Skip to main content

Full text of "The Great war"

See other formats

'■ 1 '■' '. ': 



ff %.^^-v/ ^-^f 


i > 


/ -v--^-— ^::^/ "^ \^'\> 


§ "irEiiiB 




I' !:"' ,:'i"'fi 


Mi:' ! 

UHlVf- ■'^TY OF 


While Dr. Allen has considered in a general way the 
.charges of atrocities in Volume III it was deemed unsuit- 
able to include in a volume intended for general circula- 
tion the details of the proofs offered by various belligerent 
governments as evidence of the truth of these charges. 
A selection from such details will be printed separately. 
No person who has not read the official reports can have a 
true conception of the horrors of war as it is practised even 
in these enlightened days. 

Subscribers are warned that these details are horrible, 
that the illustrations are not pleasant to look upon ; the 
justification for their reproduction is that they are official 
proof of the revolting conditions brought about by war in 
invaded territories, and they are issued only in the hope 
that these reports and illustrations, revolting as they are, 
may exercise an influence which will militate against wars 
in the future and in that way may be made of service to 

This matter will be printed in a supplementary mono- 
graph, not offered for sale, and issued exclusively to adult 
subscribers for the whole series and ONLY AFTER RECEIPT 
OF THE ATTACHED COUPON, which is not transferable. 




(U'/lll ll>//l/ f /ftiK/f ''Ji//l/i'.^ i'.'. 


Emperf)r and autocrat of all the Russias. 





GEORGE H. ALLEN, Ph. D., formerly of the University 
OF Pennsylvania, History Department; Fellow in Classical 
Archeology, American School of Classical Studies, Rome, Etc., 

HENRY C. WHITEHEAD, Captain in the 
United States Army, Served in Europe, by 
Official Assignment, for Observation, Etc., 


Admiral F. E. CHADWICK, U. S. N. 




Copyrighted, 1916, by 


Among the Illustrations in this Volume 
ARE Reproductions of Photographs Copy- 
righted BY Underwood and Underwood, 
BY Paul Thompson, and by the 
International News Service Company 
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London 



List of Illustrations XI-XVI 

Preface XVII-XX 

I Formation of the Great German Plan . 1-29 

Geographical position of Germany in relation to the plan of campaign. 
Possible advantages of a central position. Napoleon's method. Special 
factors in the situation of 1914. France to be crushed before Russia is 
ready Rapidity necessary in the execution of the German plan. Physical 
features of the theater of hostilities in the West. Possible routes for a Ger- 
man invasion of France Reasons for the choice of the route via Belgium. 
The German doctrine of tactics and strategy. Concealment of the real 
nature of the German plan The French plan. The German aim is to 
envelop the opposing army, the French is to pierce it. Successive periods 
in the development of the plans: (1) August 4-15; (2) August 15-22; (3) 
August 23-September 5; (4) September 6-10; (5) September 10-23; (6) Sep- 
tember 23 October 15; (7) October 16-November 11; (8) November 11- 
December 31 Subordinate position and character of operations in the 
East Minor questions regarding the development of the German plan. 
The German and French Chiefs of Staff, von Moltke and Joffre. 

II The Die is Cast 30-48 

The German occupation of Luxemburg. Casting the die; the crossing 
of the Belgian frontier on August 4th. Seizure and destruction of Vise. 
Desperate resistance of the Belgians. Participation of civilians in the 
fighting and its consequences. Liege and its defenses. Assault and cap- 
ture of Liege. Bombardment of the forts. Consequences of the resistance 
of Liege on the subsequent course of the campaign. 

III The Deluge Released {August 15-22, 1914) 49-65 

Renewed proposals by Germany rejected by Belgium. Disposition of the 
German forces in the West about August 10th. The situation of the Ger- 
mans at Liege. German cavalry foreshadowing the main advance of the 
German army through Belgium. Dramatic contrast in the feelings of 
assurance and consternation in the Belgian towns ; Tirlemont, Aerschot, 
Louvain The Belgian capital transferred to Antwerp. The Gorman 
march through Brussels. Reasons for the occupation of Brussels. The 
German front swings to the left pivoting on Namur. 

VI The Great War 


IV The French Counter-Offensive . . . 66-82 

Criticism of the French counter-offensive. The French incursion into 
Alsace; entry into Miilhausen, August 8, 1914, French defeated west of 
the city two days later. The clearing of the Vosges by the French. 
Miilhausen retaken by the French on August 20th. The French offensive 
in Lorraine, beginning August 12th, French advance to Saarburg. Turn- 
ing of the tide, August 20th. Battle in Lorraine, August 20-24. General 
collapse of the French offensive. German invasion of France and occu- 
pation of Luneville Evacuation of Miilhausen by the French. Invasion 
of France from Luxemburg by the army of the German Crown Prince. 
Defense of Longwy- French defeated at Neufchateau. The battle at 
Dinant, August 15th. 

V The Flood-tide of German Invasion 

{August 23-September 5, 1914) 83-115 

The Kaiser goes to the front. Disposition of the forces in the West, the 
seven German and five French armies and the British contingent. Con- 
centration of powerful German forces against the Meuse-Sambre salient, 
far outnumbering the Allies. Defenses of Namur. Operations against 
Namur : first attack, August 20th ; occupation of the city, August 23d ; 
bombardment of the forts, August 22-25. Effect of the sudden fall of 
Namur. The Germans drive the French from the Sambre. Arrival, 
significance, and composition of the British Expeditionary Force. The 
Germans attack the British, August 23d. The " retreat from Mons. " The 
night encounter at Landrecies. The critical situation on August 26th. 
The real objective of the German operations. Situation on August 29th. 
The moral crisis in France and Joffre's decision. Continuation of the 
German advance. Frantic exodus of civilians from Paris. Transference 
of the French government to Bordeaux. Alarming progress of the Russian 
invasion of Galicia. 

VI The Russian Offensive 116-152 

Early operations on the Russo-German border. Exaggerated impression 
of Russian might. Natural objective for the Russian offensive. Why the 
Russians did not set out for Berlin from the nearest point on their frontier. 
Lack of natural boundaries. Important rivers : Niemen (Memel), Vistula, 
San, Bug, Narev, Bobr. Strategic consequences of the position of Rus- 
sian Poland as a great salient. Teutonic fortresses and Russian fortresses. 
Russian invasion of East Prussia; the German forces, the Russian Vilna 
and Warsaw Armies. Encounters at Stalluponen and Gumbinnen. The 
Masurian lakes. Von Hindenburg and the Battle of Tannenberg : von 
Hindenburg, the man and his hobby ; his appointment to the command in 
the East, August 22d ; his concentration of troops and chances of success ; 
his plan of battle resembling that of Hannibal at Cannae ; Battle of Tan- 
nenberg : the contest at Hohenstein, August 26-28 ; the German occupation 
of Soldau and its results, August 26-27; operations by the German left 
wing, August 26-29 ; the consummation and extent of the victory. Opera- 
tions against Rennenkampf. The situation in Galicia. The Austrians 
invade Poland while the Russians invade Galicia from the east. The 
operations of Russky and Brussiloff and the evacuation of Lemberg 
by the Austrians on September 3-4. Collapse of Dankl's offensive in 
Poland. The defeat of the Austrians on the Grodek-Rawaruska line and 
their withdrawal from most of Galicia. 

Contents VII 


VII The Battle of the Marne {Septem- 

ber 6-10, 1914) 153-186 

Germans in the neighborhood of Paris. The deviation in von Kluck's 
march and the reasons for it ; the fundamental change in the German plan, 
the design of crushing the center of the Allies. Von Kluck's oblique 
movement and passage of the Marne. Joffre's tremendous responsibility 
and his plan of battle. Relative strength of the combatants and the positions 
of the forces. The assumption of the offensive by the Allies on the 6th. 
The concentric attack on von Kluck's army. The plight of the French 
Sixth Army on the 8th; the Paris "taxis" to the rescue. The climax on 
the 9th and the German retreat. Violent German attack on the Anglo- 
French center. General Foch's successful tactics. Discomfiture of the 
Prussian Guard. The Crow n Prince's attack on Troyon. The retirement 
of the Duke of Wiirttemberg and the Crown Prince. General reflections 
upon the character and consequences of the Battle of the Marne. The 
fall of Maubeuge. 

VIII Operations on the Line of the Aisne 

iSeptefnber 10-23, 1914) 187-198 

Significance of the operations on the Aisne. The new German front. 
Natural features of the valley of the Aisne. The position of the Anglo- 
French forces. The action on September 12th. The passage of the Aisne 
by the Allies, on the 13th, and their subsequent penetration of the heights 
to the north of the valley. Great difficulties and hardships suffered by the 
Allies in their exposed trenches. Their abandonment of frontal attacks. 
Great buoyancy shown by the German military organization. 

IX The Race to the Sea {September 23- 

October 15, 1914) 199-232 

The more complicated character of the second part of the first campaign 
in the West; the diversity of purposes. The Allies' offensive and the 
race to the sea ; every effort of the Allies countered by the Germans. 
Transference of the British to Flanders. Lille taken by the Germans. 
Resumption of the German offensive. Intimate connection of Verdun 
and Antwerp in the deliberations of the Germans. The perforation of 
the French eastern barrier at St. Mihiel and its futility. Retrospect of the 
situation of the Belgian army. Destruction of Louvain. The German 
operations against Antwerp : the fortifications, the opposing forces, the 
beginning of the bombardment of the forts, September 28th, the removal 
of the Belgian base, the penetration of the outer girdle. The general out- 
look and departure of the Belgian field-army. The fall of Antwerp. The 
race from all sides towards the southwestern section of the Belgian coast. 
The arrival of the Belgian army on the line of the Yser and completion of 
the barrier from the Swiss boundary to the North Sea. 

X The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 

{October 16-November 11,1914) .... 233-272 

The situation on October 16, 1914. The revised plan of the Germans. 
The nature of the battlefield along the Yser. The German forces before 
the Yser front. Belgians attacked in their outposts and driven back. The 
German attack on Nieuport, and on Dixmude, which is defended by the 

VIII The Great War 


"soldiers of Liege," October 19th. Renewed attack, terrible bombard 
ment and burning of the town. Passage of the Yser by the Germans near 
Tervaete, night of October 21-22 ; the Germans west of the river. Arrival 
of the French to reinforce the Belgians, October 23d. Bombardment of 
the German positions by British warships. Violent renewal of the attack 
on Dixmude, October 24th. Belgians at the limit of their resources and 
endurance. The gradually rising inundatioa The culminating moment 
and German retirement, November 2-3. The situation on the British 
front. Desperate combats in the region of Ypres with repeated attacks of 
the Germans in dense masses, October 20-23, The contest at Neuve 
Chapelle. The very critical moment before Ypres on the 31st. Renewal 
of the battle on November 1st. Storming of Dixmude. Supreme effort 
of the Prussian Guard to crush the British lines, November 10th and 11th. 

XI The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia . 273-314 

Poland and the war. General situation in the eastern theater about Octo- 
ber 1st. Operations on the East Prussian frontier. Von Hindenburg and 
the Teutonic general offensive. The culmination of this great move- 
ment: the failure to take Warsaw, the conflict before Ivangorod, and 
retreat of the Austro-German armies. The fluctuating course of the strug- 
gle in Galicia ; Peremysl relieved and reinvested. The German retreat in 
Poland, lightning change of front, and counter-offensive in November. 
The combats around Lodz. The increasing deadlock. Operations in 
Serbia. Failure of the first Austrian invasion ; Battle of the Jadar, Septem- 
ber 15-20. The renewed invasion in November and the occupation and 
loss of Belgrade and severe defeat of the Austrians in December. Atroci- 
ties in the Austro-Serbian hostilities. Reflections on the results of the 
Eastern operations. 

XII The Close of the Campaign in the 

West and the Land Operations 
Outside of Europe 315-333 

The waning of the campaign in the West. Attempted Allied offensive 
in December. Some characteristics of trench-warfare. Christmas at the 
front. The war outside of Europe. The rally of the British dominions 
and dependencies : colonial and Indian troops sent to Europe ; operations 
in colonial territory, the campaign in Togo, Kamerun, German East Africa, 
and German Southwest Africa; the insurrection in South Africa. Ger- 
many swept from the Pacific. The siege and fall of Tsingtau. Turkey's 
advent into the war ; Turco-German designs, Egypt and the British Em- 
pire ; Cyprus ; events on the Persian Gulf. 

XIII War's New Aspects 334-349 

Principles of strategy universal, their application variable. Changed 
international considerations as to Belgium. Plan of passing through Bel- 
gium and the German offensive. General advantages of the offensive. 
The tactics of the campaign : German mass attacks ; the part of the in- 
fantry; the use of the cavalry; artillery support. Transportation: the 
railways and their various uses ; motor-propelled vehicles. Air service : 
types of aircraft; anti-aircraft guns; improvements in air-machines; the 
modern Zeppelin ; the captive balloon. Means of communication. The 
lesson of the campaign. 

Contents IX 


XIV The Alleged Atrocities in Belgium 

AND France 350-388 

Accounts of outrages imputed to the German armies in Belgium and 
France received with amazement and horror, followed by an involuntary 
reaction of doubt. The committees for investigation and their indictment. 
The attitude and counter-charges of the Germans. Various forms of evi- 
dence. Destruction incidental to military operations; doubtful cases: 
Reims, Arras, Ypres, Mechlin. The essential distinction between isolated 
and irresponsible, and deliberate and systematic acts of brutality, and the 
paramount importance of the latter. Needful restrictions in the material 
admitted to discussion in the present chapter; the confinement of the 
argument to undisputed facts. Intentional destruction of property and 
acts of severity against the civilian population. The alleged organized 
people's war in Belgium; Aerschot, Dinant, Louvain. The international 
conventions relating to the people's warfare and the contrasted attitude 
of the combatants respecting the conditions for the possession of the rights 
of belligerency. Conclusion. 

XV' Signs and Expressions of Public Opin- 
ion AND Sentiment 389-404 

In France : the hopeful outlook of the French people, M. Viviani's speech 
on December 22d. In Great Britain : truce between the two great political 
parties, the Prime Minister's speech at Guildhall, the king's visit to the 
front, the raiding of the east coast, civilian deaths at Hartlepool, Scar- 
borough, and Whitby. In Germany: the general view of the nation's 
obligation, hatred for Great Britain, the session of the Reichstag on Decem- 
ber 2d, the position of the Socialists. In Austria-Hungarj- : New Year's 
address of the Hungarian Premier, Count Tisza. In Turkey : demonstra- 
tions and predictions, opening of parliament. In Russia: alleged mis- 
treatment of Mohammedan population, disaffection in the Ukraine, popular 
impressions and the sur^'iving discords. Bismarck's foreign policy and 
the later policy of Germany. General tendencies. 

XVI The Naval Situation at the Begin- 

ning OF THE War 405-422 

Indications of the outbreak of war. Strategy of the belligerent powers. 
Obstacles to a British blockade. British and French fleets in the Mediter- 
ranean. British forces in home waters. Mobilization of the British fleet 
and its review by the king. The Turkish force. The belligerents' forces 
in the Far East and the Pacific. Seizure of German merchant ships in 
enemy ports. Relative power of Great Britain and Germany. The North 
Sea as the great area of naval action. The Baltic and Germany's control 
of that sea. Strategic value of the Kiel Canal. Safety of the German 
coast. The German base at Heligoland. The British bases at Scapa Flow 
and Rosyth. Status of power in the Mediterranean. Mine-laying. The 
German ships Goeben and Breslau. 

XVII Operations in European Waters . . 423-447 

In the North Sea : August 5, 1914, the German mine layer Konigin Luise 
destroyed. The British cruiser Amphion mined. August 9th, German 
submarine attack. August 28th, battle off Heligoland, German losses. 

X The Great War 


The Pathfinder torpedoed. Victims of the U-9 on September 22d and 
October 15th. Loss of four German destroyers. October 26th, sinking of 
the British battleship Audacious. British monitors in Belgian defense. 
Isolated casualties. German cruisers raid the east coast of England. Great 
battle on January 24, 1915, loss of the German cruiser BlUcher. In the 
Baltic : German casualties. A German submarine sinks a Russian cruiser. 
In the Mediterranean : Austrian casualties. British submarine success in 
the Dardanelles. Russian losses in the Black Sea. 

XVIII The War on the Ocean 448-478 

Teutonic ships in the Pacific and in German East Africa. Entente forces 
in eastern waters. Early movements of the German squadron in the East 
Destruction of the British Cable Station at Fanning Island by the NUrn- 
herf^. Capture of the German Samoan Islands. German attack on Papeete, 
Tahiti. Battle off Chile, November 1, 1914, destruction of the British 
ships Good Hope and Monmouth. Combat at the Falkland Islands, De- 
cember 8th, destruction of the German ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, 
Leipzig, and Niirnberg. Destruction of the Dresden. Exploits of the 
cmiser Eniden in the Indian Ocean ; escape and adventures of part of her 
crew. Operations of the Karlsruhe in the Atlantic. Career and destruc- 
tion of the Kbnigsberg. Surrender of the German protectorate of Kiau- 
Chau. Loss of Germany's oversea possessions. German auxiliary cruisers. 
British auxiliary cruisers. 

Table of Naval Losses to February 1, 1915 . 479-482 

Chronological Table 483-488 

Index 489-500 



Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia Title 

Map showing the highly developed railway systems across Germany 5 
Map showing the German strategic railways leading to the frontiers 

of Belgium and Luxemburg I2 

Map showing northeastern France and Belgium 15 

General Joseph Jacques Cesaire JofFre 24 

Map showing by the shaded portion the extent of the German ad- 
vance into Belgium and France, August 10, 1914 .... 32 

General von Falkenhayn 37 

King Albert and General von Emmich at Belgian army maneuvers 

before the war 37 

Proclamation prepared in advance and distributed by the first of the 

German cavalry which invaded Belgium 40 

Notice posted by the Belgian authorities warning the people not to 

take part in the hostilities 40 

Bridge at Liege destroyed by the retreating Belgians and pontoon 

bridge constructed by the Germans 44 

The citadel and the city of Dinant on the River Meuse .... 44 

German engineers mining a bridge 52 

Germans digging out a tunnel which had been blown up by the 

retreating Belgians 52 

First page of the ultimatum delivered by the German Minister to the 

Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs on August 2, 1914 ... 56 
Map showing by the shaded portion the extent of the German ad- 
vance into Belgium and France and the French advance into 

Alsace and Lorraine, August 20, 1914 58 


XII The Great War 


Adolfe Max 6i 

The white flag used by the municipal authorities of Brussels pre- 
liminary to the meeting between Adolfe Max and General von 

Arnim 6 1 

General Sixtus von Arnim 6i 

The last telegram from Brussels before the Germans entered . . 64 
The German forces marching through Brussels, August 20, 1914 . 64 
Frederick William, Crown Prince of the German Empire and Prus- 
sia, with two officers of his personal staff 69 

Map showing the Franco-German frontier 72 

Illustrations from Mon Village 76 

General de Curieres de Castelnau 81 

General Foch 81 

Duke Albert 84 

General Alexander von Kluck 84 

Map showing by the shaded portion the extent of the German ad- 
vance into Belgium and France, August 30, 1914 .... 88 

Lieutenant-general Sir Douglas Haig 93 

Major-general Edmund H. H. Allenby 93 

General Sir Horace L. Smith-Dorrien 93 

Notices posted in the city of Amiens lOi 

German infantry marching through Amiens, August 31,1914 . . loi 

The effect of the heavy German artillery on one of the forts at Liege 108 

Steel cupola of one of the forts at Maubeuge io8 

Field-marshal Paul von Beneckendorff and von Hindenburg . . .116 

Map of Poland and the Russo-German frontier 120 

Field-marshal von Potiorek 125 

General Victor Dankl 125 

General Moritz von Auffenberg 125 

Burial of Austrian dead after repulse of a Russian attack on Peremysl 129 

Neidenburg in East Prussia 129 

Map showing the disposition of the German and Russian forces at 

the Battle of Tannenberg 136 

General Russky 144 

General Ivanoff 144 

General Rennenkampf 144 

List of Illustrations XIII 

Lieutenant-general von Heeringen and staff 149 

German dead on the field of battle after a charge 149 

Paris motor-buses transformed into army transports 156 

Facsimile showing in what form General Joffre's order of the day, 
issued on the morning of the first day of the Battle of the 

Marne, was communicated to the troops 156 

Map showing by the shaded portion the extent of the German ad- 
vance into Belgium and France just prior to the Battle of the 

Marne, September 5, 1914 160 

Scenes of destruction in and around Senlis 165 

A corner of the garden of the Chateau de Mondemont . . . .172 

Bridge at Lagny destroyed by the British forces 172 

German guns captured near La Ferte-Milon 182 

Limber-wagons left by the Germans during their retreat in the Battle 

of the Marne 181 

Map showing the Paris- Verdun district 184 

General Gallieni 188 

General de Maud'huy 188 

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Reims 193 

Map showing by shaded portion the territory occupied by the Ger- 
mans after the Battle of the Marne, September 13, 19 14 . . 194 
German Red Cross men at work under fire in the Argonne district . 197 
German dead in a trench just captured by French troops . . . .197 
One of the principal streets in Lille after an engagement between 

German Uhlans and French infantry 204 

Map showing the defenses of Antwerp, their relation to Louvain and 

Brussels, and the close proximity to the Dutch frontier . . . 208 
From the Quay Van Dyck looking towards the Cathedral, Antwerp . 213 

The Bourse, Antwerp 213 

German soldiers in front of the Town Hall, Antwerp 220 

Ruins in the Rue de Peuple, Antwerp, after the bombardment . . 220 
Barbed wire entanglements used for defense in the streets of Antwerp 225 

Method of barricading street in Diest, Belgium 225 

Belgians in flight from Antwerp 229 

Belgian refugees taken to England on fishing boats 229 

General Maunoury 236 

XIV The Great War 


General Sarrail 236 

General d'Amade 236 

Cavalrymen asleep on heaps of straw in a French town .... 240 

Infantrymen in a trench near Ypres 240 

Field-marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Earl of Khartoum . . 245 

Indian troops watering mules at canvas troughs 252 

Indian troops of the British forces in France 252 

Field-marshal Sir John Denton Pinkstone French 264 

Crowds in the streets of Lodz awaiting the entry of the German 

troops 276 

Officers outside the headquarters of General von Mackensen at 

Lodz 276 

General W. A. Sukhomlinoff 285 

General Vaivode Putnik 285 

Field-marshal Alexander, Ritter von Krobatkin 285 

The Wawel, or Citadel, of Cracow 289 

The museum of Belgrade after the city had been bombarded by the 

Austrians 289 

Map showing the Austro-Serbian frontier 296 

Austrian siege-gun hauled by motor-tractor 304 

Serbian field hospital 304 

Dead in a room in a villa near Shabatz , 309 

Barbarity of war in Serbia 309 

The facades and tower of the Cloth Hall and Town Hall at 

Ypres 316 

The ruins of the Town Hall, Cloth Hall, and Cathedral at Ypres on 

November 24, 19 14 316 

French infantryman in act of throwing hand grenade 321 

Trench after capture by the French forces and before the removal 

of the German dead 321 

Intrenchments made by British native Indian troops in defence of 

the Suez Canal 024 

Artillery of British East African forces 324 

Map showing by the shaded portion the territory held by the opposing 

armies, December 31, 19 14 028 

Fort litis, Tsingtau 000 

List of Illustrations XV 


German 28-centimeter howitzer and turret at Tsingtau destroyed by 

the Japanese gunfire 333 

French guns mounted on special railway trucks 336 

French one hundred and fifty-five millimeter guns 336 

Photograph of enemy positions, showing one of the uses of flying 

machines in warfare 341 

Arrangement of the German defensive and protective trenches . . 348 
Reinforced trenches: Details of roofs, loopholes, and the form of 

the excavations 348 

Facsimile of an account of how a company of Germans sheltered 

themselves behind non-combatants 357 

Pages from the note books of German soldiers 361 

Vandalism in Louvain : ruins of the Hotel du Nord and other 

buildings 364 

Louvain. The Town Hall unscathed, while of the church of Saint 

Pierre and of the university nothing remains but the walls . . 364 
Part of the ruins of the archbishop's house at Reims and of the 

chapel which connected it with the rear of the cathedral . . 369 
Sand bags being arranged in an attempt to protect some of the 

remaining sculptures of Reims cathedral 369 

Facsimile of typical proclamation posted by German commandants . 377 

"The shields of Rousselaere" 384 

"Culture from the air" 384 

Longwy after bombardment and capture by the Germans . . . .401 
Statues placed in front of the Eberlein Museum, Berlin, in the early 

days of the war 401 

Chart showing North Sea and English Channel 408 

Diagram showing ranges and angles of fire of British and German 

naval guns 416 

The sinking of the German cruiser Mainx off Heligoland , . . 436 
Boats from the British battleships rescuing survivors from the 

Gneisenau 436 

The German cruiser Blucher as she capsized 445 

Vice-Admiral Beatty 453 

Rear-Admiral Cradock 453 

Vice- Admiral Sturdee 453 

XVI The Great War 


Admiral Count von Spec 460 

Commander Karl von Miiller 460 

Plan showing the various phases of the battle between the British 

and German fleets off the Falkland Islands 464 

Map showing the scene of actions between the British and German 

fleets on November i and December 8, 19 14 469 

Plan showing the positions of the Sydney and the Emden during the 

action off Cocos Islands 469 

The Emden ashore on North Keeling Island 476 

Landing party from the Emden 476 


Odiis etiam prope maioribus certarunt quam 
viribus. . . . Livy 21, 1. 

[They fought with almost greater animosity 
than strength.] 

Once in the waning of a summer afternoon I slowly 
climbed the long acclivity that leads from Spa towards 
Stavelot, refreshed by the cool shadows of the tall fir- 
trees and by the balsam-scented atmosphere, and tarried 
at the hushed, mysterious hour of twilight on a summit 
near the boundary. The gathering dusk, subduing every 
contrast, blending all the landscape in evasive, neutral 
tones, produced a grateful sense of absolute serenity. 
Behind me stretched the variedly fascinating, rugged 
tract of eastern Belgium; before, through the filmy mist 
that half obscured the yellow fields and rolling mead- 
ows, the fancy helped the eye to discern the undulating 
outline of the hills in Germany. The situation lured to 

I seemed to stand upon the common margin of two 
mighty streams of human culture, my spirit quickened by 
a sense of intimate communion with the Latin and the 
Teutonic genius, to be lost in them, and to thrill with 
consciousness of common heirship in all that the long 
succession of their yearning, striving, impressionable gen- 
erations had wrought. In weariness and tribulation the 
image of that hour still lingers wistfully. 


XVIII The Great War 

Some of us had yielded to the seductive vision of 
a world in which the nationalities, each through the 
medium of its own peculiar usages, without aggression 
or constraint, should strive in friendly emulation for the 
benefit of all, — the preservation of the rich diversity of 
human life without the hard, intolerant spirit that had 
nourished its vitality. 

Our blissful dream was suddenly transformed into a 
hideous nightmare. Startled, chagrined, outraged in our 
tenderest emotions, we quivered with impulsive, inconsid- 
erate fury. Our feverish resentment cried for vengeance, 
sought the author of our anguish, claimed a victim. The 
most conspicuous factors attracted our inflamed imagina- 
tion: the anachronism of a military caste intolerant of 
criticism, arrogantly self-sufficient, disdainfully refractory 
to popular control, violating our instinctive sense of polit- 
ical propriety. Our impotent rage was deeply stirred by 
trite, invidious catchwords. We reviled with passionate 
abuse the Chauvinistic spirit which sows suspicion, empha- 
sizes contrasts, hides its ugly, sordid countenance behind 
the mask of sacrosanct traditions, the insidious deceit by 
means of which reactionary parties seduce the multitude 
from the pursuit of righteous aspirations. 

But all our abstract speculations, optimist's reproach and 
cynic's sneer, are vain beside the one, supremely vital fact, 
that millions do not hesitate to hazard every good and life 
itself for these irrational, inveterate conceptions, superbly 
unconcerned by calculations of utility; that for preposter- 
ous motives, men will fight with eager, frenzied zeal, and 
joyous hatred. 

Not for its cruelty, nor for its injuries alone, do we 
consider war with hate and detestation. But we execrate 
in it the element that dissipates our fondest dreams 
and most cherished prejudices. War is the relentless. 

Preface XIX 

but transcendent realist, that tries our theories and de- 
signs not merely by the test of concrete facts, but by 
the rigorous standard of consistency with stubborn human 

Shattered by the awful cataclysm reason is forced, 
despoiled of every preconception, to cling with humble 
confidence to sober observation as its sole support and 

Heraclitus taught that strife is the father of all things, 
and Hegel recognized in it the antidote for torpor and 
stagnation, the mighty agency for progress. Schopenhauer 
regarded war as the inevitable collision of the blind, un- 
reasoning forces of volition that compose the universe. 
Nietzsche found a single means of deliverance from this 
chaos in the conscious will to power. A superior type, a 
superman, must be developed by the encouragement of 
the military qualities, courage, boldness, obedience, at the 
expense of the passive virtues, charity, compassion, humil- 
ity. In Lasson's theory warlike development is a source 
of health for every nation, a fountain of youth for decrepit 
peoples. Von Treitschke declared, "the hope of driving 
war from the earth is not only senseless, but profoundly 
immoral; realized, this aspiration would convert the world 
into a great temple of egotism." 

War is the fiery crucible that exterminates the moral 
dross of indolence and self-indulgence. War is the stern, 
avenging angel that with flaming sword expels its mournful 
victims from the languorous paradise of self-complacency, 
condemning them to cultivate with unrelenting toil the 
rugged wilderness of disillusionment and rigid self-exami- 

In estimating war's stupendous process the sway of 
sentiment must sternly be repressed. It is a test of forti- 
tude for one who feels inductively the heart-throb of 

XX The Great War 

diverse contending nations to await the issue with unper- 
turbed detachment and stoic acquiescence. But despite 
subjection to the severe supremacy of fact, the emotions 
recover all their fervid function in the contemplation of an 
unparalleled tragedy in which whole armies act as single 
characters, and an organization of unprecedented efficacy, 
strength, and flexibility, — angel of light or demon as you 
will, — plays the role of hero. 

George H. Allen, Ph.D. 


Formation of the Great German Plan 

Geographical position of Germany in relation to the plan of campaign. 
Possible advantages of a central position. Napoleon's method. Special 
factors in the situation of 1914. France to be crushed before Russia is 
ready. Rapidity necessary in the execution of the German plan. Physical 
features of the theater of hostilities in the West. Possible routes for a Ger- 
man invasion of France. Reasons for the choice of the route via Belgium. 
The German doctrine of tactics and strategy'. Concealment of the real 
nature of the German plan. The French plan. The German aim is to 
envelop the opposing army, the French is to pierce it. Successive periods 
in the development of the plans: (1) August 4-15; (2) August 15-22; (3) 
August 23-September 5; (4) September 6-10; (5) September 10-23 ; (6) Sep- 
tember 23-October 15; (7) October 16-November 11; (8) November 11- 
December 31. Subordinate position and character of operations in the 
East. Minor questions regarding the development of the German plan. 
The German and French Chiefs of Staff, von Moltke and Joff re. 

The Great German Plan of Campaign ! For years it had 
been the object of anxious speculation. Its existence had 
lurked in the background of the imagination like a vague, 
but stupendous, apparition. There were indications that 
beneath the peaceful surface of German society dwelt a 
latent, unfathomable force which could be invoked to 
action in accordance with a mysterious design with results 
that would baffle all human prevision. There was a dim 
consciousness of the existence of a power which could 
instantaneously galvanize the whole outward machinery of 
life with a terrible, frenzied energy. Often at night the 
great square block of the building of the General Staff 
with all its windows illuminated stood out in striking con- 
trast to the deep shadows of the quiet Tiergarten, like a 
great factory working overtime. Whoever is familiar with 

2 The Great War 

German method and thoroughness can conceive how 
laboriously provisions were perfected in anticipation of 
every emergency. The general outline may have been 
some individual's flash of inspiration, or the complex 
product of the sagacity of a group of eminent authori- 
ties. But just as a building is erected gradually brick 
by brick in accordance with the architect's design, so the 
general ideas for hypothetical campaigns were diligently 
worked out and elaborated in every detail by a vast num- 
ber of individual contributions, ranging in scope from 
the comprehensive treatises of a General von der Goltz, 
embodying mature reflections based upon a lifelong expe- 
rience, down to the myriad of petty dissertations, mono- 
graphs, and articles written by students and young aspiring 
officers. Military science had become an obsession in 
Germany. About seven hundred books were added to the 
literature on the subject every year. 

The most elementary factor in the formation of the 
German plan has been the system of European alliances. 

We are frequently reminded that Germany was shut in 
between her two most redoubtable probable antagonists; 
and this situation was a source of continual apprehension 
to the German military authorities. But a central posi- 
tion is not necessarily an element of weakness in a conflict 
with foes who possess a collective superiority in numbers. 
The armies of a central power like Germany, operating on 
interior lines and with highly developed railway communi- 
cations across the country, can be employed in very inti- 
mate correlation in pursuance of a single, homogeneous 
plan, whilst the forces of its adversaries are incapable of 
such combined and united action. 

Napoleon's most brilliant successes were his repeated 
victories gained with a smaller, but undivided, army against 
opponents whose aggregate strength was very much superior 

Formation of the Great German Plan 3 

to his own. Mustering all his available forces, Napoleon 
would fall upon his adversaries individually, crushing the 
first, leaving a containing force to overawe him, and then 
leading the bulk of his army to crush the next. Thus by 
repeated blows with the same weapon he beat down his 
antagonists one by one. As long as he could keep them 
asunder their collectively superior numbers did not avail. 
But his most remarkable maneuvers and illustrious victories 
were achieved when the isolation of his principal adver- 
saries was far less complete than the separation of France 
and Russia in the world-war of the present. The sup- 
posed disparity in the time required for mobilization in 
France and Russia offered apparently a very suitable occa- 
sion for applying the Napoleonic method in the present 

The special factors in 1914 which bore upon the German 
plan, as expressed by Herr von Jagow before the outbreak of 
the war and repeated later many hundred times by others, 
are almost a commonplace. Germany's adversaries would 
eventually be able to dispose of far greater forces than 
those of Germany and her allies. But Germany's forces 
would outnumber those of France alone, and surpass at 
the beginning of the campaign the available field strength 
of Russia. It was believed that fully six weeks would 
intervene before the progress of Russia's concentration of 
troops on her western frontier would make her a formid- 
able antagonist. In the meantime Austria-Hungary with 
minor German forces could restrain her while Germany 
dealt with France. The German General Staff saw their 
one chance of achieving a speedy, decisive victory in deal- 
ing a swift, paralyzing blow at France. France must be 
crushed before Russia could move; then the greater part 
of the German forces in the West could be conveyed 
rapidly to the eastern frontier producing an overwhelming 

4 The Great War 

superiority over the Russians. The situation offered an 
enticing possibility, a chance that might never return. It 
would be a race of vigor, determination, and endurance 
against time. The consequences of failure might be ap- 
palling, but modern Germany had been schooling herself 
to "live perilously." 

"Germany had the speed and Russia had the numbers," 
and it seemed indispensable for the security of the former 
not only to inflict a decisive blow on France in the event 
of war before the Russian concentration had been com- 
pleted, but even to initiate hostilities so as to prevent 
Russia, under cover of alleged pacific intentions, from 
bringing up great masses of troops from all parts of her 
vast dominions to neutralize the German advantage of 
rapidity. Delay would be profitable for Russia, but might 
prove fatal to Germany. 

For Germany rapidity of action seemed to be the essen- 
tial condition for success. She had to strike down her 
neighboring enemies in turn by utilizing to a considerable 
extent identical forces, first on her western, then on her 
eastern frontier. With this Napoleonic method once 
adopted, the strategic problem for such a campaign as that 
of 1914 resolved itself into the two main questions of the 
order and the method of attack. The fact that France 
would be ready first made her the suitable recipient for 
Germany's first and most vehement attentions. 

The determination of the general method for the German 
assault on France was the function of strategy. In conse- 
quence of the frequent confusion in the use of the two terms 
strategy and tactics, a very brief digression may not be out 
of place at this point for the purpose of defining as clearly as 
possible the distinction between them — a distinction which, 
as will presently be shown, the continuity and magnitude 
of the battles of the first campaign tended to obliterate. 

Formation of the Great German Plan 5 

Strategy and tactics together comprise the art and prac- 
tice of war. The scope of strategy is broader than that of 
tactics. Strategy is the method of disposing the troops in 
masses and directing their movements towards the object 
of the campaign while they are not actually engaged in 
battle. Tactics is the method of conducting the evolu- 
tions of the military forces while engaged in battle. The 
field of strategy is the whole theater of operations; the field 
of tactics is confined to the battlefield. Strategy relates to 
the movement of armies when not in contact with the 
enemy, tactics to the maneuvers carried on when hostile 
contact has been established. 

A brief survey of the prominent physical features of the 
territory where a campaign between France and Germany 
might conceivably develop will illuminate the considera- 
tions which influenced the German General Stafi^ in devis- 
ing their method for delivering the intended staggering 
blow against France, which determined, in other words, 
the general lines of their strategy in the West. 

Two river systems first claim our attention; the Rhine 
with its tributaries, the Moselle and the Meuse, which sur- 
pass it in immediate strategical importance for this cam- 
paign; and the Seine with its tributaries, the Oise (with 
the Aisne) and the Marne, which likewise surpass in sig- 
nificance for our present purpose the larger stream which 
receives their waters. Between the Moselle and the Rhine, 
the Vosges Mountains, rising to an elevation of nearly 
5,000 feet, form a natural barrier along about one-half of 
the common boundary of France and Germany. They are 
extensively wooded and recall somewhat in appearance 
the Alleghany Mountains of Pennsylvania. 

In its general physiognomy Belgium may be likened to 
two isosceles triangles of unequal size, the larger one above 
with its base to the north, the smaller one below with its 

6 The Great War 

base against the lower right-hand side of the upper triangle, 
the line of contact formed by continuous sections of the 
courses of the Sambre and the Meuse. The generally 
rugged region of the Ardennes occupies the greater part 
of the area of the lower triangle. It is relatively arduous 
for the passage of armies, as compared with the conditions 
generally in western Europe. But the employment of 
motor-vehicles for transporting suppHes has greatly dimin- 
ished the difficulties of operations in this region. A glance 
at the plan of the German strategic railways recently con- 
structed in the region of the Eifel, in Germany, directly 
eastward of the Ardennes, would seem to indicate that the 
Germans were not dismayed at the prospective difficulties 
of provisioning large armies in this region of Belgium. 
The Meuse runs through a deep ravine, bounded in many 
parts by rocky, precipitous walls, from Mezieres to Namur, 
and through a somewhat less abrupt depression from 
Namur to Liege. 

The upper triangle is occupied by the Belgian plain, 
rolling in the east, but gradually becoming absolutely flat 
towards the west. It is traversed in all parts by the lines 
of the densest network of railways in Europe. Its lines 
of communication eastward converge on Liege near the 
eastern extremity of the triangle. Liege is not only the key 
to the valley of the Meuse directly above it, but it gathers 
within itself practically all the railway traffic between Bel- 
gium and Germany. It scarcely yields precedence in 
strategic importance to any of the fortified points which 
we shall have occasion to consider. 

The obvious goal for a German offensive against France 
was Paris, and three general routes were available to this 
objective point, as follows: 

(1) From Cologne across the Belgian frontier near Aix- 
la-Chapelle, through Liege, up the valleys of the Meuse 

Formation of the Great German Plan 7 

and the Sambre, into France near Maubeuge and thence 
down the valley of the Oise. 

(2) From Coblenz and the valley of the Moselle west- 
ward across Luxemburg, into France by Longwy and 
Stenay, across the Meuse and down the valley of the Aisne. 

(3) From Strassburg and Alsace across Lorraine, between 
the Vosges and Metz, through Nancy, between the great 
barrier fortresses of Toul and Epinal, and westward down 
the valley of the Marne. 

Of course these indications must not be taken in too 
narrow or literal a sense. The course of armies advanc- 
ing in these general directions might be represented on 
the map more appropriately by broad bands than by lines. 

Alleged forays by German cavalry patrols, even before 
hostilities had actually been declared, near Luneville and in 
front of Longwy, might have served as portents of impend- 
ing invasion by the second and third of these routes. 

The invasion of France by the first route involved the 
violation of the neutrality of Belgium; an advance by the 
second route, that of Luxemburg. 

The German authorities professed to regard it as a matter 
of life and death to advance into France by the quickest 
and easiest route so as to strike their overwhelming blow 
at the earliest possible moment. The strongly fortified 
eastern border of France was the most palpable argument 
for the selection of the Belgian route. But the momen- 
tous decision of Germany to disregard the neutrality of her 
friendly but feeble neighbor was based at the same time 
upon a strategical principle of universal appHcability. 

In their simplest terms the German doctrines of tactics 
and strategy were essentially identical. The second was only 
the expansion of the first to cover the wider field; and the 
truth is, that, with the vast extent of the battle lines in the 
present war and the often continuous fighting for long 

8 The Great War 

periods, the distinction between the two could not in 
any case have been considerable. The German doctrine of 
tactics is based upon a presumption of available numerical 
superiority. As superior forces naturally advance upon a 
front more widely extended than the front of their enemy, 
so as to make their superiority effective, their most natural 
course of action is to turn their adversary's flank, roll 
his battle line back upon itself with the almost inevit- 
ably ensuing panic and confusion, stifle him in a deadly 
embrace, and so annihilate him as a combatant. German 
authorities prescribed the most energetic application of 
the enveloping maneuver with a formidable pressure at the 
same time on all parts of the enemy's line to engage and 
pin down his forces. The enveloping maneuver was the 
essential feature of official German tactics. The German 
General Staff employed it in directing the movements 
of the tremendous forces operating against France with 
almost the precision of the deployment on a single battle- 
field. In their unity of design, the movements through- 
out the greater part of the first campaign in France 
might almost be regarded as a single battle of enormous 

Interpreting the spirit of German strategy, we may re- 
gard it as the operation of swift, tremendous momentum, 
of well-considered boldness, of a studied conviction of 
superiority. German strategists had been attentive students 
of Napoleon's campaigns, and Napoleon declared that the 
force of an army, like momentum in mechanics, is the 
product of the mass multiplied by the velocity. German 
principles of strategy are based upon the presumption of 
an immediate, though perhaps only transient, numerical 
superiority. The natural goal of German strategy is, there- 
fore, to force on decisive action while this superiority is 
still available at the critical time and place. 

Formation of the Great German Plan 9 

The common frontier of Germany and France afforded 
no room for the great enveloping movement. The French 
armies completely filled it, supported by their almost im- 
pregnable barrier fortresses, their wings covered by neu- 
tral Belgium and neutral Switzerland. The characteristic 
maneuver of German strategical teachings could not be 
employed without the violation of the neutrality of one of 
these two states whose territories flanked the French posi- 
tion, and every consideration of expediency demanded that 
the turning movement should be made across Belgium. 

The German General Staff had probably decided as far 
back as 1904 not to hesitate to take any step which would 
insure success in the event of war with France and Rus- 
sia, and particularly to snatch promptly the advantage of 
traversing Belgium to invade northern France, where the 
immense German forces could conveniently deploy in 
the rear of the French armies concentrated along the 
eastern frontier. This plan had been set forth in a note- 
worthy memorandum by General von Schlieffen. The 
irrepressible General von Bernhardi had done his best to 
advertise it, and many pamphlets and articles had been 
written in Belgium and France to sound the note of warn- 
ing against this very project. Yet, strangely enough, the 
disposition and operations of the French forces, even after 
the violation of Belgian neutrality had actually taken place, 
were such as to indicate either an utter failure to suspect 
that the bulk of the attacking forces would pass through 
Belgium, or, what is even more incomprehensible, a feeling 
of confidence that the inadequate garrisons of Liege and 
Namur and the only half-prepared Belgian field army 
would be able to stem such a human torrent. 

The concealment of the real nature of the great German 
maneuver in its early stages was a masterpiece of secrecy. 
While the public in the western capitals was beguiled with 

10 The Great War 

the notion that the Germans were hopelessly embarrassed 
in the execution of their plan, or exulted in tidings which 
magnified trivial engagements into splendid victories, the 
human deluge was mounting higher and higher behind 
the floodgates. Before long the barriers were swept away 
and a sea of belligerent humanity burst over the Belgian 
plain. Nobody had fully anticipated the astounding bold- 
ness of the German plan, which consisted in throwing a 
defensive screen of troops along the line of the Vosges, 
engaging the attention and arousing the apprehension of 
the French in Lorraine, but gathering the chief strength 
for the tremendous blow in the north, crossing the Meuse 
wherever possible between Vise and Dinant, taking Liege 
and Namur by assault, marching by way of Brussels, and 
utilizing the various routes from there towards Paris. 

A combination of theories and circumstances made the 
French methods of warfare the opposite of the German. 

After the French disasters in 1870-1871 the opinion pre- 
vailed in France that the Germans had won by the audacious 
methods of Napoleon I, and it became a settled conviction 
that the imitation of his generalship was the key to victory 
French professors of military science reduced their observa- 
tions of Napoleon's methods to a practical system. His 
practice in tactics, according to their teaching, was not 
based upon a predetermined plan of battle. It consisted 
in rapping on all parts of the enemy's front to discover the 
weakest place and, when this vulnerable spot had been 
found, in directing against it a sudden, shattering blow with 
all available forces, particularly with strong reserves held 
in anticipation of this critical movement at some distance 
in the rear of the battle front. With this theory as its 
prototype, the offensive is described by the French Field- 
Service Manual of 1895 as composed of three distinct opera- 
tions: (1) the preparatory conflict in search of the weak 

Formation of the Great German Plan U 

spot; (2) the decisive attack at the feeble point; (3) the 
entry into action of the general reserve. The purpose of 
this system of tactics is to perforate the enemy's line and 
roll the parts thus severed back upon themselves. 

With the French, the offensive in tactics and strategy 
had as the common essential element the piercing of the 
enemy's front. But in spite of the general precept that 
the offensive alone will produce decisive results, strategy 
includes the defensive action also. The situation seemed 
to demand of the French a more cautious attitude. It 
made the expediency of the offensive and the occasion for 
its application debatable points for them. French strategists 
were confronted with the prospect of a serious numerical 
inferiority in a war with Germany. The French had con- 
stantly before them the problem of compensating for this 
weakness by the employment of greater flexibility and 
discernment, by circumspection and economy in the use 
of their resources in men, and by maintaining a relative 
degree of compactness in the general disposition of their 
masses of troops to permit rapid movement to and fro for 

The conditions seemed to preclude a general French 
offensive in a war against Germany, except perhaps in very 
close concurrence with the operations of Russia, and the 
supposed sluggishness of Russian mobilization and con- 
centration seemed to exclude the hope of an opportunity 
for such combined action in the early weeks of hostilities. 

The normal plan of campaign for the French, as adopted 
after an initial period of vacillation in 1914, may be de- 
scribed as follows. The forces are grouped in a certain 
number of separate masses, placed in positions with con- 
nection on interior lines, in expectation of the enemy's 
offensive movement. The mass which first receives the 
hostile impact retreats fighting, decreasing as far as possible 

12 The Great War 

the momentum of the enemy's mass by its resistance while 
it retires. The compactness of the general disposition of 
the different masses of the French forces increases in pro- 
portion as this fighting mass falls back towards the common 
center. The capacity of this one mass to withdraw fight- 
ing before a vastly superior invading army without losing 
its organization is crucial for the success of the general 
scheme, and even for the safety of the entire army. Finally, 
by a common converging movement of all the masses, 
the others take their places by the side of the first. Ad- 
vantage is then taken of the local superiority thus produced 
to crush and break through the portion of the invading 
forces directly in contact, and then to overwhelm sepa- 
rately the parts of the enemy's extended line, when, 
after wheeling about, they approach the critical point of 
operations, embarrassed and delayed by their change of 
plan and direction. 

A French general plan of strategics was thus opposed to 
a German one. Each was suited to the circumstances, 
though not necessarily to the temper of the respective 
combatants. For the waiting attitude prescribed by the 
French plan was at variance with the traditional, and 
generally accepted, theory that the French were tem- 
peramentally incapable of fighting at their best on the 

The Germans concentrated their efforts on enveloping 
their enemy, the French aimed to penetrate the front of 
their adversary. The Germans wished to push operations 
to a decisive issue with the utmost possible speed. It was 
natural that French strategy should aim to delay as long as 
possible a decisive collision. For time would fight for the 
side whose antagonist's initial superiority was subject to 
progressive diminution. The French held large forces in 
reserve for the decisive moment; the Germans, scorning 


>^Cfwr^?WlC?ra7CKP Od fl, 


SCALE 1:1700000 

5 10 ^0 30 HO 50 60 

'"""""" S(NCE 1909 

M Fortress 




, Melrtux 

Lierneux \ 



May en 

Goi/yy\ \ 



Ring and 

Barrier Forts 




O Champion Jfi t a\ | 

Bastognt/ , :fcr "^ ryNeuerittrq 
•hart OC^^ ^ ' ?J* W '♦J 







« Sernk/stei Krcuznact 



" arvtii 

■'-, J': 

4. " 
^(^ DamvlUers 

^^J* W\l(llJl^l^O" "^ ^/7l" 






1^ >■>» Ocuiu"'"'" -^ 




\7 ^fcSA«^B^UClKEN.-'i_,. Pirmasens 

Map showing the German strategic railways leading to the frontiers of Belgium ami Luxemburg. 
Based on a portion of a map published in Illustrierte U'eltkriegschrontk. 

Formation of the Great German Plan 13 

such a precaution, brought all their forces into immediate 
action for the single, tremendous maneuver. 

It was naturally to be expected that the ultimate issue of 
the campaign would depend mainly upon which of the 
two plans should prove more effective. But curiously 
enough, before the campaign was many weeks old, the 
rapid course of events led each antagonist to employ the 
peculiar maneuver of his opponent's strategy, as will be 
explained in the appropriate connection. 

In the treatment of the period embraced in the present 
volume it will be convenient to observe a number of sub- 
divisions based upon the successive stages in the develop- 
ment of the principal action, as follows : 

(1) August 4-15. The attack on Liege was the natural 
beginning of the execution of the German plan. Before 
the swelling tide of invasion destroyed the barrier at Liege, 
operations in the Belgian plain west and north of the 
Meuse, growing chiefly out of cavalry reconnaissances, 
were of slight importance. 

(2) August 15-22. The remaining obstruction was swept 
away on the 15th and the deluge rolled with irresistible 
momentum across the Belgian plain. In the space of a 
week the principal masses of the army of invasion ad- 
vanced without opposition of serious consequence from 
the Meuse at Liege to the line Namur-Charleroi-Mons, 
while other bodies of German troops advanced to the 
upper Meuse. 

(3) August 23-September 5. The capture of Namur 
and the defeat of the Allies on the line of the Sambre and 
between Charleroi and Mons opened France to invasion. 
The grayish-green billow rushed forward with awful vol- 
ume, tearing away every restriction in its course, and broke 
with angry violence at the very foot of the defenses of 
Paris and along: the banks of the Marne. 

14 The Great War 

(4) September 6-10. A battle of unprecedented magni- 
tude was the turning point in the campaign. The initial 
momentum of the German invasion was finally checked. 
A dike was successfully interposed against the flood that 
was inundating France. The conclusion of the Battle of 
the Marne and the commencement of the German retreat 
to the Aisne might seem to be a suitable termination for 
this present volume. But considerations of proportion in 
the division of the material as a whole, and the continuity 
of all the military action in the West in the autumn of 
1914 make it appropriate to interpret the operation of the 
original German plan in a broader sense and include the 
treatment of events whose dependence on the original im- 
pulsion is not quite so immediate. 

(5) September 10-23. The receding tide halted after 
passing the Aisne. Strong positions had been prepared 
in the hills on the north side of the river, heavy artillery 
had been mounted, and what the Allies at first regarded as 
only a rear-guard action to cover the further retreat devel- 
oped into a general battle, which raged for about two 
weeks with intermittent periods of exceptional fury, and 
fixed the limit of the Teutonic inundation for many 

(6) September 23-October 15. The forces of invasion 
restrained in front expanded laterally. A formidable con- 
centration of Allied forces at Amiens on September 21st 
threatening the right flank of the enemy's position and an 
important movement of German forces to St. Quentin in 
response mark the beginning of a veritable race in pro- 
longing the two opposing fronts, each party striving to 
outflank the other, until their progress was halted at the 
coast of the North Sea. This movement furnished the 
chief immediate motive for the determined attack upon 
and capture of Antwerp. 

Formation of the Great German Plan 15 

(7) October 16-November 11. The German armies 
were still impelled by a frenzied resolve to achieve the 
purpose of the campaign. A tremendous blow was 
launched at the northwestern extremity of the Allied line. 
The much-heralded intention of penetrating to Calais was 
perhaps a somewhat n:iisleading indication of the chief 
intent of the enterprise, which was probably designed 
as a renewed attempt to fulfil the original purpose of the 
campaign by turning the general Allied position. Des- 
perate encounters continuing for about three weeks with 
terrible bloodshed served only to consolidate the positions 
of the opposing armies. 

(8) November 11-December 31. An equilibrium of 
forces was thus produced in the West. The fighting be- 
came intermittent and finally subsided into comparative 
calm. The first great plan had reached its culmination 
without decisive results. 

Sound considerations of strategy, as already explained, 
prescribed for the French army a firm defensive attitude 
in the early stages of a war with Germany, until a Russian 
invasion of Germany on a formidable scale had been fairly 
launched, or until the Germans had been drawn into a 
position in the West where the French could bring superior 
strength to bear against them at the strategically critical 
point. But contrary to this principle by which the opera- 
tions of the French forces were in general conducted, the 
French at the very outset yielded to the impulse of invad- 
ing Alsace and Lorraine, an action which deviated entirely 
from the regular development of events according to the 
normal plans of the two adversaries, as outlined above. 

In the first period of the campaign French advance 
guards hastily penetrated both Alsace and Lorraine, but 
were driven back to the frontier in a few days. A very 
much stronger French force invading German Lorraine 

16 The Great War 

between Metz and the Vosges in the second period was 
defeated on August 21st and 22d and thrown back into 
France, suffering considerable loss. A similar invasion 
of Alsace from the direction of Belfort was likewise 

From the point of view of the German plan and the 
operations conducted in the endeavor to accomplish its 
fulfilment, which we regard as the unifying principle for 
the treatment of the first campaign, events in the East, in 
spite of the enormous forces involved in them, are subor- 
dinate to those in the western theater. During the most 
important part of this campaign the Germans possessed 
the initiative. They were able, in other words, to attack 
wherever they wished. They chose to direct their supreme 
effort against France. Russia could evade defeat a long 
time by reason of her vast size, and therefore the first deci- 
sive results had to be sought in France. The destruction 
of the army of the Allies in the West was doubtless re- 
garded by the German General Staff at the beginning of 
the war as the necessary antecedent to offensive operations 
of a decisive character against Russia. 

For these reasons it is suitable that the narrative of 
events in the East should be adjusted to the general scheme 
of treatment for the entire campaign based upon the con- 
tinuous course of events in the West. The original plan 
of the Central Empires provided, doubtless, that Austria- 
Hungary should dispatch a sufficient army to subdue Serbia 
and with the rest of her forces invade Russian Poland with 
the object of embarrassing and breaking up the Russian 
concentration, which would be in progress chiefly behind 
the Vistula. This operation would serve to prolong the 
time available for the great offensive movement in the 
West. Meanwhile Germany would leave a few army 
corps on her eastern border as a covering force. 

'St An 

Amt nd 







rri y 


..'SanU oven 




elnem ^ 

> Boort'- 

IKeluerthgi ^ 

T'^^'^v^ fcy Bushen 




Statute Miles 



'^"S^ >l„^c^^PrincipaI Railways 

Fortresses, Fortified Towns & 
Naval Arsenals 

Forts, Redoubts & Batteries 

iderghem )(oWeert 
, B}itafort 

, Ouerussfte 



'a fun 


, La Belle 






^,eiaeri^^^^^ Railways 
Woods and Forests 
Altitudes in feet 




If ;"VV \\ _ 

^erkenA B/fie^off 





kj-j-v. , Lecheniot 


^er meter 




'H erg after 

iur0Ut\ ° 

St. OMER / A J"'f'^^ ••■*'*-'^S 

\¥ieuxb _ 






Herliire / -m-^, o-.- ^. [ jr. oi l-^ 


tfraiil^^,/ Hiiim 


-i; r?:, J 3T 1 -or «;^3— ip^efeeft? "2^- — — y 

'(7/4 mflnoL AAafc^. \ StrQhiMaiJi 

'Sibemont Mehmimonll 

u^ \ '^ I f/ff'didier I \f„,\ \ _ - 


J^^" (•Ft.deSourdlau 

j Fourmies 

AubeniStf^_ .« 

-jJmj^^j— igl'ig neu J!— 

\rb6ny\-^ A sfeld£ 

SantI Men \ /-.y ^' 


rben sof) 

"""' PliHippeviU^=S15<""« 

XV fl HarchouTette ^ '*«'' 

'".*4^fciS^e^e"' 902, 

.4/?/iggq | Spontin 

i.« _, I - wyBpui on 

Sugny ( l+24>L .^ 
leres (/f/„,,g JFieigneux '^ ^ ^ 

,,(^ Haumont 


^?*rPr^»"'">"""" 'M 


„ J Mori Jo Ms^^f'i^!-'',l^W'i^ ^.J-^jX^4''r'^ 

^haponh f, dAlerfalSfiS^^^^rRSf ^'''^~-^°"'""Ap■^ii**^'"'''"'9Y■V- 

l)M«"»y Comk/a.yiu P°5V^ "*»®^£ rt ° 1 ~^f '■ ZJ'^W 


Si. Hubert MM>rh«0 

Carignan .' )v asrouJKrt 

Houffalih ^ ^ ' 



=^5(1 Mj«' ( / /'Climeqci/ 


statute Miles 

• ^ Fortresses, Fortified Towns & 
^ Naval Arsenals 

•• Ports, Redoubts & Batteries 

Principal Railways 

Other Railways 

v:^ Woods and Forests 

538 Altitudes in feet 

Kapelle / 

!f*"/ XNorutnioh 

neliniunster / -^7^ ^ \ 


f?u/aflrfl :^ A ^-<^ K , (/ 2215 

\ 'k.-^ Kraut fh,/a i\^^ ^'" r />AI-^ 


\mVolfeaiingen^<^ <J^niJenf^her \Pefli^g^n 

TRootit W* 'len 

SftboJTi [/ 


Map showing northeastern France and Bclgiui 

Formation of the Great German Plan 17 

The prompt concentration of a considerable part of the 
Russian forces disappointed the expectations of the Teu- 
tonic Empires, and contributed to the failure of the Ger- 
mans to reach the goal of the campaign in the West by- 
compelling them to transfer a number of army corps from 
France to the eastern theater of war at a critical time. 

In the second period, just as the great turning move- 
ment in the West had fairly started on its way, about 
August 16th, the Russians invaded East Prussia and Galicia 
simultaneously. They overran all the eastern part of 
Galicia, forced the Austro-Hungarian army in Poland to 
retreat, and took Lemberg after an eight days' battle on 
September 3d. But the Russian army invading East Prussia 
from the south was shattered in the Battle of Tannenberg 
on August 28th by General von Hindenburg, who routed 
the other army under General Rennenkampf which was 
invading the same province from the east on Septem- 
ber 10th. 

Later, the Germans in the West attained what may be 
regarded, from the comprehensive point of view of the 
progress of their general plan, as a partial success in closing 
their front from Switzerland to the North Sea in such a 
way as to secure for the time the possession of what they 
had won and to exclude the danger of a turning move- 
ment by the Allies, and so to be able to transfer consider- 
able forces to the eastern front. In this way they were 
enabled to carry on the campaign in Poland somewhat as 
originally planned. The striking feature of the remainder 
of the year in this quarter was the successive desperate 
attempts of the Teutonic allies to penetrate to Warsaw. 

The German peaceful penetration of the Ottoman Em- 
pire was described in the first volume, and a forecast was 
made of its tremendous military, political, and commercial 
possibilities. Very likely the German General Staff counted 

18 The Great War 

from the first on the participation of Turkey in the war, 
which would be especially serviceable in effecting the iso- 
lation of Russia by closing the Dardanelles. But it is very 
doubtful whether they expected that military operations of 
major importance in that quarter would be required for 
their purposes. They were doubtless convinced at the 
beginning that the war would be decided in Europe. A 
Turkish offensive against the Suez Canal and Egypt was 
planned with the concurrence, and probably at the sug- 
gestion, of the German officers in Turkey. But the Ger- 
mans probably regarded this movement, originally, like the 
insurrections which they were prepared to encourage in 
the dependencies of their opponents, as a diversion, calcu- 
lated to distract their adversary's attention from the pre- 
sumably critical field of operations in France. 

Many are the minor questions relating to the formation 
of the German plan which stimulate our curiosity. But 
there is space for the treatment of only a few of them here. 

A discrepancy as to German intentions is implied in the 
representations made in London on August 1st and those 
on August 3d. On the former date Prince Lichnowsky 
hinted to Sir Edward Grey that Germany might promise 
to respect Belgian neutrality if Great Britain would engage 
to remain neutral in the war. On the latter date, to judge 
by the proposals for British neutrality formulated by Baron 
Kuhlmann of the German Embassy in London, Germany 
was prepared only to engage not to make any warlike use 
of the seacoast of Belgium. We may assume that the final 
decision of Germany in respect to Belgium would in any 
case have been made in accordance with the requirements 
of the General Staff, and it would be very interesting to 
know whether the attitude of the military chiefs of the 
German nation underwent any change between the 1st 
and 3d. 

Formation of the Great German Plan 19 

In treating this question we must take several possibilities 
into consideration. In the first place, Prince Lichnowsky's 
hint was either made at his own initiative or in consequence 
of instructions from Berlin. In connection with a matter 
of such gravity it seems likely that Prince Lichnowsky 
spoke in accordance with a suggestion from Berlin. 

The question next arises whether such a suggestion was 
made by the German Foreign Office from purely political 
motives regardless of the plans of the General Staff or with 
conscious reference to the opinion of the General Staff. 
In the second case we may assume that it reflects an atti- 
tude of indecision on the part of the General Staff as late 
as August 1st with regard to the Belgian field of opera- 
tions. The final decision to invade Belgium must then 
have been made between the conversation on the 1st and 
the publication of the German proposal to Great Britain 
on the 3d. Perhaps the decision of Italy to remain neu- 
tral influenced the attitude of the General Staff in this 
matter between these two dates. Italy's decision was un- 
doubtedly a great disappointment to them. But it is much 
more consistent with all the other evidence of German 
military plans and intentions to suppose that the design of 
traversing Belgium had been definitely adopted before 
August 1st. If this is true Prince Lichnowsky's suggestion 
does not in any way reflect the military attitude. It might 
indicate a lingering lack of harmony of view between the 
German General Staff and the Foreign Office. But it is 
far more likely that Prince Lichnowsky's inquiry, whether 
Great Britain would remain neutral if Germany would 
give an engagement not to violate Belgian neutrality, was 
merely a bluff, a diplomatic maneuver intended to make 
Great Britain appear as the irreconcilable party. 

It is quite natural that the suggestion should have been 
made that political and economic, in addition to strictly 

20 The Great War 

military, considerations were a prominent factor in the 
deliberations of the German General Staff for determining 
the direction of the offensive movement in the West; that 
special circumstances outside the field of strategy invested 
Belgium vv^ith an alluring influence of great potency for 
the leaders of German military policy. 

With the vivid impression in one's mind of Germany's 
discontent with her inadequate colonial possessions, it 
is difficult to escape the suggestion that the invasion 
of Belgium in 1914 was related to the desire to attain 
control of the great Belgian dependency in the Congo 

When the annexation of the Boer republics by Great 
Britain blighted German hopes of a future Teutonic South 
Africa, Germany turned her attention to other suitable 
opportunities for colonial expansion in the Dark Continent. 
She apparently conceived the idea of a consolidation of ter- 
ritory in Central Africa with the Congo Free State as the 
core. This project might naturally lead to the extension of 
German rule across the continent from the Atlantic to the 
Indian Ocean. The existence of such an aspiration was 
revealed by the terms for the conclusion of the Agadir in- 
cident in 1911, when Germany received as compensation 
for the strengthening of French influence in Morocco an 
extension of territory in the French Congo which brought 
the German Kamerun practically into contact with the 
coveted Belgian Congo. Railways were constructed both 
in Kamerun and German East Africa towards the western 
and eastern boundaries of the Belgian Congo respectively, 
as if the eventual connection of these two lines by a 
German line across the present Belgian territory were a 
part of manifest destiny. Was it not conceivable that the 
situation created by the passage of German troops across 
Belgium and the destruction of Belgian neutrality, if 

Formation of the Great German Plan 21 

judiciously exploited, would give Germany control of Bel- 
gium's colonial possessions, and is it not likely that the 
German General Staff was moved partly by this prospect 
in planning the campaign of 1914? 

We turn our attention for a moment to the conjecture 
that industrial and commercial considerations were among 
the factors which concurred in influencing the judgment of 
the leaders of Germany in their choice of a plan of opera- 
tions. An imposing array of evidence can be marshalled in 
support of this opinion. More than ever before, iron and 
coal are fundamental elements of strength in war and peace 
alike, while the metallurgical industries are now recognized 
to be the corner-stone of military as well as manufacturing 

In the utilization of her coal supplies for the production 
of mechanical energy and in the manufacturing of iron 
and steel, Germany had been advancing with giant strides. 
Her coal production had nearly doubled since 1900, and her 
production of iron had grown from about 9,000,000 tons 
to 19,000,000 tons by 1913. Coal is the modern talisman 
by which treasures are amassed in the localities which pos- 
sess it. Westphalia contained the leading coal-producing 
area in Germany and the chief centers of the metallurgical 
industries. It is the heart of manufacturing Germany. A 
group of flourishing cities near the junction of the Ruhr 
with the Rhine, occupying an area not too large with mod- 
ern conditions to constitute a single urban community, only 
require to be incorporated to take their place in the census 
lists as one of the great world-cities, the prospective rival 
of Berlin and Paris. Their fuel supplies, sufficient for cen- 
turies, lie beneath and around them. The same carbonif- 
erous basin extends under Belgium into northern France, 
determining the location of the leading industrial centers 
in those countries also. 

22 The Great War 

In a war that was to be waged as much by industry as by 
arms, Germany crippled her opponents from the start by 
occupying precisely these regions of Belgium and France. 

Again, the great industrial center of Westphalia does not 
enjoy convenient access to the sea in national territory. 
Rotterdam and Antwerp have grown and prospered amaz- 
ingly, chiefly because they are its natural seaports. 

There are said to have been no fewer than 20,000 Ger- 
man residents in Antwerp before the war, and there were 
important German colonies in Brussels and other leading 
cities of Belgium. Ostend and Blankenberghe were be- 
coming German watering-places. Antwerp was regarded 
as an outpost of Westphalia. The shipping interests of 
Antwerp were largely in German hands. A large part 
of the tonnage of imports and exports consisted of wares 
which were destined for Germany, or originated there, 
and traversed Belgium in transit. Just as in Italy and else- 
where, Germany was establishing an economic supremacy 
in Belgium. It is not surprising, therefore, that the belief 
has been expressed that Germany already intended that 
this peaceful penetration should some day ripen into an 
opportunity for annexation and that she regarded the crisis 
of 1914 as the culmination of this process. 

Yet in spite of all this striking evidence it seems probable 
that the minds of the German General Staff were domi- 
nated by the purely military considerations. They could 
scarcely have been blind to the great possibilities which 
have been enumerated. They may have regarded them as 
incidental advantages which a happy chance had placed in 
their way, a sort of strategical by-product. 

The evidence for the theory that the military policy of 
the German General Staff was determined by the above- 
mentioned extraneous motives is, after all, entirely circum- 
stantial, while purely military considerations growing out 

Formation of the Great German Plan 23 

of the problem of confronting enemies on both the western 
and eastern fronts might suffice to explain the action of 
Germany in every respect. The evident supposition of the 
German government that Belgium v^^ould offer no real 
resistance, and therefore no pretext for political subjec- 
tion, and the obvious desire to restore friendly relations, 
even after the capture of Liege, contradict the opinion 
that the German plan of campaign was deliberately manip- 
ulated to subserve the ambitions for aggrandizement which 
have just been described. 

It seems likely that the original intention of the German 
General Staff, exactly as implied in the text of the demands 
sent to Brussels, was to occupy only enough of Belgium to 
secure lines of march into France and lines of communica- 
tion for their armies after their arrival in France. In other 
words, the expressed intention of respecting the integrity of 
Belgium was probably sincere. If this conjecture is true, 
it might appear, at least to the Germans, that the Belgians 
by their obstinate resistance merely played into the hands of 
the extreme expansionist party in Germany, by forcing the 
German government to do what in its moderation it would 
not otherwise have done, namely, to occupy practically the 
entire country with a plausible excuse for retaining it. 

Field- Marshal Count von Moltke, the illustrious Prus- 
sian Chief of Staff in the three wars which led to the estab- 
lishment of the present German Empire, declared in his 
essays on war : 

"In the assembling and placing of the different armies 
at the beginning of the war, all the various and many-sided 
political, geographical, and strategical considerations must 
be taken into account. It is hardly possible during the 
whole course of the campaign to correct a mistake com- 
mitted in the initial disposition of the armies. But there is 
an abundance of time to weigh these dispositions carefully. 

24 The Great War 

and if this is done, they must without fail bring about the 
result desired, provided, of course, the army is ready and 
the system of transportation perfectly organized." 

This utterance conveys a comprehensive impression of 
the essential function of the General Staff, the brain of the 
German army. This organ was stamped with its peculiar 
character by the genius of the great von Moltke, who may 
be regarded in a certain sense as the originator of the office 
of Chief of the General Staff, since he brought about the 
separation of this position from the post of Prussian Min- 
ister of War in 1857. To-day the German General Staff 
is generally regarded as the most thorough body of its 
kind in the world. It has served largely as the model or 
prototype for the corresponding organizations of other 

General Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von Moltke was 
Chief of the General Staff at the commencement of the 
Great War. His appointment to this supremely responsi- 
ble position in 1906 was severely criticized. It was thought 
to be a consequence of the fact that he was nephew of 
the illustrious strategist of the preceding generation, and 
was regarded by many as a foolish act of deference to an 
illustrious name. This distinguished relationship has been 
at once an advantage and a misfortune for the younger 
soldier. It furnished him an inspiration, an ideal, and an 
example; but it suggested an ignominious distinction be- 
tween von Moltke the Great and von Moltke the Less. 

The almost superhuman demands upon the Chief of 
Staff require a man of almost unattainable endurance, am- 
plitude of intelligence, and determination. A certain simi- 
larity to the uncle in outward appearance and character 
suggested that the nephew was not destitute of these 
essential qualities. He possessed the same sharply-cut 
features, though his countenance and figure were cast in a 


Commander-in-chief of the French army. 

Formation of the Great German Plan 25 

more generous mold. He had the same quiet, unassuming 
manner, plainness of speech, and aversion for popular dis- 
play. Reserve and unobtrusiveness had become a principle 
of conduct at the General Staff. 

The younger von Moltke was born in Mecklenburg- 
Schwerin on May 23, 1848. Determined to devote his life 
to the career of an officer he joined the 86th Regiment of 
Fusileers as ensign and received his commission as second 
lieutenant in time to serve with distinction in the Franco- 
German War, where he won the Iron Cross. He spent 
the three years, 1876-1879, at the Kriegsakademie and was 
ordered to duty with the General Staff at the termination 
of his studies there. He was appointed captain in the 
General Staff in 1881, and the next year became adjutant of 
his uncle, with whom he was henceforth in intimately per- 
sonal relationship until the field-marshal's retirement from 
the position of Chief of Staff. 

As major the younger von Moltke became personal aid 
on active duty to the Kaiser in 1891, which was the begin- 
ning of a long period of personal contact with the sover- 
eign that was of fundamental significance for the remaining 
course of his career. He w^as raised to the rank of colonel 
in 1895 and commanded the 1st Grenadier Regiment of 
the Guards. As major-general in 1899 he was assigned to 
the command of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Guards, 
and as lieutenant-general in 1902 to that of the First Divi- 
sion of the Guards. In the meantime he had became 
adjutant-general to the Kaiser. 

Count von Schlieffen, who enjoyed a distinguished repu- 
tation as an authority on the art of war, then Chief of the 
General Staff, discerning the ability of General von Moltke, 
selected him as his first assistant in the post of quarter- 
master-general, February 18, 1904. From this time his 
ultimate advancement to the post of greatest importance as 

26 The Great War 

the culmination of his career could be regarded as prede- 
termined. He became Chief of Staff on the retirement of 
Count von Schlieffen, sixteen years after his uncle's death, 
in 1906, being elevated at the same time to the rank of 
general of infantry. 

The supreme command of the land and naval forces of 
France is nominally vested in the President of the Re- 
public, and he is not excluded, constitutionally, from the 
exercise of this function. But in normal circumstances 
his command is exercised through the minister of war, 
to whom the Chief of the General Staff is responsible. 
The latter is automatically designated, as generalissimo, 
in case of a serious conflict, to wield the full military 
authority of the president in commanding the armies in 
the field. 

For nearly a century the rule has existed in France that 
all generals shall retire at sixty-five, — a senseless rule that 
would have deprived Germany of the services of Count 
von Moltke before the triumphs which made his name 
illustrious, if it had been applied in Prussia. As the French 
Chief of Staff is not a commanding officer, his selection is 
not subject to seniority of rank, and it was possible to pass 
over generals who were nearing the age of retirement in 
favor of one who had time before him for the develop- 
ment of a systematic, progressive policy. In these circum- 
stances General Joseph Joffre was summoned to the post 
of Chief of the General Staff in 1911 as the choice of the 
Caillaux ministry then in power. The appointment was 
received by the press with considerable adverse criticism, 
like the selection of General von Moltke to the corre- 
sponding position in Germany five years before. The fact 
is, that the qualities which commend an officer for appoint- 
ment to this position of paramount importance are not 
those most likely to win notoriety, especially in time of 

Formation of the Great German Plan 27 

peace. General Joffre was almost as unknown in France 
in 1911 as he was abroad before the outbreak of the war 
in 1914. 

His conception of the duties of his position and of the 
function of the General Staff is clearly expressed in the 
following quotation from an address delivered at a reunion 
of former students of the Ecole Polytechnique : 

**To be prepared in our days has a meaning which those 
who prepared for and fought the wars of other days would 
have great difficulty in understanding. It would be a sad 
mistake to depend upon a sudden burst of popular enthu- 
siasm, even though it should surpass in intensity that of the 
volunteers of the Revolution, if we do not fortify it by a 
complete preparation. To be prepared to-day we must 
assemble all the resources of the country, all the intelli- 
gence of her children, all their moral energy, and direct 
them towards a single goal : Victory ! 

"We must have organized everything, foreseen every- 
thing. Once hostilities have begun, no improvisation will 
be worth while. Whatever is lacking then will be lacking 
for good and all; and the slightest lack of preparation may 
involve disaster." 

General Joffre brought to his position a spirit of method, 
thoroughness, and efficiency which is not unlike the pre- 
vailing atmosphere in the General Staff in Berlin. His 
appointment has been regarded as an expression of the 
new feeling of patriotism which was beginning to take 
hold of the French people in 1911. His ardent republi- 
canism doubtless recommended him to the Caillaux gov- 
ernment. The fact that he was a Protestant enabled him 
to suppress the disruptive anti-clerical agitation In the army 
without exciting suspicion or diminishing his prestige. He 
combines indomitable energy with thorough technical in- 
formation and a comprehensive practical experience, the 

28 The Great War 

chief features of which we shall presently note. The 
judgment of his colleagues undoubtedly confirmed his 
nomination to the position in which he was to bear with 
composure an unforeseen responsibility of appalling weight. 

Joffre was born of comparatively humble parentage at 
Rivesaltes in the extreme South of France, near the Pyre- 
nees and the Mediterranean Sea. He entered the Ecole 
Poly technique at the age of seventeen in 1869 for the pur- 
pose of becoming an officer of engineers. He served as 
sub-lieutenant in one of the forts of Paris during the siege 
in 1870-1871. Raised to the rank of captain in 1876 he 
was employed on defensive works on the border of France 
and on the construction of some of the forts of the new 
entrenched camp of Paris. He went to Indo-China in 
1885 and built the defenses of Haut-Tonkin. Later, he 
constructed railways and erected fortifications in the French 
dependencies in Africa, and won the distinction of leading 
the first French expedition to Timbuctoo. 

He became brigadier-general in 1902 and director of the 
engineering department at the Ministry of War. He was 
raised to divisional rank in 1905, and subsequently com- 
manded army corps at Lille and Amiens, a circumstance 
of fundamental importance, since it gave him a thorough 
knowledge of the conditions in the northern theater of 
the Great War. 

General J off re's activity down to 1911, while charac- 
terized by usefulness and efficiency, gave no indication of 
brilliancy or genius. But the signs of the times fore- 
shadowed a kind of warfare in which thorough prepa- 
ration, a flexible organization, administrative talent, and 
firmness would count for more than daring, sensational 
feats of strategy. 

The three years of Joffre's administration before the war 
were an indispensable period of preparation. He worked 

Formation of the Great German Plan 29 

in conjunction with patriotic statesmen to recreate the spirit 
of enthusiasm and devotion in the army by freeing it from 
the demoralization due to political intrigue. Efficiency he 
made his watchword and all France was astounded by his 
boldness in dismissing generals who did not measure up 
to his standard of competence. If Joffre deserves to be 
called the Savior of France, he deserves this title no less 
by the loyal, fearless performance of his task of renovating 
the army than by the unexpected brilliancy of his strategy 
in the Great War. 


The Die is Cast 

The German occupation of Luxemburg. Casting the die; the crossing 
of the Belgian frontier on August 4th. Seizure and destruction of Vise. 
Desperate resistance of the Belgians. Participation of civilians in the 
fighting and its consequences. Liege and its defenses. Assault and cap- 
ture of Liege. Bombardment of the forts. Consequences of the resistance 
of Liege on the subsequent course of the campaign. 

The beginnings of great events are bathed in an atmos- 
phere of solemnity when viewed in historical perspective, 
even though they may be comparatively insignificant in 
themselves. The incidents even which attended the initial 
movements of the Great War in the diminutive Grand- 
duchy of Luxemburg assume this illusory appearance. As 
the clouds grew heavier in the murky, midsummer days 
of 1914, the leading individuals of the Grand-duchy of 
Luxemburg were chiefly concerned about the continua- 
tion of their fuel supply. A war between the Great Powers 
might very likely cause an interruption in the importation 
of coal, upon which their principal industry depended. 
The closing of the smelting works in consequence of lack 
of fuel would throw a large part of the laboring class out 
of work and fill the grand-duchy with want and misery. 
Their supply of coal was derived almost exclusively from 
Germany. Apparently they felt even less apprehension than 
the Belgians about a possible violation of their neutrality. 

Just as in Belgium, the shock of consternation came in 
the night. Between one and two o'clock in the morning 


The Die is Cast 31 

of August 2d the first body of German troops crossed the 
Moselle at Wasserbillig and set foot on the soil of the 
grand-duchy. An automobile containing German officers 
appeared in one of the suburbs of Luxemburg about five 
the same morning, but withdrew at sight of Major van 
Dyck, commander of the forces of the grand-duchy, the 
gendarmerie of 155 men, who had taken his stand on the 
famous viaduct by which the road from Trier enters the city. 

The Belgian minister learned of the violation of the 
territory of the grand-duchy about six and immediately 
telegraphed the ominous news to Brussels. 

A German armored-train of nine box-cars, and a flat-car 
loaded with rails, drew up in the station of the capital about 
nine in the morning. The captain of the company of 
engineers who arrived in this train announced that he had 
orders to occupy the station and railways. Shortly after- 
wards the viaducts leading into the city were occupied and 
German sentinels were posted before the post office and 
other public buildings. Other trains loaded with German 
troops arrived in great numbers during the day from all 

On the 4th M. Mollard, French Minister at Luxem- 
burg, was dismissed at the dictation of Herr von Buch, the 
German Minister, and the latter proposed that French 
interests in Luxemburg should be entrusted to the care 
of the Belgian minister for the duration of the war. 
This rather obscure circumstance testifies to the belief of 
the German government that Belgium would comply with 
their demands, or would not, in any case, carry her resist- 
ance so far that a complete rupture in diplomatic relations 
between the two countries would be necessitated. For of 
course Germany would be no more disposed to tolerate in 
Luxemburg a diplomatic representative of a hostile Bel- 
gium than of a hostile France. 

32 The Great War 

On the 8th the German military authorities in Luxem- 
burg demanded that Count de Jehay, the Belgian Minister, 
should leave the grand-duchy, and in compliance with this 
command, as reluctantly transmitted by the Minister of 
State, President of the Government, M. Eyschen, he de- 
parted the next day by w^ay of Coblenz, Cologne, and 

Germany endeavored to justify her action in Luxem- 
burg by the specious argument that the state of war made 
it necessary to provide for the safety of the railways in the 
grand-duchy, which were operated by the German gov- 
ernment as a part of the imperial railway system of Alsace- 
Lorraine. In formulating the terms of the lease by which 
the grand-ducal government turned over its railways to the 
German imperial management every precaution had been 
taken to prevent the use of the lines for any military pur- 
pose incompatible with the neutrality of the country. The 
section of this agreement, which was dated November 11, 
1902, bearing upon this point, article 2. is drawn up with 
unusual explicitness, as follows: 

"The Imperial Government binds itself never to employ 
the railways of Luxemburg, as managed by the German 
Imperial Directorate of the Railways of Alsace-Lorraine, 
for the transportation of troops, arms, material of war, or 
munitions, and not to use them during a war in which 
Germany shall be involved for provisioning the troops in a 
manner incompatible with the neutrality of the Grand- 
duchy, and in general not to institute or tolerate in the 
management of these lines any act which should not be in 
strict accord with the duties incumbent upon the Grand- 
duchy as a neutral state." 

It is scarcely necessary to remark that Germany violated 
the spirit as well as letter of this compact in every single 

Map shiiwing by the shaded portion 

The Die is Cast 33 

The whole subsequent course of the campaign of 1914 
is evidence, — if further evidence is needed, — of the hollow- 
ness of German professions regarding Luxemburg and 
Belgium. The German government represented the oc- 
cupation of these territories as an absolutely indispensable 
and, at the same time, very distasteful measure of self-pro- 
tection, and then at once made Luxemburg as well as 
Belgium the base from which to launch the most stupen- 
dous aggressive movement recorded in history. Can any- 
one frankly believe that the direction of all this mighty 
force was merely secondary, incidental to Germany's con- 
cern for the safety of her flank ? Can anyone contemplate 
the human avalanche which swept from the Meuse to the 
Marne, premeditated and elaborately prepared in all its 
parts, the culmination of years of indefatigable toil and 
forethought, the supreme effort to which all the varied 
resources of Germany contributed, and then admit for a 
moment that this tremendous phenomenon, proceeding as 
it did, was circumstantial in the sense that any degree of 
innocence or discretion, any attitude of candor or concilia- 
tion on the part of these two neutral states, any precaution 
short of the creation of a military establishment which 
would have made Germany's enterprise clearly unprofit- 
able, could have shielded Luxemburg and Belgium from 
the violation of their territories ? 

The German General Staff drew up their plan of cam- 
paign, no doubt, with supreme indifference for all but 
strategical considerations, leaving to the civilian chiefs of 
the state the thankless task of palliating the violence and 
injustice incidental to its execution, as best they could, in 
the eyes of the world. We may safely assume that the 
military leaders dictated the traverse of Belgium as the 
indispensable condition, without which they refused all 
responsibility for the safety of Germany. 

34 The Great War 

The events in Luxemburg which have been narrated 
w^ere only the prelude to the drama whose real action 
began on August 4th. 

We considered in Volume II the circumstances of Ger- 
many's brief hesitation before venturing into a game of 
fortune in which the stakes were believed to be world- 
power or downfall, a gamble with destruction. The fatal 
die was cast on August 4th and the German boundary 
near Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) became a second Rubicon 
in world-history. 

In several instances there is a striking coincidence in 
date between important events in the first campaign of the 
present conflict and those of the Franco-German War. 
Thus the German forces crossed the Belgian frontier on 
precisely the same date and at almost the same hour that 
they commenced the invasion of France forty-four years 
before. One is tempted to believe that such concurrences 
were not entirely accidental. There is little doubt, for in- 
stance, that the Germans put forth every effort to strike a 
blow on September 1st or 2d which should repeat the 
decisive victory of Sedan. We cannot suspect that the 
General Staff, or even the Kaiser, was actuated by supersti- 
tion or a subjective sentimental impulse in arranging the 
program of the great offensive drive. But in their zeal for 
arraying every favorable condition on their side, the mili- 
tary authorities probably recognized, and tried to profit by, 
the common human weakness for the association of dates. 

The first requisite in the accomplishment of the great 
German venture was the capture of Liege, the key to the 
valley of the Meuse, by surprise, if possible, before the 
Belgian army was concentrated or the Allies had pene- 
trated the nature of the German design or had had time to 
come up. General von Emmich, Commander of the Ninth 
Army Corps, was doubtless a very fortunate selection as 

The Die is Cast 35 

leader of this first operation in the West, a stroke upon 
which so much depended. 

The appearance of General von Emmich in the early- 
hours of August 4th among the German troops which had 
been hastily concentrated on the Belgian frontier was 
greeted with the most animated expressions of enthusiasm. 
The hour of destiny had sounded. The crossing of the 
boundary at Gemmenich in the dim gray light that pre- 
cedes the dawn must have thrilled with the suggestion of 
mysterious possibilities the imagination of the youthful 
soldiery, convinced as they were of speedy victory, but 
probably somewhat confused as to the immediate purpose 
of their march. The hour in which this expedition was 
set in motion had not yet taken on the character of awful 
gravity with which the gradual revelation of its significance 
has subsequently invested it. We now know that the im- 
mense travail with which the ever prolific civilization of 
ancient Europe was to bring forth a new era in the life of 
man commenced at that fateful moment. Who could 
realize at that time that the mere crossing of an invisible 
boundary, while humanity still slumbered, would transform 
the whole aspect of Hfe ? The old appearance of Europe 
was rolled together as a scroll, and men awoke on the 
morning of the 4th to changed impressions and a different 

The territory directly eastward of Liege is hilly, broken, 
and wooded in parts. It may be regarded as the northern 
extremity of the region of the Ardennes. The principal 
railway line connecting Liege with Germany ascends the 
valley of the Vesdre, passes through Verviers, the center 
of the woolen industry of Belgium, traverses the more 
rugged parts of the section by means of tunnels, and 
reaches the German boundary at Herbesthal, proceeding 
thence to Aix-la-Chapelle and Cologne. Northward the 

36 The Great War 

valley of the Meuse expands and the elevations towards 
the German frontier are less abrupt. 

The German columns advanced towards Liege by sev- 
eral different routes. A flying column was dispatched by 
the easier northerly route, from Gemmenich directly west- 
ward, to seize with the least possible delay a bridge across 
the Meuse at Vise ten miles below Liege. From there 
forces could proceed along the left bank of the river to 
cooperate in the attack on Liege, and a cavalry screen could 
be extended westwards to intercept reinforcements for the 
embattled city, spread panic far and wide across the Belgian 
plain, and prepare the way for the further march of the main 
armies. An advance-guard of 1500 men hurried forward to 
Vise in 150 motor-cars, followed by the marching column. 

The Germans encountered resistance from the first in 
their advance on Liege. In many places the Belgians cut 
down the trees which stood in rows along the highways, 
causing them to fall across the roadway, and appropriated 
whatever other material came to hand for the erection of 
barricades. Attempts were made to blow up the railway 
tunnels, and when one such effort failed near Verviers, the 
Belgians started seventeen locomotives into it at full speed 
from opposite directions hoping that the ensuing collisions 
would fill the opening with an inextricable mass of twisted 
wreckage. But the German engineers cleared out the 
passage in a single night, finding several of the locomotives 
practically unharmed. 

The inhabitants of some of the Belgian towns and villages 
appear to have taken part in resisting the invaders. Who 
can be surprised? Later, notices were posted up by the 
Belgian authorities warning the people not to take any part 
in hostilities. But the Germans had invaded Belgium in 
the night of August 3-4 without any declaration of war. 
The civilian population in the villages first traversed by the 

z ^ 

The Die is Cast 37 

Germans had not been warned of the serious legal aspect 
and grave consequences of their participation in acts of 
hostility. Germany's final notification of her intentions 
was not presented in Brussels until about 6 o'clock on the 
morning of the 4th. The people, who were surprised 
and startled by this sudden irruption, regarded themselves 
as victims of a treacherous outrage. They believed that 
they acted in righteous defense of their homes, but the 
Germans retaliated upon them with the severity which 
was soon to become proverbial. 

In the midst of their intricate and generally accurate 
calculations, the German strategists had failed to anticipate 
the heroic resistance of the Belgian nation, which occa- 
sioned a very annoying and perplexing delay in the execu- 
tion of their great plan. The Germans had industriously 
collected a vast store of knowledge about the material 
resources and political conditions of their possible antag- 
onists. But very likely those whose duty it was to assimilate 
and utilize as a guide to policy this mass of intelligence 
were embarrassed by a plethora of information. The 
German government displayed an incapacity to appreciate 
the more subtle, emotional forces which actuate the con- 
duct of nations in grave emergencies, the revulsion of na- 
tional feeling, and the outburst of patriotism. They failed 
to attribute to their adversaries the same spiritual qualities 
upon the existence of which in their own nation they so 
largely depended for the success of their bold design. 
Afflicted with the characteristic myopia of national egotism 
they could only perceive the lofty impulses of their own 
people. They assumed that the German nation would alone 
be impelled by an irresistible outburst of enthusiasm; while 
the spirit of its enemies would remain comparatively cold. 

In the moment of elation, in eager expectation of a 
rapid, brilliant consummation of their immediate enterprise 

38 The Great War 

against France, the German leaders encountered a bitter, 
irritating, determined resistance where it had not been 
expected. The civilian population, roused to a fury of 
resentment, unfortunately took part in some instances in 
this resistance. The invaders were exasperated, inflamed 
with a spirit of unreasoning indignation. The strictly lim- 
ited time at their disposal for the rush to Paris, the exact- 
ing marching schedule, and consequently frantic concern 
for promptness of movement intensified their irritation at 
any unforeseen cause for delay. It is not surprising, how- 
ever outrageous it may seem in the tranquil remoteness of 
abstract reflection, that they retaliated most harshly upon 
the civilian population, making the innocent suffer with 
the guilty, interpreting the conventional rules of war in the 
most relentless fashion. 

A German official communique characterizes the opera- 
tions leading to the capture of Liege as follows : 

** Our difficulties lay in the very unfavorable character of 
the hilly, wooded country, and in the treacherous partici- 
pation of the whole population, even the women, in the 
conflict. They fired from ambush, from the cover of vil- 
lages and forests upon our troops, upon the surgeons who 
tended the wounded, and even upon the wounded them- 
selves. There was severe, desperate fighting; whole vil- 
lages had to be destroyed to crush the resistance, until 
finally our gallant troops forced their way through the 
girdle of forts and took the city.'* Making reasonable 
amplification to compensate for the probable reserve of 
such an official description, the imagination unfolds a lurid 
tragedy of hatred, rage, and fury, and depicts the melan- 
choly spectacle of a devastated, ruined countryside. 

A discussion of the methods employed for repressing 
the supposed intractability of the civilian population in Bel- 
gium must be postponed to a subsequent chapter, where 

The Die is Cast 39 

the general subject of the alleged atrocities will be treated. 
One observation may be made here with regard to the 
activity and punishment of franc-iireurs, as the irregular 
combatants are commonly called. To whatever conclusion 
the sifting of the evidence will lead, the majority of the 
American people will, for the present, ascribe to the discus- 
sion in relation to Belgium a merely speculative significance. 
For, until the Germans can prove their right to be in Bel- 
gium at all, until they can divest their forcible presence of 
the appearance of outlawry, unbiased opinion will not 
admit that the unqualified guilt of the Belgian franc-tireurs 
can be established on the basis of the charges preferred 
against them. 

It is always difficult to secure the concurrence of neutral 
opinion in the condemnation, of civilians for participation 
in acts of warfare, because, by the very nature of the situa- 
tions from which such accusations originate, they are 
always made by invaders, oppressors, or alien rulers, so 
that those who are thus incriminated enjoy the advantage 
of an assumption in their favor of justifiable motives, as 
defenders of their own homes. Humanity is inclined to 
condone their guilt even when it is sufficiently authenti- 
cated. It may be remarked that the same German press 
which denounced the resistance of Belgian civilians in a 
tone of righteous indignation in 1914 greeted similar action 
by the civilian population of the Boer republics as deeds 
of gallant heroism at the time of the South African War in 

Vise was a tranquil little town of about 4,000 inhabitants, 
two miles south of the Dutch boundary, lying pleasantly 
along the eastern bank of the Meuse. The Belgian engi- 
neers from Liege blew up the iron bridge at Vise before 
the Germans could seize it. For some time the Belgian 
artillery on the left bank of the Meuse, and notably the 

40 The Great War 

guns from Pontisse, the nearest of the forts of Liege, which 
was about five miles away, prevented the construction of 
pontoon bridges at this point, but finally the Germans 
effected a crossing. Later, some of the inhabitants of Vise 
were charged with firing on the Germans, and as retribution 
the town was pillaged and burned, earning the melancholy 
distinction, heralded throughout the world, of being the 
first town to be destroyed in the track of the invaders. 

Liege, the " Birmingham of Belgium," with its popula- 
tion of about 185,000 souls, is the center of the metallurgi- 
cal industries of the country. Its fuel supply has been 
accumulated by nature beneath and around it. The ugly, 
cone-shaped mounds of refuse in every direction reveal 
the location of the pit-mouths of the collieries. The city 
is stretched out in the winding valley of the Meuse at the 
point where it receives the waters of its tributaries, the 
Ourthe and the Vesdre, from the right. The heart of Liege 
lies on the left bank of the Meuse, where the level space 
by the river is quite narrow, and the city seizes every 
opportunity to climb the irregular, confining hillsides. 
There is an extensive tract of level land between the rivers 
where the buildings were located for the international ex- 
position of 1905, held in commemoration of the seventy- 
fifth anniversary of the establishment of Belgium as an 
independent state. At Seraing, above the city on the 
Meuse, are the famous John Cockerill Works, founded by 
an Englishman in 1817, famous steel and iron manufac- 
turers, well-known makers of firearms. 

We are too apt to think of Liege as a single fortress, 
with close communication between all its parts, and conse- 
quently to feel astonishment at the apparent confusion of 
statement as to the date of its capture. The truth is that 
Liege as a stronghold was a combination of entirely separate 
defensive units. The city itself possessed no immediate 









~^ > o 

1i > 

±i r; o cj 

*-> (/I V 

C 0^ 


5" c 'rt ^ 

■= ci. .S ^ 

° ^ bC ^ o :£ 

.2 "^ >^ 52 t/5 'z; 

2i 03 c «; 


C ""' -' 

^ 1- < 

O i> t. 

O -^ 3 

=^ ^ S 

o 2 ^ 

G -7: b- 












-s ;: bxi c > 

^ 9 JS c 

bij 2 

c IJ 

3 >, 

^ ~" ^ c/l 

«: rt T!i t 


o ^ 

u 1; g 4J 

I 3 

c -5 

rt 2 

rt u CO t: 

O c« I 

fi — 


i 2 -2 

'3 "P 

>^ be o 

rt ^ .S 

5 c ,r 


^ = 

c p 

£ (-1 ?^ n 

-3 o g rt 

w S _C^ rt 

rt ^ -- i- 

g_^ . ' ^ 0^ 

be rt ,3 --^ 

p S o _^ 

1) *J 

C u o 

•;= fc^ 

■J" 3 -= -g .S c 

'^' > i oj u 

C rt ■" rt -5 > 

^ Ti rt 'S 

Wi t-i-i "3 u 




1) -"^ c« 

(U ■-" CA> 

M P r 

"2 -c 


5 CQ 

:'~-3i = =; 

<-4- O 

c _c 

U O rt 

t:^ Ji =! 

_g .h o 

cr ^ 

(U <u o 


• a> 


















£ '^ 

;; o 

« - O 
+J o g 

a- 2, 

l+H CA) ■ — 

> 1> u 

U -C 


o .= 

fc a. 

■ — ' ,^ 1; 





^:: o u 
u u rt 
^ a^ 

C3 S 4> 

c « +- 
rt u'3 

E 4-1 CA 

O M b; 

,2 c t 

E W 

4J "^ 

— u- -JC 

^ ^ 

r- U 

J S 

■> (u o 

3-0 Ji 
O r, .C 

cHJ £ 
rt u 

O. 4-1 

■r M -^ ■'^ 

i: > -1^ — 

o >- c 

« )^ P 

— O-.t; ^ 

O 03 2 -^ 

■£ «> ^ e 

•*-' V .-) '-• 

a c 

— ~ 'J y S" 

5 i' w i5 J: 

> a =^ 

•- cr 
^ fl fl, 

4j O g u 

c . .2 w y - 

.£■2 C Si T y ' 

nj r; ti 3 J; 

w^ C ^ r^ 'W J^ -'-• •=■ O ta : 

^S cr.b ^.«<-^ £ ■= c 

53:5 sj^-Bk-^'E b V 

««AP n g ^ -^' o ti o» g cu '^ 

'ffw f ^^ ® *- c 'rt a *-' i*^ ♦' 

■ . v- "f V'P'- «J d {»• .*^ -a c o 


^a .. t; 




•4.1 W 

•c r- li: 


-2/"' =- 

Si £ 
"3 I' 





S ^ -^ 



•<-, s 

:S C 

^ « 

o » 






■£ '-" 
t ,'3 5= 

r "> 

-!» c 


<= b. 

■S tt 
JS > 

s a 



:5 > 

Z -« 


n c. 
a e 

c ~ 

euple B 







1 " — 

■^ .1 § 

'i- 1 J. 
= -^ y 

•s t. 1 





fa , 

1 s 

■73 «» 

« g 

S i. 

t. ■« 
o ~ 

« i 

2 ^ 

"« a 

O 3 





























= f 

r 1 1 






-i = 



c ■= 
t. -= 

-g ^ 

'I i 

Z i 

c ^ 

E g 

t. g 
o i 








'-Z "^ 


The Die is Cast 41 

fortifications. But a series of twelve isolated forts, sit- 
uated at distances varying from 6,500 to 10,000 yards from 
the center of the city, formed a girdle around Liege. The 
perimeter thus outlined was about thirty-three miles in 
circuit. The fall of the city did not necessarily imply the 
fall of the forts, nor did the loss of any individual fort 
inevitably involve the loss of its neighbors. 

The forts were either triangular or trapezoidal in design. 
They were constructed chiefly in concrete on the cupola 
system, steel domes protecting the guns and gunners. The 
forts were divided into two classes according to their size, 
the larger ones alone being capable of very effective resist- 
ance. Of these, Forts Barchon, Fleron, and Boncelles were 
situated on the left side of the Meuse, and Forts Pontisse, 
Loncin, and Flemalle on the right. The larger forts except 
Flemalle were roughly triangular in plan with the base 
towards the city and the apex in the supposed direction of 
attack. Each consisted of a huge concrete mass and was 
surrounded by a moat. According to the normal scheme, 
there was a steel turret in the center with two 15-centimeter 
guns, and there were four other turrets, placed in such a way 
as to form the corners of a quadrilateral enclosing the first, 
which mounted 11-centimeter guns. There were also dis- 
appearing turrets at the corners of the forts with smaller 
quick-firing guns. As we shall presently observe, the guns 
in the forts were in the end hopelessly outclassed by the 
siege-artillery brought up by the Germans. In the subter- 
ranean chambers, formed in concrete, the ammunition was 
stored and the garrison could take refuge. There were also 
outer defenses whence infantry with rifles and machine- 
guns could repel the attacks of storming parties. 

Most of the forts were invisible from the interior of the 
city. In fact a stranger would scarcely have suspected 
their existence. The intervals between successive forts in 

42 The Great War 

the girdle varied from 2,800 to 7,000 yards. These inter- 
vening spaces had never been fortified in any way. It is 
reported that more than 50,000 men were hastily set to 
work, shortly before the arrival of the Germans, preparing 
earthworks to facilitate the defense of these open spaces; 
but the work was far from complete and of little value 
when the attack began. 

The garrison of Liege and the forts was altogether in- 
adequate. The total Belgian forces in the intrenched camp 
of Liege did not exceed 30,000 at any time. They were 
manifestly too weak to defend the broad intervals between 
the forts. They should have been at least twice as numer- 
ous. Most of them withdrew after the Germans occupied 
the city. The garrisons left in the forts were small, and 
many of the gunners had received no adequate training. 

The storming of the city was a distinct performance in 
the series of operations carried on by the Germans in the 
vicinity of Liege. A few of the forts were taken at the 
same time. The Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth German 
Army Corps had been hastily concentrated on the Belgian 
frontier without waiting to be mobilized. Light columns 
were thrown forward without siege-artillery or extensive 
supplies. They expected to take the city by surprise, where 
abundant stores of provisions would presumably be found. 
The German soldiers who first arrived before Liege doubt- 
less suflFered considerable hardship from lack of food in 
consequence of the prolongation of the resistance of the 
city beyond the prevision of their commanders. 

At most about 40,000 Germans were engaged in the 
operations which culminated in the capture of Liege itself. 
General von Emmich afterwards declared that his forces 
did not exceed this number, a statement which is not incon- 
sistent with the official announcement that Liege was taken 
by six brigades on a peace footing, with cavalry and artillery. 

The Die is Cast 43 

On the evening of the 4th troops of the Seventh Corps, 
who had advanced by the direct route from Aix-la- 
Chapelle via Herve, attacked Forts Fleron and Evegnee. 
By August 5th German columns were advancing into 
Belgium wherever the routes were practicable. On the 
5th and 6th the German infantry made repeated attempts 
to capture some of the forts of Liege by rushing forward 
in dense masses to reach the supposed zone of safety inside 
the range and below the trajectory of the heavy guns. But 
there they were received by the defenders of the outworks 
with volleys from rifles and machine-guns and repulsed 
with serious losses. On the 5th Prince Frederick Charles, 
grandson of the victor of Orleans and Le Mans, won his 
first laurels by penetrating momentarily into the city with 
a small detachment of cavalry. An airship, Zeppelin VI, 
coming from Cologne flew over Liege on the night of the 
5th. It hurled a bomb from an elevation of about six hun- 
dred yards, and then, descending to a height of three 
hundred yards, it dropped twelve others in succession, 
setting fire to the city in several places and causing tempo- 
rary consternation. 

Portions of the Tenth Army Corps, approaching by way 
of Spa, probably from Malmedy, arrived before Liege on 
the morning of the 6th, and attacked Chaudfontaine and 
Boncelles to the southeast and south of the city. The 
Ninth Army Corps received the task of attacking the forts 
to the north, probably on both sides of the Meuse. As 
on subsequent occasions, the Germans exhibited in their 
operations before Liege a predilection for night attacks. 
Some of their fiercest assaults on the forts were delivered 
in the darkness, when the fitful gleam of searchlights, the 
glare of bursting shells, and the reflection of conflagrations 
invested an actual Inferno with the added terror of a weird, 
fantastic setting. 

44 The Great War 

The severest fighting took place on the 6th. The Ger- 
man attacks were repelled in several quarters, particularly 
on the left bank of the Meuse, with heavy loss. But at 
nightfall General von Emmich forced his way at the head 
of the 14th brigade into the obsolete fort and barracks of 
La Chartreuse, situated on a commanding elevation directly 
east of the city. General von Emmich won enormous 
popularity with his soldiers by his personal bravery, dash, 
and vim, and by his active participation in the fighting 
before Liege where he was frequently exposed to fire. 
During the night of the 6th the Germans advancing from 
the east took possession of three of the bridges spanning 
the river within Liege, and in the morning the occupation 
of the city was accomplished. Several of the forts were 
stormed or silenced on the same day. 

The capture of Liege was officially announced on the 
7th by one of the Kaiser's aides-de-camp in the Lust- 
garten opposite the palace in Berlin. This apparently 
signal achievement on the sixth day of mobilization was 
the cause of great rejoicing. But the populace undoubt- 
edly made no distinction between the forts which were 
still holding out and the city itself, and believed that every 
obstacle to the further progress of German arms at this 
point had been overcome. The Order pour le inerite was 
conferred by the Kaiser upon General von Emmich in 
recognition of his service at Liege. 

After the occupation of Liege there was a lull in the 
operations until the heavy siege-artillery was brought up. 
It was reported that the Kaiser himself gave orders that no 
more German lives should be sacrificed in storming attacks 
on the remaining forts. The Germans had apparently 
reaped what advantage they could gain by rapidity of 
action. The forts still commanded the railway communi- 
cations westward. But they could be silenced one by one 

Bridge at Liege destroyed by the retreating Belgians and jiontoon bridge construeteil 

by the Germans. 

Dinant : The citadel on the heights, with tlie city close to the Ri\ er Meuse. All tlie 
houses, with the Church of Notre-Danie and tlie bridge on the riglit, were desfroyeil by 

the (leiiiKin shell-hre and incemliarisni. 

The Die is Cast 45 

as soon as the heavy artillery arrived. The Germans would 
then have the advantage of bombarding the forts from 
the reverse, the inner side, whence attack had not been 
anticipated in their design. In the meantime, the German 
concentration for the main advance across Belgium was 
not complete. 

The forts on the right bank of the Meuse were the first 
to be taken. With the German siege-artillery which was 
brought up some of the new 42-centimeter (16.8-inch) 
Krupp mortars made their first appearance. Vague rumors 
of such mammoth engines of destruction were already 
afloat. A temporary track was laid to a public square in 
the heart of Liege by which some of these pieces were 
brought up and set in position. They deliver projectiles 
weighing about a ton and a quarter. The violence of the 
discharge broke all the windows in the vicinity, caused 
the buildings to quiver and vibrate, and made ceilings col- 
lapse. Five projectiles launched from these fearful mon- 
sters are said to have silenced two of the girdle forts. 

When compelled to retire from the city, General Leman, 
the heroic commander of Liege, withdrew to Fort Loncin, 
which dominated the railway westward to Louvain and 
Brussels. The bombardment of Loncin by 28-centimeter 
howitzers was begun on August 13th and continued about 
twenty-six hours at the rate of six shells a minute. When 
the fort was finally taken General Leman was found lying 
in one of the passages below the surface, unconscious from 
the effect of the poisonous gases diffused by the explosion 
of the German shells. The steel turrets of the forts were 
smashed and the solid concrete was fairly pulverized by the 
masses of metal discharged by the German siege-artillery. 

The Germans took about 4,000 prisoners in the opera- 
tions around Liege. Otherwise the losses of the Belgians 
were probably not very heavy. 

46 The Great War 

The fact that the capture of Liege inaugurated the 
greatest war in history and the most dramatic movement 
in that war; the sensation created by the appearance of 
the new German siege artillery, the greatest surprise of the 
war; and the intimate association in the minds of so many 
people in neutral countries with the feeling of indignation 
aroused by a course of action which outraged their most 
elementary conceptions of right and justice, emphasize, 
perhaps unduly, the impression produced by the events 
described in the present chapter. The Germans proclaimed 
the capture of Liege as a unique event in military annals, 
which is probably saying too much. Admirers of Bel- 
gium, deeply moved by the self-immolation of the Belgian 
people on the altar of national honor, and eager to acclaim 
the benefits of this sacrifice, have declared that the embar- 
rassment in the execution of the German plan occasioned 
by the heroic resistance at Liege, by giving time for the 
concentration of the armies of the Allies on the northern 
border of France, saved the French and British from an 
irreparable calamity. This statement is clearly incapable 
of positive proof. 

It is erroneous to measure the extent of the delay in the 
execution of the German plan occasioned by the Belgian 
resistance as equivalent to the number of days consumed 
by the Germans in capturing Liege and its forts, the period 
from August 4th until August 17th. For the Germans 
would in no circumstances have been ready to advance 
in force as early as the 4th and the principal masses of 
their field army did pass Liege before the 17th in spite 
of the continued resistance of some of the forts. If 
we assume, as a conservative basis, that the concentra- 
tion of the German forces would not have proceeded far 
enough before the 11th, the tenth day of mobilization, for 
the commencement of the g-enecal offensive movement 

The Die is Cast 47 

westward, the extent of the delay in the execution of the 
German plan of invasion caused by the resistance at Liege 
would be represented by the interval of four days between 
the 11th and the 15th, when the masses of the German 
armies were actually set in motion, after the capture of 
Loncin, which commanded the railway to Brussels. To 
appreciate fully the very great importance of a four days' 
respite at this very critical period for the cause of the Allies, 
we need only recollect that almost all the available forces of 
France had been concentrated along the eastern frontier 
with practically no provision to meet the situation created 
by the German movement in overwhelming strength across 
Belgium. It is said that one hundred and fifty-nine trains 
were immediately set in motion to effect the modification 
in front required by Germany's strategy. But every day's 
time was precious beyond all computation. 

With the vast and complicated organization of service re- 
quired by modern warfare the advantages of the offensive 
are even greater than formerly. The party who assumes 
the offensive translates into action his own premeditated 
plan, perfected in months or years of prevision and careful 
preparation. And unless his adversary correctly divines the 
direction and nature of the coming blow he confronts it in 
a state of frenzied agitation with arrangements hastily 
adjusted and in imminent peril of falling into hopeless con- 
fusion. The feverish energy of a few days in the face of a 
mortal crisis can never compensate for a long period of 
forethought and anticipation. In the actual situation in 
August, 1914, there was the special danger that flying 
squadrons of the German Crown Prince's army, which had 
invaded France through the Gap of Tiercelet about August 
10th, would intercept the more direct railway lines between 
the eastern and northern frontiers of the country and thus 
greatly impair the French communications. 

48 The Great War 

The world awaited breathlessly, and in part impatiently, 
the arrival of French and British forces on Belgian soil. 
We now know how hopeless were the predictions at that 
time current in England of an impending decisive battle 
somewhere near the field of Waterloo. But assuming that 
the respite due to Liege was of four days' duration, with- 
out this impediment in their course the German army 
would have reached the line of the Sambre on the 18th 
instead of the 22d, when the concentration of the French 
forces in that quarter was still far from complete and the 
British Expeditionary Force had not made its appearance. 
The entire value of the service of the British force in the 
memorable first days of the retreat from Mons was involved 
in the defense of Liege, and this was at least considerable. 


The Deluge Released 
(August 15-22, 1914) 

Renewed proposals by Germany rejected by Belgium. Disposition of the 
German forces in the West about August 10th. The situation of the Ger- 
mans at Liege. German cavalry foreshadowing the main advance of the 
German army through Belgium. Dramatic contrast in the feelings of 
assurance and consternation in the Belgian towns ; Tirlemont, Aerschot, 
Louvain. The Belgian capital transferred to Antwerp. The German 
march through Brussels. Reasons for the occupation of Brussels. The 
German front swings to the left pivoting on Namur. 

There is every reason to suppose that the German gov- 
ernment thought it probable that Belgium would yield 
under protest to the requirements presented in the ulti- 
matum of August 2d, perhaps after offering a semblance 
of resistance. The German authorities still hoped that 
Belgium, after vindicating her honor by the determined 
defense of Liege, would be disposed to comply with their 
demands on the original terms or similar stipulations. 
After the occupation of Liege, Germany repeated her 
offer of friendship and the guarantee of the eventual 
independence and integrity of Belgium on the condition 
of the free passage of the German armies through the 

At the request of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
the Belgian Minister at The Hague, Baron Fallon, for- 
warded to the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs on 
August 9th the renewed proposals of the German govern- 
ment for a peaceful settlement. Germany had first solicited 


50 The Great War 

the mediation of the American minister at Brussels, appar- 
ently with the concurrence of Mr. Gerard, the American 
Ambassador at Berlin. After Mr. Whitlock, who under- 
took the protection of German subjects in Belgium, de- 
clined this special mission, pleading lack of instructions 
from Washington, the German government through its 
representative at The Hague begged the Foreign Minis- 
ter, Jonkheer Loudon, to act as its intermediary in the 

The text of the German document forwarded by Baron 
Fallon to M. Davignon was as follows: 

"The fortress of Liege has been taken by assault after a 
brave defense. The German Government most deeply 
regrets that bloody encounters should have resulted from 
the Belgian Government's attitude towards Germany. 
Germany is not coming as an enemy into Belgium. It is 
only through the force of circumstances that she has had, 
owing to the military measures of France, to take the 
grave decision of entering Belgium and occupying Liege 
as a base for her further military operations. Now that 
the Belgian army has upheld the honor of its arms in the 
most brilliant manner by its heroic resistance to a very 
superior force, the German Government begs the King of 
the Belgians and the Belgian Government to spare Belgium 
the horrors of war. The German Government is ready 
to make any compact with Belgium which can in any way 
be reconciled with its contest with France. Germany 
gives once more her solemn assurance that she has not 
been actuated by the intention of appropriating Belgian 
territory for herself, and that such an intention is far from 
her thoughts. Germany is still ready to evacuate Belgium 
as soon as the state of war will allow her to do so. 

"The United States ambassador here concurs in this 
attempt at mediation by his colleague in Brussels." 

The Deluge Released 51 

The final sentence remained in the original document 
which was evidently forwarded to The Hague by the 
American Legation in Brussels. 

On August 13th M. Davignon sent the following reply 
to the Belgian minister at The Hague for transmission to 
the German government through the medium of the For- 
eign Minister of the Netherlands: 

*'The proposal made to us by the German Government 
repeats the proposal which was formulated in the ulti- 
matum of August 2d. Faithful to her international obli- 
gations, Belgium can only reiterate her reply to that 
ultimatum, the more so as since August 3d her neutrality 
has been violated, a distressing war has been waged on 
her territory, and the guarantors of her neutrality have 
responded loyally and without delay to her appeal." 

The general disposition of the German forces in the 
West was first discernible about August 10th. There were 
at the time apparently nineteen German army corps, and 
one Austrian corps which had come to reinforce them. 
The latter was the Fourteenth Corps which shared with 
the Fifteenth German Corps the defense of Alsace. The 
Twenty-first Corps was posted in Lorraine on the line 
between Strassburg and Metz. Almost the entire extent 
of the German frontier on the side of France was seemingly 
guarded only by these three army corps. Notwithstanding 
the elaborate preparations for the rapid concentration of 
troops throughout the Reichsland, particularly the strategic 
railways terminating near the French border and extensive 
detraining facilities, the bulk of the German forces lay 
northward of Metz. The available evidence indicated 
that the forces between Metz and the Swiss frontier were 
scarcely sufficient for defensive purposes. 

On the contrary, as might be expected from the discus- 
sion of the German plan, prodigious masses of troops were 

52 The Great War 

being concentrated along the western front from Dieden- 
hofen (Thionville) northward. The Thirteenth Corps and 
First Bavarian Corps were at, or near, Saarbriicken. These 
were afterwards pushed forward to the frontier of Ger- 
man Lorraine opposite Nancy. The Sixteenth Corps and 
Second Bavarian Corps were at Diedenhofen and Metz. 
The Eighth and Twelfth Corps were in Luxemburg and 
the Third Bavarian Corps either in Luxemburg or at 
Diedenhofen. The Fifth and Nineteenth Corps were in 
the Ardennes, the former probably at Rochefort, the latter 
at Bastogne. The Third and Eleventh Corps had crossed 
the frontier further north, and occupied positions south of 
the Meuse, in touch with the Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth 
Corps which still lay about Liege. The Fourteenth and 
Eighteenth Corps and the Guard had apparently not 
reached their final destination at the front. The Four- 
teenth Corps eventually made its appearance in Lower 
Alsace on the left wing of the German army operating in 
Lorraine. The Eighteenth Corps was probably sent to 
Diedenhofen. The Guard took part in the operations in 
the Ardennes. 

Thus the Allies were confronted with twenty army 
corps, and probably eight divisions of cavalry in the West. 
If we reckon a single reserve division for every corps of 
the first line, a minimum assumption, we shall have an 
aggregate strength of about 1,200,000 for Germany's mo- 
bile forces in the western theater at the close of the period 
of mobilization or a little later. The fighting strength 
would consist of about 850,000 rifles, 65,000 sabers, 4,400 
guns and field howitzers, and 1,500 machine-guns. 

The position of the German forces at Liege remained 
somewhat precarious even after the city had fallen into 
their hands. There were three army corps, about 120,000 
men, in and around Liege by the 7th or 8th. Thousands 

The Deluge Released 53 

were daily pouring into this part of Belgium. The reserve 
formations followed quickly upon the heels of the army 
corps of the active army. Most of the detached forts were 
still holding out and their guns commanded the principal 
lines of communication leading from Germany to Liege, 
and from Liege westward. The Germans who first arrived 
before Liege had brought with them only very scanty 
supplies of food. The resistance of the forts embarrassed 
the conveyance of supplies and hampered the progress of 
the Germans westward where their forces could expand 
and gain elbow-room. There was a threatened congestion 
in the narrow valley of the Meuse. The Germans would 
soon have become embarrassed by their own numerical 
strength. The situation was like forcing a stream of water 
at high pressure through a narrow spout partly blocked 
by a sieve. 

The resistance at Liege did not entirely prevent an 
advance westward. General von Emmich remained only a 
day and a half in Liege and then pushed on up the Meuse 
in the direction of Namur with the bulk of his corps, not 
waiting to witness the action of the heavy siege guns upon 
the recalcitrant forts. The first German cavalry patrols 
appeared before Namur on the 14th. 

The Germans threw out a screen of cavalry, infantry, 
and light artillery across the Meuse to the westward, to 
cover the siege operations at Liege, interrupt communica- 
tion with the forts, reconnoiter the Belgian positions, and, 
in general, prepare the way for the main advance of the 
army by spreading consternation as far as possible. 

Two divisions of cavalry, the First and the Fourth, 
crossed the Meuse on the 8th or 9th, chiefly at Lixhe, 
close to the boundary of Holland, as far as possible from 
the guns of the northern forts of Liege. They proceeded 
westward through Tongres and St. Trond, in the direction 

54 The Great War 

of Hesbaye, scouring the country and engaging in numer- 
ous skirmishes. They were followed, and at times sup- 
ported by detachments of infantry and field-artillery. The 
appearance of the 35th Uhlans caused a panic in Tongres 
Sunday morning, the 9th. On the 11th the Germans seized 
the station at Landen, twenty-four miles west of Liege on 
the line to Louvain and Brussels, thirty-eight miles east 
of the capital. On the 12th there was skirmishing near 
Tirlemont in which the Germans were supported by their 

The novel use of cavalry by the Germans in the present 
war was no less a surprise, although its effects were some- 
what less startling, than the heavy siege-artillery. In their 
maneuvers the largest organization had been the cavalry 
brigade of 1,600 sabers. But in the campaign of 1914 each 
brigade was frequently accompanied by a battalion of in- 
fantry with field and machine-guns mounted in armored 
automobiles, so that it could move independently with far 
greater assurance. 

In the meantime several German army corps were ad- 
vancing westward through the Ardennes. As the reader 
has probably observed, the Meuse offers a convenient and 
natural line of defense for French and Belgian forces re- 
pelling a common attack from the eastward. But the 
Meuse by its course between Verdun and Liege makes a 
deep depression in this defensive front. It gave the Ger- 
mans an opportunity of occupying at once a very useful 
salient. The strategic advantages of the Ardennes for an 
enemy taking the offensive against the Franco-Belgian 
front on the Meuse made ample compensation, in the 
special circumstances, for the relative difficulties of trans- 
port in this region. The contour of the Ardennes is, in 
general, favorable to the movement of an army from east 
to west. The streams descending to the Meuse flow 

The Deluge Released 55 

generally westward or northwestward, so that the valleys 
extend in directions which correspond with the German 
lines of advance, and lie athwart the direct line from Verdun 
to Liege. The Germans encountered practically no resist- 
ance in their advance through the Ardennes until the 
French counter-offensive was launched about August 20th. 
They pushed westward as far as the line formed by the 
Meuse directly above Namur as readily as they reached 
the Meuse below the forts of Liege. The advance-guard 
of the German army in the Ardennes came in contact with 
the French at Dinant as early as August 15th, before the 
forts at Liege had all been taken. The description of this 
engagement may be postponed until a convenient point is 
reached for the consideration of the really significant opera- 
tions in the region of the Meuse which took place late in 
August. We may observe, however, in anticipation, that 
the occupation by the Germans of the salient formed by 
the Ardennes was not only one of the factors which 
hindered the timely cooperation of the French forces in 
Belgium, but it afforded an opportunity of attacking the 
flank of the Allied armies in southern Belgium and so 
turning their entire position and endangering their retreat. 
The capture of the fortress of Huy, midway between 
Liege and Namur on the Meuse, on August 12th, gave 
the Germans undisputed mastery of a crossing-place on 
the river. 

The operations of the German cavalry westward of 
Liege foreshadowed the march of the main invading army. 

Either the intelligence department of the Belgian army 
was entirely inadequate or the Belgian authorities con- 
sciously allowed the people to be deluded by untrust- 
worthy information regarding the nature and prospects of 
the military operations in progress between Louvain and 
Liege during the ten days following the entry of the 

56 The Great War 

German forces into the latter city. For there was nothing 
in the accounts published in Belgium to indicate that a 
disaster impended, or that the progress of operations was 
other than satisfactory. Stranger still, the belief seemed to 
be quite universal that the encounters, which were being 
daily recorded, were really significant battles in which 
considerable forces of the enemy were taking part. 

It is incredible that the progressive concentration of a 
million men in eastern Belgium could have remained con- 
cealed to airmen of ordinary skill or to a military intelli- 
gence department of moderate capacity for discernment. 
Perhaps the Belgian authorities were misled by the hope 
that the French and British would come to assist them in 
time to offset the tremendous disparity in numbers; that 
the French would extend their own front on the left, link- 
ing it with the Belgian right, so as to present a continuous 
front to the invaders and hold them to a contest on parallel 
lines. This expectation, if really ever cherished by the 
Belgian Staff, was vain. The hope that the French could 
arrive in sufficient strength to offset the superiority of the 
Germans could scarcely have been justified excepting on 
the assumption that the invasion in the north was only a 
secondary feature of the German plan of campaign. As 
soon as it became evident that the Germans were throw- 
ing the bulk of their prodigious forces into Belgium, the 
notion that the French could make the necessary funda- 
mental change in their entire plan of campaign and in the 
disposition of their forces in time to meet the Germans in 
Belgium on an approximately equal footing became absurd. 
It is not to the purpose to compare the distances from the 
French and the German frontiers respectively to the battle- 
lines near Louvain. The problem requires us to compare 
the distance from the French eastern front with that 
from the Belgian frontier of Germany to the prospective 

Imperial Brussels, August 2, 1914. 

German Legation 

IN Belgium j/ rj .• 1 

I ery confidential. 

" Reliable information has been received by the German government to the 
eftect that French forces intend to march on the line of the Meuse by (livet 
and Namur. This information leaves no doubt as to the intention of France 
to march through Belgian territory against Germany. 

"The German government cannot but fear that Belgium, in spite of the 
utmost good-will, will be unable, without assistance, to repel so considerable a 
French invasion with sufficient prospect of success to afford an adequate guar- 
antee against danger to Germany. It is essential for the self-defense of 
Germany that she should anticipate any such hostile attack. The German 
government would, however, feel the deepest regret if Belgium regarded as an 
act of hostility against herself the fact that the measures of Germany's oppo- 
nents force Germany for her own protection to enter Belgian territory. 

"In order to exclude any possibility of misunderstanding, the German 
government makes the following declaration : 

"i. Germany has in view no act of hostility against Belgium. In the 
event of Belgium being prepared in the coming war to maintain an attitude of 
friendly neutrality towards Germany, the German government binds itself, at 
the conclusion of peace, to guarantee the possessions and independence of the 
Belgian kingdom in full. 

" 2. Germany undertakes, under the above-mentioned condition, to evac- 
uate Belgian territory on the conclusion of peace. 

"3. If Belgium adopts a friendly attitude, Germany is prepared, in cooper- 
ation with the Belgian authorities, to purchase all necessaries for her troops 
against a cash payment, and to pay an indemnity for any damage that may 
have been caused by German troops. 

"4. Should Belgium oppose the German troops, and in particular should 
she throw difficulties in the way of their march by resistance of the fortresses 
on the Meuse, or by destroying railways, roads, tunnels, or other similar works, 
Germany will, to her regret, be compelled to consider Belgium as an enemy. 

" In this event, Germany can undertake no obligations towards Belgium, 
but the eventual adjustment of the relations between the two states must be left 
to the decision of arms. 

"The German government, however, entertains the distinct hope that this 
eventuality will not occur, and that the Belgian government will know how to 
take the necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of incidents such as those 
mentioned. In this case the friendly ties which bind the two neighboring 
states will grow stronger and more enduring." 

Deutfd]e (SffoniitfdjQft 

in Brlgicn n^ 

momm> ih*^'/r€ yU£^^ ^ 6^^^^^ Jftsr^cjtte^:^^ ^ 

First page of tlir ultiniatiiiii cklivLTiil hv tlie Cicrman Minister to tin- 
Belgian Minister c)t Foreign A Hairs on August z, 1914. 

The Deluge Released 57 

battlefield in Belgium, and to bear in mind not only that the 
French, in shifting their forces to the Belgian theater of 
operations, had to avoid the Ardennes, but that even the 
railway following the valley of the Meuse down to Namur 
was menaced or even interrupted as early as August 15th. 
It was necessary, therefore, that the French should make 
an extensive detour westward. 

It is probable that the Belgian Staff resigned itself as 
early as the second week of hostilities to the humbler task 
of merely delaying as long as possible the irresistible prog- 
ress of the enemy without any expectation of shielding 
their capital or the greater part of their country from 
speedy submersion. They could only hope in this way to 
furnish their allies a few valuable days' respite for consoli- 
dating their position, and to make their contribution in 
this way to the final victory which should eventually re- 
deem their own country from subjection. Considerations 
of expediency might naturally recommend that the pros- 
pect for the immediate future should be concealed. The 
announcement a week before that Brussels would probably 
be abandoned to the Germans might have occasioned 
great consternation and panic without any corresponding 
advantage for the national cause. The charge brought by 
the Germans against the leading journals of Brussels of 
having deliberately beguiled the Belgian people with their 
glowing accounts of fictitious victories is probably un- 
grounded. Numerous examples may be cited to prove the 
amenability of the press, even with the most faultless in- 
tentions, to the deceptive influence of enthusiasm at the 
commencement of all great wars. It may be recalled that 
war was an absolutely unique experience to the Belgians 
of the present day. With the exception of the insignificant 
visitation in 1830-1831, the war-god had spared for ninety- 
nine years the soil of Belgium, once the cockpit of 

58 The Great War 

Europe. The Belgians only felt at second hand the 
disillusionment of the French in 1870 as a sobering 

There were reports that bodies of French troops were 
present with the Belgian army before the latter's with- 
drawal from before Brussels in the direction of Antwerp. 
Such cooperation was probably limited to the French cav- 
alry which entered Belgium as early as the 14th. But the 
Fifth French Cavalry Division was repulsed by German 
cavalry in an encounter at Perwez, north of Namur, on 
August 19th. 

The Belgian forces were concentrated mainly on the 
line of the Dyle with Louvain as headquarters. The rapid 
development of the campaign, after the principal mass of 
the invading forces started westward from Liege, reveals 
the trifling character of the engagements in the Belgian 
plain which had taken place before that time. It is not 
likely that the resistance of the Belgians after Liege occa- 
sioned any perceptible delay in the advance of the principal 
masses of German troops. There was some sharp fight- 
ing before the Germans entered Brussels. But only the 
advance-guard of the German armies was engaged in it. 
The main body of their forces had no occasion to deploy 
for action. The rate of progress of the bulk of the forces 
seems to have been determined solely by the marching 
capacity of the soldiers. Those who arrived in the vicinity 
of Brussels on the evening of the 19th probably left Liege 
on the morning of the 16th. They probably reached posi- 
tions opposite the Charleroi-Mons line of the Allies by 
August 22d. 

A remarkable feeling of buoyancy and assurance pre- 
vailed in the towns on the line of the approaching invasion 
until the enemy was at their very gates, when this impres- 
sion of confidence was suddenly transformed into a frenzy 

Majj showing by tht shaded porlion the extent of the German advance into Belgium and France and the French adv: 
Alsace and Lorraine, August 20, 191 4- 

The Deluge Released 59 

of dismay by the roar of hostile artillery. The contrast 
was impressively dramatic. The spectacle of the diminu- 
tive Belgian army persisting confidently in its hopeless 
struggle with an adversary whose might was as invincible 
as destiny, and exhibiting noteworthy examples of indi- 
vidual heroism, stirs the deepest sense of pathos. 

On the morning of the 17th the distant rumble of 
cannon was first audible in Brussels. On the same day the 
seat of government was transferred to Antwerp, a large 
part of the archives having been transported thither in 
motor-vehicles during the night. 

Soon after noon on the 18th the Germans began shelling 
Tirlemont, and immediately the roads leading westward 
were thronged with thousands of the panic-stricken in- 
habitants who were leaving all their possessions behind 
them. Towards evening the Germans, chiefly cavalry and 
artillery, occupied the town. 

The Germans, who had been repulsed before Aerschot 
on the 18th, resumed the attack early on the 19th. There 
was a spirited contest for about two hours, when the Ger- 
man infantry, supported by machine-guns, assailed the 
defenders on the right flank and forced them to withdraw 
in the direction of Louvain. 

Fugitives from Tirlemont and Aerschot, and from many 
villages in the vicinity of these places, brought terrifying 
news to Louvain, and the Germans followed closely upon 
the grim tidings of their approach. There was great ex- 
citement in Louvain and many of the inhabitants swelled 
the streams of fugitives which were filling the roads that 
led westward. This movement was constantly augmented 
by the populations of numerous villages which lay in the 
track of the relentless invaders and had either been burned 
or were threatened with destruction. Each group of 
country-folk contributed its tale of brutalities which were 

60 The Great War 

exchanged and repeated with inevitable exaggeration and 
even distortion. 

The Belgian General Staff left Louvain for Antwerp on 
the 19th, the Second and Third Divisions covering the 
withdrawal of the headquarters and the bulk of the army. 
There was some sharp fighting near Louvain with the 
troops of the German vanguard. 

Brussels was unusually exuberant during the early days 
of the war. It retained its cheerfulness and equanimity 
until the 18th. Every afternoon and evening the prin- 
cipal boulevards were thronged, and a great multitude 
stood in the Place Rogier, in front of the Northern Rail- 
way Station (Gare du Nord), in eager expectation of news. 
Crowds sat before the brilliantly lighted cafes until late at 
night discussing the situation and devouring the latest bul- 
letins, or seizing hopeful bits of information from persons 
who strayed in from the front. 

Life for a few days was invested with a peculiar zest, as 
though grim Fate moved by a fitful impulse of compassion 
was treating with exceptional indulgence those whom she 
had condemned to so many months of gloom. 

A change in the temper of the capital is said to have 
become apparent about three in the afternoon of the 18th. 
The truth about the situation was being revealed by 
startling evidence, the train-loads of hopeless refugees 
pouring into the city, the piteous troops of fugitives, some 
of them bringing a tithe of their possessions in carts and 
wheelbarrows, others plodding along with a few belong- 
ings in sacks thrown over their shoulders, others who had 
abandoned everything in the feverish haste of their flight. 
This picture of speechless despair contrasted strangely with 
the idle gaiety of the city. 

The last train left Brussels for Ostend on the night of 
the 18th and people fought for places in it. Then the 

■z t ^ 

The Deluge Released 61 

locomotives and rolling-stock were withdrawn as far as 
possible from the lines between Brussels and Ghent. By 
the 19th communications were severed on all sides. Som- 
ber crowds stood in the principal squares, their feelings 
benumbed, deadened, by the crushing weight of anxious 

During the greater part of the 19th almost uninterrupted 
processions of automobiles traversed Brussels fleeing west- 
ward before the storm of war, while the movement of 
humbler refugees presented its never-ending spectacle of 
misery and despair. Some barricades were erected and 
there was talk of defending Brussels to the last. The 
Civic Guard, said to have numbered about 20,000, were 
posted at the principal approaches to the city. The Amer- 
ican and Spanish ministers, who remained in Brussels, urged 
upon the municipal authorities the futility of resistance, 
which would only result in useless destruction of lives and 
property, and endanger, particularly, the city's priceless 
treasures of art. During the following night the order 
came from the king's headquarters that Brussels should be 
surrendered without resistance. 

About ten on the morning of the 20th shops and houses 
in Brussels v/ere closed and shutters were closely drawn as 
the news spread throughout the city that the foe was at 
the gate. An interview took place just outside the city 
between the Burgomaster Adolfe Max and General Sixtus 
von Arnim, commander of the German forces, in which 
the capitulation of Brussels was arranged on terms which 
may be briefly stated as follows : 

1. The free passage of the German troops through 

2. The quartering of a garrison of 3,000 men in the 
barracks of Lailly and Etterbeek. 

3. Military requisitions to be paid in cash. 

62 The Great War 

4. Respect for the inhabitants and for public and private 

5. The management, free from German control, of the 
public affairs by the municipal administration. 

The booming of cannon and the sound of military 
music conveyed the information to the people of Brussels 
that the triumphal progress of the German forces through 
their city had commenced. The Germans made their 
entry at about two o'clock in the afternoon, after the Civic 
Guard had been disarmed and disbanded. Although the 
German march through Brussels v^as undoubtedly deter- 
mined by strategic considerations, those who managed its 
details evidently proposed to secure all the incidental ad- 
vantages or satisfaction from an impressive display of the 
varied might and efficiency of the German military machine. 
All branches of the service and all departments of military 
activity were represented or suggested while the German 
host defiled through the streets of Brussels. 

Squadrons of Uhlans headed the march followed by one 
hundred motor-cars mounting quick-firing guns. Every 
regiment was preceded by its own band. The soldiers 
sang their national anthems. Die Wacht am Rhein and 
Deutschland, Deutschland iiber allesy to the sledge-hammer 
time-beat of their heavy boots on the stone pavements. 
There were cavalry, infantry, and artillery, rapid-fire guns, 
howitzers, and even heavy siege-guns. The columns kept 
on one side of the roadway with unfailing precision, leav- 
ing the other side unimpeded for the passage of automo- 
biles, the service of communication between different parts 
of the fine by mounted orderlies, motor-cyclists, etc. Porta- 
ble kitchens accompanied the columns, and food and re- 
freshments were served to the soldiers on the march. Even 
letters and postcards were collected and distributed by those 
appointed for this service while the column was in motion. 

The Deluge Released 63 

The Germans entered Brussels by the Louvain Road, 
descended past the Botanical Garden to Place Rogier in 
front of the Northern Railway Station, and then passed 
through the principal boulevards to the heights near 
Koeckelberg, where many of them encamped. All wore 
the new German field-uniform of a greenish-gray color, a 
most neutral, evasive tone, which makes all objects blend 
completely with their natural environment at a very short 
distance. The helmets of the soldiers were covered in 
this same color. The entire material equipment of the 
army, — gun-carriages and caissons, wagons, motor-vehicles, 
and the like, — was painted to match. It was an example 
illustrating the comprehensive scope of German efficiency 
and prevision. An eye-witness compares this color to the 
"gray of the hour just before daybreak, the gray of unpol- 
ished steel, of the mist among the trees." 

Artillery was posted at important positions to command 
the principal streets and squares, before the ministries and 
railway stations. The Germans suspected that fully 10,000 
Belgian soldiers were concealed in the city in civilian cos- 
tume. But the people of Brussels maintained a quiet, 
dignified bearing. Crowds watched the German host as 
it defiled through the streets with silent, unbending amaze- 
ment. But Brussels gave no cause for reprisals. 

Hour after hour, day after day, the greenish-gray column 
wound like a serpent through the city, until its duration 
seemed unearthly, uncanny. Probably about 300,000 
Germans passed through Brussels and its vicinity within 
three days. 

The Germans had hoped to overpower the forts of Liege 
by their unexpected, impetuous assault and straightway 
open the road into France by way of the valleys of the 
Meuse and the Sambre without occupying any more Bel- 
gian territory than was necessary to afford a passageway 

64 The Great War 

across and a covering for their lines of communication. 
The occupation of Brussels was regarded at the time by the 
press of the Allies as a spectacular coup intended to over- 
awe the Belgians, impress the world at large, and fore- 
shadow the triumphal entry into Paris. It has also been 
said that the resistance of the Belgians forced the Germans 
to take a somewhat longer route leading through Brussels. 
Namur barred the direct route from Liege to Paris. The 
fact that the Germans appeared on the line of the Sambre 
above Namur as early as the 21st, while many of the forts 
of Namur held out until the 25th, shows that they had to 
pass northward of Namur. 

But the occupation of Brussels by the Germans was 
probably not due solely to the opposition of the Belgians, 
even the resistance of Namur, although this in itself neces- 
sitated a detour northward. It is absolutely essential for 
the provisioning and orderly progress of large armies that 
they should advance by many parallel roads. The tremen- 
dous forces which traversed Belgium from the vicinity of 
Liege westward must in any case have utilized all the main 
highways between the line of the Meuse and the Sambre 
and a line extending through Brussels. The actual effect of 
their march was like drawing a great comb across the coun- 
try, with the teeth moving in the principal lines of com- 
munication. The Germans advanced from east to west in 
parallel columns with a common front extending north and 
south. When the southern extremity of this front reached 
Namur about the 18th it was delayed until the 25th or 26th 
by the resistance of the forts. Meanwhile the front of the 
advancing columns from Namur northward wheeled to 
the left, pivoting on its left extremity which remained 
stationary near Namur, until it faced almost to the south 
and confronted the Allies on the line of the Sambre and of 
Charleroi and Mons, in a position extending at an angle 

The last telegram received from Brussels. On the morning of August 20, 1914, the 
Amsterdam telegraph office received the above message vchich states, " The Germans have 
arrived, we are retiring, good-bye/' 

Die tJerman torecs nuiic'liing tiuougii Brussels, A\igust zc, 1^14. 

The Deluge Released 65 

of ninety degrees with its original one. The forces on the 
German right, at the flying extremity of the wheeling 
masses, those for instance which passed through Brussels, 
had to cover a comparatively great distance while those at 
the pivot were merely marking time. Troops arriving in 
the vicinity of Mons on the 22d, after passing through 
Brussels, must have marched a hundred miles from Liege 
in about seven days. In fact the extent of continuous 
marching performed by some of them must have been 
considerably greater; for it is reported that many who 
passed through Brussels on the 20th had been marching 
continuously all the way from Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). 
The divisions nearer the axial point at Namur reached 
their positions on the new front sooner than those on the 
flying wing, as is shown by the fact that the French on 
the line of the Sambre were attacked at least a day before 
the British near Mons. 

The possession of Namur, while eventually almost indis- 
pensable, was not immediately necessary for the progress 
of the German plan of campaign. The excellent high- 
ways and railway system of Belgium enabled the Germans 
to disregard for the time the obstruction at Namur. 


The French Counter-Offensive 

Criticism of the French counter-offensive. The French incursion into 
Alsace; entry into Miilhausen, August 8, 1914, French defeated west of 
the city two days later. The clearing of the Vosges by the French. 
Miilhausen retaken by the French on August 20th. The French offensive 
in Lorraine, beginning August 12th, French advance to Saarburg. Turn- 
ing of the tide, August 20th. Battle in Lorraine, August 20-24. General 
collapse of the French offensive. German invasion of France and occu- 
pation of Luneville. Evacuation of Miilhausen by the French. Invasion 
of France from Luxemburg by the army of the German Crown Prince. 
Defense of Longwy. French defeated at Neufchateau. The battle at 
Dinant, August 15th. 

As was explained in the first chapter, a general doctrine 
for the offensive had obtained the official stamp of approval 
in France. It did not follow from this that the French 
should in all circumstances take the offensive from the first. 
In fact, considerations of prudence, based upon relative 
conditions of strength, seemed to recommend a defensive 
attitude for the French in the early stages of the Great 
War. As the event showed, the Allies would have done 
better to receive the shock of the German offensive in 
prepared positions in France, since they were too late to 
intervene decisively in Belgium, and not to pass to the 
attack until the initial force of the enemy had been 
considerably diminished by attrition and the Russian 
invasion of Germany had been fairly started. But it 
was difficult to believe that any Fabian policy would 
commend itself to the French with their impetuous 


The French Counter-Offensive 67 

While in the main the first campaign was actually con- 
ducted by the French in accordance with this more prudent 
policy, there was at the commencement a period of uncer- 
tainty and confusion, perhaps of divided counsels, as to the 
suitable moment for applying the offensive. In th*e early 
weeks of the war the French troops advanced with impet- 
uous eagerness beyond the borders of their own country 
throughout almost the entire extent of the contested fron- 
tier, even before their mobilization had been completed. 
The French invaded Alsace by the Gap of Belfort, dis- 
lodged the Germans from their positions on the Vosges 
Mountains, penetrated into Lorraine as far as Saarburg, 
made their way into the Ardennes to Neufchateau, and 
took up positions along the line of the Sambre in southern 

These movements are not all to be judged by the same 
criterion, although they may all have been regarded by the 
French General Staff as closely related parts of the same 
general offensive action. 

The incursions into Upper Alsace were hastily conceived 
and rather carelessly executed with insufficient forces. 
They were dictated by political rather than strategical 
motives. The government was naturally eager to inflame 
national enthusiasm at once by a brilliant stroke appealing 
to popular sentiment, by taking definite steps towards the 
redemption of Alsace, and the realization of the hope so 
passionately cherished for forty-four years. The expedi- 
tions here referred to left no permanent results of any 
consequence. They involved many persons in Miilhausen 
in the charge of treason, some of whom were brought before 
a court martial and executed by the Germans after their 
return. They dissipated uselessly the energy of the French. 

The occupation of the summits and passes of the Vosges, 
while an almost indispensable preliminary step for the 

68 The Great War 

conquest of Alsace, might also be justified as a defensive 

The principal invasion of German Lorraine from the 
direction of Nancy was apparently planned with the object 
of cutting the railway line between Strassburg and Metz, 
of isolating Metz and Diedenhofen (Thionville) and threat- 
ening the communications of the army invading France 
from Luxemburg, perhaps also of menacing Strassburg 
and Lower Alsace. It is only fair to judge this project 
according to the intention and outlook of those who de- 
vised and directed it. Strange as it may seem at present, 
at the time when this maneuver was commenced, the 
French General Staff probably believed that the Germans 
would deliver their principal blow through Luxemburg 
and that the invasion by way of Liege was only secondary. 
On this assumption there were very good grounds for a 
vigorous offensive in Lorraine even as a defensive measure; 
for there was a fair chance that it would paralyze the Ger- 
man effort through southern Luxemburg. On the other 
hand, the French may possibly have intended this move- 
ment as the execution of the characteristic paramount act 
in their offensive, the penetration of the vulnerable point in 
the enemy's front. In the first weeks of the war the fron- 
tier of Lorraine had probably seemed weakly guarded. 
The concentration was proceeding at some distance to the 
rear. The failure of the French invasion of Lorraine was 
largely due to inadequate intelligence and a miscalculation 
of the available German defensive forces in this section. 
The convex contour of Lorraine on the side of France 
gave the Germans the advantage of maneuvering on inner 
lines. It was comparatively easy, for instance, for the 
Germans to shift their forces to and fro between Dieden- 
hofen and Saarburg, the extreme points of military im- 
portance in the province. The Germans, moreover, were 

Frederick. William, Crown Prince of the German Empire and Prussia, with two officers 

of his personal staff. 

The French Counter-Offensive 69 

well intrenched against the French counter-offensive in 
Lorraine as well as in Alsace. 

Even though the main effort of the Germans was to be 
made far from Lorraine, on the extreme right wing of 
their line of concentration, it was scarcely conceivable that 
they would have denuded this portion of their exposed 
territory of sufficient forces for effective resistance. The 
remarkable character of the railway system of the Reichs- 
land reflects, no doubt, in part an earlier German project 
of penetrating their opponent's lines by way of Nancy, 
between Toul and Epinal. Several railway lines cross from 
Alsace-Lorraine into France, notwithstanding that the 
range of the Vosges bars half the common frontier, while 
eight or nine other lines end abruptly at the French border. 
These lines were provided with very extensive sidings and 
there were eighty unloading platforms in Lorraine alone, 
each more than 1,500 feet in length, capable of accom- 
modating the longest troop-trains. It was estimated that 
Germany could detrain between 150,000 and 200,000 men 
daily between Metz and Strassburg. 

The same criticism may be made of the French advance 
into the Ardennes as of the movement into Belgium gen- 
erally. It was too late to have any fundamental effect. It 
drew the French further from their base, away from their 
prepared positions. It deprived them of the inherent ad- 
vantages of the defensive without giving them the special 
advantages of the offensive. 

With reference more especially to the French advance 
to the positions on the Sambre, it may be said that the 
movement into Belgium was probably made in response to 
a popular and parliamentary demand that the French should 
cooperate directly with the Belgian forces in the defense 
of Belgium. The French troops were first reported on Bel- 
gian soil August 14th, the day before the first encounter 

70 The Great War 

at Dinant. The advance into Belgium would have been a 
judicious measure if the French could have arrived early 
enough in sufficient strength to reinforce and prolong the 
Belgian front at Louvain and impose upon the Germans a 
parallel battle. But for this, preliminary arrangements 
elaborated before the v^ar would probably have been 
necessary. Either the Belgian and French General Staffs 
had not formulated any such arrangements for common 
action in case of the invasion of Belgium, or, if they had, 
the French authorities, acting in accordance with the 
letter of Belgium's communication declining their prof- 
fered assistance on Augu>st 3d, directed the concentration 
of their forces to follow its normal course, as if the main 
attack were expected on their own German frontier. 

Commendable as it seemed in itself, the French move- 
ment northward into Belgium, in the actual circumstances, 
undertaken some time after the outbreak of hostilities as 
an afterthought, did not accord with the general plan as 
already adopted for the French armies. The stupendous 
movement of the Germans through Belgium inevitably 
necessitated a fundamental readjustment of the disposition 
of the French forces at great expense of time and energy. 
The possibility of this unfortunate necessity was inherent 
in the general situation and in the relative strength and 
efficiency of the opposing forces in the West. Unless the 
French foresaw the direction of the chief blow of their 
opponents and concentrated their forces against it from 
the first, renouncing their favorite maneuver of piercing 
the enemy's weakest point, they ran the risk of being 
compelled to shift a large part of their forces at a critical 
period when every hour was immeasurably valuable. The 
advance into Belgium, at the time when it was made, 
merely served to increase this inevitable dissipation of 
energy. The position on the Sambre, a compromise after 

The French Counter-Offensive 71 

the failure to cooperate with the Belgian field army, was 
seemingly fortunate in view of the support of Namur 
and the supposed capacity of this fortress for an effective 

But the defeat of the French army -on the line of the 
Sambre, even before the forts of Namur had fallen, as well 
as at Neufchateau, shows that the French forces were 
entirely inadequate for successful offensive operations in 
this direction. It is probable that General Joffre sanc- 
tioned the advance into Belgium against his better judg- 
ment. Very likely he would have preferred to await the 
German attack on the Lille-Valenciennes-Hirson line. 
While this line did not possess the unparalleled strength of 
the barrier in eastern France, it nevertheless afforded several 
quite appreciable advantages for a defensive action, such as 
the fortifications of Lille and Maubeuge, several detached 
forts between these two cities, and the Scheldt running 
like a moat along part of the front. 

A few days after the collapse of the French counter- 
offensive there were rumors of a misunderstanding be- 
tween the French government and General Joffre and of 
the latter's resignation. A divergence of view regarding 
the principal aims of French strategy may very likely have 
contributed to this state of friction, if it really existed. 

A confusion in the counsels of the French at the begiiv 
ning of the war had been anticipated, at least by their 
adversaries. It is a condition which has been repeated in 
several crises when the destiny of the nation has not been 
guided by the strong arm of a military dictator. In a 
country where parliamentary control is so complete, while 
the balance of power among the various parliamentary 
factions is so unstable, it is very remarkable that the situation 
in this particular instance was not more serious. One 
of the surprising phenomena of the war has been the 

72 The Great War 

comparatively prompt establishment in France of a stead- 
fast leadership with a clear, consistent policy. 

General Joffre issued the following proclamation to the 
people of Alsace on the occasion of the French invasion 
of the province : 

** Children of Alsace! 

"After forty-four years of sorrowful waiting French sol- 
diers once more tread the soil of your noble country. 
They are the pioneers in the great work of revenge. For 
them what emotion and what pride ! 

"To achieve this work they have made the sacrifice of 
their lives. The French nation unanimously urges them 
on, and on the folds of their flags are inscribed the magic 
words, * Right and Liberty.' 

"Long live Alsace! Long live France!" 

The first incursion into Upper Alsace from the direc- 
tion of Belfort was merely a reconnaissance in force, a$ 
spectacular as it was unimportant. It began on August 
7th. The French soldiers who crossed the frontier in the 
radiant sunshine of the summer morning were thrilled 
with the conviction that the hour for the fulfilment 
of the national yearning was at hand and elated by 
the thought of their own participation in this glorious 

The expedition, consisting of about a division of the 
covering troops, was led by General d'Amade, the con- 
queror of Fez. Towards evening the advance-guard, one 
brigade, appeared before Altkirch and drove the Germans 
from their field-works at the point of the bayonet, suffering 
very slight losses. They received an enthusiastic welcome 
from the people of the town. 

On the next day, about five in the afternoon, the French 
entered Miilhausen, the Germans retiring towards Neu- 
Breisach, a fortified town about eighteen miles away. 

— ^H^aldiM, 


The French Counter-Offensive 73 

Miilhausen, situated on the 111, fifty-eight miles south- 
southwest of Strassburg, a great center for the cotton and 
woolen industries, with its 100,000 inhabitants, rich and 
prosperous, set in the midst of a smiling, fertile plain, was 
one of the jewels of the Reichsland. The upper classes 
favored the French, while among the laboring class it is 
said that a sentiment of loyalty to Germany more generally 

Jubilant crowds filled the streets of Miilhausen, eager to 
behold again the tricolor and the once familiar red panta- 
loons of the French soldiers in their midst. They regaled 
their transitory liberators with wine, beer, and food, and 
the women pelted them with flow^ers. 

It was a triumphant revelry of short duration. On the 
next day, Sunday, the 9th, General von Deimling, com- 
mander of the Fifteenth Army Corps at Strassburg brought 
up superior forces to an intrenched position north of Miil- 
hausen and threatened the French outposts. A battle 
ensued the following day, just outside the city to the west, 
and the French, who were only a single brigade, were 
overpowered by the superior effectiveness of the German 
artillery and forced to retire. It was futile to endeavor to 
defend Miilhausen, which is an open town. Nevertheless 
the battle was renewed in the streets during the night; 
and after the French had been driven away, a number of 
citizens occupying houses from which shots had been fired 
upon the German troops were sentenced by court martial 
and promptly led before a firing squad. 

The Germans took 523 prisoners, including ten officers 
in the fi^^hting at Miilhausen. By the 11th the French 
were back again on their own frontier. The sudden col- 
lapse of the expedition was apparently due to the inadecjuacy 
of the French forces, the superiority of the German artil- 
lery, and the deficiency in the French intelligence service. 

74 The Great War 

A similarly impulsive incursion into Lorraine was in- 
augurated by a mixed brigade of the Fifteenth French 
Army Corps. They encountered the German covering 
troops near Lagarde on the 11th and v^ere defeated and 
driven back across the frontier with the loss of about 
1,000 prisoners, about one-sixth of their entire number, 
and found refuge in the Forest of Parroy, northeast of 

By the 13th the German authorities reported that Alsace- 
Lorraine had been entirely cleared of the French. 

The French claim that the observance by themselves of 
a neutral zone along the border within their own territory 
just before the outbreak of the war was utilized by the 
Germans as an opportunity for occupying important posi- 
tions on the crest of the Vosges Mountains. One of the 
first undertakings of the French after war had been de- 
clared was to gain control of these eminences. In this 
endeavor they were favored by the fact that at least in the 
south the ascent from the French side of the mountains is 
comparatively easy. As the forces involved were rela- 
tively small in consequence of the rugged character of the 
ground, these operations have not received as much atten- 
tion as they merited. Generally not more than a battalion 
or a regiment, at most a brigade, were engaged. But the 
difficulties in some places were considerable and much 
skill was exhibited in surmounting them. 

Starting in the south the French captured successively 
the Ballon d' Alsace, Col de Bussang, Honeck, and Schlucht. 
Operations against the Col du Bonhomme and Col de 
Sainte Marie-aux-Mines were much more arduous. In 
this quarter the slope on the French side is steep, the 
mountains are densely wooded, and the ridges are mostly 
so narrow that it is difficult to plant artillery on their 
summits. The Germans had mounted their guns in 

The French Counter-Offensive 75 

well-chosen positions which had already been artificially 
strengthened. The French Alpine troops and mountain 
batteries here rendered valuable service. There were seri- 
ous encounters before these points were taken, but finally 
the French secured positions on the flank and in the rear 
of the Germans, who were forced to retire. 

By the 17th the passes and summits of the Vosges and 
the slopes on the side of Alsace were generally in the 
hands of the French. At this time the general forward 
movement was Inaugurated throughout the entire front of 
the French armies, in Belgium and on the eastern frontier. 

The French renewed their invasion of Upper Alsace. 
The two regiments which lost Miilhausen on August 10th 
retook it on the 20th, capturing the German batteries in 
the outskirts at the point of the bayonet. By the 23d 
Colmar also fell into the hands of the French. 

The Great War has taught the sobering lesson that the 
day for spontaneous popular uprisings has past, that the pas- 
sionate enthusiasm of the untrained multitude is of no avail 
against regular armies, and that a discontented province is 
bound hand and foot by the mobilization and removal of 
its military youth. Thus the supposedly seditious peoples 
of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy made not the slightest 
move when the crisis came, which was supposed to be 
their opportunity. 

The French invasion of the lost provinces was actuated 
in part, no doubt, by the expectation that the smoldering 
fires of discontent in Alsace-Lorraine would flame up in 
open rebellion, and that the population would eagerly join 
forces with their professed deliverers. Several sensational 
occurrences just before the war had tended to provoke the 
resentment of the nationalists in Alsace. The initial act in 
the most recent of these irritating episodes took place in 
Colmar. Johann Jacob Waltz, a German by birth and 

76 The Great War 

citizenship, but a French Alsatian in sentiment, known by 
the pseudonym **Hansi" through his books and sketches^ 
was brought before a tribunal in Colmar and bound over 
for trial before the Supreme Court at Leipzig on the charge 
of treason. His offense consisted in the publication of a 
book entitled My Village iMon Village), with drawings 
lampooning the Germans in Alsace, caricatures depicting 
the supercilious attitude of officers, the petty arrogance of 
the police, the officious pedantry of the schoolmasters. In 
Leipzig " Hansi " was condemned to a year's imprisonment 
on the lesser charge of inciting class hatred and libelling 
public officials. He was granted three days in which to 
take farewell of his relatives, but he promptly took farewell 
of Germany. The report of his arrival in France came 
almost on the eve of the international crisis. Without 
his prosecution the fame of the Alsatian ** Hansi" would 
scarcely have transcended the limits of his own prov- 
ince. Governments are often stupidly insensible to the 
fact that persecution only serves to sharpen the edge of 

General de Castelnau, who commanded the imposing 
concentration of French forces on the rivers Moselle and 
Meurthe with Nancy as center, started a general advance 
along the entire front from the Moselle to the slopes of the 
Vosges on August 12th. 

The French forces along this extensive front may have 
amounted to eight army corps or their numerical equiva- 
lent. The Germans were driven back by the French 
left near Font-a-Mousson and Pagny. The French right 
attacked one of the Bavarian corps intrenched in front of 
Blamont on the evening of the 14th. The battle was 
resumed on the next day. Blamont and Cirey were taken 
by the French at dawn, and the Germans were outflanked 
and driven from the heights to the northward. 

The children and schoolmaster gathered to -n:elcome the stork --whose coming heraldtu 
of spring. The German policeman is seen goose-stepping in the backgroun 

i//t umi'til 

The Fete of Messti cannot officially commence until the German policeman has inspected the 
booths to see that there is nothing displayed ivhich carries the French colors. "For,^^ says Hansi, 
"it appears that the German Empire, ivith her thousands of soldiers, fortresses, Krupp cannons, 
cuirassiers, and Zeppelins, runs an immense danger if at the fete of my -village one small boy 
bloxvs a tri-colored nvhistle. ' ' 

Illustrations from Mow r/7/rfi^<'," For the little children of France," bv Hansi, for which he was tried 
and sentenced by the German authorities to one vear in prison. Published by H. Floury, Parts. 

The French Counter-Offensive 77 

On the 14th the French occupied Mt. Donon near the 
northern extremity of the Vosges, a commanding position 
at the angle between the boundary of Alsace and that of 
Lorraine on the side of France, at the extremity of a 
salient in the outline of the French territory. In conse- 
quence of their temerity two battalions of German fortress 
troops from Strassburg exposed themselves to the fire of 
the French artillery on Mt. Donon the same day in a pass 
near Schirmeck. They were put to rout, abandoning their 
guns and evacuating Schirmeck. 

In the center of their battle-front the French poured 
into Lorraine from the valley of the River Seille and the 
cavalry occupied Chateau Salins on the 17th. On the right 
the French advanced towards Zabern, occupying Saarburg 
on the 18th, and severing railway communication by the 
direct line between Metz and Strassburg. The left had 
advanced as far as Morchingen, nineteen miles southeast 
of Metz. 

The French were pressing upon the entire front of 
Alsace-Lorraine and the Germans were apparently every- 
where retreating, and already a considerable zone of terri- 
tory on the German side of the frontier was in French 
hands. But the rapidity of their progress, which was more 
apparent than real, may have served to put the French off 
their guard. Apparently they were not fully aware of the 
formidable concentration of German forces in progress at 
some distance from the frontier on a line roughly indicated 
by Morchingen, Finstingen, and Pfalzburg. 

The futility of the French counter-offensive is fully 
realized if we reflect that the ephemeral achievements of 
the French invasion were all made before the completion 
of the German mobilization, while the movement col- 
lapsed at once as soon as the concentration of the German 
field-armies was complete. 

78 The Great War 

The army of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria which 
encountered the French offensive in Lorraine consisted 
probably of five of the regular army corps, and contained 
in addition a large number of troops in reserve formations. 
In fact there was probably no great numerical disparity in 
the French and German forces which confronted each 
other in this field of operations. 

The course of events suggests that the systematic retire- 
ment of the Germans from the 13th to the 19th of August 
may have been in complete accord with a definite inten- 
tion of luring the French into a position where both their 
flanks would be open to sudden attack while their front 
would be exposed to the fearful pounding of the heavier 
German artillery in concealed positions. The turning point 
was about eleven o'clock on the morning of the 20th, when 
the First Bavarian Corps took the offensive near Saarburg. 

Apparently the French were surpassed in generalship 
and in the efficiency of their intelligence service. They 
had invaded a region with which all the German officers 
had become thoroughly familiar in the course of recent 
maneuvers. A division of the French Fifteenth Army 
Corps was surprised by the German shrapnels as it was 
preparing its noon meal near Saarburg on the 20th. It 
was subsequently stated that the defeat of the French in 
the general conflict which followed was due to the con- 
fusion and flight of this division. But it is doubtful 
whether the failure of a single division to maintain its 
position was the sole decisive factor in the issue of a battle 
which raged almost continuously for several days along a 
very extensive front. 

The possession of Saarburg and Dieuze was very hotly 
contested. In spite of the occupation of the summits of 
the Vosges, and especially of Mt. Donon, by the French, 
which would naturally render their position on the battle 

The French Counter-Offensive 79 

line In Lorraine more secure, the Germans by crossing 
the Rothe Saar executed a turning movement against their 
right flank. Partly in consequence of this maneuver the 
French were forced back to the frontier on the 21st. 

On the 23d the French army received reinforcements 
from Nancy, but their renewed attack on the German right 
wing failed, and they retired at evening to the Luneville- 
Blamont-Cirey line within the French border. 

On the 22d, 23d, and 24th there was desperate fighting 
along the front of all the armies, on the Sambre and the 
Meuse, in the Ardennes and in Alsace-Lorraine. Perhaps 
we may regard these terrific encounters as a continuous 
battle raging along a line 350 miles in extent, from 
Flanders to the Jura. The concentration of the first-line 
troops was now complete and both sides looked forward 
eagerly to significant action within a very few days. The 
natural converging point for the hopes and speculations of 
the whole past generation seemed to have been reached. 
The world awaited decisive results with tremulous expect- 
ancy. Later, after many monotonous months of almost 
stationary trench fighting in the West, the palpable effect 
of this first tremendous collision of the opposing forces 
seemed astounding by comparison. But the results were 
nowhere decisive. 

On the 20th the French press was announcing the sen- 
sational progress of the invasion of Germany. A few days 
later it took comfort in the reflection that the defenses of 
the country were still intact. 

The Allies were everywhere overpowered and beaten 
back, but without being broken or crushed. The Ger- 
man Twenty-first Corps entered Luneville on the 24th. 
The defeat of the French in Lorraine necessitated the 
withdrawal of their forces from the position in the northern 
Vosges, particularly from Mt. Donon and the Col de Saales. 

80 The Great War 

The French abandoned their offensive in Upper Alsace 
on August 25th. In consequence of the failure of their 
offensive movement in the north and northeast, and the 
invasion of France, it became necessary to contract their 
lines and to send all available forces to the threatened 
regions. Miilhausen was again evacuated. The French 
retained possession of only a small section of the province 
adjacent to the French border opposite Belfort as a sort of 
protruding bastion, from which future sorties might con- 
veniently be made. 

Skirmishing was reported in the corner of France that 
borders on Luxemburg as early as August 3d. The Ger- 
man army advancing through Luxemburg under command 
of the German Crown Prince began the actual invasion 
of France about August 10th. It encountered at once 
the resistance of Longwy on the railway line penetrating 
France from the direction of Luxemburg and Trier. This 
resistance, conducted with unexpected stubbornness, was 
prolonged beyond all prevision. It must have been a 
veritable thorn in the flesh for the Germans, embarrassing 
their communications and the movement of supplies for 
the large army of invasion in this quarter. The defense 
of Longwy, although comparatively insignificant in respect 
to the strength of the garrison and the means with which 
it was carried on, not being one of the major events in the 
evolution of the larger strategic plans of the war, is one of 
the most noteworthy episodes of the conflict. The Ger- 
mans doubtless tried to mask it and continue on their 
route, but its presence in their rear must have been a con- 
tinual cause of annoyance. 

On the 22d the army of the German Crown Prince re- 
pulsed strong French forces which had been pushed for- 
ward from Verdun to the vicinity of Longwy, in accordance 
no doubt with the general offensive movement along the 



The French Counter-Offensive 81 

entire French front at just this time. The old fortress, 
Longwy, designed by Vauban, once regarded as the gate- 
way of France, had been captured by the Germans on three 
previous occasions, on August 23, 1792 ; September 11, 1815 ; 
and January 25, 1871. Garrisoned in 1914 by only a single 
brigade, it held out until August 26th although subjected 
to continual bombardment for at least five days. 

The prolonged resistance of Longwy was only possible, 
of course, because the German siege-artillery was employed 
elsewhere. Nevertheless, the defenders gave ample proof 
of resolution and courage by holding out so stubbornly in 
an antiquated fortress against the fire of the heaviest artil- 
lery which accompanied the German armies in the field. 
The garrison capitulated only when nearly the whole town 
had been destroyed, all but one of their guns had been 
rendered useless, and they themselves were threatened 
with immediate annihilation. The governor. Lieutenant- 
colonel d'Arche, was made Officer of the Legion of 
Honor as a reward for his valor. 

This northeastern border of France, vulnerable at any 
time because the barrier forts do not extend northward of 
Verdun, was an especially sensitive point during the shifting 
of the French forces from the east to the north. 

Partly, no doubt, for the purpose of threatening the 
flank of the Crown Prince's army the French launched 
an offensive movement from the Meuse below Verdun 
into the Ardennes. The French army crossed the Semoy, 
encountered the army of Duke Albert of Wijrttemberg 
near Neufchateau, and suffered a defeat. The victorious 
Germans advanced and crossed the Semoy and the Meuse, 
penetrating into France. 

The vanguard of the French army which had been con- 
centrated for operations in the north probably entered 
Belgium on August 14th, a part of it advancing along the 

82 The Great War 

left bank of the Meuse. At the same time the advanced 
forces of the Germans were pushing westward through 
the Ardennes. The first collision took place at Dinant, 
situated eighteen miles south of Namur, at the foot of 
almost perpendicular cliffs on the left bank of the Meuse. 

Early in the morning of the 15th a cavalry division of 
the Prussian Guard, the Fifth German Cavalry Division, 
and several battalions of infantry with machine-gun com- 
panies occupied Dinant and drove the French from the 
citadel. Later, in crossing the Meuse, they were attacked 
by two French infantry regiments, six batteries, and a regi- 
ment of cavalry. The French artillery was brought into 
action on the heights commanding the river on the west 
and checked the advance of the Germans. The French 
infantry in a violent onslaught forced the Germans back 
over the bridge, driving some into the river at the point 
of the bayonet and dispersing the others. They quickly 
cleared the town and recaptured the citadel. 

The subsequent progress of events growing out of the 
movement of the French forces into Belgium was merged 
with the tremendous course of the German rush towards 
Paris, from which its treatment cannot be separated. 


The Flood-tide of German Invasion 
(August 23-September 5, 1914) 

The Kaiser goes to the front. Disposition of the forces in the West, the 
seven German and five French armies and the British contingent. Con- 
centration of powerful German forces against the Meuse-Sambre salient, 
far outnumbering the Allies. Defenses of Namur. Operations against 
Namur: first attack, August 20th; occupation of the city, August 23d; 
bombardment of the forts, August 22-25. Effect of the sudden fall of 
Namur. The Germans drive the French from the Sambre. Arrival, 
significance, and composition of the British Expeditionary Force. The 
Germans attack the British, August 23d. The " retreat from Mons. " The 
night encounter at Landrecies. The critical situation on August 26th. 
The real objective of the German operations. Situation on August 29th. 
The moral crisis in France and Joffre's decision. Continuation of the 
German advance. Frantic exodus of civilians from Paris. Transference 
of the French government to Bordeaux. Alarming progress of the Russian 
invasion of Galicia. 

The Kaiser took leave of his capital on August 16th to 
join the headquarters at the front. The concentration of 
the German forces had reached a point where great events 
were expected almost immediately. Before leaving Berlin 
the Kaiser issued the following farewell decree: 

"The course of the military operations compels me to 
transfer my headquarters from Berlin. My heart requires 
that I should address to the citizens of Berlin a farewell 
and my deepest thanks for all the demonstrations and proofs 
of affection which have been so abundantly given to me in 
these great days fraught with destiny. I trust firmly in 
God's help, in the bravery of the army and navy, and the 
unshakable unanimity of the German people in the hours 
of danger. Victory will not fail our righteous cause." 


84 The Great War 

The general forward movement followed the completion 
of German concentration with the automatic precision and 
promptness of the thunderclap that succeeds the flash of 
lightning. Tremendous blows were delivered all along 
the front with the bewildering regularity of action of 
intricate machinery. It requires an unusual effort of 
the imagination to correlate the movements of so many 
parts and to perceive in all the varied operations of 
these most strenuous days the unity as of a single battle- 
field expanded to the geographical dimensions of a whole 

We have already taken note of the intense activity be- 
ginning with August 20th that manifested itself in different 
parts of the German front, the hurling back of the invading 
forces in Lorraine, the defeat of the French near Longwy 
and at Neufchateau, and the general advance of the Ger- 
man forces towards the Meuse below Verdun. There 
remains to be described the most spectacular phase, as it is 
the most important feature, of this, the first of the gigantic 
combats of the world-war, namely, the German movement 
on the extreme right, which had been gathering momentum 
for a week, as we have already seen. 

The great design of the General Staff was growing out 
of the confusion of preliminary vanguard skirmishes as the 
walls of a great edifice rise and are gradually distinguished 
from the welter of surrounding scaffolding. Their pur- 
pose was revealed in the general disposition of their forces 
in the West. 

' The German field forces in the West were grouped in 
seven different armies numbered consecutively from right 
to left along the German front, that is, from its northwest- 
ern to its southeastern extremity. The First Army under 
Colonel-general von Kluck was advancing against the Brit- 
ish Expeditionary Force on the extreme left wing of the 





































The Flood-tide of German Invasion 85 

French front. The Second Army, commanded by Colonel- 
general von Billow, and the Third, by Colonel-general von 
Hausen, were directed against the salient formed by the 
Sambre and the Meuse. The Fourth Army under the 
Duke of WUrttemberg, after driving the French out of 
the southern Ardennes in Belgium, threatened the front 
on the Meuse between Mezieres and Montmedy. The 
Fifth Army, led by the German Crown Prince, was ad- 
vancing into France from the Grand-duchy of Luxemburg 
on a line of operations passing between Montmedy and 
the fortress of Verdun. The Sixth Army under the Crown 
Prince of Bavaria, after repulsing the invasion of German 
Lorraine confronted the French on the line Nancy-Lune- 
ville. The Seventh Army, commanded by Colonel-general 
von Heeringen, after the evacuation of Southern Alsace by 
the French, was engaged chiefly in watching the northern 
passes over the Vosges. 

Opposed to these seven there were at first only five 
French armies and the British Expeditionary Force. They 
were numbered from right to left along the French front, 
in other words, from southeast to northwest. It follows 
that the First French Army under General Dubail, in the 
neighborhood of St. Die, confronted the Seventh German 
Army in the region of the Vosges. The Second Army 
under General de Castelnau occupied the position from 
Luneville to Nancy. The Third and Fourth Armies, 
commanded by Generals Ruff^ey (afterwards succeeded by 
Sarrail) and Langle de Cary, guarded the line of the 
Meuse from Verdun to Mezieres, or somewhat below, 
facing the German Crown Prince and the Duke of Wiirt- 
temberg. The Fifth Army under General Lanzerac (sub- 
sequently succeeded by Franchet d'Esperey) held the angle 
between the Meuse and the Sambre, particularly the cross- 
ing places on the rivers. Its front along the Sambre was 

86 The Great War 

prolonged on the left, where the river no longer formed a 
natural obstacle, by the British contingent. 

Throughout the greater part of the western front single 
German armies were matched against single French ones. 
But the two armies which the Germans now possessed in 
excess of the French were added to the right wing, the 
northwestern extremity. This was not all. For, while 
the average effective strength of the individual armies on 
both sides was probably between 200,000 and 250,000 men, 
the German armies varied greatly in size, the First and 
Second being especially powerful. 

About 500,000 Germans traversed the plain of Belgium 
in the great movement westward, while from 150,000 to 
200,000 crossed the Ardennes in the direction of Namur 
and the section of the Meuse directly above Namur. All 
these threatened the salient formed by the line of the 
Meuse and the line of the Sambre as extended westward 
by the front of the British Expeditionary Force. 

The Germans possessing the initiative distributed the 
weight of their attack as they chose, baffling their adver- 
saries by the mysterious concealment of their intentions. 
It presently became evident that the most strenuous effort 
would be made to turn the Anglo-French left flank, and 
that therefore the British force occupied the position of 
gravest danger, since it was posted at the extreme left of the 
Hne of the Allies. Von Kluck was leading the First Army 
composed of five army corps, probably the Second, Third, 
Fourth, and Ninth of the active army, and the Fourth of 
the reserve, against the British, who were numerically 
scarcely the equivalent of two normal army corps. To the 
Second German Army Corps from Stettin was allotted 
the all-important task of turning the British left from the 
direction of Tournai. This corps, which made its first 
appearance at this time, must be added to those already 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 87 

enumerated, as the twentieth German, or twenty-first 
Teutonic, active army corps in the western theater. Gen- 
eral von Billow was bringing up the Second German Armv 
composed of four corps, probably the Seventh, Tenth, and 
the Guard, and the Tenth of the reserve, against the Fifth 
French Army under General Lanzerac, which consisted of 
only three corps. Moreover, the Third Army, commanded 
by General von Hansen, probably four army corps, was 
directed mainly against the Fifth French Army, although 
a portion of the three army corps of the Fourth French 
Army may have received a part of its pressure. We should 
probably not be very far wrong in assuming that in this 
section of the front the Germans outnumbered the Allies, 
including the Belgian division at Namur, in the proportion 
of nearly two to one. 

The Allies grossly underestimated the numerical supe- 
riority of their adversaries. They doubtless calculated that 
the investment of the forts at Namur would absorb an 
appreciable part of the enemy's forces. The Meuse, 
moreover, was a considerable obstacle protecting their 
right flank against attack from the east. 

The defenses of Namur, like those of Liege, with 
which their construction was contemporaneous, consisted 
of a ring of detached forts, in this case nine in number, 
built of concrete with armor-plated turrets. These forts 
were likewise armed with 15 and 11-centimeter guns and 
21-centimeter mortars. General Michel, who commanded 
the Belgian Fourth Division forming the garrison of 
Namur, about 22,500 men, endeavored to close the intervals 
between the forts by means of trenches with barbed-wire 

German patrols made their first appearance before Namur 
on August 14th. The main bodies of the Germans began 
to arrive in the vicinity about the 18th. They did not 

88 The Great War 

repeat the infantry assaults in dense formation which had 
characterized the early operations at Liege. This method 
of attacking the forts, which had cost them so many lives, 
was not required at Namur, partly because this stronghold 
did not constitute so serious an obstacle as Liege, and partly 
because the heavy siege-artillery was available soon after 
the arrival of the main bodies of troops. 

On the evening of Thursday, August 20th, the Germans 
first opened fire against a section of trenches two and 
one-half miles in length between the Forts Cognelee and 
Marchovelette, northeast of the city. Without exposing 
themselves the Germans swept the improvised Belgian 
field-works with a tremendous fire of artillery, against 
which the feeble armament of the Belgians was useless. 
The Belgians held out for about ten hours, crouching in 
their trenches, and then withdrew with difficulty to escape 
annihilation, permitting the German infantry to penetrate 
the space within the girdle of the forts on the morning 
of the 21st. The Germans did not force their way into 
the city until the 23d, when six of the forts were still 
holding out. 

The bombardment of the forts was mainly carried on 
by the 15-centimeter heavy field-howitzers and by the 
21-centimeter (8.4 inch) and 28-centimeter (11.2 inch) 
siege-artillery, discharging shells weighing 250 and 760 
pounds respectively. These pieces can be transported by 
automobile tractors and fired from the wheeled-carriages 
upon which they are conveyed. One of the 42-centimeter 
(16.8 inch) mortars is said to have been employed also in 
the bombardment. The 42-centimeter pieces cannot be 
fired from their travelling carriage. They are usually trans- 
ported by rail, although it is reported that they were some- 
times conveyed by highway in four separate parts, each 
part being hauled by three broad-wheeled traction-engines 

Maji showing by the shaJed |>orli<m the extent of the German ad 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 89 

of steam-roller type, an extra engine preceding the convoy 
to test the road. As has aleady been mentioned, their 
enormous projectiles weigh 2,500 pounds. 

The German artillery took up positions beyond the effec- 
tive range of the 6-inch guns of the forts. The intensity 
of the bombardment may be appreciated by the record of 
shots fired into Fort Suarlee, 600 on the 23d, 1,300 on the 
24th, and 1,400 on the 25th. The turrets of this and the 
other forts were wrecked and the concrete structure shat- 
tered. Fort Suarlee surrendered at five o'clock on the 
afternoon of the 25th, and all the forts were in the hands 
of the Germans by the next day. 

The Germans overpowered Namur suddenly and unex- 
pectedly. The reason, as we have seen, was simple. Their 
siege-artillery, which greatly surpassed in range the guns 
in the forts, was placed in positions where it subjected the 
forts to the full effect of its fire without receiving any dam- 
age in return. The facility with which the capture of the 
fortress was accomplished was an alarming fact for the 
Allies. The possession of Namur was of almost vital 
importance for the safety of the French forces in the angle 
formed by the Meuse and the Sambre, and even for the 
British force which continued the line of their front west- 
ward. The fact that the Allies expected to maintain their 
position in this salient can only be explained on the as- 
sumption that they were confident that Namur would 
make a much more prolonged resistance. Vastly supe- 
rior forces were advancing against them with furious 
momentum, urged on by commanders of reckless deter- 
mination. Namur at the point of the angle was like the 
prow of a ship, which cleaves the billows, but receives the 
full fury of the blast. 

If the forts of Namur had held out, the position of the 
Allies between the two rivers might have been an excellent 

90 The Great War 

one, since they could shift their forces to and fro on in- 
terior lines and strike in either direction. The position of 
the German forces attacking on the two fronts would have 
been an awkward one, their communication being ham- 
pered by the control of the adjacent river-crossings by the 
forts at Namur. 

But the failure of the Belgians to support the pressure at 
Namur precipitated the whole course of events that led 
down to the Battle of the Marne. It inaugurated the most 
critical period of the whole campaign in the West for the 
cause of the Allies. The last barrier to the invasion of 
France went down with the submersion of Namur. The 
human tidal-wave rushed forward with eager certainty of 
engulfing its prey in its tremendous sweep. The invasion 
did not wait for the reduction of the forts. It went around 
and percolated between them. The Germans had gath- 
ered their strongest force to shatter the Allies on this part 
of the line at the first blow. With the resistance crushed 
at Namur the salient in the Allied front was immediately 
flattened out beneath the terrific impact. 

A shell crashing through the roof of the railway station 
in Charleroi at 7.20 on the morning of the 21st was the 
prelude to the bombardment of the town by the Germans. 
On the 22d the German infantry forced its way into the 
city and at the same time seized the crossing-places on the 
Sambre above and below. There was desperate fighting 
in the streets of the city. The Germans gradually advanced 
to the railway station where the French made their last 
stand. The canal passes in front of the station and the 
Germans only gained possession of the canal-bridge after 
an encounter in which the French resisted desperately for 
two hours. After retiring from the lower town of Char- 
leroi the French bombarded it in their turn. Meanwhile, 
the panic-stricken inhabitants took refuge largely in cellars. 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 91 

On the next day, Sunday, the 23d, the French after being 
reinforced returned and attacked the Germans in the streets 
of the town and drove them back over the Sambre. A 
striking feature of the engagement was a terrific hand-to- 
hand encounter between the Turcos and a part of the 
Prussian Guard. The French colonial troops inflicted 
heavy losses on the Germans, but were finally repulsed by 
rapid-fire artillery which had been held in concealment. 
The French were finally driven from the city. 

The crossing points on the Sambre were now in the 
undisputed possession of the Germans. At once the im- 
portance for the Germans of their occupation of the salient 
formed by the Meuse in its deviation westward became 
manifest. Just at the time when the Belgians were losing 
hold at Namur, and the Germans were pouring across the 
Sambre at every available point in front, the French army 
was threatened on its flank and even in its rear by the Ger- 
man forces which had advanced through the Ardennes to 
the right bank of the Meuse. 

A hasty retirement of the army of General Lanzerac 
between the Meuse and the Sambre had become impera- 
tive by the evening of the 22d. But the departure of this 
army exposed the right flank of the British Expeditionary 
Force, compelling it to retire the next day. It endangered, 
moreover, the position of the French along the entire left 
bank of the Meuse as far as Verdun. 

The British Expeditionary Force originally dispatched to 
the continent attracted from the first a degree of attention 
out of all proportion to its comparatively diminutive size. 
There were several reasons for this. The presence of a 
friendly British army on French soil was an almost unique 
phenomenon in history, and it was greeted in Western 
Europe as a hopeful augury for permanent concord and 
the progress of democratic ideals. The reports of the 

92 The Great War 

operation of the British force, submitted from time to 
time by General French, its commander, were unusually- 
clear and comprehensive. The intense feeling of bitter- 
ness against Great Britain prevailing in Germany magnified 
the significance of the presence of the British Expedition- 
ary Force in the German imagination, so that victories 
over it completely cast into the shade successes achieved 
in action against the French where three or four times as 
many men were involved. 

The first encounter between the most highly developed 
professional army and the most efficient national army was 
everywhere awaited with intense, impatient curiosity. 

The London Times published on October 1, 1914, the 
text of an alleged order of the day, said to have been 
issued by the Kaiser to the officers of the German First 
Army advancing against the British, on August 19th, as 
follows : 

"It is my Royal and Imperial command that you con- 
centrate your energies, for the immediate present, upon 
one single purpose, and that is that you address all your 
skill and all the valor of my soldiers to exterminate first 
the treacherous English and walk over General French's 
contemptible little army." 

The authenticity of this document was afterwards denied 
by the German government; but whether it is true or 
false, it may serve as a fair expression of the common 
sentiment in Germany. 

The British Expeditionary Force was commanded by 
Field-marshal Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, the 
most distinguished soldier in Great Britain with the excep- 
tion of Earl Kitchener. Born of Irish extraction at Ripple 
Vale in Kent, September 28, 1852, he was nearly sixty-two 
years old at the outbreak of the war. Though destined by 
his parents for the church, he chose the navy at the age of 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 93 

fourteen and served as cadet and midshipman, but passed 
over to the army in 1874. He performed active service 
with the 19th Hussars during the Soudan campaign of 
1884-1885 and became their commander in 1889. After 
serving on the staff and at army headquarters from 1893 
until 1897, he became a brigadier, commanding the 2d 
cavalry brigade. 

The South African War was the great opportunity for 
the establishment of General French's reputation. For 
he was the one British general who may be regarded as 
having been uniformly successful throughout the struggle. 
He commanded a cavalry division in Natal in the autumn 
of 1899 with the rank of major-general. Later, his con- 
spicuous merit, as displayed in a position of very great 
responsibility in charge of the operations around Coles- 
berg, November 10, 1899, to January 31, 1900, in his 
brilliant dash to the relief of Kimberley, and in his leader- 
ship of the cavalry division in Lord Roberts's campaign 
which ended in the capture of Bloemfontein and Pretoria, 
was recognized by promotion to the rank of lieutenant- 
general in 1900 and to command of the First Army Corps 
at Aldershot in 1901. He served as Chief of the Imperial 
General Staff from 1911 until 1914 and received the rank 
of field-marshal in 1913. Military action being threatened 
owing to the critical conditions arising out of the Home 
Rule for Ireland Bill, Sir John French and other military 
officers resigned their commissions in March, 1914. On 
August 4th the British government having decided to dis- 
patch the Expeditionary Force to France, Sir John was 
appointed to its command. Short and stocky, though 
wiry, in build, his appearance is enlivened by his clear, 
penetrating eyes and his alert, sensitive countenance. His 
coolness and sound judgment are associated with initiative 
and well-calculated intrepidity. Of modest, unobtrusive 

94 The Great War 

personality, he is ever ready to praise the merit of his 

Field-marshal Sir John French arrived on the continent 
and visited the French headquarters on the 14th, and went 
to Paris to pay his respects to the president the next day. 
The first British troops reached the position at Mons 
assigned to them in the French general plan of campaign 
on August 19th. The concentration of the forces origi- 
nally dispatched to the theater of operation was completed 
by the evening of August 21st. They were composed of 
two corps; the First Corps, commanded by Lieutenant- 
general Sir Douglas Haig, consisting of the First and 
Second Divisions, and the Second Corps, under General 
Sir Horace L. Smith-Dorrien, made up at this time of the 
Third and Fifth Divisions. General Smith-Dorrien had 
just succeeded General Grierson, who died of heart failure 
on the 17th. A cavalry regiment was attached to each of 
the divisions, and there were also five cavalry brigades, four 
of which formed a division under Major-general Edmund 
H. H. Allenby. 

The center of the British position was at Mons. The 
First Corps occupied a front extending eastward as far as 
Binche near the western extremity of the French Fifth 
Army. The Second Corps was assigned to a position 
westward along the canal from Mons to Conde. 

British aeroplanes, and cavalry scouts reconnoitering as 
far as Soignies, reported no overwhelming force of the 
enemy near on the 22d. But about three on the afternoon 
of the 23d the situation changed. The Germans were 
attacking some portions of the British front with increas- 
ing violence. The severity of the fighting during the 
afternoon of the 23d is illustrated by the fact that one 
company of the Coldstream Guards lost twelve killed and 
seventy-two wounded out of a total of 120 effectives. At 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 95 

five in the afternoon General French received General 
Joffre's alarming communication that at least three Ger- 
man corps, a reserve corps, the Fourth Corps, and the 
Ninth Corps, were moving against the British position in 
front; that the Second Corps was engaged in a turning 
movement from the direction of Tournai threatening the 
British left flank; and that the retreat of the Fifth French 
Army on the British right had commenced because the 
Germans had gained possession of the passages of the 
Sambre between Namur and Charleroi the day before. 

After testing by means of his aeroplane scouts the accu- 
racy of this information. General French, who had already 
withdrawn his forces a little way from Mons and the line 
of the canal, decided to retire to the line Maubeuge-Bavai, 
where positions had already been reconnoitered. This 
movement, the first stage in the famous ** retreat from 
Mons," was commenced at dawn on the 24th, and was 
successfully accomplished by ten at night, although the 
retiring British were almost constantly assailed by two corps 
on their receding front and one on their left flank. 

The terms right and left as applied to bodies of troops 
will always be used in their significance with reference to 
the position of a member of the respective body in con- 
fronting the enemy. Thus we shall do every army engaged 
in a retrograde movement the formal honor of assuming 
that it retreated with its face to the foe. 

The Second British Corps bore the brunt of the fighting 
on the 24th, threatened as it was with envelopment. On 
the night of the 24th the British occupied the position 
from Maubeuge westward. General French very wisely 
resisted the temptation of seeking cover behind the de- 
fenses of the fortress of Maubeuge. 

The continued retirement of the French army necessi- 
tated the further retrograde movement of the British; 

96 ' The Great War 

otherwise they would have been outflanked at both ex- 
tremities and surrounded. Therefore, the British retreated 
all day on the 25th to the line Landrecies-Le Cateau- 
Cambrai, where positions had been in part prepared. 
Landrecies is situated on the Sambre and Cambrai on the 
Scheldt. The Fourth Division of the Expeditionary Force 
which had detrained Sunday, the 23d, at Le Cateau, ad- 
vanced to cooperate with the retiring forces on the 25th 
and was incorporated with the Second Army Corps, reliev- 
ing the pressure on its flank. The Second Corps arrived 
at its appointed destination about six in the afternoon. 
Meanwhile the First Corps following parallel routes skirted 
the eastern border of the great forest of Mormal, which 
contains 22,000 acres, pursued all day by the Ninth Ger- 
man Corps which was advancing by a route leading through 
the forest, endeavoring apparently, to intercept communi- 
cation between the two parts of the British army. 

The First Corps completed its appointed march between 
nine and ten in the evening, after sixteen hours on the 
road, and was immediately the object of a furious attack 
by the Ninth German Corps. The Germans debouching 
from the woods north of Landrecies assailed the 4th 
Guards brigade in the town. Crowding into the narrow 
streets they were met by the deadly fire of the British 
machine-guns and repulsed with the loss of nearly 1,000 
in a very short time. Meanwhile the First Division was 
heavily engaged south and east of Maroilles. The assist- 
ance of two French reserve divisions and the skilful gen- 
eralship of Sir Douglas Haig extricated the troops from a 
very diflicult situation, so that the corps was able to resume 
its march in the morning. 

General French decided that it was necessary for the 
British forces to continue the retreat until they could find 
a temporary opportunity for repose and reorganization 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 97 

behind the Oise or some other important barrier. The 
26th was the most critical day in the whole retreat. The 
First Corps was directed to retire towards Guise, the Second 
on St. Quentin. The First Corps set out at daybreak, but 
the Second Corps was attacked in such overwhelming 
force by almost the entire army of von Kluck that it was 
incapable of disengaging itself. The artillery of four army 
corps was concentrated upon it. The Germans were mak- 
ing a supreme effort to accomplish the design of crushing 
their adversary's left wing. The most far-reaching con- 
sequences hung upon the issue. General Sordet with a 
French cavalry corps of three divisions retiring by routes 
lying eastward of the British was unable on the 26th to 
lend any assistance. After maintaining the unequal con- 
test with remarkable stubbornness and pluck until 3.30 in 
the afternoon, the British commenced their retreat, which 
was covered by the cavalry and artillery with the utmost 
courage. Nearly a whole battalion of the Gordons was 
cut off in the evening. But the preservation of the Second 
Corps, even with serious losses, in the face of such unpar- 
alleled dangers, an achievement little short of marvellous, 
would have been impossible without a commander of 
exceptional coolness and determination. 

The First Corps experienced less difficulty on the 26th. 
But on the morning of the 27th the Munster Fusileers on 
its extreme right were surprised and surrounded by the 
Germans as they were breaking camp and were forced to 

Henceforward the pressure on the British was very much 
relieved by the cooperation of General Sordet's cavalry and 
of the Sixty-first and Sixty-second French Reserve Divi- 
sions under General d'Amade, which withdrew from the 
neighborhood of Arras. The retreat was continued through 
the 27th and 28th, bringing the British to a position on the 

98 The Great War 

line Noyon-Chauny-La Fere in alignment with the general 
front of the French armies. 

From the 23d to the 27th the British Expeditionary 
Force had retreated about sixty-four miles in four days, 
an average distance of sixteen miles a day, fighting every 
step of the way with characteristic stubbornness in rear- 
guard actions, counter-attacks, and even desperate pitched 
battles, against forces that outnumbered it more than two 
to one. It had suffered serious losses; but had probably 
inflicted heavier losses on its pursuers. Its organization 
and spirit were still unbroken. The incidents in the retreat 
thus far, one of the most brilliant episodes in the annals of 
the British army, form an indivisible feature of the narra- 
tive of the first campaign of the Great War. 

In the meantime, the main part of the French Fifth 
Army was retiring in a direction roughly parallel with that 
of the British contingent, — and in accordance with the 
general retrograde movement of all the French forces 
eastward as far as Verdun, — by way of Philippeville and 
Chimay to Hirson and later to the Aisne. The retreat of 
the French Fifth Army commenced at least a day before 
that of the British Expeditionary Force, as we have seen, 
but after a day or two the British recovered contact with 
the French on their right. The Fifth Army was engaged 
with superior forces led by von Biilow near Avesnes and 
Chimay at the same time that the British were fighting on 
the line Landrecies-Le Cateau-Cambrai. 

On the evening of the 28th, when the British were in 
the position La Fere-Noyon along the Oise, the Anglo- 
French front was practically continuous. The French 
Fifth Army extended from La Fere to Guise along the 
Oise, and thence eastward. The French armies had every- 
where retired before superior forces, their own inferiority 
being due to their somewhat slower concentration and 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 99 

their failure to foresee the direction of their adversary's 
principal attack and to dispose their forces accordingly. 

The retirement of the British exposed the heart of in- 
dustrial France to the German invasion. As soon as the 
retreat of the Allies left it isolated, the Germans invested 
Maubeuge, the most important fortress in the North, 
which commands the principal railway line from Belgium 
to Paris. 

Thousands of the people in the thickly-populated north- 
ern departments were driven from their homes by fear of 
the Uhlans. Hunted from place to place they suffered 
great privation. The bewildering rapidity of the German 
advance deprived them of permanent safety for many days. 
The railways were overflowing with the streams of refu- 
gees. The French evacuated Lille, and later, Amiens. 
The advance of German detachments in the direction of 
the coast cut off the communications of the British army 
with the channel ports nearest England. Consequently 
Field-marshal General French changed his base to St. 
Nazaire with an advance base at Le Mans. 

Von Hansen with the Third German Army inaugurated 
his movement southward by driving the French from 
Dinant on the 22d and afterwards destroying the town. 
After this encounter the French forces in this part of the 
valley of the Meuse retreated southward. There was 
almost continuous fighting on both sides of the river, 
but the main body of the French retired along the left 
bank, while the Germans advanced as rapidly as possible 
on the right bank, eager to gain control of a serviceable 
crossing place. The French in their retreat destroyed 
no fewer than thirty-three bridges between Dinant and 

In one of the delaying actions of the French rear-guard, 
a body of 5,000 French at Marville is said to have held in 

100 The Great War 

check four times its number for twelve hours. The im- 
mediate objective of the German advance in this quarter 
was the important center Mezieres-Charleville, the most 
convenient crossing-point on the Meuse. The two towns 
are separated only by the river, which was here spanned 
by three bridges. Charleville, situated on the left bank, 
is by far the more important place. 

The deep rumbling of cannon, becoming gradually more 
distinct, and even more unmistakably the inevitable crowds 
of fugitives from points in the valley further north, brought 
to the people of these two towns the ominous warning of 
the approaching storm of conflict. Public criers announced 
in the streets at eight o'clock on the evening of the 24th 
that Charleville had to be evacuated by its inhabitants at 
once, since it was going to be bombarded in two hours. 
Railway service had already been discontinued, and soon 
the roads in the direction of the temporary rail-heads were 
filled with frightened people groping their way in the 
darkness and confusion, carrying as best they could their 
most necessary belongings. The sudden and peremptory 
dispersal of an entire population at Charleville, as else- 
where, inevitably caused many pitiful occurrences and dire 

The German advance-guard entering Mezieres on the 
25th found the bridges intact and unguarded and they 
hastened to occupy Charleville. They had no sooner 
crossed the river than the bridges were blown up by 
bombs which had been placed in position by the French 
before they retreated. At the same time a French detach- 
ment concealed in the apparently deserted houses opened 
fire upon them with machine-guns with deadly effect. But 
the Germans, who were likewise provided with machine- 
guns, also sought the cover of the houses, returned the fire 
of the French, and finally drove them from the town. 

villi: wmm 

I .' \ I'liii'i' ciiiii'iiiii- )'•%( (l;iiis iiiilri- \||l<- : 
I1.11I-. -.<iimiii'% ii\Ni", (iiii- If ('.iiiiiiii:iii<l:iiil 
ill'-, li'iiii|ii--^ i|iii' r Vrlilli'i'ii' ;ilii'iii.iiiil<' i»'<'ii|ii' 
li -N li;iiili'iir>< i'ii\ iroiiiiiiiili'^. |i|-i''li'>> :i imiii 
l.^ r il liii'< iiili. I- l:i \ illi . ;iii |ii<iiii.c i. L- 
(I hi.^lilili iiui ^1 i-.iil n.iui.iK i-.)iili-. !• - 

\ii I i.iili-.iir.' -i iiii.iiii :ul<- ill '■< il'icri- ii' 
V,, |,M.<liiil. 1.1 sill. <l I' •- li^iliil ml- I-, --l.V...,! 
;.t,-.ituiii. Ill iii|:i.I-.. 

/ ' I,.,.fr., , . Hl.»,„.l... I' <l ' 

\',.^ SiiKKIlAISUN, A, FlglKi 


Douze oCa^es pris parmi !es r.,em- 
bres du Conscil iVTunitipal auxquels 
s'est ,aint M. le Procureur-General, 
repor.dent sur leur vie de iengageiDent pris 
Pcir h Munic.paliie qu'aiicun acte dhsstilite ne sera 
couimis piir la popuialion conire les troupes 'illc- 

I V.,., .,. U,;.. 

A. ,F10UET. 

Notices posted in the city of Amiens. 


The enemy's army is in our city : we are notified by 
the Commander of the tfoops that the German Artillery 
occupy the neighboring heights, ready to bombard the city 
and set it on fire at the first hostile act committed against 
the troops. 

On the other hand, if no act of such a nature takes place 
the city and its inhabitants will remain absolutely intact. 

Amiens, August 31, 1914. 
The Commander of the German forces. The Mayor, 


Twelve hostages selected from the members of the 
Municipal Council, together with the attorney-general, 
answer with their lives for the engagement made by the 
municipality that no hostile act shall be made by the in- 
habitants against the German troops. 

August 31, 1914. 

The Se nat or - Mayor , 

German infantry marching through Amiens, August 31, 19 14. French women at a street 
hydrant handing water to the soldiers. 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 101 

The French artillery on the heights commanding Me- 
zieres-Charleville occasioned much annoyance to the main 
body of the German forces until the latter, after throwing 
pontoon bridges across the river, brought up their heavier 
pieces and drove it away. 

The principal part of the German Third Army under 
von Hausen, after taking the fortress Les Ayvelles on the 
Meuse, advanced to Rethel on the Aisne, where it defeated 
the French on August 30th. Givet, the frontier fortress 
at the northern extremity of a narrow projection of French 
territory extending far down the valley of the Meuse in 
the direction of Dinant, held out against the Germans until 
the 31st. Its prolonged resistance, like that of Longwy 
in the northeast, was made possible by the fact that the 
Germans concentrated their heavy siege-artillery against 
Namur, and later transported it to the positions before 
Maubeuge, leaving the lesser strongholds to be bombarded 
by the howitzers which accompanied the field armies, for- 
midable pieces, it is true, but far less disruptive in their 

After the capture of Longwy the German Crown Prince 
advanced resolutely towards the section of the Meuse below 
Verdun. The old citadel of Montmedy on an eminence 
commanding an important passage of the Chiers was taken 
without much difficulty. The Germans claim to have 
found hundreds of packages of dum-dum bullets in it. 
The French attempted to blow up the railway tunnel at 
this point, but the Germans employed the services of 
their prisoners in clearing away the wreckage very quickly, 
and even laid an extra track around the elevation which 
the tunnel perforates. 

There was some stubborn fighting before the Germans 
effected the passage of the Meuse. But the French who 
contested the crossing were finally driven from the heights 

102 The Great War 

on the left bank by the German artillery with its superior 
range. The French destroyed the bridge at Stenay, but in 
two days the German engineers had erected a temporary 
structure to replace it. 

German concentration in the West had scarcely been 
completed when the civilian population in Germany was 
gladdened by reports of the fortunate progress of the 
offensive movement inaugurated in Lorraine on August 
20th. Rumors of a great victory were greeted with rapt- 
urous expressions of delight in Berlin on the 21st. Build- 
ings were decorated along the leading thoroughfares. The 
visit of the Kaiserin to the Crown Princess was the occa- 
sion for a public demonstration before the palace where 
the latter resided. In Unter den Linden crowds waited 
until after midnight for more definite news. 

Very keen satisfaction was felt in Bavaria because the 
victorious army had been commanded by the Bavarian 
Crown Prince and was largely composed of Bavarian troops. 
The king addressed the throng before the Wittelsbach 
Palace in the following words: 

"I am proud to see my son win such splendid success 
at the head of his intrepid soldiers. But this is only the 
beginning; great victories still lie before us. I have con- 
fidence in the quality of the German army, which will 
remain the victor, however great the numerical superiority 
of its enemies may be." 

Tidings of a series of German victories followed with 
bewildering regularity confirming or surpassing the most 
sanguine expectations. The strongest fortresses had crum- 
bled in a few days beneath the fire of the German siege- 
artillery. The French invasion of the Reichsland had been 
brought to a sudden and inglorious termination. The an- 
nouncement that the British force, which had been joined 
by three divisions of French Territorials, had been decisively 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 103 

defeated north of St. Quentin with the loss of seventeen 
field-batteries, a heavy battery, and thousands of prisoners, 
was received throughout Germany in a spirit of exultation 
as the righteous retribution for British perfidy. 

By the 28th the Allies had apparently been everywhere 
defeated and were in full retreat along the whole front 
from Cambrai to the Vosges. The Germans were pressing 
forward towards Paris with seemingly irresistible force, and 
after the startling performance of the heavy siege-artillery 
at Liege and Namur the reduction of the forts about the 
French capital was scarcely regarded as a serious under- 
taking. The vigor of the French army was apparently 
being hopelessly impaired by the lack of concord in the 
higher counsels of the nation. The fatal results of the 
democratic political control of military policy in France, as 
so often predicted in Germany, were manifesting them- 
selves with unmistakable clearness. The Germans were 
convinced that a consistent, progressive policy was impos- 
sible in a country where there had been forty-two ministers 
of war in forty-three years. J off re's strategical talent, 
whatever its value might be, was evidently hampered and 
embarrassed by the control of the president and ministry, 
who in turn were subject to the caprice of parliament and 
amenable to the fluctuating influence of public opinion. 

Divergence of views might at times exist in Germany 
in the war councils, but when the decision had once been 
made, it received the unconditional sanction of a final 

Germany was animated with absolute assurance of vic- 
tory and a boundless spirit of elation. There was just one 
shadow of apprehension. The Russians had burst into 
East Prussia with unexpected promptness and thus men- 
aced the Kingdom of Prussia in a very susceptible part, a 
region in which the sentiment of the royal family and the 

104 The Great War 

material prosperity of an influential part of the nobility 
were very intimately affected. But when, after a few days, 
this danger also was suddenly removed, it seemed as if 
the impossible had been accomplished. The Vossische 
Zeitiing expressed this feeling in the following words: 

"The mind is almost unable to conceive what is told the 
German people about their victories from the East and 
West. It is, as it were, a judgment of God which con- 
demns our antagonists as the criminal originators of this 
fearful war." 

The French troops released by the abandonment of the 
offensive in Upper Alsace on August 25th were hurriedly 
transported westward. To the Seventh Army Corps, regi- 
ments of which had been at Miilhausen, four reserve divi- 
sions and General Sordet's cavalry corps were added to 
form the Sixth French Army, which got into position to 
the left of the British on August 29th, thus relieving the 
pressure on the Expeditionary Force. 

Yielding to custom and the convenience of a definite 
geographical indication we have treated Paris as the obvious 
goal for the German invasion of France. Paris is a unique 
center of communications; it is the nerve center of the 
country. Three times during the nineteenth century Ger- 
man armies had marched to Paris as their objective. The 
occupation of Paris in 1914 would have been a moral vic- 
tory that would have created a profound impression in 
consequence of the common habit of associating such an 
achievement with the collapse of French resistance. 

But the attribution of a definite point as the German 
objective is correct in only a restricted and conditional 
sense. For the supreme purpose of the Germans could 
have been no other than to destroy the enemy's field 
armies. The French capital was only incidentally the goal 
because, by directing their armies in the general direction 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 105 

of Paris, the Germans hoped to encounter and destroy the 
field armies of their adversary on the way. Without the 
destruction of the enemy's main armies, the possession of 
Paris itself would have had no final importance. But after 
the destruction of the field forces the resistance of no for- 
tress would have availed to prevent a German victory. 

Five of the German armies in the West were now 
sweeping forward into northern France like a great arm 
moving on the German position before Verdun as a pivot 
stretched out to envelop all the French forces in its 
course. The aim was not merely to outflank the Allies, 
but to encircle and roll them in together, and clasp them 
tight in a deadly embrace. The Germans proposed to 
repeat the victory of Sedan by a maneuver embracing all 
northern France. It was the most imposing military 
movement ever attempted. 

By the 29th, the front of the Allied forces, beginning on 
the course of the Oise, extended on a line indicated by the 
position of the fortresses La Fere and Laon and continued 
eastward along the upper reaches of the Aisne and thence 
across to Verdun. The forces on both sides southeast of 
Verdun had become almost stationary. 

The five German armies striking at the Allied front 
west of Verdun were advancing on lines that tended grad- 
ually to converge. Their common front presented a 
somewhat hollow contour, the western extremity distinctly 
protruding. The left flank of the Allies was correspond- 
ingly pressed back, foreshadowing as it were the ultimate 
success of the German turning maneuver. 

The Germans probably hoped to bring the campaign in 
the West to a victorious culmination in a gigantic battle 
on the broad plains about Reims where the deployment 
of their tremendous forces would be unrestricted and 
where the Allies would be exposed on every side. A 

106 The Great War 

vigorous attack along the whole front would have served 
as prelude to the envelopment of one or both of the wings 
of the Allies and the gathering of all their field armies west 
of Verdun into the fatal snare. 

This, we may assume, was the nature of the German 
plan as it appeared to General Joffre. 

On the 29th the First and Third Corps in the Fifth 
French Army on the Oise executed a brilliant counter- 
attack in the direction of the Somme, driving back the 
Prussian Guard with its reserve and the Tenth German 
Army Corps and inflicting severe losses upon them. The 
German official communiques which exultingly announced 
the "total defeat" of the British near St. Quentin a day or 
two before passed over in silence this exploit of the French. 
The resulting protuberance of the French front near La 
Fere must have accentuated the angle already created in 
this part of the Allied line by the recession of the British 
front towards the left in conformity with the course of 
the Oise. 

But the Allies did not endeavor to make this partial 
success a turning point in the general course of their 
operations. It is a self-evident maxim of good strategy to 
do exactly the opposite of what the enemy wants. The 
Germans wished to bring the campaign in the West to a 
speedy issue while their vigor and numerical superiority 
were unimpaired, and before the progress of the Russian 
invasion in the East necessitated a redistribution of their 
forces. The Allies had thus far evaded by their systematic 
retirement the efforts of the Germans to accomplish their 
purpose. The German turning movement, at one moment 
on the point of execution, had not yet been achieved. 

General Joffre subjected the whole situation to a careful 
scrutiny and visited Field-marshal General French on the 
29th to confer with him on the plan for the immediate 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 107 

future. The situation was still fraught with imminent 
peril for the Allies. The Germans were pressing forward 
with undiminished vigor and greatly superior forces. The 
advance of the Russians in East Prussia had not abated the 
energy with which the offensive in the West was being 
pushed. The left flank of the Allied armies remained 
exposed. Apparently the conditions would have been ad- 
vantageous to the Germans in a great battle fought in the 
actual position of the contending armies. All the material 
circumstances argued in favor of a further retreat for draw- 
ing the Germans on until the situation became favorable 
for the Allies to resume the offensive. Every day that 
intervened before the supreme trial of strength taxed the 
endurance of the invaders, increased the distance that sepa- 
rated them from their bases of supply, added to the French 
reinforcements concentrating in the rear, and intensified 
the Russian peril in the East. 

But a further retreat was beset with the greatest diffi- 
culties of a moral nature. The inevitable abandonment of 
the wounded and much of the equipment in a long-con- 
tinued retrograde movement tends to depress the soldiers, 
to undermine their morale. The temporary sacrifice of a 
considerable portion of the national territory and the con- 
sequent privations and suffering of millions of Frenchmen 
and disruption of the intricate network of industry and all 
human relations would react with tremendous force upon 
public opinion. It was doubtful whether the patience of 
an impetuous people, already sorely tested, would endure 
this additional trial. It required an implacable resolution 
to face such difficulties. 

The evacuation of French territory had probably occa- 
sioned a conflict from the first between the political and 
military leadership of the nation. It is safe to assume that 
the reorganization of the ministry on August 26th was not 

108 The Great War 

without a very close connection with this fundamental 
disagreement. When the haze which still obscures the 
more intimate course of events at that time will some day 
be dispelled, a great moral victory of the French nation 
will probably be revealed, an achievement fit to rank with 
the defeat of the Boulanger conspiracy and the vindication 
of Captain Dreyfus as the third essential step for the per- 
petuation of the republic. In the two former crises the 
French people rallied to the defense of liberty against the 
artful intrigues of despotism. But in the late summer days 
of 1914, as will probably become increasingly apparent, 
this headstrong people, jealous of its freedom, abdicated 
voluntarily, for the course of the war, its privilege of vacil- 
lation, an essential attribute of liberty, and accepted the 
firm, dictatorial control which was indispensable for unity 
of plan and purpose. 

General Joffre decided to continue the retreat, sacrificing 
all other considerations to the single object of victory. 
La Fere was evacuated after a sharp engagement. 

About this time the Ninth French Army, made up of 
three corps from the south, took its position at the front 
between the Fifth and Fourth Armies to steady them 
before the German onslaught. 

The official German communication of General Quar- 
termaster von Stein on September 2d announcing the defeat 
of about ten French army corps between Reims and 
Verdun the day before, while the Kaiser was actually 
present with the army of the Crown Prince, was very 
clearly an endeavor to elevate the daily rear-guard engage- 
ments incidental to the systematic retreat of the French to 
the imposing proportions of a decisive victory for the Ger- 
mans worthy of the anniversary of Sedan Day. 

The French evacuated Reims, September 4th. The 
Germans fired about sixty shells into the city because there 

The effect of the heavv German artillery on one of the forts at Liege. 

Steel cupola of one of the forts at Maubeuge cracked by German high-explosive 
Maubeuge was besieged bv the (iermans on August 27, 19 14, and held out under 
bombardment until September 7th. 


The Flood-tide of German Invasion 109 

had been no formal capitulation after the departure of the 
French troops. On the 5th the Saxon troops of the 
German Third Army marched into Reims singing their 
national hymns and occupied the city. 

The British withdrew on August 29th to a position a little 
north of Compiegne and Soissons, and continued their 
retreat on the following days in conformity with the gen- 
eral movement of the French armies, often by forced 
marches of extreme length. Their route lay through 
the great Forest of Compiegne which contains 35,000 
acres. The rear-guard was attacked with special vio- 
lence as it was emerging from the woods to the south 
of Compiegne on September 1st. The 1st British cavalry 
brigade and 4th Prussian Guards brigade were chiefly 
engaged in the ensuing encounter. After a spirited con- 
test the British repulsed the Germans, capturing ten of 
their guns. 

The British Second Corps followed the main highway 
from Compiegne through Senlis and the Forest of Chan- 
tilly in the direction of Paris, while the First Corps pro- 
ceeded by a route further east. The British were closely 
followed by the Germans and many other rear-guard ac- 
tions occurred. 

By the 27th the railways were bringing great crowds of 
refugees to Paris from the north and east. This influx 
was just beginning to tax the resources of the authorities 
when it was more than offset by the exodus towards the 
south and west of vast throngs who were terrified at the 
prospect of another siege of Paris with all its privations and 
danger. This migration had gained considerable volume 
by August 30th, it was probably stimulated by the appear- 
ance of the first German aircraft over Paris, and it reached 
its culmination when the government's own example be- 
came known on September 3d. The railways, subjected at 

110 The Great War 

this time to an excessive strain in effecting the redistribution 
of the French forces, were unequal to the additional bur- 
den thus laid upon them. Huge crowds in a tumult of 
apprehension choked the railway stations and bivouacked 
before the termini of the principal lines. Numbered 
tickets indicating the order of admission to the trains had 
to be procured forty-eight hours in advance of the intended 
hour of departure. People gladly paid 250 francs ($48.25) 
for passage to Havre by river, and as much as 5,000 francs 
($965) is said to have been paid for the hire of an automo- 
bile for conveyance to the same destination. There was a 
veritable stampede of motor-vehicles whose owners wished 
to leave the city before their machines were requisitioned 
or the highways were barricaded. Endless processions of 
vehicles of every description and of pedestrians filled the 
roads. A vast torrent of humanity representing every sta- 
tion of life poured forth from the metropolis, while Paris 
itself remained strangely tranquil. 

At length the authorities, recognizing the advantage of 
reducing as far as possible the number of mouths to be fed 
in Paris, offered free transportation by rail to those who 
wished to depart for the provinces, making public an- 
nouncement of the hours and places of departure and the 
destination of the trains which were made available for this 

Paris is the center of an immense intrenched camp 
formed by a girdle of detached fortresses, erected for the 
most part in the decade following 1871, with a perimeter 
of ninety miles. It was estimated that 150,000 troops 
would be necessary to defend, and 350,000 to invest, the 
fortified area. But the lessons of Liege and Namur had 
shaken confidence in its impregnability. The open spaces 
between the forts would have offered the same problem of 
defense. Besides, it was evident that the Germans would 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 111 

not have invested the whole circuit of the intrenched 
camp. They would have massed their forces against a 
section of the perimeter, shattered two or three of the 
forts by the concentrated fire of their heavy siege-artillery, 
and rushed through the wide breach thus created. 

The rapid approach of the enemy bringing Paris itself 
within the area of the war zone induced the government 
to decide to transfer its seat temporarily to Bordeaux, so 
as to remain in unrestricted contact with the country as a 
whole. To justify this decision, the following proclama- 
tion was issued on September 2d, signed by President Poin- 
care and countersigned by the members of the ministry: 

"People of France! 

"For several weeks relentless battles have engaged our 
heroic troops and the army of the enemy. The valor of 
our soldiers has won for them marked advantage at several 
points. But in the North the pressure of the German 
forces has compelled us to fall back. 

"This situation has compelled the President of the Re- 
public and the government to take a painful decision. In 
order to watch over the national welfare, it is the duty of 
the public powers to depart temporarily from the city 
of Paris. 

"Under the command of an eminent chief, a French 
army, full of courage and zeal, will defend the capital and 
its patriotic population against the invader. But the war 
must be carried on at the same time on the rest of the 

"Without peace or truce, without cessation or faltering, 
the sacred struggle for the honor of the nation and the 
reparation of violated right must continue. 

"None of our armies is impaired, If some of them 
have sustained very considerable losses, the gaps have im- 
mediately been filled up from the reserves and the levy of 

112 The Great War 

recruits assures us new reserves in men and energy for 

"Endure and fight! Such must be the motto of the 
Allied British, Russian, Belgian, and French armies. 

"Endure and fight, while at sea the British aid us in 
cutting the communications of our enemy with the world. 

"Endure and fight, while the Russians continue to ad- 
vance to strike the decisive blow at the heart of the Ger- 
man Empire. 

"It is the duty of the Government of the Republic to 
direct this stubborn resistance. 

"Everywhere Frenchmen will rise for their independ- 
ence. But to insure the utmost spirit and efficacy in the 
formidable contest, it is indispensable that the government 
shall remain free to act. 

"At the request of the military authorities the govern- 
ment is therefore transferring its headquarters to a place 
where it can remain in constant touch with the whole of 
the country. 

" It requests members of Parliament not to remain away 
from it, in order that they may form with the government 
and their colleagues a bond of national unity in the face of 
the enemy. 

"The government leaves Paris only after having assured 
the defense of the city and of the intrenched camps by 
every means in its power. 

"It knows that it does not need to recommend calm, 
resolution, and coolness to the admirable population of 
Paris which is showing every day that it is on a level with 
its highest traditions. 

"People of France! 

"Let us all be worthy of these tragic circumstances. 
We shall gain the final victory. We shall gain it by un- 
flagging will, endurance, and tenacity. 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 113 

"A nation which refuses to perish, and which, in order 
to live, does not flinch either from suffering or sacrifice, is 
sure of victory." 

A special train left the station of Auteuil with President 
and Madame Poincare and the ministry at eleven o'clock 
on the evening of the 2d and arrived at noon in Bordeaux, 
which had been selected as the temporary seat of govern- 
ment. Other trains during the 3d brought the diplomatic 
corps and Council of State. The offices of government 
were distributed among the public buildings. The pre- 
fecture became the president's residence and the faculty of 
letters of the university was transformed into the Ministry 
of War. 

The eminent chief, to whom the defense of the capital 
had been entrusted, General Gallieni, issued the following 
proclamation : 

" To the Army of Paris and the inhabitants of Paris ! 

**The members of the Government of the Republic 
have left Paris to give a fresh impulse to national defense. 
I have been entrusted with the task of defending Paris 
against the invader. This task I will fulfil to the end." 

This was the laconic utterance of a man of energy and 
quiet determination. It contrasts favorably with the pre- 
tentious rhetoric of General Trochu to whom the same 
mission was confided in 1870. 

Joseph Gallieni, who was born at Saint-Beat, in the south 
of France, April 24, 1849, entered the military school at 
St. Cyr in 1868, and like General Joffre served as sub- 
lieutentant in 1870. He was a member of the group under 
Commander Lambert who surrendered after the exhaus- 
tion of all their ammunition at Balan, the village of the 
''Dernieres Cartouches." Later Gallieni was engaged in 
service in the French dependencies, where he showed him- 
self to be a capable organizer and intelligent administrator 

114 The Great War 

as well as an energetic soldier. He organized the French 
Soudan as lieutenant-colonel. After his elevation to the 
rank of colonel in 1891 he executed important missions 
in Indo-China and Madagascar. He was made brigadier- 
general in 1896 and appointed Governor-general of Mada- 
gascar, a post which he occupied until 1905. He wrote a 
number of works on French colonial subjects, particularly 
on the geography and administration of Madagascar. He 
was the youngest general of divisional rank in the army 
when raised to that grade in 1899. He was appointed 
Military Governor of Lyons and Commander of the Four- 
teenth Army Corps in 1906, and two years later he was 
admitted to the Conseil Superieur de la Guerre. 

The German armies in the extreme West were still 
advancing in the direction of Paris at a speed that is only 
attainable with the extensive use of motor transport on 
such roads as the incomparable highways of France, and 
in a level region. Both von Kluck's army and the British 
whom they were pursuing covered as much as thirty miles 
in a single day. 

Suddenly an armed motor-car conveying about twenty 
soldiers would appear on the German line of march. 
Then groups of from five to twenty Uhlans would spring 
up as if by magic at different points in the zone to be 
traversed by the German columns. Larger masses of 
cavalry supported by rapid-fire artillery mounted on auto- 
mobiles would next appear; and then came the main 
bodies of infantry, regiments, divisions, army corps. The 
compact columns were followed by heavy artillery drawn 
by motor-tractors. Air-scouts projected in every direction 
the vision of the intellectual management guiding the 
movement of the invading hosts with almost unfailing 
accuracy. The whole was impelled by a relentless deter- 
mination and iron discipline. 

The Flood-tide of German Invasion 115 

It seemed almost a question of hours whether the Ger- 
mans would succeed in their great venture or be balked of 
their prize before the very gates of Paris. 

Just at the crucial moment, when the future of France, 
and perhaps of democratic institutions in Western Europe, 
hung in the balance, the dark war-clouds rose rapidly again 
upon Germany's eastern horizon, and this time with the 
menace of such immediate peril as to demand forthwith 
very earnest attention. After a fortnight's continual battles 
on a scale hitherto unknown, Lemberg was evacuated by 
the Austrians on September 3d. The Russian deluge was 
rolling westward across Galicia with irrepressible volume 
bearing the sorely battered Austrian armies before it. The 
gateway to Vienna and Berlin was in imminent danger. 


The Russian Offensive 

Early operations on the Russo-German border. Exaggerated impression 
of Russian might. Natural objective for the Russian offensive. Why the 
Russians did not set out for Berlin from the nearest point on their frontier. 
Lack of natural boundaries. Important rivers : Niemen (Memel), Vistula, 
San, Bug, Narev, Bobr. Strategic consequences of the position of Rus- 
sian Poland as a great salient. Teutonic fortresses and Russian fortresses. 
Russian invasion of East Prussia; the German forces, the Russian Vilna 
and Warsaw Armies. Encounters at Stalluponen and Gumbinnen. The 
Masurian lakes. Von Hindenburg and the Battle of Tannenberg: von 
Hindenburg, the man and his hobby ; his appointment to the command in 
the East, August 22d ; his concentration of troops and chances of success ; 
his plan of battle resembling that of Hannibal at Cannae; Battle of Tan- 
nenberg : the contest at Hohenstein, August 26-28 ; the German occupation 
of Soldau and its results, August 26-27; operations by the German left 
wing, August 26-29 ; the consummation and extent of the victory. Opera- 
tions against Rennenkampf. The situation in Galicia. The Austrians 
invade Poland while the Russians invade Galicia from the east. The 
operations of Russky and Brussiloff and the evacuation of Lemberg 
by the Austrians on September 3-4. Collapse of Dankl's offensive in 
Poland. The defeat of the Austrians on the Grodek-Rawaruska line and 
their withdrawal from most of Galicia. 

Minor operations on the Russo-German border were 
reported as soon as war between the two countries was 
declared. The Germans claimed that the Russians inaug- 
urated hostilities during the night of August 1-2 by acts 
of aggression committed by their boundary patrols, pre- 
sumably before the result of the German ultimatum at 
St. Petersburg had become known on the frontier. 

On the 3d a battalion of the 155th German infantry 
regiment and the 1st Uhlan regiment occupied Kalisz, 
the frontier town in Russian Poland on the railway line 
leading from Lodz into Prussia. It was at this place that 
Alexander I in 1813 summoned the Germans to rise against 


Field Marshal Paul von Bencckeiulorrt' iind von Himlcnhurg, commaiuling tlu' (nrnian 
armies operating against the Russians. 

The Russian Offensive 117 

Napoleon's tyranny. On the same day German frontier- 
guards occupied Czenstochowa, which possesses important 
coal mines and a religious shrine of great sanctity among 
the Poles, frequented annually by thousands of pilgrims. 
Bendzin, likewise important for its coal mines, was taken 
at the same time. 

Allusion has already been made to the German method 
of employing cavalry as a screen to hide artillery and in- 
fantry. These tactics were successful in several minor 
frontier engagements. On the 5th the German cavalry 
near Soldau in East Prussia enticed a body of Russian 
cavalry to a point within range of concealed infantry and 
machine-guns, where they were mowed down or put to 
speedy flight. The German covering troops with artillery 
repulsed Russian cavalry near Eydtkuhnen on the 10th. 

A profound impression of Russia's inexhaustible strength 
was generally prevalent at the commencement of the Great 
War. In spite of their exaggerated opinion of Russian 
inefficiency and unwie^diness, the Germans shared in the 
excessive feeling of awe produced by Russia's tremendous 
magnitude. The danger of living next-door to such a 
prodigy had lately become an obsession with them. Even 
the German General Staff formed its plan of campaign 
with Russia's potential might as the fundamental consid- 
eration. The mad dash to the very heart of France, dis- 
regarding the neutrality of Belgium, was prompted by 
the supposed necessity of concentrating most of the Ger- 
man forces later on the eastern frontier to repel the 
tremendous hordes which the Tsar could muster in time 
from all parts of his vast dominions. In the opinion of the 
General Staff, the completion of the concentration of the 
Russian field armies, which was supposed to require about 
six weeks, set the inevitable limit for the accomplishment 
of the necessary decisive action in the West. To the 

118 The Great War 

Germans, in the wild exultation over the early victories, the 
thought of Russia's millions came like the dark specter of 
a threatening doom; to the western Allies in the depression 
of their first defeats, it was the token of ultimate victory. 
Russia's armies were likened to a ponderous steam-roller 
that would flatten out every obstacle in its course. The 
feeling was very common in neutral nations also that Rus- 
sia's numbers would eventually be the decisive factor. 

All parties failed to discount the fundamental difference, 
which all recent development in the art and practice of 
war has accentuated, between a mere recruit and an effi- 
cient soldier trained and equipped. The mobihzation of 
Russia's armies of the first line was accomplished with a 
rapidity which astonished all observers and lent some color 
to the German insinuation that the Russians had been 
making surreptitious preparations for several weeks. But 
the process of concentration scarcely assembled a tithe of 
the men of miUtary age in the Russian Empire. The 
countless millions that had fired |he imagination of the 
West were not available. Equipment was utterly lacking 
for mobilization on a scale commensurate with the bigness 
of the country. The supply of material of war was the 
crucial problem for Russia from the beginning. The de- 
velopment of Russian industry, satisfactory as had been its 
progress in recent years, had not attained the capacity of 
supplying unaided the material required for warfare on 
such a vast scale, particularly the necessary munitions. 

It was soon evident that the Russian army had under- 
gone a far-reaching reorganization since the disasters in 
Manchuria. The assumed degree of inefficiency and the 
supposed phenomenal size of the Russian army were alike 
fictitious. In the numerical strength of her mobile forces, 
Russia did not stand in a class by herself. The aggregate 
strength of her field armies in 1914 was considerably less 

The Russian Offensive 119 

than the combined strength of the German armies on 
both fronts. But the rapidity and vigor of the Russian 
offensive did much to embarrass, if it did not itself effec- 
tively upset, the execution of the great German plan of 
campaign in the West. 

The natural objective for the Russian offensive was as- 
sumed to be Berlin, just as that of the Germans was thought 
to be Paris. The old-time tradition of the Seven Years' War 
suggested this, and the supposition that the German capital 
was exposed to attack from the east. Some surprise was 
therefore felt when the Russians commenced their invasion 
of Germany at the most remote extremity of East Prussia, 
more than 400 miles from Berlin, rather than from the 
western confines of Russian Poland, whence the distance 
to be traversed was considerably less than half as great. 
The point where the Warta coming from Russian Poland 
penetrates Prussian territory, only 180 miles east of Berlin, 
almost exactly in the direct line between Warsaw and the 
German capital, is an apparently suitable spot from which 
to set out on such an enterprise. 

Yet never, throughout the whole fluctuating course of 
operations in the eastern theater of war, were the Russian 
aggressive movements directed along an approximately 
straight line from Warsaw to Berlin. The tradition of 
operations in the past may have contributed somewhat to 
this. But the main cause must be sought in a considera- 
tion of the physical features and political geography of the 
whole eastern area of hostilities. 

The lack of natural barriers to define political bound- 
aries in this part of Europe was emphasized in the first 
volume. Between the Carpathians and the Baltic Sea a 
vast plain extends from the heart of Russia across northern 
Germany. The Russian boundary of the Teutonic empires 
taken as a whole resembles the figure of a capital S turned 

120 The Great War 

backwards, with East Prussia filling the upper recess, 
Russian Poland the lower, and Galicia falling just below 
the tail. 

The physical character of East Prussia is scarcely dis- 
tinguishable from that of the adjacent Russian provinces, 
and the boundaries of Russian Poland in the direction of 
Posen and Galicia are likewise, for the most part, marked 
by no physical distinctions. 

The noteworthy features of this great plain are its water- 
courses. The general direction of the rivers is northwards, 
since they mostly rise in the Carpathians or their foothills 
and empty into the Baltic Sea. Beginning in the east we 
encounter the Niemen, which flows past the Russian for- 
tresses Grodno and Kovno, in a course generally parallel 
with the eastern frontier of Prussia and about fifty miles 
east of it. Bending to the west after passing Kovno, the 
Niemen penetrates the Prussian boundary and reaches the 
Baltic Sea as the German Memel. The Vistula, by far 
the largest and most important river of this region, rising 
in the Carpathians, flows by Cracow and reaches Warsaw 
by a long, sweeping curve to the left, after forming the 
northern boundary of Galicia throughout a third of this 
section of its course. Just below Warsaw the Vistula turns 
westward and reaches the German boundary, after flowing 
in a generally northwestern direction, about twelve miles 
above the fortress of Thorn. Then traversing West Prussia 
it empties into the Gulf of Danzig. The Vistula receives 
two very important tributaries: the San, approaching it 
from the right near the point where it leaves the Galician 
boundary; and the Bug, also from the right, eighteen 
miles below Warsaw, after this latter tributary has been 
swelled by the waters of the Narev, which empties into it 
on the right. The Bug rises in eastern Galicia and flows 
through Brest Litovsk, 150 miles east of Warsaw, where 



The Russian Offensive 121 

there was an immense military depot protected by a 
ring of forts, the main base of supplies for all Russian 
operations in Poland. East of Brest Litovsk there is a 
large tract of almost impenetrable country, the Pripet 
marshes, one of a number of such swampy areas in Russia, 
which are a consequence and characteristic of the ill- 
defined water-partings. The Narev with its tributary the 
Bobr and the frequent marshes along their course are an 
important defensive feature of the region opposite the 
southeastern frontier of East Prussia. 

Russian Poland, which, for the sake of convenience, 
will be alluded to henceforth simply as Poland, occupies, 
as we have seen, a great salient in the western front of 
Russia, with the strategical attractions of a position pro- 
truding far into the enemy's territory, but at the same time 
beset with insidious perils. This westward extension not 
only brought Russia to a point only 180 miles from Berlin, 
but it bordered on Silesia, a hive of German industry, 
second only to Westphalia in the importance of its coal 
mining and manufactures of iron and steel. 

But a Russian army advancing westward through the 
center of Poland would be threatened on both its flanks. 
The Teutonic allies could launch their blows from three 
sides at the heart of Poland, and the remarkable efficiency 
of their strategic railways enabled them to transfer their 
forces from one part of the frontier to another with such 
rapidity and secrecy that it was impossible for the Russians 
to foresee from what direction a deadly thrust was to be 

Poland is the most thickly populated part of Russia, but 
its railways were few as compared with the lines of Prussia 
and Galicia, and those which existed were partly single- 
track so that their capacity for military purposes was not to be 
compared with the German and Austrian systems. There 

122 The Great War 

were no essentially strategic lines in Poland, and the lack of 
a railway following the course of the frontier all around 
was a very serious deficiency, especially in the operations 
against East Prussia. Throughout the entire course of 
the German, and practically all of the Austrian, frontier 
one or more lines run parallel with the border, which ren- 
dered invaluable service for the Teutonic allies in shifting 
troops and material from point to point. A deliberate 
adaptation of the railway system to strategic requirements 
is evident even in Galicia, where at eleven points the rail- 
heads approached the Russian frontier with no communi- 
cation beyond it. 

While the Teutonic powers relied chiefly on their field- 
armies and splendid equipment of railways, they had not 
entirely neglected the construction of modern strongholds 
to support their defensive and serve as bases for offensive 
operations. Konigsberg is a first class fortress, composed 
of a double enceinte and twelve detached forts, the only 
stronghold of much consequence in East Prussia. Danzig 
and Graudenz are both strong fortresses. But Thorn has 
been the most important German fortress for the opera- 
tions in the eastern theater during the present war, although 
it has never once been attacked. Thorn was the pivot for 
von Hindenburg's railway strategy and one of the bases 
from which he delivered his repeated blows against War- 
saw in the autumn of 1914. The fortified area at Thorn 
lies on both sides of the Vistula, eight of the detached forts 
being situated on the right bank and five on the left. 
While there is a very large intrenched camp at Posen, the 
rich province of Silesia was practically destitute of all 
natural or artificial defenses. Peremysl, sixty miles west of 
Lemberg, the capital, was the principal fortress in Galicia. 
But Cracow, the ancient capital of Poland, now in the 
western extremity of Galicia, was in one respect a far 

The Russian Offensive 123 

more significant position. Cracow was the constant goal 
of the Russians in their offensive in Galicia, although they 
never reached it. The fortress of Cracow guards the nat- 
ural gateway from the valley of the Vistula to that of the 
Oder, a gateway that opens westward upon a natural vesti- 
bule from which corridors lead to Vienna and Berlin re- 
spectively. Cracow is defended by a girdle of six powerful 
forts on both sides of the river. 

At the beginning of the war the Russians prudently 
abstained from any serious attempt to hold the western 
part of Poland. They even withdrew their frontier and 
custom house guards from some parts of the Austrian 
border, so that the boundary control was entirely relaxed 
and Poles were free to join the Polish regiments in Galicia. 
The concentration of the Russian forces was carried on in 
the eastern part of Poland, behind the Vistula, in the area 
covered by the fortresses and more important rivers. 

Besides Brest Litovsk, the Russians had two very strono;ly 
fortified positions in Poland, Ivangorod, sixty-four miles 
southeast of Warsaw, with twelve forts, nine on the right 
bank of the Vistula and three on the left, and Novo 
Georgievsk at the confluence of the Bug and the Vistula. 

The conditions were such that the Russians could not 
hope to advance into the heart of Germany before they 
had cleared their adversaries from one or both flanks of 
their position in Poland. The Russians undertook both 
these operations at practically the same time. For several 
reasons it is more convenient to consider first the move- 
ment on their right wing. The invasion of East Prussia 
advanced at first more rapidly than that of Galicia and was 
watched with keener interest. But very soon it collapsed 
entirely leaving very little impression on the subse(]uent 
course of events, except that it afforded the opportunity 
for the discovery of the greatest talent and the making 

124 The Great War 

of the most distinguished reputation on the German side 
throughout the war. 

As we have observed, it was the intention of the Ger- 
manic powers to hold the Russian armies in check as far 
as possible until the fate of France had been decided. 
After presumably sufficient forces had been directed against 
the Serbian army and an army corps had been sent to 
help the Germans in Alsace, the remainder of the Austro- 
Hungarian army, nearly 1,000,000 men, was concentrated 
on the Russian border. But the Germans limited their 
forces in the East at the beginning of the campaign almost 
to the point of recklessness in their eagerness to give the 
fullest effect to their initial blow in the West. Twenty of 
their army corps were concentrated on the western front, 
so that only five were left to guard the more extensive 
eastern frontier, the First, Fifth, Sixth, Seventeenth, and 
Twentieth. Only the First and Twentieth Army Corps 
were in East Prussia, their headquarters being at Konigs- 
berg and Allenstein respectively. The Sixth was sent to 
reinforce the Austro-Hungarian forces in Galicia. The 
Fifth was probably distributed along the boundary of 
Fosen. The Seventeenth may have been held at its head- 
quarters at Danzig in readiness to support the forces in 
East Prussia. The First was brought up to the eastern 
frontier of East Prussia. Probably an unusually large pro- 
portion of reserve and Landwehr formations were assem- 
bled in this part of the country to compensate somewhat 
for the very great disparity in forces of the first line. 

The Russian army corps ordinarily stationed near the 
boundaries of the Teutonic Empires with their respective 
headquarters were the following: Third, Vilna; Fourth, 
Minsk; Second, Grodno; Sixth, Bialystok; Fifteenth, 
Nineteenth, and Twenty-third, Warsaw ; Fourteenth, Lub- 
lin; Eleventh, Rovno; and Twelfth, Vinnitza. 

The Russian Offensive 125 

The rapidity of the Russian concentration must have 
been a very disconcerting factor in the plan of the Ger- 
man General Staff. The general Russian advance into 
East Prussia commenced about August 16th, just as the 
German deluge was sweeping away the final barriers at 
Liege, and at least a week before the systematic invasion 
of France was begun. 

Three railways which cross the frontier from Russia into 
East Prussia determined the general course of the Rus- 
sian invasion on converging lines. The Vilna Army, as it 
was called, which had been concentrated on the Niemen, 
composed of the Second, Third, Fourth, and Twelfth 
Army Corps of the active army, and the Third and Fourth 
Reserve Divisions, and five cavalry divisions, under General 
Rennenkampf, was ordered to advance westward along the 
main railway line connecting St. Petersburg and Berlin 
which penetrates the East Prussian boundary at Eydtkuh- 
nen. General Rennenkampf was one of the few Russian 
commanders who earned favorable distinction in the Russo- 
Japanese War, in which he commanded a division. 

The task of the Narev, or Warsaw, Army, under General 
Samsonoff, probably made up of the First, Sixth, Eighth, 
Fifteenth, and Twenty-third Army Corps of the active 
army, and the Twelfth Reserve Army Corps, with three 
cavalry divisions, was to assail East Prussia from the south- 
east, from the region of the Narev, advancing mainly along 
the railway lines leading from Bialystok to Konigsberg and 
from Warsaw via Mlava to Soldau and Danzig. Altogether 
more than 500,000 Russians had thus been massed as early 
as August 16th for the invasion of East Prussia. 

The large complement of cavalry was a very useful 
adjunct to the Vilna Army in its advance across the 
northern part of East Prussia, a comparatively open, level 
expanse of territory, well-developed and with good roads. 

126 The Great War 

A long-established popular tradition of the ruthless cruelty 
of the Cossacks was one of the chief causes for the general 
panic and exodus of a large number of the inhabitants at the 
approach of the Russian cavalry, who were soon scouring 
the country far and wide. The consternation and flight of 
the inhabitants was not unlike the havoc occasioned by 
the inroad of the Germans into Belgium at precisely the 
same time. 

The rounding contour of East Prussia and its excellent 
network of railways might have provided the Germans 
with an opportunity of keeping their own forces together 
and striking the different masses of the invading forces 
separately in quick succession. But at first the Germans 
did not operate in accordance with such a plan, either 
from lack of a single commander, or because they under- 
estimated the enemy's strength. 

General von Fran9ois confronted the Vilna Army with 
the First and probably a part of the Seventeenth Army 
Corps and their accompanying second line formations.- 
The Russians outnumbered his forces in about the pro- 
portion of two to one. The Germans tried to delay the 
Russian vanguard at Stalluponen where there was a stub- 
born contest on August 17th. The German reports of the 
fighting in East Prussia at this time resemble in one respect 
the Belgian notices of the operations of the Belgian army 
at precisely the same period. Each series presents the 
seeming incongruity of a succession of victories on an ever- 
receding front. The public was informed, for instance, that 
the German army took 3,000 prisoners at Stalluponen and 
8,000 three days later at Gumbinnen, and that its eventual 
retirement, leaving the way open to Insterburg, an impor- 
tant railway center, was solely due to strategical consid- 
erations. The advance of the Narev Army from the 
south was menacing its line of communications. But the 

The Russian Offensive 127 

immediate cause of the hasty retreat of the troops under 
General von Frangois was undoubtedly their inferiority in 
number to the Russian army in front of them. The Ger- 
mans were hopelessly outnumbered and overpowered; but 
this, in the circumstances, was no disgrace. The Russians 
advanced on a broad front. By concentrating the bulk of 
his available forces at special points so as to gain a tempo- 
rary local superiority, General von Francois was probably 
able to delay and embarrass the Russian forces for a few 
hours at a time. 

The principal encounter in this period was fought before 
Gumbinnen, twenty-two miles west of the Russo-German 
frontier at Eydtkuhnen, on the 20th. The Russians at- 
tacked the Germans in front in a succession of bayonet 
charges. After a courageous resistance of fourteen hours 
the Germans withdrew. In the broad sweep of their ad- 
vance the Russians repulsed the Germans on the left at 
Goldap and occupied Tilsit on the right. The Germans, 
threatened with envelopment, retired in considerable dis- 
order, abandoning much of their equipment along the 
road. The Russians entered Insterburg on the 24th. They 
did not at any time invest Konigsberg or isolate it, although 
their cavalry advanced beyond Tapiau on the railway line 
from Eydtkuhnen. * 

Meanwhile, the Narev Army had invaded East Prussia 
from the southeast. Its left wing put to flight a German 
detachment which had occupied Mlava in Poland and 
drove the Germans from Soldau, an important junction 
point on the Prussian side of the border. At the extreme 
right a secondary mass, detached from the main body of 
the army, was advancing on Lyck by way of Osovietz. 
The Russians had to traverse a dreary portion of the prov- 
ince of East Prussia, but a region of exceptional strategic 
importance, as the approaching great events were soon to 

128 The Great War 

prove. This is the region of the now famous Masurian 
Lakes, a monotonous sandy waste, covered in large part 
by forests of stunted pines and birches. Innumerable 
shallow depressions retain the water in lakes, pools, and 
morasses, the latter often concealed beneath a treacherous 
layer of soil and vegetable growth. 

This labyrinth can only be traversed in a few places by 
narrow passages and causeways between the lakes. The 
intricacy of these Hues of communication is very baffling 
except to those who are thoroughly familiar with the 
region. The different parts of an army advancing in 
separate columns through these various defiles are neces- 
sarily out of touch one with another and afford an excellent 
opportunity for the enemy to attack them separately. The 
region presents the gravest perils for armies in retreat by 
reason of the difficulty of distinguishing the trustworthy 
from the deceptive openings between the marshes and 
sheets of water. The railway system of Bast Prussia was 
admirably designed for making the most of the defensive 
possibilities of this part of the province. A main line with 
double track faciHtated the distribution and shifting of 
troops and suppHes behind the cover of the lakes. 

The Russian column arriving at Lyck separated, one 
part passing south of the lakes through Johannisburg, the 
other part proceeding to the northward of Lake Spirding. 
Thus the army of General Samsonoff was spread out over 
a very broad front where communication and cooperation 
were rendered difficult. 

The Twentieth Army Corps and some Landwehr forma- 
tions opposed the march of the Narev Army, particularly 
its right wing. The Germans made a stand for two days, 
August 23-24, at Frankenau in a prepared position, and 
then were forced to retire, and the Russians occupied the 
headquarters of the Twentieth Corps at Allenstein, an 

Burial of Austrian dead after repulse of a Russian attack on Peremys 

Neidenburg in East Prussia. The destruction is said to have been wrought by Russian gunhre. 

The Russian Offensive 129 

important junction point on tlie main railway line from 
Berlin via Thorn to Insterburg and Eydtkuhnen. General 
Rennenkampf's front was now on the line Friedland- 
Angerburg, and the cavalry of the two Russian armies had 
nearly established contact. 

The progress of the Russian offensive, particularly the 
advance of the Narev Army, unless immediately arrested, 
would in a few days have cut off the army of von Francois, 
isolated Konigsberg, swept the Germans from all the rest 
of their territory east of the Vistula, and so inflicted upon 
them a national calamity involving even more serious moral 
effects than the formidable physical losses. 

By August 22d the German General Staff had become 
convinced that drastic measures were required to cope 
with the alarming situation in East Prussia. A dispatch 
from the Kaiser summoned General von Hindenburg to 
take command in the East, a man sixty-seven years of age, 
who was as little known outside purely military circles in 
his own country as many other commanders who have 
won great distinction in the Great War. 

Paul von Hindenburg (Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von 
Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg) belonged to a family 
of stalwart Prussian Junkers who had served the state with 
loyalty for more than two hundred years. His career 
began as a lieutenant at Sadowa, where he received a slight 
wound. He took part in the battles of St. Privat and 
Sedan and in the operations before Paris in 1870. Later 
he attended the War Academy. While serving on the 
staff of a division at Konigsberg during the years 1881-1883 
his attention was enthralled by the strategical possibilities of 
the Masurian Lakes for the defense of East Prussia. This 
subject became at once his occupation and his pastime. 
He was obsessed by it. He explored every nook and 
corner of this bewildering region. Later, when called to 

130 The Great War 

the General Staff and to the professorship of applied tactics 
in the War Academy, von Hindenburg had an excellent 
opportunity to develop his favorite theme in the course of 
his lectures. Some of his colleagues regarded his apparent 
infatuation with good-natured ridicule. But von Hinden- 
burg's military career gave him a comprehensive experience. 
He rose through the various grades of troop commander 
until he became commanding general in 1903. He resigned 
his post at the age of sixty-four in 1911. At the com- 
mencement of the war he offered his services, but he had 
almost given up hope of an opportunity of actually con- 
ducting the campaigns which he had so long anticipated 
in imagination when the call finally came. 

On the night of the 22d a special train conveyed von 
Hindenburg from Hanover, where he had been living in 
retirement, in company with his Chief of Staff, von Luden- 
dorff, towards the eastern theater of hostilities. They arrived 
at Marienburg, the temporary headquarters, the next after- 
noon. Three days later the battle began which made von 
Hindenburg famous throughout all the world. 

Von Hindenburg is a man of relentless energy and pro- 
digious capacity. The massive cast of his features suggests 
an indomitable resolution. If genius consists in clear and 
searching comprehension, unfailing adaptability to circum- 
stances, and indefatigable patience, then von Hindenburg 
is a genius. He used the means which were at hand, his 
methods involved no startling innovations ; but all his opera- 
tions were characterized by a marvellous grasp, rapidity, 
and thoroughness. 

He proceeded without delay to concentrate with the 
utmost rapidity all the available German forces scattered 
throughout this part of the country. An uninterrupted 
procession of troop trains day and night taxed the capacity 
of the main line from Thorn to Osterode, as far as the 

The Russian Offensive 131 

railwa}^ could be safely operated under German control. 
No feature of von Hindenburg's generalship is more sig- 
nificant than his extensive and effective employment of 
the railways. To the Twentieth Corps and its Landwehr 
auxiliaries, which were already in the vicinity, were added 
the First Corps and Landwehr formations, part or all of 
the Seventeenth Corps from Danzig, and a reserve corps. 
Thanks to the faultless service of the railways the delicate 
operation of withdrawing the troops of von Francois from 
the front of the Russian Vilna Army was successfully per- 
formed. But in all not more than the equivalent of nine 
divisions was concentrated. 

The aggregate Russian forces in East Prussia outnum- 
bered this German army more than two to one. Von 
Hindenburg's only hope of victory depended upon his 
ability to deal with the Russian masses in detail. The 
armies of Samsonoff and Rennenkampf were only two or 
three days' marches apart. Von Hindenburg naturally 
directed his attention first to the army of Samsonoff, the 
nearer of the two. Every moment was precious ; for the 
situation involved imminent peril. If Rennenkampf had 
come up in time and united his forces with those of his 
colleague, the Germans might have suffered an appalling 
disaster. Just at this time in the West the sensational 
dash towards Paris was entering upon its final stage. The 
withdrawal of large forces from the western theater, which 
would have been absolutely indispensable if the Germans 
had suffered such an overwhelming defeat in the East, 
would have been fatal to their entire plan of campaign. 
Everything depended upon the chances for victory in East 
Prussia and upon the skill of a single man. 

In his calculations, von Hindenburg, who had been an 
attentive observer of Russian methods during the Man- 
churian campaign, assumed a degree of hesitancy and lack 

132 The Great War 

of initiative on the part of Russian commanders that justi- 
fied the venture v^^hich he was about to undertake. 

Four different railways form a convenient framework 
for the region in which the decisive encounter between 
von Hindenburg and Samsonoff took place: a section of 
the strategic line which follows in Prussian territory the 
sinuous course of the Russian boundary and a section of 
the main Hne from Thorn to Insterburg, together with 
portions of two other lines, as intercepted by these two 
first mentioned, one between Soldau and Deutsch Eylau 
and another between Ortelsburg and Allenstein. The four 
junction points here mentioned may be regarded as the 
corners of an irregular quadrilateral having a length of about 
fifty miles from southwest to northeast. It contains other 
railway lines of lesser importance. In fact, the remarkably 
convenient communications for a German army confront- 
ing an invader in this area was a factor of fundamental 
importance in the situation. On the other hand, the east- 
ern part of the quadrilateral, as defined above, consists in 
large part of lakes and marshes, with few traversable open- 
ings between them and infrequent highways. It is part of 
the general region of the Masurian Lakes. 

All the means by which an elastic but closely-knit polit- 
ical organism, with its resources well in hand, controlled 
by leaders of vigilance and discernment, can repel the 
attacks of a vastly larger, but cumbersome, neighbor were 
revealed in the rapid series of operations by which von 
Hindenburg swept the Russians from the soil of Prussia 
in the first part of his campaign of 1914. 

Von Hindenburg's defeat of Samsonoff recalls very plainly 
the crushing of the Roman army by Hannibal on the plain 
of Cannae in 216 B. C. which afterwards became proverbial. 
To Professor Hans Delbriick is due the clearest, most con- 
sistent analysis of this very famous battle of antiquity, and 

The Russian Offensive 133 

on the basis of his able interpretation Count von Schlieffen, 
formerly Chief of the German General Staff, once declared 
that Cannae was the prototype of the kind of plan which 
should be the ideal for the modern commander. We may 
assume, therefore, that Professor Delbriick's explanation of 
the Battle of Cannae was current in higher military circles 
in Germany. 

Both the Battle of Cannae and the notable contest which 
will presently be described were victories of nimbleness 
and dexterity against stolid, unintelligent force. In each 
the more talented commander enveloped and hopelessly 
ensnared his opponent. Hannibal led 50,000 men against 
the 70,000 Romans. The Germans claim to have won the 
no less complete victory in East Prussia against similar 
odds, while the Russians assert that the Germans were 
numerically superior to themselves. Both statements may 
possibly be true, each in a particular sense. The entire 
army of General Samsonoff was undoubtedly more numer- 
ous than that of von Hindenburg, but it was scattered, as 
we have remarked, and the Russians declare that only 
seven divisions of their troops were actually engaged in 
the decisive conflict against nine divisions of the Germans. 
The difficult character of the country and the distance 
separating the different routes by which the Russian army 
was endeavoring to advance make this declaration seem 
not entirely improbable. But even if it were admitted, 
the circumstance that through quickness of perception 
and skill in maneuvering von Hindenburg secured a local 
superiority at crucial points no more detracts from his fame 
than do such other favorable factors as his superior knowl- 
edge of the country, a closer contact with his base, better 
transportation facilities, and a more intelligent staff. Mili- 
tary renown that could not endure analysis would rest 
upon a very unstable basis. 

134 The Great War 

Hannibal at Cannae drew up his less effective troops in 
the center of his battle-line in rather attenuated formation 
against the solid mass of the Roman infantry, and placed 
the more steadfast elements of his army in compact array on 
the wings which overlapped the Roman front. The weaker 
Carthaginian center received the shock of the Roman on- 
slaught and yielded ground before it, but without breaking, 
until the wings were in position on the Roman flanks. Then, 
when the squadrons of Numidian cavalry had enclosed the 
Roman rear, the essential maneuvers were accomplished. 
The Romans were completely surrounded, compressed 
into a congested position, where they were unable to de- 
ploy and make their numbers count. The closer they were 
crowded together the more unwieldy became their efforts 
and the more deadly the action of the enemy. What fol- 
lowed was not a battle ; it was simply wholesale slaughter. 

Leading authorities on the art of war unanimously insist 
that the paramount aim in military operations should be the 
destruction of the enemy's field forces, not the occupation 
of his cities or territory. Von Hindenburg perceived at 
once that the successful prosecution of the campaign in 
East Prussia required the immediate destruction of the 
Narev Army and with iron consistency he directed every 
resource to the attainment of this single purpose. He 
adopted the plan of the victor at Cannae, the double turn- 
ing movement for the envelopment of his opponent, the 
method inculcated by German doctrine and confirmed by 
a victorious experience for compassing the enemy's de- 
struction. It is significant, furthermore, that this method 
produced at Cannae the most conspicuous example in an- 
cient times of the destruction of an adversary's army, and 
in von Hindenburg's first great victory the only instance 
in the present war where the same conclusive result may 
be said to have been accomplished. 

The Russian Offensive 135 

The natural conditions and means at his disposal per- 
mitted von Hindenburg to economize in the use of his 
forces, as compared with Hannibal, in two very important 
respects. The almost impenetrable character of the terri- 
tory in the rear of the Russians served as effectually as the 
Numidian cavalry to complete the hostile ring, while the 
excellent railway communications across the rear of his 
own position enabled von Hindenburg to shift his forces 
quickly and secretly and thus use the same troops succes- 
sively for the culminating operations of the conflict in 
different parts of the field. By rapid intrenching he com- 
pensated for the withdrawal of these troops from the posi- 
tions which they had been chiefly instrumental in securing. 

The Russians were advancing northwestward on a broad 
front, evidently with the intention of cooperating with 
Rennenkampf's army for completing the conquest of East 
Prussia as the necessary prelude to an advance beyond the 

The Russian intelligence department must have been 
quite defective. Perhaps the Russians were thrown off 
their guard by the inadequacy of the German forces which 
they had encountered and dispersed thus far. The move- 
ment of troops directed by von Hindenburg may have 
been largely concealed by the forests which cover much of 
this region. For Samsonoff was apparently not aware that 
considerable forces were being concentrated against him 
until the 26th, when he encountered the German army 
posted along the line Gilgenburg-Lautern. 

In his initial dispositions, von Hindenburg, like Hanni- 
bal, concentrated his chief strength on his wings, reducing 
the forces at the center to the lowest degree at all com- 
patible with safety. The German right wing was composed 
of the First Corps and a Landwehr division; the left was 
formed of the Seventeenth Corps near Lantern and a 

136 The Great War 

Reserve Corps opposite Allenstein, which had been occu- 
pied by the Russians. There remained only six Land- 
wehr regiments for the position in the center opposite 

The Russians advancing from Hohenstein attacked the 
Germans who fell back at first without seriously engaging 
themselves. The fighting near Hohenstein, which was very 
severe, lasted from the 26th to the 28th. The function of 
the German center was to hold firm before the Russian 
attack until the double flanking maneuver had been exe- 
cuted by the wings. That the German center did not 
break before the repeated assaults of the Russians is 
largely due to the superiority of the German artillery. 
The Russian gunners were said to have handled their 
pieces with exceptional efficiency and precision. But the 
Russian shrapnels in exploding did not diffuse their charge 
of bullets as extensively as the German. Besides, the move- 
ment of the Russian artillery was rendered difficult by the 
character of the country; whereas the Germans had con- 
trol of a good provincial highway along which field-pieces 
and munitions could easily be conveyed. Later, when the 
Twentieth Corps, half of the Reserve Corps, and other 
parts of the Landwehr Corps had come to the support 
of the center, the Germans turned to the offensive. 
They concentrated their heaviest artillery, subjected the 
Russians to a pitiless shower of shrapnel, destroyed their 
imperfect trenches, and fairly blew Hohenstein to pieces 
with explosive shells. The Russians fled as best they could, 
abandoning most of their guns. Hohenstein and its vicinity 
presented a terrifying appearance for days afterwards. The 
once cheerful town in the midst of the dark pine forests 
was reduced to a blackened, distorted shell. Tall trees, 
shorn of their branches, twisted and scorched, stood like 
grim specters of an awful tragedy. The dead covered the 

9 GERMANS | , , 

! On8/27/l4 

I RUSSIANS ) °/^// '4 

GERMANS I on 8/29/14 

. RUSSIANS f Evening 


Mi|i showing the di!|] 

The Russian Offensive 137 

highway and filled the ditches along the sides, some of 
them disfigured beyond recognition or literally torn to 
fragments by the explosion of the larger shells. A slight 
layer of gray dust that settled like a pall over all the hideous 
wastage of war made the spectacle more revolting by its 
mockery of concealment. 

In the meantime, on the 27th, von Hindenburg concen- 
trated strong forces on his extreme right and pressed the 
Russians back from Soldau. This was part of the double 
flanking maneuver. But its immediate purpose was two- 
fold. It secured for the Germans possession of an im- 
portant junction point, severing the only direct line of 
communication or retreat for the Russians in the direction 
of Poland, and it deceived the Russian commander as to 
the point from which von Hindenburg's heaviest blow was 
to be delivered. The Russians had committed the fatal 
error of strengthening their center at the expense of their 
wings. Samsonoff^ saw his mistake when it was too late. 
He tried to collect sufficient forces to drive the Germans 
out of Soldau, but the movements of his troops and artillery 
towards this quarter of the battlefield were impeded by the 
poor roads. Besides, the Germans had already intrenched 
themselves in a position covered by marshes. Far from 
recovering Soldau the Russians were driven back in the 
direction of Neidenburg. 

As early as the 26th there had been fighting on the ex- 
treme German left, where the Seventeenth Army Corps 
repulsed a Russian army corps which had been advancing 
towards Lautern, driving it back in the direction of Ortels- 
burg and capturing many cannon. 

The field intrenchments protecting Soldau made it pos- 
sible to dispense with a considerable part of the German 
forces on that wing. These were rapidly transferred by 
railway to Allenstein, which the Russians evacuated, whence 

138 The Great War 

von Hindenburg was planning to deliver his culminating 
blow. The Germans advanced, driving back the Russians, 
as far as Passenheim on the 27th. Von Hindenburg now 
controlled the main railway line as far as AUenstein and the 
branch line over to Passenheim. His army was in position 
on three sides of the Russians, and on each side it had com- 
mand of a good highway and all the motor-vehicles in 
the countryside had been requisitioned to supplement the 
railways in the conveyance of troops and supplies. 

Von Hindenburg had only to draw the fatal noose closer 
and closer about the entangled Russians. Eastward the 
series of lakes offered an effective barrier to their escape. 
It was a comparatively easy matter for von Hindenburg, 
thoroughly acquainted as he was with the whole region, 
to occupy most of the solid intervals between these lakes, 
where small detachments operating in the necessarily re- 
stricted spaces could hold their own against vastly superior 

The uninterrupted pressure of the German wings on 
the 28th and 29th bent back the Russian front into a semi- 
circular outline. In proportion as the perimeter of the 
Russian position was contracted in this way, the concentric 
fire of the German artillery became more effective. Dis- 
tributing their heavy guns as they chose the Germans 
poured their shells into the congested masses of Russians 
floundering hopelessly in the swamps or staggering con- 
fusedly through the forests. 

The Russian army was finally separated into two parts, 
one escaping eastward by the only available defile, along 
the railway in the direction of Johannisburg, leaving behind 
their wounded and most of their heavier equipment, the 
other surrounded and forced for the most part to surrender. 

Whatever may be the degree of his responsibility for 
this appalling defeat of the Russians by reason of his 

The Russian Offensive 139 

carelessness, Samsonoff died a hero's death, struck down 
together with his chief of staff in a last vain effort to rally 
his men on the 31st. 

The Kaiser conferred the rank of colonel-general and 
the Iron Cross of the first class upon von Hindenburg as 
a reward for this auspicious victory. 

An official German communication on the 29th, with 
the customary terseness which these documents exhibit 
when they relate victories as well as when they condescend 
to report reverses, announced von Hindenburg's glorious 
exploit in the following terms : 

"Our troops in Prussia under the command of Colonel- 
general von Hindenburg have defeated, after three days' 
fighting in the region of Gilgenburg and Ortelsburg, the 
Russian Narev Army consisting of five army corps and 
three cavalry divisions, and are now pursuing it across the 

At first it was reported that the German army had taken 
30,000 prisoners. But on August 31st Quartermaster- 
general von Stein made the following announcement: 

"The victory of Colonel-general von Hindenburg re- 
ported in the East is of far greater importance than it 
was possible at first to recognize. Although fresh troops 
coming by way of Neidenburg made an attack, the defeat 
of the enemy was complete. Three army corps were anni- 
hilated, and 60,000 prisoners, including the commanding 
generals, and many cannon and colors fell into our hands. 
The Russian troops who are still in the northern part of 
East Prussia have commenced a retreat." On Septem- 
ber 1st came the news that the number of prisoners was 
70,000 including 300 officers; and finally, on the 3d, the 
following official communication was made public: 

"The troops of Colonel-general von Hindenburg in the 
East are garnering further fruits of their victory. The 

140 The Great War 

number of prisoners is growing daily ; it has already reached 
90,000. It is impossible to determine how many cannon and 
other trophies are still concealed in the Prussian forests and 
swamps. Apparently not two, but three, Russian command- 
ing generals have been captured. According to Russian 
reports, the Russian army commander (Schilinsky) fell." 
The reference to Schilinsky, who was Samsonoff's col- 
league, was simply due to a confusion of identity. 

If the Germans took 30,000 wounded prisoners, as has 
subsequently been reported, in addition to 90,000 un- 
wounded, the number of the Russians who were slain in 
battle or perished miserably in the lakes and swamps was 
probably about 30,000. The entire German loss in fight- 
ing strength was from 10,000 to 15,000 at most. 

The Germans have chosen to call this victorious contest 
the Battle of Tannenberg, although no fighting of any 
importance occurred in the vicinity of the village of this 
name. But Tannenberg recalls a crushing defeat inflicted 
by the Poles upon the Teutonic Knights, the pioneers of 
German civilization in East Prussia, on July 15, 1410, a sort 
of Prussian Kossovo. Thus the ignominy of a great defeat 
inflicted by Slavs upon Germans was now after five centuries 
erased by a glorious victory won by Germans over Slavs. 

It was commonly supposed that the prompt invasion of 
East Prussia by the Russians contributed materially to the 
failure of the Germans to consummate their design in the 
West by compelling them to detach large bodies of troops 
from their forces in France. This view has undoubtedly 
been exaggerated. Any great shifting of forces at a critical 
period in the operations in the West would assuredly have 
been made before the destruction of Samsonofl^'s army. The 
earliest notice of an eastward movement of German troops 
is the statement that on Friday night, August 28th, 160 Ger- 
man troop-trains passed through Belgium travelling from 

The Russian Offensive 141 

southwest to northeast, presumably withdrawing at least an 
army corps from the western front to reinforce the army 
in the East. But these troops, reserves or Landwehr of 
course, would undoubtedly have been entrained after the 
climax of danger in East Prussia had already passed. If 
the notice is authentic, the troops which were seen return- 
ing through Belgium may have been intended for service 
on the Galician frontier. It is not the least part of von 
Hindenburg's title to glory that he won the Battle of 
Tannenberg solely with the troops at hand in the prov- 
inces immediately threatened, most of whom had already 
suffered the moral depression of defeat by the Russians, 
without making any extra demand upon the resources of 
the Fatherland at a period of such extreme suspense. 

As soon as von Hindenburg had disposed of the army 
under Samsonoff he struck out towards the northeast, 
scarcely allowing his soldiers any respite, for the purpose 
of dealing with the Vilna Army. Instead of continuing to 
push vigorously westward, or hastening to unite forces 
with Samsonoff, Rennenkampf, grown suddenly cautious, 
had begun to intrench himself on a line running from 
Lake Mauer to Tapiau, where his army faced in the direc- 
tion from which von Hindenburg's attack was naturally to 
be expected. 

The Vilna Army, drawn up in a generally concentric 
position covering the entire northeastern part of the prov- 
ince, presented far too extensive a front for the immediate 
application of the supremely effective double turning 
maneuver. But von Hindenburg hoped that the envelop- 
ment of the enemy's left wing by a turning movement 
through Lotzen, between Lakes Spirding and Mauer, in 
the direction of Goldap would lead Rennenkampf to shift 
the bulk of his forces southward, compressing them on the 
narrow front Gerdauen-Nordenburg-Angerburg, where a 

142 The Great War 

repetition of the tactics of Tannenberg would probably be 

In the interval following the Battle of Tannenberg the 
Eleventh Corps, a Reserve Guard division, and a Saxon 
cavalry division arrived as reinforcements for von Hinden- 
burg. The Landwehr corps was left behind to deal with 
the scattered remnants of the Russian Narev Army. For 
the operations against Rennenkampf there were thus avail- 
able four active corps, one and one-half corps of the 
Reserve, and the Saxon cavalry division, besides some 
minor auxiliary forces posted before Konigsberg. 

The First Corps with the Saxon cavalry division was 
ordered to turn the Russian left wing by marching north- 
eastward in the direction of Goldap, while the other corps 
advanced against the Russian front, their attack converging 
towards Insterburg. General von Morgen with a Reserve 
division, ordered to parry any blow from the southeast, 
successively repulsed on September 7th, 8th, and 9th, with 
severe Russian losses, a Siberian army corps which was 
trying to attack the German right wing in the rear from 
the direction of Lyck and Marggrabova. 

The Germans commenced their main attack on the 9th. 
The enveloping movement succeeded, and by the 10th the 
Russian left wing, its front contracted into a narrow arc, 
was retreating in the general direction of Insterburg and 
Gumbinnen. But instead of leading his remaining troops 
to the threatened wing and engaging his whole army in a 
restricted position facing southward, thus exposing them 
to a fatal snare, Rennenkampf abandoned the imperilled 
left wing to its fate and retreated eastward as rapidly as 
possible with the main part of his forces. Insterburg 
was abandoned on the 11th. In some parts the retreat 
became a rout, so that between thirty and forty thousand 
prisoners and 150 guns were left in the hands of the 

The Russian Offensive 143 

Germans. In a very few days East Prussia was entirely 
cleared of the enemy and the Germans advanced into 
Russian territory, occupying Suwalki, where they set up a 
German administration. 

The splendor of von Hindenburg's rapid achievements 
was somewhat clouded by the failure of his invasion of the 
Russian territory lying eastward of East Prussia undertaken 
in the latter part of September. There was continuous 
fighting in the Forest of Augustovo east of the boundary 
from September 25th to October 3d. The Germans 
attacked Osovietz, a fortress guarding the crossing of the 
Bobr. Situated in the midst of a marshy tract, the Ger- 
mans could approach it only by a narrow defile. They 
reached a point where the fortress was within range of 
their heavy artillery. But the Russians made a sortie by 
night, attacking and outflanking the Germans, who were 
on difficult ground, and put them to flight after a conflict 
lasting thirty-six hours. After the failure of repeated 
attempts to cross the Niemen, von Hindenburg gave up 
the ofl^ensive and fell back into East Prussia. 

To the professional enthusiasm and impetuous tempera- 
ment of the Supreme Commander-in-chief of the Russian 
armies may be attributed in no small degree the initial 
rapidity and dash of the Russian offensive, but probably 
not the lamentable blunders which frustrated the impos- 
ing invasion of East Prussia. The Grand-duke Nicholas 
(Nikolai Nikolaievitch), second cousin of the present Tsar, 
was born in 1856, and began his active military career in 
the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, where his father, a 
brother of Tsar Alexander II, was commander-in-chief 
of the Russian forces operating in Europe. Grand-duke 
Nicholas became lieutenant-general in 1893, and held the 
position of Inspector-general of Cavalry at the time of 
the Russo-Japanese War. He was relieved of the post 

144 The Great War 

of President of the Council of Defense, to which he was 
elevated in 1905, in consequence of opposition in the Duma. 
The command of the military district of St. Petersburg, 
conferred upon him in 1906, involved the assumption of 
responsibility for the Tsar's person at a time when the dis- 
turbed condition created by the revolutionary agitation was 
still serious. 

The grand-duke's marriage in 1907 with Princess Anas- 
tasia, daughter of the King of Montenegro, the pledge of 
a fervent attachment, is one of the forces that made him a 
resolute leader of the Pan-Slavist movement. This cir- 
cumstance and his thorough devotion to the military pro- 
fession marked the Grand-duke Nicholas as the appropriate 
supreme commander in the national struggle. 

At the outbreak of the Great War he was the only 
member of the imperial family who had dedicated his 
time and energy unreservedly to the serious cultivation of 
the art of war. Though a cavalryman by early training 
and inclination, his experience extended to the command 
of the other arms. Having a towering stature, graceful 
carriage, and a keen, penetrating expression, and accus- 
tomed to deal in a direct, open, compelling manner, his 
appearance and qualities are such as impress and inspire 
his associates and the vast armies ready to encounter any 
difficulties and hardships with patriotic enthusiasm. The 
operations inaugurated under his auspices were as signally 
successful in Galicia as they were disastrous in East Prussia. 

To the Austro-Hungarian forces had been assigned in 
the general plan of the Teutonic powers the principal task 
of embarrassing and breaking up the concentration of the 
Russian forces, so as to prevent as long as possible the 
commencement of their expected invasion of Germany. 
This function would of course be performed by an aggres- 
sive action launched from Galicia against the strategic 

The Russian Offensive 145 

positions in Poland. The forces assembled by the Dual 
Monarchy in Galicia were divided into two armies intended 
for the more active field operations and a third which was 
held chiefly in reserve. The first of these armies resting on 
Jaroslaw and Peremysl faced northward towards the heart 
of Poland. This army was to undertake the vigorous offen- 
sive movement in the direction of Lublin and Chelm. It 
was commanded by General Dankl and consisted of seven 
army corps with some minor reserve formations. It is 
said that in general the more reliable elements of the 
Austro-Hungarian military establishment were incorpo- 
rated in this army. 

The second army, with Lemberg as its base, faced to 
the northeast. Its task was to protect the flank and rear 
of the first army during the latter's advance into Poland. 
Its commander was General von Auffenberg. 

The reserve army lay westward of the two others. Its 
active role in the plan for the earliest operations was 
limited to the invasion of the parts of Poland lying west of 
the Vistula, where no considerable masses of the enemy 
were to be expected. Each of the active armies num- 
bered about 300,000, and the reserve army about 200,000 

The Austrians evidently believed that while their second 
army warded off invasion from the south of Russia, where 
the concentration of the Russian forces might presumably 
proceed more rapidly, the first army could strike a blow 
with paralyzing effect at a sensitive point in Poland, where 
the assembling of the hostile forces would still be in its 
early stages. 

The invasion of Poland by the first army commenced as 
early as August 11th. General Dankl advanced rapidly, 
encountering very little opposition at first, with the inten- 
tion of cutting the railway between Lublin and Chelm 

146 The Great War 

and threatening the communications to the rear of War- 
saw. His army repulsed two Russian corps near Krasnik 
on August 23d. Then it moved forward to within eleven 
miles of Lublin, and with such comparative ease as to make 
it seem probable that the Russians were deliberately drawing 
General Dankl as far as possible from his bases and from 
contact with General von Auffenberg, and into a position 
from which he would find it difficult to extricate himself. 

The advance of this northern army was suddenly checked 
by alarming news of a formidable Russian invasion of 
Galicia from the east and southeast. The Austrians had 
committed the fatal mistake of greatly overestimating the 
relative tardiness of Russian concentration. They paid a 
heavy penalty for their unfounded assurance. The Rus- 
sians displayed, particularly throughout this campaign, a 
surprising facility of movement independently of railways. 
The broader gauge of the Russian railways, originally 
adopted no doubt from a motive of self-protection, should 
have embarrassed the Russians in an offensive movement 
against Austria or Germany in consequence of the impos- 
sibility of employing their own rolling stock beyond the 
border. But the invasion of Galicia was pushed forward 
with a remarkable degree of expedition in spite of this 
serious drawback. 

General Russky, to whom was entrusted the Russian 
army operating directly against Lemberg, had been com- 
mander of the military district of Kieff, where he brought 
the organization to a high degree of efficiency. He was 
thoroughly familiar with all parts of the country where 
the early operations in Galicia were destined to take place. 
The startling success of the Russian offensive was due to 
General Russky's thorough administrative work in the dis- 
trict of Kieff no less than to his intelligence and skill in 
the field. 

The Russian Offensive 147 

His invasion of Galicia from the northeast with eight army- 
corps commenced in earnest on August 17th. Russky's 
army was directed against von Auffenberg's center and left 
wing. Very^ soon another Russian army, composed of five 
army corps and three divisions of cavalry, made its appear- 
ance in the southeast, advancing against von Auffenberg's 
right wing. This army was under command of General 
Brussiloff. To oppose these two Russian armies von Auf- 
fenberg seems to have had six army corps, the Third, 
Seventh, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth, 
together with five divisions of cavalry and possibly some 
minor reserve formations. Thus the Russians were at first 
vastly superior in numbers to the forces which confronted 
them. In this situation a part of the reserve army already 
mentioned, which was commanded by the Archduke 
Joseph Ferdinand, was hastily moved eastward to the sup- 
port of von Auffenberg. In the ensuing tremendous con- 
flicts in Galicia, conducted on a scale hitherto unparalleled 
in the annals of warfare, as many" as 1,200,000 men were 
probably engaged altogether in the armies on both sides. 

Russky^ occupied Brody on the 22d and on the same day 
Brussiloff crossed the Galician border at Voloczysk, the 
frontier station on the railway line from Odessa to Lem- 
berg and Cracow. Russky advanced on a broad front. 
With his right he struck out straight westward to outflank 
the Austrian forces covering Lemberg and drive a wedge 
between Dankl and von Auffenberg. The center and left 
wing advancing directly against the army of von Auffen- 
berg were soon engaged in desperate encounters, attacking 
the Austrians in front in reckless onslaughts. It was the 
task of Brussiloff to advance upon the right flank of the 
Austrian armies. Thus the Russians proposed to envelop 
the Austrians on both flanks and roll them together or else 
force them to seek safety by evacuating Lemberg. 

148 The Great War 

After two days' delay before the Zlota Lipa, where he 
finally forced a passage, Brussiloff established contact with 
Russky's army. Von Auffenberg fell back to a position of 
great natural strength on a line more than seventy miles in 
length across the front of Lemberg, where trenches and 
barbed-wire entanglements had been carefully prepared in 

For days the furious attacks of the Russians, — their bayo- 
net charges, — made no impression on the Austrian center. 
An official communication on September 1st declared that 
in a battle lasting a week the army of von Auffenberg had 
won a complete victory, capturing 160 guns, and that the 
Russians were retreating across the Bug. Whatever the 
extent of this rather shadowy victory may have been, it 
had no appreciable effect in impeding the progress of the 
Russian offensive, which was being most actively carried 
out on the flanks. 

The left wing of Brussiloff's army particularly executed 
an extensive outflanking movement. Sweeping far to the 
south it attacked the Austrian forces defending Halicz, 
broke their line by the evening of the 31st, and crossed 
the Dniester on pontoon bridges after the Austrians had 
destroyed the permanent bridge to cover their retreat. 
Consequently, the Austrian retirement became a panic. 
In the meantime, the Russian wedge was successfully 
driven forward on the right as far as Tomasof, where the 
Austrians were also defeated. 

By September 3d the wings of the Austrian army before 
Lemberg were pushed back like the extremities of a horse- 
shoe, and the prompt abandonment of the city and sys- 
tematic withdrawal from the neighboring region became 
imperative to avert a catastrophe. 

Lemberg was evacuated on the same day and the Aus- 
trians were in full retreat by the 4th. The official organs 

Lieutenant-general von Heeringen and staff, commander of the German Seventh Army. 

German dead on the field of battle after a charge. 

The Russian Offensive 149 

were at some pains to emphasize the point that Lemberg 
was not taken by force, but abandoned voluntarily by the 
Austrians themselves, since its defense was not part of 
their plan and would only have involved the city in useless 
destruction, and that their retreat was due solely to strategic 
considerations. The distinctions which the Austro-Hun- 
garian authorities endeavored to establish in this way may 
have satisfied national pride, but they were without any 
practical significance. It is very doubtful whether the 
Russians experienced any great chagrin at being deprived 
of the supreme, but empty, glory of taking Lemberg by 
assault, or at accomplishing their aim by strategical, rather 
than tactical, combinations. 

Von Auffenberg's army fell back by parallel routes in 
the direction of Peremysl, harassed on the march by the 
tireless Cossacks. Besides the gain in prestige, the acquisi- 
tion of Lemberg was a very valuable advantage for the 
Russians in a material sense. It is the most important 
railway center in Galicia, where seven lines converge. 
The capture of thirty locomotives and many cars of the 
standard Austrian gauge was a matter of no inconsiderable 
importance at just that moment. Vast stores had been 
accumulated at Lemberg as a military base, and these fell 
into the hands of the invaders. 

While these very significant events were occurring in 
Galicia, the Russians were collecting a large army on the 
Hne Lublin-Chelm under General IvanofF. In conse- 
quence, a general battle developed with the army of 
General Dankl. The situation of this Austrian army very 
soon became precarious and the turning point in the first 
invasion of Poland was the failure to pierce the Russian 
line, in a final effort on September 2d, when the Tenth 
Austro-Hungarian Army Corps bore the brunt of the 

150 The Great War 

The offensive in Poland collapsed and the initiative 
passed to the Russians under Ivanoff. As the Austrians 
fell back there was desperate fighting at Krasnik in which 
two German divisions were engaged. Only skilful man- 
agement saved the Austrian army from an overwhelming 
calamity. It fell back with its left wing on the Vistula, 
gradually contracting the breadth of its front from about 
eighty to forty miles. 

Besides the army of General Ivanoff closely pursuing 
the retreating Austrians, a Russian force was likewise ad- 
vancing along the left bank of the Vistula, keeping pace 
with their march. Dankl arrived at the San on Septem- 
ber 12th, hoping to be able to restore and reorganize his 
exhausted troops beyond this barrier. The passage of the 
river was effected only with the greatest difficulty and 
frightful losses. The Russians occupied some elevations 
commanding the bridges, shelled the Austrian forces while 
they were crossing, and are said to have taken no less than 
30,000 prisoners. They captured the bridge at Krzeszof 
before the Austrians could destroy it, and were thus able 
to surmount the supposed obstacle in their pursuit without 
very much difficulty or delay. 

Von Auffenberg resolved to make a determined stand 
with the forces retreating from Lemberg on a line passing 
through Grodek, in positions prepared in advance. Rein- 
forcements had in the meantime been hurried forward to 
strengthen and extend the left flank of von Auffenberg's 
army, in an effort, probably, to fill the gap that separated 
his forces from the army of Dankl. Eventually an entire 
new Austrian army was formed from parts of the 3d army, 
two corps hastily transferred from the Serbian frontier, and 
some German contingents. 

The new Austrian position was about sixty miles in 
length, but the critical points were Grodek and Rawaruska, 

The Russian Offensive 151 

on the right and left wings respectively. For eight days 
there was continuous, terrific fighting before Rawaruska, 
becoming more and more intense as the Austrians were 
gradually forced back from one trench to another and the 
crucial moment approached. The defense was carried on 
with the utmost valor, but the north wing of the Austrians 
was finally dislodged. The attack on Grodek began on 
the 6th, and the fighting continued for five days without 
interruption. During the greater part of this time the 
Austrians fought with the greatest stubbornness in trenches 
choked with the decomposing bodies of their fallen com- 
rades, and without regular supplies of food. By the 13th, 
the official dispatches admitted that in consequence of the 
superior forces of the enemy and the danger that the left 
wing would be enveloped, the Austrians had been forced 
to retire from this position. 

The Austrian armies, outnumbered and repeatedly 
worsted in battle, pursued and harried without mercy, 
threatened with complete disorganization, retreated west- 
ward seeking safety or a respite. The western part of 
Galicia offers superior opportunities for the defensive. 
The Carpathians and the Vistula, which furnish the requi- 
site protection for the flanks of a hard-pressed army, con- 
verge to'wards the west, so that the front to be defended 
becomes continually shorter. This province is traversed 
by the San, Visloka, and Dunajec Rivers, which flow 
from the Carpathians to the Vistula, forming successive 
natural barriers. The Austrians attempted to rally at each 
of these rivers. The failure to hold out at Grodek and 
Rawaruska compelled them to retire behind the San, 
about seventy miles west of Lemberg. But the crossing 
of the San near its mouth by the Russians and the fall 
of Jaroslaw, an important fortress on the same river about 
twenty miles below Peremysl, commanding the railway 

152 The Great War 

to Cracow, on September 21st, destroyed their hope of 
defending this line. 

Peremysl alone remained on the San, garrisoned by 
about 100,000 men under General Kusmanek, like another 
Maubeuge, an island in the midst of the spreading deluge 
of invasion. 

A brief stand on the Visloka was followed by a retreat 
to the line of the Dunajec and Tarnow, eighty miles west 
of Jaroslaw. But even this position was threatened by the 
Russians who pressed relentlessly upon the heels of the re- 
treating Austrians. 

The heterogeneous character of their forces was prob- 
ably a serious drawback to the Austro-Hungarian armies. 
The Slavic sympathy of an important part of the popula- 
tion doubtless contributed to the numerous desertions and 
the vast numbers who surrendered. Thus in the short 
period, September 11-14, alone, the Russians reported the 
capture of 83,531 prisoners. But in spite of this factor, 
and of the anticipated numerical advantage of the Rus- 
sians, the Austrians had confidently expected, in view of 
the superior organization and quality of their troops, to 
carry on a successful campaign. Their conspicuous failure 
and the rapid progress of their disasters seemed to portend 
the approaching dissolution of the monarchy. 

By the end of September the Austrian armies were ap- 
parently on the point of complete demoralization. They 
had seemingly contracted again their old-time "habit of 
defeat." The results were manifesting themselves vaguely 
but unmistakably in the attitude of neutral states, especially 
Italy and the Balkan Kingdoms. 


The Battle of the Marne 
{September 6-10, 1914) 

Germans in the neighborhood of Paris. The deviation in von Kluck's 
march and the reasons for it ; the fundamental change in the German plan, 
the design of crushing the center of the Allies. Von Kluck's oblique 
movement and passage of the Marne. Joffre's tremendous responsibility 
and his plan of battle. Relative strength of the combatants and the positions 
of the forces. The assumption of the offensive by the Allies on the 6th. 
The concentric attack on von Kluck's army. The plight of the French 
Sixth Army on the 8th; the Paris "taxis" to the rescue. The climax on 
the 9th and the German retreat. Violent German attack on the Anglo- 
French center. General Foch's successful tactics. Discomfiture of the 
Prussian Guard. The Crown Prince's attack on Troyon. The retirement 
of the Duke of Wiirttemberg and the Crown Prince. General reflections 
upon the character and consequences of the Battle of the Marne. The 
fall of Maubeuge. 

It was commonly regarded as more important for the 
Germans than for their opponents to bring the contest as 
quickly as possible to a decisive issue. The Germans 
themselves appear to have acted upon this conviction in 
the most resolute manner, as we have already observed. 
They did not scruple to spend their men and ammunition 
lavishly whenever the saving in time justified the sacrifice. 
They did not hesitate to employ all their available reserves 
from the first so as to augment very greatly the striking 
force of their regular army corps. They inaugurated the 
great turning movement on a scale that far exceeded the 
expectation of their opponents and promised to confound 
all the latter's previsions and preparations. The flying 
wing of the German armies had thrown aside or driven 
before it all resistance in its path. 


154 The Great War 

At the beginning of September von Kluck was advanc- 
ing with giant strides straight towards Paris. The Ger- 
man advance-guards descended the Oise from Compiegne 
towards Creil. The British cavalry executed the brilliant 
rear-guard action on September 1st which has already been 
recorded, but in general they retired before their adver- 
saries. The Germans applied the torch to Senlis, one of 
the most picturesque towns in France, situated only twenty 
miles from the outer defenses of Paris. They raided Chan- 
tilly, dispersing the army of English trainers, jockeys, and 
stable-boys at the famous racing center. German advance 
patrols penetrated as far as Pontoise; they were even en- 
countered near the bank of the Seine. They arrived 
almost within gunshot of the outer forts of Paris. The 
world realized with a convulsive shudder that Paris might 
be foredoomed to fall again a prey to the invader. 

On August 30th the new military governor of Paris 
issued a decree commanding all proprietors of premises in 
the regions of fire of the forts and defensive works of the 
capital to demolish and remove completely all buildings 
from such areas within four days, failing which the author- 
ities themselves would carry out the measure. This was a 
stern reminder of the impending danger of a siege. The 
population of Paris, temporarily reduced by more than a 
third, awaited its fate with a stoical composure that belied 
the predictions of the enemy, though hourly expecting 
the commencement of a bombardment. 

But at the very moment when Paris seemed in most 
imminent peril, the tide of danger had been deflected. 
The final stage in von Kluck's frenzied pursuit of the 
British had been only a screen to cover the alteration in 
the direction of the movement of his main forces. By 
September 4th British and French air-scouts reported that 
from the neighborhood of Compiegne the German army 

The Battle of the Marne 155 

had begun to move in a southeastern direction instead of 
continuing southwest on the capital, and that von Kluck 
w^as marching towards Meaux and Coulommiers. 

Two theories have been advanced in explanation of this 
sudden change. One view assumes that von Kluck was 
entirely misled in regard to the strength and position of 
his immediate opponents, believing that the British had 
been crushed and disorganized and that no French field 
forces worth considering remained beyond his grasp in 
the west. According to this theory, von Kluck was con- 
vinced that the culminating moment had arrived and he 
swung to the left in expectation of performing his indis- 
pensable function in the decisive climax by gathering the 
French armies into the fatal snare. 

Another theory explains the alteration in von Kluck's line 
of march as the consequence of a deliberate change in the 
fundamental method of German strategy and tactics inaugu- 
rated with adequate knowledge of the actual circumstances. 

The second view may be unreservedly adopted. True, 
von Kluck was probably ignorant of the extent and exact 
disposition of the forces on the extreme left of the Allies. 
If it is true that British and French aircraft had estab- 
lished a tactical superiority over that of the enemy, this 
would doubtless have limited von Kluck's opportunity for 
obtaining information. Furthermore, the buildings of 
Paris concealed to a considerable extent the passage and 
concentration of troops in the metropolis itself. Yet it is 
scarcely conceivable that von Kluck, in swerving to the left, 
was ignorant of the fact that considerable available forces 
of his adversaries would remain beyond the reach of his 
turning movement. The British Expeditionary Force had 
certainly exhibited a vigorous sign of life in the spirited 
action near Compiegne on September 1st when ten of the 
German guns were captured. 

156 The Great War 

The Germans had hoped to repeat the exploit of Sedan 
on a mammoth scale by encircling the Anglo-French 
armies in an open region with no insurmountable obstacles 
to impede the progress of their evolutions. On August 
29th the advancing German armies extending across north- 
ern France had presented a somev^hat concave front, the 
right flank reaching forward as if to clutch the prey. But 
the Allies still eluded the grasp of their pursuers. The 
German front continued to move forward until its right 
wing was about to encounter the defenses of Paris and 
the left wing was already in contact with those of Verdun. 
The Allies had now retreated to a position where both 
their flanks were covered, the left by the intrenched camp 
of Paris and the Seine, the right by the eastern barrier 
fortresses. They had thwarted the German hope of en- 
veloping them where their flanks were exposed. In the 
circumstances the Germans could not think of investing 
Paris. Even if they could have silenced one or two of the 
forts by the concentrated fire of their heavy artillery and 
rushed through the breach thus made, the achievement 
would have been a sterile, or even a dangerous victory, as 
long as the Allies had large, unconquered armies in the 
field. The Allied lines were now inseparably bound to 
powerful fortresses which it was inexpedient, if not abso- 
lutely impossible, to beset. The Germans discovered that 
the morsel which they had coveted involved a larger 
mouthful than they were able to swallow at this time. It 
would have been perilous to strain the front any further in 
an effort to envelop Paris. 

But the German armies could not safely remain station- 
ary in the existing situation. It was necessar)^ for them 
either to withdraw very quickly or to strike southward 
with all their available energy so as to break through the 
enemy's front and drive a wedge between the French 

Paris motor-buses transtormed into army transports. 

IV o 

A R h\ E C 

:u ccHhAi'TDA:; 1^ z:t en?.} 

G 3ripteJiibr©,0 h?uroa. 

Au aornont oi\ c'ongago u::-) fcataillo dcr.t df'poiid Ir. 
Baiut dij p-iy3,il iraport.e do rerpoier ;\ fcouo q'.v^ I'l :i:onf!nt. n'c^t 
nluF, cii. i-OfT,urder tnarrlei-e .Toua lo3 of forte dqivviit ctrcy 
oriployca £i att?.quor> ot. rofo'oidft I'or.KRTni. 

■Jn?! troupe; qui n:> i-^ouT. plus avancr;-.' dsvra coOt.-; o;.:-* 
coMto f'/j.rdr;r lo torraiT. conquis! et •.■c falro tuoi- s'^r plnco 
T^lutot que ae reculor.Oans .IPs c: rco.ttnr.oon MOT,\iGl3.oo,av.cfU-.o 
d-'re-illancc' no pcu.t otro .tol<5r^^.3. 


im^dtatenoiit 5l tov. 

Facsimile sliowiiig in wliat form Cienera! Joffre's order .if the dav, issued on the morning 
of the first day of the liattie of the Marne, was communicated to the troops. (For translation 
see page i~o.) 

The Battle of the Marne 157 

masses east and west. The first course would have been 
a palpable admission of failure; the second, which was 
actually adopted, offered the possibility of winning an im- 
portant, perhaps a decisive, victory. The general situation 
impelled the Germans to strike at once and to strike hard 
so as to escape the fatal contingency pressing so closely 
upon them, which threatened to arrest abruptly their great 
effort in the West. The Austrians had evacuated Lem- 
berg on September 3d and were staggering back under 
the Tsar's tremendous blows. Austria-Hungary's military 
power was crumbling and so the days of the German 
offensive in the West were numbered. 

Other considerations contributed also to determine von 
Kluck's change of front. We are apt to think of the 
German invasion as a broad curtain drawn down across 
the north of France. But in reality this figure, though 
convenient, is not strictly pertinent, for the invading armies 
advanced in separate columns and not with an uninter- 
rupted front. The columns of a single army were in 
intimate communication; but the intervals separating ad- 
jacent armies might naturally be greater, and the headlong 
rush of the western armies in pursuit of their opponents 
expanded the field of invasion to such a degree that the 
communication between the different armies was undoubt- 
edly threatened and the front as a whole was exposed to 
the danger of penetration by a counter-attack of the enemy. 
The situation required that the dangerous intervals should 
be closed by the deflection of the western armies towards 
the southeast. 

The opinion has been expressed that the awkward posi- 
tion of the Germans here described, and in a measure the 
miscarriage of their whole plan for the offensive, was due 
to the tardiness of the German Crown Prince, his failure 
to keep up with the progress of von Kluck. The hitter 

158 The Great War 

masked the fortress of Maubeuge and hurried on, but the 
Crown Prince allowed himself to be delayed by the resist- 
ance of Longwy. Later, according to this view, the Crown 
Prince was drawn aside and hopelessly entangled in con- 
tact with the French barrier fortresses. The proverbially 
impetuous Crown Prince erred, in other words, by reason 
of his excessive caution! By September 3d, however, we 
may assume that the Crown Prince at one extremity of 
the German front was on approximately the same line east 
and west as von Kluck at the other. The solution of the 
question of possible responsibility for the German failure 
rests upon the exact determination of the German objec- 
tive. If the German plan required the convergence of all 
the armies on Paris, the Crown Prince, who was still 160 
miles from this goal when von Kluck was only thirty, was 
hopelessly outdistanced. But so were all the other Ger- 
man commanders, though in lesser and varying degrees. 

Such an assumption, however, is opposed to the obvious 
facts. The lines of march of the different German armies 
had at no time converged on Paris. In general, their line 
of advance bore southward, and in relation to this direc- 
tion the Crown Prince seems to have progressed as far as 
von Kluck, in spite of the latter's tremendous rapidity of 
movement. The Crown Prince's movement, since he was 
near the pivot, was necessarily much slower. Moreover, it 
would probably have been perilous for the Crown Prince 
to disregard Verdun. The position of the Germans with 
respect to the forwarding of supplies was still somewhat 
precarious, since Antwerp, Maubeuge, and Verdun threat- 
ened the most serviceable lines of communication running 
into northern France. 

In defiance of the most elementary laws of prudence, von 
Kluck marched diagonally across the front of his adversaries, 
exposing his right flank to attack by the Anglo-French 

The Battle of the Marne 159 

forces concentrated near Paris, whose strength he prob- 
ably underestimated. The British army which had been 
falling back before von Kluck reached a position south of 
the Marne between Lagny and Signy-Signets by Septem- 
ber 3d. In accordance with instructions by General Joffre, 
the British destroyed the bridges crossing the Marne on 
their front and then fell back about twelve miles further 

Von Kluck was still moving with the frenzied speed of 
his dash towards Paris. His main forces were probably in 
the vicinity of Compiegne on September 3d. Moving 
southeastward he passed the Ourcq and the Marne. His 
forces and those of von Biilow were seen crossing the 
Marne at Changis, La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, Nogent, Chateau 
Thierry, and Mezy on the 5th. By the evening of the 
same day the head of von Kluck's column had reached 
the neighborhood of Coulommiers. 

No greater responsibility had ever rested on any indi- 
vidual than that borne by General Joffre in the dramatic 
situation now before us. The future condition and for- 
tunes, — perhaps even the existence, — of France were at 
stake. The awful significance of the moment bewilders 
the imagination. Through twenty centuries swept the 
imposing spectacle of French history, teeming with great 
examples of virtue and baseness, lofty aspirations and dark 
passions, a thrilling, sensational epitome of the life of all 
humanity. France had been the leader in revolution, the 
pioneer in political innovation, the guide and standard in 
art and literature, the model in elegance and taste. The 
experience of the French people had become an organic 
and necessary part of the cultural equipment of all civilized 
nations. But suddenly this brilliant course of development 
was threatened with an immediate and sudden eclipse. A 
nation of tougher fiber had arisen, a people who knew how 

160 The Great War 

to curb and utilize its individual energies for collective 
effort, whose uneasy ambition sought joy in the conscious- 
ness of difficulties surmounted through toil. With un- 
bounded assurance in their w^ell-disciplined vigor, the 
Germans challenged the traditional ascendancy of the 
French, indifferent to the havoc involved in the world of 
spiritual relationships. All the resolution, endurance, and 
energy which the French nation could muster would 
hardly avail to sustain it in this supreme and final trial. 

But General Joffre faced the crisis with coolness and de- 
termination. He had probably discerned the nature of the 
coming great encounter as soon as the Allies were forced 
to relinquish the line of the Sambre. He had probably 
forecast the Battle of the Marne and planned its chief 
details as early as his interview with Field-marshal French 
on August 29th. The German armies were now gliding 
into the positions which General Joffre had deliberately 
selected, as molten metal flows into the prepared molds. 
By the 5th he perceived that the strategical situation for 
which he had been waiting had arrived. The time had 
come for turning to the offensive. He visited Field- 
marshal French and explained his plans to him. He issued 
his orders in accordance with the dispositions for a general 
assumption of the offensive on the morning of the 6th. 
The Sixth Army on the extreme left under General Mau- 
noury, which had been drawn up like a screen protecting 
Paris from the northeast, was directed to advance eastward 
in the direction of Chateau Thierry, so as to cross the 
Ourcq between M ay-en- Multien and Lizy-sur-Ourcq 
northeast of Meaux, with its front extending at an angle 
of 135% with the general line of the Anglo-French forces. 
The purpose was to strike at the flank and rear of von 
Kluck's army and threaten his communications. The 
British were instructed to execute a change of front by 

The Battle of the Marne 161 

wheeling to the right so as to form a sector of the battle- 
line between the Sixth and Fifth French Armies. The 
Fifth Army on the line Courtacon-Esternay was ordered 
to attack towards the north, and the Ninth Army to hold 
the line south of the marshes of St. Gond. The Fourth 
and Third Armies also received directions in conformity 
with the general plan. 

In making the turning maneuver of his left wing the 
significant feature of his offensive, General Joffre borrowed 
the essential principle of his adversaries' tactics, just as the 
Germans, in delivering a terrific frontal attack for the pur- 
pose of penetrating the hostile battle-line, had adopted 
precisely the characteristic tactical method of the French. 
The main part of the Anglo-French line was expected to 
hold firm against the anticipated violent onslaught of the 
enemy, while the left wing turned the German flank, 
rolled back the hostile line, and destroyed the enemy's 

The strength of the position of the Allies depended upon 
the security of their flanks. In consequence of the deflec- 
tion in von Kluck's line of march the Allies were relieved 
from apprehension regarding the safety of their left wing. 
On the right the barrier fortresses shielded the French 
from the tide that might have swept down upon them from 
the east. The tenacity of this defensive line was an essen- 
tial condition of success in the Battle of the Marne. 

An element of German superiority throughout all the 
early part of the war, — an advantage more striking even 
than their superiority in numbers, — was predominance in 
artillery. We have already considered the sensational effect 
of the German siege-artillery, which had been developed 
to such a size and degree of adaptability that it overcame 
the resistance of the strongest fortifications with startling 
rapidity. The existence of the powerful barrier fortresses 

162 The Great War 

on the French border had doubtless stimulated progress 
in the heaviest types of mortars and howitzers. But the 
ascendancy of the Germans in the various forms of artil- 
lery which accompanied their field-armies was no less 
significant. With 6.4 guns for every 1,000 rifles the Ger- 
mans surpassed all nations in the relative strength of their 
artillery, France followed with about 5.5, while the United 
States, by way of comparison, with 3.1 guns per 1,000 rifles 
was the weakest nation in this respect. 

The French in their standard 7.5-centimeter field-piece, 
the famous "seventy-five" (that is, 75 millimeters), had 
developed an instrument of unequalled precision and effi- 
ciency. But with too implicit confidence in the advantages 
afforded by the superior merit of this single piece, the 
French had allowed the Germans to surpass them very 
greatly in all the other forms of mobile artillery. 

The Germans had apparently foreseen that in conse- 
quence of the more stationary character of battles and the 
employment of motor-transport there would be a far 
greater opportunity of using heavier artillery on the battle- 
field. They had been engaged very diligently for four 
years in supplying their army with heavy field-pieces, so 
that about one-fourth of their field-artillery consisted of 
10.5-centimeter field-howitzers, which deliver explosive 
shells capable of destroying the smaller field-batteries of 
the enemy. Moreover, a section of four batteries, each 
of four pieces, of 15-centimeter howitzers was allotted to 
each German army corps, artillery matching in caHber the 
hitherto standard large fortress and siege guns. 

The "seventy-fives" with their average effective range 
of about 5,000 yards were helpless when exposed to the 
fire of the heavier German field-artillery from points be- 
yond their reach. The range of even the 10.5-centimeter 
howitzer was more than twice as great as that of the 

The Battle of the Marne 163 

"seventy-five." But the French had been loath to intro- 
duce heavy artillery into their field formations. They 
were almost without field-howitzers at the beginning of 
the Great War. 

In general, the practice of estimating the relative numer- 
ical strength of the belligerents on the sole basis of their 
permanent army corps is apt to lead to erroneous conclu- 
sions. For this method either ignores entirely the reserve 
contingents or assumes that their strength is uniformly 
proportionate to the number of the army corps. But a 
comparison of the conditions in the German and French 
military establishments will illustrate the fallacy of such an 
assumption. At the beginning of the Great War Ger- 
many had twenty-five army corps and France twenty-one. 
But Germany's superiority in available trained men was 
very much greater than this relationship would indicate. 
The peace establishment, upon which the division into 
army corps is based, did not stand in the same ratio to the 
available war-strength in the two countries. For France 
kept a much larger proportion of her trained men in the 
active army in time of peace. The standing army of 
France numbered 742,000 men, that of Germany, 870,000, 
according to the modifications introduced in the two coun- 
tries in 1913. But the efi^ective numerical strength in time 
of war is based upon the size of the year-classes which are 
available for mobilization, and it required three year-classes 
to provide the 742,000 men of the French army, and only 
two year-classes (except in the cavalry and horse-artillery) 
to make up the 870,000 men of the German army. 

In the absence of precise information regarding the num- 
ber of reserves, including troops of the second or third line, 
actually called to active service at the beginning of hostili- 
ties, the proper basis for comparison of the a\'ailable forces 
of the belligerent nations in which compulsory service 

164 The Great War 

prevails is obviously the size of the annual classes of recruits 
as incorporated in the standing armies of the respective 
powers and therefore provided with the necessary training 
at the time of mobilization for war. For a number of 
years preceding the enlargement of the German levy in 
1913, the annual class of recruits accepted for active service 
in France had been roughly equivalent to two-thirds of the 
corresponding class in Germany. We shall not be very far 
wrong, therefore, in adoptmg the ratio 8:12 to represent 
the numerical relationship of the forces of France and 
Germany respectively as available for active service in the 
early stages of the war, the aggregate strength, in other 
words, of the corresponding serviceable year-classes in each 
country. Assuming that one-sixth of the German forces 
were concentrated on the eastern frontier, we still have a 
ratio of 8:10 to represent the relationship in numerical 
strength of the French and German forces in the western 
theater. Even the addition of the Belgian and British 
armies would scarcely suffice to bring the aggregate strength 
of the forces of the western Allies as compared with that 
of the Germans confronting them to the ratio 9:10. In 
other words, at the beginning of the contest the German 
forces in the West had a superiority of 10-15% over the 
combined strength of all their adversaries. While at first 
the Germans do not seem to have called out as many year- 
classes as the French, their more rapid mobilization and 
concentration probably compensated for this difference in 
producing the approximate initial superiority in numbers 
here indicated. 

The whole course of events in the early part of the cam- 
paign in the West, especially the ability of the Germans 
to drive back a formidable French invasion of Lorraine 
at the same time as they were moving overwhelming 
forces through Belgium, is incomprehensible on any other 

The Battle of the Marne 165 

assumption than that the Germans were considerably supe- 
rior in number to all their opponents in the western theater. 

But the relative strength of the German forces actually 
available for fighting in the West must have diminished 
continually in consequence of the detachment of second- 
line troops for guarding the lines of communication, the 
transference of reserve formations and possibly troops of 
the first fine to reinforce the armies on the eastern fron- 
tier, and the progress of the mobilization of the older 
year-classes in France, until finally in the Battle of the 
Marne the Germans were probably outnumbered by their 

The consideration of the numbers engaged must not be 
allowed to obscure our impression of the formidable ad- 
vantage possessed by the Germans in the bewildering 
rapidity and impetuousness of their offensive, their una- 
nimity of will and purpose, the numerical superiority and 
more varied character of their artillery, and the phenomenal 
thoroughness of their preparation in every detail. 

The general region of the great encounter was the basin 
of the Marne and of its tributaries, which is encircled by 
somewhat elevated plateaus. The positions chosen bv 
General Joffre, generally across the southern part of this 
depression or along the low ridges bounding it on the 
south, offered several distinct advantages for the Allies. 
The Marne receives the Ourcq from the north and the 
Petit Morin and the Grand Morin from the southeast in the 
neighborhood of Meaux. All these streams flow in a west- 
erly direction throughout the greater part of their course. 
The Germans had to fight, therefore, with several parallel 
water-courses in their rear hindering the transportation of 
supplies, ammunition, and the heavy artillery. The Ger- 
mans were separated from their most convenient lines of 
communication by rail. The railways with which they 

166 The Great War 

were in immediate contact south of the Marne were com- 
paratively few and of secondary importance. The Allies, 
on the other hand, enjoyed excellent communications by a 
network of railways, including several trunk lines in the 
rear of their positions. Before the close of the battle the 
Germans suffered severely in some parts of their line from 
a shortage of food and ammunition. 

When, shortly before the Battle of the Marne, the Ger- 
man wings encountered the obstacles which arrested or 
deflected their movement, the intervening masses were 
still borne forward by their own momentum and by the 
impulse of the new design of bursting the enemy's Hne, 
and engaged themselves in the hollow produced by the 
recession of the French center, giving the German front a 
bulging, bow-shaped outline. Thus, in a general way, on 
the eve of the battle, the contending forces occupied con- 
centric, semi-elliptical positions nearly 150 miles in length, 
with the extremities resting on a line from Paris to Verdun 
as the common base. 

It is very important to obtain as clear a notion as the 
available evidence will permit of the composition and dis- 
tribution of the opposing armies on the morning of the 
memorable Sunday, September 6, 1914, when the greatest 
battle of all history commenced. 

The French Sixth Army, consisting of the Seventh Army 
Corps, a reserve corps, three divisions of Territorials, and 
Sordet's cavalry corps, under General Maunoury, was ad- 
vancing eastward on a front extending from near Betz to 
the vicinity of Meaux. The' five divisions of the British 
Expeditionary Force faced the northeast with a front 
stretching from the vicinity of the Marne to the neigh- 
borhood of Vaudoy, the center being near Mauperthuis. 
Conneau's cavalry corps occupied the interval between the 
British and the French Fifth Army. The latter, composed 

The Battle of the Marne 167 

of four regular army corps under General Franchet 

d'Esperey, held a section of the front about twenty miles 
in length from Courtacon to Sezanne, and faced north- 
ward. The Ninth Army, three regular corps and two re- 
serve divisions under General Foch, continued the French 
front for a distance of twenty miles to Sommesous. The 
Fourth Army, four regular army corps under General 
de Langle de Gary, occupied an extensive sector of the 
French front from Sompuis to Sermaize, twenty-five miles, 
its center opposite Vitry-le-Francois. General Sarrail's 
Third Army, probably three army corps, held the line 
from Revigny to Souilly, facing nearly westward. 

The interval of ten miles between Foch's right and de 
Langle de Gary's left and probably the gap between the 
latter and Sarrail were filled provisionally as well as possible 
with artillery and cavalry, while a division from Verdun 
was stretched across the opening between Sarrail's extreme 
right and this great barrier fortress. 

General von Kluck's First German Army, consisting of 
the Second, Third, Fourth, and Seventh Corps, and the 
Fourth (and possibly the Seventh) Reserve Corps and two 
cavalry divisions was thus confronted by the Sixth French 
Army, the British Expeditionary Force, and the left wing 
of the Fifth French Army. The Second Army, the next 
eastward in the German line, composed of the Ninth and 
Tenth Army Corps, the Guard, and the Tenth Reserve 
Army Corps under General von Biilow, was opposed by 
the right wing of the Fifth French Army and by the left 
of the Ninth. The Third German Army, made up of the 
Twelfth and the Nineteenth Army Corps and the Twelfth 
Reserve Corps, led by General von Hansen, was faced by 
the right wing of the Ninth French Army and by the left 
wing of the Fourth. The Fourth German Army, prob- 
ably the Eighth and Thirteenth Army Corps and reserve 

168 The Great War 

corps, was directed against the Fourth French Army. 
Finally, the Fifth German Army, probably consisting of 
the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Army Corps, with probably 
one of the Bavarian Corps and reserve formations, was 
confronted by the Third French Army. We may safely 
assume that reserve formations of considerable strength 
were included in all the armies, as is indicated in the case 
of the First, Second, and Third German, and Sixth and 
Ninth French Armies. 

In consequence of the extreme reticence of the official 
communications it is impossible in most instances to deter- 
mine the apportionment of the individual French army 
corps to the different armies at this time. 

In the early days of the campaign the First, Second, 
Third, Sixth, and Tenth French Army Corps were prob- 
ably concentrated on the Meuse below Verdun, while all 
the others had either actually taken positions along the 
border to the southeast of Verdun or were being trans- 
ported in that direction. The Eighth, Twelfth, Four- 
teenth, Fifteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first seem to 
have remained on the eastern frontier after the redistribu- 
tion of the French forces in the latter part of August, while 
the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh, Thirteenth, 
Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth were transferred 
to positions westward of Verdun and the Nineteenth was 
brought from Algeria to this portion of the front. The 
Fifteenth and Twenty-first were transferred to the French 
line south of the Marne during the course of the battle. 

Accordingly, in the Battle of the Marne, conceived in 
the broadest sense, including all the field operations west 
of Verdun from the sixth to the tenth of September, the 
Anglo-French armies contained at most nineteen and a half 
regular army corps, the British being equivalent to two and a 
half army corps, while the Germans numbered fourteen 

The Battle of the Marne 169 

and a half army corps, the three divisions of the Guard 
being reckoned as an army corps and a half. Assumintj, 
as seems not unlikely, that the percentage of second-line 
troops or reserve formations at the front was at this time 
about the same on both sides, and that they were about 
half as numerous as the troops of the first line represented 
by the regular army corps, we may estimate the aggregate 
forces of all classes as somewhat more than 1,100,000 for 
the Allies and rather less than 900,000 for the Germans. 
Thus the Allies had now for the first time, as it would 
seem, a distinct numerical advantage. 

But of greater actual significance was the relative numer- 
ical strength at the critical position, and in this respect the 
situation had been completely changed since the Germans 
shattered the resistance on the Sambre and the Meuse. The 
Germans had surprised and disconcerted the French by 
concentrating overwhelming masses of troops on the right 
wing in Belgium so as to sweep around and destroy their 
adversaries' left. This preponderance continued as the 
tide of battle rolled across northern France. But all the 
time the new concentration of French troops was pro- 
ceeding in the rear. With unfailing discernment General 
Joffre distributed the reinforcements in such a way that 
they would offset the superiority of the enemy's right 
flank. The formation of the Sixth Army reduced the dis- 
parity. The introduction of the Ninth Army under Gen- 
eral Foch between the Fifth and Fourth Armies was like 
inserting the keystone in the arch. Finally, the move- 
ments just preceding the Battle of the Marne completed 
the process whereby the tables were turned. All the way 
to Compiegne the Germans had been following the main 
lines of communication leading to Paris, which afforded 
convenient means for the conveyance of reinforcements, 
munitions, and supplies. But by turning to the left the 

170 The Great War 

Germans forsook these lines, marched obliquely across 
the routes to Paris, and shifted the relative position of 
their right wing in such a way as to expose it to a con- 
verging attack, so that the number of units which could 
profitably assail it was very greatly increased. At the 
beginning of the Battle of the Marne, instead of outnum- 
bering its opponents nearly two to one, the German right 
wing found itself in its turn outnumbered in about the 
same proportion. 

General Joffre made his headquarters with General 
Franchet d'Esperey and the Fifth Army, practically at 
the center of the battle-front. On the 6th he issued the 
following memorable order of the day to the soldiers: 

"At the moment of engaging a battle on which the fate 
of the country depends, it is my duty to remind every one 
that the time has passed for looking backward. Every 
effort must be made to attack and to drive back the 
enemy. Troops that can no longer advance must at all 
costs stand their ground and let themselves be killed on 
the spot rather than retreat. In the present circumstances 
no hesitation can be tolerated." 

The westernmost armies assumed the offensive on the 
morning of the 6th. The Sixth French Army under Gen- 
eral Maunoury advanced towards the Ourcq in the direc- 
tion already indicated. The Fourth Reserve Army Corps 
forming von Kluck's rear-guard which was descending 
the valley of the Ourcq east of the river faced about to 
meet this attack. The Second German Army Corps was 
either in the same general position at the time or was im- 
mediately sent back to support the Fourth Reserve. Upon 
learning that the latter was hard pressed, von Kluck ordered 
a Landwehr corps in Compiegne to advance to its assist- 
ance. Compiegne was nearly two days' march from the 
scene of battle. But the measures immediately put into 

The Battle of the Marne 171 

execution by the Germans seem to have been sufficient to 
maintain an equilibrium in the fighting in the valley of 
the Ourcq. 

By advancing through Coulommiers to attack the French 
Fifth Army, von Kluck very rashly exposed his right flank 
to the British. This was probably due not so much to a 
misconception arising in consequence of the gap between 
the Fifth and Sixth French Armies, which existed as late 
as September 5th, and was later filled by the British, as to 
another, a more general cause. 

Stupidly inflexible national prejudices or preconceptions 
are often a most formidable obstacle to successful general- 
ship. In spite of their intellectual keenness and scientific 
detachment, the Germans are peculiarly subject to certain 
prepossessions which, for the most part, have been either 
designedly propagated for political reasons or produced by 
the abstract process of academic speculation. 

Misleading impressions of this kind had acquired enor- 
mous influence by the force of their insinuating appeal to 
national antipathy or conceit. Such delusive impressions 
might expose an army to the gravest danger from the sub- 
tle strategems of a wily antagonist. Prominent among 
them was the conviction that the British forces were de- 
fective in military qualities. It would be too much to 
affirm that General JofTre had deliberately planned to ex- 
ploit this particular vagary of the German imagination. 
However, von Kluck exposed himself to the great peril of 
a British flank attack in a manner most satisfactory to his 
opponents, and he probably did so in contemptuous disre- 
gard of any loss that the Expeditionary Force might inflict 
upon him. 

The British were now organized as three army corps, 
Lieutenant-general W. P. Pulteney having taken command 
of the recently formed Third. In conformity with the 

172 The Great War 

instructions of General Joffre, the British, who had retired 
to a line running east and west about twelve miles south of 
the Marne, wheeled to the right, at the same time advanc- 
ing somewhat to the northeast, so as to swing into place 
between the Sixth and Fifth French Armies. In this posi- 
tion the British attacked the army of von Kluck on its 
exposed right flank while the Fifth French Army assailed 
it in front. The Germans were forced back, evacuating 
Coulommiers, and by the evening of the 6th the British 
occupied the left bank of the Grand Morin, while the 
Fifth Army continued the line through Esternay. 

Resuming the battle on the 7th the British continued to 
advance while the Fifth French Army forced the Germans 
back in the direction of the Petit Morin. Again on the 
8th, the British, cooperating with the French, assailed 
the Germans with the same success on the Petit Morin. 
The French occupied Montmirail after a fierce attack. 

In the meantime, Maunoury was not obtaining the 
measure of success upon which the hope of a decisive 
victory depended. Attacked with much violence on the 
7th, his troops were forced to yield ground. The diffi- 
culties which had probably impeded the conveyance of 
the heavier German field-pieces to the principal battle- 
front south of the Marne favored the overwhelming con- 
centration of artillery against the French Sixth Army north 
of the Marne. From the hills overlooking the Ourcq the 
long-range guns and howitzers swept the French position 
with galling effect. 

Maunoury's situation was very difficult on the 8th, when 
the Germans launched a turning movement against his left 
flank and succeeded by attacks of great violence in occu- 
pying Betz and Nanteuil-le-Haudouin. The Germans in 
the valley of the Ourcq were fighting with their faces set 
towards Paris, with the possibility before them of a speedy 

A corner of the i^:irilti» ot iht Cliateau dc Moudciiiont, wliich cluuigcd luiiuls tour times 
in a few hours during the Battle of the Marne. 

Bridt^e at Lui^ny destroyed bv the Britisli forces in their retreat betore tlie Clernians and 
pontoon bridge built to pursue the latter on their retreat during the Battle of the Marne. 

The Battle of the Marne 173 

and glorious termination of the campaign to stimulate their 
exertions, and the thought of the long weary routes behind 
them, the peril involved in defeat far from their bases, and 
the ignominy of failure to strengthen their resolution. 
The French contested every foot with stubborn deter- 
mination. The fate of Paris, and perhaps of the cause of 
the Allies, depended upon the constancy with which they 
sustained the onslaught of their opponents. To Maunoury's 
appeals for assistance. General Joffre could only reply urging 
the Sixth Army to hold out a few hours longer. By the 
evening of the 8th it was apparent that the following day 
must decide the issue of the entire battle. 

The situation of General Maunoury's army had become 
alarming by the morning of the 9th. The Germans, 
supported by their powerful artillery, were hammering 
it unmercifully in front and were driving home the 
turning movement to envelop its left or northern wing, 
where the arrival of the Landwehr troops from Compiegne 
would soon increase still further the odds against the 
French. The fighting had attained a terrible degree of 
ferocity. That the Germans would win on the Ourcq by 
the very tactics Joffre had chosen, that they would turn 
the tables by outflanking the French flanking movement, 
seemed to be almost inevitable. But Paris was free from 
the danger of attack, for the time, at least, and a portion of 
the garrison could safely be spared to reinforce the field 
army engaged in a life and death struggle so near. General 
Gallieni had decided to play the final card. On the even- 
ing of the 8th the notice was quietly distributed to the 
drivers of about 5,000 taxi-cabs and motor-vans in Paris 
summoning them to assemble early the next morning at 
certain indicated places to transport the garrison troops to 
the support of the threatened left wing of the Sixth Army. 
That soldiers should be conveyed to battle in taxi-cabs is 

174 The Great War 

only one of the many seemingly paradoxical innovations of 
the Great War. In the early hours of the 9th interminable 
lines of motor-cars roused the sleeping towns of the banlieue, 
and stretched out like continuous, flexible bands along the 
highways. The reverberation of distant artillery gained 
volume and distinctness as they advanced. It was another 
"Sheridan's Ride" on a mammoth scale, and in a modern 
setting. The hour of destiny had sounded; the fate of 
France was swaying in the balance. Every available ele- 
ment was being thrown upon the scales on this supremely 
eventful 9th of September. It might have seemed that the 
future of democracy, with its inherent disorder, but with 
all its sublime possibilities, depended upon the speed of this 
amazing procession that rolled across the Ik de France. 

General Gallieni succeeded in his brilliant, decisive stroke 
of transferring possibly 50,000 men a distance of forty miles 
in six hours and delivering a decisive blow at the enemy's 
flanking movement. The danger of the complete failure 
of the French maneuvers at the critical point was averted. 

On the same day the British reached the Marne. The 
First and Second Corps forced a passage after violent hand 
to hand encounters in which they drove the Germans in 
some places into the river. The Third encountered the 
desperate resistance of the part of the German forces 
which had retired into La Ferte-sous-Jouarre on the north 
bank of the Marne. The bridges had been destroyed, but 
after several ineffectual attempts to throw pontoon bridges 
across during the day, the British finally forced a passage at 
this point also after nightfall. On the same day the French 
Fifth Army made its way to Chateau Thierry, driving the 
Germans back across the Marne with heavy losses. 

Von Kluck's situation rapidly became serious with the 
changes in the situation produced on the 9th. He suffered 
prodigious losses in vain attempts to repel the renewed 

The Battle of the Marne 175 

offensive in the valley of the Ourcq. The climax came 
in the evening. Realizing that further hesitation might 
involve the destruction of his whole army, he gave the 
order for the general retreat. The decision had a solemn 
significance; it was a palpable indication that the tide had 
turned. For the first time since Jena, since the establish- 
ment of the principle of universal, compulsory service, a 
Prussian army had been defeated in a pitched battle. The 
splendid prestige, the tradition of invincibility which had 
flourished for more than a centur}^ suffered a first and 
ominous disfigurement. 

The Germans had felt absolute confidence in the sup- 
posed infallibility of their General Staff. In all their sacri- 
fices for military supremacy the resolution of the German 
people had been sustained by the proud conviction that 
their armies could at any time march to Paris. This belief 
was generally held, however much individual opinions 
might differ in other respects about the prospects of a gen- 
eral conflict. To doubt it was regarded as heresy. Even 
the most unwarlike persons were cheered by the comfort- 
ing reflection that Germany could at any time take Paris, if 
she wished, a source of satisfaction recalling a human trait 
observed by Juvenal; **even those who want the will, pant 
for the dreadful privilege to kill." 

But now the first cloud of perplexit}^ appeared on the 
superb horizon of national assurance. The German armies 
had strained every faculty to accomplish a definite purpose 
and had failed, and in spite of the efforts made to palliate 
or disguise this failure, the fact is evident that although 
they had advanced almost to the outer defenses of Paris, 
they had been obliged to retreat to a considerable distance 
and had accomplished nothing. 

The thrilling incidents and impressive circumstances of 
the contest in the western region, such as the imminent 

176 The Great War 

peril to the capital of France so barely averted, the most 
striking features of General Joffre's inimitable tactics, the 
palpitating suspense which attended the critical moment, 
and von Kluck's precipitate retreat dramatically contrasted 
with his sensational advance, — significant as all these are, — 
must not monopolize the attention and interest at the ex- 
pense of the operations at the center, where the contest 
raged with even greater fury and the immediate danger to 
France was more vital. The Germans hurled themselves 
against the French center with all the force at their com- 
mand. The Ninth Army commanded by General Foch 
bore the brunt of this formidable onslaught. The most 
violent attacks were delivered in the neighborhood of 
Sezanne and especially of Fere Champenoise. The pres- 
sure became severe on the 7th. The Germans were im- 
pelled by a frantic determination to achieve their purpose 
of breaking through the French lines, which quivered 
beneath the terrific impact. The right of the Ninth Army 
was pushed back as far as Gourgangon on the 8th and the 
left wing, in spite of its obstinate resistance, was forced to 
yield ground. 

The 9th was the critical day in this section also. The 
Germans were pushing forward in eager expectation of 
winning a decisive victory. With the wings of both the 
Ninth and Fourth French Armies bent back, the Ger- 
mans were pressing through the gaps at the extremities as 
a flood pours through crevices in a retaining dam. The 
Twelfth (Saxon) Reserve Army Corps after penetrating the 
cavalry screen that covered the opening on Foch's right 
flank was entering Mailly. The Twelfth Army Corps had 
driven the French from Sommesous, and further west the 
Guard was forcing Foch's right center to retire before it 
south of Fere Champenoise. The whole Allied center 
was tottering. The impetuous invaders seemed about to 

The Battle of the Marne 177 

cleave the barrier and break France into two parts. The 
situation was apparently almost hopeless when Foch sent 
his heroic reply to the commander-in-chief: "My left has 
been forced back, my right is routed; I shall attack with 
the center." 

But factors had been silently preparing which were soon 
to be instrumental in reversing the tide of battle in this 
very vital section. Foch is said to have discovered through 
his air-scouts on the evening of the 8th that the Saxon 
troops in their advance against his own right wing had im- 
paired their contact with von Billow's army towards the 
west. Furthermore, the Fifteenth French Army Corps, 
hastily transferred from the front in Lorraine to reinforce 
the right wing of the Fourth Army, had arrived in Bar-le- 
Duc and repulsed the German Eighteenth Corps at Robert 
Espagne on the 8th. This enabled de Langle de Cary to 
shift the equivalent of an army corps to the support of his 
hard-pressed left wing. After the capture of Montmirail 
in the course of the victorious advance of the Fifth French 
Army on the 8th, Franchet d'Esperey was able to direct 
the Tenth Army Corps against von Billow's right flank on 
the 9th so as to relieve the pressure on Foch's left wing. 
Finally, during the 9th, the Twenty-first Army Corps 
brought from the front in Lorraine, came into action in 
the gap between the Ninth and Fourth Armies, attacked 
the German troops who had penetrated the cavalry screen, 
and restored the cohesion of the French front. 

With these more favorable circumstances both Foch 
and de Langle de Cary took the offensive on the 9th, the 
former attacking Fere Champenoise and the latter Sompuis 
with great energy. The struggle ra^ed throughout the 
day with the utmost violence but without producing very 
definite results. With what fierceness the possession of 
every point of vantage was contested is iUustrated by the 

178 The Great War 

desperate combats engaged at the Chateau de Mondemont, 
which is situated about six miles east of Sezanne on a slight 
elevation overlooking the marshes of St. Gond from the 
south. For three days the French had held this position 
against repeated assaults. At the climax of the battle it 
changed hands four times w^ithin a few^ hours. The 
French, first driven out by the Germans, brought up 
some of their *' seventy-fives," opened a breach in the gar- 
den w^all and rushed the chateau. But the Germans re- 
turned in greater force and occupied it again; and they 
were so sure of undisputed possession this time, that prepa- 
rations were in progress for the officers' midday meal, 
when the French returned to the attack with very much 
greater fury. 

Crowding into the interior of the chateau, where the 
restricted space barred the use of their rifles, the French 
soldiers grappled their opponents of the Prussian Guard, 
fighting like demons with whatever weapons came to hand. 
An adjoining outhouse yielded a store of short iron bars 
which the French employed with murderous effect. All 
the passions which had provoked this war seemed to have 
concentrated their fury to inflame the writhing mass of 
combatants with a delirium of rage. The Germans were 
finally ejected from the chateau, where the floors were a 
welter of carnage and the ceilings were dripping blood. 

By the evening of the 9th the Tenth French Army 
Corps belonging to the Fifth Army had penetrated east- 
ward as far as Baye, north of Sezanne, threatening von 
Billow's rear. At the same time General Foch executed 
the daring maneuver which turned out to be decisive. 
After a heated contest on his left, in which a division from 
Morocco under General Humbert had conducted itself 
with special distinction, repelling many furious attacks, the 
Germans had abandoned their offensive. The commander 

The Battle of the Marne 179 

of the Ninth Army accordingly moved all, or, at least, the 
greater part of the troops composing his left wing east- 
ward to the support of his center and right, assailing the 
Prussian Guards and the Saxon corps unexpectedly on 
their flanks and driving a wedge into the aperture between 
the armies of von Biilow and von Hansen. Thus the Prus- 
sian Guards were outflanked and driven into the marshes 
of St. Gond, which were unusually treacherous in conse- 
quence of the wet weather. There they were entangled 
and subjected to the deadly tire of the French field-artillery. 
They suffered terrible losses and many of their guns were 
engulfed. Some detachments of the Guards who refused 
to surrender were annihilated where they stood. Von 
Biilow broke contact with the French as best he could and 
retreated northeastward on the 10th. The Ninth Army 
pursuing him crossed the Marne on the 11th at Chalons- 
sur-Marne and in its neighborhood. 

The progress of events in the fighting in the different 
parts of the Battle of the Marne was apparently deter- 
mined by impulses starting from the west. Each important 
stage in the development of the conflict, inaugurated by 
the action of the most western armies, was reached by the 
others consecutively in the order of their succession 

The action of the German Fourth Army scarcely began 
before the 8th and did not become severe before the 10th. 
when the battle further west was practically terminated. 
The attitude of the Germans in entering the Battle of the 
Marne is illustrated by an order of the day addressed by the 
lieutenant-general commanding the Eighth Army Corps 
from his headquarters at Vitry-le-Frangois on the 7th, the 
eve of battle, to his soldiers. The text is as follows: 

"The object of our long and arduous marches has been 
achieved. The principal French troops have been forced 

180 The Great War 

to accept battle after having been continually forced back. 
The great decision is undoubtedly at hand. To-morrow, 
therefore, the whole strength of the German army, as well 
as that of our army corps, is bound to be engaged all 
along the line from Paris to Verdun. To preserve the 
welfare and honor of Germany, I expect every officer and 
man, notwithstanding the hard and heroic fights of the 
last few days, to do his duty unswervingly and to the last 
breath. Everything depends on the result of to-morrow." 

The retreat of the Fourth Army on the 11th was prob- 
ably necessitated primarily by the exposure of its right 
flank in consequence of the flight of the German forces 
which had covered it. 

The army of the German Crown Prince occupied St. 
Menehould on the 6th, but its action was mainly directed 
to the region eastward of the forest belt of Argonne 
towards the French barrier fortresses. 

The retirement of the French armies before the Battle 
of the Marne left Verdun at the extremity of a salient 
projecting at least twenty-five miles to the north of the 
general front of the French forces. A rupture in the 
line of fortresses reaching to Verdun would open a very 
convenient avenue of communications for the German 
armies to the west and isolate one of the most important 
and formidable of the French strongholds. Accordingly, 
the German Crown Prince commenced the bombardment 
of some of the barrier forts on the 9th directing his chief 
efforts against Troyon. 

The inevitable necessity of falling back as a result of the 
outcome of events to the west arrested the Crown Prince's 
offensive on the 13th, just in time to save Troyon, which 
was being battered to pieces. The fact that fluctuations in 
the course of the Battle of the Marne started in the west 
and the circumstance that the Crown Prince did not 

German guns captured near La Ferte-Milon. 

Linihtr-wagons left by the Germans during their retreat in the battle of the Marne. 

The Battle of the Marne 181 

withdraw until three days after von Kluck's retirement are 
additional evidence disposing of the theory that the modi- 
fication in von Kluck's movements just before the battle 
was determined by the necessity of extricating the Third 
Army from a perilous situation. 

Coincidently with the great struggle in the region of the 
Marne a very violent attack against the defensive positions 
before Nancy was launched by the Germans in the pres- 
ence of the Kaiser and the General Staff. The offensive 
in this quarter, commenced on the 5th, was probably in- 
tended to support the efforts of the Crown Prince in 
blasting an opening through the French fortified barrier. 
But the Germans abandoned the offensive and retreated 
very suddenly on the 12th, probably because the impending 
retirement of the Crown Prince would have released a 
large part of the French Third Army which could have 
been turned to the side of Nancy. The French imme- 
diately recovered Luneville. 

In the official reports of the progress of the Great War 
the deliberate tendency to deception has generally mani- 
fested itself in the suppression, disguise, or concealment 
of disagreeable information. In other words, misrepresen- 
tation in the official bulletins usually consists in implication 
rather than specific falsehood. Many interesting examples 
of this tendency might be cited; but perhaps the most note- 
worthy was the effort of the German authorities to disguise 
the fact that there was a general pitched battle on a grand 
scale in the neighborhood of the Marne with the results 
which have just been described. 

The German authorities emphatically denied the truth 
of the report from hostile sources indicating that they 
had suffered a defeat. They themselves furnished the 
information about the operations and their outcome which 
we shall consider in the words of the original bulletins. 

182 The Great War 

Quartermaster-general von Stein announced on Septem- 
ber 3d: 

"The cavalry of Colonel-general von Kluck is pushing 
its forays as far as Paris. The western army has crossed 
the line of the Aisne and is continuing its march towards 
the Marne, which some of its patrols have already crossed. 

"The enemy is retreating before the armies of von 
Kluck, von Billow, von Hausen, and the Duke of Wiirt- 
temberg to the Marne and behind it." 

Thus in the evident expectation that decisive results 
were at hand, and that there would be no retrogression, 
the military authorities made public the forward movement 
to the Marne. 

Another bulletin from the same source, dated the 10th, 

"The units which had pressed forward to the Marne 
and penetrated beyond it in pursuit of the foe east of Paris 
have been attacked by superior forces from the direc- 
tion of Paris and between Meaux and Montmirail. In 
a severe two days' engagement they arrested the enemy's 
offensive movement and even advanced themselves. At 
the report of the approach of strong reinforcements for 
the enemy the wing was withdrawn. The enemy made 
no attempt anywhere to follow. Fifty guns and several 
thousand prisoners have thus far been taken as spoils of 

This was a very skilful attempt to represent von Kluck's 
defeat in a favorable light. The first sentence is a concise 
and accurate statement of the situation of von Kluck's 
forces in the initial stages of the battle both south of the 
Marne and north of the Marne in the valley of the Ourcq. 
But the following statements are true only of the course of 
operations north of the Marne, which was favorable until 
the 9th. The statements in the last two sentences it is 

The Battle of the Marne 183 

difficult to reconcile with conditions in any part of von 
Kluck's battle-ground. 

After the Germans had retreated to the line of the Aisne, 
forty miles to the rear, with a precipitation which in some 
instances resembled a rout, it was too late to conceal the 
previous advance to the Marne and beyond* it and very 
difficult to account for such a conspicuous retrograde 
movement when the goal of the campaign had seemed to 
be in sight, without admitting that they had suffered a 
serious defeat in a great battle. The General Staff tried to 
evade the difficulty by suppressing every significant indica- 
tion of locality in their reports of the renewed fighting on 
the Aisne. Thus the following announcement was issued 
at the Great Headquarters on September 17th: 

"The battle between the Oise and the Metise has not yet 
been brought to a final issue, but there are indications that 
the resistance of the enemy is beginning to weaken." 

The apparent indication of the western and eastern limits 
of the battlefield has no practical significance. What is 
really important about the situation of the battle-lines, their 
position north and south, is conspicuously lacking. Any 
great battle in Northern France at this time would naturally 
have been fought "between the Oise and the Meuse." For 
many weeks the German authorities continued to announce 
progress between these discreetly irrelevant longitudinal 
limits, without once mentioning tbe Aisne, although it was 
the most conspicuous physical feature in the vicinity of the 
new front. 

German commentators have tried to disguise the defeat 
on the Marne by denying the existence of such a battle 
and by claiming that the German armies retreated at their 
own discretion. According to their view the presence of 
the Germans on the Marne was a casual circumstance and 
the fighting there did not constitute a single, coherent 

184 The Great War 

pitched battle, but a series of local encounters with varying 
results passing over by an uninterrupted transition into the 
operations on the Aisne. The withdrawal of von Kluck 
and von Biilow, as they assert, was a voluntary measure of 
prudence for the elimination of a salient rendered awk- 
ward and unprofitable in consequence of the extension of 
the German front towards the northwest and the greater 
attention henceforth paid to the French barrier fortresses 
in the east. 

As for the contention that the German armies were 
merely maneuvering for position, or without a distinctive 
purpose involving definite success or failure, we need only 
remark that if pushing forward almost a million men with 
so much energy and vehemence was a comparatively aimless 
performance, the world has still to discover the tremendous 
measure of exertion which the Germans would put forth 
in a supremely significant undertaking. The assertion that 
a single Battle of the Marne did not take place is a claim 
that might equally be made in regard to any other great 
battle of the war. For the vast territorial extension of the 
great battles of the present necessarily deprives them of 
the unity and compactness which characterized the pitched 
battles of the past. But it makes no practical difference 
whether the Germans were defeated in a single battle of 
unprecedented magnitude or in a series of smaller en- 
counters. The argument, moreover, that they were not 
defeated on the Marne because the fighting there was 
prolonged uninterruptedly by the operations on the Aisne, 
which produced a draw, is mere idle jugglery with words 
and definitions. The assertion that von Kluck and von 
Biilow did not suffer a tactical defeat because they retreated 
deliberately to avoid destruction is not unlike attempting to 
prove that a victim of theft has not actually been robbed 
because he voluntarily relinquished his valuables to escape 





. St. Mard 




' Fere-en- 

, —Sreny^ 

St. Front 



o . 



-Fores t - 




yc ontfau' 



Jaucoi^r M 

ft. d« l«Chaum^J^!^<*Ft. de MouiagjIIIJ 

' Ft.4u 

\n Argonn 


montnaironsmin'„:„„..^ rf>. 

ieue <^ 
> Ginfcou 
Oenicourt '% 


toil I 

Viels ¥ al ions 


.^ . Bellot y _c 

p6a/S SJiJttelemy '°^ 

Jouy^.-Morin Y^ ,, ,, 


rmans ^utrecourt ., 

1 ^y^L ; Bannancourt 

Viffort \ Le «'^«"'^"^ /-^^^^ Ca'npoe..//, 
Artonges Conlste-en V. ^rr- 

[r/ro/s Pierrefitte 
Montmlrall "^f""" " *^''/^"*^ 

/mfe/y <G^ ^'"'/'"^ 

ChampoL \ ffumant^ 





ffoug e 





Courgiuaux ^ ^ 
Monceaux \ forest 

1 <^ 

'hers St George 


fl Tronuillt 

J ^J) Sazincourt, 

Sautx -^Innilli 
org II 




l/illenauxe , 

elle . ^ 


SOttef ?Ont s Seint 




fin Barroia 

•t. Amar)d 

Mauuage^ '/ 

Jl of 
Vc nqpttleurf 






8i. Mak^\Poiaai 

Poiaaon i\ Oulnuillt 



Ri zikrea 


iOond reooL 

t )omr«ir»y i 

Map shot 


Map showing the Paris-Vcrdun district. 


The Battle of the Marne 185 

the extreme violence of the malefactor. To account for 
the retreat of von Kluck's army on the assumption that its 
position had become an inconvenient salient is to disregard 
the fact that it had stood in general alignment with the 
German front and that its retirement preceded that of the 
other armies farther east. It may be added that the western 
German armies were withdrawn to the Aisne before the 
prolongation of the German position, which is alleged as 
the motive, had actually been undertaken, probably before 
it was even contemplated. The resort to arguments based 
on pretended considerations of strategic expediency has 
become a very trite method of palliating disagreeable facts. 
Even Napoleon's disastrous retreat from Moscow might, 
by a conceivable exaggeration of this method, be inter- 
preted as a well-calculated maneuver for the purpose of 
removing an awkward salient. 

All these attempts to shield or assuage German pride 
hinge upon subtle distinctions in the definition of victory 
and defeat and the factors which produce them, concep- 
tions which are necessarily relative and subject to variation. 
But no amount of casuistry can conceal the essential fact 
that the Allies won an important victory, not conclusive in 
the sense that a German army was destroyed or that the end 
of the war was brought in sight, but decisive in the sense 
that it was the turning point in the campaign. The Ger- 
mans had launched a tremendous invasion of France with 
the professed intention of striking a decisive blow as soon 
as possible. In consequence of the prodigious struggle on 
the Marne they failed to accomplish this purpose. But, on 
the other hand, the German armies did escape from the 
snare which Joffre had devised for them. 

The dexterity and promptness with which the German 
armies, after weeks of excessive exertion and a disconcerting 
defeat, extricated themselves from a position of imminent 

186 The Great War 

peril and retreated to the Aisne are no less deserving of admi- 
ration than their astonishing performances in the great rush 
towards Paris. The tenacity displayed by the German mili- 
tary organization under the terrific strain is almost incredible. 

It is impossible to determine even approximately the 
losses in the Battle of the Marne. Some authorities esti- 
mate the aggregate dead and wounded at about 10% of the 
numbers engaged. 

The German armies retired to positions already prepared 
for them on the Aisne. The capture of the fortress Mau- 
beuge while the Battle of the Marne was in progress con- 
tributed materially to the security and consolidation of the 
German position in northern France. 

We saw in a previous chapter how Maubeuge was left 
like an island in the inundating flood of invasion. When 
the Allies retired behind the Marne, Maubeuge, far away 
on the Belgian frontier, was the only French fortress in 
the north which still held out against the Germans. The 
heavy siege-train was transferred from Namur to the posi- 
tions around Maubeuge. The Austrian motor-batteries, 
which had been employed at Namur, were conveyed 
thither after the bombardment of Givet, and rendered the 
same effective service. 

The bombardment of the forts composing the ring 
around Maubeuge began on August 27th and continued 
until September 7th, when the white flag was displayed at 
11.50 in the morning. The Germans took 40,000 prisoners 
including four generals, 400 guns, and much material of 
all kinds. It was jubilantly reported that a single German 
corps had reduced an important stronghold with a garrison 
equal to its own number. But of course the great supe- 
riority of the German siege-artillery more than counter- 
balanced the advantage of the defensive position of the 
French behind fortifications. 


Operations on the Line of the Aisne 
{September 10-23, 1914) 

Significance of the operations on the Aisne. The new German front. 
Natural features of the valley of the Aisne. The position of the Anglo- 
French forces. The action on September 12th. The passage of the Aisne 
by the Allies, on the 13th, and their subsequent penetration of the heights 
to the north of the valley. Great difficulties and hardships suffered by the 
Allies in their exposed trenches. Their abandonment of frontal attacks. 
Great buoyancy shown by the German military organization. 

Although the Germans undoubtedly still clung to the 
hope of pressing the war in the West to a decisive issue in 
the spirit of their original intentions, it became ever more 
apparent that their first great design of shattering the re- 
sistance of France once and for all by a sudden, irresisti- 
ble blow had received a definite, conclusive check in the 
desperate combats near the Marne. The war of rapid, 
sensational maneuvers was now transformed into a war of 
position. While we may assume that the course of Ger- 
man operations in the West continued to be influenced, 
although to a somewhat diminishing extent, by the original 
strategic conceptions throughout the remainder of the cam- 
paign of 1914, the fact that the Germans were the first to 
dig themselves in, to sacrifice mobility for a definite line of 
front and the assured possession of a limited amount of the 
invaded territory, is a certain indication that the irrepressible 
vehemence of their initial operations had been impaired. 
The development of the international situation, as well as 
the military events themselves, was exercising a sobering 


188 The Great War 

influence on the mental attitude of the German authorities. 
In this connection we may only note the conclusion at 
London on September 5th, on the eve of the momentous 
Battle of the Marne, at the most critical moment in the cam- 
paign in the West, of the following fundamental agreement 
between the great powers that composed the Triple Entente : 

"The British, French, and Russian Governments mutu- 
ally engage not to conclude peace separately during the 
present war. The three governments agree that when 
the terms of peace come to be discussed, no one of the 
allies will demand conditions of peace without the previous 
agreement of each of the other allies." 

The German government had undoubtedly been en- 
couraged by the confident hope that the coalition against 
them would not endure to the end. That the association 
of their enemies was an incongruous and unnatural, as well 
as a monstrous, combination, seemed to the Germans to be 
a perfectly self-evident proposition. By comparison with 
it the alliance of the central empires presented a compact, 
united front. The disparity of tradition, attitude, and inter- 
ests of Germany's enemies, especially of Great Britain and 
Russia, would, as it seemed, necessarily prevent a sincere, 
lasting cooperation. While the agreement of September 
5th did not destroy this German expectation, it was one of 
many disappointing signs indicating that its fulfilment was 
very much more remote than had been supposed. 

The German General Staff must now have realized the 
terrible extent and gravity of the task before them and that 
the war would be a long, hard struggle. Consequently, 
the desire to hold the enemy as far as possible from the 
frontier of the German Empire began to assert itself, 
coordinately with the aim of terminating the war by vig- 
orous offensive strokes, as a motive influencing strategy 
and military policy. 

■5 ^ 

<^- =' 


< ^ 

C rt Vi 

- £ -^ 

-f < 

Z t " 

._ CI 


c = >■ 

Operations on the Line of the Aisxe 189 

It can be said with much more truth of the ti'j;hting on 
the general Une of the Aisne than of the Battle of the 
Marne that it resolved itself into a number of partial, 
detached engagements. The so-called Battle of the Aisne 
was a transition battle, which could scarcely have been de- 
cisive in any conceivable circumstances. The Germans 
contested desperately the further relinquishment of every 
yard of the French territory which they had occupied. 
Their immediate aim was to delay the decisive stage of 
the operations until the recuperation of their forces, a 
favorable turn of events in the East, and the arrival of 
reinforcements permitted them to resume an energetic 
offensive. We ought to note as significant features of this 
stage of the campaign in the West that for the first time 
since the completion of their mobilization the Germans 
had to accept the defensive role, which is so hateful to all 
their strategists; that the struggle on the Aisne inaugu- 
rated the comparatively stationary, siege-like operations of 
trench-warfare; and that the outcome destroyed the eager 
hope of the Allies that the repulse near the Marne would 
result in the immediate collapse of the German campaign 
in the West and that the Germans would be driven from 
France without delay. 

The movement to the line of the Aisne, or in other words, 
the changes in the position of the opposing armies occa- 
sioned by the defeat of the Germans in the Battle of the 
Marne, was not fully carried out before the evening of the 
13th. The German armies were compelled to take up one by 
one, in order of their succession eastward, the retrogressive 
movement inaugurated by von Kluck. In general we may 
say that the German front in receding pivoted on the left 
flank of the army of the Crown Prince east of the Argon ne. 

The new German front between the Meuse and the 
Oise, destined to mark the limit of German occupation for 

190 The Great War 

many months, left the Meuse near Consenvoye, traversed 
the rough, wooded region of the Argonne, and the plains 
of Champagne northward of Reims, followed the course 
of the Suippe northwestward to its confluence with the 
Aisne and crossed the latter just above Berry-au-Bac, gained 
the elevated plateau of Craonne, and continued westward 
along the summit of the heights on the north of the Aisne 
to the left bank of the Oise. The Germans also retained 
territory on the right of the Oise. The flanks of the new 
position were thus protected by natural barriers, and a 
considerable portion of the front, which was about 125 
miles in length, offered exceptional advantages for defense. 
The work of intrenching this front had undoubtedly been 
undertaken as a precautional measure before the conclu- 
sion of the Battle of the Marne. The German armies 
retreating to this position were strengthened by the forces 
which had been released at the capitulation of Maubeuge 
and by numerous other reinforcements which probably 
restored the equilibrium completely. 

The most important characteristics of the following san- 
guinary engagements are due to the special physiognomy 
of the western part of the region of hostilities, the valley 
of the Aisne from its confluence with the Suippe to its 
union with the Oise. This alone gives an unmistakable 
appearance of unity to the series. The Aisne flows in a 
winding course from east to west through a narrow, flat 
valley from about a half mile to two or three miles in 
width. An elevated ridge dominates this valley on the 
north at a distance varying from three to five miles from 
the river. A gradually sloping plateau, wooded in parts, 
extends southward from the ridge and is terminated at a 
distance of a mile or two from the river by an abrupt 
descent of 300 or 400 feet to the level floor of the valley. 
Deep ravines penetrate this hillside, scalloping the margin 

Operations on the Line of the Aisxe 191 

of the plateau above with many spurs and indentations. 
The slope on the south side of the river is essentially similar 
in character to that on the north. The valley through 
which the river flows is chiefly occupied by unenclosed 
meadows, interspersed with patches of woodland. It is 
dotted with villages and intersected with roads bordered by 
rows of poplars and fruit trees. The river itself is a formid- 
able obstacle on account of its depth of fifteen feet, although 
it is less than 200 feet in breadth. Most of the bridges 
were destroyed by the Germans after they retreated to 
the northern bank of the stream. Villages situated at the 
crossing-points helped to make the bridges, or their tempo- 
rary substitutes, conspicuous targets for the artillery posted 
on the heights to the north, from which the Germans had 
presumably measured all the ranges with the utmost care. 

In advancing to the new line the armies of the Allies 
preserved the same relative position among themselves, 
with the French Sixth Army, the British Army, and the 
French Fifth, Fourth, and Third Armies in the order 
named, beginning in the west. The British experienced 
very little opposition on the 11th. They crossed the Ourcq 
where its course is east and west and bivouacked on the line 
between Oulchy-le-Chateau and Longpont. The cavalry 
arrived in the vicinity of the Aisne the same evening. 

On the next day the Sixth and the British Armies ad- 
vanced to positions overlooking the Aisne. The Sixth 
Army took up a position extending from Soissons towards 
the west, while the British drew up on a front about fifteen 
miles in length from Soissons eastward. The Cjermans 
were posted in strong positions on both sides of the river. 
They occupied Soissons. 

There was a long-range artillery duel throughout most 
of the day on the 12th. The British artillery cooperated 
with the right wing of the Sixth Army in the attempt to 

192 The Great War 

expel the Germans from Soissons and the French gained 
possession of the southern half of the town during the 
night. Eastward on the same day the Fifth Army reached 
the line of the Vesle, which flows westward between the 
Marne and the Aisne and empties into the latter about 
eight miles east of Soissons. 

There was general action throughout the valley on the 
13th. The three British corps, which maintained the same 
consecutive order as before, with the First on the right 
wing, were ordered to cross the Aisne at the available 
points along their front, and the movement ushered in the 
miost spectacular stage of the operations in this region. 
The First Division crossed on a viaduct by which a canal 
traverses the river. The Second utilized boats and a single 
girder of a half-demolished bridge at Pont-Arcy on which 
they passed in single file. A pontoon bridge was com- 
pleted by five in the afternoon. Only a part of the Third 
succeeded in reaching the northern bank. The Fifth, 
finding the bridge at Conde intact but swept by the enemy's 
fire, were rafted across. The Fourth repaired the perma- 
nent bridge at Venizel and supplemented it by a pontoon 

The Eighth Army Corps, forming part of the Sixth 
Army to the left of the British, crossed the river west of 
Soissons under cover of a furious cannonade. 

The Allies everywhere encountered the most determined 
resistance. There were desperate hand-to-hand encounters 
in many of the villages, where the streets were filled with 
dead. Furious fighting continued all day, the terrific action 
of the artillery converting the valley into a hideous inferno. 
The lower part of Soissons burst into flames from the 
shower of projectiles poured into it. The meadows north 
of the Aisne were swept by such a fierce fire that it seemed 
impossible that living beings could exist in them. By 

The Cathedral of Notre-Danic at Reims before the bombardment by the Germans, Built in 
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it is not only celebrated for its architectural beauties, the 
facade being one of the masterpieces of the Middle Ages, but alio historically, as here used to be 
cro'vjned the kings of France. 

Operations on the Line of the Aisne 193 

nightfall throughout the greater part of the front, the 
Fifth, British, and Sixth Armies had established themselves 
on the northern bank. Before morning the British had 
placed eight pontoon bridges in position and had repaired 
several of the damaged bridges in spite of the almost inces- 
sant fire of the German heavy artillery. 

The main part of the German forces withdrew to the 
positions on the heights north of the river, where their 
system of intrenchments had been very carefully prepared 
and heavy artillery commanding all parts of the valley had 
been mounted in cleverly concealed positions. At least as 
early as the 15th, the heavy artillery from the positions 
before Maubeuge was being employed by the Germans 
on the line of the Aisne. The most numerous, and prob- 
ably, in the actual circumstances, most useful, of the heav- 
iest pieces were the 21-centimeter howitzers with their 
effective range of 10,000 yards. Tremendous cannonading, 
calculated to unnerve and terrify the Allies, preceded the 
charges of the German infantry. The Allies had no means 
of replying to the heavy artillery of their opponents. 

The Germans left strong detachments in advanced posi- 
tions where they could sweep the approaches to the 
principal lines of trenches by the crosstire of held and 
machine-guns. These outposts were placed on projecting 
ridges or spurs of the plateau and even in the valley, as at 
Conde, an important bridge-head. Powerful searchlights 
disclosed any attempt of the Allies to approach the German 
lines by night. 

The most striking performance on the 15th was the bold 
attempt of the British right wing to push northward up the 
ravines. After a day of very heavy lighting the First Corps 
under Sir Douglas Haig occupied a position on the line of 
the main highway, called the Chemin-des-Dames, which 
runs along a ridge on the plateau, and succeeded in 

194 The Great War 

intrenching themselves there. The great importance of 
this position is shown by the repeated attempts to drive the 
British from it, all of which were repulsed with great loss 
to the Germans. The Eighteenth Corps in the Fifth 
Army supported the British in this forward mo.vement. 

The chief efforts of the Allies throughout the front were 
directed primarily to securing positions on the plateau over- 
looking the valley on the north, where the enemy would 
be within range of their firearms, and the distance to be 
traversed in the contemplated final onslaught would be 
short. As they realized that the resistance of the Germans 
was no mere delaying action to cover a further retreat, but 
a determined stand in carefully fortified positions, the Allies 
gradually elaborated their system of trenches to secure the 
greatest possible protection against the shells of their oppo- 
nent's heavy artillery. 

In the early days on the Aisne the Germans by their 
furious attacks, repeated at frequent intervals, deprived 
their enemy of rest by day and night. After a very severe 
but unsuccessful attack on the 15th against the right wing 
of the Sixth Army and the left of the British, the Germans 
delivered no less than ten distinct attacks in the following 
night, all of which were repulsed. 

The British Sixth Division arrived from England on the 
16th completing the normal complement of the Third 
Corps. It was posted on the south side of the Aisne as a 
general reserve, making it possible to relieve regularly the 
detachments on service in the forward trenches. Four 
6-inch howitzer batteries arrived from England at Sir John 
French's request on the 23d. 

Very heavy rains continuing many days about the middle 
of September transformed the usually placid Aisne into a 
turbulent flood and impeded the restoration of adequate 
communication between the two banks, and exposed the 

Map showing by the shaded portion the tcrriton' occupied by tlie Germans after the Battle of the Majne, Septem 

Operations on the Line of the Aisne 195 

soldiers in the trenches to great discomfort, a forecast of 
the many coming months of privation and excessive hard- 
ship in consequence of the inclemency of the weather. 

Service in the advanced trenches of the Allies, which 
approached in some places to within two hundred yards 
of the enemy's foremost line, required almost super- 
human endurance. With the pouring rain for days the 
water stood knee-deep in the trenches. Many of the 
British had lost their great coats during the rapid retreat 
from Mons to the Marne. The soldiers in the trenches 
were covered with a stiff layer of clay from the saturated, 
chalky soil. The frequent bombardment allowed little rest 
or relaxation for limbs or nerves. In some sections of the 
trenches it was almost certain death for the soldiers to 
show their heads above the parapet during the day. Food 
and water were brought and the detachments on outpost 
duty relieved only by night, the men crawHng on all fours. 
The trenches were repeatedly the target for the heavy 
artillery firing at high angles in positions behind the Ger- 
man lines. Falling on both sides of the trenches, the shells 
detonated with terrific violence, throwing up great quan- 
tities of earth and stones and perforating the surface with 
bowl-shaped craters. Whenever one of the larger shells 
exploded in a trench, there was no escape for the soldiers 
in position near the spot. The howitzer shells were called 
Jack Johnsons by the British soldiers, on account of the 
great columns of black smoke which they discharged. 

The general nature of such trench-fighting involved 
some exceptionally terrible circumstances. With the lines 
drawn as closely as possible and every yard of ground or 
element of advantage either actually seized or jealously 
contested, the tension of a single battle was continued in- 
definitely without respite or truce for removing the dead 
and wounded left in the track of successive attacks and 

196 The Great War 

counter-charges in the zone of death between the oppos- 
ing: trenches. Soon the decomposing bodies of the slain 
filled the air with foul, contaminating odors. The inevitable 
suffering of the wounded was greatly augmented in the 
more exposed trenches, from which they could be removed 
only at night. The severely wounded in the trenches had 
frequently to lie many hours in awkward positions or on 
water-soaked straw. But the imagination is powerless to 
comprehend the horrible fate of the severely wounded 
left between the firing-lines, whom it was death for their 
comrades to approach. Many, unable to crawl to either 
side of the bullet-swept area, exposed continually to fresh 
wounds or lacerations, awaited hours or even days for the 
coming of death as a merciful deliverance from their agony. 

During the early operations on the Aisne the Allies suf- 
fered far more than the Germans from the inadequacy of 
their trenches and their exposure to the fire of heavy 
artillery, while the Germans endured considerable hardship 
from the irregularity and insufficiency of their food supply. 
The Germans did not suffer the terrible bombardment to 
which they subjected their foes; but their losses in the 
trenches from the fire of small-arms must have been greater 
than that of their opponents, in consequence of the supe- 
riority of British marksmanship. 

Upon recovering Reims in consequence of their victory 
in the Battle of the Marne, the French strengthened the 
defenses of the city and made it a prominent point on the 
fine of their front. The Germans commenced a counter- 
offensive against Reims about the 20th and took the com- 
manding heights of Craonelle near it. In accordance with 
the approved method they supported their infantry attacks 
by vigorous action of their cavalry, bombarding not only 
the lines of trenches but the city itself, where some of the 
French batteries had been posted, probably on account of 

VTLTiiKin Retl Cross men at work under hrc in the Aruonne distritt. 

German dead in a trench just captured by French troops. 

Operations on the Line of the Aisne 197 

the cover afforded b}' the buildings. Fires were caused in 
several places and the city suffered considerable damage 
from the German bombardment. 

The Germans claim that their artillerists were ordered 
to respect the white flag which was raised on the famous 
cathedral, and that every effort was made to spare this beau- 
tiful monument of Gothic architecture, until an observa- 
tion post was discovered in one of the towers directing the 
aim of the French artillery. 

A German official communication stated that only shrap- 
nel fired by the field artillery was employed for dislodging 
the observers in the tower, but admitted that the roof of 
the cathedral was afterwards seen to be in flames. It is 
scarcely conceivable that such a conflagration was due to 
shrapnel. A later communication added that a single pro- 
jectile was fired by a mortar at the observation post, since 
the field artillery had proved inadequate for the purpose. 

Unfortunately, in this and subsequent bombardments 
the cathedral suffered serious damage, but without being 
destroyed as an edifice. The circumstance was eagerly 
utilized for the purpose of inflaming the feeling of bitter- 
ness against the Germans, especially in neutral countries. 
But the supposition that the Germans were actuated by 
purely wanton maliciousness is preposterous. In many 
instances the rage and lawlessness of invividuals found vent 
in senseless acts of destruction. But the systematic action 
of artillery, as in defacing the cathedral of Reims, is not 
controlled by freaks of individual passion, and the German 
authorities were certainly not seeking gratuitous enmity. 

It gradually became evident that without a far greater 
preponderance of forces than the Allies were able to 
muster they could not hope to surmount by frontal attacks 
the stronger positions, innumerable machine-guns, and 
powerful siege-artillery of the Germans. The offensive 

198 The Great War 

action against the front of the German position was there- 
fore allowed to wane and General Joffre turned to the 
plan of threatening the German right flank by striking 
northward from the western section of the front on the 
Aisne, under cover of the forests. This movement was 
undertaken by the Fourth and Thirteenth Corps belong- 
ing to the Sixth Army. But General von Kluck antici- 
pated precisely such a turning movement by extending his 
lines westward so as to intercept its line of advance. The 
French Corps were defeated south of Noyon, losing several 

The German military organization exhibited its marvel- 
lous tenacity and resiliency in the crisis created by the 
defeat in the Battle of the Marne. At one moment the 
prodigious enterprise in the West collapsed and the Ger- 
man armies seemed to be entrapped or routed. In the 
next, the necessary adjustments had been accomplished, the 
armies in the West were in a firm position waiting an oppor- 
tunity to resume the offensive, and soon we shall behold 
the Germans, while displaying an astonishing amount of 
activity in all sections where hostilities are in progress, 
pushing operations in the East with apparently as much 
vigor as we should have expected if their plans in the West 
had been successful. 


The Race to the Sea 
{Septejnber 23-October 15, 1914) 

The more complicated character of the second part of the first campaign 
in the West ; the diversity of purposes. The Allies' offensive and the 
race to the sea; every effort of the Allies countered by the Germans. 
Transference of the British to Flanders. Lille taken by the Germans. 
Resumption of the German offensive. Intimate connection of Verdun 
and Antwerp in the deliberations of the Germans. The perforation of 
the French eastern barrier at St. Mihiel and its futility. Retrospect of the 
situation of the Belgian army. Destruction of Louvain, The German 
operations against Antwerp : the fortifications, the opposing forces, the 
beginning of the bombardment of the forts, September 28th, the removal 
of the Belgian base, the penetration of the outer girdle. The general out- 
look and departure of the Belgian field-army. The fall of Antwerp. The 
race from all sides towards the southwestern section of the Belgian coast. 
The arrival of the Belgian army on the line of the Yser and completion of 
the barrier from the Swiss boundary to the North Sea. 

For reasons that have already been explained, we ought 
to regard the Battle of the Marne as the great turning 
point of the campaign of 1914 in the West, dividing it 
naturally into two parts. The interpretation of much of 
the action in the second part, the nature of the underlying 
purposes, is not so clear as in the first part. The confu- 
sion is inherent in the nature of the transition brought 
about by the above-mentioned preeminent event. For the 
immediate change in the purpose and method of the opera- 
tions was not a complete revolution. Thus, although the 
earlier dashing maneuvers and lightning strokes gave way 
largely to the steady, comparatively stationary, grind of 
trench-warfare, a conspicuous amount of mobility was still 
displayed by the operations in some parts of the contested 


200 The Great War 

area for at least a month. With the turning of the tide in 
the Battle of the Marne the initiative passed from the Ger- 
mans, who had held it quite exclusively since the com- 
pletion of their concentration, to their opponents. But the 
latter were unable to retain it consistently very long. It fluct- 
uated from time to time and from place to place and later 
returned quite unmistakably into the power of the Germans. 

Consequently, the imagination is no longer enthralled 
by a single tremendous movement, beside which all else 
is insignificant, as in the earlier part of the campaign. 
Then the one great purpose of the invaders dominated 
the field and determined the action of their opponents, 
who strove for the time merely to hinder and delay their 
progress. In the later period this unity in the course of 
events is lost. Each contestant strove to carry out a dis- 
tinctive, characteristic plan. The attention is claimed by 
important series of operations developing simultaneously 
in different parts of the western theater. The really sig- 
nificant exertions of both sides were actuated by their own 
positive, individual intentions. It is necessary then for us 
to distinguish clearly the respective designs of both con- 
testants as the indispensable condition for comprehending 
the course of events, which is complicated by the fact 
that one of the contrasted plans was not simply the coun- 
terpart or reverse of the other. 

The position of the initiative, resting with the Allies at 
the outset, later fluctuating, and finally passing over com- 
pletely into the hands of the Germans, suggests the proper 
order of treatment. We shall consider, first, the purpose 
of the Allies and the continuation of their offensive move- 
ment which was started near the Marne on September 
6th, and secondly, the intention of the Germans and the 
renewal of their offensive, which had only been suspended 

The Race to the Sea 201 

The Allies, foiled in their frontal attacks on the line of 
the Aisne, transferred their offensive to the left wing and 
resumed the effort to outflank the enemy's right. But 
every movement of the Allies for the purpose of circum- 
venting their opponent's position and striking at his lines 
of communication was matched or surpassed by the efforts 
of the Germans, so that the net result of the struggle of 
each army to outflank the other was the rapid extension 
of the opposing fronts on parallel lines northward in a race 
which terminated at the sea about the middle of October. 
Meanwhile, the Germans, with renewed energy and greatly 
augmented strength, had extended the range of their aggres- 
sive action and consolidated their position in the invaded 
territory. Finally, they took up a vigorous offensive and 
hurled themselves in repeated attacks with fearful violence 
against the position of the Allies in Flanders. Thus the 
movement inaugurated by the French, which resulted in 
the extension of the fronts to the North Sea, and the 
determined resumption of the German offensive, which 
culminated in the tremendous effort to break through the 
barrier formed by the Allies, are the dominating features 
of the operations throughout the remainder of the cam- 
paign of 1914 in the West. The first is the main subject 
of the present chapter, the second will be reserved for 
treatment in the next. 

A variety of considerations doubtless swayed the leaders 
of the Allies in their choice of a plan for the continuation 
of the offensive. In the first place it was natural for them 
to revert to a method which had been successful in the 
Battle of the Marne. Then the turning movement in 
the west doubtless seemed at the time to offer the largest 
prospect of success as well as the greatest advantages. 
Alsace was too narrow for aggressive operations on an 
extensive scale, and as long as the German lines were only 

202 The Great War 

sixty miles from Paris, a great offensive movement in 
Alsace would have produced a dangerous dissipation of 
forces. Another advance through Lorraine would have 
been foredoomed to failure without the previous reduc- 
tion or investment of Metz or Strassburg, which would 
have involved insurmountable difficulties. 

There was still the possibility of a flanking movement 
directed from Verdun towards the north. But in respect 
to facilities for the concentration of troops, Verdun was at 
a great disadvantage as compared with any corresponding 
base of operations in the western part of France. Besides, 
the prospective advantages were apparently very much 
greater in the case of a movement launched from the 
western end of the intrenched position between the Oise 
and the Meuse than in that of a similar maneuver started 
from the eastern extremity. A movement in the west 
would provide for the permanent safety of the Channel 
ports and secure the possession of the most important in- 
dustrial region of France in the north. Lille, for example, 
a very wealthy city, on the border of Belgium, was the 
great center for the manufacture of locomotives, automo- 
biles, and sundry appliances constantly required in war- 
fare. The Germans had evacuated Lille in consequence 
of the Battle of the Marne. But the French held it by 
a precarious tenure. Furthermore, a northward move- 
ment in the west promised to bring the Anglo-French 
forces into actual contact with the Belgian army, so that 
the united efforts of all would become much more effec- 
tive, and the advantages offered by the position of the for- 
tress of Antwerp as a sort of projecting bastion would be 

If supremely successful, the turning movement of the 
Allies would sever the principal lines of communication of 
the German army running northeastward through Belgium, 

The Race to the Sea 203 

crush the army of von Kluck, and drive the invaders with 
great loss and confusion from French soil. 

Strange as it may seem in comparison with later condi- 
tions, the vast area extending from the western extremity 
of the opposing lines, as they were at that time, near the 
confluence of the Aisne and the Oise, to the North Sea 
and the course of the Scheldt, was debatable territory, but 
only loosely guarded or patrolled in parts by Territorial 
troops or detachments of cavalry. But such a situation 
was no longer compatible with the close, intensive disposi- 
tion along the Aisne, where progress was measured in 
yards, as in siege operations. 

The armies on both sides were constantly being aug- 
mented by the incorporation of reserve troops of various 
categories whose state of training or preparation had been 
inadequate at the beginning of the war. These impatient 
masses, restrained by the baffling equilibrium of opposing 
factors in front, tended inevitably to spread out laterally 
and press eagerly into the unoccupied spaces. Since the 
Allies still possessed the initiative, they naturally took the 
lead in this movement. But the Germans had by no means 
renounced their fundamental design of crushing France 
as the preliminary step in the direction of an ultimate 
universal triumph. There was every reason to suppose, 
therefore, that von Kluck was merely awaiting a favorable 
opportunity for resuming the turning maneuver in the 
west which had so nearly succeeded before the Battle of 
the Marne. The extension of the French lines on the 
left might also be regarded, therefore, as an indispensable 
measure of self-protection. 

In the feverish contest for expansion northward the 
Germans had a distinct advantage in the concentric form 
of their front at its western extremity, which shortened 
their transports. Both the French and the Germans were 

204 The Great War 

now bringing many new formations into the field. But 
the unexpected alacrity with which the Germans thwarted 
every attempt of the Allies to outflank them is an indica- 
tion of their numerical superiority. 

The German Ersatz Reserve is composed of those who, 
although they are physically fit and have arrived at military 
age, have never been enrolled for service in the regular 
army. It was a reservoir of potential military strength, a 
source of raw fighting material. The Ersatz Reserve was 
required to report for training at the regimental depots on 
the outbreak of war so as to supply the necessary drafts re- 
plenishing the active units in the field. But the accumulated 
margin between the actual annual classes of recruits and the 
whole number of men qualified for military service was so 
large in Germany that independent Ersatz divisions were 
formed about this time, when the members of the Ersatz Re- 
serve were completing their minimum emergency training. 

About September 20th a new French army, the Seventh, 
was concentrated between the Oise and the Somme, on the 
left of the Sixth Army, under the command of General de 
Castelnau, the capable leader who had saved Nancy from 
the German counter-offensive which followed the unsuc- 
cessful French invasion of German Lorraine. He was 
instructed to extend his left flank to the north of the 
Somme and to ascend the valleys of the Oise and Somme 
in the direction of St. Quentin. 

At first the movement thus inaugurated must have been 
very perilous for von Kluck, whose right wing barely cov- 
ered his principal lines of communication coming from 
Belgium. By the 21st, de Castelnau's right wing had 
reached the vicinity of Noyon, and on the left a detach- 
ment occupied Peronne on the 23d. 

But the Germans concentrated their forces in the neigh- 
borhood of St. Quentin, the threatened point, with the 

The Race to the Sea 205 

utmost energy and speed. Reinforcements were dispatched 
from different parts of the front, notably from Lorraine. 
It is even said that the whole, or at least the greater part, 
of the Sixth German Army was transferred to this section. 
On the 25th the French began to retire from the vicinity of 
Noyon under the formidable pressure of the Germans. 

The almost uninterrupted fighting in this quarter from 
the 25th to the 27th was part of a general conflict which 
raged along the entire front in northern France from the 
Somme to the Meuse in connection with repeated assaults 
of the Germans. The 26th saw the renewal of activity on 
the heights to the north of the Aisne and the determined 
effort of the Germans to recover the advanced position 
held by the British right. Some authorities regard the 
waning of these attempts of the Germans to establish an 
ascendency in this section on the 27th as the end of the 
Battle of the Aisne. 

The Germans again attacked with great fury the French 
positions before Reims. The bombardment did much 
damage to the city, setting it on fire in several places and 
killing a number of the inhabitants. 

In the extreme west the Germans repulsed a French 
division advancing towards Bapaume, forced the French 
to retire from Peronne, and attacked Albert, an important 
crossing-point on the Ancre, north of the Somme, on a 
main highway leading westward to Amiens. The contest 
at Albert was prolonged for several days with great vio- 
lence. In spite of the burning of the town the French 
held their position tenaciously. They took the offensive 
on the 30th, but their endeavor to advance eastward was 
checked by the Germans. 

On the same day the Germans occupied the heights near 
Roye in the plain of the Somme about twenty miles north 
by west of Compiegne, where they threatened the center 

206 The Great War 

of de Castelnau's army and the communications between 
Compiegne and Amiens. But they were unable to pene- 
trate further in this direction. 

Thus while the converging movement of de Castelnau's 
army on St. Quentin was frustrated, the German counter- 
offensive was checked in return. 

In the meantime, forces on both sides were pushing 
northward with the greatest energy. It is even reported 
that the French were compelled to march as many as 
twenty-five miles a day in order to meet the advance of 
the Germans, who were moving on interior lines. Every- 
where the German cavalry appeared in advance of the 
infantry, overrunning the country, spreading terror and 
confusion, and seizing points of vantage. 

To forestall the continued northward progress of the 
Germans, which threatened to open the way for a formid- 
able offensive movement. General Joffre decided to form 
a new French army, the Tenth, about September 30th, in 
the neighborhood of Arras and Lens, the hilly country 
between the Somme and the valley of the Lys. As a pre- 
liminary step, two cavalry corps were sent northward as far 
as the Scarpe, where they were to cooperate with Terri- 
torial forces which had advanced from Dunkirk to Douai. 
But the French were immediately confronted in the dis- 
trict of Arras by a strong German army consisting of the 
Prussian Guard, four army corps, two reserve corps, and 
two cavalry corps. 

The French Tenth Army was placed under the com- 
mand of General Maud'huy. With its right flank resting 
on the Ancre, it was intended that it should secure the 
front Arras-Lens-Lille, and then, probably, advance in the 
direction of Valenciennes. The general aim of the Ger- 
mans in this quarter was apparently to capture Lille and 
turn Maud'huy's left flank. 

The Race to the Sea 207 

But a battle lasting many days commenced on Octo- 
ber 1st east of Arras, a handsome city situated on the 
Scarpe, a tributary of the Scheldt, thirty-one miles north- 
northeast of Amiens, the birthplace of Robespierre. The 
once famous fortifications of Arras designed by Vauban 
have long since lost all practical significance. The Ger- 
mans captured Douai and Lens and threatened to outflank 
Maud'huy's left. Most of the French forces were thus 
compelled to retire to the hills west of Arras. A large 
part of the population of the city fled from their homes. 
The rest took refuge for the most part in cellars during 
the bombardment, which lasted intermittently for three 
days, October 6-8. The venerable townhall, a beautiful 
example of secular Gothic, was wofully shattered, although 
the tower survived this first bombardment. The Germans 
forced their way into Arras but were subsequently ejected. 
But in this battle Maud'huy's ofi^ensive stroke was parried 
before it had been fairly launched. 

General Jofl^re decided to concentrate still another army, 
the Eighth, to cover Maud'huy's left flank, establish the 
front between Lens and Dunkirk, and stem the vast re- 
turning tide of German invasion. The Germans had pene- 
trated into the suburbs of Lille. They occupied Ypres, 
October 3d, their cavalry had taken Armentieres and Bail- 
leul and was pressing westward up the valley of the Lys. 
Their outposts had arrived in the neighborhood of Haze- 
brouck and Cassel. Dunkirk and Calais were menaced. 
The French ofl^ensive seemed on the point of complete 
submersion and the situation was rapidly becoming critical. 
The Eighth Army was entrusted to the command of Gen- 
eral d'Urbal. 

The British army which had commenced the campaign 
on the extreme left wing of the Allied forces, now found 
itself, in consequence of the general lateral shifting of the 

208 The Great War 

lines and the expansion of the fronts towards the north- 
west, practically in the middle of the Allied position. 
Obvious considerations of expediency prompted General 
French to urge that the British should resume their initial 
place on the left, in other words, that they should be trans- 
ferred to the section of the theater of operations in the 
extreme northwest. Their position would thus be nearest 
England. Their lines of communication, which, as matters 
stood, crossed those of several French armies on the left, 
would be greatly shortened and the transport of supplies 
would be very much simplified. The conveyance and de- 
ployment of the expected reinforcements of British, Indian, 
and Colonial troops would also be facilitated. 

The perilous situation in the north added weight to 
Sir John French's arguments, and it was decided that the 
British army should be transferred to a position on the left 
of the French in Flanders. The process of withdrawing 
the British from the foremost trenches in the region of the 
Aisne and replacing them with French troops had to be 
performed section by section in the night with the greatest 
caution. For in some places the opposing lines were less 
than a hundred yards apart. The operation of transferring 
the British army was begun on the 3d and completed on 
the 19th without loss and almost without any hitch. The 
soldiers were transported partly by rail and partly by 

It was naturally hoped that the British would cooperate 
effectively in the defense or recovery of Lille, where the 
situation was precarious, since the garrison consisted of an 
inadequate force of Territorial troops. Maud'huy's prog- 
ress had been checked at Arras and Lens. The arrival of 
the British in the northern section was not expected before 
the 11th. Many of the inhabitants of Lille departed by 
rail or on foot terrified at the prospect of a bombardment 


,r^===a '^ r£di;d oorde 

S'&IIrs ItifS \°l^rjce' 


.-/ ==a - .^cDI;D■OORDEPEN ^ \ ♦^ ^ • ^/♦'^ n'esfmi;/, \ ) 

fK.rM,^cht ''"''Vi,^ /• Hoevinrn \ '^^ RED"SM(JbTAKKER^5'Vo» ". tfwr °==;: 

_^ , FMAPERLEjl j'^ Eeoicret, , C F O^HOOTEN Z' y 

■^ f, ^,/m,.,rf».cko °/ F^^MERXEt^ RECAUDAEN X ro»r«// 

>^ ""C."""^' 1 ...x„.p,rr>-j!^F'S-. PHILIPPE / "A / ' /jV^.^.,// ? 

O RE'0"SCHILOE / ,/ 

(fji/TfC/ie'"^^^^ OE OELEGHEft'f *o" 


9 Yfaesmt 

/• °^-<? F'^|DECRUYBEKETif/i,''^^^^^\ .° /?,„s,0 ^tl C" ~ 

/>Sfc«*/.cVo 1/ ■/W<,*A«f'^VV0*'''3 8r«<r/KVnO «.r»^'OEBR 

S'NiCOlaS^-l^^=*^F' OE H/VESOONCK olUlC'^,— J — \ l^&'^t O/remde /jyi;,tru-R 

HED^i-ANDMOUiT--;;.^^) \ F'7 ' F'6 \ o A o ^^>»^5^0ot 

^emijjem Vfgff^Ho-e XV .^^Z^^-'^^f^^ kesSEL 

Y" Th,eir^<if~^^ ^^ -^*-i-. ; a ^ \!l \ 

Basel I 


or ^'^'■ 



fiumpsl l»EO.-< Ofc'"" 


h F'OELIEZElW/^v.. W&off* H--y'<'J"f*Af^Tj^ O .REO"BOSCHBECK -^^^ 

Vl?.-/HrnrtVrTTrB'Hrinr«^«Sr^T!Oiflr^..^,/rfl«?S\ l6- \ -A. RtD'< OORByrLO ''""'^i^-' X \ 

F'DC WAttVEM\ y. 

M3/drren° I [Htmidonck 

tf ^-'^'V' Pi lii,dfgem\ Buggrnhout 

/ LehbfUe 


/J OH, tit 




9^^ °S 


Londt-zeel -^^ \{J X^^^N^^' - \\-Q^t,- Trt.-rtioe 

flieumenrode "V*^ / / Jy ^ 


jC»mptnho,A^ T^TidoiKk^ 
ButkenO • 


— \-w^ 

"^^^tl^orlin ttrg 

^f Low Vim 


^tcrrebtcl^ y^f'^^ 


f^^ , , ^"'' 

fr 1 

■■■l-.A — 1— J» 

Map showing tlie deft-nst's of Antwerp, tlu-ir relation to Louvain ami Brxissels, ami tlie close 
proximity to the Dutch frontier. 

The Race to the Sea 209 

and of the capture of the city by the Germans. There 
were violent encounters in the vicinity on the 4th and 5th 
consummating in the repulse of the German advance- 
guard on the 6th. 

But the Germans were constantly increasing their num- 
bers. They took La Bassee and occupied the region be- 
tween the Bethune-La Bassee-Lille Canal and the Lys, so 
as to threaten Maud'huy's left flank and intercept any 
attempt to relieve Lille. 

General Foch, who deserves scarcely less than General 
J off re the title Savior of France for his service in the Battle 
of the Marne, was appointed to correlate the efforts of de 
Castelnau, Maiid'huy, French, and d'Urbal, to supervise, 
in other words, all the Anglo-French operations north of 
the Oise. In a conference of the military chiefs held on 
October 8th, the road from Bethune to Lille was adopted 
as a convenient line to separate the activity of the armies of 
French and Maud'huy operating to the north and south 
of it respectively. Maud'huy's Tenth Army was now estab- 
lished on a front extending from the Ancre across the hills 
to Bethune in the plain of the Lys, with its center at Arras. 

It was decided that the right wing of the British army 
should pivot on the French at Bethune and strike northeast- 
ward at the Germans who had been threatening Maud'huy's 
left flank and that, if they forced them to retire, they should 
advance concurrently with the French in the direction 
of Lille. 

The arrival of the British Second Corps, which would 
constitute the right wing of the British army in the new 
position was expected in the neighborhood of Aire and 
Bethune on the 11th. The detrainment of the Third 
Corps which would, for the present, form the left, was 
expected at St. Omer on the 12th. The First Corps, whose 
withdrawal from the advanced position on the right wing 

210 The Great War 

in the region of the Aisne was probably a more delicate 
operation, was not looked for before the 19th. The British 
left was to operate north of the Lys in conjunction with 
General d'Urbal's army which was then being formed. 

The country between the Bethune-La Bassee-Lille Canal 
and the River Lys, west of Lille, is mainly an industrial 
region abounding in coal mines and factories. The numer- 
ous villages are frequently almost continuous. The service- 
able cover thus afforded, together with the enclosures and 
other obstructions, made operations very tedious and diffi- 
cult for an attacking force. Great caution had to be used 
in forestalling surprises and ambuscades. The Germans had 
carefully intrenched themselves in many of 'the villages and 
were well supplied with machine-guns which swept the 
exposed approaches. The British infantry was powerless, 
therefore, without the support of the field-artillery. The 
Second Corps went into action almost immediately after its 
detrainment in the vicinity of Bethune. But their progress 
was slow and costly. The British relieved the pressure 
on Maud'huy's left; but far from relieving Lille, the Allies 
were unable to eject the Germans from their advanced 
position at La Bassee. 

The Germans transferred a part, if not all, of their First 
Army to the region of Lille and supplemented it by units 
drawn from other quarters. Thus the Nineteenth Corps, 
which had been part of the German Third Army, marched 
108 miles in five days from the German front east of Reims 
to the vicinity of Lille. 

The bombardment of Lille was begun on October 10th. 
A great panic ensued and a renewed exodus of thousands 
of civilians from the city, which was surrendered on the 
14th to save it from destruction. Considerable destruction 
of property was caused, however, by the bombardment, but 
the loss of life was slight. 

The Race to the Sea 211 

Meanwhile, the British Third Corps detrained at St. Omer 
and joined forces with the Eighty-seventh and Eighty-ninth 
French Territorial Divisions and the Fourth Cavalry Divi- 
sion under General d'Urbal. Together, they swept the 
Germans from the region west of the line Comines-Ypres- 
Dixmude and marched into Ypres on the 13th, thus alter- 
ing the apparent situation in southern Flanders very quickly. 

We must now turn our attention to parts of the western 
theater where other movements were developing simul- 
taneously which united eventually in the same tremendous 

As long as the Germans expected to force a decisive 
turn of the conflict in the West by rapid, overwhelming 
strokes, they gave little heed to the symmetry or coherence 
of the occupied territory. While their armies were sweep- 
ing across Belgium or striking southward through northern 
France in eager expectation of a speedy triumphal entry 
into Paris, time permitted only the most elementary meas- 
ures of precaution for covering their flanks and lines of 
communication. The astonishing rapidity of movement 
was therefore associated with a lack of definite demarcation 
which afterwards seemed incredible. 

But the repulse on the Marne and the prospect that the 
war would be a long one, in which endurance would count 
as much as brilliant maneuvers, compelled the Germans to 
reflect upon their geographical situation and devote serious 
attention to rounding out and consolidating their position 
and securing consistent protection for their lines of com- 

In this connection Verdun and Antwerp were intimately 
linked in the motives actuating the conduct of the Ger- 
mans, although these two places were situated near the 
opposite extremities of the vast semicircular rim of the 
chief mass of enemy territory which they occupied in 

212 The Great War 

the West. As long as the French held Verdun the chief 
lines of communication for the huge aggregation of Ger- 
man troops in northern France had to pass through Bel- 
gium, where the hostile army under cover of the forts of 
Antwerp was a constant menace. The reduction of one 
or both of these two strongholds must have been regarded 
by the German General Staff as a vital necessity. To illus- 
trate this statement, the fact may be cited that the failure 
to surround and isolate Verdun was followed immediately 
by the attack on the forts of Antwerp. 

The Germans were impressed from the first with the 
importance of the position of Verdun, which holds the 
railway from Metz to Paris at the northern extremity of 
the chain of fortresses extending forty miles to Toul. The 
design of capturing Verdun was part of the larger project 
of widening the zone of direct communication between 
Germany and the occupied portion of northern France, a 
dream which the Germans never abandoned. It was de- 
sirable to make their position in France self-sustaining in 
case a mishap should jeopardize communications through 
Belgium. The capture of the Verdun-Toul defenses, 
furthermore, would have secured an advanced base of 
supplies, one that was admirably situated on the shortest 
lines from the heart of Germany to the most vital objective 
points in France, capable of convenient connection with 
the railway system in Germany, and in German hands 
almost unassailable. 

The principal aim of the German Crown Prince had 
been to mask, and if possible to capture, Verdun and the 
fortresses in alignment with it. During the Battle of the 
Marne the Germans made a desperate effort to pierce this 
fortified barrier and nearly succeeded. The garrison of 
Troy on on the east bank of the Meuse, subjected to simul- 
taneous bombardment by the Fifth Army on the west and 

The Race to the Sea 213 

the Sixth Army on the east, after defending itself with un- 
flinching heroism and repelling many formidable attacks 
by the German infantry, had finally been reduced to the 
last extremity when the Germans were compelled to with- 
draw on September 13th. 

The disruption of the fortress barrier would probably 
have reversed the tide of victory in the Battle of the 
Marne. The ultimate purpose of the fierce attacks de- 
livered before Nancy at the time of that great battle was 
probably to open a way by which the Germans could 
sweep around the southern extremity of this line at Toul, 
attack the French Third Army in the rear, and completely 
isolate all the fortresses northward to Verdun. 

The prominent position of Verdun at the extremity of a 
wedge-shaped salient in the French lines was particularly 
galling to the Germans because it impaired the cohesion of 
their front. The German positions east and west were 
linked by only a narrow corridor of French territory, and 
the Germans scarcely made any progress at this supremely 
important point after the first few weeks of hostilities. 
The only railway line aff^ording communication east and 
west controlled by the Germans in this section of France, 
between Verdun and the Belgian frontier, connecting Trier, 
Diedenhofen and Metz with Sedan and the west, passed 
through a tunnel only seventeen miles north of Verdun, 
the destruction of which would have gravely embarrassed 
the German transports. As matters stood, troops moving 
between the German fronts in Lorraine and northern 
France were largely conveyed by a long detour through 

In the middle of September the Sixth German Army, 
under the Crown Prince of Bavaria, reached from a point 
on the German front opposite Luneville to Consenvoye on 
the Meuse, about eight miles north of Verdun, where it 

214 The Great War 

connected with the left wing of the Fifth Army, com- 
manded by the German Crown Prince. The Germans 
naturally cherished the idea of breaking the Hne of for- 
tresses and encircling Verdun by the combined action of 
these two armies. 

The Crown Prince of Bavaria launched a movement of 
his right wing across the Woevre region in the direction 
of the Meuse and the fortified barrier about September 
20th. This maneuver was executed mainly by the Four- 
teenth Army Corps and the Sixth Bavarian Division. 

The Meuse is bordered on the east throughout almost 
all this part of its course by abrupt, wooded elevations 
constituting a rather formidable natural obstruction. The 
forts composing the barrier are situated, now on one side 
of the river, now on the other, according to the local con- 
ditions. The German forces advanced towards the Meuse, 
in part at least, along the Rupt de Mad, a stream which 
rises very near Commercy on the Meuse and flows into 
the Moselle in the vicinity of the German border, passing 
through a defile which forms a natural thoroughfare from 
one river to the other across the Woevre. 

The wings of the German forces deploying in the 
Woevre were checked and pressed back by the attack of 
troops from the two great fortresses, Toul and Verdun; 
but the center, encountering only weak resistance, pushed 
forward to the Meuse at St. Mihiel midway between the 
extremities of the fortress barrier. The resulting con- 
tracted situation was preserved for many months in the 
curiously-pointed salient of the German lines, touching 
the Meuse with its sharp stiletto tip. 

Close to St. Mihiel was the modern fortress. Camp des 
Romains. After thirty hours of preparatory conflict and 
bombardment, the 12th brigade of the Sixth Bavarian Divi- 
sion took this fortress by storm in a desperate struggle at 

The Race to the Sea 215 

close range on the 25th, while the 11th brigade warded off 
attempts to relieve the garrison. Of the latter 508 were 
taken prisoners; the rest perished in the fortress, which 
was reduced to a heap of ruins. 

The Germans had now opened a breach in the fortified 
barrier. But it remained to be seen whether they could 
make profitable use of their partial success. They crossed 
the Meuse at St. Mihiel and occupied the suburb on the 
left bank on the evening of the 25th, and by the morning 
of the 26th their heavy guns were in position on the 
bank of the river, making useless any further resistance by 
the French Territorial troops who opposed their progress. 

If they had succeeded in driving home the wedge in 
this section they might have undermined the French front 
as far as Reims, besides securing the other advantages 
already mentioned. 

But the conditions had become far less favorable for 
the direct cooperation of the German Crown Prince than 
during the Battle of the Marne. At that time his army 
held a front of about twenty miles from Revigny north- 
eastward to a point not far from Verdun, while detach- 
ments, at least, had advanced far enough to take part in 
the bombardment of Troyon. But the general retirement 
of the Germans carried the Fifth Army with it, as we 
have seen. The wedge-like obstruction of the Forest of 
Argonne separated the German armies as they retreated 
northward, the Crown Prince passing to the east and the 
Duke of Wiirttemberg to the west. 

This forest, rendered famous by the stubborn contests 
waged for its possession during many months, is a rocky, 
densely-wooded plateau, about thirty miles in length from 
north to south and eight miles in width, lying between the 
Aisne and its eastern tributary the Aire. About the middle 
of September the Germans were back at Varennes and 

216 The Great War 

Vienne-la-ville about nine miles apart on opposite sides of 
the forest, while the French were installing themselves in the 
forest itself for the purpose of threatening communication 
between the German armies. Thus the Crown Prince's 
front had been pushed back to a distance of thirty miles 
from St. Mihiel and his right flank was threatened from 
the Forest of Argonne. 

Nevertheless, the Germans advancing from St. Mihiel 
were on the point of debouching into the valley of the Aire, 
where they could have assailed the rear of the French 
army confronting the Crown Prince. The French chiefs 
realized the peril before it was too late. The Twentieth 
Corps, summoned in haste from Lorraine, marched west- 
ward throughout the night of the 25th and most of the 
26th, crossing to the left bank of the Meuse at Lerouville. 
Its cavalry advance-guard came into contact with the enemy 
late in the afternoon of the 26th, and during the night the 
Germans were driven back to the Meuse. They retained 
at least a bridge-head on the left bank and intrenched 
themselves very carefully around St. Mihiel and the ruined 
Camp des Romains, a position of little value except for the 
constant threat which its possession implied. 

The failure of the effort to isolate Verdun was evident 
by September 27th, and the first gun was fired at the 
defenses of Antwerp on the 28th. It is natural to assume 
that the continuity was the result of calculation and not of 
fortuitous circumstances. But this second undertaking, 
to which the Germans were in a measure driven by the 
obstacle on the Meuse in France, was rendered even 
more urgent by the northward movement of the French, 
whose lines had already been extended across the valley 
of the Somme. It was indispensable for the Germans 
to forestall the course of this new maneuver by taking 

The Race to the Sea 217 

But before we consider the thrilling progress of the 
attack on Antwerp we must trace very briefly the fortunes 
of the Belgian army since we took rather unceremonious 
leave of it to follow the breathless course of the German 
armies in their race towards Paris and the heart of France. 

At the beginning of the war fifteen year-classes had 
been called under arms in Belgium. The eight younger 
classes were enrolled in the field-army; the seven older 
formed the garrison or fortress troops. The field-army, 
divided, as we have seen, into six army divisions and one 
cavalry division, numbered 117,000 men at first, and was 
afterwards increased by 18,500 recruits. The Third Divi- 
sion was stationed at Liege, the Fourth at Namur. The 
others were concentrated on the line covering the capital 
on the east. Later, the Third Division, retiring from Liege, 
joined the principal mass of the Belgian army drawn up on 
the line Tirlemont-Jodoigne. The approach of half a 
million Germans forced the Belgians to abandon their 
position on August 18th. Thus far only one corps of 
French troops had arrived on Belgian territory, having 
reached the line of the Meuse and Sambre. To await 
the cooperation of the French would have been fatal and 
therefore the Belgian field-army took refuge within the 
fortified camp of Antwerp on the 20th. After the evacua- 
tion of Namur, 12,000 soldiers of the Fourth Division 
escaped into France and finally made their way to Ant- 
werp, partly by sea, and joined their comrades in arms. 

With the capital and a large part of Belgium in the 
hands of the Germans, General Field-marshal von der 
Goltz, famous foi his writings and for his reorganization 
of the Turkish army, was installed as governor-general of 
the conquered territory and District-president (Regierungs- 
prasident) von Sandt of Aachen was appointed chief of the 
civil administration, assisted by a council of five members. 

218 The Great War 

After the bulk of the German armies had swept across 
Belgium and turned into France, an army of observation, 
composed of the Third and Ninth Reserve Corps and 
some Landwehr formations under General von Beseler, 
was posted before Antwerp to cover Brussels and the 
German communications on a line extending from Wol- 
verthem to Diest. 

In the absence of superior German forces the occasion 
seemed favorable for the Belgian army to strike at the 
German lines of communication in the general direction 
of Louvain. Four divisions took part in this operation on 
August 25th and 26th. But the Germans with their cus- 
tomary foresight and thoroughness had already intrenched 
their positions and taken the other necessary precautionary 
measures, so that the Belgians were unable to make any 
permanent impression on their lines. Finally, the Ger- 
mans executed counter-attacks on the flank of the Belgians 
and forced them to withdraw within the line of their 

An act was committed at this time in Belgium which 
has been the subject of more passionate discussion than 
any other event of the Great War. The Germans deliber- 
ately destroyed an important part of Louvain by fire, a city 
situated eighteen miles east of Brussels, containing 42,000 
inhabitants, famous for its venerable monuments of beau- 
tiful architecture and for its other artistic treasures, the 
seat of a famous Catholic university and headquarters of 
the Jesuits. A treacherous outbreak of the population, 
instigated and engineered by the Belgian government with 
the complicity of the priests, and carefully timed with 
reference to the sortie from Antwerp on the 25th, was 
alleged as the motive for this stupendous act of retribution. 
The people of Louvain, who had presumably been dis- 
armed several days before, are said to have opened fire on 

The Race to the Sea 219 

the soldiers from the houses in the evening when the 
garrison had been reduced to a single Landwehr (or Land- 
sturm) battalion in consequence of the conflict with the 
Belgian forces from Antwerp. The claim was even made 
that it took the Germans twenty-four hours to quell the 
insurrection. Desultory conflagrations in Louvain on the 
26th were followed by the systematic destruction begin- 
ning in the night of the 26th-27th. Most of the inhabitants 
were driven from their homes. Many persons were sum- 
marily executed. A large number of men of military age 
were transported as prisoners to detention camps in Ger- 
many. The Town Hall, 500 years old, an even more 
beautiful example of the Gothic style than the Town Hall 
of Brussels itself, was saved through the efforts of the 
Germans themselves. It served as their headquarters. 
But the ancient Cloth Market was consumed, and with 
it, the university library, which it housed, with priceless 
treasures, fell a prey to the flames, an irreparable loss to 

The destruction of Louvain will doubtless remain noto- 
rious as long as the memory of the Great War endures. 
Rightly or wrongly, the imagination of mankind will asso- 
ciate it with the devastation of the Palatinate by Louis XIV 
as a conspicuous example of ruthless barbarity. 

On September 4th the Germans occupied Termonde, at 
the confluence of the Dendre with the Scheldt, dispersing 
the Belgian detachment which guarded it, crossed the 
Scheldt and menaced the communications of Antwerp 
with the west. But the First and Sixth Belgian Divisions, 
which were therefore transferred to the left bank of the 
Scheldt, drove the Germans back and finally expelled them 
from Termonde. The Belgians executed an offensive 
movement from the intrenched camp of Antwerp on 
September 9-13. They occupied Aerschot on the left and 

220 The Great War 

reached Cortenberg on the right, but gained no permanent 
advantage, although they compelled the Germans to recall 
some forces which had been sent to France. 

An important topographical feature of the neighbor- 
hood of Antwerp is the semicircular water-course to the 
southeast and south of the city formed by the succession 
of the Rivers Nethe, Rupel, and Scheldt. 

The construction of defenses for Antwerp after plans 
by the celebrated Brialmont was inaugurated in 1859. The 
ramparts of the city itself and the detached forts, 2,200 
yards apart, forming a ring around the city, about two 
miles from the ramparts, were regarded at that time as an 
impregnable system of fortifications. In course of time, 
however, the gradual development of siege-artillery ren- 
dered these defenses inadequate, and the construction of 
outer forts, designed also by Brialmont, was begun in 1877. 
The southern ones covered the approaches to the bridge- 
heads on the Nethe and Rupel, permitting the garrison of 
Antwerp to make sorties against an enemy coming from 
this direction. The recent expansion of the defenses, 
adopted in 1906, incorporated these outer forts in an ex- 
terior ring of modern fortresses and redoubts completely 
embracing the city, which was not finished until Novem- 
ber, 1913. It formed the essential part of the system of 
defenses confronting the Germans in 1914. The course 
of this outer girdle lay considerably south of the line of 
the Nethe and the Rupel at a distance of eight or ten 
miles from the city. Mechlin is only about two miles 
south of Forts Waelhem and Wavre St. Catherine in the 
outer circle. The general constructive principles of these 
forts were the same as those of the forts of Liege and 

Upon the approach of the Germans the Belgians de- 
stroyed many villages and farms in the zone of fire of their 

German soldiers in front of the Town Hall, Antwerp. The people on the left arc waiting 
for permits to pass in and out of the city. 

Kuins in the Rue de I'ew])le, Antwirji, alter liie binni>:uiinu nt. 

The Race to the Sea 221 

forts, sacrificing without hesitation property of great value 
to the stern requirements of warfare, and flooded the low- 
lying fields bordering the Rupel. 

The German army assembled under General von Beseler 
for the operations against Antwerp consisted of the Third 
Reserve Corps, two Ersatz divisions, a marine division, two 
Landwehr brigades, an artillery brigade, a pioneer brigade, 
and probably a Bavarian division, numbering in all probably 
125,000 to 150,000 men, a somewhat stronger force than the 
Belgian army, but composed chiefly of troops of the second 
line. The Ninth Reserve Corps had been sent to France. 

Numbers, however, were after all of secondary import- 
ance. The Germans are said to have concentrated about 
200 guns, and a large number of their pieces far exceeded 
in range and destructive force the ordnance mounted in 
the forts. The Germans were evidently too weak to invest 
Antwerp so as to cut off the communications and eventual 
retreat of the Belgian army. Their method was to con- 
centrate the fire of their powerful artillery upon a limited 
section of the fortified girdle, crowning the effect by the 
furious charges of their infantry. Thus, they counted on 
forcing their way to the heart of the city. 

As a preliminary measure the Germans shelled Mechlin 
on the 27th compelling the inhabitants to seek safety in 
Antwerp. The operations against the actual defenses 
of the latter were inaugurated by the bombardment of 
Forts Waelhem and Wavre St. Catherine the next day. 
At first the 21-centimeter mortars were employed; later, 
heavier pieces were brought into action and the 28-centi- 
meter howitzers and the Austrian 30.5-centimeter mortar- 
batteries rendered their effective service. At least two of 
the famous 42-centimeter pieces were probably used. 

The Belgian field-army was posted along the threatened 
front covering the intervals between the outer forts in 

222 The Great War 

improvised trenches, faulty and inadequate in construction. 
The First and Second Divisions held the part of the front 
corresponding with the course of the Nethe, the Third 
and Sixth covered the line of the Rupel, and the Fourth, 
with its headquarters at Termonde, guarded the line of the 
Scheldt southwest of Antwerp and thus protected the lines 
of communication through Belgian territory towards the 
sea. The Fifth Division acted as a general reserve. The 
Belgian field-guns were in masked positions between the 
forts and behind the course of the Nethe and the Rupel. 

Fort Wavre St. Catherine was silenced on the 29th. 
The concrete fabric and steel cupolas were smashed and 
the explosion of a magazine completed the demolition. 
Nevertheless, it seems not to have been occupied by the 
Germans until five in the afternoon of October 1st. 

The Belgian authorities probably realized as early as 
the 29th that without such reinforcements as they could 
scarcely expect the defense of Antwerp could only serve the 
purpose of a delaying action, since the German artillery 
would eventually crush every obstacle in its path. It was 
decided to substitute Ostend as the base for the Belgian 
army, but the removal of the military stores already pre- 
sented serious difficulties. Railway communication from 
Antwerp through Belgian territory was reduced to a single 
line starting from the left bank of the Scheldt and running 
westward through St. Nicolas. There was still a continuous 
connection by railway between St. Nicolas and Antwerp 
over lines in Belgian possession crossing the Scheldt at 
Tamise and the Rupel near Willebroeck. But the railway 
bridge at the latter point was within range of the German 
artillery. Nevertheless, the trains conveying military stores 
successfully traversed this part of the route by night with 
lights extinguished from September 29th until October 7th. 
While this operation was in progress the Belgian cavalry 

The Race to the Sea 223 

division patrolled the line of the D^dre to prevent an 
incursion of the Germans and the interruption of traffic 
further west. 

The Belgians were driven back to the Nethe on Octo- 
ber 1st and counter-attacks on the 2d failed to recover their 
original outer positions. Fort Koningshoyckt, which had 
been partially destroyed on September 30th, had to be 
abandoned at 2.30 on October 2d and Fort Lierre, pounded 
by the heaviest artillery, was evacuated at six. Fort Wael- 
hem was silenced the same day. The bombardment of 
Fort Kessel was begun at six A. M. on the 3d and by eight- 
thirty the same morning it was a heap of ruins. 

The defenders of Antwerp had now only the 15-centi- 
meter mortars and 12-centimeter cannon in two armored 
trains, besides the ordinary 7.5-centimeter field-pieces, with 
which to reply to the powerful siege-artillery of the Ger- 
mans. There was manifestly only one possible outcome 
for a struggle under such conditions. The Belgians retired 
behind the Nethe on October 2d. 

It is said that the Belgian government had decided to 
leave Antwerp at ten on the morning of the 3d and had 
n:iade the necessary arrangements, and that the foreign con- 
suls had already embarked on a vessel at five on the after- 
noon of the 2d, when the plan was abandoned on receipt 
of the news that British reinforcements were approaching. 
This assistance, for which the Belgian government had 
made an urgent appeal, was hopelessly inadequate. A 
British marine brigade of 2,200 men arrived in Antwerp 
on the evening of the 2d and relieved a Belgian brigade in 
the neighborhood of Lierre. Two naval brigades arrived 
on the 5th. The expedition was commanded by Brigadier- 
general Paris and was accompanied by no less a personage 
than the Right Honorable Winston Churchill, First Lord 
of the Admiralty. The British naval forces were employed 

224 The Great War 

because they could be dispatched at shortest notice. They 
brought with them some naval guns. 

The doom of Antwerp was unmistakably sealed. Forts 
Kessel and Brochem were silenced and the town of Lierre 
was occupied by the Germans on the 5th. The Germans 
first gained a footing north of the Nethe at four on the 
morning of the 6th. A reflection on the general situation 
at the time will doubtless convince us that a prompt retire- 
ment of the Belgian army had become absolutely indis- 
pensable. Since the Belgians were manifestly unable to 
withstand the attacks of the German forces now concen- 
trated against them, their only salvation was to unite with 
their allies. But the corridor of unconquered territory 
stretching around the north and northwest of Belgium 
formed a very precarious connection with the French and 
British armies. Not only was it menaced by the repeated 
attempts of the Germans before Antwerp to force the pas- 
sage of the Scheldt in the general vicinity of their posi- 
tions, but the northward progress of the German forces in 
France threatened to intercept it completely. This was the 
moment when the Germans seemed about to outflank the 
French to the north of Arras. They were extending their 
front to La Bassee and collecting large forces near Lille. 
Their cavalry was active in the neighborhood of Armen- 
tieres, and they had occupied Ypres. By throwing a 
barrier across the intervening space to the North Sea 
they could sever the territorial connection and isolate the 
Belgian army. 

Even assuming that the Germans were not in force 
beyond Lille, the distance from Lille to Nieuport on the 
Yser, the nearest seaport and natural goal for the advance 
of the German flank, is hardly forty miles. But the dis- 
tance from Antwerp to Nieuport is more than twice as 
great, and it was now a matter of life and death for the 

Barbed wire entanglements used tor defense in the streets of Antwerp. 

Method of barric;iuiiiL; .--iri-ct in Diest, Belgiur 

The Race to the Sea 225 

Belgian army to forestall the Germans in reaching Nieu- 
port and the line of the Yser. Nieuport became the con- 
verging point for strategic movements of great significance. 

The passage of the Nethe by the Germans under cover 
of a heavy fire of artillery showed that the Belgian army 
had no time to lose. King Albert gave orders for the 
departure of the main part of the field-army on the night 
of October 6-7. The garrison troops, Second Belgian 
Division, and the three British brigades remained within 
the intrenched camp to continue the defense. The cross- 
ing of the Scheldt by means of a bridge of boats at Ant- 
werp was accomplished in good order by the morning of 
the 7th. The king left at three in the afternoon and 
accompanied his army on a race to the sea and along the 
sea to the line of the Yser upon which its very existence 
depended. On the same day the Germans forced a passage 
of the Scheldt at Schoonaerde. 

At the same time the Fourth Corps of the British army, 
so far as it was already mobilized, under Lieutenant-general 
Sir Henry Rawlinson, the Seventh Division and the Third 
Cavalry Division, disembarked at Ostend and Zeebrugge, 
October 6-8. Indian and Territorial troops were after- 
wards to be incorporated in this command. Parts of the 
Seventh Division and a force of French marines proceeded 
to Ghent to reinforce the garrison. The possession of 
Ghent, a very important center of communications flank- 
ing the line of retreat from Antwerp, was indispensable 
for the safety of the Belgian field-army. The total force 
of 25,000 to 30,000 Allies thus concentrated at Ghent pre- 
vented the Germans from penetrating northward to the 
Dutch border and intercepting the narrow strip of terri- 
tory which formed the outlet from Antwerp westward. 
German forces advancing on Ghent were repulsed at Melle 
on the 9th. 

226 The Great War 

Meanwhile, on the 7th, the Germans installed their 
heavy guns in positions north of the Nethe, where they 
could train them effectively on the inner forts and the city 
itself. Until the 6th calmness and a hopeful spirit had 
prevailed among the population of Antwerp. But dis- 
quieting reports spread on the 6th and civilians began to 
leave the city in large numbers. The bombardment of 
Antwerp began at midnight. The water supply had failed 
because the reservoir situated just inside Fort Waelhem 
had been damaged by the enemy's shells. Gas and elec- 
tricity were likewise cut off. Panic-stricken people rushed 
to the Central Station and found that no trains were run- 
ning. Departing tugboats crowded to their utmost capacity 
made no perceptible impression upon the size of the de- 
spairing mass that thronged the river-front. The com- 
plicated system of habits, associations, conventions, and 
intercourse, which forms the basis of society and support 
for the normal life of the individual had suddenly col- 
lapsed. Here was the tragedy of Belgium in all its horror. 
Every available avenue of escape from Antwerp was 
crowded with dense columns of refugees, especially on 
the 8th when the greater part of the population departed. 
Such a sudden and complete interruption of the normal 
activity of so large a city and flight of the inhabitants had 
never been witnessed in modern times. The population 
which poured forth wherever an egress was open had 
already been swelled by thousands of homeless refugees 
from the ruined towns and villages within the range of the 
military operations. Thousands crossed the Scheldt by 
ferry, but a far larger number, possibly a quarter of a 
million, made their way by road to the Dutch frontier. 
Vehicles of every class and description had been brought 
into service and loaded with the most necessary or valuable 
household articles. But the greater number of the fugitives 

The Race to the Sea 227 

were forced to walk, carrying their burdens as best they 
could. To peasants and laborers, accustomed to the ruder 
tasks, the physical exertion presented no unusual hardship ; 
but invalids and persons habituated to a life of ease and 
refinement suffered untold misery and discomfort. Fortu- 
nately the weather was fine, for most of the fugitives had to 
bivouack in the open. The Dutch had hastily improvised 
the necessary arrangements for the shelter and nourish- 
ment of the pathetic multitude, constrained to become 
their guests, with admirable efficiency and unlimited, but 
unpretentious, generosity. 

The miHtary authorities in Antwerp set fire to the petro- 
leum tanks on the left bank of the Scheldt so that their 
contents should not be utilized by the Germans, and the 
dense black columns of smoke rose all day on the 7th and 
8th. But the appearance of Antwerp under bombardment 
at night was a spectacle of terror unsurpassed in human 
record. Masses of seething flames rising from the burning 
oil-tanks illuminated the foreground, making the shadows 
blacker and more spectral by contrast, and were reflected 
with a strange, portentous glow in the undulating volume 
of smoke above. Conflagrations had broken out in differ- 
ent parts of the city and the buildings were silhouetted 
against the ruddy background of flame. The incessant 
roar of guns, meteoric shower of fiery projectiles, and 
bursting of shells completed the frightful impression of a 
stupendous outbreak of baneful, unearthly forces. 

Antwerp, with all her historic buildings and precious 
possessions ; her noble cathedral and its incomparable tower, 
a marvel of elegant proportions and exquisitely beautiful 
tracery, delicate as Mechlin lace; her Town Hall and stately 
Grande Place, and her wonderful collections of art; the 
city of Rubens and repository of his greatest masterpieces; 
the seaport rivalling Hamburg, London, and New York, 

228 The Great War 

with its miles of granite quays, warehouses, and exceptional 
harbor facilities; the embodiment of opulence and splen- 
dor; — lay as a prostrate victim in passive expectation of 
her fate. 

Antwerp has become renowned for her sieges. After 
the splendid era of her prosperity under Charles V, she 
suffered the savage violence of the Spanish soldiery who 
mutinied from lack of pay in 1576. She was besieged for 
two years by the Duke of Parma in 1584-1585, and finally, 
in the nineteenth century, her Dutch governor held out 
for two years in the citadel after the Belgian revolution 
until expelled by the intervention of the French in 1832. 

The most powerful artillery was probably not employed 
for the bombardment of the city in 1914, while the larger 
part of the projectiles used in this final stage of the opera- 
tions was shrapnel, so that the actual destruction of prop- 
erty in Antwerp itself, while considerable, proved not to be 
so great as was feared. 

At five o'clock on the afternoon of the 8th, when the 
fall of Antwerp was plainly but a matter of hours, the mili- 
tary governor gave orders for the departure of the Second 
Division of the Belgian field-army and most of the British 
troops, who began to cross the Scheldt by the bridge of 
boats in the evening. But the order failed to reach some 
of the British in time, so that they did not begin their 
retreat until the morning of the 9th. 

The First Belgian Division had been transported from 
St. Nicolas to Ostend by rail on the 8th, while the other 
divisions which left Antwerp on the night of the 6th-7th 
proceeded in the direction of the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal 
on foot. The main part of the forces withdrawing from 
Antwerp passed this canal by the morning of the 9th, 
after completing what was the most exposed stage of their 
march, because a considerable Allied force, stationed at 

Jiflgiaus In tiiglit trum Antwerp 

Belgian refugees taken to England on fishing boats. 

The Race to the Sea 229 

Ghent, as we have seen, still covered their further retire- 
ment westu^ard. 

Even those vt^ho were traversing the first section of the 
journey on the 9th used the railway, in part at least. But 
the Germans were now in force to the west of the Scheldt 
and they intercepted at St. Nicolas many of those who de- 
parted last, forcing them to seek refuge across the Dutch 
frontier. In all, 1,560 out of the 8,000 British sent to Ant- 
werp and about 20,000 Belgian soldiers were interned in 
Holland at this time. 

Several of the inner forts at Antwerp were taken by the 
Germans on the morning of the 9th. The bombardment 
ceased about noon and the Germans entered the city 
towards evening, but the formal capitulation did not take 
place until the 10th. 

The Germans captured between four and five thousand 
prisoners in the course of the operations and at the final 
surrender of the city, and took as booty 500 guns, consider- 
able railway material, including an armored train, many 
motor-vehicles, about 4,000 tons of wheat, together with 
supplies of flour, coal, and wool valued at $2,400,000, copper 
and silver worth about $120,000, and many cattle. They 
found four British, two Belgian, one French, one Danish, 
thirty-four German, and two Austrian steamers in the port. 
The engines of the German vessels had been damaged. 
The harbor was intact except that the gate of the great 
sluice had been obstructed by large stones. 

An irritating source of distraction to the Germans was 
removed by the expulsion from Antwerp of the Belgian 
field-army, which had been prodding them in the rear 
whenever a critical situation demanded their undivided 
energy and attention elsewhere. 

Besides the great advantage of securing communications 
in the north, the fall of Antwerp released a large force of 

230 The Great War 

men for service in the field. It enabled the Germans to 
close in on the still unoccupied Belgian territory so as 
to reduce very greatly the necessary length of their own 
front and thus to make their position more solid. His- 
torical and sentimental causes combined w^ith the practical 
advantages to render the capture of Antwerp an exploit 
which created enormous enthusiasm in Germany, and the 
manifest futility of the assistance sent by Great Britain 
whetted the feeling of satisfaction. 

But the loss to the Allies, aside from the detriment in- 
herent in advantages won by the Germans, was more of a 
contingent than positive nature. For the actual benefit 
which they had derived from Antwerp was slight as 
compared with the service which the position might 
eventually have rendered them. Their chagrin must have 
been greatly assuaged by the successful escape of the 
Belgian field-army and its junction with the British and 
French. It was essential that the Belgians should join 
with their allies in presenting a common front to the 
enemy, since the most violent struggle in the whole cam- 
paign was soon to begin and the united forces of the 
Allies would be much stronger than equal numbers acting 
separately. And since, in the actual situation, Antwerp 
was too remote to be included in a common front, the 
withdrawal of the Belgian field-army had become a neces- 
sary operation. 

Besides the German army which had been operating 
against Antwerp, four reserve corps had been concentrated 
in Belgium for the proposed offensive movement towards 
Calais and Boulogne. These corps were now advancing 
in the direction of the coast. 

The Allies evacuated Ghent on the 12th, and the Seventh 
British Division took up a position covering Ypres in 
contact with the other divisions of the British army on 

The Race to the Sea 231 

the 14th. The Third British Cavalry Division referred to 
above, commanded by Major-general the Hon. Julian Byng, 
which had been posted at Bruges, was also transferred to 
Ypres, arriving there on the 14th. The Belgian tield-army 
was proceeding to Nieuport and the Yser by way of Eecloo 
and Ostend, while the two opposing lines in France were 
being pushed northward towards the same point as rapidly 
as possible. 

All eyes were suddenly turned upon an obscure corner 
of Belgium bounded by the sea as the goal towards which 
great armies were hurrying from all directions, and places 
heretofore almost unknown abroad soon became forever 
memorable as the scene of the most sanguinary struggles 
in the world's most terrible drama. 

The Belgian government, which had been transferred 
from Antwerp to Ostend, was now compelled to accept 
hospitality on foreign soil. It left Ostend on the 13th and 
arrived at Havre the same evening, where it was installed 
as the guest of the French Republic. 

There was a frantic rush of fugitives endeavoring to 
obtain passage from Ostend to England on the 13th. This 
became a veritable stampede in Ostend on the 14th, when 
the Germans occupied Bruges, only twelve miles away. 
The last steamer departed on the same day, leaving a great 
crowd of terrified refugees in a frenzy of despair. In 
their desperate efforts to embark at the last moment several 
persons were pushed into the water and drowned. A 
Taube dropped a bomb into Ostend when the panic was 
at its height. German patrols entered Ostend on the 15th 
and the Third Reserve Corps was quartered in the vicinity 
on the 16th. Meanwhile, the streams of fugitives were 
moving along the muddy roads towards the French fron- 
tier, drenched by the continual rain, sleeping in the fields, 
a woful spectacle. 

232 The Great War 

The Belgians prepared to cooperate with their allies by 
defending the last corner of their national territory. On 
the 15th they took up a position along the River Yser and 
the Yser-Ypres Canal from the sea to Boesinghe, a distance 
of about twenty-three miles, with their right resting on 
the British, The latter continued the front past Ypres 
to the vicinity of La Bassee where the French Hne com- 
menced. Thus for the first time, the Belgians were ranged 
along the side of the British and French on a common 
front, and the human rampart was complete from the 
North Sea to the boundary of Switzerland. 


The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 
^October 16 -November 11 y 1914) 

The situation on October 16, 1914. The revised plan of the Germans. 
The nature of the battlefield along the Yser. The German forces before 
the Yser front. Belgians attacked in their outposts and driven back. The 
German attack on Nieuport, and on Dixmude, which is defended by the 
"soldiers of Liege," October 19th. Renewed attack, terrible bombard- 
ment and burning of the town. Passage of the Yser by the Germans near 
Tervaete, night of October 21-22 ; the Germans west of the river. Arrival 
of the French to reinforce the Belgians, October 23d. Bombardment of 
the German positions by British warships. Violent renewal of the attack 
on Dixmude, October 24th. Belgians at the limit of their resources and 
endurance. The gradually rising inundation. The culminating moment 
and German retirement, November 2-3. The situation on the British 
front. Desperate combats in the region of Ypres with repeated attacks of 
the Germans in dense masses, October 20-23. The contest at Neuve 
Chapelle. The very critical moment before Ypres on the 31st. Renewal 
of the battle on November 1st. Storming of Dixmude. Supreme effort 
of the Prussian Guard to crush the British lines, November 10th and 11th. 

The 16th of October, 1914, saw the beginning of a dis- 
tinctly new stage of the struggle in the West. Then for 
the first time the Allies presented a solid front on an un- 
broken line from the North Sea to the frontier of Switzer- 
land. Running northward from the Oise the Allied front 
passed west of Rove, east of Albert, west of Bapaume, east 
of Arras, west of Lens and La Bassee, and east of Armen- 
tieres and Ypres. 

The French held the line as far as the Bethune-La Bassee 
Canal. From there the British, supported by the forces of 
General d'Urbal, mainly Territorial troops, prolonged the 
front across the boundary into Belgium. The Second 
British Corps operated between the French left and the 


234 The Great War 

Lys. The British Third Army Corps and the Cavalry 
Corps with two French Territorial divisions and a brigade 
of marines occupied Ypres and the adjacent section of the 
front. There they were joined by the Seventh British 
Army Division and the Third Cavalry Division. Thus the 
British with tlieir French supports established the front 
as far north as Zonnebeke, while cavalry covered the 
interval between this point and the right flank of the Bel- 
gians. The First British Corps detrained at St. Omer on 
October 17th, reached the front in the section of Ypres 
on the 21st and extended the line of the British still 
further north. 

The original position of the Belgians in this period of 
the contest corresponded, as we have seen, with the line 
of the Ypres-Yser Canal from Boesinghe northward to its 
confluence with the River Yser at Fort de Knocke, and 
then with the course of that river to the North Sea. Dix- 
mude stood at the center of the Belgian position, and the 
most important part of the Belgian front lay between Dix- 
mude and Nieuport, a seaport on the Yser, about two miles 
from its mouth. 

Again, a very brief recapitulation of the course of events 
may serve to illuminate the purpose of the German attack 
and the significance of the sanguinary struggles which the 
present chapter will describe. 

After the Allies had been driven for a time before the 
irrepressible fury of the initial German dash into France, 
they recovered their grasp of the situation before it was 
too late, collected their forces, and faced the enemy in the 
interior of the country. Whether the Germans over- 
powered and scattered their opponents or recoiled before 
the human rampart stretching from Paris to Verdun had 
been, as we have seen, a matter of deep concern for the 
whole human race. With dauntless determination the 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 235 

Allies repelled the tremendous onslaught on the Marne, 
grasped the initiative, forced the Germans to recede, and 
tried by enveloping one extremity of their front to make 
their defeat irremediable. At this moment of greatest 
opportunity for the French, lack of material preparation 
and equipment rather than available men probably cur- 
tailed the measure of their success. The Germans col- 
lected their resources, recovered their assurance, and strove 
to regain the initiative. Their strength rose higher than 
ever, and now, Hke a vast returning tide, they threatened 
to burst every barrier that obstructed their progress. The 
campaign was approaching its second crest of highest ten- 
sion. Flanders was now the storm-center towards which 
the destructive elements converged from all directions. 

In a strictly technical sense the return of the Germans 
to a violent aggressive action may be regarded as a counter- 
offensive, since the Allies were still for a time unwilling to 
relinquish the initiative. The offensive movement started 
in the region of the Lys and of Ypres on the arrival of the 
British army was still being pushed after the Teutonic 
whirlwind had broken with terrible fury on the line of the 
Yser further north. But the dominating factor in this, as 
in the earliest part of the campaign, was the passionate 
resolve of the German chiefs to obtain a decision in the 
western theater at the earliest possible moment, and all 
aims and efforts of friend and foe alike were subordinate 
to the prodigious exertions put forth for the attainment of 
this single purpose. 

The aim of the German offensive at this time has been 
the subject of much speculation and discussion. The view 
that Calais was the objective for the renewed attacks was 
extensively published and eagerly accepted by the Ger- 
mans. But sound principles of strategy as well as the logic 
of events demanded that the main object of the German 

236 The Great War 

offensive should be the destruction of the Allied armies by 
the most direct and effective means. 

Perhaps the German authorities intentionally obscured 
the main purpose and ultimate direction of the renewed 
offensive so as to avoid the appearance of insincerity in 
their earlier declarations, v\^hich announced, or at least 
implied, the accomplishment of the original plan in the 
West. They seem to have encouraged the impression 
that the initial campaign against the French, whose resist- 
ance had now been reduced to a practically negligible 
factor, had passed by a normal transition into a campaign 
against the British army, now become the principal adver- 
sary. The German press apparently responded to the sug- 
gestion and the impending march to Calais became the 
watchword of popular enthusiasm. In the imagination of 
the German people and in frequent rumors the capture of 
Calais was naturally associated with the prospect of a terri- 
fying combined attack by sea and air against the British, of 
a great naval battle, and of a victorious landing on the Eng- 
lish coast. Many speculative schemes for the invasion of 
England appearing at this time animated the spirit of the 
German people, but served, on the other hand, no doubt, 
to stimulate recruiting in Great Britain, where they excited 
rather a feeling of curiosity than consternation. 

But it is simply inconceivable that the German leaders, 
believing themselves to be involved in a life and death 
struggle and in a war in which time was a factor of the 
greatest importance, should have employed the larger part 
of their mobile forces in the West for any enterprise 
which did not offer the prospect of decisive results. It is 
regarded, moreover, as an incontestable principle of strategy 
that the reduction of cities and strongholds has in itself no 
final effect in modern warfare. Only the destruction of 
the enemy's field armies is decisive. We must assume. 

•i < 

H ^ 

(A < 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 23 


therefore, that the Germans struck at the northernmost sec- 
tion of the Allied line because they believed that this would 
be most conducive to the destruction of their adversaries' 
armies. The German offensive, based upon the well- 
fortified triangle, Antwerp-Namur-Liege, was facilitated 
by the dense network of Belgian railways as means of 
communication. Success in the initial stages would open 
the way for the renewal of the turning movement on an 
imposing scale, the crumpling up of the Allies' left wing, 
and a new dash for Paris. 

One important factor in the situation is often overlooked, 
and that is, that the German blow at this time was first 
launched against the only section of the Allied front where 
almost insurmountable obstacles were not to be expected. 
The initiative had deserted the front between the Oise and 
the Meuse because a situation had developed there making 
progress impossible. For experience had shown that suit- 
able trenches were practically impregnable from the front, 
and the completion of such defenses from the Oise to the 
Meuse had produced a hopeless deadlock in that quarter. 
Activity turned to the valley of the Somme and then to 
the region of Arras, but in each of these the paralyzing 
tendency soon made its influence felt. It was a contest of 
defensive against offensive methods, a race of the spade 
against the gun, in which the latter's original lead was 
constantly diminishing. Thus in each successive extension 
of the front mobility was soon followed by stagnation. 
Hence the Germans delivered their present blow at the 
most recent section of the front, where the defenders had 
only just arrived, and where artificial defenses, if prepared 
at all, would be least effective. 

It is not to be assumed, however, that the German leaders 
were actuated exclusively by a single, supremely signifi- 
cant motive in framing their revised plan of attack. Lesser 

238 The Great War 

aims and incentives were doubtless mingled in the consid- 
erations that produced the general design. For strategists 
usually have in view a minimum as well as a maximum 
objective. Calais, like Paris in the original offensive drive, 
would serve as a convenient point of convergence for defin- 
ing the direction of the movements, a sort of topographical 
peg on which to hang the general scheme of operations. 
The capture of Calais and the other Channel ports would 
confer important specific advantages. It would presumably 
create uneasiness and apprehension in England and hinder 
thereby the sending of British reinforcements to the con- 
tinent. It would embarrass, although not completely inter- 
rupt, communications between England and the British 
army in northern France. The harbor of Calais would 
furnish a convenient base for submarines operating along 
the English coast, and for mine-layers infesting the Straits 
of Dover. The most powerful German artillery planted 
on the French coast would create a zone of safety for the 
operations of German warships extending almost across 
the straits at the narrowest point. Even a partial success in 
a movement southwestward along the coast would reduce 
the length of the German front from the Meuse to the 
North Sea and so effect a corresponding saving in the num- 
ber of troops required to maintain it. Furthermore, the 
presence of a German army on the English Channel would 
exercise a tremendous moral effect in neutral countries as 
well as in the belligerent nations. 

The German offensive failed in the extreme northern 
section and was renewed in the region of Ypres. The 
struggle in Flanders may be conveniently divided, there- 
fore, into two general phases, which might perhaps be 
regarded as distinct battles. The first of these, the Battle 
of the Yser, beginning about October 18th, passed through 
its culminating stage of violence from the 24th to about 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 239 

the 30th and died away about November 3d. It over- 
lapped the second, the Battle of Ypres, which developed 
during the last days of October, rose to very great intensity, 
and subsided rapidly after November 11th. But to speak 
of battles as distinctive episodes at this stage of the strug- 
gle is apt to be misleading, for there were scarcely any 
intervals in the warlike operations that could set off indi- 
vidual battles. We give our attention almost exclusively 
to the course of the most violent and determined offensive 
efforts, neglecting the places where operations were desul- 
tory and comparatively aimless. But the fact should not 
be overlooked that hostilities were practically continuous 
along the entire front. Only in the sense that in certain 
sections and at certain times the action rose to a relatively 
very much higher degree of intensity were there separate 

The whole region where the Germans encountered the 
Belgians is extremely flat, except for the dunes along the 
coast, and in some parts it is lower than the level of the sea 
at high tide. The Yser has been canalized and is confined 
by dykes, and forms a serious obstacle for an attacking 
army, although it is only about twenty yards broad. The 
country on both sides is interspersed with streams, canals, 
and ditches, and frequent rows of willows furnish cover 
for the movements of troops. Aside from its petty mean- 
derings the Yser forms in its general course from Dixmude 
to Nieuport the arc of a circle swelling out towards the 
northeast, with a railway line connecting the two towns as 
the chord. The embankment of this railway from one 
to two yards in height forms a second defensive barrier, 
reinforcing the line of the river. 

The total German forces finally concentrated for the of- 
fensive in the north were divided into three distinct 2:roups. 
The army of the Duke of Wiirttemberg nearest the sea 

240 The Great War 

comprised the Fourth Ersatz Division, Third, Twenty- 
second, Twenty-third, Twenty-sixth, and Twenty-seventh 
Reserve Corps, a division of the Twenty-fourth Reserve 
Corps, and probably a naval division; the army detachment 
of General von Fabeck, next in order southwards, is said 
to have contained the Fifteenth Corps, two Bavarian corps, 
and three other divisions; and, finally, the army of the 
Crown Prince of Bavaria included the Fourth, Seventh, 
Fourteenth, and Nineteenth Corps, the Guard, parts of 
the Thirteenth Corps, the Eighteenth Reserve Corps, and 
the First Bavarian Reserve Corps. The formations men- 
tioned were supported by numerous cavalry formations. 
The forces of the Duke of Wiirttemberg and of General 
von Fabeck and part of those of the Crown Prince of 
Bavaria, in all about twelve corps, together with four cavalry 
corps, operated between the sea and the River Lys. 

Forces amounting to seven divisions, namely, the Fourth 
Ersatz Division, and the Third, Twenty-second, and 
Twenty-third Reserve Divisions, disposed in the order 
mentioned on a front extending from the sea towards the 
southeast, were advancing against the Belgians, who could 
scarcely muster 60,000 for the defense, including the force 
of 6,000 French marines under Admiral Ronarc'h, who 
had retired from Ghent to Dixmude. The Germans, 
furthermore, concentrated 400 pieces of artillery, many of 
them of heavy caliber, against the Belgian position between 
Dixmude and the sea, while the Belgians could reply with 
only 300 field-pieces and twenty-four mortars saved from 
Antwerp. The Belgians were fatigued from their long 
marches and dispirited from their constant succession of 
losses and the apparent futility of all their exertions. The 
confident expectation that the Allies would speedily tri- 
umph and deliver Belgium from the hands of the enemy 
had been dissipated. Battered and war-worn, homeless 

Cavalrymen asleep on heaps of straw in a Frenc'h town. 

Infantry nun in a trincli near ^'jirej 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 241 

and disappointed, they gathered courage for the final effort 
to defend a pathetic remnant of their national territory. 
The French commander-in-chief asked them as a supreme 
performance to hold out for forty-eight hours until con- 
siderable reinforcements of the French could come to their 
relief, and even this, at the time, seemed an almost hopeless 
request. But in reality the Belgians held out for a week 
against the German onslaught with the sole assistance of the 
French marine brigade, and even then bore the brunt of 
an unequal contest with unsurpassable courage and deter- 
mination for at least two weeks longer. 

However, in spite of the absence of clearly-marked 
physical features in this part of the country, the ground 
did offer some distinct advantages for the defensive, as we 
shall see. The convex curve of the river from Dixmude 
to Nieuport was a possible element of danger for the Bel- 
gians, it is true, since it made the escape of the defenders 
along the bank more difficult, in case the extremities of 
the arc were captured by the Germans. Furthermore, a 
protruding loop-shaped bend in the river midway between 
the towns just mentioned was a very positive source of 
peril, because, if held, it exposed the Belgian lines within 
its fold to cross-fire from the opposite bank, and if evac- 
uated or captured by the enemy, it opened a breach in the 
defensive line formed by the stream. But the dyke along 
the left bank of the canalized Yser formed a suitable ram- 
part for the Belgians. Yet the fact that the river is much 
higher than the adjoining fields, the relative elevation of 
the dyke being consequently much greater on the land 
side, made it all the harder to dislodge the Germans when 
once they had gained a foothold upon it. 

Possession of the crossing-points at the different towns 
and villages along the river was extremely important be- 
cause the low country, interspersed in large part with 

242 The Great War 

canals and dykes, ditches and willow thickets, hedges and 
fences, was very difficult to cross except by the roads 
which led to the bridges. The marshy character of the 
soil near the river, moreover, interfered with the prepara- 
tion of artificial cover, since trenches very quickly filled 
with water. But the most effective resource supplied to 
the defenders by the physical conditions of the region will 
be described at the point where it first became operative. 

The immediate purpose of the Germans was to break 
the enemy's line at Nieuport and Dixmude, converge on 
Furnes, the Belgian headquarters, and thus enclose and 
annihilate the Belgian army. The Belgians occupied a line 
of advanced positions in the villages east of the Yser. The 
first shots were exchanged on the 16th, but the German 
attacks on the Belgian advanced posts did not become 
serious until the 18th. 

The Belgians were driven from their outer line on the 
19th, retaining only the positions on the right bank of 
the Yser near Nieuport, Schoorbakke, and Dixmude. The 
heavy artillery of the Germans had now arrived from Ant- 
werp and the bombardment of the Belgian positions com- 
menced in earnest. 

But the appearance off the coast of a British flotilla 
under Rear-admiral Hood, which took part in the action, 
reminded the Germans quite forcibly that without com- 
mand of the sea their lateral movement for outflanking the 
Allies had reached an impassable limit. This squadron 
included three monitors which ha-d been built for the 
Brazilian government and were intended for river opera- 
tions. While mounting 6-inch guns their shallow draught 
permitted them to approach so close to the shore that the 
seamen employed even their small-arms with effect. The 
larger vessels maneuvered at a much greater distance. Air- 
craft directed the fire of the British, which inflicted severe 

The STEMiMiNG OF THE TiDE IN Flanders 243 

losses on the Germans who were attacking in the direction 
of Nieuport in the vicinity of the coast. Nevertheless, the 
latter pressed on, and after thirteen hours of uninterrupted 
exertion took Lombaertzyde, the defenders retiring to 
positions already prepared a little further back. 

Dixmude was defended by the French marines under 
Admiral Ronarc'h, who was in local command, the 11th 
and 12th Belgian regiments of the line under Colonel 
Meiser as chief-of-brigade, forming part of the Third 
Division, known as the "soldiers of Liege," and a regi- 
ment of artillery containing twelve batteries of field-pieces. 

The Germans charged in dense masses about three on 
the afternoon of the 19th, joining in a hand-to-hand strug- 
gle with their antagonists, but retired at nightfall. Dix- 
mude, set on fire by incendiary shells in the evening, 
burned for several days, so that between the conflagration 
and the converging fire of powerful artillery, the situation 
of the garrison, harassed day and night by the attacks of 
greatly superior forces, became almost unendurable. 

Rain produced a comparative lull on the 20th; but the 
21st was a very critical day for the Belgians and their allies. 
The Germans, whose concentration in the north was now 
complete, assailed their opponents all along the front from 
La Bassee to the North Sea. They hurled themselves 
upon the trenches protecting Dixmude in eight distinct 
attacks, charging in dense masses sixteen or twenty rows 
in depth. One after another the formidable gray-green 
waves rushed forward, urged on by an unshakable deter- 
mination to succeed at any cost, impelled by a veritable 
frenzy of self-immolating patriotic devotion, crossing the 
deadly zone swept by the fire of rifles and machine-guns 
right up to the wire entanglements or even to the foot of 
the Belgian intrenchments, only to waver and stagger back, 
with ranks thinned and torn by the awful streams of lead. 

244 The Great War 

The townhall in Dixmude, which had been converted 
into a temporary hospital, was threatened with immediate 
destruction by fire and the enemy's projectiles. With self- 
sacrificing courage the members of the Red Cross removed 
the wounded while shells were crashing all about and trans- 
ported them to the base hospital at Furnes. 

A correspondent of the London Telegraph, who visited 
Dixmude while the contest was raging on the 21st, has 
given a vivid account of his impressions, and a few passages 
from his account will serve to illustrate the terrible violence 
of the struggle. 

"No pen could do justice to the grandeur and horror of 
the scene. As far as the eye could reach nothing could be 
seen but burning villages and bursting shells. . . . 

"Arrived at the firing line, a terrible scene presented 
itself. The shell fire from the German batteries was so 
terrific that Belgian soldiers and French marines were con- 
tinually being blown out of their dugouts and sent scatter- 
ing to cover. . . . 

"Dixmude was the objective of the German attack, and 
shells were bursting all over it, crashing among the roofs 
and blowing whole streets to pieces. From a distance of 
three miles we could hear them crashing down, but the 
town itself was invisible, except for the flames and the 
smoke and clouds rising above it. . . . 

"The battle redoubled in fury, and by seven o'clock in 
the evening Dixmude was a furnace, presenting a scene 
of terrible grandeur. The horizon was red with burning 

At sundown the Germans crossed the Yser south of 
Dixmude, but were confronted by machine-guns and 
driven back. On this day the length of the Belgian front 
was contracted to about twelve and a half miles, the south- 
ern extremity being withdrawn to St. Jacques-Cappelle 

Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Earl of Khartoum, English secretary 

of state for war. 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 245 

about two miles south of Dixmude, the interval evacuated 
by the Belgians being filled with French forces. 

On the night of the 21st-22d the Germans captured a 
bridge near Tervaete in the darkness and poured into the 
loop formed by the river, bringing so many machine-guns 
to this position that the Belgians were unable to dislodge 
them in repeated attacks on the 22d. The presence of 
the Germans at this point on the left bank of the river 
compelled the Belgians to evacuate Schoorbakke on the 
right bank on the morning of the 23d, since the trenches 
there were exposed to enfilading fire. 

The situation was becoming hourly more critical for the 
Belgians. A new and very much more serious difficulty 
was now added to their other preoccupations. The in- 
tensity of action required of the Belgian field-guns to com- 
pensate for the tremendous superiority of the German 
artillery had made many of the pieces unserviceable and 
reduced the supply of ammunition to less than 100 rounds 
for each gun. Everywhere assailed day and night by supe- 
rior numbers, with scarcely any available reserves, the Bel- 
gians still held the essential points in their defensive line 
with the feverish grasp of shipwrecked sailors clinging 
desperately to a wave-swept raft. 

The situation had been one of such uniform gloom 
for the Belgians, stubborn resistance ending always in 
retreat, unrelieved by any cheerful circumstances, their 
hopes had been so often deceived, that they probably 
heard the joyful rumor that reached the front on the 
evening of the 22d with an instinctive feeling of incredul- 
ity. The Forty-second French Division, commanded by 
General Grossetti, had been transferred from Reims to 
Belgium by rail and late in the afternoon of the 22d the 
advance-guard marched in review before King Albert and 
General Joffre in the market-place of Furnes. For the 

246 The Great War 

first time the Allies were coming in force to fight by the 
side of the Belgians, and the latter, who may have been 
embittered at times by the thought that their terrible losses 
and hardship had been a gratuitous sacrifice for others who 
ignored and deserted them, again took heart. The com- 
radeship in arms of the western nations was a visible reality. 
And yet, although the effect of the French reinforcements 
in stiffening the resistance of the Belgian army was unmis- 
takable, the situation became even more critical and the 
climax was reached several days after their arrival. 

The French marched to Nieuport on the 23d to relieve 
the Second Belgian Division, which was to be brought back 
into reserve for partial recuperation. The French forces 
crossed the canal bridges under a shower of German 
projectiles, traversed Nieuport, drove the Germans from 
Lombaertzyde, and attacked Westende. 

M. Emile Vandervelde, Chairman of the International 
Socialist Bureau, who was appointed Belgian Minister of 
State by royal decree on August 4th, so that all parties 
should be represented in the government, witnessed the 
operations in the vicinity of Nieuport on the 23d. He 
relates that while he was standing only thirty feet from 
Belgian field-guns in action he could hear nothing but the 
thunder of the guns of the British squadron, probably 
12-inch pieces, then two miles away. 

The Germans continued their bombardment of Nieu- 
port on the 24th and French heavy artillery which had 
been brought to the Belgian front replied from behind 
the town. At the same time the Germans attacked with 
violence all along the front. The Belgians gave way at 
St. Georges where the Germans captured a crossing-point 
on the river. On the morning of the 24th one of the 
brigades of the Forty-second Division came to the relief 
of the hard-pressed Belgian troops who were struggling 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 247 

against serious odds to confine the Germans at the loop in 
the river near Tervaetef. During the day, however, the 
Allied forces in this part of the line were forced back to 
the Beverdijk, a canal running midway between the Yser 
and the railway. 

The Duke of Wiirttemberg was now making a supreme 
attempt to capture Dixmude. Fourteen furious attacks 
were repulsed by the Belgians and the French marines 
during the night of the 23d-24th. The effort was renewed 
during the day. The trenches guarding the bridge-head 
were lost for a time, but afterwards recovered. In some 
places the foremost opposing trenches were no more than 
fifty feet apart at this time. It meant unremitting tension, 
practically uninterrupted physical exertion, for those who 
occupied them. 

On the 25th the French resumed unavailingly their 
attack on Westende. The Germans had now mounted 
heavy artillery along the dunes, which kept the British 
fleet at a distance. 

By the 26th the German attack against the center of the 
Nieuport-Dixmude line had advanced so far that the Bel- 
gian General Staff even withdrew temporarily from Furnes. 
The Allies were being forced back to the railway embank- 
ment, the last line of defense in this region. 

As early as the 25th the Belgian chiefs decided to resort 
to an inundation as a final expedient for arresting the forces 
which threatened to overwhelm them. Most of the 
ground which was being so desperately contested lay below 
the level of the sea at high-tide. Usually the sluices at 
Nieuport were opened at low-tide for drainage and closed 
at high- tide to prevent an overflow into the canals which 
terminated there. By reversing this process and closing 
the culverts and other openings in the railway embank- 
ment, the area between the railway and the river could be 

248 The Great War 

gradually flooded. The process would be materially aided 
at this particular time by the unusual rainfall which swelled 
the streams supplying the canals. 

It was natural that the Flemish in their present extremity 
should appeal to the sea for assistance. The Low Coun- 
tries have been the scene of struggles in behalf of liberty 
which are scarcely less celebrated than Marathon, Ther- 
mopylae, and Salamis, and every schoolboy has heard of 
the heroism of the burghers of Alkmaar and Leyden who 
foiled the arrogant Spanish invaders and preserved their 
independence by the heroic measure of opening the dykes 
and flooding the country. But this final analogy was hardly 
necessary to make men's minds revert to the days of the 
Duke of Alva and the "Spanish Terror." 

Charles-Louis Kogge, the aged sluice-master, afterwards 
created Knight of the Order of Leopold as reward for his 
service rendered at this time. Captains Thys and Ulmo of 
the engineers, and about twelve others toiled several nights 
in succession under cover of the darkness, often between 
the lines, raising and lowering the gates according as the 
tide rose or fell, closing the outlets from the area to be 
flooded, and executing the other necessary preparatory 
measures. Their efforts seem to have escaped the atten- 
tion or suspicion of a vigilant enemy. 

The Germans gave no heed to a slight, but ominous, 
rise of water in their trenches on the 27th. Later, the 
realization of what was going on intensified the fury of 
their attacks and fortified the determination of their com- 
mander to forestall the impending obstruction. They 
drove the French from Lombaertzyde on the 28th. 

During the night of the 29th-30th in a violent storm of 
wind and rain, the Germans drove the Allies from a section 
of the railway embankment and captured Ramscappelle on 
the southwest side of it. This brought the conflict to its^ 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 249 

climax and final stage. The Germans had penetrated the 
last barrier. Nieuport and Dixmude might at any moment 
become untenable. The Belgians might be dispersed or 
swept into the sea. Their fate, now tottering on the brink 
of calamity, involved immediate peril for the whole left 
wing of the Allies, since the destruction of the Belgian 
army would open the way for the envelopment of the 
Anglo-French positions. Motor-vehicles of every sort 
lined the highways of France for miles speeding northward 
with thousands of reserves. The incessant reverberation 
of the British naval guns and the German heavy artillery 
replying from the shore shook the coast of Belgium and 
was even heard in Holland. But the real decision was at 
hand in the furious contest for the possession of Ramscap- 
pelle with the advance of the flood as the dominating 
factor. It was a race of time and tide against the pro- 
gressive effect of superiority in forces. The waters were 
rising behind the Germans, converting an area from two to 
three miles wide and nearly ten miles long into a shallow 

By the morning of the 31st the cannonading of the 
Allies made Ramscappelle untenable and the Germans ad- 
vanced to the west of it. Then the French and Belgians 
charged them with impetuous violence, convinced that the 
fateful moment had arrived. The Germans wavered before 
the furious onslaught and were forced back. By nine 
o'clock they lost Ramscappelle after a desperate engage- 
ment in the streets. An hour later the Allies were over 
the railway embankment. One more service was demanded 
of the overworked Belgian "seventy-fives." They were 
mounted on the embankment to riddle the Germans now 
floundering in the slimy pool. The water was only three 
or four feet deep, but this was enough to make opera- 
tions practically impossible. Many of the Germans were 

250 The Great War 

drowned in the canals, the course of which had been 
hidden by the inundation. 

On November 2d the Germans withdrew hastily beyond 
the Yser, abandoning wounded, cannon, and stores of mu- 
nitions. Eventually they succeeded in capturing Dixmude, 
as will be related, but it was too late for them to derive 
any distinct advantage from its possession, since they were 
unable to debouch from it towards the west. 

It must not be forgotten that operations in the plain of 
the Lys and around Ypres not only accompanied, but pre- 
ceded, those on the Yser. Convenience and clearness 
require that the two series should be treated separately, 
although their intimate relationship makes the division an 
arbitrary one. Precedence has been given to the treat- 
ment of events in the northern section because the action 
on the Yser had almost ceased several days before the 
struggle around Ypres reached its final climax. 

The operations between La Bassee and the Yser, to the 
beginnings of which allusion has already been made in 
Chapter IX, grew steadily to the intensity of a great battle, 
while the balance shifted from side to side following the 
alternate accessions of strength to the opposite forces. The 
thoughtful observer must be impressed by the nervous 
delicacy of the general equilibrium maintained throughout 
this period by the rigid application of all the elements of 
strength as rapidly as they became available, the utmost 
tension of every resource, and the feverish employment of 
every moment of time. The slightest acceleration or delay 
in the arrival of the successive masses of troops on either 
side might have altered profoundly the relationship of the 
essential factors and destroyed the general balance of the 
contending forces. 

As late as October 11th definite lines of demarcation 
between the combatants had not been drawn beyond 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 251 

La Bassee. But the Second British Corps already encoun- 
tered serious opposition in its advance towards Lille in the 
region between La Bassee and the Lys after its detrain- 
ment at Bethune on that day. 

The Third British Army Corps and British Cavalry 
Corps cooperating with the Eighty-seventh and Eighty- 
ninth French Territorial Divisions and French cavalry 
further north encountered only sHght resistance. As we 
have observed, they dispersed the German detachments 
and occupied Ypres on the 13th, and were joined the 
next day by the Seventh British Army Division and Third 
British Cavalry Division, which had marched from Ghent 
and Bruges via Roulers. The turning of the tide in this 
section scarcely set in before the 19th. An Allied army 
of normal size might have turned the German flank 
without difficulty and thrust itself forward like a wedge 
between the German bases in Belgium and the armies 
in northern France. The inability of Great Britain to 
throw an additional army into a field of operations not 
eighty miles from the British coast at this exceedingly 
opportune occasion remains a most striking illustration of 
the country's lack of preparedness. On the other hand, 
an acceleration of four or five days in the arrival of the 
main German forces must have produced alarming results 
for the Allies. 

After the capture of Lille, German forces pushed north- 
westward, from French on to Belgian soil, as rapidly as 
possible, while the German army released by the fall of 
Antwerp was pursuing the Belgian field-army southwest- 
ward along the coast. By the 19th the Twenty-sixth and 
Twenty-seventh German Reserve Corps were pushing 
westward from Courtrai. These, with the Twenty-second 
and Twenty-third Reserve Corps a little further north, 
filled the gap in the German front between the forces 

252 The Great War 

which had followed the Belgian army from Antwerp and 
those which were moving northward from France. 

The formation of this combination, and the consequent 
German offensive, inaugurated the Battle of Ypres in the 
more restricted sense. It shifted the balance at once to 
the side of the Germans. The First British Corps, which 
reached the front on the 21st, was unable to make head- 
way against the German attacks. The curving form of 
the front on the western sections in France complicated 
the movement of the Allied forces from the line east of the 
Oise to the new field of action. But French reinforce- 
ments were nevertheless hurrying northward. The arrival 
of the Forty-second French Division at Nieuport on the 
23d has already been mentioned. The Ninth French 
Corps came into line east of Ypres on the 24th. The 
initial vehemence of the German offensive spent itself 
without accomplishing significant results and a period of 
diminished tension followed from the 24th to the 28th. 

Then General von Fabeck's army detachment, contain- 
ing many first line troops from other sections of the front, 
came as support for the wearied reserve corps. The Ger- 
mans resumed their attacks with far greater vigor around 
Ypres, as along the Yser, on the 28th. The contest raged 
with increasing intensity and the German offensive made 
noteworthy progress. But a stream of reinforcements was 
also augmenting the strength of the Allies. 

The first Indian contingent of the British forces, con- 
sisting of two divisions, commanded by Lieutenant-general 
Sir James Willcocks reached France in September. They 
were greeted with indescribable enthusiasm upon arrival 
at Marseilles. As the first occasion that an Indian expedi- 
tionary force had set foot in Europe, this was an event of 
incalculable potential importance, at the same time an im- 
pressive demonstration of the loyalty of Britain's imperial 

Indian troops watering mules at canvas trtmghs. 

Indian troops ot tlie British forces in Krancc. 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 253 

possession and another token of the reality and unbounded 
significance of the Franco-British alliance. 

The Indian troops made a long sojourn at Orleans, since a 
month was required for their acclimatization and the neces- 
sary adaptation of their equipment. Finally, the Lahore 
Division reached its concentration area behind the British 
Second Corps on October 19th and 20th and the Meerut 
Division arrived in the same vicinity shortly afterv^-ards. 
The Sixteenth French Corps took its place in the battle- 
line south of Ypres on the 31st. The German attacks 
waned again about November 3d and there was another 
period of comparative calm while the Germans efi^ected a 
new adjustment of forces for the final effort. The renewed 
offensive reached its climax on the 11th in the sensational 
charge of the Prussian Guards, followed quickly by its 
collapse and failure. 

Thus the action as a whole was marked by three distinct 
points of culminating intensity occurring on October 23d 
and 31st and on November 11th, respectively. 

It is now important to return for a more detailed exami- 
nation of the operations. About October 17th the Second 
British Corps supported by Conneau's French cavalry corps 
extended from Givenchy northeastward to Radinghem. 
The front of the Third, passing east of Armentieres and 
terminating at the Bois de Ploegsteert near Le Gheir, was 
broken by the course of the Lys at Frelinghien. The 
British Cavalry Corps, now dismounted, stretched from 
the Bois de Ploegsteert to Zandvoorde. The Seventh 
British Army Division, soon to bear the brunt of the 
German assaults, extended from Zandvoorde to Zonne- 
beke. From there, the British Third Cavalry Division, 
four French cavalry divisions under General de Mitry and 
the two French Territorial divisions carried the front 
northward as far as the right wing of the Belgian army. 

254 The Great War 

From the region of Arras to the plain on the north side 
of the Lys the army of the Crown Prince of Bavaria con- 
fronted the Tenth French Army under General Maud'huy 
and the British. The Fourteenth German Corps, a divi- 
sion of the Seventh, a brigade of the Third, seven Jaeger 
battalions, and four cavalry divisions faced the Second 
British Corps with its cavalry supports, while the Nine- 
teenth Corps, a division of the Seventh, and three or four 
cavalry divisions faced the Third British Corps. 

The Second British Corps advanced in the teeth of stub- 
born resistance, fighting its way from house to house in the 
villages along the ridge northeast of La Bassee. 

The Third British Corps under Lieutenant-general 
Pulteney captured Capinghem, lying between two of the 
isolated forts of Lille, less than three miles from the city. 

But the Allies met with a determined counter-offensive 
on the 19th, which arrested their progress. The Second 
British Corps suffered a serious reverse on the 20th east of 
Neuve Chapelle. Fierce encounters continued during the 
21st and 22d and the British were driven from most of 
their positions on the ridge between the La Bassee-Lille 
Canal and the plain of the Lys. 

North of the Lys the Allies expected to continue with- 
out interruption the forward movement which had brought 
them into possession of Ypres. Their immediate purpose 
was to occupy the main line of communication between 
Lille and Ostend. With this in view, the Seventh British 
Division advanced in the direction of Menin on the Lys, 
but suffered a repulse. Meanwhile, on the 18th, De Mitry's 
cavalry took Roulers, situated on the railway and highway 
connecting Lille with Ostend and Bruges at the point 
where they cross an important route leading to Dixmude. 

The Germans began their counter-offensive in this 
region also on the 19th, concurrently with attacks on the 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 255 

Yser in the neighborhood of Nieuport, and drove the 
French from Roulers and from the vicinity of the Lille- 
Ostend railway. This opened the road to Dixmude, where 
the first serious attacks were made by the Germans on the 
21st. The presence of the four new German Reserve 
corps, to which reference has already been made, seems to 
have been a surprise to the Allies. Far from recognizing 
the strength of the German forces, Sir John French in- 
tended that the First Corps upon its arrival should push 
northeastward by way of Roulers to Bruges and thus cut 
off the German forces which had been following the Bel- 
gian army along the coast. 

The position of the Allies in front of Ypres took the 
form of a triangle, with the general line of the Yser- Ypres 
and Ypres-Comines Canals as base and the apex at West- 
roosebeke pointed towards Roulers. On the 20th the 
Germans struck this apex and shattered the triangle as 
far down as Passchendaele and Poelcappelle. The British 
First Corps, which was passing through Ypres on the 
same day, was ordered to recapture these two localities. 
A violent encounter with the Twenty-sixth German Re- 
serve Corps ensued on the 21st. The British repulsed 
the German attacks, but halted on the line Zonnebeke- 
Bixschoote in consequence of the retirement of the French 
on the left, whose position made them more sensitive to 
the fierce attacks which were being delivered by the Ger- 
mans at this time on the line of the Yser. 

The French cavalry abandoned their attempt to occupy 
the Houthulst Forest east of the Yser- Ypres Canal, an 
especially advantageous position for the Germans, be- 
cause it covered the highway from Roulers to Dixmude 
and afforded convenient concealment for the emplace- 
ment of heavy artillery and for the concentration of their 

256 The Great War 

On the same day the Twenty-seventh Reserve Corps 
attacked the Seventh British Division between Zonnebeke 
and Zandvoorde with great violence, but without effect, 
and further south the Nineteenth German Corps took 
Le Gheir. This was a crucial point because it lay in the 
line of advance to a region of wooded eminences south- 
west of Ypres terminating towards the west in the Mont- 
des-Cats, which commanded the plain north and south. 
The occupation of these hills by the Germans would have 
severed the British front, threatened the forces around 
Ypres in the rear, and probably compelled the Allies to 
abandon all their positions between La Bassee and the 
North Sea. Naturally, throughout the entire course of 
the operations in this quarter, the Germans never lost sight 
of this objective. But the British retook Le Gheir the 
same day by bringing troops from across the Lys. 

On the 21st and 22d the Third British Cavalry Division 
was shifted to the section of the front between Hollebeke 
and Zandvoorde, permitting the Cavalry Corps to restrict 
to this extent the inordinate extent of its front. 

The British Cavalry Corps, commanded by General 
Allenby, was the principal guardian of the approaches to 
these supremely important heights, because it held the 
front from Le Gheir to the Ypres-Comines Canal, and 
fortunately for the Allies the soldiers of this corps dis- 
played no less energy and skill on foot than when mounted. 
Scarcely 4,000 in number, stretched out to a perilous degree 
of attenuation across a space of more than six miles, they 
offered day after day a determined resistance to the attacks 
of very much superior forces. On the 22d they received 
the sorely-needed reinforcement of nearly a brigade of the 
Lahore Division of the Indian contingent. 

On the same day the German attacks against the now 
semicircular projection in the Allied lines before Ypres 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 257 

increased in violence. The Germans had brouglit their 
heavy howitzers within range and opened a destructive 
fire on the British positions. In the evening they forced a 
breach in the line of the First Corps near Langemarck, 
but a brigade held in reserve filled the gap before morning. 
In this period of their offensive the German attacks reached 
their greatest intensity on the 23d. In many places the 
British were blown out of their trenches or buried alive in 
them by the explosion of powerful shells. The Seventh 
Division, covering the unusual space of eight miles, was in a 
very critical situation. Depleted in number by the losses 
already sustained in the desperate contest, it had no longer 
a single man in reserve to support the firing line, which 
threatened to give way at any moment. For seven days 
the men had been almost incessantly engaged and the 
strain had become unendurable. Reinforcements from the 
First Corps reached them just in time to prevent a disaster. 

The Germans charged repeatedly in dense masses on 
the 23d, singing Die Wacht am Rhein. They rushed for- 
ward each time as if to submerge the British lines com- 
pletely, only to recoil, broken and torn, before the fire of 
rifles and machine-guns operated with deadly accuracy at 
close range. Unbelievable courage, — courage that advances 
in the face of machine-guns or endures unflinchingly the 
risk of sudden dismemberment in a shower of high-explo- 
sive shells, — has become a commonplace phenomenon in 
the Great War, while the most astonishing feats of daring 
have lost much of their effect by frequent repetition. 

From the very first days of the campaign the imagina- 
tion of the world has been made to shudder at the practice 
of the German commanders in urgent situations of hurling 
their forces at the enemy in repeated, headlong attacks, in 
compact masses, regardless of the dreadful effect of the 
fire from the opposing intrenchments, and this method 

258 The Great War 

has been characterized as reckless prodigality, as proof of 
ruthless indifference for the lives of the common soldiers. 
But to assume that actions of such fundamental importance 
were not guided by an earnest consideration of all the cir- 
cumstances is to misinterpret the whole spirit of German 
conduct. This method of attack was undoubtedly the 
consequence of a thoughtful computation of probable 
advantage and loss. 

Only the thorough discipline and organization of the 
German army made it possible to carry out attacks in 
very close formation in spite of the appallingly rapid de- 
pletion of the ranks under concentrated fire, and German 
tacticians were undoubtedly convinced that the swifter 
attainment of the object of the attack would compensate 
for the terrible exposure and make the total wastage less. 
Their theory had a reasonable basis. For such attacks can 
be launched much more quickly, since deployment from 
the marching column to a narrow, compact battle-forma- 
tion requires far less time than the transition to a far-flung 
line in open order, and blows delivered in dense masses, 
having more weight, would presumably lead to a more 
rapid decision. 

Nevertheless, these fearful operations were frequently 
unsuccessful, the heavy losses having been incurred in 
vain. The Germans, however, assert that their ene- 
mies likewise squandered the lives of their own men in 
precisely this fruitless fashion. Each side, it would seem, 
strives to impute to the other the reproach of inadaptability 
to changed conditions, a peculiarly ignominious defect in 
the eyes of the present age. 

The British field-artillery was operated on the 23d with 
feverish energy. A single battery consumed 800 rounds 
of ammunition. The German howitzers exacted heavy toll 
from the British trenches. But the German losses were 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 259 

undoubtedly severe, and the exhaustion of the new reserve 
corps after these days of terrible strain must have been 
very great. 

The reserve corps which attacked the British positions 
were composed of the Landwehr, Ersatz Reserve, and 
volunteers, with probably a small nucleus of troops of the 
first line. The prisoners taken were either below the 
regular military age or else belonged to the older classes, 
often men thirty-nine or forty years of age, fathers of 
families. This circumstance strengthened the groundless 
opinion that Germany was already approaching the limit 
of her available recruits. These troops were all newly and 
faultlessly equipped. But one is apt to suspect that in- 
stinctive contempt for the British had again led the Ger- 
mans to commit a fatal error by sending comparatively 
raw formations against professional soldiers. Although it 
is clear in this terrible ordeal that the British excelled their 
opponents in endurance, the Germans waited until the last 
to bring up their most stalwart contingents. They counted, 
no doubt, on wearing down the fortitude of the British by 
repeated attacks in relays, and the recent formations would 
serve as well as the well-seasoned troops of the first line 
for the early stages of such a process. 

The 23d, as we have seen, was a turning point in the 
struggle in Flanders. On that day the Forty-second French 
Division reached the Belgian front at Nieuport, and in 
the course of the following night a division of the Ninth 
French Corps took over a section of the trenches held by 
the First British Corps northeast of Ypres. 

But the situation was constantly becoming more difficult 
for the British. The Second Corps had been almost 
pierced at the center, the Third had been dangerously 
pressed back, and the exhaustion of the Seventh Division 
was hourly increasing. 

260 The Great War 

On the 25th the Indian contingent relieved the greater 
part of the Second Corps, the Lahore Division taking over 
the section of the front which included Neuve Chapelle. 
Two days later Sir John French made a readjustment of 
the dispositions further north. He suppressed the Fourth 
Corps, merging the Seventh Army Division and the Third 
Cavalry Division with the First Army Corps under the 
command of Lieutenant-general Sir Douglas Haig, and 
sending Lieutenant-general Sir Henry Rawlinson back to 
England to supervise the mobilization of the Eighth Divi- 
sion. In consequence of the arrival of the Ninth French 
Corps, and of the changes in the disposition of the British 
forces, the front of the Seventh Division was now reduced 
to the space between Zandvoorde and the road from Ypres 
to Menin, with the First and Second Divisions in successive 
alignment with it towards the north as far as Zonnebeke. 

The British were now ranged along a front. about thirty 
miles in length, with the Indians and a part of the Second 
Corps in the south, followed in order by the Third Corps, 
the Cavalry Corps, and the First Corps, including its recent 
accessions, as far as Zonnebeke. This arrangement did not 
undergo any fundamental change for many months. 

The first encounter between Indian and European troops 
took place on the 28th. The result of this event was 
watched with the keenest interest. For, although the 
Indians were fearless in their native warfare, the absolutely 
strange conditions of the European struggle, the hours of 
anxious waiting in the trenches, the deadly showers of 
shrapnel and shells of terribly destructive force, might have 
bewildered and unnerved them. After a series of furious 
attacks the Germans had taken Neuve Chapelle on the 
evening of the 27th. To relieve a very threatening situa- 
tion it was necessary for the British to retake this position 
at once, and the 7th brigade and about an equal number of 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 261 

Indians were assigned to the undertaking. Together they 
stormed the village under heavy cannonading and expelled 
the Germans at the point of the bayonet; the Indian soldiers 
acquitted themselves with gallantry and distinction. 

On the 29th, Mineiiwerfer, or trench mortars, were first 
employed by the Germans in the plain of the Lys. These 
inconspicuous, but formidable, engines, placed at the bot- 
tom of pits, hurled bombs with a bursting charge of 150 to 
200 pounds at a high angle and close range into the enemy's 
trenches. The system of trench-fighting now commonly 
employed in the western theater had created an unprece- 
dented situation and new problems. The regular types of 
artillery were unserviceable for contests at close range be- 
tween the troops in the foremost opposing trenches, and 
with the lines drawn so close, sometimes approaching to 
within fifty feet, the shelling of the most advanced posi- 
tions on either side by the artillery of the other, placed at 
a suitable distance, would have been destructive to friend 
and foe alike. Now for the first time a weapon had been 
devised with special reference to these revolutionized 

The Seventh Division repelled a spirited attack by troops 
of the German Twenty-fourth Reserve Corps at the ex- 
tremity of a salient in the British front near Kruiseik on 
the 27th. In the evening Prince Maurice of Battenberg, 
youngest son of Princess Henry of Battenberg and brother 
of the Queen of Spain, was mortally wounded during a 
surprise attack by the Germans. He was lieutenant in the 
King's Royal Rifle Corps and only twenty-three years 
of age. 

At this stage of the battle General von Fabeck's army 
detachment came into action east of Ypres. The actual 
composition of this body remains somewhat doubtful. 
According to The French Official Review of the First Six 

262 The Great War 

Months of the War it consisted of the Fifteenth Corps, 
two Bavarian Corps, and three (unspecified) divisions. 
There is other evidence for the presence of at least parts 
of the Thirteenth Army Corps, of an Eighteenth Corps 
(probably the Reserve), and of the Twenty-fourth Reserve 
Corps. The French troops transferred to the region of 
Ypres noticed that some of the Germans taken prisoners 
at this time belonged to the regiments from which they 
had already taken prisoners in Alsace during August and 
near Reims in September. These must have belonged to 
the Fifteenth Corps. 

The supreme importance ascribed to the contest around 
Ypres in the last days of October is shown by the presence 
near the battlefield, not only of Generals Foch and JofTre, 
but of President Poincare and the Kaiser. 

It was announced on the 25th that the Prussian Minister 
of War, General von Falkenhayn, had assumed the duties 
of the Chief of Staff in consequence of the illness of Gen- 
eral von Moltke. Later it appeared that the latter's illness 
was the same conventional kind of indisposition which had 
probably afflicted General von Hansen, when he was super- 
seded in the command of the Third Army by General 
von Einem soon after the Battle of the Marne. Von 
Moltke quietly disappeared and General von Falkenhayn 
received definite appointment in December to the post of 
which he was already exercising the functions. It was 
rumored that the retirement of von Moltke was due to 
fundamental differences of opinion as to the proper aim for 
the German offensive, the former Chief of Staff insisting 
against the view of the Kaiser that the main strategic objec- 
tive should be the crushing of the French lines at Verdun. 

The Kaiser came to Thielt and Courtrai in Belgium and 
every moral incentive was employed to inflame the ardor 
of the German troops. Consistently with the supposed 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 263 

change in the object of the campaign, the instinctive 
Anglophobia, a baffling compound of envy, suspicion, and 
disappointment, flamed forth with increased violence at 
this time in Germany. Many observers noticed the com- 
parative absence of aversion to France as contrasted with 
the intense bitterness displayed against England. France 
was regarded with a feeling of compassion, or of respect 
for her chivalrous, though misguided, devotion to an ideal. 
But Great Britain was looked upon as the invidious, malig- 
nant antagonist, who, unable to meet her principal commer- 
cial rival in honorable competition, had secretly organized 
the war for the purpose of ruining Germany, treacher- 
ously concealing her own nefarious conduct until the 
decisive moment had been reached. The British Empire 
stretched its unwieldy mass and impudent pretensions 
across the path of Germany's legitimate aspirations on 
every side. The irritating assurance with which the British 
continued the normal course of their affairs, *'doincr busi- 
ness as usual," — "during alterations in the map of Europe," 
as Mr. Asquith added,— while Germany's trade was pro- 
foundly disturbed and her splendid merchant marine was 
rusting in the docks, exasperated the Germans. But they 
were filled with contempt at the spectacle of a government 
advertising for recruits, stooping to coax and conciliate the 
different classes of its own people, and dependent upon 
the favor of the labor unions for the maintenance of pro- 
duction in the most vital branches of industry; and at the 
prospect of an empire which claimed authority over more 
than a fifth of the earth's surface and nearly a fourth of its 
inhabitants pretending to oppose the Fatherland's organ- 
ized might with a smaller force than was deemed suitable 
for Belgium, and trusting in an assumed superiority of indi- 
vidual resourcefulness to "muddle through" the supreme 
trial of strength and efficiency. 

264 The Great War 

All influences conspired to fill the German soldiers v/ith 
a fury of resentment, and to impress upon them the con- 
viction that, for the present, one issue alone was paramount 
and that England was the **one and only foe." 

The spirit in which the Germans threw themselves upon 
the British trenches may be conceived from the following 
order of the day by the Crown Prince of Bavaria to his 
soldiers, made public on October 28th. 

"Soldiers of the Sixth Army! We have now the good 
luck to have also the English opposite us on our front, 
troops of that race whose envy was at work for years to 
surround us with a ring of foes and to throttle us. That 
race we have to thank especially for this war. Therefore, 
when now the order is given to attack this foe, practise 
retribution for their hostile treachery and for the many 
heavy sacrifices. Show them that the Germans are not 
so easily to be wiped out of history. Prove it to them 
with German blows of a special kind. Here is the oppo- 
nent who chiefly blocks a restoration of peace. Up and 
at him!" 

Another communication, emanating from the same 
source on November 11th, revealed a similar sentiment 
in the following expressions: 

"Soldiers! The eyes of the whole world are upon you. 
It is now imperative that in the battle with our most hated 
foe we shall not grow numb, and that we shall at last break 
his arrogance. Already he is growing pliable. Numerous 
officers and men have surrendered voluntarily, but the 
great decisive blow is still to be struck. Therefore you 
must persevere to the end. The enemy must be downed; 
you must not let him loose from your teeth. We must, 
will, and shall conquer." 

At the same time copies of Ernst Lissauer's famous 
Hymn of Hate against England, which first appeared on 


Commander of the British expeditionary forces. 

From the painting by "John St. Helier Lander. 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 265 

September 1st, were distributed as an order of the day 
among the soldiers of the Sixth Army. 

On the 30th, the day on which the Germans took 
Ramscappelle in the north, the British trenches were sub- 
jected to a bombardment fiercer than any thus far expe- 
rienced. In places the lines were temporarily broken, and 
along the Ypres-Comines Canal the Germans advanced to 
within three miles of Ypres, which was being shelled. 
The fighting on the 30th and 31st was favorable to the 
French from Zonnebeke to the Ypres-Yser Canal, but the 
struggle in which the British were engaged reached a crisis 
on the 31st in which the safety of all the Allied forces 
was involved. The Germans directed a tremendous effort 
against the entire British front. Terrible cannonading pre- 
ceded each attack of the infantry. General von Deimling 
directed the assault on Gheluvelt, which was quickly re- 
duced to a mass of bloodstained ruins. Several British 
regiments were practically annihilated in the trenches in 
this section. The bombardment of Ypres had now com- 
menced in earnest and the terrified inhabitants were fleeing 
westward. The resistance of the First Corps seemed on 
the point of collapsing under the formidable pressure of 
overwhelming numbers. The troops had been driven from 
the trenches and were being steadily forced backward. 

Then, by an almost miraculous revulsion of spirit, the 
British rallied in the woods behind the lost trenches. Im- 
pelled by a spontaneous outburst the 2d Worcestershire 
Regiment and the 42d brigade of the Royal Field Artillery 
drove the Germans from Gheluvelt at the point of the 
bayonet in a sensational charge, and by ten P. M. practically 
all the British positions had been regained. 

In the meantime, west of the canal, the British Cavalry 
Corps, supported by the Indian brigade, four battalions 
of the Second Corps, and the London Scottish Territorial 

266 The Great War 

Battalion, together with the small part of the Third Corps 
north of the Lys, were struggling desperately to arrest 
the onslaught of two German army corps which had cap- 
tured Messines and Wytschaete on the very edge of the 
hilly district which was so vitally important. 

Thp London Scottish Territorial Battalion, the first com- 
plete unit of the British Territorial Army to take its place 
in the battle-line by the side of the regulars, intrenched 
itself in this quarter on the 31st and repelled several frontal 
attacks during the night. Finally, under cover of the 
darkness, the Germans got into position on its flanks. 
When daybreak showed that a prompt retirement alone 
could preserve the battalion from capture or annihila- 
tion, it retreated in good order across an area devoid of 
any cover, swept by the galling cross-fire of German 

At this critical moment a part of the Sixteenth French 
Corps arrived and relieved the pressure on the British 
Cavalry Corps. 

But, in general, the German offensive continued on 
November 1st and 2d with unabated fury. The British 
were again forced to evacuate Gheluvelt. Their lines 
were pressed back towards Ypres, which was riddled with 
shells. However, when the lull came on the 3d, they had 
lost no vital position. A portion of the First Corps was 
now relieved by eleven battalions of the Second, and the 
Seventh Division, which had exhibited such conspicuous 
proof of indefatigable courage, received a well-merited 
respite for a few days. From the 4,000 men in the 21st 
brigade of this division, who had landed at Zeebrugge 
about a month before, there remained only 750 effectives, 
while the officers had been reduced from 120 to 8. The 
22d brigade could muster only four officers and 700 pri- 
vates, and the second battalion of Royal Scots Fusiliers had 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 267 

been reduced in the same time from 1,000 to 70. These 
examples will typify the appalling losses suffered by the 
troops which bore the brunt of the terrific German attacks. 

A momentary recrudescence of German activity on the 
Yser was probably timed with reference to the final blow 
which was being prepared against Ypres. A bombard- 
ment of Dixmude, commencing at two A. M. on November 
10th, more terrific than any yet experienced at that point, 
served as prelude for an infantry attack of overwhelming 
force. No fewer than 40,000 Germans rushed upon the 
Belgian brigade and the French marines about eleven in 
the morning, drove them from three successive lines of 
trenches back into the ruined town, where a hand-to-hand 
encounter in the streets terminated with the expulsion of 
the Allies. By five in the afternoon Admiral Ronarc'h 
had withdrawn all his forces to the west side of the river. 

The prestige gained by the capture of a place so stub- 
bornly contested palliated the subsequent failure of the 
German offensive before Ypres. But the possession of 
Dixmude afforded very little actual advantage to the Ger- 
mans, since they were not able to debouch from it towards 
the west. 

The Germans prepared for their final blow in the direc- 
tion of Ypres by transferring two divisions of the Guards 
from the front near Arras to the neighborhood of Gheluvelt. 
These picked troops were chosen for the most difficult 
operations. It will be recalled that they were engaged in 
the fierce combats in the streets of Charleroi at the com- 
mencement of the German dash for Paris, that they were 
roughly handled in the brilliant counter-offensive of the 
French between the Oise and the Somme on August 29th, 
and, finally, that they bore the brunt of the furious attempt 
to drive a wedge through the French center in the Battle 
of the Marne and were decimated while stubbornly resisting 

268 The Great War 

in the marshes of St. Gond when the tide turned on Sep- 
tember 9th. It was reported that they were reviewed by 
the Kaiser and received his personal exhortation before 
marching to deal the finishing blow at the British. 

At daybreak on the 11th the German batteries near 
Gheluvelt raked the British positions with a hurricane of 
shrapnel and high-explosive shells. Suddenly, fifteen bat- 
talions of the Prussian Guard emerged from a curtain of 
fog, rushing forward with imposing momentum. Sheets 
of rifle and machine-gun fire flashing from the British 
trenches mowed down their foremost rows. Shrapnel and 
shell tore bloody gaps in the surging mass. But the effect 
was lost in the rapidity and wild enthusiasm of the charge. 
They closed ranks, pressed on with irresistible vehemence, 
and swept over the British trenches in three places, pene- 
trating for some distance into a belt of woods that lay 
between the British lines and Ypres. But, as is usually 
the case when one side breaks through the front of the 
other, they were assailed on three sides and enfiladed by 
machine-guns. The vehemence of the general attack was 
lost in a welter of small groups struggling desperately at 
close quarters in the forest. 

Gradually the British rallied, stood their ground, and 
recovered most of their lost trenches. The last great effort 
of the Germans failed and the Battle of Ypres could be 
regarded as finished. 

War's savage lust for destruction had nowhere raged 
with more remorseless fury than in this devoted tract of 
Flanders. The peaceful region of Ypres, smiling with 
comfort and contentment had become an inferno of 
slaughter and ruin. The seductive charm and picturesque- 
ness of this old-world city had been rudely defiled. Its 
venerable relics of the life and art of an age long past 
had been destroyed, an irretrievable loss to humanity. 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 269 

Prominent among them was the imposing Cloth Hall. 
Its stately facade, composed of splendid rows of arcades, 
wherein strength and elegance, dignity and beauty, were 
intimately linked, was surmounted by a majestic belfry 
of noble, commanding proportions. This sumptuous old 
building, the pride and glory of Ypres, was shattered by 
projectiles, devastated by fire, and reduced to a melancholy, 
empty shell. 

Throughout the fighting zone the villages had been 
burned, the soil had been mauled and lacerated by repeated 
showers of explosive shells, and the forests had been shorn 
and scarred. 

Dixmude had probably suff^ered a more intense bom- 
bardment than any other town. Every house had been 
perforated, every street had been torn and pitted with 
shells. The plain from Dixmude to the sea, once densely 
populated, cheerful, and prosperous had become a dreary 
spectacle of water-logged desolation. The toil of many 
centuries had been obliterated in a smaller number of days. 

The movement of the campaign from the Marne to 
Flanders had brought the battle-lines almost 150 miles 
nearer London, and the greater proximity of the struggle 
had undoubtedly afi^ected the attitude of the British people. 
In August and September they had regarded the war as 
an event of absorbing interest, but yet with a certain feel- 
ing of detachment. Now it had gained the position of a 
fundamental fact of the national life. 

To those, however, who regarded the future with im- 
patient solicitude, the British democracy was exasperatingly 
slow to realize the imminence of peril and to bestir itself 
to a degree commensurate with the emergency. Like the 
passengers on a steamship, whom the thin plate of steel 
alone separates from eternity, the people of England pur- 
sued the uninterrupted tenor of their callings and pastimes, 

270 The Great War 

relying with stolid confidence on the protection of the 
narrow Channel. 

To the Germans such insensibility was unmistakable 
evidence of the fatal torpor into which the British nation 
was sinking. But the perception of both contestants was 
probably obscured by the hazy medium of prejudice and 
preconception created by the sharp contrast of their tradi- 
tions and mental habits. 

The inhuman character of warfare is partially obscured 
in the Battle of the Marne by the brilliant generalship, 
rapidity of movement, and palpable results; but in the 
sanguinary struggles in Flanders, it reveals itself to our 
imagination in all its undisguised reality of loathsome 
cruelty, wallowing in apparently useless carnage, unre- 
lieved by the dash of spirited maneuvers or the glory of 
definite achievements. The contest raged incessantly for 
nearly a month, with alternate assaults and counter-charges 
carried out at appalling sacrifices. But in spite of the 
** satisfactory progress" persistently heralded on both sides, 
the lines remained at the close practically where they had 
been at the beginning. With such an outcome, each party 
disclaimed the offensive. For the offensive would imply a 
purpose which failed, and failure carries with it the dis- 
credit of defeat. But in its larger aspect the conflict may 
unquestionably be regarded as the stemming of the fierce 
German tide in Flanders. Dashing repeatedly, but in vain, 
against the dogged resistance of the Allies, the Germans 
were frustrated in their final great endeavor to retrieve the 
disappointment on the Marne and consummate the cam- 
paign as originally planned. 

The fact that the British bore the chief brunt of the 
onslaught suggests a reflection of very general significance. 

The two peoples who now stood forth as the most con- 
spicuous antagonists had sprung from a common stock 

The Stemming of the Tide in Flanders 271 

But the course of their development had diverged very 
sharply from the time that the forefathers of the English left 
the ancestral home by the Elbe and the Weser. 

Protected by their insular position from foreign inter- 
ference, the development of the English people was a 
consistent evolution from the free customs of the ancient 
German wilderness. The greatest political experiment in 
history was here worked out and England conferred upon 
humanity the inestimable gift of representative institutions, 
her parliament becoming the mother of parliaments. The 
passionate instinct for personal liberty, here unsuppressed, 
devised the constitutional guarantees and safeguards which 
have become a model and an emblem wherever freedom 
is held in repute. 

But the development of the Germans who remained in 
the homeland, denied the privilege of immunity from 
interference, was dominated by intercourse with other 
peoples, by the vicissitudes of subjugation and conc^uest, 
by political disunion, and by the introduction of doctrines 
of Roman law, creating an atmosphere in which the old- 
time freedom could not survive. 

Elements of freedom and authority are inevitably present 
in every normal community, but to every independent 
people comes a time for determining which principle is to 
be paramount. England's choice was made when her king 
laid his consecrated head upon the block. Germany came 
to the same parting of the ways two centuries later. She 
rejected the liberal doctrines of the hour, fortified her 
organization, and exalted the power and authority of the 

Without pressing the contrast too far we may say that 
in England the rights of the individual, in Germany the 
prerogatives of the collective authority, are the fundamental 
elements of political feeling and doctrines. And thus, 

272 The Great War 

without intending it, Great Britain and Germany appeared 
as the respective champions for two principles of supreme 
significance; the first for liberty, a noble, uplifting ideal, 
but unfortunately often powerless to deal with injustice, 
inefficiency, and wastefulness; the second for intelligent 
authority, guiding and correlating the various activities of 
men for the common good, but disfigured often by arro- 
gance, intolerance, and inflexibility. An ultimate victory 
for either power would not create a universal empire, but 
a triumph for Germany would inevitably win the world 
for compulsory efficiency. 

The invasion of America would follow ; not the physical 
invasion which battleships and coast defenses might possi- 
bly repel; but the subtle, imponderable, furtive invasion 
of ideas and methods, which eludes the vigilance of the 
strictest guard, and which conquers by the very means 
which are devised to combat it. 


The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 

Poland and the war. General situation in the eastern theater about Octo- 
ber 1st. Operations on the East Prussian frontier. Von Hindenburg and 
the Teutonic general offensive. The culmination of this great move- 
ment : the failure to take Warsaw, the conflict before Ivangorod, and 
retreat of the Austro-German armies. The fluctuating course of the strug- 
gle in Galicia ; Peremysl relieved and reinvested. The German retreat in 
Poland, lightning change of front, and counter-offensive in November. 
The combats around Lodz. The increasing deadlock. Operations in 
Serbia. Failure of the first Austrian invasion ; Battle of the Jadar, Septem- 
ber 15-20. The renewed invasion in November and the occupation and 
loss of Belgrade and severe defeat of the Austrians in December. Atroci- 
ties in the Austro-Serbian hostilities. Reflections on the results of the 
Eastern operations. 

We turn from the West at the cuhninating point of the 
Kaiser's persistent effort to blast a way to the Channel 
ports, postponing for the moment consideration of the 
slowly diminishing current of events that followed, and 
complete our picture of the crucial weeks just passed by 
tracing the progress of operations in the eastern theater, 
which developed to a climax of magnitude and intensity 
that will illuminate the frantic determination to force a 
decision in Flanders at any cost. The conflict in the West 
had been prolonged with undiminished energy until, in- 
stead of dealing with their antagonists in turn, as the Gen- 
eral Staff had expected, the Germans were confronted by 
formidable forces on both their fronts, and the indispensa- 
ble condition for the accomplishment of their original 
design had vanished. The second act in the great world- 
drama had begun before the actors of the first had evacu- 
ated the stage. 


274 The Great War 

In spite of the exposed situation of Poland, only the 
margin of the country had been disturbed by the violence 
of war during the first two months of the struggle. But 
at length the inevitable march of events made this central 
region between the principal masses of the contestants the 
theater of the most furious encounters. Vast armies crossed 
and recrossed the plain of western Poland in every direc- 
tion, despoiUng and destroying, and this unhappy country, 
the passive victim of her own location, with little heart in 
the struggle, was devastated to an extent and a degree of 
thoroughness which were absolutely without parallel. 

The fundamental strategic importance of Poland, the 
value of her resources, and the passionate longing of her 
people for the restoration of their unity and rights of 
nationality made the favor of the Poles the object of the 
most ardent and unwonted courtship by all parties at the 
commencement of the contest. Teutonic aviators flew 
over the country scattering broadcast an invitation for the 
Poles to unite with the German and Austrian armies, 
which were coming as their deliverers, for the restoration 
of the ancient unity and autonomy of Poland under a 
Catholic, German prince. The appointment of a Polish 
archbishop at Posen under the Kingdom of Prussia at just 
this time was probably not foreign to the German propa- 
ganda for the support of the Poles. 

On August 15th, the Grand-duke Nicholas, as com- 
mander-in-chief of the Russian armies, issued the following 
celebrated proclamation: 

" Poles! The hour has struck in which the sacred dream 
of your fathers and forefathers may find fulfilment. 

"A century and a half ago the living flesh of Poland was 
torn asunder, but her soul did not die. She lived in hope 
that there would come an hour for the resurrection of the 
Polish nation and for a brotherly reconciliation with Russia. 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 275 

"The Russian Army now brings you the joyful tidings 
of this reconciliation. May the boundaries be annihilated 
which cut the Polish nation into parts! May that nation 
reunite into one body under the scepter of the Russian 
Emperor. Under this scepter Poland shall be reborn, free 
in faith, in language, in self-government. 

"One thing only Russia expects of you: equal consid- 
eration for the rights of those nationalities to which history 
has linked you. 

"With open heart, with hand fraternally outstretched, 
Russia steps forward to meet you. She believes that the 
sword has not rusted which at Griinwald struck down 
the enemy. 

"From the shores of the Pacific to the North Sea the 
Russian forces are on the march. The dawn of a new life 
is breaking for you. 

"May there shine, resplendent above that dawn, the 
sign of the Cross, symbol of the Passion and resurrection 
of nations ! " 

The calculating spirit that prompted these effusions must 
have been plain to all but the most simple. 

But the war had created an especially deplorable situa- 
tion for Poland in the fact that at least a million Polish 
young men were subject to compulsory military service 
under the three belligerent powers among which the 
former national territory had been divided and were liable, 
therefore, to be dragged into fratricidal slaughter. Mobi- 
lization destroyed in a moment of time the chance and the 
will for national concerted action. 

The Poles were joined with the Austrians in a common 
faith, and with the Russians by racial affinity; but with the 
Germans they had no moral bond of association. The 
Austrian government had treated its Polish subjects mildly 
and considerately, allowing them local self-government, 

276 The Great War 

and Polish universities and schools, and they were gener- 
ally contented with the existing situation. The Russian 
government had repeatedly broken the promises made to 
its Polish subjects. It had persistently withheld local self- 
government and repressed their nationality. But Prussia's 
relentless policy of crushing the language and traditions of 
the Poles and of driving them from their land, although a 
conspicuous failure, had made her the object of the most 
intense execration. 

The concentration of all the Poles under a single gov- 
ernment was unquestionably preferable to the existing 
partition w^hich paralyzed all combined action, and the 
Russian Poles were convinced that the surest way to obtain 
this partial success was through a Russian victory. The 
economic development in Poland has tended to strengthen 
the ties uniting the country with Russia. Allusion has 
already been made to the increasing industrial importance 
of Poland, which is largely due to her coal supplies and the 
natural intelligence of her laboring class. The annual 
product of the factories and workshops amounted to about 
$500,000,000 in value, and two-thirds of this was absorbed 
by the markets of the Russian Empire. The rise of 
Socialism, concurrently with the growth of an industrial 
proletariat, created purposes which ran athwart the aspira- 
tions of nationalism and tended to identify the interests of 
the laboring classes in Poland and Russia. 

The idea of conciliating Poland had never become en- 
tirely extinct in Russia, and although the Poles had regarded 
the Panslavistic program with suspicion, the grand-duke's 
appeal to the sentiment of racial community and brother- 
hood made at this moment of expectancy and exaltation 
was received by a large part of the nation with sympathetic 
approbation. Noteworthy was the the support of promi- 
nent Polish authors, artists, and musicians, among them 

Crowds in the streets of Lodz, a city <>f five hundred thousand inhabitants, awaiting the 
cntrv ot the (jernian troops. 

(Jthcfis 'unsulc tin- ht:ui(Mi:iiicis oT i.ifiui:il x'on Mackenseii at Loii/. 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 277 

the famous Sienkiewicz, who even exhorted his fellow 
Austrian Poles to adopt the cause of Russia. 

In view of all these facts it is not surprising that on 
August 16th the leaders of the several political parties 
assembled at Warsaw responded to the archduke's procla- 
mation in the following resolution: 

"The representatives of the undersigned political parties, 
assembled in Warsaw on the 16th of August, 1914, wel- 
come the proclamation issued to the Poles by his Imperial 
Highness, the Commander-in-chief of the Russian forces, 
as an act of the foremost historical importance, and im- 
plicitly believe that upon the termination of the war the 
promises uttered in that proclamation will be formally 
fulfilled, that the dreams of their fathers and forefathers 
will be realized, that Poland's body, torn asunder a century 
and a half ago, will once again be made whole, that the 
frontiers severing the Polish nation will vanish. 

"The blood of Poland's sons, shed in united combat 
against the Germans, will serve equally as a sacrifice, offered 
upon the altar of her resurrection." 
^Signed by) 

The Democratic National Party. 

The Polish Progressive Party. 

The Realist Party. 

The Polish Progressive Union. 

The loyalty of the people of Russian Poland was an 
essential factor in the general situation, at least as long as 
the Russian armies maintained themselves on Polish soil. 
The Russian government itself was doubtless surprised at 
the apparent unanimity of sentiment, and a corresponding 
wave of enthusiasm found practical expression at Moscow 
and other large Russian cities in contributions for the war- 
sufferers in Poland. It is doubtful to what extent the 

278 The Great War 

Teutonic powers had counted on the active cooperation of 
the Russian Poles in a military sense. But they doubtless 
expected that the attitude of the population would be a 
substantial support for their own operations and a constant 
source of embarrassment for those of the Russians; hence 
the indifference to their own benevolent professions must 
have been a bitter disappointment. 

The concentration of the Russian forces was carried out, 
as we have seen, on the borders of East Prussia and of 
Galicia and in the eastern half of Poland under cover of 
the Vistula and of the great fortresses. As none of the 
Russian army corps had been stationed west of the Vistula, 
the projection of the Polish salient was practically reduced 
by about one-half. For Western Poland was only partially 
covered by feeble detachments, largely cavalry, and was 
therefore exposed to invasion. This situation may have 
been regarded as an acknowledgment of weakness, but 
events will show that it served the purpose of a snare. 

The Russians had launched their attacks against East 
Prussia and Galicia concurrently and with startling rapidity. 
It was evidently their purpose to clear the positions on the 
flanks of Poland before undertaking a decisive invasion of 
Germany and Austria. While the incursion into East 
Prussia ended in an inglorious failure, the sweeping suc- 
cess of the Russian operations in Galicia profoundly dis- 
turbed the plans and expectations of the central empires. 

But the course of events towards the end of September 
tended to modify somewhat this striking disparity in the 
fortunes of the campaign in these two opposite regions, as 
will be explained. 

Von Hindenburg's attempt to prolong his brilliant course 
of victories by penetrating eastward into Russia seems to 
have terminated in a disappointing failure, as has already 
been mentioned. For Rennenkampf s forces, shattered by 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 279 

the early disasters, retired behind the Niemen under cover 
of the great fortresses, Kovno and Grodno, for recupera- 
tion, and later took the field again reinforced and refreshed. 
On September 26th the Germans attacked on a broad 
front along the Niemen so as to engage the attention of 
the Russians while they forced the passage of the river at 
a particular point. But after a bitter conflict continuing 
four days they were forced to retire to a line running 
through Augustof. The effective cooperation of the exten- 
sive German forces had probably been hindered or paralyzed 
by the swamps and tracts of almost impenetrable forest. 
The course of the ensuing operations remains obscure. 
The German communications offer us the same paradoxical 
succession of victories on a constantly receding front which 
marked the early stages of the fighting in August: the total 
defeat of the left flank of the Russian army with the loss 
of 3,000 prisoners near Augustof on October 1-2, the 
repulse of the chief mass of the Russian army against East 
Prussia with the loss of 2,700 prisoners near Suwalki on 
the 5th, the checking of a Russian column near Lyck 
on the 8th, and the discomfiture of a Russian turning 
movement in the north by way of Schirvindt with the loss 
of 4,000 prisoners on the 11th. At the same time the Ger- 
mans announced that the great victory in the vicinity of 
Augustof and Suwalki proclaimed by the Russians was 
purely fictitious. 

It is clear, however, that von Hindenburg abandoned 
the siege of the fortress of Osovietz at the crossing of the 
Bobr and left the principal field of hostilities east of the 
Prussian border in the enemy's possession. The most that 
we can concede to the German pretensions is that the 
Russian achievements were only Pyrrhic victories. Con- 
vinced of the uselessness of pushing the campaign in this 
quarter, von Hindenburg moved his front back to the 

280 The Great War 

eastern line of the Mazurian Lakes and the Angerapp, 
where strong intrenchments had been prepared, and with- 
drew most of the troops of the first line for the new offen- 
sive movement in another quarter, replacing them with 
Landwehr and Landsturm contingents. 

Meanwhile, the movement of the Russians westward 
through Galicia spent its initial force about September 22d. 
In fact, the Russian commander was probably removing 
some of the troops from the Galician front as the prelude 
for a renewal of the offensive in the north. 

But at the end of September the eastern theater pre- 
sented a singular appearance with the bulk of the Germans 
in the extreme northeast, the Austro-Hungarian armies 
concentrated in the extreme southwest, with the chief 
masses of the Russians grouped before these two, and the 
long intervening space but feebly defended on either side. 
This was in striking contrast with the situation in the West, 
where the contestants, filling all the spaces along the front, 
struggled with the utmost vehemence for every available 
position of advantage. 

Here was a condition of affairs that favored the develop- 
ment of the warfare of maneuvers on an imposing scale, 
with rapid movement, dashing offensive and sudden coun- 
ter-offensive. The general staffs of the central empires 
were convinced that a vast offensive movement in the East, 
before the termination of decisive operations in the West, 
and therefore contrary to the original intention, had be- 
come an indispensable measure at this time. 

The Russian invasion of Galicia and menace to Cracow 
would not alone account for such a radical departure. The 
advance of the Russians in Galicia had, temporarily at least, 
been arrested. In seeking the more general motives we 
may safely assume that the most urgent features of the 
situation were the wide dispersion of the Teutonic forces 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 281 

and the excessive length of the eastern frontier of the 
central empires to be defended in view of the actual and 
ever increasing superiority of the Russian forces. There 
is reason to believe that with most of Galicia in their hands, 
the Russians were preparing to push their offensive in East 
Prussia with redoubled energy, and were already redis- 
tributing their forces with this purpose in view. In these 
conditions it was perilous for the Teutonic armies to await 
passively the Russian blow. 

Once the great strategic line of the Vistula with all its 
crossing points were in their power, the Russians could 
utilize their superior forces for a sweeping offensive re- 
strained no longer by concern for the safety of either 
flank. The Austro-German staffs decided to forestall such 
a dangerous emergency once and for all by a sudden offen- 
sive from Posen, Silesia and the region of Cracow eastward 
across Poland and Galicia to the central course of the 
Vistula and the line of the San. In this way a straight line 
would be substituted for the awkward concave section of 
their front, a formidable natural barrier would be interposed 
between themselves and their antagonist, and economy and 
compactness in the disposition of their forces for defensive 
purposes would be obtained. These were the minimum 
advantages which the new project was expected to secure. 
There was in addition the possibility of entrapping the 
enemy and inflicting upon him a disastrous defeat. 

The intervening region of western Poland which it was 
necessary to traverse is an undulating plain, interspersed 
with forests, where there are few good roads but much 
marshy ground in rainy weather. Winter was expected to 
create solid tracks for an advance of the Russian hosts 
across this region, and the Germans were determined to 
deprive their opponents of such an opportunity for the 
offensive by securing for themselves the line of the Vistula 

282 The Great War 

before the ground had become frozen. It was an enter- 
prise that involved a serious hazard and demanded the 
utmost rapidity of execution, because a period of rainy 
weather might at any time entangle the German armies in 
an impassable quagmire. 

Von Hindenburg left the frontier of East Prussia and 
assumed chief command of all the German armies operating 
in the East on September 25th. His strategic conceptions 
and the views of the German General Staff doubtless con- 
trolled the operations of the Austrian armies also during 
the period of strenuous efforts which followed. Von Hin- 
denburg proceeded to carry out the new offensive with 
characteristic energy and unhesitating determination. 

The forces of the Teutonic empires, now for the first 
time ranged shoulder to shoulder for common action, were 
drawn up on a general line that diverged slightly towards 
the southeast from the Silesian frontier near Kalisz, passed 
near Czenstochowa, Cracow, and Neu Sandez, and finally 
coincided with the barrier of the Carpathians. The field 
of action of the German forces or group of armies in the 
north, possibly composed of as many as twelve army corps 
or about 500,000 men, was the region between the lower 
Vistula and the Pilica, and that of the mixed group of Ger- 
mans and Austrians in the center, which was nearly as large, 
was the territory between the Pilica and the upper Vistula, 
while the principal Austro-Hungarian armies still operated 
within the natural confines of Galicia. The Russians had 
probably about 3,000,000 men under arms at this time, 
while the Austro-German forces on the eastern frontier 
seem to have amounted altogether to about 2,000,000. 

The Teutonic offensive developed slightly more rapidly 
in the south, where the Russian forces which had pene- 
trated the Carpathian passes were compelled to retire from 
Hungary. It was probably intended that the Austrians 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 283 

should force the passage of the San as soon as possible so 
as to assail the forces defending the line of the Vistula in 
Poland on the left flank or even in the rear while the 
German and the Austro-German forces attacked them on 
the front. 

This maneuver involved the relief of Peremysl which 
was closely invested by the Russians. It is said that the 
besieging army consisted of five army corps, but this num- 
ber may have included bodies of troops which protected 
the attacking operations against interference from the out- 
side. This besieging force may be compared in size with 
the German army of 125,000 to 150,000 which captured 
Antwerp. The Russians completely surrounded and isolated 
Peremysl, but the Germans, with their superior artillery, 
confined their attacks to a restricted section of the fortified 
perimeter of Antwerp, where their sledge-hammer blows 
crushed every obstacle. 

Threatened in their siege-operations against Peremysl 
by the advance of the Austrians, the Russians intensified 
their eff^orts to take the fortress by storm. Furious attacks 
in the night of October 8-9 failed to accomplish their pur- 
pose, and on the 9th the Russians were repelled on the 
south front with heavy losses. By this time the approach 
of the Austrian army compelled the Russians to relinquish 
their positions on the west of Peremysl and communica- 
tion was established between the relieving force and the 
garrison. Gradually the Russians were forced to withdraw 
from the north and south, and finally, on the 11th and 12th, 
they were overpowered and driven from the east side as 
well. The departure revealed to the Austrians gruesome 
evidence of the reckless determination with which the Rus- 
sians had pushed their assaults and the deadly efiiciency of 
the defenders' weapons. Apparently whole battalions lay 
in contorted masses as death had suddenly overwhelmed 

284 The Great War 

them. Shallow excavations with shovels scattered among 
the bodies of the dead showed where the Russians had 
been enveloped in a curtain of fire while intrenching them- 
selves. Hundreds had sought shelter under cover of a 
step-like scarp separating the two planes in which the 
glacis of the girdle fortresses of Peremysl had been erected, 
only to be mowed down by the lateral fire of hidden 
machine-guns disposed in such a way as to sweep this 
deceptive zone of safety. 

The Russian forces withdrew behind the San and were 
concentrated along the right bank of that river and of the 
Vistula below their confluence. The German and Austro- 
German forces advancing eastward from the border of 
Silesia had to march nearly 200 miles across western Poland 
and then attack armies of uncertain strength. It was im- 
possible for the Germans to determine accurately the rapid- 
ity at which the Russian forces were being redistributed 
to meet the altered situation. It was to be assumed that 
the lack of direct communication by railway between the 
Russian front in Galicia and that in Poland would fatally 
impede this necessary movement. But in this as in other 
situations the Russian commanders showed themselves 
capable of shifting immense forces, in spite of primitive 
conditions, with a skill which their opponents had not 

The German and Austro-German armies advanced with 
remarkable expedition. On October 8th the Germans occu- 
pied Lodz, the great industrial center of western Poland, a 
city which had grown with phenomenal rapidity from 
32,600 people in 1860 to 450,604 in 1912, thanks to the 
fostering protection of the imperial Russian fiscal policy. 
Its textile industry, in which it stands foremost in Poland, 
with 650 plants producing goods to the value of about 
$75,000,000 annually, was mainly in the hands of Germans 


= 2< 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 285 

who, by establishing themselves at Lodz, competed in 
the vast market of the Russian Empire without tariff 

By the 11th the German army on the left wing had 
reached the Bzura, a tributary of the Vistula, the eastern 
boundary of Prussia between the second and third Parti- 
tions of Poland, less than forty miles west of Warsaw. No 
serious opposition had thus far been encountered and about 
seven German army corps were now advancing against the 
Polish capital and the adjacent section of the Vistula, which 
was still inadequately guarded. Further south the mixed 
Austro-German forces advanced through Kielce and 
Radom and were approaching the section of the Vistula 
in which the fortress of Ivangorod is situated. 

The struggle before Warsaw began on the 11th. The 
city itself passed through days of the most intense anxiety, 
of violently fluctuating impressions and emotions, of throb- 
bing excitement. For a time its evacuation by the Rus- 
sians seemed inevitable. Most of the foreign and Russian 
residents departed and the funds of the national bank were 
transferred to a place of greater security in the interior 
of Russia. 

The tragic history of Warsaw still in the making, its 
majestic situation commanding the beautiful Vistula, the 
vivacious temperament of its inhabitants, and its contrasts 
of prodigality and poverty, splendor and squalor, gaiety and 
gloom, are well-suited to captivate the imagination. A 
central position where many important lines of communi- 
cation converge and the nearness of the productive mineral 
region of southeastern Poland have made it the seat of an 
extensive and varied industry, with manufactures of iron and 
steel predominating, and have contributed to the remarkable 
growth of its population from 161,008 in 1860 to 872,478 in 
1911, — Warsaw was a prize worthy of persistent effort. 

286 The Great War 

Thousands of fugitives from the villages west of Warsav^ 
fleeing in terror before the swiftly moving storm of inva- 
sion poured into the city, filling halls, warehouses, and all 
other available places of shelter. There were the aged 
and infirm and many who had abandoned everything in 
their hasty departure and were absolutely destitute and 
in the direst misery. 

Day by day the cannonading became louder as the Ger- 
mans forced their way towards the city, until the buildings 
vibrated with the tremendous roar. By the 16th they were 
only seven miles away and on the 17th German shells ex- 
ploded within the municipal limits. Hostile aeroplanes 
made their daily visits dropping bombs upon the city, by 
which a number of civilians were killed or injured. 

The first reinforcements for the hard-pressed, greatly- 
outnumbered forces defending Warsaw were a body of 
Siberian troops who detrained on the 18th in Praga, the 
suburb on the right bank, and marched across the Vistula 
by the imposing Alexander Bridge. The passage of these 
Russian troops through the streets of the Polish metropolis 
was greeted with an ecstasy of enthusiasm which might 
have befitted a triumphal procession, such a popular demon- 
stration as would have seemed incredible only a few months 
before. It has been said that the fall of Warsaw had been 
scheduled for this very day, following the capture of Ant- 
werp on the 9th, as double token of Germany's invincible 
expansive energy east and west. But from this time addi- 
tional troops were continually arriving in this section until 
by the 21st the Germans were in full retreat and Warsaw 
was saved. 

The decisive factor had been the advance of strong Rus- 
sian masses from the vicinity of Gora on the Vistula south 
of Warsaw and especially from the great fortress of Novo 
Georgievsk at the confluence of the Bug and the Vistula 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 287 

below Warsaw, which threatened to envelop the wings of 
the northern German army. By the 20th the Russians 
attacking from the north had rolled back the German left 
as far as Sochaczef, subjecting the position of the whole 
army to a dangerous compression. The final episode in the 
fighting near Warsaw was a desperate struggle at Blonie, in 
which the Seventeenth and Twentieth German Corps, cov- 
ering the retreat of the rest of the army, bore the brunt of 
furious attacks, but without arresting the Russian advance. 

The Russian counter-of?ensive was being pushed simul- 
taneously on a front of 200 miles. The German forces in 
front of Warsaw were the first to be compelled to retreat 
before it, but the other Teutonic army groups had to 
give way one by one in the order of their succession 

Seven army corps, of which two were German, under 
General Dankl, had advanced against the Ivangorod sec- 
tion of the Vistula line. Several attempts to cross the river 
below Ivangorod on pontoon bridges were frustrated by 
the Russian artillery on the right bank. 

Finally, the Russians themselves took the initiative, crossed 
the river below Ivangorod, traversed with unexpected reso- 
lution a treacherous, marshy zone along the left margin of 
the stream, and assailed the Austro-German positions on 
the higher ground beyond. There followed a week of 
terrific struggles in an extensive forest lying west of the 
Vistula, in which the larger organized masses on each side 
were dissolved into a confusion of minor groups often 
fighting at close-range and with the utmost ferocity and 
desperation. After they had finally been driven from the 
forest, the Austro-German troops had to retire across open 
.country exposed to the Russian artillery, where they suf- 
fered heavy losses. Their retreat was continued by way of 
Radom and Kielce. 

288 The Great War 

In Galicia the Austrians under command of General 
von Auffenberg and the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand had 
forced the Russians to abandon the entire left bank of the 
San. They had recovered Czernowitz in the extreme south- 
east, occupied Sandomierz in the north, retaken Jaroslaw, 
and raised the siege of Peremysl. The relieving column 
marched into Peremysl amid great rejoicing. The lifting 
of the blockade, which turned out to be only temporary, 
v^as an opportunity for replenishing the supply of provi- 
sions and for removing a large part of the non-combatant 
population, whose presence was only a burden. 

The Austrians made many fruitless attempts to cross the 
San, and their offensive in Galicia waned about October 22d 
in response to the unfortunate turn of events in Poland. 
Sandomierz was retaken by the Russians, November 3d, on 
the 5th the Austrians were compelled to retreat from the 
San after a series of fierce conflicts, and the Russians re- 
sumed the siege of Peremysl on the 14th. 

The Germans in Poland made futile attempts to check 
the victorious advance of the Russians at Skierniewice 
and Lovicz. The Austro-Germans engaged in a des- 
perate rear-guard action near Kielce, in which they were 
defeated with heavy losses after a struggle of twenty-four 

In spite of the genius of von Hindenburg and the supe- 
rior organization of the Germans the armies of the central 
powers were compelled to relinquish all the ground which 
they had seized. Their offensive had undoubtedly pre- 
vented or postponed the renewal of the Russian attacks 
against Cracow and East Prussia, but these were merely 
negative advantages. The great struggles during October 
along the Vistula resemble in some respects the Battle of , 
the Marne. In both cases the Germans must have arrived 
on the field of battle with their energy impaired by forced 

The Wawel, or Citadel, of Cracow. The mound in the center is a memorial to the 
Polish hero Thadeusz Kosciuszko. 

The museum of Belgrade after the city had been bombarded bv the Austrians. 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 289 

marches. The difficulties of transportation must have 
increased enormously with the advance of the German 
armies in Poland, where the means of communication were 
very inadequate. 

The offensive had been ventured in defiance of Napo- 
leon's favorite maxim, never to do what the enemy wants. 
The Germans and Austrians advanced with feverish haste 
nearly 200 miles to throw themselves upon the front of an 
enemy of probably 50% superior strength, installed on the 
line of a strong natural barrier reinforced by powerful for- 
tresses, and in the presence of his bases of supply. 

The northern wing of the German army before Warsaw 
was "left in the air," since the westward course of the 
Vistula below the Polish capital, instead of protecting this 
flank, exposed it to attack, as long as the Russians com- 
manded the crossing-point at Novo Georgievsk. 

The great offensive was a failure. The popular expecta- 
tion that the German armies would pass the winter in 
Warsaw, as well as Calais, was deceived. But with aston- 
ishing agility the Germans avoided a calamity and recovered 
the equilibrium. 

The successful withdrawal of the German and Austro- 
German armies was chiefly due to their unusually extensive 
destruction of the railways and roads in their rear, which 
greatly impeded the progress of their pursuers. Von Hin- 
denburg and the Germans retreated in a southwesterly 
direction towards the line Kalisz-Czenstochowa, the Austro- 
German forces to the line Czenstochowa-Cracow. 

By the beginning of November the Russians had con- 
centrated enormous forces, possibly as many as thirty-five 
army corps, in Poland and Galicia ready to pour into the 
upper valley of the Oder, which dominates the rich indus- 
trial region of Silesia, and to strike towards Vienna or 
Berlin. In spite of the escape of the German and Austrian 

290 The Great War 

armies, the development of the operations on the eastern 
front had reached an alarming stage for the central empires 
at precisely the period when the attempts to penetrate the 
lines of the Allies in Flanders, repeated with ever increas- 
ing fury and feverish determination, were about to end in 
failure. On November 9th Russian cavalry actually raided 
German territory near Pleschen. 

But von Hindenburg made the apparently hopeless situa- 
tion an opportunity for delivering a brilliant counter-stroke 
with such promptness and dexterity as even to give rise to 
the conjecture that the German retreat itself was a strata- 
gem deliberately designed as a favorable preliminary for 
the renewed attack. The fortresses of Ivangorod, War- 
saw, and Novo Georgievsk, with Brest Litovsk in the rear, 
constituted, as we have seen, a sort of vast citadel in the 
heart of Poland, the possession of which was a vital factor. 
And so von Hindenburg, after leading the chief masses of 
the enemy far afield in the course of his retreat, deftly 
slipped aside, and by a loop-shaped evolution launched a 
new blow from the northwest at the Russian line of com- 
munications, thrusting himself between a considerable part 
of the Russian forces and the portals of their great central 
fortified position. 

Never did the Prussian railways offer more striking proof 
of the military utility of their unsurpassed efficiency. Enor- 
mous bodies of troops were spirited from place to place 
with an ease and celerity that seemed to violate the most 
elementary conceptions of mass and inertia. News that 
the tide of battle was approaching Silesia had scarcely been 
received, when it was announced that von Hindenburg's 
army had suddenly disappeared from this part of the border 
and then, almost immediately, that it had reappeared in 
the region of Thorn, and that the counter-offensive from 
that quarter was already in progress. 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 291 

The success of this bewildering maneuver had been pre- 
pared by the direction given to von Hindenburg's retreat, 
and consequently to the Russian pursuit, which had swerved 
far to the left of a straight line towards the heart of Ger- 
many. This tendency gave the Germans ample room for 
their revolving movement and impeded the readjustment 
of the Russian forces through the lack of lateral communi- 
cations on the Polish side of the border. 

The Russian pursuit terminated about November 5th, 
and the German counter-offensive was fully under way by 
the 12th or 13th. 

The initial disposition of the principal German forces 
for the new attack was the reverse of the arrangement for 
the offensive in October. Then the Teutonic front com- 
menced north of Kalisz, followed the general direction of 
the border of Silesia, and trailed off towards the southeast, 
until it fell in with the Carpathian barrier. Now the 
German line beginning near the same point followed the 
Prussian boundary towards the northeast, stretching be- 
yond the Vistula. But it was undoubtedly part of the 
general plan on this occasion that the Austro-Hungarian 
forces should rally on the old line, forming the comple- 
ment, as it were, of the new German front of maneuver in 
the north, so as to envelop the Russian forces west of the 
Vistula on all sections of their semicircular position at the 
same time. 

While the retreat of the Austro-German forces after 
the former great offensive was still in progress, six divi- 
sions of cavalry had been transported to the prospective 
theater of the renewed attack from various sections of the 
Teutonic fronts, notably from Flanders, where mounted 
troops could no longer be employed in consequence of 
the transition to trench-warfare. These divisions were 
thrown forward on both sides of the Vistula to mask the 

292 The Great War 

principal movement of the Germans. The most formid- 
able masses of German troops were concentrated between 
the Warta and the Vistula, where the rivers covered their 
flanks, their left rested on the fortress of Thorn, and the 
main railway line from Berlin and Posen to Insterburg 
passed conveniently in their rear. From this position the 
advance was pushed with vigor and rapidity along the left 
bank of the Vistula and the railway line in the direction of 
Kutno and Lovicz. Since there were only scanty Russian 
forces in the space between the Vistula and the Bzura and 
the Warta, it was conceivable that the Germans could 
overwhelm the great Polish fortresses, which were prob- 
ably garrisoned by troops of the second or third line, 
before the principal mass of the Russian armies could be 
withdrawn from the Kalisz-Czenstochowa-Cracow front 
in the extreme southwest. 

The German forces advancing into Poland from the 
northwest were grouped in two armies. The left under 
General von Morgen, the right under General von Mac- 
kensen, with General von Hindenburg in chief command. 
Von Morgen's army won a victory at Kutno on the 18th, 
which opened the way to the Bzura, and on the next day 
von Mackensen drove a wedge through the Russian front 
between Zgierz and Strykof northeast of Lodz. The 
Twenty-fifth German Reserve Corps under General von 
Scheffer-Boyadel and the Third Guard Division com- 
manded by General von Litzmann poured through the 
opening thus formed, wheeled to the right and advanced 
to attack Lodz from the east, but soon found themselves 
enveloped by Russian forces of superior strength. The 
troops defending Lodz stretched across the German front 
and around the right flank, where reinforcements approach- 
ing from the north formed a second hostile line. Russian 
forces returning from southwestern Poland threatened the 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 293 

German left flank, and Rennenkampf with still another 
column was approaching in the rear from the southeast. 
Altogether the Germans were actually attacked, or at least 
threatened, by five Russian army corps. 

After sanguinary combats on the 21st and 22d this Ger- 
man detachment suddenly broke camp during the night 
of the 22d-23d, marched rapidly eastward across the frozen 
ground until it crossed the Miazga River at Karpin, and 
then turned sharply to the north, and assailed the enemy's 
left wing at Gatkof, before the latter was entirely pre- 
pared to receive the attack. Breaking through at this point 
and pushing forward with the same impetuous tenacity the 
Germans stormed Brzeziny on the 23d. 

Here they encountered the second enclosing line of 
their opponents and sustained repeated violent charges, but 
finally fought their way out after enduring very heavy 
losses. Their escape was facilitated by the approach of a 
German relieving column from the northeast on the 24th. 
This series of events remains one of the most thrilling 
episodes of the war. 

Apparently the general plan of operations pursued by 
the Germans embraced a revolving maneuver, with their 
left flank near the mouth of the Bzura as the pivot, for the 
purpose of sweeping back or rolling together the Russian 
forces which were within reach. By November 22d the 
German left wing had advanced to the Bzura, less than 
forty miles from Warsaw, and Lovicz and Skierniewiece 
were again in the hands of the Germans. 

But the most serious fighting took place nearer the 
extremity of the maneuvering wing, where the Germans 
pushed their ofi^ensive in the direction of Lodz with the 
utmost vigor. From their positions north of the city they 
subjected the defenders to a very severe bombardment, 
accompanied by many desperate assaults of the infantry. 

294 The Great War 

When the conflict was at its height the night was illumi- 
nated by the flashes of exploding shells and the weirdly 
shifting gleam of the searchlights, and the thunder of artil- 
lery was said to have been faintly audible at Warsaw sixty 
miles away. 

A striking example of heroism was exhibited during this 
bombardment by a Russian artillery colonel, who with 
some assistants made his way under cover of darkness to 
the vicinity of a German battery of heavy pieces which 
was keeping up a very damaging fire on the defenses of 
Lodz from a distance of seven miles at Zgierz. Creeping 
stealthily forward he laid a field telephone wire to within 
a mile and a half of the battery, and then, lying prostrate 
on the ground as the rays of a searchlight passed back and 
forth above him, he directed the action of the Russian 
guns, which finally silenced the German battery. 

A new German army advanced from Kalisz eastward to 
cooperate in the siege of Lodz, and after a series of bitter 
struggles terminating in a battle lasting three days in which 
the Russians suffered very heavy losses from the German 
heavy artillery, Lodz was evacuated on December 6th. Its 
position at the extremity of a salient in the Russian lines 
made any further sacrifices for its defense strategically 

The necessity of counteracting an advance of the Rus- 
sians into East Prussia, where they occupied Soldau on 
November 10th, and the desire to prevent another fatal 
turning movement against the left flank of the German 
army in the heart of Poland were probably the chief 
motives for a German offensive undertaken from the 
north, on the right bank of the Vistula, about December 
7th. Experience had shown that the Russians possessed 
one distinct advantage over the Germans in the Polish 
operations, the opportunity of shifting troops rapidly from 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 295 

one bank of the Vistula to the other, secured to them by 
their possession of the great fortresses on the river. The 
Germans might have been able to neutralize this advantage 
in part if they could have overrun the right bank of the 
Vistula as far as Novo Georgievsk and masked that fortress. 
But repeated German attacks for about ten days on the 
front Ilovo-Glovno produced no permanent results. 

Just as the conflicts west of the Vistula in October were 
similar in their outcome to the Battle of the Marne, the 
subsequent struggles in the central Polish theater in No- 
vember and December may be likened in their results to 
the Battle of the Aisne, since they inaugurated a period of 
stationary warfare, defining the general position of the 
fronts in this region for several months to come. The 
Germans, thrusting and struggling forward with titanic 
force and indefatigable energy, gradually drove the Rus- 
sian front, like a massive door swinging on a hinge near 
the lower Bzura, from the line Sochaczef-Lodz back 
through the line Sochaczef-Tomasof-Novo Radomsk, until 
it rested finally in the position Sochaczef-Rava-Opoczno, 
along the Ravka. 

The forward progress of the Russian armies in the Aus- 
trian dominions was not immediately checked by the re- 
newed German invasion of Poland in November. The 
Russians were in possession of the Lupkow Pass through 
the Carpathians by November 25th and they cleared Buko- 
vina of the Austrians before the end of the month. They 
reached a point only three and a half miles from the outer 
defenses of Cracow on December 2d. Then the Austrians, 
their formations stiffened by German contingents, took the 
offensive along the line of the Carpathians. They drove 
raiding parties from Hungary and marched northward 
over the Dukla Pass in great force, and although they 
were unable to make much headway behind the Russian 

296 The Great War 

lines in Galicia or relieve Peremysl, the threat conveyed by 
their presence helped to paralyze the Russian offensive 
westward. The Russians abandoned their operations before 
Cracow on December 12th, after suffering serious losses, 
and fell back on both sides of the Vistula, in conformity 
with the retreat further north, as far as the Nida and the 
Dunajec, where they were installed at the close of the year. 
Consequently, the Russian front, stretching across the Polish 
plain from the lower Vistula along the Bzura and the Ravka, 
reached the upper Vistula at the mouth of the Nida, and 
was prolonged across Galicia on the line of the Dunajec. 

The initial state of hostilities between Austria-Hungary 
and Serbia, after creating a paroxysm of alarm and riveting 
the attention of the whole world, soon passed into obscurity 
beside the gigantic struggle of the Great Powers, so that 
the alleged cause for the whole war was apparently almost 
forgotten. The Austrians, compelled to face the Russians 
with most of their forces, restricted themselves during the 
greater part of the campaign to a temporizing course of 
operations on the southern frontier. But on three occa- 
sions they aroused themselves to convulsive efforts of con- 
siderable magnitude to rid themselves once for all from 
the goading activity of their diminutive neighbor. 

The Austrians scarcel}^ condescended to regard the opera- 
tions against the Serbians as regular warfare. Their inroads 
into Serbia were "punitive expeditions," and they were cal- 
culated to reduce the country with impressive despatch to 
the position of another Belgium. This disdainful attitude 
invested with special ignominy the absolute failure of all 
the designs of the Austrians against Serbia in the campaign 
of 1914. 

The military unpreparedness of Serbia and the serious 
inroads in the national resources resulting from the strain 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 297 

and wastage of the two Balkan Wars are striking evidence 
against the alleged complicity of the Serbian government in 
any scheme to precipitate a war with Austria-Hungary 
in 1914. 

While the official declaration of war against Serbia was 
dispatched from Vienna on July 28th at 11.10 A.M., uncer- 
tainty as to the course that Russia would take restrained 
the Austrians from striking with determination and vigor 
before the Serbians had had time to concentrate the chief 
part of their available forces near their northern border. 
The boundary between Serbia and the hostile territory was 
almost entirely formed by rivers. The Drina, separating 
Serbia from Bosnia on the west, flows northward to the 
Save. The latter, with the Danube, into which it empties 
in front of Belgrade, separates Serbia from Hungary on the 
north. The Austro-Hungarian strategic railways give 
access to many available crossing points on the Drina and 
the Save. 

An invasion of Serbia from the northwest, as contem- 
plated by the leaders responsible for Austrian military policy, 
ofl^ered the opportunity of a concentric advance from sev- 
eral localities towards a single strategically important con- 
verging point. But the Austrians bestowed their chief 
attention on the line of the Drina, and planned their 
principal attack up the valley of the Jadar, a tributary of 
the Drina, southeastwards in the direction of Valyevo. 

The Serbians, uncertain where the impending blow 
would fall, concentrated their main forces in the region 
of Palanka, Arangyelovatz, and Lazarevatz in the central 
part of the northern zone of the country, south of Bel- 
grade, sending out strong detachments to points nearer 
the frontier. 

The Austrian bombardment of Belgrade and the many 
attempts to cross the rivers on the north in the early days 

298 The Great War 

of the war were probably intended to distract attention 
from the region where the serious invasion of Serbia had 
actually been planned. The Fourth, Eighth, Thirteenth, 
and Fifteenth Austro-Hungarian Army Corps, and parts 
of the Seventh and Ninth, had been concentrated on the 
Serbian frontier. Three brigades of the Sixteenth Corps 
had been sent to restrain the Montenegrins, while the 
other three were held in reserve at Sarajevo. 

The protruding northwestern extremity of Serbia, which 
is partially encircled by the Drina and the Save, is very flat. 
But the country south of this is rugged in character, with 
mountain chains and deep valleys and only a few service- 
able roads. 

The Austrians first penetrated Serbian territory at Loz- 
nitza on the morning of the 12th, crossing the Drina by 
means of boats and pontoons. The invasion was com- 
menced about the same time at Shabatz and several other 
points, so that six different Austrian columns headed in the 
general direction of Valyevo. From the Drina in the gen- 
eral vicinity of Loznitza successive mountain ranges with 
intervening valleys extend laterally towards the southeast. 
From the north southwards the Tzer, Iverak, and Guchevo 
ridges occur in succession, the first and second separated 
by the River Leshnitza, the second and third by the Jadar. 
The Austrian commander. General Potiorek, planned his 
principal advance up the valley of the River Jadar towards 
Valyevo. The importance of the possession of the eleva- 
tions confining this and the other routes can be readily 

The Serbian Chief of the General Staff, Field-marshal 
Putnik, who was responsible for the strategy of the Serbian 
armies, first served in 1876 in the war against Turkey and 
was captain of infantry during the Russo-Turkish War 
which followed. Lieutenant-colonel at the time of the 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 299 

ill-starred contest with Bulgaria in 1885, he was subse- 
quently promoted to the colonelcy and named Chief of 
the General Staff, but fell into disfavor with King Milan 
for his Radical tendencies, retired and devoted his attention 
for several years to military studies and writings. He was 
promoted to the rank of general by King Peter and as 
minister of war he directed the reorganization of the 
Serbian army, which he commanded in the campaigns of 
1912 and 1913. He is a man of plain, unpretending ap- 
pearance and of few words, but a keen judge of men and 
of human nature. 

At the beginning of the Great War he disposed of about 
125,000 troops of the first line, or possibly 200,000 com- 
batants altogether, including the second Ban, volunteers 
and recruits. But the unfriendly attitude of Bulgaria made 
it necessary to detach considerable forces to guard the 
eastern frontier and Macedonia, so that it is doubtful 
whether much more than 125,000 were available for the 
field armies which were to oppose invasion by the Aus- 
trians in greatly superior strength. 

As soon as Field-marshal Putnik perceived that the 
greater part of the Austrian forces had been concentrated 
for the invasion of Serbia from the northwest, he dis- 
patched the principal field armies toward the threatened 
quarter. All depended upon the rapidity with which these 
forces could traverse the intervening country and the skill 
employed in adapting their operations to the special physi- 
cal features of the theater of hostilities. 

It was of paramount importance for the Serbians to pre- 
vent the junction of the Austrian forces advancing south- 
wards from Shabatz with the main bodies coming from 
the direction of the Drina, and accordingly the right wing 
of the Second Serbian Army (a group of three divisions) 
and the Independent Cavalry Division drove the Austrian 

300 The Great War 

advance-guards from the northern foot-hills of the Tzer 
range, the prospective field of contact, on the 16th. The 
tenacity with w^hich the Serbians retained possession of this 
position on the northern flank of the battlefield, in spite of 
the threatened collapse of the resistance of their comrades 
further south, was the indispensable factor in the final 

In the meantime, the center of the Second Army was 
pressed back, but the left wing, coming into contact with 
the enemy after performing a march of fifty-two miles in 
twenty-foiu* hours, repulsed the attacks of the Austrians 
along the Iverak range on the evening of the 16th. The 
Third Army in the valley of the Jadar was outflanked on 
the south and compelled to retreat from Jarebitze on the 
road to Valyevo. This movement involved the left wing of 
the Second Army, so that on the 17th, while the Serbians 
prosecuted vigorously their offensive along the ridge of 
Tzer, their lines were everywhere on the defensive or in 
retreat in other parts of the battlefield. On the same day 
the Serbians made an unsuccessful attack on Shabatz, where 
the Austrians turned to the offensive on the 18th and re- 
pelled them step by step. 

The 19th was the critical day. The Austrians, striving 
only to hold their own on the crest of Tzer were every- 
where else pushing forward with alacrity and the Serbian 
Third Army was apparently at the limit of its endurance. 
It seemed inevitable that the Austrians, with their superior 
numbers and equipment, and with an adequate, if not equal, 
acquaintance with the territory, would sweep everything 
before them. But suddenly came a turning point. An 
Austrian flanking attack against the right wing of the 
Third Army encountered a fresh reserve division and was 
repulsed. The Third Army took the offensive at pre- 
cisely the favorable moment, threw their opponents into 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 301 

confusion, and chased them down the valley of the Jadar. 
Meanwhile the Serbians, victorious on Tzer, attacked the 
Austrians on Iverak and dislodged them from the positions 
commanding the line of retreat down the valley of the 

The Austrians everywhere took to flight and poured from 
the lateral valleys and mountain routes towards the crossing 
points on the Drina. The total collapse of the invasion 
from the west permitted the renewal with greater strength 
of the Serbian attacks in the direction of Shabatz, which 
the Austrians evacuated on the night of August 23-24. 

The losses in the Battle of the Jadar were heav}- on both 
sides, but the possession of the field and the capture of 
4,000 prisoners were palpable evidence of the Serbian vic- 
tory, and the failure of the Austrians to overrun Serbia in 
this first attempt created a deep impression throughout 

Shortly after this battle the Serbian First Army, two divi- 
sions of infantry and one of cavalry, crossed the Save at a 
place called the Kupinski Kut, where a tongue of land 
projecting from the northern side and almost enclosed by 
the river in a sharp detour, is commanded by tlie guns on 
the Serbian bank. The invasion of Hungary thus inaugu- 
rated progressed until September 11th, when the expedition 
was recalled on account of the second Austrian invasion of 
Serbia from the west. 

Desultory operations had been proceeding on the Monte- 
negrin front. One Montenegrin division under Prince 
Peter occupied Mt. Lovcen, engaged in artillery duels 
with the Austro-Hungarian ships in the Bocche di Cattaro, 
and held themselves in readiness to cooperate with the fleet 
of the Allies in attacking the Austrian positions on this 
valuable inlet. Another Montenegrin division commanded 
by General Martinovitch engaged the attention of the 

302 The Great War 

Austro-Hungarian fortresses in Herzegovina. Monte- 
negrin divisions are much smaller than those of the con- 
ventional type. The Montenegrins are born warriors who 
never lay aside their weapons. They are unsurpassable in 
guerilla fighting, but were unsuited by inclination and ex- 
perience for military maneuvers on a comprehensive scale. 

After the Battle of the Jadar the Serbians decided to 
operate concurrently with the Montenegrins in the inva- 
sion of Bosnia. A Serbian army crossed the upper Drina, 
occupied Vishegrad on September 15th, and effected a 
junction with General Vucovich at the head of at least two 
divisions which had advanced from the Montenegrin side 
across the frontier of the former sanjak, and together 
these forces made some further progress in the direction 
of Sarajevo. But in the meantime the Austrians resumed 
the invasion of Serbia. 

While three or four battalions of the Sixteenth Austrian 
Army Corps with some contingents of Landsturfn and 
recruits faced the Montenegrins, the remainder of this 
corps and the Eighth, Thirteenth, and Fifteenth passed 
the Drina somewhat above the earlier crossing places and 
forced their way into the mountainous region of Krupani, 
wheje fierce contests took place. Reinforced by the 
troops which had returned from beyond the Save, the 
Serbians drove the Austrians from many of their posi- 
tions, but did not dislodge them entirely from Serbian 
territory. For many weeks the operations were almost 
stationary, with lines of trenches drawn through the 
rugged tracts and every point zealously contested in minor 

About October 25th strong Austrian detachments over- 
powered the Serbo-Montenegrin forces near Kalinovik in 
Bosnia and compelled the Serbians to abandon Vishegrad 
in their retreat. 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 303 

In consequence of the inadequacy of their forces, the 
Serbians found themselves reduced in November to the 
necessity of shortening their defensive lines by withdrawing 
their contingents from the positions in the extreme north- 
west and near the Drina, which fact furnished the occasion 
for a third invasion of their country involving a far more 
critical situation. The Austro-Hungarian forces swarmed 
over the boundary in the west and northwest in such formid- 
able numbers that Valyevo had to be evacuated on Novem- 
ber 11th and the headquarters withdrawn to Kraguievatz. 

This conspicuous initial success may have engendered an 
excessive feeling of confidence on the part of the Austrians 
that impaired their vigilance. They probably regarded 
the Serbians as already demoralized and their own final 
victory as at hand. But the Serbians prepared to make a 
stand on the line of the Kolubara and of its tributary the 
Lug and along the crests of the mountains which cover 
the upper Morava valley. 

Five Austro-Hungarian army corps were taking part in 
the new offensive movement. A formidable action against 
the Serbian positions, particularly those of the Second Army 
near Lazarevatz and of the so-called Uzhitze Army, which 
had been operating in the direction of Sarajevo, near 
Kosjeritchi, was commenced on the 15th; but for five 
days the repeated attacks failed to dislodge the Serbians. 
Finally, on the 20th, the Austrians captured Milanovatz 
and drove back the Serbian First Army, inflicting serious 
losses upon it. 

By the 24th the fighting had become general, the Serbian 
Second Army had been dislodged from its positions, and an 
Austrian turning movement was in progress towards the 

The problem of transportation became more difficult 
for the Austrians as they penetrated deeper into Serbian 

304 The Great War 

territory. But the Serbians were almost out of ammuni- 
tion. Marauding bands threatened railway communication 
with Salonica and it was feared that Bulgaria might at any 
time intervene. The Austrians were advancing in seem- 
ingly overwhelming force, and the pressure was becoming 
too great for the Serbians, whose resistance seemed to be 
on the point of collapsing. 

But suddenly, at the darkest moment, the ardor and 
determination of the Serbians were revived by an unex- 
pected reaction of spirit. Fresh supplies of ammunition 
arrived and a vigorous counter-offensive was planned as a 
final effort. But before this was carried into effect, Bel- 
grade had to be abandoned to the Austro-Hungarian forces 
on November 29-30 in the process of consoHdating the 
Serbian positions. 

Never was the essentially popular character of the great 
movements in Serbia more evident than in the impulsive 
effort which resulted in the expulsion of the invaders from 
the national soil. It was produced by a spontaneous 
revulsion of popular feeUng and was guided by leaders 
who had sprung from the people. Colonel Givko Pavlo- 
vitch, for instance, General Putnik's principal collaborator 
as director of military operations, was the son of a farm 
laborer, and General Mislutch, who was placed in com- 
mand of the First Serbian Army, was another self-made 
man, the son of a peasant. King Peter, despite his age 
and infirmities, came to the front to exhort his troops to a 
supreme effort by his presence and words. 

The king's proclamation to his soldiers reflected the 
lofty spirit of Thermopylae and of the legendary age of 
early Rome: "Heroes, you have taken two oaths, one to 
me, your king, and the other to your country. I am an 
old, broken man on the edge of the grave, and I release 
you from your oath to me. From your other oath no one 

Austrian siege-gun hauled by motor-tractor. 

Siilii.iM tielil hospital. /■"row a f^/ioloi^riif^/i riuuu :\ ,i >i>!':,in ojficer. 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 305 

can release you. If you feel that you cannot go on, go to 
your homes, and I pledge my word that after the war, if 
we come out of it, nothing shall happen to you. But I 
and my sons stay here." 

It is reported that not one single man left the army. 

The Serbian counter-attack took the Austrians by sur- 
prise just as they were trying to execute a double envelop- 
ing movement on December 2d. The First Army under 
General Mislutch stormed the positions in the region of 
Suvobor at the Austrian center and threw the Fifteenth 
and most of the Sixteenth Corps into headlong flight in the 
course of an encounter lasting three days. The Serbians ad- 
vanced with increasing enthusiasm and momentum, driving 
the Austrians before them, reoccupying Valyevo, and taking 
thousands of prisoners. This series of actions resulting in 
the disorderly flight of the Austrians from Serbian territory 
in the northwest is known as the Battle of Suvobor. 

As soon as success was assured in this part of the field, a 
portion of the Third Army was directed towards Obreno- 
vatz on the Save, while an army group composed of the 
remainder of the Third Army, the Second Army, and the 
cavalry division, under Field-marshal Stepanovitch, ad- 
vanced northwards for the recovery of the capital. The 
Serbians closed in gradually on Belgrade advancing in con- 
centric formation, their wings extending to the neighbor- 
hood of the Save and the Danube respectively. 

On the 14th they carried the defenses on Tarlak Hills 
outside the city on the south, which the invaders had 
greatly strengthened with earthworks and barbed wire. 
The evacuation of Belgrade began on the same day and 
continued all night. On the 15th the Serbians succeeded 
in destroying some of the Austrian pontoons, causing panic 
and much loss to the retreating army, while King Peter 
made his entrance into the capital. 

306 The Great War 

In view of the animosity created on both sides by the 
Austro-Serbian controversies, and of the traditional prac- 
tices of warfare in the Near East, it is not surprising that 
the campaign just described was conducted with great 
ferocity and that it was prolific in alleged excesses and 
violations of international law which recall the savage fury 
of the Croatian revolt against the domination of the Hun- 
garians in 1849. The experiences of the recent Balkan 
wars loomed large in the imagination of the Serbian 
people. Their impulsive temperament was thrilled with 
elation and ardent devotion to their independence. War- 
fare with them was the liberation of a wild, elemental 
passion. It was hardly conceivable that they would con- 
fine themselves to the conventional restrictions of the kind 
of warfare which only was regarded as legitimate by their 

The Austro-Hungarian authorities charged the Serbians 
with gross violations of the established usages of war and 
with many abominable atrocities, the treacherous use of 
the white flag, firing on Red Cross ambulances and hos- 
pitals, the poisoning of wells, robbing and killing the 
wounded and their prisoners and mutilating them in the 
most revolting manner, in some instances, as it would 
appear, before they were dead. 

These charges were mainly preferred against civilians 
and the comitadjis or irregular troops, whose hostile activity 
and alleged barbarity were the constant subject of Austrian 
recrimination. The most shocking enormities, in so far as 
they were really committed, seem to have been due to 
spontaneous outbursts of individual savagery. But the 
general infraction, which was met by the systematic appli- 
cation of relentless measures of retribution, was the partici- 
pation in acts of hostilities of those whom the Austrians 
refused to recognize as legitimate belligerents. This was 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 307 

the essential factor in the question of atrocities, all else 
was incidental. 

The Austrians claimed that all classes of the Serbian 
population, including women and children, engaged in 
hostile action by firing on soldiers and convoys of wounded 
and provisions from concealment in towns and villages 
which were ostensibly peaceable, or lured their victims to 
destruction by treacherous artifices. The atrocities com- 
mitted, or alleged to have been committed, in Serbia are 
associated with a fundamental distinction in the concep- 
tions of the nature of warfare as entertained by the two 
parties. The Austrians regarded it as a strictly organized, 
professional activity, but this limitation was incompatible 
with the traditional habits and practices of fighting among 
the Balkan peoples. Irregular combatants, a survival from 
the struggles for independence, are a normal feature of every 
war in the Balkan peninsula. But the Austrians admittedly 
put to death all comitadjis as well as civilians caught carrying 
arms, and burned houses from which shots had been fired. 
These severities, which were practised in retaliation for the 
alleged infringements of the rules of war, were regarded 
by the Serbians as outrageous acts of brutality, and probably 
served very often to inflame the people to furious deeds of 
vengeance. The activity of the comitadjis amid the habitations 
of the civilian population must have involved many innocent 
persons as victims of the harsh reprisals of the Austrians. 

According to Serbian reports, the operations of the 
Austro-Hungarian forces, particularly the Hungarians, 
were stained by the most shocking enormities and crimes, 
wholesale robbery and pillage, the useless destruction of 
property, the slaughter and mutilation of the wounded 
and prisoners, and the massacre of civilians. These accusa- 
tions have been examined on the spot by Professor R, A. 
Reiss of the University of Lausanne, whose integrity there 

308 The Great War 

is no reason to doubt, and while the limitations of a single 
disinterested investigator were undoubtedly very great, the 
principal facts seem to be sufficiently substantiated. 

In some important instances the indications contained 
in the Austro-Hungarian reports tend to corroborate the 
conclusions derived from the information presented by 
Professor Reiss. For instance, the Austrians declared that 
for twenty-four hours after the occupation of Shabatz, 
civilians persistently fired on soldiers from the rear and 
that the mutilated bodies of many Austro-Hungarians were 
found in the vicinity of the town, and, furthermore, that 
the village of Prnjavor, situated in the rich Matchva dis- 
trict in the extreme northwestern part of Serbia, excelled 
in atrocities against Austro-Hungarian soldiers. As these 
are precisely the localities where the Austro-Hungarian 
forces are said to have committed their most sanguinary 
atrocities, we naturally assume that such relentless behavior 
was intended as retribution for the refractory conduct of 
the local population. 

According to a corporal of the 28th Austrian Landwehr 
regiment, who had been taken prisoner, more than sixty 
civilians were bayoneted by eight Hungarian soldiers by 
order of the general in command near the church at Sha- 
batz. Local reports placed the number of the victims on 
this occasion as high as one hundred and twenty. Pro- 
fessor Reiss caused a pit to be opened behind the church 
where the bodies of at least eighty persons were found 
lying just as they had fallen. A report that more than a 
hundred women and children had been butchered and 
thrown into the burning house of a certain Milan Milano- 
vitch in Prnjavor and that similar outrages had been per- 
petrated at the schoolhouse and in other parts of the village 
was confirmed by an inspection of the ruins, particularly 
by the bloodstains on the still extant walls of the buildings 

Dead in a room in a villa near Shabatz, where the Austrians are said to have 
bayoneted the wounded. 

Barbarity t)t \v:ir in Serbia. Peasants of seventeen or eighteen alleged to 
have been massacred in the environs of Loznitza by order of the Hungarian 
commander Bazarek. 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 309 

mentioned. Furthermore, a pit was opened at Leshnitza, 
in which one hundred and nine peasants, who had been 
collected as hostages from the neighboring villages, and 
later tied together and despatched by a volley, were lying 
in a confused mass as they had fallen. 

According to the calculations of Professor Reiss, between 
three and four thousand civilians were slain by the Austro- 
Hungarian forces in Serbia. In pursuing their policy for 
the suppression of alleged transgressions of the rules of 
war, the invaders devastated much of northwestern Serbia, 
burning villages and farmhouses and making thousands of 
the people homeless. Moreover, they subjected open towns 
such as Shabatz, Loznitza, and Belgrade to prolonged bom- 
bardment, destroying factories, hospitals, public buildings, 
the university, and the national museum in the capital. 

By an examination of the wounds, the testimony of 
prisoners and the ammunition found in their possession, 
Professor Reiss confirmed the alleged use of explosive 
bullets by the Austrians. These bullets explode upon 
contact, frightfully lacerating the flesh and thus producing 
far more serious wounds. Limbs struck by these bullets 
usually cannot be saved. The Austrians admitted that 
cartridges fitted with these bullets had been given to the 
soldiers, but claimed that they were intended only for 
determining the range by means of the flash or smoke 
produced by the explosion. 

The conclusions to which we are led by the examination 
of the incriminations made by both sides in connection 
with the first campaign in Serbia will be useful as a clue 
for the interpretation of similar occurrences elsewhere. 
The conduct of the Austro-Hungarian forces in Serbia 
was undoubtedly marked by excessive crueltv, but they 
were actuated in this by the Serbian violations of the strict 
rules of legitimate belligerency. The brutality of the 

310 The Great War 

Austrians, which intensified the animosity of the Serbians, 
the natural lawlessness of the irregular soldiery and the 
other special causes of irritation gave the campaign in 
Serbia a character of fierceness which was scarcely equalled 
in any other quarter. 

The outcome of the campaign in the East was regarded 
with various sentiments by the three great powers which 
had been the principal combatants. 

The Germans had won brilliant victories and exhibited 
sensational dexterity in their maneuvers. Nowhere had 
the wonderful efficiency of their organization appeared to 
better advantage. Compared with their achievements in 
the West, the results obtained by them in the eastern 
theater were highly satisfactory. The later weeks of the 
campaign had established even more firmly the immense 
popularity of von Hindenburg, and brought into promi- 
nence another leader whose fame was destined likewise to 
rise to a pinnacle of glory. General von Mackensen. 

As reward for the illustrious exploits of the German 
offensive in November, in which 60,000 Russians had 
already been taken prisoners, Colonel-general von Hinden- 
burg was elevated to the rank of field-marshal and his 
chief-of-staff and son-in-law, von Ludendorff, to that of 
lieutenant-general on November 27th, while the Order 
pour le merite was conferred on General of the Cavalry 
von Mackensen for his brilliant leadership of the Ninth 
German Army. Lieutenant-general von Litzmann was 
made general of the infantry and commander of a reserve 
corps in recognition of his evasion of the Russian trap 
near Lodz, and on December 22d General of the Cavalry 
von Mackensen was raised to the rank of colonel-general. 

But the futility of all predictions in the course of the 
great struggle, even of those made by the most distin- 
guished authorities, is evidenced by some observations of 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 311 

von Hindenburg, who declared towards the close of the 
campaign that though the Russians were good soldiers and 
had learnt much since their war with Japan, they were 
already becoming listless, their food and munitions were 
giving out, and all the indications pointed to a speedy col- 
lapse of their efforts. 

As for the Russian leaders themselves, it is difficult to 
penetrate their genuine expectations at the beginning of 
the campaign, so as to compare them with the results 
which were actually accomplished. The Russians suffered 
some serious reverses and the much-heralded offensive 
with overwhelming momentum failed to materialize. But 
in view of the incompleteness of Russian preparation and 
of the partly faulty generalship revealed by the course of 
the operations, the results of the campaign were undoubt- 
edly as favorable as could have been reasonably expected. 

The Russian lines still held firm at the center in Poland, 
though opposed by the most powerful forces and the 
ablest generals, while on the wings, where the pressure 
against them was less formidable, they held a considerable 
slice of East Prussia and about two-thirds of Galicia and 

We have already considered the inspiring personality of 
the Grand-duke Nicholas, the Russian generalissimo. But 
the service rendered by General Sukhomlinoff, the Rus- 
sian Minister of War, while less conspicuous, was probably 
quite as essential, for the reorganization and development 
of the Russian military system in recent years was in large 
part his work. An impressive figure and personality, a 
contagious good-humor, a clear perception for reality, 
method, and industry made him appear as a Russian em- 
bodiment of optimistic efficiency. His reputation for 
administrative ability and his wholesome personal influ- 
ence over his fellow officers date from the period of his 

312 The Great War 

headship of the Officers' Cavalry School in St. Petersburg. 
Retained in Europe during the Russo-Japanese War, he 
held various commands on the western frontier, devoted 
close attention to the annual maneuvers in those parts, and 
obtained an ample acquaintance with the future theater of 
hostilities. His activity in the war office, which began in 
1909 and coincided with the rapid expansion of Russian 
military power before the war, was distinguished by two 
particular aims, the elevation of the standard of efficiency 
of the Russian officers and the development in Russia of 
the essential industrial basis for the nourishment of modern 

He submitted the merits and failures of the officers to 
careful scrutiny; amplified the establishment for their 
higher training and urged them to frequent it; rewarded 
vigor, energy, and genius ; and discreetly but systematically 
facilitated the retirement of those whose increasing years 
had not been matched by expanding talent. To him is due 
the credit for the foundation of schools of military aviation 
and of railroading for officers and the establishment of an 
effective auxiliary corps of automobiles. He strove per- 
sistently to ingraft into the financial administration of the 
army the straightforward, effective methods of successful 
business. The rumor that a German intrigue was launched 
in St. Petersburg for the removal of Sukhomlinoff just 
before the war, whether true or false, is proof of the 
popular esteem in which his ability was held. 

Von Hindenburg declared, on the basis of the expe- 
rience of the first campaign, that the Austrians and Hun- 
garians were excellent soldiers and that their officers were 
spirited and courageous, and also that the relations between 
the chief commanders of the Teutonic empires were 
ideal, — a most fortunate situation, since it was evident from 
the first weeks that Austria- Hungary had to lean heavily 

The Campaigns in Poland and Serbia 313 

upon the support of her more powerful ally. Infirmities 
inherent in the heterogeneous character of the realm 
were chiefly responsible for the disappointing situation of 
Austria-Hungary at the close of the campaign. Partly for 
the same reason, and partly perhaps as the effect of rival 
intrigues in Vienna, the Dual Monarchy had no generals 
who were popular idols like von Hindenburg and the 
Grand-duke Nicholas. 

General of the Infantry Conrad von Hoetzendorf, Chief 
of the Austro-Hungarian General Staff, is an international 
authority of recognized reputation on military subjects. 
His treatment of the fundamental principles of tactics has 
been accepted as a text-book by all the war academies 
throughout the world. His distrust of Italy and advocacy 
of powerful fortifications on the Italian frontier almost 
produced an international crisis a few years before the war 
and led to his resignation as head of the army. He was 
reinstated in 1912 and enjoyed the cordial support of the 
Archduke Francis Ferdinand before the war and the con- 
fidence of the army generally at the time which we are 

But it was evident that a weeding out of some of the 
principal commanders was essential to the indispensable 
renovation of the Austro-Hungarian armies. General von 
Auffenberg was one of those whose retirement was deemed 
expedient. He had been superseded as minister of war in 
1912 by Field-marshal Alexander Krobatkin, who held this 
office in 1914. General von Auffenberg will be recalled as 
the commander who was swept back before the first ad- 
vance of the Russian forces into Galicia, evacuating Lem- 
berg and suffering defeat on the Rawaruska-Grodek line. 

Field-marshal von Potiorek's career underwent a similar 
eclipse. A Bohemian by birth, for a long time assistant to 
von Hoetzendorf as Chief of the General Staff, his post of 

314 The Great War 

head of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a 
military position, in 1914, made him the natural commander 
of all the forces operating in the south. The Austro- 
Hungarian authorities insisted that the final repulse of 
their armies in Serbia was merely a temporary consequence 
of the failure to apprehend the true measure of the diffi- 
culties to be surmounted, the arduous character of the 
country, the inadequate roads, the fearful state of the 
weather, and the unexpected strengthening of the enemy's 
forces, and that it would not have any permanent influence 
on the outcome of the struggle. Yielding, however, to the 
malady which so often attacks unsuccessful commanders, 
Field-marshal von Potiorek petitioned to be released from 
his command, and General of the Cavalry Archduke 
Eugene was appointed to succeed him, with the general 
approbation of military circles. 


The Close of the Campaign in the West and the 
Land Operations Outside of Europe 

The waning of the campaign in the West. Attempted Allied offensive 
in December. Some characteristids of trench-warfare. Christmas at the 
front. The war outside of Europe. The rally of the British dominions 
and dependencies : colonial and Indian troops sent to Europe ; operations 
in colonial territory, the campaign in Togo, Kamerun, German East Africa, 
and German Southwest Africa; the insurrection in South Africa. Ger- 
many swept from the Pacific. The siege and fall of Tsingtau. Turkey's 
advent into the war; Turco-German designs, Egypt and the British Em- 
pire ; Cyprus ; events on the Persian Gulf. 

There was no sudden break in the course of operations 
in the West after November 11th, the date which has been 
adopted for convenience to mark the termination of the 
Battle of Ypres. As late as the 13th the Germans pene- 
trated the British trenches in several places. But the 
fighting subsided gradually into the colorless, mechanical 
routine of stationary warfare, a wearisome process of dis- 
illusionment for all the early hopes and eager elation. A 
period of four months from the close of the Battle of 
Ypres to the Battle of Neuve Chapelle was almost barren 
of eventful occurrences in the West. Juvenal, at one 
time an officer in the Roman army, asserted in praise of 
the military profession that a moment of time brought 
sudden death or glorious victory. But he had evidently 
gone through no experience resembling the agonizing 
monotony of pain and exhaustion in modern trench- 


316 The Great War 

There was a recrudescence of activity in the West about 
the middle of December. General Joffre issued an order 
of the day on the 17th declaring that, after all the attacks 
of the enemy had been repulsed for three months, with 
the strengthening of the Allies in men and material and 
the weakening of the Germans by the transfer of troops 
to the East, the time had come for striking a blow and 
clearing the French territory. British infantry and French 
marines cooperating with the Belgians had already taken 
the offensive in the extreme north. Barges mounting 
British naval guns took part in the operations on the lower 
Yser, where the British captured Lombaertzyde and the 
French and Belgians stormed St. Georges. 

Encouraged by these small successes the Allies under- 
took to dislodge the Germans from positions west of 
Wytschaete which they had held since the Battle of Ypres. 
But two Scottish regiments and the Thirty-second French 
Division, attacking on the 14th, failed to secure any appre- 
ciable advantage. 

On the 19th the Meerut and Lahore Indian Divisions 
attacked the Germans near Givenchy and gained posses- 
sion of some trenches, but were afterwards driven back, 
suffering severe losses. On the next day the Germans 
took the offensive in this section, drove the British and 
Indians from some of their trenches, and engaged in a 
fierce struggle for the possession of Givenchy. It was 
captured by the Germans and afterwards retaken by the 
British and Indians, but the situation remained so serious 
for the Allies that one of the divisions of the British First 
Army Corps then stationed in reserve was brought up to 
reinforce the Indian troops on the 21st and the danger 
was not entirely averted until the 22d. Concurrently with 
these events the French assailed the Germans at various 
points along the line. Northeast of Chalons they captured 

The facades and tower of the Cloth Hall and Town Hall at ^'jircs : on the rigiit is the 
tower of the Cathedral of Saint Martin. 

Tlie ruins of the I'own Hall, L'iotli Hall, and Catlietiiai at \pres on Novenilnr 24, 19 14. 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 317 

a section of the German outer trench but were unable to 
maintain themselves in this position. 

By the end of the year the war had become practically 
stationary in the East and West alike. To Napoleon and 
von Mokke, the great strategists of the nineteenth century, 
unassailable positions were unknown. If the enemy's front 
could not be broken, an attack could be directed against 
his flank. But now the extension of the fortified lines 
from the North Sea to Switzerland, a distance of about 
350 miles, across the entire front in the West, and from 
the Baltic Sea to the northern extremity of Roumania, 
nearly 900 miles, in the East, had excluded all turning 
movements. In the East, where the disposition of the 
troops was generally less compact, there was still the pros- 
pect of advantages to be obtained by aggressive action 
without a wholly disproportionate expenditure of blood 
and munitions. But the course of events and the condi- 
tion of affairs in the western theater, and to a lesser degree 
in the eastern as well, suggested the speculations of Fred- 
erick the Great in his military testament as to his future 
conduct in case Prussia were again attacked, as in the 
Seven Years' War, by a coalition of states. 

Frederick declared that in such circumstances he would 
straightway advance far enough into his opponents' territory 
to live at their expense and to hold the hostile armies, when 
they should confront him, on lines chosen by himself and 
already fortified. He would reconnoiter the country as far 
as his patrols could be dispatched, so as to make himself 
perfectly familiar with all the lines by which his adversaries 
might advance to attack him. In places thus occupied and 
strengthened, he would calmly hold himself on the defen- 
sive, — not squandering his forces in assailing strong positions 
where the advantages would be all on the side of the hostile 
defenders, — until his antagonists wearied of the contest. 

318 The Great War 

A brief description of some essential characteristics of 
the system of intrenchments which had now become the 
chief feature of all parts of the principal war-zones in the 
Great War may not be inappropriate at this point. 

Two or more lines of earthworks extended along the 
entire front of the armies on both sides. The outer lines 
served for the protection of the troops who were regularly 
under fire, while the others sheltered the relief troops. 
The first and second trenches were usually from 800 to 
1,000 yards apart, according to the local conditions and 

The troops on duty in the foremost trenches were com- 
monly relieved after nightfall every twenty-four hours, 
when the substitution of fresh contingents from the inner 
trenches and the removal of the dead and wounded from 
the front were effected under cover of the darkness. The 
troops brought with them all the necessary provisions for 
their period on the outer line, where the preparation of 
food was usually impossible. They were kept ever on 
their guard against the enemy's surprises. There was 
scarcely any protection against the rigors of the winter 
climate, the rains and sleet, winds and cold. It was impos- 
sible in many places to drain the outer trenches and the 
soldiers stood for days or weeks in water, mud, or slush. 
The possibility was always present that a well-directed 
shell or bomb falling into these open trenches would blow 
the soldiers to pieces, while the exigencies of the situation 
required that the men should often expose their heads 
and shoulders to the searching fire of hostile rifles and 
machine-guns that raked the top of the earthen parapet. 
The service there was one of exhausting tension, incessant 
danger, and fearful hardship and privation. 

But the inner trenches, often roofed over and protected 
in large measure from the enemy's projectiles, as well as 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 319 

from the severity of the weather, presented a spectacle of 
relative comfort. There were mats frequently for the 
floors, simple furniture, and arrangements for cooking and 
lighting. In some places dugouts or subterranean apart- 
ments, equipped with sleeping bunks, afforded an oppor- 
tunity of repose with absolute freedom from danger, except 
perhaps from the explosion of mines and the shells of the 
heaviest siege-artillery. Officers' quarters of this kind, 
especially on the German side, were remarkable for the 
comfort, or even luxury, displayed in their furnishings. 
But generally, the absolute cheerlessness of the forward 
trenches made even the simple amenities of those in the 
rear seem unusually attractive and cozy by contrast. 

At times, when the development of the conflict required 
the presence of the troops in the second line to support 
those in the first, it was impossible to relieve the latter at 
the regular intervals, so that they were often compelled 
to remain days at a time in their exposed position with 
scarcely any opportunity for sleep or relaxation, drenched 
or besmeared with mud or benumbed by the cold, and 
with only precarious nourishment. 

Communication between the front lines and the shelter- 
ing trenches further back was provided, as far as possible, 
by excavated passageways, zigzagged and divided into sec- 
tions by transverse earthen partitions, so as to localize the 
enfilading shell-fire of the enemy. 

The Germans usually conducted their frontal attacks 
against trenches in the following manner. In order to 
shorten the space which the infantry had to cross in the 
open, exposed to direct fire, they advanced by sapping in 
narrow zigzagged trenches or in subterranean galleries to 
the proper distance for the final rush, where the various 
channels were connected by a lateral trench approximately 
parallel with the enemy's front. In this the forces were 

320 The Great War 

drawn up for the assault. But sometimes a sap was carried 
by night right up to the hostile parapet, which was blown 
in by the explosion of a mine, leaving a yawning breach. 
Except in the supreme moments of the charge the most 
noteworthy feature of a battlefield was the apparent absence 
of human beings. 

The spirit of the Christmastide found expression in a 
very unexpected and remarkable manner. An unofficial 
truce was observed throughout a large part of the front in 
the West, and in many places the men on both sides issued 
from the trenches, mingled, exchanged gifts, and sang 
songs together. At one point there was a football match 
between British and Saxon soldiers, in which the former 
were defeated. 

Very impressive was the Kaiser's celebration of Christ- 
mas- among the soldiers who belonged to the General 
Headquarters. The walls and ceiling of a great hall were 
completely covered with evergreen. An altar was erected 
at one end of this hall, flanked by tall Christmas-trees, with 
a manger before it. Places for about 960 persons alto- 
gether, of all ranks from Kaiser to simple private of the 
Landwehr, were laid at long tables arranged lengthwise 
down the hall, to which smaller Christmas-trees with their 
many little lights added the customary, festive appearance. 
The gifts from home were found on these tables; and in 
addition, each guest received Pfefferkucheii, apples, and nuts, 
and a picture of the Kaiser. The privates received cigars 
and tobacco pouches also. After a short religious address 
and the singing of the appropriate hymns, the Kaiser 
addressed the assemblage as follows : 

"Comrades! In a state of armed defense, we are here 
assembled to commemorate this holy festival commonly 
celebrated in the peaceful interior of our homes. Our 
thoughts go back to the dear ones, whom we thank for 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 321 

the gifts which we behold in such profusion upon the 
tables before us. God let the enemy compel us to cele- 
brate the festival here. Attacked, we are forced to defend 
ourselves. God grant that from this festival of peace, with 
God's favor upon ourselves and upon our land, ample vic- 
tory may come from this bitter contest. We are on hostile 
soil with our sword's point turned to the enemy, our heart 
to God. We voice the words of the Great Elector: 'To 
the dust with all the enemies of Germany. Amen.' " 

Many of the most extensive conflicts of the past have 
sprung from surprisingly petty or unworthy causes. As 
Macaulay once remarked of the rapacity of Frederick 
the Great, which precipitated the War of the Austrian 

"The evils produced by his wickedness were felt in lands 
where the name of Prussia was unknown; and in order 
that he might rob a neighbor whom he had promised to 
defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, 
and red men scalped each other by the Great Lakes of 
North America." 

But the issues at stake in the present upheaval are cer- 
tainly commensurate with its world-wide character, which 
will directly be partially illustrated. 

The unanimous feeling of loyalty which pervaded nearly 
every corner of the British Empire, and the spontaneous 
rally of the colonies and dependencies in response to the 
danger that threatened the Mother Country, were one 
of the most impressive spectacles which the Great War 
afforded. And quite apart from every partisan sentiment, 
one may regard this phenomenon from the broadly human 
point of view with a generous feeling of gratification as a 
palpable demonstration that unison of heart and action of 
the most scattered communities may be created and pre- 
served without the application of galling restrictions or of 

322 The Great War 

compulsion; in fact, without even the possibility of coer- 
cion. Even neutrals have been tempted to compare w^ith 
a trace of malicious satisfaction this impetuous flood-tide 
of passionate loyalty with the pretentious but often super- 
ficial arguments by which the inevitable dissolution of the 
British Empire at the first serious shock was dogmatically 
predicted in German academic circles. 

The Australian Laborite Ministry, voicing the feelings 
of all parties in the island-continent, proclaimed its unhesi- 
tating support of the Mother Country in the hour of trial. 
In the words of Mr. Millen, the Australian Minister of 
Defense, ''Australia wishes the rest of the Empire to know 
that in this momentous struggle for liberty and national 
honor, the vigor of her manhood, the bounty of her soil, 
her resources, her economic organization, all she pos- 
sesses to the last ear of corn and drop of blood is freely 
offered to help maintain the glory and greatness of the 
Empire, and to battle in the righteous cause wherein she 
is engaged." 

Both Australia and New Zealand at once placed their 
own naval forces at the disposal of the British Admiralty 
and immediately offered contingents of 20,000 and 8,000 
men respectively as a first instalment of troops, which were 
followed by several other contingents from each of these 

The popularity of the Duke of Connaught, Governor- 
general of Canada, of the Duchess his wife, and of the 
Princess Patricia their daughter, made their presence an 
appropriate symbol and rallying point for the loyal enthu- 
siasm of the great Dominion. The duke's zeal and expe- 
rience in military matters stimulated and sustained the 
martial ardor of the country. The first Canadian contin- 
gent which set sail for England about the end of Septem- 
ber, consisted of about 30,000 men, including a regiment 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 323 

of French Canadians, one of Irish Canadians, Princess 
Patricia's Light Infantry, and Strathcona's Horse. 

Generous contributions of supplies for the Mother 
Country were raised by all the provinces, and the Domin- 
ion government itself made a gift of 100,000,000 bags 
of flour. Sir Robert Borden, Canadian Prime Minister, 
announced on October 7th that the government in- 
tended to raise and send forward a second contingent of 
the same strength, and later he promised that 30,000 
men would be kept continuously in training while the 
war lasted. 

At the very outbreak of hostilities the government of the 
Union of South Africa offered to undertake the responsi- 
bility for all the necessary operations in that part of the 
continent so that the imperial garrison would be available 
for service in the European campaign. Later, at the sug- 
gestion of the Imperial government, the Union accepted 
the task of carrying the war into German Southwest Africa. 
The Right Honorable General Louis Botha, who had been 
fighting against the British as commander-in-chief of the 
Boer forces scarcely more than twelve years before, now 
Prime Minister of the Union, announced his intention of 
commanding personally the forces in the field against Ger- 
man Southwest Africa. 

The smaller colonies responded to the situation according 
to their resources, Newfoundland, for instance, equipping 
500 men for foreign service and 500 for home defense, and 
Jamaica taking the necessary steps to provide for her own 

The unswerving allegiance of India, where the supine- 
ness of the British administration had been regarded by 
German observers with undisguised contempt, turned out 
in reality to be a most disconcerting element in the calcu- 
lations of those who insisted that the British Empire was 

324 The Great War 

an unnatural association of incongruous elements which 
would fly apart on the first serious test. 

The rulers of the native states of India, nearly 700 in 
number, ofl^ered their services and their resources at the 
outbreak of the war. A number of the native princes and 
nobles joined the expeditionary force at once, the corps 
maintained by the larger states as Imperial Service troops 
were immediately placed at the disposal of the Imperial 
government, and many other contingents and contributions 
in money and supplies were furnished by the native rulers. 

The arrival and early exploits of the Indian Expedition- 
ary Force in Europe have already been mentioned. It was 
an imposing armament of about 70,000 excellent fighting 
men, powerful Sikhs, the backbone of the Indian army, 
Punjabi Mussulmans, gallant Gurkhas, Pathans, Brahmans, 
and others, mostly battle-tried veterans and all thoroughly- 
trained warriors. 

A glance at the map will show why Germany was very 
vulnerable, although for the most part rather insensible, 
to attack in her colonial possessions. The Allies' naval 
supremacy destroyed at once every chance of reinforcing 
the mostly feeble German contingents scattered in the 
dependencies and even shrouded their fate for a time in 
obscurity. But the Germans contemplated the almost 
inevitable loss of most of their colonial empire with com- 
parative equanimity, convinced as they were that the de- 
privation would be only temporary and that the real issue 
would be decided exclusively on the European battlefields. 

The operations in Africa during the present war, like 
the early colonial conflicts in North America, have been 
invested with a distinction out of all proportion to the 
number of the forces engaged, by reason of the incalculable 
importance of the eventual results for mankind and of the 
exceptional and varied conditions, which off^ered unusual 

liiiMiMfcihiMiiiitt II I .. J I nil 


•» I.'. 

IiurcnchniciUi iikkIl- bv liiitiih iKUi\c i; 

Artillery i)t Britisli K^st African forces. 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 325 

scope for individual initiative. In the majority of cases tlie 
forces were very small and consisted exclusively of native 
police troops with a few local European volunteers for 
special service and European officers. In some instances 
marines were landed from the naval squadrons, but these 
were available only near the coast. 

Upon receipt of intelligence of the outbreak of hostilities 
in Europe, Captain F. C. Bryant, who held the temporary 
rank of lieutenant-colonel, as senior officer of the British 
Gold Coast station, without waiting for orders, led a small 
detachment eastward into Togoland, seized Lome, the 
coast town and capital, and cooperated with a small French 
force from Dahomey on the east in the pursuit of the 
small body of German police troops with their white offi- 
cers and a few white volunteers, who retreated in the direc- 
tion of Kamina about 100 miles inland. The powerful 
wireless station at this point, by which direct radiotele- 
graphic communication between Germany and the Ger- 
man dependencies in Africa had been maintained, was 
dismantled in the night of August 24-25 by order of the 
governor. Major von Doering, to prevent its use by the 
enemy. After some minor encounters and an unsuccessful 
attempt to obtain special terms, the Germans surrendered 
unconditionally and the Allies marched into Kamina on 
August 27th. 

Soon after the commencement of hostilities the British 
and French blockaded the coast of Kamerun and invaded 
this German dependency at several points. One British 
column, crossing the frontier on August 25th captured a 
German fort at Garua, but was afterwards so heavily 
counter-attacked that it was compelled to retreat into 
British territory, losing its commander, Major (acting lieu- 
tenant) Maclear. Another British column from Nigeria 
occupied Nsanakang on August 25th. But the Germans 

326 The Great War 

attacked the British garrison posted there on September 
6th and defeated them in a hotly-contested engagement, 
in which both parties suffered heavy losses in proportion 
to the numbers engaged. 

In the meantime, a force of 300 Senegalese in the service 
of France took by surprise the German post of Singa on 
the Ubangi, a tributary of the Congo, in the eastern part 
of Kamerun, while French forces advanced from Libre- 
ville in the south. Late in September an Anglo-French 
expedition under Brigadier-general C. M. Dobell, operat- 
ing in the coast districts of Kamerun with the support of 
an Allied squadron, captured Duala and Bonaberi, the 
former considered a very strong post, and took several 
hundred prisoners. 

The native infantry and police and, in addition, a larger 
white population capable of bearing arms gave the Ger- 
mans much stronger available forces in East Africa than in 
Togoland or Kamerun, stronger forces at first than any 
which their opponents could muster against them on the 
borders of the territory. In the conterminous British de- 
pendency of East Africa there were the native police and 
the East African Rifles, which were supplemented by local 
volunteers and reinforced, as soon as possible, by strong 
contingents from India. 

The British promptly blockaded the coast of German 
East Africa and the Germans evacuated the port Dar-es- 
Salaam, destroying the wireless station. After several minor 
attempts to raid the British territory, a German column 
numbering about 400 crossed the border of Nyasaland on 
September 8th, but were defeated the next day in an attack 
on Karonga, near the northern extremity of Lake Nyasa. 
About the same time a Belgian force operating between 
Lake Tanganyika and Victoria Nyanza was defeated and 
expelled from the German territory. 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 327 

The British campaign in the southwest undertaken by the 
Union of South Africa involved eventually by far the most 
considerable operations in Africa. For the German forces 
in Southwest Africa consisted of about 10,000 mounted 
infantry and artillery, all well trained and equipped, with 
a camel corps numbering about 500. This dependency, 
where the German government had found it necessary to 
deal with serious native uprisings, was very effectively 
organized for military purposes. Blockhouses, like nerve- 
centers of the administrative organism, studded the coun- 
try and were connected with one another by telephone 
and with the capital, Windhoek, by wireless and under- 
ground telegraph, while an extensive system of roads and 
railways had been developed systematically in accordance 
with strategical requirements. 

Early in the campaign a German force numbering about 
2,000 entrapped two squadrons of the First South African 
Mountain Rifles and a section of the Transvaal Horse 
Artillery in a narrow defile and forced them to surrender 
after a gallant fight in which they suffered heavy losses. 
The first important advantage for the British was the cap- 
ture of Liideritz Bay on September 18th, the point where 
German authority was first established in that part of the 
continent, the only important harbor in the colony. But 
on September 24th the Germans occupied Walfish Bay, a 
port which had been retained by the British as an enclave 
in the midst of German territory. 

A British troop advancing eastward from Liideritz Bay 
was defeated by German forces near Garuab on Decem- 
ber 16th. 

The partial success of a dangerous insurrectionary move- 
ment among the Boers, which had been fostered by 
German intrigues, necessarily interfered with the further 
development of the British campaign in German territory. 

328 The Great War 

The progress of this interesting minor outburst, produced 
as it were by sparks from the great conflagration, must be 
reserved for comprehensive treatment later. 

The inauguration of the w^orld-war w^as quickly follow^ed 
by the efTacement of all the German dependencies and 
stations scattered in the Pacific. 

The Germans had just completed a wireless station at 
Tafaigata in Samoa, when an Australian war-vessel escort- 
ing a transport with an expeditionary force from New 
Zealand entered the harbor of Apia, the capital of the 
German colony, which was occupied on August 29th. 
The German governor and several officials were taken to 
New Zealand for internment. 

A German wireless station was being completed at Bita- 
paka on the island of New Pomerania in the Bismarck 
Archipelago, when news of the outbreak of war was re- 
ceived on August 5th. The seat of government was imme- 
diately transferred from Rabaul to Toma in the interior, 
and the colored poHce troops, 300 in number, strengthened 
by a few German recruits or volunteers, prepared for de- 
fense. But an Australian expeditionary force occupied 
Herbertshohe on September 11th and Rabaul a few days 
later, and, after some spirited bush-fighting in the neigh- 
borhood of Bitapaka, captured the wireless station and 
took Toma. 

The Australian squadron seized Naura in the Marshall 
Islands about September 1st without any opposition, and 
destroyed the wireless station ; and with the capture of the 
wireless station in the neighboring Caroline Islands, com- 
munication between Germany and her dependencies in the 
Pacific was completely abolished. 

The crowning success of the Australian squadron and the 
expeditionary force was the capture of Friedrich Wilhelm, 
the seat of the government of Kaiser Wilhelm Land, the 

Ma]> showing by ilu- shaded portion tlic tcrrit()ry hdd by the npposnig armies, Decem 


Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 329 

German part of New Guinea, which had long been re- 
garded as a possible menace by the Australian States. 

A Japanese squadron occupied Jaluit, the seat of gov- 
ernment of the Marshall Islands, on October 3d, taking 
prisoner the chief official. 

The feeling of annoyance with which Japan regarded 
the presence of the Germans in the leased territory of 
Kiau-Chau and the alacrity with which the Japanese 
grasped the opportunity afforded by the Great War to 
eject them are due to circumstances which have been ex- 
plained in the first volume of this work. The Germans 
regarded this possession with peculiar pride as the most 
successful achievement of their modern expansionist policy. 
During seventeen years neither resources nor energy had 
been spared in making this vantage point a model colonv, a 
pattern of German efficiency and thoroughness, and an im- 
pregnable stronghold. Tsingtau, the urban center, had de- 
veloped rapidly along systematic German lines, with costly 
waterworks, fine streets and public buildings, and excellent 
harbor facilities. The leased territory was a prosperous 
offshoot of the Fatherland transplanted in the Far East. 

Soon after the expiration of the time limit expressed 
in their ultimatum to Germany, August 23, 1914, the 
Japanese blockaded Tsingtau. The German defenses of 
Tsingtau were equipped with about 600 guns. The garri- 
son, commanded by the governor. Naval Captain Meyer- 
Waldeck, numbered between three and four thousand, 
mostly marines. Five or six hundred German civilians or 
reservists hastened to Tsingtau from different places in 
China to offer their services. There were eight German 
war-vessels and the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Kaiserin 
Elisabeth in the harbor at Tsingtau at the time. 

It is said that the authorization of Japan was asked for 
the removal of the Kaiserin Elisabeth to Shanghai, where 

330 The Great War 

she could be disarmed and interned, but that suddenly, 
despite the favorable attitude of the Japanese, instructions 
from Vienna directed the Austro-Hungarian ambassador to 
take his leave of Tokio and the commander of the Kaiserm 
Elisabeth to cooperate with the Germans in the defense of 

The expeditionary force from Japan landed at Tsimo, 
which was made its base, ten miles outside the limits of 
the leased territory of Kiau-Chau, on September 12th, and 
two days later the Japanese advanced against the Germans, 
forcing them to retire within their defensive lines, and the 
real siege of Tsingtau began. Twelve days later a British ex- 
peditionary force arrived at Laoshan Bay. The Japanese and 
British were repulsed in their first attack on October 6th, 
when their right wing was exposed to the fire of the cruiser 
Kaiserin Elisabeth and of a German gunboat, besides that of 
the forts, and the Japanese suffered considerable losses. 

But after a fierce bombardment of the German posi- 
tions by land and sea with heavy artillery, including several 
28-centimeter mortars, continuing without interruption for 
nearly nine days, the Japanese and British advanced for the 
final assault on the night of November 6-7. The conflict 
raged with the greatest fury around the fort on litis Hill, 
the most important position in the German defenses. The 
capture of this final bulwark at the point of the bayonet 
necessitated the capitulation of Tsingtau. 

Early on the morning of the 7th a white flag was raised 
on the observatory and later on the forts fronting the sea, 
and at nine German officers appeared within the Japanese 
lines to arrange the terms of surrender. 

About 3,000 prisoners fell into the hands of the Japanese 
and were transported to Japan for internment. There 
were 436 German wounded in the hospitals of Tsingtau. 
Captain Meyer-Waldeck, the German commander, had 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 331 

himself been wounded in the defensive operations. The 
losses of the Japanese in storming the forts were reported 
to be fourteen officers and 426 men. The news of the fall 
of Tsingtau was received in Germany with a universal 
feeling of bitterness and chagrin. 

The wide extent of the field reviewed in the present 
chapter is answerable for unusual demands upon the imagi- 
nation of the reader, who must gird himself for another 
fanciful flight of several thousand miles, this time from the 
eastern to the western extremity of the continent of Asia. 

As evidence of Turkish chivalry or of the timeliness of 
German diplomacy the circumstance may be mentioned 
that Turkey entered the war at a moment of comparative 
depression in the fortunes of her prospective allies, when 
a formidable Teutonic offensive in Poland had just been 
abandoned, the fruitlessness of the great effort in Flanders 
was becoming daily more apparent, and Austria-Hungary 
had accomplished nothing in her campaign against Serbia; 
a moment, in short, when the accession of a warlike ally 
was a peculiarly gratifying encouragement. 

The reorganization of the Turkish army in fourteen 
army corps, as before the Balkan Wars, had undoubtedly 
progressed very rapidly since the outbreak of the European 
war in August, under the able direction of General Li man 
von Sanders. The plan of operations, prepared of course 
in agreement with the views of the German General Staff, 
contemplated a campaign against Ei^ypt and another on the 
Caucasian frontier, while British initiative added a third 
field of action in lower Mesopotamia. 

The most interesting feature of the situation created 
by Turkey's belligerency was the anomalous position of 
Egypt, which was virtually under British protection while 
acknowledging Turkish suzerainty. With the question of 
Egypt's allegiance was intimately associated the security of 

332 The Great War 

the Suez Canal, which was commonly regarded as an abso- 
lutely vital artery of traffic for the British Empire. The 
ominous but unobtrusive steps have already been described 
by which the Turks, with German encouragement and 
support, had been approaching this tempting and loosely- 
guarded prize. The apparent uniqueness of the oppor- 
tunity stimulated the insidious activity of German secret 
agents in Egypt. Presumptive evidence that the activity 
of a certain Dr. Priiffer, who had been intriguing in Cairo, 
had the indorsement of the German government seemed 
to be afforded by his open, official connection with the 
German Embassy in Constantinople after the outbreak of 
the war. Lieutenant Mors, a German officer in the Alex- 
andria police, who was arrested in October, confessed that 
he had just returned from a conference with Enver Pasha, 
to whom he had been conducted by a German official 
formerly in the German diplomatic agency in Cairo, and 
disclosed some of the intrigues fostered by the Germans 
and Turks against British authority in Egypt and India. 

The Khedive Abbas Hilmi Pasha, who was visiting his 
nominal suzerain, the Sultan, at the time of the outbreak 
of hostilities, was won over to the Turco-German designs 
in respect to Egypt, and it was announced that he would 
soon return at the head of an army for the purpose of 
liberating his country from British domination. 

On December 19, 1914, the establishment of a formal 
British protectorate over Egypt and the succession of 
Prince Hussein Kemal Pasha, with the title Sultan, to the 
throne of his dispossessed uncle, Khedive Abbas Hilmi 
Pasha, were officially announced by the British government. 

Turkish positions of considerable strength on the Red 
Sea fell into the hands of the British. One of these was 
Akaba, situated at the northern extremity of the eastern 
arm of that sea, the intended base for one of the Turkish 


Fort litis, at Tsing-Tau. 

German twenty-eight centimetre howitzer and turret at Tsing-Tau destroyed 
by the Japanese gun fire. 

Close in West; Operations Out of Europe 333 

army corps destined for the invasion of Egypt. Anotlier 
was Sheich Seyd on the rocky peninsula threatening the 
southern approach to the Suez Canal. Three battalions of 
Indian troops landed under cover of a war-vessel on the 
low isthmus connecting this stronghold with the mainland, 
and captured all the Turkish positions. 

The British government formally annexed the island of 
Cyprus on November 6th, in consequence of the state of 
war existing between itself and the Turkish government. 
The British had occupied and administered this island since 
1878, paying annually ^£"92,800 to the Sultan in acknowledg- 
ment of his ultimate rights of sovereignty. In return for 
this tenancy the British government had promised to defend 
the Asiatic possessions of the Sublime Porte against the en- 
croachment of Russia. But now, by the strange revolution 
in policies, Great Britain, in league with the very power 
which was then the chief source of her apprehension, was 
striving to subvert the integrity of the Ottoman Empire 
which she had once been most determined to uphold. 

It was natural that the British should hasten to forestall 
their enemies in the possession of the region of the lower 
Euphrates and Tigris, the possibilities of which had been 
emphasized by the construction of the Bagdad Railway. 
An expedition from India under Lieutenant-general Sir A. 
Barrett and Brigadier-general W. S. Delamain disembarked 
at the head of the Persian Gulf, defeated the Turkish forces 
in two engagements and occupied Basra situated at the con- 
fluence of the two great rivers, the contemplated terminus 
of the Bagdad Railway, on November 21st. The opera- 
tions in this quarter, though commenced on a compara- 
tively insignificant scale, held out the vague but seductive 
promise of an imposing development, the possible con- 
quest of the most ancient seats of dominion and opulence, 
and the appropriation of the Garden of Eden. 


War's New Aspects 

Principles of strategy universal, their application variable. Changed 
international considerations as to Belgium. Plan of passing through Bel- 
gium and the German offensive. General advantages of the offensive. 
The tactics of the campaign : German mass attacks ; the part of the in- 
fantry ; the use of the cavalry ; artillery support. Transportation : the 
railways and their various uses; motor- propelled vehicles. Air service: 
types of aircraft; anti-aircraft guns; improvements in air-machines; the 
modern Zeppelin : the captive balloon. Means of communication. The 
lesson of the campaign. 

Wars are no longer confined to the operations of pro- 
fessional armies but are fought by whole nations. The 
"nation in arms" has become a reality and if in war the 
entire population does not actually stand under arms, it is 
at least mobilized for war. The art of war makes use of 
every product of industry, art, and science. The conduct 
of modern war absorbs every branch of human activity, 
coordinates, intensifies, and directs it for the sole purpose 
of subduing the enemy. The principles of strategy are 
universal and eternal and have for their object the destruc- 
tion of the armed forces of the enemy, but the application 
of those principles varies according to the character of the 
peoples engaged in the conflict, with every war, in every 
theater of operations, and in every campaign. A young, 
vigorous, growing, progressive, and aggressive nation, con- 
scious of its own strength, will as certainly carry the war 
into enemy territory as a poorly organized, or a merely 
fully developed and comfortably rich people will fail to 


War's New Aspects 335 

take the initiative. The surprises of the Great War have 
been in the relative strength of the belligerents; in the 
employment of the machinery and materials of war; in 
the resources of the countries at war, which should have 
been better known; in the character of the man behind 
the gun; not in the numbers available, which were well 
known, nor in the broad lines of operations w^hich had 
been foreseen by the students and writers of the several 
Great Powers engaged. That the armies of the central 
powers, under the leadership of Germany, would take the 
offensive was as well known to Great Britain, France, and 
Russia as to the Great General Staff which planned the 
campaigns; that they could take the offensive on only one 
front at one time was a condition imposed by the numerical 
superiority of the Entente armies; that the initial cam- 
paign of the war would be the German offensive in France 
was perfectly clear to all students of military affairs, and 
even to the casual reader. Just what form this campaign 
would take was known only to the German and Austrian 
leaders responsible for the conduct of the war. 

An invasion of France through Belgium w^as a proba- 
bility which received the consideration of all the powers 
concerned. Von Moltke, in outlining Prussia's primary 
military measures in case of war with France, in a memorial 
prepared in 1858, says: "Belgium sees in France the only 
actual enemy to her national independence; she considers 
England, Prussia, and even Holland as her best allies." He 
argued that the Netherlands lay outside of the probable 
theater of war, and that to occupy Holland at the very 
start would be an unjustifiable splitting up of the Prussian 
forces. Taking into consideration that the English army 
was in India and would be required there for years, he 
pointed out that Belgium could expect help only from 
Prussia in case she was attacked bv France. He said: "If 

336 The Great War 

we respect Belgium's neutrality we will protect thereby 
the largest part of our western frontier." The conditions 
in 1914 were largely reversed, Belgium no longer con- 
sidered France an enemy to her national independence. 
Great Britain, from being the traditional enemy of France 
had become her ally — an alliance directed against Germany. 
Belgium, from being a protection to Germany's western 
frontier in a war with France became, if not a probable 
enemy, at least a constant preoccupation. It cannot now 
be known when the campaign against France through 
Belgium was decided upon. 

The plan being adopted, the campaign in France became 
at once the most gigantic as well as one of the simplest 
movements known to the Art of War. It may be de- 
scribed as an enveloping movement in which the holding 
attack extended from Switzerland to Verdun and the en- 
veloping attack from Verdun to the frontier of Holland 
and in which the units employed were field armies. The 
object of the holding forces in the southern half of the 
frontier was to threaten the entire line so as to keep 
the French in ignorance of the direction of the principal 
attack, thus preventing them from shifting troops to other 
threatened points, and to offer effective resistance to any 
serious attack launched by the French against that part of 
the frontier. The main attack was designed to envelop 
the French left, including the Belgians and the British, 
and roll it back on the center, producing a congestion and 
confusion which would result in disaster, or to break 
through the lines, detaching the French left wing from 
the central group of armies. By very skilful maneuvering 
the French were able to withdraw the armies of the north 
without permitting them to be rolled up in confusion or 
having them cut off by the great German drive until the 
left rested on the intrenched camp of Paris. 



French guns moiinicil on spcrial railway tnirks 

Frcncli oni.- hiuulri-il and titly-tivc nullmutrc gim 

War's New Aspects 337 

It is difficult to overestimate the advantages of the offen- 
sive in the initial campaign of a war in which the numbers 
employed are so great. The aggressor virtually launches 
his campaign when he orders his mobilization, and his 
troops begin to move by prearranged schedule, each by 
the shortest line, to the points on the frontier from w^iich 
they are to begin actual hostilities. The defender must 
order his mobilization at the same time. The mobiliza- 
tions of the armies are based on the maximum capacity of 
the railroads of the country, in accordance with schedules 
prepared in time of peace, in which the day and hour of 
the departure of every unit from its home station and its 
arrival at its point of detraining are fixed. In the very 
nature of the movement any departure from the prepared 
schedules results, if not in confusion, at least in delays which 
may prove fatal. It is impracticable to change the zone of 
mobilization, once mobilization is ordered. Since the plans 
of the offensive cannot ordinarily be known, the attack 
must come in the nature of a surprise even though the 
offensive plans become known before the mobilization is 
complete. The army which assumes the defensive role in 
the initial campaign will naturally mobilize its great reserve 
in some central zone in the rear of the frontier, from which 
it may be thrown to the threatened points by a system of 
railways parallel to the frontier. Even this cannot be done 
until the original mobilization is complete. The defensive 
follows the lead of the offensive and much valuable time is 
lost. The defender will be very fortunate if his lateral rail 
communication is not cut before he can make use of it. 

The Teutonic allies having initiated the war by a su- 
preme effort in the West their defensive attitude in the 
East was a necessity. The duties of all the belligerents 
were at once clearly defined. In order to cooperate with 
her allies, Russia, as soon as her mobilization justified it and 

338 The Great War 

sooner than had been anticipated, took the offensive in East 
Prussia and in Galicia. Her prompt and vigorous action 
probably saved the Allied armies in France from disaster. 

In the tactics of the several arms it can be said that there 
has been no violent upheaval as a result of the Great War. 
Much space in the daily press was utilized in describing 
the wasteful, mass tactics of the German infantry attack in 
the great drive through Belgium into France. This may 
be likened to the outcry from all sides about the use of 
dum-dum bullets. The reports were in both cases largely 
the product of the excited imaginations of observers unused 
to war. The success or failure of the attack depends on 
the ability or inability of the attacker to gain fire superior- 
ity over the defender. The defense will put in action the 
greatest number of rifles that his defensive lines will accom- 
modate, which is one man per yard. The attack cannot be 
expected to succeed with fewer rifles on the line and more 
cannot be used. Reserves must be strong; the gaps in the 
firing line must be filled and the line maintained at its 
maximum strength until the moment of assault. A com- 
mander who undertakes an attack is not to be excused for 
failure so long as he has a formed reserve in hand. Re- 
serves are provided to be used and if a position is carried 
without the employment of all the reserves they find their 
most important use in the pursuit. The attacker expects 
heavier losses than he can inflict on the enemy until the 
position is carried and the retreat begins. Then the suc- 
cessful force begins to reap the fruits of its victory. The 
vanquished loses according to the vigor of the pursuit and 
his own skill in withdrawal, but always heavily. 

That the German mass attacks received the exclusive 
attention of the press is due to the fact that the Germans 
were on the offensive and attacking constantly up to and 
including the Battle of the Marne. It is likely that the 

War's New Aspects 339 

German commanders weighed carefully each situation, 
knew their own needs, estimated the cost in lives, and 
assaulted the desired position, or brought up heavy artil- 
lery to reduce it, or left an investing force, according to 
w^ell understood principles of strategy and tactics as applied 
to the offensive. It is only the offensive that produces 
decisive results; a defensive attitude can only be justilied 
as a temporary expedient. 

Infantry remains the arm that decides the final issue of 
combat. The fact that in the trench warfare in France it 
can neither advance nor maintain its line without artillerv 
support does not diminish the relative value of infantry ; it 
simply makes greater demands on the artillery, as is alu^ays 
the case in siege warfare. The lines are covered by im- 
passable obstacles which must be removed before they can 
be assaulted. Only artillery is able to clear away those 
obstacles and prepare the way for the assault. Only infan- 
try is able to seize and hold intrenchments in the zone of 
siege operations. The strongest points cannot be held 
without artillery support, for the strongest fort of concrete 
and steel and earth may be destroyed by the modern siege- 
gun, once it is located. The number and power of the 
heavy field-guns now in use with the armies in the field is 
unprecedented. The Allies are said to be using 15,000 
guns in France and Belgium. Since they have been un- 
able to establish any superiority in artillery, their opponents 
must be using an equal number. 

The first few weeks of the war in France saw the cavalry 
used to the limit of endurance. The German cavalry cov- 
ered the right flank of the armies in advance, in retreat, 
and in the race for the coast which followed the Battle of 
the Marne. It was constantly in contact with the British 
and French cavalry, and cavalry combats were of daily, 
almost hourly occurrence. It is reported that a large force 

340 The Great War 

of French cavalry did not unsaddle their horses for five 
days and nights. Corresponding demands were made on 
the cavalry employed on both sides. The result v^^as a par- 
tial destruction and complete exhaustion of the mounts of 
the cavalry. It was a heavy toll on the opposing armies, 
but horses can no more be spared than men when the 
safety of armies, the existence of nations even, may depend 
on them. As soon as the operations resulted in a deadlock 
from Switzerland to the coast, the German cavalry took its 
place in the trenches by the side of the infantry until it was 
required in another theater of war. The cavalry of the 
Allies had corresponding tasks consigned to it. Cavalry is 
a resourceful arm ; it operates mounted habitually, but must 
be in every way the equal of dismounted troops when 
separated from its horses. 

Not only the trench warfare in Europe but the increase 
in power and efficiency of guns and gunners has added 
greatly to the value of artillery. Prepared positions and 
intrenchments cannot be successfully attacked without 
powerful artillery support. Field-guns, before the war, 
depended largely upon shrapnel. Shrapnel have much 
greater efficiency against troops in the open than shell, but 
are powerless to destroy earthworks. Only by the use of 
high-explosive shells can the trenches and the obstacles 
which cover them be destroyed and the way cleared for the 
attack. Even with such ammunition the light field-piece 
is not very effective. Heavy field-artillery has assumed an 
unprecedented importance in warfare. One of the sur- 
prises of the war was that guns had been developed capa- 
ble of transportation in the field and of operation from 
mobile or rapidly constructed platforms which were able 
to destroy every class of permanent fortification in a few 
shots. The French have perhaps the most efficient light 
field-gun employed in the war, but the superiority of 

War's New Aspects 341 

the German heavy guns easily offsets the advantage thus 

The Great War differs from previous wars first in the 
unprecedented numbers of the armies in the field. The 
mobilization, concentration, and supply of these armies is 
made possible only by the development of modern means of 
transport. First in importance is the railway, which takes a 
place in war second only to arms and munitions. The first 
great demand on the railroads was for the mobilization, in 
which France and Germany each used probably 5,000 trains, 
in addition to those used for concentration. Single-track 
lines accommodated twenty and even more trains daily each 
way, while the double-track lines were able to move an 
army corps per day, handling in some cases more than 200 
trains. Troops should move by rail from 300 to 400 miles in 
twenty-four hours, while on foot they make from 12 to 25. 
The great mobilizations and concentrations could, how- 
ever, with certainty be made by marching if it were not for 
the question of supply. The supply of rations and muni- 
tions to the enormous concentrations in limited areas is not 
practicable without mechanical transport, and only the rail- 
road is adapted to the transport of the heavy material. 

In addition to being a mere means of transport the rail- 
way coach and car are adapted to a variety of military uses. 
Water-cars and refrigerator-cars are extensively used; com- 
plete sanitary trains with almost every convenience of a 
stationary hospital transport the wounded from the front; 
armored trains provide protection against small-arms fire; 
and flat cars so arranged as to distribute the load over a 
number of axles and to take the weight off the wheels 
during action are used as gun platforms for siege-guns. 
Railroads are not usually so vulnerable that the ordinary 
means and time available for their destruction can render 
them incapable of rapid repair or reconstruction. The 

342 The Great War . 

destruction of tunnels and large bridges are the only serious 
obstacles to the engineer troops that accompany armies. 
Unimportant bridges are hastily replaced by temporary 
structures and tunnels may often be avoided by laying 
track around them. Railroad construction corps are able 
to lay new track in fair country and keep up with the 
advance of the victorious armies against a stubborn foe. 

An auxiliary to the railway, but one capable of a great 
variety of uses, is the motor-propelled vehicle. It trans- 
ports all but the heaviest materials on the good roads of 
central and western Europe at a speed far greater than that 
of the horse-drawn vehicle and approximating for short 
distances that of the railway train. Every class of motor- 
car finds its use with the army; private cars are requisi- 
tioned for the use of staff officers and dispatch carriers, 
while large touring cars, auto-omnibuses, trucks, and even 
taxicabs have been extensively employed in the transporta- 
tion of troops as well as of supplies. It has been estimated 
that 1,000 or 1,200 omnibuses or trucks capable of carrying 
thirty men can transport an army corps at the rate of seven 
to ten miles per hour, and that they would occupy a road 
space of only about two-thirds of the same force marching, 
thus adding greatly not only to the rapidity of movement 
but to the time required for concentration or deployment. 
Such a movement is practicable for infantry only. The 
cavalry and siege-artillery of an army corps cannot be 
transported by motor-trucks, and the heavy artillery can 
be conveyed only by heavy tractors at a much reduced 
speed. The movement of an army corps then without 
rail or water transport is limited to the rate of march of its 

The most important as well as the most spectacular 
development in machines of war has been in the air ser- 
vice. The captive balloon has long been used for purposes 

War's New Aspects 343 

of observation; free balloons have occasionally been used 
by a besieged force for communication with the outside 
world; dirigibles of various types have been experimented 
with in peace; and the heavier-than-air machine had 
demonstrated that it would find use in any future war. 
But the armored, fighting air-machine equipped \\ith 
♦ machine-guns and bomb-throwers is a creation of the war. 
Before the war the Great Powers of Europe, notably 
France and Germany, had developed the American inven- 
tion of the Wright brothers until the aeroplane was a 
familiar figure about the capitals and other large cities 
of the continent. The centers of aviation offered diver- 
sion and amusement daily to thousands of spectators who 
thronged the aviation fields. There were monoplanes and 
biplanes of almost as many types as there were inventors 
and builders who sought their fortunes in the production 
of craft for navigating the air. Flying became a popular 
sport, more perilous, more exciting than racing, and re- 
quiring greater expenditures without the corresponding 
sources of revenue. The air-machine had no earning 
capacity except as an exhibition feature and depended for 
its support largely on the governments and on popular 
subscription. Particularly in France, led by the press, 
popular subscription for the control of the air amounted to 
millions. France began by leading in the air. Conceding 
the control at sea to Great Britain and the greatest strength 
on land to Germany, supremacy in the air, as a national 
aspiration, became very popular in France. Germany fol- 
lowed in the use of heavier-than-air machines, but in a 
characteristic German manner, under the leadership of the 
government, which was quick to recognize its military 
value, the German flyers w^ere not long in establishing 
world records, notably the endurance flight of twenty-four 
hours accomplished by a German aviator a few months 

344 The Great War 

before the outbreak of war. The same thoroughness 
which directed her industry and created her army made 
Germany superior to any of her enemies in the use of 
aircraft for war purposes at the beginning of the war. 

The demands made on the aviation service by the armies 
in the field have resulted in the production of three types 
of craft based on tactical requirements. The defensive 
machine guards the front of the army of operations or im- 
portant points in the interior against hostile aircraft. For 
this purpose a light machine offering a small target is used, 
in which armor protection is less important than extreme 
speed and great climbing power. The reconnaisance ma- 
chine flies over the enemy's line, directs the fire of the 
artillery and photographs enemy positions. This requires 
a steady, safe motor, to secure which it is necessary to 
carry greater weight at a sacrifice of some of the speed 
possessed by the light anti-aircraft guard. The machine 
used to bombard hostile troops and positions must carry 
great weight in explosives, in guns, and in fuel; this re- 
quires a heavy, safe motor of great power, and results in a 
machine which develops less speed than the other two 
types. If at the beginning of the war it was recognized 
that aeroplanes could serve any other purpose in war than 
that of reconnaissance it was only the Germans who held 
such belief. The air attacks on Paris during the great 
drive in France, unimportant as they were, show that 
Germany had not overlooked the possibility of using her 
aeroplanes for attacking important points. The war soon 
demonstrated, however, that air scouts can no more obtain 
information without fighting for it than can cavalry. To 
prevent the enemy's reconnaissance it is necessary to attack 
him in the air. Defense by guns operated from the ground 
below are ineffective against the flyer, whether they are 
stationary or portable. Only important points can be 

War's New Aspects 345 

guarded with guns and the guns are effective at only very 
limited altitudes. The pilot and the observer as well as the 
vulnerable parts of the machine are protected from fire from 
below, and have little to fear from small arms when flying at 
a height of 1,000 or 1,200 yards. On the other hand, to 
be protected from artillery fire the air-machine must main- 
tain an altitude of two miles or more. However, neither 
observation nor bomb-throwing is very effective at such alti- 
tudes and the airman must take his chances. The aeroplane 
makes a very poor target. The vulnerable parts present a 
surface hardly greater than a square yard, while the largest 
machine looks about the size of a postage stamp at 8,000 
feet elevation. Considering, then, that it moves in three 
dimensions at the rate of thirty yards per second the prob- 
ability, or improbability, of hits by surface guns is apparent. 
For the gunner, reducing the range increases rapidly the 
difficulty of pointing. 

At the beginning of the war Germany had 300 aero- 
planes, Austria 100, France 300, and Great Britain 100. 
The British machines were poorly organized for war ser- 
vice; France had a number of squadrons of four machines 
and some experiments in reconnaissance had been made; 
the Germans had gone more thoroughly into the applica- 
tion of flying to military purposes and were employing 
many machines in long flights under conditions simulating 
actual war. The result was the remarkable efficiency shown 
by the German air service in the first months of the war, 
although fighting on two fronts. The number of heavier- 
than-air machines employed by the belligerents cannot at 
this time be ascertained, but it is estimated that the Allies 
are using more than 1,500 machines in France. 

The French are reported to be making great efforts to 
create a type of mighty triplane carrying twelve men and 
four 1^-inch guns at a speed of eighty miles an hour. 

346 The Great War 

They are designed to be used to bombard enemy positions 
in the actual zone of operations as an auxiliary to the land 
batteries. The air scouts for the heavy machines are small 
biplanes with great speed and climbing ability and armed 
each with a machine-gun. These scout machines can be 
manipulated without the use of the hands and carry only 
one man, who is gunner as well as pilot and observer. 
Great Britain has made great efforts to improve her air 
service regardless of the cost, which it is estimated will 
exceed one biUion dollars for the year 1916. 

The Germans have made great improvements in their 
machines. A British report credits them with having pro- 
duced a type of tractor biplane driven by two motors, each 
of 100 to 150 horse-power; the machine is said to carry a 
pilot and two gunners armed with machine-guns, to have 
tremendous speed, and to be able to remain in the air for 
six hours. The Fokker, a Dutch invention used by the 
Germans, is a small, high-power machine of great speed, 
with a climbing power unequalled by any other machine 
produced. Its superior maneuvering ability makes it a 
powerful defensive weapon, but it is a small machine un- 
suited for reconnaissance or bomb-throwing. 

Full information on the subject of the air service of the 
armies of the belligerents is naturally not available. A few 
points of importance are, however, well known. There 
are very few motors of less than 100 horse-power and, 
except for the very heavy machines, the minimum speed 
requirement is about 100 miles per hour. Before the war, 
aviation schools counted on six months to develop a pilot; 
the training camps of the armies now produce pilots in six 
or seven weeks, and the student aviator who does not 
become proficient in twelve weeks is declared inapt. 

At the beginning of the war the efficiency of the Ger- 
man air service, like that of some of her other war services, 

War's New Aspects 347 

had been underestimated by observers who should have 
been better able to foresee the result in war of German 
thoroughness, which was well known. Germany had an 
air fleet consisting of about ten Zeppelins. She had an 
equal number of smaller airships of the Parseval type with 
a speed of from twenty-iive to forty miles per hour, but 
they have not sufficient power to fly in adverse winds and 
are so slow that they are easily attacked by aeroplanes. 
Only the Zeppelins have been efficient. 

A modern Zeppehn is more than 600 feet long, 60 or 70 
feet in diameter, and develops a speed of 60 to 75 miles 
per hour. It carries armor and armament which render it 
reasonably safe from attack by aeroplanes, except from 
above. It is said to be able to climb more rapidly than 
the aeroplane and possesses the distinct advantages of 
being able to rise vertically and to hover over the object 
of attack. Before the war Russia had a number of small 
airships, but they have not proved of any particular value, 
and neither France nor Great Britain had accomplished 
more than mediocre results with dirigibles. France has 
employed ten or a dozen small ships of the non-rigid and 
semi-rigid types, principally in coast guard duty, but none 
of these ships has the speed or maneuvering ability of a 
Zeppelin. Great Britain is said never to have produced an 
airship that has proved a success. The only air-machine 
that is capable of long distance raids is the Zeppelin. It 
makes use of the aids to navigation employed by ships at 
sea and may direct its course to distant points concealed by 
fog or clouds without reference to directing points below. 
In one of the bombardments of Paris the city is believed 
to have been invisible to the observers on the airship. One 
of the most important missions of the Zeppelin is believed 
to be scouting for the navy; its ability to remain stationary. 
receive as well as send wireless messages, and its possible 

348 The Great War 

destructive effect against submarines which are visible from 
above even when submerged, seem to clothe it with all the 
essential properties of an efficient naval scout. It is diffi- 
cult to justify by results the expenditures of money and the 
vital energy which have gone into Zeppelins, but Germany 
continues to build them. Their raids have produced a 
depressing effect on the British public. The Zeppelin, 
which stands in a class by itself, is an offensive weapon, 
to oppose which the Allies have nothing. 

For purposes of observation the captive balloon stands 
next in importance to the flying machines. The Germans 
use a sausage-shaped balloon that is much steadier than the 
spherical balloon, which is so unstable as to make observa- 
tions very difficult and often produces such violent nausea 
that observation is impossible even for the most seasoned 

Carrier pigeons still find their place in war. They have 
been used probably as extensively, though not so exclu- 
sively, as in former wars. Wire and wireless, aeroplane, 
heliograph, flag, automobile, motorcycle, mounted mes- 
senger, and dog are means of communication at once rapid 
and reliable ; but they are not always practicable. An ob- 
server landed from an aeroplane behind the hostile lines may 
make use of carrier pigeons when no other means of com- 
municating is available. If operating in friendly territory 
occupied by the enemy he may avoid detection and secure 
and transmit information of the greatest value. Dogs have 
been employed in the Great War to an extent not hereto- 
fore known. The " Dog of Flanders" drawing a machine- 
gun has been made a familiar figure by the photographer. 
To a less degree dogs have been used by sentinels on de- 
tached posts to give quick warning of approaching danger, 
and with patrols reconnoitering roads and by-ways in 
advance. Sled dogs from Alaska have been carried to 

P Otierva/ion Post 

B b' .,..:... B" 

Tieinforced franch 

A A- ^- - 

CcmmuiujLatiok Tiviich fnr ^1 j 
refiiiiiient. upproacln revic/uo/iiitg 


From JO to dOO metres / 

CcnmunictlonTrenck ^ ^ fe^t^^^lt <^ilSl^ 

^ to lengCA of front ana t/ie^ 

(mporij/ice of I tie position ) 


Comnuun'catioii TJvnch 

■'d "^IS^ •v<- S)i f Iter for (/le C/iiefof 
^tie Section, er ef 
.. ^' //*<> u/iii. 

O \ o IH% O 

Stu'lter Trencfi 
a'"' Line 

Com/ni/iitca^icti Tiv/icA 

Slwifcr /o/' //tp CAir/" \ 
_^- 0/ t/teseotio/i 


C C. Very pronounced ^c^ans 
/or r 


•ft/ig A/e. 

•b'heJter Tiencti 
/" Line 

Arrangement of the Ciernian defensive and protective trenches. 

J Cover cf shelter, formed 0/ 
tree-truiiki coyereJ nitfi 
30 to -to centimetre.} of 
campresieJ anj turf - 
ulcere J earth. . 

loop -holes 
Barik of the trench, turfed 

ffround /eye/. 

Block oF S loop hole for 
jtone * machine-gun. . 

Jnotker fern 

Loop ho/e 

Hole For 
rations, etc. ;" 

ReinA)rced trenches: Details of roofs, loopholes, ami tlie torni of tlie excavations. 

War's New Aspects 349 

France, where they are used in the mountains for trans- 
porting supplies, munitions, and the wounded. 

The appUcation of recent inventions in modern war is 
startHng because of the enormous resources of the bellig- 
erents, which permits their employment on such a gigantic 
scale, but no machine of war has appeared which will 
cause an upheaval in the principles of strategy and tactics. 
Nevertheless, the Great War teaches many valuable lessons. 
Leaders of troops will await impatiently the detailed his- 
tories of operations which are to be their guides in future 
wars; but the responsibilities and duties of the nation are 
already clear. Modern war mobilizes the entire popula- 
tion and organizes every industry of the State in the ser- 
vice of national defense. " In time of peace prepare for 
War" states the problem; universal military training is the 


The Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 

Accounts of outrages imputed to the German armies in Belgium and 
France received with amazement and horror, followed by an involuntary 
reaction of doubt. The committees for investigation and their indictment. 
The attitude and counter-charges of the Germans. Various forms of evi- 
dence. Destruction incidental to military operations; doubtful cases: 
Reims, Arras, Ypres, Mechlin. The essential distinction between isolated 
and irresponsible, and deliberate and systematic acts of brutality, and the 
paramount importance of the latter. Needful restrictions in the material 
admitted to discussion in the present chapter; the confinement of the 
argument to undisputed facts. Intentional destruction of property and 
acts of severity against the civilian population. The alleged organized 
people's war in Belgium; Aerschot, Dinant, Louvain. The international 
conventions relating to the people's warfare and the contrasted attitude 
of the combatants respecting the conditions for the possession of the rights 
of belligerency. Conclusion. 

Scarcely had the nations been launched upon the seeth- 
ing flood of the world-war, when the most appalling rumors 
of cruelties and atrocities began to emanate from the seat 
of hostilities in the West, vague and desultory at first, but 
quickly increasing in vividness and persistence, tales of 
pillage and of the wanton destruction of property, of the 
violation of women and children and of the indiscriminate 
slaughter of innocent civilians, and finally of every kind of 
abominable crime and brutality which had ever defiled the 
blood-stained annals of warfare. 

The world stood aghast, bewildered with amazement 
and horror. The imagination was staggered by the enor- 
mity of the offenses reported. Many persons whose judg- 
ment was not swayed by prejudice or passion refused to 
admit without indisputable evidence that a people whom 


Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 351 

they had always regarded as preeminently kindly, culti- 
vated, and orderly could have lost so suddenly all restrain- 
ing sense of compassion and humanity. The nations 
directly interested in the victims of the German invasion 
took systematic steps to collect and publish the evidence 
for the varions acts of cruelty and lawlessness which were 
said to have been committed. 

Space will hardly permit the rehearsal of even a repre- 
sentative selection of the occurrences recorded in these 
reports. But a summary account of a few of them, chosen 
partly at random, partly for their connection with events 
already narrated, and partly for their special importance in 
connection with the general conclusions, which will be 
developed later, will afford a general idea of the nature of 
the entire series. The fundamental contradiction which 
complicates the whole question of atrocities should be 
stated clearly at the outset. In practically all cases where 
property was deliberately destroyed and civilians were 
killed, the Germans declared that they had been fired 
upon or otherwise attacked in violation of the accepted 
usages of war, while the Allies just as universally denied 
this allegation. Indorsement of the accounts presented by 
the different belligerents is not implied in the direct form 
of discourse which is used for the sake of brevity in the 
summaries of them that follow. 

Within a few days after the outbreak of the war, the 
Belgian Minister of Justice, M. Henry Carton de Wiart, 
appointed a Commission of Inquiry composed of promi- 
nent statesmen and jurists, charging them with the task of 
examining into the violation of the rules of international 
law and of the established usages of war. This commis- 
sion sat in Brussels. But after August 18th, when the seat 
of government was transferred to Antwerp and communi- 
cation with Brussels was impeded, the minister of justice 

352 The Great War 

appointed a sub-committee of the Commission of Inquiry 
with headquarters at the new capital. In a series of reports 
the commission thus constituted has published evidence, 
derived from the sworn statements of eye-witnesses, calcu- 
lated to show that the invaders of Belgium resorted to pro- 
ceedings which violated the most elementary conceptions 
of humanity and are prohibited by the rules of warfare 
sanctioned at The Hague ; that they maltreated and massa- 
cred the peaceful population; sacked and burned open and 
undefended towns and villages; reduced to dust historical 
and religious monuments, and gave to the flames the 
famous Hbrary of Louvain; and that they practised a de- 
liberate policy of terrorism. On account of their excep- 
tionally crucial character, some of the most conspicuous 
examples of the alleged German outrages in Belgium are 
reserved for a later part of the chapter, where they will be 
treated on the basis of a comparison of the testimony from 
all the sources. 

We commence our survey of some of the other charac- 
teristic incidents with the occurrences at Andenne, which 
is situated on the right bank of the Meuse between Namur 
and Huy and was connected by a bridge with Seilles on the 
left bank, a circumstance which invested it with an ill- 
omened significance in the early days of the German 
irruption. An advance-guard of Uhlans arrived here on 
August 19th but found that the bridge had been blown 
up. A pontoon bridge was substituted and a column 
of German troops began to defile through the town on 
the 20th. 

According to one of the Belgian reports a shot heard at 
six P. M., followed by an explosion, threw the German sol- 
diers into a fury of excitement. They began firing wildly 
in the streets, sacked the town, set it on fire in several 
places, and shot many persons whom they encountered. 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 353 

Next morning the inhabitants were driven from their 
houses and gathered together, and forty or fifty were 
singled out and executed in expiation of a pretended attack 
on the German troops. 

Tamines on the Sambre between Namur and Charleroi 
was one of those populous, prosperous villages which had 
been the distinction and strength of thrifty Belgium. It 
was occupied for several days in August, 1914, by detach- 
ments of French soldiers, and these, supported bv a party 
of the Garde Civique from Charleroi, resisted a German 
patrol on the 20th, killing several Uhlans. On the next 
day the Germans occupied the place, sacked and burned 
264 houses, and arrested many of the inhabitants. On 
the 22d, between 400 and 450 of the latter were col- 
lected near the bank of the river and summarily executed 
by the fire of rifles and of a machine-gun, some of the 
wounded being finished off by bayonet thrusts, while 
others, it would appear, put an end to their sufferings by 
rolling into the Sambre. 

The German troops who entered Nanmr at four P. M. 
on August 23d, conducted themselves in an orderly manner 
until the evening of the next day at nine, when suddenly, 
without the slightest warning, they set fire to the citv in 
several places, shot many of the defenseless inhabitants as 
they attempted to escape from their burning houses, and 
engaged in extensive plundering. 

The Germans entered and sacked the village of Hastiere- 
par-dela on August 23d, killed and wounded a large num- 
ber of persons, burned the greater part of the houses, and 
executed the parish priest, a professor of the University 
of Louvain, the local schoolmaster and others upon con- 
demnation of a court-martial composed of officers, some of 
whom were intoxicated. About the same time eighteen 
men, including several priests, were executed by a volley 

354 The Great War 

at Surice, because, as a German officer alleged, a girl of 
fifteen fired on one of the German commanders. 

By decree of the French government on September 23, 
1914, M. Georges Payelle, First President of the Court of 
Accounts (Cour des Comptes); M. Armand Mollard, Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary to Luxemburg; Georges Maringer, 
Counselor of State; and Edmond Paillot, Counselor of 
the Court of Appeal (Cour de Cassation) were appointed 
a committee for the investigation of atrocities said to 
have been committed by the German armies in the por- 
tions of France vv^hich they had occupied. This com- 
mittee professedly submitted the testimony, v^^hich had 
been received under oath, to a severely critical exami- 
nation and made a report on December 17, 1914, pre- 
senting the facts which it regarded as established beyond 

In addition to a large number of infamous crimes of an 
isolated character committed in ail parts of the territory 
occupied at any time by the Germans, the report contained 
the account of many systematic outrages. 

At Triaucourt, for example, in the Department of the 
Meuse, the Germans were said to have given themselves 
up to the worst excesses, burning thirty-five houses and 
killing indiscriminately many of the inhabitants. 

During the first day or two of the occupation of Lune- 
ville, they were content with robbing the inhabitants. But 
about 3.30 p.m. on August 25th their attitude suddenly 
changed. Claiming that the population had fired upon the 
hospital and had made an attack by ambuscade on the Ger- 
man columns and transports, they began shooting in the 
streets and setting fire to houses. Although M. Keller, 
the Mayor, made a tour of the streets with German officers 
and soldiers to prove the absurdity of this allegation, the 
synagogue. Hotel de Ville, and about seventy houses were 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 355 

burned, several persons were shot, and a large contribution 
was levied on the town as an indemnity. 

At Gerbeviller, in the Department of Meurthe-et- 
Moselle, the German troops, chiefly Bavarians, infuriated 
by the stubborn resistance of sixty French infantrymen, 
took vengeance on the civilian population. They rushed 
into the houses with savage yells, pillaging and destroying, 
and kiUing men, women, and children. About 450 houses 
were partially or totally destroyed. 

After the population of Baccarat, in the same depart- 
ment, had been assembled at the railway station on August 
25th, the town was first systematically pillaged under the 
supervision of German officers and then set on fire by 
means of torches and pastilles, 112 houses being destroyed. 

The Germans entered Senlis in the neighborhood of 
Chantilly, as already related, on September 2d, where they 
were greeted by rifle-fire from African troops. Claiming 
that they had been fired upon by civilians, they sacked the 
town and set fire to it in two difl^erent quarters with gre- 
nades and rockets, destroying 105 houses, killing many of 
the inhabitants, and executing the mayor, M. Odent, on the 
ground that he had participated, or instigated others to 
participate, in acts of hostility. 

The report claimed that arson was a favorite means for 
inspiring terror and cowing the inhabitants, that the Ger- 
man armies were provided with a complete outfit for 
producing conflagrations, comprising rockets, torches, 
grenades, petroleum pumps, fuse-sticks, and little bags of 
pastilles made of compressed powder which is very inflam- 
mable, and that thousands of Iiouses were burned in France. 
German oflicers, whose supersensitive conception of honor 
was imable to endure the remotest implication of an afl^ront 
from a comrade, were presumptuously charged by their ad- 
versaries with committing the basest and most ignominious 

356 The Great War 

forms of iniquity. They were represented as commonly 
indifferent to the Hcentious fury of their troops, as sharing 
in the exercise and profits of organized pillage, and as 
utilizing their irresponsible authority for perpetrating 
among a defenseless population the crimes of extortion, 
rape, and murder. 

The German soldiers had been systematically encouraged 
to keep individual diaries of the campaign by the military 
authorities, who little suspected the purpose for which 
many of these documents were destined to be employed 
by their opponents. For a large number of them were 
taken by the French from the bodies of the German dead 
or from German prisoners and preserved for the sake of 
the incriminating information which they contained. 

Professor Joseph Bedier, the eminent authority on med- 
ieval French literature at the College de France in Paris, 
carefully examined a number of these diaries, and published 
extracts from about thirty, nineteen of them accompanied 
by facsimile reproductions of the original text, in a pam- 
phlet entitled, Les crimes allemands d'apres des temoigjiages 
allemands — German Atrocities from German Evidence. 
Professor Bedier proposed to establish the guilt of the 
Germans by the testimony of the Germans themselves, and 
he declared that in the diaries employed for this purpose 
"the German soldiers depict themselves or their compan- 
ions in arms as incendiaries, robbers, and murderers, who, 
however, in ordinary circumstances, only burn, rob, and 
murder to order and in the course of their military duty." 

This pamphlet, which appeared about the first of Jan- 
uary, 1915, was translated into most of the leading languages 
and spread throughout the world in thousands of copies. 
It made a very great impression at once, and with very good 
reason; for the evidence of this class is the most significant of 
all, because its ingenuousness and authenticity are beyond 

Pi&t;(tmcr ' ^icucBg 'Jlattitliitau " 

' uiik'r I'tfiBct Cffi">i'-V'.'itfni>c:lr\:tr 31'. bat ja mit 
ciftcn-:t "»'?fcu'--fi;fr.;.'t •'Ji.'>'.';i.\ an bu 'Su(}oS< 
ii.Mi i-i'ia»-r lu'6tii;;fi;oii liaf.c (ii":adit: n n)::b 
icoti; ciidi ungcvjlit anfi.'jvhcii ft.ibcii, i.i ipflci-iCin 
>'>.;u5 iD-.i- uiu:- (lU'fialttn. iinia llcbttilu.'; iktteit 
m;t Rusfi tt(xfi tin iTKijcs iltiiitiiil) a^cll V.ini JiiSif*-^ 
fcnjicr SiiioLs. • 

?H bitift i?a(i<, oi'Uftov.S'rt iltiqcl(6:r.l!i'ii tijii 
imictcr ^riaab.'.' Wii(^!<>ii u;:r mci'l ^msi cluiittii 
r.iw_Bt!;a!tcn ^itVn.'lij itiirjfn plJiilirt) ^ilrrfl tin 
geiiftreU;; Jtenftcr — oi^ Eriiimna ift fianj iiiclwi 
— siDri eTcganic lur.o« 3)ointii hcnii*. ffciij!; !c5i|= 
tiidici '.n Sen ndn&tT ftotriBcnb. nr.6 !>* inir ,;!i 
•ViififtJ tccif>'nt>. T"'.-; Sitiuttor. itar f.;-. '-:c;n 
nct;<ibc tiih tttirr '31if^t'.i(i. TlO(i;^ra'.n(5tilri1. Jif 
fiiic ipiitfct bfutid). \ h. fic fiii'st riii;:ltif '^I'l-rtc 
Fjerius. u'tt id) mii ii-iamtnciiriimc T^iitc liiuttfr 
urb S!ftK!."':rr itr-S ■.;;'ji:,->c:' r.'i Pen ?c';:i4fii, 
Tt-; ifi?ii li'ik" Si*!; V-'fjtrr ro^t >^t. 2U- 'i-'Icn, 
lonit mr:fct;< K-: roitn cIs (fjc-i'cfn jr'+fiTrr. Cf'r.c 

■ nait>f. Sriiibe iat Irr.n >--c. J)rt: f.cucn;! ,'■■' 
flfgibilt. :Vu!i R'li 'ic cuf btt Su*e in unlet 
9it:Urrrp. l;r^ Jnfi-.letiffcuor oith-mmtr. uri 
finS ut-;i; lire "ciificn ^cr Itrrcf'gcn i^iiniKg in 

^em §ctrr. i -■ 
■!ii! ;6 'i- - 

.ilii.-t : i ■ 

;,-i:-' ;■ yi; .ic ieatft mtt 
r ir:e6?n. Slu^rim 

• v^:^.!;trr -1:. 'b^-!-' r-- ■ 


r.^^-i ■ ,:' C-! ;. ■ .■ .tf. ■. ,^ iir.'- i :■^:^cut«. ' 

ct) c';;'.(;ti nr 1 1 : £ ". i rr ^ft 3 : r a t; c ^^ i 

',-'.:ii ;:i'i'Vftcrir.,Vii uno ,";i:li«'i aui tr cincr. 

■ i'cc' <*"-ii- f):?i''.f:. ■■ V..- :(r iv, :»[.;! -3c::v, j 

in i:-x'd '•rirnah;:'! ^•JiAtbnt tiart. Daim • 

■r. ii. >;;,;■■ : .h a;:' J;r 6'l0t|C. Pi;c riL'f* StpElJ > 

,,■<:!- ••■ .'--p,-— i'?i;. sJfij? id) n:<fi*, afwt '.h:i ' 

■ '.:■'. r.-.v ji,c :,:■■.;; ;,t)t trcnrfhcit ■^C'-'.!ct. ; 

jL) U'*: ji^ tilr Vin, o^^^ bi; "j;.:;-; : .'; it;--!', j 

Tar- //. : f^iic'.i:', a'.ir ffi y'd-'f.:: : '.' t -o'crt i 

. •:■ i-'-'.';-n -.i-.b ';-b tan:: ?■•■ -;::ioit ^?. ' 

■;:ii.-, '.iia- li'i) ifstt r.:-A nuf fcfr Sluif?* • 

■ -.t, x'.'iO nlrfctrii .tiL'iici!. Sl'uif) tic '-.'ftlifici'.' I 

r.M ;:uU:J. iC-t !:,"; :'a a.far!-c''. ':, u;^^ «;•;■ I'csin 1 

US: .iixr.-'j L^ic ^•r■;-;^• van c:;,:;-,; i,.:iri.icr, j 


3i)rc I'ict ^iuiliiicn. i;e ]i-i cbcr.fclls av 
trf.fl? i.^tc'!. js^oci oon Sen (yran 

.-i) !■! 'fl.- 

Ult:v. K-.ctr: iv: . uv.i-;;' cvIl-::: '. i'. 

' ftilijiti:.- c-rudt-p-. iH-tici:'*!. If? u-r,: 
h-m. Viufi'-rii-i. i-i r.r.r, fcincc Bo.t r.,'- iuT iciti 
S?fi';it rinci ^^;ii^ .'.:",'5 •'V;^:' aciTil'i'i I'di'", Vrn 
tiiji-imicr .§Li-.niit ■ •" iU i^rr Irvn 5 ritif? biin:- 
riidjcr. l^cjfrivriciirf'- — 'iui nu") .v.:. in iKr 
§on^ — cin P'ifl'i iSii"' ..'fli': piC'o(li|i. i>:xt 
C6siI.cutnoii:V ■ — C: ifii i-x aHi: 3et:;r,ru^c 

j Hniii tc;it Sir'ct dr. ..jjc'sl" ^Eicr a:io,.:,iapi: urb 
ii'b:m fiit P>!o5 {icScr^jt. i"^) ir.ortfttin. litni bit:- 

I bfr letift ^diluS trxib^rt Mr.-. 

! am ir.fiitcn in .^ri??, 

, SM^r.Icuinonl O. SiciUin (m) 


"We had arrested three civilians, 
and suddenly a good idea struck me. 
We placed them on chairs and made 
them understand that they must go 
and sit on them in the middle of the 
street. On one side entreaties, on 
the other blows from the butt-end of 
a gun. One gets terribly hardened 
after a while. At last they were seated 
outside in the street. I do not know 
how many prayers of anguish they 
said ; but they kept their hands tightly 
clasped all the time. I pitied them; 
but the device worked immediately. 
The shooting at us from the house at 
the side stopped at once ; we were able 
to occupy the house in front, and be- 
came masters of the principal street. 
Every one after that who showed him- 
self in the street was shot. The artil- 
lery, too, did good work during this, 
and when towards seven in the even- 
ino-, the brigade advanced to free us, 
I was able to report that 'St. Die is 
free of the enemy.' 

"As I learnt later on, the . . . 
regiment of reserve which had en- 
tered St. r3ie more from the north 
had had similar experiences to ours. 
The four civilians that had been made 
to sit in the street had been killed by 
French bullets. I saw them mvself, 
stretched out in the middle of the 
street, near the Hospital." 

Facsimile of an account of a company of Germans sheltering themselves behind 
non-combatants, written by Lieutenant Eberlein and published in the Munchner Neueste 
Nachrichten, October 7, 1914. 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 357 

question, and it depicts the critical occurrences in the art- 
less, confidential words of the actors themselves. In the 
hearing of the momentous action brought in the name of 
humanity against the German army, this is the defendant's 
own unpremeditated deposition. 

A few of the most striking of these narratives will serve 
to illustrate the whole series. 

The first quotation presented by Professor Bedier, a 
passage from the diary of a soldier of the first infantry 
brigade of the Guard, describes very graphically the fright- 
ful retribution inflicted at night upon a village near Bla- 
mont on September 1st: 

**The inhabitants fled through the village. It was horri- 
ble. Blood was plastered on all the houses, and as for the 
faces of the dead, they were hideous. They were all 
buried at once, to the number of sixty. Among them 
many old men and women, and one woman about to be 
delivered. It was a ghastly sight. There were three chil- 
dren who had huddled close to one another and had died 
together. The altar and the ceiling of the church had 
fallen in. They also had been telephoning to the enemy. 
And this morning, September 2d, all the survivors were 
driven out, and I saw four little boys carrying on two poles 
a child five or six months old. All this was horrible to see. 
A blow for a blow. Thunder for thunder. Everything 
was pillaged. The poultry and everything else was killed. 
(There was a) mother with her two little ones ; one had a 
large wound in the head and had lost an eye." 

The diary of an officer of the 178th regiment. Twelfth 
(Saxon) Army Corps, relates the destruction of a village in 
the Ardennes in Belgium: 

"The beautiful village of Gue d'Hossus has been de- 
stroyed by fire, although entirely innocent, as it seems to 
me. Apparently a cyclist fell from his machine, and in 

358 The Great War 

the fall his gun went off of itself. Straightway there was 
firing in his direction. The male inhabitants were simply 
consigned to the flames. It is to be hoped that such 
atrocities will not be repeated." 

The diary of a soldier of the first battalion of the same 
regiment contains the following entry under August 23d: 

" In the evening at ten o'clock the first battalion of the 
178th regiment went down to the village that had been 
burnt to the north of Dinant. A sad and beautiful sight, 
and one that made you shudder. At the entrance of the 
village lay the bodies of about fifty civilians who had been 
shot for having fired upon our troops from ambush. In 
the course of the night, many others were shot in the 
same way, so that we could count more than two hundred. 
The women and children, lamp in hand, had to watch the 
horrible scene. We then ate our rice in the midst of the 
corpses, for we had not tasted food since morning." 

Reservist Schlauter of the 4th regiment of field-artillery 
of the Guard mentions the following incidents of the march 
through Belgium occurring on August 25th: 

"Three hundred of the inhabitants of the town were 
shot and those who survived the volley were requisitioned 
as gravediggers. You should have seen the women at this 
moment ! But you can't do otherwise. During our march 
on Wilot things went better. The inhabitants who wished 
to leave could do so and go where they liked, but anyone 
who fired was shot. When we left Owele shots were 
fired; but there, women and everything were fired upon. 
At the frontier they have to-day shot a Hussar and de- 
stroyed the bridge. The bridge has been rebuilt by the 
gallant infantry." 

Professor Bedier reproduces the text of an order of the 
day issued by Major-general Stenger, commander of the 
58th brigade, on August 26th, as follows: 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 359 

"From to-day no more prisoners will be made. All 
prisoners will be put to death. The wounded whether 
armed or not will be put to death. Even prisoners grouped 
in larger formations will be put to death. No enemy shall 
be left alive behind us. 

"First-lieutenant and Company-chief Stoy, Colonel and 
Regimental-commander Neubauer, Major-general and 
Brigade-commander Stenger." 

According to Professor Bedier, furthermore, about thirt}' 
German soldiers belonging to General Stenger's brigade, 
who had been taken prisoners by the French, affirmed 
under oath that this order of the day was transmitted to 
them on the 26th and five of these declared that they had 
actually seen instances of its execution. Other evidence 
seemingly confirmed the tenor of their testimony. 

The text of a personal narrative describing the German 
occupation of St. Die on August 27th, written by a Bavarian 
officer. First-lieutenant A. Eberlein, and published in the 
Miinchner Neueste Nachrichten on October 7th, is quoted as 
proof of the frequent but almost unbelievable assertion 
that the Germans shielded themselves from the enemy's 
fire by the shameful method of forcing civilians to stand or 
advance in front of them. 

Lieutenant Eberlein's company as advance-guard entered 
St. Die in the belief that the town had been entirely evac- 
uated by the enemy, but they were suddenly assailed by 
French troops, who poured a volley into their ranks from 
behind a barricade, while rifle-iire blazed from the win- 
dows of the neighboring houses. A brilliant idea came to 
the heutenant. Bewildered at first and entirely cut off, he 
and his men barricaded themselves in a house while wait- 
ing for reinforcements and by blows from the butt end 
of a rifle compelled three male inhabitants, whom they 

360 The Great War 

had captured, to go into the middle of the street and 
remain there seated on chairs during the fight. This 
apparently produced the desired effect, as the firing 
subsided soon after. Lieutenant Eberlein related further 
that a German reserve regiment which entered St. Die by 
another road had recourse to a similar stratagem. Of the 
four civilians who were compelled to march in front of 
this column, two were killed and two were severely 
wounded, according to a later investigation made by the 
French authorities. 

In a number of instances the diaries offer corroborative 
evidence of the allegations made in the French Official Re- 
port. A striking example of such coincidence is afforded 
by the accounts of the conduct of the Germans at Nomeny 
in the Department of Meurthe-et-Moselle. According to 
the French account the Germans, in a state of terrible ex- 
citement, entered this town, where the inhabitants had 
taken refuge in their cellars to escape the fire of artillery, 
on August 20th, and gave themselves over to abominable 
excesses, sacking and burning the town systematically and 
killing many of the people as they were attempting to 
escape from the burning houses. The report states further 
"that an officer arrived at the end of the butchery and 
ordered the women who were still alive to get up and 
shouted to them : * Go to France ! ' " The town was almost 
entirely destroyed. The French emphatically denied the 
charge that the inhabitants had fired on the German troops. 

The same incident is described in the diary of a private 
of the 8th Bavarian regiment of infantry as follows : 

"A shell burst near the 11th company and wounded 
seven men, three of them seriously. At five o'clock the 
order was (given) to us by the officer commanding the 
regiment to shoot all the male inhabitants of Nomeny and 
to raze the whole town to the ground because the people 




X '-ps. 




:^ '^v, 

- 1'- 




1 -^ 





C 3 J= I -T3 ti = 

•5 -o 
in !U 

^ r- O 

- - -C 

E • = 
■^ t/) -J 

•- ii =^ 

■^ > cc '— 

r •- ?^ o 
5 /^ ^ 

22 >^ :s 

o '-' 

^ fc c 


5 « 












• — 




:o ^ 

■^ 4.: 

^ o 

*-^ c^ 

ZJ ^ 


bC O 


2 ^ o 

r3 C rt o c ^ j:: 

o _ 

o s-* — 

O ^ X ^ 

^-. h^ > 1> 

-c> — 




















<a • 






• — 











































. t^ 

^ X) 

— 1^ ^ r ~ 

5 i^ o '-i c 

2 - i 

-c ~ bL -= 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 361 

were making a mad attempt to oppose with arms the 
advance of the German troops. We broke into the houses 
and seized all those who resisted, to execute them accord- 
ing to martial law. The houses which either the French 
or our own artillery had not yet set on fire were burnt bv 
us, and in consequence almost the whole town was reduced 
to ashes. It is a terrible thing to see women and children, 
defenseless and henceforth destitute of everything, driven 
along like a flock of sheep to be shoved off in the direction 
of France." 

A committee was appointed by the British Prime Min- 
ister on December 15, 1914, "to consider and advise on 
the evidence collected on behalf of His Majesty's Govern- 
ment as to outrages alleged to have been committed by 
German troops during the present war, cases of alleged 
maltreatment of civilians in the invaded territories, and 
breaches of the laws and established usages of war; and to 
prepare a report for His Majesty's Government showing 
the conclusion at which they arrive on the evidence avail- 
able." The committee was composed of the former British 
Ambassador to the United States, the Right Honorable 
Viscount Bryce, as chairman; of the eminent lawyers and 
jurists, the Right Honorable Sir Frederick Pollock, the 
Right Honorable Sir Edward Clarke, and Sir Alfred Hop- 
kinson, with Sir Kenelm E. Digby added later; the Vice- 
chancellor of the University of Sheffield and distinguished 
historian, Mr. Herbert A. S. Fisher; and the editor of the 
Edinburgh Review, Mr. Harold Cox. 

The highmindedness and sincerity of these gentlemen 
and their well-founded reputation for discernment and judi- 
cial capacity commended the results of their investigation 
to the thoughtful consideration of neutral nations. Doubt 
may have subsisted as to the reliability and adequacy of the 
available evidence, which was mainly derived from the 

362 The Great War 

depositions of Belgian refugees, whose testimony might 
naturally be biased, and as to the facilities for obtaining a 
correct appreciation of the situation, inasmuch as the in- 
quiry was necessarily conducted in places remote from 
the scene of the occurrences. The committee endeavored 
as far as possible to compensate for these unavoidable dis- 
advantages by their zeal in enlarging the range of their 
evidence and by the thoroughness and critical accuracy 
with which they sifted it. 

More than 1,200 depositions which had already been 
taken from Belgian witnesses and British officers and sol- 
diers by authority of the Home Office were examined by 
the committee, and to this mass of evidence they added 
diaries taken from the German dead and a number of 
proclamations issued by, or at the bidding of, German 
military authorities in Belgium and France. 

The persons of legal knowledge and experience who 
had taken the depositions in different parts of the United 
Kingdom are said to have performed their task in a strictly 
fair and impartial manner. They reported that the Belgian 
witnesses exhibited very little vindictiveness or emotional 
excitement. The committee, for their part, found that the 
depositions, "though taken at different places and on differ- 
ent dates, and by different lawyers from different witnesses," 
often corroborated one another in a striking manner. 

After a thorough analysis and comparison of the material 
the committee arrived at the following conclusions : 

(1) That there were in many parts of Belgium deliberate 
and systematically organized massacres of the civil popula- 
tion, accompanied by many isolated murders and other 

(2) That in the conduct of the war generally innocent 
civilians, both men and women, were murdered in large 
numbers, women violated, and children murdered. 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 363 

(3) That looting, house burning, and the wanton destruc- 
tion of property were ordered and countenanced by the 
officers of the German army, that elaborate provision had 
been made for systematic incendiarism at the very out- 
break of the war, and that the burnings and destruction 
were frequent where no military necessity could be alleged, 
being indeed part of a system of general terrorization. 

(4) That the rules and usages of war were frequently 
broken, particularly by the using of civilians, including 
women and children, as a shield for advancing forces ex- 
posed to fire, to a less degree by killing the wounded and 
prisoners, and in the frequent abuse of the Red Cross and 
the White Flag. 

Of special interest is the observation that most of the 
systematic outrages or severities took place between August 
4th and 30th, and along geographical Hues forming an 
irregular Y, the trunk extending from the German frontier 
to Liege, and the arms from Liege to Charleroi and from 
Liege to Mechlin respectively, corresponding with the 
invaders' most prominent lines of advance and later of 
communication. In the words of the report, **for the first 
fortnight of the war the towns and villages near Liege 
were the chief sufferers. From the 19th of August to the 
end of the month, outrages spread in the directions of 
Charleroi and Malines (Mechlin) and reach their period 
of greatest intensity. There is a certain significance in the 
fact that the outrages round Liege coincide with the unex- 
pected resistance of the Belgian army in that district, and 
that the slaughter which reigned from the 19th of August 
to the end of the month is contemporaneous with the 
period when the German army's need for a quick passage 
through Belgium at all costs was deemed imperative." 

The charges elaborated in these reports, as briefly out- 
lined, constituted the most formidable indictment for 

364 The Great War 

brutality which had been preferred against any enlightened 
nation in modern times, and Germany's answer was awaited 
with feelings of scornful incredulity or intense suspense. 

While there was a tendency in some quarters in Ger- 
many to regard any apology for the conduct of the army 
as an indignity, the general outcry of indignation abroad 
provoked the natural response. Voices were raised both 
privately and officially to denounce the ''campaign of lies," 
and the civilian population of Belgium was accused of 
having treated German wounded and prisoners with the 
most inhuman cruelty. 

But in vain the amiable character of the German people 
and the proverbially inflexible discipline of the German 
army were invoked as proof of the inability of their sol- 
diers to commit the enormities charged against them. No 
previous record, however lustrous, could alone avail against 
the evidence of palpable and gruesome facts, the graves of 
five or six thousand civilians recently slain, the ruin and 
desolation of once prosperous communities, and the flight 
of a miUion terrified inhabitants. 

Wolff's Bureau issued on January 12, 1915, a reply to 
the report of the French committee with an indignant 
refutation of all the charges contained in it, but apparently 
before full knowledge of its contents had been received, 
for the article declared that "all the general points are 
without specific particulars as to time, place, the guilty 
parties, or proofs of these acts of murder, incendiarism, and 
rape." It stated furthermore that wherever the French 
government had quoted particular cases, the German gov- 
ernment had ordered an investigation, the results of which 
"could be awaited with calmness and confidence," but that 
the French allegation that the German army had wantonly 
burned seventy houses in Luneville could be immediately 
refuted, since this severity had been necessitated by the 

Vanchilisni in Louvain, tlie intellectual capital of the Low Countries since the Miiklle 
Ages : ruins of the Hotel du Nord and other buildings. 

Louvain. The Town Hall unscatlu-d, while of the church of Saint Pierre and ot tlie 
university nothing remains but the walls. 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 365 

treachery of the civilians who fired on German troops in 
the Military Hospital on the afternoon of August 25, 1914, 
and in the streets on the following morning. 

A criticism of Professor Bedier's pamphlet appearing in 
the semi-official Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung in seven 
columns on February 28, 1915, confined itself mainly to 
the exposition of a few unimportant inaccuracies of trans- 
lation and seemed to admit by inference the incontroverti- 
bility of the general basis of facts, but at the same time 
very pertinently emphasized the probability that the epi- 
sodes narrated in the diaries of the German soldiers were 
almost exclusively incidents in the franc-tireur warfare, an 
argument which in reality constitutes the only effectual 
basis for the attempted refutation of the charges. 

Finally, on May 15, 1915, the German government pub- 
lished an Official White Book for the purpose of proving 
by the sworn depositions of a large number of eye-witnesses 
in the German army that the Belgian people of all classes 
and ages, and of both sexes, engaged in a contest with the 
German troops in flagrant violation of international law, 
making treacherous attacks in parts of the country, and in 
towns and villages, which had already been occupied and 
were ostensibly pacific, and that the severities practised by 
the German troops against the civilian population of Bel- 
gium were in all cases absolutely necessary and justifiable 
measures for the suppression of this unlawful conduct. 

The compilers of the report were convinced that this 
popular outbreak was systematically planned at the instiga- 
tion, or at least with the complicity of the Belgian authori- 
ties. They claimed, furthermore, that the people, blinded 
with rage or perverted by unscrupulous leaders committed 
savage acts of cruelty, mutilating and killing the wounded 
and captives, engaged in every form of treachery, violated 
the sanctity of the Red Cross, and fired on surgeons and 

366 The Great War 

nurses who were engaged in performing their professional 

The arduous problem of reconciling the German report 
with the statements made by the Allies, particularly by the 
Belgians themselves, is strikingly illustrated by the case of 
Andenne. Here, according to the German account, the 
population received the German troops in a friendly man- 
ner on August 20th; but suddenly, upon the ringing of 
the church-bells at 6.30 in the evening, the inhabitants 
barricaded their houses and opened fire on the unsuspect- 
ing soldiers from cellar-windows and apertures in the roofs, 
utilizing hand-bombs, hand-grenades, boiling water, and 
even machine-guns for their furious onslaught. The Ger- 
man troops upon recovering their presence of mind forced 
their way into the houses, shot about two hundred persons 
who resisted or were caught with arms, and burned the 
buildings from which shots had been fired as rightful 
retaliation for the treacherous attack. The Belgians, on 
the contrary, insisted, as we have seen, that the inhabitants 
of Andenne did nothing to offend the Germans or provoke 
their resentment. Besides the testimony contained in the 
official reports, many other accounts by eye-witnesses, 
especially accounts of the occurrences in Belgium by Hol- 
landers, citizens of a neutral country, are very important, 
but cannot be discussed here in detail. 

One general reservation must be made before we pro- 
ceed to the weighing of the evidence. 

The examination of the legal and moral principles in- 
volved in the conduct of Germany toward Belgium in the 
first and second volumes of the present work revealed 
ample grounds for the opinion that the Belgian people 
possessed within their national boundaries, collectively and 
individually, the unqualified right to life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness, and the absolute use, disposition, and 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 367 

enjoyment of their property both public and private, unre- 
stricted by any intrusion or encroachment in consequence 
of an external state of hostilities. And governed by this 
strict, but theoretically irrefutable, opinion, many persons 
will emphatically designate any infringement of these 
incontestable privileges by foreign interference simply and 
unconditionally as an odious enormity, regarding the inso- 
lent treatment of the least of the Belgians as a grave mis- 
demeanor, every curtailment of the use of property as a 
trespass, every confiscation as a felony, every destruction 
by fire as arson, every exaction as brigandage, every viola- 
tion of personal liberty as an outrageous assault, and the 
taking of human life in Belgium, in any situation whatever, 
as homicide, murder, or assassination. In accordance with 
this conception, the invasion of Belgium was tantamount 
to a filibustering excursion, which justly exposed the par- 
ticipants without any legitimate redress to whatever meas- 
ures of self-defense or retribution the inhabitants of the 
country were impelled to take. 

This extreme opinion would eliminate all discussion 
regarding the justifiability of the conduct of Germans in 
Belgium, where the chief part of the alleged atrocities 
occurred, by regarding the invasion of that country in itself 
as the supremely culpable atrocity and consequently all 
the particular actions of the invaders as inherently out- 
rageous without reference to the circumstances in each 
individual case. 

For the sake of the present argument, therefore, we 
shall disregard this extreme view altogether and assume 
that the conditions of belligerency and the usages of war- 
fare applicable to the operations in Belgium were precisely 
the same as those that prevailed elsewhere. It may be 
assumed, moreover, as established by the various reports, — 
although space forbids a detailed exposition of all the steps 

368 The Great War 

by which these conclusions have been reached on the basis 
of the evidence, — on the one hand, that the Germans com- 
mitted acts of great severity in Belgium and France; on 
the other, that the participation of civilians or irregular 
combatants in the fighting, alleged as cause of these severi- 
ties, actually occurred in many localities. 

All destruction of property incidental to the develop- 
ment of the hostile engagements of regular warfare, or 
unavoidably produced in the course of the actual fighting, 
must be excluded from the category of atrocities and from 
every consideration of moral responsibility for lawless or 
wanton conduct. For within the arena of combat, tactical 
requirements unquestionably overrule or supersede all other 
interests and considerations. 

In many instances, however, it is impossible to trace the 
distinction with such accuracy as to avoid every ambiguity. 
The battle-lines in northern France and Belgium passed 
very close to a number of cities and towns celebrated for 
their artistic treasures, whose partial or total destruction, 
defended by the Germans as a military necessity, has pre- 
cipitated a series of prolonged and inconclusive contro- 
versies. The German military authorities insisted, for ex- 
ample, that the dismantling or destruction of convenient 
points of observation for directing the fire of artillery, 
whether cathedral towers or municipal belfries, was an in- 
dispensable military measure for the safety of their armies. 

As already mentioned, the cathedral at Reims, the an- 
cient coronation place of the kings of France, was first 
damaged by artillery-fire soon after the French reoccupied 
the city. First-lieutenant Wengler of the German heavy 
artillery, who directed the firing of the much-maligned 
shots, stated that a French observer on the northern tower 
of the cathedral was first noticed on September 13th, when 
the firing of the French artillery became very much more 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 369 

accurate, and that observation from this point continued 
until the 18th, when a German projectile from a 15-centi- 
meter howitzer struck the observation tower and another 
from a 21-centimeter mortar fell on the roof of the 
cathedral and set it on fire. 

The Germans, while admitting the bombardment of 
Reims for the dispersion of hostile artillery, maintained 
that these were the only shots deliberately aimed at the 
venerable old building. But Mr. Richard Harding Davis, 
who arrived at the cathedral about three o'clock on the 
afternoon of the 18th asserted positively that howitzer 
shells had already penetrated the wall and killed two of 
the German wounded who were lying in the nave, that, 
twenty-four hours after Lieutenant Wengler claimed to 
have ceased firing, shells set fire to the roof of the cathe- 
dral and wrecked the archbishop's palace and the chapel 
which connected it with the rear of the cathedral, and that 
the whole quarter around had been largely reduced to ruins 
by the bombardment. Mr. Davis was again in the cathe- 
dral on the 22d, while it was again being shelled, in com- 
pany with the Abbe Chinot, Mr. Gerald Morgan, Captain 
Granville Fortescue of Washington, and the Honorable 
Mr. Robert Bacon, formerly American ambassador to 

Throughout the remainder of the campaign Reims was 
repeatedly shelled, the bombardment continuing many 
days, or even weeks, almost without interruption. Showers 
of projectiles often fell in the vicinity of the cathedral, 
especially in the Place du Parvis in front of the western, 
or main, facade. 

Although in a structural sense the cathedral has not been 
destroyed, the ineffable elegance and wealth of decoration 
of its interior have been rudely treated. The priceless 
sculptural adornment of the principal front has suffered 

370 The Great War 

the most grievous damage, caused in large part by the 
burning of the scaffolding covering this entire facade, 
which had been erected for the v^ork of restoration that 
had been in progress for several years. This conflagration 
extended to the interior and destroyed the confessionals, 
choir-stalls, and other woodwork. Measures were event- 
ually taken to protect the remaining figures on the west 
facade from being damaged by the fragments of shells 
exploding in the square in front. 

In view of the effective activity of French artillery sta- 
tioned in Reims, or in its suburbs, and of the cardinal 
importance of the city as a center of military communica- 
tions, the pretension that the Germans, by subjecting it to 
their severe cannonading, violated article 25 of The Hague 
Convention, which forbids the bombardment of unde- 
fended places, scarcely seems tenable. 

The same question of responsibility based on a similar 
situation arises in connection with the monuments of Sois- 
sons, particularly the beautiful Gothic cathedral, which was 
perforated by shells in a number of places. 

The graceful, richly decorated belfry of Arras was 
completely destroyed, and the Hotel de Ville, a precious 
monument of the Spanish-Flemish Transition style of the 
sixteenth century, was mostly reduced to a sorrowful mass 
of ruins. 

Saddest of all are the losses at Ypres, which have already 
been briefly described. The grand old Cloth Hall, unique 
example of its kind, stands rent and shattered, a pathetic 
wreck, the noble belfry reduced to a formless fragment, 
the exquisite Renaissance addition at the side ground to 
dust. The defense for the action of the Germans in de- 
stroying the monuments of Ypres is undoubtedly weaker 
than the justification of their conduct in the other in- 
stances. For Ypres was at no time within the tactical field 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 371 

of conflict. The defense of military necessity can only 
be invoked on the ground that the bombardment of the 
city impeded the passage of troops, or the reinforcing and 
munitioning of the troops on the actual battle-line. 

An unbiased judgment on the basis of a comprehensive 
know^ledge of the circumstances would probably ascribe 
the havoc wrought at Mechlin to the same category as the 
damage inflicted upon the places already discussed. 

Deplorable as these losses are, it is unthinkable that the 
German military authorities were so heedless of every con- 
sideration of expediency as uselessly to offend the sensi- 
bility of the civilized world by the deliberate defacement 
or destruction of artistic monuments, as is sometimes in- 
sinuated, with no practical purpose in view. The idea, 
moreover, that the destruction of these monuments was 
part of a calculated policy of terrorism intended to destroy 
the resolution of the enemy imputes to the German General 
Staff an unbelievable ignorance of the fundamental impulses 
of human conduct. For artistic monuments cannot be used 
with effect like pawns to secure the tranquil behavior of an 
infuriated people. 

A similar problem respecting the limits of legitimate 
warfare has been created by the bombardment of cities 
and towns from aeroplanes and dirigibles. German air- 
craft dropped bombs on Louvain, Namur, Antwerp, and 
many other places, and for a time paid almost daily hostile 
visits to Paris. This practice, which brought wounds and 
death to many harmless non-combatants, excited intense 
and widespread indignation, and has been regarded as a 
part of the alleged German policy of calculated frightful- 
ness. Although most of the places were defended by \ery 
strong fortifications, the Allies contended that these attacks 
were a gross violation of the regulations of The Hague 
Convention of 1907, either because they were made without 

372 The Great War 

any previous warning, or else because, as in the case of 
Paris, the points at which they were directed were so far 
from the forts that they obviously served no strictly mili- 
tary purpose whatever. As an exhaustive examination of 
all the questions involved in this complicated problem 
would detain us too long, we must dismiss it with the 
general observation that the practice of bombarding indis- 
criminately from the sky the streets and buildings of cities 
and towns has not been justified by the familiar argument 
of military necessity or success. 

It is impossible not to recognize that a fundamental dis- 
tinction for the purposes of the present discussion exists 
between the isolated acts of brutality committed by indi- 
viduals and the systematic acts of severity inflicted by com- 
mand of the regular military authorities. In the gigantic 
armies of even the most civilized nations in time of war 
there must be many depraved individuals whose criminal 
propensities are likely to be inflamed by the privations and 
excitement of warfare and by separation from any restrain- 
ing influences of their customary environment. The crimes 
committed by such men may affect unfavorably the general 
estimate of the state of morality and refinement among the 
people whom they so unworthily represent, but they do 
not involve the government or the military chiefs in the 
charge of violating the rules of warfare, unless the latter 
make themselves virtually accomplices in guilt by their 
culpable laxity. 

In spite of the indignant assertions of the German press 
that the German commanders effected with full success 
the maintenance of the strictest discipline, we feel con- 
strained to urge in their behalf that many of the acts of 
brutality which occurred in Belgium and France were 
probably committed without their sanction. The occur- 
rence in individual cases of such lawless excesses does not 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 373 

seem to be entirely inconsistent with the recorded condi- 
tions of criminality. 

A comparison of analyses of available German Imperial 
Statistics for the ten-year period (1897 to 1907) and of the 
reports of the Home Office of the United Kingdom during 
the nearest similar ten-year period published (1900 to 1910) 
shows the following average yearly convictions for crimes: 

In the 
In Germany. United Kingdom. 

Murders 350 97 

Felonious woundings . . . 172,153 1,262 

Rapes 9,381 216 

Incest 573 56 

Malicious damage to property 25,759 358 

(These reports show also that during the same period 
the average yearly number of illegitimate births in Ger- 
many was 178,115; and in the United Kingdom 37,041). 

It may be thought that the law is more strictly enforced 
in Germany: this may be true as to the punishment of 
minor misdemeanors, but certainly not as to serious crimes, 
for British courts are proverbially strict in respect of 
crimes such as those in the table given above. Of course 
some allowance should be made for the difference in popu- 
lation, but Germany has only about half as many million 
more people than the United Kingdom. 

In face of the abundant evidence, especially that fur- 
nished by passages in the diaries of the German soldiers 
themselves, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that 
during the invasion of Belgium and France the German 
troops fre(]uently plundered wine-shops and wine-cellars 
and drank to intoxication. 

But for the reasons already adduced our attention will be 
directed mainly to the severities executed by order of the 

374 The Great War 

military authorities. The treatment of these will be based 
upon the instances in which there is practically no question 
as to the nature and extent of the severities inflicted. 

Some particular cases in the chapter of atrocities have 
been invested with particular interest and significance by 
the sensational character of the occurrences themselves, 
the extent of the losses, and the ardor of the ensuing 
polemics. A clear statement of the basis of accepted fact 
and of the chief points of controversy in a few of these in- 
stances will help to illuminate the whole field of discussion. 

We shall consider first the case of Aerschot, a town of 
8,000 inhabitants about ten miles northeast of Louvain, 
where the 8th German infantry brigade was quartered on 
August 19th. The municipal authorities of Aerschot re- 
ceived the Germans with every mark of respect, the mayor, 
M. Tielemans, offered the brigade-commander. Colonel 
Stenger, the hospitality of his own home which faced the 
market-place, and the relations between civilians and the 
military were apparently harmonious until about eight in 
the evening, when shooting suddenly began in the streets 
near the market-place. 

According to the German account civilians opened fire 
from the houses upon the soldiers in the streets and upon 
the supply trains passing through the town. The houses 
from which firing took place were accordingly burned 
and a number of guilty or suspected civiHans were led off 
for execution. Soon after the firing began. Colonel Stenger 
was found lying mortally wounded on the floor of a front 
room in the mayor's house, where he had been sitting near 
the open balcony doors. He had probably been hit by a 
shot from the opposite side of the market-place. The 
circumstances of the outbreak seemed to show that it had 
been deliberately prepared in anticipation of the coming of 
the Germans. 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 375 

But the Belgians and their allies affirmed that the exist- 
ence of a plot, the participation of the population of Aer- 
schot in acts of hostility, and the alleged guilt or complicity 
of the mayor and of his family were pure fabrications. They 
suggested that the commotion might have arisen from the 
aimless shooting of drunken soldiers who were engaged 
in terrorizing the inhabitants, and that the killing of the 
commander might easily have been explained as caused by 
a German shot discharged at random in the general excite- 
ment and confusion. 

However the case may be, the mayor, his son, and his 
brother were executed by the Germans the next day on 
purely circumstantial evidence of guilt or else as an act 
of reprisal. Colonel Jenrich, the post-commander, had 
warned the mayor that he would be held responsible with 
his own life for any attack that should be made by the 
civilian population. 

Dinant was of fundamental strategical importance for the 
Germans in the early weeks of the war, because, in the 
development of their great plan for outflanking and envel- 
oping the Allies, it was essential that the Twelfth Army 
Corps should cross the Meuse at that point. The tenta- 
tive occupation of Dinant on August 15th need not detain 
us. On the evening of August 21st the 2d battalion of 
sharpshooters of the 108th (Fusilier) regiment and a de- 
tachment of pioneers made a reconnoissance in force as far 
as this town, which was occupied in part by the troops of 
the enemy. 

The Germans coming from the direction of Ciney were 
received with a fusillade from the nearest houses as they 
were entering the town by the Rue St. Jacques. They 
made their way as far as the bridge, but were assailed from 
all sides and forced to retreat, setting fire to a number of 
houses in the streets through which they passed. 

376 The Great War 

On the 23d the Twelfth Corps made a determined effort 
to gain the left bank of the Meuse and advanced in the 
direction of Dinant and its vicinity, the Thirty-second 
Division towards the north and the Twenty-third Division 
towards the south. 

According to German accounts it required a desperate 
conflict to overcome the resistance of the civilian popula- 
tion in Dinant and the neighboring places. The first bat- 
talion of the regiment of Body Guards was subjected to a 
galling fire as it descended the steep slope into Dinant, and 
the troops were compelled to storm each house separately. 
The civilians who were caught with arms in their hands 
were shot on the spot, while all those who were suspected 
were held as hostages. The Germans themselves suffered 
considerable losses. The 108th and 182d regiments ap- 
proaching Dinant further north had a similar experience. 
Eventually the troops had to be withdrawn from Dinant so 
that the obstinate resistance of the population could be 
crushed by a bombardment. 

The German report is singularly reticent about the ulti- 
mate fate of the town. But the ruin of this picturesque 
and prosperous place, the destruction of all but 200 of its 
1,400 buildings, and the conversion of an unusually attrac- 
tive panorama into a mournful scene of waste and desola- 
tion can neither be hidden nor disguised. 

According to the statements published by the Allies the 
Germans committed barbarous outrages in Dinant both on 
the 21st and 23d without any provocation from the civilian 
population. Finally, they sacked and burned the town sys- 
tematically and executed groups of from 50 to 120 civilians, 
massacring in all about 800 persons. 

From the extensive testimony presented in the German 
report and from some of the diaries of the German soldiers, 
particularly a passage in the diary of a private of the 108th 

■as g S 

- ^ S I 

g = ij3 

- ■« U 

O.'O o 

„ « a. 

i -^i I .5 S " 5 

1 - S so ^ ^ O o 

1 '5 /;; ci. "li = -g y ' c 

^-5 c V -o ct: - -j; ^ .-3 

- O.S. o 

w w -.v D- c T -o it: — « ^ .'S 




E g 

a 3 8 ^ "* ■^ 

« o c w «3 

■'C i; o u c c 

•O C — 41 c 

g ■" "^ 3 J C 

„ 2 " '" =" c 

S -§ ."- g -5 S 

U (J c 

a a -a 

a- 3 C 

S '- = 

li 3 r 

2 ^ E 

C3 " S 

!- . C _ 

If sJ-^ 

3 O ^ 

^ T3 3 3 ;^ '5 

w ^ -1> 3 , 

5 C .^ .M ^ 3 S = ., 

~ ,^ S.O a " V '-' a ^ 

t) -U rt 3 1- *^ 2 (, 

■^ ^ -"a.-?, g " s -CI t; 

'^ ' ^ a t '^'S § u o 

o ■= E g be a 




^ ^;^ 




^ "^ 











"o ^ 




'- •< 



"^ -Sn 

3 3 

i "^S TJ 

c S. 5 

55 s s „ 3 « 

^ V -o -a -u — 

£; CO, :3 3^3'-^.st: 
c.ij .9o'yo>rt— — 

= ° - -5 o ; 

i -a 

^ .6 3 ja c •« 
m „ jj cr o - 

I — — u — St; ^ 

" ■" o. SP^ 


"1 O -;r 

,, ., „ ., 4) .- C 

<" " T S .. O" « 

^ 3 


I :^ -S 5 g- „ e ^ 5= e ..- S I 



- -<> ^ 

5G „ rt^3 3o«' <l>:--!r4).l2gc S3 3 

P .2 2 n 

M O '3 D. 

._ ■ Ci. 

E -a -o rt 

S -S . "5. "^ u 

E ^ ^ 3 S -^ 

u rt c c 

3 C u 
U O :^ 



^^ e I 
§ 5 8-p 

S E .cc 

I =^ 


E 2 

ON U S '^ 

"" J .b 3 5 

a 3 ^ 11 SI 

•S S "^ 5 .! ii 

D. K S CC = 3 

6 S .= ■£ -c " 
" t ;; E S 

■£ « ^ xi ., c - 

c '^^ 3 " S T ° 

5 - :^ t; E (N ~ 

■5 .5 -? S ^ 5 -^ S ^ 

^ ^a „-^ a"-3 

c 3 - a, . g. «i ra o 

" "O ii e 3 ^ I, i=^ 

e „cSo guS - 

p £ to ^r "^ s -S c-:: 

3 > 5 „ tc ■ 2 

E S s 

R 2 a. 

E -S- . 

A iT 3 u .r; „• 

3 .i "5 '^ E 

■i<J 5 « „ 

o 23 3 5 -'' 
'tJ -a c 'g u 
E ^2 « ^ •= 

c -3 

-4; JJ -5i Tt ■*- 

E-S . U 



■r 3 C ;- o 

•rt S 

o i;-g 

"_ S3-D.,, „_c-^SciP-3^c ^35 

" " g ^ s 2 2 >v e '•■■ " ■■-- "' -" - ~ 

— .^' -" n [^ ?i " "^ M 2 „ "IT 3 4) -o ■= " S ui '•^ (/5 ,, ■" -t: ^^ — " g « K 
--■■•2 o -^i^oj^u^— gu„ „'-^:^5jr^t:'-,-:^ii.t:"'-r-«t:- 

.Wmsg:;: £'^Ec'^^_ 0^3 -=3^0 >C3's;~ _i.>^u° c. 

3^">'^-3-«£,:5SSuo:?'j:°5;S '^":3^3-a^c">" &3« 

^3.,,iic-«o«'-;^Eo" ^5 «;3-5 u'ic^rt -Trt"! _-5b3 

"xg-a^ 3^U^>0,C 4) S C^^ ^ K 3^. OC's^':^--"^-"-^ 

^4,„ «; ;2~c:s^£« -i2 5 ^5hS 0330?-- rt^ .^ '"c^ 

- c c 3 1"^ ,r 5 H « -« i:. K 5, « -9 « &- 2 4; u. " n c c " „ u 3 cj 

3 (-1 »> 

' s £ « E r; 

; X o S i; ^' 

- i M E "? 1= 

' c S c " 

; ^^— u u S 

: CQ - 4) "^ ::^ 

' 4> " S S '^ 

3 ;i: 3 "rt 3 ::r 

C rt 4) o ■ — 

•^ ™ .fe c *^ 6 

o cH •— 

o " -o « S « 

S- S "^ E _3 JU 

u "a 3 rt "S o 

M X -S ~ ^ c- 

« C o 

t: <o 4) I .2 
S3 3 c =_ 5 

u £ 3 

w I ^ c n 
E -o 

^ E ^. 
•5 c2 

I S 

„'n2B--o E- c:._rj- 34; tx) -1;,-, '^P' 

3g«r::i c5 Cn-i>. otSSa „ 3-4,^ 


c 3 -a 

" -^ o « 2 2 
9- E 3 g _rt 

<^ -v. 

k. Q 

5 « 

■^ ^'1: 







cs .n 

^ U! 


S R- 




t* c 










^ « s -1' rt 

-3 «::< 

2 < «.i-B 

o .S 

- s -S y, ;= a; 

— i2 !L1 

fen O .— 

M ^ 

- ^ rt — 


<_ :^ 5 3 


: -r c! 

I 4J S ._ 

rt O i "-^ 

C •-T' ., c 


C .-' ^ C-i*"* 

S c S 


« .:: — 






K Cj 



o u 

























~ .2 

T3 O tfl J; 

•rt c =: ^ 



^ i ~ 3 ST- •= £ E ^2 

?: — . ^-- i' ? « X cj •= t; 

^ -.-c ^ 

Ji'B?J^ii oo'^'S 

Z. ^ ^ -r 

'X ■r.'T^. n. o F y 

1) -— 7; 




















-^ C ^r' ^ 

• n -S iJ N ^ 


I oT 5 o rt 

2 H <u 0) 

a; O ^ ^ 

I S 1:5 

j2 o •;; -s 


o S -3 

< ='£ 2 ^'cS 
I :: ^-7 I 

40 .£ £fl »>,£ 

►H rti rt .^ « 

■3 -S rt J3 

_ _ S^ 3 3 ti' 

3^ >, L ^ C '>^ r^-5 = 

OJOJ-T- "or; ■" = "=' 
^ j= _g £ ;5 jj ^ 

■w -w pC v^ ^^ > tfi 

^ 2 

^ 01k 

— 3 "C S n 

■3 2 2i Sl- 

ed 6 .^ 3 5? 

lU -• b/3— O ■ = 

5 5^:2 o-t > 



•2 ST" 

- tyo !> _ 

dj o 

7) _2 

a- -s 5 — 

;. c ^ ^ :a 

.2 ?f-^'- i - 

^ :£ « ;= ,_ ^ 

— 2 2 5 -> o 
23 ; E So 
3 2 .;£ •- ^ „ 

C S 

2 '^ 
•3 3 

•r" >— I o S ?! 






— ' 






3 -Z 























u . 























rt ^ 






t: ^ 







?! ?r 





















oT ii 
X c 













M u" 















3 C 















1 3 
1 2 













<* jj 












2 2-i"S 

"rt ^ 

.2 — ** 

s c «j S 
a rt -a: o 
o i 2>i: 
•5 £ - >^ 
3 SB's 

C >^ rt 
C i 3 

•- a! T^ 

1) rt j7 

« t^ 3-g 7? E 
?/= 3 i So <^-=. 

S 'rt a i* rt'-. 

7: rt .^ C ^ ,i 

3 S -iZ- 2 

-C 2 "rt 

•£ 3 t: 

Ji 3 i^ 

S — — ' 

E ? •" w X 
'^ tf -^ X ^- 

f^ -T 3 = 

^i i^": 2 

^ - u, 3 O 

7- ? ^ 2 -J 

'' = '5 E -J 

2 ^ 2 i^ b Ji . 

3 £ e-.ji S -1 ^ t; 

c •= ~ 3 x 2 ;; 

-. £.£ ?^« 5 I ,^ 

?*« 3 3 

>» — - 

•3 S <u rt -i ^"^ tf 

M_g 3 ^~ -B i 7. 

— V ' 3 ~ """ "p ^ 


^^ — 2-2a'^ 
• ^--2 i"^ 3 oj^ 

^rt V. 3 o ii ^ ~ 

S ~ ? X rt .y, 
-_£ ° o 0:2:3 

Sa,7gi -S_^ 

^3 u " 

y 'c u 

- t S X 

3 7: 

1- y 
v2 '■•^ 

rt ^- OJ 

3 rt X 

■"3 2 

i"^' .i 

3 6X1 i_- - 

c •£ ,, .. 

<J 3 w 3 

— ^ rt u 

J3 C-J3: 3 tx3 _j: 

"^ w X — "rt ii - 

£|| ?^ >.2: 

^ ^ c ^ -x i -r "^ .| J ?. I 


oj - 

i"- rt 

V V ^ 

2 2 = 

EJc^ 'o 

■7- X o 

rt u 

- ■> 2 .-3 ^ - 

^ - rt 
>. X 


;:: ^£ «■= 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 377 

regiment cited by Professor Bedier, it seems impossible 
not to conclude that civilians engaged in acts of hostility at 
Dinant and its vicinity. It is unlikely, moreover, that the 
German commanders dissipated the strength of the maneu- 
vering wing of their armies at this very critical juncture by 
detaining considerable forces for the gratuitous spoliation 
and destruction of an unresisting town, or merely for in- 
culcating by another and rather superfluous example of 
frightfulness their salutary lesson of submission. 

It is of importance to note in this connection that the 
civilians in Dinant did not wait until the town had been 
occupied to attack the Germans, but openly contested 
their approach. 

After emphasizing the importance of the aim of the 
Twelfth Corps to cross the river at Dinant, the German 
Military Commission for the Investigation of Offenses 
against the Laws of War comments upon the destruction 
of the town, the shooting of civilians who engaged in 
hostilities, and the execution of hostages, as follows: 

"It was a military necessity quickly to overcome the 
resistance of the inhabitants who opposed that aim, — an 
aim which had to be attained by every means. From that 
point of view it was certainly justiflable to bombard with 
artillery the town which had taken active part in the fight, 
to burn the houses which were occupied by franc-tireiD's, 
and to shoot the inhabitants who were caught with arms 
in hand. 

** Likewise in agreement with the law was the shooting 
of the hostages which took place in various localities. . . . 
The hostages were secured in order to stop the action of 
the franc-tireurs . As, nevertheless, the people continued to 
inflict losses on the fighting troops the shooting of the 
hostages had to be resorted to. Otherwise their seizure 
would only have meant a vain threat." 

378 The Great War 

The first German troops marched into Louvain on 
August 19th, but there was no interruption of peaceful 
intercourse between the people and the troops until the 
25th. On that day, as already noted, the Belgian army 
made a vigorous sortie from the intrenched camp of Ant- 
werp and there was an engagement in the neighborhood 
of Louvain. The Ninth Reserve Corps, which was coming 
to support the Third Reserve Corps was detraining at Lou- 
vain and the column began to pass through the streets at 
six in the evening. The staff of General von Boehm, 
commander of the Ninth Reserve Corps, had made its 
headquarters in the famous Town Hall. 

As the Germans claim, about eight in the evening (Ger- 
man time), soldiers of a Landsturm company (von Sandt), 
which had just marched from the northwest exit of the 
city to the railway station in the east, noticed the appear- 
ance of a green and then a red rocket, and simultaneously 
with this signal the inhabitants opened fire upon the Ger- 
man troops at the station, and at the Town Hall and in the 
intervening section of the city, throwing the transport col- 
umn into confusion and kilHng and wounding a number of 
officers and soldiers. It was natural to assume that this 
outbreak had been carefully planned to synchronize with 
the sortie from Antwerp. General von Boehm returned 
from the battlefield to Louvain about H.SO and ordered a 
Landwehr brigade to march into the city for suppressing 
the uprising, seized the mayor and other leading citizens as 
hostages, and caused them to be led through the streets to 
summon the inhabitants to cease hostilities. This measure 
was apparently without success, for the attacks are said to 
have continued on the 26th and 27th. 

In the meantime the Germans had been breaking into 
the houses from which shooting was supposed to have 
occurred, and setting fire to them. The conflagration 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 379 

spread throughout the neighborhood of the Town Hall 
during the night of the 25th-26th. By morning the Uni- 
versity Library, the pride and delight of many generations, 
had been consumed, and the flames were attacking the 
Church of St. Peter, which was partially damaged. Dr. 
Ingermann of the Landwehr is said to have been treach- 
erously wounded while he was saving the pictures from 
this church. As mentioned in a former chapter, the in- 
comparable Town Hall was saved by the efforts of the 
Germans themselves. 

The alleged discovery of large quantities of arms and am- 
munition and the detection of soldiers disguised as civilians 
are used as evidence to prove the existence of a plot offi- 
cially organized in which important functions were said to 
have been attributed to the Garde Civique and to the clergy. 

The Allies, on the contrary, claim that there is abso- 
lutely no evidence to prove that civilians fired on the Ger- 
man troops. The origin of the commotion is attributed 
by many witnesses to a mistake due to the nervousness of 
the German troops at the station who fired upon their own 
comrades as they were returning from the battlefield. On 
the pretext that civilians had shot at the soldiers the Ger- 
mans burned and bombarded Louvain and slaughtered 
many of the inhabitants as a deliberate act of terrorism 
calculated to shatter the resolution of the Belgians. 

Whatever may have been the real situation which fur- 
nished the occasion for the connnotion, there is scarcelv 
room for doubt that the German leaders decided after 
deliberate reflection that the entire section of Louvain be- 
tween the Town Hall and the railway station should be 
systematically destroyed. This decision was relentlessly 
executed on the 27th and one-sixth of the city, the most 
important section, was reduced to a wilderness of black- 
ened ruins. 

380 The Great War 

We have noticed that the severities v^hich v^ere de- 
nounced as atrocities by the Allies were represented by 
the Germans as necessary measures of retribution for 
repressing the unlawful participation of civilians in acts of 
hostility. The contradiction leads us to examine, first, the 
rightfulness of the employment of retributory measures in 
the given situation, and, secondly, the justice of the measures 
themselves and of the manner in which they were applied. 

The fact that in some instances civilians undoubtedly 
attacked the German troops does not in itself constitute an 
offense against the established rules of war. It is necessary 
to distinguish between the conditions in which the levee eii 
masse, or people's warfare, is lawful and those in which it is 
prohibited, and therefore a question of law arises beside 
the question of fact in connection with the first subject of 
discussion just mentioned. 

It has been shown that the atrocities practised in Serbia 
were largely the consequence of a fundamental difference 
of attitude respecting the extension of the capacity to 
possess the rights of belligerency. We shall presently dis- 
cover that a similar discrepancy existed between the views 
of the antagonists in the western theater. 

The question as to how far the rights of active bellig- 
erency are to be conceded to irregular combatants was 
discussed at The Hague Convention of 1907, when the 
German delegation uniformly advocated a narrow concep- 
tion of legitimate warfare, which would restrict the relative 
defensive capacity of all states whose regular military or- 
ganization is inferior to that of Germany by depriving them, 
to a very large extent, of the right to defend themselves in 
an emergency by improvised and informal methods. But 
the conference adopted a broader conception of legitimate 
warfare in conformity with the view of the British, Bel- 
gian, and Swiss delegations. Recognizing in principle the 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 381 

inalienable right of the inhabitants of an invaded territory 
to take up arms in their own defense, the conference 
formulated the legal basis for the belligerent rights of 
irregular combatants in the first and second articles of the 
Rules of The Hague Convention dealing with the Con- 
duct of War on Land, as adopted in 1907. These rules 
were eventually agreed to by the German delegation. 

A distinction was made between an organized and an 
unorganized people's warfare. In the former the militia 
or bands of volunteer combatants, in order to be recog- 
nized as belligerents, are obliged to conform with the 
following four conditions: they must have responsible 
leaders, they must wear a distinctive emblem recognizable 
at a distance, they must carry their arms openly, and they 
must observe the laws and customs of war. The unor- 
ganized people's warfare is free from the first two condi- 
tions, but in return is bound by two other particular 
stipulations: it may only be waged in the territory not vet 
occupied by the enemy, and there must have been lack of 
time to prepare the organized people's warfare. 

The German and Belgian governments agree, accident- 
ally, in one very important affirmation, namely, that there 
was no organized people's warfare in Belgium, the first by 
declaring that the civilians who engaged in acts of hostility 
had neither responsible leaders nor any distinctive emblem, 
the second by denying emphatically that any measures 
were taken which were calculated to induce civilians to 
fight. It follows, therefore, unless both disputants are 
wrong, that any hostile action on the part of the civilian 
population must fall under the head of unorganized people's 
warfare and ought to conform to the special conditions for 
the same, which limit it to territory not yet occupied by the 
enemy and to situations in which the government has not 
had time to organize the people's warfare. Any civilian 

382 The Great War 

attacks on the German troops in Louvain, Aerschot, An- 
dennes, or elsewhere occurring after the occupation by 
the invaders had been effected must therefore have been 
violations of the established usages of war, provided, of 
course, that the hostile action occurred at the people's own 
initiative, as the Germans claim, and was not provoked by 
the lawless behavior of the soldiers. 

But in other cases the circumstances seem to justify the 
active resistance of the civilian population according to 
the spirit of The Hague Convention. In many localities 
the hostilities in which the civilians were accused of engag- 
ing were attempts to repel the invaders as they approached, 
not treacherous attacks in places already effectively occu- 
pied. Dinant is the most striking example of this class. 
The Germans themselves declare that they were fired upon 
as they first approached the town, but insist that there the 
unorganized people's warfare was a contravention because 
the Belgian authorities had had ample time to organize 
the people's warfare. 

Without pausing to discuss the delicate question of the 
proper limit for the term of legitimate exemption from 
the obligation to organize the people's warfare, we shall 
turn to a more convincing example of the unorganized 
levee en masse in circumstances conformable with article 2 
of The Hague Convention. 

The Germans invaded Belgium almost before the in- 
habitants of the country had received any warning of their 
intentions, and to judge by the invaders' own accounts, 
which doubtless merit reliance, they encountered from 
the first the desperate resistance of the population. But, 
•although this unorganized people's warfare was apparently 
quite legal, since there had been no time for the other- 
wise prescribed organization and the territory had not yet 
been occupied by the enemy, the Germans punished the 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 383 

combatants with the same implacable severity which marked 
their conduct in the treatment of the hostilities that were 
unquestionably forbidden by The Hague Convention. 

The contention that the danger existing for years of a 
Franco-German war imposed the precautionary obligation 
of organizing the people's warfare implies a reproach of the 
Belgians for their misplaced confidence in the German 
government's own repeated pacific assurances. 

A thoughtful consideration creates the impression that 
the Germans neither made, nor intended to make, in their 
treatment of civilians engaged in acts of warfare, any dis- 
tinction corresponding to the principles adopted by The 
Hague Convention. Their rule was absolutely simple and 
could be expressed with laconic brevity in the words of 
one of the diaries: ""der schoss, der wurde erschossen^ — "any- 
one who fired was shot." 

The application of the repressive measures was charac- 
terized by the principle of collective responsibility and by 
the summary infliction of severe reprisals. The first in- 
volves vicarious expiation for the ofl^enses of isolated indi- 
viduals, and it ofi^ends the most elementary sense of justice 
by making the innocent sufi^er with, or for, the guilty. It 
treats the lives of the people of whole communities as 
rightly forfeit, severally or collectively, for local violations 
of the laws of war, and exposes representative personalities 
or others chosen at random to execution for the thought- 
less conduct of the most worthless or irresponsible persons. 

The conduct of the Germans on the basis of this doc- 
trine constitutes the most serious tenable charge against 
their practice. It is scarcely necessary to accunuilate exten- 
sive evidence, since the Germans themselves acknowledge 
it without any hesitation. The Kolnische Zeitung declared, 
for example, in regard to the suppression of the people's 
warfare : 

384 The Great War 

*'We all made one fundamental principle clear: for the 
fault of the individual the community to which he be- 
longed must suffer. The village in which our troops had 
been shot at by the civilian population was burned down. 
If the culprit was not discovered, a few representatives were 
taken out of the general population and shot. Women and 
children were not touched, except when they were found 
with weapons in their hands. 

"This principle may seem hard and cruel, — it has been 
developed from the customs of modern and ancient mili- 
tary history, and, as far as it can be spoken of at all, recog- 
nized. It is also justified by the theory of setting an awful 
example. The innocent must suffer with the guilty ; and, 
when the latter cannot be found, they must suffer for the 

The practice here so clearly described is an unmistakable 
violation of article 50 of the Convention adopted at the 
Second Hague Conference, in 1907, which forbids expressly 
the infliction of any collective penalty, pecuniary or other, 
upon communities for the action of individuals for which 
they could not be considered collectively responsible. 

In vain the plea of military necessity was solemnly ad- 
vanced as final argument for every sanguinary, wholesale 
execution. The world instinctively condemned the hasty, 
inconsiderate acts of retaliation with their inseparable com- 
plement of hideous injustice. Was there time to weigh 
with any semblance of judicial method the guilt imputed 
to each victim of the days of wild commotion at Louvain, 
Andenne, Dinant, and scores of other places? Bloody 
execution must have overtaken many whose only fault was 
physical inability to escape the dangerous proximity of 
their suspected neighbors. 

The impetuous incendiaries of Gue d'Hossus were uncon- 
strained by any discriminating scruples. The promiscuous 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 385 

shooting of the male inhabitants of Nomeny was mani- 
festly unaccompanied by any judicial process. The little 
children mutilated or slain in the wild nocturnal raiding of 
the village near Blamont are silent witnesses to the brutal 
iniquity of such proceedings. 

The practice of taking hostages, a natural corollary of 
the doctrine of collective or vicarious responsibility, was 
generally employed by the Germans as a means for restrain- 
ing the population in localities which had already been 
occupied. An authentic illustration of this practice, as of 
the application of the theory of collective responsibility in 
general, is afforded by the proclamations issued by the 
German military authorities in different parts of the con- 
quered territory in Belgium and France. The following 
extract from a proclamation of Field-marshal von der 
Goltz, then Governor-general of Belgium, dated at Brus- 
sels, October 5, 1914, will serve as a general example : 

'Tn future the communities (localites) nearest the place 
where such acts occur (destruction of railways or telegraph 
lines), whether accomplices or not, will be relentlessly pun- 
ished. To this end, hostages have been taken from all the 
communities near the railways threatened by such attacks 
and at the first attempt to destroy the railways or the tele- 
graph or telephone lines, they will be immediately shot." 

The proclamation issued at Grivegnee on September 8th 
is an even more specific illustration of these repulsive 
methods. It confers, moreover, a startling warrant for 
impulsive acts of violence. In this case the exacting 
harshness is explained, though scarcely palliated, by the 
proximity of an important fortress. The gratuitous humilia- 
tion of the inhabitants decreed in article 8 is an exam- 
ple of the petty arrogance which makes the conciliation 
of a conquered people by official Germany seem almost 

386 The Great War 

The practice of compelling individuals selected from the 
civilian population to cover v^^ith their ov^^n persons the 
march of the German soldiers through tov^ns and other 
places where treacherous attacks by the inhabitants were 
feared is a special application of "hostage-right." For in 
such cases the apprehended attacks would inflict auto- 
matically the retributory penalty upon the hostages. In 
view of the confusion regarding the limits of legitimate 
warfare it is not surprising that this practice should involve 
the Germans in the charge of protecting themselves in 
battle behind a living shield of civilians. From the Ger- 
man point of view the justice of the conduct of Lieutenant 
Eberlein at St. Die depends upon the character of the oppo- 
nents, whether they were regular troops or franc-tireurs. 

The foresight of the Germans, who had provided against 
the hostihty of civilians as against every other contingency, 
does not prove that a systematic policy of terrorism in enemy 
territory was part of their original design. Our opinion 
that they did not anticipate serious resistance on the part 
of Belgium is incompatible with the supposed intentional 
program of intimidation in that country. The opposition 
of the Belgians, and especially the stubborn resistance of 
the civilian population in the first few days of the cam-- 
paign, was a painful disillusionment. 

The German commanders were doubtless exasperated 
by this forced and unforeseen distraction from warfare on 
the large and organized scale in which they had been 
trained, and in which their superiority chiefly lay, to the 
insidious conflict of irregular combatants whom they pro- 
fessionally despised. Instead of showing any forbearance 
in their behavior towards a people whom they publicly 
confessed to have wronged, the invaders, treating every 
hostile action by civilians, without distinction, as a violation 
of the law of war, punished such offenses by the infliction 

Alleged Atrocities in Belgium and France 387 

of the severest penalties for which there was the remotest 
semblance of a precedent. 

In the conduct of the Belgian people's warfare there 
were doubtless many instances in which the prescriptions 
of The Hague Conventions were violated. The sinister 
impression of these early days endured. The legend of 
German barbarity growing more frightful by transmission, 
which drove thousands to panic-stricken flight, probably 
impelled others to desperate but hopeless acts of opposi- 
tion. On the other hand, rumors of treacherous attacks, 
rendered doubly terrible by hints of dark and awful muti- 
lations, quickly spread among the German soldiers. Fear- 
less in the face of visible opponents their fancy shuddered 
at the hidden pitfalls of the narrow, overshadowed streets 
of towns and villages, and perhaps at times their harassed 
nerves gave way to groundless panic at an accidental shot 
or other threatening circumstance. 

In the execution of a maneuver upon which the whole 
campaign depended, when every faculty was strained, when 
the destiny of the universe seemed to hang upon the pro- 
gress accomplished in a single day, it is not surprising that 
the German leaders took drastic measures to eradicate 
what they believed to be a vital menace. 

But when a people not devoid of virile spirit believe 
themselves to be the victims of a treacherous attack, when 
they see their harvests rudely trampled under foot, when 
they behold the ruthless desecration of places hallowed bv 
the dearest ties, where their forefathers repose and they 
themselves were born, where their ofl^spring learned to 
prate their first uncertain accents at their knees, where 
their tenderest sentiments and deepest feelings cluster, a 
choking, palpitating passion grips their heart. The normal 
range of their impulses narrows down to one intense, 
resistless force of execration. Expediency and calculation 

388 The Great War 

are instantly forgotten, and the act of retribution bounti- 
fully compensates for every sacrifice and risk. A common 
fiery zeal coordinates their efforts and their rage supplies 
the weapons. The legal subtleties and chivalrous affecta- 
tions of formal warfare vanish before the concentrated 
fury of their rage. They will fight with wild primeval vio- 
lence, with the splendid ardor of the charge at Marathon, 
with the grim persistence of the Minute Men, with the 
glorious madness of the immortal Five Days' uprising at 
Milan, with the obdurate ferocity of the populace who 
dwelt between the German frontier and Liege, where the 
invaders were compelled, not only to burn the villages, but 
literally to level them with the dust, before resistance was 
eradicated. Regardless of all conventions and of the con- 
sequences, they will struggle with the fierce love of inde- 
pendence which has thrilled the fancy of the ages, and the 
sentimental enthusiasm of mankind will applaud their 
magnificent perversity. 


Signs and Expressions of Public Opinion and 

In France : the hopeful outlook of the French people, M. Viviani's speech 
on December 22d. In Great Britain : truce between the two great political 
parties, the Prime Minister's speech at Guildhall, the king's visit to the 
front, the raiding of the east coast, civilian deaths at Hartlepool, Scar- 
borough, and Whitby. In Germany: the general view of the nation's 
obligation, hatred for Great Britain, the session of the Reichstag on Decem- 
ber 2d, the position of the Socialists. In Austria-Hungary : New Year's 
address of the Hungarian Premier, Count Tisza. In Turkey : demonstra- 
tions and predictions, opening of parliament. In Russia : alleged mis- 
treatment of Mohammedan population, disaffection in the Ukraine, popular 
impressions and the surviving discords. Bismarck's foreign policy and 
the later policy of Germany. General tendencies. 

The reports described in the last chapter were more than 
mere collections of alleged historical evidence. Their 
publication was a historical event in itself, because they 
helped to confirm the spirit of determination in each of the 
belligerent countries. The Allies were more than ever con- 
vinced that they were fighting for freedom against military 
despotism, that they were fighting the battle of humanity 
against barbarism, while at the same time the indignation of 
the Germans was sustained by the ostensible proof that after 
Belgium had become the misguided tool in a wicked con- 
spiracy against themselves, their soldiers had been victims of 
the treachery and savage cruelty of the Belgian people. 

Napoleon once declared that moral factors count for 
three fourths in warfare and the conflict of the physical 
forces for only the remaining fourth. The meteoric 
progress of events in the field of physical conflict has thus 


390 The Great War 

far enthralled our attention in the present volume, but we 
ought not to close without casting at least a fleeting glance 
at the state of public opinion and sentiment in the period 
about the end of the first campaign. 

In the darkest hour, when the menace of a siege hung 
over Paris, M. Alfred Capus, a talented academician, had 
written an editorial for Figaro, expressing the highest spirit 
of devotion of the French nation, in which he said: 

"What is now necessary, — in fact, it is the sole condi- 
tion of national salvation, — is an inexhaustible reserve of 
moral force. . . . 

"Let me repeat. The one condition is that the army 
and its chiefs shall feel back of them a country ready for 
all sacrifices, with undaunted souls, unflinching wills, and a 
definite, coherent government. 

"A weakening of the will, a feebleness of soul, would be 
as detestable as desertion. To lack constancy to-day is to 
desert before the enemy. It is treason. We all have our 
duty, — the government, the press, public opinion. This 
duty, in a single word, is firmness, which implies harmony, 
calmness, the stoic acceptance of events, and ardent confi- 
dence in the destiny of our country. 

"At certain critical hours a cry of anger is a blasphemy, 
a doubt may be a crime. The victory is hard to win, but 
certain. Let the whole nation deserve it. Each man to 
his post! Let us take for ourselves the simple and sub- 
lime words of the great Englishman: * France expects every 
man to do his duty.' " 

In the period at which we have arrived the French 
people could draw confidence from the reflection that the 
political parties had adhered to the sacred union inaugu- 
rated at the commencement of hostilities and that the de- 
fense of the country had not been paralyzed by internal 
dissension, that the nation had faced the most critical hours 

Public Opinion and Sentiment 391 

with unshaken firmness, and that, in addition to the tradi- 
tional qualities of courage and fervor, it had given won- 
derful proof of patience, tenacity, and stoicism. 

In a celebrated speech delivered before the Chamber of 
Deputies on December 22d, Prime Minister Viviani ex- 
pressed the aim from which the French government has 
never swerved, namely, that France must continue the war 
until she and her allies could dictate the terms of peace. 

"Just now," he declared, "there is only one policy, a 
relentless fight until we attain definite freedom for Europe 
by gaining a victory which shall guarantee peace." More 
specifically he asserted that, faithful to her obligations, 
"France, in accord with her allies, will not lay down her 
arms until she has avenged outraged right and regained 
forever the provinces which were torn from her by force, 
restored heroic Belgium to the fulness of her material 
prosperity and political independence, and broken Prus- 
sian militarism so that the Allies may eventually reconstruct 
a regenerated Europe founded upon justice and right." 

A truce had been imposed upon the strife of the polit- 
ical parties in Great Britain at the beginning of the war, 
when the support of the Unionists was pledged to the min- 
istry in the following note of their leader on August 2d : 

"Dear Mr. Asquith, — Lord Lansdowne and I feel it our 
duty to inform you that in our opinion, as well as in that of 
all the colleagues whom we have been able to consult, it 
would be fatal to the honor and security of the United 
Kingdom to hesitate in supporting France and Russia at 
the present juncture; and we off^er our unhesitating sup- 
port to the government in any measures they may consider 
necessary for that object. 

"Yours very truly, 

"A. BoNAR Law." 

392 The Great War 

Only a small minority of Labor representatives main- 
tained an attitude of protest against the prosecution of 
the war. 

The Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, formulated the in- 
tentions of Great Britain in a noteworthy speech at the 
Lord Mayor's banquet at the Guildhall on November 10th, 
when he declared that they would "not sheathe the sword 
until Belgium recovered all and more than all that she had 
sacrificed, until France was adequately secured against the 
menace of aggression, until the rights of smaller nation- 
alities were placed on an unassailable foundation, until the 
military dominion of Prussia was fully and finally destroyed." 

In this connection allusion may be made to the visit of 
King George to the British army at the front in Flanders, 
because it served as a demonstration of the harmonious 
cooperation of the three allies in the West. It was note- 
worthy also as the first instance of the presence of royalty 
with a British army in the field since George II fought at 
Dettingen in 1743. 

The king crossed to France in a warship on Novem- 
ber 29th, visited some base-hospitals and reached the British 
headquarters on the 30th. During his tour of inspection 
along the front he met President Poincare, Prime Minister 
Viviani, and General Joffre on December 1st and was re- 
ceived by King Albert at his headquarters in the last frag- 
ment of Belgian territory not occupied by the enemy on 
the 4th. The return to England was effected on the 5th. 

One of the factors which agitated public opinion in 
Great Britain was the raiding of the east coast by a Ger- 
man naval squadron in December, when 119 civilians were 
killed by the bombardment at Hartlepool, seventeen at 
Scarborough, and two at Whitby, many women and small 
children being included among the slain. The German 
authorities were probably actuated by the belief that a 

Public Opinion and Sentiment 393 

palpable demonstration of the vulnerability of Great Britain 
would profoundly influence opinion both in the British 
Isles and in neutral countries. 

The Germans claimed that their bombardment of these 
open towns was justified by the fact that Hartlepool ranked 
as a coast defense and had a regular garrison, that there 
were earthworks and a battery of six 6-inch guns at Scar- 
borough, and that Whitby was a coast-guard station. But 
the English regarded the affair as simply an application of 
the German policy of frightfulness, which had recently 
been enunciated by von Hindenburg in his remark that 
the most ruthless manner of conducting warfare is in reality 
the most merciful since it brings hostilities to the speediest 

It is hardly too much to say that the raid was a failure, ex- 
cept as an opportunity for practice, and that the results were 
incommensurate with the risks. The chief effect seems to 
have been to intensify the belligerent spirit in England. 

It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of 
gaining a clear, objective conception of the prevailing point 
of view in Germany, unclouded by preconception or senti- 
mental bias, because it is an absolutely fundamental factor 
and an appreciation of it makes intelligible many things 
which at first seem illogical, distorted, or incomprehensible. 

There were doubtless many German extremists whose 
attitude on every particular question of policy had been 
colored by their instinctive conviction that with the exist- 
ing unequal division of the earth's surface even abstention 
from war on the part of Germany was in itself a striking 
proof of magnanimity in the strongest military power, and 
that any further demand upon her forbearance must neces- 
sarily be regarded as an intolerable effrontery. 

It seemed to the majority of the German people, as we 
have had occasion to observe, that after Austria-Hungary 

394 The Great War 

had exhibited exceptional patience in the face of repeated 
provocations, but had finally been compelled to take up 
arms for her absolute self-preservation, safety and honor 
alike made German intervention a bitter but inevitable 
necessity. To the average German the war w^as essentially 
a defensive v^ar. 

We have seen how resentment against Great Britain had 
grown in intensity and become a powerful motive force. 
The fires of German wrath were fed by the seemingly 
vapid argument that Great Britain was responsible for the 
war because she could have prevented it, although it is just 
as obvious that Germany herself, and in fact any one of the 
other contestants, except Belgium, could have done the 
same. For it is always possible to prevent a quarrel when 
one of the parties is willing to resign his claim. But the 
grounds for this belief on the part of the Germans were 
probably less superficial than it might at first appear. Their 
passionate conviction was proof of the weight attributed in 
the popular imagination to formal alliances rather than of 
intellectual obtuseness or a warping of the critical faculty. 
Germany was pledged to support Austria-Hungary just as 
France was pledged to help Russia in precisely the situation 
which had arisen. For them it was a question of national 
honor, there was no alternative. But Great Britain, accord- 
ing to the specific statements of her responsible ministers, 
had been free from every formal obligation of this kind. 
Of course it did not occur to the German public that quite 
apart from any formal obligation it was just as necessary for 
the security of Great Britain that the integrity and vitality 
of France should be maintained as it was for the safety of 
Germany that Austria-Hungary should be preserved. 

For German opinion it was just a step to the assumption 
that what the British government was unwilling to prevent 
it had in reality desired and devised. The image of Great 

Public Opinion and Sentiment 395 

Britain, perverted by envy from the course of her own 
true interests and with characteristic hypocrisy conceaHng 
her treacherous designs under the specious cover of pacific 
and conciliatory proposals until the favorable moment for 
striking her rival, when the latter was involved in a desper- 
ate struggle on opposite fronts, hovered like an inflaming 
fury in the German imagination. 

Foreign observers, impressed by the strength of popular 
opposition to the military and foreign policy of the Ger- 
man government before the war and convinced that the 
exceptional appearance of unanimity since the war began 
must conceal profound currents of discontent, looked for- 
ward to the assembling of the Reichstag early in December 
with a vague anticipation that something sensational or 
epochal might occur when an opportunity should be 
afforded for free discussion and criticism. 

The speech delivered by the Imperial Chancellor before 
the Reichstag on December 2d has already been cited, but 
another extract may appropriately be quoted in the present 
connection. In the following words he voiced the yearn- 
ing hope of many Germans that the spirit of harmony 
created by the common peril might be preserved after the 
war had been terminated: 

**The wonderful fervor glowing in the hearts of the 
German people, the unprecedented unity and uncondi- 
tional self-surrender of one to another, must be and will 
be victorious. And when a glorious and happy peace is 
ours, we shall hold this national spirit sacred and regard it 
as the holiest bequest of this terribly grave and great age. 
As by magic the walls have fallen which separated for a 
time, a dull and barren time, the various classes of our 
people, the walls which we have raised against one another 
in misunderstanding, envy, and mistrust. It is a liberation 
and blessing that the rubbish heap of social prejudice has 

396 The Great War 

been swept away; that man alone has value now; that all 
count alike and that each holds out his hand to his fellow- 
man for a common and holy end. So once more I repeat 
the Kaiser's words uttered at the outbreak of the war: *I 
know no more parties, I only know Germans.' After the 
war parties will revive; even the freest and most united 
nation cannot fully live out its political life without parties 
and political strife. But let us strive — I for my part promise 
you to do so — that also in this strife there shall be nothing 
but Germans." 

The Social Democrats, who, after vigorously opposing, 
had in the end complacently acquiesced in the war policy, 
and had brought upon themselves the denunciation of their 
comrades abroad by their alleged betrayal of the principles 
of the International, reiterated their point of view of August 
4th, in the following words of their leader, Herr Haase: 

"In connection with the words of the Imperial Chan- 
cellor regarding Belgium, I wish to declare in the name of 
my party that no subsequent disclosures warrant in our 
judgment a departure from our attitude of August 4th. 
The Social Democratic party adheres to-day to the point of 
view expressed on August 4th in its declaration concerning 
the war, the cause of which in the final analysis was eco- 
nomic rivalries. Our confines are still menaced by hostile 
forces; hence the German people must exert their whole 
strength for the protection of the country. For this rea- 
son the Social Democratic party approves the new credits 
demanded. . . . As on August 4th we still uphold, in 
harmony with the International, the imperishable right of 
every nation to integrity and independence. To deprive 
foreign nations of these privileges is to sow the seed of 
fresh war. We stand, therefore, by what we said on 
August 4th. We demand that, as soon as the goal has 
been reached in which the enemy is desirous of peace, the 

Public Opinion and Sentiment 397 

war be ended on terms conducive to friendship with other 

The only spectacular event of the session was the soli- 
tary vote of Karl Liebknecht against the war-budget in 
violation of the discipline of the Social Democratic party 
which requires that all members shall vote as a unit. His 
action was repudiated by the following resolution of the 
parliamentary group, as published in Vorwdrts: 

"The Social Democratic party strongly condemns Karl 
Liebknecht's breach of discipline, and it repudiates the 
misleading information which he has spread concerning 
proceedings within the party. The party is determined 
that it shall vote as a unit in the Reichstag. If any deputy 
is unable conscientiously to participate in the voting he is 
at liberty to abstain, but he must not give his abstention 
the character of a demonstration." 

The Reichstag, after convening at 4.15 P.M. and sanc- 
tioning the second war appropriation of 5,000,000,000 
marks, was adjourned about 6 P. M. until March, 1915. 

The position, unquestionable prominence, and personal 
authority of the fiery controversialist, uncompromising 
nationalist, and conservative statesman. Count Tisza, Prime 
Minister of Hungary, made him a very significant spokes- 
man for the hopes and aspirations of those who regarded the 
Dual Monarchy with feelings of loyalty and attachment. 

Replying to the New Year's greetings of parliamentary 
supporters of the government, he delivered an address 
which contained a number of noteworthy passages. He 
recalled with satisfaction the chagrin of the enemy upon 
discovering so many unexpected signs of vigor, harmony, 
and self-sacrificing devotion in the supposedly decadent 
monarchy. But they themselves, he admitted, had been 
surprised by the rapidity and violence of the first attack in 
the northeast. The bitterest surprise had been the forced 

398 The Great War 

evacuation of Serbia after their troops had victoriously ad- 
vanced into the heart of the country. 

"I am not so much disturbed," he said, "by the disad- 
vantages of the present situation in a military sense, for we 
shall very soon cancel the military consequences of the 
retreat. But it grieves me that an army which has strug- 
gled against the superiority of an altogether very competent 
enemy and has carried on a heroic conflict with feverish 
impetuosity for weeks and months in the midst of the 
greatest physical difficulties, should lose this glory, at least 
in the eyes of the public, simply because it was expected 
to perform a superhuman task." 

In regard to the harmonious cooperation of the Austro- 
Hungarian and German troops. Count Tisza declared: 
"Our troops are permeated with reciprocal feelings of 
trust, afl^ection, and appreciation. German and Austro- 
Hungarian troops accomplish marvels together. There is 
absolute harmony between the leaders." His recent visit 
to the German headquarters had given him ample proof of 
the loyalty and candid sympathy of their ally. As to the 
effect of the war upon the constitution of the Dual Mon- 
archy, he declared: "Dualism, which offers a basis for the 
preservation of Hungarian independence and nationalism, 
has stood the fiery test of warfare. The centralizing tend- 
encies which still crop out at times in Austria have lost 
every justification in the trials of the great war; and in the 
face of all that the Hungarian nation has accomplished and 
sacrificed for the lofty common aims of the monarchy, 
only a pernicious madness could return to an agitation for 
centralization. History has definitely settled to-day the 
problem of the constitution of the monarchy. Friction on 
constitutional questions has no longer any place." 

In Turkey the indispensable basis for public opinion in 
the truer, comprehensive sense, homogeneity of civilization. 

Public Opinion and Sentiment 399 

a common intellectual outlook, and a general feeling of 
community of interests and responsibilities, is manifestly 
lacking. Its place is taken by the selfish impulses and 
designs of the political cliques by whom the superficial 
manifestation of popular enthusiasms or passions is surrep- 
titiously controlled. The news of Turkey's plunge into 
the vortex of the world-war was followed in the German 
press by copious accounts of the demonstrations of satis- 
faction at Constantinople. But the publication of these 
glowing narratives at precisely the time when it was ex- 
pedient to counteract in the imagination of the German 
people the embarrassing retardation of the seemingly im- 
pending victorious consummation of operations in the 
western campaign is not free from suspicion that the 
occurrences themselves were adroitly elaborated or that 
the reports of them were judiciously embellished. 

A popular demonstration before the German Embassy 
on the evening of November 14th was described as an 
event of special significance. The appearance of the Ger- 
man ambassador at the balcony was greeted by a prolonged 
ovation, and after the playing of the German national 
hymn, "Heil dtr im Siegeskranz,'' Nazim Bey, the leader of 
the Young Turks, delivered a fervent address, to which the 
ambassador replied in the warmest tones, expressing his 
conviction that the victory of the three allies would mark 
the beginning of a new era of prosperity for Turkey and 

A proclamation announcing the Holy War on Novem- 
ber 21st recalled that Russia, the inveterate foe of Islam, 
had associated herself in the present conflict with Great 
Britain and France, powers that held millions of Moham- 
medans under their yoke and were driven by their insatia- 
ble greed to plot the ruin of the caliphate. This document 
declared that the powers composing the Triple Entente 

400 The Great War 

had robbed many Mohammedan peoples of freedom and 
independence and it denounced them as instigators of the 
recent Balkan War and of the present conflagration which 
threatened the heart of Islam. All Ottoman subjects from 
twenty to forty-five years of age were summoned to take 
up arms, and all other Mohammedans, including those 
who lived under the tyranny of the enemy powers, were 
commanded either to take part themselves in the Holy 
War or to contribute to it from their financial resources. 

The Turkish Parliament was convened with an im- 
pressive ceremony on December 14th by the Sultan in 
person assisted by an imposing retinue, which included 
the heir apparent and other princes, the Khedive, and 
Goltz Pasha, and in the presence of the highest military, 
religious, and civil dignitaries, foreign ambassadors, and the 
German military mission. The speech from the throne 
described how the great European crisis had broken in 
upon Turkey while she was engaged in the peaceful work 
of healing the wounds of the Balkan War and removing 
the remaining sources of friction with her neighbors. 
General mobilization had been carried out solely for the 
preservation of Turkish neutrality. But Russia's unpro- 
voked attack on the Turkish fleet in the Black Sea and the 
hostile acts of Great Britain and France on land had com- 
pelled the Sultan to declare war. The subversive designs 
of Russia, Great Britain, and France against Islam made it 
a religious duty to invoke the Holy War against these 
powers. The Sultan was confident that the achievements 
of the Turkish forces and of the other Mohammedan 
warriors called out in the Holy War would match the 
glorious victories of their allies in Europe. 

After the withdrawal of the court, Halil Bey, President 
of the Parliament, opened the session by a speech in which 
he emphasized his conviction that the present contest did 

Longwy after bombardment and capture by the Germans. 

The British Lion between the Crown Prince, ' ' Conqueror of Longwy/ ' and von Hinden- 
burg, "the victorious leader of the Army of the East." Statues placed in front of the 
Eberlein Museum, Berlin, in the early days of the war. 

Public Opinion and Sentiment 401 

not involve solely an isolated question or the vindication of 
national honor, that it w^as not a struggle for the protection 
of a single province, but for existence itself. It was neces- 
sary for the Turks to persevere with unsparing efforts until 
they had won a durable peace which would guarantee to 
their descendants the opportunity of pursuing their civiliz- 
ing task in tranquillity. Formerly they had been compelled 
to combat the Muscovite tyranny alone. Henceforth they 
would struggle in defense of civilization in league with 
Germany whose superiority in industry, administration, 
and organization was no less marked than in war. " I am 
convinced," he said, **that after the war the French and 
English, who will have to acknowledge with sorrow that 
the progress of Germany cannot be destroyed by violence, 
will seek a reconciliation with us." 

Soon after the collision which inaugurated the hostilities 
between Russia and Turkey a deputation of Ruthenians 
from the Ukraine came to Constantinople and issued an 
address to the Ottoman nation, declaring that Russia had 
always been the enemy of Turkey, that the treatment of 
Mohammedans in Russia was inhuman, and that 30,000,000 
people in the Ukraine looked for deliverance from oppres- 
sion to Turkey, the old ally of the Cossacks of that region. 
The world to its astonishment was informed at the same 
time that such a question existed and that it had attained 
the proportions and degree of bitterness thus indicated. 
It is a well-known fact that there is a very marked tempera- 
mental distinction between the Great Russians and the 
Little Russians, the inhabitants of the Ukraine, and that 
the intolerant attitude of the government in respect to 
the dialectical peculiarities which distinguish the speech 
of the latter has been a source of discontent. But the fan- 
tastic tone of the address and its timely utility as a factor 
contributing to an atmosphere of exhilaration in Turkey 

402 The Great War 

create the suspicion that a disagreement of only minor 
significance was being exaggerated and exploited. The 
fact remains, nevertheless, that the wave of patriotic fervor 
which swept over Russia at the outbreak of the war had 
no magic efficacy to obliterate every form of abuse and 

The war was commonly regarded as the consummation 
of the long struggle for the emancipation of the Russian 
national genius from bondage to foreign, that is German, 
influence and institutions. The passionate devotion to the 
native tradition found expression in a great variety of ways, 
in acts and impulses, great and petty, sane and bigoted. 
Thus on September 1st an imperial order directed that the 
Russian designation "Petrograd" should be substituted for 
the German **St. Petersburg" as the name of the capital 
of the empire. 

There was undoubtedly a tendency on the part of the 
reactionary elements to turn the effusion of nationalistic 
enthusiasm to the promotion of their own designs. On 
the other hand, the Social Democrats, who in a body left 
the hall of the Duma before the vote was taken in the 
historic session of August 8th as a demonstration of their 
abhorrence of the war, were still unreconciled. They de- 
clared in a letter to M. Vandervelde their intention of con- 
tinuing their war against Tsardom with greater energy 
than ever. "The Russian government," they asserted, "as 
well as the German government is the enemy of democracy. 
Even now that it is at war it persecutes the working men 
and the non- Russian nationalities, and should it be victori- 
ous, it would propagate political reaction in all Europe." 

Bismarck had always dreaded the possibility of a league 
of hostile states and succeeded during the twenty years of 
his chancellorship in preventing such a combination by a 
foreign policy of circumspection, by cultivating useful 

Public Opinion and Sentiment 403 

friendships, and by isolating the chief potential enemies of 
Germany. But later, as we have seen, by her policy of 
gaining a dominating influence in the Balkan peninsula 
and Turkey, while upholding the pretensions of her ally, 
Austria-Hungary, by her unswerving effort to create a 
formidable sea-power, and by her uncompromising deter- 
mination not to recede from any part of the Reichsland, 
Germany provoked the enmity of Russia and Great Britain, 
and kept alive the animosity of France. 

The military leadership of Germany undertook to shatter 
the resulting coalition by crushing one of the partners be- 
fore the others could effectively intervene. Possessing the 
initiative on all the fronts throughout the greater part of 
the first campaign, convinced that the supreme issues would 
be decided upon the principal battlefields of Europe and 
that a speedy decision was all-important for themselves, the 
Germans concentrated their energy for the offensive in 
the West and repeatedly hurled their tremendous masses 
against the armies of the French and their immediate 
supporters. But while these redoubtable efforts failed to 
reduce France to helplessness, or to eliminate her from 
the number of Germany's opponents, the unforeseen alac- 
rity of the other foes compelled the Teutonic powers to 
diveft an ever-increasing portion of their energy and 
strength to other fields, and to make enormous efforts 
where for the time only subordinate operations had been 
contemplated in the original plan. 

Consequently, in spite of the unprecedented scale of their 
exertions and an astonishing succession of stupendous per- 
formances, no decisive results were anywhere obtained, 
and the execution of the original German plan reached 
its culmination without success, although its failure was 
mitigated by the occupation of the greater part of the 
invaded territorv. 

404 The Great War 

Both sides had been deceived in all the specious expecta- 
tions upon which their respective hopes of speedy triumph 
had been founded. The British Empire had not been 
paralyzed by Irish discontent, the Boer revolt, or Indian 
disloyalty; France had not become the prey of discourage- 
ment or partisan dissension; and Russia had not collapsed 
from internal disorder or corruption; w^hile at the same 
time Germany had displayed an almost universal spirit of 
unanimity and unflinching resolution that belied all the 
predictions of her enemies, and the supposedly incoherent 
aggregation of Austria-Hungary had shown unexpected 
tenacity and harmony. Contrary to the common notion 
that the maximum warlike strength of autocratic states, by 
reason of the concentration of authority, is available from 
the start and therefore necessarily diminishes as a contest 
proceeds, while that of democracies is only gradually 
attained in the course of the struggle, the energy and 
force of Germany were destined still to increase for many 
months far beyond the utmost prevision of her antagonists. 

The palpitating excitement and glamor of mobilization 
and of the early spectacular operations of warfare had 
faded into the grim monotony of incessant, mechanical, 
exhausting toil requited by only microscopic results. But 
the spirit of the peoples had lost none of its fervor, and each 
nation deliberately schooled itself in the conviction that an 
unconquerable determination to win at any cost would 
make victory absolutely certain. 


The Naval Situation at the Beginning of the War 

Indications of the outbreak of war. Strategy of the belligerent powers. 
Obstacles to a British blockade. British and French fleets in the Mediter- 
ranean. British forces in home waters. Mobilization of the British fleet 
and its review by the king. The Turkish force. The belligerents' forces 
in the Far East and the Pacific. Seizure of German merchant ships in 
enemy ports. Relative power of Great Britain and Germany. The North 
Sea as the great area of naval action. The Baltic and Germany's control 
of that sea. Strategic value of the Kiel Canal. Safety of the German 
coast. The German base at Heligoland. The British bases at Scapa Flow 
and Rosyth. Status of power in the Mediterranean. Mine-laying. The 
German ships Goeben and Breslan. 

That the great war was not unexpected is clearly shown 
by published documents as well as by preliminary events 
known to all. Among the documents one of the most 
notable is the letter to the French ambassador in London, 
dated November 22, 1912 (an enclosure to Document 105 
of the British Diplomatic Correspondence), beginning 
with : *' From time to time in recent years the French and 
British naval and military experts have consulted together." 
Such consultations could have but one meaning: looking 
to common action in war. The withdrawal of the British 
fleet from the Mediterranean to home waters, leaving this 
sea practically entirely to the French was a strong indica- 
tion of the British attitude which certainly was not lost 
upon Germany. The German army increase of 1913 and 
the return of the French to three years as the term of 
service in the army were also marked indications of the 
great tension which needed but a spark to produce the 


406 The Great War 

conflagration. Nor can the establishment of a great north- 
ern dockyard at Rosyth on the Firth of Forth, the first 
steps towards which were taken in 1903, be omitted as a 
sign of the times. The general feeling is well expressed 
in the published dispatches of the Belgian ministers at 
London, Paris, and Berlin from 1905 to 1914. 

The British naval strategy was, of course, of the simplest: 
to clear the ocean of German shipping, naval and com- 
mercial. Her forces were ample for the purpose, as results 
have shown. In addition, her battle fleet concentrated, as 
mentioned, in 1913, in the North Sea, was ready to resist 
any attempt at invasion or attack upon the British coast, or 
if opportunity afforded, to attack the German fleet at sea. 

Of all these matters Germany and Austria were, of course, 
fully aware. Germany could not expect to do much more 
on the high seas than, for a time, to raid British com- 
merce. Her foreign squadrons were small but of fast and 
efficient ships. Two notable squadron actions were to be 
fought, but the end was visible from the beginning. Natu- 
rally, too, effort was to be made in the direction of raiding 
by employing fast armed merchantmen. Germany, how- 
ever, had a naval strategy in a large sense, in addition to 
an offensive by submarines, thus expressed by Baron von 
Maltzahn: "Our fleet law of 1900 was founded on 'Defense 
by Battle.' It states in its preamble that 'Germany must 
possess a battle fleet of such strength that war, even for 
the most powerful naval adversary, would involve such 
risks as to endanger the latter's supremacy.' By 'Defense 
by Battle' is meant to bring the enemy to battle on the 
high seas. It cannot be hoped to defeat him decisively 
once for all — the difference of strength which is a pre- 
sumption of the strategic defensive would indeed prevent 
this — but it must be able to deprive him of so much of 
his strength that what remains is not sufficient for his 

The Naval Situation 407 

purpose." Events later than the period covered in this vol- 
ume shov^^ that Germany has held to this viev^^. There could 
be, as von Maltzahn says, no hope on the part of Ger- 
many of a decisive victory over the British battle fleet with 
the great odds against her. 

Germany could, too, in addition to the hope of decreas- 
ing the British fleet by losses equal to the whole of her 
own, have an expectation of wearing out in large degree 
the endurance of men and ships, as in this respect her 
situation was much more favorable than that of Britain. 
Her ships were in immediate contact with her dockyards, 
and her officers and men in touch with their home life in 
greater degree than were the British. 

The conditions in the Baltic gave the Germans much 
the same superiority that existed for the British in the 
North Sea. The fortress of Kronstadt, the base of the 
Russian fleet, was practically unattackable, while the supe- 
riority in naval force of the Germans gave them command 
of the sea. The entrances to the Baltic were soon to be 
mined and, for reasons to be mentioned later, there was no 
danger in the Baltic from the British fleet. 

The new element of submarines and mines prevented 
the establishment by the British of a blockade. Any efl^ort 
at the establishment of one in the sense known to inter- 
national law would have resulted in losses too serious to 
contemplate. The command of the Baltic Sea was thus of 
great advantage to Germany, in enabling her to maintain 
her commerce with Scandinavia — and would have been 
immensely greater had the United States enforced its pro- 
tests against British action. 

French strategy in the Mediterranean was akin to that 
of the British in the North Sea, and that of Austria akin to 
that of Germany. The impregnable coasts of the Central 
Powers were a factor of enormous weight in the naval 

408 The Great War 

part of the contest. As for Russia, her weakness in both 
the Baltic and the Black Sea at the beginning of the war 
precluded any real effort. Japan's action was to be con- 
fined to the seizure of German islands and the fortified 
port of Tsingtau. 

The cataclysm of the war found the fleets of the bel- 
ligerent powers distributed as had been arranged some 
years before. The British had withdrawn, practically, 
from the Mediterranean, leaving but 3 battle-cruisers, 4 
armored cruisers, 4 light cruisers, 16 destroyers and depot 
ships, 2 gunboats, 6 submarines (3 at Malta, 3 at Gibraltar), 
and 16 torpedo boats. Thus, on the outbreak, the general 
command was taken over by the French admiral, Boue de 
Lapeyrere; Sir Berkeley Milne, the British commander-in- 
chief, returning home. The entire French fleet, practically, 
was now in this sea: 4 dreadnoughts, 18 pre-dreadnoughts 
(all carrying 12-inch guns), 20 armored and protected cruis- 
ers, 11 light cruisers, 84 destroyers, 153 torpedo boats (mostly 
small and ill-adapted to modern war), and 70 submarines. 

Similarly, nearly the whole of the British navy was in 
home waters, organized as follows: 

A. First Fleet (except Fourth Cruiser Squadron). 

1. First Battle Squadron. Eight dreadnoughts, one 

carrying ten 13.5-inch guns; seven carrying ten 

2. Second Battle Squadrojt. Eight dreadnoughts, all 

carrying 13.5-inch. 

3. Third Battle Squadron. Eight pre-dreadnoughts. 

King Edward type, carrying four 12-inch. 

4. Fourth Battle Squadron. Three dreadnoughts, carry- 

ing 12-inch; one pre-dreadnought. 

5. First Battle-Cruiser Squadron. Four battle-cruisers. 


The Naval Situation 409 

6. Second Cruiser Squadron. Four armored cruisers. 

7. Third Cruiser Squadron. Four armored cruisers. 

8. First Light Cruiser Squadron. Four light cruisers. 

B. Second Fleet. 

1. Fifth Battle Squadron. (Pre-dreadnoughts, Bulns:ark 


2. Sixth Battle Squadron. (Pre-dreadnoughts, Duncan 


3. Fifth Cruiser Squadron. {County class.) 

4. Sixth Ci'uiser Squadron. {Drake class.) 

C. Third Fleet. 

1. Seventh Battle Squadron. (Pre-dreadnoughts, M^yfj-//r 


2. Eighth Battle Squadron. 

3. Seventh, Eighthy Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth 

Cruiser Squadrofis. (Cruisers of all sorts.) 

D. Mediterranean Fleet. 

1. Second Battle-Cruiser Squadron. Three battle-cruisers. 

2. First Cruiser Squadron. Four armored cruisers. 

3. Second Light Cruiser Squadroji. Four light cruisers. 

In May, 1914, there was a mobilization of the fleet, thus 
described by a British Service paper: ''The climax of 
the test mobilization was reached July 19th, when King 
George inspected his stupendous fleet at Spithead. Steam- 
ing at 11 knots an hour, the imposing cavalcade was headed 
by the first battle-cruiser squadron, consisting of four 
ships in battle-line ahead, under the command of Rear 
Admiral Sir David Beatty, who commands the squadron. 
The honor of leading the way was given to these dread- 
nought battle-cruisers — the Lion, Queen Mary, Princess 
Royal, and New Zealand. The battle-cruisers were followed 
by 29 ships of the first, second, third, and fourth battle 
squadrons. These, the flower of the British navy, came 

410 The Great War 

in two columns abreast, Admiral Sir George Callaghan 
(commander-in-chief of the home fleet) leading the way 
in the flagship Irofi Duke. In the first battle squadron was 
the Marlborough (flagship of Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly), 
with a displacement and horse-power equal to those of the 
Iron Duke herself. Then came the Colossus and Hercules, 
the Neptune and St, Vificent, the Superb and Collingwood. 

**The powerful second battle squadron came next, the 
King George V (flagship of Vice Admiral Sir George War- 
render) being followed by the Audacious, Ajax, Ceiiturion, 
Orion, Conqueror, Monarch, and Thunderer, all tremendous 
pieces of naval architecture of the most modern type, but 
showing variety in shape. The third battle squadron 
brought before the notice of His Majesty ships of lighter 
tonnage, and, as things move so swiftly in naval matters 
nowadays, some experts say, almost out of date. These 
were the King Edward VII (flagship of Vice Admiral E. E. 
Bradford), which was launched at Devonport in 1903, and 
others built from nine to eleven years ago. Closely in 
their wake came the fourth battle squadron, consisting of 
such fine specimens as the Dreadnought (flagship of Vice 
Admiral Sir D. A. Gamble), and the Temeraire, Bellerophon, 
and the Agamemnon. Other big ships, small ships, snake- 
like destroyers, and gunboats, and the almost myriads of 
tiny craft which go to make up Britain's first line of de- 
fense, came along from the westward, submitted them- 
selves to the inspection of the King, and proceeded on 
their way. These were the vessels of the second and third 
cruiser squadrons, light cruisers attached to the difi^erent 
fleets, destroyers, and a regular swarm of small craft. 
Although the big ships for the most part steamed two and 
three abreast, the line was nearly 14 miles long, reaching 
from near Osborne to the eastern end of the Isle of Wight. 
Two hundred of the most complete sea fighters ever 

The Naval Situation 411 

known; the greatest congregation of ships ever assembled 
had passed in view before the King, comprising 24 dread- 
noughts, 35 pre-dreadnoughts, 18 armored cruisers, 7 pro- 
tected cruisers, and 78 destroyers, together with mine-layers, 
repair ships, and all kinds of auxiliaries." 

The London Times of May 28, 1914, two months before 
the outbreak of war, referring to the decision to send the 
naval cadets from Osborne and Dartmouth to sea when the 
fleet is mobilized in July, said: "That this is being tried in 
July indicates that what Mr. Churchill calls the test of mobi- 
lization of the Third Fleet is really a mobilization for war, 
for this step would only be taken in view of the imminence 
of hostilities." A startling statement in view of later events. 

The fleets in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea were 
to play but a secondary role. The Turks had been de- 
prived of their two fine ships, the Reshadieh of 23,000 tons, 
built at Barrow, and carrying ten 13.5-inch and sixteen 
6-inch guns, and the Birinji Osma?i of 27,500 tons, built at 
Elswick, and«carrying fourteen 12-inch and twenty 6-inch 
guns. The two had cost Turkey some ^£"6,000,000. The 
money had been paid, but on the day it had been arranged 
to hoist the Turkish flag both were seized by the British 
government and the Turks were minus both money and 
ships. The Turks, to be at war on November 5, 1914, 
were, however, soon to have a reinforcement from Ger- 
many in the Goeben and the Breslau, which arrived at Con- 
stantinople on August 11th, after a week of daring escapes, 
and went through the form of a sale to Turkey, thus 
creating a difficult and unprecedented situation in inter- 
national law. The story of these ships on the outbreak of 
the war will have mention later. 

In the Far East the Germans had two armored cruisers, 
the Scharfihorst and the Gfieisefiau, of 11,600 tons, eight 
8.2-inch, six 6-inch, 40 caliber guns, and 23 knots, the light 

412 The Great War 

cruiser Emden, of 3,500 tons, ten 4.1-inch, 40 caliber guns, 
and 24 knots, three old cruisers, four other small vessels 
and two destroyers; Austria, a small cruiser, the Kaiserin 
Elisabeth. France had two armored cruisers, a destroyer, 
a gunboat, and four river gunboats; Great Britain, a battle- 
ship (the Triumph, of 12,000 tons), two armored cruisers, 
two light cruisers, eight destroyers, four torpedo boats, 
three submarines, and a number of small (chiefly river) 
craft; Japan, of course, her whole navy. 

In the Pacific, Germany had in Australian waters, three 
old cruisers; in East Africa, the light cruiser Konigsberg 
and the survey ship Mowe; and on the West Coast of North 
America, the light cruisers Niirnberg and Leipzig. There 
were one British battleship and two light cruisers in the 
East Indies; three cruisers and a gunboat at the Cape of 
Good Hope ; two submarines at Vancouver. There were 
also the New Zealand navy of three cruisers and a sloop, 
and the Australian, of one battle-cruiser, three light cruisers, 
three destroyers, and two submarines. France had one 
gunboat and a despatch boat in the islands. 

Distributed in all seas was a great number of German 
merchant ships. The war, though long brewing and 
known to be certain finally to come, broke so suddenly 
that none of these ships could have sufficient premonition 
of the danger to reach home ports, except those near to 
Germany. There was immediate seizure of all such in 
enemy ports, the procedure going to the extent of detain- 
ing some in British ports previous to the actual outbreak. 
The whole was in marked contrast to American procedure 
in the Spanish War, the President's proclamation, dated 
April 26, 1898, allowing twenty-six days to reach a home 
port, reading as follows: 

"4. Spanish merchant vessels, in any ports or places 
within the United States, shall be allowed till May 21, 

The Naval Situation 413 

1898, inclusive, for loading their cargoes and departing 
from such ports or places; and such Spanish merchant 
vessels, if met at sea by any United States ship, shall be 
permitted to continue their voyage, if, on examination of 
their papers, it shall appear that their cargoes were taken 
on board before the expiration of the above term; pro- 
vided, that nothing herein contained shall apply to Spanish 
vessels having on board any officer in the military or naval 
service of the enemy, or any coal (except such as may be 
necessary for their voyage), or any other article prohibited 
or contraband of war, or any dispatch of or to the Spanish 

" 5. Any Spanish merchant vessel which, prior to April 21, 
1898, shall have sailed from any foreign port bound for any 
port or place in the United States, shall be permitted to enter 
such port or place, and to discharge her cargo, and after- 
ward forthwith to depart without molestation ; and any such 
vessel, if met at sea by any United States ships, shall be per- 
mitted to continue her voyage to any port not blockaded." 

The relative forces actually available at the outbreak of 
the war, are given best in a table : 

British. German. 

Super-dreadnoughts ... 13 — 

Dreadnoughts 11 16 

Dreadnought battle-cruisers . 7 4 (Battle-cruisers) 

Pre-dreadnought battleships. 38 24 

Armored cruisers .... 30 9 

Light cruisers 22 33 

Protected cruisers .... 44 — 

Destroyers 198 151 

Torpedo boats 89 47 

Submarines 72 38 

Mine-layers 7 — 

Repair ships 3 — 

414 The Great War 

It needs no labored analysis to show the very great 
superiority of the British fleet — a superiority which in- 
clines one to wonder at any fear of Germany's attaining, in 
a generation at least, an approach to equality. Certainly 
such fear is not understandable to the writer. Great Britain 
was very soon to have afloat in ships of 18,000 tons and over, 
forty 15-inch guns in five ships, ten 14-inch in one ship, a 
hundred and fifty 13.5-inch in sixteen ships, and a hundred 
and fifty-two 12-inch in sixteen; a total of thirty-eight 
dreadnoughts and super-dreadnoughts. Five others, each to 
carry eight 15-inch, had been laid down before the break- 
ing out of the war. Germany had but twenty-six such 
ships built and building, carrying sixteen 15-inch, one 
hundred and sixty-four 12-inch, and eighty-six 11-inch. 

Tabulated these are: 



15-inch . . . . . 

.... 40 



.... 10 

13.5-inch .... 

.... 150 


.... 152 




352 266 

Leaving aside the 11-inch, which no navy is now using 
as a primary battery, the relation of heavy guns was 352 
to 180. A very careful estimate of the initial energy of 
the heavy guns of the two fleets (including the earlier but 
serviceable battleships) shows the power of the German 
gunfire to have been but 48% that of the British. There 
was, however, an element of superiority in favor of the 
Germans, in the greater elevation of 30 degrees which 
the}^ were able to give their guns, as against 15 degrees of 
the British, and by a superiority in initial velocity. The 

The Naval Situation 415 

range of the German 12-inch is 47% in excess of the 
British 13.5-inch, the former having an initial velocity of 
3,080 foot-seconds, the latter 2,700. The newer British 
12-inch has a range of over 1,000 yards in excess of the 
British 13.5-inch, but it falls short of the German by 7,670 
yards, or 38%, chiefly through its low^er possible elevation. 
Naval battles are now fought at ranges undreamed of in 
former days, a range of 16,000 yards being, for example, 
used in the battle off the Falkland Islands. With the eye 
at an elevation of 20 feet a ship is hull down at such a dis- 
tance. But the danger zone extends thousands of yards 
beyond this range, though the angle of fall in the greater 
ranges becomes so obtuse that the danger of hitting is 
much diminished. The flatter the trajectory the greater 
the chances of striking the target. 

The great area of naval action was, of course, to be the 
North Sea, though in the peculiarly impregnable condi- 
tions of the German coast, there could be no attack upon 
the coast itself. Naval action in this sea was long to be 
confined to minor operations, chiefly submarines. The 
sea thus known may be taken as a rectangle, one end of 
which is bounded by a line 315 miles long, extending from 
the northernmost Orkneys to Bergen in Norway, the south 
end, taken from the Wash to the Elbe, is of equal breadth. 
The length of the northwest and southeast axis between 
these lines is 480 miles. Between Texel and Yarmouth, 
at the southwest corner, is a great teat with a general 
breadth of about 110 miles narrowing quickly at the Straits 
of Dover to about 25. The area of the sea is about twice 
that of our five Great Lakes combined. In general it is 
shoal enough to anchor at almost any point south of a line 
drawn from Moray Firth to the north end of Denmark 
(known as the Skaw), but north of this the water deepens, 

416 The Great War 

until at the Skagerrack, which extends along southern Nor- 
way to the west coast of Sweden, there is a depth of several 
hundred fathoms. Over the whole area of the shallower 
(and much greater) part of the sea, mines can be anchored 
without difficulty, but not in the Skagerrack or in the more 
northerly parts except on the borders of the Scotch coast, 
a depth beyond 360 feet precluding such action. 

Leaving the Skagerrack, which extends northeast 120 
miles with a breadth of 60, one turns suddenly south by 
east into the Cattegat, another 120 miles in length with a 
breadth varying from 30 to 60 miles. At the southwest 
corner begin the Great Belt and Little Belt, circuitous pas- 
sages for 90 miles among numerous islands and sandbanks 
and the only entrances to the Baltic besides the still more 
narrow and difficult passage of "the Sound," which sepa- 
rates from Sweden the large island of Zealand, in which is 
Copenhagen. For centuries, Denmark claimed jurisdic- 
tion over these passages, and charged tolls which all nations 
paid until they were abolished in 1857 by a payment, in 
which all seafaring powers shared, of a quid pro quo to 
Denmark. Excluding the Gulf of Bothnia (itself 400 miles 
long), the Baltic is about half the size of the North Sea. 
The distance from Kiel to the entrance of the Gulf of 
Finland, at the eastern end of which lies the great fortress 
of Kronstadt, is about 500 miles, the breadth, south of the 
Gulf of Finland, is from 150 to 200 miles. This sea, like 
the North Sea, is shallow and ships can anchor in most 
parts. Navigation is, of course, greatly obstructed in winter 
by ice. One can readily see that operations in these two seas 
involve much greater distances (given here in statute miles) 
than are generally supposed. 

The strategic conditions almost wholly favored Ger- 
many. The Russian fleet as compared with the German 
was weak. The British fleet could not aid the Russians 

< f J^-^^-i 

5 C _o,_ u ^0: 

S H >--;,- = 

•;; -r M c M 
.- u c s = 

:3 z ^ «-«On 

"^ S ?f f^u 0*00 

■ s g u a^<»^ 

, -5 u c n c 


N U 0-00 





■ vz >. ^ 



.1; t > ♦_- 


■S-&JI &Ji 


■= -n « = 10 


5 ~ 5. g j; = u 

5 > „ . C "c M 

•J l-^SriiJiJ 

^ :; a: < < X 

z •- 1- ?• — u 
■='= be 

< o 

^ C ^(^1^ 

a: > _^ 

= r^S MM"? 

'-■•' ^- = c i: 
^ :S a: < < X 


„ c Q !; .be 
- - s^ 

.« — j: 

^ ^ ^ z ^ 

J^ c 

X « •£ bei; j: ■- 
'Z ■- - M ur± 

= ." - = = s 

- > „ . o o be 

- 1 1 fill 

The Naval Situation 417 

materially for two powerful reasons. They could not 
weaken their main fleet in the North Sea lest the remain- 
der should be attacked by the combined German battle 
fleet, and any force sent into the Baltic would be subject 
to like attack through the command by the Germans of the 
Kiel Canal, officially the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal. Further, 
the Baltic ports of Germany were so heavily fortified (the 
coast fortifications, as in most European countries, being 
under control of the navy) as to be invulnerable to naval 
attack. The Kiel Canal was thus an invaluable asset to 
Germany both in war and peace. It had just been deep- 
ened and widened to meet the needs of the largest ships. 
It now has a surface breadth of 350 feet, instead of the 
former 130, and a bottom breadth of 130, instead of 60. At 
each end are locks, two of which (at Briinsbuttel), are 
larger even than those of Panama, as they are 1,083 feet 
long with a breadth at the entrance of 148; these are avail- 
able for ordinary use in docking. The canal is 56 miles 
long, and ends in the Elbe at Briinsbuttel, 50 miles below 
Hamburg and 22 miles above Cuxhaven, the port on the 
south side, 16 miles within the lightship marking the en- 
trance of the Elbe. There is no need to set forth at 
length the immense advantage to the Germans of this in- 
terior connection with the two seas. In a day or so the 
fleet can transfer from one sea to the other, avoiding the 
dangerous navigation (in fact impossible in present condi- 
tions) of 680 miles from the mouth of the Elbe round Den- 
mark by the Cattegat to the Baltic. The two great war ports, 
Kiel and Wilhelmshaven (the latter on the estuary of the 
Jade and which during the war has been the headquarters 
of the German fleet, of which Admiral von Ingenohl was 
in chief command), are thus in close connection. The 
mouth of the Jade is but 14 miles from the Elbe lightship, 
38 miles above which is the entrance to the Kiel Canal. 

418 The Great War 

But the great safeguard and what makes the German 
coast on the North Sea practically unattackable are the 
sands, the deposits of the German rivers, which extend, in 
a fringe of shallows varying in breadth from 10 to 20 miles. 
The intricate channels through these ar« unusable except 
by careful buoyage. Naturally the buoys have been re- 
moved and only such marks are used as can be recognized 
by the Germans themselves. Nature herself has thus done 
more for the Germans than any degree of ordinary forti- 
fication could do. She has, in fact, made the German coast 

Fifty miles at sea, WNW of Cuxhaven and 40 miles 
from the nearest mainland, lies the island of Heligoland, a 
watering place in peace, a fortress and naval base in war. 
It is but a small plateau, a mile in length and a third of a 
mile in greatest breadth, with steep red cliffs some 200 
feet high. On this plateau is a village. At the southeast 
end is a low beach on which, as also on the sand island 
known as the Diinen-Insel to the eastward and parallel with 
the main island and once connected with it, are villages 
made up of hotels and bathing establishments. The island 
population is about 2,300. The conformation affords a 
harbor for the largest ships, protected from attacks by 
very strong fortifications. It is thus a very powerful and 
practically unattackable advanced naval base. Until 1807 
the island was Danish. It was seized in that year by the 
British and remained under their control until 1890 when, 
Lord Salisbury being British Premier, it was ceded to Ger- 
many in return for release by the latter of any claim in 
Zanzibar, and now forms part of Schleswig-Holstein. 

On the outbreak of the war the British Battle Fleet, 
with Admiral John R. Jellicoe as commander-in-chief, was 
moved north to the Scapa Flow, a harbor formed by the 

The Naval Situation 419 

many islands at the southern end of the Orkneys, with five 
deep channels for entrance and exit. The harbor is a quad- 
rangle with sides of eight and ten miles with deep water 
through its whole extent; it thus affords 80 square miles of 
thoroughly protected anchorage. Here the large ships were 
in comparatively easy reach of the great docks of Belfast and 
the Mersey and were able to go to sea for gun practice with 
comparatively small danger of attack from submarines. 

The battle-cruiser squadron, with many adjuncts of 
armored and light cruisers, destroyers and submarines, used 
the newly established naval station of Rosyth, three miles 
above the Forth Bridge, and nearer by 100 miles to the 
German coast. Every precaution of nets and other obsta- 
cles was established against torpedo attack. At the opening 
of the war a beginning only had been made on the large 
docks which were to form a part of the Rosyth equipment. 
There were, however, many available on the east coast. 

The British fleets were thus, the one about 400, the 
other some 500 nautical miles from the mouths of the 
Elbe and the Jade, or a 24-hours' run at 17 and 21 knots 
for the one and the other. 

The situation in the Mediterranean was so entirely 
secondary in the beginning that it needs but short atten- 
tion. The Italian fleet was neutral: the French fleet so 
outclassed the Austro-Hungarian, both in numbers and 
power (reckoned by experts as three to one), that there 
could be no question of any great sea action; the Turkish 
sea power, when Turkey entered the war on November 
5, 1914, was practically represented only in the Goeben, pur- 
chased from Germany. But the Austrian coast, stretching 
some 360 miles along the Adriatic, was practically almost 
as unattackable as that of Germany. This coast, south of 
Istria, is fringed with a series of narrow islands, some as 

420 The Great War 

extensive as 40 miles in length, which are parallel with the 
coast, and inside of which are deep, narrow passages, easily 
mined, the important points of which are heavily fortified. 
Practically no effort has been made against these. 

The question of mine-laying rapidly assumed great im- 
portance. The Germans at once mined the waters of their 
own coast, and British reports of German mine-laying on 
the British coast were communicated to the Washington 
government, stating that "on or about August 26th an Ice- 
land trawler is reported to have struck a mine 25 miles off 
the Tyne and at least one foreign newspaper has stated that 
the mine was English. Although the German action in 
laying mines has forced the Admiralty to reserve to itself 
the right to do likewise, the statement already made of His 
Majesty's Government that no British mines have been 
laid remains absolutely true at this moment." The ques- 
tion of precedence is of small moment, as all the nations at 
war were sure to use so effective a weapon. Thus the 
London Times of the 3d October published an official 
map of a British mine-field covering an area from latitude 
51° 15' N. and 51° 40' N. and longitude 1° 35' E. and 3° E., 
an area 25 nautical miles broad and 43 nautical miles long. 
As this area reached within three miles of the British coast, 
it enabled the British to exercise control over all traffic to 
and from Holland, as all ships bound to or from Holland 
had to come into British waters. This fact was used to 
claim the right to take off and examine mails, to which the 
United States has made strong but, as yet, ineffective protest. 

The extent to which mines were laid may be judged by 
a dispatch of the International News Service via Sayville, 
May 14, 1916: "A dispatch from Amsterdam says that 
during April ninety mines drifted up on the Dutch coast. 
Fifty were British, three French, thirteen German, and 
twenty-four of unestablished nationality. 

The Naval Situation 421 

''Since the beginning of the war, continues the dispatch, 
1,014 mines have landed on the Dutch coast, of which 
535 were British, 61 French, 193 German, and 225 of 
unknown nationality." 

All the nations involved in the war were equally sinners 
in mine-laying, though judged by the foregoing all were 
not equally efficient in anchoring their mines, which often 
drifted with fatal effect. The extreme depth at w4iich 
mines can be securely anchored is regarded as three hun- 
dred and sixty feet, but it is evident that much less may 
cause mines to be insecure. 

The first important incident of the war on the sea was 
the escape of the German battle-cruiser Goeben and her 
companion the light cruiser Breslau and their taking refuge 
in Turkish waters. On August 2d, news having been re- 
ceived at Messina of the declaration of war against Russia, 
the Goeben and Breslau left, and on the evening of August 
4th the Goeben was off Philippeville, the Breslau having 
parted company with the purpose of bombarding Bona. 
The two ports are on the Algerian coast, Bona being about 
175 miles west of the city of Tunis, the other some 40 
miles further. War with France being now known to 
have been declared, the Goeben entered the port and 
opened a bombardment which inflicted much injury in the 
harbor, but being met with a heavy fire she withdrew. 
She, now joined by the Breslau, met the British battle- 
cruisers Indefatigable and Inflexible and the light cruisers 
Gloucester and Weymouth, which closing in on them were 
asked what was wanted. Reply was made that war was 
threatening between Great Britain and Germany. The 
Germans separated, putting on their best speed, and though 
followed ran the British out of sight. The same night 
they heard by wireless of the British declaration of war. 

422 The Great War 

On August 5th they were again at Messina, at which, as it 
was a neutral port, they could stay but twenty-four hours. 
The time was spent in coaling. A British squadron was 
known to be on the watch for them in the strait, but in 
the evening of Thursday, August 6th, they left. Just what 
occurred in the strait is unknown, but the result was the 
escape of the two German ships and a court-martial of the 
senior British commander, who was finally exonerated of 
the charges made against him by the Admiralty. The 
German cruisers reached the Dardanelles on August 10th, 
boarded several British and French ships, but did nothing 
beyond destroying the wireless apparatus of the French 
steamer Saghalien, facts in themselves which should have 
thrown light on the Turkish situation. Shortly after reach- 
ing Constantinople they passed under the Turkish flag, the 
Goeben receiving the name Sultan Yawuz Selim and the 
Breslau, Midellu, The situation was unprecedented in inter- 
national law. The Goeben was to the Turks but a fair offset 
in equity, though not in value, for the seizure of their 
ships built in England. 


Operations in European Waters 

In the North Sea : August 5, 1914, the German mine-layer Koniflin Luise 
destroyed. The British cruiser Amp/lion mined. August 9th, German 
submarine attack. August 28th, battle off Heligoland, German losses. 
The Pathjinder torpedoed. Victims of the U-9 on September 22d and 
October 15th. Loss of four German destroyers. October 26th, sinking of 
the British battleship Audacious. British monitors in Belgian defense. 
Isolated casualties. German cruisers raid the east coast of England. Great 
battle on January 24, 1915, loss of the German cruiser Bliicher. In the 
Baltic : German casualties. A German submarine sinks a Russian cruiser. 
In the Mediterranean. Austrian casualties. British submarine success in 
the Dardanelles. Russian losses in the Black Sea. 

The naval war opened promptly. On August 5, 1914, 
a German mine-layer, the Ko/n'gm Luise, a Hamburg liner 
of 2,163 gross tons, converted for the purpose, was sighted 
off the Suffolk coast by the light cruiser Amphion of 3,500 
tons, accompanied by three destroyers. The German ship 
was chased some thirty miles and was sunk by gunfire 
when nearing the Scheldt. The high speed of all four of 
the British ships made destruction certain. The German 
had a quick revenge, for the Arnphion when returning over 
the region of the former's operations struck one of the 

The official account says that a sheet of flame instantlv 
enveloped the bridge, rendered the captain insensible, and 
he fell onto the fore and aft bridge. As soon as he recov- 
ered consciousness he ran to the engine-room to stop the 
engines, which were still going at revolutions for twenty 
knots. As all the fore part was on fire, it proved impossible 


424 The Great War 

to reach the bridge or to flood the fore magazine. The 
ship's back appeared to be broken, and she was already 
settling down by the bows. All efforts were therefore 
directed towards placing the wounded in a place of safety 
in case of explosion, and towards getting her in tow by the 
stern. Twenty minutes after the mine was struck the men, 
officers, and captain left the ship. Three minutes after the 
captain left his ship another explosion occurred, which en- 
veloped and blew up the whole fore part of the vessel. 
The effects showed that she must have struck a second 
mine, which exploded the fore magazine. The after part 
now began to settle quickly until its foremost part was on 
the bottom and the whole after part tilted up at an angle 
of 45 degrees. In another quarter of an hour this, too, 
had disappeared. 

On August 9th the First Light Cruiser Squadron of the 
main British fleet was attacked by submarines. They 
approached submerged, only the periscopes showing above 
water. The Birmingham by a lucky shot struck the peri- 
scope of the nearest, and later on her rising above water, 
rammed and sank her. The other got away. The lost 
vessel was supposedly of the earlier type, of 300 tons dis- 
placement. On August 19th the Press Bureau issued the 
following statement: "Some desultory fighting has taken 
place during the day between the British patrolling squad- 
ron and flotillas and German reconnoitering cruisers. No 
losses are reported or claimed. A certain liveliness is appar- 
ent in the southern area of the North Sea." "A reassuring 
statement was made by the Daily Chronicle's correspondent 
in Hull to the effect that the mine-sweeping fleet of 
trawlers had almost cleared the areas of the North Sea 
that were strewn with mines by the Germans. Mean- 
while, trading and passenger steamers have been resuming 
their regular sailings. Cargoes of foodstuffs have been 

Operations in European Waters 425 

arriving at several east coast ports both in England and 
Scotland. As the Times naval correspondent remarks, 
* British fishing boats are putting out, coastwise traffic has 
been resumed, mail and passenger boats are running to and 
fro between Britain and Northern Europe, and a Nor- 
wegian bark, the Ingrid, is said to have arrived at Dover 
on August 13th from the Baltic, having crossed the water- 
way without seeing any signs of war.' " 

It was not until August 28th that the first real clash of the 
war on sea came, the scene of this being the vicinity of Heli- 
goland. The British preliminary movements are described 
by Commodore Roger Keyes, commanding the submarine 
flotilla. The whole of the British force was under the 
command of Admiral David Beatty, who had his flag in 
the battle-cruiser Lion, which, with three others of her 
class, the Queen Mary, Prificess Royal, and Tiger, formed the 
First Battle-Cruiser Squadron, under his immediate com- 
mand. All carried eight 13.5-inch guns and several ex- 
ceeded 30 knots speed, the Princess Royal on her trials 
having reached 34.7. The Invijicible and New Zealand, 
battle-cruisers of 17,000 and 18,000 tons and 26 knots, 
joined him on August 28th. Accompanying were the 
Light Cruiser Squadron, with the Euryalus (flagship of Rear 
Admiral A. H. Christian), of 12,000 tons, and 21.5 knots, 
as flagship, with the First and Third Destroyer Flotillas 
and the submarines. 

The movements of the British are best described by 
Commodore R. Y. Tyrwhitt, whose broad-pennant was 
in the protected cruiser Arethusa, of 3,560 tons, 29 knots, 
and two 6-inch and six 4-inch guns. 

He sailed August 27th with the First and Third De- 
stroyer Flotillas to carry out the prearranged operations. 
Four destroyers were absent, but he was joined by the 
Fearless (of 3,450 tons and ten 4-inch guns) in the afternoon. 

426 The Great War 

At 6.53 A.M., on August 28th, a German destroyer was 
sighted and chased. From 7.20 to 7.57 A. M. the Arethusa 
and the Third Flotilla were engaged with numerous de- 
stroyers and torpedo boats making for Heligoland; course 
was altered to port to cut them off. Two cruisers, one 
with four and the other with two funnels, were sighted at 
7.57, the nearest of which was engaged. The Arethusa 
received a heavy fire from both cruisers and several de- 
stroyers until 8.15 (18 minutes), when the Magdeburg 
transferred her fire to the Fearless. Close action was con- 
tinued with the two funnelled cruiser (the Ariadne) until 
8.25, when a 6-inch projectile from the Arethusa wrecked 
the Ariadne's fore bridge. The latter turned for Heligo- 
land, now slightly visible on the starboard bow. All ships 
were now ordered to turn westward and shortly after, 
speed was reduced to 20 knots. 

The following are vividly descriptive paragraphs from 
the commodore's report: 

" During this action the Arethusa had been hit many times and was 
considerably damaged ; only one 6-inch gun [of which, as mentioned, she 
carried two and six 4-inch] remained in action, all other guns and torpedo 
tubes having been temporarily disabled. 

^'A fire occurred opposite No. 2 gun-port side, caused by a shell ex- 
ploding some ammunition, resulting in a terrific blaze for a short period 
and leaving the deck burning. This was promptly dealt with, . . . 

"The flotillas were reformed in divisions and proceeded [westward] at 
20 knots. It was now noticed that the Arethusa s speed had been reduced. 

'■'-Fearless reported that the Third and Fifth Divisions of the First Flotilla 
had sunk the German commodore's destroyer and that two boats belong- 
ing to the Defender had been left behind, as our destroyers had been fired 
upon by a German cruiser during their act of mercy in saving the sur- 
vivors of the German destroyer. At lO a.m. hearing that the Lurcher 
and F'lredrake were being chased by light cruisers, the Fearless and First 
Flotilla went to their assistance until 10.37 a.m., when having no news, 
and being in the vicinity of Heligoland, I ordered the ships in company to 
turn to the westward. 

"All guns except two 4-inch were again in working order and the upper 
deck supply of ammunition was replenished. 

Operations in European Waters 427 

"At 10.55 A.M. a four-funnelled German cruiser was sighted, and 
opened a very heavy fire at about 1 1 o'clock. 

" Our position being somewhat critical, I ordered Fearless to attack, and 
the First Flotilla to attack with torpedoes, which they proceeded to do with 
great spirit. The cruiser at once turned away, disappeared in the haze, 
and evaded the attack. 

"About ten minutes later the same cruiser appeared on our starboard 
quarter. Opened fire on her with both 6-inch guns ; Fearless also en- 
gaged her, and one division of destroyers attacked her with torpedoes 
without success. 

" The cruiser was badly damaged by Arethusa^s 6-inch guns, and a 
splendidly directed fire from Fearless^ and she shortly afterwards turned 
away in the direction of Heligoland. 

" Proceeded, and four minutes later sighted the three-funnelled cruiser 
Main-z,. She endured a heavy fire from Arethusa and Fearless and many 
destroyers. After an action of approximately 25 minutes, she was seen to 
be sinking by the head, her engines stopped, besides being on fire. 

"At this moment the Light Cruiser Squadron appeared, and they very 
speedily reduced the Mainz, to a condition which must have been inde- 

" I then recalled Fearless and the destroyers, and ordered cease fire. 

" We then exchanged broadsides with a large four-funnelled cruiser on 
the starboard quarter at long range, without visible effect. 

"The Battle-Cruiser Squadron now arrived and I pointed out this cruiser 
to the admiral commanding, and was shortly afterwards informed bv him 
that the cruiser in question had been sunk and another set on fire. . . . 

'''-Arethusa s speed was about six knots until 7 p.m., when it was impos- 
sible to proceed any further, and fires were drawn in all boilers except two, 
and assistance called for. 

" His Majesty's ship under my command was then towed to the Nore, 
arriving at 4 p. m. on August 29th. Steam was then available for slow 
speed, and the ship was able to proceed to Chatham under her own steam." 

Of the part played by the destroyers and submarines in 
this first serious naval encounter some important details 
may be quoted from the report of Commodore Keyes, 
commanding; the Submarine Flotilla (himself in the de- 
stroyer Lurcher). He says: 

"At midnight on August 26th I embarked in the Lurcher^ and, in com- 
pany with Firedrake and submarines D 2^ D 8^ E ^^ £ 5, E 6^ E J^ E8y 
and jEp, of the Eighth Submarine Flotilla, proceeded to take part in the 

428 The Great War 

operations in the Heligoland Bight arranged for August 28th. The de- 
stroyers scouted for the submarines until nightfall on the 27th, when the 
latter proceeded independently to take up various positions from which they 
could cooperate with the destroyer flotillas on the following morning. 

"At daybreak on August 28th the Lurcher and Firedrake searched the 
area, through which the battle-cruisers were to advance, for hostile sub- 
marines, and then proceeded towards Heligoland in the wake of submarines 
E6^ Ey^ and E8^ which were exposing themselves with the object of 
inducing the enemy to chase them to the westward. 

" Lieutenant Commander Ernest W. Leir, commanding submarine E /j.^ 
witnessed the sinking of the German torpedo boat destroyer V i8j through 
his periscope and, observing a cruiser of the Stettin class close, and open 
fire on the British destroyers which had lowered their boats to pick up the 
survivors, he proceeded to attack the cruiser, but she altered her course 
before he could get within range. After covering the retirement of our 
destroyers, which had had to abandon their boats, he returned to the latter, 
and embarked a lieutenant and nine men of the Defender^ who had been 
left behind. The boats also contained two officers and eight men of V i8y^ 
who were unwounded, and 18 men who were badly wounded. As he could 
not embark the latter. Lieutenant Commander Leir left one of the officers 
and six unwounded men to navigate the British boats to Heligoland. Before 
leaving he saw that they were provided with water, biscuit, and a compass. 
One German officer and two men were made prisoners of war. 

" Lieutenant Commander Leir's action in remaining on the surface in 
the vicinity of the enemy, and in a visibility which would have placed his 
vessel within easy gun range of an enemy appearing out of the mist, was 
altogether admirable." 

The action of Lieutenant Commander Leir, which Com- 
modore Keyes very justly describes as admirable, soon 
brought the former well-merited promotion to the rank 
of commander. 

Commodore Keyes in dealing in general with the opera- 
tions of the submarines speaks of the sinking, six miles south 
of Heligoland, of the German light cruiser Hela on Sep- 
tember 13th by submarine £ 9 and on October 6th, by the 
same submarine (the commander of which was Lieutenant 
Commander Max K. Horton), the sinking of the German 
destroyer S 126. He also mentions the *' short steep seas 
which accompany westerly gales in the Heligoland Bight 

Operations in European Waters 429 

[which] made it difficult to keep the conning-tower open. 
There was no rest to be obtained, and even when cruising 
at a depth of 60 feet the submarines were rolling consider- 
ably and pumping, i.e., vertically moving about 20 feet." 
The following is Admiral Beatty's report: 

" I have the honor to report that on Thursday, August 27th, at 5 a, m., 
I proceeded with the First Battle-Cruiser Squadron and First Light Cruiser 
Squadron in company, to rendezvous with the Rear Admiral, Invincible. 

"At 4 A.M., August 28th, the movements of the flotillas commenced, 
as previously arranged, the Battle-Cruiser Squadron and Light Cruiser 
Squadron supporting. The Rear Admiral, Invincible., with New Zealand 
and four destroyers, having joined my flag, the squadron passed through 
the prearranged rendezvous. 

"At 8.10 A.M. I received a signal from the Commodore (T) [Tyrwhitt], 
informing me that the flotilla was in action with the enemy. This was 
presumably in the vicinity of their prearranged rendezvous. From this 
time until ii A. M. I remained about the vicinity ready to support as neces- 
sary, intercepting various signals, which contained no information on which 
I could act. 

"At II A.M. the squadron was attacked by three submarines. The 
attack was frustrated by rapid maneuvering, and the four destroyers were 
ordered to attack them. Shortly after 11 a. M. various signals having been 
received indicating that the Commodore (T) and Commodore (S) [Keyes] 
were both in need of assistance, I ordered the Light Cruiser Squadron to 
support the torpedo flotillas. 

" Later I received a signal from the Commodore (T), stating that he 
was being attacked by a large cruiser, and a further signal informing me 
that he was being hard pressed, and asking for assistance. The Cap- 
tain (D) [name not published]. First Flotilla, also signalled that he was 
in need of help. 

" From the foregoing the situation appeared to me critical. The flotillas 
had advanced only 10 miles since 8 A. M., and were only about 25 miles from 
two enemy bases on their flank and rear respectively. Commodore Good- 
enough had detached two of his light cruisers to assist some destroyers 
earlier in the day, and these had not yet rejoined. (They rejoined at 
2.30 P.M.) As the reports indicated the presence of many enemy ships — 
one a large cruiser — I considered that his force might not be strong 
enough to deal with the situation sufficiently rapidly, so at 11.30 a.m. the 
battle-cruisers turned to ESE and worked up to full speed. It was evident 
that to be of any value the support must be overwhelming, and carried 
out at the highest speed possible. 

430 The Great War 

" I had not lost sight of the risk of submarines, and possible sortie in 
force from the enemy's base, especially in view of the mist to the southeast. 

" Our high speed, however, made submarine attack difficult, and the 
smoothness of the sea made their detection comparatively easy. I con- 
sidered that we were powerful enough to deal with any sorties except by 
a battle squadron, which was unlikely to come out in time, provided our 
stroke was sufficiently rapid. 

"At 12.15 P-M* Fearless and First Flotilla were sighted retiring west. 
At the same time the Light Cruiser Squadron was observed to be engaging 
an enemy ship ahead. They appeared to have her beat. 

"I then steered NE to sounds of firing ahead, and at 12.30 p.m. sighted 
Arethusa and Third Flotilla retiring to the westward engaging a cruiser of 
the Kolberg class on our port bow. I steered to cut her off from Heligo- 
land, and at 12.37 p.m. opened fire. At 12.42 the enemy turned to NE, 
and we chased at 27 knots. 

"At 12.56 P.M. sighted and engaged a two-funnelled cruiser ahead. 
Lion fired two salvos at her, which took effect, and she disappeared into 
the mist, burning furiously and in a sinking condition. In view of the 
mist and that she was steering at high speed at right angles to Lion^ who 
was herself steaming at 28 knots, the Lion's firing was very creditable. 

" Our destroyers had reported the presence of floating mines to the east- 
ward, and I considered it inadvisable to pursue her. It was also essential 
that the squadron should remain concentrated, and I accordingly ordered 
a withdrawal. The battle-cruisers turned north and circled to port to 
complete the destruction of the vessel first engaged. She was sighted 
again at 1.25 p.m. steaming SE, with colors still flying. Lion opened fire 
with two turrets, and at 1.35 p.m., after receiving two salvos, she sank. 

" The four attached destroyers were sent to pick up survivors, but I 
deeply regret that they subsequently reported that they searched the area 
but found none. 

"At 1.40 p. m. the battle-cruisers turned to the northward, and ^ueen 
Mary was again attacked by a submarine. The attack was avoided by 
the use of the helm. Lowestoft was also unsuccessfully attacked. The 
battle-cruisers covered the retirement until nightfall. By 6 p.m. the re- 
tirement having been well executed and all destroyers accounted for, I 
altered course, spread the light cruisers, and swept northwards in accord- 
ance with the commander-in-chief's orders. At 7,45 p.m. I detached 
Liverpool to Rosyth with German prisoners, seven officers and 79 men, 
survivors from Mainz. No further incident occurred." 

It is clear that the Germans, despite their loss of the 
protected cruisers, the Koln and Mainz, both of 4,280 tons, 
26 knots and twelve 4.1-inch guns, and the Ariadne^ of 

Operations in European Waters 431 

2,618 tons, 22 knots and ten 4.1-inch guns, and a destroyer, 
had carried off the honors of the fight. Their opponents 
(the Arethusa carrying the Commodore's broad pennant) 
had withdrawn badly injured and, leaving the iield of 
action at 20 knots, were going westward when the battle- 
cruiser squadron, of overpowering force, came to the 
rescue. Says Mr. Jane, the well-known British naval 
critic: "Our popular press feeds us on apparent results. 
. . . But from the naval war standard the fact remains 
that if Admiral Beatty had not taken abnormal risks we 
should have been badly beaten in the Bight of Heligoland 
on August 28th." The best that can be said is that both 
sides fought bravely and that no flag was hauled down. 

On September 5th the light cruiser Pathfinder, of 2,940 
tons, 25 knots and nine 4-inch guns, was torpedoed off 
St. Abb's Head, East Scotland, by the German 11-21, which 
had been previously reported as that sunk by the Birming- 
ham on August 9th. But on September 22, 1914, the Ger- 
mans scored a much more marked success in the sinking 
of the three armored cruisers, Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy, 
which were together on patrol duty off the Dutch coast. 
These ships were 454 feet on the water line, 69 }4 feet 
broad, and had an armor belt 11^ feet wide and 230 feet 
long. They carried each two 9.2-inch, 40 caliber guns, 
twelve 6-inch, 45 caliber, thirteen 12-pounders, three 
3-pounders, and two 18-inch submerged torpedo tubes. 
The guns were mounted in 6-inch turrets and barbettes. 
They had 5-inch casemates. Altogether, though built 
about 1900, they were powerful ships with complements 
of 700 and, in the flagship, 745 men. Their foe was the 
German submarine U-9, commanded by Lieutenant Com- 
mander Weddigen, with a crew of 20 men. The sub- 
marine had just been to the Shetland Islands, a journey 
there and back of 1,200 miles. The commanders of the 

432 The Great War 

Cressy and Hogue give in their reports excellent descriptions 
of what occurred, which are of special interest as illustrating 
the present dangers of naval life in war. These officers were 
the second in command, both of their captains being lost. 
Commander Nicholson of the Cressy says: 

'■^Jboukir was struck at about 6.25 a.m. [September 22d] on starboard 
beam. Hogue and Cressy closed, and took up position — Hogue ahead of 
Aboukir and Cressy about 400 yards on port beam. As soon as it was 
seen that Ahoukir was in danger of sinking, all boats were sent away from 
Cressy and picket boat was hoisted out without steam up. When cutters 
full of Aboukir' s men were returning to Cressy^ Hogue was struck apparently 
under aft 9.2 magazine, as a very heavy explosion took place immediately 
after the first explosion. 

"Almost directly after Hogue was hit we observed a periscope on our 
port bow about 300 yards off. Fire was immediately opened, and engines 
put full speed ahead with intention of running her down. Our gunner, 
Mr. Dogherty, positively asserts that he hit the periscope, and that the 
submarine then showed her conning-tower, which he struck, and the sub- 
marine sank. An officer standing alongside the gunner thinks that the 
shell struck only floating timber, of which there was much about, but it 
was evidently the impression of the men on deck, who cheered and clap- 
ped heartily, that the submarine had been hit. This submarine did not 
fire a torpedo at Cressy. 

" Captain Johnson then maneuvered the ship so as to render assistance 
to crews of the Hogue and Ahoukir. About five minutes later another 
periscope was seen on our starboard quarter. Fire was opened. The 
track of the torpedo she fired at a range of 500 to 600 yards was plainly 
visible, and it struck us starboard side just before the after bridge. The 
ship listed about 10 degrees to starboard and remained steady. Time, 
7.15 A. M. All water-tight doors, dead lights, and scuttles had been securely 
closed before the torpedo struck ship. All mess tools, and tables, shores, 
and all available timber below and on deck had been previously got up and 
thrown over the side for saving of life. 

"A second torpedo fired by the same submarine missed and passed about 
20 feet astern. About a quarter of an hour after the first torpedo had hit, 
a third torpedo, fired from a submarine just before starboard beam, hit us 
in No. 5 boiler-room. Time, 7.30 a. m. The ship then began to heel 
rapidly, and finally turned keel up, remaining so for about 20 minutes 
before she finally sank at 7.55 a.m. A large number of men were saved 
by the casting adrift of a pattern three target. The steam pinnace floated 
out of her crutches, but filled and sank. 

Operations in European Waters 433 

" The second torpedo which struck Cressy passed over sinking hull of 
Ahoukir^ narrowly missing it. It is possible that the same submarine fired 
all three torpedoes at Cressy. 

" The conduct of the crew was excellent throughout. I have already 
reported the splendid service rendered by Captain Phillips, master of the 
trawler L. T. Coriander^ and his crew, who picked up 1 56 officers and men." 

Commander Norton of the Hogue reports : 

" Between 6. 1 5 and 6.30 a. m. H. M. S. Aboukir was struck by a torpedo. 
The Hogue closed the Aboukir., and I received orders to hoist out the launch, 
turn out and prepare all boats, and unlash all timber on the upper deck. 
The two lifeboats were sent to the Aboukir^ but before the launch could 
get away the Hogue was struck on the starboard side amidships by two 
torpedoes at intervals of 10 to 20 seconds. The ship at once began to 
heel to starboard. 

"After ordering the men to provide themselves with wood, hammocks, 
etc., and to get into the boats on the booms and take off their clothes, I 
went by Captain Nicholson's directions to ascertain the damage in the 
engine-rooms. An artificer-engineer informed me that the water was over 
the engine-room gratings. While endeavoring to return to the bridge the 
water burst open the starboard entry-port doors, and the ship heeled rapidly. 

" I told the men in the port battery to jump overboard as the launch 
was close alongside, and soon afterwards the ship lurched heavily to star- 

*'A Dutch sailing trawler sailed close by, but went ofF without rendering 
any assistance, though we signalled to her from the Hogue to close after 
we were struck. 

"The Aboukir appeared to me to take about 35 minutes to sink, floating 
bottom up for about five minutes. The Hogue turned turtle very quickly 
in about five minutes, and floated bottom up for some minutes. A dense 
black smoke was seen in the starboard battery, whether from coal or tor- 
pedo cordite I could not say. The upper deck was not blown up, and 
only one other small explosion occurred as we heeled over. 

" The Cressy I watched heel over from the cutter. She heeled over to 
starboard very slowly, a dense black smoke issuing from her when she 
attained an angle of about 90 degrees. She took a long time from this 
angle until she floated bottom up, with the starboard screw slightly out of 
the water. I consider that it was 35 to 45 minutes from the time when 
she was struck until she was bottom up." 

Somewhat more than half of the 2,200 officers and men, 
who were aboard the three ships, were lost. 

434 The Great War 

The scene was dramatically described by a Dutch skip- 
per to a temporary member of the American Legation in 
Holland: "I was called on deck by my mate, who said 
there were three British men of war in sight. I went up 
and saw two, then one and then none," so rapid and effec- 
tive was the action of the submarine. The British naval 
expert, mentioned above, the late Fred T. Jane, said it was 
impossible that the exploit could have been the work of 
one vessel, but this was merely a case of dogmatism too 
frequent with this writer, as there is no doubt that there 
was but one submarine present. 

The fate of the Hogue and the Cressy, due to the instinc- 
tive and very laudable desire to render assistance, brought 
an order from the British Admiralty that ships thereafter 
should not be risked by approaching a vessel so wounded 
and stopping to make a rescue — a hard necessity. 

Three weeks later (October 15th) the cruiser Hawke, of 
7,350 tons, was torpedoed by the same U-9, all but 46 men 
and three officers of the 600 aboard being lost. Two days 
after this, October 17th, the light cruiser Undaunted^ of 
3,750 tons and 29 knots, accompanied by three destroyers, 
sank by gunfire four German destroyers, S 115, S 117, S 118, 
and S 119, each of 420 tons and of a class built at Elbing 
in 1902-1903. Over 200 of the German crews, of some 
240, perished. 

On October 27th, however, the British suffered the 
severest loss of the war up to that time, in the sinking by 
a mine or torpedo (by which, is unknown) off the north coast 
of Ireland of the Audacious, one of their latest and heaviest 
battleships, of 23,000 tons and ten 13.5-inch guns. She 
was at the time, in company with four other ships, carry- 
ing on target practice and was just turning to make a run 
past the target. The White Star steamer Olympic, home- 
ward bound, was in reach and lent valuable aid in rescue 

Operations in European Waters 435 

of the crew, but two of whom were lost. The severity 
of the blow was shown by the endeavor of the British 
Admiralty to suppress for a long time the fact, the Olympic 
being detained for a week at Lough Swilly, and the passen- 
gers, who were released at Belfast, where the ship docked, 
instead of Liverpool, warned to keep silence as to what 
they had seen. There has never, so far as is known to the 
writer, been any official acknowledgment of the disaster. 

On October 31st the Hermes, a cruiser of 5,600 tons, 20 
knots and eleven 6-inch guns, was sunk by an unknown 
German submarine off Dover. Nearly 400 of the crew 
out of some 450 were saved. The disaster was at 9 A. M. 
The ship was struck twice, the first blow putting her pro- 
pellers out of action, the second striking her in the vicinity 
of the engine room, tearing a great rent in the bottom. 
Notwithstanding, the ship floated, according to some re- 
ports, nearly an hour, others, however, stating the time as 
much less. The ability of a ship of so moderate a size to 
remain afloat so wounded for at least a considerable time 
is, in view of later events, of much importance. 

Three monitors at this period were actively employed on 
the Belgian coast, but with what success is not accurately 
known, the accounts of the British Service papers being so 
extremely lurid as to damage done by vessels whose gun- 
fire, on account of their quick raft-like motion, is so 
notably inaccurate, that the reports must be taken with 
caution. These ships were building for Brazil, but were 
taken over by Great Britain on the outbreak of the war 
and named the Severn, Humher, and Mersey. They are 
265 feet long with a draft of 8^ feet and a displacement of 
1,200 tons, a speed oillj4 knots, and an armament of two 
6-inch guns, two 4.7-inch howitzers, and four 3-pounders. 
As instruments of war, they are of doubtful value in any 
waters but those of smooth harbors and rivers. 

436 The Great War 

Affairs in the North Sea ran on with varying fortune. 
The Germans on November 4th lost the armored cruiser 
Torek, 9,350 tons, 21.4 knots and four 8.2-inch guns in 
turrets, by the ship's striking one of their own mines at the 
entrance of Jade Bay. Of her complement of some 700, 
over 300 were lost. The captain was sentenced on Decem- 
ber 23d by a court-martial held at Wilhelmshaven to two 
years' detention in a fortress and the officer next in rank to 
one year, the charges being disobedience of orders and 
negligence. On November 26th the British battleship 
Bulwark, of 15,000 tons, blew up in Sheerness Harbor, 
nearly her whole complement of 750 men being lost, 14 
only being saved. The misfortune is attributed to careless 
handling in taking on board shells, one falling from such a 
height as to cause an explosion which extended to the 

That the spirit of venture shown by the reconnais- 
sance in force off Heligoland on August 28th was not 
singular to the British was seen in the appearance on the 
English coast, on November 13th, of a German squadron 
of eight ships which included the battle-cruisers Seydlitz, 
Moltke, and Vo7t der Tann, and the armored cruiser Bliicher. 
These ships bombarded Yarmouth at long range, but with 
small damage. The raid was probably more for moral 
than material effect. This was followed on December 16th 
by an attack, in weather described at an inquest on civilians 
who were killed as "very thick and hazy," on Scarborough, 
Whitby, and Hartlepool, with a considerable loss of life at 
all three places. These attacks, of course, caused much 
comment, as being unjustifiable. As the subject is of great 
importance and interest it is not amiss to give space to some 
authorities. Thus the London EcoJiomist, of December 
26, 1914, said: "We have assumed the burden and respon- 
sibilities of war and if the enemy is successful in piercing 

The sinking of the German cruiser Mainz, oi\ Heligoland, during the action of 
August 28, 1 9 14. British destroyer standing by to pick up sur\'ivors. 






Boats troni ilic British hattUsiujis ii-sciiing surxnors triini the Grit :stn, 1:1, atter tlie 
action off the Falklanil Islands, December 8, 19 14. 

Operations in European Waters 437 

our defenses, it behooves us to face the fact with calm and 
fortitude. . . . The bombardment of undefended towns 
is forbidden by the recognized Conventions of naval war- 
fare. Unhappily, no agreement as to the definition of an 
undefended town has ever been achieved. The term 'un- 
defended' is certainly much wider than 'unfortified.' For 
instance, in ratifying the Conventions of The Hague Con- 
ference on this subject, the British government, supported 
by those of Germany and France, insisted that the laying 
of contact mines off a harbor should be sufficient to expose 
the same to bombardment. 

"The Conventions further direct that even in the case of 
defended towns, the commander of an attacking force must 
give due notice of bombardment, but only when military 
exigencies allow, which clearly they do not in the case of 
a sudden raid; that the enemy must do his best to spare 
churches, civic buildings, hospitals and the like, where these 
are distinguishable by the exhibition of large, rigid panels 
divided into black and white triangles. And here it may 
be remarked that the official British Majiual of Military 
Law lays it down that a town and its defenses constitute 
an indivisible whole. 

"Finally, the immunity of undefended towns does not 
extend to military works, establishments or depots, or to 
any workshops capable of supplying military needs, excep- 
tions that would probably be held to cover railway stations, 
bridges, and coal stores, whether in public or private 

" Now, Hartlepool is clearly a defended town. The War 
Office reported that the German vessels engaged the for- 
tress, which replied and drove the enemy off. The Ger- 
mans, on the other hand, pretend to have silenced its guns. 
There were, presumably, other military targets as well, for 
shells are reported to have been dropped on the royal 

438 The Great War 

engineers' and infantry lines. It is clear, however, that the 
town suffered far more than the military works. This may 
have been the result of malice, or carelessness, or incom- 
petence, or it may have been inevitable in the case of a 
bombardment at considerable range on a misty morning." 

Passing, for want of space, the Economist's remarks of 
somewhat like tenor as to Whitby and Scarborough, the 
paper continues: "There is one consideration which seems 
to have been lost sight of by some people. It is this — that 
as indicated above, several proposed restrictions upon the 
freedom from bombardment have been resisted by the 
British government in the past. In view of our position 
as a paramount naval power the decision was very likely a 
wise one, at least from a military point of view, but we 
must be prepared to take the consequences, and we shall 
cut a very poor figure before the world if we complain 
when others turn to our disadvantage the freedom we 
have ourselves reserved. . . . Before we give vent to 
an excess of fury, certainly before we indict a whole nation, 
let us remember that our own navy has been enga^d in 
similar operations fraught with possible loss to the life and 
property of non-combatants . . . the fact remains that 
coast towns have to take their chances. The killing of 
women and children, and of civilians generally, is an abomi- 
nation, but war itself is an abomination and will always 
be so." 

In the British naval maneuvers of 1888 there were simu- 
lated attacks on several undefended coast towns which 
brought protests denouncing the action as a breach of 
international law. Replies were made by naval officers 
and by several authorities on international law. Among 
them was Admiral Lord Charles Beresford (now Lord 
Beresford), who wrote in the London Times, of August 18, 
1888: "I say boldly and openly that if an officer could 

Operations in European Waters 439 

damage his enemy and procure panic and demoralization 
in the enemy's country, he would be wrong to demur a 
moment in exacting a ransom or in bombarding a seaport 
town if the opportunity occurs." 

As a retaliation for this raid, an attack at daybreak on 
Christmas Day, 1914, was made on Cuxhaven by seven 
seaplanes, escorted by a light cruiser, destroyers, and 
submarines. Seen from Heligoland, two Zeppelins, some 
seaplanes and submarines were sent out. Apparently 
nothing was accomplished on either side. Four of the 
British aviators lost their machines, but themselves re- 
turned safe. 

On January 1st the British Formidable, of the Bulivai-k 
type, of 15,511 tons, 18.1 knots with four 12-inch and 
twelve 6-inch guns, was sunk in the English Channel by 
an unknown submarine. Seventy-one of the crew were 
picked up by a British light cruiser, 70 had been taken 
from the water by a trawler, and 40 others, the survivors of 
60, who were in a cutter, reached Lyme Regis after toss- 
ing about in a heavy sea, without food or water, for twenty 

A graphic account of the disaster, from an officer, 
appeared in the Daily Telegraph. The following is 
taken from an abridgment of this in the Army and 
Navy Gazette. It is valuable not only as illustrating a 
terrible and dramatic situation, but as throwing some 
light upon questions involved, in the sinking, later, of 
much larger ships as to the time they should have re- 
mained afloat. 

"I was sleeping in my hammock," the officer observed, "when about 
2.20 [a.m.] I was awakened by a tremendous crash. I jumped out of 
my hammock and ran to the upper deck. I noticed that there was already 
a great list on the ship. At the same time we turned head on the wind. 

440 The Great War 

The explosion occurred on the starboard side, abreast of the foremost 
funnel, and I should say that the resulting inrush of water flooded the 
boiler-rooms, because immediately afterwards the electric light and steam 
power failed on all the engines, and we came to a standstill. 

" Just about this time — I should think a quarter of an hour after the 
first explosion — a second occurred. This proved to be a blessing in dis- 
guise, at least temporarily, because the great inrush of water which ensued 
helped to right the vessel. We got nearly on to an even keel, and this 
made it much easier for us to get about the deck. The second explosion 
seemed to me to burst the boilers. All the men eventually got on to the 
upper deck, each with some piece of woodwork in his possession or near 
him. Each man wore an Admiralty swimming collar, which, while good 
enough in a way, simply keeps a fellow's head on a level with the water, 
with the result that if there is anything of a sea his mouth is nearly always 
' awash ' — a very unpleasant experience. The officers were wearing a 
Gieve waistcoat, which is a much better idea than the Admiralty collar. It 
has a tube on it, and when this is blown up it supports the wearer higher 
out of the water. There was not the slightest panic. I think this was very 
creditable. They had been standing for a long time, too, very scantily 
clothed, in a biting wind, and it was a great test of their courage. 

"Everybody seemed to think the ship would hold out and float to dawn, 
and she did actually float for about two hours and a quarter. She devel- 
oped a terrible list, however, in spite of the good effect of the second ex- 
plosion, and in order to correct this the turret crews tried to train their 
guns on the beam, but there being no hydraulic pressure available, they 
were unable to do this, and the effort had to be abandoned. Verrey's 
lights were now sent up. The wireless apparatus was, of course, out of 
order, there being no current. Then followed an uncomfortable three- 
quarters of an hour while we waited. All our water-tight doors were 
closed, and everything done that could be done to keep the ship afloat, but 
as time went on it was evident she was going under, and her list was in- 
creasing terribly. The crews of the starboard side — the side which was 
in the water — had been down and closed the gun-ports, but it was easily 
noticeable in one of the gun casements that the water was rising rapidly 
inside, and coming up the ammunition hoists. During the last lO minutes 
that the vessel was afloat — from about 4.20 to 4.30 — the list appreciably 
increased, and matters had reached a climax. 

" The captain came down from the bridge on the port boat-deck, and 
sang out, ' Into the water with you; she's going.' Then it was a question 
of each man for himself. You must understand that the ship was now 
nearly flat on her side. Hundreds of the men had climbed over the rails 
on the upper side, which was out of the water, and stood there in two 
ranks waiting for orders, and on hearing the captain shout they all slid 

Operations in European Waters 441 

down the vessel's side into the sea. Many fell with some force against 
the bilge keel, which was showing above the water, and got some nasty 
injuries, but eventually swam off. . . . As to myself, I managed to 
climb over the top rail with great difficulty and slipped down the ship's 
side with the others. ... It was with heartfelt gladness that I noticed 
a cruiser which had seen the end of the Formidable come up. I struck out 
for her. A rope ladder was lowered to us, and I was just able to climb 
up it with some others." 

A large number of officers were saved but the captain 
went down with the ship, which sank by the head. 

It was not until January 24, 1915, that a battle of real 
importance came in the North Sea, in which the principal 
forces on the British side, under Vice Admiral Beatty, were 
the five battle-cruisers Lio?t (flagship). Tiger, Princess Royal, 
New Zealand, and hidomitable, and on the German, three 
battle-cruisers, Seydlitz (flagship of Rear Admiral Hipper), 
Derfflinger, and Moltke, and the armored cruiser Bliicher. 
In the British squadron were twenty-four 13.5-inch guns, 
and sixteen 12-inch; in the German, eight 12-inch, twenty 
11-inch, and twelve 8.2-inch. The weight of British fire 
to the German was 23 to 14, or about 60% greater. The 
British battle-cruisers were of 28 and 28.5 knots, except 
the New Zealand and Indomitable, which were of 25 and 26. 
The Germans, in the order named, were 27, 29.2, 28.4, 25.3. 
The lower speed of the last named, the Bliicher, was largely 
the cause of her destruction. 

The British Battle-Cruiser Squadron was accompanied 
by four cruisers of the Southampton class, the Southampton 
(carrying Commodore Goodenough's broad pennant), the 
Nottingham, Birmingham, and Lowestoft. These ships were 
of 5,440 tons, 25.5 knots, and each carried nine 6-inch guns. 
A second cruiser squadron was the Arcthusa, Aurora, and 
Undaunted (with Commodore Tyrwhitt in the Arethusa). 
These were all of 4,000 tons, 25.5 knots and two 6-inch and 
four 4-inch guns. The Germans were accompanied by the 

442 The Great War 

four cruisers Rostock, Stralsund, Graudenz, and Kolberg, of 
from 4,280 to 4,832 tons and from 27 to 28 knots, each 
carrying twelve 4.1-inch guns. The Graudenz and Rostock 
were not engaged. There was the usual accompaniment of 
destroyers and some submarines (on the German side at 
least), the number of which is not mentioned. 

At daybreak on January 24, 1915, says Admiral Beatty in 
his report, his whole force was patrolling in company; he 
continues later: 

"At -7.25 A.M. the flash of guns was observed SSE. Shortly after a 
report reached me from the Aurora that she was engaged with the enemy's 
ships. I immediately altered course to SSE, increased to 22 knots, and 
ordered the light cruisers and flotillas to chase SSE to get in touch and 
report movements of enemy. 

"This order was acted upon with great promptitude ; indeed, my wishes 
had already been forestalled by the respective senior officers, and reports 
almost immediately followed from Southampton^ Arethusa^ and Aurora as to 
the position and composition of the enemy, which consisted of three battle- 
cruisers and Bliicher^ six light cruisers, and a number of destroyers, steer- 
ing NW. The enemy had altered course to SE. From now onwards 
the light cruisers maintained touch with the enemy, and kept me fully 
informed as to their movements. 

"The battle-cruisers worked up to full speed, steering to the southward. 
The wind at the time was NE, light, with extreme visibility. At 7.30 a. m. 
the enemy were sighted on the port bow steaming fast, steering approxi- 
mately SE distant 14 miles. 

" Owing to the prompt reports received we had attained our position on 
the quarter of the enemy, and so altered course to SE parallel to them, 
and settled down to a long stern chase, gradually increasing our speed 
until we reached 28.5 knots. Great credit is due to the engineer staffs 
of New Zealand and Indomitable — these ships greatly exceeded their normal 

"At 8.52 A.M., as we had closed to within 20,000 yards of the rear 
ship, the battle-cruisers maneuvered to keep on a line of bearing so that 
guns would bear, and Lion fired a single shot, which fell short. The 
enemy at this time were in single line ahead, with light cruisers ahead and 
a large number of destroyers on their starboard beam. 

" Single shots were fired at intervals to test the range, and at 9.09 a.m. 
Lion made her first hit on the BlUcher^ No. 4 in the line. The Tiger 
opened fire at 9.20 a.m. on the rear ship, the Lion shifted to No. 3 in the 

Operations in European Waters 443 

line, at i8,00O yards, this ship being hit by several salvos. The enemy 
returned our fire at 9.14 a.m. Princess Royal on coming into range opened 
fire on Bliicher^ the range of the leading ship being 17,500 yards, at 
9.35 A.M. New Zealand was within range of Bliicher^ which had drop- 
ped somewhat astern, and opened fire on her. Princess Royal shifted to 
the third ship in the line, inflicting considerable damage on her. 

"Our flotilla cruisers and destroyers had gradually dropped from a posi- 
tion broad on our beam to our port quarter, so as not to foul our rano-e 
with their smoke ; but the enemy's destroyers threatening attack, the 
Meteor and ' M ' Division passed ahead of us. Captain the Hon. H. Meade, 
D.S. O., handling the division with conspicuous ability. 

"About 9.45 A.M. the situation was as follows: Bliicher^ the fourth in 
their line, already showed signs of having suffered severely from gunfire; 
their leading ship and No. 3 were also on fire. Lion was engaging No. 1, 
Princess Royal No. 3, New Zealand No. 4, while the Tiger^ which was 
second in our line, fired first at their No. i, and when interfered with by 
smoke, at their No. 4. 

"The enemy's destroyers emitted vast columns of smoke to screen their 
battle-cruisers, and under cover of this the latter now appeared to have 
altered course to the northward to increase their distance, and certainly the 
rear ships hauled out on the port quarter of their leader, thereby increasing 
their distance from our line. The battle-cruisers, therefore, were ordered 
to form a line of bearing NNW, and proceed at their utmost speed. 

" Their destroyers then showed evident signs of an attempt to attack. 
Lion and Tiger opened fire on them, and caused them to retire and resume 
their original course. 

"The light cruisers maintained an excellent position on the port quarter 
of the enemy's line, enabling them to observe and keep touch, or attack 
any vessel that might fall out of the line. 

*'At 10.48 A.M. the Bliicher^ which had dropped considerably astern of 
enemy's line, hauled out to port, steering north with a heavy list, on fire, 
and apparently in a defeated condition. I consequently ordered Indomitable 
to attack enemy breaking forward. 

"At 10.54 A.M. submarines were reported on the starboard bow, and I 
personally observed the wash of a periscope, two points on our starboard 
bow. I immediately turned to port. 

"At 11.03 A.M. an injury to the Lion being reported as incapable of 
immediate repair, I directed Lion to shape course NW. At 11.20 a.m. 
I called the Attack [a destroyer] alongside, shifting my flag to her at about 
11.35 A.M. I proceeded at utmost speed to rejoin the squadron and met 
them at noon retiring NNVV, 

" I boarded and hoisted my flag in Princess Royal at about 12.20 P.M., 
when Captain Brock acquainted me of what had occurred since the Lion 

444 The Great War 

fell out of the line, namely, that Blucher had been sunk and that the enemy 
battle-cruisers had continued their course to the eastward in a considerably 
damaged condition. He also informed me that a Zeppelin and a seaplane 
had endeavored to drop bombs on the vessels which went to the rescue of 
the survivors of Blucher. 

"At 2.00 P.M. I closed Z/o«, and received a report that her starboard 
engine was giving trouble owing to priming, and at 3.38 p.m. I ordered 
Indomitable to take her in tow, which was accomplished by 5 p. m." 

No official reports have been published by the Germans, 
but the account by a correspondent of an interview with 
participants, mostly officers, gives what seems a fair state- 
ment of the German side. This says: 

" The Kolberg was the first to sight the enemy, a small British cruiser, 
accompanied by destroyers. The remainder of the British fleet was still 
below the horizon. The Kolberg immediately opened fire. After several 
minutes the British ship opened with one of her forward guns, and then 
began an artillery duel between the two smaller cruisers. 

"The Kolberg steamed ahead and was planning to close with the enemy. 
However, her sister cruiser, the Stralsund^ steaming further to the right and 
a long distance ahead of the squadron, had sighted the main body of the 
British fleet coming up, and signalled to the admiral on board the Seydlitz^ 
'Eight large hostile ships sighted on starboard bow.' 

"The flagship thereupon signalled a command which swung the great 
German cruisers around and closed the umbrella screen of destroyers. 
The fleet now headed southeast. 

"The British ships again had dropped out of sight, and did not reappear 
until some time later, when the pilot of the Moltke called attention to five 
big ships on the starboard quarter, that is, to the westward on the opposite 
side from those seen before. 

"The commander and the pilot were still studying through their glasses 
the five scarcely visible shadows on the gray waves when a big shell struck 
the water 500 yards away, throwing up a high pillar of water. The enemy 
had unmasked himself. Either five hitherto unreported big ships had been 
lurking undiscovered behind our ships, or else five of the eight previously 
sighted had made a wide circuit around us. 

"The German ships immediately answered the fire of the enemy. In 
order to bring more guns into action, first the enemy, then the German 
squadron took the familiar echelon formation, like a flight of steps, and 
steamed along 13 miles apart, each ship trying by constant turning to bring 
as many guns as possible to bear. The British concentrated their fire on 
our rearmost ship, the Bliicher.^ and shortly landed a severe hit over the 


Operations in European Waters 445 

engine-room. This forced the Blucher to drop back slowly even before 
she hoisted her last signal after a second shot reached the engine-room : 
*A11 engines useless.' 

"The Blucher was a mass of flame from fore bridge to stern, the pillar 
of fire above her towering to the sky. 

" Forty-five minutes later the quarter-deck of the Seydlifz. also began to 

"The Seydlitz^ of all the ships which returned, was the only one on 
which the two-hour bombardment inflicted any real injury. The British 
were shooting at a very extreme range in order to keep out of reach of our 
middle artillery. This is probably the reason for the slight damage done 
to the Derfflinger and Seydlit-z.^ which were each hit squarely. They each 
show the mark of a shell which struck their armor, but so weakly that it 
has not even been necessary to replace the damaged plate. 

" The shell which caused the fire on the Seydlitz pierced the foundation 
of a turret and set off some ammunition, causing a fire and some loss of 
life within the turret. Otherwise the Seydlifz. was undamaged. Her 
fighting ability was completely restored as soon as the fire had been 

"The damage to the whole squadron, in fact, was so slight that the 
admiral did not need to dock a single ship. They are all at this moment 
ready to run out against the enemy. The patching of the Seydlitz's turret 
is being done rapidly, and will take at the most only a few days. 

*' But let us consider the effect of our artillery on the enemy during the 
two hours of combat. The second ship in the British echelon was the 
first to waver under the severe fire of the German guns. It sheered out 
of line and the third ship closed up, leaving a gap between it and the fourth 
ship. The lame duck was not seen again ; presumably she was the one 
which sank later. After a little more fighting the two ships in the fore- 
most group of English cruisers dropped astern or turned about. Five shells 
had struck them causing fires. 

"The British battle line was now in confusion and its fighting power 
was broken. This was the reason why its admiral broke off the fight and 
decided to limp home. He was nowhere near the German mine fields or 
submarines of which the British report speaks. I'he fact is the British 
were finished. They could not follow further. Three of their biggest 
cruisers were out of action." 

The German claim, at first made, of the sinking of a 
British battle-cruiser, though very specific and evidently 
believed by them, has never been substantiated and must 
be regarded as an error. The only large ship lost was the 

446 The Great War 

Bliicher and her destruction was due to want of speed; 
to-day, a main element of success, which demands as much 
sacrifice of armor and of the smaller caliber armament as 
can possibly be spared. The Bliicher (besides her main bat- 
tery of twelve 8-inch) carried eight 5.9-inch and sixteen 
3.4-inch guns, none of which were of any value whatever 
in a long-range battle. Some of these could well have been 
omitted to add a knot or so to speed. It would in this in- 
stance, at least, have saved a ship and a ship's company. 

Whatever the claims of the two sides, the fact is that the 
weaker force withdrew unpursued. Against such over- 
powering odds the loss of the Germans should have been 
far greater. They came out of the fight, not victorious, 
for victory was impossible in such circumstances, but cer- 
tainly with untarnished reputation. 

Few events of importance in naval operations occurred 
in Europe in the minor field, as the Baltic, Mediterranean, 
and Black Sea may, for the period treated, be termed, 
however interesting and momentous were to be the later 
operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

In the Baltic the Germans lost on August 28th the light 
cruiser Magdeburgy of 4,478 tons, 26 knots and an arma- 
ment of twelve 4-inch guns, by stranding on the Island of 
Odensholm, one of the Aland Archipelago in the entrance 
to the Gulf of Bothnia. Attacked, after grounding, by a 
very superior Russian force, the ship was blown up by the 
captain's orders, 85 of her crew, including the captain him- 
self, being lost. On December 12th the armored cruiser 
Friedrich Karl, of 8,858 tons, 20 knots and carrying four 
8.2-inch and twelve 5.9-inch guns, was sunk by a mine off 
the Russian coast, only 200 of her crew of 550 being saved. 
An almost equally important disaster had occurred to the 
Russians on October 11th in the loss of the armored cruiser 
Pallada, of 7,775 tons, 22.5 knots and armed with two 8-inch 

Operations in European Waters 447 

and eight 6-inch guns, which was sunk in the Gulf of Fin- 
land by the German submarine U-26. 

In the Mediterranean the Austrian torpedo boat No. 19 
was sunk by a mine near Pola on August 17th, and next day 
the small cruiser Zenta was sunk by the gunfire of French 
armored cruisers at Castellastua. A small monitor, the 
TemeSy of 433 tons, carrying three 4.7-inch guns, was mined 
and lost in the Danube on November 23d. 

The old Turkish armored cruiser Messudieh, built in 
1874, but reconstructed at Genoa in 1902, of 10,000 tons, 
16 knots, two 9.2-inch in turrets and twelve 6-inch guns, 
was torpedoed and sunk in the Dardanelles by the British 
submarine B 11, which "in spite of the difficult current 
dived under five rows of mines. . . . Although pur- 
sued by gunboats and torpedo boats," she "returned safely, 
after being submerged on one occasion for nine hours." 

The Russians had lost in the Black Sea two gunboats of 
1,200 tons, scuttled or torpedoed at Odessa on October 
29, 1914. 

The War on the Ocean 

Teutonic ships in the Pacific and in German East Africa. Entente forces 
in eastern waters. Early movements of the German squadron in the East. 
Destruction of the British Cable Station at Fanning Island by the Niirn- 
berg. Capture of the German Samoan Islands. German attack on Papeete, 
Tahiti. Battle off Chile, November 1, 1914, destruction of the British 
ships Good Hope and Monmouth. Combat at the Falkland Islands, De- 
cember 8th, destruction of the German ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, 
Leipzig, and Niirnberg. Destruction of the Dresden. Exploits of the 
cruiser Emden in the Indian Ocean ; escape and adventures of part of her 
crew. Operations of the Karlsruhe in the Atlantic. Career and destruc- 
tion of the Kdnigsberg. Surrender of the German protectorate of Kiau- 
Chau. Loss of Germany's oversea possessions. German auxiliary cruisers. 
British auxiliary cruisers. 

Germany, in 1914, had in the Pacific the armored cruisers 
Scharnhorst and Gneisejiau, the light cruisers Emden, Dresden, 
and Niirnberg, the river gunboats litis, Luchs, Tiger, and 
Jaguar, three other small craft and two destroyers. In 
the Atlantic was the Karlsruhe. 

The Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were sister ships of 11,420 
tons and 23 knots. Each carried eight 40 caliber, 8.2-inch 
guns, four of which were in pairs in turrets of 6.7-inch 
armor and four in broadside battery. They had as second- 
ary battery six 5.9-inch and twenty 3.4-inch. Each carried 
four 18-inch submerged torpedo tubes, bow, stern, and 
broadside. They had complete armor belts 5.9-inch amid- 
ships, tapering at the ends to 3.2-inches. The comple- 
ment of each was 765 men. Their fuel capacity was 1,968 
tons of coal and 200 tons of oil. 


The War on the Ocean 449 

The Emden and Dresden were also sister ships of 3,592 
tons and 24 knots, with armaments of ten 4.1-inch guns. 
Their coal capacity was 836 tons, their complements 361. 
The Nurnberg was 200 tons smaller, with the same arma- 
ment, a half knot less speed, the same coal capacity and a 
complement of 322. The Karlsruhe was of 4,832 tons and 
27 knots, with twelve 4.1-inch guns. The squadron in the 
Pacific was to record a great page in naval history. 

In German East Africa were the Konigsberg, practically 
the same as another Nurnberg, and the Mowe, a small sur- 
veying vessel, with three 1-pounders. 

Austria had in China the Kaiserm Rlisabeth, an old cruiser 
of 3,937 tons, 19 knots and eight 5.9-inch guns. Neither 
in speed nor power was she able to aid the Germans, except 
as an accessory at Kiau-Chau. 

The British force in eastern waters was made up in 
China of the battleship Triumph, of 12,000 tons, with 20 
knots speed and a battery of four 10-inch and fourteen 
7.5-inch guns, two armored cruisers, two light cruisers, 
eight destroyers, four torpedo boats, three submarines, and 
a number of river craft, the last of no war value. In the 
East Indies were a battleship and two light cruisers; at the 
Cape of Good Hope, three cruisers and a gunboat; in New 
Zealand, three cruisers and a sloop (belonging to New Zea- 
land); and in Australia the Royal Australian Navy, of one 
battle-cruiser, three light cruisers, three destroyers, and 
two submarines. On the west coast of Canada were two 

France had in her Asiatic possessions, two armored 
cruisers, a destroyer, a gunboat, and four river gunboats. 
Japan, of course, had practically her whole fleet in Japa- 
nese waters. 

The Scharnhorst and GneiseTiau had been in the east, the 
one since 1909, the other since 1910. They had, of course, 

450 The Great War 

Tsingtau, the free port of Kiau-Chau, the German pro- 
tectorate, in China, as a base of repairs and supply. Rear 
Admiral Count von Spee had been in command since 
December 4, 1912. The Leipzig had been on the station 
for eight years ; the Niirnberg and Emden for four. 

The two armored cruisers had left Tsingtau at the end 
of June for a cruise in Australasia. When the German 
orders of mobilization reached them on August 1st, they 
were at Ponape in the Caroline group, along with their 
supply ship, the Titania. The Niirnberg, Dresden, and 
Emden were called to join, the two last doing so at Ponape. 
The Leipzig was ordered for the time being to remain on 
the coast of Mexico, where in July she had relieved the 
Niirnberg. All burnable material was put ashore. On 
August 6th the squadron left the Carolines for Pagan in 
the Marianna group (of which Guam is the southernmost 
island), where it was joined on August 15th by the Niirn- 
berg and Prinz Eitel Friedrich, the latter now an auxiliary 
cruiser. The Emden here received special orders and 
left for the Asiatic coast. Having coaled and provisioned 
the squadron left for the Marshall Islands, 2,600 nautical 
miles ESE of the Mariannas, and 2,200 WSW of the 
Hawaiian Islands. The distances give one an idea of the 
vast spaces of the Pacific. 

Coaling again, the Niirnberg was sent eastward to call at 
Honolulu, where she foifnd several German ships. The 
crews of all wanted places aboard, but only thirty-seven 
could be taken. On September 6th the NUmberg rejoined 
the squadron and received orders to leave at once for 
Fanning Island, a British cable station 550 miles to the 
eastward. This island, 800 miles south of Honolulu, is 
almost a desert rock, its highest point is but nine feet above 
high water. Twenty-six white men and four white women, 
all connected with the cable service, live amid a population 

The War on the Ocean 451 

of 260 natives. The Nurnberg and her collier consort 
arrived on September 7th. Their visit is thus described 
by the commanding officer of the repair vessel Kestrel, 
which arrived September 25th: 

"The cable employees were hard at work and were paralyzed to see a 
German officer at the door of the operating room with a revolver. ' Take 
your hands off the keys, all of you,' he demanded. 

"The men were made to line up against the wall while the sailors with 
axes smashed the delicate and costly instruments. 

"Another party was engaged near the shore end of the cable, trying to 
locate it. Failing in this, heavy charges of dynamite were planted and 
the cable blown to atoms. A crew from the collier grappled for the cable 
further out to sea with the intention of doing additional damage. Still 
another party planted dynamite and gun-cotton in the engine-rooms, the 
boiler-rooms, refrigerating plant, and in the dynamo-rooms. The explo- 
sion from these charges was terrific, but no one was hurt. A search was 
then made of the offices and a number of valuable papers were taken. 
These papers were taken aboard the Nurnherg^ and a few hours later an 
officer returned and hastily summoned a detachment of men. The papers 
had revealed that several valuable instruments were buried — in reserve for 
just such contingencies; that a quantity of hidden arms and ammunition 
existed, and that there was 6oo/. in the office safe. The latter was blown 
open and the money taken. The officer in charge of this section of the 
expedition apologized, and said that this was the first time in his life that 
he had acted the part of a burglar. 

" The officers appeared to have a complete knowledge of what was going 
on in the outside world, and seemed to be in possession of as much in- 
formation as those who had been in daily cable communication with the 
mainland. The collier was carefully disguised, and there was nothing 
which would reveal her identity. She is about 2,200 tons register, and 
had an elaborate grappling outfit aboard her, whilst her men seemed to be 
experts in this class of work." 

The Nurnberg learned from the station records of the 
seizure on August 30th of German Samoa (a stretch of 
1,700 miles from the Marshalls) by a combined British 
and French force: the Australia, a battle cruiser of 18,800 
tons, 25 knots and eight 12-inch guns (flagship of the Aus- 
tralian nav}0, the Melbourne, of 5,400 tons, 24.7 knots and 
eight 6-inch guns, three small cruisers, the Philomel, Psyche^ 

452 The Great War 

and PyramuSy of 2,200 to 2,500 tons and eight 4-inch and 
4.7-inch guns, and the French armored cruiser Montcalm, of 
9,367 tons, 21 knots and two 7.6-inch and eight 6.4-inch 
guns. The British vessels had carried from New Zealand 
a force of 53 officers and 1,351 men in two troopships. 
No resistance could be offered by the Germans against so 
powerful a force ; the British flag was hoisted, the troops 
landed and the naval force withdrawn. 

On September 16th the Schamhorst and Gneisenau arrived 
off Apia. The Schamhorst ran into the harbor entrance and 
lay quietly some considerable time. There was a scattering 
from the town and into cellars by the inhabitants, the beach 
was cleared and the exits from the town were crowded. 
The British account mentioning these details adds : ** At this 
tense moment a squad of about 120 young volunteers came 
out of the side streets and, marching in fours, swung into 
the open and deserted roadway. Fully equipped with all 
their marching swag, heads erect and with martial tread, 
they proceeded on their course." What the course was is 
not explained. **But nothing happened. It is impossible 
to say what motives restrained the German admiral. At 
any rate, the relief that was felt when the ship steamed 
away can better be imagined than described." One should 
at least recognize in the admiral the motive of humanity. 
His withholding fire in such circumstances does him honor. 

On September 21st the squadron arrived at the Society 
Islands (1,000 miles E by S from Apia), coaled and provi- 
sioned and next day were off the French harbor of Papeete 
in Tahiti. Here the Germans sank by gunfire the French 
gunboat Zelee, of 650 tons, silenced the batteries and 
destroyed the wharves and coal supplies, the loss being 
estimated at $400,000. 

The squadron then left for the Marquesas, another 
French group, 750 miles NE of Tahiti, where it remained 

fe z 

The War on the Ocean 453 

eight days in Anna Maria Harbor. On October 2d it was 
at Easter Island, 1,800 miles southeast of the Marquesas. 
Here the Dresden, temporarily detached, joined, and a little 
later the Leipzig from the west coast of Mexico; the latter 
had destroyed British shipping of an estimated value of 
$650,000. Having coaled and provisioned, the whole squad- 
ron sailed on October 18th and again coaled on October 
26th at Juan Fernandez, 1,500 miles ESE of Easter Island 
and 340 a little south of west from Valparaiso. There thev 
were joined by the Pri?iz Ritel Friedrich. On October 27th 
von Spee left for the coast of Chile. The events w^hich 
followed are best described by himself. Writing Novem- 
ber 3d, he says: 

" My squadron consisting of the large cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneise- 
nau and the smaller cruisers Niirnberg^ Leipzig^ and Dresden ran south at 
14 knots, distant 20 miles from the Chilean coast to intercept a small 
English cruiser off Coronel [between Conception and Arauco]. On the 
way the small cruisers were sent to stop some merchant ships. At 4.15 
the Nurnberg was out of sight to the northeast and the Dresden i 2 miles 
north of Arauco. At 4.17 we sighted to the W by S two ships, and at 
4.25 a third ship about 15 miles off. The first two were the Alonmouth 
and Glasgow^ the third was the Otranto. They were steering south. The 
squadron chased at full speed keeping them four points on the starboard 
bow. The wind was from the south with a strength of 6, with a heavy 
sea. I had to try not to lose the weather gauge, and also to cut them off 
from the coast. 

*'At 4.35 the enemy held more to the west \t.e. off the land]. I fol- 
lowed until our course was WSW, so that the Scharnhorst with a 22 mile 
curve slowly drew up, while the Gneisenau and Leipxig closed up. We 
interfered as much as possible with their wireless. At 5.20 the joining of 
an enemy ship was signalled and at 5.30 she took the lead, so we judged 
her to be the Good Hope^ Rear Admiral Cradock's flagship. At 5.35, I 
held a southwest course, later a southerly, and slowed down to let mv other 
ships come up. At 6.7 both lines were parallel and on a southerlv course. 
The distance was 13.5 km. [kilometers = 8.5 miles, 7.3 nautical miles]. 
The Nurnberg was a long way off, the Dresden^ one sea mile. At 6.25 the 
distance was 12.4 km. I made a turn toward the enemy and at 6.34 p.m. 
fired at 10.4 km. [5.6 nautical miles, i 1,350 yards]. Wind and sea were 
ahead J the ships, especially the smaller, labored heavily. The lookouts 

454 The Great War 

and those at range-finders suffered much from seas that came over the bows 
so that they could not always see the enemy. The firing was good on both 
our large ships and many hits were observed by 6.39 on the Good Hope. 

"At this time my line was reestablished. The English then fired. I 
suppose the high sea troubled them more than it did us. Their two big 
cruisers were covered with our fire, while the Scharnhorst was only struck 
twice, and the Gneisenau four times. 

"At 6.35 I turned one point from the enemy: they fired less, while we 
saw many hits. We saw the turret cover of the forward double turret [of 
the Good Hope] removed and that she was on fire. The Scharnhorst thinks 
she made 35 hits on the Good Hope. As the distance, notwithstanding 
the turning away, diminished, we expected a torpedo attack. The moon 
had risen at 6; this would help them, so at 7.45 I drew away. It had 
grown dark. The range-finder aboard the Scharnhorst used the fire on the 
Good Hope to measure by. At last all measurements were so uncertain 
that at 7.26 we ceased firing. At 7.23 we had noticed aboard Good Hope 
an explosion between her smoke-pipes. We think she never fired again. 
Monmouth ceased about 7.20. 

rCaptain Luce of the Glasgow in his report to the Admiralty says: 
"Enemy firing salvos got the range quickly and their third salvo caused 
fire to break out on the forepart of both ships, which were constantly on 
fire till 7.45 P.M. At 7.50 an immense explosion occurred on Good Hope 
amidships, flames reaching 200 feet high. Total destruction must have 
followed. It was now quite dark."] 

" The small cruisers, including Nurnherg that had come up, received at 
7.30 a wireless to close in and torpedo. It was difficult to see at this time 
and they could not find the Good Hope., but the Niirnberg at 8.58 hit the 
Monmouth^ running close to her and firing at close quarters. She disabled 
her before she had fired. Her flag was still flying. No rescue work was 
possible in the high sea. As the Niirnberg thought she saw another ship 
through the smoke, she pushed ahead. The Otranto [a converted cruiser] 
turned at the beginning of the battle and withdrew at full speed. Glasgow 
sustained her fire longest and then escaped in the dark. Leipzig and Dres- 
den thought they had scored many hits on her. The small cruisers had 
no loss or injury. Gneisenau two slightly wounded. The men went to 
battle with spirit and all did their duty." 

The British view of this notable action is well given in 
the following letter, pu Wished in the London Times, Novem- 
ber 12th, from an officer of the Glasgow, which escaped. 
He gives also some interesting details antecedent to the 

The War on the Ocean 455 

" We were joined by the Good Hope^ with Sir Christopher Cradock in 
command, and the Monmouth (Captain Brandt) off the Brazilian coast. 
We then cruised south together — Good Hope^ Glasgow^ Monmouth^ and the 
armed liner Otranto — down to the cold Terra del Fuego and Straits of 

" Well, after passing and repassing Cape Horn, sometimes twice in one 
day, we were glad to get orders to proceed north on the Pacific coast and 
to warmer weather. By this time we found that the two armored enemy's 
cruisers, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst^ were probably coming over from the 
Pacific Islands to join up with the cruisers Leipzig^ Dresden^ and Nurnberg^ 
as they had escaped the Australian and China squadron. We made a ren- 
dezvous farther north for our colliers, and went into Coronel and on to 
Valparaiso to pick up news and receive letters, etc., then back to rendez- 
vous, coaled, and then got orders to go to Coronel alone to send cables, 
etc. We left Coronel, Chile, on the second occasion about 9 o'clock on 
the morning of November ist, and at about 4 p.m. sighted the enemy in 
force. We put on speed and approached them until we made out four 
cruisers in line ahead, the two big armored cruisers leading and two 3-fun- 
nelled cruisers (about our class) following in open order. They imme- 
diately gave chase, so we 'hopped it' in the direction of our own ships and 
the P lag. Wc advised the Flag by wireless, but the enemy continually used 
their wireless in order to jam our signals. We first picked up the Alon- 
mouth and Otranto and ran a line ahead, Glasgow., senior, leading. 

" In an hour or so the Good Hope (Cradock's ship) came up and we 
wheeled into line behind her, and again approached the enemy, coming 
round to south when about 7 miles oft. The sun by this time was getting 
low on our starboard beam ; the enemy were to the east of us, all proceed- 
ing south, they having the advantage both in guns and the light; we being 
silhouetted against the horizon. Their strategical speed being equal to 
ours, it was impossible to improve the lights before dark, I did not think 
he would engage until next day. However, we were now gradually closing. 
About 6.40 P.M. or so, the foremost armored enemy's cruiser opened fire 
with her 8-inch, and shells shrieked over and short of us, some falling about 
500 yards short, giving the impression of excellent shooting. Soon after 
the Otranto began to haul out of line and edge away to the southwest, she 
not being fitted to fight men-o'-war. We appeared to close a point or two, 
and at 7 p.m. opened fire. The enemy replied in rapid salvos, making 
good and deadly shooting, mostly directed against our Flag, and the Mon- 
mouth., our next ahead. There was not much doubt as to the result. Shells 
continued to straddle us, some bursting overhead, throwing pieces of broken 
shell in all directions. About 10 minutes or so after this the poor Mon- 
mouth sheered off the line to the westward a hundred yards or so, when I 
saw her being hit heavily. She appeared to heel a bit and shake, her 

456 The Great War 

foremast turret (the 6-inch gun shield) in flames. She fell back again into 
line and out again to the eastward, still firing her 6-inch intermittently. 

" Shortly after the Good Hope was seen to be on fire, also about the fore 
turret, and seemed to steer or fall away to the eastward or towards the 
enemy. During this time we kept up a continual fire from our two 6-inch 
and port battery 4-inch guns in the direction of the foremost light cruisers 
of the enemy's line, the third and fourth ship, of the lines, but owing to 
the big sea, our rolling, and the gathering darkness it was impossible to spot 
the fall of our shells. We could only fire at the flash of their guns, and 
when our heavy rolling allowed our gunlayers to see the flashes at all. 
About 7.30 p. M. I was standing near the after 6-inch hand up when I felt 
a shell strike us below deck. It seemed to pass out through the other side, 
but didn't, and I awaited the explosion, expecting the deck planks to rise 
up ; but nothing visibly occurred at the moment. I was second in com- 
mand of the starboard battery and, as that was the unengaged side, super- 
intended the supply of ammunition to the port guns and generally kept an 
eye for casualties, so was able to use my binoculars to see what could be 
seen. Hills, a marine, carrying ammunition to P5, was struck behind the 
ear by a fragment of shell and was temporarily out of action, lying down 
near S5 hand up. 

"The Good Hope fell more and more out of line to eastward, burning 
brightly forward, when suddenly an explosion occurred about her after 
funnel, blowing up debris and flames and sparks some 200 feet high or so, 
quite distinctly to be heard from our deck. Some of our men thought it 
was the enemy's flagship, so near had she drifted towards them. Soon 
after I could see nothing of her, and she never fired her guns again. Our 
speed during the action must have varied from 7 or 8 to 17 knots or so, 
and when the Monmouth dropped back in her distress we had to ease in 
order not to meet the doses meant for her. The enemy now dropped 
slowly back, and the armored cruisers directed their fire at us; we con- 
tinued alone to reply when possible, now at about 4,500 yards. Every- 
body was remarkably cool, as if at practice. Another shell struck our 
No. 2 funnel, showing large holes around the casing, and it was this or 
these shells which wounded three more of our men slightly. 

"I cannot understand the miracle of our deliverance; none will ever. 
We were struck at the water-line by in all five shells out of about 600 
directed at us, but strangely not in vulnerable places, our coal saving us 
on three occasions — as we are not armored and should not be in battle line 
against armored vessels. We only had two guns that would pierce their 
armor — the Good Hope's old two 9.2's, one of which was out of action 10 
minutes after the start. A shell entered the captain's pantry and continued 
on, bursting in a passage, the fragments going through the steel wall of the 
captain's cabin, wrecking it completely. Again no fire resulted. 

The War on the Ocean 457 

" The Monmouth^ no longer firing, steamed off to the northwest, and we 
stood by her signalling. She fell off to northeast, then we asked her if she 
could steer northwest. She replied, ' I want to get stern to sea as I am 
making water badly forward.' We followed close by. Shortly after I was 
on the flying bridge when I spotted the enemy approaching in line abreast, 
the ship to the right or southward morsing with an oil lamp to the others. 
They were then about 6,000 yards off or so in the rain, mist, and dark- 
ness. I told the captain, who gave me orders to bring them astern, and 
put on full speed. We drew out of range. The Monmouth was silent 
and hidden by our smoke. . . . Luckily our engines and boilers were 
intact, and we were able to push through the heavy seas at 24 knots and 
get away to give an account of the action, and warn the Campus^ who, 
although she no doubt would have fought gallantly, could hardly hope to 
successfully fight five ships." 

The British losses were the armored cruiser Good Hope, 
of 14,000 tons, 23 knots and two 45 caliber 9.2-inch guns 
in turrets and sixteen 45 caliber 6-inch, with her crew of 
900 men, and the Monmouth, of 9,800 tons, 23 knots and 
fourteen 45 caliber guns, four of which were in turrets of 
5-inch armor. She carried a complement of 655 men. 

As the two German armored cruisers carried together 
sixteen 40 caliber 8.2-inch guns and twelve 40 caliber 
5.9-inch, their weight of fire was distinctly heavier in the 
heavy guns, but equally distinctly weaker in the secondary 
battery, as this was but twelve 5.9-inch of 40 caliber against 
the British thirty 6-inch of 45 caliber. The muzzle energy 
of each of the 9.2-inch guns of the Good Hope was 20,660 
foot tons against 14,500 tons of the German 8.2-inch, and 
that of the British 6-inch 5,830 against 5,340 of the Ger- 
man 5.9-inch. As the battle was well within range of the 
British 6-inch (11,000 yards diminishing according to the 
account from the Glasgow to 6,000 yards), it is fair to sup- 
pose, in view of the almost entire freedom from injury of 
the Germans that the result was almost wholly a question 
of superiority in gunnery, and of getting the advantage of 
delivering the first injury. 


The Great War 

Von Spee took his squadron into Valparaiso, where, of 
course, he could remain but twenty-four hours, and thence 
to his doom off the Falklands, an error of judgment. In- 
stead of risking such an adventure for the sake of, at most, 
destroying a telegraph station and a coal supply, both easily 
replaced, it would have been far better to return to some one 
of the hundreds of points of refuge in the Pacific not touched 
by cables, which he could use as a further base of operations. 
The wireless telegraph, while so wonderful a means of com- 
munication between the ships of a squadron, is also an in- 
formant to an enemy of the other's vicinity and von Spee 
might have carried on his operations in the Pacific (coaled, 
as he apparently was, without difficulty), almost indefinitely. 
The spaces of the Pacific are so vast, the points of refuge, 
with no communication with the world, so numerous that 
in such a region nothing but remote chance would have 
brought him in contact with an enemy force which he felt he 
had to avoid. In such a region he could have continued long 
a thorn in the flesh to his foe. As it was he was to run into 
the very jaws of death. Accompanied by the colliers Baden 
and the Santa Isabel (the latter a new Hamburg freighter of 
7,500 tons), the German squadron started for the Falklands. 

The only British battleship in the South Atlantic at this 
time was the Canopus, of 12,950 tons, 18.5 knots, carrying 
four 35 caliber 12-inch guns in turrets of 8-inch armor. On 
November 10th a squadron of seven ships left Plymouth, 
England, under Vice Admiral F. C. D. Sturdee, composed of: 

Ijivincible (flag! 




Kent . . 

Bristol . 









} 17,250 


} 9,800 

A P. & O. converted cruiser. 


I Eight 45 caliber 12-inch. 

Four 45 caliber 7.5-inch; six 6-inch. 

Fourteen 45 caliber 6-inch. 

Two 45 caliber 6-inch; ten 4-inch. 

The War on the Ocean 459 

The Glasgow (sister to the Bristol and escaped from the 
fight in the Pacific), was in company, having been picked 
up off Brazil. 

The squadron arrived at the Falklands (claimed also by 
Argentina and called by them the Malvina Islands, but 
held by the British continuously since 1833) on the morn- 
ing of December 7th and at once began to coal, with the 
expectancy of leaving the next day in search of the Ger- 
man squadron. The Macedonia was anchored at the en- 
trance as a lookout ; the Invincible, Inflexible, Car?iarvon, and 
Cornwall were in Port William ; the Glasgow and Bristol in 
Port Stanley. 

The following is a paraphrase of Admiral Sturdee's 
report: At 8 A.M. a signal was received from the station 
known as Sapper Hill that two steamers were in sight, one 
with four, the other with two smoke-pipes. The Ke?it was 
at once ordered to weigh and at 8.45 she passed down the 
harbor and took station at the entrance. At 8.20 the smoke 
of another vessel was reported. At 8.47 the Canopus re- 
ported that the first two ships were 8 miles off and that the 
smoke reported appeared to be that of two ships 20 miles 
distant. At 8.50 another column of smoke was reported 
to the south. 

At 9.20 the Canopus opened fire on the two leading 
ships (Gneisenau and Niirnberg), at a range of 11,000 yards. 
They at once hoisted their colors and turned away. Their 
masts were now visible from the upper bridge of the I?i- 
vincible across the low land south of Port William at a 
distance of about 17,000 yards. They altered course to 
port apparently to attack the Kejit, now at the mouth of 
the harbor, but it would seem that they now saw the battle- 
cruisers over the land and they altered course easterly and 
increased their speed. The Glasgow was ordered outside 
at 9.40 and at 9.45 all the others except the Catiopus, Bristol, 

460 The Great War 

and Macedonia weighed and stood out in the order, Carnar- 
von, Inflexible, Invincible, and Cornwall. On passing Pem- 
broke Light (at the south side of the entrance of Port 
William), the five German ships were clearly visible to 
the southeast, hull down. The visibility was perfect, the 
sea calm with a bright sun, a clear sky and a light breeze 
from the northwest. At 10.20 was made the signal for a 
general chase. The battle-cruisers, having the higher speed, 
took the advance. The Glasgow was ordered to keep two 
miles from the Invincible (flag) and the Inflexible was sta- 
tioned on the latter's starboard quarter. Speed was eased 
to 20 knots at 11.15 A.M. to allow each to get into station. 
At this time only the smoke-pipes and bridges of the Ger- 
mans showed above the horizon. Information now came 
(11.27) from the Bristol that three enemy ships, probably 
colliers or transports, had appeared, and the Bristol with 
the Macedonia was ordered to destroy them. As the Ger- 
mans maintained their distance it was decided to attack and 
at 12.47 signal was made to open fire; the first shot was 
fired at 12.55 from the forward turret of the Inflexible, at 
the right hand ship, a light cruiser (the Leipzig), with a 
range of 16,500 yards ; the Invincible opened a few minutes 
later at the same ship. The fire from 16,500 to 15,000 
yards caused the three rear ships iNiirnberg, Dresden, and 
Leipzig) to turn to the southwest; the Kent, Glasgow, and 
Cornwall were ordered to follow. 

The fire of the battle-cruisers was now directed on the 
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. These now (1.15 P.M.) turned 
in column seven points to port (with the idea no doubt of 
closing for a better range for their 8.2-inch guns) and at 
1.30 opened fire. The British battle-cruisers then turned 
together keeping a parallel course with the Germans, eased 
speed to 24 knots and opened fire at 13,500 yards, increas- 
ing to 16,450 (at 2). The Germans then (at 2.10) turned 

The War on the Ocean 461 

about ten points to starboard, the British following the 
movement and at 2.45 again opening fire. The Germans at 
2.53 turned into line ahead (in column, to use the American 
technical phrase) and at 2.55 again opened fire. The Sc/iani- 
horst caught fire forward but not seriously, her fire slackened 
perceptibly ; the Gneisenau was badly hit by the Inflexible. 
Admiral Sturdee's report proceeds as follows: 

"At 3.30 P.M. the Scharnhorst led round about lo points to starboard; 
just previously her fire had slackened perceptibly and one shell had shut 
away her third funnel; some guns were not firing, and it would appear 
that the turn was dictated by a desire to bring her starboard guns into action. 
The effect of the fire on the Scharnhorst became more and more apparent 
in consequence of smoke from fires and also escaping steam; at times a 
shell would cause a large hole to appear in her side through which could 
be seen a dull red glow of flame. At 4.04 p. m. the Scharnhorst^ whose 
flag remained flying to the last, listed heavily to port, and within a minute 
it became clear that she was a doomed ship; for the list increased very 
rapidly until she lay on her beam ends and at 4.17 p.m. she disappeared. 
The Gneisenau passed on the far side of her flagship and continued a deter- 
mined but ineffectual effort to fight the two battle-cruisers. At 5.08 the 
forward funnel [smoke-pipe] was knocked over and remained resting 
against the second funnel. She was evidently in serious straits and her 
fire slackened very much. At 5.15 one of the Gneisenau' s shells struck 
the Invincible; this was her last effective effort. At 5.30 p.m. she turned 
towards the flagship with a heavy list to starboard, and appeared stopped, 
with steam pouring from her escape pipes and smoke from shell and fires 
rising everywhere. About this time I ordered the signal ' Cease fire,' but 
before it was hoisted the Gneisenau opened fire again, and continued to fire 
with a single gun. 

"At 5.40 P.M. the three ships closed in on the Gneisenau and at this 
time the flag at her fore truck was apparently hauled down, but the flag 
at the peak continued flying. At 5.50 P.M. 'Cease fire' was made. 

"At 6 P. M. the Gneisenau heeled over very suddenly, showing the men 
gathered on her decks and then walking on her side as she lay on her beam 
ends before sinking." 

It is a fine story, one of unsurpassed heroism. 

The British admiral made every effort to save life, but 
the cold water quickly drowned many of the 200 who were 
estimated to have been in the water unwounded, "life 

462 The Great War 

buoys were thrown and ropes lowered but only a propor- 
tion could be rescued. The Invincible alone rescued 108 
men, 14 of whom were found to be dead after being 
brought on board; these men were buried at sea the fol- 
lowing day with full military honors." 

To return to the small cruisers which had turned away 
about 1.00 P. M. with the Glasgow, Kent, and Cornwall in 
chase. It was not until 3.00 P. M. that the Glasgow, well 
ahead of her two consorts, exchanged shots with the Leip- 
zig at 12,000 yards (6 nautical miles). At 4.17 the Cornwall 
also opened fire, but it was not until 7.17 that with the 
Leipzig on fire fore and aft that the Cornwall and Glasgow 
ceased fire. At 9.00 the Leipzig turned over to port and 
disappeared. Seven officers and 11 men were saved. 

The Kent had been ordered to pursue the Numberg, the 
nearest to her. She was in range at 5.00 P. M. and at 6.35 
the Niirnberg was on fire forward and had ceased firing. 
The Kent closed to 3,300 yards and also ceased fire. As 
the colors were still flying the Keitt opened again. " Fire 
was stopped five minutes later on the colors being hauled 
down and every preparation was made to save life. The 
Niirnberg sank at 7.27 P. M., and as she sank, a group of 
men were waving a German ensign attached to a staff. 
Twelve men were rescued but only seven survived. The 
Kent had four killed and 12 wounded, mostly caused by 
one shell." 

The Dresden, with superior speed, escaped. The Glas- 
gow was the only one of the three British ships which had 
any chance in pursuit, but she had become engaged with 
the Leipzig for over an hour before the Cornwall and Keftt 
could get within range. A change of weather with less 
visibility also came to the Dresden's aid. 

The three transports at first reported to the commander- 
in-chief had been reduced to the two previously mentioned 

The War on the Ocean 463 

as accompanying the squadron, the Bade?i and Sa?ita Isabel. 
Both ships were sunk after removing the crews, apparently a 
useless throwing away of two good ships with good cargoes 
of coal. 

There could, of course, be no other result in the circum- 
stances, even in the cases of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. 
They were overmatched in speed, the Invincible making 
on her trials 28 knots; xh.e Schar7iho?-st 22.7 ] in muzzle energy 
of guns (in foot tons) they were as 47,875 to 14,500, or more 
than three times the power. Notwithstanding, the so 
much weaker ships made an exhibition of courage and re- 
source than which history mentions nothing finer or more 
heroic. Men of the sea, of all races, can be proud of such 
a showing. 

The Dresden, it may be said here, was destroyed under 
circumstances akin to the destruction of the American 
Essex in 1814 by the British Phoebe and Cherub, 101 years 
before to the month. Both ships were destroyed in neu- 
tral waters ; both were but a half mile from the shore, and 
in each case the waters were Chilean. 

The Dresden, escaping from the Falkland fight, was next 
heard of at Juan Fernandez, where asking time for repairs 
and this being refused, her captain decided to intern. On 
March 14, 1915, at 9 A. M., there appeared off the road- 
stead (there is no harbor in the true sense) the British 
cruisers Glasgow and Kent and the auxiliary cruiser Orama. 
Before the Chilean governor, who had put off to inform 
the senior officer. Captain Luce of the Glasgow, of existing 
conditions, could reach the latter's ship, fire was opened on 
the Dresden. The captain set her on fire and she was blown 
up, the crew, of whom 15 were wounded, being saved. 

The story of the hostile squadrons ends with the destruc- 
tion of the Dresden; any German ships that remained were 

464 The Great War 

of the weaker sort, which could only act as raiders. Of 
these, the Emden was to be the chief. Her adventures 
make an almost equally dramatic story. 

As early as August 4th the Emden captured in Tsushima 
strait the Russian merchantman Riasan, which was brought 
into Tsingtau and receiving the guns of the Kormoran was 
renamed the Kormoran II and became an auxiliary cruiser. 
The Emden left Tsingtau on August 6th accompanied by the 
auxiliary cruiser Markomannia and joined von Spee in the 
Carolines, but on August 13th was detached on special ser- 
vice in the Indian Ocean. Her first capture was on Septem- 
ber 10th, after which her prizes came in plenty, many of them 
of great value. Most of them were sunk, but some were 
reserved to receive aboard for transportation to safety the 
crews and passengers of the ships sunk. The captured col- 
liers followed until they were emptied of their coal, when 
they were sunk. Women and children seem to have been 
carefully looked after. On the night of September 22-23 
the oil tanks at Madras, containing some 600,000 barrels of 
oil, were set on fire and destroyed by the Emden s gunfire, 
which was ineffectively replied to from the forts. She 
then cruised, with great destruction to shipping, in the 
neighborhood of Ceylon, coaled at anchor off Pondicherry 
on September 29th, and then continued her career of de- 
struction off the Laccadives (south of Malabar). 

On October 28th the Emden crowned her daring career by 
entering the harbor of Penang, destroying the Russian cruiser 
Jemtchug (of 3,130 tons and eight 4.7-inch guns), the French 
destroyer Mousquety and leaving the harbor unharmed. Her 
visit is excellently described by a correspondent of the New 
York Times, a description worthy of being given in some 
detail. Writing next day, he says: 

" It was probably with the idea of crippling this base from which her 
pursuers were radiating that the Emden made her raid here. Had she 

5s ^urn ^o port and after running NE 37 minutes 
le Gerrnan suffennc) heav\\y, slackens rapidly 
isses her h) port and Q+ 6.00 sinKsiCXi^ors f^vin<j 



/ \ \ 

*\ ; 








OS sunK b'^ the CornwaW and G\asqovw ot 9prn T officers 
lit 5.00, ttie latter sqhk at t.zt beinq ttien about \60 miles 
le Dresden only escaped, b^ superior speed 



b Wosqow 

» Oresien' 





I and advantage of hei 


dinq) AM2.15 the InvinciWe optntd ftrt(rBnge froTi 

onrt lonejer ranqe quis Ranqe ot Iptri le.Sooyarrl 



i the Germans (.1 old l) 'wn 10 poin 

»rd, MZA5 ttit E 

V \ 

At 2 55 (Im.nufM afttr lOi 
The Sctiarnhorat ainKs o» * 

-*6T PH^SE: 


south of the FoiK 

The Dresden only escoped. b^ superior apeed 

■ F.iIkJ.-tn.l Isla^d^. Dct.nbiT 

The War on the Ocean 465 

found it temporarily undefended she could, at one blow, seriously have 
embarrassed the English cruisers patrolling these waters and at the same 
time caused a terrific loss to English commerce by sinking the many mer- 
chantmen at anchor in the harbor. 

" It was on Wednesday morning that the Emden^ with a dummy fourth 
funnel and flying the British ensign, in some inexplicable fashion sneaked 
past the French torpedo boat Mousquet^ which was on patrol duty outside, 
and entered the outer harbor of Penang. Across the channel leading to 
the inner harbor lay the Russian cruiser 'Jemtchug. Inside were the French 
torpedo boats Fronde and Pistolet^ and the torpedo boat destroyer D' Iber- 
ville. The torpedo boats lay beside the long government wharf, while 
the D^ Iberville rode at anchor between two tramp steamers. 

"At full speed the Emden steamed straight for the 'Jemtchug and the 
inner harbor. In the semi-darkness of the early morning the Russian took 
her for the British cruiser Tarmouth^ which had been in and out two or 
three times during the previous week and did not even * query' her. Sud- 
denly, when less than 400 yards away, the Emden emptied her bow guns 
into the Jemtchug and came on at a terrific pace, with all the guns she could 
bring to bear in action. When she had come within 250 yards she changed 
her course slightly, and as she passed the Jemtchug^ poured two broadsides 
into her, as well as a torpedo, which entered the engine-room, but did com- 
paratively little damage. 

"The Russian cruiser was taken completely by surprise and was badly 
crippled before she realized what was happening. The fact that her cap- 
tain was spending the night ashore, and that there was no one on board 
who seemed capable of acting energetically, completed the demoralization. 
She was defeated before the battle began. However, her men finally 
manned the light guns and brought them into action. 

'-^ In the meantime the Emden was well inside the inner harbor and among 
the shipping. She saw the French torpedo boats there, and apparently 
realized at once that unless she could get out before they joined in the 
action her fate was sealed. At such close quarters (the range was never 
more than 450 yards) their torpedoes would have proved deadly. Accord- 
ingly, she turned sharply and made for the Jemtchug once more. 

"All the time she had been in the harbor the Russian had been bom- 
barding her with shrapnel, but owing to the notoriously bad marksmanship 
prevalent in the Czar's navy had succeeded for the most part only in pep- 
pering every merchant ship within range. As the Emden neared the Jetntchug 
again both ships were actually spitting fire. The range was practically 
point-blank. Less than 150 yards away the Emden passed the Russian, 
and as she did so torpedoed her amidships, striking the magazine. There 
was a tremendous detonation, paling into insignificance by its volume all 
the previous din; a heavy black column of smoke arose and the Jemtchug 

466 The Great War 

sank in less than lo seconds, while the Emden steamed behind the point 
to safety. 

"No sooner had she done so, however, than she sighted the torpedo 
boat Mousquet^ which had heard the firing and was coming in at top speed. 
The Emden immediately opened up on her thereby causing her to turn 
around in an endeavor to escape. It was too late. After a running fight 
of 20 minutes the Mousquet seemed to be hit by three shells simultaneously 
and sank very rapidly. The German had got a second victim. 

" It was here that the chivalrous bravery of the Emden s captain, which 
has been many times in evidence throughout her meteoric career, was 
again shown. If the French boats were coming out, every moment was 
of priceless value to him. Nevertheless, utterly disregarding this, he 
stopped, lowered boats, and picked up the survivors from the Mousquet 
before steaming on his way. 

"The English here now say of him admiringly, 'He played the game.' 

" Meantime, boats of all descriptions had started towards the place where 
the Russian cruiser had last been seen. The water was covered with 
debris of all sorts, to which the survivors were clinging. They presented 
a horrible sight when they were landed on Victoria Pier, which the ambu- 
lance corps of the Sikh garrison turned into a temporary hospital. Almost 
all of them had wounds of one sort or another. Many were covered with 
them. Their blood-stained and, for the most part, naked bodies, were 
enough to send shivers through even the most cold-blooded person. It 
was a sight I shall not forget for many a day. Out of a crew of 334 
men, 142 were picked up wounded. Only 94 were found practically un- 
touched. Ninety-eight were *■ missing.' It is not yet known how many 
of the crew of 78 of the Mousquet were rescued by the Emden." 

But the Emden' s career was about to close. On Novem- 
ber 9th the cruiser appeared off the Cocos Islands, a small 
group in the Bay of Bengal, west of British Burma, where 
there was a cable station connecting Ceylon and Australia. 
The visit was for the purpose of destroying this station. 
The Emden arrived at sunrise and sent 3 officers and 49 
men with 4 machine-guns under command of Lieutenant 
von Miicke. But the station was quick enough to cable 
for aid before the party landed, and after two hours' work 
at cable-cutting the siren of the Emden sounded a recall. 
But even before they could reach the landing stage, the 
Emden had got underway and had begun firing. The 

The War on the Ocean 467 

Australian cruiser Sydfiey, of 5,400 tons, 24.7 knots and 
eight 6-inch 50 caliber guns, which was serving as an 
escort for a convoy of troops from Australia, hound to 
Egypt, had appeared. The story of the encounter is told 
best by an officer of the Sydney in a letter to his father: 

"On November 9th we were steaming about 50 miles to the eastward 
of the Cocos Islands (southwest of Java), heading for Colombo, when at 
7 A.M. we took in a very interrupted wireless message from the Cocos 
wireless station — ' Strange warship . . . off entrance.' The Melbourne^ 
as senior officer, ordered us to raise steam for full speed and go and 

"At 9.15 A.M. the tops of the cocoanut trees of Keeling Islands were 
sighted. At 9.20 we sighted the Emden^ or rather the tops of her funnels, 
12 or 15 miles away. At 9.40 a.m. she opened fire at a very big range, 
and shortly after that we started in on her. 

"Throughout the action I was almost constantly engaged running 
backwards and forwards between the ammunition hoist and the forecastle 
gun, or between the hoist and No. i starboard or No. i port. 

"Once I heard a crash and looking aft saw that a shell had hit near 
gun No. 2 starboard. But owing to the screen being in the way, I did not 
know it had knocked out practically the whole of that gun's crew. . . . 

"All the time we were going 25 and sometimes as much as 26 knots. 
We had the speed on the Emden and fought as suited ourselves. . . . 

" Coming aft the port side from the forecastle gun I was met by a lot 
of men cheering and waving their caps. I said, 'What's happened?' 
* She's gone. Sir, she's gone.' I ran to the ship's side, and no sign of a 
ship could I see. If one could have seen a dark cloud of smoke it would 
have been different. But I could see no sign of anything. So I called 
out, 'AH hands turn out the lifeboats, there will be men in the water.' 
They were just starting to do this when someone called out, 'She's still 
firing. Sir,' and every one ran back to the guns. What had happened was 
a cloud of yellow or very light colored smoke had obscured her from view, 
so that looking in her direction one's impression was that she had totally dis- 
appeared. Later we turned again and engaged her on the other broadside. 

" By now her three funnels and her foremast had been shot away, and 
she was on fire aft. We turned again, and after giving her a salvo or 
two with the starboard guns saw hw run ashore on North Keeling Island. 
So at 11.20 a.m. we ceased firing, the action having lasted i hour and 
40 minutes. . . . 

"We started chasing a collier which had been in attendance on the 
Emden^ and when we boarded her we found they had opened the sea cocks 

468 The Great War 

and the ship was sinking fast, so we took every one off her and returned 
to the Emden^ getting back there at about 4 p. M. 

"They sent a man aloft to cut down the colors, and waved a big white 
flag from forward. It was getting dark and we did not know for certain 
that the cruiser Kbnigsberg might not be near, so we could do no rescue 
work that night and had to steam away. A cry in the darkness, and we 
stopped, and lifeboats were lowered to pick up a nearly exhausted but 
very lucky German sailor. The fourth rescued from the water that day. 

"November lOth. — Early in the morning we made for the cable sta- 
tion, to find that the party landed by the Germans to destroy the station 
had seized a schooner and departed. The poor devils aren't likely to go 
far with a leaking ship and the leathers removed from all the pumps. 
Although they had broken up all the instruments, the cable people had a 
duplicate set buried, so that was satisfactory. 

"At 1 1. 10 A.M. we arrived off the Emden again. I was sent over to 
her in one of the cutters. ... I was received by the captain of the 
Emden. I told him from our captain that if he would give his parole the 
captain was prepared to take all his crew on board the Sydney and take 
them straight up to Colombo. He stuck a little over the word ' parole,' but 
readily agreed when I explained the exact scope of it. And now came 
the dreadful job of getting the badly wounded into the boats. There were 
15 of these. Luckily we have a very good pattern of light stretcher into 
which men can be strapped. We got three badly wounded in each boai. 
The Germans were all suffering badly from thirst, so we hauled the boats' 
water casks up on deck, and they eagerly broached them, giving the 
wounded some first. 

*'I took an early opportunity of saluting the captain of the Emden and 
saying, 'You fought very well. Sir." He seemed taken aback, and said 'No.' 
I went away, but presently he came up to me and said, 'Thank you very 
much for saying that, but I was not satisfied. We should have done better. 
You were very lucky in shooting away all my voice-pipes at the beginning.' 

"When I got a chance, with all the boats away, I went to have a look 
round the ship. I have no intention of describing what I saw. With the 
exception of the forecastle, which is hardly touched from forebridge to 
stern post, she is nothing but a shambles, and the whole thing was most 
shocking. The German doctor asked me to signal for some morphia, 
sent me aft, and I never came forward again." 

The Sydney had 4 killed and 8 wounded. The captain 
of the Rmden in his report states his loss as 6 officers, 4 war- 
rant officers, 26 petty officers, and 93 men dead; one com- 
missioned officer and 7 men severely wounded. 

The War on the Ocean 469 

The captured British collier Buresk was recaptured, but 
her valves had been opened and she sank. Her people, 
with the German prize crew, were taken on board the 
Sydney. The captain of the Sydney sent boats manned by 
a German crew from the Buresk to state that he would 
return to the assistance of the Emden next morning. 

The Emdefi was, of course, certain of destruction in such 
a contest. She had been long at sea and her bottom was 
necessarily much fouled and her speed reduced. She was 
smaller than her antagonist by 1,800 tons; her guns were 
but 4.1-inch of 40 caliber against 6-inch of 50 caliber. She 
had no chance. The Sydney had but to choose her dis- 
tance and destroy at leisure, all of which was perfectly 
correct tactics. 

' The 3 officers and 49 men left ashore by the Emden, 
determined not to fall into the hands of the British, seized 
the schooner Ayesha, of 123 tons, lying at the island, but 
without sails or running rigging. She had aboard a cargo 
of rice and cocoa. With the assistance of the inhabitants 
she was fitted out and at nightfall she was towed off the 
land, and they set sail without charts or nautical instru- 
ments. They had with them their four machine-guns, 28 
rifles, and several thousand cartridges. According to Lieu- 
tenant von Miicke's account, they headed for Padang, at 
the middle of the west coast of Sumatra, which, as a Dutch 
possession, was a neutral port. It was a thousand miles 
south by east from the Cocos, but they arrived at Emma 
Bay, a nearby port, on November 27th, a voyage of 18 days. 
They had suffered much for want of water. They found 
many German ships in the port, from the crews of which 
they had an enthusiastic welcome. The Ayesha, being 
claimed by Lieutenant von Miicke as an imperial naval 
vessel, was allowed but 24 hours' stay. They thus left 

470 The Great War 

November 28th well provided with provisions and clothing 
and with gifts of tobacco and beer. They had added a 
Lieutenant Wellman to their number. Light winds kept 
them on the Sumatra coast 14 days, after which they met a 
severe gale. The Choisung, a German collier of the North 
German Lloyds, which had been destined for the Emden, 
was met, to which the party aboard the Ayesha was trans- 
ferred and the latter sunk. They renamed their new 
ship Ayesha 11. The African coast was sighted on Jan- 
uary 4th, and in the night of January 7-8, Lieutenant 
von Miicke's party, using four boats of their collier, passed 
safely the Straits of Perim. The Choisung reached Massowa 
on January 13th, but when Italy declared war she fell into 
the hands of the enemy. The little flotilla was nine weeks 
skirting the eastern shore of the Red Sea and then only 
reached a port a little north of Hodeida, which itself is but 
an eighth of the way to Suez. They stayed eight days in 
the highlands of Sana to rest, and on March 15th took to 
two small sailing vessels. They lost one, though apparently 
there was no loss of life, and reached Lid, 120 miles south 
of Djidda, the port for Mecca which is 60 miles inland. 
They marched from Lid to Djidda and were attacked on 
their way by some 300 Bedouins against whom they de- 
fended themselves for three days, when they were rescued 
by the Emir of Mecca. Lieutenant Schmidt and a stoker 
were killed. As they could not go to Mecca, they were 
obliged to take boats again at Djidda and after nineteen 
days landed at El Weg (April 27th), 260 miles south of the 
entrance to the Gulf of Suez. Here they met military 
protection and were escorted inland 150 miles to the sta- 
tion El Ula on the Damascus-Mecca railway. They took 
train on May 7th and reached Damascus on May 9th. 
There, says Lieutenant von Miicke, ''they were joyfully 
greeted, but not to compare with their reception in 

The War on the Ocean 471 

Constantinople, May 24th, where they marched carrying 
the Emden's flag amid wild cheering." It was truly a brave 
and adventurous journey, well deserving its happy ending. 

In the Atlantic, the Karlsruhe, a much larger and speedier 
ship than the Emdeii, being of 4,832 tons with a speed of 27 
knots, and a battery of twelve 4.1-inch 40 caliber guns, was 
to have no such sensational career, though she was by no 
means unsuccessful. Very little that is definite is known of 
her doings beyond the fact that in the early stages of the war 
she was reported sighted ofl^ Sandy Hook by a number of 
vessels, which was sufficiently believed to cause for a time 
a marked '*hold-up" in British shipping and that she was 
given coal enough (as international law allowed) at San Juan, 
Puerto Rico, to carry her to her nearest home port. On 
October 24th, a cable despatch to the New York Herald g2iWe 
the names of thirteen vessels captured and sunk, twelve of 
which were British and one Dutch, the captures being 
made chiefly in the South Atlantic. On October 26th she 
captured and sank, 500 miles east of Para, the Va?i Dyck, 
of 9,800 tons, one of the Lamport and Holt Line between 
New York and Buenos Ayres. The total of her captures 
seems to have been 17. The British Navy League Manual 
states that it is believed that she was destroyed by internal 
explosion at the end of October or early in November. 
In any case, since then, she has not been heard of. 

The only remaining German cruisers abroad were the 
Geier, of 1,604 tons, interned at Honolulu, November 8, 
1914, and the Kdnigsberg, slightly smaller than the Dresden 
and Etnden, but with the same armament of ten 4.1-inch 
guns, in German East Africa. After a considerable de- 
struction of British shipping, she was obliged to take refuge 
in the Rufiji River in German East Africa, where she 
remained for some time undiscovered. She was shelled by 
British cruisers unsuccessfullv and it was determined to 

472 The Great War 

block the river, for which purpose a merchant steamer, 
the Newbridge, was sunk in the channel, two of the British 
being killed and eight wounded in the operation. The 
Duplex, a cable steamer which accompanied the Newbridge, 
had five Lascars killed. Five days later it was reported 
that "the Konigsberg was finally destroyed and sunk. This 
is how her end came. The German cruiser had so effec- 
tively concealed herself, not only among the palms, but 
actually covering the ship with foliage, that it was impos- 
sible to locate her exact position. To get over this difficulty, 
the Kinfauns Castle arrived on the scene with an aeroplane. 
This was soon soaring over the river and the position of the 
hidden cruiser conveyed to the British by means of smoke 
bombs. Very quickly the big guns of our ships got the 
range and battered the Konigsberg till she was sunk." 

This is the account appearing in the Army and Navy 
Gazette, of January 16, 1915, which is now given as an 
example of means employed in the very unusual circum- 
stances, and as an instance of the unreliability of news, 
apparently definite. The Konigsberg was not destroyed 
until some six months after the exploit thus detailed, when, 
in July, 1915, two monitors, the Severn and Mersey, were 
used. The monitors were able to make a nearer approach, 
the Weymouth, 5,250 tons, eight 6-inch guns, flagship of 
Vice Admiral H. King Hall, and the gunboat Pio?ieer 
attacking the batteries at the river mouth. Aeroplanes 
were used to establish accurately the position of the Konigs- 
berg and after a six hours' bombardment from the monitors, 
during which they lost four men killed and four wounded, 
the Konigsberg was finally destroyed. 

On August 16, 1914, the Japanese government addressed 
an ultimatum to Germany of an extraordinary character 
declaring that: 

The War on the Ocean 473 

"We consider it highly important and necessary in the 
present situation to take measures to remove the causes of 
all disturbance of the peace in the Far East and to safe- 
guard general interests as contemplated in the agreement 
of alliance between Japan and Great Britain. In order to 
secure firm and enduring peace in Eastern Asia the estab- 
lishment of which is the aim of the said agreement, the 
Imperial Japanese Government sincerely believe it to be 
its duty to give advice to the Imperial German Govern- 
ment to carry out the following two propositions : 

"1. To withdraw immediately from Japanese and Chi- 
nese waters the German men-of-war and armed vessels of 
all kinds, and to disarm those which cannot be withdrawn. 

"2. To deliver on a date not later than September 15th 
to the Imperial Japanese authorities, without condition or 
compensation, the entire leased territory of Kiau-Chau, 
with a view to the eventual restoration of the same to 

August 23d was set as the date requiring an uncondi- 
tional acceptance of these demands. 

Kiau-Chau, directly west across the Yellow Sea from 
Korea, was a territory of 200 square miles, leased by Ger- 
many in November, 1897, from China for 99 years, and 
occupied in March, 1898. On the eastern side of the nar- 
row entrance to a great bay some thirty miles in diameter 
and badly silted from the mud of the Yellow Sea, the 
Germans built the city and fortress of Tsingtau. "They 
excavated," says the Boston Herald, "at an expense exceed- 
ing $7,000,000, an outer and an inner harbor. They erected 
great granite piers, so arrano^ed that ships alongside could 
receive cargo direct from railway trains. The docks and 
railway terminals at Tsingtau are models of convenience. 
. . . Some six miles back from the sea a typical 
German city was built. The scale on which things 

474 The Great War 

were done is shown by the fact that the Casino . . . cost 
more than $1,500,000. Included in the improvements 
undertaken is the extensive afforestation of the erstwhile 
treeless hills. 

"There are said to be 12 forts; there were barracks 
built in 1905 for 5,000 men; there is a floating dock 410 
feet long and 100 feet wide which will lift 16,000 tons. 
Exclusive of the Chinese [3,000] . . . the Tsingtau gar- 
rison, strengthened by the German and Austrian guards 
withdrawn from Peking, is about 8,000 men. To this 
force may be added 1,000 reservists, for every able-bodied 
German civilian in the colony will be called upon to per- 
form military duty." 

Japan declared war on August 24th. The operations on 
land do not come within the scope of this chapter, but both 
British and Japanese ships took part in the general attack, 
though it has been reported that the Japanese looked with 
disfavor upon the assistance of their allies. About the 
middle of October the battleship Triumph was heavily 
damaged by gunfire and compelled to withdraw; on Octo- 
ber 17th the Japanese cruiser Takachiho, of 3,700 tons and 
eight 6-inch guns, was torpedoed and sunk by the Ger- 
man destroyer S-90, with the loss of all but twelve men of 
her crew of 283 aboard. The same destroyer was stranded 
and after stranding was destroyed by her own crew three 
days later in attempting to escape from Tsingtau. On 
November 6th, Tsingtau being on the eve of a surrender, 
which occurred November 7, 1914, the Germans sank all 
the vessels still in the harbor: the gunboats Jaguar, litis, 
Luchs, Kormoran, Tiger, the destroyer Taku, and the mine- 
layer Rachin. 

Nearly all the oversea possessions of Germany were now 
in the hands of her enemies : the rest were soon to follow. 
Togoland, on the gold coast of West Africa, had fallen on 

The War on the Ocean 475 

August 15th; Apia and the nine Samoan Islands which Ger- 
many owned of the group of fourteen, on August 30th ; on 
September 11th the Bismarck Archipelago protectorate; 
and on September 24th, Kaiser Wilhelm Land in New 
Guinea. In regard to the last two, it was remarked that: 
''their [the Germans] presence . . . has ever been re- 
garded as a menace by Australian public opinion," a curious 
commentary on the ever-existing greed which is envious of 
possession by the other man, and exemplifying the need 
of doing away with the monstrous system of ''spheres of 
influence," by whatever nation exercised. An Anglo- 
French expedition seized Kamerun on September 27th; 
the Japanese announced on October 21st their seizure of 
the Marianna and Marshall Islands. The whole of the 
German possessions in the Far East were thus in British or 
in Japanese hands. 

The few auxiliary cruisers the Germans were able to get 
afloat did not remain long uncaptured. They made the 
great error of not mounting heavier and longer-range guns. 
Instead of the 6-inch, which was a possible gun for such 
vessels, they used the 4.1-inch. Thus the Kaiser Wilhelm 
der Grosse, of the North German Lloyds, of 13,952 tons, 
armed with ten 4.1-inch, fell a victim to the British cruiser 
Highflyer, of equal speed and carrying eleven 6-inch guns. 
The German ship was sunk ofl^ the Rio de Oro coast, a 
Spanish possession south of Morocco. She is reported to 
have held up several vessels on the Cape route. One of 
the most notable was the Union Castle liner Galiciafi, which 
was discovered by the German vessel on August 15th, off 
Ferro, Canary Islands. The Galician was stopped, in- 
spected, had her wireless destroyed, and the following 
morning she was informed that "on account of the women 
and children on board we will not destroy your vessel; 
you are released." 

476 The Great War 

The Cap Trafalgar, of 18,710 tons, a new ship of the 
Hamburg Line in the South American trade, was at Buenos 
Ayres at the outbreak of the war. Here she coaled and 
landed everything not necessary for war and went off the 
Island of Trinidad, where she met the small gunboat Rber, 
from which she took the whole of her armament, two 
4.1-inch and six 1-pounders. The J5/^^r was sent into Bahia 
with one officer, one engineer, two warrant officers, and 
eleven men, where she interned. While the Cap Trafalgar 
was coaling on September 14th, 300 miles east of Rio, she 
was met by the British auxiliary cruiser Carmania, of 19,500 
tons and carrying eight 6-inch guns. Notwithstanding, the 
Cap Trafalgar made a defense for two hours (extraordinary 
in the adverse conditions), when, having listed some 30 de- 
grees, the crew was ordered into the boats. The Carmania, 
according to German statement, withdrew. A last use of 
the wireless attracted the German collier Eleonore Woer- 
man, which picked up the survivors of the Cap Trafalgar, 
numbering 291 men, and landed them at Buenos Ayres, 
where they were interned. The captain and 12 seamen 

There were afloat also as auxiliary cruisers the Prinz Eitel 
Friedrich, the Kronpriwz Wiljielm, and the Kormoran II, 
formerly the Russian Riasan, which was captured on 
August 6, 1914, by the Emden, taken to Tsingtau and 
armed. There is but little recorded of what they accom- 
plished. All were to be later interned, the two former at 
Norfolk, Virginia, in April, 1915, the last, at Guam, on 
December 15, 1914. The names of some fifteen others, of 
less importance, will be found recorded in the appended 
list of losses. 

A very much greater number of such vessels, naturally, 
was used by Great Britain. The number and names have 
not been published, but enough is known to show the 

The Emden asliore on North Kft-ling Islanti, No\cniber i o, 1914. Boats from tiu- 
Sydney taking off the survivors. 

Landing party from tlie EnuUn, aftir liaving broken the instruments ;it the cal'k- station du 
Direction Island, leaving to board tlte schooner Ayesha in which tliey made their escape. 

The War on the Ocean 477 

great extent to which the British merchant marine has 
thus been utilized, perhaps more than the well-being of 
her ocean carrying trade justified. 

The great disparity in naval power between Germany 
and Great Britain (the other powers involved being so 
secondary that they need not be considered) had its natural 
and inevitable sequence in the early disappearance of Ger- 
man ships, naval and commercial, from the ocean. Though 
Great Britain declared no blockade of German ports, the 
former used what was fully the equivalent, in result, of a 
legal blockade. Ships were stopped on the high seas and 
examined or detained at will. Naturally all the neutral 
powers concerned protested. This protest, in the Amer- 
ican notes of earlier as well as later periods, was expressed 
with much force, the later note of October 21, 1915, de- 
claring (paragraph 33) the procedure "ineffective, illegal, 
and indefensible" and that tl\e United States "can not with 
complacence suffer further subordination of its rights and 
interests to the plea that the exceptional geographic posi- 
tion of the enemies of Great Britain requires or justifies 
oppressive and illegal practices." 

Notwithstanding, the offensive action continued with the 
declared purpose of starving Germany into submission. It 
is but an illustration of the great fact which has come 
down to us in undiminished vigor through the ages: I?ifer 
arma silent leges. It cannot be otherwise. War in itself is 
the very negation of all law. In every exigency, the great 
question of national existence always has taken, and always 
will take, precedence, and Great Britain being preeminent 
on the water but follows the procedure of all time, and 
will do so until pressure, economic or other, may make it 
better for her to yield her methods. Any discussion of 
this part of the question, beyond the mere statement of 

478 The Great War 

what seem to the writer existing facts, is naturally beyond 
our province. 

Germany was thrown on her own resources, which were 
supplemented by her trade with the Scandinavian countries 
and with such trade as could enter through Holland and 
Italy. She was able, with the labor in her fields undimin- 
ished by reason of the employment of 2,000,000 or more 
prisoners of war, to advance her agriculture to a degree 
which made her independent of exterior supplies of the 
more important elements of food. Her occupancy of Bel- 
gium and of the chief industrial provinces of France, and 
her unequalled chemistry rendered her likewise independ- 
ent in the field of munitions of war. And though she has 
lost her sea-borne commerce, she has a large compensation 
in escaping the incurring of a heavy foreign indebtedness 
which must, in time, hang heavily upon those who have 
the world as a purchasing field. Nor can we yet say how 
great a factor in such a war, if long continued, may be the 
submarine or the airship. Thus, with a powerful battle- 
fleet yet in being, Germany is still a menace to Britain 
upon the water. To prophesy to what extent, is still too 

The War on the Ocean 


TO FEBRUARY i, 1915 

From the United States Institute Proceedings 

Special acknonvledgment is here made of the courtesy of the United States Na'val 
Institute in granting the •writer the use of the "valuable compilations appearing in its 

The following table is compiled from various articles appearing in the press of the several belligerent 
nations. These reports are so contradictory that it is impossible to furnish an absolutely correct list of vessels 
lost to date. In many cases the belligerent powers have failed to acknowledge the losses of all the vessels. 
No attempt has been made to include herein a list of the various trawlers, mine-sweepers and such odd small 
craft which may have been destroyed while mine-sweeping or on submarine patrol duty. 


Dreadnought battleships d. b. 

Battleship b. 

Armored cruiser a. c. 

Protected cruiser p. c. 

Cruiser c. 

Light cruiser 1. c 

Gunboat g. b. 

Torpedo gunboat t. g. 

Destroyer d. 

Torpedo boat t. b. 

Submarine sm. 

Auxiliary cruiser ax. c. 

Converted cruiser ». c. 

Transport tr. 

Mine-layer m. L 

Hospital ship h. s. 

Training ship tr. s. 

Armed merchant ship a. m. v. 

Naval tender n. L 




Audacious d. b. . 

24,000 . . 

Bulwark b. . . . • 15,000 . 

Formidable b. . . . . 15,000 . 

Warrior a. c. . . . 13,550 . 

Hogue a. c. . . . 12,000 . 

Cressy a. c. . . . 12,000 . 

Aboukir a. c. . . . 12,000 . 

Hawke a. c. . . . 7,350 . 

Good Hope a. c. . . . 14,100 . 

Monmouth a. c. . . . 9,800 . 

Pathfinder 1. c. . . . 2,940 . 

Amphion 1. c. . . . 3,360 . 

Pegasus I.e. . . . 2,135. 

Hermes I.e.... 5,600 . 

Speedy t. g. . . . 810 . 

I*g«r t. g. . . . Bio . 


Reported sunk off Irish coast. Cause unknown. 

British Admiralty non-committal 29-10-14 

Internal explosion at anchor in the Thames .... 25-11-14 

Sunk by German sm., North Sea i- 1-15 

By mine 5- 9-14 

Sunk by German sm. U-29, North Sea 22-9-14 

Sunk by German sm. U-29, North Sea 22- 9-14 

Sunk by German sm. U-29, North Sea 22- 9-14 

Sunk by German sm. U-q, North Sea 16-10-14 

Sunk by German forces in Pacific i-ti-14 

Sunk by German forces in Pacific 1-11-14 

Sunk by German sm.. North Sea 5- 9-14 

Sunk by mine, North Sea 6- 8-14 

Sunk by German c. Konigsberg at Zanzibar .... 20- 9-14 

Sunk by German sm. U-27, North Sea 30-»o-i4 

Sunk by mine. North Sea 3-9-14 

Sunk by German sm. while at anchor 11-11-14 


The Great War 








d. . . . 


sm. . . 

725-810 . 

sin. . . 

725-810 . 

sm. . . 

550-600 . 

sm. . . 

550-600 . 

sm. . . 

725-810 . 

ax. c. . 

17.274 • 

ax. c. . 


ax. c. . 

5,386 . 


Sunk in collision with Dutch merchant ship .... 18- 8-14 

Ran ashore, Scotch coast 27-12-14 

Accidentally sunk off Australian coast 14- 9-14 

Rammed and sunk by German vessel 18-10-14 

Sunk by German mine. North Sea 3-11-14 

Reported lost. Details not known 1-12-14 

Missing. North Sea 

Ran aground off north coast of Scotland in storm . 8- g-14 

Ran aground off Whitby, completely wrecked . . . 30-10-14 

Lost off Irish coast 14- 1-15 

Zelee g. b. 

No. 347 t.b. 

No. 338 t.b. 


No. 219 t. b. 

Curie sm. 

Saphir sm. 


636 . . Sunk by German cruisers at Tahiti 22- 9-14 

> Sunk in collision with each other g-io-14 

Reported lost - 1-15 

Sunk off Nieuport - 1-15 

Sunk by Austrians at Pola 23-12-14 

Sunk at the Dardanelles 15- 1-15 


392 • 

6- ? . 


Pallada a. c.