The Project Gutenberg eBook of Fighting France

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Title: Fighting France

Author: Stéphane Lauzanne

Translator: John Lauris Blake Williams

Release date: June 1, 2006 [eBook #18483]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Brian Sogard, Diane Monico, and the Project
Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team at















Copyright, 1918, by

Printed in the United States of America








To be Editor-in-Chief of one of the greatest newspapers in the world at twenty-seven years of age is a distinction, which has been enjoyed by few other men, if any, in the whole history of journalism. There may have been exceptional instances, where young men by virtue of proprietary and inherited rights, have nominally, or even actually, succeeded to the editorial control of a great metropolitan newspaper. But in the case of M. Stéphane Lauzanne, his assumption of duty in 1901 as Editor-in-Chief of the Paris Matin was wholly the result of exceptional achievement in journalism. Merit and ability, and not merely friendly influences, gave him this position of unique power, for the Matin has a circulation in France of nearly two million copies a day, and its Editor-in-Chief thereby exerts a power which it would be difficult to over-estimate.

M. Lauzanne was born in 1874 and is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of Paris. Believing that journalism opened to him a wider avenue of usefulness than the legal profession, he preferred—as the event showed most wisely—to follow a journalistic career. In this choice he may have been guided by the fact that he was the nephew of the most famous foreign correspondent in the history of journalism. I refer to M. de Blowitz, who was for many years the Paris correspondent of the London Times, and as such a very notable representative of the Fourth Estate. No one ever more fully illustrated the truth of the words which Thackeray, in Pendennis, puts into the mouth of his George Warrington, when he and Arthur Pendennis stand in Fleet Street and hear the rumble of the engines in the press-room. He likened the foreign correspondents of these newspapers to the ambassadors of a great State; and no one more fully justifies the analogy than M. de Blowitz, for it is profitable to recall that when in 1875 the military party of Germany secretly planned to strike down France, when the stricken gladiator was slowly but courageously struggling to its feet, it was de Blowitz, who in an article in the London Times let the light of day into the brutal and iniquitous scheme, and by mere publicity defeated for the time being this conspiracy against the honor of France and the peace of the world. Unfortunately the coup of the Prussian military clique was only postponed. Our generation was destined to sustain the unprecedented horrors of a base attempt to destroy France, that very glorious asset of all civilization.

De Blowitz took great interest in his brilliant nephew and at his suggestion Lauzanne became the London correspondent of the Matin in 1898, when he was only twenty-four years of age. This brought him into direct communication with the London Times which then as now exchanged cable news with the Matin, and it was the duty of the young journalist to take the cable news of the "Thunderer" and transmit such portions as would particularly interest France to the Matin, with such special comment as suggested itself. How well he did this work, requiring as it did the most accurate judgment and the nicest discrimination, was shown when he was made Editor-in-Chief of the Matin in 1901.

His tenure of office was destined to be short for, when the world war broke out, M. Lauzanne, as a First Lieutenant of the French Army, joined the colors in the first days of mobilization and surrendered the pen for the sword. His career as editor had been long enough, however, for him to impress upon the minds of the French public the imminency of the Prussian Peril. As to this he had no illusions and his powerful editorials had done much to combat the spirit of pacificism, which at that time was weakening the preparations of France for the inevitable conflict.

The obligation of universal service required him to exchange his position of great power and usefulness for a lesser position, but this spirit of common service in the ranks means much for France or for any nation. The democracy of the French Army could not be questioned, when the powerful Editor of the Matin became merely a lieutenant in the Territorial Infantry. As such, he served in the battle of the Marne and later before Verdun, and thus could say of the two most heroic chapters in French history, as Æneas said of the Siege of Troy, "Much of which I saw, and part of which I was."

Having fulfilled the obligation of universal service in the ranks, it is not strange that in 1916 he was recalled to serve the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For a time he rendered great service in Switzerland, where from the beginning of the war an acute but ever-lessening controversy has raged between the pro-German and the pro-Ally interests.

He was then chosen for a much more important mission. In October, 1916, he came to the United States as head of the "Official Bureau of French Information," and here he has remained until the present hour. As such, he has been an unofficial ambassador of France. His position has been not unlike that of Franklin at Passy in the period that preceded the formal recognition by France of the United States and the Treaty of Alliance of 1778. As with Franklin, his weapon has been the pen and the printing press, and the unfailing tact with which he has carried on his mission is not unworthy of comparison with that of Franklin. No one who has been privileged to meet and know M. Lauzanne can fail to be impressed with his fine urbanity, his savoir faire and his perfect tact. Without any attempt at propaganda, he has greatly impressed American public opinion by his contributions to our press and his many public addresses. In none of them has he ever made a false step or uttered a tactless note. His words have always been those of a sane moderation and the influence that he has wielded has been that of truth. Apart from the vigor and calm persuasiveness of his utterances, his winning personality has made a deep impression upon all Americans who have been privileged to come in contact with him. The highest praise that can be accorded to him is that he has been a true representative of his own noble, generous and chivalrous nation. Its sweetness and power have been exemplified by his charming personality.

Although he has taken a forceful part in possibly the greatest intellectual controversy that has ever raged among men, he has from first to last been the gentleman and it has been his quiet dignity and gentleness that has added force to all that he has written and uttered, especially at the time when America was the greatest neutral forum of public opinion.

If "good wine needs no bush and a good play needs no epilogue," then a good book needs no prologue. Therefore I shall not refer to the simplicity and charm, with which M. Lauzanne has told the story with which this book deals. The reader will judge that for himself; and unless the writer of this foreword is much mistaken, that judgment will be wholly favorable. There have been many war books—a very deluge of literature in which thinking men have been hopelessly submerged—but most books of wartime reminiscences do not ring true. There is too obvious an attempt to be dramatic and sensational. This book avoids this error and its author has contented himself with telling in a simple and convincing manner something of the part which he was called upon to play.

I venture to predict that all good Americans who read this book will become the friends, through the printed pages, of this gifted and brilliant writer, and if it were possible for such Americans to increase their love and admiration for France, then this book would deepen the profound regard in which America holds its ancient ally.

James M. Beck.


Why France Is Fighting 1
The declaration of war and the French mobilization—The invasion and the tragic days of Paris in August and September, 1914: personal reminiscences—The premeditated cruelties of Germany: new documents—The German organized spying system in France
How France Is Fighting 51
France fighting with her men, her women and her children—The men show that they know how to suffer: episodes of the Marne and of Verdun—The women encourage the men to fight and to suffer: some illustrations—Sacred Union of all Frenchmen against the enemy—all, without any distinction of class or religion, die smiling—Letters of soldiers—The organization in the rear: the work in the factories
France Suffering But Not Bled White 94
Despite her sufferings, France is able to pay 20 billions of dollars, for the war, in three years—French commerce and French work during the war—France is helping her allies from a military standpoint and financially—The saving of Serbia
The War Aims of France 138
Restitution: Alsace-Lorraine—Restoration: The devastated and looted territories. Guarantees: The Society of Nations
Appendix I.—How Germans Forced War on France 179
Appendix II.—How Germans Treat an Ambassador 183
Appendix III.—How Germans Are Waging War 196
Appendix IV.—How Germans Occupy the Territory of an Enemy 200
Appendix V.—How Germans Treat Alsace-Lorraine 206
Appendix VI.—How Germans Understand Future Peace 229

[Pg 1]




Had you been in Paris late in the afternoon of Monday, August third, nineteen fourteen, you might have seen a slight man, whose reddish face was adorned with a thick white mustache, walk out of the German Embassy, which was situated on the Rue de Lille near the Boulevard St. Germain. Along the boulevard and across the Pont de la Concorde he walked in a manner calculated to attract attention. He approached the animated and peevish groups of citizens that had formed a little before for the purpose of discussing the imminent war as if he wanted them to notice him. You would[Pg 2] have said that he was trying to be recognized and to take part in the discussions.

But no one paid any attention to him.

Finally he came to the Quai d'Orsay, opened the Gate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and said to the attendant who hastened to open the door for him:

"Announce the German Ambassador to the Prime Minister."

He was Baron de Schoen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of his Germanic Majesty, William the Second. For two days he had wandered through the most crowded streets and avenues in Paris, hoping for some injury, some insult, some overt act which would have permitted him to say that Germany in his person had been provoked, insulted by France. But there had been no violence, the insult had not been offered, the overt act had not occurred. Then, tired of this method, de Schoen took the initiative and presented a declaration of war from his government.[Pg 3]

The declaration, as history will record, was expressed in these terms:

The German administrative and military authorities have established a certain number of flagrantly hostile acts committed on German territory by French military aviators. Several of these have openly violated the neutrality of Belgium by flying over the territory of that country; one has attempted to destroy buildings near Wesel; others have been seen in the district of the Eifel, one has thrown bombs on the railway near Carlsruhe and Nuremberg.

I am instructed and I have the honor to inform your Excellency, that in the presence of these acts of aggression the German Empire considers itself in a state of war with France in consequence of the acts of the latter Power.

At the same time I have the honor to bring to the knowledge of your Excellency that the German authorities will detain French mercantile vessels in German ports, but they will release them if, within forty-eight hours, they are assured of complete reciprocity.

My diplomatic mission having thus come to an end, it only remains for me to request your Excellency to be good enough to furnish me with my passports, and to take the steps you consider[Pg 4] suitable to assure my return to Germany, with the staff of the Embassy, as well as with the staff of the Bavarian Legation and of the French Consulate General in Paris.

Be good enough, M. le President, to receive the assurances of my deepest respect.

(Signed) de Schoen.

Immediately M. René Viviani, the French Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs, protested against the statements of this extraordinary declaration. No French aviator had flown over Belgium; no French aviator had come near Wesel; no French aviator had flown in the direction of Eifel; nor had hurled bombs on the railroad near Carlsruhe or Nuremberg. And less than two years later a German, Dr. Schwalbe, the Burgomaster of Nuremberg, confirmed M. Viviani's indignant denial of the German accusations:

"It is false," wrote Dr. Schwalbe in the Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift, "that French aviators dropped bombs on the railway at Nuremberg. The general of the third Bavarian army corps, which was stationed in the vicinity,[Pg 5] assured me that he knew nothing of the attempt except from the newspapers...."

But a blow had just been struck that announced the rising of the curtain on the most frightful tragedy the universe has ever known. This announcement was contained in the brief, plain words of the declaration of war.

De Schoen left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he had been courteously received for many years, and made his way out. He was escorted by M. Philippe Berthelot, who was at the time directeur politique at the Quai d'Orsay. As he was going out of the door, de Schoen pointed to the city, which, with its trees, its houses, and its monuments, could be seen clearly on the other side of the Seine.

"Poor Paris," he exclaimed, "what will happen to her?"

At the same time he offered his hand to M. Berthelot, but the latter contented himself with a silent bow, as if he had neither seen the proffered hand nor heard the question.

It was a quarter before seven o'clock in the[Pg 6] evening. From that time on France has been at war with Germany.

Mobilization had commenced the previous evening. To be exact, it was on Sunday, August third, at midnight.

How many times the French people had thought of that mobilization during the last twenty years, in proportion as Germany grew more aggressive, more brutal and more insulting! Personally I had often looked at the little red ticket fastened to my military card, on which were written these brief words:

In time of mobilization, Lieutenant Lauzanne (Stéphane) will report on the second day of mobilization to the railroad station nearest his home and there entrain immediately for Alençon.

And each time I looked at the little red card, I felt a bit anxious.... Mobilization! The railroad station! The first train! What a mob of people, what an overturning of everything, what a lot of disorder there would be! Well, there had[Pg 7] been neither disorder nor disturbance nor a mob, for everything had taken place in a manner that was marvelously simple and calm.

Monday, August third, at sunrise I had gone to the Gare des Invalides. There was no mob, there was no crowd. Some policemen were walking in solitary state along the sidewalk, which was deserted. The station master, to whom I presented my card, told me, in the most extraordinarily calm voice in the world, as if he had been doing the same thing every morning:

"Track number 5. Your train leaves at 6.27."

And the train left at 6.27, like any good little train that is on time. It had left quietly; it was almost empty. It had followed the Seine, and I had seen Paris lighted up by the peaceable morning glow, Paris which was still asleep. And I had rubbed my eyes, asking myself if I wasn't dreaming, if I wasn't asleep. Were we really at war? My eyes were seeing nothing of it, but my memory kept recalling the fact. It recalled the unforgettable scenes of those last days—that scene especially, at four o'clock in the evening on the first[Pg 8] of August, when the crowd along the boulevard had suddenly seen the mobilization orders posted in the window of a newspaper office. A shout burst forth, a shout I shall hear until my last moment, which made me tremble from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. It was a shout that seemed to come from the very bowels of the earth, the shout of a people who, for years, had waited for that moment.

Then the "Marseillaise"! Then a short, imperious demand:

"The flags! We want the flags!"

And flags burst forth from all quarters of Paris, decorated in the twinkling of an eye as if it were a fête day. Yes, all that had really happened. All that had taken place. We were really at war.

Little by little the train filled up. It stopped at every station, and at every station men got aboard. They came in gayly and confidently, bidding farewell to the women who had accompanied them and who stayed behind the gate to do their weeping. Everybody was mixed in together in the compartments without any distinctions of[Pg 9] rank, station, class or anything else. At Argentan I saw some rough Norman farmers enter the coaches, talking with the same good natured calmness as if they were going away on a business trip. One expression was repeated again and again:

"If we've got to go, we've got to go."

One farmer said:

"They are looking after our good. I shall fight until I fall."

The spirit of the whole French people spoke from these mouths. You felt the firm purpose of the nation come out of the very earth.

The country side presented an unwonted appearance. I remember vividly the view the broad plains of Beauce offered. They looked as if they were dead or fallen into a lethargy. Their life had come to an abrupt end on Saturday, the first of August, at four o'clock in the afternoon. We saw mounds of grain that had been cut and was still scattered on the ground, with the scythe glistening nearby. We saw pitchforks resting alongside the hay they had just finished tossing. We saw sheaves lying on the ground with no one to[Pg 10] take them away. The very villages were deserted; not a human being appeared in them. You would have said that this train that was passing through in the wake of hundreds of other trains had blotted out all the inhabitants of the region.

We detrained at Alençon, arriving there about mid-day. Alençon is a tiny Norman village that is habitually calm and peaceful, but on that day it was crowded with people. An enormous wave, the wave of the men who were mobilizing, rushed through the main street of the little town in the direction of the two barracks. I went with the current. My captain, whom I found in the middle of a part of the barracks, had not even had time to put on his uniform. He explained the situation to me with military brevity:

"It's very simple.... It's now three o'clock in the afternoon. The day after tomorrow, at six o'clock in the morning, we entrain for Paris. We have one day to clothe, equip and arm our company."

It is no small matter to clothe, equip and arm[Pg 11] two hundred and fifty men in twenty-four hours. You have to find in the enormous pile, which is in a corner of a shed, two hundred and fifty coats, pairs of trousers and hats which will fit two hundred and fifty entirely separate and distinct chests, legs and heads. You have to find five hundred pairs of shoes for two hundred and fifty pairs of feet. You have to arrange the men in rank according to their heights, form the sections and the squads. You have to have soup prepared and transport provisions. You have to go and get rifles and cartridges. You have to get funds advanced for the company accounts from the very beginning of the campaign. You have to get your duties organized, make up accounts and prepare statements. You have to breathe the breath of life into the little machine which is going to take its place in the big machine.

And there was not a person there to help us to do this—not a line officer, not a second lieutenant. The captain had to act on his own, to think on his own, to decide everything on his own. He had[Pg 12] to do all by himself the work that yesterday twenty-five department store heads, twenty-five shoe makers and twenty-five certified public accountants would have had a hard time doing.

He did it! Every captain in the French Army did it. And the next morning at six o'clock our little machine was ready to go and take its place in the operations of the big machine. The following day, at six o'clock, we entrained again; but no longer was it the confused and disorganized crowd that it had been the evening before. It was a company with arms and leaders; a company which had already made the acquaintance of discipline. That was proved by the silence reigning everywhere. At the moment of departure the Colonel had commanded:


There was not a sound. The long train, crowded with soldiers, was a silent train which passed through the open country, the towns and the villages all the way to Paris without a sound except the puffing of the engine. In the evening, silent always, we detrained at Paris and marched to a[Pg 13] barracks situated to the north of the capital. We were to stay there a month.

The story of Paris during the month of August, 1914, is an extraordinary one that would deserve an entire volume to itself. That feverish city has never lived through hours that were more calm and peaceful. During the first two weeks Paris seemed to be in a sweet, peaceful dream, in which the citizens listened eagerly for sounds of victory coming from the far distant horizon. On the twenty-fifth of August Paris, which had heard only vague echoes of the Battle of Charleroi, awakened with a jolt when it read the famous communiqué beginning with the words: "De la Somme aux Vosges...."

So the enemy was already at the Somme, a few days' march from the capital! But the awakening was as free from disturbance as the dream had been. Paris felt absolute confidence in the army, in Joffre; and the Parisian reasoning was expressed in one phrase, "The army has retreated, but it is neither destroyed nor beaten; as long[Pg 14] as the army is there, Paris has nothing to fear...." And when Sunday the thirtieth of August came, Paris was as calm and confident as it was on the first day of the war.

I shall remember the thirtieth of August for a long time.

They had posted on all the walls two notices. One of them was large, the other small. The large one was a proclamation of the Government announcing the departure of its officials for Bordeaux:


For several weeks our troops and the enemy's army have been engaged in a series of bloody battles. The bravery of our soldiers has gained them marked advantages at several points. But in the north the pressure of the German forces has compelled us to withdraw.

This retirement imposes a regrettably necessary decision on the President of the Republic and the Government. To protect national safety the government officials have to leave Paris at once.

Under the command of an eminent leader, a French army, full of bravery and resource, will defend the capital and its people against the [Pg 15]invader. But at the same time war will be carried on over the rest of the territory.

The small notice was from General Gallieni, the new Governor of Paris. It had, in its brevity, the beauty of an ancient inscription:

"I have been ordered to defend Paris. I shall obey this command until the end."

That same Sunday, the thirtieth of August, was the first day the Taubes came over Paris. By chance I was guarding one of the city's gates. I saw the airplane coming from a distance. I had not the least doubt about it for it had the silhouette of a bird of prey that rendered the German planes so easily recognizable at that time. For that matter, no one was deceived by it, and from all the batteries, forts and other positions a violent fusillade greeted it. There was firing from the streets, windows, courts and roofs. I followed it through my field glass, and for a moment I thought it had been hit, for it paused in its flight. But this was an optical illusion.... The plane[Pg 16] simply flew higher, having without doubt heard the sound of the fusillade and the bullets having perhaps whistled too close to the pilot's ears. When he was almost over my post, a light white cloud appeared under its wings and, in the ten ensuing seconds, there followed a terrible series of sounds, for a bomb had just fallen and exploded very near at hand. But so entrancing was it to observe the flight of this pirate who, in spite of everything, continued in his audacious course, that I gazed at the heavens, trying to determine whether or not I saw once more the little white cloud, the precursor of the machine of death.

And everyone who was near me—workmen, passers-by, women, children—stayed there too, their feet firmly on the ground, their glances lost in the limitless sky. No one ran away; no one hid; no one sought refuge behind a door or in a cellar. It's a characteristic of airplane bombs that they frighten no one, even when they kill. The machine you see does not frighten you; only the machine you can't see upsets your nerves.

However that may be, the curiosity of Paris[Pg 17] was insatiable. Even in the tragic hours we were living through at that time, this curiosity remained as eager, ardent and amused as ever. Every afternoon, at the stroke of four, crowds collected in the squares and avenues. The motive was to see the Taubes! Since one Taube had flown over the city, no one doubted that a second one would come the next day. A girl's boarding school obtained a free afternoon to enjoy the spectacle. The midinettes were allowed to leave their work. At Montmartre, where the steps of the Butte gave a better chance of scanning the horizon, places were in great demand.

There was a crowd along the fortifications to see the works for the defense on which, by General Gallieni's order, men were working. Thousands of spectators of both sexes, but especially of women, were examining the bases that were being put in for the guns, the openings they were making to serve as loopholes, the joists they were putting across the gates, and the paving stones with which the entrances were being barricaded. This crowd did not want to believe in the proximity of the[Pg 18] enemy. Or, if it believed it, it didn't want to admit that there was danger. Or, if it admitted that there was danger, it wanted to share in it. Above everything it wanted to see; it wanted to see!

The last night in August I had a hard time freeing the approaches of the gate I was guarding. There were only women, but there were thousands of them and neither prayer nor argument could persuade them to make up their minds to go home.

"Nothing will happen," I told them. "Look here now, be reasonable and go home to bed."

"But we want to see...."

"What do you want to see?"

"Want to see what kind of a reception the Prussians will get if they come."

Aside from this the mob was remarkably easy to get on with. A strict order had forbidden that anyone be permitted to enter or leave Paris until sunrise. As a result the capital found itself cut off from the suburbs, and lots of little working girls, who came in for the day from Clichy or Levallois-Perret, couldn't get back to their homes[Pg 19] in the evening. They had to camp out under the stars.

"It's very amusing," they said, "here we are just like soldiers."

I even heard one of them say:

"What a pity there isn't always war."

That same night, about eleven o'clock, a heavy sound was heard coming from the direction of the city. Some urchins shouted:

"It's the soldiers. It's the soldiers."

An entire Algerian division was, as a matter of fact, detraining and hurrying to fight before Paris. Behind it followed a long line of taxi-cabs, the famous line of taxi-cabs requisitioned by General Gallieni to carry munitions to the battle field of the Ourcq. They made an incomparable spectacle, that magnificent summer night, in the bright moonlight, the long column of Algerian cavalry, with their shining burnouses, on fiery little horses. Applause burst forth from the mob and reached the soldiers. The women threw kisses at them, but they overwhelmed my men and me with reproaches:[Pg 20]

"See," they shrieked at us, "if we had minded you and gone home, we wouldn't have seen them."

Paris, which didn't know about the Battle of Charleroi, knew about the Battle of the Marne. Paris knew about the Battle of the Marne not only on account of the troops who marched through its streets, but because it heard the big guns roar for three days, without stopping, towards the north.

What has not already been written and said about the Battle of the Marne, a conflict which will remain legendary in history? What will not be said and written on that subject in the future?... Some writers will see in it a miracle, others a strategic action engineered by a genius, others a chance stroke of destiny. The truth of the matter is more simple and appealing than any of these explanations and, although the whole truth is not yet known about the fight at the Marne, enough is known to make clear the two or three chief reasons why victory came to France[Pg 21] and defeat to Germany, safety to civilization and a repulse to barbarism.

To be sure there was a great deal of strategy in it; and the stroke that was conceived in the master brain of Joffre and carried out by Generals Gallieni and Maunoury—a stroke which consisted in forming a new army on the extreme right of the German hordes to come and hurl itself sharply against these hordes—was a brave and bold maneuver which prepared the way for victory.

But this maneuver would not in itself have sufficed to win the victory if Maunoury had not attacked with an irresistible élan on the extreme left, upsetting the German plan of battle; if Franchet d'Esperey had not supported Maunoury's attack vigorously and succeeded in breaking the German left; if, especially, Foch, at the center, had not performed unheard of miracles in breaking down the enemy's resistance and not allowing his own lines to be broken; if, farther on, de Langle de Cary and Sarrail had not held off the Princes of Bavaria and Prussia before Vitry; if,[Pg 22] on the right, de Castelnau had not held until the end the Grand Couronné at Nancy. The first truth is that they were all—Joffre, Gallieni, Maunoury, Franchet d'Esperey, Foch, de Langle de Cary, Sarrail, Castelnau, Dubail, to mention them in the order of the battle line from left to right—absolutely incomparable. As an eye-witness said, "each man was on his own," each man gave the very best there was in his brain, his skill, his mind, his soul, his heart. The battle would have been lost if a single one of them had failed once during the entire seven days it raged. Opposed to the Huns was a chain forged of the finest steel, every link in which met the test for equal and unparalleled resistance. Therein lay the miracle of the Marne!

And the second great truth is that behind these generals, who all showed themselves without equal, were armies which, without exception, had kept intact their fighting spirit, that is, their faith in themselves, in their leaders, in the destiny of their country, in the beauty of the cause for which they fought.... Enough can never be said of the [Pg 23]elemental importance that lies in the morale of the fighting men on the battle field. It is lamentable to hear far distant strategists reduce the conflict of two peoples to a problem in tactics or a list of ordnance statistics. It is enough to make angels weep when spectators, at a safe distance, speak of succoring a beaten people by sending them food stuffs, shells and men. Above all, beyond all, is that immaterial, incalculable, invaluable force which is the sole true mistress of warfare—moral force—fighting spirit!

The Frenchmen in the Battle of the Marne kept their fighting spirit intact. I remember asking many of the officers attached to the forces which, after the Battle of Charleroi, retreated under a broiling sun, along roads burning with heat, through a suffocating dust, how they felt at this disheartening time. All of them answered, "We did not know where we were going or what we were doing, but we did know one thing—that we would beat them!" One writer, Pierre Laserre, described this retreat in the words, "Their bodies were retreating, but not their souls!" This is[Pg 24] proven by the arrival on the fifth of September of Joffre's immortal order, "The hour has come to hold our positions at any cost, and to fight rather than retreat.... No longer must we look at the enemy over our shoulders; the time has come to employ all our efforts in attacking and defeating him."... That evening, when they heard their leader's appeal, the hearts of the men bounded in response. The next morning, at dawn, their bodies leaped up and hurled themselves on the enemy. Therein lay the miracle of the Marne!

Finally, at the very hour when the fighting spirit of the French Army had never been higher, the fighting spirit of the German Army had never been lower. It was low because the physical strength of the Germans was low, worn out, and broken by the shameful orgies, the disgraceful drinking which had reduced these men to the level of swine. It was low because the German fighting men had been led to believe that they would have to fight no longer, that the great effort was ended, that there was no French Army to put a stop to their pillaging and burning. "Tomorrow we[Pg 25] enter Paris, we are going to the Moulin Rouge," von Kluck's soldiers said in their jargon to the inhabitants of Compiègne. "Tomorrow we will burn Bar-le-Duc, Poincaré's home town," the Crown Prince's soldiers said. What sort of resistance could such men oppose to Joffre's soldiers? Their spirit, granting that they had ever had any, was broken beforehand. And that is another thing that will explain the outcome of the Battle of the Marne.

What Paris knew very quickly, very completely and very surely were the details of frightful looting and of the first atrocities perpetrated by the Germans, who demonstrated a premeditated intention to destroy, defile and wipe out everything in their path. And Paris was doubtless the first city in France to comprehend the significance of this war, which is a war of civilization against barbarism, a sacred war in which the forces of humanity raise a rampart of human breasts against the violent reappearance of primitive savagery.[Pg 26]

Those of us who had a hand in some part of the Battle of the Marne were not slow to comprehend who the enemy was we were fighting and why we had to fight him to the death.

Among the many things that will be always engraved on the tablets of my memory, the deepest is of the time when I was on guard at the field of battle on the Ourcq, north of Meaux, on the extremity of the battle line of the Marne. Field of battle I have just written. No, it was not a field of battle but a field of carnage. I have forgotten the corpses I met in the roads or in the fields with their grinning faces and their distorted attitudes. But I shall never forget the ruin that was everywhere, the abominable manner in which the fields had been laid waste, the sacrilegious pillage of homes. That bore the trade mark of German "Kultur." That trade mark will be enough to dishonor a nation for centuries.

I see again those humble villages situated along the road to Meaux, Penchard, Marcilly, Chambry, Etrepilly, where a barbarian horde had passed. Since there were no inhabitants remaining—men[Pg 27] whose throats could be cut, women who could be violated, or babies to shoot down—the horde had vented its rage on the furniture and the poor little familiar objects in which each one of us puts a bit of his soul.

I arrived in Etrepilly at the same time as a detachment of Zouaves. While they piously buried their companions who had fallen in forcing their way into the village, I wandered alone among the ruins. There had been a hundred houses there, and not a single one was untouched. Some had been hit by shells, and the shell which burst in the interior of the house had destroyed everything. That, of course, was war, and there was nothing to say about it.

But other houses, which had been spared by shell fire, had not been spared by the Kaiser's soldiery. The Barbarians had placed their claws on them. Everything had been taken out of the houses and scattered to the four winds of heaven. Here is a portrait that has been wrenched from its frame and trampled on. A baby's bathtub has been carried into the garden, and the soldiers have[Pg 28] deposited their excrement in it. There are chairs that have been smashed by the kicks of heavy boots and wardrobes that have been disemboweled. Here is a fine old mahogany table that has been carried into the fields for five hundred meters and then broken in two. An old red damask armchair, with wings at the sides, one of those old armchairs in which the grandmothers of France sit by the fire in the evening has been torn in shreds by knife thrusts. Linen is mixed with mud; the white veil some girl wore at her first communion is defiled with excrement.... An old man is wandering among the ruins. He has just come back to the devastated village. He says to me simply:

"I saw them in 1870. They came here, but they didn't do this. They are savages."

A woman was there, too. She had come an hour or so ago with the old man, and she stood on the step of her defiled, despoiled home where the curtains hung in tatters at the windows. She saw me pass by. She wanted to speak to me, but her voice stuck in her throat. There she stood,[Pg 29] her arms extended like a great cross. She could only sob:

"Look! Look!"

And she was like a symbol of the whole wretched business.

The men who do such deeds are the men France is fighting.

Vincy-Manoeuvre was another one of the villages. It is situated near the border of the Department of the Oise. It was still in flames when I entered it. On the outskirts of the hamlet there used to be a large factory. Only the iron framework of this factory remained; the ashes had commenced to smoke, giving forth flames from time to time. Here also every house had been destroyed and pillaged. Only the church remained standing, and on the belfry which was silhouetted against the sky, the weather cock seemed to shudder with horror.

Bottles covered the ground everywhere at Vincy-Manoeuvre. There were bottles in the streets, along the highways, in the fields. They marked[Pg 30] the road by which the vanquished hordes had retreated. I counted almost two hundred in one trench, where a German battery had been placed. They lay pell-mell, mixed in with unexploded shells. Panic had apparently swept the gunners away. They had not had time to carry off their shells, so they had left them behind. But they had had time to empty the bottles. Absinthe, brandy, rum, champagne, beer, and wine had all been consumed, and the labels lay alongside of each other. Drunken, bloodthirsty brutes, thieving, sickening, nauseous beasts were what had descended upon France and passed through her country. Ruins, ashes and filth were the traces left behind by the German mob.

Some hundreds of yards from the village I noticed a woman lost in the immense beet fields. Apparently she was unharmed. I walked in her direction, thrusting aside with my legs corpses of men and horses, scaling the trenches, making a circuit around the craters made by shells. Suddenly what was my surprise at seeing two German soldiers, accompanied by a farmer, coming along a[Pg 31] footpath! They stopped at six paces, gave me a military salute, and pointed to the white brassard of the Red Cross they wore on their arms.

"Where do you come from?" I asked. "What are you doing here?"

"We come from that farm, where we have been for two days caring for two of our wounded. We didn't see any French soldier or officer. We don't know what to do. We want to go to the village down there," they pointed out a hamlet two or three kilometers off, "where we left a doctor and one hundred and fifty-three wounded."

"Very good," I said, "follow me."

Obediently the two orderlies marched behind me to the village they had pointed out. It was situated on the national highway to Soissons. In this place were a hundred and fifty or two hundred Germans, quartered in four or five houses under the guard of a company of Zouaves who had just arrived a half hour previously. The German major, informed of my arrival, stood in front of the main building. He wore gold-rimmed spectacles, his face was the type the Alsatian Hansi loves to show[Pg 32] in his books. He spoke very good French and even pretended that he did not want to answer the questions I asked him in his own language.

"Show me your wounded," I ordered.

He immediately conducted me everywhere, explaining the nature of each wound. Some were suffering and groaning; others, seeing the uniform of a French officer, tried to raise themselves up and salute.

The German major asked:

"When they come to evacuate the wounded to Meaux or some other place, do you suppose I shall be allowed to accompany them and continue my treatment?"

"I don't know," I replied, "but there is one thing you can be sure of. My superiors will act in accordance with the demands of humanity. Now you follow me."

I led him outside to the doorstep. I pointed out the poor homes of the village, ruined, reduced to dust. Everywhere were the dwellings of the entire region, with their furniture lying in the mud and ashes.[Pg 33]

"Look at that," I said to him. "That is what your men have done."

The German officer turned very pale, then very red. He answered:

"It's sad, but it is war."

"No," I replied, "it isn't war. It's pure barbarism and it's abominable."

Some few paces away from us French Zouaves were sitting beside some wounded Germans. In their own glasses they poured out a little cordial for their prisoners; they gave them their last cigarettes. One of them had even taken, as if he were his brother, the head of a wounded German in his left hand to support it. With his right hand, very carefully, he was giving him a drink. I pointed that out to the German major, saying:

"There! That is war—at least it's war as we understand it."

This time he made no answer.

But all the German prisoners repeated what he had said to me as a set phrase. On the whole, when you have seen ten German prisoners you have[Pg 34] seen a thousand; when you have questioned one German officer you have questioned fifty. The characteristic of the race is that they have abolished all individuality. You find yourself in an amorphous mass, cast in a uniform mold, not in the presence of human beings who think their own thoughts.

I often saw trains stop in what is called a gare regulatrice, where the prisoners are questioned and distributed. These trains bring in prisoners and their officers. The commandant of the station, in accordance with his duty, has the officers appear before him so that he can question them:

"Your name? Your rank?"

The German states his name and rank, offering of necessity his identification card.

"Your regiment?"

"Such and such a regiment."

"Your army corps?"

"Such and such an army corps."

"Who is the general in command?"

Like an automaton the officer replies:

"Das sage ich nicht." ("I can not answer that.")[Pg 35]

And you know that it would be an easier matter to make the stone beneath your feet talk than one of these prisoners.

However, the commandant frowns slightly, glances over his notes, and says coldly:

"I know who your general is. If you belong to such and such an army corps, the general in command must be General von Bissing."...

"I have nothing to say."

As a general thing one of the staff had something to say. The interpreter, the convoy officer or the station master would get a lot of fun out of reciting to the German passages from von Bissing's famous and ferocious proclamation ordering that no quarter be given and that the troops should not encumber themselves with prisoners. Then he would ask:

"What would you say if we were to put such a principle into practice?"

The German often became very pale. He would content himself with a shrug of the shoulders—the shrug of the brute who knows that he is safe among civilized men.[Pg 36]

The men I questioned were often doctors who ranked as majors or held some commission in the German medical corps. They were less stiff and automaton-like than the officers and sergeants of the line service. Their attitude varied in accordance with the number of stars they had on their epaulette. If their rank were inferior to mine, they were exaggeratedly obsequious, holding their hands along the crease in the seam of their trousers with their fingers close together—at strict attention. If their rank were superior to mine, they were defiant and insolent. Nevertheless, they showed themselves more communicative than their comrades of the line service. Most of them spoke French—well enough, though not perfectly. All of them had been in Paris, and one and all repeated this phrase:

"We know your beautiful country well. We have been in your beautiful capital often...."

For my part, I invariably spoke to them of the atrocities their men had perpetrated in that beautiful country, or of those they had perpetrated in the country of our beautiful neighbor....[Pg 37] Rheims, Ypres, Louvain, Andenne, were the names that always returned to my lips. I hoped each time that I would get from those men who, in spite of everything, were men of science, members of humanity's most generous profession, if not a word of contrition at least a banal word of regret. Since they had not ordered the sacrileges or the massacres, they need not keep silent. But it was all in vain. They also excused, justified and explained....

The explanation was simple and stereotyped. For the battered Cathedral of Rheims, for the total destruction of Clermont, for the systematic laying-waste of Louvain, for the frightful company of old men, women and children who were dragged off into captivity, three words were the justification—the three words of the German major at Vincy:

"Das ist Krieg." ("It is war.")

For the blackened ruins of Senlis, for that charming city of Louvain, razed to the ground in one night as completely as if the scourge of God had passed through it; for Andenne, assassinated[Pg 38] in cold blood with not one of its houses being granted mercy by the assassins; for Termonde, where General Sommerfeld, seated in a chair in the midst of the Grande Place, gave the order that it be burned and replied to the entreaties of the mayor:

"No. Burn it to the ground!"

Five other words sufficed to explain everything:

"Civilians fired on our troops."

Not one village in flames, not one desecrated monument, not one organized killing, not one tortured city that does not fall under the scope of one or the other of those justifications, "War is war," or "Civilians fired on our troops."

Doctors, savants, officers, Bavarians, Saxons, and Prussians have adopted the double excuse with a marvelous unity: they advance it in a certain tone of voice. It is firmly embedded in what is left of their consciences as firmly as the iron cross is riveted on their necks.

Besides, it was all planned, wished for, arranged in advance. German frightfulness formed a part of the plan of campaign. It is enough to read the[Pg 39] manual called "Kriegesgebrauch in Landkriege" (Military Usage in Landwarfare) to be very much edified. Every German officer has had this manual in his hands since the days of peace. It comprised his rules of warfare. It was a part of his war equipment, the same as his field glasses and his staff-officer's card. And here is what he reads on the very first page:

War carried on energetically can not be directed against the inhabitants and fortified places of the hostile state alone; it will endeavor, it ought to endeavor to destroy equally all the enemy's intellectual and material resources. Humanitarian considerations, that is, consideration for the persons of individuals and for the sake of propriety, can have no recognition unless the end and nature of the war allow it.

And, a little farther on, he reads there:

Profound study of the history of war will make the officer guard against exaggerated humanitarian concessions, will teach him that war can not take place without certain harshness, that true humanity consists in proceeding without tenderness.

[Pg 40]

Farther along in that book, he reads:

All the methods invented by the technic of modern warfare, the most perfected as well as the most dangerous, those which kill the greatest number at once, are permitted. These last are conducive to the quickest end of the war; they are, if you consider matters carefully, the most humane methods.... Prisoners may be killed in case of necessity if there is no other means of guarding them properly.... The presence of women, children, old men, the sick and the wounded in a beseiged city can hasten the place's fall; in consequence it would be very foolish of the beseiger to renounce this advantage.... They will force the inhabitants to furnish information concerning their army, military resources and secrets of their country. The majority of writers in all nations condemn this usage. It will be used none the less—very regretfully—for military reasons.

Finally, on the volume's last page, is found this extraordinary maxim:

"Any wrong that the war demands, however great it may be, is allowed."

Therefore the horrors which the Germans [Pg 41]performed from the war's very beginning, which provoked an expression of great indignation from all the civilized world, were not perpetrated in a moment of orgy or madness. They have been perpetrated coldly, deliberately, intentionally.

Besides, not only the officers and the common soldiers have been taught to make war in this barbarous fashion. It has been taught to the entire German people. This precept proves the case. It emanates not from a soldier but from a poet, who is not addressing the military class but the civilians, the women, the children, and all Germany. It is the "Hymn of Hate" by the poet Heinrich Vierordt, which, before the war, was recited in even the German kindergartens:

Hate, Germany! Slit the throats of your millions of enemies. Raise a monument of their smoking corpses that will rise to the heavens!

Germany, arm yourself with brazen armor and pierce with your bayonet the heart of every enemy. Take no prisoners! Strike them dumb. Transform into deserts the lands that lie near you!

Hate, Germany! Victory will come from your anger. Shatter their skulls with blows from your[Pg 42] ax and the butt of your musket. These brigands are timid beasts.... They are not men.... May your fist perform the judgment of God!

It is useless to say what this spirit has brought about. Germany has carried on the war with vigor, has armed herself with brazen armor! She has transformed neighboring lands into deserts! She has slit throats, laid waste fields, shattered skulls, she has destroyed all that lay in her path! She has tried to impress the terror she holds salutary upon the souls of inoffensive old men and women and children!

This is the first of all the reasons why it is necessary now to fight, and to fight to the death; because these men will understand the abominable nature of "frightfulness" only when they see that "frightfulness" does not pay; only when they see the uselessness of unchaining horror and of beginning another war. Let an assassin go at liberty and he will commence his killing all over again; send him to the electric chair and he will regret his crime.

[Pg 43]

Just as France and Paris were not long in understanding what war meant in Germany's mind, France and Paris were not long in accounting for the danger they had passed through on account of the German spy system, on account of the formidable web of espionage the German agents had woven around all France.

People felt that this German spy system was there, speculated about it and talked about it for years and years, but it was only in the first days of the war that they really appreciated how diabolical it was and how far it had penetrated into the heart of France.

What happened at Amiens at the beginning of September, 1914, is especially characteristic of this.

Amiens was occupied twice by the enemy. To use the expression of a military historian, it seemed as if "the French and the Germans were playing hide-and-seek around the town." As soon as the blue caps of the French appeared over the horizon, the yellow pointed helmets of the Germans disappeared, rapidly. German occupation[Pg 44] meant the same thing it did everywhere else—exactions, brutalities, rape. Immediately after he had entered the Prefecture, the German governor levied a war contribution of one million francs. He also demanded that the citizens furnish his troops with wine, cigars, and tobacco; drew up a list of hostages; and arrested all the men between the ages of seventeen and twenty years. Within twenty-four hours they were led away under guard.

Nothing of all this surprised the brave Picard city. Proudly she submitted to her fate. But one thing moved her, or rather angered her, and that was the surety and speed with which the German authorities went directly to all the places they should occupy. They did not hesitate an instant about the street to follow or the door at which to knock. The arrest of the fifteen hundred young hostages occurred with an unheard-of rapidity. It seemed as if an invisible but exceedingly clever hand guided each step, regulated each movement of the invaders. Who could it be[Pg 45] who directed, advised and commanded the Germans from behind a veil?

Doubtless the mystery would never have been solved if, during the second occupation, the citizens had not been warned that the next day they would have to keep their shades down and close all shutters because His Imperial Highness, Prince Eitel Friedrich, the Kaiser's son, would then make a formal entry into the capital of Picardy. The shutters were closed; automatically the streets were emptied.

Into a deserted city, to the sound of trumpet and drum, preceded by a staff gleaming with gold braid and mounted on spirited steeds, the German army entered in state. All the shades were drawn in the city. However, behind some of them drawn faces peered forth in sorrow or in anger. In a house on the principal street was a lady whose husband was at the front. Her father, an aged general who had fought bravely in the war of 1870, was with her. Through the drawn shades of her home she was watching the hated scene.[Pg 46] And her glorious old father, however indignant he felt, was watching by her side.

When the parade was passing by, he made a sudden gesture and said:

"Look at that man on the horse, there, now!"

The man in question seemed to have a horse that pranced a little more than the others. He rolled around in his saddle a little more than the others. And the two onlookers had no trouble in recognizing this aide-de-camp of Prince Eitel's as one of the former directors of a language school that had had a branch at Amiens!

There is a sequel to the story ... for on the afternoon of that unhappy day Madame X and ten other society ladies of Amiens at different times heard a ring at their doors and saw that same individual, in full regalia, booted and spurred, enter their drawing rooms. He came to call on them, to pay his respects, as if it were the most natural thing in the world that he should be there in that costume. They all had to restrain the feeling of disgust and anger this spy aroused in their breasts. It was for the sake of[Pg 47] the safety of their homes, for the lives that were dear to them, that they did this. And he, entirely unconscious in his vileness, was suave and polite, played the man about town, recalled one thing or another, mentioned dances and parties....

So we once more find justification for the famous definition of German contained in Schopenhauer's famous phrase: "The German is remarkable for the absolute lack of that feeling which the Latins call 'verecundia'—sense of shame."

The essence of this feeling which is found among the most savage peoples is entirely lacking in the Teutonic race. And once more we find an abominable ambush placed for French culture, good faith and generosity.

This is not an isolated incident. When the whole truth is known, there will be even more surprised indignation felt than there is at present. Inquiries will have to be made. It will be necessary to know why the enemy, in certain places, has rushed in as if he came out of a trap door. It will be necessary to know why, in certain ravaged districts, some houses have been entirely [Pg 48]destroyed and others carefully spared. It will be necessary to know why tennis courts have been put in certain places and why certain masses of rhododendrons have been planted in certain parks....

For we know that the tennis courts have helped the Germans carry out their schemes, and that the flower beds have had a place in the machinery of war they were developing, which they kept alive until they were at our gates. A tennis match seems a mere nothing—something very innocent in the way of pleasure, far from being war-like. And then, one fine day the discovery is made that the tennis court has a foundation of reinforced concrete twenty centimeters thick, fit to support a house six stories high and, consequently, a heavy gun!

A clump of rhododendrons is very lovely, something very gracious, charming, most poetic. And one day the discovery is made that the clump conceals a platform set in concrete on which an entire battery can be aligned.

All that will have to be investigated. All that[Pg 49] will have to be stopped.... And it makes another reason why it is necessary to fight today, to fight to the death. For these Germans will understand the inanity of their Machiavellian scheming and of their spy system only when they shall see these methods fall to pieces, when they shall see their system fail absolutely.

In conclusion we may say that France fights for two reasons. The first reason is because on the third of August at a quarter before seven o'clock war was declared on her; she was forced to fight; her territory was invaded, her cities burned to the ground; her fields ravaged; her citizens massacred. The second reason is because she does not want to have to fight in the future; she does not wish this horror to be reproduced a second time; she wishes, in the immortal words of Washington, "that plague of mankind, war, banished off the earth."

To accomplish this the engine that makes war must be destroyed. The engine that makes war is "made in Germany." War is the national industry of the Germans, it has been developed and[Pg 50] made perfect in Germany, it is dear to all German hearts. They are proud of it and have faith in its power. The machine must not only be stopped; it must be broken and destroyed, thrown out as scrap iron to prevent the pieces from being reassembled, readjusted and put in running order once again.

That is why France is fighting, why the whole world ought to fight to the end, to death or until victory crowns its efforts.

[Pg 51]



Two words, courage and tenacity, will serve the future historian in his description of how France fought, when the time shall have come for telling the entire story of the world war.

No one has ever doubted French courage throughout all the centuries of her tormented history; but skeptical remarks have been made in times past of the tenacity of the French people.

Ten epigrams do not describe this war; nor do three. But one alone serves this purpose—know how to endure. No more thoughtful words have ever been spoken than those of the Japanese, Marshall Nogi: "Victory is won by the nation that can suffer a quarter of an hour longer than its opponent."[Pg 52]

During the four years of war, France has proven that she knew how to suffer and was able to suffer a quarter of an hour longer than her enemies.

They knew how to suffer, those soldiers of General Maunoury's army in the Battle of the Marne. And they turned the tide of battle in favor of French arms. They marched, fought and died for five days and five nights, in the passing of which some battalions marched forty-two kilometers and did not sleep for more than two hours at a time. The mobility of the fighting units was such that the commissary department was absolutely unable to supply them with rations. For three days many of them had no bread, no meat, nothing at all! They subsisted on crusts they had with them, or on the food they were able, by the fortunes of battle, to pick up in the villages where they happened to be. In spite of all this, whenever the order was given to charge, they charged the enemy with a sort of inspired madness.

"The fight has been a hard one," Marshall [Pg 53]Joffre wrote in an order of the day that will be famous throughout eternity. "The casualties, the number of men worn out by the exhaustion due to lack of sleep—and sometimes of food—passed all imagining.... Comrades, the commander in chief has asked you to do more than your duty, and you have responded to this request by accomplishing the impossible." That is the finest word of praise that has been given fighting men since the world began.

They knew how to suffer, those other soldiers of the Battle of the Marne who were a part of General Foch's army at Fère-Champenoise. Five times they attacked the Château de Mondement, and five times they were driven back. Their officers were consulting as to the best thing to do; and the men surrounded the officers, begging them with tears in their eyes to lead them to the assault for the sixth time. For the sixth time the attack was sounded, and at the sixth assault Château de Mondement fell.

That officer at Verdun knew how to suffer. He[Pg 54] will remain a figure for the legends of the future for, running to transmit an order, he received a bullet in the eyes which shattered his optic nerve. He was completely blinded. Nevertheless, he continued to advance, trying to grope his way through the night that had fallen upon him. He encountered something lying on the ground—a something that was a man just as badly wounded. The blind man besought him for help.

"How can I help you," said the wounded man, "a shell has broken both my legs."

"What difference does that make," shouted the blinded man, "I am going to carry you on my back. My legs will be yours, and your eyes will be mine."

And, one supporting the other, the blinded man and the lamed man carried on!

That officer knew how to suffer whom one of my brothers met on the battle field of Lorraine. An artillery officer, his arm was shattered, a few bits of flesh barely holding it fast to his shoulder.[Pg 55] My brother, when he saw the man painfully dragging himself along, asked him whether or not he needed help.

"I don't need help," replied the wounded man, "but my battery down there does. It is retreating."

"If it is retreating, it can't be helped and it is a waste of time for me to get it ammunition...."

"No," begged the lieutenant, "get the munitions. We Colonials fight until the last man falls...."

He offered to guide my brother, mounted beside him on the artillery caisson, and stayed there all day. For after he had supplied his own battery, it was the battery next it, and then the one next to that, which he wanted to supply.... Finally, in the evening, at nightfall, they came to take him off in the ambulance. The major looked at his shattered arm, examined his frightful wound, and muttered:

"You are in a bad way. Couldn't you have come here sooner?"[Pg 56]

The lieutenant replied humbly:

"Pardon me, I lost a lot of time on the way."

Those men I saw for months fighting and dying to the south of Verdun, at the Butte des Eparges, knew how to suffer.

The Butte des Eparges dominates the great plain of the Woevre, and from the very beginning it has been the theater of a frightful and long drawn out battle of the kind one seldom sees in this war. The Germans have been entrenched on the left side of the Butte, the French on the right. And day and night for four years there has been an incessant battle over its summit of grenades, bombs and shells; a terrible hand-to-hand fight in which neither one of the contestants yields an inch of ground. A brook of blood runs its interrupted course on each slope. On the south slope it is red with German blood; with French blood on the north.

The two slopes of the Butte have been so raked by firing that they have not a single tree, bush, or blades of grass on them; they stand out sinister[Pg 57] and frightful in their nakedness, seeming to cry out to the men of the plain:

"See, all of you, the scourge of God has passed over this place."

They are dented, furrowed and blown into crevasses by the explosions of mines; they are sown over with the enormous funnels in which the fighters take shelter; they are covered with an incessant smoke from the projectiles that plow them up.

As for the summit, it is a no man's land, that belongs to the dead men whose bodies cover it. The summit stopped being a battle field to become a charnel house. The number of men who have fallen there will never be known. The most fantastic figures come from the lips of those who come down ... 5,000, 8,000, 10,000 ... it will never be known. But what is known is that the dead are always there. They form a parapet above which the living fight on. These dead rot in the sunshine and in the rain. In accordance with the wind's being from the east or the west, the frightful odor of all this rotten flesh strikes[Pg 58] the Germans or the French. They lie there, an indistinguishable mass on the ground, and the men are unlucky who watch by night in the listening posts or the trenches. They think they are stumbling against a stone, and it is a skull their feet are touching; they think they are picking up the branch of a tree, and they have hold of the arm of a corpse.

However, in the shadow of this human charnel house, at the edge of this bloody sewer, some little French soldiers come and go, eat and sleep for months at a time. The dreadfulness of the sights, the stench in the air, the tragic presence of death has not gripped their souls, their courage or their nerves. They are no less confident and merry than the others and, in the evening, when the setting sun adds the purple of its shadows to the red of all the blood that has been shed on the Butte, they sing from the depths of their charnel house sweet love songs.... This is the most regally beautiful sight I have seen in this war; it is the most splendidly moving example I know of what personal sacrifice for one's country's sake can do.[Pg 59]

One day, in a rest village in the neighborhood, I met a soldier from one of the battalions which was encamped in the charnel house. He was a boy twenty years old, who hurried along with a flower in his buttonhole, whistling a tune.... He was so joyful that I asked him:

"You seem as happy as you can be."

"I have leave, Sir," he answered, "and in a week I shall go to the country to see my mother. But, for the present, I have to go and take the trench at Eparges...."

As he mentioned the name of the accursed Butte, I could not repress a movement. He saw it and said:

"Sir, I am glad to go there."

And he told me his name and the number of his company. Then he hurried away.

It chanced that precisely one week later I met one of his officers. I asked him about the merry fellow.

"That man? He was killed the day before yesterday at Eparges."

And my comrade added in a low voice:[Pg 60]

"He was shot down at my side, struck with a bullet square in the chest. The death agony set in at once. As I was trying to do something for him, passing my hand gently across his forehead, I said to him:

"Courage, my boy, courage."

He murmured the reply:

"Oh, I'm glad to die."

Glad ... the same phrase, the same words I had heard a week ago, which can be heard everywhere on the French front—and they are glad to go into all the trenches and into all the charnel houses, and it is with a happy heart that they rest in peace.

But France has not only fought with all her courage, with all her soul, with all her tenacity. She has fought with all her living strength, with her men, her women, even her children.

What can I say which has not already been said about the men? When I think of my own men, when I think of all the men floundering and fighting in this mud, I can find no other means of[Pg 61] expression than the words that have already served the Commander in Chief of the French Army, General Pétain, on the evening of his great victory at the Chemin des Dames. In receiving the American newspapermen, he said to them:

"Do not speak of us, the generals and the officers. Speak only of the men. We have done nothing; the men have done everything. Our men are wonderful; we, their leaders, can only kneel at their feet."

The women have been no less wonderful. And I want to write a few words about them.

The women who are at the front have fought like the men. Can you imagine a more beautiful deed of arms than that of a young girl, twenty years old, named Marcelle Semer, whose heroic story a French Cabinet Minister, M. Klotz, told recently at one of the Matinées Nationales at the Sorbonne.

In August, 1914, there lived at Eclusier, near Frise, a young girl with gray eyes and blonde hair named Marcelle Semer. She was twenty years old[Pg 62] at the time and kept accounts in addition to overseeing the work of a factory. At the time of the August invasion, after the Battle of Charleroi, the French tried to halt the Germans at the Somme. Not being in sufficient force, they retreated, crossing the river and the canal. The enemy immediately pursued. Marcelle Semer, who was following the French troops, had the presence of mind, after the last soldier had crossed the Somme Canal, to open the drawbridge in order to prevent the Germans from crossing it, and to hurl the key to the bridge into the canal in order that they might not take it from her when they came up. An entire enemy army corps was thus detained for twenty-four hours by this young girl's presence of mind; and it was only on the following day that the enemy, having found some boats on the Somme, made a bridge of them and passed over the canal. But the French soldiers were already far away.

The Germans were masters of the neighborhood for some days. They seized the inhabitants as hostages and shut them up in a cave. Marcelle[Pg 63] Semer secretly carried them food. She also carried sustenance to other inhabitants who had hidden in the woods or in cellars. She succored and concealed the soldiers whom wounds or fatigue had prevented from following the main body of troops. She contrived that sixteen of them, dressed as civilians, escaped. Then she was apprehended by the Germans, arrested and led into the presence of a court-martial. The judgment was summary, and after a quarter of an hour's questioning Marcelle Semer was condemned to death.

"Do you admit," asked the presiding officer, "that you helped French soldiers to escape?"

"I certainly do," she replied. "I managed it so that sixteen of them escaped, and they are beyond your reach. Now you can do what you want to me. I am an orphan. I have only one mother—France. She does not disturb me when I'm dying."

This was one time when God intervened. Marcelle did not die. Brought to the place of execution, at the very moment when they were[Pg 64] about to shoot, the French reëntered the village and, by a miracle, she escaped her executioners. Today she wears the Croix de Guerre and the medal of the Legion of Honor.

They were Frenchwomen and fighters, these women whose names and deeds are to be found in the columns of the "Journal Officiel." Read, for example, this citation concerning Madame Macherez, President of the Association des Dames Françaises de Soissons:

She willingly assumed the responsibility and the danger of representing the city before the enemy, and defended or managed the interests of the population in the absence of the mayor and the majority of the members of the town council. In spite of an intense bombardment which partially ruined the city, she took the most effective means possible to maintain calm in the city and to protect the lives of the inhabitants.

In this department, a lay instructress, Mlle. Cheron, merited a citation which does not contain the least over-praise:

[Pg 65]

She evidenced the greatest energy in difficult circumstances. Charged with the duties of Secretary to the Mayor, and alone at the time of the arrival of the Germans, she was not disconcerted by their threats, and kept her head in the face of their demands with remarkable calm and decision. When our troops returned, she assumed responsibility for the service and feeding of the cantonment. She personally took the steps necessary for the identification and burial of the dead. Finally, she was able to prevent panic at the time of the bombardment by the force of her example and her encouragement of the populace.

Those three nuns were also Frenchwomen and fighters of whom the "Journal Officiel" in the general order spoke as follows:

Mlle. Rosnet, Marie, sister of the order of St. Vincent de Paul, Mother Superior of the Hospice at Clermont-en-Argonne, remained alone in the village and showed during the German occupation an energy and coolness beyond all praise. Having received a promise from the enemy that they would respect the town in exchange for the care the sisters gave their wounded, she protested to the German commander against the burning of the town with the observation that "the word of a German officer is not worth that of a French [Pg 66]officer." Thus she obtained the help of a company of sappers who fought the flames. She gave the most devoted care to the wounded, German as well as French....

Mlle. Constance, Mother Superior of the Hospice at Badonvillers, during the three successive German occupations in 1914, assisted the sisters and remained bravely at her post night and day, in spite of all danger, and was busy everywhere with a devotion truly admirable....

Mlle. Brasseur, Sister Etienne, Mother Superior of the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul in the Hospital at Compiègne, from the war's beginning at the head of a staff whose tireless devotion has deserved all praise, has given the most intelligent and enlightened care to numerous wounded men. During the time of the German occupation, her coolness and energetic attitude assured the safety of the establishment she directed. Her brave initiative allowed several French soldiers to escape from captivity.

The modest postmistress and telegraph operator was a Frenchwoman and a fighter, who, in the little village of Houpelines, in the north of the country,[Pg 67] deserved this citation in the orders of the day, of which thousands of soldiers would be proud:

Refusing to obey the order that was given her to leave her post, she remained in spite of the danger. On the first of October the Germans entered her office, smashed her apparatus and threatened her with death. Mlle. Deletete, who had put her valuables and accounts in safe-keeping, gave evidence of the greatest calmness. From the seventeenth on she endured the bombardment. Her office having been damaged severely by the enemy's fire, she took refuge in the civil hospice, where four persons were killed at her side. She resumed her duties on the twenty-third, since which date she has continued to perform them in the face of frequent bombardments which have found many victims.

The women behind the lines have been worthy of their sisters at the front.

In the forges, the foundries, the factories and the munition plants they have not feared to don the blouse of the workingman, and on this blouse they wear as insignia a large grenade like that on the brassard of the mobilized men. Note these figures. On the first of February, 1916, the civil[Pg 68] establishments of war, the munition plants, and the Marine workshops employed 127,792 women. The number has increased, and on the first of March, 1917, they numbered 375,582 women. On the first of January, 1918, the women working in the factories manufacturing war material amounted to 475,000; that is to say, in round numbers, a half million.

Others, in the hospitals, ambulance and dispensaries have devoted themselves to the wounded, the mutilated, the sick and the suffering, to the sacrifice of their health, their youth, and sometimes their life itself. Here again the figures are eloquent—they speak for themselves. Three great societies, constituting the French Red Cross, have carried on this work of charity and devotion—the Société de Secours aux Blessés Militaires, the Union des Dames de France, and The Association des Dames Françaises. At the war's outbreak the Société de Secours aux Blessés had 375 hospitals with 17,939 beds; today it has 796 hospitals with 67,000 beds and 15,510 graduated nurses, three thousand of whom are employed in military[Pg 69] hospitals. On the thirty-first of December, 1916, the Union des Dames de France had 363 hospitals with 30,000 beds and more than 20,000 graduate or volunteer nurses. From August, 1914, to March, 1917, the Association des Dames Françaises had raised the number of its hospitals from 100 to 350, and from 5,000 to 18,000 the number of its beds; the number of its graduate nurses from 5,000 to 7,000.

On the thirty-first of December, 1916, the three societies counted about 42,000,000 days of hospital work, 25,000,000 for the Société de Secours aux Blessés alone. From the beginning of the war, this society has expended for equipment the sum of 38,700,000 francs.

Aside from these there are other figures which show the material effort of the Frenchwomen which I can not pass over in silence. They show the civic devotion of which they are capable. The Société de Secours aux Blessés has been granted one cross of the Legion of Honor, 94 Croix de Guerre, 119 Medailles d'Honneur des épidémies. The Association des Dames Françaises has won[Pg 70] 17 Croix de Guerre and 80 Medailles des épidémies. The Union des Femmes de France has won 39 Croix de Guerre. And last comes the glorious list of martyrs of the societies: 110 nurses have died in the devoted performance of their duties.

The heroism of these valiant women, many of whom remained in the occupied territories, will be the eternal pride of France. Madame Perouse, President of the Union des Femmes de France wrote to M. Louis Barthou telling him the number of women who had risked their liberty, their life, their honor even, to protect in the face of the ferocious enemy the sacred rights of the French wounded. It is fitting to add that, if they have taken care of the German wounded as well as the French wounded, they can always recall the reply of a devoted teacher of the Marne district, Mlle. Fouriaux, to a German major:

"Sir, we have only done our duty as nurses, never forgetting that we are Frenchwomen."

Mlle. Joulin, a nurse at Douai, did not forget her duty as a Frenchwoman. She was held a prisoner by the Germans for a year in the camp at[Pg 71] Holzminden, in which she took the place of the mother of five children who had been put down on the list of hostages drawn up by the German barbarians.

And if you would know where these heroic women have poured out their courage, their coolness and their physical resistance, which they have put in the service of their country and of humanity, you have but to listen to the declaration of one of them, Mlle. Canton-Baccara, who has been made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, for having shown bravery and exceptional devotion in the face of the greatest danger:

"The wounded soldier who suffers," said Mlle. Canton-Baccara, "the soldier who is complaining or the peasant who is weeping for the farm that has been pillaged, a woman's smile ought to console and her voice ought, under all circumstances, to be ready to recall to him that above these sufferings and troubles, above the paltry struggles of interest and ambition, there is, above all this, France, our France, which matters before all else."[Pg 72]

Still other women, who were neither in the hospitals, at the front, nor in the factories, have been admirable fighters. They fought, according to Mlle. Canton-Baccara's words, with their heart and with their smile. They fought by the example of abnegation they gave, by the moral force with which they inspired the men in the trenches.

Madame de Castelnau is a glorious figure, she, the wife of the General who saved Nancy and stopped the rush of the barbarians on the Grand Couronné!... Madame de Castelnau had, before the war broke out, four sons. Three fell on the battle field. The fourth is actually still a prisoner in the hands of the Germans. On the lips of their father there is never the slightest word of complaint; on the lips of the mother there are these admirable words, which the children in the schools will repeat later on.... Madame de Castelnau was in a little village when her third son was killed. The curé of the village had the pitiful task of telling the already mourning mother of this new blow that had struck her. The curé found Madame de Castelnau, and, in the presence[Pg 73] of her great sorrow, he hesitated and was overcome with embarrassment:

"Madame," he said, "I come to bring you another blow. But know well that all the mothers of France weep for you."

Madame de Castelnau knew the truth at once. She interrupted the priest and, looking him straight in the eye, replied:

"Yes, I know what you are going to tell me.... God's will be done. But the mothers of France would be wrong in weeping for me. Let them envy me."

Those are the words of a Frenchwoman of noble descent. But you can place on the same high level the words of an old woman, a humble soul, whom the gendarmes found one night crouched on a grave that was still fresh. It was up near Verdun. She told the gendarmes:

"I come from La Rochelle. Five of my sons have already fallen in the war. I have come here to see where the sixth is buried—the sixth—my last son."

Moved by the tragic grandeur of the sight, the[Pg 74] gendarmes rendered her military honors and presented arms. The mother rose and uttered the words her dead and her heart inspired:

"Even so, Vive la France!"

All of them, mothers of noble birth and of peasant stock, rich and poor, wives, sisters, and fiancées are the first to exhort their sons, husbands and brothers to fight to the end. All have the same words of sacrifice and abnegation on their lips. All of them find words which best fortify, exalt and console their men.

Read this letter I picked up on the field of battle, a letter written by a humble peasant woman whose heart, after centuries of noble and wise discipline, was in the right place:

My dear Boy:

We got your letter, which gave us great pleasure. We waited anxiously for it. You wrote it two days ago. Since that time things have changed. Did you get my letter? I hope so. I must reassure you about your father the very first thing. He was away only three days, time enough to guide a detachment to Bourges. So[Pg 75] there is only one vacant place at the fireside, but how big that one is.

My dear boy, you speak to me of sacrifice; yes, it is one. And I can tell you it is the greatest one that has ever been asked of me. However, I keep calm. I tell myself sometimes that I have deserved it. I am ready to pay, but I wish so much that you might not pay.

My dear boy, you speak to me of duty and of honor. I have never doubted that you would do what you ought to. Yes, my son, a soldier's honor lies in being on the battle field when the country is in danger. Go, then, my son, with the blessing of your mother and your father, and with that most mighty one of your country and of heaven.

You tell me to accept my lot courageously. Alas, sometimes it fails me. However, I shall try to be resigned and I hope to see you again in spite of everything. If that should not happen, say to yourself, my dear boy, when you close your eyes, that you have all the love and all the sweetest kisses of your mother, who would like to fly to you.

The sisters are worthy of their mothers. Here is a letter written by two young girls who live in Lorraine, near Nancy. Plutarch never wrote anything more beautiful:[Pg 76]

Moyen, 4 September, 1914.

My dear Edouard:

I have heard that Charles and Lucien died on the twenty-eighth of August. Eugène is badly wounded. As for Louis and Jean, they are dead also.

Rose has gone away.

Mother weeps, but she says that you are brave and wishes that you may avenge them.

I hope that your officers will not refuse you that. Jean won the Legion of Honor; follow in his footsteps.

They have taken everything from us. Of the eleven who went to war, eight are dead. My dear Edouard, do your duty; we ask only that.

God gave you life; he has the right to take it away from you. Mother says that.

We embrace you fondly, although we would like to see you. The Prussians are here. Jandon is dead; they have pillaged everything. I have just returned from Gerbevillers, which is destroyed. What wretches they are!

Sacrifice your life, my dear brother. We hope to see you again, for something like a presentiment tells us to hope.[Pg 77]

We embrace you fondly. Farewell, and may we see you again, if God grants.

(Signed) Your Sisters.

P.S. It is for us and for France. Think of your brothers and of your grandfather in 1870.

And this next letter is sublime. It was addressed to M. Maurice Barrès by a lady from the city of Lyons, which is perhaps the most mystic city in all France. In the newspapers mention had been made of the men disabled by war, and of all the unfortunates who were mutilated, whose limbs had been amputated, who were helpless or blinded. The question was raised of knowing what ought to be done to help them. Then the lady wrote as follows to M. Barrès:

Sir: One of these recent days, when our troubles have been so hard to bear, I went to regain my courage into one of the beloved sanctuaries of Notre Dame.... A lady dressed in black came in beside me and, as all mothers are sisters in these trying days, I asked after her men at the front. She told me sadly that she was a poor widow, and that the war had taken away her two sons, her sole means of support. One of them had[Pg 78] had an arm amputated—the right arm—and the hands of the other were cut off at the wrists. She came from seeing them to pray to the Mother of Sorrows for her children and herself.

I was deeply moved by her sorrow and by her not complaining. I sought means to console her. This is the means I have found, sir, and I tell it to you now....

Let us ask the Virgin, I said to her, to create young women in France so brave, so strong, and so devoted that they will gladly and proudly consent to marry the poor, injured men and to be not only their hearts but the limbs which will aid them to make their daily bread; leaving to the men the privilege of loving them, of respecting their presences and of guiding their lives.

The poor woman understood me. We separated. My own youngest daughter was in my thoughts; and do you not think that the men who have a wider audience could stir the hearts of the young women, twenty years of age in France, if they asked them to perform this act of devotion, and to be the companions of the mutilated, maimed men of France?...

Then, too, the women who had only their dignity and their high spirit to defend themselves against the grossness and the insults of the [Pg 79]Prussians, have been the incarnation of the spirit of France.

An old woman who dwelt in a village on the Aisne was spattered with mud by the Kaiser as he passed by on horseback. He made a gesture excusing himself. She fixed her eyes on him and said simply:

"It doesn't matter, sir. That mud can be washed off."

A great lady in one of the châteaux in the invaded regions, had to receive one of the Kaiser's sons. The day of his departure he sent for her to thank her for the hospitality she had shown him. The old lady, looking at him, contented herself with replying:

"Do not thank me, sir. I did not invite you here."

And she reëntered her house with all dignity.

Because the women of France have been all this and have done all this, France has been able to fight on, and will be able to fight to the end. Because the women of France have been all this[Pg 80] and have done all this, the soldiers, in the mud of the trenches, revere them as Madonnas.

The historian Tacitus tells somewhere how, on a hot spring day, a slave, panting and worn out, entered one of the gates of the Eternal City. He crossed the Forum without stopping and, in his course, mounted the Hill of Mars. Finally he came to one of the greatest houses of the patrician section of the city. His cries and shouts filled the house:

"Alas, alas!" he cried.

A lady hastened to him. She was the mistress of the house, the famous Cornelia Graccha.

"What news do you bring?" she asked.

"Alas, alas," repeated the slave, "in the battle down there in Umbria, two of your sons have been killed."

"Fool," was the reply, "I do not ask that. Have the Barbarians been conquered?"

"They have, Cornelia."

"Then what matters the death of my sons if my country is victorious!"

Those wonderful words have been handed down[Pg 81] from generation to generation as a symbol of what ancient Rome was. Those words thousands of French women have uttered for the last four years, and they still utter them today. Other voices answer them. They rise from the trenches, and they say:

"Be without fear, women of France. For you we will fight to our last gasp, we will shed our last drop of blood. Know that if for months we have held our heads below the level of the muddy trench and offered our breasts to death, it is that you may be freed from the wild beasts that have burst forth from the German forests. For your sakes our homes are not in ruins and our towns are not vassals to the enemy. It is all for you, so that when we shall return you need not throw your arms around conquered necks. Our country, women of France, is made up of our homes, our churches, and our fields, and of your beloved faces. Throughout the tragic periods of its history, our country has always been incarnated in your faces, whether they called themselves St. Geneviève or Jeanne d'Arc. And in our building, to personify the cities that are dear to us, we have always taken your bodies, your foreheads, and the folds of your gowns—see, in Paris, that statue in the Place de[Pg 82] la Concorde, in the shadow of the Tuileries, which for days has worn a crêpe veil.... Well, today is the same as yesterday. In our trenches our country appears to us in those visions wherein are mingled your faces. We shall believe that our country has been well served only when, on your beloved faces, we shall have caused a smile to appear because the palms we have placed at your feet are the palms of victory."

Future historians will state that France has fought not only with all her courage, her tenacity and her soul, with all her men, women and children: they will also state that these men, women and children, in spite of the terrible times, their suffering and their mourning, have remained firmly united, forming a firm rock from which not a single stone has been splintered.

In that tormented, feverish France where the ardor of the Revolution still boils, there were, before the war, different parties, cliques, groups and churches. The war has leveled, united and bound them all together.

In some admirable pages, consecrated to the "Effort of French Womanhood," M. Louis Barthou[Pg 83] has painted the picture of the sacred union there is among all the French women:

I have seen [he writes] our women at the front and behind the lines, in the hospitals, the railway stations, the automobile service, the canteens, the factories, in relief work and in charity work. I have met nurses, unmoved under a bombardment. I have tested the spirit of fellowship which unites them, including as it does the names of the most aristocratic French families and the most modest citizens. There is no false pride among those in high places nor envy among those lower in the social scale. They wear the same garb, the same cap, with the same cross on their foreheads. For the soldiers there is the same uniform, and when you say uniform you mean equality in devotion, in the risk of life, and in loyalty to duty. Between the classes of society there is no contention, there is only emulation. I do not know whether or not, in times of peace, they had all and everywhere escaped the local passions which have poisoned national life, but the war has given them sacred union for a countersign, and they, as disciplined soldiers, have respected this countersign.

The French nurse's smile will have served the nation's defense well, but I emphasize this when I think how well it will have served the nation's unity[Pg 84] in the aftermath that shall follow war. What rancors it will have appeased! What jealousies it will have blotted out! What petty prejudices it will have conquered! These society women and women of the middle class who have leaned over the beds of sick or wounded peasants, and these young girls who have tended their hurts, bound up their wounds, and calmed their sufferings have, with their delicate hands, so expert in the worst treatments, laid the foundations of a France that is united and fraternal, where envy and hate have no place. All eyes have opened to broader vistas of revealed clearness, to which they have hitherto remained closed through prejudice, or obstinacy. They will have learned that bravery, devotion to the right, loyal and tried disinterestedness, heartfelt and wise knowledge can dwell in the simple soul of the peasant and the workingman. The peasants and the workingmen who have come out from their care will have learned that luxury does not exclude goodness, that beauty is not always a sterile gift, that youth is not altogether callow, that a woman can be pretty and generous, delicate and courageous, rich and sympathetic, and that the mothers whose children are dead excel in lavishing the care of their hands and the tenderness of their hearts on the wounded children who are suffering far from their mothers.

[Pg 85]

The sacred sense of union that reigns among the men is no less firm. It is only necessary to read the letters written on the eve of their deaths—in that hour when a man, alone, face to face with himself, lets his soul speak—by the fighters who gave their heart's blood for the sacred cause.

They all say the same things.

Here is a letter a Jew wrote, named Robert Hertz, a second lieutenant of the 330th infantry regiment, who fell on the 13th of April, 1915, at Marcheville:

My Dear: I remember the dreams I had when I was a little child. With all my soul I wished to be a Frenchman, to be worthy to be one, and to prove that I was one.... Now the old, childish dream comes back to me, stronger than it ever was. I am grateful to the officers who have accepted me for their subordinate, to the men I have been proud to lead. They are the children of a chosen people. I am full of gratitude towards our country which has received me and heaped favors upon me. Nothing would be too much to give in payment for that, and for the fact that my little son may always hold his head high and never know, in the reborn France, that torment which has[Pg 86] poisoned many hours of our childhood and of our youth. "Am I a Frenchman?" "Would I deserve to be one?" No, little boy, you shall not say that. You shall have a native land and your step may sound on the earth, nourishing you with the assurance, "My father was there and he gave all he had for France." If recompense is necessary, this is the sweetest one there is for me.

This is the letter of a Protestant, second lieutenant Maurice Dieterlin, who was killed on the sixth of October, 1915, and who, on the eve of the Champagne offensive, wrote these last words they were to read from him, to his family:

I saw the most beautiful day of all my life. I regret nothing and I am as happy as a king. I am glad to pay my debt that my country may be free. Tell my friends that I go on to victory with a smile on my lips, happier than the stoics and the martyrs of all time. For a moment we are beyond the France that is eternal. France ought to live. France will live. Get ready your loveliest gowns, keep your best smiles to welcome the conquerors in the great war. Perhaps we shall not be there, but there will be others in our places. Do not weep, do not wear mourning, for we shall have[Pg 87] died with a sweet smile on our lips and a lovely superhumanity in our hearts. Vive la France! Vive la France!

What wonderful enthusiasm! But still more beautiful is this prayer, that of a little Protestant soldier from the Montbéliard country, who died in the Gare d'Amberieu hospital:

"Lord, may Thy will and not mine be done. I have consecrated myself to Thee since my youth, and I hope that the example I have offered may serve to glorify Thee.

"Lord, Thou knowest that I have not desired war, but that I have fought to do Thy will; I offer my life for peace.

"Lord, I pray Thee for the welfare of my people. Thou knowest how greatly I love them all, my father, my mother, my brothers and my sisters.

"Lord, return manyfold to these nurses the good they have done me; I am but a poor man but Thou art the dispenser of riches. I pray to Thee for them all."

This prayer, in which the little soldier had put his last living thoughts, was received by a Catholic[Pg 88] sister who had cared for him, and sent by her to his sorrowing family—a touching proof of sacred union.

All of them, Catholics, Protestants and Jews, speak of God and pray to Him.... Read this letter from Captain Cornet-Acquier, that captain to whom his wife wrote, "I would urge you on with my voice if I saw you charging the enemy." He tells this little incident:

"A Catholic captain was saying the other day that he said his prayers before each battle. The commanding officer remarked that that was not the proper moment and that he would do better to make his military arrangements.

"'Sir,' he replied, 'that does not prevent me from making my military arrangements and from fighting. I feel better for it.'

"Then I said:

"'Captain, I do the same thing you do. And I find I get along pretty well.'"

This is the letter a young Catholic wrote the evening before a battle to his fiancée:[Pg 89]

My dear Jeanne:

Tomorrow at ten o'clock, to the sounds of "Sidi Brahim" and the "Marseillaise" we charge the German lines. The attack will probably be deadly. On the eve of this great day, which may be my last, I want to recall to you your promise.... Comfort my mother. For a week she will have no news. Tell her that when a man is in an attack he can not write to those he loves. He must be content with thinking of them. And if time passes and she hears nothing from me, let her live in hope. Help her. And if you learn at last that I have fallen on the field of honor, let the words come from your heart that will console her, my dear Jeanne.

This morning I attended mass and communion with faith. It was held some yards away from the trenches. If I am to die, I shall die a Christian and a Frenchman.

I believe in God, in France and in Victory. I believe in beauty and youth and life. May God guard me to the end. But, Lord, if my blood is useful for victory, may Thy will be done.

Finally, here is a priest, Father Gilbert de Gironde, second lieutenant in the 81st infantry, who was killed on the seventh of December, 1914, at[Pg 90] Ypres, writing his last letter.... For of the twenty-five thousand priests who went off at the beginning of the mobilization, three hundred were called military chaplains, the rest were officers, stretcher-bearers, or common soldiers—and note the 4,000 citations in the army orders which the "Journal Officiel" has published, which report the acts of courage and of bravery done by these priests on the battle field:

To die young. To die a priest. To die as a soldier in the attack, marching to the assault in full sacerdotal garb, perhaps in the act of granting an absolution; to shed my blood for the Church, for France, for her Allies, for all those who carry in their hearts the same ideal I do, and for the others also, that they may know the joy of belief ... how beautiful that is, how beautiful that is!

Catholics, Protestants, Jews, priests, ministers and rabbis, that is what they write. It is a belittling, a profanation, that, in spite of myself, I have separated and differentiated among them. For down there, in the bloody mud of the trenches,[Pg 91] they are one body which lives together and dies together.

There was a little Breton who, on the Battle field of the Marne, was shot in the chest. The death agony at once set in, and in his agony he asked for a crucifix. No priest happened to be on the spot, there was only a Jewish rabbi. The rabbi ran to get the crucifix, he brought it to the lips of the dying man, and he, in his turn, was killed!...

In a little barrack in the hollow of one of the depressions at Verdun lived together a priest, a minister and a rabbi. We often saw the place. On the evening after a frightful battle, they were all three in the charnel house where the dead bodies are brought. They were surrounded by stretcher-bearers, who said to them:

"We do not dare throw earth on the bodies of our comrades without a prayer being said over them."

The Catholic priest asked to what faith they belonged.[Pg 92]

"We do not know. How can we find out? But can't you arrange among yourselves?"

"Well, we shall bless them one after the other."

And there in the bleeding night was seen the incomparable sight of the three men side by side, the Catholic, the Protestant and the Jew, reciting the last prayer and disappearing....

M. Maurice Barrès, the celebrated French writer, from whose magnificent book, "The Spiritual Families of France," I have borrowed a great number of the letters I have quoted, has pointed out that all French churches are fighting in this hour, forming one great church. Yes, every church and every saint is fighting! These saints belong to all beliefs, some of them to no belief. But one religion has united and solidified them all—the religion of their country, the religion of Liberty, the religion of civilization. All speak the same prayer, all have the same faith in their hearts, all fall martyrs in the same cause.

The old walls which, in times of peace, separated parties and men, have crumbled into dust at the same time when the German shells crumbled[Pg 93] into dust the little village churches. An infinite cathedral, a cathedral that is invisible and great has risen on high. It is the cathedral of the faith of France, in which all faiths commune in the same hope—a cathedral which time and suffering and death itself shall not destroy.

[Pg 94]



Listen to the man in the street when he speaks—that man in the street who reflects public opinion whether it is just or unjust, genuine or sophisticated. Listen to him when he speaks and you will hear him say:

"Yes, we know. France has a well tempered spirit. But the blood is gone out of her body. France would like to fight on, to fight to the bitter end, but France is suffering. France is worn out. France is bled white."

France is suffering ... that is true. In the cataclysm that she did not wish for, that she did not start, that she did not prepare, she has lost more than a million men. And what men they were! The Ecole Normale, which is the preparatory school for the French university, lost seventy[Pg 95] per cent of its pupils. That means that three-quarters of the thinkers, the literary men, the scientists, the philosophers, the professors of the France of tomorrow have been wiped out. They were the flower of her youth, the élite of her intelligence. Add to that seven departments, roughly 20,000 square kilometers in area, which have been invaded, devastated, ruined and pillaged. In these seven departments all the machinery, all the raw materials, all the merchandise, all the furniture even to the door-knobs and the boards in the floors have been taken away. These departments were among the richest and most prosperous of those on which France prided herself most industrially.

Add to that the cultivation that has been destroyed, the soil that has been made untillable, the trees that have been cut down, the roads that have been torn up and the bridges that have been destroyed. All the misery, all the mourning, all the sickness: a million wounded and injured men who have been lost as living forces by a nation which did not have too many inhabitants. Add the [Pg 96]hundred thousand prisoners Germany sends back to us who have been made tuberculous, paralytics, nervous wrecks or lunatics because they have been physically maltreated. Yes, France is suffering.

But it is not true that she is worn out. It is not true that she is bled white. The horrible hope Germany had formed of emptying France of her strength, of leaving her, fighting for breath and conquered, beaten to the earth for centuries to come, has not been realized. France always stands upright, her arm is still strong, her muscles vigorous and her blood rich.

To destroy the lie that France is bled white, we must let figures, facts, statistics and definite proofs speak. The public shall judge for itself....

A nation that is worn out and bled white has no army to defend itself. France not only still has an army, but she has an army that is numerically and materially stronger than it was at the war's beginning. In 1914, at the Marne, France had an army of 1,500,000 men; today, after four[Pg 97] years of war, France has on her battle front, in the war zone, an army of 2,750,000 men.

But the value of fighting men today lies only in the artillery they have to support them behind the lines. It lies in the shells the artillery is able to fire, in all that material that makes up the sinews of war of the present day. Here we find the most extraordinary and marvelous effort that history records. France, invaded, occupied, weakened; France that had no munitions industry prior to 1914—or a small munitions industry at best—that France has built up a war industry that is doubtless the best in the world, which is equal to the German war industry and on which the Allies can draw in the common cause.

Listen to these figures and keep them in your heads. They are vouched for by M. Millerand, who was minister of war during the first year of hostilities:

The Battle of the Marne emptied our storehouses.

On the seventeenth of September, 1914, the minister of war, who had then been scarcely three[Pg 98] weeks in office, was informed that munitions threatened to fail our artillery, and that it was necessary without delay to bring to the front 100,000 shells per day instead of 13,500 for the .75 guns. This was merely a beginning. Three days later, on the twentieth of September, the minister assembled at Bordeaux the representatives of the munitions industry and divided them up into regional groups. At the head of each one he made one establishment or one individual the responsible person. In the face of difficulties which could not be conceived unless they had been overcome, with establishments diminished in personnel as well as in raw material, inexperienced for the most part in the complex and delicate operations which were expected of them, the manufacture of shells for the .75's mounted from 147,000 which it had been in the month of August, 1914, to 1,970,000 in the month of January, 1915, and then to 3,396,000 during the month of July, 1915.

222 .75 guns per month have been constructed since the month of May, 1915. 227 were constructed in the month of July, 407 in the month of January, 1916. For this construction, as for all the others, once a start was made, there was no stopping it.

All orders for heavy guns had been countermanded at the beginning of August, 1914. They[Pg 99] were resumed in the month of September, 1914. Seventy-five per cent of the orders for heavy guns, on which we got along until April, 1917, had been given out between September, 1914, and the thirty-first of October, 1915. In the first seven months of the war, from September, 1914, to April, 1915, there were constructed three hundred and sixty pieces of heavy artillery. On August first, 1914, we had only sixty-eight batteries. A year later, to the day, on the first of August, 1915, we had two hundred and seventy-two batteries of heavy artillery.

Now consider these figures, given out by M. André Tardieu, High Commissioner of the French Republic at Washington, in a letter to the Hon. Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War:

In the matter of heavy artillery, in August, 1914, we had only three hundred guns distributed among the various regiments. In June, 1917, we had six thousand heavy guns, all of them modern. During our spring offensive in 1917, we had roughly one heavy gun for every twenty-six meters of front. If we had brought together all our heavy artillery and all our trench artillery, we would have had one gun for every eight meters in the battle sector.

[Pg 100]

In August, 1914, we were making twelve thousand shells for the .75's per day, now we are making two hundred and fifty thousand shells for the .75's and one hundred thousand shells for the heavy guns per day.

If you wish to consider the weight of the shells which fell on the German trenches during our last offensives, you will find the following figures for each linear meter:

Field artillery407 kilos
Trench artillery203 kilos
Heavy artillery704 kilos
High Power artillery    12 kilos
Total    1442 kilos

And these are the figures for the monthly expenditure in munitions for the .75's alone:

July, 19166,400,000 shells
September, 1916   7,000,000 shells
October, 19165,500,000 shells

During the last offensive the total expenditure amounted to twelve million projectiles of all calibers.

This incomparable war industry has permitted us not only to fight, to defend ourselves and to[Pg 101] attack the enemy, but also to supply our friends, our Allies, with the munitions necessary to fight. Up to January, 1918, these are the amounts of munitions France was able to hand over to the nations fighting at her side in Europe:

16,000,000automatic rifles
2,500heavy guns

And to France has come the honor of making the light artillery for the American Army—amounting to several hundred guns per month.

A nation that is worn out and bled white has an empty treasury and is no longer able to obtain taxes from its ruined citizens. Let us consider what France had done in a financial way in this war.

From the first of August, 1914, to the first of January, 1918, the French Parliament voted war[Pg 102] credits amounting to twenty billions of dollars. Of this enormous fund only two billions have been borrowed from outside sources; all the remainder has been subscribed or paid for by taxation or by loans in France herself. More than a billion dollars has been loaned to her Allies by France.

In 1917 France had the heaviest budget in all her history. The single item of taxes was raised to six billion francs ($1,200,000), and these taxes were paid to the penny, although ten million Frenchmen were mobilized in the Army, in the factories, and on the farms, or were untaxable in the occupied regions.

In 1915, 1916 and 1917 France raised three great national loans. That of 1915 amounted to exactly 13,307,811,579 francs, 40 centimes, of which 6,017 millions were paid in hard cash. That of October, 1916, amounted in round numbers to ten billions francs, of which more than five billions were paid in hard cash. That of December, 1917, amounted to 10,629,000,000 francs, of which 5,254 millions were paid in cash.[Pg 103]

Thus, in spite of the war, her invaded territories, and her mobilized citizens, France has in three years raised three national loans of almost seventeen billions francs in hard cash. That is three times the amount of the war indemnity she paid Prussia in 1871.

A nation worn out and bled white has no more monetary reserve, no more funds in its treasury, and has been brought into bankruptcy. The Bank of France, which is probably the leading national bank in the world, whose credit has never weakened in the gravest hours of the nation's history, declared on the first of January, 1918, a gold reserve of 5,348 millions of francs, an increase of 272 millions over the gold in hand on January first, 1917. This is the greatest deposit the bank has ever had. All this came from the national resources: the weekly payments are still a million and a half francs, which are paid without compulsion and without legal processes.

The individual deposits in the great credit establishments of France which, on the thirty-first of December, 1914, amounted to only 4,050 millions[Pg 104] of francs, amounted to 6,050 millions on the thirty-first of December, 1917.

And during the first three months of the year 1918, from the first of January to the thirty-first of March, the surplus deposits made by the peasants and the working classes in the National Saving Bank was seventy-five millions of francs, an excess of more than eight hundred thousand francs daily.

A nation that is worn out and bled white is incapable of manufacturing and sees its commerce and industry perish. Here is the statement of M. Georges Pallain, Governor of the Bank of France, representing the accounting of the Counsel General of the Bank for 1917:

From the industrial and commercial point of view, a satisfactory amelioration is noticeable. The investigation of the Minister of Industry in July last permits the statement that the percentage of factories and business houses rendering a periodical accounting, of which the advantage is not yet established, is only twenty-three per cent; it was fifty-five per cent in August, 1914.

[Pg 105]

An indication of the development of industrial activity is furnished by the continued increase of the demand for coal.

Operations for mining ore have been pushed with vigor. Coal production increased greatly in 1914. On the whole it still remains less than it was before the war, since the invasion has deprived us of the valleys in the north and the richest portion of Pas-de-Calais; but in the regions where mining is still possible the production exceeds by about forty per cent the figures for 1913.

This remarkable increase has compensated to a certain extent for the falling off in the importations of coal from England; nevertheless it leaves our supply of coal less than our demand for it.

To remedy this insufficiency and, at the same time, to give our national industry greater independence, researches and experiments have been equally intensified with a view to employing our hydraulic resources. In the Alps, in the Pyrenees and in the central Massif new installations are under way, and they have already attracted important metallurgic and chemical plants.

The development of industrial production has had the result of an increase in the volume of commercial transactions. These continue to look after themselves and, for the most part, they are on a cash basis. The gradual resumption of credit[Pg 106] operations, which former years signalized, is still on the increase. In 1917 the receipts from commerce were thirty-seven per cent greater than in 1916. There is a notable progression of discounts, while the total of our delayed payments has been brought back to 1,140 millions.

A nation that is worn out and bled white is unable to bind up its wounds or relieve its bed of suffering. France has not waited for the end of the war and the evacuation of her territory to bring in life where the Germans thought they had left only death.

In eighty-four of the liberated cantons the work of reconstruction has already commenced. Commissions have been appointed. These commissions have proceeded already to the evaluation of the damage done and, without waiting for authorization, the administration has paid advances amounting to a not inconsiderable figure. Thus a sum totalling more than one hundred and forty millions francs has been expended for the reconstruction of the liberated regions. Seventeen millions have been expended in cash for repairs;[Pg 107] in advances to the farmers for work or supplies, twenty millions; in advances to workmen, a half million; for the circulation of funds to the farmers, merchants and small manufactures, two millions; under the heading of reconstruction of buildings or the rapid reinstallation of the evacuated population, one hundred millions.

An Office National de Reconstruction for the villages has been established, and an agricultural Office National de Reconstitution has been organized; great things have already been realized from private organizations. This is the account of what one of them, the organization of National Nurseries, sent in 1914 to the front and into the liberated regions:

6,717,575cabbage plants
1,980,000turnip and rutabaga plants
41,000radish plants
270,250white beets
5,340,500leek plants
1,836,800chicory and endive plants
104,500celery plants[Pg 108]
105,000tomato plants
16,900tarragon plants
9,569,450onion sprouts
26,009,175total plants of various kinds.

These plants have been divided up into 2,436 shipments, and they have sufficed to nourish not only the people who have returned to the devastated villages but also the troops at the front.

A nation that is worn out and bled white has no colonies, or, if she has, these same colonies are likewise bloodless and worn out. The French colonial empire remains intact while the German colonial empire has disappeared from the face of the earth. The support the colonies brought to the mother country is wonderful and deserves a separate study on its own account.

Here is the picture the celebrated German colonial empire offers.

In 1914 Germany possessed a colonial empire two million square kilometers in area. It represented approximately four times the area of the German Empire, and before the war its exports amounted to about one hundred millions of francs[Pg 109] or twenty-five millions of dollars. There were German Southwest Africa, 35,000 square kilometers in extent, with 1,750 kilometers of railroads, with its copper and diamond mines, its metals which were worth commercially thirty-seven millions of marks in 1911; German East Africa, twice as big as the German Empire, having 1,225 kilometers of railroads, with its harbors where nine hundred and thirty-three merchant ships had touched in 1911; German New Guinea, as large as two-thirds of Prussia, with its rich deposits of gold and coal, its maritime commerce of 240,000 tons; the Samoan Islands, one single port of which, Apia, was visited by one hundred and ten steamers in a year; Tsing-Tao which, in 1911, had exported 32,500,000 marks' worth of merchandise, whose maritime interest was represented by five hundred and ninety steamers which carried a million tons of freight. All that has fallen away; all that is actually in the hands of the Allies.

The conquest was difficult; it was finished only in 1916. An order of the day of General Aymerich,[Pg 110] commander-in-chief of the troops which conquered Kameroon, points with brief eloquence to some of the difficulties which have been overcome:

Officers, Europeans and troops who are natives of Africa and Belgian Congo.

At the cost of hardship and unheard-of efforts, you have just wrenched from the Germans one of their best and richest colonies.

Followed without a minute's respite from possession to possession, the enemy has been obliged to abandon the last bit of Kameroon. For eighteen months you have experienced the torrid heat of the days and the cold dampness of the nights without a change, you have been under the torrential equatorial rains, you have traversed impassable forests and fetid marshes, you have without a rest taken the enemy's positions one after another, leaving dead in each one a number of your comrades. Lacking food and often without munitions, with your clothing in tatters, you have continued your glorious march without complaint or murmur, until you have attained the end for which you set out.

In this conquest France played a large part, just as was the case in the conquest of Togoland,[Pg 111] with her Senegalese Tirailleurs, the famous Tirailleurs, so much decried and discussed before the war, who were to win the admiration of the English generals under whose orders they fought.

It is appropriate to cite here the order of the day of the commanding officer of these troops, because it shows us a side of the colonial wars, about which little has been said:

An English detachment under the command of Lieutenant Thomson having been strongly repulsed in an attack on the post at Kamina, was reinforced by a group of the Senegalese Tirailleurs made up of a sergeant, two corporals, and fourteen Blacks. From the beginning of the encounter at eleven o'clock, the mixed detachment found itself exposed to a lively fire from positions that were solidly established and supported by mitrailleuses. After the artillery had commenced firing Lieutenant Thomson, considering that the preparation was sufficient, bravely led his troop on to the attack. This courageous initiative failed under a severe fire from fifty meters of German trenches. Lieutenant Thomson fell mortally wounded. However, the Senegalese Tirailleurs, faithful to that tradition which has already proved[Pg 112] its value in our colonial epic by such famous exploits, refused to abandon the body of the unknown leader their captain had given them and continued to hold their position. When the fight was over and the enemy was in flight, the bodies of the sergeant, the two corporals, and of nine dead and four wounded Tirailleurs were found stretched out alongside the English officer and an under officer who was also English. In the very spot where they were found, their tomb surrounds that of Lieutenant Thomson. United in death, they still seem to watch over the strange officer—unknown to them—for whom they sacrificed their lives because their leader had given them orders to do so.

Of the German colonial empire, four times as big as the fatherland, not a spot exists that is not in the hands of the Allies today. England holds the greater part; Japan has Tsing-Tao; France a considerable part of the African possessions.

Now let us look at the picture the French colonial empire offers.

In 1914 France ruled, in the north of Africa, over five and a half millions of natives in Algiers, two millions in Tunis and four millions in Morocco. When the war broke out there was not a[Pg 113] single German in Morocco who was not certain that the natives would rise in revolt against France.

"Not a single Frenchman," wrote, in peace times, the correspondent of the Cologne Gazette, "should escape alive." The German Government was convinced of the fact that the revolt of the inhabitants and the massacre of the French would be followed by an appeal of all the Moroccans for the intervention of the Kaiser. But nothing of the sort took place. In Algiers the most perfect calm continued to reign; in Tunis there was a little trouble that was soon suppressed; in Morocco there was a man, diplomat and soldier at the same time, who was able to keep peace and hold the country firm to France. He was General Lyautey.

During the early days of August, 1914, the question was raised whether or not it would be necessary to abandon the outposts in the interior of Morocco and withdraw toward the coast cities. General Lyautey declared that he would abandon nothing and advised the French Government to[Pg 114] that effect. He sent troops, the famous Moroccan regiments, the best fighting units there were in 1914, to the battle fields of Flanders, receiving in exchange territorial divisions recruited for the most part from the Midi. However, with these territorial divisions General Lyautey assured the safety of all that portion of the empire that was in his care; he finished the operations he had commenced; he maintained French prestige and, some months later on, he found means to open at Casablanca a Moroccan exposition which showed the marvelous work that had been accomplished in that country—French for a few years only.

The French colonies not only remained incomparably calm and peaceful but they also made a marvelous effort in coming to the aid of the mother country both with men and with their commerce.

M. Ernest Roume, Governor General of the Colonies, in charge at the war's beginning of the government of Indo-China, sent to France more than sixty thousand native soldiers and military workers in eighteen months. They were recruited[Pg 115] from the Asiatic possessions of France. In Senegal, in Soudan and in Morocco men volunteered by hundreds of thousands. Moroccans, Kabyles and blacks came to fight by the side of the French troops on the Champagne and Lorraine fronts.

Besides, North Africa largely took care of the feeding of France.

In 1914 the cereal crop had been notably deficient in Algiers and especially in Tunis. However, Algeria did not hesitate to give the mother land all the grain she asked for; 50,000 quintals of wheat and 500,000 quintals of barley and oats were thus hastened to continental France, and in addition, 40,000 quintals of wheat went to Corsica and 130,000 to Paris. In 1915 the colonies made an even better showing: Algeria furnished France with 1,625,000 quintals of wheat, 918,000 quintals of barley, and 77,000 quintals of oats. In 1916 this figure was passed and the total exports amounted to four million quintals of grains. As for Morocco, it exported in 1914, 90,000 quintals of wheat and 130,000 quintals of barley; in 1915 it exported 200,000 quintals of[Pg 116] wheat and a million quintals of barley; in 1916 it exported more than two million quintals of grains. Add to that the 900,000 sheep Algeria furnished for the French commissariat and more than 40,000 sheep furnished to the English commissariat to feed the Hindoo troops stationed at Marseilles. Then add in the cattle exported from Algeria and Morocco by the thousands, add for Algeria the wines and the vegetables, and for Tunis the olive oil. In 1916 the confederation of Algerian winegrowers gave the French poilus fifty thousand hectoliters of wine.

Everywhere in the colonies buildings have been built, agriculture has continued, public works have been constructed. In the midst of war Algeria has opened up railroads; Tunis has opened the line from Sfax to Gabès; Morocco the lines from Casablanca to Fez and from the Algerian frontier to Taza.

General Lyautey said, "A workshop is worth a battalion in Morocco."

Workshops have been opened everywhere. There was never so much work done. The colonial[Pg 117] empire was never more prosperous, more active and more glorious.

A nation that is worn out and bled white has passed the stage where it can come to the aid of others. In her death agony, she has no more than her own strength to last her during the last hours. France has been able to come to the aid of the other Allies. She has lent them a strong helping hand, she has been able to save them from total extinction. French troops have fought and are still fighting on all the battle fronts; in Italy, the Balkans, Palestine and Central Africa. It is almost to France alone and to France especially that the salvage of the remnant of the Serbian Army has been due.

We remember what happened in September, 1915. At the time when the dual offensive was attempted in Artois and in Champagne, the German Armies invaded Poland, Volhynia, Lithuania and Courland, delivered Austrian Galicia and commenced to submerge Serbia beneath their innumerable legions. Invaded by three armies, the[Pg 118] German, Austrian and Bulgarian, all of them amply supplied with heavy artillery and asphixiating gas, poor little Serbia was doomed beforehand. But, tenacious to the end, her heroic defenders preferred to leave their country rather than submit to a hated yoke. Step by step the Serbians, always facing the enemy, retreated to the sea. It was a terrible tragedy. Their retreat will remain a matter of legend, like that of the Ten Thousand under Xenophon. As they retreated, the Serbians called, in their despair, for help.

Who went to Serbia's aid? It was not Russia, whose armies were quite worn out. It was not England, who feared an attack on Egypt and who was still fighting at the Dardanelles. It was not Italy, whose special efforts were directed towards preventing the junction of Austria with Greece, and who was satisfied with establishing herself at Valona and thus driving a wedge between her two rivals on the Adriatic coast.

But France, France who is represented as worn[Pg 119] out and bled white, heard Serbia's call for help and decided to respond to it.

Supplies were first landed at San Giovanni di Medua and Antivari in the smaller French boats. But it was soon evident that these supplies would be insufficient and that the Serbs could not maintain their positions in the Adriatic ports even with French help from the sea. The complete evacuation of an entire army, piece by piece, had to be undertaken. The transporting of entire Serbia beyond the seas, to another country, had to be considered. Where were they to go? Where were the thousands of worn out soldiers, of sick and wounded men, to be transported?

Once again France answered. France held Tunis, France held Bizerta. Tunis and Bizerta would shield temporarily the remains of Serbia. From the end of November, 1915, the smaller French ships, torpedo boats, trawlers and transports made the trip from Durazzo to San Giovanni di Medua to embark the Serbian Army. Great steamers, such as the Natal, Sinai, and Arménie, and a flotilla of armored cruisers [Pg 120]followed them. Thirteen thousand men were transported in this fashion.

But the situation grew worse. The Serbs along the seacoasts were pressed harder and harder by the Austrians and by Albanian bands. Besides, the transporting to Tunis was too slow when the progress of the enemy was considered. Finally the appearance of typhus and cholera rendered more dangerous the removal of the unfortunate troops to a great distance. A new plan was arranged. The remaining Serbs were to be transported not into Tunis, which was so far away, but to a land as near as possible to the scene of disaster. Corfu was there; Corfu, only sixty miles away from the farthest point of debarkation; Corfu, whose climate was marvelously suited to the recovery of sick men; Corfu which offered a very safe harbor. It was decided to occupy Corfu, prepare the island, transport the entire Serbian Army thither and assure that this army would be built up there. And France was charged with carrying out this operation.

On the seventh of January, 1916, the first[Pg 121] French organization of ten trawlers set out from Malta to make a preliminary reconnoissance around Corfu, to drag for mines and to clear out the submarines. A second flotilla followed it forty-eight hours later. On the eighth of January the armored cruisers Edgar Quinet, Waldeck-Rousseau, Ernest Renan, Jules Ferry and five torpedo boats, which were located at Bizerta, received orders to embark a battalion of Alpine chasseurs with their arms, baggage and mules and to take up their positions to be ready at the first signal.

On the night of the tenth, the French consul at Corfu woke up the Greek prefect in order to announce to him the imminent arrival of our squadron and what it was going to do. After he had received the formal protest of this functionary, he went down to the port, where there was no longer any doubt in anyone's mind of what was going to happen. With him went guides and automobiles to finish everything quickly before the Germans could offer any opposition. Some minutes later, on time at the rendezvous[Pg 122] agreed upon, the French cruisers came into the harbor and immediately disembarked their contingent of Alpine Chasseurs. Before daybreak the principal vantage points as well as the most important positions on the island were occupied. Suspected persons were seized in their beds, a doubtful post of T. S. F. was seized also. Corfu, which went to sleep half German, woke up entirely French to the tune of the martial music that was to inform the inhabitants of the little change that had taken place over night.

The question remained of Achilleion, the property of William of Germany, which was about nine miles from the city. If Achilleion had been a French property and German soldiers had paid a visit, what pillage, what defilement, what orgies there would have been!

But Achilleion was a German property, and the French have a method of procedure that is peculiarly their own. This is what happened, according to the narrative of a young naval officer who was on the spot:

At four o'clock in the morning an automobile[Pg 123] set out from the dock, carrying a squad of twelve marine fusilliers under the command of one of the ship's lieutenants. A half hour later he presented himself at the gate of the palace and demanded that he be admitted. There was no response. He was insistent. Finally a door opened and an angry voice cried out in the darkness: "This isn't the time for visitors." For the owner, who found that there are no such things as small profits, permitted a visit for the sum of two francs per person. Surprised, the occupant of the palace submitted, and our detachment entered Achilleion, whose occupants it assembled—the watchman and two red-haired chambermaids—en déshabillé, also a mechanic and an entomologist who wore spectacles. Pale with fear, the latter threw himself on his knees before the officer. "If I must die, I ask that it may be here," said he. He was left in peace. A company of the Chasseurs arrived and the marines, with their lanterns in their hands, went back to the ships. The Tricolor floated over the Kaiser's villa, which was to become a hospital for the Serbs.

At eleven o'clock in the morning it was all over, and the French cruisers put out to sea on the return trip to Bizerta.

But the easiest thing had been done. The most[Pg 124] difficult was about to begin. It was not only a question of occupying Corfu; it was also a matter of arranging to receive a worn-out and decimated army. It was a difficult task that many would have judged out of the question. Everything was lacking; there was nothing on hand.

A writer on naval matters, who has been the historian of the French Navy in this war, M. Emile Vedel, has painted in the pages of Illustration an unheard-of and unique picture of what this preparation of Corfu consisted:

It was nothing less than a question of improvising all means that were necessary for disembarking; gangways, landing stairs, roads to and from various points on the island where the expected troops were to be concentrated; of uniting and collecting together the numerous boats—large and small—eighteen tugs (among them the Marsouin, Rove, Iskeul, Marseillais 14, Audacieux, Requin), twenty-seven smaller boats, nine barges, and a dozen mahonnes and small craft of all sizes, without counting the supply ships, floating tanks, unloading cranes and so forth—which the rapid unloading and revictualing of the new arrivals [Pg 125]demanded; of isolating the sick who were infected with typhus and cholera; in a word, of putting on their feet the diverse offices that come under the heading of direction of the port, all the machinery of which was yet to be created. At the same time it was necessary to maintain and repair the booms of the harbor, to test the channels, make arrangements concerning piloting, anchorage, and new supplies of water, provisions and coal for the always hurried transports which arrived, unloaded and sailed away at all hours of the day and night; constantly to clear out and drag the waters near the island; establish observation posts around it, station batteries in suitable positions, and finally to protect the channels around Corfu and the Albanian coast, in which the English aided us effectively by sending a hundred drifters (a sort of little fishing boat which we call "cordiers" at Boulogne), which, beating against the wind under full sail, dragged a cable a thousand meters long to snare submarines. Thanks to a pair of floating docks, which were placed between the extreme end of Corfu and the neighboring coast, a distance of but two or three kilometers, our vessels were soon in position, in a line thirty miles in length so that they could execute all the movements necessary for the landing of the Serbs and also have gun drill, launch torpedoes and sea planes,[Pg 126] and perform the rest of the maneuvers that are indispensable.

Furthermore, fresh water in sufficient quantities had to be procured. For if the springs on the island could supply eighty thousand inhabitants, they now had to triple their output and give out a far greater supply to meet the demand of one hundred and fifty thousand more mouths. Every bit of flour had to come from outside, from Italy, France or England since Corfu has very few resources and we did not wish to encounter the hostility of a population to which it was necessary for us to show firmness more than once. The most recalcitrant were forced to give in, not without ceasing to rob us very much in the dealings they had with us. Oranges went up to ten francs a dozen, and small shopkeepers realized fortunes by doing money changing at fantastic rates.

And all that will furnish only a very incomplete idea of the innumerable obligations the aquatic anthill, from an industrial and military standpoint, which is called a naval base, has to meet.

On the ninth of January, 1916, the situation of the Serbian Army was precisely as follows: In the neighborhood of San Giovanni di Medua there were twelve hundred officers, twenty-six thousand foot soldiers, seven thousand horses and[Pg 127] two thousand cattle; at Durazzo there were thirty-six hundred officers, sixty-nine thousand soldiers, twenty thousand horses and four thousand cattle; on the roads that led to Valona some fifty thousand men including officers, two thousand horses and three hundred cattle.

In these three principal groups were forty-one field pieces, the glorious remainder of the Serbian artillery.

Add to that twenty-two thousand Austrian prisoners whom the Serbs carried along with them in their exodus towards the coast and also the pitiable troop of refugees, sick men, old men, women, children who, desiring at any cost to escape slavery and servitude, followed the retreating army.

The evacuation of this indomitable people was made at San Giovanni di Medua. The soldiers were sent to Corfu. The civilians were sent to Algiers and Tunis, the Austrian prisoners to Sardinia. But where were the typhoid and the cholera patients to be transported? No one wanted them; and in this stampede of a people,[Pg 128] cholera and typhus had made their appearance and spread with alarming rapidity. A certain number of cholera patients had been taken to Brindisi; and everyone, naturally, refused to take them in.

Since this was the case, a French trawler, the Verdun, commanded by Lieutenant d'Aubarède, brought the sick to Corfu. And, as M. Emile Vedel tells it, this was perhaps one of the most beautiful episodes of our navy's activity, for there are few deaths as hideous as that to which they exposed themselves in taking in their arms poor beings touched with a malady essentially so contagious, and so dirty and covered with vermin that they made everyone shudder. With precaution and care that brothers do not always have for their own brothers, these near-corpses were taken to Corfu, where doctors and nurses from the French Navy saved some of them and made the end more easy for the rest.

In twenty-two days everything was almost over. The troops at San Giovanni and Valona and Durazzo had been evacuated, as had the Austrian[Pg 129] prisoners. All the money of the Serbian treasury had been transported to Marseilles in the cruiser Ernest Renan. It amounted to about eight hundred million francs.

However, on the twentieth of January, about two thousand men still remained at San Giovanni di Medua. There were also a certain number of field pieces. After so many men and guns had been saved, were these to be abandoned? No. Everything must be saved. The last man must be saved and the last gun must be saved, whatever may be the risk, the fatigue and the hard work.

On the morning of the twentieth of January, Captain Cacqueray, commanding the French naval forces, had two young naval officers of the French fleet come aboard his ship, the Marceau, Ensigns Couillaud and Augé, who commanded the little trawlers Petrel and Marie-Rose. He ordered them to return once more to San Giovanni and bring back with them all they could.

"You must succeed and you will succeed," Captain Cacqueray said simply.

Some few minutes later the two trawlers were[Pg 130] out in the Adriatic, headed for San Giovanni. Here we must quote Ensign Augé's words. He commanded the Marie-Rose, and we must be satisfied with citing from the eloquent brevity of the ship's log:

From the peaceful docks of Brindisi, we passed through the winding channel of the outer port and then out of the harbor, gliding between the buoys. Then the mine fields were to be traversed, although the night was black and foggy. As we approached the Albanian coast the wind freshened, and in a veritable tempest, with hail and icy rain we entered the Gulf of Drin, whose water is very turbid. More watchful than ever, since submarines had been sighted in the neighborhood, we finally arrived at Medua. Almost blocked off by the sand bars, the little harbor was further encumbered by a dozen wrecks, boats which the Austrians had sunk. The question was where to pass through this mess, on the top of the water, with masts and spars pointing every way. After having rounded the line of mines and the Brindisi, an Italian vessel that had struck a mine some days before, we made the port. Ten houses and a wretched wharf on worm-eaten piling at the end of a funnel of mountains with terrible rocks is all there is of Medua.

[Pg 131]

An empty sailboat was moored to the end of the wharf, which facilitated our operations. The Petrel, which was of lighter draft than my boat, managed to get alongside and, by vigorous efforts, we were able to join her. Ashore there were soldiers in muddy clothes and worn-out shoes. The gangway and the sailboat were soon filled by a chilly cold wind, which tried to blow it offshore and which nothing could restrain. It was impossible to locate any responsible person and out of the question to make one's self understood. Everyone thought only of escaping from that Hell. Finally some Serbian officers came up who succeeded somewhat in controlling their impatient troops. They made us bring up the first cannon, which was pushed over the shaking planks of the wharf. With great effort and by the use of triple tackles the gun was got aboard the Petrel, and the carriage and wheels on the Marie-Rose, whose hatch was wider. The beginning was slow, but, after the second cannon, the embarking went along smoothly.

There was not enough time. Everyone stamped in the mud. With the completely washed out Serbian uniforms mixed the brilliant colors of those of the Montenegrin guard. Seated on a stone, King Nicholas sat stoically in the falling rain, awaiting the arrival of the Italian torpedo[Pg 132] boat that was to place itself under his orders. Soldiers from the French mission arrived and did police duty. The radio-operators from the Italian post arrived and put their baggage on board. An officer of the Serbian Army was there with all the state archives. A crowd of people instinctively pressed towards us and got mixed up with the soldiers who were supposed to keep order. In spite of the tempest which thwarted everything, we managed to embark eighteen .75 guns and three 100 howitzers, as well as a hundred cases of projectiles. The weather grew more dreadful, with hail stones in the icy rain. Blows were necessary to prevent the crowding aboard of that mob of people whom neither shouts nor threats could stop. We allowed as many as possible to embark—about a hundred on the Petrel and twice as many with us—Serbs, Montenegrins and Allies, of all classes and conditions, and, despairingly we shoved off to stop the crowd that remained. We were the last hope of these poor people—there were about fifteen hundred of them, whose only hope now was to face the frightful paths, marshes and swollen rivers that separated them from Durazzo.

Night was falling; there remained only time to get away. Cases of preserves were quickly opened. All our bread and biscuits were used, and some bowls of boiling tea comforted our[Pg 133] guests. But leaving the harbor, the sea grew heavier and torrents of spray put the finishing touch to the inextricable disorder that prevailed aboard ship. The storm stayed with us until we made Brindisi, where we arrived at seven o'clock on the morning of the twenty-second. When Italy was sighted, the tiredness and discouragement disappeared as if by magic. Hand clappings, praise of France, promises of victory and of revenge, and absurd efforts to disembark everything at once—passengers and material. (Journal of Ensign Augé, Commander of the Marie-Rose.)

Is that all? No; it is not. For if French effort is limitless, the tonnage of the trawlers is not. And, in spite of every effort, they were unable to get everyone aboard. Down there in the mud at Medua some Serbs still waited, turning anxious eyes towards the high seas to see whether or not the tricolor would appear on the horizon.... Well, it did reappear, for France never gives up the fight. The French motto here, as everywhere else, was "to the bitter end." On the twenty-fourth of January the Petrel and the Marie-Rose started on the final trip. Will they arrive in time? Probably not. In the mountains that[Pg 134] surround San Giovanni rifle shots and the rattle of mitrailleuses were heard; the road to Alessio was deserted, the beach seemed deserted, Medua harbor was covered with wreckage of all sorts, rendering navigation impossible. However, the tiny craft entered the harbor and approached the shore. Finally they saw some Serbs there. The news was as disturbing as possible. The Austrians were only a few kilometers off. There was fighting on the outskirts of the town. The last able-bodied Serbs struggled manfully to hold off the Austrian advance guard, which pressed them hard. Not a minute was to be lost if a last salvage was to be made.

After a brief consultation, the two young commanders decided to take off everyone in their old boats, aided by a huge lighter which they took in tow. A grave responsibility if the weather did not hold; but the man who risks nothing will gain nothing.

They worked with feverish haste. The hope of not being abandoned gave wings to the weak. By four o'clock in the afternoon everything was [Pg 135]practically ready ... four "seventy-fives," ten artillery caissons, two radio outfits, a thousand new rifles, hundreds of cases of shells, cartridges and grenades and likewise large quantities of harness were loaded on the trawlers. All the men who were in the town, its outskirts or on the beach were assembled and embarked on the boats. Not one was left behind. This time, safe from the rifles in the distant mountains, everyone was saved.

At four-fifty in the afternoon [writes Ensign Augé] our little boats cleared the harbor for the last time and made the open sea. Suddenly we see a trail of foam hastening on us with a mad rush. It started three or four hundred meters off on our right. There is a lightning flash and we see the torpedo cross our bows, too low, fortunately. A submarine has tried to attack us but has missed. We describe a great circle in order to avoid a second attack. Fortunately night falls to end the chase, and we make for the Italian coast. Although the sea is smooth, the third boat is lurching terribly. About midnight I hear terrible cries from this boat. It is dark as pitch and impossible to make out anything in the darkness. The cries continue: sparks burst forth. Something is thrown into the sea. It is impossible to[Pg 136] know what is happening. So much the worse. The most dangerous thing would be to stop. Let us go on.

They went on and finally arrived in sight of Italy the next morning. The incident of the night before had been a little thing which had started a panic on board the boat. Little by little the roofs and towers of Brindisi appeared in the distance. The entire squadron of Allied ships was there, ranged in battle formation. When they saw the two little boats which were bringing in the last Serbs with their last guns, they rendered military honors to the heroic saviors, the crews cheering and the colors saluting. Supreme and unprecedented homage was rendered two nations: France and Serbia.

In January, 1918, M. Vesnitch, Serbian Minister to France, on a mission to the United States, during an after-dinner speech, in a voice that did not conceal his emotion and with a different manner from his usual downcast one, told some of the details of this Passion. And he added:[Pg 137]

"We are grateful to everyone, but Serbia's heart will remain attached through all centuries to come to France."

I repeat these words, which are France's sweetest reward, because they attest in history what France, the nation "worn out and bled white" has done to save and succor her little ally.

Finally let me say that the men are wrong who believe France is without strength and resources. Beneath her torn garments, in rags, under flesh that is cruelly bruised, there beats a virile heart which fights on and on. And there is young, red blood which still flows and is always ready to flow for the immortal principles of Liberty, Justice and Humanity.

[Pg 138]



A French statesman, Mr. Louis Barthou, has summed up the War aims of France in the three words: "Restitution, Reparation, Guarantees."

Restitution means the surrender of all occupied territories, of the territories occupied by force during forty-seven months, as well as the territories occupied by force during forty-seven years. Between the five departments forming Flanders-Argonne and the five departments forming Alsace-Lorraine, France is unable to make any distinction. France wants Metz back on the same ground upon which she wants Lille back. If Germany is to keep Metz she might as well keep Lille. Her claim to Strasbourg is not better than her claim to Cambrai.[Pg 139]

And this is a thing which "the man in the street" fails sometimes to understand. He says: "Yes, we know, Alsace-Lorraine was taken from France forty-seven years ago by violence, without the people of the occupied territories being consulted. But how did France acquire Alsace-Lorraine in previous times? Was it not also by force after successful wars? Is it not a fact that Alsace-Lorraine, in days of yore, belonged to Germany, and that, historically, Alsace is a German land?"

No, it is precisely not a fact. It is the contrary of a fact and of truth. And this must be made clear, once for all.

When France demands Alsace-Lorraine, she does not do so because she will have some more departments in her geographical configuration, but because these territories belonged to France during centuries and centuries, because they were taken from France by force forty-seven years ago, because the people of these territories not only were never consulted, but also protested against Prussian domination—because, in a word, it is a question of right.[Pg 140]

In a speech, which he delivered on the 24th of January, 1918, before the Reichstag, Count von Hertling, the Imperial German Chancellor, expressed himself as follows:

Alsace-Lorraine comprises, as is known, for the most part purely German regions which by a century long of violence and illegality were severed from the German Empire, until finally in 1779 the French Revolution swallowed up the last remnant. Alsace and Lorraine then became French provinces. When in the war of 1870, we demanded back the district which had been criminally wrested from us, that was not a conquest of foreign territory but, rightly and properly speaking, what today is called disannexation.

It is doubtful that Count von Hertling will ever leave in history the memory of a great Chancellor; but, if he does, it will be no doubt in the History of Ignorance and Falsehood. Never has a statesman in so few words uttered with such impudence so many untruths!

Historically speaking, there are in Alsace-Lorraine three parts: there is Lorraine, there is [Pg 141]Alsace, and there is the southern part of Alsace including the town of Mulhouse.

As regards the town of Mulhouse, the question is most simple and clear. The town never, at any time, belonged to Germany or to the Germans. It belonged to Switzerland and, at the end of the 18th century, during the French revolution, the town, after a referendum, decided to become French. A delegation was sent to Paris, to the French Parliament, then called the Conseil des Cinq-Cents, and the delegation expressed publicly, officially, the desire of Mulhouse to be part of the French territory. There was a deliberation, and unanimously the Conseil des Cinq-Cents voted a motion couched in the following terms: "The French Republic accepts the vow of the citizens of Mulhouse."

A few weeks later the French authorities, among scenes of unparalleled enthusiasm, made their entry into the town, and the flag of Mulhouse was wrapped up in a tricolor box bearing the inscription: "The Republic of Mulhouse rests in the bosom of the French Republic."[Pg 142]

Alsace—the rest of Alsace—became French in 1648, more than two centuries before the war of 1870. It became French according to a treaty. The treaty was signed by the Austrian Emperor, because Alsace belonged to the Austrian Imperial Family. And it is not without interest to quote an article (article 75) of the treaty:

The Emperor cedes to the King of France forever, in perpetuum, without any reserve, with full jurisdiction and sovereignty, all the Alsatian territory. The Austrian Emperor gives it to the King of France in such a way that no other Emperor, in the future, will ever have any power in any time to affirm any right on these territories.

When today one reads that treaty, one has the impression that more than two centuries ago the Austrian Emperor had already a sort of apprehension that later on another Emperor would interfere in the matter and create mischief!

Fifty-three years after that treaty, the Prussians, who dislike seeing anything in some one's else possession, tried to recover Alsace. Their own ambassador tried to dissuade them, and in[Pg 143] 1701 Count Schmettau, ambassador of Prussia in Paris, wrote to his king:

"We cannot take Alsace, because it is well known that her inhabitants are more French than the Parisians...."

Could anything answer better the affirmation that "Alsatians are of German tendency?"

Lorraine became French in 1552, more than three centuries before the war of 1870. Lorraine became French not after a war and as the result of a conquest, but according to a treaty signed by all the Protestant Princes of Germany, in which we find the following sentence, which is really worthy of meditation: "We find just that the King of France, as promptly as possible, takes possession of the towns of Toul, Metz, and Verdun, where the German language has never been used." So that the Germans themselves put on the same line the towns of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and recognized that the town of Metz was not German.

All this is extremely simple and clear. What happened several centuries later is equally clear.[Pg 144]

When, in 1871, on February 16th, the deputies of Alsace-Lorraine learned that their provinces would be given up to Germany, they assembled, and in an historical document which was signed by all of them—there were thirty-six—they protested in the following terms:

Alsace and Lorraine cannot be alienated. Today, before the whole world, they proclaim that they want to remain French. Europe cannot allow or ratify the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine. Europe cannot allow a people to be seized like a flock of sheep. Europe cannot remain deaf to the protest of a whole population. Therefore, we declare in the name of our population, in the name of our children and of our descendants, that we are considering any treaty which gives us up to a foreign power as a treaty null and void, and we will eternally revindicate the right of disposing of ourselves and of remaining French.

And, three years later, in January, 1874, when for the first time Alsace and Lorraine had to elect deputies, they reiterated the same protest. They elected fifteen new deputies; some were Protestants, some were Catholics, one of them was the[Pg 145] Bishop of Strasbourg, but they unanimously signed a declaration which was read at the Tribune of the German Reichstag. The declaration was the following:

In the name of all the people of Alsace-Lorraine, we protest against the abuse of force of which our country is a victim.... Citizens having a soul and an intelligence are not mere goods that may be sold, or with which you may trade.

The contract which annexed us to Germany is null and void. A contract is only valid when the two contractants had an entire freedom to sign it. France was not free when she signed such a contract. Therefore our electors want us to say that we consider ourselves as not bound by such a treaty, and they want us to affirm once more our right of disposing of ourselves.

I beg to call the attention of the reader to two sentences of this protestation:

"Europe cannot allow a people to be seized like a flock of sheep," wrote the deputies of 1871. "People are not mere goods which may be sold or with which you may trade," proclaimed the deputies of 1874. Now you will find, nearly word[Pg 146] for word, the same thought expressed in the message of President Wilson to Congress, when he wrote: "No right exists anywhere to hand peoples about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were property."

That right does not exist, and it is because that right was outrageously violated in 1871 that France wants Alsace-Lorraine to come back to her. It is because, in 1871, Right has been wronged that today Right must be reinstated.

Some people have spoken of a referendum. Why a referendum? Was there any referendum in 1871? And how could there be a referendum? How could you include in this referendum the hundreds of thousands of Alsatians who have fled from German domination? How could you exclude from this referendum the hundreds of thousands of Germans who have come to Alsace?

The referendum was rendered by Mulhouse in 1798. Will that town be obliged to vote again? And how many times will it be obliged to vote for France? The referendum was rendered by the whole of Alsace and Lorraine in 1871 and 1874,[Pg 147] by their elected deputies, when they unanimously protested against the German annexation.

It was rendered twenty years ago by the census which was taken by the Germans themselves in Alsace. According to that census, in 1895, notwithstanding the fact that the teaching of French was prohibited in the public schools, there were 160,000 people in Alsace speaking French. And five years later, in 1900, according to another census there were 200,000 people in Alsace speaking French. And of these 200,000 people, there were more than 52,000 children.

The referendum was also rendered by Alsatians who, before this war, engaged themselves in the French Army, and became officers. According to the official statistics of the French War Department, there were in 1914 in the French Army 20 generals, 145 superior officers, and 400 ordinary officers of Alsatian origin. On the other side, in the German Army in 1914, there were four officers of Alsatian origin.

And finally the referendum was rendered only one year before the present war, in 1913, when[Pg 148] Herr von Jagow, then Prefect of Police in Berlin, made the following extraordinary declaration: "We Germans are obliged in Alsace to behave ourselves as if we were in an enemy's country...." What better referendum could you wish than such an admission by a German statesman?

Moreover, the question of Alsace-Lorraine is not only a French question, but also an international question. It is not only France who has sworn to herself to recover Alsace-Lorraine—it is all the Allies who have sworn to France that she should recover it.

"We mean to stand by the French democracy to the death," solemnly declared Mr. Lloyd-George on the 5th of January, 1918, "in the demand they make for a reconsideration of the great wrong of 1871, when, without any regard to the wishes of the population, two French provinces were torn from the side of France and incorporated in the German Empire."

And, three days later, using nearly the same words, President Wilson, in his luminous message to Congress, said: "The wrong done to France by[Pg 149] Prussia in 1871, in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all."

All the statesmen who have spoken since the beginning of the war in the name of the Allied Powers have attested that this war is not only a struggle for the liberty of nations and the respect due to nationalities, but also an effort toward definite peace. Their words only appeared fit for stirring up the enthusiasm of the crowds, and fortifying their will of sacrifice, because they gave expression to their feelings and prayers. If they are forgotten by those who uttered them they will be remembered by those who heard and treasured them.

In September, 1914, Winston Churchill said: "We want this war to remodel the map of Europe according to the principle of nationalities, and the real wish of the people living in the contested territories. After so much bloodshed we wish for a peace which will free races, and restore the [Pg 150]integrity of nations.... Let us have done with the armaments, the fear of strain, intrigues, and the perpetual threat of the horrible present crisis. Let us make the regulation of European conflicts just and natural." The French republic, of one mind with the Allies, proclaimed through its authorized representatives that this war is a war of deliverance. "France," said Mr. Stephen Pichon, Foreign Minister, "will not lay down arms before having shattered Prussian militarism, so as to be able to rebuild on a basis of justice a regenerated Europe." And Mr. Paul Deschanel, the President of the Chamber, continued: "The French are not only defending their soil, their homes, the tombs of their ancestors, their sacred memories, their ideal works of art and faith and all the graceful, just, and beautiful things their genius has lavished forth: they are defending, too, the respect of treaties, the independence of Europe, and human freedom. We want to know if all the effort of conscience during centuries will lead to its slavery, if millions of men are to be taken, given up, herded at the other side of a [Pg 151]frontier and condemned to fight for their conquerors and masters against their country, their families, and their brothers.... The world wishes to live at last, Europe to breathe, and the nations mean to dispose freely of themselves."

These engagements will be kept. But they will have been kept only when Alsace-Lorraine—the Belgium of 1871, as Rabbi Stephen Wise has called it—has been returned to France. Then, and only then, will there be real peace. Then, and only then, will the "Testament" of Paul Derouléde have been executed:

When our war victorious is o'er,
And our country has won back its rank,
Then with the evils war brings in its train
Will disappear the hatred the conqueror trails.

Then our great France, full of love without spite
Sowing fresh springing-corn 'neath her new-born laurels,
Will welcome Work, father of Fortune,
And sing Peace, mother of lengthy deeds.

Then will come Peace, calm, serene, and awful,
Crushing down arms, but upholding intellect;
For we shall stand out as just-hearted conquerors,
[Pg 152]Only taking back what was robbed from us.

And our nation, weary of mourning,
Will soothe the living while praising the dead,
And nevermore will we hear the name of battle
And our children shall learn to unlearn hate.

Just as France will not accept peace without restitution, she will not accept peace without reparation.

Germany can never make reparation for all the ruin, all the destruction, all the sacrilege she has wrought. There can be no reparation for the Cathedral of Rheims, for the Hotel de Ville at Arras, for the deaths of thousands of innocent beings, for the slaughter of women and children.

But there can be reparation for the damage done to machinery. The treasures of art which, contrary to all law and right, Germany has taken into her own country, can be returned. They can return the funds illegally stolen from the vaults of municipalities, banks and public societies. They can pay off the receipts which they themselves have signed for the objects they have compelled the owners to hand over to them.

Every château in the north of France, places[Pg 153] such as those of the Prince of Monaco, of Mr. Balny d'Avricourt, that of Coucy, have been looted and pillaged. Antique furniture, paintings by the great masters, sculptures, historic pieces of tapestry have been carried off into Germany. Tapestries, sculptures, furniture and paintings must come back from Germany. The museums at St. Quentin and Lille have seen their collections of value to art and science carried off; these collections must come back. Factories have been robbed of their pumps, of their equipment, of their trucks; other pumps, other equipment, other trucks must be put in their place. Otherwise, nothing will prevent that in the future other expeditions will come to ransack other countries. A bold move towards Venice allowed base hands to be laid on the most beautiful works of art humanity had produced. A fortunate descent on the shores of Long Island or of New Jersey would allow the Metropolitan Museum to be looted.

At Ham, in the Somme district, the Grand Duke of Hesse, the former Empress of Russia's brother, one morning entered the shop of an [Pg 154]antiquarian and picked out a number of ancient bibelots and vases, ordering that they be sent to his quarters. The owner thought it would be wise to state the price of the lot:

"The price," exclaimed the Grand Duke, "there's nothing for me to pay for! Everything here belongs to me."

But the owner protested, since, as he said, he did own the goods.

"Here," said the Grand Duke, "this will pay you for them."

And he handed the man his card with the words "good for so many francs" written on it; also his signature.

The number of francs mentioned on the Grand Duke of Hesse's card will have to be paid in full after the war. So will the thousands of requisitions signed by persons of less importance—governors, generals, colonels, majors, men who thought they could ransack all Belgium and the north of France with impunity, giving in exchange mere scraps of paper.

The great cities of Lille, Roubaix, Tourcoing,[Pg 155] Laon and Mezières have been compelled to pay exorbitant levies for war purposes, which have amounted to billions of francs. This was contrary to all international law and to the Hague Tribunal's regulations. The funds thus illegally extorted will have to be repaid in full. No indemnities—that is understood and is perfectly just. It is precisely because there will not have to be any indemnities that the indemnities already extorted will have to be made good.

Finally, just as France cannot make peace without receiving restitution and reparation, she cannot make peace without receiving certain guarantees.

Here we approach one of the most complex and difficult aspects of the entire problem, because we find ourselves in the presence of the famous League of Nations. President Wilson, one of the most noble and generous spirits, one of the greatest figures that has appeared in the entire war, launched if not the idea at least the first definite statement thereof.... And this statement has awakened[Pg 156] in all hearts, tired of carnage and slaughter, the same infinite hope that words of goodness, liberty and fraternity always awaken, which evoke the thought of the supreme end towards which humanity tends. The statement has done better than merely move men's emotions, it has moved men's thoughts. It has kindled in them a ray of hope which tends to shine more brightly every day in that they know that the civilized world will be truly a civilized world only when it is formed and fashioned in the likeness of a civilized nation. In a civilized nation no one has the right to kill another man, to obtain justice by using force, to commit murder, nor to raise armed bands to shoot, blow up or kill with poisoned gas other men. Tribunals exist to appease differences and to prevent fighting; every citizen is associated with every other citizen in the common cause of security and progress.

In a civilized world no nation has the right to massacre, no nation ought to have the right to resort to the use of force to obtain justice, no nation ought to have the right to attack, harm,[Pg 157] or destroy another nation. There ought to be tribunals to appease the differences of peoples as well as those of individuals; every nation ought to be associated with every other nation to assure the progress of the entire world.

This theory is not only appealing, it is irrefutable. But it is a law for this earth that the most profoundly just and true theories, those which have been most scientifically demonstrated, encounter, when put into practice, obstacles which have not been surmounted and are often insurmountable.

President Wilson, who is not only a great jurist and a noble idealist, but who also has that genius for realization which is a characteristic of all America, has not failed to appreciate the difficulties which the League of Nations would encounter were it put into practice. And if, in his messages, he has insisted with a force that is every day more eloquent on the necessity of tackling the problem; he has never given a detailed solution for it.

He has done better than that, for he has swept aside certain factors which would have made it[Pg 158] absolutely impossible. On the second, of April, 1917, in his immortal declaration of war, he formally declared that "no autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within a partnership of nations or observe its covenants. It must be a league of honor, a partnership of opinion. Intrigue would eat its vitals away; the plottings of inner circles who could plan what they would and render account to no one, would be a corruption seated at its very heart. Only a free people can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a common end, and prefer the interests of mankind to any narrow interest of their own."

These are admirable words of truth and of philosophic depth, words which deserve to be graven in stone. No autocracy, then, in the League of Nations, no German militarism nor Austrian imperialism in it. No universal league of nations, even, but a limited society, a society of democracies!

Certain hasty critics have observed neither the same prudence nor logic as President Wilson. They have been farther from the truth, much [Pg 159]farther from the truth. They have falsified his text, as do all commentators. They have desired to build complete in all details the League of Nations, which only existed in outline. They have succeeded in showing how difficult the construction would be, and they have only been able to set up a house of cards which the first breath of wind would knock down.

For example, this is how one of the most eminent French socialists, M. Albert Thomas, a man who has given abundant proof of his practical experience and actual talents, formerly the French Minister of Munitions, depicts the League of Nations:

Let us suppose [he wrote on the twenty-fifth of December, 1917], as the mathematicians say, that the problem is solved. Let us suppose that the society of nations, made up of all the nations, had been created by common accord about the year 1910 or 1912. What would it have accomplished? After the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Hague Tribunal, or perhaps the Washington Tribunal, would have made inquiry into the conditions of the murder.[Pg 160] It would have taken certain steps. And if Austria, still dissatisfied, had invaded Serbia for the sake of revenge or to give scope to her ambitious designs, if Germany had joined with her in this, then all the other allied nations, in the performance of their duty, would have entered into a war against the central powers in order to force them to respect the liberties and the integrity of little Serbia. For there can be no rule without sanction therefore. No international law is possible if there does not exist at the service of this law the "organized force that is superior to that of any nation or to that of any alliance of nations" of which President Wilson speaks.

If the society of nations had existed in 1914 and if Germany had violated its laws, the entire world would have taken military action against Germany by means of war, economic action by means of blockade and of depriving her of the necessities of life. The entire world would have been at war with her and her allies. And in order that the league of nations might continue to exist, in order that the rule of justice, scarcely outlined, could have continued to exist, the victory of the entente powers would have been as necessary as it is today. Mr. Lloyd-George and President Wilson would have said, as they say today, "No league of nations without victory."

[Pg 161]

The difference is that in 1914 a verdict in the case would have been handed down by the common tribunal of the nations, and that there would have been no possible discussion of the violations of right committed by Germany nor on the responsibility for having caused the war.

The difference would have been that in place of seeing the neutral nations hesitating, frightened by German force, disturbed by German lies, rallying only under the protection of one of the Entente armies, at the moment when they had seen on which side lay right, they would all, at the very beginning, have entered into the battle in fulfillment of their obligations not only on account of their moral responsibility but on account of their clearly understood interests.

Finally the difference is that, the rights of the peoples having been defined clearly, there would have been no moment's uncertainty nor hesitation concerning the ends of the war.

And it is impossible to doubt that the present situation of the war would have been decidedly different from what it is today.

I have cited the passage at length in order to give the critic's argument its widest scope. But, alas, who does not see the argument's fallacy? Who does not perceive that this reënforced [Pg 162]skyscraper is a cardboard column liable to fall with the first push that is given it?

Moreover, from the very beginning, the originator of the idea of the society of nations admits the hypothesis of a war and presupposes all the nations in the league are making war against another nation. Even with the society of nations there will still be wars. Even with the society of nations there will be no guarantee of absolute peace.

So we are shown the spectacle, in case of war, of all the nations making war at once, without the least hesitation, without delay, without any discussion, against the people that disturbs the peace of the world. Is it a certainty that this unanimity would result? Is it a certainty that there would be no falling away, no delay? And, granting that there would be none of this, is it a certainty that irremediable catastrophes could be avoided? To consider once more M. Thomas' example of the war of 1914, let us suppose that there had been at that time a society of nations, that England had had an army, that the United States had had[Pg 163] an army, and that the Anglo-American army had not lost a day nor an hour. Is it a certainty that they would have prevented the Germans from being at the gates of Liège on the seventh of August, in Brussels on the nineteenth of August, and before Paris on the second of September? And if today France, England, America, Italy, Japan and four-fifths of the civilized world, in spite of the treasure of heroism and effort that has been expended, have not been able to prevent the present result, is it possible that this would have been obtained with the assistance of Switzerland, the Scandinavian nations, Holland and Spain?

"The difference," continues M. Thomas, "is that there would not have been the possibility of any discussion of the violation of rights committed by Germany, nor upon what nation rests the responsibility for causing the war." But is that so sure? How was there any discussion in 1914 of the violation of Belgium by Germany? Did not Germany herself, in the teeth of all the world, hurl the avowal of this violation when von Bethmann-Hollweg, in the Reichstag, cynically [Pg 164]declared: "We have just invaded Belgium.... Yes, we know that it is contrary to international law; but we were compelled by necessity. And necessity knows no law." What international tribunal's verdict could have the force of this avowal from the lips of the guilty man? However, the world has not moved, the world has not trembled, the world is not now up in arms. And who would guarantee that another time when the case will be perhaps less flagrant, the crime more obscure, the aggressor less cynical, the world will tremble and rise in arms?

Moreover, is it always possible to determine the responsibility for war's origin? Is it always possible, before an international tribunal of arbitration, to throw the proper light and all the light on the course events have taken? Will the judges always be unanimous?

Take the case of the last Balkan War in 1912. Is it possible today, from a six years' perspective, to establish with any degree of certitude the reasons for its outbreak and determine without hesitation the responsibility for it? Can you affirm[Pg 165] with any degree of certainty that a court composed of American, European and Asiatic jurists would be unanimous in condemning Turkey and exonerating Bulgaria? And tomorrow, if the Ukraine should suddenly hurl itself against the Republic of the Don, or if Finland invaded Great Russia, with your international court would you be really in a way to pronounce a verdict within five days? And if Sweden took Finland's part and Germany took Great Russia's, could you guarantee that Argentina, Japan, Australia and even France would consent to mobilize their fleets and their armies to settle the question of a frontier on the banks of the Neva? Can you guarantee that every war of every Slav republic would have for a correlative the mobilization of the entire world?

And then are you certain that the idea of a society of nations is exactly a new one? Are you certain that there did not exist a society of nations before the outbreak of the present war? Have you never heard that, on the fifteenth of June, 1907, at The Hague, forty-four nations of[Pg 166] the civilized world (and Germany was one of the number) assembled and met together to form such a league? Have you never heard of the treaty that was signed then which, according to the wording at the treaty's head, had for its object "fixing the laws and usages at war on the land"? Have you never read the terms of this convention, have you never glanced through the sixty-odd articles which today, in the presence of the nameless horrors in which we lend a hand, offer a prodigious interest to actuality?

Glance over these articles—and let us see how they have been applied:

Article 4 provides that "prisoners of war must be humanely treated. All their personal belongings, except arms, horses, and military papers, remain their property." Now all the prisoners held by Germany have, without exception, been spoiled of their money, of their portfolios, of their rings, of their jewels, of their eyeglasses.

Article 6 says that "the state may employ as workmen the prisoners of war," but it is careful in stipulating "that the work must not be excessive and must have nothing whatever to do with[Pg 167] operations of war." Article 7 says that "prisoners of war shall be treated as regards board, lodging, and clothing on the same footing as the troops of the Government who captured them." Each of these two articles has been violated since the beginning of the war by the Germans. After the Battle of the Marne, when the advancing French troops of Joffre arrived on the Aisne they found French civilians captured by the Germans and compelled by them to work in the trenches. Moreover, an official report emanating from Mr. Gustave Ador, President of the International Red Cross, now member of the Swiss Federal Council, called the attention of the belligerents as soon as October, 1914, to the bad treatment of the French prisoners in Germany. Each French officer had, as prisoner, a salary of one hundred marks per month, which was not even half of the pay of an under-officer.

Articles 23, 25, 27, and 28 are so interesting that they must be quoted in extenso:

Article 23. In addition to the prohibitions provided by special conventions, it is especially forbidden:

(a) To employ poison or poisoned weapons.

(c) To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or having no longer means of defense, has surrendered at discretion.[Pg 168]

(d) To declare that no quarter will be given.

(e) To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering.

(f) To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag, or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy, as well as the distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention.

(g) To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.

(h) A belligerent is likewise forbidden to compel the nationals of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country, even if they were in the belligerent's service before the commencement of the war.

Article 25. The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

Article 27. In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.

Article 28. The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited.

It seems that the men of The Hague, when they[Pg 169] wrote those articles, had a sort of prescience of the future cruelties of war and that they wanted to avoid them. Let us see how far they have succeeded.

It was forbidden to employ poison or poisoned weapons. No later than last spring when the Germans evacuated certain parts of the north of France instructions emanating from the German general headquarters were found in the pocket of many German prisoners or on the dead, and those instructions indicated how the water of the wells was to be poisoned: "Such and such a soldier," ran instructions, "will be in charge of the wells, will throw in each one a sufficient quantity of poison or creosote, or, lacking these, all available filth."

It was forbidden to declare that no quarter would be given. And here is the order of the day issued on August 25, 1914, by General Stenger, commanding the Fifty-eighth German Brigade, to his troops: "After today no more prisoners will be taken. All prisoners are to be killed. Wounded, with or without arms, are to be killed. Even prisoners already grouped in convoys are to be killed. Let not a single living enemy remain behind us."

It was forbidden to pillage a town or locality, even when taken by assault. And on the corpse[Pg 170] of the German private Handschumacher (of the Eleventh Battalion of Jägers, Reserve) in the very earliest days of the war, was found the following diary: "August 8, 1914. Gouvy (Belgium). There, as the Belgians had fired on the German soldiers, we at once pillaged the goods station. Some cases, eggs, shirts, and all eatables were seized. The safe was gutted and the money divided among the men. All securities were torn up."

In fact, pillage and robberies went on on such a high scale during the first months of the war that considerable sums of money were sent from France and Belgium to Germany. A German newspaper, the Berlin Tageblatt, of November 26, 1914, implicitly avowed it when, in a technical article on the military treasury ("Der Zahlmeister im Felde"), it wrote: "It is curious to note that far more money-orders are sent from the theater of operations to the interior of the country than vice versa."

Article 50 of this Hague Convention states that "no general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible." Side by side with this article, it is interesting to reproduce an extract from a proclamation of[Pg 171] General von Bülow, posted up at Liège on August 22, 1914: "The inhabitants of the town of Andenne, after having protested their peaceful intentions, treacherously surprised our troops. It is with my full consent that the general in command had the whole place burned, and about a hundred people were shot." Moreover, here is an extract from a proclamation of Major-Commander Dieckmann, posted up at Grivegnée on September 8, 1914: "Every one who does not obey at once the word of command, 'Hands up,' is guilty of the penalty of death." And finally here is an extract from a proclamation of Marshal Baron von der Goltz, posted up in Brussels on October 5, 1914: "In future all places near the spot where such acts have taken place [destruction of railway lines or telegraph wires]—no matter whether guilty or not—shall be punished without mercy. With this end in view, hostages have been brought from all places near railway lines exposed to such attacks, and at the first attempt to destroy railway lines, telegraph or telephone lines, they will be immediately shot."

Article 56 of the Hague Convention provides that "the property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity, and education, to the arts and sciences, even when state property, shall be treated as private property.[Pg 172] All seizure of, destruction, or willful damage done to institutions of this character, historical monuments, works of art and science, is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings."

Four names, which will be eternally remembered, are here sufficient to answer: there is Rheims and its Cathedral, Louvain and its library, Arras and its Town Hall, Ypres and its bell tower.

In the course of this war, Germany has disavowed her signature any number of times and has broken her pledges just as often as she has made them. Germany is a proven perjurer not only in the eyes of the nations at war with her, but also in the regard of the forty-four countries signatory of the Hague Convention. However, we have never heard that a single one of these nations lodged a protest against her actions. The Hague Convention has been torn into shreds, and not one of its signers has entered the slightest protest.

Is the next society of nations to be modeled on the same principles? Is the next society of nations going to draw up articles of the same kind as the Hague society? Is the future society of nations to accept among its members the same [Pg 173]Empire of Germany which in 1914 declared bankruptcy? Will the future act of the society of nations be a simple scrap of paper, like the last act of 1907?

But let us cease asking these questions. There is no gain in asking certain questions to gain certain replies. There is no gain in examining certain problems to make the difficulties of the solution more apparent.

There is no doubt that the society of nations will exist some day. For the honor of humanity we must hope that it will exist. But it is not one day's work, nor the speaking of a single discourse nor the writing of one article that will build it. In M. Clemenceau's words, right can not be firmly established as long as the world is based on might. To bring about the rule of Right, Might must be destroyed and driven out as the very first move in the campaign for ultimate liberty.

German Might will not be destroyed by international compacts to which Germany will be party. Recall the treaty guaranteeing Belgium's integrity, which was one that Germany signed.[Pg 174] Recall the Hague Conventions, signed by this same Germany. The men are fools who will not recall these things, who will not profit by them as examples. German might will only be destroyed by international agreements to which Germany is not a party, and which shall place German might beyond the regions in which it can play a dangerous part.

Now we are not building this upon sand, but upon a foundation of solid rock.

Germany needs two things to continue her national existence. She must import from other countries certain products necessary to her existence. For example, there is wool, of which she was obliged to import 1,888,481 metric quintals in order to manufacture her sixteen thousand grades of woolen fabrics. There is copper, of which Germany imported 250,000 tons in 1913 (200,000 tons came from America), in order to sell the merchandise she finds has a good market in foreign countries. Considering all Germany's exports for the period from 1903-1913, we find that their total has passed from 6,400 millions to[Pg 175] 12,600 millions, an increase of nearly one hundred per cent.

There lies the best, the true, indeed the only means whereby the Allies can compel Germany to disarm. We do not demand that the economic war shall continue after the actual warfare is at an end, but we can demand that the Allies shall not lay aside their economic arms when the Germans shall have laid aside their fighting arms. In other words, we can demand that the Allies do not give Germany wool, copper and money if they know that this wool, money and copper are to feed the war machine. This war machine cost the German Empire nearly four hundred millions of dollars according to the budget of 1914. Suppose the Allies said to Germany, "As long as you have a military and naval budget of four hundred millions of dollars, we regret that we shall be unable to sell you wool and copper. We regret that we shall be unable to buy anything from you. But, if you reduce this budget by half, we are willing to give you one million metric quintals of wool and 125,000 tons of copper. Likewise, we are[Pg 176] disposed to make purchases in your market totalling one billion dollars. If your military and naval budgets fall to nothing, we are willing to go much farther and buy and sell everything with you in unlimited quantities." Suppose the Allies make these proposals to Germany. Suppose they are put into effect. Will they not be a better guarantee of universal peace than all the Conventions and all the courts of arbitration in the world?

Then let no one disturb the peace of the world for his selfish purposes. Left to themselves, the little Balkan States and Slav States will not start great, long wars, just as the lone robber posted at the edge of a woods will not endanger a province's communications for very long. The formidable thing is the great country that is arranged and planned along the lines of war, where everything is organized with a view to war; just as the formidable thing for a city is the small band of malefactors who are able to terrify half the citizens by the use of highly perfected arms.

There will be no lasting peace until the most[Pg 177] terrible war machine the world has ever known shall have been destroyed, reduced to an impotent state of non-existence. Ideals will not destroy this machine, but practical means and getting down to the facts of the case will do so. Pasteur did not overcome hydrophobia by writing treatises and dissertations. He met poison with poison, he injected the healing serum into the veins of the maddened dog. Now Germany is the mad dog, and Germany must be inoculated. After that there will be time to pass hygienic measures for the regiment of the entire world. Today Germany must be killed or cured. Germany is the cancer that must be cut out, lest it eat up the world.

It has been a matter of life and death for Liberty and Civilization. Both of them have been sick unto death. Clutched foully by the throat, they have heard their own death rattle; they themselves thought they might not survive. Now they stand on their feet, so weak, so pale, and so feeble that their life might still be despaired of. If we do not obtain definite guarantees against[Pg 178] the monster who has barely failed to strangle them and to force the entire world back into the darkness of slavery, we shall have failed in our task, and the blood shed in the fight for Liberty will have been shed in vain.

[Pg 179]


The following irrefutable documents, selected from among thousands of others which history will record, prove better than any other means how the Germans understand war and peace. They deserve a place in this volume because they demonstrate why and against what France is fighting.



Answering to the Pope, in September, 1917, Kaiser Wilhelm II declared "that he had always regarded it as his principal and most sacred duty to preserve the blessing of Peace for the German people and the world." More recently, driving through the battlefield of Cambrai, the Kaiser,[Pg 180] according to the war correspondent of the Berlin Lokalanzeiger, exclaimed: "God knows what I have not done to prevent such a war!"

A document made public by M. Stephen Pichon, French Foreign Minister, shows exactly how, in the last days of July, 1914, the Kaiser tried "to preserve the blessings of Peace for the German people and the world" and what he did "to prevent such a war."

Speaking at the Sorbonne, in Paris, on March 1, 1918, M. Pichon said:

I will establish by documents that the day the Germans deliberately rendered inevitable the most frightful of wars they tried to dishonor us by the most cowardly complicity in the ambush into which they drew Europe. I will establish it in the revelation of a document which the German Chancellor, after having drawn it up, preserved carefully, and you will see why, in the most profound mystery of the most secret archives.

We have known only recently of its authenticity, and it defies any sort of attempt to disprove it. It bears the signature of Bethmann Hollweg (German Imperial Chancellor at the outbreak of the war) and the date July 31, 1914.[Pg 181] On that day Von Schoen (German Ambassador to France) was charged by a telegram from his Chancellor to notify us of a state of danger of war with Russia and to ask us to remain neutral, giving us eighteen hours in which to reply.

What was unknown until today was that the telegram of the German Chancellor containing these instructions ended with these words:

If the French Government declares it will remain neutral your Excellency will be good enough to declare that we must, as a guarantee of its neutrality, require the handing over of the fortresses of Toul and Verdun; that we will occupy them and will restore them after the end of the war with Russia. A reply to this last question must reach here before Saturday afternoon at 4 o'clock.

That is how Germany wanted peace at the moment when she declared war! That is how sincere she was in pretending that we obliged her to take up arms for her defense! That is the price she intended to make us pay for our baseness if we had the infamy to repudiate our signature as Prussia repudiated hers by tearing up the treaty that guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium!

It was explained that the above document has not previously been published, because the code[Pg 182] could not be deciphered: the French Foreign Office succeeded only a few days before in decodifying the document.

Moreover, Herr von Bethmann Hollweg, on March 18, 1918, acknowledged the accuracy of M. Pichon's quotation and contented himself to declare that "his instructions to Von Schoen were justified."

[Pg 183]



This document is quoted from the French "Yellow Book," page 152:

From Copenhagen
French Yellow Book No. 155

M. Bapst, French Minister at Copenhagen, to
M. Doumergue, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Copenhagen, August 6, 1914.

The French Ambassador at Berlin, M. Jules Cambon, asks me to communicate to your Excellency the following telegram:

I have been sent to Denmark by the German Government. I have just arrived at Copenhagen. I am accompanied by all the staff of the Embassy and the Russian Chargé d'Affaires at Darmstadt with his family. The treatment which we have received is of such a nature that I have thought[Pg 184] it desirable to make a complete report on it to your Excellency by telegram.

On the morning of Monday, the 3rd of August, after I had, in accordance with your instructions, addressed to Herr von Jagow a protest against the acts of aggression committed on French territory by German troops, the Secretary of State came to see me. Herr von Jagow came to complain of acts of aggression which he alleged had been committed in Germany, especially at Nuremberg and Coblenz by French aviators, who according to his statement "had come from Belgium." I answered that I had not the slightest information as to the facts to which he attached so much importance and the improbability of which seemed to me obvious; on my part I asked him if he had read the note which I had addressed to him with regard to the invasion of our territory by detachments of the German army. As the Secretary of State said that he had not yet read this note I explained its contents to him. I called his attention to the act committed by the officer commanding one of the detachments who had advanced to the French village of Joncherey, ten kilometers within our frontier, and had blown out the brains of a French soldier whom he had met there. After having given my opinion of this act I added:[Pg 185]

"You will admit that under no circumstances could there be any comparison between this and the flight of an aeroplane over foreign territory carried out by private persons animated by that spirit of individual courage by which aviators are distinguished.

"An act of aggression committed on the territory of a neighbor by detachments of regular troops commanded by officers assumes an importance of quite a different nature."

Herr von Jagow explained to me that he had no knowledge of the facts of which I was speaking to him, and he added that it was difficult for events of this kind not to take place when two armies filled with the feelings which animated our troops found themselves face to face on either side of the frontier.

At this moment the crowds which thronged the Pariser Platz in front of the Embassy and whom we could see through the window of my study, which was half open, uttered shouts against France. I asked the Secretary of State when all this would come to an end.

"The Government has not yet come to a decision," Herr von Jagow answered. "It is probable that Herr von Schoen will receive orders today to ask for his passports and then you will receive yours." The Secretary of State assured me that[Pg 186] I need not have any anxiety with regard to my departure, and that all the proprieties would be observed with regard to me as well as my staff. We were not to see one another any more and we took leave of one another after an interview which had been courteous and could not make me anticipate what was in store for me.

Before leaving Herr von Jagow I expressed to him my wish to make a personal call on the Chancellor, as that would be the last opportunity that I should have of seeing him.

Herr von Jagow said that he did not advise me to carry out this intention as the interview would serve no purpose and could not fail to be painful.

At 6 o'clock in the evening Herr von Langwerth brought me my passports. In the name of his Government he refused to agree to the wish which I expressed to him that I should be permitted to travel by Holland or Belgium. He suggested to me that I should go either by way of Copenhagen, although he could not assure me a free passage by sea, or through Switzerland via Constance.

I accepted this last route; Herr von Langwerth having asked me to leave as soon as I possibly could it was agreed, in consideration of the necessity I was under of making arrangements[Pg 187] with the Spanish Ambassador, who was undertaking the charge of our interests, that I should leave on the next day, the 4th August, at 10 o'clock at night.

At 7 o'clock, an hour after Herr von Langwerth had left, Herr von Lancken, formerly Councilor of the Embassy at Paris, came from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to tell me to request the staff of my Embassy to cease taking meals in the restaurants. This order was so strict that on the next day, Tuesday, I had to have recourse to the authority of the Wilhelmstrasse to get the Hôtel Bristol to send our meals to the Embassy.

At 11 o'clock on the same evening, Monday, Herr von Langwerth came back to tell me that his Government would not allow our return by way of Switzerland under the pretext that it would take three days and three nights to take me to Constance. He announced that I should be sent by way of Vienna. I only agreed to this alteration under reserve, and during the night I wrote the following letter to Herr von Langwerth:

"Berlin, August 3rd, 1914.

"M. le Baron;

"I have been thinking over the route for my return to my country about which you came to[Pg 188] speak to me this evening. You propose that I shall travel by Vienna. I run the risk of finding myself detained in that town, if not by the action of the Austrian Government, at least owing to the mobilization which creates great difficulties similar to those existing in Germany as to the movements of trains.

"Under these circumstances I must ask the German Government for a promise made on their honor that the Austrian Government will send me to Switzerland, and that the Swiss Government will not close its frontier either to me or to the persons by whom I am accompanied, as I am told that that frontier has been firmly closed to foreigners.

"I cannot then accept the proposal that you have made to me unless I have the security which I ask for, and unless I am assured that I shall not be detained for some months outside my country.

"Jules Cambon."

In answer to this letter on the next morning, Tuesday the 4th August, Herr von Langwerth gave me in writing an assurance that the Austrian and Swiss authorities had received communications to this effect.[Pg 189]

At the same time M. Miladowski, attached to the Consulate at Berlin, as well as other Frenchmen, was arrested in his own house while in bed. M. Miladowski, for whom a diplomatic passport had been requested, was released after four hours.

I was prepared to leave for Vienna when, at a quarter to five, Herr von Langwerth came back to inform me that I would have to leave with the persons accompanying me at 10 o'clock in the evening, but that I should be taken to Denmark. On this new requirement I asked if I should be confined in a fortress supposing I did not comply. Herr von Langwerth simply answered that he would return to receive my answer in half an hour. I did not wish to give the German Government the pretext for saying that I had refused to depart from Germany. I therefore told Herr von Langwerth when he came back that I would submit to the order which had been given to me but "that I protested."

I at once wrote to Herr von Jagow a letter of which the following is a copy:

Berlin, August 4, 1914.


"More than once your Excellency has said to me that the Imperial Government, in accordance[Pg 190] with the usages of international courtesy, would facilitate my return to my own country, and would give me every means of getting back to it quickly.

"Yesterday, however, Baron von Langwerth, after refusing me access to Belgium and Holland, informed me that I should travel to Switzerland via Constance. During the night I was informed that I should be sent to Austria, a country which is taking part in the present war on the side of Germany. As I had no knowledge of the intentions of Austria towards me, since on Austrian soil I am nothing but an ordinary private individual, I wrote to Baron von Langwerth that I requested the Imperial Government to give me a promise that the Imperial and Royal Austrian authorities would give me all possible facilities for continuing my journey and that Switzerland would not be closed to me. Herr von Langwerth has been good enough to answer me in writing that I could be assured of an easy journey and that the Austrian authorities would do all that was necessary.

"It is nearly five o'clock, and Baron von Langwerth has just announced to me that I shall be sent to Denmark. In view of the present situation, there is no security that I shall find a ship to take me to England and it is this consideration which[Pg 191] made me reject this proposal with the approval of Herr von Langwerth.

"In truth no liberty is left me and I am treated almost as a prisoner. I am obliged to submit, having no means of obtaining that the rules of international courtesy should be observed towards me, but I hasten to protest to your Excellency against the manner in which I am being treated.

"Jules Cambon."

Whilst my letter was being delivered I was told that the journey would not be made direct but by way of Schleswig. At 10 o'clock in the evening, I left the Embassy with my staff in the middle of a great assembly of foot and mounted police.

At the station the Ministry for Foreign Affairs was only represented by an officer of inferior rank.

The journey took place with extreme slowness. We took more than twenty-four hours to reach the frontier. It seemed that at every station they had to wait for orders to proceed. I was accompanied by Major von Rheinbaben of the Alessandra Regiment of the Guard and by a police officer. In the neighborhood of the Kiel Canal the soldiers entered our carriages. The windows were shut and the curtains of the carriages drawn down; each of us had to remain isolated in his compartment and was forbidden to get up or to[Pg 192] touch his luggage. A soldier stood in the corridor of the carriage before the door of each of our compartments which were kept open, revolver in hand and finger on the trigger. The Russian Chargé d'Affaires, the women and children and everyone were subjected to the same treatment.

At the last German station about 11 o'clock at night, Major von Rheinbaben came to take leave of me. I handed to him the following letter to Herr von Jagow.

"Wednesday Evening, August 5, 1914.


"Yesterday before leaving Berlin, I protested in writing to your Excellency against the repeated change of route which was imposed upon me by the Imperial Government on my journey from Germany.

"Today as the train in which I was passed over the Kiel Canal an attempt was made to search all our luggage as if we might have hidden some instrument of destruction. Thanks to the interference of Major von Rheinbaben, we were spared this insult. But they went further.

"They obliged us to remain each in his own compartment, the windows and blinds having been closed. During this time, in the corridors of the carriages at the door of each compartment and[Pg 193] facing each one of us, stood a soldier, revolver in hand, finger on the trigger, for nearly half an hour.

"I consider it my duty to protest against this threat of violence to the Ambassador of the Republic and the staff of his Embassy, violence which nothing could even have made me anticipate.

"Yesterday I had the honor of writing to your Excellency that I was being treated almost as a prisoner. Today I am being treated as a dangerous prisoner. Also I must record that during our journey which from Berlin to Denmark has taken twenty-four hours, no food has been prepared nor provided for me nor for the persons who were traveling with me to the frontier.

"Jules Cambon."

I thought that our troubles had finished, when shortly afterwards Major von Rheinbaben came, rather embarrassed, to inform me that the train would not proceed to the Danish frontier if I did not pay the cost of this train. I expressed my astonishment that I had not been made to pay at Berlin and that at any rate I had not been forewarned of this. I offered to pay by a cheque on one of the largest Berlin banks. This facility was refused me. With the help of my companions[Pg 194] I was able to collect, in gold, the sum which was required from me at once, and which amounted to 3,611 marks, 75 pfennig. This is about 5,000 francs in accordance with the present rate of exchange.

After this last incident, I thought it necessary to ask Major von Rheinbaben for his word of honor as an officer and a gentleman that we should be taken to the Danish frontier. He gave it to me, and I required that the policeman who was with us should accompany us.

In this way we arrived at the first Danish station, where the Danish Government had had a train made ready to take us to Copenhagen.

I am assured that my British colleague and the Belgian Minister, although they left Berlin after I did, traveled by the direct route to Holland. I am struck by this difference of treatment, and as Denmark and Norway are, at this moment, infested with spies, if I succeed in embarking in Norway, there is danger that I may be arrested at sea with the officials who accompany me.

I do not wish to conclude this dispatch without notifying your Excellency of the energy and devotion of which the whole staff of the Embassy has given unceasing proof during the course of this crisis. I shall be glad that account should be taken of the services which on this occasion[Pg 195] have been rendered to the Government of the Republic, in particular by the Secretaries of the Embassy and by the Military and Naval Attachés.

Jules Cambon.

[Pg 196]



The French Government, as soon as it heard of the first German atrocities, instituted a Commission of inquiry composed of three high French magistrates: Mr. Georges Payelle, President of the Cour des Comptes, Mr. Georges Maringer, Councilor of State, and Mr. Edmond Paillot, Councilor of the Cour of Cassation. That Commission proceeded to the spot where the atrocities had been perpetrated and heard witnesses, who deposed under oath.

All evidence and proceedings have been printed and fill up ten heavy volumes.

Among many depositions, the following one, taken the twenty-third of October, 1915, at Paris, will give an idea of the horrors to which the invaded regions of France were submitted.

Duren Virginie, wife of Berard Durem, 29 years[Pg 197] of age, inhabitant of Jarny in the Department of Meurthe et Moselle, a refugee at Levallois-Perret:

I swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.

On the 25th of August, 1914, the sixty-sixth and sixty-eighth Bavarian regiments were quartered together at Jarny. I was ordered to bring water for the soldiers, so went in search of a large number of water pails. At three o'clock in the afternoon an officer, who met me, told me I had carried enough water and ordered me to go back to my house. As the Germans were firing on our house with mitrailleuses, I took refuge in the cellar with my two sons, Jean, aged six, and Maurice, aged two, and also my daughter Jeanne, nine years of age. The Aufiero family was also there. Soon petrol was poured over the house; it got into the cellar through the air-hole, and we were surrounded by flames. I saved myself, carrying my two little boys in my arms, while my daughter and little Beatrice Aufiero ran along holding on to my skirt. As we were crossing the Rougeval brook, which runs near my house, the Bavarians fired on us. My little Jean, whom I was carrying, was struck by three bullets, one in the right thigh,[Pg 198] one in the ankle, and one in the chest. The thigh was almost shot away, and from the place where the bullet through his chest came out the lung projected. The poor child said, "Oh, Mother, I have a pain," and in a moment he was dead. At the same time little Beatrice had her arm broken so badly that it was attached to her shoulder only by a piece of flesh, and Angele Aufiero, a boy of nine years, who followed a short distance behind us, was wounded in the calf of the leg. Little Beatrice suffered cruelly and wept bitterly, but she did not fall down, continuing to go along with me.

While these things were taking place, the Perignon family, which lived next door to us, was massacred.

When they were no longer shooting at us, I tried to wash my baby, who was covered with blood, in the brook; but a soldier prevented me, shouting, "Get away from there."

Finally we got to the road. Meanwhile they were driving M. Aufiero out of the cellar. The Germans, who spoke French after a fashion, said to his wife, "Come see your husband get shot." The poor man, on his knees, asked for mercy, and as his wife shrieked "My poor Côme," the soldiers said to her, "Shut your mouth." His execution took place very near us.[Pg 199]

The Bavarians sent me, my children, Mme. Aufiero and her daughter to a meadow near the Pont-de-l'Etang. A general ordered that we be shot, but I threw myself at his feet, begging him to be merciful. He consented. At this moment an officer, wearing a great gray cloak with a red collar, said, as he pointed to the dead body of my child, "There is one who will not grow up to fight our men."

The next day, in my flight to Barrière Zeller, an officer came up and told me that the body of my dead child smelled badly and that I must get rid of it. Since I could find no one to make a coffin, I found in the canteen two rabbit hutches. I fastened one of these to the other, and there I laid the little body. It was buried in my garden by two soldiers, and I had to dig the grave myself.

[Pg 200]



In the first days of April, 1916, the following notice, bearing the signature of the German commander, was posted on all the walls of Lille, the great town in the north of France which has been occupied by the Germans since the beginning of the war.

All the inhabitants of the town, except the children under fourteen years of age, their mothers, and the old men, must prepare to be transported within an hour and a half.

An officer will decide definitely which persons shall be conducted to the camps of assembly. For this purpose, all the inhabitants must assemble in front of their homes, in case of bad weather they shall be permitted to stay in the lobbies. The doors of the houses must be left open. All[Pg 201] complaints will be unavailing. No inhabitant of a house, even those who are not to be transported, can leave the house before eight o'clock in the morning (German time).

Each person may take thirty kilograms of baggage with him. Should there be any excess over this amount, all that person's baggage will be refused regardless of everything. Separate packages must be made up by each person, and a visibly written, firmly secured address must be on each package. The address must bear the person's name, surname, and the number of his identification card.

It is very necessary for each person to provide himself with utensils for eating and drinking, also with a woolen blanket and some good shoes and some linen. Each person must have on his person his identification card. Whoever shall attempt to evade deportation shall be punished without mercy.


The threat contained in the notice cited here was carried out to the letter. Here is an account of it from the communication addressed by M. D——, formerly the receveur particulier of Lille, to M. Cambon, formerly the French Ambassador to Berlin:[Pg 202]

On Good Friday night at three o'clock the troops who were going to occupy the designated section, Fives, came through our houses. It was dreadful. An officer passed by, pointing out the men and women whom he chose, leaving them a space of time amounting to an hour in some cases and ten minutes in others, to prepare themselves for their journey.

Antoine D. ... and his sister, twenty-two years of age, were taken away. The Germans did not want to leave behind the younger daughter in the family, who was not fourteen. Their grandmother, ill with sorrow and terror, had to be cared for at once. Finally they met the young daughter coming back. In one case an old man and two infirm persons could not keep the daughter who was their sole support. And everywhere the enemy sneered, adding vexatious annoyance to their hateful task. In the house of the doctor, who is B.'s uncle, they gave his wife the choice between two maids. She preferred the elder and they said, "Well, then she is the one we are going to take." Mlle. L., the young one who has just got over typhoid and bronchitis, saw the non-commissioned officer who took away her nurse coming up to her. "What a sad task they are making us do." "More than sad, sir, it could be called barbarous." "That is a hard word, are you not afraid that I will sell[Pg 203] you?" As a matter of fact the wretch denounced her. They allowed her seven minutes and took her away bare-headed, just as she was, to the Colonel who commanded this noble battle and who also ordered her to go, against the advice of a physician. Only on account of her tireless energy and the sense of decency of one who was less ferocious than the rest, did she obtain permission, at five o'clock in the afternoon, to be discharged, after a day which had been a veritable Calvary. The poor wretches at whose door a sentry watched, were collected together at some place or other, a Church or a school. Then the mob of all sorts and conditions of people, or all grades of social standing, respectable young girls and women of the street, was driven to the station escorted by soldiers marching at the head of the procession. From there they were taken off in the evening without knowing where they were going or for what work they were destined.

And in the face of all this our people evidenced restraint and admirable dignity, although they were provoked that day by seeing the automobiles going around which were taking away these unfortunate people. They all went away shouting "Vive la France. Vive la Liberté!" and singing the Marseillaise. They cheered up those who remained; their poor mothers who were weeping, and[Pg 204] the children. With voices almost strangled with tears, and pale with suffering, they told them not to cry as they themselves would not; but bore themselves proudly in the presence of their executioners.

Another document shows better than all this talking the treatment the French have been receiving from the Germans for over thirty months. This document is a German notice which was found at Holnon, northwest of St. Quentin. The document bore the official seal of the German commander.

Holnon, 20th July, 1915.

All workmen, women and children over fifteen years of age must work in the fields every day, also on Sunday, from four o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock at night, French time. For rest they shall have a half-hour in the morning, an hour at noon and a half-hour in the afternoon. Failure to obey this order will be punished in the following manner:—

1.—The men who are lazy will be collected for the period of the harvest in a company of workmen under the inspection of German corporals. After the harvest the lazy will be imprisoned for[Pg 205] six months and every third day their nourishment shall be only bread and water.

2.—Lazy women shall be exiled to Holnon to work. After the harvest the women will be imprisoned six months.

3.—The children who do not work shall be punished with blows from a club.

Furthermore, the commandant reserves the right to punish men who do not work with twenty blows from a club daily.

Workmen in the Commune of Verdelles have been punished severely.

(Signed) Glose,
Colonel and Commandant.

[Pg 206]



Von Bethmann-Hollweg, Count von Hertling and Herr von Kuhlmann state that Alsace-Lorraine is a province of the German Empire by right and by fact, and that it is firmly attached to Germany.

The following picture shows how this German province is treated by Germany:

Treatment of the Civilian Population

The Government has established for the duration of the war an insurmountable barrier between Alsace-Lorraine, which is called a territory of the Empire, and the rest of the German states. Briefly, Alsace-Lorraine is treated as a suspect.

An inhabitant of Alsace-Lorraine can not mail his letters in Germany. For example, Wissembourg is on the border of the Palatinate. There[Pg 207] is a great temptation for the citizens of this town to assure a rapid delivery of their letters and their escape from annoying censorship by making use of the German mail system. A music teacher, Mlle. Lina Sch—— was sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred marks in March, 1917, for an infraction of this sort. The war council at Saarbruck, which pronounced this sentence, had already, in June, 1916, sentenced for like cause, the Spanish Consul, to the payment of a fine of eighty marks because he had allowed a citizen of Sarreguimine to have letters to his sons, who were refugees at Lausanne, addressed to the Spanish Consulate.

In addition, German hostility to the Alsatians is shown by a number of childish measures against Alsatian uniforms and costumes, in proportion as they resemble the French.

In all seriousness the question arose of forbidding the Catholic Clergy to wear the soutane, as it was the custom in the Latin countries. It was given up; but steps were taken in the case of the firemen.[Pg 208]

The Nouvelle Gazette of Strassburg published an official notice, dated the ninth of December, 1915, which emphasized an order suppressing the uniforms worn by the Alsatian firemen because the cut was French, as was the cap, and complained that this order was not everywhere observed:

Recently, in the course of a fire which broke out near Molsheim, it is an established fact that the firemen wore their old Alsatian uniforms, and that the fire alarm was sounded by means of the old clarions of the type in use in France. The Kreisdirection finds itself obliged to insist that the suppressed uniforms disappear, and that the clarions do likewise; and to ask that it be informed of contraventions that happen in the future.

Other societies and associations, such as the singing societies which frequently still wear uniforms recalling those of the French collegians, ought to lay aside the forbidden garments, which are to be entrusted to the guard of the police.

But these puerilities seem insignificant compared to other things to which the people of Alsace-Lorraine have been subjected, things which unite them more firmly than ever to the French and the Belgians of the invaded regions.[Pg 209]

The great deportations which have been practiced in France and Belgium have been repeated in Alsace as recently as January, 1917. The inhabitants of Mülhausen between the ages of seventeen and sixty years were assembled in the barracks at that place, whence they were sent into the interior of Germany.

This proceeding has been practiced on a large scale since the war's beginning. Preventive imprisonment, called Schutzhaft, was applied to Messin Samain, who was first incarcerated at Cologne and then sent to the Russian front, where he was killed. It was also applied to M. Bourson, former correspondent of Le Matin, who is interned at Cannstatt in Wurtemburg. Other citizens, after having been held in prison for weeks and months, have been exiled finally into Germany.

The Germans themselves have been so demoralized by the régime they have established that the authorities have had to put a check on anonymous denunciations, almost all of which were false, by an official communiqué published in the Gazette de Hagenau for the sixth of December, 1916.[Pg 210]

The story of how the civilian population has been treated will only be known in its entirety later on. The government has, as a matter of fact, forbidden the press to publish accounts of the war councils' debates because the population, far from being terrified by them, would find in them laughing matter.

It is estimated that the people of Alsace-Lorraine have served in actual hours more than five thousand years in prison. Here are some crimes committed by them:

M. Giessmann, an old man seventy years old, saluted French prisoners in a Strassburg street: Sentence, six weeks in prison.

Guillaume Kohler, an infantry soldier from Saverne, during a journey in Germany, censured the inhuman manner in which certain German officers treated their men at the front. The council at Saarbruck sentenced him to two years in prison.

Emilie Zimmerle, a cook at Kolmar, sang an anti-German song as she washed out her pots. Thirty marks fine.[Pg 211]

Mlle. Stern, the daughter of a pastor at Mulhouse, spoke against the violation of Belgium. One month in prison.

Abbe Théophile Selier, curé at Levencourt, for the same offense, six weeks in prison.

Even children and young girls have been punished for peccadillos that were absolutely untrue.

The Metz Zeitung for the twenty-second of October mentions the sentences pronounced against Juliette F. de Vigy, eighteen years old, a pupil in the commercial school, and Georgette S——, twenty-three years old, a shop girl, dwellers at Mouilly. Having gone one morning to the station at Metz, they saw some French prisoners in a train to whom they spoke and at whom they "made eyes."

Juliette F——, the more guilty of the two, was sentenced to pay a fine of eighty marks, and Georgette S—— to pay one of forty marks, because "acting this way to prisoners of war exercises a particularly disturbing effect on them."

Two little girls of Kolmar, named Grass and[Pg 212] Broly, were arrested for "having answered, by waving their hands, kisses French prisoners threw to them."

A boy fifteen years old, pupil in the upper school at Mulhouse, named Jean Ingold, who, in the classroom tore down the portrait of the Emperor and painted French flags on the wall with the inscription "Vive la France," was condemned to a month in prison. The War Council saw an aggravating circumstance in the fact that Jean's father "occupies a very lucrative position as a German functionary."

On the thirtieth of March, 1916, two sisters from Guebwiller—Sister Edwina, née Bach, Mother Superior, and Sister Emertine, née Eckert, were charged with anti-German manifestations for having treated as lies the figures regarding French and Russian prisoners sent out in the German communiqués, for having protested against the bombardment of Rheims Cathedral, for having treated as false the German victories that had been announced, and for having said on the subject of the German invasion of Belgium,[Pg 213] "How can they attack a country that asked for nothing?"

The result was that they got six months' imprisonment.

The case of Mme. Berthe Judlin, in the faith Sister Valentine, is more tragic.

The Mulhouse newspapers have published the account of the proceedings in the case of this Sister before the War Council. It appears that she has been the victim of monstrous calumnies, and that her fate can well be compared to that of Miss Edith Cavell.

She was accused of having, from the ninth to the fourteenth of August when she was assigned to the convent of the Redemptorists at Riedishiem, favored the French wounded at the expense of the German wounded. These accusations, which specified in particular, that she had taken various objects away from one wounded man (a charge the prosecution withdrew) and that she hid the cartridges of the French wounded in the attic, were contested by Sister Valentine. After the testimony of the witnesses, nine for the [Pg 214]prosecution and fourteen for the defendant, the government commissioner asked that she be punished with a sentence of fifteen years at hard labor and ten years of deprivation of civil rights. Her lawyer asked for her acquittal. The War Council on the fourteenth of December, 1915, after an hour and a quarter's deliberation, decided that "Sister Valentine has done harm to the German Army" and has hidden the cartridges. It condemned Sister Valentine to "five years of hard labor and five years' deprivation of civil rights."

The War on the French Language

The Germans never cease recalling and von Hertling has just repeated the fact that eighty-seven per cent of the Alsatians speak German. It is strange, then, that the German reign of terror has manifested itself in one particular against the use of French, even in the region where French is the language universally spoken.

The fact that a person speaks French has become a special offense, that of "provocation."[Pg 215] And this offense appears to be a frequent one.

On the twenty-second of February, 1916, the sous-prefect of Boulay gave the following warning to the mayors of his arrondissement:

The use in public of French will be considered a "provocation" when used by persons who know enough German to make themselves understood or who can have recourse to persons who understand German as intermediaries.

The War Council Extraordinary at Metz, in consequence handed down a decision condemning two women to fourteen days in prison because, in a manner that gave "provocation," they spoke French in a trolley car in spite of the warnings of the conductress.

In addition, the War Council Extraordinary at Strassburg fined a salesman who "not only let a French label remain on his packages, but had put a French label on a package addressed to a customer who understood German."

A little girl from Bourg-Bruche who, although she spoke German, used the French language in[Pg 216] spite of repeated warnings, had a sentence of detention inflicted on her by the same tribunal.

The Mulhouse Tageblatt for the twenty-third of September, 1917, announced that women who had conversed to one another in French in public had been condemned to from two to three weeks imprisonment by the War Council at Thionville.

Another person who had made a usage of the French language that gave grounds for "provocation," was condemned to pay a fine of fifty marks or serve ten days in prison.

The Oberelsaessische Landeszeitung for the twelfth and twenty-sixth of October published the following sentences: "Fines of twenty and ten marks to the venders A. Nemarg and M. Cahen for having spoken to a convoy of French officers in the station at Thionville."

Twenty and thirty marks fine to Amélie Bany and Catherine Jacques of Knutange "for having spoken French although they understood German."

The Mayor of Broque, a commune where French is spoken, was sentenced to three months' [Pg 217]imprisonment for having spoken French to his councilors.

In Alsace this campaign against the French language is carried even into the girls' boarding schools, which have always been the principal centers for the study of French.

An order from the Statthalter, dated March tenth, 1915, forbade French conversations in the schools.

A German pastor of the Lutheran Church named Curtius, who had opposed suppressing the old parish of Saint Nicholas at Strassburg, was removed. His successor, who was better disciplined, gave in to the measure that was demanded.

The war against the French language has been marked by the suppression of all French newspapers since the war's beginning, the Journal d'Alsace-Lorraine, the Messin, the Nouvelliste d'Alsace-Lorraine. But nothing shows better the necessity of having organs of public opinion in French than the establishment at Metz of the Gazette d'Alsace-Lorraine by the government, which served as a model for the Gazette des [Pg 218]Ardennes, founded later on at Mezières, to demoralize the inhabitants of the invaded districts in the north and west of France.

The Treatment of the Soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine

The soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine, whose loyalty was proclaimed at the war's beginning, have, as a matter of fact, been treated like spies and embryo deserters.

In August, 1915, at the opening of the Alsatian parliament, the Statthalter denounced the anti-patriotism of a part of the population and stigmatized the "traitors" who had "gone over to the enemy."

In fact, no less than fourteen thousand Alsatians, in the face of manifold perils and difficulties, had rejoined the colors of their true country. All the newspapers of Alsace-Lorraine still publish the lists of them as citizens and of their belongings as "refractory individuals."

The movement has never stopped. During the thirty-second month of the war, on the fourteenth[Pg 219] of March, 1917, General von Nassner, commandant for the district of Saarbruck, published the following extraordinary order:

"Whoever, after due examination, has reason to believe that a soldier or a man on reprieve proposes to desert and who can still prevent the execution of this crime, must without delay give notice of this fact to the nearest military or police authority."

The Strassburg Neueste Nachrichten for the twenty-seventh of September announced that the "chambre correctionnelle at Kolmar had condemned by default one hundred and ninety men from the arrondissements of Guebwiller and Ribeauville to fines of six hundred marks or forty days in prison for having failed to perform their military obligations."

The Oberelsaessische Landeszeitung for the eleventh of October, 1917, announced sentences of fines of three thousand marks or three hundred days in prison for the same reason against seven persons.

The Haguenauer Zeitung from the eleventh to[Pg 220] the twentieth of October published the names of seventeen soldiers, some of them deserters, the others guilty of rebellion in favor of the enemy or of treason.

On the twenty-fifth of October there was another list of deserters, nineteen of whom were natives of Strassburg.

In his book, "The Martyrs of Alsace and Lorraine," M. André Fribourg has fifteen pages taken from the lists of the debates of the German war councils. These pages are made up of the names of young Alsatians who have left their country rather than fight against France.

Besides, far from treating the Alsatians enrolled in the German Army like Germans, the government has accorded them a distinctly different treatment.

It has sent them to the Russian front and employed them at the most dangerous posts, as this secret order, from the Prussian Minister of War to the temporary commander of the Fourteenth Army Corps, proves:[Pg 221]

All men from Alsace-Lorraine employed as secretaries, ordnance officers, etc., must be relieved of their duties and sent to the battle front. In the future, all the men from Alsace-Lorraine will be sent to the "General Kommando," who will send them at once to the units on the Eastern Front. This order to go into effect before the first of April, 1916.

For the Stellvert, General Kommando
Radecke, Major.

Finally, it was only on the ninth of October, 1917, that the Strassburg Neue Zeitung announced the abolition of the special postal control to which the soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine were submitted at the front.

It is but just [says the Freie Presse on that occasion] that the exceptional measures taken against the soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine be abolished at last. Among these measures we consider the interdiction still in force for a man to return to his native town. And [the same newspaper adds] from the moment that the bravery of our soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine is vaunted everywhere, it is absolutely wrong to reward them with scorn and insults.

[Pg 222]

In the notice from G. Q. G. for the twenty-fifth of November, 1917, are the details gathered from the Alsatian prisoners themselves of the treatment their compatriots endure in the German Army.

On the twenty-second of last June, all the Alsatians received orders to present themselves at the F. R. D. of their division, where they were received by the Vizé Sergeant, flanked by two guards.

The former said to them:

"What! You have not yet laid aside your accoutrements; traitors, deserters, scoundrels, rascals. Get into the shelter quick where you can put up nine additional supports for the roof and where you can kick the bucket at your ease."

Since some of the Alsatians declared that, having received nothing to eat or to drink, they could not work, a lieutenant, who was summoned by the adjutant, ran up with his riding whip and, making one of them step forward, beat him until he lost consciousness.

Later on another lieutenant ordered the Vizé[Pg 223] Sergeant to "train the Alsatians well. They are all robbers and traitors."

All these facts proclaim in an undeniable manner that the soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine are not treated like ordinary citizens by the German Army, but like foreigners temporarily under the domination of Germany.

The Sequestration of Property

For a "German" country, Alsace-Lorraine seems to have a great number of landowners who are French, if one is to judge by the sequestrations and confiscations with which the authorities have been so desperately busy for three years.

In fact the local newspapers contain lists of sequestrations that are almost as long as the lists of deserters.

And these confiscations apply not only to the landowners who live in France. A large number have been pronounced against inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine who live abroad. Orders were given them to reënter the German Empire, orders they had no possible chance of obeying, but which[Pg 224] gave the imperial government an easy pretext for pronouncing their denationalization and the confiscation of their property.

Also, the sequestrations followed by sales under the hammer, of French and Alsatian properties were extremely numerous. Among these properties there are a certain number of considerable importance.

On the twenty-fourth of August, 1916, Les Dernières Nouvelles de Strasbourg, advertised the sale under the hammer of the properties of Prince de Tonnay-Charente, situated at Hambourg and consisting of a splendid château, furnished in Louis Fourteenth style, Gobelin tapestries of great value, family portraits, green houses, outhouses, ponds, farms, etc., etc.

The Strassburg Post for the twenty-ninth of October announced the liquidation sale of Cité Hof, belonging to the heirs of Paul de Geiger, including "forty-two hectares of fine arable land, fine dwelling houses, barns and stables, a very fine park, summer houses, a coach house, etc." ... "of the Villa Huber, with a fine park, servants'[Pg 225] quarters, garden, surrounded by twenty-eight hectares of fields."

The same paper for the fourth of October announces the sale of the famous château of Robertsau, the property of Mme. Loys-Chandieu, née Pourtalès, with two hundred and thirty hectares of farm land and one hundred and thirty hectares of forest.

The Metzer Zeitung for the twentieth of October announced the liquidation of twenty properties in the Moyeuvre Grande district, and of eleven in that of Sierek.

Many people have obviously been covetous of these French possessions.

On this subject curious letters and unceasing polemics appeared in the Alsatian newspapers.

Certain interested persons complained (Strassburger Post for the third of November) that the time was so short that only the inhabitants of the country and their immediate neighbors had any opportunity of profiting by these occasions. They remarked with all justice that to get the highest[Pg 226] prices for these sales there ought to be a large number of bidders.

For the farm lands, the neighbors would suffice to bring up the bids to a high enough sum, but when it was a matter of a magnificent château, like that at Osthofen, with a garden and a park, bidders for this luxury would scarcely be found among the peasants. The speculators alone would step in and would acquire for a mere nothing properties of great value. And the plaintiffs added, "Is that desirable?"

The following considerations advanced by one of the plaintiffs are not without interest. "Sufficient means of communication still remain between France and Germany. Do you not see the danger of feigned sales, to third persons, who will buy in the goods at small cost and will hand them over later on to their former proprietors? In this way the French influence over the ownership of the land will be reëstablished in the future."

To these complaints and wrongs the Strassburger[Pg 227] Post for the eighth of November replied in detail.

It assured that the list of goods to be disposed of had not only been placed by the authorities in the several states of the empire, to give buyers time to take advantage of possible bargains, but also a catalogue of stationary objects had been published in fifteen hundred copies by Schultz & Co. of Strassburg.

This catalogue was quickly used up and the demand for it continued to come in, which proved that the buyers were informed in time.

The newspaper adds that the things to be sold have been visited by buyers coming from old Germany as well as from Alsace-Lorraine, and sales propositions have been made before the publication of notices in the newspapers.

It seems, furthermore, that if the sales of land and the exploitation of farm lands have ended rapidly, it was because colonization societies, called "black bands," have overtly bought up or had bought up the properties by their agents, in the hope that their plans would be realized after[Pg 228] the war. In industrial matters, there was recently founded in Berlin a German syndicate which proposes to buy up the actions.

For the textile industry in particular, it is a question of a veritable trust against which is arrayed "a syndicate of Alsatian manufacturers who have felt the need of defending themselves."

The entire scope of recent German policies with regard to Alsace-Lorraine shows that this land which von Hertling said was "allied to Germanism by more and more intimate bonds" has been, as a matter of fact, to treat it like a foreign land, kept by force under imperial domination and submitted, like the occupied portions of France and Belgium, to a veritable reign of terror.

[Pg 229]



If an account is desired of the manner in which the Germans understand a future peace, this letter suffices. It was addressed to the Berliner Lokalanzeiger by Herr Walter Rathenau. He was in charge of the direction of all industrial establishments in Germany:

We commenced war a year too soon. When we shall have obtained a German peace, reorganization on a broader and more solid basis than ever before must commence immediately. The establishments which produce raw materials must not only continue their work, but they must also redouble their energies and thus form the foundation of Germany's economical preparation for the next war.

On the lessons taught by actual war we must[Pg 230] figure out carefully what our country lacks in raw materials and accumulate great stores of these which shall never be utilized until Der Tag of the future. We must organize the industrial mobilization as perfectly as the military mobilization. Every man of technical training or partial technical training, whether or not he is enrolled in the list of men who can be mobilized, must have received authority by official order to take over the direction of industrial establishments on the second day which shall follow the next declaration of war.

Every establishment which manufactures for commercial purposes ought to be mobilized and to know officially that the third day after the declaration of war it must make use of all its facilities in satisfying the needs of the Army.

The quantity of merchandise which each one of these establishments can furnish to the Army in a given time and the nature thereof ought to be determined in advance. Every establishment also ought to furnish an exact and complete list of the workmen with whose services it can dispense, and those men alone can be mobilized for military services.

Finally commercial arrangements will be made necessary with nations outside Europe through which we will give them sufficient advantages, specified in detail, so that it would be directly[Pg 231] advantageous to their commercial interests to carry on commerce with none of the belligerents and not to sell them munitions.

We can accept such obligations for ourselves without any fear and finally, when the next war shall come, it cannot come a year too soon.

Transcriber's Notes

Pg. 6, Sunday, August third, left as original as it's uncertain which day the author meant. Sunday was actually August 2, Monday was August 3; and the context from the beginning of the chapter was that the declaration of war was delivered late afternoon Monday, August 3. (Mobilization had commenced the previous evening. To be exact, it was on Sunday, August third, at midnight.)

Pg. 7, unforgetable changed to unforgettable. (It recalled the unforgettable scenes.)

Pg. 14, thirteenth changed to thirtieth, per context (when Sunday the thirtieth of August came).

Pg. 14, week changed to weeks. (For several weeks our troops)

Pg. 54, beseiged and beseiger left as original, as author quoted from another book. (in a beseiged city can hasten the place's fall; in consequence it would be very foolish of the beseiger to renounce)

Pg. 88, removed ending double quotes. (I feel better for it.')

Pg. 90, mobolization changed to mobilization (priests who went off at the beginning of the mobilization).

Pg. 100, sum of artillery kilos do not equal Total kilos. Left as original.

Pg. 108, tetragon changed to tarragon (16,900 tarragon plants).

Pg. 162, catastrophies changed to catastrophes (irremediable catastrophes could be avoided?).

Pgs. 163, 206, Bethmann-Hollweg, hyphenation inconsistent with
Pgs. 180, 182, Bethmann Hollweg. Kept as in original.

Pg. 167, ARTICLE 23 has no (b) paragraph.

Pg. 193, protect changed to protest to reflect the actual letter (I consider it my duty to protest against this threat of violence to the Ambassador).

Pg. 219, correstionnelle changed to correctionelle ("_chambre correctionnelle_ at Kolmar).

Pg. 229, Appendix VI, added HOW to title to match Table of Contents and make it consistent with rest of Appendices.