waiting for the enemy to appear.

After a while letters began to come from the North Sea, telling of the life aboard the vessels lying in wait, scouting or patrolling the coasts.  The ships were all stripped for action; all inflammable ornaments and fittings had been left behind or cast overboard; stripped and naked the fighting machines went to their task.  All day long the men were ready at their guns, and during the night each gun crew slept around the weapon that it was their duty to serve, ready to repel any destroyers or submarines coming out of the surrounding darkness to attack them.

Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe had assumed supreme command of the British home fleet on August 4, with the rank of admiral.  His chief of staff was Rear Admiral Charles E. Madden.  Rear Admiral Sir George Callaghan was in command of the North Sea fleet.

AN ADMIRALTY ANNOUNCEMENT

On Thursday, September 10, the secretary of the British Admiralty made the following announcement:  “Yesterday and today strong and numerous squadrons and flotillas have made a complete sweep of the North Sea up to and into the Heligoland Bight.  The German fleet made no attempt to interfere with our movements and no German ship of any kind was seen at sea.”

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That much patience had to be exercised by the seamen of the North Sea fleet is evidenced by a letter in which the writer said to his family, “If you want to get away from the excitement of war, you should be here with me.”  This situation, of course, might be changed at a moment’s notice.  The London Times said in September:  “It is not to be wondered at if our seamen today envy a little the old-time sailors who did not have to compete with such things as mines, destroyers and submarines.  In the accounts of the old blockades we read how by means of music and dancing, and even theatrical entertainments, the monotonous nature of the work was counteracted, and the officers of the ships, including Nelson and other great commanders, welcomed these diversions for the prevention of the evils which might be bred by enforced idleness.  It is a true saying that everything that stagnates corrupts.  There is no possible chance of the crews of our modern vessels stagnating under the new conditions of war.  Whether engaged in blockading in the big ships, scouting in the cruisers, or patrolling the coasts in the destroyers, the life is described as tremendously interesting and exciting.  There has been no sense of monotony whatever.  Indeed, the conditions are such that, were it not obligatory for portions of every crew to take rest, all of them would be continually on the alert.  We may be certain that arrangements have been made for ensuring that the crews obtain periods of relaxation from the constant strain; but the only real change comes in the big ships when they have of necessity to refill their bunkers.”

LOSS OF THE CRUISER AMPHION

The cruiser Amphion was the first British war vessel lost in the war.  The survivors on landing at the North Sea port of Harwich, England, on August 10, stated that hardly had they left Harwich than they were ordered to clear the decks for action.  They sighted the German mine-laying vessel Koenigin Luise, and, as it refused to stop even when a shot was fired across its bows, they gave chase.

The German ship fired and then the destroyers, accompanying the Amphion, surrounded and sank it after a brief combined bombardment.

The captain, it is said, was beside himself with fury.  He had a revolver in his hand and threatened his men as they prepared to surrender to the rescuing ships.  He flatly refused to give himself up and was taken by force.

When the smoke of a big ship was seen on the horizon the Amphion gave chase, firing a warning shot as it drew near the vessel, which at once made known its identity as the Harwich boat St. Petersburg, carrying Prince Lichnowsky, the German ambassador, to the Hook of Holland.  While returning to port came the tragedy of the Amphion.  As it struck a sunken mine it gave two plunging jerks.  Then came an explosion which ripped up its forepart, shot up its funnels like arrows from a bow, and lifted its heavy guns into the air.  The falling material struck several of the boats of the flotilla and injured some of the men on board them.

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The Amphion’s men were dreadfully burned and scalded and had marks on their faces and bodies which resembled splashes of acid.

The scene at Harwich was like that which follows a colliery explosion.  Of the British seamen in the hospital thirteen were suffering from severe burns, five from less serious burns, two from the effects of lyddite fumes, and one each from concussion, severe injury, slight wounds, shock, and slight burns.  A few wounded German sailors also lay in the hospital.

SINKING A GERMAN SUBMARINE

On August 12 there came from Edinburgh the story of an eyewitness of a naval battle in the North Sea on the previous Sunday between British cruisers and German submarines, in which the German submarine U-15 was sunk.

“The cruiser squadron on Sunday,” the story ran, “suddenly became aware of the approach of the submarine flotilla.  The enemy was submerged, only the periscopes showing above the surface of the water.

“The attitude of the British in the face of this attack was cool and the enemy was utterly misled when suddenly the cruiser Birmingham, steaming at full speed, fired the first shot.  This shot was carefully aimed, not at the submerged body of a submarine, but at the thin line of the periscope.

“The gunnery was superbly accurate and shattered the periscope.  Thereupon the submarine, now a blinded thing, rushed along under water in imminent danger of self-destruction from collision with the cruisers above.

“The sightless submarine was then forced to come to the surface, whereupon the Birmingham’s gunner fired the second shot of the fight.  This shot struck at the base of the conning tower, ripping the whole of the upper structure clean and the U-15 sank like a stone.

“The remainder of the submarine flotilla fled.”  NAVAL BATTLE OFF HELIGOLAND

In the last week of August a naval engagement occurred off the island of Heligoland, in the North Sea.  British war vessels sank five German ships, killing 900 men.  A graphic description of the engagement was given by a young lieutenant who was on one of the British torpedo boat destroyers: 

“I think the home papers are magnifying what really was but an affair of outposts.  We destroyers went in and lured the enemy out and had lots of excitement.  The big fellows then came up and afforded some excellent target practice, and we were very glad to see them come; but it was a massacre, not a fight.

“There was superb generalship and overwhelming forces on the spot, but there was really nothing for them to do except to shoot the enemy, even as father shoots pheasants.

“Have you ever noticed a dog rush in on a flock of sheep and scatter them?  He goes for the nearest and barks and goes so much faster than the flock that it bunches up with its companions.  The dog then barks at another and the sheep spread out fanwise, so in front of the dog there is a semicircle of sheep and behind him none.

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“That was much what we did at 7 a. m. on August 28.  The sheep were the German torpedo craft, which fell back on the limits of our range and tried to lure us within the fire of the Heligoland forts.  But a cruiser then came out and engaged our Arethusa and they had a real heart-to-heart talk, while we looked on, and a few of us tried to shoot at the enemy, too, though it was beyond our distance.

“We were getting nearer Heligoland all the time.  There was a thick mist and I expected every minute to find the forts on the island bombarding us, so the Arethusa presently drew off after landing at least one good shell on the enemy.  The enemy gave every hit as good as he got there.

“We then reformed, but a strong destroyer belonging to the submarines got chased, and the Arethusa and Fearless went back to look after it.  We presently heard a hot action astern, so the captain in command of the flotilla turned us around and we went back to help.  But they had driven the enemy off and on our arrival told us to ‘form up’ on the Arethusa.

CRUISER FIRES ON SHIPS

“When we had partly formed and were very much bunched together, making a fine target, suddenly out of the mist arrived five or six shells from a point not 150 yards away.  We gazed at whence they came and again five or six stabs of fire pierced the fog, and we made out a four-funneled German cruiser of the Breslau class.

“Those stabs were its guns going off.  We waited fifteen seconds and the shots and noise of its guns arrived pretty well from fifty yards away.  Its next salvo of shots went above us, and I ducked as they whirred overhead like a covey of fast partridges.

“You would suppose our captain had done this sort of thing all his life.  He went full speed ahead at once, upon the first salvo, to string the bunch out and thus offer less target.  The commodore from the Arethusa made a signal to us to attack with torpedoes.  So we swung round at right angles and charged full speed at the enemy like a hussar attack.

“Our boat got away at the start magnificently and led the field, so all the enemy’s firing was aimed at us for the next ten minutes, when we got so close that debris from their shells fell on board.  Then we altered our course and so threw them out in their reckoning of our speed, and they had all their work to do over again.

“Humanly speaking, our captain by twisting and turning at psychological moments saved us.  Actually, I feel that we were in God’s keeping that day.  After ten minutes we got near enough to fire our torpedo.  Then we turned back to the Arethusa.  Next our follower arrived just where we had been and fired its torpedo, and of course the enemy fired at it instead of at us.  What a blessed relief!

“After the destroyers came the Fearless, and it stayed on the scene.  Soon we found it was engaging a three-funneler, the Mainz, so off we started again, now for the Mainz, the situation being that the crippled Arethusa was too tubby to do anything but be defended by us, its children.

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“Scarcely, however, had we started when, from out of the mist and across our front, in furious pursuit came the first cruiser squadron of the town class, the Birmingham, and each unit a match for three like the Mainz, which was soon sunk.  As we looked and reduced speed they opened fire, and the clear bang-bang of their guns was just like a cooling drink.

“To see a real big four-funneler spouting flame, which flame denoted shells starting, and those shells not at us but for us, was the most cheerful thing possible.  Once we were in safety, I hated it.  We had just been having our own imaginations stimulated on the subject of shells striking.

“Now, a few minutes later, to see another ship not three miles away, reduced to a piteous mass of unrecognizability, wreathed in black fumes from which flared out angry gusts of fire like Vesuvius in eruption, as an unending stream of hundred-pound shells burst on board it, just pointed the moral and showed us what might have been.

“The Mainz was immensely gallant.  The last I saw of it it was absolutely wrecked.  It was a fuming inferno.  But it had one gun forward and one aft still spitting forth fury and defiance like a wild cat.

“Then we went west, while they went east.  Just a bit later we heard the thunder of the enemy’s guns for a space.  Then fell silence, and we knew that was all.

A MARVELOUS RESCUE

“The most romantic, dramatic, and piquant episode that modern war can ever show came next.  The Defender, having sunk an enemy, lowered a whaler to pick up its swimming survivors.  Before the whaler got back, an enemy’s cruiser came up and chased the Defender, which thus had to abandon its small boat.

“Imagine their feelings, alone in an open boat without food, twenty-five miles from the nearest land, and that land an enemy’s fortress, with nothing but fog and foes around them, and then suddenly a swirl alongside, and up, if you please, hops His Britannic Majesty’s submarine E-4, opens its conning tower, takes them all on board, shuts up again, dives and brings them home, 250 miles.”

THREE BRITISH CRUISERS SUNK

On Tuesday morning, September 22, the British cruisers Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue were torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in the North Sea.  Each of the vessels carried a crew of about 650 men, and the total of the death roll was about 1,400.

The three cruisers had for some time been patrolling the North Sea.  Soon after 6 o’clock in the morning the Aboukir suddenly felt a shock on the port side.  A dull explosion was heard and a column of water was thrown up mast high.  The explosion wrecked the stokehold just forward of amidships:  and tore the bottom open.

Almost immediately the doomed cruiser began to settle.  Except for the watch on deck, most of the crew were asleep, wearied by the constant vigil in bad weather, but in perfect order the officers and men rushed to quarters.  The quick-firers were manned in the hope of a dying shot at the submarine, but there was not a glimpse of one.

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Meanwhile the Aboukir’s sister cruisers, more than a mile away, saw and heard the explosion and thought the Aboukir had struck a mine.  They closed in and lowered boats.  This sealed their own fate, for, while they were standing by to rescue survivors, first the Hogue and then the Cressy was torpedoed.

Only the Cressy appears to have seen the submarine in time to attempt to retaliate, and she fired a few shots before she keeled over, broken in two, and sank.

British naval officers by this time were beginning to wonder how long the German high seas fleet intended to remain under cover in the Kiel canal.

“Our only grievance,” one said, “is that we have not had a shot at the Germans.  Our only share of the war has been a few uncomfortable weeks of bad weather, mines and submarines.”

A number of the survivors were taken to the Dutch port of Ymuiden, where they were interned as technical prisoners of war.

THE GERMAN COMMANDER’S STORY

The German submarine which accomplished the hitherto unparalleled feat was the U-9, in command of Capt.-Lieut.  Otto Weddigen, whose interesting story was given to the public through the German Admiralty on October 6, as follows: 

“I set out from a North Sea port on one of the arms of the Kiel canal and set my course in a southwesterly direction.  The name of the port I cannot state officially, but it was not many days before the morning of September 22 when I fell in with my quarry.

“British torpedo-boats came within my reach, but I felt there was bigger game further on, so on I went.  It was ten minutes after six in the morning of the 22nd when I caught sight of one of the big cruisers of the enemy.

“I was then eighteen sea miles northwesterly of the Hook of Holland.  I had traveled considerably more than 200 miles from my base.  I had been going ahead partially submerged, with about five feet of my periscope showing.

“Almost immediately I caught sight of the first cruiser and two others.  I submerged completely and laid my course in order to bring up in center of the trio, which held a sort of triangular formation.  I could see their gray-black sides riding high over the water.

“When I first sighted them they were near enough for torpedo work, but I wanted to make my aim sure, so I went down and in on them.  I had taken the position of the three ships before submerging, and I succeeded in getting another flash through my periscope before I began action.  I soon reached what I regarded as a good shooting point.

“Then I loosed one of my torpedoes at the middle ship.  I was then about twelve feet under water and got the shot off in good shape, my men handling the boat as if it had been a skiff.  I climbed to the surface to get a sight through my tube of the effect and discovered that the shot had gone straight and true, striking the ship, which I later learned was the Aboukir, under one of its magazines, which in exploding helped the torpedo’s work of destruction.

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“There was a fountain of water, a burst of smoke, a flash of fire, and part of the cruiser rose in the air.

STRIKES THE SECOND CRUISER

“Its crew were brave and, even with death staring them in the face, kept to their posts.  I submerged at once.  But I had stayed on top long enough to see the other cruisers, which I learned were the Cressy and the Hogue, turn and steam full speed to their dying sister.

“As I reached my torpedo depth I sent a second charge at the nearest of the oncoming vessels, which was the Hogue.  The English were playing my game, for I had scarcely to move out of my position, which was a great aid, since it helped to keep me from detection.

“The attack on the Hogue went true.  But this time I did not have the advantageous aid of having the torpedo detonate under the magazine, so for twenty minutes the Hogue lay wounded and helpless on the surface before it heaved, half turned over, and sank.

“By this time the third cruiser knew, of course, that the enemy was upon it, and it sought as best it could to defend itself.  It loosed its torpedo defense batteries on bows, star-board, and port, and stood its ground as if more anxious to help the many sailors in the water than to save itself.

“In the common method of defending itself against a submarine attack, it steamed in a zigzag course, and this made it necessary for me to hold my torpedoes until I could lay a true course for them, which also made it necessary for me to get nearer to the Cressy.

“I had to come to the surface for a view, and saw how wildly the fire was being sent from the ship.  Small wonder that was when they did not know where to shoot, although one shot went unpleasantly near us.

“When I got within suitable range I sent away my third attack.  This time I sent a second torpedo after the first to make the strike doubly certain.  My crew were aiming like sharpshooters and both torpedoes went to their bull’s-eye.  My luck was with me again, for the enemy was made useless and at once began sinking by the head.  Then it careened far over, but all the while its men stayed at the guns looking for their invisible foe.

“They were brave and true to their country’s sea traditions.  Then it eventually suffered a boiler explosion and completely turned turtle.  With its keel uppermost it floated until the air got out from under it and then it sank with a loud sound, as if from a creature in pain.

“The whole affair had taken less than one hour from the time of shooting off the first torpedo until the Cressy went to the bottom.

“I set my course for home.  Before I got far some British cruisers and destroyers were on the spot and the destroyers took up the chase.

“I kept under water most of the way, but managed to get off a wireless to the German fleet that I was heading homeward and being pursued.  But although British destroyers saw me plainly at dusk on the 22d and made a final effort to stop me, they abandoned the attempt, as it was taking them too far from safety and needlessly exposing them to attack from our fleet and submarines.”

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MERCHANTMEN CAPTURED AND SUNK

During the first months of the war a large number of merchant vessels, principally German and British, were captured or sunk.  According to a British Admiralty return, issued September 28, twelve British ships with an aggregate tonnage of 59,331 tons had been sunk on the high seas by German cruisers up to September 23.  Eight other British ships, whose tonnage aggregated 2,970, had been sunk by German mines in the North Sea, and 24 fishing craft, with a tonnage of 4,334, had been captured or sunk by the Germans in the same waters.  British ships detained at German ports numbered 74, with a total tonnage of 170,000.

On the other side the Admiralty reported 102 German ships, with a total tonnage of 200,000, detained in British ports since the outbreak of the war; while 88 German ships, of an aggregate tonnage of 338,000, had been captured since hostilities began.

The return also showed that 168 German ships, with an aggregate tonnage of 283,000, had been detained or captured by the Allies.  Fifteen ships, with a tonnage of 247,000, were detained in American ports, while fourteen others, with a tonnage of 72,000, remained in the Suez Canal.

The German mines in the North Sea had also destroyed seven Scandinavian ships, with a tonnage of 11,098.

GERMAN CRUISERS ACTIVE

Several German cruisers were amazingly active in distant waters early in the war.  Among these were the Goeben, Breslau, Emden, Karlsruhe, and Leipzig, which captured or sank a number of vessels of the enemy.  The German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau also operated in the Pacific, bombarding the French colony of Papeete, on the island of Tahiti, and inflicting much damage, including the sinking of two vessels.

On August 26 the big converted German liner Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, while cruising on the northwest coast of Africa, was sunk by the British cruiser Highflyer.

The German cruiser Dresden was reported sunk by British cruisers in South American waters in the second week of September.  The Emden, operating under the German flag in the Indian Ocean, sank several British steamers.  Several Austrian vessels succumbed to mines off the coast of Dalmatia and in the Baltic there were a number of casualties in which both Russian and German cruisers suffered.  The Russian armored cruiser Bayan was sunk in a fight near the entrance to the Gulf of Finland.

On September 20 the German protected cruiser Koenigsberg attacked the British light cruiser Pegasus in the harbor of Zanzibar and disabled her.  Off the east coast of South America the British auxiliary cruiser Carmania, a former Cunard liner, destroyed a German merchant cruiser mounting eight four-inch guns.  About the same time the German cruiser Hela was sunk in the North Sea by the British submarine E-9.  The Kronprinz Wilhelm, a former German liner, which had been supplying coal to German cruisers in the Atlantic, was also sunk by the British.

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GERMAN COLONY OCCUPIED

The British Admiralty announced on September 12 that the Australian fleet had occupied Herbertshoehe, on Blanche Bay, the seat of government of the German Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands.

The Bismarck Archipelago, with an area of 18,000 square miles and a population of 200,000, is off the north coast of Australia and southwest of the Philippine Islands.  The group was assigned to the German sphere of influence by an agreement with Great Britain in 1885.  German New Guinea was included in the jurisdiction.

GERMANS SINK RUSS CRUISER

On October 11 German submarines in the Baltic torpedoed and sank the Russian armored cruiser Pallada with all its crew, numbering 568 men.  The Pallada had a displacement of 7,775 tons and was a sister ship of the Admiral Makarov and Bayan.  She was launched in November, 1906, and had a water-line length of 443 feet; beam, 57 feet; draft of 21-1/ feet, and a speed of 21 knots.  She carried two 8-inch, eight 6-inch, twenty-two 12-pounders, four 3-pounders, and two torpedo tubes.  Seven inches of Krupp armor protected the vessel amidships and four inches forward.

The Pallada was engaged in patrolling the Baltic with the Admiral Makarov when attacked by the submarines.  She opened a strong fire on them, but was blown up by a torpedo launched by one of the submerged craft, while the Makarov escaped.

BRITISH CRUISER HAWKE SUNK

On October 15th, while the British cruisers Hawke and Theseus were patrolling the northern waters of the North Sea, they were attacked by a German submarine.  The Hawke, a cruiser of 7,750 tons, commanded by Capt.  H.P.E.T.  Williams, was torpedoed and sank in eight minutes.  Only seventy-three of her crew of 400 officers and men were saved.

BRITISH AVENGE AMPHION’S LOSS

Capt.  Cecil H. Fox, who was in command of the British cruiser Amphion when she was destroyed by a German mine early in the war, had his revenge on October 17, when, in command of the cruiser Undaunted, he sank four German torpedo boat destroyers off the coast of Holland.  Only 31 of the combined crews of 400 men were saved and these were taken as prisoners of war.

CHAPTER XVI

SUBMARINES AND MINES

Battleships in Constant Danger from Submerged Craft—­Opinions of Admiral Sir Percy Scott—­Construction of Modern Torpedoes—­How Mines Are Laid and Exploded on Contact.

Sir Percy Scott, admiral in the British navy, who through his inventions made possible the advance in marksmanship with heavy guns and increased the possibilities of hitting at long range and of broadside firing, said recently that everything he has done to enhance the value of the gun is rendered useless by the advent of the latest type of submarine, a vessel which has for its principal weapon the torpedo.  Dreadnoughts and super-dreadnoughts are doomed, because they no longer can be safe at sea from the submarine nor find safety in harbors.

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“The introduction of vessels that swim under water,” he said, “has in my opinion entirely done away with the utility of the ships that swim on top of the water.  The functions of a war vessel were these:  Defensively, [1] to attack ships that come to bombard our forts, [2] to attack ships that come to blockade us, [3] to attack ships convoying a landing party, [4] to attack the enemy’s fleet, [5] to attack ships interfering with our commerce; offensively, [1] to bombard an enemy’s ports, [2] to blockade an enemy, [3] to convoy a landing party, [4] to attack the enemy’s fleet, [5] to attack the enemy’s commerce.

“The submarine renders 1, 2 and 3 impossible, as no man of war will dare to come even within sight of a coast that is adequately protected by submarines.  The fourth function of a battleship is to attack an enemy’s fleet, but there will be no fleet to attack, as it will not be safe for a fleet to put to sea.  Submarines and aeroplanes have entirely revolutionized naval warfare; no fleet can hide itself from the aeroplane’s eye, and the submarine can deliver a deadly attack in broad daylight.

“In time of war the scouting aeroplanes will always be high above on the lookout, and the submarines in constant readiness.  If an enemy is sighted the gong sounds and the leash of a flotilla of submarines will be slipped.  Whether it be night or day, fine or rough, they must go out in search of their quarry; if they find her she is doomed and they give no quarter; they cannot board her and take her as prize as in the olden days; they only wait till she sinks, then return home without even knowing the number of human beings they have sent to the bottom of the ocean.

“Not only is the open sea unsafe; a battleship is not immune from attack even in a closed harbor, for the so-called protecting boom at the entrance can easily be blown up.  With a flotilla of submarines commanded by dashing young officers, of whom we have plenty, I would undertake to get through any boom into any harbor and sink or materially damage all the ships in that harbor.”

A PRACTICAL MAN’S VIEWS

This is not a mere theorist or dreamer talking, says Burton Roscoe in commenting on Admiral Scott’s statements; it is the one man in England most supremely versed in naval tactics, the man to whom all nations owe the present effectiveness of the broadside of eight, twelve and fourteen inch guns and the perfection in sighting long range guns.

The newest type of submarine torpedo is 100 per cent efficient.  The torpedo net of steel that used to be the ship’s defense against torpedoes is now useless.  The modern torpedoes need only to come in contact with a surface like the torpedo net or the armor plate of a battleship to discharge a shell which will burst through a two-inch armor caisson, rupture the hull of a battleship, and sink it in a few minutes.

The torpedo submarines of the modern type have a submerged speed of from eight to ten knots an hour.  Only a small surface, including the bridge or conning tower, is exposed, thus making it almost impossible to hit them with the clumsy guns aboard ship.  The highest type of submarine has a submerged tonnage of 812 tons and its length is 176 feet.

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Each submarine carries from one to six torpedoes, each of which is capable of sinking the most heavily armored vessel afloat.  The sighter in the conning tower moves swiftly, up within range of the vessel he is attacking and gives the signal for the discharge of the torpedo.  The men aboard the attacked ship have no warning of their impending death except a thin sheaf of water that follows on the surface in the wake of the submerged torpedo and which lasts only an instant.

RUN BY COMPRESSED AIR

By a compressed air arrangement motive power is furnished the torpedo in transit for its propellers.  A gyroscope keeps it on a plane and upright.  A striker on the nose of the torpedo is released by a fan which revolves in the water.  The nose of the torpedo strikes the side of the battleship and the compact jars the primer of fulminate of mercury.  The high explosive of gunpowder forces out a shell and exploded with it after the shell has penetrated the armor.  Then the work is done.

It is generally believed the principal harbors and fortifications in England are heavily supplied with torpedoes of the new type.  It is also believed that the fortifications about the River Elbe are thus equipped.  If this is a fact the defending nation will be able not only to repulse any fleet attempting an invasion but also to destroy it.  By throwing across the Straits of Dover, or across the lower end of the North Sea, a flotilla of its powerful submarines England can prevent any naval invasion of France or England or Belgium by Germany should the attacking fleet take this route.

In the latest type of submarine the United States is deficient.  There are only twenty-nine submarines in the United States naval service at the present time and only eighteen under construction.

The old type of torpedo did not have penetrative power [Illustration:  Cross section of Belgian Type of Fortress.  The forts at Liege were of this type and long withstood the battering of the German guns.

This kind of modern fort was designed by the famous Belgian military engineer, General Brailmont.  The strength of every such work must depend on the spirit of its garrison, and at Liege and Namur, the Belgian defenders gave a good account of themselves.  These forts are provided with an elaborate system for repelling attempts to carry the works by assault and for making a counter-attack.  There are land-mines, fired electrically from the forts, wire entanglements, disappearing guns, and search-lights to locate and blind an attacking enemy.]

[Illustration:  Construction of Modern Torpedo, Showing All Important Parts, Including Engine, Propellers, Steering Gear, etc.] sufficient to sink the modern armor-clad battleship unless it struck under exceptionally favorable circumstances.  A large percentage of the destructive power was expended on the outside of the hull.  Commander Davis of the United States navy invented the torpedo that carries its power undiminished into the interior of the vessel.

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CAN CUT TORPEDO NETS

The new torpedoes are provided with special steel cutters by which they cut through the strongest steel torpedo net.  The torpedo has within it an eight-inch gun, capable of exploding a shell with a muzzle velocity of about 1,000 feet a second.  The projectile carries a bursting charge of a high explosive, and this charge is detonated by a delayed-action fuse.  When the torpedo strikes its target, the gun is fired and the shell strikes the outside plating of the ship.  Then the fuse in the shell’s base explodes the charge in the shell, immediately after the impact.

With a small fleet of these under-water fighting vessels—­say of two or three—­an invading or blockading fleet of not more than twenty men-of-war can be destroyed within an hour by an otherwise unprotected harbor or port.

Germany has a few of these latest style submarines, and if it can rush the construction of the thirty-one now being built, it will have a flotilla that will protect its harbor towns against invasion.

France, also with its fifty submarines and thirty-one under construction, and its great corps of scouting aeroplanes, will prove a formidable agent in crippling the activities of Germany’s big fleet of dreadnoughts, armored cruisers and battleships.  Russia will need its twenty-five submarines for coast defense and probably will not send them out of the Baltic [or out of the Black Sea in the event that Italy is drawn into the conflict.]

Undoubtedly, then, the great battles in the present war, on the water at least, may be decided by these silently moving, dinky sized, almost imperceptible submarines which carry the ever-destroying torpedoes.  And the loss of lives will be more prodigious than ever.

SUBMARINE STRENGTH OF THE POWERS

Built      Building. 
Great Britain....................... 69
France.............................. 50
Russia.............................. 25
Germany............................. 24
Italy............................... 18
Austria.............................  6

SUBMERGED MINES—­HOW THEY ARE LAID AND THEIR WORKING

The sinking of the light cruiser Pathfinder of the British navy by a German mine in the North Sea early in the war called special attention to the deadly character of the mines of the present day.

A modern mine-laying ship puts to sea with a row of contact mines on rails along her side, ready for dropping into the sea.  The rails project over the stern.  The essential parts of a special type of mine of recent design consist of (1) the mine proper, comprising the explosive charge and detonating apparatus in a spherical case; (2) a square-shaped anchor chamber, connected with the mine by a length of cable; (3) a plummet-weight used in placing the mine in position, connected with the anchor chamber by a rope.  Thus the mine appears on the deck of the mine-laying ship before being lowered over the stern.

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Before the mine goes over, a windlass inside the plummet-sinker is revolved by hand until the length of cable between the plummet and the anchor-chamber has been reeled off equivalent to the depth below the surface at which the explosive mine is to float.

Then the entire apparatus is hove overboard.  The plummet and anchor-chamber sink, while the spherical mine proper is kept on the surface for the moment by means of a buoyant air-chamber within.  A windlass in the anchor-chamber now pays out the cable between it and the mine as the anchor-chamber sinks.  On the plummet touching bottom, the tension in the cable between it and the anchor-chamber is lessened, and the windlass mentioned stops.  The anchor-chamber thereupon sinks to the bottom, dragging down the spherical mine until that is at the selected depth ready for its deadly work.

CHAPTER XVII

AERO-MILITARY OPERATIONS

Aerial Attacks on Cities—­Some of the Achievements of the Airmen in the Great War—­Deeds of Heroism and Daring—­Zeppelins in Action—­Their Construction and Operation.

During the first ten weeks of the war German airmen flew over Paris several times and dropped bombs that did some damage.  Aeroplanes, not Zeppelins, were used in these attempts to terrorize the capital and other cities of France.

The early visits of Zeppelin airships to Antwerp have been described in a previous chapter.  These were continued up to the time of the fall of Antwerp.  While comparatively few lives were lost through the explosion of the bombs dropped, the recurring attacks served to keep the inhabitants, if not the Belgian troops, in a state of constant excitement and fear.  When the city fell into German hands, a similar condition arose in England, where it was feared that Antwerp might be made the base for German airship attacks on London and other cities of Great Britain; and all possible precautions were taken against such attacks.  The members of the Royal Flying Corps were kept constantly on the alert; powerful searchlights swept the sky over London and the English coast every night and artillery was kept in readiness to repel an aerial invasion.  Such was the condition in the third week of October.

BRITISH ATTACK ON DUSSELDORF

A new type of British aeroplane was developed during the war, capable of rising from the ground at a very sharp angle and of developing a speed of 150 miles an hour.  And in their operations in France and Belgium the British army aviators proved themselves highly efficient and earned unstinted praise from Field Marshal Sir John French, in command of the British forces on the continent.  One of their notable exploits was an attack, October 8, on the Zeppelin sheds at Dusseldorf and Cologne, in German territory.  The attack was made by Lieut R.S.G.  Marix, of the Naval Flying Corps, in a monoplane, and Squadron

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Commander Spencer Grey, with Lieut S.V.  Lippe, in a biplane.  Flying from Antwerp at a height of 5,000 feet, to escape the almost continuous German fire, Lieut.  Marix succeeded in locating the Zeppelin hangars at Dusseldorf.  Then descending to a height of only 1,000 feet he released two bombs when directly over them, damaging both hangars and aircraft.  A German bullet passed through Lieut.  Marix’s cap and the wings of his aeroplane were pierced in a dozen places, but he succeeded in returning to the burning city of Antwerp, which he was ordered to leave the same evening.

During the same raid Commander Spencer Grey flew to Cologne.  He was unable to locate the Zeppelin hangars but dropped two bombs into the railway station, which was badly damaged.

A night or two later a German Zeppelin flew over Ghent and dropped a bomb near the South station.  On October 11 two German aviators dropped a score of bombs on different quarters of Paris, killing three civilians and injuring fourteen others.  The property damage, however, was slight and the effectiveness of bomb-dropping as a means of destroying a city or fortifications remained to be proved to the military mind.  It was noted that a large proportion of the bombs dropped by German aviators failed to explode.

HEROIC ACTS BY AIRMEN

Stories of heroism displayed by aviators on both sides of the great conflict have abounded.  One story of the devotion of German airmen, told to a correspondent by several German officers, he succeeded in verifying, but was unable to learn the name of the particular hero of the occurrence.  This story was as follows: 

“In one of the battles around Rheims it became necessary to blow up a bridge which was about to be crossed by advancing French troops coming to relieve a beleaguered fort.  The only way to destroy the bridge was for an airman to swoop down and drop an exceptionally powerful bomb upon it.

“There were twenty-four flyers with that division of the German army.  A volunteer was asked for, it being first announced that the required task meant sure death to the man undertaking it.

“Every one of the twenty-four stepped forward without hesitation.  Lots were quickly drawn.  The chosen man departed without saying farewell to any one.  Within five minutes the bridge was in ruins and the aeroplane and its heroic pilot had been blown to pieces.  This incident was not published in the press of Germany, because of the fear that it would cause terrible anxiety to the wives of all married German flyers.”

A DUEL HIGH IN THE AIR

An aerial victory for a French aviator, fought thousands of feet in the air in the presence of troops of both armies, was reported by Lieutenant de Laine of the French aerial corps on October 10.  The air duel was one of the most thrilling since the war began.  Lieutenant de Laine’s account of the combat was as follows: 

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“I had been ordered to fly over the German lines with an observer who was to drop pamphlets.  These pamphlets contained the following inscription: 

“’German soldiers, attention!  German officers say that the French maltreat prisoners.  This is a lie.  German prisoners are as well treated as unfortunate adversaries should be.’

“We had no sooner taken wing than the aeroplane was sighted by German observers in captive balloons anchored about six miles distant.  Immediately two Albatross machines rose from the German camp and came forward.

“We continued to advance, meanwhile sending the aeroplane higher and higher until the barograph showed we were 6,000 feet above the ground.  Our machine was speedier than the German Aeroplane, which was constructed of steel and was so heavy it could not work up the speed of the French army monoplane.

“We were able to get over the German lines and my companion began hurling thousands of the pamphlets in every direction.  It was like a snowstorm.

“In the meantime, the German artillery got their long range air guns in action and were hurling volley after volley against us.  The shells were of special type, designed to create violent air waves when they burst.  We were too high to be reached, but we had to turn our attention to the two aeroplanes which were rushing toward us.

“As they approached the German artillery fire stopped.  We were too high to distinguish what was going on beneath us, but I could imagine the thousands of soldiers staring skyward in wonder at the strange spectacle above them.

“We kept swinging in wide circles over the German lines and I kept getting higher and higher in order to outmaneuver the German plane and to prevent it from getting above us so that bombs could be thrown at us.

“The machines were all equipped with rapid-fire guns, and when we got within 100 yards of each other, both sides opened fire.  The bullets went wide.  Finally we began to swing backward, getting lower and lower.  One of the German machines was thus lured over the French lines and our land artillery opened against it.  One of its wings was shattered and it dropped, but the other aeroplane escaped.”

HOW A GERMAN AVIATOR ESCAPED

How a German aviator in Belgium secured control of a falling aeroplane after his companion had been killed is described in a thrilling letter received by his father in Berlin September 30.  It reads: 

“Dear Father:  I am lying here in a beautiful Belgian castle slowly recovering from wounds I thought would kill me.  On August 22 I made a flight with Lieutenant J., a splendid aviator; established the fact that the enemy was advancing toward us.  In the region of Bertrix we came into heavy rainclouds and had to descend to 3,000 feet.  As we came through the clouds we were seen and an entire French division began shooting at us.

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“Lieutenant J. was hit in the abdomen.  Our motor was put out of commission.  We were trying to volplane across a forest in the distance when suddenly I felt the machine give a jump.  I turned around—­as I was sitting in front—­and found that a second bullet had hit Lieutenant J. in the head and killed him.

“I leaned over the back of the seat and managed to reach the steering apparatus and headed down.  A hail of shots whistled about me.  I felt something hit me in the forehead.  Blood ran into my eyes.  I was faint.  But will prevailed and I retained consciousness.  Just as we were near the ground a gust of wind hit the plane and turned my machine over.  I fell in the midst of the enemy with my dead companion.  The ’red trousers’ were coming from all directions and I drew my pistol and shot three of them.  I felt a bayonet at my breast and gave myself up for dead when an officer shouted:  “‘Let him live!  He is a brave soldier.’

“I was taken to the commanding general of the Seventeenth French army corps, who questioned me, but, of course, got no information.  He said I would later be sent to Paris, but as I was weak from loss of blood and seriously wounded I was taken into their field hospital and cared for.  The officers were very nice to me and when the French fell back I took advantage of the confusion to crawl under a bush, where I remained until our troops came.”

Many occurrences of a similarly thrilling character have been related in the camps of the contending armies.  The above suffice to show the patriotic devotion and heroism of the military forces of the air, which for the first time in history have been a prominent feature of warfare in 1914.

ZEPPELINS IN ACTION

The real story of the performances of air-craft in the has not been told, but there has been enough to give the world a terrifying glimpse of these modern weapons.

The three attacks on Antwerp by a Zeppelin airship brought into action the long predicted onslaught by forces of the air against the ground.  After one of the great German dirigibles had been brought down by gunfire because it was accidentally guided too near the earth, another returned over the city, and the havoc wrought by this single craft realizes the horrors that would follow any concerted attack by a fleet of the aerial destroyers if they were launched against a city.

The Zeppelin is an impressive thing because of its size, cigar-shaped and ranging from 300 to over 500 feet in length, driven at a rate of miles an hour by four propellers and carrying a huge car.  It is most valuable for use at night, of course, but has proved it is capable of doing its deadly work out of range of ordinary gunfire at day.  Artillery has been invented which can reach airships flying at 5,000 feet, but there is not much of it.  The half dozen German Zeppelins which have been destroyed by French and Russian fire met their fate chiefly because they got too near the ground.

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Refugees from Belgium describe the method used by Zeppelins in dropping bombs.  The dirigible is kept as much as possible out of range of the enemy’s guns while it lowers a steel cage, attached to a steel rope, 200 or 300 feet long.  The cage carries a man who throws down the bombs.  Because of the small size of the cage and the fact that it is kept constantly in motion it is difficult for heavy guns to hit it.  The great airship remains perfectly stable while the missiles, of which there are a variety for different missions, are being hurled.  All the military Zeppelins of Germany are armed and there are a large number of unarmed dirigibles in reserve.

It is estimated that there are 100 aeroplanes with the British forces on the continent.  The French army has hundreds of aeroplanes of various kinds.  Germany’s fleet of flying machines has been in action continuously and the aviators have proved a big aid in scouting as well as in dropping bombs and grenades on the enemy.

The newest French aeroplanes are said to be equipped with boxes filled with thousands of “steel arrows.”

These “arrows” are really steel bolts four inches long.  When the aviator sails over the enemy he opens trapdoors of the “arrow” boxes with a simple device and lets showers of bolts fall on the men below.  One of the “arrows” dropped 2,000 feet will go through a German helmet and a soldier’s head.  A shower of them would prove effective against a massed enemy.

On August 10 the correspondent of the London Times in Brussels, describing the fighting at Liege, said aerial fleets were used by both Belgians and Germans.  The fighting in midair was desultory but deadly.  A huge Zeppelin sailed over Liege during the early fighting.  The fighting in midair was desultory but deadly.  A huge Zeppelin sailed over Liege during the early fighting, but was pursued by a Belgian aeroplanist, who risked and lost his life in destroying it.

[Illustration:  THE RELATIVE STRENGTH OF SOME OF THE EUROPEAN NATIONS IN AEROPLANES AND DIRIGIBLES.  —­Aero and Hydro, Chicago]

After the destruction of this Zeppelin the Germans confined their aerial activity to the use of scouting aeroplanes, several of which were destroyed by shots from the forts.  Attempts to reach the aeroplanes with shells were often unsuccessful, however, owing to the inability to shoot high enough.

AVIATION CAMPS IN EUROPE

In the early days of the great war only an occasional flash of news was received about the French and Russian aero-military operations or those of the German corps along the Russian and French frontiers.  It was difficult to imagine that they were idle, for the German-Russian and the French-German frontiers had been the locations of many military aeronautical camps or fortresses.  These were described at the outbreak of hostilities as follows: 

“Along the German frontier facing Russia are the important aero centers of Thorn and Graudenz, while the nearest aero base in Russia is at Riga, farther north.

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“Against German invasion there are French centers at Verdun, Nancy, Luneville and Belfort.  The most important is at Belfort.  Sixty miles from the Belgian frontier and 170 miles from Liege is the great center at Rheims, with the even more important base at Chalons-sur-Marne only twenty-five miles distant.

“Seventy-five to 100 miles is the scouting range of the military aeroplanes, while the dirigibles will scout 500 to 1,000 miles from the base, according to the duration efficiency.  The Zeppelins might, taking some risk, travel even farther.  With this taken into consideration, the fact that there are only two German aero centers on the French frontier—­Aix-la-Chapelle and Metz—­is not very significant.  The range of the Vosges occupies the territory where there is no aero center.

“Back of the mountains, along the Rhone from Dusseldorf to Strasbourg, there are a dozen aero stations, some of them devoted to aeroplanes and dirigibles, others to dirigibles alone.

“The latest data show that Germany has sixty stations, including private dirigible hangars, while France has thirty, in most cases of greater extent than those in Germany, Russia, eight months ago, had ten, but it is believed that this number has been increased twofold since that time.

[Illustration:  HOW GERMAN EMPIRE IS FORTIFIED AGAINST AERIAL ATTACKS.  CENTERS FROM WHICH KAISER WILLIAM’S DIRIGIBLE AND AEROPLANE FLEETS OPERATE.  ONLY THOSE CITIES THAT HAVE AERODROMES ARE SHOWN ON THIS MAP.  SEVERAL BELGIAN AND FRENCH AERODROMES ALSO ARE SHOWN.]

“The two principal Belgian centers are at Brasschaet, near Antwerp, and Etterbeck, near Brussels.  The aviators operating in the early engagements have undoubtedly flown down from Brussels and are in temporary camp at Liege.  There are probably not more than four Belgian escadrilles, or little fleets of four machines each, on the scene, while Germany’s force is supposedly greater.”

CHAPTER XVIII

BATTLE OF THE AISNE

Most Prolonged Encounter in History Between Gigantic Forces—­A Far-Flung Battle Line—­Germans Face French and British in the Aisne Valley and Fight for Weeks—­Mighty Armies Deadlocked After a Desperate and Bloody Struggle.

For a few days after the tide of battle in France turned in favor of the Allies (September 9), the German forces continued to retreat to the north, closely followed by the French and British armies that had fought and won the battle of the Marne, as described in a previous chapter.  This northward movement was marked by heavy German losses in men and munitions of war, and lasted until Saturday, September 12, when the Germans were found to be occupying a position of great defensive strength on the River Aisne, north of Soissons.  At that time they held both sides of the river and had a formidable line of intrenchments on the hills to the north of eight road bridges and two railway bridges crossing the Aisne.  Seven of the road bridges and both the railway bridges had been destroyed.

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The Allies gained some high ground south of the Aisne, overlooking the Aisne valley, east of Soissons.  Then began (on Saturday, September 12) an action along the Aisne which was destined to go down in history as the greatest and most prolonged battle of all time.  Two days, three days, a week, two weeks, three, four, five weeks it lasted, with varying fortune to the contending armies, but no decisive result.  Germans, French and British, literally by the thousand, fell under the continuous hail of shrapnel, the hurricane of machine-gun and rifle fire, or in the desperate bayonet charges of daily occurrence, but still the battle raged.  Minor positions were gained and lost, towns and villages along the far-flung battle line were occupied and evacuated, countless deeds of heroism were wrought, to be sung and celebrated by posterity in a dozen different lands—­but the lines on both sides held and victory refused to perch on any banner.

Modern scientific strategy exhausted its utmost efforts; flanking and turning movements were planned, attempted and failed; huge masses of men were hurled against each other in every formation known to military skill; myriads of lives and millions of money were sacrificed in historic endeavors to breach the enemy’s front—­but ever the foeman held his ground and neither side could claim decided advantage.  Intrenchments such as the world has never seen before covered the countryside for fifty miles.  Teuton, Gaul and Anglo-Saxon, Turco and Hindu, literally “dug themselves in,” and refused to budge an inch, though hell itself, in all its horror and its fury, was loosed against them.

And thus the battle of the Aisne—­also aptly called, from its extent and ramifications, the battle of the Rivers—­continued through many weeks while all the world wondered and stood aghast at the slaughter, and the single gleam of brightness that came out of that maelstrom of death and misery was the growing respect of Frenchman, German and Briton for the individual and collective courage of each other and the death-defying devotion that was daily displayed by all.

FIGHTING CONTINUOUS DAY AND NIGHT

Beginning as an artillery duel in which the field-guns of the French and Germans were matched against each other from opposite heights as never before, the battle of the Aisne soon resolved itself into a series of daily actions in which every arm of the opposing hosts engaged.  There was little rest for the troops day or night.  Artillery fire beginning at daybreak and continuing till dusk might break out again at any hour of the night, the range of the enemy’s intrenchments being known.  Frequently the artillery seemed to open fire in the still watches of the night for no other reason than to prevent the enemy in his trenches from getting any sleep at all, and many a man was borne to the rear on both sides suffering from no wound, but from utter exhaustion—­a state of collapse which is often as deadly as shrapnel to the soldier in the field.

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For weeks at a time the only real rest for many of the troops engaged along the line of battle came in snatches of a few hours when they were temporarily relieved by fresh troops brought up from the rear, and these in their turn might be soon exhausted by the continuous strain of keeping on the alert to repel attacks—­or, as frequently happened, their ranks might be decimated, or worse, when they were ordered to a charge.  Officers and men suffered alike from the strenuous nature of the demands made upon them—­and so far as actual casualties are concerned the battle was one in which officers of all ranks, in all the armies, suffered perhaps more severely, in proportion to the number engaged, than in any previous battle.  Hundreds of British officers, for example, were among the victims whose bones lie rotting in the valley of the Aisne, as whole pages of their portraits in the London journals, bearing many of the best known names in the British Empire, testified in mute protest against the horrors of war.  And both Germany and France have a similar “roll of honor.”

REPORTS OF THE BATTLE

While the great battle of the Rivers was in progress the most connected stories of its daily developments came through the British official news bureau, and these are reproduced in part in the pages that follow.  The author of these reports is believed to be Colonel Swinton, of Field Marshal French’s staff, who is generally credited with having contributed to the literature of the war some of the most interesting and enlightening accounts of the operations of the British and French armies in the field.  And these reports are given here, because of their general character of apparent truth and fairness, and in the absence of any similar reports from the other side.

OPENING OF THE GREAT BATTLE

The following report from the British headquarters covers the period when the Allies’ forward movement was halted along the Aisne and also describes the terrain, or country, in which the subsequent fighting occurred: 

“From Thursday, September 10, the British army made [Illustration:  In the above view the Rivers Marne, Ourcq, Aisne, Oise, and Meuse are clearly shown, exaggerated in size for convenience of reference.  The position of the Allies September 20, 1914, is shown by a black dotted line running from between Amiens and Peronne to Verdun and Nancy.  The German front is indicated by the shaded sections, which also show the German lines of communication or retreat, numbered from 1 to 7.  At this time the Allies were pushing north to Arras, endeavoring to turn the German right flank in common of General von Kluck.] steady progress in its endeavor to drive back the enemy in co-operation with the French.  The country across which it had to force its way, and will have to continue to do so, is undulating and covered with patches of thick wood.

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“Within the area which faced the British before the advance commenced, right up to Laon, the chief feature of tactical importance is the fact that there are six rivers running across the direction of the advance, at all of which it was possible that the Germans might make resistance.  These rivers are, in order from the south, the Marne, Ourcq, Vesle, Aisne, Ailette and Oise.

“The Germans held the line of the Marne, which was crossed by our forces on September 9, as a purely rearguard operation.  Our passage of the Ourcq was not contested.  The Vesle was only lightly held, while resistance along the Aisne, both against the French and the British, has been and still is of a determined character.

“On Friday, September 11, but little opposition was met with along any part of our front, and the direction of the advance was, for the purpose of co-operating with our allies, turned slightly to the northeast.  The day was spent in rushing forward and gathering in various hostile detachments.  By nightfall our forces had reached a line north of the Ourcq, extending from Oulchy-le-Chateau to Longpont.

“On this day there was also a general advance of the French along their whole line, which ended in a substantial success, in one portion of the field Duke Albrecht of Wuerttemburg’s army being driven back across the Saulx, and elsewhere the whole of the artillery of a German corps being captured.  Several German colors also were taken.

“It was only on this day that the full extent of the victory gained by the Allies on September 8 [at the Marne] was appreciated by them, and the moral effect of this success has been enormous.  An order dated September 6 and 7, issued by the commander of the German Seventh Corps, was picked up.  It stated that the great object of the war was about to be attained, since the French were going to accept battle, and that upon the result of this battle would depend the issue of the war and the honor of the German armies.

“On Saturday, the 12th, the enemy were found to be occupying a very formidable position opposite us on the north of the line at Soissons.  Working from the west to the east, our Third Army Corps gained some high ground south of the Aisne overlooking the Aisne valley, to the east of Soissons.  Here a long-range artillery duel between our guns and those of the French on our left and the enemy’s artillery on the hills continued during the greater part of the day, and did not cease until nearly midnight.  The enemy had a very large number of heavy howitzers in well-concealed positions.

“At Braisne the First cavalry division met with considerable opposition from infantry and machine-guns holding the town and guarding the bridge.  With the aid of some of our infantry it gained possession of the town about midday, driving the enemy to the north.  Some hundred prisoners were captured around Braisne, where the Germans had thrown a large amount of field-gun ammunition into the river, where it was visible under two feet of water.

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FATEFUL ENCOUNTER BEGINS

“On our right the French reached the line of the River Vesle.  On this day began an action along the Aisne which is not yet finished, and which may be merely of a rearguard nature on a large scale, or may be the commencement of a battle of a more serious nature.

“It rained heavily on Saturday afternoon and all through the night, which severely handicapped transport.

“On Sunday, the 13th, extremely strong resistance was encountered by the whole of our front, which was some fifteen miles in length.  The action still consisted for the most part of a long-range gunfire, that of the Germans being to a great extent from their heavy howitzers, which were firing from cleverly concealed positions.  Some of the actual crossings of the Aisne were guarded by strong detachments of infantry with machine-guns.

“By nightfall portions of all our three army corps were across the river, the cavalry returning to the south side.  By early next morning, three pontoon bridges had been built, and our troops also managed to get across the river by means of the bridge carrying the canal over the river.

“On our left the French pressed on, but were prevented by artillery fire from building a pontoon bridge at Soissons.  A large number of infantry, however, crossed in single file the top girder of the railway bridge left standing.

“During the last three or four days many isolated parties of Germans have been discovered hiding in the numerous woods a long way behind our line.  As a rule they seemed glad to surrender, and the condition of some of them may be gathered from the following incident: 

“An officer proceeding along the road in charge of a number of led horses received information that there were some of the enemy in the neighborhood.  He gave the order to charge, whereupon three German officers and 106 men surrendered.

RHEIMS OCCUPIED BY GERMANS

“Rheims was occupied by the enemy on September 3.  It was reoccupied by the French after considerable fighting on September 13.

“On the 12th, a proclamation, a copy of which is in the possession of the British army, was posted all over the town.  A literal translation of this poster follows: 

“’PROCLAMATION—­In the event of an action being fought early today or in the immediate future in the neighborhood of Rheims, the inhabitants are warned that they must remain absolutely calm and must in no way try to take part in the fighting.  They must not attempt to attack either isolated soldiers or detachments of the German army.  The erection of barricades, the taking up of paving stones in the streets in a way to hinder the movement of troops, or, in a word, any action that may embarrass the German army, is formally forbidden.

“’With an idea to securing adequately the safety of the troops and to instill calm into the population of Rheims, the persons named below have been seized as hostages by the commander-in-chief of the German army.  These hostages will be hanged at the slightest attempt at disorder.  Also, the town will be totally or partially burned and the inhabitants will be hanged for any infraction of the above.

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“’By order of the German authorities. (Signed) “‘THE MAYOR.’

“Here followed the names of eighty-one of the principal inhabitants of Rheims, with their addresses, including four priests, and ending with the words, ‘And some others.’”

HOW THE BATTLE DEVELOPED

The following descriptive report from Field Marshal Sir John French’s headquarters was issued September 22: 

“At the date of the last narrative, September 14, the Germans were making a determined resistance along the River Aisne.  The opposition has proved to be more serious than was anticipated.

“The action now being fought by the Germans along their line is naturally on a scale which, as to extent of ground covered and duration of resistance, makes it undistinguishable in its progress from what is known as a ‘pitched battle.’

“So far as we are concerned, the action still being contested is the battle of the Aisne.  The foe we are fighting is just across that river, along the whole of our front to the east and west.  The struggle is not confined to the valley of that river, though it will probably bear its name.

“On Monday, the 14th, those of our troops which had on the previous day crossed the Aisne, after driving in the German rearguards on that evening, found portions of the enemy’s forces in prepared defensive positions on the right bank and could do little more than secure a footing north of the river.  This, however, they maintained in spite of two counter-attacks delivered at dusk and 10 p.m., in which the fighting was severe.

“During the 14th strong reinforcements of our troops were passed to the north bank, the troops crossing by ferry, by pontoon bridges, and by the remains of permanent bridges.  Close co-operation with the French forces was maintained and the general progress made was good, although the opposition was vigorous and the state of the roads, after the heavy rain, made movements slow.

FIRST CORPS MAKES CAPTURE

“One division alone failed to secure the ground it expected to.  The First Army Corps, after repulsing repeated attacks, captured prisoners and twelve guns.  The cavalry also took a number of prisoners.

“There was a heavy rain throughout the night of September 14th, and during the 15th the situation of the British forces underwent no essential change.  But it became more and more evident that the defensive preparations made by the enemy were more extensive than was at first apparent.  The Germans bombarded our lines nearly all day, using heavy guns brought, no doubt, from before Maubeuge as well as those with the corps.

“All the German counter-attacks, however, failed, although in some places they were repeated six times.  One made on the Fourth Guards Brigade was repulsed with heavy slaughter.

“Further counter-attacks made during the night were beaten off.  Rain came on towards evening and continued intermittently until 9 a.m., on the 16th.  Besides adding to the discomfort of the soldiers holding the line, the wet weather to some extent hampered the motor transport service, which was also hindered by broken bridges.

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“On Wednesday, the 16th, there was little change in the situation opposite the British; the efforts made by the enemy were less active than on the previous day, though their bombardment continued throughout the morning and evening.

“On Thursday, the 17th, the situation still remained unchanged in its essentials.  The German heavy artillery fire was more active than on the previous day.  The only infantry attacks made by the enemy were on the extreme right of our position, and, as had happened before, they were repulsed with heavy loss, chiefly on this occasion by our field artillery.

NATURE OF THE FIGHTING

“In order to convey some idea of the nature of the fighting it may be said that along the greater part of our front the Germans have been driven back from the forward slopes on the north of the river.  Their infantry are holding strong lines of trenches amongst and along the edges of the numerous woods which crown the slopes.  These trenches are elaborately constructed and cleverly concealed.  In many places there are wire entanglements and lengths of rabbit fencing.

“Both woods and open are carefully aligned, so that they can be swept by rifle fire and machine-guns, which are invisible from our side of the valley.  The ground in front of the infantry is also, as a rule, under cross fire from the field artillery placed on neighboring heights, and under high angle fire from pieces placed well back behind the woods on top of the plateau.

“A feature of this action, as of the previous fighting, is the use by the enemy of numerous heavy howitzers, with which they are able to direct long range fire all over the valley and right across it.  Upon these they evidently place great reliance.

“Where our men are holding the forward edges of the high ground on the north side they are now strongly intrenched.  They are well fed, and in spite of the wet weather of the last week are cheerful and confident.

HEAVY BOMBARDMENT BY BOTH SIDES

“The bombardment by both sides has been heavy, and on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday was practically continuous.  Nevertheless, in spite of the general din caused by the reports of the immense number of heavy guns in action along our front on Wednesday, the arrival of the French force acting against the German right flank was at once announced on the east of our front some miles away by the continuous roar of their quick-firing artillery, with which the attack was opened.

“So far as the British are concerned, the greater part of this week has been passed in bombardment, in gaining ground by degrees, and in beating back severe counter-attacks with heavy slaughter.  Our casualties have been severe, but it is probable that those of the enemy are heavier.

“The rain has caused a great drop in the temperature and there is more than a distant feeling of autumn in the air.

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“On our right and left the French have been fighting fiercely and have been gradually gaining ground.  One village already has been captured and recaptured twice by each side and at the time of writing remains in the hands of the Germans.

“The fighting has been at close quarters and of the most desperate nature, and the streets of the village are filled with dead of both sides.

CHEERING MESSAGE TO THE FRENCH

“As an example of the spirit which is inspiring our allies the following translation of an Ordre du Jour (order of the day), published on September 9, after the battle of Montmirail, by the commander of the French Fifth Army, is given: 

“’Soldiers:  Upon the memorable fields of Montmirail, of Vauchamps, of Champaubert, which a century ago witnessed the victories of our ancestors over Bluecher’s Prussians, your vigorous offensive has triumphed over the resistance of the Germans.  Held on his flanks, his center broken, the enemy now is retreating towards the east and north by forced marches.  The most renowned army corps of old Prussia, the contingents of Westphalia, of Hanover, of Brandenburg, have retired in haste before you.

“’This first success is no more than the prelude.  The enemy is shaken but not yet decisively beaten.  You have still to undergo severe hardships, to make long marches, to fight hard battles.  May the image of our country, soiled by barbarians, always remain before your eyes!  Never was it more necessary to sacrifice all for her.

“’Saluting the heroes who have fallen in the fighting of the last few days, my thoughts turn toward you, the victors in the last battle.  Forward, soldiers, for France!’

LETTER FROM A GERMAN SOLDIER

“So many letters and statements of our wounded soldiers have been published in our newspapers that the following epistle from a German soldier of the Seventy-fourth Infantry regiment, Tenth Corps, to his wife also may be of interest: 

“’My Dear Wife:  I have just been living through days that defy imagination.  I should never have thought that men could stand it.  Not a second has passed but my life has been in danger, and yet not a hair of my head has been hurt.

“’It was horrible; it was ghastly, but I have been saved for you and for our happiness, and I take heart again, although I am still terribly unnerved.  God grant that I may see you again soon and that this horror may soon be over.

“’None of us can do any more; human strength is at an end.  I will try to tell you about it.  On September 5 the enemy were reported to be taking up a position near St. Prix, southeast of Paris.  The Tenth Corps, which had made an astonishingly rapid advance of course, was attacked on Sunday.

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“’Steep slopes led up to the heights, which were held in considerable force.  With our weak detachments of the Seventy-fourth and Ninety-first regiments we reached the crest and came under a terrible artillery fire that mowed us down.  However, we entered St. Prix.  Hardly had we done so than we were met with shell fire and a violent fusillade from the enemy’s infantry.  Our colonel was badly wounded—­he is the third we have had.  Fourteen men were killed around me.  We got away in a lull without my being hit.

“’The 7th, 8th, and 9th of September we were constantly under shell and shrapnel fire and suffered terrible losses.  I was in a house which was hit several times.  The fear of death, of agony, which is in every man’s heart, and naturally so, is a terrible feeling.  How often I have thought of you, my darling, and what I suffered in that terrifying battle which extended along a front of many miles near Montmirail, you cannot possibly imagine.

“’Our heavy artillery was being used for the siege of Maubeuge.  We wanted it badly, as the enemy had theirs in force and kept up a furious bombardment.  For four days I was under artillery fire.  It was like hell, but a thousand times worse.

“’On the night of the 9th the order was given to retreat, as it would have been madness to attempt to hold our position with our few men, and we should have risked a terrible defeat the next day.  The first and third armies had not been able to attack with us, as we had advanced too rapidly.  Our morale was absolutely broken; in spite of unheard-of sacrifices we had achieved nothing.

“’I cannot understand how our army, after fighting three great battles and being terribly weakened, was sent against a position which the enemy had prepared for three weeks, but, naturally, I know nothing of the intentions of our chiefs; they say nothing has been lost.

“’In a word, we retired towards Cormontreuil and Rheims by forced marches by day and night.  We hear that three armies are going to get into line, intrench and rest, and then start afresh our victorious march on Paris.  It was not a defeat, only a strategic retreat.  I have confidence in our chiefs that everything will be successful.

“’Our first battalion, which has fought with unparalleled bravery, is reduced from 1,200 to 194 men.  These numbers speak for themselves.’”

EVENTS FROM SEPTEMBER 21 TO

The next report from the official chronicler at the front, dated September 24, was in part as follows: 

“The enemy is still maintaining himself along the whole front, and in order to do so is throwing into the fight detachments composed of units from the different formations, the active army, reserve, and landwehr, as is shown by the uniforms of prisoners recently captured.

“Our progress, although slow on account of the strength of the defensive positions against which we are pressing, has in certain directions been continuous, but the present battle may well last for some days more before a decision is reached, since it now approximates nearly to siege warfare.

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“The nature of the general situation after the operations of the 18th, 19th, and 20th, cannot better be summarized than as expressed recently by a neighboring French commander to his corps:  ’Having repulsed repeated and violent counterattacks made by the enemy, we have a feeling that we have been victorious.’

“So far as the British are concerned, the course of events during these three days can be described in a few words.  During Friday, the 18th, artillery fire was kept up intermittently by both sides during daylight.  At night the Germans counter-attacked certain portions of our line, supporting the advance of their infantry as always by a heavy bombardment.  But the strokes were not delivered with great vigor and ceased about 2 a.m.  During the day’s fighting an aircraft gun of the Third Army Corps succeeded in bringing down a German aeroplane.

ARTILLERY FIRE BECOMES MONOTONOUS

“On Saturday, the 19th, the bombardment was resumed by the Germans at an early hour and continued intermittently under reply from our guns, which is a matter of normal routine rather than an event.

“Another hostile aeroplane was brought down by us, and one of our aviators succeeded in dropping several bombs over the German line, one incendiary bomb falling with considerable effect on a transport park near LaFere.

“A buried store of the enemy’s munitions of war also was found not far from the Aisne, ten wagonloads of live shells and two wagons of cable being dug up.  Traces were discovered of large quantities of stores having been burned—­all tending to show that as far back as the Aisne the German retirement was hurried.

“On Sunday, the 20th, nothing of importance occurred until the afternoon, when there was an interval of feeble sunshine, which was hardly powerful enough to warm the soaking troops.  The Germans took advantage of this brief spell of fine weather to make several attacks against different points.  These were all repulsed with loss to the enemy, but the casualties incurred by us were by no means light.

“The offensive against one or two points was renewed at dusk, with no greater success.  The brunt of the resistance naturally has fallen on the infantry.  In spite of the fact that they have been drenched to the skin for some days and their trenches have been deep in mud and water, and in spite of the incessant night alarms and the almost continuous bombardment to which they have been subjected, they have on every occasion been ready for the enemy’s infantry when the latter attempted to assault.  Indeed, the sight of the troops coming up has been a positive relief after long, trying hours of inaction under shell fire.

OBJECT OF GERMAN ATTACKS

“The object of the great proportion of artillery the Germans employ is to beat down the resistance of their enemy by concentrated and prolonged fire—­to shatter their nerve with high explosives before the infantry attack is launched.  They seem to have relied on doing this with us, but they have not done so, though it has taken them several costly experiments to discover this fact.

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“From statements of prisoners, it appears that they have been greatly disappointed by the moral effect produced by their heavy guns, which, despite the actual losses inflicted, has not been at all commensurate with the colossal expenditure of ammunition which has really been wasted.

“By this it is not implied that their artillery fire is not good.  It is more than good—­it is excellent.  But the British soldier is a difficult person to impress or depress, even by immense shells filled with a high explosive, which detonate with terrific violence and form craters large enough to act as graves for five horses.

“The German howitzer shells are from eight to nine inches in calibre, and on impact they send up columns of greasy black smoke.  On account of this they are irreverently dubbed ‘coal boxes,’ ‘Black Marias,’ or ’Jack Johnsons’ by the soldiers.

“Men who take things in this spirit are, it seems, likely to throw out the calculations based on loss of morale so carefully framed by the German military philosophers.

“The German losses in officers are stated by our prisoners to have been especially severe.  A brigade is stated to be commanded by a major; some companies of foot guards by one-year volunteers; while after the battle of Montmirail one regiment lost fifty-five out of sixty officers.

LETTER FOUND ON GERMAN OFFICER

“The following letter, which refers to the fighting on the Aisne and was found on a German officer of the Seventh Reserve Corps, has been printed and circulated to the troops: 

“’Cerny, South of Paris, Sept 17.—­My Dear Parents:—­Our corps has the task of holding the heights south of Cerny in all circumstances till the Fourteenth Corps on our left flank can grip the enemy’s flank.  On our right are other corps.  We are fighting with the English guards, Highlanders and Zouaves.  The losses on both sides have been enormous.  For the most part this is due to the too-brilliant French artillery.

“’The English are marvelously trained in making use of ground.  One never sees them and one is constantly under fire.  The French airmen perform wonderful feats.  We cannot get rid of them.  As soon as an airman has flown over us, ten minutes later we get shrapnel fire in our position.  We have little artillery in our corps; without it we cannot get forward.

“’Three days ago our division took possession of these heights and dug itself in.  Two days ago, early in the morning, we were attacked by immensely superior English forces—­one brigade and two battalions—­and were turned out of our positions.  The fellows took five guns from us.  It was a tremendous hand-to-hand fight.

“’How I escaped myself I am not clear.  I then had to bring up support on foot.  My horse was wounded and the others were too far in the rear.  Then came up the Guard Jager Battalion, Fourth Jager, Sixth Regiment, Reserve Regiment Thirteen, and Landwehr Regiments Thirteen and Sixteen, and, with the help of the artillery, we drove the fellows out of the position again.  Our machine-guns did excellent work; the English fell in heaps.

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“’In our battalion three iron crosses have been given.  Let us hope that we shall be the lucky ones the next time.

“’During the first two days of the battle I had only one piece of bread and no water.  I spent the night in the rain without my greatcoat.  The rest of my kit was on the horses, which have been left miles behind with the baggage and which cannot come up into the battle because as soon as you put your nose up from behind cover the bullets whistle.

“’War is terrible!  We are all hoping that a decisive battle will end the war.  Our troops already have got round Paris.  If we beat the English the French resistance will soon be broken.  Russia will be very quickly dealt with; of this there is no doubt.

“’We have received splendid help from the Austrian heavy artillery at Maubeuge.  They bombarded Fort Cerfontaine in such a way that there was not ten meters of parapet which did not show enormous craters made by the shells.  The armored turrets were found upside down.

“’Yesterday evening about 6, in the valley in which our reserves stood, there was such a terrible cannonade that we saw nothing of the sky but a cloud of smoke.  We had few casualties.’

TELEPHONE AN AID TO SPIES

“Espionage is carried on by the enemy to a considerable extent.  Recently the suspicions of some of the French troops were aroused by coming across a farm from which the horses had been removed.  After some search they discovered a telephone which was connected by an underground cable with the German lines, and the owner of the farm paid the penalty in the usual way in war for his treachery.  “After some cases of village fighting, which occurred earlier in the war, it was reported by some of our officers that the Germans had attempted to approach to close quarters by forcing prisoners to march in front of them.  The Germans have recently repeated the same trick on a larger scale against the French, as is shown by the copy of an order issued by the French officials.  It is therein referred to as a ruse, but if that term can be accepted, it is a distinctly illegal ruse.

REFERS TO RHEIMS CATHEDRAL

“Full details of the actual damage done to the cathedral at Rheims will doubtless have been cabled, so that no description of it is necessary.  The Germans bombarded the cathedral twice with their heavy artillery.

“One reason it caught fire so quickly was that on one side of it was some scaffolding which had been erected for restoration work.  Straw had also been laid on the floor for the reception of German wounded.  It is to the credit of the French that practically all the German wounded were successfully extricated from the burning building.

“There was no justification on military grounds for this act of vandalism, which seems to have been caused by exasperation born of failure—­a sign of impotence rather than of strength.”

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FIVE MORE DAYS OF BATTLE

On September 29 Field Marshal French’s headquarters reported as follows: 

“The general situation as viewed on the map remains practically the same as that described in the last letter, and the task of the army has not changed.  It is to maintain itself until there is a general resumption of the offensive.

“No ground has been lost.  Some has been gained, and every counter-attack has been repulsed—­in certain instances with very severe losses to the enemy.

“Of recent events an actual narrative will be carried on from the 25th to 29th, inclusive.  During the whole of this period the weather has remained fine.

“On Friday, the 25th, comparative quiet reigned in our sphere of action.  The only incident worthy of special mention was the passage of a German aeroplane over the interior of our lines.  It was flying high, but drew a general fusillade from below, with the result that the pilot was killed outright and the observer was wounded.  The latter was captured by the French.

“That night a general attack was made against the greater part of the Allies’ position, and it was renewed in the early morning of Saturday, the 26th.  The Germans were everywhere repulsed with loss.  Indeed, opposite one portion of our lines, where they were caught in mass by our machine-guns and howitzers firing at different ranges, it is estimated that they left 1,000 killed or wounded.

“The mental attitude of our troops may be gauged from the fact that the official report next morning from one corps, of which one division had borne the brunt of the fighting, ran thus laconically:  ’The night was quiet except for a certain amount of shelling both from the enemy and ourselves.’

AN ALL-DAY ATTACK

“At 3:40 a.m. an attack was made on our right.  At 5 a.m. there was a general attack on the right of the——­th division, but no really heavy firing.  Further ineffectual efforts to drive us back were made at 8 a.m. and in the afternoon, and the artillery fire continued all day.

“The Germans came on in ‘T’ formation, several lines shoulder to shoulder, followed almost immediately by a column in support.  After a very few minutes the men had closed up into a mob, which afforded an excellent target for our fire.

“On Sunday, the 27th, while the German heavy guns were in action, their brass bands could be heard playing hymn tunes, presumably at divine service.

“The enemy made an important advance on part of our line at 6 p.m., and renewed it in strength at one point, with, however, no better success than on the previous night.  Sniping continued all day along the whole front.

“On Monday, the 28th, there was nothing more severe than a bombardment and intermittent sniping, and this inactivity continued during Tuesday, the 29th, except for a night attack against our extreme right.

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A TYPICAL BATTLE INCIDENT

“An incident that occurred Sunday, the 27th, serves to illustrate the type of fighting that has for the last two weeks been going on intermittently on various parts of our lines.  It also brings out the extreme difficulty of ascertaining what is actually happening during an action apart from what seems to be happening, and points to the value of good intrenchments.

“At a certain point in our front our advance trenches were on the north of the Aisne, not far from a village on a hillside and also within a short distance of German works, being on a slope of a spur formed by a subsidiary valley running north and a main valley of the river.  It was a calm, sunny afternoon, but hazy, and from our point of vantage south of the river it was difficult exactly to locate on the far bank the well-concealed trenches.

“From far and near the sullen boom of guns echoed along the valley, and at intervals in a different direction the sky was flecked with the almost motionless smoke of anti-aircraft shrapnel.

“Suddenly and without any warning, for the reports of the distant howitzers from which they were fired could not be distinguished from other distant reports, three or four heavy shells fell into the village, sending up huge clouds of dust and smoke, which ascended in a brownish-gray column.  To this no reply was made by our side.

“Shortly afterwards there was a quick succession of reports from a point some distance up the subsidiary valley on the side opposite our trenches and therefore rather on their flank.  It was not possible either by ear or by eye to locate the guns from which the sounds proceeded.  Almost simultaneously, as it seemed, there was a corresponding succession of flashes and sharp detonations in the line along the hillside along what appeared to be our trenches.

“There was then a pause and several clouds of smoke rose slowly and remained stationary, spaced as regularly as poplars.

“Again there was a succession of reports from German quick-firers on the far side of the misty valley and like echoes of detonations of high explosives; then the row of expanding smoke clouds was prolonged by several new ones.  Another pause and silence, except for the noise in the distance.

“After a few minutes there was a roar from our side of the main valley as our field guns opened one after another in a more deliberate fire upon the positions of the German guns.  After six reports there was again silence save for the whirr of shells as they sang up the small valley.  Then followed flashes and balls of smoke—­one, two, three, four, five, six—­as the shrapnel burst nicely over what in the haze looked like some ruined buildings at the edge of the wood.

TRYING TO ENFILADE THE TRENCHES

“Again, after a short interval, the enemy’s gunners reopened with a burst, still further prolonging the smoke, which was by now merged into one solid screen above a considerable length of the trenches and again did our guns reply.  And so the duel went on for some time.

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“Ignoring our guns, the German artillerymen, probably relying on concealment for immunity, were concentrating all their efforts in a particularly forceful effort to enfilade our trenches.  For them it must have appeared to be the chance of a lifetime, and with their customary prodigality of ammunition they continued to pour bouquet after bouquet of high explosives or combined shrapnel and common shells into our works.

“Occasionally, with a roar, a high angle projectile would sail over the hill and blast a gap in the village.  One could only pray that our men holding the trenches had dug themselves in deep and well, and that those in the village were in cellars.

“In the hazy valleys, bathed in sunlight, not a man, not a horse, not a gun, nor even a trench was to be seen.  There were only flashes, and smoke, and noise.  Above, against the blue sky, several round, white clouds were hanging.  The only two visible human souls were represented by a glistening speck in the air.  On high also were to be heard more or less gentle reports of the anti-aircraft projectiles.

“But the deepest impression created was one of sympathy for the men subjected to the bursts along that trench.  Upon inquiry as to the losses sustained, however, it was found that our men had been able to take care of themselves and had dug themselves well in.  In that collection of trenches on that Sunday afternoon were portions of four battalions of British soldiers—­the Dorsets, the West Kents, the King’s Own Yorkshire light infantry, and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.”

ARMIES IN A DEADLOCK

Later reports from the Aisne valley, up to October 17, when the big battle had been five weeks in progress, indicated little change in the general situation.  Bombardments and artillery duels, varied by general attacks, occurred daily all along the line.  The main positions of both armies were firmly held, though the French had gained some ground north of Rheims and continually threatened the German center.  The left of the Allies’ line had crept north to and beyond Arras, where there was severe fighting for several days; and at the end of the thirty-fifth day of this battle of the Rivers the lines of the opposing armies extended almost continuously from beyond Arras on the northwest, south in a great curve to the Aisne valley, thence east to Verdun, where the Crown Prince’s army kept hammering away at that fortress without success, and thence southwest to Nancy and the Alsatian border.

By this time the armies of the center were in a species of deadlock.  The strain on both sides had long promised to get beyond human endurance and the antagonists of the Aisne were likened by a French officer to two exhausted pugilists, who would soon be unable to inflict further punishment upon each other.  But there was no sign of “throwing up the sponge” on either side, though beyond the actual sphere of conflict it was felt that “something must give way soon.”

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A BLAZING VALE OF DEATH

Writing on September 16, the fourth day of the battle, a special correspondent behind the British lines by Senlis and Chantilly, said: 

“I have passed through a smiling land to a land wearing the mask of death; through harvest fields rich with great stacks snugly builded against the winter to the fields of a braver harvest; by jocund villages where there is no break in the ebb and flow of everyday life to villages and towns that despoiling hands have shattered in ruins.

“And I have passed up this Via Dolorosa toward the very harvesting itself—­toward those great plains stretching away on the banks of the River Aisne, where the second act of this drama of battles is at this moment being played.

“Details of this fight, which, as I write, reaches its fourth day of duration, are very scanty, but partly from personal observation and partly from information which has reached me I know that the struggle so far has been a terrible one, equal to, if not greater than, the struggle on the banks of the Marne.

“The events of Monday (September 14) revealed a foe battling desperately for his life; and this defense of General von Kluck’s army demanded of the Allies their utmost strength and determination.

“Picture this battlefield, which will assuredly take its place with that of the Marne as one of the greatest combats of the greatest war.  Through the middle of it flows the great river, passing from the east to the west.  The banks of the river here are very steep.  Above the plain, which sweeps away from the northern bank, rises the “massif” of Laon.  It is an ideal area for great movements and for artillery work directed upon the valley of the river.  Passing eastward a little, there are the heights behind the city of Rheims and above the Vesle, a tributary of the Aisne.  Here again nature has builded a stronghold easy to defend, difficult exceedingly to attack.

“I know of heroic work against these great lines, work that will live with the most momentous of this struggle.  I know of smashing attacks the thought of which takes one’s breath away.  I have heard narratives of the trenches and of the bridges—­these engineers, French and English, have indeed ’played the game’—­which no man can hear unmoved; how the columns went down again and again to the blazing death of the valley, and how men worked, building and girding in a very inferno—­worked with the furious speed of those whose time of work is short.

HEROISM IN THE TRENCHES

“And in the trenches, too, the tale of heroism unfolds itself hour by hour.  Here is an example, one among ten thousand, the story of a wounded private:  ’We lay together, my friend and I...The order to fire came.  We shot and shot till our rifles burned us.  Still they swarmed on towards us.  We took careful aim all the while.  “Ah, good, did you see that?” I turned to my friend and as I did so heard a terrible dull sound like a spade striking upon newly turned earth.  His head was fallen forward.  I spoke, I called him by name.  He was moaning a little.  Then I turned to my work again.  They are advancing quickly now.  Ah! how cool I was.  I shot so slowly,...so very slowly.

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“’And then—­do you know what it feels like to be wounded?  I rose just a little too high on my elbow.  A sting that pierces my arm like a hot wire—­too sharp almost to be sore.  I felt my arm go away from me—­it seemed like that—­and then my rifle fell.  I believe I was a little dazed.  I looked at my friend presently.  He was dead.’

THE GRIM STORY OF SENLIS

“So, on these green river banks and across these fair wooded plains the Germans make their great stand—­the stand that if they are defeated will be their last in France.  And meanwhile behind them lie the wasted fields and the broken villages.  It is impossible adequately to describe the scenes which I have witnessed on the line of the great retreat, but here and there events have had place, which, in truth, cry to high heaven for report.  Of such is the grim story of Senlis.

“I spent many hours in Senlis and I will recount that story as I saw it and as I heard it from those who lived through the dreadful procession of days.  On Saturday, September 5, the Germans reached this beautiful old cathedral town and entered into occupation.  They issued a proclamation to the inhabitants calling upon them to submit and to offer no sort of resistance on pain of severe reprisals.

“But the inhabitants of Senlis had already tasted the bitter draft of war making.  The people had become bitter to the point of losing care of their own safety.  They were reckless, driven to distraction.

“Bitter was the price exacted for the recklessness!  The trouble began when, exasperated beyond measure by their insolence, a brave tobacconist declared to a couple of the Prussians:  ‘I serve men, not bullies.’  He followed his words with a blow delivered fiercely from the shoulder.

“The infuriated soldiers dragged him from his shop and hurled him on his knees in front of the door.  His wife rushed out shrieking for mercy.  Mercy!  As well ask it of a stone!  A shot rang out...Another...Man and wife lay dead.

“Immediately the news of this murderous act flew through the town.  Outraged and furious, the conquerors marched instantly to the house of the mayor—­their hostage—­and arrested him.  They conveyed him without a moment’s delay to the military headquarters, where he was imprisoned for the night.  On Wednesday morning a court-martial sat to decide his fate.  A few minutes later this brave man paid for the indiscretion of his people with his life, dying splendidly.

“And then guns were turned on this town of living men and women and children.  Shells crashed into the houses, into the shops, into the station.  At Chantilly, seven kilometers away, the amazed inhabitants saw a great column of black smoke curl up into the air; they guessed the horrible truth.  Senlis was burning.

“The work, however, was interrupted.  At midday the glad tidings were heard, ‘The Turcos are here.’  Within the hour broken and blazing Senlis was re-relieved and rescued.  The Turcos pursued and severely punished the enemy.

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“Today these streets are terrible to look upon.  House after house has been shattered to pieces—­broken to a pile of stones.  One of the small turrets of the cathedral has been demolished, and a rent has been torn in the stone work of the tower.  The station is like a wilderness.”

RHEIMS CATHEDRAL DAMAGED

A correspondent gives a vivid account of the German bombardment of Rheims, during the battle on the Aisne, as viewed by him from the belfry of the famous cathedral.

“What a spectacle it was!” he said.  “Under the cold, drifting gray rainclouds the whole semicircle of the horizon was edged by heights on which the German batteries were mounted, three miles away.

“There was nothing but the inferno of bursting shells, those of the Germans landing anywhere within the space of a square mile.  Sometimes it was just outside the town that they fell, trying to find the French troops lying there in their trenches, waiting to go forward to the attack of the hills, when their artillery should have prepared the way.

“The cathedral tower made a wonderful grand stand from which to watch this appalling game of destruction.  It was under the protection of the Red Cross flag, for directly the shells began to hit the cathedral in the morning some German wounded were brought in from a hospital nearby and laid on straw in the nave, while Abbe Andreaux and a Red Cross soldier pluckily climbed to the top of the tower and hung out two Geneva flags.

“The crescendo scream the shells make has something fiendish in it that would be thrilling apart from the danger of which it is the sign.  You hear it a full second before the shell strikes, and in that time you can tell instinctively the direction of its flight.

“Then comes the crash of the explosion, which is like all the breakages you ever heard gathered into one simultaneous smash.”

SAVING THE GERMAN WOUNDED

A few of the German shells struck the cathedral and set it on fire.  The scene was thus described by Abbe Camu, a priest of Rheims: 

“It was all over in an hour.  There were two separate fires.  We put the first out with four buckets of water, all we had in the place, but soon another shell struck the roof and the wind drove the flames along the rafters inside of the nave.  We rushed up, but it was flaming all along and as we could do nothing, we hurried down.

“There were holes in the ceiling of the nave and sparks began to fall through them into a great heap of straw, ten feet high and twenty yards long, which the Germans had piled along the north aisle.  We tried to catch the sparks in our hands as they fell, and such of the German wounded as were able to walk helped us.  But the first spark that fell on the pile set it blazing.  There was time to think of nothing but getting out the wounded.

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“They screamed horribly.  We carried many of those that could not walk, while others dragged themselves painfully along to the side door in the north aisle.  Those who had only hand and arm wounds helped their comrades.  We got out all except thirteen, whose bodies were left behind.

“When at last I came out of the flaming building I found the whole body of wounded huddled together around the doors.  Opposite to them was a furiously hostile crowd of civilians of the town and a number of soldiers with their rifles already leveled.

“I sprang forward.  ‘What are you doing?’ I cried.

“‘They shall all burn,’ shouted the soldiers in answer.  ’They shall go back and burn with the cathedral or we will shoot them here.’

“‘You are mad!’ I exclaimed in reply.  ’Think of what this means.  All the world will hear of the crime the Germans have committed here, and if you shoot these men the world will know that France has been as criminal in her turn.  Anyhow,’ I said, ’you shall shoot me first, for I will not move.’

“Unwillingly the soldiers lowered their rifles and I turned to six German, officers who were among the wounded and asked if they would do what I told them to.  They said they would and I asked them to tell their men to do the same.  Then I formed them up in a solid body, those who could walk unaided carrying or helping those who could not.  I put myself at the head and we set off to the Hotel de Ville, which is only a few hundred yards away.

“Well, then the crowd, mad with grief and rage, set on us.  I can’t describe it.  You have never seen anything so dreadful as that scene.  They beat some of the Germans and some of them they got down.

“‘Can’t you help me!’ I called to a French officer I caught sight of.

“‘You will never get to the Hotel de Ville like this,’ he replied, so I forced my wounded through the gateway of a private house and we managed to close the gates after us.

“They had been roughly handled, some of them, and they stayed there a day and a night before we could move them again.”

[The damage done to the cathedral at Rheims, by the way, though by no means slight, inexpressibly sad and truly regrettable, was not nearly so great as was indicated by many early reports.  The friends of architectural art and beauty hope to see the cathedral fully restored at no distant date.]

“SLAUGHTER” AT SOISSONS

Much of the fighting during the battle of the Aisne centered around Soissons.  On September 16 a correspondent described the fighting there as follows:  “For the last three hours I have been watching from the hills to the south of the town that part of the terrific struggle that may be known in history as the battle of Soissons.

“It has lasted for four days, and only now can it be said that victory is turning to the side of the Allies.

“The town itself cannot be entered for it still is being raked both by artillery and rifle fire, and great columns of smoke mark several points at which houses are burning.

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“The center of the fighting lies where the British and French pontoon corps are trying to keep the bridges they have succeeded in throwing across the river.

“Men who have come from the front line tell me that the combat there has been a positive slaughter.  They say that the unremitting and desperate firing of these four days and nights puts anything else in modern warfare into the shade, that river crossings are as great an objective on one side to take and keep as on the other to destroy.”

SEVEN DAYS OF HELL

A wounded soldier, on being brought back to the hospital at Paris, after only one week in the valley of the Aisne, said in a dazed sort of way: 

“Each day was like the others.  It began at 6 o’clock in the, morning with heavy shellfire.  There was a short interval at which it stopped, about 5:30 every day.  Then in the night came the charges, and one night I couldn’t count them.  It was awful—­kill, kill, kill, and still they came on, shoving one another over on to us.  Seven days and nights of it and some nights only an hour’s sleep; it was just absolute hell!”

None of the wounded found another word to describe the battle and the sight of the men bore it out.  Muddied to the eyes, wet, often with blood caked on them, many were suffering from the curious aphasia produced by continued trouble and the concussion of shells bursting.  Some were dazed and speechless, some deafened, and yet, strange to say, said a correspondent, no face wore the terrible animal war look.  They seemed to have been softened, instead of hardened, by their awful experience.

CHAPTER XIX

FALL OF ANTWERP

Great Seaport of Belgium Besieged by a Large German Force—­Forts Battered by Heavy Siege Guns—­Final Surrender of the City—­Belgian and British Defenders Escape—­Exodus of Inhabitants—­Germans Reach the Sea.

When the battle of the Marne ended in favor of the Allies and the Germans retired to take up a defensive position along the Aisne, the Belgian army renewed its activities against the invader.  With the fortified city of Antwerp as their base, the Belgians began (on September 10) an active campaign, having for its object the reoccupation of their cities and towns which had been taken and garrisoned by German troops.  In some cases they were successful in regaining possession of points which they had been forced to abandon during the German advance in August, and there were many hot encounters with the Germans who were left to hold open the German lines of communication through Belgium, But the forces of the Kaiser were too numerous and too mobile for successful opposition, and soon the Belgian army, despite the most gallant efforts, was compelled once more to retire behind the outer forts of Antwerp and there await the coming of an enemy who was approaching in force.

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Great credit must be given to the Belgian army for the patriotic manner in which it met the sudden invasion by the Germans, and for its continued resistance against tremendous odds.  Inspired by the example of King Albert and his devoted Queen, who spent most of their time with the Belgian forces in the field, and shared with them the vicissitudes of war, the defenders of Belgium fought with the utmost pertinacity.  The resistance of the Belgians when invaded, and the success of the Allies in halting the advance upon Paris and turning it into a retreat at the Marne, appear to have inflamed the German generals with a desire to crush Belgium completely under an iron heel.  An object lesson of the power and possibilities of the great fighting machine must be given somewhere.  Halted in France by the Franco-British armies and meeting with varying fortunes against the Russian hosts in the eastern campaign, Germany chose to make Belgium once more the international cockpit and hurled an army against Antwerp.  This move, if successful (as it proved to be) would serve two purposes—­first, the further punishment of Belgium for her unexpected resistance, and second, the striking of a direct blow at Great Britain, the possession of Antwerp being strategically regarded as “a pistol leveled at the head of London.”

THE SIEGE OF ANTWERP

In the third week of September the Germans, having massed a force believed to be sufficient for the capture of Antwerp, brought up their heavy Krupp siege guns which had been used successfully at Liege and Namur, and planted them within their seven-mile range, so as to command the outer belt of forts east and south of the city. [See map of the fortifications of Antwerp on page 102.] These huge howitzers were reinforced by heavy siege guns furnished by Austria.  The fortification system of Antwerp was believed by its builders to be practically impregnable, but they had not reckoned with the tremendous shattering power and great range of the latest Krupp siege guns.  For Antwerp was destined to fall, her outer and inner defenses broken down, within ten days from the time the siege began in earnest.

BRITISH MARINES AID DEFENDERS

The number of German troops engaged before Antwerp was variously estimated at from 80,000 to 200,000.  The siege proper began on Tuesday, September 29.  For more than a week previously there had been daily engagements in the suburbs of the city and on several occasions the Belgians made a sortie in force, only to encounter overwhelming numbers of the German enemy, before whom they were compelled to retire behind the shelter of the forts.  In all these engagements the Belgians gave a good account of themselves and inflicted severe losses on the enemy.  But the odds against them were too great and then when the great siege guns began to thunder, it was soon realized that the city was in imminent danger.

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King Albert did all in his power to encourage the defense and by his presence among his troops on the firing lines around the city added greatly to his reputation as a patriotic soldier.  A force of several thousand British marines, coming from Ostend, aided the Belgian defense in the last days of the siege, but all efforts were unavailing.  One by one the forts succumbed to the German fire with which the Belgian guns could not cope, and German troops penetrated nearer and nearer to the doomed city.

Finally, on October 9, when the inhabitants were in a state of terror as a result of the long-continued bombardment of the forts, and the shelling of the city, further resistance was seen to be useless, the defending forces, Belgian and British, made their escape to Ostend or into the neutral territory of Holland, the city formally capitulated through the Burgomaster, and occupation by the Germans followed immediately.  The bulk of the British marines made their way back to Ostend, but a rearguard, consisting of 2,000 British, together with some Belgians, was cut off by the advance of the Germans across the Scheldt, and rather than surrender to them marched across the border into Holland and surrendered arms to the Dutch authorities.  The men were interned and will be held in Holland till the end of the war.  It is probable that this rearguard was deliberately sacrificed to enable the Anglo-Belgian army to make good its retreat.

The fate of Antwerp shows what might have happened to Paris had the Germans been able to bring up their great siege guns to the outer fortifications of the French capital and protect them while they performed their tremendous task of battering the defenses to pieces.  The wrecking of Antwerp’s outer and inner forts in ten days proves that solid, massive concrete, chilled steel and well-planned earthworks afford little or no security against the monstrous cannon of the Kaiser’s armies.  There appeared to be but one way of withstanding them.

As seems to have been demonstrated in the valley of the Aisne, they are apparently ineffective against field forces deeply intrenched in a far-flung line.

THE FIGHTING OUTSIDE ANTWERP

Early on Tuesday morning, October 6, one of the fiercest of the engagements outside Antwerp ended with the crossing of the River Nethe by the Germans and their approach to the inner forts.  Monday had been the sixth day of the siege and the Belgian army was fighting with reckless courage to save Antwerp.  As a precaution, the boilers of all the German ships lying in the harbor were exploded on Sunday, in order to prevent, if possible, use of these ships as transports for German troops across the North Sea or elsewhere.  The detonation of the bursting boilers, resounding through the city, set the excited Sunday crowd very near to a panic.  This was accelerated by the constant fear of airship attacks, and most of the population that was not already in active flight from the city sought safety in cellars.

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The entire war has presented no greater picture of desolation than that of the hosts fleeing from the last Belgian stronghold.  For forty-eight hours before the city fell great crowds of the citizens, dumb with terror as the huge German shells hurtled over their heads, were fleeing toward England and Holland in such numbers that the hospitality of those countries was likely to be taxed to the utmost.

The suburban town of Lierre was bombarded early in the week, the church was destroyed, and a number of citizens killed and wounded.  The next day; the village of Duffel was bombarded and the population fled into Antwerp.  Many still had confidence in the ability of the Antwerp forts to withstand the German attack.

Although the Germans succeeded in crossing the Nethe, their repeated attempts to effect a passage over the Scheldt were repulsed and they then concentrated their attention on an approach to Antwerp from the southeast.  In their trenches the Belgians resisted gallantly to the last.  “Most wonderful,” said an American observer on October 7, “is the patient, unfaltering courage of the average Belgian soldier, who has been fighting for nine weeks.  Tired, with hollow eyes, unkempt, unwashed and provided with hasty, though ample, meals, he is spending most of the time in the trenches.

“King Albert, the equal of any soldier in his devotion to duty, daily exposes himself to personal danger, while the Queen is devoting her time to the hospitals.”

The effect of the German siege artillery was especially destructive near Vosburg.  Several villages suffered heavily and the barracks at Contich were wrecked.  The forts at Waelhem and Wavre-St. Catherines were totally destroyed by the terrific shell fire.

Most of the fighting around Antwerp was a battle of Krupps against men.  Every day and night the fighting continued with deadly effect against the forts, while the shrapnel and shell made many of the trenches untenable.

As fast as the Belgians were compelled to withdraw from a position the Germans moved up and occupied it.  The Belgians fought stubbornly with infantry and frequently they repulsed the Germans, but these repulses always meant a renewal of the artillery attacks by the Germans, with the eventual retirement of the Belgians until the end of endurance was reached and the city defenses were evacuated by their brave garrison.

An instance of the tenacity with which the infantry stuck to their positions was reported from the Berlaere, where the commanding officer and his aid-de-camp were in one of the most exposed positions.  Sandbags protected them for some time, but at last the aid-de-camp was struck by shrapnel and had his face virtually blown away.  Unperturbed by this terrible proof of the danger of his position, the commanding officer stuck to his post, and for further shelter placed the body of his junior over his body.  In this position he lay firing, whenever possible, from o’clock in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

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FIERCE FIGHT TO CROSS NETHE

The crossing of the River Nethe was attended by great loss to the Germans.  They hurled their infantry recklessly against the Belgian trenches, and while they lost enormous numbers, eventually succeeded in crossing the river.  One of the unsuccessful attempts was described by an independent observer as follows: 

“The Germans succeeded in getting a pontoon completed and they came down to the river bank in solid masses to cross it.  As they came every Belgian gun that could be turned on the spot was concentrated on them and they were blown away, blocks of them at a time, and still the masses came on.

“The Belgian officers spoke with enthusiasm of the steadiness and gallantry with which, as each German company was swept away, another pushed into its place.  But it was a dreadful sight, nevertheless.

“At last the bridge went, shattered and blown to bits.  The Belgian guns continued for a while to search the opposite river bank, but the Germans fell back and no more masses of men came down to where the pontoon had been.  Allowing for all exaggerations, there can be no doubt that the German loss must have been extremely heavy.”

Near Termonde, on Wednesday, the 7th, the fighting was just as fierce.  The Belgians had four batteries of field guns there which succeeded in destroying the locks of the river (the Scheldt), thus flooding a part of the river and blocking the Germans.  Later they engaged in a hot duel with the German artillery.  Two of the Belgian batteries were completely destroyed early in the action and all of the men serving them were killed.  Not until the last of the remaining guns were put out of action did the Belgians withdraw.

Of the casualties in and around Antwerp during the siege it is possible only to make an estimate.  It was said after the Germans entered the city that their total loss in killed, wounded and missing was near forty-five thousand men.  German officers were credited before the attack with saying that they would sacrifice 100,000 men, if necessary, to take Antwerp.  It is probable that the German casualties numbered at least twenty-five thousand, while the Belgian losses in actual killed and wounded were probably five thousand The latter fought from entrenched positions, while the heavy German losses were sustained in the open and at the river crossings.  The casualties among the British marines, who arrived only a day or two before the city capitulated, were comparatively insignificant.  STORY OF AN EYEWITNESS—­HARROWING SCENES ATTENDING THE FALL OF ANTWERP AND THE EXODUS OF ITS PEOPLE

A vivid picture of the pathetic scenes attending the fall of Antwerp was given by Lucien A. Jones, correspondent of the London Daily Chronicle, who wrote on October 11th as follows: 

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“Antwerp has been surrendered at last.  The bitterest blow which has fallen upon Belgium is full of permanent tragedy, but the tragedy is lightened by the gallantry with which the city was defended.  Only at last to save the historic buildings and precious possessions of the ancient port was its further defense abandoned.  Already much of it had been shattered by the long-range German guns, and prolonged resistance against these tremendous engines of war was impossible.  Owing to this the siege was perhaps the shortest in the annals of war that a fortified city has ever sustained.  Heroic efforts were made by the Belgians to stem the tide of the enemy’s advance, but the end could not long be delayed when the siege guns began the bombardment.

“It was at three minutes past noon on Friday, October 9th, that the Germans entered the city, which was formally surrendered by Burgomaster J. De Vos.  Antwerp had then been under a devastating and continuous shell fire for over forty hours.

“It was difficult to ascertain precisely how the German attack was planned, but the final assault consisted of a continuous bombardment of two hours’ duration, from half past 7 o’clock in the morning to half-past 9.  During that time there was a continuous rain of shells, and it was extraordinary to notice the precision with which they dropped where they would do the most damage.  The Germans used captive balloons, whose officers signaled the points in the Belgian defense at which they should aim.

GERMAN GUNS CONCEALED

“The German guns, too, were concealed with such cleverness that their position could not be detected by the Belgians.  Against such methods and against the terrible power of the German guns the Belgian artillery seemed quite ineffective.  Firing came to an end at 9.30 on Friday, and the garrison escaped, leaving only ruins behind them.  In order to gain time for an orderly retreat a heavy fire was maintained against the Germans up to the last minute and the forts were then blown up by the defenders as the Germans came in at the gate of Malines.

“I was lucky enough to escape by the river to the north in a motorboat.  The bombardment had then ceased, though many buildings were still blazing, and while the little boat sped down the Scheldt one could imagine the procession of the Kaiser’s troops already goose-stepping their way through the well-nigh deserted streets.

MANY HARROWING SCENES

“Those forty hours of shattering noise almost without lull seem to me now a fantastic nightmare, but the sorrowful sights I witnessed in many parts of the city cannot be forgotten.

“It was Wednesday night that the shells began to fall into the city.  From then onward they must have averaged about ten a minute, and most of them came from the largest guns which the Germans possess, ’Black Marias,’ as Tommy Atkins has christened them.  Before the bombardment had been long in operation the civil population, or a large proportion of it, fell into a panic.

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“It is impossible to blame these peaceful, quiet-living burghers of Antwerp for the fears that possessed them when a merciless rain of German shells began to fall into the streets and on the roofs of their houses and public buildings.  The Burgomaster had in his proclamation given them excellent advice, to remain calm for instance, and he certainly set them an admirable example, but it was impossible to counsel perfection to the Belgians, who knew what had happened to their fellow-citizens in other towns which the Germans had passed through.

FOUGHT TO GET ON THE BOATS

“Immense crowds of them—­men, women and children—­gathered along the quayside and at the railway stations in an effort to make a hasty exit from the city.  Their condition was pitiable in the extreme.  Family parties made up the biggest proportion of this vast crowd of broken men and women.  There were husbands and wives with their groups of scared children, unable to understand what was happening, yet dimly conscious in their childish way that something unusual and terrible and perilous had come into their lives.  “There were fully 40,000 of them assembled on the long quay, and all of them were inspired by the sure and certain hope that they would be among the lucky ones who would get on board one of the few steamers and the fifteen or twenty tugboats available.  As there was no one to arrange their systematic embarkation a wild struggle followed amongst the frantic people, to secure a place.  Men, women and children fought desperately with each other to get on board, and in that moment of supreme anguish human nature was seen in one of its worst moods; but who can blame these stricken people?

APPALLED BY THE HORROR OF WAR

“They were fleeing from les barbares,’ and shells that were destroying their homes and giving their beloved town to the flames were screaming over their heads.  Their trade was not war.  They were merchants, shopkeepers, comfortable citizens of middle age or more; there were many women and children among them, and this horror had come upon them in a more appalling shape than any in which horror had visited a civilized community in modern times.

“There was a scarcity of gangways to the boats, and the only means of boarding them was by narrow planks sloping at dangerous angles.  Up these the fugitives struggled, and the strong elbowed the weak out of their way in a mad haste to escape.

“By 2 o’clock Thursday most of the tugboats had got away, but there were still some 15,000 people who had not been able to escape and had to await whatever fate was in store for them.

A GREAT EXODUS OF INHABITANTS

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“At the central railway station incidents of a similar kind were happening.  There, as down by the river, immense throngs of people had assembled, and they were filled with dismay at the announcement that no trains were running.  In their despair they prepared to leave the city on foot by crossing the pontoon bridge and marching towards the Dutch frontier.  I should say the exodus of refugees from the city must have totaled 200,000 men, women and children of all ages, or very nearly that vast number, out of a population which in normal times is 321,800.  “I now return to the events of Thursday, October 8th.  At 12.30 in the afternoon, when the bombardment had already lasted over twelve hours, through the courtesy of a Belgian officer I was able to ascend to the roof of the cathedral, and from that point of vantage I looked down upon the scene in the city.

“All the southern portion of Antwerp appeared to be desolate ruin.  Whole streets were ablaze, and the flames were rising to a height of twenty and thirty feet.

“From my elevated position I had an excellent view also of the great oil tanks on the opposite side of the Scheldt.  They had been set on fire by four bombs from a German Taube aeroplane, and a huge thick volume of black smoke was ascending two hundred feet into the air.  It was like a bit of Gustave Dore’s idea of the infernal regions.

CITY ALMOST DESERTED

“The city by this time was almost deserted, and no attempt was made to extinguish the fires that had broken out all over the southern district.  Indeed there were no means of dealing with them.  For ten days the water supply from the reservoir ten miles outside the city had been cut off, and this was the city’s main source of supply.  The reservoir was just behind Fort Waelthen, and a German shell had struck it, doing great mischief.  It left Antwerp without any regular inflow of water and the inhabitants had to do their best with the artesian wells.  Great efforts were made by the Belgians from time to time to repair the reservoir, but it was always thwarted by the German shell fire.

KILLED BEFORE HIS WIFE’S EYES

“After leaving the cathedral, I made my way to the southern section of the city, where shells were bursting at the rate of five a minute.  With great difficulty, and not without risk, I got as far as Rue Lamoiere.  There I met a terror-stricken Belgian woman, the only other person in the streets besides myself.  In hysterical gasps she told me that the Bank Nationale and Palais de Justice had been struck and were in flames, and that her husband had been killed just five minutes before I came upon the scene.  His mangled remains were lying not one hundred yards away from where we were standing.

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“Except for the lurid glare of burning buildings, which lit up the streets, the city was in absolute darkness, and near the quay I lost my way trying to get to the Hotel Wagner.  For the second time that day I narrowly escaped death by shell.  One burst with terrific force about twenty-five yards from me.  I heard its warning whirr and rushed into a neighboring porch.  Whether it was from the concussion of the shell or in my anxiety to escape I caromed against the door and tumbled down, and as I lay on the ground a house on the opposite side crashed in ruins.  I remained still for several minutes, feeling quite sick and unable to get up.  Then I pulled myself together and ran at full speed until I came to a street which I recognized.

TAKE REFUGE IN CELLARS

“How many of the inhabitants of Antwerp remained in the city that night it is impossible to say, but they were all in the cellars of their houses or shops.  The Burgomaster, M. De Vos, had in one of his several proclamations made many suggestions for safety during the bombardment, for the benefit of those who took refuge in cellars.  Among the most useful of them, perhaps, was that which recommended means of escape to an adjoining cellar.  The power of modern artillery is so tremendous that a cellar might very well become a tomb if a shell fell on the building overhead.

“Sleep was impossible that night, in the noise caused by the explosion of shells in twenty different quarters of the town.  About 6 o’clock I was told that it was time we got out, as the Germans were entering the city.  We hurried from the hotel and found the streets completely deserted.  I walked down to the quay-side, and there I came across many wounded soldiers, who had been unable to get away in the hospital boat.

“On the quay piles of equipment had been abandoned.  A broken-down motor-car, kit-bags, helmets, rifles and knapsacks were littered in heaps.  Ammunition had been dumped there and rendered useless.  The Belgians had evidently attempted to set fire to the whole lot.  The pile of stuff was still smoldering.  I waited there for half an hour, and during that time hundreds of Belgian soldiers passed in the retreat.  Just about this time a pontoon bridge which had been the means of the Belgian retreat was blown up to prevent pursuit by the Germans.

“At 8 o’clock a shell struck the Town Hall, and about 8:15 another shell shattered the upper story and broke every window in the place.

BURGOMASTER PARLEYS WITH GERMANS

“That was the German way of telling the Burgomaster to hurry up.  A quarter of an hour later M. De Vos went out in his motor-car toward the German line to discuss the conditions on which the city should be surrendered.

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“At 9:30 o’clock the bombardment of the city suddenly ceased, and we understood that the Burgomaster had by this time reached the German headquarters.  Still we waited, painfully anxious to learn what would be the ultimate fate of Antwerp.  Belgian soldiers hurried by and at 10:  proclamations were posted on the walls of the Town Hall urging all in the city to surrender any arms in their possession and begging all to remain calm in the event of the Germans’ occupation.  A list was also posted of several prominent citizens who were appointed to look after the interests of those Belgians who remained.

“The ‘impregnable’ city of Antwerp had fallen, but without dishonor to its gallant defenders.”

GERMAN MILITARY GOVERNOR OF ANTWERP APPOINTED—­GERMAN OFFICIAL REPORTS

On October 10 Baron von der Schutz was appointed military governor of Antwerp.  It was expected that the city would become the base for Zeppelin attacks upon England and also for a German naval campaign in which mines and submarines would play an important part.  This was intimated in dispatches from Berlin following the German occupation of the city.

The German General Staff, in announcing the capture, added that they could not estimate the number of prisoners taken.  “We took enormous quantities of supplies of all kinds,” said the official statement.

CHAPTER XX

THE WOUNDED AND PRISONERS

Typical Precautions Used by the German Army—­The Soldiers’ First-Aid Outfit—­System in Hospital Arrangements—­How Prisoners of War Are Treated—­Are Humane and Fair to All Concerned.

Modern armies take the best possible care of their wounded and none has brought this department of warfare to greater perfection than the Germany army.  One detail of this work shows the German army at its best.

Every soldier has sewn under a corner of his coat a strip of rubber cloth.  Under this strip is a piece of antiseptic gauze, a strip of bandage and plaster and cloth for the outer bandage.  This cloth bears in simple pictures directions for dressing every sort of wound.

When a soldier is wounded either he or some comrade rips open this package and applies at once the life saving dressing, which will last at any rate until the soldier is brought to a station, where the first scientific attention is given.

Through this simple and inexpensive device thousands upon thousands of German soldiers, who have been slightly wounded in battle, have returned to their comrades within a few days completely well and have taken their places in the ranks once more.  Without this care a large percentage of the wounds would become inflamed, as has been the case with hundreds of wounded French prisoners captured by the Germans.

The ordinary procedure of caring for the wounded in the German army is for the sanitary corps, which is well provided with stretchers and bandages, to gather up the wounded on or near the firing lines and bring them to a gathering point a little way behind the lines.

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Here the army surgeons are ready to begin work at once upon the most urgent cases.  They are assisted by members of the corps, who remove the temporary bandages, and put on dressings which will last until the soldier reaches a hospital.  Then from this first gathering point the wounded soldiers are put on stretchers in Red Cross wagons and carried to the field hospitals a few miles farther back, where doctors and nurses are at work.

HOSPITALS IN VILLAGE CHURCHES

These hospitals are usually established in village churches or town halls.  One room is cleared and arranged for an operating room, where bullets and pieces of shell are removed and amputations are made if necessary.

“I have just visited such a field hospital,” said a correspondent with the right wing of the German army in France, writing on September 28.  “It was in a little whitewashed village church heated by a stove.  Everywhere were white beds made of straw and covered with sheets.  Perhaps twenty wounded were here, including two captured Irishmen.  They lay quite still when the army doctor ushered us in, for they were too seriously wounded to pay much attention to anything.

“Near this hospital was another in a town hall.  While we were there a consulting surgeon arrived to investigate the condition of a seriously wounded lieutenant, whose leg might need amputation.  Two orderlies put the patient on a stretcher, and he was taken into the next room for examination.  Later in the day the amputation was performed.

MOVED TO HOSPITALS IN CITIES

“From these little field hospitals, as soon as the men can be moved, they are taken to some general hospital in the nearest large city, where several thousands can be cared for.  Such a hospital exists in this neighborhood in the building of a normal college, where every corner is used in housing wounded men.

“I made a quick trip through this building and the memory of it is one of the most heartrending pictures I have of the war.  Room after room was filled with the victims of the conflict.  Every man was seriously wounded.  Some had suffered amputations and the heads of others were so bandaged that no feature could be seen, only a tube to the nose permitting breathing.

HORROR IN HOSPITAL SIGHTS

“In one room a surgeon had a soldier on the operating table and was pulling pieces of shell from a huge hole in the inner side of one of his legs.  On a stretcher on the floor, waiting for his turn to come under the surgeon’s care, was an officer.  His face was covered with blood, he was waving his arms wildly and gasping for air.  This scene left an impression of the utmost horror upon me.

“Slightly wounded soldiers, whom it is not necessary to leave for a while in the field hospitals, are sent directly to these larger hospitals and thence, after a short convalescence, are loaded into Red Cross trains and sent home for recovery.  Later they return to take their places in the regiments.  Such trains can be seen daily along any main line of railroad.  In some cases freight cars with straw bedding are used.

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“One of the finest examples of charity given during the war is a splendid Red Cross train entirely equipped as a modern hospital, even having a first class operating room.  This was given to the German army by the citizens of Wilmersdorff, who also employed an excellent surgeon.  Scores of lives will be saved through a small outlay of money.

GRAVEYARDS ON BATTLEFIELDS

“Near the large hospital I visited was a graveyard where there were scores of neatly marked fresh graves, each bearing a cross or tablet with the name of the soldier and his regiment, division and corps marked on it.  In some cases comrades had added a word or two of scripture.  The deaths are too numerous for an imposing ceremony at each burial, but for every one an army chaplain reads scripture and offers a short prayer, while a few comrades stand by with bared heads.

“The identity of each soldier is easily determined from the name plate which he wears in a little leather purse suspended from around the neck.  After a battle these plates are gathered from the dead and from these the death lists are made out. [It was said that after the battle of the Marne no fewer than 68,000 of these name plates or tags were found collected in one place.—­Ed.]

“After a battle where the deaths mount into the thousands some field will be shut off for a cemetery and there the bodies are buried, each grave receiving some kind of a cross wherever it is possible, but here no names can be attached.  There will be many homes in which there will be vacant places and where it will not even be known where the absent ones are buried.

KAISER INSISTS ON ENTERING

“While here I heard a touching story about a lieutenant who was dying in the hospital, while the Kaiser was inspecting it.  The Kaiser came to the room where the officer lay and the attendants asked him not to enter, as a man was dying.  The Kaiser immediately pushed his way in, went up to the lieutenant, put his hand on the officer’s shoulder, and said in German:  ‘Hello, here I am!’

“The lieutenant began murmuring with his eyes closed.

“’I have been dreaming and I dreamed that my Kaiser came to me, put his hand on my shoulder and spoke to me.’

“‘Open your eyes,’ said the Kaiser.

“The lieutenant obeyed, smiled a smile of recognition, and then closed his eyes in the final sleep.

SURGEONS WIN IRON CROSSES

“So far, according to official announcement, there have been between 50,000 and 60,000 wounded and immediately after a great battle the sanitary corps has been unable to cope quickly enough with the work, but under ordinary circumstances the provision made has been ample.  The number of the sanitary corps was determined upon the experience in the Russo-Japanese war, in which the losses were by no means so heavy as they have been in this war, but where in a few cases numbers have been lacking the surgeons and their assistants have put forth herculean efforts.  Many surgeons are now wearing the iron cross for bravery, winning the insignia by dragging out wounded from the rain of bullets.  TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR

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The prisoner of war has been a conspicuous figure in the news that has come from the seething caldron of Europe.  Many thousands of prisoners have been taken from the contending armies by their adversaries.  For them the average American reader, perusing “war news” in the comfort of his security from the great conflict, has felt perhaps a grain of sorrow and wondered vaguely what horrors befell them after capture.

Early in September the German war department sent broadcast a statement that 30,000 Russians had been taken prisoners by the German soldiers after heavy battles in East Prussia, particularly around Ortelsburg, Hohenstein and Tannenburg.  The statement mentioned the fact that among the prisoners were many Russian officers of high rank.

What is done with these prisoners, how they are handled and treated and whether high officials are punished more severely than mere privates, are questions frequently asked and seldom answered, for the procedure followed in such matters is but little known.

REGULATIONS ARE HUMANE TO ALL

The international laws of warfare, embodied in The Hague conventions, the Geneva convention and the declaration of London, contain provisions that provide expressly what manner of treatment shall be accorded prisoners of hostile nations who are taken in battle.  If these provisions of international law are lived up to, the lot of the prisoner of war is not so hard as many people have been led to believe.

After the first year of the war, however, stories of ill-treatment of prisoners in German prison camps began to be told, and before long there were many well-authenticated cases of the kind.  Inhuman treatment was reported by English and Canadian prisoners, and protests were duly made by the British government through neutral channels.  The growing shortage of food in Germany was alleged as the cause of some of the complaints, but cases of actual brutality, involving cowardly physical abuse and even killing were also reported.  The nation which captures its enemy’s soldiers and makes prisoners of them is held entirely responsible for whatever happens and shoulders at once a responsibility that is commensurate with the number of prisoners who are taken and detained.

The law of warfare says that a prisoner must be as fair with his captors as they are with him.  He must be “humanely treated,” so it is prescribed, and when he is questioned by his captors he must give his true name and the rank he holds in the army which has been defeated and of which he was once a part.  Contrary to general belief, he is not stripped of “everything” and thrown into a dungeon and fed on a crust of bread and a mug of stale water.  His captors do not deprive him of his personal possessions, except weapons, horses and military papers.

Furthermore, they must give him complete religious liberty, and it is specifically decreed that he must be given opportunity to attend a church of the denomination to which he belongs.  And there he may pray as much for the success of his own nation or the much-desired relief from detention as the state of his mind dictates.

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PRISONERS MAY BE CONFINED

The prisoner of war may be interned in a town or a fort, or even a camp, according to the convenience of his captors, but the enemy may not confine him, except, the law says, as “an indispensable measure of safety,” and then only as long as the circumstances make it necessary.  Of course the law gives the commanding officer considerable leeway in such matters, for he is left to determine when the “indispensable” occasion arises.

At other times when the prisoner is at liberty, he is subject to all the rules and regulations of the army of the government that captured him, and if he refuses to obey the rules or acts in an insubordinate manner toward the officers in command, he may be punished and disciplined according to his offense.  And here it is again left to the discretion of his captors as to what measure of punishment shall be inflicted upon him.

ATTEMPTS AT ESCAPE

If a prisoner of war attempts to escape and his captors are vigilant to the extent of retaking him before he leaves the territory they occupy, or before he has a chance to rejoin his own army, he may be severely punished.  On the other hand, if he eludes his captors and makes a clean getaway and his army is again unfortunate, and he is captured the second time, the perfectly good escape from previous captivity must go unpunished and he must be treated as a prisoner of war, just as though he had not made the successful dash for liberty and further glory.

The government that holds prisoners of war is chargeable with their maintenance and must provide them with food, clothing and shelter as good as that provided for its own troops.  The officers of the captors are required to keep records of all the prisoners under their charge, and if relief societies, which have been extensively formed by the women of Europe and many American women as well, wish to minister to their needs and comforts, the officers in command must afford them every possible facility.  And if the friends of prisoners or the welfare societies see fit to send them presents and clothing, medicine and other necessities, such goods must be admitted to them free of any war duty that might be imposed by the nation holding them, and the railroads owned by the government are bound to carry such supplies free of transportation charges.

CAPTIVES MUST BE PAID FOR WORK

Prisoners of war may be put to work by the government that captures them and the duties must be assigned with a view to their aptitude, fitness and rank.  The tasks must not be unduly severe, so as to border on cruelty, and they must have no bearing whatever on the operations of the war.  The prisoners must be paid for the work they do, moreover, at a rate equal to that being paid to the soldiers of the national army, and prisoners may be authorized to work for the public service, for private persons or on their own account.

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The wages of these prisoners, the law says, must go toward improving their condition, and the balance must be paid them after their release, with the proper deduction for their board and keep.  When officers of hostile armies who are captured are put to work they must get the same wage rate as is paid to the corresponding officers of the government whose captives they are.  All these moneys must be ultimately refunded by their own governments to their captors after the war is over, peace is declared and the intricate problems of indemnities come up for solution.

A prisoner of war may even be paroled by his captors, and this is done sometimes when he is disabled or there are circumstances that prompt his enemies to let him go to those who are near and dear to him.  When parole is granted to a prisoner he makes a solemn pledge and promise that he will live up to the terms under which he is released, and even his own nation may not ask him to perform a service that is inconsistent with that pledge.

BREAKER OF A PAROLE

It goes hard with the prisoner on parole who is caught fighting against the nation that released him, for he is not entitled to be treated as a prisoner of war, and the judgment meted out to him is as terrible as it is sure.  Certain codes of honor are supposed to be observed even in international warfare, and a soldier who breaks his word of honor is considered the most despicable of men.

CHAPTER XXI

HORRORS OF THE WAR

American Relief for War-Stricken Peoples of Europe—­Millions of Dollars Contributed in Cash and Gifts—­Canada Aids the Belgians_—­Devastation of Poland Even Greater and More Terrible them that of Belgium_.

Soon after the world became aware of the fact that the German army’s progress through Belgium on its dash to Paris in August of 1914 had resulted in the absolute devastation of the little buffer state, an enterprising and sympathetic American citizen, Mr. James Keeley, editor of the Chicago Herald, penned a remarkable open letter “to the Children of America,” in which he suggested the sending of a “Christmas ship” to Europe, filled with gifts of a useful character for the little ones of all the belligerent nations.  The response was immediate and most truly generous.  Newspapers and civic organizations all over the United States joined in gathering from young and old the contributions that freighted a United States warship with a cargo of gifts worth over two million dollars, and at Yuletide these gifts were systematically distributed among the innocent victims of the war in all the countries concerned.

The idea of the Christmas ship was nobly conceived and splendidly executed.  Rulers of the belligerent nations recognized the beauty of the idea and paused awhile in their martial activities to welcome and thank the American commissioner who enacted the role of an international Santa Claus.  But the slaughter on the fighting lines of eastern and western Europe went on unabated and the peaceful symbolism of the Christmas ship was soon forgotten in the daily recurrence of battle and bloodshed.  AWFUL CONDITIONS IN POLAND

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While the frightful state of Belgium commanded the sympathy of the civilized world in the winter of 1914-15, the conditions in Poland were even worse.  At the end of March the great Polish pianist, Ignace Paderewski, paid a visit to London on behalf of the suffering Poles and his efforts resulted in the formation of an influential relief committee.  Among the members were such men as Premier Asquith, ex-Premier Balfour, Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd-George, Cardinal Bourne, archbishop of Westminster; Admiral Lord Charles Beresford and the Russian and French ambassadors.  An American woman, Lady Randolph Churchill, also took an active part in the work of the committee, which soon succeeded in raising a large sum for the relief of the most urgent distress in Poland.  While in London on his mission of mercy, Mr. Paderewski said: 

“Is it the death agony or only the birth pangs?  That is the question which every Pole throughout the world is asking himself as tragedy follows tragedy in the long martyrdom of our beloved nation.  You have only heard the details of Belgium, but I tell you they are as nothing with what has happened in Poland.

“The scene of operations in Poland is seven times larger than that of Belgium, and she has had to endure seven times the torture.  Remember, the battle of Europe is being fought in the east, not in the west, and while the tide of battle has reached a sort of ebb along the trenches about the frontiers of Alsace and Flanders, the great waves roll backward and forward from Germany to Russia and break always on Poland.

“Our country, in fact, is just as Belgium was called—­the cockpit of Europe, and it may now be called the battlefield of the world, if not of civilization.

“It is only perhaps we Poles who have known to its utmost depths what this war has really meant.  It is not only that there are 10,000, human beings on the verge of starvation, nay, actually perishing; there is worse than that.

“Remember that both Belgium and Poland are still under the yoke.  The Russians, it is true, occupy some fifteen thousand miles of our country, but this is really nothing, for the Germans occupy five-sixths of it, and the desolation passes all comprehension.

CALLS IT COMPULSORY SUICIDE

“As to actual battles, I can hardly speak of them.  It is torture even to think of them.  Only consider!  Our one nation is divided as it were into three sections, which were thrust each against the others to work out their destruction.  It is parricide!  It is fratricide, nay suicide!  Compulsory suicide!  That is what it is!

“Listen to what it means to us all.  I was told by a man from Austria that an army doctor, a Pole by birth, who was deputed to go over the Austrian battlefields and verify identification marks on the bodies, found among the 14,000 dead hardly any but Polish names.  He looked in vain for any others, and in the end went mad with horror at the thought of it.  Another story that came to me the other day told of another case of the tragedy of Poland which is almost too terrible for the human mind to contain.  The incident took place during a charge.  Both armies had been ordered to attack, and the Poles, as usual, were in the front lines.  As they met in the shock they recognized each other.

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“One poor fellow, as he was struck through by a bayonet, cried out in his death agony, ‘Jesu Maria!  I have five children!  Jesu Maria!’ The words went as straight to the brain of his conqueror as a dagger to the heart, and killed his reason.  Somewhere among the madhouses of Europe there is a lunatic.  He is not violent, but he never laughs.  He only wanders about with the words of his dying victim, ’Ah, Jesu Maria!  I have five children.  Jesu Maria!’

“The promise of Grand Duke Nicholas that Poland shall be a nation once again went straight to the very heart of every one of our 25,000, fellow countrymen.  That one promise has been sufficient to change the whole mentality of the nation and fill their souls with new hope.  It has cleared up any doubt that might have existed in the minds of the Poles in Austria and Prussia as to what it is that the allies are fighting for—­namely:  the principles of nationality for which we have suffered, ah! how many centuries!”

MILLIONS OF POLES DESTITUTE

The ruin wrought by war in Belgium affected 7,000,000 people.  In Poland more than twice that number have been rendered destitute.  Not less than 15,000 villages have been laid waste, burned, or damaged in Russian Poland alone.  The loss in property has been estimated at $500,000,000, but may reach double that sum.

In Galicia the conditions are reported to be equally appalling, though the smashup has not been as complete, because the Russians have been able to maintain their positions more permanently than they have in the district west and northeast of the Polish capital.

The greater part of Poland lying in a broad sweep of country west, southwest and northeast of Warsaw has been swept over and battered to pieces by shot and shell like the strip of Flanders on both sides of the Yser river.

Without any direct interest in the present great conflict, the unhappy Poles found themselves impressed into the armies of these three great powers and fighting against their own racial brethren.  That meant that brother was to fight against brother, and as the stress of the war increased and the age limit was raised to 38 years and even higher, nearly every able-bodied Pole was impressed into service.

Almost the first move of the Russians at the outbreak of hostilities was to invade Galicia.  This brought with it instantly all the most frightful horrors of war.  Embracing as it does a large part of the grain-growing district of the Polish peoples, the devastation of Galicia meant suffering for not only that province, but for Russian Poland as well.  The crops had only been partially harvested by August, when the war began.

The panic of war stopped the work in the fields, even where the peasants were not compelled to flee before the invader.  The men were called to the colors and the crops were allowed to rot in the fields.  Numerous towns were sacked.

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The advance to Lemberg by the Russians was swift.  In the panic that followed this great city of 200,000 had scarcely 70,000 left when the invaders took possession.  Families were broken up; none of the refugees had time to take supplies or clothes.

Germany’s first move against Russia came from the great fortresses along the Oder and Vistula.  All of western Poland was overrun.  When the Russian advance from Warsaw drove back the invaders, the scars of the conflict left this section of Poland badly battered.  Then came Von Hindenburg’s victorious armies, and again this section was torn by shot and shell and wasted.  While some of the larger places, such as Lodz, Plock, Lowicz, Tchenstochow and Petrokov, were spared, the smaller towns, villages, and hamlets in the direct line of battle suffered equally from the defenders and invaders.

All the section to the northeast of Warsaw between the East Prussian frontier and the Bug, Narew, and Niemen rivers has suffered even a worse fate, as the bitterness engendered by the devastation worked by the Russians in East Prussia led to reprisals that not even the strict discipline of the German army could curb.  Not only were the peasants’ homes pounded to bits by the opposing artillery fire, but the armies as they fought back and forth took all the cattle, horses, and stock that came to their hands.  Disease added to the suffering of the stricken people.

THOUSANDS OF VILLAGES DESTROYED

Henry Sienkiewicz, the great Polish writer and author of “Quo Vadis,” a refugee in Switzerland, said, on March 15, 1915: 

“In the kingdom of Poland alone there are 15,000 villages burned or damaged; a thousand churches and chapels destroyed.  The homeless villagers have sought shelter in the forests, where it is no exaggeration to say that women and children are dying from cold and hunger by thousands daily.

“Poland comprises 127,500 square kilometers.  One hundred thousand of these have been devastated by the battling armies.  More than a million horses and two million head of horned cattle have been seized by the invaders, and in the whole of the 100,000 square kilometers in the possession of the soldiers not a grain of corn, not a scrap of meat, nor a drop of milk remain for the civil population.  “The material losses up to the present are estimated at 1,000,000,000 rubles ($500,000,000).  No fewer than 400,000 workmen have lost their means of livelihood.

“The state of things in Galicia is just as dreadful for the civil population—­innocent victims of the war.  Of 75,000 square kilometers all except 5,000 square kilometers around Cracow are in possession of the Russians.  They commandeered 900,000 horses and about 200,000 head of horned cattle and seized all the grain, part of the salt fields, and the oil wells.

“The once rich province is a desert.  Over a million inhabitants have sought refuge in other parts of Austria, and they are in sheer destitution.”

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Truly, “War is hell!”

RELIEF FOR BELGIAN SUFFERERS

Following the invasion and over-running of Belgium by the Germans, the problem of feeding the Belgian population became an urgent one.  The invaders left the problem largely to the charitable sympathies of the civilized world, and from almost every quarter of the globe aid was sent in money or provisions for the stricken people.  In spite of the enormous war drains upon the resources of the British Empire, every one of the Overseas Dominions did its full share in Belgian relief, while the United States, through the Rockefeller Foundation and other agencies, as well as the South American countries, also contributed to alleviate the suffering in the little kingdom.  The contributions continued during more than two years and the relief was administered most efficiently by means of commissions.

RELIEF ASKED FOR SERBIA

On April 3, 1915, the leading United States newspapers printed an appeal received from Nish, the war capital of Serbia, which set forth a terrible situation in terms that confirmed a report already made public by Sir Thomas Lipton, who dedicated his famous steam yacht, the Erin, as a hospital ship for use in the Mediterranean, and visited Serbia in February and March.  The appeal was dated February 23 and said in substance as follows: 

“Typhus is raging in Serbia, and unless immediate aid be sent the mortality will be appalling.  “Typhus is a filth disease and is spread by lice, which flourish only in dirt.  There are not enough buildings to house the sick and they lie huddled together on dirty straw.

“They have not changed their clothes for six months, and consequently personal cleanliness, which is absolutely essential in checking the disease, is impossible.  They cannot get proper nourishment, as there is not enough available, nor is there money to buy it if it were.

“The doctors can usually only work for two weeks before contracting the disease, as they have no means of protecting themselves.  Yet they volunteer for typhus hospitals, knowing that they are probably going to their death, for the mortality is over 50 per cent.

“The following four things are most urgently needed: 

“1.  Tents and portable chicken runs, as these make excellent houses.  There is no lumber in Serbia, so nothing can be built here.

“2.  Beds and bed linen.  It is impossible to keep straw free from lice.

“3.  Underclothing.  Dirty clothes make an ideal breeding place for lice.

“4.  Disinfectants and whitewash.

“Speedy help is essential, as every day’s delay costs hundreds of lives.”

The response to this touching appeal was immediate and generous, Germans and Austrians in America contributing freely.  A large amount of cash and supplies for the Austrian prisoners was sent to the American consul at Nish, who was also acting consul for Germany and Austria in Serbia.

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GERMAN REPORT OF VILLAGES RAZED

A dispatch from Berlin by wireless March 23 stated that according to a report received there from Cracow, the damages due to the war in Poland and Galicia at that time amounted to 5,000,000,000 marks ($1,250,000,000).

In Galicia 100 cities and market places and 6,000 villages had been more or less damaged, while 250 villages had been destroyed.  Horses to the number of 800,000 and 500,000 head of cattle, with all grain and other provisions in Galicia had been taken away by the Russians.

CHAPTER XXII

LATER EVENTS OF THE WAR

Results of the Battle of the Aisne—­Fierce Fighting in Northern France—­Developments on the Eastern Battle Front—­The Campaign in the Pacific—­Naval Activities of the Powers.

With a battle front reaching from the Belgian coast on the North Sea to the frontier of Switzerland, or a total distance of 362 miles, the operations in the western theater of war toward the end of October were being conducted on a more gigantic scale than was ever witnessed before.  On both sides reinforcements were being rushed to the front.  German efforts to break through the Allies’ lines were concentrated on the main center at Verdun and on the right flank of the Allies’ left wing, above its elbow, between Noyon and Arras, while powerful coincidal movements were in progress on the extreme western end of the line in Belgium and on the southeastern wing in Alsace.  At Verdun continuous fighting of the fiercest character had been going on for over sixty days, surpassing in time and severity any individual battle in history.  The army of the Crown Prince had been unable to force the French positions in the vicinity of Verdun and the check sustained by the Germans at this point early in the campaign constituted a principal cause of General von Kluck’s failure in his dash toward Paris.

All along the tremendous battle front the allies’ lines as a rule held firm in the thirteenth week of the war, when the great conflict had entered upon what may well be called its fourth stage.  The third stage may be said to have ended with the fall of Antwerp and the subjugation of all Belgium but a small portion of its southwestern territory.  On the main front the Allies were maintaining the offensive at some vital points, while repulsing the German assaults at others.  One or two of the French forts commanding Verdun had fallen but the main positions remained in the hands of the French, and all along the line it was a case of daily give-and-take.

FIERCE FIGHTING IN FLANDERS

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After capturing Antwerp the Germans pushed on to Ostend, an “open” or unfortified town, and occupied it with slight resistance from the Belgian army, which was reforming its broken ranks to the south, between Ostend and the French frontier, and preparing to contest the passage of the Kaiser’s forces across the River Yser.  Moving northward from Lille, the Allies encountered the Germans at Armentieres, which was occupied by a Franco-British force and there was also fierce fighting at Ypres, where there is a canal to the sea.  For more than a week the Belgians gallantly held the banks of the Yser in spite of the utmost endeavors of the Germans to cross, and it was not until October 24 that the latter finally succeeded in getting south of the river, with the French seaport of Dunkirk as their next objective point.  Bloody engagements were fought at Nieuport, Dixmude, Deynze and La Bassee.

At this time the battle line formed almost a perpendicular from Noyon in France north to the Belgian coast, south of Ostend.  A battle raged for several days in West Flanders and Northern France and both sides claimed successes.  The losses of the Allies and the Germans were estimated in the thousands and the wounded were sent back to the rear by the trainful.  In the Flemish territory the flat nature of the terrain, with its numerous canals and almost total absence of natural cover, made the losses especially severe.  The passage of the Yser cost the Germans dearly and Dixmude was strewn with their dead.  And their advance could get no farther.

The necessity of holding the French ports, Dunkirk and Calais, was fully realized by the Allies, who threw large reinforcements into their northern line.  The Germans also drew heavily on their center and left wing to reinforce the right, and for a while the forces opposing one another at the extreme western end of the battle front were greater than at any other point.  The Germans were firmly held on a line running from south of Ostend to Thourout, Roulers and Menin, the last mentioned place being on the border north of Lille.  Flanking attacks being no longer possible, as the western flanks of both armies rested on the North Sea, the Germans were compelled to make a frontal assault along the line formed by the Belgian frontier.  As the Belgian troops, assisted by a British naval brigade, were pushed back from the Yser, they were gradually merged into the army of the allies, by whom they were received with the honors due the men who had made, for twelve long weeks, such a gallant and determined defense of their country against invasion and despoilment.

BRITISH WARSHIPS AID BELGIANS

Soon after the German occupation of Ostend, several British warships shelled the German positions in and around the city and aided in hampering the German advance along the coast.  The principal vessels engaged in this work were three monitors which were being completed in England for the Brazilian government when the war started and which were bought by the admiralty.

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These monitors, which had been renamed Mersey, Humber and Severn, drew less than nine feet of water and could take up positions not far from shore, from which their 6-inch guns and 4.7-inch howitzers, of which each vessel carried two, were able to throw shells nearly four miles across country, the range being given them by airmen.

French warships of light draft later joined the British monitors and destroyers and assisted in patrolling the coast, shelling German positions wherever the latter could be discovered by the aeroplane scouts.  One reported feat of the naval fire was the destruction of the headquarters of a German general, Von Trip, in which the general and his staff lost their lives.

From time to time German aerial attacks were made in the vicinity of Dover, across the Straits, but these without exception proved to be without military importance in their results.  Steps were taken to organize anti-aircraft artillery forces on the eastern coast of England and the continued failure of Zeppelin attacks, annoying as they were, soon restored the equanimity of the British public in this respect.

INDIAN TROOPS IN ACTION

The first word of the employment of British Indian troops at the front came on October 27, when it was reported that in the fighting near Lille a reserve force of Sikhs and Ghurkas, the former with bayonets and the latter with the kukri (a short, curved sword) played havoc with an attacking force of Germans.  “Never has there been such slaughter,” said the dispatches.  “Twenty thousand German dead and wounded, nearly half the attacking force, lay upon the field, while the British losses did not exceed 2,000.”

THE FRENCH CAMPAIGN IN ALSACE

At the end of October the French right wing in Alsace-Lorraine was reported to be making distinct progress.  It was said to be advancing through the passes of the Vosges in the midst of heavy snowstorms.  Paris reported that the Germans, who were attempting a movement against the great French frontier fortress of Belfort, had been driven back with heavy losses, while from other sources the Germans were reported to be bringing up heavy mortars for the bombardment of Belfort.  There were persistent reports of German defeats in Alsace, but these were repeatedly denied in Berlin.  The situation in the territory coveted by the French appeared to resemble that farther west—­neither side was making much headway.

THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN

In the eastern theater of war the conflict during October was waged with fortunes that favored, first one side and then the other.  Contradictory claims were put forth from time to time by Petrograd, Vienna and Berlin, but the net result of the operations at the end of the thirteenth week of the war appeared to be that while the intended Russian march on Berlin had been completely checked, the Germans had been repulsed with heavy losses in all their attempts to cross the Vistula and occupy Warsaw, the capital of Russian Poland, which was at one time seriously threatened.

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The fighting along the Vistula was fierce and prolonged for several days at a time.  The Germans made numerous attempts to cross the river at different points by means of pontoon bridges, but these were destroyed by the Russian artillery as fast as completed.  The slaughter on both sides was considerable.  On October 28 the Russian battle front reached from Suwalki on the north to Sambor and Stryj on the south, a distance of about 267 miles.  The German operations on the Vistula were still in progress and Poland furnished the main arena of battle.  East Prussia was practically free from Russian troops, save at a few points near the boundary, but they strongly maintained their positions in Galicia.

THE AUSTRO-SERVIAN CAMPAIGN

After eleven weeks’ bombardment by the Austrians, the Servian defenders of Belgrade were still bravely resisting, although half the city had been destroyed.  The situation was such as to cause at once astonishment, pity and admiration.

In the open field the Servians continued to hold their own against the Austrian forces opposed to them.  Their Montenegrin allies, under General Bukovitch, were reported to have defeated 16,000 Austrians, supported by six batteries of artillery, at a point northeast of Serajevo.  The battle terminated in a hand-to-hand bayonet conflict which lasted four hours.  The Austrians are said to have lost 2,500 men, killed and wounded, while the Montenegrins claimed that their losses amounted to only 300 men.

THE CAMPAIGN IN THE PACIFIC

Beginning with the loss of its colonies in the China sea, Germany was compelled to witness during the first two years of the war the passing into enemy hands of practically all its colonial possessions, which more than balanced its temporary possession of enemy soil in Europe.  One by one its colonies in Asia and Africa were captured, and in these operations not only the Japanese but the Belgians assisted, the latter in Africa.

Late in October, 1914, the Japanese received the surrender of Tsing Tau, the important German city in Kiauchau, China.  The place had been battered for weeks by land and sea by the Japanese forces, and the surrender was ordered, it was said, to save the German forces and civilians from certain annihilation if a defense by the garrison to the end were to be carried on.  German warships were powerless to assist the beleaguered city, as Japanese and English war vessels had driven them far from the coast of China.

The Japanese cruiser Takachiho was sunk by a mine in Kiauchau Bay on the night of October 17.  One officer and nine members of the crew are known to have been saved.  The cruiser carried a crew of 284 men.  Her main battery consisted of eight 6-inch guns.

MAIN FLEETS STILL INACTIVE

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Up to the last week in October the main fleets of the warring powers were still inactive, but rumors of intended German naval activity were frequent.  The cat-and-mouse attitude of the British and German fleets in the North Sea was continued, the Germans lying snug in their ports, protected by their mines and submarines, while the British battleships lay in wait at all points of possible egress.  The situation tried the patience of the people of both countries and there were frequent demands for action by the great and costly naval armaments.  But the Germans apparently were not ready to risk a general engagement, and the British could not force them to come out and fight.  The British admirals, therefore had, perforce, to pursue a policy of “watchful waiting,” irksome as it was to all concerned, and “the tireless vigil in the North Sea,” as it was termed by Mr. Asquith, was maintained day and night.  No sea captain becalmed in the doldrums ever whistled for a wind more earnestly than the British Jack tars prayed for a chance at the enemy during those three months of playing the cat to Germany’s mouse; and on the other hand, the German sailors were, no doubt, equally desirious of a chance to demonstrate the fighting abilities of their brand-new battleships.  All were equally on the qui vive, for any hour might bring to the Germans the order to put to sea, and to the British the welcome cry of “Enemy in sight!”

CARING FOR BELGIAN REFUGEES

The plight of the Belgian people, including the refugees in Holland, England and France, was pitiable in the extreme and by the end of October had roused the sympathy of the entire world.  A conservative estimate placed the number of Belgians expatriated at 1,500,000 out of a population of 7,000,000.  On October 26 Mr. Brand Whitlock, United States minister to Belgium, reported that the entire country was on the verge of starvation, while Holland and England had their hands full caring for the Belgians who had sought refuge in those countries.  In eight cities of Holland there were said to be 500,000 Belgian refugees.  Over 70, arrived in London in one week and a central committee in London had twenty-seven subcommittees at work in different cities in England, Scotland and Wales, placing the refugees in homes as rapidly as possible.  The humanitarian problem of taking care of the Belgians was one of tremendous responsibility, but the people of the three countries in which most of them sought refuge rose nobly to the occasion and spared no effort to lessen their sufferings.

MORE CANADIANS FOR THE FRONT

It was announced in Ottawa, Canada, on October 19 that the Dominion Government had decided to put 30,000 more men in training in Canada, to be despatched to England when ready.  As soon as the first unit of 15, was embarked, probably in December, another 15,000 men would be enlisted to replace them, the plan being to keep 30,000 men continuously in training, to be drawn upon in units of 10,000 or 15,000 as soon as equipped, during the continuance of hostilities in Europe.  Thus with the 32,000 Canadian volunteers already landed in England, and 8,000 under arms guarding strategic points in the Dominion, Canada would soon raise 100,000 men as part of her contribution to Imperial defense.

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But this was only a beginning.  Later in the war Canada stood ready to furnish half a million men to the cause of the Empire, if required.  Nearly 360,000 of that number had been enlisted when the war was two years old.  The greatest problems were encountered in the first year, or rather in the first six months of the war, after which time efforts were systematized, the military machine worked smoothly, and the Dominion’s splendid response to the call to arms was maintained throughout.  General prosperity in the face of adverse conditions happily attended this record of patriotic achievement, and the predominant spirit in Canada was one of buoyant optimism as to the inevitable outcome of the great conflict.

THE “EMDEN” DRIVEN ASHORE A WRECK

During the first three months of the war the German cruiser Emden, operating principally in the Indian ocean, played havoc with British merchantmen, sinking over twenty vessels engaged in far Eastern commerce, besides a Russian cruiser and a French torpedo-boat.  But she met her match in the second week of November, when she was engaged off the Cocos or Keeling group of islands, southwest of Java, by the fast Australian cruiser Sydney and driven ashore a burning wreck after an hour’s fight, with a loss of 280 men.

NAVAL BATTLE OFF CHILEAN COAST

Early in November a fleet of five German cruisers, under Admiral von Spee, encountered a British squadron composed of the cruisers Good Hope, Monmouth and Glasgow, in command of Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, off the coast of Chile, in the Southern Pacific.  Despite a raging gale, a long-range battle ensued, resulting in the defeat of the British and the loss of the flagship Good Hope, with the admiral and all her crew, and of the cruiser Monmouth.  The Glasgow escaped in a damaged condition.  The loss of life was about 1,000, officers and men.

Up to November 15, the struggle in the coast region of Belgium continued with terrific intensity and appalling loss of life on both sides.  The Germans occupied Dixmude November 11, only to lose it on November 13, after a fierce attack by reinforced British troops.

DAILY COST OF WAR

The daily cost of the present war to the nations engaged in the struggle is estimated at not less than $54,000,000 a day—­a sum which fairly staggers the imagination.  This enormous cost of the armies in the field gives a decided advantage to the nation best supplied with the “sinews of war” and may contribute to a shortening of hostilities.  War is indeed a terrible drain upon the resources of a nation and only a few there are that can stand many months of war expenditures like those of August-October, 1914, amounting in the grand aggregate to nearly five billions of dollars ($5,000,000,000).

TURKEY ENTERS THE WAR

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On October 29 an act which was regarded in Russia as equivalent to a declaration of war by Turkey was committed at Theodosia, the Crimean port, when that town was bombarded without notice by the cruiser Breslau, flying the Turkish flag, but commanded by a German officer and manned by a German crew.  The Breslau was a former German ship, and was said to have been purchased by the Turkish government, with the German battleship Goeben, when they sought refuge in the Dardanelles at the beginning of the war, from the French and British fleets in the Mediterranean.

FOURTH MONTH OF THE WAR

The month of November, the fourth month of the war, was marked by the heaviest losses to all the nations concerned, but made little change in the general situation.

Along the Aisne the battle begun early in September continued intermittently.  Both sides literally dug themselves in and along the battle line in many places, the hostile trenches were separated by only a few yards.  At the end of the month the burrowing had been succeeded by tunneling, and both sides prepared for a winter of spasmodic action.  It was a military deadlock, but a deadlock full of danger for the side that first developed a weak point in its far-flung front.

With the utmost fairness and impartiality it can be said that at the beginning of December both the allied armies and the German forces facing them from the Belgian coast east and south to the borders of Alsace-Lorraine were exhausted by the strenuous efforts of the campaign.  By December 5, the 130th day of the war, after a seven-weeks’ struggle by the Germans for the possession of the French and Belgian coast, there was a general cessation of offensive operations by both sides and the indications were that this condition was due to pure physical weariness of leaders and men.  The world had never before witnessed such strenuous military operations as those of the preceding three months and the temporary exhaustion of the armies therefore was not surprising.

In the last days of November, the city of Belgrade fell into the hands of the Austrians after a siege that had lasted, with continual bombardments, since the war began.  The city was finally taken by storm at the point of the bayonet in a furious charge which fairly overwhelmed the gallant defense of the Servians.

In this month it began to be generally realized that the war was likely to be of prolonged duration.  Strenuous preparations for the winter campaign were made on both sides and the recruiting for the new British army surpassed all previous records, the serious menace of the war being at last recognized.

The month of November was also marked by enormous contributions of cash and food stuffs by the people of the United States for the relief of the impoverished and suffering Belgians.  The people of Chicago alone contributed over $500,000 and this was but a sample of the manner in which Americans rose to the opportunity to alleviate the distress in Belgium.  “The United States has saved us from starvation,” said a Belgian official on December 1.

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The casualties of all the armies in the field during the month of November exceeded those of any previous period of the war.  Basing an estimate of the total casualties upon the same percentage as that employed in the table given on another page, it is therefore safe to say that up to December 5 the total losses of the combatant nations in killed, wounded and missing aggregated not less than 3,500,000 men.

DECEMBER IN THE TRENCHES

The month of December, 1914, the fifth month of the war, registered but little change in the relative positions of the combatant nations.  In the west the lines held firm from the North Sea to Switzerland.  Daily duels of artillery and daily assaults here and there along the battle fronts proved unavailing, so far as any change in general conditions was concerned.  Frequently the assaults were of a desperate character, especially in Flanders, where in the middle of the month the Allies assumed the offensive all along the line and sturdily strove to push back the German front in Belgium.  But the utmost valor and persistence in attack were invariably met by resolute resistance.  Both sides were strongly entrenched and the gain of a few yards today was usually followed by the loss of a few yards tomorrow.

Never before in the history of warfare had the science of entrenchment been developed to such an extent.  The German, French, British and.  Belgian armies literally burrowed in the earth along a battle front of 150 miles.  In many places the hostile trenches were separated by only a few yards, and mining was frequently resorted to.  Tunneling toward each other, both the contending forces occasionally succeeded in blowing up the enemy’s trench, and whole companies of unsuspecting troops were sometimes annihilated in this way.  In the trenches themselves scenes unparalleled in warfare were witnessed.  With the arrival of winter the troops on either side proceeded to secure what comfort they could by all manner of clever and unique devices.  Winter clothing was provided as far as possible, but on both sides there was inevitable suffering for lack of suitable supplies for the winter campaign, and individual initiative had frequently to supply the deficiencies of official forethought.

Many unique features of trench life were developed during the first month of winter warfare.  Two-story trenches became common on both sides of the firing line.  Bombproof underground quarters for staff and commanding officers were constructed, and these were fitted up so as to provide all the comforts of the winter cantonments of old-time warfare.  The ever-necessary telephone was installed at frequent points in trenches that stretched for scores of miles in practically unbroken lines.  Board roofs were built and provision made for heating the dugouts in which thousands of men passed many days and nights before their reliefs arrived.  On the German side

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miles of trenches were provided with stockade walls, leaving ample room inside for the rapid movement of troops.  The British built trenches with lateral individual dugouts at right angles to the main trench, protecting the men against flank fire—­and these aroused the admiration even of their enemies.  In the French trenches the ingenuity of a French engineer provided a system of hot shower baths on the firing line, and from all points along the deadlocked battle front came stories of the remarkable manner in which the troops of all the armies speedily accommodated themselves to unprecedented conditions and maintained a spirit of cheerfulness truly marvelous under the circumstances, especially as there was no cessation of the constant endeavor to gain ground from the enemy and no end to the daily slaughter.

IN THE GERMAN TRENCHES

A correspondent with the German army who visited the firing line in the Argonne forest late in November, by special permission of the German crown prince, described the conditions in the trenches as follows:  “Here in the now famous Argonne forest—­the scene of some of the war’s most desperate fighting—­the Germans are trenching and mining their way forward, literally yard by yard.  This afternoon I reached the foremost trench, south of Grandpre.  About 160 feet ahead of me is the French trench.  Picture to yourself a canebrake-like woods of fishpoles ranging in size from half an inch to saplings of two and three inches thick and so dense that you can hardly see forty yards even now when the leaves have fallen.  Among these is a scattering of big trees, the trunks of which are veritable mines of bullets.

“Irregular lines of deep yellow clay trenches zigzag for miles.  Other trenches run back from these to what looks like a huge Kansas ’prairie-dog town’—­human burrows, where thousands of soldiers are literally living underground.  From the lines of trenches running parallel to one another comes a constant, spitting, sputtering, popping of rifles, making the woods resound like a Chinese New Year in San Francisco or an old-time Fourth of July.  Field guns and hand grenades furnish the ‘cannon-cracker’ effect.  Through the woods the high-noted ‘zing zing’ of bullets sounds like a swarm of angry bees, while high overhead shrapnel and shell go shrieking on their way.  Here and there you may see spades full of earth being thrown up as if by invisible hands, marking the onward work of the German gopher-like pioneers in their subterranean warfare.  That is the Argonne forest.

“As the trench I am in was still in the hands of the French three days ago and as the crown prince is advancing steadily, the trenches are temporary and contain little in the way of comforts.  In deep niches cut in the side the soldiers rest, play cards or even sleep on damp ledges between fights.

“The trenches also serve as a cemetery.  When the enemy’s fire is so hot that it is impossible to stick your head out or to take the dead out to bury them, the grave is made in a niche or a ledge cut into the side of the trench.”

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GERMAN ADVANCE HALTED

The western operations in December made it clear that the German advance to the Channel ports of France had been definitely halted.  In the terrible battle of Ypres in Flanders, following the prolonged engagements along the Yser river, the Allies succeeded in repulsing the desperate German onslaught, and the German offensive was brought to a full stop.  Towns and villages in Flanders, in Artois and in Champagne, that had been captured in the early German rush, were retaken one by one by the Belgians, French and British, slowly but surely, until the Germans were forced to act upon the defensive along a line of entrenchments prepared to enable them to keep open their communications through Belgium with their great base at Aix-la-Chapelle.

An incident of the desperate fighting at Ypres, in which British and French troops practically annihilated six German regiments, including the crack Second regiment of Prussian Guards, has been graphically described by an eye-witness as follows: 

“A long valley stretches out before us and the little rise on which we stand—­about fifty feet above the plain—­commands it.  The British guns are shooting almost horizontally at the German infantry trudging through the mud 2,000 yards away.

“I count easily five regiments together, but further to the right a sixth one evidently wards off a flank attack on the part of the French colonial troops.  The lone regiment is the Second Prussian regiment of the guard, the emperor’s own, the elite of the Kaiser’s army, 2,500 of the brawniest, most disciplined men in the world.  It is now 1 o’clock.  In one hour only 300 of these men will leave the field.

“A gust of wind brings to our ears the sound of music.  The guards’ band is encouraging the men.  At the foot of the small hill on which we stand are twenty lines of trenches filled with Scotch and English infantry.  The men are silently awaiting the attack.  Not a rifle is being fired.  The trenches are the Germans’ goal; these and the British batteries once taken, the road into Ypres is clear.

“In the valley the Germans halt.  The range is only 1,500 yards now and every British shot is telling.  The effects are appalling.  The gray masses move onward once more, seem to hesitate, but sharp bugle blasts launch them forward again and on the run they come for the trenches.

“At 1,000 yards our batteries again stop them.  Whole rows are mowed down, vast spaces appearing between the ranks.  The companies intermingle, then the regiments themselves seem to amalgamate and melt into one another.  Officers are seen galloping along the sides, evidently trying to bring order out of chaos.

“The artillerymen work silently, the perspiration streaming down their cheeks, and continue sending on their messengers of death.

“The Second regiment of the Guard alone, off to the right, seems untouched, and on it comes.  Suddenly the sound of a bagpipe is heard.  The Scots are awake.  From the trenches an avalanche rushes forward toward the disordered Germans.

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“At the double-quick Scots and English, a few feet apart, yelling like demons, pounce on the attackers.  Rifles are silent.  It is cold steel alone.  Our battery captains cry ‘Stop firing.’  There is a risk of shelling our own men now.  We become spectators.

“On the right the Guard has suddenly turned toward the hill.  A bugle blast and the mass of men half turns and seems to be thrown on the back of the British, outflanked.  The situation is desperate.  Our artillery is useless.

“Listen!  Over the valley, rising louder and still louder, comes a song which the Germans have heard before.  A crash of brass, a hoarse roar fills the air, echoing across the valley, drowning the shouts and curses of the human wave fighting below.

“The ’Marseillaise’—­the English and Scots have heard it.  ’Hold tight, the French are coming,’ we scream.  They cannot hear us, but we must shout—­the strain is too intense.

“Past our batteries a company of Spahis rushes like a cyclone.  Two more follow, then the Zouaves.  Rifles close to their hips, bayonets low, throwing out over the valley its glorious anthem, the human flood crashes against the Guard.

“The lines waver in an indescribable jumble of gray, yellow, blue, and red uniforms, then seem to bounce back from the very force of the shock.  Men appear, raised from their feet, and raised high in the air.

“Caught in a vise between the British and the French, the Guard alone remains.  Ten times the shattered remnants of the Kaiser’s proud regiment charged, and ten times was thrown back, first against the French, then against the British.  Crying, ‘Comrades, comrades!’ hundreds began throwing their guns aside.

“At 2 o’clock it was over.  The Allies had lost 1,200 men.  Only prisoners remained of the Second Prussian regiment of the Guard.

PROGRESS OF THE EASTERN CAMPAIGN

The campaign in the eastern theater of war attracted the attention of the whole world in December, when the German operations begun in November under Field Marshal Von Hindenburg, the victor of Tannenberg earlier in the war, were continued with varying successes.  Early in the month the Germans captured Lodz, the second city and chief manufacturing center of Russian Poland, with a population of about 500,000, after a bombardment of a week’s duration, the city being set on fire in many places.  The Russians made a desperate resistance, and the fighting around Lodz constituted the most bitter struggle of the entire war on this front.  A general Russian retirement in the direction of Warsaw followed, but the Germans failed in their subsequent efforts to envelop the flanks of the Russian army to the north and south.  Russian reinforcements from Warsaw coming up promptly, the Germans were in their turn compelled to retire.  Two German army corps were then practically cut off by the Russians, but made a successful retreat, fighting their way back to safety with the bayonet in one of the most brilliant exploits of the war.  Thus the net result of the German campaign in Poland in December left the general situation there practically unchanged and the Russian front unbroken, while in East Prussia, too, the Russian invasion continued despite German efforts to roll it back across the frontier.

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The losses on both sides in the eastern campaign in December were appalling, the fighting being of the fiercest possible nature.  A typical struggle occurred a few miles west of Lodz in the little churchyard of Beschici, where the Russians, in one of the final phases of the struggle for the Polish city, showed that in spite of their defeats and discouragements they knew how to fight and die.  This churchyard lies on a small eminence which formed a salient into the German lines.  The Germans were able to make an attack from three sides with infantry and artillery.  All the Russian trenches were enfiladed by shrapnel from one direction or another, but the Russians clung to their positions obstinately.  When the Germans finally captured the trenches 878 Russian corpses were found in a space about eighty yards square.

It was resistance of this nature which the Germans had to overcome in order to capture Lodz.  Later in December it became clear that Russia was getting her millions into the field and that the strategy of the commander-in-chief, the Grand Duke Nicholas, would soon be aided by the weight of overwhelming numbers.

BELGIUM THANKS AMERICA

During November and December Madame Vandervelde, wife of a member of the Belgian cabinet, toured the United States soliciting aid for her suffering fellow-countrymen.  The response everywhere was extremely generous and in appreciation of the aid given the war victims of her country Madame Vandervelde penned the following poem, entitled “Belgium Thanks America:” 

  But still we tell the story which once we loved to tell. 
  “Good will!  Good will!” we read it, and “Peace!”—­we hear the name,
  And crouch among the ruins, and watch the cruel flame,
  And hear the children crying, and turn our eyes away—­
  For them there’s neither bread nor home this happy Christmas day.

  But look! there comes a message from far across the deep,
  From hearts that still can pity and eyes that still can weep—­
  O little lips a-hunger!  O faces pale and wan! 
  There’s somewhere—­somewhere—­peace on earth, somewhere good will to man,
  Across the waste of waters, a thousand leagues away,
  There’s some one still remembers that here it’s Christmas day.

  0 God of Peace, remember, and in thy mercy keep
  The hearts that still can pity, the eyes that still can weep,
  Amid the shame and torment, the ruins and the graves,
  To theirs, the land of freedom, from ours, the land of slaves,
  What answer can we send them?  We can but kneel and pray: 
  God grant—­God grant to them, at least, a happy Christmas day. 
GRIM REALITIES OF THE WAR

A vivid picture of the horrible realities of the war, as seen in a field hospital near the firing line, was given in “The New Republic” of November 28 by Mr. Henry W. Nevinson, who described his experiences at Dixmude in Belgium as follows: 

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“When I entered Dixmude one night in the middle of October the first bombardment was over, but from both sides the heavy shells flew across the town.  From the end of the main street came an incessant noise of rifles and machine guns.  Unaimed bullets wailed through the air, and pattered as they struck the walls.  Flaming houses shed a light upon the ruined streets, but only one house looked inhabited, and all the others which were not burning stood silent and empty, expecting destruction.

“That one house was used as an outlying hospital or dressing-place nearest the firing line, and the wounded had to be led or carried only two or three hundred yards to reach it.  They sat on the dining-room chairs or lay helpless on the floor.  A few surgeons were at work upon them, cutting off loose fingers and throwing them into basins, plugging black holes that welled up instantly through the plug, straining bandages, which in a minute ceased to be white, round legs and heads.  The smell of fresh, warm blood was thick on the air.  One man lay deep in his blood.  You could not have supposed that anyone had so much in him.  Another’s head had lost on one side all human semblance, and was a hideous pulp of eye and ear and jaw.  Another, with chest torn open, lay gasping for the few minutes left of life.  And as I waited for the ambulance more were brought in, and always more.

“In a complacent and comfortable account of hospital work I lately read that ’deaths from wounds are happily rare; one surgeon put the number as low as 2 per cent.’  Happy hospital, far away in Paris or some Isle of the Blest!  The further from the front the fewer the deaths, because so many have died already.

“In the nearest hospitals to the front, half the wounded, and on some days more than half, die where they are put.  Often they die in the ambulance, and one’s care in drawing them out is wasted, for they will never feel again.  I found one always took the same care, though the greenish-yellow of the exposed hands or feet showed the truth.  Laid on the floor of the main hospital itself, some screamed or moaned, some whimpered like sick children, especially in their sleep, some lay quiet, with glazed eyes out of which sight was passing.  Mere fragments of mankind were there extended, limbs pounded into mash, heads split open, intestines hanging out from gashes.  Did those bones—­did that exquisite network of living tissue and contrivances for life—­cost no more in the breeding than to be hewed and smashed and pulped like this?  Shrapnel—­shrapnel—­it was nearly always the same.  For this is, above all, an artillery war, and both sides are justly proud of their efficiency in guns.”

GOVERNMENT RETURNS TO PARIS

Confidence of safety having been restored in the French capital, the Paris bourse reopened on December 7, after having been closed since September 3.  President Poincare transferred his official residence back to Paris from Bordeaux on December 9 and a meeting of the French cabinet was held in Paris on December 11, for the first time since the capital was threatened by the German advance at the end of August.

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BRITISH NAVAL VICTORY

In the second week of December the British navy avenged the defeat of Rear Admiral Cradock’s squadron off the Chilean coast in November, when a powerful special fleet, under Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick Sturdee, encountered the German cruiser fleet, under Admiral von Spee, off the Falkland Islands and practically destroyed it.  Only one of the five German cruisers escaped.  The flagship Scharnhorst, the Gneisenau, the Leipzig and the Nurnberg were sunk in the action, which lasted for five hours, and the German admiral with three of his sons and most of the officers and men of the German crews perished.  The British losses were inconsiderable.

This sea fight in the South Atlantic was the most important engagement in which British men-of-war had participated since the era of Napoleon.  The sailing of the British fleet in quest of Admiral von Spee’s squadron had been kept secret and the news of the victory was therefore especially welcome to the people of England, who had been considerably worried by a succession of minor naval losses inflicted by German cruisers, submarines and mines.  The action was gallantly fought on both sides.  The advantage in weight of metal and range of guns lay on the side of the British, and the battle was decided at long range.  Admiral von Spee, refusing to surrender, in spite of the odds against him, went down with his ship.  The flagship of the victorious admiral, Sir Frederick Sturdee, was the modern battle cruiser Invincible.  A number of the German sailors were rescued by the British after the engagement and sent as prisoners of war to England.  The total German loss was over 2,000 officers and men.

Fine strategy was shown by the British admiralty in sending Admiral Sturdee to South American waters.  He was ordered to sea from his desk as chief of the British naval board, after Von Spee’s Chilean victory in November, and was placed in command of some of the fastest and most powerful cruisers of the British fleet.  The entire affair, from the time the admiral left London until he succeeded in finding and sinking the German squadron in the South Atlantic, took about a month—­a truly remarkable exploit.

RULERS AT THE FRONT

During December all the armies in the field were visited by the rulers of their respective countries.  The Czar spent some time with his troops near the firing lines in Poland; King George of England visited the British forces in Belgium and Northern France and conferred the Victoria Cross ("For Valor”) on a number of officers and men; and President Poincare made several trips to the front, conferring decorations upon General Joffre, commander-in-chief, and other French officers, for distinguished service.  The gallant and devoted soldier-king, Albert of Belgium, remained steadfastly at the front with his troops, sharing all their privations and dangers during the

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fierce fighting in Flanders.  Kaiser Wilhelm was also at the front, both east and west, but was forced to return to Berlin early in the month by an attack of illness.  On his recovery after two weeks he again visited the western field headquarters in Belgium, but in the first week of January, 1915, he was again compelled by his ailment to make a hurried return to Berlin for medical treatment and rest.  British and German naval losses in the world war to January 1, 1915, are shown in the following, compiled from admiralty reports, and, where these are missing, from other authoritative sources.  The figures are approximately correct.

  BRITISH LOSSES

Date         Name and Type              How Sunk   Tonnage  Lives Lost
Aug.   7—­Amphion, protected cruiser      Mined      3,440   136
Sept.  4—­Speedy, torpedo gunboat         Mined        810   ... 
Sept.  5—­Pathfinder,  protected  cruiser Mined      2,940   250
Sept.  7—­Warrior, protected  cruiser     Stranded  13,500   ... 
Sept.  9—­Oceanic, auxiliary cruiser      Wrecked   17,000   ... 
Sept. 18--Fishguard II, training ship     Foundered ......    21
Sept. 19—­AE-1, submarine                 Lost         800    25
Sept. 20—­Pegasus, protected cruiser      Shelled    2,200    25
Sept. 22—­Aboukir, protected cruiser      Torpedoed 12,000   510
Sept. 22—­Cressy, protected cruiser       Torpedoed 12,000   561
Sept. 22—­Hogue, protected  cruiser       Torpedoed 12,000   362
Oct.  16—­Hawke, protected cruiser        Torpedoed  7,350   350
Oct.  18—­E-3, submarine                  Shelled      800    25
Oct.  27—­Audacious, dreadnought          Torpedoed 25,000     2
Oct.  31—­Hermes, protected cruiser       Torpedoed  5,600   ... 
Nov.   1—­Monmouth, armored  cruiser      Shelled    3,800   540
Nov.   1—­Good Hope, armored cruiser      Shelled   14,100   875
Nov.   5—­D-5, submarine                  Mined        550    21
Nov.  11—­Niger, torpedo gunboat          Torpedoed    819   ... 
Nov.  20—­Bulwark,  battleship            Explosion 15,000   800
Jan.   1—­Formidable,  battleship         Torpedoed 17,000   579
Number of vessels lost, 21.                        --------------
Totals                                             172,700 5,082

  GERMAN LOSSES

Date Name and Type How Sunk Tonnage Lives Lost Aug. 5—­Panther, gunboat Shelled 900 75 Aug. 6—­Koenigin Luise, mine layer Torpedoed 1,800 70 Aug. 7—­Augsburg, protected cruiser Shelled 4,280 158 Aug. 9—­U-15, submarine Shelled 400 12 Aug. 27—­Kaiser Wm. der Grosse, aux. cruiser Shelled 14,849 30 Aug. 27—­Magdeburg, protected cruiser Shelled 4,478 200 Aug. 28—­Ariadne, protected cruiser Shelled 2,620 200 Aug. 28—­V-186, V-187, destroyers Shelled 1,290 100 Sept. 14—­Cap Trafalgar,auxiliary cruiser Shelled 26,000 14 Sept. 15—­Hela, small cruiser

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Torpedoed 2,000 10 Oct. 17—­S-115, 117, 118, 119, 4 destroyers 1,660 193 Oct. 20—­S-30, destroyer Ran Ashore 400 ...  Oct. 25—­Submarine Shelled 400 12 Oct. 30—­Submarine Shelled 400 12 Nov. 4—­Yorck, armored cruiser Mined 9,350 226 Nov. 7—­Jaguar, gunboat Shelled 330 50 Nov. 7—­Luchs, gunboat Shelled 880 50 Nov. 7—­Iltis, gunboat Shelled 880 50 Nov. 7—­Cormoran, gunboat Shelled 1,600 100 Nov. 7—­Tiger, gunboat Shelled 880 50 Nov 7—­Taku, destroyer Shelled 280 26 Nov. 7—­Ruchin, mine layer Shelled ... ...  Nov. 9—­Emden, protected cruiser Shelled 3,540 200 Nov. . .—­Wilhelm der Grosse, battleship Mined 10,790 400 Nov. . .—­Hertha, cruiser Mined 5,569 200 Dec. 8—­Scharnhorst, armored cruiser Shelled 11,420 764 Dec. 8—­Gneisenau, armored cruiser Shelled 11,420 700 Dec. 8—­Leipzig, cruiser Shelled 3,200 280 Dec 8—­Nurnberg, cruiser Shelled 3,200 256 Dec. 10—­Three submarines Shelled 1,200 36 Number of vessels lost, 38. ----------------
                                           Totals 134,026 5,005

CANADIANS AT THE FRONT

Late in December the first of the Canadian troops to leave their English training camp on Salisbury Plain were sent to the front in Northern France.  The Princess Patricia regiment had the military honor of leading the Canadians to the firing line.  It was made up largely of men who had seen previous service and promptly proceeded to give a good account of itself.  A British guardsman returning wounded from the front on December 28 paid a characteristic tribute to the efficiency and daring of the Canadian troops, when he said:  “They are all old soldiers.  They knew as much about the game as we did and a blooming sight more than the enemy’s infantry.”

The Canadians first went into action at one of those ticklish spots where yards count.  The trench of the British ended at a village which was vigorously shelled by the Germans, and was practically in ruins.  Another trench on the right of a little town held by unmounted French cavalry made it impossible for the Germans to reach the village, but their “snipers” had ensconced themselves in some farm buildings to the northeast, making it extremely hazardous for supplies to reach the advanced British posts.

“About twenty of the Canadians,” said the wounded guardsman, “managed to gain the ruins at the extreme end of the village during Christmas night and when daylight came they accounted for practically all the German ‘snipers’ and dashed back into safety before the German artillery fire was directed to the stronghold.”

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SERVIANS REOCCUPY BELGRADE

Just when it appeared likely that Servia might share the fate of Belgium, a turn in the fortunes of war changed the entire situation of affairs in the little Slav kingdom.  Aided by a fresh advance of Russian troops across the Carpathians, which caused the hurried withdrawal of three Austrian army corps from Servian territory to defend the threatened cities of Hungary, the Serbs again took the offensive and, inspired by the presence in the field of old King Peter, a gallant soldier of France in 1870, they reoccupied Belgrade and drove the Austrians before them in a disorderly rout, so that by December Servia was free of the Austrian enemy.  Budapest, capital of Hungary, became panic-stricken at the Russian advance and the Servian victory, and the year 1914 closed with every evidence that the people of Austria, at any rate, were tired of the war, discontented at the prospect, and desirous of peace.

GERMAN ATTACK ON BRITISH COAST

For the first time in history since the days of the American commander, Paul Jones, British coast towns were bombarded on December 16, when a squadron of German cruisers, slipping across the North Sea in a fog, from their Heligoland base, appeared off Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, on the eastern coast of England, and shelled each of them in turn.  The loss of life in the three towns was about 100 men, women and children, and a considerable number of buildings were partially wrecked by the German shells.  Comparatively speaking, of course the damage inflicted was trifling and from a military point of view the incident was unimportant, the German ships disappearing in the fog after a half-hour’s bombardment But the moral effect upon the British public was tremendous.  The event came as a distinct shock to their over-confidence and as a reminder that the German navy was still to be reckoned with.  The warships of the Kaiser brought home to the people of the United Kingdom the meaning of the war, as no previous incident had done, and fear of further attacks took possession of them.  This fear, however, soon turned to rage, and then to a fierce determination to prosecute the war to a bitter end.  The attack stimulated recruiting for Lord Kitchener’s new army, and this was its chief result, though Germany had proved that her ships could reach British shores and bombard their defenseless towns, in spite of all the vigilance of the British fleet.

BRITISH RAID GERMAN PORT

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By way of answer to the German attack on Scarborough and Hartlepool, a daring raid was made Christmas Day by the British navy on the German naval base at Cuxhaven, at the mouth of the Elbe.  The chief participants were seven British naval airmen.  They were assisted in the attack by several light cruisers, destroyers and submarines.  The airmen piloted seaplanes and succeeded in dropping a number of bombs in the vicinity of Cuxhaven, in an attempt to bring out into the open a portion of the German fleet lying there.  The affair resulted in a contest between the most modern of war machines.  No surface warships were sent out by the Germans, but the attack was repelled by means of Zeppelins, sea-planes and submarines.  No great damage was done on either side and the British airmen all escaped without injury, though four of them lost their machines.  One, Flight Commander Hewlett, fell with his plane into the North Sea at a considerable distance from Cuxhaven and was picked up by a Dutch trawler, which landed him in Holland several days afterward.  The British vessels remained off Cuxhaven for three hours, engaged in the most novel combat in naval history.

A short time previous to the attack on Cuxhaven, the British submarine B-11 accomplished one of the most remarkable exploits of the war when it penetrated into the Dardanelles and torpedoed the Turkish battleship Messudieh.  In doing so the submarine successfully passed and repassed five lines of submerged mines and returned to its base in safety after being under water for many hours at a stretch.

U.S.  PROTEST ON MARINE CONDITIONS

On December 31, by mutual agreement between the State Department at Washington and the British Foreign Office, the text of a note sent by the United States to England, requesting an early improvement in the treatment of American shipping by the British fleet, was made public.  The note of protest had been presented on December 29.  It dealt with the manner in which American ships suspected of carrying contraband of war had been held up on the high seas and sent into British ports for examination.  Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary, and Walter Hines Page, United States ambassador, conferred on the subject in London, and it was announced on January 1, 1915, that an answer to the American note would be drawn up as soon as possible and that it would be in the same friendly spirit in which the American note was written.

ON THE WESTERN BATTLE FRONT

The battle lines in the western theater of war held firm and fast during the first two months of 1915.  Along the entire front, from Flanders to the Swiss frontier, there were few changes in the relative positions of the German forces and the Allies up to March 1, at which time both sides were occupied with preparations for the spring campaign.  British reinforcements, forming part of Lord Kitchener’s new army, were being transported to the front, while the far-flung lines of trenches were filled with battle-weary veterans of the winter campaign.  In many places the entrenchments of the opposing forces were only a few yards apart and trenches were frequently destroyed by mines, resulting in losses to both sides, but without materially changing the general aspect of the conflict.

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NAVAL BATTLE IN THE NORTH SEA

One of the most important naval battles of the war took place on January 24 in the North Sea between a British battle cruiser squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty, comprising the battle cruisers Tiger, Lion, Princess Royal, New Zealand and Indomitable, assisted by a few light cruisers and destroyers, on the one hand, and on the other a German squadron, consisting of the battle cruisers Derflinger, Seydlitz and Moltke, the armored cruiser Bluecher, one of the finest in the Kaiser’s navy, and several light cruisers.

It was a running fight, covering over one hundred miles and lasting four hours.  At the end of this time the German armored cruiser Bluecher was at the bottom of the sea and two of the German battle cruisers had been damaged.  Two of Vice-Admiral Beatty’s ships were seriously damaged, namely, the giant battle cruiser Lion, which was Sir David’s flagship, and the torpedo boat destroyer Meteor, one of the largest and fastest of this class afloat.  However, both of these vessels were safely towed into port.  The loss in men on the British side was fourteen killed and twenty-nine wounded, while on the side of the Germans only 125 of the crew of 850 men on the Bluecher were saved; the other 725 went down with the ship.  The loss of the Bluecher was the hardest blow the German navy had sustained up to this time, as she was one of the newest and best vessels of her class.  She was built at a cost of $6,750,000.  Her speed was slower than that of the other vessels in the German squadron, which doubtless accounted for her loss.  The battle began about 150 miles from Heligoland and ended within about fifty miles of this German naval base.

Early in the month of February, England threatened to put all foodstuffs destined for German ports on the contraband list.  In retaliation, Germany, on February 4, through Admiral von Pohl, chief of the admiralty staff, issued a proclamation designating the waters around Great Britain and Ireland as a war area, to become effective February 18 and to be enforced by a formidable fleet of submarines, the object being to conduct war operations in this area for the purpose of destroying commercial ships of the enemy.

Just at this time the great passenger steamship Lusitania, in her passage from New York to Liverpool, hoisted the American flag while sailing through the Irish Sea, and Germany charged that the British Admiralty had issued confidential orders to captains of all British ships to sail under the stars and stripes or other neutral flags when necessary to use this means of protection against destruction by the warships of the enemy.  This situation seriously menaced the commerce of the United States as well as that of all other neutral nations, and the American Government, therefore, promptly issued a note of warning to both belligerents and demanded in strong terms the protection

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of American neutral rights on the high seas.  Germany responded promptly and promised to use every precaution to protect neutral shipping, but pointed out that the use of the American flag by British ships would make it difficult to distinguish neutral vessels from those of the enemy; hence neutral shipping was urged to avoid the indicated war area.  Great Britain, on the other hand, claimed the right to use neutral flags when necessary to protect human life and ships, when endangered by the war vessels of the enemy; and under the laws of warfare and customs of the nations this contention was correct.

It can readily be seen that this situation placed the sea commerce of the United States, as well as that of all other neutral countries, in a most dangerous position.  Up to March 1, 1915, about twenty merchant vessels of various nationalities were destroyed or damaged in the war zone established by Germany, including Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, American and British ships.

GREAT GERMAN VICTORY IN EAST PRUSSIA

After a difficult campaign against the Russian invaders in East Prussia, the German army, by the masterly strategy of Field Marshal von Hindenburg, practically annihilated the Russian Tenth Army of 150, men, completing the task February 20.  It was the most spectacular campaign in the history of modern warfare.

The object of the German commander was not only to free East Prussia from the Russian invasion, but to completely capture the Russian Tenth Army.  He sent one column in from the south to drive back the Russians who occupied the Mazurian lake gateway to East Prussia, and another column from the north was swung around in wide circles to the east and south, aiming to join hands with the southern German column, thus cutting off the Russian retreat.  This movement would have succeeded absolutely except for delay in passing through the swamps, caused by mild weather which broke up the ice.  A commander of one of the German corps said:  “Nature has always helped Russia.  Two days of hard frost and we should have had every man.”

In the south also nature aided the Russians.  There the German hosts attacked the enemy in the face of a driving snowstorm from the north, which hindered their operations but did not prevent them from gaining a victory which resulted in freeing Prussian territory from the invader.

ALLIES FORCE THE DARDANELLES

On March 1 a great allied fleet of forty British and French warships, having reduced the forts at the entrance to the Dardanelles, was on its way through the straits and the Sea of Marmora to Constantinople, with the object of capturing the city.  Panic prevailed in the Turkish capital at the approach of the fleet, while for the first time in history hostile flags flew over the forts at the mouth of the Dardanelles.  The naval operations of the Allies in the Dardanelles,

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which began on February 17, proceeded without any serious check for a month.  Mine sweepers were in daily use, to clear the channel of submerged and floating mines, and the forts at the Narrows, several miles inside the entrance of the straits, were subject to bombardment every fine day.  High winds and fog hampered the operations to a considerable extent, but the purpose of the Allies under Vice-Admiral Carden was adamant and would not be denied.  They were determined to hammer their way through to the Turkish capital.  The greatest battle of all history between warships and shore forts was the result.  Soon after the bombardment began it became known that the allied fleets were led by the great new British superdreadnaught Queen Elizabeth, launched after the war began and armed with 15-inch guns of immense range which proved most effective in reducing the forts at the mouth of the straits.

[Illustration:  FROM THE DARDANELLES TO THE BLACK SEA

This Map Shows the Route of the Allied Fleets on the Way to Constantinople, The Principal Fortified Places Are Clearly Indicated.] THREE WARSHIPS SUNK

On March 18 three of the allied warships were sunk inside the Dardanelles and two crippled by the Turks during a bombardment in which ten vessels of the combined fleet participated.  The official report of the battle was as follows: 

“Mine-sweeping having been in progress during the last ten days inside the straits, a general attack was delivered by the British and French fleets on Thursday morning upon the fortresses at the Narrows.  At 10:45 A.M. the Queen Elizabeth, Inflexible, Agamemnon, and Lord Nelson bombarded forts J, L, T, U and V, while the Triumph and Prince George fired at batteries F, E and H. A heavy fire was opened on the ships from howitzers and field guns.

“At 12:22 o’clock the French squadron, consisting of the Suffren, Gaulois, Charlemagne and Bouvet, advanced up the Dardanelles and engaged the forts at closer range.  Forts I, U, F and E replied strongly.  Their fire was silenced by the ten battleships inside the straits, all the ships being hit several times during this part of the action.

“By 1:25 P.M. all the forts had ceased firing.  The Vengeance, Irresistible, Albion, Ocean, Swiftsure and Majestic then advanced to relieve the six old battleships inside the straits.  As the French squadron, which had engaged the forts in a most brilliant fashion, was passing out, the Bouvet was blown up by a drifting mine.  She sank in fathoms north of Arenkeuf village in less than three minutes.

“At 2:23 P.M. the relief battleships renewed the attack on the forts, which again opened fire.  The attack on the forts was maintained while the operations of the mine-sweepers continued.

“At 4:09 P.M. the Irresistible quitted the line, listing heavily, and at 5:50 o’clock sank, having probably struck a drifting mine.  At 6:  o’clock the Ocean, also having struck a mine, sank.  Both vessels sank in deep water, practically the whole of their crews having been removed safely under a hot fire.  The loss of the ships was caused by mines drifting with the current, which were encountered in areas hitherto swept clear.

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“The British casualties in personnel were not heavy considering the scale of the operations, but practically the whole of the crew of the Bouvet were lost with the ship, an internal explosion having apparently supervened on the explosion of the mine.” [About 500 lives were lost on the Bouvet.]

On March 16 Vice-Admiral Carden, who had been incapacitated by illness, was succeeded in the chief command by Rear-Admiral John Michael De Robeck, with the acting rank of vice-admiral.

ADMIRAL DE ROBECK’S TRIBUTE TO THE FRENCH

After the engagement of March 18 Admiral De Robeck telegraphed to the British Admiralty the following tribute to the gallantry of the French in action: 

“I desire to bring to the notice of your Lordships the splendid behavior of the French squadron.  Their heavy loss leaves them quite undaunted.  They were led into close action by Rear-Admiral Guepratte with the greatest gallantry.”

About this time it was noted by the press and generally commented upon, in both England and America, that the Admiralty had not made public a single word of commendation for the work of the British navy since the war began.  This unusual fact was interpreted as evidence of the inflexible purpose of the British to ignore minor losses and even defeats until the main battleship fleets of the belligerents should come to grips in the open sea.  English newspapers began to taunt the Germans with permitting their navy to “rust in the Kiel Canal.”

The sinking of the battle cruisers Irresistible, Ocean and Bouvet was the heaviest loss sustained by the Allies since the war began.  The British crews were rescued, almost to a man, and the loss of the French crew was due mainly to the internal explosion following that of the mine.  All the ships sunk were of the earlier pre-dreadnought type.  On the same day, March 18, the British battle cruiser Inflexible and the French battleship Gaulois were put out of commission temporarily by the fire of the Turkish forts.

The Irresistible, the Ocean and the Bouvet were all sunk in portions of the straits which had been swept clear of anchored mines, and the drifting mines which proved so deadly were undoubtedly set afloat by the Turks, probably under the direction of German officers, on the swift current of the Dardanelles at points near the allied ships after the action began.  On March 24 the allied fleets renewed with vigor their attack upon the forts at the Narrows of the Dardanelles.  A large body of troops was also landed upon the peninsula of Gallipoli, commanding the approach to Constantinople, and the Russian Black Sea fleet co-operated by a bombardment of the Turkish naval base, which left the Turkish fleet without supplies and practically paralyzed its movements.

BATTLE OF NEUVE CHAPELLE

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The presence of part of Earl Kitchener’s new British volunteer army at the western front in Belgium and France was signalized between March and March 16, when the British gained a series of successes that drew marked attention to their operations.  To the south of Ypres in Flanders the British army, which a German attack had compelled to fall back beyond St. Eloi, recaptured that village and almost all of the neighboring German trenches, in spite of several counterattacks.

On March 11 Field Marshal Sir John French described the fighting which led to the capture of Neuve Chapelle in Northern France as follows: 

“Since my last communique the situation on our front, between Armentieres and La Bassee, has been materially altered by a successful initiative on the part of the troops engaged.  Shortly after 8 A.M. on March 10 these troops assaulted and carried German trenches in the neighborhood of Neuve Chapelle.

“Before noon we captured the whole village of Neuve Chapelle.  Our infantry at once proceeded to confirm and extend the local advantage gained.  By dusk the whole labyrinth of trenches on a front about 4, yards was in our hands.  We had established ourselves about 1,200 yards beyond the enemy’s advanced trenches.

“During the 11th the enemy made repeated efforts to recover the ground lost.  All his counter-attacks were repulsed with heavy loss.

“We continue to make steady progress and hard fighting continues.  The local initiative displayed by our troops daily is admirable.  It says much for the spirit which animates the army.  The success achieved on the 10th and 11th is a striking example.”  “THE END OF THE WORLD”

An officer who was wounded in the fighting thus vividly describes the battle of Neuve Chapelle: 

“Modern warfare is such an infernal business that any man who is not killed ought to be cheerful.  It all seems like a wild dream to me.  I never heard such a row in all my life.  And the bullets and the shells—­it was like passing through the most awful hail storm.

“We were in our trenches at dawn when suddenly a most infernal din commenced.  You never saw such a sight; you never heard such a noise.  I heard one of my men say, ‘This is the end of the world,’ and I did not blame him for thinking so.  We could see in the distance great masses of flame, earth and brick in great clouds of smoke, all ascending together as enormous shells screamed over our heads and burst among the German entrenchments and the houses of the village.  At the end of a half-hour’s bombardment the fire ceased as suddenly as it had begun.

“All this time we were awaiting the order to advance towards Aubers.  At length we jumped out into the open.  The air seemed alive with bullets and shells.  There was a buzzing noise, such as you hear in a tropical forest on a hot summer day.  On we moved, until we came to an open stretch, which was being swept by an infernal shell fire.  We crossed this in rushes to gain the shelter of a few houses, losing some 40 or men.  There we remained for some little time, reforming the battalion and awaiting further orders.  When these came we moved forward over rough, open ground, coming upon lots of our poor fellows lying dead.  They were from the only battalion which had preceded us.

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“Then we entered the German trenches which had been captured.  Again we halted.  All this time our shells, German shells and rifle and machine gun bullets were shrieking overhead.

“Thank goodness, in an action like this you seem to lose your senses!  A kind of elevation above all ordinary feelings comes over you and you feel as though you were rushing through air.  There is so much to frighten you that you cease to be afraid.  Then your senses gradually come back.  That is why all infantry attacks should be carried through with one overwhelming rush.”

GERMAN ADVANCE IN POLAND

On March 12 two German armies were on the move in Poland, seeking to pierce the Russian lines.  One of these armies was advancing along the road to Przasnysz with the bank of the River Narew as its objective.  This was the main German attack and inaugurated one of the biggest battles of the war.

Farther south, on the Pilica, a German feint was in progress with the object of weakening the Russian defense in the north.  But while Petrograd seemed to be resigning itself to the idea of a second withdrawal from before Przasnysz, there was little doubt of the ultimate outcome of this German attempt to gain a firm footing on Russian soil.  The German troops were moved forward in close order and only in the daytime, and were entirely dependent on what natural cover they could find between the rushes, as the ground was frozen too hard to permit the use of intrenching tools.

These tactics naturally involved very heavy losses.  The German casualties are also understood to have been extremely severe around Simno, especially on their extreme left, where they lost the greater part of their transport.  It appeared certain that the Russians had fallen back before an onrush of forces of overwhelming numerical superiority, but it was equally certain that with every yard of the German advance from their railways the shock of their impact weakened while the Russian powers of resistance were enhanced.

BRITISH RELIEVE THE PRESSURE

Just as the French attacked the Germans in the western campaign when Field Marshal von Hindenburg made his rush from East Prussia in February, so the British army operating in Flanders undertook the task of relieving the pressure on its Russian ally when the Russians again were attacked in north Poland.  This was part of the general plan of the allied generals.  When one was attacked the other attacked, so as to compel the Germans and Austrians to keep strong forces at every point, and endeavor to prevent them from sending new troops where they could do the most good.

In March the Germans were occupied in an attempt to crush the Russians.  For this purpose they had an army estimated at nearly half a million men marching along the roads toward Przasnysz.  To prevent this army from being further strengthened the British began to thrust at the German line north of La Bassee, and besides reporting the capture of the village of Neuve Chapelle, they advanced beyond that town.

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BRITISH AUXILIARY CRUISER LOST

On March 12 the Admiralty issued a report of the loss of the large British auxiliary cruiser Bayano while on naval patrol duty in the Irish Sea.  Evidence pointed to her having been torpedoed by a German submarine.  Only 27 of the Bayano’s crew of 250 were saved.  Fourteen officers, including the commander, went down with the ship.  The Bayano was a new twin screw steel steamer of 5,948 tons.  The survivors were afloat on a raft when rescued.  The loss of the Bayano was the most serious of the submarine blockade of the British coasts up to that time.

GERMAN CRUISER DRESDEN SUNK

For several months British warships in the South Atlantic and South Pacific oceans sought in vain for the German cruiser Dresden, one of the German squadron defeated off the Falkland Islands by Admiral Sturdee in December, when she was the only German vessel to escape.  On February she sank the British ship Conway Castle off Corral in the South Pacific, and on March 14 she was caught near Juan Fernandez Island by the British cruisers Glasgow and Kent and the auxiliary cruiser Orama.  An action ensued and after five minutes’ fighting the Dresden hauled down her flag.  She was much damaged and set on fire, and after she had been burning for some time her magazine exploded and she sank.  The crew were saved.  Fifteen badly wounded Germans were landed at Valparaiso, and the remainder of the crew were taken on board the auxiliary cruiser Orama as prisoners of war.

The Dresden was a sister ship of the famous Emden, and was commissioned in October, 1907.  In the spring of 1914 the Dresden was on the Caribbean station, and was lying off Tampico when the American forces captured Vera Cruz.  Later on in the summer the Dresden was the vessel on which Victoriano Huerta, upon abandoning Mexico, traveled from Puerta to Jamaica.  Upon the outbreak of the war the Dresden was still stationed in Central American waters, and for a time was hunted by the British and French cruisers in the North Atlantic.  She steamed south, however, and after sinking the British steamer Hyades and the Holmwood off the coast of Brazil, respectively, on August 16 and 26, went through the Strait of Magellan and joined Admiral Count Von Spee’s fleet in the southern Pacific.

The sinking of the Dresden left at large on the high seas, so far as was known, only the German cruiser Karlsruhe, last reported as operating in the West Indies, and the auxiliary cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm, which was still raiding commerce in the South Atlantic.

THE FALL OF PKZEMYSL

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On March 22 the long siege of Przemysl, the formidable Galician fortress that had been called the “key to the Austrian empire,” ended with the surrender of the city to the Russians.  The siege stands as the fifth longest in 136 years, having lasted 185 days, surpassed in duration only by the sieges of Gibraltar, Sebastopol, Vicksburg, Richmond and Port Arthur.  The news of the Austrians’ surrender was the most important that had come from the eastern front in weeks.  For six months the stronghold had withstood assault, remaining a constant menace in the rear of the Russian advance in Galicia.  From 120,000 to 150,000 Russians had been held in the neighborhood by the necessity of masking the fortress.  Numerous efforts had been made to reach the beleaguered city by relieving armies, but each in turn proved unavailing, though for a time in December it appeared likely that a combined German and Austrian army would succeed in raising the siege.

The fall of Przemysl was preceded by a sortie of the garrison in a last desperate attempt to hack its way through the enemy’s lines.  After a seven hours’ battle they were compelled to retreat with a loss of nearly 4,000 prisoners.  Only three days’ rations were left.  In the surrender of the city the Russians announced the taking of nearly 120,000 prisoners, including nine generals, 93 officers of the general staff, 2, officers and officials, and 117,000 soldiers.

Twenty-four thousand soldiers of the Przemysl garrison were killed during the long siege, according to dispatches from Petrograd.  Twenty thousand more were wounded making the total casualties of the Austrian defenders 44,000 men.  Depleted by disease, subsisting on horseflesh, and surrounded by a superior force of Russians, the garrison of Przemysl was forced to surrender, but fell with honor, the gallant character of the defense under General von Kusmanek being conceded on all sides.  The Russian commander who received the surrender was General Seliwanoff.  In the early days of the siege a Bulgarian, General Radko Dimitrieff, was in command of the investing forces.  General Seliwanoff commanded the Russian forces at Vladivostok during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05.

The duration of the siege compared with the length of time it took the Germans to capture such strongholds as Liege, Namur and Antwerp was due to two causes, one being the desire of the Russians to keep the loss of life among the besieging army at a minimum, the other to the lack of great guns which the Germans had in Belgium.

The investment was not a close one, the garrison having had a radius of about twelve miles in which to move about.  An aeroplane post was maintained almost up to the last, and it is said that even some scanty food supplies were carried in by aeroplane.

Although the victory was a big one, it cost the Russians dearly.  It is estimated that 150,000 Russians were killed and wounded during the months that the siege went on.  Not only were many Russians killed by the efficient fire of the Austrian gunners, but the fierce sorties where attackers and defenders fought hand-to-hand resulted in heavy casualties.

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Przemysl was the greatest fortress in the Austrian empire.  Hill, rock, marsh and river combined to give it strength and the work of nature had been supplemented by the labors of the finest military engineers in central Europe.  The gallant defense which the garrison put up for days is recorded as Austria’s most noteworthy contribution to the war.  For a long time the fortress had faced famine.

With the fall of Przemysl the only important fortified town in Austrian Galicia which was not in the hands of the Russians was Cracow, close to the German border.  A large Russian army with artillery was released for action.  The Russian left wing stretched from the province of Bukowina on the southeast to Tarnow and the Vistula River near Cracow on the west.  ON THE EASTERN FRONT

On the eastern front of the stupendous battle line in March the most sanguinary fighting of the war occurred.  Losses on both sides were appalling, while the gains in territorial acquisition amounted to little or nothing.

Describing the enormous losses on both sides in Poland, a neutral observer, Mr. Stanley Washburn, said in the American Review of Reviews: 

“The German program contemplated taking both Warsaw and Ivangorod and the holding for the winter of the line between the two formed by the Vistula.  The Russians took the offensive from Ivangorod, crossed the river, and after hideous fighting fairly drove Austrians and Germans from positions of great strength around the quaint little Polish town of Kozienice.  From this town for perhaps ten miles west, and I know not how far north and south there is a belt of forest of fir and spruce.  Near Kozienice the Russian infantry, attacking in flank and front, fairly wrested the enemy’s position and drove him back into this jungle.  The Russians simply sent their troops in after them.

“The fight was now over a front of perhaps twenty kilometers; there was no strategy.  It was all very simple.  In this belt were Germans and Austrians.  They were to be driven out if it took a month.  Then began the carnage.  Day after day the Russians fed troops in on their side of the wood.  Companies, battalions, regiments, and even brigades, were absolutely cut off from all communication.  None knew what was going on anywhere but a few feet in front.  All knew that the only thing required of them was to keep advancing.

“Yard by yard the ranks and lines of the Austrians were driven back, but the nearer their retreat brought them to the open country west of the wood the hotter was the contest waged.  The last two kilometers of the woody belt are something incredible to behold; there seems hardly an acre that is not sown like the scene of a paperchase—­only here with bloody bandages and bits of uniform.  Men fighting hand to hand with clubbed muskets and bayonets contested each tree and ditch.  The end was, of course, inevitable.  The troops of the dual alliance could not fill their losses, and the Russians could. 

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“At last came the day when the dirty, grimy, bloody soldiers of the Czar pushed their antagonists out of the far side of the woodland—­and what a scene occurred in that open bit of country with the quaint little village of Augustowo at the crossroads!  Once out in the open the hungry guns of the Russians, so long yapping ineffectively without knowing what their shells were doing, had their chance.  Down every road through the forest came the six-horse teams with the guns jumping and jingling behind, with their accompanying caissons heavy with death-charged shrapnel, and the moment the enemy were in the clear these batteries, eight guns to a unit, were unlimbered on the fringe of the wood and pouring out their death and destruction on the wretched enemy now retreating hastily across the open.  And the place where the Russians first turned loose on the retreat is a place to remember.

“Dead horses, bits of men, blue uniforms, shattered transport, overturned gun-carriages, bones, broken skulls, and grisly bits of humanity strew every acre of the ground.

ENORMOUS LOSSES ON BOTH SIDES

“A Russian officer who seemed to be in authority on this gruesome spot volunteered the information that already they had buried at Kozienice, in the wood and on this open spot, 16,000 dead.  Those that had fallen in the open and along the road had been decently interred, as the forests of crosses for ten miles along that bloody way clearly indicated, but back in the woods themselves were hundreds and hundreds of bodies that lay as they had fallen.  Sixteen thousand dead means at least 70, casualties all told, or 35,000 on a side if losses were equally distributed.  And this, figured on the basis of the 16,000 dead already buried, without allowing for the numbers of the fallen that still lie about in the woods.  And yet here is a battle the name of which is hardly more than known in America, yet the losses on both sides amount to more than the entire army that General Meade commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg.

“He who has the heart to walk about in this ghastly place can read the last sad moments of almost every corpse.  Here one sees a blue-coated Austrian with leg shattered by a jagged bit of a shell.  The trouser perhaps has been ripped open and clumsy attempts been made to dress the wound, while a great splotch of red shows where the fading strength was exhausted before the flow of life’s stream could be checked.  Here again is a body with a ghastly rip in the chest, made perhaps by bayonet or shell fragment.  Frantic hands now stiffened in death are seen trying to hold together great wounds from which life must have flowed in a few great spurts of blood.  And here it is no fiction about the ground being soaked with gore.  One can see it,—­coagulated like bits of raw liver, while great chunks of sand and earth are in lumps, held together by this human glue.  Other bodies lie in absolute peace and serenity.  Struck dead with a rifle ball through the heart or some other instantly vital spot.  These lie like men asleep, and on their faces is the peace of absolute rest and relaxation, but of these alas! there are few compared to the ones upon whose pallid, blood-stained faces one reads the last frantic agony of death.

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“The soldiers themselves go on from battlefield to battlefield, from one scene of carnage to another.  They see their regiments dwindle to nothing, their officers decimated, three-fourths of their comrades dead or wounded, and yet each night they gather about their bivouacs apparently undisturbed by it all.  One sees them on the road the day after one of these desperate fights marching cheerfully along, singing songs and laughing and joking with one another.  This is morale and it is of the stuff that victories are made.  And of such is the fiber of the Russian soldier, scattered over these hundreds of miles of front to-day.  He exists in millions and has abiding faith in his companions, in his officers, and in his cause.”

TERRIFIC FIGHTING IN MIDWINTER

Writing of the desperate fighting in Poland in midwinter when the Germans made a tremendous effort to pierce the Russian lines on the Bzura and Rawka front, with Warsaw as their objective point, an American correspondent, Mr. John F. Bass, said:  “The fighting was terrific.  The detonations of the cannon came in such rapid succession that they sounded like giant machine guns and the windows of the dressing stations for the wounded shook as if from an earthquake.  It was not possible to distinguish individual gun explosions from the Battle of the infantry fire.  All were mingled in one inarticulate battle shriek.  At night, as in a furious thunderstorm, the darkness was pierced with the unintermittent flashes of the guns, while sickly green rockets shed a ghastly light over the fighting lines.  The wounded brought in filled the hospitals to overflowing.

“It was estimated by the Russians that the Germans lost 60,000 men.  I was told by an officer that the bodies of German soldiers were piled up before the Russian trenches in many of the assaults so high that German shells bursting among them threw mangled pieces of human beings into the trenches among the Russians.

“At night, under the glare of search-lights, the undulating mass of wounded made efforts to extricate themselves.  Then, toward 2 o’clock in the morning, they moved no more.”  The winter cold had done its deadly work.

FRENCH MAKE GAINS IN MARCH

In the Champagne country of northern France the month of March was marked by almost continuous fighting of the fiercest character.  French advices from Chalons-sur-Marne on March 29 were to the effect that 11,000 German dead had been taken from the trenches won by the French in the previous twenty days and that the total German losses during that time in the Champagne district exceeded 50,000 in killed, wounded and prisoners.

STIRRING EVENTS OF THE SPRING

All through the month of April the days were crowded with important occurrences east and west along the battle lines.  The Russian movement across the Carpathians was pressed with vigor and some of the fiercest fighting of the war resulted, as the combined German and Austrian troops resisted the Russian advance into Hungary.

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Early in the spring the British forces gained a notable victory at Neuve Chapelle in the western theater of war.  Then the German forces in Flanders were heavily reinforced until it was estimated that they numbered not less than half a million men, gathered for the purpose of smashing the line of the Allies at the strategic point where the British and the Belgian troops were in touch with one another.  Here, for three days, the Germans succeeded in pushing forward, driving a wedge for several miles into the line of the allied armies of England, France and Belgium.  And here, too, the Canadian division of the British army covered itself with glory and once more demonstrated the value to the British empire of the “lion’s whelps.”  On one notable occasion, destined to be recorded in history as a red-letter day for Canadian arms, the gallant fellows from the great Dominion “saved the situation,” to quote from the report of Field Marshal French, by a splendid charge, during which they recaptured from the Germans four of their field guns that had been lost the day before.

HOW CANADIAN COMMANDER DIED LEADING YPRES CHARGE

From Sir Max Aitken’s official account of the battle of Ypres.

“It did not seem that any human being could live in the shower of shot and shell which began to play on the advancing troops.  They suffered terrible casualties.  For a short time every other man seemed to fall, but the attack was pressed even closer and closer.  The 4th Canadian battalion at one moment came under a particularly withering fire.  For a moment it wavered.

“Its most gallant commanding officer, Lieut.-Col.  Birchall, carrying, after an old fashion, a light cane, coolly and cheerfully rallied his men and at the very moment when his example had infected them, fell dead at the head of his battalion.

“With a cry of anger they sprang forward as if to avenge his death.  The astonishing attack which followed, pushed home in the face of direct frontal fire made in broad daylight by battalions whose names should live forever in the memories of soldiers, was carried to the first line of German trenches.  After a hand-to-hand struggle the last German who resisted was bayoneted and the trench was won.

“It was clear that several German divisions were attempting to crush or drive back the Third Brigade and to sweep around and overwhelm our left wing.  The last attempt partially succeeded.  German troops swung past the unsupported left of the brigade and, slipping in between the wood and St. Julien, added to our torturing anxieties by apparently isolating us from the brigade base.

“In the exertions made by the Third Brigade during this supreme crisis, Major Norsworthy, already almost disabled by a bullet wound, was bayoneted and killed.  Captain McQuaig of the same battalion was seriously wounded.

“General Curry flung his left flank around and in the crisis of this immense struggle held his trenches from Thursday afternoon until Sunday afternoon.  He did not abandon them then.  There were none left.  They had been obliterated by artillery.

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“He withdrew his undefeated troops from the fragments of his field fortifications and the hearts of his men were as completely unbroken as the parapets of his trenches were completely broken.

“The Ninetieth Winnipeg Rifles, which held the extreme left of the brigade position at the most critical moment, was expelled from the trenches early Friday morning by an emission of poisonous gas, but recovering in three-quarters of an hour it counter-attacked, retook the trenches it had abandoned and bayoneted the enemy.

“General Alderson, commanding the reinforcements, directed an advance by a British brigade which had been brought up in support.

“As the troops making it swept through the Canadian left and center, many of them going to certain death, they paused for an instant with deep-throated cheers for Canada, indicating the warm admiration which the Canadians’ exertions had excited in the British army.

“On Monday morning General Curry was again called upon to lead his shrunken Second Brigade, reduced to a quarter of its original strength, into action at the apex of the line, which position the brigade held all that day.  On Wednesday it was relieved and retired to the rear.  ’Not a Canadian gun was lost in the long battle of retreat.’”

Concluding his account, Sir Max wrote:  “The empire is engaged in a struggle without quarter and without compromise against an enemy still superbly organized, still immensely powerful, still confident that its strength is the mate of its necessity.  To arms then, and still to arms!  The graveyard of Canada in Flanders is very large.”

GERMAN DRIVE TO THE COAST

Before the beginning of the spring campaign, it was realized by the Allies that the German general staff was preparing for a determined drive to the coast through the British and Belgian lines that protected the approach to Calais.  It was for this reason that the British took the offensive at Neuve Chapelle and at the important strategic point known as Hill 60.  The purpose of Field Marshal French was to strike the first blow, and the attacks were seemingly successful; but later news from the front showed that “something went wrong” at Neuve Chapelle, which in a large measure upset the British plans.

At Hill No. 60, though the British captured that important position, they were held back from further advance.  Then came the long-expected German attack in the direction of Ypres, which was considered as one of the keys to the French seaport of Calais.  By this attack the Allies were forced back from the Ypres canal, and the positions gained by the Germans brought them within twenty-five miles of the coast at Dunkirk.

The fighting at Neuve Chapelle, Hill 60 and Ypres was probably the most sanguinary of the entire war up to that time.  The losses on both sides were enormous.  Germans, British, Belgians and French were killed literally by the thousand, the British losses at Neuve Chapelle alone being estimated at 20,000, while the German casualties in forcing the passage of the Ypres canal a few days later exceeded 9,000 men.

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PRAISE FOR THE CANADIANS

It was in the most furious conflict of the western campaign—­a battle between Langemarcke and Steenstrate, in Flanders—­that the Canadian troops saved the British army from what seemed almost inevitable defeat.  The Canadian division was in the front line of the British forces on April 23, when the Germans made their sudden assaults and broke through the line for a distance of five miles.  Only the brilliant counter-charges of the Canadians saved the situation.  They had many casualties, but their gallantry and determination brought success and, in the language of the official report of the prolonged battle, “their conduct was magnificent throughout.”

The correspondent, describing the harrowing scene of the battle on April 23, said:  “Long ago Kitchener’s army was given its baptism of fire, but yesterday it got its initiation into hell.”

In their great effort to smash the Allies on the Yser the Germans also sustained terrible losses.  By April 27 it was asserted that the German force that managed to pass the Yser and took possession of the town of Lizerne had been practically annihilated.  The fighting was said to have been far more terrible than that of the autumn of 1914, when the Yser canal ran red with blood.

It was charged by the Allies that in the fighting in Flanders late in April the Germans used asphyxiating gases, which placed thousands of the allied troops hors de combat, including many of the Canadian division.  Strong protests against the German use of such methods were voiced by the allied generals, and a formal denunciation was made by Lord Kitchener in the British parliament.

ALLIED TROOPS AT THE DARDANELLES

On April 25-27, a strong force of British and French troops under General Sir Dan Hamilton effected a landing on both sides of the Dardanelles, to co-operate with the allied fleets seeking to force a passage through the straits to the Bosporus.  The landing was resisted by Turkish troops, but the Allies succeeded in establishing themselves on the Gallipoli peninsula by May 1, and made several thousand Turks prisoners of war.  The bombardment of the Turkish forts in the Dardanelles by the allied warships was continued.

The French cruiser Leon Gambetta, with a displacement of 12,351 tons and crew of 714 men, commanded by Rear Admiral Fenet, cruising at the entrance of the Otranto canal in the Ionian sea, was torpedoed the night of April 26th by the Austrian submarine U-5, and went to the bottom in ten minutes; 578 lives were lost; all officers on board, including Rear Admiral Fenet, perished.

CHAPTER XXIII

SINKING OF THE LUSITANIA

Destruction of the Great Cunard Liner by a German Submarine Caused a Serious Crisis in German-American Relations—­Over a Hundred Americans and Many Canadians Drowned, Including Citizens of Prominence and Wealth—­Prompt Diplomatic Action by President Wilson—­The German Campaign of Frightfulness and Its Results.

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Steaming majestically over a smiling sea, with the green hills of Erin in sight over the port bow and all well aboard, the greatest, fastest and most beautiful transatlantic liner in commission was nearing the end of her voyage from New York to Liverpool.  It was the hour after luncheon on the great ship, the hour of the siesta or the promenade, the most peaceful hour of the day.  Little children by the score played merrily about the great decks; families and friends foregathered in the lounges or beside the rail to watch the Irish coast slip by; all the internal economy of the giant ship moved smoothly, as if by clockwork.

It was more than a floating hotel, replete with comfort and luxury.  It was a floating town, with a whole townful of people.  Over fourteen hundred men, women and children were on the passenger list and six hundred men in the Cunard uniform constituted the crew.  Among the passengers were many citizens of the United States and Canada, and there was an unusually large proportion of women and children on board, the families of men who had been drawn into the maelstrom of war.

For in spite of the calm and peace prevailing on the great passenger ship, the shadow of war impended over all.  The bloody struggles of the great European cataclysm were proceeding at the other end of the English Channel and dire hints of dangers on the sea in the “war zone” had accompanied the sailing of the ship.  But on this bright May day, as the liner approached its destination, danger seemed far distant and few indeed among passengers or crew gave serious thought to its imminence.  All was truly well on board.  The skies were clear, the sea was smooth, and though the myriad passengers realized that they had entered a danger zone of the world’s greatest war they had abounding confidence in the giant ship, in its veteran commander, and in the line to which it belonged, that had never yet lost the life of a single passenger committed to its care.  And confidently they looked forward to a safe arrival in port next morning, the happy ending of a wartime voyage which the children on board, and their children’s children, should recall with pride for a century to come.  BUT—­

Right ahead in the path of the floating palace, athwart the prescribed course of the Lusitania there lurked the deadliest slinking serpent of the seas—­the tiny volcanic hull of an enemy submarine, most dangerous of war’s new weapons.  Lying leisurely in wait, its body submerged just beneath the swelling undulations of a summer sea, invisible, ruthless, insatiable; only the protrusion of a foot or so of periscopic tube betokened its presence without betraying its purpose.  But in that innocent-looking tube lay vast potentialities for evil—­nay, devilish certainties of dealing death and destruction.  For the little steel-encased arrangement of lenses and mirrors peeping from the depths was the mechanical eye of the submarine and sufficed to betray to watchful Teutons below the approach of the great ship, treasure laden with human freight of non-combatants and neutrals, but flying the flag of the German’s foe.

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For the crew of the submarine “der Tag” had come.  Without a thought of the innocents and neutrals aboard; reckless alike of immediate results and ultimate consequences, animated only by the deadly designs of a war-madness and a deliberate campaign of frightfulness, the firing signal was flashed from the German commander’s station and the fatal torpedo was launched against the unsuspecting and unprotected leviathan.  Traveling true to its mark, it tore its frightful way through the thin sheathing of the ship and, exploding on impact, pierced her vitals and sealed her doom. * * *

Barely a quarter of an hour elapsed before the giant vessel disappeared from sight, plunging bow foremost to the bottom in waters scarcely more than one-third of her length in depth, so that the shock of her bow striking the bottom of the sea was felt by the gallant captain on the bridge before he was torn loose from his ill-fated vessel.

And when the waters of the Atlantic closed over the hull of the Lusitania, within sight of the Irish coast on that fatal Friday, the lives of over eleven hundred non-combatant men, women and children, including more than a hundred American neutrals, were ruthlessly sacrificed to the Teuton god of war.

CHAPTER XXIV

A SUMMER OF SLAUGHTER

Submarine Activities—­Horrors in Serbia—­Bloody Battles East and West—­Italy Enters the War and Invades Austria—­Russians Pushed Back in Galicia.

The Lusitania was the twenty-ninth vessel to be sunk or damaged in the first week of May, 1915, in the war zone established by Germany about the British isles.  Most of these vessels were torpedoed by German submarines, although in some cases it has not been established whether the damage was inflicted by mines or underwater boats.

Sixteen of the twenty-nine vessels were British trawlers.  There were four British and one French merchantman in the list.  The others were vessels of neutral nations.

One of them was the American steamer Gulflight, torpedoed off Scilly islands on May 1, with the loss of three lives.  There were three Norwegian, two Swedish, and one Danish merchant vessel sunk.

BLOODY BATTLES EAST AND WEST.

The second week in May saw minor German successes on the western front, but these were immediately succeeded by determined efforts on the part of the Allies to retrieve lost ground.  The week of May 10 to 15 was marked by fierce assaults by the British and French upon the German positions in Flanders and northern France.  Thousands of lives were sacrificed on both sides.  At one point on the Yser where the Germans were beaten back, they left 2,000 dead on the field, but this was only a small percentage of the total losses during this series of engagements in May.  Around Ypres early in the month the Canadians lost heavily, but made a splendid record for gallantry and endurance in the face of odds.  The Germans began at this time the use of asphyxiating gases in their attacks.  The results were horrifying in the extreme, and as these inhuman assaults with gas were continued, the Allies prepared to adopt the use of similar noxious gases by way of retaliation.

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BRITISH WARSHIP TORPEDOED.

On May 12 the British warship Goliath was sunk by a Turkish torpedo during the continued attack by the Allies on the Dardanelles.  Twenty officers and 160 men of the crew were saved and over 500 lives were lost.  The Goliath was one of the older British battleships of the pre-dreadnaught type.  She was built in 1898, was 400 feet long and feet wide, with a displacement of 12,950 tons.  Her armament consisted of four twelve-inch and twelve six-inch guns, twelve twelve-pounders, six three-pounders, and two machine guns.

In the determined attack on the Dardanelles, land forces of British and French troops co-operated with the combined fleets.  The Turks made a stubborn resistance, but were compelled to give way gradually before the terrific bombardment of the warships and the persistent attacks by land.  In the fighting on the Gallipoli peninsula the British colonial troops from New Zealand covered themselves with glory, fighting like veterans and breaking down Turkish opposition with the bayonet.  On May 19 one of the most important forts at the Narrows, guarding the entrance to the Sea of Marmora, was silenced by the warships’ fire, and this was an important step on the Allies’ way to Constantinople.

Meanwhile an immense German army, said to number 1,600,000 men, had been forcing the Russians back in Galicia to the San River and the gates of Przemysl.  A German bombardment of this fortress seemed imminent on May 20.

ITALY ENTERS THE WAR.

On Sunday, May 23, Italy finally plunged into the great conflict with a declaration of war against Austria.  The formal declaration, presented to the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, Baron von Burian, by the Duke of Avarna, Italian ambassador at Vienna, asserted that Italy had “grave motives” for annulling her treaty of alliance with Austria and “confident in her good right,” resumed her liberty of action.  The declaration of war continued as follows: 

“The government of the King, firmly resolved to provide by all means at its disposal for safeguarding Italian rights and interests, cannot fail in its duty to take, against every existing and future menace, the measures which events impose upon it for the fulfillment of national aspirations.

“His majesty, the King, declares that he considers himself from tomorrow (May 24, 1915), in a state of war with Austria-Hungary.”

Thus the ninety-sixth anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, of England, found eleven of the countries of Europe at war, their rulers including three of her grandsons, two arrayed in a bitter struggle against the third.  The Triple Alliance on this date became the Quadruple Alliance, when Italy joined the Allies.  Austria was of course supported by Germany.  Italy was expected to put 3,000,000 men in the field.  WHY ITALY WANTED WAR

The reasons why Italy entered the great conflict were succinctly stated on May 19 by Signor Enrico Corradini, nationalist leader, as follows: 

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“1.  The necessity for Italy to take advantage of the present revolution in European affairs to settle her national irredentist problem at the expense of Austria.  Our right to the Trentino, Trieste and Istria, now held by Austria, is not questioned by reasonable people anywhere in Europe.

“2.  The necessity for Italy to arrive at a secure and definite settlement of her military frontiers on the north and east.

“3.  The necessity for Italy to create for herself by her intervention a new moral and political position in the new European order of the future, to replace that which she had, thanks to her alliance with the central empires, a position which was liquidated at the outbreak of the war.

“4.  The necessity for Italy to contribute to repelling the danger of a German hegemony which would flourish at the expense of the various individual cultures and civilizations.”

INVASION OF AUSTRIA

Italy promptly threw an army across the Austrian frontier and began active operations in the direction of Trent and Trieste.  The fortified city of Luzerne soon fell into Italian hands and continued successes marked the progress of the invaders all through the month of June.  The Austrian strategy at first appeared to provide for a series of withdrawals after skirmishing; but late in the month a more determined resistance developed, the defenses of the Austrian troops being skilfully prepared.  The loss of life during the month was comparatively light on both sides, but on June 26 the Italians—­already masters of Plava on the left bank of the Isonzo river, and the heights dominating that town—­were massing heavy bodies of troops before Gorizia and Tolmino for crucial battles at those two points, both of which blocked the way to the coveted Austrian seaport of Trieste.

STRUGGLE FOR THE DARDANELLES

All through the month of June the Allies continued their desperate struggle for the possession of the Dardanelles, the gateway to Constantinople.  Under the direction of German officers and engineers, the Turkish troops and gunners offered determined resistance and the British, Colonial and French troops co-operating with the allied fleets, gained headway but slowly and at tremendous cost.  But it was declared that the Allies were bent upon forcing a passage through the straits regardless of cost and that every effort would be made to complete the operation during the summer.  Several German submarines appeared in the Gulf of Saros during the month and effectively interfered with the activity of the British and French fleets.  The results of the operations on the Gallipoli peninsula during the month indicated that the Dardanelles would prove a veritable slaughter pen before the Allies succeeded in winning their way to Stamboul.

LEMBERG IS RECAPTURED

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On June 22 the city of Lemberg, capital of the Austrian province of Galicia, was recaptured from the Russians, who had held it for nearly ten months, by combined German-Austrian forces, under General Mackensen.  This marked the culmination of a successful Teuton campaign in Galicia, including the recapture of the strong fortress of Przemysl, as well as Lemberg, and the driving of the Russian invaders back to their own borders.

The eastern battle front in June extended for 680 miles north and south, and while the German drive through Galicia was entirely successful, the Russians gained some victories in the north.  They were sorely handicapped by the lack of supplies and ammunition for their forces, and at the end of June the Russian authorities were organizing every possible industry for the production of ammunition.

The fiercest fighting of the war, as far as the Baltic provinces of Russia are concerned, occurred in a battle for the mastery of the Dubysa River early in June.  The river changed hands five times in one day, and at nightfall the stream was completely choked with the bodies of thousands of dead, so that a plank roadway for artillery was laid by the Russians across a solid bridge of bodies.

HEROIC FEAT OF A CANADIAN

A thrilling and unprecedented feat was performed by Lieut.  R. A. J. Warneford, a Canadian aviator, when alone in an aeroplane, he destroyed a Zeppelin airship with its crew of twenty-eight men in Belgium.  He received the Victoria Cross for his exploit, but a few days later was killed while testing a new aeroplane near Paris.  He was buried with naval honors in London, June 23.

On July 3, 1915, when the twelfth month of the Great War began, it was conservatively estimated that the total losses on all sides, including killed, wounded and missing, had exceeded six millions of men.  Over vessels had been destroyed, including 120 ships of war.

DEADLOCK IN THE WEST

During July and August there were no general engagements of importance in the Western theatre of war.  The deadlock continued.  The troops along the Western battle lines were, however, subjected almost daily to violent artillery bombardment.

By August 22 the British line in northern France and Flanders had been lengthened from 40 miles to over 100 miles, with over 800,000 troops on the firing line.  German submarines were very active in the war zone during the month of August, over 170 merchant steamships of more than 500 tons displacement and nearly 2,000 noncombatant lives being the awful toll to date of this new method of warfare.

The British transport Royal Edward was torpedoed and sunk August 14 by a German submarine in the Aegean Sea.  Nearly 1,000 lives were lost.  The transport had on board a force of 32 officers and 1,350 men, in addition to the ship’s crew of 220 officers and men.  The troops consisted mainly of reinforcements for the 29th Division and details of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

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FALL OF WARSAW

Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was taken by the Germans August 5.  Bavarian troops under the command of Prince Leopold carried the forts of the outer and inner lines of the city’s defenses, where the rear guards of the Russian troops made a tenacious resistance.

The German armies under Gen. von Scholz and Gen. von Gallwitz advanced in the direction of the road between Lomza, Ostrov and Vyszkoy and fought a number of violent engagements.  The brave and desperate resistance of the Russians on both sides of the road between Ostrov and Rozan was without success.

Twenty-two Russian officers and 4,840 soldiers were taken prisoners.  The Germans also captured seventeen machine guns.

The fall of Warsaw marked the culmination of the greatest sustained offensive movement of the war.  Thrice before Teutonic armies had knocked at its gates, only to be denied by the strength of its defenses and the resistance of the forces holding it.

Warsaw lies on the Vistula, 625 miles southwest of Petrograd and miles east of Berlin.  It is an important industrial center and its population is estimated at not far from 900,000.

The great Russian fortress of Kovno was captured by the Germans August 17.  More than 400 cannon were taken.  The fortress was stormed in spite of the most stubborn Russian resistance.

The capture of Kovno was the most important German victory in the East after the taking of Warsaw.

Kovno fell under the eye of General von Hindenburg.  The capture of the fortress was the first personal triumph of the “old man of the Mazurian lakes” since the great Austro-German campaign in the East was inaugurated.  The six great forts defending the city from the west and southwest were simply blown to pieces by the incessant pounding of Germany’s great 42-centimeter guns and a host of minor pieces.

The forts were under direct attack for scarcely a week, demonstrating again the superiority of modern artillery over fort structures built by man.

Kovno, capital of the Russian province of that name, is on the right bank of the Niemen.  It is a fortress of the first class.  The civilian population of the city is more than 75,000.

The important Russian fortress of Novo Georgievsk, the last halting place of the Russians in Poland, fell into the hands of the Germans on August 19, after a most stubborn resistance.  The garrison consisted of 85,000 men and of these over 20,000 were taken prisoners.  Over cannon were captured and a large amount of war ammunition seized.

BATTLE OF THE BAY OF RIGA

Russian naval forces aided by British submarines, in the Gulf of Riga won a decided victory August 18 over the German fleet which penetrated the gulf on August 13.

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The great German battle cruiser Moltke, one of the finest ships of its kind afloat, was destroyed in the engagement.  The cruiser had a displacement of 23,000 tons and carried a crew of 1,107 men and officers.  Its main battery consisted of ten 11-inch guns, mounted in pairs in five turrets.  Its secondary battery contained twelve 6-inch guns.  Twelve 24-pounders and four torpedo tubes completed its armament.  The Moltke was 610 feet long over all, with a beam of 96-3/4 feet, and cost $12,000,000.

With the Moltke three German cruisers and seven torpedo boats, all unnamed, were destroyed.

The Russians lost the destroyer Novik of 1,260 tons, largest in the navy, and the gunboats Sivutch and Koriets, of 875 tons displacement.

The Russian victory did not end with the defeat of the German naval forces.  The invading fleet was accompanied by four enormous transports, all crammed with troops.  These soldiers attempted to make a landing on Pernau bay, on the northeastern shoulder of the Gulf of Riga.  They were permitted to land and were then attacked and exterminated by the Russian forces at that point.  The loss was estimated at 6,000 men.

WHITE STAB LINER ARABIC SUNK

The White Star liner Arabic, which sailed August 18 from Liverpool for New York, was sent to the bottom by a German torpedo August 19 off Fastnet on the south coast of Ireland, not far from the point at which the Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine.

Out of 429 persons aboard including crew, 39 lost their lives.  Two Americans perished—­Mrs. Josephine Bruguiere, widow of Emil Bruguiere, California millionaire banker, and Dr. E. F. Wood, of Janesville, Wis.

Capt.  Finch, who commanded the steamer, gave the following graphic account of the disaster:  “We were forty-seven miles south of Galley Head at 9:30 in the morning when I perceived the steamer Dunsley in difficulty.  Going toward her, I observed a torpedo coming for my ship, but could not discern a submarine.  The torpedo struck 100 feet from the stern, making terrible havoc of the hull.  The vessel began to settle immediately and sank in about eight minutes.

“My order from the bridge about getting the boats launched was promptly obeyed.  Two boats capsized.  We had taken every precaution while in the danger zone.  There were plenty of life-belts on deck and the boats were ready for immediate launching.  The officers and crew behaved excellently and did everything possible in the circumstances, getting people into the boats and picking up those in the sea.

“I was the last to leave, taking the plunge into the sea as the ship was going down.  After being in the water some time I was taken aboard a raft, to which I had assisted two men and women.

“If the submarine had given me a little more time, I am satisfied I could have saved everybody.”

The Arabic’s tonnage was 15,201 gross.  It was 600 feet long, 65 feet beam and 47 feet in depth.  It was built at Belfast in 1903 by Harland & Wolff.

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On September 4 the German forces under General von Beseler stormed and captured the bridgehead at Friedrichstradt, the most important defense of Riga.  The furiousness of the attacks in this region led military critics to believe that the fall of the city of Riga was imminent.

Everywhere as Russians retreated they left a trail of utter devastation, causing the Teutons to march around burning cities, finding the country devoid of food or shelter.  This destructive policy, however, resulted in saving the Czar’s army and rendering futile the hope of the Kaiser that the military forces of Russia could be crushed.

With the Russian armies in full retreat and their double line of fortresses all fallen to the invader, the apparent calm on the Western front continued to be the marvel of the European campaign, as up to September 7 no development on the Western front indicated that any effort was being made to distract the Kaiser’s attention from his victorious expedition into the territory of the Czar.

THE DARDANELLES CAMPAIGN.

The struggle of combined land and sea forces of the Allies to gain control of the Dardanelles, and thus open the way for the British and French fleets to Constantinople and the Black Sea, continued through the autumn of 1915 and furnished some of the most sanguinary battles of the war.  From the day of the landing of British troops on the Grallipoli peninsula up to the end of November the fighting was continuous and bloody.  The British losses were tremendous, while the Turkish defenders of the supposedly impregnable straits also suffered heavily, but with Mohammedan stoicism.

A terrible picture of the slaughter at Seddul-Bahr, where the British troops landed from transports under the guns of their fleet, in the face of an awful Turkish bombardment, was painted on his return to England in November by Lieutenant-Commander Josiah Wedgwood, a Liberal member of Parliament, who had received special mention for bravery at the front, and the coveted stripes of the Distinguished Service order.

“Our school books told us,” said Commander Wedgwood, “that the bloodiest battle in history was that between the confederates and federals at Sharpsburg during the American civil war, when one-third of all the men engaged were left on the field.  But Sharpsburg was a joy ride compared with Seddul-Bahr.”

Paying a tribute to the enemy, he said:  “The Turks are the finest fighters in the world, save only the Canadians and Australians.  And they proved to be humane.  They could easily have killed all those who went to succor the wounded, but I found them extraordinarily merciful as compared with the enemy in Flanders.”

Commander Wedgwood’s first view of fighting at the Dardanelles was at the so-called V beach, where a steamship, the “River Clyde,” was run aground to furnish cover for the landing of the British troops.

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“This modern ‘wooden horse of Troy,’” said Commander Wedgwood, “was run ashore on a beautiful Sunday morning, 400 yards from the medieval castle of Seddul-Bahr.  I was on the vessel, but never noticed her grounding for the horrors ahead of us in the shallow waters on the beach.  Five tows of five boats each, loaded with men, were going ashore alongside of us.  One moment it had been early morning in a peaceful country, with rustic sights and sounds and smells; the next moment, while the boats were just twenty yards from shore, the blue sea around each boat was turning red.  It was truly horrible.  Of all those brave men two-thirds died, and hardly a dozen reached unwounded the shelter of the five-foot sand dune.

“About 9 o’clock a dash across the row of lighters from the Wooden Horse was led by Gen. Napier and his brigade major.  Would they ever get to the end of the lighters and jump into the sheltering water?  No; side by side they were seen to sit down.  For one moment one thought they might be taking cover; then their legs slid out and they rolled over.

“It was the Munsters that charged first, with a sprig of shamrock on their caps; then the Dublins, the Worcesters, the Hampshires.  Lying on the beach, on the rocks, on the lighters, they cried on the Mother of God.  There, now, was Midshipman Drury swimming to a lighter which had broken loose, with a line in his mouth and a wound in his head.  If ever a boy deserved his Victoria Cross, that lad did.  And there was the captain of the River Clyde, now no longer a ship to be stuck to but a part forever of Gallipoli, alone with a boat by the spit of rock, trying to lift in the wounded under fire.

“All these things I saw as in a dream.  Columns of smoke rose from the castle and town of Seddul-Bahr as the great shells from the fleet passed over our heads and burst, and in every lull we heard the wounded.

“At 1 o’clock the Lancashires were appearing over the ridge to the left from ‘Lancashire landing.’  “We saw fifteen men in a window in the castle on the right by the water.  They signaled that they were all that remained of the Dublins who had landed at the Camber at Seddul-Bahr.  At 3 o’clock we got 150 men alive to shore.  We watched our men working to the right and up into the castle ruins—­at each corner the officer crouching in front with revolver in rest.

“When night came a house in Seddul-Bahr was burning brightly and there was a full moon.  We disembarked men at once.  All around the wounded cried for help and shelter against the bullets, but there was no room on boats or gang-way for anything but the men to come to shore.

“For two nights no one had slept and then another day dawned.  We were firmly ashore at Lancashire landing, and at Du Toit’s battery to the northeast, and the Australians were dug in at Anzac.  An end had to be made of V beach.  The whole fleet collected and all morning blew the ridge and castle and town to pieces.

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“And all the time that wonderful infantry went forward up the hill and through the ruined town.  The troops that went in that attack had already lost half their strength; the officers that led up those narrow streets were nearly all killed.  Dead beat, at 1 o’clock, before the final rush, they hesitated.  Then our last colonel, a staff man, Col.  Doughty Wylie, ran ashore with a cane, ran right up the hill, ran through the last handful of men sheltering under the crest, took them with a rush into the Turkish trench, and fell with a bullet through his head.  But the Turks ran and the ridge was ours.”

Many weeks of bloody fighting followed and while there was talk early in November of a possible abandonment of the Dardanelles campaign, the end of the month found the struggle still in progress, with no end in sight.

Official figures made public October 15, show that the British casualties at the Dardanelles up to October 9 were 96,899, of whom 1,185 were officers.  The casualties among the Australian troops on the Gallipoli peninsula up to the same date amounted to 29,121 officers and men.

THE ATTITUDE OF GREECE.

On September 23, acting upon the advice of Premier Venizelos, King Constantine of Greece ordered a general mobilization of the Greek army, “as a measure of elementary prudence in view of the mobilization of Bulgaria.”  Ten days later Premier Venizelos resigned upon official notice that the King could not support his war policy, which was believed to reflect the sentiments of the Greek peop