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SEPTEMBER 2, 1914
LYMAN ABBOTT, Editor-in-Chiel
HAMILTON W. MABIE.- Associate Editor R. D. TOWNSEND, Managing Editor
THE STORY OF THE WAR
BY ARTHUR BULLARD
THE OUTLOOK'S WAR CORRESPONDENT AT HOME
HE third week of the war— from
August 19 to 26—was marked by
severe fighting all along the line from Antwerp to the Swiss border.
As we go to press the outcome is still, to use the phrase of Homer, on the knees of the gods. But the German armies on the French frontier have scored definite successes. There is a distinct tone of serious concern in the offical announcements from London and Paris. Lord Kitchener, in addressing the House of Lörds, foretold a long and bitter conflict. Beriin is celebrating victories.
place they had picked out for a last stand. Its importance also depends on how anxious the Germans were to take the place. We can imagine that von Moltke, the German Chief of Staff, had, like his illustrious uncle, planned this campaign in detail, had foreseen each move from the resistance of Liège to the entry into Brussels, and had staked his hope on turning the left of the French line of forts at La Fere. If so, he would have to drive the British out of Mons at all costs, and their resistance would be for him a defeat.
But perhaps—we have no definite information—the German commander before Mons had orders to keep the English busy at the extreme left of the Allies' line so that they could not bear help to the French where the main attack was planned. In this case the Germans would not be displeased to hear that the English had stood fast.
We are getting reports--uncertain, conflicting reports-of a stupendous chess game in which only the first moves have been made. What move has significance we cannot know until we hear what the two sides have been trying to do-perhaps not until the generals retire on pensions and begin to write their memoirs.
WAR ON A NEW SCALE One thing is clear. We shall have to revise the meaning we give to the word " battle.” The week brought news of a dozen “engagements " each greater in the number of soldiers involved and probably greater in loss of life than most of Creasy's “ Decisive Battles of the World." Thermopylae was a very small affair indeed compared to Liège, Haelen, Dinant, Mülhausen, Lunéville, Neufchateau, and the struggles about Charleroi. They would have been “battles in Napoleon's days. In this war they are officially ” described as “ outpost actions."
War has been “trustified.” And just as a score of steel mills which once seemed gigantic have become small parts of the merger of the United States Steel Corporation, so to-day the bloodiest battle has significance only in its relation to the centralized plans of the opposing General Staffs.
The British War Office, for instance, announced on August 24 that the English troops about Mons had been engaged for twenty-four hours and that their lines held firm. This is important or unimportant according to whether Mons was an outpost which the English did not hope to hold or a
THE GERMAN ADVANCE IN BELGIUM During the third week of the war the Germans overran practically all of Belgium. Their principal opposition seems to have come from the small native army. They pushed it back steadily and broke through the line of the Allies, forcing the Belgians to retreat northward to Antwerp behind their fortifications, and folding the Anglo-French army back to a line which is very close to the Belgian southern frontier.
Having divided the Allies in this manner, the Germans had a clear road to Brussels,
and entered that capital unopposed on August to retire, and that the Germans had occupied 20. Light cavaloy scouting parties pushed some French territory around Nancy. On west through Ghent and to, or near, the coast the same date a message came from Berlin of the English Channel. But the main force, by wireless, telling of an official ” announcewhich passed through Brussels, seems to have ment by the War Office of three distinct victurned south towards Mons and the French tories in this region. An army under the frontier.
Grand Duke of Wurtemburg defeated the Namur,has fallen into their hands. This I'rench at Neufchateau in southeastern Belis a brilliant feat for the German arms, as gium. An army under the Crown Prince the place was considered to be stronger than drove the French across their border at Liège; and was expected to put up at least Longwy. And the left wing of this center *as determined resistance. No details of army, commanded by the Prince Heriter of
this action have reached us. But here, as at Bavaria, occupied several villages about ::Huy, the Krupp siege guns must have done Nancy, well within the French frontier. The -themselves proud.
French defeats were serious ; large numbers The importance of this campaign in Bel- of men, including superior officers, and many gium depends entirely on an unknown quan- guns were captured. Whether this advance tity—how intensely did the French and is in sufficient force to threaten the French English try to resist this German advance ? forts is uncertain as we go to press, but it Two possibilities are worth considering. probably is.
First, the Allies may have strained every The French War Office has announced resource to support the little Belgian army. that, as there is pressing need for troops in They may have failed to reach the front in the north, the offensive campaign in the time, through some mismanagement in trans- Vosges and in Alsace has been temporarily portation. They may have suffered disas- abandoned. Mülhausen has been evacuated trous reverses of which the censors have sup- and the French army has retired to a defenpressed all news.
sive position. Secondly, they may have decided to leave The real importance of these engagements Belgium to its fate, and to solidify their cannot be reckoned in our present ignorance defenses on the line they considered most of the intentions of the belligerents. On the advantageous-somewhere near the French whole, it appears that the French advance has border. In this case all the fighting in Bel- been everywhere stopped. But the relation gium has been skirmishing, the retrogressive between the cost of the German advantages movement of the Allies part of a predeter- and their worth is uncertain. mined plan. The French and English General Staffs
ANTE-BELLUM PLANS have carefully studied all the strategical fea- While it is impossible to guess with any tures of Belgium. The New York Eve- surety the actual plans of the opposing Genning Post's ” London correspondent writes eral Staffs, there is a large literature in every that he has reason to believe that Lord language of Europe on probable war plans. Kitchener made a secret visit to this part of Certainly all military writers have laid great Europe during the summer and went over stress on the expected “ dashing attack" of the ground personally. It is possible that the Germans. I have not found a single the Allies have not lost a single position in such discussion in which either a French or Belgium which they hoped to hold.
German writer expected that the German The dispirited tone of the despatches from army would be kept out of northern France London and is, more than any facts they as long as this. contain, tends to show that the Allies are The occupation of Brussels and the caphaving an unexpectedly hard time.
ture of a few French border villages is very
much less than students of strategy expected THE GERMAN ARMY OF THE CENTER
the Germans to accomplish in three weeks. As was anticipated, the German forces oper- The reduction of Namur in three days is ating between Luxemburg and the Vosges the achievement so far of which the Germans have developed a formidable advance. The have most reason to boast. But Namur is French War Office announced on August 25 not in France. that the fighting had been severe, that their The German advance has been steady, army was outnumbered and had been forced uninterrupted-slow. The Allies, even if
FRANS FOR THE OUTLOOK BY RUDOLPH SCHOENE
The FRONTIER LINES OF RUSSIA, GERMANY, AND AUSTRIA A rough circle drawn through Glogau, Danzig, Königsberg. Minsk, Lutzk, and Cracow
would approximate the boundaries of inediæval Poland
the defeats announced from Berlin are not on their statute-books against cowardice-in exaggerated, are at this writing as far ad- the field beside them, and the Anglo-French vanced as they were expected to be. If the fleet bombarding Cattaro on the Adriatic, Germans planned a “dashing attack,” it has there is every chance of Servia recovering not materialized.
her “ lost provinces” of Bosnia and HerzeAnother of the ante-bellum war plans govina. which is worth note is the rôle assigned to The Austrians have officially announced the French border army.
that they have temporarily abandoned their In the war of 1870 the decisive point was “punitive expeditions." The pressure of reached when Marshal MaMahon had to Russia on the northeast and the threat of choose between throwing his large army to
Italian action on the west promise to keep the defense of Metz or covering Paris. He Austria's army too busy to continue at present decided on the latter course. The two main her attempt to chastise Servia. French armies were separated. Marshal Bazaine was left to his fate at Metz. Mac
RUSSIA BEGINS TO MOVE Mahon began a retreat with the object of There was no news of serious operations keeping between Paris and the Germans. on the Austro-Russian frontiers during the He was forced into a corner at Sedan and third week of the war. But the army corps overwhelmed.
from Odessa and Kiev must be approaching There is not a French military text-book the border. They ought easily to outnumber in which this disastrous move is not discussed. the force Austria can oppose to them. The Their General Staff has planned to make its one serious fortification they will encounter repetition impossible. General Joffre, with his is Przemysl; but the Carpathians are a naarmy along the frontier, does not have to tional defense, and it is probable that the trouble about the defense of Paris. Back of southern Russian army will try to advance him is an intricate system of forts fully in a northeasterly direction by way of Cracow manned and equipped. The rest of France is towards the heart of Germany. Railways expected to take care of the capital. His are scarce in that part of the world, and the army is intended for offense. If he gets advance cannot be rapid. into difficulties, he will not have to worry
The northern Russian army, operating about withdrawing his forces in good order. from Vilna, has crossed the German frontier, He is expected to strike as long as he has a and claims to have defeated the first line of man left alive. His object, of course, is vic- the German army and to have overrun East tory—to defeat. the enemy. But even if his Prussia to the Vistula. It is a territory nearly army is annihilated it will have done its duty as large as that occupied by the Germans in if it has seriously weakened the enemy. Belgium, but from a strategic point of view
of even more doubtful value. ITALY
THE SECOND STAGE OF THE WAR Persistent rumors have been afloat during the week that Italy was about to join the How long the preliminary maneuvering Allies and attack Austria. One circumstan- of the immense armies now in the field will tial despatch says that the Dual Monarchy last it is impossible to forecast. But sooner has redrawn some of its troops from Alsace or later the second stage of the war will come to guard the Italian border. It is certain -it will consist of sieges. that serious forces have been concentrated Geographical frontiers have little signifion both sides of the Austro-Italian frontier. cance in military matters. For soldiers to Hostilities may break out at any moment. pass a row of sign-posts does not mean
much. But back of almost every political THE AUSTRO-SERB CAMPAIGN
frontier in Europe there is a line of fortified The first authentic news of a decisive vic- defenses. In war these are the only frontiers tory comes from Servia. The Austrian in
that count. vasion has been definitely repulsed. The The dividing line between France and Serbs have published a detailed list of the Germany, for instance, is hardly more real spoils they collected on the battlefield, and
than the equator. The military frontier of this list gives evidence of a thoroughgoing Germany is along the Rhine. Military France rout.
begins with the line of forts from Belfort to With the Montenegrins--who have a law Verdun. The strip of land between is a
THE STORY OF THE WAR
skirmishing ground. The Germans have reported to have sent 50,000 men against a crossed the geographical frontier in the garrison of less than 5,000. Japan is the neighborhood of Vancy. The French are only one of the belligerents that has faced on German territory in Alsace. But from the problem of besieging modern fortificathe military view-point neither country has tions. Her experience before Port Arthur let been “entered.”
should be of great value. A glance at the map which we publish in this issue shows the difference between the
PUBLIC OPINION political and military frontiers of eastern The most interesting development of the Germany. The Russian army is on German week for those who believe in the People's Rule soil, but it has not really entered Germany is the publication of the British and German until it has crossed the line made by the for- “ White Papers,” containing the diplomatic tresses of Danzig, Dirschau, Gradenz, and correspondence which led up to this crisis Thorn. Before the central Russian army, and the speeches by the King, the Kaiser, operating from Warsaw, can threaten Berlin, the Czar, and President Poincaré, and their it must break through the defenses—hardly Prime Ministers—all with the evident intent less strong—of Thorn, Posen, and Glogau. of persuading the world that this is a defenA Russian advance from the south through sive war. Neither the French President nor Austria will have to deal with Neisse and the German Kaiser can go to war without per
suading his nation that it is a righteous cause. Siege operations have become increasingly History does not give us any evidence that important in modern warfare. The most Alexander or Hannibal or Cæsar wasted any serious resistance made by the Russians in effort persuading their people that their camthe Japanese War was from behind the walls paigns were justified. Louis XIV, who of Port Arthur. And the Russian General could say “ 'L'état, c'est moi," did not need to Stoessel was court-martialed for surrendering
find an ethical basis for his wars of aggresprematurely. In the Balkans the allies easily sion. Napoleon was wont to start a camdefeated the Turks whenever they encoun: paign without telling the French people who tered them in the open. Adrianople, Janina, was the enemy. and Scutari held out for months, and were One of the first cases of a government finally taken at immense cost. The lines of definitely taking consideration of public opinTchatalja successfully defended Constantino- ion before going to war was when Bismarck ple. But none of these fortifications could in 1870 altered the famous Ems telegram so compare with the strongholds of central that the Germans would believe that they Europe which must be reduced.
were attacked. Samur. and Huy are the only cases of In this present crisis every Government modern fortifications being captured in a has felt it necessary to be backed by a united short time ; and no details of their fall have public opinion. Whether the German, the yet reached us. As we go to press the fate Russian, the Austrian, and the English Governof Liège is uncertain, but at least it held out ments have been frank in their efforts to confor three weeks. The consensus of opinion vince their people that they were attacked is that Germany is better equipped with siege does not matter. All of them have succeeded. artillery than are the other belligerents. The There are very few soldiers in Europe who speed with which Huy and Namur were consider themselves aggressors ; all with reduced adds weight to this belief.
equal devotion are fighting—or think they By the end of the third week, Belgium is are fighting—to defend their countries from the only country involved whose' military attack. frontiers have been passed.
The important thing is that even the Czar has felt it necessary to persuade his people
that his cause is just. No king in Europe Japan also has a siege on her hands. The dares to call out his army in a frankly German fortifications in China are not nearly aggressive war. as strong as some in Europe, but Japan is New York, August 26.
Other articles in this issue dealing with the war are: “ England in Time of Ilar" (editorial correspondence from Jr. Ernest Hamlin Abbott); “ The Germans and
“ the War"(two articles, by JIr. Frederic William Wile, of the London " Jail," and
THE FAR EAST