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SEPTEMBER 9, 1914
LYMAN ABBOTT, Editor-in-Chiel
HAMILTON W. MABIE, Associate Editor R. D. TOWNSEND, Managing Editor
THE STORY OF THE WAR
BY ARTHUR BULLARD
HE great event of the fourth week France, about eighty miles from Paris, close
of the war-August 27 to Septem- to the line of fortifications from La Fère to
ber 2—was the amazing flanking Rheims. It is a strong position, but must movement of the Germans through Belgium bear the onrush of heavy forces accustomed and into northwest France. From the view- to victory. This army must also guard its point of military organization, this feat is so western Aank, as the Germans seem deter, remarkable that any praise seems pallid. mined to cut between it and the sea. We The line of this movement from Aix-la-Cha- have no definite information, but unless the pelle, lengthwise through Belgium and down French organization has gone to pieces this to Amiens in France, was close to two hun- Army of the Left should by now be heavily dred miles. To move and subsist large reinforced with fresh troops. army this distance so rapidly, even through a The Center has also been forced to retire, friendly country in peace maneuvers, would but not nearly so far, and its withdrawal may strain any commissariat. The Germans had have been necessitated by the retreat of the to fight every foot of the way. And always Army of the Left, rather than by the vigor with astounding precision everything needed of the German attack. Last week the Berlin -food, ammunition, and heavy artillery- despatches told of great victories here, but no was on the fighting line in sufficient quantity general advance such as these claims would for a continual attack.
imply has been reported. The Germans Some critics have said that, while the Ger- have reduced the old fort of Longwy, on the man army was a marvelous machine, it was frontier line, after a long siege, but seem to so intricate that if a single cog was broken have stopped there. The French War Office the whole mechanism would shake to pieces. asserts that the enemy have not been able to Several cogs were badly smashed by the cross the Meuse, except on the Belgian side unexpected resistance of Liège, but the of the frontier. machine was not disabled. The apparent Fighting almost daily, and claiming to have ease with which the Germans recovered from inflicted very heavy losses on the Germans, this check, rearranged their plans, and pushed the left wing of this Center Army has reon irresistibly is proof of an adaptability for treated to the vicinity of Rheims, to keep in which few people gave them credit.
line with the Army of the Left.
The French Army of the Right extends THE RETREAT OF THE ALLIES
from near Nancy to the Swiss frontier. The The brunt of the week's fighting—at least raid into Alsace was abandoned, but this so the censored despatches indicate-fell on army, which was retreating last week, is the Allies' Army of the Left. On the 26th of once more reported to be advancing. It is August the Allies were on or near the Belgian probable that fewer men are engaged on this frontier. Day after day “official ” announce- long line than in either of the other armies. ments from Paris have told of “rearrange- The German frontier is heavily fortified, and ments » of this front. As we go to press we have no indication that the French forces they are some seventy miles farther back in were bringing up siege artillery. Until we get
such news it is quite certain that the opera- the way. Holding the army in Luxemburg tions in this territory are of minor impor- stationary as a pivot, they made a broad tance.
flanking movement with the object of turning the Allies' left and attacking Paris to the
west of La Fère. The “fog of war” hangs heavily over all It was so daring a movement, it exhibited of Europe. We on this side of the ocean are such amazing reliance on the commissary not the only ones who suffer. I received a department and such disregard for the mil letter to-day from an English friend who lives tary maxims about lines of communication, about two hours from London. It is dated that the French, in spite of their aerial the 17th of August. "In to-day's paper is scouts, did not take it seriously till it was the first scrap of news that we in England well launched. have had for weeks about our troops. We We have no definite information as to the knew from individuals that they were em- number of men involved in this march through barking, and to-day we are allo:ved to know Belgium. Although it has probably been that they have landed in France.” Knowing exaggerated, it must still have been immense. my friend's interest in such matters, I had And the soldiers must have done it mostly asked in a previous letter about the effect on foot, leaving the railways free to bring up of the anti-war demonstration in Trafalgar the supplies. Square. “I did not see anything at all in The Belgian army, although it fought the papers,” my friend writes, “about the stubbornly, was easily brushed aside. The anti-war demonstration." Even in England first impact of the attack seems to have everything which the Government thinks the fallen on the English at Mons. Here again people had best not know is suppressed. we can only guess at numbers.
So we must not be surprised if at any the British expeditionary force is 125,000. time new facts come out which will completely But a recent issue of the “ Broad Arrow,' change the face of the situation.
an English military review, tells of the "trial piecing together the fragmentary despatches mobilization” of an army corps at home and trying to reconcile the conflicting ones last spring. One division appeared at the
can reach a tentative summary of the rendezvous complete in numbers and equipfirst month of this western campaign.
ment; the other division was twenty per
cent wanting in men, lacked a number of A MONTH OF WAR
officers, and its army train was defective to The first move of the German army was the point of uselessness. It is doubtful if to overrun Luxemburg. Almost simultane- the English had 80,000 men at the front. ously they crossed the Belgian frontier and However, according to the London reattacked Liège. Contrary to all expectations, ports, they acted with great heroism in the the plucky little Belgian army resisted stub- face of heavy odds and retreated in good bornly.
order. The fact that this rear-guard fight If it had not been for this check it is all the way from Mons to La Fère was conprobable that the German Army of the tinuous shows that there was no rout. The Right, coming down from Aix-la-Chapelle, German losses in such an action would probwould have struck the French border at ably be very heavy. According to the latest Givet within two days, and, joining the reports, the English are now in the strongest Crown Prince's army in Luxemburg, which position they have yet occupied, they have operates from the bases of Trèves and Metz, received reinforcements from home which would have smashed into France between more than replace their losses, and they are Verdun and Rheims.
now heavily supported by the French. It is nearly certain that the French ex- In the center, between the Meuse and the pected the main attack here, and concen- Moselle, where the French were probably in trated their forces in this territory between greatest force, they attempted several adthe Meuse and the Moselle.
vances, but were repulsed. There has unThe Germans, realizing that they had lost doubtedly been much heavy fighting, but the advantage of a quick move, that the little movement from either side. French had had time to prepare. gave up Almost as soon as the Germans invaded their “dashing attack" and deployed through
and deployed through Belgium the French rushed into Alsace, capBelgium, incidentally occupying Brussels byturing Thann, Altkirche, and Mülhausen-all
DRAWN FOR THE OUTLOOK BY RUDOLPH SCHOENE
GERMANY'S MARINE FRONTIER-THE NORTH SEA AND THE BALTIC
the Baltic. Sveaborg and Reyal defend the Gulf of Finland, the Russian base
unfortified. This raid was backed up by a the attack is coming from now.
The forts, movement down the passes of the Vosges which are part of their position, are very Mountains, which advanced to within a few strong miles of Strassburg. Here again we have no Theoretically, the Germans ought to find information as to the numbers engaged, and every mile of advance harder. Their line of very few details about the operations. Both communication is already perilously long. A sides claimed unimportant victories. And at certain percentage of their artillery and equiplast the French had to retire, either before ment must have been smashed. Horses and superior forces or, as their War Office ex- men must be fatigued. Probably Germany plains, because they were needed in the is still able to put fresh men in the front. north.
There are hundreds of thousands of wellSo at the end of the first month it appears trained men who have not yet been under fire. that the French offensive has been every- But the losses have been great, and will be where repulsed. They have held their east- greater as the Germans attack fortifications. ern frontier intact, but in the north the They have lost the advantage of surprise. Allies have been driven back from the border Their early successes were undoubtedly to their second line of defense.
assisted by the fact that their generals had The Germans, with a renewed tradition of out-moved those of the Allies. But now victory behind them, are facing a line of they are probably outnumbered on the battle heavy fortifications which will be defended line. vigorously. If they can break through or But the Germans have already done the turn them they will be one step nearer Paris. theoretically impossible in their amazing
march through Belgium. THE STRATEGICAL HONORS
And the morale of armies is a matter of The French campaign in Alsace has been mob psychology and has little to do with bitterly criticised by easy-chair generals. It theory.
theory. And of this we know nothing. The was probably undertaken for political rather stories of dejected German prisoners give than military reasons. The fate of the Lost little light. The fact that a correspondent of Provinces will be fought out in other fields. the London - Times," after talking with The poor inhabitants of Alsace, who wel- some wounded English soldiers, fell into a comed the French, will probably have a hard funk and wrote to his paper that all was lost time now that the Germans have come back. is interesting but not convincing. But as the evidence is not all in yet, it is well The future depends more on this matter to restrain criticism. However, it certainly of psychology than
of psychology than anything else. The looks at this writing as if the French Staff maneuvering is pretty well over—with the had been badly outgeneraled. The Ger- honors to the Germans. The generals have mans have turned up in force where they done their part, and now it is up to the rank were not expected. The Allies had as many and file. Which side has the more stamina ? men, if not more, at their disposal, but they Has the élan of the Germans been broken seem to have guessed wrong as to where by appalling losses ? They have already exthey were needed.
pended stupendous energy. Can they keep
up the pace? No campaign is won till the THE MONTH TO COME
opposing army is routed. And the Allies We will none of us probably be asked have not turned tail and run yet. Perhaps again to live through another month so ex- the German generals, in the hope that one citing as September, 1914, promises to be. more blow would crush the enemy, have We are not sure in detail what has happened, driven their men to the breaking point.
It so it is even harder than usual to prophesy. would not be entirely surprising if the GerBut things of the utmost importance to man advance would blow up suddenly like a Europe and all this world will be decided in soap-bubble. They simply must keep going. the next few weeks.
Have they the wind ? Theoretically, the Allies should be able to And what do the soldiers of the Allies hold their present lines. Every day that they think about this long-drawn-out retreat ? It have retreated their numbers have been is always hard to keep one's nerve when increased by reinforcements. Their “thin things are going wrong. And the French line” with every backward movement has have been trained for an offensive warfare. 1 contracted and solidified. They know where can easily imagine them utterly downhearted.