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   Chapter 10 RUSSIA AND THE RUSSIANS

The Audacious War By Clarence W. Barron Characters: 8161

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


Russian Reforms-A United Russia-Russian Armaments-The Greatest

Future-Two Water Outlets-The Slav Invasion Bugaboo.

Russia also is likely to bring forth some notable men who have not previously been heard of before the world. General Evanoff is the idol of the Russian army. He is the strategist who plans the movements against Austria and Germany in the East, who surrounds Przemysl and says, "Now, we can take it when we please, but we will not sacrifice Russian troops to take it now; Cracow is more important. Lodz is not important from a military standpoint. We will surround it later."

Evanoff orders his men to keep out of the valleys and engage the Germans in the open plain, where their own numbers will count in action; for in the valleys the German big guns have the advantage.

Russia has been at work steadily since the Japanese war reforming her army within and without. More than one third of her officers were dismissed after that war. The Russian officials now say that the Japanese war was to Russia most providential. It showed the lines of Russian weakness, inefficiency, and graft, which could flourish at a distance from St. Petersburg but became exposed when war put the Russian organization to the test. Steadily every year Russia has been systematically and thoroughly routing out graft and inefficiency. When Russia starts to do a thing she does it thoroughly.

It was because Russia was rebuilding, reorganizing, and was indulging in criticism and putting its mind on the weak spots, that Russian confidential papers stolen in the interest of Germany misled both Berlin and Vienna as to the possibility of Russia going to war to defend Servia in the year 1914.

War has united Russia as never before. The Czar now moves about unattended, and the country is a unit behind him and the war and unitedly against the Germans. From Warsaw to Siberia the German agents and merchants have been arrested and impounded. Nobody in Germany can yet realize how this war has destroyed her commercial relations and commercial organizations throughout the world. Everywhere German people are subjects of suspicion. You will even hear in all seriousness that the Kaiser had an army of 150,000 reservists in the United States with a partial equipment of arms ready to attack Canada; and I have been told by supply agencies that these arms are now offered for sale, as the uselessness of any German movement on the American continent is apparent.

How far Germany is unable to measure the spirit of the English-speaking people is shown by the fact that she cannot understand why the United States does not take this opportunity to possess Canada.

I heard of a retired German-American of wealth, residing in Germany, who was actually invited to go to America to stir up a raid on Canada. Of course he obediently returned to the United States, and then he sat down to wonder how he could effectively report back the foolishness of such an idea without offense to Berlin.

Russia has been perfecting her military organization for ten years. The expansion was to come in the next two years. At the opening of the war she had only 2,500,000 available troops. For two years she has been building factories to manufacture ammunition and arms, and these are now being rushed to completion. People who have offered her contracts for arms and munitions have been told that Russian factories shortly to be completed will make their weapons more quickly than they can now be ordered and received from other countries.

With arms and equipment Russia can draw 17,000,000 men to her German-Austrian frontier just as readily as Germany can draw 7,000,000 men to both her frontiers. In both calculations only one in ten of the population is counted upon for service.

The story is told of a Russian who was asked in London why he did not return for military duty. He replied, "Oh, I belong to the 14th million, and it will be some time before the 18th million is called out."

Russia has the greatest future of any country in Europe. She has the largest unturne

d arable soil of any country in the world. Russia in Europe is a great agricultural plain. To the east are her rich oil-fields steadily expanding north in the Ural Mountains, and east lies Siberia, endowed by nature as one of the richest countries in the world, an area in which you could deposit the United States. From the Siberian railroad other railroads are now projected; mineral wealth is being uncovered; and English and French capital and American engineers will in the future work wonders with the country.

What Russia has long sought is an outlet to the ocean. This war is likely to give her benefits which she could never have asked and could only have fought for. Germany, defeated, will lose the control or monopoly of the Kiel Canal, and possibly the country around it which she took from Denmark. The Kiel Canal under international control will extend the Baltic Sea of the Russians and the Scandinavians most directly to the North Sea and the English Channel.

To the south Russia will have something to say in Asia Minor and much to say concerning Constantinople. Certainly her influence in the Balkan States and on the Bosphorus will be as great as she could desire. As long as the Turks remained loyal to England, Great Britain was bound to maintain their integrity and hold upon Constantinople and the Bosphorus. With the passing of the Turk Constantinople is in the hands of the Allies when they are victorious. Its final disposition is not yet clear, but the English people can see compensation in Egypt, Asia Minor, and Persia for any necessary Russian control of Byzantium.

While seeking one direct outlet by waterway, Russia may get two with the suicide of Germany and the destruction of her latest ally, the Mohammedan Turk.

Russia is beginning to be better understood throughout the British

Empire and the world. The fear of an invasion of Western Europe by the

Slav races is a bugaboo set afloat by Germany, who also propagates the

bugaboo of a Japanese invasion of North America.

Russia is not a competing nation. She needs the capital and the brains of the outside world for her development, and in time she will offer the greatest field for world co?peration.

Japan wants to co?perate with Russia, and, indeed, with all European civilization. After the fall of Kiao-Chau she sent arms to Russia, and she stands ready to throw legions into the European field in defense of her English ally. Influential people in England are strongly urging the military authorities to permit the little Japs to join in.

Russia will keep faith with the Poles and the Jews and set up an autonomous Poland. But there is a strong resentment in Russia to-day because the Polish Jews misled the Russian army in the marshy grounds of East Prussia in the early campaigns of the war.

Russian military plans had to be changed and the field of war set farther south. Here Russia hopes to drive the five million people of Silesia back toward Berlin. This will awaken the Junkers of East Prussia and bring home to the people of Germany what the Prussian military machine really invites when it attempts a world-conquest.

Russia lacks military railroads and scientific means of communication. But just as America was surprised ten years ago to find the Japs, as the ally of England, giving, as the English predicted, "a good account of themselves," so the Russians as the allies of Great Britain may be found giving a very good account of themselves in this war. Russia is certainly unconquerable from either the Austrian or the German standpoint, and the smashing of Austria between Russia, Roumania, Servia, and Italy may be the real military campaign of this most Audacious War.

American engineers and diplomats familiar with Russia declare that, properly led, the Russian soldier is the greatest fighter in the world; and he is getting that leadership now.

The Russians expect the war will be over before next autumn, but Kitchener does not plan to end it then. He means to do this job thoroughly, and his plans are most comprehensive.

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