The World War and What was Behind It
Louis P. Benezet

Part 3 out of 4

great forts across the narrow stretch of ground where her territory
approached that of Germany. Belfort, Toul, Epinal, Verdun, Longwy,
they ranged through the mountains northeast of France as guardians of
their country against another German attack. To rush an army into
France over this rough country and between these great fortresses was
impossible. Modern armies carry great guns with them which cannot
climb steep grades. Therefore, if Germany wanted to strike a quick,
smashing blow at France and get her armies back six weeks later to
meet the slow-moving Russians, it was plain that she must seek some
other approach than that through the Vosges Mountains.

[Illustration: A Fort Ruined by the Big German Guns]

From Aix-La-Chapelle near the Rhine in Germany, through the northern
and western part of Belgium, there stretches a flat plain, with level
roads, easy to cross. (See map.) Now, years before, Belgium had
been promised by France, Prussia, and England that no one of them
would disturb its neutrality. In other words it was pledged that in
case of a war, no armed force of any of these three nations should
enter Belgian territory, nor should Belgium be involved in any trouble
arising among them. In case any one of the nations named or in fact
any other hostile force, invaded Belgium, the signers of the treaty
were bound to rush to Belgium's aid. Belgium, in return, had agreed to
resist with her small army any troops which might invade her country.

In spite of the fact that their nation had signed this treaty, the
Germans started their rush toward France, not through the line of
forts in the mountains, but across the gently rolling plain to the
north. They first asked permission of the Belgians to pass through
their country. On being refused, they entered Belgian territory just
east of Liege (li ezh'). The Belgians telegraphed their protest
to Berlin. The Germans replied that they were sorry but it was
necessary for them to invade Belgium in order to attack France. They
agreed to do no damage and to pay the Belgians for any supplies or
food which their army might seize. The Belgians replied that by their
treaty with France, England, and Germany they were bound on their
honor to resist just such an invasion as this. They asked the Germans
how Germany would regard them if they were to permit a French army to
cross Belgian territory to take Germany by surprise. The Germans again
said that they were sorry, but that if Belgium refused permission to
their army to cross, the army would go through without permission. It
was a dreadful decision that Belgium had to make, but she did not
hesitate. She sent orders to her armies to resist by all means the
passage of the German troops. The great war had begun.

[Map: Map showing the Two Routes from Germany to Paris.]

As we look over the evidence the German war lords must bear the blame,
almost alone.

The Austrians had been eager to attack Serbia, even in 1913, thinking
that this little country had grown too powerful, as a result of her
victories in the two Balkan wars. But Austria had counted on
"bluffing" Russia to keep out, as she had been bluffed in 1908, and
when she saw that this time the Russians meant business, she became
frightened and sent word that she might be willing to settle the
question without fighting. But the Germans were bent on war, and as
they saw their ally wavering, they sent their warning that Russian
mobilization would be considered a ground for war.

Now this was ridiculous. In 1908, when the trouble over Bosnia was at
its height, both Austria and Russia had their armies mobilized and
ready for war for weeks and months. Still no war came out of it. It
looked as if Germany was hard put to it to find an excuse for
launching her plan to conquer Europe.

Questions for Review

1. Why did Ulster object to home rule?
2. What were the hopes of the Serbians regarding Bosnia?
3. Why did Russia interfere between Austria and Serbia?
4. Why did Russia mobilize her troops?
5. Why was the road through Belgium chosen?


Why England Came In

The question of Italy and England.--Italy's position.--The war with
Turkey.--Italy declines to join her allies.--England is aware of the
German plans.--The treaty with Belgium.--The "defensive" war.--The
"scrap of paper."--Germany's rage at England's declaration of
war.--England does the unexpected.

France, Belgium, Russia, and Serbia were combined against Austria and
Germany. Little Montenegro also rushed to the help of her neighbor and
kinsman, Serbia. The question was, what would Italy and England do.
Italy, like Russia and Germany, had been having trouble in holding
down her people. A revolution had been threatened which would
overthrow the king and set up a republic. The Socialist Party,
representing the working class, had been growing very strong, and one
of their greatest principles was that all war is wrong. They felt that
the Triple Alliance made by the Italian statesmen had never bound the
Italian people. Throughout the entire peninsula, the Austrians were

You will remember that France had aroused the Italians' anger in 1881
by seizing Tunis. Italy had hoped to snap up this province for
herself, for the Italian peninsula was crowded with people, and as the
population increased, it was thought necessary that colonies be
established to which the people could migrate to have more room.
Finally in 1911, in order to divert the minds of the people from
revolutionary thoughts, the government organized an expedition to
swoop down on Tripoli, which, like Egypt, was supposed to belong to

This meant war with the government at Constantinople, and Germany and
Austria were very angry at Italy, their ally, for attacking Turkey,
with which the Austrians and Germans were trying to establish a firm
friendship. However, "self-preservation is the first law of nature,"
and the Italian king and nobles valued their leadership in the nation
much more than they dreaded the dislike of Germany and Austria.

The Germans had counted on Italy to join in the attack on Russia and
France, but the Italian statesmen knew the feelings of their people
too well to attempt this. Of late years, there had been growing up a
friendship between the people of Italy and those of France, and the
Italian generals knew that it would be a difficult task to induce
their men to fire upon their kinsmen from across the Alps. Therefore,
when Austria and Germany demanded their support in the war, they
replied by pointing out that the terms of the Triple Alliance bound
Italy to go to their help only if they were attacked. "In this case,"
said the Italians, "you are the attacking party. The treaty does not
bind us to support you in any war conquest. What is more, we were not
consulted before Austria sent to Serbia her impossible demands. Expect
no help from us."

Now the great question arose as to England. The English statesmen were
not blind to the German plan. They saw that Germany intended to crush
France first, capturing Paris and dealing the French army such an
overwhelming blow that it would take it a long time to recover. Then
the German armies were to be rushed back over their marvelous system
of government-owned railroads to meet the on-coming German tide of

The Germans knew that they were well provided with ammunition and all
war supplies. They knew that they had invented some wonderful guns
which were large enough to batter down the strongest forts in the
world. They did not have very much respect for the ability of the
Russian generals. They had watched them bungle badly in the Japanese
war, ten years before. If once France were brought to her knees, they
did not fear Russia. Then after France and Russia had been beaten,
there would be plenty of time, later on, to settle with Great Britain.

The English statesmen, as we have said, were aware of this plan. They
saw that if they were to fight Germany, this was the ideal time.
However, Great Britain, having a government which is more in the hands
of the people than even that of republican France, did not have the
system of forcing her young men to do military service. Her little
army in England was made up entirely of men who enlisted in it because
they wished to, and because they received fair pay. If England were to
enter a great war with Germany, there must be some very good reason
for her doing so. Otherwise, her people, who really did not hate the
Germans, would never enlist to fight against them. The question was,
would anything happen to make the English people feel that they were
justified in entering the war on the side of France and Russia.

You will remember that England, France, and Prussia had promised each
other to protect Belgium from war. Even in the war of 1870, France and
Prussia had carefully avoided bringing their troops upon Belgian soil.
Now, however, with the German army invading Belgium, the English
statesmen had to decide their course. As heads of one of the nations
to guarantee Belgium's freedom, they called on Germany to explain this
unprovoked invasion. The Germans made no answer. They were busily
attacking the city of Liege. Great Britain gave Germany twenty-four
hours in which to withdraw her troops. At the end of this time, with
Germany paying no attention still, England solemnly declared war and
took her stand alongside of Russia and France.

The Germans were furious. They had no bitter feeling against the
French. They realized that France was obliged, by the terms of her
alliance, to stand by Russia, but they had confidently counted on
keeping England out of the war. In fact, the German ambassador to
England had assured the German emperor that England had so many
troubles, with her uprising in Ireland and threatened rebellions in
India and South Africa that she would never dare fight at this time.

The English people, on the other hand, were now thoroughly aroused. If
there is one thing that an Englishman prides himself on, it is keeping
his word. The word of the English had been given, through their
government, to Belgium that this little country, if it should resist
invasion, would be protected, and this word they thought must be kept
at all hazards. It made no difference that, aside from her great navy,
England was utterly unprepared for the war. Like the decision which
Belgium had had to make the day before, this was a crucial step for
the British to take, but to their everlasting honor they did not
hesitate. In the case of Germany's declaration of war the German laws
say that no war can be declared by the Kaiser alone unless it is a
defensive war. Therefore, as one American writer has pointed out, this
is the only kind of war that the Kaiser ever declares. The German
military group, having control of the newspapers, put in a lot of
stories made up for the occasion about French soldiers having crossed
the border and shot down Germans on August 2nd. They told how French
aviators had dropped bombs on certain German cities. As a matter of
fact, the French soldiers, by orders of their government, were drawn
back from the frontier a distance of six miles in order to avoid any
appearance of attacking the Germans. The City Council of Nuremburg,
one of the cities that was said to have been bombed by the French,
later gave out a formal statement saying that no bombs had fallen on
their city and no French aviators had been seen near it. But the
German government gave out this "news" and promptly declared a
"defensive" war, and the German people had to believe what they were

Very different was the case in England. Here was a free people, with
free schools and free newspapers. Just as every German had been taught
in the schools of his country that Germany was surrounded by a ring of
jealous enemies and would one day have to fight them all, so the
people of England had been taught in their schools that war between
civilized peoples is a hateful thing and must finally disappear from
the earth.

The English labor leaders who themselves protested against the war at
first, in hopes that the German Socialists would do the same, were
doomed to be grievously disappointed, for in Germany the protests
against war were still more feeble. The newspapers, with few
exceptions, as was previously pointed out, were under the control of
the military leaders and the manufacturers of war materials. These
papers persuaded the German people that England, through her jealousy
of Germany's great growth in trade, had egged on Russia, France, and
Serbia to attack Germany and Austria, and then had declared war
herself on a flimsy pretext. At first the entire German nation
believed this. Until Prince Lichnowsky, the former German ambassador
to Great Britain, published a story in which he told how the German
government had forced the war in spite of all that England could do to
prevent it, the Germans thought, as their war chiefs told them, that
the war was forced upon Germany by her jealous enemies.

Thus the military leaders of Germany, descendants of the old feudal
nobles, were able to make the whole German nation hate the English

When the English ambassador to Berlin went to see the chancellor (as
the prime-minister of the German Empire is called) and told him that
unless German troops were immediately withdrawn from Belgium, England
would declare war, for the Belgian government had a treaty signed by
England promising them protection, the German chancellor exclaimed.
"What! Would you plunge into this terrible war for the sake of a scrap
of paper!" The chancellor was excited. As you have been told before,
the Germans were sure that England, being unprepared for the war,
would never dare to go into it. This threatened to upset all their
well-laid plans for the conquest of France and then Russia. For the
moment the chancellor forgot his diplomacy. He blurted out the truth.
He showed the world that honor had no place in the minds of the German
war lords. To the English a treaty with Belgium was a sacred pledge;
to the Germans it was something which could be torn up at a moment's
notice if it stood in the way of their interests.

There was a violent outburst against England in all of the newspapers
of Germany. A German poet wrote a dreadful poem called "The Hymn of
Hate," in which he told how while they had no love for the Frenchman
or the Russian, they had no hate for them either. One nation alone
they hated--England! "Gott strafe England" (may God punish England)
became the war cry of the Germans.

Everything had gone according to their pre-arranged plans until
England decided that her promise given to Belgium stood first, even
before the terrible loss and suffering of a great war. That any nation
should put her honor before her comfort and profit, had never occurred
to the war leaders of Germany.

Questions for Review

1. Why did Italy make war on Turkey in 1911?
2. Why did not Italy join in the attack on France?
3. What was Germany's plan?
4. How is the English army different from others?
5. What reason had England for declaring war?
6. Had the German's expected England to attack them? Give reasons for
your answer.
7. Why did the phrase "scrap of paper" make such a deep impression on
the world?
8. Why did the war lords hate the British so deeply?


Diplomacy and Kingly Ambition

Turkey throws in her lot with the central empires.--The demands of
Italy.--She joins the Triple Entente.--The retreat of the
Russians.--The Balkans again.--Bulgaria's bargaining.--German princes
on Balkan thrones.--The central empires bid the highest for Bulgarian
support.--The attitude of Greece.--Roumania's hopes.

To return to the great war. The diplomats of both sides made all haste
to put pressure upon the governments of the countries which were not
engaged in the struggle, in order to win them over. Germany and
Austria worked hard with Italy, with Turkey, and with Bulgaria. The
Turks were the first to plunge in. The party headed by Enver Bey (the
young minister of war) saw that a victory for Russia and her allies
meant the final expulsion of the Turks from Europe. Only in the
victory of Germany and Austria did this faction see any hope for
Turkey. It was the latter part of October (1914) when Turkish
warships, without any provocation, sailed into some Russian ports on
the Black Sea and blazed away with their big guns.

Some of the older Turkish statesmen were terrified, and did their best
to get the government at Constantinople to disclaim all responsibility
for this act of their naval commanders. The "Young Turks," however,
were all for war on the side of Germany. What is more, Russia, always
anxious for an excuse to seize Constantinople, would not allow the
Turks to apologize for their act and keep out of trouble. She declared
war on Turkey, and was quickly followed by France and England.

Both sides now set to work on Italy. It was plain that all the
sympathies of the Italian people were with France and England. The six
grandsons of Garibaldi formed an Italian regiment and volunteered for
fighting on the French lines. Two of them were killed, and at their
funerals in Rome, nearly all the inhabitants of the city turned out
and showed plainly that they too would like to be fighting on the side
of France.

You will remember that Italy wanted very much to gain the provinces of
Trentino and Istria, with the cities of Trent, Trieste (tri
es'te), Pola (po'lae), and Fiume (fe u'me), all inhabited by
Italian people. The possession of these counties and cities by Austria
had been the greatest source of trouble between the two nations. Italy
now came out boldly, and demanded, as the price of her keeping out of
the war, that Austria give to her this land inhabited by Italians.
Germany urged Austria to do this, and sent as her special ambassador,
to keep Italy from joining her enemies, Prince von Bulow, whose wife
was an Italian lady, and who was very popular with the Italian

For months, von Bulow argued and pleaded, first trying to induce Italy
to accept a small part of the disputed territory and then, when he
found this impossible, doing his best to induce Austria to give it
all. Austria was stubborn. She did not take kindly to the plan of
giving away her cities. She offered to cede some territory if Italy
should wait until the end of the war.

This did not satisfy Italy. She was by no means certain that Austria
and Germany were going to win the war and was even less sure that
Austria would be willing, in case of her victory, to give up a foot of
territory. It seemed to the Italian statesmen that it was "now or
never" if Italy wished to get within her kingdom all of her own
people. In the month of May 1915 Italy threw herself into the struggle
by declaring war on Austria and entering an alliance with Russia,
France, and England.

[Illustration: Russian peasants fleeing before the German army]

Meanwhile, the Russians were having difficulties. They had millions
and millions of men, but not enough rifles to equip them all. They had
plenty of food but very little ammunition for their cannon. Austria
and Germany, on the other hand, had been manufacturing shot and shells
in enormous quantities, and from the month of May, when the Russians
had crossed the Carpathian Mountains and were threatening to pour down
on Buda-Pest and Vienna, they drove them steadily back until the first
of October, forcing them to retreat nearly three hundred miles.

In the meantime, the Balkans again became the seat of trouble. You
will recall that Bulgaria, who had grown proud because of her victory
over Turkey in the war of 1912, was too grasping when it came to a
division of the conquered territory. Thus she brought on a second war,
in the course of which Greece and Serbia defeated her, while Roumania
took a slice of her territory and the Turks recaptured the city of
Adrianople. The czar of Russia had done his best to prevent this
second Balkan war, even sending a personal telegram to Czar Ferdinand
of Bulgaria and to King Peter of Serbia, begging them for the sake of
the Slavic race, not to let their quarrels come to blows. Bulgaria,
confident of her ability to defeat Greece and Serbia, had disregarded
the Russians' pleadings, and as a result Russia did not interfere to
save her when her neighbors were robbing her of part of the land which
she had taken from Turkey.

It will be recalled that Macedonia was the country which Bulgaria had
felt most sorry to lose, as its inhabitants were largely Bulgarian in
their blood, although many Greeks and Serbs were among them.
Therefore, just as Italy strove by war and diplomacy to add Trentino
to her nation, so Bulgaria now saw her chance to gain Macedonia from
Serbia. Accordingly, she asked the four great powers what they would
give her in case she entered the war on their side, and attacked
Turkey by way of Constantinople, while the French and English were
hammering at the forts along the Dardanelles.[7]

[7] England and France needed wheat, which Russia had in great quantities
at her ports on the Black Sea. On the other hand France and England,
by supplying Russia with rifles and ammunition, could strike a hard
blow at Germany.

The four powers, after much persuasion and brow-beating, finally
induced Serbia to agree to give up part of Serbian Macedonia to
Bulgaria. They further promised Bulgaria to give her the city of
Adrianople and the territory around it which Turkey had reconquered.
But Bulgaria was not easily satisfied. She wanted more than Serbia was
willing to give; she wanted, too, the port of Kavala, which Greece had
taken from her. This the allies could not promise.

In the meantime, Bulgaria was bargaining with Austria, Germany, and
Turkey. France, England, and Russia were ready to pay back Serbia for
the loss of Macedonia, by promising her Bosnia and Herzegovina in case
they won the war from Austria. In like fashion, Austria and Germany
promised Bulgaria some Turkish territory and also the southern part of
the present kingdom of Serbia, in case she entered the war on their

Now the king of Bulgaria, or the czar, as he prefers to call himself,
is a German. (As these little countries won their independence from
Turkey, they almost always called in foreign princes to be their
kings. In this way it had come about that the king of Greece was a
prince of Denmark, the king of Roumania was a German of the
Hohenzollern family, while the czar of Bulgaria was a German of the
Coburg family, the same family which has furnished England and Belgium
with their kings.)

The Bulgarians themselves are members of the Greek Catholic Church,
and they have a very high regard for the czar of Russia, as the head
of that church. Czar Ferdinand had no such feeling, however. He wanted
to be the most powerful ruler in the Balkan states, and it made no
difference to him which side helped him to gain his object.

[Illustration: A Bomb-Proof Trench in the Western War Front]

About this time, the Russians had been forced to retreat to a line
running south from Riga, on the Baltic Sea, to the northern boundary
of Roumania. The French and English had been pounding at the
Dardanelles for some months, but the stubborn resistance of the Turks
seemed likely to hold them out of Constantinople for a long time to
come. The checked Italians had not been able to make much headway
against the Austrians through the mountainous Alpine country where the
fighting was taking place. In the west, the Germans were holding
firmly against the attacks of the British and French. The czar of
Bulgaria and his ministers, thinking that the German-Austrian-Turkish
alliance could win with their help, flung their nation into its third
war within four years. This happened in Octoher, 1915.

Now at the close of the second Balkan war, when Serbia and Greece
defeated Bulgaria, they made an alliance, by which each agreed to come
to the help of the other in case either was attacked by Bulgaria.
Roumania, too, was friendly to Greece and Serbia, rather than to
treaty Bulgaria, for the Roumanians knew that Bulgaria was very
anxious to get back the territory of which Roumania had robbed her, in
the second Balkan war. In this way, the Quadruple Entente (Russia,
Italy, France, and England) hoped that the entry of Bulgaria into the
war, on the side of Germany and Turkey, would bring Greece and
Roumania in on the other side.

The Greek people were ready to rush to Serbia's aid and so was the
Greek prime minister. The queen of Greece, however, is a sister of the
German emperor, and through her influence with her husband she was
able to defeat the plans of Venizelos (ven i zel'os), the prime
minister, who was notified by the king that Greece would not enter
the war. Venizelos accordingly resigned, but not until he had given
permission to the French and English to land troops at Salonika, for
the purpose of rushing to the help of Serbia. (Greece also was afraid
that German and Austrian armies might lay waste her territory, as they
had Serbia's, before England and France could come to the rescue.)

Meanwhile poor Serbia was in a desperate state. The two Balkan wars
had drained her of some of her best soldiers. Twice the Austrians had
invaded her kingdom in this war, and twice they had been driven out.
Then came a dreadful epidemic of typhus fever which was the result of
unhealthful conditions caused by the war. Now the little kingdom,
attacked by the Germans and Austrians on two sides and by the
Bulgarians on a third, was literally fighting with her back to the
wall. She had counted on Greece to stand by her promise to help in
case of an attack from Bulgaria, but we have seen how the German queen
of Greece had been able to prevent this. Serbia hoped that Roumania,
too, would come to her help. However, as you have been told, the king
of Roumania is a German of the Hohenzollern family, a cousin of the
emperor, and in spite of the sympathy of his people for Italy, France,
and Serbia, he was able to keep them from joining in the defense of
the Serbs.

Now Roumania ought to include a great part of Bessarabia (bes a
ra'bi a), which is the nearest county of Russia, and also the
greater part of Transylvania and Bukowina (boo ko vi'na), which are
the provinces of Austria-Hungary that lie nearest; for a great part of
the inhabitants of these three counties are Roumanians by blood and
language. They would like to be parts of the kingdom of Roumania, and
Roumania would like to possess them. The Quadruple Entente would
promise Roumania parts of Transylvania and Bukowina in case she joined
the war on their side, while the Triple Alliance was ready to promise
her Bessarabia. Roumania, as was said before, was originally settled
by colonists sent out from Rome, and in the eleventh century a large
number of people from the north of Italy settled there. On this
account, Roumania looks upon Italy as her mother country, and it was
thought that Italy's attack upon Austria would influence her to
support the Entente.

Each country wanted to be a friend of the winning side, in order to
share in the spoils. In this way, whenever it looked as if the
Quadruple Entente did not need her help Roumania was eager to offer
it, at a price which seemed to the allies too high. When, however, the
tide turned the other way, she lost her enthusiasm for the cause of
her friends, fearing what the central empires might do to her.

Questions for Review

1. What was the motive of Turkey in joining the war?
2. Why were the Russians not sorry to have Turkey declare war on
3. What were the feelings of the Italian people?
4. What were the Italian diplomats anxious to gain?
5. What were the demands of Czar Ferdinand of Bulgaria upon the
Entente powers?
6. Why did Bulgaria join the central empires?
7. Why did Greece keep out of the conflict?
8. What were Roumania's hopes?


Back to the Balkans

The troubles of Crete.-The bigotry of the "Young Turks."--Venizelos in
Greece.--The pro-German king.--The new government at Salonika.--The
downfall of Constantine.--The ambitions of Roumania.--Pro-Germans in
Russia.--Roumania declares war.--Russian treachery and German
trickery.--The defeat of Roumania.


You will remember the name of Eleutherios Venizelos, the prime
minister of Greece, who tried to get that country to stand by her
bargain from Crete with Serbia (pages 239-240). Now Venizelos had
originally come from Crete, a large island inhabited by Greeks, but
controlled by Turkey for many years (see map). In 1897 the Turks
had massacred a number of Greek Christians on the island, and this act
had so enraged the inhabitants of Greece that they forced their king
to declare war on Turkey.

Poor little Greece was quickly defeated, but the war called the
attention of the Great Powers of Europe to the cruelties of the Turks,
and they never again allowed Crete to be wholly governed by them. For
over a year Great Britain, France, Russia, and Italy had their
warships in Cretan ports and the government of Crete was under their

Finally they called in, to rule over the island, a Greek prince,
Constantine, the son of the king. Eight years later he had become very
unpopular through meddling with Cretan politics--on the wrong
side--and had to leave.

The It was at this time that Venizelos came to the front. The Cretan
government was really independent, like a little kingdom without a
king, and he was its true ruler. Now all the Greeks had looked forward
to the time when they might be united in one great kingdom. The shores
of Asia Minor and the cities along the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles
were largely inhabited by Greeks. Crete and the islands of the Aegean
had once been part of Greece and they never would be content until
they were again joined to it. The Cretan government was ready to vote
that the island be annexed to Greece, when in 1908 there came the
revolution of the "Young Turks" which drove the old Sultan from his
throne (page 186).

The Young Turks at the outset of their crusade against the government
were tolerant to all the other races and religions in their country.
At first the Armenians, the Jews, the Albanians, the Greeks, and the
Bulgarians in the Turkish Empire were very happy over the result of
the revolution. It looked as if a new day were dawning for Turkey,
when it would be possible for these various races and different
religions to live side by side in peace.

No sooner were the young Turks in control of the government, however,
than they began to change. "Turkey for the Turks, and for the Turks
only" became their motto. With this in mind they massacred Bulgarians
and Greeks in Macedonia (page 85) and Armenians in Asia Minor.
The thought of the loss of Crete roused their anger and they began
scheming to get it back under Turkish rule.

In 1910 Venizelos, seeing the danger of his beloved island, left for
Greece, hoping there to stir up the people to oppose the Turks and
annex Crete. His wonderful eloquence and his single-hearted love for
his country soon made him as prominent on the mainland as he had been
in his island home. Before long he was chosen as prime minister of

He found the country in a very sad condition. The military officers
were poorly trained. What was worse, they did not know this, but
imagined that their army was the best in the world. The politicians
had plundered the people and there was graft and poor management
throughout the government.

Venizelos made a wonderful change. He sent to the French republic for
some of their best generals. These men thoroughly made over the Greek
army and taught the Greek officers the real science of war.

[Illustration: Venizelos (left) with Greek ambassador to England]

Venizelos soon showed the politicians that he could not be frightened,
controlled, or bribed. He discharged some incompetent officials and
forced the others to attend to business. In fact he reorganized the
whole government service in a way to make every department do better
work. Few countries in Europe were as well managed as was Greece with
Venizelos as its prime minister.

Every Greek hates the Turks and looks forward to the time when no man
of Greek descent shall be subject to their cruel rule. You have been
told how the Russians have looked forward to the day when Saint
Sophia, the great mosque of the Turks, shall once more become a
Christian cathedral. In the same way the Greeks have passionately
desired to see Constantinople, which was for over a thousand years the
capital of their empire, freed from the control of the Turk. Little by
little, from the time when the Greeks first won their independence
from Turkey in 1829, the boundary of their kingdom has been pushed
northward, freeing more and more of their people from the rule of the
Ottomans. Venizelos, aiming to include in the kingdom of Greece as
many as possible of the people of Greek blood, was scheming night and
day for the overthrow of the Turkish power in Europe. You have been
told how the Russian diplomats astonished the world by inducing
Bulgaria to unite with the Greeks and the Serbs, two nations for whom
she had no love, in an alliance against the Turks. Many people felt
that this combination would never have been possible without the
far-seeing wisdom of of Venizelos. In fact, some historians give him
the credit of first planning the alliance.

His greatest trouble was with his own countrymen. The Greeks, as you
have been told, have always claimed Macedonia as part of their
country, whereas, in truth, there are more Bulgarians than Greeks
among its inhabitants. Venizelos, having agreed before the attack on
Turkey that the greater part of Macedonia should be given to Bulgaria,
had hard work after the victory in convincing his countrymen that this
was fair. In fact, the claims of the three allies to this district
proved the one weak spot in the combination. The occupation of this
country by Greeks and Serbs in the course of the first war against
Turkey, while the Bulgarians were defeating the main Turkish army just
northwest of Constantinople, brought on the second war. Bulgaria was
not willing to give up Macedonia to the Greeks and Serbs, and her
troops made a treacherous attack on her former allies (June, 1913)
which brought on the declarations of war referred to.

At the close of the second war, when Bulgaria, attacked by five
nations at once, had to make peace as best she could, the Greeks took
advantage of her by insisting on taking, not only Salonika but also
Kavala, which by all rights should have gone to the Bulgars. Venizelos
was willing to be generous to Bulgaria, but the Greeks had had their
heads turned by the extraordinary successes of their armies over the
Turks and Bulgarians and as a result insisted upon being greedy when
it came to a division of the conquered lands.

Let us return now to events in Greece after the world war had begun:
In March, 1915, when the great fleets of France and England made their
violent attack on the forts of the Dardanelles, intending to break
through and bombard Constantinople, Venizelos was eager to have Greece
join the conflict against the Turks. He felt sure that Turkey, in the
end, would lose the war and that her territory in Europe would be
divided up among the conquering nations. He wanted to get for Greece
the shores of the Dardanelles and the coast of Asia Minor, where a
great majority of the inhabitants were people of Greek blood. The king
of Greece, Constantine, as has been explained, is a brother-in-law of
the German Kaiser and has always been friendly to Germany. He and
Venizelos had been good friends while both were working for the
upbuilding of Greece, but a little incident happened shortly after the
Balkan wars which led to a coolness between them.

King Constantine, while on a visit to Berlin, stood up at a banquet
and told the Kaiser and the German generals that the fine work of the
Greek soldiers in the two wars just fought had been due to help which
he had received from German military men. This statement angered the
French very much, for you will remember that it was French generals
who had trained the Greek army officers. Venizelos, very shortly after
this, made a trip to Paris and there publicly stated that all credit
for the fine condition of the Greek army was due to the Frenchmen who
had trained its officers before the war of 1912. This was a direct
"slap in the face" of the king but it was the truth and everyone in
Greece knew it. From this time on it was evident to everybody that
Venizelos was friendly to the French and English, while the King was

Accordingly, in March, 1915, when Venizelos urged the Greek government
to join the war on Turkey, the king refused to give the order.
Venizelos, who was prime minister, straightway resigned, broke up the
parliament, and ordered a general election. This put the case squarely
up to the people of Greece and they answered by electing to the Greek
parliament one hundred eighty men friendly to Venizelos and the Triple
Entente as against one hundred forty who were opposed to entering the

Venizelos, once more prime minister as a result of this election,
ordered the Greek army to be mobilized. At this time the fear was that
Bulgaria, in revenge for 1913, would join the war on the side of the
Germans and Turks and attack Greece in the rear. In order to keep
peace with Bulgaria Venizelos was willing to give to her the port of
Kavala, which Greece had cheated her out of at the close of the second
Balkan war. He felt that his country would gain so much by annexing
Greek territory now under the rule of the Turks that she could afford
to give up this seaport, whose population was largely Bulgarian.
Constantine opposed this, however, and the majority of the Greeks, not
being as far-sighted as their prime minister, backed the king. When
the attack by the Central Powers on Serbia took place, as has been
told, Venizelos a second time tried to get the Greek government to
join the war on the side of France and England. He said plainly to the
king that the treaty between Greece and Serbia was not a "scrap of
paper" as the German Chancellor had called the treaty with Belgium,
but a solemn promise entered into by both sides with a full
understanding of what it meant. The king, on the other hand, insisted
that the treaty had to do with Bulgaria alone and that it was not
intended to drag Greece into a general European war. As a result, he
dismissed Venizelos a second time, in spite of the fact that twice, by
their votes, the Greeks had shown that they approved of his policy.

Now Greece is a limited monarchy. By the terms of the constitution the
king must obey the will of the people as shown by the votes of a
majority of the members of parliament. In spite of the vote of
parliament the king refused to stand by the Serbian treaty. From this
time on he was violating the law of his country and ruling as a czar
instead of a monarch with very little power, as the Greek constitution
had made him.

Things went from bad to worse. In the meantime the French and English
had landed at Salonika in order to rush to the aid of the hard-pressed
Serbs. You have already been told how Venizelos arranged this. Their
aid, however, had come too late. Before they could reach the gallant
little Serbian army it had been crushed between the Austrians and
Germans on one side and the Bulgarians on the other, and its survivors
had fled across the mountains to the coast of Albania. The French and
English detachments were not strong enough to stand against the
victorious armies of Germany, Austria, and Bulgaria. They began to
retreat through southern Serbia. King Constantine notified the Allied
governments that if these troops retreated upon Greek soil he would
send his army to surround them and hold them as prisoners for the rest
of the war. France and England replied by notifying him that if he did
this they would blockade the ports of Greece and prevent any ships
from entering her harbors. This act on the part of France and England,
while it seemed necessary, nevertheless angered the proud Greeks and
strengthened the pro-German party in Athens. The king took advantage
of this feeling to appoint a number of pro-Germans to important
positions in the government. Constantine allowed German submarines to
use certain ports in Greece as bases of supply from which they got
their oil and provisions. The Greek army was still mobilized, and the
small force of French and English, which had retreated to Salonika,
were afraid that at any moment they might receive a stab in the back
by order of the Greek king.

In May, 1916, the Germans and Bulgarians crossed the Greek frontier
and demanded the surrender of several Greek forts. When the commander
of one of them proposed to fight, the German general told him to call
up his government at Athens over the long distance telephone. He did
so and was ordered to give up the fort peaceably to the invaders. We
have already seen what the answer of the Belgians had been on a like
occasion. To be sure, the French and English were already occupying
Greek soil, but they had come there under permission of the prime
minister of Greece to do a thing which Greece herself had solemnly
promised that she would do, namely, to defend Serbia from the Bulgars.

This surrender of Greek territory to the hated Bulgarians was too much
for Venizelos. He gave out a statement to the Greek people in which he
declared that the king had disobeyed the constitution and was ruling
as a tyrant; that he was betraying his country to the Germans and
Bulgars and that all loyal Greeks should refuse to obey him. At
Salonika, under the protection of the British and French, together
with the admiral of the Greek navy and one of the chief generals in
the army, Venizelos set up a new government--a republic of Greece.

Shortly after this the commander of a Greek army corps in eastern
Macedonia, acting under orders from King Constantine, surrendered his
men to the Germans, along with all their artillery, stores, and the
equipment which had been furnished to them by the French to defend
themselves against the Germans! In the meantime, the Bulgarians had
seized Kavala.

The control of the Adriatic Sea had been a matter of jealousy between
the Italians and Austrians even during the years when they were
partners in the Triple Alliance. Even before Italy entered the war on
the side of France and England, her government, fearing the Austrians,
had sent Italian troops to seize Avlona. The Prince of Albania,
finding that he was not wanted, had deserted that country, and there
had been no government at all there since the outbreak of the great
war. However, the presence of this Italian garrison prevented the
forces of the central powers from advancing southward along the
Adriatic coast.

Gradually, France and England increased their forces at Salonika. The
gallant defender of Verdun, General Sarrail, was sent to command the
joint army. During the summer of 1916, Italians came there to join the
French and British. A hundred thousand hardy young veterans, survivors
of the Serbian army, picked up by allied war ships on the coast of
Albania, were refitted and carried by ship around Greece to Salonika.
Here they joined General Sarrail's army, rested and refreshed, and
frantic for revenge on the Germans and Bulgars. Several thousands of
the Greek troops, following the leadership of Venizelos, deserted the
king and joined the allies.

Meanwhile, in Athens one prime minister after another tried to steer
the ship of state. The people of Greece were in a turmoil. The great
majority of them were warm friends of France and England--all of them
hated the Turks. The pro-German acts of the king, however, provoked
the French and English to such an extent that they frequently had to
interfere in Athens. The Greek people resented this interference and
on one or two occasions fights broke out when allied sailors marched
through the streets of the capital. Matters reached a climax in June,
1917. The governments of France, England, and Italy felt that they
could stand the treacherous conduct of King Constantine no longer.
They knew that he was assisting Germany in every possible way. They
knew that their camp was full of spies who were reporting all their
movements to the Bulgarians. They felt that at the first chance he
would order his army to attack Sarrail in the rear. They finally sent
an ultimatum to him ordering him to give up the throne to his second
son. The oldest son, the crown prince, having been educated in Germany
and sharing King Constantine's pro-German sentiments, was barred from
succeeding his father. This seemed a high-handed thing to do but there
was no other way out of a difficult situation. Constantine had allowed
his sympathies with his wife's brother to prevent his country from
carrying out her solemn treaty; had ruled like an absolute monarch;
had plotted with all his power for the overthrow of Russia, France,
and England, the three countries which had won Greece its independence
in the first place and which still desired its people to have the
right to rule themselves.

The guns of the allied fleet were pointed at Athens. More than half of
the Greek people favored Venizelos and the Entente as against the king
and Germany. A second[8] time within four months a European
monarch who was out of sympathy with his subjects was forced to resign
his crown.

[8] The first was the Czar of Russia, as is told in a later chapter.

With Constantine out of the way, there was nothing to prevent the
return to Athens of Venizelos. With great enthusiasm the people hailed
his coming, as, once more prime minister, he summoned the members of
parliament lawfully elected in 1915, and took control of the

In July, 1917, the Greek government announced to the world that,
henceforth, Greece would be found in the war on the side of France,
Great Britain, and the other nations of the Entente.


You will recall that when Bulgaria attacked Serbia the Serbs hoped for
help from Roumania. For they knew that Bulgaria had a grudge against
Roumania also, because of the Bulgarian territory which she had been
compelled to give up to her neighbor on the north at the close of the
second Balkan war. They expected this fear of Bulgarian revenge to
bring the Roumanians to the rescue.

You have read how Roumania wished for certain lands in Russia as well
as in Hungary that are inhabited by her own people. For a long time
the government at Bukharest hesitated, fearing to plunge into the war
before the time was ripe, and dreading the danger of choosing the
wrong side.

The key to the situation was Russia. If Roumania were to go to war she
would have to count strongly on the help of her great neighbor to the

Meanwhile, strange things were happening in Russia. You will remember
that there are two million Germans living in that part of the Russian
domain which borders the Baltic Sea. (The states of Livonia and
Courland were ruled in the olden times by the "Teutonic knights.")
These Germans are much better educated, on the whole, than the
Russians; they are descendants of old feudal warriors and as such are
men of force and influence in the Russian government. It was a common
thing to find German names, like Witte, Von Plehve, Rennenkampf, and
Stoessel among the list of high officials and generals in Russia. In
this way there were a great many people prominent in the Russian
government, who secretly hoped that Germany would win the war and were
actively plotting with this in view. "There is a secret wire from the
czar's palace to Berlin," said one of the most patriotic Russian
generals, explaining why he refused to give out his plans in advance.
Graft and bad management, as well as treachery, were all through the
nation. Train-loads of ammunition intended for the Russian army were
left piled up on the wharves at the northern ports. Guns sent by
England were lost in the Ural mountains. Food that was badly needed by
the men at the front was hoarded by government officials in order to
raise prices for their friends who were growing rich through
"cornering" food supplies.[9]

[9] When a group of men buy a sufficient amount of any one article so as
to keep it from being sold in great quantities and make it appear that
there is not enough to go around, they are said to "corner" the
market. Three or four men in America at various times have been able
to corner the wheat market or the corn market or the market for

The czar of Russia truly desired his country to win the war. On the
other hand his wife was a cousin of the Kaiser, a German princess
whose brothers were fighting in the German army, and she had little
love for her adopted country. The poor little Czarevitch, eleven years
old, remarked, early in the war, "When the Russians are beaten, papa
weeps; when the Germans are beaten, mamma weeps." In spite of her
German sympathies the Czarina had great influence with her husband,
and the scheming officials who were secretly plotting the downfall of
Russia were able to use this influence in many ways.

In 1916, a new prime minister was appointed in Russia--a man named
Sturmer, of German blood and German sympathies. The Russians, after
their long retreat in 1915 had gradually gotten back their strength,
and had piled up ammunition and gathered guns for a new attack. This
began early in June, 1916, when General Brusiloff attacked the
Austro-Hungarians in Galicia and Bukowina and drove them back for
miles and miles, capturing hundreds of thousands of prisoners. You
will remember that the Bohemians, although subjects of Austria-
Hungary, are Slavs and have no love for the Austrians of German blood
who rule them. Two divisions made up of Bohemian troops helped General
Brusiloff greatly by deserting in a body and afterwards re-enlisting
in the Russian army.

In northern France, the British and French had at last gained more
guns and bigger guns than the Germans had, and by sheer weight of
metal were pushing the latter out of the trenches which they had held
for over two years. It seemed to Roumania that the turning point of
the war had come. With the Russians winning big victories over
Austria, and the French and English pushing back the Germans in the
west, it certainly looked as though the end were in sight.

Now the king of Roumania, as you have been told is a Hohenzollern, a
distant cousin of the Kaiser of Germany, but, just the opposite from
the case in Greece and Russia, his wife was an English princess, and
she was able to help the party that was friendly to France and Great
Britain. The man who had and worked early and late to get his
countrymen to join the Entente was Take Jonescu, the wisest of the
Roumanian statesmen, the man who predicted at the close of the second
Balkan war that the peace of Europe would again be broken within
fourteen months.[10]

[10] As an actual fact, there was only twelve and a half months between

[Map: What The Allies Wished]

By the summer of 1916, the Roumanians had at last decided that if they
wanted to get a slice of Bessarabia from Russia and the province of
Transylvania from Hungary, they must jump into the war on the side of
the Entente. It is claimed by some that they had planned to wait until
the following winter in order to get their army into the best of
condition and training, but that the treacherous prime minister of
Russia, Sturmer, when he found that they were determined to make war
on Germany and Austria, persuaded them to plunge in at once, knowing
that they were unprepared and that their inexperienced troops would be
no match for the veterans of the central powers. At any rate, about
the first of September Roumania declared war on Austria and joined the

The French and English had wished the Roumanians to declare war first
on Bulgaria and, attacking that country from the north while General
Sarrail attacked it from the south, crush it before help could arrive
from Germany, much in the fashion in which poor Serbia had been caught
between Austria and Bulgaria a year previously. The Roumanians,
however, were eager to "liberate" their brothers in Transylvania, and
so, urged on by bad advice from Russia, they rushed across the
mountains to the northwest instead of taking the easier road which led
them south to the conquest of Bulgaria. (See maps.)

[Map: How Roumania was crushed]

Germania, Turkey, and Bulgaria at once declared war on Roumania. The
battle-field in France, owing to continued rains and wet weather, had
become one great sea of slimy mud, through which it was impossible to
drag the cannon. General Brusiloff in Galicia had pushed back the
Austrians for many miles but a lack of ammunition and the arrival of
strong German re-inforcements had prevented his re-capturing Lemberg.
The Russian generals on the north, under the influence of the
pro-German prime minister, were doing nothing. The Italians and
Austrians had come to a deadlock. The country where they were fighting
was so mountainous that neither side could advance. North from
Salonika came the slow advance of General Sarrail. His great problem
was to get sufficient shells for his guns and food for his men. All
the time, too, he had to keep a watchful eye on King Constantine, lest
the latter launch the Greek army in a treacherous attack on his rear.
For the time being, then, the central powers were free to give their
whole attention to Roumania.

Profiting by the mud along the western front and trusting to the
Russians to do nothing, they drew off several hundred thousand men
from France and Poland and hurled them all together upon the
Roumanians. At the same time, another force composed of Turks,
Bulgarians, and some Germans marched north through the Dobrudja to
attack Roumania from the south. Thus, the very trick that the French
wished Roumania to work upon Bulgaria was now worked upon her by the
central powers. France and England were helpless. They sent one of the
best of the French generals to teach the Roumanians the latest science
of war, but men and guns they could not send. Look at the map and see
how Roumania was shut off from all help except what came from Russia.
Here Sturmer was doing his part to help Germany. Ammunition and troops
which were intended to rescue Roumania, never reached her. The Germans
had spies in the Roumanian army and before each battle, knew exactly
where the Roumanian troops would be and what they were going to do.

The German gun factories had sold to Roumania her cannon. On each gun
was a delicate sight with a spirit level--a little glass tube supposed
to be filled with a liquid which would not freeze. Slyly the Germans
had filled these tubes with water, intending, in case Roumania entered
the war on their side, to warn them about the "mistake." When the guns
were hauled up into the mountains and freezing weather came, these
sights burst, making the guns almost useless. Overwhelmed from both
the northwest and the south, the Roumanian army, fighting gallantly,
was beaten back mile after mile. Great stores of grain were either
destroyed or captured by the Germans. The western part of Roumania
where the great oil wells are, fell into the hands of the invaders, as
did Bukharest, the capital.

Sturmer had done his work well. Germany, instead of being almost
beaten, now took on fresh courage. Thanks to Roumanian wheat,
Roumanian oil, and above all, the glory of the victories, the central
powers were now in better shape to fight than if Roumania had kept out
of the war. The German comic papers were full of pictures which
declared that as England and France had always wanted to see a
defeated Hohenzollern they might now take a long look at King
Ferdinand of Roumania.

Questions for Review

1. What was the great disappointment connected with the rise to power
of the "young Turks"?
2. What would you say was the secret of the success of Venizelos in
3. What mistake did the Greeks make at the close of the war of 1913?
4. What was the real cause of the strife between Venizelos and King
5. Would King Constantine have been justified in holding as prisoners
the French and British troops who were driven back upon Greek
6. What right had Venizelos to set up a republic?
7. Was it right for the Entente to force the resignation of King
8. What made Roumania decide to join the Entente?
9. How was the Roumanian campaign a great help to the Central Powers?


The War Under the Sea

Britannia rules the waves.--Enter the submarine.--The blockade of
Germany.--The sinking of the Lusitania and other ships.--The trade in
munitions of war.--The voyages of the Deutschland.--Germany ready for
peace (on her own terms).--The reply of the allies.--Germany's amazing
announcement.--The United States breaks off friendly relations.

You will remember how hard the Germans had worked, building warships,
with the hope that one day their navy might be the strongest in the
world. At the outbreak of the great war in 1914 they were still far
behind England in naval power. On the other hand, it was necessary for
the English to keep their navy scattered all over the world. English
battleships were guarding trade routes to Australia, to China, to the
islands of the Pacific. The Suez Canal, the Straits of Gibraltar, the
Island of Malta--all were in English hands, and ships and guns were
needed to defend them.

The German navy, on the other hand, with the exception of a few
cruisers in the Pacific Ocean and two warships in the Mediterranean,
was gathered in the Baltic Sea, the southeastern part of the North
Sea, and the great Kiel Canal which connected these two bodies of
water. It was quite possible that this fleet, by making a quick dash
for the ports of England, might find there only a portion of the
English ships and be able to overwhelm them before the rest of the
English navy should assemble from the far parts of the earth.

Winston Churchill, whose name you have read before, had the foresight
to assemble enough English vessels in home waters in the latter part
of the month of July, 1914, to give England the upper hand over the
fleet of Germany. As a result, finding the British too strong, the
Germans did not venture out into the high seas to give battle. A few
skirmishes were fought between cruisers, then some speedy German
warships made a dash across the North Sea to the coast of England,
shelled some small towns, killed several men, women, and children and
returned, getting back to the Kiel Canal before the English vessels
arrived in any number.

A second raid was attempted a few weeks later but by this time the
British were on the watch. Two of the best German cruisers were sunk
and the others barely escaped the fire of the avengers.

About the first of June, 1916, a goodly portion of the German fleet
sailed out, hoping to catch the British unawares. They were successful
in sinking several large ships, but when the main British fleet
arrived they began in turn to suffer great losses, and were obliged to
retire. With the exception of these two fights and two other battles
fought off the coast of South America (in the first of which a small
English fleet was destroyed by the Germans, and in the second a larger
British fleet took revenge), there have been no battles between the
sea forces.

The big navy of England ruled the ocean. German merchant vessels were
either captured or forced to remain in ports of neutral nations.
German commerce was swept from the seas, while ships carrying supplies
to France and the British Isles sailed unmolested--for a time. Only in
the Baltic Sea was Germany mistress. Commerce from Sweden, Norway, and
Denmark was kept up as usual. Across the borders of Holland and
Switzerland came great streams of imports. Merchants in these little
countries bought, in the markets of the world, apparently for
themselves, but really for Germany.

However, not for long did British commerce sail unmolested. A new and
terrible menace was to appear. This was the submarine boat, the
invention of Mr. John Holland, an American, but improved and enlarged
by the Germans. In one of the early months of the war three British
warships, the Hogue, the Cressy, and the Aboukir, were cruising about,
guarding the waters of the North Sea. There was the explosion of a
torpedo, and the Hogue began to sink. One of her sister ships rushed
in to pick up the crew as they struggled in the water. A second
torpedo struck and a second ship was sinking. Nothing daunted by the
fate of the other two, the last survivor steamed to the scene of the
disaster--the German submarine once more shot its deadly weapon, and
three gallant ships with a thousand men had gone down.

This startled the world. It was plain that battleships and cruisers
were not enough. While England controlled the surface of the
sea, there was no way to prevent the coming and going of the German
submarine beneath the waters. All naval warfare was changed in a
moment; new methods and new weapons had to be employed.

At the outset of the war the English and French fleets had set up a
strict blockade of Germany. There were certain substances which were
called "contraband of war" and which, according to the law of nations,
might be seized by one country if they were the property of her enemy.
On the list of contraband were all kinds of ammunition and guns, as
well as materials for making these. England and France, however, added
to the list which all nations before the war had admitted to be
contraband substances like cotton, which was very necessary in the
manufacture of gun-cotton and other high explosives, gasoline--fuel
for the thousands of automobiles needed to transport army supplies,
and rubber for their tires. Soon other substances were added to the

An attempt was made to starve Germany into making peace. The central
empires, in ordinary years, raise only about three-fourths of the food
that they eat. With the great supply of Russian wheat shut off and
vessels from North America and South America not allowed to pass the
British blockade, Germany's imports had to come by way of Holland,
Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries. When Holland in 1915
began to buy about four times as much wheat as she had eaten in 1913,
it did not take a detective to discover that she was secretly selling
to Germany the great bulk of what she was buying apparently for
herself. In a like manner Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries
suddenly developed a much greater appetite than before the war! The
British blockade grew stricter. It was agreed to allow these countries
to import just enough food for their own purposes. The British trusted
that they would rather eat the food themselves than sell it to Germany
even at very high prices. The Germans soon began to feel the pinch of
hunger. They had slaughtered many of their cows for beef and as a
result grew short of milk and butter.

To strike back at England, Germany announced that she would use her
submarines to sink ships carrying food to the British Isles. This
happened in February, 1915. There was a storm of protest from the
world in general, but Germany agreed that her submarine commanders
should warn each ship of its danger and allow the captain time to get
the passengers and crew into boats before the deadly torpedo was shot.
Still the crew, exposed to the danger of the ocean in open boats, and
often cast loose miles from shore, were in serious danger.

The laws of nations, as observed by civilized countries in wars up to
this time, have said that a blockade, in order to be recognized by all
nations, had to be successful in doing the work for which it was
intended. If England really was able to stop every boat sailing for
German shores, then all nations would have to admit that Germany was
blockaded; but if the Germans were able to sink only one ship out of
every hundred that sailed into English ports, Germany could hardly be
said to be carrying on a real blockade of England. In spite of
protests from neutral nations who were peaceably trying to trade with
all the countries at war, this sinking of merchantmen by submarines
went on.

In May, 1915, the great steamship Lusitania was due to sail from New
York for England. A few days before her departure notices signed by
the German ambassador were put into New York papers, warning people
that Germany would not be responsible for what happened to them if
they took passage on this boat. Very few people paid any attention to
these warnings. With over a thousand persons on board the Lusitania
sailed, on schedule time. Suddenly the civilized world was horrified
to hear that a German submarine, without giving the slightest warning,
had sent two torpedoes crashing through the hull of the great steamer,
sending her to the bottom in short order. A few had time to get into
the boats, but over eight hundred men, women, and children were
drowned, of whom over one hundred were American citizens. Strange as
it may seem, this action caused a thrill of joy throughout Germany.
Some of the Germans were horrified, as were people in neutral
countries, but on the whole the action of the German navy was approved
by the voice of the German people. With a curiously warped sense of
right and wrong the Germans proclaimed that the English and Americans
were brutal in allowing women and children to go on this boat when
they had been warned that the boat was going to be sunk! They spoke of
this much in the manner in which one would speak of the cruelty of a
man who would drive innocent children and women to march in front of
armies in order to protect the troops from the fire of their enemies.

A storm of indignation against Germany burst out all over the United
States. Many were for immediate war. Calmer plans, however, prevailed,
and the upshot of the matter was that a stern note was sent to Berlin
notifying the Kaiser that the United States could not permit vessels
carrying Americans to be torpedoed without warning on the open seas.
The German papers proceeded to make jokes about this matter. They
pictured every French and English boat as refusing to sail until at
least two Americans had been persuaded to go as passengers, so that
the boat might be under the protection of the United States.

However, in spite of Germany's solemn promise that nothing of the sort
would happen again, similar incidents kept occurring, although on a
smaller scale. The American steamers Falaba and Gulflight were
torpedoed without warning, in each case with the loss of one or two
lives. Finally, the steamer Sussex, crossing the English Channel, was
hit by a torpedo which killed many of the passengers. As several
Americans lost their lives, once more the United States warned Germany
that this must not be repeated. Germany acknowledged that her
submarine commander had gone further than his orders allowed him and
promised that the act should not be repeated--provided that the United
States should force England to abandon what Germany called her illegal
blockade. The United States in reply made it plain that while the
English blockade was unpleasant to American citizens, still it was
very different from the brutal murder of women and children on the
high seas. England, when convinced that an American ship was carrying
supplies which would be sold in the end to Germany, merely took this
vessel into an English port, where a court decided what the cargo was
worth and ordered the British government to pay that sum to the
(American) owners.

This was resented by the American shippers, but it was not anything to
go to war over. The United States gave warning that she would hold
Germany responsible for any damage to American ships or loss of
American lives.

All of this time the Germans were accusing the United States of
favoring the nations of the Entente because they were selling
munitions of war to them and none to Germany. They said that it was
grossly unfair for neutral nations to sell to one side when, owing to
the blockade, they could not sell to the other also. When a protest
was made by Austria, the United States pointed out that a similar case
had come up in 1899. At that time the empire of Great Britain was at
war with two little Dutch Republics in South Africa. The Dutch,
completely blockaded, could not buy munitions in the open market.
Nevertheless, this fact did not prevent both Austria and Germany from
selling guns and ammunition to Great Britain. (It must be made plain
that the United States government was not selling munitions of war to
any of the warring nations. What Germany wanted and Austria asked was
that our government should prevent our private companies, as, for
example our steel mills, from shipping any goods which would
eventually aid in killing Germans. The United States made it plain
that our people had no feeling in the matter--that they were in
business, and would sell to whomsoever came to buy; that it was not
our fault that the British navy, being larger than the German,
prevented Germany from trading with us.)

In the meanwhile explosions kept occurring in the many munition
factories in the United States that were turning out shells and guns
for the Allies. Several hundred Americans were killed in these
explosions, and property to the value of millions of dollars was
destroyed. It was proved that the Austrian ambassador and several of
the German diplomats had been hiring men to commit these crimes. They
were protected from our courts by the fact that they were
representatives of foreign nations, but the President insisted that
their governments recall them.

The Germans made a great point about the brutality of the English
blockade. They told stories about the starving babies of Germany, who
were being denied milk because of the cruelty of the English. As a
matter of fact, what Germany really lacked was rubber, cotton,
gasoline, and above all, nickel and cobalt, two metals which were
needed in the manufacture of guns and shells.

Finally, in the summer of 1916, came a world surprise. A large German
submarine, the Deutschland, made the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean
and bobbed up unexpectedly in the harbor of Baltimore. In spite of all
the trouble that the United States had had with Germany over the
sinking of ships by submarines, the crew of this vessel was warmly
received, and the cargo of dyes which she brought was eagerly
purchased. The Germans, in return, loaded their ship with the metals
and other products of which Germany was so short. As one American
newspaper said, the Deutschland took back a cargo of nickel and rubber
to the starving babies of Germany. Once more the Deutschland came,
this time to New London, and again her crew was welcomed with every
sign of hospitality.

[Illustration: The Deutschland in Chesapeake Bay]

In December, 1916, at the close of the victorious German campaign
against Roumania, the central powers, weary of war and beginning to
feel the pinch of starvation and the drain on their young men, made it
known that as they had won the war they were now ready to treat for
peace. This message carried with it a threat to all countries not at
war that if they did not help to force the Entente to accept the
Kaiser's peace terms, Germany could not be held responsible for
anything that might happen to them in the future.

President Wilson, always apprehensive that something might draw the
United States into the conflict, grasped eagerly at this opportunity,
and in a public message he asked both sides to state to the world on
what terms they would stop the war.

The Germans and their allies did not make a clear and definite
proposal. On the other hand, the nations of the Entente, in no
uncertain terms, declared that no peace would be made unless the
central powers restored what they had wrongfully seized, paid the
victims of their unprovoked attack for the damage they had done, and
guaranteed that no such act should ever be committed in the future.
They also declared that the Poles, Danes, Czechs, Slovaks, Italians,
Alsatians, and Serbs should be freed from the tyrannous governments
which now enslaved them. In plain language this meant that the central
powers must give back part of Schleswig to Denmark, allow the kingdom
of Poland to be restored as it once had been; permit the Bohemians and
Slovaks to form an independent nation in the midst of Austria-Hungary;
allow the people of Alsace and Lorraine the right of returning to
France; annex the Italians in Austria-Hungary to Italy, and permit the
Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina to join their cousins to the southeast
in one great Serbian nation.

When these terms were published the German government exclaimed that
while they had been willing to make peace and perhaps even give back
the conquered portions of Belgium and northern France in return for
the captured German colonies in Africa and the Pacific Ocean, with the
payment of indemnities to Germany, now it was plain that the nations
of the Entente intended to wipe out utterly the German nation and
dismember the empire of Austria-Hungary; and that since Germany had
offered her enemies an honorable peace and they had refused, the only
thing left for the central powers to do was to fight to the bitter end
and use any means whatsoever to force their enemies to make peace.

In other words, here were the two conflicting claims: Germany said,
"We have won the war. Don't you recognize the fact that you have been
beaten? Give us back our colonies, organize a kingdom of Poland, out
of the part of Russian Poland which we have conquered, as a separate
kingdom under our protection, but don't expect us to join to this any
part of Austrian or Prussian Poland. (Prussian and Austrian Poland are
ours. You wouldn't expect us to give up any part of them, would you?)
Allow us to keep the port of Antwerp and maintain our control over the
Balkan peninsula. We will restore to you northern France, most of
Belgium, and even part of Serbia. See what a generous offer we are

The Allied nations replied, in effect: "You now have gotten
three-fourths of what you aimed at when you began the war. If we make
peace now, allowing you to keep the greater part of what you have
conquered, you will be magnanimous and give back a small portion of it
if we in turn surrender all your lost colonies. Hardly! We demand, on
the other hand, that you recompense, as far as you can, the miserable
victims of your savage attack for the death and destruction that you
have caused; that you put things back as you found them as nearly as
possible; that you make it plain to us that never again will we have
to be on guard against the possibility of a ruthless invasion by your
army; that you give to the peoples whom you and your allies have
forcibly annexed or retained under your rule a chance to choose their
own form of government."

Then said the Germans to the world, "You see! They want to wipe us out
of existence and cut the empire of our allies into small bits. Nothing
is left but to fight for our existence, and, as we are fighting for
our existence, all rules hitherto observed in civilized warfare are
now called off!"

In the latter part of January, 1917, the German government announced
that, inasmuch as they had tried to bring about an honorable peace
(which would have left them still in possession of three-fourths the
plunder they had gained in the war) and this peace offer had been
rejected by the Entente, all responsibility for anything which might
happen hereafter in the war would have to be borne by France, England,
etc., and not by Germany. It was stated that Germany was fighting for
her existence, and that when one's life is at stake all methods of
fighting are permissible. Germany proposed, therefore, to send out her
submarines and sink without warning all merchant ships sailing toward
English or French ports.

In a special note to the United States, the German government said
that once a week, at a certain time, the United States would be
permitted to send a passenger vessel to England, provided that this
boat were duly inspected and proved to have no munitions of war or
supplies for England on board. It must be painted all over with red,
white, and blue stripes and must be marked in other ways so that the
German submarine commanders would know it. (It must be remembered that
Germany insisted that she was fighting for the freedom of the seas!)

Now, at all times, it has been recognized that the open seas are free
to all nations for travel and commerce. This proposal, to sink without
warning all ships on the ocean, was a bit of effrontery that few had
imagined even the German government was capable of.

President Wilson had been exceedingly patient with Germany. In fact, a
great majority of the newspaper and magazine writers in the country
had criticized him for being too patient. The great majority of the
people of the United States were for peace, ardently. The government
at Washington knew this. Nevertheless, this last announcement by
Germany that she proposed to kill any American citizens who dared to
travel on the sea in the neighborhood of England and France seemed
more than a self-respecting nation could endure. The Secretary of
State sent notice to Count Von Bernstorff, the German ambassador, to
leave this country. Friendly relations between the imperial government
of Germany and the United States of America were at an end.

Questions for Review

1. How did the submarine boat change methods of warfare?
2. What is contraband of war?
3. Was it right to prevent the importation of food into Germany?
4. Why would a nation which manufactured a great deal of war material
object to the sale of such material to fighting nations by nations
at peace?
5. Show how this rule, if carried out, would have a tendency to make
all nations devote too much work to the preparation of war
6. Show the difference between the British blockade and the sinking
of ships by German submarines.
7. Would the blowing up of American factories by paid agents of the
German government have been a good enough reason for the United
States to have declared war?
8. How did the voyages of the Deutschland prove that the United
States wanted to be fair to both sides in the war?
9. What reasons had Austria and Germany for wishing peace in December
10. Why did President Wilson ask the warring nations to state their
aims in the war?
11. How did Germany try to justify the sinking of ships without


Another Crown Topples

The unnatural alliance of the Czar and the free peoples.--The first
Duma and the revolt of 1905.--The Zemptsvos and the people against the
pro-German officials.--The death of Rasputin and other signs of
unrest.--The revolution of March 1917.--The Czar becomes Mr.
Romanoff.--Four different governments within eight months.--Civil war
and a German effort for peace.

It will be recalled that the great war was caused in the first place
by the unprovoked attack of Austria on Serbia and the unwillingness of
Russia to stand by and see her little neighbor crushed, and that
England came in to make good her word, pledged to Belgium, to defend
that small country from all hostile attacks. Thus the nations of the
Entente posed before the world as the defenders of small nations and
as champions of the rights of peoples to live under the form of
government which they might choose. You will remember that when the
central powers said that they were ready to talk peace terms the
nations of the Entente replied that there could be no peace as long as
the Danes, Poles, and Alsatians were forcibly held by Germany in her
empire and as long as Austria denied the Ruthenians, Roumanians,
Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, and Italians in their empire the right either
to rule themselves or to join the nations united to them by ties of
blood and language. France and Great Britain especially were fond of
saying that it was a war of the free peoples against those enslaved by
military rule--a conflict between self-governed nations and those
which were oppressing their foreign subjects. Replying to this the
central powers would always point to Russia. Russia, said they,
oppressed the Poles and Lithuanians, the Letts, the Esthonians, the
Finns. She, as well as Austria-Hungary, has hundreds of thousands of
Roumanians within her territories. Her people had even less political
freedom than the inhabitants of Austria and Germany.

The nations of the Entente did not reply to these charges of the
Germans. There was no reply to make; it was the truth. In fact there
is no doubt that French and British statesmen were afraid of a Russian
victory. They did not want the war to be won by the one nation in
their group which had a despotic form of government. On the other hand
the high officials in Russia were not any too happy at the thought of
their alliance with the free peoples of western Europe. Germany was
much more their ideal of a country governed in the proper manner than
was France. As you have been told, many of the nobles of the Russian
court were of German blood and secretly desired the victory of their
fatherland, while many Russians of the party who wanted to keep all
power out of the hands of the common people were afraid of seeing
Germany crushed, for fear their own people would rise up and demand
more liberty.

You will recall that there had been unrest in Russia at the time of
the outbreak of the war; that strikes and labor troubles were
threatened, so that many people thought the Czar had not been at all
sorry to see the war break out, in order to turn the minds of his
people away from their own wrongs.

At the close of the disastrous war with the Japanese in 1905, the cry
from the Russian people for a Congress, or some form of elective
government, had been so strong that the Czar had to give in. So he
called the first Duma. This body of men, as has been explained, could
talk and could complain, but could pass no laws. The first Duma had
had so many grievances and had talked so bitterly against the
government, that it had been forced to break up, and Cossack troops
were called in to put down riots among the people at St. Petersburg,
which they did with great ferocity. All this time there had been
growing, among the Russian people, a feeling that they were being
robbed and betrayed by the grand dukes and high nobles. They
distrusted the court. They felt that the Czar was well-meaning, but
weak, and that he was a mere puppet in the hands of his German wife,
his cousins the grand dukes, and above all a notorious monk, called
Rasputin. This strange man, a son of the common people, had risen to
great power in the court. He had persuaded the Empress that he alone
could keep health and strength in the frail body of the crown prince,
the Czarevitch, and to keep up this delusion he had bribed one of the
ladies in waiting to pour a mild poison into the boy's food whenever
Rasputin was away from the court for more than a few days. The poor
little prince, of course, was made sick; whereupon, the Empress would
hurriedly send for Rasputin, upon whose arrival the Czarevitch
"miraculously" got well. In this manner this low-born fakir obtained
such a hold over the Czar and Czarina that he was able to appoint
governors of states, put bishops out of their places, and even change
prime ministers. There is no doubt that the Germans bribed him to use
his influence in their behalf. It is a sad illustration of the
ignorance of the Russian people as a whole, that such a man could have
gotten so great a power on such flimsy pretenses.

The real salvation of the Russians came through the Zemptsvos. These
were little assemblies, one in each county in Russia, elected by the
people to decide all local matters, like the building of roads,
helping feed the poor, etc. They had been started by Czar Alexander
II, in 1862. Although the court was rotten with graft and plotting,
the Zemptsvos remained true to the people. They finally all united in
a big confederation, and when the world war broke out, this body,
really the only patriotic part of the Russian government, kept the
grand dukes and the pro-Germans from betraying the nation into the
hands of the enemy.

It was a strange situation. The Russian people through the
representatives that they elected to these little county assemblies
were patriotically carrying out the war, while the grand dukes and the
court nobles, who had gotten Russia into this trouble, were, for the
most part, hampering the soldiers, either through grafting off the
supplies and speculating in food, or traitorously plotting to betray
their country to the Germans. With plenty of food in Russia, with
millions of bushels of grain stored away by men who were holding it in
order to get still higher prices, there was not enough for the people
of Petrograd to eat.

As you were told in a previous chapter, the German, Sturmer, was made
prime minister, probably with the approval of the monk, Rasputin.
Roumania, depending on promises of Russian help, was crushed between
the armies of the Germans on the one side and the Turks and Bulgars on
the other, while trainload after trainload of the guns and munitions
which would have enabled her armies to stand firm was sidetracked and
delayed on Russian railroads. "Your Majesty, we are betrayed," said
the French general who had been sent by the western allies to direct
the army of the king of Roumania, when his pleas for ammunition were
ignored and promise after promise made him by the Russian prime
minister was broken.

Of all the countries in Europe, with the possible exception of Turkey,
Russia had been the most ignorant. The great mass of the people had
had no schooling and were unable to read and write. It was easier for
the grand dukes and nobles to keep down the peasants and to remain
undisturbed in the ownership of their great estates if the people knew
nothing more than to labor and suffer in silence. There was a class of
Russians, however, the most patriotic and the best educated men in the
state, who were working quietly, but actively, to make conditions
better. Then too, the Nihilists, anarchists who had been working
(often by throwing bombs) for the overthrow of the Czar, had spread
their teachings throughout the country. Students of the universities,
writers, musicians, and artists, had preached the doctrines of the
rights of man. While outwardly the government appeared as strong as
ever, really it was like a tree whose trunk has rotted through and
through, and which needs only one vigorous push to send it crashing to
the ground.

It is generally in large cities that protests against the government
are begun. For one thing, it is harder, in a great mob of people, to
pick out the ones who are responsible for starting the trouble. Then
again it is natural for people to make their protests in capital
cities where the government cannot fail to hear them. A third reason
lies in the fact that in large cities there are always a great number
of persons who are poor and who are the first ones to feel the pinch
of starvation, when hard times arise or when speculators seize upon
food with the idea of causing the prices to rise. Starvation makes
these people desperate--they do not care whether they live or
not--and, as a result, they dare to oppose themselves to the police
and the soldiers.

There had been murmurs of discontent in Petrograd for a long time.
This was felt not only among the common people, but also among the
more patriotic of the upper classes. In the course of the winter of
1916-17, the monk, Rasputin, as a result of a plot, was invited to the
home of a grand duke, a cousin of the Czar. There a young prince,
determined to free Russia of this pest, shot him to death and his body
was thrown upon the ice of the frozen Neva.

About this time the lack of food in Petrograd, the result largely of
speculation and "cornering the market," had become so serious that the
government thought it wise to call in several regiments of Cossacks to
reinforce the police.

These Cossacks are wild tribesmen of the plains who enjoy a freedom
not shared by any other class in Russia. They are warriors by trade
and their sole duty consists in offering themselves, fully equipped,
whenever the government has need of their services in war. They were
of a different race, originally, than the Russians themselves,
although by inter-marrying they now have some Slavic blood in their
veins. Their appearance upon the streets of Petrograd was almost
always a threat to the people. Enjoying freedom themselves and liking
nothing better than the practice of their trade--fighting--they had
had little or no sympathy with the wrongs of the populace, and so were
the strongest supporters of the despotic rule of the Czar. At times
when the Czar did not dare to trust his regular soldiers to enforce
order in Petrograd or Moscow, for fear the men would refuse to fire
upon their own relatives in the mob, the Cossacks could always be
counted upon to ride their horses fearlessly through the people,
sabering to right and left those who refused to disperse.

[Illustration: Crowd in Petrograd during the Revolution]

The second week of March, 1917, found crowds in Petrograd protesting
against the high prices of food and forming in long lines to demand
grain of the government. As day succeeded day, the crowds grew larger
and bolder in their murmurings. Cossacks were sent into the city, but
for some strange reason they did not cause fear as they had in times
past. Their manner was different. Instead of drawing their sabers,
they good naturedly joked with the people as they rode among them to
disperse the mobs, and were actually cheered at times by the populace.
The crowds grew larger and more boisterous. Regiment after regiment of
troops was called in. The police fired upon the people when the latter
refused to go home. Then a strange thing happened. A Cossack, his eyes
flashing fire, rode at full tilt up the street toward a policeman who
was firing on the mob, and shot him dead on the spot. A shout went up
from the people: "The Cossacks are with us!" New regiments of troops
were brought in. The men who composed them knew that they were going
to be ordered to fire upon their own kind of people--their own kin
perhaps, whose only crime was that they were hungry and had dared to
say so. One regiment turned upon its officers, refusing to obey them,
and made them prisoners. Another and another joined the revolting
forces. It was like the scenes in Paris on the 14th of July, 1789. The
people had gathered to protest, and, hardly knowing what they did,
they had turned their protests into a revolution. Regiments loyal to
the Czar were hastily summoned to fire upon their revolting comrades.
They hesitated. Leaders of the mob rushed over to them, pleading with
them not to fire. A few scattering volleys were followed by a lull,
and, then with a shout of joy, the troops last remaining loyal threw
down their arms and rushed across to embrace the revolutionists. At a
great meeting of the mob a group of soldiers and working men was
picked out to call upon the Duma and ask this body to form a temporary
government. Another group was appointed to wait upon Nicholas II and
tell him that henceforth he was not the Czar of all the Russias, but
plain Nicholas Romanoff. Messengers were sent to the fighting fronts
to inform the generals that they were no longer to take orders from
the Czar, but from the representatives of the free people of Russia.
With remarkable calmness, the nation accepted the new situation.
Within two days a new government had been formed, composed of some of
the best men in the great empire. The Czar signed a paper giving up
the throne in behalf of himself and his young son and nominating his
brother Michael to take his place. Michael, however, was too wise. He
notified the people that he would accept the crown only if they should
vote to give it to him; and this the people would not do.

[Illustration: Revolutionary soldiers holding a conference in the

The government, as formed at first, with its ministers of different
departments like the American cabinet, was composed of citizens of the
middle classes--lawyers, professors of the universities, land-owners,
merchants were represented--and at the head of the ministry was a
prince. This arrangement did not satisfy the rabble. The radical
socialists, most of whom owned no property and wanted all wealth
divided up among all the people, were not much happier to be ruled by
the moderately well-to-do than they were to submit to the rule of the
nobles. The council of workingmen and soldiers, meeting in the great
hall which had formerly housed the Duma, began to take upon themselves
the powers of government. Someone proclaimed that now the Russian
people should have peace, and when Prof. Milioukoff, foreign minister
for the new government, assured France and England that Russia would
stick by them to the last, a howling crowd of workingmen threatened to
mob him. "No annexations and no indemnities," was the cry of the
socialists. "Let us go back to conditions as they were before the war.
Let each nation bear the burden of its own losses and let us have
peace." After a stormy session, the new government agreed to include
in its numbers several representatives of the soldiers and workingmen.
Prof. Milioukoff resigned and Alexander Kerensky, a radical young
lawyer, became the real leader of the Russian government.

[Illustration: Kerensky (standing in automobile) reviewing Russian

Germany and Austria, meanwhile, had eagerly seized the advantage
offered by Russia's internal troubles. Their troops were ordered to
make friends with the Russians in the trenches opposite. They played
eagerly upon the new Russian feeling of the brotherhood of man and
freedom and equality, to do away with fighting on the east, thus being
able to transfer to the western front some of their best regiments. As
a result the French and English, after driving the Germans back for
many miles in northern France were at last brought to a standstill.
The burden of carrying the whole war seemed about to fall more heavily
than ever upon the armies in the west. Talk of a separate peace
between Russia and the central powers grew stronger and stronger. The
Russian troops felt that they had been fighting the battles of the
Czar and the grand dukes and they saw no reason why they should go on
shooting their brother workingmen in Germany.

At this point Kerensky, who had been made minister of war, set out to
visit the armies in the field. Arriving at the battle grounds of
eastern Galicia he made rousing speeches to the soldiers and actually
led them in person toward the German trenches. The result was a
vigorous attack all along the line under Generals Brusiloff and
Korniloff which swept the Germans and Austrians back for many miles,
and threatened for a time to recapture Lemberg. German spies, however,
and agents of the peace party were busy among the Russian soldiers.
They soon persuaded a certain division to stop fighting and retreat.
The movement to the rear, begun by these troops, carried others with
it, and for a time it seemed as though the whole Russian army was
going to pieces. Ammunition was not supplied to the soldiers. The
situation was serious and called for a strong hand. Kerensky was made
prime minister and the members of the government and the council of
workingmen and soldiers voted him almost the powers of a Czar. He was
authorized to give orders that any deserters or traitors be shot, if
need be, without trial. Under his rule the Russian army began to
re-form, and the situation improved.

In November, 1917, a faction of the extreme Socialists called the
Bolsheviki (Bol-she-vi'ki) won over the garrisons of Petrograd
and Moscow, seized control of the government, forcing Kerensky
to flee, and threatened to make peace with Germany. These
people are, for the most part, the poor citizens of large cities. They
have few followers outside of the city population, for the average
Russian in the country is a land owner, and he does not take kindly to
the idea of losing his property or dividing it with some landless
beggar from Petrograd.

The revolt of the Bolsheviki, then, simply added to the confusion in
the realm of Russia. That unhappy country was torn apart by the fights
of the different factions. Finland demanded its independence, and
German spies and agents encouraged the Ruthenians living in a great
province called the Ukraine, to do the same. The Cossacks withdrew to
the country to the north of the Crimean peninsula, and the only
Russian armies that kept on fighting were those in Turkey. These
forces had been gathered largely from the states between the Black and
Caspian Seas. Having suffered persecution in the old days, they had
hated the Turks for ages and needed no orders from Petrograd to induce
them to take revenge.

Finally the Bolshevik government agreed to a peace with the central
powers which gave Germany and Austria everything that they wanted. The
Russian armies were disbanded and the Germans and Austrians were free
to turn their fighting men back to the western front. In the meantime,
the Ruthenian republic, now called the Ukraine, was allowed by the
Bolsheviki to make a separate peace with Germany and Austria. The
troops of the Germans and Austrians began joyously to pillage both
Russia and the Ukraine, hunting for the food that was so scarce in the
central empires. However, for a whole year hardly anybody in Russia
had been willing to do a stroke of work. The fields had gone untilled
while the peasants, drunk with their new freedom, and without a care
for the morrow, lived off the grain that had been saved up during the
past years. As a result, whatever grain the enemy found proved spoiled
and mouldy, hardly fit to feed to hogs. As the Germans went about,
taking anything that they wished and as food grew scarce, the unrest
in Russia grew greater.

The Bolshevik government had not set up a democracy--a government
where all the people had equal rights: they had set up a tyranny of
the lower classes. The small land owners, the tradesmen, the middle
classes were not allowed any voice in the government. When the first
National Assembly or Congress was elected and called together, the
Bolsheviki finding that they did not control a majority of its
members, disbanded it by force.

Little by little people began to oppose this rule. They objected to
being robbed of their rights by the rabble just as much as by the

When the Russian armies were disbanded, there were some troops that
refused to throw down their arms. Among them were the regiments of
Czecho-Slovaks. These men had been forced, against their will, to
serve in the Austrian army. They were from the northern part of the
Austrian empire, Bohemia and Moravia. They were Slavs, related to the
Russians, speaking a language very much like Russian, hating the
Germans of Austria and anxious to free their country from the empire
of the Hapsburgs. When General Brusiloff made his big attack in June,
1916, these men had deserted the Austrian army and re-enlisted as
Russians. They could not get back to Austria for the Austrians would
shoot them as deserters. Of course, the Austrian and the German
generals would make no peace with them. Therefore, this army, 200,000
strong, kept their own officers and their order and their arms and
refused to have anything to do with the cowardly peace made by the
Bolsheviki. Several thousand of them made their way across Siberia,
across the Pacific Ocean, across America, across the Atlantic to
France and Italy, where they are fighting by the thousands in the
armies of the Entente. The main body of them, however, are still in
Russia (August 1, 1918), holding the great Siberian railway, fully
ready to renew the war against the central powers at any time when the
patriotic Russians will rise and help them. The problem of how to get
aid to the Czechs without angering the Russian people is a big one for
the allied statesmen.

The trouble with the Russians is that they are not educated; the
result of this is that they readily believe the lies of spies and
tricksters, that would never deceive an educated man.

Questions for Review

1. Was the Russian government as harsh as that of Germany?
2. Why was Russia a source of weakness to the Entente?
3. Why was Rasputin killed?
4. Why did the Czars prefer the Cossacks?
5. What classes fought after the Czar's downfall?
6. How did the central powers take advantage of Russia's troubles?
7. How did the peace with the Bolsheviki help Germany?
8. Explain where the Czecho-Slovak army came from.


The United States at War--Why?

Germany throws to the winds all rules of civilized war.--Dr.
Zimmermann's famous note.--Congress declares war.--Other nations
follow our example.--The plight of Holland, Denmark, and
Norway.--German arguments for submarine warfare shown to be
groundless.--German agents blow up American factories.--German threats
against the United States.--Germany and the Monroe Doctrine.--A
government whose deeds its people cannot question.--Why American
troops were sent to Europe.--Why the war lords wanted peace in
January, 1918.

In the meantime, two months had elapsed from the time when the German
ambassador, Count Von Bernstorff, had been sent home by the United
States. The Germans, true to their word, had begun their campaign of
attacking and sinking without warning ships of all kinds in the waters
surrounding Great Britain and France. Even the hospital ships, marked
plainly with the red cross, and boats carrying food to the starving
people of Belgium, were torpedoed without mercy. The curious state of
public feeling in Germany is well illustrated by an incident which
happened at this time. It so happened that an English hospital ship,
crossing the channel, was laden with about as many German wounded as
British. These men had been left helpless on the field of battle after
the Germans had retreated, and had been picked up and cared for by the
British, along with their own troops. A German submarine with its
deadly torpedo sent this vessel to the bottom. The wounded men, German
and British alike, sank without the slightest chance for their lives.
A burst of indignation came from all over Germany against the
"unspeakable brutality" of the British who dared to expose German
wounded men to the danger of travel on the open sea! The British were
warned that if this happened again the Germans would make reprisals
upon British prisoners in their hands.

[Illustration: Flight from a Torpedoed Ocean Liner]

Week followed week and still there was no declaration of war between
the United States and Germany. But in the latter part of February, the
United States government made public a note which its secret agents
had stopped from being delivered to the German ambassador in Mexico.
It was signed by Dr. Zimmermann, German minister of foreign affairs,
and it requested the ambassador as soon as it was certain that there
would be an outbreak of war with the United States as a result of the
sinking of ships without warning, to propose to Mexico that she ally
herself with Germany. "Together we will make war on the United
States," said Dr. Zimmermann, "and together we will make peace. Mexico
will receive as her reward her lost provinces of Arizona, Texas, and
New Mexico." "Ask the Mexican government," said Dr. Zimmermann, "to
propose to the Japanese that Japan break away from her alliance with
England and join Mexico and Germany in an attack upon the United

The publication of this note made a tremendous change in feeling in
the United States. Up to this time a great portion of the people had
felt that perhaps we were hasty in breaking off relations with
Germany, and in their earnest desire for peace had been willing to put
up with injury and even insults on the part of the Germans, excusing
them on the grounds of their military necessity. The publication of
Dr. Zimmermann's note, however, showed the people of the United States
the true temper of the government at Berlin. It showed them that the
German war lords had no respect for anything but brute force, that the
language of cannon was the only language which they could understand,
and that any further patience on the part of this country would be
looked upon as weakness and treated with scorn and contempt.

On the sixth of April, 1917, Congress, called into session by the
President, by an overwhelming vote declared that a state of war
existed between the United States of America and the Imperial
Government of Germany.

At this point it may be well to sum up the causes that brought the
United States into the great war. These causes may be given under two
heads: (1) the war waged upon us by submarines; and (2) the German
plots and threats against our country at a time when we were at peace
with them. The latter, as given in pages to follow, comprise: (a) The
Kaiser's threat, (b) Admiral Von Tirpitz's threat, (c) the blowing up
of American factories and death of American workingmen, (d) the
attempt to get us into war with Japan and Mexico, and (e) the spending
of the German government's money in an attempt to make our congressmen
vote as Germany wished.

[Illustration: President Wilson reading his War Message to Congress]

The Submarine War

Up to the time when the United States declared war, two hundred and
twenty-six Americans, men, women, and infants, had met their death
through the sinking of ships, torpedoed without warning, under orders
of the German government. These people were peaceable travelers, going
about their business on the high seas in passenger steamers owned by
private companies. According to the law observed by all nations up to
this time there was no more reason for them to fear danger from the
Germans than if they had been traveling on trains in South America or
Spain, or any other country not at war. The attack upon these ships,
to say nothing about the brutal and inhuman method of sinking them
without warning, was an act of war on the part of Germany against any
country whose citizens happened to be traveling on these ocean
steamers. That the action of the United States in calling the
submarine attacks an act of war was only justice is proved by the fact
that several other nations, who had nothing to gain by going to war
and had earnestly desired to remain neutral, took the same stand.
Brazil, Cuba, and several other South and Central American republics
found that they could not maintain their honor without declaring war
on Germany. German ambassadors and ministers have been dismissed from
practically every capital in Spanish America.

In Europe, also, neutral nations like Holland, Denmark, and Norway saw
their ships sunk and their citizens drowned. In spite of their wrongs,
however, the first two did not dare to declare war on Germany, as the
Germans would be able to throw a strong army across the border and
overrun each of these two little countries before the allies could
come to their help. With the fate of Belgium and Serbia before them,
the Danes and the Dutch swallowed their pride and sat helplessly by
while Germany killed their sailors and defenseless passengers. After
the failure of the Entente to protect Serbia and Roumania, no one
could blame Denmark and Holland.

Norway, too, was exposed to danger of a raid by the German fleet.
Commanding the Skager Rack and Cattegat as they did, with the Kiel
Canal connecting them, the Germans could bombard the cities on the
Norwegian coast or even land an army to invade the country. The three
little countries together do not have an army any larger than that of
Roumania, and it would have been out of the question for them to
declare war on Germany without seeing their whole territory overrun
and laid waste.

Nevertheless public opinion in Norway was so strong against Germany
that the Norwegian government, on November first, 1917 sent a vigorous
protest to Berlin, closing with these words:

"The Norwegian government will not again state its views, as it has
already done so on several occasions, as to the violation of the
principles of the freedom of the high seas incurred by the
proclamation of large tracts of the ocean as a war zone and by the
sinking of neutral merchant ships not carrying contraband.

"It has made a profound impression on the Norwegian people that not
only have German submarines continued to sink peaceful neutral
merchant ships, paying no attention to the fate of their crews, but
that even German warships adopted the same tactics. The Norwegian
government decided to send this note in order to bring to the
attention of the German government the impression these acts have made
upon the Norwegian people."

The two arguments that the Germans used in trying to justify
themselves for their inhuman methods with the submarine are: (1) that
on these ships which were sunk were supplies for the French and
British armies, the arrival of which would aid them in killing
Germans, and (2) that the English, by their blockade of Germany, were
doing something which was contrary to the laws of nations and starving
German women and children, and, therefore, since England was breaking
some rules of the war game, Germany had the right to go ahead and
break others.

The trade of the United States in selling war supplies to France and
England was a sore spot with Germany. They claimed that the United
States was unfair in selling to the Entente and not to them. Of
course, this was foolish, as has been pointed out, for the United
States was just as ready to sell to Germany as to the Allies, as was
shown by the two voyages of the Deutschland. If our government had
forbidden our people to sell war supplies at all, and if other neutral
countries had done the same thing, then the result would be that all
wars would be won by the country which made the biggest preparation
for war in times of peace. A law passed by neutral countries
forbidding their merchants from selling munitions would leave a
non-military nation, which had not been getting ready for war,
absolutely at the mercy of a neighbor who for years had been storing
up shells and guns for the purpose of unrighteous conquest. So clear
was this right to sell munitions that Germany did not dare protest,
but ordered Austria to do so instead. In reply, our government was
able to point out cases where Austrian firms had sold guns, etc., to
Great Britain during the Boer War as you have already been told, and
Austria had no answer to give.

What is more, at all of the meetings of the diplomats of different
nations at the Hague, called for the purpose of trying to prevent
future wars, if possible, or at least to make them more humane and
less brutal to the women and children and others who were not actually
fighting, Germany had always upheld the right of neutral nations to
sell arms. Moreover, her representatives had fought strongly against
any proposals to settle disputes by arbitration and peaceful
agreements. At a time when many European nations signed treaties with
the United States agreeing to allow one year to elapse between a
dispute which might lead to war and the actual declaring of war
itself, Germany positively refused to consider such an agreement.

As for the English blockade, England was doing no more to Germany than
Germany or any other country would have done to England if the English
navy had not been so strong. In our own Civil War the North kept up a
like blockade of the South and no nation protested against it, for it
was recognized as an entirely legal act. In the Franco-Prussian war of
1871, the Germans were blockading the city of Paris and the country
around it. The Frenchmen tried to send their women and children
outside the lines to be fed. The Germans drove them back at the point
of the bayonet, and told them that they might "fry in their own fat."
According to the laws of war they were perfectly justified in what
they did. Then, too, the English blockade, which stopped ships which
were found to be loaded with supplies for Germany and took them
peaceably to an English port, where it was decided how much the owners
should be paid for the cargoes, was a very different matter from the
brutal drowning of helpless men, women, and children by the German
submarines. In one case, owners of the goods were caused a great deal
of annoyance and in some instances did not get their money promptly.
On the other side, there was murder of the most fiendish kind, an act


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