In the early part of the day very heavy casualties were suffered in the boats which conveyed the troops from the destroyers, tugs, and transports to the beach. As soon as it became light, the enemy's sharpshooters, hidden everywhere, simply concentrated their fire on the boats. Then they got close in. At least three boats, having broken away from their tows, drifted down the coast, under no control, and were sniped at the whole way, steadily losing men.
All praise is due to the splendid conduct of the officers, midshipmen, and men who formed the beach parties and whose duty it was to pass backward and forward under a terrible fusillade which it was impossible to check in the early part of the day.
The work of disembarking went on mechanically under this fire at almost point-blank range. You saw the crowded boats cast off from the pinnaces, tugs, and destroyers, and laboriously pulled ashore by six or eight seamen. The moment it reached the beach the troops jumped out and doubled for cover to the foot of the bluffs, over some forty yards of beach. But the gallant crews of the boats had then to pull them out under a dropping fire from a hundred points where the enemy's marksmen lay hidden amid the sand and shrubs.
Throughout the whole of April 25 the landing of troops, stores, and munitions had to be carried out under these conditions, but the gallant sailors never failed their equally gallant comrades ashore. Every one, from the youngest midshipman, straight from Dartmouth and under fire for the first time, to the senior officers in charge, did their duty nobly.
When it became light the covering warships endeavored to support the troops on shore by a heavy fire from their secondary armament, but at this time, the positions of the enemy being unknown, the support was necessarily more moral than real. When the sun was fully risen and the haze had disappeared we could see that the Australians had actually established themselves on the top of the ridge and were evidently trying to work their way northward along it. At 8:45 the fire from the hills became intense and lasted for about half an hour, when it gradually died down, but only for a short time. Then it reopened and lasted without cessation throughout the remainder of the day. The fighting was so confused and took place among such broken ground that it is extremely difficult to follow exactly what did happen throughout the morning and afternoon of April 25. The role assigned to the covering force was splendidly carried out up to a certain point, and a firm footing was obtained on the crest of the ridge which allowed the disembarkation of the remainder of the force to go on uninterruptedly, except for the never-ceasing sniping.
But then the Australians, whose blood was up, instead of intrenching themselves and waiting developments, pushed northward and eastward inland in search of fresh enemies to tackle with the bayonet. The ground is so broken and ill-defined that it was very difficult to select a position to intrench, especially as, after the troops imagined they had cleared a section, they were continually being sniped from all sides. Therefore, they preferred to continue the advance.
It is impossible for any army to defend a long beach in any force, especially when you do not know exactly where an attack will be made, and when your troops will come under the fire of the guns of warships. The Turks, therefore, only had a comparatively weak force actually holding the beach, and they seemed to have relied on the difficult nature of the ground and their scattered snipers to delay the advance until they would bring up reinforcements from the interior. Some of the Australians who had pushed inland were counter-attacked and almost outflanked by these on-coming reserves and had to fall back after suffering very heavy casualties.
It was then the turn of the Turks to counter-attack, and this they continued to do throughout the afternoon, but the Australians never yielded a foot of ground on the main ridge, and reinforcements were continually poured up from the beach as fresh troops were disembarked from the transports. The enemy's artillery fire, however, presented a very difficult problem. As soon as the light became good the Turks enfiladed the beach with two field guns from Gaba Tepe and with two others from the north. This shrapnel fire was incessant and deadly. In vain did the warships endeavor to put them out of action with their secondary armament. For some hours they could not be accurately located, or else were so well protected that our shells failed to do them any harm. The majority of the heavy casualties suffered during the day were from shrapnel, which swept the beach and the ridge on which the Australians and New Zealanders had established themselves.
Later in the day the two guns to the north were silenced or forced to withdraw to a fresh position, from which they could no longer enfilade the beach, and a cruiser, moving in close to the shore, so plastered Gaba Tepe with a hail of shell that the guns there were also silenced and have not attempted to reply since.
As the enemy brought up reinforcements toward dusk his attacks became more and more vigorous, and he was supported by a powerful artillery inland which the ships' guns were powerless to deal with. The pressure on the Australians and New Zealanders became heavier, and the line they were occupying had to be contracted for the night. General Birwood and his staff went ashore in the afternoon and devoted all their energies to securing the position, so as to hold firmly to it until the following morning, when it was hoped to get some field guns in position to deal with the enemy's artillery.
Some idea of the difficulty to be faced may be gathered when it is remembered that every round of ammunition, all water, and all supplies had to be landed on a narrow beach and then carried up pathless hills, valleys, and bluffs, several hundred feet high, to the firing line. The whole of this mass of troops, concentrated on a very small area, and unable to reply, were exposed to a relentless and incessant shrapnel fire, which swept every yard of the ground, although fortunately a great deal of it was badly aimed or burst too high. The reserves were engaged in road making and carrying supplies to the crests and in answering the calls for more ammunition.
A serious problem was getting away the wounded from the shore, where it was impossible to keep them. All those who were unable to hobble to the beach had to be carried down from the hills on stretchers, then hastily dressed, and carried to the boats. The boat and beach parties never stopped working throughout the entire day and night.
The courage displayed by these wounded Australians will never be forgotten. Hastily dressed and placed in trawlers, lighters, and ships' boats, they were towed to the ships. I saw some lighters full of bad cases. As they passed the battleship, some of those on board recognized her as the ship they had left that morning, whereupon, in spite of their sufferings and discomforts, they set up a cheer, which was answered by a deafening shout of encouragement from our crew.
I have, in fact, never seen the like of these wounded Australians in war before, for as they were towed among the ships, while accommodation was being found for them, although many were shot to bits and without hope of recovery, their cheers resounded through the night, and you could just see, amid a mass of suffering humanity, arms being waved in greeting to the crews of the warships. They were happy, because they knew they had been tried for the first time in the war and had not been found wanting. They had been told to occupy the heights and hold on, and this they had done for fifteen mortal hours under an incessant shell fire, without the moral and material support of a single gun ashore, and subjected the whole time to the violent counter-attacks of a brave enemy, led by skilled leaders, while his snipers, hidden in caves and thickets and among the dense scrub, made a deliberate practice of picking off every officer who endeavored to give a word of command or to lead his men forward.
No finer feat of arms has been performed during the war than this sudden landing in the dark, this storming of the heights, and, above all, the holding on to the position thus won while reinforcements were being poured from the transports. These raw colonial troops, in those desperate hours, proved themselves worthy to fight side by side with the heroes of Mons and the Aisne, Ypres, and Neuve Chapelle.
THE FOURTH DISPATCH.
Dardanelles, April 27.
Throughout the night of the 25th and the early morning of the 26th there was continual fighting, as the Turks made repeated attacks to endeavor to drive the Australians and New Zealanders from their positions. On several occasions parties of the colonials made local counter-attacks and drove the enemy off with the bayonet, which the Turks will never face.
On the morning of the 26th it became known that the enemy had been very largely reinforced during the night and was preparing for a big assault from the northeast. This movement began about 9:30 A.M. From the ships we could see large numbers of the enemy creeping along the top of the hills endeavoring to approach our positions under cover and then to annoy our troops with their incessant sniping. He had also brought up more guns during the night, and plastered the whole position once again with shrapnel.
The rifle and machine-gun fire became heavy and unceasing. But the enemy were not going to be allowed to have matters all their own way with their artillery. Seven warships had moved in close to the shore, while the Queen Elizabeth, further out, acted as a kind of chaperone to the lot. Each covered a section of the line, and when the signal was given opened up a bombardment of the heights and valleys beyond which can only be described as terrific.
Turkish infantry moved forward to the attack. They were met by every kind of shell which our warships carry, from 15-inch shrapnel from the Queen Elizabeth, each one of which contains 20,000 bullets, to 12-inch, 6-inch, and 12-pounders.
The noise, smoke, and concussion produced was unlike anything you can even imagine until you have seen it. The hills in front looked as if they had suddenly been transformed into smoking volcanoes, the common shell throwing up great chunks of ground and masses of black smoke, while the shrapnel formed a white canopy above. Sections of ground were covered by each ship all around our front trenches, and, the ranges being known, the shooting was excellent. Nevertheless, a great deal of the fire was, of necessity, indirect, and the ground affords such splendid cover that the Turks continued their advance in a most gallant manner, while their artillery not only plastered our positions on shore with shrapnel, but actually tried to drive the ships off the coast by firing at them, and their desperate snipers, in place of a better target, tried to pick off officers and men on the decks and bridges. We picked up many bullets on the deck afterward.
Some Turkish warship started to fire over the peninsula. The Triumph dropped two 10-inch shells within a few yards of her, whereupon she retired up the strait to a safer position, from which she occasionally dropped a few shells into space, but so far has done no damage.
The scene at the height of this engagement was sombre, magnificent, and unique. The day was perfectly clear, and you could see right down the coast as far as Sedd-ul-Bahr. There the warships of the first division were blazing away at Aki Baba and the hills around it, covering their summits with a great white cloud of bursting shells. Further out the giant forms of the transports which accompanied that division loomed up through the slight mist. Almost opposite Gaba Tepe a cruiser close in shore was covering the low ground with her guns and occasionally dropping shells right over into the straight on the far side. Opposite the hills in possession of the Australian and New Zealand troops an incessant fire was kept up from the ships. Beyond lay our transports which had moved further out to avoid the Turkish warships' shells and those of some battery which fires persistently.
Beyond all, the Queen Elizabeth, with her eight huge, monstrous 15-inch guns, all pointed shoreward, seemed to threaten immediate annihilation to any enemy who dared even to aim at the squadron under her charge.
On shore the rifle and machine-gun fire was incessant, and at times rose into a perfect storm as the Turks pressed forward their attack. The hills were ablaze with shells from the ships and the enemy's shrapnel, while on the beach masses of troops were waiting to take their places in the trenches, and the beach parties worked incessantly at landing stores, material, and ammunition.
This great attack lasted some two hours, and during this time we received encouraging messages from the beach. "Thanks for your assistance. Your guns are inflicting awful losses on the enemy." The Turks must, in fact, have suffered terribly from this concentrated fire from so many guns and from the infantry in the trenches.
The end came amid a flash of bayonets and a sudden charge of the colonials, before which the Turks broke and fled amid a perfect tornado of shells from the ships. They fell back sullen and checked, but not yet defeated, but for the remainder of the day no big attack was pressed home, and the colonials gained some ground by local counter-attacks, which enlarged and consolidated the position they were holding.
The Turks kept up their incessant shrapnel fire throughout the day, but the colonials were now dug in and could not be shaken by it in their trenches, while the reserves had also prepared shelter trenches and dug-outs on the slopes.
Some prisoners were captured, including an officer, who said that the Turks were becoming demoralized by the fire of the guns, and that the Germans now had difficulty in getting them forward to the attack. We are well intrenched and they will probably do likewise, and we shall see a repetition of the siege warfare out here.
THE FIFTH DISPATCH.
Dardanelles, April 30.
While Australians and New Zealanders were fighting so gallantly against heavy odds north of Gaba Tepe, British troops crowned themselves with equal laurels at the southern end of the Gallipoli Peninsula. A firm footing now has been obtained. The line stretches across the southern end of the entire peninsula, with both flanks secured by the fire of warships. The army holds many convenient landing places immune from the enemy's guns.
The problems British landing parties faced differed from those the Australians solved further north. Here the cliffs are not high and irregular, but rise about fifty feet from the water's edge, with stretches of beach at intervals. Five of these beaches were selected for disembarkation under the cover of warships. It was hoped the Turkish trenches would be rendered untenable and the barbed wire entanglements cut by the fire of the ships, but these expectations were not realized.
For example, the landing place between Gaba Tepe and Cape Helles was the scene of a desperate struggle which raged all day. The Turks held barbed wire protected trenches in force and their snipers covered the foreshore. After hours of bombardment the troops were taken ashore at daybreak. Part of the force scaled the cliffs and obtained a precarious footing on the edge of the cliffs, but boats which landed along the beach were confronted with a solid hedge of barbed wire and exposed to a terrible cross-fire. Every effort was made to cut the wire, but almost all those who landed here were shot down. Later the troops on the cliffs succeeded in driving back the Turks and clearing the beach.
The most terrible of all landings, however, was on the beach between Cape Helles and the Seddul Bahr. Here the broken valley runs inland enfiladed by hills on either flank, on which were built strong forts, which defended the entrance to the strait until they were knocked out by our guns. Although the guns and emplacements were shattered the bombproofs and ammunition chambers remained intact, and, running back, formed a perfect network of trenches and entanglements right around the semicircular valley. The Turks had mounted pompoms on the Cape Helles side and had the usual snipers concealed everywhere. The foreshore and valley also were protected by trenches and wire, rendering the position most formidable.
One novel expedient was running a liner full of troops deliberately ashore, thus allowing them to approach close in under cover without being exposed in open boats. Great doors had been cut in her sides to permit rapid disembarkation, and she was well provided with Maxims to sweep the shore while the troops were landing. Owing to her going ashore further east than was intended, however, it became necessary to bring up a lighter to facilitate the landing. The Turks directed a perfect tornado of rifle, Maxim, and pompom fire on 200 men who made a dash down the gangway. Only a few survived to gain shelter. All the others were killed on the gangway. Disembarkation, therefore, which meant almost certain death, was postponed until later in the morning, when another attempt also failed.
Then, while the liner, carrying 2,000 men, packed in like sardines, with the officers huddled on the protected bridge, lay all day on shore, with a hail of bullets rattling against her protected sides, the battleships Albion, Cornwallis, and Queen Elizabeth furiously bombarded Seddul Bahr and the encircling hills. Meanwhile the Turks on the Asiatic side tried to destroy the liner by howitzer fire, which was kept under only by the bombardment from covering ships in the strait. In spite of this covering fire, the vessel was pierced by four big shells, and it was decided to postpone any further movement until night, when the troops got ashore almost without the Turks firing a shot, as a result, perhaps, of troops landed on other beaches having pushed along and destroyed some Turkish positions.
END OF THE THIRD WEEK.
[Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.]
IMBROS, (via Dedeaghatch, Turkey,) May 15, (Dispatch to The London Daily Chronicle.)—Operations in the Dardanelles have now been in full swing for just three weeks, and a glance from the mountaintop here at the far-spread region over which the war has been and is being waged shows instantly the material progress which has been made in that time.
When I first looked down on the fascinating and unique vision presented to my eyes from this point of vantage it was a sight truly marvelous. A fleet of transports stood at the entrance to the strait, and to the north of Gaba Tepe the warships were hammering away at the mouth of the Dardanelles, and at several points along the western coast of the peninsula one could see at different points on the land that severe battles were being fought. The heavy clouds of war hung over all, lit up grimly by the vivid flashes of the guns. At times the din was tremendous and went on night and day without cessation. Column after column of dense smoke betokened the falling of forts, and gradually the white puffs from our guns like long rollers on a broken coast advanced up the peninsula from the south and inland from the Gaba Tepe region.
Aeroplanes and dirigibles were always busy. Destroyers and huge transports churned up foam, and submarines left their faint trace on the wide extent of bluest ocean. The scene was one of war in all its picturesqueness and horror, for one could easily imagine awful scenes taking place under the far cloud of smoke and dust. It was war in all its force seen so for the first time.
Today the scene is strangely altered. Nearly all the transports have gone up the western coast of the peninsula, but a few battleships stand on sentry-go, as it were. All resistance in the region directly opposite has been fought down. The smoke coming from over the ridge in front shows that our warships have advanced far up to Kilid Bahr, while comparatively few ships stand at the entrance of the strait. From the inside the Asiatic coast is being bombarded, but the picturesque features of the scene have gone. It is a change which marks triumphant progress. The Turk is being slowly but surely pushed back, dying gamely.
Two days of thick mist were followed by a forty-eight hours' armistice granted to the Turks on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was impossible to see anything of the operations. Behind the veil of mist the fighting went sternly on and the big guns boomed incessantly. Wednesday night they were particularly active. Seldom in the past three weeks has the night sky been so brilliantly illuminated by the flashes of cannon. Serious work is evidently being done or completed. It was not until Thursday afternoon that the weather conditions made it possible to see the result of the warfare behind the screen of mist, and, as I have said, the whole aspect of the now familiar scene appears greatly changed when the coast of the peninsula is deserted by vessels, save for the few transports standing further out to sea than usual and half a dozen ships of war.
The peninsula beyond Gaba Tepe had apparently been cleared of the enemy. The tide of the struggle had passed away. On Thursday, too, I could see our guns flashing from a hill, firing probably at points northward or across the strait. Further north our artillery also appeared to be placed on a high ridge this side of Maidos. What a magic sight the southern part of the peninsula must present, where even at this distance the evidence of the havoc of three weeks' daily shell and lead is not hidden!
The point of the peninsula has become brown under the trampling of men and guns. Krithia lies a complete and pathetic ruin, and Tree Hill is scarred with trench and shell holes as far as I can see.
On Thursday the point of greatest activity was in the strait opposite the conquered portion of the peninsula. It stood out somewhat dim in the haze of battle, but the smoke and flash of the Allies' guns and the Turks' answering could be picked out without great difficulty. Added to this the air was still; the dull thud of the field guns at work there was different from the resounding boom of the naval guns, and the whirr of the machine guns could be plainly heard.
Hard work by land and water is going on along the front stretching away to the left from Erenkeui on the Asiatic side, and the difficulties of obtaining a substantial footing in that mountainous region had evidently been overcome. It was apparent that the enemy was putting up a stiff fight, and at times he must have run his batteries close to the water's edge.
Early in the afternoon the Turkish gunners managed to explode several shells on the land near Morto Bay on the European side. A little later they made the earth and stones of Tree Hill fly up in the air by a few well-placed shells, but such advances on the part of the enemy were brief. The warships in the strait instantly turned their guns on the daring batteries, and such diversions by the enemy were only of brief duration. Toward sunset a battleship was seen to send two shells against the cliff edge south of Suvla Bay.
Yesterday the thick smoke of battle still hung over all activities on the Asiatic side of the waterway. Nearly all the transports had gone, and most of the warships were engaged in the entrance and further up to near Kilid Bahr. Only one battleship that I could see was firing from off the western coast of the peninsula, standing well out off shore near Krithia. It was evidently firing long-range shells against the foe on the further side of the Dardanelles.
The land actions had another point of interest yesterday. In the afternoon very heavy fighting could be noticed far along the Sari Bair, (about sixteen miles north of the tip of the peninsula,) where the Australians are. Every now and again waves of smoke blotted out that part of the landscape. It would clear occasionally to show the hillsides dotted over with puffs of white. Often against the gray background spurts of flame would herald the thunder of heavily engaged artillery. Rifle fire at times, too, could be heard.
The supposition is that our forces in that region, who are forcing their way across the peninsula, must be near the completion of their task.
From what I have said it will be gathered, I think, that very substantial progress has been made since operations began three weeks ago. As one looks at the mountainous and rugged nature of the country beyond the strait it is evident that the enemy has there favorable ground for defensive fighting. That region now appears to be the main point of his struggle.
I learn that the Turkish losses amount to over 80,000 and that 50,000 wounded have been sent to Constantinople.
[From The Suffragette of London, edited by Christabel Pankhurst, in its issue of May 7, 1915.]
"The children who are coming into the world must be welcomed and must be provided with greater, not smaller, advantages, because they are legally fatherless.
"Why should not these children be brought up under model conditions, so that they may be the equal in knowledge and general cultivation of any in the land?
"Every one of them must become a valuable asset to the nation. But that can only be if they are reared in a generous way. They are everybody's children, and have a claim on the community as a whole. The problem of the illegitimate child has been shirked since the beginning of time. Now it has to be faced!"
—From The Suffragette of April 23.
The Women's Social and Political Union, in order to help in solving this problem, has in view the adoption of a number of "war babies," who will be reared under model conditions, and provided with a good general education followed by a training adapted to the natural ability and special gifts of each individual child.
The children will be brought up together in a home in which they will receive that loving care which is necessary for their happiness and full development.
Fuller details of the scheme will be given at a meeting to be addressed by Mrs. Pankhurst on Thursday afternoon, June 3, at the London Palladium. In the meantime those wishing to give their financial or other support are asked to write to Mrs. Pankhurst at Lincoln's Inn House, Kingsway, London, W.C.
THE EUROPEAN WAR AS SEEN BY CARTOONISTS
The Flight of the Eagle
[—From The World, New York.
What Is Our Duty?
By Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst
The position of the British suffragettes, who suspended their militant program and are zealously supporting the cause of the Allies, is stated in this speech by Mrs. Pankhurst, delivered in the Sun Hall, Liverpool, and reported in The Suffragette of April 23, 1915.
I think that throughout our agitation for the franchise for political emancipation, on platforms and on other places—even in prisons—we have talked about rights, and fought for rights; at the same time we have always coupled with the claim for rights clear statements as to duty. We have never lost sight of the fact that to possess rights puts upon human beings grave responsibilities and serious duties. We have fought for rights because, in order to perform your duty and fulfill your responsibilities properly, in time of peace, you must have certain citizen rights. When the State is in danger, when the very liberties in your possession are imperiled, is, above all, the time to think of duty. And so, when the war broke out, some of us who, convalescing after our fights, decided that one of the duties of the Women's Social and Political Union in war time was to talk to men about their duty to the nation—the duty of fighting to preserve the independence of our country, to preserve what our forefathers had won for us, and to protect the nation from foreign invasion.
There are people who say, "What right have women to talk to men about fighting for their country, since women are not, according to the custom of civilization, called upon to fight?" That used to be said to us in times of peace. Certainly women have the right to say to men, "Are you going to fight to defend your country and redeem your promise to women?"
Men have said to women, not only that they fight to defend their country, but that they protect women from all the dangers and difficulties of life, and they are proud to be in the position to do it. Why, then, we say to those men, "You are indeed now put to the test. The men of Belgium, the men of France, the men of Serbia, however willing they were to protect women from the things that are most horrible—and more horrible to women than death itself—have not been able to do it."
It is only by an accident, or a series of accidents, for which no man here has the right to take credit, that British women on British soil are not now enduring the horrors endured by the women of France, the women of Belgium, and the women of Serbia. The least that men can do is that every man of fighting age should prepare himself to redeem his word to women, and to make ready to do his best, to save the mothers, the wives, and the daughters of Great Britain from outrage too horrible even to think of.
We have the right to say to the men, "Fight for your country, defend the shores of this land of ours. Fight for your homes, for the women, and for the children." We have the right if that was the only reason, but in these days, when women are taking larger views of their duty to the State, we go further than that; we claim the right to hold recruiting meetings and ask men to fight for bigger reasons than are advanced ordinarily. We say to men, "In this war there are issues at stake bigger even than the safety of your homes and your own country. Your honor as a nation is at stake."
We have our duties in this war. First of all, this duty begins at home—this duty to our home, because I always feel that if we are not ready to do our duty to those nearest to us we are not fit to do our duty far away. And so the first duty is to ourselves and to our homes. Then there is the duty to protect those who, having made a gallant fight for self-defense—and by that I mean the country of Belgium—what we owe to Belgium we can never repay, because now the whole German plan of campaign is perfectly plain to all those who are not prejudiced, and who are not affected by pan-Germanism; and, unfortunately, in their methods of warfare—and their methods of warfare are many—they not only fight physically, but they fight mentally and morally as well, and in this country and in France, and in every country in Europe, long before the war broke out, in fact, ever since the year 1870, they have been preparing by subtle means to take possession of Europe, and I believe their ambitions are not limited by that, they want to rule the whole world. The whole thing is clear to any unprejudiced observer.
It is very difficult for your attacking bully to imagine that a small State—I mean small numerically, and weak physically—will ever have the courage to stand up and resist the bully when he prepares to attack. The Germans did not expect Belgium to keep them at bay while the other countries involved prepared, but there is absolutely no doubt that the plan was to press through Belgium, to take possession of Paris, and then, having humiliated and crippled France, to cross the Channel and defeat us. There is no doubt that was the plan; it is perfectly clear. And that being so, we owe—civilization owes—to Belgium a debt which it can never repay.
Then we have our duty to our ally, France. How much democracy owes to France! France is the mother of European democracy. There is no doubt about her claim to that. If there had been nothing else worth fighting for in this war, in my opinion that alone would have been worth fighting for, to preserve that spirit and that democracy—which France has given to the world, and which would perish if France were destroyed. The people of France are a people who never have been, and I believe never will be, corrupted in the sense of thinking that material things are of more value than spiritual things. The people of France have always been ready to sacrifice themselves for ideals. They have been ready to sacrifice life, they have been ready to sacrifice money, they have been ready to sacrifice everything for an ideal.
You know the old saying, that men should work and women should weep? That is not true, for it is for all of us to work and for all of us to weep when there is occasion to do so. Therefore, it is because in the French Nation you have splendid qualities combined in both sexes, because the history of the French Nation is so magnificent, because the French Nation has contributed so much to civilization, and so much in art, beauty, and in great qualities, it is our duty to stand by France, and to prevent her being crushed by the oversexed, that is to say, overmasculine, country of Germany.
It is our duty as women to do what we can to help our country in this war, because if the unthinkable thing happened, and Germany were to win, the women's movement, as we know it in Europe, would be put back fifty years at least; there is no doubt about it. Whether it ever could rise again is to my mind extremely doubtful. The ideal of women in Germany is the lowest in Europe. Infantile mortality is very high, immorality is widespread, and, in consequence, venereal disease is rampant. Notice, too, the miserable and niggardly pittance that is being paid to the wives and families of German soldiers, while nothing whatever is being paid to unmarried wives and their children. True security for women and children is for women to have control over their own destiny. And so it is a duty, a supreme duty, of women, first of all as human beings and as lovers of their country, to co-operate with men in this terrible crisis in which we find ourselves.
If all were trained to contribute something to the community, both in time of peace and in time of war, how much better it would be.
What bitterness there was in the hearts of many women when they saw work and business going on as usual, carried on by men who ought to be in the fighting line. There were thousands upon thousands of women willing, even if they were not trained, to do that work and release men, and we have urged the authorities to take into account the great reserve force of the nation, the women who are or might be quite capable to step into the shoes of the men when they were called up to fight.
The Board of Trade issued its appeal to women just before Easter to register their names as willing to do national service in any capacity during the course of the war. I want to tell you tonight that I am very proud of the women of the country. When the first recruiting appeals were made to men, the hoardings were covered with placards and appeals and they were making efforts by recruiting bands, in places of pleasure—everywhere in the columns of the newspapers there were recruiting appeals to men. Then the time came when the Board of Trade wished to know to what extent it could depend upon the services of the women of the country, and what was done in the case of women? There were no posters for us; there were no recruiting meetings for us; there were no appeals from great names to us; no attractive pictures, "Your King and Country Want You"—nothing of that kind. And yet, in spite of that, in one week 34,000 women sent in their names as volunteers for a national service. [Loud applause.]
And now, something about this talk of peace, and the terms of peace. Well, I consider it very sinister and very dangerous. Very dangerous, indeed, because nothing heartens the Kaiser and his advisers so much as weakness in any of the allied nations. It is no use expecting Germany to understand that the people who are talking about peace are animated by a genuine love for peace. I go further as regards peace movements. I think that in this country, and in America, and in all the neutral countries, there are a great many very well-meaning people who are genuine lovers of peace. What woman does not dread the effects of war? Germans are encouraging the call for peace. The Kaiser knows he is going to be beaten, and he wants to get out of it on as easy terms as possible, and so it is worth while for German-Americans to run a peace movement in America. They want America, which is a great neutral country, to intervene to try to force peace and to let the Germans down easily without having to pay for all that they have done in Belgium and in France. Similar tactics are being pursued in this country.
Only those who have been in close touch with people who know what goes on, and what has gone on, since the year 1870, after the Franco-German war, can realize how insidious this German influence is, and so I say to you who love peace (and who does not love peace?) if you take part in any of these peace movements you are playing the German game and helping Germany. [Loud applause.] They talk of peace, but consider the position of our allies. The Germans in possession of the North of France, devastating the country, even today driving thousands of innocent, helpless people at the point of the bayonet, outraging women, and burning homes! And people in this country—an allied nation—allowing themselves to talk about terms of peace.
It is for Germany to talk of peace, not for us. [Loud applause.] It is for us to show a strong and determined front, because if we do anything else we are misunderstood, and advantage is taken of the situation. Since some women have responded to an invitation to take part in a peace conference at The Hague, I feel bound to say that they do not represent the mass of Englishwomen. [Loud applause.] The mass of Englishwomen are whole-hearted in our support of our own Government in this matter and in the support of our allies—[loud applause]—and we are prepared to face all the necessary sacrifices to bring this war to a successful issue from our point of view, because we know, because we feel, that this terrible business, forced upon us, has to be properly finished to save us from the danger of another war perhaps in ten years' time. [Applause.]
We have clear consciences on this matter. We did not want this war. France did not want this war. Belgium did not want this war. I do not believe that Russia wanted this war. It has been forced upon us, and since Germany took up the sword, the sword must be held in the hands of the Allies until Germany has had enough of war and does not want any more of it. [Loud applause.] For us to talk about peace now, for us to weaken our side now, is to make the condition of those men who are laying down their lives for us in France more terrible than it already is. We have to support them, and to stand loyally by them, and to make our sacrifices and show our patriotism to them.
And, speaking of sacrifices, let us consider this drink question. What is our duty in that matter? Well, I think our duty is this, that, if the Government of this country seriously think it is necessary for our success in this war to stop drink altogether until the war is ended, it is our duty loyally to support and accept that decision. [Loud applause.]
At any rate, in time of war we should be ready to say, "Let us sacrifice a personal pleasure in order to get a great national good." Would not that be a something to lift up a nation and make it a wonderful and a great nation?
I believe that in this war we are fighting for things undying and great; we are fighting for liberty; we are fighting for honor; we are fighting to preserve the great inheritance won for us by our forefathers, and it is worth while to fight for those things, and it is worth while to die for them—to die a glorious death in defense of all that makes life worth having is better than to live unending years of inglorious life. And so, out of this great trial that has come upon us, I believe a wonderful transformation will come to the people of this country and we shall emerge from it stronger and better and nobler and more worthy of our great traditions than ever we should perhaps have been without it. [Loud and continued applause.]
The Soldiers Pass
By MAURICE HEWLETT.
[From "Sing Songs of the War."]
The soldiers pass at nightfall, A girl within each arm, And kisses quick and light fall On lips that take no harm. Lip language serves them better Who have no parts of speech: No syntax there to fetter The lore they love to teach.
What waist would shun th' indenture Of such a gallant squeeze? What girl's heart not dare venture The hot-and-cold disease? Nay, let them do their service Before the lads depart! That hand goes where the curve is That billows o'er the heart.
Who deems not how 'tis given, What knows he of its worth? 'Tis either fire of heaven Or earthiness of earth. And if the lips are fickle That kiss, they'll never know If tears begin to trickle Where they saw roses blow.
"The girl I left behind me," He'll sing, nor hear her moan, "The tears they come to blind me As I sit here alone." What else had you to offer, Poor spendthrift of the town? Lay out your unlockt coffer— The Lord will know His own.
The Great End
By Arnold Bennett.
Fear that the British Government in its discussion of peace terms with Germany might defer to the policy of France and Russia of keeping important negotiations secret inspired the writing of this article, which appeared in The London Daily News of April 1, 1915, and is here published by the author's permission. Mr. Bennett points out that despite her alliance Great Britain is essentially a democracy subject to the mandates of her people.
The well-meant but ingenuous efforts of the Government to produce pessimism among the citizens have failed. The object of these efforts was clear; it has, I think, been attained by more direct and wiser means. Munitions of war are now being more satisfactorily manufactured, though the country still refuses to be gloomy. "Eyewitness" pretended to quake, but Przemysl fell. He tried again, but Sir John French announced that he did not believe in a protracted war. Since Sir John French said also that he believed in victory, it follows that he believes in a victory not long delayed. The incomparable and candid reports of the French War Office about the first stages of the war increased our confidence, and at the same time showed to us the inferiority of our own reports. Only victors could publish such revelations, and Britain, with her passion for forgetting mistakes and her hatred of the confessional, could never bring herself to publish them. These reports were confirmed and capped by the remarkable communications of General Joffre to a journalistic friend. The New York Stock Exchange began to gamble about the date of victory. The London Stock Exchange took on a new firmness. Not even the sinister losses at Neuve Chapelle, nor the rumors concerning the same, could disturb our confidence. Peace, therefore, in the general view, and certainty in the view of those who knew most, is decidedly nearer than when I wrote last about peace.
A short while ago Mr. Asquith referred with sarcasm and reproof to those who talk of peace. But, for once, his meaning was not clear. If he meant that to suggest peace to the enemy at this stage is both dangerous and ridiculous, he will be approved by the nation. But if he meant that terms of peace must not even be mentioned among ourselves, he will find people ready to disagree with him, and to support the weight of his sarcasm and his reproof. I am one of those people. Bellicose by disposition, I nevertheless like to know what I am fighting for. This is perhaps an idiosyncrasy, but many persons share it, and they are not to be ignored. It may be argued that Mr. Asquith has defined what we are fighting for. He has not. He has only defined part of what we are fighting for. His reference to the overthrow of Prussian militarism is futile, because it gives no indication of the method to be employed. The method of liberating and compensating Belgium and other small communities is clear; but how are you to overthrow an ideal? Prussian militarism will not be destroyed by a defeat in the field. Militarism cannot overthrow militarism; it can only breed militarism. The point is of the highest importance.
I do not assume that Mr. Asquith's notions about the right way to overthrow militarism are not sound notions. I assume that they are sound. I think that his common sense is massive. Though it is evident that he lets his Ministerial colleagues do practically what they choose in their own spheres, and though there are militarists in the Cabinet, I do not, like The Morning Post, consider that the Prime Minister exists in a stupor of negligence. On the contrary, I assume that at the end of the war, as at the beginning, Mr. Asquith will control the foolish, and that common sense will prevail in the Cabinet when a treaty is the subject of converse. Still further, I will assume that, contrary to nearly all precedent, the collective sagacity of the Ministry has not been impaired, and its self-conceit perilously tickled, by the long exercise of absolute power in face of a Parliament of poltroons. And, lastly, I will abandon my old argument that the discussion of peace terms might shorten the war, without any risk of prolonging it. And still I very strongly hold that peace terms ought to be discussed.
It appears to me that there is a desire—I will not say a conspiracy—on the part of the Government to bring this war to an end in the same manner as it will be brought to an end in Germany—that is to say, autocratically, without either the knowledge or the consent of the nation. The projected scheme, I imagine, is to sit tight and quiet, and in due course inform the nation of a fact accomplished. It can be done, and I think it will be done, unless the House of Commons administers to itself a tonic and acquires courage. Already colonial statesmen have been politely but firmly informed that they are not wanted in England this year! The specious excuse for keeping the nation in the dark is that we are allied to Russia, where the people are never under any circumstances consulted, and to France, where for the duration of the war the Government is as absolute in spirit and in conduct, as that of Russia; and that we must not pain those allied Governments by any exhibition of democracy in being. Secrecy and a complete autocratic control of the people are the watchwords of the allied Governments, and therefore they must be the watchwords of our Government.
This is very convenient for British autocrats, but the argument is not convincing. The surrender of ideals ought not to be so one-sided. We do not dream of suggesting to the Russian and the French Governments how they ought to conduct themselves toward their peoples; and similarly we should not allow them to influence the relations between our Government and ourselves.
The basis of peace negotiations must necessarily be settled in advance by representatives of all the allied Governments in conclave. The mandate of each Government in regard to the conclave is the affair of that Government, and it is the affair of no other Government. The mandate of our Government is, therefore, the affair of our Government, and the allied Governments are just as much entitled to criticise or object to it as we, for example, are entitled to suggest to the Czar how he ought to behave in Finland. Our Government, being a democratic Government, has no right to go into conclave without a mandate from the people who elected it. It possesses no mandate of the kind. It has a mandate, and a mighty one, to prosecute the war, and it is prosecuting the war to the satisfaction of the majority of the electorate. But a peace treaty is a different and an incomparably more important thing. Up to the present the mind of the nation has found no expression, and it probably will not find any expression unless the Government recognizes fairly that it is a representative Government and behaves with the deference which is due from a representative Government. As matters stand, the mandate of the British Government will come, not from Britain, but from Russia and France.
The great argument drawn from the Government's alleged duty to the allied Governments is, no doubt, reinforced, in the minds of Ministers and at Cabinet meetings, by two subsidiary arguments. The first of these rests in the traditional assumption that all international politics must be committed, perpetrated, and accomplished in secret. This strange traditional notion will die hard, but some time it will have to die, and at the moment of its death excellent and sincere persons will be convinced that the knell of the British Empire has sounded. The knell of the British Empire has frequently sounded. It sounded when capital punishment was abolished for sheep-stealing, when the great reform bill was passed, when purchase was abolished in the army, when the deceased wife's sister bill was passed, when the Parliament act became law; and it will positively sound again when the mediaeval Chinese traditions of the Diplomatic Service are cast aside. There are many important people alive today who are so obsessed by those traditions as to believe religiously that if the British people, and by consequence the German Government, were made aware of the peace terms, the German Army would in some mysterious way be strengthened and encouraged, and our own ultimate success imperiled. Such is the power of the dead hand, and against this power the new conviction that in a democratic and candid foreign policy lies the future safety of the world will have to fight hard.
The other subsidiary argument for ignoring the nation is that Ministers are wiser than the nation, and therefore that Ministers must save the nation from itself by making it impotent and acting over its head. This has always been the argument of autocrats, and even of tyrants. It is a ridiculous argument, and it was never more ridiculous than when applied to the British Government and the British Nation today. Throughout the war the Government has underestimated the qualities of the nation—courage, discipline, fortitude, and wisdom. It is still underestimating them. For myself, I have no doubt that in the making of peace the sagacity of the nation as a whole would be greater than the sagacity of the Government. But even if it were not, the right of the nation to govern itself in the gravest hour of its career remains unchallengeable. All arguments in favor of depriving the nation of that right amount to the argument of Germany in favor of taking Belgium—"We do it in your true interests, and in our own."
If the Government does not on its own initiative declare that it will consult—and effectively consult—Parliament concerning the peace terms, then it is the duty of Parliament, and especially of the House of Commons, to make itself unpleasant and to produce that appearance of internal discord which (we are told by all individuals who dislike being disturbed) is so enheartening to Germany. There have always been, and there still are, ample opportunities for raising questions of foreign policy in the House of Commons. If foreign policy has seldom or never been adequately handled by the House of Commons, the reason simply is that the House has not been interested in it. Not to the tyranny of Ministries, but to the supineness and the ignorance of the people's representatives, is the present state of affairs due. Hence the rank and file of Radicals should organize themselves. They would unquestionably receive adequate support in the press and at public meetings. And none but they can do anything worth doing. And among the rank and file of Radicals the plain common-sense men should make themselves heard. Foreign policy debates in the House are usually the playground of cranks of all varieties, and the plain common-sense man seems to shrink from being vocal in such company. It is a pity. The plain common-sense man should believe in himself a little more. The result would perhaps startle his modesty. And he should begin instantly on the resumption of Parliament. He will of course be told that he is premature. But no matter. When he gets up and makes a row he will be told that he is premature, until Sir Edward Grey is in a position to announce in the icy cold and impressive tones of omniscience and omnipotence and perfect wisdom that the deed is irrevocably done and only the formal ratification of the people is required. We have been through all that before, and we shall go through it again unless we start out immediately to be unpleasant.
I hope nobody will get the impression that I think we are a nation of angels under a Government of earthy and primeval creatures. I do not. We are not in a Christian mood, and we don't want to be in a Christian mood. When last week a foolish schoolmaster took advantage of his august position to advocate Christianity at the end of the war, we frightened the life out of him, and he had to say that he had been "woefully misunderstood." In spite of this, the nation, being cut off from direct communication with foreign autocracy and reaction, is in my view very likely to be less unwise than the Government at the supreme crisis. And even if it isn't, even at the worst, it is and should be the master and not the slave of the Government.
German Women Not Yet For Peace
By Gertrude Baumer, President of the Bund Deutscher Frauen.
An emphatic refusal of German women to take part in the recent Women's Peace Conference at The Hague was issued by the Bund Deutscher Frauen (League of German Women) signed by Gertrude Baumer as President, and published by the Frankfurter Zeitung in its issue of April 29, 1915. The manifesto reads:
On April 28 begins the Peace Congress to which women of Holland have invited the women of neutral and belligerent nations. The German woman's movement has declined to attend the congress, by unanimous resolution of its Executive Committee. If individual German women visit the congress it can be only such as have no responsible position in the organization of the German woman's movement and for whom the organization is, therefore, not responsible.
This decimation must not be understood to mean that the German women do not feel as keenly as the women of other countries the enormous sacrifices and sorrows which this war has caused, or that they refuse to recognize the good intentions that figure in the institution of this congress. None can yearn more eagerly than we for an end of these sacrifices and sorrows. But we realize that in our consciousness of the weight of these sacrifices we are one with our whole people and Government; we know that the blood of those who fall out there on the field cannot be dearer to us women than to the men who are responsible for the decisions of Germany. Because we know that, we must decline to represent special desires in an international congress. We have no other desires than those of our entire people: a peace consonant with the honor of our State and guaranteeing its safety in the future.
The resolutions that are to be laid before the women's congress at The Hague are of two kinds. One kind denounces war as such, and recommends peaceful settlement of international quarrels. The other offers suggestions for hastening the concluding of peace.
As concerns the first group of suggestions, there are in the German woman's movement women who are in principle very much in sympathy with the aims of the peace movement. But they, too, are convinced that negotiations about the means of avoiding future wars and conquering the mutual distrust of nations can be considered only after peace has again been concluded. But we must most vigorously reject the proposition of voting approval to a resolution in which the war is declared to be an "insanity" that was made possible only through a "mass psychosis." Shall the German women deny the moral force that is impelling their husbands and sons into death, that has led home countless German men, amid a thousand dangers, from foreign lands, to battle for their threatened Fatherland, by declaring in common with the women of hostile States that the national spirit of self-sacrifice of our men is insanity and a psychosis? Shall we psychologically attack in the rear the men who are defending our safety by scoffing at and deprecating the internal forces that are keeping them up? Whoever asks us to do that cannot have experienced what thousands of wives and mothers have experienced, who have seen their husbands and sons march away.
Just as in these fundamental questions the women of the belligerent States must feel differently from those of neutral States, so, too, there is naturally a difference of opinion among the women of the different belligerent States concerning the time of the conclusion of peace. Inasmuch as the prospects of the belligerent States depend upon the time of the conclusion of peace and therewith the future fate of the nations involved in the war, there can likewise be no international conformity of opinion on this question either.
Dear to us German women as well, are the relations that bind us to the women of foreign lands, and we sincerely desire that they may survive this time of hatred and enmity. But precisely for that reason international negotiations seem fraught with fate to us at a time when we belong exclusively to our people and when strict limits are set to the value of international exchange of views in the fact that we are citizens of our own country, to strengthen whose national power of resistance is our highest task.
Diagnosis of the Englishman
By John Galsworthy
This article originally appeared in the Amsterdaemer Revue, having been written during the lull of the war while England fitted her volunteer armies for the Spring campaign, and is here published by special permission of the author.
After six months of war search for the cause thereof borders on the academic. Comment on the physical facts of the situation does not come within the scope of one who, by disposition and training, is concerned with states of mind. Speculation on what the future may bring forth may be left to those with an aptitude for prophecy.
But there is one thought which rises supreme at this particular moment of these tremendous times: The period of surprise is over; the forces known; the issue fully joined. It is now a case of "Pull devil, pull baker," and a question of the fibre of the combatants. For this reason it may not be amiss to try to present to any whom it may concern as detached a picture as one can of the real nature of that combatant who is called the Englishman, especially since ignorance in Central Europe of his character was the chief cause of this war, and speculation as to the future is useless without right comprehension of this curious creature.
The Englishman is taken advisedly because he represents four-fifths of the population of the British Isles and eight-ninths of the character and sentiment therein.
And, first, let it be said that there is no more deceptive, unconsciously deceptive person on the face of the globe. The Englishman certainly does not know himself, and outside England he is but guessed at. Only a pure Englishman—and he must be an odd one—really knows the Englishman, just as, for inspired judgment of art, one must go to the inspired artist.
Racially, the Englishman is so complex and so old a blend that no one can say what he is. In character he is just as complex. Physically, there are two main types—one inclining to length of limb, narrowness of face and head, (you will see nowhere such long and narrow heads as in our islands,) and bony jaws; the other approximating more to the ordinary "John Bull." The first type is gaining on the second. There is little or no difference in the main character behind.
In attempting to understand the real nature of the Englishman certain salient facts must be borne in mind:
THE SEA.—To be surrounded generation after generation by the sea has developed in him a suppressed idealism, a peculiar impermeability, a turn for adventure, a faculty for wandering, and for being sufficient unto himself in far surroundings.
THE CLIMATE.—Whoso weathers for centuries a climate that, though healthy and never extreme, is perhaps the least reliable and one of the wettest in the world, must needs grow in himself a counterbalance of dry philosophy, a defiant humor, an enforced medium temperature of soul. The Englishman is no more given to extremes than is his climate; against its damp and perpetual changes he has become coated with a sort of bluntness.
THE POLITICAL AGE OF HIS COUNTRY.—This is by far the oldest settled Western power, politically speaking. For eight hundred and fifty years England has known no serious military disturbance from without; for over one hundred and fifty she has known no military disturbance, and no serious political turmoil within. This is partly the outcome of her isolation, partly the happy accident of her political constitution, partly the result of the Englishman's habit of looking before he leaps, which comes, no doubt, from the mixture in his blood and the mixture in his climate.
THE GREAT PREPONDERANCE FOR SEVERAL GENERATIONS OF TOWN OVER COUNTRY LIFE.—Taken in conjunction with centuries of political stability this is the main cause of a certain deeply ingrained humaneness of which, speaking generally, the Englishman appears to be rather ashamed than otherwise.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.—This potent element in the formation of the modern Englishman, not only of the upper but of all classes, is something that one rather despairs of making understood—in countries that have no similar institution. But, imagine one hundred thousand youths of the wealthiest, healthiest, and most influential classes passed during each generation at the most impressionable age, into a sort of ethical mold, emerging therefrom stamped to the core with the impress of a uniform morality, uniform manners, uniform way of looking at life; remembering always that these youths fill seven-eighths of the important positions in the professional administration of their country and the conduct of its commercial enterprise; remembering, too, that through perpetual contact with every other class their standard of morality and way of looking at life filters down into the very toes of the land. This great character-forming machine is remarkable for an unself-consciousness which gives it enormous strength and elasticity. Not inspired by the State, it inspires the State. The characteristics of the philosophy it enjoins are mainly negative and, for that, the stronger. "Never show your feelings—to do so is not manly and bores your fellows. Don't cry out when you're hurt, making yourself a nuisance to other people. Tell no tales about your companions, and no lies about yourself. Avoid all 'swank,' 'side,' 'swagger,' braggadocio of speech or manner, on pain of being laughed at." (This maxim is carried to such a pitch that the Englishman, except in his press, habitually understates everything.) "Think little of money, and speak less of it. Play games hard, and keep the rules of them even when your blood is hot and you are tempted to disregard them. In three words, 'play the game,'" a little phrase which may be taken as the characteristic understatement of the modern Englishman's creed of honor in all classes. This great, unconscious machine has considerable defects. It tends to the formation of "caste"; it is a poor teacher of sheer learning, and, aesthetically, with its universal suppression of all interesting and queer individual traits of personality, it is almost horrid. But it imparts a remarkable incorruptibility to English life; it conserves vitality by suppressing all extremes, and it implants everywhere a kind of unassuming stoicism and respect for the rules of the great game—Life. Through its unconscious example and through its cult of games it has vastly influenced even the classes not directly under its control.
Three more main facts must be borne in mind:
THE ESSENTIAL DEMOCRACY OF THE GOVERNMENT.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND THE PRESS.
ABSENCE OF COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE.
These, the outcome of the quiet and stable home life of an island people, have done more than anything to make the Englishman a deceptive personality to the outside eye. He has for centuries been permitted to grumble. There is no such confirmed grumbler—until he really has something to grumble at, and then no one who grumbles less. There is no such confirmed carper at the condition of his country, yet no one really so profoundly convinced of its perfection. A stranger might well think from his utterances that he was spoiled by the freedom of his life, unprepared to sacrifice anything for a land in such a condition. Threaten that country, and with it his liberty, and you will find that his grumbles have meant less than nothing. You will find, too, that behind the apparent slackness of every arrangement and every individual are powers of adaptability to facts, elasticity, practical genius, a latent spirit of competition and a determination that are staggering. Before this war began it was the fashion among a number of English to lament the decadence of the race. These very grumblers are now foremost in praising, and quite rightly, the spirit shown in every part of their country. Their lamentations, which plentifully deceived the outside ear, were just English grumbles, for if in truth England had been decadent there could have been no such universal display for them to be praising now. But all this democratic grumbling and habit of "going as you please" serve a deep purpose. Autocracy, censorship, compulsion destroy humor in a nation's blood and elasticity in its fibre; they cut at the very mainsprings of national vitality. Only free from these baneful controls can each man arrive in his own way at realization of what is or is not national necessity; only free from them will each man truly identify himself with a national ideal—not through deliberate instruction or by command of others, but by simple, natural conviction from within.
Two cautions are here given to the stranger trying to form an estimate of the Englishman: The creature must not be judged from his press, which, manned (with certain exceptions) by those who are not typically English, is too highly colored altogether to illustrate the true English spirit; nor can he be judged by such of his literature as is best known on the Continent. The Englishman proper is inexpressive, unexpressed. Further, he must be judged by the evidences of his wealth. England may be the richest country in the world per head of population, but not 5 per cent. of that population have any wealth to speak of, certainly not enough to have affected their hardihood, and, with inconsiderable exceptions, those who have enough are brought up to worship hardihood. For the vast proportion of young Englishmen active military service is merely a change from work as hard, and more monotonous.
From these main premises, then, we come to what the Englishman really is.
When, after months of travel, one returns to England one can taste, smell, feel the difference in the atmosphere, physical and moral—the curious, damp, blunt, good-humored, happy-go-lucky, old-established, slow-seeming formlessness of everything. You hail a porter, you tell him you have plenty of time; he muddles your things amiably, with an air of "It'll be all right," till you have only just time. But suppose you tell him you have no time; he will set himself to catch that train for you, and he will catch it faster than a porter of any other country. Let no stranger, however, experiment to prove the truth of this, for that porter—and a porter is very like any other Englishman—is incapable of taking the foreigner seriously and, quite friendly but a little pitying, will lose him the train, assuring the unfortunate gentleman that he really doesn't know what train he wants to catch—how should he?
The Englishman must have a thing brought under his nose before he will act; bring it there and he will go on acting after everybody else has stopped. He lives very much in the moment, because he is essentially a man of facts and not a man of imagination. Want of imagination makes him, philosophically speaking, rather ludicrous; in practical affairs it handicaps him at the start, but once he has "got going," as we say, it is of incalculable assistance to his stamina. The Englishman, partly through this lack of imagination and nervous sensibility, partly through his inbred dislike of extremes and habit of minimizing the expression of everything, is a perfect example of the conservation of energy. It is very difficult to come to the end of him. Add to this unimaginative, practical, tenacious moderation an inherent spirit of competition—not to say pugnacity—so strong that it will often show through the coating of his "Live and let live," half-surly, half-good-humored manner; add a peculiar, ironic, "don't care" sort of humor; an underground but inveterate humaneness, and an ashamed idealism—and you get some notion of the pudding of English character. Its main feature is a kind of terrible coolness, a rather awful level-headedness. The Englishman makes constant small blunders; but few, almost no, deep mistakes. He is a slow starter, but there is no stronger finisher because he has by temperament and training the faculty of getting through any job that he gives his mind to with a minimum expenditure of vital energy; nothing is wasted in expression, style, spread-eagleism; everything is instinctively kept as near to the practical heart of the matter as possible. He is—to the eye of an artist—distressingly matter-of-fact, a tempting mark for satire. And yet he is in truth an idealist, though it is his nature to snub, disguise, and mock his own inherent optimism. To admit enthusiasms is "bad form" if he is a "gentleman"; "swank" or mere waste of good heat if he is not a "gentleman." England produces more than its proper percentage of cranks and poets; it may be taken that this is Nature's way of redressing the balance in a country where feelings are not shown, sentiments not expressed, and extremes laughed at. Not that the Englishman lacks heart; he is not cold, as is generally supposed—on the contrary he is warm-hearted and feels very strongly; but just as peasants, for lack of words to express their feelings, become stolid, so it is with the Englishman from sheer lack of the habit of self-expression. Nor is the Englishman deliberately hypocritical; but his tenacity, combined with his powerlessness to express his feelings, often gives him the appearance of a hypocrite. He is inarticulate, has not the clear and fluent cynicism of expansive natures wherewith to confess exactly how he stands. It is the habit of men of all nations to want to have things both ways; the Englishman is unfortunately so unable to express himself, even to himself, that he has never realized this truth, much less confessed it—hence his appearance of hypocrisy.
He is quite wrongly credited with being attached to money. His island position, his early discoveries of coal, iron, and processes of manufacture have made him, of course, into a confirmed industrialist and trader; but he is more of an adventurer in wealth than a heaper-up of it. He is far from sitting on his money-bags—has absolutely no vein of proper avarice, and for national ends will spill out his money like water, when he is convinced of the necessity.
In everything it comes to that with the Englishman—he must be convinced, and he takes a lot of convincing. He absorbs ideas slowly, reluctantly; he would rather not imagine anything unless he is obliged, but in proportion to the slowness with which he can be moved is the slowness with which he can be removed! Hence the symbol of the bulldog. When he does see and seize a thing he seizes it with the whole of his weight, and wastes no breath in telling you that he has got hold. That is why his press is so untypical; it gives the impression that he does waste breath. And, while he has hold, he gets in more mischief in a shorter time than any other dog because of his capacity for concentrating on the present, without speculating on the past or future.
For the particular situation which the Englishman has now to face he is terribly well adapted. Because he has so little imagination, so little power of expression, he is saving nerve all the time. Because he never goes to extremes, he is saving energy of body and spirit. That the men of all nations are about equally endowed with courage and self-sacrifice has been proved in these last six months; it is to other qualities that one must look for final victory in a war of exhaustion. The Englishman does not look into himself; he does not brood; he sees no further forward than is necessary, and he must have his joke. These are fearful and wonderful advantages. Examine the letters and diaries of the various combatants and you will see how far less imaginative and reflecting, (though shrewd, practical, and humorous,) the English are than any others; you will gain, too, a profound, a deadly conviction that behind them is a fibre like rubber, that may be frayed, and bent a little this way and that, but can neither be permeated nor broken.
When this war began the Englishman rubbed his eyes steeped in peace; he is still rubbing them just a little, but less and less every day. A profound lover of peace by habit and tradition, he has actually realized by now that he is in for it up to the neck. To any one who really knows him—c'est quelque chose!
It shall be freely confessed that, from an aesthetic point of view, the Englishman, devoid of high lights and shadows, coated with drab, and super-humanly steady on his feet, is not too attractive. But for the wearing, tearing, slow, and dreadful business of this war, the Englishman—fighting of his own free will, unimaginative, humorous, competitive, practical, never in extremes, a dumb, inveterate optimist, and terribly tenacious—is undoubtedly equipped with Victory.
Bernard Shaw's Terms of Peace
A letter written by G. Bernard Shaw to a friend in Vienna is published in the Muenchener Neueste Nachrichten and in the Frankfurter Zeitung of April 21, 1915. Mr. Shaw says:
We are already on the way out of the first and worst phase. When reason began to bestir itself, I appeared each week in great open meetings in London; and when the newspapers discovered that I was not only not being torn to pieces, but that I was growing better and better liked, then the feeling that patriotism consists of insane lies began to give place to the discovery that the presentation of the truth is not so dangerous as every one had believed.
At that time scarcely one of the leading newspapers took heed of my insistence that this war was an imperialistic war and popular only in so far as all wars are for a time popular. But I need hardly assure you that if Grey had announced: "We have concluded a treaty of alliance with Germany and Austria and must wage war upon France and Russia," he would have evoked precisely the same patriotic fervor and exactly the same democratic anti-Prussianism, (with the omission of the P.) Then the German Kaiser would have been cheered as the cousin of our King and our old and faithful friend.
As concerns myself, I am not unqualifiedly what is called a pan-German; the Germans, besides, would not have a spark of respect left for me if now, when all questions of civilization are buried, I did not hold to my people. But neither am I an anti-German.
Militarism has just compelled me to pay about L1,000 as war tax, in order to help some "brave little Serbian" or other to cut your throat, or some Russian mujik to blow out your brains, although I would rather pay twice as much to save your life or to buy in Vienna some good picture for our National Gallery, and although I should mourn far less about the death of a hundred Serbs or mujiks than for your death.
I am, even aside from myself, sorry for your sake that my plays are no longer produced. Why does not the Burgtheater play the "Schlachtenlenker"? Napoleon's speech about English "Realpolitik" would prove an unprecedented success. If the English win, I shall call upon Sir Edward Grey to add to the treaty of peace a clause in which Berlin and Vienna shall be obliged each year to produce at least 100 performances of my plays for the next twenty-five years.
In London during August the usual cheap evening orchestra concerts, so-called promenade concerts, were announced in a patriotic manner, with the comment that no German musician would be represented on the program. Everybody applauded this announcement, but nobody attended the concerts. A week later a program of Beethoven, Wagner, and Richard Strauss was announced. Everybody was indignant, and everybody went to hear it. It was a complete and decisive German victory, without a single man being killed.
A Policy of Murder
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This article is taken from Conan Doyle's book "The German War," and is reproduced by permission of the author.
When one writes with a hot heart upon events which are still recent one is apt to lose one's sense of proportion. At every step one should check one's self by the reflection as to how this may appear ten years hence, and how far events which seem shocking and abnormal may prove themselves to be a necessary accompaniment of every condition of war. But a time has now come when in cold blood, with every possible restraint, one is justified in saying that since the most barbarous campaigns of Alva in the Lowlands, or the excesses of the Thirty Years' War, there has been no such deliberate policy of murder as has been adopted in this struggle by the German forces. This is the more terrible since these forces are not, like those of Alva, Parma, or Tilly, bands of turbulent and mercenary soldiers, but they are the nation itself, and their deeds are condoned or even applauded by the entire national press. It is not on the chiefs of the army that the whole guilt of this terrible crime must rest, but it is upon the whole German Nation, which for generations to come must stand condemned before the civilized world for this reversion to those barbarous practices from which Christianity, civilization, and chivalry had gradually rescued the human race. They may, and do, plead the excuse that they are "earnest" in war, but all nations are earnest in war, which is the most desperately earnest thing of which we have any knowledge. How earnest we are will be shown when the question of endurance begins to tell. But no earnestness can condone the crime of the nation which deliberately breaks those laws which have been indorsed by the common consent of humanity.
War may have a beautiful as well as a terrible side, and be full of touches of human sympathy and restraint which mitigate its unavoidable horror. Such have been the characteristics always of the secular wars between the British and the French. From the old glittering days of knighthood, with their high and gallant courtesy, through the eighteenth century campaigns where the debonair guards of France and England exchanged salutations before their volleys, down to the last great Napoleonic struggle, the tradition of chivalry has always survived. We read how in the Peninsula the pickets of the two armies, each of them as earnest as any Germans, would exchange courtesies, how they would shout warnings to each other to fall back when an advance in force was taking place, and how to prevent the destruction of an ancient bridge, the British promised not to use it on condition that the French would forgo its destruction—an agreement faithfully kept upon either side. Could one imagine Germans making war in such a spirit as this? Think of that old French bridge, and then think of the University of Louvain and the Cathedral of Rheims. What a gap between them—the gap that separates civilization from the savage!
Let us take a few of the points which, when focused together, show how the Germans have degraded warfare—a degradation which affects not only the Allies at present, but the whole future of the world, since if such examples were followed the entire human race would, each in turn, become the sufferers. Take the very first incident of the war, the mine laying by the Koenigin Luise. Here was a vessel, which was obviously made ready with freshly charged mines some time before there was any question of a general European war, which was sent forth in time of peace, and which, on receipt of a wireless message, began to spawn its hellish cargo across the North Sea at points fifty miles from land in the track of all neutral merchant shipping. There was the keynote of German tactics struck at the first possible instant. So promiscuous was the effect that it was a mere chance which prevented the vessel which bore the German Ambassador from being destroyed by a German mine. From first to last some hundreds of people have lost their lives on this tract of sea, some of them harmless British trawlers, but the greater number sailors of Danish and Dutch vessels pursuing their commerce as they had every right to do. It was the first move in a consistent policy of murder.
Leaving the sea, let us turn to the air. Can any possible term save a policy of murder be applied to the use of aircraft by the Germans? It has always been a principle of warfare that unfortified towns should not be bombarded. So closely has it been followed by the British that one of our aviators, flying over Cologne in search of a Zeppelin shed, refrained from dropping a bomb in an uncertain light, even though Cologne is a fortress, lest the innocent should suffer. What is to be said, then, for the continual use of bombs by the Germans which have usually been wasted in the destruction of cats or dogs, but which have occasionally torn to pieces some woman or child? If bombs were dropped on the forts of Paris as part of a scheme for reducing the place, then nothing could be said in objection, but how are we to describe the action of men who fly over a crowded city dropping bombs promiscuously which can have no military effect whatever, and are entirely aimed at the destruction of innocent civilians? These men have been obliging enough to drop their cards as well as their bombs on several occasions. I see no reason why these should not be used in evidence against them, or why they should not be hanged as murderers when they fall into the hands of the Allies. The policy is idiotic from a military point of view; one could conceive nothing which would stimulate and harden national resistance more surely than such petty irritations. But it is a murderous innovation in the laws of war, and unless it is sternly repressed it will establish a most sinister precedent for the future.
As to the treatment of Belgium, what has it been but murder, murder all the way? From the first days of Vise, when it was officially stated that an example of "frightfulness" was desired, until the present moment, when the terrified population has rushed from the country and thrown itself upon the charity and protection of its neighbors, there has been no break in the record. Compare the story with that of the occupation of the South of France by Wellington in 1813, when no one was injured, nothing was taken without full payment, and the villagers fraternized with the troops. What a relapse of civilization is here! From Vise to Louvain, Louvain to Aerschot, Aerschot to Malines and Termonde, the policy of murder never fails.
It is said that more civilians than soldiers have fallen in Belgium. Peruse the horrible accounts taken by the Belgian Commission, who took evidence in the most careful and conscientious fashion. Study the accounts of that dreadful night in Louvain which can only be equaled by the Spanish Fury of Antwerp. Read the account of the wife of the Burgomaster of Aerschot, with its heartrending description of how her lame son, aged sixteen, was kicked along to his death by an aide de camp. It is all so vile, so brutally murderous that one can hardly realize that one is reading the incidents of a modern campaign conducted by one of the leading nations in Europe.
Do you imagine that the thing has been exaggerated? Far from it—the volume of crime has not yet been appreciated. Have not many Germans unwittingly testified to what they have seen and done? Only last week we had the journal of one of them, an officer whose service had been almost entirely in France and removed from the crime centres of Belgium. Yet were ever such entries in the diary of a civilized soldier? "Our men behaved like regular Vandals." "We shot the whole lot," (these were villagers.) "They were drawn up in three ranks. The same shot did for three at a time." "In the evening we set fire to the village. The priest and some of the inhabitants were shot." "The villages all around were burning." "The villages were burned and the inhabitants shot." "At Leppe apparently two hundred men were shot. There must have been some innocent men among them." "In future we shall have to hold an inquiry into their guilt instead of merely shooting them." "The Vandals themselves could not have done more damage. The place is a disgrace to our army." So the journal runs on with its tale of infamy. It is an infamy so shameless that even in the German record the story is perpetuated of how a French lad was murdered because he refused to answer certain questions. To such a depth of degradation has Prussia brought the standard of warfare.
And now, as the appetite for blood grows ever stronger—and nothing waxes more fast—we have stories of the treatment of prisoners. Here is a point where our attention should be most concentrated and our action most prompt. It is the just duty which we owe to our own brave soldiers. At present the instances are isolated, and we will hope that they do not represent any general condition. But the stories come from sure sources. There is the account of the brutality which culminated in the death of the gallant motor cyclist Pearson, the son of Lord Cowdray. There is the horrible story in a responsible Dutch paper, told by an eyewitness, of the torture of three British wounded prisoners in Landen Station on Oct. 9.
The story carries conviction by its detail. Finally, there are the disquieting remarks of German soldiers, repeated by this same witness, as to the British prisoners whom they had shot. The whole lesson of history is that when troops are allowed to start murder one can never say how or when it will stop. It may no longer be part of a deliberate, calculated policy of murder by the German Government. But it has undoubtedly been so in the past, and we cannot say when it will end. Such incidents will, I fear, make peace an impossibility in our generation, for whatever statesmen may write upon paper can never affect the deep and bitter resentment which a war so conducted must leave behind it.
Other German characteristics we can ignore. The consistent, systematic lying of the German press, or the grotesque blasphemies of the Kaiser, can be met by us with contemptuous tolerance. After all, what is is, and neither falsehood nor bombast will alter it. But this policy of murder deeply affects not only ourselves but the whole framework of civilization, so slowly and painfully built upward by the human race.
The Soldier's Epitaph
"HE DIED FOR ENGLAND."
[Inscription on the tombstone of a private soldier, recently killed in action.]
These four short words his epitaph, Sublimely simple, nobly plain; Who adds to them but addeth chaff, Obscures with husks the golden grain. Not all the bards of other days, Not Homer in his loftiest vein, Not Milton's most majestic strain, Not the whole wealth of Pindar's lays, Could bring to that one simple phrase What were not rather loss than gain; That elegy so briefly fine, That epic writ in half a line, That little which so much conveys, Whose silence is a hymn of praise And throbs with harmonies divine.
The Will to Power
By Eden Phillpotts
A distinction between power as physical force and as expressed in terms of spiritual value is drawn by Mr. Phillpotts in his article, appearing in The Westminster Gazette of March 27, 1915, which is here reproduced.
It has not often happened in the world's history that any generation can speak with such assured confidence of future events as at present. When the living tongue is concerned with destiny it seldom does more than indicate the trend of things to come, examine tendencies and movements and predict, without any sure foreknowledge or conviction, what generations unborn may expect to find and the conditions they will create. Destiny for us, who speak of it, is an unknown sea whose waves, indeed, drive steadily onward before strong winds, but whose shore is still far distant. We know that we men of the hour can never see these billows break upon the sands of future time.
But today we may look forward to stupendous events; today there are mighty epiphanies quickening earth, not to be assigned to periods of future time, but at hand, so near that our living selves shall see their birth, and participate in their consequences. Nor can we stand as spectators of this worldwide hope; we must not only hear the evangel whose first mighty murmur is drifting to our ears from the future, we must take it up with heart and voice and help to sound and resound it. There is tremendous work lying ahead, not only for our children, but for us. Weighty deeds will presently have to be performed by all adult manhood and womanhood—deeds, perhaps, greater than any living man has been called to do—deeds that exalt the doer and make sacred for all history the hour in which they shall be done.
On Time's high canopy the years are as stars great and small, some of lesser magnitude, some forever bright with the splendor of supreme human achievements; and now there flashes out a year concerning which, indeed, no man can say as yet how great it will be; but all men know that it must be great. It is destined to drown all lesser years, even as sunrise dims the morning stars with day; it is a year bright with promise and bodeful with ill-tidings also; for in the world at this moment there exist stupendous differences that this year will go far to set at rest. This year must solve profound problems, determine the trend of human affairs for centuries, and influence the whole future history of civilization. This year may actually see the issue; at least it will serve to light the near future when that issue shall be accomplished.
There has risen, then, a year that is great with no less a thing than the future welfare of the whole earth. It must embrace the victory of one ideal over another, and include a decision which shall determine whether the sublime human hope of freedom and security for all mankind is to guide human progress henceforth, or the spirit of domination and slavery to win a new lease of life. On the one hand, this year of the first magnitude will shine with the glory of such a victory for democratic ideas as we have not seen, or expected to see, in our generation; on the other, its bale-fire will blaze upon the overthrow of all great ideals, the destruction of a weak nation by a powerful one, and the triumph of that policy of "blood and iron" from which every enlightened man of this age shrinks with horror. The situation cannot be stated in simpler terms; no words can make it less than tremendous; and it is demanded from us to make it personal—as personal to ourselves as it is to the King of England, the Emperor of Germany, or the Czar of all the Russias.