These will be taken mainly from the “War Diaries,” which Article 75 of the German Army Regulations for Field Service enjoins upon soldiers to keep during their marches, and which were seized by the French upon the persons of their prisoners, as military papers, as authorized by Article 4 of The Hague Convention of 1907. The number of these is daily increasing, and I trust that some day, for the edification of all, the complete collection may be lodged in the Germanic section of manuscripts in the National Library. Meantime, the Marquis de Dampierre, paleographer and archivist, graduate of the Ecole des Chartes, is preparing, and will shortly publish, a volume in which the greater part of these notebooks will be minutely described, transcribed, and clarified. Personally, I have only examined about forty of them, but they will answer my purpose, by presenting relevant extracts, furnishing the name, rank, and regiment of the author, with indications of time and place. Classification is difficult, mainly because ten lines of a single text not infrequently furnish evidence of a variety of offenses. I must take them almost at random, grouping them under such analogies or association of ideas or images as they may offer.
The first notebook at hand is that of a soldier of the Prussian Guard, the Gefreiter Paul Spielmann, (of Company I, First Brigade of the Infantry Guard.) He tells the story of an unexpected night alarm on the 1st of September in a village near Blamont. The bugle sounds, and the Guard, startled from sleep, begins the massacre, (Figs. 1 and 2:)
[Illustration: Figure 1.]
The inhabitants fled through the village. It was horrible. The walls of houses are bespattered with blood and the faces of the dead are hideous to look upon. They were buried at once, some sixty of them. Among them many old women, old men, and one woman pregnant—the whole a dreadful sight. Three children huddled together—all dead. Altar and arches of the church shattered. Telephone communication with the enemy was found there. This morning, Sept. 2, all the survivors were driven out; I saw four little boys carrying on two poles a cradle with a child some five or six months old. The whole makes a fearful sight. Blow upon blow! Thunderbolt on thunderbolt! Everything given over to plunder. I saw a mother with her two little ones—one of them had a great wound in the head and an eye put out.
Deserved repression, remarks this soldier: “They had telephone communication with the enemy.” And yet, we may recall that by Article 30 of The Hague Convention of 1907, signed on behalf of H.M. the Emperor of Germany, “no collective penalty, pecuniary or other, shall be proclaimed against a population, by reason of individual acts for which the population is not responsible in solido.” What tribunal during that dreadful night took the pains to establish this joint participation?