GERMANY attacked France to dominate, mutilate, and ruin her. I have given above some details of the plan of methodical devastation devised by Germany in February, 1916.(46) Victory gave us back our frontiers and our security. But it left us impoverished to an extent unparalleled in history.

Our man power had suffered terribly. Of a population of 37,797,000---of which 9,420,000 were men between nineteen and fifty years---8,410,000, or eighty-nine and five-tenths per cent. of our potential effectives, had been called to the colours and for nearly five years withdrawn from productive labour. Of these 8,410,000 men called to the colours, 5,564,000, or sixty-six per cent. met either death or injury; 1,364,000 killed; 740,000 mutilated; 3,000,000 wounded; 490,000 prisoners. Nearly all of the latter returned from Germany ill and wasted, one man in ten tubercular for life. Compared to the total number of men called to the colours (8,410,000), the killed (1,364,000) represent sixteen per cent.; fifty-seven per cent. of all Frenchmen called to the colours between the ages of eighteen and thirty-two---the young generation which is the chief strength of a country---were killed. In order to grasp the full significance of these figures, apply them to the population of the United States. Had American losses been on the French scale, it would have meant the raising by America of about twenty-six and a half million soldiers, of whom four millions would have died.

This decline in man power went hand in hand with a decline in financial power. The net cost of the war deducting all that Germany has to reimburse (pensions and allowances) and all that France would have spent had there been no war-amounts to 150,000 millions. The grand total is 210,000 millions paid out of our Treasury from 1914 to 1919. For example our artillery and aviation cost us 46,000 millions; the equipment of our troops, 30,000 millions; separation allowances, 19,000 millions; food supplies for the Armies, 18,000 millions; pay, 12,000 millions; ocean freight, 12,000 millions; loans to our Allies, 11,000 millions. As the taxes during the war brought. in only 34,000 millions, it is evident that 176,000 millions had to be found by other means for meeting the cost of the struggle. Deducting the 33,000 millions lent us by our Allies, this leaves a sum of 143,000 millions paid by France from her own resources, plus 34,000 millions in taxes, a total of 177,000 millions in all. The national debt which, in 19114, amounted to 35,000 millions with no foreign debt, has risen to 176,000 internal debt, and 33,000 millions foreign debt, (68,000 millions at the October, 1920, rate of exchange.) The budget has risen from about 5,000 millions in 1914 to 22,000 millions.

But this new burden coincides with an enormous decrease in our capital. Lord Derby, Ambassador of Great Britain in Paris, addressing a meeting of his countrymen in Liverpool, in 1919, said: "Suppose England were deprived of Lancashire by an earthquake; then you will understand what the ruins of war and German destruction mean to France." A few figures to illustrate this comparison which though striking, is probably an understatement:

Inhabitants driven from their homes 2,732,000
Lands destroyed by battle 3,800,000 Hect.
Villages devastated 4,022
Houses completely or partly destroyed 594,616
Schools destroyed 6,454
Factories destroyed (completely or partly) 20,539
Live stock carried off 1,360,000 head
Railway lines of general and local interest destroyed 4,789 km.
Roads destroyed 53,398 km.
Canals destroyed 948 km.
Public works destroyed on roads and railroads 5,041

Pre-War production of the devastated zone w
ith regard to the total production of France.
Coal 55%
Woolen goods 94%
Linen thread 90%
Ore 90%
Pig iron 80%
Sugar . 70%
Cotton goods 60 %
Electric power 45 %
Sugar beets 25 %
Oats 10%
Wheat 9 %
Fodder beets 9 %

Percentage of taxes paid in 1913 by the devastated zone: 18.5%

The classification by departments of these total losses emphasizes the immensity of the disaster. It is given in the following tables:

Population of the war zone in 1914 1,862,000
Population driven out by the war 758,000
Villages devastated 501
Schools destroyed 1,555
Houses completely destroyed 50,010
Houses partly destroyed 101,292
Total surface ruined 500,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 268,808
Live stock carried off 244,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly 11,814
Roads destroyed 7,578 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 1,032
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 540 Km.

Population of the war zone in 1914 581,000
Population driven out by the war 460,000
Villages, devastated 367
Schools destroyed 554
Houses completely destroyed 70,634
Houses partly destroyed 36,480
Total surface ruined 267,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 138,082 Ha.
Live stock carried off 124,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly 1,560
Roads destroyed 7,840 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 133
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 147 Km.

Population of the war zone in 1914 281,000
Population driven out by the war 280,000
Villages destroyed 448
Schools destroyed 596
Houses completely destroyed 40,335
Houses partly destroyed 18,766
Total surface ruined 400,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 190,700 Ha.
Live stock carried off 140,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly 1,099
Roads destroyed 7,144 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 173
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 220 Km.

Population in the war zone in 1914 112,398
Population driven out by the war 96,000
Villages destroyed 263
Schools destroyed 260
Houses completely destroyed 8,745
Houses partly destroyed 15,650
Total surface ruined 170,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 107,332 Ha.
Live stock carried off 78,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly 283
Roads destroyed 2,688 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 152
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 61 Km.

Population in the war zone in 1914 530,000
Population driven out by the war 290,000
Villages destroyed 814
Schools destroyed 1,224
Houses completely destroyed 55,268
Houses partly destroyed 50,018
Total surface ruined 730,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 432,000 Ha.
Live stock carried off 251,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly 1,966
Roads destroyed 6,391 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 761
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 609 Km.

Population in the war zone in 1914 300,000
Population driven out by the war 223,000
Villages destroyed 320
Schools destroyed 432
Houses completely destroyed 30,612
Houses partly destroyed 19,285
Total surface ruined 293,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 136,639 Ha.
Live stock carried off 116,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly 913
Roads destroyed 6,183 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 132
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 204 Km.

Population in the war zone in 1914 324,000
Population driven out by the war 180,000
Villages destroyed 443
Schools destroyed 789
Houses completely destroyed 10,440
Houses partly destroyed 14,205
Total surface ruined 525,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 125,000 Ha.
Live stock carried off 185,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly 1,528
Roads destroyed 3,621 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 600
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 344 Km.

Population in the war zone in 1914 180,000
Population driven out by the war 135,000
Villages devastated 398.
Schools destroyed 520
Houses completely destroyed 24,229
Houses partly destroyed 12,457
Total surface ruined 320,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 168,816 Ha.
Live stock carried off 93,000
Factories destroyed (Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle and Vosges) completely or partly 1,376
Roads destroyed 4,878 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 94
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 129 Km.

Population in the war zone in 1914 424,000
Population driven out by the war 292,000
Villages devastated 363
Schools destroyed 395
Houses completely destroyed 11,796
Houses partly destroyed 16,609
Total surface ruined 475,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 185,700 Ha.
Live stock carried off 90,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly (total for Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle and Vosges) 1,376
Roads destroyed 4,630 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 55
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 111 Km.

Population in the war zone in 1914 82,000
Population driven out by the war 18,000
Villages devastated 105
Schools destroyed 129
Houses completely destroyed 2,122
Houses partly destroyed 5,663
Total surface ruined 120,000 Ha.
Arable lands ruined 4,500 Ha.
Live stock carried off 39,000
Factories destroyed completely or partly (total for Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle and Vosges) 1,376
Roads destroyed 2,445 Km.
Public works destroyed on roads 36
Railway lines of local interest destroyed 20 Km.

[comparative table showing all departments]

A large part of this destruction, carried out in cold blood behind the battle lines, was so thorough as to render reconstruction a matter of the utmost difficulty. Take the Lens coal mines with their sixteen mining centres; their twenty-nine pits; their 16,000 workmen; their output of four million tons in 1913. As early as September, 1914, the Germans destroyed all the pits and mining apparatus, cut the cables, dumped the cages and cars into the pits, and systematically broke up all the machinery. In 1915 explosives are employed. Props, cylinders, boilers, even their linings are blown up by dynamite and the galleries are flooded. Water fills the mines to the surface level. Before any work of restoration can be begun, it will be necessary to pump out fifty million cubic meters of water. Take the Arbel plants at Douai, covering 5,600 square meters. In a report dated January 31, 1915, the German Schroter boasts of having destroyed or stolen everything they contained. There was a huge steam hammer weighing 1,200 tons, the only one of its kind in the world. While the Germans were removing it, they taunted the French manager who had stuck to his post:

"It was with that press you got a Roumanian order for one hundred petroleum trucks away from us," they said. "We are going to carry it off to our own factories and we'll make the Arbel trucks ourselves now."

For three months a German engineer ransacked the archives, documents and correspondence of the company to complete the theft of the machinery by that of the clientele. Take the Homecourt iron and steel works. All the plates; all the sheet iron, rolling bridges, motors and machinery are removed. A special destruction staff with headquarters at Metz directed these operations under the name of "Administration for the Protection of French Factories." It would take a thousand pages to describe this vandalism in detail. Ruthlessly conducted, it achieved its purpose. No trace of industry left in these ten departments, the most prosperous in France. No trace of agricultural life either. Fruit trees cut down, barns blown up, death everywhere. Take at random the Canton of Ribecourt in the Oise. Of its eighteen communes eight saw one hundred per cent. of their houses utterly wiped out. The proportion runs from eighty to ninety-five per cent. in seven other communes and there are only three where it falls below eighty per cent. Of nine hundred communes in the Department of the Aisne, only nineteen are untouched by war. In many regions after the Armistice it was possible to drive thirty or forty miles without coming across a single house. It was so between Soissons and Saint-Quentin (sixty kilometers) ; between Armentières and Péronne (ninety-five kilometers) ; between Soissons and Laon (forty kilometers). "The results of war," hypocritically moans the beaten foe. No, this is not true, and take as a single instance the Pas-de-Calais, where only two districts were ruined by war but all the territory behind the. lines occupied by the enemy suffered equally.

So much for the ruin directly due to Germany. Heavy as it is, it is not the only burden borne by France as a result of the war. All our economic means have suffered. Not one of our resources is whole. Our railways, which for nearly five years carried all the Armies of the Allies, were worn out by the strain and showed in 1920 a deficit of 2,400 millions. Our merchant marine, which amounted to three million tons before the war, lost a million tons by submarine warfare and they could not be replaced as all through the war our naval yards were busy producing artillery for all our Allies. Two-thirds of our investment in foreign countries, which represented 37,000 millions in 1914, became unproductive. Our exports, less by 1,500 millions in 1914 than our imports, show a deficit of 21,000 millions in 1919. The pound sterling in 1920 has maintained its up level at about fifty francs and the dollar at about fifteen. France, at the very moment when the great field of reconstruction opened before her, was in the situation of a wounded man who has lost so much blood that he can scarcely move his limbs and can scarcely raise himself.

France, convalescent France, summoned all the forces of her will, and already results show what energy is hers. She is still indeed far from recovered and if she is to continue as during the two years which have followed the Armistice, without execution of Treaty by Germany, without efficacious aid from her Allies, I shudder to think of the number of years it will take her to recover. And yet without undue national pride, I have the right to say that France may justly be proud of what she has already done.

Reconstruction of the devastated regions began without delay and has been carried on with method. To understand the extraordinary problem it presented, one must have seen and have felt it on the ground itself. Not a shelter, not an ordinary means of communication, not even a soil that could be cultivated---everything upheaved, pounded, ruined, killed, by four and a half years of destruction. The pioneer who comes into a new land can set to work to plow and to sow. The grain will grow. On the battlefields it is first necessary to remove projectiles, uproot wires, fill in shell-holes, level the ground. Where was a start to be made? Men, women and children rushed back to their recovered villages. But of these villages not one stone was left standing on another., Where were people to be housed? Houses or no houses, they stayed. How were they to be fed? How were they to be given tools? They answered the call of the soil and as clearing up began they tried to cultivate. How were live stock and seed to be moved? Where were they to be put? The French peasant solved the problem instinctively, for he thought of the land before he thought of himself and though he lacked labour, horses, everything in fact---even a roof over his head---he reaped, even in 1919, a harvest from the battlefield. Meanwhile with the energetic cooperation of the Government, mines and factories were repaired and in less than eighteen months after the Armistice, the features of resurrected France begin to appear on the zone of death.

Here again constructive effort must, like the work of destruction, be studied region by region. The accompanying tables give the relative percentages of restoration to September 1, 1920.


Trenches filled up 11,300,000 m3 = 94%
Barbed wire removed 9,000,000 m2 = 90%0
Land cleared 3,000,000 m3 = 75%
Population of the devastated region (October, 1920) 1,843,265 = 98%
Municipalities functioning 457 = 81%
Schools open 1,539 = 86 %
Houses repaired 79,000}
Temporary houses erected 11,000} = 52%
Houses definitely rebuilt 18,000 =11.8%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 492,000 Ha. = 98%
Total surface levelled 490,000 Ha. = 98%
Arable surface cultivated 242,000 Ha. = 90%
Live stock returned 127,828 = 52%
Factories reconstructed and in operation 2,190 = 18%
Factories under reconstruction and in partial operation 2,927 = 24%
Factories not yet operating 6,697 = 56%
Roads rebuilt 5,813 Km. = 74%
Public works rebuilt on roads 818 = 78%
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 159 Km. = 29%


Trenches filled in 58,147,800 m3 = 79%
Wire removed 54,989,800 m2 = 73%
Localities cleared 4,689,400 m3 = 52%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 344,851 = 59%
Municipalities in action 170 = 81%
Schools in action 492 = 88 %
Houses repaired 18,515}
Temporary houses erected 18,924} = 21%
Houses definitely rebuilt 2,000 = 1.8%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 249,000 Ha. = 93%
Total surface levelled 233,600 Ha. = 83%
Arable surface cultivated 56,868 Ha. = 41%
Live stock returned 41,321 = 34%
Factories reconstructed and in operation 324 = 20%
Factories under reconstruction and in partial operation 255 = 16%
Factories not yet operating 981 = 62%
Roads rebuilt 2,411 Km. = 30%
Public works rebuilt on roads 30 = 22%
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 48 Km. = 32%


Trenches filled in 39,066,600 m3 = 65%
Wire removed 16,076,000 m2 = 73%
Localities cleared 1,909,500 m3 = 42%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 120,294 = 42%
Municipalities in action 381 =100%
Schools in action 490 = 78%
Houses repaired 8,401}
Temporary houses erected 6,048} = 24%
Houses definitely rebuilt 1,647 = 2.7%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 365,900 Ha. = 91%
Total surface levelled 298,500 Ha. = 74%
Arable surface cultivated 127,000 Ha. = 66%
Live stock returned 31,886 = 22%
Factories reconstructed and in operation 267 = 24%
Factories under construction and in partial operation 501 = 45 %
Factories not yet operating 331 = 30%
Roads rebuilt 2,820 Km. = 39 %
Public works rebuilt on roads 10 = 5 %
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 78 Km. = 35%


Trenches filled in 13,558,300 m3 = 90%
Wire removed 14,601,600 m2 = 91%
Localities cleared 1,081,300 m3 = 54%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 88,917 = 78%
Municipalities in action 201 =100%
Schools in action 195 = 75%
Houses repaired 10,025}
Temporary houses erected 2,757} = 51 %
Houses definitely rebuilt 798 = 3.2%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 124,150 Ha. = 73%
Total surface levelled 116,280 Ha. = 66%
Arable surface cultivated 80,468 Ha. = 74%
Live stock returned 56,466 = 72%
Factories reconstructed and in operation 88 = 31%
Factories under construction and in partial operation 137 = 49%
Factories not yet operating 58 = 20%
Roads rebuilt 1,263 Km. = 46%
Public works rebuilt on roads 26 = 17 %
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 41 Km. = 67%


Trenches filled in 23,300,000 m3 = 64%
Wire removed 26,200,000 m2 = 65%
Localities cleared 2,600,000 m3 = 52%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 290,000 = 54%
Municipalities in action 214 = 33%
Schools in action 1,107 = 90%
Houses repaired 40,620}
Temporary houses erected 12,582} = 53 %
Houses definitely rebuilt 0 = 0%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 592,000 Ha. = 81%
Total surface levelled 555,000 Ha. = 76%
Arable surface cultivated 325,000 Ha. = 54%
Live stock returned 43,368 = 16%
Factories reconstructed and in operation 232 = 11%
Factories under construction and in partial operation 253 = 12%
Factories not yet operating 1,481 = 75%
Roads rebuilt 4,978 Km. = 77%
Public works rebuilt on roads 367 = 48%
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 68 Km. = 11%


Trenches filled in 23,177,000 m3 = 79%
Wire removed 41,253,300 m2 = 95%
Localities cleared 1,458,600 m3 = 26%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 232,000 = 69%
Municipalities in action 551 = 98%
Schools in action 348 = 81 %
Houses repaired 16,356}
Temporary houses erected 4,363} = 49 %
Houses definitely rebuilt 825 = 1.6%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 246,740 Ha. = 84%
Total surface levelled 214,700 Ha. = 70%
Arable surface cultivated 68,118 Ha. = 49%
Live stock returned 18,989 = 16%
Factories reconstructed and in operation 96 = 10%
Factories under construction and in partial operation 420 = 46%
Factories not yet operating 397 = 43%
Roads rebuilt 3,041 Km. = 49%
Public works rebuilt on roads 25 = 18%
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 17 Km. = 8%


Trenches filled in 4,897,000 m3 = 22%
Wire removed 12,353,300 m2 = 77%
Localities cleared 3,575,700 m3 = 51%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 204,104 = 69%
Municipalities in action 503 =100%
Schools in action 782 = 99%
Houses repaired 29,132}
Temporary houses erected 4,236} = 95%
Houses definitely rebuilt 3,016 = 12.2%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 480,720 Ha. = 91 %
Total surface levelled 433,390 Ha. = 82 %
Arable surface cultivated 90,000 Ha. = 72 %
Live stock returned 53,455 = 28 %
Factories reconstructed and in operation 396 = 25 %
Factories under reconstruction and in partial operation 798 = 53%
Factories not yet operating 334 = 21 %
Roads rebuilt 1,373 Km. = 46 %
Public works rebuilt on roads 332 = 55 %
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 30 Km. = 8%


Trenches filled in 4,348,900 m3 = 28%
Wire removed 23,645,700 m2 = 84%
Localities cleared 1,897,700 m3 = 94%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 98,000 = 54%
Municipalities in action 310 =100%
Schools in action 486 = 93%
Houses repaired 8,738}
Temporary houses erected 4,750} = 34%
Houses definitely rebuilt 1,112 = 3 %
Total surface cleared of projectiles 264,800 Ha. = 82%
Total surface levelled 264,800 Ha. = 82%
Arable surface cultivated 69,200 Ha. = 40%
Live stock returned 29,710 = 31%
Factories reconstructed and in operation, composing one sector with Meurthe-et- Moselle and Vosges, giving total of 224 = 16%
Factories under construction and in partial operation 245 = 17 %
Factories not yet operating 907 = 65%
Roads rebuilt 2,688 Km. = 55%
Public works rebuilt on roads 70 = 74%
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 43 Km. = 34%


Trenches filled in 10,643,300 m3 = 95%
Wire removed 32,175,400 m2 = 58%
Localities cleared 1,900,700 m3 = 95%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 314,902 = 74%
Municipalities in action 132 = 43%
Schools in action 386 = 97%
Houses repaired 7,743}
Temporary houses erected 4,363} = 42%
Houses definitely rebuilt 3,995 = 14%
Total surface cleared of projectiles 400,500 Ha. = 84%
Total surface levelled 400,500 Ha. = 84%
Arable surface cultivated 135,750 Ha. = 73%
Live stock returned 37,245. = 41%
Factories reconstructed and in operation, forming only one district with Meuse and Vosges, giving a total of 224 = 16 %
Factories under construction and in partial operation 245 = 17%
Factories not yet operating 907 = 65%
Roads rebuilt 2,867 Km. = 60%
Public works rebuilt on roads 17 = 30%
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 92 Km. = 82%


Trenches filled in 1,612,100 m3 = 40%
Wire removed 4,379,900 m2 = 62%
Localities cleared 372,000 m3 = 37%
Population of the devastated zone (October, 1920) 68,901 = 84%
Municipalities in action 73 =100%
Schools in action 126 = 96%
Houses repaired 3,149}
Temporary houses erected 225} = 61%
Houses definitely rebuilt 1,321 = 17 %
Total surface cleared of projectiles 85,440 Ha. = 74%
Total surface levelled 70,290 Ha. = 58%
Arable surface cultivated 3,300 Ha. = 73%
Live stock returned 4,343 = 11%
Factories reconstructed and in operation, forming only one district with Meurthe-et-Moselle and Meuse giving a total of 224 = 16%
Factories under reconstruction and in partial operation 245 = 17%
Factories not yet operating 907 = 65%
Roads rebuilt 367 Km. = 15%
Public works rebuilt on roads 36 =100%
Railway lines of local interest reconstructed 4 Km. =20%

[comparative table showing all departments]

This effort, improvised as our troops advanced, was carried on by the State with the aid of private assistance as soon as the ground was freed. The Government services were powerfully organized. On January 1, 1920, there were 195,000 on their payroll, including 15,000 technical employees and 180,000 labourers. Transportation by them within the devastated regions represents eleven million kilometric tons per month. The cost to October 1, 1920, amounting to about 20,500 millions, divided as follows:

Reparation in money and in kind for damages 11,715,000,000 frs.
Relief for refugees 1,015,000,000 "
Labour and transportation for State account 3,915,000,000 "
Restoration of railways, roads, canals, telegraphic lines, reorganization of public services 3,400,000,000 "
Cost of administration 375,000,000 "
20,420,000,000 "

These 20,420 millions were supplied by the French Treasury alone. The German Press, which might show a more becoming reserve, has never ceased to denounce the bad organization of the reconstruction services, squandering of public funds---excess of officials, etc. For political reasons a certain number of French newspapers have echoed this criticism. It is therefore interesting to note that of the 20,420 millions spent up to October 1, 1920, by the French Government, salaries of officials have only amounted to 375 millions, or one and eight-tenths per cent. of the total. If, in work of this magnitude, delays, imperfections and even mistakes are inevitable, the fact remains that the results already attained are more than could have been expected.

The above tables call for no comment in this respect. I would add to them the following facts. Agriculture, which in money and in kind received 3,500,000,000 francs in cash, loans and advances, produced in 1919 five million hundredweights of cereals. In 1920, the cereal production of the devastated regions was 11,500,000 hundredweights, against 20,500,000 in 1913, or fifty-six per cent. of the pre-war crop. The 1920 crop was sufficient to assure the bread supply for the entire population of the ten devastated departments. We are justified in the expectation that with few exceptions the whole of the battlefields will be under cultivation in 1921.

There were in 1914, in the regions affected by the war, 20,539 industrial plants of all kinds. The Ministry for the Liberated Regions made a thorough inquiry into 4,190 of these establishments selected from those employing in 1914 more than twenty workmen. This investigation gave very interesting results, the meaning of which should be made clear. The figures given below and the percentages relating thereto do not refer to the total number of factories ruined by the war, but only to one-fifth of them (4,190 out of 20,539.) In other words, they are of value as a partial indication---not as a complete result. They express proportions which---while absolutely correct for the 4,190 establishments visited---may well be correct for the other 16,000, but which nevertheless as regards the latter may differ widely. Subject to this reservation which I ask the reader to bear in mind, here are the results of the investigation:

Out of these 4,190 establishments, which employed over twenty people in 1914, 3,210 or seventy-six and six-tenths per cent. have resumed operations either entirely or in part as follows:

July 1, 1919 706
October 1, 1919 1,278
January 1, 1920 1,806
April 1, 1920 2,412
July 1, 1920 3,004
August 1, 1920 3,106
September 1, 1920 3,210

These 4,190 establishments employed 768,678 workmen in 1914; on September 1, 1920, they employed 366,930, or forty-seven and seven-tenths per cent.

The comparative percentages of reoperation and reemployment in the ten departments based upon the 4,190 plants is shown by the following table:

Percentage Applying to the 4,190 Factories Investigated.

Departments Reopening s Returned Employee
Nord 81.7 52.2
Pas-de-Calais 73.7 18.3
Somme 58.9 37.8
Oise 88.1 43.9
Aisne 60.7 20.9
Marne 72.5 32.3
Ardennes 83.4 43.2
Meuse 67.6 33.2
Meurthe-et-Moselle 82.06 48.9
Vosges 74.2 61.5


74.2 39.2

If we apply this same method of analysis to the other departments of industry, the following percentage will be established:

Percentage Applying to the 4,190 Factories Investigated.

Industries Reopening Returned Employees
Mines and ore 76.4 21.9
Quarries 82.6 53.6
Food supplies 59.04 23.7
Chemical industries 75.9 53.04
India rubber paper 73.3 53.5
Wool 83.3 53.1
Textiles 69.1 49.6
Materials 86.2 57.5
Feathers and horsehair 100. 40.2
Leather and skins 83.3 51.7
Wood 83.9 41.5
Metal manufactures 72.5 35.6
Ordinary metals 86.7 48.
Precious metals 100. 51.2
Cut stone for building 73.9 59.1
Earthworks and constructions 92.5 47.3
Brickyards 80.4 47.7
Average 81.1 45.7

The share of certain regions in these statistics deserves special mention. Thus in the district of Lille, which heads the list, the percentage of reoperation of factories investigated is eighty-six and two-tenths per cent., of the reemployment sixty-two per cent. If in this district a special table be drawn up for the textile industry, an exceptionally favourable percentage of reoperation calculated on the same basis will be found.

Personnel employed in the textile industry of Lille in the plants under investigation:

Woolen industry 93.8%
Cotton industry 78.8%
Dyeing and preparation 65.1%

At Tourcoing, fifty-five factories out of fifty-seven are in operation; at Roubaix, forty-six out of forty-eight. At Tourcoing, ninety-one and nine-tenths per cent. of the workers have been reemployed; at Roubaix ninety-nine and nine-tenths per cent. In the metal industries results are not so good owing to coal shortage. The percentage of reoperation for investigated factories is seventy-two and five-tenths per cent.; of reemployment only thirty-five and six-tenths per cent.

These results must be made known to our friends. It is the only answer we care to make to those who accuse France of sleeping on her victory. But it is essential that the enormous amount that still remains to be done should also be made quite clear. The approximate total cost of reconstruction of damages is 143,000 millions,(48) of which the chief items are the following:

Real estate 72,738 millions
Agriculture 16,419 millions
Industry 34,000 millions

The French Government alone has already spent 20,500 millions. The difference of 120,000 millions in round figures, indicates what remains to be done as opposed to what has already been accomplished. If Germany were not compelled by France and her Allies---all her Allies---to pay what the Treaty of Versailles demands of her, this would beyond a doubt mean our country's living for half a century under the weight of an intolerable burden.

The population of the devastated region in October, 1920, was seventy-seven per cent. of the 1914 population. France has, by her own efforts, placed under cultivation sixty-eight per cent. of the arable lands in these regions. She has rebuilt all her most important railways and fifty-two per cent. of her roads. But she has only been able to restore to the farmers thirty-two per cent. of the live stock stolen by Germany. She has only been able to reoperate in factories to the extent of eighteen per cent in full, twenty-six per cent. in part; this leaves fifty-four per cent. of her factories not yet in operation. Furthermore she has been able to replace destroyed houses by temporary constructions and repairs only to the extent of forty-nine per cent. Complete reconstruction of buildings has only been effected to an extent of ten and seven-tenths per cent. And this very low percentage expresses in striking fashion the limitations imposed by lack of money!

Living conditions in houses hastily rebuilt and in temporary barracks are appalling in some districts. Recultivation---in the absence of that slow and age-old upgrowth which had carried its yield to the maximum---meets with countless difficulties and the crops suffer. Industries---except in the important northern centers---have only had very limited means with which to start again; and their productive capacity will for months to come represent only a very small portion of pre-war output. I would add that in many communes the moral situation is affected by the material conditions. Health has an influence upon character. The promiscuity of improvised living conditions has a bad effect on children, which further aggravates the consequences of invasion and enemy occupation. Whatever one may try to do to better it, this environment is favourable to physical and mental deviations. If this state of things were to continue, it would be in every way dangerous. Yet it will last until Germany pays what she owes. Then and only then will France cease to bear alone the burden of reparation for German crimes.

Let me sum up. The France of the devastated regions and the other France behind the lines have put forward---alone and unaided---an immense effort of reconstruction. Farmers have tilled their fields and work has been started again without waiting to build a roof over their heads. All honour to them! But such a condition cannot last


To restore the ruins was our first duty, it was not our only one. I have shown that the war had worn out the national tools of France. These have to be replaced. Reconstruction costs thousands of millions. To make it suecessful---possible even---all the resources of the country necessary to it----finances, transport, commerce--- must be renovated and revived. Our means are reduced, our burdens are heavy; yet national reorganization cannot wait.

France has courageously begun financial reorganization. I insist upon this because of the criticism so often heard in America and elsewhere: "You have military courage, but you lack fiscal courage. You gave your all on the battlefield, but you are unwilling to submit to taxation." That this criticism is justified for the first two years of the war I admit, yet invasion represented for France a burden equal or greater to the excess taxes that other uninvaded countries imposed upon themselves. And it was believed that the war would be brief. How many errors military as well as financial resulted from this fundamental illusion. At least it must be acknowledged that France was not slow to readjust herself. During the last year of peace, she had paid less than 5,000 million francs in taxes. In 1919 she paid more than 9,000 millions. In 1920 thanks to new taxes introduced by the Clemenceau Cabinet and voted under the Millerand Cabinet, she paid 22,000 millions. This enormous increase is quite unprecedented. Remember the conditions under which it has been achieved and you will better understand what it means. The France of 1914, which paid less than 5,000 millions in taxes, had all her resources untouched of which the ten departments now devastated represented nearly one-fifth. The France of 1920, which paid 22,000 millions, cannot count upon revenues from the war zone. This means that the seventy-six untouched departments with their capacity very considerably limited by shortages of fuel, labour and transportation and by the unfavourable exchange, will have to bear the whole burden, paying in 1920 five times more than in 1914.

France faced the situation boldly and made the effort that was needed to place her finances on a sound basis. Her budget is balanced, permanent expenditures being henceforth covered by equally permanent revenues. The rest of our expenditures for 1920 are exceptional, partly on account of war liquidation properly met by loans, partly on account of reparations which in equity and by law of victory are justly chargeable to Germany. It is scandalously unfair that these last should still burden France,

France's debt on October 1, 1920, consists of:

Consolidated debt (nominal value) 113,250 millions
Floating debt 82,500 " "
Foreign debt (normal rate of exchange) 34,125 " "
229,875 millions

If Germany in defiance of justice and right does not fulfil the conditions of the Treaty and pay what she owes, France, in order to continue reconstruction in the devastated regions and to pay the pensions in full, would be obliged to borrow about 170,000 millions, the interest on which would represent 9,500 millions or an increase in taxation of 250 francs per head of her population over and above the 416 francs now levied by the National Government which of course does not include the taxes raised by the departments and communes. These figures should be borne in mind by our Allies. They throw light on how Frenchmen (no matter what their party) feel when they say that the Treaty of Versailles must be enforced to the full.

On its enforcement our industrial revival largely depends, for we lack coal and under the Treaty it is Germany who must deliver it. Here again it is the attacked and victorious country that suffers while the beaten aggressor goes free. In 1920 Germany had sixty-five per cent. of her blast furnaces working. France had forty per cent. of hers. Yet Germany planned and carried out the destruction of the mines which supplied us annually with 22 million tons of coal---a quarter of the total French production. Germany under the Treaty was to deliver to France during the seven years following its coming into force 2,200,000 tons per month, something less than one-tenth of her 1913 output. At Spa in July, 1920, she obtained the reduction of this monthly figure to 1,500,000 tons. This obliges France---even if the 1,500,000 tons be delivered regularly---to import 90,000,000 tons a year. It is only with great difficulty---and at what a price---that England supplies us with 10,000,000 tons. So 20,000,000 tons must be procured elsewhere. The rigorous enforcement of the Treaty would lessen these forced imports by 8,400,000 tons. The security of French industry really depends upon such enforcement. If it is not insisted upon, our factories will continue to run on half time; our output will remain low; our exports will not increase; our exchange will keep on falling.

If the Treaty is not enforced as justice demands that it be, dark years await us. But if it is enforced, we can confidently look forward to the brightest future. France has in her soil prodigious potentialities of wealth. Properly cultivated with the means supplied by victory it could not only feed her people, but furnish exports also. Our crops fell off during the war. Already they are increasing again and we have the wherewithal to grow them greater than ever. Since we have ceased to manufacture artillery, we can devote to agriculture the nitrogenized fertilizer it has lacked since 1914. Besides we now have the potash of Alsace. Equal in tonnage to the German deposits there is enough potash in Alsace to supply the whole world. It will permit France before long to increase her crops from the .eighty million cwts. of pre-war days to 125 million cwts. and to sell abroad the wheat she is buying from foreign nations. Our colonies too will share in this prosperity.

Morocco alone sent us 100,000 cwts. of corn in 1915 and 235,000 the following year. All Northern Africa is one vast grain field. If here as at home fundamental improvements and scientific methods are introduced, then France, seller of corn, will build up economic independence upon the soundest of bases.

This independence in industrial activity has a further certain guarantee in the very clauses of the peace. Alsace-Lorraine doubles our potential production in ore and pig iron. One of the reasons of German aggression was the greed of the manufacturers across the Rhine who lusted for the iron ore of our Briey Basin. Victory leaves us Briey and gives us back the basin of Lorraine which is its complement. So we are masters of the situation. For twenty years our metallurgists have shown that they can face difficult conditions with both science and daring. Thanks to them, our production from 1903 to 1913 showed an increase of eighty-seven per cent. for pig iron; of 152 per cent. for steel ingots and 130 per cent. for steel plates. During the same period France came second in the world development of the steel industry with an advance of 152 per cent. against 154 per cent. in Belgium, 118 per cent. in Germany, 115 per cent. in the United States. To-day we rank second among the ore nations of the world. The most splendid results are certain on two conditions. The first I repeat is that Germany deliver the coal she owes us and, in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles, we are freed from the pre-war extortion practised upon us by Westphalian coal dealers whose interests were the same as those of our Essen competitors. The second is that by efficient organization we secure the foreign markets monopolized by Germany in the past. These conditions are both feasible.

Thus favoured by exceptional mineral wealth, French industry possesses other valuable industrial resources. I merely mention in passing bauxite and nickel and come at once to the most important of all our future assets---our water-power which at average flow represents eight million horse-power. By the end of 1921 we shall have developed twice our pre-war horse-power. By continuing this development and by utilizing all power of the Rhone and the Rhine; by electrifying our railways, we shall be able to save many millions of tons of coal every year and free ourselves from a heavy bondage. Such an economic policy calls for the whole-hearted cooperation of our great industries and associations of manufacturers, not only of those providing similar goods but of those making complementary articles as well. It calls for that centralization which Germany so splendidly achieved and which Helfferich called in 1913, "the systematic cooperation of the great masses." Everything permits the hope that equally efficient organization will in less than twenty years place us in the front ranks of the exporting countries.

Our friends across the seas must not forget that the unlimited resources of our colonial empire are also available to increase the wealth of our metropolis. Western and Northern Africa will furnish cereals, fruits, vegetables and meat in abundance. Tonkin possesses coal, zinc, lead, tin and antimony. Madagascar has graphite; New Caledonia nickel; Guiana, gold; East Africa, ore and copper. The equatorial forests of the Congo and the Cameroons harbour in their 140,000 square kilometers vast quantities of rare wood and essential oils. Indo-China can export rice, jute and hemp. Every year 100,000 acres of land are placed under new cultivation. Among French ports, Saigon ranks immediately after Bordeaux. In 1920 the foreign commerce of Indo-China attained 4,000 million francs. Doubtless just before the war our colonial commerce had not yet reached its full expansion., Our colonial produce amounted to only ten per cent. of our total imports; but the hard years of war have strengthened the virtue of initiative in the French business world. The moment reconstruction is finished and the enormous sums it now absorbs can be devoted to developing new enterprises, the colonial Empire of France will assume its rightful place among the producers of the world.

Our railways, not satisfied with re-establishing in less than a year the main trunk lines destroyed by war, have completed the repair of their locomotives and rolling stock. Our commercial fleet, very inadequate before the war as it amounted only to 5.20 per cent. of the world's shipping, is gradually developing. A bank has been created with State assistance to promote foreign trade. Exports in 1920 already show an appreciable advance over those in 1919. France---unless she is allowed to be crushed beneath the weight of the burden which the Peace Treaty justly imposed upon Germany---is able to take a prominent part in that intensive production which Mr. Herbert C. Hoover declared in 1919 must be "the first and fundamental effort of Europeans."


And yet another reason for faith in the future of France: the virtues of her race---virtues that showed in the war and are just as clear in peace.

I know full well that it is not always the best that strikes the eye! The stranger within our gates sees first the outward aspects of our politics. Here as elsewhere they too often lack elegance and grace. I know full well for instance the harm done to France by the French Parliament when, six days after the Treaty came into force , it drove from office the man without whom the war would have been lost. Mr. Lloyd George's words still ring in my ears: "It is Frenchmen now who are burning Joan of Arc." I still have before my eyes the scathing comment of the American Press. On January 17, the New York Times said: "The representatives of the French people have made a mistake that will do them more harm than it will M. Clemenceau;" and the New York Herald: "Because he thought only of the good of the State, M. Clemenceau incurred political hatreds to which he succumbs." The New York Post: "In his unexpected defeat M. Clemenceau remains the greatest figure of the war." The New York World: "The old Tiger is struck down at the very moment when France would have added to her own glory by calling him to the Presidency. The defeat of Clemenceau does not honour France." The Philadelphia Public Ledger: "All the reasons given will not excuse the French Parliament for having acted with the blackest ingratitude." After the Eastern Press let us glance at the most influential local papers. The Springfield Republican: "Americans are astonished." The Charleston Gazette: "Clemenceau. did not need to be president to remain immortal." The Cleveland Plain Dealer: "America refuses to admit that the sentiments which animated the Congress of Versailles can faithfully reflect the opinion of the French people. Clemenceau's defeat is a blot on French history." The Des Moines Capital: "The defeat of the old Tiger has filled most Americans with amazement." The Columbus Despatch: "The Tiger's downfall has done away with some of the esteem felt for France." Fair enough applied to the few hundred men who in both Chambers gave so sad a display of ingratitude and inability, but not fair to the country as a whole which sees things as they are. The parliamentary system, essential safeguard of our liberties, has its weaknesses, not the least of which is the premium it places upon mere words. Our political world counts more spell-binders than statesmen. Some of these orators gave the full measure of their inability during the first three years of the war. To save the situation it was necessary to scrap them and to seek a man of another generation, a man of another kind, of another temperament and character, a man who in less than a year succeeded in squelching treason at home, in creating unity of command at the front and in bringing victory to our banners. This work done and well done, the angry jealousy of those the Great Old Man had cast aside, sounded the hour of revenge. This was the unsavoury and dishonourable work of a lobby. France has the right to expect her friends not to judge her by the manoeuvres of a few politicians seeking the spoils of a victory they had not been able to win.

France is something very different. France is first and foremost the land of order and restraint. A few months ago in the early part of 1920, Americans arriving in France asked: "What about Bolshevism?" Fifteen days spent in travel along French roads was enough to convince them. On their return they no longer asked the question and one of them, Judge Gary, president of the United States Steel Corporation, coined a phrase that will endure: "France leads the world because she leads in order." France is what she is for many reasons, the first being the material and moral health of her peasant class. In Russia the only hold the Soviets had on the peasants was the promise of land. Land! The French peasant has owned it for more than a century. He owns it and he loves it. I might even say that he is of it. Nowhere is landed property more thoroughly divided or more equally distributed than in France. Nowhere has this division of property more happily contributed to the formation of national character. The French peasant was the vital factor of our victory. He forms fifty per cent. of our population. In 1916 he supplied over sixty-five per cent. of the fighting troops. I have seen him at work in the trenches for months when I led a company of chasseurs. His physical stamina is almost without limit; his moral stamina is equal to his physical endurance. These peasants, being of the soil, fought for their soil like lions, might I say like patient lions? They gave their lives with simple faith for they had understood that the future of the race demanded this sacrifice. Peace won, finds them true to themselves, ready for any effort, hardy sons of toil.

These men, who proved so well their common faith and their common sacrifice, are extreme individualists, and this individualism is the very basis of our stability. I know that this is a trait of our French character which British and Americans often fail to understand and to appreciate. There is no doubt that it hampers somewhat the rapidity and extent of our economic development. But as a political and moral safety valve it is unequalled. If revolutionary madness was able to make headway in backward Russia, it is because individualism was totally lacking among the masses. A Russian village or a Russian factory was a flock. The flock followed without thinking. It may even have believed, poor docile herd, that in revolution it would find happiness. As in the old day, even more than in the old day, it moves beneath the knout. Between Plehve and Lenine there is not much to choose. To such an appeal the men of our French fields would never respond. They would remain unmoved for they have a deep sense of what individual effort has achieved through the centuries---for they know what long and patient labour has won for them. The French peasant is distrustful and hard to persuade, he has no faith in revolutionary rhetoric. His own experience guards him against the illusions by which the human cattle of Russia were deceived. He has faith in the conquests of brain and brawn, protected by laws safeguarding persons and property. There is where he looks for and sees possible progress---and not in communism---because ordered progress---material and moral-- is taught him by the story of his own life, the story of his family, the story of his village. He knows that he eats meat oftener than his grandfather, and that he is better educated and wealthier than his father---better equipped against the surprises of nature and the snares of men. He knows too that much of these advantages has come to him as a result of the general progress of the nation. So he is patriotic and conservative by instinct and by reason. He willingly shed his blood in a war of self-defense. He would begin again to-morrow, if it were necessary, because every fiber of his being is in constant communion with the voice of the soil, he hears the great call for common effort, he knows that the strength and prosperity of the nation are essential to the strong and prosperous individual he feels himself to be and is determined to remain.

The industrial worker is less protected than the peasant against certain poisons. The prisoner of his factory during working hours, badly lodged, exposed to the temptations of cities, he falls an easy prey in all countries to the poison of the body and of the mind. I believe, however, that no other country in Europe has a working class as wise and as intelligent as ours. At the beginning of the war, one of Germany's most cherished hopes was the revolt of our industrial proletariat. The facts gave answer. All workers were called to the colours. All responded to the call. Many fell at Charleroi and on the Marne. Later when they were needed for the manufacture of munitions they were called back to the factories. There they worked with a will and the figures I have given (49) tell how great the effort they put forth. Not a strike, not a disturbance, not the slightest response to all kinds of incitements some of which had their origin outside of France. Peace came and with it a general relaxing of energies, an outburst of desires prompted by the belief that an Armistice written on a sheet of paper could transform the lot of humanity. Soviet propaganda developed. With what results? On May 1, 1919, there was a small amount of rioting in the streets of Paris. Read the list of arrests and you will see that they are nearly all of foreigners brought from all over the world by the great upheaval of war, but whose abortive violence cannot be laid to the French nation.

In 1920 there was a railway strike. Only a minority took part in it and after a few Weeks the extremists who had called it were replaced at the head of the Federation by moderate unionists whose place they had taken on the eve of the movement. A little later in September, 1920, the Congress of the General Confederation of Labour, at Orleans, supporting a policy of production and democratic reforms, scored a victory for French syndicalism over the champions of Muscovite Sovietism and the Third International.

For the French workman as well as the French peasant, though perhaps with less constancy and consciousness and less reflection, displays that wealth of sound sense and balance which is the soul of our national genius. "Vive Lenine" may be heard in a public meeting. Lenine will find few followers in our midst, for we are neither so miserable nor so credulous. An old farmer of my district once told of his optimism in these simple and lofty words: "Here we have faith, for both soil and men are sound." This is true of all of France. The stranger within our gates may be led astray, for he sees mostly the scum which some widely circulated papers (less interested in truth than in sensation) show him: for he listens to parliamentary debates which the absence of organized leadership too often lowers to the level of personal disputes. This is politics. This is not France. France is the child of thirteen who, when her father left for the Army, made and sold nearly half a ton of bread a day. France is the woman who drove the plough or who was blacksmith, carpenter or mason or who made shells as 664,000 of them did. France is the miners of the Pas-de-Calais working their mines under shell fire in the midst of battle, falling at their posts but in one year producing at Bruay alone four million tons. That was the France of war-time. And the France of peace is no other. Her qualities are the same now as they were then. To see the rest of France, you must have vision. France is wounded, but her wounds are healing. France is a land of boundless resources, material and moral; a land that loves its liberties, and respects the liberties of others; a land that has suffered, but is determined to live; a land that has faith in the future, because it has faith in its work.

Chapter XIII

Table of Contents