THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR
History of the European War from Official Sources
Complete Historical Records of Events to Date, Illustrated with Drawings, Maps, and Photographs
What the War Means to America Major General Leonard Wood, U.S.A.
Naval Lessons of the War Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, U.S.N.
The World's War Frederick Palmer
Theatres of the War's Campaigns Frank H. Simonds
The War Correspondent Arthur Ruhl
Francis J. Reynolds Former Reference Librarian of Congress
Allen L. Churchill Associate Editor, The New International Encyclopedia
Francis Trevelyan Miller Editor in Chieft, Photographic History of the Civil War
P. F. Collier & Son Company New York
THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR
Introductions Special Articles Causes of War Diplomatic and State Papers
P . F . Collier & Son . New York
Copyright 1916 By P. F. Collier & Son
WHAT THE WAR MEANS TO AMERICA. By Major General Leonard Wood, U. S. A. 9
NAVAL LESSONS OF THE WAR. By Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, U. S. N. 17
THE WORLDS WAR. By Frederick Palmer 31
THE THEATRES OF THE WAR'S CAMPAIGNS. By F. H. Simonds 83
THE WAR CORRESPONDENT. By Arthur Ruhl 113
PART I.—INDIRECT CAUSES OF THE WAR—POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF EUROPE FROM 1866 TO 1914, WITH A CHAPTER ON THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF JAPAN
I. Germany 126
II. Austria-Hungary 142
III. Russia 148
IV. France 159
V. England 172
VI. Italy 188
VII. Belgium 197
VIII. Japan 200
IX. The Neutral States—Portugal and Spain 203
X. Sweden, Norway, Holland, Luxemburg 208
XI. Summary of Political History 212
PART II.—THE BALKANS
XII. The Balkan Peoples 215
XIII. Bulgaria 224
XIV. War with Serbia 230
XV. Work of Stambuloff 234
XVI. Attempts at Reform in Macedonia 238
XVII. Crisis in Turkey 244
XVIII. Formation of the Balkan League 248
XIX. First and Second Balkan Wars 252
PART III.—DIRECT CAUSES OF THE WAR
XX. Assassination of Franz Ferdinand—Austria's Ultimatum 258
XXI. Serbia's Reply 265
XXII. Diplomatic Exchanges 270
XXIII. Preparation for War 279
XXIV. Territorial and Geographical Comparisons 286
XXV. Assembling of the German Armies 292
XXVI. French Mobilization 297
XXVII. Britain—Russia—Austria 304
PART IV.—DIPLOMATIC PAPERS RELATING TO THE ORIGIN OF THE WAR, COLLATED FROM THE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS
List of Official Documents 313
List of Sovereigns and Diplomats 315
Important Dates Preceding the War 325
Warnings of Hostile Intentions 328
Report of M. Cambon in 1913 335
The Assassination of the Austrian Archduke 341
Attempts at Mediation 356
The Austro-hungarian Note to Serbia 362
Text of the Note 366
Controversy Over Time Limit 369
Chronological Arrangement of Dates 370
Serbia's Reply to the Austro-Hungarian Note 394
Beginning of Mobilization 401
Kaiser and Czar Exchange Telegrams 438
Henry of Prussia and George V 451
Sir Edward Grey Refuses Terms of Neutrality 455
Further Exchanges Between William and Nicholas 461
Russia Explains Her Efforts for Peace 482
German Declaration of Intentions Toward Belgium 487
Serbia's Position Explained 488
Von Bethmann-Hollweg Explains Germany's Position in The Reichstag 498
Sir Edward Goschen's Interview with Von Jagow 502
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
King George and King Albert Inspecting Belgian Troops Frontispiece
George V, King of Great Britain and Emperor of India 46
M. Raymond Poincare, President of France 78
Nicholas II, Emperor of All the Russias 142
Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia 206
Franz Josef I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary 270
Albert I, King of Belgium 318
King Peter of Serbia 382
Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy 446
LIST OF MAPS
Conflicting Interests of the Great Powers in Europe, Africa and Asia (Colored Map) Front Insert
Europe in Twelfth Century, Historical Map 137
Europe in 1648-1789, Historical Map 150
Europe in 1793-1815, Historical Map 193
Balkan States Before the First Balkan War 217
Balkans After the Second Balkan War 254
Austria, 1815-1914 264
Poland and Its Divisions from 1772-1914 277
Armies of the Contesting Nations 293
Navies of the Contesting Nations 298
German-French Frontier, Fortresses of 303
German Confederation of 1815 307
German-Belgian Frontier, Strategic Railroads on 311
WHAT THE WAR MEANS TO AMERICA
By MAJOR GENERAL LEONARD WOOD, U. S. A.
"Go yourselves, every man of you, and stand in the ranks and either a victory beyond all victories in its glory awaits you, or falling you shall fall greatly, and worthy of your past."—DEMOSTHENES TO THE ATHENIANS.
What lesson will America draw from the present Great War? Must she see the heads of her own children at the foot of the guillotine to realize that it will cut, or will she accept the evidence of the thousands which have lain there before? Will she heed the lesson of all time, that national unpreparedness means national downfall, or will she profit from the experience and misfortunes of others and take those needed measures of preparedness which prudence and wisdom dictate. In a word, will she draw any valuable lessons from the Great War? This is the question which is so often asked. As yet there is no answer.
It is the question uppermost in the minds of all those who are intelligently interested in our country's welfare and safety. It is the question which vitally concerns all of us, as it concerns the defense and possibly the very existence of our nation. The answer must be "Preparedness." If we are to live, preparedness to oppose the force of wrong with the strength of right. Will it be? That's the question! Or will America drift on blind to the lessons of the world tragedy, heedless of consequences, concerned with the accumulation of wealth, satiated with a sense of moral worth which the world does not so fully recognize, planning to capture the commerce of the warring nations, and expecting at the same time to retain their friendship and regard. Let us hope that, in the light of what is, and as a preparation against what may be, the answer will be characteristic of a great people, peaceful but prudent and foreseeing; that it will be thorough, carefully thought-out preparedness; preparedness against war. A preparedness which if it is to be lasting and secure must be founded upon the moral organization of our people; an organization which will create and keep alive in the heart of every citizen a sense not only of obligation for service to the nation in time of war or trouble, but also of obligation to so prepare himself as to render this service effective. An organization which will recognize that the basic principle upon which a free democracy or representative government rests, and must rest, if they are to survive the day of stress and trouble, is, that with manhood suffrage goes manhood obligation for service, not necessarily with arms in hand, but for service somewhere in that great complex mass which constitutes the organization of a nation's might and resources for defense; organization which will make us think in terms of the nation and not those of city, State, or personal interest; organization which will result in all performing service for the nation with singleness of purpose in a common cause—preparedness for defense: preparedness to discharge our plain duty whatever it may be. Such service will make for national solidarity, the doing away with petty distinctions of class and creed, and fuse the various elements of this people into one homogeneous mass of real Americans, and leave us a better and a stronger people.
Once such a moral organization is accomplished, the remaining organization will be simple. This will include an organization of transportation, on land and sea, and of communications. An organization of the nation's industrial resources so that the energy of its great manufacturing plants may be promptly turned into making what they can best make to supply the military needs of the nation. By military needs we mean all the complex requirements of a nation engaged in war, requirements which are, many of them, requirements of peace as well as of war. It will also include a thorough organization of the country's chemical resources and the development thereof, so that we may be as little dependent as possible upon materials from oversea. At present many important and essential elements come from oversea nations and would not be available in case of loss of sea control. We must devise substitutes or find means of making these things. Chemistry is one of the great weapons of modern war. There must also be organization which will provide a regular army organized on sound lines, supplied with ample reserves of men and material; an army adequate to the peace needs of the nation, which means, among other things, the secure garrisoning of our oversea possessions, including the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands. These latter are the key to the Pacific, and one of the main defenses of the Pacific Coast and of the Panama Canal. Whoever holds these islands will dominate the trade routes of the Pacific, and in a large measure the Pacific itself.
The regular army should also be sufficient for the secure holding and safeguarding of the Panama Canal, an instrument of war of the greatest importance, so long as it is in our control, greatly increasing the value of our navy, and an implement of commerce of tremendous value, a possession so valuable and of such vital importance to us that we cannot allow it to lie outside our secure grasp.
It must also be adequate to provide garrisons in Porto Rico and Alaska, and at the same time maintain in the continental United States a force of coast artillery sufficient to furnish the necessary manning details for our seacoast defenses, and a mobile force complete in every detail and adequate in time of war to meet the first shock of an invasion and sufficient in time of peace to meet the various demands made upon it for home service, such as troops for home emergencies or disorders, troops for the necessary training of the National Militia, also sufficient officers and noncommissioned officers for duty at schools, colleges, military training camps and in various other capacities. It must be also strong enough to provide a strong expeditionary force, such as we sent to Cuba in 1898, without interfering with its regular duties.
The necessity of building and maintaining an adequate navy, well balanced, thoroughly equipped and maintained at the highest standard of efficiency and ready always for immediate service, with necessary adjuncts afloat and ashore, is also one of the clear lessons of the war; others are the establishment of ammunition plants at points sufficiently remote from the seacoast, and so placed as to render their capture and destruction improbable in case of sudden invasion; the provision of an adequate reserve corps of 50,000 officers, a number sufficient for one and one-half million of citizen soldiers; officers well trained and ready for immediate service; the provision of adequate supplies and reserve supplies of artillery, arms, and ammunition of all types for these troops.
We must also build up a system under which officers and men for our citizen soldiery can be trained with the minimum of interference with their educational or industrial careers, under conditions which will permit the accomplishment of their training during the period of youth, and once this is accomplished will permit their return to their normal occupations with the minimum of delay.
The lesson which we should draw from the Great War is that nothing should be left to chance or to the promise of others, or to the fair-weather relations of to-day; that we should be as well prepared, and as well organized on land as Switzerland, a nation without a trace of militarism, and yet so thoroughly prepared and so thoroughly ready and able to defend herself that to-day her territory is inviolate, although she is surrounded by warring nations.
Belgium to-day is an illustration of what may be expected from lack of adequate preparedness.
The great outstanding lesson of the war is that we must not trust to righteousness and fair dealing alone; we must be prepared to play our part, and while loving justice and dealing fairly with others, we must be always ready to do our full duty, and to defend our country with force if need be. If we do not, we shall always be helpless and at the mercy of our enemies. We can be strong, yet tolerant, just, yet prepared to defend ourselves against aggression.
Another lesson is that our military establishment on land and sea should not be dependent upon a system of militia and volunteers. These will not be found adequate under the conditions of modern war, and above all we should appreciate the fact that our military system must be founded upon equality of service, rich and poor alike. We must while extending equality of privilege to all, including the thousands who are coming to us every day, insist upon equality of obligation by all. With the privileges of citizenship must go the obligations and responsibilities not only in peace but also in war.
We should take heed of the lessons of the past, and remember that the volunteer system has always failed us in our wars. Such experience as we have had in war in recent years has in no way prepared us for a war with a first-class nation prepared for war. We have never engaged in such a war unaided. This experience is one which is still before us. We should look upon service for the nation in the same way as we look upon the payment of taxes, or the compliance with the thousand and one laws and regulations which govern our everyday life.
Relatively few people would voluntarily pay taxes even though they knew the money was to go to the best of purposes. They pay taxes because the law requires it. The people as a whole cannot be expected, nor can we with safety trust to their performing their military duties effectively, unless some general system of equal service for all who are physically fit, is prescribed, some system which will insure preparation in advance of war, some system which will bear upon all alike. The volunteer spirit is superb, but the volunteer system is not a dependable system to which to trust the life and security of the people, especially in these days when the highest degree of organization marks all nations with whom we may possibly have some day differences which will result in the use of force. The militia, willing as it is, cannot be depended upon as a reliable military asset. Its very method of control makes it an undependable force, and at times unavailable. The men and officers are not at fault; they have done all that could be expected under a system which renders efficiency almost impossible of attainment. The militia must be absolutely and completely transferred to Federal control; it must cease to be a State and become a Federal force, without any relationship whatever with the State.
The militia must have thoroughly trained reserves sufficient in number to bring it promptly to war strength. The infantry of the National Guard, as in the regular army, is maintained on a peace footing at rather less than half its maximum strength.
For a number of years we have been confronted by conditions which may involve the use of a considerable force of troops, a force exceeding the regular army and perhaps even the regular army in conjunction with the militia. This means that a thousand or more men would have to be added to each regular and National Guard infantry regiment to bring it to full strength. In the National Guard only a small proportion of the men have had long service and thorough training, and if brought to full strength through the injection of a thousand practically untrained men it would mean these regiments would go to the front with not over 30 per cent of well-trained men. In other words, they would be military assemblages of well-meaning, but undisciplined and untrained individuals, and unless we are to repeat the experiences of '98 it will be necessary to hold them for several months in camp and put them through a course of the most intensive training. It is probable that if they are called it will be under an emergency which will not permit such training, and we shall see again the scenes of '98, untrained, willing boys, imperfectly equipped under inexperienced officers, rushed to the front, willing but a more or less useless sacrifice.
Another great lesson should be to heed no longer those false prophets who have been proclaiming that the day of strife has passed, and that everything is to be settled by arbitration; prophets of the class who obstructed preparation in England, who decried universal military training, and all but delivered her into the hands of her enemies.
"Our culture must, therefore, not omit the arming of the man. Let him hear in season that he is born into a state of war, and that the commonwealth and his own well-being require that he should not go dancing in the weeds of peace; but warned, self-collected, and neither defying nor dreading the thunder; let him take both reputation and life in his hands, and with perfect urbanity dare the gibbet and the mob by the absolute truth of his speech and rectitude of his behavior."—EMERSON.
NAVAL LESSONS OF THE WAR
By REAR ADMIRAL AUSTIN M. KNIGHT, U. S. N.
Although the greatest war in history is not yet at an end, and none of us can even guess when the end will come, it is possible to draw certain very important conclusions from the developments to date, especially in so far as these developments are concerned with war upon the sea. The great sea fight for which the world has looked since its two greatest naval powers went to war against each other has not taken place. It may never take place, although both sides profess that they are eager for it. And until it does take place, the final word will not be spoken as to the relations between guns and armor, between battleships and battle cruisers, or between either of these types of "capital" ships on the one hand, and the destroyer and submarine on the other.
The submarine has proven its power, it is true, and against the battleship; but always where the element of surprise has entered into its attack in quite a different fashion from that which is inherent in its always mysterious and stealthy nature. The battle cruiser has shown the value of speed and long-range guns combined, but in a comparatively restricted field. The destroyer has played a part in coast patrol and has doubtless accounted for a number of submarines; but in its proper sphere of activity it has accomplished nothing. And the wonderful achievements of the airship have been practically confined to operations on land. We have waited vainly and shall continue so to wait for the one supreme lesson which the war has been expected to yield, unless it chance that on some day to be forever memorable in the annals of the world there shall sweep out upon the stormy waters of the North Sea two fleets complete in every type of craft that human ingenuity has thus far contrived, to engage in a struggle to the death—a struggle by which the issue of the war may be decided in an hour, and in a fashion incomparably more dramatic than anything which the warfare on land, with all its horrors, has presented or by any possibility can present.
Pending this one great lesson, what is it that the war has taught?
First of all, it has taught once more the old, old lesson that has been taught by practically every war in which sea power has been a factor, that where this element is a factor, it is a factor of decisive importance. The British navy may not win the war for England, but it is every day more apparent that if the British navy did not exist, or if it dominated the sea less decisively than it does, the cause for which England stands would be a lost cause. And the extraordinary feature of the situation is that the navy is accomplishing its mission by merely existing. Thus far the "Grand Fleet" has not struck a blow. From its position on the English coast it looks across to the mouth of the Kiel Canal, and—waits! Its patrols are always on guard, the coasts which it defends are never threatened, and the commerce which trusts to its protection comes and goes with practically no thought of danger. For several months during the submarine campaign against commerce, something like one-half of one per cent of the merchant vessels bound to and from the ports of England were sunk. But no industry was crippled for a moment, and neither the necessities nor the luxuries of life were appreciably curtailed. Even at the height of the submarine operations, great transports loaded with troops crossed the English Channel freely, and out of a million and a half of soldiers so transported not a single one was lost. It is safe to say that in any three months since the war began the British navy has repaid the cost of its maintenance for a century in pounds, shillings, and pence; and in the sense of security which its existence and efficiency have imparted to the English people, the return upon the investment has been beyond all calculation.
The first and greatest lesson of the war, then, is this—that the value of an effective navy, when the time comes for it to manifest its effectiveness, is out of all proportion to the sums, vast though these may be, that it has cost; that if it overmatches the opposing navy decisively enough, the country behind it may rest secure and serenely indifferent to the thought of invasion or even of attack, so far as its sea frontier is concerned; and that the navy—still assuming it to be of commanding strength—may accomplish its whole mission of defense without ever being called upon to strike a blow.
It can hardly be necessary to point out the fact that this lesson may be read in terms of "preparedness." The British navy was prepared when the war began; the British army was not. The German army was prepared; the German navy was not—in the sense of being large enough for its mission. With these facts in mind, we have only to look at the contrast between the progress of the war on land and that on the sea to read the whole lesson of preparedness in a form so concrete that it is hard to understand how any observer can fail to grasp its full significance.
Among the minor lessons of the war, it will probably appear to most laymen that the unforeseen effectiveness of the submarine is the most significant. In a way this is true; but the significance of the lesson may be dangerously exaggerated unless we recognize the part contributed to the early successes of the submarine by the element of surprise to which allusion has already been made. When the war began, the submarine was an untried and an almost unknown weapon, and the British navy was rather contemptuous of it, or at least indifferent toward it. Its dramatic appearance in the North Sea at early dawn of a misty September morning was as great a surprise to the three British cruisers which it sank in rapid succession as the story of the disaster was to the world at large. The fact that the cruisers by their carelessness invited the fate which came to them does not, of course, deprive the incident of significance. But after all, the world has never doubted that a submarine could sink a ship that practically insisted upon being sunk.
As a result of this experience, British men-of-war operating thereafter in what they considered submarine territory, took reasonable precautions; and in such waters no other important successes have been scored against them. But neither to them nor, probably, to anyone else except their adversaries, did it occur that a submarine could make its way from the North Sea to the Dardanelles. And so it came about that when one of them appeared there, it found conditions again ideal for surprise, and taking advantage of these conditions delivered its attack and scored a success as striking as the earlier one in its own home waters.
The activities of submarines against merchant shipping we need not discuss here. The only lesson they hold for us, from the point of view of naval warfare, is the lesson that for them, as for all other activities of the submarine, there is an answer. The answer was not ready when the war began, but it was not long delayed. We are apt to think of the submarine as if it always operated under water, and completely under water. But when it is completely under water, it is completely blind and as helpless as other blind things are. To see objects at a distance, it must be on the surface, and to see them even close at hand it must at least expose its periscope. Having definitely located an object within easy range, it may wholly submerge and deliver its torpedo without seeing the target. But the chance of a hit under these conditions is remote. Normally the submarine remains on the surface until it sights an enemy. Having approached as close as seems practicable without danger of being seen itself, it submerges, except for the periscope, and approaches within range, directing its course and its aim, by sight—not by some occult instinct such as is often attributed to it. When within a zone where imminent danger threatens, it may remain wholly submerged for a long period of time, but when so submerged, it is not in any degree a threat to other craft.
In other words, the submarine is dangerous only when it can see. And when it can see, it can be seen—not easily perhaps, but certainly by an observer reasonably close at hand and on the lookout. It is especially liable to detection from an airship. Moreover, the noise of its propellers can be heard at a considerable distance, and a very sensitive microphone has been developed as a submarine detector. The waters about Great Britain are now patrolled by hundreds of small, fast craft—destroyers, trawlers, motor boats—always on the lookout for a periscope or other indication of the proximity of a submarine. If one is actually seen, its capture or destruction follows as a matter of course. If the presence of one is indicated by the microphone or other evidence, such as oil floating on the water, or bubbles rising to the surface, nets are lowered and the water dragged for miles around. It is not known how many submarines have been destroyed by these tactics, but the number is unquestionably large. Thus the submarine is being robbed of much of its mystery and much of its terror, and while it remains, and will always remain, a danger, the lesson of the war is that it must take its place beside other dangers with which modern war is filled, as something to be respected and feared, but not as having rendered the battleship and battle cruiser obsolete.
Another lesson of the war has resulted from the fact that practically all of the important operations on the British side have been conducted by battle cruisers, not by battleships. It is not to be understood from this that the battleship has been discredited, for such is not the case. The fleet to which reference has already been made as holding the gates of the North Sea and "containing" the German fleet behind the fortifications of Helgoland is made up principally of battleships, and it is largely because they have been engaged in this important duty that the few opportunities which the war has offered for active service have fallen to the lot of battle cruisers. But there are other reasons for this which spring from the nature of the battle cruiser itself and inhere in the difference between this type and the battleship. In size the types are practically identical, and in power of armament the difference is not great. But the battle cruiser sacrifices much of the armor by which the battleship is weighted down, and purchases by this sacrifice a great increase in speed. The typical battleship of to-day has some 14 inches of armor on the side; the battle cruiser, from 5 to 9 inches. The battleship has 22 knots speed, the battle cruiser 32 knots. There has been much discussion as to the relative merits of the two types, and conservative officers have been slow to accept the battle cruiser. The war has shown the necessity for both types, and no better illustration of their relative merits could be wished than that which is afforded by the spectacle of the battleships engaged in what is practically a blockade of the German fleet, while the battle cruisers have swept the German raiders, the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and their consorts, from the distant seas which were the chosen field of their operations. Following the destruction of Admiral Cradock's little squadron by the faster and more heavily armed Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the British admiralty dispatched a squadron of battle cruisers to run down the German ships, and in the battle off the Falkland Islands the history of Coronel was repeated with a change of sides, the fast and heavily armed battle cruisers under Admiral Sturdee making short work of the German ships, which they overmatched in speed and range as decisively as the Germans had overmatched the ships of Admiral Cradock's squadron at Coronel. In each case victory went to the ships of high speed and long-range guns, and these two are the determining characteristics of the battle cruiser. In the action of January 25, 1915, in the North Sea, the same characteristics won again. Battle cruisers were engaged on both sides, but the side which had the advantage in speed and range won the fight.
Thus the battle cruiser had justified itself, and its justification is one of the striking lessons of the war. We may believe that the lesson will be emphasized if the time ever comes when this type finds the opportunity to display its adaptability for work in certain other fields for which it was originally designed—in scouting operations, for example, and in flanking movements in connection with a fleet engagement.
It does not appear that aeroplanes were used for scouting in any of the operations in the open sea—either as preliminary to the battle off Coronel and the Falklands, or in the search for raiders like the Emden and the Karlsruhe. They have been used, however, in the waters about the British Islands, and with such marked success as to leave no doubt that they would have been of great value in search operations on a larger scale. They were used also for directing the fire of ships on the fortifications at the Dardanelles, and the results indicate that they have an important field of usefulness for directing the fire of one ship or fleet against another. It is to be expected that from this time forward, vessels fitted for carrying and launching both air and water planes will accompany fleets, and it is impossible to think of a scout to be designed after the lessons of this war, which will not carry several of them. As the scouts are the eyes of the fleet, so the aeroplanes will be the eyes of the scouts, extending the scouting range by several hundred miles and making secrecy of operations at sea almost as impossible as they have already made it on land.
Allusion has already been made to the use of aeroplanes—flying not more than a few hundred feet above the water—for locating submarines; and it is not difficult to understand how effective a waterplane would be for destroying a periscope, or even a submarine itself—this last, perhaps, by dropping a bomb.
The lesson of the torpedo is connected with that of the submarine, but has many features which are individual to itself. It is known that within a very few years past the range and accuracy of the torpedo have greatly increased, but there is little evidence connecting these features with the performance of torpedoes in the present war. So far as known, the submarines have done most of their effective work at short ranges where hits were to be expected. And no one will ever know how many shots have missed. The great outstanding lesson thus far is the extraordinary destructiveness of the torpedoes that have found their mark. It would never have been believed two years ago that ships like the Cressy, Aboukir, and Hogue would turn turtle a few minutes after a single blow from a torpedo. Still less would it have seemed possible to sink a Lusitania in fifteen minutes. A torpedo might, of course, produce an extraordinary effect if it chanced to strike a boiler compartment or a magazine. But it does not appear that this happened in any one of the many disasters in question. It has been said that the German torpedoes carry an exceptionally heavy explosive charge, the extra weight having been gained by a sacrifice in speed and range. This may in part explain their effectiveness, but when all allowance is made for what we know or guess along this and similar lines, the fact remains that the torpedo has shown itself a weapon of vastly greater destructive power than the world has heretofore attributed to it.
The story of the Dardanelles campaign has illustrated again the futility of attacking land fortifications by battleships. Attacks of this kind have never succeeded, and the temptation is strong to accept the theory that in planning these operations the British anticipated little or no resistance from those in command of the forts. It was conceivable that the forts could be passed—as were those at New Orleans and Mobile Bay by Farragut—but not that they could be reduced by the gun fire of ships. Information is lacking as to the damage actually done. It was probably greater than the defenders have admitted; but it evidently fell far short of silencing the forts. If the world needed a new demonstration of the power of forts to stand out against ships, we may put this down as one more lesson of the war.
An important revelation of the war is the smoothness and rapidity with which large bodies of troops, with all their impedimenta—horses, artillery, etc.—have been transported by water. This has, of course, been possible only for Great Britain and her allies, and for them only because they have held unchallenged the command of the sea. It is thus, first of all, a confirmation of the lesson with which this paper opened—the lesson that command of the sea is a factor of the very first importance in any war in which it is a factor at all. It is secondarily a lesson in the ease with which a nation which has command of the sea can, in these days of large fast steamers, transport its military forces in practically unlimited numbers to any distance that may be desired. It is thus an answer to the protestations of those who insist that the United States is secured against the danger of invasion by the thousands of miles of water which separate its coasts from those of possible enemies; for it demonstrates what has, from the day of the first Atlantic crossing by a steamship, become more and more notably a fact—that the oceans which separate frontiers for certain purposes, connect them for other purposes and especially for purposes of transit and transportation. The term "Ocean Highway" is no mere figure of speech. The millions of troops that have passed by water from England into France have made the passage with infinitely less difficulty than has been connected with the further passage by land to the fighting lines; and the hundreds of thousands from England, France, India, and Australia, which have assembled in the Near East could not have covered the distances that they have covered, if they had moved by land, in ten times the number of days they have occupied in moving by sea. The sea being clear of enemy ships, the route from Liverpool to the Dardanelles has been a lane for an easy and pleasant promenade. With the Atlantic and Pacific controlled by the fleets of nations at war with us, their waters would invite, rather than impede, the movement of an army to our shores. It would be difficult to exaggerate the significance of this lesson for the United States.
A rather grewsome lesson, but one which cannot be ignored, is that in a naval battle, there are, at the end, neither "wounded", "missing", nor "prisoners" to be reported. A ship defeated is, and will be, in a great majority of cases, a ship sunk; and sinking, she will sink with all on board. Some few exceptions there may be, but the rule can hardly fail to be as thus stated. One of the first things that a ship does in preparing for battle is to get rid of her boats; and, as both her companions and her opponents are sure to do the same, her crew can neither help themselves nor look for help from friends or enemies. The Good Hope and the Monmouth went down in the battle off Coronel leaving not a single survivor to tell the story of their destruction. Following the battle off the Falkland Islands, the British picked up a few survivors from the German ships, but not enough to contradict the rule. In the running engagement in the North Sea on January 25, 1915, the Bluecher went down with 650 out of 900 of her crew. Scarcely a man was saved from the Cressy, the Aboukir, or the Hogue. And so the story runs, and so it must always run when modern ships fight in earnest.
One of the most striking features of the engagements up to the present time is the range at which they have been fought. A few years ago 10,000 yards was considered the extreme range at which ships would open fire. The ranges used in the Russo-Japanese War varied from 3,000 to 8,000 yards, and the battle off Tsushima was decided at less than 6,000 yards. In the present war the ranges have been nearly three times as great as these. In the battle off Coronel, the Good Hope was sunk at 12,000 yards, the Monmouth at a little less. In the battle off the Falkland Islands, both sides opened fire at 17,000 yards, and the German ships were sunk at approximately 16,000 yards. The running fight in the North Sea opened at 18,000 yards, and the Bluecher was sunk at 15,000 yards. This extraordinary increase in the fighting range corresponds in a measure to an increase in accuracy of fire, but it corresponds also to a new recognition of the enormous advantage which may result from a fortunate hit early in the action. The theoretical advantage which should result from this has been confirmed by practical experience, and it may be regarded as certain that battle ranges hereafter will conform more nearly to those off Coronel than to those of Tsushima.
To summarize: The great outstanding naval lesson of the war is this: That a nation whose navy commands the sea can rest secure, so far as its sea frontier is concerned, from the fear of invasion or of serious attack; that, further, its command of the sea insures to its commerce the freedom of the sea; and that, finally, this freedom extends equally to its armed forces, to which the highways of the sea are opened wide, affording a possibility of offense at distant points which is denied to the forces of the enemy.
Perhaps the lesson second in importance is that, owing to the rapid march of invention in these days of progress, it is to be expected that every war which comes suddenly upon the world will come with certain elements of surprise, some of them startling in their power and effectiveness, some of them giving promise of much and accomplishing comparatively little. However surprising and however effective the best of these may be, they will fall short of revolutionizing warfare, but they may profoundly modify it; and the nation which has them ready for use in the beginning will gain an initial advantage which may go far toward determining the issue of the war.
Lessons of more limited significance have to do with the effectiveness of the submarine and the unexpected radius of action of which it has shown itself capable; the amazing destructive power of the torpedo; the value of the battle cruiser, both for the defense of a coast from raiding expeditions, and for operations in distant seas where speed is needed to bring an enemy to action, and heavy guns to insure his destruction; the difficulty of reducing shore fortifications by fire from ships; the necessity of aeroplanes for scouting at sea, and the modifications in naval strategy and tactics which will result from their general adoption.
After many months of sparring between the British and German naval forces in the North Sea, an important engagement took place on May 31, 1916, between the two main fleets. Exactly what forces were engaged will probably not be known until the end of the war, and it is certain that we must wait long for definitely reliable reports as to the losses on the two sides. It is already clear, however, that the encounter has added little to our knowledge of naval warfare. British battle cruisers engaged German battleships at close range and were badly punished. In this there was nothing new or instructive. Nor has anything new or instructive developed from what is thus far known of other phases of the battle. Indeed the one and only striking feature of the battle appears to be the fact that everything occurred practically as it might have been expected to occur. Neither submarines nor destroyers, neither Zeppelins nor aeroplanes provided any startling features. The only lesson thus far apparent is the old one that while dash and audacity have their place in warfare, they need the directing and steadying hand of judgment and of skill.
THE WORLD'S WAR
By FREDERICK PALMER
In innumerable volumes future generations will learn the details of this war: and the discussions among delving historians will never end. For our time a simpler task is the service set for us. We require a record of the essential facts of the struggle arranged with a sense of historical perspective.
For forty years the great nations of Europe had had universal service. Every able-bodied youth, unless his government chose to excuse him, became a soldier. For forty years the diplomatists had held the balance of power so delicately poised that the mighty armed forces all kept to their own sides of their frontiers. It was in the era of modern invention and man's mastery of material power that these great armies were formed and trained for the war that was to test their steel.
Where Napoleon marched a hundred thousand men along parallel roads, the modern general sends his millions on railroad trains. The problem for each nation when war came was to concentrate with a greater rapidity than its adversary its enormous masses of men and guns against the enemy; and success in this was not due as in former days to speed of foot over good highways such as the Romans and Napoleon built, but to organized railroad and automobile transport or rather the prompt employment of all the industrial resources of the nation for war alone.
Out of the conflicting reports day by day emerge to the observer as he reviews the progress of the war, with the map before him, plans of campaign as simple in their broad lines as in Caesar's or Alexander's day. Generals fighting with a million or two million men under their command have held to the same principles as if they had only ten or fifteen thousand.
All schools of successful warfare have believed in the offensive; in quick decisive blows which take the enemy by surprise and find him unready if possible. They hold that the army in rest must always be beaten by the army which takes the initiative. This partly explains the frequent small actions indicated by the reports of trenches taken in assault along the western front, while the lines occupied by the armies did not radically change. Such actions are the natural expression by any spirited force of its sense of initiative. Unless you sometimes take some of the enemy's trenches, he will be taking yours. By striking him in one section you may prevent him from striking you in another. Von Moltke and the other great German generals were only following in the footsteps of Napoleon when they taught that the offensive should be the first thought of every soldier.
The offensive naturally seeks to flank its adversary. Lieutenant General Winfield Scott once stated that if two lines of men, without any officers, were placed in a field, one line would inevitably try to get around the end of the other. The immensity of the forces, the power and precision of modern armies in defense has lengthened the battle fronts from a mile or a mile and a half in Napoleon's time to hundreds of miles.
It is an old rule, that you cannot break through a battle front, which means that you are thrusting in a wedge which will draw fire on both sides. Pickett tried to break a battle front at Gettysburg. A frontal attack which was no less pitiful in its results was that of the Federals at Fredericksburg. Grant's hammering tactics against Lee succeeded only by the flanking operations of superior numbers.
Strategically, the situation of the Central Powers was extremely strong. Aside from the fact that their preparedness in numbers of trained men, in arms and material, is too well known for mention here, their excellent network of railways enabled them to make rapid concentration. They had what is known as the interior line, which gave Meade his advantage at Gettysburg. Whether the interior line is three miles or a thousand miles long does not affect the principle involved. Interior lines mean quick transportation of reserves from point to point in concentration. It does not matter whether their numbers are hundreds or hundreds of thousands; the advantage is intrinsically the same. Joffre had probably fifteen hundred thousand on the interior line of the Marne. Meade had seventy thousand at Gettysburg.
In keeping with all great plans that of the Central Powers was extremely simple. Austria was to look after Russia. She could mobilize more rapidly than Russia, and her army was counted upon to take the offensive into Russia and deliver a hard blow before the Russian was ready to receive her. Indeed, the Austrian was to attempt in the east what the German attempted in the west. The German army was confident that in any event the slowness of Russian mobilization would give it time for its daring venture in the west. As the French, too, had excellent railroad systems, they also would mobilize rapidly. The full strength of the German army, therefore, was thrown against the French and the little Belgian army of eighty thousand ill trained and equipped men in the first month of the war. By using their interior lines, striking first in the west and then in the east, the Germans were warranted on paper in counting on successes that might have ended the war within the first four or five months.
The frontier of France from Switzerland to Luxemburg, when manned by the large numbers of the French army, became a battle front. There was no room for a flanking operation. German ambition for a decisive and prompt victory over the French army must have room for a turning movement. The Germans made the invasion of Belgium a military necessity for their purpose, which was the destruction of the French army. They had built the great 17-inch mortars for smashing the Belgian fortresses in order to open the gate for the flood which was to sweep southward to Paris. These guns were less practicable for field work or even for trench work, being best against cities and stationary guns in forts.
Thus the German plan of campaign was fully developed the second day of the war. It was no longer a secret to the general public, let alone to the French staff, which recognized that it had to deal with this effort of the German wing to come through Belgium. A French movement into Alsace failed. The public reason given for this was that it was a political demonstration in raising the Tricolor over the "lost provinces" dear to the heart of every Frenchman. Another—a military reason—which would seem a more obvious one to the soldier, was a counteroffensive to draw off the force of the German offensive at Liege and Namur, hoping thus, at least, while Liege and Namur were holding the German right in position, to force the German left to the bank of the Rhine. If you will look at the map you will see that this strategy becomes transparently intelligible.
Thus early in August the French were trying to turn the German left, and the Germans were preparing to turn the French left. Had the Belgians had anything like an adequate army, had it been skillfully handled; had the fortress of Namur held ten days as many thought it would, the German right might have been held long enough to prevent the Germans forcing a battle on the Marne. By the third week of August, however, the Germans had won their first point. They had broken through Namur, so incapably defended. They had broken the French left, put the British to flight, compelling the withdrawal of the French from German Lorraine, and now the war in the west was being waged entirely on French soil.
Technically and strategically the French had been outdone by superior numbers and the incapable defense of Namur, but no decisive battle had been fought. Indeed in a maneuver for positions, the Germans had won. The test was to come on the Marne. Had France been beaten there, she would have been beaten for good. Her army would have been so badly shattered that the Germans would then have been able to have thrown such preponderance of force, in conjunction with the Austrians, against the Russians that Warsaw (and perhaps Petrograd) must have fallen in the first year rather than in the second of the campaign. It would not be going too far to call the Marne the greatest battle in all history, both because of the numbers engaged and the result. Barring a later successful German offensive it decided the fate of France and very likely the fate of the war. All the trench fighting that followed, after all, only nailed down as it were the results of the Marne.
The general public taking its news from the daily press, thinks of the Marne as having been waged mostly in the neighborhood of Paris. It also wonders why the Germans did not go into Paris when they were so near. Any entrance into Paris was of secondary and of superficial consideration. The object of an army is to beat an enemy's army. Had the German army beaten the French on the Marne, then it had plenty of time for its entry into Paris. If it lost the battle, it could not have held Paris.
The fate of Paris was no less decided in eastern France than on the banks of the Marne. Far and away from a spectacular point of view, the most interesting portion of that decisive conflict was among the hills and valleys and woods of Lorraine, where over a front of eighty miles the Bavarians and the French swayed back and forth in fierce pitched battle. For the Bavarians were striking at the French right flank toward the gap of Miracourt and the German Crown Prince was striking in the Argonne at the same time that Von Kluck was striking at the French left. The Bavarians and the crown prince failed, while Von Kluck extended himself too far and was nearly caught in the pincers by Manoury's new army striking on his flank. But the vital, the human, the overwhelming factor was that the French infantry after retreat, when they might have been in confusion and poor heart, held with splendid stubbornness and organization under the protection of the accurate fire from their field batteries of 75's.
It is estimated that the Germans had actually on the front, or within ready reach of the front in the battle of the Marne, 2,500,000 men, while the French had 1,500,000. As the population of France is approximately forty-five million and that of Germany seventy million, the ratio in armed men to population was substantially the same for either combatant. For any decisive offensive the Germans needed that percentage of superior numbers. The fact that they failed carried its own significance.
Though they withdrew they were by no means decisively beaten. It might be said—to give them the fullest benefit of the doubt—that they undertook to buy something and the price was too high. To insist, however, that they did not make their best effort is to imply that the Germans were unwilling to pay the price for that decisive victory which would win the war. They could not take the risk of going too far or pressing too long and too hard; for that might have meant, with the rapid mobilization of French reserves, a defeat that would have thrown them clear out of France and lost the war for them.
The Germans had profited by all the lessons of the Russo-Japanese War, which taught the importance of trenches to modern armies, and also the value of high-explosive shells, but their own expenditure of shells had been far beyond their anticipation, and so far as we can learn, at the Marne they faced a shortage. They lacked the munitions to carry on the battle to a conclusion, even if they possessed the men and the will.
Accepting the principle of the increased power of the defensive of modern armies, they fell back to the defensive line of the Aisne, and now the initiative must be with the French. There followed a movement of precisely the kind characterizing many battles over a smaller front and that was the extension of the line as reserves were brought up by either side.
The French tried to flank the German left but the Germans extended as rapidly as they, until the month of October found both armies resting one flank on the sea and the other on Switzerland. Still another reason for the German withdrawals from the Marne was the loss of the battle of Lublin by the Austrians, due not to the inferiority of the Austrian troops so much as to bad generalship.
The German staff was warranted by the defeat at Lublin in thinking that they might have overestimated the Austrian army and underestimated the Russian. In this case they might face the danger of an invasion of Germany itself from Russia. Owing to the heterogeneous character of the Austrian army with its many races and the many pessimistic prophesies that have been made about the loyalty of the Slav portions of Austria, which were fulfilled it is said by the mutiny of some Slav regiments, it looked as if such apprehensions had been well grounded.
In winning Lublin the Russians had done a distinct service to the French in relieving pressure at the Marne and by their invasion of East Prussia they undertook a service of a similar kind. The advance of the Russian "steam roller" into Prussia so much heralded at the time amounted to little more than an immense raid, as numbers go in the greatest struggle of all history.
It won laurels for Von Hindenburg, a retired general, who became the hero of the war in Germany, again illustrating that in this, as in other wars, the fortune of circumstances and the character of your enemy have much to do with the creation of martial glory. For it is an open question if as a military feat Von Kluck's skillful extrication of his army from the position beyond Paris is not as worthy of praise as Von Hindenburg's clever victory of Tannenberg.
Though the German armies had not been able to gain a decisive victory over the French, they had established themselves on French soil. All the destructive effects of war must be borne by their adversary while they could make use of the regions occupied to supply and feed their troops. They had put the burden of direct economic waste on the French and deprived them of economic supplies, while the psychologic value of driving home to the enemy population the ravages of war is considered important by military leaders.
Nor could the economic advantage be adequately measured by extent of area occupied; for the one-twenty-sixth of the territory of France which was held by the Germans represented far more than one-twenty-sixth of French producing power for war purposes. A nation's true material wealth in peace may be in its farms and vineyards, but in war it is in the coal and steel and machine shops. The "Black Country" of northern France of no interest to the tourist, plays the same part to industrial France that the Pittsburgh region plays to industrial America. Besides, with Lille in German hands, France had lost the income from her export trade in textiles.
As the Russians for lack of transport were not able to follow up their success at Lublin, the succeeding weeks showed it to be far from a decisive victory. The Austrian army soon recovered itself. In comparison with Russia, both Austria and Germany were highly organized industrial nations. They had not only been able to put larger forces into the field at the outset than their adversaries, but they had the resources in guns and rifles, and in the factories for the manufacture of munitions, which enabled them to increase their actual fighting forces faster than their adversaries, and to supply them with larger quantities of munitions.
The German army was established in well-chosen positions in France, which might be impregnable against even forces as superior as three to one; the Austrian army was safely established in front of the Russians. Both the French and the Russians were short of munitions, and particularly of guns of heavier caliber, and of high-explosive shells, which had become most essential in trench warfare. Relatively, the Germans were depending upon their guns to hold the Aisne line, while the Allies were depending upon the flesh and blood of infantry. Germany was rushing every trained man she had to the front and training a million volunteers. Now she could spare troops moved by her efficient railroad system, taking advantage of the interior line for Von Hindenburg to make a drive toward Warsaw, where he repeated the same maneuver, in keeping with German practice of the advance to the Marne. After his drive, he fell back from Warsaw, and intrenched for the winter.
An unskilled garrison of Belgians held Antwerp, which was on the flank of the German forces in Belgium. The fall of this fortress meant the release of a considerable force of Germans, and allowed their heavier concentration toward northwestern France. Having failed to defeat the French at the Marne, which would have dropped not only the ports of Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne, but also Havre, like ripe plums into their basket, the Germans next sought to take Calais, which is twenty-two miles from the coast of England. With Calais went the possession of all Belgium, a strip of northern France, and a foothold on the coast within twenty-two miles of England, and with the free sweep of the Atlantic past the narrow English Channel in front. Von Moltke, the chief of the German staff, who was retired about this time, was said to have still favored the greater conception of a decisive victory over the French army by an attack on Verdun instead of on the Channel ports; and the kaiser's own idea was said to have prevailed against his.
Now the allied armies in the west were to face a test second only to that of the Marne. The British army, which had been in the neighborhood of Soissons, had moved down to the left flank, hoping to assist in a successful turning movement. Their little force was being increased by every reserve that they could muster and arm. From India they brought their native troops, long-service men trained by British officers. These, at a time when every man of any kind was needed, were thrown into the crucible of the coming conflict, which reached its climax during the last days of October in the chill rains and mists of Flanders, with rich fields of a flat country turned into a glutinous mud.
Meanwhile, in a futile attempt, the British rushed small forces of marines to the assistance of the Antwerp garrison. With Antwerp theirs, the Germans were free to concentrate against the Channel ports. Once more the offensive was entirely with them in the west. They even brought into action some of the regiments of volunteers who had been enlisted in August; and following the German system of expending a fresh regiment in a single charge, these new levies were sent in masses to the attack. The Belgians, including those who escaped from Antwerp and from being driven into Holland, rested their left on the sea. Some sixty thousand were all they could muster out of a population of seven millions for the defense of the sliver of country that still remained under their flag. A type of man-of-war which was supposed to be antedated, the monitor, with its low draft and powerful guns was brought into action by the British in protecting the Belgians, who finally saved themselves by flooding their front.
Next to the Belgians was a French army, and next to them the British army, which shared with the French the brunt of the attack in that sector around the old town of Ypres, which was to give its name to the Ypres salient, the bloodiest region of this war, and of any war in the history of Europe.
So far as one can learn, the losses of the British and the French here were about 150,000, and of the Germans, about 250,000. Within the succeeding year, probably another 200,000 men of both sides were killed and wounded in the same locality. At the lowest estimate, 100,000 men have been killed outright in the Ypres salient, without either side gaining any appreciable advantage. British regiments held in the first battle of Ypres in some cases when they had a loss of 80 per cent.
Both Germans and Allies fought in icy water up to their hips. Many who survived succumbed to the cold. Lacking proper artillery support, the British used to cheer when the Germans charged, as that meant the end of shell fire, and they could come to close quarters with the bayonet. Little by little, but grudgingly, they had to yield against that persistent foe. The German staff was at its best in its organized offensive, and the British at their best "sticking," as they call it—and the prize was an arm of salt water, to be all Ally or part German. When the Germans gave up the struggle, they had the advantage of ground and the British stayed where they were. Whether or not the Allies should have evacuated Ypres and the deadly Ypres salient and withdrawn to better strategic positions will ever be a subject of discussion; but the loss of the city at the time would have had a moral effect on the situation of the Allies, and the political consideration may have outweighed the military.
Thus the campaign of the first summer and fall came to an end. The Allies had failed in their hope of keeping the German within his borders; and the German had failed to win any decisive victory which could enforce peace on all or any one of the Allies.
The casualties, on account of the vast numbers engaged, had been staggering. Germany held a small strip of Poland, and about the same amount of territory in France that she was to hold a year later, while Russia held a large section of Galicia. Where the armies had operated, lay broad belts of ruins, destroyed at enormous cost by shell fire. The moralist might well ask if the nations would have entered the war if they could have foreseen the result of their first four months' struggle.
For any adequate understanding of the strategy of the war as a whole, the trench line from Switzerland to Flanders must be extended to the east of England across the North Sea to Iceland. This war has again demonstrated the enormous value of sea power.
Glance at a map of the globe and you will see how small a portion of it is occupied by the great nations of Europe, which for 2,000 years have been the most vital and influential political, commercial, and intellectual force in the world. The present nations are for the most part only the modern expression of the vigorous races which Caesar found and conquered. They have been in continual competition and in frequent wars.
The Russians have had only a little hold on the sea—in the Black Sea and in the Baltic; the Germanic peoples have had the Baltic and the North Sea; France faces the Mediterranean and the Atlantic; and only twenty-two miles from France is the island of Britain and Ireland, and other little islands, or what are known as the British Isles, whose superficial area is less than that of France or Germany.
Look again at the map, at the location of the British Isles and Germany. Mark them in black, if you will, and those two little points represent the two great antagonists in the war. Then turn the globe around slowly, and you come to Canada, stretching from the frontier of the United States to the Arctic, and across the Pacific to Australia and Hongkong, the Straits Settlements and Ceylon, India, and then in Africa, the most valuable of all its area—and you have the dominions and the colonies of the British Empire!
Between Germany and the rest of the world is the British navy. Every German ship which sails the trade routes of the earth must go past the British threshold. Germany, with a rapidly increasing population, with an imperial patriotism which discouraged emigration to foreign countries, wished to extend her domain; she wanted room in which German national ambition could expand.
Through all her history, Britain has had one eye on the continent and one on the seas. Continental affairs concerned her only so far as they meant the rise of any power which might threaten her dominion of the seas. The silver-pewter streak of channel kept her safe from invasion by any continental power, yet she could land troops across the Channel and throw the weight of her forces in the balance when her dominion was threatened. It is her boast that she has always won the "last battle," which is sufficient. She had only 30,000 troops in the allied army under Wellington, which delivered the finishing blow to Napoleon.
Twenty years ago, when the German navy was in its infancy, her policy was one of splendid isolation. France then was the second naval power, and Russia the third. The British naval program was superior to any two continental powers. The increase in German population and in trade and wealth brought with it an increase in the German navy, until Germany, with her ally, Austria, became the threatening continental factor to British security.
Now Britain formed a combination for defense with Russia and France. Her military part was to send 120,000 troops across the Channel to cooperate with the French army against the Germans. She was the only one of the great nations, except the United States, that depended upon a regular army, which was occupied mostly in policing her empire. Aside from her regulars, her only military organization were her Territorials, which were something on the same order as the American National Guard.
The number of men which she could throw across the Channel was therefore insignificant, compared to the great hordes of the European armies. Her real part was command of the sea. She was either to destroy the German navy or make it helpless in interfering with allied trade on the seas. Her Government was Liberal, her people as a whole skeptical of the possibility of a European war. For centuries they had been bred to believe that her security was in her fleet. She had long enjoyed her empire, she possessed immense capital, and her inclination was toward complacency, while Germany's was that of the eager newcomer to power.
The situation in Ireland on account of the passage of the Home Rule Bill had become so strained that many people believed civil war to be inevitable. The conviction of the German Ambassador in London, as well as most German observers, was that Britain would not actually enter the war, when the test came. Upon her decision, it is now evident, depended the fate of Europe. With England out, the French army could not have saved France. For then, Germany could have had the freedom of the seas. Her navy would have sent the French into harbor, closing not only every French, but every Russian port to the entrance of supplies and munitions, which would have meant food scarcity in France, and utter scarcity of munitions in Russia.
German troops could have landed in France to the rear of the French army. The whole complexion of the war would have been changed. So well laid were their plans, so sure were they of their numbers of men and guns, which they could promptly concentrate, that there seems little question of the ability of the Central Powers to have crushed France in the first three months of the war, and then to have won a decisive victory over Russia, bringing home from either country great indemnities, and, with Germany, if she choose, annexing northern France and Belgium.
Thus the Central Powers would have established themselves so strongly as the dominant nations of Europe, that Germany with her seventy millions of people could have directed her energy as the next step in her career against the Mistress of the Seas.
Had Belgium not been invaded, it is questionable if the British public would have favored joining in the war. But this aroused public indignation to the breaking point in support of the war members of the cabinet. Sir Edward Grey, the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, had his way.
The British navy was as thoroughly prepared for an emergency as the German army. It had no illusions as to the nature of its task or of its responsibility to the nation. Britain had superior resources in shipbuilding to Germany. She had a fleet superior in every class of ship, and she had led the world in naval progress—both her dreadnoughts and her battle cruisers being of a later type than her rival's. Her desire, inevitably, was that the German fleet should come out at once and give battle. Confident of the outcome, she contemplated the removal of her rival from the seas at a single blow.
German naval policy was as careful to avoid this test as British was to invite it. The German navy was kept safely at anchor in Kiel, protected by immense fortress guns, by elaborate mine fields, scores of submarines and destroyers, and by numerous nets against the approach of any British submarine. There was no way for any enemy to reach it except by the air. The Germans would have located any British attempt to attack their navy, as it might have meant the loss of important British fighting units which would have given the Germans more nearly equal chances of victory if they chose to precipitate an engagement. Sir John Jellicoe, in command of the fleet, however, refused to take any risks of losing his units. He kept his fleet in harbor, ready at any moment to steam out into the North Sea for action. Throughout the war to this writing, not one of his great first-class battleships has fired a shot, with the exception of the Queen Elizabeth, which took part in the bombardment of the Dardanelles forts.
Superiority of gun power has been sufficient to keep England safe from invasion, German merchant ships from sailing the seas, protect the sea passage of millions of troops, and insure the occupation of the German colonies by British expeditionary forces. Except as it was raised over a submarine or commerce raider, the German flag was swept from the sea within the first six months of the war.
There has been no naval battle at all commensurate with the strength of the two fleets. Each time that a British and German ship have met in action, the overwhelming importance of speed and of gun range have been demonstrated. Speed and range enabled Von Spee to destroy Cradock's squadron at Coronel off Chile, with almost no loss to himself. Later at the Falkland Islands he suffered the same fate at the hands of Sturdee, who, with his second-class battle cruisers, had the speed and range of the German third-class.
Again, in the battle off Dogger Bank, the Bluecher, the second-class battle cruiser which had only 26 knots, was left behind by her sisters, the German first-class battle cruisers, while she was pounded into the sea by the Lion, the Tiger, and the Princess Mary, which were driving ahead at 30 knots. The honors of the war, so far as the offensive goes, therefore, have been with the last battle cruiser.
German naval policy, no less wise for its own ends than for the British, has depended upon the submarine, whose importance may be easily exaggerated and easily underestimated. No submarine can approach the major fighting ships of a great fleet when that fleet is properly protected by torpedo-defense guns and fast destroyers and light cruisers. The deciding test of a submarine's power in this respect was the fruitless attempts of the best German submarines to reach the Lion with a deathblow, when crippled, after the battle off Dogger Bank, she was being towed home at 5 knots an hour, under the protection of the destroyers.
However, any isolated vessel, whether a merchantman or a man-of-war, is at the mercy of a submarine, which hunts the seas for this kind of target. It has only to lie in wait on the trade routes until its prey appears, submerging in case of danger. Then a torpedo sent home and a valuable piece of property goes to the bottom of the sea. What resourceful brigandage is to traffic on the highways, the German submarine became to British traffic on the seas. It is the sniper of naval warfare, but cannot give battle. It must find its protection under the sea, while all freight and all passengers, all the world's business is done on the surface of the sea; and the great guns of the dreadnoughts command the surface.
When brigandage becomes highly organized, it means enormous expense in increased police work, particularly if you cannot trail the brigands to their hiding places and force them to capitulate. In this case the brigands' hiding places are under the protection of powerful fortress guns and mine fields in secure harbors.
The British navy, with over three thousand ships, including mine sweepers and auxiliaries of all sorts under Sir John Jellicoe's command, was forced to go to immense expense and pains in combating the submarine campaign. Many submarines were taken; but the Germans kept on building them. It was a war against an unseen and cunning foe, which required ceaseless vigilance and painstaking effort. The amount of material, as well as the amount of ships required in order to combat the submarines and also to keep the patrol intact from the British channel to Iceland, could it be enumerated, would stagger the imagination. Meanwhile, England had to go on building new dreadnoughts and cruisers and destroyers at top speed, with a view to increasing her rate of naval superiority over the Germans. Once the German fleet had come out and been beaten, then the British would be secure in victory, and they could spare many guns for the army and devote all their energy to the land campaign.
While the Germans had a "fleet in being," they had an important counter for peace negotiations. They were as rightly advised in sticking to their harbor, as the British in holding their command of the sea without risking their units by trying to force an entrance into harbors equipped with every known defense of modern warfare.
In all instances the British army must wait for material if navy demands were unsatisfied. With the tide of fortune going against the Russians and French on the Continent, the original agreement for only 120,000 men became entirely perfunctory, in view of the tragic necessity of more troops to be thrown against the Central Powers on the Continent. With a large proportion of her regular officers killed in the first two months of the war, Britain had to undertake the preparation of a vast army without adequate drill masters or leaders. She had to make wholly untrained civilians into soldiers while the war was being waged. This took time, but less time than for the manufacture of rifles and guns. She had everything necessary for supplying her navy, but ridiculously inadequate plants for supplying a force of soldiers so immense. Thus England had scores of battalions of excellently drilled soldiers prepared to go to France before there were any rifles for them to fight with, or before they had the all-important artillery for their support in battle.
In the early months of the war probably she was not awake to the necessity of the situation. Besides, her manufacturers, still confident of an early victory over Germany, were more interested in permanently gaining markets which the Germans would lose than in making munitions. The war was not brought home to the Englishman as it was to the German and the Frenchman, by having bloody lines of trenches on his own soil. Every British soldier was fighting across the seas in the defense of the soil of another nation. Naturally, in many cases, he was slow to a realization that this also was his own national defense. But by the volunteer system alone, England enlisted over two million men before conscription was threatened.
In order to centralize authority under a single man, Lord Kitchener was intrusted with the stupendous task of organizing the new army and seeing that it was properly equipped. He had foreseen at the start that the war would be long and that it would be nearly two years before England could throw anything like an armed force adequately representing her population into the struggle on the Continent. He had to train his officers at the same time that he trained his men and build guns and make rifles.
Meanwhile, the German army system was complete. Indeed, there was no want of men with military experience in any one of the continental countries to act as drill masters. England was attempting a feat equaled only in our Civil War, where vast armies of untrained men were raised. But in this case, the enemy was not composed also of recruits, but of men trained under universal service by a staff which had traditions of preparedness as a basis for the preparation before the war, while the British staff and the British army had been trained in the handling of small, mobile forces in policing their empire. But as the months wore on, it was evident that the military decision of the war might rest with this new army when the other armies were exhausted, when at last it reached the front in full force with adequate arms and equipment in the hope of repeating history, thanks to the command of the sea which gave Britain time to prepare—by winning the last battle.
Had Britain lost command of the sea early in the war, she would have been utterly helpless. The Germans could readily have landed a force that would have taken London in six weeks. Even this would have been an unnecessary military action. For, with her food supply shut off by German ships, Britain would have had to throw up her hands and ask for terms.
The Dominion of Canada, Australasia and South Africa would have found themselves in the position of isolated nations, dependent for the time being upon their own resources for defense. Their loyalty to the British Empire has not been the least wonderful of the many wonderful results of this war. They have sent legions of volunteers across the seas to France and Gallipoli to fight beside the British and the French. As for Hongkong, the Straits Settlements, Ceylon, India, and all the colonies of the empire, they would have been Germany's for the occupation. Such is the meaning of sea power. But the British navy being superior to the German, held Germany in siege.
THE SECOND SUMMER'S CAMPAIGN
Germany must make the best possible use of her comprehensive industrial organization and of her preparedness for war and throw the greatest possible number of men into the fighting line at the earliest possible moment. She was practically in a race against time; and time was with the Allies. While they retained command of the sea the United States and other neutral nations overseas, once their plants for manufacture were completed, could pour out supplies of munitions.
Germany's foreign trade was practically at a standstill. From the port of Hamburg her argosies of manufactures no longer went forth to the world in return for raw material. Her many ships, from the enormous passenger steamers to the small tramps which had brought her tribute with their carrying trade, were idle. She could manufacture, then, only for home consumption and all her plants that had been manufacturing for export began producing for her armies. The energies of the one hundred and twenty-five millions of people, men, women and children, in Germany and Austria-Hungary were wholly occupied in making war. Their object must be to push the walls back as far as they could, and so to punish Russia or France that one or the other would yield a separate peace. The aim of British statesmanship must be to hold the Allies together at any expense and keep Germany from breaking the siege. If more nations could be brought in against Germany, that would strengthen the siege lines and lengthen the front the Central Powers were building.
Through the winter of 1914-15 the diplomats of the Allies and the Central Powers in Rome fought for Italy's hand with all the skill and resources of trained European diplomacy. Responding to the sentiment for the recovery of Trentino and Trieste which she considered ethnologically and geographically a part of her domain she was to throw in her fortunes with the Allies against her old enemy, Austria.
Serbia had her troops still on the boundary of the Danube and the Save. Rumania, facing Austria with Russia on her flank, also much courted, was even more coy than Italy. Bulgaria, with her excellent army, was on the flank of Serbia and blocked the road to Turkey. Little Greece was another state watching the conflict with the selfish interest of a small spectator, trying to judge which side would be the victor.
Russia of the steppes and the multitudes of men was short of munitions; her plants were incapable of making sufficient supplies. The Baltic was closed to her by the German navy, Archangel was frozen in and the closing of the passage of the Dardanelles shut her off from the Mediterranean. She was in touch with the sea only in the Far East, with the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains between her and the manufacturing regions of the United States. Her crop of wheat, which she exchanged for manufactured goods in time of peace was no less interned than the manufactured products of Germany. If the Dardanelles were opened she could empty her granaries and receive arms and munitions in return. Therefore, the first winter of the war, while their main armies were intrenched in colder climes, both sides turned their attention to the southeast. In November the Turks had joined the Central Powers, thus flying in the face of the historical Turkish policy, so cleverly applied by Abdul Hamid, in playing one European power against another and profiting by their international differences.
For many years German diplomacy, capital and enterprise had been busy building up German influence in Asia Minor. Abdul Hamid had been overthrown under the leadership of Enver Pasha and other officers who had been trained in Germany according to German military methods and who had absorbed the German ideas. Von der Goltz, a German general, had reorganized the Turkish army. The access of Turkey to the Central Powers formed the addition of another thirty million people, which gave them one hundred and fifty million on their side.
Through the assistance of the Turks, the Germans never for a moment deserting their idea of keeping the initiative and forcing their enemies to follow it, threatened an offensive against the Suez Canal, which was abortive, but served the purpose of requiring British preparation for its defense. Germany saw more than mere military advantage in the Turkish adventure. She was reaching out into the Mohammedan world which stretches across Persia and Asia Minor, through little known and romantic regions, to India where, as a part of her Indian Empire, England rules more Mohammedans than the population of the German Empire. The unrest which was reported to have been ripe in India for the last decade might thus be brought to a head in a rebellion against British authority; as it might, too, in Egypt, the Sultan of Turkey being the Padishah or head of the Mohammedan faith.
At least Britain would be forced to maintain larger garrisons than usual both in Egypt and India against any threat of insurrection. Among all who have had to deal with the Oriental peoples, and particularly those who know them as intimately as the British rulers of India, the importance of power—and publicly demonstrated power—is fully understood. To the average British Indian or Egyptian subject, Britain has been an unconquerable country, the mistress of the world.
Many reasons united in calling for some action on the part of the British to offset that of the Germans. With Russia in retreat the Balkan States, which had regarded her prowess as irresistible, were losing their faith in the Allies. One successful blow would do more to dispel their skepticism and to bring Italy in on the side of the Allies than sheafs of diplomatic cablegrams and notes. During such a crisis every message in the game of war diplomacy becomes only a polite calling card that represents armed men.