Слике страница

without distinction of nationality or destination. It recalls the fact that the United States has protested against submarine warfare as contrary to the principles of humanity recognized by all civilized nations. Germany has promised to respect passenger ships, but the commanders of her submarines have not kept that promise, and the list of Americans who have thus lost their lives has grown longer from month to month, until it now has reached 100. The United States Government has been very patient, but now “ it has become painfully evident to it that the position which it took at the very outset is inevitable, namely, the use of submarines for the destruction of an enemy's commerce is, of necessity, because of the very character of the vessels employed, and the very methods of attack which their employment of course involves, utterly incompatible with the principles of humanity, the longestablished and incontrovertible rights of neutrals, and the sacred immunities of noncombatants." The note ends with the statement that if it is still the purpose of the Imperial Government to prosecute relentless and indiscriminate warfare, the American Government will have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations with the German Empire altogether.

April 24, 1916—The Dutch steamer Berkelstroom, on its way to England, is shelled by a German submarine without warning. The vessel, having stopped, is sunk, though the contraband found on board amounts to only one-third of the cargo, and despite the offer to throw this overboard; to a remark of the Captain on this subject the commander of the submarine replies: Everything that goes to England is contraband."

May 4, 1916—Von Jagow answers the American note. The Sussex affair is reserved for later treatment; if a German submarine sank that ship Germany will asume the consequences. The note protests against the American criticism of submarine warfare. “ The German naval forces are under orders to conduct submarine warfare in conformity with the general principles of visit and search and the destruction of merchant vessels recognized by international law, the sole exception being the conduct of warfare against enemy trade carried on enemy freight ships encountered in the war zone surrounding Great Britain." Errors have occurred: they are inevitable in all wars. The note contends that the German submarine warfare is only a reply to the British violation of international law in condemning millions of women and children to starvation. The German Government announces that the German naval forces have received the following order:

In accordance with the general principles of visit and search and the destruction of merchant vessels, recognized by international law, such vessels, both within and without the area declared a naval war zone, shall not be sunk without warning and without saving

human lives unless the ship attempt to escape or offer resistance."

In consequence of these new orders the German Government “ does not doubt that the Government of the United States will now demand and insist that the British Government shall forthwith observe the rules of international law universally recognized before the war," rules which the United States has invoked in its notes to the British Government. “ Should steps taken by the Government of the United States not attain the object it desires, to have the laws of humanity followed by all the belligerent nations, the German Government would then be facing a new situation in which it must reserve to itself complete liberty of decision."

May 10, 1916-Secretary Lansing replies to the German note of May t. This response is very brief.

It takes cognizance of the intention to make German naval officers observe the rules of international law. The American Government assumes that, despite certain passages of the German note, Germany does not intend to make the fulfillment of her promises depend upon the negotiations between the United States and any other belligerent Government. The note concludes: "In order to avoid any possible misunderstanding, the Government of the United States notifies the Imperial Government that it cannot for a moment entertain, much less discuss, a suggestion that respect by German naval authorities for the rights of citizens of the United States upon the high seas should in any way or in the slightest degree be made contingent upon the conduct of any other Government affecting the rights of neutrals and noncombatants. Responsibility in such matters is single, not joint; absolute, not relative."

June 2, 1916–The Norwegian steamers Bure and Orkedal are torpedoed without warning by an unknown submarine which is seen by some of the sailors; in the crew of the Bure one man is killed and two are wounded.

Submarines in Neutral Ports June 21, 1916–The German submarine U-35 enters the Spanish port of Carthagena and is there treated as an ordinary warship, its stay being limited to twenty-four hours.

July 9, 1916–The German commercial submarine Deutschland enters the American port of Norfolk and proceeds to Baltimore. It is considered a merchant ship and treated as such.

July 10, 1916–The Dutch sloop Geertruida, though displaying its flag and other marks of its nationality, (the national colors painted on its sides, with the word “ Holland" in large letters,) is fired upon without warning by a German submarine; it sinks in three minutes. When the master of the ship expresses his contempt for such methods the commander of the submarine replies: war. Germany will pay well for everything."

July 19, 1916-4 Swedish law forbids for

" It's

[ocr errors]

eign war submarines to enter Swedish waters under peril of being attacked without warning. An exception is made in cases where submarines are forced by stress of weather to put into port.

July 27, 1916–Captain Fryatt is condemned to death by a German court-martial and shot. Commanding an English vessel that was summoned to stop by the German U-53, he had tried to sink the latter by heading his ship toward it at full speed. This had occurred on March 28, 1915.

Aug. 9. 1916–According to press dispatches, the Bundesrat approves the rejection by the Chancellor of the unrestricted submarine warfare urged by the Pan-German radicals.

Aug. 29, 1916–The French boat François Joseph is torpedoed in the Mediterranean, fifty miles from the Balearic Islands, The seven men of the crew remain in an open boat through a violent storm until the 31st.

August, 1916–Memorandum from the Entente Ailies to the neutral powers contends that the characteristics of submarines are an obstacle to allowing them the ordinary privileges of international law in neutral ports. By their ability to dive they can evade control; it is impossible to identify them, to ascertain their nationality, their character as neutral or belligerent, or as warship or merchant ship; every place at a distance from its base where the submarine can stay and obtain supplies becomes for it a base of naval operations. Consequently the Allies are of the opinion that submarines belonging to belligerents ought not to be admitted to neutral waters and that every belligerent submarine entering a neutral port should be interned.

To this memorandum the Government of the United States replies (Aug. 31) that it is not “at present aware of any circumstances concerning the use of war or merchant submarines which would render the existing rules of international law inapplicable to them," and that in consequence it will reserve its liberty of action. It adds that it is the duty of belligerent powers to distinguish between submarines of neutral and belligerent nationality.

Oct. 7, 1916-The German submarine U-53 arrives at Newport, R. I., and remains there a few hours.

Oct. 8, 1916–German submarines sink five British and neutral vessels in proximity to American waters. Among the latter is the Dutch steamer Blommersdijk. The Netherlands Government protests, holding that the cargo was destined for Holland. It receives assurance that “the commanders of submarines have strict orders not to sink neutral ships without fully observing the stipulations of

the German code for maritimo prizes," and that if these orders have not been executed the German Government will indemnify Holland.

(Communiqué of the Netherlands Government, published Oct. 14.)

Oct. 11, 1916-A note from Norway to Germany protests against the fact that Norwegian vessels have been sunk recently without sufficient provision for the safety of the lives of the crews, a course contrary to the law of nations. It holds that the Convention of London does not authorize the destruction of neutral ships except in special cases, and that the German practice is making a rule of the exception,

Oct. 13, 1916—A Norwegian decree forbids naval submarines of the belligerent powers to enter Norwegian waters under pain of being attacked without warning. Exception is made in case of forced refuge. The interdiction does not extend to naval submarines of neutrals, nor to any commercial submarines.

[Remark-The German press, which approved the similar Swedish decree of July 19. freely condemns that of Norway. ]

Oct. 14, 1916-Holland replies to the allied memorandum of August. The Netherlands Government declares that when it forbade all warships to enter its territorial waters, war submarines were included in that interdiction; as for commercial submarines entering Dutch ports, no rule of international law authorizes their internment.

Oct. 18, 1916-A communiqué from the German Legation to the Norwegian press gives an answer to the note of the 11th. It assures Norway that the German naval forces destroy neutral vessels only when they cannot do otherwise. It adds that in such cases the German commanders take the greatest care to bring the Norwegian vessels as near to the shore as possible.

Oct. 20, 1916-A German note to Norway places on record certain reservations which the Imperial Government makes in regard to the Norwegian decree of Oct. 13.

Statistical Data March 30, 1916-Mr. Nelson communicates to the United States Senate a list of 136 Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch shipa sunk by submarines.

April 18, 1916–Mr. Runciman informs the House of Commons that from Aug. 4, 1914, to April 15, 1916, 3,117 persons (1,754 sailors, 188 fishermen, and 1,175 passengers) lost their lives on British ships by acts of the enemy.

May 11, 1916–The British Government communicates to the House of Commons a list of 37 English and 22 neutral vessels that were torpedoed without warning from May 7, 1915, to May 10, 1916.

Oct. 10, 1916–Norway has lost to date 171 vessels, totaling 235,000 tonnage; 140 Norwegian sailors have perished.

Nov. 18, 1916–The Paris edition of The London Daily Mail cites a response of Lord Grey to the effect that from June 1 to Sept. 30, 1916, German submarines have sunk, noi counting warships, 714 British vessels, 314 vessels belonging to England's allies, and 281 neutral merchantmen, of which 160 were Norwegian.

Military Operations of the Month

By H. H. von Mellenthin
Foreign Editor New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung

[ocr errors]


CCURATE judgment of the present cannot be overshadowed even by the U

war situation from the military boat war. Just as storming attacks are standpoint and a discussion of the prepared by artillery, so the operations

whole development of the politico of the submarines are to be valued meremilitary conditions during the period ly as preliminary actions. ending about the middle of February The lull on the various battle fronts must be based upon consideration of the has been dictated chiefly by the adverse grand offensives predicted for the ap weather conditions of the season. All the proaching Spring which are expected to livelier is the activity behind the fronts. decide the conflict.

Everywhere there is ceaseless hustle and Even the outstanding military event of bustle. Every factory, every munitions the past month, the declaration by Ger plant, every arsenal, and every shipyard many of unrestricted U-boat warfare, is working at full blast. Preparations which led to the rupture of diplomatic re are made for the grave hour of the delations between the United States and cision which Spring is expected to bring. Germany, and which at the present mo Field Marshal von Hindenburg in rement threatens to develop into armed

porting to Chancellor Bethmann conflict between the two nations, must be

Hollweg shortly before the declaration divested of its political garb and viewed of unrestricted U-boat warfare, stated from the standpoint of its effect upon that all fronts are firmly intact and that the shaping of the war situation.

all necessary reserves are at hand. The cause and the purpose of unrestricted warfare in the barred

The Month's Military Activities around the British Isles and in the Med A detailed review of the operations of iterranean was fully explained by the the month past follows: German Chancellor in his speech at the 1. WEST FRONT—After a period of session of the Main Committee of the comparative calm marked by artillery Reichstag on Jan. 31, published else duels, reconnoitring feelers

along the where in these pages.

German front as far as the Swiss mounThe German U-boat “ blockade " has

tains, and minor scout actions, the Brita dual purpose. England is to be forced ish are of late displaying a lively activity by lack of supplies to consider peace, and along the Ancre-Somme front. This the forthcoming allied offensive in the British front now extends as far as the west is to be hampered, and, if possible, area south of the Somme where the frustrated by the blocking of the sources British have taken over the positions of supply. The Allies are to be incapac formerly held by the French. General itated to draw upon new men, new muni Sir Douglas Haig is making strenuous tions, and new supplies at a time when efforts to “build up" his lines in this they will most sorely need them.

area. He was partly successful in this The situation on the principal fighting during the last few days in the northern fronts has again degenerated to trench sector, on both banks of the Ancre and in activity, but considerable mobility marks the direction of Bapaume. The Germans the areas behind the fronts. Each na have evacuated Grandcourt, thus tion is sharpening its weapons for the abling the British to straighten out their Spring campaign. These preparations northern front line, which had been



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Tusora. The

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]





[ocr errors]

Puggi Byk

O Roman

Dranceni pogonieści


1006 CURRENT HISTORY: A Monthly Magazine of The New York Times

Sershege! EL Szvorzeni

kich kareni






PDubossary Novopetrovskaia Katechi


Kriulating frigoriopol
Dolhasca. Belcesci




Ploškąial sfoaiatoweka

Grebennikio Rasdielivia
Targu Frumis JASINO




por potchechty






warnary Satija

W kauchany







Si Plopuna



baklydopeba Tourlelio Dacobins)



Kulim to jutinis kietis
Goseni. Perkend

koule tcha

Tergu Ocna Förbusca




Tchadyr lunga Hkrangi (zjutud


fatar Benar todid curesci Berfisco


Grudigeni ca cea cague

Trojanon wall


vesci Pechea

- Kovasznaltgrdord FOCSANA


Reni c de Bra


Mierei Ritnicu Sarat BRAILA
sal darasci

Eercul froita suteserrein


vole roma

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]





[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Sarate Divisiya

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

German Lines in Moldavia , Feb. 20,1917.

hitherto a source of danger because of its salient form.

This front lies directly west of Bapaume, the immediate object of the last grand offensive of the joint French and British forces. It may be safely assumed that it is against this sector that a new allied offensive will be directed. But in the meantime military conditions have changed. The value of the possession of Bapaume has been decreased in proportion to the new defense fronts established during the last few months by the Germans behind the BapaumePéronne highway. Today it is known that the German high command was seriously considering the abandonment of Péronne during the Entente offensive on the Somme; that the French, who advanced to the very gates of this stronghold, failed to occupy it, is cause for much astonishment. Thus, the evacuation of Bapaume would scarcely form an important military event as the situation stands today. The entire terrain

in front of the city has been literally
battered to pieces, while the newly es-
tablished lines in the rear have been
strongly fortified for an efficacious de-
fense. Through the evacuation of Grand-
court and Serre the Germans have now
gained closer coherence with their new

Only the future developments of the
situation can show whether the six sharp
attacks launched in quick succession by
the British on Feb. 1 were the be-
ginning of a new offensive. It would
seem that weather conditions at present
would scarcely permit this, but the lively
activity which is marking the situation
on the entire west front indicates that
the phase of preparation is approaching
its end.

At Verdun the army of the German
Crown Prince made

an important ad-
vance on the west bank of the Meuse,
storming French trenches east of Hill 304
on a front of 1,600 meters.
neous attacks on Dead Man's Hill and



[ocr errors]

to the northeast of Avocourt brought the desired success.

Offensive actions also took place on the Woevre plain. These, however, assumed no important proportions, though it should be recalled here that a prominent French military expert long ago made the prediction that upon this plain the fate of Verdun would one day be decided.

At the moment of writing comes official news from Berlin of a substantial success achieved by the Crown Prince's right wing in the Champagne, where his storming columns smashed through four lines of strongly defended French positions on Hill 185 and the Maison de Champagne, south of Ripont. More than 800 prison

were taken, including 28 officers. This unusual ratio between officers and men captured indicates heavy losses on the part of the defenders, as does the large booty reported by the Berlin War Office. Curiously enough, this action has been thus far completely ignored by the French official communiqués. . The assumption is justified that no reference to it will be made until the French have succeeded in regaining at least part of the ground lost.

This German success in the Champagne is the most important infantry action reported this year from the west front. Any further successes in this region will necessarily influence the situation at Verdun, since the scene of this latest German offensive movement is only some nine miles from the Paris-Verdun railway. Astonishingly little attention has been paid by allied and neutral military observers to the obvious connection between the Champagne and Verdun positions. Penetration on a large scale of the French Champagne lines and subsequent cutting of the Paris-Verdun railway east of Rheims would mean the isolation of France's Verdun army and of the whole southern chain of French fortresses. For this reason the situation in the Champagne bears particularly attentive watching.

The Situation of Russia 2. RUSSIAN FRONT-The Russian offensive on the Riga front after small successes won in the initial onrush has

been stified in blood and mud amid the frozen swamps of the Aa River. The Muscovite attacks were directed chiefly against the Village of Kalnzem, which is nearest the important German base at Mitau, and, incidentally, nearest to the East Prussian frontier. On Jan. 23 the German counterthrusts set in. They resulted in the expulsion of the enemy from the greater part of the river terrain. All subsequent Russian attempts to regain the lost ground failed under the heaviest losses, according to Berlin. The bitterness of the battles in this region may be seen in the fact that it is impossible in the ice-covered swamp region to dig new trenches, so that the fighting takes place virtually without cover.

Bloody battles are still under way on the Dwina front, midway between Dwinsk and the Narotch Lake, near Driswiaty Lake, as well as north of Kisilim, in Vol-' hynia, and on the Halicz-Stanislau sector, in East Galicia. On these fronts the Teutonic forces have undertaken a series of strong advances which were met by stubborn resistance on the part of the Russians.

Once more the adequacy of the military strength and the resources of Russia have taken the foreground in the discussion of the future conduct of the Entente war, the subject being revived by the mission of General Castelnau, who recently arrived in Petrograd. The assertion has been frequently made of late that the Central Powers with their proclamation of an independent kingdom of Poland “spoiled Russia's peace soup."

In judging the present war situation the question of Russia's preparedness for a continuation of the struggle and her necessity for peace must be considered. Russia's necessity for peace is determined by her dependency upon her allies for munitions and money.

Armed conflict between the United States and Germany would primarily benefit Russia, for all the U-boats of the Central Powers would be unable to prevent wholesale shipments of munitions from America to Russia.

The lively aerial activity along the whole Russian front proves that there, too, preparations for a Spring campaign are under way.

« ПретходнаНастави »