THE ROAD TO VERDUN
ALMOST due east from Château-Thierry lies Châlons, and beyond Châlons, Verdun. Châlons is the departmental center of the Marne; Verdun, the frontier fortress of the Meuse, upon which for four years has pivoted the defense of the world. These two departments, shaken though they were by the German offensive of 1918, held their ground. In one of them, the Marne, the reconstruction work begun by the English Friends in 1914 still continues. It affords that positive argument for the return- to the soil of its tillers which many questioned after the disaster of the Somme.
Like her sister departments, the Marne had been devastated. Here in her valleys was fought the battle for the possession of Paris in the summer of 1914. On the southern side of the river, one sees everywhere the skeletons of once smiling villages; in the marshes of St. Gond, one hears, a whole squadron of German cavalry was sucked down to death. At Heiltz-le-Maurupt, the Prince of Hesse made his entry, and sacked and set the village on fire. A veteran of 1870 was shot as he stood in his doorway; the skirt of his old wife who stood beside him was riddled with bullets. At Bignicourt, one old man was left alone; his wife and two children having been suffocated in the cellar when the house was burned over their heads. Two women, a mother and her daughter, drowned themselves on hearing that the Germans were about to take the village. The husband, asking permission to search for his wife's body, was put in prison. So run the tales in all the countryside. And, after the victory, only a few days after, the neighbors coming back to the ruins, took stock of their losses.
Of property, horses, farm animals and furniture, practically nothing remained. Of the families themselves, here are typical records: A mother and five children, one son dead, two others at the front; a widow seventy-four years old, her husband killed by the Germans, one son at the front; a spinster, seventy-two years old, her sister dead of the hardships suffered in the course of her flight at the time of the battle; a young girl, her father and mother having died of heart failure at the time of the bombardment; a mother, her two sons mobilized and one of them wounded; a retired teacher, aged seventy-two, and his aged wife, without resource.
Yet in these villages, as elsewhere, the inhabitants shared the feeling of the old woman of whom René Benjamin writes in " Un Pauvre Village," [G. Weil, Publisher, Paris.]---any village, anywhere in devastated France, as he explains. She is returning with her little granddaughter. " The little girl asked:
"'Is it much further, grandmother?'
"And she, she knew that it was there, and she recognized nothing.
"The church, the road, the gardens, the houses, the trembling poplars, the pond which mark a bright spot in the valley---all dead, vanished, all fallen, overturned, destroyed.--- Is it far? Alas, we are here! . . . This is her country, her life. It is here that she passed long days, this old woman, here where lie all the thoughts of her poor head, all visions, desires, her past, her memory. And all is sacked, pillaged, torn to pieces! Massacre and death; she, herself, dying, it seems; but her first word does not portray her own suffering; she thinks still of her old and wretched friend, this village which is no more than a shapeless, miserable heap, and in a voice heavy with the grief of the aged who realize all the sufferings of life, she groans only:
'Oh! . Mon Dieu! . . . The poor thing!"' It was the privilege of the English Friends to come into the Marne only two months after the battle of the Marne had been won. From the Marne, they extended their work into the Meuse. Both are agricultural departments, of rolling hills and valleys, vines and grassy meadows, watered by the two historic rivers which have given them their respective names. In both, the wounds of the invasion were still fresh. If one recalls reading, in far-away America, the course of the battles so recently fought here; the headlines of Armageddon, the horror that seemed to envelop even our peaceful lives, he has some faint conception of the emotional as well as the physical overwhelming of the first days of the war. The Friends shared this emotion.
From the moment when they threw open their meeting house at Folkestone to the first Belgian refugees, their consuming desire has been to help; and their plan is to help not masses, but individuals. Out of this fact comes one of the strange contrasts of the war. They, living with the peasants, becoming ('Villagers of the Villages," could doubtless recount more German atrocities than any other group of social workers in France. They, pacifists, conscientious objectors haters of all war, could equally gather the proofs for the statement that home service, next to fighting itself, is the service of greatest value in winning the war. They, who knew every family for a hundred and fifty miles in the territory from Esternay to Verdun, could tell you that there is practically not one but has husband, sons, or brothers at the front. Yet they have performed their service from an ideal and spiritual motive. They have seen only the misfortunes; they have pitied, but they have not judged.
At the time of the arrival of the American Red Cross in France, there were already working in the Marne and the Meuse about a hundred and fifty of these English Friends. On the same ship with the Red Cross Commissioner, there sailed from America two representatives of the American Friends desirous of effecting a working agreement whereby they too might work in France. This plan was welcomed not only by the English Friends, but by the American Red Cross, and large funds were placed at its disposal. Up to November 11, 1918, this arrangement had resulted in an increase of the Friends' personnel from 150 to between 500 and 600, half of whom are Americans. The direct appropriations of the American Red Cross, keeping pace with this increase in numbers, have supplied during this period half of the entire money expended.
The American Friends, on the other hand, have held themselves in readiness to do any work that the Red Cross required of them. They have put up barracks for hospitals, erected shelters for workers, done expert service such as running the saw mill at Noyon, and gathering in the harvests last summer on the second battlefield of the Marne. But the prime end for which the Red Cross designed the Friends' Units---agricultural reconstruction---was hopelessly deferred by the sinister spring of 1917. They were therefore free to collaborate entirely with their predecessors, the English group. The activities in which these latter engage are divided, like those of the Red Cross itself, into service for refugees from the devastated area, and those remaining in it or returning to it. Besides, they have a very important branch unlike anything undertaken by any other relief agency, the manufacture of demountable houses, already mentioned.
In the Meuse, and in the Marne, the activities of the Friends are five in number: Reconstruction, agriculture, medical aid, transport, economic relief. Of these, reconstruction and agriculture have been the big programme. By the end of 1916, 500 houses had already been put up or repaired. This practically finished the building undertaken for small holders in these two departments, until the lines should move again. But there remained a very interesting experiment which was carried out. Not all the farmers, naturally, owned their land. There were shepherds, farriers, and small dependents of larger holdings. Failing to own land, no one was entitled to a house. Yet his services, or those of his wife, were he absent, were most valuable at a time when farm labor was almost impossible to obtain. The Friends therefore secured two grants of waste land, and upon them erected two model villages of perhaps thirty houses each for landless refugees. The houses themselves are two-room, three-room, or four-room dwellings of red brick with red tile roofs. Each has its door-yard of flowers, its neat gate and wicket fence. The sidewalk is bordered by newly set trees; the drainage system is complete, and the life of the pigmy village centers around a steeple-roofed well.
Unlike building, agriculture is perennial. The Friends had five establishments in the Marne and Meuse, with a permanent force of twenty-one men. In the sector about Sermaize, which was the largest center for all kinds of relief, two hundred and thirty acres were plowed last year, half of which were also harrowed and sown. One hundred machines, mostly mowers and binders, were loaned out to the farmers and kept track of; five hundred machines in all had been repaired. Hay was mowed, grain was cut, and nine hundred and three tons of it were threshed. Besides, the farms were stocked for breeding rabbits, chickens, sheep and goats.
Next to agriculture, in the line of economic relief, are the industries for women in which the Friends excel. At Bar-le-Duc, they have availed themselves of an industry long established in the region; white embroidery of linen and underwear. But this requires skilled workers. There was imperative need at Sermaize of a simpler craft, which should occupy the time and the thought of the homeless refugees crowded into the once fashionable bathing casino there. Before shelters could be built for them, these unfortunates inhabited a human beehive, a village of three hundred souls, where each family possessed only a cubicle, often without light, and practically without air. As rapidly as possible, the worst features of this overcrowding were remedied and eventually the families were reinstated in homes of their own. But they comprised a population of field workers or factory hands, unaccustomed to the use of the needle. For them, a special form of embroidery in colored wools on linen---old linen such as many of them still possessed---was designed. To these industries has been added straw plaiting. All are flourishing, the products being sold in the fashionable Parisian stores.
Transport, indispensable as it is, resolves itself always into terms of machines, chauffeurs, and gasoline. The American Red Cross augmented this service, doubtless. But its chief contribution to the Friends has been that of medical relief. The English Friends had already established one maternity hospital, one children's hospital, three convalescent homes, and district nursing. In conjunction with the Children's Bureau and later with the Medical Department, the American Red Cross has strengthened all this work by the loan of doctors, and by the increased funds available. Two of the most important additions were dental clinics and a surgical hospital.
The latter, beginning with a semi-dismantled country house at Sermaize, grew into a plant accommodating sixty patients, with its own electric lighting, its baths, its white operating room, and its clean wards. Thirty nurses and nurses' aids cared for the patients, who came from a radius of thirty miles around. They were not charity patients, by any means; one might be the wife of a French colonel, another the daughter of a sous-préfet, and others the wives and the children of the soldiers or the aged parents they had left. There was absolutely no other surgeon in the district, no other civilian hospital. All were treated free of charge.
Except for the warehouse of the Red Cross established at Chalons in April, 1918, and for the regular relief work of the department, there were, up to the time of the armistice, no other considerable agencies working on the spot in the Marne. There was, however, one that is interesting because it represents the Protestants of France, under the name of the Comité-Protestant d'Entr'Aide. In the hamlet of Heiltz-le-Maurupt, on the Marne battle line, was a Protestant church and in the village were thirty families of that faith, descendants of the Huguenots, who lost all they possessed. The Friends put up in this village the shelters for which the Entr'Aide supplied the furnishings. In like manner, the Friends have used the supplies of the Bon Gîte and the Renaissance du Foyer.
It would be extremely interesting to take up in detail the cooperation of our warehouse at Châlons with the prefecture of the Marne. Like Amiens, Châlons is a gateway for refugees, and, as at Amiens, a careful plan has been worked out for their relief. In so far as this plan supplements the relief work of the Friends and of the Red Cross, it has a place here. The plan is that of M. Nicaud, departmental inspector of public assistance, and embraces both transient refugees and the inhabitants of the Marne who are in straits owing to the war. M. Nicaud acts for the Departmental Commission called into being by the Ministry of the Interior in August, 1917. He is responsible to the préfet of the Marne. Like so many of the departmental officials of France he is not a native of the department himself, but was appointed only a year before the outbreak of the war. In the room adjoining his office, the walls are lined with open files. Here are the records of the éprouvés (sufferers), it may be from Belgium, from the Nord, or from the Marne itself. They represent requests for aid, investigations by the mayor of the commune in which the applicant resides, and the amount of aid given.
Up to the 20th of November, 1918, 28,922 families or 83,000 persons had been given assistance. But this assistance is not given, except in the case of non-residents, in cash. M. Nicaud---like most of the French officials---is a firm believer in preserving the independence of the recipient. The latter is presented with an order for the amount covering his immediate needs, redeemable at his own local merchant's, or at a depot established by the State. Into this scheme of relief, both the American Red Cross and the Friends have come tentatively, the Red` Cross- having donated a monthly stipend and large supplies, and the Friends, under the prefecture, having established a distributing depot of these supplies at Châlons against the orders of M. Nicaud. Naturally, however, the subsidies for the prefectorial plan come largely from the government, and as yet private agencies in the Marne have not worked out the complete coordination with the prefecture which M. Nicaud hopes to effect.
The Meuse adjoins the Marne without natural barriers. One of the English Friends describes it as "comparatively poor and almost entirely agricultural. The men having been drawn away by the war, there is no one left to think for them. The depression in these villages is very pitiful." This was in 1915. In 1916, the Meuse, quiescent since the onslaught of 1914, sprang into terrible glory, in the defense of Verdun. While the cannon of Fort Vaux and Fort Douaumont thundered, while overhead the German shells and bombs were being hurled, village women by the roadside broke stone to keep in repair the vital road that night and day fed the defense. On that road depended Verdun, cut off from all other means of communication, and on Verdun, hung France. Fifteen miles, at one time, was the narrow space that separated the German armies on either side of the road. Thousands of lives were poured out to save it.
There, among the heroic villages, another organization beside the Friends came in October, 1916,---the Villages Libérés. It established an outpost in charge of a nurse, Mlle. Sirodot, who was for many years interested in an orphanage in Brittany. The little center grew; two other volunteers came to act as nurses, and by the autumn of 1918, there were sixty villages all up and down the road in their care. Not only nursing, but material aid was given, though here again the Villages Libérés put into practice their conviction that the recipients should pay something, be it ever so little, for the objects accorded them. The greatest need of the two ladies in charge of the district was transportation, and this, with a chauffeur, the Red Cross supplied. They also gave liberally of their stores and for some time had their civilian headquarters in the grounds of the chateau which served as headquarters for the Villages Libérés also at Rosnes.
With the Villages Libérés, and later with the Children's Bureau of the Red Cross, worked also a group of the American Fund for French Wounded, establishing dispensaries for the civilians. But, like the Red Cross itself, it quickly turned to the care of our own wounded in the terrible fighting of the Argonne.
The road to Verdun! There might honk the gray Ford of the Friend's Unit, unabashed; there through the mud walked the ladies of the Villages Libérés, in their blue uniforms and white banded, floating veils; there crashed and rumbled the French army camions, hundreds of them, driven by slant-eyed Annamites; there at a crossroad stood the Yankee M. P., holding up traffic at its peril; there the soldiers of the world, it seemed, marched by. Our ambulance boys, all during the siege of 1916, flashed up and down it, our troops in khaki have traveled it; our dead are laid to rest on the hillsides that overlook it, winding up to Verdun.
But that was before the armistice. On the night of November 11, 1918, the moon, no longer a Boche moon, shone on the long white road and on the shattered villages. For the first time in four years they twinkled with lights.
THE PREFECT OF THE FRONTIER
BOUNDING the Meuse on the northeast, a buffer between the French fortress of Verdun and the German fortress of Metz lies the Department of the Meurthe and Moselle, anciently known as Lorraine. From the time of the Romans, when these marches were peopled by tribes of the Belgae, this has been a turbulent frontier. Here in the ninth century, as in the nineteenth, were fought the battle against :German aggression which determined the existence of France as a nation, cemented by the treaty of Verdun. So ancient has been the formal feud between the two races. Civil wars have engaged the province, in which figure the Bishops of Toul, the Dukes of Lorraine and of Bar, and that arch-enemy of all feudal princes, the King---whoever he might be---of France. Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England in the wars of the Roses, was born at Pont-à-Mousson, the ruins of which were held at the time of the armistice by Southern colored troops. Nomeny, the proud seat of Lorraine, was the birthplace of another princess who became a queen of France. To-day Nomeny is one of the thousands of villages wantonly destroyed by Germany. But in spite of royal alliances, Lorraine itself never came under the crown of France until a few years before the French revolution. Nor had she been long a state of the Empire, when she was cut in two, and her northern half ceded, in 1872, to Germany. North of the Moselle, converted into an ever present menace at Strasbourg and Metz, lay the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine.
It is not strange that the Meurthe and Moselle can boast many an admiral and marshal of France. At Toul and at Nancy were situated those military schools which trained year after year the picked troops of the Division of Iron, the men who, relying on the inviolable neutrality of Belgium, thought to withstand between Verdun and Belfort the first assaults of their ancient enemy, Germany. As a matter of fact they did so withstand them in the fall of 1914. But the glory of that victory was swallowed up in the greater glory of the Marne.
As the German troops swept ever nearer through Nomeny to the west, and through Lunéville and Gerbévillers to the east, Nancy knew that her fate in the combined attack rested on the semicircle of wooded hills about her known as Le Grand Couronné de Nancy (the Great Crown of Nancy) and held by her troops. It is told how the artillery on one of these heights fell short of ammunition. The guns fired their last shot; the Germans were advancing. Nothing remained but to destroy the guns and retreat. The order was given. The crew of one gun received it with tears in their eyes. "My captain," they said, "Our gun has been a good gun. Before we destroy it, may we not decorate it?" The captain assented. The soldiers gathered flowers from the fields and branches from the woods; they made a flowery chariot of their well-loved companion in arms, the gun. But the captain stood watching the enemy, field glass to eye. Suddenly he saw the advancing columns wheel, turn and file away. He waited, still watching. Then the truth dawned on him. "The Germans are falling back," he cried, " the battle is won." Such is the legend of the gun that saved Nancy, as beautiful a legend as those King Stanislas caused to be wrought in the city's golden gates.
In the city itself, during these terrible days, there was a spirit as unconscious, as heroic, as that of its defenders. It was due in a great measure to the new préfet who had come to Nancy only a month before. M. Ifion Mirman had been successively professor of mathematics at the Lyceum of Reims, deputy, and director of public aid in the Ministry of the Interior. At the outbreak of the war, he had asked to be sent to a point of danger. The department of the Meurthe and Moselle was given to him. He came to Nancy with his wife and his family, saying to his new neighbors in his first proclamation: "I bring you that which, next to my country, I cherish most, my wife and my six children who will be proud to share your trials, to toil with you in your labors, and to unite themselves to your hope."
From the summer of 1914 to the summer of 1918, Nancy suffered bombardment every month, sometimes every week, and during the full moons---for the felon aviators of Germany preferred its light---night after night. It shares with Dunkerque and Reims the distinction of being the most bombed city of France. Not only was the city bombed, but the surrounding country, until Nancy was full of refugees. At the head of the committee tee care for them was, of course, the Préfet, and on it served the Mayor and the Bishop of Nancy. An asylum for these unfortunates was fitted up, and divided into corridors, each bearing the name of the village of the refugees. Trade schools were opened for the children. Industries were fostered. Huge underground refuges were built. Mme. Mirman and her older daughters were no less keen to help than the préfet. In fact the trade school was Mme. Mirman's particular charge.
When the English Friends, so near the scene of these continued disasters, inquired in 1915 what they could do to help, they were met by the courteous reply that Nancy, being a very wealthy city, was proud to take care of its own. Nevertheless, they had for a time a relief station there. In the summer of 1917, however, there came a plea in the form of a telegram from M. Mirman himself to the American Fund for French Wounded, asking help for four hundred and fifty children, evacuated from neighboring villages on account of the German gas attacks. These children, ranging from one year to nine, were too young to wear gas masks. They were without fathers, because the fathers had been mobilized. They were without mothers, because the mothers must remain at their posts of danger to cultivate the fields.
The American Red Cross, as Mrs. Lathrop of the American Fund for French Wounded knew, was looking for work. She herself could supply the nurses, the transportation, and the medical supplies, but not the doctor. She laid the case before the American Red Cross. As a result, the Children's Bureau of the latter started the next day the first Red Cross work for civilians in France. The asylum itself was a former military barracks of ten buildings capable of housing eight hundred patients, situated on a hill a mile from the old, walled city of Toul. The prefecture and the army, cooperating, gave the light, the coal, the water supply, food, domestic labor and a squad of soldiers, beds and bedding and transportation of supplies. The Red Cross supplemented this help with a unit of six American Friends to install sanitary equipment, with milk and delicacies for the children, games and, above all, a doctor, a dentist and a director of play. At Toul then began the active cooperation between the American Red Cross and the American Fund for French Wounded which continued until January, 1919. From Toul their work spread, until there were twenty-six dispensaries for children opened under the Red Cross director designated Directeur des Secours Civils aux Enfants for the department of the Meurthe and Moselle.
But the story of the dispensaries in the Meurthe and Moselle as a whole belongs to the Children's Bureau, which, in the Zone reorganization of the Red Cross, passed from the Department of General Relief to the Medical Department. It belongs not so much to an area of devastation as to one overstrained by the necessity of the war production, not only of food, but of ammunition. Gas attacks, bombs, the shortage of labor which caused women to take the places of men in industry, the overcrowding of refugees, these were the conditions alleviated by the Children's Bureau in its refuge at Toul, in its city dispensaries and its hospitals and crèches established in connection with munition plants such as Foug. True, there was the ruined city of Lunéville, there was Gerbévillers, which will ever be famous for Soeur Julie and her wounded, there was Pont-à-Mousson, where even last summer the nurses who served the dispensary ran across the bridge in single file so as not to be picked off by the German gunners, there was Pompey, with its wrecked and silent factories, and a dozen more that one might name. Nevertheless; the work of the American Red Cross was primarily one of public health, supplementing M. Mirman in his programme of economic administration.
In like manner, the American Red Cross warehouse and transportation service, opened in January, 1918, was designed to meet the emergent needs of the refugees flocking into Nancy, to stock the soup kitchens, to disburse supplies for war orphans or for poor relief, and to furnish men and transport for the all too-frequent emergencies of bombardment. Ambulance service, the evacuation of the maternity hospital of Nancy to Toul, and finally, their share in the wholesale evacuation of Nancy itself resulting from ever fiercer air raids in February and March, 1918, such were the emergent tasks which fell to the Red Cross personnel.
Meantime at the Prefecture, three broad lines of service were perfected; (1) the care of refugees already noted, (2) the encouragement of agriculture, with attendant reconstruction, (I) and, above all, by all these means the encouragement of the people whom
M. Mirman had come to govern. In spite of the fact that the greater part of his department was uninvaded, it had lost to the Germans the main source of its industry in losing the Basin of Briey. There were the iron mines which had supplied its foundries, the most considerable in France. In like manner it had lost its deposits of salt and of potash. Its industries were further dislocated by lack of coal usually imported through Germany. It was cut off from the west of France by the loop of German armies almost surrounding Verdun. The front, with all its horrors of wounded, its gas attacks, its constant anxieties, lay not fifteen miles from the capital, which was subjected to both bombardment and raids. And from the front, far into the interior, over peaceful fields and vineyards, over open cities, over munitions factories, or over rail heads as the case might be, the air squadrons of the Germans dropped impartially their bombs.
Yet under these terrible conditions the munitions of war must be forged. That the women may till the fields, the children must be placed in safety. "The tiller of the soil, in laboring for the communes labors also for France." " The victory does not depend solely on military action; the civilians must strive on their part to guard against the economic disasters of which the war is the cause." " French valor should affirm itself in work, as it does in arms."[Félix Rocquain: Un Grand Prefet. La Revue Hebdomadaire.] Such were the appeals which M. Mirman addressed to his fellow citizens. But he gave them more than words; he distributed seeds in the devastated communes, and built and repaired hundreds of houses in the one hundred and thirty-four communes retrieved from the Germans. He loved the refugees, particularly the children. These latter do not all belong by any means to his asylums, in Nancy or in Toul. At Pompey, in all the towns lying at the mouth of the mines, the foundries of peace times turned to the manufactures of war. Night and day they ran, and the tall chimneys belching fire were a flaunting target for German bombs. So it came about that the poor houses left in these villages stood empty, and every night a sad procession moved down to some unworked shaft, to spend the night in its shelter. And this went on, not for a week, or a month, or a year, but in some cases for four years. Children were born and lived and died---for the mortality was high---without knowing any other home.
Such children as these were reached by the American Red Cross and the American Fund for French Wounded dispensaries; bright children, pathetic children, oftentimes war-orphaned children whom kind neighbors took in. And it was the care of the children that touched as nothing else could, M. Mirman's heart. Just as he had entrusted his own children to the protection of the French army, he entrusted these other children of his larger family to the American Red Cross.
War is a wastrel. In the spring of 1918, the refugee work at Nancy was swept away. By order of the army, Nancy was evacuated of all her useless and alien population. The refugees had to leave the community center where they had experienced so much of kindness and of practical encouragement. Later, a second blow fell on M. Mirman in a second evacuation, that of the asylum at Toul. Not the enemy, but the latest of their Allies, caused this unexpected result. Our army, coming into the firing line in Lorraine, took the children's asylum as a hospital. The denouement was sudden and unexpected. M. Mirman, who had gone himself to the mothers of these children to assure them that he would be personally responsible for them, had no time to gain their consent to a second removal. He assumed the responsibility, and sent them, as he had the first convoys, on a special train to a place of safety outside the fighting zone.
But the dispensaries, the-hospitals and the crèches, attached to the factory centers, and the Nancy warehouse continued to extend help to the civilians of the Meurthe and Moselle. The aerial bombardments, increasing up to the time of the armistice, made this service of exceptional value. The preparation for the great offensive against Metz, to have been launched by us and by the French, on November 11th, on the other hand, made it increasingly difficult. Wholesale evacuations from the zone of operation to the north of Nancy added to the stream of refugees departing from the city itself. It was the aim of the prefecture to outfit each of these refugees with clothing and with food for the journey. The resources of the Nancy warehouse were placed at the disposal of Mme. Mirman and a committee of charitable ladies, for this end, as well as for all the wartime charities which they directed. Mme. Massiet, wife of General Massiet, writes of this: " the assistance in food and clothing in these days of restricted supplies and expensive living has rendered us a service the importance of which is above anything which we earl express."
On the heights of Château-Thierry, before the St. Mihiel salient, in the Argonne -Forest, and on the front of Nancy, which commanded Metz, the American Army was given by the French its posts of honor. In Lorraine fell the first of our army for France. The department of the Meurthe and Moselle has commemorated their sacrifice by a monument emblazoned with the double cross of Lorraine. Our men of that advance division wear the emblem of Lorraine upon their shoulders. No less precious a symbol of the entente cordiale, of appreciation of American effort, will rise in the Meurthe and Moselle, in commemoration of the American Red Cross. It will be a living memorial, a trade school, founded by M. Mirman from money given him by the Red Cross to use in any way he saw fit, for the children of Lorraine.
THE FLAGS OF VICTORY
WITH the proclaiming of the armistice, on November 11, 1918, the second phase of the effort of the American Red Cross for civilians drew to an end. The merging of the military and civilian branches made necessary at the time of the retreat, and perfected in the system of Zone management during the stupendous Allied offensive of the early autumn, suddenly lost its reason for being. The concentration of supplies, of energy, of purpose in the soldier, and particularly in the American soldier, relaxed. The husbanding of resources against a winter in the trenches, the restrictions placed upon civilian buying, the measuring of tonnage by the needs of the army, the impossibility of constructive planning, all these uncertainties vanished over night. In their place was presented a problem quite as stupendous: the devastation and the refugee. " In the steeples of the liberated villages," writes Eduard Helsey in Le Journal, January 2, 1919, "the flags of victory are commencing to be displayed. To the first rejoicing has succeeded little by little a joy more thoughtful which forces consideration of the actual realities. It is not sufficient to be victorious, it is also necessary to live. "In the regions devastated by the enemy, there is for our unfortunate compatriots a problem so acute as to border on tragedy.
"Before stating the results of my investigation as to the sufferings of those to whom our soldiers have given their freedom, I wish to touch upon what is being done for them.
"We must state the simple truth. All of those upon whom falls the responsibility of dealing with this situation have a keen understanding of their duty, so clear and so imperative. The minister in charge, M. Lebrun, his assistants, the heads of departments, the préfets, the generous people organized into societies to render assistance---every one is working without sparing himself. Every one is putting his whole heart and soul into this effort. But the enormity of the task surpasses the capacity of the best intentions; and those who are devoting themselves to this work of rehabilitation of the devastated regions, are the first to recognize and to proclaim that the needs are out of all proportion to the results obtained.
" Think that in the single department of the Nord, so completely 'sabotaged' by the war, it is necessary to provide the means of life for 1,200,000 inhabitants! And this figure does not cease to mount. Every day from 3000 to 5000 exiles are returning. A great number are returning through Valenciennes, arriving from Belgium or Germany, to which countries they had been deported. In this single department of the Nord can be counted fifty-seven communes (among which are several large cities), and of these 40 per cent of all the real property has been destroyed. In thirty-two of these communes from 40 to 90 per cent of the houses have been shattered by cannon, and in fifty-nine communes not one building in ten is standing. To sum up, half of the department is uninhabitable, and the rest has been totally laid bare. At Cambrai, Douai, and at Valenciennes, there was no longer when the Germans left, linen, bedding, cooking nor other utensils. There was nothing.
"There is no one to blame for the present situation but the Germans. Yes. But we are now in the winter season and during this temporary period from which there is no escape, hundreds of thousands of French, who have already suffered the anguish and torture of the Boche oppression, are still suffering cruelly. This is because it is much easier to destroy than to rebuild, and peace does not, any more than war, take place in a day.
"Two or three million poor people are living in these liberated regions, either because they did not wish to flee before the invader or because they have again returned to their homes at the earliest opportunity. There is actually nothing more urgent for France than to assure these people the means to live.
"What are they doing? What are they eating? How are they dressed? Where are they sleeping? How are they spending their days and their nights? What do they need?
"It was to investigate at first hand, to register the exact facts that I undertook a tour through the martyred towns, through the great cities so long shut out from French life, through the villages laid waste, where I have seen our soldiers fight.
"Haubourdin, Halluin, Gondecourt, Crèvecoeur, Courcelettes, Péronne, Bapaume, these are names of combats and of victories. It is necessary to-day to give new and peaceful battles against misery and hunger."
There remained to be determined the relation of the American Red Cross to this appalling situation. It called for emergency action quick and far reaching to be effective. But that very fact necessitated the closest cooperation of the American Red Cross with the Government on whom must fall not only the crushing need of the moment, but the plan for the economic reconstruction of the six thousand square miles of devastated France. Plans of reconstruction and of agriculture, worked out by the American Red Cross in the days when the German retreat was looked on as a gradual process, assumed insignificant proportions in the face of the sudden liberation of the entire occupied territory. Cities reduced to rubble, miles of soil empoisoned by gas, planted with shells and barbed wire, blasted as by a volcanic eruption,---this was the concern of governments. Above all, France felt, it was the concern of Germany. As a French soldier said on viewing the devastation reconquered, "After all, only the ruins are German, the soil is French!" The ruins are German, and she will pay.
While these matters on which hang peace or war are being discussed by the envoys of all the world, the American Red Cross has set itself to carry out the duty, assigned it by the French government, of emergent relief. It is doing this, not in its own way, but in the way approved and determined by that government. This is, so far as the main plan is concerned, a return to the warehouse scheme of the Belgian Relief Commission. Six huge warehouses have been established in Northern France; one at Verdun, one at Châlons, one at Mézières, one at Laon, one at Amiens, and one at Lille. Each serves a defined area; that of Verdun the Meuse, the Meurthe and Moselle, and the Vosges, that of Chalons the Marne, that of Mézières the Ardennes, that of Laon the Aisne, that of Amiens the Somme and the Oise, that of Lille the Nord and the Pas-de-Calais. They have each a delegate, a staff, and above all, a strong transport service; for in the devastated area proper railroads no longer exist, nor tramways, nor busses, nor conveyances of any kind---it might almost be said, nor roads. The delegates of these warehouses are responsible to a Field Director, whose central office is in Paris, and he, in turn, is responsible to the Director of General Relief. The capacity of the warehouses, and the volume of work contemplated, may be judged by the fact that the first consignment shipped to Lille comprised one hundred carloads. Fortunately army supplies and refugee supplies stored in the interior could be systematically diverted to this use.
There was already operating in Northern France another intensely American agency, the Hoover or Belgian Relief Commission, latterly called the Interallied Food Commission. From Belgium as far as the former German lines, they had their old territory divided into districts and committees, centering about their warehouses. The Interallied Food Commission and the American Red Cross have, therefore, combined in a working agreement whereby the American Red Cross warehouses in France carry no stock of food, relying on the stocks of the Commission of Relief for Belgium, but on the other hand supplement the Food Commission in Belgium proper by Red Cross warehouses stored with other necessities. Three such warehouses have been established there.
Meantime, another agency has been invited by the French authorities into the situation; the Children's Bureau of the American Red Cross itself. Dr. A. Calmette, the medical inspector for the liberated regions of the Service de Santé, sent in January the following appeal:
"In the cities of Northern France that have been devastated by the German armies, the working population has suffered much more than the country people from insufficient food. As a result the children, especially from eight to sixteen years old, have been stunted in their growth.
"Physicians are much preoccupied over this condition which puts the coming race in jeopardy.
"The authorities concentrating all their powers on economic reconstruction are not now in a position to recognize all the importance of this question.
" It is extremely to be wished that the American Red Cross, which has made such generous efforts on behalf of the refugees from the invaded districts, should see its way to organizing a work for the relief of the youth of the liberated cities. This could be done by establishing school canteens, where for an entire year each child could obtain a substantial meal.
"The cities of the north of France devastated or destroyed by the German army, call with all their heart on the American Red Cross for their assistance and beg them not to abandon them."
In accordance with this all too evident need, the warehouse plan of the Red Cross was modified to include stores of supplementary food for children, and canteen centers are in process of organization by the Children's Bureau in connection with both Red Cross and Allied Food Commission warehouses. Dispensaries are not deemed necessary on account of the return to their practices of mobilized physicians, and of the able direction of the Service de Santé. In fact, nearly all the Children's Bureau dispensaries which have heretofore worked in the devastated area have been closed for these reasons.
Besides the American Red Cross and the Interallied Food Commission, there are hundreds of private agencies equipped for emergency relief and for reconstruction, which are already in the field. Of American organizations, for instance, all those who had posts in the north prior to the German drive have returned. In addition, college units such as the Barnard Unit and the Vassar Unit, are at work, one in the Nord, and the other at Verdun; and it is universally true that units which in wartime were hospital units, have taken up emergent relief. The organization carrying the largest programme is that of the Friends with a personnel of six hundred. The next in size is the American Committee for Devastated France in the Aisne.
There are British organizations, notably the Comité Brittanique of the French Red Cross. There are the host of French agencies, headed by the Comité du Secours National and the three branches of the French Red Cross. The former functions as usual, for the most part indirectly by subsidizing departmental and other agencies; the latter has an extensive field and a numerous personnel drawn from its nurses. There are the many smaller societies, who with the French Red Cross, have held in reserve their energy and their supplies for just this moment of greatest need. The clothing made for four years in the women s workrooms, the accumulated furniture, the kitchen utensils,---all are being distributed now. There are the owners of estates who return to encourage their villagers, their hands full of gifts. There are agricultural societies such as the Aide Immédiate aux Agriculteurs, whose name explains its purpose, and village planning and reconstruction societies, such as the Village Reconstitué, and the Renaissance des Cités. In the hands of the latter, the Red Cross has placed all the expert studies on the problem of reconstruction upon which it has been engaged for two years.
This network of private effort, of whatever nationality, exists with the authorization and under the restriction of the French government. To this end a new ministry was created last autumn, styled the Ministère du Blocus et des Regions Libérées. As in war time by the army, so now by the ministry the sectors of each of these societies are given out. Non-partisan departmental committees and the representative of the ministry in each department oversee and control to a certain extent the private activities and coordinate them with the colossal plans of the government. [See Appendix.]
It is with special departmental committees that the American Red Cross delegates work. They themselves do no individual family relief work, but in each section distribute through an agency already established, and approved by the aforesaid committee, at whose head, ex officio, is the préfet himself.
The warehousing and disbursing plan thus adopted by the American Red Cross has cut oh automatically not only its own direct relief work, but special services and subsidies formerly granted by the Red Cross to cooperating agencies, such as the American Friends' Unit, the American Fund for French Wounded, the American Committee for Devastated France, and the college units recruited under the Red Cross. The chief necessity and advantage of such an arrangement no longer existed. With the signing of the armistice transportation had become unrestricted. With the practical end of the war, the wartime centralization of American effort in the Red Cross became untenable. The purpose of the organization could no longer be said to be the winning of the war. Its civilian activities resumed their normal scope, that of an agency of emergent relief. On February 28, 1919, the War Council of the American Red Cross was dissolved.
It is too early to appraise the effort of the American Red Cross for the civilians of France. A hundred and fifty years after Lafayette, France has garnered the harvest of goodwill, of deep obligation, which he sowed in the heart of America. In like manner, in the hearts of her people, and especially in the tenacious memories of her peasant soldiers, the American Red Cross would most desire to be remembered, not for its accomplishments which, on any computation, are necessarily inadequate, but for its ideals. Alien like the American army to the old civilization of France, occupying a position of peculiar delicacy as a dispenser of gifts to a proud and war-glorified nation, it has doubtless failed in many points of etiquette, of tact, of understanding. But the purpose of the American people to help, not as a charity but as an obligation,---that at least has been evident, and has called forth the generous applause of France. We Americans may be proud of this, as an expression of the temper of our people, and the nature of our government. It is not a new manifestation; this altruistic role of ours among the nations has the sanction of precedents which prove it genuine. Our friendship with Japan, cemented by our remission of indemnity for damages inflicted upon us on the opening of that country, our disinterested protection of China, our giving of independence to Cuba, our tolerance of Mexico, our so-called Monroe doctrine, all attest that we hold to our constitution, and recognize in nations as in individuals the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Of one thing we may be sure, that no type of effort could have been more appreciated by France than that carried out by the American Red Cross in the devastated north. Against the material losses of the spring of 1918, place the words of General Pétain: "The majority of the soldiers of France are farmers, and nothing could console them more than to see in their midst the soil cultivated, sown, and maintained in its fertility.... The societies assisting the civilians in the zone of the army contribute in large measure to maintain the morale of the troops." Similar testimony is that of Paul Bourget [ L'Aide Immédiate aux Agriculteurs: For France.] "The French people indeed, are essentially, and above all, a nation of agriculturists. The present army, issued from the nation, and representing it in its entirety, is thus recruited primarily among the peasants, and its qualities are those of the French farmer, of the rough and patient farm-laborer ' attached to the soil he has turned.' Look carefully. This war bears his imprint, for he has marked it with some of his most moving particularities.
"This war is long and slow, reflecting one of the most striking characteristics of our country-people's nature: Invincible patience, the faculty of waiting and recommencing. They possess to a singularly high degree the quality of adaptation, and that quality is being applied to-day in the fighting in the trenches, just as it has been applied in the past, and as it will be again in the future, to the Sowing of the fields in the rain, and to the plowing of the soil. But this quality of adaptation must not be mistaken for passiveness. The peasant, wearing a military mantle and helmet, and led to the assault of the German lines, does not follow his officers in the same way as his flocks followed him when he wore his shepherd's cloak. His obedience is intelligent; this intelligence is another of his characteristics. He seeks to understand. He knows why he is fighting and what he is defending.
"The clear perception of the object for which France entered upon the grim struggle; to remain mistress of her own destinies, has sustained him from the very beginning. He is not fighting for the glory of one man. He is fighting for himself and his fellows, fighting for his own soil. Patria---terra patrum--- what meaning there is in this etymology. It holds all that makes the substance of human life and its price: the dead and their local inheritance, the impressive recoil of the past, and the presence of the little corner of earth to be plowed, fertilized and defended."
"It is this French peasant," to quote this time from René Bazin, "so attached to his coils SO laborious, in all battles so silently brave, whom you have undertaken to assist." :[ L'Aide Immédiate aux Agriculteurs: For France.]
Now that the battle is, we trust, over, this soldier, yes, the soldier of the devastated area, returns to his home. One hears of him thus returning from the four years of war, overcome and fainting at the sight of the heap of powdered stone that was his ancestral farm. One hears of an officer, coming a prisoner from Germany, unable to find any trace of wife or children or house. One hears of a senator of a devastated department, homeless in a terrible sense, whose daughters had been carried into the most abominable of slaveries in Germany. Up to the measure of its effectiveness, of its sympathy, will the American Red Cross be remembered for all time by such, both the heroes and victims of war.
The French, intensely practical, as well as generous, have asked from time to time what monument the American Red Cross will leave in their midst. In commenting on this, a director of Red Cross civilian effort has said: " We have not a single enduring piece of work in France to point to to call our own. Our aim has been to help the French in their own way. Our monument will be in their hearts."
AMERICAN RED CROSS
Résumé of the Activities of the Bureau, asked
M. le President du Comité du Secours National, in
his letter of 6 March
Paris, 9 March, 1918.
The aim of the Bureau of Reconstruction and Relief has been to work with the departmental committees wherever established, to supplement existing organizations, to encourage deserving ones, and to create new ones. The Red Cross is not an "oeuvre," but it seeks to help the "oeuvres," and occasionally has had to do the work of "oeuvres" in places where none exist.
Beside distributing supplies, the Bureau is interested in-fostering agriculture and the manufacture, so far as possible, of goods needed in relief work. For this purpose, as well as for discovering the needs of the population in the areas near the front, the field has been divided into six "provinces"---with delegates stationed at Arras, Ham, Noyon, Soissons, Châlons, and Nancy. An "ouvroir central" has been established at Amiens, whence garments are distributed; wan houses at Ham, Nesle, Noyon, Soissons, and Nancy, serve to store supplies imported to the devastated areas. The delegates work in connection with representatives of the Construction Department, and besides overseeing the distribution of relief, report on new needs, and cooperate in every possible way with the admirable relief work carried on by the French Government and scores of other devoted French organizations. Not long since, the delegate at Nancy put what facilities he had at the disposal of the victims of a recent air-raid; the same delegate has been busy in helping the evacuated population reach the rear.
Among the "oeuvres" helped by the Bureau are the following: The Smith College Relief Unit---now incorporated with the Red Cross; I'Union des Femmes de France; Secours d'Urgence; Village Reconstitué; Société Française des Villages Libérés; American Fund for French Wounded; Groupe Parliamentaire des Régions Envahies; Bureau de Bienfaisance de la Ville de Nancy; local committees at Baboeuf, Compiègne, Ransart; and various individuals.
It is a policy of the Bureau not to distribute secours "au hasard," and in the work of distribution it needs the help of disinterested local organizations. With the needs of the communes stated by local committees, the Bureau can assure a just division of supplies; it will give to those who cannot work, and to those who will work, but not to those who are unwilling to work.
Among the things distributed, besides food and clothing, may be mentioned the following: seed, livestock, machinery for farmers, fertilizers, furnishings such as beds, blankets, tables, stoves, kitchen utensils, etc.
Reconstruction headquarters have been established at Croix Moligneaux, Matigny, Guizancourt and Quivibres, in the Somme. The Smith College Relief Unit is stationed at Grécourt.
According to the last Bureau report, over 10,800 persons were reached by the relief work in February.
PLANS TO HELP PEOPLE OF DEVASTATED REGIONS
[Red Cross Bulletin, Paris, Dec. 28, 1918.]
It is the desire of the American Red Cross to cooperate with the official French effort. We have had our relief experts visit the regions and have had a medical and public health survey made by one of the recognized experts on such matters.
We understand it is the plan of the French Government to cover the evacuated region with various French Government committees. It has always been our desire to work conjointly with French societies and to aid them. We suggested to the French government through M. Tardieu therefore for their consideration, the following plan for American Red Cross effort which we believe would make our aid most effective:
With the cessation of military endeavors, the American Red Cross has a vast amount of material and supplies released in connection with our military operations, motor vehicles, hospital supplies, etc., including a large quantity of hospital equipment, beds, bedding, hospital garments. We have American Red Cross committees all over the United States formed and producing various kinds of supplies constantly, and they will no doubt continue to for some time. Hundreds of carloads of supplies no longer necessary for military American Red Cross Work are even now being received at our concentration points.
Large Base Warehouses
We propose to divide the evacuated area into a number of divisions and establish a large base warehouse in each. At the head of each warehouse we will have one of our most competent General Relief executives. Attached to each will be necessary warehouse staff and a fleet of camions and some touring cars. In these warehouses we will concentrate such available supplies described above as we propose to assign for this work, and such total supplies will be subject to the requisition of and delivery by us to government committees working in the evacuated areas.
In other words, instead of the American Red Cross taking any one section and confining our endeavors to that section, we will distribute the total that we can do primarily in the way of supplies among French Government committees, in that way supplementing their efforts wherever they may be operating.
Tardieu Endorses Plan
M. Tardieu, in accepting the plan, said in part:
"Permit me to begin with, to express to you our gratitude for the generous assistance that you propose to give to the people who have suffered so much from the war. You will thus add to the great work of the American Red Cross a new page. No initiative will be more appreciated by our population, and I wish above all to express to you here my deep gratitude.
"The program you mention is quite in accordance with the views of the French Government. The Minister of the Liberated Regions has organized in the whole of the territory previously invaded, a service for the coordination of relief, and the help that you may bring to them in the form you contemplate will be most precious.
"In order to insure the contact between your delegate in each department and the French relief works accepted by the Government, my colleague, Mr. Lebrun, is quite willing to create special committees where your delegate would meet the authorized representatives of the administration of the National Relief, of the French Relief works exercising their activities in the Department, and of the groups of those requiring assistance. If the general lines of this program are acceptable to you, its performance will be placed under the control of the Ministry of the Liberated Regions, to which is attached the National Office for the coordination of relief in the liberated regions."
MlNISTRY OF BLOCUS AND OF THE LIBERATED REGIONS
March 7, 1919.
Note in Regard to the Organization of the Coordination of Relief in the Liberated Regions and in Regard to the Operation of Relief Societies
The High Committee of Coordination of Relief in the liberated regions, which is, in a sense, the administrative council of the national office of coordination in the Ministry of the Liberated Regions, has put in the form of a Recommendation approved 1 by the minister, the general principle of the organization of relief in the departments injured by acts of war.
This organization, inspired by the experience gained in certain sectors, notably in the department of the Somme and that of the Oise at the time of the first period of the liberation of these departments in 1917, has as a working basis the creation of local relief stations serving geographic sectors in such a way as to place the agencies of relief in direct contact with the population.
The conduct of these stations of relief is, as a rule, entrusted to private societies who appoint for the purpose one or several Delegates confirmed by the Administration. In default of this, the conduct could be assumed by some person designated by the Administration.
In a sector of relief so assigned, the distribution of gifts of whatever description should whenever possible be effected by the delegates of the society to whom the local station belongs. Committees and charitable persons desirous of performing a particular action or of making a special gift in these sectors are always requested not to do so except through the intermediary of the local relief station, or in accord with it.
The local bureaus of coordination of relief are so constituted as to be able to serve as intermediaries between the Administration, the local stations, and the relief societies. They pool information, offers and demands, and are the agents, through the intermediary of the Prefects, of the National Office of Coordination of Relief, for the purpose of avoiding, so far as possible, omissions and duplications, and of taking charge so far as they can provide them, of needs which the local stations cannot satisfy, with the least possible delay. The local bureaus of coordination of relief are composed essentially of a Committee comprising representatives of the relief societies, of the populace, and of the Administration, and act, with their necessary personnel, under the direction of a representative of the Prefecture.
In general, the limits of a relief station correspond somewhat to a canton, and the local bureau of coordination extends its sphere to the territorial equivalence of an arrondissement.
Actually, the outlines of this organization having been so determined, the Administration endeavors to fill them out, and to see to it that there remains no blank on the map of the sectors of relief.
For this purpose, the delegates of different recognized Committees, and the principle charitable individuals were invited, in the course of working conferences held at the Ministry, to make known their intentions and their preferences. In this way, a general programme was established upon the agreements reached between the Administration and the different Committees and between the Societies among themselves, at these working conferences.
Meetings have been held since at the Prefectures, in order to reach a definite agreement on these points in each department.
The relief societies, after these conferences, have now been asked to make known their final decisions and their actual possibilities. In spite of the material difficulties of the hour, of which the gravest is the lack of transports, many have already responded and have even commenced to realize their beneficent campaign. Everywhere, meantime, Prefectures, Committees, and individuals fully organized to assure the coordination of relief, are proceeding to the distribution of the gifts provided either by the Administration or by private sources.
The charitable groups which propose to intervene in the devastated regions to care for the innumerable unfortunates of these unhappy localities, and to aid in rebuilding the ruins, become more and more numerous. No mention will be made in this note of proposals of adoption or of god-mothering which spring up on every hand, and which have for their object the helping of particular localities.
The proper steps in order to effect these adoptions and god-motherings have been drawn up in an accompanying recommendation of the High Committee of the Coordination of Relief.
In order to make a list of the relief societies, French or foreign, which propose to assist the liberated regions, these societies can be divided into two categories: the societies of general scope which assist impartially all the devastated country and the societies of local scope which limit their intervention to a fixed area.
These general and these local societies divide in turn into two sorts of intervention according as they furnish all kinds of assistance (distribution of linen, of clothing, of furniture, care of the populace, etc.), or confine themselves to a particular form of assistance (gifts of agricultural implements, of furniture, etc.).
One must set apart the two great relief organizations which work in collaboration with the coordination of relief, but by special and direct means: The American Red Cross, and Be Secours National (National Relief).
The American Red Cross which accomplished a considerable work during the period of liberation in 1917-1918, is about to set up a new organization by creating great relief warehouses in the principal centres of the devastated regions (Lille, Amiens, Laon, Châlon-sur-Marne, Verdun, etc.). Its representatives will be in touch with a special Committee in each department, where they will be able to find all the information and all the collaboration suitable for seconding their efforts. The American Red Cross will make its distributions through the local relief stations.
Le Secours National, presided over by M. Appel, and of which the Secretary-General is M. Guillet, has its agents in its departmental Committees in the Liberated regions. It affects its distribution directly or with the cooperation-of the prefectures in agreement with the National Office of Coordination of Relief.
Le Secours National has appropriated important sums from its budget for contributions in kind and for various subventions since the liberation of 1917 up to the time of the hostile advance of 1918, and it has resumed its subventions with a truly vast programme, and means of action which should be especially appreciated.
Le Groupe Parliamentaire of the invaded departments presided over by M. le Sénateur Cuvinot sends regular subventions to the unfortunate departments. These sums are redivided or utilized through the care of a Committee which functions closely with the Prefect of each department. A certain number of relief societies, French and foreign, have grouped themselves in general associations under the name of Union des OEuvres de Secours aux Foyers Dévastés par la Guerre (Union of Relief Societies for Homes Devastated by the War) of which the Secretary General is M. Silhol.
Recommendations Issued by the High Committee of Coordination of Relief, in its Sitting of February 18,1919, Concerning the Various Kinds of Relief Susceptible of being Classified under the Head of Adoption or God-Mothering
The High Committee of Coordination of Relief anticipating the organization of concerted offers for the reconstruction of the devastated regions, and especially of such as present themselves in the form of propositions of adoption or of god-mothering.
In regard to the question itself:
Issues the recommendation that the resources proceeding from these forms of assistance must be applied to special and designated objects and not to reconstruction in general.
In regard to the methods of applying these resources:
Considering that the responsibility of the State of France such as she shall establish by the law actually under discussion before Parliament applies to all the damages suffered by individuals;
Considering on the one hand the difficulty of dividing among individuals the resources necessarily insufficient for the restoration of entire towns, and on the other the necessity of offering to donors, individual or collective, definite and limited objects corresponding to their expressed wish to adopt such town or region;
Issues the recommendation that the charitable groups or persons who intend to intervene m the form aforesaid could fix their choice for the realization of the action which they propose to take upon one of the methods indicated hereafter:
First.---Distribution of assistance to the inhabitants (beds, bedding, clothing, household articles, small tools for the house, for flower-culture, for gardening, small animals, etc.).
Second.---Intervention for the purpose of bringing an improvement or an addition (as concerns what has been restored under the title of damages of war) in the establishment, real or personal, of reconstructed dwellings, notably taking charge of dispensing improvements affecting hygiene, and domestic or rural economy, etc.
Third.---Taking charge of sums advanced under the term of loans to losers, to keep track of the difference between old and new (deterioration) in the reconstruction of dwellings destroyed, sums previously constituting by the terms of the law a debt of the war-loser reimbursable after a lapse of twenty-five years.
Fourth.---Advancing costs of reconstruction against reimbursement of one part only of these costs by the loser from his indemnity for damages of war.
Fifth.---Participation in the reconstruction of public monuments, civic or religious (town halls, churches, schools, hospitals) with a view of allowing to be brought to them desirable improvements, embellishments or enlargements.
Sixth.---The effecting of any entirely new work in the common interest, water-supply, lighting, sanitation, cheap housing, erection of buildings of public interest.
Seventh.---The creation of philanthropic works or charitable foundations (hospitals, crèches, dispensaries, sanitoria, children's colonies, etc.).
Eighth.---The creation of centres of communal life (Maisons des tous, Foyers des campagnes) comprising hall of recreation and of fetes, educational library, post-graduate and professional, installation of games and sports for the young, shower-baths, consultations for nurslings, milk stations, etc., etc., and dedicated to the memory of the victims of the war.
Table of Contents