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The clockworks of mobilization; perfect order and quiet everywhere—General acceptance by all classes and factions of the necessities of a war not sought by Germany.
The German mobilization was the greatest movement of people that the world has ever seen. Nearly four million men had to be transported from every part of the empire to her borders. The manner in which the population is distributed made this task extremely difficult. Berlin, Rhenish Westphalia, Upper Silesia and Saxony especially had to send their contingents in every direction, since the eastern provinces are more thinly settled and had to have a stronger guard for the borders immediately. The result was a hurrying to and fro of thousands and hundreds of thousands of soldiers, besides a flood of civilians who had to reach their homes as soon as possible. Countries where the population is more regularly distributed have an easier task than Germany, with its predominating urban population. The difficulties of the gigantic undertaking were also increased by the necessity for transporting war materials of every sort. In the west are chiefly industrial undertakings, in the east mainly agricultural. Horse raising is mostly confined to the provinces on the North Sea and the Baltic, but chiefly to East Prussia, and this province, the furthest away from France, had to send its best horses to the western border, as did also Schleswig-Holstein and Hanover. Coal for our warships had to go in the other direction. From the Rhenish mines it went to the North Sea, from Upper Silesia to the Baltic. Ammunition and heavy projectiles were transported from the central part of the empire to the borders. And everywhere these operations had to be carried on with haste. One can thus say that the German mobilization was the greatest movement of men and materials that the world has ever seen.
And how was it carried on? No one could have wondered if there had been hundreds of unforeseen incidents, if military trains had arrived at their stations with great delays, if there had resulted in many places a wild hugger-mugger from the tremendous problems on hand. But there was not a trace of this. On the Monday evening of the first week of mobilization a high officer of the General Staff said: “It had to go well today, but how about tomorrow, the main day?” Tuesday evening saw no reason for complaint, no delay, no requests for instructions. All had moved with the regularity of clockwork. Regiments that had been ordered to mobilize in the forenoon left in the evening for the field, fully equipped. Not a man was lacking. There were no deserters, no shirkers, no cowards. Instead, there were volunteers whose numbers far exceeded the number that could be used. Every German wanted to do his duty.