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   Chapter 1 INTRODUCTORY.

Kelly Miller's History of the World War for Human Rights By Kelly Miller Characters: 57891

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

Civilization at Issue-The German Empire-Character of William II-The Great Conspiracy-The War by Years-United States in the War-Two Hundred Fifty Miles of Battle-The Downfall of Turkey-The Democratic Close of the War.

The World War, terminated by the signing of the armistice November 11, 1918, was attended with more far-reaching changes than any war known to history, and is destined to so profoundly influence civilization that we see in it the beginning of a new age. Somewhat similar wars in the past were the campaigns of Alexander; the wars that overthrew the Roman Empire and the Napoleonic wars of a previous century; but this one war surpasses them all, measured by any scale that can be applied to military operations. It was truly a World War, thus in a class by itself. Beginning in Central Europe, twenty-eight nations-nearly all of the important nations of the world-with a total population of about 1,600,000,000-or eleven-twelfths of the human race-became involved. It cost 10,000,000 human lives, 17,000,000 more suffered bodily injury; the money cost was about $200,000,000,000, but who can measure the cost in untold suffering caused by ruined homes and wrecked lives that attended it? Or who can measure the property loss, considering that the fairest provinces of Europe were swept with the bezom of destruction?

Rightly to judge the real significance of such a world struggle, we must consider conditions that made it possible; study the issue involved stripped of all misleading statements; review its course and weigh the nature of the profound changes-geographical, political and economic-that resulted. We shall find that this war was the culmination of century-old causes; that two rival theories of government-impossible to longer co-exist-met in deadly conflict; and that civilization itself was the stake at issue. We shall see that beyond the wreck of empires and troubled days of reconstruction now upon us-through it all approaches a wonderful new age. Autocracy has crumbled; a higher form of democracy will arise and in peaceful days to come the nations of the world will rapidly advance in all that constitutes national well-being.


The early history of Germany is a confused panorama of a thousand years, during which time Central Europe was a country of numerous separate states, many of them at times coming together as a more or less closely knit confederacy under the lead of a powerful state, only to fall apart into a mass of confused units at a later date. It is interesting to learn that among the Teutonic knights of that early time, none was more noted than Count Thassilo Von Zollern who founded the house of Hohenzollern, that played such an ambitious role in European history, the house whose downfall was one of the dramatic results of the war.


At its height the German Empire consisted of a union of twenty-five Germanic states of various grades and the Reichland of Alsace-Lorraine under the leadership of Prussia, by far the most important state of the Empire. The foundation of Prussia's greatness was laid by Frederick the Great in 1763 when he tore Silesia from Austria in an entirely unprovoked war. He wished to enlarge the bounds of Prussia, he coveted Silesia, so he took it. In that deed of spoliation we see manifested the spirit that has animated official Germany since that date. Not only is the House of Hohenzollern descended from the Robber Knights of old, but the same is true of the military caste of Germany generally. Recent centuries have cast only a thin veneer of modern thought over essentially medieval conceptions of national rights and duties.


For a century after the reign of Frederick, Prussia remained the most prominent Germanic state in Europe. Then we come to the days of Bismarck. He is regarded as a remarkable statesman. He himself delighted to be known as the man of "Blood and Iron." Judging from his acts his one motive in life was to advance the power and influence of Prussia. In the decade 1860-1870 he instigated three wars,-with Denmark in 1864, with Austria in 1866, with France in 1870,-not one of which was justifiable. The war with France was occasioned by deliberately changing the wording of a telegram-in itself friendly-from the King of Prussia to Napoleon III, knowing it would result in war. All were short wars, all resulted in victory for Prussia and consequent increase in territory. Under the glamour of the great victory over France in 1871 came the formation of the German Empire.


Thus there suddenly arose in Central Europe, in the place of the weak confederation of earlier years, one empire of great actual strength, generously endowed as regards territory, and at the head of that empire was a state that alone of modern states most resembles Rome of early centuries, that ruled the Mediterranean world, imposing on the conquered people of that section her language, her laws and her customs. Like her great prototype, we now know that official Prussia regarded all she had accomplished to the formation of the empire as simply a station reached in a career of progress which was to end in a World empire as greatly surpassing that of Rome in her palmy days as the world of the twentieth century surpasses the known world of Roman times.


The empire enjoyed a brief span of national life. In less than fifty years it ceased to exist, a republic of an uncertain nature takes its place. To outward appearances the development of the empire was a brilliant one. A colonial empire was established-mostly in Africa-nearly five times as great in area as the home empire; she had large possessions in the Pacific and had gained a foothold in China. The rich potash and iron deposits of Alsace increased her wealth and marvelously built up her industries and she became one of the greatest manufacturing nations of modern times. Her population doubled, her foreign trade increased four fold, her shipping grew by leaps and bounds. Her army became so perfected that it was acknowledged to be the greatest military machine the world had ever seen; she was building a navy that threatened the supremacy of England on the sea.


In spite of this brilliant development, the empire rested on a foundation of sand. You will never understand the World War unless you grasp this thought and its justification. The government was autocratic, though under the form of a constitutional government. The entire military class in Germany held to theories of government, of national rights and wrongs that belonged to the middle ages. Theories of state-craft which the world long since outgrew were proclaimed and taught, and enforced by every means at command of the government, the military class, the professors, scientists and theologians of Germany. Education and religion were state controlled. As a consequence, every German child from his cradle to his grave was under the influence of state officials and never allowed to forget reverence for the kaiser, the glorious military record of Germany, German supremacy in every department of culture. Such a government was hopelessly behind modern ideas.


William II was the third emperor of Germany,-also the last. His reign began, in pomp and ceremony, June 15, 1888, it ended in the darkness and gloom of night, shortly before the signing of the armistice, November 11, 1918. Other reigns have been longer in duration; none surpassed his in deeds. When his reign began he said he would lead his people to "shining days." He did so; but "shining days" ended in despairing night.

Personally, William II was an able man, but he was not well balanced. In the early days of his reign, Bismarck confided to a friend that it would some day be necessary for Germany to confine William II in an insane asylum. We must remember his lineage, his long line of ancestors dating back to the Robber Knights of the Middle Ages, all used to the exercise of autocratic power. Medieval conceptions were his by inheritance. He believed he was divinely commissioned to rule Germany; he said so in his speeches. He believed he was a man of destiny who was to advance Germany to the zenith of earthly greatness; he himself, not someone else, asserted this. He asserted that while Napoleon failed in his great scheme of conquest, he, by God's help, would succeed. Every prominent military leader in Germany applauded such beliefs. He said that when he contemplated the paintings of his ancestors, and the military chiefs of Germany, who advanced the insignificant Mark of Brandenburg to the rank of the most powerful state in Europe, they seemed to reproach him for not being active in similar work. But we now know that he was not idle.


One year after the accession of William II he paid a spectacular visit to "his friend" (as he called him) Abdul Hamid, Sultan of Turkey, the head of one of the most cruel, licentious, incompetent, blood-thirsty governments that ever cursed the world; greeted him with a kiss, put on a Turkish uniform (fez and all), and assured the Mohammedan world that he was henceforth their friend. The ignorant Turks actually supposed he had become a Mohammedan and native papers spoke of him as "His Islamic Holiness." In the light of history, the meaning of all this is so clear that he who runs may read, and the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. This visit was repeated in 1898. For more than twenty years every effort was made to extend German influence in Turkey, because that country with its minerals, its oils, its wonderfully strong strategical location was vital to the success of a vast scheme of conquest official Germany with William II as leader was contemplating.


Two years after his accession, there was organized the Pan-Germanic League. This League soon attracted to its ranks the entire class of Prussian Junkers, virtually all the military class, and a galaxy of writers and speakers. The purpose of the league was to foster in the minds of German people the idea that it was their privilege, right and duty to extend the power, influence and political dominance of Germany to all parts of the world, peacefully if possible, otherwise by the sword. This doctrine was taught openly and boldly in Germany in books and pamphlets and by means of lectures with such frankness and fullness of details that the world at large laughed at it as an exuberant dream of fanatics. Intellectual, military, and official Germany was in earnest. Her generals wrote books illustrated with maps showing the stages of world conquest; her professors patiently explained how necessary all this was to Germany's future; while her theologians pointed out it was God's will. But the world at large, except uneasy France, slept on.


It was this vision that fired the imagination of William II. He was to be the Augustus of this greater Roman Empire; over virtually all the earth the House of Hohenzollern was to exercise despotic sway. Then began preparation for the World's War. With characteristic German thoroughness and patience the plans were laid. Thoroughness, since they embraced every conceivable means that would enhance their prospect of victory, her military leaders, scientists and statesmen were all busy. Patience, since they realized there was much to do. Many years were needed and Germany refused to be hurried. She carefully attended to every means calculated to increase the commerce and industry of the empire, but with it all-underlying it all-were activities devoted to preparation for world conquest. Building for world empire, Germany could afford to take time.


Time was needed to solve the military problems involved. A nation aspiring to territory extending from Hamburg to Bagdad must firmly control the Balkan States. That meant that Austria must become, in effect, a German province; Serbia must be crushed; Bulgaria must become an ally; and Turkey must be brought under control. In 1913, two of these desired results were attained. Turkey was to a surprising degree under the military and economic control of Germany. Austria had become such a close ally that she might almost be styled a vassal of Germany. She faithfully carried out the wishes of Germany in 1908 when she annexed the Serbian states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a step she felt safe in taking since (the Kaiser's own words) behind her was the "shining sword of Germany." It were tedious to enlarge on this point. Let it suffice to say that in 1914 Germany felt herself ready for the conflict. Enormous supplies of guns, of a caliber before unthought of, and apparently inexhaustible supplies of ammunition had been prepared; strategic railroads had been built by which armies and supplies could be hurried to desired points; the Kiel Canal had been completed; her navy had assumed threatening proportions; her army, greatly enlarged, was in perfect readiness.


The real cause of the war is now disclosed. It is not necessary to discuss other possible causes. The pistol shot at Serajevo was the occasion, not the cause of the war. The simple fact is that on one pretext or another war would have come anyway, simply because Germany was ready. In 1913 the speakers of the Pan-German League were going to and fro in Germany making public speeches on all possible occasions, warning the people to be ready, telling them "There was the smell of blood in the air," that the wrath of God was about to be visited upon the nations that would hem Germany in. We now know from official sources that Germany was eager for war in the fateful days of July 1914, when France and England were almost begging for peace. All this is made exceedingly clear in the secret memoirs of Prince Lichnowski, German ambassador to England, the published statements of the premier of Bavaria, also those of the Prince of Monaco, and the records of the Potsdam council over which the Kaiser presided, secretly convened one week after the murder of the Prince. There were present the generals, diplomats and bankers of Germany.


The matter of possible war was carefully considered. To the earnest question of the emperor, all present assured him that the interests they represented were ready, with the exception of the financiers who desired two weeks' time in which to make financial arrangements for the coming storm. This was given them, and the council adjourned. The emperor, to divert suspicion, hurried off on a yachting trip while the financiers immediately commenced disposing of their foreign securities. The stock markets of London, Paris, and New York during that interval of time bear eloquent testimony to the truth of these assertions. Two weeks and three days after the council adjourned, Austria sent her ultimatum to Serbia. The truth of these statements is vouched for by Henry Morgenthau, American ambassador to Turkey.

Thus were unleashed the dogs of war. For four long years they rioted in blood. To advance dynastic ambitions and national greed, millions of Armenian Christians were tortured, outraged and murdered; hapless Belgians were ravished and put to the sword, their cities made charnal heaps; millions of men-the fairest sons of many lands-gave up their lives, and anguished hearts sobbed out their grief in desolated homes, while generations to come will feel the crushing financial burdens this struggle has entailed with its heritage of woe.

We must now gain a general view of the events of the war. Every well-informed man or woman feels the necessity of such outline knowledge. It was not only the greatest war in history, but it was our war. Our liberties were threatened. Rivers and hamlets of France are invested with new interest. There, our American boys are sleeping; they died that our Republic might live. We may regard the annals of other wars with languid interest; those of this war grip our hearts, our breath comes quicker as we read; we experience a glow of patriotic pride. We shall let each year of the war tell its story. Of necessity we can only record the main events, the peaks of each year's achievements.


A state of war was declared to exist in Germany, July 31, 1914. Four days later Germany had mobilized five large armies with full supplies on the extended line from Metz northward along the eastern boundary of France-a distance of about 130 miles. That mobilization was a wonderful exhibition of military efficiency. From Verdun to Paris, slightly southwest, is also about 130 miles.

The German plan of campaign may be crudely stated as follows: Regard that extended line as a flail ready to fall, hinged near Verdun, moved in a circle until the northern tip, under command of Von Kluck, should fall with all the energy Germany could put into the blow on Paris. In the meantime, the other armies would crush back, outflank, defeat, and capture the small British and hastily mobilized French armies that confronted them along the entire line. It was believed that a short campaign would crush France, over-awe Great Britain, and end the war in the West. It was thought that six weeks would be ample to accomplish this result.


Germany expected that at the most a day or so would see Belgian resistance broken and the dash on Paris begun. It was not safe to start such a forward rush with Belgium unconquered. This was the first of many, many mistakes made by Germany. It required two weeks to break down this resistance. Thus the northern end of the flail was held and movement along the entire line was slowed down or suspended. The unexpected delay saved France. Let us remember this when we read the story of Belgium's martyrdom, a story written in blood. Then began the fulfillment of the threat of William II to the Prince of Monaco "the world will see what it never dreamed of." And truly the world never dreamed of the terrible scenes that attended the sack of Louvain (August 26). Not until after the situation in Belgium had been given a bloody setting did the first dash on Paris begin (August 23).


We are now approaching the "Miracle of the Marne." The line of German armies along the eastern frontier of France were confronted by the forces of France, hastily mobilized during the delay occasioned by the heroic but pathetically futile resistance of Belgium. The first English army had also assumed a position before the menacing rush of the German forces. The only thing the Allies could do was to retreat. This movement, directed by General Joffre, was a remarkably able one. His plan was to give ground before the advance without risking a decisive battle until he could rearrange his forces and gain a favorable position. Only with difficulty was the retreat saved from becoming a great disaster when the British army was defeated at Mons-Charleroi (August 21-3). Apparently, the German forces were carrying everything before them as the retreat continued. The flail, swinging from Metz to Belgium, was falling with crushing effect along the entire front, the movement being very rapid at the western but slow at the eastern end. It was centered at Verdun because it was not safe to leave that fortress unconquered in the rear.


The Marne is a small river in France, gently coursing from the water-shed south of Verdun to the Seine near Paris, its general course convex to the north. It will hereafter rank as one of the storied rivers of history, the scene of mighty battles, where the red tide of German success ebbed in its flow. The night of September 4, the German armies were in position along this river in an irregularly curved line slightly convex to the south from a point only twenty-five miles east of Paris to Verdun, one hundred and twenty-five miles, slightly to the northeast. The evening of that day, General Joffre issued orders for a general attack all along the line. His message to the French Senate was couched in words of deep meaning,-he had made, he said, the best disposition possible. France could only await in hope the outcome. The battle that began the next day continued for one week and ended with a victory for the Allies as the German armies were forced back everywhere, a varying distance, to a line of defense prepared back of the Aisne River, to the north and east. This was a marvelous result. Just as the world was waiting with bated breath to hear of the fall of Paris, it heard instead, that the German army was in retreat. It was truly a miracle. Why not see in it proof that a Power infinitely greater than that of man was directing events?


The battle front covered a distance of about 125 miles. The forces engaged numbered about 1,500,000 men. Thus this battle far exceeds in magnitude the battle of Mukden, previously considered the greatest battle of modern times; while the great battle of Waterloo was an insignificant skirmish in comparison. It is of further interest to learn that Allied success was largely the result of the use of flying machines for scouting purposes, which enabled General Joffre to take instant advantage of tactical mistakes of General Von Kluck. The results were commensurate with the immensity of the struggle. Paris was saved; the first period of the war in the west was ended; Germany was rudely awakened from her dream of easy conquest.


The success of the Allies in the west was in a measure offset by Teutonic victories in the east. When the invasion of Belgium began, Russia made immediate efforts to counteract by invasion of East Prussia. She was successful to the extent of drawing to that section a number of army corps that would otherwise have taken part in the Marne campaign. These movements culminated in the battle of Tannenberg, commencing August 26, 1914. Tannenberg is nearly one hundred miles southeast of Konigsburg. This was the battle that gave General Von Hindenburg his fame. He was a native of East Prussia, and acquainted with the country, but had lived in retirement for some years. Appointed to command, he made such a skillful disposition of his troops that the Russian army was virtually annihilated, less than one corps escaped by headlong flight. According to German authority, 70,000 Russians were captured. General Von Hindenburg was acclaimed the greatest soldier of the day, and was immediately appointed field marshal in command of all the German forces in the east.


The year 1915 was one of meager results, the advantages remaining on the side of the Central Powers, with this understanding, however: The Allies were growing stronger because Great Britain was making rapid progress in marshaling her resources for war. On the west front, the long, irregular line of trenches, from Switzerland on the south to Ostend on the North Sea, marking the German retreat after the battle of the Marne, remained without substantial change. Do not understand there were no battles along that extended line. Almost daily there were conflicts that in former wars would have been given a place among the world's great battles. They are scarcely worth mentioning in the annals of this war. Back and forth across that narrow line surged the red tide without decisive changes in position. There were attacks and counter-attacks of the most sanguinary nature near Calais. The first instance of the use of gas in war occurred in these battles, at the second battle of Ypres, April 23, 1915.


In spite of the great reverse at Tannenberg, Russia was not defeated. Her armies in Galicia (Northeastern Hungary) were winning important battles. A determined effort was made in 1915 by Germany to crush Russia and thus retire her from the war. For days at a time, on the railroads of East Germany, double headed trains were passing every fifteen minutes, loaded with troops and munitions withdrawn from the western front which accounts for the comparative quiet in that section, which in turn gave Great Britain time to prepare in earnest. And so it was that during a large part of 1915 Russia had to withstand the shock of war. Russian soldiers were brave; her generals able, but the whole official life was more or less corrupt.

The poison of German propaganda was at work. Her ammunition was totally insufficient. Immense supplies made in France according to specifications furnished by high officials in Russia did not fit the guns they were intended to serve. There were already signs of the approaching utter collapse of Russia as a world power, then more than a year distant in time. In spite of these drawbacks we read of brilliant but futile efforts of her poorly equipped army to stem the tide of Teutonic success that soon began.

Before the close of the year Poland was entirely overrun by German forces. It seemed for a time as if Petrograd itself must fall. In short, it was thought that Russia was crushed. Then it was that the Kaiser wrote to his sister, the Queen of Greece, "having crushed Russia, the rest of Europe will soon tremble before me." But when 1915 ended a line of trenches from Riga on the north to Czernowitz on the south still guarded the frontiers of Russia.


This campaign began in December, 1914, and continued during 1915. It was an effort on the part of the Allies to force the Dardanelles, capture Constantinople, and inflict a crushing blow on Turkey. This effort was a dismal failure for the Allies, but had all the effect of a decisive victory for Turkey and her allies. The fact that the attack was failing had considerable to do with inducing Bulgaria to enter the war on the side of Germany. The immediate result of this step on the part of Bulgaria was the complete crushing of Serbia (October 6-December 2), and this in turn made possible full and free railroad transportation between Germany on the north and Turkey on the south. The net result was to greatly strengthen the Teutonic allies. The conduct of Turkey in the war was marked by most atrocious treatment of the Armenians. Belgium on the north, Armenia on the south, are blood-stained chapters in the annals of war.


Apparently believing that Russia was so badly crippled that she could not again peril Austria-Hungary or wrest Poland from the grasp of Germany, the latter country gathered her available resources for a decisive, crushing blow in France. We have several times mentioned Verdun. It is well to study its location on the map, about 130 miles slightly north of east of Paris. It is a city of great historic interest, beautifully located in the Meuse valley with its approach defended by low-lying ranges of hills through which lead numerous defiles. At this city, more than a thousand years ago, was concluded the celebrated treaty of Verdun that settled the disputes between the grandsons of Charlemagne, and this constitutes a landmark in the early history of France.

It was Verdun that held back the southern end of the flail wherewith France was to be crushed in 1914; in the battle of the Marne it held the eastern or left wing of the long German line, which could not advance and leave Verdun unsubdued in the rear. The German Crown Prince was in command near Verdun. His ideal was Napoleon. His private library contained nearly everything ever written about that great general. He was exceedingly anxious to pose as the conqueror of France. To strengthen his dynasty, the Kaiser was also anxious that his son should take a prominent part. Accordingly it was planned to gather an enormous army under his command, overwhelm Verdun and smash through to Paris. Thus Prince Wilhelm would be enrolled among the great commanders of history. Von Hindenburg was opposed to this plan, he wanted to finish up his work so happily begun in Russia. But the Crown Prince had his way; and immense supplies of guns, ammunition, and men were withdrawn from the eastern front and massed at Verdun.


The annals of history record no battle approaching in duration, artillery fire, and awful sacrifice than the battle that enveloped Verdun for six months, beginning February 21, 1916. Other battles have been fought along more extended fronts and thus engaged larger numbers of troops; but none ever presented in a more acute form the issue of national life or death. The stand of the heroic Greeks at Thermopylae denying passage to the hosts of Persia was not more vital to the cause of civilization than this storied defense of Verdun. The reflective writer can but notice that in every campaign of the war, when further success of the Ge

rman armies meant victory, it was as if an unseen Power decreed "thus far and no further." It was so at Verdun. The French soldier, calmly going to death, chanting "They shall not pass," did not die in vain.


The French were taken somewhat by surprise as they had not expected such an early attack or that its fury would break at Verdun. Of course it was known that a great force was being assembled, but no one dreamed of the enormous concentration of guns of all kinds that were made. They literally cumbered the ground and the shells assembled were in keeping. The German generals were so confident of success that foreign correspondents were invited to be present to witness the resistless onslaught. The evening before the attack began there was a banquet at the German headquarters, the Kaiser and all his notable generals (but not Von Hindenburg) were present. The toast was "After four days, Verdun; then Paris." They estimated that it would take possibly three weeks to accomplish their ends. Evidently among the uninvited and unseen guests were Defeat and Death.

The attack that commenced the next day lasted with but slight interruptions until October. It is interesting to remark that more shot and shell were used in this battle than the total used during the four years of the Civil War in America on both sides. Verdun itself was reduced to ruins. Considerable portions of the fortified area to the north of Verdun were captured, including the important forts Douamont and Vaux, but the entire attack failed. The minor successes achieved were won with an appalling loss of life and were easily retaken by the French later in the fall. Verdun was renamed by the German soldiers as "The Grave," and such it truly was to the hopes of victory and peace that inspired the toast at the Verdun banquet.


Roumania is one of the Balkan States. Her entry into the second Balkan war in 1913 was one of the decisive factors against Bulgaria. After the entry of Bulgaria into the World War in 1915 the pressure became very strong on Roumania by Russia to come into the war on the side of the Allies. The summer of 1916 Russia had reorganized her forces, and the war in the west was going against Germany at Verdun and along the Somme. This was deemed an opportune time for Roumania to enter the war and so, with no principles at stake, Roumania declared war on Austria, August 27, 1916. The response of Germany and Bulgaria to this new menace was prompt and decisive. Before the end of the year Roumania was crushed, the capital city, Bucharest, was taken. Roumania was not at all prepared to wage war on the scale this war had assumed, but the immediate cause of her easy conquest was the failure of Russia to keep her promises of assistance. Russia, undermined by German intrigue, with traitors at court, was already tottering to her fall.


The year 1917 witnessed startling changes in the grouping of the belligerent powers. The three largest republics in the world-China, Brazil, and the United States,-were drawn into the war on the side of the Entente Allies. Other small nations, members of the Pan-American Union, joined with the United States in this action. Other South American nations showed their sympathy with the United States by severing diplomatic relations with Germany. In Europe, Greece made a formal declaration of war July 2, 1917. Thus all of the Balkan States were finally involved. To complete the record, we must note that Siam in Asia and Liberia in Africa also joined the Entente Allies. Never before in history had there been such an alignment of nations for purposes of war. It was significant of one thing,-growing resentment against what had long been recognized as the criminal ambitions of Germany to dominate the world.


April 6, 1917, will hereafter be one of the most important dates in the annals of this republic. Then it was that Congress in a joint resolution declared a state of war existed between the United States and Germany, and authorized the President to employ the naval and military power of our country to carry on the war and pledged all our resources to that end. We can now see that the hidden currents of national destiny were tending in an irresistible way to war on the part of the United States. Every consideration of national safety and every principle that we hold dear, demanded that we should respond to the call of the President to arms. Then commenced the wonderful preparations for war on the part of the United States. Official Germany in conversation with Minister Gerard, before the rupture of diplomatic relations, laughed to scorn the thought that the United States could render any military aid worth considering to her allies. Germany in the fall of 1917 was not laughing.


The collapse of Russia was the second great event of 1917. It was the result of a long train of causes. Let it suffice to say that treachery in high places backed by German propaganda, had undermined the government. March 15, 1917, the storm broke. The utter overthrow of autocratic rule in Russia was one of those explosive outbreaks, but few of which have occurred in history. In a single day the old order of government passed away never to return in Russia. It was a revolution as thoroughgoing as its prototype, the French revolution of 1789, and it soon developed equal scenes of horror. After some months of struggle, the government of Russia passed under the control of the Bolsheviki and anarchy followed, outdoing the scenes of the French commune. The immediate effect on the war was to retire Russia from the conflict, thus releasing a large army and its supplies for service elsewhere.


Having achieved such signal successes in the east, Russia and Roumania being both disposed of, the German leaders planned a campaign designed to crush Italy. In the summer of 1917 the Italian front was along the Isonza River in Austrian territory. The test of Italian endurance was at hand. A great force of Austrians and Germans was assembled along the river. As was usual in all Teutonic drives, endeavors were made by propaganda work to break down the morale of the Italian troops. This effort consisted in spreading fearsome accounts of the crushing nature of the blow about to fall, the folly of further resistance, and the advantages to be gained by accepting the generous terms of peace their true friends-their former allies-were ready to grant. This effort had an effect, but Italy was not Russia.

The drive began October 24th. It was a very pronounced Teutonic success, though the great object of the drive was not achieved. In three weeks' time the Italians were forced back from the Isonza to the Piava River line; nearly 200,000 soldiers had been captured, together with immense supplies of all kinds. But yet Italy was not crushed, the German forces were firmly held along the Piava. We should reflect that in the World War millions were engaged and the loss of one or even two hundred thousand men did not mean the end of the war.


The Allies could only hope to defend their position on the west front against the impending offensive on the part of Germany, for which preparations on a vast scale were being made, until reinforcements from the United States could reach them sufficient to enable them to take the offensive in their turn. Germany hastened its preparations through the winter months of 1917-18, for they knew they must win a decisive victory to crush the armies of France and England before the United States could give efficient assistance. It was a race between America and Germany, and America won. With the assistance of the British and French merchant marine and such shipping as could be procured at home the American forces were landed in France in the most astonishing numbers ever recorded. The fears of Germany, the hopes of the Allies were alike exceeded by the forces sent across the ocean. The first of July, 1918, there were one million American soldiers in France. They came just in time to avert disaster.


The initiative was with Germany, and the German command selected the British army in position along the Scarpe River, north of Cambria, to the Oise River-a distance of sixty miles-as the object of the first drive. The assault began the morning of March 21, 1918. Along the entire front the artillery fire that opened the drive was on the scale never before approached in war. More than one million men, the choicest troops of Germany, were ready to assault the British lines and they came on, wave after wave, and Germany came perilously near success in her efforts to break through the British lines. The British were driven back beyond the lines of the battle of the Somme in 1916, important towns were captured, but their lines still held. The first phase of the great battle-known in history as the battle of Picardy-was a defeat to German hopes.


From the opening of the great offense of March 21, 1918, to the signing of the armistice, November 11, 1918, there were few days when there were not battles raging at several places along the west front extending from near Metz in a prolonged sweep, west to Rheims, thence in an irregular curved line convex toward Paris curving to the North Sea near Dixmude approximately 250 miles in length. There were days and weeks when battles of great intensity raged at certain sections, then died away in that vicinity to break in fury elsewhere. Organized efforts on a large scale in certain directions were called drives. Until July the initiative was with Germany, that is to say the Allies were on the defensive. They were waiting for reinforcements from America. Germany was making desperate efforts to win a decisive victory and force peace on their terms before effective aid could arrive.


At this point try to realize what these statements imply. We do not grasp their meaning. A battle front of two hundred and fifty miles! And along that line at least ten million men were facing each other with other millions in reserve. Trench lines were strung along most of the front. Not simply one line of trenches, but several, with connecting trenches, the opposing lines being at places only a few hundred yards apart. As the struggle continued, however, it became more and more a war in the open.

This series of struggles are undoubtedly the greatest exertion of military power in the history of the world. Never before had such masses of munitions been used; never before had scientific knowledge been so drawn on in the service of war. Thousands of airplanes were patrolling the air, sometimes scouting, sometimes dropping bombs on hostile troops or on hostile stores, sometimes flying low, firing their machine guns into the faces of marching troops. Thousands upon thousands of great guns were sending enormous projectiles, which made great pits wherever they fell. Swarms of machine guns were pouring their bullets like water from a hose upon charging soldiers. It was an inferno such as Dante never dreamed of. The Fifteen Decisive Battles of history of which we have heard-all put together,-were exceeded day after day in the summer of 1918 when Germany was making her last desperate effort. Thus for weeks the red tide of war ebbed and flowed, while civilization trembled in the balance.


It was clearly seen by the Allied leaders that appointing a generalissimo to command all their forces was a necessity. This command was given to General Ferdinand Foch, who had won fame in the battle of the Marne and who was recognized as one of the greatest strategists of the day. Events soon demonstrated the wisdom of this step. No general ever commanded such armies as he. Napoleon, Von Moltke, Grant and Lee were great generals, but everything connected with this war was on a scale never before approached, and we can say that the qualities of leadership displayed by Marshal Foch were necessarily on a higher plane of action-and we can say this without in the least detracting from the just fame of other Allied commanders-as Pershing, Haig, Allenby, Diaz and others. When the war opened, Germany had much to say about her unconquerable army; her generals were supposed to be superior in a military way to any others. The war showed that other soldiers were just as brave, other generals just as able. The fetish of German military invincibility was early overthrown.


No American can read the story of the part America took in the war without experiencing a glow of patriotic feeling. Every Allied nation can say the same thing. We came late into the struggle, but no nation in history ever made such wonderful preparation for war as did our country in the eighteen months that elapsed from the declaration of war to the signing of the armistice. Our preparations in France, representing only a part of our total effort, were on such an enormous scale, that neutral nations-as Sweden and Spain-sent trusted officials to investigate if it were possibly true that America was making such colossal preparations; could it be that men by the hundreds of thousands were disembarking on European soil every week? Were such forces drilled? Were supplies sent them? It was almost unbelievable. Surely, it must be American brag. They came, they saw, they departed convinced but in bewildered wonderment. It was the slowly growing realization of what this preparation meant that spurred Germany on during the early summer of 1918. But it was too late. Already the handwriting of defeat was outlining in letters of fire on the wall.


May 27, 1918, the Germans opened a drive towards Paris. It resulted in a deep bulge in the line from Rheims west to Soissons, once more the German line in that section had reached the Marne. It was a time of great anxiety in the Allied world. The German tide was rolling on about seven miles a day toward Paris about fifty miles distant to the southwest. The German commanders felt sure of success and were talking about the "strong German peace" they would enforce. The war minister assured the Reichstag that they must exact at least $50,000,000,000 as indemnity, while their economic writers devised an elaborate plan whereby all the trade of the world was to pay tribute to Germany. It was another case of "Thus far and no farther."


Chateau Thierry was a thriving city, about 6,000 in population, on the Marne River, approximately 50 miles northeast of Paris. It is in a fertile valley. There amid fields of ripening wheat the advancing troops of Germany were suddenly confronted by American marines, hurried to the scene of action in motor driven vehicles of all descriptions from Paris. The forces that faced them, bent on forcing a passage to Paris were composed of the best Prussian guards and shock troops. They felt perfectly confident they could drive the Americans back. But the amateurs went into the battle (the afternoon of June 2) as calmly as if going to drill on the parade ground. Instead of being driven from the field they repulsed the seasoned veterans of Germany. It was at a cruel loss to themselves, 1,600 dead, 2,500 wounded out of 8,000 that came from Paris on that journey of victory and death; but they never faltered. This was not a battle of great dimensions but it is among the most important battles of the war. It saved Paris; but that is not all. When the news of that battle was flashed up and down the west front, not an Allied force but was thrilled, enthused, given new courage; the message that the Americans had stopped the Germans at Chateau Thierry, electrified Paris. Strong men wept as they realized that the forces of the Great Republic, able and brave, stood between France and the ravening wolf of Germany.


In the limited space at our command we can only give a general description of the remaining weeks of warfare in which American forces participated. Before advancing at Chateau Thierry the Germans had fortified their position in Belleau Woods which they had previously occupied. In the black recesses of this woods they established nest after nest of machine guns and in the jungle of matted underbrush, of vines, of heavy foliage they had placed themselves in a position they believed impregnable. The battle of Chateau Thierry was not rendered secure until the Germans were driven from Belleau Woods. And so for the next three weeks the battle of Belleau Woods raged. Fighting day after day without relief, without sleep, often without water, and for days without hot rations, the marines met and defeated the best divisions Germany could throw into the line. According to official decree in France the name of that woods is now "Woods of the American Brigade." In September, came the wonderful work of reducing the St. Mihiel salient to the south and to the east of Verdun, a German wedge that had withstood every effort to drive it back for four years. We can only mention the series of battles that took place in the Forest of the Argonne. When the armistice was declared American forces had fought their way to Sedan. That was the place that witnessed the deep humiliation of France in the war of 1870 with which the German Empire began. Germany was only saved from a deeper humiliation near Sedan in this war that ended that empire, by the prompt signing of the armistice.


We must notice even in a hurried review of the war the downfall of Turkey, the release of ancient Mesopotamia, Palestine, and large parts of Asia Minor, and freeing the ancient Christian nation of Armenia from the dreadful despotism of Turkish misrule. It is impossible to go into the details of the successive movements leading to this happy result. The forces of Great Britain, under command of General Maud, later General Allenby, must be given the credit. We must not forget that Mesopotamia was the cradle land of early civilization. There are the plains of Shinar, there are the ruins of Babylon and Nineveh. Now, that Turkish rule has been overthrown, we may look to see that entire country once more a scene of smiling fertility.

And consider the case of Palestine, the land of Biblical history, the home of Abraham, and the scene of Old Testament activities; finally there is the land forever hallowed by the ministrations of Jesus of Nazareth. It was the goal of the religious wars of the Crusades. For more than six centuries it groaned under Turkish misrule. The tide of British success began in 1917. In December of that year (9th) Jerusalem was taken by the British forces under command of General Allenby. During 1918 all Palestine was freed. September 20, 1918, Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, was taken. The future of Palestine with its wealth of Biblical history is a wonderful theme for contemplation. Given the blessings of a twentieth century government there is no reason why Palestine should not once more become a land "flowing with milk and honey."


The ending of the war was almost as dramatically sudden as its beginning. As late as July 15, 1918, according to statements of German leaders, they still believed they were to be successful; less than four months later at Senlis, France, their representatives signed an armistice, the terms of which were the most drastic and humiliating ever inflicted on a prominent nation; while the Kaiser and Crown Prince had fled for safety to Holland, a nation they had asserted existed only by the long sufferance of Germany. Before the fatal day (November 11, 1918) of the armistice-like the falling of a house of cards-had occurred a succession of abject surrenders, as one by one of the nations composing the Teutonic Alliance had fallen before the crushing blows of the Entente forces.

The middle of July the great German offensive was held. It was expected by the German leaders that, as in the past, there would now ensue a period of comparative quiet along the west front during which Germany could rearrange her forces, perhaps to open an attack elsewhere. Marshal Foch-ably seconded by General Pershing and General Haig-thought differently. There were one million American soldiers on the fighting line, other millions were coming, Great Britain had thrown into France her reserve army held in England to meet unforeseen emergencies. Then was the time to begin a counter-attack. Accordingly, just as a German official was explaining to the Reichstag that General Foch had no reserves to withstand a fresh onslaught that Germany would soon begin,-the blow fell. A great counter-attack was initiated by the French and Americans along the Marne-Aisne front July 18, 1918.


From that day to the signing of the armistice the initiative remained with General Foch. Up and down the long line, now here, now there; the British and Belgians on the north, the French and Americans on the south, first one, then the other, then together, the Allies drove forward with hammer blows on the yielding German armies. That subtle force, so hard to define, the morale of the invaders, was broken down. Their confidence was gone. They knew they were defeated. The one hope of their leaders was to get safely back to Germany, and soon a general retreat was in progress. But to remove armies aggregating several million men, with guns and supplies, from a contracted area, in the face of a victorious and aggressive enemy, without the retreat degenerating into a rout is almost impossible; it requires generalship of highest order. Day by day the remorseless jaws of the Allied military machine, hinged to the north of the Aisne,-British and Belgian forces on the north, French in the center, Americans on the south and east,-were closing, and when the American forces fought their way through the Argonne to Sedan (forty miles northeast of Rheims) the case was hopeless. Only the armistice saved Germany from the humiliation of a surrender, on a scale vastly greater than the surrender of the French armies near that same point in 1870.


With Germany herself falling, it is not strange that the nations leagued with her also went down to defeat. They had been almost forced into the war by Germany; not one of them could carry on a war when deprived of counsel and help from Germany. Only the threat of force kept Austria in the war. As the counter-attack in France gained in force, as the retreat continued, it was recognized on all hands that the end was approaching. The will to war-the morale-was completely broken down; and so on every side the Allied forces gained great victories with surprising ease.

Bulgaria was the first nation to surrender. This was the conclusion of a succession of great victories beginning September 16, 1918, ending by the surrender ten days later. The case with Turkey was hopeless after Bulgaria fell. No reinforcements or supplies could reach them from Germany. The English forces under General Allenby were carrying everything before them. Turkey surrendered October 31, 1918. Austria-Hungary was the third power to surrender. This came as the culmination of one of the greatest drives of the war.


In 1917-as we have seen,-Italy suffered a great reverse, losing 200,000 soldiers and immense supplies. In August, 1918, Austria renewed the attack. In his proclamation to his soldiers, the Austrian commander bade them remember "the white bread, the fat cattle, the wine" and supplies they had won the year before. Surely as great rewards awaited them this time, and learned professors assured them and the entire nation that they belonged to a "conquering superior race" and so could be confident of further victory. The drive was a "hunger offensive" on the part of hard-pressed Austria. It was a dismal failure. It is interesting to know that American airplanes, piloted by Americans, rendered great assistance in repulsing this attack. Then came the counter-attack. In this drive American forces assisted. The drive began October 27th; it was attended by a series of most astonishing victories. The drive culminated in the abject surrender of Austria, November 3, 1918. The victories can only be explained by the fact that the morale of the Austrian troops had completely broken down, more than 500,000 prisoners being taken, together with enormous supplies.


With their armies perilously near rout on the western front, with a great military disaster confronting them, with everyone of her allies forced to surrender, with revolution threatening at home, there was nothing left for Germany to do but to make the best terms possible. Their commissioners met General Foch at Senlis and the drastic armistice terms were signed at 5 o'clock, Paris time, the morning of November 11, 1918, and the last shots in the war were fired at 11 o'clock, that forenoon, Paris time. The war had lasted (from the date of the declaration of war on Serbia) four years, three months and thirteen days. On subsequent pages we shall consider more in detail this skeletonized story, study the enormous political, geographic and economic changes it has necessitated, and mentally view the new age in history at hand.


President Wilson's latest photograph.


This is the latest and best photograph of General Pershing.


This is the latest photograph of Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies, as he appears since the termination of the war. A comparison of this photograph with earlier ones shows the effect of the war on the famous general.

Showing the actual drafting by the Allied Plenipotentiaries of the armistice terms which ended the great world war. Left side of table from left to right: second man, General di Robilant; Italian Foreign Minister Sonnino; Italian Premier Orlando; Colonel Edward H. House; General Tasker H. Bliss; next man unknown; Greek Premier Venizelos, and Serbian Minister Vesnitch. Right side of the table from left to right: Admiral Wemyss (with back turned); General Sir Henry Wilson; Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig; General Sackville West; Andrew Bonar Law; British Premier Lloyd George; French Premier Georges Clemenceau, and French Foreign Minister, Stephen Pichon.


Amid the ruins wrought by the Huns the envoys of Germany signed the truce terms that victoriously ended the struggle for democracy.


Some of the best fighters in the British Army, resting by the roadside after having driven the Germans back in the "Fight of the Woods," near Rheims.


Washington, D.C.


On Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., Parading the National Capital before going to France.


Single-handed he routed 36 Huns, killing 4 of them and wounding the remainder. When his ammunition ran out he used a bolo knife. Sergt. Johnson, of the 369th Colored Infantry (old 15th of N.Y.), was the first man in his regiment to win the French War Cross.


One hundred and sixty-nine men of this regiment (old 15th N.Y.) won valor medals. They were nicknamed "Hell Fighters." Top-Fred Rogers. Lower row-George Chapman, Lawrence McVey, Isaac Freeman. Upper row-Wm. Bunn, Herbert Mills, Hugh Hamilton, Clarence Johnson.


All winners of the Croix de Guerre. When a French general gave orders to retire, Col. Hayward replied: "My men never retire: they go forward or die, and we are going through here or hell. We don't go back."


The first man in the 92nd American Division (Negroes) to receive the distinguished service cross for bravery in the fighting in the Argonne. He was a member of Co. I, 368th Infantry.


The flag of the old 15th (decorated by the French) and Old Glory.


This group of soldiers is being served at a "Y" tent.


Along this beautiful stream it was tramp, tramp, tramp the soldiers were marching on to do their duty and help bring the victory which meant "World Peace."


Back from France, and what a grand reception awaited them! Conquering heroes on the battlefield and the warmth and enthusiasm over their homecoming are beyond words to describe.

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