The Note-Book of an Attache - Seven Months in the War Zone
by Eric Fisher Wood
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Two hours out a British destroyer came dashing up in our wake, making two feet to our one. She was a most picturesque sight, long, low, and speedy, painted black; her towering knife-prow thrust out in front and the long, low hull strung out behind. She "brought us to" with a shot across the bows, and as we wallowed in the trough of the sea, she went by to starboard fairly shaving our side. The officer on her bridge, over which great waves of spray and water broke at every moment, "looked us over" and then bellowed orders to our Captain through a megaphone. My unpractised ear could not through the roar of the wind and the slap of the waves catch all he had to say, but it was something about submarines and a naval battle to the northward and orders to change and take a different course through the mine fields.[3] Whereupon we pursued a very zigzag course. In a moment we would turn 120 degrees and proceed for miles on the new tack. We took at one time or another nearly all directions of the compass. Sometimes the smoke from the funnels went off straight at right angles to our course; at others it preceded us.

[Footnote 3: It was on this morning that the German fleet bombarded the towns on the east coast of England.]



Vienna, Saturday, December 19th. I remained in Berlin only one day and started this morning for Vienna with dispatches, arriving late in the evening after an uneventful fourteen-hour journey.

* * * * *

Sunday, December 20th. I presented myself at the American Embassy this morning, delivered my dispatches, and had a conference with Mr. Grant-Smith, the First Secretary. At luncheon I met Colonel Biddle, an officer in the Engineer Corps of the United States Army, who has recently arrived in Austria in order to go to the front as a military observer. The afternoon and evening I spent with Captain Briggs, Military Attache at the Embassy, studying and comparing the military methods of the eastern and western fronts. Captain Briggs has collected, with an energy and intelligence that can fairly be called amazing, an immense quantity of valuable military information relative to the operations and practices of the Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, and Serbian armies.

* * * * *

The Austrian army officers and privates suffer by comparison with the Germans. The soldiers one sees in the streets of Berlin are big, husky, strong, healthy creatures, with jowls hanging over their collars. The officers are clean-cut, keen-eyed, and in splendid health and training. Austria seems distraught and unready for emergencies, the people are not as keen for the war as the Germans and appear to be more indifferent as to its results. I am predicting that the end of the war will see Japan, Italy, and Roumania gainers, and Belgium, Turkey, and Austria losers, while Germany and England will be approximately in the same positions as before the war. Russia has relatively little to gain or lose.

* * * * *

Monday, December 21st. I had a walk and talk with Ambassador Penfield this morning; took luncheon with Mr. Grant-Smith and went afterward to the Embassy. Later in the afternoon I went with Count Colloredo von Mansfeld to the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office and then called on the Countess Potatka to whom I had brought letters of introduction.

* * * * *

Tuesday, December 22d. After luncheon today Mr. Grant-Smith presented me to Wilhelm Prince zu Stollberg Wering Rode, Conseiller of the German Embassy in Vienna, who made an appointment with me for Thursday.

I am meeting many officials, American, German, and Austrian, but at present I cannot, without indiscretion, state just what they discuss.

I went today to the Wiener Bank Verein with Mr. Grant-Smith who wished to arrange some safe deposit boxes for the Embassy. The building is said to be the most beautiful bank building in the world, and I can easily believe it. Knowing my professional interest in architecture, Mr. Grant-Smith asked the Director to show me the building, which he most kindly did, taking me from top to bottom—a privilege I am told seldom granted to anyone, and for which I was very grateful.

Austria-Hungary is an extraordinary country. I doubt if anything like it exists in this our day and generation. The Emperor-King is everything. He could well say without exaggeration "L'Etat c'est Moi!" The common people really look upon the king as divine. Socialism and democracy do not exist,—the words seem to have no real meaning for his subjects; and Parliaments are but his dutiful servants. Lese-majesty is almost unheard of because the idea of questioning the Emperor-King or anything he does would no more occur to his subjects than to doubt the Immaculate Conception would occur to a devout Catholic.

And what an extraordinary old man—what a relic of past ages this Emperor-King Franz Josef is! He ascended the throne at the epoch of our war with Mexico, he had reigned nearly two decades at the termination of our Civil War. He refutes and blights the theories of Dr. Osler. Two successive heirs to the throne have died or been killed off, but he "goes on forever." He is personally a very devout Catholic, but apparently has seldom or never allowed himself to be politically dictated to by the Vatican. When he learned of the recent ignominious defeat of his armies by the Serbians and of the retaking of Belgrade, the old man first burst into a furious rage and then sat down with elbows on the table, his head in his hands, and prayed for forgiveness and future successes.

In Austria's history one discovers no victories. She is an unusual and pliant State to survive so many defeats. One finds her the easy prey of Frederick the Great, the pet victim of Louis XIV., the foe against whom Napoleon made his first youthful efforts and the vanquished of his prime, the defeated foe of Napoleon III., the vanquished tyrant of Italy united, the loser in Prussia's Thirty Days' War of 1867, and now the gradual loser against Russia's wild, numberless hordes. She has already lost all of Galicia and stands with her back to the Carpathians and has been held off on equal terms by Serbia these four months past. A supine State, she is always defeated, and yet always remains and ever grows.

Austrian money is now greatly depreciated. In ordinary times one gets about 487 crowns for $100, while today one obtains 575. American money has at present the highest rate of exchange.

* * * * *

Wednesday, December 23d. This morning I had a most interesting interview with Count Szecsen, the Austrian ex-Ambassador to France, and spent the afternoon in conference with Captain Briggs.

* * * * *

Thursday, December 24th. I made a verbal report to Prince zu Stollberg this morning on the situation of German subjects in France. After luncheon I had a most interesting talk with Mr. Nelson O'Shaughnessy, of Mexican fame, who is Conseiller at the Embassy. Later I went for a most delightful automobile ride with Ambassador Penfield, who showed me the Prater, the Danube, the Basin, the Exposition Building, and the Ring. Afterward Mr. Thomas Hinckley, the second secretary, took me to see the Christmas tree in the American Hospital, all ready for tomorrow's fete for the wounded soldiers.

* * * * *

Friday, December 25th. It seems very triste to be way off next to Asia on Christmas Day, on the day when one most wants to be at home. However, I had two Christmas feasts and a warm welcome into two American homes. I took luncheon with Mr. and Mrs. Nelson O'Shaughnessy and dinner with Captain and Mrs. Briggs, enjoyable visits that made a happy day out of what would otherwise have been a very sad one.

In Vienna, as in Berlin, the fashionable hours are very late and one is more or less forced to follow them. Nothing happens before noon and evening entertainments end somewhere in the early morning hours.

* * * * *

Sunday, December 27th. This morning I was allowed by special permission to visit the Imperial Museum, which is closed to the public on account of the war. I took luncheon with Mr. Cardeza, Attache to the Embassy, and dined with Mr. O'Shaughnessy. The American diplomats in Vienna and Berlin generally have been very much isolated since the war began, and in each place the corps has become much like a big family whose members see a great deal of one another.

* * * * *

Count Berchtold, whom I have seen on several occasions, is a wiry man of medium height, always grave, intent and all-observing under a mask of stolidity. He never "talks" and seldom speaks. When he does he is terse and speaks out of one corner of his mouth as if reluctant to let the words escape. He is, however, noted for the most unfailing and perfect manners. It is said he can hear perfectly every separate conversation that may be carried on in any room where he happens to be present, and not only hears what is spoken but catches every little motion or hint of important matters. Such is the man whose hand struck the match that lit the long-prepared conflagration in which the total military casualties alone already far exceed five million.

* * * * *

Monday, December 28th. I went again to the Imperial Museum this morning and later took luncheon with the Count Colloredo von Mansfeld, to meet Conseiller Black Pasha of the Turkish Embassy. Conferences at the Embassy with Captain Briggs, Mr. Grant-Smith, and Mr. Hinckley.

* * * * *

The man who did as much to bring about this war as any single agency was the German Ambassador to Vienna, Heinrich von Tschirski und Boegendorff.

I sent home today by cable our code-word "greetings" as a New Year's message. It goes through the Embassy here in Vienna and the State Department at Washington. It cost me eighteen crowns, but I know it will be worth many times that to my family, as it must be some weeks now since they have had news from me.



Budapest, Tuesday, December 29th. I left Vienna at nine o'clock this morning and reached Budapest at two. I had tea with Mrs. Gerard, who is in Budapest visiting her sister, Countess Sigray. I called at the home of Count Albert Apponyi to leave my card and letters of introduction. I dined with Mrs. Gerard and the Count and Countess Sigray.

* * * * *

The great Hungarian plain, bounded by the Carpathians on the east and by the Danube and the Save on the south has been inhabited by the Hungarian people for more than a thousand years. The inhabitants of this plain number about sixteen millions at the present time. They pride themselves upon the fact that they have maintained their national entity since the Ninth Century, although they have stood alone and exposed in the middle of Europe, without any of the geographical advantages which accrue from a situation of insular isolation such as has been enjoyed by the English.

The world in general insists in thinking of Hungary as an Austrian province and in counting Austria-Hungary one country, whose name has been hyphenated with the sole purpose of inconveniencing conversation in foreign countries. As a matter of fact, Hungary and Austria are two distinct nations, inhabited by antagonistic races who speak different languages and hold different ideals. The Hungarians are of Magyar descent and speak a beautiful, musical language, while the Austrians are a mixture of many races whose common tongue is a borrowed, unclassical German. Each country has its own government, its own parliament, and its own cabinet officers. The Hungarian nobility regard the Austrian nobles as mere upstarts. Nothing is so displeasing to a Hungarian as to be called an Austrian, or to be told that Austrians and Hungarians are one and the same people.

Surrounded by three powerful enemies, the Turks, the Austrians, and the Slavs, they have not succeeded in continuously maintaining their liberty during the ten centuries of their existence as a nation. They came under the domination of the Turks during the sixteenth century, but under the leadership of Prince Eugene they with the assistance of Austria succeeded in liberating themselves in 1716. In 1848 they were subjugated by Austria assisted by Russia and ever since that time have looked forward with confident anticipation to the day when they may be strong enough to become again an independent nation. The diplomats, statesmen, and scholars of their noble families have labored so astutely and successfully towards this end, that the state of bondage which succeeded the conquest of 1848 has gradually and by successive moves been lightened, until today their relations with Austria may be approximated by the statement that Franz Josef, King of Hungary, happens to be at the same time Emperor of Austria, and that the two nations have a close defensive and offensive military alliance. In order to promote the efficiency of this alliance, their War and Foreign Relations ministries are united into single organizations. There is one Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, but there are separate Ministers of Education, Agriculture, etc. History shows that the salvation of Hungary has often depended upon the ability of her leaders to play their three powerful neighbors against one another.

In the present war they are making use of alliances with Austria and Turkey, the two most decadent of their three historic enemies, in order to stem the onrush of Russia, their third and most powerful antagonist. They are a people ever faithful to their alliances even to the point of unselfishness.

* * * * *

Thursday, December 31st. Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen. The great Danube, deep, magnificent, and rapid—500 yards wide—flows by, with Buda on its right bank and Pest on its left. Great hills sheer out of the water and on them are the government buildings and the Royal Palace. The humbler structures cluster in the valleys between the hills. Most of the architecture of the town is very good and the worst of it is better than the average elsewhere. The river, spanned by four handsome bridges, is skirted on either side by drives and official buildings; museums and expensive hotels face these drives. The city is in every way very modern, with broad avenues, excellent street-car systems, and clean, well-lit streets.

* * * * *

Friday, January 1, 1915. I spent today in sightseeing,—the first day in several weeks that I have been free from social engagements. I took a guide from the hotel in order to waste no time and miss no sights that one ought to enjoy. We went to the public market, the Industrial Museum, the Art Museum, the public park, and the Cathedral. My guide was a most convulsing person. He was supposed to speak "perfect English," but achieved some extraordinary effects. Would you know what "sinkim pork" might mean? He said, "everyone eats it on New Year's Day," and so I perceived it to be "sucking pig."

Some provisions have gone up in price; flour is doubled in value and the government has had to fix a maximum legal price. Meat and game are cheaper than usual, perhaps because many people are killing and selling their animals to save the grain which would otherwise have to be used to feed them.

The utter ignorance of the people concerning everything that is happening outside of Vienna and Budapest is amazing. The government has somehow convinced the people that everything in the war is going wonderfully well, and this in the face of the unsuppressible facts that there are at present no Austrians in Serbia and that the Russians hold all Galicia and have been through the Carpathians.

* * * * *

Saturday, January 2d. The German comic paper Simplicissimus recently made a cartoon comment on the Austro-Hungarian army and the whole issue was suppressed by the censor in Austria and Hungary. The drawing showed a group of three Austrians, a general, an officer, and a private. The soldier had a lion's head, the officer an ass's head, and the general had no head at all.

Austria and Germany have not as yet produced one "great man." The Allies have two—Joffre and Kitchener and possibly a third in Delcasse.

The Austrian Emperor is a little man, slightly stooped, rather shriveled-up and possessed of a pair of keen, shrewd eyes. He is an able follower of the Emperor Ferdinand who once replied to the statement that a certain one of his subjects was a patriot by saying: "I don't care if he's patriotic for the country, but is he patriotic for me?" Franz Josef is cold, pitiless, and does not hesitate to ruin in a moment his most faithful servitor if he is at any time guilty of failure, or commits a blunder. Even when a minister or general is forced to carry out an order in spite of strong protests, he has relentlessly broken him if any catastrophe has resulted. A notable case is that of the general who commanded the Austrian armies in the battle of Sadowa.

* * * * *

Sunday, January 3d. I have managed to get in a good deal of reading on boats, trains, and at odd moments since I left Paris, and it has enlarged my comprehension of this war. I have carefully studied every book on the war and subjects related to it. I have read several times each the books of Bernhardi, Nietzsche, and Steed's "Hapsburg Monarchy."

* * * * *

Monday, January 4th. In Hungary there are few princes or dukes; the highest nobles are counts, whose titles retain something of the old significance of hereditary rulers of a "county." The serfs have only recently been liberated and to all intents and purposes the feudal system still exists, in spirit if not in form. Among the counts in Hungary, several stand out conspicuously above the rest; among them are the Karolyis, the Apponyis, the Hunyadis, and the Wenkheims, all of whom are interconnected by marriage and close social relations. These people maintain themselves on their vast estates like rulers of small principalities.

At the request of the Countess X. I had written to her mother, the Countess W., before leaving Vienna, and found her answer awaiting me at the Consul's office when I arrived in Budapest. I learn that she also communicated with Count Berchtold, the Prime Minister of the Empire, with Count Szecsen, ex-Ambassador to France, and with the Hungarian Premier, so that in case I missed her letters (she sent me one to Vienna and one to Budapest) these gentlemen would see to it that I went to visit her, as she wished to thank me personally for what I had been able to do for her daughter, and also to hear direct news of her grandchildren.

I left Budapest early this afternoon and arrived after dark at Bekescsaba, which is about half-way to Belgrade. I was met by a majordomo who appropriated my luggage and led me to a private car on a private railroad belonging to the Countess. We started immediately and ran in about twenty minutes to the gate of the estate where she usually resides. Here I was carefully transferred into a waiting carriage and was tenderly tucked into numerous fur rugs by two or three strong men. The two splendid horses turned through the gates for a ten-minute drive across a beautiful park to the castle—and such a castle! It is equal in size and charm to some of the famous French chateaux along the Loire which I studied last spring.

I was carefully unpacked again under a splendid porte-cochere and ushered by numerous flunkies into the presence of the Countess. She received me in a tremendous room with a lofty ceiling, and in a preliminary talk of an hour she took off the first keen edge of her appetite for news.

My bedroom is perfectly huge and has two ante-rooms—for the personal servants whom I do not possess. We dined at eight, there being at the table, besides the Countess, a daughter and her companion, a Frenchwoman. During dinner the Countess mentioned that the war necessitated frequent readjustments in the management of her estates; that the military authorities had recently taken another five hundred of her men for service in the army. She asked me if I enjoyed hunting and, upon receiving an affirmative answer, said that she would send me for an hour or two with the pheasants in the morning. She warned me that the shooting would be poor because no care had been taken of the preserves since her sons departed for the war.

* * * * *

Bekescsaba, Tuesday, January 5th. I was awakened at nine by a valet who came in, opened the blinds, shut the windows, brought the breakfast specified by me last night, and assisted me to bathe and dress.

At ten I paid my regards to the Countess and then the chasseur-en-chef who was to take me for the morning's sport was presented to me. I climbed into a shooting wagon, which then drove across fields some twenty minutes to a woody country. I was provided with two beautiful little English "16-bore," one of which was carried by a loader who walked always behind my right elbow. The game was pheasants, partridges, and hares, the latter perfectly enormous, being thirty inches long when held up by the feet. While hunting I was followed at a respectful distance by the shooting wagon in which I was expected to ride when going farther than fifty yards, and by another wagon which was to carry the game I was expected to kill. The game was all natural wild game, not the domesticated kind of the English system. The chasseur had with him a dozen peasant boys as beaters. I "walked up" and "flushed" game myself, except when there was a particularly good bit of cover; then I was conducted ahead with many bows to a well-selected spot, whereupon the beaters in a line began at a distance of a hundred yards and "worked through," knocking their sticks together, a process that several times resulted in my being absolutely overrun by a burst of pheasants flushing from all directions, flying at all heights and angles and traveling like bullets. In two hours I killed seventy-three pheasants and partridges and twenty-three hares, and this in spite of the fact that my shooting was erratic. Thus at one spot I killed eight pheasants with as many shells without changing my feet (it was there that the loader was useful) and then a few minutes later missed five running.

At noon the young Countess drove out with her French companion to join me. She watched the shooting until half after twelve and then drove me home for luncheon. It is the custom for the men who start shooting early to be sought out and brought home to luncheon by the ladies, or to be joined by them for lunch in the woods in case of an all-day shoot. The game is shot only by the nobles and their guests and there seem to be no Robin Hoods among the devoted peasantry.

If this shooting to which I had been treated was considered by the Countess to need an apology, I was curious to ascertain what she called really good hunting, and so I propounded the question. She replied quite seriously that the best shooting to be had upon her estates was hare shooting and that on a good day five guns were usually expected to kill four thousand between the hours of ten and three.

* * * * *

To an American it is very extraordinary to see feudalism in full swing; to have every person whom one meets anywhere, stop, raise his hat, and make a deep obeisance; to have even the slightest word or request to anyone answered with a low bow and an instantly bared head. It is still more surprising to realize how sincere and devoted is all this homage. Everyone for miles around acts in this same way to the Countess, to her daughter, and, of course, to any of their guests. To an American it all seems several hundred years out of date.

* * * * *

Wednesday, January 6th. There were guests for dinner tonight, nobles from neighboring estates. One of the men is about to start on an automobile trip to the Serbian and Carpathian fronts. He is to be away some four or five days, leaving on Monday. He begged me to go with him but I resisted the temptation, for I am now forty-nine hours' travel from London and must soon be turning my face westward.

I went to mass this morning in the little plaster church of a village near the castle. The acolytes were small peasant boys, and whenever they knelt down they turned toward the congregation prodigious boot-soles studded with a surprising array of shiny hobnails.

* * * * *

Thursday, January 7th. In bidding me good-bye last night, the Countess took my hand in both of hers and before the assembled dinner party thanked me for my services to her daughter and said she appreciated my having given her two days of my valuable time;—all of which she did in so gracious and charming a manner that I not only was not embarrassed, but felt it was reward enough for any two trips to the front.

Nearly all my conversations since entering Austria-Hungary have been carried on in French, since it is spoken by virtually everyone with whom I have come in contact. In Hungary all the people of consequence speak four languages, Hungarian, German, French, and English, but French is generally preferred to English by all except those to whom English is the native tongue.

I left Bekescsaba at nine this morning and arrived in Budapest early in the afternoon.

* * * * *

Budapest, Friday, January 8th. I lunched today with Consul-General Coffin and dined with Countess Sigray.

* * * * *

Saturday, January 9th. Yesterday on my arrival in Budapest I found awaiting me an invitation from Count Albert Apponyi to visit him at his castle at Eberhard, near Pozsony. I left Budapest at eight, reached Pozsony about eleven, and drove to Eberhard, where I was received by the Count.

I was extremely impressed on meeting Count Apponyi. I had anticipated something unusual, but he was quite beyond my expectations. He is about six feet three inches tall, has a splendidly erect carriage, and is a most impressively handsome man. He has a broad well-shaped forehead sloping back steeply, splendid blue-gray eyes, the biggest thinnest nose in the world, enormous nostrils, a strong sensitive mouth, and a grayish square-cut beard. The "grand old man of Hungary" looked up to his title.

He has been a member of the Hungarian Parliament for forty-two years and has several times held ministerial portfolios. His progressive ideas have usually landed him in the position of leader of the opposition. He has invariably been Hungary's representative at all international meetings, peace conferences, and inter-parliamentary unions. He is a decade ahead of his day and generation, being probably the most progressive man in all Hungary. This, coupled with his blood, his magnificent appearance, and his wonderful education, make him an extraordinary power in the affairs of the kingdom. He has twice been in America. He has several times visited ex-President Roosevelt at the White House and at Sagamore Hill, and the Colonel has been a guest here at Eberhard. The Count also knows intimately such men as Lowell, Untermyer, Butler, and Taft, and appreciates their ideas,—"the American idea" as he calls it. It is no wonder that the other less advanced Hungarian nobles criticize his ideas and methods.

The Count's French is exquisite, and he speaks English as I have seldom heard it spoken,—as the cultivated Frenchman speaks French,—with purpose, with science, as an art. His enunciation is wonderful and he instinctively picks out words to aid rhythm and enunciation. Of his native language, Hungarian, and of his German, I am not capable of judging.

I admired the Count's library. Three sides of the big room were covered with filled shelves, which lapped over into the rooms on either side. Such a conglomeration of books;—leather bindings, cloth, paper, stacks of pamphlets, all jumbled together and yet in order. The books were indiscriminately in French, German, Hungarian, Latin, Italian, English, and Greek, all languages which the Count knows with great thoroughness. In reply to my admiring comment, he looked around the library a bit sadly, I thought, and said slowly: "Yes, it means much to me. It has grown out of my life."

The Apponyi castle has stood in its present shape for over two hundred years. Like all contemporaneous residences of feudal chiefs, it was built primarily for defense and this determines its general structure. It is square with a great court in the center, in the middle of which is a well-house. The castle walls are of stone nearly three feet thick, plastered over with cement and painted white. It is two stories high with a steep ungabled roof and is virtually guiltless of architecture. The only entrance to the building is through an archway leading under the front face into the interior court. No outside windows existed in the original structure but many have since been cut into it. The castle reveals many signs of age. The floors in all the halls and rooms, except those of the salons, are of stone, and little uneven hollows on their surfaces show where the feet of many generations have left their mark. The libraries and salons, six or seven in number, were remodeled some time during the last century and are remarkably fine.

At present one side of the castle has been converted into a hospital and here some twenty-five wounded Hungarian soldiers are cared for.

At luncheon there were as guests the Count and Countess Karolyi Hunyadi and two of their sons, and the Countess Herberstein, whose husband is a general in the army.

* * * * *

Sunday, January 10th. I had the honor of a very interesting walk and talk with Count Apponyi this morning. Among other things he said: "I sometimes let my younger daughter (aged 12) play with the children of the peasants on the place. It gives her an understanding of life, and besides, there is no one of her own age and rank in this part of the country." This for a Hungarian nobleman is an extremely democratic remark.

The mass in Count Albert's private chapel was most interesting. The chapel is built into the castle as a part of it. The family assembled in a little oratory or balcony giving off the second-floor hall. From this oratory one looked down upon the service and upon the peasants crowded together below. It was glassed in so that one viewed the spectacle through windows, so to speak. These had two panes which could be opened if one desired to hear more clearly the service or sermon.

* * * * *

In a long conversation, Count Apponyi, in answer to my questions, made the following statements as to Hungary's attitude in the war, which he defined as being a conflict between Orientalism and Occidentalism:

"You who live in America do not have to consider or define the differences between Occidentalism and Orientalism. You are geographically isolated from Orientalism and are so axiomatically Occidental that the issue is not yet a vital one for you. You do not have to search for concepts and definitions in this regard. The same would be true of the Chinese who are so extremely Oriental—who are so near the South Pole, so to speak—as to find thinking about the matter unnecessary. They take their Orientalism as a matter of course, as do you your Occidentalism.

"But we of Hungary who are on the geographical frontier of Occidentalism, who are, in these present centuries, Occidentalism's contenders in the everlasting battle between East and West, and who find ourselves at death-grips with Russia, the present-day aggressive representative of Orientalism, we, I say, have need to consider such matters and to find concepts upon which to build.

"Thus I, as a Hungarian, have my definitions, my lines of demarcation between the two. My definitions of Occidentalism are four in number. Any nation which fails in one or more of them is on the Oriental side of the line. The four items are:

"(1) The distinction between spiritual and temporal power—the mutual independence of Religion and Government. The form of religion or the form of government does not and cannot decide the question. Thus in Russia the Greek Christian Church is Oriental because it makes itself one with the State and is used by the State as a club to keep the subjects of the State in political subjugation.

"(2) The recognition of the equal value of woman and man. Occidentalism feels that woman and man are different but does not feel that man is superior to woman. Discussions of the differences between man and woman sometimes occur in Occidental countries as was the case in the late disputes in England as to woman's fitness for politics. There was no implication that man was an animal superior to woman. In Occidentalism woman and man are considered equal before the law and in the eyes of God, while in Orientalism women are often little better than slaves and in some eastern religions are not supposed after death to go to heaven.

"(3) The recognition of the rights of the individual. All individuals are considered equal before the law. The individual is not a means to some end—he is an end in himself. This is laid down in its spiritual aspect in Christianity and in every form of Christianity. The difference consists in this: that in Occidental Christianity it acted as a germ—as the principle of an evolution which led through a painful ascension of numberless steps to the idea of juridical and social equality. In Oriental Christianity the germ remained secluded in the spiritual sphere, without taking effect in the secular order.

"(4) The recognition of the dignity of labor. In Occidentalism there is none of the feeling that to labor is unworthy; there is none of the feeling that to labor is the part of slaves and lower creatures. Christ was a carpenter and the son of a carpenter; he chose his disciples from amongst fishermen and laborers and laid down the rule that labor enhances the dignity of man.

"These four items contain the elements of all progress and that is why Occidentalism alone is really progressive. Whatever progress is achieved by Orientals consists in adopting certain technical results of Occidental evolution. This does not mean that Oriental nations cannot be strong and powerful, for many of them have at times been powerful. While they are powerful, their policy is necessarily one of aggression, because their energy is not able to assert itself in internal progress and must, therefore, find an outlet in foreign aggression. Note Russia. In history you will find that the cessation of aggressiveness in an Oriental nation has always meant either the beginning of decay or, as was the case of Hungarians in the 11th century, of an evolution toward Occidentalism. In the 11th century the Hungarians were Oriental—now they are Occidental. That may follow in Russia too if she is defeated in the present war. Paradoxical as the statement seems, defeat contains brighter prospects for her than victory. For nations at large the victory of Russia would mean the advance of the inferior Eastern type of civilization at the expense of the superior Western one, a calamity not to be considered without shuddering."

He continued: "Turkey is no longer an aggressive representative of Orientalism. She is even trying under the 'Young Turks' to become Occidental. Her 'Young Turks' are laboring for results which would include all my four definitions of Occidentalism. Her participation in the present war does not fall under the head of East versus West, but is inspired simply by consideration for her own safety as an Asiatic power and as the guardian of Constantinople. In a general sort of way, there is no formula that covers the whole ground of all the phenomena of any great action. There is always an intersection of motives. As between Russia and Austria-Hungary, the present war is a struggle of the East in its Russian form against the West, but two other forces are at work which, although they do not concern us in the least, combine with this one. These are the Anglo-German trade rivalry and the Franco-German race antipathy."

Since I have been in the countries of the Dual Alliance I have been anxious to secure a clear and reasonable declaration of the motives which actuate the leading men in the nations comprising it. It was not possible to obtain such an explanation in Germany, because people either frankly admitted that Germany's purpose was to become through military aggression the dominant power of the world, or they flew into such a rage at the mere question that nothing they said was either reasonable or consecutive. Even the carefully prepared literature of the Imperial Foreign Office failed to impress me as logical or sincere. It was, therefore, a pleasure to obtain from the Count a statement of what may be called the Hungarian point of view.

Somewhat later in the day I asked the Count what his answer was to the statement so often repeated by the Allies, that the sovereigns of the Dual Alliance forced war upon their people. He replied:

"The German, Austrian, and Hungarian people were not driven into the war by their sovereigns, and could not have been so driven. They approve the war because they realize its necessity as a defense. They wished to avoid it as did their sovereigns. They were all compelled to accept it as the only means of defense against an aggression cynically planned and carefully prepared."

* * * * *

Monday, January 11th. I had intended to leave on an early train this morning, but when I broached the subject the Count would not permit it and insisted that I stay until tomorrow afternoon, when he is called to Budapest by government duties.

* * * * *

Tuesday, January 12th. After breakfast it snowed a few minutes. A little later it commenced to snow in earnest,—great, fat, lazy flakes falling out of a leaden sky. From one of the castle windows the Count and I watched them against the background of some fir trees in the garden below. "That is good," said Count Apponyi. "That will be good for my wheat-fields just sprouting. It will cover them and keep them warm. I have now long been hoping for the snow, which is overdue." Some moments later I said, "The falling snow is for me one of the most beautiful motions in nature." He replied: "To me falling snow always suggests Patience. A flake of snow? Ce n'est rien! (with a gesture). But it falls and falls, never hurrying, each little flake a distinct entity, and at last it makes the world beautiful—and it also covers my wheat-fields."

* * * * *

The Hungarian nobles receive an education very different from ours. If anything, it leads to greater individuality. From infancy they learn four languages—their native one, and German, French, and English. To this is added an elaborate knowledge of courtesy, custom, precedence, and manners which is taught them from childhood. The boys are also trained to ride and shoot. They are sent to school between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, where they learn Latin very thoroughly and get a smattering of other things. They almost unconsciously absorb the knowledge of managing the great estates which constitute their wealth. They have a taste for reading and prefer rather serious literature. With a perfect knowledge of Latin, English, German, and French, nearly all masters are open to them in the original. They miss only a few: Dante, Cervantes, and the ancient Greeks, although the more scholarly ones like Apponyi know Greek. Since they have much leisure, they often possess by the time they are thirty an extraordinarily interesting amount of knowledge. In Hungary everyone from peasants to counts is musical.

We took lunch today in the perfectly splendid old castle of the Karolyi Hunyadis at Ivanka. The other guests were the Countess Herberstein and an Austro-Hungarian General of Division, whose name I did not catch. Count Apponyi and I drove over together from Eberhard and after luncheon took the train from the neighboring station of Pozsony Ivanka. I was received with the most extravagant cordiality by the Hunyadis on account of services which I had been able to render to members of their family in the course of my work at the Embassy in Paris.

The Hunyadi castle was really as fine or finer than some of the smaller ones which I visited along the Loire last spring, and it was the more impressive because it was "alive"—inhabited—and furnished with the most magnificent appointments. The stair-hall particularly recalled some of those splendid old French ones, being in the same sort of yellow Caen stone.

While we were waiting for a train today, Count Apponyi informed me quite seriously that Hungary was not the least feudal, either in theory or practice.

The Hungarians harbor no animosity against Britain and France and really deserve the chivalrous friendship of these two nations. They are the only people in the present conflict who, in the heat and excitement of war, have on all occasions behaved like good sportsmen. When trains of Russian prisoners arrive at Hungarian stations, the people manifest no hostility, but greet them with kindness and sympathy and offer them food and flowers. The populace has not molested alien enemies, and their government has not indulged in wholesale internments of enemies' subjects. In Hungary I found British horse trainers, English tutors, and French governesses going tranquilly about their peaceful occupations. English tailors advertised their business in the Hungarian newspapers, and their clients went to them as readily as they would have gone in peace time. French chefs and servants were, as a matter of course, retained in the employ of noble families, and were treated with unvarying consideration and sympathy by their Hungarian fellow-servants. This attitude has been steadfastly maintained in spite of the wholesale imprisonment by the Allies of such Hungarian subjects as were left within their territory at the opening of hostilities. Of the nations which I have studied Hungary is the only one involved in the present conflict which has not stooped to reprisal and retaliation.

It was a curious demonstration of the difference in the national temperament of the Teutonic and Magyar races to mark how diametrically opposed was the manner in which the two peoples regarded the efforts of the American Embassy in Paris to safeguard their respective subjects. As I, during the earlier weeks of the war, had been closely associated with these efforts, everyone I met had something to say to me upon the matter.

Throughout Germany there was universal complaint and criticism of the methods of treating the German subjects who, at the beginning of the war, had been interned in France. I was constantly obliged to hear accounts of how many people had been crowded into one building, how at first only straw was provided for bedding, and how scarce and poor was the food which was furnished. The censure was primarily for the French nation, but the comments conveyed no sense of obligation to our Embassy staff, who had worked so untiringly to alleviate these conditions, which, moreover, resulted from no mal-intent on the part of the French, but were simply the inevitable consequences of the sudden oncoming of war. Every national resource of the French Republic was devoted to quick mobilization, upon which the fate of the nation hung, and until that operation had been accomplished, little time or thought could be devoted to alien citizens.

On entering Hungary I braced myself to endure the same hostile attitude. To my intense surprise I was everywhere welcomed with great cordiality and received as a sincere friend and protector of the Hungarian people who had been interned in France. The great families of Hungary sent me invitations to visit them on their estates, they threw open their most exclusive clubs, offered me opportunities to view the fighting on the Russian front, and treated me like one of themselves. Of expressions of appreciation and gratitude there was no limit, and they greatly over-emphasized my services. Not only were the nobles thus demonstratively grateful, but in nearly every village and town to which I went I found inhabitants who had returned from internment in France to relate how helpful Monsieur Wood at the American Embassy had been to them. Often I remembered neither the individuals nor the incidents they so gratefully dwelt upon, but the general atmosphere of friendliness thus created was like springtime after frost.

In Germany, even after establishing my identity, I have by citizens or German Secret Service men been the object of grossly insulting remarks. In Hungary no one even asked what was my personal bias on the present war, but everyone remembered only the services which the Embassy of neutral America had in France rendered to any Hungarian subject who needed assistance. If the other nations of the Dual Alliance possessed the generosity and courtesy of the Hungarians, people outside the war would find it easier to be neutral in sentiment as well as in deed.



Vienna, Tuesday, January 12th. Last night and today twenty-three long trains of German regular troops have passed through the Ivanka station on their way east. They were apparently going to the Roumanian frontier. A train will hold two battalions of infantry, two thousand men, or a battery of artillery with full equipment. These trains would, therefore, represent something like thirty thousand men, and more were all the time coming. My car, in which I was en route from Budapest to Vienna, stopped at one station just opposite one of these military trains, which I thus had time to study. It contained a battery of German artillery and was a very long one, consisting of flat cars, freight cars, and one or more passenger coaches for the officers. The guns of the battery, with all the limbers and caissons, were placed on flat-cars, while some of the freight cars were used for equipment and ammunition and others for the soldiers. The doors of these latter were open and were boarded up to a height of eighteen inches to keep floor draughts off the men lying within. The cars were filled with clean straw, sprigs of which trailed out of the doorways. The soldiers, like all German soldiers that I have seen, were fat, healthy, happy, and cheerful, singing, waving hands and handkerchiefs to the responsive crowds on the platforms, and laughing and joking. They looked for all the world like big puppies hanging out of a box filled with straw. They were young men of Germany's best troops and had that certain bearing of confidence and efficiency which marks veterans. Their faces, albeit smooth and healthy, were not the faces of boys, although some of them were still boys in years.

The guns and caissons at the first uncritical glance looked like junk, but a second look revealed the error. Their metal work was battered and their paint chipped off, but the wheels and running-gear and the long gray barrels were clean and spick and span.

The efficiency, rapidity of fire, and elasticity of cannon have so improved in the past decade that a battery of four guns now requires one hundred and eighty men, six or seven officers, and two hundred horses to manage it. What with mathematical instruments to direct fire, instrument wagons, field forges, spare parts, and twelve or sixteen caissons, every horse and man belonging to the battery is necessary when a stiff action is going on. The guns shoot six thousand yards and the four can between them fire eighty shots a minute. Each of the shells weighs about eighteen pounds, costs up to twenty dollars to manufacture, and is freighted with almost unbelievable possibilities of death and destruction. When using shrapnel a single battery can during any sixty seconds fire thirty-five thousand well-directed bullets against advancing infantry. A battalion of infantry in charging will average about two hundred yards a minute—and during that minute a single battery can fire against it thirty-five bullets for every man in the battalion.

The field guns of all nations shoot approximately the same shell, three inches in diameter. These guns are so small and light in appearance that it is difficult to realize their power until one has seen its effects. Their barrels are perhaps six feet long and from five to seven inches in exterior diameter. A light but very complicated running-gear supports them. This rests upon two wagon-wheels quite ordinary in appearance. The whole is painted smoke-gray and looks quite toy-like and harmless.

* * * * *

I had lunch with Mr. Penfield today at his official residence and it was an extremely interesting event. The building is said to be the finest ambassadorial residence in the world of any nationality. I can easily believe it. In the very heart of Vienna the house has behind it a garden of some two acres with many fine hothouses. Seven gardeners are required. On the other side, the Embassy faces on a large public garden and thus every one of the sixty big windows which the mansion possesses faces on one garden or the other. The house is adorned with Meissoniers, Van Dykes, Chinese rugs, and other things of a like value. The house was shown to me from top to bottom by Mr. Penfield.

* * * * *

At present there is great excitement in Vienna over the fall of Count Berchtold, the Prime Minister, announced publicly this morning.

* * * * *

I am to leave for Berlin, London, and Paris, and then home as soon as possible.

* * * * *

Vienna, Friday, January 15th. I am doing my best to see Vienna so thoroughly in an architectural and artistic way that I shall not find it necessary to return for purposes of study.

* * * * *

At the Jockey Club last night I played bridge with Mr. O'Shaughnessy, Attache Cardeza, and His Serene Highness, Prince Lichtenstein, the fortunate possessor of the Lichtenstein Galleries in Vienna. I am to visit his collection on Sunday morning with the Countess Colloredo.

Captain Briggs is at the front with Colonel Biddle but is expected to return soon and I am awaiting his arrival before departing for Berlin.

* * * * *

Sunday, January 17th. I suppose it is useless to say that all the reports in the Allied press about revolutions, despair, and cholera in Austria-Hungary are absolutely false.

* * * * *

Monday, January 18th. I now plan to leave for Berlin on Wednesday and hope, unless I strike something of very great importance in Belgium, to reach London about January 31st.

* * * * *

Wednesday, January 20th. A party of neutral diplomats who last week went by train into the country for a picnic were arrested on their return to the railroad station at Vienna, beaten up, and insulted by police and soldiers in spite of their identification papers. The affair went to such lengths that several of the diplomats came out of the fracas with bruised faces and torn clothes. The whole party were detained for nearly an hour before they were finally set at liberty. Among the distinguished members of the party were: M. Chafford, the Swiss Minister, M. Bekfris, the Swedish Minister, M. Lelerche, the Norwegian Charge d'Affaires, M. Carpion, the Roumanian Charge d'Affaires, MM. Guignous and Segesser, Swiss Secretaries.

Several ladies were with the party, which numbered a dozen in all. The affair was started and led by a colonel in the army who resented the fact that the diplomats were conversing in French, a language they were forced to employ since they were of many different nationalities. The crowd at the railroad station where the "incident" took place was not hostile and did nothing except stand by in idle curiosity. Up to the present time the only action taken by the Austrian Government has been to send regrets, not apologies, to the various diplomats. The colonel who was responsible for the assault offered his resignation, which was promptly refused. I know of no such disgraceful incident ever having taken place in France or Great Britain.

* * * * *

Captain Briggs returned from the front this morning.

* * * * *

Berlin, Thursday, January 21st. I arrived in Berlin last night after an uneventful journey. I went to the theatre this evening with Charles Russell. We walked around through the lobby during the intermission and among other things saw a young man, perhaps nineteen, very blond, with the nicest, simplest, most straightforward face, the face of a quiet, retiring boy, who would grow up into a thinking man. He was with his mother. He was in civilian clothes, but in his lapel he wore the broad ribbon—black with two white bars—of the Iron Cross. Somewhere, sometime in these recent months, this quiet lad had performed coolly some feat of great personal valor. The look of unsuppressible pride upon his mother's face, as she walked on his arm, was wonderful to behold.

* * * * *

Sunday, January 24th. I am to leave early Wednesday morning for London or The Hague, I do not yet know which. From either one it is probable that I shall be sent to Brussels.

* * * * *

Tuesday, January 26th. I visited the prison camp at Doeberitz today. In a military automobile I was conducted there with much ceremony by Captain Freiherr von G——, Iron Cross and Red Eagle, of the Imperial Guard. He is on leave convalescing from a wound in the knee which he received at Ypres. I was expressly told that I might describe what I saw and repeat what I heard as many times and as much in detail as I chose, so that I have no hesitation in giving my impressions without reserve, even though it was by courtesy of the German Government that I made the trip.

The camp was distant one hour's fast run from Berlin and was situated on a flat plain which had very little natural or artificial drainage. The cold mud was everywhere from three to four inches deep. On this plain and closely surrounded by heavy barbed-wire entanglements were some seventy or eighty rude wooden sheds arranged in four rows with a broad avenue down the center. Here were kept some nine thousand prisoners of war, of whom four thousand were British and four thousand Russian. By careful and repeated pacing I estimated that the sheds were about one hundred by thirty feet. Each one had six unopenable windows on a side. In each such house were quartered one hundred and twenty-five men. When certain partitioned areas have been subtracted this means a space of about six by three feet per man. Each house was heated by one stove and was very hot and stuffy, being, except for the door, hermetically sealed.

None of the prisoners had overcoats, personal belongings, or blankets. They slept on straw ticks measuring approximately seven feet by thirty inches. That they all suffered from lice and other vermin was perfectly evident. The whole camp was closely surrounded by barbed wire, and the main avenue was commanded by three field-guns placed outside at one end in a little barbed-wire fort. The whole was apparently under the charge of a Captain of Landsturm and the guards were men of the Landsturm. The prisoners looked thin, peaked, unhappy and sickly, and many had boils. They have absolutely nothing to do—they exist. They are fed three times a day—6 A.M., 12 noon, and 4 P.M. For "lunch" and "dinner" and also Sunday breakfast, they receive about one pint of a thick soup. I tasted some of this and thought it was concocted chiefly of barley and potatoes. I was told that there was meat in it but could find no evidence of any. For breakfast the prisoners receive black bread with a slice of either cheese or sausage and either tea or coffee. The diet is evidently insufficient. I should say that it was calculated with German accuracy to just keep body and soul together. I was taken through many of the houses and although no actual prohibition to talk was given it was virtually impossible to speak with the prisoners, as I was always hurriedly rushed along from one place to another. In order to make a pretence of conversation, one of the two captains who escorted me would sometimes say to a prisoner, "What nationality are you?" "Scotch, sir." "What regiment?" "Argyle-Highlanders, sir." "Ah, so!" and we would then hurry along again. We were in the camp an hour and a half, and during that time I succeeded in asking three short well-chosen questions of intelligent-looking British non-commissioned officers.

First question: "Do you get enough to eat?"

Answer: "My Gawd, no!"

Second question: "How do present conditions compare with the past?"

Answer: "Wonderfully improved, sir, in comparison."

Third question: "How often do you write home?"

Answer: "One letter every two months, but they say they are going to improve that."

* * * * *

I saw the four o'clock feeding. It reminded me of nothing except seeing animals fed at the Zoo. In the kitchen I saw the British soldiers receive their afternoon meal. A line of five great cauldrons of hot soup extended down the room, each one being about four feet high and four feet in diameter. The prisoners entered through a vestibule at one end of the building, where they passed between two German sentinels to whom each delivered up a metal check before being allowed to pass inside. There is a roll-call in the sheds before every meal and each man is then handed a check which later entitles him to receive his ration. Each prisoner possesses and keeps constantly with him one iron bowl and one large spoon. When they are permitted to enter the kitchen the prisoners rush to whatever cauldron is least busy. There a cook, armed with a long-handled measure holding about a pint, ladles out one measureful of soup into each man's bowl and this constitutes the entire repast. The Captain of Landsturm in explaining to me about the metal checks said indignantly, "Why, if we did not have this system of checks, they would all come back three and four times!" by which remark he showed the typical German lack of anything approaching tact or diplomacy.

There were some British sailors and numerous marines among the prisoners. These, according to the Germans, came from Antwerp. They had reached that city just as the Germans entered and had been captured without ever having left their train. They were sent on in the same train to German prisons and their total war experience consisted in one continued non-change journey from Ostend to the Doeberitz prison-camp. The Germans said that there was at times ill feeling between English and Russians.

The method of punishment in the camp was called "tying up" for one or two hours. I was unable to get details but gathered that this consisted in suspension by some part of the hands. This, however, may have been a wrong conclusion. I was told that the men received letters from home, about fifty a day arriving at the camp, and are also allowed to receive money. Yesterday was a record day, a big mail arriving with some 7000 marks. They may spend the money at the camp store, which I examined; tobacco, sausages, and insecticide seemed to be the chief articles in stock.

A bath-house has recently been provided in which it is possible to take cold showers. The English shave with potato knives borrowed from the kitchen. The men wash in the open, apparently in the same bowls from which they eat. Water is very sparingly served out to them.

The two German officers who acted as my guides tried to impress upon me that the camp was a model one and that everything was done for the prisoners which they had a right to expect. It seemed to me very much less desirable than the prison for French soldiers which I had previously inspected at Zossen. Some specific things which the French possessed and the British lacked were overcoats, bunks, ample food, work, recreation, blankets, and the opportunity for exercise, and it should be remembered in extenuation of German prison camps in general—if extenuation is deemed necessary—that besides interned civilians, Germany has now nearly seven hundred thousand prisoners of war to house and feed.

February 14th. After brief visits to Holland, France, and England I last night boarded the steamship Lusitania at Liverpool and sailed for that land of skyscrapers, electric signs, and telephones—the land which has been called "opulent, aggressive, and unprepared."


It would be a sin of omission for me to neglect to sound again that oft-repeated warning against the dangers of military unpreparedness, which has been so vainly sounded since the birth of our nation by every American, great or small, who has known or seen anything of actual war conditions.

Is it idle to hope that the warnings to be deduced from the current histories of other nations will be heeded by a nation which has ever disregarded the lessons of its own history?



The best maps with which to follow and study the war in France, Flanders, and Belgium are those of the French Automobile Club, called "Cartes Routieres pour Automobiles," published by A. Taride, 18 Boulevard Saint-Denis, Paris. The war has been largely fought and directed by the use of these maps, which are on the scale prescribed by the French General Staff—about three and one-half miles to the inch. They show every road and lane, every town and village in France. The war areas are contained in numbers 1, ibis, 2, 3, 6, and 7. Those most referred to in this book are 3 and 7.


The total losses of the various belligerents in killed, wounded, and captured for the first six months of the war, from August 1st to February 1st, are as follows:

British 140,000 French 1,450,000 Russians 2,050,000 Austro-Hungarians 950,000 Germans 1,500,000

* * * * *

The approximate ratio of deaths to total casualties is as follows:

German, 2 deaths to 9 casualties. French, 2 deaths to 7 casualties.

(The large proportion of French deaths was due:

First, to the fact that in the early part of the war most actions were German victories, and the Germans could not care for French wounded as well as they did for their own;

Secondly to lack of sanitary skill on the part of the French in taking care of their wounded.)

Austrian, 2 deaths to 7 casualties. British, 2 deaths to 11 casualties.

(The low rate of mortality among the British is due to the great number of motor ambulances which they possess, to the smallness of their army, to the efficiency with which they care for their wounded, and to the short distance which separates their forces from their home country.)

* * * * *

The numbers of prisoners held on February 1st:

IN GERMANY: British 18,000 Belgian 39,000 Russian 350,000 French 245,000

IN AUSTRIA: Russian 250,000

IN ENGLAND: German 15,000

IN FRANCE: German, approximately 50,000


The battle practice in the French army in handling wounded is as follows:

When a man is wounded he is carried to a dressing station in some partly protected neighborhood within the battle area. He is generally taken there by the stretcher-bearers attached to his company. After field dressing, he is removed to a field hospital one to three miles toward the rear. The means of transportation are varied, and made to suit the particular battle conditions, the principal means being stretcher-bearers, motor ambulances, and horse ambulances. In case of heavy casualties, all the men who can possibly stagger are obliged to go to the rear by themselves and are sent in small parties so that they may assist one another en route.

The field hospitals are nearly always established in village churches with overflow into neighboring houses in case of heavy casualties. All the furniture is removed from the church and the floor is covered thick with straw, upon which the wounded are laid out in long rows. The altar is made the pharmacist's headquarters, the vestry is converted into an operating room, and a Red Cross flag is hung from the tower or steeple. These field hospitals are generally well within the zone of artillery fire, and are frequently struck by shells.

The men are evacuated from the field hospital to a base hospital in motor ambulances or by a combination of motor ambulances and railway trains. Theoretically, this should be done within a day or two with all cases except the very gravest. In practice, the men frequently lie in field hospitals for weeks before the opportunity of evacuation is found. The base hospitals are in cities or large towns, and serve as clearing-houses. They are well out of the military zone, being from five to fifteen miles behind the zone of artillery fire. I will give a definite example. In October, I saw the front at Albert. There were dressing stations just behind the battle-line. There was a field hospital at Henencourt. From Henencourt the wounded were evacuated upon Amiens, which contained the base hospitals for a front extending from a point north of Sus St. Leger to the neighborhood of Guerbigny. Here the railway station had been converted into a receiving center to which all the wounded were brought for examination and classification. Those who could bear travel were immediately placed upon trains and shipped to the south of France. There were four other hospitals in Amiens, and all cases considered too grave for transportation to the south were sent to one of these. They were divided and classified so that cases of a kind were grouped together, each hospital and the various floors of each hospital having a different class of patient. Some of the classifications were: head cases, amputation cases, gangrene cases, cases in which the patient could not refrain from screaming, either because of delirium or for other reasons. It is on leaving the base hospital that wounded are first classified as to nationality.

For the railway transportation of the wounded, luggage vans are used. I estimate the interior length of a French luggage-van or freight-car to be about twenty-five feet, the doors being placed, as in America, in the middle of each side. Wooden racks are built to the right and left of the door in the ends of the car. These racks are arranged to hold two layers of three stretchers each, so that each end of the freight car contains six lying cases. The men who are able to sit or stand and the orderlies in charge are placed in the aisle between the doors, a space about six feet wide between the stretcher handles. On their way to the south of France these trains stop about every twenty-four hours, the first stop being Aubervilliers, a station some two miles outside the gates of Paris. Here a large storage warehouse has been converted into a hospital. Food and water are distributed to the train on its arrival, the dead taken out, and the delirious or very grave cases are removed to the Paris hospitals. The others are allowed twelve hours' rest before continuing on the next stage of their journey.

The trains are usually made up of from 30 to 50 vans, and each train carries from 500 to 800 wounded. No particular effort seems to be made to isolate gangrene cases from the others, and the wounded invariably remain in the uniforms in which they fought until they reach the home hospital in the south of France. Their dressings, until they reach these home hospitals, are superficial ones. I have seen numerous cases with grave wounds, such as shattered thighs, which have remained in this condition for four and five weeks before finally being undressed and washed at the home hospital.

The whole system of handling the wounded seems to be theoretically well conceived. In practice among the French it worked thus poorly during the early months of the war. The wounded suffered from lack of food, water, attention, and bathing, and the resulting number of mortalities and amputations was exceedingly high. The effect on the morale of those who recovered is very serious, and is in singular contrast to the eagerness to return to the front often shown by British and German convalescents. The care given to the wounded by these two nations is very excellent indeed.

The same stretcher is used throughout the French army, and its universal use is compulsory on all organizations, whether volunteer or regular. It is not unusual for a grave case to be picked up on the battlefield and placed upon a stretcher and to travel on it all the way to the south of France without once being removed. The company stretcher-bearers turn him over to the dressing station with the stretcher upon which they have borne him. Since these stretchers are identical in size and construction they fit all ambulances and all railway equipments. They may be said to be current, like money, and whenever one organization turns over a grave case to the succeeding organization, the stretcher goes with the case, and an empty one is received in return. The number at any one point is thus maintained at a constant figure, and there is a general tendency for battered and infected stretchers to gravitate toward the south of France, and for new stretchers to gravitate toward the front.

* * * * *

There has been much typhoid in the armies in France, and it is on the increase. The wounded men develop it more often than any other class. Inoculation against typhoid is theoretically compulsory in the French army. I have no personal knowledge as to the thoroughness or effectiveness of inoculation in practice.

Lockjaw seems to develop late. Most of the cases occur after the men have reached the south of France. The new French anti-lockjaw inoculation of Doctor Doyen has produced most remarkable results. I have heard, on reliable authority, that with it 80% of the cases treated make a complete recovery. Three of my personal friends have had lockjaw and recovered. This is, in part, due to the fact that in all the hospitals the diagnosis is quick and sure, and the serum always in stock. The injection is made into the spinal cord at the small of the back. The patient is kept on his back on a slightly sloping table, his feet being at the higher end, while his head is allowed to hang unsupported over the end of the table.

A considerable proportion of the French and British troops in France, the Russian, Austrian, and Hungarian troops in the eastern fields, and the prisoners in Germany suffer from lice. Fleas seem to be a comparative rarity in the zones of operation.

* * * * *

The physique and condition of the French troops have greatly improved since the beginning of the war. War conditions seem to have caused a marked change. Many of the men have gained twenty and even thirty pounds, and the younger men have grown inches in height.

The French have well-defined regulations in the matter of sanitation, but these rules are not generally well-observed or strictly enforced. In the French trenches, however, where discipline is best, this matter is very well regulated. The Germans are particularly orderly in this regard. I have never observed that the French mark wells or water supplies in any manner.

I have no observations to offer on the subject of cremation of refuse, but have seen several attempts at cremation of bodies in the French army, all of which were glaring failures.


The German aeroplanes are generally conceded to be the most effective in the war, and the Germans seem to possess more of them than any other nation. None of their machines are slow and their fastest ones are faster than any in the other armies. Aeroplanes have been singularly ineffective in attacking as their shooting is extremely bad. They usually miss their target by at least two hundred yards, and, so far as my personal knowledge goes, the only damage that they have ever done has been when they have had a whole city to shoot at. Something like forty bombs were thrown on Paris while I was in that city, and although some thirty or forty non-combatants were killed or wounded, a target of any military importance was hit on only one occasion, when a bomb was dropped through the roof of the Gare St. Lazare. In the field, the principal targets aimed at by the aeroplanes are supply and ammunition convoys. The method is for the aeroplane to fly above the road and to drop a bomb as it passes over the convoy. It then makes a circle and repeats the operation. I know personally of some fifty bombs thus dropped, not one of which struck anywhere near the target. The effect of the bombs is of small consequence and damage is seldom done except to the people who happen to be standing in the immediate neighborhood.

The crater of the bombs thrown by German aeroplanes, when striking macadam or similar surfaces, is about fifteen inches in diameter and four inches deep. I have seen three such craters. The shrapnel bullets from the exploding bombs fly with a killing force to a distance of about fifty yards, and at the latter range the lowest bullets fly at a height of about twelve or fifteen feet. These bombs weigh about fourteen pounds.

Aeroplanes have proved to be almost invulnerable in war. They are extremely difficult to hit, because one must calculate for three dimensions and for the speed of the aeroplane; when hit they seldom suffer serious damage. I know of a case where first and last nearly 200 bullets passed through a machine without its ever being put out of action. Indeed, it seems impossible to bring down an aeroplane except by a freak shot. The gasoline tank is high and narrow and is protected by a thin metal plate underneath, while struts and steering wires are usually double. Wounding the aviator does not usually bring down a machine, because he is sitting and is strapped in, and on calm days needs to employ only a slight muscular effort to steer. Moreover, there are usually two officers in an aeroplane and the systems of double control enable the aeroplane to return to its base even if one of them is killed outright.

Anti-aircraft guns are not greatly feared by aviators, and they consider it merely an extraordinary piece of bad luck to be hit by one. The aviators fear most of all the fire of large bodies of infantry, and in flying over a regiment at an altitude of 1000 yards they realize that they run serious risk of being brought down.

Rifle bullets are effective against aeroplanes up to a height of about 5000 feet. Observers fly just above this altitude, at about 5500 feet, since they wish to fly as low as possible and yet be reasonably safe. Aviators have told me that this height is so well recognized that they nearly always encounter other observers in the same plane.

Aeroplanes, flying at a height of 5500 feet, can observe the movement or presence of large bodies of troops and the flashes of artillery. They cannot observe very much else at that height. They seem to be able to descend suddenly for a short time to a very low altitude when it is necessary and, in a large percentage of cases, to escape. British aeroplanes have made reconnoissances at an altitude of only one hundred yards.

Aeroplanes have made surprises in war nearly impossible, since in modern warfare it would be necessary to shift at least a division to produce any effect, and the movement of such a number of men would certainly be visible to aeroplanes during the daytime. If such a movement were performed at night, the presence of the division in a new spot would almost certainly be detected by the aeroplanes in the morning. The possession of a large and efficient aeroplane corps reduces the surprises of war very nearly to nil, and proportionately increases the importance of preparedness and of tactics.

The German aviators (and in fact all German observers, such as infantry and cavalry patrols) make it a principle to avoid, if possible, any combat; this is, of course, interpreted as cowardice by the Allies, who seem eager for a fight on any terms. There is a distinct reluctance among aviators for engaging in aerial duels. As one French aviator said to me: "You are both killed and that does no one any good." This reluctance is fairly universal, except with British flyers.

The German aeroplanes signal their observations by means of a code expressed in smoke balls. I never was able to obtain any theory as to how this code works. This method of communication seems to be very effective, as German shells sometimes arrive with singular accuracy and immediateness. It is commonly reported that Germans also signal with a suspended disc, but I have no personal knowledge of this system. The French had no definite means of signaling from the air in the early months of the war, and I believe this is still the case. They make their observation and return to their base to report, usually taking notes while aloft on maps and in note-books. I have no personal knowledge of the British methods. The Austrian system of signaling is by means of evolutions of the aeroplanes themselves. When they observe a target they fly over it, and when directly above make a sudden dip. They are observed during their evolutions with instruments, so that the exact angle and hypothenuse at the moment of this dip is known. They then make a circuit and come up from the rear and again fly over the objective. As they reach a point where they can see the target or objective their artillery opens fire and is corrected by the graphic evolutions of the aeroplane. If the shells drop too far to the left, the aeroplane turns to the right and the distance in profile that it travels before straightening out is the correction. They say, "Shoot short" by dipping and "Shoot farther" by rising.

I have no knowledge of aeroplanes being used at night, although they sometimes return from daylight operations after night has fallen and make their landing with the assistance of beacons. It is commonly reported both by Germans and French that the steel darts used by the French aviators are the most effective offensive weapon so far used by aeroplanes. I have no personal knowledge on this subject. I have been several times informed upon reliable authority that the French have no particular instruments of precision for use in the dropping of bombs.

At the commencement of hostilities the French aviators feared their own armies much more than they did the Germans, because the French had neglected to familiarize their troops with the designs of hostile aircraft.

It was proved to be nearly impossible to force a fight with your enemy's aeroplane, even if he is far within your own territory. If your own aeroplanes are on the ground it takes them entirely too long to get to his altitude, and if he wishes to stay in the same neighborhood he himself keeps going higher as your aeroplanes mount toward him. There seems to be no difficulty encountered in avoiding aeroplanes already in the air, since they are usually visible at great distances.

Anti-aircraft guns are generally mounted on automobile trucks, and are usually of small calibre. I have never seen any German aeroplanes other than monoplanes; these I have seen on ten or more occasions.

I saw no aeroplanes which carried other arms than rifles and automatic pistols.

In practice I have nowhere observed machine-guns mounted on aeroplanes, although they are much advertised and talked about.

I have frequently heard, upon what I consider reliable authority, that the Germans use captive balloons for observations.


I have at all times been tremendously impressed with the dominant importance in this war of artillery. My personal observations lead me to estimate that the percentage of casualties from artillery wounds has been nearly 50% of the total.

There are very distinct differences in the methods of the French and German field artilleries. The French field artillery is always used in indirect fire and the positions are usually a long distance behind the infantry—from fifteen to twenty-five hundred yards. The emplacements are often in deep wooded valleys. Too close proximity to the infantry is avoided.

In contrast to this, the German field artillery is nearly always very close to the infantry and is frequently in position for direct fire. In the most typical German arrangement the infantry trenches are on the front face of a hill along the "military crest" with the artillery two or three hundred yards behind over the natural crest. One often sees German field guns in such a position that it is difficult to say whether they are in "direct" or "indirect" fire.

In battles where there are no rapid retreats and rapid advances it seems to be the custom for batteries to be silent for one or two days while the battery commander, by means of observers, aeroplanes, and spies, endeavors to locate an objective. The point to be made is that the main forces of artillery do not seem to fire very continuously. Oftentimes in the middle of a very tense battle where heavy forces are opposed to each other there will be periods of half an hour or even longer when no firing whatsoever is to be heard. The importance of observers has become tremendous. On some occasions it seems as though the main object of an army were to get a single man into a location from which he can accurately observe the enemy's position, and as if until this is accomplished the whole battle is at a standstill. Both sides try continuously in all sorts of original ways to get information. The German tendency is toward the use of spies, while the French more often employ daring volunteer observers who sacrifice their lives in order successfully to direct fire for even five or ten minutes. Aeroplanes are used for the same purpose by all nations, but with less and less success as the war progresses, because hostile infantry and artillery are better and better hidden. It has now become almost impossible for an aeroplane to locate hostile artillery except by the flashes. Battery positions are either placed in forests, or artificial woods are built around them. It is almost axiomatic that artillery shall give no signs of life while an enemy's aeroplane is above, and as the result of this, one well-recognized method of temporarily silencing an enemy's battery is to keep an aeroplane flying over its neighborhood. Volunteer observers are frequently disguised and sent forward to hunt for a place from which they can observe the hostile trenches of artillery and thus direct and correct the fire of their own batteries. Observers who thus volunteer to go forward are virtually always decorated and made officers, if, by some fortunate chance, they both succeed and survive. The French artillery officers take advantage of every "assist"; for instance, I saw a case where a shell made a groove on the reverse side of a hill and glanced off. The shell exploded, but its fuse was recovered by the French, the setting of the fuse determined, and by means of this and the direction of the groove made in the hill the German battery was located. The French reported that they had destroyed the battery. One of their aeroplanes was sent up before firing was begun and later observed the battery's efforts to escape.

The French batteries are usually so far behind the infantry that when they have come under heavy artillery fire there is no danger of capture. The custom with the French seems to be, in a case like this, for the personnel to run and take cover during the bombardment. I saw this happen twice, and I learned of numerous other cases. Cover underground is constructed for all the personnel of the batteries. One enters these subterranean quarters through entrances which look very much like enlarged woodchuck holes. With no artillery of any nationality did I see any gun entrenchment other than a slight mound of earth coming up to the bottom of the shield. All guns that I have seen were in a line, except in cases where there was some peculiar rising of terrain. I have several times seen a "group" together in one line, at intervals of about twenty yards. In practice, the French tend to extend the intervals to about twenty-five yards, while the Germans either decrease them to about fifteen yards, or have the guns quite isolated, seventy-five or one hundred yards apart.

Telephones are the only instruments of which I have observed the use in the immediate neighborhood of French batteries. The battery commander controls the fire by word of mouth.

The French 75-mm. gun is the only field-piece which under practical field conditions does not "jump." This gives a tremendous advantage to the French artillery in such duels as frequently take place in battles where there is rapid movement. I have been on battlefields after action had finished and observed positions where two batteries had shot at each other, both being in "direct fire" position. The French pieces can fire at a rate of twenty-five shots a minute and in such duels seem to be able to fire accurately with nearly twice the rapidity of the Germans.

The most unpleasant experience that I ever underwent occurred one day when I was directly in front of and under a French battery and it suddenly and unexpectedly fired about forty rounds in thirty seconds over my head. These discharges produced a great psychological effect and were much more disconcerting than any arrival of enemy's shells.

I have never observed any "short burst," or shells bursting in guns. I should judge that this accident happens very rarely, with the French, at least.

At the beginning of the war, the French carried shells and shrapnel in about equal numbers. The shells explode with the time-fuse exactly as do shrapnel. From several sources I was told that they were loaded with the new explosive which had been introduced only about three months before the beginning of hostilities. As the war progresses the French tend to use more and more of these explosive shells, which are used against infantry in the same way as are shrapnel. The only difference seems to be that they are made to burst a little lower. Their effect is very terrible. A heavy bursting charge is employed, and although the fragments are small they fly with such force that they make fatal wounds and even cut into the wood of rifle stocks. I observed the body of one German whose back had been pierced with about forty small particles of a shell which had burst close to him. These particles were as evenly spread as the charge of a shotgun. German wounded and captured Germans have told me that this French shell-fire was so hellish that no man escaped except by a miracle. The French infantry have a great affection for their "75," and their confidence is always very greatly increased by its presence. Their spirits immediately rise when they hear it behind them. The French field artillery seem to have no favorite range but readily fire at any range. On the one hand a gun is sometimes taken into the trenches, and on the other hand I once observed a battery begin firing at 5300 meters and go to 5600 meters. One frequently sees French batteries of two and three guns and groups of eight or nine guns, lost guns not having been promptly replaced. I once saw a battery of two guns, the other two having been completely destroyed by direct fire the previous week. The heaviest piece that I saw at the front with the French was a 6-in. howitzer. The Germans use all sizes up to 12-in. in field operations, the latter being of Austrian construction. I have never discovered any conclusive evidence that Germany possesses 42-centimeter guns.

In my observations, when infantry charge infantry in battle movement, the majority of the casualties are caused by artillery. I have several times observed fields of dead infantrymen killed in an advance against infantry, where 90% of the dead had been killed by shrapnel. In my experience the Germans never use anything except shrapnel against infantry in the open. Shrapnel wounds are very ugly, being big ragged holes which usually become infected.

On the battlefields I have observed, very few German shrapnel have failed to burst in the air. In one field about a half mile square, where shrapnel cases were strewn about [I counted about forty or fifty], I observed only four craters. The French often say that the German shrapnel burst too high.

The German field artillery frequently place their caissons at a distance of two hundred yards behind the guns, there being no limbers or caissons with the guns. The ammunition is brought up by hand, each man carrying six shells in baskets holding three each. The caissons are usually in less numbers than the guns, there being two caissons behind four guns, or one caisson behind two guns.

In examining abandoned German ammunition, I have found shells bearing all dates from 1903 to 1914.

On no occasion have I seen observation ladders used by the French field artillery. This is probably due to the fact that, in general, their artillery is at so great a distance behind the scene of operations.

Shells bigger than 3-in. when used in field operations seldom do any damage, but have a tremendous moral effect even on veteran troops. The disconcerting effect of heavy shells exploding in the ground is very widely recognized at the front. The fire of big howitzers is, as a rule, very inaccurate. When one of these shells hits a building or a paved street its effect is considerable; when they burst in soft ground they are not dangerous. Most of the battlefields of France are on muddy fields, in which the 6-in. shells make a crater about forty feet in circumference and five or six feet deep. Their effect is chiefly upward and casualties are so rare as to be considered freaks. Mud is, however, thrown over the whole neighborhood. The bursting of the 12-in. shells is a very impressive sight—I saw two burst. (My authority for their caliber was a major of French artillery with whom I was standing at the time.) They burst at a distance of about 600 yards from us, one in an open field and the other in a small French village. The concussion was very heavy and even at 600 yards was felt in the feet. In the first case the air was filled with flying mud to a height of several hundred feet and there was a cloud of greasy black smoke about as large as a city block. The resultant crater was about one hundred feet in circumference, the ground being particularly soft. The second shell produced the same sensations, made the same sort of crater, and destroyed four or five small French brick and stone houses.

The largest German howitzers which are in the field were, in my personal experience, used only to bombard towns and villages.


My observations lead me to think that the most important qualifications for the infantry soldier are three, viz: to be able to dig, to be able to hide, and to be able to shoot. At the beginning of the war the French had paid very little attention to any of these things. Their men were dressed in a uniform so conspicuous that hiding was impossible. The only shooting that they had ever done was gallery shooting at a range of about forty yards and they were singularly poor even at this. Judging by practical results, they had very few theories and no practice in the matter of digging trenches. The trenches which they made in the early weeks of the war were straight grooves in the ground with the earth thrown up in a haphazard manner on either or both sides. Their early defeats were due to the unexpected invasion through Belgium, and to their unpreparedness in the three essentials mentioned above.

The German infantry also shoot poorly from an American standpoint, but do better than the French. Their uniform is the most nearly perfect of any of the armies in the war, and the Germans are virtually invisible at short range if they are not moving. Their helmet is easily the best headgear in the matter of invisibility. It sets tightly on the head, and owing to its shape virtually never casts a shadow. The Germans have been from the beginning very accomplished trench diggers and have had elaborate theories as to the construction of trenches and much practice in making them.

The British are the only troops in the war who shoot with any degree of excellence. Their shooting does not approach in accuracy that of our own army, but is so superior to the Germans that a British battalion of 1100 men usually has a firing effect equal to that of a German regiment of nearly 3000. On the gray-green backgrounds of Europe the British khaki is not conspicuous, but at the same time it is certainly visible. The British hat is the most conspicuous headgear in the war, since its rim casts a heavy black shadow, and its flat top shows white in sunlight. The heads of the British in the trenches stand out very distinctly.

In my experience the machine-gun is the most effective infantry weapon. Personally, I should interpret this not as praise for machine-guns, but as a criticism of the poor shooting of all the infantry engaged. The French have comparatively few machine-guns.

Since November, the French have had troops of all categories on the firing-line, and I should judge by this that since November, if not earlier, the French have had all their available men in service. Among my personal acquaintances in France, I know no man liable for service who has not been in the army from that date onward. The men who for physical reasons were earlier refused are now being quite generally accepted as volunteers and are put to office work or similar occupations. I have seen great numbers of wounded Territorials in France, and many Territorial prisoners in the prison camps in Germany. When I visited the prison camp at Zossen (near Berlin) where there are said to be 20,000 French prisoners, a large percentage (perhaps as much as 50 per cent.) of the prisoners I saw were Territorials.

The Germans have very well-developed and well-organized systems of relays for their men at the front. The infantry stay in the trenches for about a month at a time and are then given a vacation, usually being sent home to their garrison town. Their cavalry serve ten days at the front and are then sent a day's march to the rear for a ten-days' rest. Their artillerymen get no vacation, their lives being considered easy enough.

I saw no evidence of any well-organized system of vacations among either the French or British and I knew many isolated cases where personal friends of mine, both officers and enlisted men, have been at the front continuously since the beginning of the war. I am fairly certain that the British enlisted man has had no vacation since the beginning of the war, other than relaying near the front.

I would mention again, in order to emphasize the statement, that all my observations have led me to believe that the essentials of military preparedness are, first of all, a rapid mobilization, without this everything else is useless. By "rapid" I mean a mobilization of at least half a million men or upward in not more than ten days. After this in importance comes the ability to hide, to dig, and to shoot. To hide is impossible when wearing a uniform as conspicuous as the French, which might be called maximum, and has, I should estimate, been the cause of from three to four hundred thousand extra casualties.

The bayonet has been much used in this war and I have viewed personally a number of battlefields on which the action was decided with cold steel. It is my impression that European officers have maintained their faith in the bayonet as a weapon and some of them may even have become more than ever convinced of its worth. This is very distinctly the case with the French and the Austrians. The Germans are the only people whom I have observed to show any preference for shooting as against cutting when in close action. There is no doubt that the French commander's idea is to win the ultimate decision with the bayonet. Europeans in general seem to prefer cutting and stabbing to shooting. For them, "fight" seems to mean stabbing somebody. Their psychology is directly opposed to ours, for I think most American soldiers prefer shooting to cutting. The Europeans do not seem to have the taste for shooting, or the ability or wish to shoot well. It is difficult or even impossible to teach many of them to shoot with any degree of effectiveness.

In spite of the degree to which the bayonet has been used in Europe and the number of actions which I have seen won by its use, I am strongly convinced that the bayonet is not a practical weapon, and that the only just grounds for its employment are to be found in psychological reasons. I have not actually seen bayonet combats but have studied the battlefields soon after the conflicts and have talked with troops who had taken part in them, both French wounded and German prisoners. I remember particularly the scenes of three bayonet fights on a considerable scale. The first took place near Fere Champenoise on September 8th; the second near Sezanne on September 9th; the third near Lassigny about October 15th. In each case the men had thrown all science to the wind and fought wildly and savagely hand to hand. They were probably less effective than a Philippine boloman. Most of the casualties had been bayoneted through the neck, face, and skull, the men having lunged savagely for the face just like a boxer who has lost his temper. In the first-mentioned place I saw a Frenchman and a German lying side by side, both dead, and each transfixed by the other's bayonet, showing that they had rushed upon each other madly without the least thought of science or defense. It would seem to me that an infantryman with a short and handy rifle like our new Springfield could fill his magazine just before the enemy's charge arrived and "stop" four or five men armed with bayonets or any other edged weapon. I see no more reason for opposing bayonet with bayonet than for opposing a bolo with a bolo. The same reasoning would apply to lances and sabers, which are universally carried and certainly have been used to some extent. It is an interesting fact that in fights between cavalry patrols, every such affair which came to my personal knowledge had been decided by shooting and by nothing else, although the teaching of the men is to close in and use the lance and saber. The Germans alone when in close action have shown a tendency to do more or less shooting. In the first mentioned of the above fights, the Germans were virtually all killed by bayonet wounds, whereas perhaps 50 per cent. of the French dead whom I examined showed gunshot wounds.

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