Table of Contents

Tragedy and Hope

A History of the World in Our Time

By Carroll Quigley


Part Five: The First World War: 1914 - 1918

Chapter 11: The Growth of International Tensions, 1871-1914


     The unification of Germany in the decade before 1871 ended a balance of power in Europe which had existed for 250 or even 300 years. During this long period, covering almost ten generations, Britain had been relatively secure and of growing power. She had found this power challenged only by the states of western Europe. Such a challenge had come from Spain under Philip II, from France under Louis XIV and under Napoleon, and, in an economic sense, from the Netherlands during much of the seventeenth century. Such a challenge could arise because these states were as rich and almost as unified as Britain herself, but, above all, it could arise because the nations of the West could face seaward and challenge England so long as central Europe was disunited and economically backward.

     The unification of Germany by Bismarck destroyed this situation politically, while the rapid economic growth of that country after 1871 modified the situation economically. For a long time Britain did not see this change but rather tended to welcome the rise of Germany because it relieved her, to a great extent, from the pressure of France in the political and colonial fields. This failure to see the changed situation continued until after 1890 because of Bismarck's diplomatic genius, and because of the general failure of non-Germans to appreciate the marvelous organizing ability of the Germans in industrial activities. After 1890 Bismarck's masterful grip on the tiller was replaced by the vacillating hands of Kaiser William II and a succession of puppet chancellors. These incompetents alarmed and alienated Britain by challenging her in commercial, colonial, and especially naval affairs. In commercial matters the British found German salesmen and their agents offering better service, better terms, and lower prices on goods of at least equal quality, and in metric rather than Anglo-Saxon sizes and measurements. In the colonial field after 1884, Germany acquired African colonies which threatened to cut across the continent from east to west and thus checkmate the British ambitions to build a railway from the Cape of Good Hope to Cairo. These colonies included East Africa (Tanganyika), South-West Africa, Cameroons, and Togo. The German threat became greater as a result of German intrigues in the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique, and above all by the German encouragement of the Boers of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State before their war with Britain in 1899-1902. In the Pacific area Germany acquired by 1902 the Caroline, Marshall, and Marianas Islands, parts of New Guinea and Samoa, and a base of naval and commercial importance at Kiaochau on the Shantung Peninsula of China. In naval affairs Germany presented her greatest threat as a result of the German Naval bills of 1898, 1900, and 1902, which were designed to be an instrument of coercion against Britain. Fourteen German battleships were launched between 1900 and 1905. As a consequence of these activities Britain joined the anti-German coalition by 1907, the Powers of Europe became divided into two antagonistic coalitions, and a series of crises began which led, step by step, to the catastrophe of 1914.

     International affairs in the period 1871-1914 can be examined under four headings: (1) the creation of the Triple Alliance, 1871-1890; (2) the creation of the Triple Entente, 1890-1907; (3) the efforts to bridge the gap between the two coalitions, 1890-1914; and (4) the series of international crises, 1905-1914. These are the headings under which we shall examine this subject.

The Creation of the Triple Alliance, 1871-1890

     The establishment of a German Empire dominated by the Kingdom of Prussia left Bismarck politically satisfied. He had no desire to annex any additional Germans to the new empire, and the growing ambitions for colonies and a worldwide empire left him cold. As a satisfied diplomat he concentrated on keeping what he had, and realized that France, driven by fear and vengeance, was the chief threat to the situation. His immediate aim, accordingly, was to keep France isolated. This involved the more positive aim to keep Germany in friendly relations with Russia and the Habsburg Empire and to keep Britain friendly by abstaining from colonial or naval adventures. As part of this policy Bismarck made two tripartite agreements with Russia and Austro-Hungary: (a) the Three Emperors' League of 1873 and (b) the Three Emperors' Alliance of 1881. Both of these were disrupted by the rivalry between Austria and Russia in southeastern Europe, especially in Bulgaria. The Three Emperors' League broke down in 1878 at the Congress of Berlin because of Habsburg opposition to Russia's efforts to create a great satellite state in Bulgaria after her victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. The Three Emperors' Alliance of 1881 broke down in the "Bulgarian crisis" of 1885. This crisis arose over the Bulgarian annexation of Eastern Rumelia, a union which was opposed by Russia but favored by Austria, thus reversing the attitude these Powers had displayed at Berlin in 1878.

     The rivalry between Russia and Austria in the Balkans made it clear to Bismarck that his efforts to form a diplomatic front of the three great empires were based on weak foundations. Accordingly, he made a second string for his bow. It was this second string which became the Triple Alliance. Forced to choose between Austria and Russia, Bismarck took the former because it was weaker and thus easier to control. He made an Austro-German alliance in 1879, following the disruption of the Three Emperors' League, and in 188: expanded it into a Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy. This alliance, originally made for five years, was renewed at intervals until 1915. After the disruption of the Three Emperors' Alliance in 1885, the Triple Alliance became the chief weapon in Germany's diplomatic armory, although Bismarck, in order to keep France isolated, refused to permit Russia to drift completely out of the German sphere, and tried to bind Germany and Russia together by a secret agreement of friendship and neutrality known as the Reinsurance Treaty (1887). This treaty, which ran for three years, was not renewed in 1890 after the new Emperor, William II, had discharged Bismarck. The Kaiser argued that the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia was not compatible with the Triple Alliance with Austria and Italy, since Austria and Russia were so unfriendly. By failing to renew, William left Russia and France both isolated. From this condition they naturally moved together to form the Dual Alliance of 1894. Subsequently, by antagonizing Britain, the German government helped to transform this Dual Alliance into the Triple Entente. Some of the reasons why Germany made these errors will be examined in a subsequent chapter on Germany's internal history.

The Creation of the Tripe Entente, 1890-1907

     The diplomatic isolation of Russia and France combined with a number of more positive factors to bring about the Dual Alliance of 1894. Russian antagonism toward Austria in the Balkans and French fear of Germany along the Rhine were increased by Germany's refusal to renew the Reinsurance Treaty and by the early renewal of the Triple Alliance in 1891. Both powers were alarmed by growing signs of Anglo-German friendship at the time of the Heligoland Treaty (1890) and on the occasion of the Kaiser's visit to London in 1891. Finally, Russia needed foreign loans for railroad building and industrial construction, and these could be obtained most readily in Paris. Accordingly, the agreement was closed during the New Year celebrations of 1894 in the form of a military convention. This provided that Russia would attack Germany if France were attacked by Germany or by Italy supported by Germany, while France would attack Germany if Russia were attacked by Germany or by Austria supported by Germany..

     This Dual Alliance of France and Russia became the base of a triangle whose other sides were "ententes," that is, friendly agreements between France and Britain (1904) and between Russia and Britain (1907).

     To us looking back on it, the Entente Cordiale between France and Britain seems inevitable, yet to contemporaries, as late as 1898, it must have appeared as a most unlikely event. For many years Britain had followed a policy of diplomatic isolation, maintaining a balance of power on the Continent by shifting her own weight to whatever side of Europe's disputes seemed the weaker. Because of her colonial rivalries with France in Africa and southwest Asia and her disputes with Russia in the Near, Middle, and Far East, Britain was generally friendly to the Triple Alliance and estranged from the Dual Alliance as late as 1902. Her difficulties with the Boers in South Africa, the growing strength of Russia in the Near and Far East, and Germany's obvious sympathy with the Boers led Britain to conclude the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 190 in order to obtain support against Russia in China. About the same time, Britain became convinced of the need and the possibility of an agreement with France. The need arose from Germany's direct threat to Britain's most sensitive spot by Tirpitz's naval-building program of 1898. The possibility of agreement with France emerged in the wake of the most acute Anglo-French crisis of modern times, the Fashoda crisis of 1898. At Fashoda on the Nile, a band of French under Colonel Jean Marchand, who had been crossing the Sahara from west to east, came face to face with a force of British under General Kitchener, who had been moving up the Nile from Egypt in order to subdue the tribes of the Sudan. Each ordered the other to withdraw. Passions rose to fever heat while both sides consulted their capitals for instructions. As a consequence of these instructions the French withdrew. As passions cooled and the dust settled, it became clear to both sides that their interests were reconcilable, since France's primary interest was on the Continent, where she faced Germany, while Britain's primary interest was in the colonial field w here she increasingly found herself facing Germany. France's refusal to engage in a colonial war with Britain while the German Army sat across the Rhine made it clear that France could arrive at a colonial agreement with Britain. This agreement was made in 1904 by putting all their disputes together on the negotiation table and balancing one against another. The French recognized the British occupation of Egypt in return for diplomatic support for their ambitions in Morocco. They gave up ancient rights in Newfoundland in return for new territories in Gabon and along the Niger River in Africa. Their rights in Madagascar were recognized in return for accepting a British "sphere of interests" in Siam. Thus, the ancient Anglo-French enmity was toned down in the face of the rising power of Germany. This Entente Cordiale was deepened in the period 1906-1914 by a series of Anglo-French "military conversations," providing, at first, for unofficial discussions regarding behavior in a quite hypothetical war with Germany but hardening imperceptibly through the years into a morally binding agreement for a British expeditionary force to cover the French left wing in the event of a French war with Germany. These "military conversations" were broadened after 1912 by a naval agreement by which the British undertook to protect France from the North Sea in order to free the French fleet for action against the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean.

     The British agreement with Russia in 1907 followed a course not dissimilar to that of the British agreement with France in 1904. British suspicions of Russia had been fed for years by their rivalry in the Near East. By 1904 these suspicions were deepened by a growing Anglo-Russian rivalry in Manchuria and North China, and were brought to a head by Russian construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway (finished in 1905). A violent crisis arose over the Dogger Bank incident of 1904, when the Russian fleet, en route from the Baltic Sea to the Far East, fired on British fishing vessels in the North Sea in the belief that they were Japanese torpedo boats. The subsequent destruction of that Russian fleet by the Japanese and the ensuing victory of Britain's ally in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 made clear to both parties that agreement between them was possible. German naval rivalry with Britain and the curtailment of Russian ambitions in Asia as a result of the defeat by Japan made possible the agreement of 1907. By this agreement Persia was divided into three zones of influence, of which the northern was Russian, the southern was British, and the center was neutral. Afghanistan was recognized as under British influence; Tibet was declared to be under Chinese suzerainty; and Britain expressed her willingness to modify the Straits Agreements in a direction favorable to Russia.

     One influence which worked to create and strengthen the Triple Entente was that of the international banking fraternity. These were largely excluded from the German economic development, but had growing links with France and Russia. Prosperous enterprises like the Suez Canal Company, the Rothschild copper enterprise, Rio Tinto, in Spain, and many newer joint activities in Morocco created numerous unobtrusive links which both preceded and strengthened the Triple Entente. The Rothschilds, close friends of Edwards VII and of France, were linked to the French investment bank, Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas. This, in turn, was the chief influence in selling nine billion rubles of Russian bonds in France before 1914. The most influential of London bankers, Sir Ernest Cassel, a great and mysterious person (1852-1921), had come from Germany to England at the age of seventeen, built up an immense fortune, which he gave away with a lavish hand, was closely connected with Egypt, Sweden, New York, Paris, and Latin America, became one of King Edward’s closest personal friends and employer of the greatest wire-puller of the period, the ubiquitous mole, Lord Esher. These generally anti-Prussian influences around King Edward played a significant part in building up the Triple Entente and in strengthening it when Germany foolishly challenged their projects in Morocco in the 1904-1912 period.

Efforts to Bridge the Gap between the Two Coalitions, 1890-1914

     At the beginning, and even up to 1913, the two coalitions on the international scene were not rigid or irreconcilably alienated. The links between the members of each group were variable and ambiguous. The Triple Entente was called an entente just because two of its three links were not alliances. The Triple Alliance was by no means solid, especially in respect to Italy, which had joined it originally to obtain support against the Papacy over the Roman question but which soon tried to obtain support for an aggressive Italian policy in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Failure to obtain specific German support in these areas, and continued enmity with Austro-Hungary in the Adriatic, made the Italian link with the Central Powers rather tenuous.

     We shall mention at least a dozen efforts to bridge the gap which was slowly forming in the European "concert of the Powers." First in chronological order were the Mediterranean Agreements of 1887. In a series of notes England, Italy, Austria, and Spain agreed to preserve the status quo in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas or to see it modified only by mutual agreement. These agreements were aimed at the French ambitions in Morocco and the Russian ambitions at the Straits.

     A second agreement was the Anglo-German Colonial Treaty of 1890 by which German claims in East Africa, especially Zanzibar, were exchanged for the British title to the island of Heligoland in the Baltic Sea. Subsequently, numerous abortive efforts were made by the Kaiser and others on the German side, and by Joseph Chamberlain and others on the British side, to reach some agreement for a common front in world affairs. This resulted in a few minor agreements, such as one of 1898 regarding a possible disposition of the Portuguese colonies in Africa, one of 1899 dividing Samoa, and one of 1900 to maintain the "Open Door" in China, but efforts to create an alliance or even an entente broke down over the German naval program, German colonial ambitions in Africa (especially Morocco), and German economic penetration of the Near East along the route of the Berlin-to-Baghdad Railway. German jealousy of England's world supremacy, especially the Kaiser's resentment toward his uncle, King Edward VII, was ill concealed.

     Somewhat similar negotiations were conducted between Germany and Russia, but with meager results. A Commercial Agreement of 1894 ended a long-drawn tariff war, much to the chagrin of the German landlords who enjoyed the previous exclusion of Russian grain, but efforts to achieve any substantial political agreement failed because of the German alliance with Austria (which faced Russia in the Balkans) and the Russian alliance with France (which faced Germany along the Rhine). These obstacles wrecked the so-called Bjork๖ Treaty, a personal agreement between the Kaiser and Nicholas made during a visit to each other's yachts in 1905, although the Germans were able to secure Russian consent to the Baghdad Railway by granting the Russians a free hand in northern Persia (1910).

     Four other lines of negotiation arose out of the French ambitions to obtain Morocco, the Italian desire to get Tripoli, the Austrian ambition to annex Bosnia, and the Russian determination to open the Straits to their warships. All four of these were associated with the declining power of Turkey, and offered opportunities for the European Powers to support one another's ambitions at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. In 1898 Italy signed a commercial treaty with France, and followed this up, two years later, by a political agreement which promised French support for the Italian ambitions in Tripoli in return for Italian support for the French designs in Morocco. The Italians further weakened the Triple Alliance in 1902 by promising France to remain neutral in the event that France was attacked or had to fight "in defense of her honor or of her security."

     In a somewhat similar fashion Russia and Austria tried to reconcile the former's desire to obtain an outlet through the Dardanelles into the Aegean with the latter's desire to control Slav nationalism in the Balkans and reach the Aegean at Saloniki. In 1897 they reached an agreement to maintain the status quo in the Balkans or, failing this, to partition the area among the existing Balkan states plus a new state of Albania. In 1903 these two Powers agreed on a program of police and financial reform for the disturbed Turkish province of Macedonia. In 1908 a disagreement over Austrian efforts to construct a railway toward Saloniki was glossed over briefly by an informal agreement between the respective foreign ministers, Aleksandr Izvolski and Lexa von Aehrenthal, to exchange Austrian approval of the right of Russian warships to traverse the Straits for Russian approval of an Austrian annexation of the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. All this tentative goodwill evaporated in the heat of the Bosnian crisis of 1908, as we shall see in a moment.

     After 1905 the recurrent international crises and the growing solidarity of the coalitions (except for Italy) made the efforts to bridge the gap between the two coalitions less frequent and less fruitful. However, two episodes are worthy of attention. These are the Haldane Mission of 1912 and the Baghdad Railway agreement of 1914. In the former, British Secretary of State for War Lord Haldane went to Berlin to try to restrain Tirpitz's naval program. Although the German Navy had been built in the hope that it would bring England to the conference table, and without any real intention of using it in a war with England, the Germans were not able to grasp the opportunity when it occurred. The Germans wanted a conditional promise of British neutrality in a continental war as a price for suspension of the new naval bill. Since this might lead to German hegemony on the Continent, Haldane could not agree. He returned to London convinced that the Germany of Goethe and Hegel which he had learned to love in his student days was being swallowed up by the German militarists. The last bridge between London and Berlin seemed down, but in June, 1914, the two countries initialed the agreement by which Britain withdrew her opposition to the Baghdad Railway in return for a German promise to remain north of Basra and recognize Britain's preeminence on the Euphrates and Persian Gulf. This solution to a long-standing problem was lost in the outbreak of war six weeks later.

The International Crisis, 1905 - 1914

     The decade from the Entente Cordiale to the outbreak of war witnessed a series of political crises which brought Europe periodically to the brink of war and hastened the growth of armaments, popular hysteria, nationalistic chauvinism, and solidity of alliances to a point where a relatively minor event in 1914 plunged the world into a war of unprecedented range and intensity. There were nine of these crises which must be mentioned here. In chronological order they are:

     1905-1906     The First Moroccan Crisis and the Algeciras Conference

     1908          The Bosnian Crisis

     1911          Agadir and the Second Moroccan Crisis

     1912          The First Balkan War

     1913          The Second Balkan War

     1913          The Albanian Crisis

     1913          The Liman von Sanders Affairs

     1914          Sarajevo

     The first Moroccan crisis arose from German opposition to French designs on Morocco. This opposition was voiced by the Kaiser himself in a speech in Tangier, after the French had won Italian, British, and Spanish acquiescence by secret agreements with each of these countries. These agreements were based on French willingness to yield Tripoli to Italy, Egypt to Britain, and the Moroccan coast to Spain. The Germans insisted on an international conference in the hope that their belligerence would disrupt the Triple Entente and isolate France. Instead, when the conference met at Algeciras, near Gilbraltar, in 1906, Germany found herself supported only by Austria. The conference reiterated the integrity of Morocco but set up a state bank and a police force, both dominated by French influence. The crisis reached a very high pitch, but in both France and Germany the leaders of the more belligerent bloc (Th้ophile Delcass้ and Friedrich von Holstein) were removed from office at the critical moment.

     The Bosnian crisis of 1908 arose from the Young Turk revolt of the same year. Fearful that the new Ottoman government might be able to strengthen the empire, Austria determined to lose no time in annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been under Austrian military occupation since the Congress of Berlin (1878). Since the annexation would permanently cut Serbia off from the Adriatic Sea, Aehrenthal, the Austrian foreign minister, consulted with Serbia's protector, Russia. The czar's foreign minister, Izvolski, was agreeable to the Austrian plan if Austria would yield to Izvolski's desire to open the Straits to Russian warships, contrary to the Congress of Berlin. Aehrenthal agreed, subject to Izvolski's success in obtaining the consent of the other Powers. While Izvolski was wending his way from Germany to Rome and Paris in an effort to obtain this consent, Aehrenthal suddenly annexed the two districts, leaving Izvolski without his Straits program (October 6, 1908). It soon became clear that he could not get this program. About the same time, Austria won Turkish consent to its annexation of Bosnia. A war crisis ensued, fanned by the refusal of Serbia to accept the annexation and its readiness to precipitate a general war to prevent it. The danger of such a war was intensified by the eagerness of the military group in Austria, led by Chief of Staff Conrad von H๖tzendorff, to settle the Serb irritation once and for all. A stiff German note to Russia insisting that she abandon her support of Serbia and recognize the annexation cleared the air, for Izvolski yielded and Serbia followed, but it created a very bad psychological situation for the future.

     The second Moroccan crisis arose (July, 1911) when the Germans sent a gunboat, the Panther, to Agadir in order to force the French to evacuate Fez, which they had occupied, in violation of the Algeciras agreement, in order to suppress native disorders. The crisis became acute but subsided when the Germans gave up their opposition to French plans in Morocco in return for the cession of French territory in the Congo area (November 4, 1911).

     As soon as Italy saw the French success in Morocco, it seized neighboring Tripoli, leading to the Tripolitan war between Italy and Turkey (September 28, 1911). All the Great Powers had agreements with Italy not to oppose her acquisition of Tripoli, but they disapproved of her methods, and were alarmed to varying degrees by her conquest of the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean and her bombardment of the Dardanelles (April, 1912).

     The Balkan States decided to profit from the weakness of Turkey by driving her out of Europe completely. Accordingly, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Montenegro attacked Turkey in the First Balkan War and had considerable success (1912). The Triple Alliance opposed the Serbian advance to the Adriatic, and suggested the creation of a new state in Albania to keep Serbia from the sea. A brief war crisis died down when Russia again abandoned the Serbian territorial claims and Austria was able to force Serbia and Montenegro to withdraw from Durazzo and Scutari. By the Treaty of London (1913) Turkey gave up most of her territory in Europe. Serbia, embittered by her failure to obtain the Adriatic coast, attempted to find compensation in Macedonia at the expense of Bulgaria's gains from Turkey. This led to the Second Balkan War, in which Serbia, Greece, Romania, and Turkey attacked Bulgaria. By the ensuing treaties of Bucharest and Constantinople (August-September, 1913), Bulgaria lost most of Macedonia to Serbia and Greece, much of Dobruja to Romania, and parts of Thrace to Turkey. Embittered at the Slavs and their supporters, Bulgaria drifted rapidly toward the Triple Alliance.

     Ultimatums from Austria and from Austria and Italy jointly (October, 1913), forced Serbia and Greece to evacuate Albania, and made it possible to organize that country within frontiers agreeable to the Conference of Ambassadors at London. This episode hardly had time to develop into a crisis when it was eclipsed by the Liman von Sanders Affair.

     Liman von Sanders was the head of a German military mission invited to the Ottoman Empire to reorganize the Turkish Army, an obvious necessity in view of its record in the Balkan Wars. When it became clear that Liman was to be actual commander of the First Army Corps at Constantinople and practically chief of staff in Turkey, Russia and France protested violently. The crisis subsided in January, 1914, when Liman gave up his command at Constantinople to become inspector-general of the Turkish Army.

     The series of crises from April, 1911, to January, 1914, had been almost uninterrupted. The spring of 1914, on the contrary, was a period of relative peace and calm, on the surface at least. But appearances were misleading. Beneath the surface each power was working to consolidate its own strength and its links with its allies in order to ensure that it would have better, or at least no worse, success in the next crisis, which everyone knew was bound to come. And come it did, with shattering suddenness, when the heir to the Habsburg throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, was assassinated by Serb extremists in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo on the 28th of June, 1914. There followed a terrible month of fear, indecision, and hysteria before the World War was begun by an Austrian attack on Serbia on July 28, 1914.

     Whole volumes have been written on the crisis of July, 1914, and it is hardly to be expected that the story could be told in a few paragraphs. The facts themselves are woven into a tangled skein, which historians have now unraveled; but more important than the facts, and considerably more elusive, are the psychological conditions surrounding these facts. The atmosphere of nervous exhaustion after ten years of crisis; the physical exhaustion from sleepless nights; the alternating moods of patriotic pride and cold fear; the underlying feeling of horror that nineteenth century optimism and progress were leading to such a disaster; the brief moments of impatient rage at the enemy for starting the whole thing; the nervous determination to avoid war if possible, but not to be caught off guard when it came and, if possible, to catch your opponent off guard instead; and, finally, the deep conviction that the whole experience was only a nightmare and that at the last moment some power would stop it—these were the sentiments which surged to and fro in the minds of millions of Europeans in those five long weeks of mounting tension.

     A number of forces made the crises of the period before the outbreak of war more dangerous than they would have been a generation or so earlier. Among these we should mention the influence of the mass army, the influence of the alliance system, the influence of democracy, the effort to obtain diplomatic ends by intimidation, the mood of desperation among politicians, and, lastly, the increasing influence of imperialism.

     The influence of the mass army will be discussed more extensively in the next chapter. Briefly, the mass army in a period in which communication was generally by telegraph and travel was by rail was an unwieldy thing which could be handled only in a rather rigid and inflexible fashion. As worked out by the Germans, and used with such success in 1866 and in 1870, this fashion required the creation, long before the war began, of detailed plans executed in sequence from an original signal and organized in such a way that every single person had his fixed role like a part in a great and intricate machine. As used by the Germans in early wars, extended by them and copied by others in the period before 1914, each soldier began to move from his home at a given signal. As they advanced, hour by hour, and day by day, these men assembled their equipment and organized into larger and larger groups, at first in platoons, companies, and regiments, then in divisions and armies. As they assembled they were advancing along lines of strategic attack made long before and, as likely as not, the convergence into armies would not be accomplished until the advance had already penetrated deep into enemy territory. As formulated in theory, the final assembly into a complete fighting machine would take place only a brief period before the whole mass hurled itself on an, as yet, only partially assembled enemy force. The great drawback to this plan of mobilization was its inflexibility and its complexity, these two qualities being so preponderant that, once the original signal was given, it was almost impossible to stop the forward thrust of the whole assemblage anywhere short of its decisive impact on the enemy forces in their own country. This meant that an order to mobilize was almost equivalent to a declaration of war; that no country could allow its opponent to give the original signal much before it gave its own signal; and that the decisions of politicians were necessarily subordinate to the decisions of generals.

     The alliance system worsened this situation in two ways. On the one hand, it meant that every local dispute was potentially a world wear, because the signal to mobilize given anywhere in Europe would start the machines of war everywhere. On the other hand, it encouraged extremism, because a country with allies would be bolder than a country with no allies, and because allies in the long run did not act to restrain one another, either because they feared that lukewarm support to an ally in his dispute would lead to even cooler support from an ally in one's own dispute later or because a restraining influence in an earlier dispute so weakened an alliance that it was necessary to give unrestrained support in a later dispute in order to save the alliance for the future. There can be little doubt that Russia gave excessive support to Serbia in a bad dispute in 1914 to compensate for the fact that she had let Serbia down in the Albanian disputes of 1913; moreover, Germany gave Austria a larger degree of support in 1914, although lacking sympathy with the issue itself, to compensate for the restraint which Germany had exercised on Austria during the Balkan Wars.

     The influence of democracy served to increase the tension of a crisis because elected politicians felt it necessary to pander to the most irrational and crass motivations of the electorate in order to ensure future election, and did this by playing on hatred and fear of powerful neighbors or on such appealing issues as territorial expansion, nationalistic pride, "a place in the sun," "outlets to the sea," and other real or imagined benefits. At the same time, the popular newspaper press, in order to sell papers, played on the same motives and issues, arousing their peoples, driving their own politicians to extremes, and alarming neighboring states to the point where they hurried to adopt similar kinds of action in the name of self-defense. Moreover, democracy made it impossible to examine international disputes on their merits, but instead transformed every petty argument into an affair of honor and national prestige so that no dispute could be examined on its merits or settled as a simple compromise because such a sensible approach would at once be hailed by one's democratic opposition as a loss of face and an unseemly compromise of exalted moral principles.

     The success of Bismarck's policy of "blood and iron" tended to justify the use of force and intimidation in international affairs, and to distort the role of diplomacy so that the old type of diplomacy began to disappear. Instead of a discussion between gentlemen to find a workable solution, diplomacy became an effort to show the opposition how strong one was in order to deter him from taking advantage of one's obvious weaknesses. Metternich's old definition, that "a diplomat was a man who never permitted himself the pleasure of a triumph," became lost completely, although it was not until after 1930 that diplomacy became the practice of polishing one's guns in the presence of the enemy.

     The mood of desperation among politicians served to make international crises more acute in the period after 1904. This desperation came from most of the factors we have already discussed, especially the pressure of the mass army and the pressure of the newspaper-reading electorate. But it was intensified by a number of other influences. Among these was the belief that war was inevitable. When an important politician, as, for example, Poincar้, decides that war is inevitable, he acts as if it were inevitable, and this makes it inevitable. Another kind of desperation closely related to this is the feeling that war now is preferable to war later, since time is on the side of the enemy. Frenchmen dreaming of the recovery of Alsace and Lorraine, looked at the growing power and population of Germany and felt that war would be better in 1914 than later. Germans, dreaming of "a place in the sun" or fearing an "Entente encirclement," looked at the Russian rearmament program and decided that they would have more hope of victory in 1914 than in 1917 when that rearmament program would be completed. Austria, as a dynastic state, had her own kind of desperation based on the belief that nationalistic agitation by the Slavs doomed her anyway if she did nothing, and that it would be better to die fighting than to disintegrate in peace.

     Lastly, the influence of imperialism served to make the crises of 1905-1914 more acute than those of an earlier period. This is a subject which has given rise to much controversy since 1914 and has, in its crudest form, been presented as the theory that war was a result of the machinations of "international bankers" or of the international armaments merchants, or was an inevitable result of the fact that the European capitalist economic system had reached maturity. All these theories will be examined in another place where it will be shown that they are, at worst, untrue, or, at best, incomplete. However, one fact seems to be beyond dispute. This is the fact that international economic competition was, in the period before 1914, requiring increasing political support. British gold and diamond miners in South Africa, German railroad builders in the Near East, French tin miners in the southwest Pacific, American oil prospectors in Mexico, British oil prospectors in the Near East, even Serbian pork merchants in the Habsburg domains sought and expected to get political support from their home governments. It may be that things were always thus. But before 1914 the number of such foreign entrepreneurs was greater than ever, their demands more urgent, their own politicians more attentive, with the result that international relations were exasperated.

     It was in an atmosphere such as this that Vienna received news of the assassination of the heir to the Habsburg throne on June 28, 1914. The Austrians were convinced of the complicity of the Serbian government, although they had no real proof. We now know that high officials of the Serbian government knew of the plot and did little to prevent it. This lack of activity was not caused by the fact that Francis Ferdinand was unfriendly to the Slavs within the Habsburg Empire but, on the contrary, by the fact that he was associated with plans to appease these Slavs by concessions toward political autonomy within the Habsburg domains and had even considered a project for changing the Dual Monarchy of Austrian and Hungarian into a Triple Monarchy of Austrian, Hungarian, and Slav. This project was feared by the Serbs because, by preventing the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, it would force postponement of their dreams of making Serbia the "Prussia of the Balkans." The project was also regarded with distaste by the Hungarians, who had no desire for that demotion associated with a shift from being one of two to being one of three joint rulers. Within the Hapsburg Cabinet there was considerable doubt as to what action to take toward Serbia. Hungary was reluctant to go to war for fear that a victory might lead to the annexation of more Serbs, thus accentuating the Slav problem within the empire and making the establishment of a Triple Monarchy more likely. Ultimately, they were reassured by the promise that no more Slavs would be annexed and that Serbia itself would, after its defeat, be compelled to stop its encouragement of Slav nationalist agitation within the empire and could, if necessary, be weakened by transfer of part of its territory to Bulgaria. On this irresponsible basis, Austria, having received a promise of support from Germany, sent a forty-eight-hour ultimatum to Belgrade. This document, delivered on July 23rd, was far-reaching. It bound Serbia to suppress anti-Habsburg publications, societies, and teaching; to remove from Serbian official positions persons to be named later by Austria; to allow Hapsburg officials to cooperate with the Serbs inside Serbia in apprehending and trying those implicated in the Sarajevo plot; and to offer explanations of various anti-Austrian utterances by Serbian officials.

     Serbia, confident of Russian support, answered in a reply which was partly favorable, partly evasive, and in one particular at least (use of Austrian judges in Serbian tribunals) negative. Serbia mobilized before making her reply; Austria mobilized against her as soon as it was received, and, on July 28th, declared war. The Russian czar, under severe pressure from his generals, issued, retracted, modified, and reissued an order for general mobilization. Since the German military timetable for a two-front war provided that France must be defeated before Russian mobilization was completed, France and Germany both ordered mobilization on August 1st, and Germany declared war on Russia. As the German armies began to pour westward, Germany declared war on France (August 3rd) and Belgium (August 4th). Britain could not allow France to be defeated, and in addition was morally entangled by the military conversations of 1906-1914 and by the naval agreement of 1912. Moreover, the German challenge on the high seas, in commercial activities throughout the world, and in colonial activities in Africa could not go unanswered. On August 4th Britain declared war on Germany, emphasizing the iniquity of her attack on Belgium, although in the Cabinet meeting of July 28th it had been agreed that such an attack would not legally obligate Britain to go to war. Although this issue was spread among the people, and endless discussions ensued about Britain's obligation to defend Belgian neutrality under the Treaty of 1839, those who made the decision saw clearly that the real reason for war was that Britain could not allow Germany to defeat France.

Chapter 12: Military History, 1914-1918

     For the general student of history, the military history of the First World War is not merely the narration of advancing armies, the struggles of men, their deaths, triumphs, or defeats. Rather, it presents an extraordinary discrepancy between the facts of modern warfare and the ideas on military tactics which dominated the minds of men, especially the minds of military men. This discrepancy existed for many years before the war and began to disappear only in the course of 1918. As a result of its existence, the first three years of the war witnessed the largest military casualties in human history. These occurred as a result of the efforts of military men to do things which were quite impossible to do.

     The German victories of 1866 and 1870 were the result of theoretical study, chiefly by the General Staff, and exhaustive detailed training resulting from that study. They were emphatically not based on experience, for the army of 1866 had had no actual fighting experience for two generations, and was commanded by a leader, Helmuth von Moltke, who had never commanded a unit so large as a company previously. Moltke's great contribution was to be found in the fact that, by using the railroad and the telegraph, he was able to merge mobilization and attack into a single operation so that the final concentration of his forces took place in the enemy country, practically on the battlefield itself, just before contact with the main enemy forces took place.

     This contribution of Moltke's was accepted and expanded by Count von Schlieffen, chief of the Great General Staff from 1891 to 1905. Schlieffen considered it essential to overwhelm the enemy in one great initial onslaught. He assumed that Germany would be outnumbered and economically smothered in any fighting of extended duration, and sought to prevent this by a lightning war of an exclusively offensive character. He assumed that the next war would be a two-front war against France and Russia simultaneously and that the former would have to be annihilated before the latter was completely mobilized. Above all, he was determined to preserve the existing social structure of Germany, especially the superiority of the Junker class; accordingly, he rejected either an enormous mass army, in which the Junker control of the Officers' Corps would be lost by simple lack of numbers, or a long-drawn war of resources and attrition which would require a reorganized German economy.

     The German emphasis on attack was shared by the French Army command, hut in a much more extreme and even mystical fashion. Under the influence of Ardant Du Picq and Ferdinand Foch, the French General Staff came to believe that victory depended only on attack and that the success of any attack depended on morale and not on any physical factors. Du Picq went so far as to insist that victory did not depend at all on physical assault or on casualties, because the former never occurs and the latter occurs only during flight after the defeat. According to him, victory was a matter of morale, and went automatically to the side with the higher morale. The sides charge at each other; there is never any shock of attack, because one side breaks and flees before impact; this break is not the result of casualties, because the flight occurs before casualties are suffered and always begins in the rear ranks where no casualties could be suffered; the casualties are suffered in the flight and pursuit after the break. Thus the whole problem of war resolved itself into the problem of how to screw up the morale of one's army to the point where it is willing to fling itself headlong on the enemy. Technical problems of equipment or maneuvers are of little importance.

     These ideas of Du Picq were accepted by an influential group in the French Army as the only possible explanation of the French defeat in 1870. This group, led by Foch, propagated throughout the army the doctrine of morale and the offensive เ outrance. Foch became professor at the Ecole Sup้rieure de Guerre in 1894, and his teaching could be summed up in the four words, "Attaquez! Attaquez! Toujours, attaquez! "

     This emphasis on the offensive เ outrance by both sides led to a concentration of attention on three factors which were obsolete by 1914. These three were (a) cavalry, (b) the bayonet, and (c) the headlong infantry assault. These were obsolete in 1914 as the result of three technical innovations: (a) rapid-fire guns, especially machine guns; (b) barbed-wire entanglements, and (c) trench warfare. The orthodox military leaders generally paid no attention to the three innovations while concentrating all their attention on the three obsolete factors. Foch, from his studies of the Russo-Japanese War, decided that machine guns and barbed wire were of no importance, and ignored completely the role of trenches. Although cavalry was obsolete for assault by the time of the Crimean War (a fact indicated in Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade"), and although this was clearly demonstrated to be so in the American Civil War (a fact explicitly recognized in The Army and Navy Journal for October 31, 1868), cavalry and cavalry officers continued to dominate armies and military preparations. During the War of 1914-1918 many commanding officers, like John French, Douglas Haig, and John J. Pershing, were cavalry officers and retained the mentality of such officers. Haig, in his testimony before the Royal Commission on the War in South Africa (1903), testified, "Cavalry will have a larger sphere of action in future wars." Pershing insisted on the necessity to keep large numbers of horses behind the lines, waiting for the "breakthrough" which was to be obtained by bayonet charge. In every army, transportation was one of the weakest points, yet feed for the horses was the largest item transported, being greater than ammunition or other supplies. Although transport across the Atlantic was critically short throughout the war, one-third of all shipping space was in feed for horses. Time for training recruits was also a critical bottleneck, but most armies spent more time on bayonet practice than on anything else. Yet casualties inflicted on the enemy by bayonet were so few that they hardly appear in the statistics dealing with the subject.

     The belief of military men that an assault made with high morale could roll through wire, machine guns, and trenches was made even more unrealistic by their insistence that such an offensive unit maintain a straight front. This meant that it was not to be permitted to move further in a soft spot, but was to hold back where advance was easy in order to break down the defensive strong points so that the whole front could precede at approximately the same rate. This was done, they explained, in order to avoid exposed flanks and enemy cross fire on advanced salients.

     There was some opposition to these unrealistic theories, especially in the German Army, and there were important civilians in all countries who fought with their own military leaders on these issues. Clemenceau in France, and, above all, Lord Esher and the members of the Committee on Imperial Defence in England should be-mentioned here.

     At the outbreak of war in August 1914, both sides began to put into effect their complicated strategic plans made much earlier. On the German side this plan, known as the Schlieffen Plan, was drawn up in 1905 and modified by the younger Helmuth von Moltke (nephew of the Moltke of 1870) after 1906. On the French side the plan was known as Plan XVII, and was drawn up by Joffre in 1912.

     The original Schlieffen Plan proposed to hold the Russians, as best as could be done, with ten divisions, and to face France with a stationary left wing of eight divisions and a great wheeling right and center of fifty-three divisions going through Holland and Belgium and coming down on the flank and rear of the French armies by passing west of Paris. Moltke modified this by adding two divisions to the right wing (one from the Russian front and one new) and eight new divisions to the left. He also cut out the passage through Holland, making it necessary for his right wing to pass through the Liege gap, between the Maastricht appendix of Holland and the forested terrain of the Ardennes.

     The French Plan XVII proposed to stop an anticipated German attack into eastern France from Lorraine by an assault of two enlarged French armies on its center, thus driving victoriously into southern Germany whose Catholic and separatist peoples were not expected to rally with much enthusiasm to the Protestant, centralist cause of a Prussianized German Empire. While this was taking place, a force of 800,000 Russians was to invade East Prussia, and 150,000 British were to bolster the French left wing near Belgium.

     The execution of these plans did not completely fulfill the expectations of their supporters. The French moved 3,781,000 men in 7,000 trains in 16 days (August 2-18), opening their attack on Lorraine on 29 August 14th. By August 20th they were shattered, and by August 25th, after eleven days of combat, had suffered 300,000 casualties. This was almost 25 percent of the number of men engaged, and represented the most rapid wastage of the war.

     In the meantime the Germans in 7 days (August 6-12) transported 1,500,000 men across the Rhine at the rate of 550 trains a day. These men formed 70 divisions divided into 7 armies and forming a vast arc from northwest to southeast. Within this arc were 49 French divisions organized in 5 armies and the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) of 4 divisions. The relationship of these forces, the commanding generals of the respective armies, and their relative strength can be seen from the following list:

Entente Forces (North to South)

          Army               Commander               Divisions

          B. E. F.           Sir John French               4

          V               Lanrezac                    10

          IV               De Langle de Cary/

          III               Ruffey                         20

          II               Castelnau/

          I               Dubail                         19

German Forces (North to South)

          Army               Commander               Divisions

          I               von Kluck/

          II               von Blow/

          III               von Hausen/                    34

          IV               Prince Albrecht of Wrttemberg/

          V               Crown Prince Frederick          21

          VI               Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria/

          VII               von Heeringen                    15

     The German right wing passed Liege, without reducing that great fortress, on the night of August 5-6 under the instructions of General Erich Ludendorff of the General Staff. The Belgian Army, instead of retreating southwestward before the German wave, moved northwestward to cover Antwerp. This put them ultimately on the rear of the advancing German forces. These forces peeled off eight and a half divisions to reduce the Belgian forts and seven divisions to cover the Belgian force before Antwerp. This reduced the strength of the German right wing, which was increasingly exhausted by the rapidity of its own advance. When the German plan became clear on August 18th, Joffre formed a new Sixth Army, largely from garrison troops, under Michel-Joseph Maunoury but really commanded by Joseph Galli้ni, Minitary Governor of Paris. By August 22nd the whole French line west of Verdun was in retreat. Three days later, Moltke, believing victory secure, sent two army corps to Russia from the Second and Third armies. These arrived on the Eastern Front only after the Russian advance into Prussia had been smashed at Tannenberg and around the Masurian Lakes (August 26th-September Isth). In the meantime in the west, Schlieffen's project swept onward toward fiasco. When Lanrezac slowed up Blow's advance on August 28th, Kluck, who was already a day's march ahead of Blow, tried to close the gap between the two by turning southeastward. This brought his line of advance east of Paris rather than est of that city as originally planned. Galli้ni, bringing the Sixth Army from Paris in any vehicles he could commandeer, threw it at Kluck's exposed right flank. Kluck turned again to face Galli้ni, moving northwestward in a brilliant maneuver in order to envelop him within the German arc before resuming his advance southeastward. This operation was accompanied hy considerable success except that it opened a gap thirty miles wide between Kluck and Blow. Opposite this gap was the B.E.F., which was withdrawing southward with even greater speed than the French. On September 5th the French retreat stopped; on the following day they began a general counterattack, ordered by Joffre on the insistence of Galli้ni. Thus began the First Battle of the Marne.

     Kluck was meeting with considerable success over the Sixth French Army, although Blow was being badly mauled by Lanrezac, when the B.E.F. began to move into the gap between the First and Second German armies (September 8th). A German staff officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Hentsch, ordered the whole German right to fall back to the Aisne River where a front was formed on September 13th by the arrival of some of the German forces which had been attacking the Belgian forts. The Germans were willing to fall back to the Aisne because they believed the advance could be resumed when they wished to do so. In the next few months the Germans tried to resume their advance, and the French tried to dislodge the Germans from their positions. Neither was able to make any headway against the firepower of the other. A succession of futile efforts to outflank each other's positions merely succeeded in bringing the ends of the front to the English Channel on one extreme and to Switzerland on the other. In spite of millions of casualties, this line, from the sea to the mountains across the fair face of France, remained almost unchanged for over three years.

     During these terrible years, the dream of military men was to break through the enemy line by infantry assault, then roll up his flanks and disrupt his rearward communications by pouring cavalry and other reserves through the gap. This was never achieved. The effort to attain it led to one experiment after another. In order these were: (1) bayonet assault, (2) preliminary artillery barrage, (3) use of poison gas, (4) use of the tank, (5) use of infiltration. The last four of these innovations were devised alternately by the Allies and by the Central Powers.

     Bayonet assault was a failure by the end of 1914. It merely created mountains of dead and wounded without any real advance, although some officers continued to believe that an assault would be successful if the morale of the attackers could be brought to a sufficiently high pitch to overcome machine-gun fire.

     An artillery barrage as a necessary preliminary to infantry assault was used almost from the beginning. It was ineffectual. At first no army had the necessary quantity of munitions. Some armies insisted on ordering shrapnel rather than high-explosive shells for such barrages. This resulted in a violent controversy between Lloyd George and the generals, the former trying to persuade the latter that shrapnel was not effective against defensive forces in ground trenches. In time it should have become clear that high-explosive barrages were not effective either, although they were used in enormous quantities. They failed because: (1) earth and concrete fortifications provided sufficient protection to the defensive forces to allow them to use their own firepower against the infantry assault which followed the barrage; (2) a barrage notified the defense where to expect the following infantry assault, so that reserves could be brought up to strengthen that position; and (3) the doctrine of the continuous front made it impossible to penetrate the enemy positions on a wide-enough front to break through. The efforts to do so, however, resulted in enormous casualties. At Verdun in 1916 the French lost 350,000 and the Germans 300,000. On the Eastern Front the Russian General Aleksei Brusilov lost a million men in an indecisive attack through Galicia (June-August, 1916). On the Somme in the same year the British lost 410,000, the French lost 190,000, and the Germans lost 450,000 for a maximum gain of 7 miles on a front about 25 miles wide (July-November, 1916). The following year the slaughter continued. At Chemin des Dames in April, 1917, the French, under a new commander, Robert Nivelle, fired 11 million shells in a 10-day barrage on a 30-mile front. The attack failed, suffering losses of 118,000 men in a brief period. Many corps mutinied, and large numbers of combatants were shot to enforce discipline. Twenty-three civilian leaders were also executed. Nivelle was replaced by P้tain. Shortly afterward, at Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres), Haig used a barrage of 4 1/4 million shells, almost 5 tons for every yard of an 1 r-mile front, but lost 400,000 men in the ensuing assault (August-November, 1917).

     The failure of the barrage made it necessary to devise new methods, but military men were reluctant to try any innovations. In April, 1915, the Germans were forced by civilian pressure to use poison gas, as had been suggested by the famous chemist Fritz Haber. Accordingly, without any effort at concealment and with no plans to exploit a breakthrough if it came, they sent a wave of chlorine gas at the place where the French and British lines joined. The junction was wiped out, and a great gap was opened through the line. Although it was not closed for five weeks, nothing was done by the Germans to use it. The first use of gas by the Western Powers (the British) in September, 1915, was no more successful. At the terrible Battle of Passchendaele in July 1917, the Germans introduced mustard gas, a weapon which was copied by the British in July 1918. This was the most effective gas used in the war, but it served to strengthen the defense rather than the offense, and was especially valuable to the Germans in their retreat in the autumn of 1918, serving to slow up the pursuit and making difficult any really decisive blow against them.

     The tank as an offensive weapon devised to overcome the defensive strength of machine-gun fire was invented by Ernest Swinton in 1915. Only his personal contacts with the members of the Committee of Imperial Defence succeeded in bringing his idea to some kind of realization. The suggestion was resisted by the generals. When continued resistance proved impossible, the new weapon was misused, orders for more were canceled, and all military supporters of the new weapon were removed from responsible positions and replaced by men who were distrustful or at least ignorant of the tanks. Swinton sent detailed instructions to Headquarters, emphasizing that they must be used for the first time in large numbers, in a surprise assault, without any preliminary artillery barrage, and with close support by infantry reserves. Instead they were used quite incorrectly. While Swinton was still training crews for the first 150 tanks, fifty were taken to France, the commander who had been trained in their use was replaced by an inexperienced man, and a mere eighteen w-ere sent against the Germans. This occurred on September 15, 1916, in the waning stages of the Battle of the Somme. An unfavorable report on their performance was sent from General Headquarters to the War Office in London and, as a result, an order for manufacture of a thousand more was canceled without the knowledge of the Cabinet. This was overruled only by direct orders from Lloyd George. Only on November 20, 1917, were tanks used as Swinton had instructed. On that day 381 tanks supported by six infantry divisions struck the Hindenburg Line before Cambrai and burst through into open country. These forces were exhausted by a five-mile gain, and stopped. The gap in the German line was not utilized, for the only available reserves were two divisions of cavalry which were ineffective. Thus the opportunity was lost. Only in 1918 were massed tank attacks used with any success and in the fashion indicated by Swinton.

     The year 1917 was a bad one. The French and British suffered through their great disasters at Chemin des Dames and Passchendaele. Romania entered the war and was almost completely overrun, Bucharest being captured on December 5th. Russia suffered a double revolution, and was obliged to surrender to Germany. The Italian Front was completely shattered by a surprise attack at Caporetto and only by a miracle was it reestablished along the Piave (October-December, 1917). The only bright spots in the year were the British conquests of Palestine and Mesopotamia and the entrance into the war of the United States, but the former was not important and the latter was a promise for the future rather than a help to 1917.

     Nowhere, perhaps, is the unrealistic character of the thinking of most high military leaders of World War I revealed more clearly than in the British commander in chief, Field Marshal Sir Douglas (later Earl) Haig, scion of a Scottish distillery family. In June, 1917, in spite of a decision of May 4th by the Inter-Allied Conference at Paris against any British offensive, and at a time when Russia and Serbia had been knocked out of the war, French military morale was shattered after the fiasco of the Nivelle offensive, and American help was almost a year in the future, Haig determined on a major offensive against the Germans to win the war. He ignored all discouraging information from his intelligence, wiped from the record the known figures about German reserves, and deceived the Cabinet, both in respect to the situation and to his own plans. Throughout the discussion the civilian political leaders, who were almost universally despised as ignorant amateurs by the military men, were proved more correct in their judgments and expectations. Haig obtained permission for his Passchendaele offensive only because General (later Field Marshal and Baronet) William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, covered up Haig's falsifications about German reserves and because First Sea Lord Admiral John Jellicoe told the Cabinet that unless Haig could capture the- submarine bases on the Belgian coast (an utterly impossible objective) he considered it "improbable that we could go on with the war next year for lack of shipping." On this basis, Haig won approval for a "step by step" offensive "not involving heavy losses." He was so optimistic that he told his generals that "opportunities for the employment of cavalry in masses are likely to offer." The offensive, opened on July 31st, developed into the most horrible struggle of the war, fought week after week in a sea of mud, with casualties mounting to 400,000 men after three months. In October, when the situation had been hopeless for weeks, Haig still insisted that the Germans were at the point of collapse, that their casualties were double the British (they were considerably less than the British), and that the breakdown of the Germans, and the opportunity for the tanks and cavalry to rush through them, might come at any moment.

     One of the chief reasons for the failure of these offensives was the doctrine of the continuous front, which led commanders to hold back their offensives where resistance was weak and to throw their reserves against the enemy's strong points. This doctrine was completely reversed by Ludendorff in the spring of 1918 in a new tactic known as "infiltration." By this method advance was to be made around strong points by penetrating as quickly as possible and with maximum strength through weak resistance, leaving the centers of strong resistance surrounded and isolated for later attention. Although Ludendorff did not carry out this plan with sufficient conviction to give it full success, he did achieve amazing results. The great losses by the British and French in 1917, added to the increase in German strength from forces arriving from the defunct Russian and Romanian fronts, made it possible for Ludendorff to strike a series of sledgehammer blows along the Western Front between Douai and Verdun in March and April 1918. Finally, on May 27th, after a brief but overwhelming bombardment, the German flood burst over Chemin des Dames, poured across the Aisne, and moved relentlessly toward Paris. By May 30th it was on the Marne, thirty-seven miles from the capital. There, in the Second Battle of the Marne, were reenacted the events of September 1914. On June 4th the German advance was stopped temporarily by the Second American Division at Chโteau-Thierry. In the next six weeks a series of counterattacks aided by nine American divisions were made on the northern flank of the German penetration. The Germans fell back behind the Vesle River, militarily intact, but so ravaged by influenza that many companies had only thirty men. The crown prince demanded that the war be ended. Before this could be done, on August 8, 1918—"the black day of the German Army," as Ludendorff called it—the British broke the German line at Amiens by a sudden assault with 456 tanks supported by 13 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions. When the Germans rushed up 18 reserve divisions to support the six which were attacked, the Allied Powers repeated their assault at Saint-Quentin (August 31st) and in Flanders (September 2nd). A German Crown Council, meeting at Spa, decided that victory was no longer possible, but neither civil government nor army leaders would assume the responsibility for opening negotiations for peace. The story of these negotiations will be examined in a moment, as the last of a long series of diplomatic conversations which continued throughout the war.

     Looking back on the military history of the First World War, it is clear that the whole war was a siege operation against Germany. Once the original German onslaught was stopped on the Marne, victory for Germany became impossible because she could not resume her advance. On the other hand, the Entente Powers could not eject the German spearhead from French soil, although they sacrificed millions of men and billions of dollars in the effort to do so. Any effort to break in on Germany from some other front was regarded as futile, and was made difficult by the continuing German pressure in France. Accordingly, although sporadic attacks were made on the Italian Front, in the Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire, on the Dardanelles directly in 1915, against Bulgaria through Saloniki in 1915- 1918, and along the whole Russian Front, both sides continued to regard northeastern France as the vital area. And in that area, clearly no decision could be reached.

     To weaken Germany the Entente Powers began a blockade of the Central Powers, controlling the sea directly, in spite of the indecisive German naval challenge at Jutland in 1916, and limiting the imports of neutrals near Germany, like the Netherlands. To resist this blockade, Germany used a four-pronged instrument. On the home front every effort was made to control economic life so that all goods would be used in the most effective fashion possible and so that food, leather, and other necessities would be distributed fairly to all. The success of this struggle on the home front was due to the ability of two German Jews. Haber, the chemist, devised a method for extracting nitrogen from the air, and thus obtained an adequate supply of the most necessary constituent of all fertilizers and all explosives. Before 1914 the chief source of nitrogen had been in the guano deposits of Chile, and, but for Haber, the British blockade would have compelled a German defeat in 1915 from lack of nitrates. Walter Rathenau, director of the German Electric Company and of some five dozen other enterprises, organized the German economic system in a mobilization which made it possible for Germany to fight on with slowly dwindling resources.

     On the military side Germany made a threefold reply to the British blockade. It tried to open the blockade by defeating its enemies to the south and east (Russia, Romania, and Italy). In 1917 this effort was largely successful, but it was too late. Simultaneously, Germany tried to wear down her Western foes by a policy of attrition in the trenches and to force Britain out of the war by a retaliatory submarine blockade directed at British shipping. The submarine attack, as a new method of naval warfare, was applied with hesitation and ineffectiveness until 1917. Then it was applied with such ruthless efficiency that almost a million tons of shipping was sunk in the month of April 1917, and Britain was driven within three weeks of exhaustion of her food supply. This danger of a British defeat, dressed in the propaganda clothing of moral outrage at the iniquity of submarine attacks, brought the United States into the war on the side of the Entente in that critical month of April, 1917. In the meantime the Germany policy of military attrition on the Western Front worked well until 1918. By January of that year Germany had been losing men at about half her rate of replacement and at about half the rate at which she was inflicting losses on the Entente Powers. Thus the period 1914-1918 saw a race between the economic attrition of Germany by the blockade and the personal attrition of the Entente by military action. This race was never settled on its merits because three new factors entered the picture in 1917. These were the German counter-blockade by submarines on Britain, the increase in German manpower in the West resulting from her victory in the East, and the arrival on the Western Front of new American forces. The first two of these factors were overbalanced in the period March-September, 1918, by the third. By August of 1918 Germany had given her best, and it had not been adequate. The blockade and the rising tide of American manpower gave the German leaders the choice of surrender or complete economic and social upheaval. Without exception, led by the Junker military commanders, they chose surrender.

Chapter 13: Diplomatic History, 1914-1 918

     The beginnings of military action in August 1914 did not mark the end of diplomatic action, even between the chief opponents. Diplomatic activity continued, and was aimed, very largely, at two goals: (a) to bring new countries into the military activities or, on the contrary, to keep them out, and (b) to attempt to make peace by negotiations. Closely related to the first of these aims were negotiations concerned with the disposition of enemy territories after the fighting ceased.

     Back of all the diplomatic activities of the period 1914-1918 was a fact which impressed itself on the belligerents relatively slowly. This was the changed character of modern warfare. With certain exceptions the wars of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had been struggles of limited resources for limited objectives. The growth of political democracy, the rise of nationalism, and the industrialization of war led to total war with total mobilization and unlimited objectives. In the eighteenth century, when rulers were relatively free from popular influences, they could wage wars for limited objectives and could negotiate peace on a compromise basis when these were objectives were attained or appeared unattainable. Using a mercenary army which fought for pay, they could put that army into war or out of war, as seemed necessary, without vitally affecting its morale or its fighting qualities. The arrival of democracy and of the mass army required that the great body of the citizens give wholehearted support for any war effort, and made it impossible to wage wars for limited objectives. Such popular support could be won only in behalf of great moral goals or universal philosophic values or, at the very least, for survival. At the same time the growing industrialization and economic integration of modern society made it impossible to mobilize for war except on a very extensive basis which approached total mobilization. This mobilization could not be directed toward limited objectives. From these factors came total war with total mobilization and unlimited objectives, including the total destruction or unconditional surrender of the enemy. Having adopted such grandiose goals and such gigantic plans, it became almost impossible to allow the continued existence of noncombatants within the belligerent countries or neutrals outside them. It became almost axiomatic that "who is not with me is against me." At the same time, it became almost impossible to compromise sufficiently to obtain the much more limited goals which would permit a negotiated peace. As Charles Seymour put it: "Each side had promised itself a peace of victory. The very phrase 'negotiated peace' became synonymous with treachery." Moreover, the popular basis of modern war required a high morale which might easily be lowered if the news leaked out that the government was negotiating peace in the middle of the fighting. As a consequence of these conditions, efforts to negotiate peace during the First World War were generally very secret and very unsuccessful.

     The change from limited wars with limited objectives fought with mercenary troops to unlimited wars of economic attrition with unlimited objectives fought with national armies had far-reaching consequences. The distinction between combatants and noncombatants and between belligerents and neutrals became blurred and ultimately undistinguishable. International law, which had grown up in the period of limited dynastic wars, made a great deal of these distinctions. Noncombatants had extensive rights which sought to protect their ways of life as much as possible during periods of warfare; neutrals had similar rights. In return, strict duties to remain both noncombatant and neutral rested on these "outsiders." All these distinctions broke down in 1914-1915, with the result that both sides indulged in wholesale violations of existing international law. Probably on the whole these violations were more extensive (although less widely publicized) on the part of the Entente than on the part of the Central Powers. The reasons for this were that the Germans still maintained the older traditions of a professional army, and their position, both as an invader and as a "Central Power" with limited manpower and economic resources, made it to their advantage to maintain the distinctions between combatant and noncombatant and between belligerent and neutral. If they could have maintained the former distinction, they would have had to fight the enemy army and not the enemy civilian population, and, once the former was defeated, would have had little to fear from the latter, which could have been controlled by a minimum of troops. If they could have maintained the distinction between belligerent and neutral, it would have been impossible to blockade Germany, since basic supplies could have been imported through neutral countries. It was for this reason that Schlieffen's original plans for an attack on France through Holland and Belgium were changed by Moltke to an attack through Belgium alone. Neutral Holland was to remain as a channel of supply for civilian goods. This was possible because international law made a distinction between war goods, which could be declared contraband, and civilian goods (including food), which could not be so declared. Moreover, the German plans, as we have indicated, called for a short, decisive war against the enemy armed forces, and they neither expected nor desired a total economic mobilization or even a total military mobilization, since these might disrupt the existing social and political structure in Germany. For these reasons, Germany made no plans for industrial or economic mobilization, for a long war, or for withstanding a blockade, and hoped to mobilize a smaller proportion of its manpower than its immediate enemies.

     The failure of the Schlieffen plan showed the error of these ideas. Not only did the prospect of a long war make economic mobilization necessary, but the occupation of Belgium showed that national feeling was tending to make the distinction between combatant and noncombatant academic. When Belgian civilians shot at German soldiers, the latter took civilian hostages and practiced reprisals on civilians. These German actions were publicized throughout the world by the British propaganda machine as "atrocities" and violations of international law (which they were), while the Belgian civilian snipers were excused as loyal patriots ( although their actions were even more clearly violations of international law and, as such, justified severe German reactions). These "atrocities" were used by the British to justify their own violations of international law. As early as August 20, 1914, they were treating food as contraband and interfering with neutral shipments of food to Europe. On November 5, 1914, they declared the whole sea from Scotland to Iceland a "war zone," covered it with fields of explosive floating mines, and ordered all ships going to the Baltic, Scandinavia, or the Low Countries to go by way of the English Channel, where they were stopped, searched, and much of their cargoes seized, even when these cargoes could not be declared contraband under existing international law. In reprisal the Germans on February 18, 1915 declared the English Channel a "war zone," announced that their submarines would sink shipping in that area, and ordered shipping for the Baltic area to use the route north of Scotland. The United States, which rejected a Scandinavian invitation to protest against the British war zone closed with mines north of Scotland, protested violently against the German war zone closed with submarines on the Narrow Seas, although, as one American senator put it, the "humanity of the submarine was certainly on a higher level than that of the floating mine, which could exercise neither discretion nor judgment."

     The United States accepted the British "war zone," and prevented its ships from using it. On the other hand, it refused to accept the German war zone, and insisted that American lives and property were under American protection even when traveling on armed belligerent ships in this war zone. Moreover, the United States insisted that German submarines must obey the laws of the sea as drawn for surface vessels. These laws provided that merchant ships could be stopped by a war vessel and inspected, and could be sunk, if carrying contraband, after the passengers and the ships' papers were put in a place of safety. A place of safety was not the ships' boats, except in sight of land or of other vessels in a calm sea. The merchant vessel so stopped obtained these rights only if it made no act of hostility against the enemy war vessel. It was not only difficult, or even impossible, for German submarines to meet these conditions; it was often dangerous, since British merchant ships received instructions to attack German submarines at sight, by ramming if possible. It was even dangerous for the German submarines to apply the established law of neutral vessels; for British vessels, with these aggressive orders, frequently flew neutral flags and posed as neutrals as long as possible. Nevertheless, the United States continued to insist that the Germans obey the old laws, while condoning British violations of the same laws to the extent that the distinction between war vessels and merchant ships was blurred. Accordingly, German submarines began to sink British merchant ships with little or no warning. Their attempts to justify this failure to distinguish between combatants and noncombatants on the ground that British floating mines, the British food blockade, and the British instructions to merchant ships to attack submarines made no such distinction were no more successful than their efforts to show that their severity against the civilian population of Belgium was justified by civilian attacks on German troops. They were trying to carry on legal distinctions remaining from an earlier period when conditions were entirely different, and their ultimate abandonment of these distinctions on the grounds that their enemies had already abandoned them merely made matters worse, because if neutrals became belligerents and noncombatants became combatants, Germany and her allies would suffer much more than Britain and her friends. In the final analysis this is why the distinctions were destroyed; but beneath all legal questions was to be found the ominous fact that war, by becoming total, had made both neutrality and negotiated peace almost impossible. We shall now turn our attention to this struggle over neutrality and the struggle over negotiated peace.

     So far as legal or diplomatic commitments went, Germany, in July, 1914, had the right to expect that Austria-Hungary, Italy, Romania, and perhaps Turkey would be at her side and that her opponents would consist of Serbia, Montenegro, Russia, and France, with England maintaining neutrality, at the beginning, at least. Instead, Italy and Romania fought against her, a loss which was not balanced by the accession of Bulgaria to her side. In addition, she found her opponents reinforced by England, Belgium, Greece, the United States, China, Japan, the Arabs, and twenty other "Allied and Associated Powers." The process by which the reality turned out to be so different from Germany's legitimate expectations will now take our attention.

     Turkey, which had been growing closer to Germany since before 1890, offered Germany an alliance on July 27, 1914, when the Sarajevo crisis was at its height. The document was signed secretly on August 1st, and bound Turkey to enter the war against Russia if Russia attacked Germany or Austria. In the meantime, Turkey deceived the Entente Powers by conducting long negotiations with them regarding its attitude toward the war. On October 29th it removed its mask of neutrality by attacking Russia, thus cutting her off from her Western allies by the southern route. To relieve the pressure on Russia, the British made an ineffectual attack on Gallipoli at the Dardanelles (February-December, 1915). Only at the end of 1916 did any real attack on Turkey begin, this time from Egypt into Mesopotamia, where Baghdad was captured in March 1917, and the way opened up the valley as well as across Palestine to Syria. Jerusalem fell to General Allenby in December 1917, and the chief cities of Syria fell the following October (1918)..

     Bulgaria, still smarting from the Second Balkan War (1913), in which it had lost territory to Romania, Serbia, Greece, and Turkey, was from the outbreak of war in 1914 inclined toward Germany, and was strengthened in that inclination by the Turkish attack on Russia in October. Both sides tried to buy Bulgaria's allegiance, a process in which the Entente Powers were hampered by the fact that Bulgaria's ambitions could be satisfied only at the expense of Greece, Romania, or Serbia, whose support they also desired. Bulgaria wanted Thrace from the Maritsa River to the Vardar, including Kavalla and Saloniki (which were Greek), most of Macedonia (which was Greek or Serbian), and Dobruja (from Romania). The Entente Powers offered Thrace to the Vardar in November 1914, and added some of Macedonia in May 1915, compensating Serbia with an offer of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and the Dalmatian coast. Germany, on the other hand, gave Bulgaria a strip of Turkish territory along the Maritsa River in July 1915, added to this a loan of 200,000,000 francs six weeks later, and, in September 1915, accepted all Bulgaria's demands provided they were at the expense of belligerent countries. Within a month Bulgaria entered the war by attacking Serbia (October Il, 1915). It had considerable success, driving westward across Serbia into Albania, but exposed its left flank in this process to an attack from Entente forces which were already based on Saloniki. This attack came in September 1918, and within a month forced Bulgaria to ask for an armistice (September 30th). This marked the first break in the united front of the Central Powers.

     When war began in 1914, Romania remained neutral, in spite of the fact that it had joined the Triple Alliance in 1883. This adherence had been made because of the Germanic sympathies of the royal family, and was so secret that only a handful of people even knew about it. The Romanian people themselves were sympathetic to France. At that time Romania consisted of three parts (Moldavia, Wallachia, and Dobruja) and had ambitions to acquire Bessarabia from Russia and Transylvania from Hungary. It did not seem possible that Romania could get both of these, yet that is exactly what happened, because Russia was defeated by Germany and ostracized by the Entente Powers after its revolution in 1917, while Hungary was defeated by the Entente Powers in 1918. The Romanians were strongly anti-Russian after 1878, but this feeling decreased in the course of time, while animosities against the Central Powers rose, because of the Hungarian mistreatment of the Romanian minority in Transylvania. As a result, Romania remained neutral in 1914. Efforts by the Entente Powers to win her to their side were vain until after the death of King Carol in October 1914. The Romanians asked, as the price of their intervention on the Entente side, Transylvania, parts of Bukovina and the Banat of Temesvar, 500,000 Entente troops in the Balkans, 200,000 Russian troops in Bessarabia, and equal status with the Great Powers at the Peace Conference. For this they promised to attack the Central Powers and not to make a separate peace. Only the heavy casualties suffered by the Entente Powers in 1916 brought them to the point of accepting these terms. They did so in August of that year, and Romania entered the war ten days later. The Central Powers at once overran the country, capturing Bucharest in December. The Romanians refused to make peace until the German advance to the Marne in the spring of 1918 convinced them that the Central Powers were going to win. Accordingly, they signed the Treaty of Bucharest with Germany (May 7, 1918) by which they gave Dobruja to Bulgaria, but obtained a claim to Bessarabia,, which Germany had previously taken from Russia. Germany also obtained a ninety-year lease on the Romanian oil wells.

     Though the Entente efforts to get Greece into the war were the most protracted and most unscrupulous of the period, they were unsuccessful so long as King Constantine remained on the throne (to June 1917). Greece was offered Smyrna in Turkey if it would give Kavalla to Bulgaria and support Serbia. Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos was favorable, but could not persuade the king, and soon was forced to resign (March 1915). He returned to office in August, after winning a parliamentary election in June. When Serbia asked Greece for the 150,000 men promised in the Serb-Greek treaty of 1913 as protection against a Bulgarian attack on Serbia, Venizelos tried to obtain these forces from the Entente Powers. Four French-British divisions landed at Saloniki (October 1915), but Venizelos was at once forced out of office by King Constantine. The Entente then offered to cede Cyprus to Greece in return for Greek support against Bulgaria but were refused (October 20, 1915). When German and Bulgarian forces began to occupy portions of Greek Macedonia, the Entente Powers blockaded Greece and sent an ultimatum asking for demobilization of the Greek Army and a responsible government in Athens (June, 1916). The Greeks at once accepted, since demobilization made it less likely they could be forced to make war on Bulgaria, and the demand for responsible-government could be met without bringing Venizelos beck 'to office. Thus frustrated, the Entente Powers established a new provisional Greek government under Venizelos at their base at Saloniki. There he declared war on the Central Powers (November 1916). The Entente then demanded that the envoys of the Central Powers be expelled from Athens and that war materials within control of the Athenian government be surrendered. These demands were rejected (November 30, 1916). Entente forces landed at the port of Athens (Piraeus) on the same day, but stayed only overnight, being replaced by an Entente blockade of Greece. The Venizelos government was recognized by Britain (December 1916), but the situation dragged on unchanged. In June 1917, a new ultimatum was sent to Athens demanding the abdication of King Constantine. It was backed up by a seizure of Thessaly and Corinth, and was accepted at once. Venizelos became premier of the Athens government, and declared war on the Central Powers the next day (June 27, 1917) This gave the Entente a sufficient base to drive up the Vardar Valley, under French General Louis Franchet d'Esperey, and force Bulgaria out of the war.

     At the outbreak of war in 1914, Italy declared its neutrality on the grounds that the Triple Alliance of 1882, as renewed in 1912, bound it to support the Central Powers only in case of a defensive war and that the Austrian action against Serbia did not fall in this category. To the Italians, the Triple Alliance was still in full force and thus they were entitled, as provided in Article VII, to compensation for any Austrian territorial gains in the Balkans. As a guarantee of this provision, the Italians occupied the Valona district of Albania in November 1914. Efforts of the Central Powers to bribe Italy into the wear were difficult because the Italian demands were largely at the expense of Austria. These demands included the South Tyrol, Gorizia, the Dalmatian Islands, and Valona, with Trieste a free city. A great public controversy took place in Italy between those who supported intervention in the war on the Entente side and those who wished to remain neutral. By skillful expenditure of money, the Entente governments were able to win considerable support. Their chief achievement was in splitting the normally pacifist Socialist Party by large money grants to Benito Mussolini. A rabid Socialist who had been a pacifist leader in the Tripolitan War of 1911 Mussolini was editor of the chief Socialist paper, Avanti. He was expelled from the party when he supported intervention on the Entente side, but, using French money, he established his own paper, Popolo d'ltalia, and embarked upon the unprincipled career which ultimately made him dictator of Italy.

     By the secret Treaty of London (April 26, 1915), Italy's demands as listed above were accepted by the Entente Powers and extended to provide that Italy should also obtain Trentino, Trieste, Istria (but not Fiume), South Dalmatia, Albania as a protectorate, the Dodecanese Islands, Adalia in Asia Minor, compensatory areas in Africa if the Entente Powers made any acquisitions on that continent, a loan of ฃ50 million, part of the war indemnity, and exclusion of the Pope from any of the negotiations leading toward peace. For these extensive promises Italy agreed to make war on all the Central Powers within a month. It declared war on Austria-Hungary on May 23, 1915, but on Germany only in August, 1916.

     The Treaty of London is of the utmost importance because its ghost haunted the chancelleries of Europe for more than twenty-five years. It was used as an excuse for the Italian attack on Ethiopia in 1935 and on France in 1940.

     The Italian war effort was devoted to an attempt to force the Habsburg forces back from the head of the Adriatic Sea. In a series of at least twelve battles on the Isonzo River, on very difficult terrain, the Italians were notably unsuccessful. In the autumn of 1917 Germany gave the Austrians sufficient reinforcements to allow them to break through on to the rear of the Italian lines at Caporetto. The Italian defense collapsed and was reestablished along the Piave River only after losses of over 600,000 men, the majority by desertion. Austria was unable to pursue this advantage because of her war-weariness, her inability to mobilize her domestic economy successfully for war purposes, and, above all, by the growing unrest of the nationalities subject to Habsburg rule. These groups set up governmental committees in Entente capitals and organized "Legions" to fight on the Entente side. Italy organized a great meeting of these peoples at Rome in April 1918. They signed the "Pact of Rome," promising to work for self-determination of subject peoples and agreeing to draw the frontier between the Italians and the South Slavs on nationality lines.

     Russia, like Romania, was forced out of the war in 1917, and forced to sign a separate peace by Germany in 1918. The Russian attack on Germany in 1914 had been completely shattered at the battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes in August and September, but their ability to hold their own against Austrian forces in Galicia made it impossible to bring the war in the east to a conclusion. Russian casualties were very heavy because of inadequate supplies and munitions, while the Austrians lost considerable forces, especially of Slavs, by desertion to the Russians. This last factor made it possible for Russia to organize a "Czech Legion" of over 100,000 men. German reinforcements to the Austrian front in Galicia in 1915 made possible a great Austro-German offensive which crossed Galicia and by September had taken all of Poland and Lithuania. In these operations the Russians lost about a million men. They lost a million more in the "Brusilov" counterattack in 1916 which reached the Carpathians before it was stopped by the arrival of German reinforcements from France. By this time the prestige of the czarist government had fallen so low that it was easily replaced by a parliamentary government under Kerensky in March 1917. The new government tried to carry on the war, but misjudged the temper of the Russian people. As a result the extreme Communist group, known as Bolsheviks, were able to seize the government in November 1917, and hold it by promising the weary Russian people both peace and land. The German demands, dictated by the German General Staff, were so severe that the Bolsheviks refused to sign a formal peace, but on March 3, 1918, were forced to accept the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. By this treaty Russia lost Finland, Lithuania, the Baltic Provinces, Poland, the Ukraine and Transcaucasia. German efforts to exploit these areas in an economic sense during the war were not successful.

     The Japanese intervention in the war on August 23, 1914, was determined completely by its ambitions in the Far East and the Pacific area. It intended to use the opportunity arising from the Great Powers' concern with Europe to win concessions from China and Russia and to replace Germany, not only in its colonial possessions in the East but also to take over its commercial position so far as possible. The German island colonies north of the equator were seized at once, and the German concession at Kiaochow was captured after a brief siege. In January 1915, "Twenty-one Demands" were presented to China in the form of an ultimatum, and largely accepted. These demands covered accession to the German position in Shantung, extension of Japanese leases in Manchuria, with complete commercial liberty for the Japanese in that area, extensive rights in certain existing iron and steel enterprises of North China, and the closing of China's coast to any future foreign concessions. A demand for the use of Japanese advisers in Chinese political, military, and financial matters was rejected, and withdrawn. On July 3, 1916, Japan won Russian recognition of its new position in China in return for her recognition of the Russian penetration into Outer Mongolia. New concessions were won from China in February 1917, and accepted by the United States in November in the so-called Lansing-Ishii Notes. In these notes the Japanese gave verbal support to the American insistence on the maintenance of China's territorial integrity, political independence, and the "Open Door" policy in commercial matters.

     The outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, followed by the German victory over that country, and the beginning of civil war, gave the Japanese an opportunity in the Far East which they did not hesitate to exploit. With the support of Great Britain and the United States, they landed at Vladivostok in April 1918, and began to move westward along the route of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Czech Legion on the Russian front had already rebelled against Bolshevik rule and was fighting its way eastward along the same railroad. The Czechs were eventually evacuated to Europe, while the Japanese continued to hold the eastern end of the railroad, and gave support to the anti-Bolshevik factions in the civil war. After a year or more of confused fighting, it became clear that the anti-Bolshevik factions would be defeated and that the Japanese could expect no further concessions from the Bolsheviks. Accordingly, they evacuated Vladivostok in October 1922.

     Undoubtedly, the most numerous diplomatic agreements of the wartime period were concerned with the disposition of the Ottoman Empire. As early as February 1915, Russia and France signed an agreement by which Russia was given a free hand in the East in return for giving France a free hand in the West. This meant that Russia could annex Constantinople and block the movement for an independent Poland, while France could take Alsace-Lorraine from Germany and set up a new, independent state under French influence in the Rhineland. A month later, in March 1915, Britain and France agreed to allow Russia to annex the Straits and Constantinople. The immediate activities of the Entente Powers, however, were devoted to plans to encourage the Arabs to rebel against the sultan's authority or at least abstain from supporting his war efforts. The chances of success in these activities were increased hy the fact that the Arabian portions of the Ottoman Empire, while nominally subject to the sultan, were already breaking up into numerous petty spheres of authority, some virtually independent. The Arabs, who were a completely separate people from the Turks, speaking a Semitic rather than a Ural-Altaic language and who had remained largely nomadic in their mode of life while the Turks had become almost completely a peasant people, were united to the Ottoman peoples by little more than their common allegiance to the Muslim religion. This connection had been weakened by the efforts to secularize the Ottoman state and by the growth of Turkish nationalism which called forth a spirit of Arabic nationalism as a reaction to it.

     In 1915-1916 the British high commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, entered into correspondence with the Sherif Hussein of Mecca. While no binding agreement was signed, the gist of their discussions was that Britain would recognize the independence of the Arabs if they revolted against Turkey. The area covered by the agreement included those parts of the Ottoman Empire south of the 37th degree of latitude except Adana, Alexandretta, and "those portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo, [which] cannot be said to be purely Arab." In addition, Aden was excepted, while Baghdad and Basra were to have a "special administration." The rights of France in the whole area were reserved, the existing British agreements with various local sultans along the shores of the Persian Gulf were to be maintained, and Hussein was to use British advisers exclusively after the war. Extended controversy has risen from this division of areas, the chief point at issue being whether the statement as worded included Palestine in the area which was granted to the Arabs or in the area which was reserved. The interpretation of these terms to exclude Palestine from Arab hands was subsequently made by McMahon on several occasions after 1922 and most explicitly in 1937.

     While McMahon was negotiating with Hussein, the Government of India, through Percy Cox, was negotiating with Ibn-Saud of Nejd, and, in an agreement of December 26, 1915, recognized his independence in return for a promise of neutrality in the war. Shortly afterward, on May 16, 1916, an agreement, known as the Sykes-Picot agreement from the names of the chief negotiators, was signed between Russia, France, and Britain. Early in 1917 Italy was added to the settlement. It partitioned the Ottoman Empire in such a way that little was left to the Turks except the area within 200 or 250 miles of Ankara. Russia was to get Constantinople and the Straits, as well as northeastern Anatolia, including the Black Sea coast; Italy was to get the southwestern coast of Anatolia from Smyrna to Adalia; France was to get most of eastern Anatolia, including Mersin, Adana, and Cilicia, as well as Kurdistan, Alexandretta, Syria, and northern Mesopotamia, including Mosul; Britain was to get the Levant from Gaza south to the Red Sea, Transjordan, most of the Syrian Desert, all of Mesopotamia south of Kirkuk (including Baghdad and Basra), and most of the Persian Gulf coast of Arabia. It was also envisaged that western Anatolia around Smyrna would go to Greece. The Holy Land itself was to be internationalized.

     The next document concerned with the disposition of the Ottoman Empire was the famous "Balfour Declaration" of November 1917. Probably no document of the wartime period, except Wilson's Fourteen Points, has given rise to more disputes than this brief statement of less than eleven lines. Much of the controversy arises from the belief that it promised something to somebody and that this promise was in conflict with other promises, notably with the "McMahon Pledge" to Sherif Hussein. The Balfour Declaration took the form of a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild, one of the leading figures in the British Zionist movement. This movement, which was much stronger in Austria and Germany than in Britain, had aspirations for creating in Palestine, or perhaps elsewhere, some territory to which refugees from anti-Semitic persecution or other Jews could go to find "a national home.'' Balfour's letter said, "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." It is to be noted that this was neither an agreement nor a promise but merely a unilateral declaration, that it did not promise a Jewish state in Palestine or even Palestine as a home for the Jews, but merely proposed such a home in Palestine, and that it reserved certain rights for the existing groups in the area. Hussein was so distressed when he heard of it that he asked for an explanation, and was assured by D. G. Hogarth, on behalf of the British government, that "Jewish settlement in Palestine would only be allowed in so far as would be consistent with the political and economic freedom of the Arab population." This reassurance apparently was acceptable to Hussein, but doubts continued among other Arab leaders. In answer to a request from seven such leaders, on June 16, 1918, Britain gave a public answer which divided the Arab territories into three parts: (a) the Arabian peninsula from Aden to Akabah (at the head of the Red Sea), where the "complete and sovereign independence of the Arabs" was recognized; (b) the area under British military occupation, covering southern Palestine and southern Mesopotamia, where Britain accepted the principle that government should be based "on the consent of the governed"; and (c) the area still under Turkish control, including Syria and northern Mesopotamia, where Britain assumed the obligation to strive for "freedom and independence." Somewhat similar in tone was a joint Anglo-French Declaration of November 7, 1918, just four days before hostilities ended in the war. It promised "the complete and final liberation of the peoples who have for so long been oppressed by the Turk and the setting up of national governments and administrations that shall derive their authority from the free exercise of the initiative and choice of the indigenous populations."

     There have been extended discussions of the compatibility of the various agreements and statements made by the Great Powers regarding the disposition of the Ottoman Empire after the war. This is a difficult problem in view of the inaccuracy and ambiguity of the wording of most of these documents. On the other hand, certain facts are quite evident. There is a sharp contrast between the imperialist avarice to be found in the secret agreements like Sykes-Picot and the altruistic tone of the publicly issued statements; there is also a sharp contrast between the tenor of the British negotiations with the Jews and those with the Arabs regarding the disposition of Palestine, with the result that Jews and Arabs were each justified in believing that Britain would promote their conflicting political ambitions in that area: these beliefs, whether based on misunderstanding or deliberate deception, subsequently served to reduce the stature of Britain in the eyes of both groups, although both had previously held a higher opinion of British fairness and generosity than of any other Power; lastly, the raising of false Arab hopes and the failure to reach any clear and honest understanding regarding Syria led to a long period of conflict between the Syrians and the French government, which held the area as a mandate of the League of Nations after 1923.

     As a result of his understanding of the negotiations with McMahon, Hussein began an Arab revolt against Turkey on June 5, 1916. From that point on, he received a subsidy of ฃ225,000 a month from Britain. The famous T. E. Lawrence, known as "Lawrence of Arabia," who had been an archaeologist in the Near East in 1914, had nothing to do with the negotiations with Hussein, and did not join the revolt until October 1916. When Hussein did not obtain the concessions he expected at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Lawrence sickened of the whole affair and eventually changed his name to Shaw and tried to vanish from public view.

     The Arab territories remained under military occupation until the legal establishment of peace with Turkey in 1923. Arabia itself was under a number of sheiks, of which the chief were Hussein in Hejaz and Ibn-Saud in Nejd. Palestine and Mesopotamia (now called Iraq) were under British military occupation. The coast of Syria was under French military occupation, while the interior of Syria (including the Aleppo-Damascus railway line) and Transjordan were under an Arab force led by Emir Feisal, third son of Hussein of Mecca. Although an American commission of inquiry, known as the King-Crane Commission (1919), and a "General Syrian Congress" of Arabs from the whole Fertile Crescent recommended that France be excluded from the area, that Syria-Palestine be joined to form a single state with Feisal as king, that the Zionists be excluded from Palestine in any political role, as well as other points, a meeting of the Great Powers at San Remo in April 1920 set up two French and two British mandates. Syria and Lebanon went to France, while Iraq and Palestine (including Transjordan) went to Britain. There were Arab uprisings and great local unrest following these decisions. The resistance in Syria was crushed by the French, who then advanced to occupy' the interior of Syria and sent Feisal into exile. The British, who by this time were engaged in a rivalry (over petroleum resources and other issues) with the French, set Feisal up as king in Iraq under British protection (1921) and placed his brother Abdullah in a similar position as King of Transjordan (1923). The father of the two new kings, Hussein, was attacked by Ibn-Saud of Nejd and forced to abdicate in 1924. His kingdom of Hejaz was annexed by Ibn-Saud in 1924.

     After 1932 this whole area was known as Saudi Arabia.

     The most important diplomatic event of the latter part of the First World War was the intervention of the United States on the side of the Entente Powers in April 1917. The causes of this event have been analyzed at great length. In general there have been four chief reasons given for the intervention from four quite different points of view. These might be summarized as follows: (1) The German submarine attacks on neutral shipping made it necessary for the United States to go to war to secure "freedom of the seas"; (2) the United States was influenced by subtle British propaganda conducted in drawing rooms, universities, and the press of the eastern part of the country where Anglophilism was rampant among the more influential social groups; (3) the United States was inveigled into the war by a conspiracy of international bankers and munitions manufacturers eager to protect their loans to the Entente Powers or their wartime profits from sales to these Powers; and (4) Balance of Power principles made it impossible for the United States to allow Great Britain to be defeated by Germany. Whatever the weight of these four in the final decision, it is quite clear that neither the government nor the people of the United States were prepared to accept a defeat of the Entente at the hands of the Central Powers. Indeed, in spite of the government's efforts to act with a certain semblance of neutrality, it was clear in 1914 that this was the view of the chief leaders in the government with the single exception of Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan. Without analyzing the four factors mentioned above, it is quite clear that the United States could not allow Britain to be defeated by any other Power. Separated from all other Great Powers by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the security of America required either that the control of those oceans be in its own hands or in the hands of a friendly Power. For almost a century before 1917 the United States had been willing to allow British control of the sea to go unchallenged, because it was clear that British control of the sea provided no threat to the United States, but on the contrary, provided security for the United States at a smaller cost in wealth and responsibility than security could have been obtained by any other method. The presence of Canada as a British territory adjacent to the United States, and exposed to invasion by land from the United States, constituted a hostage for British naval behavior acceptable to the United States. The German submarine assault on Britain early in 1917 drove Britain close to the door of starvation by its ruthless sinking of the merchant shipping upon which Britain's existence depended. Defeat of Britain could not be permitted because the United States was not prepared to take over control of the sea itself and could not permit German control of the sea because it had no assurance regarding the nature of such German control. The fact that the German submarines w-ere acting in retaliation for the illegal British blockade of the continent of Europe and British violations of international law and neutral rights on the high seas, the fact that the Anglo-Saxon heritage of the United States and the Anglophilism of its influential classes made it impossible for the average American to see world events except through the spectacles made by British propaganda; the fact that Americans had lent the Entente billions of dollars which would be jeopardized by a German victory, the fact that the enormous Entente purchases of war materiel had created a boom of prosperity and inflation which would collapse the very day that the Entente collapsed— all these factors were able to bring weight to bear on the American decision only because the balance-of-power issue laid a foundation on which they could work. The important fact was that Britain was close to defeat in April 1917, and on that basis the United States entered the war. The unconscious assumption by American leaders that an Entente victory was both necessary and inevitable was at the bottom of their failure to enforce the same rules of neutrality and international law against Britain as against Germany. They constantly assumed that British violations of these rules could be compensated with monetary damages, while German violations of these rules must be resisted, by force if necessary. Since they could not admit this unconscious assumption or publicly defend the legitimate basis of international power politics on which it rested, they finally went to war on an excuse which w as legally weak, although emotionally satisfying. As John Bassett Moore, America's most famous international lawyer, put it, "What most decisively contributed to the involvement of the United States in the war was the assertion of a right to protect belligerent ships on which Americans saw fit to travel and the treatment of armed belligerent merchantmen as peaceful vessels. Both assumptions were contrary to reason and to settled law, and no other professed neutral advanced them.''

     The Germans at first tried to use the established rules of international law regarding destruction of merchant vessels. This proved so dangerous, because of the peculiar character of the submarine itself, British control of the high seas, the British instructions to merchant ships to attack submarines, and the difficulty of distinguishing between British ships and neutral ships, that most German submarines tended to attack without warning. American protests reached a peak when the Lusitania was sunk in this way nine miles off the English coast on May 7, 1915. The Lusitania was a British merchant vessel "constructed with Government funds as [an] auxiliary cruiser, . . . expressly included in the navy list published by the British Admiralty," with "bases laid for mounting guns of six-inch caliber," carrying a cargo of 2,400 cases of rifle cartridges and 1,250 cases of shrapnel, and with orders to attack German submarines whenever possible. Seven hundred and eighty-five of 1,257 passengers, including 128 of 197 Americans, lost their lives. The incompetence of the acting captain contributed to the heavy loss, as did also a mysterious "second explosion" after the German torpedo struck. The vessel, which had been declared "unsinkable," went down in eighteen minutes. The captain was on a course he had orders to avoid; he was running at reduced speed; he had an inexperienced crew; the portholes had been left open; the lifeboats had not been swung out; and no lifeboat drills had been held.

     The propaganda agencies of the Entente Powers made full use of the occasion. The Times of London announced that "four-fifths of her passengers were citizens of the United States" (the actual proportion was 15.6 percent); the British manufactured and distributed a medal which they pretended had been awarded to the submarine crew by the German government; a French paper published a picture of the crowds in Berlin at the outbreak of war in 1914 as a picture of Germans "rejoicing" at news of the sinking of the Lusitania.

     The United States protested violently against the submarine warfare while brushing aside German arguments based on the British blockade. It was so irreconcilable in these protests that Germany sent Wilson a note on May 4, 1916, in which it promised that "in the future merchant vessels within and without the war zone shall not be sunk without warning and without safeguarding human lives, unless these ships attempt to escape or offer resistance." In return the German government hoped that the United States would put pressure on Britain to follow the established rules of international law in regard to blockade and freedom of the sea. Wilson refused to do so. Accordingly, it became clear to the Germans that they would he starved into defeat unless they could defeat Britain first by unrestricted submarine warfare. Since they were aware that resort to this method would probably bring the United States into the war against them, they made another effort to negotiate peace before resorting to it. When their offer to negotiate, made on December 12, 1916, was rejected hy the Entente Powers on December 27th, the group in the German government which had been advocating ruthless submarine warfare came into a position to control affairs, and ordered the resumption of unrestricted submarine attacks on February 1, 1917. Wilson was notified of this decision on January 31st. He broke off diplomatic relations with Germany on February 3rd, and, after two months of indecision, asked the Congress for a declaration of war April 3, 1917. The final decision was influenced by the constant pressure of his closest associates, the realization that Britain was reaching the end of her resources of men, money, and ships, and the knowledge that Germany was planning to seek an alliance with Mexico if war began.

     While the diplomacy of neutrality and intervention was moving along the lines we have described, a parallel diplomatic effort was being directed toward efforts to negotiate peace. These efforts were a failure but are, nonetheless, of considerable significance because they reveal the motivations and war aims of the belligerents. They were a failure because any negotiated peace requires a willingness on both sides to make those concessions which will permit the continued survival of the enemy. In 1914-1918, however, in order to win public support for total mobilization, each country's propaganda had been directed toward a total victory for itself and total defeat for the enemy. In time, both sides became so enmeshed in their own propaganda that it became impossible to admit publicly one's readiness to accept such lesser aims as any negotiated peace would require. Moreover, as the tide of battle waxed and waned, giving alternate periods of elation and discouragement to both sides, the side which was temporarily elated became increasingly attached to the fetish of total victory and unwilling to accept the lesser aim of a negotiated peace. Accordingly, peace became possible only when war weariness had reached the point where one side concluded that even defeat was preferable to continuation of the war. This point was reached in Russia in 1917 and in Germany and Austria in 1918. In Germany this point of view was greatly reinforced by the realization that military defeat and political change were preferable to the economic revolution and social upheaval which would accompany any effort to continue the war in pursuit of an increasingly unattainable victory.

     From the various efforts to negotiate peace it is clear that Britain was unwilling to accept any peace which would not include the restoration of Belgium or which would leave Germany supreme on the Continent or in a position to resume the commercial, naval, and colonial rivalry which had existed before 1914; France was unwilling to accept any solution which did not restore Alsace-Lorraine to her; the German High Command and the German industrialists were determined not to give up all the occupied territory in the west, but were hoping to retain Lorraine, part of Alsace, Luxembourg, part of Belgium, and Longwy in France because of the mineral and industrial resources of these areas. The fact that Germany had an excellent supply of coking coal with an inadequate supply of iron ore, while the occupied areas had plenty of the latter but an inadequate supply of the former, had a great deal to do with the German objections to a negotiated peace and the ambiguous terms in which their war aims were discussed. Austria was, until the death of Emperor Francis Joseph in 1916, unwilling to accept any peace which would leave the Slavs, especially the Serbs, free to continue their nationalistic agitations for the disintegration of the Habsburg Empire. On the other hand, Italy was determined to exclude the Habsburg Empire from the shores of the Adriatic Sea, while the Serbs were even more determined to reach those shores by the acquisition of Habsburg-ruled Slav areas in the Western Balkans. After the Russian revolutions of 19,7, many of these obstacles to a negotiated peace became weaker. The Vatican, working through Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) sought a negotiated peace which would prevent the destruction of the Habsburg Empire, the last Catholic Great Power in Europe. Prominent men in all countries, like Lord Lansdowne (British foreign secretary before 1914), became so alarmed at the spread of Socialism that they were willing to make almost any concessions to stop the destruction of civilized ways of life by continued warfare. Humanitarians like Henry Ford or Romain Rolland became increasingly alarmed at the continued slaughter. But, for the reasons we have already mentioned, peace remained elusive until the great German offensives of 1918 had been broken.

     After what Ludendorff called "the black day of the German Army" (August 8, 1918), a German Crown Council, meeting at Spa, decided victory was no longer possible, and decided to negotiate for an armistice. This was not done because of a controversy between the crown prince and Ludendorff in which the former advised an immediate retreat to the "Hindenburg Line" twenty miles to the rear, while the latter wished to make a slow withdrawal so that the Entente could not organize an attack on the Hindenburg Line before winter. Two Entente victories, at Saint-Quentin (August 31st) and in Flanders (September 2nd) made this dispute moot. The Germans began an involuntary retreat, drenching the ground they evacuated with "mustard gas" in order to slow up the Entente pursuit, especially the tanks. The German High Command removed the chancellor, Hertling, and put in the more democratic Prince Max of Baden with orders to make an immediate armistice or face military disaster (September 29-October 1, 1918). On October 5th a German note to President Wilson asked for an armistice on the basis of the Fourteen Points of January 8, 1918, and his subsequent principles of September 27, 1918. These statements of Wilson had captured the imaginations of idealistic persons and subject peoples everywhere. The Fourteen Points promised the end of secret diplomacy; freedom of the seas; freedom of commerce; disarmament; a fair settlement of colonial claims, with the interests of the native peoples receiving equal weight with the titles of imperialist Powers; the evacuation of Russia; the evacuation and restoration of Belgium; the evacuation of France and the restoration to her of Alsace-Lorraine as in 1870; the readjustment of the Italian frontiers on nationality lines; free and autonomous development for the peoples of the Habsburg Empire; the evacuation, restoration, and guarantee of Romania, Montenegro, and Serbia, with the last-named securing free access to the sea; international guarantees to keep the Straits permanently opened to the ships and commerce of all nations; freedom for the autonomous development of the non-Turkish nationalities of the Ottoman Empire, along with a secure sovereignty for the Turks themselves; an independent Polish state with free access to the sea and with international guarantees; a League of Nations to afford "mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike"; and no destruction of Germany or even any alteration of her institutions except those necessary to make it clear when her spokesmen spoke for the Reichstag majority and when they "speak for the military party and the men whose creed is imperial domination."

     In a series of notes between Germany and the United States, Wilson made it clear that he would grant an armistice only if Germany would withdraw from all occupied territory, make an end to submarine attacks, accept the Fourteen Points, establish a responsible government, and accept terms which would preserve the existing Entente military superiority. He was most insistent on the responsible government, warning that if he had to deal "with military masters or monarchical autocrats" he would demand "not negotiations but surrender." The German constitution was changed to give all powers to the Reichstag; Ludendorff was fired; the German Navy at Kiel mutinied, and the Kaiser fled from Berlin (October 28th). In the meantime, the Entente Supreme War Council refused to accept the Fourteen Points as the basis for peace until Colonel House threatened that the United States would makes a separate peace with Germany. They then demanded and received a definition of the meaning of each term, made a reservation on "the freedom of the seas," and expanded the meaning of "restoration of invaded territory" to include compensation to the civilian population for their war losses. On this basis an armistice commission met German negotiators on November 7th. The German Revolution was spreading, and the Kaiser abdicated on November 8th. The German negotiators received the Entente military terms and asked for an immediate ending of hostilities and of the economic blockade and a reduction in the Entente demand for machine guns from 30,000 to 25,000 on the grounds that the difference of 5,000 was needed to suppress the German Revolution. The last point was conceded, but the other two refused. The armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, at 5:00 a.m. to take effect at 11:00 a.m. It provided that the Germans must evacuate all occupied territory (including Alsace-Lorraine) within fourteen days, and the left bank of the Rhine plus three bridgeheads on the right bank within thirty-one days, that they surrender huge specified amounts of war equipment, trucks, locomotives, all submarines, the chief naval vessels, all prisoners of war, and captured merchant ships, as w-ell as the Baltic fortresses, and all valuables and securities taken in occupied territory, including the Russian and Romanian gold reserves. The Germans were also required to renounce the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and of Bucharest, which they had imposed on Russia and on Romania, and to promise to repair the damage of occupied territories. This last point was of considerable importance, as the Germans had systematically looted or destroyed the areas they evacuated in the last few months of the war.

     The negotiations with Wilson leading up to the Armistice of 1918 are of great significance, since they formed one of the chief factors in subsequent German resentment at the Treaty of Versailles. In these negotiations Wilson had clearly promised that the peace treaty with Germany would be negotiated and would be based on the Fourteen Points; as we shall see, the Treaty of Versailles was imposed without negotiation, and the Fourteen Points fared very poorly in its provisions. An additional factor connected with these events lies in the subsequent claim of the German militarists that the German Army was never defeated but was "stabbed in the back" by the home front through a combination of international Catholics, international Jews, and international Socialists. There is no merit whatever in these contentions. The German Army was clearly beaten in the field; the negotiations for an armistice were commenced by the civilian government at the insistence of the High Command, and the Treaty of Versailles itself was subsequently signed, rather than rejected, at the insistence of the same High Command in order to avoid a military occupation of Germany. By these tactics the German Army was able to escape the military occupation of Germany which they so dreaded. Although the last enemy forces did not leave German soil until 1931, no portions of Germany were occupied beyond those signified in the armistice itself (the Rhineland and the three bridgeheads on the right hank of the Rhine) except for a brief occupation of the Ruhr district in 1932.

Chapter 14: The Home Front, 1914-1918

     The First World War was a catastrophe of such magnitude that, even today, the imagination has some difficulty grasping it. In the year 1916, in two battles (Verdun and the Somme) casualties of over 1,700,000 were suffered by both sides. In the artillery barrage which opened the French attack on Chemin des Dames in April 1917, 11,000,000 shells were fired on a 30-mile front in 10 days. Three months later, on an 11-mile front at Passchendaele, the British fired 4,250,000 shells costing ฃ22,000,000 in a preliminary barrage, and lost 400,000 men in the ensuing infantry assault. In the German attack of March 1918, 62 divisions with 4,500 heavy guns and 1,000 planes were hurled on a front only 45 miles wide. On all fronts in the whole war almost 13,000,000 men in the various armed forces died from wounds and disease. It has been estimated by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the war destroyed over $400,000,000,000 of property at a time when the value of every object in France and Belgium was not worth over $75,000,000,000.

     Obviously, expenditures of men and wealth at rates like these required a tremendous mobilization of resources throughout the world, and could not fail to have far-reaching effects on the patterns of thought and modes of action of people forced to undergo such a strain. Some states were destroyed or permanently crippled. There were profound modifications in finance, in economic life, in social relations, in intellectual outlook, and in emotional patterns. Nevertheless, two facts should be recognized. The war brought nothing really new into the world; rather it sped up processes of change which had been going on for a considerable period and would have continued anyway, with the result that changes which would have taken place over a period of thirty or even fifty years in peacetime were brought about in five years during the war. Also, the changes were much greater in objective facts and in the organization of society than they were in men's ideas of these facts or organization. It was as if the changes were too rapid for men's minds to accept them, or, what is more likely, that men, seeing the great changes which were occurring on all sides, recognized them, but assumed that they were merely temporary wartime aberrations, and that, when peace came, they would pass away and everyone could go back to the slow, pleasant world of 1913. This point of view, which dominated the thinking of the 1920's, was widespread and very dangerous. In their efforts to go back to 1913, men refused to recognize that the wartime changes were more or less permanent, and, instead of trying to solve the problems arising from these changes, set up a false facade of pretense, painted to look like 1913, to cover up the great changes which had taken place. Then, by acting as if this facade were reality, and by neglecting the maladjusted reality which was moving beneath it, the people of the 1920'S drifted in a hectic world of unreality until the world depression of 1929-1935, and the international crises which followed, tore away the facade and showed the horrible, long-neglected reality beneath it.

     The magnitude of the war and the fact that it might last for more than six months were quite unexpected for both sides and were impressed upon them only gradually. It first became clear in regard to consumption of supplies, especially ammunition, and in the problem of how to pay for these supplies. In July 1914, the military men were confident that a decision would be reached in six months because their military plans and the examples of 1866 and 1870 indicated an immediate decision. This belief was supported by the financial experts who, while greatly underestimating the cost of fighting, were confident that the financial resources of all states would be exhausted in six months. By "financial resources" they meant the gold reserves of the various nations. These were clearly limited; all the Great Powers were on the gold standard under which bank notes and paper money could be converted into gold on demand. However, each country suspended the gold standard at the outbreak of war. This removed the automatic limitation on the supply of paper money. Then each country proceeded to pay for the war by borrowing from the banks. The banks created the money which they lent by merely giving the government a deposit of any size against which the government could draw checks. The banks were no longer limited in the amount of credit they could create because they no longer had to pay out gold for checks on demand. Thus the creation of money in the form of credit by the banks was limited only by the demands of its borrowers. Naturally, as governments borrowed to pay for their needs, private businesses borrowed in order to be able to fill the government's orders. The gold which could no longer be demanded merely rested in the vaults, except where some of it was exported to pay for supplies from neutral countries or from fellow belligerents. As a result, the percentage of outstanding bank notes covered by gold reserves steadily fell, and the percentage of bank credit covered by either gold or bank notes fell even further.

     Naturally, when the supply of money was increased in this fashion faster than the supply of goods, prices rose because a larger supply of money was competing for a smaller supply of goods. This effect was made worse by the fact that the supply of goods tended to be reduced by wartime destruction. People received money for making capital goods, consumers' goods, and munitions, but they could spend their money only to buy consumers' goods, since capital goods and munitions were not offered for sale. Since governments tried to reduce the supply of consumers' goods while increasing the supply of the other two products, the problem of rising prices (inflation) became acute. At the same time the problem of public debt became steadily worse because governments were financing such a large part of their activities by bank credit. These two problems, inflation and public debt, continued to grow, even after the fighting stopped, because of the continued disruption of economic life and the need to pay for past activities. Only in the period 1920-1925 did these two stop increasing in most countries, and they remained problems long after that.

     Inflation indicates not only an increase in the prices of goods but also a decrease in the value of money (since it will buy less goods). Accordingly, people in an inflation seek to get goods and to get rid of money. Thus inflation increases production and purchases for consumption or hoarding, but it reduces saving or creation of capital. It benefits debtors (by making a fixed-money debt less of a burden) but injures creditors (by reducing the value of their savings and credits). Since the middle classes of European society, with their bank savings, checking deposits, mortgages, insurance, and bond holdings, were the creditor class, they were injured and even ruined by the wartime inflation. In Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Russia, where the inflation went so far that the monetary unit became completely valueless by 1924, the middle classes were largely destroyed, and their members were driven to desperation or at least to an almost psychopathic hatred of the form of government or the social class that they believed to be responsible for their plight. Since the last stages of inflation which dealt the fatal blow to the middle classes occurred after the war rather than during it (in 1923 in Germany), this hatred was directed against the parliamentary governments which were functioning after 1918 rather than against the monarchical governments which functioned in 1914-1918. In France and Italy, where the inflation went so far that the franc or fire was reduced permanently to one-fifth of its prewar value, the hatred of the injured middle classes was directed against the parliamentary regime which had functioned both during and after the war and against the working class which they felt had profited by their misfortunes. These things were not true in Britain or the United States, where the inflation was brought under control and the monetary unit restored to most of its prewar value. Even in these countries, prices rose by 200 to 300 percent, while public debts rose about 1,000 percent.

     The economic effects of the war were more complicated. Resources of all kinds, including land, labor, and raw materials, had to be diverted from peacetime purposes to wartime production; or, in some cases, resources previously not used at all had to be brought into the productive system. Before the war, the allotment of resources to production had been made by the automatic processes of the price system; labor and raw materials going, for example, to manufacture those goods which were most profitable rather than to those goods which were most serviceable or socially beneficial, or in best taste. In wartime, however, governments had to have certain specific goods for military purposes; they tried to get these goods produced by making them more profitable than nonmilitary goods using the same resources, but they were not always successful. The excess of purchasing power in the hands of consumers caused a great rise in demand for goods of a semi-luxury nature, like white cotton shirts for laborers. This frequently made it more profitable for manufacturers to use cotton for making shirts to sell at high prices than to use it to make explosives.

     Situations such as these made it necessary for governments to intervene directly in the economic process to secure those results which could not be obtained by the free price system or to reduce those evil effects which emerged from wartime disruption. They appealed to the patriotism of manufacturers to make things that were needed rather than things which were profitable, or to the patriotism of consumers to put their money into government bonds rather than into goods in short supply. They began to build government-owned plants for war production, either using them for such purposes themselves or leasing them out to private manufacturers at attractive terms. They began to ration consumers' goods which were in short supply, like articles of food. They began to monopolize essential raw materials and allot them to manufacturers who had war contracts rather than allow them to flow where prices w ere highest. The materials so treated were generally fuels, steel, rubber, copper, wool, cotton, nitrates, and such, although they varied from country to country, depending upon the supply. Governments began to regulate imports and exports in order to ensure that necessary materials staved in the country and, above all, did not go to enemy states. This ]ed to the British blockade of Europe, the rationing of exports to neutrals, and complicated negotiations to see that goods in neutral countries were not re-exported to enemy countries. Bribery, bargaining, and even force came into these negotiations, as when the British set quotas on the imports of Holland based on the figures for prewar years or cut down necessary shipments of British coal to Sweden until they obtained the concessions they wished regarding sales of Swedish goods to Germany. Shipping and railroad transportation had to be taken over almost completely in most countries in order to ensure that the inadequate space for cargo and freight would be used as effectively as possible, that loading and unloading would be speeded up, and that goods essential to the war effort would be shipped earlier and faster than less essential goods. Labor had to be regulated and directed into essential activities. The rapid rise in prices led to demands for raises in wages. This led to a growth and strengthening of labor unions and increasing threats of strikes. There was no guarantee that the wages of essential workers would go up faster than the wages of nonessential workers. Certainly the wages of soldiers, who were the most essential of all, went up very little. Thus there was no guarantee that labor, if left solely to the influence of wage levels, as was usual before 1914, would flow to the occupations where it was most urgently needed. Accordingly, the governments began to intervene in labor problems, seeking to avoid strikes but also to direct the flow of labor to more essential activities. There were general registrations of men in most countries, at first as part of the draft of men for military service, but later to control services in essential activities. Generally, the right to leave an essential job was restricted, and eventually people were directed into essential jobs from nonessential activities. The high wages and shortage of labor brought into the labor market many persons who would not have been in it in peacetime, such as old persons, youths, clergy, and, above all, women. This flow of women from homes into factories or other services had the most profound effects on social life and modes of living, revolutionizing the relations of the sexes, bringing women up to a level of social, legal, and political equality closer than previously to that of men, obtaining for them the right to vote in some countries, the right to own or dispose of property in other more backward ones, changing the appearance and costume of women by such innovations as shorter skirts, shorter hair, less frills, and generally a drastic reduction in the amount of clothing they wore.

     Because of the large number of enterprises involved and the small size of many of them, direct regulation by the government was less likely in the field of agriculture. Here conditions were generally more competitive than in industry, with the result that farm prices had shown a growing tendency to fluctuate more widely than industrial prices. This continued during the war, as agricultural regulation was left more completely to the influence of price changes than other parts of the economy. As farm prices soared, farmers became more prosperous than they had been in decades, and sought madly to increase their share of the rain of money by bringing larger and larger amounts of land under cultivation. This was not possible in Europe because of the lack of men, equipment, and fertilizers; but in Canada, the United States, Australia, and South America land was brought under the plow which, because of lack of rainfall or its inaccessibility to peacetime markets, should never have been brought under cultivation. In Canada the increase in wheat acreage was from 9.9 million in the years 1909-1913 to 22.1 million in the years 1921-25. In the United States the increase in wheat acreage was from 47.0 million to 58.1 million in the same period. Canada increased her share of the world's wheat crop from 14 percent to 39 percent in this decade. Farmers went into debt to obtain these lands, and by 1920 were buried under a mountain of mortgages which would have been considered unbearable before 1914 but which in the boom of wartime prosperity and high prices was hardly given a second thought.

     In Europe such expansion of acreage was not possible, although grasslands were plowed up in Britain and some other countries. In Europe as a whole, acreage under cultivation declined, by 15 percent for cereals in 1913-1919. Livestock numbers were also reduced (swine by 22 percent and cattle by 7 percent in 1913-1920). Woodlands were cut for fuel when importation of coal was stopped from England, Germany, or Poland. Since most of Europe was cut off from Chile, which had been the chief prewar source of nitrates, or from North Africa and Germany, which had produced much of the prewar supply of phosphates, the use of these and other fertilizers was reduced. This resulted in an exhaustion of the soil so great that in some countries, like Germany, the soil had not recovered its fertility by 1930. When the German chemist Haber discovered a method for extracting nitrogen from the air which made it possible for his country to survive the cutting off of Chilean nitrates, the new supply was used almost entirely to produce explosives, with little left over for fertilizers. The declining fertility of the soil and the fact that new lands of lesser natural fertility were brought under cultivation led to drastic declines in agricultural output per acre (in cereals about 15 percent in 1914-1919).

     These adverse influences were most evident in Germany, where the number of hogs fell from 25.3 million in 1914 to 5.7 million in 1918; the average weight of slaughtered cattle fell from 250 kilos in 1913 to 130 in 1918; the acreage in sugar beets fell from 592,843 hectares in 1914 to 366,505 in 1919, while the yield of sugar beets per hectare fell from 31,800 kilos in 1914 to 16,350 kilos in 1920. German's prewar imports of about 6 ฝ million tons of cereals each year ceased, and her home production of these fell by 3 million tons per year. Her prewar imports of over 2 million tons of oil concentrates and other feed for farm animals stopped. The results of the blockade were devastating. Continued for nine months after the armistice, it caused the deaths of 800,000 persons, according to Max Sering. In addition, reparations took about 108,000 horses, 205,000 cattle, 426,000 sheep, and 240,000 fowl.

     More damaging than the reduction in the number of farm animals (which was made up in six or seven years), or the drain on the fertility of the soil (which could be made up in twelve or fifteen years), was the disruption of Europe's integration of agricultural production (which was never made up). The blockade of the Central Powers tore the heart out of the prewar integration. When the war ended, it was impossible to replace this, because there were many new political boundaries; these boundaries were marked by constantly rising tariff restrictions, and the non-European world had increased both its agricultural and industrial output to a point where it was much less dependent on Europe.

     The heavy casualties, the growing shortages, the slow decline in quality of goods, and the gradual growth of the use of substitutes, as well as the constantly increasing pressure of governments on the activities of their citizens—all these placed a great strain on the morale of the various European peoples. The importance of this question was just as great in the autocratic and semi-democratic countries as it was in the ones with fully democratic and parliamentary regimes. The latter did not generally permit any general elections during the war, but both types required the full support of their peoples in order to maintain their battle lines and economic activities at full effectiveness. At the beginning, the fever of patriotism and national enthusiasm was so great that this was no problem. Ancient and deadly political rivals clasped hands, or even sat in the same Cabinet, and pledged a united front to the enemy of their fatherland. But disillusionment was quick, and appeared as early as the winter of 1914. This change was parallel to the growth of the realization that the war was to be a long one and not the lightning stroke of a single campaign and a single battle which all had expected. The inadequacies of the preparations to deal with the heavy casualties or to provide munitions for the needs of modern war, as well as the shortage or disruption of the supply of civilian goods, led to public agitation. Committees were formed, but proved relatively ineffective, and in most activities in most countries were replaced by single-headed agencies equipped with extensive controls. The use of voluntary or semi-voluntary methods of control generally vanished with the committees and were replaced by compulsion, however covert. In governments as w holes a somewhat similar shifting of personnel took place until each Cabinet came to be dominated by a single man, endowed with greater energy, or a greater willingness to make quick decisions on scanty information than his fellows. In this way Lloyd George replaced Asquith in England; Clemenceau replaced a series of lesser leaders in France; Wilson strengthened his control on his own government in the United States; and, in a distinctly German way, Ludendorff came to dominate the government of his country. In order to build up the morale of their own peoples and to lower that of their enemies, countries engaged in a variety of activities designed to regulate the flow of information to these peoples. This involved censorship, propaganda, and curtailment of civil liberties. These were established in all countries, without a hitch in the Central Powers and Russia where there were long traditions of extensive police authority, but no less effectively in France and Britain. In France a State of Siege was proclaimed on August 2, 1914. This gave the government the right to rule by decree, established censorship, and placed the police under military control. In general, French censorship was not so severe as the German nor so skillful as the British, while their propaganda was far better than the German but could not compare with the British. The complexities of French political life and the slow movement of its bureaucracy allowed all kinds of delays and evasions of control, especially by influential persons. When Clemenceau was in opposition to the government in the early days of the war, his paper, L'homme libre, was suspended; he continued to publish it with impunity under the name L'homme enchain้. The British censorship was established on August 5, 1914, and at once intercepted all cables and private mail which it could reach, including that of neutral countries. These at once became an important source of military and economic intelligence. A Defence of the Realm Act (familiarly known as DORA) was passed giving the government the power to censor all information. A Press Censorship Committee was set up in 1914 and was replaced by the Press Bureau under Frederick E. Smith (later Lord Birkenhead) in 1916. Established in Crewe House, it was able to control all news printed in the press, acting as the direct agent of the Admiralty and War Offices. The censorship of printed books was fairly lenient, and was much more so for books to be read in England than for books for export, with the result that "best sellers" in England were unknown in America. Parallel with the censorship was the War Propaganda Bureau under Sir Charles Masterman, which had an American Bureau of Information under Sir Gilbert Parker at Wellington House. This last agency was able to control almost all information going to the American press, and by 1916 was acting as an international news service itself, distributing European news to about 35 American papers which had no foreign reporters of their own.

     The Censorship and the Propaganda bureaus worked together in Britain as well as elsewhere. The former concealed all stories of Entente violations of the laws of war or of the rules of humanity, and reports on their own military mistakes or their own war plans and less altruistic war aims, while the Propaganda Bureau widely publicized the violations and crudities of the Central Powers, their prewar schemes for mobilization, and their agreements regarding war aims. The German violation of Belgian neutrality w as constantly bewailed, while nothing was said of the Entente violation of Greek neutrality. A great deal was made of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia, while the Russian mobilization which had precipitated the war was hardly mentioned. In the Central Powers a great deal was made of the Entente “encirclement,” while nothing was said of the Kaiser's demands for "a place in the sun" or the High Command's refusal to renounce annexation of any part of Belgium. In general, manufacture or outright lies by propaganda agencies was infrequent, and the desired picture of the enemy was built up by a process of selection and distortion of evidence until, by 1918, many in the West regarded the Germans as bloodthirsty and sadistic militarists, while the Germans regarded the Russians as ''subhuman monsters." A great deal was made, especially by the British, of "atrocity" propaganda; stories of German mutilation of bodies, violation of women, cutting off of children's hands, desecration of churches and shrines, and crucifixions of Belgians were widely believed in the West by 1916. Lord Bryce headed a committee which produced a volume of such stories in 1915, and it is quite evident that this well-educated man, "the greatest English authority on the United States," was completely taken in by his own stories. Here, again, outright manufacture of falsehoods was infrequent, although General Henry Charteris in 1917 created a story that the Germans were cooking human bodies to extract glycerine, and produced pictures to prove it. Again, photographs of mutilated bodies in a Russian anti-Semitic outrage in 1905 were circulated as pictures of Belgians in 1915. There were several reasons for the use of such atrocity stories: (a) to build up the fighting spirit of the mass army; (b) to stiffen civilian morale; (c) to encourage enlistments, especially in England, where volunteers were used for one and a half years; (d) to increase subscriptions for war bonds; (e) to justify one's own breaches of international law or the customs of war; (f) to destroy the chances of negotiating peace (as in December 1916) or to justify a severe final peace (as Germany did in respect to Brest-Litovsk); and (g) to win the support of neutrals. On the whole, the relative innocence and credulity of the average person, who was not yet immunized to propaganda assaults through mediums of mass communication in 1914, made the use of such stories relatively effective. But the discovery, in the period after 1919, that they had been hoaxed gave rise to a skepticism toward all government communications which was especially noticeable in the Second World War.

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