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Title: The world war

a history of the nations and empires involved and a study of the events culminating in the great conflict

Author: Logan Marshall

Release date: February 1, 2003 [eBook #3779]
Most recently updated: May 6, 2023

Language: English

Credits: Theresa Armao


The World War

A History of
The Nations and Empires Involved and
a Study of the Events Culminating in
The Great Conflict

by Logan Marshall


When the people of the United States heard the news of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914, it was with a feeling of great regret that another sorrow had been added to the many already borne by the aged Emperor Francis Joseph. That those fatal shots would echo around the world and, flashing out suddenly like a bolt from the blue, hurl nearly the whole of Europe within a week’s time from a state of profound peace into one of continental war, unannounced, unexpected, unexplained, unprecedented in suddenness and enormity, was an unimaginable possibility. And yet the ringing of the church bells was suddenly drowned by the roar of cannon, the voice of the dove of peace by the blare of the trump of war, and throughout the world ran a shudder of terror at these unwonted and ominous sounds.

But in looking back through history, tracing the course of events during the past century, following the footsteps of men in war and peace from that day of upheaval when medieval feudalism went down in disarray before the arms of the people in the French Revolution, some explanation of the Great European war of 1914 may be reached. Every event in history has its roots somewhere in earlier history, and we need but dig deep enough to find them.

Such is the purpose of the present work. It proposes to lay down in a series of apposite chapters the story of the past century, beginning, in fact, rather more than a century ago with the meteoric career of Napoleon and seeking to show to what it led, and what effects it had upon the political evolution of mankind. The French Revolution stood midway between two spheres of history, the sphere of medieval barbarism and that of modern enlightenment. It exploded like a bomb in the midst of the self-satisfied aristocracy of the earlier social system and rent it into the fragments which no hand could put together again. In this sense the career of Napoleon seems providential. The era of popular government had replaced that of autocratic and aristocratic government in France, and the armies of Napoleon spread these radical ideas throughout Europe until the oppressed people of every nation began to look upward with hope and see in the distance before them a haven of justice in the coming realm of human rights.

It required considerable time for these new conceptions to become thoroughly disseminated. A down-trodden people enchained by the theory of the “divine right of kings” to autocratic rule, had to break the fetters one by one and gradually emerge from a state of practical serfdom to one of enlightened emancipation. There were many setbacks, and progress was distressingly slow but nevertheless sure.

The story of this upward progress is the history of the nineteenth century, regarded from the special point of view of political progress and the development of human rights. This is definitely shown in the present work, which is a history of the past century and of the twentieth century so far as it has gone. Gradually the autocrat has declined in power and authority, and the principle of popular rights has risen into view. This war will not have been fought in vain if, as predicted, it will result in the complete downfall of autocracy as a political principle, and the rise of the rule of the people, so that the civilized nations of the earth may never again be driven into a frightful war of extermination against peaceful neighbors at the nod of a hereditary sovereign. Logan Marshall


Chapter I. All Europe Plunged into War
Dramatic Suddenness of the Outbreak—Trade and Commerce Paralyzed—Widespread Influences—Terrible Effects of War—The Tide of Destruction—Half Century to Pay Debts

Chapter II. Underlying Causes of the Great European War
Assassination of the Austrian Crown Prince—Austria’s Motive in Making War—Servia Accepts Austria’s Demand—The Ironies of History—What Austria Has to Gain—How the War Became Continental—An Editorial Opinion—Is the Kaiser Responsible?—Germany’s Stake in the War—Why Russia Entered the Field—France’s Hatred of Germany—Great Britain and Italy—The Triple Alliance and Triple Entente

Chapter III. Strength and Resources of the Warring Powers
Old and New Methods in War—Costs of Modern Warfare—Nature of National Resources—British and American Military Systems—Naval Strength—Resources of Austria-Hungary—Resources of Germany—Resources of Russia—Resources of France—Resources of Great Britain—Servia and Belgium

Chapter IV. Great Britain and the War
The Growth of German Importance—German Militarism—Great Britain’s Peace Efforts—Germany’s Naval Program—German Ambitions—Preparation for War—Effect on the Empire

Chapter V. The World’s Greatest War
Wars as Mileposts—A Continent in Arms—How Canada Prepared for War—the British Sentiment—Lord Kitchener’s Career—A Forceful Character

Chapter VI. The Earthquake of Napoleonism
Its Effect on National Conditions Finally Led to the War of 1914
Conditions in France and Germany—The Campaign in Italy—The Victory at Marengo—Moreau at Hohenlinden—The Consul Made Emperor—The Code Napoleon—Campaign of 1805—Battle of Austerlitz—The Conquest of Prussia—The Invasion of Poland—Eylau and Friedland—Campaign of 1809—Victory at Wagram—The Campaign in Spain—The Invasion of Russia—A Fatal Retreat—Dresden and Leipzig—The Hundred Days—The Congress of Vienna—The Holy Alliance

Chapter VII. Pan-Slavism Versus Pan-Germanism
Russia’s Part in the Servian Issue—Strength of the Russian Army—The Distribution of the Slavs—Origin of Pan-Slavism—The Czar’s Proclamation—The Teutons of Europe—Intermingling of Races—The Nations at War

Chapter VIII. The Ambition of Louis Napoleon
The Coup-d’état of 1851—From President to Emperor—The Empire is Peace—War With Austria—The Austrians Advance—The Battle of Magenta—Possession of Lombardy—French Victory at Solferino—Treaty of Peace—Invasion of Mexico—End of Napoleon’s Career

Chapter IX. Garibaldi and Italian Unity
Power of Austria Broken
The Carbonari—Mazzini and Garibaldi—Cavour, the Statesman—The Invasion of Sicily—Occupation of Naples—Victor Emmanuel Takes Command—Watchword of the Patriots—Garibaldi Marches Against Rome—Battle of Ironclads—Final Act of Italian Unity

Chapter X. The Expansion of Germany
Beginnings of Modern World Power
William I of Prussia—Bismarck’s Early Career—The Schleswig-Holstein Question—Conquest of the Duchies—Bismarck’s Wider Views—War Forced on Austria—The War in Italy—Austria’s Signal Defeat at Sadowa—The Treaty of Prague—Germany after 1866

Chapter XI. The Franco-Prussian War
Birth of the German Empire and the French Republic
Causes of Hostile Relations—Discontent in France—War with Prussia Declared—Self deception of the French—First Meeting of the Armies—The Stronghold of Metz—Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte—Napoleon III at Sedan—The Emperor a Captive; France a Republic—Bismarck Refuses Intervention—Fall of the Fortresses—Paris is Besieged—Defiant Spirit of the French—The Struggle Continued—Operations Before Paris—Fighting in the South—The War at an End

Chapter XII. Bismarck and the German Empire
Building the Bulwarks of the Twentieth Century Nation
Bismarck as a Statesman—Uniting the German States—William I Crowned at Versailles—A Significant Decade—The Problem of Church Power—Progress of Socialism—William II and the Resignation of Bismarck—Old Age Insurance—Political and Industrial Conditions in Germany

Chapter XIII. Gladstone as an Apostle of Reform
Great Britain Becomes a World Power
Gladstone and Disraeli—Gladstone’s Famous Budget—A Suffrage Reform Bill—Disraeli’s Reform Measure—Irish Church Disestablishment—An Irish Land Bill—Desperate State of Ireland—The Coercion Bill—War in Africa—Home Rule for Ireland

Chapter XIV. The French Republic
Struggles of a New Nation
The Republic Organized—The Commune of Paris—Instability of the Government—Thiers Proclaimed President—Punishment of the Unsuccessful Generals—MacMahon a Royalist President—Bazaine’s Sentence and Escape—Grevy, Gambetta and Boulanger—The Panama Canal Scandal—Despotism of the Army Leaders—The Dreyfus Case—Church and State—The Moroccan Controversy

Chapter XV. Russia in the Field of War
The Outcome of Slavic Ambition
Siege of Sebastopol—Russia in Asia—The Russo-Japanese War—Port Arthur Taken—The Russian Fleet Defeated

Chapter XVI. Great Britain and Her Colonies
How England Became Mistress of the Seas
Great Britain as a Colonizing Power—Colonies in the Pacific Region—Colonization in Africa—British Colonies in Africa—The Mahdi Rebellion in Egypt—Gordon at Khartoum—Suppression of the Mahdi Revolt—Colonization in Asia—The British in India—Colonies in America—Development of Canada—Progress in Canada

Chapter XVII. The Open Door in China and Japan
Development of World Power in the East
Warlike Invasions of China—Commodore Perry and His Treaty—Japan’s Rapid Progress—Origin of the China-Japan War—The Position of Korea—Li Hung Chang and the Empress—How Japan Began War—The Chinese and Japanese Fleets—The Battle of the Yalu—Capture of Wei Hai Wei—Europe Invades China—The Boxer Outbreak—Russian Designs on Manchuria—Japan Begins War on Russia—The Armies Meet—China Becomes a Republic

Chapter XVIII. Turkey and the Balkan States
Checking the Dominion of the Turk in Europe
The Story of Servia—Turkey in Europe—The Bulgarian Horrors—The Defense of Plevna—The Congress of Berlin—Hostile Sentiments in the Balkans—Incitement to War—Fighting Begins—The Advance on Adrianople—Servian and Greek victories—The Bulgarian Successes—Steps toward Peace—The War Resumed—Siege of Scutari—Treaty of Peace—War Between the Allies—The Final Settlement

Chapter XIX. Methods in Modern Warfare
Ancient and Modern Weapons—New Types of Weapons—The Iron-clad Warship—The Balloon in War—Tennyson’s Foresight—Gunning for Airships—The Submarine—Under-water Warfare—The New Type of Battleship—Mobilization—The Waste of War

Chapter XX. Canada’s Part in the World War
New Relations Toward the Empire—Military Preparations—The Great Camp at Valcartier—The Canadian Expeditionary Force—Political Effect of Canada’s Action on Future of the Dominion

Chapter I.

Dramatic Suddenness of the Outbreak—Trade and Commerce Paralyzed—Widespread Influences—Terrible Effects of War—The Tide of Destruction—Half Century to Pay Debts

At the opening of the final week of July, 1914, the whole world—with the exception of Mexico, in which the smouldering embers of the revolution still burned—was in a state of profound peace. The clattering hammers and whirling wheels of industry were everywhere to be heard; great ships furrowed the ocean waves, deep-laden with the world’s products and carrying thousands of travelers bent on business or enjoyment. Countless trains of cars, drawn by smoke-belching locomotives, traversed the long leagues of iron rails, similarly laden with passengers engaged in peaceful errands and freight intended for peaceful purposes. All seemed at rest so far as national hostile sentiments were concerned. All was in motion so far as useful industries demanded service. Europe, America, Asia, and Africa alike had settled down as if to a long holiday from war, and the advocates of universal peace were jubilant over the progress of their cause, holding peace congresses and conferences at The Hague and elsewhere, fully satisfied that the last war had been fought and that arbitration boards would settle all future disputes among nations, however serious.

Such occasions occur at frequent intervals in nature, in which a deep calm, a profound peace, rests over land and sea. The winds are hushed, the waves at rest; only the needful processes of the universe are in action, while for the time the world forgets the chained demons of unrest and destruction. But too quickly the chains are loosened, the winds and waves set free; and the hostile forces of nature rush over earth and sea, spreading terror and devastation in their path. Such energies of hostility are not confined to the elements. They exist in human communities. They underlie the political conditions of the nations, and their outbreak is at times as sudden and unlooked-for as that of the winds and waves. Such was the state of political affairs in Europe at the date mentioned, apparently calm and restful, while below the surface hostile forces which had long been fomenting unseen were ready to burst forth and whelm the world.


On the night of July 25th the people of the civilized world settled down to restful slumbers, with no dreams of the turmoil that was ready to burst forth. On the morning of the 26th they rose to learn that a great war had begun, a conflict the possible width and depth of which no man was yet able to foresee; and as day after day passed on, each day some new nation springing into the terrible arena until practically the whole of Europe was in arms and the Armageddon seemed at hand, the world stood amazed and astounded, wondering what hand had loosed so vast a catastrophe, what deep and secret causes lay below the ostensible causes of the war. The causes of this were largely unknown. As a panic at times affects a vast assemblage, with no one aware of its origin, so a wave of hostile sentiment may sweep over vast communities until the air is full of urgent demands for war with scarce a man knowing why.

What is already said only feebly outlines the state of consternation into which the world was cast in that fateful week in which the doors of the Temple of Janus, long closed, were suddenly thrown wide open and the terrible God of War marched forth, the whole earth trembling beneath his feet. It was the breaking of a mighty storm in a placid sky, the fall of a meteor which spreads terror and destruction on all sides, the explosion of a vast bomb in a great assemblage; it was everything that can be imagined of the sudden and overwhelming, of the amazing and incredible.


For the moment the world stood still, plunged into a panic that stopped all its activities. The stock exchanges throughout the nations were closed, to prevent that wild and hasty action which precipitates disaster. Throughout Europe trade, industry, commerce all ceased, paralyzed at their sources. No ship of any of the nations concerned except Britain dared venture from port, lest it should fall a prey to the prowling sea dogs of war which made all the oceans unsafe. The hosts of American tourists who had gone abroad under the sunny skies of peace suddenly beheld the dark clouds of war rolling overhead, blotting out the sun, and casting their black shadows over all things fair.

What does this state of affairs, this sudden stoppage of the wheels of industry, this unforeseen and wide spread of the conditions of war portend? Emerson has said: “When a great thinker comes into the world all things are at risk.” There is potency in this, and also in a variation of Emerson’s text which we shall venture to make: “When a great war comes upon the world all things are at risk.” Everything which we have looked upon as fixed and stable quakes as if from mighty hidden forces. The whole world stands irresolute and amazed. The steady-going habits and occupations of peace cease or are perilously threatened, and no one can be sure of escaping from some of the dire effects of the catastrophe.


The conditions of production vanish, to be replaced by conditions of destruction. That which had been growing in grace and beauty for years is overturned and destroyed in a moment of ravage. Changes of this kind are not confined to the countries in which the war rages or the cities which conquering column of troops occupy. They go beyond the borders of military activity; they extend to far-off quarters of the earth. We quote from the New York WORLD a vivid picture drawn at the opening of the great European war. Its motto is “all the world is paying the cost of the folly of Europe.”

Never before was war made so swiftly wide. News of it comes from Japan, from Porto Rico, from Africa, from places where in old days news of hostilities might not travel for months.

“Non-combatants are in the vast majority, even in the countries at war, but they are not immune to its blight. Austria is isolated from the world because her ally, Germany, will take no chances of spilling military information and will not forward mails. If, telephoning in France, you use a single foreign word, even an English one, your wire is cut. Hans the German waiter, Franz the clarinettist in the little street band, is locked up as a possible spy. There are great German business houses in London and Paris; their condition is that of English and French business houses in Berlin, and that is not pleasant. Great Britain contemplates, as an act of war, the voiding of patents held by Germans in the United Kingdom.

“Nothing is too petty, nothing too great, nothing too distant in kind or miles from the field of war to feel its influence. The whole world is the loser by it, whoever at the end of all the battles may say that he has won.


Let us consider one of the early results of the war. It vitally affected great numbers of Americans, the army of tourists who had made their way abroad for rest, study and recreation and whose numbers, while unknown, were great, some estimating them at the high total of 100,000 or more. These, scattered over all sections of Europe, some with money in abundance, some with just enough for a brief journey, capitalists, teachers, students, all were caught in the sudden flurry of the war, their letters of credit useless, transportation difficult or impossible to obtain, all exposed to inconveniences, some to indignities, some of them on the flimsiest pretence seized and searched as spies, the great mass of them thrown into a state of panic that added greatly to the unpleasantness of the situation in which they found themselves.

While these conditions of panic gradually adjusted themselves, the status of the tourists continued difficult and annoying. The railroads were seized for the transportation of troops, leaving many Americans helplessly held in far interior parts, frequently without money or credit. One example of the difficulties encountered will serve as an instance which might be repeated a hundred fold.

Seven hundred Americans from Geneva were made by Swiss troops to leave a train. Many who refused were forced off at the point or guns. This compulsory removal took place at some distance from a station near the border, according to Mrs. Edward Collins, of New York, who with her three daughters was on the train. With 200 others they reached Paris and were taken aboard a French troop train. Most of the arrivals were women; the men were left behind because of lack of space. One hundred women refused to take the train without their husbands; scores struck back for Geneva; others on foot, carrying articles of baggage, started in the direction of Paris, hoping to get trains somewhere. Just why Swiss troops thus occupied themselves is not explained; but in times of warlike turmoil many unexplainable things occur. Here is an incident of a different kind, told by one of the escaping host: “I went into the restaurant car for lunch,” he said. “When I tried to return to the car where I’d left my suitcase, hat, cane and overcoat, I couldn’t find it. Finally the conductor said blithely, ‘Oh, that car was taken off for the use of the army.’

“I was forced to continue traveling coatless, hatless and minus my baggage until I boarded the steamer FLUSHING, when I managed to swipe a straw hat during the course of the Channel passage while the people were down eating in the saloon. I grabbed the first one on the hatrack. Talk about a romantic age. Why, I wouldn’t live in any other time than now. We will be boring our grandchildren talking about this war.”

The scarcity of provisions in many localities and the withholding of money by the banks made the situation, as regarded Americans, especially serious. Those fortunate enough to reach port without encountering these difficulties found the situation there equally embarrassing. The great German and English liners, for instance, were held up by order of the government, or feared to sail lest they should be taken captive by hostile cruisers. Many of these lay in port in New York, forbidden to sail for fear of capture. These included ships of the Cunard and International Marine lines, the north German Lloyd, the Hamburg-American, the Russian-American, and the French lines, until this port led the world in the congestion of great liners rendered inactive by the war situation abroad. The few that put to sea were utterly incapable of accommodating a tithe of the anxious and appealing applicants. It had ceased, in the state of panic that prevailed, to be a mere question of money. Frightened millionaires were credited with begging for steerage berths. Everywhere was dread and confusion, men and women being in a state of mind past the limits of calm reasoning. Impulse is the sole ruling force where reason has ceased to act.

Slowly the skies cleared; calmer conditions began to prevail. The United States government sent the battleship TENNESSEE abroad with several millions of dollars for the aid of destitute travelers and the relief of those who could not get their letters or credit and travelers’ checks cashed. Such a measure of relief was necessary, there being people abroad with letters of credit for as much as $5,000 without money enough to buy a meal. One tourist said: “I had to give a Milwaukee doctor, who had a letter of credit for $2,500 money to get shaved.” London hotels showed much consideration for the needs of travelers without ready cash, but on the continent there were many such who were refused hotel accommodation.

As for those who reached New York or other American ports, many had fled in such haste as to leave their baggage behind. Numbers of the poorer travelers had exhausted their scanty stores of cash in the effort to escape from Europe and reached port utterly penniless. The case was one that called for immediate and adequate solution and the governmental and moneyed interests on this side did their utmost to cope with the situation. Vessels of American register were too few to carry the host applying for transportation, and it was finally decided to charter foreign vessels for this purpose and thus hasten the work of moving the multitude of appealing tourists. From 15,000 to 20,000 of these needed immediate attention, a majority of them being destitute.


Men and women needed not only transportation, but money also, and in this particular there is an interesting story to tell. The German steamer KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE, bound for Bremen, had sailed from New York before the outbreak of the war, carrying about 1,200 passengers and a precious freight of gold, valued at $10,700,000. The value of the vessel herself added $5,000,000 to this sum. What had become of her and her tempting cargo was for a time unknown. There were rumors that she had been captured by a British cruiser, but this had no better foundation than such rumors usually have. Her captain was alert to the situation, being informed by wireless of the sudden change from peace to war. One such message, received from an Irish wireless station, conveyed an order from the Bremen company for him to return with all haste to an American port.

It was on the evening of Friday, July 31st, that this order came. At once the vessel changed its course. One by one the ship’s lights were put out. The decks which could not be made absolutely dark were enclosed with canvas. By midnight the ship was as dark as the sea surrounding. On she went through Saturday and on Sunday ran into a dense fog. Through this she rushed with unchecked speed and in utter silence, not a toot coming from her fog-horn. This was all very well as a measure of secrecy, but it opened the way to serious danger through a possible collision, and a committee of passengers was formed to request the captain to reconsider his action. Just as the committee reached his room the first blast of the fog-horn was heard, its welcome tone bringing a sense of security where grave apprehension had prevailed.

A group of financiers were on board who offered to buy the ship and sail her under American colors. But to all such proposals Captain Polack turned a deaf ear. He said that his duty was spelled by his orders from Bremen to turn back and save his ship, and these he proposed to obey. A passenger stated:

“There were seven of the crew on watch all the time, two aloft. This enabled the captain to know of passing vessels before they came above the horizon. We were undoubtedly in danger on Sunday afternoon. We intercepted a wireless message in French in which two French cruisers were exchanging data in regard to their positions.

“The captain told me that he imagined those to be two vessels who regularly patroled the fishing grounds in the interest of French fisheries. If the captain of either of those vessels should have come out of the fog and found us, his share of the prize in money might have amounted to $4,000,000. Did privateer ever dream of such booty!

“Early on Saturday our four great funnels were given broad black bands in order to make us look like the Olympic, which was supposed to be twenty-four hours ahead of us. There was a certain grim humor in the fact that the wireless operator on the Olympic kept calling us all Friday night. Of course we did not answer.”

On Tuesday, August 4th, the great ship came within sight of land at the little village of Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, off the coast of Maine; a port scarce large enough to hold the giant liner that had sought safety in its waters. Wireless messages were at once flashed to all parts of the country and the news that the endangered vessel, with its precious cargo, was safe, was received with general relief. As regards the future movements of the ship Captain Polack said:

“I can see no possibility of taking this ship to New York from here with safety. To avoid foreign vessels we should have to keep within the three-mile limit, and to accomplish this the ship would have to be built like a canoe. We have reached an American port in safety and that was more than I dared to hope. We have been in almost constant danger of capture, and we can consider ourselves extremely lucky to have come out so well.

“I know I have been criticized for making too great speed under bad weather conditions, but I have not wilfully endangered the lives of the passengers. I would rather have lost the whole whip and cargo than have assumed any such risk. Of course, aside from this consideration, my one aim has been to save my ship and my cargo from capture.

“I have not been acting on my own initiative, but under orders from the North German Lloyd in Bremen, and although I am an officer in the German navy my duty has been to the steamship line.”


We have so far dealt with only a few of the results of the war. There were various others of great moment, to some of which a passing allusion has been made.

On July 30th, for the first time in history, the stock markets of the world were all closed at the same time. Heretofore when the European markets have been closed those on this side of the ocean remained open. The New York Exchange was the last big stock market to announce temporary suspension of business. The New York Cotton Exchange closed, following the announcement of the failure of several brokerage firms. Stock Exchanges throughout the United States followed the example set by New York. The Stock Exchanges in London and the big provincial cities, as well as those on the Continent, ceased business, owing to the breakdown of the credit system, which was made complete by the postponement of the Paris settlement.

Depositors stormed every bank in London for gold, and the runs continued for a couple of days. In order to protect its dwindling gold supply the Bank of England raised its discount rate to 8 per cent. Leading bankers of London requested Premier Asquith to suspend the bank act, and he promised to lay the matter before the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In all the capitals of Europe financial transactions virtually came to a standstill. The slump in the market value of securities within the first week of the war flurry was estimated at $2,000,000,000, and radical measures were necessary to prevent hasty action while the condition of panic prevailed.

This sudden stoppage of ordinary financial operations was accompanied by a similar cessation of the industries of peace over a wide range of territory. The artisan was forced to let fall the tools of his trade and take up those of war. The railroads were similarly denuded of their employees except in so far as they were needed to convey soldiers and military supplies. The customary uses of the railroad were largely suspended and travel went on under great difficulties. In a measure it had returned to the conditions existing before the invention of the locomotive. Even horse traffic was limited by the demands of the army for these animals, and foot travel regained some of its old ascendency.

War makes business active in one direction and in one only, that of army and navy supply, of the manufacture of the implements of destruction, of vast quantities of explosives, of multitudes of death-dealing weapons. Food supplies need to be diverted in the same direction, the demands of the soldier being considered first, those of the home people last, the latter being often supplied at starvation prices. There is plenty of work to do—of its kind. But it is of a kind that injures instead of aiding the people of the nations.


This individual source of misery and suffering in war times is accompanied by a more direct one, that of the main purpose of war—destruction of human life and of property that might be utilized by an enemy, frequently of merciless brigandage and devastation. It is horrible to think of the frightful suffering caused by every great battle. Immediate death on the field might reasonably be welcomed as an escape from the suffering arising from wounds, the terrible mutilations, the injuries that rankle throughout life, the conversion of hosts of able-bodied men into feeble invalids, to be kept by the direct aid of their fellows or the indirect aid of the people at large through a system of pensions.

The physical sufferings of the soldiers from wounds and privations are perhaps not the greatest. Side by side with them are the mental anxieties of their families at home, their terrible suspense, the effect upon them of tidings of the maiming or death of those dear to them or on whose labor they immediately depend. The harvest of misery arising from this cause it is impossible to estimate. It is not to be seen in the open. It dwells unseen in humble homes, in city, village, or field, borne often uncomplainingly, but not less poignant from this cause. The tears and terrors thus produced are beyond calculation. But while the glories of war are celebrated with blast of trumpet and roll of drum, the terrible accompaniment of groans of misery is too apt to pass unheard and die away forgotten.

To turn from this roll of horrors, there are costs of war in other directions to be considered. Those include the ravage of cities by flame or pillage, the loss of splendid works of architecture, the irretrievable destruction of great productions of art, the vanishing of much on which the world had long set store.


Not only on land, but at sea as well, the tide of destruction rises and swells. Huge warships, built at a cost of millions of dollars and tenanted by hundreds of hardy sailors, are torn and rent by shot and shell and at times sent to the bottom with all on board by the explosion of torpedoes beneath their unprotected lower hulls. The torpedo boat, the submarine, with other agencies of unseen destruction, have come into play to add enormously to the horrors of naval warfare, while the bomb-dropping airships, letting fall its dire missiles from the sky, has come to add to the dread terror and torment of the battle-field.

We began this chapter with a statement of the startling suddenness of this great war, and the widespread consequences which immediately followed. We have been led into a discussion of its issues, of the disturbing and distracting consequences which cannot fail to follow any great modern war between civilized nations. We had some examples of this on a small scale in the recent Balkan-Turkish war. But that was of minor importance and its effects, many of them sanguinary and horrible, were mainly confined to the region in which it occurred. But a war covering nearly a whole continent cannot be confined and circumscribed in its consequences. All the world must feel them in a measure—though diminishing with distance. The vast expanse of water which separates the United States from the European continent could not save its citizens from feeling certain ill effects from the struggle of war lords. America and Europe are tied together with many cords of business and interest, and the severing or weakening of these cannot fail to be seriously felt. Canada, at a similar width of removal from Europe, had reason to feel it still more seriously, from its close political relations with Great Britain.

In these days in which we live the cost of war is a giant to be reckoned with. With every increase in the size of cannon, the tonnage of warships, the destructiveness of weapons and ammunition, this element of cost grows proportionately greater and has in our day become stupendous. Nations may spend in our era more cold cash in a day of war than would have served for a year in the famous days of chivalry. A study of this question was made by army and navy experts in 1914, and they decided that the expense to the five nations concerned in the European war would be not less than $50,000,000 a day.

If we add to this the loss of untold numbers of young men in the prime of life, whose labor is needed in the fields and workshops of the nations involved, other billions of dollars must be added to the estimate, due to the crippling of industries. There is also the destruction of property to be considered, including the very costly modern battleships, this also footing up into the billions.

When it is considered that in thirteen years the cost of maintenance of the armies and navies of the warring countries, as well as the cost of naval construction, exceeded $20,000,000,000 some idea may be had of the expense attached to war and the preparations of European countries for just such contingencies as those that arose in Europe in 1914. The cost of the Panama Canal, one of the most useful aids to the commerce of the world, was approximately $375,000,000, but the expense of the preparations for war in Europe during the time it took to build the canal exceeded the cost of this gigantic undertaking nearly sixty to one.

The money thus expended on preparation for war during the thirteen years named would, if spent in railroad and marine construction, have given vast commercial power to these nations. To what extent have they been benefited by the rivalry to gain precedence in military power? They stand on practically the same basis now that it is all at an end. Would they not be on the same basis if it had never begun? Aside from this is the incentive to employ these vast armaments in the purpose for which they were designed, the effect of creating a military spirit and developing a military caste in each by the nations, a result very likely to be productive of ill effects.

The total expense of maintenance of armies and navies, together with the cost of construction in thirteen years, in Germany, Austria, Russia, France and Great Britain, was as follows:

Naval expenditures $5,648,525,000
Construction 2,146,765,000
Cost of armies 13,138,403,000
Total $20,933,693,000

The wealth of the same nations in round figures is:

Great Britain $80,000,000,000
Germany 60,500,000,000
Austria 25,000,000,000
France 65,000,000,000
Russia 40,000,000,000
Total 270,500,000,000

This enormous expense which was incurred in preparation for war needed to be rapidly increased to meet the expenses of actual warfare. The British House of Commons authorized war credits amounting to $1,025,000,000, while the German Reichstag voted $1,250,000,000. Austria and France had to set aside vast sums for their respective war chests.


In anticipation of trouble Germany in 1913 voted $250,000,000 for extraordinary war expenses and about $100,000,000 was spent on an aerial fleet. France spent $60,000,000 for the same purpose.

The annual cost of maintaining the great armies and navies of Europe even on a peace basis is enormous, and it must be vastly increased during war. The official figures for 1913–14 are:

British army $224,300,000
British navy 224,140,000
German army 183,090,00
German navy 111,300,000
French army 191,431,580
French navy 119,571,400
Russian army 317,800,000
Russian navy 122,500,000
Austrian army 82,300,000
Austrian navy 42,000,000
Total $1,618,432,980

It was evident that taxes to meet the extraordinary expenses of war would have to be greatly increased in Germany and France. As business became at a standstill throughout Europe and every port of entry blocked, experts wondered where the money was to come from. All agreed that, when peace should be declared and the figures were all in, the result financially would be staggering and that the heaviest burden it had ever borne would rest upon Europe for fifty years to come. For when the roar of the cannon ceases and the nations are at rest, then dawns the era of payment, inevitable, unescapable, one in which for generations every man and woman must share.

Chapter II.

Assassination of the Austrian Crown Prince—Austria’s Motive in Making War—Servia Accepts Austria’s Demand—The Ironies of History—What Austria Has to Gain—How the War Became Continental—An Editorial Opinion—Is the Kaiser Responsible?—Germany’s Stake in the War—Why Russia Entered the Field—France’s Hatred of Germany—Great Britain and Italy—The Triple Alliance and Triple Entente

What brought on the mighty war which so suddenly sprang forth? What evident, what subtle, what deep-hidden causes led to this sudden demolition of the temple of peace? What pride of power, what lust of ambition, what desire of imperial dominion cast the armed hosts of the nations into the field of conflict, on which multitudes of innocent victims were to be sacrificed to the insatiate hunger for blood of the modern Moloch?

Here are questions which few are capable of answering. Ostensible answers may be given, surface causes, reasons of immediate potency. But no one will be willing to accept these as the true moving causes. For a continent to spring in a week’s time from complete peace into almost universal war, with all the great and several of the small Powers involved, is not to be explained by an apothegm or embraced within the limits of a paragraph. If not all, certainly several of these nations had enmities to be unchained, ambitions to be gratified, long-hidden purposes to be put in action. They seemed to have been awaiting an opportunity, and it came when the anger of the Servians at the seizure of Bosnia by Austria culminated in a mad act of assassination


The immediate cause, so far as apparent to us, of the war in question was the murder, on June 29, 1914, of the Austrian Crown Prince Francis Ferdinand and his wife, while on a visit to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, the assassin being a Servian student, supposed to have come for that purpose from Belgrade, the Servian capital. The inspiring cause of this dastardly act was the feeling of hostility towards Austria which was widely entertained in Servia. Bosnia was a part of the ancient kingdom of Servia. The bulk of its people are of Slavic origin and speak the Servian language. Servia was eager to regain it, as a possible outlet for a border on the Mediterranean Sea. When, therefore, in 1908, Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been under her military control since 1878, the indignation in Servia was great. While it had died down in a measure in the subsequent years, the feeling of injury survived in many hearts, and there is little reason to doubt that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was a result of this pervading sentiment.

In fact, the Austrian government was satisfied that the murder plot was hatched in Belgrade and held that Servian officials were in some way concerned in it. The Servian press gave some warrant for this, being openly boastful and defiant in its comments. When the Austrian consul-general at Belgrade dropped dead in the consulate the papers showed their satisfaction and hinted that he had been poisoned. This attitude of the press evidently was one of the reasons for the stringent demand made by Austria on July 23d, requiring apology and change of attitude from Servia and asking for a reply by the hour of 6 P.M. on the 25th. The demands were in part as follows:

1. An apology by the Servian government in its official journal for all Pan-Servian propaganda and for the participation of Servian army officers in it, and warning all Servians in the future to desist from anti-Austrian demonstrations.

2. That orders to this effect should be issued to the Servian army.

3. That Servia should dissolve all societies capable of conducting intrigues against Austria.

4. That Servia should curb the activities of the Servian press in regard to Austria.

5. That Austrian officials should be permitted to conduct an inquiry in Servia independent of the Servian government into the Sarajevo plot.

An answer to these demands was sent out at ten minutes before 6 o’clock on the 25th, in which Servia accepted all demands except the last, which it did not deem “in accordance with international law and good neighborly relations.” It asked that this demand should be submitted to The Hague Tribunal. The Austrian Minister at Belgrade, Baron Giesl von Gieslingen, refused to accept this reply and at once left the capital with the entire staff of the legation. The die was cast, as Austria probably intended that it should be.


It had, in fact, become evident early in July that the military party in Austria was seeking to manufacture a popular demand for war, based on the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. Such was the indication of the tone of the Vienna newspapers, which appeared desirous of working up a sentiment hostile to Servia. It may be doubted if the aged emperor was a party to this. Probably his assent was a forced one, due to the insistence of the war party and the public sentiment developed by it. That the murder of the Archduke was the real cause of the action of Austria can scarcely be accepted in view of Servia’s acceptance of Austria’s rigid demands. The actual cause was undoubtedly a deeper one, that of Austria’s long-cherished purpose of gaining a foothold on the Aegean Sea, for which the possession of Servia was necessary as a preliminary step. A plausible motive was needed, any pretext that would serve as a satisfactory excuse to Europe for hostile action and that could at the same time be utilized in developing Austrian indignation against the Servians. Such a motive came in the act of assassination and immediate use was made of it. The Austrian war party contended that the deed was planned at Belgrade, that it had been fomented by Servian officials, and that these had supplied the murderer with explosives and aided in their transfer into Bosnia.

What evidence Austria possessed leading to this opinion we do not know. While it is not likely that there was any actual evidence, the case was one that called for investigation, and Austria was plainly within its rights in demanding such an inquiry and due punishment of every one found to be connected with the tragic deed. But Austria went farther than this. It was willing to accept nothing less than a complete and humiliating submission on the part of Servia. And the impression was widely entertained, whether with or without cause, that in this Austria was not acting alone but that it had the full support of Germany. That country also may be supposed to have had its ends to gain. What these were we shall consider later.


Imperious as had been the demand of Austria, one which would never have been submitted to a Power of equal strength, Servia accepted it, expressing itself as willing to comply with all the conditions imposed except that relating to the participation of Austrian officials in the inquiry, an explanation being asked on this point. If this reply should be deemed inadequate, Servia stood ready to submit the question at issue to The Hague Peace Tribunal and to the Powers which had signed the declaration of 1909 relating to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The subsequent action of Austria was significant. The Austrian Minister at Belgrade, as before stated, rejected it as unsatisfactory and immediately left the Servian capital. He acted, in short, with a precipitancy that indicated that he was acting under instructions. This was made very evident by what immediately followed. When news came on July 28th that war had been declared and active hostilities commenced, it was accompanied by the statement that Austria would not now be satisfied even with a full acceptance of her demands.

That the intention of this imperious demand and what quickly followed was to force a war, no one can doubt. Servia’s nearly complete assent to the conditions imposed was declared to be not only unsatisfactory, but also “dishonorable,” a word doubtless deliberately used. Evidently no door was to be left open for retrogressive consideration.


It is one of the ironies of history that a people who once played a leading part in saving the Austrian capital from capture should come to be threatened by the armies of that capital. This takes us back to the era when Servia, a powerful empire of those days, fell under the dominion of the conquering Turks, whose armies further overran Hungary and besieged Vienna. Had this city been captured, all central Europe would have lain open to the barbarities of the Turks. In its defense the Servians played a leading part, so great a one that we are told by a Hungarian historian, “It was the Serb Bacich who saved Vienna.” But in 1914 Servia was brought to the need of saving itself from Vienna.


If it be asked what Austria had to gain by this act; what was her aim in forcing war upon a far weaker state; the answer is at hand. The Balkan States, of which Servia is a prominent member, lie in a direct line between Europe and the Orient. A great power occupying the whole of the Balkan peninsula would possess political advantages far beyond those enjoyed by Austria-Hungary. It would be in a position giving it great influence over, if not strategic control of, the Suez Canal, the commerce of the Mediterranean, and a considerable all-rail route between Central Europe and the far East. Salonika, on the AEgean Sea, now in Greek territory, is one of the finest harbors on the Mediterranean Sea. A railway through Servia now connects this port with Austria and Germany. In addition to this railway it is not unlikely that a canal may in the near future connect the Danube with the harbor of Salonika. If this project should be carried out, the commerce of the Danube and its tributary streams and canals, even that of central and western Germany, would be able to reach the Mediterranean without passing through the perilous Iron Gates of the Danube or being subjected to the delays and dangers incident to the long passage through the Black Sea and the Grecian Archipelago.

We can see in all this a powerful motive for Austria to seek to gain possession of Servia, as a step towards possible future control of the whole Balkan peninsula. The commercial and manufacturing interests of Austria-Hungary were growing, and mastership of such a route to the Mediterranean would mean immense advantage to this ambitious empire. Possession of northern Italy once gave her the advantage of an important outlet to the Mediterranean. This, through events that will be spoken of in later chapters, was lost to her. She apparently then sought to reach it by a more direct and open road, that leading through Salonika.

Such seem the reasons most likely to have been active in the Austrian assault upon Servia. The murder of an Austrian archduke by an insignificant assassin gave no sufficient warrant for the act. The whole movement of events indicates that Austria was not seeking retribution for a crime but seizing upon a pretext for a predetermined purpose and couching her demands upon Servia in terms which no self-respecting nation could accept without protest. Servia was to be put in a position from which she could not escape and every door of retreat against the arbitrament of war was closed against her.

But in this retrospect we are dealing with Austria and Servia alone. What brought Germany, what brought France, what brought practically the whole of Europe into the struggle? What caused it to grow with startling suddenness from a minor into a major conflict, from a contest between a bulldog and a terrier into a battle between lions? What were the unseen and unnoted conditions that, within little more than a week’s time, induced all the leading nations of Europe to cast down the gage of battle and spring full-armed into the arena, bent upon a struggle which threatened to surpass any that the world had ever seen? Certainly no trifling causes were here involved. Only great and far-reaching causes could have brought about such a catastrophe. All Europe appeared to be sitting, unknowingly or knowingly, upon a powder barrel which only needed some inconsequent hand to apply the match. It seems incredible that the mere pulling of a trigger by a Servian student and the slaughter of an archduke in the Bosnian capital could in a month’s time have plunged all Europe into war. From small causes great events may rise. Certainly that with which we are here dealing strikingly illustrates this homely apothegm.


We cannot hope to point out the varied causes which were at work in this vast event. Very possibly the leading ones are unknown to us. Yet some of the important ones are evident and may be made evident, and to these we must restrict ourselves.

Allusion has already been made to the general belief that the Emperor of Germany was deeply concerned in it, and that Austria would not have acted as it did without assurance of support, in fact without direct instigation, from some strong allied Power, and this Power is adjudged alike by public and private opinion to have been Germany, acting in the person of its ambitious war lord, the dominating Kaiser.

It may be stated that all the Powers concerned have sought to disclaim responsibility. Thus Servia called the world to witness that her answer to Austria was the limit of submission and conciliation. Austria, through her ambassador to the United States, solemnly declared that her assault upon Servia was a measure of “self-defense.” Russia explained her action as “benevolent intervention,” and expressed “a humble hope in omnipotent providence” that her hosts would be triumphant. Germany charged France with perfidious attack upon the unarmed border of the fatherland, and proclaimed a holy war for “the security of her territory.” France and England, Belgium and Italy deplored the conflict and protested that they were innocent of offense. So far as all this is concerned the facts are generally held to point to Germany as the chief instigator of the war.

Russia, indeed, had made threatening movements toward Austria as a warning to her to desist from her threatened invasion of Servia. Great Britain proposed mediation. Germany made no movement in the direction of preventing the war, but directed its attention to Russia, warning it to stop mobilization within twenty-four hours, and immediately afterward beginning a similar movement of mobilization in its own territory. On August 1st Germany declared war against Russia, the first step towards making the contest a continental one. On the 2d, when France began mobilization, German forces moved against Russia and France simultaneously and invaded the neutral states of Luxembourg and Belgium. It was her persistence in the latter movement that brought Great Britain into the contest, as this country was pledged to support Belgian neutrality. On August 4th, Great Britain sent an ultimatum to Germany to withdraw from the neutral territory which her troops had entered and demanded an answer by midnight. Germany declined to answer satisfactorily and at 11 o’clock war was declared by Great Britain.


As regards the significance of these movements, in which Germany hurled declarations of war in rapid succession to east and west, and forced the issue of a continental war upon nations which had taken no decisive step, it may suffice to quote an editorial summing up of the situation as regards Germany, from the Philadelphia North American of August 7th:

“From these facts there is no escape. Leaving aside all questions of justice or political expediency, the aggressor throughout has been Germany. Austria’s fury over the assassination of the heir to the throne was natural. But Servia tendered full reparation.

So keen and conservative an authority as Rear Admiral Mahan declares that ‘the aggressive insolence’ of Austria’s ultimatum ‘and Sevia’s concession of all demands except those too humiliating for national self-respect’ show that behind Austria’s assault was the instigation of Berlin. He adds:

“Knowing how the matter would be viewed in Russia, it is incredible that Austria would have ventured on the ultimatum unless assured beforehand of the consent of Germany. The inference is irresistible that it was the pretext for a war already determined upon as soon as plausible occasion offered.’

“Circumstantial evidence, at least, places responsibility for the flinging of the first firebrand upon the government of the Kaiser. Now, who added fuel to the flames, until the great conflagration was under way?

“The next move was the Czar’s. ‘Fraternal sentiments of the Russian people for the Slavs in Servia,’ he says, led him to order partial mobilization, following Austria’s invasion of Servia. Instantly Germany protested, and within forty-eight hours sent an ultimatum demanding that Russia cease her preparations. On the following day Germany began mobilizing, and twenty-four hours later declared war on Russia. Mobilization in France, necessitated by these events, was anticipated by Germany, which simultaneously flung forces into Russia, France, Luxembourg and Belgium.

“It was Germany’s historic policy of “blood and iron” that fired Austria to attempt the crushing of Servia. It was Germany that hurled an ultimatum, swiftly followed by an army, at Russia. It was Germany that struck first at the French frontier. It was Germany that trampled upon solemn treaty engagements by invading the neutral states of Luxembourg and Belgium. And it was Germany that, in answer to England’s demand that the neutrality of Belgium be protected, declared war against Great Britain.

“Regardless, therefore, of questions of right and wrong, it is undeniable that in each succeeding crisis Germany has taken the aggressive. In so doing she has been inspired by a supreme confidence in her military might. But she has less reason to be proud of her diplomacy. The splendid audacity of her moves cannot obscure the fact that in making the case upon which she will be judged she has been outmaneuvered by the deliberation of Russia, the forbearance of France and the patience of Great Britain. She has assumed the role of international autocrat, while giving her foes the advantage of prosecuting a patriotic war of defense.

“Particularly is this true touching the violation of neutral territory. For nearly half a century the duchy of Luxembourg has been considered a ‘perpetually neutral state,’ under solemn guarantee of Austria, Great Britain, Germany and Russia. Since 1830, when Belgium seceded from the Netherlands, it, too, has been held ‘an independent and perpetually neutral state,’ that status being solemnly declared in a convention signed hy Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria and Prussia. Yet the first war move of Germany was to overrun these countries, seize their railroads, bombard their cities and lay waste their territories.

“For forty years Germany has been the exemplar of a progressive civilization. In spite of her adherence to inflated militarism, she has put the whole world in her debt by her inspiring industrial and scientific achievements. Her people have taught mankind lessons of incalculable value, and her sons have enriched far distant lands with their genius. Not the least of the catastrophes inflicted by this inhuman war is that an unbridled autocracy has brought against the great German empire an indictment for arrogant assault upon the peace of nations and the security of human institutions.”


How much reliance is to be placed on the foregoing newspaper opinion, and on the prevailing sentiment holding Kaiser Wilhelm responsible for flinging the war bomb that disrupted the ranks of peace, no one can say. Every one naturally looked for the fomenter of this frightful international conflict and was disposed to place the blame on the basis of rumor and personal feeling. On the other hand each nation concerned has vigorously disclaimed responsibility for the cataclysm. Austria—very meekly—claimed that Servia precipitated the conflict. Germany blamed it upon Russia and France, the former from Slavic race sentiment, the latter from enmity that had existed since the loss of Alsace and Lorraine in 1870. They, on the contrary, laid all the blame upon Germany. In the case of England alone we have a clear vista. The obligation of the island kingdom to maintain the neutral position of Belgium and the utter disregard of this neutrality by Germany forced her to take part and throw her armies into the field for the preservation of her international obligations.

Many opinions were extant, many views advanced. One of these, from Robert C. Long, a war correspondent of note, laid the total responsibility upon Austria, which, he said, plunged Europe into war in disregard of the Kaiser, who vigorously sought to prevent the outbreak, even threatening his ally in his efforts to preserve peace. In his view, “All the blood-guiltiness in this war will rest upon two Powers, Austria and Russia. It rests on Austria for her undue harshness to Servia and on Russia for its dishonesty in secretly mobilizing its entire army at a time when it was imploring the Kaiser to intervene for peace, and when the Kaiser was working for peace with every prospect of success.”

We have quoted one editorial opinion holding Germany wholly responsible. Here is another, from the New York TIMES, which, with a fair degree of justice, distributes the responsibility among all the warring nations of Europe:

“Germany is not responsible; Russia is not responsible, or Austria, or France, or England. The pillars of civilization are undermined and human aspirations bludgeoned down by no Power, but by all Powers; by no autocrats, but by all autocrats; not because this one or that has erred or dared or dreamed or swaggered, but because all, in a mad stampede for armament, trade and territory, have sowed swords and guns, nourished harvests of death-dealing crops, made ready the way.

“For what reason other than war have billions in bonds and taxes been clamped on the backs of all Europe? None sought to evade war; each sought to be prepared to triumph when it came. At most some chancelleries whispered for delay, postponement; they knew the clash to be inevitable; if not today, tomorrow. Avoid war! What else have they lived for, what else prepared for, what else have they inculcated in the mind of youth than the sureness of the conflict and the great glory of offering themselves to this Moloch in sacrifice?

“No Power involved can cover up the stain. It is indelible, the sin of all Europe. It could have been prevented by common agreement. There was no wish to prevent it. Munition manufacturers were not alone in urging the race to destruction, physical and financial. The leaders were for it. It was policy. A boiling pot will boil, a nurtured seed will grow. There was no escape from the avowed goal. A slow drift to the inevitable, a thunderbolt forged, the awful push toward the vortex! What men and nations want they get.”


What had Germany to gain in the war in the instigation of which she is charged with being so deeply involved? Territorial aggrandizement may have been one of her purposes. Belgium and Holland lay between her and the open Atlantic, and the possession of these countries, with their splendid ports, would pay her well for a reasonable degree of risk and cost. The invasion of Belgium as her first move in the war game may have had an ulterior purpose in the acquisition of that country, one likely to be as distasteful to France as the taking over of Alsace-Lorraine. Perhaps the neutral position taken by Holland, with her seeming inclination in favor of Germany, may have had more than racial relations behind it. Considerations of ultimate safety from annexation may have had its share in this attitude of neutrality.

The general impression has been that Germany went to war with the purpose of establishing beyond question her political and military supremacy on the European continent. Military despotism in Germany was the decisive factor in making inevitable the general war. The Emperor of Germany stood as the incarnation and exponent of the Prussian policy of military autocracy. He had ruled all German States in unwavering obedience to the militarist maxim: “In times of peace prepare for war.” He had used to the full his autocratic power in building up the German Empire and in making it not only a marvel of industrial efficiency, but also a stupendous military machine. In this effort he had burdened the people of Germany with an ever-increasing war budget. The limit in this direction was reached with the war budget of the year 1912 when the revenues of the princes and of all citizens of wealth were specially taxed. No new sources of revenue remained. A crisis had come.

That crisis, as sometimes claimed, was not any menace from Britain or any fear of the British power. It was rather the very real and very rapidly rising menace of the new great Slav power on Germany’s border, including, as it did, the Russian Empire and the entire line of Slav countries that encircled Germanic Austria from the Adriatic to Bohemia. These Slav peoples are separated from the governing Teutonic race in the Austrian Empire by the gulfs of blood, language, and religion. And in Europe the Slav population very largely outnumbers the Teuton population and is growing much more rapidly.

Recent events, especially in the Balkan wars, had made it plain, not to the German Emperor alone, but to all the world, that the growth into an organized power of more than two hundred millions of Slav peoples along nearly three thousand miles of international frontier was a menace to the preservation of Teuton supremacy in Europe. That Teuton supremacy was based on the sword. The German Emperor’s appeal was to “My sword.” But when the new sword of the united Slav power was allowed to be unsheathed, German supremacy was threatened on its own ground and by the weapon of its own choosing.

However all this be, and it must be admitted that it is to a degree speculative, there were in 1914 conditions existing that appeared to render the time a suitable one for the seemingly inevitable continental war. Revelations pointing to defects in the French army, deficiencies of equipment and weaknesses in artillery, had been made in the French Parliament. The debate that occurred was fully dwelt upon in the German papers. And on July 16th the organ of Berlin radicalism, the VOSSICHE ZEITUNG, published a leading article to show that Russia was not prepared for war, and never had been. As for France, it said: “A Gallic cock with a lame wing is not the ideal set up by the Russians. And when the Russian eagle boasts of being in the best of health who is to believe him? Why should the French place greater confidence in the inveterate Russian disorganization than in their own defective organization?”

As regards the Kaiser’s own estimate of his preparedness for war, and the views of national polity he entertained, we shall let him speak for himself in the following extracts from former utterances:

“We will be everywhere victorious even if we are surrounded by enemies on all sides and even if we have to fight superior numbers, for our most powerful ally is God above, who, since the time of the Great Elector and Great King, has always been on our side.”—At Berlin, March 29, 1901.

“I vowed never to strike for world mastery. The world empire that I then dreamed of was to create for the German empire on all sides the most absolute confidence as a quiet, honest and peaceable neighbor. I have vowed that if ever the time came when history should speak of a German world power or a Hohenzollern world power this should not be based on conquest, but come through a mutual striving of nations after a common purpose.

“After much has been done internally in a military way, the next thing must be the arming ourselves at sea. Every German battleship is a new guarantee for the peace of the world. We are the salt of the earth, but must prove worthy of being so. Therefore, our youth must learn to deny what is not good for them.

“With all my heart I hope that golden peace will continue to be present with us.”—At Bremen, March 22, 1905.

“My final and last care is for my fighting forces on land and sea. May God grant that war may not come, but should the cloud descend, I am firmly convinced that the army will acquit itself as it did so nobly thirty-five years ago.”—At Berlin, February 25, 1906.

In the early days of the reign of William II war was prominent in his utterances. He was the War Lord in full feather, and the world at that time looked with dread upon this new and somewhat blatant apostle of militarism. Yet year after year passed until the toll of almost three decades was achieved, without his drawing the sword, and the world began to regard him as an apostle of peace, a wise and capable ruler who could gain his ends without the shedding of blood. What are we to believe now? Had he been wearing a mask for all these years, biding his time, hiding from view a deeply cherished purpose? Or did he really believe that a mission awaited him, that regeneration of the world through the sanguinary path of the battle-field was his duty, and that by the aid of a successful war he could inaugurate a safer and sounder era of peace?

We throw out these ideas as suggestions only. What the Kaiser purposed, what deep-laid schemes of international policy he entertained, will, perhaps, never be known. But if he was really responsible for the great war, as he was so widely accused of being, the responsibility he assumed was an awful one. If he was not responsible, as he declared and as some who claim to have been behind the scenes maintain, the world will be ready to absolve him when his innocence has been made evident.


In this survey of the causes of the great war under consideration the position of Russia comes next. That country was the first to follow Austria and begin the threatening work of mobilization. Germany’s first open participation consisted in a warming to Russia that this work must cease. Only when her warning was disregarded did Germany begin mobilization and declare war. All this was the work of a very few days, but in this era of active military preparedness it needs only days, only hours in some instances, to change from a state of peace into a state of war and hurl great armed hosts against the borders of hostile nations.

The general impression was that it was the Slavic race sentiment that inspired Russia’s quick action. Servia, a country of Slavs, brothers in race to a large section of the people of Russia, was threatened with national annihilation and her great kinsman sprang to her rescue, determined that she should not be absorbed by her land-hungry neighbor. This seemed to many a sufficient cause for Russia’s action. Not many years before, when Austria annexed her wards, Bosnia and Herzegovina, both Slavic countries, Russia protested against the act. She would doubtless have done more than protest but for her financial and military weakness arising from the then recent Russo-Japanese War. In 1914 she was much stronger in both these elements of national power and lost not a day in preparing to march to Servia’s aid.

But was this the whole, or indeed the chief, moving impulse in Russia’s action? Was she so eager an advocate of Pan-Slavism as such a fact would indicate? Had she not some other purpose in view, some fish of her own to fry, some object of moment to obtain? Many thought so. They were not willing to credit the Russian bear with an act of pure international benevolence. Wars of pure charity are rarely among the virtuous acts of nations. As it had been suggested that Germany saw in the war a possible opportunity to gain a frontier on the Atlantic, so it was hinted that Russia had in mind a similar frontier on the Mediterranean. Time and again she had sought to wring Constantinople from the hands of the Turks. In 1877 she was on the point of achieving this purpose when she was halted and turned back by the Congress of Berlin and the bellicose attitude of the nations that stood behind it.

Here was another and seemingly a much better opportunity. The Balkan War had almost accomplished the conquest of the great Turkish capital and left Turkey in a state of serious weakness. If Europe should be thrown into the throes of a general war, in which every nation would have its own interests to care for, Russia’s opportunity to seize upon the prize for which she had so long sought was an excellent one, there being no one in a position to say her nay. To Russia the possession of Constantinople was like the possession of a new world, and this may well have been her secret motive in springing without hesitation into the war. Her long-sought prize hung temptingly within reach of her hand, the European counterpart of the “Monroe Doctrine” could not now be evoked to stay her grasp, and it seems highly probable that in this may have lain the chief cause of Russia’s participation in the war.


The Republic of France was less hasty than Russia and Germany in issuing a declaration of war. Yet there, too, the order of mobilization was quickly issued and French troops were on the march toward the German border before Germany had taken a similar step. France had not forgotten her humiliation in 1870. So far was she from forgetting it that she cherished a vivid recollection of what she had lost and an equally vivid enmity towards Germany in consequence. Enmity is hardly the word. Hatred better fits the feeling entertained. And this was kept vitally alive by the fact that Alsace and Lorraine, two of her former provinces, still possessing a considerable French population, were now held as part of the dominions of her enemy. The sore rankled and hope of retribution lay deep in the heart of the French. Here seemed an opportunity to achieve this long-cherished purpose, and we may reasonably believe that the possibility of regaining this lost territory made France eager to take part in the coming war. She had been despoiled by Germany, a valued portion of her territory had been wrested from her grasp, a promising chance of regaining it lay before her. She had the men; she had the arms; she had a military organization vastly superior to that of 1870; she had the memory of her former triumphs over the now allied nations of Austria and Germany; she had her obligations to aid Russia as a further inducement. The causes of her taking part in the war are patent, especially in view of the fact that in a very brief interval after her declaration her troops had crossed the border and were marching gaily into Alsace, winning battles and occupying towns as they advanced.


We have suggested that in the case alike of Austria, Russia, Germany and France the hope of gaining valuable acquisitions of territory was entertained. In the case of France, enmity to Germany was an added motive, the territory she sought being land of which she had been formerly despoiled. These purposes of changing the map of Europe did not apply to or influence Great Britain. That country had no territory to gain and no great military organization to exercise. She possessed the most powerful navy of any country in the world, but she was moved by no desire of showing her strength upon the sea. There was no reason, so far as any special advantage to herself was concerned, for her taking part in the war, and her first step was a generous effort to mediate between the Powers in arms.

Only when Belgium—a small nation that was in a sense under the guardianship of Great Britain, so far as its nationality and neutrality were concerned—was invaded by Germany without warning, did Britain feel it incumbent upon her to come to its aid. This may not have been entirely an act of benevolence. There was a probability that Germany, once in control of Belgium, could not readily let go. She might add it to her empire, a fact likely to seriously affect British sea-power. However this be, Great Britain lost no time after the invasion in becoming a party to the continental war, sending her fleet abroad and enlisting troops for service in the aid of her allies, France and Belgium.

Italy, a member of the Triple Alliance, the other members of which were Germany and Austria, was the only one of the great Powers that held aloof. She had absolutely nothing to gain by taking part in the war, while her late large expenses in the conquest of Tripoli had seriously depleted her war chest. As regards her alliance with Germany and Austria, it put her under no obligation to come to their aid in an offensive war. Her obligation was restricted to aid in case they were attacked, and she justly held that no such condition existed. As a result, Germany and Austria found themselves at war with the three powerful members of the Triple Entente, while Italy, the third member of the Triple Alliance, declined to draw the sword.

The defection of Italy was a serious loss to the power of the allies, so much so that Emperor William threatened her with war if she failed to fulfil her assumed obligations. This threat Italy quietly ignored. She gave indications, in fact, that her sympathies were with the opposite party. Thus Germany and Austria found themselves pitted against three great Powers and a possible fourth, with the addition of the two small nations of Servia and Belgium. And the latter were not to be despised as of negligible importance. Servia quickly showed an ability to check the forward movements of Austria, while Belgium, without aid, long held a powerful German army at bay, defending the city and fortresses of Liege with a boldness and success that called forth the admiring acclamations of the world.


This review of causes and motives may be supplemented by a brief statement of what is meant by the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente, terms which come into common prominence in discussing European politics. They indicate the division of Europe, so far as its greater Powers are concerned, into two fully or partially allied bodies, the former consisting of Germany, Austria and Italy, the latter of Great Britain, France and Russia. These organizations are of comparatively recent date. The Alliance began in 1879 in a compact between Germany and Austria, a Dual Alliance, which was converted into a Triple one in 1883, Italy then, through the influence of Bismarck, joining the alliance. In this compact Austria and Germany pledged themselves to mutual assistance if attacked by Russia; Italy and Germany to the same if attacked by France.

The Triple Entente—or Understanding—arose from a Dual Alliance between France and Russia, formed in 1887, an informal understanding between Britain and France in 1904 and a similar understanding between Britain and Russia in 1907. Its purpose, as formed by Edward VII, was to balance the Triple Alliance and thus convert Europe into two great military camps. When organized there seemed little probability of its being called into activity for many years.

Chapter III.

Old and New Methods in War—Costs of Modern Warfare—Nature of National Resources—British and American Military Systems—Naval Strength—Resources of Austria-Hungary—Resources of Germany—Resources of Russia—Resources of France—Resources of Great Britain—Servia and Belgium

Within the whole history of mankind the nations of the earth had never been so thoroughly equipped for the art of warfare as they were in 1914. While the arts of construction have enormously developed, those of destruction have fully kept pace with them; and the horrors of war have enormously increased side by side with the benignities of peace. It is interesting to trace the history of warfare from this point of view. Beginning with the club and hammer of the stone age, advancing through the bow and arrow and the sling-shot of later times, this art, even in the great days of ancient civilization, the eras of Greece and Rome, had advanced little beyond the sword and spear, crude weapons of destruction as regarded in our times. They have in great part been set aside as symbols of military dignity, emblems of the “pomp and circumstance of glorious war.”

Descending through the Middle Ages we find the sword and spear still holding sway, with the bow as an important accessory for the use of the common soldier. As for the knight, he became an iron-clad champion, so incased in steel that he could fight effectively only on horseback, becoming largely helpless on foot. At length, the greatest stage in the history of war, the notable invention of gunpowder was achieved, and an enormous transformation took place in the whole terrible art. The musket, the rifle, the pistol, the cannon were one by one evolved, to develop in the nineteenth century into the breech-loader, the machine gun, the bomb, and the multitude of devices fitted to bring about death and destruction by wholesale, instead of by the retail methods of older days.

At sea, the sailing vessel, with her far-flung white wings and rows of puny guns, has given way to the steel-clad battleship with her fewer but enormously larger cannons, capable of flinging huge masses of iron many miles through the air and with a precision of aim that seems incredible for such great distances.

We must add to this the torpedo boat, a tiny craft with a weapon capable of sinking the most costly and stupendous of battleships, and the submarine, fitted to creep unseen under blockading fleets, and deal destruction with nothing to show the hand that dealt the deadly blow. Even the broad expanse of the air has been made a field of warlike activity, with scouting airships flying above contending armies and signaling their most secret movements to the forces below.


In regard to loss of life on the battle-field, it may be said that many of the wars of ancient times surpassed the bloodiest of those of modern days, despite the enormously more destructive weapons and implements now employed. When men fought hand to hand, and no idea of quarter for the defeated existed, entire armies were at times slaughtered on the field. In our days, when the idea of mercy for the vanquished prevails, this wholesale slaughter of beaten hosts has ceased, and the death list of the battle-field has been largely reduced by caution on the part of the fighters. With the feeling that a dead soldier is utterly useless, and a wounded one often worse than useless, as constituting an impediment, every means of saving life is utilized. Soldiers now fight miles apart. Prostrate, hidden, taking advantage of every opportunity of protection, every natural advantage or artificial device, vast quantities of ammunition are wasted on the empty air, every ball that finds its quarry in human flesh being mayhap but one in hundreds that go astray. In the old-time wars actual hand-to-hand fighting took place. Almost every stroke told, every thrusting blade was directly parried or came back stained with blood. In modern wars fighting of this kind has ceased. A battle has become a matter of machinery. The strong arm and stalwart heart are replaced by the bullet-flinging machine, and it is a rare event for a man to know to whose hand he owes wound or death. Such, at least, was largely the case in the war between Russia and Japan in 1905. But in recent battles we read of hordes of soldiers charging up to the muzzles of machine guns, and being mowed down like ripened wheat.


But while loss of human life in war has not greatly increased, in other directions the cost of warfare has enormously grown. In the past, little special preparation was needed by the fighter. Armies could be recruited off-hand from city or farm and do valiant duty in the field, with simple and cheap weapons. In our days years of preliminary preparation are deemed necessary and the costs of war go on during times of profound peace, millions of men who could be used effectively in the peaceful industries spending the best years of their lives in learning the most effective methods of destroying their fellow men.

This is only one phase of the element of cost. Great workshops are devoted to the preparation of military material, of absolutely no use to mankind except as instruments of destruction. The costs of war, even in times of peace, are thus very large. But they increase in an enormous proportion after war has actually begun, millions of dollars being needed where tens formerly sufficed, and national bankruptcy threatening the nation that keeps its armies long in the field. The American Civil War, fought half a century ago, was a costly procedure for the American people. If it had been fought five or ten years ago its cost would have been increased five-fold, so great has been the progress in this terrible art in the interval.


It is our purpose in the present chapter to take up the subject of this cost and review the condition and resources of the several nations which were involved in the dread internecine struggle of 1914, the frightful conflict of nations that moved like a great panorama before our eyes. These resources are of two kinds. One of them consists in the material wealth of the nations concerned, the product of the fields and factories, the mineral treasures beneath the soil, the results of trade and commercial activity and the conditions of national finance, including the extent of available revenue and the indebtedness which hangs over each nation, much of it a heritage from former wars which have left little beyond this aggravating record of their existence. It is one which adds something to the cost of every particle of food consumed by the people, every shred of clothing worn by them. Additions to this incubus of debt little disturb the rules when blithely or bitterly engaging in new wars, but every such addition adds to the burdens of taxation laid on the shoulders of the groaning citizens, and is sure to deepen the harvest of retribution when the time for it arrives.

A second of these resources is that of preparation for war in time of peace, the training of the able-bodied citizens in the military art, until practically the entire nation becomes converted into a vast army, its members, after their term of compulsory service, engaging in ordinary labors in times of peace, yet liable to be called into the field whenever the war lords desire, to face the death-belching field piece and machine gun in a sanguinary service in which they have little or no personal concern. This preparedness, with the knowledge of the duties of a soldier which it involves, is a valuable war resource to any nation that is saddled with such a system of universal military training. And few nations of Europe and the East are now without it. Great Britain is the chief one in Europe, while in America the United States is a notable example of a nation that has adopted the opposite policy, that of keeping its population at peaceful labor, steadily adding to its resources, during the whole time in which peace prevails, and trusting to the courage and mental resources of its citizens to teach them quickly the art of fighting when, if ever, the occasion shall arrive.

It must be admitted that the European system of militarism is likely to be of great advantage in the early days of a war, in which large bodies of trained soldiers can be hurled with destructive force against hastily gathered militia. The distinction between trained and untrained soldiers, however, rapidly disappears in a war of long continuance. Experience in the field is a lesson far superior to any gained in mock warfare, and the taking part in a few battles will teach the art of warfare to an extent surpassing that of years of marching and counter-marching upon the training field.


Britain and the United States, the only two of the greater nations that have adopted the policy here considered, are not trusting completely to chance. Each of them has a body of regular troops, fitted for police duty in time of peace and for field duty in time of war, and serving as a nucleus fitted to give a degree of coherence to raw militia when the sword is drawn. Subsidiary to these are bodies of volunteer troops, training as a recreation rather than as an occupation, yet constituting a valuable auxiliary to the regular forces. This system possesses the advantage of maintaining no soldiers except those kept in constant and needful duty, all the remaining population staying at their regular labors and adding very materially every year to the resources of the nation, while saving the great sums expended without adequate return in the process of keeping up the system of militarism.

What is above said refers only to the human element in the system. In addition is the necessity of preparing and keeping in store large quantities or war material—cannons, rifles, ammunition, etc.—the building of inland forts and coast and harbor fortifications, for ready and immediate use in time of war. In this all the nations are alike actively engaged, the United States and Britain as well as those of the European continent, and none of them are likely to be caught amiss in this particular. Cannon and gunpowder eat no food and call for no pay or pension, and once got ready can wait with little loss of efficiency. They may, indeed, become antiquated through new invention and development, and need to be kept up to date in this particular. But otherwise they can be readily kept in store and each nation may with comparative ease maintain itself on a level with others as regards its supply of material of war.


In one field of war-preparation little of the distinction indicated exists. This is that of ocean warfare, in which rivalry between the great Powers goes on without restriction—at least between the distinctively maritime nations. In this field of effort, the building of gigantic battleships and minor war vessels, Britain has kept itself in advance of all others, as a nation in which the sea is likely to be the chief field of warlike activity. Beginning with a predominance in war ships, it has steadily retained it, adding new and constantly greater war ships to its fleet with a feverish activity, under the idea that here is its true field of defense. It has sought vigorously to keep itself on a level in this particular with any two of its rivals in sea power. While it has not quite succeeded in this, the United States and Germany pushing it closely, it is well in the lead as compared with any single Power, and to keep this lead it is straining every nerve and fiber of its national capacity.


Coming now to a statement of the strength and resources of the chief Powers concerned in the present war, Austria-Hungary, as the originator of the outbreak, stands first. It is scarcely necessary to repeat that its severe demands upon Servia, arising from the murder of the Archduke Ferdinand and its refusal to accept Servia’s almost complete acceptance of its terms, led to an immediate declaration of war upon the small offending state, the war fever thus started quickly extending from side to side of the continent. Therefore in considering the existing conditions of the various countries involved, those of Austria-Hungary properly come first, the others following in due succession.

Austria-Hungary is a dual kingdom, each partner to the union having its separate national organization and legislative body. While both are under the rule of one monarch, Francis Joseph being at once the Emperor of Austria and the King of Hungary, their union is not a very intimate one. There is large racial distinction between the two countries, and Hungary cherishes a strong feeling of animosity to Austria, the outcome of acts of tyranny and barbarity not far in the past.

The two countries closely approach each other in area, Austria having 115,903 and Hungary 125,039 square miles; making a total of 240,942. The populations also do not vary largely, the total being estimated at about 50,000,000. Of these the Slavs number more than 24,000,000, approaching one half the total , while of Germans there are but 11,500,000, little more than half of the Slavic population. The Magyars, or Hungarians, a people of eastern origin, and the main element of Hungarian population, number about 8,750,000. In addition there are several millions of Roumanian and Italic stock, and a considerable number of Jews and Gypsies. The inclusion of this heterogeneous population into one kingdom dates far back in medieval history, and it was not until 1867, as a consequence of a vigorous Hungarian demand, that Austria and Hungary became divided into separate nations, the remnant of their former close union remaining in their being ruled by one monarch, the venerable Francis Joseph, who is still upon the throne. This division quickly followed the war between Prussia and Austria in 1866, and was one of the results of the defeat of Austria in that war.

Austria is a hilly or mountainous country, its plains occupying only about one fifth of the total territory. The most extensive tracts of low or flat land occur in Hungary, Galicia and Slavonia, the great Hungarian plain having an area of 36,000 square miles. Much of this is highly fertile, and Hungary is the great granary of the country. Austria-Hungary is well watered by the Danube and its tributaries and has a small extent of sea-coast on the Adriatic, its principal ports being Trieste, Pola and Fiume. Its railways are about 30,000 miles in length. In consequence of its interior position its largest trade is with Germany, through which empire there is also an extensive transit commerce. Its mountainous character makes it rich in minerals, the chief of these being coal, iron, and salt.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, formerly part of Turkey in Europe, were put under the military occupation and administrative rule of Austria after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–8, and in 1908 were fully annexed by Austria, an act of spoliation which had its ultimate result in the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, and may thus be considered the instigating agency in the 1914 war.

The finances of Austria-Hungary may be briefly given. Austria has an annual revenue of $636,909,000; Hungary of $410,068,000; their expenditure equaling these sums. The debt of Austria is stated at $1,433,511,000; of Hungary, $1,257,810,000; and of the joint states at $1,050,000,000. Military service is obligatory on all over twenty years of age who are capable of bearing arms, the total terms of service being twelve years, of which three are passed in the line, seven in the reserve, and two in the Landwehr. The army is estimated to number 390,000 on the peace footing and over 2,000,000 on the war footing. Its navy numbers four modern and nine older battleships, with twelve cruisers and a number of smaller craft.


Germany, in the census of 1910, was credited with a population of 64,925,993. This is in great part composed of Teutons, or men of German race, its people being far less heterogeneous than those of Austria, though it includes several millions of Slavs, Lithuanians, Poles and others. It has an area of 208,738 square miles. It is mountainous in the south and center, but in the north there is a wide plain extending to the German Ocean and the Baltic Sea, and forming part of the great watershed which stretches across Europe. Its soil, except in the more rugged and mountainous districts, is prolific, being well watered and bearing abundant crops of the ordinary cereals. Potatoes, hemp, and flax are very abundant crops and the sugar beet is extensively cultivated. The forests are of great extent and value, and are carefully conserved to yield a large production without over cutting. Among domestic animals, the cattle, sheep and swine of certain districts have long been famous.

The minerals are numerous and some of them of much value, those of chief importance being coal, iron, zinc, lead and salt. While much attention is given to mining and agriculture, the manufacturing industries are especially important. Linens and other textiles are widely produced and iron manufacture is largely carried on. The Krupp iron works at Essen are of world-wide fame, and the cannon made there are used in the forts of many distant nations.

These are a few only of the large variety of manufactures, a market for which is found in all parts of the world, the commerce of Germany being widely extended. In short, the empire has come into very active rivalry with Great Britain in the development of commerce, and to its progress in this direction it owes much of its flourishing condition. Hamburg is by far the most important seaport, Bremen, Stettin, Danzig and others also being thriving ports. The total length of railway is over 40,000 miles.

The annual revenue of the German Empire is nearly $900,000,000; that of its component states, $1,500,000,000; that of the states at $3,735,000,000. The revenue is derived chiefly from customs duties, excise duties on beet-root sugar, salt, tobacco and malt and contributions from the several states.

Germany is the foster home of modern militarism and is held to have the most complete army system in the world. Every man capable of bearing arms must begin his military training on the 1st of January of the year in which he reaches the age of twenty, and continue it to the end of his forty-second year, unless released from this duty by the competent authorities, either altogether or for times of peace.

Seven years of this time must be spent in the army or fleet; three of them in active service, four in the reserve. Seven more years are passed in the Landwehr, the members of which may be called out only twice for training. The remaining time is passed in the Landsturm, which is called out only in case of invasion of the empire. The total peace strength of the army is given at 870,000; of the reserves at 4,430,000; the total being 5,300,000.

The navel force of Germany is very powerful, though considerably less than that of Great Britain. It comprises 19 of the enormous modern battleships, 7 cruiser battleships, and 20 of older type; 9 first-class and 45 second and third-class cruisers, and numerous smaller warships, including 47 torpedo boats, 141 destroyers and 60 submarines.


Russia, the third of the three nations to which the war was most immediately due, is the most extensive consolidated empire in the world, its total area being estimated at 8,647,657 square miles, of which 1,852,524 are in Europe, the remainder in Asia. The population is given at about 160,000,000, of which 130,000,000 are in Europe.

Agriculture is the chief pursuit of this great population, though manufactures are largely developing. The forests, immense in extent, cover forty-two per cent of the area and contain timber in enormous quantities. While a large part of the area is level ground, there is much elevated territory, and the mineral wealth is very important. It includes gold, silver, platinum, iron, copper, coal and salt, all of large occurrence. Of the people, over 1,800,000 are employed in manufacture, and the annual value of the commerce amounts to $1,300,000,000. The length of railway is about 50,000 miles.

Russia is heavily in debt, Germany being its largest creditor. The total debt is stated at $4,553,000,000, its revenue $1,674,000,000. The liability to military service covers all able-bodied men between the ages of twenty and forty-two years. Five years must be passed in active service, the remainder in the various reserves. On a peace footing the army is 1,290,000 strong; its war strength is 5,500,000. The territorial service is capable of supplying about 3,000,000 more, making a possible total of 7,500,000. As regards the navy, it was greatly reduced in strength in the war with Japan and has not yet fully recovered. The empire now possesses nine modern battleships, four cruiser battleships, and eight of old type. There are also cruisers and other vessels, including 23 torpedo boats, 105 destroyers, and 48 submarines.


France, the one large Power in Europe in which the people have created a republic and have got rid of the FACT of a king, as illustrated in the other continental Powers,—and in addition to the mountain realm of Switzerland, in which the people govern themselves through their representatives,—has taken up the dogma of militarism in common with its neighbors and constitutes the fourth of the Powers in which this system has been carried to its ultimate conclusion of a world-wide war.

France had a startling object lesson in 1870. It had, under Napoleon III, been imitating Prussia in its military establishment, and its government officials coincided with the emperor in the theory that its army was in a splendid state of preparation. Marshal Leboeuf lightly declared that “everything was ready, more than ready, and not a gaiter button missing,” and it was with a light-hearted confidence that the Emperor Napoleon declared war against Prussia, the insensate multitude filling Paris with their futile war cry of “On to Berlin.”

This is not the place to deal with this subject, but it may be said that France quickly learned that nothing was ready and the nation went down in the most sudden and awful disaster of modern times. A lesson had been taught, one not easy to forget. The Republic succeeded the Empire, and has since been working on the theory that war with its old enemy might at any time become imminent and no negligence in the matter of preparation could be permitted. As a consequence, France went into the war of 1914 in a state of fitness greatly superior to that of 1870, and Germany found France waiting on its border line, alert and able, ready alike for offense or defense.

What are the natural conditions, the strength and resources, of this great republic? France has an area of 207,054 square miles, almost the same as that of the German Empire. If its numerous colonies be added, its total area is over 4,000,000 square miles. But this vast colonial expanse is of no special advantage to it in a European war. Its population is 39,601,509; if Algeria, its most available colony, be added, it is about 45,000,000, a total 20,000,000 less than the population of Germany.

Its soil is highly fitted for agricultural use, about nine tenths of it being productive and more than half of it under the plow, the cereals forming the bulk of its products. Its wheat crop is large and oats, rye and barley are also of value, though the raising of the domestic animals is of less importance than in the surrounding countries. The growth of the vine is one of its most important branches of agriculture, and in good years France produces about half of the total wine yield of the world. In mineral wealth it stands at a somewhat low level, its yield of coal, iron, etc. being of minor importance.

France enjoys a large and valuable commerce and active manufacturing industries, products of a more or less artistic character being especially attended to. Of the textile fabrics, those of silk goods are much the most important, this industry employing about 2,000,000 persons and yielding more than a fourth in value of the whole manufactured products of France. Other products are carpets, tapestry, fine muslins, lace and cotton goods. Products of different character are numerous and their value large. The fisheries of France are also of much importance. Its commerce, while large, is very considerably less than that of Great Britain and Germany, France being especially a self-centered country, largely using what it makes.

There is abundant provision for internal trade and travel, there being 30,000 miles of railway, 3,000 miles or canal, and 5,500 miles of navigable rivers. The annual revenue approaches $1,000,000,000, and the public debt in 1914 was at the large total of over $6,200,000,000. This is much the largest debt of any nation in the world, the debt of Russia, which comes next in amount, being about $1,700,000,000 less. It is largely due to the cost of the war of 1870 and the subsequent large payment to Germany. Yet the French people carry it without feeling seriously overburdened.

Coming now to the French military system, it rivals that of Germany in efficiency. The law requires the compulsory military service of every French citizen who is not unfit for such service. They have to serve in the regular army for three years, in the regular reserves for six years, in the territorial army for six years, and finally in the reserves of this army for ten years. This gives France a peace strength of 720,000 and a total war strength of 4,000,000. The navy is manned partly by conscription, partly by voluntary enlistment, the naval forces comprising about 60,000 officers and men.

The naval strength of the republic embraces 17 modern battleships, 25 of older type, 18 first-class, 13 second and third-class cruisers, 173 torpedo boats, 87 destroyers, and 90 submarines. There is another element of modern military strength of growing importance and sure to be of large use in the war under review. This is that of the airship. In 1914 France stood at the head in this particular, its aeroplanes, built or under construction, numbering 550. Germany had 375, Russia 315, Italy 270, Austria 220, Britain 180 and Belgium 150. In dirigible balloons Germany stood first, with 50. France had 30, Russia 15, Austria 10 and Britain 7. These air-soaring implements of war came into play early in the conflict and Tennyson’s vision of “battles in the blue” was realized in attacks of aeroplanes upon dirigibles, with death to the crews of each.


Great Britain, the remaining party to the five-fold war of great European Powers, is an island country of considerably smaller area than those so far named. Including Ireland it has an area of 121,391 square miles, about equal to that of the American State of New Mexico and not half the size of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Its population, however, surpasses that of France, amounting to 45,221,615. If the outlying dominions of Great Britain be added it becomes the greatest empire in the world’s history, its colonial dominions being estimated at over 13,000,000 square miles, and the total population of kingdom and colonies at 435,000,000, the greatest population of any country in the world. And Britain differs from France in the fact that much of this outlying population is available for war purposes in case of peril to the liberties of the mother country. At the outbreak of the war of 1914 the loyal Dominion of Canada sprang at once into the field, mobilized its forces, and offered the mother land material aid in men and gifts of varied nature.

The same sense of loyalty was shown in Australia and South Africa and in others of the British oversea dominions, while India added an important contingent to the army and much other aid.

As for the immediate kingdom, it is not of high value in agricultural wealth, being at present divided up to a considerable extent into large unproductive estates, and it is quite unable to feed its teeming population, depending for this on its large commerce in food products. Its annual imports amount to about $3,000,000,000, its exports to $2,250,000,000.

Commercially and industrially alike Great Britain stands at the head of all European nations. Its abundant mineral wealth, especially in coal and iron, has stimulated manufactures to the highest degree, while its insular character and numerous seaports have had a similar stimulating effect upon commerce. Its revenue, aside from that of the colonies, amounts to about $920,000,000 annually, and its public debt reaches a total of $3,485,000,000.

The British government depends largely for safety from invasion upon its insular position and its enormously developed navy, and has not felt it necessary to enter upon the frenzy of military preparation which pervades the continental nations. No British citizen is obliged to bear arms except for the defense of his country, but all able-bodied men are liable to militia service, the militia being raised, when required, by ballot. Enlistment among the regulars is either for twelve years’ army service, or for seven years’ army service and five years’ reserve service. The peace strength of the army is estimated at about 255,000 men, the reserves at 475,000; making a total of 730,000.

It is in its navy that Great Britain’s chief warlike strength exists, the naval force being much greater than that of any other nation. It possesses in all 29 modern battleships, many of them of the great dreadnaught and super-dreadnaught type. In addition it has 10 cruiser battleships, and 38 older battleships, most of the latter likely to be of little service for warlike duty. There are also 45 first-class, and 70 second and third-class cruisers, 58 torpedo boats, 212 destroyers and 85 submarines, the whole forming a total navel strength approaching that of any two of the other Powers.


As regards the remaining nations engaged in the war, Servia, in which the contest began, has an area of 18,782 square miles, a population of 4,000,000, and a standing army of 240,000, a number seemingly very inadequate to face the enormously greater power of Austria-Hungary. But the men had become practically all soldiers, very many of them tried veterans of the recent Balkan War; their country is mountainous and admirably fitted for defensive warfare, and their power of resistance to invasion was quickly shown to be great.

Belgium, the other early seat of the war, is still smaller in area, having but 11,366 square miles. But it is very densely populated, possessing 7,432,784 inhabitants. Its army proved brave and capable, its fortifications modern and well adapted to defense, and small as was its field force it held back the far more numerous German invaders until France and Great Britain had their troops in position for available defense. This small intermediate kingdom therefore played a very important part in the outset of the war.

If one judges by the figures given of the available military strength of the nations involved, the huge host said to have followed Xerxes to the invasion of Greece could easily be far surpassed in modern warfare. The fact is, however, that these huge figures greatly exceed the numbers that could, except in the most extreme exigency, be available for use in the field, and for real active service we should be obliged to greatly reduce these paper estimates. It must be taken into account that the fields and factories of the nations cannot be too greatly denuded of their trained workers. It was a shrewd saying of Napoleon Bonaparte that “An army marches on its stomach,” and the important duty of keeping the stomach adequately filled can not be overlooked.

In actual war also there is an enormous exhaustion of military material, which must be constantly replaced, and this in turn demands the services of great numbers of trained artisans. The question of finance also cannot be overlooked. It needs vast sums of money to keep a modern army in the field, this increasing rapidly as the forces grow in numbers, and no national treasure chest is inexhaustible. Tax as they may, the war lords cannot squeeze out of their people more blood than flows in their veins, and exhaustion of the war-chest may prove even more disastrous than exhaustion of the regiments. For these reasons a limit to the size of armies is inevitable and in any great war this limitation must quickly make itself apparent.

Chapter IV.

The Growth of German Importance—German Militarism—Great Britain’s Peace Efforts—Germany’s Naval Program—German Ambitions—Preparation for War—Effect on the Empire

The influence of the European War permeated everything from and through the nation to the individual, from trade and commerce and world-finance to the cost of food and the price of labor. The whole world, civilized and uncivilized, was drawn into this whirlpool of disaster—the majority of the population of the earth was actually at war. Was it possible that such a vast conflict—so far reaching in its racial and national elements, so bitter in its old and new animosities, so great in its territorial area, so tremendous in the numbers of men in arms—could come, as some commentators say, like a thief in the night or have fallen upon the world like a bolt from the blue! All available information of an exact character, all the preparation of the preceding few years, all the inner statecraft of the world as revealed in policy and action, prove the fallacy of this supposition.


As a matter of fact one nation had been for nearly half a century the pivot upon which European hopes and fears have turned in the matter of peace and war, of military and naval preparation, of diplomatic interchange. During this period Germany rose to a foremost place amongst the nations of Europe, to the first place in strength of military power and organized fighting force, to the second place in naval strength and commercial progress. The growth itself was a legitimate one in the main; and, given the character of its people and their cultivated convictions as to inherent greatness, was inevitable. For other nations the vital question asked in diplomacy and answered in their military or naval preparations was equally inevitable: How would Germany use this power, against whom was it aimed, for what specific purpose was it being organized with such capable precision, such splendid skill?


Great Britain, meanwhile, had devoted her main attention to the trade and diplomacy and little wars associated with the maintenance of a world-empire and, in self-defense, had cultivated friendships with Russia and France and the United States and Japan as this German power began to come closer and touch the most vital British interests. France naturally strengthened itself as its historic enemy grew in power; Russia improved her military position after the Japanese was as she was bound to do; Germany appeared to set the pace upon sea and land with an aggressive diplomacy in Morocco and in China, at Paris and at St. Petersburg, which was bound to cause trouble and to promote what is commonly called militarism. The vast ambitions and persistent policy of the German ruler and his people, the unsatisfied characteristics of German diplomacy, the militant ideals and military preparations and naval expansion of Germany between 1900 and 1914 became the dominant consideration in the chancelleries of Europe. Armies and navies, wars in the Balkans or struggles for colonial spheres of influence, financial reserves and naval construction and volunteer forces—all came to be measured against current developments in this center of European gravity.


Great Britain tried to hold aloof from this international rivalry, this preparation for a war which her people and leaders hoped against hope would be averted. Royal visits of a pacific character were exchanged, parties of Great Britain’s business men visited Berlin, while leaders such as King Edward and Lord Haldane exercised all their ability in striving for some mutual ground of friendly action. Lovers of peace wrote many volumes and filled many newspapers with articles on the beneficence of that policy and the terrors of militarism—books and articles which were never seen in Germany except by those who regarded them as so many confessions of national weakness. Between 1904 and 1908 Great Britain actually reduced her naval expenditures and limited her construction of battleships in the hope that Germany would follow the lead, pleaded at two Hague Conferences for international reduction of armaments, kept away from all increase in her own almost ridiculous military establishment, urged upon two occasions (in 1912–1913) a naval holiday in construction. The following figures from Brassey’s authoritative NAVAL ANNUAL shows that her naval expenditure upon new ships in 1913 was actually less than in 1904, that Germany’s was nearly three times greater, that France and Russia and Italy had doubled theirs:

Great BritainGermanyFranceRussiaItalyAustro-Hungary


Between 1909 and 1914 British leaders became convinced, as France and Russia and other countries had long been certain, that Germany meant war as soon as she was ready; that her policy was to take the two border enemies, or rivals, first with a great war-machine which would give them no chance for preparation or success, to dictate a peace which would give her control of the sea-coasts and channel touching Britain, to make that country the seat of war preparations, naval uncertainty, perhaps financial difficulty and commercial injury, to prepare at leisure for the war which would conquer England and acquire her colonies. In the first-named year British statesmen of both parties told an amazed Parliament and country that German naval construction of big ships was approaching the British standard, that the cherished policy of a British navy equal to those of any two other nations was absolutely gone, that England would be lucky if, in a few years, she held a 60 per cent superiority over that of Germany alone, that the latter country’s naval construction was clearly aimed at Britain and could be for no other than a hostile purpose. British ships had already been recalled from the Seven Seas to hold the North Sea against the growing naval power of a nation which had 5,000,000 soldiers behind its ships as compared with England’s 250,000 men scattered over the world. From that date in 1909 all who shared in the statecraft of the British Empire understood the issue to be a real one—with France and Russia as allies or without them.

What was back of this situation? Germany was already dominant in Continental Europe. It had compelled Russia to submit when Austria in 1908 annexed the Slav states of Bosnia and Herzegovina and defied Servia to interfere or its proud patron at St. Petersburg to prevent the humiliation; it had brought France to her knees over the Morocco incident and the Delcasse resignation, and would have done so again in 1911 if Great Britain had not ranged herself behind the French republic; it held the issues of peace and war between the great Powers during the Balkan struggles of 1912 and 1913 and prevented Servia from winning its legitimate fruits of victory or Montenegro from holding what it had won; it had watched with delight the defeat of unorganized Russia at the hands of Japan and saw what its writers described as a decadent British Empire holding in feeble hands a quarter of the earth in fee, with revolt coming in Ireland, rebellion seething in India, dissatisfaction in South Africa, separation upon the horizon in Canada and Australia. Here lay the secret of German naval policy, of German hopes that Britain would remain out of the inevitable struggle with France and Russia, of German ambitions for a world-empire.


The German nation had not up to the passing of Bismarck been the enemy of the British people and until its belated entrance upon the field of world politics and expansion the people had not even been rivals. In the long series of European wars between 1688 and 1815, the German states were allies and friends of England. After that, Prussia, and then the German Empire, became gradually a great national force in the world and its spirit of unity, pride of power, energy in trade, skill and success in industry, vigor of development in tariffs, progress in military power and naval construction were, from the standpoint of its own people, altogether admirable. Following the Franco-Prussian War it had steadily attained a position of European supremacy. Then came the increase of population and trade, the desire for colonies, the restriction of emigration to foreign countries.

It was a natural though difficult ambition. The marriage of Queen Wilhelmina, and later the birth of a heir, averted any immediate probability of acquiring Holland and, with it, the Dutch colonial possessions, except by means of force. The assertion of the United States’ Monroe Doctrine checked German efforts which had been directed to South America and concentrated in Brazil, where 100,000 Germans had settled and where trade relations had become very close. British diplomacy of a trade, as well as political character, in Persia, prevented certain railway schemes from being carried out, which would have given Germany a dominating influence in Asia Minor and on the Persian Gulf. Although the partition of Africa gave the German Empire nearly one million square miles and an obvious opening for colonization and power, the inexperience and ineptitude of German officials in Colonial government, the dislike, also, of Germans for emigration and the fact that the movement of settlers abroad steadily decreased in late years, tended to prevent, on the Continent, an expansion which would have been assured under British colonization and business effort.

At the same time the acquisition of these and other regions such as Samoa was significant. Prior to 1870 Germany was a geographical expression which meant a loose combination of States with sometimes clashing interests, and incoherent expression, and varied patriotism. German trade was then small, the industries too poor to compete with those of Britain, while its people possessed not an acre of soil beyond their European boundaries. Since then it had become a closely-united people with an army of over five million men—admittedly the best-trained troops in the world; with a trade totalling $4,400,000,000 and competing in Britain’s home market, taking away her contracts in India and some of the colonies, beating her in many foreign fields; with an industrial production which included great steel works such as Krupps, ship-building yards said to be of greater productive power than those of Britain, factories of well-kept character operating at high pressure with workmen trained in the best technical system of the world today; with other productive conditions aided by high protective duties and with exports totalling (1910) $2,020,000,000 and imports of $2,380,000,000; with Savings Bank deposits in 1911 totalling $4,500,000.0000 as against a British total of $1,135,000,000.

Couple these conditions with Colonial ambitions dwarfed, or unsuccessful in comparison with British success; continental power as supreme, by virtue of military strength, as Napoleon’s was one hundred years before by the force of genius, but hampered, as was his, by the power of Britain on the seas; a productive force of industry increasing out of all proportion to home requirements, competing with British commerce in every corner of the world and threatened by a possible but finally postponed combination of British countries in a system of inter-Empire tariffs; a population of 64,000,000, increasing at the rate of one million a year and having no suitable opening for emigration or settlement within its own territories; and we have conditions which explained and emphasized German naval construction. Both German ambition and German naval construction were therefore easily comprehensible.

Nor was the ambition for sea-power concealed. The first large naval program was passed by the Reichstag in 1898 and fixed the naval estimate up to 1903, when the total expenditure was to be $45,000,000—in 1906 the naval expenditure was over $60,000,000. The second Naval Bill was passed in 1900 during the Boer War, and the preamble to this Act stated that its object was to give Germany “a fleet of such strength that even for the mightiest Naval Power, a war with her would involve such risks as to endanger its own supremacy.” Other Acts were passed in 1906 and 1908, and for the years 1908 to 1917 arrangements were made for a total expenditure of $1,035,000,000—this including a portion of the “accelerated program” and the Special Dreadnought construction which caused the memorable debate in the British Commons in 1909.

The Law of 1912—passing the Reichstag on May 21st of that year—provided for an addition to the program of three battleships, three large cruisers and three small ones. During the years 1898–1904 Great Britain launched 26 battleships to Germany’s 14, with 27 armored cruisers, 17 protected cruisers and 55 destroyers to Germany’s 5, 16 and 35 respectively, or a total of 125 to 70. In 1905–11 Great Britain launched 20 battleships to Germany’s 15, with 13 armored cruisers, 10 protected cruisers and 80 destroyers to Germany’s 6, 16 and 70 respectively, or a total of 123 to 107. Excluding destroyers Great Britain launched 70 sea-going warships in the first period to Germany’s 25 and in the second period 43 to 37.


Meanwhile German preparations for war went on apace in every direction. Following up the war teachings of Nietzsche and Treitschke and others, General Von Bernhardi issued book after book defining in clear language the alleged national beneficence, biological desirability and inevitability of war, which, when it came, would be “fought to conquer for Germany the rank of a world-power;” the universities and schools and press teemed with militarist ideals and practices; the army charges rose to $250,000,000 and the trained soldiers available at the beginning of 1910 were alleged to have 6,000 field-guns; Colonel Gaedke, the German naval expert, stated on February 24th of that year that the German government was building a fleet of 58 battleships and that “the time is gradually approaching when the German fleet will be superior to all the fleets of the world, with the single exception of the English fleet,” and that in the past twelve years Germany had spent on new ships alone 63,200,000 pounds, or $316,000,000, while between then and 1914 she would spend 57,500,000 pounds more, or $287,500,000.

The annual report of the German Navy League in 1910 showed a total of 1,031,339 members as against an estimated membership in Britain’s League of 20,000. Professor T. Schieman of the University of Berlin, in the New York MCCLURE’S MAGAZINE for May of that year, clearly stated that Germany would not submit in future to British naval supremacy or to any limitation of armaments. During this period, also, Heligoland, the island handed over by Britain in 1890 in exchange for certain East African rights, became the key and center of the whole German coast defense system against England. Cuxhaven, Borkum, Emden, Wilhelmshaven—with twice as many Dreadnought docks as Portsmouth—Wangeroog, Bremerhaven, Geestemunde, etc., were magnificently fortified and guarded. Whether dictated by diplomatic considerations and affected latterly by the British-French alliance or influenced by Colonial and naval and commercial ambitions, there could be no doubt as to the danger of the situation at the beginning of 1914. In a book entitled “England and Germany,” published during 1912, Mr. A. J. Balfour, the British conservative leader, replied to various German contributors and gave the British view of the situation:

It must be remembered in the first place that we are a commercial nation, and war, whatever its issue, is ruinous to commerce and to the credit on which commerce depends. It must be remembered in the second place that we are a political nation, and unprovoked war (by us) would shatter in a day the most powerful Government and the most united party. It must be remembered in the third place that we are an insular nation, wholly dependent upon sea-borne supplies, possessing no considerable army, either for home defense or foreign service, and compelled therefore to play for very unequal stakes should Germany be our opponent in the hazardous game of war. It is this last consideration which I should earnestly ask enlightened Germans to weigh well if they would understand the British point of view. It can be made clear in a very few sentences. There are two ways in which a hostile country can be crushed. It can be conquered or it can be starved. If Germany were supreme in our home waters she could apply both methods to Britain. Were Britain ten times Mistress in the North Sea she could apply neither method to Germany. Without a superior fleet Britain would no longer count as a Power. Without any fleet at all Germany would remain the greatest power in Europe.

The Balkan wars proved and strengthened the power of Germany in diplomacy and in the Eastern Question, while it showed that a deadly struggle between nations might spring to an issue in a few days and a million armed men leap into war at a word. The enormous German special taxation of $250,000,000 authorized in the first part of 1913 for an additional military establishment of 4,000 officers, 15,000 non-commissioned officers and 117,000 men indicated the basic strength of the people’s military feeling, and ensured the still greater predominance of its army.


When war broke out on August 1, 1914, between the five greater Powers of Europe—Great Britain, Russia and France, on the one side and Germany and Austria on the other—the issue was at once brought home to about 450 millions of people in America, Asia and Africa who were connected with these nations by ties of allegiance or government, by racial association, or historic conquest. Of these peoples and lands by far the greater proportion were in the British Empire and included India, Burmah, South Africa, Australia, Canada and a multitude of smaller states and countries. Not the least remarkable of the events which ensued in the succeeding early weeks of the great War was the extraordinary way in which this vast and complex Empire found itself as a unit in fighting force, a unit in sentiment, a unit in co-operative action. Irish sedition, whether “loyal or disloyal,” Protestant or Catholic, largely vanished like the shadow of an evil dream; Indian talk of civil war and trouble disappeared; South African threats of rebellion took form in a feeble effort which melted away under the pressure of a Boer statesman and leader—General Botha; the idea that Colonial Dominions were seeking separation and would now find it proved as evanescent as a light mist before the sun. The following table indicates the nature of the resources of opposing nations and the character of their Colonial sources of support:

WealthPopulationTotal ArmyNavyPopulation of Colonies
Great Britain$80,000,000,00045,000,000800,000681368,000,000

It was a curious characteristic of the press comments and magazine articles and book studies of the War during these months that while varied fighting was going on in the various Colonies of these Powers and in the case of Great Britain, notably, countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India were pouring out men and gifts to aid the Empire, statistical calculations usually rated Great Britain as not an Empire but simply a nation with the wealth and population of its two little islands in the North Sea.

Properly the $80,000,000,000 of estimated British wealth should have e included the thousands of millions of treasure in India and Egypt, the gold mines and diamond resources of South Africa, the wheat fields and mines of Canada, the sheep farms and gold of Australia and many other sources; the estimate of population should have included the countless millions from which Britain could draw and did draw in the day of emergency. In this vast Empire British capital had been invested to an enormous amount—the estimated total in 1914 being $2,570,0000,000 for Canada and Newfoundland, $1,893,000,000 in India and Ceylon,$1,850,000,000 in south Africa, $1,660,000,000 in Australia, or a total in all British countries of $8,900,000,000. When the War broke out these Dominions endeavored to help the Mother Country in every possible way and the following table shows what was done in Canada alone during the first few months of the conflict:


Expeditionary force of over 32,000 men, fully equipped; 50,000 others under training for the front. Over 200 field and machine guns. Two submarines, for general service ($1,050,000); H.M.C.S. Niobe and Rainbow for general service. 1,000,000 bags of flour. $100,000 for “Hospice Canadien” in France. $50,000 for the relief of Belgian sufferers.


ALBERTA: 500,000 bushels of oats; 5,000 bags of flour for Belgians. Civil service, 5 per cent of salaries up to $1500 per annum, and 10 per cent in excess of that amount to Canadian Patriotic Fund.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: 25,000 cases of canned salmon; $5,000 to Belgian Relief Fund.

MANITOBA: 10,000 men; 50,000 bags of flour; $5,000 to Belgian Relief Fund.

NEW BRUNSWICK: 1,000 men; 100,000 bushels of potatoes, 15,000 barrels of potatoes for Belgium.

NOVA SCOTIA: $100,000 to the Prince of Wales Fund; apples for the troops; food and clothing for Belgium.

ONTARIO: $500,000; 250,000 bags of flour; 100,000 lbs of evaporated apples for the Navy; $15,000 to the Belgian Relief Fund.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: 100,000 bushels of oats; cheese and hay.

QUEBEC: 4,000,000 lbs of cheese; $25,000 to Belgian Relief Fund.

SASKATCHEWAN: 1,500 horses ($250,000); $5,000 to Belgian Relief Fund

THE YUKON: $6,000 to the Canadian Patriotic fund


OTTAWA: $300,000 (for machine gun sections—4 guns on armored motors and a detachment of 30 men); $50,000 to the Canadian Patriotic Fund.

QUEBEC: $20,000 Canadian Patriotic fund; insuring lives of Quebec volunteers.

MONTREAL: $150,000 (Canadian Patriotic Fund); battery of quick-firing guns; $10,000 to Belgian Relief fund.

TORONTO: $50,000 (Canadian Patriotic Fund); insuring lives of all Toronto volunteers; 100 horses for training purposes; carload for Belgians of canned provisions.

WINNIPEG: $5,000 monthly to Patriotic Fund

REGINA: $1,000 for comfort of the city’s soldiers; $62,500 To Belgian Relief Fund.

CALGARY: 1,000 MEN (Legion of Frontiersmen).

HAMILTON: $20,000 Patriotic Fund; $5,000 for local relief.

BERLIN: $10,000 Patriotic Fund.

ST. JOHNS, N.B. $10,000 Patriotic Fund; $2,000 Belgian Fund

THE WOMEN OF CANADA: Building, equipping and maintenance of “Canadian Women’s Hospital” of 100 beds to supplement Naval Hospital at Haslar ($182,857); $100,000 To War Office (40 motor ambulance cars purchased). Women of Nova Scotia $15,170 ($7,000 to Hospital, $5,000 Canadian Patriotic fund and rest to Red Cross).



Little Newfoundland sent a contingent of 510; placed a Naval Reserve force of 1,000 men in training and prepared a second contingent of 500 men, while contributing $120,000 to a local Patriotic Fund. Australia handed over its fleet of battleships and cruisers to the Admiralty and one of these, The Sydney, captured the Emden of German fame, while the New Zealand, a dreadnought from the Island Dominion of that name, held a place in the North Sea fighting line. Australia also sent 20,000 men who saw service before the end of the year in Egypt, provided reserves and prepared two more contingents, while sending donations of all kinds of food supplies for the poor in Britain or for the Belgian refugees. From India at once went a portion of the British Army which was replaced by native troops and then a large contingent of the latter, which took part in the protection of Egypt and in the fighting in France.

The great Princes of India—notably the Maharajahs of Nepaul, Gwalior, Patiala, Baratppur, Sikkim and Dholpur—placed the entire military resources of tens of millions of people at the disposal of the King-Emperor. The Maharajah of Rewa cabled this splendid message: “What orders from His Majesty for me and my troops?” The Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maharajah of Bikanir offered not only their troops, but the entire resources of their great states and their own personal services at the front. Bengal gave a million bags of jute for the army and the Maharajah of Mysore proffered 3,500 men and 50 lakhs of rupees (about $350,000). Practically all the 700 native rulers of states in India offered personal services, men and money. For active personal service the Viceroy selected the Chiefs of Jodhpur, Bikanir, Kishangarh, Rutlam, Sachin, Patiala, Sir Pertab Singh, Regent of Jodhpur, and others. Contingents of cavalry and infantry, supplies and transports were forwarded besides a camel corps from Bikanir, horses from many states, machine guns, hospital-bed contributions, motor cars and large gifts to the Patriotic and Belgian Relief Funds. New Zealand sent a first contingent of 8,000 troops and relief forces, prepared to send more and promised, like Canada and Australia, to continue training and sending troops as long as they should be required. On the other hand Great Britain undertook to finance the actual military operations of these countries by lending the four Dominions $210,000,000 and undertaking to provide more when needed.

It was with this unity, and in this spirit, that the British Empire entered the great War for the redemption of its pledges to Belgium and adherence to its French obligations—Russia only coming indirectly into the first stage of the question and Japan, through the force of its Treaty, undertaking to guard British interests in the East.

Chapter V.

Wars as Mileposts—A Continent in Arms—How Canada Prepared for War—the British Sentiment—Lord Kitchener’s Career—A Forceful Character

The history of the leading events in the nations of Europe during a hundred years of the past, so far as they related to the decline of autocratic power in the monarchs and the development of popular rights and liberty, has been given in the preceding chapters, where it is brought down to the close of the Balkan War and the opening of the great war that succeeded in 1914. As regards this war, its story cannot be told or even summarized in a chapter, but some indication of its general character may be given.


Wars serve as convenient mileposts in the history of mankind. They deal with the great struggles which break up the monotony of peace and bring the nations into volcanic relations. They have been many and their causes and effects various; strifes for spoil or dominion; savage invasions of civilized lands; overflow of vast areas by conquering tribes or nations. But among all the world has so far known there has been none so stupendous in character, so portentous in purpose, so vast in fighting multitudes, so terrible in bloodshed, as the one with which we are here concerned, the lurid meeting of the nations on the blood-stained fields of battle which broke upon the quiet of the world with startling suddenness in the summer of 1914. Launched on the borders of little Servia, it soon had the continent for its field of action, and all but one of the greater nations of Europe for its participants. It may therefore fitly be designated the Great War. Great it was, alike in the number and strength of the Powers involved, in the enormous array of armed men engaged, in the destructive power of the weapons employed, in the loss of life and waste of wealth that attended its earthquaking development.

In reading the history of the past we find it thickly strewn with stories of fierce battles, a day, two days, rarely much longer in extent, protracted intervals of marching and countermarching succeeding before the armies again locked horns. Such was the case in the American Civil War, in which the three days’ battle at Gettysburg was the greatest in length, if the six days’ fighting before Richmond be taken to constitute a succession of battles.

In the Russo-Japanese war much longer struggles took place. The armies at Liaoyung fought for eight days and those before Mukden for twenty days. But a more obstinate struggle still was that of September and October, 1914, when two armies, stretched out over a line two hundred miles or more in length, fought with ceaseless fury, by day and night alike, for more than a month. On the moving picture screen of time this vast conflict stands out without parallel in the world’s annals, the most unyielding, incessant battling ever known.


In the giant warfare here described we behold a continent, well nigh a world, in arms. Along the rivers north of Paris three powerful nations, Germany, France and Britain, wrestled like mighty behemoths for supremacy. Far eastward, on the borders of Russia, Austria and Germany, two other great Powers, Russia and Austria, with German armies to aid the latter, strove with equal fury for victory.

Thus raged the Great War. How many took part it is difficult to estimate. Among the war tales of the past the most stupendous army on record is that of Xerxes, said by Herodotus to number 2,317,600 men, who marched from Asia to face defeat in the diminutive land of Greece. How large this fabulously great army really was we shall never know, but even at the figures given it was dwarfed by the hosts in arms in the Great European War, in which between four and five million men fought with fierceness unsurpassed.

The field of action of this mighty contest was not confined to Europe. On the far-off border of Asia another Power, the warlike empire of Japan, sent forth its soldiers to drive the Germans from China. In Africa and on the South Pacific the colonists of Britain set other forces in motion to invade the German colonial regions. From British India sailed a strong array of dark-skinned warriors to take part in the war in France. From Algeria and Senegal came hordes of sable recruits for the French army, and from the cities and provinces of the Dominion of Canada came still another army of ardent patriots eager to aid the forces of their fatherland. We may well speak of the contest as not one of a continent but of the entire world.


The story of the patriotic ardor of the Canadians is of interest, as given by a correspondent of the London GRAPHIC, who passed through the Dominion after the opening of the war.

“The news of the great war came like a bolt from the blue. The effect was startling. The ordinary flow of Canadian life was suddenly arrested. The customary routine seemed to stop dead still. The whole of Canadian thought and much of the people’s energy were switched on to the great staggering fact that Europe was at war, and the old country fighting for its life. A most wonderful and touching patriotism welled up in the heart of the Canadians. The air became electric with excitement and enthusiasm. The prairie was indeed on fire. Passing through English towns on my journey to London the calm and peaceful demeanor of the people and the even flow of life seemed in strange contrast with the land I had just left, where the population was throbbing with loyal passion, and the war dominated the existence of the inhabitants, high and low, from Victoria to Halifax. One Canadian scene that remains impressed upon my mind was the sea of upturned faces in front of the offices of the Calgary News Telegram—every ear straining to the point where the war news was announced at intervals through a megaphone.

“‘We stand shoulder to shoulder.’ Sir Robert Borden, the Premier, had said, ‘with Britain and the other British Dominions in this quarrel, and that duty we shall not fail to fulfil as the honor of Canada demands.’ It is being fulfilled in a score of different ways, but mainly in the practical spirit that is characteristic of the country. The Dominion is the Empire’s granary, and through the granary doors, as the Motherland knows, are passing huge gifts of food to the British population. At the same time the stoppage of the export of all foodstuffs to other countries is proposed.

“Soon the Dominion began to mobilize. Regiments seemed to spring up, as if by magic, from the ground—not hordes of untrained men, but stalwart horsemen, accustomed to the rifle and inured to a hard outdoor life. The Germans will knock against another ‘bit of hard stuff’ when they meet the Canadian contingents. One of the regiments carries the name of the Princess Patricia, who, by the way, holds quite a unique position in the hearts of the people. The popular Princess was, shortly after I left, to have presented her regiment with their colors—worked by her own hands.

“Londoners were happy in the knowledge that more such men could be sent, if necessary, up to 200,000 in number—such was the earnestness of the people. One met this practical earnestness in a dozen different directions—in such facts, for instance, as the conversion of the great Winnipeg Industrial Hall into a military training center—and not the least significant feature in the situation is the manner in which the prevalent enthusiasm had spread to the American inhabitants of the country. The trade intimacy between the United States and the Dominion was, indeed, constantly growing, and the many great American manufacturing concerns which had planted themselves in Canada had attained prosperity. It was pleasant and reassuring to think that this had not weakened the ties of attachment to the old country. In the days to succeed the war the Dominion can look back with pride upon the part she bore in sustaining the arms of Mother England, and can take her place with happy confidence and added strength as the eldest daughter in the great family of British peoples.”

The enthusiasm thus indicated among the Canadians, which had its outcome in the despatch of 323,000 sons of the dominion in late September to the seat of war, to be quickly followed by a second contingent, was paralleled in India, which sent to France 70,000 of its dusky sons to join the struggling hosts. As for the remaining countries of the British empire, Australia, South Africa, East Africa, etc., a similar sentiment of loyalty prevailed, manifested there by the sending of contingents or in expeditions against the German colonies in the South Sea and in Africa. The whole empire was ready to support the mother country.

Certainly the Kaiser of Germany, William the War Lord, had set loose in the air a nest of hornets to sting his well-trained warriors. By his side stood only Austria, a composite empire which soon found all its strength too little to hold back the mighty Russian tide that swept across its borders. Thus this one stalwart nation, with its weak auxiliary, was forced to face now east, now west, against a continent in arms. It is difficult to imagine that the Kaiser could have hoped to succeed, despite the training of his people and the strength of his artillery. “God fights with the heaviest battalions,” said one who knew, and the weight of battalions, though at first on William’s side, could not remain so.


While the British people, with their lack of a system of militarism, were not in condition to send large bodies of troops at once to the aid of the mobilized French, they were soon ready to despatch a useful contingent of trained men. Probably the German emperor counted upon the disturbance in Ireland between the Ulsterites and the people of the Catholic provinces to tie the hands of the government, but these people at once suspended their hostile sentiments in favor of the larger needs of their country. In England itself the militant suffragettes showed equal patriotism, at once agreeing to desist from all acts of violence and offering to aid their country to the extent of their powers.


The British government appointed Lord Kitchener, the hero of many successful expeditions, Secretary of State for War, putting the whole management of military affairs into his competent hands. His fitness for this was thoroughly attested by his long and brilliant service, and as the presence of Napoleon was said to be equal to an army, so was that of this able military leader.

For those who are not familiar with Kitchener’s career a brief statement concerning it may be useful. Born in 1850, Horatio Herbert Kitchener entered the army in 1871, was in civil life 1874–82, then returned to army duty. He took part in the Nile expedition of 1884 for the rescue of General Gordon and commanded a brigade in the Suakim campaign of 1888. Governor of Suakim 1886–88, adjutant-general of the Egyptian army 1888–92, he was appointed to the command of this army, with the Egyptian rank of Sirdar, in 1890.

His service in Egypt was during the period of the Mahdi outbreak, which began in 1883, defeated all the armies sent to quell it, and for years held the Sudan region of Egypt. In 1896 Kitchener set out for its suppression, recovering Dongola, and organizing an expedition against the Khalifa, the successor of the Mahdi. He defeated the Dervish army of the Khalifa in April, 1898, and on September 2d of that year utterly crushed the Dervish hosts at Omdurman, regaining the Sudan for Egypt and Britain.

This exploit brought him the thanks of parliament and the title of baron, with a grant of 30,000 pounds and a sword of honor. In 1899 he went with Lord Roberts to South Africa as chief of staff, and on Lord Roberts’ return in 1900 he succeeded him as commander-in-chief and brought the Boer War to a successful conclusion. He was now made full general, with the rank of viscount, and subsequently served as commander-in-chief in India.


In an illuminating article in COLLIER’S WEEKLY, the well-known Irish journalist, T. P. O’Connor, thus brought out the character of the hero of Khartoum:

“I attribute something of the Lord Kitchener we know to the fact that, though English by blood, he spent the first years of his life in wandering over the hills and looking down on the sea-tossed shores of County Kerry. That tact which enabled him to settle the issue with Marchand, the French explorer, at Fashoda, suggests some of the lessons in the soft answer which Ireland can teach. You remember how, when it was possible that a collision between him and Marchand might mean a war between England and France, Lord Kitchener sent some fresh vegetables and champagne to the daring French explorer, who had gone through the hunger, thirst, and hardship of the desert for months. Marchand had to go from Fashoda all the same, but he went with no personal grievance.

“If I look for the roots of Lord Kitchener’s greatness, I trace them to intense ambition to succeed, to make the most of his opportunities—above all, to the incessant desire to work and fill every hour of his days with something done. He is sent as a youngster to Palestine, through peril to life, through great privation, through heart-breaking drudgery, he pursues his work until he has completed a map of all western Palestine to the amazement and delight of his employers. And he values this experience so largely because he learns Arabic, and, above all, he learns the Arabic character. One of the chroniclers of his career makes the apt observation that, while the baton of the marshal is in every French soldier’s knapsack, Kitchener found his coronet in the Arab grammar. But how many soldiers or men of any class would have devoted the leisure hours of a fiercely active task like Kitchener’s in Palestine to the study of one of the most difficult of languages?

“Hard work, patience, and the utilization of every second of time, the eagerness always to learn—these are the chief secrets of Lord Kitchener’s enormous success in life. But the man who works himself is ineffective in great things unless he has the gift to choose the men who can work for him and with him. This choice of subordinates is one of Lord Kitchener’s greatest powers. He nearly always has had the right man in the right place. And his men return his confidence because he gives them absolute confidence. He never thinks of asking a subordinate whether he has done the job he has given him; he takes that for granted, knowing his man; and he never worries his subordinates.

“This is one of the reasons why, though he works so terrifically, he never is tired, never worried. He sits down at his desk at the War Office for about ten hours a day; but he sits there calmly, isn’t ringing at bells and shouting down pipes; he does it all so quietly that it seems mere pastime; and the effect of this perfect tranquillity produces an extraordinary result on those who work with him. They also do their work easily, tranquilly, and without feeling it.

“A great soldier certainly; but perhaps a greater organizer than anything else. This is his supreme quality, and for that quality there is necessary, above all things, a clear, penetrating brain. He doesn’t form any visions—as Napoleon used to complain of some of his marshals. At school he was celebrated for his knowledge of mathematics, and especially for his phenomenal rapidity in dealing with figures, and it was not accident that so truly a scientific mind found its natural place in the engineers. A mathematician, an engineer, a man of science, a great accountant—these things he has been in all his enterprises. It was these qualities that enabled him to make that astounding railway which brought Cairo almost into touch with the Khalifa, who, with his predecessor, the Mahdi, and with his tragically potent ally, the hungry and all-devouring desert, had beaten back so many other attempts to reach and to beat him.

“This man, who has fought such tremendous and historic battles and confronted great odds, is yet a man who prefers a deal to a struggle; and, though he can be so stern, has yet a diplomatic tact that gets him and his country out of difficult hours. The nature, doubtless, is complex, and stern determination and tenacity are part of it; but there is also the other side, which is much forgotten—especially by that class of writers who have to describe human character as rigidly symmetrical and unnaturally harmonious.

“That cold and penetrating eye of his makes it impossible to imagine anybody taking any liberties with Lord Kitchener; yet one of his greatest qualities, at once useful and charming, is his accessibility. Anybody who has anything to say to him can approach him; anybody who has anything to teach him will find a ready and grateful learner. This is one of the secrets of his extraordinary success and universal popularity in Egypt. Lord Cromer was a great Egyptian ruler, and his services are imperishable and gigantic; but Lord Cromer was the stern, solitary, and inaccessible bureaucrat who worked innumerable hours every day at his desk, never learned the Arabic language, and possibly never quite grasped the Arab nature. Lord Kitchener is the cadi under the tree. The mayor or the citizens of the little Arab village can come to him, and the old soldier, and even the fellah, alone; and they will find Lord Kitchener ready to listen and to talk to them in their own tongue, to enter with gusto into the pettiest details of their daily and squalid lives, and ready also to apply the remedy to such grievances as commend themselves to his judgment.

“As an illustration of his accessibility, let me repeat a delicious story which delighted all Egypt. An old peasant came out of the depths of the land all the way to Cairo to see the great Kitchener, with the complaint that his white mule had been stolen. The whole official machinery was interrupted for a while, and the old fellah went back with his white mule. You can fancy how that story was repeated in every fellah cabin in the land, and how the devotion to Kitchener and trust in his justice and in his sympathy went trumpet-tongued among this race, downtrodden and neglected almost from the beginning of time.”

Such is the man who, when chosen to head the British War Department, had his bed sent to the office, that he might be on duty day and night if needed; who insisted that no raw recruits should be sent to the front, but put them through a rigid system of drill and physical exercise to toughen their muscles and fit them for the work of a soldier; who said that there would be abundant time for fighting, as in his judgment there was a year or more of war in prospect.

Chapter VI.

Its Effect on National conditions Finally Led to the War of 1914

Its Effect on National Conditions Finally Led to the War of 1914
Conditions in France and Germany—The Campaign in Italy—The Victory at Marengo—Moreau at Hohenlinden—The Consul Made Emperor—The Code Napoleon—Campaign of 1805—Battle of Austerlitz—The Conquest of Prussia—The Invasion of Poland—Eylau and Friedland—Campaign of 1809—Victory at Wagram—The Campaign in Spain—The Invasion of Russia—A Fatal Retreat—Dresden and Leipzig—The Hundred Days—The Congress of Vienna—The Holy Alliance

When, after a weary climb, we find ourselves on the summit of a lofty mountain, and look back from that commanding altitude over the ground we have traversed, what is it that we behold? The minor details of the scenery, many of which seemed large and important to us as we passed, are now lost to view, and we see only the great and imposing features of the landscape, the high elevations, the town-studded valleys, the deep and winding streams, the broad forests. It is the same when, from the summit of an age, we gaze backward over the plain of time. The myriad of petty happenings are lost to sight, and we see only the striking events, the critical epochs, the mighty crises through which the world has passed. These are the things that make true history, not the daily doings in the king’s palace or the peasant’s hut. What we should seek to observe and store up in our memories are the turning points in human events, the great thoughts which have ripened into noble deeds, the hands of might which have pushed the world forward in its career; not the trifling occurrences which signify nothing, the passing actions which have borne no fruit in human affairs. It is with such turning points, such critical periods in modern history, that we are here dealing; not to picture the passing bubbles on the stream of time, but to point out the great ships which have sailed up that stream laden with a noble freight. This is history in its deepest and best aspect, and we have set our camera to photograph only the men who have made and the events which constitute history in the phase here outlined.

The first fifteen years of the nineteenth century in Europe yield us the history of a man rather than of a continent. France was the center of Europe; Napoleon, the Corsican, was the center of France. All the affairs of all the nations seemed to gather around this genius of war. He was respected, feared, hated; he had risen with the suddenness of a thunder-cloud on a clear horizon, and flashed the lightnings of victory in the dazzled eyes of the nations. All the events of the period were concentrated into one great event, and the name of that event was Napoleon. He seemed incarnate war, organized destruction; sword in hand, he dominated the nations, and victory sat on his banners with folded wings. He was, in a full sense, the man of destiny, and Europe was his prey.

Never has there been a more wonderful career. The earlier great conquerors began life at the top; Napoleon began his at the bottom. Alexander was a king; Caesar was an aristocrat of the Roman republic; Napoleon rose from the people, and was not even a native of the land which became the scene of his exploits. Pure force of military genius lifted him from the lowest to the highest place among mankind, and for long and terrible years Europe shuddered at his name and trembled beneath the tread of his marching legions. As for France, he brought it glory and left it ruin and dismay.

The career of Napoleon Bonaparte began in a very modest way. Born in Corsica and trained in a military school in France, his native ability as a man of action was first made evident in 1794, when, under the orders of the National Convention, he quelled the mob of Paris with loaded cannon and put a final end to the Reign of Terror that had long prevailed.

Placed at the head of the French army in Italy, Napoleon quickly astonished the world by a series of the most brilliant victories, defeating the Austrians and the Sardinians wherever he met them, seizing Venice, the city of the lagoon, and forcing almost all Italy to submit to his arms. A republic was established here and a new one in Switzerland, while Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine were held by France.

His wars here at an end, Napoleon’s ambition led him to Egypt, inspired by great designs which he failed to realize. In his absence anarchy arose in France. The five Directors, then at the head of the government, had lost all authority, and Napoleon, who had unexpectedly returned, did not hesitate to overthrow them and the Assembly which supported them. A new government, with three Consuls at its head, was formed, Napoleon, as First Consul, holding almost royal power. Thus France stood in 1800, at the end of the eighteenth century.


In the remainder of Europe there was nothing to compare with the momentous convulsion which had taken place in France. England had gone through its two revolutions more than a century before, and its people were the freest of any in Europe. Recently it had lost its colonies in America, but it still held in that continent the broad domain of Canada, and was building for itself a new empire in India, while founding colonies in twenty other lands. In commerce and manufactures it entered the nineteenth century as the greatest nation on the earth. The hammer and the loom resounded from end to end of the island, mighty centers of industry arose where cattle had grazed a century before, coal and iron were being torn in great quantities from the depths of the earth, and there seemed everywhere an endless bustle and whirr. The ships of England haunted all seas and visited the most remote ports, laden with the products of her workshops and bringing back raw material for her factories and looms. Wealth accumulated, London became the money market of the world, the riches and prosperity of the island kingdom were growing to be a parable among the nations of the earth.

On the continent of Europe, Prussia, destined in time to become great, had recently emerged from its medieval feebleness, mainly under the powerful hand of Frederick the Great, whose reign extended until 1786, and whose ambition, daring, and military genius made him a fitting predecessor of Napoleon the Great, who so soon succeeded him in the annals of war. Unscrupulous in his aims, this warrior king had torn Silesia from Austria, added to his kingdom a portion of unfortunate Poland, annexed the principality of East Friesland, and lifted Prussia into a leading position among the European states.

Germany, now—with the exception of Austria—a compact empire, was then a series of disconnected states, variously known as kingdoms, principalities, margravates, electorates, and by other titles, the whole forming the so-called Holy Empire, though it was “neither holy nor an empire.” It had drifted down in this fashion from the Middle Ages, and the work of consolidation had but just begun, in the conquests of Frederick the Great. A host of petty potentates ruled the land, whose states, aside from Prussia and Austria, were too weak to have a voice in the councils of Europe. Joseph II, the titular emperor of Germany, made an earnest and vigorous effort to combine its elements into a powerful unit; but he signally failed, and died in 1790, a disappointed and embittered man.

Austria, then far the most powerful of the German states, was from 1740 to 1780 under the reign of a woman, Maria Theresa, who struggled in vain against her ambitious neighbor, Frederick the Great, his kingdom being extended ruthlessly at the expense of her imperial dominions. Austria remained a great country, however, including Bohemia and Hungary among its domains. It was lord of Lombardy and Venice in Italy, but was destined to play an unfortunate part in the coming Napoleonic wars.

We have briefly epitomized Napoleon’s early career, his doings in the Revolution, in Italy, and in Egypt, unto the time that France’s worship of his military genius raised him to the rank of First Consul, and gave him in effect the power of a king. No one dared question his word, the army was at his beck and call, the nation lay prostrate at his feet—not in fear but in admiration. Such was the state of affairs in France in the closing year of the eighteenth century. The Revolution was at an end, the Republic existed only as a name; Napoleon was the autocrat of France and the terror of Europe. From this point we resume the story of his career.

The First Consul began his reign with two enemies in the field, England and Austria. Prussia was neutral, and he had won the friendship of Paul, the emperor of Russia, by a shrewd move. While the other nations refused to exchange the Russian prisoners they held, Napoleon sent home 6,000 of these captives, newly clad and armed, under their own leaders, and without demanding ransom. This was enough to win to his side the weak-minded Paul, whose delight in soldiers he well knew.

Napoleon now had but two enemies in arms to deal with. He wrote letters to the king of England and the emperor of Austria, offering peace. The answers were cold and insulting, asking France to take back her Bourbon kings and return to her old boundaries. Nothing remained but war. Napoleon prepared it with his usual rapidity, secrecy, and keenness of judgment.


There were two French armies in the field in the spring of 1800, Moreau commanding in Germany, Massena in Italy. Switzerland, which was occupied by the French, divided the armies of the enemy, and Napoleon determined to take advantage of the separation of their forces, and strike an overwhelming blow. He sent word to Moreau and Massena to keep the enemy in check at any cost, and secretly gathered a third army, whose corps were dispersed here and there, while the Powers of Europe were aware only of the army of reserve at Dijon, made up of conscripts and invalids. All was ready for the great movement which Napoleon had in view.

Twenty centuries before, Hannibal had led his army across the great mountain barrier of the Alps, and poured down like an avalanche upon the fertile plains of Italy. The Corsican determined to repeat this brilliant achievement and emulate Hannibal’s career. Several passes across the mountains seemed favorable to his purpose, especially those of the St. Bernard, the Simplon and Mount Cenis. Of these the first was the most difficult; but it was much the shorter, and Napoleon determined to lead the main body of his army over this ice-covered mountain pass, despite its dangers and difficulties. The enterprise was one to deter any man less bold than Hannibal or Napoleon, but it was welcome to the hardihood and daring of these men, who rejoiced in the seemingly impossible and spurned faltering at hardships and perils.

The task of the Corsican was greater than that of the Carthaginian. He had cannon to transport, while Hannibal’s men carried only swords and spears. But the genius of Napoleon was equal to the task. The cannon were taken from their carriages and placed in the hollowed-out trunks of trees, which could be dragged with ropes over the ice and snow. Mules were used to draw the gun-carriages and the wagon-loads of food and munitions of war. Stores of provisions had been placed at suitable points along the road.

The sudden appearance of the French in Italy was an utter surprise to the Austrians. They descended like a torrent into the valley, seized Ivry, and five days after reaching Italy met and repulsed an Austrian force. The divisions which had crossed by other passes one by one joined Napoleon. On June 9th Marshal Lannes met and defeated the Austrians at Montebello, after a hot engagement. “I heard the bones crackle like a hailstorm on the roofs,” he said. On the 14th, the two armies met on the plain of Marengo, and one of the most famous of Napoleon’s battles began.


Napoleon was not ready for the coming battle, and was taken by surprise. He had been obliged to break up his army in order to guard all the passages open to the enemy. Suddenly attacked and taken by surprise, his army was defeated and driven back in retreat in the first stage of the battle. But Napoleon was not the man to accept defeat. Hurrying up Desaix, one of his most trusted generals, with his corps, he flung these fresh troops upon the enemy, following up the assault with the dragoons of Kellermann. The result was a disastrous rout of the Austrians, who were driven from the field, leaving thousands of dead, and other thousands of prisoners in the hands of the enemy.

A few days afterwards on the 19th, Moreau in Germany won a brilliant victory at Hockstadt, near Blemheim, took 5,000 prisoners and twenty pieces of cannon, and forced from the Austrians an armed truce which left him master of South Germany. A still more momentous armistice was signed by Melas in Italy, by which the Austrians surrendered Piedmont, Lombardy, and all their territory as far as the Mincio, leaving France master of Italy.


What followed must be briefly detailed. Only a truce, not a peace, had followed the victories of Napoleon and Moreau, and five months later, Austria refusing to make peace without the concurrence of England, the war began again. Moreau winning another famous victory on the plains of Hohenlinden, the Austrians losing 8,000 in killed and wounded and 12,000 in prisoners.

Moreau advanced to Vienna, where the emperor was forced to sign an armistice, giving up to France the valley of the Danube, the country of the Tyrol, a number of fortresses and large magazines of war material. This truce was followed by a peace in February, 1801. It was one that left Napoleon the idol of France, the terror of Europe, and the admiration of the world. He had proved himself the mate of Caesar and Alexander as a conqueror.


The events that followed must be briefly epitomized. For nearly the only time in his career Napoleon had a period of peace. In this he showed himself an autocratic but able ruler, making himself king in everything but name, restoring the old court customs and etiquette, but not interfering with the liberties and privileges which the people had won by the Revolution. Feudalism had been definitely overthrown and Napoleon’s supremacy in the state was one that recognized the popular freedom.

The culmination of Napoleon’s ambition came in 1804, when he followed the example of Caesar, the Roman conqueror, seeking the crown as a reward for his victories. Like Caesar, he had his enemies, but, more fortunate than Caesar, he escaped their plots and was elected Emperor of the French by an almost unanimous vote of the people. The Pope was obliged to come to Paris at the fiat of the new autocrat and to anoint him as emperor, the sanction of the Church being thus given to his new dignity. His empire was one founded upon modern ideas, one called into existence by the votes of a free people, not resting upon the necks of a nation of serfs.


During his brief respite from war Napoleon’s activity was great, his statesmanship notable. Great public works, monuments to his glory, were constructed, wide schemes of public improvement were entered upon, and important changes were made in the financial system that provided the great sums needed for these enterprises. The most important of these evidences of intellectual activity was the Code Napoleon, the first organized code of French law and still the basis of jurisprudence in France. This, first promulgated in 1801 as the civil code of France, had its title changed to Code Napoleon in 1804, and as such stands as one of the greatest monuments to the mental capacity of this extraordinary man.

The period of peace during which these events took place was one of brief endurance. It practically ended in 1803, when Great Britain, Napoleon’s most persistent foe, again declared war. But actual war did not begin until two years later.

The Emperor’s role in this period was one of threat. England had been invaded and conquered from France once before. It might be again. Like William of Normandy, Napoleon prepared a large fleet and strong army and threatened an invasion of the island kingdom. This might possibly have been successful but for the shrewd policy of William Pitt, the British Prime Minister, who organized a coalition of Napoleon’s enemies in Europe which gave him a new use for his army.


The coalition embraced Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden and Norway, with Great Britain at their back. The bold Corsican had roused nearly all Europe against him. He dealt with it in his usual alert and successful manner.

Quick as were his enemies to come into the field, they were not quick enough for their vigilant foe. The army prepared for the invasion of England was at once set in motion towards the Rhine, and was handled with such skill as to surround at Ulm the Austrian army under General Mack and force its surrender.

This took place in October. On the 1st of December the two armies (92,000 of the allies to 70,000 French) came face to face on the field of Austerlitz, where on the following day was to be fought one of the world’s most memorable battles.


The Emperor Alexander had joined Francis of Austria, and the two monarchs with their staff officers, occupied the castle and village of Austerlitz. Their troops hastened to occupy the plateau of Pratzen, which Napoleon had designedly left free. His plans of battle were already fully made. He had, with the intuition of genius, foreseen the probable maneuvers of the enemy, and had left open for them the position which he wished them to occupy. He even announced their movement in a proclamation to his troops.

“The positions that we occupy are formidable,” he said, “and while the enemy march to turn my right they will present to me their flank.”

This movement to the right was indeed the one that had been decided upon by the allies, with the purpose of cutting off the road to Vienna by isolating numerous corps dispersed in Austria and Styria. It had been shrewdly divined by Napoleon in choosing his ground.

He held his own men in readiness while the line of the enemy deployed. The sun was rising, its rays gleaming through a mist, which dispersed as it rose higher. It now poured its brilliant beams across the field, the afterward famous “sun of Austerlitz.” The movement of the allies had the effect of partly withdrawing their troops from the plateau of Pratzen. At a signal from the emperor the strongly concentrated center of the French army moved forward in a dense mass, directing their march towards the plateau, which they made all haste to occupy. They had reached the foot of the hill before the rising mist revealed them to the enemy.

The two emperors watched the movement without divining its intent. “See how the French climb the height without staying to reply to our fire,” said Prince Czartoryski, who stood near them.

They were soon to learn why their fire was disdained. The allied force, pierced in its center by the French, was flung back in disorder and on all sides broke into a disorderly retreat. The slaughter was frightful. One division, cut off from the army, threw down its arms and surrendered. Two columns rushed upon the ice of a frozen lake. Upon this the fire of the French cannon was turned, the ice splintered and gave way beneath their feet and thousands of the despairing troops perished in the freezing waters. Of the whole army only one corps left the field in order of battle. More than 30,000 prisoners, including twenty generals, remained in Napoleon’s hands, and with them a hundred and twenty pieces of cannon and forty flags. Thus ended the most famous of Napoleon’s battles.

The victory of Austerlitz left Germany in Napoleon’s hands, and the remodeling of the map of Europe was one of the greatest that has ever taken place at any one time. Kingdoms were formed and placed under Napoleon’s brothers or favorite generals. His changes in the states of Germany were numerous and radical. Those of south and west Germany were organized into the Confederation of the Rhine, under his protection. Many of the small principalities were suppressed and their territories added to the larger states. As to the “Holy Roman Empire,” a once powerful organization which had long since sunk into a mere shadow, it finally ceased to exist. The empire of France was extended by these and other changes until is spread over Italy, the Netherlands and the south and west of Germany.

Changes so great as these could scarcely be made without exciting bitter opposition. Prussia had been seriously affected by Napoleon’s map-making, and in the end its king, Frederick William, became so exasperated that he broke off all communication with France and began to prepare for war.


It is by no means impossible that Napoleon had been working for this. It is certain that he was quick to take advantage of it. While the Prussian king was slowly collecting his troops and war material, the veterans of France were already on the march and approaching the borders of Prussia. The hasty levies of “Frederick William were no match for the war-hardened French, the Russians failed to come to their aid, and on the 4th of October, 1806, the two armies met at Jena.

The Prussians proved incapable of withstanding the impetuous attack of the French and were soon broken and in panic and flight. Nothing could stop them. Reinforcements coming up, 20,000 in number, were thrown across their path, but in vain, being swept away by the fugitives and pushed back by the triumphant pursuers.

At the same time another battle was in progress near Auerstadt between Marshal Davoust and the forces of the Duke of Brunswick. This, too, ended in victory for the French. The king had been with the duke and was borne back by the flying host, the two bodies of fugitives finally coalescing. In that one fatal day Frederick William had lost his army and placed his kingdom in jeopardy. “They can do nothing but gather up the debris,” said Napoleon.

The occupation of Berlin, the Prussian capital, quickly followed, and the war ended with new map-making which greatly reduced the influence of Prussia as a European Power.


Russia was still in arms, and occupied Poland. Thither the victorious French now advanced, making Warsaw, the Polish capital, the goal of their march. The Russians were beaten and forced back in every battle, and the Poles, hoping to regain their lost liberties, gladly rose in aid of the invader. But the French army found itself exposed to serious privations. The country was a frozen desert, incapable of supplying food for an army. The wintry chill and the desolate character of the country seriously interfered with Napoleon’s plans, the troops being obliged to make their way through thick and rain-soaked forests, and march over desolate and marshy plains. The winter of the north fought against them like a strong army and many of them fell dead without a battle. Warlike movements became almost impossible to the troops of the south, though the hardy northerners, accustomed to the climate, continued their military operations.


By the end of January the Russian army was evidently approaching in force, and immediate action became necessary. The cold increased. The mud was converted into ice. On January 30, 1807, Napoleon left Warsaw and marched in search of the enemy. General Benningsen retreated, avoiding battle, and on the 7th of February entered the small town of Eylau, from which his troops were pushed by the approaching French. He encamped outside the town, the French in and about it; it was evident that a great battle was at hand.

The weather was cold. Snow lay thick upon the ground and still fell in great flakes. A sheet of ice covering some small lakes formed part of the country upon which the armies were encamped, but was thick enough to bear their weight. It was a chill, inhospitable country to which the demon of war had come.

Before daybreak on the 8th Napoleon was in the streets of Eylau, forming his line of battle for the coming engagement. Soon the artillery of both armies opened, and a rain of cannon balls began to decimate the opposing ranks. The Russian fire was concentrated on the town, which was soon in flames. That of the French was directed against a hill which the emperor deemed it important to occupy. The two armies, nearly equal in numbers,—the French having 75,000 to the Russian 70,000—were but a short distance apart, and the slaughter from the fierce cannonade was terrible.

Nature, which had so far acted to check the advance of the French in Poland, now threatened their defeat and destruction. A snow-fall began, so thick and dense that the armies lost sight of each other, the French columns losing their way in the gloom. When the snow ceased, after a half-hour’s fall, the French army was in a critical position. It was in a wandering and disorganized state, while the Russians were on the point of executing a vigorous turning movement.

Yet the genius of Napoleon turned the scale. He ordered a grand charge of all the cavalry of his army, driving the Russians back, occupying a hilly ground in their rear, and in the end handling them so vigorously that a final retreat began.

Thus ended the most indecisive of Napoleon’s victories, one which had almost been a defeat and which left both armies so exhausted that months passed before either was in condition to resume the war. It was the month of June before the armies were again put in motion. Now the wintry desolation was replaced by a scene of green woodland, shining lakes and attractive villages, the conditions being far more favorable for warlike operations.

On June 13th the armies again met, this time at the town of Friedland, on the River Alle, in the vicinity of Konigsberg, toward which the Russians were marching. Here Benningsen, the Russian general, had incautiously concentrated his troops within a bend of the river, a tactical mistake of which Napoleon hastened to take advantage.

General Ney fought his way into the town and took the bridges, while the main force of the French marched upon the entrapped enemy, who met with complete defeat, many being killed on the field, many more drowned in the river. Konigsberg, the prize of victory, was quickly occupied by the French, Prussia the ally of Russia, thus losing all its area except the single town of Memel. The result was disastrous to the Prussian king, who was forced to yield more than half his kingdom.

Louisa, the beautiful queen of Frederick William of Prussia, had an interview with Napoleon and earnestly sought to induce him to mitigate his harsh terms. In vain she brought to bear upon him all her powers of persuasion and attractive charm of manner. He continued cold and obdurate and she left Tilsit deeply mortified and humiliated.

If Napoleon had come near defeat in the campaign of 1807, he came much nearer in that of 1809, in which his long career of victory was for a time diversified by an example of defeat, from the consequences of which only his indomitable energy saved him. And this was at the hands of the Austrians, who had so often met with defeat and humiliation at his hands.

In 1808 the defeat of his armies in Spain by the people organized into guerilla bands forced him to take command there in person. He defeated the insurgents wherever met, took the city of Saragossa and replaced his brother Joseph on the throne. Then the outbreak of war in Austria called him away and he was forced to leave Spain for later attention


The declaration of war by Austria arose from indignation at the arbitrary acts of the conqueror, this growing so intense that in April 1809, a new declaration was made and new armies called into the field.

The French campaign was characterized by the usual rapidity. But on this occasion the Archduke Charles, who led the Austrians, proved equally rapid, and was in the field so quickly that the widely-spread French army was for a time in imminent danger of being cut in two by the alert enemy.

Only a brief hesitation on the part of the Archduke saved the French from this peril. They concentrated with the utmost haste, forced the Austrians back, and captured a large number of prisoners and cannon. In Italy, on the contrary, the Austrians, were victorious, but the rapid advance of Napoleon towards Vienna caused their recall and the campaign became a race for the capital of Austria. In this Napoleon succeeded, the garrison yielding the city to his troops.

Meanwhile the Archdukes Charles and John, the latter in command of the army from Italy, were marching hastily towards the opposite side of the Danube. Napoleon, seeking to strike a blow before a junction between the armies could be made, crossed the river by the aid of bridges thrown from the island of Lobau and occupied the villages of Aspern and Essling.

This was done on May 20th, but during that night the strong current of the river carried away the bridge, leaving the French in a perilous situation. On the afternoon of the 21st the entire Austrian army, 70,000 to 80,000 strong, attacked the French in the two villages, who held their posts only with the greatest difficulty.

By dawn of the 21st more than 70,000 French had crossed, but at this critical interval the bridge again gave way, broken by the fireships and the stone-laden boats sent by the Austrians down the swift current. The struggle went on all day, the bridge being again built and again broken, and at night the French, cut off from their supply of ammunition, were forced to retreat. Napoleon, for the first time in his career, had met with defeat. More than 40,000 dead and wounded lay on that fatal field, among them the brilliant Marshal Lannes, one of Napoleon’s ablest aids.


Napoleon, however, had no thought of yielding his hold upon Vienna. He brought forward new troops with all haste, until by July 1st he had an army of 150,000 men. The Austrian army had also been augmented and now numbered 135,000 or 140,000 men. They had fortified the positions of the recent battle, expecting a new attack in that quarter.

But of this Napoleon had no intention. He had selected the heights from Neusiedl to Wagram, occupied by the Austrians, but not fortified by them, as a more favorable point, and during the night of July 4th he threw fresh bridges from Lobau to the main land and set in motion the strong force occupying the island. This moved against the heights of Wagram, occupying Aspern and Essling in its advance.

The battle of the next day was one of desperate fury. Finally the height was gained, giving the French the key of the battlefield. The Archduke Charles looked in vain for the army under his brother John, which failed to appear, and, assailed at every point, was obliged to order a retreat. But this was no rout. The retreat was conducted slowly and in battle array. Both the Russians and the Austrians were proving worthy antagonists of the great Corsican. Further hostilities were checked by a truce, preliminary to a treaty of peace, signed October 14, 1809.

Ambition, unrestrained by caution, uncontrolled by moderation, has its inevitable end. An empire built upon victory, trusting solely to military genius, prepared for itself the elements of its overthrow. This fact Napoleon was to learn. In the outset of his career he opposed a new art of war to the obsolete one of his enemies, and his path to empire was over the corpses of slaughtered armies and the ruins of fallen kingdoms. But year by year his foes learned his art, in war after war their resistance grew more stringent, each successive victory was won with more difficulty and at greater cost, and finally, at the crossing of the Danube, the energy and genius of Napoleon met their equal, and the standards of France, for the first time under Napoleon’s leadership, went back in defeat. It was the tocsin of fate. His career of victory had culminated. From that day its decline began.


The second check to Napoleon’s triumphant career came from one of the weaker nations of Europe, aided by the British under a commander of renown. Napoleon, as already stated, after overturning Spain had been called away by the Austrian war. This ended by the treaty of peace, he filled Spain once more with his veterans, increasing the strength of the army there to 300,000 men, under his ablest generals, Soult, Massena, Ney, Marmont, Macdonald and others. They marched through Spain from end to end, yet, though they held all the salient points, the people refused to submit, but from their mountain fastnesses kept up a petty and annoying war.

Massena invaded Portugal in 1811, but here he was faced by General Wellington, leading a British army, and was forced to retreat. Soult, who followed him, was equally unsuccessful, and when Napoleon in 1812 depleted his army in Spain for the Russian campaign, Wellington marched his army into Spain and, aided by the Spanish patriots, took possession of Madrid, driving King Joseph from his throne.


Meanwhile Napoleon had entered upon the greatest and most disastrous campaign in his history. Defied by Alexander I, Czar of Russia, he had declared war upon that empire and sought its conquest with the greatest army that ever marched under his banners. On the banks of the Niemen, a river that flows between Prussia and Poland, there gathered near the end of June 1812, an immense army of more than 600,000 men, attended by an enormous multitude of non-combatants, their purpose being the invasion of the empire of Russia. Of this great army, made up of troops from half the nations of Europe, there reappeared six months later on that broad stream about 16,000 armed men, almost all that were left of that stupendous host. The remainder had perished on the desert soil or in the frozen rivers of Russia, few of them surviving as prisoners in Russian hands. Such was the character of the dread catastrophe that broke the power of the mighty conqueror and delivered Europe from his autocratic grasp.

We cannot give the details of this fatal campaign, and shall only summarize its chief incidents. Barclay de Tolly, Alexander’s commander in chief, adopted a Fabian policy, that of persistently avoiding battle, and keeping the French in pursuit of a fleeting will-of-the-wisp while their army wasted away from hardship and disease in the inhospitable Russian clime.

His method was a wise one, desertion, illness, death of the untrained recruits in rapid march under the hot midsummer sun, did the work of many battles, and when Smolensk was reached after two months of bootless marching, the “Grand Army” was bound to have been reduced to half its numbers.

Moscow, the old capital of the Empire, was Napoleon’s goal. He felt sure that the occupation of that city would bring the Russians to bay and force them to accept terms of peace. He was sadly mistaken. The Russians, weary of retreating, faced him in one battle, that of Borodino. Here they fought stubbornly, but with the usual result. They could not stand against the impetuous dash of Napoleon’s veterans and were forced to retreat, leaving 40,000 dead and wounded upon the field. But the French army had lost more than 30,000, including an unusual number of generals, two being killed and thirty-nine wounded.


On the 15th of September, Moscow, the “Holy City” of Russia was occupied, Napoleon taking up his quarters in the famous palace of the Kremlin, from which he hoped to dictate terms of peace to the obstinate Czar. What were his feelings on the next morning when word was brought him that Moscow was on fire, and flames were seen leaping into the air in all directions.

The fire had been premeditated. From every quarter rose the devouring flames. Even the Kremlin did not escape and Napoleon was obliged to seek shelter outside the city, which continued to burn for three days, when the wind sank and rain poured upon the smoldering embers.

The dismayed conqueror waited in vain. He wrote letters to the Czar, suggesting peace. His letters were left unanswered. He hung on despairingly until the 18th of October, when he reluctantly gave the order to retreat. Too long he had waited, for the terrible Russian winter was about to descend.

That retreat was a frightful one. The army had been reduced to 103,000 men; the army followers had also greatly decreased in numbers. But it was still a large host that set out upon its long march over the frozen Russian plains.

The Russian policy now changed. The retreating army was attacked at every suitable point. The food supply rapidly failed. On again reaching Smolensk the army was only 42,000 strong, though the camp followers are said to have still numbered 60,000.

On the 26th of November the ice-cold River Beresina was reached, destined to be the most terrible point on the whole dreadful march. Two bridges were thrown in all haste across the stream, and most of the men under arms crossed, but 18,000 stragglers fell into the hands of the enemy. How many were trodden to death in the press or were crowded from the bridge into the icy river cannot be told. It is said that when spring thawed the ice, 30,000 bodies were found and burned on the banks of the stream. A mere fragment of the great army remained alive. Ney, who had been the hero of the retreat, was the last man to cross that frightful stream.

On the 13th of December some 16,000 haggard and staggering men, almost too weak to hold the arms to which they still despairingly clung, recrossed the Niemen, which the “Grand Army” had passed in such magnificent strength and with such abounding resources less than six months before. It was the greatest and most astounding disaster in the military history of the world.


The lion was at bay, but there was fight left in him still. He hurried back to France, gathered another army, refused all offers of peace on the terms suggested by his enemies, and concentrated an army at Dresden. Here on August 26, 1813, his last great victory was won.

The final stand came at Leipzig, where, October 16–18, he waged a three days’ battle against all the powers of central and eastern Europe. Then, his ammunition nearly exhausted, he was forced to give the order to retreat.

The struggle was soon at an end. France was quickly invaded, Paris was obliged to surrender, and on April 7, 1814, the emperor signed an act of abdication and was exiled to the small island of Elba, in the Mediterranean, with an army of 400 men, chosen from his famous Old Guard. But the Powers of Europe, despite their long experience of Napoleon, did not yet recognize the ability and audacity of the man with whom they had to deal. While the Congress of Vienna, convened to restore the old constitution of Europe, was deliberating and disputing, word came that their dethroned enemy was again on the soil of France and Louis XVIII, his successor, was in full flight. He had landed on March 1, 1815, and was marching back to Paris, the people and the army rallying to his support.


Then came the famous Hundred Days, in which Napoleon showed much of his old ability, rapidly organizing a new army, with which in June he marched into Belgium, where the British under Wellington and the Prussians under Blucher had gathered to meet him.

On the 16rh he defeated Blucher at Ligny. On the 18th he met Wellington at Waterloo, and after a desperate struggle went down in utter defeat. All day long the French and British had fought without victory for either, but the arrival of Blucher with his Prussians turned the scale. The French army broke and fled in disastrous rout, three-fourths of its force being left on the field, dead, wounded, or prisoners. It was the great soldier’s last fight. He was forced to surrender the throne, and was again exiled, this time to the island of St. Helena, in the south Atlantic. No such mistake as that of Elba was safe to make again. Here ended the days of Napoleon Bonaparte, the greatest soldier the world had ever known. His final hour of glory came in 1842, when his remains were brought in pomp to Paris, there to find a final resting place in the Hotel des Invalides.


This Congress of the rulers and statesmen of Europe, which opened in September, 1814, and continued its work after the fall of Napoleon at Waterloo, occupied itself with map-making on a liberal scale. The empire which the conqueror had built up at the expense of the neighboring countries, was quickly dismembered and France reduced to its former limits, while all the surrounding Powers took their shares of the spoils, Belgium and Holland being combined into a single kingdom.

As for the rights of the people, what had become of them? Had they been swept away and the old wrongs of the people brought back? Not quite. The frenzied enthusiasm for liberty and human rights of the past twenty-five years could not go altogether for nothing. The lingering relics of feudalism had vanished, not only from France but from all Europe, and no monarch or congress could bring them back again. In its place the principles of democracy had been carried by the armies of France throughout Europe and deeply planted in a hundred places, and their establishment as actual conditions was the most important part of the political development of the nineteenth century.


Map-making was not the whole work of the Congress of Vienna. An association was made of the rulers of Russia, Austria and Prussia, under the promising title of the “Holy Alliance.” These devout autocrats proposed to rule in accordance with the precepts of the Bible, to govern their subjects like loving parents, and to see that peace, justice and religion should flourish in their dominions.

Such was the theory, the real purpose was one of absolute dominion, that of uniting their forces against democracy and revolution wherever these should show themselves. It was not long before there was work for them to do. The people began to move. The attempt to re-establish absolute governments shook them out of sluggish acceptance. Revolution lifted its head in spite of the Holy Alliance, its first field being Spain. Revolt broke out there in 1820 and was quickly followed by a similar revolt in Naples.

These revolutionary movements roused the members of the Alliance. An Austrian army invaded Italy, a French one, under the influence of the Alliance, was sent to Spain, and both the revolutions were vigorously quelled. The only revolt that succeeded was one in Greece against the Turkish power. There was no desire to sustain the Turks, and a Russian army was finally sent to aid the Greeks, whose freedom was attained in April, 1830.

Such were the chief events that followed the fall of Napoleon. Reaction was the order of the day. But it was a reaction that was to be violently shaken in the period now reached, the revolutionary year of 1830.

Chapter VII.

Russia’s Part in the Servian Issue—Strength of the Russian Army—The Distribution of the Slavs—Origin of Pan-Slavism—The Czar’s Proclamation—The Teutons of Europe—Intermingling of Races—The Nations at War

Pan-Slavism against Pan-Germanism was the issue which was launched when the Emperor of all the Russias took up Servia’s quarrel with Austria-Hungary. Russia, if she wanted a ground for war, could have found no better one. The popularity of her aggressive big-brother attitude to all the Slavs was quickly attested in St. Petersburg. It had been a long time since war had appealed with the same favor to so large a part of the Czar’s people. Slavs there were in plenty to menace the allied German Powers, even if there were not allied French arms, on Germany’s other flank, and Britain’s naval supremacy to cope with. Slavs in past times had spread over all of eastern Europe, from the Arctic to the Adriatic and the Aegean Seas. Their continuity was long ago broken into by an intrusion of Magyars. Finns, and Roumanians, leaving a northern Slavic section composed of North Russians, Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks, and a southern section comprising the main body of the Balkan people. For over a thousand years these Slavs have peopled Europe east of the Elbe River. And for centuries they kept the hordes of Cossacks, Turks and barbarians off Europe. Russia in those days was called “the nation of the sword.” And over a hundred years ago that sword was drawn for Servia. After 400 years of vassalage to Turkey, the Serbs rebelled in 1804, and then only Russian intervention saved them from defeat. In later wars oppression of the Slavs was a prominent issue.


What rendered the Russian menace so formidable at the opening of the 1914 war was the unusual enthusiasm which was displayed. Ordinarily, the huge population of Russia has been rather apathetic toward the purposes of the Emperor. But in the case of Austria’s injustice to Servia the Czar, judging from the demonstrations in St. Petersburg, could reasonably count upon having behind him possibly 100,000,000 Slavs among his subjects. Moscow and Odessa gave similar demonstrations of good feeling, and it seemed as if, in the event of the Czar’s assuming command as generalissimo of all the forces, the wave of enthusiasm would sweep over the whole empire. Who knows that is the strength of the Russian bear, once he is roused to sullen fury? In the ten years following the Russo-Japanese War Russia had greatly added to her army and navy, and materially cut down the time required for the mobilization of her forces by eliminating many of the difficulties attendant upon transportation and equipment of troops. Her quiet advances toward becoming a Power to be feared by the most formidable European Nation had come to be recognized even if in a vague way.

In considering the potential strength of the armies which Russia, in the course of a long war, might put in the field, it may be pointed out that military service in that empire of more than 160,000,000 people is universal and compulsory. Service under the flag begins at the age of twenty and lasts for twenty-three years. Usually it is proportioned as follows: Three or four years in the active army, fourteen or fifteen in the Zapas, or first reserve, and five years in the Opolchenie, or second reserve. For the Cossacks, those fighters who are a conspicuous element of Russia’s military strength, there is hardly a cessation in discipline during their early manhood. Holding their lands by military tenure, they are liable to service for life. Furnishing their own equipment and horses—the Cossack is almost invariably a cavalryman—they pass through three periods of four years each, with diminishing duties, until they wind up in the reserve, which is liable to be called into the field in time of war.


Russia’s field army consists of three powerful divisions—the army of European Russia, the army of Asia, already referred to, and the army of the Caucasus. The European Russian field army consists of twenty-seven army corps—each corps comprising, at fighting strength, about 36,000 men—and some twenty-odd cavalry divisions, of 4,000 horsemen each. With the field army of the Caucasus and the first and second reserve divisions of the Cossacks, the total would be brought to nearly 1,600,000 men. With the Asiatic army, the grand total, according to the latest figures, would give the Russian armies a fighting strength of 1,850,000 men, of whom it would be practicable to assemble, say, 1,200,000 in a single theater of war. With respect to the armies which could be put in the field in time of urgent demand, there are conflicting estimates. It seems certain that Russia’s war strength is more than 5,500,000 men, but, of course, the train service and the artillery for such a force is lacking. Two and three-quarter million men could probably be mustered at one time.

In the event of a prolonged war, in which the tide of affairs should put Russia strictly on the defensive, she would be less easily invaded than any large country of Europe. The very extent of her empire, protected by natural barriers at almost every side save where she touches Northeast Europe, would present almost insuperable difficulties to the invader. Napoleon paid dearly for his fortitude in pushing his columns into Moscow. The only conditions under which a repetition of such a feat is conceivable were not likely to be found during a general European struggle.


To make matters worse for the Austrian or German invader, there are conflicting relations between their own people and the Russians. The Polish provinces, for instance, however unfriendly toward Russia, as one of the dismemberers of the Polish kingdom, are strongly bound in blood and speech to the Russian nation. The Poles and Russians are brother Slavs, and are likely to remember this in any conflict which approaches an issue between Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism. The Poles of East Prussia have an ingrained hatred of their German masters and have been embittered by political oppression almost to the point of revolt. Those along Austria’s eastern border are little less bitter.

The estimate is made that Europe contains in all about 140,000,000 Slavs, this being the most numerous race on the continent, the Teutons ranking second. While the great bulk of these are natives of Russia, they have penetrated in large numbers to the west and south, and are to be found abundantly in the Balkan region, in the Austrian realm, and in the region of the disintegrated kingdom of Poland.

According to recent authoritative statistics the race question in Austria-Hungary is decidedly complicated and diversified. In the kingdoms and provinces represented in the Reichsrath in Vienna there are nearly 10,000,000 Germans and 18,500,000 non-Germans. Of these nearly 17,500,000 are Slavs. Among these Slavs, the Croats and Serbs number 780,000, chiefly in Dalmatia, while there are in all 660,000 Orthodox and nearly 3,500,000 Greek Uniats.

In Hungary, with its subject kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia, there are 8,750,000 Magyars, 2,000,000 Germans, and 8,000,000 other non-Magyars. Of these, 3,000,000 are Roumanians and well over 5,000,000 Slavs. The Croats, or Roman Catholic Serbs, number 1,800,000, and their Orthodox brothers are 1,100,000 in number. All told, Hungary has nearly 11,000,000 Roman Catholic subjects, 2,000,000 Greek Uniats, and 3,000,000 Orthodox. In this connection it should be remembered that the Patriarchate of the Orthodox Serb Church has been fixed at Karlowitz, under Hungarian rule, for over two centuries.

In Bosnia there are 434,000 Roman Catholic Croats, 825,000 Orthodox Serbs, and over 600,000 Bosniaks, or Moslem Serbs. Thus it will be seen that the Emperor Francis Joseph rules over more than 24,000,000 Slavs and 3,225,000 Roumanians, of whom nearly 4,500,000 adhere to various Orthodox Churches and 5,400,000 are Uniats. Of this Slav mass 5,000,000 Poles, mostly Roman Catholics, are not particularly susceptible to Pan-Slav propaganda, as that is largely Russian and Orthodox.

Within the boundaries of Germany herself there are over 3,000,000 Slavs, chiefly Poles, the Slavs of Polish descent in all being estimated at 15,000,000. To these must be added the Bulgarians, Serbs and Montenegrins of the Balkan region, constituting about 7,0000,000 more.


The term Pan-Slavism has been given to the agitation carried on by a great party in Russia, its purpose being the union of the Slavic peoples of Europe under Russian rule, as an extensive racial empire. This movement originated about 1830, when the feeling of race relationship in Russia was stirred up by the revolutionary movement in Poland. It gained renewed strength from the Polish revolution of 1863, and still survives as the slogan of an ardent party. The ideals of Pan-Slavism have made their way into the Slavic populations of Bohemia, Silesia, Croatia and Slavonia, where there is dread of the members of the race losing their individuality under the aggressive addition of the Austrian, German or Hungarian governments. In 1877–78 Russia entered into war against Turkey as the champion of the Balkan Slavs. A similar movement was that made in 1914, when the independence of the Servian Slavs was threatened by Austria. The immediate steps taken by Russia to mobilize her forces in protection of the Serbs was followed as immediately by a declaration of war on the part of the German emperor and the quick plunging of practically the whole of Europe into a war.


In this connection the proclamation made by the Russian Czar to his people on August 3d, possesses much interest, as indicating his Slavic sentiment. The text is as follows:

“By the grace of God we, Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland, etc, to all our faithful subjects make known that Russia, related by faith and blood to the Slav peoples and faithful to her historical traditions, has never regarded their fate with indifference.

“But the fraternal sentiments of the Russian people for the Slavs have been awakened with perfect unanimity and extraordinary force in these last few days, when Austria-Hungary knowingly addressed to Servia claims unacceptable to an independent state.

“Having paid no attention to the pacific and conciliatory reply of the Servian Government and having rejected the benevolent intervention of Russia, Austria-Hungary made haste to proceed to an armed attack and began to bombard Belgrade, an open place.

“Forced by the situation thus created to take necessary measures of precaution, we ordered the army and the navy put on a war footing, at the same time using every endeavor to obtain a peaceful solution. Pourparlers were begun amid friendly relations with Germany and her ally, Austria, for the blood and the property of our subjects were dear to us.

“Contrary to our hopes in our good neighborly relations of long date, and disregarding our assurances that the mobilization measures taken were in pursuance of no object hostile to her, Germany demanded their immediate cessation. Being rebuffed in this demand, Germany suddenly declared war on Russia.

“Today it is not only the protection of a country related to us and unjustly attacked that must be accorded, but we must safeguard the honor, the dignity and the integrity of Russia and her position among the Great Powers.

“We believe unshakably that all our faithful subjects will rise with unanimity and devotion for the defense of Russian soil; that internal discord will be forgotten in this threatening hour; that the unity of the Emperor with his people will become still more close and that Russia, rising like one man, will repulse the insolent attack of the enemy.

“With a profound faith in the justice of our work and with a humble hope in omnipotent providence in prayer we call God’s blessing on holy Russia and her valiant troops.


Later than this was an appeal made by the Czar to the Poles under his rule, asking for their earnest support in the war arising from the cause above stated, and promising them the boon which the Polish people have long coveted: that of self-government and a practical acknowledgment of their national existence.


While the Slavs form the great bulk of the inhabitants of eastern Europe, the Teutons, or people of Teutonic race and language, are widely spread in the west and north, including the German-speaking people of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland, the English-speaking people of the British Islands (in a very far-away sense), the Scandinavian-speaking people of Norway and Sweden, the Flemish-speaking people of Belgium, and practically the whole people of Denmark and Holland. Yet, though these are racially related there is no such feeling as a Pan-Teutonic sentiment combining them into a racial unity. Instead of community and fraternity, a very marked racial and natural divergence exists between the several peoples named, especially between the British and Germans. Pan-Germanism is not Pan-Teutonism in any proper sense, being confined to the several German countries of Europe, and especially to the combination of states in the German Empire. It is the Teuton considered in this minor sense that has set himself against the Slav, as a measure of self-defense against the torrent of Slavism apparently seeking an outlet in all directions.

Prolific as we know the Anglo-Saxons to have once been and as the Germans still appear to be, there are few instances in human history of a natural growth of population like that of the Slavs in recent years. They have grown to outnumber the Germans nearly three to one, and may perhaps do so in the future in a still greater proportion.

This is a scarcely desirable state of affairs in view of the fact that the Slavs as a whole are lower and more primitive in character and condition than the Germans. The cultivated portion of Slavic populations forms a very small proportion in number of the whole, and stands far in advance of the abundant multitude of peasants and artisans, a vast body of people who are ruled chiefly by fear; fear of the State on one side, of the Church on the other.


There has long been an embittered, remorseless, and often bloody struggle for supremacy between the Teuton and the Slav, yet there has been considerable intermingling of the races, many German traders making their way into Russian towns, while multitudes of Slavic laborers have penetrated into German communities. Eastern Prussia has large populations of Slavs and its Polish subjects in Posen have been persistently non-assimilable. But only within recent times has there arisen a passion to “Russianize” all foreign elements in the one nation and on the other hand to “Germanize” all similar foreign elements in the other. Austria-Hungary is the most remarkable combination of unrelated peoples ever got together to make part of a state, and is especially notable for its many separate groups of Slavs. Bohemia, for instance, has a very large majority of Slavic population, eager to be recognized as such, and there are Slavic populations somewhat indiscriminately scattered throughout the dual-monarchy, especially in Hungary.

These Slavic populations, however, differ widely in religious belief. While largely of the Greek confession of faith, a considerable section of them are Roman Catholics, and many are faithful Mohammedans. This difference in religion plays a major part in their political relations, a greater one than any feeling of nationality and racial unity, and aids greatly in adding to the diversity of condition and sentiment among these mixed populations.


In the war which sprang so suddenly and startlingly into the field of events in 1914 very little of this sentiment of race animosity appeared. While the German element remained intact in the union of Germany and Austria, there was a strange mingling of races in the other side of the struggle, that of the Slavic Russian, the Teutonic Britain, and the Celtic French. As for Italy, the non-Germanic member of the Triple Alliance, it at first wisely declared itself out of the war, as one in which it was in no sense concerned and under no obligation to enter into from the terms of its alliance. Later events tended to bring it into sympathy with the non-Germanic side, as a result of enmity to Austria. So the conflict became narrowed down to a struggle between Pan-Germanism on the one hand and a variety of unrelated racial elements on the other. It may be that Emperor William had a secret purpose to unite, if possible, all German-speaking peoples under his single sway and that Czar Nicholas had similar views regarding a union of the Slavs, but as they did not take the world into their confidence no one can say what plans and ambitions lay hidden in their mental treasure chests. In this connection it is certainly of interest that three of the leaders in this five-fold war were near relatives, the Czar, the Kaiser and the British King being cousins and all of Teutonic blood. This is a result of the intermarriage of royal families in these later days.

Chapter VIII.

The Final Overthrow of Napoleonism

The Coup-d’état of 1851—From President to Emperor—The Empire is Peace—War With Austria—The Austrians Advance—The Battle of Magenta—Possession of Lombardy—French Victory at Solferino—Treaty of Peace—Invasion of Mexico—End of Napoleon’s Career

The name of Napoleon is a name to conjure with in France. Two generations after the fall of Napoleon the Great the people of that country had practically forgotten the misery he had brought them, and remembered only the glory with which he had crowned the name of France. When, then, a man who has been designated as Napoleon the Little offered himself for their suffrages, they cast their votes almost unanimously in his favor.

Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, to give this personage his full name, was a son of Louis Bonaparte, once king of Holland, and Hortense de Beauharnais, and had been recognized by Napoleon as, after his father, the direct successor to the throne. This he made strenuous efforts to obtain, hoping to dethrone Louis Philippe and install himself in his place. In 1836, with a few followers, he made an attempt to capture Strasbourg. His effort failed and he was arrested and transported to the United States. In 1839 he published a work entitled “Napoleonic Ideas,” which was an apology for the ambitious acts of the first Napoleon.

The growing unpopularity of Louis Philippe tempted Louis Napoleon to make a second attempt to invade France. He did it in a rash way almost certain to end in failure. Followed by about fifty men, and bringing with him a tame eagle, which was expected to perch upon his banner as the harbinger of victory, he sailed from England in August, 1840, and landed at Boulogne. This desperate and foolish enterprise proved a complete failure. The soldiers whom the would-be sovereign expected to join his standard arrested him, and he was tried for treason by the House of Peers. This time he was not dealt with so leniently as before, but was sentenced to imprisonment for life and was confined in the Castle of Ham. From this fortress he escaped in disguise in May, 1846, and made his way to England.

The revolution of 1848 gave the restless and ambitious claimant a more promising opportunity. He returned to France, was elected to the National Assembly, and on the adoption of the republican constitution offered himself as a candidate for the presidency of the new republic. And now the magic of the name of Napoleon told. General Cavaignac, his chief competitor, was supported by the solid men of the country, who distrusted his opponent; but the people rose almost solidly in his support, and he was elected president for four years by 5,562,834 votes, against 1,469,166 for Cavaignac.

The new President of France soon showed his ambition. He became engaged in a contest with the Assembly and aroused the distrust of the Republicans by his autocratic remarks. In 1849 he still further offended the democratic party by sending an army to Rome, which put an end to the republic in that city. He sought to make his cabinet officers the pliant instruments of his will, and thus caused De Tocqueville, the celebrated author, who was minister for foreign affairs, to resign. “We were not the men to serve him on those terms,” said De Tocqueville, at a later time.

The new-made president was feeling his way to imperial dignity. He could not forget that his illustrious uncle had made himself emperor, and his ambition instigated him to the same course. A violent controversy arose between him and the Assembly, which body had passed a law restricting universal suffrage, thus reducing the popular support of the president. In June, 1850, it increased his salary at his request, but granted the increase only for one year—an act of distrust which proved a new source of discord.


Louis Napoleon meanwhile was preparing for a daring act. He secretly obtained the support of the army leaders and prepared covertly for the boldest stroke of his life. On the 2d of December 1851—the anniversary of the establishment of the first empire and of the battle of Austerlitz—he got rid of his opponents by means of the memorable COUP D’ETAT, and seized the supreme power of the state.

The most influential members of the Assembly had been arrested during the preceding night, and when the hour for the session of the House came the men most strongly opposed to the President were in prison. Most of them were afterwards exiled, some for life, some for shorter terms. This act of outrage and alleged violation of plighted faith by their ruler roused the socialists and republicans to the defense of their threatened liberties, insurrections broke out in Paris, Lyons, and other towns, street barricades were built, and severe fighting took place. But Napoleon had secured the army, and the revolt was suppressed with blood and slaughter. Baudin, one of the deposed deputies, was shot on the barricade in the Faubourg St. Antoine, while waving in his hand the decree of the constitution. He was afterwards honored as a martyr to the cause of republicanism in France.

Napoleon had previously sought to gain the approval of the people by liberal and charitable acts, and to win the good will of the civic authorities by numerous progresses through the interior. He now stood as a protector and promoter of national prosperity and the rights of the people, and sought to lay upon the Assembly all the defects of his administration. By these means, which aided to awaken the Napoleonic fervor in the state, he was enabled safely to submit his acts of violence and bloodshed to the approval of the people. The new constitution offered by the president was put to vote, and was adopted by the enormous majority of more than seven million votes. By its terms Louis Napoleon was to be president of France for ten years, with power equal to that of a monarch, and the Parliament was to consist of two bodies, a Senate and a Legislative House, which were given only nominal power.


This was as far as Napoleon dared to venture at that time. A year later, on December 1, 1852, having meanwhile firmly cemented his position in the state, he passed from president to emperor, again by a vote of the people, of whom, according to the official report, 7,824,189 cast their votes in his favor. That this report told the truth, many denied, but it served the President’s purpose.

Thus ended the second French republic, by an act of usurpation of the strongest and yet most popular character. The partisans of the new emperor were rewarded with the chief offices of the state; the leading republicans languished in prison or in exile for the crime of doing their duty to their constituents; and Armand Marrast, the most zealous champion of the republic, died of a broken heart from the overthrow of all his efforts and aspirations. The honest soldier and earnest patriot, Cavaignac, in a few years followed him to the grave. The cause of liberty in France seemed lost.

The crowning of a new emperor of the Napoleonic family in France naturally filled Europe with apprehensions. But Napoleon III, as he styled himself, was an older man than Napoleon I, and seemingly less likely to be carried away by ambition. His favorite motto, “The Empire is peace,” aided to restore quietude, and gradually the nations began to trust in his words: “France wishes for peace; and when France is satisfied the world is quiet.”

Warned by one of the errors of his uncle, he avoided seeking a wife in the royal families of Europe, but allied himself with a Spanish lady of noble rank, the young and beautiful Eugenie de Montijo, dutchess of Teba. At the same time he proclaimed that, “A sovereign raised to the throne by a new principle should remain faithful to that principle, and in the face of Europe frankly accept the position of a parvenu, which is an honorable title when it is obtained by the public suffrage of a great people. For seventy years all princes’ daughters married to rulers of France have been unfortunate; only one, Josephine, was remembered with affection by the French people, and she was not born of a royal house.”

The new emperor continued his efforts as president to win the approval of the people by public works. He recognized the necessity of aiding the working classes as far as possible, and protecting them from poverty and wretchedness. During a dearth in 1853 a “baking fund” was organized in Paris, the city contributing funds to enable bread to be sold at a low price. Dams and embankments were built along the rivers to overcome the effects of floods. New streets were opened, bridges built, railways constructed, to increase internal traffic. Splendid buildings were erected for municipal and government purposes. Paris was given a new aspect by pulling down its narrow lanes, and building wide streets and magnificent boulevards—the latter, as was charged, for the purpose of depriving insurrection of its lurking places. The great exhibition of arts and industries in London was followed in 1854 by one in France, the largest and finest seen up to that time. Trade and industry were fostered by a reduction of tariff charges, joint stock companies and credit associations were favored, and in many ways Napoleon III worked wisely and well for the prosperity of France, the growth of its industries, and the improvement of the condition of its people.


But the new emperor, while thus actively engaged in labors of peace means lived up to the spirit of his motto, “The Empire is peace.” An empire founded upon the army needs to give employment to that army. A monarchy sustained by the votes of a people athirst for glory needs to do something to appease that thirst. A throne filled by a Napoleon could not safely ignore the “Napoleonic Ideas,” and the first of these might be stated as “The Empire is war.” And the new emperor was by no means satisfied to pose simply as the “nephew of his uncle.” He possessed a large share of the Napoleonic ambition, and hoped by military glory to surround his throne with some of the luster of that of Napoleon the First.

Whatever his private views, it is certain that France under his reign became the most aggressive nation of Europe, and the overweening ambition and self-confidence of the new emperor led him to the same end as his great uncle, that of disaster and overthrow. He was evidently bent on playing a leading part in European politics, showing the world that one worthy to bear the name of Napoleon was on the throne.

The very beginning of Louis Napoleon’s career of ambition, as president of the French Republic, was signalized by an act of military force, in sending an army to Rome and putting an end to the attempted Italian republic. These troops were kept there until 1866, and the aspirations of the Italian patriots were held in check until that year. Only when United Italy stood menacingly at the gates of Rome were these foreign troops withdrawn. They had retarded, perhaps, for a time the inevitable union of the Italian states into a single kingdom; they certainly prevented the establishment of a republic.

In 1854 Napoleon allied himself with the British and the Turks against Russia, and sent an army to the Crimea, which played an effective part in the great struggle in that peninsula. The troops of France had the honor of rendering Sebastopol untenable, carrying by storm one of its two great fortresses and turning its guns upon the city.


The next act of war-policy by the French emperor was against Austria. As the career of conquest of Napoleon had begun with an attack upon the Austrians in Italy, Napoleon III attempted a similar enterprise, and with equal success. He was said to have been cautiously preparing for hostilities with Austria, thus to emulate his great uncle, but lacked a satisfactory excuse for declaring war. This came in 1858 from an attempt at assassination. Felice Orsini, a fanatical Italian patriot, incensed at Napoleon from his failing to come to the aid of Italy, launched three explosive bombs against his carriage. The effect was fatal to many of the people in the street, though the intended victim escaped. Orsini while in prison expressed patriotic sentiments and a loud-voiced love for his country. “Remember that the Italians shed their blood for Napoleon the Great,” he wrote to the emperor. “Liberate my country, and the blessings of twenty-five millions of people will follow you to posterity.”

Louis Napoleon, it was alleged, had once been a member of a secret political society of Italy; he had taken the oath of initiation; his failure to come to the aid of that country when in power constituted him a traitor to his oath and one doomed to death; the act of Orsini was apparently the work of the society. That Napoleon was deeply moved by the attempted assassination is certain, and the result of his combined fear and ambition was soon to be shown by a movement in favor of Italian independence.

On New Year’s Day, 1859, while receiving the diplomatic corps at the Tuileries, Napoleon addressed the following significant words to the Austrian ambassador: “I regret that our relations are not so cordial as I could wish, but I beg you to report to the Emperor that my personal sentiments towards him remain unaltered.” Such is the masked way in which diplomats announce an intention of war. The meaning of the threatening words was soon shown, when victor Emmanuel, shortly afterwards, announced at the opening of the Chambers in Turin that Sardinia could no longer remain indifferent to the cry for help which was rising from all Italy. Ten years had passed since the defeat of the Sardinians by an Austrian army on the plains of Lombardy, and the end for the time of their hopes of a free and united Italy. During that time they had cherished a hope of retribution, and the words of Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel made it evident to them that an alliance had been made with France and that the hour of vengeance was at hand.

Austria was ready for the contest. Her finances, indeed, were in a serious state, but she had a large army in Lombardy. This was increased, Lombardy was declared in a state of siege, and every step was taken to guard against assault from Sardinia. Delay was disadvantageous to Austria, as it would permit her enemies to complete their preparations, and on April 23, 1859, an ultimatum came from Vienna, demanding that Sardinia should put her army on a peace footing or war would ensue.


A refusal came from Turin. Immediately Field-marshal Gyulai received orders to cross the Ticino. Thus, after ten years of peace, the beautiful plains of Northern Italy were once more to endure the ravages of war. This act of Austria was severely criticized by the neutral Powers, which had been seeking to allay the trouble. Napoleon took advantage of it, as an aid to his purposes, and accused Austria of breaking the peace by invading the territory of his ally, the king of Sardinia.

The real fault committed by Austria, under the circumstances, was not in precipitating war, which could not well be avoided in the temper of her antagonists, but in putting, through court favor and privileges of rank, an incapable leader at the head of the army. Old Radetzky, the victor in the last war, was dead, but there were other able leaders who were thrust aside in favor of the Hungarian noble Franz Gyulai, a man without experience as commander-in-chief of an army.

By his uncertain and dilatory movements Gyulai gave the Sardinians time to concentrate an army of 80,000 men around the fortress of Alessandria, and lost all the advantage of being the first in the field. In early May the French army reached Italy, partly by way of the St. Bernard Pass, partly by sea; and Garibaldi, with his mountaineers, took up a position that would enable him to attack the right wing of the Austrians.

Later in the month Napoleon himself appeared, his presence and the name he bore inspiring the soldiers with new valor, while his first order of the day, in which he recalled the glorious deeds which their fathers had done on those plains under his great uncle, roused them to the highest enthusiasm. While assuming the title of commander-in-chief, he was wise enough to leave the conduct of the war to his abler subordinates, MacMahon, Niel, and others.

The Austrian general, having lost the opportunity to attack, was now put on the defensive, in which his incompetence was equally manifested. Being quite ignorant of the position of the foe, he sent Count Stadion, with 12,000 men, on a reconnaissance. An encounter took place at Montebello on May 20th, in which, after a sharp engagement, Stadion was forced to retreat. Gyulai directed his attention to that quarter, leaving Napoleon to march unmolested from Alessandria to the invasion of Lombardy. Gyulai then, aroused by the danger of Milan, began his retreat across the Ticino, which he had so uselessly crossed.

The road to Milan crossed both the Ticino River and the Naviglio Grande, a broad and deep canal, a few miles east of the river. Some distance farther on lies the village of Magenta, the seat of the first great battle of the war. Sixty years before, on those Lombard plains, Napoleon the Great had first lost, and then, by a happy chance, won the famous battle of Marengo. The Napoleon now in command was a very different man from the mighty soldier of the year 1800, and the French escaped a disastrous rout only because the Austrians were led by a still worse general. Some one has said that victory comes to the army that makes the fewest blunders. Such seems to have been the case in the battle of Magenta, where military genius was the one thing wanting.

The French pushed on, crossed the river without finding a man to dispute the passage—other than a much-surprised customs official—and reached an undefended bridge across the canal. The high road to Milan seemed deserted by the Austrians. But Napoleon’s troops were drawn out in a preposterous line, straddling a river and a canal, both difficult to cross, and without any defensive positions to hold against an attack in force. He supposed that the Austrians were stretched out in a similar long line. This was not the case. Gyulai had all the advantages of position, and might have concentrated his army and crushed the advanced corps of the French if he had known his situation and his business. As it was, between ignorance on the one hand and indecision on the other, the battle was fought with about equal forces in the field on either side.

The first contest took place at Buffalora, a village on the canal, where the French encountered the Austrians in force. Here a bloody struggle went on for hours, ending in the capture of the place by the Grenadiers of the Guard, who held on to it afterwards with stubborn courage.


General MacMahon, in command of the advance, had his orders to march forward, whatever happened, to the church-tower of Magenta, and, in strict obedience to orders, he pushed on, leaving the grenadiers to hold their own as best they could at Bufflora, and heedless of the fact that the reserve troops of the army had not yet begun to cross the river. It was the 5th of June, and the day was well advanced when MacMahon came in contact with the Austrians at Magenta, and the great contest of the day began.

It was a battle in which the commanders on both sides, with the exception of MacMahon, showed lack of military skill and the soldiers on both sides the staunchest courage. The Austrians seemed devoid of plan or system, and their several divisions were beaten in detail by the French. On the other hand, General Camou, in command of the second division of MacMahon’s corps, acted as Desaix had done at the battle of Marengo, marched at the sound of the distant cannon. But, unlike Desaix, he moved so deliberately that it took him six hours to make less than five miles. He was a tactician of the old school, imbued with the idea that every march should be made in perfect order.

At half-past four MacMahon, with his uniform in disorder and followed by a few officers of his staff, dashed back to hurry up this deliberate reserve. On the way thither he rode into a body of Austrian sharpshooters. Fortune favored him. Not dreaming of the presence of the French general, they saluted him as one of their own commanders. On his way back he made a second narrow escape from capture by the Uhlans.

The drums now beat the charge, and a determined attack was made by the French, the enemy’s main column being taken between two fires. Desperately resisting, it was forced back step by step upon Magenta. Into the town the columns rolled, and the fight became fierce around the church. High in the tower of this edifice stood the Austrian general and his staff, watching the fortunes of the fray; and from this point he caught sight of the four regiments of Camou, advancing as regularly as if on parade. They were not given the chance to fire a shot or receive a scratch, eager as they were to take part in the fight. At sight of them the Austrian general ordered a retreat and the battle was at an end. The French owed their victory largely to General Mellinet and his Grenadiers of the Guard, who held their own like bull-dogs at Buffalora while Camou was advancing with the deliberation of the old military rules.

MacMahon and Mellinet and the French had won the day. Victor Emmanuel and the Sardinians did not reach the ground until after the battle was at an end. For his services on that day of glory for France MacMahon was made Marshal of France and Duke of Magenta.


The prize of the victory of Magenta was the possession of Lombardy. Gyulai, unable to collect his scattered divisions, gave orders for a general retreat. Milan was evacuated with precipitate haste, and the garrisons were withdrawn from all the towns, leaving them to be occupied by the French and Italians. On the 8th of June Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel rode into Milan side by side, amid the loud acclamations of the people, who looked upon this victory as an assurance of Italian freedom and unity. Meanwhile the Austrians retreated without interruption, not halting until they arrived at the Mincio, where they were protected by the famous Quadrilateral, consisting of the four powerful fortresses or Peschiera, Mantua, Verona, and Leguano, the mainstay of the Austrian power in Italy.

The French and Italians slowly pursued the retreating Austrians, and on the 23d of June bivouacked on both banks of the Chiese River, about fifteen miles west of the Mincio. The Emperor Francis Joseph had recalled the incapable Gyulai, and, in hopes of inspiring his soldiers with new spirit, himself took command. The two emperors, neither of them soldiers, were thus pitted against each other, and Francis Joseph, eager to retrieve the disaster at Magenta, resolved to quit his strong position of defense in the quadrilateral and assume the offensive.


At two o’colck in the morning of the 24th the allied French and Italian army resumed its march, Napoleon’s orders for the day being based upon the reports of his reconnoitering parties and spies. These led him to believe that, although a strong detachment of the enemy might be encountered west of the Mincio, the main body of the Austrians was awaiting him on the eastern side of the river. But the French intelligence department was badly served. The Austrians had stolen a march upon Napoleon. Undetected by the French scouts, they had recrossed the Mincio, and by nightfall of the 23rd their leading columns were occupying the ground on which the French were ordered to bivouac on the evening of the 24th. The intention of the Austrian emperor, now commanding his army in person, had been to push forward rapidly and fall upon the allies before they had completed the passage of the river Chiese. But this scheme, like that of Napoleon, was based on defective information. The allies broke up from their bivouacs many hours before the Austrians expected them to do so, and when the two armies came in contact early in the morning of the 24th of June the Austrians were quite as much taken by surprise as the French.

The Austrian army, superior in numbers to its opponents, was posted in a half-circle between the Mincio and Chiese, with the intention of pressing forward from these points upon a center. But the line was extended too far, and the center was comparatively weak and without reserves. Napoleon, who that morning received complete intelligence of the position of the Austrian army, accordingly directed his chief strength against the enemy’s center, which rested upon a height near the village of Solferino.

Here, on the 24th of June, after a murderous conflict, in which the French commanders hurled continually renewed masses against the decisive position, while on the other side the Austrian reinforcements failed through lack of unity of plan and decision of action, the heights were at length won by the French troops in spite of heroic resistance on the part of the Austrian soldiers; the Austrian line of battle being cut through, and the army thus divided into two separate masses. A second attack which Napoleon promptly directed against Cavriano had a similar result; for the commands given by the Austrian generals were confused and had no general and definite aim.

The fate of the battle was already in a great measure decided, when a tremendous storm broke forth that put an end to the combat at most points, and gave the Austrians an opportunity to retire in order. Only Benedek, who had twice beaten back the Sardinians at various points, continued the struggle for some hours longer. On the French side Marshal Niel had pre-eminently distinguished himself by acuteness and bravery. It was a day of bloodshed, on which two great powers had measured their strength against each other for twelve hours. The Austrians had to lament the loss of 13,000 dead and wounded, and left 9,000 prisoners in the enemy’s hands; on the side of the French and Sardinians the number of killed and wounded was even greater, for repeated attacks had been made upon well-defended heights, but the number of prisoners was not nearly so great.


The victories in Italy filled the French people with the warmest admiration for their emperor, they thinking, in their enthusiasm, that a true successor of Napoleon the Great had come to bring glory to their arms. Italy also was full of enthusiastic hope, fancying that the freedom and unity of the Italians was at last assured. Both nations were, therefore, bitterly disappointed in learning that the war was at an end, and that a hasty peace had been arranged between the emperors which left the hoped-for work but half achieved.

Napoleon estimated his position better than his people. Despite his victories, his situation was one of danger and difficulty. The army had suffered severely in its brief campaign, and the Austrians were still in possession of the Quadrilateral, a square of powerful fortresses which he might seek in vain to reduce. And a threat of serious trouble had arisen in Germany. The victorious career of a new Napoleon in Italy was alarming. It was not easy to forget the past. The German powers, though they had declined to come to the aid of Austria, were armed and ready, and at any moment might begin a hostile movement upon the Rhine.

Napoleon, wise enough to secure what he had won, without hazarding its loss, arranged a meeting with the Austrian emperor, whom he found quite as ready for peace. The terms of the truce arranged between them were that Austria should abandon Lombardy to the line of the Mincio, almost its eastern boundry, and that Italy should form a confederacy under the presidency of the pope. In the treaty subsequently made only the first of these conditions was maintained, Lombardy passing to the king of Sardinia. Hw received also the small states of Central Italy, whose tyrants had fled, and ceded to Napoleon, as a reward for his assistance, the realm of Savoy and the city and territory of Nice.


Napoleon III had now reached the summit of his career. In succeeding years the French were to learn that whatever his ability Napoleon III was not a counterpart of the great Napoleon. He gradually lost the prestige he had gained at Magenta and Solferino. His first serious mistake was when he yielded to the voice of ambition, and, taking advantage of the occupation of the Americans in their civil war, sent an army to invade Mexico.

The ostensible purpose of this invasion was to collect a debt which the Mexicans had refused to pay, and Great Britain and Spain were induced to take part in the expedition. But their forces were withdrawn when they found that Napoleon had other purposes in view, and his army was left to fight its battles alone. After some sanguinary engagements, the Mexican army was broken into a series of guerilla bands, incapable of facing his well-drilled troops, and Napoleon proceeded to reorganize Mexico into an empire, placing the Archduke Maximilian of Austria on the throne.

All went well while the people of the United States were fighting for their national union, but when their war was over the ambitious French emperor was soon taught that he had committed a serious error. He was given plainly to understand that the French troops could only be kept in Mexico at the cost of a war with the United States, and he found it convenient to withdraw them early in 1867. They had no sooner gone than the Mexicans were in arms against Maximilian, whose rash acceptance of the advice of the clerical party and determination to remain quickly led to his capture and execution as a usurper. Thus ended in utter failure the most daring effort to ignore the “Monroe Doctrine.”


The inaction of Napoleon during the wars which Prussia fought with Denmark and Austria gave further blows to his prestige in France, and the opposition to his policy of personal government grew so strong that he felt himself obliged to submit his policy to a vote of the people. He was sustained by a large majority, and then loosened somewhat the reins of personal government, in spite of the fact that the yielding of increased liberty to the people would diminish his own control. Finally, finding himself failing in health, confidence and reputation, he yielded to advisers who convinced him that the only hope for his dynasty lay in a successful war. As a result he undertook the war of 1870 against Prussia. The story of this war will be given in a subsequent chapter. All that need be said here is that it proved the utter incompetence of Napoleon III in military matters, he being completely deceived in the condition of the French army and unwarrantably ignorant of that of the Germans. The conditions were such that victory for France was impossible, France losing its second empire and Napoleon his throne. He died two years later, an exile in England, that place of shelter for the royal refugees of France.

Chapter IX.

Power of Austria Broken

The Carbonari—Mazzini and Garibaldi—Cavour, the Statesman—The Invasion of Sicily—Occupation of Naples—Victor Emmanuel Takes Command—Watchword of the Patriots—Garibaldi Marches Against Rome—Battle of Ironclads—Final Act of Italian Unity

From the time of the fall of the Roman Empire until late in the nineteenth century, a period of some fourteen hundred years, Italy remained disunited, divided up among a series of states, small and large, hostile and peaceful, while its territory was made the battle-field of the surrounding Powers, the helpless prey of Germany, France and Spain. Even the strong hand of Napoleon failed to bring it unity, and after his fall its condition was worse than before, for Austria held most of the north and exerted a controlling power over the remainder of the peninsula, so that the fair form of liberty fled in dismay from its shores.

But the work of Napoleon had inspired the patriots of Italy with a new sentiment, that of union. Before the Napoleonic era the thought of a united Italy scarcely existed, and patriotism meant adherence to Sardinia, Naples, or some other of the many kingdoms and duchies. After that era union became the watchword of the revolutionists, who felt that the only hope of giving Italy a position of dignity and honor among the nations lay in making it one country under one ruler. The history of the nineteenth century in Italy is the record of the attempt to reach this end, and its successful accomplishment. And on that record the names of two men most prominently appear, Mazzini, the indefatigable conspirator, and Garibaldi, the valorous fighter; to whose names should be added that of the eminent statesman, Count Cavour, and that of the man who shared their statecraft and labors, Victor Emmanuel, the first king of united Italy.


The basis of the revolutionary movements in Italy was the secret political association known as the Carbonari, formed early in the nineteenth century and including members of all classes in its ranks. In 1814 this powerful society projected a revolution in Naples, and in 1820 it was strong enough to invade Naples with an army and force from the king an oath to observe the new constitution which it had prepared. The revolution was put down in the following year by the Austrians, acting as the agents of the “Holy Alliance”—the compact of Austria, Prussia and Russia.

An ordinance was passed condemning any one who should attend a meeting of the Carbonari to capital punishment. But the society continued to exist, despite this severe enactment, and was at the basis of many of the outbreaks that took place in Italy from 1820 onward. Mazzini, Garibaldi, and all the leading patriots were members of this powerful organization, which was daring enough to condemn Napoleon III to death, and almost to succeed in his assassination, for his failure to live up to his obligations as an alleged member of the society.


Giuseppe Mazzini, a native of Genoa, became a member of the Carbonari in 1830. His activity in revolutionary movements caused him soon after to be proscribed, and in 1831 he sought Marseilles, where he organized a new political society called “Young Italy,” whose watchword was “God and the People,” and whose basic principle was the union of the several states and kingdoms into one nation, as the only true foundation of Italian liberty. This purpose he avowed in his writings and pursued through exile and adversity with inflexible constancy, and it is largely due to the work of this earnest patriot that Italy today is a single kingdom instead of a medley of separate states. Only in one particular did he fail. His persistent purpose was to establish a republic, not a monarchy.

While Mazzini was thus working with his pen, his compatriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi, was working as earnestly with his sword. This daring soldier, a native of Nice and reared to a life on the sea, was banished as a revolutionist in 1834, and the succeeding fourteen years of his life were largely spent in South America, in whose wars he played a leading part.

The revolution of 1848 opened Italy to these two patriots, and they hastened to return; Garibaldi to offer his services to Charles Albert of Sardinia, by whom, however, he was treated with coldness and distrust. Mazzini, after founding the Roman republic in 1849, called upon Garibaldi to come to its defense, and the latter displayed the greatest heroism in the contest against the Neapolitan and French invaders. He escaped from Rome on its capture by the French, and, after many desperate conflicts and adventures with the Austrians, was again driven into exile, and in 1850 became a resident of New York. For some time he worked in a manufactory of candles on Staten Island, and afterwards made several voyages on the Pacific.

The war in 1859 of Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel against the Austrians in Lombardy opened a new and promising channel for the devotion of Garibaldi to his native land. Being appointed major-general and commissioned to raise a volunteer corps, he organized the hardy body of mountaineers called the “Hunters of the Alps,” and with them performed prodigies or valor on the plains of Lombardy, winning victories over the Austrians at Varese, Como and other places. In his ranks was his fellow-patriot Mazzini.

The success of the French and Sardinians in Lombardy during this war stirred Italy to its center. The grand duke of Tuscany fled to Austria. The duchess or Parma sought refuge in Switzerland. The duke of Modena found shelter in the Austrian camp. Everywhere the brood of tyrants took to flight. Bologna threw off its allegiance to the pope, and proclaimed the king of Sardinia dictator. Several other towns in the States of the Church, did the same. In the terms of the truce between Louis Napoleon and Francis Joseph the rulers of these realms were to resume their power if the people would permit. But the people would not permit, and these minor states were all annexed to Sardinia, which country was greatly expanded as a result of the war.


It will not suffice to give all the credit for these revolutionary movements to Mazzini, the organizer, Garibaldi, the soldier, and the ambitious monarchs of France and Sardinia. More important than king and emperor was the eminent statesman, Count Cavour, prime minister of Sardinia from 1852. It is to this able man that the honor of the unification of Italy most fully belongs, though he did not live to see it. He sent a Sardinian army to the assistance of France and England in the Crimea in 1855, and by this act gave his state a standing among the Powers of Europe. He secured liberty of the press and favored toleration in religion and freedom of trade. He rebelled against the dominion of the papacy, and devoted his abilities to the liberation and unity of Italy, undismayed by the angry fulminations from the Vatican. The war of 1859 was his work, and he had the satisfaction of seeing Sardinia increased by the addition of Lombardy, Tuscany, Parma and Modena. A great step had been taken in the work to which he had devoted his life.


The next step in the great work was taken by Garibaldi, who now struck at the powerful kingdom of Naples and Sicily in the south. It seemed a difficult task. Francis II, the son and successor of the infamous “King Bomba,” had a well-organized army of 150,000 men. But his father’s tyranny had filled the land with secret societies, and fortunately at this time the Swiss mercenaries were recalled home, leaving to Francis only his native troops, many of them disloyal at heart to his cause. This was the critical interval which Mazzini and Garibaldi chose for their work.

At the beginning of April, 1860, the signal was given by separate insurrections in Messina and Palermo. These were easily suppressed by the troops in garrison; but though both cities were declared in a state of siege, demonstrations took place by which the revolutionary chiefs excited the public mind. On the 6th of May, Garibaldi started with two steamers from Genoa with about a thousand Italian volunteers, and on the 11th landed near Marsala, on the west coast of Sicily. He proceeded to the mountains, and near Salemi gathered round him the scattered bands of the free corps. By the 14th his army had increased to 4,000 men. He now issued a proclamation, in which he took upon himself the dictatorship of Sicily, in the name of Victor Emmanuel, “king of Italy.”

After waging various successful combats under the most difficult circumstances, Garibaldi advanced upon the capital, announcing his arrival by beacon-fires kindled at night. On the 27th he was in front of the Porta Termina of Palermo, and at once gave the signal for the attack. The people rose in mass, and assisted the operations of the besiegers by barricade-fighting in the streets. In a few hours half the town was in Garibaldi’s hands. But now General Lanza, whom the young king had dispatched with strong reinforcements to Sicily, furiously bombarded the insurgent city, so that Palermo was reduced almost to a heap of ruins.

At this juncture, by the intervention of an English admiral, an armistice was concluded, which led to the departure of the Neapolitan troops and war vessels and the surrender of the town to Garibaldi, who thus, with a band of 5,000 badly armed followers, had gained a signal advantage over a regular army of 25,000 men. This event had tremendous consequences, for it showed the utter hollowness of the Neapolitan government, while Garibaldi’s fame was everywhere spread abroad. The glowing fancy of the Italians beheld in him the national hero before whom every enemy would bite the dust. This idea seemed to extend even to the Neapolitan court itself, where all was doubt, confusion and dismay. The king hastily summoned a liberal ministry, and offered to restore the constitution of 1848, but the general verdict was, “too late,” and his proclamation fell flat on a people who had no trust in Bourbon faith.

The arrival of Garibaldi in Naples was enough to set in blaze all the combustible materials in that state. His appearance there was not long delayed. Six weeks after the surrender of Palermo he marched against Messina. On the 21st of July the fortress of Melazzo was evacuated, and a week afterwards all Messina except the citadel was given up.


Europe was astounded at the remarkable success of Garibaldi’s handful of men. On the mainland his good fortune was still more astonishing. He had hardly landed—which he did almost in the face of the Neapolitan fleet—when Reggio was surrendered and its garrison withdrew. His progress through the south of the kingdom was like a triumphal procession. At the end of August he was at Cosenza; on the 5th of September at Eboli, near Salerno. No resistance appeared. His very name seemed to work like magic on the population. The capital had been declared in a state of siege, and on September 6th the king took to flight, retiring, with the 4,000 men still faithful to him, behind the Volturno. The next day Garibaldi with a few followers, entered Naples, whose populace received him with frantic shouts of welcome.

The remarkable achievements of Garibaldi filled all Italy with overmastering excitement. He had declared that he would proclaim the kingdom of Italy from the heart of its capital city, and nothing less than this would content the people. The position of the pope had become serious. He refused to grant the reforms suggested by the French emperor, and threatened with excommunication any one who should meddle with the domain of the Church. Money was collected from faithful Catholics throughout the world, a summons was issued calling for recruits to the holy army of the pope, and the exiled French General Lamoriciere was given the chief command of the troops, composed of men who had flocked to Rome from many nations. It was hoped that the name of the celebrated French leader would have a favorable influence on the troops of the French garrison of Rome.

The settlement of the perilous situation seemed to rest with Louis Napoleon. If he had let Garibaldi have his way the latter would, no doubt, have quickly ended the temporal sovereignty of the pope and made Rome the capital of Italy. But Napoleon seems to have arranged with Cavour to leave the king of Sardinia free to take possession of Naples, Umbria and the other provinces provided that Rome and the “patrimony of St. Peter” were left intact.


At the beginning of September two Sardinian army corps, under Fanti and Cialdini, marched to the borders of the states of the Church. Lamoriciere advanced against Cialdini with his motley troops, but was quickly defeated, and on the following day was besieged in the fortress of Ancona. On the 29th he and the garrison surrendered as prisoners of war. On the 9th of October Victor Emmanuel arrived and took command. There was no longer a papal army to oppose him, and the march southward proceeded without a check.

The object of the king in assuming the chief command was to complete the conquest of the kingdom of Naples, in conjunction with Garibaldi. For though Garibaldi had entered the capital in triumph, the progress on the line of the Volturno had been slow; and the expectation that the Neapolitan army would go over to the invaders in a mass had not been realized. The great majority of the troops remained faithful to the flag, so that Garibaldi, although his irregular bands amounted to more than 25,000 men, could not hope to drive away King Francis, or to take the fortresses of Capua and Gaeta, without the help of Sardinia. Against the diplomatic statesman Cavour, who fostered no illusions, and saw the conditions of affairs in its true light, the simple, honest Garibaldi cherished a deep aversion. He could never forgive Cavour for having given up Nice, Garibaldi’s native town, to the French. On the other hand, he felt attracted toward the king, who, in his opinion, seemed to be the man raised up by Providence for the liberation of Italy.

Accordingly, when Victor Emmanuel entered Sessa, at the head of his army, Garibaldi was easily induced to place his dictatorial power in the hands of the king, to whom he left the completion of the work of the union of Italy. After greeting Victor Emmanuel with the title of King of Italy, and giving the required resignation of his power, with the words, “Sire, I obey,” he entered Naples, riding beside the king; and then, after recommending his companions in arms to his majesty’s special favor, he retired to his home on the island of Caprera, refusing to receive a reward, in any shape or form, for his services to the state and its head.

The progress of the Sardinian army compelled Francis to give up the line of the Volturno, and he eventually took refuge, with his best troops, in the fortress of Gaeta. On the maintenance of this fortress hung the fate of the kingdom of Naples. Its defense is the only bright point in the career of the feeble Francis, whose courage was aroused by the heroic resolution of his young wife, the Bavarian Princess Mary. For three months the defense continued. But no European Power came to the aid of the king, disease appeared with scarcity of food and of munitions of war, and the garrison was at length forced to capitulate. The fall of Gaeta was practically the completion of the great work of the unification of Italy. Only Rome and Venice remained to be added to the united kingdom. On February 18, 1861, Victor Emmanuel assembled at Turin the deputies of all the states that acknowledged his supremacy, and in their presence assumed the title of King of Italy, which he was the first to bear. In four months afterwards Count Cavour, to whom this great work was largely due, died. He had lived long enough to see the purpose of his life practically accomplished.


Great as had been the change which two years had made, the patriots of Italy were not satisfied. “Free from the Alps to the Adriatic!” was their cry; “Rome and Venice!” became the watchword of the revolutionists. Mazzini, who had sought to found a republic, was far from content, and the agitation went on. Garibaldi was drawn into it, and made bitter complaint of the treatment his followers had received. In 1862, disheartened at the inaction of the king, he determined to undertake against Rome an expedition like that which he had led against Naples two years before.

In June he sailed from Genoa and landed at Palermo, where he was quickly joined by an enthusiastic party of volunteers. They supposed that the government secretly favored their design, but the king had no idea of fighting against the French troops in Rome and arousing international complications, and he energetically warned all Italians against taking part in revolutionary enterprises.


But Garibaldi persisted in his design. When his way was barred by the garrison of Messina he tuned aside to Catania, where he embarked with 2,000 volunteers, declaring he would enter Rome as a victor, or perish beneath its walls. He landed at Melito on the 24th of August, and threw himself at once, with his followers, into the Calabrian mountains. But his enterprise was quickly and disastrously ended. General Cialdini despatched a division of the regular army, under Colonel Pallavicino, against the volunteer bands. At Aspromonte, on the 28th of August, the two forces came into collision. A chance shot was followed by several volleys from the regulars. Garibaldi forbade his men to return the fire of their fellow-subjects of the Italian kingdom. He was wounded, and taken prisoner with his followers, a few of whom had been slain in the short combat. A government steamer carried the wounded chief to Varignano, where he was held in a sort of honorable imprisonment, and was compelled to undergo a tedious and painful operation for the healing of his wound. He had at least the consolation that all Europe looked with sympathy and interest upon the unfortunate hero; and a general sense of relief was felt when, restored to health, he was set free, and allowed to return to his rocky island of Caprera.

Victor Emmanuel was seeking to accomplish his end by safer means. The French garrison of Rome was the obstacle in his way, and this was finally removed through a treaty with Louis Napoleon in September, 1864, the emperor agreeing to withdraw his troops during the succeeding two years, in which the pope was to raise an army large enough to defend his dominions. Florence was to replace Turin as the capital of Italy. This arrangement created such disturbances in Turin that the king was forced to leave that city hastily for his new capital. In December, 1866, the last of the French troops departed from Rome, in spite of the efforts of the pope to retain them. By their withdrawal Italy was freed from the presence of foreign soldiers for the first time probably in a thousand years.

In 1866 came an event which reacted favorably for Italy, though her part in it was the reverse of triumphant. This was the war between Prussia and Austria. Italy was in alliance with Prussia, and Victor Emmanuel hastened to lead an army across the Mincio to the invasion of Venetia, the last Austrian province in Italy. Garibaldi at the same time was to invade the Tyrol with his volunteers. The enterprise ended in disaster. The Austrian troops, under the Archduke Albert, encountered the Italians at Custozza and gained a brilliant victory, despite the much greater numbers of the Italians.

Fortunately for Italy, the Austrians had been unsuccessful in the north, and the emperor, with the hope of gaining the alliance of France and breaking the compact between Italy and Prussia, decided to cede Venetia to Louis Napoleon. His purpose failed. All Napoleon did in response was to act as a peacemaker, while the Italian king refused to recede from his alliance. Though the Austrians were retreating from a country which no longer belonged to them, the invasion of Venetia by the Italians continued, and several conflicts with the Austrian army took place.


But the most memorable event of this brief war occurred on the sea—the greatest battle of ironclad ships in the period between the American Civil War and the Japan-China contest. Both countries concerned had fleets on the Adriatic. Italy was the strongest in navel vessels, possessing ten ironclads and a considerable number of wooden ships. Austria’s ironclad fleet was seven in number, plated with thin iron and with no very heavy guns. In addition there was a number of wooden vessels and gunboats. But in command of this fleet was an admiral in whose blood was the iron which was lacking on his ships, Tegetthoff, the Nelson of the Adriatic. Inferior as his ships were, his men were thoroughly drilled in the use of the guns and the evolutions of the ships, and when he sailed it was with the one thought of victory.

Persano, the Italian admiral, as if despising his adversary, engaged in siege of the fortified island of Lissa, near the Dalmatian coast, leaving the Austrians to do what they pleased. What they pleased was to attack him with a fury such as has been rarely seen. Early on July 20, 1866, when the Italians were preparing for a combined assault of the island by land and sea, their movement was checked by the signal displayed on a scouting frigate: “Suspicious-looking ships are in sight.” Soon afterwards the Austrian fleet appeared, the ironclads leading, the wooden ships in the rear.

The battle that followed has had no parallel before or since. The whole Austrian fleet was converted into rams. Tegetthoff gave one final order to his captains: “Close with the enemy and ram everything grey.” Grey was the color of the Italian ships. The Austrian were painted black, so as to prevent any danger of error.

Fire was opened at two miles distance, the balls being wasted in the waters between the fleets. “Full steam ahead,” signaled Tegetthoff. On came the fleets, firing steadily, the balls now beginning to tell. “Ironclads will ram and sink the enemy,” signaled Tegetthoff. It was the last order he gave until the battle was won.

Soon the two lines of ironclads closed amid thick clouds of smoke. Tegetthoff, in his flagship, the Ferdinand Max, twice rammed a grey ironclad without effect. Then, out of the smoke, loomed up the tall masts of the Re d’Italia, Persano’s flagship in the beginning of the fray. Against this vessel the Ferdinand Max rushed at full speed, and struck her fairly amidships. Her sides of iron were crushed in by the powerful blow, her tall masts toppled over, and down beneath the waves sank the great ship with her crew of 600 men. The next minute another Italian ship came rushing upon the Austrian, and was only avoided by a quick turn of the helm.

One other great disaster occurred to the Italians. The Palestro was set on fire, and the pumps were put actively to work to drown the magazine. The crew thought the work had been successfully performed, and that they were getting the fire under control, when there suddenly came a terrible burst of flame attended by a roar that drowned all the din of the battle. It was the death knell of 400 men, for the Palestro had blown up with all on board. The great ironclad turret ship and ram of the Italian fleet, the Affondatore, to which Admiral Persano had shifted his flag, far the most powerful vessel in the Adriatic, kept outside of the battle line, and was of little service in the fray. It was apparently afraid to encounter Tegetthoff’s terrible rams. The battle ended with the Austrian fleet, wooden vessels and all, passing practically unharmed through the Italian lines into the harbor of Lissa, leaving death and destruction in their rear. Tegetthoff was the one Austrian who came out of that war with fame. Persano on his return home was put on trial for cowardice and incompetence. He was convicted of the latter and dismissed from the navy in disgrace.


But Italy, though defeated by land and sea, gained a valuable prize from the war, for Napoleon ceded Venetia to the Italian king, and soon afterwards Victor Emmanuel entered Venice in triumph. Thus was completed the second act in the unification of Italy.

The national party, with Garibaldi at its head, still aimed at the possession of Rome, as the historic capital of the peninsula. In 1867 he made a second attempt to capture Rome, but the papal army, strengthened with a new French auxiliary force, defeated his badly armed volunteers, and he was taken prisoner and held captive for a time, after which he was sent back to Caprera. This led to the French army of occupation being returned to Civita Vecchia, where it was kept for several years.

The final act came as a consequence of the Franco-German war of 1870, which rendered necessary the withdrawal of the French troops from Italy. The pope was requested to make a peaceful abdication. As he refused this, the States of the Church were occupied up to the walls of the capital, and a three-hours’ cannonade of the city sufficed to bring the long strife to an end. Rome became the capital of Italy, and the whole peninsula, for the first time since the fall of the ancient Roman empire, was concentrated into a single nation, under one king.

Chapter X.

Beginnings of Modern World Power

William I of Prussia—Bismarck’s Early Career—The Schleswig-Holstein Question—Conquest of the Duchies—Bismarck’s Wider Views—War Forced on Austria—The War in Italy—Austria’s Signal Defeat at Sadowa—The Treaty of Prague—Germany after 1866

The effort made in 1848 to unify Germany had failed for two reasons—first, because its promoters had not sufficiently clear and precise ideas, and, secondly, because they lacked material strength. Until 1859 reaction against novelties and their advocates dominated in Germany and even Prussia as well as in Austria. The Italian war, as was readily foreseen, and as wary counselors had told Napoleon III, revived the agitation in favor of unity beyond the Rhine. After September 16, 1859, it had its center in the national circle of Frankfort and its manifesto in the proclamation which was issued on September 4, 1860, a proclamation whose terms, though in moderate form, clearly announced the design of excluding Austria from Germany. It was the object of those favoring unity, but with more decision than in 1848, to place the group of German states under Prussia’s imperial direction. The accession of a new king, William I, who was already in advance called William the Conqueror, was likely to bring this project to a successful issue. The future German emperor’s predecessor, Frederick William IV, with the same ambition as his brother, had too many prejudices and too much confusion in his mind to be capable of realizing it. Becoming insane towards the close of 1857, he had to leave the government to William, who, officially regent after October 7, 1858, became king on January 2, 1861.


The new sovereign was almost sixty-four years old. The son of Frederick William III and Queen Louisa, while yet a child he had witnessed the disasters of his country and his home, and then as a young man had had his first experience of arms towards the close of the Napoleonic wars. Obliged to flee during the revolt of 1848, he had afterwards, by his pro-English attitude at the time of the Crimean war, won the sympathies of the Liberals, who joyfully acclaimed his accession. To lower him to the rank of a party leader was to judge him erroneously. William I was above all a Prussian prince, serious, industrious, and penetrated with a sense of his duties to the state, the first of which, according to the men of his house, has ever been to aggrandize it; and he was also imbued with the idea that the state was essentially incarnate in him.

“I am the first king,” he said at his coronation, “to assume power since the throne has been surrounded with modern institutions, BUT I do not forget that the crown comes from God.”

He had none of the higher talents that mark great men, but he possessed the two essential qualities of the head of a state—firmness and judgment. He showed this by the way in which he chose and supported those who built up his greatness, and this merit is rarer than is generally supposed. A soldier above all, he saw that Prussia’s ambitions could be realized only with a powerful army.

Advised by Von Moltke, the army’s chief of staff after 1858, and Von Roon, the great administrator, who filled the office of minister of war, he changed the organization of 1814, which had become insufficient. Instead of brigades formed in war time, half of men in active service and half of reserves, regiments were now recruited by a three (instead of a two) years’ service and reinforced in case of need by the classes of reserves. The Landwehr, divided into two classes (twenty-five to thirty-two years and thirty-two to thirty-nine), was grouped separately. This system gave seven hundred thousand trained soldiers, Prussia having then seventeen million inhabitants. This was more than either France or Austria had. The armament was also superior. Frederick William I had already said that the first result to be obtained in this direction was celerity in firing. This was assured by the invention of the needle gun.


Such a transformation entailed heavy expenses. The Prussian Chamber, made up for the most part of Liberals, did not appreciate its utility. Moreover, it was not in favor of increasing the number of officers, because they were recruited from the nobility. After having yielded with bad grace in 1860, the deputies refused the grants in 1861 and 1862. It was at this time that Bismarck was called to the ministry (September 24, 1862). Otto von Bismarck-Schonhausen, born April 1, 1815, belonged by birth to that minor Prussian nobility, rough and realistic, but faithful and disciplined, which has ever been one of the Prussian state’s sources of strength. After irregular studies at the university of Gottingen, he had entered the administration, but had not been able to stay in it, and had lived on his rather moderate estates until 1847. The diet of that year, to which he had been elected, brought him into prominence. There he distinguished himself in the Junker (poor country squires’) party by his marked contempt for the Liberalism then in vogue and his insolence to the Liberals. Frederick William IV entrusted him with representing Prussia at Frankfort, where he assumed the same attitude towards the Austrians (1851–59).

He was afterward ambassador at St. Petersburg, and had just been sent to Paris in the same capacity when he became prime minister.

His character was a marked one. In it was evident a taste for sarcastic raillery and a sort of frankness, apparently brutal, but really more refined than cruel. His qualities were those of all great politicians, embracing energy, decision and realism; that is, talent for appreciating all things at their effective value and for not letting himself be duped either by appearances, by current theories, or by words. Very unfavorably received by the parliament, he paid little heed to the furious opposition of the deputies, causing to be promulgated by ordinance the budget which they refused him, suppressing hostile newspapers, treating his adversaries with studied insolence, and declaring to them that, if the Chamber had its rights, the king also had his, and that force must settle the matter in such a case. To get rid of these barren struggles, he took advantage of the first incident of foreign politics. The Schleswig-Holstein question furnished him with the desired opportunity.


This was the first of the various important questions of international policy in which Bismarck became concerned. The united provinces of Schleswig-Holstein, lying on the northern border of Denmark had long been notable as a source of continual strife between Germany and Denmark. The majority of the inhabitants of Schleswig were Danes, but those of Holstein were very largely Germans, and the question of their true national affiliation lay open from the time of their original union in 1386. It became insistent after the middle of the nineteenth century.

The Treaty of London in 1852 had maintained the union of Holstein with Denmark, but did not put a definite end to the demands of the Germans, who held that it was a constituent part of Germany. The quarrel was renewed in 1855 over a common constitution given by King Frederick VII to all his states. This was abolished in 1858, and afterwards the Danes sought to grant complete autonomy to the duchies of Schleswig and Lauenburg, this movement being with the purpose of making more complete the union of Schleswig with their country. This step, taken in 1863, led to a protest from the German diet.

In all this there was food for an indefinite contest, for, on the one hand, Schleswig did not form a part of the Confederation, but, on the other, certain historical bonds attached it to Holstein, and its population was mixed. The death of Frederick VII (November 15, 1863), who was succeeded by a distant relative, Christian IX, further complicated the quarrel. The duke of Augustenburg claimed the three duchies, though he had previously renounced them. The German diet, on its part, wanted the Danish constitution abolished in Schleswig.

The dream of the petty German states hostile to Prussia, and especially of the Saxon minister, Von Beust, was to strengthen their party by the creating of a new duchy. Bismarck admirably outplayed everybody. He knew that the great Powers were at odds with one another over Poland. He, on the contrary, could count on Russia’s friendship and the personal aid of Queen Victoria, whom Prince Albert had completely won over to pro-German ideas. He used England to make Christian IX consent to the occupation of Holstein, which, he said, was in reality an acknowledgment of that king’s rights. At this stage, had the Danes yielded to the necessities of the situation and withdrawn from Schleswig under protest, the European Powers would probably have intervened and a congress would have restored Schleswig to the Danish realm. Bismarck prevented this by a cunning stratagem, making the Copenhagen government believe that Great Britain had taken a step hostile to that government. There was no truth in this, but it succeeded in inducing Denmark to remain defiant. As a consequence, on the 1st of February 1864, the combined forces of Prussia and Austria crossed the Eider and invaded the province.

It was a movement to regain to Germany a section held to be non-Danish in population and retained by Denmark against the traditions and will of its people. Austria, which did not wish to appear less German than Prussia, though the matter did not directly appeal to that country, joined in the movement, being drawn into it by Bismarck’s shrewd policy.

It was not the original intention to go beyond the borders of the duchies and invade Denmark, but when Christian IX tried to resist the invasion this was done. The Danewerk and the Schlei were forced, and the Danish army was defeated at Flensburg and driven back into Dueppel, which was taken by assault. A conference of the great Powers, opened at London (April 25th to June 25th), brought about no result. Napoleon III did not refuse to act, but he wanted as a condition that England would promise him something more than its moral support, which it refused to do. Finally Jutland was invaded and conquered, and Van Moltke was already preparing for a landing in Fuenen when Christian IX gave up all the duchies by the Vienna preliminaries (August 1st), confirmed by treaty on October 30th following.


The fate of the conquest remained to be decided upon. Bismarck settled it, after a pretence of investigation, by concluding that the rights of King Christian over the duchies were far superior to those of the duke of Augstenburg, who had a hereditary claim, and that as Prussia and Austria had won them from the king by conquest, they had become the lawful owners. An agreement was made in which Holstein was assigned to Austria and Schleswig to Prussia, and for the time the question seemed settled.


This was far from being the case. Bismarck held views of far more expanded scope. He wanted to exclude Austria from the German confederation, and to do so desired war with that country as the only practical means of gaining his ends. In 1865 he made the significant remark that a single battle in Bohemia would decide everything and that Prussia would win that battle. A remark like this was indicative of the purpose entertained and the events soon to follow.

In such a war, however, it was important to secure the neutrality of France. The alert Prussian statesman had already assured himself of that of Russia. To gain France to his side he held an interview with Napoleon III at Biarritz in October, 1865. The cunning diplomat offered the emperor an alliance with a view to the extension of Prussia and Italy, by means of which France would take Belgium. Napoleon saw very clearly that the offer was chimerical, but he believed that Prussia if fighting alone would be rapidly crushed, and that the alliance of Italy would aid him in protracting the war, thus enabling him to intervene as a peacemaker and to impose a vast rearrangement of territory, the most essential provision of which would be the exchange of Venetia for Silesia. Whatever Napoleon’s views, Bismarck saw that he was safe from any interference on the part of France, and returned with the fixed design of driving Austria to the wall.


He found the desired pretext in the Holstein question and the far more serious one of reforming the federal government. On January 24, 1866, he reproached the Austrian government with favoring in Holstein the pretensions of the Duke of Augustenburg. The grievance soon became envenomed by complaints and ulterior measures. In April Bismarck denounced the so-called offensive measures which Austria was taking in Bohemia and which, in short, were only precautionary. Yet at the same time he himself was signing with Italy a treaty, concluded for three months, by virtue of which Victor Emmanuel was to declare war against Austria as soon as Prussia itself had done so.

Bismarck, now invited to lay the Austrian-Prussian dispute before the diet, answered by asking that an assembly elected by universal suffrage be called to discuss the question of federal reform. And when Austria offered to disarm in Bohemia if Prussia would do so on its part, Bismarck demanded, in addition, disarmament in Venetia, a condition he knew to be unacceptable. On May 7, 1866, he declared he would not accept the diet’s intervention in the duchies question, and on the 8th ordered the mobilization of the Prussian army.

Napoleon III at this juncture proposed the holding of a congress for settling the duchies question and that of federal reform. Thiers had warned him in vain, in an admirable speech delivered on May 3d, that France had everything to lose by aiding in bringing about the unity of Germany. The emperor obstinately persisted, proposing to tear up those treaties of 1815 which, two years before, he had childishly declared to be no longer in existence. His proposition of a congress, however, failed through the refusal of Austria and the petty states to take part in it. He next signed with Austria a secret treaty by which the latter promised to cede Venetia after its first victory and on condition of being indemnified at Prussia’s expense. By a strange inconsistency the French emperor proposed at the same time to make Prussia more homogeneous in the north.

Bismarck acted in a far clearer manner than the French emperor. On June 5th, General von Gablenz, the Austrian governor of Holstein, convened the states of that country, Austria declaring that the object of this measure was to enable the federal diet to settle the question. A German force under General Manteuffel at once invaded the duchy and, having far superior forces at his disposal, took possession of it. On the 10th, Prussia asked the different German States to accept a new constitution based on the exclusion of Austria, the election of a parliament by universal suffrage, the creation of a strong federal power and a common army. The diet answered by voting the federal execution against Prussia. Thereupon the Prussian envoy, Savigny, withdrew, declaring that his sovereign ceased to recognize the Confederation.

Events proved how correctly Bismarck had judged in his confidence in Prussia’s military strength. The Prussian forces amounted to 330,000 men, who were to be aided in the south by 240,000 Italians. Austria had 335,000 troops and its German allies 146,000. Generally the last named had little zeal.

The Austrian government acted slowly, while its adversary vigorously assumed the offensive. On June 16th, after an unavailing notice, the Prussian troops invaded Saxony and occupied it without resistance, the Saxon army withdrawing to Bohemia. The same was the case in Hesse, whose grand duke was taken prisoner, while his army joined the Bavarians. Still less fortunate was the king of Hanover, who did not even save his army, which also retreating towards the south, was surrounded and obliged to capitulate at Langensalza (June 29th).

In the south the Prussian General Vogel von Falkenstein, who had but 57,000 men against over 100,000, took advantage of the fact that his adversaries had separated into two masses, the one at Frankfort, and the other at Meiningen, to beat them separately, the Bavarians at Kissingen (July 10th) and the Prince of Hesse, commanding the other army, at Aschaffenurg (July 14th). On the 16th the Prussians entered Frankfort, which they overwhelmed with requisitions and contributions. General Manteuffel, Falkenstein’s successor, then drove the federal armies from the line of the Tauber, where they had united, back to Wurzburg. On the 28th an armistice was concluded.


The Italians had been less successful. Archduke Albert, who commanded in Venetia, had only 70,000 men, but they were Croatian Slavs, that is, Austria’s best troops. Confronting him, Victor Emmanuel commanded 124,000 men on the Chiese and Cialdini 80,000 in the neighborhood of Ferrara. They proved unable to act together. Cialdini let himself be kept in check by a mere handful of troops, while the Austrian archduke attacked the Italian royal army at Custozza. Serious errors in tactics and panic in an Italian brigade, which fled before three platoons of lancers that had the audacity to charge it, gave victory to the Austrians. Cialdini had remained behind the Po. Garibaldi, who had undertaken with 36,000 men, to conquer the Trent region, defended by only 13,000 regulars and 4,000 militia under General von Kuhn, found himself not only repulsed in every attack, but, had it not been for the evacuation of Venetia, his adversary would have pursued him on Italian territory. The important events which took place at sea have been described in the preceding chapter.


It was not on these events that the outcome of the war was to depend, but on the victory or defeat of the chief Austrian army. The forces of the two Powers on the Silesian and Saxon frontier were almost equal; but the Austrian commander-in-chief, Benedek, brave and brilliant as a division leader, proved unequal to his present task. He dallied in Moravia until June 16th, while the Prussians entered Bohemia in two separate masses, one on each side of the Riesen Gebirge. Benedek wavered and blundered. He sent only 60,000 men against 150,000 under Prince Frederick Charles, and they suffered four defeats in as many days (June 26–29th). At the same time he had made the same mistake in regard to the Prince Royal, who won in over half a dozen skirmishes. During the following night, June 29–30th, the second Prussian army reached the Elbe.

Benedek’s incapacity was now completely demonstrated. He telegraphed to the emperor to make peace at any cost, and retreated on Olmutz. Then he changed his mind and decided to fight, seeking to throw the blame for his own errors on his subordinates. The battle-field chosen by him was near the village of Sadowa, and here his army, though sadly demoralized, fought with much bravery. The Austrians, whom their general had notified of the imminent battle only in the middle of the night, had fortified the slopes and villages as best they could. At eight in the morning Frederick Charles began the attack by crossing the Bistritz. Benedek’s center resisted, but the right and left wings lost ground. At half past eleven the Prussians were losing ground and seemed ready to retreat. At this critical moment the army of the Prince Royal appeared, coming from the north.

The second and sixth Austrian corps, obliged to confront the new troops with a flank march under the fire of the Prussian artillery, could not hold out long, and about three o’clock the strongest Austrian position was lost. It was necessary at any cost to regain it, but all efforts failed against their own intrenchments, defended by the captors with desperate energy. At half past four retreat became necessary. Half of the Austrian army escaped without much difficulty; but the rest, three army corps, driven towards the Elbe by the entire victorious army, would have been annihilated but for the devotedness of the cavalry and the artillerymen. These formed successive fire lines, and continuing to shoot until the muzzles of their guns were reached, saving the infantry from destruction through dint of dying at their posts. Despite this diversion it was a frightful rout, which cost the vanquished 40,000 men and 187 pieces of artillery. The Prussians lost only 10,000 dead and wounded.


The Austrians tried to fall back on Vienna, but only three corps out of eight reached there, as the Prussian army by a rapid march had forced the others to seek refuge at Presburg. On July 18th the Prussian armies were concentrated on the Russbach. Archduke Albert, recalled from Italy, had taken command of the troops covering Vienna, but the internal condition of the empire, where Hungary was in agitation, was too disquieting for it to be possible, without aid, to continue the war. This aid Napoleon III could and should have furnished. The French army had suffered from the expedition to Mexico. Yet it would have been possible to put a hundred thousand men on foot immediately, and later on, Bismarck acknowledged that this would have sufficed to change the result. But Napoleon III was ill and swayed between opposing influences. Prince Napoleon, whom he heeded very much, was decidedly in favor of Prussia. Accordingly, no step was taken but an offer of mediation. Then he had the weakness, in spite of his minister, Drouyn de Lhuys, to consent to the annexations which Prussia wished to bring about in northern Germany. He asked, however, that Austria lose only Venetia, but it was precisely Bismarck’s will that had, and not without difficulty, persuaded King William that he must not, by territorial demands, compromise the alliance which he afterwards realized.

On July 26th the peace preliminaries of Nikolsburg were signed. Austria paid a considerable indemnity, abandoned its former position in Germany, acknowledged the extension of Prussian authority to the line of the Main and the annexations which Prussia would deem it to its purpose to make. The three Danish duchies were likewise abandoned. It was stipulated only that the inhabitants of northern Schleswig should be consulted as to their wish to be restored or not to Denmark, which was never done. The definitive treaty was signed on August 25th at Prague. As for Italy, Francis Joseph had ceded Venetia to Napoleon III, who was to transmit it to Victor Emmanuel, but the Italians protested loudly against the idea of being satisfied with so little. They wanted in addition at least the Trent country. “Have you, then,” Bismarck said to them, “lost another battle to claim a province more?” On August 10th the preliminaries of peace were signed on that side. The final treaty, that of Vienna, was concluded on October 3, 1866.


Prussia, now master of Germany, annexed Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Nassau and the city of Frankfort, which increased its population by four and a half millions. The rest of the northern states as far as the Main were to form under its direction the Confederation of Northern Germany (proclaimed July 1, 1867), with a constitution exactly the same as that of the German empire of today. As for the southern states, they remained independent, but signed military agreements which connected them with Prussia. Napoleon III tried in vain to obtain a compensation for that enormous increase of power. To the first overtures which he made to this end (he wanted the Palatinate) Bismarck answered with a flat refusal and a threat of war. He added, however, that he would consent to an enlargement of France from Belgium, a project which he was afterwards careful to mention as coming from the Paris cabinet.

Bismarck had succeeded in humbling Austria and reducing its importance among the great Powers of Europe, and had expanded Prussia alike on the north and south and made it decisively the ruling nation in Central Europe. As we have seen, it had concluded military agreements with the states of southern Germany. It held them also in another manner, namely, by means of the Zollverein, signed anew on June 4, 1867. But it was as yet far from having brought about a peaceful realization of unity. The southern states, not merely the sovereigns only, but the peoples as well, had always shown little taste for Prussian leadership, and after 1866 this feeling was very visible. It was for that reason that Bismarck had need of a war against France to strengthen his position. Union against the foreigner was the cement with which he hoped to complete political unity. Such a war came near breaking out in 1867 in relation to Luxembourg. Napoleon III keenly desired to have at least that country as compensation for Prussia’s aggrandizements, and the king of Holland was disposed to cede his rights for a consideration. But Bismarck, after having secretly approved of the bargain, officially declared his opposition to it. Napoleon, hampered at one and the same time by the Paris Exposition of that year and by the bad condition of his army, was too happy to escape from embarrassment, since it was evident that the Prussians were not willing to evacuate the fortress of Luxembourg, by obtaining with the aid of the other Powers that the little duchy be declared neutral and the walls of its capital destroyed.

In spite of this arrangement, it remained certain to everybody that a conflict would break out in a short time between France and Prussia. We have seen what reasons Bismarck had for the methods pursued by him and those projected. Napoleon III’s government, justly censured by opinion for the weakness which it had shown in 1866 and constantly losing its authority, was destined to fall into the first trap its adversary would set for it. What this trap was and the momentous events to which it led will be described in the next chapter.

Chapter XI.

Birth of the German Empire and the French Republic

Causes of Hostile Relations—Discontent in France—War with Prussia Declared—Self deception of the French—First Meeting of the Armies—The Stronghold of Metz—Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte—Napoleon III at Sedan—The Emperor a Captive; France a Republic—Bismarck Refuses Intervention—Fall of the Fortresses—Paris is Besieged—Defiant Spirit of the French—The Struggle Continued—Operations Before Paris—Fighting in the South—The War at an End

In 1866 the war between the two great powers of Germany, in which most of the smaller powers were concerned, led to more decided measures, in the absorption by Prussia of the weaker states, the formation of a North German League among the remaining states of the north, and the offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia of the south German states. By the treaty of peace with Austria, that power was excluded from the German League, and Prussia remained the dominant power in Germany. A constitution for the League was adopted in 1867, providing for a Diet, or legislative council of the League, elected by the direct votes of the people, and an army, which was to be under the command of the Prussian king and subject to the military laws of Prussia. Each state in the League bound itself to supply a specified sum for the support of the army.

Here was a union with a backbone—an army and a budget—and Bismarck had done more in the five years of his ministry in forming a united Germany than his predecessors had done in fifty years. But the idea of union and alliance between kindred states was then widely in the air. Such a union had been practically completed in Italy, and Hungary in 1867 regained her ancient rights, which had been taken from her in 1849, being given a separate government, with Francis Joseph, the emperor of Austria,

as its king. It was natural that the common blood of the Germans should lead them to a political confederation, and equally natural that Prussia, which so overshadowed the smaller states in strength, should be the leading element in the alliance.

Yet, though Prussia had concluded military agreements with the states of southern Germany and held them also by means of the Zollverein, this was far from bringing about a peaceful realization of unity. The southern states, not merely the sovereigns only, but the peoples, have always had little taste for Prussian leadership, and after 1866 this feeling was very visible. For this reason Bismarck felt it important to instigate a war against France. Union against the foreigner was to complete political unity. This subject has been dealt with in the preceding chapter, and we need here merely to repeat that warlike sentiments were in the air in 1867, in regard to the desire of Napoleon III to add to his empire the little duchy of Luxembourg and Bismarck’s opposition to this desire. France was not then in a favorable condition for war, and the matter was finally settled by declaring Luxembourg a neutral state and ordering the walls around its capital to be destroyed.


In spite of this settlement, it remained certain to everybody that a conflict would break out in a short time between France and Prussia. We have seen what reasons Bismarck had for such a war. Napoleon III’s government, justly censured by opinion for the weakness which it had shown in 1866, was eager to retrieve the fault it had then committed. Yet the weakness of the administration continued and prevented it from adopting the indispensable military measures that it should have done. The enemies of power were declaiming against standing armies, which they declared useless. The government deputies were afraid to dissatisfy their constituents by aggravating the burdens of the service. Marshal Niel, minister of war, tried indeed to adopt measures with a view to the seemingly inevitable conflict. He caused to be elaborated a plan of campaign, a system of transportation by railway, an arrangement for the chief places of the east to be armed with rifled cannon. But the Chamber grudged him the appropriations for the increase of the army, asking him if “he wished to make France a vast barracks.” “Take care,” he answered the opposition, “lest you make it a vast cemetery.” Accordingly, when the mobile national guard had been created, made up of all the young men who had not been drawn by lot, organization was given to it only on paper, and it was never drilled. Leboeuf, who succeeded Niel in August, 1869, abandoned, moreover, most of his predecessor’s plans. He even neglected to do anything towards carrying out on the eastern frontier any of the works of defense already recommended as urgent by the generals of the restoration.

And thus time passed on until the eventful year 1870. By that year Prussia had completed its work among the north German states and was ready for the issue of hostilities, if this should be necessary. On the other hand, Napoleon, who had found his prestige in France from various causes decreasing, felt obliged in 1870 to depart from his policy of personal rule and give that country a constitutional government. This proposal was submitted to a vote of the people and was sustained by an immense majority. He also took occasion to state that “peace was never more assured than at the present time.” This assurance gave satisfaction to the world, yet it was a false one, for war was probably at that moment assured.


There were alarming signs in France. The opposition to Napoleonism was steadily gaining power. A bad harvest was threatened—a serious source of discontent. The parliament was discussing the reversal of the sentence of banishment against the Orleans family. These indications of a change in public sentiment appeared to call for some act that would aid in restoring the popularity of the emperor. And of all the acts that could be devised a national war seemed the most promising. If the Rhine frontier, which every Frenchman regarded as the natural boundary of the empire, could be regained by the arms of the nation, discontent and opposition would vanish, the name of Napoleon would win back its old prestige, and the reign of Bonapartism would be firmly established.

Acts speak louder than words, and the acts of Napoleon were not in accord with his assurances of peace. Extensive military preparations began, and the forces of the empire were strengthened by land and sea, while great trust was placed in a new weapon, of murderous powers, called the Mitrailleuse, the predecessor of the machine gun, and capable of discharging twenty-five balls at once.


On the other hand, there were abundant indications of discontent in Germany, where a variety of parties inveighed against the rapacious policy of Prussia, and where Bismarck had sown a deep crop of hate. It was believed in France that the minor states would not support Prussia in a war. In Austria the defeat of 1866 rankled, and hostilities against Prussia on the part of France seemed certain to win sympathy and support in that composite empire. Colonel Stoffel, the French military envoy at Berlin, declared that Prussia would be found abundantly prepared for a struggle; but his warnings went unheeded in the French Cabinet, and the warlike preparations continued.

Napoleon did not have to go far for an excuse for the war upon which he was resolved. One was prepared for him in that potent source of trouble, the succession to the throne of Spain. In that country there had for years been no end of trouble, revolts, Carlist risings, wars and rumors of wars. The government of Queen Isabella, with its endless intrigues, plots and alternation of despotism and anarchy, and the pronounced immorality of the queen, had become so distasteful to the people that finally, after several years of revolts and armed risings, she was driven from her throne by a revolution, and for a time Spain was without a monarch and was ruled on the republican principles.

But this arrangement did not prove satisfactory. The party in opposition looked around for a king, and negotiations began with a distant relative of the Prussian royal family, Leopold of Hohenzollern. Prince Leopold accepted the offer, and informed the king of Prussia of his decision.

The news of this event caused great excitement in Paris, and the Prussian government was advised of the painful feeling to which the incident had given rise. The answer from Berlin that the Prussian government had no concern in the matter, and that Prince Leopold was free to act on his own account, did not allay the excitement. The demand for war grew violent and clamorous, the voices of the feeble opposition in the Chambers were drowned, and the journalists and war partisans were confident of a short and glorious campaign and a triumphant march to Berlin.

The hostile feeling was reduced when King William of Prussia, though he declined to prohibit Prince Leopold from accepting the crown, expressed his concurrence with the decision of the prince when he withdrew his acceptance of the dangerous offer. This decision was regarded as sufficient, even in Paris; but it did not seem to be so in the palace, where an excuse for a declaration of war was ardently desired. The emperor’s purpose was enhanced by the influence of the empress, and it was finally declared that the Prussian king had aggrieved France in permitting the prince to become a candidate for the throne without consulting the French Cabinet.


Satisfaction for this shadowy source of offense was demanded, but King William firmly refused to say any more on the subject and declined to stand in the way of Prince Leopold if he should again accept the offer of the Spanish throne. This refusal was declared to be an offense to the honor and a threat to the safety of France. The war party was so strongly in the ascendant that all opposition was now looked upon as lack of patriotism, and on the 15th of July the Prime Minister Ollivier announced that the reserves were to be called out and the necessary measures taken to secure the honor and security of France. When the declaration of war was hurled against Prussia the whole nation seemed in harmony with it and public opinion appeared for once to have become a unit throughout France.

Rarely in the history of the world has so trivial a cause given rise to such stupendous military and political events as took place in France in a brief interval following this blind leap into hostilities. Instead of a triumphant march to Berlin and the dictation of peace from its palace, France was to find itself in two months’ time without an emperor or an army, and in a few months more completely subdued and occupied by foreign troops, while Paris had been made the scene of a terrible siege and a frightful communistic riot, and a republic had succeeded the empire. It was such a series of events as have seldom been compressed within the short interval of half a year.

In truth Napoleon and his advisers were blinded by their hopes to the true state of affairs. The army on which they depended, and which they assumed to be in a high state of efficiency and discipline, was lacking in almost every requisite of an efficient force. The first Napoleon had been his own minister of war. The third Napoleon, when told by his war minister that “not a single button was wanted on a single gaiter,” took the words for the fact, and hurled an army without supplies and organization against the most thoroughly organized army the world had ever known. That the French were as brave as the Germans goes without saying; they fought desperately, but from the first confusion reigned in their movements, while military science of the highest kind dominated those of the Germans.

Napoleon was equally mistaken as to the state of affairs in Germany. The disunion upon which he counted vanished at the first threat of war. All Germany felt itself threatened and joined hands in defense. The declaration of war was received there with as deep an enthusiasm as in France and excited a fervent eagerness for the struggle. The new popular song, DIE WACHT AM RHEIN (“The Watch on the Rhine”), spread rapidly from end to end of the country, and indicated the resolution of the German people to defend to the death the frontier stream of their country.


The French looked for a parade march to Berlin, even fixing the day of their entrance into that city—August 15th, the emperor’s birthday. On the contrary, they failed to set their foot on German territory, and soon found themselves engaged in a death struggle with the invaders of their own land. In truth, while the Prussian diplomacy was conducted by Bismarck, the ablest statesman Prussia had ever known, the movements of the army were directed by far the best tactician Europe then possessed, the famous Von Moltke, to whose strategy the rapid success of the war against Austria had been due. In the war with France Von Moltke, though too old to lead the armies in person, was virtually commander-in-chief, and arranged those masterly combinations which overthrew all the power of France in so remarkably brief a period. Under his directions, from the moment war was declared everything worked with clock-like precision. It was said that Von Moltke had only to touch a bell and all went forward. As it was, the Crown Prince Frederick fell upon the French while still unprepared, won the first battle, and steadily held the advantage to the end, the French being beaten by the strategy that kept the Germans in superior strength at all decisive points.

But to return to the events of war. On July 23, 1870, the Emperor Napoleon, after making his wife, Eugenie regent of France, set out with his son at the head of the army, full of high hopes of victory and triumph. By the end of July King William had also set out from Berlin to join the armies that were then in rapid motion, towards the frontier.

The emperor made his way to Metz, where was stationed his main army, about 200,000 strong, under Marshals Bazaine and Canrobert and General Bourgaki. Further east, under Marshal MacMahon, the hero of Magenta, was the southern army, of about 100,000 men. A third army occupied the camp at Chalons, while a well-manned fleet set sail for the Baltic, to blockade the harbors and assail the coast of Germany. The German army was likewise in three divisions, the first, of 61,000 men, under General Steinmetz; the second, of 206,000 men, under Prince Frederick Charles; and the third, of 180,000 men, under the crown prince and General Blumenthal. The king, commander-in-chief of the whole, was in the center, and with him the general staff under the guidance of the alert von Moltke. Bismarck and the minister of war Von Roon were also present, and so rapid was the movement of these great forces that in two weeks after the order to march was given 300,000 armed Germans stood in rank along the Rhine.


The two armies first came together on August 2d, near Saarbruck, on the frontier line of the hostile kingdoms. It was the one success of the French, for the Prussians, after a fight in which both sides lost equally, retired in good order. This was proclaimed by the French papers as a brilliant victory, and filled the people with undue hopes of glory. It was the last favorable report, for they were quickly overwhelmed with tidings of defeat and disaster.

Weissenburg, on the borders of Rhenish Bavaria, had been invested by a division of MacMahon’s army. On August 4th the right wing of the army of the Crown Prince Frederick attacked and repulsed this investing force after a hot engagement, in which its leader, General Douay, was killed, and the loss on both sides was heavy. Two days later occurred a battle which decided the fate of the whole war, that of Worth-Reideshofen, where the army of the crown prince met that of MacMahon, and after a desperate struggle, which continued for fifteen hours, completely defeated him, with very heavy losses on both sides. MacMahon retreated in haste towards the army at Chalons, while the crown prince took possession of Alsace, and prepared for the reduction of the fortresses on the Rhine, from Strasburg to Belfort. On the same day as that of the battle of Worth, General Steinmetz stormed the heights of Spicheren, and, though at great loss of life, drove Frossard from those heights and back upon Metz.

The occupation of Alsace was followed by that of Lorraine, by the Prussian army under King William, who took possession of Nancy and the country surrounding on August 11th. These two provinces had at one time belonged to Germany, and it was the aim of the Prussians to retain them as the chief anticipated prize of the war. Meanwhile the world looked on in amazement at the extraordinary rapidity of the German success, which, in two weeks after Napoleon left Paris, had brought his power to the verge of overthrow.


Towards the Moselle River and the strongly fortified town of Metz, 180 miles northeast of Paris, around which was concentrated the main French force, all the divisions of the German army now advanced, and on the 14th of August they gained a victory at Colombey-Nouilly which drove their opponents back from the open field towards the fortified city.

It was Moltke’s opinion that the French proposed to make their stand before this impregnable fortress, and fight there desperately for victory. But, finding less resistance than he expected, he concluded, on the 15th, that Bazaine, in fear of being cooped up within the fortress, meant to march towards Verdun, there to join his forces with those of MacMahon and give battle to the Germans in the plain.

The astute tactician at once determined to make every effort to prevent such a concentration of his opponents, and by the evening of the 15th a cavalry division had crossed the Moselle and reached the village of Mars-la-Tour, where it bivouacked for the night. It had seen troops in motion towards Metz, hut did not know whether these formed the rear-guard of the French army or its vanguard in its march towards Verdun.

In fact, Bazaine had not yet got away with his army. All the roads from Metz were blocked with heavy baggage, and it was impossible to move so large an army with expedition. The time thus lost by Bazaine was diligently improved by Frederick Charles, and on the morning of the 16th the Brandenburg army corps, one of the best and bravest in the German army, had followed the cavalry and come within sight of the Verdun road. It was quickly perceived that a French force was before them, and some preliminary skirmishing developed the enemy in such strength as to convince the leader of the corps that he had in his front the whole or the greater part of Bazaine’s army, and that its escape from Metz had not been achieved.

They were desperate odds with which the brave Brandenburgers had to contend, but they had been sent to hold the French until reinforcements could arrive, and they were determined to resist to the death. For nearly six hours they resisted, with unsurpassed courage, the fierce onslaughts of the French, though at a cost of life that perilously depleted the gallant corps. Then, about four o’clock in the afternoon, Prince Frederick Charles came up with reinforcements to their support and the desperate contest became more even.


Gradually fortune decided in favor of the Germans, and by the time night had come they were practically victorious, the field of Mars-la-Tour, after the day’s struggle, remaining in their hands. But they were utterly exhausted, their horses were worn out, and most of their ammunition was spent, and though their impetuous commander forced them to a new attack, it led to a useless loss of life, for their powers of fighting were gone. They had achieved a fearful loss, amounting to about 16,000 men on each side. “The battle of Vionville (Mars-la-Tour) is without a parallel in military history,” said Emperor William, “seeing that a single army corps, about 20,000 men strong, hung on to and repulsed an enemy more than five times as numerous and well equipped. Such was the glorious deed done by the Brandenburgers, and the Hohenzollerns will never forget the debt they owe to their devotion.”

Two days afterwards (August 16th) at Gravelotte, a village somewhat nearer to Metz, the armies, somewhat recovered from the terrible struggle of the 14th, met again, the whole German army being now brought up, so that over 100,000 men faced the 140,000 of the French. It was the great battle of the war. For four hours the two armies stood fighting face to face, without any special result, neither being able to drive back the other. The French held their ground and died. The Prussians dashed upon them and died. Only late in the evening was the right wing of the French army broken, and the victory, which at five o’clock remained uncertain, was decided in favor of the Germans. More than 40,000 men lay dead and wounded upon the field, the terrible harvest of those nine hours of conflict. That night Bazaine withdrew his army behind the fortifications at Metz. His effort to join MacMahon had ended in failure.

It was the fixed purpose of the Prussians to detain him in that stronghold, and thus render practically useless to France its largest army. A siege was to be prosecuted, and an army of 150,000 men was extended around the town. The fortifications were far too strong to be taken by assault, and all depended on a close blockade. On August 31st Bazaine made an effort to break through the German lines, but was repulsed. It became now a question of how long the provisions of the French would hold out.


The French emperor, who had been with Bazaine, had left his army before the battle of Mars-la-Tour, and was now with MacMahon at Chalons. Here lay an army of 125,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry. On it the Germans were advancing, in doubt as to what movement it would make, whether back towards Paris or towards Metz for the relief of Bazaine. They sought to place themselves in a position to check either. The latter movement was determined on by the French, but was carried out in a dubious and uncertain manner, the time lost giving abundant opportunity to the Germans to learn what was afoot and to prepare to prevent it. As soon as they were aware of MacMahon’s intention of proceeding to Metz they made speedy preparations to prevent his relieving Bazaine. By the last days of August the army of the crown prince had reached the right bank of the Aisne, and the fourth division gained possession of the line of the Meuse. On August 30th the French under General de Failly were attacked by the Germans at Beaumont and put to flight with heavy loss. It was evident that the hope of reaching Metz was at an end, and MacMahon, abandoning the attempt, concentrated his army around the frontier fortress of Sedan.

This old town stands on the right bank of the Meuse, in an angle of territory between Luxembourg and Belgium, and is surrounded by meadows, gardens, ravines, ditches and cultivated fields; the castle rising on a cliff-like eminence to the southwest of the place. MacMahon had stopped here to give his weary men a rest, not to fight, but von Moltke decided, on observing the situation, that Sedan should be the grave-yard of the French army. “The trap is now closed, and the mouse in it,” he said, with a chuckle of satisfaction.

Such proved to be the case. On September 1st the Bavarians won the village of Bazeille, after hours of bloody and desperate struggle. During this severe fight Marshal MacMahon was so seriously wounded that he was obliged to surrender the chief command, first to Duerot, and then to General Wimpffen, a man of recognized bravery and cold calculation.

Fortune soon showed itself in favor of the Germans. To the northwest of the town, the North German troops invested the exits from St. Meuges and Fleigneux, and directed a fearful fire of artillery against the French forces, which, before noon, were so hemmed in the valley that only two insufficient outlets to the south and north remained open. But General Wimpffen hesitated to seize either of these routes, the open way to Illy was soon closed by the Prussian guard corps, and a murderous fire was now directed from all sides upon the French, so that, after a last energetic struggle, they gave up all attempts to force a passage, and in the afternoon beat a retreat towards Sedan. In this small town the whole army of MacMahon was collected by evening, and there prevailed in the streets and houses an unprecedented disorder and confusion, which was still further increased when the German troops from the surrounding heights began to shoot down upon the fortress, and the town took fire in several places.


That an end might be put to the prevailing misery, Napoleon now commanded General Wimpffen to capitulate. The flag of truce already waved on the gates of Sedan when Colonel Bronsart appeared, and in the name of the king of Prussia demanded the surrender of the army and fortress. He soon returned to headquarters, accompanied by the French General Reille, who presented to the king a written message from Napoleon: “As I may not die in the midst of my army, I lay my sword in the hands of your majesty.” King William accepted it with an expression of sympathy for the hard fate of the emperor and of the French army which had fought so bravely under his own eyes. The conclusion of the treaty of capitulation was placed in the hands of Wimpffen, who, accompanied by General Castelnau, set out for Donchery to negotiate with Moltke and Bismarck. No attempts, however, availed to move Moltke from his stipulation for the surrender of the whole army at discretion; he granted a short respite, but if this expired without surrender, the bombardment of the town was to begin anew.

At six o’clock in the morning the capitulation was signed and was ratified by the king at his headquarters at Vendresse (2d September). Thus the world beheld the incredible spectacle of an army of 83,000 men surrendering themselves and their weapons to the victor, and being carried off as prisoners of war to Germany. Only the officers who gave their written word of honor to take no further part in the present war with Germany were permitted to retain their arms and personal property. Probably the assurance of Napoleon, the he had sought death on the battle-field but had not found it, was literally true; at any rate, the fate of the unhappy man, bowed down as he was both by physical and mental suffering, was so solemn and tragic that there was no room for hypocrisy, and that he had exposed himself to personal danger was admitted on all sides. Accompanied by Count Bismarck, he stopped at a small and mean-looking laborer’s inn on the road to Donchery, where, sitting down on a stone seat before the door, with Count Bismarck, he declared that he had not desired the war, but had been driven to it through the force of public opinion; and afterwards the two proceeded to the little castle of Bellevue, near Frenois, to join King William and the crown prince. A telegram to Queen Augusta thus describes the interview: “What an impressive moment was the meeting with Napoleon! He was cast down, but dignified in his bearing. I have granted him Wilhelmshohe, near Cassel, as his residence. Our meeting took place in a little castle before the western glacis of Sedan.


The locking up of Bazaine in Metz and the capture of MacMahon’s army at Sedan were events fatal to France. The struggle continued for months, but it was a fight against hope. The subsequent events of the war consisted of a double siege, that of Metz and that of Paris, with various minor sieges, and a desperate but hopeless effort of France in the field. As for the empire of Napoleon III, it was at an end. The tidings of the terrible catastrophe at Sedan filled the people with a fury that soon became revolutionary. While Jules Favre, the republican deputy, was offering a motion in the Assembly that the emperor had forfeited the crown, and that a provisional government should be established, the people were thronging the streets of Paris with cries of “Deposition! Republic!” On the 4th of September the Assembly had its final meeting. Two of its prominent members, Jules Favre and Gambetta, sustained the motion for deposition of the emperor, and it was carried after a stormy session. They then made their way to the senate-chamber, where, before a thronging audience, they proclaimed a republic and named a government for the national defense. At its head was General Trochu, military commandant at Paris. Favre was made minister of foreign affairs; Gambetta, minister of the interior; and other prominent members of te Assembly filled the remaining cabinet posts. The legislature was dissolved, the Palais de Bourbon was closed, and the Empress Eugenie quitted the Tuileries and made her escape with a few attendants to Belgium, whence she sought a refuge in England. Prince Louis Napoleon made his way to Italy, and the swarm of courtiers scattered in all directions; some faithful followers of the deposed monarch seeking the castle of Wilhelmshohe, where the unhappy Louis Napoleon occupied as a prison the same beautiful palace and park in which his uncle Jerome Bonaparte had once passed six years in a life of pleasure. The second French Empire was at an end; the third French Republic had begun—one that had to pass through many changes and escape many dangers before it would be firmly established.

“Not a foot’s breadth of our country nor a stone of our fortresses shall be surrendered,” was Jules Favre’s defiant proclamation to the invaders, and the remainder of the soldiers in the field were collected in Paris, and strengthened with all available reinforcements. Every person capable of bearing arms was enrolled in the national army, which soon numbered 400,000 men. There was need of haste, for the victors at Sedan were already marching upon the capital, inspired with high hopes from their previous astonishing success. They knew that Paris was strongly fortified, being encircled by powerful lines of defense, but they trusted that hunger would soon bring its garrison to terms. The same result was looked for at Metz, and at Strasbourg, which was also besieged.

Thus began at three main points and several minor ones a military siege the difficulties, dangers, and hardships of which surpassed even those of the winter campaign in the Crimea. Exposed at the fore-posts to the enemy’s balls, chained to arduous labor in the trenches and redoubts, and suffering from the effects of bad weather, and insufficient food and clothing, the German soldiers were compelled to undergo great privations and sufferings before the fortifications; while many fell in the frequent skirmishes and sallies, many succumbed to typhus and epidemic disease.

No less painful and distressing was the condition of the besieged. While the garrison soldiers on guard were constantly compelled to face death in nocturnal sallies, or led a pitiable existence in damp huts, having inevitable surrender constantly before their eyes, and disarmament and imprisonment as the reward of all their struggles and exertions, the citizens in the towns, the women and children, were in constant danger of being shivered to atoms by the fearful shells, or of being buried under falling walls and roofs; and the poorer part of the population saw with dismay the gradual diminution of the necessaries of life, and were often compelled to pacify their hunger with the flesh of horses, and disgusting and unwholesome food.


The republican government possessed only a usurped power, and none but a freely elected national assembly could decide as to the fate of the French nation. Such an assembly was therefore summoned for the 16th of October. Three members of the government—Cremieux, Fourichon, and Glais-Bizoin—were despatched before the entire blockade of the city had been effected, to Tours, to maintain communication with the provinces. An attempt was also made at the same time to induce the great Powers which had not taken part in the war to organize an intervention, as hitherto only America, Switzerland and Spain had sent official recognition. For this important and delicate mission the old statesman and historian Thiers was selected, and, in spite of his three-and-seventy years, immediately set out on the journey to London, St. Petersburg, Vienna and Florence. Count Bismarck, however, in the name of Prussia, refused any intervention in internal affairs. In two despatches to the ambassadors of foreign courts, the chancellor declared that the war, begun by the Emperor Napoleon, had been approved by the representatives of the nation, and that thus all France was answerable for the result. Germany was obliged, therefore, to demand guarantees which should secure her in future against attack, or, at any rate, render attack more difficult. Thus a cession of territory on the part of France was laid down as the basis of a treaty of peace. The neutral powers were also led to the belief that if they fostered in the French any hope of intervention, peace would only be delayed. The mission of Thiers, therefore, yielded no useful result, while the direct negotiation which Jules Favre conducted with Bismarck proved equally unavailing.


Soon the beleaguered fortresses began to fall. On the 23d of September the ancient town of Toul, in Lorraine, was forced to capitulate, after a fearful bombardment; and on the 27th Strasbourg, in danger of the terrible results of a storming, after the havoc of a dreadful artillery fire, hoisted the white flag, and surrendered on the following day. The supposed impregnable fortress of Metz held out little longer. Hunger did what cannon were incapable of doing. The successive sallies made by Bazaine proved unavailing, though, on October 7th his soldiers fought with desperate energy, and for hours the air was full of the roar of cannon and mitrailleuse and the rattle of musketry. But the Germans withstood the attack unmoved, and the French were forced to withdraw into the town.

Bazaine then sought to negotiate with the German leaders at Versailles, offering to take no part in the war for three months if permitted to withdraw. But Bismarck and Moltke would listen to no terms other than unconditional surrender, and these terms were finally accepted, the besieged army having reached the brink of starvation. It was with horror and despair that France learned on the 30th of October, that the citadel of Metz, with its fortifications and arms of defense, had been yielded to the Germans, and its army of more than 150,000 men had surrendered as prisoners of war.

This hasty surrender at Metz, a still greater disaster to France than that of Sedan, was not emulated at Paris, which for four months held out against all the efforts of the Germans. On the investment of the great city, King William removed his headquarters to the historic palace of Versailles, setting up his homely camp-bed in the same apartments from which Lois XIV had once issued his despotic edicts and commands. Here Count Bismarck conducted his diplomatic labors and Moltke issued his directions for the siege, which, protracted from week to week and month to month, gradually transformed the beautiful neighborhood, with its prosperous villages, superb country houses, and enchanting parks and gardens, into a scene of sadness and desolation.


In spite of the vigorous efforts made by the commander-in-chief Trochu, both by continuous firing from the forts and by repeated sallies, to prevent Paris from being surrounded, and to force a way through the trenches, his enterprises were rendered fruitless by the watchfulness and strength of the Germans. The blockade was completely accomplished; Paris was surrounded and cut off from the outer world; even the underground telegraphs, through which communication was for a time secretly maintained with the provinces, were by degrees discovered and destroyed. But to the great astonishment of Europe, which looked on with keenly pitched excitement at the mighty struggle, the siege continued for months without any special progress being observable from without or any lessening of resistance from within. On account of the extension of the forts, the Germans were compelled to remain at such a distance that a bombardment of the town at first appeared impossible; a storming of the outer works would, moreover, be attended with such sacrifices that the humane temper of the king revolted from such a proceeding. The guns of greater force and carrying power which were needed from Germany, could only be procured after long delay on account of the broken lines of railway. Probably also there was some hesitation on the German side to expose the beautiful city, regarded by so many as the “metropolis of civilization,” to the risk of a bombardment, in which works of art, science, and a historical past would meet destruction. Nevertheless, the declamations of the French at the vandalism of the northern barbarians met with assent and sympathy from most of the foreign Powers.

Determination and courage falsified the calculations at Versailles of a quick cessation of the resistance. The republic offered a far more energetic and determined opposition to the Prussian arms than the empire had done. The government of the national defense still declaimed with stern reiteration: “Not a foot’s breadth of our country; not a stone of our fortresses!” and positively rejected all proposals of treaty based on territorial concessions. Faith in the invincibility of the republic was rooted as an indisputable dogma in the hearts of the French people. The victories and the commanding position of France from 1792 to 1799 were regarded as so entirely the necessary result of the Revolution, that a conviction prevailed that the formation of a republic, with a national army for its defense, would have an especial effect on the rest of Europe. Therefore, instead of summoning a constituent Assembly, which, in the opinion of Prussia and the other foreign Powers, would alone be capable of offering security for a lasting peace, it was decided to continue the revolutionary movements, and to follow the same course which, in the years 1792 and 1793, had saved France from the coalition of the European Powers. It was held that a revolutionary dictatorship such as had once been exercised by the Convention and the members of the Committee of Public Safety, must again be revived, and a youthful and hot-blooded leader was alone needed to stir up popular feeling and set it in motion.

To fill such a part no one was better adapted than the advocate Gambetta, who emulated the career of the leaders of the Revolution, and whose soul glowed with a passionate ardor of patriotism. In order to create for himself a free sphere of action, and to initiate some vigorous measure in place of the well-rounded phrases and eloquent proclamations of his colleagues Trochu and Jules Favre, he quitted the capital in an air-balloon and entered into communication with the government delegation at Tours, which through him soon obtained a fresh impetus. His next most important task was the liberation of the capital from the besieging German army, and the expulsion of the enemy from the “sacred” soil of France. For this purpose he summoned, with the authority of a minister of war, all persons capable of bearing arms up to forty years of age to take active service, and despatched them into the field; he imposed war-taxes, and terrified the tardy and refractory with threats of punishment. Every force was put in motion; all France was transformed into a great camp.

A popular war was now to take the place of a soldier’s war, and what the soldiers had failed to effect must be accomplished by the people; France must be saved, and the world freed from despotism. To promote this object, the whole of France, with the exception of Paris, was divided into four general governments, the headquarters of the different governors being Lille, Le Mans, Bourges, and Besancon. Two armies, from the Loire and from the Somme, were to march simultaneously towards Paris, and aided by the sallies of Trochu and his troops, were to drive the enemy from the country. Energetic attacks were now attempted from time to time, in the hope that when the armies of relief arrived from the provinces, it might be possible to effect a coalition; but all these efforts were constantly repulsed after a hot struggle by the besieging German troops. At the same time, during the month of October, the territory between the Oise and the Lower Seine was scoured by reconnoitering troops, under Prince Albrecht, the southeast district was protected by a Wurtemberg detachment through the successful battle near Nogent on the Seine, while a division of the third army advanced towards the south accompanied by two cavalry divisions. A more unfortunate circumstance, however, for the Parisians was the cutting off of all communication with the outer world, for the Germans had destroyed the telegraphs. But even this obstacle was overcome by the inventive genius of the French. By means of pigeon letter-carriers and air-balloons, they were always able to maintain a partial though one-sided and imperfect communication with the provinces, and the aerostatic art was developed and brought to perfection on this occasion in a manner which had never before been considered possible.


The whole of France, and especially the capital, was already in a state of intense excitement when the news of the capitulation of Metz came to add fresh fuel to the flame. Outside the walls Gambetta was using heroic efforts to increase his forces, bringing Bedouin horsemen from Africa and inducing the stern old revolutionist Garibaldi to come to his aid; and Thiers was opening fresh negotiations for a truce. Inside the walls the Red Republic raised the banners of insurrection and attempted to drive the government of national defense from power.

This effort of the dregs of revolution to inaugurate a reign of terror failed, and the provisional government felt so elated with its victory that it determined to continue at the head of affairs and to oppose the calling of a chamber of national representatives. The members proclaimed oblivion for what had passed, broke off the negotiations for a truce begun by Thiers, and demanded a vote of confidence. The indomitable spirit shown by the French people did not, on the other hand, inspire the Germans with a very lenient or conciliatory temper. Bismarck declared in a despatch the reasons why the negotiations had failed: “The incredible demand that we should surrender the fruits of all our efforts during the last two months, and should go back to the conditions which existed at the beginning of the blockade of Paris, only affords fresh proof that in Paris pretexts are sought for refusing the nation the right of election.” Thiers mournfully declared the failure of his undertaking, but in Paris the popular voting resulted in a ten-fold majority in favor of the government and the policy of postponement.

After the breaking off of the negotiations, the world anticipated some energetic action towards the besieged city. The efforts of the enemy were, however, principally directed to drawing the iron girdle still tighter, enclosing the giant city more and more closely, and cutting off every means of communication, so that at last a surrender might be brought about by the stern necessity of starvation. That this object would not be accomplished as speedily as at Metz, that the city of pleasure, enjoyment, and luxury would withstand a siege of four months, had never been contemplated for a moment. It is true that, as time went on, all fresh meat disappeared from the market, with the exception of horse-flesh; that white bread, on which Parisians place such value, was replaced by a baked compound of meal and bran; that the stores of dried and salted food began to decline, until at last rats, dogs, cats, and even animals from the zoological gardens were prepared for consumption at restaurants.

Yet, to the amazement of the world, all these miseries, hardships, and sufferings were courageously borne, nocturnal watch was kept, sallies were undertaken, and cold, hunger, and wretchedness of all kinds were endured with an indomitable steadfastness and heroism. The courage of the besieged Parisians was also animated by the hope that the military forces in the provinces would hasten to the aid of the hard-pressed capital, and that therefore an energetic resistance would afford the rest of France sufficient time for rallying all its forces, and at the same time exhibit an elevating example. In the carrying out of this plan, neither Trochu nor Gambetta was wanting in the requisite energy and circumspection. The former organized sallies from time to time, in order to reconnoiter and discover whether the army of relief was on its way from the provinces; the latter exerted all his powers to bring the Loire army up to the Seine. But both erred in undervaluing the German war forces; they did not believe that the hostile army would be able to keep Paris in a state of blockade, and at the same time engage the armies on the south and north, east and west. They had no conception of the hidden, inexhaustible strength of the Prussian army organization—of a nation in arms which could send forth constant reinforcements of battalions and recruits, and fresh bodies of disciplined troops to fill the gaps left in the ranks by the wounded and fallen. There could be no doubt as to the termination of this terrible war, or the final victory of German energy and discipline.


Throughout the last months of the eventful year 1870, the northern part of France, from the Jura to the Channel, from the Belgian frontier to the Loire, presented the aspect of a wide battlefield. Of the troops that had been set free by the capitulation of Metz, a part remained behind in garrison, another division marched northwards in order to invest the provinces of Picardy and Normandy, to restore communication with the sea, and to bar the road to Paris, and a third division joined the second army whose commander-in-chief, Prince Frederick Charles, set up his headquarters at Troyes. Different detachments were despatched against the northern fortresses, and by degrees Soissons, Verdun, Thionville, Ham, where Napoleon had once been a prisoner, Pfalzburg and Montmedy, all fell into the hands of the Prussians, thus opening to them a free road for the supplies of provisions. The garrison troops were all carried off as prisoners to Germany; the towns—most of them in a miserable condition—fell into the enemy’s hands; many houses were mere heaps of ruins and ashes, and the larger part of the inhabitants were suffering severely from poverty, hunger and disease.

The greatest obstacles were encountered in the northern part of Alsace and the mountainous districts of the Vosges and the Jura, where irregular warfare, under Garibaldi and other leaders, developed to a dangerous extent, while the fortress of Langres afforded a safe retreat to the guerilla bands. Lyons and the neighboring town of St. Etienne became hotbeds of excitement, the red flag being raised and a despotism of terror and violence established. Although many divergent elements made up this army of the east, all were united in hatred of the Germans.

Thus, during the cold days of November and December, when General Von Treskow began the siege of the important fortress of Belfort, there burst forth a war around Gray and Dijon marked by the greatest hardships, perils and privations to the invaders. Here the Germans had to contend with an enemy much superior in number, and to defend themselves against continuous firing from houses, cellars, woods and thickets, while the impoverished soil yielded a miserable subsistence, and the broken railroads cut off freedom of communication and of reinforcement.

The whole of the Jura district, intersected by hilly roads as far as the plateau of Langres, where, in the days of Caesar, the Romans and Gauls were wont to measure their strength with each other, formed during November and December the scene of action of numerous encounters which, in conjunction with sallies from the garrison at Belfort, inflicted severe injury on Werder’s troops. Dijon had repeatedly to be evacuated; and the nocturnal attack at Chattillon, 20th November, by Garibaldians, when one hundred seventy horses were lost, affording a striking proof of the dangers to which the German army was exposed in this hostile country; although the revolutionary excesses of the turbulent population of the south diverted to a certain extent the attention of the National Guard, who were compelled to turn their weapons against an internal enemy.

By means of the revolutionary dictatorship of Gambetta the whole French nation was drawn into the struggle, the annihilation of the enemy being represented as a national duty, and the war assuming a steadily more violent character. The indefatigable patriot continued his exertions to increase the army and unite the whole south and west against the enemy, hoping to bring the army of the Loire to such dimensions that it would be able to expel the invaders from the soil of France. But these raw recruits were poorly fitted to cope with the highly disciplined Germans, and their early successes were soon followed by defeat and discouragement, while the hopes entertained by the Paris garrison of succor from the south vanished as news of the steady progress of the Germans was received.


During these events the war operations before Paris continued uninterruptedly. Moltke had succeeded, in spite of the difficulties of transport, in procuring an immense quantity of ammunition, and the long-delayed bombardment of Paris was ready to begin. Having stationed with all secrecy twelve batteries with seventy-six guns around Mont Avron, on Christmas-day the firing was directed with such success against the fortified eminences, that even in the second night the French, after great losses, evacuated the important position, the “key of Paris,” which was immediately taken possession of by the Saxons. Terror and dismay spread through the distracted city when the eastern forts, Rosny, Nogent and Noisy, were stormed amid a tremendous volley of firing. Vainly did Trochu endeavor to rouse the failing courage of the National Guard; vainly did he assert that the government of the national defense would never consent to the humiliation of a capitulation; his own authority had already waned; the newspapers already accused him of incapacity and treachery, and began to cast every aspersion on the men who had presumptuously seized the government, and yet were not in a position to effect the defense of the capital and the country. After the new year the bombardment of the southern forts began, and the terror in the city daily increased though the violence of the radical journals kept in check any hint of surrender or negotiation. Yet in spite of fog and snow storms the bombardment was systematically continued, and with every day the destructive effect of the terrible missiles grew more pronounced.

Trochu was blamed for having undertaken only small sallies, which could have no result. The commander-in-chief ventured no opposition to the party of action. With the consent of the mayors of the twenty ARRONDISSEMENTS of Paris a council of war was held. The threatening famine, the firing of the enemy, and the excitement prevailing among the adherents of the red republic rendered a decisive step necessary. Consequently, on the 19th of January, a great sally was decided on, and the entire armed forces of the capital were summoned to arms. Early in the morning a body of 100,000 men marched in the direction of Meudon, Sevres and St. Cloud for the decisive conflict. The left wing was commanded by General Vinoy, the right by Ducrot, while Trochu from the watch-tower directed the entire struggle. With great courage Vinoy dashed forward with his column of attack towards the fifth army corps of General Kirchbach, and succeeded in capturing the Montretout entrenchment, through the superior number of his troops, and in holding it for a time. But when Ducrot, delayed by the barricades in the streets, failed to come to his assistance at the appointed time, the attack was driven back after seven hours’ fierce fighting by the besieging troops. Having lost 7,000 dead and wounded, the French in the evening beat a retreat, which almost resembled a flight. On the following day Trochu demanded a truce, that the fallen National Guards, whose bodies strewed the battlefield, might be interred. The victors, too, had to render the last rites to many a brave soldier. Thirty-nine officers and six hundred and sixteen soldiers were given in the list of the slain.

Entire confidence had been placed by the Parisians in the great sally. When the defeat, therefore, became known in its full significance, when the number of the fallen was found to be far greater even than had been stated in the first accounts, a dull despair took possession of the famished city, which next broke forth into violent abuse against Trochu, “the traitor.” Capitulation now seemed imminent; but as the commander-in-chief had declared that he would never countenance such a disgrace, he resigned his post to Vinoy. Threatened by bombardment from without, terrified within by the pale specter of famine, paralyzed and distracted by the violent dissensions among the people, and without prospect of effective aid from the provinces, what remained to the proud capital but to desist from a conflict the continuation of which only increased the unspeakable misery, without the smallest hope of deliverance? Gradually, therefore, there grew up a resolution to enter into negotiations with the enemy; and it was the minister, Jules Favre, who had been foremost with the cry of “no surrender” four months before, who was now compelled to take the first step to deliver his country from complete ruin. It was probably the bitterest hour in the life of the brave man, who loved France and liberty with such a sincere affection, when he was conducted through the German outposts to his interview with Bismarck at Versailles. He brought the proposal for a convention, on the strength of which the garrison was to be permitted to retire with military honors to a part of France not hitherto invested, on promising to abstain for several months from taking part in the struggle. But such conditions were positively refused at the Prussian headquarters, and a surrender was demanded as at Sedan and Metz. Completely defeated, the minister returned to Paris. At a second meeting on the following day, it was agreed that from the 27th, at twelve o’clock at night, the firing on both sides should be discontinued. This was the preliminary to the conclusion of a three weeks’ truce, to await the summons of a National Assembly, with which peace might be negotiated.


The war was at an end so far as Paris was concerned. But it continued in the south, where frequent defeat failed to depress Gambetta’s indomitable energy, and where new troops constantly replaced those put to rout. Garibaldi, at Dijon, succeeded in doing what the French had not done during the war, in capturing a Prussian banner. But the progress of the Germans soon rendered his position untenable, and, finding his exertions unavailing, he resigned his command and retired to his island of Caprera. Two disasters completed the overthrow of France. Bourbaki’s army, 85,000 strong, became shut in, with scanty food and ammunition, among the snow-covered valleys of the Jura, and to save the disgrace of capitulation it took refuge on the neutral soil of Switzerland; and the strong fortress of Belfort, which had been defended with the utmost courage against its besiegers, finally yielded, with the stipulation that the brave garrison should march out with the honors of war. Nothing now stood in the way of an extension of the truce. On the suggestion of Jules Favre, the National Assembly elected a commission of fifteen members, which was to aid the chief of the executive and his ministers, Picard and Favre, in the negotiations for peace. That cessions of territory and indemnity of war expenses would have to be conceded had long been acknowledged in principle; but protracted and excited discussions took place as to the extent of the former and the amount of the latter, while the demanded entry of the German troops into Paris met with vehement opposition. But Count Bismarck resolutely insisted on the cession of Alsace and German Lorraine, including Metz and Diedenhofen. Only with difficulty were the Germans persuaded to separate Belfort from the rest of Loraine, and leave it still in the possession of the French. In respect to the expenses of the war, the sum of five milliards of francs ($1,000,000,000) was agreed upon, of which the first milliard was to be paid in the year 1871, and the rest in a stated period. The stipulated entry into Paris also—so bitter to the French national pride—was only partially carried out; the western side only of the city was to be traversed in the march of the Prussian troops, and again evacuated in two days. On the basis of these conditions, the preliminaries of the Peace of Versailles were concluded on the 26th of February between the Imperial Chancellor and Jules Favre. Intense excitement prevailed when the terms of the treaty became known; they were dark days in the annals of French history. But in spite of the opposition of the extreme Republican party, led by Quinet and Victor Hugo, the Assembly recognized by an overpowering majority the necessity for the Peace, and the preliminaries were accepted by 546 to 107 votes. Thus ended the mighty war between France and Germany—a war which has had few equals in the history of the world.


Had King William received no indemnity in cash or territory from France, he must still have felt himself amply repaid for the cost of the brief but sanguinary war, for it brought him a power and prestige with which the astute diplomatist Bismarck had long been seeking to invest his name. Political changes move slowly in times of peace, rapidly in times of war. The whole of Germany, with the exception of Austria, had sent troops to the conquest of France, and every state, north and south alike, shared in the pride and glory of the result. South and North Germany had marched side by side to the battle-field, every difference of race or creed forgotten, and the honor of the German fatherland the sole watchword. The time seemed to have arrived to close the breach between north and south, and obliterate the line of the Main, which had divided the two sections. North Germany was united under the leadership of Prussia, and the honor in which all alike shared now brought South Germany into line for a similar union.

The first appeal in this direction came from Baden. Later in the year plenipotentiaries sought Versailles from the kingdoms of Bavaria and Wurtemberg and the grand duchies of Baden and Hesse, their purpose being to arrange for and define the conditions of union between the South and the North German states. For weeks, this momentous question filled all Germany with excitement and public opinion was in a state of high tension. The scheme of union was by no means universally approved, there being a large party in opposition, but the majority in its favor in Chambers proved sufficient to enable Bismarck to carry out his plan.

Chapter XII.

Building the Bulwarks of the Twentieth Century Nation

Bismarck as a Statesman—Uniting the German States—William I Crowned at Versailles—A Significant Decade—The Problem of Church Power—Progress of Socialism—William II and the Resignation of Bismarck—Old Age Insurance—Political and Industrial Conditions in Germany

Throughout the various events narrated in the two preceding chapters the hand of Bismarck was everywhere visible. He had proved himself a statesman of the highest powers, and these powers were devoted without stint to the aggrandizement of Prussia. As for the surrounding nations and their rights and immunities, these did not count as against his policies. Conscience did not trouble him. The slaughter of thousands of men on the battle-field did not disturb his equanimity. He was unalterably fixed in his purposes, unscrupulous in the means employed, shrewd, keen and far-sighted in his measures, Europe being to him but a great chess-board, on which his hand moved kings, knights, and pawns with mechanical inflexibility. To him the end justified the means, however lacking in justice or mercy these means might prove.

Denmark was despoiled to extend the territory of Prussia to the north. Austria, Bismarck’s unwary accomplice in this act of spoliation, was robbed of its share of the spoils, and drawn into a war in which it met with disastrous defeat, the prestige of Prussia being vastly increased on the field of Sadowa. Subsequently came the great struggle with France, fomented by his wiles and ending in triumph for his policies So far all had gone well for him, the final outcome of his schemes resulting in the unification of the minor German states into one powerful empire.


It was in the formation of the modern German Empire that the far-sighted plans of Bismarck culminated. King William was a willing partner for this purpose, moving as he suggested and doing as he wished. The states of Germany, aside from Austria, had actively participated in the recent war, the steps towards unification which had been taken during the few preceding years having now reached the point in which a complete amalgamation might be effected.

The Holy Roman Empire, which had lasted throughout the medieval period in some phase of strength and power, at times predominant, at times little more than a title, had received its death-blow from the hands of Napoleon and vanished from the historic stage. It was Bismarck’s design to restore the German Empire—not the old, moth-eaten fiction of the past, but an entirely new one—and give Prussia the position it had earned, that of the great center of German racial unity. In this project Austria, long at the head of the old empire, was to have no part, the imperial dignity being conferred upon the venerable King William of Prussia, a monarch whose birth dated back to the eighteenth century, and who had lived throughout the Napoleonic wars.


Near the close of 1870 Bismarck concluded treaties with the ambassadors of the South German States, in which they agreed to accept the constitution of the North German Union. These treaties were ratified, after some opposition from members of the lower house, by the legislatures of the four states involved. The next step in the proceeding was a suggestion from the king of Bavaria to the other princes that the imperial crown of Germany should be offered to King William of Prussia.

When the North German diet at Berlin had given its consent to the new constitution, a congratulatory address was despatched to the Prussian monarch at Versailles. It announced to the aged hero-king the nation’s wish that he should accept the new dignity. He replied to the deputation in solemn audience that he accepted the imperial dignity which the German nation and its princes had offered him. On the 1st of January, 1871, the new constitution was to come into operation.


The solemn assumption of the imperial office did not take place, however, until the 18th of January, the day on which, one hundred and seventy years before, the new emperor’s ancestor, Frederick I, had placed the Prussian crown on his head at Konigsberg, and thus laid the basis of the growing greatness of his house. It was an ever-memorable coincidence that, in the superb-mirrored hall of the Versailles palace, where since the days of Richelieu so many plans had been concocted for the humiliation of Germany, King William should now proclaim himself German emperor. After the reading of the imperial proclamation to the German people by Count Bismarck, the Grand Duke led a cheer, in which the whole assembly joined amid the singing of national hymns. Thus the important event had taken place which again summoned the German Empire to life, and made over the imperial crown with renewed splendor to another royal house. Barbarossa’s old legend, that the dominion of the empire was, after long tribulation, to pass from the Hohenstaufen to the Hohenzollern, was now fulfilled; the dream long aspired after by German youth had now become a reality and a living fact.

The tidings of the conclusion of peace with France, whose preliminaries were completed at Frankfort on the 10th of May, 1871, filled all Germany with joy, and peace festivals on the most splendid scale extended from end to end of the new empire, in all parts of which an earnest spirit of patriotism was shown, while Germans from all regions of the world sent home expressions of warm sympathy with the new national organization of their fatherland.


The decade just completed had been one of remarkable political changes in Europe, unsurpassed in significance during any other period of equal length. The temporal dominion of the pope had vanished and all Italy had been united under the rule of a single king. The empire of France had been overthrown and a republic established in its place, while that country had sunk greatly in prominence among the European states. Austria had been utterly defeated in war, had lost its last hold on Italy and its position of influence among the German states. And all the remaining German lands had united into a great and powerful empire, promising to gain such extraordinary military strength that the surrounding nations looked on in doubt, full of vague fears of trouble from this new and potent power introduced into their midst.

Bismarck, however, showed an earnest desire to maintain international peace and good relations, seeking to win the confidence of foreign governments, while at the same time improving and increasing that military force which had been proved to be so mighty an engine of war.

In the constitution of the new empire two legislative bodies, already possessed by the Confederation of North German States were provided for—the BUNDESRATH or Federal Council, whose members are annually appointed by the respective state governments and the REICHSTAG or representative body. whose members are elected by universal suffrage for a period of three years, an annual session being required. Germany, therefore, in its present organization, is practically a federal union of states, each with its own powers of internal government, and with a common legislature approximating to our Senate and House of Representatives. But this did not make the German emperor a parliamentary monarch. From the fact that the consent of both assemblies was necessary to change the law, he governed as he pleased and had no other ministerial representative than the high chancellor of the empire, depending solely on the sovereign. After 1870 he was in the empire what he had been previously in Prussia, the essential representative of the country and the supreme head of the military forces.

The remaining incidents of Bismarck’s remarkable career may be briefly given. It consisted largely in a struggle with the Catholic Church organization, which had attained to great power in Germany, and was aggressive to an extent that roused the vigorous opposition of the chancellor of the empire, who was not willing to acknowledge any power in Germany other than that of the emperor.

King Frederick William IV, the predecessor of the reigning monarch, had made active efforts to strengthen the Catholic Church in Prussia, its clergy gaining greater privileges in that Protestant state than they possessed in any of the Catholic states. They had established everywhere in North Germany their congregations and monasteries, and by their control of public education seemed in a fair way eventually to make Catholicism supreme in the empire.


This state of affairs Bismark set himself energetically to reform. The minister of religious affairs was forced to resign, and his place was taken by Falk, an energetic statesman, who introduced a new school law, bringing the whole educational system under state control, and carefully regulating the power of the clergy over religious and moral education. This law met with such violent opposition that all the personal influence of Bismarck and Falk was needed to carry it, and it gave such deep offense to the pope that he refused to receive the German ambassador. He declared the Falk law invalid, and the German bishops united in a declaration against the chancellor. Bismarck retorted by a law expelling the Jesuits from the empire.

In 1873 the state of affairs became so embittered that the rights and liberties of the citizens seemed to need protection against a priesthood armed with extensive powers of discipline and excommunication. In consequence Bismarck introduced, and by his eloquence and influence carried, what were known as the May Laws. These required the scientific education of the Catholic clergy, the confirmation of clerical appointments by the state, and the formation of a tribunal to consider and revise the conduct of the bishops.

These enactments precipitated a bitter contest between Church and State, while the pope declared the May Laws null and void and threatened with excommunication all priests who should submit to them. The State retorted by withdrawing its financial support from the Catholic church and abolishing those clauses of the constitution under which the Church claimed independence of the State. Pope Pius IX died in 1878, and on the election of Leo XIII attempts were made to reconcile the existing differences. The reconciliation was a victory for the Church, since the May Laws ceased to be operative, the church revenues were restored and the control of the clergy over education in considerable measure was regained. New concessions were granted in 1886 and 1887, and Bismarck felt himself beaten in his long conflict with his clerical opponents, who had proved too strong and deeply entrenched for him.


Economic questions became also prominent, the revenues of the empire requiring some change in the system of free trade and the adoption of protective duties, while the railroads were acquired as public property by the various states of the empire. Meanwhile the rapid growth of socialism excited apprehension, which was added to when two attempts were made on the life of the emperor. These were attributed to the socialists, and severe laws for the suppression of socialism were enacted. Bismark also sought to cut the ground from under the feet of the socialists by an endeavor to improve the condition of the working classes. In 1881 laws were passed compelling employers to insure their workmen in case of sickness or accident, and in 1888 a system of compulsory insurance against death and old age was introduced. None of these measures, however, checked the growth of socialism, which very actively continued.

In 1882 a meeting was arranged by the chancellor between the emperors of Germany, Russia, and Austria, which was looked upon in Europe as a political alliance. In 1878 Russia drifted somewhat apart from Germany, but in the following year an alliance of defense and offense was concluded with Austria, and a similar alliance at a later date with Italy. This, which continued to 1914, was known as the Triple Alliance. In 1877 Bismarck announced his intention to retire, being worn out with the great labors of his position. To this the emperor, who felt that his state rested on the shoulders of the “Iron Chancellor,” would not listen, though he gave him indefinite leave of absence.

On March 9, 1888, Emperor William died. He was ninety years of age, having been born in 1797. He was succeeded by his son Frederick, then incurably ill from a cancerous affection of the throat, which carried him to the grave after a reign of ninety-nine days. His oldest son, William, succeeded on June 15, 1888, as William II.


The liberal era which was looked for under Frederick was checked by his untimely death, his son at once returning to the policy of William I and Bismarck. He proved to be far more positive and dictatorial in disposition than his grandfather, with decided and vigorous views of his own, which soon brought him into conflict with the equally positive chancellor. The result was a rupture with Bismarck, and his resignation (a virtual dismissal) from the premiership in 1890. The young emperor proposed to be his own minister and subsequently devoted himself in a large measure to the increase of the army and navy, a policy which brought him into frequent conflicts with the Reichstag, whose rapidly growing socialistic membership was in strong opposition to this development of militarism.

The old statesman, to whom Germany owed so much, was deeply aggrieved by this lack of gratitude on the part of the self-opinionated young emperor, in view of his great services to the state. The wound rankled deeply, though a seeming reconciliation took place. But the political career of the great Bismarck was at an end, and he died on July 30, 1898. It is an interesting coincidence that almost at the same time died the distinguished but markedly different statesman of England, William Edward Gladstone. Count Cavour, another great European statesman of the latter half of the nineteenth century, had completed his work and passed away nearly forty years before.

The career of William II soon became one of much interest and some alarm to the other nations of Europe. His eagerness for the development of the army and navy, and the energy with which he pushed forward its organization and sought to add to its strength, seemed significant of warlike intentions, and there was dread that this energetic young monarch might break the peace of Europe, if only to prove the irresistible strength of the military machine he had formed. But as years went on the apprehensions to which his early career and expressions gave rise were quieted, and the fear that he would plunge Europe into war lessened. The army and navy appeared to some as rather a costly plaything of the active young man than an engine of destruction, while it tended in considerable measure to the preservation of peace by rendering Germany a power dangerous to go to war with.

The speeches with which the emperor began his reign showed an exaggerated sense of the imperial dignity, though his later career indicated far more judgment and good sense than the early display of overweening self-importance promised, and the views of William II eventually came to command far more respect than they did at first. He showed himself a man of exuberant energy. Despite a permanent weakness of his left arm and a serious affection of the ear, he early became a skilful horseman and an untiring hunter, as well as an enthusiastic yachtsman, and there were few men in the empire more active and enterprising than the Kaiser.


A principal cause of the break between William and Bismarck was the imperial interference with the laws for the suppression of socialism. As already stated, the old chancellor had established a system of compulsory old age insurance, through which workmen and their employers—aided by the state—were obliged to provide for the support of artisans after a certain age. The system seems to have worked satisfactorily, but socialism of a more radical kind grew in the empire far more rapidly than the emperor approved of, and he vigorously, though unsuccessfully endeavored to prevent its increase. Another of his favorite measures, a religious education bill, he was obliged to withdraw on account of the opposition it excited. On more than one occasion he came into sharp conflict with the Reichstag concerning increased taxation for the army and navy, and a strong party against his autocratic methods sprang up, and forced him more than once to recede from warmly-cherished measures.


It may be of interest here to say something concerning the organization of the German empire. The constitution of this empire, as adopted April 16, 1871, proposes to “form an eternal union for the protection of the realm and the care of the welfare of the German people,” and places the supreme direction of military and political affairs in the King of Prussia, under the title of Deutscher Kaiser (German emperor). The war-making powers of the emperor, however, are restricted, since he is required to obtain the consent of the Bundesrath (the Federal Council) before he can declare war otherwise than for the defense of the realm. His authority as emperor, in fact, is much less than that which he exercises as King of Prussia, since the imperial legislature is independent of him, he having no power of veto over the laws passed by it. His actual military power, however, is practically supreme, as demonstrated in the opening events of the war of 1914.

The legislature, as stated, consists of two bodies, the Bundesrath, representing the states of the union, whose members, 58 in number, are chosen for each session by the several state governments; and the Reichstag, representing the people, whose members, 397 in number, are elected by universal suffrage for periods of five years. The German union, as constituted in 1914, comprised four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three sovereign cities, and the Reichsland of Alsace-Lorraine; twenty-six separate states in all. It included all the German peoples of Europe with the exception of those in Austria.

The progress of Germany within the modern period has been very great. The population of the states of the empire, 24,831,000 at the end of the Napoleonic wars, had become, a century later, over 64,000,000, having added 40,000,000 to the roll of inhabitants. The country, once divided into an unwieldy multitude of states, often of minute proportions, has become consolidated into the number above named, each of these possessing some degree of importance. These, as combined into a federal union, or empire, have an area of 208,830 square miles, of which Prussia holds the lion’s share, its area being 134,605 square miles.

The presidency of the empire belongs to the king of Prussia and is hereditary in his family. Besides the Imperial Parliament, each state has its own special legislature and laws, but railroads regarded as necessary for the defense of Germany or the facilitating of general communications may come under a law of the empire, even against the opposition of the members of the confederation whose territory is traversed. The states have their respective armies, but it is the emperor who disposes of them; he appoints the heads of the contingents, approves the generals, and has the right to establish fortresses over the whole territory of the empire.

The wealth of the German empire has grown in a far greater area than its population, it having developed into the most active manufacturing country in Europe. Agriculture has similarly advanced, and one of its chief products, that of the sugar beet, has enormously increased, beet-root sugar being among its chief industrial yields. In addition, Germany has grown to be one of the most active commercial nations of the earth. Thus it has taken a place among the most active productive and commercial countries, its wealth and importance being correspondingly augmented. These particulars are of interest as showing the standing of Germany at the outbreak of the war of 1914 and indicating its degree of ability to bear the fearful strain of so great a war.

Chapter XIII.

Great Britain Becomes a World Power

Gladstone and Disraeli—Gladstone’s Famous Budget—A Suffrage Reform Bill—Disraeli’s Reform Measure—Irish Church Disestablishment—An Irish Land Bill—Desperate State of Ireland—The Coercion Bill—War in Africa—Home Rule for Ireland

It is a fact of much interest, as showing the growth of the human mind, that William Ewart Gladstone, the great advocate of English Liberalism, made his first political speech in vigorous opposition to the Reform Bill of 1831. He was then a student at Oxford University, but this boyish address had such an effect upon his hearers, that Bishop Wordsworth felt sure the speaker would “one day rise to be Prime Minister of England.” This prophetic utterance may be mated with another one, by Archdeacon Denison, who said: “I have just heard the best speech I ever heard in my life, by Gladstone, against the Reform Bill. But, mark my words, that man will one day be a Liberal, for he argued against the Bill on liberal grounds.”

Both these far-seeing men hit the mark. Gladstone became Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Party in England. Yet he had been reared as a Conservative, and for many years he marched under the banner of conservatism. His political career began in the first Reform Parliament, in January, 1833. Two years afterward he was made an under-secretary in Sir Robert Peel’s Cabinet. It was under the same premier that he first became a full member of the cabinet, in 1845, as Secretary of State for the Colonies. He was still a Tory in home politics, but had become a Liberal in his commercial ideas, and was Peel’s right-hand man in carrying out his great commercial policy.

The repeal of the Corn-Laws was the work for which his cabinet had been formed, and Gladstone, as the leading free-trader in the Tory ranks, was called to it. As for Cobden, the apostle of free-trade, Gladstone admired him immensely. “I do not know,” he said in later years, “that there is in any period a man whose public career and life were nobler or more admirable. Of course, I except Washington. Washington, to my mind, is the purest figure in history.” As an advocate of free trade Gladstone first came into connection with another noble figure, that of John Bright, who was to remain associated with him during most of his career. In 1857 he first took rank as one of the great moral forces of modern times. In that year he visited Naples, where he saw the barbarous treatment of political prisoners under the government of the infamous King Bomba, and described them in letters whose indignation was breathed in such tremendous tones that England was stirred to its depths and all Europe awakened. These thrilling epistles gave the cause of Italian freedom an impetus that had much to do with its subsequent success, and gained for Gladstone the warmest veneration of patriotic Italians.


In 1852 he first came into opposition with the man against whom he was to be pitted during the remainder of his career, Benjamin Disraeli, who had made himself a power in Parliament, and in that year became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord Derby’s Cabinet and leader of the House of Commons. The revenue budget introduced by him showed a sad lack of financial ability, and called forth sharp criticisms, to which he replied in a speech made up of scoffs, gibes and biting sarcasms, so daring and audacious in character as almost to intimidate the House. As he sat down, Mr. Gladstone rose and launched forth into an oration which became historic. He gave voice to that indignation which lay suppressed beneath the cowed feeling which for the moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s performance had left among his hearers. In a few minutes the House was wildly cheering the intrepid champion who had rushed into the breach, and when Mr. Gladstone concluded, having torn to shreds the proposals of the budget, a majority followed him into the division lobby, and Mr. Disraeli found his government beaten by nineteen votes. Such was the first great encounter between the two rivals.


In the cabinet that followed, headed by Lord Aberdeen, Gladstone succeeded Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position in which he was to make a great mark. In April, 1853, he introduced his first budget, a marvel of ingenious statesmanship, in its highly successful effort to equalize taxation. It remitted various taxes which had pressed hard upon the poor and restricted business, and replaced them by applying the succession duty to real estate, increasing the duty on spirits, and extending the income tax.

Taken altogether, and especially in its expedients to equalize taxation, this first budget of Mr. Gladstone may be justly called the greatest of the century. The speech in which it was introduced and expounded created an extraordinary impression on the House and the country. For the first time in Parliament figures were made as interesting as a fairy tale; the dry bones of statistics were invested with a new and potent life, and it was shown how the yearly balancing of the national accounts might be directed by and made to promote the profoundest and most fruitful principles of statesmanship. With such lucidity and picturesqueness was this financial oratory rolled forth that the dullest intellect could follow with pleasure the complicated scheme; and for five hours the House of commons sat as if it were under the sway of a magician’s wand. When Mr. Gladstone resumed his seat, it was felt that the career of the coalition ministry was assured by the genius that was discovered in its Chancellor of the Exchequer.

It was, indeed, to Gladstone’s remarkable oratorical powers that much of his success as a statesman was due. No man of his period was his equal in swaying and convincing his hearers. His rich and musical voice, his varied and animated gestures, his impressive and vigorous delivery, great fluency, and wonderful precision of statement, gave him a power over an audience which few men of the century have enjoyed. His sentences, indeed, were long and involved, growing more so as his years advanced, but their fine choice of words, rich rhetoric, and eloquent delivery carried away all that heard him, as did his deep earnestness and intense conviction of the truth of his utterances.

Meanwhile his Liberalism had been steadily growing reaching its culmination in 1865, when the Tory University of Oxford, which he had long represented, rejected him as its member, unable longer to swallow his ultra views. The rejection was greeted by him as a compliment. He at once offered himself as a candidate for South Lancashire and in the opening of his speech at Manchester said: “At last, my friends, I am come among you; to use an expression which has become very famous and is not likely to be forgotten, ‘I am come among you unmuzzled.’”

Unmuzzled he indeed was, free at last to give the fullest expression to his Liberal faith. In 1866 he became, for the first time in his career, leader of the House of Commons—Lord Russell, the Prime Minister, being in the House of Lords. Many of his friends feared for him in this difficult position; but the event proved that they had no occasion for alarm, he showing himself one of the most successful leaders the House had ever had.


His first important duty in this position was to introduce the new Suffrage Reform Bill, a measure to extend the franchise in counties and boroughs that would have added about 400,000 voters to the electorate. In the debate that followed, Gladstone and Disraeli were again pitted against each other in a grand oratorical contest. Disraeli taunted him with his youthful speech at Oxford against the Reform Bill of 1831. Gladstone retorted by scoring his opponent for clinging to a conservatism which he gloried in having been strong enough to reject. He ended with this stirring prediction:

“You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side. The great social forces which move onwards in their might and majesty, and which the tumult of our debates does not for a moment impede or disturb, those great social forces are against you; they are marshaled on our side; and the banner which we now carry into this fight, though perhaps at some moment it may droop over our sinking heads, yet it soon again will float in the eye of Heaven, and it will be borne by the firm hands of the united people of the three kingdoms, perhaps not to an easy, but to a certain, and to a not far distant, victory.”

He was right in saying that it would not be a distant victory. Disraeli and his party defeated the bill, but the people rose in a vigorous demand for it, ten thousand of them marching past Gladstone’s house, singing odes in honor of “the People’s William.” John Bright, an eloquent orator and strenuous advocate of oral reform and political progress, joined Gladstone in his campaign. Through the force of their eloquence the tide of public opinion rose to such a height that the new Derby-Disraeli ministry was obliged to bring in a bill similar in purpose to that which it had overthrown.


This Tory bill proved satisfactory to Gladstone in its general features. He had won a great victory in forcing its introduction. But he proposed so many changes in its details—all of them yielded in committee—that a satirical lord remarked that nothing of the original bill remained but its opening word “Whereas.” As thus modified, it was more liberal than the measure that had been defeated, and the people gave full credit for it to Gladstone, whom they credited with giving them their right to vote.

The two potent political champions, Gladstone and Disraeli, soon after attained the summit height of British political ambition. In February, 1868, the failing health of Lord Derby forced him to resign the ministry, and Disraeli succeeded him as Prime Minister, thus the “Asian Mystery,” as he had been entitled, gained the highest office in the British government. He did not hold this office long. His party was defeated on the question of the disestablishment of the Irish church, and on December 4th of the same year Gladstone took his place. Thus, after thirty-five years of public life, Gladstone had attained the post in which he was to spend most of his later life.

Bishop Wilberforce, who met him in this hour of triumph, wrote thus of him in his journal: “Gladstone as ever great, earnest and honest; as unlike the tricky Disraeli as possible. He is so delightfully true and the same; just as full of interest in every good thing of every kind.”

The period which followed the election of 1868—the period of the Gladstone Administration of 1868–74—has been called “the Golden age of Liberalism.” It was certainly a period of great reforms. The first, the most heroic, and probably—taking all the results into account—the most completely successful of these, was the disestablishment of the Irish Church.


Any interference with the prerogatives or absoluteness of an established church institution is sure to arouse vigorous opposition. The disestablishment Bill, introduced on the 1st of March, 1869, was greeted in Ireland with the wildest protests from those interested in the Establishment. One synod, with a large assumption of inspired knowledge, denounced it as “highly offensive to the Almighty God.” A martial clergyman offered to “kick the queen’s crown into the Boyne,” if she assented to any such measure. Another proposed to fight with the Bible in one hand the and sword in the other.

These wild outbreaks of theological partisanship had no effect on Gladstone, whose speech was one of the greatest marvels amongst his oratorical achievements. His chief opponent declared that though it lasted three hours, it did not contain a redundant word. The scheme which it unfolded — a scheme which withdrew the temporal establishment of a Church in such a manner that the church was benefited, not injured, and which lifted from the backs of an oppressed people an intolerable burden—was a triumph of creative genius.

Disraeli’s speech in opposition to this measure was referred bo by the LONDON TIMES as flimsiness relieved by spangles.” After a debate in which Mr. Bright made one of his most famous speeches, the bill was carried by a majority of 118. Before this strong manifestation of the popular will the House of Lords, which deeply disliked the bill, felt obliged to give way, and passed it by a majority of seven.


In 1870 Mr. Gladstone introduced his Irish Land Bill, a measure of reform which Parliament had for years refused to grant. By it the tenant was given the right to hold his farm as long as he paid his rent, and received a claim upon the improvement made by himself and his predecessors—a tenant-right which he could sell. This bill was triumphantly carried; and another important Liberal measure, Mr. Forster’s Education bill, became law.

Other liberal measures were passed, but the tide which had set so long in this direction turned at last, the government was defeated in 1873 on a bill for University Education, and in a subsequent election the Liberal party met with defeat. Gladstone at once resigned and was succeeded by Disraeli. Two years later the latter was raised to the peerage by the Queen under the title of the Earl of Beaconsfield. Gladstone was not in the field for honors of this type. He much preferred to inherit the title of a distinguished predecessor, that of “The Great Commoner.” During his recess from office he occupied himself in literary labors and as a critical commentator upon the foreign policy of Disraeli, which plunged the country into a Zulu war which Gladstone denounced as “one of the most monstrous and indefensible in our history,” and an Afghan war which he described as a national crime.

These and other acts of Tory policy in time brought liberalism again into the forefront, an election held in 1880 resulted in a great Liberal victory, Disraeli (then Lord Beaconsfield) resigned and Gladstone was once again called to the head of the ministry. In the new administration the foreign policy, the meddling in the concerns of the East, which had held precedence over domestic affairs under the preceding administration, vanished from sight, and the Irish question again became prominent. Ireland had now gained an able leader, Charles Stewart Parnell, founder of the Irish Land League, a trade union of Irish farmers, and its affairs could no longer be consigned to the background.

Gladstone, in assuming control of the new government, was quite unaware of the task before him. When he had completed his work with the Church and the Land bills ten years before, he fondly fancied that the Irish question was definitely settled. The Home Rule movement, which was started in 1870, seemed to him a wild delusion which would die away of itself. In 1884 he said: “I frankly admit that I had had much upon my hands connected with the doings of the Beaconsfield Government in every quarter of the world, and I did not know—no one knew—the severity of the crisis that was already swelling upon the horizon, and that shortly after rushed upon us like a flood.”


He was not long is discovering the gravity of the situation, of which the House had been warned by Mr. Parnell. The famine had brought its crop of misery, and, while the charitable were seeking to relieve the distress, many of the landlords were turning adrift their tenants for non-payment of rents. The Irish party brought in a Bill for the Suspension of Evictions, which the government replaced by a similar one for Compensation for Disturbance. This was passed with a large majority by the Commons, but was rejected by the Lords, and Ireland was left to face its misery without relief.

The state of Ireland at that moment was too critical to be dealt with in this manner. The rejection of the Compensation for Disturbance Bill was, to the peasantry whom it had been intended to protect, a message of despair, and it was followed by the usual symptom of despair in Ireland, an outbreak of agrarian crime. On the one hand over 17,000 persons were evicted; on the other there was a dreadful crop of murders and outrages. The Land League sought to do what Parliament did not; but in doing so it came in contact with the law. Moreover, the revolution—for revolution it seemed to be—grew too formidable for its control; the utmost it succeeded in doing was in some sense to ride without directing the storm. The first decisive step of Mr. Forster, the chief secretary for Ireland, was to strike a blow at the Land League. In November he ordered the prosecution of Mr. Parnell, Mr. Biggar, and several of the officials of the organization, and before the year was out he announced his intention of introducing a Coercion Bill. This step threw the Irish members under Mr. Parnell and the Liberal Government into relations of definitive antagonism.


Mr. Forster introduced his Coercion Bill on January 24, 1881. It was a formidable measure, which enabled the chief secretary, by signing a warrant, to arrest any man on suspicion of having committed a given offense, and to imprison him without trial at the pleasure of the government. It practically suspended the liberties of Ireland. The Irish members exhausted every resource of parliamentary action in resisting it, and their tactics resulted in several scenes unprecedented in parliamentary history. In order to pass the bill it was necessary to suspend them in a body several times. Mr. Gladstone, with manifest pain, found himself, as leader of the House, the agent by whom this extreme resolve had to be executed.

The Coercion Bill passed, Mr. Gladstone introduced his Land Bill of 1881, which was the measure of conciliation intended to balance the measure of repression. This was really a great and sweeping reform, whose dominant feature was the introduction of the novel and far-reaching principle of the state stepping in between landlord and tenant and fixing the rents. The bill had some defects, as a series of amending acts, which were subsequently passed by both Liberal and Tory governments, proved; but, apart from these, it was on the whole the greatest measure of land reform ever passed for Ireland by the Imperial Parliament.

But Ireland was not yet satisfied. Parnell had no confidence in the good intentions of the government, and took steps to test its honesty, which so angered Mr. Forster that he arrested Mr. Parnell and several other leaders and pronounced the Land League an illegal body. Forster was well-meaning but mistaken. He fancied that by locking up the ring-leaders he could bring quiet to the country. On the contrary, affairs were soon far worse than ever, crime and outrage spreading widely. In despair, Mr. Forster released Parnell and resigned. All now seemed hopeful; coercion had proved a failure; peace and quiet were looked for; when, four days afterward, the whole country was horrified by a terrible crime. The new Secretary for Ireland, Lord Cavendish, and the under-secretary, Mr. Burke, were attacked and hacked to death with knives in Phoenix Park. Everywhere panic and indignation arose. A new Coercion Act was passed without delay. It was vigorously put into effect, and a state of virtual war between England and Ireland again came into existence.


Meanwhile Great Britain had been brought back into the tide of foreign affairs. Events were taking place abroad which must here be dealt with briefly. The ambitious Briton, who loves to carry the world on his shoulders, had made the control of the Suez Canal an excuse for meddling with the government of Egypt. The immediate results were a revolution that drove Ismail Pasha from this throne, and a revolt of the people under an ambitious leader named Arabi Pasha, who seized Alexandria and drove out the British, many of whom were killed.

Gladstone, who deprecated war, now found himself with a conflict thrust upon his hands. The British fleet bombarded Alexandria, and the British army occupied it after it had been half reduced to ashes. Soon after General Wolseley defeated Arabi and his army and the insurrection ended. A sequel to this affair was a formidable outbreak in the Soudan, under El Mahdi, a Mohammedan fanatic, who captured the city of Khartoum and killed the famous General Gordon. Years passed before Upper Egypt was reconquered, it being recovered only at the close of the century. Since then Egypt has remained under British control.

There were serious troubles also in South Africa. The British of Cape Colony had pushed their way into the Boer settlement of the Transvaal, claiming jurisdiction over it. The valiant Dutch settlers broke into war, and dealt the invaders a signal defeat at Majuba Hill. This was the opening step in a series of occurrences which led to the later Boer war, in which the British, with great loss, conquered the Boers, followed in later years by a practical reconquest of the country by its Boer inhabitants in peaceful ways.

Such were the wars of the Gladstone administration, events of which he did not approve, but into which he was irresistibly drawn. At home the Irish question continued in the forefront. The African wars having weakened the administration, a vigorous assault was made on it by the Irish party in 1885, and it fell. But its demise was a very brief one. After a short experience of a Tory ministry under Lord Salisbury, Parnell’s party rallied to Gladstone’s side, the new government was defeated, and on February 1, 1886, Gladstone became Prime Minister for the third time.


During the brief interval his opinions had suffered a great revolution. He no longer thought that Ireland had all it could justly demand. He returned to power as an advocate of a most radical measure, that of Home Rule for Ireland, a restoration of that separate Parliament which it had lost in 1800. He also had a scheme to buy out the Irish landlords and establish a peasant proprietary by state aid. His new views were revolutionary in character, but he did not hesitate—he never hesitated to do what his conscience told him was right. On April 8, 1886, he introduced to Parliament his Home Rule Bill.

The scene that afternoon was one of the most remarkable in Parliamentary history. Never before was such interest manifested in a debate by either the public or the members of the House. In order to secure their places, members arrived at St. Stephen’s at six o’clock in the morning, and spent the day on the premises; and, a thing quite unprecedented, members who could not find places on the benches filled up the floor of the House with rows of chairs. The strangers’, diplomats’, peers’, and ladies’ galleries were filled to overflowing. Men begged even to be admitted to the ventilating passages beneath the floor of the chamber that they might in some sense be witnesses of the greatest feat in the lifetime of an illustrious old man of eighty. Around Palace Yard an enormous crowd surged, waiting to give the veteran a welcome as he drove up from Downing Street.

Mr. Gladstone arrived in the House, pale and still panting from the excitement of his reception in the streets. As he sat there the entire Liberal party—with the exception of Lord Hartington, Sir Henry James, Mr. Chamberlain and Sir George Trevelyan—and the Nationalist members, by a spontaneous impulse, sprang to their feet and cheered him again and again. The speech which he delivered was in every way worthy of the occasion. It expounded, with marvelous lucidity and a noble eloquence, a tremendous scheme of constructive legislation—the re-establishment of a legislature in Ireland, but one subordinate to the Imperial Parliament, and hedged round with every safeguard which could protect the unity of the Empire. It took three hours in delivery, and was listened to throughout with the utmost attention on every side of the House. At its close all parties united in a tribute of admiration for the genius which had astonished them with such an exhibition of its powers.

Yet it is one thing to cheer an orator, another thing to vote for a revolution. The bill was defeated—as it was almost sure to be. Mr. Gladstone at once dissolved Parliament and appealed to the country in a new election, with the result that he was decisively defeated. His bold declaration that the contest was one between the classes and the masses turned the aristocracy against him, while he had again roused the bitter hatred of his opponents.

Gladstone, the “Grand Old Man,” a title which he had nobly won, returned to power in 1892, after a period of wholesale coercion in Ireland. He was not to remain there long. He brought in a new Home Rule Bill, supported it with much of his old vigor, and had the intense satisfaction of having it passed, with a majority of thirty-four. It was defeated in the House of Lords, and Home Rule, still remains the prominent issue in Ireland, which it has divided into two camps, Protestant Ulster being in revolt against the Catholic provinces.

With this great event the public career of the Grand Old Man came to an end. The burden had grown too heavy for his reduced strength. In March, 1894, to the consternation of his party, he announced his intention of retiring from public life. The Queen offered, as she had done once before, to raise him to the peerage as an earl, but he declined the proffer. His own plain name was a title higher than that of any earldom in the kingdom.

On May 19, 1898, William Ewart Gladstone laid down the burden of his life as he had already done that of labor. The noblest figure in legislative life of the nineteenth century had passed away from earth.

Chapter XIV.

Struggles of a New Nation

The Republic Organized—The Commune of Paris—Instability of the Government—Thiers Proclaimed President—Punishment of the Unsuccessful Generals—MacMahon a Royalist President—Bazaine’s Sentence and Escape—Grevy, Gambetta and Boulanger—The Panama Canal Scandal—Despotism of the Army Leaders—The Dreyfus Case—Church and State—The Moroccan Controversy

It has been already told how the capitulation of the French army at Sedan and the captivity of Louis Napoleon were followed in Paris by the overthrow of the empire and the formation of a republic, the third in the history of French political changes. A provisional government was formed, the legislative assembly was dissolved, and all the court paraphernalia of the imperial establishment disappeared. The new government was called in Paris the “Government of Lawyers,” most of its members and officials belonging to that profession. At its head was General Trochu, in command of the army in Paris; among its chief members were Jules Favre and Gambetta. While upright in its membership and honorable in its purposes, it was an arbitrary body, formed by a coup d’état like that by which Napoleon had seized the reins of power, and not destined for a long existence.


The news of the fall of Metz and the surrender of Bazaine and his army served as a fresh spark to the inflammable public feeling of France. In Paris the Red Republic raised the banner of insurrection against the government of the national defense and endeavored to revive the spirit of the Commmune of 1793. The insurgents marched to the senate-house, demanded the election of a municipal council which should share power with the government, and proceeded to imprison Trochu, Jules Favre, and their associates. This, however, was but a temporary success of the Commune, and the provisional government continued in existence until the end of the war, when a national assembly was elected by the people and the temporary government was set aside. Gambetta, the dictator, “the organizer of defeats,” as he was sarcastically entitled, lost his power, and the aged statesman and historian, Louis Thiers, was chosen as chief of the executive department of the new government.

The treaty of peace with Germany, including, as it did, the loss of Alsace and Lorraine and the payment of an indemnity of $1,000,000,000, roused once more the fierce passions of the radicals and the masses of the great cities, who passionately denounced the treaty as due to cowardice and treason. The dethroned emperor added to the excitement by a manifesto, in which he protested against his deposition by the assembly and called for a fresh election. The final incitement to insurrection came when the Assembly decided to hold its sessions at Versailles instead of in Paris, whose unruly populace it feared.


In a moment all the revolutionary elements of the great city were in a blaze. The social democratic “Commune,” elected from the central committee of the National Guard, renounced obedience to the government and the National Assembly, and broke into open revolt. An attempt to repress the movement merely added to its violence, and all the riotous populace of Paris sprang to arms. A new war was about to be inaugurated in that city which had just suffered so severely from the guns of the Germans, and around which German troops were still encamped.

The government had neglected to take possession of the cannon Montmartre; and now, when the troops of the line, instead of firing on the insurrectionists, went over in crowds to their side, the supremacy over Paris fell into the hands of the wildest demagogues. A fearful civil war commenced, and in the same forts which the Germans had shortly before evacuated firing once more resounded; the houses, gardens, and villages around Paris were again surrendered to destruction; the creations of art, industry, and civilization were endangered, and the abodes of wealth and pleasure were transformed into dreary wildernesses.

The wild outbreaks of fanaticism on the part of the Commune recalled the scenes of the revolution of 1789, and in these spring days of 1871 Paris added another leaf to its long history of crime and violence. The insurgents, roused to fury by the efforts of the government to suppress them, murdered two generals, Lecomte and Thomas, and fired on the unarmed citizens who, as the “friends of order,” desired a reconciliation with the authorities at Versailles. They formed a government of their own, extorted loans from wealthy citizens, confiscated the property of religious societies, and seized and held as hostages Archbishop Darboy and many other distinguished clergymen and citizens.

Meanwhile the investing French troops, led by Marshal MacMahon, gradually fought their way through the defenses and into the suburbs of the city, and the speedy surrender of the anarchists in the capital became inevitable. This necessity excited their passions to the most violent extent, and, with the wild fury of savages, they set themselves to do all the damage they could to the historical monuments of Paris. The noble Vendome column, the symbol of the warlike renown of France, was torn down from its pedestal and hurled prostrate into the street. The most historic buildings in the city were set on fire, and either partially or entirely destroyed. Among these were the Tuileries, a portion of the Louvre, the Luxembourg, the Palais Royal, the Elysee, etc.; while several of the imprisoned hostages, foremost among them Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, and the universally respected minister Daguerry, were shot by the infuriated mob. Such crimes excited the Versailles troops to terrible vengeance, when they at last succeeded in repressing the rebellion. They made their way along a bloody course; human life was counted as nothing; the streets were stained with blood and strewn with corpses, and the Seine once more ran red between its banks. When at last the Commune surrendered, the judicial courts at Versailles began their work of retribution. The leaders and participators in the rebellion who could not save themselves by flight were shot by hundreds, confined in fortresses, or transported to the colonies. For more than a year the imprisonments, trials, and executions continued, military courts being established which excited the world for months by their wholesale condemnations to exile and to death. The carnival of anarchy was followed by one of pitiless revenge.


The Republican government of France, which had been accepted in an emergency, was far from carrying with it the support of the whole of the Assembly or of the people, and the aged, but active and keen-witted Thiers had to steer through a medley of opposing interests and sentiments. His government was considered, alike by the Monarchists and the Jacobins, as only provisional, and the Bourbons and Napoleonists on the one hand and the advocates of “liberty, equality and fraternity” on the other, intrigued for its overthrow. But the German armies still remained on French soil, pending the payment of the costs of the war; and the astute chief of the executive power possessed moderation enough to pacify the passions of the people, to restrain their hatred of the Germans, which was so boldly exhibited in the streets and in the courts of justice, and to quiet the clamor for a war of revenge.

The position of parties at home was confused and distracted, and a disturbance of the existing order could only lead to anarchy and civil war. Thiers was thus the indispensable man of the moment, and so much was he himself impressed by the consciousness of this fact, that many times, by the threat of resignation, he brought the opposing elements in the Assembly to harmony and compliance.

This occurred even during the siege of Paris, when the forces of the government were in conflict with the Commune. In the Assembly there was shown an inclination to moderate or break through the sharp centralization of the government, and to procure some autonomy for the provinces and towns. When, therefore, a new scheme was discussed, a large part of the Assembly demanded that the mayors should not, as formerly, be appointed by the government, but be elected by the town councils. Only with difficulty was Thiers able to effect a compromise, on the strength of which the government was permitted the right of appointment for all towns numbering over twenty thousand.

In the elections for the councils the moderate Republicans proved triumphant. With a supple dexterity, Thiers knew how to steer between the Democratic-Republican party and the Monarchists. When Gambetta endeavored to establish a “league of Republican towns,” the attempt was forbidden as illegal; and when the decree of banishment against the Bourbon and Orleans princes was set aside, and the latter returned to France, Thiers knew how to postpone the entrance of the Duc d’Aumale and Prince de Joinville, who had been elected deputies, into the Assembly at least until the end of the year.


The brilliant success of the national loan went far to strengthen the position of Thiers. The high offers for a share in this loan, which indicated the inexhaustible wealth of the nation and the solid credit of France abroad, promised a rapid payment of the war indemnity, the consequent evacuation of the country by the German army of occupation, and a restoration of the disturbed finances of the state. The foolish manifesto of the Count de Chambord, who declared that he had only to return with the white banner to be made sovereign of France, brought all practical men to the side of Thiers, and he had, during the last days of August, 1871, the triumph of being proclaimed “President of the French Republic.”

The new president aimed, next to the liberation of the garrisoned provinces from the German troops of occupation, at the reorganization of the French army. Yet he could not bring himself to the decision of enforcing in its entirety the principle of general armed service, such as had raised Prussia from a state of depression to one of military regeneration. Universal military service in France was, it is true, adopted in name, and the army was increased to an immense extent, but under such conditions and limitations that the richer and more educated classes could exempt themselves from service in the army; and thus the active forces, as before, consisted of professional soldiers. And when the minister for education, Jules Simon, introduced an educational law based on liberal principles, he experienced on the part of the clergy such violent opposition that the government dropped the measure.

In order to place the army in the condition which Thiers desired, an increase in the military budget was necessary, and consequently an enhancement of the general revenues of the state. For this purpose a return to the tariff system, which had been abolished under the empire, was proposed, but excited so great an opposition in the Assembly that six months passed before it could be carried. The new organization of the army, undertaken with a view of placing France on a level in military strength with her late conqueror, was now eagerly undertaken by the president. An active army, with five year’s service, was to be added to a “territorial army,” a kind of militia. And so great was the demand on the portion of the nation capable of bearing arms that the new French army exceeded in numbers that of any other nation.

But all the statesmanship of Thiers could not overcome the anarchy in the Assembly, where the forces for monarchy and republicanism were bitterly opposed to each other. Gambetta, in order to rouse public opinion in favor of democracy, made several tours through the country, his extravagance of language giving deep offense to the Monarchists, while the opposed sections of the Assembly grew wider and more violent in their breach.


Indisputable as were the valuable services which Thiers had rendered to France, by the foundation of public order and authority, the creation of a regular army, and the restoration of a solid financial system, yet all these services met with no recognition in the face of the party jealousy and political passions prevailing among the people’s representatives at Versailles. More and more did the Royalist reaction gain ground, and, aided by the priests and by various national discontents, endeavor to bring about the destruction of its opponents. Against the Radicals and Liberals, among whom even the Voltairean Thiers was included, superstition and fanaticism were let loose, and against the Bonapartists was directed the terrorism of courts-martial.

The French could not rest with the thought that their military supremacy had been broken by the superiority of the Prusso-German arms; their defeats could have proceeded only from the treachery or incapacity of their leaders. To this national prejudice the Government decided to bow, and to offer a sacrifice to the popular passion. And thus the world beheld the lamentable spectacle of the commanders who had surrendered the French fortresses to the enemy being subjected to a trial by court-martial under the presidency of Marshal Baraguay d’Hilliers, and the majority of them, on account of their proved incapacity or weakness, deprived of their military honors, at a moment when all had cause to reproach themselves and endeavor to raise up a new structure on the ruins of the past. Even Ulrich, the once celebrated commander of Strasbourg, whose name had been given to a street in Paris, was brought under the censure of the court-martial. But the chief blow fell upon the commander-in-chief of Metz, Marshal Bazaine, to whose “treachery” the whole misfortune of France was attributed. For months he was retained a prisoner at Versailles, while preparations were made for the great court-martial spectacle, which, in the following year, took place under the presidency of the Duc d’Aumale.


The result of the party division in the Assembly was, in May 1873, a vote of censure on the ministry, which induced them to resign. Their resignation was followed by an offer of resignation on the part of Thiers, who experienced the unexpected slight of having it accepted by the majority of the Assembly, the monarchist MacMahon, Marshal of France and Duke of Magenta, being elected President in his place. Thiers had just performed one of his greatest services to France, by paying off the last instalment of the war indemnity and relieving the soil of his country of the hated German troops.

The party now in power at once began to lay plans to carry out their cherished purpose of placing a Legitimist king upon the throne, this honor being offered to the Count de Chambord, grandson of Charles X. He, an old man, unfitted for the thorny seat offered him, and out of all accord with the spirit of the times, put a sudden end to the hopes of his partisans by his medieval conservatism. Their purpose was to establish a constitutional government, under the tri-colored flag of revolutionary France; but the old Bourbon gave them to understand that he would not consent to reign under the Tricolor, but must remain steadfast to the white banner of his ancestors; he had no desire to be “the legitimate king of revolution.”

This letter shattered the plans of his supporters. No man with idea like these would be tolerated on the French throne. There was never to be in France a King Henry V. The Monarchists, in disgust at the failure of their schemes, elected MacMahon president of the republic for a term of seven years, and for the time being the reign of republicanism in France was made secure.

While MacMahon was thus being raised to the pinnacle of honor, his former comrade Bazaine was imprisoned in another part of the palace at Versailles, awaiting trial on the charge of treason for the surrender of Metz. In the trial, in which the whole world took a deep interest, the efforts of the prosecution were directed to prove that the conquest of France was solely due to the treachery of the Bonapartist marshal. Despite all that could be said in his defense, he was found guilty by the court martial, sentenced to degradation from his rank in the army, and to death.


A letter which Prince Frederick Charles wrote in his favor only added to the wrath of the people, who cried aloud for his execution. But, as though the judges themselves felt a twinge of conscience at the sentence, they at the same time signed a petition for pardon to the president of the republic. MacMahon thereupon commuted the punishment of death into a twenty years’ imprisonment, remitted the disgrace of the formalities of a military degradation, without canceling its operation, and appointed as the prisoner’s place of confinement the fortress on the island of St. Marguerite, opposite Cannes, known in connection with the “iron mask.” Bazaine’s wealthy Mexican wife obtained permission to reside near him, with her family and servants, in a pavilion of the sea-fortress. This afforded her an opportunity of bringing about the freedom of her husband in the following year with the aid of her brother. After an adventurous escape, by letting himself down with a rope to a Genoese vessel, Bazaine fled to Holland, and then offered his services to the republican government of Spain.

In 1875 the constitution under which France is now governed was adopted by the republicans. It provides for a legislature of two chambers; one a chamber of deputies elected by the people, the other a senate of 300 members, 75 of whom are elected by the National Assembly and the others by electoral colleges in the departments of France. The two chambers unite to elect a president, who has a term of seven years. He is commander-in-chief of the army, appoints all officers, receives all ambassadors, executes the laws, and appoints the cabinet, which is responsible to the Senate and House of Deputies—thus resembling the cabinet of Great Britain instead of that of the United States.

This constitution was soon ignored by the arbitrary president, who forced the resignation of a cabinet which he could not control, and replaced it by another responsible to himself instead of to the Assembly. His act of autocracy roused a violent opposition. Gambetta moved that the representatives of the people had no confidence in a cabinet which was not free in its actions and not republican in its principles. The sudden death of Thiers, whose last writing was a defense of the republic, stirred the heart of the nation and added to the excitement, which soon reached fever heat. In the election that followed the republicans were in so great a majority over the conservatives that the president was compelled either to resign or to govern according to the constitution. He accepted the latter and appointed a cabinet composed of republicans. But the acts of the legislature, which passed laws to prevent arbitrary action by the executive and to secularize education, so exasperated the old soldier that he finally resigned from his high office.


Jules Grevy was elected president in his place, and Gambetta was made president of the House of Deputies. Subsequently he was chosen presiding minister in a cabinet composed wholly of his own creatures. His career in this high office was a brief one. The chambers refused to support him in his arbitrary measures and he resigned in disgust. Soon after the self-appointed dictator, who had played so prominent a part in the war with Germany, died from a wound whose origin remained a mystery.

The constitution was revised in 1884, the republic now declared permanent and final, and Grevy again elected president. General Boulanger, the minister of war in the new government, succeeded in making himself highly popular, many looking upon him as a coming Napoleon, by whose genius the republic would be overthrown.

In 1887 Grevy resigned, in consequence of a scandal in high circles, and was succeeded by Sadi-Carnot, grandson of a famous general of the first republic. Under the new president two striking events took place. General Boulanger managed to lift himself into great prominence, and gain a powerful following in France. Carried away by self-esteem, he defied his superiors, and when tried and found guilty of the offense, was strong enough in France to overthrow the ministry, to gain re-election to the Chamber of Deputies, and to defeat a second ministry.

But his reputation was declining. It received a serious blow through a duel he fought with a lawyer, in which the soldier was wounded and the lawyer escaped unhurt. The next cabinet was hostile to his intrigues, and he fled to Brussels to escape arrest. Tried by the Senate, sitting as a High Court of Justice, he was found guilty of plotting against the state and sentenced to imprisonment for life. His career soon after ended in suicide and his party disappeared.


The second event spoken of was the Panama Canal affair. De Lesseps, the maker of the Suez Canal, had undertaken to excavate a similar one across the Isthmus of Panama, but the work was managed with such wild extravagance that vast sums were spent and the poor investors widely ruined, while the canal remained a half-dug ditch. At a later date this affair became a great scandal, dishonest bargains in connection with it were abundantly unearthed, bribery was shown to have been common in high places, and France was shaken to its center by the startling exposure. De Lesseps, fortunately for him, escaped imprisonment by death, but others of the leaders in the enterprise were condemned and punished.

In the succeeding years perils manifold threatened the existence of the French Republic. A moral decline seemed to have sapped the foundations of public virtue, and the new military organization rose to a dangerous height of power, becoming a possible instrument of ambition which overshadowed and portended evil to the state. The spirit of anarchy, which had been so strikingly displayed in the excesses of the Parisian Commune, was shown later in various instances of death and destruction by the use of dynamite bombs, exploded in Paris and elsewhere. But its most striking example was in the murder of President Carnot, who was stabbed by an anarchist in the streets of Lyons. This assassination, and the disheartening exposures of dishonesty in the Panama Canal case trials, stirred the moral sentiment of France to its depths, and made many of the best citizens despair of the permanency of the republic.


But the most alarming threat came from the army, which had grown in power and prominence until it fairly overtopped the state, while its leaders felt competent to set at defiance the civil authorities. This despotic army was an outgrowth of the Franco-Prussian war. The terrible punishment which the French had received in that war and in particular the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, filled them with bitter hatred of Germany and a burning desire for revenge. Yet it was evident that their military organization was so imperfect as to leave them helpless before the army of Germany, and the first thing to be done was to place themselves on a level in military strength with their foe. To this President Thiers had earnestly devoted himself, and the work of army organization went on until all France was virtually converted into a great camp, defended by powerful fortresses, and the whole male population of the country were practically made part of the army.

The final result of this was the development of one of the most complete and well-appointed military establishments in Europe. The immediate cause of the reorganization of the army gradually passed away. As time went on the intense feeling against Germany softened and the danger of war decreased. But the army became more and more dominant in France, and, as the century neared its end, the autocratic position of its leaders was revealed by a startling event, which was claimed to prove the moral decadence of France and the controlling influence and dominating power of the members of the General Staff. This was the celebrated Dreyfus Case, the CAUSE CELEBRE of the period. At the time concerned it excited the utmost interest, stirring France to its center, and attracting the earnest attention of the world. It aroused indignation as well as interest, and years passed before it lost its hold on public attention. It can be dealt with here only with great brevity.


Albert Dreyfus, an Alsatian Jew and a captain in the Fourteenth Regiment of Artillery of the French army, detailed for service at the Information Bureau of the Minister of War, was arrested October 15, 1894, on charge of having sold military secrets to a foreign power. The following letter was said to have been found at the German embassy by a French detective, in what was declared to be the handwriting of Dreyfus:

“Having no news from you I do not know what to do. I send you in the meantime the condition of the forts. I also hand you the principal instructions as to firing. If you desire the rest I shall have them copied. The document is precious. The instructions have been given only to the officers of the General Staff. I leave for the maneuvers.”

Previous to the arrest of Dreyfus, the editor of the LIBRE PAROLE, had been carrying on a violent anti-Semitic agitation in his paper. He now raved about the Jews in general, declared Dreyfus guilty of selling army secrets to the Germans, and by his crusade turned public opinion in Paris strongly against the accused.

As a result of this assault and the statement that the letter was in the handwriting of the accused, he was tried before a military court, which sat behind closed doors, kept parts of the indictment from the knowledge of the prisoner and his lawyer, and in other ways manifested a lack of fairness.

As a result of this secret trial the accused was found guilty and condemned to be degraded from his military rank, and by a special act of the Chamber of Deputies was ordered to be imprisoned for life in a penal settlement on Devil’s Island, off the coast of French Guiana, a tropical region, desolate and malarious in character. The sentence was executed with the most cruel harshness. During part of his detention Dreyfus was locked in a hut, surrounded by an iron cage, on the island. This was done on the plea of possible attempts at rescue. He was allowed to send and receive only such letters as had been transcribed by one of his guardians.

He denied, and never ceased to deny, his guilt. The letters he wrote to his counsel after the trial and after his disgrace are most pathetic assertions of his innocence, and of the hope that ultimately justice would be done him. His wife and family continued to deny his guilt, and used every influence to get his case reopened.

The whole affair in time excited a strong suspicion that Dreyfus had been used as a scapegoat for some one higher up and had been unjustly condemned, the fact of his being a Jew being used to excite prejudice against him. Many eminent literary men of France advocated the revision of a sentence which did not appeal to the sense of justice of the best element of France.

It was declared that military secrets continued to leak out after Dreyfus’s arrest, and that the handwriting of the letter found was closely similar to that of Count Ferdinand Esterhazy, an officer in the French army, of noble Hungarian descent. This matter was so ventilated that some action became necessary and Esterhazy was tried secretly by court-martial, the trial ending in acquittal.

At this juncture, Emile Zola, the celebrated novelist, stepped into the fray as a defender of Dreyfus, writing a notable letter to President Favre, in which he accused the members of the court-martial of acquitting Esterhazy under order of their chiefs, who would not admit that a military court of France could possibly make a mistake.

This letter led to the arrest and trial of Zola and of the editor who published it. Their trials were conducted in a secret manner and they were found guilty and sentenced to a heavy fine and a year’s imprisonment. Zola escaped imprisonment by absenting himself from France.

By this time the interest of the whole world was enlisted in the case, the action of the French courts was everywhere condemned, and in the end it was deemed advisable to bring Dreyfus back to France and accord him a new trial. This trial, which lasted from August 7 to September 7, 1899, indicated that he had been convicted on the most flimsy and uncertain evidence, largely conjectural in character, while there was strong evidence in his favor. Yet the judges of the court-martial seemed biased against him, and by a vote of three judges to two, he was again found guilty—“of treason, with extenuating circumstances,” as if treason could be extenuated.

The whole affair was a transparent travesty upon justice, and the method by which it was conducted threw into a strong light the faulty character of the French method of trial. The result, indeed, was so flagrantly unsatisfactory that no further punishment was inflicted upon the accused, and in July, 1906, his case was brought before the Court of Appeals, with the result that he was acquitted and restored to his rank in the army.


Later events of interest in French history had to do with the status of the Catholic Church in France and with the relations of France, Germany and Spain to Morocco, the latter more than once threatening war. The union of Church and State in France, which had only before been broken during the turbulent period of the Revolution, was definitely abrogated by a law of December 19, 1905, proclaiming the separation of Church and State in that country. By this, and a supplementary act in 1907, the Catholic church was put on the same footing in the republic as the Protestant and Jewish congregations. The use of church buildings, which had been the property of the state since the Revolution, was granted only under conditions which the Pope refused to accept, and religious liberty made a radical advance in France.


Meanwhile troubles had arisen on the borders of Algeria between the French army of occupation and the unruly Moroccan tribes beyond the boundary. The efforts of France to abate these disturbances, which found support in the British government, aroused opposition in Germany, which objected to the claim of France to a predominant interest in Morocco. The affair went so far that Emperor William II visited Tangier, had a conference with the representatives of the Sultan, and was reported to have agreed to enforce the integrity of Morocco. The friction that resulted was allayed by a conference of the Powers held at Algeciras, Spain, in 1905, and the trouble was temporarily settled by a series of resolutions establishing a number of reforms in Morocco, the privileged position of France along the Moroccan-Algerian frontier being acknowledged.

Disturbances continued, however, and the murder of a French doctor by the tribesmen in March, 1907, led to the occupation of a Moroccan town by French troops. Later in the year a more serious affair took place at the port of Casablanca, which was raided by insurgent tribesmen and European laborers and others were massacred. A French force landed on August 7th and a desperate fight took place, during which nearly every inhabitant of the town was killed and wounded or had fled, the dead alone numbering thousands.

In 1911 matters in Morocco grew serious, there being severe fighting by Spanish troops in the Spanish concession around Alcazar, while tribal outbreaks against Fez, the Sultan’s capital, brought a French military expedition to that point. By this, communication between the capital and the coast was established, the French government undertaking to organize the Sultan’s army and carry out certain works of public improvement.

These movements revived the suspicions of Germany and that country took the decisive step of sending a war vessel to Agadir, a southern port of Morocco, with the ostensible purpose of protecting the persons and property of German subjects. This act led to the suspicion in France that Germany meant more than she said and that her real purpose was to gain a permanent hold on Moroccan territory. There was heated talk of war, as there usually is in such cases, but the affair was, in the end, amicably adjusted.

It became known that France wished to secure a free hand in Morocco, outside of the coastal provinces held by Spain, and was willing in return to concede to Germany a considerable amount of territory in French Congo. The agreement finally reached, with the assent of the other Powers, especially Spain, which had a vital interest in the problem, was that France should be given a protectorate over Morocco, and in return should cede to Germany a region in French Congo, in equatorial Africa, of about 230,000 square kilometers, containing a population of from 600,000 to 1,000,000, and adjoining the German district of Kamerun, France retaining certain transit privileges in the region.

Thus ended a source of dispute which had more than once threatened war and would have so ended at this time but for the vigorous support of France by Great Britain. It ended greatly to the advantage of France, whose interests in Morocco far outweighed any advantages likely to arise from her holdings in central Africa. Behind all this lay the probability that her influence in and hold upon Morocco would increase until eventually it would develop into a virtual, perhaps an actual, sovereignty over that country.

Chapter XV.

The Outcome of Slavic Ambition

Siege of Sebastopol—Russia in Asia—The Russo-Japanese War—Port Arthur Taken—The Russian Fleet Defeated

Among the most interesting phases of nineteenth-century history is that of the conflict between Russia and Turkey, a struggle for dominion that came down from the preceding centuries, and still seems only temporarily laid aside for final settlement in the years to come. In the eighteenth century the Turks proved quite able to hold their own against all the power of Russia and all the armies of Catharine the great, and they entered the nineteenth century with their ancient dominion largely intact. But they were declining in strength while Russia was growing, and long before 1900 the empire of the Sultan would have become the prey of the Czar had not the other Powers of Europe come to the rescue. The Czar Nicholas designated the Sultan as the “sick man” of Europe, and such he and his empire had truly become.

Of the various wars which Russia waged against Turkey, the first of modern historical importance was that of 1854–55, known as the “Crimean War” and made notable by the fact that Britain, France and Sardinia joined the Turks in their struggle against the Muscovite armies.

The Western powers had long been fearful of letting Constantinople fall into the hands of Russia. They had interfered to prevent this after the victory of Russia in 1829, when Adrianople was taken and Constantinople threatened. War broke out again in 1853 and Russia seemed likely to triumph. This led Britain and France to declare war in 1854. Armies were sent by them to the Black Sea, and in September a strong force was landed on the coast of the Crimean peninsula.


Their purpose in this movement was the capture of the fortress of Sebastopol and the destruction of the Russian fleet in its harbor. But the Muscovite defense was vigorous and the stronghold proved difficult to take. Battles took place on the banks of the Alma and at Balaclava, in both of which the allies were successful, the latter being made notable by the heroic British “Charge of the Light Brigade,” which has since been famous in song and story.

But the fortress held out during the succeeding winter and until late in 1855, despite the vigor of the siege. After the middle of August the assault became almost incessant, cannon balls dropping like an unceasing storm of hail in forts and streets. On the 5th of September began a terrific bombardment, continuing day and night for three days, and sweeping down more than 5,000 Russians on the ramparts. At length, as the hour of noon struck on September 8th, the attack, of which this play of artillery was the prelude, began, the French assailing the Malakoff, the British the Redan, these being the most formidable of the defensive works of the town. The French assault was successful and Sebastopol became untenable. That night the Russians blew up their remaining forts, sunk their ships of war, and marched out of the town, leaving it as the prize of victory to the allies.

This success put an end to the war. Britain, Sardinia, which had joined the coalition, and Turkey were eager to continue it, but Napoleon III had reasons of his own for withdrawing his troops, and the other allies found it desirable to consent to a treaty of peace. Russia was far from being conquered, but its finances were in a deplorable state, and the Czar proved ready to make terms with his enemies.

This did not end Russia’s efforts to win Constantinople. A new war broke out in 1877, in which none of the Powers came to the aid of the Turks, and their dominion in Europe would have been brought to an end but for the jealousy or these Powers, which forced the conquering Muscovites to withdraw from the hoped-for prize. The events of this war are given in the following chapter, as part of the history of the Balkan States.


Russia, though so often checked in the effort to capture Constantinople, and with it win an opening to the Mediterranean, was long more successful in another field of ambition, that of Asiatic conquest and the expansion of empire over the great Eastern continent. Here it had gradually won a vast stretch of territory, including the immense area of Siberia and the realms of the Caucasus and Turkestan. The result of the Boxer outbreak in China in 1900 increased the Russian dominion in Asia, giving the empire a hold upon Manchuria, with control of the fine seaport of Port Arthur. It began to appear as if this whole region would become Russian territory, possibly including Korea and Japan.


The danger of this roused Japan to action. When it became evident that the Russians had no intention to respect the rights of China in Manchuria, and showed signs of an aggressive movement against Korea, the island empire lost no time in making war. In February, 1904, Japan withdrew her minister from St. Petersburg and three days later, without the formality of a declaration of war, attacked the Russian fleets at Chemulpo and Port Arthur and landed troops in Korea.

The Japanese quickly proved themselves able warriors. On April 13th admiral Togo drove back the Russian fleet, its flagship, the PETROPAVLOVSK, striking a mine and sinking with its crew and admiral. On land the Russians were defeated at the battle of the Yalu, Manchuria was invaded and Port Arthur invested and bombarded. Battles followed in rapid succession, with victory for the island warriors in every instance. General Oka won a fierce battle on the heights of Nan-Shan and captured the Russian port of Dalny. General Kuroki fought his way northward to Liao-yang, where was fought one of the great battles of the war, lasting seven days and ending in the retreat of the Russians.

The next field of action was at Mukden, the Manchurian capital, when the armies met in September, and remained face to face until March of the following year. It was not until then that a decisive action took place, the armies numbering nearly 500,000 each. The struggle was long continued, but finally ended in a second retreat of the Russians. There were no further engagements of importance in this quarter, though the armies remained face to face for months in a long line south of Harbin.


Meanwhile Port Arthur had become closely invested. One by one the hills surrounding the harbor were taken by the Japanese, after stubborn resistance. Big siege guns were dragged up and began to batter the town and the ships. On August 16th, General Stoessel, commander at Port Arthur, having refused to surrender, a grand assault was ordered by Nogi. It proved unsuccessful, while the assailants lost 14,000 men. The bombardment continued, the buildings and ships suffering severely. Finally tunnels were cut through the solid rock and on December 20th the principal stronghold in the east was carried by storm. Other forts were soon taken and on January 2, 1905, the place was surrendered, the Japanese obtaining 40,000 prisoners, 59 forts, about 550 guns, and other munitions. The fleet captured consisted of four damaged battleships, two damaged cruisers and a considerable number of small craft. These ships had been effectually blockaded in the harbor, lying practically inactive during the siege.


Russia, finding its naval force in the Pacific put out of commission through the activity of the doughty Togo, had meanwhile despatched another fleet from the Baltic, comprising nearly forty vessels in all. These made their way through the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean and on May 27, 1905, entered the Strait of Tsushuma, between Korea and Japan. Hitherto not a hostile vessel had been seen. Togo had held his fleet in ambush, while keeping scouts on the lookout for the coming Russians.

Suddenly the Russians found themselves surrounded by a long line of enemies, which had suddenly appeared in their front. The attack was furious and irresistible; the defense weak and ineffective. Night was at hand, but before it came five Russian warships had gone to the bottom. A torpedo attack was made during the night and the general engagement resumed next morning. When a halt was called, Admiral Togo had sunk, disabled or captured eight battleships, nine cruisers, three coast-defense ships, and a large number of other craft, the great Russian fleet being practically a total loss, while Togo had lost only three torpedo boats and 650 men. The losses in men by the Russians was 4,000 killed, and 7,200 prisoners taken. It was a naval victory which for completeness has rarely been equalled in history.

Russia, beaten on land and sea, was by this time ready to give up the struggle, and readily accepted President Roosevelt’s suggestion to hold a peace convention in the United States. The terms of the treaty were very favorable to Russia, all things considered; but the power of Japan had been strained to the utmost, and that Power felt little inclined to put obstacles in the way. The island of Sakhalin was divided between them, both armies evacuated Manchuria, leaving it to the Chinese, and Port Arthur and Dalny were transferred to Japan.

Yet though Japan received no indemnity and little in the way of material acquisitions of any kind, she came out of the war with a prestige that no one was likely to question, and has since ranked among the great Powers of the world. And she has added considerably to her territory by the annexation of Korea, in which there was no one to question her right.

Since the events here described Japan has entered the concert of the nations by an alliance with Great Britain for mutual defense in case of either Power being attacked in the East. And this treaty bore fruit in 1914 when Japan, as an ally of Great Britain, took part in the war between the great Powers of Europe by attacking Kiaochou, a district and fortress held by Germany on the northern coast of China.

This was in accordance with the Japanese theory of “the Orient for the Orientals” and its dislike of European aggression upon the Asiatic coast. Japan went farther than this, taking possession of all the islands held by Germany in the North Pacific—afterwards handed over to Australia for administration—those in the South Pacific being at the same time occupied by expeditions from New Zealand and Australia. In this way the great European war was to a minor extent transferred to the waters and lands of the Far East.

Chapter XVI.

How England Became Mistress of the Seas

Great Britain as a Colonizing Power—Colonies in the Pacific Region—Colonization in Africa—British Colonies in Africa—The Mahdi Rebellion in Egypt—Gordon at Khartoum—Suppression of the Mahdi Revolt—Colonization in Asia—The British in India—Colonies in America—Development of Canada—Progress in Canada

In the era preceding the nineteenth century Spain, France, and Great Britain were the great colonizing Powers, the last named being the latest in the field, but rapidly rising to become the most important.

The active Powers in colonization within the nineteenth century were the great rivals of the preceding period, Great Britain and France, though the former gained decidedly the start, and its colonial empire today surpasses that of any other nation of mankind. It is so enormous, in fact, as to dwarf the parent kingdom, which is related to its colonial dominion, so far as comparative size is concerned, as the small brain of the elephant is related to its great body.

Other Powers, not heard of as colonizers in the past, have since come into this field, though too late to obtain any of the great prizes. These are Germany and Italy, the latter having recently added to its acquisitions by the conquest of Tripoli. But there is a great Power still to name, which in its way stands as a rival to Great Britain, the empire of Russia, whose acquisitions in Asia have grown enormously in extent. These are not colonies in the ordinary sense, but rather results of the expansion of an empire through warlike aggression. Yet they are colonial in the sense of absorbing the excess population of European Russia. The great territory of Siberia was gained by Russia before the nineteenth century, though within recent years the Russian dominion in Asia has greatly increased, and has now become enormous, extending from the Arctic Ocean to the borders of Afghanistan, Persia and the Asiatic empire of Turkey.


With this preliminary preview we may proceed to consider the history of colonization within the recent period. And first we must take up the results of the colonial enterprise of Great Britain, as much the most important of the whole. In addition to Hindustan, in which the dominion of Great Britain now extends to Afghanistan and Thibet in the north, the British acquisitions in Asia now include Burmah and the west-coast region of Indo-China, with the Straits Settlements in the Malay peninsula, and the island of Ceylon, acquired in 1802 from Holland.

In the eastern seas Great Britain possesses another colony of vast dimensions, the continental island of Australia, which, with its area of nearly 3,000,000 square miles, is three-fourths the size of Europe. The first British settlement was made here in 1788, at Port Jackson, the site of the present thriving city of Sydney, and a part of the island was maintained as a penal settlement, convicts being sent there up to 1868. It was the discovery of gold in 1851 to which Australia owed its great progress. The incitement of the yellow metal drew the enterprising thither by thousands, until the population of the colony is now more than 4,000,000, and is still growing at a rapid rate. There are other valuable resources besides that of gold. Of its cities, Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, with its suburbs, has more than 500,000 population; Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, 600,000, while there are other cities of rapid growth. Australia is the one important British colony obtained without a war. In its human beings, as in its animals generally, it stood at a low level of development, and it was taken possession of without a protest from the savage inhabitants.


The same cannot be said of the inhabitants of New Zealand, an important group of islands lying southeast of Australia, which was acquired by Great Britain as a colony in 1840. The Maoris, as the people of these islands call themselves, are of the bold and sturdy Polynesian race, a brave, generous, and warlike people. A series of wars with the natives began in 1843 and continued until 1869, since which time the colony has enjoyed peace. It can have no more trouble with the Maoris, since there are said to be very few left. They had vanished before the “white man’s face.” At present this colony is one of the most advanced politically of any region on the face of the earth, so far as attention to the interests of the masses of the people is concerned, and its laws and regulations are interesting experiments for the remainder of the world.

In addition to those great island dominions in the Pacific, Great Britain possesses the Fiji Islands, the northern part of Borneo, and a large section of the extensive island of Papua or New Guinea, the remainder of which is held by Holland and Germany. In addition there are various coaling stations on the islands and coasts of Asia. In the Mediterranean its possessions are Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus, and in America the great dominion of Canada, a considerable number of the islands of the West Indies, and the districts of British Honduras and British Guiana.

The history of colonization in two of the continents, Asia and Africa, presents certain features of singularity. Though known from the most ancient times, while America was quite unknown until four centuries ago, the striking fact presents itself that at an early date in the nineteenth century the continents of North and South America had been largely explored from coast to center, while the interior of Asia and Africa remained in great part unknown. This fact in regard to Asia was due to the hostile attitude of its people, which rendered it dangerous for any European traveler to attempt to penetrate its interior. In the case of Africa it was due to the inhospitality of nature, which had placed the most serious obstacles in the way of those who sought to enter it beyond the coast regions. This state of affairs continued until the latter half of the century, within which period there was a remarkable change in the aspect of affairs, both continents being penetrated in all directions and their walls of isolation completely broken down.


Africa is not only now well known, but the exploration of its interior has been followed by political changes of the most revolutionary character. It presented a virgin field for colonization, of which the land-hungry nations of Europe hastened to avail themselves, dividing up the continent between them until, by the end of the century, the partition of Africa was practically complete. It is one of the most remarkable circumstances in history that a well-known continent remained thus so long unexplored to serve in our own days as a new field for the outpouring of the nations. The occupation of Africa by Europeans, indeed, began earlier. The Arabs had held the section north of the Sahara for many centuries, Portugal claimed—but scarcely occupied—large sections east and west, and the Dutch had a thriving settlement in the south. But the exploration and division of the bulk of the continent waited for the nineteenth century, and the greater part of the work of partition took place within the final quarter of that century.

In this work of colonization Great Britain and France stand foremost in energy and success. Today the British possessions and protectorates in Africa embrace 2,132,840 square miles; or, if we add Egypt and the Egyptian Soudan—practically British territory—the area occupied or claimed amounts to 2,446,040 square miles. The claims of France, including a large area of the Sahara desert, are much larger, covering 4,000,000 square miles. Germany lays claim to 930,000;; Italy, to 59l,000; Portugal, to 800,000; Spain, to 86,600, the Congo Free State, to 800,000; and Turkey to the 363,200 square miles of Egypt. The parts of Africa unoccupied or unclaimed by Europeans are a portion of the Desert of Sahara, which no one wants; Abyssinia, still independent; Morocco, a French protectorate; and Liberia, a state over which rests the shadow of protection of the United States.


Of the British colonial possessions in Africa the most important is that in the far south, extending now from Cape Town to Lake Tanganyika, and including an immense area replete with natural resources and capable of sustaining a very large population. This region, originally settled in the Cape Town region by the Dutch, was acquired by the British as a result of an European war. Subsequently the Boers—descendants of the Dutch settlers—made their way north, beyond the British jurisdiction, and founded the new colonies of the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State. The British of Cape Town at a later date followed them north, settling Natal, defeating the Zulu blacks and acquiring new territory, and eventually coming into hostile contact with the Boers.

Defeated at first by the latter, a war of conquest broke out in 1899, ending in 1902 with the overthrow of the Boer republics, after a brave and vigorous resistance on their part. Under the ambitious leadership of Cecil Rhodes and others, British dominion in South Africa was extended northward over the protectorates of Rhodesia and Basutoland, reaching, as stated, as far north as Lake Tanganyika and embracing an area of about 1,300,000 square miles. Other British colonial possessions in that continent include the large province of British East Africa, covering 520,000 square miles, a large area in Somaliland and possessions on the west coast of 150,000 square miles area. To these, in a minor sense of possession, should be added Egypt, now extending to British East Africa.

We have mentioned the respective regions held by other European nations in Africa, France surpassing Great Britain in colonial area though not in population. Among the French African possessions are included the great island of Madagascar, lying off the east coast of the continent. Mention should be made here of the extensive and promising Congo Free State, under the suzerainty of Belgium. Covering eight hundred thousand square miles, it comprises the populous and richly agricultural center of Africa, its vast extension of navigable waters yielding communication through its every part.

The occupation of Africa, at least that part of it which became British territory, was not consummated without hostile activities. The most recent of these was the long war between the Boer and British armies, the final success being a costly and not very profitable triumph of the British arms. Of other hostile relations may be mentioned the invasion of Abyssinia by a British army in 1867, the suppression of the revolt of Arabi Pasha in 1879, and the series of events arising from the Mahdist outbreak in 1880.


The latter events call for some mention; and need to be preceded by a statement of how Britain became dominant in Egypt. That country had broken loose in large measure from the rule of Turkey during the reign of the able and ambitious Mehemet Ali, who was made viceroy in 1840. In 1876 the independence of Egypt was much increased, and its rulers were given the title of khedive, or king. The powers of the khedives steadily increased, and in 1874–75 Ismail Pasha greatly extended the Egyptian territory, annexing the Soudan as far as Darfur, and finally to the shores of the lately discovered Victoria Nyanza. Egypt thus embraced the valley of the Nile practically to its source, presenting an aspect of immense length and great narrowness.

Soon after, the finances of the country became so involved that they were placed under European control, and the growth of English and French influence led to the revolt of Arabi Pasha. This was repressed by Great Britain, which bombarded Alexandria and defeated the Egyptians, France taking no part. As a result the co-ordinate influence of France ended, and Great Britain was left as the practical ruler of Egypt, which position she still maintains.

In 1880 began an important series of events. A Mohammedan prophet arose in the Soudan, claiming to be the Mahdi, a Messiah of the Mussulmans. A large body of devoted believers soon gathered around him, and he set up an independent sultanate in the desert, defeating four Egyptian expeditions sent against him, and capturing El Obeid, the chief city of Kordofan, which he made his capital in 1883.

The effort to subdue the outbreak proved a long and arduous one, and was accomplished only after many years and much loss to the British and Egyptian forces. No time was lost in sending an army against the fanatical Arabs. This was led by an English officer known as Hicks Pasha. He fell into a Mahdist ambush at El Obeid, and after a desperate struggle, lasting three days, his force was almost completely annihilated, Hicks being the last to die. Very few of his men escaped to tell the tale of their defeat.

Other expeditions of Egyptian troops sent against Osman Digna (“Osman the Ugly”), a lieutenant of the Mahdi, similarly met with defeat, and the Mahdists invested and besieged the towns of Sinkat and Tokar.

To relieve these towns, Baker Pasha, a daring and able British leader, was sent with a force of 3,650 men. Unfortunately, his troops were mainly Egyptian, and the result of preceding expeditions had inspired these with a more than wholesome fear of the Mahdists. They met a party of the latter, only about 1,200 strong, at a point south of Suakim, on the Red Sea. Instantly the Egyptians broke into a panic of terror and were surrounded and butchered in a frightful slaughter.

“Inside the square,” said an eye-witness, “the state of affairs was almost indescribable. Cavalry, infantry, mules, camels, falling baggage and dying men were crushed into a struggling, surging mass. The Egyptians were shrieking madly, hardly attempting to run away, but trying to shelter themselves one behind another.” “The conduct of the Egyptians was simply disgraceful,” said another officer. “Armed with rifle and bayonet, they allowed themselves to be slaughtered, without an effort at self-defense, by savages inferior to them in numbers and armed only with spears and swords.”

Baker and his staff officers, seeing affairs were hopeless, charged the enemy and cut their way through to the shore, but of the total force two-thirds were left dead or wounded on the field. Such was the “massacre” of El Teb, which was followed four days afterwards by the capture of Sinkat and slaughter of its garrison.

To avenge this butchery, General Graham was sent from Cairo with reinforcements of British troops. These advanced upon Osman and defeated him in two engagements, the last a crushing one, in which the British lost only 200 men, while the Arab loss, in killed alone, numbered over 2,000.


These events took place in 1884 and in the same year General Charles Gordon—the famous Chinese Gordon—ascended the Nile to Khartoum, to relieve the Egyptian garrison of that city. He failed in this, the Arabs of the Soudan flocking to the standard of the Mahdi in such multitudes that Khartoum was cut off from all communication with the north, leaving Gordon and the garrison in a position of dire peril.

It became necessary to send an expedition for their relief, this being led by Lord Wolseley, the hero of the Zulu and Ashanti wars. This advanced in two sections, a desert and a river column. Two furious attacks were made by the Mahdists on the desert troops, both being repulsed with heavy loss. On reaching the river, they proceeded in steamers which Gordon had sent down the Nile to meet them. But there was unavoidable delay, and when the vicinity of Khartoum was reached, on January 28, 1885, it was learned that the town had been taken and Gordon killed two days before. All his men, 4,000 in number, were killed with him.


After this misfortune the Arabs were left in possession for nearly twelve years, no other expedition being sent until 1896, while it was not until 1898 that the Anglo-Egyptian forces reached the vicinity of Khartoum. They were commanded by General Kitchener, one of the ablest of British soldiers. His men were well drilled and very different in character from those led by Baker Pasha. They met the Arabs at Omdurman, near Khartoum, and gave them a crushing defeat, more than 10,000 of them falling, while the British loss was only about 200. This ended the Arab resistance and the Soudan was restored to Egypt, fourteen years after it had been taken by the Mahdi.

Brief mention of the holdings of other nations in Africa must suffice. Germany has large areas in East Africa and Southwest Africa, with smaller holdings elsewhere. The possessions of France extend from Algeria and Tunis southward over the Sahara and the Soudan, with holdings on the east and west coasts. Portugal has large, feebly held districts in the south-central coast region, and Italy holds small districts on the Red Sea and Somaliland and the recently acquired Tripoli. Spain’s holdings are on the coast of Morocco and the Sahara.


The colonizing enterprise in Asia within recent years has been confined to Great Britain, France and Russia, which nations have gained large possessions in that great continent. Russia has made its way during several centuries of conquest over Siberia and Central Asia, until its immense possessions have encroached upon Persia and Afghanistan in the south and China in the east. At present, while the dominion of Russia in Europe comprises about 2,000,000 square miles, that in Asia is more than 6,500,000 square miles, the total area of this colossal empire being more than equal in area to the entire continent of North America.

The possessions of other nations in Asia are, aside from small holdings on the Chinese coast, in the south of that continent. Holland has a group of rich islands in the Indian Ocean, Portugal some small holdings, and France a large area in Indo-China, gained by invasion and conquest. This includes Cambodia, Cochin-China and Tonquin, won by hard fighting since 1862.

Great Britain, in addition to the extensive peninsula of India, with the neighboring rich island of Ceylon, has of late years acquired the fertile plains of Burmah, now included in its Empire of India, the whole covering an area of nearly 2,000,000 square miles. Its other Asiatic possessions include Hong Kong, in China; the Straits Settlements and other Malay states; Borneo and Sarawak, ad Aden and Socotra, in Arabia.


The British control of India began with the founding of commercial settlements early in the seventeenth century. Areas of land were gradually acquired, and rivalry began later between England and France for the control of Indian territory. The power of the British East India Company in India was largely extended by the military operations of the famous Lord Clive, and under Warren Hastings, a later governor of ambitious character, received new accessions.

During the nineteenth century many accessions of territory were made, the one threat to British dominion in the peninsula being the great Sepoy rebellion, or Indian Mutiny, which needed all the resources of the Company to overcome. The most important event that succeeded was the taking over the powers of government, so far exercised by the East India Company, and vesting them in the Crown, which assumed full control of the now immense holdings of the Company. Subsequently came the raising of India to the dignity of an empire, and the adding to the title of Queen Victoria the further title of Empress of India. Since that period the establishment of British dominion in India has become almost complete, extending to the Himalayas in the north, and over Baluchistan in the west and Burmah in the east. As a result India, Canada and Australia have become the great trio of semi-continental British colonial possessions, India being far the richest and most populous of them all.


We have next to deal with the British colonial possessions in America, including the great Dominion of Canada and Newfoundland, and the minor holdings of British Guiana, British Honduras, and the several islands of Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbadoes, the Bahamas and the Bermudas. Of these Canada is the only one that calls for notice here.

Occupying the northern section of the western hemisphere lies Great Britain’s most extended colony, the vast Dominion of Canada, which covers an immense area of the earth’s surface, surpassing that of the United States, and nearly equal to the whole of Europe. Its population, however, is not in accordance with its dimensions, though of late it is growing rapidly, being now over 7,000,000. The bleak and inhospitable character of the far northern section of its area is likely to debar that region from ever having any other than a scanty nomad population, fur animals being its principal useful product. It is, however, always unsafe to predict. The recent discovery of gold in an arctic country traversed by the Klondike river, brought miners by the thousands to that wintry realm, and it would be very unwise to declare that the remainder of the great northern region contains no treasures for the craving hands of man. So far as the fertile regions of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan are concerned, the recent demonstration of their great availability as wheat-producing territory has added immensely to our conception of the national wealth of Canada, which promises to become one of the great wheat-growing regions of the earth.

First settled by the French in the seventeenth century, this country came under British control in 1763, as a result of the great struggle between the two active colonizing powers for dominion in America. The outcome of this conquest is the fact that Canada, like the other colonies of Great Britain, possesses a large alien population, in this case of French origin.


At the opening of the nineteenth century the population of Canada was small, and its resources were only slightly developed. Its people did not reach the million mark until about 1840, though after that date the tide of immigration flowed thither with considerable strength and the population grew with some rapidity. In 1791 the original province of Quebec had been divided into Upper and Lower Canada, and racial and religious conditions of the next fifty years led to severe political conflicts. As a result an act of union took place, the provinces being reunited in 1840.

Upper Canada, at the opening of the eighteenth century, was only slightly developed, the country being a vast forest, without towns, without roads, and practically shut out from the remainder of the world. The sparse population was made up largely of United Empire Loyalists—refugees from the successful revolution in the Thirteen Colonies. But it began to grow with the new century, numbers crossed the Niagara River from the States to the fertile lands beyond, immigrants crossed the waters from Great Britain and France, Toronto was made the capital city, ad the population of the province soon rose to 30,000 in number. Lower Canada, however, with its old cities of Quebec and Montreal, and its flourishing settlements along the St. Lawrence River, continued the most populous section of the country, though its people were almost exclusively of French origin. The strength of the British population lay in the upper province.

In time the union which existed between the two larger provinces of Canada became unfitted to serve the purposes of the entire colony. The maritime provinces began to discuss the question of local federation, and it was finally proposed to unite all British North America into one general union. This was done in 1867, the British Parliament passing an act which created the “Dominion of Canada.” The new confederation included Ontario (Upper Canada), Quebec (Lower Canada), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Four years later Manitoba and British Columbia were included, and Prince Edward Island in 1874. Since then other additions have been made. A parliament was formed consisting of a Senate of life members appointed by the Crown and an Assembly elected by the people.

Some important questions which have arisen in Canada since the dates above given had largely to do with its relations to the United States and its people. One of the most troublesome of these was that relating to the productive fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland and the coasts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. For years the problem of the rights of American fishermen in these regions excited controversy. Several partial settlements have been made and in 1877 the sum of $5,000,000 was awarded to Great Britain in payment for the privileges granted to the United States. A treaty was signed in 1888 for the settlement of other branches of this vexatious question.

The discovery of gold on the Klondike River in 1896 developed another problem, that of the true boundary between Alaska and Canada. At first, under the belief that the gold region was in Alaska, it brought a rush of American miners to that region. But it was soon found that the mining region was in Canada and the mining laws imposed by the Canadian authorities were bitterly objected to by the American miners. The question of boundary has since been definitely settled by an international tribunal of British and American jurists and the present boundary line marked out by a scientific commission.

The industrial development of the Dominion within recent years has been great. Agriculturally the development of the fertile wheat fields of the middle west is of the most promising character, while railway progress has been highly encouraging. The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was a remarkable enterprise at the time of its construction. Recently Canada is approaching a position of rivalry with the United States in this particular, a new transcontinental line, the Grand Trunk Pacific, having been completed in 1914, while the Canadian Northern is rapidly progressing.


Railways have spread like a network over the rich agricultural territory along the southern border land of the Dominion, from ocean to ocean, and are now pushing into the deep forest land and rich mineral and agricultural regions of the interior and the northwest, their total length in 1914 approaching 30,000 miles.

These roads have been built largely under different forms of government aid, such as land grants, cash subsidies, loans, the issue of debentures, and the guarantee of interest on bonds.

In manufacturing industry almost every branch of production is to be found, the progressive enterprise of the people of the dominion being great, and a large proportion of the goods they need being made at home. The best evidence of the enterprise of Canada in manufacture is shown by the fact that she exports many thousand dollars worth of goods annually more than she buys—England being her largest customer and the United States second on the list.

Not only is the outside world largely ignorant of the importance of Canada, but many of her own people fail to realize the greatness of the country they possess. Its area of more than three and one-half millions of square miles—one sixteenth of the entire land surface of the earth—is great enough to include an immense variety of natural conditions and products. This area constitutes forty per cent of the far extended British empire, while its richness of soil and resources in forest and mineral wealth are as yet almost untouched, and its promise of future yield is immense. The dimensions of the dominion guarantee a great variety of natural attractions. There are vast grass-covered plains, thousands of square miles of untouched forest lands, multitudes of lakes and rivers, great and small, and mountains of the wildest and grandest character, whose natural beauty equals that of the far-famed Alpine peaks. In fact, the Canadian Pacific Railway is becoming a route of pilgrimage for the lovers of the beautiful and sublime, its mountain scenery being unrivaled upon the continent.

In several conditions the people of Canada, while preserving the general features of English society, are much more free and untrammeled. The class system of Great Britain has gained little footing in this new land, where early every farmer is the owner of the soil which he tills, and the people have a feeling of independence unknown to the agricultural population of European countries. There has been great progress also in many social questions. The liquor traffic is subject in some Provinces to the local option restriction; religious liberty prevails; education is practically free and unsectarian; the franchise is enjoyed by all citizens; members of parliament are paid for their services; and though the executive department of the government is under the control of a governor-general appointed by the Crown, the laws of Canada are made by its own statesmen, and a state of practical independence prevails. Recognizing this, and respecting the liberty-loving spirit of the people, Great Britain is chary in interfering with any question of Canadian policy, or in any sense attempting to limit the freedom of her great transatlantic colony.

Chapter XVII.

Development of World Power in the East

Warlike Invasions of China—Commodore Perry and His Treaty—Japan’s Rapid Progress—Origin of the China-Japan War—The Position of Korea—Li Hung Chang and the Empress—How Japan Began War—The Chinese and Japanese Fleets—The Battle of the Yalu—Capture of Wei Hai Wei—Europe Invades China—The Boxer Outbreak—Russian Designs on Manchuria—Japan Begins War on Russia—The Armies Meet—China Becomes a Republic

Asia, the greatest of the continents and the seat of the earliest civilizations, yields us the most remarkable phenomenon in the history of mankind. In remote ages, while Europe lay plunged in the deepest barbarism, certain sections of Asia were marked by surprising activity in thought and progress. In three far-separated regions—China, India, and Babylonia—and in a fourth on the borders of Asia—Egypt—civilization rose and flourished for ages, while the savage and the barbarian roamed over all other regions of the earth. A still more extraordinary fact is, that during the more recent era, that of European civilization, Asia rested in the most sluggish conservatism, sleeping while Europe and America were actively moving, content with its ancient knowledge while the people of the West were pursuing new knowledge into its most secret lurking places.

And this conservatism seemed an almost immovable one. For a century England has been pouring new thought and new enterprise into India, yet the Hindus cling stubbornly to their remotely ancient beliefs and customs, though they show some signs of a political awakening. For half a century Europe has been hammering upon the gates of China, but not until recently did this sleeping nation show any signs of waking to the fact that the world was moving around it. As regards the other early civilizations—Babylonia and Egypt—they long ago were utterly swamped under the tide of Turkish barbarism and exist only in their ruins. Persia, once a great and flourishing empire, likewise sank under the flood of Arabian and Turkish invasion, and today seems in danger of being swallowed up in the tide of Russian and British ambition. Such was the Asia upon which the nineteenth century dawned, and such it remains in some measure today, though in parts of its vast area modern civilization has gained a firm foothold.

This is especially the case with the island empire of Japan, a nation the people of which are closely allied in race to those of China, yet who have displayed a greater progressiveness and a marked readiness to avail themselves of the resources of modern civilization. The development of Japan has taken place within a brief period. Previous to that time it was as resistant to western influences as China continued until a later date. They were both closed nations, prohibiting the entrance of modern ideas and peoples, proud of their own form of civilization and their own institutions, and sternly resolved to keep out the disturbing influences of the restless West. As a result, they remained locked against the new civilization until after the nineteenth century was well advanced, and China’s disposition to avail itself of the results of modern invention was not manifested until the century was near its end.


China, with its estimated population of 300,000,000, attained to a considerable measure of civilization at a very remote period, but until very recently made almost no progress during the Christian era, being content to retain its old ideas, methods and institutions, which its people looked upon as far superior to those of the western nations. Great Britain gained a foothold in China as early as the seventeenth century, but the persistent attempt to flood the country with the opium of India, in disregard of the laws of the land, so angered the emperor that he had the opium of the British stores at Canton, worth $20,000,000, seized and destroyed. This led to the “Opium War” of 1840, in which China was defeated and was forced in consequence to accept a much greater degree of intercourse with the world, five ports being made free to the world’s commerce and Hong Kong ceded to Great Britain. In 1856 an arbitrary act of the Chines authorities at Canton, in forcibly boarding a British vessel in the Canton River, led to a new war, in which the French joined the British and the allies gained fresh concessions from China. In 1859 the war was renewed, and Peking was occupied by the British and French forces in 1860, the emperor’s summer palace being destroyed.

These wars had their effect in largely breaking down the Chinese wall of seclusion and opening the empire more fully to foreign trade and intercourse, and also in compelling the emperor to receive foreign ambassadors at his court in Peking. In this the United States was among the most successful of the nations, from the fact that it had always maintained friendly relations with China. In 1876 a short railroad was laid, and in 1877 a telegraph line was established. During the remainder of the century the telegraph service was widely extended, but the building of railroads was strongly opposed by the government, and not until the century had reached its end did the Chinese awaken to the importance of this method of transportation. They did, however, admit steam traffic to their rivers, and purchased some powerful ironclad naval vessels in Europe.


The isolation of Japan was maintained longer than that of China, trade with that country being of less importance, and foreign nations knowing and caring less about it. The United States has the credit of breaking down its long and stubborn seclusion and setting in train the remarkably rapid development of the island empire. In 1854 Commodore Perry appeared with an American fleet in the bay of Yeddo, and, by a show of force and a determination not to be rebuffed, he induced the authorities to make a treaty of commercial intercourse with the United States. Other nations quickly demanded similar privileges, and Japan’s obstinate resistance to foreign intercourse was at an end.

The result of this was revolutionary in Japan. For centuries the Shogun, or Tycoon, the principal military noble, had been dominant in the empire, and the Mikado, the true emperor, relegated to a position of obscurity. But the entrance of foreigners disturbed conditions so greatly—by developing parties for and against seclusion—that the Mikado was enabled to regain his long-lost power, and in 1868 the ancient form of government was restored, the nobles being relegated to their original rank and their semi-feudal system overthrown.


The Japanese quickly began to show a striking activity in the acceptance of the results of western civilization, alike in regard to objects of commerce, inventions, and industries, and to political organization. The latter advanced so rapidly that in 1889 the old despotic government was, by the voluntary act of the emperor, set aside and a limited monarchy established, the country being given a constitution and a legislature, with universal suffrage for all men over twenty-five. This act is of remarkable interest, it being doubtful if history records any similar instance of a monarch decreasing his authority without appeal or pressure from his people. It indicates a liberal spirit that could hardly have been looked for in a nation that had so recently opened its doors. It was, however, probably the result of a previous compact with the nobles who aided the Mikado to regain his throne. Today, Japan differs little from the nations of Europe and America in its institutions and industries, and from being among the most backward, has taken its place among the most advanced nations of the world.

The Japanese army has been organized upon the European system, and armed with the most modern style of weapons, the German method of drill and organization being adopted. Its navy consists of about two hundred war vessels, built largely in British dockyards and manned by sailors trained under British officers. A number of powerful ships are in process of building. Railroads have been widely extended; telegraphs run everywhere; education is in an advancing stage of development, embracing an imperial university at Tokio, and institutions in which foreign languages and science are taught; and in a hundred ways Japan is progressing at a rate which is one of the greatest marvels of the twentieth century. This is particularly notable in view of the longer adherence maintained by the neighboring empire of China to its old customs, and the slowness with which it yielded to the influx of new ideas.


As a result of this difference in progress between the two nations we have to describe a remarkable event, one of the most striking evidences that could be given of the practical advantage of modern civilization. Near the end of the century war broke out between China and Japan, and there was shown to the world the singular circumstance of a nation of 40,000,000 people, armed with modern implements of war, attacking a nation of 300,000,000—equally brave, but with its army organized on an ancient system—and defeating it as quickly and completely as Germany defeated France in the Franco-German War. This war, which represents a completely new condition of affairs in the continent of Asia, is of sufficient interest and importance to speak of at some length.

Between China and Japan lay the kingdom of Korea, separated by rivers from the former and by a strait of the ocean from the latter, and claimed as a vassal state by both, yet preserving its independence as a state against the pair. Japan invaded this country at two different periods in the past, but failed to conquer it. China has often invaded it, with the same result. Thus it remained practically independent until near the end of the nineteenth century, when the question of predominance in it became a cause of war between the two rival empires.

Korea long pursued the same policy as China and Japan, locking its ports against foreigners so closely that it became known as the Hermit Nation and the Forbidden Land. But it was forced to give way, like its neighbors. The opening of Korea was due to Japan. In 1876 the Japanese did to this secluded kingdom what Commodore Perry had done to Japan twenty-two years before. They sent a fleet to Seoul, the Korean capital, and by threat of war forced the government to open to trade the port of Fusan. In 1880 Chemulpo was made an open port. Later on the United States sent a fleet there which obtained similar privileges. Soon afterwards most of the nations of Europe were admitted to trade, and the isolation of the Hermit Nation was at an end. Less than ten years had sufficed to break down an isolation which had lasted for centuries. In less than twenty years after—in the year 1899—an electric trolley railway was put in operation in the streets of Seoul—a remarkable evidence of the great change in Korean policy.


Korea was no sooner opened to foreign intercourse than China and Japan became rivals for influence in that country—a rivalry in which Japan showed itself the more active. The Koreans became divided into two factions, a progressive one that favored Japan, and a conservative one that favored China. Japanese and Chinese soldiers were landed upon its soil, and the Chinese aided their party, which was in ascendency among the Koreans, to drive out the Japanese troops. War was threatened, but it was a averted by a treaty in 1885 under which both nations agreed to withdraw their troops and to send no officers to drill the Korean soldiers.

The war, thus for the time averted, came nine years afterwards, in consequence of an insurrection in Korea. The people of that country were discontented. They were oppressed with taxes and by tyranny, and in 1894 the followers of a new religious sect broke out in open revolt. Their numbers rapidly increased until they were 20,000 strong, and they defeated the government troops, captured a provincial city, and put the capital itself in danger. The Min (or Chinese) faction was then at the head of affairs in the kingdom and called for aid from China, which responded by sending some two thousand troops and a number of war vessels to Korea. Japan, jealous of any such action on the part of China, responded by surrounding Seoul with soldiers, several thousands in number.

Disputes followed. China claimed to be suzerain of Korea and Japan denied it. Both parties refused to withdraw their troops, and the Japanese, finding that the party in power was acting against them, advanced on the capital, drove out the officials, and took possession of the palace and the king. A new government, made up of the party that favored Japan, was organized, and a revolution was accomplished in a day. The new authorities declared that the Chinese were intruders and requested the aid of the Japanese to expel them. War was close at hand.


China was at that time under the leadership of a statesman of marked ability, the famous Li Hung Chang, who, from being made viceroy of a province in 1870, had risen to be the prime minister of the empire. At the head of the empire was a woman, the Dowager Empress Tsu Tsi, who had usurped the power of the young emperor and ruled the state. It was to these two people in power that the war was due. The dowager empress, blindly ignorant of the power of the Japanese, decided that these “insolent pigmies” deserved to be chastised. Li, her right-hand man, was of the same opinion. At the last moment, indeed, doubts began to assail his mind, into which came a dim idea that the army and navy of China were not in shape to meet the forces of Japan. But the empress was resolute. Her sixtieth birthday was at hand and she proposed to celebrate it magnificently; and what better decorations could she display than the captured banners of these insolent islanders? So it was decided to present a bold front, and, instead of the troops of China being removed, reinforcements were sent to the force at Asan.


There followed a startling event. On July 25th three Japanese men-of-war, cruising in the Yellow Sea, came in sight of a transport loaded with Chinese troops and convoyed by two ships of the Chinese navy. The Japanese admiral did not know of the seizure of Seoul by the land forces, but he took it to be his duty to prevent Chinese troops from reaching Korea, so he at once attacked the warships of the enemy, with such effect that they were quickly put to flight. Then he sent orders to the transport that it should put about and follow his ships.

This the Chinese generals refused to do. They trusted to the fact that they were on a chartered British vessel and that the British flag flew over their heads. The daring Japanese admiral troubled his soul little about this foreign standard, but at once opened fire on the transport, and with such effect that in half an hour it went to the bottom, carrying with it one thousand men. Only about one hundred and seventy escaped.

On the same day that this terrible act took place on the waters of the sea, the Japanese left Seoul en route for Asan. Reaching there, they attacked the Chinese in their intrenchments and drove them out. Three days afterwards, on August 1, 1894, both countries issued declarations of war.

Of the conflict that followed, the most interesting events were those that took place on the waters, the land campaigns being an unbroken series of successes for the well-organized and amply-armed Japanese troops over the medieval army of China, which went to war fan and umbrella in hand, with antiquated weapons and obsolete organization. The principal battle was fought at Ping Yang on September 15th, the Chinese losing 16,000 killed, wounded and captured, while the Japanese loss was trifling. In November the powerful fortress of Port Arthur was attacked by army and fleet, and surrendered after a two days’ siege. Then the armies advanced until they were in the vicinity of the Great Wall, with the soil and capital of China not far before them.


With this brief review of the land operations, we must return to the movements of the fleets. Backward as the Chinese were on land, they were not so on the sea. Li Hung Chang, a born progressive, had vainly attempted to introduce railroads into China, but he had been more successful in regard to ships, and had purchased a navy more powerful than that of Japan. The heaviest ships of Japan were cruisers, whose armor consisted of deck and interior lining of steel. The Chinese possessed two powerful battleships, with 14-inch iron armor and turrets defended with 12-inch armor, each carrying four 12-inch guns. Both navies had the advantage of European teaching in drill, tactics, and seamanship. The Ting Yuen, the Chinese flagship, had as virtual commander an experienced German officer named Von Hanneken; the Chen Yuen, the other big ironclad, was handled by Commander McGiffen, formerly of the United States navy. Thus commanded, it was expected in Europe that the superior strength of the Chinese ships would ensure them an easy victory over those of Japan. The event showed that this was a decidedly mistaken view.

It was the superior speed and the large number of rapid-fire guns of the Japanese vessels that saved them from defeat. The Chinese guns were mainly heavy Krupps and Armstrongs. They had also some machine guns, but only three quick-firers. The Japanese, on the contrary, had few heavy armor-piercing guns, but were supplied with a large number of quick-firing cannon, capable of pouring out shells in an incessant stream. Admiral Ting and his European officers expected to come at once to close quarters and quickly destroy the thin-armored Japanese craft. But the shrewd Admiral Ito, commander of the fleet of Japan, had no intention of being thus dealt with. The speed of his craft enabled him to keep his distance and to distract the aim of his foes, and he proposed to make the best use of this advantage. Thus equipped, the two fleets came together in the month of September, and an epoch-making battle in the history of the ancient continent of Asia was fought.


On the afternoon of Sunday, September 16, 1894, Admiral Ting’s fleet, consisting of 11 warships, 4 gunboats, and 6 torpedo boats, anchored off the mouth of the Yalu River. They were there as escorts to some transports, which went up the river to discharge their troops. Admiral Ito had been engaged in the same work farther down the coast, and early on Monday morning came steaming towards the Yalu in search of the enemy. Under him were in all twelve ships, none of them with heavy armor, one of them an armed transport. The swiftest ship in the fleet was the YOSHINO, capable of making twenty-three knots, and armed with 44 quick-firing Armstrongs, which would discharge nearly 4,000 pounds weight of shells every minute. The heaviest guns were long 13-inch cannon, of which four ships possessed one each, protected by 12-inch shields of steel. Finally, they had an important advantage over the Chinese in being abundantly supplied with ammunition.

With this formidable fleet, Ito steamed slowly to the north-westward. Early on Monday morning he was off the island of Hai-yun-tao. At 7 A.M. the fleet began steaming north-eastward. It was a fine autumn morning. The sun shone brightly, and there was only just enough of a breeze to ripple the surface of the water. The long line of warships cleaving their way through the blue waters, all bright with white paint, the chrysanthemum of Japan shining like a golden shield on every bow, and the same emblem flying in red and white from every masthead, formed a striking spectacle. Some miles away to port rose the rocky coast and the blue hills of Manchuria; on the other side was the Korean Gulf.

Omitting details of the long and uninteresting fight which followed it may be said that the most remarkable feature of the battle of the Yalu was that it took place between two nations which, had the war broken out forty years earlier, would have done their fighting with fleets of wooden junks and weapons of the past centuries. As an object lesson of the progress of China and Japan in modern ideas it is of the greatest interest, though results were drawn.


In January, 1895, the Japanese fleet advanced against the strongly fortified stronghold of Wei Hai Wei, on the northern coast of China. Here a force of 25,000 men was landed successfully, and attacked the fort in the rear, quickly capturing its landward defenses. The stronghold was thereupon abandoned by its garrison and occupied by the Japanese. The Chinese fleet lay in the harbor, and surrendered to the Japanese after several ships had been sunk by torpedo boats.

China was now in a perilous position. Its fleet was lost, its coast strongholds of Port Arthur and Wei Hai Wei were held by the enemy, and its capital was threatened from the latter place and by the army north of the Great Wall. A continuation of the war promised to bring about the complete conquest of the Chinese empire, and Li Hung Chang, who had been degraded from his official rank in consequence of the disasters to the army, was now restored to all his honors and sent to Japan to sue for peace. In the treaty obtained China was compelled to acknowledge the independence of Korea, to cede to Japan the island of Formosa and the Pescadores group, and that part of Manchuria occupied by the Japanese army, including Port Arthur, also to pay an indemnity of 300,000,000 taels and open seven new treaty ports. This treaty was not fully carried out. The Russian, British, and French ministers forced Japan, under threat of war, to give up her claim to the Liao-tung peninsula and Port Arthur, which stronghold was soon after obtained, under long lease, by the Russians.


The story of China during the few remaining years of the century may be briefly told. The evidence of its weakness yielded by the war with Japan was quickly taken advantage of by the great Powers of Europe, and China was in danger of going to pieces under their attacks, which grew so decided and ominous that rumors of a partition between these Powers of the most ancient and populous empire of the world filled the air.

In 1898 decided steps in this direction were taken. Russia leased from China for ninety-nine years Port Arthur and Talien Wan, and took practical possession of Manchuria, through which a railroad was built connecting with the Trans-Siberian road, while Port Arthur afforded her an ice-free harbor for her Pacific fleet. Great Britain, jealous of this movement on the part of Russia, forced from the unwilling hands of China the port of Wei Hai Wei, and Germany demanded and obtained the cession of a port at Kiau Chau, farther down the coast, in retribution for the murder of some missionaries. France, not to be outdone by her neighbors, gained concessions of territory in the south, adjoining her Indo-China possessions, and Italy, last of all, came into the Eastern market with a demand for a share of the nearly defunct empire.

The nations appeared to be settling on China in all directions and to be ready to tear the antique commonwealth to pieces between them. Within the empire itself revolutionary changes took place, the dowager empress having first deprived the emperor of all power and then enforced his abdication.

Meanwhile one important result came from the war. Li Hung Chang and the other progressive statesmen of the empire, who had long been convinced that the only hope of China lay in its being thrown open to Western science and art, found themselves able to carry out their plans, the conservative opposition having seriously broken down. The result of this was seen in a dozen directions. Railroads, long almost completely forbidden, gained free “right of way,” and promised in the near future to traverse the country far and wide. Steamers ploughed their way for a thousand miles up the Yang-tse-Kiang; engineers became busy exploiting the coal and iron mines of the Flowery Kingdom; great factories, equipped with the best modern machinery, sprang up in the foreign settlements; foreign books began to be translated and read; and the empress even went so far as to receive foreign ambassadors in public audience and on a footing of outward equality in the “forbidden city” of Peking, long the sacredly secluded center of an empire locked against the outer world.

The increase of European interference in China, with indications of a possible intention to dismember that ancient empire and divide its fragments among the land-hungry nations of the West, was viewed in China with dread and indignation, the feeling of hostility extending to the work of the missionaries, who were probably viewed by many as agents in the movement of invasion.


The hostile sentiment thus developed was indicated early in 1900 by the outbreak of a Chinese secret society known by a name signified in English by the word “boxers.” These ultra-patriots organized an anti-missionary crusade in several provinces of North China in which many missionaries and native Christians were killed. The movement extended from the missionary settlements to include the whole foreign movement in China, and was evidently encouraged by the dowager empress and her advisers.

As a result the outbreak spread to Peking, where Baron von Ketteler, the German minister, was killed, several of the legation buildings were destroyed, and more than two hundred refugees were besieged within the walls of the British legation. The danger to which the ministries and their assistants and families were exposed aroused Europe and America, and as the Chinese government took no steps to allay the outbreak, a relief expedition was organized, in which United States, British, French, German, Russian and Japanese forces took part.

The fleet of the allies bombarded and destroyed the Taku forts, and heavy fighting took place at Tien-tsin, Pie-tsang and Yang-tsun. The military expedition reached Peking and rescued the besieged on August 14, 1906, the empress and her court fleeing from the capital. A peace treaty was signed on September 7, 1907, one of the conditions of which was that China should pay an indemnity of $320,000,000 to the foreign Powers. The share of this allotted to the United States was $24,440,000, but after a portion of this had been paid the United States in 1908 remitted $10,800,000, on the ground that this was in excess over its actual expense. This act of generosity won the earnest gratitude of China.

This event, significant of the latent and active hostilities between the East and the West, was followed by a much greater one in 1904–05, when Japan had the hardihood to engage in war with the great European empire of Russia and the unlooked-for ability and good fortune to defeat its powerful antagonist.


This contest, which takes its place among the great wars of modern times, must be dealt with briefly here, as it belongs to European history only in the minor sense of a European country being engaged in it. It arose from the encroachments of Russia in the Chinese province of Manchuria and fears on the part of Japan that the scope of Russian designs might include the invasion and conquest of that country.

As already stated, Russia secured a lease of Port Arthur, at the southern extremity of Manchuria, from China in 1896. Subsequently the Siberian Railway was extended southward from Harbin to this place, the harbor was deepened, and building operations were begun at a new town named Dalny, which was to be made Asia’s greatest port. The line of the railway was strongly guarded with Russian troops.

These movements of Russia excited suspicion in Great Britain and Japan, which countries so strongly opposed the military occupation by Russia of Chinese territory that in 1901 Russia agreed to withdraw her troops within the following year, to restore the railway to China, and subsequently to give up all occupation of Chinese territory.

Of these agreements only the first was kept, and that only temporarily. In 1903 Japan proposed an agreement with Russia to the effect that both parties should respect the integrity of China and Korea, while the interest of Japan in Korea and that of Russia in Manchuria should be recognized. The refusal of Russia to accept this proposition overcame the patience of Japan, whose rulers saw clearly that Russia had no intention of withdrawing from the country occupied or of hampering her future purposes with agreements. In fact Japan’s own independence seemed threatened.


The result was in consonance with the Japanese character. In February, 1904, Japan withdrew her minister from the capital of Russia and three days later, without the formality of a declaration of war, attacked the Russian fleets at Chemulpo and Port Arthur. The result was the sinking of two Russian ships in Chemulpo harbor, and the disabling of a number of vessels at Port Arthur.

Troops were landed at the same time. Seoul, the capital of Korea, was occupied, and an army marched north to Ping-Yang. The first land engagement took place on the Yalu on April 30th, the Japanese forces under General Kuroki attacking and defeating the Russians at that point, and making a rapid advance into Manchuria.

Meanwhile Admiral Togo had been busy at Port Arthur. On April 13th he sent boats in shore to plant mines. Makharov, the Russian admiral, followed these boats out until he found Togo awaiting him with a fleet too strong for him to attack. On his return his flag-ship, the PETROPAVLOVSK, struck one of the mines and went down with her crew of 750 and Makharov himself. The smaller ships reached harbor in bad shape from their experience of Togo’s big guns. On August 10th, the Port Harbor fleet was again roughly handled by the Japanese, and some days later a Vladivostock squadron, steaming southward to reinforce the Port Arthur fleet, was met and defeated. This ended the naval warfare for that period, all the ships which Russia had on the Pacific being destroyed or seriously injured.


On land the Japanese made successful movements to the north and south. An army under General Oku landed in the Liao-tung peninsula early in May, cut the railway to Port Arthur, and captured Kin-chau, nearly forty miles from that port. There followed a terrible struggle on the heights of Nan-Shan, ending in the repulse of the Russian garrison, with a loss of eighty guns. This success gave the Japanese control of Dalny, which formed for them a new base. General Nogi soon after landed with a strong force and took command of the operation against Port Arthur.

The northern army met with similar success, General Kuroki fighting his way to the vicinity of Liao-yang, where he soon had the support of General Nozdu, who had landed an army in May. Oku, marching north from the peninsula, also supported him, the three generals forcing Kuropatkin, the Russian commander-in-chief, back upon his base. Marshal Oyama, a veteran of former wars, was made commander-in-chief of the Japanese armies.

Liao-tung became the seat of one of the greatest battles of the war, lasting seven days, the number of dead and wounded being over 30,000. It ended in the retreat of Kuropatkin’s army, which fell back upon the line of defenses covering Mukden, the Manchurian capital. Here he was again attacked by Kuroki, who captured the key of the Russian position on the 1st of September, and held it until reinforcements arrived.

For a month the armies faced each other south of Mukden, the resting spell ending in a general advance of the Russian army, which had been largely reinforced. In the battle that followed the Russians lost heavily, but failed to break the Japanese lines, and after a fortnight of hard fighting both sides desisted from active hostilities, holding their positions with little change.


Meanwhile Port Arthur had become closely invested. One by one the hills surrounding the harbor were taken by the Japanese, after stubborn resistance. Big siege guns were dragged up and began to batter the town and the ships. On August 16th, General Stoessel, commander at Fort Arthur, having refused to surrender, a grand assault was ordered by Nogi. It proved unsuccessful, while the assailants lost 14,000 men. The bombardment continued, the buildings and ships suffering severely. Finally tunnels were cut through the solid rock and on December 20th the principal stronghold in the east was carried by storm. Other forts were soon taken and on January 2, 1905, the port was surrendered, the Japanese obtaining 40,000 prisoners, 59 forts, about 550 guns, and other munitions. The fleet captured consisted of four damaged battleships, two damaged cruisers and a considerable number of smaller craft.

We left the armies facing each other at Mukden in late September. They remained there until February, 1905, without again coming into contact, and no decisive action took place until March. Kuropatkin’s force had meanwhile been largely reinforced, through the difficult aid of the one-tracked Siberian railway, and was now divided into three armies or approximately 150,000 each. Oyama had also received large reinforcements and now had 500,000 men under his command. These consisted of the armies under Kuroki, Nozdu and Oku, and the force of Nogi released by the capture of Port Arthur.

General Grippenburg had command of one of the Russian armies and on January 25th took position on the left bank of the Hun River. Here, in the month following, he lost 10,000 of his men, and then threw up his post, declaring that his chief had not properly supported him. On January 19th, a Japanese advance in force began, attacking with energy and forcing Kuropatkin to withdraw his center and left behind the line of the Hun. Here he fiercely attacked Oku and Nogi, for the time checking their advance. But Bilderling and Linievitch just then fell into difficulties and it became necessary to retreat, leaving Mukden to the enemy.

There were no further engagements of importance between the armies, though they remained face to face for months in a long line south of Harbin. Kuropatkin during this time was relieved from command, Linievitch being appointed to succeed him. The remaining conflict of the war was a naval one, of remarkable character.


Russia, finding its Pacific fleet put out of commission, and quite unable to face the doughty Togo, had despatched a second fleet from the Baltic, comprising nearly forty vessels in all. These made their way through the Suez Canal and Indian Ocean and moved upward through the Chinese and Japanese Seas, finding themselves on May 27, 1905, in the strait of Tsushuma, between Korea and Japan. Hitherto not a hostile vessel had been seen. Togo had held his fleet in ambush, while keeping scouts on the lookout for the coming Russians.

Suddenly the Russians found themselves surrounded by a long line of enemies, which had suddenly appeared in their front. The attack was furious and irresistible; the defense weak and ineffective. Night was at hand, but before it came five Russian warships had gone to the bottom. A torpedo attack was made during the night and the general engagement resumed next morning. When a halt was called, Admiral Togo had sunk, disabled or captured eight battleships, nine cruisers, three coast-defense ships, and a large number of other craft, the great Russian fleet being practically a total loss, while Togo had lost only three torpedo boats and 650 men. The losses in men by the Russians was 4,000 killed, and 7,300 prisoners taken. Altogether it was a naval victory which for completeness has rarely been equaled in history.

Russia, beaten on land and sea, was by this time ready to give up the struggle, and readily accepted President Roosevelt’s suggestion to hold a peace convention in the United States. The terms of the treaty were very favorable to Russia, all things considered; but the power of Japan had been strained to the utmost, and that Power felt little inclined to put obstacles in the way. The island of Sakhalin was divided between them, both armies evacuated Manchuria, leaving it to the Chinese, and Port Arthur and Dalny were transferred to Japan.

Yet though Japan received no indemnity and little in the way of material acquisitions of any kind, she came out of the war with a prestige that no one was likely to question, and has since ranked among the great Powers of the world. And she has added considerably to her territory by the annexation of Korea, in which there was no one to question her right.


While Japan was manifesting this progress in the arts of war, China was making as great a progress in the arts of peace. The building of railroads, telegraphs, modern factories, and other western innovations proceeded apace, modern literature and systems of education were introduced, and the old competitive examinations for office, in the Confucian literature and philosophy, were replaced by examinations in modern science and general knowledge. Yet most surprising of all was the great political revolution which converted an autocratic empire which had existed for four or five thousand years into a modern constitutional republic of advanced type. This is the most surprising political overturn that history anywhere presents.

For many years a spirit of opposition to the Manchu rulers had existed and had led more than once to rebellions of great scope. The success of Japan in war was followed in China by a revolutionary movement whose first demand was for a constitutional government, this leading, on September 20, 1907, to an imperial decree outlining a plan for a national assembly. On July 22, 1908, another decree provided for provincial assemblies to serve as a basis for a future parliament. Later the government promised to introduce a parliamentary system within nine years.

The idea of such a government spread rapidly throughout the country, and the demand arose for an immediate parliament. As the government resisted this demand, the revolutionary sentiment grew, and in October, 1911, a rebellious movement took place at Wuchang which rapidly spread, the rebels declaring that the Manchu dynasty must be overthrown.

Soon the movement became so threatening that the emperor issued a decree appealing to the mercy of the people, and abjectly acknowledging that the government had done wrong in many particulars. Yuan Shi-Kai, a prominent revolutionary statesman, was made prime minister and a national assembly convened. It had become too late, however, to check the movement, and at the end of 1911 a new republic was announced at Nanking, under the provisional presidency of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, a student of modern institutions in Europe and America. The abdication of the emperor quickly followed, in February 12, 1912, ending a Manchu dynasty which had held the throne for 267 years. Yuan Shi-Kai was later chosen as president.

This is a very brief account of the radical revolution that took place and we cannot go into the details of what succeeded. It must suffice to say that the republic has since persisted, Yuan Shi-Kai still serving as president. The republic has a parliament of its own; a president and cabinet and all the official furniture of a republican government. There is only needed an education of the people into the principles of free government “of the people, for the people, and by the people” to complete the most remarkable political revolution the world has yet known.

Chapter XVIII.

Checking the Dominion of the Turk in Europe

The Story of Servia—Turkey in Europe—The Bulgarian Horrors—The Defense of Plevna—The Congress of Berlin—Hostile Sentiments in the Balkans—Incitement to War—Fighting Begins—The Advance on Adrianople—Servian and Greek victories—The Bulgarian Successes—Steps toward Peace—The War Resumed—Siege of Scutari—Treaty of Peace—War Between the Allies—The Final Settlement

In the southeast of Europe lies a group of minor kingdoms, of little importance in size, but of great importance in the progress of recent events. Their sudden uprising in 1912, their conquest of nearly the whole existing remnant of Turkey in Europe, and the subsequent struggle between them for the spoils are specially important from the fact that Servia, one of this group of states, was the ostensible—hardly the actual—cause of the great European war of 1914.

These, known as the Balkan States from their being traversed by the Balkan range of mountains, comprise the kingdoms of Roumania, Bulgaria, Servia, Montenegro, and the recent and highly artificial kingdom of Albania. Greece is an outlying member of the group.


Of these varied states Servia is of especial interest from its immediate relation to the European contest. Its ancient history, also, possesses much of interest. Minor in extent at present, it was once an extensive empire. Under its monarch, Stephen Dushan (1336–56), it included the whole of Macedonia, Albania, Thessaly, Bulgaria, and Northern Greece, leaving little of the Balkan region beyond its borders. In 1389 its independence ended as a result of the battle of Kossova, it becoming tributary to the conquering empire of the Turks. In another half century it became a province of Turkey in Europe, and so remained for nearly two hundred years.

Its succeeding history may be rapidly summarized. In 1718 Austria won the greater part of it, with its capital, Belgrade, from Turkey, but in 1739 it was regained by the Turks. Barbarous treatment of the Christian population of Servia by its half-civilized rulers led to a series of insurrections, ending in 1812 in its independence, by the terms of the Treaty of Bukarest. The Turks won it back in 1813, but in 1815, under its leader, Milosh, its complete independence was attained.

After the fall of Plevna in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, Servia joined its forces to those of Russia, and by the Treaty of Berlin it obtained an accession of territory and full recognition by the Powers of Europe of its independence. In 1885 a national rising took place in Eastern Roumelia, a province of Turkey, which led to the Turkish governor being expelled and union with Bulgaria proclaimed. Servia demanded a share of this new acquisition of territory and went to war with Bulgaria, but met with a severe defeat. When, in 1908, Austria annexed the former Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the people of Servia were highly indignant, these provinces being largely inhabited by people of the Servian race. The exasperation thus caused is of importance, especially as augmented by the agency of Austria in preventing Servia from obtaining a port on the Adriatic after the Balkan war of 1912–13. The seething feeling of enmity thus engendered had its final outcome in the assassination of the Austrian Crown Prince Ferdinand in 1914, and the subsequent invasion of Servia by the armies of Austria.

We have here spoken of the stages by which Servia gradually won its independence from Turkey and its recognition as a full-fledged member of the European family of nations. There are several others of the Balkan group which similarly won independence from Turkey and to the story of which some passing allusion is desirable.

How Greece won its independence has been already told. Another of the group, the diminutive mountain state of Montenegro, much the smallest of them all, has the honor of being the only section of that region of Europe that maintained its independence during the long centuries of Turkish domination. Its mountainous character enabled its hardy inhabitants to hold their own against the Turks in a series of deadly struggles. In 1876–78 its ruler, Prince Nicholas, joined in the war of Servia and Russia against Turkey, the result being that 1,900 square miles was changed from a principality into a kingdom, Prince Nicholas gaining the title of King Nicholas. A second acquisition of territory succeeded the Balkan War of 1913, the adjoining Turkish province of Novibazar being divided between it and Servia.


With this summary of the story of the Balkans we shall proceed to give in more detail its recent history, comprising the wars of 1876–78 and of 1912–13. As for the relations between Turkey and the Balkan peninsula, it is well known how the Asiatic conquerors known as Turks, having subdued Asia Minor, invaded Europe in 1355, overran most of the Balkan country, and attacked and took Constantinople in 1453. Servia, Bosnia, Albania, and Greece were added to the Ottoman Empire, which subdued half of Hungary and received its first check on land before the walls of Vienna in 1529, and on the ocean at the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Vienna was again besieged by the Turks in 1683, and was then saved from capture by Sobieski of Poland and Charles of Lorraine.

This was the end of Turkish advance in Europe. Since that date it has been gradually yielding to European assault, Russia beginning its persistent attacks upon Turkey about the middle of the eighteenth century. At that time Turkey occupied a considerable section of Southern Russia, but by the end of the century much of this had been regained. In 1812 Russia won that part of Moldavia and Bessarabia which lies beyond the Pruth, in 1828 it gained the principal mouth of the Danube, and in 1829 it crossed the Balkans and took Adrianople. The independence of Greece was acknowledged the same year.

The next important event in the history of Turkey in Europe was the Crimean War, the story of which has been told in an earlier chapter. The chief results of it were a weakening of Russian influence in Turkey, the abolition of the Russian protectorate over Moldavia and Wallachia (united in 1861 as the principality of Roumania), and the cession to Turkey of part of Bessarabia.

Turkey also came out of the Crimean War weakened and shorn of territory. But the Turkish idea of government remained unchanged, and in twenty years’ time Russia was fairly goaded into another war. In 1875 Bosnia rebelled in consequence of the insufferable oppression of the Turkish tax-collectors. The brave Bosnians maintained themselves so sturdily in their mountain fastnesses that the Turks almost despaired of subduing them, and the Christian subjects of the Sultan in all quarters became so stirred up that a general revolt was threatened.


The Turks undertook to prevent this in their usual fashion. Irregular troops were sent into Christian Bulgaria with orders to kill all they met. It was an order to the Mohammedan taste. The defenseless villages of Bulgaria were entered and their inhabitants slaughtered in cold blood, till thousands of men, women, and children had been slain.

When tidings of these atrocities reached Europe the nations were filled with horror. The Sultan made smooth excuses, and diplomacy sought to settle the affair, but it became evident that a massacre so terrible as this could not be condoned so easily. Disraeli, then prime minister of Great Britain, sought to minimize these reports so as to avert a great war in which England might be plunged. But Gladstone, at that time in retirement, arose, and by his pamphlet on the “Bulgarian Horrors” aroused a fierce public sentiment in England. His denunciation rang out like a trumpet-call. “Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner—by carrying off themselves,” he wrote. “Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their Bimbashis and their Yuzbachis, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.”

He followed up this pamphlet by a series of speeches, delivered to great meetings and to the House of Commons, with which for four years he sought, as he expressed it, “night and day to counterwork the purpose of Lord Beaconsfield.” He succeeded; England was prevented by his eloquence from actively resisting Russia; and he excited the fury of the war party to such an extent that at one time it was not safe for him to appear in the streets of London.

Hostilities were soon proclaimed. The Russians, of the same race and religious sect as the Bulgarians, were excited beyond control, and in April 1877, Alexander II declared war against Turkey. The outrages of the Turks had been so flagrant that no allies came to their aid, while the rottenness of their empire was shown by the rapid advance of the Russian armies. They crossed the Danube in June. In a month later, they had occupied the principal passes of the Balkan mountains and were in position to descend on the broad plain that led to Constantinople. But at this point in their career they met with a serious check. Osman Pasha, the single Turkish commander of ability that the war developed, occupied the town of Plevna with such forces as he could gather, fortified it as strongly as possible, and from its walls defied the Russians.


The invaders dared not advance and leave this stronghold in their rear. For five months all the power of Russia and the skill of its generals were held in check by this brave man and his followers, until Europe and America alike looked on with admiration at his remarkable defense, in view of which the cause of the war was almost forgotten. The Russian general Kudener was repulsed with the loss of 8,000 men. The daring Skobeleff strove in vain to launch his troops over Osman’s walls. At length General Todleben undertook the siege, adopting the slow but safe method of starving out the defenders. Osman Pasha now showed his courage, as he had already shown his endurance. When hunger and disease began to reduce the strength of his men, he resolved on a final desperate effort. At the head of his brave garrison the “Lion of Plevna” sallied from the city, and fought with desperate courage to break through the circle of his foes. He was finally driven back into the city and compelled to surrender.

Osman had won glory, and his fall was the fall of the Turkish cause. The Russians crossed the Balkans, capturing in the Schipka Pass a Turkish army of 30,000 men. Adrianople was taken, and the Turkish line of retreat cut off. The Russians marched to the Bosporus, and the Sultan was compelled to sue for peace to save his capital from falling into the hands of the Christians, as it had fallen into those of the Turks four centuries before.

Russia had won the game for which she had made so long a struggle. The treaty of San Stefano practically decreed the dissolution of the Turkish Empire. But at this juncture the other nations of Europe took part. They were not content to see the balance of power destroyed by Russia becoming master of Constantinople, and England demanded that the treaty should be revised by the European Powers in order to guard her own route to India. Russia protested, but Beaconsfield threatened war, and the Czar gave way.


The Congress of Berlin, to which the treaty was referred, settled the question in the following manner: Montenegro, Roumania, and Servia were declared independent, and Bulgaria became free, except that it had to pay an annual tribute to the Sultan. The part of old Bulgaria that lay south of the Balkan Mountains was named Eastern Roumelia and given its own civil government, but was left under the military control of Turkey. Bosnia and Herzegovina were placed under the control of Austria. All that Russia obtained for her victories were some provinces in Asia Minor. Turkey was terribly shorn, and since then her power has been further reduced, for Eastern Roumelia has broken loose from her control and united itself again to Bulgaria.

Another twenty years passed, and Turkey found itself at war again. It was the old story, the oppression of the Christians. This time the trouble began in Armenia, a part of Turkey in Asia, where in 1895 and 1896 terrible massacres took place. Indignation reigned in Europe, but fears of a general war kept the Powers from using force, and the Sultan paid no heed to the reforms he had promised to make.

In 1896 the Christians (Greeks) of the island of Crete broke out in revolt against the oppression and tyranny of Turkish rule. Of all the Powers of Europe little Greece was the only one that came to their aid, and the great nations, still inspired with the fear of a general war, sent their fleets and threatened Greece with blockade unless she would withdraw her troops.

The result was one scarcely expected. Greece was persistent, and gathered a threatening army on the frontier of Turkey, and war broke out in 1897 between the two states. The Turks now, under an able commander, showed much of their ancient valor and intrepidity, crossing the frontier, defeating the Greeks in a rapid series of engagements, and occupying Thessaly, while the Greek army was driven back in a state of utter demoralization. At this juncture, when Greece lay at the mercy of Turkey, as Turkey had lain at that of Russia twenty years before, the Powers, which had refused to aid Greece in her generous but hopeless effort, stepped in to save her from ruin. Turkey was bidden to call a halt, and the Sultan reluctantly stopped the march of his army. He demanded the whole of Thessaly and a large indemnity in money. The former the Powers refused to grant, and reduced the indemnity to a sum within the power of Greece to pay. Thus the affair ended, and such was the status of the Eastern Question until the hatred of the Balkan States again leaped into flame in the memorable Balkan War of 1912.


As may be seen from what has been said, the sentiment of hostility between the Christian States of the Balkan region and the Mohammedan empire of Turkey was not likely to be easily allayed. The atrocities of persecution which the Christians had suffered at the hands of the Turks were unforgotten and unavenged, and to them was added an ambitious desire to widen their dominions at the expense of Turkey, if possible to drive Turkey completely out of Europe and extend their areas of control to the Mediterranean and the Bosporus. These states consisted of Servia, made an autonomous principality in 1830, an independent principality in 1878, and a kingdom in 1882; Bulgaria, an autonomous principality in 1878, an independent kingdom in 1908; Roumania, an autonomous principality in 1802, an independent principality in 1878, a kingdom in 1881; Montenegro, an independent principality in 1878, a kingdom in 1910; Eastern Roumelia, autonomous in 1878, annexed to Bulgaria in 1885. Adjoining these on the south was Greece, an independent kingdom since 1830. The former provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been assigned to Austrian administrative control in 1878, and annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908, an act which added to the feeling of unrest in the Balkan States.

The relations existing between the Balkan States and their neighbors was one of dissatisfaction and hostility which might at any time break into war, this being especially the case with those which bordered directly upon Turkey—Servia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece. Roumania, being removed from contact, had less occasion to entertain warlike sentiments.


A fitting time for this indignation and hostile feeling to break out into war came in 1912, as a result of the invasion and conquest of Tripoli by Italy in 1911–12. This war, settled by a protocol in favor of Italy on October 15, 1912, had caused financial losses and political unrest in Turkey which offered a promising opportunity for the states to carry into effect their long-cherished design. They did not act as a unit, the smallest of them, Montenegro,, declaring war on Turkey on October 8th, and Greece, on October 17th. In regard to Servia and Bulgaria, Turkey took the initiative, declaring war on them October 17, 1912.

But acts of war did not wait for a formal declaration. On October 5th, King Peter of Servia thus explained to the National Assembly of that state his reasons for mobilizing his troops:

“I have applied with friendly counsels to Constantinople regarding the misery which the Christian nationalities, including ours, are suffering in Turkey, and it is to be regretted that all this was of no avail. Instead of the expected reforms we were surprised a few days ago by the mobilization of the Turkish army near our frontiers. To this act, by which our safety was endangered, Servia had only one reply. By my decree our army was put into a mobile state.

“Our position is clear. Our duty is to undertake measures insuring our safety. It is our duty, in conformity with other Christian Balkan states, to do everything in our power to insure proper conditions for a real and permanent peace in the Balkans.”

The first raid into Turkish territory was made by the Bulgarian bandit Sandansky, who in 1902 had kidnapped Miss Ellen M. Stone, an American missionary, and held her for a ransom of $65,000 to procure funds for his campaign. At the head of a band of 2,500 Bulgarians he crossed the frontier and burned the Turkish blockhouse at Oschumava, afterwards occupying a strategic position above the Struma River.


The Montenegro army opened the war on October 9th, by attacking a strong Turkish position opposite Podgoritza, Franz Peter, the youngest son of King Nicholas, firing the first shot. Bulgaria, without waiting to declare war, crossed the frontier on October 14th and made a sharp attack on the railway patrols between Sofia and Uskut. Sharp fighting at the same time took place on the Greek frontier, the Greeks capturing Malurica Pass, the chief mountain pass leading from Greece to Turkey on the northern frontier. As regards the reasons impelling Greece to take an active part in the war, it must be remembered that the great majority of Greeks still lived under the Turkish flag, while the twelve islands in the Aegean Sea seized by Italy during its war with Turkey were clamoring to be annexed to Greece instead of being returned to Turkey by the treaty of peace between Italy and Turkey.

Such were the conditions and events existing at the opening of the war. It developed with great rapidity, a number of important battles being fought, in which the Turks were defeated. The military strength of the combined states exceeded that of Turkey, and within a month’s time they made rapid advances, the goals sought by them being Constantinople, Adrianople, Salonica and Scutari.


The most important of the Balkan movements was that of the Bulgarian army upon Adrianople, the second to Constantinople in importance of Turkish cities. By October 20th the Bulgarian main army had forced the Turks back upon the outward forts of this stronghold, while the left wing threatened the important post of Kirk-Kilisseh, in Thrace, about thirty miles northeast of Adrianople. This place, regarded as “the Key to Adrianople,” was take on the 24th, after a three days’ fight, the Turkish forces, said to be 150,000 strong, retiring in disorder.

The Bulgarians continued their advance, fighting over a wide semicircular area before Adrianople, upon which city they gradually closed, taking some of the outer forts and making their bombardment felt within the city itself.


While the Bulgarians were making such vigorous advances towards the capital of the Turkish empire, their allies were winning victories in other quarters. Novibazar, capital of the sanjak of the same name, was taken by the Servians on October 23rd. Prishtina and other towns and villages of Old Servia were also taken, the victors being received by the citizens with open arms of welcome and other demonstrations of joy. Tobacco and refreshments were pressed upon the soldiers, while the people put all their possessions at the disposal of the military authorities.

The Greeks were also successful, an army under the Crown Prince capturing the town of Monastir, which was garrisoned by a Turkish force estimated at 40,000. The Montenegrin forces were regarded as of high importance as a means of widening the area of their narrow kingdom. Other important towns or Old Servia were taken, including Kumanova, captured on the 25th, Uskab, captured on the 26th, and Istib, 45 miles to the southwest, occupied without opposition on the following day. This place, a very strong natural position in the mountains, was known as the Adrianople of Macedonia.


While these movements were taking place in the west, the siege of Adrianople was vigorously pushed. It was completely surrounded by Bulgarian troops by the 29th, and its commander formally summoned to surrender the city. The besiegers, however, had great difficulties to overcome, the country around being inundated by the rivers Maretza and Arda in consequence of heavy rains. These floods at the same time impeded the movements of the Turks.

On October 31st, after another three-day fight, the Bulgarians achieved the great success of the war, defeating a Turkish army of 200,000 men. Only a fortnight had passed since Turkey declared war. The first week of the campaign closed with the dramatic fall of Kirk-Kilesseh, fully revealing for the first time the disorganization, bad morale and inefficient commissariat of the Turkish army. Ten days later that army was defeated and routed, within fifty miles from Constantinople, forcing it to retreat within the capital’s line of defenses.

Apparently Nazim Pasha had been completely outmaneuvered by Savoff’s generalship. The Bulgarian turning movement along the Black Sea coast appears to have been a feint, which induced the Turkish commander to throw his main army to the eastward, to such effect that the Bulgarian force on this side had the greatest difficulty in holding the Turks in check.

In fact, the Bulgarians gave way, and thus enabled Nazim Pasha to report to Constantinople some success in this direction. In the meantime, however, General Savoff hurled his great strength against the Turks’ weakened left wing, which he crushed in at Lule Burgas. The fighting along the whole front, which evidently was of the most stubborn and determined character, was carried on day and night without intermission, and both sides lost heavily.

The final result was to force the Turks within the defensive lines of Tchatalja, the only remaining fortified position protecting Constantinople. These lines lie twenty-five miles to the northwest of the capital.

The seat of war between Bulgaria and Turkey, aside from the continued siege of Adrianople, was by this success transferred to the Tchatalja lines, along which the opposing armies lay stretched during the week succeeding the Lule Burgas victory. Here siege operations were vigorously prosecuted, but the Turks, though weakened by an outbreak of cholera in their ranks, succeeded in maintaining their position.


Elsewhere victory followed the banners of the allies. On November 8th the important port of Salonica was taken by the Greeks, and on the 18th the Servians captured Monastir, the remaining Turkish stronghold in Macedonia. The fighting here was desperate, lasting three days, the Turkish losses amounting to about 20,000 men. In Albania the Montenegrin siege of Scutari continued, though so far without success.

Turkey had now enough of the war. On November 3d she had asked a mediation of the Powers, but these replied that she must treat directly with the Balkan nations. This caused delay until the end of the month, the protocol of an armistice being approved by the Turkish cabinet on November 30th, and signed by representatives of Turkey, Bulgaria, Servia and Montenegro on December 3d. Greece refused to sign, but at a later date agreed to take part in a conference to meet in London on December 16th.

This peace conference continued in session until January 6, 1913, without reaching any conclusions, Turkey refusing to accept the Balkan demands that she should yield practically the whole of her territory in Europe. At the final session of the conference she renounced her claim to the island of Crete, and promised to rectify her Thracian frontier, but insisted upon the retention of Adrianople. This place, the original capital of the Ottoman Empire in Europe, and containing the splendid mosque of Sultan Selim, was highly esteemed by the Mohammedans, who clung to it as a sacred city.

War seemed likely to be resumed, though the European Powers strongly suggested to Turkey the advisability of yielding on this point, and leaving the question of the fate of the Aegean Islands to the Powers, which promised also to guard Mussulman interests in Adrianople. Finally, on January 22d, the Porte consented to this request of the Powers, a decision which was vigorously resented by the warlike party known as Young Turks.

Demonstrations at once broke out in Constantinople, leading to the overthrow of the cabinet and the murder of Nazim Pasha, former minister of war and commander-in-chief of the Turkish army. He was succeeded by Enver Bey, the most spirited leader of the Young Turks, who became chief of staff of the army.

On January 30th the Balkan allies denounced their armistice and a renewed war seemed imminent. On the same day the Ottoman government offered a compromise, agreeing to divide Adrianople between the contestants in such a way that they might retain the mosques and the historic monuments. As for the Aegean Islands, they would leave these to the disposition of the Powers.


To this compromise the Balkan allies refused to agree and on February 3d hostile operations were resumed. The investment of Adrianople had remained intact during the interval, and on the 4th a vigorous bombardment took place, the Turkish response being weak. Forty Servian seven-inch guns had been mounted, their shells falling into the town, part of which again broke into flames. At points the lines of besiegers and besieged were only 200 yards apart. An attempt was made also to capture the peninsula of Gallipoli, which commands the Dardanelles, and thus take the Turkish force in the rear. Fifty thousand Bulgarians had been landed on this coast in November, and the Greek fleet in the Gulf of Saros supported the attack. If successful, there would be nothing to prevent this fleet from passing the straits, defeating the inferior Turkish war vessels and attacking Constantinople from the rear. Fighting in this region continued for several days, the Turkish forces being driven back, but still holding their forts.


In the west the most important operation at this period was that of the Montenegrins, led by King Nicholas in person, against Scutari, an Albanian stronghold which they were eager to possess.

Servian artillery aided in the assault, and on February 8th the important outwork on Muselim Hill was taken by an impulsive bayonet charge. The city was not captured, however, until April 23d, when an entire day’s ceaseless fighting ended in the yielding of the garrison, the climax of a six-month siege.

An energetic attack had been made by the Bulgarians and Serbs on Adrianople on March 14th, ending in a repulse, and on the 22d another vigorous assault was begun, continuing with terrific fighting for four days. It ended in a surrender of the city on the 26th. The siege had continued for 152 days. Before yielding, the Turks blew up the arsenal and set fire to the city at several points. At the same time Tchatalja, which had been actively assailed, fell into the hands of the allies and Constantinople lay open to assault.

Meanwhile the Powers of Europe had again offered their good services to mediate between the warring forces, and a conditional mediation was agreed to by the Balkan allies. Movements towards peace, however, proceeded slowly, the most interesting event of the period being a demand by Austria, backed by Italy, that Montenegro should give up the city of Scutari. Earnest protests were made against this by King Nicholas, but the despatch of an Austrian naval division on April 27th to occupy his ports and march upon Cettinje, his capital, obliged him reluctantly to yield and on May 5th Scutari was given up to Austria, to form part of a projected Albanian kingdom.


Peace between the warring nations was finally concluded on May 30, 1913, the treaty providing that Turkey should cede to her allied foes all territory west of a line drawn from Enos on the Aegean coast to Media on the coast of the Black Sea. This left Adrianople in the hands of the Bulgarians and gave Turkey only a narrow strip of territory west of Constantinople, the meager remnant of her once great holdings upon the continent of Europe. The victors desired to divide the conquered territory upon a plan arranged between them before the war, but the purposes of Austria and Italy were out of agreement with this design and the Powers insisted in forming out of the districts assigned to Servia and Greece a new principality to be named Albania, embracing the region occupied by the unruly Albanian tribes.

This plan gave intense dissatisfaction to the allies. It seemed designed to cut off Servia from an opening upon the Mediterranean, which that inland state ardently desired and Austria strongly opposed. Montenegro was also deprived of the warmly craved city of Scutari, which she had won after so vigorous a strife. Bulgaria also was dissatisfied with this new project and opposed the demands of Servia and Greece for compensation in land for the loss of Albania or for their support of the Bulgarian operations.


Thus the result of this creation of a new and needless state out of the conquered territory by the peace-making Powers roused hostilities among the allies which speedily flung them into a new war. Bulgaria refused to yield any of the territory held by it to the Servians and Greeks, and Greece in consequence made a secret league with Servia against Bulgaria.

It was the old story of a fight over the division of the spoils. It is doubtful which of the contestants began hostile operations, but Bulgaria lost no time in marching upon Salonica, held by Greece, and in attacking the Greek and Servian outposts in Macedonia. The plans of General Savoff, who had led the Bulgarians to victory in the late war and who commanded in this new outbreak, in some way fell into the hands of the Greeks and gave them an important advantage. They at once, in junction with the Servians, attacked the Bulgarians and drove them back. From the accounts of the war, probably exaggerated, this struggle was accompanied by revolting barbarities upon the inhabitants of the country invaded, each country accusing the other of shameful indignities.

What would have been the result of the war, if fought out between the original contestants, it is impossible to say, for at this juncture a new Balkan State, which had taken no part in the Turkish war, came into the field. This was Roumania, lying north of Bulgaria and removed from any contact with Turkey. It had had a quarrel with Bulgaria, dating back to 1878, concerning certain territory to which it laid claim. This was a strip of land on the south side of the Danube near its mouth and containing Silistria and some other cities.


King Charles of Roumania now took the opportunity to demand this territory, and when his demand was refused by Ferdinand of Bulgaria he marched an army across the Danube and took the Bulgarians, exhausted by their recent struggle, in the rear. No battles were fought. The Roumanian army advanced until within thirty miles of Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, and Ferdinand was obliged to appeal for peace, and in the subsequent treaty yielded to Roumania the tract desired, which served to round out the frontier on the Black Sea.

Another unexpected event took place. While her late foes were struggling in a war of their own, Turkey quietly stepped into the arena, and on July 20th retook possession, without opposition, of Adrianople, Bulgaria’s great prize in the late war.

A peace conference was held at Bukarest, capital of Roumania, beginning July 30th, and framing a treaty, signed on August 10th.

This provided for the evacuation of Bulgaria by the invading armies, and also for a division of the conquered territory. Bulgaria gained the largest amount of territory, though less than she had claimed. Greece retained the important seaport of Salonica, the possession of which had been hotly disputed, and gained the largest sea front. Montenegro, though deprived of the much-coveted Scutari, was assigned part of northern Albania and the Turkish sanjak of Novibazar, adjoining on the east, considerably increasing her diminutive territory.

Servia had most reason to be dissatisfied with the result, in view of her craving for an opening to the sea. Cut off by Albania on the west, it sought an opening on the south, demanding the city of Kavala, on the Aegean Sea. But to this Greece strongly objected, as that city, one of the great tobacco marts of the world, was inhabited almost wholly by Greeks. Servia, however, extended southward far over its old territory, gaining Uskub, its old capital. And the Powers also agreed that it should have commercial rights on the Mediterranean, thorough railroad connection with Salonica.

As regards Turkey’s shrewd advantage of the opportunity to retake Adrianople, it proved a successful move. The Russian press strongly advocated that the Turks should be ejected, but the jealousy of the Powers prevented any agreement as to who should do this and in the end the Turks remained, with a considerable widening of the tract of land before assigned to them.

In these wars it is estimated that 358,000 persons died, and that the cost of the two wars, to the several nations involved, reached a total of $1,200,000,000. Its general result was almost to complete the work of expelling the Turks from Europe, the territory lost by them being divided up between the several Balkan nations.

Chapter XIX.

Ancient and Modern Weapons—New Types of Weapons—The Iron-clad Warship—The Balloon in War—Tennyson’s Foresight—Gunning for Airships—The Submarine—Under-water Warfare—The New Type of Battleship—Mobilization—The Waste of War

One hundred years ago the Battle of Waterloo had just been fought and Napoleon’s star had set never to rise again. For years he had swept Europe with his armies, rending the nations into fragments, and winning world-famous victories with weapons that no one would look for today except in a military museum, weapons antiquated beyond all possible utility on a modern field of battle.


Every fresh modern war has been fought with new weapons, and during the past century there have been countless inventions for the carrying on of warfare in a more destructive manner, apparently on the philanthropic theory that war should be made so terrible that it must quickly pass away.

But it has happened that as soon as a particularly horrible contrivance was invented and introduced into armies and navies, other inventors immediately set themselves to offset and discount its probable effect. Consequently war not only has not passed away, but we have it with us in more frightful form that ever before. Thus it is that each big war, after being heralded as the world’s last conflagration, has proved but the herald of another war, bigger and more death-dealing still.

Since the Civil War in the United States, in which probably more new features in modes of fighting were introduced than in any conflict that had preceded it, there have been immense improvements in arms, in armament and in general efficiency of both armies and navies. It was the Civil War that brought into being the turreted MONITOR, one of the greatest contributions to naval architecture the navies of the world had then known. While the turrets on the modern battleship are very different in design, in armor and in arrangement from those on the old monitors, they are nothing more than an adaptation of the original devices.

The same is the case with the small arms and the field guns of the modern armies, these having been greatly improved since the period of the Civil war. The breech-loading and even the magazine rifle are now in use in every army, while the smallest field piece of today is almost as efficient as the most powerful gun in use fifty years ago.

The first attempt to use a torpedo boat dates back to the Civil War. A primitive contrivance it was, but it showed a possibility in naval warfare which speedily led to the general building of torpedo boats, and to the invention of the highly efficient Whitehead torpedo.


Another lesson in warfare was taught when the ironclad MERRIMAC and MONITOR met and fought for mastery in Hampton Roads. The ironclad vessel was not then a new idea in naval architecture, but its efficiency as a fighting machine was then first demonstrated. Iron for armor soon gave way to thick and tough steel, while each improvement in armor led to a corresponding improvement in guns and projectiles, until now a battle at sea has grown to be a remarkably different affair from the great ocean combats of Nelson’s time.

But development in the art of war has not ceased with the improvement in older types of weapons. New devices, scarcely thought of in former wars, have been introduced. These include the use of the balloon and aeroplane as scouting devices, of the bomb filled with explosives of frightful rending power, and of the submarine naval shark, designed to attack the mighty battleships from under water.


Of recent years the balloon has been developed into the dirigible, the flying machine that can be steered and directed. Made effective by Count Zeppelin and others, its possibilities as an aid in war were quickly perceived. Then came the notable invention of the Wright Brothers, and after 1904 the aeroplane quickly expanded into an effective aerial instrument, the probably serviceableness of which in war was evident to all. Here we are tempted to stop and quote the remarkable prediction from Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall,” the truth of which is now being so strikingly verified:

“For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue;
Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunder storm;
Till the war drum throbbed no longer, and the battle flags were furled
In the parliament of man, the federation of the world.”


The airship does not float safely in the cental blue, aside from attacks by flying foes. Guns pointing upward have been devised to attack the daring aviator from the ground and flying machines can thus be swiftly brought down, like war eagles shot in the sky. Several types of guns for this purpose are in use, some to be employed on warships or fortifications, others, mounted on automobile trucks, for use in the field.

The Ehrhardt gun, a German weapon, which is designed to be mounted on an auto-truck, weighs nearly 1700 pounds. The car carries 140 rounds of ammunition and the whole equipment in service condition weighs more than six tons. The gun has an extreme range at 45 degrees elevation of 12,029 yards, or more than six miles. The sights are telescopic, a moving object can be followed with ease, and the gun is capable of being fired very rapidly. The British are provided with the Vickers gun, which is mainly intended for naval use, but the military arm is also provided with anti-balloon guns, which have great range and can throw a three-pound shell at any high angle. Some of these guns use incendiary shells, intended to ignite the gas in dirigibles. There is another type that explodes shrapnel. In addition to these, rifle fire is apt to be effective, in case of airships coming within its range.

Jules Vedrines, a well-known French aviator, tells this story of his experience while doing scout duty for the French army:

“Those German gunners surely have tried their best to get me,” he wrote. “Each night when I come back to headquarters my machine looks more and more like a sieve because of the numerous bullet holes in the wings.

“I have been keeping tab on the number of new bullet holes in my machine each day, marking each with red chalk, so that I won’t include any of the old ones in the next day’s count. My best record so far for one day is thirty-seven holes. That shows how close the enemy has come to hitting me. My duties as scout require me to cover various distances each day. The best record so far in one day is 600 miles.”


The submarine is another type of war apparatus, one the utility of which promises to be very great. It is of recent origin. At the time of the Spanish-American War there were only five submarines in all the navies of the world, and of this number three were in the French navy, one in Italy and one in Portugal. The United States was building its first one, and had not decided what type to select. At the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War Great Britain had nine of the American (Holland) type of submarines and was building twenty more, while France had accumulated thirty-six of various types and of various grades of reported efficiency, while Germany had none. In 1914 there were nearly four hundred vessels of this type in the world’s navies, France standing first with 173.

It was believed that the moral effect of the submarine would be almost as important as its physical effect in dealing with an enemy’s warship, and this idea has been justified. Some persons maintained that fights of submarines with each other might take place, each, like the Kilkenny cats, devouring the other. But the fact is that when submerged the submarine is as blind as the traditional bat. Its crew cannot see any object under water, and is compelled to resort to the use of the periscope, which emerges unostentatiously above the water, in order to see its own course.

It is known that the periscope is the eye of the submarine, and naturally attention has been paid to the best way of destroying this vital part of such boats. Recently, grappling irons have been devised for use from dirigibles, which are expected to drag out the periscope as the dirigible flies above it. Careful plans for torpedoing submarines also have been made, but their effectiveness likewise remains to be demonstrated.

Submarine builders have naturally held the view that the submerged boat could not be seen. But it has been discovered that from a certain height an observer may trace the course of a submerged submarine with as great accuracy as if it were running on the surface. It is found that the submerged boat can readily be seen from the dirigible and the aeroplane. On the other hand an anti-balloon gun has been devised which can be raised from the submarine when it comes to the surface, and used against the hostile airship.


The submarine is supposed to have its most important field of operation against a fleet of battleships and cruisers besieging a seaport city. These great war craft, covered above the waterline with thick steel armor, are vulnerable below, and a torpedo discharged from a torpedo boat or an explosive bomb attached to the lower hull by a submarine may send the largest and mightiest ship to the bottom, stung to death from below.

With this idea in view torpedo boars, destroyers designed to attack torpedo boats and submarines have been multiplied in modern navies. We have just begun to appreciate the effectiveness of this type of vessels. Their possibilities are enormous and their latent power renders the bombardment from sea of town or fort a far more perilous operation than of old. Fired at by the great guns of the fort capable of effective work at eight or ten miles distance, exposed to explosive bombs dropped from soaring airships, made a target for the deadly weapon of the torpedo boat, and in constant risk of being stung by the submarine wasp, these great war ships, built at a cost of ten or more millions and peopled by hundreds of mariners, are in constant danger of being sent to the bottom with all on board a contingency likely to shake the nerves of the steadiest Jack Tar or admiral on board.

A typical submarine has a length of about 150 feet and diameter of 15 feet, with a speed of eleven knots on the surface and five knots when submerged. Some of the more recent have a radius of navigation of 4,500 miles without need of a new supply of stores and fuel. On the surface they are propelled by gasoline engines, but when submerged they use electric motors driven by storage batteries. If the weather should grow too rough they can sink below the waves.


While the peril of the big ship has thus been increased, the size and fighting capacity of those ships have steadily grown and at the same time their cost, which is becoming almost prohibitive. Taking the British navy, the leader in this field, the size of battleships was yearly augmented until in 1907 the famous Dreadnought appeared, looked upon at the time as the last word in naval architecture. This great ship was of 17,900 tons displacement and 23,000 horse-power, its armor belt eleven inches thick, its major armament composed of ten twelve-inch guns. There are now twenty British battleships of larger size, some much larger.

On shore a similar increase may be seen in the size and effectiveness of armies and the strength of fortifications. In all the larger nations of Europe except Great Britain the whole able-bodied male population are now obliged to spend several years in the army, and to be ready at a moment’s notice to drop all the avocations of peace and march to the front, ready to risk their lives in their country’s service or at the command of the autocrat under whom they live.


Mobilization is a word with strenuous significance. When it is put into effect every able-bodied man must report without delay for service. His name is on the army lists; if he fails to report he is branded as a deserter. In Germany, the order to mobilize is issued by the Emperor and is immediately sent out by all military and civil authorities, at home or abroad. Every person knows at once what he is required to do. Skeleton regiments are filled out and additional regiments formed. Simultaneously there is a levy of horses. The order reaches into every household; into the factories, the shipyards, the hotels, the farms, river boats, everywhere. Almost instantly the male individuals within the prescribed ages must at once report to the barracks to come under military discipline. Infantry, cavalry and artillery units double and triple at once.

This is the first step in mobilization. The second is the transportation and concentration of forces. The railways are seized, the telegraph and telephone systems. Mail, military, aerial and railway services are assigned. The commissary lines are laid and transportation provided for. With marvelous efficiency the full fighting strength, in front and rear, is made ready and co-ordinated.

The psychological effect of mobilization is tremendous. In every household home-ties are broken. The fields are stripped of men. Industry stops. Artillery rolls through the streets, bands play. An atmosphere of apprehension settles down on the country.


And the waste of it all; the criminal, unbelievable waste! Consider the vast loss of products that is due, not only to actual war, but to unceasing and universal preparation for war.

It has been stated on the highest authority that during the last decade forty per cent of the total outlay of European states has been absorbed by the armies and navies which, when war arises, seek in every way to destroy as much as they can of the remainder. Commenting on this state of affairs, Count Sergius Witte, the ablest of Russian statesmen and financiers, said in London not long ago:

“Sketch a picture in your mind’s eye of all that those sums, if properly spent, could effect for the nations who now waste them on heavy guns, rifles, dreadnaughts, fortresses and barracks. If this money were laid out on improving the material lot of the people, in housing them hygienically, in procuring for them healthier air, medical aid and needful periodical rest, they would live longer and work to better purpose, and enjoy some of the happiness or contentment which at present is the prerogative of the few.

“Again, all the best brain work of the most eminent men is focused on efforts to create new lethal weapons, or to make the old ones more deadly. For one of the arts in which cultured nations have made most progress is warfare. The noblest efforts of the greatest thinkers are wasted on inventions to destroy human life.

“When I call to mind the gold and the work thus dissipated in smoke and sound and compare that picture with this other villagers with drawn, sallow faces, men and women and dimly conscious children perishing slowly and painfully of hunger I begin to ask myself whether human culture and the white man who personifies it are not wending toward the abyss.”

In “War and Waste” Dr. David Starr Jordan quotes the table of Richet to show the cost of a general European war.

Per day the French statistician figures the war’s cost thus:

Feed of men …………………………………. $12,600,000
Feed of horses ……………………………….. 1,000,000
Pay (European rates) ………………………….. 4,250,000
Pay of workmen in arsenals and ports ……………. 1,000.000
Transportation (sixty miles, ten days) ………….. 2,100,000
Transportation of provisions …………………… 4,200,000
Infantry, ten cartridges a day …………….. 4,200,000
Artillery, ten shots per day ………………. 1,200,000
Marine, two shots per day …………………. 400,000
Equipment ……………………………………. 4,200,000
Ambulances, 500,000 wounded or ill ($1 per day) ….. 500,000
Armature …………………………………….. 500,000
Reduction of imports ………………………….. 5,000,000
Help to the poor (20 cents per day to one in ten) … 6,800,000
Destruction of towns, etc ……………………… 2,000,000

TOTAL PER DAY …………….. $49,950,000

Chapter XX.

New Relations Toward the Empire—Military Preparations—The Great Camp at Valcartier—The Canadian Expeditionary Force—Political Effect of Canada’s Action on Future of the Dominion

The sailing of the First Canadian Contingent on October 2, 1914, for England, en route to the theater of war, marked a noteworthy epoch in Canadian history. For the first time the Dominion took her place, not as a British colony, but as a component part of the British Empire. This position was established by the voluntary offer of expeditionary troops to be raised, equipped, and paid by Canada for the defense of the British empire.

For many years a movement had been on foot to bring about this attitude on the part of the Dominion by His Majesty’s government.

No such action was taken by the Dominion in the South African War, though a Canadian regiment was raised for the guarding of Halifax so that the regiment of British soldiers doing garrison duty there might be released for service at the front, and all other troops who left Canada went simply as volunteers to join the British army, though raised by the Dominion government.

When the situation in South Africa reached a critical stage and there were fears of German interference on behalf of the Boers it became clear that the British government strongly desired a helping hand from Canada for political reasons. It seemed a good time to show a solid front and a united Empire. Later, on October 3d, there came a request for 500 men from the British Colonial Secretary. No immediate action was taken on this, but on October 13th, the government passed an Order-in-Council for the raising of 1,000 volunteers and providing for their equipment and transportation. But these men were really British volunteers, not Canadian troops, as once at the front they became British soldiers under British pay. This contingent was known as a “Special Service Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry,” and did not belong in any sense to the organized troops of the Dominion, either regular or militia, although they approached more nearly to that status than in any previous case of assistance given by the Dominion to the Empire.

In the Indian Mutiny in 1857 a regiment was raised in Canada by the British government known as the 100th Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment” and in the Empire’s other wars, such as the Crimean and the Soudanese, there were always Canadian volunteers in the British forces.


The declaration of war by Great Britain on Germany made on the night of August 4, 1914, found the people of the Dominion not wholly unprepared for the situation. For some time ways of helping the mother country had been the chief topic both in government circles and among the people at large. This is best instanced by the following telegram sent by His Royal Highness, the governor-General, to the Secretary of State for the colonies, Rt. Hon. Lewis Harcourt.

“Ottawa, August 1, 1914

In view of the impending danger of war involving the Empire my advisers are anxiously considering the most effective means of rendering every possible aid, and will welcome any suggestions and advice which Imperial naval and military authorities may deem it expedient to offer. They are confident that a considerable force would be available for service abroad, as under section sixty-nine of Canadian Militia Act the active militia can only be placed on active service beyond Canada for the defense thereof. It has been suggested that regiments might enlist as Imperial troops for a stated period, Canadian Government undertaking to pay all necessary financial provisions for their equipment, pay and maintenance. This proposal has not yet been maturely considered here and my advisers would be glad to have views of Imperial Government thereon. Arthur”

This offer from Canada preceded similar offers from Australia, India, South Africa and Egypt.

The response to this came in the following cable from His Majesty.

“London, August 4, 1914

Please communicate to your ministers following message from His Majesty the king and publish:

‘I desire to express to my people of the Overseas Dominions with what appreciation and pride I have received the messages from their respective governments during the last few days. These spontaneous assurances of their fullest support recalled to me the generous self-sacrificing help given by them in the past to the Mother country. I shall be strengthened in the discharge of the great responsibilities which rest upon me by the confident belief that in this time of trial my Empire will stand united, calm, resolute, and trusting in God. George R.I. Harcourt”

Mr. Harcourt also cabled advising that although there was not immediately need for an expeditionary force it would be advisable to take all legislative and other steps necessary to the providing of such a force in case it should be required later.

The declaration of the war by Great Britain was officially recognized in Canada on August 5th, in a message from the Governor-General, beginning:

“Whereas a state of war now exists between this country and Germany.”

On the following day came a call to the militia for active service and Canada had gone on record as having accepted her responsibilities as an integral part of the Empire. She was sending troops to help England not as volunteers who were to become British soldiers, but as Canadian soldiers, enlisted, clothed, armed, equipped and paid by Canadian dollars.

Shortly after this came another cablegram from Mr. Harcourt gratefully accepting the offer of the expeditionary force and requesting that it be sent forward as quickly as possible. This cablegram was supplemented by another suggesting one army division as a suitable composition for this expeditionary force. The terms of enlistment were to be as follows:

“(a) For a term of one year unless war lasts longer than one year, in which case they will be retained until war is over. If employed with hospitals, depots of mounted units, and as clerks, et cetera, they may be retained after termination of hostilities until services can be dispensed with, but such retention shall in no case exceed six months.

“(b) To be attached to any arm of service should it be required of them.”

An army division of war strength consists of about 22,500 men composing all branches of the service.

While the call to arms found Canada prepared morally and financially, it found the country sadly unprepared from the standpoint of equipment. It was necessary to buy or make rifles, uniforms, guns and equipment of every description to increase the limited supply on hand to the necessary point. The quantity and variety of supplies required by an army division seems mountainous to the civilian. They ran the entire gamut from shoe laces to motor trucks, and these had to be purchased at the high prices caused by sudden demand wherever it was possible to obtain them in quantities with the greatest speed.

In this great work of mobilization Canada’s fine railway organizations played a great and necessary part. With their aid and that of many prominent men in Canadian affairs the question of the gathering of materials at selected points went ahead rapidly.

The matter of enlistments held equally important sway. An order in council authorized an army of 22,218 officers and men and the recruiting officers wasted no time in setting about their work. All over the Dominion men had been drilling ever since the danger of war became acute. The organized militia was hard at work. Volunteers were being rapidly gathered and after a thorough medical examination were put in charge of a drill sergeant. There was no difficulty in getting men and the recruiting officers from the first were overwhelmed with applications. Canada was going to the aid of the mother country, not unwillingly, not with hesitancy, not with parsimony, but with a great rush of enthusiasm to save the Empire, Our Empire!


The problem of concentrating this huge body of men soon became a real one. A great mobilization camp was needed. A place not too far from the Atlantic, with ample railroad facilities, large and roomy enough for the maneuvering of large bodies of men as well as their housing in tents, must be found. A further qualification was that this great camp should be located in a position of strategic importance and one which could be defended should the necessity arise.

Such a place was found at Valcartier, a small village some sixteen miles from the City of Quebec on the line of the Canadian Northern Railway.

When the war was declared the government did not own Valcartier and few people had ever heard of it. Soon, however, the name began to grow more familiar with the newspapers and in a day or two the place became government property. For the purpose it proved ideal.

Great expanse of level country provided an ideal maneuvering ground. The site of the camp itself was high enough for good drainage and the Jacques Cartier River provided an abundance of good water.

But with the acquisition of the ground the work had just begun. It was necessary to erect tents for the housing of 30,000 men. A commissary for their subsistence must be provided. Stores and storehouses had to be rushed to the spot and there was a huge amount of work of a more or less permanent character in the shape of water works with many miles of piping, shower baths, drinking troughs, an electric light plant and the like. The engineers were called upon immediately to lay out the camp and its many auxiliary features. A rifle range, the largest in the world, was immediately planned and put in operation for the training of the soldiers, for few men unacquainted with military life are able to handle modern high-powered military rifles with any degree of success, although the average man, under capable instructors, rapidly becomes proficient. Artillery ranges in the Laurentian Hills were established for the training of the field artillery. Here the big sixty-pounders, which throw a shell for nearly five miles, first woke the echoes.

A great bridge-building record was made by the men of the Royal Canadian Engineers under the direction of Major W. Bethune Lindsay of Winnipeg. The Jacques Cartier River separates the main camp from the artillery practice grounds at the base of Mounts Ileene and Irene. Across this 350 feet of waterway the Royal Canadian Engineers built within four hours a barrel-pier pontoon bridge capable of carrying heavy batteries. The Major and his three hundred men worked with that well-ordered efficiency which characterizes the efforts of the British bred. The race for the record started with the Canadian Northern Railway. The materials barrels, planking, etc. were freighted on to the ground with remarkable dispatch. The casks were made watertight, the timber was made ready, the twenty-foot bank cut down to provide an easy grade for traffic, and the actual test was on.

There was never a hitch. One party of men lashed the barrels to the heavy planks, and, as soon as that operation was complete, another party lifted the pier and carried it down the bank. Another squad of men conveyed it on to the water, where it was taken in charge by still another party and floated out to the front line. The pier was drawn quickly into position, and as many men as could work with freedom soon had the flooring spiked down. The actual bridging commenced at eight o’clock; the span was complete at ten minutes after twelve. The extra ten minutes were accounted for by the fact that on one or two occasions passing bodies of other troops necessitated a temporary cessation of carrying operations.

Col. Burstall, Director of Artillery at the Camp, visited the work during the morning and expressed his astonishment at the progress effected. Ordinarily it is a good day’s work to throw a bridge of this class across a three-hundred foot stream. Col. G. F. Maunsell, Director General of Engineering Service in Canada, who is attached to headquarters at Ottawa, also paid close attention to the task and was vastly pleased with the result. Col. Morrison, Ottawa, of the Artillery Service, hurried a gun across the bridge when completed, establishing its efficiency at once. Without doubt the brother officers of Major Lindsay, in all branches of the service, were extremely gratified at the efficiency and despatch of the men making up the Royal Canadian Engineers at the big camp.

Of course, the railway problem of moving the thousand or more troop trains which were rushing from all parts of Canada to Valcartier was a huge one. In this they had to cope with the great quantity of supplies and equipment which was daily forwarded. At Valcartier it was necessary for the Canadian Northern to form a loop for the rapid handling of these trains so that a constant stream of trains was kept continually moving in both directions without interruption.

Great hardships and inconveniences resulted in many cases from the lack of proper equipment. It was colder down in Quebec than in many other parts of the Dominion and a great many men were without sufficient blankets to keep them warm. Uniforms were scarce and army shoes fit for the work of drills and maneuvers even scarcer. Gradually, however, these deficiencies were supplied, recruits began to show amazing progress in the art of soldiering and little by little the great camp lost its motley appearance and became an efficient military organization in which rigid discipline and high efficiency prevailed. In six weeks Valcartier’s 30,000 were ready, ready for England and the final polish which was to fit them for the test of battle. They could even have been sent to the front. It seemed that this was not yet necessary.


But it was decided that the time had come for this great body of troops to leave. The original plan of sending a division of 22,500 men was supplemented by the dispatch of the remaining 7,500 as a reserve to prevent the delay in getting them to the front should the necessity arise suddenly. Members of the government spoke of a possible second or third contingent, as experience had taught them that it would be as easy to raise 100,000 men as it had been to raise 30,000. At a given time the evacuation of Valcartier began. Thirty-two transports lay in the St. Lawrence prepared to take the division to England, and soon the first contingent began to move toward the sea. The British fleet had cleared the ocean of all but a few scattered German cruisers, and these were amply guarded against by the warships which acted as escorts. And so, on the second day of October Canada’s first great pledge of loyalty left the shores of the Dominion to go to the defense of the Empire.

On October 15th the transports reached Plymouth, England, and were received with greatest enthusiasm. An English newspaper, The Western Morning News, spoke of the arrival the next morning in the following terms:

“The arrival of the fleet of transports with the first contingent of Canadian forces on board was an event of good augury for the future of the war. These splendid men have come, some of them nearly 6,000 miles, to testify to the unity of the Empire and take their share of the burden which rests upon Britons the world over of being the stoutest champions of justice and liberty. Even if their numbers were smaller we should hail their arrival as a symbol of the solidarity of the British race, but they come a large number in themselves, yet only the earnest of many more to come if they are needed to help in defeating the imposition of German tyranny and militancy on the world. The cheers they raised for the old country as they steamed into the harbor yesterday, and the splendid vigor and spirit they displayed, showed they have both the will and the power to give a good account of themselves at the front and prove worthy comrades of the dauntless band of heroes who, under Sir John French, have won the unstinted admiration of our French and Russian and Belgian allies and, indeed of the whole world.”

Then followed long weeks of hard training on Salisbury Plains. At last they were considered fit for the front and the contingent was transported to France. Of their conduct there, under the baptism of fire, the following letter from General French at Headquarters of the British Army, dated March 3d, to His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, is an ample testimonial.

“The Canadian troops having arrived at the front, I am anxious to tell your Royal Highness that they have made the best impression on all of us.

“I made a careful inspection of the division a week after they came to the country, and I was very much struck by the excellent physique which was apparent throughout the ranks. The soldierly bearing and the steadiness with which the men stood in the ranks (on a bleak cold snowy day) was most remarkable.

“After two or three weeks preliminary education in the trenches, attached by unit to the Third corps, they have now taken their own line on the right of that corps as a complete division and I have the utmost confidence in their capability to do valuable and efficient service.

“The Princess Patricia’s Regiment arrived with the 27th Division a month earlier and since then they have performed splendid service in the trenches.

“When I inspected them (although in pouring rain), it seemed to me I had never seen a more magnificent looking battalion Guards or otherwise.

“Two or three days ago they captured a German trench with great dash and energy and excellent results.

“I am writing these few lines because I know how deeply we are all indebted to the untiring and devoted efforts your Royal Highness has personally made to ensure the despatch in the most efficient condition of this valuable contingent.”

The first contingent had evacuated Valcartier only a short time when the second contingent began to move toward the great mobilization camp, for a similar process of training to that followed in the first case.

When the second contingent sailed away from Canada to take its place with the allies on the battlefields of Europe, it was accompanied by a battery of the most complete and efficient armored motor car rapid-fire machine guns ever devised. Indeed, they are, so far as is known, the first motor car machine guns in the ranks of the allies in any way comparing in point of up-to-dateness and efficiency with those now being employed by the German army. For up till recently Germany was the only power which had given any attention to armored motor car machine guns. The Germans had been experimenting for several years upon this latest development in field weapons, and when the present war broke out they had a type of armored motor car rapid-fire gun that has enabled them to do a kind of work that would not be done by any other sort of artillery. Great Britain, France and Belgium began hurriedly experimenting, and hastily put together a number of machine guns mounted on armored motor cars. These were but tentative weapons, however, quickly designed to meet an exigency for which the allies had not, like the Germans, already prepared. It has remained for Canada to evolve a type of armored motor car battery that is said to be the most perfect and effective that has ever been constructed.

This ultra-modern battery of forty guns was a part of Canada’s contribution to the Empire at war. Fifteen of the guns were made possible by the patriotic generosity of Mr. J. C. Eaton, Toronto’s well known millionaire department store owner, and were designated as the Eaton Battery. They were completed right in Toronto, where both the experimenting and designing were carried on, and the cars and guns put together, under the supervision of Mr. W. K. McNaught, C.M.G., who undertook the task of directing the work for the government. The corps of officers and men who man the battery had a special course of training under Capt. W. J. Morrison at Exhibition Camp.

It is only necessary to recall to mind certain pictures that have appeared recently of motor car machine guns in action to realize with what deadly effectiveness these weapons may be employed in present-day warfare. They combine all the terrific killing power of the rapid-fire machine gun with the swift mobility and tirelessness of the gasoline-driven motor car. Protected behind almost impregnable steel armor plate, the driver may dash ahead of the advancing lines and enable the gunner, almost completely protected, to mow down the ranks of the enemy with a sweeping stream of rifle bullets, played along a line of men much as one would play a stream of water from a fire hose. The car may be in motion all this time, or may stop only for an instant, so that the enemy has no time to train its artillery upon it. It may dash into what would be for infantry or cavalry or ordinary gunners the jaws of death, distribute its deadly sting, and then dash out again unscathed. Thus it may be of incalculable service in the field. Or it may be used in a town where whole masses of defenders may be driven back, and the streets completely cleared by the rapid sweep of its bullets.

The armored motor car guns which were constructed in Toronto are built on a motor truck chassis. The wheels are made of pressed steel, and have heavy tires of solid rubber. All the rest of the car is effectively covered with Harveyized steel plates, which were severely tested. This armorplate was rolled in Canada by Canadian workmen, and was made from iron ore mined in Nova Scotia.

The distinctive fighting feature of the car is the revolving turret of this armor-plate in which the offensive apparatus is situated. This turret rises above the four-foot armored body at about the center of the car. In it is the new model Maxim rapid-fire gun, mounted very strongly on an apparatus of steel and phosphor bronze, the invention of Canadian engineers. This gun mount really carries the revolving turret which surrounds it, and which revolves so easily on ball bearings that a mere touch of the hand will move it. It can make a complete revolution, so that the gun has a clear sweep. It can be locked by means of a lever operated by the gunner. The gunner sits on a seat fastened to the frame which supports the turret. The running machinery of the car which comes below the floor, is, of course, protected by a steel skirt, which extends around the car. The machine gun is aimed through a loop-hole in the steel turret. It can fire from 300 to 600 rifle bullets a minute, and has an effective range of a mile and a half. The bullets are held in a belt which runs through the gun automatically. The armor-plate on the rear of the car is loop-holed so that rifles can be used. Each of the machine guns has two extra barrels, the reason for this being that with the bullets passing through the barrel so rapidly it naturally becomes very hot, and so must be changed frequently.

Another feature of the car is that it is protected overhead as well as around the sides and front, and rendered immune from shrapnel fire, missiles from aeroplanes, and dropping bullets, by the same kind of armor-plate that is used on the sides. Thus the drivers and all the fighting men are completely protected by armor-plate.

Each car, in addition to its fighting equipment, carries picks, shovels, wire rope, repair tools and provisions. Attached to the battery are two workshop cars, with turning lathes and repair machines driven by motor spare parts, etc. These stay behind the firing line. Each car carries a complement of five men, including the two men who drive and the gunner who operates the machine gun. The extra two ride in the rear and may use rifles through the loop-holes. But there is no real specialization, for each man must be competent not only as a soldier but as a chauffeur, machinist and gunner. If there is only one man left in the car, he must be able to operate the machine gun, run the car, and make repairs if necessary. And he must be a man who can keep his head, observe intelligently, and plan for himself and his regiment. Those in charge of the recruiting for the Eaton Battery expressed themselves as well pleased with the type of men secured. Many had seen service before; there were several expert telegraphers, several expert signalers, and one an ex-lieutenant in the British navy.


As had been outlined in the early portion of this chapter, the World War produced a result in the Dominion long sought by the British government. From the position of a British Colony independent in all but name and free to send or withhold military aid, Canada has voluntarily advanced step by step in the direction of stronger unification of the British Empire. In each of the wars fought by Great Britain the part to be taken by Canadian soldiers has received more and more formal recognition from the Dominion government, advancing from a mere permission to volunteer, through various stages to the actual enlistment, equipment and dispatch of a purely Canadian Contingent under Canadian officers and Canadian pay to the support of the British Empire.

Though each step had been in this direction few thought that Canada would ever take such action. It has been admitted that if Canada herself was attacked Canadians would, of course, defend themselves to the last. It was even admitted that aid might be sent in case of an attack on the British Isles, as a part of the Empire, but so far as to raise an army to take part in a campaign in Europe seemed far beyond the range of imagination.

Notwithstanding this, however, the Dominion has made the move without hesitation and in so doing has established a precedent which is apt to prove of huge importance in the future history of the Dominion.

Great Britain’s enemies must consider not merely a war on Great Britain but a war on the British Empire, for Canada as well as Australia, India, South Africa and Egypt, having once sent aid could not again refuse it and make their position tenable. The Empire now presents a solid front to the world and her strength is vastly increased hy the loyalty and devotion of the Overseas Dominions.

This military unity must also produce results in other directions tending toward a closer union between the Dominion and the Mother country. We venture to predict that the future will witness a strengthening of the bonds of loyalty, of commercial and educational ties without the least abatement of the complete autonomy enjoyed by the great Dominion.