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HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 




THE DOUGHBOY 



HISTORY OF THE 
WORLD WAR 



BY 
FRANK H. SIMONDS 

AUTHOR OF "THEY SHALL NOT PASS" VERDUN 




FULLY ILLUSTRATED 



VOLUME FIVE 
THE VICTORY OF ARMISTICE 




GARDEN CITY NEW YORK 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 

1920 



*<1O 



Copyright, 1920, by 
DOUBLEDAY, ?AGE & COMPANY 

y^Z/ rjgAlf reserved, including that of 

translation into foreign languages, 

including the Scandinavian 



CONTENTS 

PART I 

CHAPTER I 

THE FINAL PHASE 

PAGB 

I. THE LAST CAMPAIGN: Battle on colossal scale Exhausts both 
armies. II. THE Two PHASES: Germany launches three great 
offensives Allies shatter greatest national dream in history. III. 
THE GERMAN OPPORTUNITY: German army in fine shape Civilian 
morale good Delay alone will be fatal. IV. THE ALLIED CASE: 
Allies have inferior army but greater reserve strength. V. THE 
DIRECTION OF ATTACK: Allies' policy gives Ludendorff the initiative 
He attacks weakest spot, the British army. VI. LUDENDORFF: 
Man of mystery An "old" German Best German leader of the 
war. VII. FOCH: A military genius A great man. An accu- 
rate psychologist. VIII. HUTIER'S TACTIC: An organization in 
depth in which superior strength is concentrated at decisive point 
Perfected by Ludendorff. IX. FOCH'S DESCRIPTION: Hutier's tactic 
a powerful organization of brute force Final conflict a duel be- 
tween the ideals of Ludendorff and Foch 3 

CHAPTER II 
PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 

I. LUDENDORFF'S PURPOSE: To smash the Picardy sector. II. Lu- 
DENDORFF'S OBJECTIVE: Destruction or isolation of the British 
army. III. THE BATTLEFIELD: Natural advantages in favour of 
Germany Ludendorff in central position. IV. THE FIRST PHASE: 
Germans confident of success Supreme disaster threatens Allies. 
V. FOCH Is CALLED: To coordinate action of Allied armies on 
Western Front He charges his generals not to yield an inch. VI. 
THE FLOOD Is DAMMED: Ludendorff checked Battle ends April 
5th. VII. THE RESPONSIBILITY: Worst British defeat in history 
due to Lloyd George. VIII. THE RESULT: Ludendorff has failed 



vi CONTENTS 

MM 

to accomplish his larger aims. IX. THE MORAL EFFECT: Great 
Britain and France depressed but determined America roused 
Germany disappointed 35 

CHAPTER III 
FLANDERS THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 

I. FROM PICARDY TO FLANDERS: LudendorfFs troops in pocket Point 
of attack shifted to Flanders. II. THE NEW BATTLEFIELD: Vital 
region the chain of mountains extending from Cassel to Kemmel. 
III. THE BATTLE: Givenchy "corner" holds Allied line draws 
back to Ypres Germans take Kemmel Foch untroubled. IV. 
THE END OF THE FIRST PHASE: Ludendorff has won shallow salient 
Allies have suffered heavy losses 81 

CHAPTER IV 
THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 

I. THE PURPOSE: To draw French reserves away from British in Flan- 
ders Ludendorff projects new salient against the Marne. II. FOCH'S 
MISCALCULATION: He neglects Chemin-des-Dames sector and for- 
tifies Somme front. III. THE CHEMIN DES DAMES: Allies believe 
their position impregnable Ludendorff uses Hutier method and 
tanks. IV. LUDENDORFF'S PLAN: To get to the old Paris front. 
V. THE ERUPTION: Allied line collapses Rheims and Soissons 
in danger Ludendorff presses attack. VI. FOCH RESTORES THE 
SITUATION: He brings up reserves and prevents widening of the 
salient. VII. THE BATTLE OF THE MATZ: French oppose counter- 
tactic to Hutier method Paris in danger French morale excellent 96 

CHAPTER V 
THE PEACE STORM SECOND MARNE 

I. LUDENDORFF'S STRATEGY: Austrians pushed to disaster along Piave 
Ludendorff prepares double thrust to get Marne from Epernay to 
Chalons Underestimates Allied strength. II. THE Two BATTLES 
OF THE MARNE: Second duplicates first. III. FOCH'S CONCEP- 
TION: He has initiative Launches counter-offensive Perfect an- 
swer to Hutier tactic. IV. LUDENDORFF LOSES His BATTLE: 



CONTENTS vii 

PACE 

Hutier machine smashed German army shows signs of weakening. 
V. FOCH BEGINS His CAMPAIGN: German defence collapses 
Ludendorff withdraws from Marne pocket. VI. CONSEQUENCES: 
Decisive battle is over Foch given free hand Allies jubilant . .151 

CHAPTER VI 
AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 

I. THE FIRST DIVISIONS: In their first fights American troops give 
promise of becoming great soldiers Foch places them in vital posi- 
tions. II. BELLEAU AND CHATEAU-THIERRY: Americans take 
Belleau Wood at high cost and check German rush at Chateau- 
Thierry. III. AISNE-MARNE : American troops play brilliant and 
essential part in Second Battle of the Marne New troops arrive in 
Europe with amazing rapidity 176 

CHAPTER VII 

FOCH MANOEUVRES 


I. THE NEW STRATEGY: Foch's objective the German fighting machine 
He plans to break Ludendorff's army by a series of attacks with- 
out respite. II. THE BATTLE OF AMIENS: August 8th a "black 
day" for Germany Morale of German army crumbling LudendorfF 
yields to political considerations. III. THE BATTLE OF BAPAUME: 
Foch expands area of battle LudendorflF retreats toward Hinden- 
burg Line 20O 

CHAPTER VIII 
ST. MIHIEL 

I. AMERICA'S FIRST ARMY: Pershing to direct one of chief blows in 
Foch's general offensive America's army organized after Second 
Marne. II. THE HISTORY OF THE ST. MIHIEL SALIENT: Ger- 
mans seize St. Mihiel in 1914 French attempts to abolish salient 
unsuccessful. III. THE BATTLEFIELD: Germans in deep and narrow 
pocket strongly protected by natural features of the region Real 
test of American army at hand. IV. THE ATTACK: Salient de- 
stroyed Briey iron fields in danger Untrained American troops 



viii CONTENTS 

win through strength and courage. V. AFTERMATH: High praise 
for American achievement New strength revealed for Allied 
armies .. . . . 



CHAPTER IX 
THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 

I. FOCH'S SCOPE AND PURPOSE: Greatest battlefront in history Foch's 
aim to drive German army back to Hindenburg line and break its 
power to resist. II. THE HINDENBURG LINE: Strongest line of 
defence ever known Germany's last resource. III. PERSHING 
OPENS THE BATTLE: He attacks between Meuse and Argonne 
Hindenburg line shattered by October 3rd. IV. OCTOBER loth : Arma- 
geddon ends Foch plans to cut off enemy communications and bring 
about collapse of Western Front Germans retire. V. LUDEN- 
DORFF vs. FOCH: Ludendorff rests after each victory Foch makes 
swift attack. VI. THE END OF THE BATTLE: Ludendorff orders 
general retreat out of Hindenburg Line Foch plans to strike before 
they can recover. VII. APPOMATTOX. Pershing and Haig make 
chief efforts in final operation Foch has control of German 
situation 235 

CHAPTER X 
THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 

I. PERSHING'S TASK: To organize green troops into army capable of de- 
livering a major thrust in the final battle. II. THE BATTLEFIELD: 
Densely wooded region Pershing advances through narrow corridor 
Communications bad Verdun area devastated. III. THE GER- 
MAN DEFENCE SYSTEMS: Three strong lines in Meuse-Argonne re- 
gion Chief reliance the strength of Montfaucon. IV. THE FIRST 
PHASE : Pershing takes Montfaucon German reserves prevent fur- 
ther advance. V. THE SECOND PHASE: Pershing abolishes Ar- 
gonne salient, drives through Kriemhilde Stellung, and exhausts 
Germany's reserves. VI. THE FINAL PHASE: Germany's last 
defence broken Evacuation of Metz begins. VII. THE ACHIEVE- 
MENT: Courage and enthusiasm of American army balances lack of 
training 267 



CONTENTS ix 

CHAPTER XI 

THE ARMISTICE 

MM 

I. THE CONQUEST OF LUDENDORFF: On August 8th Ludendorff de- 
cides war must end. II. LUDENDORFF'S DECISION: He advises 
an armistice Germany panic stricken German fighting machine 
disintegrates. III. "UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER": German gov- 
ernment asks armistice Wilson refuses any but one based on "un- 
conditional surrender" Ludendorff resigns. IV. THE END: 
Breaking up of German Empire Wilson accepts armistice on 
basis of Fourteen Points Chaos overwhelms Central Powers. 
V. ARMISTICE: Foch receives German ambassadors at Rethondes 
Text of the Armistice .319 

CHAPTER XII 
THE OTHER FRONTS 

I. THE ITALIAN CONTRIBUTION: Victory at Piave a distinct aid to 
Foch's campaign. II. THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE PIAVE: 
Italy breaks Austrian will for war. III. IN MACEDONIA: Army 
of the Orient forces surrender of Bulgaria Serbs render magnificent 
service King Peter reenters Belgrade. IV. ARMAGEDDON "SIDE- 
SHOWS": Allenby breaks power of Turkey Victories in Mesopo- 
tamia, Palestine, and Macedonia not of great importance. V. 
THE LAST OF AUSTRIA: Austria surrenders unconditionally after 
Vittorio-Veneto Austria-Hungary disintegrates Italy's part in 
war underestimated. VI. THE SUBMARINE: Submarine cam- 
paign fails in its large aim of preventing the transportation of the 
Americans but remains a grave menace Great Britain sustains her 
naval tradition but no officer reveals the "Nelson touch" Western 
democracy prevails against Prussian autocracy Foch shows genius 
of a Napoleon and stands out the supreme strategist of the whole 
struggle ......,-...' 355 



CONCLUSION 

German military power is destroyed A new Europe arises German 

conception of human life is condemned 383 

Index to all five volumes . . 389 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

THE DOUGHBOY Coloured Frontispiece 

PAGES 

THE FIGHTING JUST BEFORE THE AMERICANS GOT DOWN 

TO BUSINESS 65-80 

To the Rescue French Machine Gunners in Action The Roads of 
France The Mark of the German "420" The Result of a Direct 
Hit At Work on the Trenches An Artillery Observation Post 
Photography in the War Zone An Anzac Resting under Difficulties 
What the Germans Left Behind Them Refugees Fleeing Before 
the Germans The Barricade The Canadians in Action After the 
Battle Detraining a Howitzer The Byng Boys Over the Top In 
the Ypres Salient Friendship on the Battlefield. 

MARSHAL FOCH AND GENERAL WEYGAND (In colour} 89 

THE AMERICANS IN ACTION 115-146 

Sending a Message to an Airplane Breaking through the Hinden- 
burg Line Following the Track of a Tank Advancing Through a 
Smoke Screen Watching the Enemy from a Captured Post The 
Morning Attack Americans Advancing Under Cover of Bush to Lay 
Wire Across the Fields near Mont Sec French Children of Soulosse 
A German Stronghold Near Grandpre The Boche Looter Cold 
Breakfast on the March Yankee Soldier and French Children Ameri- 
can Pies at the Front Sergeant Leading Mopping up Squad An 
Illumination Bomb Lights the Way On the Road to Sedan Tak- 
ing Moving Pictures Under Fire Tanks of the Yanks Attacking 
Behind a Tank The Engineer Fully Equipped French and 
American Comrades in Arms The Hindenburg Line Near Le Cate- 
let Street Fighting in a Village Along the Marne "Fox Holes "in 
the Argonne Smoke Pots in the Argonne Machine Gun Crew in 
Action Attacking a Machine Gun Nest Pumping Lead into the 
German Lines The Allied Generals at Metz Cleaning Out a Vil- 
lage The Hand Grenade Gassed To Victory on the Run 
"Kamerad" The Home Coming A City of the Dead. 



xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

AMERICA'S SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTIONS TO VICTORY 179-186 
With the Engineers in Bordeaux The Largest Powder Mill in France 
-"New World Work on Old World Soil' '-Mobile Anti-Aircraft 
Searchlights Constructing the American Flyers' Assembly Plant- 
Assembly Plant at Romorantin, France Getting Ready to Fly In 
a Yankee Airdrome in France Assembling Railway Guns in France- 
All American! Ready to Fire Battle Practice. 

THE WAR IN THE AIR (In colour) 195 

THE ENEMY IN RETREAT 237-244 

German Soldiers on the Way Back to the Fatherland German Food 
Supplies in Belgium What the Germans Did in Valenciennes What 
the Vandals Leave A Salvo to the Enemy A Shell Hole in the Ger- 
man Trenches The Enemy in Retreat Back to Germany 
The Argonne. 

THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 277-292 

A Hill Defended by Germans, Captured by Americans American 
Battery in Action Doughboys Under Machine-Gun Fire Machine 
Gun Against Machine Gun Advancing Under Fire Talking 
Through Gas Masks On Watch the Day Before the Armistice The 
Chaos of Concentrated Fire Big Mine Crater Entanglements, 
Natural and German-Made In the Germans' Second-Line Trench- 
On Guard in a First-Line Trench "Somewhere in the Argonne" 
Looking Through the Porthole of a German " Pill-Box "-Hand Gren- 
ade Throwers Advancing with Rifle Grenades American Signal- 
men. 

A SHELL HOLE ON THE CHEMIN DES DAMES (In colour) 309 

THE LAST DAYS OF FIGHTING 327-334 

At the Bridgehead Boundary Line An American Sentry on Guard 
The Americans on the March to the Rhine The American Watch on 
the Rhine In an Outpost in Alsace In Honour of Roosevelt Sun- 
set The American Flag Entering a Town in Germany A Victory 
Loan Poster in Germany All Aboard ! On the Rhine. 

THE AMERICAN NAVY IN THE WAR 367-374 

A Smoke Screen from American Destroyers A Submarine's Gun 
American Battle Squadron in the North Sea Behind the Gun on an 
American Destroyer Depth Bombs in Air A Camouflaged Ameri- 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xiii 

can Destroyer British Olympic with American Troops on Board- 
The Periscope of an American Submarine A Submarine "Crash 
Dive" American Submarines in Bantry Bay, Ireland An Amer- 
ican Schooner on Fire American Sub-chasers in Port A Y-Gun for 
Firing Depth Bombs A Gun in Action on the Stern of a Destroyer. 



LIST OF MAPS 

PAGE 

The Four Fronts 4 

Germany After Brest-Litovsk 10 

The Western Front 36 

The Battlefield of Picardy 42 

LudendorfFs Two Thrusts 83 

LudendorfFs Profits 113 

Paris Menaced 148 

"The Peace Storm" 152 

The Two Marne Battlefields 156 

The Soissons "Corner" 169 

America's First Battlefield 177 

The Retreat to the Vesle 194 

" Picking LudendorfFs Pockets " 206 

Back to the Hindenburg Line 213 

The Battle of St. Mihiel .226 

German Defence Systems in France 247 

Breaking the Hindenburg Line 263 

The Woods of the Argonne-Meuse Battlefield 271 

The American Argonne-Meuse Drive 273 

America's Advance to the Rhine 312 

The Second Battle of the Piave 341 

America's Advance to the Rhine 348 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



CHAPTER ONE 

THE FINAL PHASE 

I 
THE LAST CAMPAIGN 

The last campaign of the World War was a fitting climax to a 
struggle which had endured already for more than three years and had 
surpassed all previous contests recorded in human history. In the final 
phase more than six millions of men, representing seven nations, fought 
for 235 days on a front of 250 miles from the North Sea to the Moselle, 
from the outer defences of Metz to the ruins of Nieuport. And the 
struggle was not limited to the west front. While Germany met her 
ancient foes in decisive contest on the battlefields of France, Italian 
armies first repulsed then crushed the Austrians on the Piave; Serbian, 
Greek, French, British, and Italian troops fought Bulgarians in Albania 
and Macedonia, and British troops overwhelmed the Turk on the 
Plain of Armageddon. Two continents furnished the battlefields, and 
five, reckoning Australia, supplied the combatants. 

But it was the issue of contest in France which decided the fate of 
the world and the question of victory and defeat in the great struggle. 
And in this contest, which French historians already regard as a single 
engagement and describe as the " Battle of France," all the previous 
western campaigns were repeated on a hugely increased scale. When 
the Germans crushed the British Fifth Army in March, 1918, they 
swept forward over all the territory which had been gained and lost in the 
First Battle of the Somme and the subsequent "Hindenburg" Retreat. 

When hi April German effort turned north, it was on the fields of 
Flanders, the scene of the three great struggles about Ypres, that one 
more tremendous battle was fought. In April, before the war drifted 
northward, too, the German storm once more reached the foot of Vimy 
Ridge. In May, when Ludendorff faced southward, a new conflict 

3 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 




THE FOUR FRONTS 
A Western Front. B Italian Front. C Macedonian Front. D Eastern Front. 



broke out upon the battlefields on the Craonne Plateau, where Kluck 
had checked the French and British advance from the Marne in 1914, 
where Ludendorff had broken the Nivelle offensive in 1917. 

In July the last German attack stormed at the lines held by the 
French in Champagne, since the first great offensive, that of September, 
1915, and in the same hour passed the Marne at the towns where the 
armies of Biilow and Kluck had crossed and recrossed that stream in the 
days of the First Battle of the Marne. Indeed, the Second Battle of the 
Marne in July, 1918, was in so many respects a replica of the First in 
September, 1914, that history affords no parallel more striking. 



THE FINAL PHASE 

When at last the tide had turned, the Allied advance in July followed 
the roads used by Maunoury, French, and Franchet d'Esperey after 
the First Marne, while the British victories of August and Septem- 
ber were won on the fields of the First Somme, and the battle names of 
these two months recalled with glorious exactitude the places made 
famous and terrible by the campaign of two years before. In the closing 
days of September, moreover, the first American army to enter the 
conflict struggled forward over the hills and through the villages which 
had seen in 1916 the beginning of the German offensive before Verdun. 

With the coming of October the whole character of the campaign 
changed. At last one saw the realization of all the various and ambi- 
tious plans for Allied operations in the past. The British, emerging 
from the Ypres salient, swept the Germans from the Belgian coast and 
turned them out of the industrial cities of the French north. The 
French and British on the sides of the Noyon salient realized the hopes 
of their commanders in 1916 and 1917, and entered St. Quentin and 
Laon, Cambrai, and Douai. Still to the eastward the French and the 
Americans, on either side of the Argonne between Rheims and Verdun, 
repeated on a widened front the attack of Joffre in September, 1915, 
and achieved supreme success. Lastly, in the St. Mihiel salient, the 
American First Army in its initial engagement put into successful 
operation the plans of the French in the winter of 1914-15 and, by 
abolishing the salient, closed the gap in the eastern armour of France. 

Flanders, Artois, Picardy, Ile-de-France, Champagne, and Lorraine 
were, in their turn, scenes of new contests whose extent of front sur- 
passed the limits of ancient provinces, whose circumstances recalled the 
history of previous campaigns, and disclosed in success the purposes and 
plans of Allied commanders, which had been in the past imperfectly 
realized or totally wrecked. And as a final dramatic detail, when at 
last the Armistice came, King Albert was approaching his capital at the 
head of a Belgian army; Canadian troops had entered Mons, where 
British participation in the struggle had begun; French armies were in 
Sedan, the town for ever associated with the French disasters of 1870; 
and a Franco-American offensive was just about to break out to the 



6 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

east of Metz, over the ground which had seen the first French dash into 
the "Lost Provinces" and the opening reverse at Morhange. 

Nor was the drama alone splendid in its magnitude. Every element 
of suspense, surprise, intensity was present to hold the attention of the 
world, neutral and engaged alike; and so terrible was the ordeal that, the 
moment of victory once passed, conqueror and conquered alike sank 
back exhausted by a strain beyond that which had ever before been 
placed upon the millions in line, and behind the line, who constituted 
nations at war. 

For history, moreover which has attached to the Hundred Days of 
Napoleon a lasting significance as affording a standard of measurement 
for the rise and fall of one of the world's great figures there must be 
hardly less meaning in the span of Ludendorff, longer by twenty days 
only, which saw the greatest of German military leaders three times on 
the edge of supreme victory and, on the final day, overtaken by swift 
defeat, ordering a second retreat from the Marne; and this retreat, in 
barely more than another hundred days, would end in surrender after 
decisive defeat, which alone prevented the supreme disaster of a Water- 
loo twentyfold magnified. 

Since Napoleon fell, no soldier had known such intoxicating success 
as came to Ludendorff in March, in April, and again in May; while 
between March 26th and November nth, Foch first in defeat prepared 
by his predecessors, and then in victory organized by his own genius 
wrote the most brilliant and far-shining page in all military history, and 
earned the right to rank as a soldier with the great Emperor, who had 
been his model. 

In less than eight months, the finest army in size, equipment, and 
training ever put into the field by a civilized nation was transformed 
after initial victories which had no parallel in this or any other war, 
after conquests of ground, captures of guns, harvestings of prisoners 
unequalled in all the past campaigns of the war into a broken and 
beaten host, incapable of warding off the final blow, defeated beyond 
hope of recovery, still retaining a semblance of its ancient courage and in 
parts a shadow of its traditional discipline, but incapable of checking 



THE FINAL PHASE 7 

its pursuers, of maintaining its positions, of long postponing that ulti- 
mate disaster, already prepared, when an armistice incomprehensible 
even to the beaten army, by reason of the completeness of the surrender 
saved the conquered from the otherwise inescapable rout. 

II. THE TWO PHASES 

In this final campaign there are two distinct phases, which in turn 
fall into three divisions. There is first the German phase, the period 
beginning with March 2ist and ending on July i8th, within which the 
Germans seek desperately and magnificently to win a decision in three 
great offensives : that delivered against the British alone, on March 2ist, 
and continued in the April attack which carried the battlefront from 
Picardy to Artois and Flanders; that of May 2yth against the French and 
British on the Chemin des Dames, which was extended to the heights 
north of Compiegne, in the early days of June; and finally, that of July 
1 5th, between Rheims and the Argonne and between the Mountain of 
Rheims and Chateau-Thierry, which, failing, was totally transformed by 
Foch's deadly counter-offensive of July i8th. 

The Allied phase, between July i8th and November nth, displays a 
similar threefold division. It opens with the stroke between the Aisne 
and the Marne on July i8th, which lives as the Second Battle of the 
Marne and gained for the Allies the initiative. It continues with the 
Second Battle of the Somme, delivered on August 8th, Ludendorff's 
" black day for Germany," in which the British army had its full revenge 
for the still recent past. It reaches its climax on September 26th 
and the successive days, in which the Allies break the Hindenburg Line 
and begin the march to victory, which ends only with the Armistice. 

Nor can one be blind to the political as well as the military aspects of 
this brief but astounding period. When the campaign opened, Ger- 
many, by her forty-odd months of success, had created an empire over- 
passing even that of Napoleon at the zenith of his career. German will 
was supreme from Schleswig-Holstein to Palestine. Belgium, Poland, 
northern France and the Ukraine, Serbia and the Baltic Provinces, 
Roumania and eastern Venetia paid tribute to German power and saw 



8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

behind the Austrians, Bulgars, Turks, and Hungarians, who in certain 
places replaced the German master, the sustaining force of the true 
conqueror. 

Eight months later William II and his family had fled Germany; the 
ancient dynasties of every German state, the youthful heir of the Haps- 
burgs, the alien Czar of Bulgaria were fugitives. The "cascade of thrones" 
had come, and the sole sovereigns left in Europe ruled over neutral states 
or survived the storm because they had been loyal members of the victor- 
ious alliance. Before the year ended, French armies were on the left bank 
of the Rhine; Poland had risen from her ashes ; Roumanian armies awaited 
only the appointed hour, no longer distant, when they should enter Buda- 
pest. In Berlin Germans killed Germans, as Frenchmen had slain French- 
men in Paris after the disasters of the Terrible Year. Of all the mighty 
Middle Europe, intact on March 2ist, nothing but fragments were left. 
Germany was a republic, at least in name; the Hapsburg Empire was a 
memory; Alsace-Lorraine had reentered the French frontiers; Con- 
stantinople was under the guns of an Allied fleet. Of the most colossal 
national dream in all history there was left nothing but wreckage strewn 
over three continents, while the German fleet, which had insolently 
challenged British mastery of the blue water, had come captive to 
British waters, hauled down its battle ensign, and lay helpless at anchor 
against the hour when it should be ignominiously scuttled by its crew. 

III. THE GERMAN OPPORTUNITY 

Turning now to the military aspects, what were the conditions 
under which this supreme battle was joined ? What was the advant- 
ages, resources, necessities of the two contending forces : of Ludendorff , 
who had now become the supreme master of the fate of Germany; of the 
Allies, who in the hour of disaster at last transferred the reins to the firm 
hands of that great soldier who was to save a cause, a continent, the 
world, from the fatal consequences of German success. 

Looking first at the German side, it is clear that the enemy possessed 
these advantages : They outnumbered the Allies, counting 205 divisions 
against 177. They had the initiative, the power to strike when and 



THE FINAL PHASE 9 

where they chose, since the Allies had resigned the offensive. They 
possessed an army more highly trained for the task in hand and, for the 
moment, better engined. They had devised a method of attack, destined 
temporarily to transform the very character of the struggle, and they 
had successfully applied this method in Russia, in Italy, and in Flanders 
in the closing months of 1917. Finally, they had in Ludendorff a great 
commander, certainly the greatest German military genius of the war, 
who was capable of exacting the last ounce from that German machine 
which he had in part built up, and, for the rest, had become a final ex- 
pression of the Prussian military tradition. And Ludendorff as master, 
through this unity of command, added a supreme advantage to all the 
others in his hands. 

Behind the lines, too, the Germans profited by a far better morale. 
The collapse of Russia, made permanent to the German mind by the 
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk; the defeat of Italy at Caporetto; the recognition 
of the opportunity and the belief in the man who led the German armies, 
had combined to reanimate German spirits, reawaken all the hopes and 
expectations of August, 1914, before the Marne, and of February, 1916, 
before Verdun. Once more the German people were confident of victory, 
supreme victory, and world hegemony after victory. Army and people 
expected triumph, and, to achieve it, were capable of unprecedented 
effort during that period in which the faith survived. 

On the other hand, time was no longer an ally of the German. Luden- 
dorff's position was exactly analogous to that of Napoleon when the 
French Emperor returned from Elba. Since the submarine had 
failed to close the seas, a time must be expected when American troops 
would begin to arrive in great numbers. As the problem of Napoleon 
was to dispose of the armies of Wellington and Bliicher in Belgium 
before those of Russia and Austria could arrive in Lorraine, Ludendorff 
must destroy the British and the French before the American millions 
became effective. In 1918, as in 1815, victory might be expected to 
preclude the possibility of the arrival of the enemy's reinforcements. 

It was essential, too, that the success should not be delayed. The 
first blow must be decisive, if the confidence of the German people was 



10 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 




GERMANY AFTER BREST-LITOVSK 

Solid black shows Turkish and conquered territory in German hands at the beginning of the 

campaign of 1918 

to endure. After the experiences of the First Marne and Verdun, delay 
might spell a fatal decline in civilian morale. Even the hint of another 
campaign like that before Verdun, the mere suggestion of a check after 
that first forward rush, which could be calculated upon in advance as the 
irreducible minimum of profit of any great offensive, would prove a 
signal for dangerous depression, while the smallest semblance of defeat 
would not alone banish German hope but would infallibly entail Bul- 
garian, Turkish, and even Austrian desertion or collapse. 

Here, too, were all the elements of the first campaign of the war. 
Then the French had avoided ruin in the opening defeats, parried the 



THE FINAL PHASE n 

fatal blow, survived until the Russian pressure had compelled the 
Germans to give over the offensive in the west and turn to the east, 
where for three years they would find occupation, would discover a task 
compelling them to concentrate so much of their effort in saving Austria 
that they would be unable, save for the brief Verdun interlude, to seek 
the decision where it alone could be found, namely in the west. But 
this time the Americans would ultimately play the Russian role, and 
Germany's present opportunity was palpably her last chance. 

For the hour which was now come Ludendorff had laboured for 
three years. His victories in the east from Tannenberg to Tarnopol, his 
patient labour against the Russian, his moments of agony, when Rou- 
mania suddenly thrust in, during the British attack at Arras, through- 
out the long summer of 1917, had been rewarded. The war on two 
fronts was over; his hands were free to deal with the western enemies. 
He could choose the point of attack, be sure of superior numbers at the 
decisive point ; he had three months in which to achieve victory without 
too much apprehension on the American score. On the whole, it was more 
than he could have expected and as much as any soldier could hope. 
Small wonder he turned a deaf ear to those who suggested negotiation 
in advance of attack. 

IV. THE ALLIED CASE 

What, by contrast, was the situation of the Allies? Opposing 177 
divisions to 205, they not only confessed inferiority of numbers, but 
their smaller forces served under divided leadership. The largest single 
element the French, counting 99 divisions had, in Petain, a splendid 
chief, who had brought them out of the slough of despond of the previous 
years; restored discipline, confidence, morale; overcome the consequences 
of the defeat of April, 1917, and the blunders of Nivelle. But the army 
had already passed its maximum of strength ; the losses of four terrible 
campaigns could only in part be made good, and the moment was at 
hand when it would be impossible to replace wastage. Yet in strength 
and in spirit, and even more in mechanical equipment, the French army 
was formidable equal, division for division, to the German. 



12 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

It was different with the British army. Its 58 divisions had not 
been kept up to proper strength, keinforcements, replacements, had been 
denied by reason of the mistaken policy of Lloyd George, who had 
decided that victory on the west front and defeat as well were 
impossible, and had consented to the transfer of divisions to the east. 
In March, 1918, the British army was weaker by 180,000 bayonets 
than it had been a year earlier. The strength of divisions had been 
reduced by breaking up three battalions in each to reinforce the balance, 
and this makeshift had contributed alike to disorganize and to discour- 
age. 

Not only had political influence withheld the necessary replace- 
ments, but it had also consented to the extension of the line. The 
result was that fewer British troops were on the front; and these neces- 
sarily held an extended line more thinly. In addition, taking over the 
line had not been followed by the proper fortification of the new posi- 
tions. The time and the labour were lacking and on the new sector, 
between the Somme and the Oise, the British Fifth Army, dangerously 
extended, was without proper support lines against the possible emer- 
gency which might come. 

In addition to this the confidence of the army had been shaken. 
The terrible losses in Flanders in the previous year, the unmistakable 
blundering of their commanders, coupled with failure of replacements 
to come and the weakness disclosed to the soldiers themselves by the 
extension of the lines, combined to create a situation which might be 
dangerous, as dangerous as the French situation after the initial defeat 
in April of the previous year. 

The French army was then, relatively, in admirable condition; that 
of the British was less good. As to the Belgians, they maintained twelve 
divisions on their own front, admirable divisions but lacking in replace- 
ments. Two Portuguese divisions of doubtful value which was to 
prove less than doubtful in the later crisis completed the European 
troops of the Allies, and their colonial contingents, as well. As to the 
Americans, four partially trained divisions were actually in France when 
the campaign opened. But the first of these divisions was not available 



THE FINAL PHASE 13 

for combat use before late April, and the next two to engage went into the 
furnace as late as June ist, when the second great German offensive had 
almost reached its term. 

It was still true that in eventual reserves the Allies were stronger than 
their foes, even with America out of the reckoning. Thus the French 
counted 682,000; the British, 764,000; the Belgians, 30,000; a total of 
1,476,000 against 1,082,000 for the Germans. But the Allied reserves 
were scattered, a large fraction locked up in Britain, and the result was 
to be that three .months were to pass before the balance of numbers 
actually engaged was in favour of the Allies; and this would come only 
when America was able to engage divisions which were still in the 
United States when the battle began. 

At the moment when the first attack was launched, on March 2ist, 
the actual battle strength of the Allies that is, the troops actually in line 
or in regular formations behind the line was in favour to that of the 
Germans by upward of 300,000. Again, while the German troops were 
concentrated against the selected front, the Allied were still scattered; 
the reserves were subject to the command of at least two different general 
staffs, each of which was, in the nature of things, bound to view the 
situation of the other through its own glasses. 

As to the American contribution, in eleven months of actual par- 
ticipation in the struggle the United States had as late as the end of 
February sent but six divisions of which only four were even partially 
trained and there was as yet no hint that the pace could or would be 
accelerated. Therefore the German might conclude that he would 
have, until the decision had been achieved, a homogeneous army under 
a single commander assured of superior numbers. 

V. THE DIRECTION OF ATTACK 

Even with inferior numbers Foch as yet nothing but a sort of mili- 
tary adviser at the Versailles Conference of military representatives, 
charged to "coordinate" the movements of the two great Allied armies 
had advised attack. But he had been overruled. Lloyd George was 
satisfied that the Flanders experiment of 1917 had proved what -the 



i 4 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Somme adventure of 1916 had suggested: that an Allied offensive could 
not bring success, given the existing conditions of warfare. 

In the same way George had decided, the views of Haig and Petain 
tending to confirm him, that a German success was equally impossible, 
since the German had no greater advantage of numbers or machinery 
than the Allies had possessed when they attacked at the Aisne and in 
Flanders in the previous year. But Haig, agreeing with George as to the 
wisdom of the defensive, had protested vainly against the folly of a de- 
fensive which did not envisage adequate numbers to maintain the lines. 

Since Foch's suggestion had been overruled and the Allies had 
adopted a policy of waiting until America could arrive, that is of resigning 
all hope of a victory in 1918, Ludendorff acquired the initiative without 
even having to fight for it that initiative which the Germans had lost 
on the west front, when the Allied attack at the Somme in July and 
August, 1916, had compelled Falkenhayn to abandon the Verdun attack. 

Having the initiative, his problem was which to strike, the British 
or the French, since despite the foolish conjectures of the'winter of 1917- 
18 it was necessary for Ludendorff to strike, if a decisive victory was to 
be achieved and a truly German peace attained. Obviously, his choice 
must be to attack the British, because the British army was weak in 
numbers, as a consequence of the failure of George to furnish replace- 
ments, perilously placed because of an extension of line, unwarranted in 
view of the effectives available, and at a lower ebb of spirits than at any 
time before or after, during the whole war. 

By contrast, the British civilian morale was, on the whole, the 
strongest among the European allies, and unless the British army were 
defeated decisively there was little chance of arriving at a peace which 
would even measurably satisfy the German expectations of March, 
1918. But if Ludendorff could strike the British army defeat it, 
separate it from the French, drive it back to the edge of the sea, ex- 
hausting French reserves wasted in a vain effort to save the British then 
he might expect, even in advance of a final blow, that France would 
surrender. 

Ludendorff's objective then was the British army, just as the 



THE FINAL PHASE 15 

younger Moltke's objective had been the French army in the Marne 
campaign of 1914. The geographical ends which he pursued were of 
relatively minor importance. Before July, that is until the surprising 
success at the Chemin des Dames led him to his fatal attack upon the 
French, his purpose was steadily to smash the British army. In his 
original plan he had contemplated, after an attack upon the French at 
the Chemin des Dames, to return to the northern field and finish the 
task begun in March and pushed well toward completion in April. 

To use the familiar comparison, just as Napoleon set out to crush 
first the Prussian and then the British armies in the Waterloo campaign, 
Ludendorff set out to smash the British and then, if necessary, the 
French, in his last campaign. And just as the great Emperor heavily 
defeated the Prussians at Ligny, Ludendorff even more severely de- 
feated the British in the fighting of April and May. But he did not 
actually crush them, just as Napoleon failed to dispose permanently of 
Bliicher's Prussians. Nor was he able to put the French out, when he 
turned against them. Then he was in turn overwhelmed by the British 
and the French, reinforced by the Americans, as Napoleon was routed by 
the British reinforced by the Prussians at Waterloo. But one campaign 
lasted seven days ; the other, seven months. 

We see, then, that Ludendorff had the advantage of numbers, of the 
offensive; that he wisely selected the weaker army to attack; that his 
strategy was Napoleonic. He had one further advantage, which was of 
almost incalculable value, namely a new and revolutionary system of at- 
tack, the efficacy of which was not even suspected by his foes; that 
method of attack which, after nearly four years, was to restore the 
element of surprise and, for the moment, bring back the old war of move- 
ment, after producing that actual break through, so long sought and 
hitherto never realized, on a grand scale since the war of trenches had 
begun in November, 1914, in the deadlock in Flanders. 

VI. LUDENDORFF 

Because this gigantic campaign was, on the military side, after the 
first tragic week, a duel between soldiers, between Ludendorff and Foch, 



16 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

it is necessary to look for a moment at the men, themselves, the men who 
played a role hardly paralleled in history, since Napoleon, who was 
conquered at last not by a greater military genius but by a combination 
of circumstances, political even more than military, and, even after 
defeat, lived and lives as the supreme military genius of his own age. 

Oddly enough, while the personality and the history of Foch are 
easily discoverable are revealed alike by his own actions, his written and 
spoken words, and by the endless tributes coming from all who knew 
him, whether in the days of preparation or in the period of his greatness 
Ludendorff remains, in a measure, a man of mystery. His own heavy 
volume setting forth his recollections of the war helps but little to 
explain or even to animate the solid, rather brutal, but enormously 
virile portrait supplied by all German military photographs. 

Erich Ludendorff was born at Kruszezewnia in the Prussian province 
of Posen won for the Hohenzollerns as a result of the partition of Poland, 
on April 9, 1865. He was a product, not of the "junker" nobility, but 
of the small Prussian bourgeosie. He was the first of his name to choose 
the army as a career, although his father had been a reserve officer in 
the Prussian cavalry and had served in the wars of 1866 and 1870. 
His mother was a Swede, a circumstance explaining his retirement to 
Sweden following German defeat and revolution. His family had 
few resources to aid him in acquiring education. Poor, like Napoleon, 
Ludendorff at the very outset of his life dedicated himself to a con- 
suming ambition; but it was not a personal ambition, rather it was a 
religion, the religion of his country. German greatness he saw attain- 
able only through the army and the navy. His task was military, and 
to it he devoted his life, the life of a Spartan. With the modern Ger- 
many, its excesses, its display of wealth, its exaggeration of the trap- 
pings of military life, and its gross imitation of British manners and 
industrial objectives he had neither sympathy nor patience. He was an 
"old" German; even his master the Kaiser could enlist his loyalty but 
could not command his approval. 

In 1904 this soldier, already marked for his intelligence, his devotion 
to work, went to the General Staff. The fruit of his labour was the 



THE FINAL PHASE 17 

later demand of the German army for a gigantic appropriation, an 
enormous expansion, which preceded by only a brief time the coming of 
the war, drove France to the three-year service, and constituted one of 
the last of the interminable warnings. 

LudendorfFs first service in the war was brilliant. The attack upon 
Liege having led to confusion and preliminary failure, he put himself at 
the head of a small detachment, penetrated the city, seized the citadel, 
restored the situation. It was a deed reminiscent of the "Little Corpo- 
ral" at the bridge of Lodi, but it was a single instance of battlefield 
audacity and courage. Almost immediately he was caught up and 
transported to the east, where he became the brains of the Hindenburg 
legend. 

The relation between the two men was not unknown in German 
military history. Gneisenau had played the same part for old Blucher, 
and the famous marshal had acknowledged it once in London, where he 
wagered that he was the only man in the drawing room who could kiss 
his own head, and won the wager by bestowing a sound smack upon 
Gneisenau's forehead. At first the true mission of Ludendorff was not 
generally appreciated. The legend grew about Hindenburg and, as it grew, 
expressed itself in the preposterous wooden statue with its ridiculous 
nails ; but in the end fact outran fiction, and Ludendorff emerged. 

In the east his daring won Tannenberg, and but for Austrian blunder- 
ing he might have conquered Poland in 1914. In the end Austrian 
necessities compelled a modification of his plans and he delivered the 
great blow at the Dunajec in 1915, which was the beginning of the 
Russian collapse. But in 1916 the German offensive at Verdun and the 
Allied attack at the Somme deprived him of the men to finish the Russian 
task; and the Russian offensive of June, in Galicia, and the Roumanian 
eruption of August gave him anxious hours. 

Even in 1917, when at last he and Hindenburg had come west, he was 
unable at once to take the offensive. His first decision was expressed in 
the famous Hindenburg Retreat, which enabled the Germans to block all 
the Allied efforts in the west until Russia was finally reduced to chaos 
and Roumania conquered. In this period Ludendorff consented to the 



1 8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

launching of the submarine campaign because he accepted, with reserva- 
tions as to time, the forecasts of the naval branch. He did not reckon 
the American intervention as dangerous; he expected to win the war by 
an offensive in the west in 1918, if the submarine did not bring a decision 
before, and he did not dream of the arrival of American masses. This was 
his supreme miscalculation, but the real blame must rest with the navy. 

In the debate over the submarine his voice was decisive, and he gave 
it for the blockade unhesitatingly. He was unmoved when military 
necessities involved the destruction of two French provinces in 1917; he 
was no more considerate of rights or of humanity when the same ne- 
cessity entailed a policy of marine murder. He dealt with both ques- 
tions as one might deal with an arithmetical calculation. 

In 1918, when he delivered his opening blow, he had been more fre- 
quently victorious than any other real or nominal commander-in-chief 
in the war. He had planned greater battles and brought off more com- 
plete successes. He had engineered the crushing of Serbia, Roumania, 
Russia; the victory over Italy had been won under his direct supervision. 
His mastery of the German war machine was unquestioned ; his power 
was almost as great as that of Napoleon, and he used it for political 
quite as much as for military ends, when political circumstances had a 
bearing upon military conditions. The civil government of Germany, 
the Chancellor, and even the Emperor, were unable to thwart him. 

Reading the man's own account of himself, one recognizes that he 
was prepared for everything except failure; that he considered every- 
thing except the strategy and the moral force of his opponent. His 
eyes were turned inward, not outward; his memoirs contain hardly a 
passing reference to his opponents to Foch, to Haig, to Pershing. 
When his own offensives failed, he showed himself bewildered; then he 
attempted to lay the blame, first upon certain units in the army, which 
failed to accomplish their duty, then upon the civil government and 
the civilian morale. If his strategy failed it was not because he had met 
a master; if his armies were defeated it was not because they showed 
themselves inferior to Allied armies, which had not collapsed in the 
spring disasters. 



THE FINAL PHASE 19 

When the first defeats came, Ludendorff was seized with a panic and 
promptly demanded that the government make peace. After August 8th 
he lost his own nerve, and his official statements shocked the German 
people, already shaken by the outward appearance of defeat. But even 
in this crisis he could not believe that the real defeat was the army's, he 
sought a civilian explanation. When at the last his Emperor accepted 
his resignation, after rebuking his general for an excess of zeal, Luden- 
dorff retired, still unshaken in his faith in the system which he typified, 
still incapable of finding any real explanation for the impossible: the 
defeat and proximate rout of the German army. 

Ascertain genuine sincerity there is about the man LudendorfF in the 
midst of all the deliberate and the unconscious inveracity of his own 
memoirs, a measure of arresting simplicity. The man gave his whole 
life, his great talents, everything to the cause he adopted. He was not 
unworthy of the great trust, for no selfish aspiration interfered with his 
service to his country. If he was brutal and he was brutal it was in- 
herent brutality, the spirit which he had acquired, which had been born 
in him, perhaps, as a sharer in the Prussian tradition. But once his 
faith is shaken by defeat, his gods upset, his religion confounded, the 
great man becomes unmistakably a very little man; he crumples up with 
the system, the same weaknesses appear in both. 

But in March, 1918, in all the vast German Empire, in all the subject 
provinces and allied races there was none to question his will. The 
Kaiser was a pale shade. The Chancellor was without power. Hinden- 
burg was little more than a colossal figurehead, which bowed assent to 
Ludendorff 's words. Personal ambition he had none, he was not a 
mere cringing courtier, he could take a firm hand with the Kaiser or the 
Crown Prince, but not as a soldier of fortune, merely as a servant of his 
country's greatness, as he conceived it. 

Grim, silent, heavy handed and, after a fashion, heavy minded al- 
most a gloomy fanatic his whole life a deliberate sacrifice to the ideal of 
his service and his country, Ludendorff was the embodiment of the great- 
ness of Germany, as well as an illustration of her weakness. He would 
crush, he believed in force, he had little sympathy, and no remorse. He 



20 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

was the architect of the Hindenburg Retreat, which transformed two 
provinces of France into a desert. As a man, as a thinker, as a soldier, 
he was inferior to Foch, but he was the greatest soldier Germany had 
produced during the war, and he came within two steps of victory. 
Foch would one day describe the German army as an express locomotive 
in the hands of a stage-coach driver but to the present writer he 
affirmed emphatically that Ludendorff was the best German leader of the 
World War. 

Count Czernin, Foreign Minister of the Hapsburg Empire in the 
latter days of the war, supplies, in his own memoirs, an admirable pic- 
ture of Ludendorff. A really trained and able statesman, the Austrian 
tremendously admires Ludendorff the soldier but bemoans his political 
limitations, which were those of the German military caste. They 
could not realize he points out shrewdly that a nation might die of 
military victories which were indecisive, and that unlimited securities 
for negotiation in the shape of conquered provinces were valueless if 
the enemy were neither willing nor compelled to redeem them at the 
German price. The great Moltke was equally dangerous but he had a 
Bismarck to control him, and Czernin laments the absence of a Bismarck, 
of a statesman capable of restraining the Ludendorff caste and of seeing 
beyond the battle map. When Czernin wanted to negotiate, when he 
proposed the cession of Alsace-Lorraine, the German generals were 
more amused than angry victory seemed to them so inevitable. When 
the generals were at last ready to negotiate, their defeat in battle was so 
complete that diplomacy could accomplish nothing. 

Czernin, like all other critics of Ludendorff, save the German, 
emphasizes beyond all else the blind, arrogant pride of the man, and sees 
in this, not so much an individual trait as the ultimate expression of 
the same characteristic in the whole German-Prussian military caste. 
Bismarck, in his own memoirs, more than once complains of the same 
thing. Of Foch one feels that he was a great man, above and beyond 
all systems; of Ludendorff, that he was the greatest exponent of one 
system, formidable beyond doubt, but possessing certain dangerous 
limitations; and the limitations as well as the virtues of the system were 



THE FINAL PHASE 21 

expressed in Ludendorff with equal exaggeration. The more one ana- 
lyzes German military operations, the more completely this blindness- 
due to pride, to overweening confidence discloses itself, the neglect 
of the actual factors in the situation and the blind reliance upon an 
estimate based upon a sense of superiority, an assurance rising to a 
total ignoring of the other side of the barbed-wire entanglements. Like 
the younger Moltke in 1914, Ludendorff assumed that the enemy had 
been conquered by his blows and having made the assumption, acted 
upon it to the ruin of his army and his country. The same misconcep- 
tion underlies the First Marne, Verdun, and the Second Marne. With 
Foch, victory was a faith, but with Ludendorff, a superstition. The 
difference is capital. 

VII. FOCH 

No greater contrast to Ludendorff physically, intellectually, mor- 
ally can be supplied than by the figure of Foch. Ludendorff had in- 
herited the tradition of a victorious army. Foch began his service in an 
army recently defeated; he saw Metz, which he knew as French, torn 
from the Fatherland. For France everything, the army first of all, was 
to be remade. Foch undertook, with his contemporaries, to return to 
the Napoleonic tradition, to find in the history of 1870 the causes of 
defeat, and in the strategy of the great Emperor the principles which 
would show the way to victory. 

The result was the First Battle of the Marne, where the French 
military school definitely vanquished the German. It could not follow up 
success with adequate exploitation because numbers were lacking, but 
the answer had been found, and Foch was a conspicuous factor in 
delivering the answer. Ludendorff had begun at Liege by victory; 
Foch began before Nancy by saving a beaten French army, defeated at 
Morhange. At the Marne he delivered the most brilliant and com- 
pelling counter-stroke. 

Sent north, he coordinated British, French, and Belgian armies and 
saved Calais. The genius of that splendid campaign was his, although the 
glory is shared by British and French armies, by Belgian, too. In 1915 



22 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

he directed the offensive in Artois which fell short of success. He was 
hardly more fortunate at the Somme in 1916, and, as a consequence, 
suffered temporary disgrace. But he kept to his work. After Nivelle 
fell, he was called to new tasks; when Caporetto came, he was sent to 
advise the Italians. 

Before the war he had been a marked man among soldiers. As head of 
the cole de Guerre his teachings had inspired many. He had also been 
a frank and uncompromising Catholic, a circumstance which more than 
once injured his professional prospects. But beyond all else he was a 
soldier who had taught abstract principles magnificently and tested each 
of the precepts on the battlefield adequately. 

"A lost battle is a battle someone accepts as lost/' he had asserted in 
the past. After August 8th, Ludendorff proved the truth of this asser- 
tion, but after Picardy, Flanders, the Chemin des Dames, Foch con- 
ceded nothing. "Tell Lloyd George that I still prefer my side to Luden- 
dorff's," he told a friend of the British Prime Minister, recalling the 
fact that, after the April disaster, he had made a statement, to which he 
held, when the Chemin des Dames had been lost and Paris was in 
danger. 

Ludendorff, save for the moment at Liege, was an office soldier : he 
provided armies with plans and with orders. But Foch was something 
more; his personality expressed itself in contact with his subordinates, 
and in critical hours he ran from place to place and his presence was an 
unfailing inspiration. The soul of the man Foch comes out of his 
deeds and his words alike, and it is possible to perceive how it animated 
those about him. Exactly this spiritual element is lacking in Luden- 
dorff, and the lack of it makes him impersonal in victory and almost 
insignificant in defeat. 

We have, then, in this tremendous duel, the clash of two great 
military ideas, the French and the German, for the higher strategy is all 
Ludendorff and Foch. And in this clash the victory of the French is not 
only incontestable but in the end simply explicable. We have also the 
struggle between two minds and two moral natures, and the triumph of 
the higher mind and the finer moral nature is not less unmistakable. 



THE FINAL PHASE 23 

For Americans it is an interesting circumstance that the two chief 
figures in the last campaign of the World War were separated by 
approximately the same years which lay between Grant and Lee in the 
Civil War. Foch was born at Tarbes, in the Pyrenees, on October 2, 
1851, and was thus a " meridional" like Joffre who came from the east- 
ern Pyrenees. His family, like that of Ludendorff, was respectable 
rather than distinguished. His mother's father had fought with dis- 
tinction under Napoleon, and his own family had cherished an admira- 
tion for the great Emperor, which was disclosed in the fact that one of 
his father's several names was Napoleon a circumstance interesting 
in view of the fact that the future marshal was to prove one of the 
greatest admirers of Napoleon and, as a student of his campaigns, to 
discover and revive for France the secrets of system which explained 
Napoleonic victories. 

The story of Foch's career in the French army is little significant 
now, save as its study reveals the development of the man. Worth 
recalling, however, is the anecdote told by his biographer, Raymond 
Recouly of the meeting between Foch and Clemenceau in 1908, 
during the "Tiger's " first ministry, when he sent for Foch to offer him 
the direction of the Ecole de Guerre. 

"But, Mr. President," expostulated Foch, "I'm afraid you don't 
know the whole truth about me. Do you know that I have a brother 
who is a Jesuit ? " 

"I don't care a damn," retorted Clemenceau. "You will teach 
military science not religion and you will make a good director of the 
college; and that is all I care about." 

A significant interview, this, when one recalls the bitterness against 
the Church in France at that time. And, as director of the Ecole de 
Guerre, Foch did much to prepare the French high command for war; 
for the war he always believed inevitable. From this post Foch went 
out a General of Division in 1911. At the Ecole he met General Wey- 
gand, later to serve him as faithfully as Berthier served Napoleon, from 
the Grand Couronen to the interview at Rethondes. 

Reading the teachings of Foch, his lectures, it becomes clear that, 



24 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

while penetrating the system of Napoleon, he had equally accurately 
appraised the strength and the limitations of the German method. His 
analyses of the German campaigns of 1870 disclose a prescient grasp 
of the methods actually employed in 1914-1918. The weakness before 
Metz revealed the same misconceptions of the true situation of the 
enemy which, had a Napoleon or a Foch commanded Bazaine's army, 
would infallibly have ruined German prospects in 1870 turn up again; 
and Foch foresees them before they arrive: at the Marne, at the Yser, 
finally, and for ever memorably, at the Second Battle of the Marne. 

General Pershing, on his return from Europe, characterized Foch as 
"a great strategist." But he was something far more: he was a great 
and an accurate psychologist, not merely at headquarters, in the calm of 
study, but in the heat of battle. Recall his message to Joffre, after 
four days of defeat and retreat at the Marne: 

"My centre is giving way, my right is retiring, impossible to manoeuvre, the 
situation is excellent, I shall attack." 

And attack he did, moving a division across all his rear, putting it in at 
sunset, and producing that moral effect which won the day giving 
just that little added weight which, like the proverbial straw, broke the 
camel's back. 

But, as Recouly points out, his statement: "the situation is excel- 
lent," was not bravado, only the result of an accurate appraisal of the 
enemy's situation. The fury of the attack directed against him, as he 
told his staff, disclosed the bad turn things were taking for the Germans 
elsewhere. When in November, 1914, the Prussian Guard was broken 
at Ypres, he remarked, forthwith: "We shall have a long period of 
quiet in the west now." The calm lasted, so far as German offen- 
sives were concerned, until February, 1916, when the attack on Verdun 
began. 

In a word, one of the salient details in Foch's strategy was his psy- 
chology, which enabled him to get at what his enemy was actually 
thinking, and to act upon this knowledge, while Ludendorff and his 
predecessors decided on what the enemy must think, and then acted on 



THE FINAL PHASE 25 

this assumption, which, on the western front, was almost without excep- 
tion inaccurate. At La Fere-Champenoise Foch knew that the Ger- 
mans had their last reserves in and that the hour of decision had arrived. 
At the Second Marne Ludendorff reasoned that the previous offensives 
had exhausted French reserves and on this conclusion went to defeat, 
when French and Amerkan reserves intervened. 

As one examines the German campaigns, the three great western 
offensives in 1914, 1916, and 1918, a single characteristic tends more 
and more clearly to detach itself. There is the same magnificent prep- 
aration the same wise, skilful, scientific upbuilding of a tremendous 
instrument an accurate appraisal of the weak points in the enemy's 
armour. All being ready and marvellously ready, the machine is set 
in motion. It strikes, and the first impact is tremendous, the first 
results colossal; but thereafter the machine, in some unaccountable 
fashion, seems slowly to run down, like a child's electric toy. Its move- 
ments become uncertain, its direction indistinct; presently it comes to a 
dead halt or even recoils. Just at the moment when the Allied publics 
see utter ruin in plain view and the German people are celebrating vic- 
tory without limit, something happens, almost miraculously and some 
people still believe the First Marne a miracle. 

There is a phrase of Foch's, descriptive of German methods in 1870, 
which admirably sums this up : 

"Does not that prove," he asks, "that if a tool is too heavy for 
the worker's hand, it will either slip through his fingers or pull him 
over?" 

Now, by contrast, when Foch becomes master of the military forces 
of the Allies, when the great stress due to the necessity to pctiry the 
enemy's first blows has passed, one sees his method put into operation. 
Could anything be more totally different ? Instead of a machine com- 
plete at the hour of joining battle, his machine seems to grow with the 
battle develop, expand, take on new vitality and strength. When 
Ludendorff struck one saw ruin imminent and colossal; in Foch's offen- 
sive the actual victory comes almost as a surprise, the separate steps are 
so imperceptible. Of Napoleon's method, Clausewitz had written: 



26 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

In Napoleon's battles a veil seems to cover the tediousness inseparable from taking 
up positions and carrying out the first movements, but once that is lifted, one always 
sees the decisive attack by masses of men filling the scene with tragic fury. 

In Foch's phrase, the separate attacks of the Germans in 1918 
were all "dammed." A dike was stretched across their front, the tor- 
rent of water rolled madly against the dike, but somehow the barrier 
just managed to hold. There is by contrast little to suggest a flood 
about Foch's attack, the tide rises steadily, the volume of water grows 
visibly but evenly. The German lines are not suddenly breached at 
one critical point, rather the water seems to rise regularly until it over- 
flows all along the German dike not at one place, but at a score; and 
no temporary barrier can restrain the flood, because there is not one 
critical point. 

All this belongs, perhaps, rather to the examination of the actual 
conflict than to a discussion of Foch ; and yet, to understand the man, it 
is essential to recognize the method, the thought, quite as much as the 
will. Ludendorff, like Moltke and Falkenhayn, attempts to snatch a 
victory from a careless or incautious enemy, imperfectly prepared, 
inadequately fortified, but possessing enormous latent resources, possess- 
ing adequate reserves; and each attempt fails. Foch patiently, de- 
liberately prepares his victory. Ludendorff opens the campaign 
with the blow that was to win the war; Foch's last blow was suspended 
by the Armistice. Ludendorff's three attacks, in Picardy, in Flanders, 
and at the Chemin des Dames, dislocated fractions of the Allied front, 
but only seriatim. On November nth, all the German front, from 
Holland to the Vosges, was staggering back. Every army was beaten, 
all reserves were exhausted. 

To dismiss this achievement as the result of the operations of a 
"great strategist" is to deal too brusquely with one of the greatest 
circumstances in all military history. To see in the contribution of the 
British, the American, or the French armies, the explanation of victory 
is to miss the whole truth. Each of these armies performed miracles, 
given their resources, but all three were but the bricks, the mortar, and 
the stones, in which the genius of Foch wrought. And not even at the 



THE FINAL PHASE 27 

end was Foch's machine more imposing than that with which Luden- 
dorff opened the campaign. 

vin. HUTIER'S TACTIC 

In all war the essential condition of victory has been and remains the 
concentration of superior numbers at the decisive point. To achieve 
this the necessary condition has always been secrecy which in turn 
produces surprise. The great victories of history have thus been 
achieved. In the opening phases of the World War the same end had 
been sought. The first German attack upon France had, as its under- 
lying conception, the sending of an overwhelming force through Belgium 
to arrive on the western flank of Anglo-French armies before a counter- 
concentration could be achieved. Joffre's answer had been a retreat 
until in turn, and without German foreknowledge an army had been 
concentrated on the German flank before Paris. 

When the war was transformed into a trench conflict, the element of 
surprise was not at first abandoned on either side. In the first Allied 
offensive, French's ill-starred venture at Neuve-Chapelle was success- 
ful in achieving surprise because he was able secretly to concentrate over- 
whelmingly superior artillery at a selected point, and this artillery literally 
swept away German defences. For hours the road to Lille had been open, 
but he had so mishandled his infantry that the opportunity passed. 

In Artois there had been a similar opportunity in May, which had 
not been realized. But by September of this same year, 1915, the 
Germans by organizing in depth were beginning to guard against sur- 
prise and the great French offensive of September 25th in Champagne, 
in part a surprise, penetrated two of the three German defence systems 
only to be checked at the third, which could not be destroyed by the 
preliminary artillery preparation. 

When the Germans attacked at Verdun, the following February, 
they were even more successful in bringing off a surprise, but their 
attack was upon so narrow a front that, after swift and considerable 
preliminary advances, they were held up by the enfilading fire delivered 
from the unbroken sections of the French line on either side of the 



28 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

wedge they had driven into it. Before they could break down the 
sides of this wedge, the advantage of surprise was gone; the French 
had achieved a sufficient counter-concentration of men and guns, and 
the battle became a siege. 

At the Somme in July, 1916, the British laid aside all pretense at 
surprise and sought to achieve a rupture by the intensity of artillery 
preparation and the prolongation of the bombardment over many days. 
Partly through the inexperience of their artillery for they were still a new 
army just entering their first great battle the preparation fell short of 
the expectation, and the initial assaults of the infantry won only limited 
gains at prohibitive costs. As the battle continued the artillery practice 
improved but there was no further chance of surprise, and the Germans 
multiplied their defences behind the sector attacked as the chance of 
a break through disappeared. This was the Verdun lesson over again. 

In 1917, Nivelle endeavoured to change the method. He did not 
hope to bring off a surprise, but he did expect, by widening the front 
assailed by employing Petain's artillery method, which on a. narrow 
front at Verdun had achieved splendid results in the preceding October 
and December to destroy German defences on a front so wide that it 
would not be possible for the Germans to hold up the victors by enfilading 
fire, as at Verdun. The effort failed; first, because the Germans, know- 
ing where the attack was coming, were able to make an adequate 
counter-concentration of men and guns; and, secondly, because Nivelle 
lacked the artillery to make adequate preparation for his infantry. 

Finally, in Flanders, in the late summer and autumn, Haig tried a 
grand offensive, on a front somewhat smaller than Nivelle's but far 
wider than that of the Germans at Verdun or of the British at the 
Somme. But he, too, ignored the element of surprise, and the Germans 
met the first onslaught with a new defensive tactic, an organization in 
depth, a prodigal use of concrete machine-gun emplacements, and a 
concentration of infantry reserves behind the front menaced and beyond 
the range of the artillery preparation. German reserves, counter-attack- 
ing when the enemy infantry had won through the first zone of German 
defence, got beyond its own artillery barrages and, become disorganized 



THE FINAL PHASE 29 

by its own efforts and exhausted by its losses, sufficed to hold up and 
even to throw back the British. 

Thanks to this tactic developed by Ludendorff himself when 
he came west in 1916 the first British attacks in Flanders were 
transformed into dismal failures. Later the British were able to im- 
prove upon their own methods, but by this time the Germans were able 
to match division against division. Moreover, the experience in 
Flanders confirmed all previous lessons by demonstrating that the very 
volume and power of artillery preparation for attack almost eliminated 
hope of successful infantry attack by the fashion in which it turned the 
country which had been shelled into an impenetrable tangle of impass- 
able shell craters and morasses. 

But in the closing hours of the campaign of 1917 the tanks at Cam- 
brai suddenly achieved one of the few real surprises of the war. Trans- 
ported to the front before Cambrai secretly as was possible, launched 
after nothing more than a brief preliminary artillery preparation and 
accompanied by barrages, they cut the way through German defence sys- 
tems, and the infantry following in their wake were able to advance over a 
country which had not been torn to pieces by weeks of artillery practice. 

The Cambrai offensive failed because there were lacking infantry 
reserves to exploit the initial success and because the handling of the 
tanks was not equally good at all points. Moreover, the type of tank 
employed, because of its size, proved too vulnerable to artillery fire, and 
too slow and unwieldy, while the tank suffered from lack of accompanying 
field artillery. Nevertheless, the lessons of Cambrai were to revolu- 
tionize the tactics of both armies, and the chief lesson was the demonstra- 
tion that surprise could be attained, and it had already been proven that 
without surprise a real success was unthinkable. Therefore the Allies, 
against the time when they should regain the offensive, undertook to ex- 
pand the tank attack and began the construction of smaller and swifter 
tanks and studied the coordination of tanks with their artillery course as 
with their infantry. In the end, the tactic developed as a consequence 
broke the German resistance, smashed the Hindenburg Line, and made 
victory possible. But this was only after many long months of waiting. 



30 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

The Germans on their side were equally impressed by the Cambrai 
episode. But Ludendorff did not accept the tank. To be sure, Ger- 
many lacked the materials out of which to construct both submarines 
and tanks, but Ludendorff was convinced by the Cambrai experience 
that in the end tank attacks could be checked as were those at Cambrai. 
He did not foresee the eventual expansion of the tank tactic, and he 
concentrated his attention on improving a German method which 
should similarly restore the element of surprise, but without making the 
same demand upon German factories and labour for mechanical equip- 
ment. It seems fair to say that Ludendorff totally underestimated the 
value of the tank, but it is not less accurate to say that he lacked the 
material to construct tanks in the necessary numbers. 

Ludendorff's method was known then and will probably live as the 
Hutier tactic, deriving its name from the general who first used it, in 
the taking of Riga in the autumn of 1917. Against the Russians the 
trial was little more than an experiment recalling the warfare of the 
grand manoeuvres of peace times, since the Russians were too disor- 
ganized to offer serious resistance to any attack. The same method 
was employed in part against the Italians at Caporetto, with supreme 
success, but once more the low morale and disorganization of the 
Italians in part seemed to explain success and to blind Allied observers 
to the efficacy of the tactic. Finally, Marwitz used it against the 
British in the second phase of Cambrai, bringing off a swinging success 
after an undeniable surprise. And with these experiences in mind 
Ludendorff devoted the winter months to improving the system, train- 
ing the officers and men in it, and gathering up the necessary material to 
make victory sure. 

IX. FOCH'S DESCRIPTION 

The most satisfying definition of this Hutier tactic is found in a 
communication addressed by Foch to his subordinates on June 16, 1918, 
at the moment when the successful answer was in the process of formula- 
tion. Remembering that at the outset it practically transformed the 
character of the fighting, and that it was not until July I5th nearly four 



THE FINAL PHASE 31 

months after it was first employed on a colossal scale that an answer 
was found, its value can be fully appreciated. In sum, it represented the 
fruits of almost four years of study of the lessons of the war by the best 
brains of Germany, and it almost won the war for its authors. Foch's 
definition was as follows : 

The German method of attack is characterized by surprise, violence, rapidity of 
execution, manoeuvre, and the extreme depth of penetration sought. 

I. The surprise is obtained by the brevity of the artillery preparation (three to 
four hours) and by the transport to the place of attack of units to be engaged at the 
very last moment, the marches to the front of the troops to be used being made by 
night and on foot. 

Up to the night which precedes the attack there is not the slightest change in the 
customary appearance of the front; quiet reigns and the usual formations are in line. 

The attack always takes place just at daybreak, the infantry being preceded by a 
barrage consisting of a strong proportion of smoke shells. As a result of the cloud effect 
thus produced, our infantry and our artillery only perceive the enemy when he is with- 
in a few metres of them. 

II. The violence is achieved by the intensity of the bombardment, all calibres and 
every sort of shell being employed simultaneously on a depth of four or five kilo- 
metres [between two and a half and three miles] and by the attack of masses of in- 
fantry which, during the artillery preparation, assemble at from 700 to a thousand feet 
before the first lines to be taken. 

After the first lines are taken it lengthens out and spreads out, the units in advance 
aiming as quickly as possible at successive objectives, which have been indicated for 
them in advance, without having any preoccupation for their own flanks or for cleaning 
up in their rear, to which task other units are assigned. 

The designation of these successive objectives does not imply any halt at any of 
them, but merely provides landmarks showing the direction to be followed. 

III. During the forward movement the infantry is protected by a rolling barrage of 
artillery, then by the light artillery and minnenwerfer, which accompany it. It also 
makes free use of its own rifle fire and of its machine guns. 

If an infantry unit encounters an obstacle which it cannot take by its own strength, 
it halts and is immediately passed by units which support it, and these are charged 
with the task of taking the strong point which remains by enveloping it. 

IV. The Germans generally employ their best troops in the centre of the attacking 
front in such a fashion as to give themselves every chance of obtaining a rapid and 
profound advance in the centre. 

The manoeuvre consists, first, in enlarging rapidly the breach thus opened, and 
then in attacking on the flanks of this breach. 

V. The penetration in depth is obtained by the rapid and resolute march of the troops 
upon predetermined objectives situated far within the enemy's lines. It has for its 
consequence a prompt disorganization of any defence not completely organized by tak- 
ing from it the essential points of organization, which are its predetermined objectives. 



32 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

If, in reading the narrative of the successive German offensives, this 
simple analysis of LudendorfPs method is kept in mind, the seeming 
confusion will be eliminated. And if, in addition, the fact is recalled 
that for many months the best troops in the German army had been 
undergoing training in this method while the Allied troops had no 
effective preparation to meet the tactic and the Allied High Command no 
adequate appreciation of its character, the events of March, April, and 
May will be clearly understood, and the magnitude of Foch's achieve- 
ment in finding an adequate answer, while the battle was in progress and 
going steadily against him, will be properly appraised. 

But even before the answer was found the Hutier tactic failed to 
achieve a decision. Actual open warfare was not restored. A colossal 
break through, unprecedented in the history of the World War, was 
achieved. Prisoners were captured by the tens of thousands, guns by 
the thousands, material in amounts incalculable; advances were made in 
extent hitherto unparalleled on the western front since the opening days 
of the war. But in the end the Hutier tactic failed, because it too 
completely disregarded the human factor. 

In each decisive phase of an offensive the Germans reached the point 
where a slight further success meant supreme victory, too weary to 
deliver the " knockout blow," while the stricken Allies were just able, by 
something approaching a miracle, to get up reserves to close the breach. 
German strategy and tactics were alike comprehended in the delivery 
of the original blow, in delivering it as a surprise, in multiplying the 
pounds of weight behind it. It was the strategy of the steam hammer, 
but if the hammer did not crush if it did not crush immediately, com- 
pletely, and permanently then there must be delay, pause, a wait until 
it could be again raised, prepared, directed against a new obstacle. 
This delay carried ultimate doom. 

There is, moreover, in this circumstance, a truth which it is essen- 
tial to recognize, for in it lies the key of all the warfare of positions, 
of all the struggle on the western front from the Battle of the Yser 
onward. The Hutier tactic revived the element of surprise by its 
method of concentration, in addition it aimed at and achieved the paral- 



THE FINAL PHASE 33 

ysis of the enemy forces on the front to be attacked, by directing the 
artillery preparation as much at the human as the material elements in 
the defence. By the use of gas, by the use of smoke screens, in a multi- 
tude of ways, it crushed the capacity for resistance of the elements in 
line at the point of attack. 

Where it failed ultimately was in the fact that it did not and could 
not prevent the arrival behind the imperilled sector of Allied reserves 
before the rupture had become irremediable. Behind the whole western 
front was an admirable network of railways ; therefore, just as long as 
Foch had reserves, he could get them up to the battlefield in time! 
In the Battle of Picardy the margin was shadowy, but the reserves did 
arrive in time. The Germans had been able to do the same thing in 
Flanders and at the Somme, the French at Verdun. 

A successful break through had to be preceded by a series of opera- 
tions "which had resulted in the exhaustion of the enemy reserves. This 
was what Ludendorff strove for when he had failed to bring off the deci- 
sive rupture in Picardy. But his successive blows in Flanders and at 
the Chemin des Dames were too widely separated in point of time. 
French and British armies had time to refit and recover from their 
strain. They were ready when the Germans were rested and reorgan- 
ized and the same units met in each attack, while the steady flow of 
American divisions to France presently transferred the advantage of 
numbers from the German to the Allies. 

Foch, when he took the offensive, sought to exhaust the German 
reserves in advance of the decisive thrust by exerting steady pressure on 
all fronts. At the end he had 100 divisions in reserve and the Germans 
not more than fifteen. Thus his offensive in Lorraine, planned for 
November I4th, had it taken place, would have been successful beyond 
limit, because there were no German reserves left to dam the flood, 
once there had been a rupture of the front. 

The Battle of France in 1918 was beyond all else a battle between 
two systems of war, between the German machine and the French brain. 
Foch was no more supremely the embodiment of the military genius of 
France than was Ludendorff of Germany. By contrast with these two 



34 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

soldiers all others were less significant figures: Petain, Haig, Pershing on 
the one side, and the brilliant array of German subordinates on the 
other. They obeyed orders, they did well or ill what was planned for 
them, but this was the limit of their contribution. 

And of the two men, Ludendorff was the perfect example of the 
doctrine of Force, of the gospel of Might which crushes and rends all in its 
pathway, of the German idea which had now challenged the world to 
yield or perish, while Foch was the equally complete exponent of the 
intelligence which masters even force and represents the ultimate 
achievement of civilization itself. All that brute strength, fortified by 
mechanical skill, could do, Ludendorff did. His failure represented 
something more than the triumph of French military brains over Ger- 
man, it represented the failure of the whole German conception of 
mechanically armed barbarism against western civilization. The 
issue of the conflict was the vindication of the faith to which the 
western democracies hold. 

To see in this mighty conflict of millions of men, of a score of armies, 
only a military drama the play of strategies and tactics, the success of 
generals because of their skill, or the failure of other commanders because 
of their mistakes is to miss the reality which underlies the surface 
glitter. In the campaign of 1918, Germany had a better chance of 
supreme victory than any one of her prophets and high priests could 
have hoped for. For three months all the advantages lay with her. 
Her failure is one of the few great human facts emerging from the 
chaos which men call history. It was a failure as significant as that of 
the effort to chain men's faith in the wars of the Reformation or deny 
men's equality before the law in the wars of the French Revolution. 
Something more than generals, armies, races met upon the battlefield. 
The contest was between ideas, and the triumph of the western idea was 
not an accident of generalship or numbers; it was a revelation of the 
superiority of the idea, disclosed in its capacity to conquer brute force 
fortified to the maximum of physical resources. 



CHAPTER TWO 

PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 

I 

LUDENDORFF'S PURPOSE 

The refusal of the Allied civil and military authorities to consider 
any offensive operation, such as Foch had advised, automatically 
bestowed the initiative upon Ludendorff . In his memoirs the German 
commander tells the world that he considered three possible theatres of 
operations: the Flanders sector, between Lens and Ypres; the Verdun 
sector, on either side of the hills actually covering the town; and the 
Scarpe-Oise sector, mainly included within the boundaries of the old 
French province of Picardy. 

He rejected the Verdun sector completely because the hilly char- 
acter of the country promised difficulties in the exploitation of any 
victory, and, though he does not say this, unquestionably because 
Verdun had an unpleasant sound in German ears and anything but 
supreme success there would instantly set afloat a wave of pessimism, 
by recalling the terrible disappointments of the previous offensive. He 
had, further, very special reasons, easily recognizable now, for preferring 
to attack the British. 

He postponed any Flanders effort, while preparing for it as a later 
possibility, because the condition of the country, the lowness of the 
ground, and the certainty of mud in the early spring would necessitate 
putting off operations until mid-April, a thing highly undesirable in 
view of the eventual arrival of American troops in France. His own 
narrative indicates that the time circumstance was decisive in influencing 
him to attack in Picardy. 

Having decided to attack there, his first concern was to choose a 
time, and he fixed upon March 2ist an early date when one recalls the 
fact that the French offensive of 1917, launched on April i6th, nearly a 

35 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



**f8 r /\\ j tv/^% ^gar 

#Wlvi/^tJflCk 

S \O;S'>!; ; ^~r\ ^,7 nJ 




THE WESTERN FRONT 

Note the railroad network enabling the Germans to strike with equal ease anywhere be- 
tween Ypres and Verdun 

month later, was fatally compromised by weather conditions. But 
Ludendorff felt that he could not wait, and as it turned out he was 
favoured by an almost phenomenal stretch of good weather, while the 
spring was one of the driest in history. 

In choosing the Picardy sector extending from Fontaine-les- 
Croisilles right down to the Oise opposite La Fere, the German soldier 
had unerringly hit upon the weakest point in the Allied front. Here 
the British and French armies made junction, on the south side of the 
Oise: and the point of junction of two armies, and particularly of two 
armies belonging to different races and speaking different tongues, is 
notoriously a danger point. 

But to this natural weakness others were added. The larger portion 
of this selected front the British had but recently taken over from the 
French against the judgment of British High Command. The troops 
in the new area mainly comprised the British Fifth Army, commanded 
by Gough. This army had suffered terribly in the Flanders contest, 
where Cough's leadership had been such as to shake the confidence of 
his soldiers. The divisions had a high percentage of replacements, that is 
of still-untrained troops. And in addition, like all British armies, it had 
for three years been constantly on the offensive and had not been 



PICARDY-THE KAISER'S BATTLE 37 

allowed time to permit training in the defensive, a circumstance em- 
phasized by Haig in his own reports. 

Again, this vital sector was the worst protected in fixed defences. 
It had been newly taken over from the French, who had not devoted 
much time to fortification, since, during their occupancy, the Allied 
armies had been on the offensive. A single good system of defence faced 
the Germans, but behind this first system a second and a third line had 
not been more than sketched. The explanation is not in the main to be 
found in carelessness. The Fifth Army had barjely time to reconstruct 
its forward system before the blow fell, and there was lacking labour to 
perform the task, since British man-power, outside of the army, was 
totally occupied in maintaining the navy, the merchant fleet, and the 
necessary industries. 

Even worse was the situation in the matter of numbers. Haig felt, 
not unnaturally, that the vital sectors for him were those covering 
Calais and Boulogne; that is, his sea bases. A push of twenty-five 
miles toward the Channel from the Flanders front would bring the 
harbours of both towns under German fire, compel a sweeping retire- 
ment out of the Ypres salient and back upon the coast, where he would 
have to fight with his back to the sea. By contrast he had far more 
elbow room to the south, where his front was twice as far from the sea. 
Moreover, while at the north he would be for long necessarily dependent 
upon his own reserves, the French could be expected to reinforce Gough 
promptly, if he were heavily attacked. 

The result was that the sector between the Oise and the Cambrai 
salient covered by Cough's army was most thinly held. Gough, with 
fourteen divisions of infantry and three of cavalry, occupied a front of 
forty-two miles, Gouzeaucourt to Barisis south of the Oise and near 
La Fere. Byng's Third Army to the north held twenty-seven miles, 
with fifteen divisions. So weak was Gough, in fact, that he did not feel 
able to hold all his front in force, and from the point where his line 
touched the Oise below St. Quentin to the right bank, facing La Fere, he 
relied upon the river as a barrier and did no more than maintain 
detached posts. As it turned out, this was a fatal circumstance, for in 



3 8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

the spring of 1918 the river was so low that the Germans were able to 
cross the stream and overwhelm the British posts. 

Finally, from the very outset it was plain that two totally different 
problems occupied the British and French commanders, Haig and 
Petain. Haig felt that in any circumstance he must cover his com- 
munications with Great Britain, must guard Calais and Boulogne. 
Petain's chief duty must be to cover Paris. But the British Fifth 
Army was actually covering the Oise route to the French capital. If it 
collapsed before French supports arrived, the road to Paris would be open. 

Even the safety of Paris could hardly tempt Haig to employ his last 
reserves in supporting Gough when such a course might lead eventually 
to opening his southern flank and to weakening his own armies so 
fatally that, without closing the road to Paris, he would have uncovered 
the way to the Channel. At a certain point, then, it is clear that the 
purposes of Haig and Petain would inevitably diverge, and, if there 
were no commander-in-chief, each would follow his own necessities with 
results which might be fatal. 

Exactly this did happen before the battle was a week old, on March 
26th, the most critical day of all, and very nearly resulted in supreme 
disaster. The selection of Foch as commander-in-chief at the last 
minute of the eleventh hour alone prevented this terrible catastrophe. 
Established in the supreme command, Foch restored a community of 
strategical and tactical purpose, accelerated the pace of French reserves 
coming from Petain, fixed Haig in his positions, and thus avoided a 
complete severance of British and French armies with its necessarily 
fatal consequences. 

A similar difference of opinion had, it will be recalled, occurred at a 
critical moment during the great retreat in the days of the first Marne 
campaign. Joffre had asked French to stay in line behind the Oise 
during the period when Lanzerac was counter-attacking at Guise. But 
despite Joffre's entreaty, Sir John had retired out of line altogether, 
leaving a gap in the Allied front which compelled a resumption of the 
retreat. Still again, when Joffre was ready to seek decisive action at the 
Marne and had ordered a general attack, French was reluctant to agree, 



PICARDY-THE KAISER'S BATTLE 39 

considered a further retirement behind the Seine, and finally did comply 
with Joffre's request with very great tardiness. 

The French Government and High Command had been so disturbed 
by this refusal of French to coordinate his movements with those of 
Jofrre that Kitchener had been summoned from London; but despite his 
advice, French insisted upon freedom of decision, pointing to his orders 
which called upon him at all hazards to preserve his army, the single 
military reservoir on which the British had to depend for the making of 
their new army. Thus, all through the Marne campaign, while Joffre 
was seeking decisive action, French was authorized to cooperate only in 
so far as such cooperation did not risk the destruction of Britain's only 
field force. 

Foch had faced a similar problem when he undertook to coordinate 
British and French operations in Flanders in the Battle of the Yser a 
few months later. There was one critical moment when Sir John 
French had actually ordered the British to retire out of the Ypres 
salient a course which would have spelled ruin to the Allied cause, since 
the Germans would have reached ^Calais and thus the Channel coast. 
Foch surmounted this crisis ; French recalled his decision after a memor- 
able conference, but the peril still persisted, since, except during the 
ill-starred Nivelle period, the two armies acted independently. In 1918, 
it should be said, Haig had far more justification for his conclusion to 
follow his own line of action than had French four years earlier. But 
both at the Yser and in Picardy such a policy, had it prevailed, would 
have spelled disaster, exactly as it had led to evil consequences in the 
Marne operation. 

n. LUDENDORFF'S OBJECTIVE 

The main and obvious objective of Ludendorff was the whole 
British army, which he undertook to crush by one or more attacks, with 
the purpose of breaking the British will for war, the determination to 
continue the struggle which was still unshaken in the British people. 
Aside from this larger purpose, his strategy was comprehended in the 
following purposes: 



40 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

He planned to employ some sixty-four divisions at once, 750,000 
men, between the Scarpe and the Oise in a brutal and terrific 
attack, nourished by other divisions after the battle opened. This 
attack might be expected to accomplish a complete break through, 
and this break through would separate the British and the French 
armies. 

The weight of the blow was to be delivered on either side of the 
Cambrai salient by the Seventeenth and Second armies, while the 
Eighteenth was to operate farther south. The three armies were com- 
manded by Below, Marwitz, and Hutier, respectively. Ludendorff 
calculated that the two northern armies would smash the British line 
roll it up north of the Somme and away from the French. 

Meanwhile the Eighteenth Army, pushing through the British 
front on either side of St. Quentin, would drive southwestward. Its 
purpose would be to some extent determined by the success or failure of 
the efforts to the north, but it might, in certain circumstances, pursue 
the double objective of striking at Amiens, the vital centre of Anglo- 
French communications, and of opening the road to Paris down the Oise 
Valley by taking the Lassigny Heights southwest of Noyon or by turning 
them by way of Montdidier. 

As the event turned out, neither the Seventeenth nor the Second 
Army realized more than a small portion of the expectations of Luden- 
dorff. All of the Seventeenth and the fraction of the Second which 
faced Byng's British Third Army were held forced to make a slow 
advance at terrific costs. By contrast, the Eighteenth made a clean 
break through, routed the British Fifth Army, and thereafter began a 
swift and terrifying advance both toward Amiens and Montdidier, 
while Ludendorff, modifying his plans, threw all his reserves to the 
Hutier army. 

Ludendorff's strategic purpose, then, was to destroy the British army; 
to do it, if possible, by a single blow, but failing this, to isolate the 
British from the French army and prepare the way for a second blow 
against the British. On the subject of his own plans, Ludendorff has 
written as follows : 



PICARDY-THE KAISER'S BATTLE 41 

The centre attack (that on the Picardy front) seemed to lack any definite limit. 
This could be remedied by directing the main effort on the area between Arras and 
Peronne toward the coast. If this blow succeeded, the strategic result might indeed 
be enormous, as we should cut the bulk of the English army from the French and 
crowd it up with its back to the sea. 

I favoured the centre attack; but I was influenced by the time factor and by tactical 
considerations, first among them being the weakness of the enemy. Whether this 
weakness would continue I could not know. 

After determining the divisions and other forces available for the attack, it was 
decided to strike between Croisilles, southeast of Arras, and Moeuvres, and omitting 
the Cambrai salient between Villers-Guislain and the Oise, south of St. Quentin. It 
was to be supported on its left by a subsidiary attack from La Fere. 

The Seventeenth Army, therefore, had to make the attack on the line Croisilles- 
Moeuvres; the Second and Eighteenth, that between Villers-Guislain and La Fere. 
In this operation the Seventeenth and Second were to take the weight off each other in 
turn and, with their inner wings, cut off the enemy holding the Cambrai salient, after- 
ward pushing through between Croisilles and Peronne. This advance was to be pro- 
tected on the south flank by the Eighteenth Army in combination with the extreme 
left wing of the Second. The strength and equipment of these armies were adapted to 
their tasks. 

For the decisive operation the Seventeenth and Second armies were to remain 
under the orders of the Army Group of Crown Prince Rupprecht. The Eighteenth 
Army joined that of the German Crown Prince. 



III. THE BATTLEFIELD 

The front on which Ludendorff elected to attack was some sixty-five 
miles in extent and lacked any such striking circumstance as the Vimy 
Ridge or the Craonne Plateau. Beginning at Fontaine-les-Croisilles, 
the British line ran east and then south, first on the slope and then across 
the crest of a bare plateau between the Scarpe and the Oise rivers, a 
central knot of hills in which rise both the Somme and the Scheldt 
rivers. In its easterly trend the British line lay along the downward 
slope of the plateau and was crossed by two little streams, the Sensee and 
the Cojeul, which descend into the Scarpe in the Douai Plain. When it 
turned southward, having circled the high ground southwest of Cambrai 
seized in the 1917 battle, the British front approached but did not quite 
touch the Somme-Scheldt Canal, connecting St. Quentin with Cambrai. 
As a consequence, both banks of the canal were in German hands and the 
canal was not an obstacle to German advance. 



4 2 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



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THE BATTLEFIELD OF PICARDY 

Right-hand broken line shows the front on which Ludendorff attacked on March 2 1st. Solid 
line shows the front of July, 1916, before the Battle of the Somme. Left-hand dotted line shows 
the front reached by Ludendorff in the Battle of Picardy. 



Circling around St. Quentin, which was less than a mile from the 
British front, the line inclined southeastward until it touched the Oise 
near Moy, and then ran behind this stream to the great bend near La 



PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 43 

Fere. There it crossed the stream and made junction with the French 
lines west of the St. Gobain Forest, which remained in German hands. 
Save for the stretch behind the Oise, the British front was without 
natural protection, and the Oise barrier was to prove fatally inconsider- 
able. In addition, the country was devoid of woodland, in striking 
contrast to the regions south of the Oise and of the Aisne, where the 
forests of Compiegne and Villers-Cotterets were formidable military 
obstacles. 

If the Germans should succeed in breaking through the defence 
system of the British between Fontaine-les-Croisilles and La Fere, there 
was no fully-organized line of artificial defences to be stormed. North of 
the Somme at Peronne, there was, too, no natural obstacle of any sort 
until the assailants had passed over all of the old battlefield of the 
Somme and arrived at the swamps into which the Ancre Brook had 
expanded after the bombardments of the 1916 campaign. As a conse- 
quence of the destructions of the Hindenburg Retreat the country was 
too destitute of all natural cover; villages, farms, even orchards, all had 
been methodically razed. 

It was true that the tiny Tortille Brook, coming due south and 
entering the Somme below Peronne, did offer a suggestion of an obstacle, 
but it was inconsiderable and played no part in the conflict. From 
Peronne southward, as far as Ham, the Somme offered a natural barrier 
stretched straight across the pathway of advance of the Eighteenth 
Army, and this obstacle was prolonged to the Oise, behind the British 
battle positions, by the Crozat Canal. Ludendorff in his plan had 
taken cognizance of this natural defence line, and had therefore directed 
his main effort north of Peronne, where, once the British battle positions 
were broken, he would have nothing to impede him until he reached 
the Ancre. 

Unfortunately for the British, however, the unusually dry winter had 
lowered the Somme, so that the stream, inconsiderable in all but flood 
seasons, constituted nothing like a serious barrier, while the complete- 
ness of the collapse of their thin line behind the Oise similarly due to 
the low water in that stream enabled the Germans to push westward 



44 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

and cross the Crozat Canal and the Somme at Ham, before the British 
could make good this line or destroy the bridges. 

Once the line of the Somme was gone, the British had no real line 
of defence based on a natural obstacle until they had reached the west 
bank of the tiny Avre, which after its juncture with its insignificant 
tributary, the Trois Doms, a mere brook flows north from Montdidier 
to the Somme, which it enters just east of Amiens. Moreover, when the 
Germans reached the east bank of the Avre they would be within three 
or four miles of the all-important Paris-Calais railway, coming up to 
Amiens from Paris, and could cut it by their artillery fire as they cut the 
Paris- Verdun railway in the offensive of 1916. Likewise they would, by 
taking them under their artillery fire, abolish all the railway lines which 
at Amiens bound the British to the French and permitted the free inter- 
change of reinforcements. 

Again; from the great bend at La Fere to the hills near Noyon the 
Oise flows from east to west, parallel to the Somme after that stream 
turns west from Peronne, and momentarily the German advance 
could be canalized between the two rivers; beyond Noyon the Oise 
turns south, away from the Somme, and the corridor thus begins to 
widen. If the Germans could take Noyon and the hills southeast, in 
which stood Lassigny hills which are vividly described in the local 
name of "Little Switzerland" they would open the Oise road to Paris 
by way of Compiegne. Even if they were temporarily checked in these 
hills they might flow westward and then southward around them, hav- 
ing taken Montdidier, and thus open both the Compiegne and the Creil 
routes to Paris, down which Sir John French had retired behind the 
Oise in the far-off Mons campaign. 

A collapse of the British defence systems, then, would clear the way 
for a German advance north of the Somme, where it makes its big bend 
at Peronne, as far west as the Ancre. South of the Somme there would 
be the Somme and Crozat Canal barriers. These passed, the Germans 
would have a clear road to the Avre; and if they reached the Avre they 
would cut the Paris-Calais railway and menace Amiens at the north and 
Paris less immediately, but not less clearly to the south. 



PICARDY- THE KAISER'S BATTLE 45 

If they were not checked on the line of the Avre, then the rupture 
between the British and French armies would be complete and perma- 
nent; the British armies would be crowded northward and in upon the 
coast the French armies flung back upon Paris. If the line of the 
Ancre collapsed, either together with that of the Avre or before it, the 
result would be the same, so far as the isolation of the two enemy 
armies was concerned, but the profit for the Germans would be greater, 
because Cough's army would be cut off from the British, thus weakening 
the chief enemy more severely. As a consequence, his area of operations 
would be more circumscribed and the Somme would offer the Germans 
a good defensive barrier against the French during the period in which 
they were driving the British into the sea. 

The mission of the British Fifth Army was to hold on until French 
reserves could arrive. If it could hold on, either at its battle system or 
at the Somme, the German gain would be unimportant; but a defence of 
ninety-six hours was essential, to enable the French to get up. If 
British resistance were broken before the French came, then the disaster 
might be without limit. As far as Gough was concerned he could rely 
only on the French for reserves. Byng, on the contrary, might look to 
Haig for support. In addition Byng had considerable reserves of his own, 
seven out of fifteen divisions in his army, but Gough had only three in 
fourteen, because the greater length of his front required more men to 
garrison. 

To understand the Battle of Picardy, the greatest single contest of 
the whole war, a simple figure may suffice. Striking at the point of 
junction between the British and French armies, the Germans rushed in 
like a flood breaking through a dike. Owing to the measurable failure 
north of the Somme the flood was promptly restricted between the 
parallel rivers, the Somme and the Oise, as far westward as Noyon and 
the Lassigny Hills, and it was in a sense canalized. But beyond the 
point where the courses of these streams diverge, and save for the in- 
significant Avre obstacle, there was nothing to prevent the flood from 
spreading to the right and to the left, to the north and to the south, and 
swirling behind both the British and French lines, thus engulfing 



46 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Amiens and the Lassigny Hills, covering the roads to Paris, and also 
extending to the sea below Abbeville. The effort to prevent the flood 
from sweeping over the Avre barrier, to block the mouth of the corridor 
between the Oise and the Somme, comprehends the whole problem of 
British and French effort between March 2ist and April 4th, and Foch's 
success in doing this was actually as great a contribution to ultimate 
victory as Joffre's manoeuvre at the Marne nearly four years earlier. 

A single other circumstance requires notice. Since the German 
occupied the centre of a great half circle, extending from Verdun to 
Ypres, he could direct his attack from the centre outward, wherever he 
chose. Not until the very last moment, when his reserves were almost 
at the battle front, would his purpose be unmistakable. Up to that hour 
his enemy could believe that he meant to strike in Champagne or in 
Picardy, in Artois or in Flanders. Moreover, by making preparations 
both before the British and the French front, he could compel each 
commander to retain his own reserves, against expected attack. 

Thus, in March, 1918, both Petain and Haig expected attack. 
Before both Ludendorff had made extensive preparations. In this 
situation Haig, who was satisfied that the blow would fall south of 
Arras, although he did not foresee its magnitude or extent, would 
naturally have declined to send reserves to Petain, even had he pos- 
sessed them. Petain, expecting a thrust on the Chemin-des-Dames 
front, where the enemy had made those preparations which enabled him 
to strike in May, disposed of his reserves to meet the blow he foresaw. 

The result was an inevitable delay in the arrival in Picardy of 
French reserves, mainly concentrated to meet an attack in Champagne, 
while the absence of a general reserve in the British army, as a con- 
sequence of the Georgian estimate of the military outlook, terribly 
complicated the situation. Haig was right and Petain wrong as to the 
point of assault, but two months later Foch was wrong and Petain right ; 
a blow did fall with deadly consequences upon the Chemin-des-Dames 
front, where Petain had expected it in March. For Ludendorff, the 
value of the initiative was vastly enhanced by having the equally great 
advantage due to his occupation of the central position. 



PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 47 

IV. THE FIRST PHASE 

On March 2ist, shortly before four o'clock in the morning, the 
German artillery opened on the whole front from Arras to La Fere. It 
was the greatest artillery overture in history to the most colossal battle 
this planet had ever known. At that hour more than three quarters of a 
million men, the best troops of the German army selected with utmost 
care, trained over many months and brought to the front by secret 
marches at night and on foot from camps fifty and even a hundred miles 
from the line lay in the shelter trenches just behind the German line, 
awaiting the moment when the artillery should switch from its prepara- 
tion to that barrage fire which was to cover their great advance. 

Thus began Michael's Day, to give it the name the Germans selected 
in expectation of victory. For many days hundreds of thousands of 
German troops had been moving toward this designated front. "All 
Germany is on the march," one German officer had exclaimed, exultantly, 
and even with a degree of awe as he saw the enormous human tide rolling 
toward the front. " The chimes of Easter will sound peace," the German 
Crown Prince had boasted, forgetting his equally confident forecast two 
years before, when the attack upon Verdun had opened. 

A month before, Ludendorff had told the Kaiser that though the 
battle would be hard the victory would be attained. Now he had 
moved his headquarters forward to Avesnes, to be nearer the scene of 
action, and the Kaiser had come in his special train and settled beside 
his great captain. Two huge armies, those of Below and Hutier, had 
taken position on either side of that of Marwitz, hitherto holding the 
sector. Sixty-four divisions were now to fall upon the twenty-nine of 
Byng and Gough, but unequally, since forty would strike the fourteen of 
the latter. And of this mighty concentration the British had no adequate 
warning. Before the battle ended, moreover, the Germans would 
employ no less than eighty-nine divisions. 

Haig expected an attack on March 2ist, he expected it astride the 
Bapaume-Cambrai road, that is on Byng's front. Both Byng and Gough 
had warned their troops, but as far as Gough was concerned, he had no 



48 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

other resource, nor is there anything to suggest that he had the smallest 
hint of the magnitude of the impending blow. Thus at the weakest 
point in the British line at the decisive hour, Ludendorff had accomp- 
lished a secret concentration of unparalleled strength. What was left 
now was the putting of everything to the touch. 

On the subject of this supreme effort to win a decision, LudendorfFs 
narrative is extremely interesting: "That the attack in the west would 
be one of the most difficult operations in history, I was perfectly sure, 
and I did not hide the fact." This is the burden of his comment. It 
was the "biggest task in history" he says at another point, and at the 
outset of the assault, his view was : "What we would achieve whether 
we should break through and start a war of movement or whether our 
effort would remain a sortie on a large scale was uncertain, like every- 
thing in war." 

The bombardment lasted five hours, and in that time more shells 
were consumed than in the whole Franco- Prussian War. The morning 
had been foggy and the smoke shells increased the density of the pall 
that hung over all the front. Toward the end of the terrible storm the 
Germans began to employ gas shells in great quantities and of various 
sorts, paralyzing the defence, forcing the artillerymen to don gas masks, 
and thus greatly reducing their effectiveness. 

At exactly 9:40 A.M. the guns switched to a rolling barrage and the 
great attack began. Beyond the narrow "No man's land" the Ger- 
mans entered the forward system of British defence. This system had 
been modelled upon the similar zone in which the Germans had received 
the British attacks in Flanders in the previous year. It was thinly 
held ; not a continuous trench line but a series of strong points furnished 
with machine guns and designed to give a cross fire, and thus stop a 
hostile rush. 

The fog and the smoke produced by the gas shells combined to 
destroy all visibility. The Germans were upon the strong points before 
the defenders were able to discover their advance. The efficacy of the 
cross fire was equally destroyed. All along the front the defensive zone 
was submerged with little or no really effective resistance and the Ger- 



PICARDY-THE KAISER'S BATTLE 49 

man masses arrived with incredible speed at the battle positions them- 
selves. 

Thereafter the rate of German progress was unequal; in the main 
greater as one looked from north to south, that is before Cough's army 
rather than Byng's ; but by the end of the day the British battle position 
had been reached everywhere on the front assailed, and in at least three 
places it had been actually penetrated. Moreover, the attack had been 
so swift that very large numbers of the forward troops had been sub- 
merged and captured or killed. Still, on the night of March 2ist the 
situation did not yet appear critical and the official statements issued by 
the British led the world to believe that the German attack had been 
decisively held. 

On the following morning, however, still aided by fog, the Germans 
began to disclose the real extent of their purpose. To the north they 
opened a breach in Cough's lines, west of St. Quentin and in the valley 
of the little Omignon Brook, which led to the Somme above Peronne. 
Thus they penetrated the third and last British position and entered 
the open country beyond. Meantime, two divisions belonging to the 
German Seventh Army had crossed the Oise neaor La Fere and swept 
through the thinly held line of posts on the west bank, had reached and 
passed the Crozat Canal, and taken Fargniers. Worst of all, Cough had 
used up all of his own reserves and French reinforcements were only 
just beginning to trickle up. Instead of holding out for ninety-six 
hours the British line, the larger part of Cough's front, had collapsed in 
less than forty-eight, while French reserves were a whole day late in 
getting off. 

By the 23rd the Germans were across the Somme at Ham, while to 
the south the Crozat Canal had been permanently lost. To the north of 
Ham they had passed the Somme at several points and the last barrier, 
natural or artificial, west of the Avre was thus abolished. Cough's army 
was beginning to dissolve. It was still maintaining some sort of cohe- 
sion to the north, astride the Somme, although a dangerous gap had 
opened between it and Byng's Third Army, but to the south there was 
only a confused mass of men, fighting in groups, in handfuls fighting 



50 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

magnificently but tossed upon the German flood like chips on an in- 
coming wave. A gap was thus opening between the British and French 
armies and the road to Paris by the Oise Valley was beginning to be in 
danger. 

The main hope of salvation to the south lay henceforth in the speed 
and strength of the French troops, which were already on their way in 
large numbers and beginning to intervene in small units. Still the gap 
continued to widen; by March 25th the Germans were back in 
Noyon and the danger of losing the Lassigny Hills, the last considerable 
barrier on the road to Paris, was acute. Only north of the Somme was 
the situation improving. There the British had been driven straight 
across the old Somme battlefield but were beginning to take root behind 
the Ancre; would, in fact, hold fast with minor fluctuations on the line 
coinciding with that front from which they had attacked on July i, 1916 
although Albert and its knot of roads would be lost presently by an 
unlucky blunder. 

South of the Somme, on the contrary, the situation was everywhere 
approaching a crisis. Ludendorff, feeling himself checked in the north 
by Byng's forces for Byng had now assumed command of all of Cough's 
troops north of the river multiplied his efforts toward Noyon, toward 
Montdidier, and last of all toward Amiens. Added to all else was the 
fact that Haig, now becoming acutely apprehensive for his own army, 
was beginning to draw his troops back in such fashion as would preclude 
all chance of closing the gap between the two armies, between the 
French and the British. Lack of unified command now threatened to 
produce the supreme disaster, which Ludendorff concedes he expected on 
this day, March 25th. 

V. FOCH IS CALLED 

In this crisis, and on the following morning, British and French 
military and civil authorities met in solemn conference in the little town 
of Doullens, north of Amiens and back of the Arras front. Haig and 
Petain were there, as were Poincare and Clemenceau. Lord Milner 
represented Lloyd George for Great Britain. At two o'clock in the 



PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 51 

afternoon, the day and hour for ever memorable, Clemenceau and 
Milner, in the name of the French and British governments and with 
the approval of Petain and Haig, signed their names to the following 
document : 

General Foch is charged by the British and French governments with coordinating 
the action of the Allied Armies on the western front. For this purpose he will come to 
an understanding with the generals-in-chief, who are requested to furnish him with all 
necessary information. 

A halting, lame, almost pitiful commission to give a general literally 
called upon to save the world at a supreme crisis and in the presence of an 
unparalleled defeat, threatening hourly to become a disaster utterly 
irrevocable. But such as it was, Foch could use it; and the way he would 
use it would in a few weeks shame the givers into the extension of power 
which was necessary, if the war were first to be saved and later won. 
Meantime, Foch undertook the task. 

And what a task it was! Between the Lassigny Hills and Bray-sur- 
Somme the flood of German divisions was ever swirling forward and ever 
increasing in volume. British divisions, already in ribbons, were tending 
away from the French, drawn by Haig's anxieties, by their own instinc- 
tive drift, toward their own armies. Above all, the German troops were 
approaching the Avre and the Trois Doms; were drawing near to 
Montdidier, which would fall the next day; were approaching the 
Paris-Calais railway, the life-line of Franco-British cooperation. They 
already seemed about to break out of the sides of the Somme-Oise 
corridor and thus to engulf Amiens and Montdidier and realize their 
terrible purpose and separate the British and French armies. 

What was Foch's first objective? Unmistakably to prevent the 
separation of the two armies, to cover Amiens and Paris at one time, by 
bridling the flood, by constructing a dike across the front of the tidal 
wave, to make good the line of the Avre. This is the first, the single, 
the all-compelling task of Foch. 

To fill the gap Foch can henceforth depend only on French troops. 
All available British reserves are required north of the Somme. It will 
require much effort to persuade Haig to permit his stricken divisions 



52 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

south of the river to hang on the necessary time, for time will still be 
required to get up the French divisions, flowing to the danger-point in a 
flood of horizon blue. Everyone must dig in, hold on, die but not yield 
an inch. Joffre's order to his troops on the eve of the First Marne is 
again the word of command. 

" Hold the enemy where he is. We can't afford to lose a single metre 
more of French soil!" This is Foch's first word to Petain. He will 
accomplish miracles, literally miracles, in hastening the reinforcements; 
but now, before they can arrive, he will demand miracles of the weary, 
defeated, stricken troops, who still fight back, after a week of this agony. 

The French historian, Louis Madelin clearest expositor of this 
crisis as of the First Marne campaign, whose facts I have frequently fol- 
lowed here records the first twenty-four hours of Foch's activities thus: 

One hour after his investiture he "runs" to Dury and sees Gough. Settles him at 
last, by putting his hands upon his shoulders, very energetically. "Make your 
Eighteenth Corps hold at all costs on its present front. Make your Nineteenth Corps 
hold at all costs on its front. Wait until you are relieved before you withdraw a 
single man or retire a single step!" 

At Dury he sees also Barthelemy, chief of staff of Fayolle, who now commands the 
two French armies, those of Humbert and of Debeney, which are struggling to fill the 
yawning gap. For him he writes a short note, its tone unmistakable: "At all hazards 
maintain the position of the British army south of the Somme, then as quickly as 
possible relieve all British troops south of the Somme!" 

Having telephoned to Debeney, he decides to joia him at Maignelay. "Hold at all 
costs, where you find yourself, preserving your junction with the British." He re- 
appears at Paris, at ten o'clock that night; writes a letter to Petain, indicating his first 
ideas; sets out for Clermont, where he sees Humbert and Fayolle. For them the same 
message, always the same message "Hold where you are. Organize solidly. De- 
mand of the troops their maximum effort. Make their commanders realize their re- 
sponsibilities." By noon the next day he is back at Dury, where it is still necessary 
to hold Gough; and from Cough's headquarters he " runs" to Byng's. 

Recall that Foch is sixty-seven ; he was seventeen on that far-off evil 
day when he first saw the German invader in Metz; that he has been in 
nearly all of the great crises of the war since the Marne; that France held 
him exhausted a whole year before this March; and the magnitude of the 
merely physical exertion can be appraised. But the moral overpasses 
the physical; his spirit is in some mysterious manner almost immediately 



PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 53 

communicated throughout the whole Allied host. In the presence of 
defeat he does not recognize that he is beaten; he will not accept this 
battle as lost; his mood is that of Napoleon at Marengo. 

Months later the victory won, the war over Foch will say to his 
friend, Andre de Maricourt: 

When, at an historic moment, a clear vision is given to a man, and when he finds 
as a consequence that this clear vision has directed operations having enormous results 
in a formidable conflict and I think that I had that clear vision at the Marne, at the 
Yser, and on March 26, 1918 I believe that it comes from a Providence in whose 
hands the man is but an instrument and the victory is directed from above by a higher, 
by a Divine Will. 

VI. THE FLOOD IS DAMMED 

March 26th is the decisive day. The course of events is oddly analo- 
gous to that at Verdun two years earlier. Then Falkenhayn attacked on 
February 2ist, and on February 26th began to feel himself checked. 
But Foch has evil days before him still. The great gap between the 
British and the French is still open; in truth, there is a series of gaps, his 
line is still "dotted" rather than solid. On this day the Germans are 
crossing the Avre and mounting the eastern slope of the narrow plateau 
between the Avre and the Paris-Calais railway. On this plateau and at 
Cantigny, American troops, the 1st Division, will a few weeks hence 
do a heroic deed far-shining and fraught with grave consequences. 

If only Gough will stick; if Haig will recall his decision to take his 
fragments north of the Somme; if Foch can hold the two corners of what 
has become the Somme salient, the Noyon and the Amiens corners, he 
will somehow contrive to stretch a dike between them. Again Luden- 
dorff feels himself checked. He has already he complains of it in his 
memoirs been compelled to change his plans once, because of the failure 
of the forces north of the Somme. Exactly two months later an un- 
expectedly complete victory will lead him to a second change of plans in 
mid-battle, this time fatal. He has turned all his attention to the 
Somme-Oise front and, despite the capture of Montdidier on March 2yth, 
he already senses the fact that the Noyon "corner", the Lassigny Hills, 
will hold. 



54 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Wherefore he turns north, storms against the line from the bend of 
the Avre to the Somme. Amiens has become his final objective the next 
day, and he attacks in tremendous force north of the Somme all the way 
to Arras and to Vimy beyond. This is the beginning of an effort to 
escape from the effects of the canalizing of his thrust between the Somme 
and the Oise. It is an effort to break down the northern "corner" of 
the new Somme salient. We shall see exactly the same manoeuvre, 
partially successful this time in the Battle of the Lys, when Messines 
and Kemmel are taken. We shall see the same effort in May, a failure 
on that occasion, when Ludendorff has broken through between Soissons 
and Rheims and endeavours to break down the Soissons "corner" of the 
new salient. 

This offensive of March 28th is a particularly costly thing for the 
Germans, repulsed both before Byng's Third Army and Home's First. 
Two days later Ludendorff makes his second great effort south of the 
Somme. He has now abandoned the Montdidier thrust. Amiens has 
become his last objective, but the thrust is parried. 

The 3 ist is Easter Sunday, whose chimes, in the forecast of the 
German Crown Prince, were to sound peace. But instead, as Madelin 
heard Fayolle promise Mangin two days earlier, the Allies sing "hallelu- 
iah" in Amiens Cathedral, although the German shells are now falling 
on that noble pile, seeking to repeat their achievement in vandalism at 
Rheims, but failing, failing utterly a thing for which the whole world 
will be grateful. 

April 4th and 5th see the last convulsions, attacks south and then 
north of the river Somme the final effort, as Haig says, to prevent the 
new Allied front from stabilizing, to avoid a return to the war of posi- 
tions, to escape a repetition of the Verdun check. But these actions, in 
which he staked so much, prove "indecisive" as Ludendorff later reports. 
He cannot break the Amiens corner, he cannot extend the dislocation of 
the British front north of the Somme. On the contrary, he suffers such 
heavy losses on the ground where the British won the Battle of Arras, 
just a year before, on Easter Monday, that he abandons all further idea 
of breaking through between the Somme and the La Bassee Canal, al- 



PICARDY- THE KAISER'S BATTLE 55 

though he will try for Amiens by Villers-Breton.neux on April 24th, 
making a brief effort at the point where Sandeman Carey performed his 
great feat. Momentarily successful thanks to tanks, here used by the 
Germans for the first time this effort will be broken by the Australians. 
The battle has become one of exhaustion and on April 5th Ludendorff 
breaks it off. 

Madelin saw Foch in the closing hours of the battle and his descrip- 
tion of the interview is striking. He writes : 

I saw General Foch at this period at Beauvais, in the hall of the Hotel de Ville, 
where he was camping rather than established. There was nothing like the stir one 
would expect to find about a chief of such importance. A handful of officers worked 
under the direction of General Weygand, the faithful chief of staff of the Grand- 
Couronne de Nancy, who had followed the great soldier everywhere, seconding him in 
an invaluable fashion, and had now hurried thither to resume his role as the good right 
arm. No apparatus; the least German colonel would have had ten times the racket. 

The General himself, I found again, just as I had always found him, in his gray-blue 
uniform, moving about on legs which are a trifle short and strongly bowed as a result of 
horseback riding, his strong head crowned with short locks and furrowed and bronzed 
by war. His glance was clear, just a trifle malicious under his wrinkled eyelids, his 
shaggy .gray moustache yellowed with tobacco and that mouth which could in so few 
minutes assume so many different exnressions of utmost vigour and of ironical good 
humour! 

His gestures are still marvellously quick, prodigiously expressive. His hand as 
usual emphasized and supplemented his words. I found him calm and just a little 
bantering, but wholly without conceit. He led me to that map on which in various 
colours the dying battle was writing itself. He explained the phases to me and then 
"There, that is over. What was the problem? To check at all costs," and he made a 
gesture with his arms which separated slowly. Instantly the "pocket" was dug before 
my eyes. "Next, to hold fast. That is now," and he plunged both arms to the 
ground with a gesture which would have stopped the universe. 

"And finally, that will be later, that!" and his arms opened again and he brought his 
fists together to smash the reckless adventurer. I have related the circumstances. 
To-day it seems as if it had been arranged then just as it was going to be one day, but on 
a day a little further off than he thought then. 

In fact, as Madelin points out, Foch was already prepared with his 
plan for an attack on the Somme side of the new salient by April 8th, 
but on the next day LudendorfFs attack in Flanders intervened. Foch 
would have to wait but this attack would come on August 8th, Ger- 
many's "black day" in LudendorfT's calendar. Still, on April 4th, 



56 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Foch could tell the Allied correspondents that the flood was "dammed"; 
and he could add, talking to General Maurice, "Ludendorff will probably 
try again, but he won't get through." That trial on April 5th was the 
last convulsion of the Battle of Picardy. 

VII. THE RESPONSIBILITY 

The Battle of Picardy was the worst British defeat in history. 
Gough, commanding the Fifth Army, was recalled. But the British 
army believed, and believes, that the responsibility was with the civilians, 
with Lloyd George. Haig showed his conviction in his subsequent 
reports. Buchan makes the same assertion, qualifying it with a con- 
cession as to Cough's failure in Flanders. Maurice, after he has left the 
army as a consequence of a dispute with Lloyd George over this question, 
writes : 

Had the Government taken in time the measures which it had been urged to take, 
the reduction of two cavalry divisions and of more than one hundred infantry battal- 
ions might have been avoided, and both Gough and Byng might have had sufficient 
men to have enabled them to hold their battle positions against all attacks, while 
Haig's reserves might have been increased by at least two divisions. 

Cough's statement is contained in the following letter written to an 
American friend in December, 1919: 

Without inflicting upon you a long description of the battle I think I am fully 
justified in claiming that the British Fifth Army saved Europe and our Cause in that 
desperate week's struggle which began at dawn on 2ist, March, 1918, and that no 
troops ever fought against such tremendous odds with more courage, skill, and te- 
nacity. 

Some few facts may tend to enlighten you on what the real work of the Fifth Army 
was, and may interest you. 

The Fifth Army knew well that the attack was coming and all were in their places 
on that fateful morning. 

The Germans threw two armies against the British Fifth Army, making a total of 
forty-eight divisions. The British Third Army, on our left, had nineteen divisions 
and was only required to hold a front of twenty-eight and one half miles, as compared 
with the forty-two and a half miles held by the Fifth Army. The Germans attacked 
the Third Army on the 2ist of March with only eighteen divisions and the Third Army 
could place on the front attacked eight and one half divisions nearly three times the 
number of men with which the Fifth Army was forced to hold similar frontage. 



PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 57 

Yet the Fifth Army lost no more in depth along its front than did the Third Army 
on the 2 ist of March. 

By the 24th, the right and centre of the Third Army was broken through by the 
German attack, though the Fifth Army line, still retiring and fighting, remained in- 
tact. This forced the Third Army to fall back behind the Ancre, a distance of six 
miles, behind the left wing of the Fifth Army. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a historian of the war of reputation and reliability, states 
that the losses of the Third Army, though not exposed to anything like the same weight 
of attack, amounted to 70,000 men, while the Fifth Army's loss only came to 50,000. 
Therefore, the greatest proportion of losses cannot be laid at the door of the Fifth 
Army. 

Knowing the facts, which have been concealed to a great extent from the knowl- 
edge of my countrymen and of our allies, I can feel a justifiable pride in the fighting and 
handling of the Fifth Army, under my command, though, for reasons which I do not 
desire to enter into, I was certainly made a scapegoat of, as Colonel Archer-Shee 
pointed out. 

Cough's claim for his army is sharply contradicted by Ludendorff, 
who held Byng solely responsible for the failure to achieve a complete 
rupture of the Allied front. The French are rather more severe in 
their criticism of Gough than are his fellow-countrymen. Yet, as in the 
case of Ian Hamilton at Gallipoli, whatever mistakes the soldier made, 
the civilian government had made the fatal blunders in advance. 

All things considered, Picardy was Lloyd George's defeat, as Gallipoli 
had been Winston Churchill's. Foch will have his own difficulties 
many months later, when he desires to make his final attack, that upon 
the Hindenburg Line, and Lloyd George holds back. Fortunately, 
Foch had the decisive aid of Pershing and the uncompromising approval 
of Haig, who had most at stake and justified his judgment by breaking 
the Hindenburg Line a few days later, aided by two of Pershing's 
divisions. 

For the rest, the controversy for controversy there is and will he- 
need not detain us here, although Cough's fate is reminiscent of that of 
a British admiral in a far-off century, who was hanged to "encourage the 
others," as the French said. 

VIII. THE RESULT 

It remains to appraise the value of the German offensive of the 
Kaiser's Battle, as the Germans had proudly named it in advance. The 



58 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

battlefield success had been prodigious. There had been a break through 
on a front of nearly thirty miles; the extreme penetration had been 
more than sixty miles. One British army had been in part routed, and 
in the main destroyed. It would never again appear as an army and its 
commander was recalled in something approximating disgrace. The 
loss of ground had been unequalled in the history of the war of positions 
on the western front. In ten days all the territory gained by the British 
and French in six months of battle at the Somme in 1916 and, as a 
consequence, of the Hindenburg Retreat in 1917 had been abandoned. 

The Germans were back at Noyon. Clemenceau's critics could now 
taunt him with precisely the fact with which he had taunted his predeces- 
sors from August, 1914, to March, 1917. They were westward of their 
old Somme line. They were within range of Amiens, and their guns 
commanded the Paris-Calais railway, which was thus closed to traffic. 
They gravely hindered, if they did not actually prohibit, the use of all 
the railway lines centring about Amiens and serving the Allied army. 
They had captured an enormous number of cannon, vast depots of 
material, hospitals, railway rolling-stock a booty hitherto unsurpassed 
on the western front in the whole war. 

Of prisoners Ludendorff counted 90,000. In captured and missing, 
the British alone had lost more than 75,000, including 2,392 officers 
and 72,968 men. Their killed for March exceeded 20,000, their 
wounded were in excess of 84,000. The ten days of battle from March 
2 ist to 3 ist had cost them in killed and wounded approximately as much 
as the American operations from September i2th to November nth, 
that is, in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne operations, would cost 
Pershing's army. Killed, wounded, and captured or missing, the 
British loss for March amounted to 175,000 officers and men, a number 
as large as Bazaine had surrendered at Metz, and equal to the combined 
strength of the armies of Meade and Lee at Gettysburg. Counting the 
loss of the French, Ludendorff's first blow had thus cost the Allies a 
quarter of a million of men. It had crippled their communications and, 
by lengthening the battle line, had increased the difficulties of the Allies 
since they possessed inferior numbers. It had further made a deep 



PICARDY-THE KAISER'S BATTLE 59 

draft upon French reserves rushed up to save the British army and to 
restore the connection between the two armies. 

By contrast, Ludendorff, despite very heavy losses, had realized none 
of his larger purposes. He had not crushed the British by a single blow. 
He had not separated them from the French. In his own memoirs he 
confesses that the hope of March 24th and 25th had not been realized, 
and concedes that at the close of the gigantic operation the future was 
obscure and the tactical and strategic outlook unpromising. 

What was the cause of the German failure ? For failure it was, in the 
larger sense. It seems to be discoverable in the fact that German 
strength was worn out before decisive results could be obtained. The 
great German mass arrived at the Avre, as on the battlefield of the 
First Marne, exhausted. It had outrun its artillery and used up its 
provisions; victorious, it was incapable of exploiting the success, of 
realizing the fruits of its labours. Once more, as at the Marne, German 
High Command had calculated the mechanical elements of the problem 
accurately, but had neglected the human factor completely. 

Despite the enormous expansion of the front ruptured; despite an 
immediate progress seven times as great as at Verdun, the actual 
circumstances had been the same: the armies of Humbert and Debeney 
commanded by Fayolle, like Petain's immortal army at Verdun, had 
arrived in time to restore "a delicate situation" and the previous dead- 
lock again prevailed. It reappeared so completely that Ludendorff 
broke off the engagement rather than run the risk of further repe- 
tition of the Verdun experience. 

In point of fact, the Allies had lived through the worst crisis of the 
whole war; their danger would never again be as great although it might 
seem even more acute in succeeding weeks. 

On the human side, the great conflict presents a picture of heroism 
and of devotion beyond the power of the historian to describe. If the 
cohesion of the British Fifth Army was largely destroyed in the first 
days, the isolated groups which survived fought to the end with courage 
and devotion unequalled. Day after day, unrested and unfed, the 
British fragments stolidly, doggedly fought on. Through the long moon- 



60 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

light nights, so favourable to the foe who had timed his attack to gain 
advantage of a full moon, these beaten men dragged themselves to 
new positions and at daybreak resumed the conflict. 

Nor was the French contribution less splendid. Fayolle, Humbert, 
Debeney these are names famous for ever in French history. The 
first French troops to arrive flung themselves into the furnace without 
artillery support; made of themselves willing sacrifices in the hope, not 
entirely vain, of gaining a few hours for the reserves which were coming 
up behind, and seeking to take root before the German masses arrived. 

In the end victor and vanquished alike were exhausted. German 
divisions advanced, British troops retreated with dragging footsteps 
fell asleep by the roads in the midst of the battle. Not even the retreat 
from Mons brought to British soldiers exhaustion like that of the first 
week of the March offensive. 

Memorable, too, amidst the crowd of unforgettable incidents is the 
exploit of Sandeman Carey, in command of a force of fortune gathered 
from all ranks and conditions, like that forlorn hope of cooks and 
hostlers assembled by Sir John French at the crisis of the First Battle of 
Ypres, and including a detachment of the Sixth Engineers, U. S. A., 
Companies B., D., and Headquarters, which renders heroic service and 
wins deserved praise from Haig. With this "scratch" force Carey 
barred the road to German advance; not only held the gate, but, by 
a despairing counter-attack, actually threw the enemy back. Haig will 
have special and generous words of praise for these engineers later. 
Equally daring and devoted was the service of British and French avi- 
ators who, from the air, checked German divisions, paralyzed German 
transport, and thus gained time. 

In this battle fell Lieutenant Colonel Raynal C. Boiling, the first 
American officer of rank to give his life in the war. Surprised while 
reconnoitring the German advance, he was killed, pistol in hand, 
defending himself to the last. In the circumstances of his death there was 
a reminiscence of the equally untimely fate of Colonel Ellsworth in the 
first days of the Civil War. In both cases a brilliant officer marked for 
greater services was cut down before his real work had more than begun. 



PICARDY-THE KAISER'S BATTLE 61 

IX. THE MORAL EFFECT 

The military consequences of the Battle of Picardy were disap- 
pointing to Ludendorff . He had experienced precisely the same discom- 
fiture that Falkenhayn had endured before Verdun. After ten days he 
had arrived at the position of his predecessor when Douaumont had 
fallen but French reserves had arrived. And, with Falkenhayn's 
experience in mind, he had escaped another Verdun siege by breaking 
off the battle. But if the military effect was relatively inconsiderable, it 
was far otherwise with the moral, and by one of the strange coinci- 
dences of war, the publics of both victor and vanquished nations were 
at least equally shaken by the results of the contest. 

For the British the greatest disaster in their military history came 
as a shock unforeseen and incomprehensible. The nation believed in 
the "standing luck of the British army." In centuries of fighting 
history, no considerable British army had known anything approximat- 
ing the reverse which had befallen Cough's army. The nation had 
believed that, once it was able to organize its man-power, equip the 
masses called suddenly from the factories to the battlefield, its armies 
would equal, surpass, the German. 

Army and nation had felt a sense of actual superiority at the close of 
the Somme, and even the failures and losses of the Passchendaele contest 
had not shaken the faith or the confidence of the civil population. 
From the public the fact was long hidden that the defeat was due 
primarily to the civil government, not the military command that 
Lloyd George, by refusing the replacements and reinforcements needed 
by Haig and compelling an extension of the line, had prepared the way 
for Ludendorff. Thus defeat on such a huge scale was totally incon- 
ceivable, and inexplicable. 

As the news of the onrush of the German flood reached Britain, the 
wave of depression was immense, the disillusionment was complete. 
The British public for the first time began clearly to appreciate the fact 
that the war might be utterly lost: indeed, in the last days of March 
defeat seemed imminent, and the impression strengthened when the 



62 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

disaster in Picardy was followed by the defeat in Flanders, and Haig 
himself was driven to the public declaration that his men were fighting 
" with their backs to the wall." At no time in British history not in the 
days of Napoleon, of Louis XIV, of Philip of Spain had the peril to 
England seemed so great. 

In France there was hardly less stupefaction. Suddenly, down all the 
roads leading to Paris from Soissons and Amiens there began to run those 
tragic columns of refugees, almost forgotten since the evil days at the 
outset of the war. Literally by thousands, with practically nothing 
left of their household goods, these refugees flocked southward, while the 
German flood swept over that devastated area ravaged by the Hinden- 
burg Retreat in which the returned natives had begun a work of restora- 
tion then passed the limits of this region, leaped the old Somme 
front, and broke out in fertile lands hitherto unravaged. 

For Paris the enormous despair was increased by a new German 
menace. With the opening of the offensive Paris itself was bombarded 
by the notorious "Grosse Bertha' 1 a great gun mounted upon a hill at 
Crepy-en-Laonnois, more than seventy-five miles from Paris and on the 
road between Laon and La Fere. At first the idea that it was shell fire 
from a fixed battery within German lines seemed unbelievable. The 
Parisians looked to the air, and then suspected some concealed gun 
within French lines. 

But the German guns there were several presently were soon dis- 
covered and the arrival of their shells became immediately a detail in 
Parisian life. On Good Friday a shell falling on the roof of St. Gervais 
killed many women and children gathered in the church. But despite 
the long continuance of the bombardment and the multiplication of air 
raids, far more fatal to life and property than the "Grosse Bertha/' the 
aggregate damage was inconsiderable. Even on the moral side the 
effect was below German hopes. Neither the morale of France nor 
that of Paris was broken. 

Depressed the French people were. There was no mistaking the 
bitterness with which they saw Amiens subjected to the bombardments 
which had already destroyed Soissons, Arras, and Rheims, while they 



PICARDY THE KAISER'S BATTLE 63 

traced on the map new portions of French soil occupied by the barbarian 
or ravaged by new battles. But the spirit of Clemenceau prevailed and 
Ludendorff was forced later to confess, with unmistakable surprise, that 
the first battle of the new campaign, so far from breaking the Allied will 
to fight, stiffened it. 

Even in the United States the news of the disaster produced a 
profound impression. On the first Sunday when the German onrush 
was at its height daily newspapers published hourly editions in many 
towns and every possible source of news was eagerly besieged. In a 
sense the war became real as it had never been real before. Moreover, 
there was an instant recognition throughout the nation that the British 
defeat and the French losses in restoring the front entailed real American 
sacrifices. The nation read of Pershing's dramatic gesture, in offering 
all he had to Foch without condition, made at the crisis of the battle, 
with ungrudging approval. And it now began to perceive that its role 
in the struggle was destined to be active beyond all earlier expectations. 

As for the Germans, the first news, the reports of the opening suc- 
cesses, excited unlimited enthusiasm. It was again as it had been in the 
first days of the war, in the initial week of Verdun. But when the lines 
began to settle down again; when the map showed nothing but a huge 
pocket driven between Amiens and the Oise; when Easter did not bring 
peace, but exactly the same check which had in the end extinguished 
hope at the Marne and at Verdun, German morale began to decline. 

Nor were the later successes in Flanders and on the Chemin des 
Dames sufficient to revive the drooping spirits. The German army 
knew at once of the failure in Picardy and of the enormous cost in men. 
The German soldier had nerved himself for one supreme effort which 
should bring peace. He had set out for victory as he had taken the 
road for Paris and then for Calais in 1914. He had arrived after prodig- 
ious efforts only at new trench lines. He was checked, and he recognized 
the check. 

In the Battle of Picardy, the German soldiers did all that was 
humanly conceivable, more perhaps. We shall perceive, and Ludendorff 
has testified, that in each succeeding battle his troops fought less well, 



64 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

even in victory, until with the change of the tide there began to appear 
fatal failures of German soldiers to perform what was expected of them. 
And of all this decline the cause may be found in the Battle of Picardy. 
The German soldier knew that there he had given his best, done his ut- 
most ; that he had been tested to the limit and had failed to bring off the 
promised victory. Tactically a victory, strategically a check, Picardy, 
the Kaiser's Battle, was thus on the moral side almost a disaster for the 
victor, while for the vanquished it proved the defeat which was to make 
ultimate victory possible. 



THE FIGHTING JUST BEFORE THE 
AMERICANS GOT DOWN TO BUSINESS 




TO THE RESCUE 



Underwood if Underwood 



A French infantry regiment pushing forward to the assistance of the hard-pressed British during the German 

offensive in March, 1918 




FRENCH MACHINE GUNNERS IN ACTION 
Pouring a deadly fire into the Germans 



Underwood IS Underwood 




i. THE ROADS OF FRANCE 
Motor transport carrying troops to the front 



By C. R. W. Ntvinson 




THE MARK OF THE GERMAN "420" 



Underwood and Underwood 



This picture shows a shell hole made by a shot from a German 420 gun. An automobile diving into it 
accidentally does not quite fill it. Imagine what happened when a shell from this same gun dropped into a 
Church full of worshippers 




2. THE ROADS OF FRANCE 
At the railhead. Artillery being brought up 



By C. R. W. Nevinson 




THE RESULT OF A DIRECT HIT 
All that was left of a motor truck after a shell struck it 



British Official 




3. THE ROADS OF FRANCE 



By C. R. W. 



Infantry men marching through a ruined village on the way to the front line trenches. A bit of camouflage 

showing in the centre of the picture 




AT WORK ON THE TRENCHES 
The picture shows clearly the rugged nature of the Italian country. 



British Official 




4 THE ROADS OF FRANCE 
Through No Man's Land. Abandoned barbed wire in the foreground 



By C. R. W. Nninson 




AN ARTILLERY OBSERVATION POST 



British Official 



On the British front. The effectiveness of the shooting could be observed from a post like this and telephoned back to 

the guns 




Underwood if Underwood 



PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE WAR ZONE 
This is a French photographic section at work. The dark room is sandhagged for protection 




AN ANZAC RESTING UNDER DIFFICULTIES 
Amid the debris of war and the mud of Flanders a soldier rested when he could 



British Official 




WHAT THE GERMANS LEFT BEHIND THEM 
A glimpse of the principal street in Combles, in the Somme area, after the Germans had been driven out 




FRIENDSHIP ON THE BATTLEFIELD 

A French poilu bringing a wounded British Tommy to shelter and safety at the risk of his own life 



CHAPTER THREE 

FLANDERS THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 

I 

FROM PICARDY TO FLANDERS 

On the morrow of the Battle of Picardy, the strategical situation of 
the Germans was unsatisfactory to Ludendorff. He felt the vulnerabil- 
ity of the great pocket or salient which his troops had created between 
the Somme and the Oise. He recognized instinctively that Foch 
tvould endeavour at once to reduce this salient by an attack on 
the side, by exactly the manoeuvre which, on August 8th, he did 
employ with complete success. And we know now what Luden- 
dorff suspected, that as early as .April 8th Foch was contemplating 
such a strike. 

To preclude such a thrust Ludendorff must retain the initiative; he 
must compel Foch to continue to concentrate his attention on meeting, 
not making thrusts. He could not pursue his operations in Picardy, 
for his armies in their new positions lacked communications. They had 
advanced over the regions devastated by his own orders in 1917, and 
railways and roads were lacking. It would be weeks before he could 
bring up guns and munitions necessary to prepare a new attack. His 
experience of April 4-5 had demonstrated this truth : For the present 
Foch had the advantage of undestroyed communications behind his 
front, and the advantage was decisive. 

Ludendorff had then to attack elsewhere, and for this eventuality 
he had prepared, having selected the front from La Bassee to Ypres as 
the field for a subsidiary effort if the Picardy venture did not realize his 
hopes. In the very last stages of that battle he had attempted to pre- 
pare for the new Flanders operation by assaults on the Artois front, 
from the Somme to the Souchez, but the troops of Byng and Home on 

Vimy and the Loos Plateau above Lens had administered an instant and 

81 



82 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

bloody check upon his Seventeenth and Sixth armies, and south of La 
Bassee nothing more could be hoped for. 

In shifting his attack from south to north Ludendorff still preserved 
his main strategic purpose, the destruction of the British military force. 
He had already disposed of the British Fifth Army; he had weakened 
both the Third and the First, although unequally, since Home's troops 
had only been slightly engaged while Byng's had undergone a terrific 
test. Actually all of the British reserves had been drawn into the fight 
and, in addition, a very considerable strain had been placed upon Petain's 
reserves. 

An attack in Flanders would be certain to put a new and almost in- 
tolerable burden upon the weary British. The command of the Paris- 
Calais railway would forbid the quick arrival of French reinforcements, 
if, indeed, Petain would consent to spare any more of his scanty reserves 
for British purposes; and before French reserves could intervene, a heavy 
defeat might be inflicted upon the British. Ludendorff, too, was think- 
ing of the moral as well as the military element; he was attacking the 
nerves of the British civilians as well as of the soldiers. Would there 
not be protest in Britain at the enormous expansion of British losses, 
while the French sacrifice was, by contrast, slight ? Finally, the trans- 
fer of French divisions to Flanders would, at the very least, open the way 
for a successful blow at the French front a little later. 

Calais and Boulogne were shining objectives, but it is essential to 
recognize that it was the British army which was the main objective, 
just as Joffre's army had been the single objective of the German High 
Command in the Marne time. Ludendorff had now assailed the centre 
and right of the British; his next attack would be upon the left flank. 
It might not result in decisive victory, but it would complete the task of 
trying out the whole British army. It would still further exhaust French 
reserves and it would prevent Foch from seizing the initiative by any 
blow at the Somme salient, delivered before the German front had be- 
come fortified, furnished with communications, " frozen." 

Despite the check at the Avre, LudendorrT still had time. The 
appeal for American divisions had only just gone forth. He had still 



FLANDERS-THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 83 




LUDENDORFF'S Two THRUSTS 

The black wedges reaching Abbeville and St. Omer indicate the German objectives in the 
Battles of Picardy and the Lys. The two white lines mark the front on which the two offen- 
sives Were checked. 



84 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

numbers and time. Heavy as his losses had been, he had inflicted 
heavier, while his wounded would return and the Allied loss in prisoners 
was a permanent loss. His vast captures in material, in artillery, and 
supplies were a further advantage, although guns, supplies, and material 
were beginning to flow across the Channel in unprecedented quantities 
and at an incredible pace. The Battle of Picardy had ended on April 
5th. Ludendorff would begin in Flanders on April 9th, his own birthday 
and the anniversary of the British offensive at Arras in 1917. Pershing 
would celebrate his birthday at St. Mihiel in a similar fashion a few 
months later. 

II. THE NEW BATTLEFIELD 

With unerring insight Ludendorff had again selected the vulnerable 
spot in his enemy's armour, vulnerable alike because of the character of 
the country and the quality of the troops actually holding the line at 
this point. From Arras all the way to the La Bassee Canal, east of 
Bethune, the British line ran along high ground, the profit of several 
victories. Vimy Ridge had been captured in the Battle of Arras and 
retained in the recent fighting. North of Vimy the Loos Plateau had 
been mainly taken in 1915, although Hill 70, overlooking Lens, had only 
fallen to the Canadians in 1917. This much of the British front had al- 
ready demonstrated that it was impregnable to direct attack. 

But north of the La Bassee Canal, beginning where Smith-Dorrien 
had fought in October, 1914, was a country in which the natural ob- 
stacles were less considerable and the high ground mainly in German 
hands. In this region was Neuve-Chapelle, where Sir John French had 
made his first offensive in 1915, striving to take the Aubers Ridge. His 
failure had left the Germans on this high ground overlooking the British 
in the flats, which were intersected by various small streams and canals 
and by the Lawe and Lys rivers. These waterways were normally ob- 
stacles of some importance, but the dry weather, which had reduced the 
Oise and the Somme, had also abolished the customary Flanders mud. 

Finally this sector was held by Portuguese troops, commanded by 
Portuguese officers. The material was good, but the leading notoriously 



FLANDERS THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 85 

bad, and the men had been kept in the line far too long, as a consequence 
of the strain upon British reserves to the south in Picardy. Ludendorff 
reports that he was worried lest the Portuguese should be relieved 
before he could attack and the relief was actually in process when 
his blow fell. The presence of a foreign contingent in the British 
army naturally constituted a further element of weakness, and this 
weakness was accentuated by the fact that the troops on either side 
were newly come from the furnace in Picardy, and having suffered cruel 
losses there now needed rest and reinforcement. 

Above Armentieres, that is in the region of Ypres, the British front 
was mainly on high ground, from "Plug Street" to "Whitesheet" 
Ridge, including the ground taken by Plumer in his great thrust of June, 
1917, and thence by Passchendaele to the Belgian front at the Yser. 

North of Armentieres and south of La Bassee the British line thus 
rested upon admirable natural obstacles, but in the centre it was weak 
and weakly held. There Ludendorff would attack, and successful 
penetration of this weak spot led whither? To Hazebrouck, im- 
mediately; and Hazebrouck was the railroad centre of the north as vital as 
Amiens in the south. An advance of twenty-five miles half the advance 
at the Somme would reach Hazebrouck, compel the Allied retirement 
out of the Ypres salient and the retreat of the Belgians from the Yser 
they had held so long. A gain as great as that in Picardy would take 
Ludendorff to the edge of Calais, to the Channel. Dunkirk would fall, 
Calais cease to be available as a British base, and Boulogne would be in 
danger. British communications with England would thus be fatally 
compromised; what was sought in 1914 might be achieved in 1918. 

The real key to the whole situation was the chain of "Mountains" 
extending from west to east, from Cassel to Kemmel, north of Haze- 
brouck and Armentieres. Mont des Cats, chief summit of the central 
group, was just under 600 feet high, but they all rose from the Flanders 
Plain, looked northward over the flat ground in which Ypres was situ- 
ated, surveying the roads to Calais through Poperinghe, by which the 
Germans had endeavoured to reach Calais in 1914. Southward they 
overlooked the gap between their lower slopes and the high ground 



86 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

beyond the La Bassee Canal, the gap between Armentieres and Bethune, 
through which passed the canal, the Paris-Lille railway, coming east 
from Hazebrouck, where it sends off a spur which fed the Ypres salient. 
In this gap, covering Hazebrouck, was the Forest of Nieppe, thick and 
marshy woodland, the real barrier to Hazebrouck if the British lines on 
the Lawe and Lys should be broken. 

Before the Germans could reach Hazebrouck they must either take 
the high ground north or south of the plain, back of Bethune, or back of 
Armentieres. But if they could get Kemmel to the north and push on 
along the "Mountains" toward Cassel, the British and Belgian lines to 
the north would collapse. The mere fall of Kemmel would make the 
situation in Ypres precarious, if they could get Cassel they would 
dominate the whole plain of Flanders. They would arrive at the 
Channel and their Berthas could bombard Dover, sweep the Strait, open 
a new submarine base ten times as dangerous as Zeebrugge. Their 
shells might even, in no distant time, fall in London itself. 

Nevertheless, the Flanders stroke was a diversion, a subsidiary inci- 
dent in the general attack upon the British, and it began in a far more 
modest fashion. In the first hours the attack was on a front of not more 
than ten miles, as contrasted with sixty in Picardy, and the number of 
divisions employed was equally restricted. The extent of front assailed 
and the number of divisions used both expanded after the first day. 
Thus Ludendorff used only 9 divisions on the first day, and up to the 
1 2th the number had increased to only 16; by April i6th the number had 
risen to 21, and by April 29th, the date of the general attack which 
marked the last spasm of the struggle, he had used 44 divisions, of 
which 35 were fresh and 9 had already been employed at the Somme. 

The units used, moreover, were not comparable with Hutier's 
"storm troops," although there were good divisions in the two armies. 
Ludendorff in his memoirs concedes the inferiority of training of the 
troops; complains bitterly of the manner in which the soldiers aban- 
doned the battle to hunt food, and comments on the failure of the 
officers to preserve discipline a new circumstance, henceforth to be 
familiar. This decline in the quality of the troops, traceable in a degree 



FLANDERS-THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 87 

to the German method of skimming the cream for the storm divisions, 
thus lowering the value of the balance, will have grave consequences 
when the cream has been consumed. But thus early the first evidences 
appear. This will explain the disastrous collapse in front of the British 
Fourth Army on August 8th; it will explain the rapid decline in army 
morale, after each major effort, before July i8th. Still, on April gth 
the German divisions engaged were fresh, while the British were ex- 
hausted and the Portuguese inferior. Therefore the German advantage 
was considerable. 

As it began, the Battle of the Lys involved only the left flank of 
Home's British First Army; as it developed it reached and passed the 
front of the whole of Plumer's Second Army and finally assailed the front 
of the Belgian army, between the Yser and the Sea. On the German 
side the Sixth Army, Quast's, was first engaged; later Arnim's Fourth 
Army, which had fought the British all through the Flanders struggle 
of 1917 and at the Somme in 1916. Bernhardi, famous for his " World 
Power or Downfall," forecast in his book: "Germany and the Next War," 
commanded a division in Arnim's army, but achieved no great thing. 

III. THE BATTLE 

On the morning of April 9th all the circumstances of March 2ist are 
reproduced on a smaller scale. The Portuguese troops are overwhelmed 
by the preparatory bombardment, and their resistance collapses almost 
in an instant, although isolated groups still fight gallantly. A fog, 
intensified by smoke shells, once more gives the Germans an additional 
advantage. Before the day is over the Germans have crossed the 
Lawe, have passed the Lys at two points near Estaires, have thus begun 
to drive a wedge into the British front between Bethune and Armentieres 
and toward Hazebrouck. 

The only encouraging circumstance is the resistance along the La 
Bassee Canal, at the southern edge of the front now attacked. And 
this Givenchy "corner" will presently have an importance almost equal 
to that of the Soissons "corner" in the Chemin des Dames operation. 
Had it given way, the Germans would have swept in behind the British. 



88 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

centre on the high ground from Loos to Arras; there would have been a 
dislocation of this front, which would have prepared the way for new 
German operations to the south in the Somme salient. But the Giv- 
enchy corner holds and will hold. 

By the next day the German pace has increased and there is an ex- 
tension northward of the front assailed. The battle crosses the Belgian 
frontier and approaches Messines and "Whitesheet" ridges. Mean- 
time, by the close of the same day, the Germans are approaching the 
Forest of Nieppe, sole barrier to Hazebrouck and its vital railways. By 
this time Haig has renounced his share in Foch's proposed offensive east 
of Amiens and is calling for French reinforcements. 

On the same day Haig issues his appeal to his soldiers, an appeal as 
memorable as that of Joffre on the eve of the First Marne and productive 
of equally splendid results. Haig said: 

There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be 
held to the last man. There must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall, and 
believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end. 

The menace of 1914 again seemed to threaten; Britain and France, 
London and Paris alike felt the solemnity of the words. 

By April I3th the Germans had made much greater progress. Ar- 
mentieres had fallen on April loth. The Germans had reached the 
edge of the Forest of Nieppe by the 1 1 th. Bethune was close to the front, 
in extreme danger, and rapidly being reduced to ashes. The precious 
Bruay mines, all that remained to France of her northern coalfields, 
were under fire and forcibly closed. The Givenchy corner still held, 
but not so the Messines anchorage. By this time Messines and 
Wytschaete had both gone and the Germans were approaching Kemmel 
from the east and south and were far west of it. The next day Bailleul 
fell and the Germans were at the foot of the Mont des Cats. Kemmel 
was thus in danger and the position at Ypres already far more critical 
than in the evil days of 1914. 

On April i6th, too, began the evacuation of the Passchendaele 
height, taken after so much effort and sacrifice only six months before. 
The lines were now drawn back upon Ypres itself, and, just as the 




Underwood 15 Underwood 

MARSHAL FOCH AND GENERAL WEYGAND 

They are in front of the gigantic statue of Germania, in the Niederwald, keeping her Watch on the Rhine. 
"How did I win the war? " Foch will say chaffingly to Andre de Maricourt many months later. By smoking my 
pipe. That is to say, by not getting excited, by reducing everything to simple terms, by avoiding usele 
tions, and keeping all my strength for the job." 



FLANDERS THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 91 

conquests of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 had been lost in the 
Picardy struggle of March, the acquisitions of the Battle of Flanders in 
1917 were surrendered in the first days of the Flanders struggle. Thus 
the rewards of two years of sustained and terrible effort had been wiped 
out in less than a month. 

And a new crisis was now at hand, had actually arrived by April I4th, 
when Foch's scanty powers were expanded and he became General-in- 
Chief of the Allied armies. Almost immediately he was faced by an 
insistent proposal made by Haig and backed by Milner. From them 
came what amounted to an ultimatum. Foch must agree to recognize 
the Flanders operation as the major battle of the Allies and divert 
thither a constant stream of French reserves; or agree to a British retire- 
ment, which would amount to the surrender of Ypres, the line of the 
Yser, the whole region north of St. Omer. 

Here, again, is the old difference of opinion, which we saw at the 
crisis of the Battle of Picardy. Haig sees the immediate crisis develop- 
ing on his front. Petain perceives the eventual danger on his front in 
the south. As for Foch, his first hope is for a stroke of his own at 
the Somme, which shall abolish the dangers on both fronts. This 
become impossible, he must strike a balance between the views of 
Petain and those of Haig. Americans may recall a similar crisis in the 
Civil War, when Early approached Washington, in 1864, and the 
capital clamoured to Grant for divisions then in Grant's hands south of 
Petersburg. Like Foch, Grant appreciated the fact that Early's thrust 
was a diversion, intended to lead him to weaken his Army of the Potomac 
and lessen the pressure on Richmond, and like Foch he acted with extreme 
deliberation, cut the thing so fine that Early arrived before Washington 
as the first divisions from the Army of the Potomac marched through the 
city streets. 

Once more the enormous value of unified command is demonstrated. 
Without it Haig might have retired, Petain refused the necessary rein- 
forcements! As it is, Foch strikes a just balance between the two 
policies. He will send more reserves north than Petain wishes, far 
fewer than Haig asks. He perceives that Ludendorff is seeking .jto 



92 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

exhaust French reserves, just as he is striving to smash British military 
strength. And he must surrender his own cherished hope of a counter- 
stroke. De Mitry is sent north with the first French reinforcements; 
more are concentrated, ready if necessary, but only if necessary. Still 
Petain will be disturbed; and later, on May 6th, will formally warn Foch 
that the limit of French contribution in the north has been reached. 
But by this time the Battle of the Lys will have terminated. 

Meantime, as early as April i6th, the Battle of the Lys begins to die 
out. French troops have entered the line; the Belgians have extended 
their front and thereafter handsomely repulsed a German attack "made 
too late" Ludendorff will comment, afterward. On April 25th the 
Germans do get Kemmel. The French troops cannot hold it because the 
position has been compromised before they take it over. Kemmel and 
6,000 French prisoners are the last considerable captures of the Germans, 
although on April 29th they make a general attack, like that of 
April 4th-5th in Picardy, which is repulsed with exactly the same terrible 
carnage. Thus the northern corner of the salient holds; the Germans 
cannot advance in the centre, while the Allies from the Givenchy 
corner and from Mont des Cats become the northern corner 
command their rear and communications. Therefore the battle 
descends with minor convulsions to a calm. The last German ad- 
venture "Nach Calais" has come to an end. Flanders will be quiet 
henceforth until Plumer and King Albert take the offensive and break 
out of the Ypres salient on the road to Ghent and Bruges, on the road to 
Lille and Mons. 

"How did I win the war?" Foch will say chaffingly to Andre de 
Maricourt, many months later. " By smoking my pipe. That is to say, 
by not getting excited, by reducing everything to simple terms, by 
avoiding useless emotions, and keeping all my strength for the job." 
The proof of this is revealed, so far as the Flanders phase is concerned, 
in the testimony of General Maurice, who saw him on April i6th, when 
the issue of the Battle of the Lys seemed "still doubtful." To Maurice 
Foch said: "The Battle of Flanders is practically over, Haig will not 
need any more help from me." 



FLANDERS THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 93 

"Not even the loss of Kemmel, a few days later, ruffled him/' Mau- 
rice adds, and " Foch was right." Foch deliberately left it to the Brit- 
ish to bear the greater part of the burden, because he recognized that too 
great diversion of French reserves to the north would merely open the 
way for Ludendorff elsewhere. 

Haig's appeal to his soldiers created a profound sensation in Lon- 
don, there was anxiety and even criticism at the apparent slowness of 
French reinforcements to arrive, but they did arrive in time. The Ger- 
man was checked, and Foch repeated on the same battlefield his very 
great achievement of October and November, 1914, which constituted 
the winning of the Battle of the Yser. 

IV. THE END OF THE FIRST PHASE 

April 29th is the last day of the Battle of the Lys; it is also the date 
which marks the close of the first phase of LudendorfFs campaign. In 
these forty days, beginning on March 2ist, Ludendorff delivered two 
blows, but in his own mind they constituted a single operation, designed 
to break the British will for war. Viewed comparatively, if the Battle 
of Picardy resembled the breaking of a dike, the Battle of the Lys was 
little more than the opening of a leak and the subsequent effect of 
erosion. There was no considerable rupture of the lines in Flanders, 
nothing to recall the Picardy experience. The Givenchy corner had 
held from the outset, and except for Kemmel, the northern corner of 
the "Mountains" had been maintained. The Germans had done no 
more than excavate a shallow salient, and if from Kemmel they domi- 
nated the Ypres salient, they were themselves equally harassed between 
Scherpenberg and Bethune. 

Measured by British casualties, LudendorfFs achievement was more 
impressive. In March the British losses killed, wounded, captured, 
and missing had amounted to approximately 175,000 of all ranks. In 
April, 659 officers and 18,088 men were killed; 4,615 officers and 87,637 
men were wounded; 1,285 officers and 58,018 men were reported missing 
or captured. The killed for two months, all but a small fraction in the 
forty days of battle, totalled 39,000; the wounded, 176,000; the captured 



94 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

and missing, 135,000. The total loss of all ranks for the period was just 
under 350,000; and almost half the dead and missing or captured 
represented a total loss. The French loss can hardly have fallen below 
150,000 including a considerable number of prisoners. All told, the 
Allied loss for the first two months of the campaign of 1918 certainly 
amounted to 500,000 and the cost of forty days in 1918 was as high for 
the British alone as the whole Verdun campaign for the French, from 
February to December, 1916. 

Maurice asserts that in forty days Ludendorff used 141 divisions 
against the British and the French, and of these 109 German divisions 
fought 58 British, and he asserts that the British losses were greater than 
those in the whole of the Ypres campaign of 1917, in which the British 
took 24,000 prisoners and only 64 guns, whereas they lost 70,000 pris- 
oners and upward of 1,000 guns in March and April, 1918. 

Ludendorff 's estimate of results in this period is also enlightening, he 
says: 

We had achieved great successes that we must not allow later events make us 
forget. We had defeated the British army. Only a few British divisions were 
intact. Of the 59 divisions [he counts one more than the British, themselves] 53 had 
been engaged, 35 of them several times. The French had been obliged to engage 
nearly half of their divisions. The enemy had lost large quantities of stores. 

On May ist, an official German statement claimed the capture of 
127,000 prisoners and 1,600 guns in their western offensive. Haig, in 
his official report, supplies further figures and an appraisal of the 
achievement of his own men. In this report, writing of "the task of the 
British armies," he says: 

It has been seen tnat in the Somme battle, by the end of March, in addition to 
some ten German divisions engaged against the French, a total of 73 German divisions 
were engaged and fought to a standstill by 42 British infantry divisions and three 
cavalry divisions. In order to complete the comparison between the forces engaged, 
and to enable the nature of the task accomplished by our troops to be realized, it will 
be of value to give similar figures for the Battle of the Lys. 

In the Lys battle prior to April 3Oth the enemy engaged against the British forces 
a total of 42 divisions, of which 33 were fresh and 9 had fought previously at the 
Somme. Against these 42 divisions, 25 British divisions were employed, of which 
8 were fresh and 17 had taken a prominent part at the Somme. 



FLANDERS-THE BATTLE OF THE LYS 95 

In the six weeks of almost constant fighting, from April 2ist to 3Oth, a total of 55 
British infantry divisions and 3 cavalry divisions was employed on the battle 
fronts against a force of 109 different German divisions. During this period a total of 
141 different German divisions were engaged against the combined British and French 
forces. 

The splendid qualities displayed by all ranks and services throughout the Somme 
and Lys battles make it possible to view with confidence whatever further tests the 
future may bring. 

On March 2ist the troops of the Fifth and Third armies had the glory of sustaining 
the first and heaviest blow of the German offensive. Though assailed by a concentra- 
tion of hostile forces which the enemy might well have considered overwhelming, they 
held up the German attack at all points for the greater part of two days, thereby 
rendering a service to their country and to the Allied cause, the value of which cannot 
be overestimated. Thereafter, through many days of heavy and continuous rear- 
guard fighting, they succeeded in presenting a barrier to the enemy's advance until 
such time as the arrival of British and French reinforcements enabled his progress to 
be checked. 

In the Battle of the Lys, as has been pointed out above, many of the same divisions 
which had just passed through the furnace of the Somme found themselves exposed to 
the full fury of a second great offensive by fresh German forces. Despite this dis- 
advantage they gave evidence in many days of close and obstinate fighting that their 
spirit was as high as ever and their courage and determination unabated. Both by 
them and by the divisions freshly engaged, every yard of ground was fiercely disputed, 
until troops were overwhelmed or ordered to withdraw. Such withdrawals as were 
deemed necessary in the course of the battle were carried out successfully and in good 
order. 

At no time, either on the Somme or on the Lys, was there anything approaching a 
breakdown of command or a failure of morale. Under conditions that made rest and 
sleep impossible for days together, and called incessantly for the greatest physical 
exertion and quickness of thought, officers and men remained undismayed, realizing 
that for the time being they must play a waiting game, and determined to make the 
enemy pay the full price for the success which for the moment was his. 

In the course of this report it has been possible to refer to a very few of the many 
instances in which officers and men of all arms and services have shown courage and 
skill of the highest order. On countless other occasions, officers and men, of whose 
names there is no record, have accomplished actions of the greatest valour, while the 
very nature of the fighting shows that on all parts of the wide battlefront unknown 
deeds of heroism were performed without number. 



CHAPTER FOUR 

THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 

I 
THE PURPOSE 

Ludendorff had now made two attempts to destroy the British 
army, one in Picardy and a lesser effort in Flanders, but, despite great 
incidental successes, both had failed to realize his larger purposes. The 
British army was badly shaken. It had suffered terrific losses, nearly one 
half of its strength had been put out of action, but French reserves had 
arrived in time to restore the situation. Thus the British troops had 
fulfilled their mission, they had held on until Petain's divisions could 
arrive and the German effort to achieve a complete rupture had failed. 
The logical front for a further effort was still the British, but both in 
Picardy and Flanders Allied concentrations and German communica- 
tions alike forbade immediate attacks. 

Before he could attack the British again, then, Ludendorff must do 
something to draw the French reserves away from the British front. He 
was still thinking of his original purpose, to smash the British army and 
thus break the British will for war; his own words demonstrate this. 
Accordingly he now attempted to administer the leech, the coup de 
ventouse of French military parlance. He was not thinking of Paris; the 
Paris circumstance does not appear in his narrative ; his sole purpose was 
to compel Foch to withdraw French troops from Flanders and Picardy; 
thereafter he would resume his operations in the north, for which his 
preparations were never halted. 

There was also the moral element. Ludendorff had always two 
strings to his bow. If he pressed the British hard, then there was an 
immediate demand from Haig for French reserves. But if he struck in 
the direction of Paris, even though he had no serious purpose to seek the 
French capital, every foot he moved toward that city would intensify the 

96 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 97 

anxiety of French military and political authorities and increase their 
demand that French troops be withdrawn from the British front and 
concentrated before Paris. He had already tested the British; he 
would now try the French. 

The Chemin-des-Dames offensive, therefore, is another step in the 
strategy directed against the British, and Ludendorff in the last days of 
May has his eyes still fixed upon Flanders. There he expects to deliver 
a final blow, when the French reserves have been recalled to the Paris 
front which he is now going to create. Actually, he will be in confer- 
ence with the Crown Prince of Bavaria, putting the final touches on this 
operation, when Foch's counter-stroke of July 1 8th recalls him to his 
own headquarters. 

But we have now to reckon with a new circumstance, which upsets 
all calculations. When Ludendorff planned to attack at the Chemin des 
Dames he set the Vesle as the limit of victorious advance. He directed 
his commanders to pass the Aisne and to seize the crossings of the Vesle, 
but he neither expected nor counted upon further advance; he makes 
this clear in his book. When his troops passed both the Aisne and the 
Vesle on the first day and the road to the Marne lay open and the roads 
to Paris seemingly cleared, a new situation arose. 

As early as the summer of 1918 French military authorities as- 
serted that at this crisis the Kaiser intervened^supported and perhaps 
persuaded by the Crown Prince and insisted that the operation should 
be continued, both for dynastic and military reasons. Under compul- 
sion, so the French believe, Ludendorff yielded; set his troops in motion 
again; and, as a consequence, became involved in the deep Marne salient, 
the Chateau-Thierry salient of all American accounts. Having done 
this and being presently checked, Ludendorff found himself in a position 
in which he must retire or else go on. He could not now turn his atten- 
tion to Flanders because he must expect immediately a Foch stroke, so 
awkward was the new salient. 

Accordingly, Ludendorff postponed the Flanders thrust and, in the 
battle of July I5th, endeavoured to exploit and expand his gains in the 
Marne salient in such fashion as to make possible a later and final 



98 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

thrust at Paris. In a word, without ever wholly surrendering the 
Flanders operation, without actually abandoning his determination to 
destroy the British army, Ludendorff momentarily substituted the 
Paris objective; and this substitution led to an adventure which proved 
fatal. It proved fatal because it gave the British time to reorganize, 
and, when the Marne operation had turned out badly, to attack, in 
their turn. 

Even more than this, thanks to their long period of rest, the British 
can actually spare troops to support the French, in the decisive phase of 
the fighting in the Marne salient. This aid is small but precious, and 
three weeks later, before Ludendorff is able to recover his breath, after 
extricating his troops from the Marne mess, Haig's attack west of 
Amiens breaks the German lines and Ludendorff's nerve, and advertises 
to the world that Germany has lost the war. 

The new Marne salient, then, is to prove the abyss in which all 
German hopes are engulfed. But it is essential to perceive that this is 
due to a miscalculation whether imperial or Ludendorff's own is of 
small consequence resulting from the extent of the initial success. The 
Chemin-des-Dames thrust was a logical circumstance in Ludendorff's 
main strategy, in his campaign against the British, but it was a diversion. 
When he permitted it to be transformed into the major operation he 
turned his back upon a British army, shaken but still formidable, and 
before he could resume his operation against it Haig was able to pass to 
the offensive. Napoleon made the same miscalculation in the Waterloo 
campaign; the result was the arrival on the field of Waterloo of the 
Prussian army, which had been beaten but not destroyed at Ligny. 

Again; the Marne adventure consumed six weeks, and at the end of 
that time American troops, now rushing to the Continent at the rate of 
300,000 a month, were able to intervene. Only one American division 
was available as a combat unit in April or May, but in June Ludendorff 
had to deal with three, and in July with eight. 

During the war there was a natural tendency to see, in the Picardy 
and Marne operations, deliberate attempts to get to Paris, but in both 
cases the obvious strategical objective was something else, although both 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 99 

in Picardy and Champagne German successes resulted in marked ad- 
vances in the direction of Paris. This was but a repetition of the 
campaign of 1914. In both instances the German was seeking the 
destruction of armies, not the capture of cities; and in July, 1918, as in 
September, 1914, the Germans actually turned their backs upon Paris. 



II. FOCH'S MISCALCULATION 



And now it is necessary to face the fact that at the Chemin des 
Dames Ludendorff, for the first and only time, outguessed Foch. The 
Battle of Picardy had been engaged before the Conference of Doullens 
called the "Coordinator." The Battle of the Lys followed before Foch 
could grasp the reins, and it was only during that contest that he became, 
in fact, generalissimo. 

By the opening of the offensive of May 2yth, on the contrary, Foch 
was firmly established, and his authority had been expanded to the 
necessary limits. He had begun to build his own plans. His mind had 
instinctively turned to the offensive as the only possible policy, and we 
have seen that he had considered a thrust east of Amiens. But his 
situation remained gravely compromised by the divergent views of 
Haig and Petain, and LudendorfFs attack in Flanders had forced him 
to postpone his own project. 

The development of this operation had compelled him to transfer 
French divisions to the north, despite Petain's frequent warnings. He 
had, moreover, concentrated the balance of his scanty reserves, all 
French, back of the Somme front not only because they would there be 
best placed if Ludendorff resumed his attack in the north, but also 
because he expected the thrust on the front between Noyon and Mont- 
didier. Ludendorff did strike on this front in the final phase of his 
second offensive and Foch was able to parry the stroke, because of his 
preparations; but this was not the main blow. 

Foch was still dreadfully handicapped by inferior numbers. It was 
impossible to be strong on all fronts. May was the dead low water of 
Allied numerical strength, while German strength reached its maximum. 
American divisions were becoming available, but not yet in sufficient 



ioo HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

strength to replace wastage, to fill the vacancies created by the actual 
elimination often British divisions, incident to the recent battles. 

It may also be reasoned that Foch was, after all, right as to the front 
on which the German should have struck, since the blow at the Chemin des 
Dames proved so fatal to German purposes, at the end. Still, it must be 
conceded that, had he accurately divined the purpose of Ludendorff, he 
would have given far more attention to the Chemin-des-Dames sector 
and would not have left seven or eight weary and relatively inferior 
French and British divisions squarely across the track of an approaching 
cyclone. Foch's error here was Joffre's at Verdun in February, 1916. 
So disastrous to the German was the Verdun affair, in its later stages, 
that there has sprung up a legend that the Germans fell into a "trap." 
Not impossibly we shall presently have a Marne legend, but neither can 
have the smallest warrant in fact. 

Thus, when Ludendorff did strike at the Chemin des Dames, he en- 
countered tired British divisions filled with raw levies and transferred to 
a "quiet" sector for rest and refit and French troops in about the same 
condition. As a result, he broke through easily, swept down to the 
Marne again. Paris was crowded with a new horde of refugees, again 
heard the guns approaching the city, and for a number of days actually 
expected to see the enemy arrive. Foch's prestige was thus terribly 
wounded. So much so, that Paris believed, and believes, that he placed 
his resignation in Clemenceau's hands, only to be met by the answer, 
worthy of Roman times : 

The greatest soldier in the world can afford to make one mistake. 

Foch would not make another, and the consequences of this blunder 
would be fatal not to him but to Ludendorff. Yet, viewing the struggle 
as a duel between two great soldiers, one must perceive that in May it 
was Ludendorff who scored. But if Foch was momentarily at fault in 
failing to foresee the direction of the May thrust, his real greatness never 
revealed itself more impressively than in the manner in which he set 
about to repair the damage incident to the defeat at the Chemin des 
Dames. Henceforth the miscalculation is all Ludendorff's, who will 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 101 

misunderstand the extent of his victory and be either deceived himself 
or overborne by the Kaiser and the Crown Prince will repeat all the 
blunders of the First Marne and pay the price Joffre could not exact 
from Moltke four years earlier. 

"On the whole, between the strategy of Foch and that of the German 
High Command,'* writes Colonel Requin, "lies an essential difference. 
On the one hand an exquisite sense of proportion, an exactness of 
measure, essentially French traits, controlled by a superior intelligence 
and an inflexible will; on the other hand pride, which hurls states as 
well as military chiefs to perdition when it seeks to erect colossal plans 
on psychological errors." 

III. THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 

For his new front of attack Ludendorff selected the Chemin des 
Dames. It was 1 old fighting ground before the present war. Napoleon 
and Caesar had campaigned over it. The Craonne Plateau, along 
whose crest the Chemin des Dames runs, had been the first objective of 
Nivelle in the costly offensive of April, 1917. French and British 
pursuit after the First Marne had been halted on the southern slopes of 
the ridge in September, 1914, when Kluck dug in north of the Aisne and, 
sweeping the crossings of the river, opened what was to be a new and 
almost interminable phase : the war of positions. 

Nivelle had made meagre gains at great costs in April, 1917. Later in 
the year Petain had made large gains at small costs, and as a result the 
French had taken and held all the high ground south of the tiny Ailette 
Brook, from the point where the Paris-Laon highway crosses it eastward 
to the foot of the eastern crest of the plateau. Thence it ran out into the 
plain, crossing the Laon-Soissons highway, and then, turning south and 
passing the Aisne at Berry-au-Bac, Caesar's battleground, it reached the 
outskirts of Rheims. 

There were three quite distinct sectors on this front. There was 
first the Craonne Plateau itself, a magnificent bulwark extending from 
west to east, dominating the marsh through which the Ailette Brook, 
expanded into a well-nigh impassable swamp by shell fire, trickled west- 



102 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

ward toward the Oise. Seen from the north, this plateau seems almost 
like an artificial wall, so even against the skyline are the crests, so 
steep the northern slopes. As a consequence, this sector was held 
impregnable to assault, the fundamental miscalculation of the whole 
Allied estimate. But impregnable it had proven to all German assaults 
in the summer of 1917 before the arrival of the Hutier method and 
the consequent demolition of all the calculations of nearly four years 
of war. 

Between the eastern end of the Craonne Plateau and the hills on the 
south bank of the Aisne was the second sector, a stretch of low land 
through which the Aisne flows westward. This was manifestly the 
weak joint in the French armour. Nivelle, in his calculations a year 
before, had planned to use this gap, once his troops were over the Cra- 
onne Plateau to thrust forward his cavalry, which would encircle the 
plateau from the north and arrive before the walls of Laon on the morn- 
ing of the second day of the battle. 

But Nivelle had neither been able to get over nor to get through. As 
a consequence this gateway by which the Aisne breaks through the high 
ground on its way to the Oise remained a danger point even after 
Craonne Plateau was well within the French lines. The French merely 
occupied trench systems between Craonne and Berry-au-Bac, which had 
been elaborately constructed first by the Germans and then by the 
French, who had first taken the German systems in 1917 and later 
expanded them. Still there was danger here. 

South of the Aisne the forward French lines lay at the foot of the 
Sapigneul Heights, crowned by Fort Brimont, which Nivelle had en- 
deavoured to take in April and May with terrific losses and ultimate 
failure. Indeed, it was his insistence on renewing his sterile assaults on 
Brimont which led to his summary removal. But although the French 
front lines ran in the low ground, through which also passed the Rheims- 
Laon highway and the Vesle-Aisne canal, the French support lines were 
solidly seated upon high ground all the way from the Aisne to the Vesle. 
Actually, therefore, the French position consisted of two stretches of 
high ground, separated by a three- or four-mile reach of low ground, 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 103 

traversed by the Aisne. This low ground is described in French military 
accounts as the Trouee or Gap of Juvincourt. 

Ludendorff in his reminiscences recognizes the strength of the posi- 
tion occupied by the enemy, but he correctly remarks that if the artillery 
preparation were properly made, the defenders, particularly on the 
Craonne Plateau, would be paralyzed by shell fire and gas and that there 
would remain only the difficulties of the ground itself to be dealt with. 

If the Germans should take the Craonne Plateau, they would still 
have before them the deep and difficult Aisne from Berry-au-Bac to 
Soissons; and even if they got across the Aisne they would still have the 
Vesle to force, and south of the Vesle, as south of the Aisne, the ground 
v/as high and thus favourable to the French defenders. 

Even south of the Vesle there was still another obstacle, slight but 
backed by high ground, the tiny Ourcq, which, rising in the Tardenois 
Plateau, flows first west and then south into the Marne. But if the 
Ourcq were passed, then the pathway to the Marne would be open. More- 
over, in pushing to the Marne, the Germans would be following paths 
trodden by their comrades in the days of the First Marne Campaign. 

For his third offensive thrust Ludendorff concentrated 42 divi- 
sions, constituting the German Seventh Army, and commanded by 
Boehn, between the Soissons-Laon railway, which parallels the highway 
and the Aisne east of Berry-au-Bac. South of the Aisne 4 divisions 
belonging to Below's First Army would cooperate. The principal 
shock would be delivered by 28 divisions. Most of these, moreover, 
were storm troops; had participated in the Picardy but not in the 
Flanders fighting; and had been withdrawn for rest, refit, and training 
early in .April. It was a far more powerful blow than Ludendorff had 
delivered in Flanders, although it was much lighter than that with 
which he had opened the campaign. 

In front of this huge concentration the French had on the Craonne 
Plateau the Sixth Army, commanded by Duchesne, one corps of which, 
the nth, commanded by Maud'huy, was actually on the front to be 
assailed and consisted of two weak divisions. Between the Craonne 
Plateau and Rheims stood the French Third Army, commanded by 



104 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Micheler, who had under his orders 4 British divisions, 3 of which 
were actually in line covering the Gap of Juvincourt, on either side 
of the Aisne. Actually the French and British were now going to 
oppose rather less than seven divisions of weary troops, which had 
fought in all stages of the Flanders and Picardy combats, to 28 fresh 
German divisions, each numerically stronger than French or British 
divisions and composed of the best material in the German army, sup- 
ported by an enormous concentration of artillery and fortified by the 
Hutier tactic. 

Even in the case of Cough's Fifth Army the odds had not been 
immediately as great and the explanation must of course be found in the 
fact that the Allied commanders, threatened with ruin elsewhere, had 
drawn off their best troops from the Chemin des Dames, mistakenly 
convinced that the position itself was impregnable. Even the lessons of 
Picardy and Flanders had not yet sufficed to emphasize the fact that the 
real secret of German success must be sought in the Hutier method. 
Strong as were the positions before him, Ludendorff ironically remarks 
they were not as strong as these Alpine heights, forced by his victorious 
troops at Caporetto in the preceding autumn. 

Another circumstance contributed to the completeness of the 
disaster on the Chemin des Dames. The surprise was absolute. As 
late as the preceding afternoon Maud'huy learned for the first time from 
prisoners that an attack was coming and warned his commander, 
Duchesne, who in turn reserved to himself the right to order the de- 
struction of the bridges across the Aisne, while warning his troops to be 
ready. But this reservation proved fatal, for, when the attack came, the 
German advance was so rapid that Duchesne ordered the destruction of 
the bridges after it was too late and the Germans were able to pass this 
barrier as they had been successful in getting across the Somme and 
Crozat Canal before the British could destroy the bridges in April. 

Thus whatever information was derived from prisoners on May 
26th, it did not give any adequate warning. The Allied commanders 
had not the smallest inkling of the amount of artillery concentrated on 
their front; they had no suspicion of the number of infantry divisions 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 105 

which had been brought up by those secret and night marches which 
were such an essential detail in the Ludendorff offensive. Actually the 
attack was in all larger aspects a complete surprise because no proper 
preparation had been made against it. 

Moreover, as Ludendorff was now using the Hutier method for the 
third time and as Foch had not yet developed his answer, it was only 
natural that experience should have brought with it approximate per- 
fection. Beyond all question the attack of May 27th was, on the pro- 
fessional military side, the best prepared and the best executed of the 
whole war. In it was disclosed German system working at its highest 
stage of efficiency. Even in defeat Allied military students and critics 
alike could not refuse their admiration for the new system; and the 
fashion in which it revealed itself at the Chemin des Dames contributed, 
even more than lost ground, to shake Allied confidence by raising the 
pressing question: Can any "parade" be found to parry the Hutier 
thrust? Have the Germans actually found the key, the secret of 
modern war, the method for breaking the trench deadlock, for which all 
soldiers have been seeking for nearly four years ? Shall we be destroyed 
before we can devise an answer? 

One further detail is worthy of note. On April 24th, at Villers- 
Bretonneux, German tanks appeared for the first time and were used 
with some effect, although the Germans were still new to the manage- 
ment of the engines and their tanks were too unwieldy. At the Chemin 
des Dames, on the contrary, the handling was good, and something like a 
hundred tanks were reported to have been used by the assailants. 
They were without exception too heavy and too large and they were 
only in a small degree responsible for a shining success attributable 
mainly to the Hutier system itself. 

iv. LUDENDORFF'S PLAN 

For the Chemin-des-Dames offensive Ludendorff had made the 
following plans: He would attack on a front from the Soissons-Laon 
highway on the west to the heights of Sapigneul on the east. His main 
operation would be a duplicate of that attempted by Nivelle in 1917 but 



106 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

delivered, of course, in the reverse direction. One mass of troops would 
seek to hack their way straight across the Craonne Plateau from end to 
end, passing the Chemin des Dames and reaching the north bank of the 
Aisne; a second mass would endeavour to break through the Gap of 
Juvincourt, advancing from east to west astride the Aisne. These two 
masses would be commanded by Boehn. Still a third, much smaller, 
would be under Fritz von Below and would push west from Fort Bri- 
mont. 

Given this arrangement, Ludendorff might calculate that, even if his 
frontal attack failed, he would take the Craonne Plateau by the blow 
directed, through the Juvincourt Gap, at the rear of the French and 
British actually on the Craonne Plateau, while if the frontal attack 
succeeded, then the enemy troops held in line across the Gap of Juvin- 
court would be similarly menaced in their rear. Actually this amounted 
to attacks on front and flank. As it turned out, both were success- 
ful, with the result that the credit for victory was divided. 

But it was not enough merely to force the Craonne barrier. To be 
held up immediately at the Aisne might not sufficiently shake Foch to 
lead him to divert troops from the British front. It was necessary to go 
at least to the Vesle, and this was the limit first fixed by Ludendorff in 
his plans. Once the Vesle had been reached and bridgeheads established 
to the south, he would transfer his operations to the old "Paris front" 
between Noyon and Montdidier and, seeking to push across the Lassigny 
Heights where he had been halted in the last days of March, menace 
Paris and open all roads running down to the French capital from the 
north. Hutier himself would be called upon to make this attack, but it 
could not be timed to synchronize with the Chemin-des-Dames blow, be- 
cause Ludendorff lacked the artillery to demolish both positions at once, 
and with the Nivelle episode in mind, recognized that any failure to 
make adequate artillery preparation at the Chemin des Dames would 
involve stupendous losses and incalculable German depression. He 
therefore planned to attack at the Chemin des Dames on May 27th and 
beyond the Oise on June 7th, but he had finally to postpone the second 
blow until June 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 107 

V. THE ERUPTION 

At one o'clock on the morning of May 2yth the artillery storm begins 
on all the doomed front. It is, on the whole, more terrible than all pre- 
ceding bombardments; the German artillerymen have learned much in 
the two earlier experiments. More gas is used and the result is the 
approximate stupefaction of large numbers of their enemy. In truth, 
the artillery preparation itself this time practically disposes of the 
defence. The thing which Falkenhayn hoped for at Verdun, Haig and 
Foch at the Somme, Nivelle before the Craonne Plateau; the thing 
which Petain had several times achieved on a narrow front, was now 
accomplished upon a very wide front. Ludendorff has much praise for 
Colonel Bruchmiiller, the German artillery officer who superintended 
all of the artillery preparations during the campaign. 

Before four o'clock the German infantry is on the move. On the 
eastern end of the Craonne Plateau, on the ground where the French had 
maintained themselves in the terrific fighting of the preceding summer, 
the British garrisons are assailed almost without warning. So rapid is 
the German advance that the Plateau of Californie, the "Winterberg" of 
German battle reports, is lost in less than half an hour. The attack 
extends along the British front eastward and southward, and in a few 
hours one British general is killed, another wounded, and a third cap- 
tured. 

While the morning is still young the British line north of the Aisne 
has collapsed, the Germans have come over the eastern end of the 
Craonne Plateau and through the Gap of Juvincourt ; they have arrived 
at the Aisne bridges west of Berry-au-Bac, and the bridges have not been 
destroyed in time. They will thus be able to cross the Aisne and menace 
the British and French troops holding the line from the Aisne to Rheims 
and threaten the French positions north of the river on the western half 
of the Chemin des Dames. 

That is, Boehn's advance by the left flank would threaten the western 
positions, had they not already fallen; for the French, resistance is no 
more successful or sustained than the British. On this part of the 



io8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

front the gas effects are even more disastrous and the infantry well nigh 
paralyzed. At 4:15 A. M., with a single bound the Germans pass the 
little Ailette, they push up the heights on either side of the Fort de 
Malmaison won by Petain in the preceding autumn. Before noon 
they are streaming down the south side of the Craonne Plateau toward 
the crossings from Soissons eastward, while the Kaiser, having mounted 
the Plateau of Californie, is surveying the battle, now gone south, with 
emotions which a travelling biographer will promptly give to the world. 
" Fritz was one of the first to cross the Aisne " the Kaiser triumphantly 
telegraphed the Empress. 

The Allied line had now collapsed all the way from Berry-au-Bac to 
the Crouy region, immediately north of Soissons. Worse; from Vailly, 
east of Soissons, to Berry-au-Bac the Germans are actually across the 
Aisne and this line of defence has gone. Before night comes, the ad- 
vance has crossed the Vesle also, to the west of Fismes, at the point of the 
German wedge, and thus the line of the Vesle, also, has fallen. Even in 
the unfortunate first day of the Battle of Picardy there was nothing 
approximating this collapse. As a consequence of the disaster there is 
now a sag in the Allied lines all the way from Rheims to Soissons, and 
both of these cities are in imminent danger. Soissons will fall the next 
evening, while north of the Aisne, in the angle between the Aisne and the 
Oise, French lines are recoiling and it is still probable that they will have 
to be withdrawn behind the Aisne, in upon Compiegne, which will, in 
turn, necessitate the abandonment of the French positions on the 
Lassigny Hills west of the Oise. 

The first day was marked by a drive at the centre; on the second 
follows the logical expansion of the attack, the effort to break down the 
sides of the breach which has been opened. Rheims and Soissons are 
equally enemy objectives. Meantime, the thrust into the centre of the 
open gap in the Allied lines continues; the advance dips far below the 
Vesle. 

And on this second day, at a conference held in the evening at- 
tended by the Kaiser, the Crown Prince, Hindenburg, and Ludendorff a 
momentous decision is taken and announced to the armies in a terse 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 109 

bulletin signed by the Emperor and Hindenburg. "The attack will be 
pressed/' This means Ludendorff's narrative hints as much that the 
Germans, surprised by the extent of their victory, are now going to 
transform what had been a diversion into a principal operation. They 
will postpone the Flanders offensive and exploit their victory toward the 
Marne. The French front has proven incredibly weak. It may be 
possible to approach Paris before the offensive reaches its term; the 
stain of the defeat at the Marne in 1914 may be wiped out by a victory 
on this river four years later. The calculation was mistaken, the 
consequences of the change of objective in mid-battle would prove fatal, 
but the situation on May 28th, in the evening, gave no sign of such a 
conclusion to the most successful stroke in four years of war. 

VI. FOCH RESTORES THE SITUATION 

On May 27th the German success was still regarded in Paris with 
calm. Its real magnitude was hardly appreciated except in military 
quarters, on the following day, when Petain undertook to deal with 
the problem. It is only on May 29th that Foch takes a hand, and this is 
the day on which, as a result of the decision approved by the Kaiser and 
published to his troops, the Germans had decided to transform the 
operation from a diversion to a major affair and, abandoning the limits 
Ludendorff had set for the advance, would seek the most distant ob- 
jectives; in a word, would strive to exploit the preliminary success to the 
uttermost. 

In examining the second phase of this operation, which unrolled 
between the Vesle and the Marne, it is essential at the outset to grasp a 
single fact. The military circumstances were quite different from those 
which arrested the attention of the civilian public and filled the press of 
the world. A failure to grasp the military aspects as contrasted with 
the civilian estimates has served to disguise the actual significance of 
what happened in the next few days and to give an entirely mistaken in- 
terpretation to the part played by American troops, glorious as that 
part actually was. 

We have seen in the two earlier offensives of Ludendorff that the 



i io HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

hoped-for subsequent profit was not realized because in each case the 
Germans were unable to expand their original break through. In 
Picardy the resistance of Byng's troops north of the Somme promptly 
restricted the gap to the south bank of the Somme, while the Oise River 
and the Lassigny Hills precluded extension southward. Thus the 
German advance was first canalized between the Oise and the Somme 
and then actually arrested before it could break out of the western end 
of this Oise-Somme corridor west of Montdidier and east of Amiens. 

In Flanders the same thing had happened. At the outset the 
British on the southern side of the break about Givenchy had held firm 
and stopped any widening of the gap toward the south. On the north 
there had been a preliminary widening, due to German progress on the 
Messines Ridge and as far as Kemmel. But although Kemmel was 
taken, the balance of the "Mountains" were firmly held and the German 
advance thus paused on the eastern edge of the Forest of Nieppe. 

Both operations had created salients, or pockets, and the obvious 
truth about a salient is that the narrower the mouth of the pocket the 
greater the difficulty in supplying the troops within it, since the com- 
munications will be under fire from both sides and the whole rear of the 
troops in the bulge under enemy bombardment. Moreover, the 
deeper the salient is, the graver the menace to the troops within it, 
because they will be farther from their own bases and more exposed to 
any attack from the sides of the salient, which, if successful, would cut 
them off and force them to surrender. 

This simple military fact explained the failure of many previous 
offensives which had made initial gains but, in the end, had to be aban- 
doned because the original break was not widened and therefore advance 
through the gap became perilous. To risk large numbers of troops 
within a salient was to invite disaster. The subsequent developments of 
the fighting between the Marne and the Aisne in July will supply a good 
illustration, even more simply complete is the example supplied by 
Pershing's successful attack on the sides of the St. Mihiel salient in 
September, which resulted in the capture of many thousand troops and 
nearly five hundred guns caught in the pocket. 



"THE CHEMIN DES DAMES in 

On May 29th and the succeeding days then, while the Allied and 
German publics were thinking of Paris, Foch and Ludendorff were 
directing their attention to something quite different. Ludendorff was 
seeking to expand his break through on both sides. Foch was en- 
deavouring to prevent the expansion. The success or failure of the new 
German venture would depend, not upon the depth of the penetration 
made in the pocket, but on the "success or failure of the effort to widen 
the pocket on either corner, toward Rheims and toward Soissons. In 
the case of the present field of operations, moreover, unless there were a 
very considerable and swift widening of the salient on its western side, 
the southward push would have to stop, because the roads which served 
this region ran close to this side and both roads and railways were un- 
available until Soissons was taken. 

Beginning on May 29th, then, the whole problem centred on the 
resistance of the two corners of the pocket, or the two gateposts of the 
door which the Germans had suddenly cut in the Allied lines. If the 
gateposts were maintained, the door was, as yet, too narrow to permit 
German hosts to get through in numbers which would constitute a 
menace to Paris. In fact and the point is capital if the door were not 
widened, the Germans in the new pocket would presently find them- 
selves in a dangerous predicament. 

Rheims and Soissons were thus the gateposts, or "corners, " in military 
phrase. But neither city was itself of great military value. The Rheims 
corner actually consisted of the high ground, the "Mountain of 
Rheims" to the south. As to the Soissons corner, it derived im- 
portance immediately from the high ground, also to the south, where the 
Americans would fight on July i8th, but chiefly from the Forest of 
Villers-Cotterets, south and west. Unless the Germans could take this, 
their advance toward Paris would be impossible, while if they captured 
it, then the whole French line north of the Aisne would collapse and the 
French would have to quit the Lassigny Hills west of the Oise. This 
would mean the dislocation of all the French front between the Somme 
pocket and the new Marne salient and the creation of a real Paris front. 

Foch, accordingly, sets out at once to maintain himself in the 



ii2 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Forest of Villers-Cotterets. He will even strive unsuccessfully to hold 
the heights just southwest of Soissons itself. Thither he will direct his 
scanty reserve, while smaller reinforcements will be sent to hold the 
Mountain of Rheims. As for the German wedge rushing toward the 
Marne, he will neglect this; he will assume the arrival of the Germans at 
the Marne and leave the fragments of the divisions swept off the Chemin 
des Dames to retard it as well as may be. Real German success will be 
measured not by the depth but by the width of the Marne pocket. 

In the following days Ludendorff storms at Soissons and Rheims. 
He will take the latter city and the heights above it. Rheims will be 
encircled on three sides. The Germans will come up to the edge of the 
houses; they will see the Roman arch which looks north along the Laon 
road; new bombardments will complete the ruin of the city, bui. it will 
not fall, held by a French colonial regiment called up from rest quarters 
and arriving "gentil comme $a" as observers say afterward. 

Ludendorff will have bitter words to say about the failure to get 
forward more promptly at Soissons when the road was opened a failure 
due, after all, it would seem, to the arrival of the offending division at the 
limit fixed for its progress by Ludendorff himself, before the operation 
was transformed. 

The Germans do get to the edge of the Forest of Villers-Cotterets, 
penetrate the first woodlands. But there they stick, will stick, and, 
having been pushed back ever so little in the next weeks, will suddenly be 
assailed by a storm coming out of the same woodlands, an American 
storm, six weeks hence. They do no better toward the Mountain of 
Rheims. Only to the south is their progress considerable. They reach 
the Marne at Jaulgonne on May 3Oth, Decorati n Day in the United 
States. The same day the 2nd Division of Americans near Beauvais 
will receive an order long awaited. On the next the German effort is 
directed against the whole western side of the pocket between the Aisne 
and the Marne. Again there is small progress in the north; the progress 
to the south, between the Ourcq and the Marne, is more considerable, 
but the check is in sight. 

On June ist the Germans are in Chateau-Thierry and the American 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 

3rd Division, a motorized machine-gun unit, does good service at 
the Marne Bridge. The 2nd Division has taken root across the Paris- 
Metz road, west of Chateau-Thierry, is taking its first full look at 
Belleau Wood, soon to be known as the Bois de la Brigade de Marine. 
The Germans will get no farther toward Paris in this offensive or any 
other, along the Paris-Metz road. 

But what happens at the bottom of the pocket is always unimportant 
by comparison with the events at the corners. And both corners are 

safe. De Maud'huy, who rallied his 
stricken divisions and held the Soissons 
corner in the critical hours, will be Gov- 
ernor of Metz before the year is over. 
The battle is dying out, although Luden- 
dorff will try between Soissons and Noyon 
to force the French back to their last lines 
north of the Aisne. Held here, he will 
now turn to his final thrust, the blow be- 
tween Noyon and Montdidier. Up to 
this moment he has only succeeded in 




LUDENDORFF'S PROFITS 

Solid black shows French territory occupied by the Germans at the end of the Battle of 
the Chemin des Dames. White line shows the German front on March 2ist 



ii 4 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

excavating a narrow salient, thirty-three miles deep by forty wide, at 
the bottom of which his guns cut the Paris-Nancy railway, almost 
as important as the Paris-Calais line on the Somme front, which 
he has also abolished. He has failed to get the Soissons corner, to 
smash the Rheims corner; he has been held between the Aisne and the 
Oise. The armies so far engaged are exhausted; Foch has brought up 
his reserves. Perhaps Ludendorff will find the Montdidier-Noyon front 
weak, since reserves have been called away from that sector, as he found 
the Flanders front weak after his Picardy effort, for the same reason. At 
all events, this step is logical and inevitable. 

VII. THE BATTLE OF THE MATZ 

Once more, on June 9th, this time with all the customary circum- 
stances, the German guns open on the Montdidier-Noyon front. Fol- 
lowing the bombardment, Hutier's Eighteenth Army, the army which 
broke Cough's Fifth Army at the Somme less than two months before, 
assails the French in line across the Lassigny Hills, from Mont Renaud, 
a detached hill, looking down upon ruined Noyon, westward. Com- 
piegne is the objective of this push; Compiegne taken, the French will 
have to retire behind the Aisne; there will be an extension of the disloca- 
tion of the French front from Rheims to Amiens. 

But on this June 9th the Hutier tactic encounters something which 
suggests a counter-tactic. Imperfect still, is this answer, at which Foch 
with Petain and every other French staff officer has been working for al- 
most three months, but a sign of progress. The German advance is still 
unmistakable. The Lassigny Hills fall. The Germans get south to the 
little Matz brook, rising in the high ground and wandering down to the 
Oise, a brook which will give its name to the battle, since the Germans 
do not get to Compiegne, nor in sight of it. 

On June loth the progress is still continued, but the German march- 
ing front has narrowed almost to a point. First and last there has been 
no rupture of the front, only a yielding under terrific pressure following 
intolerable artillery punishment. More progress on June loth, in the 
morning, but in the afternoon Foch throws Mangin upon the western 




SENDING A MESSAGE TO AN AIRPLANE 
The signallers seem to enjoy this strange Chautauqua salute 



U. S. Official Photo 



THE AMERICANS IN ACTION 




From the collection of '.car pictures at the National Museum, Washington 



By H. C. Mvrphv 



BREAKING THROUGH THE HINDENBURG LINE 

The 27th New York Division penetrating the "impenetrable" 








FOLLOWING THE TRACK OF A TANK 



U. S. Official Photo 






ADVANCING THROUGH A SMOKE SCREEN 
American infantrymen in action, Meuse-Argonne. October 27, 1918 



U. S. Official PkctQ 




WATCHING THE ENEMY FROM A CAPTURED POST 



U. S. Official Photo 



Two American officers observing the German lines from the famous Montfaucon observatory. The made-in-Germany 

binoculars serve American eves well 




THE MORNING ATTACK 



U. S. Official Photo 



In the haze of the dawn an American battery shells the retreating Germans. This battery works in the desolation of 

what was No Man's Land in the Argonne 




U. S. Official Photo 

AMERICANS ADVANCING UNDER COVER OF BUSH TO LAY WIRE. NEAR CHATEAU-THIERRY 







ACROSS THE FIELDS NEAR MONT SEC 



U. S. Official Photo 



This machine-gun company is passing through a regiment of doughboys and a supply train. The picture was taken by a 
signalman of the ist Division during the Battle of St. Mihiel 




FRENCH CHILDREN OF SOULOSSE 
Watching an American ammunition train on the way to the front. April 10, 1918 



U. S. Official Photo 




A GERMAN STRONGHOLD NEAR GRANDPRE 



U. S. Official Photo 



From this hill, studded with machine guns and protected by pits, the Americans drove the Boche after three attacks. 
The camouflage and brush screen have been removed to present a hazy view of the town and swampy valley 




By Captain Harvey Dunn 



THE BOCHE LOOTER 



U. S. Official Photo 




YANKEE SOLDIER AND FRENCH CHILDREN 



U. S. Official Pkcto 



No wonder the American soldiers were popular in France. The little chap on the bench seems to be enjoying the 

Sergeant's story 




\ 



By Captain Harvey Dunn 



THE ENGINEER FULLY EQUIPPED 



U. S. Official Photo 




Committee on Public Information 

FRENCH AND AMERICAN COMRADES IN ARMS 
They are watching the effect of shell fire from the scanty shelter of a ruined stable 




"KAMERAD" 
A German sniper crying for the quarter he would not give 



U. S. Official Photo 




THE HOME COMING 
The Frenchman returns to what the retreating Germans have left of his home 



U. S. Official Photo 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 147 

flank of the German wedge, coming out of the forest land toward Rollot, 
south of Mondidier, and Mangin crumples up the flank, takes prisoners, 
hundreds of them, and a few guns. German reserves are rushed up ; the 
thrust is parried, but Ludendorff breaks off the battle. Mangin has 
been in disgrace since the failure at the Aisne a year ago, but he has 
been marked as a leader of attack ever since he retook Douaumont for a 
moment in the spring and for ever in the autumn of 1916. He will now 
get back his army and do wonders with it. Two American divisions 
under his command will help break the last German offensive five weeks 
hence. An interesting man, first remembered in the French army by 
his advocacy of the use of France's colonies in Africa as a reservoir for 
the French army. One day he will command the first French army to 
cross the middle Rhine since Napoleon's retreat after Leipzig, 

In the Battle of the Matz the Germans got forward some five or six 
miles on a narrow front, took the Lassigny Hills a success that might 
conceivably profit them later, if they could exploit it. But after the 
first hours, even during them, they encountered unexpected resistance. 
The charm of their method seemed to have diminished. There was 
nothing suggesting a rupture of the French front, and with little delay 
the fighting took on the character remembered from the Verdun time, 
body to body, bayonet and grenade. Last of all there was a counter- 
offensive, a swift, sharp thrust not encountered at the Somme, the Lys, 
nor the Aisne. And the losses, which were terrific, made a lasting im- 
pression upon the minds of the German soldiers. 

As for Ludendorff, his position at the Marne is not improved by his 
operation across the Matz. The Villers-Cotterets pivot is not broken, 
the Soissons corner holds, the French across the Aisne stand unshaken. 
He can do no more now. Still he seeks to bolster German morale by 
publishing his bulletins of victory. He has taken 55,000 prisoners in the 
Chemin-des-Dames operation; by the end of June his captures amount to 
208,000 prisoners and 2,500 guns. 

But the promise of May 28th, like that of March 25th, has not been 
realized. He has thrust his neck into a noose at the Marne. He can 
retire and transfer his efforts to Flanders, come back to the Vesle, as 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



O 3 IO 15 SO 25 




PARIS MENACED 

A Ground gained by the Germans in the Battle of Picardy. B In the Battle of the 
Chemin des Dames. V C In the Battle of the Matz 

Paris believed he wanted to do. But if he remains in the salient on the 

* * -i* 1 ." 

Marne he must concentrate his attention in the south; he must hasten to 
strike again and abolish his inconveniences, for if he goes north or waits 
too long, Foch will be upon him. 



THE CHEMIN DES DAMES 149 

But before he can strike again he must crank up his machine and 
this will take nearly seven weeks. And if retirement to the Vesle is 
possible militarily, it is morally inconceivable. After four years the 
German General Staff has found no satisfactory explanation for the 
first retreat from the Marne and the German people are in no mood for 
another, when, after four years, they are again looking at Paris on the 
map. And on the map Paris is little more than forty miles from Ribe- 
court, from Chateau-Thierry. 

Paris, too, and all Allied cities and towns, are looking at the map. 
Paris is going through the same preparations which marked the ap- 
proach of Kluck to the forts in August, 1914. There was a brief dis- 
cussion as to whether Paris should be defended or evacuated, since the 
bombardment would destroy it. Guillaumat, a Verdun general, who 
had drafted the plans Franchet d'Esperey will soon use to destroy the 
Bulgarians, arrives to take Gallieni's place. Gallieni is dead, but his 
spirit lives in Paris. Life in the French capital has now become a 
nightmare: Grosse Bertha by day, Gotha raids by night, while fresh 
refugees steadily arrive. It is 1914 over again, after four years of agony. 

Ludendorff is watching this circumstance. He tells us that after 
May 2yth he studied the French papers eagerly, seeking the first sign of 
collapse. Instead he read Clemenceau's words: "I shall fight before 
Paris, through Paris, behind Paris." And Ludendorff does not with- 
hold his admiration. Even in victory he complains that the German 
public opinion displays no such firmness. In fact, German public 
opinion is notably weakening. It has heard " Nach Calais" in April, it 
hears "Nach Paris" in June, while Calais is still untaken, and the 
whisper is going about that the submarines have not wholly prevented 
the coming of Americans a whisper angrily controverted by all German 
official agents but not silenced now and soon to become a charge un- 
answerable. 

Clemenceau had once said that the victory would go to the contestant 
who could stay through the last quarter of an hour. We are now enter- 
ing this final quarter of an hour, it is represented by the period from 
May 27th to July i8th. It is the supreme agony for all Allied publics; 



1 5 o HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

for France first, for Paris most of all, for the Parisians who saw the sky 
aflame and heard the guns each night, who knew that the barbarian was 
literally at the gate. But in the darkness Foch worked silently; for him 
the dawn was already in sight. America had bridged the gap between 
his numbers and those of Ludendorff. If Allied governments and publics 
would sustain him for a few more weeks, if the civilians would only 
"hold," he would be worthy of their confidence. And they would hold. 



CHAPTER FIVE 

THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 

I 
LUDENDORFF'S STRATEGY 

Ludendorff was now chained to his victory. He had not lost the 
initiative but he had lost freedom of action. He could not conceal his 
next stroke, since an attack in Champagne was imposed upon him and 
the element of surprise would be lacking altogether. 

Meantime, in June, he had pushed the Austrians into a new effort 
along the Piave, and this effort, momentarily successful, had ended in a 
colossal disaster produced alike by Italian resistance and by an Alpine 
flood. This terrific defeat had abolished what little was left of the 
Austrian will for war and had similarly banished all chance of the 
transfer of Austrian divisions in any number to the German front. On 
the contrary, Italian troops were beginning to appear on the Champagne 
front and would perform useful service in the next battle. 

The American circumstance was even more distressing. By July 
Ludendorff concedes that America had become the decisive factor in 
the war. He counts twenty American divisions in France and fifteen 
in the fighting strength of Foch; and, numerically, fifteen American 
divisions had the strength of thirty German. He does not reckon the 
American division a match for the German since ours was still lacking in 
training, but he recognizes that American troops are fit for service in 
quiet sectors, thus releasing British and French. 

Finally, Ludendorff at this stage of his narrative devotes far more 
space to the decline in the morale of his own army than to the military 
circumstances in the decisive battle of the campaign. Obviously he is 
seeking to find outside of military events an explanation for his defeat, 
but despite the unmistakable fact that German morale, civilian and 
military, was breaking down; despite the expansion of American num- 



152 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



bers; despite the Italian reverse, Ludendorff's blunder in passing the 
Vesle and becoming enmeshed in the Marne salient was a sufficient 
explanation for his later reverse. And he was now to make a further 
and equally great miscalculation. Foch, whose baton now awaited him 
at the Marne, was not the soldier to permit his enemy to blunder twice 
without exacting terrible payment. 

For this third offensive, which in advance the German people 
named the "peace storm" significant evidence of their fondest hopes 

Ludendorff prepared a double thrust, 
wholly comparable to that delivered in 
Picardy in March. Then he had struck 
north and south of the Cambrai salient, 
planning to pinch it out by his advance. 
Now he contemplated pinching out the 
Rheims salient by similar attacks on 
either side. 

Between the Argonne and Rheims, 
where he conceived the Allied lines were 
weak because of the concentration in front 
of.Paris 5 Ludendorff prepared to make his 




"THE PEACE STORM" 

Arrows show main directions of German attack on July I5th 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 153 

main thrust. He would throw not less than 52 divisions against the 
French Fourth Army, commanded by Gouraud. His objective would 
be the Marne from Epernay eastward to Chalons. This attack would 
uncover the rear of all the French positions on the heights of the Meuse 
from Verdun southward to the St. Mihiel salient. But its chief effect 
would be to open the eastern side of the Mountain of Rheims. 

At the same time Ludendorff would attack west of Rheims, on a 
front between the city and the Marne at Chateau-Thierry, using 30 
divisions, and having for his objectives the passing of the Marne and an 
advance toward Epernay, south of the Mountain of Rheims, to join 
hands with the German troops attacking on the other side. Other 
divisions would push south from the Marne to the Morin at Montmirail. 

The operation toward Epernay would insure the elimination of the 
Rheims salient, and with the disappearance of this, all the difficulties 
incident to his own situation between Rheims and Soissons in the 
Marne salient would disappear. The advance to Montmirail would 
still further expand the circle about Paris, from which he might launch 
another attack if the French should still consent to a prolongation of the 
war. 

But it will be clear that in this offensive Ludendorff had fixed geo- 
graphical objectives. His first concern was to clear the whole of the 
north bank of the Marne from Chateau-Thierry to Chalons and seize 
the crossings of the Marne on all this front. Until he had accomplished 
this he would not regain his freedom of action. He could hope that a 
success as great as that in Picardy would open all the eastern gateways 
of France, abolish the Verdun positions, accomplish all that the Verdun 
offensive of 1916 had failed to do. He could calculate that even a more 
modest success, like that in Flanders, would give him the north bank of 
the Marne and abolish the Rheims threat to his rear. Finally, if the 
Chemin-des-Dames circumstances should be repeated, if the Allied line 
anywhere collapsed as it had on May 2yth and nowhere was the 
front to be assailed as strong as the Craonne positions had been then 
the battle might be the prelude to supreme victory, the "Peace Storm" 
for which the German people clamoured. 



i 5 4 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

But there was a danger, a very real danger in the new operation. 
To attack out of the Marne salient was a wise venture only if the western 
side of the salient, skirting the Villers-Cotterets Forest, were assured 
against any thrust coming out of the woods and reaching the roads 
and railways running along the side of the salient, which were the main 
lines of communication of the troops to the south, whose mission it was 
to pass the Marne. 

No success south of the Marne and west of the Rheims salient which 
did not amount to instant and supreme triumph, the obliteration of the 
salient itself, would be of lasting benefit of any benefit if an Allied 
blow cut the lines of communication of the troops making the thrust. 
In a word, it did not matter how much Ludendorff deepened the Marne 
pocket, he would still have to get out of it, provided that Foch was able 
to narrow the entrance into the pocket between the Forest of Villers- 
Cotterets and the Mountain of Rheims; and to make the salient unten- 
able Foch had but to push a force eastward five or six miles from the 
Villers-Cotterets Forest. 

Such a thrust could be made only if Foch still had an abundance of 
reserves. And the basis of Ludendorff 's whole reckoning was that French 
and British reserves had been exhausted and that American were not 
yet ready. He assumed that it was safe to neglect the possible attack 
from the west, because he calculated Foch had not the troops to make it. 
This was the fatal miscalculation, he underestimated his enemies' re- 
sources, while recognizing the peril incident to any such miscalculation. 
Here lies the key to the whole military situation. 

Also, Ludendorff failed to attach sufficient importance to the events 
which had just occurred in the Battle of the Matz; he failed to perceive 
that the Hutier method was in that conflict partially checkmated by a 
new method of defence, which was sure to be still further elaborated 
between June 9th and July 



II. THE TWO BATTLES OF THE MARNE 

History was now to repeat itself in an amazing fashion. In the last 
days of August, 1914, after great preliminary victories, the Germans had 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 155 

pushed south between Paris and Verdun, and in the first days of Septem- 
ber Kluck's army, ignoring Paris, had marched southeast and crossed the 
Marne from Chateau-Thierry to Meaux. At the same time the other 
German armies to the eastward had conformed to this southward push 
and also driven across the Marne or struck at Bar-le-Duc, seeking to cut 
off the French troops in what had now become the Verdun salient. 

This deflection of Kluck from Paris was one of the historic manoeu- 
vres of the whole conflict. It was a logical operation, since the objective 
of the Germans was the French army, not any single geographical detail, 
not even Paris itself. The French capital would be the prize of victory, 
if the French army were defeated, while possession of Paris before the 
French army was disposed of would be a liability. 

But if this march across the front of Paris was logical, it was hazard- 
ous in the extreme, unless the Germans could be sure that there was in 
the fortified area no force capable of making a sortie from the forts. 
For if any considerable French army should be concealed in Paris and 
were flung against the flank and rear of Kluck's army, which had ad- 
ventured south of the Marne, then only rapid retreat could save it; and 
even if this retreat were skilfully and successfully conducted the whole 
German campaign would be upset and the retreat of Kluck would draw 
with it the several armies stretched from Sezanne to Vitry-le-Francois. 

We know that the French did have a force in Paris that this force, 
Maunoury's army collected by Joffre against just such an emergency 
did issue from Paris, strike Kluck's flank north of the Marne and 
west of the Ourcq, and compel that general to rush his corps north, 
away from the front of the British and of the French Fifth Army, 
drawing Billow's army back, too, and producing a dislocation of the 
whole German front south of the Marne. 

Unhappily Maunoury's army had been too weak to push its initial 
advantage to the limit, and the British had failed to move with the speed 
which had been hoped for. As a result Kluck not only escaped, but 
gave Maunoury three terrible days of battle and almost forced him back 
upon Paris. Still in the end the dislocation produced all along the 
German front south of the Marne by the Maunoury thrust had opened a 



i S 6 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 




THE TWO MARNE BATTLEFIELDS 

The lower black Ymt shows the front of the first Battle of the Marne In September, 1914. 

The upper that of July, 1918 

gap between Biilow and Hausen, a gap which Foch had perceived and 
exploited. Thus the end had been a German retreat, the failure of the 
first blow, which was to conquer France in six weeks, and the beginning 
of the war of positions. 

Now in July, 1918, Ludendorff was going to repeat the venture of 
Kluck in August and September, 1914. He was going to attempt to 
advance on a wide front, between the French positions covering Paris 
and those defending Verdun and the point is capital he was going to 
ignore the possible peril of a thrust coming from the Paris position, this 
time the Forest of Villers-Cotteret, not the immediate environs of the 
city. He was going to do this because he calculated, just as his predeces- 
sor had calculated in 1914, that the enemy was incapable of any offen- 
sive thrust. 

To be sure, both Ludendorff and Kluck took some pains to cover their 
exposed flank Ludendorff more than Kluck; but the important fact is 
that neither took care enough. Kluck has told us that on the afternoon 
of September 5, 1914, while he was advancing upon the British and 
French south of the Marne, he was suddenly informed that his Paris 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 157 

flank was in deadly peril. An army of which he had no suspicion had 
struck outward from Paris and the First Battle of the Ourcq, the 
initial phase of the first Battle of the Marne, had begun. 

On July 15, 1918, the German hosts were occupying a front parallel 
to but north of the battlefield of 1914. They were advancing to and 
across the Marne, seeking to crush all the French armies between 
Chateau-Thierry and the Verdun salient. Their lines were curving 
southward, and they had again left open, toward Paris and toward the 
Ourcq, their right flank, which between the Marne and the Aisne was 
charged with the mission of holding back any thrust, which, coming 
from the Forest of Villers-Cotterets, would threaten all their communica- 
tions for the armies between Rheims and Villers-Cotterets if it made any 
progress, and would totally abolish all hope of success or even of per- 
manent occupation south of the Marne if it could reach the Soissons- 
Chateau-Thierry highway, hardly more than six miles from its present 
front. 

All the conditions of the First Marne, even to the Ourcq detail, were 
then reproduced in what was henceforth to be known as the Second 
Battle of the Marne. 

III. FOCH'S CONCEPTION 

Now, at last, Foch was able to plan, not compelled to improvise. 
He divined the direction of the next German stroke as early as the 
middle of June and, divining it, he began to prepare, not merely to 
parry it, but to meet an offensive by an offensive. He had advised 
attack before he was called to command at all, before the campaign had 
opened. He had been developing an offensive on the flank of the 
Somme salient immediately at the close of the Battle of Picardy, when 
the Battle of the Lys broke and drew his attention elsewhere. 

After the Battle of the Lys he had returned to his Somme offensive 
and he was getting this in shape when the blow at the Chemin des 
Dames had fallen. Always he remained convinced that he must wrest 
the offensive from his opponent or fall under the succession of enemy 
blows. But until July he had been unable to do more than parry blows 



158 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

which fell too rapidly to give him time to launch a counter-stroke and 
were so heavy as to exhaust his scanty reserves. 

But in July he saw that Ludendorff must attack in Champagne. To be 
sure, Haig thought otherwise and continued to send to Foch statements 
of the reports of his intelligence officers indicating what was a fact, 
testified to again and again by Ludendorff, that the Crown Prince of 
Bavaria was busy at preparations for a new blow between the Oise and 
the Lys. But Petain's reports became clearer and clearer and the 
military situation convinced Foch that Ludendorff had no choice of 
fronts this time. 

Accordingly, Foch set out to build his battle, his ideas being daily 
clarified as the indications of German purpose became more and more 
unmistakable. First of all, since the main German thrust would be 
between Rheims and the Argonne, it was essential to prepare a perfect 
answer to the Hutier tactic. This answer, Foch, Petain, and the 
commander of the French Fourth Army would discover. Then, on the 
assumption that the German would be held between Rheims and the 
Argonne, it was necessary to construct a counter-offensive which would 
overwhelm him in his weakest quarter, namely, between the Aisne and 
the Marne. 

Foch had to insure a successful defence of the Rheims-Argonne 
front and the Rheims-Marne front; this was the foundation of his 
battle. But if these two circumstances were assured, then he could 
view with calm a German push from the bottom of the Marne pocket 
across the river. The more troops the German risked in the bottom of 
the pocket the more danger to him if the sides of the pocket were not 
abolished, if, instead, the neck of the pocket were suddenly narrowed. 
Only it was necessary that the Germans who passed the Marne should 
not be able to reach tpernay and thus break down the Rheims salient. 

Accordingly Foch, in consultation with Petain and Gouraud, ar- 
ranged that at the last moment before the Germans attacked between 
Rheims and the Argonne, the Fourth Army should draw back its main 
forces from all this front, leaving behind them only a small but resolute 
garrison to maintain a series of concrete defences and strong points. 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 159 

Behind this line there would be three or four miles of entirely empty 
territory, then the mass of the French troops would be organized in 
fixed defensive positions. 

Thus, when the German bombardment opened, it would fall upon 
little more than a thin facade of French defence. When the advance 
began it would encounter only the surviving remnant in the first posi- 
tions, who would by wireless telegraph and by rockets signal the start 
and the circumstance of the attack and supply all useful information. 
Meantime the enemy, having broken through this thin outpost line, 
would enter the empty region and there they would be suddenly assailed 
by a storm of French artillery fire quite as destructive as that which had 
been sufficient to smash the troops facing Ludendorff in Picardy, in 
Flanders, and on the Chemin des Dames. Such infantry as survived 
this storm would at last arrive on the French fixed positions, which were 
outside the area of the intense anillery preparation of the German 
tactic and would thus remain unshaken. As for tanks, of which the 
Germans were correctly suspected of having a considerable number, 
they would be disposed of by a series of mines fixed along the routes 
which they must travel. 

This answer to the Hutier method was worked out with exactly the 
same meticulous regard for detail as the German tactic itself. It was 
the result of a study which approximated vivisection and had been 
carried on ceaselessly by the French ever since the first disasters. It 
included a resource for each circumstance in the Hutier tactic, and, as the 
event was to prove, disposed of the tactic once and for all. 

When the German attack east of Rheims had failed, and always 
provided that the defence of the front between Rheims and the Marnc 
had been reasonably successful, and it was organized in the same manner, 
then Foch would be ready to launch his counter-stroke. For this he 
would concentrate in the Forest of Villers-Cotterets a force capable of 
delivering a crushing blow. In constituting this force he turned to the 
Americans for assistance and borrowed for the blow their two finest 
divisions, the 1st and the 2nd, which at Cantigny and Belleau Wood 
had proven that they were actually combat troops. To them he 



i6o HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

would add a number of French shock divisions, including the famous 
Moroccans. This force would be commanded by Mangin, who had 
just come back to favour in the Battle of the Matz, by reason of his 
successful flank attack, but had proven his offensive value in two at- 
tacks at Verdun, which in two days had turned the Germans out of all 
the important gains made in eight months of battle. 

South of Mangin, that is between the Ourcq and the Marne, still 
another army, that of Degoutte, would attack; and in this army, also, 
there were American divisions: the 26th, in Belleau Wood, and the 
3rd, south of the Marne. A portion of the 4th also served in this 
army, but not as a unit. For this thrust Foch amassed not less than 
21 divisions, reckoning each American division as having the numerical 
value of two European divisions, which was the case. In addition he 
reinforced Gouraud both with infantry and artillery and marked other 
troops for use, if the events justified his expectations. 

For the whole operation Foch planned to use British, Italian, 
and American troops, but only two British divisions were actually 
employed, because of the standing threat in Flanders. Still, despite 
the fact that eight American divisions having the value of sixteen 
British or French were employed, together with two Italian and two 
British, the main force actually engaged between the Argonne and 
Villers-Cotterets was French. Moreover, the leading was entirely French, 
because the Allied contingents served under French army commanders. 

In the calculation, the blow of the Tenth Army, Mangin' s, was to be 
decisive. Foch hoped for a surprise. The forest of Villers-Cotterets 
was an admirable cover for a concentration, a cover which proved en- 
tirely adequate, and he borrowed the Hutier device of moving his troops 
up secretly by night. But in addition to surprise, Foch planned to 
employ a new weapon, the small "whippet" tank, which was fast and 
offered no such target as the old unwieldy monster. Nearly three 
hundred and fifty of these had been assembled behind the Tenth Army 
and more than one hundred and fifty behind Degoutte's Sixth Army. 

And for this tank arm a new tactic had been developed. There 
would be no preliminary artillery preparation whatever, since the 



THE PEACE STORM SECOND MARNE 161 

Germans occupied newly taken positions, which they had not been able 
to organize as they had organized the famous lines of the Somme 
and the Hindenburg system. But the tanks, backed by a mighty 
rolling barrage, which would support them all the time, would push 
suddenly forward, followed by the infantry, which would penetrate the 
enemy line through the gaps opened by the tanks and rely upon these 
engines to demolish any strong points and machine-gun nests which did 
not surrender promptly. Artillery and infantry had been trained to 
cooperate with the tank. Above all, the light artillery was pushed for- 
ward with the machines and thus protected them measurably against 
such a destruction as certain German batteries of light artillery had 
achieved at Cambrai. 

On the morning of July I4th a lucky raid by Gouraud's troops 
brought back 127 prisoners, from whom it was learned that the German 
attack would begin at one o'clock the following morning. Therefore, 
every step was taken in accordance with plans. The first phase of the 
Second Marne was now to open. If Ludendorff's plans were success- 
fully carried out, the Germans would reach and pass the Marne from 
Chalons to Chateau-Thierry and at the same time still further extend 
the "encirclement" of Paris, by reaching Montmirail and thus drawing a 
curve about the French capital from Montmirail to Montdidier. 

Ludendorff in his memoirs maintains stoutly that after this thrust, 
which was merely to improve his situation between Soissons and Rheims, 
he intended to return to Flanders. He does not talk about any Paris 
drive, but it is not less clear tluit had he succeeded as he had planned, 
Paris would have been necessarily a later objective. Failure in the 
enterprise between the Argonne and Rheims led him to revert to the 
Flanders scheme, but collapse between Soissons and Villers-Cotterets 
quite as promptly recalled him from a future offensive to a present and 
difficult defensive. 

IV. LUDENDORFF LOSES HIS BATTLE 

At one o'clock on the morning of July i6th, three days later than 
Ludendorff had first planned, the German guns were to open the usual 



i62 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

preliminary bombardment on a sixty-mile front from Chateau-Thierry to 
the Argonne. So badly had the secret been kept that even in Paris it 
was known that the decisive struggle was at hand, and the celebration 
of the national holiday had been overshadowed by a sense of what was 
coming. This was the story of Nivelle's misfortune of 1917. Luden- 
dorff was now to pay a penalty as great as Nivelle, and France was to 
have sweet revenge. 

One hour before the German was to open his battle the French guns 
began their overture. Upon the masses of German troops concentrated 
in the forward trenches for their leap forward at the "zero" hour there 
fell suddenly a storm of shell fire which wrought terrible havoc. And as 
far away as Paris the sky was red with the flame of this bombardment, 
while the roar of the guns was clearly heard. The most terrific night of 
the whole war, so all those who lived through it testify. 

Still the German adhered to his programme. His bombardment 
continued for several hours, and then the infantry set out upon ks ad- 
vance. It encountered the line of advanced posts, held by officers and 
men who had accepted death as an inevitable consequence of their 
mission, and met the enemy with no other purpose than to delay him as 
long as possible and make his progress as costly as their time and 
weapons permitted. And as the German wave reached them they 
warned their comrades far behind of the phases of the storm under their 
observation. 

Inevitably the wave submerged the slight barrier, although not all 
the strong points were taken before afternoon, and, having submerged it, 
entered the vacant space beyond, while the vast masses of infantry, 
whose mission it was to exploit the success once the Allied lines were 
passed, swept forward in their turn. The Hutier machine began to 
function with all its accustomed efficiency. 

But almost immediately the German troops came under the storm 
which, from the opposing artillery, swept the vacant area. Appalling 
casualties resulted, while the tanks, advancing in their turn, were 
destroyed by the mines which had been left in their pathway. The 
gigantic blow had been delivered in space; the enemy had been thrown 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 163 

off his balance by the very weight of the blow, which, encountering 
nothing, reacted. 

In the afternoon the German infantry actually reached the French 
fixed positions, in a very few cases penetrated them, but in every in- 
stance was promptly expelled. The next day Gouraud's troops were 
actually able to reoccupy the empty zone, which they had evacuated, at 
certain useful points, notably on the famous Main de Massiges, which 
had been the scene of desperate fighting on September 25, 1915, and the 
succeeding days. Actually a German offensive had been broken on 
exactly the ground which saw Joffre's first tremendous offensive checked 
after far more considerable initial success, in 1915. 

Ludendorff says that he broke off the battle on this front on the 
second day, July i6th. He conceals the magnitude of his disaster, al- 
though conceding the actual check, by reference to valuable local gains, 
which were, of course, merely the sacrifices of territory incidental to the 
application of the French tactic. After this check he starts off to the north 
to see Crown Prince Rupprecht and launch the long-postponed Flanders 
operation. But he will soon be recalled to more immediate duties. 

This victory of the French Fourth Army of Gouraud,hero of Gallipoli, 
a famous colonial fighter in the days before the present war, is one of the 
far-shining episodes of the war. Gouraud, a fragment of a man muti- 
lated by previous wounds, is one of the war's most striking and impressive 
figures. He will share with Mangin the glory of the final phase of the 
conflict on the French side and fight beside Pershing on the western flank 
of the Argonne in September and October. He will retake Sedan at the 
moment when the curtain of the Armistice falls on the war drama. 

The measure of the general and of the man is discoverable in the 
order of the day issued to his soldiers on July yth and quoted by Babin 
in his account of the battle : 

TO THE FRENCH AND AMERICAN SOLDIERS OF THE FOURTH ARMY: 

We may be attacked at any moment. You know that no defensive battle has ever 
been engaged under more favourable conditions. We are forewarned and on our 
guard. We have been strongly reinforced in infantry and in artillery. 

You will fight on a field which you have transformed by your labour and your 



164 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

tirelessness into a redoubtable fortress. This fortress will be impregnable if all the 
entrances are well guarded. 

The bombardment will be terrible. You will endure it without weakening. The 
assault will be heavy, made in a cloud of smoke, of dust and of gas, but your position 
and your arms are formidable. 

In your breasts beat brave and strong hearts belonging to free men. 

No one will look backward. No one will retire a single step. Everyone will have just 
one thought: to kill many of them up to the moment when they shall have had enough. 

That is why your general tells you that you will break this assault and that it will 
be a glorious day. 

(Signed) GOURAUD. 

The companion piece of the Order of the Day of July i6th the day 
of victory follows: 

In the day of July I5th you broke the effort of fifteen German divisions supported 
by ten others. 

In accordance with their orders they were to reach the Marne in the evening. 
You stopped them exactly where we had decided to fight and win the battle. 

You have a right to be proud, gallant infantrymen and machine gunners of the 
outposts, you who signalled the attack, you aviators who have flown above it, you 
battalions and batteries who have broken it, you staff officers who have so meticulously 
prepared the field of battle. 

It is a heavy blow for the enemy. It is a glorious day for France. 

I count on you to do the same every time that he dares to attack you, and from my 
heart as a soldier I thank you. 

Babin asserts that the Kaiser watched this attack as he had observed 
the German repulse before Nancy four years before, and this is Babin's 
account of what the Emperor saw at the moment when the assault 
began: 

While "storm troops" were arriving before the outpost line, all the wheels behind 
them continued to turn according to the schedule based on the hypothesis of a vic- 
torious march. The barrage rolled rhythmically forward far in advance of the waves 
beating against the dike which resisted them. And the divisions of the second line, 
perfectly sartisfied that those of the first line would carry out their regular advance 
like the point on a dial, were launched behind them at the appointed hour; then the 
automobile convoys, supply wagons, horse batteries, all in columns of march. Our 
artillerymen fired over open sights into that mass pounded it, ground it without 
respite and helter-skelter went the men, the heavy cars, and the horses. No one ever 
saw more beautiful slaughter. At the source of the Ain, on that little knoll which 
General Marchand once liked and called "the Place de 1' Opera," seventy bodies were 
stretched in a confused heap. But it was perhaps in the region of the "mountains" 



THE PEACE STORM SECOND MARNE 165 

which we abandoned at night, in conformity with plans of the command, that the 
carnage was most beautiful of all. One saw "them" appearing over the crests, and where 
no cover concealed them from view at all, then coming down the slopes, magnificent 
targets. " We shoot into the heap," said the gunners. 

The 42nd, the Rainbow Division, had a share in this achievement, 
and Babin says: 

It had the honour of rivalling its French comrades in courage and daring. Its men 
went under fire as if to a football game, in shirt sleeves, rolled up over sinewy biceps. 
In one trench where they worked with our chasseurs one could count sixty bodies in 
less than 750 feet. Ah! the Germans who have seen them at work can't any longer 
doubt that they are here, or even as our soldiers say, " quite a bit here." 

Another American division, the 2nd, will achieve further glory on 
this field some weeks hence, even capturing the hill from which the 
Kaiser saw his machine broken. 

This is Gouraud's Battle of Champagne, a famous battle on famous 
fighting ground. Not far way Attila's hosts were broken. On July 
1 5th, German shells fell in Valmy, also a name that lives. Joffre's 
greatest offensive, that of September 25, 1915, failed gloriously in that 
vacant area where Gouraud smashed the Hutier machine. 

By July 1 6th, Foch's first concern was abolished. His defence on 
the main front of enemy activity had been successful. He could now 
turn to the consideration of his counter-thrust with relative calm. Still 
it was necessary that the line between Rheims and the Marne should 
hold, and here the Germans had been more successful. The French 
lines between Rheims and the Marne were the creation of a few weeks 
as contrasted with nearly four years of effort on Gouraud's front. The 
Hutier tactic, therefore, was more effective, and all through July i6th 
the Germans made some progress west of the Mountain of Rheims, just 
as on July I5th they had made even more material gains. 

But Foch can now reinforce this front from Gouraud's army, which 
has won its battle with little expense in men and is now secure from all 
German attack. By July iyth, Foch's mind is at rest on this second 
point also. The Mountain of Rheims will be held until he has had time 
to launch his own blow, and this blow will recall the Germans from all 



166 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

sides of the Marne salient. The two important elements in his defensive 
have now been accounted for. 

South of the Maine, to be sure, the Germans have made material 
progress. Checked in front of the Americans, the 3rd Division facing 
Chateau-Thierry, they have penetrated beyond the Marne Hills, east of 
the little Surmelin stream. What would under certain circumstances be 
even serious is the fact that the Germans, having won across the Marne, 
are now advancing upon Epernay, astride the Marne, and are rather less 
than seven miles from the town. If they can reach it, then they will, 
after all, reduce the Rheims salient. To this limited objective, the 
German grandiose conception has already been reduced. 

But Foch is bringing up a new army, to reinforce that of Berthelot, 
and De Mitry who led the French troops in Flanders, three months before, 
v/ill soon assume all responsibility for the Germans south of the Marne. 
Foch is able now, also, to reassure Haig. The German effort in the south 
forbids any major enemy effort in the north for a considerable time, 
and the same is true as to the front between the Oise and the Somme. 
The enemy is pinned down now to the Marne sector. Foch can dispose 
of his own reserves as he chooses. 

Wherefore, on July iyth Mangin is warned that he will be expected 
to attack the next morning. Degoutte is similarly advised. The two 
American divisions which are to share in the honour of delivering what 
will be the decisive stroke not merely of the battle but of the war, the 
ist and 2nd, are put in motion; the last of the American troops will 
arrive for the battle only by double-quicking for the last miles. And 
tanks, artillery, shock troops, all, arrive without German discovery. 

A hurried and somewhat confused operation, this attack on the 
Soissons corner necessarily is. Foreseen by Foch weeks in advance, it 
had always to wait upon victory by Gouraud, a successful defence of the 
Mountain of Rheims by Berthelot. General Summerall, commander of 
the ist Division, who presently will have grim and bitter memories of 
this confusion, will continue to marvel at the success issuing from chaos. 

Ludendorff will marvel also. He will have much to say about high 
corn covering the field of fire, of German carelessness and lack of en- 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 167 

trenchments. He declares that he warned his subordinates, that they 
had expected attack, but had looked for it a week earlier and dismissed 
it when it failed to conform to the German time table. But the French 
say that the Germans withdrew several batteries on the eve of the 
attack, which hardly suggests expectation of an offensive ; and when it 
came, the noise of the final preparation silenced by a terrific thunder 
shower, the German army revealed the first authentic sign of crumbling. 
Ludendorff says: 

Our infantry had not stood firm at all points, and in particular the division south- 
west of Soissons, that had been considered so reliable, had given way. The gap 
rapidly widened, especially toward Soissons. 

In the next fc\v days the German strategic situation was to Luden- 
dorff's mind "critical 5 '; and a new attack on Rheims "seemed hopeless." 

V. FOCH BEGINS HIS CAMPAIGN 

On the morning of July i8th Foch, like Joffre on the morning of the 
First Marne, was outnumbered by the enemy in front of him between 
Paris and Verdun. He was not so heavily outnumbered as he had been 
some weeks before. Eight American divisions were at his hands and 
would be used in the fight 200,000 fresh troops of unmistakable combat 
value, of peculiar value in the present form of attack. More than this, 
1,000,000 Americans were in France and more were now arriving at the 
rate of 300,000 a month. He could afford to use his own and the 
British troops without stint because he was building up a reserve which 
would become available when necessary. And before large numbers of 
the Americans were available for combat they were sufficiently good to 
take over the line in quiet sectors and release French and British 
divisions. 

Thus on July i8th Allied conditions were far different from what 
they had been on March 2ist, on April 9th, or even on May 27th. 
Before the month was out Foch would have the advantage of numbers. 
But he had now the even greater advantage provided by his foes' mis- 
takes and his own success in finding an answer to the Hutier tactic. 
His enemy was in a fatally defective position. A huge army, which was 



i68 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

only making unimportant progress south of the Marne, had presented 
him with an open flank between the Marne and the Aisne and par- 
ticularly between the Aisne and the Ourcq. If he could push Mangin 
forward six miles at the Soissons corner of the Marne pocket, he would 
cut the highways, command the railroad, which alone maintained the 
vast host to the southward. Ludendorff would have to quit the Marne 
pocket altogether. 

At the time the world talked glibly about a German Sedan; it 
expected to see all the vast host involved in the pocket enveloped and 
captured. Joffre's strategy had inspired the same hope in the First 
Marne. But in neither case was this possible, because in both instances 
the Germans possessed sufficient numbers to postpone envelopment 
until they were able to extricate their imperilled masses to the south- 
ward. 

Foch was not playing for a Sedan; this was still a matter for the 
future. But he was now taking full advantage of his own labours as far 
back as the Chemin-des-Dames time. He had promptly foreseen the 
value of the Soissons corner, Petain had recognized it even sooner. 
Together both had reinforced De Maud'huy, who had just barely held on 
long enough to permit the Forest of Villers-Cotterets to be retained. 
Thus in the last days of May the victory of July i8th was made possible. 

And between four and five o'clock on the morning of July i8th, 
France and America, the picked troops of both nations, after a brief but 
cyclonic artillery blast, step out between the Ourcq and the Aisne. The 
surprise is complete. Before noon the American ist Division is well 
established on the open plateau within three miles of Soissons. These 
troops would have advanced farther had not the French between them 
and the Aisne been held up in the difficult Missy-aux-Bois ravine. But 
Missy-aux-Bois they hold; south of them the French Moroccans have 
been equally successful; southward again the 2nd Division has done 
marvels, it has reached Vierzy and approached the Soissons-Chateau- 
Thierry highroad, while Allied artillery is bombarding the railway line 
east of Soissons, which is the single rail artery feeding the whole salient. 
The Americans alone have taken 4,000 prisoners. 



THE PEACE STORM SECOND MARNE 



169 




THE SOISSONS CORNER 



Black line shows the front on July i8th between the Aisne and the Marne. Mangin's at- 
tack in which the Americans participated was between the Ourcq and the Aisne. Our ist 
Division took Berzy-le-Sec and our 2nd went beyond Vierzy. 

Before this first rush the German defence collapsed. Ludendorff 
in his memoirs complains bitterly of the failure. To him it is inexplica- 
ble as inexplicable as the collapse of the French and British on the 
Chemin-des-Dames Ridge was to Foch less than two months before. 
Boehn's troops have been as completely overrun as were Cough's in 
March. A French commentator compares the effect produced upon the 
Germans by the tank attack to that produced upon the Romans by the 
first appearance of Hannibal's elephants. In any event, to their check 
to the repulse in Champagne there is now added actual defeat between 
the Aisne and the Marne. 

Following Mangin's attack, Degoutte launches his between the 
Marne and the Ourcq. Here the surprise is less complete, the advance 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

less rapid; still the whole German line retires, and French and American 
troops portions of the 4th Division and the entire Yankee 26th (which, 
with the 42nd, participant in Gouraud's army east of Rheims, ;will be 
the first Guard troops to take part in a major engagement) begin to go 
forward. The whole western side of the Marne pocket is swaying and 
Ludendorff's Soissons corner is cracking. '. 

On July 1 9th Foch attacks all around the sides of the pocket from 
Rheims to the Soissons corner. The armies of Berthelot, De Mitry, 
Degoutte, and Mangin are all engaged. At the east,' on the Rheims 
corner, he tries to repeat his success at the Soissons corner* There he 
undertakes to extend his gains, to clear the whole plateau above Soissons 
and across the tiny Crise brook which enters the Aisne at Soissons itself. 
In a word, from both sides he is trying to narrow the exit of the pocket 
still farther, while occupying all the host still encompassed in it. 

But in this latter phase he will be less successful. Ludendorff has 
heard the news and is hastening back to his headquarters, sending all 
available troops to the scene of the disaster at once. His first concern 
will be to hold back the enemy at the Rheims and Soissons corners. He 
will have to quit the Marne pocket; he realizes this at once; his vital 
railway is under enemy artillery fire. But in order to get his vast accu- 
mulation of men, guns, and material out, he will have to keep the exit as 
wide as possible and instantly check all further attacks about Soissons 
and about Rheims. 

Still on July I9th,and even on July 2Oth,Mangin's troops get forward. 
They reach the Soissons-Chateau-Thierry highway and even pass it. 
The American ist Division takes Berzy-le-Sec, magnificently, before 
its work is completed, and Berzy-le-Sec commands the Crise Valley 
as well as the Soissons-Chateau-Thierry highway. But thenceforward 
the gains will be inconsiderable: the Germans will hold open their 
pocket while they evacuate it. 

And in this retreat the Germans will show the same skill which they 
revealed in the First Marne. Once the sides, the corners of the pocket, 
are assured, they will conduct an orderly retreat first from the south 
bank of the Marne, then behind the Ourcq, finally behind the Vesle, 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 171 

losing relatively few prisoners, surprisingly few guns. Four American 
divisions the 3rd, the 28th, the 32nd, and the 42nd will share 
gloriously in the pursuit in addition to the 4th, 26th, ist, and 2nd, 
which have participated in the opening phases. 

By July 2 ist, however, the strategic consequences of the manoeuvre 
on the Soissons corner are fully foreshadowed. Ludendorff will get his 
beaten armies back behind the Vesle in good order, although he will have 
to call upon the armies in the north for reserves and thus use up the 
resources ' accumulated against a Flanders offensive. To himself he 
concedes that the offensive has been lost (Fochwill call the next tune), 
but on the whole his armies, save for the momentary collapse at the 
Soissons corner on the morning of July i8th, have done well. Nothing 
suggests that he will be unable to maintain a successful defensive. 

The latter phases of the Marne fighting are of little more than 
calendar importance. The Germans recross the Marne on July 2Oth. 
The next day Ludendorff clears Chateau-Thierry; he will empty the 
Chateau-Thierry angle of tbe pocket first, maintaining his hold on the 
other Marne corner to the last possible moment. But by August ist 
he is back behind the Ourcq, in a position which he can hold for some 
time will hold, in bloody and long-continued fighting with American 
divisions. Nevertheless, the pressure at the Soissons corner continues; 
is presently redoubled by a new Mangin thrust, to which Soissons falls 
on August 2nd. Between the Ourcq and the Vesle the enemy again 
quickens his pace. He destroys his ammunition, burns material, and 
pillages and burns villages. By August 4th he is behind the Vesle and 
the Aisne; the Marne pocket is emptied. If he still holds the ground 
between the Aisne and the Vesle, taken on May 27th, it has no further 
offensive value; the defeat on the Chemin des Dames has been liquidated. 

In prisoners the German lost more than 35,000; in guns, above 700. 
The French recovered more than 200 villages and towns, including 
Soissons and Chateau-Thierry, and reopened the Paris-Nancy railway. 
Ludendorff had to throw in a large portion of tlje reserves left to him 
and marked for a Flanders offensive; he was, therefore, at the end 
of his offensive possibilities. He must now accept the defensive role, 



i 7 2 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

which had been accepted by the Allies at the outset of the campaign and 
for four months thereafter imposed upon Foch. His "peace storm" had 
been as unsuccessful as the parade to Paris in 1914. "You will be 
French, as a result of to-day," an Alsatian soldier reports that his Ger- 
man comrades said to him on July i8th. The German army recognized 
that the war had been lost. The German public was not less quick to 
grasp the meaning. As for the Austrian, the Bulgarian, the Turk they 
were likewise informed. 

On the Allied side the appreciation of the meaning of the Second 
Marne was not less general. On August 6th Foch became a marshal of 
France; Petain received the Military Medal; Pershing, the Grand Cross 
of the Legion of Honour. Paris could celebrate a second deliverance 
after a peril even graver than that of 1914, for German artillery had 
expanded its range, and in 1918 Paris was already under bombardment 
and might expect ruin if the Germans were able to approach much 
nearer. 

VI. THE CONSEQUENCES 

Like the First Battle of the Marne, the Second was one of the few 
decisive conflicts in human history. Only the Battle of the Dunajec, 
which destroyed the Russian Empire and opened the pathway to in- 
calculable developments, can be reckoned beside the two Marne 
struggles in the World War. But the Second Marne, quite as much as 
the First, was not a Waterloo or a Sedan; it was, like Joffre's triumph 
four years earlier, a battle of arrest. The enemy had been checked and 
turned back; he had not been crushed or submitted to anything more 
than a local defeat, which did not deprive him of resources sufficient to 
restore the situation. 

The actual parallel for the Second Marne is Napoleon's defeat at 
Leipsic. The struggle of 1918, like that of 1813, was also a Battle of the 
Nations. French, British, American, and Italian troops had shared in 
the struggle, although, of the total, 80 per cent, were French. Leipsic 
achieved the deliverance of Germany; it led directly to the ruin of 
Napoleon, since he failed to make peace after defeat and before his army 
was gravely shaken. 



THE PEACE STORM SECOND MARNE 173 

But it is in the moral consequences of the Second Marne that one is 
most reminded of Leipsic. Ludendorff's defeat on the Marne was the 
most considerable German defeat in the west since September, 1914, and 
it was Ludendorff's first reverse. It was clear, even on the morrow of 
the conflict, that the German soldier had met his master. Amidst all 
the confusion incident to civilian estimates of military affairs, the fact 
was inescapable that Ludendorff had been outgeneralled. 

Nor was the stroke of Foch a matter of happy improvisation. He 
had begun to prepare for the victory in the hour of defeat at the 
Chemin des Dames when he had instantly recognized that Rheims and 
the Soissons corner must be held; and Petain had shared his clarity of 
vision, had indeed taken the first steps to achieve that end. After the 
battle had ended Foch recognized that Ludendorff was involved and 
must direct his next blow on the Marne front. Accordingly, he had 
begun in June to prepare his answer, to organize the Mangin stroke, the 
fame of which filled the world just four weeks later. Joffre had been 
equally clairvoyant in August, 1914, after the early disasters and during 
the great retreat, when he had created Maunoury's army, which on 
September 5th opened the First Marne. 

But having won the First Marne, Joffre was less lucky in the matter 
of reserves than was Foch four years later. His army had been terribly 
exhausted by its early defeats and its superhuman efforts at the Marne. 
His effort to turn the Germans out of France by his operation between 
the Oise and the Somme was transformed into a desperate defensive, 
after the "race to the sea," by the rush of German reserve formations to 
Flanders. Therefore Joffre was unable to exploit his success. 

Foch was going to be more fortunate. The British army, which had 
finished the Battle of the Lys in unmistakably bad shape, had thereafter 
been resting and refitting from May to August. It was now fresh, strong, 
eager to wipe out the bitter memories of Picardy and Flanders. There- 
fore, having gained the initiative at the Marne, Foch would be able to 
employ it at the Somme. The next blow would be his to deliver, his 
would be the right to choose the time, the place, and the character of the 
next operation. It would be for Ludendorff to conform to Foch's ac- 



I 7 4 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

tions, as had Foch been compelled from March to July to conform to 
those of the German. 

By contrast, Ludendorff had failed to accomplish the task set for him. 
It had been beyond his skill, or beyond the strength of the German 
armies under his command, to defeat the British and the French before 
the American masses had arrived and become the decisive factor in the 
contest. Decisive because they enabled Foch first to avoid defeat, 
then to take the offensive, and thereafter to expend British and French 
troops without concern for the diminishing man-power of both because 
all deficits would be made good by the American numbers which were 
pouring over the seas and would continue to pour tor many weeks. He 
could count on a larger American army for the campaign of 1919 than 
Ludendorff could hope to engage in the same campaign. 

Moreover, success had brought him freedom from the last restraint 
coming from soldiers or civilians among the Allied governments and 
armies. His prestige, enhanced in April and early May, had been for a 
moment shaken at the Chemin des Dames, but the victory of the Second 
Marne had reestablished it. He was now to fight with hands as free as 
those of Ludendorff had been in March and April. Unity of command, 
exercised by a man now accepted as a supreme soldier, was becoming one 
of the chief assets of the Allied armies won through disaster, but won 
beyond gainsaying. 

The military events of the four months which separate the launching 
of Ludendorff's blow in Picardy from the delivery of Foch's counter- 
stroke between the Aisne and the Marne remain an open book for all 
future historians; but who, save those who actually lived through the 
terrible period, can ever appreciate the agonies, the fears, and the dis- 
appointed hopes of those months? Who can quite appreciate in the 
abstract the horror of the western nations as they saw one German 
victory after another, perceived Ludendorff's lines inexorably draw 
nearer and nearer to Paris and to Calais, beheld one Allied defence sys- 
tem after another collapse in a fashion and with a swiftness which sug- 
gested that at last the Germans had found the all-sufficing secret of 
victory ? 



THE PEACE STORM-SECOND MARNE 175 

Who also will forget the sound of the bells of victory, which rang 
from sea to sea, from Paris to Melbourne, and in America were heard 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, when the glad message arrived that, 
after four months of defeat, there had been an authentic victory, and the 
defeated German hosts were once more turning their backs to Paris? 
And for Americans there came with joy the consciousness that the 
worst humiliation, become acute in recent months the danger that 
America would arrive too late had been escaped. At the critical hour 
and at the decisive point American troops had fought, shared in the 
charge that won the day by the mere force of their numbers made that 
charge possible by the magnificence of their courage helped to make it 
irresistible. 

Since that far-off hour when the watch announced midnight and the 
taking of Cornwallis, a whole country had known no such joy and pride 
as north and south, east and west were evoked by reports of the 
events of July i8th and the following days. The fall of Richmond had 
been at most a sectional success; the recapture of the Marne salient was, 
in its American phase, the achievement of soldiers of a united nation, 
in which North and South were alike honourably represented. 

But considerable as was the American contribution, the real effort 
and the great glory were French. Destiny had willed that the fate of 
civilization should a second time be decided at the Marne; and, a second 
time, French military genius and the devotion of French soldiers had 
been responsible for the issue of the struggle. 



CHAPTER SIX 

AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY.TO ST. MIHIEL 

I 

THE FIRST DIVISIONS 

The moment has now arrived when it is possible to interrupt the 
narration of the larger events in the campaign, and examine America's 
contribution in the period that extends from the opening attack of 
March 2ist to the final retirement of Ludendorff behind the Vesle where 
he made good his positions for the time being on August 6th. As we si: all 
see, the American part in the war divides itself simply into three periods : 
that between March and August when we fought under French com- 
mand at Cantigny and between the Aisne and the Marne; that between 
August 6th and September I5th when Pershing organized the American 
First Army and led it to battle at St. Mihiel; and, finally, that period be- 
tween St. Mihiel and the Armistice occuoied by the campaign in the 
Meuse-Argonne. 

Between April and August American troops fought exclusively under 
the direction of French commanders, generally in divisional units, but 
not infrequently regiments were intercalated between French units. 
This first period is the period of testing. The achievement of the ist 
Division at Cantigny and of the 2nd at Belleau Wood demonstrated 
the value of American troops as combat elements. As a consequence 
of this demonstration, Foch built his counter-offensive of July i8th 
upon the foundation of American contribution. Had the ist or the 2nd 
failed at Cantigny or Belleau Wood this counter-offensive could not 
have been risked. What eight American divisions did in this counter- 
offensive led directly to the creation of the American First Army. The 
triumph of that army at St. Mihiel satisfied Foch that the war could be 
won in 1918 and persuaded him to undertake the assault on the Hinden- 
burg Line which led directly to the German surrender. 

176 



AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 177 



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AMERICA S FIRST BATTLEFIELD 

Upper arrow indicates Cantigny, where the ist Division fought. The lower arrow indi- 
cates Belleau Wood, where the and fought. The 3rd Division went into action first just 
across the river from Chateau-Thierry. 

When the campaign opened, Allied strategy was comprehended in 
the purpose to hold the Germans in 1918 and, employing American 
masses in 1919, win the war. The first German successes in March and 
April drove the British and French governments to make an almost 
despairing appeal to President Wilson to rush untrained American troops 
to France to fill the gaps in Allied ranks created by enormous losses in 
Picardy and Flanders. The divisions thus hurriedly dispatched to 
Europe did not arrive in time to contribute materially to checking the 
German assault although two which arrived in May were actually 
engaged in detachments on July I5th. By contrast, seven of the eight 
divisions which were in France before the end of March played a con- 
spicuous part in the Second Battle of the Marne, and the eighth, serving 



i 7 8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

as a replacement division, made good the losses in the other seven. To 
put the thing simply, the American troops who were in France when 
LudendorfF began his great offensive lent Foch just the necessary weight 
to turn the tide after the British and French armies had halted the 
flood. But it was the great mass of American troops arriving after May 
ist which enabled Foch to take the offensive on a gigantic scale and get a 
decision in 1918. 

The first American troops to reach France arrived in May and June, 
1917. They consisted of the small contingent which followed Pershing, 
and were sent at the urgent request of Marshal Joffre and Mr. Balfour 
who visited America after the failure of the French offensive of April, 
1917, and convinced the President that the moral effect of even a small 
American contingent would be very great. Substantially all of the 
ist Division was in Europe by June, and on Bastille Day American 
troops took part in the parade of the Allies, which marked the French 
national holiday. Exactly a year later, the ist Division, with other 
American divisions which had arrived subsequently, was preparing 
for the first considerable American action that known to the French 
as the Second Battle of the Marne but described in American official 
documents as the Aisne-Marne. 

It was not until August, 1917, that the 2nd Division followed the ist. 
September saw the arrival of the 26th, the "Yankee" Division; Novem- 
ber brought the 42nd, the "Rainbow"; in December came the 41 st, 
which would serve only as a replacement unit; February brings the 
32nd, Michigan and Wisconsin troops; March sees the arrival of the 
3rd and 5th, both Regular divisions. This is the situation when the cam- 
paign opens : eight American divisions are in France, seven fighting units 
and one replacement division. In April, the time of great stress in 
Flanders, the 77th, the "Liberty" Division, is the only addition. Eight 
active divisions have arrived by May ist. Two more, arriving in May 
the 4th Regular and the 28th, the "Iron" Division, Pennsylvania 
guardsmen will by the very gravity of the crisis in July be drawn into 
the firing line. 

When on March 28th Pershing placed all his scanty resources at 



AMERICA'S SCIENTIFIC CON- 
TRIBUTIONS TO VICTORY 




WITH THE ENGINEERS IN BORDEAUX 



U. S. Official Photo 




THE LARGEST POWDER MILL IN FRANCE 
Docks are shown in the foreground 



U. S. Official Photo 




CONSTRUCTING THE AMERICAN FLYERS' ASSEMBLY PLANT 



U. S. Official Photo 




PLANES FOR AMERICAN FLYERS 
Assembly Plant at Romorantin, France 



U. S. Official Photo 




GETTING READY TO FLY 
Men of the g6th Aero Squadron testing a Lewis machine gun before putting it on a plane 



U. S. Official Photo 




IN A YANKEE AIRDROME IN FRANCE 



U. S. Official Photo 



The Lewis gun shown in this picture is adjustable to any angle, vertical or horizontal, that may be required to 

get a bead upon Boche airmen 




U 6'. Official Photo 

READY TO FIRE 
This picture shows the Browning automatic rifle which was used by the infantry. It weighs 155 pounds 




U. S. Official Photo 



BATTLE PRACTICE 
These machine gunners are not in France, but in the woods near Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Their rifles fire 400 shots a minute 



AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 187 

Foch's disposition they actually amounted to two regular divisions: 
the ist and 2nd, whose training was practically complete, and two 
Guard divisions, the 26th and the 42nd, which were capable of enter- 
ing the line in a quiet sector; four American divisions having the value 
numerically of eight French or German. In April, in the Toul sector, 
the 26th would engage in the first considerable American skirmish at 
Seicheprey, a ruined village in the Woevre Plain which will see Amer- 
ican troops starting out for the first American victory in Europe in the 
following September. This first skirmish is a score for the Germans but 
a credit to the fighting spirit of the Yankees. 

In April, Foch calls upon Pershing for the ist Division. It will go 
into action on the ridge north of Montdidier covering the Paris-Calais 
railway, along the dike where Foch dammed the German flood a few 
weeks before. This is a post of honour, a position which must be held at 
all costs, but the ist Division, Bullard commanding, will do more than 
hold. It goes into line on April 25th; four weeks later it will leave 
its trenches and take Cantigny, a swift and splendid achievement, 
America's real baptism of fire and the first milestone for Pershing's 
army. This is on May 26th, one day before the Chemin-des-Dames 
disaster, and France after the disaster will find solace in the promise of 
Cantigny. Foch, observing the ist Division at Cantigny, will dare to 
entrust the 2nd with an even more considerable responsibility at 
Belleau Wood five days later. Even the 3rd, which has never yet had 
even its practice period in the trenches, will be rushed to Chateau- 
Thierry Ludendorff compelling at the same hour. 

As for the 26th and the 42nd, the former in this April crisis re- 
lieved the ist in the Toul sector, freeing it for the Cantigny task; the 
42nd relieved two French divisions in the Vosges, whither the 32nd will 
go to free other French divisions, while the 77th and the 28th will settle 
behind the British, potential reserves if Ludendorff should attack again 
in the north. Thither will go many more divisions in the next months 
aiding Haig mightily in his task of refitting and rebuilding his army. 

Cantigny was a slight but promising experiment; a far severer test 
was now to come. 



i88 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

II. BELLEAU AND CHATEAU-THIERRY 

On Decoration Day, May 3Oth, the 2nd Division was in billets 
south of Beauvais and under orders to proceed to the Somme area and 
take over a portion of the front adjoining the ist Division. This is the 
fourth day of the German offensive on the Chemin des Dames and the 
Germans already have reached the Marne. Later in the day the orders 
are changed and the 2nd is ordered to the Marne area by way of 
Meaux infantry to march, artillery to follow by rail. 

The line of march will cross the battlefield of the First Marne. As the 
troops approach the Ourcq they encounter the lamentable tide of 
refugees, the hundreds and even thousands of women and children 
fleeing before the invader. They also meet the debris of the French 
divisions retiring after defeat the stragglers and the fugitives, for most 
of the survivors of the disaster are still fighting. The Americans, of- 
ficers and men, have the impression of those who saw the similar exodus 
from Verdun in the first hours of the attack of 1916 and of others who 
witnessed the flight from the Somme area after the British lines col- 
lapsed in March, 1918. The roads are jammed, there is a confusion of 
orders. Harbord, commanding the Marines, will halt his troops along 
the highway, he will sleep in May-en-Multien, a place frequently men- 
tioned in the days of the First Marne. 

In June, the Marine brigade will reach Montreuil-aux-Lions on the 
Paris-Metz road, a dozen miles west of Chateau-Thierry. One infantry 
regiment, the 23rd, will be detached to stop a gap in the French line 
farther north; the other is on its way. Bundy commands the division, 
Harbord the Marines; the latter will get the division as a result of the pres- 
ent operation. The expectation is that the men will rest from their forced 
marches, but at one o'clock in the afternoon General Degoutte, com- 
manding the French corps in this region, sends an urgent appeal for help 
and the 6th Marines presently move out and take a position astride 
the Paris-Metz highway and near Clarembaut Woods. The village of 
Vaux is just under the forward slope, before them, but no American 
soldier will get there until July. The 6th Machine Gun Battalion will 



AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 189 

be in action on this day; will do good service; but the French are still in 
line ahead and Harbord is in reserve. 

In the following days the whole division gets up and into position 
the Marines north of the road, the infantry regiments south. The 
French retire upon the Americans and then through them, withdrawn 
from the sector on June 4th, on which day the 2nd Division faces the 
Germans. Their line extends northward from the national highway and 
then bends westward; it encircles the little village of Lucy-le-Bocage, 
henceforth the centre of the American sector. 

Stretching before the larger portion of the American front is the 
Bois de Belleau, a considerable area of dense woods, which extends 
from the little brook just east of Lucy-le-Bocage northward to the high- 
way coming east from Torcy and forking just outside of the village of 
Belleau. Beyond the fork one branch climbs the hills east of Belleau 
Wood and continues to Chateau-Thierry, the other turns south and 
runs along the eastern edge of the woods through the village of Bou- 
resches and joins the Paris-Metz highway at Vaux. These two roads 
fairly outline the extreme of American advance in the following days; 
from Lucy-le-Bocage to Bouresches is less than two miles by the road 
which follows the brook on the southern edge of the forest. The first 
Marines to fall are buried where this road crosses the brook a thousand 
yards east of Lucy. 

The Belleau Wood area constitutes a tangle of hills and under- 
growth which the 26th, the New England Division, will find reminis- 
cent of their home country, when at last they take over this sector 
from the 2nd. The western slope, facing the Marines, is gradual, 
the first portion open, compelling the assailants to move under direct 
observation and thus to suffer heavy losses. The highest point of the 
wood is in the northeast corner, looking over the ruined village of 
Belleau and the cross roads, and crowned by a little stone tower. 

For machine-gun cover no more satisfactory circumstances could 
be imagined, and in among the ledges and rocks the Germans will dig 
many curious and clever protecting "fox holes," but they will have no 
real treach system. From the hills to the eastward, hills dominating 



I 9 o HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

the whole surrounding country, they will be supported presently by 
heavy artillery. Belleau Wood is actually an advanced position, useful 
as a cover if the offensive is to be resumed, but accepted by the Germans 
as the natural limit to their advance begun on May 27th and now end- 
ing as a consequence of the exhaustion of the troops and the difficulties 
of getting up supplies, guns, and munitions. 

But the Marines do not accept it as the limit of their own front, 
and on June 6th, at daylight, that is on the second day of their exclusive 
occupation of this front, they attack. Their objective is the whole of 
Belleau Wood and their front and that of the French troops north and 
west of them is outlined by the road coming from Torcy and forking at 
Belleau, together with the branch which goes south to Bouresches. 

The attack is by no means a complete success. The village of Bour- 
esches is taken and the southwest corner of the woods is penetrated. 
Thereafter it becomes a matter of hacking one's way through the forest. 
The losses are heavy, the gains restricted but continuous, while the Ger- 
mans are compelled to reinforce their troops. The contest has no more 
than local importance; there is no larger strategic purpose served by the 
capture of the whole area; but since American soldiers are engaged in their 
second offensive, it is a matter of pride for the Germans to check it. 

But check it they cannot. On June 25th, three weeks after they 
relieved the French, the 2nd Division, with the Marine Brigade assigned 
to the task, has the whole of the forest, while a few days later the 
9th Infantry takes Vaux, after a very brilliant little affair, marked by 
splendid artillery preparation superintended by a former resident of 
Vaux, who knew both the surface and the subsurface of the village. 
Before the middle of July the 2nd Division can surrender its front to the 
New England troops. It has done its work well; it has advanced on 
its whole front; it has confirmed the impression created by the 1st Divi- 
sion at Cantigny, after a far ruder test. At least two American divisions 
may be reckoned as shock troops; even the Germans, in a captured 
comment, concede this. And it would be a mistake to overlook the part 
of the 9th and 23rd Infantry. The glory has gone to the Marines, but 
the infantry did its equal share. 



AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 191 

For this achievement the 2nd Division paid heavily. Forty-eight 
officers and 1,176 men were killed, 196 officers and 4,879 men were 
wounded, 17 officers and 1,528 men missing. The total casualties were 
285 officers and 7,585 men, 7,860 of all ranks, materially more than the 
traditional 25 per cent, loss, which was reckoned the maximum to be 
demanded of any unit before it must be withdrawn. And it was with- 
drawn on July loth, only to be thrown into another battle, where it 
would suffer further heavy losses. In revenge the 2nd took 1,654 
prisoners and 24 guns and it advanced several miles along its whole 
front. Belleau Wood, a skirmish in the World War, was for the 
United States the biggest battle since Appomattox and the most con- 
siderable engagement American troops had ever had with a foreign 
enemy. Not in the Revolution, the Mexican War, or the Spanish 
conflict had as many soldiers participated in a single engagement. 

It remains to mention the service of the 3rd Division. It had been 
occupying an area south of the Marne and had not yet been subjected 
to its test of trench-training when, on May 29th, it was warned to move 
north to the Marne. Its 7th Machine Gun Battalion, which was 
motorized, arrived opposite Chateau-Thierry at the moment the Marines 
went into line on the Paris-Metz highway. But at Chateau-Thierry 
the emergency was greater, and in the following hours the detachment of 
the 3rd Division contributed, probably decisively, to checking the Ger- 
man rush at the river, holding the south bank while the French infantry 
retired. It was a splendid service. 

In the next days the infantry arrived; certain elements were used 
to aid the French in their unsuccessful effort to hold Hill 204, north 
of the river, and then the 3rd went into line south of the river facing 
Chateau-Thierry, extending as far east as the mouth of the little 
Surmelin stream, which comes down from the south. On this new 
front they would presently be heard from and they would have a role 
in both phases of the Second Marne. 

Still the glory of the June fighting rests with the 2nd Division. 
To claim for it that it saved Paris seems extravagant, despite the fact 
that its sector lay across the Paris-Metz highway, for almost as it went 



192 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

into line the German advance had reached its inevitable term, because 
the effort to break the Soissons corner had failed. Its real achievement 
was its offensive, the taking of Belleau Wood, still surrounded a year 
later by a circle of military cemeteries, testifying to the cost of the 
victory. 

Th following is the tribute contained in a German bulletin: 

The Second Division must be reckoned a very good one and may even, perhaps, 
be counted as a storm unit. The different attacks on Belleau Wood were carried out 
with bravery and dash. The moral effect of our gunfire cannot seriously impede the 
advance of the American infantry. The American nerves are not yet worn out. 
They lack only training to become formidable adversaries. The men are in fine 
spirits and are filled with na'ive assurance. The words of a prisoner are characteristic 
"WE KILL OR GET KILLED." 

From the enemy this is the highest praise conceivable. 

III. AISNE-MARNE 

The fighting from July i$th to August 6th the Second Battle of the 
Marne for the French and British, the Aisne-Marne in American official 
reports saw engaged eight American divisions, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 
4th Regular and the 26th, 28th, 32nd, and 42nd Guard divisions. The 
ist and 2nd fought as a corps under the command of Bullard, but 
actually as units of Mangin's army. In the first phase during the 
German attack, the 3rd with a fraction of the 28th was engaged south 
of the Marne; the 42nd, in Gouraud's army east of Rheims. On July 
1 8th, the ist and 2nd attacked with Mangin's army south of Sois- 
sons, the 26th with Degoutte's army north of Chateau-Thierry. 
After the German retreat began the 26th, 3rd, 32nd, and 42nd 
figured conspicuously in the pursuit; the 28th was in action for two 
glorious days on the Ourcq; and the 4th rendered brilliant service be- 
tween the Ourcq and the Vesle. At the close of the battle, the 7yth 
relieved the 4th and the 28th, the 32nd at the Vesle, and the 3rd reap- 
peared briefly at Fismes. 

The service of the ist and 2nd at the Soissons corner was an 
essential circumstance in the great battle which has already been de- 
scribed. It is one of the finest pages in American military history as it 



AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 193 

was a decisive factor in the battle itself. Other divisions won deserved 
glory afterward, but the achievement of the ist and 2nd remains 
preeminent both because of the actual deeds done and because as 
pioneer units they established the value of the American army in 
France. Every man who fought in these two divisions from April 25th 
to July 2Oth realized that America was on trial, and more than all else, 
this explains the devotion and the fortitude disclosed at Cantigny, 
Belleau Wood, and the Soissons corner. 

Briefly, now, we may review the services of the other six divisions 
in the Aisne-Marne engagement. In Chateau-Thierry the services of 
the machine gunners of the 3rd, on the last days of the Ludendorff drive, 
will never be forgotten. Sweeping the bridge over the Marne facing 
the quay, on which the statue of La Fontaine, the fabulist, native of 
Chateau-Thierry, looked out placidly upon the scene of destruction 
they covered the French retreat, held on when the Germans mounted 
a machine gun in the clock face of a tower commanding the main street 
Avenue du Marechal Petain, now and poured down upon them a stream 
of lead. "One of the finest feats in the whole war," Babin says at the 
time. 

Even more distinguished was the performance on July i$th, when the 
Germans crossed the Marne east of Chateau-Thierry and, in the bend 
of the Surmelin, assailed the 38th Regiment on front and flank. But 
even thus assailed, the men of the 3rd held on, fought back, broke the 
attack, and resumed their original front not a German left south of 
the Marne in their area, save for 600 prisoners. Of this deed of the 
38th, Pershing, chary of praise, wrote: 

On this occasion a single regiment of the Third Division wrote one of the most 
brilliant pages in our military annals. 

Of the milit'a divisions, the 26th, attacking on July i8th, stormed 
the villages of Torcy and Belleau, swept the heights, crowned by 
Gonetrie Farm, from which German artillery had pounded the Ma- 
rines in Belleau Wood. Halted a moment by the check adminis- 
tered to the French on their left, they resumed the advance, pressed 
through Epieds, reached the Bois de Chatelet, in whose thickets the 



194 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 




THE RETREAT TO THE VESLE 



Dotted line shows the Marne salient on July i8th. Solid black indicates the German lines 

in the last days of July 



Germans had hidden another Grosse Bertha almost ready to open on 
Paris. 

Even more fortunate were the 32nd and the 42nd, the latter brought 
round from Gouraud's front. At the crossing of the Ourcq, about the 
villages of Scringes, Sergy, and Cierges, they crossed bayonets with 
Prussian and Bavarian Guard troops, militia against elite, literally 
crossed bayonets. One village was taken and retaken nine times. But 
the National Guard broke the Prussian Guard and pushed on. This 
region is dotted with American graveyards, testifying to the bitterness 
of the battle. And the 4th, relieving the 42nd, pushed the pursuit 
through the forests of the Nesles and Dole, actually forced the passage 
of the Vesle at Bazoches, where many of their comrades sleep on the 
field of achievement. 






THE WAR IN THE AIR 



By C. R. W. N 



AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 197 

This phase is significant, too, as the time of the testing of the sec- 
ond line, the militia. The ist, 2nd, 3rd, were Regulars; one might 
expect much of them, but their numbers were scanty. First, before 
the grand march began, one must know of the new troops, the civilian- 
soldiers, what they could do. The answer was had at the passage of the 
Ourcq, also a memorable day in American history. 

This July fighting, moreover, removes the last argument urged by 
Foch and Petain against the creation of an American army. A review 
of that long debate would be sterile now. In the beginning all Allied 
commanders felt the emergency too great for an experiment. Pershing 
was not convinced but yielded to the logic of events. Our men served 
under French officers in the time when the task was to check and turn 
the flood, but by the close of the Aisne-Marne the German check had 
become absolute. The time had come for the British army to pass to 
the offensive and Pershing would have time to organize an army. More- 
over, the prize for which he had long contended had been won for Persh- 
ing by his soldiers; the second milestone was passed. 

More American soldiers had fought in the Aisne-Marne battle than 
in any previous army in the history of the United States. Rather more 
than 175,000 were engaged, a number in excess of the armies of Lee and 
Meade combined at Gettysburg; and the losses, approximately 45,000, 
were about those of Lee and Meade together in the great struggle of 
fifty-five years before. In the battle American divisions captured 9,000 
prisoners and 138 guns. 

The heaviest loss was that of the ist Division, 7,870, while it also 
led in the number of prisoners taken, 3,500. The losses of the 2nd 
amounted to 3,792 for twenty-four hours of action, but it took 3,000 
prisoners and 75 guns against 63 for the ist. Between June ist when 
it went into action at Belleau Wood and July I9th when it went out 
of action at Vierzy, the 2nd Division had suffered casualties amount- 
ing to 12,000, just short of 50 per cent., but it had taken 4,700 German 
prisoners and nearly a hundred guns. The 3rd between June ist and 
July 30th lost 7,966 and captured 8 officers and 1,112 men. The 4th 
between July I7th and August I2th had total casualties amounting to 



198 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

6,154. Thus between April and the first days of August, four Regular 
divisions with a nominal strength of 108,000 had suffered a loss of 
36,000, a full third. 

Of the militia divisions the 26th had lost 5,300; the 32nd, 4,770; and 
the 42nd, between July 25th and August 4th, 5,500. Serving with 
Mangin's army between August 28th and September 3rd, the 32nd 
would take Juvigny and 1,000 prisoners with a loss of 3,819. These 
were all very severe losses for militia units still in the training stage. 
By the close of the Aisne-Marne operation Pershing's army had suf- 
fered considerably more than 50,000 casualties, but it had taken more 
than 10,000 prisoners and more than 150 guns. 

Meantime, American divisions had begun to flow to Europe in im- 
pressive numbers. Before May 1st, nine had come in all; in May, nine 
more arrived; in June, seven; in July, four; in August, six; in September, 
four; in October, three. Such is the amazing record. By the end of 
October, 42 divisions had arrived, 33 of them between April and Novem- 
ber. This represented, roughly speaking, a total of 1,200,000 men, 
and 29 of the 42 divisions got into action. These 29 had a numerical 
strength equal to that of the 58 divisions under Haig's command when 
the Battle of Picardy opened. On Armistice Day, Pershing com- 
manded more troops than Haig and held a longer stretch of line. 

With August the scene shifted to Chaumont, American General 
Headquarters henceforth, as Montreuil was the British and Chantilly 
had been the French. The greatest experiment in military history was 
now to be undertaken, an American army was to be organized on a 
European scale and would fight its first battle five weeks after the close 
of the Aisne-Marne operation. 

One day before Ludendorff attacked in Champagne on July I4th, 
in the very heart of what was then the Marne salient, Quentin Roose- 
velt, flying over the enemy lines, seeking information of the coming 
attack, was brought down to his death near the little village of Chamery. 
His grave is upon a gentle eminence, overlooking the road by which 
the Wisconsin and Michigan troops, having taken Cierges, would come 
charging up a few weeks later. A country which had known the 



AMERICA FROM CANTIGNY TO ST. MIHIEL 199 

soldier as a boy, when his father was President, and his youthful 
pranks had nationwide currency, was moved by this willing sacrifice, 
and turned a sympathetic glance toward the great American whose day 
was already drawing to a close, but whose spirit was flaming forth in 
France wherever American soldiers fought. 

One further circumstance. When our troops went into action at 
Cantigny, Europe friend and foe alike waited with the phrase, "too 
proud too fight" still fixed in mind. The German had said we would not 
come ; he had proclaimed that we would not fight. The men of the first 
eight divisions knew this : and, knowing, answered what was at once an 
insult and a challenge. 

The fact that the Battle of St. Mihiel was fought under an American 
commander and by an almost exclusively American army has contributed 
to divert attention from the Aisne-Marne operation, but the truth 
is that the Aisne-Marne was an infinitely severer conflict. American 
casualties of 45,000 in it, as contrasted with 7,000 in the St. Mihiel 
attack, supply an accurate standard of measurement. Moreover, in 
July the situation was still far from that of September, and whatever 
estimate America places upon its three major engagements, there is 
little reason to doubt that our European associates will continue to 
regard the Aisne-Marne effort as not only the most hopeful to the com- 
mon cause but in many ways the most remarkable American per- 
formance. And however men may debate the particular sector in which 
the war was won and British, French, and American critics may be 
pardoned their differences on this score it is not less clear, beyond 
all debate, that the war was lost in the Marne salient lost in the early 
morning hours of July i8th. By contrast the events in the St. Mihiel 
salient were no more than a " side show, " and the far more significant 
drama between the Meuse and the Argonne only a circumstance in the 
exploitation of the victory obtained between the Aisne and the Marne. 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

FOCH MANOEUVRES 

I 
THE NEW STRATEGY 

Between July 1 8th, when he regained the initiative, and November 
nth, when the enemy surrendered on his terms, Foch sought three 
definite ends. In the fighting between the Marne and the Vesle he 
undertook to exact from Ludendorff the highest possible price for the 
German commander's miscalculations and subsequent defeat. He 
knew that Ludendorff still possessed sufficient reserves to cover his 
retirement from the Marne salient. But he also recognized that by 
compelling Ludendorff to employ these reserves in getting out of the 
Marne mess he would abolish all chance of a German offensive in 
Flanders and also draw away from the British front, where he meant 
to strike next, Ludendorff's reserves still available there. 

Despite popular belief at the moment, Foch did not expect or 
strive for a grandiose Sedan between Rheims and Soissons. What he 
did aim at and accomplish was the consumption of German reserves, 
and he spared his own troops largely, contenting himself with brief 
strokes at propitious moments. In a measure he left it to American 
troops to get their training while shepherding Ludendorff out of the 
Aisne-Marne area. 

Foch's second operation was the logical extension of the first. He 
undertook to drive the Germans out of all the country west of the 
Hindenburg Line which they had occupied as a consequence of their 
March victory and compel them to retire behind the Hindenburg system. 
But the underlying purpose was so to punish the Germans between their 
August front and that from which they had emerged on March 2ist so 
to use up their reserves that they would be unable to hold these for- 
midable positions when they had reentered them. Foch's reasoning was 

200 



FOCH MANCEUVRES 201 

that the strength of the Hindenburg Line would amount to the strength 
of the men holding it. His conclusion was that if the morale of the men 
had been smashed in the fighting between Montdidier and St. Quentin 
the Hindenburg Line could not be held by the enemy. If, in addition, 
their reserves were consumed in the struggle to defend it, the victory 
was assured. 

In Foch's third step, his final purpose was, patently, to reap the har- 
vest prepared by the preceding efforts. Somewhere along the road which 
the German had now entered, the moment would arrive when, his re- 
serves exhausted, Ludendorff would be helpless to resist the final at- 
tack. The coming of the hour would wait upon the exhaustion of the 
reserves. General Buat, a distinguished lieutenant of Foch and later 
Chief of Staff of the French army, in commenting upon the memoirs of 
Ludendorff has supplied a lucid and brilliant exposition of the French 
strategy which won the war, an exposition contained in the examina- 
tion of the Ludendorff method and the causes of its failure. Thus, 
the General writes, in the last weeks of 1919, when every reason for 
secrecy has disappeared : 

Ludendorff launched heavy attacks upon the French front, but his attempts were 
only made successively and at intervals so widely separated that the effects of the first 
no longer influenced the course of the second. That is to say: French divisions that 
were engaged in repelling the first attempt were capable, after rest and replacement, 
of resisting the second. This is glaring weakness of Ludendorff's method. Luden- 
dorfF himself says: "We have not been able, either in the east or the west, once during 
the whole war, to carry any great break through to its logical conclusion." 

Now the principle which dominates and explains all the successful and futile efforts, 
throughout the war and, as a consequence, cannot too frequently be emphasized 
is that no single attack, however powerful, could lead to anything decisive on the 
western front. The reason is that the railroads and highways are so numerous in 
France as to make it absolutely impossible to prevent Allied reserves, accumulated 
behind the front, from arriving and damming the flood wherever the enemy pene- 
trated our lines. 

The obstacle to decisive victory in France did not lie in the difficulty of achieving 
a break through on an organized front. That was always possible. The trouble 
was in exploiting that break through. Having smashed down the door, it was neces- 
sary to get well into the house. And this explains why, whenever a decision was 
sought, the dangerous adversary was not the man in the trenches, but the army which 
would come at top speed to stop the attack at a greater or less distance from the 
trenches that had been taken. 



202 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

In other words, the first step was necessarily the annihilation or dispersal of the 
enemy reserves and the real break through could only come afterward. And to 
annihilate, disperse, exhaust the enemy reserves there was but one method; namely, 
to make partial attacks at many points and at short intervals, finishing by piling 
them one on top of the other, and, by thus compelling the enemy to keep up re- 
placements and reinforcements, continually, suck in all his available resources. 

These attacks of usury or, better, this process of absorption of the enemy re- 
serves could not lead to a lack of man-power. Aside from other considerations, man 
is a commodity in which neither combatant is likely to be much richer than the other; 
hence the objective sought must be to produce a shortage of material. Economy of 
infantry, prodigality of artillery and other engines of war, prodigality without limit; 
such ought to be the characteristics of these preliminary operations. 

One consequence follows logically. With little infantry one cannot get very far. 
Therefore, without fixing in advance the absolute limits to these attacks for it is 
never wise to leave out the element of luck one should proceed systematically, one 
jump after another, under the protection of artillery, keeping the enemy under con- 
stant threat. 

When, as a consequence of a number of operations of this sort, all the enemy 
reserves have been absorbed on the front, then, only then, the hour for the break 
through has arrived. Then, with absolute certainty a final attack, greater than all 
previous attacks and designed to produce a larger breach, can be launched, provided 
with the maximum of material, better equipped than before with divisions, organized 
in depth. And nothing will check the exploitation of this break through, since noth- 
ing, or next to nothing, is left to the enemy with which to dam the flood. Then no 
expectation can be unwarranted. 

In other words, it is putting the cart before the horse, before you have exhausted or 
absorbed the enemy's reserves. Once LudendorfF put us in just the hole I have de- 
scribed. It was in the beginning of June, 1918, on the single occasion when two Ger- 
man attacks came so close together that, to meet them, we were reduced to a condition 
in which we had no reserve divisions left. If the Germans had been able, at that 
moment, to make an attack anywhere on our front, no man can say what might have 
happened. 

Exactly in the same fashion, at the beginning of November, 1918, we had success- 
fully absorbed all of the German divisions and brought LudendorfF to the edge of that 
precipice over which our attack of November I4th would have tumbled him. 

It is not difficult to believe that LudendorfF didn't understand this style of war- 
fare. Perhaps he couldn't employ it because it requires an enormous equipment of 
artillery, airplanes, tanks, and munitions, which he did not possess. But it is less 
easy to understand why he should have believed that we were incapable of using it in 
our turn. It is harder to understand, for at this time the German front was marked 
by a series of salients which literally begged to be attacked. 

To meet this attack, Buat insists to parry this sort of offensive 
LudendorfFs sole resource was to find new divisions. But there was 
only one way to find the divisions, and this was: to shorten his front. 



FOCH MANOEUVRES 203 

The French general recognizes that such a retreat as was thus forecast 
was a hard thing to order; still, Ludendorff had ordered it in 1917, at the 
time of the Hindenburg Retreat, and in any event it was only French 
territory that was to be surrendered. "When your life is in danger, you 
can't afford to reject any proper means of surviving/' he observes. 
Then he continues: 

Ludendorff should have ordered such a retreat before July I5th. Closing his 
eyes to the real situation, he chose to repeat the experiments of March 2ist and May 
27th, which had turned out badly in the end. Now there are some experiments one 
cannot repeat in the face of an enemy even a little observant, and thus forewarned, 
and get off scot-free. Therefore LudendorfFs new assault not only failed of itself, 
but revealed the utter failure of the German method of headlong attack. His " Peace 
Storm" collapsed miserably on our Champagne Plains. 

Then, the smallest vision of the future ought to have driven Ludendorff to order a 
retreat to a shorter line without a moment's delay. He could still have saved himself, at 
least for a time. But in his proud obstinacy he could not bring himself to do it; and 
in this was his ruin. Gripped on all his fronts by our attacks, he saw his reserves dis- 
appear like snow before the sun. Thenceforth we had him. 

Thus, the real meaning of the operations from August 8th to the middle 
of September must be sought, not on the map, not in the record of 
ground gained, but in the capture of men and guns and in the reports of 
how the Germans fought. Foch's objective is the German machine; he 
will undertake to smash it. If he succeeds, lines and forts are nothing. 

On the morning of August 6th, when the retirement to the Vesle 
terminates, the German army is still a formidable machine. It has 
suffered a sharp reverse, but nothing like Allied defeats in Picardy and 
in Champagne. After initial defeat the retreat has been conducted in 
brilliant fashion, will remain a marvel of efficiency in military annals 
henceforth, and the Germans still hold vast areas of recently conquered 
territory. Their purpose now is to maintain a successful defensive until 
winter terminates the campaign and gives diplomacy a chance. If the 
German army holds out before or behind the Hindenburg Line, German 
diplomats will have much Allied territory to barter with, and after the 
strain of a campaign like that of 1918 Allied publics and Allied states- 
men are hardly likely to stand out for extravagant terms. Germany 
cannot expect now such a peace as she hoped for in March, but the 



204 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

future is not yet dark provided the German army and the German 
people hold out. 

Ludendorff in his comments frequently talks of breaking the Allied 
will for war; Foch must now break the German will for war. He will 
not succeed if, in his forthcoming offensives, he gains restricted areas at 
terrific costs; another Somme, a second campaign like that of Flanders 
in the previous year, will be more likely to exhaust Allied endurance than 
German. Foch has the offensive; he must attack, but his attacks must 
show swift and indubitable successes or the war may end in a draw. 

In solving his problem we shall see that Foch from the outset follows 
a totally different course from that of Ludendorff. The German sought 
to achieve his end by a series of brutal and terrific blows, so heavy that 
between each there had to be a period of rest for the assailant quite as 
much as for the assailed, and in the respite the vanquished regained his 
strength. Foch will give his enemy no respite, his blows will be short 
and sharp. No unit will be exhausted before it is withdrawn, no rest will 
be allowed the enemy. The moment one sector on the front has been 
shaken the next will be attacked. The dislocation will extend in all 
directions, the strain upon enemy reserves will be incessant. German 
High Command will be confused by the rain of blows, but nothing will 
be attempted beyond the possibilities of the situation. 

The intellectual character of Foch's strategy will be disclosed in the 
nicety with which he calculates and the care which he manifests in 
avoiding the immediate pursuit of too remote an end. He is steadily 
striving to reduce the German reserves to that condition in which a 
general attack without limit can succeed, but he is far too wise to risk 
the blow before the preparation is complete. 

In a word; if Foch is to break the Hindenburg Line in October 

if he is to reduce it to impotence in early November he must wear 

the German army out in August and September. What takes place 

between the Avre and the Scheldt will determine the future of the 

Hindenburg Line. 

Thus, in viewing the battles of the next months between the Scarpe 
and the Oise, it is a mistake to lay too much stress upon the confused and 



FOCH MANCEUVRES 205 

bewildering phases, to attach supreme significance to the capture of this 
or that town. The operations, too enormous to be followed exactly, are 
comprehensible only when they are regarded as details in a general 
scheme, in a manoeuvre directed at the reserves rather than the strategic 
centres of the enemy. At Waterloo, Napoleon fought all day to reduce 
Wellington's army to a condition in which it would be helpless to resist 
the Old Guard when at last he put it in, but, failing to accomplish this end, 
he saw the Guard broken by the still-unshaken British and recognized his 
defeat. Foch will be more fortunate, since he will be able to complete 
his preparation before he makes his final attack. His misfortune will be 
that the enemy will surrender before the final blow falls, but the sur- 
render itself will tell the full story. 

II. THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

From the moment when he had been called to command on March 
26th, Foch's mind had always been concentrated upon an offensive from 
the Amiens front which had become a corner of the Somme salient 
wholly comparable with the Soissons corner of the later Marne salient. 
He was preparing for it in April when Ludendorff struck in Flanders, 
he was still considering it when the offensive on the Chemin des Dames 
called his attention to the new danger point. At last, with the victory 
at the Marne achieved, he would be able to carry out his purpose. 

This purpose was to throw Haig's Fourth Army, commanded by 
Rawlinson and in position astride the Somme, against the German line 
where it was weakest, both by reason of the nature of the country and 
because of the insufficiency of German defences hurriedly constructed 
since April. On this plateau a little to the eastward Fayolle had made 
his sweeping advance to the Somme in the opening day of the battle of 
1916, and there was admirable opportunity for employing tanks. An 
advance of ten or a dozen miles here would be almost as fatal to German 
communications in the Somme salient as an advance of half that dis- 
tance had been in the Marne salient, and any considerable advance 
would compel the Germans to empty the bottom of the Somme pocket as 
they had been compelled to evacuate the Chateau-Thierry salient. 



206 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



In the new operation Rawlinson's army would play the part of 

Mangin's in July. 
South of Rawlinson, 
about Montdidier, De- 
beney's French army 
under Haig's com- 
mand would imitate 
the role of Degoutte's 
between the Ourcq 
and the Marne, while 
Humbert's French 
army would follow the 
example of De Mit- 
ry's, clearing the Las- 
signy Heights as De 
Mitry had cleared the 
banks of the Marne. 

Finally, Mangin's 
army between the 
Aisne and the Oise, 
that is at the other 
corner of the salient, 
would have something 
of the mission of 
Berthelot's army on 
the Mountain of 
Rheims. But at the 
Somme, as in the 
Marne operation, the 
decisive thrust would 
be at the northwest 
LudendorfFs 




PICKING LUDENDORFF S POCKETS 



corner. 



Solid black shows ground gained by the Germans between failure at the Somme, 
March2istand July i8th. Diagonal white lines indicate ground v AT 

regained by Foch in his blows at the Marne and the Somme. like that at the Marne, 



FOCH MANOEUVRES 207 

had involved him in an awkward situation, if Foch should gain the initia- 
tive. And Foch, having the initiative, was now going to collect the dam- 
ages. Speaking colloquially, he was now going to "pick the Somme 
pocket" as he had already "picked" the Marne "pocket." The strategy 
would be the same, the earlier stages of the operation identical. But later 
he would expand the Somme operation. 

Rawlinson, who commands the Fourth Army, is one of the "old 
men" of the war. He commanded the "immortal" 7th Division, which 
was almost exterminated in heroic action in the First Battle of Ypres. 
He had led the Fourth Army in all the terrible days of the First Somme. 
Returning to his old field of battle, he would now achieve far greater 
laurels would, with the valuable assistance of two splendid American 
divisions, break the Hindenburg Line at the strongest point a few 
weeks hence. He commanded, in the present battle, thirteen British 
infantry divisions, three cavalry, and a regiment from the American 
33rd Division, which would do valiant service at Chipilly Ridge, north 
of the Somme, before the battle terminated. In front of Rawlinson were 
twenty German divisions, but nothing to compare with the defence 
system he faced on July 1st, two years before. German soldiers had 
lost their enthusiasm for trench digging, and this was a relatively new 
front., 

In the period between April 29th, when Ludendorff made his last 
desperate assault in Flanders, and August 8th, when Rawlinson attacked, 
the British armies had enjoyed a period of profound quiet. They had 
been reinforced from the east; their losses in men and material had been 
made good; and Haig had put his troops through an intensive training, 
aided in this by the presence of American divisions, which acted as a 
potential reserve. The British army of August was a totally different 
thing from that of March or April; it had a new spirit and it had a score 
to settle. Canadian and Australian divisions were among the shock 
troops brought up, Hutier fashion, at the last moment. 

Of the completeness of the surprise of the Germans at Amiens there 
is abundant testimony. The British had prepared a feint to the north, 
and Maurice mentions an amusing detail proof of the way the secret 



208 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

was kept that King Albert, hearing that a "big show" was coming off 
in Flanders, near his own front, indignantly demanded why he had not 
been informed. But as to the nature of the surprise, Ludendorff is the 
all-sufficient witness. And in the surprise, tanks, as at the Marne, are 
to prove a potent factor, the chief factor now and henceforth to 
the end in Allied tactics, infantry and artillery learning closer coordina- 
tion with them in each trial. The disappointment of Cambrai will 
prove fruitful after all, since there the tank was "discovered." 

Quiet as has been the British sector, however, Rawlinson on July 
4th had treated the Australians to a "full-dress rehearsal" of a tank 
attack, whereby the village of Hamel, between Villers-Bretonneux and 
the Somme, was taken in shining fashion a promise of what was to come 
on August 8th and in the first days of the month Ludendorff began to 
draw back both in the Somme and the Flanders salients, and quit the west 
bank of the Ancre, evidently suspecting attack in this region suspecting 
it correctly and there making adequate preparations. Rawlinson will 
make little progress north of the Somme on August 8th. 

Ludendorff reports that he had expected the attack; regrouped the 
armies between Amiens and Noyon the Second, Eighteenth, and 
Ninth; placed them under the command of Boehn, a specialist in re- 
treats, the man who had extricated the beaten troops from the Marne 
pocket in such brilliant fashion. Boehn had not yet taken command. 
Ludendorff had hoped to turn over to him a well-established line. 
Foch would prevent this. 

August 8th was a foggy morning. Nature would give to Haig the 
same advantage she had bestowed upon Ludendorff in March. At day- 
light 2,000 British guns opened on the German front and, as on July i8th, 
the infantry following the tanks went into action with the guns. This 
time the German line collapsed far more quickly than had the British 
Fifth Army on March 2ist. Before noon the British had advanced 
south of the Somme to Framerville; they had captured not only thou- 
sands of prisoners but whole staffs. Buchan relates that the Canadian 
cavalry captured a railroad train on the line near Chaulnes. There was a 
total and almost instantaneous collapse south of the Somme. The vie- 



FOCH MANOEUVRES 209 

tory was not only complete but cheap. One Canadian division in the 
thick of the battle counted only a hundred casualties. 
This date, August 8th, was in Ludendorffs account: 

The black day of the German army in the history of this war. This was the worst 
experience that I had to go through. Six or seven divisions that were quite fairly to 
be described as effective had been completely broken. 

And of the moral effect he says: 

We had to resign ourselves now to the prospect of a continuation of the enemy's 
offensive. Their success had been too easily gained. Their wireless was jubilant, 
and announced and with truth that the morale of the German army was no longer 
what it had been. 

Ludendorff investigates the disaster and finds things he had not 
believed possible in a German army. He learns that whole bodies of his 
men had surrendered to single troopers or isolated squadrons. He 
hears of retreating troops who hailed fresh divisions going into battle 
with the epithet: "Blacklegs!" and the allegation: "You are prolonging 
the war." 

In short, Ludendorff admits it, the Battle of Amiens brought him to 
the conclusion that the war must be ended. It opened his eyes, and he 
discovered later that it opened those of Foch. He even tendered his 
resignation to the Kaiser, who declined it but would accept it some 
weeks later. From the dilemma in which he was now involved Luden- 
dorff had no hope of finding a strategic expedient whereby to turn the 
situation to his own advantage. Even in passing, one cannot help con- 
trasting the mood of Ludendorff now with that of Foch after Picardy, 
after Flanders, after the Chemin des Dames. The German commander 
complains of the decline of morale in his army but in his comment 
he discloses the collapse of his own morale. 

To return to the battle: the army of Debeney attacks along the 
Avre an hour after Rawlinson begins astride the Somme. His gains 
are smaller, but the next day Humbert's troops are at work on the 
Lassigny Plateau. On August loth the German troops in Montdidier 
surrender. By August 1 2th Rawlinson's troops have been checked before 
the old Somme defences held by the enemy before July i, 1916. Debe- 



210 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

ney's army is close to Roye ; Humbert's army has partially cleared the 
Lassigny Hills. The German has lost the use of the Roye-Chaulnes 
railway line; the British have captured 22,000 prisoners and more than 
400 guns; Debeney has taken 8,000 more Germans. By a single blow 
30,000 prisoners have been captured, Amiens has been unblocked, the 
Paris-Calais railway has been reopened. 

But these are minor details. Foch has disclosed the crumbling morale 
of the German army. For the first time in the war on the western 
front the German soldier, and by the thousand, has refused to fight. Per- 
haps, after all, even the Hindenburg Line will not avail to halt the victor. 

After the Battle of Amiens, Ludendorff advised his government to 
make peace. To the present writer Marshal Foch once remarked that 
after this day LudendorfFs single resource was an immediate retreat, a 
far-swinging retreat like that of March, 1917. "Had he done that," 
said the Marshal, "he would have made me a great deal of trouble. 
But when he chose instead to go back little by little" and the Marshal 
waved his hand back and forth rapidly " I had him." 

Ludendorff had now to subordinate strategic to political considera- 
tions. Napoleon did the same in 1813 with equally fatal results. 
Napoleon was dominated by his anxiety to preserve his German allies; 
Ludendorff, as he indicates, was equally controlled by his apprehensions 
as to the effect in Vienna, in Sofia, in Constantinople of German de- 
feats and retreats. As early as August 9th Vienna telephoned to know 
the truth. Ludendorff thinks the Battle of Amiens finished Bulgaria. 

The British and French armies north of the Oise were checked by 
August 1 6th. The enemy had reacted strongly; further attacks meant 
additional casualties out of proportion to the profit. Accordingly, 
Foch now pushes Mangin into action between the Oise and the Aisne 
on August 1 8th, and in the next three days Mangin makes a quick 
advance and takes 8,000 prisoners and 200 guns. August 2Oth, date of 
Mangin's greatest progress, is another "black day" for LudendorfT. 
Thus the whole German front from the Somme to the Aisne has been dis- 
located, but all the armies engaged on the Allied side have made their 
advances at small cost have captured 40,000 prisoners and more than 



FOCH MANCEUVRES 



211 



700 guns, and are still ready for action in a few days. This is a beautiful 
illustration of the Foch method, of the use of a series of short, quick 
blows to produce a large result without so exhausting the assailant as to 
compel him to give his adversary a respite. Now Foch is ready to 
expand the front, extend the dislocation, and deliver still another swift 
and painful blow. 

Meantime, August I3th and I4th, while Boehn is painfully stopping 
the gaps between the Somme and the Oise, Ludendorff sees the German 
Chancellor summoned posthaste to Spa, and tells him that "it is no 
longer possible by an offensive to force the enemy to sue for peace. 
Defence alone can hardly achieve the object, and so the determination 
of the war will have to be brought about by diplomacy." This on 
August I4th, not quite a month since the stroke at the Soissons corner, 
the fifth day of Foch's offensive campaign! It is three months, almost 
exactly, before the Armistice, but even now the enemy concedes that he 
cannot win. Foch's campaign is directed to prove that Ludendorff 
must lose. Four years ago, on the day and hour of this Spa Conference, 
Liege was falling memorable anniversary. 

III. THE BATTLE OF BAPAUME 

The next phase of Foch's manoeuvre will cover all the battlefield 
of the First Somme. It will even expand to the southern half of the 
battlefield of Arras. Foch is going to expand the area of dislocation. 
The Germans have taken root on their old Somme positions between 
the Somme and the Oise. Foch will turn them out of this position by a 
flank thrust from the north. First, Byng's army the part of it north 
of the bend of the Ancre in the region where Haig's troops were so 
badly punished between Serre and Gommecourt on July i, 1916 
will advance toward Bapaume and the high ground about it. Two 
years before, Haig had struck upward over the famous ridge from Albert, 
and could not get from Ovillers to Bapaume in six months. Byng will 
get there shortly. When Bapaume has fallen the Gerrrans between 
the Somme and the Oise will be in danger; if Byng gets beyond Bapaume 
they will have to retire. 



212 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

But the operation is still more forward-looking. On March 2ist, 
LudendorfFs advance north of the Somme was to have been his principal 
effort, the ground being favourable. Now, with the fall of the old 
Somme line, he will try to stand behind the Somme from Peronne to 
Ham, and thence to the Oise behind the Crozat Canal the barrier that 
Gough could not maintain in March. North of Peronne he will try to 
hold the line of the Tortille brook, but if Byng passes the Tortille he will 
turn the Somme line and Ludendorff will find no other way-station west 
of the Hindenburg Line. 

August 2ist, just as Mangin's thrust between the Oise and the Aisne 
is slowing down, Byng steps out, advances until he reaches the Arras- 
Albert railroad at Moyenneville a moderate gain made by severe fight- 
ing, but it releases the left flank of Rawlinson's army which the next 
day takes Albert and occupies between the An ere and the Somme 
substantially the line of July I, 1916. August- 23rd, Byng's troops do 
better and cross the Arras-Bapaume highway. August 24th, Rawlinson 
and Byng both move straight across the old Somme battlefield. Byng 
closes in on Bapaume; Rawlinson takes all of the famous ridge where 
Haig fought from July to September, and, south of the river, commences 
to push in on the old Somme line. The pressure at the north begins to 
alarm Boehn, who retires from Lassigny on the 2ist and clears Roye, 
on Debeney's front, on the 2yth. Two days later Byng is in Bapaume 
and Rawlinson retakes Combles, a name memorable from the Somme 
days. 

August 3 ist the Australians make a sudden dash forward and take 
Mont St. Quentin looking down on Peronne. The next day they take 
Peronne. Ludendorff will not be able to halt on the Peronne-Ham line. 
One of the finest exploits of the war was this taking of Mont St. Quentin, 
and on this same day, September ist, Byng and Rawlinson emerge at 
the eastern side of the old Somme battlefield. They have covered in 
twelve days the distance which it took Haig from July to March to 
traverse in the First Somme operation. 

But already there has been a new extension of front. On August 
26th, Home's First Army, last in action at the Battle of the Lys in April, 



FOCH MANOEUVRES 



213 



thrusts forward on either side of the Scarpe eastward of Arras, re- 
covers all the ground 
taken in April and 
May, 1917, and sur- 
rendered in the face of 
Ludendorff's attack in 
March of the current 
year, and begins to 
approach the famous 
Dro court -Queant 
"switch" line, before 
which Ludendorff ral- 
lied his troops after 
the first terrible days 
of April, 1917. 

By September 1st, 
the date when the 
Australians made their 
brilliant dash, Foch 
could make his first 
report. Between July 
1 5th and September 
ist his armies had 
taken 128,302 prison- 
ers, 2,069 guns, 3,783 
machine guns. Sep- 
tember ist is Austra- 
lia's day; September 
2nd is Canada's. On 
this day Home 's right 
wing, two Canadian 
divisions ahead, go BACK TO THE HINDENBURG LINE 

Straight through the Solid black shows what was left of the Ludendorff gains in 
i the first week of September. Diagonal lines indicate territory 

line, regained by the Allies between July i8th and September 2nd. 




2i4 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

one of the most astonishing achievements of the campaign. Here 
at last the British have to do, not with the hastily constructed 
lines of recent weeks, but with a solid system established and 
worked over several years. Foch, analyzing this incident, will 
begin to perceive that the Hindenburg Line may be broken after 
all. This feat of Home's Canadians is an authentic sign for the 
future. It has been clear for days that the Germans could no longer 
fight in the open nor long hold improvised defences. The Austra- 
lians at Mont St. Quentin showed that the Germans could no 
longer defend positions naturally strong, and the Canadians at Drocourt 
demonstrate that they cannot retain fixed works. Foch's manoeuvre 
is bearing fruit; Home's operation alone nets 16,000 prisoners and 
200 guns. By the end of the first week in September, Ludendorfl 
is drawing in to the Hindenburg Line. At the same time he quits 
the Vesle and the Lys, the 77th Division will pursue from the Vesle 
to the Aisne, the 27th will reoccupy Kemmel two New York 
divisions for whom far greater distinction is at hand. September 
loth, Ludendorff is substantially in the position from which he 
launched his great attack of March 2ist, but the army which has re- 
turned to its fortress is something far different from the host which 
emerged in the springtime. In a single month it has lost 100,000 pris- 
oners, been defeated in ten battles surpassing Gravelotte in magnitude. 
Its reserves are failing, the ceaseless and terrible strain has done its 
work, the dislocation of the German front has extended from Rheims to 
Ypres. Before he closes his manoeuvre, his preparation for the final bat- 
tle, Foch will make one more thrust. September I2th America's First 
Army will begin at St. Mihiel. Foch's decision as to an attack upon the 
Hindenburg Line will be made when Pershing's troops have passed their 
final test. 

Meantime, the whole of Foch's strategy lies crystal clear in even the 
most summary examination of the events between July I5th and 
September I4th. In this time he has checked a victorious German army, 
first halted it, then turned it back, and swept it rearward with ever- 
increasing speed. He has produced in two months the moral and the 



FOCH MANCEUVRES 215 

military effect that Ludendorff failed to produce In four. He will do 
nothing new in his final battle. The breaking of the Hindenburg Line is 
only the logical extension of the method of July i8th and the following 
days. The manoeuvre between the Avre and the Hindenburg Line is 
no more than a development and a perfection of the method of the 
Marne salient. 

Looking backward to the Marne we see on July i8th, first the attack 
of Mangin which upsets all the enemy's calculations and imposes upon 
him the necessity of retreat. The same day Degoutte attacks between 
the Ourcq and the Marne, then De Mitry below the Marne, while Berthe- 
lot is pushing west from the Mountain of Rheims. From July i8th to 
August 6th blow after blow, until the "pocket" is empty and Ludendorff 
has saved his divisions but strained his reserves. 

The Marne operation is over August 6th. August 8th Rawlinson 
attacks, Debeney the same day, Humbert the next. All three exploit 
their successes until the i6th. Two days later Mangin strikes between 
the Oise and the Aisne. His blow is finished August 2ist, and on the 
same day Byng attacks. The next day Rawlinson resumes while 
Humbert is active again. August 26th, Debeney strikes once more and 
Home comes into action for the first time. September 1st, the Austra- 
lians take Mont St. Quentin, the credit going to Rawlinson's army. The 
next day Home's Canadians take Drocourt. Meantime, between the 
Oise and the Somme, Humbert, Debeney, Rawlinson, are crowding the 
Germans, now retiring in haste because of the menace to the north, and 
Mangin is at work again between the Aisne and the Oise. September 
loth, the Somme salient is liquidated. Two days later Pershing is thrown 
in at St. Mihiel, carrying a new threat after a swift success. 

It is by such a summary of events that Foch's strategy is best ap- 
preciated, that the strain upon the German army and command, and 
above all on German reserves, is most clearly set forth. 

With the method must go the mind to comprehend exactly the 
enemy situation. Moltke was defeated at the Marne in 1914 and Lu- 
dendorff in 1918 because both of them misunderstood the extent of their 
success in the fighting which preceded the decisive engagement; both 



2i6 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

calculated that the enemy was already incapable of reacting, yet each 
time their enemy struck back powerfully and unexpectedly. The greatest 
quality in Foch was his correct appraisal of his opponent's condition. In 
the last days of September his campaign would have been completely 
wrecked if he had suffered a check, but he had succeeded where Moltke 
and Ludendorff had failed, and his foe would fall beneath his stroke. 

"Victory," said Marshal Foch at the end of November, 1918 and 
Requin who quotes this phase adds that Foch was very fond of the 
comparison " Victory is the inclined plane down which the ball rolls, 
very slowly at first, then faster and faster until there is no stopping it." 
September i3th, when he faced the Hindenburg Line, he recognized that 
the stopping point had been passed. 

The narrative of Ludendorff is the most amazing single document in 
this period. His lines are broken, his divisions refuse to fight, panic 
seizes his soldiers when tanks appear, his allies fall away, his own nerve 
crumbles; the German machine, his machine, breaks down utterly, and 
he is to the end unconscious of the explanation. He berates the civil 
authorities, the German people; he scolds everybody and everything; 
but the fact that his army is disintegrating under attacks which he can- 
not foresee, forestall, or parry that his own impotence is at last ap- 
preciated by the German soldier and the German public alike that the 
failure is at the top, he never suspects. Beaten; he ascribes defeat, not 
to the general or the strategy which overwhelms him, but to the short- 
comings of statesmen and civilians. He believes that the German army 
is invincible, and when it is beaten, he does not accept the fact. In 
exactly the same way when he believed the French army was destroyed, 
beaten beyond possible reaction, he followed his conviction to the 
disaster at the Marne. Reading Ludendorff, one perceives why in the 
end Foch must win. "The man is all of one sort," says Buat, "a 
monolith." 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

ST. MIHIEL 

I 
AMERICA'S FIRST ARMY 

In the vast manoeuvre between the German front of August 8th and 
the Hindenburg Line, the Battle of St. Mihiel is the final circumstance. 
Between August 22nd and September 9th, Maurice reports that the 
British, in driving the enemy back over the ground taken in the Battle of 
Picardy, had captured 53,000 prisoners and 470 guns. The French to the 
south had captured not less than 50,000 prisoners while the struggle 
between the Aisne and the Marne in July had resulted in the capture of 
35,000 Germans. From September 9th to September 26th British and 
French armies between the Aisne and the Scarpe were driving the 
Germans from their last advanced positions into the Hindenburg Line 
itself. 

Americans will find in this phase and in the next an admirable 
parallel in the campaign of 1864 in the Civil War. The relation of 
Haig, Petain, and Pershing to Foch accurately reproduces that of 
Sherman, Meade, and Thomas to Grant. Moreover, Americans should 
find an accurate estimate of the value of unified, as contrasted with 
divided, command by comparing the experiences of the Northern 
armies before 1864 with the subsequent progress of events when Grant 
came east and coordinated the operations of the several great armies for 
the first time in the war, and began a sustained attack upon the Con- 
federacy. Between May, 1 864, and the opening of the brief campaign of 
the following year, Grant had prepared his victory as Foch was now 
preparing his. 

In the final phases of the war Pershing's relation to Foch was thus 
the relation of Sherman or of Thomas to Grant, and just as Sherman 

operated in the rear of the main forces of the Confederacy, Pershing was 

217 



2 i8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

now to strike toward the rear and communications of the Germans. 
Had Foch's plans been completely executed, Ludendorff would have 
been caught between Haig and Pershing as Lee and Johnston were 
substantially encircled by the armies of Meade and Sherman in April, 
1865. The geographical details of the two campaigns are very different, 
but the main circumstances are the same, and the strategy of Foch, like 
that of Grant, had always as its main objective the destruction of the 
hostile armies rather than any more limited geographical end. We 
shall see, too, why the armies of Haig and Pershing, like those of 
Meade and of Sherman, will each be convinced that its was the 
"knockout" blow. 

The constitution of the American First Army was finally resolved 
upon while the Second Battle of the Marne was still in progress, although 
Pershing reports that an agreement in principle had been reached as 
early as May I9th when he conferred with Petain over the sector to be 
assigned to the new army; but the disaster of the Chemin des Dames 
postponed the realization of Pershing's dream. The desperate state of 
Allied fortunes from June ist to July i8th compelled Pershing to assent 
to the dispersal of his division amongst French armies, first to check and 
then to turn back the German hordes. 

The Second Marne being won, however, it was plain that the Ger- 
mans had lost the initiative, and on July 24th, at a conference of all the 
Allied commanders, held at Foch's headquarters at Bombom, the decision 
was reached to continue the Allied offensive "emphatically determined," 
says Pershing, and the first American operation was planned against the 
St. Mihiel salient. Scattered American divisions were now to be con- 
centrated and the organization of the American First Army under 
Pershing's personal command was fixed for August loth. 

But as late as August $oth Pershing had to fight for his army. On 
that day Foch came to the headquarters of the new American army at 
Ligny-en-Barrois, De Langle de Gary's headquarters in the First Marne, 
and urged a new dispersal of American divisions among Allied armies as a 
detail in his scheme for a general Allied offensive. This offensive will be 
the final stroke at the Hindenburg Line. September 2nd there is a 



ST. MIHIEL 219 

new conference at Foch's headquarters, with Petain and Pershing both 
present. After further discussion Pershing's contention is established, 
henceforth there will be no further debate over the existence of an 
American army. But now it is agreed that the American army shall 
make only a limited offensive at St. Mihiel and then transfer its activities 
to the Meuse-Argonne. Foch's conception of a general offensive from 
Ypres to Verdun is rapidly taking form. Here already is the skeleton of 
the plan for the grand concentric attack to open on September 26th. 
One detail of this conference worth remembering is noted by Persh- 
ing, who says that not even on this day was there any suggestion from 
any one present that the war could be successfully terminated in the 
current year. But what Home was accomplishing on this very day at 
Drocourt, what Pershing himself would do ten days later, would con- 
vince Foch that the hour had arrived. The same conviction came to 
Grant in the first hours of the campaign of 1865 when Sheridan's success 
at Five Forks at last disclosed the internal crumbling of Lee's army. 

II. THE HISTORY OF THE ST. MIHIEL SALIENT 

The history of the St. Mihiel salient is interesting. Like all salients, 
it represented an incomplete operation. In 1914, after the Marne, the 
Germans had undertaken a double attack upon Verdun, the Crown 
Prince had endeavoured to push south between the Argonne and the 
Meuse and cut the Paris-Chalons-Verdun railway, thus isolating Verdun 
from the west. At the same time an army coming out of Metz had 
pushed up the valley of the little Rupt-de-Mad stream and sought to 
reach the Meuse and cut the Toul-Verdun railway, the only other consid- 
erable rail line into Verdun. Together, these operations were designed to 
isolate Verdun and, ultimately, by joining hands to the south of it, the 
two armies were to envelop and capture it. 

The Crown Prince's expedition was stopped promptly, but the 
operation from Metz reached the Meuse at St. Mihiel and took Fort 
Camp des Remains, the only one of the forts- of the whole eastern dike of 
France destined to be a German captive for any length of time, although 
Douaumont and Vaux were in German hands for most of 1916. The 



220 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Crown Prince also established a bridgehead at Chauvoncourt, across the 
Meuse, and threatened to advance upon Bar-le-Duc and turn the whole 
French system of defences from St. Mihiel northward. But Joffre's 
turning movement in the Santerre, also the scene subsequently of the 
decisive phase of the Battle of Picardy, demanded German attention, 
and operations about St. Mihiel stopped abruptly. 

In the next winter, when their hands were freer, the French at- 
tempted to abolish the salient by an attack at its northern corner, 
not far from the scene of the attack of the 26th Division in the 
American battle. In this operation the French took Les Eparges, but 
were subsequently checked with bitter losses. Les Eparges was long a 
name of evil omen in the French army and was one of the counts in the 
indictment subsequently pressed against Joffre. The next summer, 
Joffre tried again on the other corner, on the heights above Pont-a- 
Mousson on the Moselle, at Bois-le-Pretre, and thence westward to the 
Forest of Apremont, south of St. Mihiel. But again he was checked. 
Such gains as. were acquired in two months of severe fighting were swept 
away in one disastrous July day, and the salient still stood. In the 
Verdun campaign of 1916, the St. Mihiel salient played a great, if passive, 
role. It enabled the Germans to control the Commercy- Verdun rail- 
way and prevented munitioning Verdun by the Meuse Valley road 
and railway. On the other side of Verdun, the German heavy artillery 
commanded the Paris- Verdun railway and Verdun was thus without 
adequate rail communications. It was saved by motor transport, but 
not until the French built a new railway straight up from Bar-le-Duc and 
out of range of German cannon was the situation as to communications 
reestablished. This railway served a useful purpose later, in the 
American campaign in the Meuse-Argonne, and was materially extended. 
The sight of huge American Mogul locomotives operating on this 
remote and commercially insignificant line was one of the amusing 
details of later days. 

The construction of the new line to Verdun reduced the value of the 
St. Mihiel salient to the Germans, but they still cut the main Paris- 
Nancy railway at Commercy by artillery fire and compelled the French 



ST. MIHIEL 221 

to use a detour line by Gondrecourt, which added twenty miles to the 
distance between Paris and Nancy, but served all necessary purposes. 
Since the profit accruing from any operation to pinch out the salient 
between 1916 and the autumn of 1918 would not have been commen- 
surate with the expense, and as the Allies had other uses for their reserves, 
the St. Mihiel salient became a quiet sector, and, on the Woevre side, 
between the Meuse and the Moselle, a training front for American 
troops. 

St. Mihiel itself is a town of just short of ten thousand inhabitants, a 
garrison place of much importance, as witnessed by the many barracks, 
now in ruins at Chauvoncourt, across the Meuse, scene of French repulse 
in the first fighting about St. Mihiel. It has public buildings of some 
note and in the Church of St. tienne there is a chef d 'ceuvre of 
French sculpture, executed in the middle of the Sixteenth Century by 
Ligier Richier, one of the glorious figures of the French Renaissance and 
himself a "Sammiellois"; that is, a native of St. Mihiel. American 
soldiers will also find near the town, after the capture, a huge and 
hideous German cemetery, literally weighing down the side hill with 
its burden of German monstrosities in stone. St. Mihiel had a place 
in history, as the ruins of the Roman camp above it indicate. It 
played a conspicuous part in the French Renaissance, and it is altogether 
an interesting place, as the guide-books testify too charming to remain 
in German hands, aside from all military considerations. But German 
it has been since September, 1914, four long years, and not a few of its 
inhabitants have remained there, compelling the French from the hills 
across the river to desist from all artillery practice. Comparatively 
intact the town was before the battle and it remained in reasonably good 
shape after it. 

III. THE BATTLEFIELD 

While the name "St. Mihiel" has been applied to the contest of 
September I2th, the actual battleground was east and north of the city, 
which fell as a result of operations which did not extend to the immediate 
vicinity of the town itself. To understand the situation it is necessary 



222 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

to grasp the simple topographic circumstances of the region. On the 
east bank of the Meuse southward from Dun-sur-Meuse, soon to appear 
in the reports of another American battle, all the way upstream to 
Commercy, beyond St. Mihiel, the ground slopes upward rapidly to a 
ridge, rarely more than two or three miles from the river at its highest 
point. Beyond the crest the high ground falls away much more 
abruptly to the Plain of the Woe'vre. This ridge, the C6tes-de-Meuse, 
or Heights of the Meuse, in the region about Verdun was the site of the 
famous forts, Vaux and Douaumont, to name the best known, and the 
Germans sought in the great struggle to capture all of these forts. 

The Woe'vre Plain, east of the ridge, extends for thirty or forty 
miles north and south and for approximately twenty due east to the 
Moselle. As it approaches the Moselle, the country begins to rise 
again and dominates that river from another crest, comparable to that 
of the Heights of the Meuse above the Meuse River. This Woe'vre 
Plain is very flat and marshy, filled with little lakes and ponds at the 
southern end, where the Americans attacked ; and across it, from south- 
west to northeast, runs the little Rupt-de-Mad, hardly more than a 
brook, which falls into the Moselle, not many miles south of the outlying 
fortifications of the German stronghold of Metz. 

On the morning of September I2th the German line ran westward 
from the Moselle Hills, north of Pont-a-Mousson hills which were 
heavily wooded straight out across the open Woe'vre Plain until it 
reached the foot of the Meuse Hills at Apremont. At this point it 
turned a little south and reached the Meuse itself, just south of the 
commanding elevation on which stood the old French fort, Camp des 
Remains, which, in turn, occupied the site of a Roman camp. 

Beyond the fort the line turned north, crossed the river in front of 
St. Mihiel, to take in the little peninsula on which was situated the 
ruined town of Chauvoncourt, then recrossed the river and ran north- 
eastward, cutting the Heights of the Meuse diagonally and coming back 
to the Woe'vre Plain east of Les Eparges, the scene of the French opera- 
tion of 1915. Thence the line ran along the foot of the Meuse Hills in 
the Verdun sector. 



ST. MIHIEL 223 

There was thus created a fairly deep and narrow pockei, recalling 
that excavated by the German success at the Chemin des Dames but 
rather deeper, which had at its point, corresponding to Chateau-Thierry 
in the Marne salient, the little town of St. Mihiel. The vulnerable side 
of the salient was that between Apremont and the wooded hills west of 
Pont-a-Mousson, where the country is open and, in the main, level. 
An American advance of a few miles north on this front would cut off all 
the enemy troops to the westward in the nose of the salient, provided they 
did not retreat in time. If the operation were combined with a push 
from the Les Eparges corner, the Germans in the salient would be 
enveloped, exactly as the world incorrectly believed the German Crown 
Prince's hordes had been caught in the hours following Mangin's thrust 
at the Soissons corner of the Marne salient. 

It was not possible to attack the salient from the west, near St. 
Mihiel, owing to the strength of the position on which Fort Camp des 
Remains stands. From this vantage point, the view up and down the 
Meuse Valley is one of the most extensive and impressive on the whole 
battle front. The attack from the Les parges corner could not be 
expected to do more than clear the enemy off the Meuse Heights, for the 
country was very heavily wooded and was to prove, in its difficult 
character, a very fair forecast of what was to come in the Argonne. 

On the east side of the Meuse Hills the enemy had two striking 
vantage points, from which his sweep was almost as good as from Fort 
Camp des Remains. One of his far-reaching views was had from the 
village of Hattonchatel, from the church tower of which the view extends 
over all the plain of the Woevre and as far as the hills in front of 
Metz : the other was from Mont Sec, one of the most interesting and 
important circumstances in the military geography of the region, 
already familiar to all American divisions which had been trained in the 
Toul sector. 

Mont Sec is a detached hill, rising out of the Woevre Plain a mile or 
two east of the Meuse Hills and completely separated from them. It 
was a mile or two inside the German lines, and it surveyed and dominated 
the whole plain; from it observers were able to mark every interesting 



224 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

detail in the life of the Allied troops in the lines to the south. The hill 
had been marvellously "organized'* by the Germans. From the ruined 
village of Mont Sec, just at its foot itself provided with an admirable 
example of the German pill box, where the main street turned a carefully 
built brick sidewalk led back to a series of magnificent cement caves, 
excavated from the side of the mountain, to provide shelter for the 
infantry, and proudly decorated with "iron crosses" worked into the 
masonry. Beyond these, cement steps led to a tunnel driven into the 
heart of the mountain; from this tunnel staircases led up to a number of 
observation posts, from which the Germans could survey the whole 
Woevre Plain. These observation posts were totally invisible to the 
enemy, who could take the air there with full security, except for chance 
shots, and no chance shot seems ever to have molested them. 

Mont Sec could not be taken by direct attack, it was too strong, and 
in Pershing's scheme of things the troops who attacked would attack on 
a front just east of the hill and cover their flank toward it with a smoke 
screen. Actually the 1st Division marched right past the hill, suffer- 
ing severely from its fire and only partially covered by their smoke 
screen; but, once it was passed, Mont Sec fell, like St. Mihiel, because the 
Germans left in it were caught like rats in a trap. 

In Pershing's plan of operations the ist Division, advancing east of 
the Meuse Hills and their outlying spur, Mont Sec, would join hand 
with the 26th Division, coming southeast from the Les Eparges 
Corner, and the meeting place would be the village of Vigneulles, just 
south of the Hattonchatel Hill, which is the highest summit of the whole 
Meuse Heights. Meantime, the rest of Pershing's operative force 
between Pont-a-Mousson and the ist Division front would keep step. 
Thus not only would the St. Mihiel salient be pinched out and the 
Germans encompassed captured when the ist and 26th divisions 
joined hands at Vigneulles, but the front would be pushed out eastward 
toward Metz, beyond the considerable town of Thiaucourt, where the 
Rupt-de-Mad brook assumes the dignity of a river. This new front 
would carry a threat both for Metz and for the Briey iron works and 
mines far to the north. 



ST. MIHIEL 225 

But the main advantages of a successful attack at this point would 
be comprehended in releasing the Verdun-Commercy railway and the 
Paris-Nancy line and establishing solidly the flank which would 
cover the later advance in the Meuse-Argonne. As long as the Germans 
held St. Mihiel they held a threat over any force operating in what was 
still the Verdun salient. Haig had recourse necessarily to a similar 
operation at the Messines Ridge, before he made his attack in Flanders, 
from Ypres north and eastward in 1917. It was Byng's failure to 
establish his left flank toward the Scheldt Canal, in the Cambrai attack 
of 1917, which opened the way for the counter-stroke of Marwitz. Once 
the line of the Meuse Heights was solidly held by the Allies from the 
Verdun forts southward to the Toul area, Pershing could turn his at- 
tention to his operations between the Meuse and the Argonne without 
any misgivings as to flank or rear. 

The secondary purpose was to try out his army. The achievement 
of the 1st and 2nd divisions at Cantigny and Belleau Wood had 
led directly to the Mangin counter-thrust at the Soissons corner and the 
use of eight American divisions in meeting and breaking the last German 
offensive. This performance had persuaded Foch and Petain to consent to 
the organization of an independent American army. On the performance 
of the American army in its first "full-dress show" would depend the 
decision already taking shape in Foch's mind, but opposed by the British 
Government, by Lloyd George, to risk everything in a general offensive 
designed to end the war in 1918. 

Pershing had already demanded for his army the honour of fighting 
in the most difficult of all sectors on the whole operative front, that 
of the Meuse-Argonne. The Battle of St. Mihiel was to demonstrate 
whether his eyes had been beyond his appetite. America now had an 
army of its own, but was the army available for serious work in 1918 ? 
or must the decision be sought in another campaign ? Foch was going 
ahead with his preparations for the general offensive; Pershing and Haig 
had lent valuable support in council; British success in Picardy and 
Artois was disclosing a growing weakness, actual demoralization in the 
German ranks; but the German would still be able to last, if he had only 



226 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



French and British armies to deal with, given their sacrifices and ex- 
ertions in the earlier months of the campaign. St. Mihiel was a final 
examination of the American soldier, of the American machine. Can- 
tigny, Belleau Wood, the Aisne-Marne had been no more than pre- 
liminary tests; the real trial was now to be faced. 

IV. THE ATTACK 

On the night of September nth, Pershing's army was in place. The 
concentration had been made secretly, by night marches; the Hutier 
method was finding Allied application. The German was getting 
anxious about the St. Mihiel salient. He had begun to get his heavy 
guns out, but he was taking his time about it and he had no suspicion of 
the imminence of a major blow. His anxiety was due exclusively to an 




THE BATTLE OF ST. MIHIEL 

Solid black shows Allied territory on September nth. The black line from Verdun to 
Pont-a-Mousson indicates the front reached by the Americans as a result of the victory. Ar- 
rows mark directions of main attack. 



ST. MIHIEL 227 

abstract estimate of the general situation, he was now to have a concrete 
example. 

On the south side of the salient, where the main activity was to be, 
Pershing thus ranged his forces: From the Moselle westward, the First 
Corps, Hunter Liggett commanding, with the 82nd, 9Oth, 5th, and 
2nd in line four divisions, of which only one, the 2nd, is in any sense 
a veteran unit. Its commander will presently lead the American First 
Army, now under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. On the left 
the Fourth Corps, commanded by Dickman, who will also get his 
army presently. This consists of the 89th, 42nd, and 1st, the two 
last-named veteran divisions, and the last looking obliquely at 
Mont Sec. 

Thence all the way round to the northeast corner of the salient are 
French troops, whose mission is merely to occupy the front and pluck 
the fruit when it has ripened. On the corner is the Fifth Corps, George 
H. Cameron in command. It consists of the 26th American, the I5th 
French Colonial, and the 4th American. But only the 26th is 
to participate; its mission will be to get across the mouth of the 
pocket or salient until it meets the 1st Division in the town of Vigneulles. 
Nine American divisions, then, are actually on the front. Only seven 
of them will be called upon for great exertions, but three more are 
in reserve. Counting Americans, then, the force is rather less than 
300,000 strong; with the French and reserve American divisions it 
amounts to 500,000, of which 70,000 are French. It is the greatest 
American army that has yet entered battle; it is the first American army 
to fight in Europe. September I2th is also Pershing's birthday. It 
will be appropriately observed. 

The bombardment which preceded the attack and lasted four hours 
was one of the heaviest on record. Thanks to his allies, Pershing also 
profited by the greatest aviation concentration which had yet been seen 
during the war. A certain number of tanks also participated. At dawn on 
September I2th the American troops crossed the trenches and advanced 
in the open following the rolling barrage of their guns. The Fifth Corps 
did not start until 8 A.M. Dawn the next morning saw the ist and 



228 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

26th in contact in Vigneulles, the honour of actual capture of the town 
going to the "Yankee" Division. The salient had been abolished. 
The line now extended from Les Sparges into the plain, passed 
east of Thiaucourt, and rejoined the Moselle below Pont-a-Mousson. 
All objectives had been reached, many of them passed; there had 
been no serious hitch. 

The prisoners taken on this day numbered 16,000; the guns, 443; 
and in addition a vast accumulation of material. The captures of men 
and cannon are an evidence of the completeness of the surprise. Cer- 
tain Austrian units in the rear were called upon to save their German 
comrades, one of the instances of the use of Austrian s on the western 
front and a new evidence of the mounting exhaustion of German cannon- 
fodder. The total American loss was little more than 7,000, an amaz- 
ingly low price to pay for such a success. Indeed St. Mihiel was one 
of the cheapest victories of any size in the whole war. In any other war 
the capture of 16,000 prisoners and 443 guns would have indicated a 
major disaster for the vanquished. 

But the German still had reserves and he had prepared a line behind 
the salient the Michael Line, on which he stopped, undisturbed, for 
the American objective had been rigidly limited. To be sure, Metz was 
not far distant, our shells were falling on the railroad station. The 
battlefields of Gravelotte and Mars-la-Tour, where the war of 1870 had 
been thrown away by Bazaine, were still nearer, but Pershing was not 
considering Metz; his task lay on the other side of the Meuse and thither 
his troops were soon moving. St. Mihiel was, after all, only a curtain 
raiser, but it had convinced the audience, the examination had been 
triumphantly passed. Foch could count on American assistance if he 
should decide to seek victory in the current campaign. And his decision 
was made. Two months lacking a day after St. Mihiel, Germany 
would surrender. 

Our three battlefields in Europe, scenes of really considerable en- 
gagements in which large numbers of Americans were engaged, Aisne- 
Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne are singularly unlike each other. 
In our first engagement in July our troops were scattered amongst the 



ST. MIHIEL 229 

French. It is impossible to see any considerable front between the 
Ma me and the Vesle where our troops were in line and the battlefield 
itself is separated into numerous compartments. Only at the Soissons 
corner and again where our troops forced the passage of the Ourcq 
is it possible to get any comprehensive idea of the action. For the rest 
one must follow the tracks of the several divisions, tracks which lead 
through dense forests, filled with machine-gun emplacements, tracks 
along which American field cemeteries testify to the gallantry of our 
men. Only at the Vesle does one at last come to a front where American 
divisions stood in line and even passed the river in the face of terribly 
concentrated fire raining down from the hills above. 

But in. the St. Mihiel area, the whole battlefield is spread before 
the feet of any visitor who will climb Mont Sec or Hattonchatel. Look- 
out Mountain does not give a better survey of the battlefields of Chatta- 
nooga, and Mont Sec adds to the view one of the most admirable ex- 
amples of German protective military engineering. At its feet and 
stretching monotonously eastward are the ruined villages, Rechicourt, 
Seicheprey, where the 26th met initial reverse, Xivray, Beaumont, 
Essey, and FlLrey. Passing through these ruins, over the tracks, which 
were once roads and through the debris which was once a coherent part 
of human habitation, one appreciates the conditions under which our 
troops were trained and in which our army began. 

On the horizon, too, looking from Mont Sec, one sees the Bois-le- 
Pretre, above the town of Pont-a-Mousson, where exactly American 
participation in the war began. There ail through the bloody summer 
of 1915 American ambulance drivers brought back the wounded by 
Fey-en-Heye, using roads which would be later trodden by thousands 
of American soldiers come to pay the debt of Lafayette, the first instal- 
ment of which was receipted by the gallantry of the American ambulance 
drivers, two years before the majority of Americans awakened to the 
meaning for them of the European struggle. Forgotten now in the press 
of larger events, the achievements of this Ambulance Corps remains 
one of the finest in the history of American youth. 

We shall see in the Meuse-Argonne a country far more savage, 



2 3 o HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

presenting infinitely graver obstacles to military operations, but not 
outside of Flanders was there along the whole front a more depressing 
stretch of shell-worked, devastated, flood-invaded territory than that 
which American divisions passed through and over on September I2th 
and 1 3th, a country destitute of all life, of all evidences of human 
residence, torn by four years of cannonading, presenting to the traveller, 
long months after the war had passed by and ended in other fields, some- 
thing of the horror of the rotting fragments of human bodies protruding 
from the shallow graves along the front of every considerable struggle 
during the war. 

One of the military consequences of Pershing's victory was to 
excite German anxiety as to the safety of the Briey iron fields to the 
northeastward, now exposed to attack both from Verdun and from 
the new Woevre front of the Americans. This anxiety was due to the 
fact that these iron fields had become an essential detail in German 
economic organization, since without the iron, Germany could not 
continue the struggle, and it led to a miscalculation of the direction of the 
next American thrust. Ludendorff was expecting a blow east of the 
Meuse two weeks later, when Pershing attacked west of that stream; 
and the absence of German reserves, diverted to the Briey sector, con- 
tributed to the initial success of the Americans. 

Critics of the St. Mihiel operation have justly pointed out that 
following the attack there was an approximate breakdown of transport 
behind the line. This seems to have been the case, but in this instance 
there were no serious consequences, because the American advance was 
relatively short; a similar failure in the Meuse- Argonne, however, 
had far more unfortunate consequences. The answer to the criticism 
is that such a breakdown was an inevitable circumstance of an operation 
as hastily prepared as either that of St. Mihiel or of the Meuse- Argonne. 
It was to be expected in a new army. Ours was an emergency army. 
For it there was no question of doing a technically perfect job, the one 
question was whether it could do it well enough to turn the scale. Persh- 
ing had to make brute strength a substitute for finished performance. 
His army had to sacrifice itself to make up for lack of time, lack of train- 



ST. MIHIEL 231 

ing, lack of everything save courage and devotion. And now, despite all 
the handicaps, it was going to accomplish just that. 

In the battles of St. Mihiel and of the Meuse-Argonne our army was 
about in the stage of the British army at Loos; and at Loos, despite 
the fact that the British officers had themselves had far more experience 
than any of ours, not only was there a failure of transport after the 
battle, but the reserves, which were counted upon to win a battle 
which had opened with a striking success, did not arrive until the 
Germans, perceiving the failure of Sir John French to follow up his 
advantage, stopped their withdrawal from Lens and presently retook 
Hill No. 70. Loos cost the British 66,000 casualties in little more than 
a week, with only a two-mile advance on a narrow front. We got 
through to Sedan, more than thirty miles, with only twice as heavy a 
butcher's bill. 

This is not to say that Pershing's army would have done better than 
Sir John French's had it tackled Loos under the same circumstances. 
It is merely to point out that the American army at St. Mihiel was still 
necessarily at that point in its development when certain limitations 
were ineluctably imposed upon it. In the St. Mihiel and Meuse- 
Argonne battles the American army was not a perfect military machine, 
moving like clockwork. It was a vast, incoherent aggregation of brave 
men, many of them highly efficient, seeking in eighty days to overcome 
the consequences of fifty-odd years of systematic neglect of military 
considerations by the American people and the American Government. 

What was actually accomplished was little less than a miracle. The 
real pity is that, since that time, there has been too much effort to create 
the impression that we accomplished things which were in truth beyond 
human accomplishment, and too little appreciation of the fraction of the 
impossible which was actually achieved. Compared with the German 
or the French army, compared with the armies of Grant or Lee in 1864, 
Pershing's army was still a training establishment. But as a fighting 
aggregation it was beyond praise. It was a young army with the 
ignorance of youth, possibly, but with the enthusiasm, the courage, the 
strength of youth, and its spirit availed to surmount all handicaps and to 



232 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

supply Foch with just that additional power which made victory in 
1918 first conceivable and then possible. And St. Mihiel was the sign 
manual of its capacity; on this victory Foch constructed his Battle of 
the Hindenburg Line. However disorganized our rear, the Germans 
on the American front would have a busy time. 

V. AFTERMATH 

Pershing saw the Battle of St. Mihiel from the heights of the Meuse, 
and Secretary of War Baker was with him. Side by side with Petain, 
Pershing entered St. Mihiel the next day. Poincare would come soon 
after to see one more fragment of the Department of the Meuse, his own 
department, redeemed. 

On all sides congratulations rained upon the victor. On the evening 
of the battle Foch sent this message : 

The American First Army under your command has achieved in this first day a 
magnificent victory by a manoeuvre which was as skilfully prepared as it was valiantly 
executed. 

Everything happened exactly as "planned and all the results hoped 
for were achieved, this was the verdict of Madelin, of Maurice, of all 
military critics then and since on the Allied side. 

Only Ludendorff minimized the episode, came pretty close to lying 
about it at the time, and, in his memoirs, enters into a long defence of 
this inveracity, necessary to keep up the morale of the German people, he 
maintains stoutly : necessary, too, one may conjecture to preserve the 
fiction, growing pretty thin, that Americans wouldn't come, wouldn't 
fight, and couldn't fight even if they came and tried to the last line of 
defence in the matter of these Americans. Still Ludendorff concedes 
that his losses were severe, while protesting that local commanders 
were over-confident and slow in obeying his order to evacuate the whole 
salient. He confesses that the Americans broke through a Prussian 
division on the south side, nevertheless, despite local failures, and that 
an Austrian division "might have done better." Ludendorff is dis- 
satisfied with himself and discovers later that his official report to the 



ST. MIHIEL 233 

public was too favourable. But just about this time Bulgaria is be- 
ginning to cause him more worry than Pershing. 

On the human side, the St. Mihiel affair remains interesting. Photo- 
graphs of the time disclose American soldiers triumphantly affixing the 
sign "Wilson, U. S. A." beneath the German legend " Hindenburg- 
strasse" at Thiaucourt, showing a youthful enthusiasm, not unattrac- 
tive, over their first conquest, to which they were welcomed by the 
inhabitants who had been slaves rather than prisoners for four years. 

Babin, who "made the campaign," writes at the time: "As for the 
soldiers of General Pershing, there is only one description. They have 
been prodigious in courage and in daring." 

The Marquis de Chambrun, who was also there, has many words of 
praise, and adds the detail: "'The Grande Rue', in olden days, the name 
of the principal street of St. Mihiel, now bears the title 'Rue du General 
Pershing'." 

Captain Arthur W. Page, the best critic of American military opera- 
tions in France, quotes the following comment of the intelligence officer 
of the German High Command, reporting on St. Mihiel : 

The artillery operation, prior to the attack, was well carried out. The objectives 
were bombarded with good effect, and they were able to switch from one target to 
another in the minimum of time and with remarkable accuracy. The coordination 
between the infantry and the artillery was faultless. If the infantry ran up against a 
machine-gun nest they would immediately fall back, and very soon new artillery 
preparation would be directed on that point. A great many tanks were in readiness 
for the attack, but they were only used in very small numbers, as the masses of in- 
fantry accomplished the victory. 

Captain Page calls attention to the use of the word "victory." Luden- 
dorff had only recently announced the German retirement was "ac- 
cording to plan." 

Pershing, in his final report, says: 

The material results of the victory achieved were very important. An American 
army was an accomplished fact, and the enemy had felt its power. No form of propa- 
ganda could overcome the depressing effect on the morale of the enemy of this demon- 
stration of our ability to organize a large American force and drive it successfully 



234 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

through his defences. It gave our troops implicit confidence in their superiority and 
raised their morale to the highest pitch. For the first time wire entanglements ceased 
to be regarded as impassable barriers, and open-warfare training, which had been so 
urgently insisted upon, proved to be the correct doctrine. Our divisions concluded the 
attack with such small losses and in such high spirits that without the usual rest they 
were immediately available for employment in heavy fighting in a new theatre of 
operations. The strength of the First Army in this battle totalled approximately 
500,000 men, of whom about 70,000 were French. 

"The first successes of the American Army," writes Colonel Requin, 
" did not merely mark an important date in the history of the war. They 
represented the result on which the respective governments had staked 
their hopes, and were the deserved recompense of those who had col- 
laborated for a whole year in this work." Again, later, he says of this 
St. Mihiel affair: "The test was conclusive. Henceforward the Amer- 
ican forces were free to undertake army operations." 

After all, St. Mihiel was America's answer at the roll call of the 
Nations on the eve of the final battle of the World War. Foch had al- 
ready uncovered the weakness of the enemy in the manoeuvre between 
August 8th and September loth. The Battle of St. Mihiel revealed 
that new strength which would be a warrant for joining battle and an 
essential element in achieving victory. 



CHAPTER NINE 

THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 

I 
FOCH'S SCOPE AND PURPOSE 

The Battle of St. Mihiel was the final episode in Foch's manoeuvre 
"manoeuvre of usury," says De Thomasson in a prescient analysis 
published close to the event. "The process of absorption" Buat de- 
scribed in an analysis previously quoted. Ludendorff's reserves are 
becoming exhausted. He is beginning to break up some divisions to 
keep the rest up to strength. His whole number of divisions has fallen 
from 207 to 185, regiments are melting away; worse than all else, the 
morale is declining even faster. The victory is ripening. 

Moreover, in other fields, the same progress toward the end is 
discernible. While Pershing's army was cleaning up after its victory, 
the Army of the Orient was smashing Bulgarian resistance. At the 
moment when Pershing would attack near Verdun, Allenby would 
dispose of the Turk; Diaz was already maturing his plans for finishing off 
the crumbling Austro-Hungarian force; Germany's defeats had reacted 
upon her allies, and her allies' disasters would now contribute to her own. 

This last battle Armageddon, Maurice calls it, the Battle of France 
in Madelin's account, more exactly the Battle of the Hindenburg Line 
will extend from Ypres to Verdun, from the Yser to the Meuse, would 
have expanded east of Metz to the scene of French defeat at Morhange 
in August, 1914, if the German had not surrendered when he did. No 
battlefront, save that of the First Marne, was ever comparably as vast. 

So vast, indeed, is the extent of this new battle that it is easy to be 
lost in the details. The British, looking at their area, will see it as a 
contest between St. Quentin and Ypres, designed to break the Hinden- 
burg Line. The Americans will see it as a struggle between the Meuse 
and the Argonne to reach and cut the all-important Metz-Maubeuge 

235 



236 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

railway. The French will see it as a kaleidoscopic contest in which 
French soldiers, now beside the British, now with the Belgians, and now 
beside the Americans, do heroic service at crucial moments. Even the 
Belgians, participating considerably and nobly, will describe it as the 
Battle of their Liberation. 

But enormous as is the battle, and Foch will use nearly 4,000,000 
men in it, the main facts are still simple; the old laws and lessons of war 
remain unchanged, remain as they were when Napoleon and Wellington 
fought all day on a front of less than five miles. Foch, after two months 
of manoeuvre, has brought his enemy to battle under the conditions 
which he has foreseen. The enemy still occupies strong positions, but 
he has now neither the moral nor the physical power to hold these 
positions, and the development of the tank tactic has incalculably 
diminished the value of all positions. 

To grasp this battle of the Hindenburg Line it is only essential to see 
the thing in terms of previous battles. One may divide both the hosts 
as of old, thus : Facing east between the sea and the Oise is Foch's left 
flank, consisting of the Belgian army, four British armies, and one 
French army. There will presently be a new British Fifth Army, 
Bird wood of Australia commanding. Between the Oise and Rheims is 
Foch's centre, held by French armies exclusively, those of Mangin and 
Berthelot. Between Rheims and Verdun is Foch's right flank, held by 
Gouraud's Fourth Army west of the Argonne, and Pershing's First Army 
east of it. 

Between the Oise and Rheims the character of the country forbids 
direct attack. The Forest of St. Gobain has all along been the keystone 
of the German arch in France while the Chemin des Dames, although no 
longer to be considered impregnable, does not invite new attack. His 
centre being unavailable, Foch will therefore attack on both flanks. 

The German position in France and Belgium is, after all, a salient a 
deep and wide salient, the neck of it between Pershing's lines at Verdun 
and the Dutch frontier north of Liege, far narrower than the depth of it, 
between Liege and Ostend. Pershing's thrust northward will steadily 
narrow the neck of the pocket, just as Mangin's push from the Soissons 




GERMAN SOLDIERS ON THE WAY BACK TO THE FATHERLAND 




GERMAN FOOD SUPPLIES IN BELGIUM. 



Brozcn Brothers 




A SHELL HOLE IN THE GERMAN TRENCHES 
This is why "Fritz" was in such a hurry to get back home 



U. S. Official Photo 




w 
. 



W .5 
K T, 
H 



c 
IE 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 245 

corner narrowed the neck of the Marne salient. Moreover, just as the 
vital railroad for Ludendorff in the Marne salient ran close to the 
Soissons corner, one of the two railroad systems serving Ludendorff 's 
enormous salient between Holland and the Allied line runs close to 
Pershing's front. If Pershing, advancing to Sedan, can cut the German 
communications, the railroad line from Metz to Maubeuge, Ludendorff 
will have to come out of this last salient just as he had to retire from the 
Marne salient. 

But such a retreat will be next to impossible, given the enormous 
concentration of men and of material in France and Belgium, which will 
have to be moved by the railroad line crossing the Meuse at Liege and 
along the few roads which cross the Ardennes between the Dutch frontier 
and the Chiers. Using his right wing, the Americans, and Gouraud's 
Fourth Army, Foch will strike for Sedan. To meet this thrust Luden- 
dorff will need to make tremendous calls upon his reserves, but while 
his reserves are limited, those of Pershing, steadily growing, are almost 
without limit. 

Meantime, on his left, Foch will throw the whole British army, aided 
by French and Belgians and presently by Americans, straight against all 
that enormous system of entrenchments between the Oise and the sea. 
If these are broken, if the German is driven out of them, if he is driven 
out of them at the same time that Pershing cuts the Metz-Maubeuge 
railway, a beaten German army will, at one time, have to meet attack in 
the open, in front, and on the flank. Moreover, to prevent Haig from 
smashing the Hindenburg Line, Ludendorff will have to pour reserves to 
this front also, and he no longer possesses a reservoir of reserves adequate 
to nourish both fronts. We shall see that in the end, lacking the 
necessary support, the German front before Pershing will collapse en- 
tirely and be followed by that swift pursuit which reached Sedan and 
would have continued without any visible limit but for the Armistice. 
Actually Foch will use Pershing for his right hand and Haig for his left 
while Petain's force will furnish the kick, the savate permissible in 
French boxing. 

Ludendorff's single problem is to hang on where he is for the few 



246 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

weeks until the autumn rains make further campaigning impossible. If 
he can do this, German diplomacy may be expected to find an honourable 
and not unprofitable peace by negotiation. Even if this resource fails 
he can, during the winter, repeat the achievement of the Hindenburg 
Retreat in 1917 and draw back behind the Meuse and the Scheldt, 
devastating the country behind him, shortening his front and thus in- 
creasing his reserves and, what is at least as important, placing the water 
barriers of the Meuse and the Scheldt in the pathway of the terrible 
tanks. Ludendorff is fighting for time and Foch's time is patently 
short. 

But once more geographical and strategic objectives are but in- 
cidental; Foch has driven the German army into the Hindenburg Line 
and in a condition which he calculates will make German defence of the 
line impossible. He is now going to try to drive the German army 
out of that line and, in doing this, so absorb German reserves that 
further resistance will be impossible, while also seeking at all times to 
seize any positions which will further reduce the German chance of 
resistance. 

For four years, as a consequence of the development of modern 
weapons and the expansion of modern armies, the world has been 
thinking about positions and has well nigh forgotten that the single 
purpose of war and of battle must be to destroy the enemy's power to 
resist. September 26th, Foch will undertake to do this. Such is the 
real objective sought by Foch. To escape the ultimate disaster, Luden- 
dorff fights vainly, and thereafter his government surrenders swiftly to 
escape the rout otherwise inevitable. 

II. THE HINDENBURG LINE 

We have now to examine briefly that monstrous defence system 
which four years of German industry had stretched from Metz to the 
North Sea, the Hindenburg Line of history, subdivided in German 
nomenclature into sections each bearing a name drawn from Teutonic 
mythology. Actually, the Hindenburg Line was neither a line nor a 
single system of fortifications; it was a defensive zone varying in width 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 



247 



from three to a dozen miles, making use of every hill, ravine, river, 
natural obstacle, but in the main deriving its strength from the suc- 
cessive fields of wire entanglements backed by trenches, block-houses, 
concrete emplacements. Each point of cover was a machine-gun nest, 
and every art of modern engineering, of ancient and modern military 
method, was employed to increase the obstacle. 

The theory of the Hindenburg Line was not that the enemy attack 
would be broken before it, but that the force of such an attack would be 
lost in the encounter with one or with another of the series of obstacles 
which would be encountered, and that the enemy, checked in the 
tangle, would be slaughtered by the concentrated fire from all sides 

before material progress had been 
made, or thrown back by a well-timed 
counter-attack. 

Seen at close hand there was sel- 
dom anything impressive or imposing 
about the Hindenburg Line system. 



9. 

iGand 




GERMAN DEFENCE SYSTEMS IN FRANCE 



24 8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

The fields of rusting barbed wire; the trenches following the rearward 
slope of the ground, indiscoverable from in front; the concrete emplace- 
ments, rarely discoverable at all, so cunningly were they hiddeji in the folds 
of the ground; all these circumstances were designedly well nigh invisible. 
Seen from the front, from one of the bare Artois hillsides, the Hindenburg 
system hardly appeared more than an area of desolation curiously 
furnished with bajbed-wire hedges and strangely worked by shell fire. 

Before the Hindenburg Line the country had been rigorously 
cleared; every house, tree, bush had been removed; in Picardy a glacis of 
devastation stretched before it, a detail in the preparation of 1917. 
"Between Cambrai and St. Quentin," says Maurice, "the Siegfried 
system from the outpost positions near Epehy to the rearmost lines near 
Beaurevoir was as much as ten miles deep. The most elaborate wire 
entanglements were provided in front of each line of trenches. Stand- 
ing, after the great battle had been won and the Siegfried system had 
been pierced, on the ridges east of the St. Quentin Canal, in the heart of 
the system, one looked over miles of dense entanglements running in 
every direction, and was filled with amazement that it should have been 
possible for flesh and blood to storm a way through such obstacles. 
Heavily concreted shelters for the infantry and machine gunners were 
provided in the fire trenches, while farther back great underground 
barracks were constructed at a depth to make them proof against the 
heaviest bombardment.** 

"If the assailant were fortunate enough to break through the Hinden- 
burg rampart in all its depth," writes Madelin, "he would find himself 
face to face with a new system. There are two lines, less continuous to 
be sure, resting, on one side on the entrenched camp of Lille, which was 
powerfully organized, and on the other on the fortified area of Metz- 
Thionville. 

"The first of these lines is indicated by Douai, Cambrai, Guise, Rethel, 
Vouziers, Dun-sur-Meuse, Pagny-sur-Moselle. Still north of these was 
a series of detached positions : Hunding, Brunhilde, Kriemhilde, Michael." 
The last two will be well known to Americans, who broke the first in 
the Meuse-Argonne and reached the second after St. Mihiel. 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 249 

"The history of war makes no mention of a similar defensive sys- 
tem," thinks Madelin. The reports of this period are filled to over- 
flowing with descriptions of these defences, difficult to recognize on the 
spot, impossible to describe afterward, constituting a sort of labyrinth 
of chaos, trenches, caves, rabbit warrens, buttressed with railroad iron, 
sown with cement structures monstrous turtles with a single aperture, 
left for machine-gun barrels. Difficult, well nigh impossible to pass when 
the battle had gone beyond, was this wilderness, filled then with the 
debris of conflict, with half-buried bodies, rotting equipment, broken 
guns; crammed with hand-grenades, with every conceivable engine 
fatal to touch; having an order, a plan, a method, but revealing it no- 
where; concealing an underground world, stretching endlessly like the 
Catacombs, old quarries newly organized, vast warrens capable of 
sheltering platoons, whole companies, and reached by stairways going 
down to the very nethermost depths. 

Strongest, this system was most elaborate, most carefully and con- 
sistently prepared between Cambrai and St. Quentin, lying in the folds 
of the hills, before and behind the St. Quentin Canal, burrowing the tun- 
nel of the canal itself for an enormous shelter for troops, a shelter from 
which they could emerge when the enemy wave has passed forward a 
circumstance which will cost the New York Division dearly when it 
goes straight through the whole infernal system with Rawlinson's 
Australians "leap-frogging it," in the first stages of the battle, having on 
their flank the American 3Oth, which will be more fortunate and go yet 
farther. 

All that four years of a war of positions has taught, the Germans have 
applied on this line: art, science, military resource can do no more. 
"Impregnable," the German organs announce at this moment, "a wall 
like to nothing that ever was before in history." "A fact conceded," Ma- 
delin responds, " but Foch has ' the trumpet of Jericho*. " And with all its 
strength, the Hindenburg Line is, after all, the enemy's last resource. 
If it falls, all falls. Beaten there, even he will not long hope to hold the 
relatively insignificant although honorifically named lines behind. In 
truth, despite its magnificence, the Hindenburg Line is no more than 



250 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

"the last ditch" no stronger in its time than Lee's lines before Peters- 
burg, which fell swiftly at the end. 

III. PERSHING OPENS THE BATTLE 

On September 26th the honour of opening Foch's final battle falls to 
Pershing, who attacks between the Meuse and the Argonne, Gouraud 
following suit west of the Argonne. We shall examine the American 
operations later. It is enough to recall now that on this date Pershing 
and Gouraud constituting, together, the right flank of Foch's forces 
set out for Sedan. Pershing is the more fortunate; gets forward four 
miles and encircles Montfaucon, which will fall the next day; clears all 
the Hindenburg Line, but falls short of the Kriemhilde. A remarkable 
achievement is this first attack, not quite as good as Foch and Pershing 
hoped for, but something totally beyond Ludendorff's remotest expecta- 
tion. 

West of the Argonne, Gouraud advances more slowly. He has 
first to win clear of the shell-torn area demolished by the preparation for 
Joffre's offensive of 1915, torn again by Ludendorff's preparation and 
Gouraud's performance on July I5th of the current year. He does this, 
but no more. Ludendorff rushes up reserves and the operation on the 
right flank enters into a second phase in which advances are slow, 
costly, but the drain upon German reserves is tremendous. 

One day after Pershing, Haig attacks, three armies in line : Home to 
the north, Byng in the centre, Rawlinson to the south. This day and 
those which follow immediately are the most splendid in the history of 
the British army, and a modest share in the achievement belongs to the 
American 27th and 3Oth divisions with Rawlinson, the former from 
New York, the latter composed of southerners, mainly from Tennessee, 
North Carolina, and South Carolina. No unit in Lee's army of northern 
Virginia fought with more distinction or success than these sons of the 
new South. 

On September 2yth, Cambrai is the direction of the advance and the 
passage of the Canal du Nord the immediate task, one of the greatest 
military obstacles on the whole front an unfinished ditch thirty or forty 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 251 

feet deep in places, a hundred wide, the spoil-banks that is, the piles of 
the earth which has been excavated furnishing posts for machine guns, 
notably south of Havrincourt. A magnificent exploit was the taking of 
the canal, which enabled the tanks to get across, and very briefly Byng's 
army is fighting in the old Cambrai salient, the scene of its success and 
disappointment a year ago. Ten villages, 10,000 prisoners, 200 cannon, 
are taken on this day, and the British call the action the Second Battle 
of Cambrai in revenge for the first. Pershing and Gouraud had taken 
another 10,000 prisoners on the previous day. 

While Byng and Home fight toward Cambrai, Rawlinson aims for 
Le Catelet. He has before him the canal between the Scheldt and the 
Oise, impassable for tanks save only on the narrow front where the canal 
goes under ground. Therefore Haig turns back to the old method of 
artillery preparation and pounds the German lines all through September 
2/th and 28th. On the 29th Rawlinson assails the Hindenburg Line on 
a front of twelve miles, the Second Corps American, comprising the 
2/th and 3Oth divisions, Major General G. W. Read commanding in 
line facing the point where the canal passes underground. On this day 
Rawlinson opens the breach in the Hindenburg Line where it is strongest, 
and on the same day Debeney, about St. Quentin, also moves. Three 
British armies and one French, most but not quite all of Foch's left wing, 
are in action. By October 1st, St. Quentin has fallen, Rawlinson's 
Fourth Army is approaching the last barrier in the Hindenburg system. 
By October 3rd, the Hindenburg Line was smashed; 36,500 prisoners and 
380 guns were the British booty. The Germans would continue to hold 
certain elements in it, but the line and the legend had gone together. 

Nor was this all. On the 28th of September, from Dixmude to 
Armentieres, Plumer's British First Army, with King Albert's Belgians, 
suddenly breaks out of the Ypres salient, which now disappears for ever. 
Again, supported this time by material aid from Degoutte's French 
army, there begins that march for Roulers and Menin which Sir John 
French undertook just four years ago, the march which Haig strove to 
make one year ago. As for Degoutte, he has travelled far and fast since 
Harbord's Marines met him conducting a despairing defensive astride 



252 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

the Paris-Metz road on June 1st. September 28th is a notable day in 
Flanders, it sees the Germans swept out of all the famous fighting 
ground of four years of war. Once more, as in the recent fighting at the 
Somme, ground which once took months to conquer is now cleared in 
hours and even in minutes. 

By the 29th the limits of the old battlefield are everywhere passed. 
Already the German hold upon the Belgian seacoast is crumbling, Lille is 
menaced, all German defence between the sea and the Deule is disinte- 
grating. Another 10,000 prisoners are taken. This series of attacks 
fulfils Buat's formula of accelerating the pace by piling one attack upon 
another and the consequent absorption of German reserves is corre- 
spondingly hastened. 

IV. OCTOBER IOTH 

The battle of the Hindenburg Line ends on October xoth. Mili- 
tary writers, including Ludendorff himself, indicate this day as the ter- 
mination of a distinct phase, although to the civilian mind the transition 
is almost imperceptible. Let us now analyze Foch's battle, successful, 
decisively successful on this October loth, fifteen days after Pershing 
opened it between the Meuse and the Argonne, 85 days since Foch 
seized the initiative at the Soissons corner, a month and a day before the 
end of the fighting, before the Germans surrendered. The world now 
knows that Bulgaria has surrendered. Turkey is conquered. Diazhasnot 
yet delivered his final blow at the Piave, but Austria-Hungary's appeals 
for peace indicate what the result will be two weeks hence. Finally, 
Germany's first peace proposal addressed to President Wilson has been 
issued five days earlier, sent forward just as Haig's troops are emerging 
in the open country beyond the Hindenburg Line, agreed upon in the 
last days of September, the very last days after Pershing and Haig had 
delivered their first terrible blow. 

Foch's strategy lies clearly unrolled on the map. As we have seen, 
his attack was to have two principal directions followed by his two 
flanks : Haig on the north with the Hindenburg Line in front of him, and 
Valenciennes, Maubeuge, Mons as his goals; Pershing on the other 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 253 

flank with the Meuse-Argonne defence lines, Hindenburg, Hagen, and 
Kriemhilde Stellungs before him, and Montmedy, Sedan, and the all- 
important Maubeuge-Metz railway as his goals. In military language 
(Requin's) this is described as choosing, "as principal directions of attack, 
those where the most important strategical results are to be expected; 
in other words, the directions which threaten the enemy communication 
lines and a tireless pursuit of the offensive along these main lines." 

These main lines of communication are all the important railways 
serving the German front between the Oise and the sea, so far as Haig 
is concerned; the Maubeuge-Metz railway, on Pershing's side. Up 
to October roth and for many days thereafter Pershing and Gouraud to 
the west of him are substantially checked. The reason is twofold : the 
nature of the country in which they are fighting and the importance to 
Ludendorff of the railroad line they are aiming at. The more badly 
things go in the west and the more unmistakable becomes the certainty 
that he must draw his armies back from the coast, the more vital to him 
is the Maubeuge-Metz railway, one of the two lines open for his retire- 
ment. You may put the thing simply by saying: Haig is pounding 
in through the front door, Pershing is trying to close the back door, 
Ludendorff must strive to hold both doors, but the less successful he is 
in keeping Haig out, the more imperative for him it is to keep Pershing 
from closing the back door by which he must get out himself. Luden- 
dorfl is being defeated by the Allied left flank, but he is striving to avert 
disaster by holding up Pershing. His success so far is due in the main 
to the stream of reserves he is pouring into the Meuse-Argonne battle, 
but since his reserves are limited, diminishing very rapidly, he is weaken- 
ing himself before Haig to check Pershing, and he will find in the end 
that his reserves are inadequate even to do this. In Buat's phrase, 
Ludendorff 's reserves are being "sucked in." 

Now the second controlling purpose of Foch, again outlined by 
Requin, is "to form weak points in the adversary's positions along 
the rest of the front and cause the successive fall of all these weak points 
(salients) by encircling them, and thus gradually to bring about the 
collapse of the western front." Accepting the fact that Foch's right, 



254 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Pershing's army, has been checked after material but not yet decisive 
progress, we may now apply the foregoing principle of strategy to the 
left between the Oise and the sea. By October loth, the develop- 
ments are these : three British armies, Home's First, Byng's Third, and 
Rawlinson's Fourth, have attacked between September 27th and 29th 
from Cambrai to the outskirts of St. Quentin. By October loth they 
have penetrated Rawlinson's army farthest ahead the whole Hinden- 
burg system, and British troops are on this day advancing in the open 
country wkhin sight of that battlefield on which Smith-Dorrien made his 
despairing stand on August 26, 1914, a memorable day in the history of 
the "Old Contemptibles." 

The result of this advance, which has already produced the fall of 
Cambrai and St. Quentin, has been to drive a deep wedge in the German 
line between the Oise and the sea. The effect of this wedge is be- 
ginning to be felt on either side. To the north the Germans in the great 
cluster of fortifications about Lille, finding their communications threat- 
ened from the rear as a result of Rawlinson's advance, are getting ready 
to retire. This retirement is hastened by Plumer's pressure to the north, 
which we will examine in a moment. 

At the same time, the German centre, impregnable to direct attack, 
likewise finds itself menaced as to its rear and communications, and has 
begun to go back. To put it succinctly, Haig's push has now had the 
result of turning the Germans to the north of it out of all their 
splendid system of defences from Cambrai to the sea, and to the 
south of it out of all that bastion between the Oise and Rheims. This 
is what Requin means by his phrase "choosing as principal directions 
of attack those where the most important strategical results are to be 
expected." 

The results are now indicated by the fall of Laon, the evacuation 
of the heights from which the Germans have for four years pounded 
Rheims, and the preparations for the approaching retirement from Lille 
and from the Belgian sea coast. 

In addition Foch has created weak points elsewhere in the German 
line. To meet Haig's mighty thrust south of Lille, Ludendorff drew 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 255 

heavily on the Ypres sector for reserves. Thereupon Foch threw King 
Albert's army group the Belgians, Plumer's British, and Degoutte's 
French against the thinned line, and it collapsed exactly as the Allied 
line on the Chemin des Dames collapsed after Foch had drawn off all the 
reserves to meet the thrust he wrongly expected west of the Oise. This 
success has gravely compromised LudendorfFs position because even 
with the reserves drawn from Ypres he has failed to check Haig while 
the withdrawal of the reserves has produced a collapse to the north. 

In the same way, on a reduced scale, Foch has created a weak point 
near Rheims. East of that city, in the region where Gouraud checked 
Ludendorff on July isth, the German line rests on high ground "the 
Mountains" captured by the French in May, 1917, evacuated by 
Gouraud as a circumstance in his defence in Champagne in July. Luden- 
dorff, who boasted about the capture of this high ground, relied upon it 
and drew off reserves to face Gouraud and Pershing to the east, where- 
upon Foch borrows two American divisions, the famous 2nd and the 
36th, and the former, in line with the French, storms the crest of these 
mountains in a magnificent dash while the 36th exploits the success. 
This is the final circumstance in compelling Ludendorff to retire from 
before Rheims. 

V. LUDENDORFF VS. FOCH 

We may now contrast the method of Ludendorff with that of Foch. 
Attacking with stupendous force, on March 2ist, Ludendorff ruptured 
the Allied front between the Somme and the Oise over an extent of more 
than thirty miles. Into the gap he poured more than eighty divisions, 
but despite his colossal effort, he was checked before April ist, decisively 
and permanently, while the forces which he had employed in the rush 
were exhausted. His efforts to extend the dislocation of the Allied front, 
first by attacks before Arras and then in Flanders, were unsuccessful; 
he had then to pause from April 29th to May 27th; then he exactly 
repeated his experience of March and April. He again ruptured the 
Allied front for an extent of forty miles along the Chemin des Dames and 
again pushed division after division into the gap he had opened, but by 



256 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

the first days of June he is once more checked and his effort to extend 
the dislocation by his operation at the Matz is halted briefly and far 
more completely than his similar thrust in Flanders. 

He then has to pause again, this time until July i$tn, when his at- 
tack fails instantly and he loses the initiative. His ruin is accomplished 
in the periods between his several efforts, as a result of the time allowed 
to his opponents, whom he has beaten and punished severely, to recover 
to transport reserves from America and to choose a single commander to 
direct their policies. In a military way the failure of Ludendorff is 
disclosed in the fact that in his first two offensives he made only re- 
stricted breaches in the Allied front, was unable to expand the dislocation 
or disorganize the whole of the Allied armies and completely consume 
their reserves. 

Now, by contrast, Foch wins the initiative on July i8th, and between 
that date and August 6th, when Ludendorff retires behind the Vesle, 
occupies his enemy and forces him to consume his reserves ki covering 
the retreat from the Marne. Then on August 8th he throws Haig's 
Fourth Army against the German line at the Sojnrne, achieves local suc- 
cess, and for a whole month exploits this success, expanding the extent 
of the dislocation of the enemy front until it stretches from the Scarpe 
before Arras to the Vesle near Rheims. So far from having a breathing 
spell, Ludendorff is compelled to fling division after division of reserves 
into the furnace, while all his armies from the Scarpe to the Aisne are 
subjected to local defeats, inevitable disorganization, and, finally, all of 
them begin to disclose evidences of demoralization. 
Foch, himself, thus describes the matter to Babin: 



You see it's a question of shouldering one's way through one army advances, an- 
other follows, a third makes a push. In order to parry our blows the Germans needed 
to gain time, to be able to pull themselves together somewhere. But we did not give 
them a chance. They had to fight to save their necks. They had no end of material 
stored in a chain of work shops all ready for an advance to Paris, but we upset their 
programme on July i8th and now we're taking their workshops one after another and 
they're falling back all the time, which means progressive confusion and disorganiza- 
tion. They need to get away from us, but they can't shake us off. They have no 
reserves and we are at their heels, allowing them no respite. 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 257 

This was after the event but General Maurice records that before 
March 2ist, one of the Allied statesmen who had assembled at Versailles, 
asked Foch point blank: 

" But if the Germans do make their great attack, what is your plan ?" 
To this interrogation Foch responded : " By striking out three rapid 
blows, with his right, with his left, and again with his right, following 
these by landing out a vigorous kick." 

September loth Ludendorff gets his battered armies back to the 
Hindenburg Line, but instead of a respite he has a new problem set for 
him by Pershing's sudden and swift victory at St. Mihiel, a victory which 
is not only locally costly, since it smashes six divisions, but, by carrying 
a threat to Briey with its invaluable iron mines, compels Ludendorff 
to concentrate more reserves in the east; that is, outside the area in 
which he is now going to be attacked by a tremendous Allied force. 

Before Ludendorff can adjust himself to this new condition, to the 
threat in the east a threat deriving its real importance from the dis- 
closure at St. Mihiel that the American army will henceforth have an 
importance hitherto unsuspected Foch starts his general offensive 
on September 26th on either side of the Argonne, extends it the next day 
to the region between the Oise and the Scarpe and, on the next, to the 
region about Ypres. 

More than two months have now passed since the opening of the 
Second Battle of the Marne,and during that time not one single moment 
of rest has been allowed Ludendorff, the strain upon his reserves has 
never been relaxed. Foch's local ruptures of the German front have in 
all cases been swiftly extended and by this time every one of his armies 
from the sea to the Moselle, from Ypres to Metz, has suffered disorganiz- 
ing defeat, and this embraces every effective German army on the 
western front. In a word, Foch has not only expanded local dislocation 
of the enemy front, but the disorganization incident to local defeat. It 
is not positions or battles which he has won that weigh chiefly Luden- 
dorff counted an impressive number of these between March and July 
it is the fashion in which Foch has exploited these successes. It is the 
result which he has produced by them which is important. Ludendorff 



258 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

has never been able to realize on his investments, and one unfortunate 
speculation has not only deprived him of the profits of two ventures, 
but has also impaired his credit to such an extent that he cannot now dis- 
charge the obligations which have come due. 

The thing that one feels about the Foch campaign is the apparent 
ease, the marvellous smoothness with which one success leads to another 
and each local triumph seems somehow to merge into a second and 
greater. The drama moves so simply, naturally, logically, that the most 
astounding developments lack the quality of surprise when they arrive. 
But the reason, for there is no accident anywhere, must be found in the 
mind and method of the man. Ludendorff was at least as fortunate, 
had quite as much luck in the beginning. For him the division of Allied 
command was an advantage greater than any single card ever put in Foch's 
hand. The collapse of the Portuguese at the Lys was for him a piece 
of good fortune quite as great as was for Foch the refusal of a Prussian 
division to fight on March 8th. The tank tactic was no more effective, 
unexpected, potent than the Hutier tactic in its own time. The German 
machine in March was incomparably superior to the Allied machine in 
July. LudendorfFs superiority in trained troops in March was far more 
decisive than that of Foch in trained and untrained troops combined in 
August and September. Foch has said that the German machine 
was an express locomotive in the hands of a stage-coach driver. This 
conclusion is inescapable when one reviews the history of the campaign. 
At the outset Ludendorff had all the cards. He lost because he could 
neither make the most of good fortune nor survive a run of bad luck. 

VI. THE END OF THE BATTLE 

And now, on October loth, the day which sees the end of the battle 
of the Hindenburg Line, what exactly is the situation ? At the north 
of Lille, the army group of King Albert containing the Belgian army, 
Plumer's British Second Army, and Degoutte's French army, and 
presently to include two American divisions, the 37th and the 9ist is 
advancing, is approaching Roulers, and has already made such prog- 
ress that it is only a matter of hours until the Germans will have to 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 259 

retire from the Belgian coast and from all of Belgium west of the Scheldt. 
This army group also constitutes a threat to the Germans in Lille which 
would compel the evacuation of this city and the enormous tangle of 
fortifications about it which makes it the western anchorage of the whole 
German front even if it were not similarly threatened to the south and 
east. Facing Lille and approaching it is Birdwood's new British Fifth 
Army, whose mission it is to move in conformity with the armies north 
and south and exert such pressure as it may upon the Germans in front 
of it. 

South, between Lens and the Oise, are the British armies which have 
smashed the Hindenburg Line: first is Home's British First Army, which 
is closing in on Douai and threatening Lille from the south. It is al- 
ready setting its feet on the roads trodden by the immortal Expedition- 
ary Army and its troops will see Mons victoriously a month hence after 
taking Valenciennes. Thanks to it and to King Albert's group, Bird- 
wood's army will enter Lille a few days later. South of Home's army 
is Byng's which has just taken Cambrai, is through the Hindenburg 
Line, and passing Bavay, French's headquarters at Mons. Byng will 
take Maubeuge before the end. 

South again is Rawlinson's Fourth Army, which includes the 27th 
and 3Oth American divisions, Read's Second Corps, which has shared 
with distinction in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line. This army is 
on the edge of Le Cateau, where Smith-Dorrien fought in August, 1914; 
will pass through Landrecies, where Haig's corps stood briefly in the 
Retreat; and before November nth, will pass Avesnes, where Luden- 
dorff and the Kaiser had their headquarters at the time of the Battle of 
Picardy. 

Astride the Oise, Debeney's French First Army, which held the gap 
on the Avre in the terrible days of March when Foch arrived, has just 
taken St. Quentin and is aiming at Guise, where Joffre won his brilliant 
little battle in August, 1914. Debeney will soon take Guise and be in 
Belgium before the war is over. South of the Oise is Mangin's Tenth 
Army, in which Bullard's corps fought at the Soissons corner. It has 
already passed La Fere and Laon; it will soon give way to the French 



260 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Third Army, commanded by Humbert, hero of the Lassigny Hills in 
March, hero of the Chateau of Mondement in Foch's army in the First 
Marne: and Mangin will go to Lorraine to organize the troops destined 
to make the thrust east of Metz if the enemy continues. Many Ameri- 
can divisions will be marked for this adventure, but the enemy will not 
continue. 

East of the Tenth Army is the French Fifth Army, Guillaumat, a 
Verdun general, replacing Berthelot, who has been called to Roumania 
on pressing invitation to continue his task begun before the Roumanian 
surrender was forced by Russian desertion. Guillaumat has passed 
the Craonne Plateau, reoccupied Rheims, emerged from the Gap of 
Juvincourt, of evil memory, and is pushing forward north of the Aisne. 
Mangin and Guillaumat are pushing frontally against the Hunding 
Stellung, one of the rearward German defence lines between the Oise 
and the Aisne, the westward extension of the unforgettable Kriemhilde 
Stellung against which Pershing is beating. Debeney's advance west 
of the Oise will presently turn this Hunding position. To the east again, 
Gouraud's Fourth Army is pounding at the Brunhilde Stellung along 
the Aisne from Rethel to Vouziers and Pershing' s First Army is storm- 
ing the Kriemhilde between the Argonne and the Meuse, with Hunter 
Liggett commanding. East of the Meuse, Dullard's American Second 
Army is just coming into line before the Michael Stellung from Verdun 
to Metz. The French armies between Haig and Pershing are organized 
in two groups, those to the west commanded by Fayolle, who saved the 
day in Picardy; those to the east by De Maistre, who did the same at 
the Second Marne. Both are under the supreme command of Petain. 

The military situation at the same moment is as follows : the Germans 
are under orders to retreat out of all the Hindenburg Line. Their defeat 
is absolute. Ludendorff hopes to rally his beaten army behind a line 
running along a canal from the Dutch frontier to Ghent, thence behind 
the Scheldt to Denain, and thence behind the little Selle to the point west 
of the Sambre, where begins his last system of defences the Hermann 
Stellung, extending to the Meuse below Sedan. But he will still strive 
to hold back Gouraud and Pershing on the Aisne and at the bend of the 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 261 

Aire to protect the vital railway, become infinitely more precious as the 
retreat grows more imminent, the retreat which already looks toward 
Germany. Still farther to the east is the French group of Castelnau, 
last survivor of Joffre's lieutenants at the Maine left in command in 
France Foch alone except ed but Franchet d'Esperey, another, has 
just conquered Bulgaria. 

In a word, at the close of the^ Battle of the Hindenburg Line, and 
as a consequence of decisive defeat, Ludendorff, on the night of October 
9th, orders a retirement of his left and centre, a far-swinging retreat 
to be halted behind the Scheldt, the Selle, and the Hermann Line. 
This retreat calls for the evacuation of the Belgian coast, of Bruges, and 
of Lille, and will carry Foch's left and centre far into Belgium and close 
to the French frontier. But at the same time, Ludendorff orders his right 
to hold on in front of Gouraud and Pershing; demands of it, now that 
the front door is broken in a-nd the enemy is actually in his house, that 
it hold open one of the two back doors by which alone Ludendorff's 
armies can escape from the house and they will need both doors. 

The Battle of the Hindenburg Line is over. Foch's problem is now 
that of Grant after the latter had forced Lee out of his lines about 
Richmond. Lee's purpose was to escape with his army from the net 
flung about him and stand again, Grant's problem was to destroy Lee's 
army before it could escape from the consequences of Five Forks and the 
subsequent disasters. 

In the words of Requin: 

The German staff proposes to establish itself upon the Antwerp-Scheldt- 
Maubeuge-Mezieres-Metz Line, but for that purpose they need a respite, for a new 
defensive front can not be occupied under good condition unless it is, first, organ- 
ized ahead, second, occupied by reserve troops, ready to collect the forces engaged and 
retreating. 

The situation of the German army is in fact without an outlet. Their reserves 
have melted away in the gigantic battle. From sixty-seven divisions back of the 
front on September 26th they have fallen to forty-six on September 3Oth, to twenty- 
six by October 1 5th, of which only nine are considered fresh. The necessary proportion 
between the fighting and replacement effectives no longer exists. In order to supply 
the front, it became necessary to disband twenty divisions. Also in July, the German 
reduced the fighting effective of all their battalions. 



262 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Ludendorff's narrative of this same period becomes one long com- 
plaint over the failure of his numbers. The vast captures of Foch's 
armies, more than a quarter of a million prisoners before the Battle of 
the Hindenburg Line is over, constituted a drain totally unforeseen. 
He has gathered the last dregs from Russia, he has swept up all that is 
left of German man-power, and it has proven woefully insufficient. 
Pershing's attack in the Argonne has consumed or will consume forty- 
seven divisions, a quarter of the whole number of German divisions 
available. Germany is now, as her soldiers and propagandists have 
proclaimed France for three years, "bled white." The hour has 
arrived which Bernhardi in his unforgettable book described with 
prescient accuracy. All Germany's foes have succeeded in putting 
their full strength into the field at one time; the result will be as he 
foresaw. 



vii. "APPOMATTOX" 



The moment has now arrived for the final effort. Ludendorff's 
broken and beaten army is staggering back to the line on which it will 
seek to make a final stand. Foch must now break the last semblance 
of a power to resist. He will do it by continuing his two main thrusts : 
Haig's drive toward Mons and Maubeuge, Pershing's drive with Gou- 
raud toward Sedan and the Metz railway. The other operations are by 
comparison minor. 

Once more the chief effort will be made by Haig and Pershing. Haig 
will seek to break through between the Sambre and the bend of the 
Scheldt below Valenciennes. He will strike the German line occupying 
in the main the east bank of the little Selle. If he can break through 
here, Ludendorff can maintain neither the line of the Scheldt to the north 
nor the Hermann Stellung to the south. Haig's engagement, the Battle 
of the Selle, begins on October i/th. It lasts until October 23rd, and 
Byng, Home, and Rawlinson are engaged; two American divisions, the 
27th and the 30th, fight with twenty-four British against thirty-one 
German divisions. 

In this Battle of the Selle the Germans fight with a determination 



THE BATTLE OF THE HINDENBURG LINE 



263 



not shown in recent engagements. There has been a distinct and im- 
pressive rally, but even this rally comes too late and too weakly. At 
the Selle, 20,000 prisoners and 475 guns are taken, and by October 25th 
the British armies are far forward. And the next day, the Kaiser, 
receiving Ludendorff coldly, will accept his resignation. 
Haig is breaking his way through the gap between the Sambre and 
the Scheldt. The Selle was his first barrier. The tiny Rhonelle, 
which parallels the Selle a few miles to the north, is his last. November 

ist he breaks through; the fighting 
is severe but the result is decisive. 
The line of the Scheldt to the north 
and the Hermann Stellung to the 
south are turned. Haig can now 
push down the valleys of the Sambre 




BREAKING THE HINDENBURG LINE 

Diagonal lines indicate the territory regained between July i8th and September 26th. Solid 
black marks the territory taken in breaking the Hindenburg Line between September 26th and 
October 23rd. 



264 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

and of the Meuse ; there is no system of defence in front of him, there is 
no sufficient natural obstacle to check him. His road is open to Namur 
and to Liege. As he advances through Maubeuge and Mon?, which he 
will reach promptly, he is narrowing the gap between his front and the 
Dutch frontier through which all the German armies north of the Sambre 
must pass if they are to escape envelopment and the choice between sur- 
render to the British and internment in Holland. 

Here is the ultimate revelation of Foch's strategy which consisted 
in making two major thrusts at the points where the largest gains would 
result. British advances between September 26th and November ist 
have already dragged with them the Germans to the north from 
Cambrai to the sea, and to the south from the Oise to the Aisne. Now 
Haig's armies are so placed that much and perhaps all of LudendorfFs 
forces north of the Sambre will be surrounded and have to surrender, 
and there is left to all the army group of the enemy's centre only a single 
exit : that part of the Metz-Maubeuge railway from Mezieres eastward. 
If Pershing can realize Foch's conception for his second major thrust, 
this remaining avenue of escape will be closed. 

And Pershing has realized Foch's purpose. The last days of October 
have seen the American troops bite into the few remaining fragments 
of the Kriemhilde Line. They have consumed the last reserves the 
Germans had to put in here and accordingly, on November ist, while 
Haig is forcing the passage of the Rhonelle and taking Valenciennes, 
Pershing's First Army breaks out into the open and begins its amazing 
rush to Sedan and Montmedy, the rush that will take Liggett squarely 
across the Mezieres-Metz railway, last avenue of escape for the German 
centre. It will be before Sedan and in sight of Montmedy, with its 
mission fulfilled, on November nth; and on this final day, when Haig's 
army is closing the line of retreat of the German right, Pershing, with 
Gouraud's assistance as always, has closed the pathway of the retreat 
of the German centre. 

And at this same moment Mangin is in command of a great army con- 
taining six American divisions scheduled to break out between Metz 
and Strassburg on November i4th. On Mangin's front the Germans 



THE BATTLE OF THE'HINDENBURG LINE 265 

have not a single division of reserves left. Mangin's attack would carry 
him straight through the German left wing across its rear and line of 
retreat, and this would in a few days have to submit to exactly the 
same fate already overhanging the right and the centre, while the 
American army, Bullard's Second Army, would encircle Metz from the 
northwest and repeat the events of 1870 with a German in Bazaine's place. 

But all speculation as to future developments is at once idle and un- 
necessary. The Germans who met the Allied representatives on their 
mission to ask an armistice may or may not have said, "The German 
army is in Marshal Foch's hands," but such was the fact. Haig was 
master of the fate of the German right; Pershing, of the line of retreat 
of the centre; Mangin's blow, fast ripening, must dispose of the left, 
north of the Vosges. And the German surrender, to avoid this supreme 
disaster, was an unconditional surrender'; Ludendorff asserts it, the 
terms of the Armistice prove it. The final battle and its immediate 
consequences, the liquidation of the results of the first days, began on 
September 26th; the last German resistance was broken on November 
1st, thirty-seven days in all. From LudendorfFs attack in Picardy to 
his final check in Flanders was forty days. The master had been well 
served by his lieutenants, Petain, Haig, and Pershing; they had been 
well seconded by their subordinates, Fayolle, De Maistre, Gouraud, Man- 
gin, Debeney, Humbert, Berthelot, Guillaumat, Plumer, Home, Byng, 
Rawlinson, Liggett and Bullard; but the master was Foch, he was as 
preeminent among his generals as Napoleon among his marshals. No 
campaign of Napoleon had been as stupendous in its circumstances, no 
termination more fortunate, more decisive. Neither at Jena nor at 
Waterloo were the battlefield results more conclusive; neither in the 
capitulation at Metz nor at Sedan had the submission been more ab- 
solute than that of the German army on November nth. 

As to the legend, that piece of impudent propaganda invented by the 
German High Command, put forth by Ludendorff that the German 
army had been unconquered and was unconquerable, remained capable 
of saving Germany right up to the moment when the country collapsed 
behind it the facts themselves are adequate to refute this final attempt 



266 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

of the German High Command to preserve its ancient reputation. On 
this subject General Buat writes with authority in words carrying con- 
viction: 

-i 

It is a legend which should be demolished, the claim that the German army was 
unconquered. When it obtained an armistice, that formidable host, which on July 
1 8th counted not less than eighty divisions of reserves, had sunk under the repeated 
blows of the Allies to a point where it no longer possessed more than fifteen divisions 
behind its battlefront; and even of these, only two were ready to engage immediately. 
At the same hour the Allies had a hundred. A Franco-American attack by thirty divi- 
sions, followed immediately by thirty more, was just to be launched east of Metz on 
November I4th and to march straight to the Sarre and the Rhine. Nothing could 
have stopped it. 

So convinced was the German General Staff of this fact that it had ordered the 
evacuation of Metz and Thionville, the two boulevards of the Rhineland. More than 
one hundred and sixty German divisions sadly reduced in numbers, to be sure were 
going to be obliged to retreat, with our bayonets at their backs and with their southern 
flank uncovered, through the gap between the Moselle below Thionville and Dutch 
Limburg. After the Armistice, unpursued and employing all the roads between 
Switzerland and Holland, these one hundred and sixty divisions were unable to get 
away, except by sacrificing the greater part of their material. What would have 
happened but for the Armistice? In point of fact, it is by the hundreds of thousands 
of men and thousands on thousands of guns that we should have reckoned our 
captures, if the Germans had not decided to sign the humiliating document of 
November nth. 

The statistics of the victory are as follows: Between July i8th and 
November nth, Foch's armies had captured 385,000 prisoners as many 
as Bazaine surrendered at Metz and Napoleon III at Sedan in 1870 
and 6,615 guns. The division of the captures was: British, 188,000 pris- 
oners and 2,880 guns; French, 139,000 prisoners and 1,880 guns; Ameri- 
can, 44,000 prisoners and 1,421 guns; Belgian, 14,500 prisoners and 474 
guns. The American total is above 50,000, reckoning in it the prisoners 
taken by the Second Corps, with the British, and the five divisions which 
fought in Flanders, at Juvigny, and east of Rheims the captures of the 
Second Corps alone exceeding 6,000. The number stands against 
208,000, LudendorfTs count of the prisoners taken by him between 
March 2ist and June i5th, his total of cannon was 2,500. Even more 
than the disparity in men, that in guns indicates the difference between 
the two operations. 



CHAPTER TEN 

THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 

I 
PERSHING'S TASK 

Having examined the progress of the battle which won the war, it 
remains now to consider in some detail the part played in this battle by 
Pershing's forces. The general place of the American participation in 
the struggle has been outlined. Pershing' s First Army in conjunction 
with the smaller force of Gouraud constituting Foch's right flank, was to 
deliver one of the two major thrusts. While Haig's armies were advanc- 
ing through the Hindenburg Line, through the line of the Scheldt and 
the Hermann Stellung, through Maubeuge toward Namur and Liege, 
Pershing was to push down the Meuse and cut the Mezieres-Metz 
railway from Sedan to Montmedy, closing one of the two exits of the 
German army between the Dutch frontier and the Allied front at 
Verdun, not only closing one but threatening the other., Haig and 
Pershing, from widely separated fronts, were thus moving toward the 
same point, were the essential factors in the great converging attack in 
the general assault all along the half circle from Ypres to the outskirts 
of Metz. 

In his final report Pershing has set forth the history of the develop- 
ment of the idea for this attack. In the discussion of August joth 
Marshal Foch had proposed to the American general operations which 
were unacceptable to him because they would require the immediate 
separation of the recently formed American First Army into groups 
to assist several French armies. This would have rendered useless all 
the enormous preparations already made for the new army. In addition 
Pershing asserts: 

The inherent disinclination of our troops to serve under Allied commanders would 
have grown, and American morale would have suffered. My position was staged 

267 



268 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

quite clearly, that the strategical employment of the First Army as a unit would be 
undertaken where desired, but its disruption to carry out these proposals would not be 
entertained. 

On September 2nd, at a new conference attended by Petain, Pershing 
was offered the choice between two sectors: that in Champagne, where 
Gouraud subsequently attacked, and that in the Meuse-Argonne, where 
the American army actually fought. At this conference Pershing heard 
outlined the plan for the great converging attack which later became a 
reality, but records that no one present even hinted that the end was at 
hand. In discussing the proposed Meuse-Argonne operation, the 
French High Command indicated its view "that the Meuse-Argonne 
attack could not be pushed much beyond Montfaucon before the 
arrival of winter would force the cessation of operations." This esti- 
mate proved incorrect, but the month of fighting necessary to get for- 
ward from Montfaucon to Landres-et-Saint-Georges demonstrated the 
reasonableness of the French view. As between the Argonne Forest 
and the Champagne sector, Pershing chose the former because : "In my 
opinion no other Allied troops had the morale or the offensive spirit to 
overcome successfully the difficulties to be met in the Meuse-Argonne 
sector, and our plans and installations had been prepared for an ex- 
pansion of operations in that direction. So the Meuse-Argonne front 
was chosen. The entire sector of 150 kilometres of front (just under a 
hundred miles) was accordingly placed under my command, including all 
French divisions then in that zone." 

At first, however, the St. Mihiel operation was to be pushed, and 
September I2th saw it carried to triumphant conclusion. What this 
victory meant to the new American army, Pershing indicates thus: 

The material results of the victory achieved were very important. An American 
army was an accomplished fact, and the enemy had felt its power. No form of propa- 
ganda could overcome the depressing effect on the morale of the enemy of this demon- 
stration of our ability to organize a large American force and drive it successfully 
through his defences. It gave our troops implicit confidence in their superiority and 
raised their morale to the highest pitch. For the first time wire entanglements 
ceased to be regarded as impassable barriers and open-warfare training, which had 
been so urgently insisted upon, proved to be the correct doctrine. Our divisions 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 269 

concluded the attack with such small losses and in such high spirits that without the 
usual rest they were immediately available for employment in heavy fighting in a new 
theatre of operations. ' 

What the moral effect of St. Mihiel was, we have seen already. It 
not only won for Pershing the opportunity to play one of the leading 
roles in the forthcoming Allied convergent attack, already foreshadowed 
on September 2nd, but it also placed an enormous, an impossible 
burden upon the newly constituted staff of an army just organized. 
Within a period of two weeks the American First Army had to fight a 
major engagement at St. Mihiel and then transfer its front to the north, 
take over new lines, a totally new sector, and deliver an even greater 
battle. In addition, practically all the veteran divisions used at St. 
Mihiel, having had no adequate time to rest and refit, were unavailable 
at the moment and Pershing had to begin the greatest battle in American 
history with an army composed mainly of green troops, newly come from 
the United States, lacking in all the essentials of adequate preparation. 

Recognizing the magnificence of the actual achievement of these 
troopson September 26th, it is not unreasonable to believe that, had 
Pershing been able to employ his veterans, he might have realized his ex- 
pectation and Foch's hope and broken clear through in the first two days 
of the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne. It is worth recording also that, de- 
spite his own difficulties, Pershing had to spare six divisions, three of them 
certainly among the best in France, during the course of the operation : 
the 27th and 3Oth, which served with Haig throughout, and broke 
through the Hindenburg Line; the 2nd and the 36th, which were lent 
to Gouraud where they performed remarkable services, and the 37th 
and 9 ist, withdrawn in full battle and despatched to Flanders to 
serve with Degoutte, where the 37th forced the crossing of the Scheldt 
and took Oudenarde. Thus the measure of Pershing's achievement must 
be sought in the examination of his difficulties, and his achievement 
must be put down to the obstinate and dogged determination of his 
troops and of their commander-in-chief, nor can one restrain admira- 
tion at the manner in which the General, confident of his army, under- 
took the impossible and actually performed an incredible part of it. 



27 o HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

He had to train a huge army on the field of battle and, unlike Haig, 
whose position at the First Somme was otherwise comparable, Pershing 
did not have adequate mechanical resources, sufficient lines of com- 
munication, or any considerable number of trained staff officers. 

II. THE BATTLEFIELD 

No battle area on the western front is more difficult to describe than 
the Meuse-Argonne sector. The Argonne itself, with its densely wooded 
regions, recalls vividly the circumstances of the Wilderness campaign in 
the Civil War, and the country over which the New York City Division 
advanced would have awakened many memories in the minds of the 
veterans of Grant and Lee. The area between the Aire and the Meuse, 
with its high and wooded hills and its deep and marshy valleys, bounded 
on the east by the Meuse, strikingly recalls that country where Gates's 
army first halted, then broke and captured Burgoyne's army in the 
campaign which led to the surrender at Saratoga. And in this region 
between the Aire and the Meuse there is much which recalls the woods 
and hills of eastern Massachusetts and the points of cover from which the 
"Minute Men" assailed the British "Redcoats" on their retreat from 
Concord and Lexington on April 19, 1775. 

In advancing from south to north, Pershing's army moved through 
a corridor rather more than 20 miles wide at the start and narrowing as 
the Meuse inclined westward to a point which was exactly at Donchery, 
where, in the Chateau de Bellevue, Napoleon III capitulated in 1870 after 
the disaster at Sedan. In this corridor the American difficulties were 
these : from the west they were assailed by a flank fire delivered by the 
Germans from the heights and forests of the Argonne which were 
impregnable to direct attack; a similar fire was delivered from the 
east, from the Heights of the Meuse on the right bank of that stream; 
in front they were faced by an enemy posted in an indescribable tangle 
of wooded hills, marshy bottoms, and deep ravines. 

Literally, in all the early stages of the battle, the Americans in the 
corridor between the Argonne and the Meuse Heights were assailed by a 
frontal fire and at the same time pounded on both flanks, in their rear, and 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 



271 



along their communications, by the enemy who dominated them from the 
Argonne and from the Meuse Hills. It had been the expectation of their 
commander that the advance of the French on the west and of the 
Americans on the east of the Argonne would compel the Germans to 
retire at once, but 
so strong was the 
position that the 
enemy held on 
long after Gouraud 
and Pershing had 
passed them on 
either side and con- 
tinued to sweep the 
Americans be- 
tween the Argonne 
and the Meuse 
with a deadly cross 
fire. 

To the difficul- 
ties inherent in the 
character of the 
country was added 
still another, pro- 
duced by the ab- 
sence of roads. The 
single good high- 
way from the 
south to the north 
travelled down the 
valley of the Aire 
which was open 
and was exposed to 
direct observation 
and fire from the 




THE WOODS OF THE ARGONNE-MEUSE BATTLEFIELD 

The Argonne Forest gave the Germans a strong protection for one 
flank and the Meuse River similarly protected the other. The nu- 
merous smaller woods gave fine protection for defensive measures be- 
tween as did the hills both at Montfaucon and farther back along the 
line Romagne, Landres-et-Saint-Georges, Grandpre. 



272 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Germans in the Forest of the Argonne all the way from Varennes to 
Grandpre; that is, to the point where the Germans made their last stand. 
The only other passable road was that which followed the Meuse Valley 
from the American front northward, and this was even more completely 
dominated by the Germans on the Meuse Heights than was the Aire 
road from the Argonne. A single other road half way between the two 
rivers wound in and out among the hills from the American front through 
Montfaucon to the ultimate German position, and this road was a mere 
country highway totally unsuited to motor traffic, and promptly ruined 
by shell fire. The greatest single element in delaying the American 
advance was the question of communications. An army always in 
excess of a quarter of a million, requiring enormous supplies and muni- 
tions, needing stupendous concentration of artillery to open its difficult 
way, evacuating thousands of wounded daily, engaged in fighting so 
intense that divisions had to be relieved frequently and replacements 
hurried up hourly, was condemned to depend upon three roads, one of 
which, the Meuse route, was totally unavailable; another, that in the 
Aire Valley, for a long time almost equally forbidden; and what 
amounted to a rough country lane, already wrecked by four years of 
bombardment and now torn up anew. 

One more circumstance added enormously to the problem of com- 
munications. When the Americans "jumped off "on September 26th, they 
advanced out of lines which were just within the area of the great battle 
of Verdun in 1916. Dead Man's Hill and Hill 304, the extreme limits 
of German advance, were their points of departure, and for three miles 
in front of them was the indescribable chaos of one of the greatest battle- 
fields of the war, which had been subjected to intense artillery fire for 
months at a time and, in addition, for four years to the intermittent 
bombardment exchanged between fixed fronts even in quiet sectors. 

No pen and no photograph can adequately describe or portray the 
actual devastation and destruction of the guns in the whole Verdun 
area, and in no section was this devastation more complete than on the 
left bank of the Meuse where Petain and the German Crown Prince had 
fought in March and April of 1916. 




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274 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

And the same devastation extended to the Argonne, in which there 
had been terrific fighting in the winter of 1914-15. The Argonne Forest 
itself, a long clay eminence with a crest line some 800 feet above the 
general level of the country, was ten miles wide, heavily wooded, its 
steep soft sides cut and eroded by many little brooks. But for five miles 
in depth before the American front of September 26th, the natural dif- 
ficulties had been a thousand-fold magnified by four years of conflict, 
and there extended northward a region of incredible desolation most 
closely recalling a mountain forest which has been swept by fire. And 
all this chaos was intensified by a vast glacis of barbed wire miles and 
miles deep. 

East of the Argonne and of the little Aire River was the real Verdun 
sector, and here directly in front of the Americans was a region com- 
parable only with the Valley of the Ailette north of the Craoruie Plateau 
and with that of the Ypres salient itself. Villages, orchards, trees, 
every living thing and every circumstance of human life, had long dis- 
appeared. Through a narrow valley flowed the tiny Forges brook 
going eastward to the Meuse, and the shell fire of four years had trans- 
formed its valley into an impassable marsh filled with enormous shell 
craters which had become deep and dangerous ponds, forbidding the 
passage not merely of transports but even of men. Again and again 
in the Verdun time soldiers had been drowned in these shell craters, 
and on the similar front east of the Meuse the French had long relied 
upon sure-footed donkeys as the sole method of transport. 

Thus it will be seen that not only were highways lacking, but that 
when the Americans advanced they had first to pass over a deep belt of 
country in which there was no possibility of moving guns or supplies 
forward until this moat of destruction had been bridged. Men could 
and did get forward on September 26th, although how they did it will al- 
ways remain a puzzle to those who know the country; but guns and 
motor vehicles could not follow, and the check after the first onrush was 
a consequence. When our waves had penetrated and passed all the 
first German lines " prepared" by the American artillery, when they 
had advanced beyond the effective range of their own guns, they en- 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 275 

countered other German divisions armed with machine guns, fortified 
with concrete emplacements, protected by German artillery firing upon 
the assailant from the front and from the flanks. They were forced to 
halt to wait for the guns which could not come until the moat had been 
bridged and roads constructed; and in that time the German was able 
to get up reserves and the battle became one of "usury" a repetition 
of the Somme, of Flanders, and, indeed, of the First Verdun itself. 

This was what the French High Command foresaw when it warned 
Pershing that he would not get far beyond Montfaucon before winter 
came, and the forecast would have been accurate had it not been for the 
sheer fighting capacity of the green American troops, who, suffering 
casualties heavier than those which sufficed to break the fighting spirit 
of Nivelle's armies at the Craonne Plateau in April and May, 1917, wore 
the German out and ultimately broke through his defence .line. 

A satisfactory description of the various details in; the ^ topography 
of the country between the Meuse and the Argonne is .theii ^uite im- 
possible. It is necessary to think of the country in 'which;bur young 
soldiers fought, in which they pushed forward after their Jfirst great 
dash, as a tangle of wooded hills, separated by marshy valleys, having 
no ordered system, no central ridge, no dominant hill stretching from 
west to east in the pathway of Pershing's troops as Vimy Ridge and the 
Craonne Plateau barred sectors of the Aisne and Scarpe fronts. There 
was no line of hills blocking our advance from south to north as the 
Meuse Hills or the Argonne Hills would have blocked an enemy coming 
from the east westward. Between October 1st, when our first rush came 
to a halt as a result of the failure of communications, and November 
ist, when the remnants of the German army gave it up and took to their 
heels, our troops simply fought from hill to hill, and the capture of one 
hill left them with a hill on either side and one in front to negotiate. They 
struggled through woodland after woodland only to find fresh forests 
on all sides. They fought a battle of extermination with an enemy who 
knew the country, who had organized it for defence ; whose artillery had 
marked down every road, every cleared space, every point of assembly, 
and, on signal from his aviators, deluged it with perfectly aimed shots. 



276 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

In a word, the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne between October ist and 
November ist resembled Indian righting in the earliest colonial days to 
a surprising extent, despite the use of all the weapons of contemporary 
warfare. It was not a battle of clever manoeuvre, a conflict between 
two brilliant strategies; it was above all a conflict of men, fought at close 
range, fought with the bayonet, the machine gun, the hand grenade, 
fought to extermination under conditions of country, weather, and com- 
munications which defied comprehension. 

III. THE GERMAN DEFENCE SYSTEMS 

There is a very simple figure to describe the German defence systems 
in the Meuse-Argonne regions. The hills of the Meuse and of the 
Argonne constituted two distinct ridges running north and south, at 
first parallel and then converging, enclosing all the region where the 
real battle took place. The Germans occupied both ridges, and between 
these ridges they stretched barriers which resembled a series of gates 
swung from one stone fence to another in a country lane. They were 
solidly hinged and bolted on either side, and the American effort was to 
advance north through the lane, breaking down each of the successive 
gates along this roadway which led to their objective, the all-important 
railway from Metz to Mezieres. There were actually three of these 
gates to be forced: two were in reality circumstances in the Hindenburg 
system and close together; the third, which was the Kriemhilde system, 
was three or four miles farther north and was the final barrier. 

The Americans burst through the first two gates on September 26th 
and 27th, but the check in front of Montfaucon, and the failure of their 
transport system in consequence of the character of the country, delayed 
their progress from the second to the third gate until the Germans were 
able to rush reserves up; and Pershing's army fought these reserves, 
pushing them slowly but surely back upon the third gate, which they 
finally smashed on November ist. Keeping this figure in mind, one 
can follow the various stages, always remembering that the Americans 
in the lane were long handicapped, not merely by the opposition in front, 
but by the punishment they received from the enemy who occupied 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 




/. S. 



A HILL DEFENDED BY GERMANS: CAPTURED BY AMERICANS 




U. S. Official Photo 

TALKING THROUGH GAS MASKS - 

Receiving instructions through a field telephone from an artillery observer. The information must be passed on 

to the gunners, gas or no gas 




ON WATCH THE DAY BEFORE THE ARMISTICE 
An observation tower built of light railway tracks. Picture taken November 10, 1918 , 



U. S. Official Photo 




THE CHAOS OF CONCENTRATED FIRE 
As many as five shell craters filled with mustard gas were found in a space 10 by 13 feet 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 293 

positions comparable with the top of the fence on either side of the lane 
looking down on the Americans and upon their rear and communications. 

One other circumstance is worthy of note. On the British front 
Haig was still, on September 26th, when he attacked the Germans in 
the Hindenburg Line, a long way from their vital communication, and 
the Germans had begun to construct their reserve positions many miles 
back of the Hindenburg Line. The result was that Haig was able to 
advance rapidly for a considerable distance before he encountered the 
next line of German obstructions. But Pershing, when he attacked, 
was only a short distance from vital German communications, and 
therefore the Germans had constructed their second barrier in this 
region only a few miles behind the first. The result was that almost 
immediately after he broke through the Hindenburg system, the two 
gates of our figure, Pershing encountered the next, whereas Haig was 
clear through the Hindenburg Line in the first week of October and did 
not reach the Scheldt-Hermann Line until the last days of the month. 
This circumstance explains why the advances of both the British and 
the French were so much more extensive than those of the Americans 
between October ist and November 1st. In point of fact, on this day 
Pershing and Haig, both of them, burst through the last German defence 
system, and it should be added that the section of this last line facing 
Pershing was far more complete and fencible than the Selle and 
Rhonelle defence lines which Haig surmounted. 

On September 26th Pershing's army from the Argonne to the Meuse 
looked northward across the devastated area upon the first and second 
German defence systems, organized in depth for some six miles, lightly 
held, mainly by machine-gun detachments. At the northern edge of 
this fortified zone, midway between the Argonne and the Meuse, was 
the dominating hill on which stood the ruined village of Montfaucon, 
which was the point of vantage from which the Crown Prince had 
watched the opening of his attack upon Verdun. The hill of Mont- 
faucon was more than a thousand feet high, rising out of much lower 
ground, dominating the whole front in a fashion which suggested the 
conning tower of a submarine. Madelin describes it as "that eagle's 



294 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

nest." The whole hill had been fortified by the Germans, who had 
provided it with a very considerable number of concrete block-houses 
low structures with rounding roofs, made of reinforced concrete many 
feet thick, and commanding all the roads of approach to the village. To- 
ward the Americans they showed only a narrow slit, several feet long but 
no more than three inches wide, through which machine guns were fired. 
These concrete emplacements were invisible from the air and impervious 
to everything except a direct hit by a heavy gun. Inside this cover 
three or four men could hold up a regiment and inflict terrific losses. 
Across the single road leading into the village, the Germans had stretched 
a series of concrete posts to prevent a tank attack. 

It was the conception of the German command that an Allied attack 
between the Meuse and the Argonne would be able to get forward some 
three or four miles as a result of the preparation made by the artillery. 
But it calculated that when the assailants reached the vicinity of 
Montfaucon, they would have passed through the area covered by their 
own artillery and then, assailed by fire from Montfaucon in front and 
from the Meuse and Argonne hills on the flanks, the advance would be 
checked and would die out in front of Montfaucon. This calculation 
was not quite realized, for Pershing's troops did take Montfaucon on 
the second day of the first attack, but the town held out just long enough 
to enable the Germans to rush up reserves which checked Pershing's 
troops only a little to the north of Montfaucon itself. 

Montfaucon is a conspicuous example of the extent to which the 
German surpassed all his opponents in protective defence works. Mont 
Sec, in the St. Mihiel sector, was an equally noteworthy illustration; 
Mont Sec and Montfaucon have furnished two of the most vivid 
memories American soldiers have carried away of the German defences. 
Since the Meuse-Argonne front covered a vital line of communication, 
the German defences were very elaborate. To the intricate artificial 
works there were added natural circumstances which made Pershing's 
battlefield perfectly adapted to the use of the machine gun, the Ger- 
mans' favourite weapon, and the most difficult battlefield on the whole 
western front. 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 295 

IV. FIRST PHASE 

The bombardment preceding the attack on September 26th _began 
at 2:30 A.M. and lasted for three hours. It was the usual prelude, and in 
these three hours more powder was burned than in the whole Civil War. 
A little less than 3,000 guns were in line, and thirty-five French artillery 
regiments reinforced the American batteries and supplied the larger part 
of the heavy artillery. All the guns served by American and French 
alike, as well as the ammunition, were of French manufacture. 

The American army, in line on a 25-mile front, was divided into three 
corps. The order from west to east was as follows : The First Corps 
comprising the 77th, 28th, and 35th divisions was in line from La 
Harazee in the Argonne to Vauquois on the eastern edge of the Aire 
Valley. It was commanded by Hunter Liggett who would presently 
take over the First Army. The Fifth Corps occupied a front from 
east of Vauquois to the slopes of Hill 304. It was composed of the 9ist, 
37th, and 79th divisions, and was commanded by George H. Cameron, 
who was presently succeeded by Charles P. Summerall, who led the ist 
Division at the Soissons corner. The front between Hill 304 and the 
Meuse was occupied by the Third Corps led by Robert L. Bullard, who 
had commanded the ist Division at Cantigny, the American Army 
Corps at the Soissons corner, and would presently be succeeded by 
Joseph P. Dickman when Bullard took over the American Second Army. 
The Third Corps consisted of the 4th, 8oth, and 33rd divisions. Of 
the nine divisions only one, the 4th, had seen severe fighting, while the 
33rd had lent some of its units to the British at Chipilly Ridge in the 
fighting following the offensive of August 8th at the Somme. 

In the scheme of things, the main advance was to be made by the 
Fifth Corps in the centre, which was to pass through Montfaucon and 
arrive at Romagne and Cunel on the edge of the Kriemhilde Stellung 
by nightfall. The other two corps were to cover flanks of this advance 
along the Meuse and astride the Aire. Gouraud's Fourth Army was 
attacking west of the Argonne, and it was expected that his advance 
and that of the American centre would lead to a prompt German evacua- 



296 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

tion of the Argonne, transformed by the two advances into a deep and 
narrow salient. On the west bank of the Aire the 28th Division, 
which had seen some fighting in the Marne salient, was expected to 
reach Apremont, and the 35th to take Exermont on the right bank. 
Arrived on this front the Americans were to halt, reorganize, and on 
September 27th, push through the Kriemhilde Line, north of which the 
German had no organized defensive system. The attack was to be a sur- 
prise. It was known that the German had but five divisions in line, only 
one of them first rate, and it was estimated that he could put no more 
than six divisions of reserves in during the first two days four on the 
first, two on the second. But on the third, he would be able to put nine 
divisions in and these would be fully sufficient to check the American 
advance if it had not by that time broken the Kriemhilde Line and 
routed the Germans before it. Pershing's nine divisions numbered 
about 250,00x3 men and he had practically unlimited reserves to draw 
upon at this time. Thus he had the advantage of surprise, tremendous 
superiority in artillery, and numerical odds of about five to one. 

We may now examine what actually took place. On the right of the 
line, the Third Corps almost completely fulfilled its mission, the 33rd 
Division crossing the Forges brook, lined the right bank of the Meuse 
from its point of departure to the hills north of Dannevoux in the bend 
of the Meuse. The 8oth pushed into the woodland and hills to the west- 
ward only a little to the south of Brieulles which was its extreme objec- 
tive. The 4th pushed on to the eastern edge of Nantillois which was its 
objective. The Third Corps had therefore substantially performed its 
mission, having passed through all the Hindenburg system and was in 
position to cover the Fifth if that corps should perform its mission and be 
ready to attack on the second day. 

But the Fifth was less fortunate, it had the hardest mission, since 
the 79th Division had to take Montfaucon by direct attack supported 
by the 37th on its left. The 79th had the most difficult part of the front 
to cross, the area which had been most torn up in the 1916 fighting. As 
a result it "lost" its barrage, that is it did not keep up with the cur- 
tain of fire, timed to destroy obstacles and keep down resistance just 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 297 

in front of advancing infantry. This meant that the Germans were 
able to come out of their shelters after the barrage had passed, set up 
their machine guns, and punish the advancing infantry which was with- 
out artillery support. 

As a consequence the 79th did not get to the foot of the Montfaucon 
Height until just before dark, and the 37th which had also passed 
through very difficult country was equally late. At this hour the 37th 
should have been far north of Montfaucon just as the 4th Division actually 
was. Thus threatened with envelopment, the German garrison in 
Montfaucon would have had to flee or surrender, and the work of the 
79th would have been easy. As it was the Germans hung on, repulsed 
all attacks of the 79th and the 37th with heavy losses, and the 4th had 
to come back from Nantillois to protect its flank. 

The Fifth Corps, scheduled to deliver the decisive thrust, was thus 
halted several miles south of its objective, and instead of being able to 
attack the Kriemhilde Line the next morning had to "mop up" Mont- 
faucon instead, and it was not until night that it was able to get forward 
again, and even then only a short distance. 

As for the First Corps and the 9ist Division of the Fifth Corps, their 
progress had also been disappointing. The 9ist had been checked in 
part by the reason of the failure of the 37th which had been held up in 
turn by the 79th. The 35th had not quite reached Baulny, while the 
28th and the 77th across the Aire, after the first considerable gains, 
had been checked, as was to be expected by the resistance in the 
Argonne. 

Pershing had now to face exactly the disappointments which came 
to Byng after his initial success at Cambrai a year before. Then a 
complete surprise had been partially spoiled by the success of one Ger- 
man battery in the town of Flesquieres. This battery delayed the 
British advance for so many hours that the Germans were able to rush 
up reserves and to destroy the crossings of the Scheldt. As a result, 
Byng's cavalry could not get into action in time and a complete rupture 
of the German line was prevented. 

Now the twenty-four hour delay in the American centre, caused by 



2 9 8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Montfaucon had enabled the Germans to pour in six divisions of reserves, 
and nine more were available. Before he could get forward Pershing 
would have to wait for the guns, reorganize his communications, and 
evacuate his wounded. He would also have to relieve three divisions 
which had suffered terribly after partial check: the 79th, the 37th, and 
the 35th, which, after a brilliant advance on September 28th to the 
heights south of Exermont, had been forced to retire. 

Worse even than this was the fact that the failure of his centre to 
reach its objectives and a similar delay suffered by the French west of 
the Argonne had combined to spoil the plan to pinch the Germans out 
of the Argonne, and they were now able to cross their fire with that of 
their comrades east of the Meuse, covering the flanks, the rear, and the 
communications of the Americans. Actually Pershing instead of ruptur- 
ing the German front between the Meuse and the Argonne had merely 
driven a wedge, seven miles deep and less than ten miles wide at its 
broadest point, into the enemy front, and his men in this wedge were 
being punished by the Germans who occupied the high ground on both 
sides. In other words, Pershing had now undergone the same ex- 
perience as all of his predecessors during the war of positions. The 
Germans when they had attacked Verdun across the Meuse on February 
21, 1916, had driven a similar wedge into the French positions for an 
equal depth. But the fire of the French artillery from Hill 304 and 
Dead Man's Hill, which Pershing's troops had just passed over, par- 
alyzed German advance until French reserves arrived, and the Germans, 
deprived of all the advantage of their surprise, had to halt and turn 
their attention to the hills across the river and clear them before they 
could get on. 

Falkenhayn's hope of taking Verdun by a single thrust, and Persh- 
ing's design to break through the German defensives between the Meuse 
and the Argonne and promptly cut the Metz railroad near Sedan, were 
thus blocked under similar circumstances. Both at Verdun and in the 
Meuse-Argonne the front-line defence lasted just long enough to enable 
reserves to get up and prevent a rupture, and thereafter the assailants 
found themselves involved in a new war of positions in country ad- 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 299 

mirably adapted for defence and in a posture bound to involve heavy 
casualties. 

The enemy now had behind him good communications while Persh- 
ing's army was still separated from its bases both by the stretch of 
country marked by the destruction of previous battles and by the con- 
dition of the roads north of this area, wrecked by the recent battle and 
swept by German artillery fire alike from the front and both flanks. The 
result then was disappointing. An advance of seven miles had been 
made at the extreme point; 10,000 prisoners and 100 guns had been cap- 
tured, but the enemy front was intact. Pershing was now stuck exactly 
where the French High Command had prophesied that he would be 
checked, and the German High Command had planned to halt any at- 
tack between the Meuse and the Argonne. Conceivably, had Persh- 
ing been able to use his veteran divisions, to use the ist and 2nd 
against Montfaucon, his original plan might have been carried out, but 
both units had been heavily engaged less than two weeks before in the 
St. Mihiel salient; the two divisions actually engaged were totally new 
to offensive warfare and were literally going into their first battle. 

Had Pershing been able to get to the Metz railroad in the last days 
of September instead of the first days of November, the effect of this 
triumph would have been far more disastrous than it could have been 
later, for between these two dates the Germans undoubtedly evacuated 
great masses of stores Ludendorff asserts this. Nevertheless the 
ultimate arrival did carry for the enemy a deadly peril, escaped only 
by, the Armistice. Moreover, all Allied authorities agreed that what 
Pershing undertook was not less than the impossible, and neither his 
French allies nor his German foes believed that, having thrust his army 
into the neck of the bottle, he would be able to push his way through 
before winter stopped the campaign. More than this, praise for what 
was actually accomplished was very generous. Madelin, who knew the 
Verdun area well, having made all the campaigns there from 1914 to 
1917, wrote: 

"Our Allies had achieved a grand success. They had taken Mont- 
faucon, that eagle's nest reckoned impregnable, and its peak." And 



300 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

later he said again: "To have taken Montfaucon was a magnificent 
exploit, new proof of the bravery of the American soldier." 

V. THE SECOND PHASE 

Between September 27th and October 4th Pershing's army was oc- 
cupied in straightening out its front preparatory to the resumption of a 
general offensive. Minor gains were made but they amounted in the 
main merely to liquidating the consequences of the previous attack and 
the line was still marked by the hills south of Brieulles, by the villages 
of Nantillois and Cierges and the town of Apremont just west of the Aire 
on the edge of the Argonne, in which the enemy still held positions in 
a southward salient. On October 4th Pershing undertook, despite the 
cross fire from the Meuse Hills and the Argonne, to force his way for- 
ward between the Meuse and the Aire. Despite some advances the 
attack was in the main a complete and disheartening failure. On the 
right and in the centre the check was immediate and absolute; 
on the left the 1st Division, which had replaced the 35th, reached 
the outskirts of Exermont; and the 28th east of the Aire advanced 
to the vicinity of Fleville. But the 77th, fighting magnificently 
in the Argonne, went through precisely the experience that the best 
French and German divisions had undergone in the winter of 1915 when 
the character of the country forbade rapid or material gain. So far 
from improving his position Pershing had merely accentuated the 
salient in which his troops suffered, and the 1st and 28th divisions on 
the west bank of the Aire in low ground were unmercifully pounded by 
the Germans in the Argonne from Cornay, opposite Fleville, to Chatel- 
Chehery. Until he had abolished this Argonne salient, Pershing could 
not hope to ad yance northward. Just as Falkenhayn across the river had 
been obliged to halt his direct advance on Verdun until he had abolished 
the French flank fire from the hills west of the Meuse, Pershing's next 
operation must be an attack on either flank to clear the Meuse Heights 
and the forest and hills of the Argonne. No progress toward or through 
the Kriemhilde Line could be hoped for until the Argonne salient was 
abolished; and this manoeuvre consumed ten days. 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 301 

The first blow was struck by the French on October yth on the 
heights east of the Meuse. By October 8th the high ground had 
been cleared for a distance of six miles, while the 33rd Division on this 
latter date forced the passage of the river in brilliant style joining hands 
with the 29th on the Meuse Heights. This partially removed the 
hindrance coming from across the Meuse, but farther to the north, and 
particularly in the Bois de Chatillon, opposite Brieulles, the Germans 
hung on and, until the end of the battle, continued to punish the Ameri- 
cans from that flank. On October 8th, by an exceedingly clever 
manoeuvre, Pershing threw the 28th and the 82nd across the Aire from 
the hills south of Fleville to Apremont, took Chatel-Chehery and Cor- 
nay, and began to march across the rear of the Germans in the Argonne 
salient. The result was immediate. The Germans fled northward, 
the resistance in front of the 77th collapsed, and by October I3th the 
yyth and the 82nd lined the banks of the Aire north of the Argonne For- 
est from Marcq to Chevieres near Grandpre. These two operations 
had completely abolished the flank fire from the Argonne and greatly 
reduced that from the Meuse Heights. West of the Argonne, Gou- 
raud's army had made equal progress and Pershing was no longer in a 
pocket. The Aire Valley road, the best in the whole region, was avail- 
able for his transport as far north as Fleville, while the Montfaucon road 
had been put in condition and a spur railroad was being pushed down the 
Aire Valley to Varennes from the Verdun trunk line. Meantime be- 
tween the Aire and the Meuse the front had been pushed forward to the 
outskirts of Romagne and Cunel, and an advance had been made past 
Brieulles on the wooded hills to the west. In a word, Pershing was get- 
ting close to the Kriemhilde Line and Marwitz was approaching his 
last ditch. This was the situation when Pershing turned over the com- 
mand of the First Army to Hunter Liggett, put Bullard in command of 
the newly organized American Second Army, and thus became chief of 
an army group. 

Between October I3th and November ist the Americans west of the 
Aire were in action against the Kriemhilde Line; between October loth 
and November ist, those between the Aire and the Meuse were 



302 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

wrestling with the same problem. This Kriemhilde Line from west to 
east was thus organized : At the southern end of the forest of Bour- 
gogne, which was itself the extension of the Argonne north of the gap 
through which the Aire flows to the Aisne, the Germans occupied : Talma 
Farm on high ground in the midst of the forest; the considerable town 
of Grandpre, commanding the crossing of the river; Belle Joyeuse Farm 
above Grandpre, town and farm dominated by the hills of the Forest of 
Bourgogne; then to the eastward the steep, forest-crowned Bois-des- 
Loges which dominated the Aire Valley; then the village of St. Juvin 
and the high ground behind it extending in a well-defined ridge along 
the road from St. Juvin to Landres-et-Saint-Georges, thence through the 
Bois de Bantheville to the stretch of hills from Bantheville to the Meuse, 
along the north side of the little Andon brook which flows through 
Aincreville and Clery-le-Petit. All advance on the west bank of the 
Meuse in the valley was prevented by German fire from the Bois de Cha- 
tillon across the river. 

The position was exceedingly strong naturally. From Talma Farm to 
St. Juvin the Aire River, a deep stream flowing in a wide marshy valley, 
covered the German front, which was heavily wired along the river. 
From St. Juvin to Bantheville the hills about Landres-et-Saint-Georges 
dominate an open country. Eastward the Bantheville Forest was a 
difficult obstacle, while between Bantheville and the Meuse were high, 
heavily wooded forests, strong in themselves and doubly strong be- 
cause of the cross fire coming from the east bank of the Meuse. 

We have compared the battlefield to a lane barred by three gates. 
Actually the deep westward bend of the Meuse near Brieulle reduces 
the lane between the Aire and the Meuse to the width of a footpath, in 
our figure a pass less than ten miles wide and actually a narrow gap 
between Bantheville Forest and the wooded hills west of the Meuse, 
by which the highway from the Aire Valley goes northward to Dun-sur- 
Meuse. This was the Thermopylae which Marwitz attempted to hold 
in the last days of the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne, a solid ridge from 
the Forest of Bourgogne to the west bank of the Meuse with a single 
considerable break, that at Bantheville. 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 303 

Between October 4th and November ist, Pershing's "Second Phase/' 
the operations fall into three distinct periods. The first occupies one 
day. Having regrouped his forces, he relieved the divisions most 
severely punished by putting in fresh and better-trained units: the ist 
on the east bank of the Aire, the 32nd and the 3rd- the former proven 
in the passage of the Ourcq in the Marne salient, the latter at Chateau- 
Thierry. Having partially restored communications and brought up 
artillery, Pershing tries to repeat the effort of September 26th on October 
4th. In doing this he imitates Falkenhayn at Verdun, Byng at Cam- 
brai, Ludendorff himself before Amiens in the preceding spring; and like 
the other three, his attempt is an instant, complete, and bloody check. 
Then he has to abandon the attack in the centre, become hopeless until 
he has widened his front, abolished the flank fire from the Argonne, and 
at least reduced that from the Meuse Hills. Falkenhayn, after a similar 
check before Verdun in the last days of February, 1916, had to renounce 
the attack in the centre and devote his attention to the flanks to fight 
the "Battle of the Wings" directed against Dead Man's Hill and Hill 
304 on the west and Fort de Vaux on the east. Not until late April, 
with the hills taken and Fort de Vaux partially smothered, could he 
resume the direct thrust on Verdun. Before he could push this thrust 
home the Battle of the Somme diverted German reserves from Lorraine 
to Picardy. The attack on Verdun had to be abandoned. 

Pershing's Second Phase was, accordingly, marked by two similar 
operations on his respective flanks, designed to abolish the German cross 
fire, which prevented the advance of his centre. On October yth, 8th, 
and 9th there were attacks both across the Meuse and the Aire. That 
across the Meuse was only moderately fruitful, although the achieve- 
ment of the 33rd, in crossing the deep river and the canal beyond it, 
was one of the most brilliant circumstances in the battle and a fitting 
climax to the operation of this division on September 26th. This cross- 
ing was made on October 8th, in conjunction with the attacks of Ameri- 
can and French troops east of the river. 

The manoeuvre across the Aire was equally brilliant and wholly 
successful. The 77th, fighting in the Argonne Forest, performing feats 



304 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

of heroism and devotion which will always be memorable, was still 
unable to perform the impossible. Nor was the attack of the 28th. 
astride the Aire, capable of abolishing the deadly Argonne salient. Ac- 
cordingly Pershing relieved the fraction of the 28th east of the Aire and 
replaced it by the 82nd, taken from corps reserve; and on October 7th, 
while the yyth and the 28th continued their pressure west of the Aire, 
the 82nd crossed the river a feat of great daring stormed the heights 
crowned by Chatel-Chehery, and reached Cornay the next day. "One 
of the most extraordinary feats of the whole battle," says Captain Page. 

Thereupon the Germans in the Argonne, attacked frontally by 
the yyth and threatened on their flank and rear by the 28th and the 82nd, 
cleared out of the Forest and retired behind the Aire, while the 82nd, 
taking Marcq and repassing the Aire, took St. Juvin a few days later. 
In all these operations, as in the fighting north and east of the Aire, a 
certain number of controversies have arisen as to the credit for the tak- 
ing of various towns, but however important this accurate appraisal of 
individual achievement may seem to the various units, it is relatively 
minor in the larger view. The contributions of the three divisions 
actually engaged in the reduction of the Argonne each possessed 
sufficient distinction to satisfy the most devoted partisans. The 
American army as a whole, moreover, can afford to be proud, both of 
the dogged and never-ending struggle of the 77th in the Argonne and 
of the dash and gallantry of the 82nd and the 3 3rd in the passage of 
the Aire and the Meuse. 

By October loth the operations in the Argonne and the Meuse 
Heights, corresponding to the "Battle of the Wings" in the Verdun 
offensive of 1916, were over, and Pershing was able to resume the thrust 
in the centre, which had beea intended as the main attack all along 
but had been held up, after the first swift advance on September 
26th, by the resistance of Montfaucon and again, on October 4th, by the 
cross fire from the Argonne and the Meuse Heights. 

The Third Phase, from October loth to November ist, is a di- 
rect drive through the Kriemhilde Stellung from Grandpre, which the 
77th approached on October I3th and I4th, to the Meuse at Brieulles. 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 305 

In this last period the fighting is intense all along the line but the decisive 
progress is on either side of the Montfaucon-Bantheville highway which 
follows the little Andon brook through the Bantheville gap in the hills 
of the Kriemhilde Stellung. In this advance, the 32nd takes and passes 
Romagne, future site of the great American cemete.ry, on October I4th. 
The 5th, to the right, takes Cunel, its crossroads, woods, and hills, on 
October I4th-i7th. The 42nd prolongs the advance to the left. Then 
suddenly, about October 2Oth, a deep wedge begins to work through the 
Kriemhilde Line astride the Andon brook. The 3 2nd enters Bantheville 
Forest and begins to encircle Landres-et-Saint-Georges. The 89th takes 
over from the 32nd and extends the wedge, cleans up all of Bantheville 
Woods by October 2ist and 22nd. The cjoth gets Bantheville while 
the 5th and 3rd clean up all the high ground between Bantheville and 
the Meuse Valley. This means that by the end of October Pershing's 
centre is clear through the Kriemhilde system. 

To th'e east, the progress is much slower in consequence of the 
even more difficult character of the country. The 77th takes Grandpre 
on October 17th, but the 78th, relieving the 77th, is pushed out im- 
mediately and not until two weeks later is in possession of Taeema 
Farm, Grandpre, Belle Joyeuse Farm, and is still absolutely checked 
before the Bois-des-Loges, where it advanced into the woods after 
climbing the smooth slopes only to be driven out an innumerable num- 
ber of times. The 82nd is still checked along the St. Juvin-Landres- 
et-Saint-Georges Ridge, although it continues to hold St. Juvin, taken 
on October I5th. The 42nd, fighting furiously, is held before the 
same ridge. 

The real story of this final period from October loth to October 3 1st 
is disclosed on the battle map whereon each day's advance is marked 
by a red line. The whole story of the battle is in these lines, appro- 
priately red because the price of the progress they reveal was paid in 
blood. 

Looking at these successive days, the name of every hill and village 
will stir the memories of hundreds and thousands of men who knew in 
terms of sacrifice and suffering what each meant in October, 1918. These 



3 o6 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

day-by-day advances, insignificant even on the largest-scale map, are 
the inevitable circumstance of the war of positions. This is what the 
British army experienced at the Somme and in Flanders, the German 
army before Verdun, the French army on the Craonne Plateau in 1917. 
The battle is one of usury; precisely as long as both sides can continue 
to pour in reserves at this point of conflict the progress of the assailant 
will be slow and the wastage on both sides enormous. So far in the war 
of positions each side has been able to find reserves, and the assailant 
has been compelled to abandon the struggle either by weather, by 
losses, or by reason of an attack elsewhere. In meeting and halting the 
German attack at Verdun in 1916, the French used not at once but in 
the aggregate 67 divisions, two thirds of their whole army, and their 
losses were 350,000. The Germans used fewer divisions but suffered 
slightly higher loss. 

But, unlike all previous generals fighting on the defensive in such a 
contest, Marwitz cannot match division against division with his op- 
ponents. The thing that was sought at the Somme and in Flanders has 
at last been achieved in the Argonne. The time has come when the 
German can no longer find reserves to meet all three of his enemies. 
The result is that Pershing's attack, in his second phase, consumes all the 
German reserves, 47 divisions in line at one time or another during the 
struggle; and on October 3ist, end of the Second Phase, not only has 
Liggett's army driven a wedge through the Kriemhilde Stellung, which 
is like more than one wedge the British drove through the German 
lines at the Somme, but the American battle has consumed all available 
German man-power. Positions, strong naturally if not fully prepared, 
are still in the German's hands, but his position is that of Lee after 
Five Forks. Marwitz might say, like the great Southern General, 
" My line has been stretched so thin that it has broken." The assault of 
the American First Army on November 1st was like the attack of the 
army of the Potomac about Petersburg on the morning following Five 
Forks. Positions of great strength, capable of indefinite resistance, 
were overrun in a few hours because Lee no longer had the troops to man 
them. 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 307 

This, after all, is the true meaning of the Battle of the Meuse- 
Argonne. The effort to bring off a sudden rupture and a rapid ad- 
vance, to do the impossible failed after preliminary success that at least 
justified the hope. Having missed the brilliant achievement, Pershing, 
like Haig after July ist at the Somme, set to work to wear out the 
enemy whom he could not annihilate with a sudden blow. He did it in 
twenty-eight days. He succeeded where Haig failed because the 
Germans no longer had sufficient reserves to fight two major battles, 
one against the British along the Scheldt, and another with the Ameri- 
cans on the Meuse. It took four weeks to exhaust Germany's avail- 
able resources. When they were exhausted, the road to Sedan was open. 

Thus, in a very striking fashion, what Pershing did in the Meuse- 
Argonne and in a lesser degree at St. Mihiel that is, in his campaign in 
Lorraine from September I2th to November ist was what Grant did in 
his campaign from the Rapidan to Petersburg in 1864. In each case 
the power for resistance of the defensive commander was broken by the 
weight of successive blows, no one of which of itself achieved the im- 
mediate success hoped for; but the cumulative effect of all the blows 
produced not merely victory, but in one case the destruction of the 
weaker army and, in the other, a retreat more precipitate than had yet 
taken place on the western front a retreat not yet ended on Armistice 
Day which had involved the surrender of one of the two vital lines of 
communication of the enemy. 

Such was the true meaning of all those confused and confusing 
struggles in the Argonne Forest itself, for Cote Dame Marie, for Cote de 
Chatillon, Bois-des-Ognons, Bois-de-Pultierre, Bois-des-Loges, Bois-de- 
Cunel, and a hundred other hills and woodlands where our soldiers 
doggedly, obstinately, gloriously met and overcame the resistance of a 
desperate enemy far better trained and equipped, and, in the end, 
annihilated some of his finest divisions, still fighting with much of their 
old skill and determination. The places, after all the trenches, the 
machine-gun emplacements, the lines themselves are of minor signifi- 
cance. One may sum up the second and decisive phase of the Battle of 
the Meuse-Argonne by the simple statement that, on a front less than 



3 o8 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

twenty miles wide and four miles deep, Pershing's First Army fought, 
wore out, and defeated decisively all the divisions Ludendorff could col- 
lect to cover his vital communications, and, when this four weeks of 
righting was over, swept forward in a practically unresisted march of 
victory which reached and passed all the objectives indicated as the 
goals of the campaign. 

VI. THE FINAL PHASE 

On November 1st opens the final phase. The German Fifth Army 
has been fought to a standstill. Forty-seven divisions have been used 
east and west of the Meuse, mainly to the west; thirteen of these have 
been used twice and two, three times. Not a few of the German divi- 
sions have actually been destroyed, and the commander of at least one 
has been captured, with the fragments of his division. His honourable 
boast it was that he had led his unit to the extreme point of penetration 
of the German advance both in Picardy and at the Marne. Against 
this formidable concentration twenty-two American divisions and four 
French had fought. Eleven of our divisions had been used twice and 
one, three times. 

The attack of November ist was delivered by the First Army, west of 

4P 

the Meuse. Three army corps and seven divisions were employed be- 
tween the Meuse and the Bourgogne Forest. On the right the Third 
Corps had the 5th and the 9Oth divisions. In the centre the Fifth 
Corps had the 2nd and the 89th and was again the wedge of attack as 
on September 26th. On the left, the First Corps had the 8oth, 77th, and 
78th divisions. 

"The general assault was preceded," says Pershing, "by two hours of 
violent artillery preparation. The infantry advanced, closely followed 
by accompanying guns. The artillery acquitted itself magnificently, 
the barrages being so well coordinated and so dense that the enemy was 
overwhelmed and quickly submerged by the rapid onslaught of the 
infantry. By nightfall the Fifth Corps, in the centre, had realized an 
advance of almost nine kilometres (just short of six miles) to the Bois-de- 
la-Folie, and had completed the capture of the heights of Barricourt, 



./* 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 311 

while the Third Corps, on the right, had captured Aincreville and Ande- 
vanne. Our troops had broken through the enemy's last defence, 
captured his artillery position, and had precipitated a retreat of the 
German forces about to be isolated in the forest north of Grandpre. 

"On November 2nd and 3rd we advanced rapidly against heavy fight- 
ing on the fronts of the right and centre corps; to the left the troops of the 
First Corps hurried forward in pursuit, some by motor trucks; while the 
artillery pressed along the country roads close behind. Our heavy artillery 
was skillfully brought into position to fire upon the railroad from Carignan 
to Sedan (Metz-Mezieres),and the junctions at Longuyon and Conflans." 

At the same time the 77th and the 8oth passed on either side 
of Buzancy; thenceforth the battle degenerated into a pursuit race, 
and on November 7th elements of the 42nd were on the left bank 
of the Meuse facing Sedan actually astride the Metz-Mezieres rail- 
road. Officially it was the French who first entered the city, but the 
citizens of Sedan testify that the first Allied troops in their town be- 
longed to the "Rainbow" Division. 

In the same period there had been a general crossing of the Meuse 
by Liggett 's right and centre while the left was moving on Sedan. 
The 9Oth Division took Stenay (once the place of residence of the 
German Crown Prince); on the last morning of the battle, while 
the 5th passed the river at Dun, pressed through the forests which 
cover the northern end of the Heights of the Meuse, and occupied 
Louppy on the Loison, taking the chateau of the Marquis dTmecourt 
which had been Marwitz's headquarters during the battle. The 32nd 
crossed the Loison at Jametz, also clearing the Heights of the Meuse. 

To the southward the 79th, 26th, and 8ist American divisions, 
with French assistance, completed the clearing of the Meuse Heights in 
the region which had seen the opening of the attack on Verdun in 1916. 
At the close of the struggle, the 26th was close to the famous Twin 
Hills of Ornes from which the Kaiser had watched the Verdun battle and 
beneath which, in the great forest of Spincourt, the Germans had 
massed their batteries for the opening phase of that struggle. There is 
a hill on the Verdun-Sedan highway above Mouzon where in 1870 



312 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



AMERICA S ADVANCE TO THE RHINE 




Shaded area shows approximately the territory through 
which the Americans advanced to the Armistice front on 
the Rhine. 

Moltke's Army crossed the Meuse, to cap- 
ture Napoleon III at Sedan a few days later 
on which, in an open field looking across the 

river over all its battleground, the Fifth Corps has erected a simple but 
satisfying monument of rough stones and of mortar with German swords, 
bayonets, and helmets cemented in, which marks the extreme point of 
advance of the American army of the Fifth Corps, which was the 
centre, in the Battle of the Meuse- Argonne. Here, with the river 
passed and with Montmedy and the Belgian frontier in sight of the 
5th Division above Louppy, is the high-water mark of America in 
battle in the World War, the point reached on Armistice morning. 

What might have followed, had the Armistice not intervened, is only 
in part a matter of conjecture. The roads to Luxemburg and Briey, 
taken by our troops when the march to the Rhine began, were already 
open; the power for effective resistance of Marwitz's army was broken. 
Moreover, while the American Second Army was in line for operations 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 313 

northwest of Metz, Mangin, with six American corps, was ready for a 
thrust southeast of the fortress, between it and the Vosges. The 
evacuation of Metz had indeed begun, and American progress, already 
inevitable, would have hastened it. To the Americans would unques- 
tionably have fallen the chief honour of restoring Metz to France, within 
a few days, had German resistance continued. 

The actual fruits of American victory were measured in the capture 
of 26,000 prisoners, 847 guns, and 3,000 machine guns, together with a 
vast accumulation of war material. In its two months of existence, 
the American army in France had taken 42,000 prisoners, 1,290 guns, 
and enormou amounts of material. The American loss at the Meuse- 
Argonne was 117,000; 124,000 in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne 
conflicts combined. Twenty-two American divisions had been engaged, 
while at the moment of the Armistice the total of American divisions 
which had seen action was 29 and the number of organized divisions in 
France 42. Reckoning the original strength of the 22 divisions at 
600,000, which is high, and the replacements at 150,000, which is also 
high, we had, engaged, around 750,000 men in the battle; 700,000 is 
probably more accurate, but our numbers actually engaged at any one 
moment did not exceed 300,000. Six French divisions, approximately 
60,000, had also been under Pershing's command during the conflict, 
bringing his total up to approximately 660,000, while the Germans, 
using 47 divisions, certainly did not engage much more than 400,000. 
The theoretical strength of our 29 combat divisions in France on Novem- 
ber nth and already battle-trained was 1,200,000. 

VII. THE ACHIEVEMENT 

What individual divisions or their commanders accomplished, 
splendid as the deeds were, cannot be examined here. Of Pershing's 
subordinates, four Bullard, Liggett, Summerall, in the fighting, and 
Harbord, in his brief but splendid battle service at Chateau-Thierry 
and the Soissons "corner" and his even more considerable contribution 
in the Service of Supplies deserve mention in any study, however sum- 
mary. Liggett, Bullard, and Dickman ultimately commanded armies, 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Liggett succeeding Pershing on October I2th and carrying the Meuse- 
Argonne action forward to supreme success; Bullard taking over the 
Second Army and bringing it into shape in the brief time following his 
promotion and preceding the Armistice. Dickman commanded the 
Army of Occupation after the Armistice. 

But necessarily the larger praise must fall to the Comma nder- 
in-Chief. Neither in strategy nor in tactics was he called upon or even 
permitted by circumstances to disclose his resources. It was not in the 
application of the science of war that he acquired distinction. His 
supreme service lay in correctly estimating the fighting capacity of his 
green troops, their capacity for hard, indescribably bitter, and murder- 
ous fighting under well-nigh-impossible conditions of country and of 
weather, coupled with their ability to endure losses, made inevitable by 
their lack of training and defects in equipment and in acctssories. It 
was this spirit that drove men, again and again, armed only with the 
bayonet, against machine-gun nests and wired and organized positions, 
suffering losses very nearly approximating extermination, but losing 
neither confidence nor determination. 

Exact appraisal of what was accomplished does not lessen the achieve- 
ment of the general or of his army. The American army which fought 
in the Meuse-Argonne was not superior in morale to the British army 
which had struggled at the Somme in 1916 or in Flanders in 1917. It 
was not superior to the French armies, which had won the Marne, 
defended Verdun, entered the campaign of 1917. It was not superior 
in this respect to the German army which advanced to the Marne in 
1914, attacked Verdun in 1916, or opened the Battle of Picardy in 1918. 
But, while the youth of all three of the great European contestants had 
disappeared in the struggle and the survivors were weary beyond 
words, after hideous and unforgettable disappointments following 
supreme effort, our men were fresh to their work, unshaken in nerve, 
unslackened by disappointment. 

Nor was our army in any sense a perfect machine directed by a 
general staff comparable with those of France or Germany. It had not 
even reached that wholly restricted stage of progress marked by the 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 315 

British at the Somme, for in 1916 Great Britain had far more trained 
officers, who had been trained under modern conditions. It was 
still in the stage of improvisation; officers and men were learning in 
the most wasteful and expensive fashion in which soldiers can learn 
paying the price America and England have always paid for their 
peace-time neglect of their armies. 

And our army did not spring from the bosom of the nation fully 
armed and equipped. On the contrary, we were able to engage a vast 
army in Europe eighteen months after we entered the contest only be- 
cause our Allies supplied the mechanical equipment. We fought our 
battles with French cannon and French munitions, exclusively. The 
failure of an aviation programme was responsible for heavy losses in the 
Meuse-Argonne, which were totally unnecessary, had we begun in 1914 
to put our small army on a proper basis for contemporary conflict. Even 
in motor transport, we depended largely upon our Allies to the end. But 
the fact that France could and did furnish most of the tools, covered the 
failure of the Government, which, in the last analysis, was the failure 
of the American people, to a dangerous degree, dangerous because the 
lessons that should have been taught were once more concealed by 
accidents and fortunate circumstances. 

Had our young army undertaken its Meuse-Argonne campaign 
against a German army such as Nivelle attacked with his veterans at 
the Aisne in 1917, the result would have been, not mere defeat but swift, 
complete, and incalculable disaster. Exactly the same thing would have 
occurred if Pershing with his army had been asked to solve the problem of 
Haig in Flanders in that same year. Fortunately, when our hour came, 
the decline in German morale, fighting resources, the reduction of their 
reserves had reached a point where our superior morale, unlimited 
numbers, and enormous physical superiority bridged the gap created 
by the difference between American training and that of German. 

Pershing saw that this would happen; he saw it before the Second 
Marne, and again and again assured Foch that American troops could 
be used, despite their lack of experience and incomplete training. His 
opinion was confirmed by the events in the Aisne-Marne fighting, by 



3 i6 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

the St. Mihiel episode, and by the long, gruelling, but successful Battle 
of the Meuse-Argonne. The French did not believe that American 
troops could fight successfully under American commanders and as 
divisional units in the early summer, because of their lack of training. 
The French would have been right, had the German condition been 
that of any previous period of the war; but it was not. 

In. the late summer the French were still convinced that the Ameri- 
can force could not be operated as an army for exactly the same reason, 
and because, in addition, the training of an army staff is a matter 
of years,, not weeks. Again they were right in theory and wrong in 
fact, because they were thinking of the German of the past, while Persh- 
ing's new army would have to deal with the German of the present. They 
accurately forecast the check of the American offensive between the 
Meuse and the Argonne at the precise point where the check came. But 
they did not foresee that, after the check, Pershing's green army could 
literally eat up German reserves, paying for their meal in generous and 
terrible costs, and, in the end, by main strength, force their way through 
when the German had no more reserves to throw into action. It was 
at this point tha,t French calculation, eminently correct in the main, 
broke down and Pershing's estimate proved the more accurate. In a 
long war there comes a moment when weariness concedes much to 
be impossible, but to the untired man there is nothing impossible, and 
Pershing and his army were unwearied. 

To compare the American anmy, on the scientific Side, with the Ger- 
man, the French, or even the British which had been at th.e real practice 
of modern war a far briefer time than either, is utter nonsense. It is 
by measuring its accomplishment in terms of the tools it possessed, the 
training which it had received, the experience of its officers, that one 
acquires the real and just estimate of its performance. It was called 
upon to do what had hitherto proven impossible in the war of positions 
and the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne from September 26th to November 
ist was a battle of positions it did the impossible because in the 
autumn of 1918 the impossible had become just possible, but only 
for brave, determined, absolutely self-sacrificing men. 



THE MEUSE-ARGONNE 317- 

By far the most just and generous measure of American achievement 
is furnished by General Maurice, of the British army, an accomplished 
soldier and. in every sense the preeminent British military critic. He 
writes: 

It is probably true that no French or British staff would, after long experience of 
previous failure, have advised an attack on the Meuse-Argonne front until elaborate 
improvements and extensions of the roads and railways behind the front of attack had 
been carried out and until equally elaborate preparation for prolonging those roads and 
railways into the territory captured from the Germans had been completed. It is 
probably equally true that French and British soldiers, after the bitter lessons of the 
past, would not have attacked with any confidence unless they had ocular evidence 
that everything had been done beforehand to help them forward. There are times and 
occasions in war when the valour of ignorance has. its advantages. With greater ex- 
perience the American infantry would have learned to overcome the German machine 
guns with less loss of life, and the services of supply would have worked more smoothly. 
Had the American army waited to gain that experience, the war would certainly have 
been prolonged by at least six months and the cost of life would have been certainly 
greater than it was. 

Pershing must have taken all these factors into consideration when he threw in 
his vote for fighting the great battle which began on September 26th. He decided 
that the vigour and valour of his troops would more than counter-balance their lack of 
battle experience, and he was justified by the result. 

"Did America win the War?" No. The campaign of 1918, in France, 
which ended in victory, was won by the supreme genius of Ferdinand 
Foch, who was able to direct the operations of more than 6,000,000 
men who first and last fought in three great armies, the French, British, 
and American, with precious assistance furnished by the tiny Belgian 
force in such fashion that the enemy attack was broken, the enemy 
strength shaken, and in the final operation completely and decisively 
destroyed the will to war and the capacity 1 for resistance annihilated. 

Foch could not have won the war without American forces, with 
anything but a huge American contribution, and he could not have won 
it in 1918 if the American troops had not been able, led by a man who 
forced his European associates to recognize the ability of his army, to do 
what, as late as September, 1918, no one expected it would be able to 
do. We were the reserves which arrived at the decisive moment, and 
our arrival enabled the master to repeat the achievement of Napo- 



318 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Icon at Marengo and win a battle three times lost. And this is glory 
enough; to claim more is to be unworthy of our own soldiers. For be- 
hind 1918, behind July, 1918, when we began, lay the terrible years in 
which France had saved the war at the Marne and at Verdun and 
Britain had wasted the German at the Somme and in Flanders. Even 
in the current year, the resistance of the British and the employment 
of French reserves had prevented German triumph in two struggles, 
unexampled in all previous history of war. 

Beside the Meuse-Argonne, all other American battles are insignifi- 
cant, and in no one of its earlier conflicts was the nation more nobly 
served by an army and a commander, by officers and common soldiers, 
and general and officers agree in awarding the chief glory and supreme 
praise to the soldier, for the Meuse-Argonne was, in the very nature of 
things, a "soldier's battle," and the American soldier won it. 

On the battlefield where Petain had said, immortally, "They shall 
not passl" Pershing had said, simply, "We will go!" and both proud 
prophecies were realized to the undying glory of France and the United 
States. 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

THE ARMISTICE 

I 
THE CONQUEST OF LUDENDORFF 

The first of the series of German proposals which led to the Armistice 
of November nth was uttered by the German'Government on October 
5th. It saw the light of day at the precise moment when Haig had 
broken through the Hindenburg Line between St. Quentin and Le Gate- 
let, when Pershing, despite temporary check, was exerting enormous 
pressure between the Meuse and the Argonne. But before we examine 
this document, it is necessary to look backward and see the origin of the 
German decision expressed with ever-growing clarity in the succession 
of documents issued prior to the final meeting at Rethondes. 

It is to Ludendorff that history must turn now and hereafter for any 
clear explanation of the German surrender. Upon him the Govern- 
ment relied necessarily, as the master of the military destinies of his 
country, to avert defeat. When the hour arrived in which he became 
convinced that disaster could be avoided only by negotiation, by 
armistice, he notified his government: first, that the war could not be 
won; secondly, that it might be lost if negotiations were not pressed 
rapidly. The Government first did nothing; then, seized with a panic, 
sought to reconstruct the ministry, reorganize the electoral and political 
system of Prussia, and finally, revolution arriving, capitulated, while 
the Emperor, his heir, and the kings and kinglets of Germany fled the 
country. 

Of the explanation for all this sudden, enormous transformation, 
Ludendorff from first to last betrays no comprehension, explains frankly 
that it passes his understanding. Still bewildered, in the closing hours 
his emperor dismisses him for signing an order urging that the war con- 
tinue, and Ludendorff goes, sadly forecasting, quite correctly, that within 

319 



3 2o HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

a fortnight the House of Hohenzollern will cease to rule. Yet underlying 
all else it is plain that the responsibility is Ludendorff's. Germany, the 
dynasty, the system, everything was founded upon the rock of military 
invincibility; when the rock was riven/all crumbled. 

The progress of the idea of defeat in Ludendorff's mind is one of the 
most amazing stories of the whole war, not always told truthfully by 
Ludendorff himself. But in his narrative the truth is always discernible, 
sometimes by confession, sometimes by the manner in which, with true 
Prussian arrogance, he orders it from his presence, denounces it like a 
drill-sergeant, establishes it by denying it. A strange psychological 
study is this narrative something more than a mere memoir of Luden- 
dorff in truth, the revelation of the soul of the Prussian soldier, exactly 
the sort of document which might have issued from one of the 
generals of Frederick the Great, who saw the Frederickan methods 
collapse, when, with Frederick in his grave, they were employed against 
Napoleon. 

To begin at the beginning, the first chill seizes the German Chief 
Quartermaster after his first two efforts, March 2ist and May 27th, 
have failed to achieve a decision. He feels the disillusionment behind 
him, but neither he nor his associates share it. Still, in June, Kuhl- 
mann blurts out his prophetic words that military victory is henceforth 
impossible, impossible for Germany, but the truth finishes Kiihlmann 
and he is no longer Secretary of State. Hintze, the successor, pleases 
Ludendorff who regards the home front as restored. 

But time marches. Foch strikes back between the Aisne and the 
Marne and Ludendorff recognizes at once that the thing he undertook 
to do in March is no longer possible in July, he cannot crush the Allies 
before the Americans arrive in Europe; they have arrived and the situa- 
tion is serious. He stops his attack and assumes the defensive but 
significant circumstance for the psychologist the Second Battle of the 
Marne lost, he writes of the desire and need for rest : " Whether the 
enemy would let us have it was the question !" Now Clausewitz and all 
his German soldier followers down to Bernhardi have asserted that the 
ultimate purpose of war is to make the enemy submit to your will, 



THE ARMISTICE 321 

and, the Second Battle of the Marne lost, Ludendorff's words suggest 
his "let" confesses whose will is now in subjection. 

Still Ludendorff hopes for a successful defensive. He prevented 
Allied victory by his operations in 1916 at the Somme, in 1917 at 
the Aisne and in Flanders. Recalling these stupendous assaults is there 
any reason to believe that he will be less successful now ? Early in 
August he can still decide that his army will be able to defeat the coming 
offensives. Since he has always found a strategical remedy, Ludendorff 
sees no reason to doubt that he will be equally fortunate now. His army, 
on the whole, satisfies him, even after the first defeat. 

But on August 8th the light suddenly breaks in upon him. Haig 
smashes his line by the Somme; his troops run away, refuse to fight, 
curse their officers and their government. Nothing like this has been 
seen in Prussian ranks since lena and Auerstadt in 1806, never expected 
again in German quarters. A " black day," the first of many black days 
to come ! And it brings Ludendorff briefly to the decision, memorable 
henceforth, that the war must be ended. 

Instinctively one turns back four years almost exactly to the 
days when Foch was fighting at Fere-Champenoise, when, after defeat 
and retreat for four days, on the morning of the fifth he reports to 
Joffre: "My centre is retiring, my right is broken, impossible to 
manoeuvre. The situation is excellent. I attack" A hard situation, 
Foch later explains to Andre de Maricourt; hard because the soldiers are 
weary. The old orders, like an old tune, no longer enthuse them. They 
say: "We have been beaten to that tune and we will march to it no 
more." Then Foch explains. The great test arrives; one must hit upon 
something new something that seems new, for the problem does not 
change, cannot change something which will lead the soldier to say: 
"Ha, we haven't tried that before, have we?" And he does try that, 
perhaps successfully, perhaps not; but time is gained until the moment 
arrives, the moment at Fere-Champenoise when the blow could be 
delivered. 

Now Ludendorff has no "new tune"; he has no "new mantle to wrap 
round the old, threadbare costume" another figure that Foch employed. 



322 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

He says quite frankly that the war must end. August I3th-i4th he ex- 
plains his views to a conference held at Spa, attended by the Emperor 
and Hintze. This interview is prolonged by reports furnished by Arz, 
Austrian general, the Austrian Emperor, Charles, also being in attend- 
ance. There is great talk about a Polish arrangement, about all sorts of 
things. Then Hintze goes home to talk to party leaders, to tell them what 
LudendorfT says that the enemy cannot be forced by an offensive to 
sue for peace, that the defensive cannot bring peace; that the army is 
showing signs of collapse, on August 8th, and now again on August 2Oth 
this time in front of Mangin, "another black day for Germany." Out 
of this conference there proceeds exactly nothing: a few vague words 
spoken in the Reichstag, a general expansion of the wave of depression, 
but of action, nothing. Meantime, the situation becomes worse, daily. 
The Allies advance, the retreat to the Hindenburg Line is enforced, the 
German armies reach the line in bad condition, having suffered enor- 
mously. On September 26th the date is memorable Pershing breaks 
the Hindenburg Line in the Argonne; and in the next two days the Brit- 
ish break it in Picardy, the Anglo-Franco-Belgian group, in Flanders. 



n. LUDENDORFF'S DECISION 



Thereupon, Ludendorff acts goes into Hindenburg's office at six 
o'clock on the afternoon of September 28th a busy afternoon for Persh- 
ing, now north of Montfaucon, and for Rawlinson, entering the Hinden- 
burg Line victoriously at the Scheldt Tunnel and declares that there 
must be a request for an armistice; that the situation can only grow 
worse. To all of which the old Hindenburg nods his massive head, 
will continue to the end to have faith in the old German God and hope 
for a miracle, but never omits to nod when Ludendorff speaks. Armis- 
tice means evacuation of all occupied territory; to Ludendorff it means 
something worse, an admission of defeat ; but the admission has to be 
made, and Ludendorff and Hindenburg shake hanjls over it, "as men 
burying their dearest hopes!" Hintze wept when Ludendorff told him 
the worst in August. 

In a new conference, on September 29th for which Foch's orchestra 



THE ARMISTICE 323 

plays disconcerting music in Flanders, in Picardy, in Lorraine Luden- 
dorff suddenly discovers that before there can be action there must be 
a change of government. These politicians, so he reveals his thought, 
talk of a change of government at the moment when the German army 
is crumbling. Will a new ministry affect Foch? But it has to be, 
Ludendorff agrees. Hindenburg nods once more, but the note, the de- 
mand for an armistice, must issue on October ist; the date is furnished 
by Hintze, who wept and will weep, but cannot hurry the politicians or 
achieve a change of government in three days, not even if these three 
days are filled with reports of the collapse of the Hindenburg Line, of the 
Siegfried system, gone with the Wotan the Brunhilde crumbling, a 
true Gotterddmmerung. 

Ludendorff is still dissatisfied, therefore he has recourse to a new 
device : he sends one of his best-informed subordinates up to Berlin with 
a carefully prepared statement of the exact military situation, to be read 
to the Reichstag leaders. This is on the night of October 2nd, the news 
from all the battle fronts continues evil; Bulgaria conquered and sur- 
rendered; Turkey conquered and soon to surrender; Austria awaiting 
the last blow, now in sight; Pershing only just checked, no one can 
see for how long, Haig unchecked, just beginning to emerge on the 
German side of the Hindenburg Line; King Albert on the outskirts 
of Routers, Bruges, Ghent; the Belgian "pawn" losing its value for 
the bargain German diplomacy has always had in mind, if worst comes 
to worst. 

Ludendorff's lieutenant, Major Baron von dem Busche, despite his 
name a direct sort of person, performs his duty; he tells the Reichstag 
that wastage can no longer be replaced; battalions are shrinking; the 
"absorption of reserves," lucidly explained by General Buat, proceeding 
at an unbelievable rate Allied attacks now piling one on top of the other 
as Buat indicated; the morale worsening in due proportion; that it is 
time to make up their minds that the war is "hopeless." He tells 
them that what is bad will be worse, will grow worse with every twenty- 
four hours that the enemy is getting nearer and nearer to the realiza- 
tion of his aim; in substance, that the situation is desperate, the armistice 



3 2 4 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

must be sought immediately, but there must be no outward disclosure 
of the weakness inwardly manifest. 

The result of this exposition of Major Baron von dem Busche might 
have been foreseen. It produced a panic. Ludendorff had been a little 
too successful in his effort to hasten things. Instead of being hurried, 
the whole audience, the whole legislative branch of the German Govern- 
ment, succumbs to the panic. Its world has crumbled suddenly; it 
has never suspected the truth, despite outward evidences of less for- 
tunate days. It has left everything to the army, and now the army 
announces with brutally frank words that the war is lost; that High 
Command, army, everything will collapse in irremediable ruin if the 
civil government does not get an armistice at once; calls upon it to 
act, and to act with the appearance of strength. Napoleon made similar 
demands upon the French legislature in his last days, after having kept 
it in utter ignorance and servile attitude for years and with the same 
result. 

Compare this performance with that of the first days of June, when 
the Germans were at the Marne, forty miles from Paris, their shells 
falling in the city, their Gothas sowing destruction in the boulevards. 
Then Clemen ceau had told the people how dangerous were the days in 
which they lived, but he had also told them Ludendorff read the speech 
and admired it: "I will fight before Paris, through Paris, behind Paris." 
But no one speaks this word now in Germany. Ludendorff has succumbed 
to that moral test, which Foch triumphantly passed at Fere-Cham- 
penoise as far back as September, 1914. German leadership is failing 
now. 

In all the history of this World War, to me there seems nothing more 
tragically satisfying than these next few days. The German structure 
rested upon the single foundation-stone of force, physical force, em- 
bodied by the army. The force begins to crumble ; the hour arrives when 
there is required moral strength, not more than was asked of the Allied 
leaders in March and in June, but without moral strength all is lost. 
And in this hour, while the war is still ten times as far from Berlin as it 
was from Paris in June and not an inch of German territory involved, 



THE ARMISTICE 325 

leaders, civil and military alike, are seized with paralysis. Their universe 
has crumbled and they, unlike Foch, cannot improvise ; their people and 
their armies will no longer march to the old tune, they have been beaten 
marching to it and the new tune cannot be found. Gambetta found 
it in 1870. After Sedan, after Metz, there was still France left, and men 
who could vitalize the conception; but now the German mass is sinking, 
the granite is becoming clay, the clay softens with each hour. 

Ludendorff does not understand the panic he has produced, examines 
Major Baron von dem Busche with great care but no result. Dis- 
covers that a Pole was present at the session, and, as a Pole would hav- 
ing known Prussia as arrogant and mighty for a century and a half, be- 
holding it shaken and shaking rushes out and tells the world. And 
the whole world shortly hears that Germany is in a panic, a circumstance 
which will contribute to the interpretation that Paris and London, even 
Washington, will put upon the request for an armistice when it does 
come, as it must come now. 

But meantime there must be the inevitable political manoeuvre, a 
new cabinet. Germany cannot change the tune, to revert again to 
Foch's figure, so it will seek to change the instruments on which the old 
tune has been played a futile performance, Ludendorff correctly asserts. 
Then, on October 3rd, Ludendorff absent but Hindenburg present, the 
new cabinet meets and hears from Hindenburg a recapitulation of the 
Ludendorff view "there appears to be now no possibility, to the best 
of human judgment, of winning peace from our enemies by force of 
arms." Hindenburg adds a pencil note to the effect that Great Head- 
quarters, in advocating an armistice, as the statement indicates, is 
solely influenced by a desire to obtain an honourable peace. A thought- 
ful qualification, useful in the future when responsibilities come to be 
fixed, but a codicil in a last will and testament, becoming valid only after 
death. 

The next day, the new ministry established, the business of the note 
disposed of, the action is at last taken, seven days after Ludendorff 
advised it as of immediate necessity. And, in consequence, on the morn- 
ing of October 5th, the people of Paris, London, Washington, of the 



326 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

whole Allied world, read headlines arranged to meet the conditions of 
national interest: "Pershing victorious in a new attack/' "Haig is 
through the Hindenburg Line." "Petain surrounds Laon." "Prisoners 
taken since September ist, 123,000; since July I5th, 250,000." "Czar of 
Bulgaria abdicates." "Panic in Berlin as Allies Advance from Ypres to 
Verdun." And finally: "The new German Chancellor, Maximilian of 
Baden, requests the President of the United States to Undertake the 
Restoration of Peace, Germany Asking an Immediate Armistice." The 
basis of this peace is to be the Reichstag proposal of July, 1917, before the 
Russian collapse, before the Treaty of Brest-Li to vsk, before the Treaty 
of Bukharest: "No annexations and no indemnities." But Foch's figure 
.still stands; this is an old tune, too; the world is marching to Foch's 
music. And the fact, witnessed by all the yellowing newspapers of 
that hour, is that the proposal falls flat; newspaper readers glance at it 
impatiently, and then back at the reports from the fronts, official re- 
ports of towns liberated, positions taken, prisoners and guns captured. 
Allied publics are, in truth, at the beginning of the most satisfying 
month ever lived by the newspaper readers of nations at war. " Leave 
it to Foch," begins to be heard from one end of the world to the other. 

in. "UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER" 

The first German note, which cost so much in labour and resulted 
in so little little that was advantageous to the German had incal- 
culable consequences in the Allied world, where it was the first authentic 
sign of the dawn, after four long years of ineffable darkness. It read : 

The German Government requests the President of the United States to take in 
hand the restoration of peace, acquaint all the belligerent states of this request, and 
invite them to send plenipotentiaries for the purpose of opening peace negotiations. 

It accepts the programme set forth by the President of the United States in his 
message to Congress on January 8th and in his later pronouncements, especially in his 
speech of September 28th, as a basis for peace negotiations. 

With a view to avoiding further bloodshed, the German Government requests the 
immediate conclusion of an armistice on land and sea. 

The speech of January 8th, the message to Congress, was, in 
fact, the Fourteen Points; that of September 28th, spoken at the 





U. S. Official Photo 



AT THE BRIDGEHEAD BOUNDARY LINE 

One of the many American machine guns covering the neutral zone. The Geiman towns of Frickhofen and Durndorf 

are within range 




AN AMERICAN SENTRY ON GUARD ON NOVEMBER nth 



BTO:UII Brothers 



He is standing on the line of the farthest American advance before the fighting stopped. At his feet is a shell hole 

from a German gun 




THE AMERICANS ON THE MARCH TO THE RHINE 



U. S. Official Photo 



Before the ladders could be taken down from the arch of welcome erected in Mersch, Luxembourg, to greet the Amer- 
ican army on the march to the Rhine, troops of the 2nd Division were pouring through the city in motor trucks, and 
the work of building and decorating the arch had to be completed while the Americans were actually marching beneath it. 




THE AMERICAN WATCH ON THE RHINE 
Sentries from the Rainbow Division on the water front 



U. S. Official Photo 




SUNSET 
American sentries guarding a road near Otzingen, Germany 



U. S. Official Photo 




THE AMERICAN FLAG ENTERING A TOWN IN GERMANY 



U. S. Official Photo 




A VICTORY LOAN POSTER IN GERMANY, APRIL, 1919 



U. S. Official Photo 




U. S. Official Photo 



ALL ABOARD 

Showing how the 85,000 German helmets were loaded on the train for transportation from Metternich, Germany, to the 

United States for the Fifth Liberty Loan 



THE ARMISTICE 335 

opening of the campaign for the Fourth Liberty Loan in New York 
City, memorable for the assertion: "Militarism must go, root and 
branch." 

Two references damned the German document, two references to 
peace by negotiation. Neither the nations of Europe nor America, en- 
gaged in war with Germany, longer thought of peace by negotiation 
the hour for that, thank God, had passed. Across America like wildfire 
ran the unforgettable words of Grant at Donelson: "Unconditional 
surrender; I propose to move upon your works at once." And in 
Europe and America, German bad faith in the past forbade belief in 
German good faith now, if there were yet good faith. 

Accordingly, the President replied on October 6th no delay neces- 
sary on his side of the debate by three questions : 

What does the German Chancellor mean by accepting the two utter- 
ances of January 8th and September 28th? Does he mean that the 
negotiations will be no more than discussions of their application in 
detail ? 

Is Germany ready to retire from the invaded regions ? If not, of course 
the President would not feel at liberty to recommend a cessation of 
hostilities to his associates, without such an evidence of good faith. 

Finally, for whom is the Chancellor speaking? The "Old Gang"? 
The actual text of the note follows: 

Does the Imperial Chancellor mean that tlie Imperial German Government accepts 
the terms laid down by the President in his address to the Congress of the United 
States of the 8th of January last, anc. any subsequent addresses, and that its object in 
entering into a discussion would be to agree on the practical details of their applica- 
tion? 

The President feels bound to say with regard to the suggestion of an armistice that 
he would not feel at liberty to propose a cessation of hostilities to the governments with 
which the Government of the United States is associated against the Central Powers so 
long as the armies of those powers are upon their soil. The good faith of any discussion 
would manifestly depend on the consent of the Central Powers immediately to with- 
draw their forces everywhere from invaded territory. 

The President also feels that he is justified in asking whether the Imperial Chan- 
cellor was speaking merely for the constituted authorities of the Empire who have so far 
conducted the war. He deems the answer to these questions vital from every point of 
view. 



336 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

A moderate and non-committal response, calculated to cause the 
Germans many misgivings and getting them nowhere, but widely 
criticised at the moment because the President consented to talk with 
the Germans at all! "More note-writing," harsher critics said a criti- 
cism no longer valid. The benefit derived from the President's conver- 
sations may be exaggerated, but of harm there was not the least. Foch 
was continuing; he was doing more, he was quickening the pace. ' 

Four days later, the new German Secretary of State for the Foreign 
Office, Doctor Solf, replies by informing the President that the new Min- 
istry is supported by the great majority of the Reichstag, and that, thus 
supported, the new chancellor speaks for the great mass of the German 
people. All that Doctor Solf or anybody else could say under the circum- 
stances, but it proves new cause for protest in Allied countries, partic- 
ularly in the United States, still clinging to the Wattersonian war cry, 
"To hell with the Hohenzollerns and the Hapsburgs!" repeated per- 
fectly reverently. 

And at just this moment a German submarine must sink a British 
passenger boat in the Irish Sea; of 150 women and children only seven- 
teen are saved. Still another puts under a Japanese steamer with more 
women and children similarly murdered. A worse disaster for the Ger- 
man peace offensive than the loss of the Hindenburg Line itself was this 
new submarine activity! On the heels of this, with both events in 
mind, the President writes his second reply: 

The President acknowledges Germany's acceptance of his terms, without apparent 
qualification, reminds her that evacuation and armistice are military matters, things 
that military men must look after. 

" See Foch about those," is the direct implication. 
Then he continues: 

No arrangement can be accepted by the Government of the United States which 
does not provide absolutely satisfactory safeguards and guarantees of the present 
military supremacy of the armies of the United States and the Allies in the field. 

This means, can mean only, disarmament. 

Then the President calls attention to "illegal and inhumane" 



THE ARMISTICE 337 

methods of German soldiers and sailors. He is thinking of the Leinster 
on water and the still-continuing devastations of the German armies 
in the region they are evacuating: Lens, Cambrai, Douai the first 
destroyed, the other two partially ruined of St. Quentin, with its cathe- 
dral pillars undermined for dynamite, destruction only prevented by the 
swiftness of the entrance of Debeney. While these offences persist, all 
thought of armistice is useless. Then the President continues : 

The destruction of every arbitrary power anywhere that can separately, secretly, 
and of its single choice disturb the peace of the world, or if it cannot be presently 
destroyed, at least its reduction to virtual impotency. 

The power which has hitherto controlled the German nation is of the sort here 
described. It is within the choice of the German nation to alter it. 

The President feels bound to say that the whole process of peace will, in his judg- 
ment, depend upon the definiteness and the satisfactory character of the guarantees 
which can be given in this fundamental matter. It is indispensable that the govern- 
ments associated against Germany should know beyond a peradventure with whom 
they are dealing. 

Now it is time to turn back to Ludendorff. On the military side the 
situation is this : Pershing is still checked, it is costing incredible effort 
to hold him, but he is being held, will be held for two more weeks. Haig 
is through the Hindenburg Line, but the Germans from the sea to the 
Meuse are getting back, crippled but unbroken as to front, to the Her- 
mann Line, line of the Scheldt; there is preparing behind them the line 
of the Meuse- Antwerp. Most important of all, the German army is 
fighting, on the whole, better than before, not giving the smallest basis 
for any hope of victory, but holding out the prospect, rather slim but 
still discoverable, of keeping together until winter stops the fighting. 
Prince Max, the new chancellor, ministers, and newspapers generally, 
are at this moment uttering brave words, calling upon each other and 
the army to stand firm; and the army is standing relatively firm, firmer 
than before. 

Wilson's second note comes to Ludendorff in this situation as the 
unmistakable proof of the determination of the enemy to demand 
unconditional surrender. The determination to "destroy Germany" 
was, for him, instinct in the President's letter to Solf. Whether Wilson 



338 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

was sincere in seeking peace by understanding and was overborne by 
Clemenceau and Lloyd George, Ludendorff does not know, but now 
there was left but one thing to do : to fight it out, to rouse the country, 
to appeal to the people. The peace manoeuvre had served only to reveal 
the true state of Allied purpose. Now the hour was come, too, for Prince 
Max and everyone else to translate their brave words into deeds. Luden- 
dorff had advised peace; if it could be had by negotiation. He was willing 
to consent to evacuate occupied territories, the military circumstances 
warranted so much, but he insisted that the armies should stand ready 
to fight, within their own frontiers, against the possibility of the failure 
of negotiations. 

But Foch believed he could destroy the German army before it 
reached the frontiers; the Allied publics believed it; soldiers and civil- 
ians in Allied countries believed that the German peace manoeuvre was, 
after all, intended solely to save the army, caught now in the vise between 
Pershing and Haig, doomed to supreme military disaster if the fighting 
continued. The peace manoeuvre had failed, there was nothing left but 
to resume the fighting. Ludendorff was ready. He was ready, but, 
unfortunately for him, the situation, momentarily better, was now 
worsening again, would grow worse henceforth rapidly to the end. 

Wilson's second note causes more conferences in Berlin. Ludendorff 
attends and is asked more questions. Can the war be won? Same 
answer: No. Not unless the luck of Tannenberg returns. There is 
one more careful, sorrowful examination of the situation, search for 
some possible avenue of escape, examination of questions of reserves, 
of the transfer of troops from the Ukraine. No hope here. As for the 
western front, Ludendorff believes a break through possible but not 
probable, does not expect it "on my conscience." But the fighting 
might grow worse any moment. 

This amounts to an effort of the civil government, the new ministry 
come to power at this awful moment, to take account of stock. It 
examines the army commander, puts him through one rigorous test 
after another, submits a formal questionnaire, containing the old ques- 
tions in a fresh form. But the answer is always the same. Ludendorff 



THE ARMISTICE 339 

does not want to break off with Wilson, he wants to continue. On the 
other hand, bad as the situation is, it seems better to fight than to consent 
to dishonour, to destruction, implied in the suggestion of disarmament. 
In the face of this testimony the civil government, weak perhaps, 
did a thoroughly human thing: it consented to abandon the submarine 
campaign, issued orders to that effect. For Ludendorff this is capitula- 
tion, the supreme confession of weakness, the first long step toward the 
abyss. There is a new exchange of notes, Germany speaking on Octo- 
ber 2oth, the President on the 23rd. The German note is immaterial, 
the President's noteworthy because of the emphasis laid upon the pro- 
posal to render Germany incapable of further military effort. The note 
also contains more than a hint of the suspicion that the "Old Gang" 
is still in charge in Berlin. "A strong answer to our cowardly note," 
Ludendorff thinks, received by the German Government on October 
24th. The next day Ludendorff tells the Kaiser, Hindenburg nodding 
approval, that "we must fight on.'* The Kaiser djecides nothing but is 
still friendly for the last time to Ludendorff. And the same day 
there comes to light an address to the German army, signed by Hinden- 
burg, directed to the German army, containing the declaration : 

Wilson's answer is a demand for unconditional surrender. It is thus unacceptable 
to us soldiers. 

October 25th Berlin is aflame with this Hindenburg note, Ludendorff 
held responsible by all. The Reichstag is shaken. The general who 
cannot win the battle, who has lost the victory, who has confessed that 
the line may be broken at any moment, declares against peace. How 
will this message strike the Allied governments President Wilson, who 
has just suggested that militarism must disappear, if peace is to be 
contemplated? In a word; suddenly, completely, the line does break, 
but it is the home front which collapses. Ludendorff must go. 

The same day, having listened to this storm, Ludendorff meets two 
members of his faithful staff outside the Ministry of the Interior and tells 
them, "Germany is lost!" He sees the Kaiser the next morning, the 
final interview, recalling how many memories recalling the interview in 



34 o HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

February when he told the Supreme War Lord that the battle would be 
hard but that victory was to be attained. The Kaiser listens to his 
captain's words, his manner changed; refers to the offending order bit- 
terly, accepts the resignation proffered again. On his way out Luden- 
dorff tells a friend that in a fortnight there will no longer be an emperor 
in Germany. A correct prophecy, for on November gth Germany was 
a republic. And so, exit Ludendorff. 

In reality it is something more, the German system itself has broken 
down. The idea of emperor, state, civil government, all founded upon 
force, has broken down. The hour has come for the nation to rise as 
France rose in 1792 and again in 1870, in despair the latter time, but 
Germany does not rise. What happens is the same phenomenon visible 
in 1814, when Napoleon called upon France to rise, the legislature to 
rally to the throne, the people to the nation, and on the heels of the 
appeal the Allied armies occupied Paris, only the soldiers making a gal- 
lant but hopeless fight, the people standing quite apart, rather welcom- 
ing the invaders. The moment arrives when the nation sees its fate as 
something totally different from that of its recent master. In the case 
of Napoleon it was a man. In the German case it is something rather 
different. The largest man, the Kaiser, Ludendorff, or the imaginary, 
legendary Hindenburg, derives his stature from the idea he embodies, 
and crumbles so much the more easily to dust when the idea falls. What 
is now taking place in Germany is like a rout in a great, disciplined army, 
when all discipline breaks down with defeat, the "Sauve qui pent!" of 
Waterloo. 

IV. THE END 

October 26, 1918, is, then, an ever-memorable date. The departure 
of Ludendorff is the sign to all the world that Germany has turned in 
rage upon all her gods. Ludendorff gone, the others, as he foresaw, 
will follow fast. On this same day, anniversary of the Caporetto dis- 
aster a year ago, the Italian army has crossed the Piave, sweeping the 
ruined Austrian army before it, and the Hapsburg Monarchy has a new 
prime minister taking office under pledge to make a separate peace. 
The Upper House of Prussia has passed three electoral reform measures, 



THE ARMISTICE 




THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE PIAVE 
Arrows show the direction of the main Austrian attacks 

interesting as disclosing panic passion for democracy, but unimpressive 
to Foch. The British cavalry has occupied Aleppo in Syria, and shortly 
Turkey will leave the war. The next day, October 2/th, Germany 
replies to the President's letter of October 23rd, giving new assurances, 
becoming increasingly valid, that the people are in charge of the German 
Government, which will be wholly true a few days later when the mob 
appears in Berlin. In Vienna a solemn assurance is given that the rights 
of the Czecho-Slovaks and the Jugo-Slavs are recognized, given by the 
new foreign minister, Count Julius Andrassy, who tells President Wil- 
son no obstacle is now in the way of peace negotiations. Two days 
later Vienna will appeal to the President, its army now in full flight, to 
intervene in the name of humanity. October 3ist, Turkey does with- 
draw unconditionally and the Inter-Allied War Council meets at Ver- 
sailles: Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Colonel House for President 
Wilson, and Marshal Foch. 



342 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

The next day Pershing starts for Sedan, Haig for Mons; the Ger- 
man front is at last broken and Vienna and Budapest report revolu- 
tions. Count Tisza, Hungarian prime minister when the fatal ultimatum 
was sent to Serbia four years ago, is shot by a common soldier. Bo- 
hemia sets up a new government, the first since the far-off time of the 
Winter King and the Thirty Years' War. Two new republics, Jugoslavia 
and Czechoslovakia, appear November 1st, and then on November 3rd 
the Kaiser approves of an act amending the constitution by "trans- 
ferring fundamental rights of the Kaiser's person to the people." On 
the same day the Serbians reenter Belgrade. 

And now, November 3rd, the first authentic rumour of revolution in 
Germany comes from Kiel : the German navy mutinies on rumour of an 
order to make a final, foredoomed sortie, such as Cervera made at San- 
tiago. The men begin to organize soldiers' and sailors' councils, more 
than an echo of Russian bolshevism; and on the same day Austria 
signs a capitulation covering everything, an abject surrender without 
condition, a document signed for an empire already defunct. At Ver- 
sailles the Interallied Conference has decided on the terms Germany 
can have by asking Marshal Foch for them. Meantime Germany has 
told President Wilson that it has stopped air raids, and is grieved that 
Allied planes are still spreading panic in the Rhine Valley. 

Now at last President Wilson informs Germany on November 1st 
that, having referred German communications to the Allied cause, he is 
able to state that the Allied Powers are willing to make peace with 
Germany on the basis of the Fourteen Points, England reserving liberty 
of action in the matter of freedom of the seas; France, in the matter of 
compensation for damages done to the civil population and property. 

Two days later German Headquarters asks and receives permission 
to send representatives through the Allied lines to get Marshal Foch's 
terms, and as these representatives set out on their penitential progress, 
Germany suddenly flames up in revolution. November 9th the Chan- 
cellor announces the abdication of the Kaiser, who will appear inside 
the Dutch frontier the next morning, the Crown Prince following by 
another route. "The cascade of thrones" has begun. In the next few 



THE ARMISTICE 343 

days Switzerland will be filled to overflowing with German kinglets, 
grand dukes, Austrian archdukes, the Austrian Emperor fleeing as well. 
King Constantine of Greece need be lonely no longer. Friedrich Ebert, 
vice-president of the Social Democratic Party, a person of low extrac- 
tion, a saddler, is the first president of the German Republic, which 
will seek more regular elections through a constituent national assembly 
later. November I2th the Austrian Kaiser imitates the German Kaiser 
and the House of Hapsburg, like that of Hozenzollern, has ceased to rule 
or reign. In Berlin, in a score of other German cities, bolshevism raises 
its head ; anarchy marches, Germans are shooting one another as French- 
men did Frenchmen at the end of the Siege of Paris forty-seven years 
earlier, Bismarck looking on with cynical interest at Versailles. 

In sum, in the week between November 5th and November nth all 
the settled and established institutions of the Central Powers are going 
down in a heap. The captains and the kings are departing. The Ger- 
man army, driven out of Sedan, across the Meuse, out of Valenciennes, 
across the Scheldt, struggling back to the French frontier, is on the edge 
of ruin. The Austro-Hungarian army has ceased to exist. Bulgaria is 
in Allied hands. An Allied fleet has passed the Dardanelles, whose forts 
have gone silent now, and is anchored off the Golden Horn. Enver, 
like William II, has fled; Austria-Hungary, its emperor gone, has become 
a confusion of racial entities. Roumania, rising from recent ruin, has 
cast off old chains and is stretching out her hands to resume old aspira- 
tions. 

And in the midst of all this chaos, tumult perhaps the most terrific 
week in all human experience the armies of Foch have pressed on. That 
western front, that black line stretched from the North Sea to Switzer- 
land, which through four long years of agony had fixed itself upon the 
minds and the memories of millions, has disappeared. Its rigid and 
unyielding menace has been replaced by a new line which moves 
daily, hourly, engulfing new provinces, cities, towns in its liberating 
waves. The facts of this week remain for history, but who can forget 
or preserve the emotions of that time the joy, the gratitude, the relief 
that came with the recognition at last that Justice would prevail over 



344 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Might and that the German sword had been broken and was now being 
dashed from the German hand. 



V. ARMISTICE 

And while Germany is falling into chaos, everything gone or shortly 
to go which for fifty years has oppressed the minds and the souls of men, 
there sets out from Spa, Ludendorff 's headquarters, a few days before, one 
of the most sorrowful and satisfying processions this planet has ever 
seen, headed by Erzberger, one of the "turncoats" who turned in 1917. 
It proceeds by a long, circuitous route presented by Foch through 
Avesnes, where the Kaiser and Ludendorff heard the news of March 
2 1 st. It is preceded by pioneers whose mission it is to patch up the roads 
lately destroyed by armies in retreat, to fix a path by which representa- 
tives of Germany can go to something far more humiliating than 
Canossa. It is long after dark when the procession meets the first 
French picket line, the advance guard of Debeney, some of the men 
who checked the German rush at the Avre on March 26th and the 
succeeding days, which saw Foch begin. A strange encounter this was, 
of which many picturesque descriptions have survived, flashing of 
lights in the dark, examination of papers, new delays to fill up trenches 
across the road, strange whiteness of the German faces not difficult to 
explain, but fixed in the minds of the witnesses out on that lonely road 
surrounded by the destruction wrought by other Germans not a week 
ago, cannon still sounding to right and to left, rifles and machine guns 
still going off. For the war is continuing. 

Then at last the German ambassadors are put on their road again, 
going southward into the wilderness of the Hindenburg Line through 
the ruins of St. Quentin, seen in the morning light, called to their at- 
tention by a Frenchman who says significantly, "There was St. Quen- 
tin." And at last, after innumerable wanderings in this tangle of 
desolation wanderings the Germans afterward allege to have been a 
part of French design to fix upon their minds, as a prelude to receiving 
the sentence awaiting them, the reality of what Germany had done the 
Germans are embarked upon a special train and arrive, place unknown 



THE ARMISTICE 345 

to them, in a forest identified later as the Forest of Compiegne, toward 
which Ludendorff aimed in June, through which Kluck advanced in 
August, 1914. 

The place to which they have come, a mere railroad siding the 
nearest village is Rethondes is the place where Foch awaits them in 
his own car. They are greeted courteously but coldly; they will com- 
plain much of this coldness later, as will other Germans who go to 
Versailles on a similar errand a few months hence. Not even their 
passage over the Hindenburg desert can explain to them the coldness of 
their reception ; in fact, they encounter for the first time visible evidence 
of what mankind thinks of them, of all Germans has been thinking 
since Louvain, since the Lusitania has been thinking more clearly with 
each successive revelation of the German soul. 

November 8th, in Marshal Foch's car, they perform their mission. 
Their reception is as coolly correct as always : formal bows, nothing more. 
And then the direct question: "What is it that you wish, gentlemen? 
The question which carries the supreme humiliation which places upon 
the Germans the necessity to sue for peace. This is a very far cry from 
that final moment when Thiers made his last appeal to Bismarck in an 
interview preserved in a picture known to most Frenchmen and all Ger- 
mans. Forty-seven years ago Marshal Foch saw the Germans in Metz, 
and for forty-seven years Foch, like every Frenchman, has remembered 
the scene at Versailles and looked longingly over Bismarck's frontier 
into what was once France, and has remained French. 

What happened at Rethondes is little memorable in detail: hope- 
less protests; debates, all from the German side. The army of Foch 
continuing to sweep forward; the Kaiser abdicating, disappearing, and 
reappearing upon a Dutch railroad platform; revolution sweeping over 
Germany; the German ambassadors at Rethondes await the return of a 
courier sent to Berlin with Foch's terms, and still delayed by roads and 
war, returning at night, November loth. Then, finally, at five o'clock on 
the morning of November nth the Armistice is signed, and to all the 
army fronts there goes forth word that at eleven o'clock this morning the 
war will cease. The enemy has surrendered, and from one end of the 



346 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Allied world to the other the news of the victory is flashed forth. At 
last there will be peace. 

Most interesting of all comments on the Armistice is that of Marshal 
Foch, made long after the event, to his friend, Andre de Maricourt. 
The Marshal had been explaining his philosophy of war, his conviction 
that two things are essential to victory. The general must "will" to 
conquer and he must also know how to employ his resources. It is in 
this discussion that Foch said: "Yes, the Kaiser served up to us a 
formidable machine and some excellent foremen, but all the same the 
express train was confided to a stage-coach driver. We couldn't help 
conquering." And then he breaks out as follows: 

And now don't talk to me about glory, beauty, enthusiasm which I know. All 
these things are mere language, we must avoid these expressions in France. They 
are useless, they are just so much energy wasted. The war is over. That is worth 
saying, but epithets are as worthless as phrases. Nothing exists except the fact be- 
cause, as I have said before, only the proofs are of any use. 

What do I consider a useful fact, one that satisfies me? The interview at 
Rethondes, that was a proof, a testament. That testament established the disintegra- 
tion of the German Empire, and when I saw Erzberger take his pen passionately and 
sign that testament, then I was satisfied with having "willed" the victory, and with 
having employed the resources, for the business was liquidated. 

The actual text signed by Erzberger and his associates was as follows: 

I MILITARY CLAUSES ON WESTERN FRONT 

One Cessation of operations by land and in the air six hours after the signature 
of the armistice. 

Two Immediate evacuation of invaded countries: Belgium, France, Alsace- 
Lorraine, Luxemburg, so ordered as to be completed within fourteen days from the 
signature of the armistice. German troops which have not left the above-mentioned 
territories within the period fixed will become prisoners of war. Occupation by the 
Allied and United States forces jointly will keep pace with evacuation in these areas. 
All movements of evacuation and occupation will be regulated in accordance with a 
note annexed to the stated terms. 

Three Repatriation, beginning at once, to be completed within fifteen days, of all 
the inhabitants of the countries above enumerated (including hostages, persons under 
trial, or convicted). 

Four Surrender in good condition by the German armies of the following war 
material: Five thousand guns (2,500 heavy and 2,500 field), 25,000 machine guns, 
3,000 minenwerfer, 1,700 airplanes (fighters, bombers firstly, all of the D y's and all 



THE ARMISTICE 347 

the night bombing machines). The above to be delivered in situ to the Allied and 
United States troops in accordance with the detailed conditions laid down in the note 
(annexure No. i) drawn up at the moment of the signing of the armistice. 

Five Evacuation by the German armies of the countries on the left bank of the 
Rhine. The countries on the left bank of the Rhine shall be administered by the 
local troops of occupation. The occupation of these territories will be carried out by 
Allied and United States garrisons holding the principal crossings of the Rhine (May- 
ence, Coblentz, Cologne), together with the bridgeheads at these points of a thirty- 
kilometre radius on the right bank and by garrisons similarly holding the strategic 
points of the regions. A neutral zone shall be reserved on the right bank of the Rhine 
between the stream and a line drawn parallel to the bridgeheads and to the stream and 
at a distance often kilometres from the frontier of Holland up to the frontier of Switzer- 
land. The evacuation by the enemy of the Rhinelands (left and right bank) shall be 
so ordered as to be completed within a further period of sixteen days, in all, thirty-one 
days after the signing of the armistice. All the movements of evacuation or occupation 
are regulated by the note (annexure No. i) drawn up at the moment of the signing of 
the armistice. 

Six In all territories evacuated by the enemy there shall be no evacuation of in- 
habitants; no damage or harm shall be done to the persons or property of the inhabi- 
tants. No person shall be prosecuted for offences of participation in war measures 
prior to the signing of the armistice. No destruction of any kind shall be committed. 
Military establishments of all kinds shall be delivered intact, as well as military stores 
of food, munitions, and equipment, not removed during the time fixed for evacuation. 
Stores of food of all kinds for the civil population, cattle, etc., shall be left in situ. 
Industrial establishments shall not be impaired in any way and their personnel shall 
not be removed. 

Seven Roads and means of communication of every kind, railroads, waterways, 
main roads, bridges, telegraphs, telephones, shall be in no manner impaired. All civil 
and military personnel at present employed on them shall remain. Five thousand 
locomotives and 1 50,000 wagons in good working order, with all necessary spare parts 
and fittings, shall be delivered to the associated powers within the period fixed in an- 
nexure No. 2, and total of which shall not exceed thirty-one days. There shall likewise 
be delivered 5,000 motor lorries (camione automobiles) in good order, within the period 
of thirty-six days. The railways of Alsace-Lorraine shall be handed over within the 
period of thirty-one days, together with pre-war personnel and material. Further, the 
material necessary for the working of railways in the countries on the left bank of the 
Rhine shall be left in situ. All stores of coal and material for the upkeep of permanent 
ways, signals, and repair shops shall be left in situ. These stores shall be maintained by 
Germany in so far as concerns the working of the railroads in the countries on the left 
bank of the Rhine. All barges taken from the Allies shall be restored to them. The 
note, annexure No. 2, regulates the details of these measures. 

Eight The German command shall be responsible for revealing within the period 
of forty-eight hours after the signing of the armistice all mines or delayed-action fuses 
on territory evacuated by the German troops and shall assist in their discovery and 
destruction. It also shall reveal all destructive measures that may have been taken 



348 



HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 



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AMERICA S ADVANCE TO THE RHINE 

(such as poisoning or polluting of springs and wells, etc.). All under penalty of re- 
prisals. 

Nine The right of requisition shall be exercised by the Allied and United States 
armies in all occupied territories, subject to regulation of accounts with those whom it 
may concern. The upkeep of the troops of occupation in the Rhineland (excluding 
Alsace-Lorraine) shall be charged to the German Government. 

Ten The immediate repatriation without reciprocity, according to detailed condi- 
tions which shall be fixed, of all Allied and United States prisoners of war, including 
persons under trial or convicted. The Allied Powers and the United States shall be 
able to dispose of them as they wish. This condition annuls the previous conventions 
on the subject of the exchange of prisoners of war, including the one of July, 1918, in 
course of ratification. However, the repatriation of German prisoners of war interned 
in Holland and in Switzerland shall continue as before. The repatriation of German 
prisoners of war shall be regulated at the conclusion of the preliminaries of peace. 

Eleven Sick and wounded who cannot be removed from evacuated territory will 
be cared for by German personnel, who will be left on the spot with the medical material 
required. 

II. DISPOSITION RELATIVE TO THE EASTERN FRONTIERS OF GERMANY 

Twelve All German troops at present in the territories which before belonged to 



THE ARMISTICE 349 

Austria-Hungary, Roumania, Turkey, shall withdraw immediately within the frontiers 
of Germany as they existed on August I, 1914. All German troops at present in the 
territories which before the war belonged to Russia shall likewise withdraw within the 
frontiers of Germany, defined as above, as soon as the Allies, taking into account the 
internal situation of these territories, shall decide that the time for this has come. 

Thirteen Evacuation by German troops to begin at once, and all German instruc- 
tors, prisoners, and civilians as well as military agents now on the territory of Russia 
(as defined before 1914) to be recalled. 

Fourteen German troops to cease at once all requisitions and seizures and any 
other undertaking with a view to obtaining supplies intended for Germany in Roumania 
and Russia (as defined on August i, 1914). 

Fifteen Renunciation of the treaties of Bukharest and Brest-Litovsk and of the 
supplementary treaties. 

Sixteen The Allies shall have free access to the territories evacuated by the Ger- 
mans on their eastern frontier, either through Danzig, or by the Vistula, in order to 
convey supplies to the populations of those territories and for the purpose of maintain- 
ing order. 

III. CLAUSE CONCERNING EAST AFRICA 

Seventeen Evacuation by all German forces operating in East Africa within a 
period to be fixed by the Allies. 

IV. GENERAL CLAUSES 

Eighteen Repatriation, without reciprocity, within a maximum period of one 
month in accordance with detailed conditions hereafter to be fixed, of all interned 
civilians, including hostages (persons?), under trial or convicted, belonging to the allied 
or associated powers other than those enumerated in Article Three. 

Nineteen The following financial conditions are required: Reparation for 
damage done. While such armistice lasts no public securities shall be removed by the 
enemy which can serve as a pledge to the Allies for the recovery or reparation for war 
losses. Immediate restitution of the cash deposit in the National Bank of Belgium, 
and, in general, immediate return of all documents, specie, stocks, shares, paper money, 
together with plant for the issue thereof, touching public or private interests in the in- 
vaded countries. Restitution of the Russian and Roumanian gold yielded to Germany 
or taken by that power. This gold to be delivered in trust to the Allies until the signa- 
ture of peace. 

V. NAVAL CONDITIONS 

Twenty Immediate cessation of all hostilities at sea and definite information to 
be given as to the location and movements of all German ships. Notification to be 
given to neutrals that freedom of navigation in all territorial waters is given to the 
naval and mercantile marines of the allied and associated powers, all questions of neu- 
trality being waived. 

Twenty-one All naval and mercantile marine prisoners of the allied and associated 
powers in German hands to be returned without reciprocity. 

Twenty-two Surrender to the Allies and United States of all submarines (includ- 



3so HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

ing submarine cruisers and all mine-laying submarines) now existing, with their com- 
plete armament and equipment, in ports which shall be specified by the Allies and 
United States. Those whioh cannot take the sea shall be disarmed of the personnel and 
material and shall remain under the supervision of the Allies and the United States. 
The submarines which are ready for the sea shall be prepared to leave the German 
ports as soon as orders shall be received by wireless for their voyage to the port des- 
ignated for their delivery, and the remainder at the earliest possible moment. The 
conditions of this article shall be carried into effect within the period of fourteen days 
after the signing of the armistice. 

Twenty-three German surface warships which shall be designated by the Allies 
and the United States shall be immediately disarmed and thereafter interned in neutral 
ports or in default of them in allied ports to be designated by the Allies and the United 
States. They will there remain under the supervision of the Allies and of the United 
States, only caretakers being left on board. The following warships are designated 
by the Allies: Six battle cruisers, ten battleships, eight light cruisers (including two 
mine layers), fifty destroyers of the most modern types. All other surface warships 
(including river craft) are to be concentrated in German naval bases to be designated 
by the Allies and the United States, and are to be completely disarmed and classed 
under the supervision of the Allies and the United States. The military armament of 
all ships of the auxiliary fleet shall be put on shore. All vessels designated to be in- 
terned shall be ready to leave the German ports seven days after the signing of the 
armistice. Directions for the voyage will be given by wireless. 

. Twenty-four The Allies and the United States of America shall have the right 
to sweep up all mine fields and obstructions laid by Germany outside German territorial 
waters, and the positions of these are to be indicated. 

Twenty-five Freedom of access to and from the Baltic to be given to the naval 
and mercantile marines of the allied and associated powers. To secure this the Allies 
and the United States of America shall be empowered to occupy all German forts, 
fortifications, batteries, and defence works of all kinds in all the entrances from the 
Cattegat into the Baltic, and to sweep up all mines and obstructions within and without 
German territorial waters, without any question of neutrality being raised, and the 
positions of all such mines and obstructions are to be indicated. 

Twenty-six The existing blockade conditions set up by the allied and associated 
powers are to remain unchanged, and all German merchant ships found at sea are to 
remain liable to capture. The Allies and the United States shall give consideration to 
the provisioning of Germany during the armistice to the extent recognized as necessary. 

Twenty-seven --All naval aircraft are to be concentrated and immobilized in Ger- 
man bases to be specified by the Allies and the United States of America. 

Twenty-eight In evacuating the Belgian coast and ports Germany shall abandon 
in situ and in fact all port and river navigation material, all merchant ships, tugs, 
lighters, all naval aeronautic apparatus, material and supplies, and all arms, apparatus 
and supplies of every kind. 

Twenty-nine All Black Sea ports are to be evacuated by Germany; all Russian 
war vessels of all descriptions seized by Germany in the Black Sea are to be handed 
over to the Allies and the United States of America; all neutral merchant vessels seized 



THE ARMISTICE 351 

are to be released; all warlike and other materials of all kinds seized in those ports are 
to be returned and German materials as specified in Clause Twenty-eight are to be 
abandoned. 

Thirty All merchant vessels in German hands belonging to the allied and as- 
sociated powers are to be restored in ports to be specified by the Allies and the United 
States of America without reciprocity. 

Thirty-one No destruction of ships or of materials to be permitted before evacua- 
tion, surrender, or restoration. 

Thirty-two The German Government will notify the neutral governments of the 
world, and particularly the governments of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, 
that all restrictions placed on the trading of their vessels with the allied and associated 
countries, whether by the German Government or by private German interests, and 
whether in return for specific concessions, such as the export of shipbuilding materials, 
or not, are immediately cancelled. 

Thirty-three No transfers of German merchant shipping of any description to 
any neutral flag are to take place after signature of the armistice. 

VI. DURATION OF ARMISTICE 

Thirty-four The duration of the armistice is to be thirty-days, with option to 
extend. During this period if its clauses are not carried into execution the armistice 
may be denounced by one of the contracting parties, which must give warning forty- 
eight hours in advance. It is understood that the execution of Article III and Sec- 
tion Eighteen, under IV, shall not warrant the denunciation of the armistice on the 
ground of insufficient execution within a period fixed, except in the case of bad faith 
in carrying them into execution. In order to assure the execution of this conven- 
tion under the best conditions, the principle of a permanent international armistice 
commission is admitted. This commission will act under the authority of the allied 
military and naval Commanders-in-Chief. 

VII. THE LIMIT FOR REPLY 

Thirty-five This armistice to be accepted or refused by Germany within seventy- 
two hours of notification. 



This armistice has been signed the Eleventh of November, Nineteen Eighteen, at 5 
o'clock French time. 

F. FOCH, 

R. E. WEMYSS, 

ERZBERGER, 

A. OBERNDORFF, 

WlNTERFELDT, 

VON SALOW. 

VI. PREMATURE ? 

Since the actual signing of the Armistice of November u, 1918, a 
mighty controversy has arisen and continues, a controversy turning 
on the question as to whether it would not have been better to pursue 



352 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

the fighting to the logical end. This debate has been marked by charges 
and counter-charges, the contestants alleging and denying that the 
decision to grant an armistice was premature. As the Treaty became 
a matter of controversy, in its turn, the indictment of the Armistice 
was added to the others filed against President Wilson, who was accused 
of having enabled the German military party to escape complete ex- 
posure, ultimate humiliation, by opening "conversations" with the 
Germans over the heads of the soldiers. 

As to the main discussion, decision is perhaps impossible; as to the 
allegation against the American president, it has little foundation. It 
is equally untrue that his conversations conquered or saved the Prus- 
sian, and the claims of his friends and the accusations of his critics are 
equally outside the limits of reason. Yet even if decision in the main 
controversy is impossible, certain illuminating facts are spread upon the 
record. 

Thus General Maurice, when the controversy was just beginning, on 
the morrow of the Armistice, went to France and talked with the sol- 
diers, who were reported as most indignant. What he learned, he has 
written. From the Dutch frontier near Ghent to the Meuse, the Allied 
armies were approaching the limit of immediate exploitation on their 
successes. Behind them lay a desert, lacking in communications, need- 
ing weeks to bridge; before them the enemy was retiring, creating still 
another gulf of chaos. Pursuit between the Scheldt and the Meuse 
was destined to slow down shortly, should the combat continue. 

East of the Meuse it was different. Between Metz and Strassburg 
the French and Americans were about to break out in a new offensive, 
thirty divisions in line, thirty in reserve. The country was undevas- 
tated, their communications intact. The Germans were without re- 
serves and there was no approximate limit to the progress that might be 
made, after the first severe fighting, which would attend the rupture 
that definitive rupture described by Buat. 

But even this campaign carried with it certain obvious dangers. 
The Kaiser had long ago sworn that if ever the French should succeed 
in their determination to regain their "lost provinces" they would re- 



THE ARMISTICE 353 

cover only a wilderness. To have prolonged the war meant to transform 
Alsace-Lorraine into another Hindenburg desert. It meant to risk a 
similar wasting of all of Belgium, through which the German armies 
would retire. The victory was certain, but the price, not merely in 
blood but in destruction, was sure to be colossal. 

The decision to permit the Germans to sign an armistice saved Bel- 
gium and Alsace-Lorraine. It gave back to France her old lands intact, 
with an industrial equipment capable of making good in large measure 
the losses suffered in the north of France. It insured to France under 
the later terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the Saar Coal Basin, which 
would in part, at least temporarily, replace the ruined Lens Basin, until 
such time as the mines of the Pas-de-Calais were again in working order. 
If Rheims, St. Quentin, Soissons, Lens, and Arras had been destroyed, 
France received immune from all injuries, Strassburg, Metz, Miihl- 
hausen, and Colmar. 

If it was an irritating and a disturbing circumstance that the German 
armies returning home should be welcomed as victors, greeted with 
arches of triumph, hailed as conquerors; if, in Germany, Ludendorff 
and his associates could propagate the legend that the German army 
had been invincible and the defeat had been the work of civilians could 
allege that the nation had collapsed behind an unshaken army this 
inveracity was too great to endure the test of time. The terms of the 
Armistice were the witness to absolute defeat and the position and con- 
dition of the German armies facts which would stand forth more and 
more clearly as the years passed. 

Beyond all else the sacrifice had been too great to permit the shed- 
ding of one more drop of blood unnecessarily. Europe was too near 
the edge of the abyss to dare risk any prolongation of the strain of war. 
To Foch was left the task of fixing the terms, and it is common knowl- 
edge that neither he nor his comrades could believe that any German 
army, however beaten, would accept such terms as he handed to Erz- 
berger at Rethondes. The farther one was from the front on November 
n, 1918, the more loudly was heard the clamour for "finishing the job." 
But the decision to end it by the Armistice must seem, with each sue- 



354 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

ceeding year, more warranted, as the true extent of the dislocation of the 
machinery of government and existence is more accurately appraised. 

Realizing the difficulties, the barriers in the pathway of reconstruc- 
tion despite the termination of hostilities on November nth, one may 
calculate what might have been the situation if the war had proceeded 
for a few more weeks or months and, between the Scheldt and 
the Meuse on the west and the Rhine on the east, a new belt of ruined 
provinces had been created, including all of Belgium, together with 
Alsace-Lorraine, Luxemburg, and the German Rhineland. A Waterloo 
or Sedan, however stupendous, would hardly have been an adequate 
compensation. 

One final and memorable circumstance, preserved in millions of 
letters and innumerable accounts of the moment, is the testimony of 
the meaning to the soldiers themselves, when, on the hour, silence 
suddenly fell along all the front from Holland to Switzerland. At 
10:59 shells were still falling, bullets were striking, all the noise of de- 
struction which had continued for more than fifty-two months was still 
audible. But at eleven o'clock exactly there was silence so abrupt, 
so complete as to be oppressive. Almost as in a dream men rose from 
the trenches for the first time, save at the moment of attack, and looked 
steadily across the "No Man's Land" to the enemy trenches beyond. 

In a score of tongues and dialects the phrase sounded: "The war is 
finished!" The hour so long looked forward to, so long held almost 
beyond hoping for, had at last arrived and found millions of men, on 
either side of the firing line, so exhausted that the defeated welcomed 
the relief that accompanied surrender and the conquerors celebrated 
their triumph in a sleep at last unbroken by shells or alarums. Paris, 
London, New York might give way to an enthusiasm which needed ex- 
pression, but for the real victors the sweetest circumstance of victory, 
aside from safety, was the sleep it permitted. For them the longest 
nightmare in human experience had ended and, remembering 1 how great 
were their agonies, their sacrifices, the sum of their miseries, one may 
well find unconvincing the arguments of those who would have pro- 
longed the march of victory to the Rhine or even to Berlin. 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

THE OTHER FRONTS 

I 
THE ITALIAN CONTRIBUTION 

It remains now briefly, very briefly, to summarize the events on four 
fronts including the period from March to November in which the 
issue of the war was decided on the western front. These four other 
fields of conquest were the Italian, the Macedonian, the Turkish, and 
that sea front on which the submarine was fought and checked, and it 
is only on this last front that success exercised anything like a decisive 
influence upon the issue of the main conflict. Had the submarine been 
able to perform the task allotted to it, it would have been impossible for 
two millions of American soldiers to cross the ocean; starvation would 
have come to Britain; and the Allies would have been compelled, while 
the German armies were still advancing toward the Paris front, to make 
a peace of approximate submission. 

As for the three land campaigns, only that of Italy was of real 
magnitude or exercised any considerable influence upon events in 
France. The Italian front was actually, as Allied official statements and 
comments of the time indicated, the right flank of Foch's single front, 
which thus extended from the North Sea to the Adriatic, from the Yser 
to the Piave; and the brief interruption of the continuity of this line, 
incident to the interposition of Swiss territory, did not actually separate 
the two fractions. At the time of Caporetto, Italian disaster had made 
immediate and compromising demands upon British and French 
reserves. To this Haig ascribed his inability to exploit the initial 
success at Cambrai in that year. As late as March and April, 1918, 
British and French divisions were in Italy and had incontinently to be 
recalled during the Battle of Picardy. 

In June, at the moment when the Battle of the Chemin des Dames in 

355 



356 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

all its peripheries had come to an end, Ludendorff called upon his 
Austrian allies to make a major offensive on the Piave. Success would 
mean the recall of Italian troops beginning to appear in Champagne; it 
would mean the necessity of another transfer of Allied reserves, des- 
perately needed before Paris, to the valleys of the Adige and the Po. 
It might mean the collapse of Italy, and the corresponding disarray of 
Allied affairs. 

This battle was to be delivered at the moment when Allied forces 
were at their lowest ebb and, following immediately upon the success 
at the Chemin des Dames, was to continue the moral as well as the mili- 
tary pressure upon Allied statesmen, public and military leaders. A sec- 
ond Caporetto might present to Foch the choice between (a) fatally weak- 
ening his Paris front, to reinforce the Italian, and (b) seeing the Italian 
army removed from the war because of the failure of Allied reinforce- 
ments to arrive and the subsequent appearance of Austro-Hungarian 
divisions in decisive numbers along the French front. Nor was it totally 
beyond calculation that the Italian armies, having been eliminated, the 
victorious Austrian hosts would sweep across the Valley of the Po and, 
by menacing France with invasion by all the Alpine passes from Mentone 
to Switzerland, compel Foch to divert French divisions from Cham- 
pagne and from Picardy to Savoy, Dauphine, and Provence. 

The fact that with relatively insignificant Allied assistance, with 
only a handful of British and French troops present, Italy broke this 
attack at the Piave, must be reckoned an enormous contribution to 
Foch's victory. By the time Ludendorff was ready for his final offen- 
sive, that of July I5th, Foch could not only dismiss all anxieties as to 
his Italian flank but he could also count on a material Italian contribu- 
tion to his resources in man-power on the French front. He could 
dismiss all calculation which might involve the transfer of French and 
British divisions to the Adige. He could, in sum, say to himself: "The 
next circumstance on the Italian flank will be an Italian attack; the 
offensive power of the Austrian army has been broken not for the 
moment, but for the rest of the war." 

The Piave was the Italiaa Marne. In its relation to the general 



THE OTHER FRONTS 357 

Allied cause the Second Battle of the Piave was similar to that of 
Castlenau's victorious defence at Nancy, to the First Battle of the 
Marne, and Gouraud's equally shining resistance between Rheims and 
the Argonne to 'the Second. In the nature of things the attention of 
the world was concentrated upon the Paris front. Italy's triumph pro- 
duced a general sense of relief but no accurate appraisal of achievement. 
Nevertheless, on the military side it was a very real factor in Foch's 
campaign. On the moral side it was the first "lift" the first authentic 
victory after the opening of the terrible round of defeats on March 2ist. 

II. THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE PIAVE 

The plans of the Austrians for their attack which was fixed first for 
June nth, the date when Ludendorff broke off the Battle of the Matz, 
and then postponed until June I5th were as follows : there was to be a 
feint at Adamiello, just south of the Swiss frontier and looking toward 
the Valtelline, to distract Italian attention, and then three converging 
thrusts the first on the Asiago Plateau, where Cadorna had just barely 
checked the Austrian offensive of 1916, and where weather and French 
troops had assisted Diaz in another successful defence after Caporetto; 
the second, directed at the Montello Heights where the Piave enters the 
plain and turns south toward the sea; and the third, between Montello 
and the sea, mainly along the Udine-Vicenza railway. 

It was the purpose of Arz, the commander-in-chief of the Austrians, 
to turn the Italians out of the Piave line by smashing through from the 
mountains and coming down in the plain by the Astico and Brenta 
valleys exactly as his predecessors had sought to do in 1916 and 1917. If 
the Italians could be driven off the hills they only held the southern- 
most slopes and the success were swift and complete, then the Italian 
troops holding the Piave line might be enveloped and captured. If the 
progress were slower, ultimate success would mean a retirement behind 
the Adige and the Po, the surrender of Venice and Padua and the 
approach to Verona. But if the thrust out of the mountains failed, the 
capture of the Heights of Montello would involve an Italian retirement 
from the line of the Piave to the Brenta, and the capture of Venice. 



358 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Finally, the purpose of the third thrust, between Montello and the sea, 
was mainly to occupy the Italians on this front, prevent the diversion of 
reserves to the north, and exploit any success at Asiago or Montello. It 
will be seen that the largest profit which the Austrians could hope to 
attain would be realized by decisive success on the Asiago Plateau. 
Actually the conditions recall those of Caporetto, and a similar imme- 
diate and complete success, a repetition of Below's achievement with 
German troops, would have reproduced the terrible circumstances of the 
previous year. 

But there was no repetition of Caporetto. First of all the Italians 
in the hills on the Asiago Plateau and on Monte Grappa stood firm 
briefly and completely broke Arz's most dangerous thrust. This phase 
ended abruptly and Diaz was assured of the stability of his flank and the 
safety of his communications. By contrast the fighting on Montello 
was much more desperate and the issue for several days doubtful. The 
Austrians succeeded in passing the Piave, climbed the eastern and north- 
ern sides of Montello, and thus threatened the line of the Piave south- 
ward to the sea. They also succeeded in passing the river farther 
to the south, notably in the lagoons where the front was nearest to 
Venice. But Italian resistance stiffened, a small British contingent 
rendered valuable assistance, and presently the Austrians were pushed 
off the summit of Montello by counter-attacks which restored the situa- 
tion. The Austrian thrust was thus checked, the advances were in- 
considerable, and the line of the Piave was maintained. 

But at this point there was a heavy rain in the mountains. The Piave 
rose suddenly and swept away many of the Austrian bridges, particularly 
those behind their troops on the slopes of Montello. Thereupon the Ital- 
ians again counter-attacked and the Austrians were compelled to retire 
north and east of the Piave, to abandon all of their gains and many of 
their guns; many thousands of their troops were actually drowned in the 
flooded river. Thus the last phase of what had been termed " the hunger 
offensive," designed to be an impressive prelude to Ludendorff's July 
"peace storm," ended in a disaster of vast proportion leading directly to 
bitter recrimination in the Hungarian Parliament, to a confession of a 



THE OTHER FRONTS 359 

loss exceeding 100,000 in killed and drowned alone, the final destruction 
of morale, and of the hope of victory or the willingness to continue, in 
the Hapsburg Monarchy. Henceforth, until the supreme disaster of 
the closing days of the war, the Austrian army swiftly disintegrates. 
Although the Italians did not follow up their advantage until three 
months later, the Second Battle of the Piave actually broke the Austrian 
military power. 

Ludendorff comments bitterly on this disaster. He notes that the 
Austrian soldier seemed to have fought well, and he suspects the cause 
of defeat was to be found in the fact that the attack was made on too 
broad a front. But what angers him most is the disclosure in the Hun- 
garian Parliament. On the military aspect Ludendorff says that the 
failure was extremely painful to him and abolished the hope that relief 
on the western front might be gained in Italy. He now proposed the 
transfer of Austrian troops to the western front. Two divisions did 
come after delays, arriving in July, but the condition of these was 
wretched and they required training before they could be put into quiet 
sectors. Two more came in September but proved of little use. Pershing 
encountered and captured some of these Austrians at St. Mihiel. 

On the moral and on the military side Italy rendered a supreme 
service to her allies in the Second Battle of the Piave. The Italian army 
fought in a manner which disclosed the fact that the soldiers and the 
country had recovered alike from the consequences of the disaster at 
Caporetto and from the infection of pacifism and treason which had 
contributed to that earlier disaster. Not even the magnitude of the 
events on the northern front should obscure this service, nor can any one 
who recalls the state of Allied minds between the Chemin des Dames 
and the Second Battle of the Marne forget the encouragement and 
relief consequent to the realization that the Allies, thanks to Italy, had 
at last won a battle and abolished one front of peril. 

III. IN MACEDONIA 

Three months after the victory at the Piave the Army of the Orient, 
by a swift and brilliant victory, abolished the Macedonian front 



360 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

and brought Bulgaria to the point of capitulation. Sarrail had been 
removed from the command of the Salonica army upon the arrival 
of Clemenceau, who feared neither politicians nor political generals. 
Guillaumat, Nivelle's successor at Verdun, replaced Sarrail, reorganized 
the Army of the Orient, now materially reinforced by Greek troops raised 
by Venizelos. But before he could put into operation his plans for an 
offensive, Guillaumat was recalled to become Governor of Paris, again 
threatened by the Germans. He was succeeded by Franchet d'Esperey, 
one of the army commanders at the First Marne who had been in 
charge of the army group to which belonged the French Sixth Army, 
victim of the Chemin-des-Dames offensive a circumstance which 
explained D'Esperey's transfer to the Army of the Orient. By an odd 
coincidence the two generals who were now to win amazing victories in 
the east, D'Esperey in Macedonia and Allenby in Palestine, had been 
transferred to the scene of their subsequent successes under circum- 
stances which suggested demotion. 

The Macedonia offensive opened on September isth, three days 
after Pershing had abolished the St. Mihiel salient, and at the close of 
those actions which constituted Foch's manoeuvre between Montdidier 
and the Hindenburg Line. Before the composite Army of the Orient 
containing Italian, French, Serbian, Greek, and British contingents 
stood three enemy armies, all of them composed of Bulgarian troops, 
but one of them still called the Eleventh German Army and commanded 
by a German general, although its German contingent had disappeared. 
The two Bulgarian armies occupied the front east of the Vardar in a 
semicircle from the gulf into which the Struma empties to the Vardar 
near the old Serbo-Greek frontier. The so-called German army occu- 
pied the front from the Vardar to Lake Ochrida and Austrian contingents 
prolonged the line across Albania to the Adriatic. 

The decisive manoeuvre in the Macedonian battle was that of the 
Serbs. They occupied the sector between the Vardar and the Plain of 
Monastir along the old frontier. In front of them was a tangle of high 
mountains, Sokol, Dobropolie, and Vetretnik constituting the highest 
peaks. While the British between the Struma and the Vardar with 



THE OTHER FRONTS 361 

Greek assistance demonstrated vigorously, the magnificent Serbian 
remnant pushed north, took the mountain peaks, descended into the 
valleys of the Cerna and the Vardar, thus separating the so-called German 
army from the two Bulgarian forces, and threatening the rear of the 
Bulgarians between the Vardar and the Struma. What followed was 
swift and complete. The so-called German army, pursued by the 
French on their front and threatened by the Serbians in their rear along 
the Vardar Valley, unsuccessfully endeavoured to retire upon Uskup and 
thus acquire a line of retreat into Bulgaria; failing, it surrendered, 
while the Bulgarian Government proposed an armistice and then, send- 
ing commissioners to Salonica, made an unconditional surrender and 
retired from the war. About 75, coo prisoners and an enormous booty 
in material were the immediate fruits of victory, while the Bulgarian 
army was forced to give up its arms and demobilize. 

In his memoirs, Ludendorff has many bitter words to say about the 
Bulgarian episode. He regards it as merely the consequence of 
treachery, of a prearranged bargain with the Allies, which is hardly to 
be borne out by any subsequent indication of tenderness for the Bulgars. 
He angrily alleges that Bulgarian divisions actually refused to fight, a 
circumstance which alone could explain for him the Serbian success. 
But granted this, he has already confessed that Prussian divisions had 
refused to fight, as far back as the "Black Day" of August 8th, nearly 
six weeks before the Bulgarians are accused of following Prussian ex- 
ample. 

The fact is that Ludendorff fails to appreciate the effect upon his 
allies of his own defeats. His effort to explain the disasters in the west, 
after September isth, by reference to Macedonian circumstances is, as 
General Maurice points out, merest moonshine. But the reverse is 
unmistakably true. Bulgaria entered the war merely because she 
believed, her despicable Czar believed, that Germany would win. She 
continued in the war because German aid was necessary to hold the 
territories conquered from Serbia. She quit the war when it became 
clear that Germany, so far from winning, was on the point of losing the 
conflict and dragging her allies with her. 



362 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Ludendorff might have found ample analogy for what occurred 
after his August defeats by the most cursory examination of the experi- 
ences of Napoleon after his Russian reverses. Then the Prussians 
were the first to go over to the enemy, not merely to surrender as did 
the Bulgars. Later the Saxons quit him on the battlefield of Leipsic, 
while the Bavarians, who had profited by his prosperity, endeavoured 
to forbid his retreat to France. The moral effect of the Bulgarian de- 
feat and surrender, of the swiftly following Turkish collapse, was un- 
doubtedly felt upon the western front, but in both instances the eastern 
collapse had only followed LudendorfFs own defeats at the Marne, along 
the Somme, and his disastrous retreat to the Hindenburg Line events 
which were not to be mistaken anywhere, least of all in Sofia or in Con- 
stantinople. That the Bulgarian surrender led to the Austrian collapse 
is more arguable, but the Austrian collapse did not come until Luden- 
dorff had been driven out of the Hindenburg Line and had forced his 
government to ask an armistice, which was a confession of defeat, em- 
phasized by the circumstances attending the German demand. 

On the military side, the consequences of the Bulgarian sur- 
render were relatively minor, because the decision of the war was had 
absolutely in France, before the victorious Army of the Orient was 
able to intervene effectively. Of course, Roumania promptly rose, 
threw off her German shackles, and would in the briefest time have 
mobilized her armies and, placing them beside the Army of the Orient, 
moved north to Budapest and to Vienna, to Germany beyond, rein- 
forced by Jugo-Slavs and Czecho-Slovaks, had Austria survived or 
Germany held out. As it was, Roumania, although rushing her prepara- 
tions, was not called upon to intervene again, and was able to occupy the 
districts promised her before her first entrance into the war: Transyl- 
vania, the Bukowina, ultimately the eastern half of the Banat, and, as 
Russian anarchy continued to march, that Bessarabian fraction of 
Moldavia which had been Latin since the days of Trajan and had been 
last stolen from the Roumanians by the Russians in sorry return for 
Roumanian service at Plevna. 

The surrender of Bulgaria also opened the land route to Constan- 



THE OTHER FRONTS 363 

tinople, which was being followed by British forces, when Turkey suc- 
cumbed, following disasters in Palestine. But most satisfactory of 
all consequences of the victory was the reentry of the Serbs into their 
capital after three years of absence. The actual triumph which brought 
them into their own had resulted from the stroke of Marshal Mishitch's 
survivors of that army which the gallant old Putnik had led south across 
the Albanian mountains in the terrible winter retreat of 1915. It con- 
tained veterans who had defeated the Turks at Kumanovo in 1912, 
Bulgarians at the Bregalnitza in 1913, and had twice, in 1914 and 
1915, routed Austrian armies at the Jedar and Valievo. 

There is no finer national page in the history of the World War than 
that which sets forth the Serbian struggle. No nation, not even Belgium, 
had known so much of hostile occupation or of enemy brutality; no 
people had been so ravaged by disease, so maltreated by enemies seeking 
their extinction. Yet at the moment when the House of Hapsburg 
which had plunged the world into war to abolish the Serbian menace to the 
persistence of Austrian tyranny was in exile, its monarchy in ruins, 
King Peter was reentering Belgrade, and Serbia was not only intact but 
about to realize the age-long dream of the Southern Slavs. Poetic 
justice could ask no more, while contrasted with Serbian glory was 
Bulgarian shame; two treacherous attacks upon her neighbours had not 
merely gained her nothing, they had left her territorially weakened, 
with her Macedonian ambition unrealized and her dream of Balkan 
hegemony shattered. 



IV. ARMAGEDDON "SIDE SHOWS " 



On September I9th, four days after the victory in Macedonia and one 
week before the opening of the Battle of the Hindenburg Line, Allenby 
struck the Turks north of Jerusalem and standing between Jaffa and the 
Jordan well north of Jericho. The battle taking its name from Samaria, 
and doubly memorable in history because the final phase terminated on 
the Plain of Armageddon, was fought between Allenby's British army, 
containing a large Indian contingent and a very small French detach- 
ment, and the Turkish Eighth and Seventh armies, which when the 



364 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

battle began were in line from the Mediterranean eastward. During 
the first stage of the battle the Turks fought well but were steadily 
pressed back. Presently the Turkish front between the sea and the 
Jordan was broken, and through the gap along the sea coast Allenby 
launched his cavalry, which swept first northward and thence eastward 
to Nazareth and the Plain of Armageddon, across the rear of the whole 
Turkish host. The German commander, Liman von Sanders, barely 
missed falling into the net by a precipitate flight northward. The bal- 
ance of the two Turkish armies, more than 60,000 men and 400 guns, 
fell into Allenby's hands, while Sanders and the remaining Turkish 
army, the Fourth, fled north to Damascus and thence to Aleppo, pur- 
sued by the British and their Arab allies led by Emir Feisul, son of the 
Sherif of Mecca. At a single blow Turkish military power had been 
broken and Allenby would be a field marshal and Lord of Megiddo in 
recognition of his victory. On October 3 ist Turkey capitulated. Enver 
Pasha and his Germanophile associates fled eastward. 

Allenby's victory brought the final ruin to the Turkish Empire, 
which, however it might survive in some weakened form, was now 
definitively deprived of its Arabian provinces. Mesopotamia passed 
entirely into British hands and French claims upon Syria would be 
presently recognized. Like Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Enver Pasha had 
staked his country's future upon a German victory, and German defeat 
had brought utter ruin. 

With the victories in Palestine and Macedonia, as with the victory of 
Maude's army at Bagdad in a preceding campaign, the history of the 
so-called ''side shows" terminated. Each of them was a failure in so 
far as it was designed, by an operation in a minor field, to produce or to 
influence the result in the main theatre of operations, which was always 
the western front. With the troops wasted at Gallipoli Sir John French 
might have been able to achieve considerable results in the unfortunate 
offensive at Loos in September, 1915. Had the Gallipoli venture not 
been undertaken, the Serbian army might have been saved and the 
Danube barrier to German expansion maintained. It was necessary to 
maintain troops in the east to cover Egypt and India, but the attempt 



THE OTHER FRONTS 365 

to expand the useful occupation of Basra and the adjoining oil fields into 
a dash to Bagdad, which should counter-balance the defeat at Gallipoli, 
.was a rash and costly venture. 

The Salonica episode is less clearly to be set down as a total loss. 
It unquestionably prevented the delivery of Greece to the Central 
Powers and the use of its coast and islands for German submarine bases 
with fatal consequences to Britain's Mediterranean line of communica- 
tions. But it no less patently represented the locking up of very con- 
siderable troops needed elsewhere, and a tremendous expansion of the 
strain placed upon Allied shipping. Indeed, so great was the strain that 
the British had resolved in the spring of 1917 to insist upon the evacua- 
tion of the whole Macedonian front, which would have led to very grave 
consequences. 

In the end, victories were won in Mesopotamia, in Palestine, and in 
Macedonia, but they were won only after the results in the main field 
had been assured. Moreover, while Germany was never able to draw 
from her Turkish and Bulgarian allies those divisions she asked for to 
use on the western front, she was not required, save during some brief 
operation, to employ German troops on these fronts, while her Turkish 
and Bulgarian allies occupied many French and British divisions which 
would otherwise have been available in France. Moreover, at one 
great crisis, when Roumania entered the war in 1916, Bulgarian and 
Turkish troops, commanded by Mackensen, contributed the necessary 
strength to render harmless what might have been a fatal stroke. 

The moment arrived in the war when Germany's allies demanded 
help from her. It was the hour when the German situation was gravest 
in the west. Failing these reinforcements, both her allies succumbed; 
the Turkish resistance was more considerable than the Bulgarian, but 
the collapse of both was prompt and beyond all remedy. Not only this, 
but the Bulgarian collapse opened the Hungarian frontier both to Allied 
and Roumanian attacks, Roumanian blows had they been needed 
to finish off the Hapsburg nation. 

In sum: it is clear that the Allies wasted men and material and 
severely taxed their transport by endeavouring to achieve a victory in a 



3 66 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

minor field. The Gallipoli venture was indefensible, the Salonica invest- 
ment one of its evil consequences. The first Bagdad gamble was as futile 
as the Gallipoli affair and necessitated great subsequent investments in 
men and material, made necessary to retrieve lost prestige. Nor did the 
capture of Bagdad lead to any useful result, since the collapse of Russia 
abolished all possibility of an extension of the campaign northward. 
Palestine was a brilliant incident, after an unfortunate beginning at 
Gaza, but the divisions which were locked up in this army might have 
saved Gough on March 2ist, and the victory in France would, in any 
event, have brought Turkey to her knees. 

The Germans, on the contrary, made no such mistakes; they kept 
their attention on the western and Russian fronts, using the minor 
fields only as scenes of brief campaigns, in which they were able to har- 
vest shining results at small costs results which, notably in 1915 and in 
1916, drew attention away from real reverses in other regions. 

It was the German purpose to create a vast central empire, a Mittel- 
Europa, extending from Hamburg to Basra, including all of the Turk- 
ish Empire and menacing Egypt and even India. By their conquests 
of Serbia and Roumania and by their alliance with Bulgaria and with 
Turkey, they did construct this empire and, but for Venizelos, Greece 
would have been enlisted by Constantine. But the dream of Mittel- 
Europa was shattered at the Second Marne and at the Hindenburg Line, 
and could not have survived even had there been no victories in the 
battles in Macedonia and Palestine. 

On the dramatic side, however, there is obvious satisfaction in seeing 
the great German Mittel-Europa crumble under blows from all sides 
which, falling simultaneously, demolish it. The battles which achieved 
its ruin in Macedonia and in Palestine are themselves brilliant episodes 
in the war, which have brought justly deserved rewards to the successful 
commanders. 

So complete were the Turkish and Bulgarian surrenders that the 
recapitulation of the terms of the two armistices can add little. In 
sum: Bulgaria and Turkey laid down their arms; opened their territories, 
their railroad lines, their harbours, and their waterways to their enemies ; 



A SMOKE SCREEN FOR AMERICAN DESTROYERS 

THE AMERICAN NAVY 
IN THE WAR 




U. S. Navy Official 



A SUBMARINE'S GUN 

Many of the smaller patrol boats were outranged by the guns carried by U-boats, but seldom did the Germans risk 
an engagement, preferring to use their shells on defenceless merchantmen 




BEHIND THE GUNS ON AN AMERICAN DESTROYER 



U. S. Nosy Official 




DEPTH BOMBS IN AIR 
These were fired from Y-guns 




A CAMOUFLAGED AMERICAN DESTROYER 



U. S. Navy Official 




BRITISH "OLYMPIC" WITH AMERICAN TROOPS ON BOARD 




U. S. Nosy Official 

THE PERISCOPE OF AN AMERICAN SUBMARINE OFF THE IRISH COAST 




A SUBMARINE "CRASH DIVE" 




U. S. Navy Official 

AMERICAN SUBMARINES ALONGSIDE MOTHER SHIP IN BANTRY BAY, IRELAND 




Committee on Public Information 

AN AMERICAN SCHOONER ON FIRE 

But the Allied vessels in the neighbourhood hesitate to go to the rescue for they think it is a German decoy ship simu- 
lating distress to bring them within torpedo distance 




AMERICAN SUBCHASERS IN PORT 
Though but 1 10 feet long they patrolled the open sea despite heavy weather 




A Y-GUN FOR FIRING DEPTH BOMBS 
It is constructed so that both sides may be discharged at once 



U. S. Navy Official 



THE OTHER FRONTS 375 

agreed to demobilize their armies, to surrender war materials and 
all else, including the derelict Turkish fleet, which might be required. 
Turkey agreed to the evacuation of Persia, Syria, Mesopotamia, the 
Hedjaz, and the Yemen; in fact, placed herself unreservedly and un- 
conditionally in Allied hands. 

V. THE LAST OF AUSTRIA 

On October 24th the Italian army, with certain British and French 
contingents and an American regiment, the 332nd, passed the Piave 
from the mountains to the sea in the final offensive of the war. For 
the first days the struggle was severe, and then, in the week which saw 
the Caporetto disaster in the previous year, Austrian resistance col- 
lapsed. Armies were transformed into mere fleeing mobs. The rout 
which had come to a single Italian army in the days of Caporetto now 
overtook the whole Hapsburg host, and it fled eastward, disintegrating 
as it ran, until no army was left. Since Waterloo there had been no such 
battlefield collapse on the continent of Europe. 

Too late to change events, and after vain appeals to the United States 
and to the Allies, Austria surrendered at discretion, unconditionally, 
abjectly. Already more than 400,000 prisoners, 7,000 cannon, 250,000 
horses, booty unequalled in this or any other war, had been gathered in. 
During the next few days Trent and Trieste welcomed Italian armies, all 
that Italy had lost in the war was reclaimed, all that Italy had longed for 
since the fall of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy was seized. Before the 
world had grasped the true meaning of the colossal victory, Italian 
troops were at the summit of the Brenner Pass and Italian warships 
occupied Austrian ports. Italia Irredenta was redeemed and Trieste 
and Trent welcomed their liberators a full month before Strassburg 
and Metz. 

Such were the consequences of the Battle of Vktorio-Veneto. Ac- 
tually a nation had collapsed behind its army; had more than collapsed, 
it had resolved into its component racial elements. There was no more 
Austria, no more Hungary, in the sense in which both had existed 
for centuries. Italian, Roumanian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Slo- 



376 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

vakian, Czechic, and Polish tribes turned at last to their own racial and 
national pathways while the wretched Austrian fragment, German by 
language, proclaimed a republic, and Hungary, shorn of all her subject 
races, began that internal degeneration which would culminate in Bela 
Kun and the Roumanian invasion. 

It was to avoid this disintegration that Austrian statesmen, encour- 
aged by German leaders, had risked the fatal ultimatum now more than 
four years old. After the Balkan wars, Austria-Hungary had felt her- 
self doomed by Slavic renaissance unless insolent and menacing Serbia 
were conquered and crushed. Germany had felt with the decay of 
Austria her own position between France and Russia would become 
dangerous while her dream of a Middle European empire, of a "place 
in the sun," would be shattered. To avoid this, Austria and Germany 
had risked all and now had lost all. At the moment when German 
armies were at the point of capitulation, the Austro-Hungarian Em- 
pire had become a memory and the Emperor of Austria would reign but 
a single day longer than the German Kaiser. 

On the military side the Italian victory in the final struggle at the 
Piave is not to be compared with that of June or that of the previous 
year. It was a great victory, mainly an Italian victory, for Diaz had 
but two British and a single French division under his command. 
Nevertheless, if his own success in June had contributed materially to 
decisive Allied victories in July and August in France, the reaction of 
those victories and of the further triumphs in September and October 
had produced the moral collapse which gave to his early successes in the 
last battle their unlimited horizons. 

. The value of Italy to her allies in the war has been singularly under- 
estimated. Her notification to France of her assured neutrality, in 
August, 1914, enabled Joffre to use in the north those divisions which 
otherwise would have been immobilized along the Alps to the utter 
ruin of France at and even before the Marne. Italy's entrance into 
the struggle in 1915 exactly coincided with Russian disaster at the 
Dunajec, and had Austrian troops not been drawn to the Italian front, 
Russia might have been completely crushed in 1915, and Germany with 



THE OTHER FRONTS 377 

Austrian assistance might have come west in 1916 before Great Britain 
was ready. What the blow at Verdun might have been under these 
circumstances is not difficult to perceive. 

A year later Russian collapse did occur, and it was Italy who suf- 
fered the first blow in consequence, having inflicted heavy losses upon 
the Austrians and kept them fully occupied at the Isonzo until the 
moment when the release of German divisions on the western front and 
the decline of Italian morale, due to the enormous sacrifices on the 
Bainsizza Plateau, made Caporetto possible. The rally of Italy at the 
Piave is a splendid page in national history and proved as fatal to Aus- 
trian purposes as the French stand at the Marne had been to German 
designs. 

In 1918 Italy won the first victory in a very great and desperate 
battle which had immediate and continuing influence upon events in 
the French field. And in 1918 Italy prevented the transfer of any ap- 
preciable number of Austrian troops to the western front while she sent 
thither splendid divisions of her own, two of which played a very real 
part in the defence of the Mountain of Rheims in the German phase 
of the Second Battle of the Marne, and continued gallantly and usefully 
in the subsequent fighting. 

Without Italian aid it seems impossible to calculate the victory which 
was finally achieved. It is true that after Caporetto a certain number 
of British and French divisions were sent to Italy, some of which re- 
mained even to the moment of the Battle of Picardy, but they cannot 
be regarded as counter-balancing in any appreciable degree that whole 
mass of Austrian military establishment which would have been availa- 
ble for use on the western front after Russian collapse had Italy re- 
mained neutral or retired from the war. Further than this the Italian 
navy was of very great assistance in the Mediterranean, and but for 
Italian participation in the Balkan campaign, the Salonica operation 
must have been abandoned and Greece surrendered to the Central 
Powers. 

Had Russia continued in 1917 and 1918 to fight with the determina- 
tion and energy which she displayed in 1916, it is not unreasonable 



378 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

to suppose that Germany would have been beaten in the latter year; 
but, with Italy in and Russia out, the Allies were still unable to win 
the war, and it required the uttermost strength of all three nations to 
hold the line until America could arrive. Therefore, it seems simple 
justice to say that Italian participation was an indispensable condition 
not alone of victory but of the earlier escape from defeat. 

VI. THE SUBMARINE 

During all the period of the fighting on land until, on the eve of com- 
plete surrender, the Germans abandoned their undersea campaign, the 
submarine remained a grave menace, checked measurably but only 
measurably and, in the judgment of Tirpitz, was destined to have become 
more dangerous with the new craft Germany had in hand in October. 
One may say of the campaign waged against the submarine nothing 
more positive than that at the moment when it was abandoned the 
total of Allied building had over-passed the monthly average of sinking, 
and that the realization of the American shipbuilding programme, to- 
gether with the acceleration of British construction, had abolished the 
immediate peril, while the new method of convoy, depth bombs, and the 
patrol, made possible by American light craft in European waters, were 
slowly but surely reducing the harvest of the underseas boat. 

The great achievement, however, was the successful moving of more 
than 2,000,000 soldiers across the ocean with only one real disaster, the 
sinking of the Tuscania. Half a million were moved in the first thirteen 
months and 1,500,000 in the last six months. A miracle was accomp- 
lished alike in the movement of the army and of the cargoes, and the 
total of tons rose from 373,000 in April to 750,000 in October. In these 
figures is revealed the true failure of the submarine campaign. It was 
designed to bring Britain and France to their knees before America 
could effectively intervene in the war. It failed in its primary purpose, 
although it did bring the United Kingdom to the outer edge of starva- 
tion, and it totally failed to prevent the transportation of American 
masses whose total casualties due to the submarine were less than 700 
in a total of more than 2,000,000 embarked. 



THE OTHER FRONTS 379 

But it is essential to remember that, although the campaign failed, 
the failure was by no means assured before the end of 1917, and the 
losses remained grave to the very end. Thus in 1917 the total sinkings 
were 6,200,000 tons, and for the first four months of the unlimited sink- 
ing, 2,700,000 tons. The monthly average for the eleven months of the 
campaign of 1917 was 530,000 tons. The measure of the success of the 
anti-submarine operations is revealed in the reduction of this average to 
255,000 tons in the ten months of submarine warfare in 1918. The mar- 
gin between the two rates represents the postponement of decisive defeat 
during the time when new construction could be carried forward, and it 
was one of the ironies of the situation that the German ships interned 
in American ports, and presently seized and operated by the United 
States Government after we entered the war, played a decisive part in 
the transport of American troops to France. 

For the ten months of unrestricted warfare in 1917, the Germans 
sank 5,502,000 tons; in 1918, for a similar number of months, 2,554,000 
tons. To have reduced the submarine destruction by nearly 3,000,000 
tons in ten months represents the achievement of the Allied navies, but 
mainly of the British fleet. It was accomplished by the convoy system, 
by the use of depth bombs, patrols, "mystery ships"; it was facilitated 
in a measure by the decline in the morale of the German sailors, a con- 
sequence of increased Allied efficiency in destruction. The mutiny in 
the German navy in the closing hours of the war, when the orders were 
issued for the High Seas Fleet to go out on an adventure like that of 
Cervera at Santiago, represented the results of British strength as dis- 
closed in the Battle of Jutland, and Allied success in the long battle 
with the submarine. Admiral Sims has reported that of the German 
submarines not less than 205 were sunk, 13 by Americans, a certain 
number by French, Italian, and Japanese ships, but the vast majority 
by the British navy, which in addition earned world-wide admiration 
by Sir Roger Keyes's brilliant exploit in bottling up the harbour of 
Zeebrugge on April 23rd. This venture, directly modelled upon Hobson's 
deed in the Merrimac at Santiago, but a far more considerable, danger- 
ous, and successful achievement, for the time at least sealed up the 



380 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

Zeebrugge outlet to the Bruges submarine base, while on May loth 
Commodore Hubert Lynes performed a similar feat at Ostend, thus 
closing the other gateway to the Belgian "wet triangle." 

Tirpitz believes that had the submarine campaign been pressed in- 
stead of suspended under American pressure, in 1916, it might have won 
the war; and he discloses the interesting circumstance that, while the 
world held him responsible for the first submarine blockade venture, 
he had in fact opposed it for practical, not for humane, reasons believ- 
ing at that time that such a blockade was beyond German resources 
and that the blockade of the Thames estuary held out greater promise 
of profit and less risk of international complications. 

But whatever else may be said of Tirpitz's conclusions, he is certainly 
correct in his belief that the submarine and the campaign in the first 
months of 1917 brought the Allies nearer to defeat than any military 
operation during the war, and brought Great Britain nearer to absolute 
surrender than at any time in her history since the Norman Conquest ; 
but, by contrast, it brought Germany to absolute ruin by bringing Amer- 
ica to Europe. Like Ludendorff, Tirpitz concedes that the campaign of 
1917 would never have been launched had German leaders suspected 
the swift onset of Russian revolution. One of the great blunders of all 
history this submarine campaign must be reckoned, and however near 
it brought Germany to success, its responsibility for the ultimate collapse 
is unmistakable. 

In truth, like the Hutier tactic in the field, the submarine campaign 
at sea in the end encountered a defensive tactic which deprived it 
of its deadliest possibilities. This was inevitable and should have been 
foreseen by the Germans. Napoleon's march to Moscow was no more 
ruinous to his empire than the submarine gamble eventually proved to 
be for the Empire of the Hohenzollerns. By it Germany lost the war, 
aroused the animosity of neutrals as well as the implacable hatred of 
belligerents, and found herself at the end compelled to surrender her 
own merchant fleet to make good in part the ravages of her undersea 
boats. 

And despite the submarine interlude the British navy played an 



THE OTHER FRONTS 381 

even greater part in the ultimate downfall of Germany than it had in the 
destruction of Napoleon. It not merely conveyed more than half the 
American army to Europe in its merchant ships, but in the first days 
cleared the ocean of German vessels, war and merchant alike, and 
held the seaward gates of the German Empire in a relentless grip from 
the beginning to the end. If the German people did not literally starve, 
a very considerable number of them suffered from hunger, and the 
military machine was more and more handicapped by the absence of 
necessary materials obtainable only from the outside world. Great as 
was the physical and material handicap imposed upon Germany by the 
British fleet, the moral blockade was almost more deadly. Germany 
was isolated from the world, and while both in peace and war the prod- 
ucts of American forge and farm, mine and factory, flowed to Ger- 
many's enemies, Hamburg and Bremen became as deserted as the 
ancient harbour of Carthage. The German flag became unknown 
on the high seas or in foreign ports and all the magnificent achievement 
of German commercial expansion was reduced to nothing. 

Yet, aside from the Battle of Jutland, the naval phase of the war was 
lacking in every larger element of appeal. If Beatty more than Jellicoe 
possessed the "Nelson touch" it revealed itself in no Trafalgar, had no 
opportunity to reveal itself. The war on the sea was in a sense as un- 
romantic, as hard, as painful as the war in the trenches. Yet it had a 
far more shining reward. On the day on which a German admiral 
brought the German High Seas Fleet to Scapa Flow under its own 
steam, and, on Beatty's order, hauled down the German ensign, Great 
Britain won a greater triumph over a naval rival than had been known 
since the days when Rome conquered Carthage. The Kaiser had chal- 
lenged British supremacy of the seas, and the end of the conflict was the 
scene at Scapa Flow, one of the most complete and absolute victories 
ever won, a victory which not alone destroyed the enemy's power to re- 
sist but shattered the tradition without which no navy can exist. With- 
out the British navy there could have been no victory on land, and if 
Beatty had no victory of the Second Marne or of the Hindenburg Line 
to reward his labours, Foch was no more successful in reviving for the 



382 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

French army the tradition of Napoleon than was Beatty in preserving 
for the British navy the prestige of Nelson. That the American navy 
served usefully and gallantly under Beatty must be a cause for national 
pride hereafter, not less for the navy than the Meuse-Argonne achieve- 
ment for the army. 

And not only had Western ideas of democracy and liberty prevailed 
against the Prussian conception of autocracy and of militarism but the 
military tradition of the French Revolution had again triumphed over 
that of Frederick the Great. Moltke had met Joffre at the First Marne 
and been defeated, Falkenhayn had met Petain at Verdun and been 
repulsed, Ludendorff had encountered Foch and been conquered. Not 
only had the defeats of Worth, Gravelotte, and Sedan been avenged 
in the two Marne battles and before Verdun, but for the Prussian share in 
Waterloo and the German accomplishment at Sedan Foch had paid 
measure for measure at the Battle of the Hindenburg Line. His cam- 
paign from March 26th to July i8th, made in adversity, had been as 
brilliant as Napoleon's last campaign in the Marne valley in 1814, and 
Foch had succeeded where the Emperor failed. His campaign from 
July 1 8th to November nth had been as successful as any one of the 
great Emperor's earlier campaigns which culminated at Austerlitz, Jena, 
or Wagram, and in the cause of Washington, Foch had revealed the 
genius of Napoleon. 

In the cause of human liberty he had employed talents which will 
entitle him hereafter to rank with Caesar and Napoleon as one of the 
supreme soldiers of all time, and he had employed those talents, not to 
achieve for himself imperial glory or world dominion, but to establish 
for his own country and for the democracies allied with France those 
liberties which the German had sought to abolish. Through him 
France had risen once more from the dejection of defeat to her ancient 
estate as the first champion of human liberty in the world. And before 
the splendour of Foch's achievement every other personal contribution 
to the greatest struggle in all human history sinks into insignificance. 



CONCLUSION 

The victories whose decisions were written in the several armistices 
settled all the issues on which the war had been fought. The German 
effort to dominate the Continent by force of arms was shattered at the 
Battle of the Hindenburg Line as that of Napoleon had been broken at 
Waterloo. The return of Alsace-Lorraine, determined in the document 
of Rethondes, righted the ancient wrong of 1871 and repealed the 
Treaty of Frankfort which for forty-seven years had oppressed all con- 
ceptions of justice and troubled the peace of the world. The arrival 
of the German fleet in Scapa Flow terminated a German challenge'to 
British sea power which had been developing since the opening of the 
reign of William II. 

Beyond all else, the victories of the armies of Marshal Foch at last 
refuted the Prussian doctrine practised by Frederick the Great in 
Silesia, by him and by his successors in Poland, by William I in Schles- 
wig and in Alsace-Lorraine. The archaic conception that the necessities 
of the strong are sufficient warrant for the plundering and enslavement 
of the weak fell with the revelation that however long the evil principle 
may seem to prevail, in the end the concerted efforts of the weak will 
overthrow the strong. 

Once more a nation had endeavoured to realize the ambition of 
Charles V and Philip II of Spain, of Louis XIV and Napoleon of France. 
Tempted by unmistakable superiority in numbers, organization, mili- 
tary and economic resources, Germany had sought a continental suprem- 
acy by arms which was to be the prelude to a revival in the world 
of the Roman episode. And once more the end had been as before. 
After shining victories and temporary successes the attempt had failed, 
and the failure had brought untold miseries and humiliations to the 
dynasty and the nation. In all essential details history had but re- 
peated itself, the will of the separate nationalities and races for liberty 
had vindicated itself upon the battlefield. 

383 



384 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

And it was to vindicate this will for liberty that the several nations 
had taken up arms, that Belgium had resisted invasion; that Britain, 
seeing herself threatened, had declared war; that invaded France had 
borne all agonies with unflinching determination to die rather than to 
be conquered or enslaved. 

As the German purpose and the German spirit more and more clearly 
revealed not only the ambition but the savagery of conquest, one 
nation after another was drawn into the struggle, with the conscious 
or unconscious instinct for self-preservation dictating its action. In 
the end the circle of Germany's foes extended around the world, and men 
of Australia, Canada, and the United States, fought beside those of Eu- 
rope and of the white populations of Africa on the western battle front. 

And this issue, the supreme issue of the war, however disguised in 
eloquent phrases or camouflaged by moral appeals, was settled in the 
battles which preceded the Armistice. The world fought Germany 
because the world saw in the German purpose a direct and deadly threat 
to its own liberties, to its own safety, alike to its institutions, its ideals, 
and its simplest and most material interests. The only solution to the 
struggle could be the destruction of German military power, and that 
power was broken by the victories from July to November, 1918. 

Nor was the downfall of Germany the sole consequence of the vic- 
tories. Not only did the races which had been free on August i, 1914, 
retain their liberties on November n, 1918, but other races, long 
held in subjection but never surrendering their national faith and their 
instinctive longing for liberty, escaped from bondage as an incident 
in German defeat. The Poles, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Southern 
Slavs, the Italians of Austria and the Roumanians of Hungary were 
emancipated by the fact of victory. In the first eleven days of Novem- 
ber, 1918, a new Europe emerged from chaos, and even in Asia there 
were far-reaching transformations. 

These things, in the words of Marshal Foch, were "facts." They 
were enduring evidences that the issues for which the war had been 
fought were settled. The Peace Conference might, after long delibera- 
tion and mighty discussion, endeavour to trace lines upon the map 



CONCLUSION 385 

which would express the facts of the war, the results of the victory and 
of the defeat, but the results themselves lay beyond the authority of 
the Peace Conference to modify or measurably to transform. 

This had been true in 1648 after the Thirty Years' War, in 1815 
after the Wars of Napoleon. In each case an attack upon the liberty 
of the world had been repulsed. The fall of Napoleon and the collapse 
of the French effort to dominate the Continent were achieved results. 
The efforts at Vienna to make the decision of the question immediately 
at issue extend to cover the questions of the future failed utterly and 
miserably. The defeat of Napoleon had not rendered permanent the 
subjection of Italy, the disunion of Germany, the damnation of the 
principles of the French Revolution. It had done no more than dispose 
of the question for which Europe had struggled toward settlement from 
Austerlitz to Waterloo. 

The actual progress of the Conference of Paris is, perhaps, the best 
illustration of the truth, established in history, that peace settlements 
settle nothing; rather, they signal the arrival of that new set of problems, 
controversies, conflicts out of which is made the history of a later period. 
What was decided at Vienna remained a matter of controversy a cen- 
tury and more after the Congress had adjourned and decades after its 
last participant had died. But what was done at Waterloo the result, 
the decision has not changed since the evening of June 18, 1815, when, 
the Guard having failed, Napoleon took the road for Paris and St. 
Helena. In our own experience it is at Appomattox that the Civil War 
ends. What lies beyond is the period of Reconstruction, the develop- 
ment of a new phase. 

Therefore this history of the World War closes with the battles of 
the Hindenburg Line, of Vittorio-Veneto, of Macedonia, and of Armaged- 
don, and with the narration of their immediate consequences, which 
were: the surrender of Germany; the separation of Austria-Hungary into 
its racial fragments ; the restoration to France of Alsace-Lorraine; the 
occupation by Italy of her Irredenta ; the liberation of Belgium and 
Serbia, restored to national independence; the revolution in Ger- 
many and elsewhere, which temporarily or permanently removed from 



3 86 HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

the hands of a few that arbitrary power which they had exercised in such 
fashion as to oppress millions and to menace the freedom of all mankind. 

There are those to whom the victory will seem vain, if to the de- 
liverance from the German menace there be not added security against 
all future war, insurance against every later international conflict. The 
aspiration is a great and noble dream, and any fraction of it actually 
realized will be of enduring benefit to all mankind. But for myself, 
I am content that the German attack has been repulsed. Terrible as 
has been the sacrifice and great as is the suffering which still continues, 
I cannot conceive that the existing misery approximates that which 
would have resulted had Foch failed to hold the line between March 
26th and July i8th, or if between the Marne and the Meuse he had not 
broken the German army and that for which the German army stood in 
the sum total of human existence. 

Not a few of my friends have given their lives in the struggle, and 
my life is the poorer because of the loss. Much of the world that I knew 
and loved has been turned into ruins, which I have seen in their full 
desolation and ugliness. I have seen the horror and the misery of battle 
at the front and behind the front and known the agony which comes to a 
whole nation when the enemy is literally at the gate. 

And yet, remembering the days of September, 1914, when the Ger- 
man army approached Paris, when that incarnation of ruthless force 
which was the German army seemed about to engulf all that was beauti- 
ful and free in the world ; recalling the hours of Verdun, the even more 
terrible hours in the spring of 1918, when German victory seemed not 
merely possible but probable ; turning back to the moments immediately 
following the invasion of Belgium, the sinking of the Lusitania, the 
moments in which the character, the power, and the purpose of the Ger- 
man were revealed and it seemed as if all our conceptions of right, justice, 
of all that makes for sweetness and light in this world, were about to be 
shattered; I cannot but feel grateful and content at those fruits of 
victory which are assured, were assured at the moment when German 
surrender wrote the everlasting condemnation of the German idea and 
the German conception of human existence. 



CONCLUSION 387 

Nor can I believe that the awful sum of human misery and sacrifice 
this war has brought is proven vain, if the single profit be the repulse 
of one more monstrous effort to enslave men's spirits with the idea of 
force and men's bodies with the application of that force, as Germany 
applied it in Belgium, in France, in Poland as Germany's allies applied 
it in Serbia, in Roumania, in Hapsburg Austria and Hungary. 

At Verdun I saw thousands of men, in the heat of battle, marching 
to death which was imminent and well nigh inescapable, with a single 
thought in their minds, a single phrase on their lips "They Shall Not 
Pass !" And if the realization of their will be all of our victory which 
stands the test of time, I cannot believe the benefit to mankind has been 
incommensurate with the sacrifice. Nor can I fail to be humbly grateful 
to the men of my own race, who on those same Verdun hills so wrought 
that the French sacrifice of 1916, which might otherwise have been 
sterile, became a fruitful sowing against the harvest of 1918. 



THIS VOLUME CONCLUDES MR. SIMONDS'S 
HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR 

EDITOR 



INDEX 



Reference to volume numbers are indicated by small characters ( for instance) preceding page numbers 



Aboukir, sunk with Cressy and La 
Hague, '50. 

African colonies lost to Germany, 60, 
76. 

Agadir incident, precursor of World 
War, 30. 

Aisne, battle of, 149. 

Aisne-Marne battle, American parti- 
cipation in, *192. 

Albert, King of tke Belgians, appeals to 
Britain, France, and Russia for help 
in defence, 75; near his capital at 
the head of his army at time of 
Armistice, 5 5. 

Allenby, Major General, at Ypres, U69; 
at battle of the Somme, >138, 144; 
in attack on Vimy Ridge, 4 111, 114; 
entry of Jerusalem, 269; victories in 
Palestine, '363. 

Alsace-Lorraine, early French offensive 
in,83. 

American troops, arrival of first in 
France, '5; 178; on Alsace-Lorraine 
front, 280; St. Mihiel 5, 199, 217, 
et seq., 268; engineer troops help 
stem the tide at battle of Picardy, 
6 60; approach Chateau-Thierry and 
Belleau Wood, 113; at Second Marne, 
160; Soissons Corner, 166, 167, 192, 
336; and in the pursuit, 171; from 
Cantigny to St. Mihiel, 176; Persh- 
ing places forces at Foch's disposi- 
tion, 187; Belleau Wood, 160, 188: 
Cantigny, 187; Chateau-Thierry, 
191, 193; Aisne-Marne, 192; Ba- 
zoches, 196; Argonne Forest, 262, 
267, et seq.; the first Army, 217; 
breaking the Hindenburg Line, 249; 
open final battle, 250; with Rawlin- 
son, 251, 259, 269; with Gouraud, 
269; with Degoutte, 258, 269; with 
British at battle of the Selle, 262; 
with Mangin, aiming for Strasbourg 
and Metz, 264. 

Amiens, battle of , 205. 

Ancona, torpedoed, *59. 

Andrassy, Count Julius, peace note to 
President Wilson, '341. 

Anthoine, General, attack on Moron- 
villers, '151; commanding French 
First Army, 230. 

Antwerp, Belgian army driven in to, 
89. 

Aosta, Duke of, at Caporetto, 277. 

"Appomattox" of German army, B 262. 

Arabic sinking, the "deliberately un- 
friendly" action, *58. 

Ardent, lost at Jutland, '107. 



Argonne, battle of, German divisions 
hi action, '262; the American drive, 
267. 

Arnim, Gen. von, defence of Messines- 
Wytschaete Ridge, '232, 243; at 
battle of the Lys, '87. 

Armistice, the '319; Erzberger and other 
ambassadors wait on Foch at Re- 
thondes, 345; Armistice signed and 
war ceases, 345; Foch's comments to 
Andrfe de Maricourt, 346; text as 
signed by Erzberger and associates, 
346; was granting of Armistice pre- 
mature?, 351. 

Arms embargo, agitation in Washing- 
ton, 61. 72. 

Arras, battles of, 189, '107. 

Arz. General, commander-in-chief of 
Austrians on Piave line, '357. 

Asquith, ministry overthrown, 70, 
94, 290; Irish policy a failure, 87. 

Atrocities, German, *26. 

Attack, new methods of, '247. 

Auffenberg, General, with Austrian 
First Army, 195, 196. 

Augustovo, Russians defeat German 
invasion, 1 245. 

Australians, take Mont St. Quentin.and 
Peronne, 212. 

Austria, proclaims annexation of Bos- 
nia, J 27; threatened by a greater Ser- 
bia, 36; sounds Italy on attack of 
Serbia, 36; sends ultimatum to Ser- 
bia, 49, 58; the case against Serbia, 
50; declares war on Serbia, 60; de- 
feat at Lemberg, 176, 191, 196, 225; 
Przemysl, 176, 205, 247; plans of 
campaign, 194; driven from Serbia, 
220; a great burden to Germany, 239; 
disintegration due to race problems, 
239; Italian campaign of 1916, 201; 
Trentine attack, 206; forced to with- 
draw troops from Trentino for Rus- 
sian front, 209; defeats Italy at Capor- 
etto, *5; defence of Gorizia gateway, 
161; troops at Caporetto were under 
German General Staff, 273, empire 
disintegrating, 309; new Prime Min- 
ister pledged to make separate peace, 
'340; appeals to President Wilson in 
name of humanity, 341; revolutions 
in Vienna and Budapest, abject sur- 
render to Allies, 342; Emperor Charles 
flees his capital, 343; disaster on the 
Piave, 359; absolute surrender and 
the end of the empire, 375. 

Austrian Ambassador in Washington 
handed his passports, '74. 

389 



Babin, the historian, accounts of Second 
Marne battle, '163; on Americans at 
Chateau-Thierry, 193; praise of 
Americans at St. Mihiel, 233; giving 
Foch's own description of German 
defeat, 256. 

Bagdad, captured by British, '121. 

Balkan War, First, 1 33; Second, 35. 

Balfour, Arthur J., joins Lansdowne hi 
letter to Asquith asserting France 
must be supported, U>4; on mission to 
United States explains gravity of 
submarine menace, '194. 

Balfourier, General stops German tide 
at Verdun, 35, 40, 43. 

Balkans, situation in 1915, ! 213; mili- 
tary aspects, 215. 

Bapaume, battle of, '211. 

"Battle of France," '3, 33. 

Bazoches, Americans at, *196. 

Belleau Wood, taken by Americans, 
'160, 188. 

Beaumont-Hamel, taken by British, 
164. 

Becker, Alfred L., Deputy Attorney 
General exposes treason and sedition 
in New York State, 72. 

Belgian Army, "battles" of the field 
army, U58; army retires to Antwerp, 
89; in battle of the Hindenburg Line 
251, 255, 258. 

Belgium, acquires the Congo, M5; ap- 
peals to Britain for diplomatic sup- 
port, 75; decides to defend itself, 75; 
invasion of, *15, 39. 

Below, General Otto von, at battle of 
the Somme, 144; at Caporetto, '275; 

Below, Gen. Fritz von, hi Picardy of- 
fensive, 5 40; hi attack on Chemin 
des Dames, 103, 106. 

Berchtold, Count, resignation, 243. 

Berlin to Bagdad, the German concep- 
tion, 7. 

Bemhardi, favors attack on Italy for her 
activities hi Tripoli, '33; at battle of 
the Lys, '87. 

Bemstorff, Count von, presented with 
passports, *11, warning to Lusitania 
passengers, 53; gives pledge to cease 
sinkings of liners, 58; agrees to repar- 
ation for Sussex claims, 60; at head 
of treason and sedition propaganda 
in U. S. newspapers, 72; plots de- 
struction of munition plants, and fo- 
ments strikes, 73; given passports on 
severance of diplomatic relations, 77. 

Berthelot, General, in attack on Sois- 
sons corner, '170. 



390 



INDEX 



Berthelot, General, called to Roumania. 
260. 

Besseler, General von, at Ypres, 169. 

Bethmann-Hollweg, speech "Necessity 
knows no law," >75; asks if Britain will 
war over "scrap of paper," 76; ex- 
plains German peace proposal to 
Reichstag, 299; resigns, 297. 

Bismarck, preserves and strengthens 
Germany, J 3; forms Triple Alliance, 
4; backs Colonial ambitions, 6; refuses 
Trent to Italy, 227. 

Birdwood, General, commanding Brit- 
ish Fifth Army '236; at Lille, 259 

Black Prince, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Blockade of Germany, 80; 51; protest 
of United States, 87. 

Blockade, submarine, of British Isles 
by Germany, *83. 

Boehm-Ermolim, General, on Russian 
front, 230, 234, 239. 

Boehn, General, in attack on the Che- 
min des Dames, 6 103, 106; army col- 
lapses at Soissons corner, 169; Ger- 
man retreat specialist, 208, 211; 
retires from Lassigny, 212. 

Boers, loyalty to Great Britain, 77. 

Bohemia, sets up a new government, 
'342. 

Boiling, Lt. Col. Raynal C., first Ameri- 
can ranking officer killed in the war, 
'60. 

Bolo Pasha, executed for treason, 331. 

Bolshevism, danger to the world, 7; 
reacts on Germany and threatens 
the Western powers, 193. 

Bosnia, annexation proclaimed by Aus- 
tria, 27. 

Botha, Louis, aids British in South 
Africa, 76. 

Bothmer, General von, with Austrian 
army on Russian front, 230, 234, 
236, 239, 240, 243. 

Boutet, sunk at Dardanelles, *55. 

Bratiano, Roumanian Premier, re- 
ceives treacherous ultimatum from 
Russian Cabinet, 253. 

Breslau and Goeben, their part in Tur- 
key's defection, U81; escape British 
fleet, *49; influence Turkey's entrance 
in the War, 50, 51. 

Brest-Litovsk, the Russian surrender, 
<336; armistice and peace negotiation, 
340. 

Brest-Litovsk Treaty, 313, 319, 344; 
brings courage of desperation to Al- 
lies, 8. 10. 

Briand, Aristides, weakness of his min- 
istry, 291, 319; fall of Cabinet, 140; 
resigns, 320. 

Briey iron mines, of great value to Ger- 
many, '230, 257. 

Bristol, at battle of Falkland Islands, 
51. 

British Army, near ruin in Belgium, 
>107; troops fail in Marne attack, 120; 
but assist in pursuit, 149; failure of 



military, 263; army a "forlorn hope" 
264; but its tenacity saved the Allied 
cause, 265; attack on Neuve Chapelle, 
268; second battle of Ypres, 270; first 
battle of Ypres, 169; battle of the 
Somme. 113, 137; advent of the new 
army, 137; losses at the Somme, 154; 
introduction of the tanks, 164; Kut- 
el-Amara disaster, 70, 82, 91, 121; 
wears down strength and morale in 
Flanders, 3; battle of Vimy Ridge. 
107; troops selected for the attack, 
111; army at high point in training 
and morale, 111; strategic and tacti- 
cal purpose, 113; General Maude 
enters Bagdad, 121, 270; Third 
battle of Ypres, 217; break between 
Ministry and Army, 220; battle of 
Cambrai, 247; new methods of offen- 
sive, 247; entry into Jerusalem, 269; 
reconquest of Belgian coast, '5; 
battle of Picardy worst defeat in 
history, 56, 61; extent of casualties, 
93. 

British colonies, loyalty of, 77. 

British Navy, the sweeping of the sea, 
*34; Grand Fleet takes station north 
of Scotland, 35; enables Allies to 
obtain food and munitions, 37; battle 
of the Falkland Islands, 51; battle of 
Jutland, 70, 82; losses at Jutland, 
107; part played in the war, '381. 

Brusiloff, General, at Lemberg, U94 at 
Haliez, 196; at battle of the Dunajec. 
102; on Austrian front, '230, 237, 
238, 239, 243, 245; accepts Revolu- 
tion, <185; final offensive, 188. 

Bryan, William Jennings, resigns as 
Secretary of State, 56. 

Buat, General, exposition of strategy 
that won the war, '201, 203; on condi- 
tion of German forces at signing of 
Armistice, 266; on battle of St. Mi- 
hiel, '235; on exhaustion of German 
reserves, 323. 

Bucharest, evacuated, 270; effect of 
the fall, 278. 

Bucharest, Treaty, >36, 251. 

Bukowina, German troops drive out 
Russians, '243. 

Bulgaria, withdraws from Conference 
of London, and continues attack on 
Adrianople, >35; rival of Roumania, 
229; the loan from Germany a fore- 
cast, 244; to fight on side of highest 
bidder, *214; declares war on Rou- 
mania, '258; beaten in Macedonia 
proposes armistice, makes uncondi- 
tional surrender, 8 361. 

Bullard, Gen. Robt. L., goes into line 
with his 1st Division, '187; takes Can- 
tigny, 187; at battle of Aisne-Marne, 
192; in battle of Hindenburg Line, 
260; to encircle Metz, 265; in the 
Argonne, 295; given command of 
new Second Army, 301 ; achievements 
in Meuse-Argonne, etc., 313. 

Billow General von, defeats Lanzerac, 



at Charleroi, >105; retreats to keep 
in touch with Kluck, 127; bombards 
cathedral at Rheims, 152, encounters 
Maud'huy, 153; retreat from the 
Marne. 129. 

Billow, Prince von, mission fails in 
Italy, >228; at Rome, 110, 122. 

Bundy, General, commanding 2nd 
Division at Belleau Wood, 188. 

Burian, Baron, in power, >243. 

Busche, Major Baron von dem, takes 
Ludendorff's message to Reichstag, 
'323. 

Byng, Gen. Sir Julian, in attack on 
Cambrai, 252; in Picardy sector, 
'40; held responsible by Luden- 
dorff for stopping German advance 
at battle of Picardy, 57; at Vimy, 18, 
advances toward Bapaume, 211; 
takes it, 212; in second battle of 
Cambrai, 250. 251. 254. 259, takes 
Maubeuge, 259; in battle of the Selle, 
262. 

Cadorna, General, checks Austrian 
advance in the Trentino, *207; cap- 
tures Gorizia, 211; attacks Austrians 
at Bainsizza Plateau, <157, 159; and 
at the Carso, 157; at Caporetto, 271 ; 
charges Second Army with treason, 
276; relieved from command, 280. 

Caillaux, fall of ministry, '30; a pris- 
oner, *6; for surrender peace, 291; 
sent to prison, 331.. 

Calais, the German objective, >155. 

Cambrai, battle of, 109, <247. 

Cameron, Gen. George H., command- 
ing Fifth Corps at St. Mihiel, '227; 
and in the Argonne, 295. 

Canadian Army at Ypres, 182; 
at Vimy Ridge, 114, 243, 245; cav- 
alry captures railroad train near 
Chaulines, '208; two divisions break 
through Drocourt-Queant line, 213. 

Cantigny, taken by American 1st 
Division. '187. 

Caporetto, Italian disaster of, '271. 

Carey, Gen. Sandeman, exploit at battle 
of Picardy, '60. 

Carol, King of Roumania, death, 251. 

Carnarvon, in battle off Falkland Is- 
lands, 51. 

Carpathians, battle of the, '249. 

Carson, Sir Edward, threatens rebellion 
in Ireland, 87. 

Castelnau, General, , at Verdun, 40, 
45. in battle of Hindenburg Line, 
'261. 

Casement, Sir Roger, meets traitor's 
death, 89. 

Caucasus, disaster to Turkey in, 1 24\. 

Chambrun, Marquis de, praise of 
Americans at St. Mihiel, '233. 

Champagne, battle of, 190, 194, '165. 

Charleroi, Lanzerac defeated by Btilow. 
105. 

Charles, Archduke, commanding at- 
tack in the Trentino, *206. 



INDEX 



39i 



Charles, Emperor of Austria, letter to 
Prince Sixtus on Alsace-Lorraine, 
'309; at Spa Conference, *322; abdi- 
cates and flees Austria, S 343. 

Chateau-Thierry, Germans evacuate, 
'171; Americans check German rush, 
191, 193. 

Chaumont, American General Head- 
quarters, '198. 

Chemin des Dames offensive, S 96; the 
battlefield, 101; Ludendorffs" plan 
of attack, 105. 

Churchill, Winston, hinders evacuation 
of Antwerp, >156; has fleet mobilized, 
34; the Gallipoli tragedy, 126. 

Clemenceau, comes into power, *6, 294; 
publishes Prince Sixtus letter, 309; 
his coming one of the great events of 
the war, events of his career 321; 
"Father of Victory," 332; in con- 
ference at Doullens S 50; at meeting, 
of War Council at Versailles, 341. 

Colonies, German, loss of, '57. 

Conference of London, on Balkan War, 
'35. 

Congress of Berlin, settlement of 
Russo-Turkish War estranges Russia, 
"3. 

Constantine, King of Greece, clash 
with Venizelos, ! 220; obstructive ef- 
forts at Salonica, '272; orders sur- 
render of Greek garrison to Bul- 
garia, 273; practically at war with 
Allies, 279; exiled, '162; constantly 
working against the Allies, 163. 

Constantinople, power seized by Young 
Turks, 1 27; route opened by Bulgar- 
ian surrender, *363. 

Cornwall, in battle at Falkland Islands, 
*51. 

Coronel, sea battle at, *34. 51. 

Cradock, Admiral, goes down on his 
flagship at Coronel, 51. 

Cressy, sunk with Aboukir and La 
Hague, 50. 

Crown Prince, checked at Varennes, 
'152; at Verdun, 21, 181; at Craonne 
Plateau, '145; at conference during 
Chemin des Dames attack, '108. 

Craonne, German attacks fail, 4 285. 

Craonne Plateau, French attack on, 
'142. 

Cashing,, bombed by German aeroplane, 
53. 

Czar of Russia, abdication and murder, 
'184. 

Czechoslovakia, appears as a new re- 
public, '342. 

Czernin, Count, resigns following pub- 
lication of Emperor's letter to Prince 
Sixtus, '309. 

Dankl, General, with Austrian Second 
Army, '194; in disorderly retreat, 196. 

Dardanelles, attempt to force the 
straits, 51; the defeat, 54. 

D'Amade, General, commanding 
French at Gallipoli, *141. 



D'Annunzio, Gabriele, insists on Italy 
entering the war, 2 110; prophet and 
apostle of intervention, 122. 

D'Esperey, General Franchet, replaces 
Lanzerac, U12; comes to relief of 
Foch, 129; in the French offensive, 
'137; appeals for permission to attack, 
139; failure at Craonne Plateau, 143; 
conqueror of Bulgaria, 261; in com- 
mand of Salonica army, 360 

De Castelnau, General, rolls back 
Germans at second batle of Nancy, 
U42; engages Bavarians, 153;. 

De Langle de Cary, resists the Bavar- 
ians, U30. 

De Maistre, General, at Craonne 
Plateau, '289; in battle of Hinden- 
burg Line, S 260. 

De Mitry, General, sent with reinforce- 
ments to battle of the Lys, *92; 
in position south of the Marne, 166; 
in attack on Soissons corner, 170. 

De Thomasson, on battle of St. Mihiel, 
'235. 

De Wet, leads rebellion, but is cap- 
tured, 76. 

Debeney, General, arrives with re- 
serves at battle of Picardy, 59, 60; 
at Montdidier, 206, 209; at St. Quen- 
tin, 251, 259; in battle of Hindenburg 
Line, 260. 

"Defeatism" and treason in France and 
England, 6, 290, 318. 

Defence, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Degoutte, General, at Second Marne, 

'160; ordered to attack on Soissons 
corner, 166, 170; American units 
with, 192; driving Germans from 
Flanders, 251, 255, 258. 

Delcasse, the Anglo-French agreement 
and the Moroccan incident, >13; 
in exile, 14; in Poincarfe ministry, 30; 
mistaken Balkan policy, *233, 236. 

"Der Tag" Jutland, 111. 

Devastation, of the Somme battle 
grounds, '177; by Germans in great 
retreat, 98, 102. 

Diaz, General, succeeds Cadorna in 
command of Italian armies, '260. 

Dickman, Gen. Joseph P., in the Ar- 
gonne, '295; achievements in ser- 
vice, 1313. 

Dimitrieff, General Radko defeated 
at the Dunajec. 97, 102. 

Dixmude, opening of the sluices, U69. 

Douaumont and Vaux, recaptured by 
the French, 185. 

Doullens, conference of British and 
French at, 50 

Dresden, in Coronel battle, and de- 
stroyed at Falkland Islands, *51. 

Duchesne, General, in defense of the 
Chemin des Dames, 5 103. 

Dunajec, battle of the, 239, 274, >97, 
275. 

Dumba, Dr. K. Tbeodor, given pass- 
ports, '74. 



Ebert, Friedrich, first President of 
German Republic, '343. 

Edward VII, opens way for Anglo- 
French Entente, >9, 12. 

Egypt, a protectorate of Great Britain, 
1241. 

Elbing, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Emden, commerce raider, destroyed, 
34. 

Emmich, General von, destroys fortress 
of Liege, 187. 

Engadine, in battle of Jutland, '104. 

Enver Pasha, sides with Germans, U81, 
204; losing power in Constantinople, 
*214; driven from power, S 364. 

Evarts, General, at battle of the Dun- 
ajec 103; at Pripet Marshes '216 
229. 

Erzberger, precipitates political crisis 
in Germany, '297; with other am- 
bassadors waits on Foch at Reth- 
ondes, 5 345. 

Erzerum, captured by Russians, >229. 

Europe, the Battle of, 246. 

Falaba torpedoed, '53. 

Falkenhayn, General, supersedes 
Moltke, U50; in command of army 
organized to crush Roumania, >258, 
267; at Verdun, 116; in disgrace 
after Verdun failure, 22, 293; at 
Jerusalem, '270. 

Falkland Islands, sea battle at, 51. 

Fashoda, France bows to Britain, 19; 
a landmark in European history, 10. 

Fayolle, General, cooperating with 
British at battle of the Somme, '144; 
commanding French troops on Ital- 
ian front, 4 278; arrives with reserves 
at battle of Picardy, *59, 60; in battle 
of Hindenburg Line, 260. 

Ferdinand, Czar, of Bulgaria, 127, 218. 

Ferdinand, king of Roumania, sides 
with Allied Powers, 251. 

Festubert, disaster exposes British shell 
shortage, 189. 

Finland, assisted by Germany, in 
separation from Russia, '342. 

Flanders, battles of, U67. *81. 

Flanders, mixed armies of the Allies in, 
1253. 

France, recovers rapidly from Franco- 
Prussian War, >4; embarks in Colon- 
ial enterprise, 5; adjusts differences 
with Britain on Egypt and Morocco, 
9; yields to German demand for 
Algeciras Conference, 14; Tangier, 
15; reasserts spirit after Agadir inci- 
dent, 30; President appeals to King 
George, 65; defeats wear down mor- 
ale, 4; treason flourishes, 293, 330. 

Francis Ferdinand, Archduke, killed 
at Serajevo, >40. 

Francis Joseph, life of tragedy, and 
death, >293. 

Francois, General von, fights way out 
of Russian trap, '216. 

Frauenlob, lost at Jutland, '107. 



392 



INDEX 



French, Field Marshal Sir John, troops 
near disaster at MODS, >108; fails to 
help French troops at the Marne, 
120; recalled, 264; tactics at Neuve 
Chapelle, >99; not in favor of Galli- 
poli venture, 126; at Ypres, 169; 
retired after Loos disaster, 208. 

French Army, strategy against Ger- 
man attack, i82; battle of Nancy, 83; 
Marne, most important battle of 
first two years of war, 85, 115; mobili- 
zation, 100; early successes at Alt- 
kirch and Miilhausen, 101 ; Mor- 
hange. the first disaster, 83, 101; 
overmatched in artillery at Neuf- 
chateau, 83, 104; retreat from Char- 
leroi, 105; battles of the Ourck and 
La Fere Champenoise, 118, 126; 
second battle of Nancy, 141; battle 
of the Aisne, 149; the "nibbling" of 
Joffre, 266; gains in Artoise high- 
lands, 189, 192; battle of Champaign, 
190, 192, 194; Vimy Ridge gained, 
206; Verdun, the heroic defence, 
13, 36, 45, 181; battles of the Somme, 
150; the great offensive, 4 125; 
Nivelles colossal plan, 136; attack 
on Craonne Plateau, 142; with British 
in Flanders, 230; drive Germans 
from Verdun vicinity, 286; battle of 
Chemin des Dames, *96, 101; second 
battle of the Marne, 151 ; straighten- 
ing salient at Soisson corner, 170; 
battle of Amiens, 205; Bapaume, 211. 

Foch, General, wins first laurels at 
Morhange, '103; driven back at La 
Fere-Champenoise, 128; routs the 
Prussian Guard, 129; faces Grand 
Duke of Wurtemberg, 153; in Fland- 
ers, 169; master of trench warfare, 
*193; at Loos, 206; cooperating with 
British at battle of the Somme, '144; 
becomes generalissimo, <120, 283; '91; 
thought a back number, and pre- 
cedence given to Nivelle, 4 126; on the 
Italian front, 278; earns right to rank 
with Napoleon, >6; compared to Lu- 
dendorff, 20, 21; story of his career, 
21; placed in charge of British and 
French at battle of Picardy, 50; 
compromises demands of Haig and 
Petain, 91; outguessed by Luden- 
dorff at Chemin des Dames, 99; 
checks Chemin des Dames attack, 
109; meets offensive by offensive at 
Second Marne, 157; begins his vic- 
torious campaign, 167; becomes Mar- 
shal of France, 172; the new strategy 
after the second Marne battle, 200; 
on poor strategy of Ludendorff after 
Amiens, 210; definition of "victory," 
216; wishes disposal of American 
divisions among Allies, 218; congratu- 
lates Pershing on victory at St. Mi- 
hiel, 232; versus Ludendorff, 255; 
describes victory to Babin, 256; 
strategy as explained to General 
Maurice, 257; his genius won the 



war, 317; historic report to Joffre 
at Fere-Champenoise, 321; at meet- 
ing of Interallied War Council at 
Versailles, 341; comments on the 
Armistice to Andre de Maricourt, 
346; his the greatest achievement in 
history. 382. 

Food shipments, from America to 
Allied countries, 37. 

Fortune, lost at Jutland. '107. 

Fourteen Points of President Wilson, 
334. 

Galatea, in battle of Jutland, '104. 

Gallieni, General, commanding at 
Paris, U18. 

Gallipoli, the fallacy of the attempt, 
'126; the scene of operations, 139; 
the attack, 141; Suvla the end, 143. 

Gas, Poison, first used by Germans at 
Ypres, 1271, *183, 188. 

Gaulois, at the Dardanelles, J 55. 

German Army, two strategical concep- 
tions, 178; the Belgian problem, 80; 
checked at the Marne, attempt to 
seize the coast, 150; retreat from War- 
saw, 204; troops in Transylvania 
threaten Roumania, 243; Begins 
use of poison gas, 271 ; tactics at battle 
of the Dunajec, *99; strategy in the 
west, 186; strategy in the Balkans, 
213; troops join with Bulgars, in 
attack on Serbia, 239; end of Balkan 
campaign, 242; attack on Verdun, 
13; the Verdun problem, 45; first 
peace offensive, 298; motives anal- 
yzed, 310; retreat from the Somme to 
the Scheldt, 3; on the verge of vic- 
tory, 7; strategy of 1917 campaign; 
86, 95; Battle of the Somme, 96, 
the great retreat, 97; retreat from 
the Somme, 139; Ludendorff launches 
the "peace storm," '152; morale 
in army declining, 209, 210; the 
four lines of defence, 248; losses 
in prisoners and guns in last retreat, 
266. 

German losses at Jutland, '107. 

Germany, makes alliance with Austria, 
"3; under new guidance of William 
II, seeks Colonial expansion, 6; pol- 
icy undermined by Anglo-French 
Entente of 1904, 12; demands open- 
ing of Moroccan question, 14; bitter 
defeat at Algeciras, 14, 26; threatens 
Russia, 28; backs down on Agadir 
claims, 31; ultimatum to Russia 
being ignored declares war 60; 
sounds England as to neutrality, 60; 
course prior to the war, 61; demands 
of France declaration of attitude, 64; 
declares war on France, 65; makes 
bid for British neutrality, 65; alleges 
conspiracy of Belgium with Britain 
and France, 76; problems of 1915, 
223; loss of her colonies, 226; the 
danger of Italy, 226; the "scrap of 
paper," and invasion of Belgium, J 15; 



isolated by British naval supremacy, 
33; loss of her colonies, 57; spirit of 
the people after 1915 campaign. 
246; 1915 a wonderful year, 249; 
proclamation of war zone and policy 
of sinking all ships, <53; warning 
notice to Lusitania passengers, 53; 
ceases torpedoing of ships after threat 
of United States after Sussex sinking, 
59; proclaims resumption of ruthless 
submarine warfare, 77; the Zimmer- 
mann note seeking alliance with 
Japan and Mexico against the United 
States, 78; peace overtures, 82; 
saved from deadly peril by collapse 
of Russia, 191; confident of victory 
through submarine, 196; Treaty of 
Brest-Litovsk exposes her attitude, 
297, 307; military party losing 
strength in Government, 296; changes 
in the Chancellorship; Reichstag 
advocates peace and adopts "No 
annexation and no indemnity" 297; 
but after Russian collapse military 
party resumes control, 298; the 

"black day," '321; Reichstag thrown 
into panic by Ludendorff's message, 
of defeat, 324; new cabinet meets 
and asks Allies for armistice, 325; 
"unconditional surrender," 326; be- 
comes a Republic, 340; revolution 
in Kiel, 342; sends for Foch's terms, 
342; revolution in Berlin and abdica 
tion of Kaiser, 342. 

Geddes, Sir Eric, reorganizes railways 
on British front, 113. 

George, Lloyd, stand against Germany 
after Agadir, 130; turned to in desper- 
ation, '85; succeeds Asquith, 290; 
says war was race between Kaiser 
and Wilson, 81; for German com- 
pensation in Russia, 293; at meeting 
of War Council at Versailles, '341. 

Giolitti, exposes Austria's questioning 
Italy as to attack on Serbia, MO; 
fails to keep Italy out of the war, 
123. 

Givenchy, British defence of, 87. 

Glasgow, in battles at Coronel, and 
Falkland Islands, *51. 

Gneisenau, in Coronel battle, and de- 
stroyed at Falkland Islands, *51. 

Goeben and Breslau, escape British 
fleet, *49; influence Turkey's en- 
trance in the war, 181, *50, 51. 

Good Hope, sunk at Coronel, *51. 

Gorizia, failure of Italian attack, *211; 
taken by Italians, '211. 

Goschen, Sir Edward, asked by Beth- 
mann-Hollweg if Britain would war 
over "scrap of paper", 76. 

Gough, Major General Hubert, at battle 
of the Somme, '138; at Vimy Ridge. 
114; failure at Ypres, 220, 244; 
at Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, 230, 
232, 243; collapse of his army com- 
pared to Caporetto disaster, 276; 
in command in Picardy sector. '36; 



INDEX 



393 



army collapses, 49; recalled after 
battle of Picardy, 56; statement on 
defeat at battle of Picardy, 56. 

Gouraud, General, suceeds D'Amade 
at Gallipoli, 142. 

Gouraud, General, develops plan to 
counteract Von Hutier system, 4 272; 
at the Second Marne, '153, 161; 
details of his victory, and order of the 
day, 163; American units with, 192; 
advances against Sedan, 250; in 
battle of Hindenburg Line, 260; 
at left of Americans in the Argonne, 
295, 301. 

Great Britain, regards Russia as enemy 
and inclines toward Germany, U; 
extends Indian Empire and African 
possessions, 5; leans toward France, 8; 
agreement as to Egypt and Morocco, 
9; stands solidly with French at 
Algeciras, 14; ignores German men- 
ace, 16, 25; signs compact with Rus- 
sia, 27; divided opinion as to enter- 
ing the war, 63; sends ultimatum to 
Germany, 75; declares war on Ger- 
many, 76; given time to prepare by 
Germany's Russian campaign, 178. 
shell supply scandal, 263, 270; '189; 
the Irish Rebellion, 70, 82, 86; battle 
of Jutland, 70, 82; interference with 
American commerce, <50; submarine 
reduces public to short rations, 200. 

Grandprfe, taken by 77th Division, 
5305. 

Grant, battles of, compared to Ypres, 
*217, 218. 

Greece, territorial demands after first 
Balkan War, !35; hopes for restora- 
tion of Byzantine Empire, J 118; 
vacillating, 214, 219; Salonica 271; 
Venizelos heads revolution, 274; 
French sailors murdered in Athens, 
275; Constantine exiled, 162; 
French and British sailors murdered 
in Athens, 163; return of Venizelos, 
164. 

Grey, Sir Edward, catspaw of Germany 
at Balkan War Conference of London, 
1 35; efforts to preserve the peace of 
Europe, 53; rejects neutrality pro- 
posed by Germany, 60; position dif- 
ficult just prior to war, 63, 65; sends 
identic note to Germany and France 
requesting intentions regarding Bel- 
gian neutrality, 66; mistaken Balkan 
policy, *232, 233, 236. 

Grosse Bertha, gun that bombarded 
Paris, 62. 

Guillaumat, General, drives Germans 
from Verdun, *286; in defence of 
Paris, '149; in battle of Hindenburg 
Line, 260; replaces Sarrail at Sa- 
lonica, 360; recalled to become Gov- 
ernor of Paris, 360. 

Gulftight, submarined, <53. 

Haeseler, Count von, in command of 
Verdun offensive, 3 22. 



Haig, General Sir Douglas, at Ypres, 
J 169; at Loos, 206; succeeds Sir John 
French in command, 208; decides 
to fight it out at the Somme, J 155; 
on difficulties of progress over devas- 
tated area, 99; at battle of Arras, 
119; compromised by failure at 
Passchendaele, 122; under Nivelle, 
137; at Third Battle of Ypres, 219, 
at Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, 227; 
purpose of attack on Cambria, 251; 
his reasons for further advance, 256; 
report of British casualties for 1917, 
270; in conference at Doullens, 5 50; 
appeal to his men to hold to the last, 
88, 93; report on battle of Lys, 94; 
in Second Battle of Cambrai, 250; 
in the battle of the Selle, 262; 
advances through Maubeuge and 
Mons, 264. 

Haldane, Lord, calls Germany his 
"spiritual home," '16. 

Halicz, captured by Brusiloff, U96. 

Hamilton, Sir Ian, commander-in- 
chief at Gallipoli, *138. 

Harbord, Major General, commanding 
Marines at Belleau Wood, '188; 
achievements in service, 313. 

Harrington, Colonel, efforts at Mes- 
sines-Wytschaete Ridge, <228. 

Hausen, General, retired in disgrace 
after defeat by Foch, U29. 

Hearst, William Randolph, sympathy 
for Germany animates newspapers, 
<73. 

Henderson, Arthur, on mission to 
Russia, <183; fails to attends Stock- 
holm Conference and resigns Cabinet, 
316. 

Hertling, Count, replaces Michaelis, 
<307. 

Hesperian, torpedoed, <58. 

Hindenburg, victor of Tannenberg, 
1 144, 147; retreats from Warsaw, 
204; at Masurian Lakes, 245; arrival 
on west front, '293; at conference dur- 
ing Chemin des Dames attack, 5 108; 
told by Ludendorff armistice must 
be requested, 322; address to army 
" Wilson's answer unacceptable," 
339. 

Hindenburg Line, the, 103; battle of, 
'235; the system of defence, 246; 
end of the battle, 258. 

Hintze, succeeds Kuhlmann as Ger- 
man Chancellor, '320; at Spa Con- 
ference, 322. 

Hipper, Admiral von, at battle of Jut- 
land, 103. 

Holy War, a failure, 242. 

Home, Major General, at battle of the 
Somme, '138; in attack on Vimy 
Ridge, 111; at battle of Picardy, 
54; at Loos Plateau, 81, 85; in 
second battle of Cambrai, 250, 
251, 254, at Douai, 259; in battle of 
the Selle, 262. 

House, Colonel, represents President 



Wilson at meeting of War Council at 
Versailles, S 341. 

Humbert, General, arrives with re- 
serves at battle of Picardy, '59, 60; 
at Lassigny Heights, 206, 209. 

Hutier, General von, at Riga, <250; 
in Picardy offensive, '40. 

Hutier system of surprise attack, 3 168", 
250, 267, 268, 272; at Riga, 337; ort 
western front, *27 et seq.; Foch's de- 
scription of, 30; at Chemin des 
Dames, 105, 114; French perfect a 
counter attack, 114, 158. 

Identic Note from United States to 
Germany and Great Britain, 4 51. 

Indefatigable, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Inflexible, in battle at Falkland Is- 
lands, *51; at the Dardanelles, 54. 

Invincible, in battle of Falkland Is- 
lands, 251; lost at Jutland, '107. 

Irish Rebellion, the, 70. 82, 86. 

Irish Republic proclaimed, 3 89. 

Irresistible, sunk at Dardanelles, *55. 

Isonzo, Italian campaign on the, 
208. 

Italy, enters Triple Alliance, M; meets 
disaster in Abyssinia and Adowa, 5. 

Italy, wearies of Triple Alliance, '25; 
annexation of Bosnia by Austria 
weakens Italian attachment to Triple 
Alliance, 29; attacks Turkey in 
Tripoli, 32; Tripoli surrendered by 
Turkey at Treaty of Lausanne, 33; 
sounded by Austria on attack of 
Serbia, 37; announces that alliance 
was for defensive war only and pro- 
claimed neutrality, 77; Tripoli, 
taken with consent of Entente pow- 
ers, 181; clamours for the Irredenta, 
226; most dangerous of Germany's 
problems, 226; declares war on Aus- 
tria, 2 110; another "risorgimenlo," 
113; the Triple Alliance, 115, 121; 
her hopes on joining the Grand 
Alliance, 117; Austria attacks in 
Trentine, 3 206; campaign on the 
Isonzo, 208; capture of Gorizia, 211; 
stock of munitions exhausted, 213; 
declares war against Germany, 213; 
disaster at Caporetto, <5, 271; failure 
to cooperate in general Allied attack, 
155; campaign of 1917, 155; appeals 
to Allies for guns and munitions, 158; 
troops sent to French front, 283; 
on point of collapse, 294; contribu- 
tion to the victory, 5 355; second battle 
of the Piave, 357. 

Ivanoff, General, at Brest-Litovsk, 
U92; routs Dankl; 196; at a standstill 
in the Carpathians, 250. 

Jagow, Von, informs British Ambassa- 
dor of invasion of Belgium, '76. 

Japan, her participation in the war, *73; 
Destroyers aid in controlling sub- 
marine, 4 197. 

Jellicoe, Sir John, at battle of Jutland,. 
103. 



394 



INDEX 



Jerusalem, taken by British, 4 269; 
Allenby's victories, '363. 

Joffre, changed plans, forced by poli- 
ticians result disastrously. '107; final 
plan to stop German rush. 111, 116; 
his "nibbling" tactics, 266; at first 
battle of the Somme, >129; appoint- 
ment as Marshal of France brings 
retirement, 292; succeeded by Ni- 
velle, 85. 125. 

Joseph Ferdinand, Archduke, on Rus- 
sian front, 230, 234; replaced by 
German general. Von Linsingen, 231 ; 
commanding Austrians in Roumania, 
267. 

Jonescu, Take, on Roumanian policy of 
national instinct, 249. 

Jonnart, M., induces Constantine to 
abdicate Greek throne, 4 164. 

Jugoslavia, appears as new republic, 
'342. 

Jutland, Battle of, 70, 82, 103; losses 
in men and ships, 107; only major 
navy operation, '381. 

Kaledin, General, on Austrian front, 
230, 239; at Kovel, 234. 

Karlsruhe, commerce raider, destroyed, 
34. 

Kent, in battle at Falkland Islands, *51. 

Kerensky, fall of, 4 182, 187; Minister 
of Justice in First Provisional Gov- 
ernment, 185; Minister of War and 
marine in Coalition Government, 
187; before the Congress at Moscow, 
337; as Commander-in-Chief arrests 
Korniloff and proclaims Russia a 
republic, 338; becomes a fugitive, 338. 

Keyes, Sir Roger, bottles up submarine 
base at Zeebrugge, '379. 

Kitchener, Lord, at Fashoda, 8; re- 
sponsible for British failure, 264; 
lost at sea, '291. 

Kiaow-Chau, taken by Japanese, *73. 

Kluck, General von, forces great Brit- 
ish retreat, '108; retreats to the Marne, 
118; to the Aisne, 127; being pursued 
by English and French, halts and 
takes offensive, 151; retreat from the 
Marne, 129; at Soissons, 143; halted 
before Paris, *155. 

Konigsberg, commerce raider, de- 
stroyed, *34. 

Korniloff, General, victories in last 
Russian offensive, 4 190; rapid retreat, 
191; with Kerensky before the Con- 
gress at Moscow, 337; attempts a 
military dictatorship, 338. 

Kovno, fortress treacherously sur- 
rendered, *149. 

Kuhlmann, Von, becomes Foreign 
Secretary, 298; at Brest-Litvosk 
Conference, 341; declares victory 
impossible, '320. 

Kuropatkin, at Pripet Marshes, *216, 
229. 

Kusmanek, General, surrenders Prze- 
mysl, 1247. 



Kut-al-Amara, surrender of British 
army, 146, 70. 82, 91, 4 121. 

La Fere-Champenoise, battle at, 1127. 
La Hague, sunk with the Cressy and 

Aboukir, *50. 
Landsdowne, Lord, realizes German 

danger, 1 13; joins Balfour in letter 

to Asquith asserting France must be 

supported, 65; for peace at any price, 

4 291, 295. 
Lansing, Robert, succeeds Bryan as 

Secretary of State, 4 57; interview 

explaining Wilson's peace notes, 73; 

answer to Pope's peace note, 315. 
Lanzerac, General, driven back at 

Charleroi by Biilow, U05; replaced 

byD'Esperey. 112. 
Lechitsky, General, on Austrian front, 

230, 234, 236, 240. 243, 245. 
Leelaw, submarined, 4 58. 
Leipzig, in battle at Coronel, and at 

Falkland Islands, *51. 
Leman, General, commander at Liege, 

Lemberg, Russian victories at, U76, 
191, 196, 225; evacuated by Rus- 
sians, 107. 

Lenin, Nicolai, destructive teachings, 
4 181 ; in power, 182, 186; with Trotsky, 
seizes Petrograd, 338; concludes 
armistice with Germans, 340. 

Leopold, Prince, enters Warsaw, 157. 

Liege, defence of fortress, 186; destruc- 
tion, 87. 

Liggett, Gen. Hunter, in battle of 
Hindenburg Line, '260; rush to 
Sedan and Montmedy, 264, 267; 
in the Argonne, 295; given command 
of First Army, 301; achievements in 
Meuse- Argonne, etc., 313. 

Linsingen, General von, succeeds 
Archduke Joseph Ferdinand in 
command, *231; heads counter offen- 
sive against Russians, 235. 

Lodz, battle of, U77, 205. 

Loesche, General, on Austrian front, 
230, 235, 239. 

Loos, battle of, 190, 205. 

Louvain, occupied by Germans, '89. 

Louvain massacre and burning of city, 
1158, 25. 

Ludendorff, General, his book discloses 
Germany's calculations regarding 
submarines, 4 204; in command of 
Austrian and German troops at 
Caporetto, 273; final defeat after 
great successes, K3; greatest German 
military genius, 9; personal history, 
16; efforts in Picardy sector, 35; 
his objective and strategy, 39; esti- 
mate of results in Flanders, 94; 
attack at the Chemin des Dames, 96; 
conference with Kaiser and Crown 
Prince during attack on Chemin des 
Dames, 108; strategy of the Second 
Marne, 151; apprehensive of Ameri- 
cans 151; realizes strategic situation 



critical near Soissons, 167; skillfully 
evacuates Marne pocket, 171; "the 
black day of the German army," 
209, 321; resignation declined by 
Kaiser. 209; at Spa Conference as- 
sures Chancellor that war can not 
be won, 211; can not realize why he 
failed, 216; on battle of St. Mihiel, 
232; PS. Foch, 255; conquered, 319; 
responsible for defeat, 320; tells 
Hindenburg armistice must be asked 
for, 322; demands a change of gov- 
ernment, 323; peace manoeuvre fail- 
ing is ready to resume fighting, 338; 
tells Kaiser "we must fight on", 339; 
held responsible by people. As- 
serts "Germany is lost." Kaiser 
accepts resignation, 339; prophesies 
fall of Emperor in a fortnight, 340; 
comments on Austrian disaster on 
the Piave, 359; bitter about Bul- 
garian episode, 361. 

Lusitania massacre, '27; turns America 
against Germany, 87; effect on Amer- 
ica, 26, 28, 31, 33; the turning point 
in American policy, 4 35, 55; the Ger- 
man embassy's notice of warning, 
53; notes exchanged with Germany, 
55. 

Luttoiv, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Luxburg, Count, his spurlos tersenkt 
message, 4 333. 

Lvov, Prince, member of First Provi- 
sional Government of Russia, 4 185; 

Lyautey, General, resigns Minister of 
War, 4 320. 

Lynes, Commodore Hubert, bottles up 
Ostend Harbour, '380. 

Lys, battle of the, '81; the battlefield, 
84. 

Macedonia, British victories in, '359. 

Machine guns, German preponderance 
and use of, '142, 153. 

Mackensen, Field Marshal, victory 
over Russians at the Dunajec, 1274; 
at battle of the Dunajec. *97; in the 
Balkans, 213, 234; Turkish Troops 
under his command in Dobrudja, 216; 
attack on Belgrade, 238; invades 
Roumania, >258, 267. 

Madelin, Louis, on Foch's activities at 
battle of Picardy, '52, 55; on Fayolle 
and Mangin, 54; on the Hindenburg 
line, 248; on taking of Montfaujon 
by Americans, 299>. 

Mahan, Admiral, a recognized naval 
authority, 33; dictum proved accur- 
ate, 79. 

Malvy, M., sent into exile, 4 331. 

Mangin, General, at Verdun, 183, 188; 
at Craonne Plateau, 4 145, 148, 150; 
counter attacks at Chemin des 
Dames, '147; at the Second Marne, 
160; ordered to attack on Soissons 
corner, 166, 170; American units 
with, 192; makes quick advance and 
takes many prisoners, 210; between 



INDEX 



395 



the Aisne and the Oise, 206; in battle 
of the Hindenburg Line, 259, 260. 

Marchand, Colonel, at Fashoda, 1 8. 

Maricourt, Andre de, Foch's comment 
to. on his victories, 4 53, 92; on the 
Armistice, 346. 

Marne, first battle of, 82, 84, 85, 115; 
the consequences, 131. 

Marne, second battle of, 5 4; American 
participation in, 192. 

Marne, the two battles of the, 8 155. 

Marwitz, General, commanding de- 
fence at Cambrai, <267; in Picardy 
offensive, 5 40, 

Masurian Lakes, battle of, 244. 

Maude, General, at Bagdad, 93, 121, 
270. 

Maud'huy, General, engages Biilow, 
1 153; in defence of Chemin des Dames 
6 103; at Soissons, 113; reinforced in 
Forest of Villers-Cotterets, 168. 

Maunoury, General, with new army 
ready to strike, 118; attacks, 123, 
126; attacks Kluck's flank before 
Paris, *155. 

Maurice, General, on defeat at battle 
of Picardy, '56; Foch's statement to 
on battle of Flanders, 92; estimate of 
battle losses, 94; on the Americans' 
achievement, 317; interviews mili- 
tary for opinions as to allowing an 
armistice, 352. 

Max, Prince, New German Chancellor. 
5337. ' 

Mazel, General, at Craonne Plateau, 
<150, 151. 

Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, battle of, 
224. 

Meuse-Argonne, battle of, S 267; the 
battlefield, 270; German defence sys- 
tems, 276; casualties and number of 
prisoners and guns captured by 
Americans, 313. 

Michael, Grand Duke, after Czar 
Nicholas abdicates in his favour, 
forced to renounce throne, 4 185. 

Michaelis, Dr. George, succeeds Beth- 
mann-Hollweg, 4 298; replaced by 
Count Hertling, 307. 

Micheler, General, cooperating with 
British at battle of the Somme, 144; 
at Craonne Plateau. <149, 151, 153. 

Millerand, overconfident, *153. 

Milner, Lord, on mission to Russia, 
183; in conference at Doullens, '50. 

Mittelafrica, the German dream, 61. 

Mitteleuropa, the German mastery, 5; 
seemingly a fact, 248; the framework 
erected, '285; the dream shattered, 
*366. 

Moltke, General, superseded by Fal- 
kenhayn, 150. 

Monastir, captured by Allies, *275. 

Monmouth sunk at Coronel, *51. 

Mons, British near disaster at, 1 108. 

Mont Sec, taken by Americans, 6 223. 

Montfaucon, taken by Americans, '294. 

Morhange, first French disaster, '101. 



Morocco, Agadir incident, '30. 
Munitions, from the United States to 

the Allies. '36. 
Murray, General, at Gaza, <269. 

Namur, demolished, 1 89. 

Nancy, first battle of, 1 S3; second battle, 
141. 

Naval encounters, *40. 

Naval history of the War, 33. 

Naval power necessary to a great na- 
tion, 33. 

Nestor, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Neufchateau, French repulsed at, t!04. 

Neutrality, American, 22, 27. 

Neuve Chapelle, attack by British, 268; 
tactics, 99. 

Nicholas, Czar, takes command of ar- 
mies, 149, 159. 

Nicholas, Grand Duke, at Erzerum 
and Trebizond, 242; advises Czar to 
abdicate, <185. 

Nivelle, General, at Verdun, 183, 
superseded by Petain, 189; 153; 
succeeds Joffre, 292, 85; commands 
British armies in the west, 107, 119, 
137; circumstances of his selection as 
commander-in-chief, 125; his great 
mistakes, 138. 

Nomad, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Northcliffe, Lord, bares the shell scan- 
dal, 189. 

Nuremberg, in Coronel battle, and de- 
stroyed at Falkland Islands, 51. 

Ocean, sunk at Dardanelles, *55. 
Ostend, fall of, '167; harbour entrance 

closed by Commodore Hubert Lynes, 

'380. 

Orduna, shelled by submarine, 4 57. 
Ourcq, battle of, 1 126. 

Page, Captain Arthur W., quoting re- 
port of intelligence officer of German 
High Command on St. Mihiel, 5 233; 
on storming of heights of Chatel- 
Chehery, 304. 

Painleve, Paul, Minister of War in 
Ribot Cabinet, 140; efforts in re- 
moval of Constantine of Greece, 164; 
at head of ministry, 320; succeeded 
by Clemenceau, 321. 

Palestine, British armies in, 269. 

Panther, sent by Kaiser to Agadir. 30. 

Paris, bombarded by monster cannon. 
62. 

Passchendaele, battle of. 4. 7, 217. 

Pau, General, takes command in Al- 
sace, U01. 

Peace, Germany's proposal, >298; Presi- 
dent Wilson's "peace without vic- 
tory" note, 300. Wilaon's identic 
notes to Allies and Central Powers 
<75; his " peace without victory," 292, 
Smuts' peace mission to Switzerland, 
290, 293, 208; Socialism bids for 
peace at Stockholm Conference, 
294, 315; the Pope's appeal, 294. 298, 



310; German Reichstag advocates 
peace, 297; Kuhlmann's attempt 
to attain a peace atmosphere, 307; 
Austrian Emperor's efforts for peace, 
309. 

Peace storm of the Germans, 5 152. 

Pershing, General, receives Grand Cross 
of Legion of Honour, '172; places all 
American troops at Foch's disposi- 
tion, 187; commending troops at 
Chateau-Thierry, 193; insists on an 
independent American army, 218, 
267; congratulated by Foch on vic- 
tory at St. Mihiel, 232; report of 
battle of St. Mihiel, 233; opens final 
battle, 250; in battle of Hindenburg 
Line, 260; in Argonne, 262; rush to 
Sedan and Montmedy, 264, 267; 
selects Meuse-Argonne sector, 268; 
what he accomplished, 314. 

Persia, partitioned by Russia and Great 
Britain, 27. 

Persia, torpedoed. 59. 

Petain, General, in Champagne drive, 
193; at Verdun, 37; 182; succeeds 
Nivelle, 189; too cautious to head 
the army, 293; victor of Verdun, 
yet not acceptable as Commander- 
in-Chief, 4 125; did not approve Ni- 
velle's plans, 138; thoroughness of 
preparation, 146; succeeds Nivelle 
as Commander-in-Chief, 153; his 
great achievement, 283; in conference 
at Doullens, '50; receives the Mili- 
tary Medal, 172; in battle of Hinden- 
burg Line, 260. 

Peter of Serbia, harangues troops to 
victory, 222; reenters Belgrade, '363. 

Pflanzer-Baltin, General, on Russian 
front, '230; army destroyed, 234. 

Piave, second battle of, '357. 

Picardy, the Kaiser's battle, 35; 
the battlefield, 41; number of cas- 
ualties, 58. 

Plumer, General Sir Herbert, best 
British battle commander, 220; 
at Messines-Wytschaete Ridge. 228, 
230, 244; sent to Italy, 245; com- 
manding British troops on Italian 
front, 278; at battle of the Lys, '87; 
driving Germans from Flanders, 251, 
255,258. 

Poincare, Raymond, heads new minis- 
try after fall of Caillaux. 30; in 
conference at Doullens, '50. 

Pommern, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Pope's appeal for peace, 4 294, 298, 
310; Wilson's answer, 312. 

Portuguese troops on western front, 
*12; at battle of the Lys, 84, 87. 

Propaganda, German, in the United 
States, 29, <26, 29. 

Protopopoff, treachery to Roumania, 
249, 253; execution, 254. 

Prussian Guards, fail in Flanders, '254. 

Przemysl, captured by Russians, 1 247. 

Puhallo. General, on Russian front, 

. 230. 



396 



INDEX 



Putnik, Marshal, faces Mackensen in 
Serbia, >237; destruction of his army, 
241. 

Quern Elizabeth at the Dardanelles, 

>54. 
Quast, General, at battle of the Lys, 

87. 
Queen Mary, lost at Jutland, '107. 

Rainbow Division, exploits at Second 
Marne battle, '165. 

Rasputin, Gregory, influence on Rus- 
sian Court, and his end, 4 175, 184. 

Rawaruska, taken by Russky, U96. 

Rawlinson, General Sir Henry, at 
Ypres, 169, 170; at battle of the 
Somme, 138, 144; at Vimy Ridge. 
114; at battle of Amiens, '205, 207, 
209; takes Albert and Combles, 212; 
in battle of the Hindenburg Line, 
250, 251, 254, 259; in battle of the 
Selle, 262. 

Read, Major Gen. G. W., in battle of 
the Hindenburg Line, '251, 259. 

Redmond, John, pledges Ireland's sup- 
port, 88. 

Redmond, Major William, killed at 
Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, <229. 

Rennenkampf, General, a failure, !216. 

Requin, Colonel, on American success 
at St. Mihiel, '234; on predicament of 
German army, after battle of Hin- 
denburg Line, 261. 

Reserves of Allies compared to German, 
13. 

Rethondes, Foch meets Erzberger and 
other armistice ambassadors at, 
'345. 

Rheims, bombardment of cathedral, 
>152; effect of bombardment in 
America, <24. 

Ribot, M., efforts in removal of Con- 
stantine of Greece, 163; succeeds 
Briand, and resigns shortly after, 
320. 

Ribot Cabinet, formation, 140. 

Riga, the fall of, <337. 

Roberts, Lord, calls for military prepar- 
ation, 16. 

Robertson, Major Gen., becomes chief 
of staff, 208; at battle of the Somme, 
*139; failure at Ypres leads to re- 
moval, 223. 

Rodzianko, member of First Provi- 
sional Government of Russia, 185. 

Romanoff Dynasty, end of, 184. 

Roosevelt, Quentin, grave of, '198. 

Roosevelt, Theodore, influence in 
awakening the nation, 37. 

Root, Elihu, on mission to Russia, '183, 
333. 

Rostock, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Roumania, in second Balkan war, '36; 
Russian defeats force neutrality, 244; 
aspirations of, 229; antipathy to 
Bulgaria, 229; follows Italy in declar- 
ing neutrality, 230; battle of Dunajec 



causes postponement of participa- 
tion in war, '252; enters war on side of 
the Allies, 214, 246; policy of na- 
tional instinct, 249; crushed by 
treachery, 249, 250, 253, 280; mili- 
tary offensive, 254; Mackensen's 
invasion, 258, 267; Government flees 
to Jassy after evacuation of Buchar- 
est, 270; betrayed by Stuermer minis- 
try, 311; crushed by Germany, 84; 
at Brest-Litovsk, 344; occupies dis- 
tricts promised by Allies, '362. 

Ruffey, General, replaced by Sarrail, 
U12. 

Rupprecht, Crown Prince, at battle of 
the Somme,'144. 

Russo-Turkish War, leads to estrange- 
ment between Russia and Germany, 
>3. 

Russia develops Siberia and opens warm 
water port at Port Arthur, 1 5; signs 
compact with Great Britain, 27; 
protests against Bosnian annexation 
by Austria, 28; the collapse, '147, 
'3, 4, 6; the doom of the Empire, 
*149; treason, 149; fall of Warsaw, 
151; Kovno, treachery in surrender, 
159; fall of Brest-Litovsk and Vilna, 
159; the revolution, and its problems, 
<9; influence of revolution on the 
Allies, 85; causes and character of 
the Revolution, 166; country ceases 
to be an ally and becomes a peril, 183; 
fall of the house of Romanoff, 184. 

Russian Army, mobilization, 1 60, 191; 
defeat at Tannenberg, 83,84,85, 144, 

175, 192; early victories in East 
Prussia, 147; defeat at the Dunajec, 

176, 198, 239, 274, *97; Warsaw, '176; 
Lodz, 177; battle of the Masurian 
Lakes, 244; defeats in East Prussia, 
247; battle of the San, S 106; evacua- 
tion of Lemberg, 107; the last offensi- 
sive, 8 216; the collapse, 225; strategy 
of 1915 campaign, 228; capture of 
Erzerum and Trebizond, 229; the 
final offensive, , 4 187; the surrender, 
and treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 337. 

Russian Revolution, causes and char- 
acter, 166; compared to French Rev- 
olution, 175; Western misunderstand- 
ing, 178; destructive teachings of 
Lenin, 181; failure of Kerensky, 182; 
fall of the House of Romanoff, 184; 
the First Provisional Government, 
185; vain efforts of the Duma, 185; 
rise of Lenin, 186. 

Russky, General, at Kiev, 191; at 
Rawaruska, 196; at Lodz, 216; ac- 
cepts Revolution, <185. 

Saar Coal Basin, goes to France under 

Treaty of Versailles, '353. 
Sakharoff, General, on Austrian front, 

230, 234, 236, 239. 
Salonica, arrival of Allied troops, 239; 

Allies decide to stay, 242; troops 



marking time, >271; incidents, 273; 
good and bad features, '365. 

San, battle of the, 106. 

San Stefano, Treaty of, set aside at 
Congress of Berlin, '3; England joins 
Austria in vetoing, 4. 

Sanders, Liman von, barely escapes 
capture in Palestine, '364. 

Sarrail, General, replaces Ruffey, >112, 
successfully resists the Crown Prince, 
130; takes command at Salonica, 
'239, 271; at Verdun, 15; at Monas- 
tir, 275; retired to private life, 331; 
removed from command of Salonica 
army, '360. 

Sazonoff, General, retired, 291. 

St. Mihiel, taken by troops from Metz, 
'153, 315; French fail to break Ger- 
man salient, '190. 

St. Mihiel, battle of, initial engagement 
of Americans, '5; compared to Aisne- 
Marne, 199; first American offensive, 
217; history of the salient, 219; 
the battlefield, 221; the attack, 226; 
consequences of the American vic- 
tory, 268. 

Scapa Flow, German High Seas Fleet 
surrendered at, '381. 

Scharnhorst, in Coronel battle, and 
destroyed at Falkland Islands, 51. 

Scheer, Admiral von, at battle of Jut- 
land, '103. 

Scherbachoff, General, on Austrian 
front, 3230, 236, 240, 243. 

Selle, battle of the, '262. 

Serajevo, assassination of Archduke 
40. 

Serbia, the ward of Russia, 128, 37; 
protests against annexation of Bosnia 
by Austria, 28; territorial demands 
after first Balkan war, 35; strength- 
ened after second Balkan war, 36; 
Austria's case, 50; receives Austrian 
ultimatum, 49, 58; replies to Austria, 
surrendering on most points, 59; ap- 
peals to Russia, 59; Austrians driven 
out, Belgrade retaken, 220; attacked 
through Albania, 244; her military 
problem, '237; attacked by Bulgar 
and German forces, 239. 

Shark, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Sims, Admiral, on arrival in England 
informed of submarine menace, 4 194, 
197, 206; narrative of fight against 
submarine, 204; report on number of 
submarines sunk, 379. 

Sinn Fein Rebellion, 88. 

Smith-Darrien, General, at Cambrai, 
U09. 

Smuts, General, to Switzerland on 
peace mission, 290, 293, 308. 

Socialism, Stockholm Conference, 294, 
315. 

Soissons corner, Americans participate 
in straightening salient, '336. 

Solf, Doctor, answers President Wilson's 
note, '336. 



INDEX 



397 



Somme, first battle of the, 113, 95; 
the battle-ground, 132; advent of 
the new British army, 137. 

Somme offensive, *3. 

Sonnino, Prime Minister, favors Italy, 
entering the war, 1 110. 

Spa Conference, Ludendorff assures 
Chancellor war can not be won, 
'211, 322. 

Spec, Admiral von, squadron destroyed, 
! 34, 51 ; destroys British squadron at 
Coronel, 51. 

Sparrowhawk, lost at Jutland, '107. 

Stockholm Conference, of Socialists, 
<294, 315. 

Stuermer, treachery to Roumania, 
249, 253, 280, 311, execution, 254. 

Submarines, the campaign begun, 224; 
ruthless destruction aimed to cut 
off munitions and food to Allies, 
240; the German case, 79; no definite 
policy, 81; announces blockade of 
British Isles, 82; international law 
against, 83; extension of activities, 
84, "ruthlessness," 84; England be- 
leaguered, <7; sinkings leading up to 
American declaration of war, 10, 53 
et seq.; anxiety of British, 141; Ger- 
many winning the war, 194, 200; the 
weapon of a desperate nation, 201; 
statistics of sinkings, 198, 199, 203; 
British efforts to destroy bases, 221; 
campaign reviewed and why it 
failed, 378. 

Summerall, Gen. Chas. P., commanding 
Fifth Corps in Argonne, 5 295; achieve- 
ments in Meuse-Argonne, etc., 313. 

Sussex, sinking almost forces the 
United States into the war, 36, 59. 

Tangier, a notable incident for France, 
15, the end of the concert of Europe, 
25. 

Tanks, introduction of, 164, 248; 
achievements and limitations, 5 29; 
Ludendorff underestimates value, 30; 
first used by Germans at Villers- 
Bretonneux, 55, 105, 208; at Chemin 
des Dames, 105; introduction of the 
"whippet," 160; effect of in attack 
on Soissons corner, 169; at battle of 
Amiens, 208; diminish value of posi- 
tions, 236. 

Tannenberg, battle of, 1 83, 84, 85, 144, 
147, 175, 192 

Thomas, Albert, on mission to Russia, 
4 183; not permitted to attend Stock- 
holm Conference, and resigns Cham- 
ber, 316. 

Tipperary, lost at Jutland, '107. 

Tirpitz, Admiral von, forces the sub- 
marine campaign, 87; stand on sub- 
marine question, 5 380. 

Tisza, Count, warns the Kaiser, 243; 
shot by common soldier, *342. 

Titanic disaster, compared with Lust- 
tania massacre, '34. 



Townshend, General at Kut-el-Amara, 
"91; surrender, 121. 

Treason and sedition of German sym- 
pathizers in the United States, 72. 

Trentino, geography of the, 204. 

Trieste, an Italian population, S 114; 
threatened by attack on Gorizia, *211, 

Triple Alliance, formed by Bismarck, 
14. 

Tripoli, Italy's understanding with 
Entente powers, U80. 

Trotsky, with Lenin, seizes Petrograd, 
4 338; concludes armistice with Ger- 
many, 340; refuses to sign German 
peace, 344. 

Turbulent, lost at Jutland, 107. 

Turkey, Young Turks seize power, 27; 
at Treaty of Lausanne surrenders 
Tripoli to Italy, 33; enters the war, 
179; disaster at Kara, 241; sends 
troops to Mackensen in the Dobrudja, 
*216; Russian invasion, >229; cap- 
tures Townshend at Kut-el-Amara, 
121 ; but loses Bagdad to Maude, 121 ; 
withdraws unconditionally, S 341; mil- 
itary power broken and surrender 
forced by Allenby, 364. 

Ukrainia, separates from Russia and 
makes peace with Central Powers, 
342; the treaty, 345. 

United States, severs diplomatic rela- 
tions with Germany, 11; strictly 
neutral at beginning of war, 22, 27; 
the clash of opinion, 23; volunteer 
enlistments in allied armies, 25; 
propaganda German and English, 
26; effect of the Lusitania massacre, 
26, 28, 31, 33; alien propaganda, 26 
events leading up to participation 
in war, 49; protests against British 
interference with commerce, 50; 
Identic Note to Germany and Great 
Britain, 51; sinkings by German 
cruisers and submarines, 53; Notes, 
on Lusitania sinking, 54; Bryan re- 
signs, 57; threat of severance of rela- 
tions after Sussex sinking causes 
Germany to discontinue practice, 
59; German- American efforts in 
Washington to declare embargo on 
arms shipments, 61; question of 
travel on belligerent ships, 61, 71; 
of arming merchantmen, 71; Austrian 
Ambassador given passports, 74; 
Congress and Senate adopt resolution 
that state of war exists, 80; effect 
in Europe, 81; destroyer fleet aids 
in controlling submarine, 197; Dip- 
lomatic relations severed with Aus- 
tria, 309. 

United States Army. See American 
Army. 

Venizelos, opposed by Constantine, 
*220; invites Allied troops to Sakra- 



ica, 272; in Salonica at head of rev- 
olutionary government, 274. 

Verdun, defense of, >3, 13, 36, topog- 
raphy, 18; the German plan, 21; 
beginning of the battle, 31; "They 
Shall Not Pass," 360; French prepar- 
ation, 38; end of the battle, 42; the 
German problem, 45; Dead Man's 
Hill, 61; Fort de Vaux, 63; German 
troops diverted to the Somme, 181; 
French counter offensive, 182; French 
objectives in counter-offensives, 183; 
recapture of Douaumont and Vaux, 
185; German offensive unsuccessful, 
<85; Germans driven away from, 286. 

Versailles, meeting of Interallied War 
Council, 5 341. 

Vimy Ridge, battle of, 107. 

Warrior, lost at Jutland '107. 

Warsaw, the German advance to, '177, 
200; Hindenburg's retreat, 204; 
the third attempt, 216; evacuated 
by Russians and entered by army of 
Prince Leopold, 157. 

Wiesbaden, lost at Jutland, '107. 

William II, on ascending throne "drops 
the pilot," and seeks place in the 
sun, *7; begins series of threats 
toward France, 10; lands at Tangier 
and proclaims integrity of Morocco, 
13; sends Panther to Agadir, 30; 
backs down at Agadir, but prepares 
for war, 31; asks Czar Nicholas 
that he permit Austria to discipline 
Serbia, 60; congratulates Admiral 
von Scheer on his "great victory," 
'109; flight from Germany, 9; at 
battle of Picardy, 47; observes at- 
tack on the Chemin des Dames, 108; 
at military conference, 108; sees 
defeat of the Second Marne, 160; 
at Spa Conference, 322; abdicates 
and flees to Holland, 342. 

William P. Frye, sunk by German 
cruiser, 53. 

Wilson, President, "Peace without 
victory" note, '300; answer of the 
Allies, 319; the "too proud to fight" 
speech, 4 55; exchange of notes with 
Germany on submarine sinkings, 55; 
final ultimatum, 59; toleration of 
Bernstorff, 73; efforts to restore 
peace, 74; his peace notes to Allies 
and Central Powers, 75; advances 
League of Nations idea in address 
before the Senate, 76; his "peace with- 
out victory" speech, 76, 292; notifies 
Congress of severance of diplomatic 
relations with Germany, 77; calls 
extraordinary session of Congress, 
79; his address, 79; peace notes 
to Allies and Central Powers, 294; 
answer to Pope's peace note, 312; 
text of his Fourteen Points, 334; 
his conception of a league of na- 
tions, 335; reply to German pro- 



398 



INDEX 



posals for armistice, 335; refers Ger- Young Turks, seize power in Constan- Yser, battle of the, '170. 

many to Foch, 336; informs Ger- tinople, 27. 

many of conditions for peace, 342; Ypres, defence of, '168, 170. Zeebrugge, submarine base bottled up 

influence on signing of armistice. Ypres, the battlefield, 164; the first by Sir John Keyes, 380. 

352. battle, 169; second battle, 181; '270; Zeppelin attacks futile, 79. 

Wiirtemberg, Grand Duke of, stopped third , <217. strategically a German Zimmermann, the intercepted Mexican 

in the Argonne, '152, 153. victory, 246. note, 78. 



D Simonds, Frank Herbert 

521 History of the World War 

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