From that moment, in fact, Germany lost the initiative and the direction of the war. And, furthermore, she was condemned to suffer the counter-effects of the enormous and precipitate effort which she had made in vain. From the point of view of her effectiveness and her regimental cadres, (basic organization,) she had undergone a wastage which her adversaries, on the other hand, had been able to save themselves. She had, in the words of the proverb, put all her eggs in one basket, and in spite of her large population she could no longer, owing to the immediate and sterile abuse which she had made of her resources, pretend to regain the superiority of numbers.
She was reduced to facing as best she could on both war fronts the unceasingly increasing forces of the Allies. She had attained the maximum of tension and had secured a minimum of results. She had thus landed herself in a difficulty which will henceforward go on increasing and which is made clear when the wastage which her army has suffered is closely studied.
Chapter II. of this section of the review bears the headline “Wastage of German Effectives."
The wastage of effectives is easy to establish, it says. We have for the purpose two sources—the official lists of losses published by the German General Staff and the notebooks, letters, and archives of soldiers and officers killed and taken prisoners. These different documents show that by the middle of January the German losses on the two fronts were 1,800,000 men.
These figures are certainly less than the reality, because, for one thing, the sick are not comprised, and, for another, the losses in the last battle in Poland are not included. Let us accept them, however; let us accept also that out of these 1,800,000 men 500,000—this is the normal proportion—have been able to rejoin after being cured. Thus the final loss for five months of the campaign has been 1,300,000 men, or 260,000 men per month. These figures agree exactly with what can be ascertained when the variations of effectives in certain regiments are examined.
It is certain that the majority of the German regiments have had to be completely renewed. What, then, is the situation created by these enormous losses?
This question is answered by a statement headed “German troops available for 1915."
The total of German formations known at the beginning of January, says the review, represented in round numbers 4,000,000 men. According to the official reports on German recruiting, the entire resources of Germany in men amount to 9,000,000. But from these 9,000,000 have to be deducted men employed on railways, in the police, and in certain administrations and industries—altogether 500,000 men. The total resources available for the war were therefore 8,500,000. Out of these about one-half, say 4,000,000, are now at the front. The definitive losses represent at least 1,300,000 men. The available resources amounted, then, at the beginning of January, to 3,200,000 men.