Handbook of War Facts and Peace Problems
NEW ACTIVITIES OF THE CITIZEN
Organized Patriotism.---This was a Liberty War, a People's War. Therefore each man, woman, And child had his part. We put America before our party, our society, our class, our union. Those of us who were born abroad or whose parents were born abroad felt more than ever that this was now our country, that we received its protection and enjoyed its opportunities and must give it full allegiance; and the rest of us remembered that only those who do this are "one hundred per cent. American." We understood that it was not only our war, but that the fate of the world hung in the balance, and were ready to make any sacrifice. It was the first war in which our whole people were united in feeling and action. It therefore became the greatest force in our history for national unification.
Everyone felt the call to work. To be idle was to betray the nation. We all "mobilized" and found out what we could do. Work on pure luxuries and non-essentials was dropped. We concentrated on the essentials. We have been wasters of food, clothing, fuel, and other people's service. $700,000,000 in food is said to have been wasted in 1916. Patriotism demanded that we adopt as a nation new habits of thrift. In doing this we saved money, and this money we could and did put into Liberty Bonds and War Saving Stamps and Thrift Stamps, serving both the country and ourselves. We are learning the first lessors of a private economy such as have long been familiar to the nations of Europe.
Millions of us joined some of the great societies that were helping the government in war and in reconstruction work; for by joining our efforts with those of others we got greater results. There were several such organizations. The Red Cross looked after the sick and wounded soldiers and the destitute families abroad, distributing large sums and supplies to the military and civilians in allied countries and supplying nurses to the army. The Y. M. C. A., the Knights of Columbus, the Salvation Army and the Jewish Welfare Board lived with the soldiers, distributed to them the gifts made by the people at home, and tried to keep them healthy in body and spirit. The American Library Association kept the men, supplied with literature. All these organizations acted in the camps under the Commission of Training Camp Activities, and at its request. The Y. W. C. A. looked after the welfare of the several million women who were serving in various capacities in or near the camps and cantonments.
How our people grew in intensity of patriotism is shown by the increasing numbers who subscribed to the Liberty Loans (nearly 21,000,000 contributed to the Fourth Loan), by the enormous membership of the Red Cross and the millions given to it, and by the contributions to the special funds that kept alive millions of our Allies and of the oppressed peoples of Europe and Asia. It is reckoned that since the beginning of the war over $4,000,000,000 have been raised in America by voluntary subscriptions, for war aid activities.
Our social conditions have been fundamentally affected. The need of keeping drink from our soldiers gave a tremendous impetus to prohibition, which has irresistably swept the whole country, culminating in the Prohibition Amendment to the Constitution. The Social evil is an even more fundamental question with the army, and the frank discussion of it and the application of remedial and protective measures will have a permanently beneficial effect on the nation.
Racial Americanization Leagues.---One of the results of the effort to bring the entire American nation to take part in the Liberty Loans has been the establishment of large independent National Leagues, such as the Slavic National League, the Swedish National League and the Danish League. The object of each one of these three was to perfect the Americanization of their race in this country and to secure complete cooperation in all efforts to win the war. They furnished part of the machinery for our government to use in spreading any information or appeal, and they also worked to secure a better understanding of America in their mother lands. These leagues were formed at the time of the Third Loan. Similar leagues exist for the Hungarians, and on a large scale for the Italians. In the large cities "American Houses" are being established in the foreign quarters.
The War Chest for War Relief.---One of the big consolidations put through in 1918 was that of the War Relief subscriptions. By June, 42 State Councils of Defense had reported responsibility for the supervision of the solicitation of funds. It is said that, first and last, there have been in this country about 16,000 different funds for which money has been solicited of the public. This led of course to wastefulness of effort and of money. The important soliciting agencies fell into two main groups: (1) Solicitors of funds for foreign national relief; (2) solicitors for war workers.
To the first class belonged especially the agencies for Belgian Relief, for Polish Relief, for Armenian and Syrian Relief, and for Jewish Relief. There were also agencies for French Relief; for the maimed, for the wounded, for free milk, for food, for reconstruction, for hospitals, for orphans.
In the second group were seven big organizations, besides the Red Cross. They were the Salvation Army, and six organizations working under the Commission on Training Camp Activities---the Y. M. C. A., National Catholic War Council (Knights of Columbus), Jewish Welfare Board, Y. W. C. A., Library Association, and War Camp Community Service. These were authorized to conduct national subscription campaigns, and were backed by the Defense organizations in every state. In 1918 these seven, with the authorization of the Government, arranged to join forces and establish a single fund-raising organization. The drive of November 1918 was for $170,500,000 to be apportioned pro-rata among the seven, according to the proportions raised by each one separately in its last separate drive. Over $200,000,000 was raised during this campaign.
Young Americans as Producers.---How to mobilize the school children of the country for war work with benefit instead of harm to themselves was a problem. A large proportion of the younger boys joined the Boy Scouts which numbered 442,000 at the close of the war. An organization of Girl Scouts was started. During vacation time useful work was carried on by school units under direction of teachers and other volunteers. The school houses were made centres of teaching and practise by representatives of the Department of Agriculture, or the U. S. Food Administration, or the Bureau of Child Welfare. The boys and girls not only helped cultivate several hundred thousand war garden plots, but went out on the farms to help the farmers. The various State Councils of Defense organized what is called the Boys Working Reserve, and arrangements were made to have school boys help the farmers in their section. School children were also organized into canning units under experienced teachers, thus contributing to the Nation's stock of food and the same time learning valuable lessons in diet and in food values.
The Government, at the same, time took extraordinary pains to safeguard Child health. The War Labor Policies Board decided that children under fourteen were not to be employed in war industries, and that those between fourteen and sixteen were not to be employed for more than eight hours a day.
Woman's Work Widened.---The women of America were called upon to enter more and more varied fields of work, until there was practically nothing but actual fighting in which they did not take part. The Land Army of America is one of a number of organizations, directing woman's entry into the field of agriculture, especially in the establishment of units wherever the farms require help. Factories, offices, stores, warehouses, street cars, railways, and police forces began to receive many applications from women. Arrangements were continually made to give women the instruction needed to make them efficient. The National League for Woman's Service was extremely active and assisted the government in securing women for training in ambulance driving, litter carrying, first aid drill, and army cooking. Women, on account of their natural quickness and their dexterity, are adepts if well taught in all the delicate work at munition factories and wherever quick and accurate handling is required. At the close of the war nearly 1,500,000 women were working in shops, factories, and other war plants, including even shipyards. This does not take account of the many women who entered other new fields. They served as police, steam and electric car conductors, R. R. ticket sellers and section hands, motion drivers, elevator runners, waiters, floorwalkers, bank employees, etc.
This work was organized and regulated by the Government Department of Labor through U. S. Employment Service, which is the largest employment agency in the world. Its plan was to publish lists of occupations in which men should be replaced by women, and thus made available for military service.
Our Attitude Towards Food.---As for the food question, aside from those rules and regulations of the U. S. Food Administration which we were forced to follow, how much have we done voluntarily? In the first place, as to production, the whole situation hinged on the farmer. His business, especially if he were a small farmer, was not remunerative. But the crisis in our food supply brought such a response from the farmer as has been amazing to the whole country, crippled though he was by the draft. He gave us crops above the average. The Government, in return, protected him by guaranteeing a minimum price especially in wheat and pork. He was helped in several unusual ways to meet the emergency: (1) By the so-called "Farmerettes"; (2) by the school children; (3) by after hours and Sunday help of the whole community; (4) by liberal loans from the government banks and insurance companies.
The "Farmerette" movement was started at the women's colleges, Bryn Mawr, Barnard, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, etc. It was difficult to overcome the doubt in the farmer's mind that such amateur help could do anything but harm; but they were successful. In New York state alone, plans were made in 1918 for two hundred working units of Farmerettes for which several hundred thousand dollars were raised. The girls were grouped into units and from these centres covered the farms that needed help in their neighborhood. They proved that women can do effectively practically every kind of farm work. The permament organization of this work has been taken in hand by the National Women's Land Army.
In certain parts of the West the crops have been saved by community action, the whole town closing shops and offices to volunteer for the work and carrying it out even at night and Sundays.
The idea that everybody who could should raise some food, no matter how little, has been carried out so generally that it is estimated there were over 5,000,000 war gardeners. This has made it possible to do an enormous amount of canning---and otherwise keeping perishable surplus. New methods and less expensive methods of doing this have been worked out, especially such as the dehydrating processes.
Individual Loyalty.---A study of the sources of the money raised to finance the war shows the individual loyalty of every class; shows that capital as well as labor contributed to the limit of each individual capacity. And this contribution helped to break. down imaginary classifications to show that there is really no such thing as "Labor" and "Capital" as distinct things. The only real things are brains, will and character. This is our greatest asset
The individual laboring man often did not understand at the beginning ginning of the war that his work to the utmost was absolutely necessary to the winning of the war, that he was part of the army at home, on account of the difference between this war and all other wars, a war based as much on materials as on men. When be did understand this he stood solidly behind his main organization, the Federation of Labor, in its support of the Government, and turned a deaf ear to the Socialist Party, the I. W. W., the Pro-Germans, and other defeatists.
I. I believe in America because of her ideals, worked out in institutions that are just.
She gives to everyone the right to rise;
To take a part in making equal laws;
To hold his neighbor equal to himself;
To speak the truth and to resent a lie;
To serve no man as master, but by toil to earn
The right to call himself a man.
The word "American" has no relation to blood. You may be of pure German blood and yet be a real American. You may be of pure Irish blood and yet be a real American. You may be of Russian, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, French, Belgian, or Austrian blood, and yet be as real an American as if your ancestors had come to this country on board the Mayflower, or had fought with Washington to create the Republic, or with Lincoln to save it. No man, women or child who wishes special privileges, is a real American. No man, woman or child who knowingly denies to another equal rights is a real American. For all Americans must "hold these truths to he self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among-these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."---(Robert McNutt McElroy, Educational Director of the. National Security League, "The Meaning of America," 1918.)
II. . . The obligation of single-minded Americanism has two sides---one as important as the other. On the one hand, every man of foreign birth or parentage must in good faith become an American and nothing else; on the other hand, if he thus in good faith, in soul and 'body becomes an American, he stands on a full and entire equality with everybody else, without any regard to his creed or birthplace or descent. One obligation is just as binding as the other.---(Theodore Roosevelt, Speeches, New York Times, July 5, 1917.)
III. Before the decision of a proposal to make war, men may range themselves upon one side or the other of the question; but after the decision in favor of war, the country has ranged itself, and the only issue left for the individual citizen is whether he is for or against his country.
From that time on arguments against the war in which the coun try is engaged are enemy arguments. Their spirit is the spirit of rebellion against the government and laws of the United States. Their effect is to hinder and lessen that popular support of the government in carrying on the war which is necessary to success... They . . . are rendering more effective service to Germany than they ever could render in the field with arms in their hands. . . . ---(Elihu Root, Speech at Chicago, September 14, 1917.)
IV. We will smash the German line in France if you will smash the Hun propaganda at Home.---(General Pershing. . . .)
The Duty of the Foreign-Born
I. There are some born abroad who have come to this land for a greater freedom and broader opportunities, and have sought and received the privileges of American citizenship, who are swayed by dislike for some ally or by the sympathies of German kinship, and fail to see that the time has come for them to make good the obligations of their sworn oaths of naturalization.
This is the oath that the applicant for citizenship makes.
That he will support the constitution of the United States, and that he absolutely and entirely renounces all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty; that he will support and. defend the constitution and laws of the United. States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith, and allegiance to the same.---(Elihu. Root, Speech at Chicago, September 14, 1917.)
II. There are too many of ancestry. like to mine, Irish-Americans, if you will, whose judgment is blinded by their hatred toward England. Let them beware lest their animosity toward England be interpreted as disloyalty to the United States....
You men of all births, for there are men of many bloods and births bearing a grievance against England, in your blind desire for retribution, you forget that in this war all must stand or fall together. If England stands, we stand; if England falls, we fall; victory and honor or defeat and dishonor shall come upon all alike. And God forbid that there should be any so base and low and blind as to wish to strike at the heart of England through the soul of their own country . . . . ---(Rt. Rev. Mgr.. James E. Cassidy, Sermon at St. Mary's Cathedral, Fall River, Mass., July 29, 1917.)
III. . . . Speaking as one born of German parents, I do not hesitate, to state it, as my deep conviction that the greatest service which men of German birth or antecedents can render to the. country of their origin is to proclaim, and to stand up for those great and fine ideals and national qualities and traditions which they inherited from their ancestors...
I know that neither Germany nor this country nor the rest of the world can return to happiness and peace and fruitful labor until it shall have been made manifest, bitterly and unmistakably manifest, to the rulers who bear the blood-guilt for this wanton war and to their misinformed and misguided people that the spirit which unchained it cannot prevail, that the hateful doctrine and methods in pursuance of which and in compliance with which., it is conducted are rejected with abhorrence by the civilized world, that the over-weening ambitions which it was meant to serve can never be achieved.--- (Otto Kahn, June 1, 1917.)
Disloyal Declaration of the American Socialist Party
The American people did not want and do not want this war and have, had no part in declaring war. They have been plunged into this war by the trickery and treachery of the ruling class of the country through its representatives in the National Administration and National Congress, its demagogic agitators, its subsidized press, .and other servile instruments of public expression.
We brand the declaration of war by our government as a crime against the people of the United States and against the nations of the world..
In all modern history there has been no war more unjustifiable than the war in which we are about to engage.
No greater dishonor has ever been forced upon a people than that which the capitalist class is forcing upon this nation against its will.---(Official Declaration of the American Socialist Party, in St. Louis, June, 1917.)
The Red Cross at Work
At the establishment of the Red Cross organization on a war basis (May 1917) its membership was approximately 500,000. The "Christmas Membership Drive," during the week ended with Christmas Eve, 1917, swelled the membership rolls to more than 23,000,000.
Appropriations from the Red Cross war fund to March 1, 1918, including those to cover budget to April 30, totaled $77,721,918. Of this amount a sum aggregating $30,936,103 was for relief work in France. A chain of warehouses was established behind the lines all the way across France, from the coast to Switzerland. The greatest motor transport organization there is in the world, outside of those actually operated by the armies, also has been developed. The Department of Military Affairs maintained, (1) a hospital supply service that provided for 3,000 hospitals, (2) a surgical dressings service that turned out and distributed hundreds of thousands of dressings every week, (3) three American Red Cross military hospitals, (4) a canteen service, in the interest of both the American and French armies.
Prisoner relief in German prison camps included emergency rations for American and other prisoners with special rations for invalids.
More than. 19,000 graduate nurses were supplied to the United States Army for service in this country and abroad by the Red Cross Nursing Service. . . .
Fifty base hospital units have been organized, each unit consisting of twenty-two surgeons and dentists, sixty-five nurses, and 152 men of the enlisted reserve corps. Nineteen of these units were in service in France. The Red Cross supplied the personnel for ten other units.---("War Work of the American Red Cross," N. Y. Times "Current History," May, 1918, condensed.)
The Young Men's Christian Association
The Young Men's Christian Association operated as a civilian organization in all of the military and naval camps in this country by sanction of the government, under direct executive order of the President and in cooperation with the War and Navy Department Commissions on Training Camp Activities.
A survey of the field in this country indicates operations at 341 points in 684 specially constructed buildings and 80 other buildings exclusive of the 16 permanent branch buildings. This work was conducted by 4005 secretaries in the field and 106 on the departmental headquarters staff.
Overseas, the program of the home camps was duplicated in more than 600 centers for American troops, ranging from more pretentious buildings to mere dugouts close to the front line trenches. There were more than 4,500 workers overseas, including secretaries, canteen workers, entertainers, mechanics, chauffeurs, motion picture operators, and other helpers.
The benefits of the Association were extended also to French and Italian armies, as well as among the prisoners of war of all the belligerent countries.---(Prepared by Y. M. C. A. for this Handbook.)
The Knights of Columbus
When the Knights of Columbus volunteered, at the very beginning of the present war, to enter the field of army relief work, buildings were erected in camps simultaneously with the construction of the camps. The Knights adopted as their slogan "Everybody Welcome and Everything Free." The K. of C. buildings are used all the time by all the men.
The Order had 468 secretaries in American Training Camps and cantonments, where 150 buildings were in operation on September 1918, and over two million dollars have been spent to secure forty-five more K. of C. huts abroad. The supplies shipped abroad included 1,500,000,000 cigarettes, and tons of candy, chewing gum, etc. Its supplies were given free to soldiers and sailors.---(Summarized from Report of the K. of C. War News Service, August, 1918.)
The Jewish Welfare Board
This is a national organization officially recognized by the United States Government on the same basis as the Y. M. C. A. and K. of C., and was the only Jewish agency authorized to do welfare work in the camps. To care for the seventy-five thousand Jewish men in the service, it had two hundred and fifty paid and trained workers in camps, cantonments, and naval training stations.
In more than one hundred and fifty cities, the Jewish Welfare Board has established community centres, which look after the welfare of the visiting soldier and sailor and his relatives.---(Summarized from report from the Board.)
The Salvation Army has in this country some twenty huts or hostels located in communities near naval and military centres. In all of these buildings social and recreational centres are provided for enlisted men.
In France the Salvation Army had nearly fifty "hutments," naval and military homes, reading-rooms, and rest rooms . . . the nearer the front lines the better. . . . A worker and his wife usually form the entire staff of the centre. The woman made pies, doughnuts, and cookies, did mending, and sought in every way to fill the place to the soldier of the mother across the sea.---(Review of Reviews, October 1918.)
Labor and the War
. . . Now, to "stand together" means that nobody must interrupt the processes of our energy, if the interruption can possibly be avoided without the absolute invasion of freedom. To put it concretely, that means this :
Nobody has the right to stop the processes of labor until all the methods of conciliation and settlement have been exhausted. ---(Speech of President Wilson, Outlook, November 12, 1917.)
If you had been with me in Germany the year before the great war broke out you would have seen, as I saw, autocracy at work, intimidating and coercing labor, spying on it, policing its meetings, suppressing free speech. When all these methods failed, you would have seen as I saw, autocracy trying to corrupt labor, misleading it by insidious propaganda, seeking to raise up false leaders, and using the power of money and influence to debauch those who seek to mitigate the condition of the workers.---(George W. Perkins, President Cigar Makers' I. U., Granite Cutters' Journal, June 1918.)
It is an imperative duty from which there is no escape that wage earners, as well as all other citizens of this Republic, support our Government in its righteous effort to defend principles of humanity and to establish democracy in international relations. Because we desire permanent peace, it is our duty to fight and sacrifice until these purposes can be achieved. . . ---(The American Federation of Labor, Executive Committee Report, Nov. 12, 1917.)
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF MILITARY OPERATIONS
The Four Stages.---In reviewing the broad outlines of the war, it falls naturally into four periods.
First. The first and most important, though brief, period is the five weeks, from August 4 to September 10, 1914, during which the first great German offensive for the crushing of France passed like a steam roller across Belgium and Northern France. It was defeated at the Battle of the Marne, which saved civilization.
Second. The second period is that in which Russia is an important factor. For three years---1914, 1915, and 1916---it was Russia that most unexpectedly and heroically stayed Germany's power. Though rent by treason that cost her millions of lives, Russia, during this period, kept almost as many men of the Central Powers busy as England and France combined. This period has two subdivisions, one before and one after May 1915, when Italy entered the war.
Third. Then Russia dropped out and the United States came in. This change is the keynote of 1917 and 1918. There is a gap between the two events, a critical period before we made ourselves felt, when all that England and France could do was to "hang on" with their backs to the wall.
Fourth. Then comes the closing stage: as much of a whirlwind stage as the first weeks before the Marne. It is the second battle of the Marne, which we Americans will always associate with Château Thierry, Belleau Woods, the St. Mihiel Salient, and the Argonne Forest. It turned the Germans back once more from Paris and swept them back across Belgium and Northern France until the Armistice saved them from complete disaster. This was the work accomplished between the beginning of Foch's offensive in July and November 11, 1918.
The First Stage
Belgium.---The German plan of campaign was simple and had been long ago worked out in every detail. The fortresses along the French frontier, such as Verdun and Belfort, were considered practically impregnable and, as rapidity of action was essential, the time supposed to be necessary to reduce them would have ruined the German schedule. For this reason the march through Belgium had long been decided upon. The Germans did not realize that with their new and tremendously powerful artillery they could have reduced the French fortresses in a few days, as was proved by their quick destruction of the Belgian fortresses of Liège, Namur, and Antwerp.
The German staff thought they could reach Paris through Belgium in a couple of weeks, not supposing that the puny and unprepared Belgian army would dare resist. But the plucky fight of the Belgians, and the resistance of the forts of Liège and Namur, not only delayed for nearly two weeks the attack on France, but obliged the main German army to change its route to one further north through Brussels, which was not defended.
Just then, and before the swing across the French border was under way, there came a second bitter disappointment to the German staff. It had reckoned on slowness of Russian mobilization, and had calculated that no considerable Russian army could be massed on the German border before Paris had been taken and France brought to her knees. So, Germany placed only a thin curtain of troops on the Russian frontier, expecting to move her troops from France to Russia in time to meet any Russian onslaught a couple of months after the declaration of war.
But news came, about August 20, that a Russian army had already invaded East Prussia in force, and at this crucial moment German troops had to be deflected from Belgium to meet this attack.
Invasion of France.---Meanwhile, France had gained two weeks to complete the mobilization of her army and to re-group it toward the Belgian instead of the German frontier. But here she made a great mistake. Instead of concentrating all her forces to meet the German invasion in the north, she divided them and attempted a counter offensive in the east, through Alsace-Lorraine. This was a disastrous failure and would have led to the fall of Paris, even after the German errors just mentioned, had it not been for three things: the appointment of General Joffre to supreme command; the arrival of a small British army across the path of the onrushing Germans; and the hurling of a secretly-gathered Paris army, brought up by thousands of motors, on the flank of the German right wing.
Kluck's army was within 25 miles of Paris, when he turned east to act as the right arm of the pincers, with the Crown Prince as the left arm, to encircle and crush the French. The battles of Mons and Charleroi in those few days brought success to the Germans and slaughter to the British and French, but Joffre coolly managed a general retreat to a line where a stand could be made. During this retreat the British were again decimated at Cambrai and St. Quentin. As a precaution the French capital was moved to Bordeaux, in the south. The Germans then reached the Marne, but without having routed the Allies. Here came Joffre's historic message to his army, to stand and then to attack; a thing Kluck had thought impossible, as he considered the French demoralized.
Battle of the Marne.---For five days, from the 6th to the 10th of September one of the most decisive battles in history was fought and won by the French: the first Battle of the Marne. Paris was saved, and so was France. The Germans were driven back to the Aisne. But neither the French nor the British could dislodge the Germans from the line of this river. Here they entrenched, and the war passed from open to trench warfare along the entire line.
Kluck's army, which had come the nearest to Paris, was only one of a group of three German armies, each approaching from a different part of the frontier, from Verdun (the Crown Prince's army) to Flanders. They were expected to join forces before Paris, but the junction was never made.
The Second Stage
Race for the Channel.---As soon as the Paris assault was blocked the Germans changed their objective to the English Channel, and when the French and British realized this there began a race for the sea between the two armies along the Belgian border as well as within Belgium, each trying to turn the other's northern flank.
The race lasted from September 20 till October 20. With it was connected the siege and capture of Antwerp, which the British tried unsuccessfully to defend. The Germans also captured Lille, the most important manufacturing centre of Northern France, and Lens, the centre of her coal mines. Still the Germans, while they occupied Ostend and Zeebrugge, the Belgian ports, failed in their attempt to reach the Channel ports, especially Calais and Boulogne. The centre of the long fight was along the line of the Yser. By the middle of November the opposing forces, entrenched for the winter, were facing each other on two unbroken lines, and a new British army had reached France to replace the first heroic force of less than 100,000 men which had been almost entirely wiped out.
Russian Invasions of Prussia and Galicia.---Meantime events of almost equal importance had been happening on the eastern fronts. The Russian invasion of East Prussia had carried everything before it, and it seemed as if the road to Berlin was open, when Hindenburg gained a big victory at Tannenberg, capturing 70,000 Russians.
The main Russian thrust, however, was not against Germany but against Austria through Galicia, to crush her armies and march on Berlin. The battle centred first around Lemberg, the capital of Galicia, which was captured by the Russians on September 5th, after the defeat of the main Austrian army. This was the first great allied victory. The Austrian situation was made even more serious by the utter failure of the Austrian invasion of Serbia. The Serbians had defeated the Austrians on the Jedar in August and were threatening Hungary. Germany rushed her own troops to help Austria, but was not in time to prevent Austrian disasters at Rawaruska and Jaroslav, which opened up the road to Cracow and Przemysl.
The situation was black for Germany and Austria: Bulgaria and Turkey drew back; Rumania began to plan to join the Allies; the Russians pressed forward to Przemysl, and threatened Hungary across the Carpathians. The whole Russian battle line was in motion from the Baltic to the region of Cracow,---East Prussia was once more invaded, and the Germans defeated at Augustovo, in Poland. Bosnia and Herzegovina were invaded by the Serbs. The German forces in France and Belgium, badly reduced by the call to go East, were besieged all along the line.
Turkey Joins Germany.---But the gloom lifted for the Central Powers when (October 29) Turkey decided to join them, and so reopened the "Eastern question" and threw open to Germany the gateway to the East. It was the presence in Constantinople and the activities of the two refugee German cruisers, the Goeben and Breslau, that precipitated the rupture by giving the Turks valuable war vessels and a promised German help. The British blunder in allowing them to escape at Messina had far-reaching consequences.
German Invasion of Poland.---But Austria must still be saved from the Russian invasion. This Germany attempted to accomplish by invading Russian Poland and marching on Warsaw, between the two wings of the advancing Russians and against their unprotected centre. This led to the battle of the Vistula. The great German effort was now made on this frontier, and for several months the centre of the war was no longer in France but in the East.
The Germans had already reached the suburbs of Warsaw when great Russian forces gathered in desperate haste, and threw them back all along the line (October 20). The German retreat was orderly, but that of the Austrians in Galicia was disastrous. The Kaiser again turned for help to Hindenburg, who organized two successive skilful invasions of Russian Poland, which were partially successful, with a great victory at Lodz. The Russians allowed Germany to occupy part of Poland, while they attempted to complete the defeat of Austria, by the capture of Cracow and Przemysl and the invasion of Hungary and Bukovina.
German Stalemate.---At the beginning of 1915 what was the result to date? The answer depends entirely on the point of view. If we compare it with what Germany had expected to accomplish, which was the complete subjugation of both France and Russia, we must agree that Germany had failed. If, on the other hand, we look upon the struggle as merely one between two opponents for mastery, the decision goes to Germany on points, because she had kept the struggle on ground outside of her own territory on both fronts and had caused untold losses in the countries of her enemies. Against this she had lost her port in China, her islands in the Pacific and was in the course of losing her Empire in Africa. Her ships had been driven from the sea, and her submarines had only begun to be effective. The important factor against her, however, was the weakness of Austria and Turkey against both of whom Russia was scoring great successes. The "Holy War" against England had failed. India was loyal, and Serbia had repelled two invasions.
Russians Defeated in East Prussia But Victors in Galicia.---But a change came in February, due to the new German leader, Hindenburg. The Russian army had been pressing forward in East Prussia toward the famous morasses of the Mazurian Lakes, impassable except when frozen. Hindenburg, after an unsuccessful offensive in Poland, secretly concentrated large forces further north, and having marched south overwhelmed the Russians and shot, captured, or drowned about 100,000 in the Mazurian Lakes. This ended, before the middle of February, the second Russian invasion of East Prussia. This Russian defeat was more than balanced by Russian successes in Galicia, culminating in the capture (March 22) of the greatest Austrian fortress, Przemysl, with a large army, thus opening the way into Hungary.
Russian Defeats in Galicia and Poland.---Next Hindenburg planned to overwhelm the unsuspecting Russians in Galicia. He had entirely reorganized the Austrian army, put in German high officers and generals and on May 1, General Mackensen being in command, a tremendous artillery attack broke out along the Russian line at the Dunajec, especially near Gorlice. The Russian trenches had no adequate heavy artillery protection. It was a massacre, and a relentless pursuit. The Russians were driven across the river San; they lost Przemysl and then Lemberg, and Galicia was evacuated before the end of June. But this was not all. The attack was continuous along the whole Russian line from the Baltic to the Carpathians---in Courland, Lithuania, and Russian Poland. Libau, Kovno, Novo Georgievsk, and Grodno were captured, and the Polish capital Warsaw fell August 5. The Russian losses are said to have come to the enormous totals of 1,200,000 killed and wounded, 900,000 prisoners, and 65,000 square miles of territory.
Italy Enters the War.---Italy's entrance into the war in May, 1915, had but little influence on the general trend or on the disposition of the forces of the Central Powers, because she frankly was in it for her own ends, the conquest of "Italia Irredenta," and did not make her campaign interlock with that of the other Allies. She kept, however, a considerable part of the Austrian army on her northern border occupied in local mountain warfare.
Second Battle of Ypres.---On the western front in France the conditions were unchanged. The British offensive at Neuve Chapelle was a terribly costly mistake. The right sort of artillery ammunition was not at hand, nor the requisite number of machine guns. The later French offensive in and near the Champagne was also a comparative failure. In April the Germans took the offensive in the second battle of Ypres, using asphyxiating gas, and nearly breaking through to Paris.
Serbia Conquered.---Autumn saw disaster to the Allies in the Balkans. Allied diplomacy committed here one of the worst of its many blunders. Not only was it ignorant of the alliance between Bulgaria and Germany, but it was so confident that Bulgaria would side with the Allies, or at least remain neutral, that it forbade Serbia (which knew better) to attack Bulgaria before her mobilization, and did not send any Anglo-French forces---too few in any case---to help Serbia until it was too late to save her. Nor did it do anything to prevent Greece, misled by her Germanized king, Constantine, from breaking her treaty of alliance with Serbia, which pledged her to fight by her side. Serbia's terrible martyrdom, therefore, is entirely the fault of her big and little allies. She had heroically repelled three invasions. But the invasion in October, 1915, saw Austrian, German, and Bulgarian armies, under the direction of the German General Mackensen, attacking her from all sides in overwhelming numbers. Her forces were split. Her northern army made an heroic and terrible retreat across the mountains of Albania, while Italy and Greece looked on.
When Nish was captured (November 6), the struggle had to be given up, and the Anglo-French forces, that were reaching up feebly at the eleventh hour from Salonica, withdrew. Early in December Monastir was taken by the Austro-Germans, and the lines of the Salonica army were being attacked after being defeated at the Vardar.
Armenian and Other Massacres.---This year saw the terrible Armenian and Hellenic massacres and deportations in Turkey and the similar massacres in Serbia by Austrians and Bulgars, with complete destruction of the country. It also saw the campaign of extermination by the Germans in Poland by famine and deportation. The dead among the civilian populations during this year surpassed the number of those killed in battle on all the fronts, and is estimated at over three million, including almost all the children and a large part of the women.
Germans Attack Verdun.---On the western front, 1916 may be called "Verdun Year." The Germans having given up hope of reaching Paris and the Channel by the northern frontier, decided to pierce through at the top of the east front, where Verdun defended the gap between the Vosges mountains to the south and the Argonne forest to the north. Just below Verdun they had gained in 1914 the famous salient of St. Mihiel, which the French had tried without success to regain in 1915. It was the army of the "Crown Prince" which occupied this part of the line.
The Germans knew that the Allies were preparing a spring offensive above the Aisne and were concentrating big reserves of men and munitions in the north. So they planned the Verdun offensive in the East, where the Allied line would be weakest. The German artillery started a terrific bombardment February 21, the infantry capturing the first French lines. At least 225,000 German infantry attacked, on a five mile front. Douaumont was captured. But General Petain came, with reinforcements. First Vaux (March 8-11), and then Le Mort Homme (March 14-16) was the center of terrific fighting in which the German losses were tremendous. It was a massacre. The battle line extended to nearly 30 miles, with some 500,000 Germans engaged, and about one mile in depth gained. The French heroic defense time and again was close to collapse, but Petain issued the famous historic order that ran through the trenches: "They shall not pass," (Ils ne passeront pas), and Petain became the hero of France. This fight which raged all through March and into April, was the most hellish of the war. The casualties on both sides are said to have been 500,000. In May and June the Germans made great gains, coming within three miles of Verdun itself, and it seemed as if Verdun might fall. But the French still held Hill 304 when the great Allied offensive on the Somme began on July 1 and relieved the pressure on Verdun forever.
As yet there had been no general concerted plan of action among the Allies. Joffre, Kitchener and the Grand Duke Nicholas had each followed his own plans, and many failures had resulted, but toward the end of April a very important step was taken in the formation of a general Allied War Council to secure unity of action in the diplomatic, military, and economic fields.
Battle of the Somme.---The second stage of the year, on the western front is marked by the Battle of the Somme; which developed into a struggle around the little river Ancre. At last the Allies had accumulated a large enough supply of guns, ammunition and airplanes; had perfected roads and railways. Both French and British were to attack. On July 1 the battle began that was to last without intermission until winter. Its immediate objective was Bapaume for the British and Peronne for the French. Its purpose was to pierce the three parallel German lines by frontal attacks, and then to change the fighting from trench warfare to fighting in the open. But though the fighting was heroic and though tremendous losses were incurred, and though the Germans were pushed back in places in their third line, the break never came, and the Germans perfected behind their third line a new system of defense---the "pill-boxes."
The losses of the French and the British were entirely out of proportion to the result gained---a narrow belt of devastated soil. The one encouraging feature was the tremendous success of that new invention the "tanks."
New Russian Offensives.---On the Eastern front the terrible losses which the Russians had suffered did not prevent them from most unexpectedly taking the offensive, not only against the Turks in Armenia where they gained important victories under Grand Duke Nicholas, but in Galicia where the new commander-in-chief, Brusiloff, showed extraordinary ability. After a brilliant victory at Lutsh (June 6), all Bukovina was conquered and before the offensive ended, in August, about 350,000 Austrians had been captured.
We know now that the frightful losses of the Russians in all these campaigns was largely caused by the treachery of pro-German Russians in the highest positions, such as the minister of war, Soukhomlinoff, and the Premier Stuermer. They left the army without heavy artillery, ammunition, guns, provisions or equipment, to be slaughtered.
This offensive of Brusiloff's in June, in Bukovina and Galicia threatened Lemberg, and seemed as if it would be the greatest help to Rumania when she declared war on Germany, August 27.
Rumania Joins the Allies.---The documents unearthed in Petrograd by the Bolsheviki, in the archives of the old government, show the real reason for the entrance of Rumania into the war at a time when she was so woefully unprepared that her downfall was inevitable. These documents show that, "Rumania was the victim of a terrible plot hatched in Berlin, in concert with the men of the old regime at Petrograd, enemies of the cause they were called upon to defend." The date of the declaration of war and the plan of campaign were forced upon Rumania by the government at Petrograd, presided over by Stuermer and Protopopoff, who aimed at having Russia desert her allies and conclude a separate peace with Germany.
"On July 1, the Imperial Russian Government sent to the Rumanian government the now famous ultimatum," ordering it to invade Austria through Transylvania, though Rumania lacked heavy artillery and ammunition and had absolutely no machine guns. Rumania had an enormous frontier line of about eight hundred miles to defend, and was liable to be attacked not only by the Austrians, but by the Turks, the Bulgars, and a German army under Mackensen, as well as by one under Falkenhayn. Russia promised to start a simultaneous offensive in Bukovina. She promised artillery. She promised that Bulgaria would not attack. None of the promises were kept, by arrangement with Berlin.
Rumania Overwhelmed.---The program was carried out in Berlin and Petrograd as planned. Russian assistance was treacherously held back. The Allied Salonica army did not intervene. The Rumanian troops fought heroically but hopelessly, and then came German occupation and exploitation. Thus ended the year, with the Allies outwitted and out-generalled at every point, and with Germany on the way to realize the Eastern part of her Pan-German program through her complete triumph in the Balkans and the subservience of Turkey.
Holding so many trump cards Germany felt safe in putting out, in December, a vague "feeler" for peace, to test the temper of the Allies and to placate the United States; but the responses gave no hope of such a peace as she was ready to accept.
Jutland Sea Fight.---At sea the British fleet remained supreme. The famous battle of Jutland in May, between the High Sea fleets of Germany and England ended in a draw, lucky for the Germans; but they never ventured again to challenge England, and turned their energies entirely to developing their submarine fleet.
Allied Plans.---Notwithstanding all these disappointments and disasters the hopes of the Allies ran high at the beginning of 1917. The Russian army was equipped as it had never been before. England had placed at her head the uncompromising, resourceful, and popular Lloyd George; and the Allies had boldly proclaimed, as the basis for future peace, the principles of freedom, self-determination, and the abolishment of militarism that were afterward adopted by President Wilson. A double offensive was planned, both by the English and French armies in France and by the Russians against Germany and Austria. In the East all preparations had been made to retrieve the British defeat in Mesopotamia, to capture Bagdad, to effect a junction between the British army and the Russians coming down from Armenia and through Persia, so forming a ring around Turkey, forcing her out of the war, and ruining the Eastern Pan-German scheme.
The Third Stage
Russia Drops Out of War.---The first step was successful and Bagdad was occupied by the British, but the two larger offensives were never started because, suddenly, the Russian revolution began, the Czar was deposed on March 15, the advance of the Russians in the East was stopped, and almost immediately the whole Russian front was paralyzed and the situation radically changed. Treason fomented by German gold became more rampant than ever. The Russian army became disorganized, the troops refused to obey orders, shot many of their officers, refused to fight the Germans, disbanded or else turned into debating revolutionary societies. Russia was out of the war, and all chance for the Allies to win in 1917 was lost before summer.
German Unrestricted Submarine War.---Meanwhile, Germany, scorning the peace proposals of President Wilson and the Allies, began in January the most savage unrestricted submarine warfare; not only against the Allies but against neutral nations, with the object of destroying all the non-German merchant tonnage of the world and securing not only the isolation of England and the destruction of Allied supplies but especially the supremacy of German foreign trade after the war.
Allies Advance to Hindenburg Line.---In March the expected offensive of the British and French armies began, after "feelers" in January and February, between Arras and Soissons. It met with little resistance. The Germans had anticipated that the attack would be in this sector and had withdrawn, secretly and successfully, troops, artillery, and supplies to an entirely new line which was free of dangerous salients, the "Hindenburg Line." This they did on a front over 60 miles long. Only rearguard actions were fought by the Germans to retard the Allied advance until the new lines were reached---partly called the "Siegfried Line."
Battle of Arras.---Then began the first serious fighting of the year, the Battle of Arras, between the British and the Germans. To assist the British, the French on April 16 started an attack between Soissons and Rheims. Both these assaults proved so expensive in men and so fruitless in important gains that early in May they were discontinued by both the French and the British, and a process of "nibbling" was resorted to.
The Germans had developed their new scheme of defense. In place of the old continuous lines of trenches they dotted the land with the isolated concrete pits and shelters called "pillboxes" which formed an elastic defense and diminished their losses.
An Italian offensive was also begun, but instead of coinciding with that in France, it did not start until the Franco-British offensive had failed, (in May) and therefore it met with powerful opposition, gained nothing important and soon stopped.
America Enters the War.---Meanwhile our own participation in the war, made inevitable by the ruthless submarine campaign in January and February, and prepared for by the army conscription bill passed March 18, became an accomplished fact by the declaration of Congress on April 6. Of course this could have no immediate practical bearing on the military situation. Though we began at once to extend financial aid, we appeared not to realize that the Allies needed man-power help from us, in large numbers and at once. We realized it only when the great Allied Commission visited us under Balfour, Viviani, and Joffre, who made his famous convincing appeal to us to send over men at once and in a continuous stream, lest the Allied line break. The necessary training, as we had seen in the case of England, even when intensive, required about half a year. What we could do and did do was to mobilize our fleet at once and send it as fast as possible to European waters, under the command of Admiral Sims. In this policing of the sea, our work became effective as early as May.
Greece Joins the Allies.---In June the pressure of the Allies and of Greek public sentiment forced the abdication of King Constantine and the return of the popular prime minister Venizelos, who soon succeeded in recreating a Greek army and in making Greece join the Allies.
Allied Offensive in Flanders.---In mid-summer the British, supported by the French, began a new offensive in the north, near the coast, in Flanders. Its purpose was quite different from the earlier "Arras" offensive; it was to drive the Germans from the coast line and destroy their submarine bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend, from which their U-boats issued and were making such havoc of merchant shipping. But this offensive also failed with only local gains, and died down in September.
Fig. 1. GERMAN EMPIRE AFTER THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 1871
Italian Disaster of Caporetto.---With the autumn of 1917 came one of the greatest of all the Allied disasters, creating a gloom as great as had been brought in the autumn of 1916 by the collapse of Rumania. This disaster was the unexpected German-Austrian drive against Italy, the collapse of the Italian army in what is called the defeat of Caporetto, and the invasion of North Italy by the Central Powers. The collapse of Russia had made it possible for both Austria and Germany to transfer large bodies of troops from the Eastern to the Italian front. But it was the internal conditions of Italy and of the Italian army that most contributed to the catastrophe. If was famine. It was the Socialists. It was a German defeatist campaign both among the people and in the army. The Italian soldiers were to throw down their arms. The Austrians were coming as brothers. Peace was near. So the Germans rushed through the gap near Tolmino. The rout was not stopped till the river Piave was reached. The prisoners taken were over 250,000 and the heavy artillery over 2,000. Not only did the Italians lose what it had taken them over two years to win, but Venice and the whole of Northern Italy were in imminent danger.
Italy was saved from complete disaster by three circumstances: (1) the lateness of the season; (2) the rushing of British and French help; and (3) especially the tremendous stiffening of Italian morale under stress of patriotic reaction.
Fig. 2. EXPANSION OF GERMAN DOMINION, 1917
Bolsheviki Control Russia.---In November the Bolsheviki accomplished the overthrow of the Kerensky government and seized control of Russia. Through the Bolshevik leaders, who were its paid agents, Germany increased her strangle hold on Russia. She occupied Riga and other sections of Russia. She arranged with Lenine and Trotzky for a separate peace and for the transfer of her troops from the Russian to the Western front.
Battle of Cambrai.---In France, before the winter put an end to operations the British made another attempt to break the German lines. It was in this "Battle of Cambrai" that the British tanks were first used in large numbers and showed how completely they could break down wire entanglements, wipe out machine-gun nests, knock down houses and shelters, and open up the way for infantry advance. If the British had had the foresight to concentrate a considerable mobile force at this point they could have split the German army and got into its rear. As it was the advance only established a dangerous British salient, expensive to hold.
The year ended with the capture of Jerusalem by the British, and an armistice between the Bolshevik government of Russia and the Central Powers. It ended with all the Allied hopes disappointed; with military leaders blamed for costly blunders, and with no new assets except the future help of the United States and the bringing of Italy into unity of military effort with France and England---a unity that was to lead to great things when it came to full bloom under Foch in 1918.
Pan-Germanism Seems Accomplished.---The year opens very dark for the Allies. If Germany can hold her ground and force a negotiated peace, she will realize her great dream of Pan-Germany even more completely than she ever hoped to do, because she never counted on the conditions that had turned Russia into a helpless prey to anarchy and exploitation giving Germany a Northern as well as a Southern route to the Orient and a new field for industrial and commercial domination. She could give back Alsace-Lorraine temporarily, and wait for another war to return it to her with England's colonies after she had perfected her hold on Turkey and Asia. Through the iniquitous peace, treaty of Brest-Litovsk she now makes Russia helpless; through the equally predatory and oppressive treaties with the Ukraine and Rumania she opens up new fields to pillage.
Germany's plan to destroy Russia as a great power by separatist propaganda in every province was successful. She is known to have controlled events in Russia, appointed military and civil authorities and organized massacres. Finland and the rest of the Baltic provinces as well as Russian Poland, it seemed, were to be her dependencies.
Allies Prepare to Meet Offensive.---Germany now concentrated all her forces on the western front, leaving only a policing force on the Russian border. She prepared for what she announced as her last great drive on Paris---the drive for final victory. The Germans were keyed up to the sacrifice of a half million men to force a German peace. The Allies were preparing to meet it by complete unity of council and military command, but the loss of Russian and Rumanian help made the situation almost desperate, and the chance of American aid coming in time seemed doubtful . In November, 1917, Lloyd George had risked political downfall to champion military unity under a French Generalissimo and had forced British public opinion to grant it. First came, the unity of policy through the Supreme War Council of Versailles, which met on January 29; but it was not until March 28 that the appointment of General Foch as commander-in-chief of all the Allied forces including the American was announced. One master mind directed henceforth every operation from the Channel to Bagdad.
Final German Drive on Western Front.---On March 21 the great German drive began on the Somme, and developed later into the battle of the Lys under the supreme command of Ludendorf. It aimed at splitting the allied line so as to separate the British from the French armies and pass through the gap. The centre of attack in the first part of the struggle was below St. Quentin, opposite Amiens, in a line extending from Arras to Coney. The line was at first about 54 miles long, then extended to 63 , and in April to over 100 miles.
During the month ending on April 17, the Germans made heavy gains, reaching to within six miles of Amiens. This great struggle is called the "Battle of Picardy," and was mainly directed against that part of the line held by the British armies. The success of the German plan would mean the isolation and destruction of the British, Portuguese, and Belgian armies in the north; the capture of the Channel ports; and an open road to Paris.
British Defeat.---Twice the Germans were on the point of breaking through. The first time was March 24-25 when, after defeating the 3rd and 4th British armies they separated the 5th British army from the French, and almost annihilated it. This was an appalling and almost fatal catastrophe. Then it was that General Carey so wonderfully filled the gap with a scratch corps. A plucky group of American engineers were also among the heroes of this six-day fight. Later, when another gap showed it was splendidly closed by General Fayolle. Among the cities captured by the Germans were Bapaume, Noyon, Ham, and Peronne.
On April 9th, the attack entered on its second stage further north, in Flanders, in the "Battle of the Lys," where it aimed at Hazebrouck.
In this emergency General Foch assumed supreme command. The Germans outnumbered the British in all their assaults. At one point nine German divisions were against three British; at another eight against two. The Germans sacrificed their men ruthlessly, advancing in dense masses and pushing through by successive waves. The divisions used in the attack were the specially trained "storm" troops which had been put through a long and intensive preparation behind the lines. The Germans had about 1,800,000 men in the fighting line.
German Gains.---Before the end of March the Germans bad recaptured the entire battlefield of the Somme lost in 1917. In the first five days they had gained 500 square miles, increased to 800 square miles in another week. They added as much more in their second great Armentières assault. After the crippling of the 5th British army under General Gough and the break near Armentières came General Haig's famous order of April 12 confessing that the British were fighting with their backs to the wall and promising French reinforcements immediately. The German attack used the Hutier method of successive waves of infantry---terribly costly but almost irresistible. It is reckoned that the German casualties were in all over 500,000 out of a total of close to 5,000,000 men along this front.
Lull in the Attack.---In the second month of the fighting in Flanders and Picardy, Ludendorf tried to protect his salients before making any new advances, and attacked hills and ridges such as Mont Kemmel and Mont Rouge. With the end of April the German offensive ceased. All through May the Germans were recovering from their failure to break through and were preparing for their second leap. The ridges of Ypres and Arras were still held against them.
Third German Drive in Champagne.---Having failed in the north, Ludendorf tried to break through the southern barriers---especially the Chemin des Dames. The blocking of his various plans in the second and third months was due to Foch's superior strategy which nullified any German advantages. Then came (on May 27) the Champagne drive, the beginning of the last German drive on Paris. It was a tremendous movement, with some 400,000 men in action. It reached the Marne, and was within 40 miles of Paris. It extended itself southward till it reached Château Thierry. Then on June 9 came a supplementary drive of even greater violence on a 20-mile front just north of the Marne section, between Montdidier and Noyon, along the Oise. It was directed against Compiegne, but failed with great losses.
The Fourth Stage
Great Allied Offensive.---After minor attacks a new German offensive with over 600,000 men developed in the Rheims sector on July 15. The Germans crossed the Marne in several places, but were driven back.
Then, on July 18, began the general Allied offensive under Foch that was to continue unremittingly along the whole line until the end of the war. It was then that the German High Command knew that all hope of final victory was gone.
Americans at Château Thierry and St. Mihiel.---In both the June and the July attempts of the Germans to open the road to Paris at Château Thierry, the newly arrived Americans played a splendid role blocking the German advance and countering with brilliant and successful attacks. The Marines were the first to distinguish themselves. Belleau Wood will always be associated with American valor. Americans joined in ever increasing numbers in the advance on the Marne, the Oise, the Aisne, the Vesle, the, Ourcq. After being brigaded with French and British troops, it became possible early in August, to organize an independent American field army. The confidence of Foch in our men and our staff was shown when the American troops were assigned to the wiping out of the St. Mihiel salient which the French had never succeeded in accomplishing, and which our fresh troops did in less than two days.
Meanwhile the Germans, conscious, after July 15, that their last great offensive had failed, and that their man power, munitions, airplanes, and artillery were running low, had decided to evacuate Northern France and Belgium. The advance of the Allied troops along the whole line from the Channel to Verdun, while continuous, was unable to break through the German defense at any point.
To the Americans was given the difficult task of breaking through the German defenses north of Noyon, in order to reach Sedan and cut the railway that was the main German artery of transportation connecting with Germany. The clearing of the famous Argonne Forest by our troops will remain an epic exploit, of which the episode of Major Whittlesey and his "Lost Battalion" is the most spectacular, but typical of the indomitable heroism of all our men. We reached Sedan. But the armistice saved the German troops from complete disaster and surrender that would have surely been theirs if the fighting had continued for another two weeks.
Turkey Falls.---September and October saw the complete collapse of Germany. It came about through the two hitherto unimportant operations, that of the British armies in Palestine and Mesopotamia, and that of the Allied armies at Salonica.
The first step was the sudden blow by Allenby on the Turkish front, 30 miles north of Jerusalem, beginning September 18. He broke the Turkish line near the coast, in the Battle of Samaria, and sent his cavalry through the gap in one of the most amazing operations of the whole war. With unexampled rapidity the Turkish armies were rolled up and rounded up in the rush northward, during which the allied Arab army of horsemen acted as the eastern side of the pincers. The Damascus railway was cut. The fall of Damascus, Hems, and Aleppo, with the control of the Constantinople-Bagdad railroad, made the conquest of Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia complete, and Turkey in the East was wiped out. The unconditional surrender of Turkey came on October 30th, and with it Germany's dream of Middle Europe and the East, of the Hamburg to Bagdad project, and of the conquest of Egypt and India was destroyed.
Bulgaria Surrenders.---Almost simultaneous was the attack on the Bulgarians by General d'Esperey, commander of the Allied armies in Macedonia. The British and French were assisted by some 250,000 Greeks, and by the Serbian army. The first blow was struck September 16, from the base at Salonica, beginning near Lake Dorian. Here the British and Greek troops struck on the right wing, while the Serbs and French broke the Bulgarian centre and drove through. In a little more than a week the enemy was separated into two helpless disconnected sections. The Italians cooperated on the extreme left, in Albania. The Serbs captured Veles, the main railroad centre of old Serbia, on September 25, and the rout became complete. The Serbs with incomparable skill and courage stormed impregnable heights, and without waiting for supplies rushed to the reconquest of their motherland.
The Balkans Reconquered.---All Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro were fast reconquered, and Turkey was isolated on the west, as she was being conquered on the cast. As neither Germany nor Austria could answer her frantic appeals, Bulgaria unconditionally surrendered on September 29. Thus Germany lost control of the Balkans, lost the other half of her Middle Europe dream. Rumania was lost. Access to Constantinople was closed.
An iron ring was being forged around the Central Powers. It was also at once evident that Austria was in danger of immediate internal disruption. Her Slavs and her Czechs were rising in rebellion. Then Germany alone would be left entirely encircled by enemies. Soon after October 1st it seemed as if it was only a question how much longer Germany could hold out,
Italy Makes Austria Surrender.---Then it was that Foch decided to deliver his death-blow. Though the, season was late, he arranged a lightning stroke to be delivered by the Italian armies under General Diaz against the Austrians, along the line of the Piave. It began on October 24-25, and was less a battle than a complete rout. In less than a week the Austrian positions were all captured, from the Tyrolean Alps to the Venetian coast, and 300,000 men were taken prisoners, with all the military supplies of the Austrian army. It was one of the greatest military catastrophes in history. Trent and Triest were entered, and Italy felt that she could celebrate the recovery of her "unredeemed provinces" when Austria-Hungary signed (November 3), the armistice that meant unconditional surrender. Already, on October 29, she had petitioned President Wilson for a separate peace.
At the same time with this military collapse came the political collapse of Austria, and her almost automatic separation into her racial divisions. On November 11th, the Austrian Emperor, Charles, abdicated, and it was evident that Germany could be attacked by the Allies from Austrian territory. The ring had tightened.
Germany Begs for Peace.---But already Germany had begun to ask for peace. On October 6 she had sent a note to President Wilson requesting him to arrange for an armistice, and from that time until the signing of the armistice there was a neck and neck race between, diplomats and generals. There is no doubt---Foch has said so---that if the signing of the armistice had been put off a couple of weeks, a large part of the German army, cut off by the Allied push through Sedan, would have been captured. In this attack the American army was to have had a big share in the centre of the advance on Metz. But Foch preferred the saving of human lives to the glory of such a victory.
The Armistice was signed on November 10, by German plenipotentiaries, headed by Mathias Erzberger, at the Headquarters of Marshal Foch. The terms were equivalent to an unconditional surrender.
The terms included the immediate evacuation of invaded countries on the western front, within fourteen days, without damage or pillage or punishment of natives, and their occupation by Allied and American forces; repatriation of all the deported inhabitants; return of all prisoners of war, Allied and American, without the reciprocal return of German prisoners; surrender of an enormous quantity of war and transportation material; evacuation of all territory on the left bank of the Rhine belonging to Germany, this territory to be garrisoned by Allied and American troops; evacuation by German troops of all territories on the Eastern front beyond the original pre-war German territory; cancelling of the Bucharest and Brest-Litovsk and other treaties; free access by the Allies to all territories so evacuated; surrender of the German fleet and submarines; parking and surrender of all German aircraft; return of all neutral and Russian vessels; establishment of a neutral zone on the right bank of the Rhine; and occupation by Allied and United States garrisons of the principal crossings of the Rhine, including bridgeheads.
The most dramatic culminating scenes were the surrender to the British Admiral of the entire German fleet, including submarines, and the march to the Rhine of the Allied and American armies.
Surrender of the German Fleet and Submarines.---The German High Seas Fleet appeared before Admiral Beatty and the Allied armada opposite the Firth of Forth, on November 21. Its surrender was incomparably the greatest and most humiliating naval disaster in the world's history. The receiving Allied fleet was fourteen miles long, and the German ships passed along this naval lane, six miles wide, to their surrender. The surrendered vessels totalled 410,000 tons. There were five battle cruisers, nine dreadnoughts, seven light cruisers and fifty destroyers. The German submarines were surrendered at other times, beginning with a batch of twenty on November 20. In all there, have been over 175 given up.
Allied Advance to the Rhine.---The German army had been given fifteen days in which to evacuate Belgium, Luxemburg, and Alsace-Lorraine. The Allied and American troops advanced toward the Rhine at the rate of eight to ten miles a day. The Belgians and British formed the left wing; the Americans the centre; the French the right wing. Each was to centre at one of the big Rhine bridgeheads; the Belgians at Aix-la-Chapelle, the British at Cologne, the Americans at Coblence, the French at Mayence. Through these great military arteries, Germany was to be held in subjection. A narrow zone beyond the Rhine and parallel to it was neutralized, as was also a wider semi-circular zone around each bridgehead.
Hardly less spectacular than the sweep of the big armies through the Rhineland was the entrance of King Albert into Brussels; the entrance of the French under General Petain, then created Marshal, into Metz, once more made French; and the entrance of the French, also under Petain, into Strasbourg.
The States of Central Europe.--- All the territories that are to become part of the new nations of Central Europe were in these same weeks provisionally constituted as free states, throwing off the yoke of Austria and Germany and preparing for the decisions of the Peace Conference. This was especially the case with the Czecho-Slovaks, Jugoslavs, Rumanians, and Poles. Meanwhile Germany was passing through various phases of change and revolution. A summary of the events that happened in Germany and Austria is given in another chapter.
In reviewing the events of the war it is important to point to the big factors that were the powers behind the scenes, that lengthened and shortened it; the main blunders, for example, on both sides; and how this war differed from previous wars.
Germany's Blunders.---As handicaps against England Germany counted on (1) revolution in Ireland, (2) rebellion and secession in India, (3) indifference or worse of all other British colonies. She was amazed at the universal loyalty. She counted on a Pan-Islamic "Sacred War" that would work against France as well as England, in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, India, and Turkey. Here also her psychology was all wrong. Nothing that she expected happened. She thought she could paralyze resistance by terror, through death and destruction. She tried it in Belgium and in her submarine and Zeppelin warfare. It proved a boomerang: witness the arousing of England and America. She thought moral law did not count in practice.
Germany's Assets.---Germany's preparation and unity of command, central position, and system of railroads gave her a tremendous advantage. Also her trading on the worst instincts and passions of human nature, and her unscrupulous use of all methods and weapons: witness the downfall of Russia and Rumania and the Turkish and Polish massacres.
Blunders of the Allies.---Lack of unity of policy and command during nearly the whole war, until 1918, undoubtedly prolonged the struggle. Allied offensives were not timed simultaneously to prevent Germany from transferring troops from a quiet to an active front. Of specific blunders the first year showed France's mistaken Alsace offensive; Great Britain's failure to take the Dardanelles in a dash after the German ships as well as later, the diplomatic failure to bring in Greece and Bulgaria, the ghastly desertion of Serbia and Rumania, the failure to restrain Turkey. Time and again, during every year of the war the Allies failed to do something that might have brought about the collapse of Germany.
How this War was Different.---This chapter would not be complete if it did not explain how this war is so different from any other war. The first difference is that this war called upon the whole of each nation and not a small part of it, not only because a bigger percentage of man power was used at the front but because the industrial aspect of war increased so enormously that the industrial army at home, including a large percentage of women, was as vital to victory as the fighting army. Instead of only the actual fighters being involved as in other wars, the entire population worked and suffered under new conditions. The second difference is connected with the first, in that this war was in the hands not only of military leaders, but of industrial and scientific leaders. Also, chemists, physicists, electrical experts, as well as engineers, were as much a part of the fighting force as plain soldiers.
The providing and using of vast quantities of raw materials, the use of economic and food controls, the creation and utilization of new scientific means and instruments in warfare under the greatest specialists, all this was an almost complete novelty in warfare. The colossal scale of the use of ammunition, airplanes, motors, and chemicals was something totally unforseen. The control of iron and coal mines in and near Lorraine made it possible for Germany to continue the war. Without them she would have been forced to make peace in a few weeks.
In the Air.---An entirely new field was opened by the aeroplane and hydroplane. Aerial warfare was not only an independent form of, but a necessary adjunct to, land warfare---the eyes, ears, and legs of the army.
On the Water.---The submarine and its consequences: the destroyer, the submarine chaser, the mine and net layer, and the hydro-plane, revolutionized methods of sea warfare. It was possible to close up avenues of approach, harbors and straits, and make it extremely dangerous for major ships to move freely.
A similar revolution affected all previously accepted methods of land warfare, which had to be thrown into the scrap heap, The only man who seems to have foreseen "trench warfare" before the war was the great war correspondent De Blowitz.
It is these various revolutionary methods that governed the events of the war-so they are well worth studying.
Land Warfare, Trenches, Poison Gas.---The German armies in the autumn of 1914 were battering on the long line of the French frontier from the Channel to Switzerland looking for a weak spot after the set-back at the Marne. Two long unbroken opposing phalanxes faced each other. For the first time in warfare it was possible, on account of immense numbers, to create two Chinese walls of men instead of two compact movable groups, maneuvering, following, and shifting positions. The Germans dug in, so did the French ---and then the English. Thus began the new kind of warfare---the so-called trench warfare. It began crudely enough, but soon developed into a wonderfully complicated system. It had its first, its second, and its third lines with their communicating trenches, their dug-outs, their concrete chambers. The approaches soon came to be guarded by networks of barbed wire entanglements. For protection of position and movement an elaborate system of deception by plain or painted screens and by artificial or natural objects was evolved, which is popularly called "camouflage." Entirely new processes were gradually developed. Human agents for wire-cutting were slow and costly. The popular shrapnel ammunition was found to be useless for demolishing the barbed wire lines protecting the trenches. Heavy artillery and a different type of heavy ammunition had to be tremendously increased for this purpose, and in this the Germans had a big start. They had also provided their army with an enormous number of machine guns which played an always increasing role in defensive work. The French and the English suffered heavy losses before they obtained a sufficient supply of artillery.
To obtain the firing range an elaborate system of instruments and signals was invented, including captive balloons. The British have two inventions to their credit. The first is the famous curtain of fire style of bombardment, which sprang and crept, both destructive of the enemy and protective of an advance. The second is the so-called "tanks," which developed into many varied types, from the slow and heavy destructive type, the "steam-roller," to the "whippet," the quick, ferret-like scout, finder and destroyer of machine-gun nests.
Old weapons again brought to life on a large scale were bombs and grenades, thrown by hand or discharged by rifle. The automatic rifle supplemented the machine gun. Mortars were developed for dropping projectiles at short range. An enormous variety of contents for shells was invented. The ancient helmet was resurrected.
On the other hand the Germans invented the most infernally cruel instrument of torture and destruction---the poison gas in all its various forms, including the so-called mustard gas. They projected it in waves, when the wind was favorable, and when they first used it against the unprepared English, it almost won them the way to Paris. Then came the invention of the protective gas mask; then another ghastly German invention, the flame-thrower, with many classes of containers to liberate gases and flames. Of course all this was against the Hague Convention and all recognized forms of warfare. But in self-protection the Allies were forced to use the same agencies and make their counter-inventions. In the course of time an evolution took place by which the series of parallel trenches was succeeded by groups of "nests," placed in lines.
The expansion of heavy artillery and its power to destroy the strongest fortifications, even of heavy concrete, as demonstrated at Namur, Liège, Maubeuge, and Antwerp, sounded the death knell of the hitherto impregnable fortress. It substituted for it the deep underground shelter, and further developed deep undermining operations by tunnelling, with sensitive electric apparatus to enable the detection of such operations by the enemy.
If one were to use a single expression to describe warfare of the new type on the west front, it would be that it was shell-hole warfare.
On the other hand, warfare on the Eastern front retained usually, especially at first, many of the old aspects of open warfare, with rapid changes of lines. But the final defeat in 1916 of the tremendous offensives of the Russian armies against Austria was due to the unexpected massing of German heavy artillery against the opposing trenches, unprotected by artillery.
The role of the engineer became one of much increased importance and variety, as did the role of every scientific expert. Roads, railroads, carriers of all sorts, trench systems, and shelter---everything was on such an enormous scale.
Aerial Warfare.---War in the air was an absolute novelty. When the war began both opposing parties had a small number of monoplanes and biplanes that could be used for observation and scouting purposes. The Germans first saw the possibilities in the way of attack by airplane, and constructed new types developed along two principal lines: (1) speed and (2) power of attack. Speed was increased from about 50 to 150 miles per hour. Power of attack was given in several ways, by heavy machines carrying a supply of bombs and by lighter machines carrying machine guns, and this involved arranging for two or more men in each machine. There developed tactics in aerial combat as elaborate as those on land, and with even more intricate evolutions, because of the freedom in selecting levels varying by thousands of feet, attacking from above or below as well as from every side. It was a new art which was invented as necessity and genius directed and which changed with every few months of the war. New types of machines gave new possibilities. The heroes of the air, the "aces" of many victories, were perhaps the most wonderful products of the war. America, where the aeroplane was invented, took no advantage of all these advances before she entered the war.
How did German and Allied aviators compare? During more than the first half of the war Germany was either superior or equal to her French and English adversaries, partly because she first realized the possibilities in this field. But during the last year or more of the war, Allied supremacy of the air was unquestioned, and American aviators were among the most skilful and fearless, some as volunteers in the Lafayette Escadrille, before America entered the war.
The aviators became the eyes of the army. They discovered and reported all the movements of enemy troops; they gave the exact positions of the enemy and directed the artillery fire on these points; they attacked convoys, trains, munition dumps; they damaged munition and aviation factories far back of the fighting line.
The much-heralded and feared Zeppelins proved to be a comparative failure. They were merely indiscriminate agents of murder and destruction because they could not safely fly low enough to hit any definite mark. As a means for arousing the British people in the early part of the war they were invaluable to the Allies. The German raids over England begun with Zeppelins, ended by using other types of heavy aircraft.
Captive balloons were used very extensively for observation purposes and were storm centres of attack and defense.
War at Sea and the Submarine.---The submarine was also an American invention, but it was the Germans who perfected it as a torpedo-carrying engine of destruction on a large scale. Even they did not at first realize its possibilities, and how it was to entirely revolutionize war on the seas.
At the same time the superiority of the British over the German fleet was never in doubt at any time during the war. The only time when it was challenged, in the battle off Jutland in May 1916, taught the Germans not to risk a general battle. On the other hand, while the British fleet kept the seas clear for Allied transportation and so really won the war, it had usually to remain hidden and protected against submarines and mines. The British High Seas fleet was always ready to come out to meet the enemy, but could not risk roaming the seas, though it did at times actually challenge the Germans to battle. After the war Admiral Jellicoe, head of the British navy, disclosed the fact that the German fleet possessed unsuspected (even by it) points of superiority in structure and armament.
Several small types of vessels were developed, such as chasers and mine-layers. Enormous areas were made impassable by mines and by submarine nets. By the latter the British Channel was absolutely protected from submarine attacks. Exploding depth-bombs, invented by the British, to be dropped either from ships or from hydroplanes, destroyed submarines under water. Of the more than 200 German submarines destroyed 120 went down crews and all. The British lost nearly 60. The work of- the British submarines was less destructive than protective, as there was no German shipping to attack.
Damage Caused by U-Boats.---The losses of life, of materials (especially food and munitions), and of ships from the German submarine activities while enormous, did not attain Germany's object of starving out England, and in the end the construction of new shipping about balanced the destruction. The peak of destructiveness was reached during 1917, and in 1918 it had much decreased on account of greater skill in Allied defensive precautions and increased destruction of German submarines.
The British Admiralty stated on December 5 (1918) that the total losses of the world's merchant tonnage from the beginning of the war to the end of October 1918, through belligerent action and marine risk, was 15,053,786 gross tons, of which 9,031,828 were British. On the same day Sir Eric Geddes, First Lord of the British Admiralty, stated that 5,622 British merchant ships had been sunk during the war, of which 2,475 had been sunk with their crews still on board, and 3,147 had been sunk and their crews set adrift. Fishing vessels to the number of 670 had been destroyed, and more than 15,000 men in the British merchant marine had lost their lives through enemy action.
According to official figures announced by the U. S. Bureau of Navigation of the Department of Commerce, a total of 145 American passenger and merchant vessels, of 354,449 gross tons, was lost through enemy acts from the beginning of the war to the cessation of hostilities on November 11. This does not include several vessels whose loss had not been established as due to acts of the enemy. In all 775 lives were lost in the destruction of the ships mentioned above. Nineteen of the 145 vessels and 67 of the 775 lives were lost through German torpedoes, mines, and gunfire prior to the entrance of the United States into the war.
According to the British Admiralty statement of December 5, the world's ship construction was 10,849,527 gross tons, while enemy tonnage totaling 2,392,675 was captured, so that the net loss of Allied and neutral tonnage during the war was 1,811,584. In this gigantic destruction, the submarine was the chief force.
Anti-Submarine Methods.---The accuracy of the allied methods of gaining information about the movements of enemy submarines was one of the surprising features of the latter part of the war. Very few U-boats left their bases without the knowledge of the British and American naval commanders. The numbers of the vessels, the duration of their cruises, and the localities in which they were ordered to operate were known in nearly all cases. This information was transmitted daily by wireless to every ship of the Atlantic patrol fleet and to all convoys and merchant vessels.
"Wireless operators at sea and ashore heard the submarine reporting in code to Germany every night, and their positions were learned by a system of reckoning the wave length. This was done so accurately that the submarine could be definitely located as closely as a mile . . .---(Current History, January 1919.)
Merchant Tonnage Destroyed by Germany
|Great Britain and Dominions||
The British loss Was approximately half the tonnage that she possessed, and was more than ten times the loss of either France or Italy and seventeen times the loss of the United States.---(Report of Hurd, British Expert, Daily Press, February 7, 1919.)
German Summary of the History of the War
"We will briefly survey the course of the war, so that we may gain some slight idea of the way in which this end has gradually come about. The initial declarations of war were made by us. On all hands we have been regarded as the aggressors. Our idea was, first of all, to defeat the French, while we defended ourselves against Russia. But the forces at our disposal against the French were not sufficient for a decisive victory; we suffered a setback on the Marne which forced us to remain on the defensive for a considerable period.
"On the other hand, the Russians proved to be much better prepared for war and stronger on the Eastern boundaries of the Central Powers than we had anticipated. This fact and the military weakness of Austria and Hungary, in addition to the gradual internal disruption in their states, resulted in an extremely dangerous and menacing situation, which forced us to dispatch increasingly strong units of our army to the East. In this way the English first gained time to create a large army and to make preparations for a tremendous output of war material of all kinds, so that they might be in a position to take a chief part in the war on the continent. At the same time all the attacks of the Allied English and French armies during 1914-15 were victoriously repulsed by us, and after the glorious battle of Gorlice (West Galicia) we drove the armies of the Tsar back into the interior of Russia. The attack on the part of Italy against the Central Powers prevented us from competing our victory in the East, as we were obliged to send troops to strengthen our allies on their southwest borders.
"In the meantime the badly planned and clumsily executed attack by the French and English against the Dardanelles had been a complete failure; Bulgaria joined us and succeeded in conquering Serbia and Montenegro during the latter part of the autumn of 1915. But the enemy Dardanelles army which had been hurriedly dispatched to Salonica remained in a very inconvenient position for us on the southern borders of Bulgaria, and finally succeeded in forcing Greece into the ranks of our enemies.
"In the spring of 1916 the Central Powers thought that the time had arrived to attack once more in the West. But the German attack on Verdun failed, as well as the Austro-Hungarian assault undertaken from the mountains on the borders of the Tyrol.
"In the meantime the tremendous preparations made by the Russians, the French, and the English had been completed, and about the middle of 1916 our enemies made a terrific attack in the East as well as in the West, which brought about the second serious crisis of the war. We only succeeded in mastering this crisis with great difficulty and also by ceding a certain amount of territory. When, towards the end of August 1916, the Rumanians thought that the time had come when it would pay them to join the ranks of our enemies, the downfall of the Central Powers seemed certain. But the skill and energy of our leadership, which in the meantime had been placed in Hindenburg's hands, once more averted the threatened crisis. The Rumanian army was completely beaten, the greater portion of the country, including the most fertile area, was conquered and furnished us with extra supplies.
"Unfortunately, all our attempts to initiate peace negotiations towards the end of 1916 and the beginning of 1917 failed. At that time we could have had peace without losing anything, and we should have been glad now if it had come to a peace of renunciation then. Instead of which, on January 31, 1917, the unrestricted submarine war was declared. This undertaking, by which we hoped finally to bring England to her knees and to force her to negotiate, sealed our fate. For it was the actual cause of the entry of the United States of America into the ranks of our enemies. With America's aid, the pressure brought to bear upon us became so heavy that even the great power of the German Empire and the magnificent heroism of her brave armies were not able to hold out permanently. just as in the case of Russia, and that of England herself, we---badly informed and far too self-confident---underestimated America's resources. And this underestimation of the enemy continued until the summer of 1918, until we realized the truth too late.
"And yet fortune favored us once more. In Russia the Revolution which had long been ripening broke out and the throne of the Tsars was swept away in the twinkling of an eye. It very soon corrupted the spirit of the army, which was no longer willing to shed its blood for a cause which was foreign to it. Gradually the troops disbanded and went home in order to secure land and peace. The repulse of a new offensive under Brussilov, some fortunate German enterprises in Galicia, against Riga and against the islands in the Baltic, brought the Bolsheviki to the helm on November 7. They immediately gave evidence of their desire for peace at any price. After many vicissitudes the peace treaty with Russia was signed on March 2, 1918. This treaty brought us great but insecure gains.
"In other ways the year 1917 was not favorable to us. After we had withdrawn a part of our West front to the Siegfried position, we victoriously defeated all the attacks of our numerically far superior enemies, and the French especially sustained fearful losses on the Aisne to no purpose. In the midst of all this fighting we were sufficiently strong on October 24 to proceed with our allies to a second attack on Italy, which led in a few days to an almost complete collapse of the enemy's army, which had to be hastily reinforced by French and English troops. This brilliant stroke did not suffice, however, to force our enemies to negotiate for peace.
"In the spring of 1918, we felt strong enough for a third attempt in the West, for which, however, the whole strength of the German army was not available. Considerable sections were tied down in the East, in the Balkans, and in Asia, and were unable to cooperate in the decisive theatre of war. We won many victories in the spring battles, but could not break the strength of the enemy, whose numbers were so superior. At last, on the Marne, our offensive came finally to an end for the second time. From that time on things took a downward course.
"More than one and a half million Americans were now assembled on the soil of France; in Turkey and in Bulgaria the longing for peace was increasing; in Austria-Hungary racial strife loosened the bonds of the state more and more, while the fearful casualties of the Germans and Hungarians crippled the strength of their armies. Our enemies also were able to utilize their superiority in Asia and in the Balkans for annihilating blows; one after another our allies collapsed and betrayed us. Germany had to face a world of mighty enemies single-handed.
"When Foch advanced with his very superior numbers, his thousands of tanks, and his innumerable bombing squadrons in a surprise offensive, he placed the German Western army in a most unfavorable position. It is true that he was not able to break through, for the lion-like courage of our army warded off defeat; but step by step we had to yield to the superior enemy, and in the end the High Command lost confidence in a happy issue of the war. We still remained far superior to any individual enemy nation, but en masse they crushed us. In this way also our heavily afflicted people lost confidence and the will to continue the fight. The third and heaviest crisis of the war, provoked by the appearance of the American armies in Europe, overpowered us. The end had come!"---(Col. Gadke, Official War Critic of the German Government, in Wuerzburger General-Anzeiger, quoted from "Living Age," January 11, 1919.)
Table of Contents