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30,000 wounded; forty-six cannon, thirty of mankind; whole families were burned machine guns, and 140 ammunition alive, or systematically bayonetted and wagons, besides an enormous
laid out in rows by the roadside; the stores and transport. The Serbian troops treatment of the female population can had lost 3,000 dead and 15,000 wounded. only be hinted at; in their case the final Treatment of Civilians
act of murder must be looked on as a “ Toward such a population there is room
crowning mercy. for no humanity or generosity.”
In the track of the army that fell back As for the civilians of the districts
on Losnitsa followed a small group of invaded, they were treated with a disre
doctors, officials, and engineers of Sergard of every law of civilized warfare, bian, Dutch, and Swiss nationality, who and a fiendish refinement of cruelty and reported circumstantially, and photomalice, probably without parallel in
graphed, what they found. A day will modern history. The instructions issued
come when the indictment thus constito the Austrian troops, in the form of tuted must be met by the Magyar race at leaflets, began with the words:
“ You the bar of public opinion. are going into a hostile country, the population of which is animated by would accept as definite the blow inflicted
It was not to be expected that Austria fanatical hatred, and in which murder
on her military prestige at the battle of is rife in all classes of society.
the Jadar. Having made good the losses Toward such a population there is room
in men and equipment, the enemy refor no feeling of humanity or generos
turned to the attack in September, and ity.” The procedure adopted was, on
made a fresh attempt to invade the entering any town or village, to shoot
Matshva district and to occupy the left out of hand either the Mayor or a number
bank of the Jadar. of selected inhabitants, (amounting to fifty at Leshnitsa,) in order to “inspire
They were brought to an early halt, terror"; to secure hostages among those
and again flung back across the Drina that remained, and to take prisoners and
and the Save, retaining possession only remove to Austria the youths under
of some of the heights of the Gutshevo military age, “ in order that King Peter
and Boranya Mountains, with the terrimight remain without soldiers for some
tory to the immediate west, and of a small years.”
tract of land in the Matshva plain which At the same time the troops were given
was commanded by the guns of the river to understand that the campaign was an
monitors. For six weeks they were held execution, and that they might not only
in these positions by the Serbian armies,
who defended a line of close on a hunloot and burn and ruin, but murder, violate and torture at will,
dred miles of trenches with a totally inthese people were Serbians.” The pent
adequate force and supplies, and under up hatred and natural instinct of the
a strain which no troops could long en
dure. Magyar found expression in deeds which could not, without offense, be described
The Second Invasion here; as a mild example we may cite the By the beginning of November a recase of a man who in the village of tirement to a shorter and stronger line Dvorska was tied to a mill-wheel; knifing of defense became imperative, and the him as he was whirled round was then staff decided to move right back to the engaged in by the soldiers as a game Kolubara River. The Austrians immeof skill.
diately advanced in overwhelming numExtortion of money from a woman by bers, and five columns totaling 250 batthe threat to kill her babe was common, talions of infantry with their artillery and generally followed by the murder of and cavalry streamed into the northboth; wanton mutilation was commoner western territory. After fierce fighting still; all this during the invasion. The they gained command of the Suvobor record of the Austrian retreat is probably Mountains, the key to the whole district; one of the blackest chapters in the history this catastrophe made it impossible to
hold the Kolubara line, Belgrade was ended in the capture of the whole Ser-
ordnance is of French manufacture, and the French were themselves too hard pressed to make regular delivery of these. Whole batteries of guns were reduced to six rounds apiece, which were held in reserve against an extreme emergency.
At the same time the retreat was in part deliberate and carefully planned, for when later Voyvoda Putnik was asked how he had effected the crushing defeat of the Austro-Hungarian troops, he answered laconically: “ All my strategy consisted in placing between the enemy's fighting line and their impedimenta the Serbian national mud."
By the end of November new guns and large supplies of ammunition from the British ordnance factories had been landed and were being conveyed into Serbia with all possible dispatch. At some points of the line of battle the position was almost desperate, and it may not be without interest to repeat here an incident which occurred at this time and which was related to the present writer by King Peter's cousin, Price Alexis Karageorgevitch, on the occasion of the latter's recent visit to London. The aged ruler of Serbia mounted his charger and rode up to the trenches, where his brave peasants crouched with bayonets fixed to empty rifles, and exclaimed: “ My dear brothers, you have sworn allegiance to your country and to your King: from this latter oath I release you. You are at liberty to return to your homes; your aged King has come to take your place, for you must be more than worn out.” With these words he dashed forward, his drawn sword in his right hand and a Browning pistol in his left. His peasants followed with a cheer and made a bayonet charge which caused a panic in the enemy's lines.
The Austrian Debacle In the meantime the long-expected ammunition had arrived, and on Dec. 3, to the Austrians' amazement, the whole of their front was subjected to a sudden and violent offensive. On the 4th Suvobor was stormed, the Austrian centre was pierced, and the right wing scattered in headlong flight along the road to Val
yevo. By the 7th the Serbians were back on a line extending from Lazarevats to Valyevo, and thence to Uzhitse, and the enemy fleeing toward the Drina, which they crossed in disorder two days later.
The Austrians' right clung to their positions for a few days to the north and west of Maldenovats, and on the 7th and 8th made determined efforts to break through. They were repulsed with fearful losses and compelled to give ground, though they fought with the greatest obstinacy at every step of their retreat; on the 12th they were compelled to fall back upon Belgrade. The heights to the south of the capital had been fortified with extensive earthworks and gun emplacements and formed positions of great strength, but the Austrian troops were by now too demoralized to hold them and gave way on the 14th. They were still fleeing across the Save when, on the morning of the 15th, some Serbian batteries unlimbered on the surrounding heights and shelled the pontoon bridge, rendering further escape impossible.
The Austrians left behind them over 40,000 prisoners and hundreds of guns, with the transport and stores of a vast army.
So extraordinary was the Serbian rally, and so overwhelming the catastrophe that had befallen the Austrian arms, that for some days Europe refused to credit the news from Belgrade. As its full import was grasped, the Allies also realized their indebtedness to their Balkan ally; nor, we may well believe, will it, on the day of reckoning, be forgotten.
Crucifixion of a People Almost a whole year passed in relative quiet; the Austro-Hungarians had obviously enough of their chastising of Serbia. Count Tisza, then Prime Minister of the Monarchy, declared that the Hapsburg forces were “not a match” for the Serbian experienced warriors. Simultaneously with his admission the oldest and most patriotic German newspaper, Die Vossische Zeitung, in its editorial columns, suggested that a separate peace should be made with Serbia, guaranteeing the absolute integrity of
her kingdom and granting her, as com tral Serbia) either to stop the invaders pensation, the “nobody's land” of Alba or to perish to the last man, suddenly nia, from which its comical 'mpret had came from France and Great Britain, not fled long since.
the long expected and officially promised But Serbia continued her preparations help, but the wise advice: “Sauve qui for an eventual new foe, who, on the peut! The advice was good indeed, for, east and south of the kingdom, was had the Serbians not followed it, they sharpening his sword and fortifying his would have lost not only their land but frontiers. The credulous Sir Edward also every one of their men. And after Grey and his “ wait and see " colleague almost three years of continuous triumph were too deaf to the voice of the Serbian of the Serbian arms over the Turks, the sage, Mr. Pashitch, who, in early June, treacherous Bulgarians and the Babel1915, informed the British Government like Austro-Hungarian "punitive expedithat Prince Bülow had brought to Sofia tions," a proud people, not a defeated a draft of the Treaty of Alliance and a army, had to retreat! But where? Surely military convention between the Central not to Greece, Serbia's ally! Powers and the Kingdom of Bulgaria.
Horrors of the Exodus What Mr. Pashitch required was sanction, on the part of the Allies, of Before the general exodus of the SerSerbia's timely action against isolated
bian people had begun, the German ImBulgaria, in order to prevent the latter's perial Government, in chivalrous recogni. intervention at a moment when the tion of Serbian bravery, offered to the troops of King Peter would be too Nish Government a comparatively liberal busily engaged in resisting a fresh at peace, by which, so we are informed, the tempt from the north. But the British integrity of the Serbian territory was Secretary for Foreign Affairs was still guaranteed. Moreover, if the Serbian nursing the hope that a Balkan league armies would only simulate a resistance, could be renewed. This futile course of but in truth leave a free passage to action-or, to be less incorrect, inac
Salonki for the combined Austro-German tion-gave ample opportunity for Bul forces, not only Albania but also so much garia to make good the wastage of the Serbian-populated provinces in suffered in her disaster in the battle of Austria-Hungary would be yielded as the Bregalnitsa in July of the previous year.
dignity of the Dual Monarchy would perAccording to her well-established tradi mit. Although the Serbian Government tion she awaited the moment when the had no specific treaties of alliance with fourth punitive expedition-this time either of the Entente Powers—the only composed chiefly of the best German one that had been concluded being that Imperial Armies and of what was still with Greece--and despite the imminent left of the Austro-Hungarian forces
cataclysm which threatened from all the under the ingenious leadership of Gen cardinal points, the Serbian Skupshtina, eral Mackensen, penetrated far into the after a spirited and memorable speech desolated Serbian land, to stab in the delivered by Mr. Pashitch in which he acback the heroically resisting Serbian
centuated that “it were better to die in armies.
beauty than to live in shame," unaniIt is impossible to ascertain at this mously decided to offer stubborn juncture the exact strength of the Teu resistance to the invaders, while the tonic forces advancing through Serbia.
noncombatants were ordered to retreat Certain writers assert that the Serbian through the rocky fastnesses of Albania armies—or what was still left of them to Durazzo, where British ships waited to were outnumbered as ten to one by the transport them further. combined forces of General Mackensen More than one volume could be written and those of King Ferdinand of Bulgaria. on the horrors of that exodus, which The Serbians fought desperately on both stands unique in the history of mankind. fronts, and, while the army officers were The scenes from Dante's “Inferno" are renewing their oath at Stalatch (in Cen but pallid shadows in comparison with
those in which a nation of hard-striving and then one could see a mother standand honest soil-tillers played in reality ing knee-deep in snow, erect as a statue, to the amusement of the powers of dark- pressing to her bosom a sleeping babe, ness. Tens of thousands were dying in and fixing with her glassy eye every silence on the roadsides, afflicted by
passer-by; and if some one, who had diseases, utter exhaustion, and hunger. still. a remnant of compassion or was not The improvised graves gave up their as yet maddened with his own fate, dwellers, and corpses of domestic animals
warned her to move, he would discoverin a strange conjunction were inter
that she had long been dead. Or a volunmingled with those of fathers and
teer, crouching on one knee and clutchmothers of families, peasants and Sena- ing his rifle, ready to fire at enemy or tors, beggars and the wealthiest mem
friend, would remain in that position bers of an old society. The bitter frost
until some Arnaoutpuzzled by the prevented the survivors from digging out
irony, should come to him, and, cutting the roots of young firs and pines, the
the weapon out of his frozen fingers, only vegetation yet possible in the deso
thrust the body back to its icy grave. late Albanian mountains, and many
Such was the soundless death of a were found frozen in the act of securing that last remnant of food. The exhaust
once happy people. ed women, once happy maidens, brides or The Serbian State may eventually be mothers, either staggered, with bound- restored, but there will be no Serbians up eyes, over the narrow trails, on both to people it again. They have not been sides of which yawned bottomless gulfs, “punished"; that is what one does to or, in utter exhaustion, crawled on their naughty children; but one of the oldest knees, clutching convulsively at the Slav
has been exterminated rocks with their still rosy nails. Now crucified-never to be resurrected.
The Torpedoing of the Westminster
The British Admiralty has published the following note:
The degree of savagery to which the Germans have attained in their submarine policy of sinking merchant ships at sight would appear to have reached its climax in the sinking of the British steamship Westminster, proceeding in ballast from Torre Annunziata to Port Said.
On Dec. 14 this vessel was attacked by a German submarine without warning, when 180 miles from the nearest land, and was struck by two torpedoes in quick succession, which killed four men. She sank in four minutes.
This ruthless disregard of the rules of international law was followed by a deliberate attempt tɔ murder the survivors. The officers and crew, while effecting their escape from the sinking ship in boats, were shelled by the submarine at a range of 3,000 yards. The master and chief engineer were killed outright, and their boat sunk. The second and third engineers and three of the crew were not picked up, and are presumed to have been drowned.
Great Britain, together with all other civilized nations, regards the sinking without warning of merchant ships with detestation, but seeing the avowed policy of the German Government, and the refusal to consider the protests of neutrals, it is recognized that mere protests are unavailing.
The Captain of the German submarine must, however, have been satisfied with the effectiveness of his two torpedoes, and yet he proceeded to carry out in cold blood an act of murder which cannot possibly be justified by any urgency of war, and can only be regarded in the eyes of the world as a further proof of the degradation of German honor.