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allayed and an entente cordiale was established, which under George V became practically an alliance. And at the same time France was the means of bringing Russia and Great Britain into friendly relations and into something like an entente. All this intensified the wrath of Germany against France, and the result was that when the German Emperor decided to begin his long cherished war for the conquest of the world he aimed his first blow at France. Knowing that she was unprepared, he hoped to crush her completely before any other powers could come to her aid. Having done that, he could turn his triumphant armies against the next foe that appeared.
NEUTRAL BELGIUM The chief blow at France was struck through Belgium, and it was thus that Belgium was brought into the war. The direct frontier between Germany and France was so strongly fortified by the French that a rapid invasion in that quarter was impossible. But the invasion to be successful must be rapid, so rapid as to assure the capture of Paris before the French army could be put on a war footing or British or Russian armies be brought into the field. The French frontier abutting upon Belgium was unfortified, and invasion there would be easy, if only Belgium would give passage to the German army.
This, of course, Belgium refused to do. The German Government strove to get Belgian consent, at first with bribes and blandishments and later with menaces. But Belgium was inflexible in her refusal; for a reason which the German imperial and official mind seemed unable to understand. That was, good faith and honor. Belgium was a neutral state. Her neutrality and the inviolability of her territory had been guaranteed by the powers, Ger
Photo by Trans-Atlantic News Service Co.
KING ALBERT OF BELGIUM AT THE HEAD OF His ARMY
for the armies of France to come to their assistance.
by the Baletite nas re
minded all the military authorit
Photo by Paul Thompson.
King GEORGE AT ALDERSHOT
with kingly bearing on a horse.
many among them, in solemn treaties. She therefore felt herself bound by honor and good faith to maintain the neutrality of her territory and not let it be used as a basis or avenue of attack by one power upon another. The history of human heroism contains no finer record than that of little Belgium standing alone against the overwhelming might of Germany, and suffering martyrdom rather than regard a solemn treaty as a "scrap of paper." The neutrality of Belgium, it may be recalled, was guaranteed by treaties in 1831, 1839 and 1870, to all of which Germany, or Prussia, was a party, and by the treaty of The Hague, to which the United States also was a party.
ANGLO-GERMAN ANIMOSITY A long train of incidents led to Great Britain's participation in the war. In 1870 Prussia was angry at Great Britain because the latter, in pursuance of neutral principles, sold munitions of war to France as freely as to Germany. This anger was increased when Great Britain practically forbade Germany to attack France again and to "bleed her white.” When this proceeded to the making of intrigues with other powers against Great Britain, resentment arose in the latter country, and for a number of years before the war there was an estrangement between the two countries amounting almost to antagonism.
The actual causes of British participation in the war, however, were chiefly two. One was, the British obligation to vindicate the neutrality of Belgium. Great Britain had participated in the establishment of Belgium as an independent kingdom, in 1830, and was a party to the various treaties which not merely recognized Belgium as an independent and neutral state but also pledged the signatories to protect and maintain her in that status. Great Britain therefore conceived it to be her moral and legal duty to intervene to protect Belgium from invasion and violation of her neutrality; or to redeem her from the outrage which was inflicted upon her.
The second specific cause was found in the entente or alliance between Great Britain and France, under the terms of which each nation was pledged to aid the other in certain contingencies. It was to keep faith with France, too, therefore, that Great Britain entered the war. It may be added that these reasons, like Belgium's, were apparently quite unappreciated by Germany. Instead, the German Government seemed to take it as a grievance that Great Britain did not break faith with Belgium and France, regard her treaties with them as "scraps of paper," and stand idly by while Germany ravaged them. For this cause Germany began singing her national “Hymn of Hate," and using as her watchword, in church, in the army and everywhere, “God punish England!” Also, she expressed profound and sneering disregard for England's “contemptible little army."
JAPAN RUSSIA'S ALLY Japan was drawn into the war at an early date. For some years she had been the ally of Great Britain. But ten years before she had been engaged in a gigantic war with Russia; and Russia and Great Britain were now allies. She was therefore placed in the dilemma of either abandoning her ally or allying herself with her former foe. The latter course was adopted without hesitation, and Japan entered the war as the ally of both Great Britain and Russia.
This was effected easily and without repugnance, for several reasons. One was the fact that the former enmity