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to be impossible, but this was a false States for this decree stood 9 to 6 on assumption, as the events of 1864 proved. June 14, 1866. Prussia thereupon issued Decree and Execution
a circular note calling for a new confede
ration, from which Austria and LuxemThe Schleswig-Holstein question be
burg were to be excluded, and the “six came acute in 1860, when Denmark en
weeks' war between Prussia and Ausdeavored to get control of Holstein, a
tria ensued. member of the German Confederation.
We see, then, that the elaborate maIn 1864 Federal execution was ordered
chinery to avoid war failed to work sucby the Confederate Diet against the
cessfully when the two strong members Grand Duke Charles of Holstein to com
of the confederation came to a disagreepel him to carry out Confederate decrees
ment. Each of 1860 and 1863, and an army was
was struggling for the formed of the lesser States, composed of
leadership of the confederation-Austria
to retain her old hegemony, and Prussia, 6,000 Saxons and 6,000 Hanoverians; a
under the subtle Bismarck, to displace further army of 5,000 Prussians and 5,000 Austrians was held in reserve, but the
her. These two powerful nations with
totally irreconcilable views had to settle latter two great powers of the Con
their differences by the sword, notwithfederation undertook the task. Great Britain had encouraged Den
standing their being members of a
“ league to enforce peace.” mark to resist, but in the end she stood aside and allowed the Danes to be crushed In this war the “needle-gun " brought in the war, so that Denmark, instead of swift victory to King William and his gaining control of the Duchy of Holstein, allies, and four years later the aggranlost both it and Schleswig.
dizement of Prussia brought about its Austria and Prussia came to an agree
war with France. The annexation of ment in regard to the Duchies to the ef Alsace-Lorraine, considered necessary fect that Prussia was to have the ad for the protection of Prussia and the subministration of Schleswig and Austria jection of France, has led to the alliance that of Holstein, although the countries of that country with Russia. Thus we to be thus governed by these two powers
find that the present catastrophe in wished to be united. Then Austria re Europe goes back lineally to the Panfused to consent to the annexation of the dora's box of the Schleswig-Holstein Duchies to Prussia, and appealed to the question. Diet and to the Middle German States This review of events shows that the to aid her in case of attack by Prussia. first league to enforce peace was not At the same time Prussia addressed a happy in its results, and yet it may be circular note to the German States, in that, as Prussia once accepted a constiwhich she begged them to inform her tution which provided for the submission what course they would pursue suppos
of rival claims of Confederate States to ing she were to be attacked by Austria. the Confederate Diet and the promulgaThe majority of these States referred tion of decrees and the enforcement of her to the Diet of the Confederation. those decrees by Federal execution, it
Prussia then made overtures to Aus might, in order to bring about a stable tria, but the latter power refused to en peace between the States of Europe and tertain them. The powers stepped in to
Great Britain, bring itself to an adhesion try to prevent war. Austria placed the to some such a league as is now planned. solution of the Schleswig-Holstein situa The present upheaval in Europe was tion in the hands of the Diet of the Con perhaps caused by the disturbance of the federation, promising to abide by its de equilibrium of the Balkan States as well cision. In this case the Diet voted a de as by the growing military power of the cree to accede to the demands of Aus
German Empire and its avowed ambitria, although her call for execution by a tions, which were curbed by the constricFederal army was contrary to the spirit tion of Germany within its narrow and letter of the act. The vote of the bounds. The first serious vibrations felt
in Western Europe came from the Balkan States. Now, after two years and a half of war, the control of the bridge between the Teuton allies and the Near East is being bitterly contested. If the Entente Allies should not succeed in barring this eastern extension of Germany over its wished-for vassal States of Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Turkey, the German Empire, like Prussia in the old German Confederation, would be too strong to submit a quarrel to the arbitration of a council of a league of nations. But if the Teutons fail in the Balkans, and the Entente Allies hold the “bridge,” Germany might well be a tractable member of such a league, after the experience of this war. This contest on the eastern front seems the vital tug of war, and the western fighting seems now to be a necessary corollary of it.
The practical question, then, before the world is this: If a State, a member of such a league, is strong enough, or thinks it is strong enough, to stand against all the others to gain its end, will it abide by any decree made by the proposed League to Enforce Peace, even after arbitration before the league tribunal, it being understood beforehand that such a refusal would lead to the coalition of the whole world against it?
It is quite clear that before the expe
riences of the “ world war," great nations would not have been bound by any such agreement. When the important interests of a nation are at stake, its course has almost always been selfish, but the terrible war may be teaching a lesson even to that nation whose strict adhercnce to a league would be the only guarantee of its success.
It seems fairly clear, then, that rather than to attempt what may be impossible, that is, the humiliation of Germany, an effort should be made, after a check to the Teutons in the east, to make a peace which should give all the countries their aspirations—the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France, a recognition of Germany's necessity for expansion, and an outlet for Russia to the Mediterranean, and provide for the restoration and indemnification of ruined small countries; Great Britain has all she wishes today, and only desires to be left alone.
The unstable equilibrium of Europe must be cured before a stable foundation for peace—or for a peace league-can be laid. Communities under alien rule, races governed by other races, religions ruled by other religions, countries shut off from their natural development, countries forced into unnatural expansion, are never content. It is only by minds convinced of these premises that a sound peace can be made.
By 0. C. A. CHILD
Again the Briton nears the ancient gates!
The city of the Holy Sepulchre
The coming of the legions from afar.
That followed Richard's leopard-blazoned shield Down the long road that valor pointed plain
The path of honor to the stricken field. Now men as bold as they, their sires sons,
Toil through the sands where centuries ago Their forebears fought-awake with roaring, guns
The dead who heard crusading trumpets blow. Perchance the ghost of grim old Saladin
A scimitar across their path may fling,
The wraith of England's Lion-hearted King!
By Frank H. Simonds Frank H. Simonds, associate editor of The New York Tribune, visited the battlefields in France and had personal interviews with the British and French Premiers and military chiefs in February, 1917. He presented his conclusions in a series of articles, parts of which, by special agreement, are herewith presented in CURRENT HISTORY MAGAZINE. Mr. Simonds's judgment on the situation in Europe is highly regarded in well-informed circles.
[Copyrighted-Printed by Special Arrangement]
EFORE I went to the British front that the German troops in front of us are
and talked with the British com about to collapse, not that the German manders I shared the view of lines are about to break up like a fro
most uninformed observers from zen river with the Spring thaw, but that afar that the main purpose of British some day this process of weakening will strategy and tactics alike was to pierce have serious consequences. It may be the German lines, to force the Germans that the Germans will avoid these conseout of France by some
quences by gradual swift, complete stroke
retirement, but such -I believed that this
gradual retirement was a possible thing.
shakes the morale of But I doubt if any
the soldier and of the British General of au
nation. It may be that thority really believes
the Germans will hold or expects this sort of
on as Lee did before outcome to the war at
Richmond until the the present time.
last, and thus court Rather the prevailing
disaster, such disaster notion is summed up
as came to Lee. But in Grant's memorable
these things are in the words—and the Brit
future. ish Army expects to
“ As to piercing the fight the present cam
German lines, given paign out on the exist
the present style of ing lines if it takes all
war, given the mag. Summer or several
nificent organization Summers. Indeed, I
of the German lines, was struck with the
FRANK H. SIMONDS
given their mechanic emphasis Sir Will
cal resources, notably, iam Robertson laid on the parallel of the machine guns, this is a long task. civil war when I talked with him in Lon And the main thing is not to pierce don later.
lines, but to kill Germans and to Here is about the point of view of the wear out the German armies. It makes British Army in France:
relatively little difference whether this “ Today we have more guns and more is done on the line of the Somme or on amnunition than the Germans. We are the line of Cambrai, or even at the pounding them day and night as they French frontier, from Hirson to Lille, once pounded us. The weakening in behind which is again the line of the their morale is slowly but surely grow Scheldt and the Meuse—the best line of ing, as is demonstrated by the number all. Each time the German shortens his of desertions that are taking place and line he reduces the number needed to hold the growing readiness of units to sur it and the strain upon his resources. render.
The parallel is, after all, not the foot“ We are pounding without ceasing, ball field, but the prizering. We shall and the results of the pounding prove not only defeat Germany by exhausting her;
that after two years and a half of war there has been fashioned a British Army which is still gaining in knowledge and strength, but already has a proved superiority over its foe in morale, in material, and in the things that may be measured by the slow but sure retrogression of the Germans before them. For nearly two years the British Army hung on, now it is advancing; it escaped annihiliation, it is experiencing success.
One of the questions I asked all the Generals with whom I talked was as to the possibility of a German offensive at some point on the British front. All agreed that it was possible; some pected it. A push at the Ypres salient, the worst position on the whole front, was frequently suggested. General Malleterre in Paris quite strongly argued that the Germans would make this attack. I think that there is a considerable expectation in London that it will come, and I find this view repeated in later dispatches commenting upon the German retirement about Bapaume.
we shall only win by a knockout; and the knockout may come in one corner of the ring or the other.
“Two years ago we were holding our lines by rifle fire against high explosives. In the second week in May, 1915, Field Marshal French was compelled to attack at Festubert to aid the French and take the pressure off the Canadians in the Ypres salient. He had ammunition for forty minutes of bombardment, and that was all. Then the infantry had to attack, and it cost 8,000 casualties. We had neither machine guns, trench mortars, nor any of the instruments Germany had been accumulating for years.
erman aircraft were supreme in our sector.
“But today we have more guns and better guns than the Germans. We fire four shells to the Germans' one, and in the battle of the Somme not a German aircraft ,'came over' for days on end. Their artillery shot in the dark; ours was informed by our aviators. At the beginning of the battle of the Somme we had terrific losses because it was a new experience and a new army. A brigade attacking at one point lost 1,900 killed, 11,800 wounded, and brought back 300 men. The other day, in one of the last attacks, another brigade lost 1,400 men, and, in addition to burying 900 Germans, brought back 1,800 prisoners. “Night and day we pound the Ger
Their artillery does not reply much of the time. We raid their trenches, and they seldom react. We take an everincreasing number of prisoners. We see ever-increasing signs of wearing out. Do not misunderstand—the Germans are still very strong. The new units arrive, each soldier carrying his extra pair of shoes. They are well fed and well led; they will be to the last.
If there is desertion and surrender in some units, others fight as well as ever and there is no · Kamerad' business with them."
No Victory This Year I do not believe the British Army in France expects to win the war this year. I do not believe that the Generals are thinking in terms of a day, a month, or a year. What seems to be the feeling is
But such an offensive carries no real peril to the mind of the British Army in France, which is chiefly interested to know if the Germans will bring out some new device, some new weapon like
poison gas," and endeavor by using it to open a gap in the British front such as was opened at Ypres just two years ago next month and offered the Germans one of the golden chances of the whole
Troops in Fine Condition Of the physical condition of the British Army it is impossible to speak too highly. I was in France in the zero weather of January. Every morning I rode out along the roads and camps, and never have I seen so many soldiers, or soldiers looking so young and strong and fit. It semed as if all the eastward leading valleys of France were swarming with British, Canadian, and Australian troops pushing onward to the front; it seemed an endless and inexhaustible flood, while behind, each little village had new reservoirs of khaki-clad Tommies.
From the British Army in France, with which I stayed a week, I brought away the feeling of confidence and of intelli
gent optimism. It has the appearance of an army which has undertaken a contract, not with a time-limit clause, not with a fixed hour or place of completion. It has undertaken a contract to dispose of the German military problem, of that part of the German Army assigned to it to deal with. It feels that it is doing the work, it recognizes that the way is still difficult and the time may yet be long. It expects new German attacks and it envisages the possibility of local German successes, but it has only one possible apprehension: it looks not to the front and the Germans for its main peril, but to England and the man behind the linesif he can hold, the end is assured and the fate of the “Hun” is sealed. And this is the feeling of the French Army quite as well. The soldier sees victory, unless his civilian fellow-citizen weakens--and of this the signs are few in England, as in France.
I can perhaps sum up my impression of the British Army in France by saying it recalls all that I have heard and read of the armies of the North in 1864. It
is a volunteer army in the main; its officers are men proved by the test of two yars and a half of war. Its men, volunteers though they are, are no longer raw or green. Haig, Horne, Rawlinson, Gough, Allenby, Plumer-these Generals commanding armies have survived the test of battle elimination.
As an army the British force has been battered, driven, it has been defeated and it has been repulsed. Its experiences recall those of the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula to Gettysburg—but, like the Army of the Potomac, it has found itself, it has measured itself against a foe ready and trained and equipped as Lee's army was not. And it is advancing. The Tommy in the trench more clearly than any General or military writer sees and weighs the evidence of German weakening. Hence his supreme confidence. Hence for him the German peace proposal was the plea of the beaten.
The nearer you get to the German line the more serene the spirit of the British seems.
The Battlefield of the Somme
Over an area perhaps of ten miles by twenty, of the battlefield on the Somme, the whole face of the earth has been changed, the heart of hills has been blown out; you look up the slope of a considerable hill, you climb with difficulty up its rounding slope, and suddenly you gaze down into a chasm, a volcano's crater; all the interior of the hill has been blown out by a mine; the hillside is an open shell; an ocean liner could be concealed in the crater.
Coming out of Albert along the road so many thousands of men have followed to death one approaches the field of actual fighting with little real warning. Albert itself is a shelled, half-destroyed town. The tower of its church, with a statute of the Virgin suspended in a prostrate position across the tower, has become a thing familiar to all who have read of the battle. When it falls, so the people of the region believe, peace will come. But Albert is only a shelled
town; many of its houses stand, most of them retain their walls and many their roofs.
But a mile the other side of Albert, traveling toward Péronne, one comes suddenly out upon the most terrible and bewildering scene of desolation it is possible to imagine. From the upper layer of the earth there has been swept away not alone the trees, the sod, the outer covering, but the very depth of the lower strata has been churned up and scattered about. Of a sudden in the midst of the landscape of Picardy, with smiling valleys and pleasant woodlands, there is the image of the Sahara, of something more than the Saraha, of the fields above Pompeii or Messina, down which have flowed the streams of lava which not only engulf but endure.
Only Skeletons of Hills Turning off the main road one leaves the car and climbs heavily up hillside.