SINN FEIN REBELLION.—Some of the more radical among the Irish Home Rule party had formed an organization known as the Sinn Fein (shin f[=a]n), an Irish phrase which means “for ourselves.” Their aim was to make Ireland an independent nation. The leaders of this group got into correspondence with persons in Germany and were promised military assistance if they would rebel against England. The rebellion broke out April 24, 1916, without the promised help from Germany. For several days the rebels held some of the principal buildings in Dublin. After much bloodshed the rebellion was put down, and Sir Roger Casement, one of those who had been in communication with Germany, was executed for treason.
SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDY.—1. On an outline map of Europe indicate the countries engaged in the war at the end of 1916. Indicate the date of the entrance of each and the side on which it was fighting. 2. Collect pictures illustrative of life in the Balkans and of the war in that region. 3. Locate Armenia. What do you know of the race and religion of its population? 4. Where is Bagdad? Why is it important for the British Empire that the valley of the Tigris-Euphrates should not fall into the possession of a strong hostile power? What do you know of the history of this region in ancient times? What may become of Mesopotamia at the close of the war? 5. In regard to Roumania tell what you know of its race, language, religion, and industries prior to the war. Compare this country with Bulgaria in regard to the facts you have mentioned.
Cyclopedia (C.P.I.); Study of the Great
War (C.P.I.); McKinley, Collected Materials for the Study
of the War; New York Times History of the European War.
THE WAR IN 1917
THE WESTERN FRONT.—During the winter of 1916-1917 there was little infantry warfare in France, although the heavy guns kept up their cannonades. In the spring of 1917 the Allies planned a great drive on the enemy positions in the valley of the Somme. But in March the Germans began a general retirement to a more easily defended line—the so-called Hindenburg line—on a front of one hundred miles, from Arras (ar-rahss’) to Soissons (swah-sawn’). Completely destroying the villages, churches, castles, vineyards, and orchards, they left a desolate waste behind them. In this retreat the Germans gave up French territory to the extent of thirteen hundred square miles.
The German retirement was closely followed by British and French troops. Great courage was shown by Canadian troops in the taking of Vimy Ridge on April 9. In the following month many attacks were made by the British and French, which resulted in the taking of nearly 50,000 prisoners and large quantities of munitions, and the breaking through the Hindenburg line in one place. During the summer and fall the Allied attacks continued to win small territorial gains. The artillery fire was very heavy during all this time. During a period of three weeks the French city of Rheims (reemz or r[)a]nss) alone, with its magnificent cathedral almost in ruins, was bombarded with 65,000 large caliber German shells.