HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE GREAT WORLD WAR
HIS SPLENDID RECORD IN THE BATTLE ZONES OF EUROPE
INCLUDING A RESUME OF HIS PAST SERVICES TO HIS COUNTRY IN THE WARS OF THE REVOLUTION, OF 1812, THE WAR OF THE REBELLION, THE INDIAN WARS ON THE FRONTIER, THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, AND THE LATE IMBROGLIO WITH MEXICO.
W. ALLISON SWEENEY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR OF THE CHICAGO DEFENDER.
PROFUSELY AND BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED
THIS HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE GREAT WORLD WAR IS REINFORCED BY THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT INCLUDING TRIBUTES FROM FRENCH AND AMERICAN COMMANDERS
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SPOKEN AND WRITTEN WORDS BY
J. E. MORELAND INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY Y.M.C.A.
ROBERT SENGSTACKE ABBOTT EDITOR CHICAGO DEFENDER
RALPH TYLER EX-THIRD AUDITOR THE NAVY
JULIUS ROSENWALD PHILANTHROPIST
COLONEL CHARLES YOUNG UNITED STATES ARMY
WILLIS O. TYLER MEMBER LOS ANGELES BAR
CAPT. R.P. ROOTS VETERAN SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR
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WITH A COMPLETE SUMMARY OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE 370th "OLD EIGHTH" IN THE WORLD WAR FROM THE COUNTRY'S CALL TO THE DAY OF ITS MUSTERING OUT
BY CAPT. JOHN H. PATTON, ADJUTANT
GREAT WORLD WAR
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Chapter I. SPIRITUAL EMANCIPATION OF NATIONS.
THE MARCH OF CIVILIZATION—WORLD SHOCKS TO STIR THE WOULD HEART—FALSE DOCTRINES OF THE HUN—THE IRON HAND CONCEALED—THE WORLD BEGINS TO AWAKEN—GERMAN DESIGNS REVEALED—RUMBLINGS IN ADVANCE OF THE STORM—TRAGEDY THAT HASTENED THE DAY—TOLSTOY'S PROPHECY—VINDICATION OF NEGRO FAITH IN PROMISES OF THE LORD—DAWN OF FREEDOM FOR ALL RACES
Chapter II. HANDWRITING ON THE WALL.
LIKENED TO BELSHAZZER—THE KAISER'S FEASTS—IN HIS HEART BARBARIC PRIDE OF THE POTENTATES OF OLD—GERMAN MADNESS FOR WAR—INSOLENT DEMANDS—FORTY-EIGHT HOURS TO PREVENT A WORLD WAR—COMMENT OF STATESMEN AND LEADERS—THE WAR STARTS—ITALY BREAKS HER ALLIANCE—GERMANIC POWERS WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING—SPIRIT WINS OVER MATERIALISM—CIVILIZATION'S LAMP DIMMED BUT NOT DARKENED
Chapter III. MILITARISM AND AUTOCRACY DOOMED.
GERMANY'S MACHINE—HER SCIENTIFIC ENDEAVOR TO MOLD SOLDIERS—INFLUENCE ON THOUGHT AND LIVES OF THE PEOPLE—MILITARISM IN THE HOME—THE STATUS OF WOMAN—FALSE THEORIES AND FALSE GODS—THE SYSTEM ORDAINED TO PERISH—WAR'S SHOCKS—AMERICA INCLINES TO NEUTRALITY—GERMAN AND FRENCH TREATMENT OF NEUTRALS CONTRASTED—EXPERIENCES OF AMERICANS ABROAD AND ENROUTE HOME—STATUE OF LIBERTY TAKES ON NEW BEAUTY—BLOOD OF NEGRO AND WHITE TO FLOW
Chapter IV. Awakening of America.
President Clings to Neutrality—Monroe Doctrine and Washington's Warning—German Crimes and German Victories—Cardinal Mercier's Letter—Military Operations—First Submarine Activities—The Lusitania Outrage—Exchange of Notes—United States Aroused—Role of Passive Onlooker Becomes Irksome—First Modification of Principles of Washington and Monroe—Our Destiny Looms
Chapter V. Huns Sweeping Westward.
Toward Shores of Atlantic—Spread Ruin and Devastation—Capitals of Civilization Alarmed—Activities of Spies—Apologies and Lies—German Arms Winning—Gain Time to Forge New Weapons—Few Victories for Allies—Roumania Crushed—Incident of U-53
Chapter VI. The Hour and The Man.
A Beacon Among the Years—Trying Period for President Wilson—Germany Continues Dilatory Tactics—Peace Efforts Fail—All Honorable Means Exhausted—Patience Ceases to be a Virtue—Enemy Abandons All Subterfuges—Unrestricted Submarine Warfare—German Intrigues with Mexico—The Zimmerman Note—America Seizes the Sword—War is Declared—Pershing Goes Abroad—First Troops Sail—War Measures—War Operations
Chapter VII. Negroes Respond to the Call.
Swift and Unhalting Array—Few Permitted to Volunteer—Only National Guard Accepted—No New Units Formed—Selective Draft Their Opportunity—Partial Division of Guardsmen—Complete Division of Selectives—Many in Training—Enter Many Branches of Service—Negro Nurses Authorized—Negro Y.M.C.A. Workers—Negro War Correspondent—Negro Assistant to Secretary of War—Training Camp for Negro Officers First Time in Artillery—Complete Racial Segregation
Chapter VIII. Recrudescence of South's Intolerance.
Confronted by Racial Prejudice—Splendid Attitude of Negro Shamed It—Kept out of Navy—Only One Percent of Navy Personnel Negroes—Modified Marines Contemplated—Few Have Petty Officers' Grades—Separate Ships Proposed—Negro Efficiency in Navy—Material for "Black Ships"—Navy Opens Door to Negro Mechanics
Chapter IX. Previous Wars in Which Negro Figured.
Shot Heard Around the World—Crispus Attucks—Slave Leads Sons of Freedom—The Boston Massacre—Anniversary Kept for Years—William Nell, Historian—3,000 Negroes in Washington's Forces—A Stirring History—Negro Woman Soldier—Border Indian Wars—Negro Heroes
Chapter X. From Lexington to Carrizal.
Negro in War of 1812—Incident of the Chesapeake—Battle of Lake Erie—Perry's Fighters 10 Percent Negroes—Incident of the "Governor Tompkins"—Colonists Form Negro Regiments—Defenders of New Orleans—Andrew Jackson's Tribute—Negroes in Mexican and Civil Wars—In the Spanish-American War—Negroes in the Philippines—Heroes of Carrizal—General Butler's Tribute to Negroes—Wendell Phillips on Toussaint L'Ouverture
Chapter XI. Hour of His Nation's Peril.
Negro's Patriotic Attitude—Selective Draft in Effect—Features and Results—Bold Reliance on Faith in People—No Color Line Drawn—Distribution of Registrants by States—Negro and White Registrations Compared—Negro Percentages Higher—Claimed Fewer Exemptions—Inductions by States—Better Physically than Whites—Tables, Facts and Figures
Chapter XII. Negro Slackers and Pacifists Unknown.
Such Words not in his Vocabulary—Desertions Explained—General Crowder Exonerates Negro—No Willful Delinquency—Strenuous Efforts to Meet Regulations—No "Conscientious Objectors"—No Draft Evaders or Resisters—Negro's Devotion Sublime—Justifies His Freedom—Forgets His Sorrows—Rises Above His Wrongs—Testimony of Local Boards—German Propaganda Wasted—A New Americanism
Chapter XIII. Roster of Negro Officers.
Commissioned at Fort Des Moines—Only Exclusive Negro Training Camp—Mostly from Civilian Life—Names, Rank and Residence
Chapter XIV. Across Dividing Seas.
Black Thousands Assemble—Soldiers of Liberty—Severing Home Ties—Man's Work Must be Done—First Negroes in France—Meeting with French Colonials—Early History of 15th New York—They Sail Away—Become French Fighting Men—Hold 20 Percent of American Lines—Terror to Germans—Only Barrier Between Boche and Paris—Imperishable Record of New Yorkers—Turning Point of War
Chapter XV. Over There.
Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts—The Tiger's Cubs—Negro First to Get Palm—Johnson's Graphic Story—Smashes the Germans—Irvin Cobb's Tribute—Christian and Mohammedan Negroes Pals—Valor of 93rd Division—Laughter in Face of Death—Negro and Poilu Happy Together—Butte de Mesnil—Valiant and Humorous Elmer McCowin—Winning War Crosses—Verdict of the French—The Negro's Faith
CHAPTER XVI. THROUGH HELL AND SUFFERING.
COLORED OFFICERS MAKE GOOD—WONDERFUL RECORD OF THE 8TH ILLINOIS—"BLACK DEVILS" WIN DECORATIONS GALORE—TRIBUTE OF FRENCH COMMANDER—HIS FAREWELL TO PRAIRIE FIGHTERS—THEY FOUGHT AFTER WAR WAS OVER—HARD TO STOP THEM—INDIVIDUAL DEEDS OF HEROISM—THEIR DEAD, THEIR WOUNDED AND SUFFERING—A POEM
CHAPTER XVII. NARRATIVE OF AN OFFICER.
SPECIAL ARTICLE BY CAPTAIN JOHN H. PATTON, ADJUTANT OF 8TH ILLINOIS—SUMMARIZES OPERATIONS OF THE REGIMENT—FROM FIRST CALL TO MUSTERING OUT—AN EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNT—IN TRAINING CAMPS, AT SEA, IN FRANCE—SERVICE IN ARGONNE FOREST—MANY OTHER ENGAGEMENTS—A THRILLING RECORD—BATTALION OPERATIONS IN DETAIL—SPECIAL MENTION OF COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS
CHAPTER XVIII. BLOOD OF BLACK AND WHITE IN ONE RIVULET.
LINCOLN'S PROPHETIC WORDS—NEGROES ALONGSIDE BEST SOLDIERS IN THE WORLD—HOLD THEIR OWN—THE 372ND REGIMENT—BRIGADED WITH VETERANS OF THE MARNE—FAMOUS "RED HAND" DIVISION—OCCUPY HILL 304 AT VERDUN—NINE DAYS BATTLE IN "BLOODY ARGONNE"—ADMIRATION OF THE FRENCH—CONSPICUOUS COMPONENTS OF 372ND—CHRONOLOGY OF SERVICE
CHAPTER XIX. COMRADES ON THE MARCH—BROTHERS IN THE SLEEP OF DEATH.
POLICY OF SUBSTITUTING WHITE OFFICERS—INJUSTICE TO CAPABLE NEGROES—DISAPPOINTMENT BUT NO OPEN RESENTMENT—SHOWED THEMSELVES SOLDIERS—INTENSER FIGHTING SPIRIT AROUSED—RACE FORGOTTEN IN PERILS OF WAR—BOTH WHITES AND BLACKS GENEROUS—AFFECTION BETWEEN OFFICERS AND MEN—NEGROES PREFERRED DEATH TO CAPTIVITY—OUTSTANDING HEROES OF 371ST AND 372ND—WINNERS OF CROSSES
CHAPTER XX. MID SHOT AND SHELL.
IN TRENCH AND VALLEY—THE OPEN PLAIN—ON MOUNTAIN TOP—IN NO MAN'S LAND—TWO CLASSES OF NEGRO SOLDIERS CONSIDERED—TRAINED GUARDSMEN AND SELECTIVES—GALLANT 92ND DIVISION—RACE CAN BE PROUD OF IT—HAD SIX HUNDRED NEGRO OFFICERS—SETS AT REST ALL DOUBTS—OPERATIONS OF THE DIVISION—AT PONT A MOUSSON—GREAT BATTLE OF METZ—SOME REFLECTIONS—CASUALTIES CONSIDERED
CHAPTER XXI. THE LONG, LONG TRAIL.
OPERATIONS OF 368TH INFANTRY—NEGROES FROM PENNSYLVANIA, MARYLAND AND SOUTH—IN ARGONNE HELL—DEFEAT IRON CROSS VETERANS—VALIANT PERSONAL EXPLOITS—LIEUTENANT ROBERT CAMPBELL—PRIVATE JOHN BAKER—OPERATIONS OF 367TH INFANTRY—"MOSS'S BUFFALOES"—365TH AND 366TH REGIMENTS—THE GREAT DIVIDE—THEIR SOULS ARE MARCHING ON—PRAISED BY PERSHING—SOME CITATIONS
Chapter XXII. Glory That Wont Come Off.
167th First Negro Artillery Brigade—"Like Veterans" said Pershing—First Artillery to be Motorized—Record by Dates—Selected for Lorraine Campaign—Best Educated Negroes in American Forces—Always Stood by Their Guns—Chaplain's Estimate—Left Splendid Impression—Testimony of French Mayors—Christian Behavior—Soldierly Qualities
Chapter XXIII. Nor Storied Urn, Nor Mounting Shaft.
Glory not all Spectacular—Brave Forces Behind the Lines—325th Field Signal Battalion—Composed of Young Negroes—See Real Fighting—Suffer Casualties—An Exciting Incident—Colored Signal Battalion a Success—Ralph Tyler's Stories—Burial of Negro Soldier at Sea—More Incidents of Negro Valor—A Word from Charles M. Schwab
Chapter XXIV. Those Who Never Will Return.
A Study of War—Its Compensations and Benefits—Its Ravages and Debasements—Burdens Fall upon the Weak—Toll of Disease—Negroes Singularly Healthy—Negroes Killed in Battle—Deaths from Wounds and Other Causes—Remarkable Physical Stamina of Race—Housekeeping in Khaki—Healthiest War in History—Increased Regard for Mothers—An Ideal for Child Minds—Morale and Propaganda
Chapter XXV. Quiet Heroes of the Brawny Arm.
Negro Stevedore, Pioneer and Labor Units—Swung the Axe and Turned the Wheel—They were Indispensable—Everywhere in France—Hewers of Wood, Drawers of Water—Numbers and Designations of Units—Acquired Splendid Reputation—Contests and Awards—Pride in their Service—Measured up to Military Standards—Lester Waltons Appreciation—Ella Wheeler Wilcox's Poetic Tribute
Chapter XXVI. Unselfish Workers in the Vineyard.
Mitigated the Horrors of War—At the Front, Behind the Lines, at Home—Circle for Negro War Relief—Addressed and Praised by Roosevelt—A Notable Gathering—Colored Y.M.C.A. Work—Unsullied Record of Achievement—How the "Y" Conducted Business—Secretaries all Specialists—Negro Women in "Y" Work—Valor of a Non-combatant
Chapter XXVII. Negro in Army Personnel.
His Mechanical Ability Required—Skilled at Special Trades—Victory Depends upon Technical Workers—Vast Range of Occupation—Negro Makes Good Showing—Percentages of White and Colored—Figures for General Service
Chapter XXVIII. The Knockout Blow.
Woodrow Wilson, an Estimate—His Place in History—Last of Great Trio—Washington, Lincoln, Wilson—Upholds Decency, Humanity, Liberty—Recapitulation of Year 1918—Closing Incidents of War
Chapter XXIX. Homecoming Heroes. New York Greets Her Own—Ecstatic Day for Old 15th—Whites and Blacks do Honors—A Monster Demonstration—Many Dignitaries Review Troops—Parade of Martial Pomp—Cheers, Music, Flowers and Feasting—"Hayward's Scrapping Babies"—Officers Share Glory—Then Came Henry Johnson—Similar Scenes Elsewhere
Chapter XXX. Reconstruction and the Negro. By Julius Rosenwald, President Sears, Roebuck & Co, and Trustee of Tuskegee Institute—A Plea for Industrial Opportunity for the Negro—Tribute to Negro as Soldier and Civilian—Duty of Whites Pointed Out—Business Leader and Philanthropist Sounds Keynote
Chapter XXXI. The Other Fellow's Burden. An Emancipation Day Appeal for Justice—By W. Allison Sweeney
Chapter XXXII. An Interpolation. Held—By Distinguished Thinkers and Writers, That the Negro Soldier Should be Given a Chance for Promotion as Well as a Chance to Die. Why—White Officers over Negro Soldiers?
Chapter XXXIII. The New Negro and the New America. The Old Order Changeth, yielding place to new. Through the Arbitrament of war, behold a new and better America! a new and girded negro! "The Watches of the night have PASSED!" "The Watches Of the day BEGIN!"
He was a red headed messenger boy and he handed me a letter in a NILE GREEN ENVELOPE, and this is what I read:
Dear Mr. Sweeney:
When on the 25th of March the last instalment of the MSS of the "History of the American Negro in the Great World War" was returned to us from your hands, bearing the stamp of your approval as to its historic accuracy; the wisdom and fairness of the reflections and recommendations of the corps of compilers placed at your service, giving you full authority to review the result of their labors, your obligation to the publishers ceased.
The transaction between us, a purely business one, had in every particular upon your part been complied with. From thenceforward, as far as you were obligated to the publishers, this History; what it is; what it stands for; how it will be rated by the reading masses—should be, and concretely, by your own people you so worthily represent and are today their most fearless and eloquent champion, is, as far as any obligation you may have been under to us, not required of you to say.
Nevertheless, regardless of past business relations now at an end, have you not an opinion directly of the finished work? A word to say; the growth of which you have marked from its first instalment to its last?
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A word to say? And of this fine book?
THE BEST HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE GREAT WORLD WAR, THAT AS YET HAS BEEN WRITTEN OR WILL BE FOR YEARS TO COME?
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The rose in bud respond to the wooing breath of the mornings of June?
The whistle of robin red breast clearer and more exultant, as its watchful gaze, bearing in its inscrutable depths the mystery of all the centuries; the Omniscience of DIVINITY, discovers a cherry tree bending to—
"The green grass"
from the weight of its blood red fruit?
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The nightingale respond to its mate; caroling its amatory challenge from afar; across brake and dale and glen; beyond a
"Dim old forest" the earth bathed in the silver light of the harvest moon!
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And for the same reason which the wisest of us cannot explain, that the rose, the robin and nightingale respond to the lure that invites, the zephyrs that caress, I find myself moved to say not only a word—a few, but many, of praise and commendation of this book; the finished work, so graciously and so quickly submitted for my inspection by the publishers.
Books and books; histories and histories, treatise after treatise; covering every realm of speculative investigation; every field of fact and fancy; of inspiration and deed, past and present, that in this 20th century of haste and bustle, of miraculous mechanical equipment, are born daily and die as quickly. But there are also books, that like some men marked before their birth for a place amongst the "Seats of the MIGHTY"; an association with the IMMORTALS, that
"Were not born to die."
This book seems of that glorious company.
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Spiritualized humanity that broadened the vision and inspired the pens of the devoted corps of writers, responding to my suggestions and oversight in its preparation; the getting together of data and facts, is reflected the incoming of a NEW AND BROADER CHARITY—a stranger in our midst—of glimpse and measurement of the Negro. Beyond the written word of the text, the reader is gripped with a certain FELT but unprinted power of suggestion, a sense of the nation's crime against him; the Negro, stretching back through the centuries; the shame and humiliation that is at last overtaking it, that has not been born of the "Print Shops" since the sainted LINCOLN went his way, leaving behind him a trail of glory, shining like the sun; in the path of which, freed through the mandate of his great soul, MARCHED FOUR MILLION NEGROES, now swollen to twelve, their story, the saddest epic of the ages, of whom and in behalf of whom their children; the generation now and those to come, this History was collated and arranged. It is an EVANGEL proclaiming to the world, their unsullied patriotism; their rapid fire loyalty, that through all the years of the nation's life, has never flickered—
"Has burned and burned Forever the same",
from Lexington to the cactus groves of Mexico; in the slaughter hells of Europe; over fields and upon spots where, in the centuries gone, the legions of Caesar, of Hannibal and Attila, of Charlemagne and Napoleon had fought and bled, and perished! Striding "Breast forward" beneath the Stars and Stripes as this History crowds them on your gaze, through the dust of empires and kingdoms that; before the CHRIST walked the earth; before Christianity had its birth, wielded the sceptres of power when civilization was young, but which are now but vanishing traditions.
You are thrilled! History nor story affords no picture more inspiring.
MAKING DUE ALLOWANCE—
For its nearness to the living and dead, whose heroic and transcendant achievements on the battle spots of the great war secured for them a distinction and fame that will endure until—
"The records of valor decay",
it is a most notable publication, quite worthy to be draped in the robes that distinguishes History from narrative; from "a tale that is told"; a story for the entertainment of the moment.
By the writers of its text; read between the lines of their written words; it is a History; not alone of the American Negro on the "tented field"; the bloody trenches of France and Belgium, it is also a History and an arraignment, a warning and a prophecy, looking backwards and forward, the Negro being the objective focus, of many things.
For the readers retrospection, as vividly as painted on a canvas, a phantasmagoric procession of past events, and of those to come in the travail of the Negro; commencing with the sailing of the first "Slaver's Ship" for the shores of the "New World", jammed fore and aft, from deck to hold, with its cargo of human beings, to the conclusion of the great war in which, individually and in units he wrote his name in imperishable characters, and high on the scroll on which are inscribed the story of those, who, in their lives wrought for RIGHT and, passing, died for MEN! For a flag; beneath and within its folds his welcome has been measured and parsimonious;—a country; the construing and application of its laws and remedies as applied to him, has inflicted intolerable INJUSTICE: Has persecuted more often than blessed. And so and thus, its perusal finished, its pages closed and laid aside, you are shaken and swayed in your feelings, even as a tree, bent and riven before the march and sweep of a mighty hurricane.
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The spell of the book strong upon you, you see in your mind's eye, thousands of plantations covering a fourth of a continent of a new and virgin land. The toilers "Black Folk"; men, women and children—SLAVES!
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The crack of the "driver's" lash; the sullen bay of pursuing hounds.
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JUST OVER YONDER—
Is the "Auction Block". You hear the moans and screams of mothers torn from their offspring. You see them driven away, herded like cattle, chained like convicts, sold to "master's" in the "low lands", to toil—
"Midst the cotton and the cane."
Sounding far off, faint at first, growing louder each second, you hear the beat of drums; the bugle's blast, sounding to arms; You see great armies, moving hitherward and thitherward. Over one flies the Stars and Stripes, over the other the Stars and Bars; a nation in arms! Brother against brother!
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And lo, swinging past are many Black men; garbed in "Blue", keeping step to the music of the Union. You see them fall and die, at Fort Pillow, Fort Wagner, Petersburg, the Wilderness, Honey Hill—SLAUGHTERED! Above the din; the boom of cannon, the rattle of small arms, the groans of the wounded and dying, you hear the shout of one, as shattered and maimed he is being borne from the field; "BOYS, THE OLD FLAG NEVER TOUCHED THE GROUND!"
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THE SCENE SHIFTS—
Fifty years have passed. You hear the clamor, the murmur and shouts of gathering mobs. You see Black men and women hanging by their necks to lamp posts, from the limbs of trees; in lonely spots—DEAD! You see smoke curling upwards from BURNING HOMES! There are piles of cinders and—DEAD MENS BONES!
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NEARING ITS END—
The procession sweeps on. Staring you in the face; hailing from East, West, North and South are banners; held aloft by unseen hands, bearing on them—the quintessence of AMERICA'S INGRATITUDE,—these devices:
"For American Negroes: JIM CROW steam and trolley cars; JIM CROW resident districts; JIM CROW amen corners; JIM CROW seats in theatres; JIM CROW corners in cemeteries."
"Are these indignities to CONTINUE? Is God DEAD?"
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A voice. You listen!
"WHEREFORE hear the word of the lord— "THE days of thy mourning shall be ended— "VIOLENCE shall no more be heard in the land— "NEITHER sorrow nor crying— "FOR the former things have passed away— "BEHOLD I make all things new— "ARISE, shine; for thy light has come.
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Lies the strength and worth of this unusual book, well and deservingly named: A History of the American Negro in the Great World War. Beyond merely recounting that story; than which there has been nothing finer or more inspiring since the long away centuries when the chivalry of the Middle Ages, in nodding plume and lance in rest, battled for the Holy Sepulchre, it brings to the Negro of America a message of cheer and reassurance. A sign, couched in flaming characters for all men to see, appealing to the spiritualized divination of the age, proclaiming that God is NOT DEAD! That a NEW day is dawning; HAS dawned for the Negro in America. A NEW liberty; broader and BETTER. A NEW Justice, unshaded by the spectre of: "Previous condition!" That the unpaid toil of thirty decades of African slavery in America is at last to be liquidated. That the dead of our people, upon behalf of this land that it might have a BIRTH, and having it might not PERISH FROM THE EARTH, did not die in vain. That, in their passage from earth, heroes—MARTYRS—in a superlative sense they were seen and marked of the Father; were accorded a place of record in the pages of the great WHITE BOOK with golden seals, in the up worlds; above the stars and beyond the flaming suns.
IT IS A HISTORY—
That will be read with instruction and benefit by thousands of whites, but, and mark well this suggestion, it is one that should be OWNED AND READ BY EVERY NEGRO IN THE LAND.
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Mechanically; that is to say, in those features that reflect the finished artistic achievement of the Print, Picture and Binding art; as seen in the bold clear type of its text, its striking and beautiful illustrations, its illuminating title heads of division and chapter; indicating at a glance the information to follow; the whole appealing to the aesthetic; the sticklers for the rare and beautiful; not overlooking its superb binding, it is most pleasing to the sight, and worthy of the title it bears.
HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE GREAT WORLD WAR
SPIRITUAL EMANCIPATION OF NATIONS.
THE MARCH OF CIVILIZATION—WORLD SHOCKS TO STIR THE WORLD HEART—FALSE DOCTRINES OF THE HUN—THE IRON HAND CONCEALED—THE WOBLD BEGINS TO AWAKEN—GERMAN DESIGNS REVEALED—RUMBLINGS IN ADVANCE OF THE STORM—TRAGEDY THAT HASTENED THE DAY—TOLSTOY'S PROPHECY—VINDICATION OF NEGRO FAITH IN PROMISES OF THE LORD—DAWN OF FREEDOM FOR ALL RACES.
The march of civilization is attended by strange influences. Providence which directs the advancement of mankind, moves in such mysterious ways that none can sense its design or reason out its import. Frequently the forces of evil are turned to account in defeating their own objects. Great tragedies, cruel wars, cataclysms of woe, have acted as enlightening and refining agents. Out of the famines of the past came experiences which inculcated the thrift and fore-handedness of today.
Out of man's sufferings have come knowledge and fortitude. Out of pain and tribulation, the attribute of sympathy—the first spiritual manifestation instrumental in elevating the human above the beast. Things worth while are never obtained without payment of some kind.
Individual shocks stir the individual heart and conscience. Great world shocks are necessary to stir the world conscience and heart; to start those movements to right the wrongs in the world. So long as peace reigned commerce was uninterrupted, and the acquisition of wealth was not obstructed, men cared little for the intrigues and ambitions of royalty. If they sensed them at all, they lulled themselves into a feeling of security through the belief that progress had attained too far, civilization had secured too strong a hold, and democracy was too firmly rooted for any ordinary menace to be considered.
So insidious and far reaching had become the inculcation of false philosophies summed up in the general term Kultur, that the subjects of the autocratic-ridden empires believed they were being guided by benign influences. Many enlightened men; at least it seems they must have been enlightened, in Germany and Austria—men who possessed liberated intellects and were not in the pay of the Kulturists—professed to believe that despotism in the modern world could not be other than benevolent.
The satanic hand was concealed in the soft glove; the cloven hoof artistically fitted into the military boot; the tail carefully tucked inside the uniform or dress suit; fiendish eyes were taught to smile and gleam in sympathy and humor, or were masked behind the heavy lenses of professorial dignity; the serpent's hiss was trained to song, or drowned in crashing chords and given to the world as a sublime harmony.
Suddenly the world awoke! The wooing harmony had changed to a blast of war; the conductor's baton had become a bayonet; the soft wind instrument barked the rifle's tone; its notes were bullets that hissed and screamed; tinkling cymbals sounded the wild blare of carnage, and sweet-throated horns of silver and brass bellowed the cannon's deadly roar.
Civilization was so shocked that for long the exact sequence of events was not comprehended. It required time and reflection to clear away the brain benumbing vapors of the dream; to reach a realization that liberty actually was tottering on her throne. German propagandists had been so well organized, and so effectively did they spread their poison; especially in the western world that great men; national leaders were deceived, while men in general were slow to get the true perspective; much later than those at the seat of government.
A few far-seeing men had been alive to the German menace. Some English statesmen felt it in a vague way, while in France where the experience of 1870-71, had produced a wariness of all things German, a limited number of men with penetrating, broadened vision, had beheld the fair exterior of Kaiserism, even while they recognized in the background, the slimy abode of the serpent. For years they had sounded the warning until at last their feeble voices attracted attention.
France, with her traditions of Napoleon, Moreau, Ney, Berthier and others, with rare skill set about the work of perfecting an army under the tutelage and direction of Joffre and Foch. The defense maintained by its army in the earlier part of the struggle provided the breathing space required by the other allies. All through the struggle the staying power of the French provided example and created the necessary morale for the co-operating Allied forces, until our own gallant soldiers could be mustered and sent abroad for the knockout blow.
As is usual where conspiracies to perform dark deeds are hatched a clew or record is left behind. In spite of Germany's protestations of innocence, her loud cries that the war was forced upon her, there is ample evidence that for years she had been planning it; that she wanted it and only awaited the opportune time to launch it. It was a gradual unearthing and examination of this evidence that at length revealed to the world the astounding plot.
It is not necessary to touch more than briefly the evidence of Germany's designs, and the intrigues through which she sought world domination and the throttling of human liberty. The facts are now too well established to need further confirmation. The ruthless manner in which the Kaiser's forces prosecuted the war, abandoning all pretense of civilization and relapsing into the most utter barbarism, is enough to convince anyone of her definite and well prepared program, which she was determined to execute by every foul means under the sun.
She had skillfully been laying her lines and building her military machine for more than forty years. As the time approached for the blow she intended to strike, she found it difficult to conceal her purposes. Noises from the armed camp—bayings of the dogs of war—occasionally stirred the sleeping world; an awakening almost occurred over what is known as the Morocco incident.
On account of the weakness of the Moroccan government, intervention by foreign powers had been frequent. Because of the heavy investment of French capital and because the prevailing anarchy in Morocco threatened her interests in Algeria, France came to be regarded as having special interests in Morocco. In 1904 she gained the assent of Britain and the cooperation of Spain in her policy. Germany made no protest; in fact, the German Chancellor, von Bulow, declared that Germany was not specially concerned with Moroccan affairs. But in 1905 Germany demanded a reconsideration of the entire question.
France was forced against the will of her minister of foreign affairs, Delcasse, to attend a conference at Algeciras. That conference discussed placing Morocco under international control, but because France was the only power capable of dealing with the anarchy in the country, she was left in charge, subject to certain Spanish rights, and allowed to continue her work. The Germans again declared that they had no political interests in Morocco.
In 1909, Germany openly recognized the political interests of France in Morocco. In 1911 France was compelled by disorders in the country to penetrate farther into the interior. Germany under the pretext that her merchants were not getting fair treatment in Morocco, reopened the entire question and sent her gunboat Panther, to Agadir on the west coast of Africa, as if to establish a port there, although she had no interests in that part of the country. France protested vigorously and Britain supported her.
Matters came very close to war. But Germany was not yet ready to force the issue. Her action had been simply a pretext to find out the extent to which England and France were ready to make common cause. She recalled her gunboat and as a concession to obtain peace, was permitted to acquire some territory in the French Congo country. But German newspapers and German political utterances showed much bitterness. Growling and snarling grew apace in Germany, and to those who made a close study of the situation it became evident that Germany sooner or later intended to launch a war.
One of the characteristic German utterances of the time, came from Albrect Wirth, a German political writer of standing, in close touch with the thought and aims of his nation. The utterance about to be quoted may, in the light of later events, appear indiscreet, as Germany wished to avoid an appearance of responsibility for the world war; but the minds of the German people had to be prepared and this could not be accomplished without some of the writers and public men letting the cat out of the bag. Wirth said:
"Morocco is easily worth a big war, or several. At best—and even prudent Germany is getting to be convinced of this—war is only postponed and not abandoned. Is such a postponement to our advantage? They say we must wait for a better moment. Wait for the deepening of the Kiel canal, for our navy laws to take full effect. It is not exactly diplomatic to announce publicly to one's adversaries, 'To go to war now does not tempt us, but three years hence we shall let loose a world war'—No; if a war is really planned, not a word of it must be spoken; one's designs must be enveloped in profound mystery; then brusquely, all of a sudden, jump on the enemy like a robber in the darkness." The heavy footed German had difficulty in moving with the stealth of a robber, but the policy here recommended was followed.
In 1914, the three years indicated by Wirth had expired. There began to occur dark comings and goings; mysterious meetings and conferences on the continent of Europe. The German emperor, accompanied by the princes and leaders of the German states, began to cruise the border and northern seas of the Fatherland, where they would be safe from listening ears, prying eyes, newspapers, telephones and telegraphs. It became known that the Kaiser was cultivating the weak-minded Russian czar in an attempt to win his country from its alliance with England and France. There were no open rumblings of war, but the air was charged with electricity like that preceeding a storm.
An unaccountable business depression affected pretty much the entire world. Money, that most sensitive of all things, began to show nervousness and a tendency to go into hiding. The bulk of the world was still asleep to the real meaning of events, but it had begun to stir in its dreams, as if some prescience, some premonition had begun to reach it even in its slumbers.
Finally the first big event occurred—the tragedy that was not intended to accomplish as much, but which hastened the dawn of the day in which began the Spiritual Emancipation of the governments of earth. The Archduke Francis Ferdinand, nephew of the emperor of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and commander in chief of its army, and his wife the duchess of Hohenburg, were assassinated June 28, 1914, by a Serbian student, Gavrio Prinzip. The assassination occurred at Sarajevo in Bosnia, a dependency, or rather, a Slavic state that had been seized by Austria. It was the lightning flash that preceeded the thunder's mighty crash.
Much has been written of the causes which led to the tragedy. Prinzip may have been a fanatic, but he was undoubtedly aided in his act by a number of others. The natural inference immediately formed was that the murder was the outcome of years of ill feeling between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, due to the belief of the people in the smaller state, that their aspirations as a nation were hampered and blocked by the German element in the Austrian empire. The countries had been on the verge of war several years before over the seizure of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria, and later over the disposition of Scutari and certain Albanian territory conquered in the Balkan-Turkish struggle.
Events are coming to light which may place a new construction on the causes leading to the assassination at Sarajevo. It was undoubtedly the pretext sought by Germany for starting the great war. Whether it may not have been carefully planned to serve that object and the Serbian Prinzip, employed as a tool to bring it about, is not so certain.
Several years prior to the war, the celebrated Russian, Tolstoy, gave utterance to a remarkable prophecy. Tolstoy was a mystic, and it was not unusual for him to go into a semi-trance state in which he professed to peer far into the future and obtain visions of things beyond the ken of average men. The Russian czar was superstitious and it is said that the German emperor had a strong leaning towards the mystic and psychic. In fact, it has been stated that the Kaiser's claim to a partnership with The Almighty was the result of delusions formed in his consultations with mediums—the modern descendants of the soothsayers of olden times.
Tolstoy stated that both the Czar and the Kaiser desired to consult with him and test his powers of divination. The three had a memorable sitting. Some time afterwards the results were given to the world. Tolstoy predicted the great war, and he stated his belief that the torch which would start the conflagration would be lighted in the Balkans about 1913.
Tolstoy was not a friend of either Russian or German autocracy, hence his seance may have been but a clever ruse to discover what was in the minds of the two rulers. Germany probably was not ready to start the war in 1913, but there is abundant warrant for the belief that she was trimming the torch at that time, and, who knows, the deluded Prinzip may have been the torch.
The old dotard Francis Joseph who occupied the throne of Austria-Hungary, was completely under the domination of the Germans. He could be relied upon to further any designs which the Kaiser and the German war lords might have.
The younger man, Francis Ferdinand, was not so easy to handle as his aged uncle. Accounts agree that he was arrogant, ambitious and had a will of his own. He was unpopular in his country and probably unpopular with the Germans. Being of the disposition he was, it is very likely that the Kaiser found it difficult to bend him completely to his will. Being a stumbling block in the way of German aims, is it not reasonably probable that Germany desired to get rid of him, thus leaving Austria-Hungary completely in the power of its tool and puppet, Francis Joseph, and in the event of his death, in the power of the young and suppliant Karl; another instrument easily bent to the German will?
The wife of the archduke, assassinated with him, was a Bohemian, her maiden name being Sophie Chotek. She was not of noble blood as Bohemia had no nobles. They had been driven out of the country centuries before and their titles and estates conferred on indigent Spanish and Austrian adventurers. Not being of noble birth, she was but the morgantic wife of the Austrian heir. Titles were afterwards conferred upon her. She was made a countess and then a duchess. Some say she had been an actress; not unlikely, for actresses possessed an especial appeal to Austrian royalty. The cruel Hapsburgs rendered dull witted and inefficient by generations of inbreeding, were fascinated by the bright and handsome women of the stage. At any rate, Sophie Chotek belonged to that virile, practical race Bohemians, (also called Czechs) that gave to the world John Huss, who lighted the fires of religious and civil liberty in Central Europe, giving advent later to the work of Martin Luther.
Bohemians had always been liberty-loving. They had been anxious for three centuries to throw off the yoke of Austria. There is no record that Sophie Chotek sympathized with the aims of her countrymen or that she was not in complete accord with the views of her husband and the political interests of the empire. But the experiences of the Germans and Austrians had taught them that a Bohemian was likely to remain always a Bohemian and that his freedom-loving people would not countenance plans having in view the enslavement of other nations. The Germans may have looked with suspicion upon the Bohemian wife of the archduke and thought it advisable to remove her also.
Prinzip was thrown into prison and kept there until he died. No statement he may have made ever had a chance to reach the world. No one knows whether he was a German or a Serbian tool. He does not seem to have been an anarchist; neither does he seem to have been of the type that would commit such a crime voluntarily, knowing full well the consequences. It is not hard to believe that he was under pay and promised full protection.
Probably no Bohemian considers Sophie Chotek a martyr; indeed, the evidence is strong that she was not. Her heart and soul probably were with her royal spouse. But an interesting outcome is, that her assassination, a contributing cause to the war, finally led to the downfall of Germany, the wreck of Austria, the freedom of her native country, and that Spiritual Emancipation of nations and races, then so gloriously under way.
Also, to the thoughtful and philosophic observer of maturing symptoms transpiring continuously in the affairs of mankind; the fate of those nations of earth that in their strength and arrogance mock the Master, furnish a striking corroborative vindication of the Negro's faith in the promises of the Lord; the glory and power of His coming. From the date, reckoning from moment and second, that Gavrio Prinzip done to death the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his duchess, there commenced not alone a new day, a new hope and Emancipation of the whites of earth; empire kingdom, principality and tribe, but of the blacks; the Negro as well, so mysteriously; bewilderingly, moves God His wonders to perform.
It was that subliminated faith in the ubiquity and omniscience of God; the unchangeableness of His word; than which the world has witnessed; known nothing finer; the story of the concurrent causes that projected the Negro into the World War, from whence he emerged covered with glory, followed by the plaudits of mankind, that became the inspiration of this work—his story of devotion, valor and patriotism; of unmurmuring sacrifice; worthy the pens of the mighty, but which the historian, as best he may will tell: "NOTHING extenuate, nor set down AUGHT in malice."
HANDWRITING ON THE WALL
Likened to Belshazzar—The Kaiser's Feasts—In His Heart Barbaric Pride of the Potentates of Old—German Madness for War—Insolent Demands—Forty-eight Hours to Prevent a World War—Comment of Statesmen and Leaders—The War Starts—Italy Breaks Her Alliance—Germanic Powers Weighed and Found Wanting—Spirit Wins Over Materialism—Civilization's Lamp Dimmed but not Darkened.
Belshazzar of Babylon sat at a feast. Very much after the fashion of modern kings they were good at feasting in those olden days. The farthest limits of the kingdom had been searched for every delight and delicacy. Honeyed wines, flamingo's tongues, game from the hills, fruits from vine and tree, spices from grove and forest, vegetables from field and garden, fish from stream and sea; every resource of Mother Earth that could contribute to appetite or sensual pleasure was brought to the king's table. Singers, minstrels, dancers, magicians, entertainers of every description were summoned to the palace that they might contribute to the vanity of the monarch, and impress the onlooking nations about him.
He desired to be known and feared as the greatest monarch on earth; ruling as he did over the world's greatest city. His triumphs had been many. He had come to believe that his power proceeded directly from the god Bel, and that he was the chosen and anointed of that deity.
This was the period of his prime; of Babylon's greatest glory; his kingdom seemed so firmly established he had no thought it could be shaken. But misleading are the dreams of kings; his kingdom was suddenly menaced from without, by Cyrus of Persia, another great monarch. There were also dangers from within, but courtiers and flatterers kept this knowledge from him. Priests of rival gods had set themselves up within the empire; spies from without and conspirators within were secretly undermining the power of the intrenched despot.
Such was Belshazzar in his pride; such his kingdom and empire. And, so it was, this was to be an orgy that would set a record for all time to come.
Artists and artisans of the highest skill had been summoned to the work of beautifying the enormous palace; its gardens and grounds, innumerable slaves furnishing the labor. The gold and silver of the nation was gathered and beaten into ornaments and woven into beautiful designs to grace the occasion. There was a profusion of the most gorgeous plumage and richest fabrics, while over all were sprinkled in unheard of prodigality, the rarest gems and jewels. It was indeed to be a fitting celebration of the glory of Bel, and the power and magnificence of his earthly representative; heathen opulence, heathen pride and sensuality were to outdo themselves.
The revel started at a tremendous pace. No such wines and viands ever before had been served. No such music ever had been heard and no such dancers and entertainers ever before had appeared, but, fool that he was, he had reckoned without his host; had made a covenant with Death and Hell and had known it not, and the hour of atonement was upon him; the handwriting on the wall of the true and outraged God, conveyed the information; short and crisp, that he had been weighed; he and his kingdom in the balance and found wanting; the hour—his hour, had struck; the time of restitution and atonement long on the way, had come; Babylon was to fall—FELL!—and for twenty-five centuries its glory and its power has been a story that is told; its magnificence but heaps of sand in the desert where night birds shriek and wild beasts find their lair.
In the Kaiser's heart was the same barbaric pride, the same ambition, the same worship of a false god and the same belief that he was the especial agent of that deity.
His extravagances of vision and ambition were no less demoralizing to humanity and civilization, than those that brought decay and ruin to the potentates of old. He graced them with all the luxury and exuberance that modern civilization, without arousing rebellious complaint among his subjects, would permit. His gatherings appeared to be arranged for the bringing together of the bright minds of the empire, that there might be an exchange of thought and sentiment that would work to the good of his country and the happiness of the world. Frequently ministers, princes and statesmen from other countries were present, that they might become acquainted with the German idea—its kultur—working for the good of humanity.
Here was The Beast mentioned in Revelations, in a different guise; wearing the face of benevolence and clothed in the raiment of Heaven. There were feasts of which the German people knew nothing, and to which foreign ambassadors were not invited. At these feasts the wines were furnished by Belial. They were occasions for the glorification of the German god of war; of greed and conquest; ambition and vanity; without pity, sympathy or honor.
Ruthless, vain, arrogant minds met the same qualities in their leader. Some knew and welcomed the fact that the devil was their guest of honor; perhaps others did not know it. Deluded as they all were and blinded by pride and self-seeking, the same handwriting that told Belshazzar of disaster was on the wall, but they could not or would not see it. There was no Daniel to interpret for them.
German madness for war asserted itself in the ultimatum sent by Austria to Serbia after the assassination at Sarajevo. Sufficient time had hardly elapsed for an investigation of the crime and the fixing of the responsibility, before Austria made a most insolent demand upon Serbia.
The smaller nation avowed her innocence of any participation in the murder; offered to make amends, and if it were discovered that the conspiracy had been hatched on Serbian soil, to assist in bringing to justice any confederates in the crime the assassin may have had.
With a war likely to involve the greater part of Europe hanging on the issue, it was a time for cool judgment, sober statesmanship and careful action on all sides. Months should have been devoted to an investigation.
But Germany and Austria did not want a sober investigation. They were afraid that while it was proceeding the pretext for war might vanish. As surmised above, they also may have feared that the responsibility for the act would be placed in quarters that would be embarrassing to them.
On July 23, 1914, just twenty-five days after the murder, Austria delivered her demands upon Serbia and placed a time limit of forty-eight hours for their acceptance. With the fate of a nation and the probable embroiling of all Europe hanging on the outcome, forty-eight hours was a time too brief for proper consideration. Serbia could hardly summon her statesmen in that time. Nevertheless the little country, realizing the awful peril that impended, and that she alone would not be the sufferer, bravely put aside all selfish considerations and practically all considerations of national pride and honor.
The records show that every demand which Austria made on Serbia was granted except one, which was only conditionally refused. Although this demand involved the very sovereignty of Serbia—her existence as a nation—the government offered to submit the matter to mediation or arbitration. But Austria, cats-pawing for Germany, did not want her demands accepted. The one clause was inserted purposely, because they knew it could not be accepted. With Serbia meeting the situation honestly and going over ninety percent of the way towards an amicable adjustment, the diplomacy that could not obtain peace out of such a situation, must have been imbecile or corrupt to the last degree.
An American historian discussing causes in the early stages of the war, said:
"The German Imperial Chancellor pays no high compliment to the intelligence of the American people when he asks them to believe that 'the war is a life-and-death struggle between Germany and the Muscovite races of Russia', and was due to the royal murders at Sarajevo.
"To say that all Europe had to be plunged into the most devastating war of human history because an Austrian subject murdered the heir to the Austrian throne on Austrian soil in a conspiracy in which Serbians were implicated, is too absurd to be treated seriously. Great wars do not follow from such causes, although any pretext, however trivial, may be regarded as sufficient when war is deliberately sought.
"Nor is the Imperial Chancellor's declaration that 'the war is a life-and-death struggle between Germany and the Muscovite races of Russia' convincing in the slightest degree. So far as the Russian menace to Germany is concerned, the Staats-Zeitung is much nearer the truth when its editor, Mr. Ridder, boasts that 'no Russian army ever waged a successful war against a first-class power.'
"The life-and-death struggle between Germany and the Muscovite races of Russia is a diplomatic fiction invented after German Autocracy, taking advantage of the Serbian incident, set forth to destroy France. It was through no fear of Russia that Germany violated her solemn treaty obligations by invading the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg. It was through no fear of Russia that Germany had massed most of her army near the frontiers of France, leaving only six army corps to hold Russia in check. Germany's policy as it stands revealed by her military operations was to crush France and then make terms with Russia. The policy has failed because of the unexpected resistance of the Belgians and the refusal of Great Britain to buy peace at the expense of her honor."
A nearer and equally clear view is expressed for the French by M. Clemenceau, who early in the war said:
"For twenty-five years William II has made Europe live under the weight of a horrible nightmare. He has found sheer delight in keeping it in a state of perpetual anxiety over his boastful utterances of power and the sharpened sword.
"Five threats of war have been launched against us since 1875. At the sixth he finds himself caught in the toils he had laid for us. He threatened the very springs of England's power, though she was more than pacific in her attitude toward him.
"For many years, thanks to him, the Continent has had to join in a giddy race of armaments, drying up the sources of economic development and exposing our finances to a crisis which we shrank from discussing. We must have done with this crowned comedian, poet, musician, sailor, warrior, pastor; this commentator absorbed in reconciling Hammurabi with the Bible, giving his opinion on every problem of philosophy, speaking of everything, saying nothing." M. Clemenceau summed up the Kaiser as "another Nero; but Rome in flames is not sufficient for him—he demands the destruction of the universe."
The Socialist, Upton Sinclair, speaking at the time, blamed Russia as well as Germany and Austria. He also inclined to the view that the assassination at Sarajevo was instigated by Austria. He said:
"I assert that never before in human history has there been a war with less pretense of justification. It is the supreme crime of the ages; a blow at the very throat of civilization. The three nations which began it, Austria, Russia and Germany, are governed, the first by a doddering imbecile, the second by a weak-minded melancholic, and the third by an epileptic degenerate, drunk upon the vision of himself as the war lord of Europe. Behind each of These men is a little clique of blood-thirsty aristocrats. They fall into a quarrel among themselves. The pretext is that Serbia instigated the murder of the heir apparent to the Austrian throne. There is good reason far believing that as a matter of fact this murder was instigated by the war party in Austria, because the heir apparent had democratic and anti-military tendencies. First they murder him and then they use his death as a pretext for plunging the whole of civilization into a murderous strife."
Herman Ridder, editor of the Staats-Zeitung of New York contributed a German-American view. Mr. Ridder saw the handwriting on the wall and he very soundly deprecated war and pictured its horrors. But he could not forget that he was appealing to a large class that held the German viewpoint. He therefore found it necessary to soften his phrase with some hyphenated sophistry. He dared not say that Germany was the culprit and would be the principal sufferer. His article was:
"Sooner or later the nations engaged in war will find themselves spent and weary. There will be victory for some, defeat for others, and profit for none. There can hardly be any lasting laurels for any of the contending parties. To change the map of Europe is not worth the price of a single human life. Patriotism should never rise above humanity.
"The history of war is merely a succession of blunders. Each treaty of peace sows the seed of future strife.
"War offends our intelligence and outrages our sympathies. We can but stand aside and murmur 'The pity of it all. The pity of it all.'
"War breeds socialism. At night the opposing hosts rest on their arms, searching the heavens for the riddle of life and death, and wondering what their tomorrow will bring forth. Around a thousand camp fires the steady conviction is being driven home that this sacrifice of life might all be avoided. It seems difficult to realize that millions of men, skilled by years of constant application, have left the factory, the mill, or the desk to waste not only their time but their very lives and possibly the lives of those dependent on them to wage war, brother against brother.
"The more reasonable it appears that peace must quickly come, the more hopeless does it seem. I am convinced that an overwhelming majority of the populations of Germany, England and France are opposed to this war. The Governments of these states do not want war.
"War deals in human life as recklessly as the gambler in money.
"Imagine the point of view of a commanding general who is confronted with the task of taking a fortress; 'That position will cost me five thousand lives; it will be cheap at the price, for it must be taken.'
"He discounts five thousand human lives as easily as the manufacturer marks off five thousand dollars for depreciation. And so five thousand homes are saddened that another flag may fly over a few feet of fortified masonry. What a grim joke for Europe to play upon humanity."
There were not wanting those to point out to Mr. Ridder that the sacrifice of life could have been avoided had Germany and its tool Austria, played fair with Serbia and the balance of Europe. Also, his statement that the government of Germany did not want the war has been successfully challenged from a hundred different sources.
H. G. Wells, the eminent English author, contributed a prophecy which translated very plainly the handwriting on the wall. He said:
"This war is not going to end in diplomacy; it is going to end diplomacy.
"It is quite a different sort of war from any that have gone before. At the end there will be no conference of Europe on the old lines, but a conference of the world. It will make a peace that will put an end to Krupp, and the spirit of Krupp and Kruppism and the private armament firms behind Krupp for evermore."
Austria formally declared war against Serbia, July 28, 1914. During the few days intervening between the dispatch of the ultimatum to Serbia and the formal declaration of war, Serbia and Russia, seeing the inevitable, had commenced to mobilize their armies. On the last day of July, Germany as Austria's ally, issued an ultimatum with a twelve hour limit demanding that Russia cease mobilization. They were fond of short term ultimatums. They did not permit more than enough time for the dispatch to be transmitted and received, much less considered, before the terms of it had expired. Russia demanded assurances from Austria that war was not forthcoming and it continued to mobilize. On August 1, Germany declared war. France then began to mobilize.
Germany invaded the duchy of Luxemburg and demanded free passage for its troops across Belgium to attack France at that country's most vulnerable point. King Albert of Belgium refused his consent on the ground that the neutrality of his country had been guaranteed by the powers of Europe, including Germany itself, and appealed for diplomatic help from Great Britain. That country, which had sought through its foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, to preserve the peace of Europe, was now aroused. August 4, it sent an ultimatum to Germany demanding that the neutrality of Belgium be respected. As the demand was not complied with, Britain formally declared war against Germany.
Italy at that time was joined with Germany and Austria in what was known as the Triple Alliance. But Italy recognized the fact that the war was one of aggression and held that it was not bound by its compact to assist its allies. The sympathies of its people were with the French and British. Afterwards Italy repudiated entirely its alliance and all obligations to Germany and Austria and entered the war on the side of the allies. Thus the country of Mazzini, of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel, ranged itself on the side of emancipation and human rights.
The refusal of Italy to enter a war of conquest was the first event to set the balance of the world seriously thinking of the meaning of the war. If Italy refused to join its old allies, it meant that Italy was too honorable to assist their purposes; Italy knew the character of its associates. When it finally repudiated them altogether and joined the war on the other side, it was a terrific indictment of the Germanic powers, for Italy had much more to gain in a material way from its old alliance. It simply showed the world that spirit was above materialism; that emancipation was in the air and that the lamp of civilization might be dimmed but could not be darkened by the forces of evil.
MILITARISM AND AUTOCRACY DOOMED.
GERMANY'S MACHINE—HER SCIENTIFIC ENDEAVOR TO MOLD SOLDIERS—INFLUENCE ON THOUGHT AND LIVES OF THE PEOPLE—MILITARISM IN THE HOME—THE STATUS OF WOMAN—FALSE THEORIES AND FALSE GODS—THE SYSTEM ORDAINED TO PERISH—WAR'S SHOCKS—AMERICA INCLINES TO NEUTRALITY—GERMAN AND FRENCH TREATMENT OF NEUTRALS CONTRASTED—EXPERIENCES OF AMERICANS ABROAD AND ENROUTE HOME—STATUE OF LIBERTY TAKES ON NEW BEAUTY—BLOOD OF NEGRO AND WHITE TO FLOW.
Those who had followed the Kaiser's attitudes and their reflections preceeding the war in the German military party, were struck by a strange blending of martial glory and Christian compunction. No one prays more loudly than the hypocrite and none so smug as the devil when a saint he would be.
During long years the military machine had been under construction. Human ingenuity had been reduced to a remarkable state of organization and efficiency. One of the principal phases of Kultur was the inauguration of a sort of scientific discipline which made the German people not only soldiers in the field, but soldiers in the workshop, in the laboratory and at the desk. The system extended to the schools and universities and permeated the thought of the nation. It particularly was reflected in the home; the domestic arrangements and customs of the people. The German husband was the commander-in-chief of his household. It was not that benevolent lordship which the man of the house assumes toward his wife and family in other nations. The stern note of command was always evident; that attitude of "attention!" "eyes front!" and unquestioning obedience.
German women always were subordinate to their husbands and the male members of their families. It was not because the man made the living and supported the woman. Frequently the German woman contributed as much towards the support of the family as the males; it was because the German male by the system which had been inculcated into him, regarded himself as a superior being and his women as inferiors, made for drudgery, for child-bearing, and for contributors to his comforts and pleasures. His attitude was pretty much like that of the American Indian towards his squaw.
Germany was the only nation on earth pretending to civilization in which women took the place of beasts of burden. They not only worked in the fields, but frequently pulled the plow and other implements of agriculture. It was not an uncommon sight in Germany to see a woman and a large dog harnessed together drawing a milk cart. When it became necessary to deliver the milk the woman slipped her part of the harness, served the customer, resumed her harness and went on to the next stop. In Belgium, in Holland and in France, women delivered the milk also, but the cart always was drawn by one or two large dogs or other animals and the woman was the driver. In Austria it was a strange sight to foreigners, but occasioned no remark among the people, to see women drawing carts and wagons in which were seated their lords and masters. Not infrequently the boss wielded a whip.
The pride of the German nation was in its efficient workmen. Friends of the country and its system have pointed to the fact of universal labor as its great virtue; because to work is good. Really, they were compelled to work. Long hours and the last degree of efficiency were necessary in order to meet the requirements of life and the tremendous burdens of taxation caused by the army, the navy, the fortifications and the military machine in general; to say nothing of the expense of maintaining the autocratic pomp of the Kaiser, his sons and satellites. Every member of the German family had his or her task, even to the little three-year-old toddler whose business it was to look after the brooms, dust rags and other household utensils. There was nothing of cheerfulness or even of the dignity of labor about this. It was hard, unceasing, grinding toil which crushed the spirits of the people. It was part of the system to cause them to welcome war as a diversion.
To the German mind everything had an aspect of seriousness. The people took their pleasures seriously. On their holidays, mostly occasions on which they celebrated an event in history or the birthday of a monarch or military hero, or during the hours which they could devote to relaxation, they gathered with serious, stolid faces in beer gardens. If they danced it was mostly a cumbersome performance. Generally they preferred to sit and blink behind great foaming tankards and listen to intellectual music. No other nation had such music. It was so intellectual in itself that it relieved the listeners of the necessity of thinking. There was not much of melody in it; little of the dance movement and very little of the lighter and gayer manifestations of life. It has been described as a sort of harmonious discord, typifying mysterious, tragic and awe-inspiring things. The people sat and ate their heavy food and drank their beer, their ears engaged with the strains of the orchestra, their eyes by the movements of the conductor, while their tired brains rested and digestion proceeded.
To the average German family a picnic or a day's outing was a serious affair. The labor of preparation was considerable and then they covered as much of the distance as possible by walking in order to save carfare. In the parade was the tired, careworn wife usually carrying one, sometimes two infants in her arms. The other children lugged the lunch baskets, hammocks, umbrellas and other paraphernalia. At the head of the procession majestically marched the lord of the outfit, smoking his cigar or pipe; a suggestion of the goose-step in his stride, carrying nothing, except his dignity and military deportment. With this kind of start the reader can imagine the good time they all had.
MILITARISM AND AUTOCRACY DOOMED Joy to the German mind in mass was an unknown quantity. The literature on which they fed was heavier and more somber than their music. When the average German tried to be gay and playful he reminded one of an elephant trying to caper. Their humor in the main, manifested itself in coarse and vulgar jests.
For athletics they had their turn vereins in which men went through hard, laborious exercises which made them muscle-bound. Their favorite sports were hunting and fencing—the desire to kill or wound. They rowed some but they knew nothing of baseball, boxing, tennis, golf or the usual sports so popular with young men in England, France and America. Aside from fencing, they had not a sport calculated to produce agility or nimbleness of foot and brain.
Their emotions expanded and their sentiments thrilled at the spectacle of war. Uniforms, helmets and gold lace delighted their eyes. The parade, the guard mount, the review were the finest things they knew. To a people trained in such a school and purposely given great burdens that they might attain fortitude, war was second nature. They welcomed it as a sort of pastime.
In the system on which Kultur was based, it was necessary to strike deeply the religious note; no difference if it was a false note. The German ear was so accustomed to discord it could not recognize the true from the false. The Kaiser was heralded to his people as a deeply religious man. In his public utterances he never failed to call upon God to grant him aid and bless his works.
One of the old traditions of the Fatherland was that the king, being specially appointed by God, could do no wrong. To the thinking portion of the nation this could have been nothing less than absurd fallacy, but where the majority do not think; if a thing is asserted strongly and often enough, they come to accept it. It becomes a belief. The people had become so impressed with the devoutness of the Kaiser and his assumption of Divine guidance, that the great majority of them believed the kaiser was always right; that he could do no wrong. When the great blow of war finally was struck the Kaiser asked his God to look down and bless the sword that he had drawn; a prayer altogether consistent coming from his lips, for the god he worshipped loved war, was a god of famine, rapine and blood. From the moment of that appeal, military autocracy and absolute monarchy were doomed. It took time, it took lives, it took more treasure than a thousand men could count in a lifetime. But the assault had been against civilization, on the very foundation of all that humanity had gained through countless centuries. The forces of light were too strong for it; would not permit it to triumph.
The President of the United States, from the bedside of his dying wife, appealed to the nations for some means of reaching peace for Europe. The last thoughts of his dying helpmate, were of the great responsibility resting upon her husband incident to the awful crisis in the lives of the nations of earth, that was becoming more pronounced with each second of time.
The Pope was stricken to death by the great calamity to civilization. A few minutes before the end came he said that the Almighty in His infinite mercy was removing him from the world to spare him the anguish of the awful war.
The first inclination of America was to be neutral. She was far removed from the scenes of strife and knew little of the hidden springs and causes of the war. Excepting in the case of a few of her public men; her editors, professors and scholars, European politics were as a sealed book. The president of the United States declared for neutrality; that individual and nation should avoid the inflaming touch of the war passion. We kept that attitude as long as was consistent with national patience and the larger claims of HUMANITY and universal JUSTICE.
As an evidence of our lack of knowledge of the impending conflict, a party of Christian men were on the sea with the humanitarian object in view of attending a world's peace conference in Constance, Germany—Germany of all places, then engaged in trying to burn up the world. Arriving in Paris, the party received its first news that a great European war was about to begin. Steamship offices were being stormed by crowds of frantic American tourists. Martial law was declared. The streets were alive with soldiers and weeping women. Shops were closed, the clerks having been drafted into the army. The city hummed with militarism.
Underneath the excitement was the stern, stoic attitude of the French in preparing to meet their old enemy, combined with their calmness in refraining from outbreaks against German residents of Paris. One of the party alluding to the incongruous position in which the peace delegates found themselves, said:
"It might be interesting to observe the unique and almost humorous situation into which these peace delegates were thrown. Starting out a week before with the largest hope and most enthusiastic anticipation of effecting a closer tie between nations, and swinging the churches of Christendom into a clearer alignment against international martial attitudes, we were instantly 'disarmed,' bound, and cast into chains of utter helplessness, not even feeling free to express the feeblest sentiment against the high rising tide of military activity. We were lost on a tempestuous sea; the dove of peace had been beaten, broken winged to shore, and the olive branch lost in its general fury."
Describing conditions in Paris on August 12, he says:
"We are in a state of tense expectation, so acute that it dulls the senses; Paris is relapsing into the condition of an audience assisting at a thrilling drama with intolerably long entr'acts, during which it tries to think of its own personal affairs.
"We know that pages of history are being rapidly engraved in steel, written in blood, illuminated in the margin with glory on a background of heroism and suffering, not more than a few score miles away.
"The shrieking camelots (peddlers) gallop through the streets waving their news sheets, but it is almost always news of twenty-four hours ago. The iron hand of the censor reduces the press to a monotonous repetition of the same formula. Only headlines give scope for originality. Of local news there is none. There is nothing doing in Paris but steady preparation for meeting contingencies by organizing ambulances and relief for the poor."
From the thousands of tales brought back by American tourists caught in Germany at the outbreak of the war, there is more than enough evidence that they were not treated with that courtesy manifested towards them by the French. They were arrested as spies, subjected to all sorts of embarrassments and indignities; their persons searched, their baggage and letters examined, and frequently were detained for long periods without any explanation being offered. When finally taken to the frontier, they were not merely put across—frequently they were in a sense thrown across.
Nor were the subjects of other nations, particularly those with which Germany was at war, treated with that fine restraint which characterized the French. Here is an account by a traveller of the treatment of Russian subjects:
"We left Berlin on the day Germany declared war against Russia. Within seventy-five miles of the frontier, 1,000 Russians in the train by which they were travelling were turned out of the carriage and compelled to spend eighteen hours without food in an open field surrounded by soldiers with fixed bayonets.
"Then they were placed in dirty cattle wagons, about sixty men, women and children to a wagon, and for twenty-eight hours were carried about Prussia without food, drink or privacy. In Stettin they were lodged in pig pens, and next morning were sent off by steamer to Rugen, whence they made their way to Denmark and Sweden without money or luggage. Sweden provided them with food and free passage to the Russian frontier. Five of our fellow-passengers went mad."
The steamship Philadelphia—note the name, signifying brotherly love, so completely lost sight of in the conflict—was the first passenger liner to reach America after the beginning of the European war. A more remarkable crowd never arrived in New York City by steamship or train. There were men of millions and persons of modest means who had slept side by side on the journey over; voyagers with balances of tens of thousands of dollars in banks and not a cent in their pocketbooks; men able and eager to pay any price for the best accommodations to be had, yet satisfied and happy sharing bunks in the steerage.
There were women who had lost all baggage and had come alone, their friends and relatives being unable to get accommodations on the vessel. There were children who had come on board with their mothers, with neither money nor reservations, who were happy because they had received the very best treatment from all the steamship's officers and crew and because they had enjoyed the most comfortable quarters to be had, surrendered by men who were content to sleep in most humble surroundings, or, if necessary, as happened in a few cases, to sleep on the decks when the weather permitted.
Wealthy, but without funds, many of the passengers gave jewelry to the stewards and other employees of the steamship as the tips which they assumed were expected even in times of stress. The crew took them apologetically, some said they were content to take only the thanks of the passengers. One woman of wealth and social position, without money, and having lost her check book with her baggage, as had many others of the passengers, gave a pair of valuable bracelets to her steward with the request that he give them to his wife. She gave a hat—the only one she managed to take with her on her flight from Switzerland—to her stewardess.
The statue of Liberty never looked so beautiful to a party of Americans before. The strains of the Star Spangled Banner, as they echoed over the waters of the bay, were never sweeter nor more inspiring. As the Philadelphia approached quarrantine, the notes of the American anthem swelled until, as she slowed down to await the coming of the physicians and customs officials, it rose to a great crescendo which fell upon the ears of all within many hundred yards and brought an answering chorus from the throngs who waited to extend their hands to relatives and friends.
There was prophecy in the minds of men and women aboard that ship. Some of them had been brought into actual contact with the war; others very near it. In the minds of all was the vision that liberty, enlightenment and all the fruits of progress were threatened; that if they were to be saved, somehow, this land typified the spirit of succor; somehow the aid was to proceed from here.
Liberty never had a more cherished meaning to men of this Republic. In the minds of many the conviction had taken root, that if autocracy and absolute monarchy were to be overthrown; that "government of the people, by the people, for the people" should "not perish from the earth," it would eventually require from America that supreme sacrifice in devotion and blood that at periods in the growth and development of nations, is their last resort against the menace of external attack, and, regardless of the reflections of theorists and philosophers, the best and surest guarantee of their longevity; that the principles upon which they were builded were something more than mere words, hollow platitudes, meaning nothing, worthy of nothing, inspiring nothing. It was the dawning of a day; new and strange in its requirements of America whose isolation and policy, as bequeathed by the fathers, had kept it aloof from the bickerings and quarrels of the nations that composed the "Armed Camp" of Europe, during which, as subsequent events proved, the blood of the Caucasian and the Negro would upon many a hard fought pass; many a smoking trench in the battle zone of Europe, run together in one rivulet of departing life, for the guarantee of liberty throughout all the earth, and the establishment of justice at its uttermost bounds and ends.
AWAKENING OF AMERICA
PRESIDENT CLINGS TO NEUTRALITY—MONROE DOCTRINE AND WASHINGTON'S WARNING—GERMAN CRIMES AND GERMAN VICTORIES—CARDINAL MERCIER'S LETTER—MILITARY OPERATIONS—FIRST SUBMARINE ACTIVITIES—THE LUSITANIA OUTRAGE—EXCHANGE OF NOTES—UNITED STATES AROUSED—ROLE OF PASSIVE ONLOOKER BECOMES IRKSOME—FIRST MODIFICATION OF PRINCIPLES OF WASHINGTON AND MONROE—OUR DESTINY LOOMS.
August 4,1914, President Wilson proclaimed the neutrality of the United States. A more consistent attempt to maintain that attitude was never made by a nation. In an appeal addressed to the American people on August 18th, the president implored the citizens to refrain from "taking sides." Part of his utterance on that occasion was:
"We must be impartial in thought as well as in action, must put a curb upon our sentiments as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another.
"My thought is of America. I am speaking, I feel sure, the earnest wish and purpose of every thoughtful American that this great country of ours, which is, of course, the first in our thoughts and in our hearts, should show herself in this time of peculiar trial a nation fit beyond others to exhibit the fine poise of undisturbed judgment, the dignity of self-control, the efficiency of dispassionate action; a nation that neither sits in judgment upon others, nor is disturbed in her own counsels, and which keeps herself fit and free to do what is honest and disinterested and truly serviceable for the peace of the world."
American poise had been somewhat disturbed over the treatment of American tourists caught in Germany at the outbreak of the war. American sentiment was openly agitated by the invasion of Belgium and the insolent repudiation by Germany of her treaty obligations. The German chancellor had referred to the treaty with Belgium as "a scrap of paper." These things had created a suspicion in American minds, having to do with what seemed Germany's real and ulterior object, but in the main the people of this county accepted the president's appeal in the spirit in which it was intended and tried to live up to it, which attitude was kept to the very limit of human forbearance.
A few editors and public men, mostly opposed to the president politically, thought we were carrying the principle of neutrality too far; that the violation of Belgium was a crime against humanity in general and that if we did not at least protest against it, we would be guilty of national stultification if not downright cowardice. Against this view was invoked the time-honored principles of the Monroe Doctrine and its great corollary, Washington's advice against becoming entangled in European affairs. Our first president, in his farewell address, established a precept of national conduct that up to the time we were drawn into the European war, had become almost a principle of religion with us. He said:
"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government—Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concern. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities."
The Monroe Doctrine was a statement of principles made by President Monroe in his famous message of December 2, 1823. The occasion of the utterance was the threat by the so-called Holy Alliance to interfere forcibly in South America with a view to reseating Spain in control of her former colonies there. President Monroe, pointing to the fact that it was a principle of American policy not to intermeddle in European affairs, gave warning that any attempt by the monarchies of Europe "to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere" would be considered by the United States "as dangerous to our peace and safety." This warning fell in line with British policy at the time and so proved efficacious.
In a later section of the same message the proposition was also advanced that the American continent was no longer subject to colonization. This clause of the doctrine was the work of Monroe's secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, and its occasion was furnished by the fear that Russia was planning to set up a colony at San Francisco, then the property of Spain, whose natural heir on the North American continent, Adams held, was the United States. It is this clause of the document that has furnished much of the basis for its subsequent development.
In 1902 Germany united with Great Britain and Italy to collect by force certain claims against Venezuela. President Roosevelt demanded and finally, after threatening to dispatch Admiral Dewey to the scene of action, obtained a statement that she would not permanently occupy Venezuelan territory. Of this statement one of the most experienced and trusted American editors, avowedly friendly to Germany, remarked at the time, that while he believed "it was and will remain true for some time to come, I cannot, in view of the spirit now evidently dominant in the mind of the emperor and among many who stand near him, express any belief that such assurances will remain trustworthy for any great length of time after Germany shall have developed a fleet larger than that of the United States." He accordingly cautioned the United States "to bear in mind probabilities and possibilities as to the future conduct of Germany, and therefore increase gradually our naval strength." Bismarck pronounced the Monroe Doctrine "an international impertinence," and this has been the German view all along.
Dr. Zorn, one of the most conservative of German authorities on international affairs, concluded an article in Die Woche of September 13, 1913, with these words: "Considered in all its phases, the Monroe Doctrine is in the end seen to be a question of might only and not of right."
The German government's efforts to check American influence in the Latin American states had of late years been frequent and direct. They comprised the encouragement of German emigration to certain regions, the sending of agents to maintain close contact, presentation of German flags in behalf of the Kaiser, the placing of the German Evangelical churches in certain South American countries under the Prussian State Church, annual grants for educational purposes from the imperial treasury at Berlin, and the like.
The "Lodge resolution," adopted by the senate in 1912, had in view the activities of certain German corporations in Latin America, as well as the episode that immediately occasioned it; nor can there be much doubt that it was the secret interference by Germany at Copenhagen that thwarted the sale of the Danish West Indies to the United States in 1903.
In view of a report that a Japanese corporation, closely connected with the Japanese government, was negotiating with the Mexican government for a territorial concession off Magdalena Bay, in lower California, the senate in 1912 adopted the following resolution, which was offered by Senator Lodge of Massachusetts:
"That when any harbor or other place in the American continent is so situated that the occupation thereof for naval or military purposes might threaten the communications or the safety of the United States, the government of the United States could not see without grave concern, the possession of such harbor or other place by any corporation or association which has such a relation to another government, not American, as to give that government practical power of control for naval or military purposes."
All of the above documents, arguments and events were of the greatest importance in connection with the great European struggle. America was rapidly awakening, and the role of a passive onlooker became increasingly irksome. It was pointed out that Washington's message said we must not implicate ourselves in the "ordinary vicissitudes" of European politics. This case rapidly was assuming something decidedly beyond the "ordinary." As the carnage increased and outrages piled up, the finest sensibilities of mankind were shocked and we began to ask ourselves if we were not criminally negligent in our attitude; if it was not our duty to put forth a staying hand and use the extreme weight of our influence to stop the holocaust.
From August 4 to 26, Germany overran Belgium. Liege was occupied August 9; Brussels, August 20, and Namur, August 24. The stories of atrocities committed on the civil population of that country have since been well authenticated. At the time it was hard to believe them, so barbaric and utterly wanton were they. Civilized people could not understand how a nation which pretended to be not only civilized, but wished to impose its culture on the remainder of the world, could be so ruthless to a small adversary which had committed no crime and desired only to preserve its nationality, integrity and treaty rights.
Germany did not occupy Antwerp until October 9, owing to the stiff resistance of the Belgians and engagements with the French and British elsewhere. But German arms were uniformly victorious. August 21-23 occurred the battle of Mons-Charleroi, a serious defeat for the French and British, which resulted in a dogged retreat eventually to a line along the Seine, Marne and Meuse rivers.
The destruction of Louvain occurred August 26, and was one of the events which inflamed anti-German sentiment throughout the world. The beautiful cathedral, the historic cloth market, the library and other architectural monuments for which the city was famed, were put to the torch. The Belgian priesthood was in woe over these and other atrocities. Cardinal Mercier called upon the Christian world to note and protest against these crimes. In his pastoral letter of Christmas, 1914, he thus pictures Belgium's woe and her Christian fortitude:
"And there where lives were not taken, and there where the stones of buildings were not thrown down, what anguish unrevealed! Families hitherto living at ease, now in bitter want; all commerce at an end, all careers ruined; industry at a standstill; thousands upon thousands of workingmen without employment; working women; shop girls, humble servant girls without the means of earning their bread, and poor souls forlorn on the bed of sickness and fever crying: 'O Lord, how long, how long?'—God will save Belgium, my brethren; you can not doubt it. Nay, rather, He is saving her—Which of us would have the heart to cancel this page of our national history? Which of us does not exult in the brightness of the glory of this shattered nation? When in her throes she brings forth heroes, our mother country gives her own energy to the blood of those sons of hers. Let us acknowledge that we needed a lesson in patriotism—For down within us all is something deeper than personal interests, than personal kinships, than party feeling, and this is the need and the will to devote ourselves to that most general interest which Rome termed the public thing, Res publica. And this profound will within us is patriotism."
Meanwhile there was a slight offset to the German successes. Russia had overrun Galicia and the Allies had conquered the Germany colony of Togoland in Africa. But on August 26 the Russians were severely defeated in the battle of Tannenburg in East Prussia. This was offset by a British naval victory in Helgoland Bight. (August 28.)
So great had become the pressure of the German armies that on September 3 the French government removed from Paris to Bordeaux. The seriousness of the situation was made manifest when two days later Great Britain, France and Russia signed a treaty not to make peace separately. Then it became evident to the nations of the earth that the struggle was not only to be a long one, but in all probability the most gigantic in history.