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frankly recognize that the rights of small states and of government by consent of the governed, of which we have recently heard so much, have never been a consideration or factor in our Caribbean policy, nor has the social regeneration of a backward people, who constitute the bulk of the population, yet had any tangible manifestations.'
The readiness with which the most civilized governments adopt the claims of their citizens against other nations, and the extent to which these claims shrink when put to the test may be illustrated by the statement made by the Hon. Wayne MacVeagh some years ago. He dealt with the claims presented to arbitration commissions for allowance between the year 1868 and 1892, and with the claims presented to commissions by Great Britain, the United States, France, Spain, Mexico and Chili, countries which he stated were fairly represented by the civilized nations. The figures are very striking. To the Commission constituted July 4, 1868, to settle the claims presented by the United States against Mexico, and Mexico against the United States, the United States presented claims for $470,126,613.40, and the total amount awarded was $4,125,622.20, a little less than ninetenths of one per cent. Mexico presented claims for $86,661,891.15 (the cents in each case showing the extraordinary accuracy with which the figures were made up), and the amount allowed was $150,498.41, about sixteen hundredths of one per
By the Commission appointed on
the 8th of May, 1871, certain claims growing out of the Civil War were considered. Great Britain presented claims against the United States amounting to $96,000,000, and the amount awarded was $1,929,819, about two per cent. Claims presented by the United States against Great Britain amounted to $1,000,000, on which not one cent was allowed.
Before another Commission, Spain presented claims amounting to $30,313,581.32 and the amount awarded was $1,293,450.55, about 4 per cent. To a joint commission to settle claims between France and the United States, France presented claims amounting to $17,368,151.27, and received an allowance of $625,566.35, the percentage of allowance being about three and six tenths per cent. The United States presented claims against France amounting to $2,747,544.99, and the amount allowed was $13,659.14, an allowance of about one half of one per cent. Taking all the commissions together, the total amount presented was over $719,000,000, and the total allowance was less than $8,500,000.
Had it not been for arbitration it is probable that these great countries would have gone to war to collect the preposterous claims of their citizens, and well did Mr. MacVeagh say, "You sow military force against a weak and defenseless state and you reap injustice." With these figures before us, does it not become us to move slowly and be sure of our ground in international controversy? The fable of the wolf and the lamb is not without its application to such
NEWS OF VICTORY
The Story of the Turning Point and How the Word Reached Home
THOMAS M. JOHNSON
N FOUR summer days of 1918, the world ceased to fear German domination and turned its eyes toward victory.
There were no seers then, to divine that victory would come in four months. There were only many anxious, hoping men and women who read with deep thankfulness that the last great German attack had failed, and then that the first great Allied counter-attack had succeeded.
They could know little of how such news of victory was gathered, written, sifted through the censorship, finally cabled home for them to read. That is one of the few stories of the A. E. F. still untold. Told now, from the viewpoint of the newspaper correspondents who had "box seats" at the climax of the great drama, it may help to show more clearly how the tide turned. Here is the story as it happened from day to day.
An old friend of ours, a major on the General Staff, stopped at Meaux on the afternoon of July 14, 1918, and was given the best entertainment the Hôtel de la Sirène afforded. He left in rosy good humor.
"Better come and see us," he said. "Our new Corps P. C.'s up north
in the Forest of Villers-Cotterets. You'd be interested."
That night, despatches written and the last Paris courier gone, we thought it over. Was the Major "tipping us off" to something, and if so, what? Then there fell upon the night a sound that banished speculation.
Thump-ump-ump! Thump-thump!" For two weeks we had been straining our ears for it-the simultaneous crash of four thousand cannon preparing the way for the great German Friedenssturm, the Peace Drive that was to end the war with a peace of Deutschland über Alles.
Would the Germans succeed? It seemed terribly possible in the tense days of early July, 1918. They had been attacking since March, and twice had almost broken through. This would be their supreme effort. Had the Allies reserves of men and strength to withstand another sledgehammer blow? Could they hold on until the Americans at last made themselves felt? Were our new divisions coming fast enough?
Paris was what the Germans were after their ultimate objective. A little over a month before, they had reached Château-Thierry, only forty miles from the French capital and
now the apex of the Marne salient formed by that successful drive. Expecting a renewal of the attack, French and Americans had prepared for a strong defense the southern and eastern faces of the Marne salient and the Champagne front, beyond Rheims. On each flank, at ChâteauThierry and in Champagne, an American division held the front line. Other American troops were in close reserve, though most of the line was held by the French. The blow would fall soon, that we knew. Across the Atlantic, 110,000,000 people waited, knowing that their own flesh and blood must be in the path of the Friedenssturm. Many had already left Paris, and many of those who remained were packed, ready for flight. In Meaux, on the Paris road just behind the front, the newspaper correspondents attached to the A. E. F. waited to tell the world the outcome. We had all sent to our papers, within the last few days, despatches based on the reports of the American and Allied intelligence services, somewhat after this fashion.
"All signs point to an early resumption of the German offensive, in which, as the number of American troops in France increases, Americans have a steadily growing interest. For this same reason time becomes increasingly important to the Germans. If they have rebuilt their worn-out divisions at the usual rate, following the battles of a month ago, they should be ready to renew their attack with fifty divisions-five to six hundred thousand men-some time within the next fortnight."
And now that time had come. That was the only meaning of the
The next morning, July 15, 1918, began early with the German longrange shells exploding in Meaux, and the rumble of smashed stone falling. Along the Rue Nicolas, shopkeepers began putting down iron shutters and packing up. The black eyes of little Napoleon popped almost out of his head as he served breakfast in the dining-room of the Sirène, deserted by all but ourselves. But Napoleon would stick. "Ils ne passeront pas," he said.
There was hubbub in the censor's office as the press association men struggled to get off hurriedly written "flashes" by the early courier to Paris, whose motor-cycle chugged impatiently below in the cobbled courtyard. A voice arose:
"Why can't I say the Germans are shelling Meaux, Captain? My God, don't you suppose they know it?"
One of our number carefully stowed his Corona in the car, explaining: "Can't tell where we'll finish up to-night. Correspondent without a typewriter, wouldn't be much use."
Our nearest source of news was some fifteen miles along the ChâteauThierry road, in La Fertè-sous-Jouarre where the First American Corps had its headquarters. There we found the Chief of Intelligence, Colonel R. H. Williams, red-eyed and
pale-faced from lack of sleep-as every one was those days and nights. “What is it, and how's it going?" we asked, as breathlessly as pride permitted. "We heard their barrage at eleven twenty last night—”
"Eleven twenty?" The Colonel shot back. "That was our barrage. Theirs started at midnight. We knew what was coming and had the jump. Everything's going fine. Note-books ready?"
Then he told us. Early that morning, following their great midnight barrage, most of the heavily reinforced Seventh and First German armies had attacked Americans and French on the southern and eastern faces of the Marne salient and in the Champagne, a front of fifty miles. The immediate objectives were the encirclement of Rheims and the capture of Châlons and Epernay; the ultimate objective, Paris. But Marshal Foch had been well prepared for this Friedenssturm.
German prisoners taken the day before had said that the German artillery preparation was to start exactly at midnight, so the French and American artillery-some of our men fresh from the training camps and firing their first shots at the front-had opened a counter-preparation forty minutes before. Nevertheless, the German infantry had come forward at different times between 3:30 and 4:15 in the morning. It was too soon yet to say that the Friedenssturm was broken, but it seemed to be checked. The German losses had been terrific. This was the news that was reaching the Corps from various points along the line.
On the right, in the Champagne, the French and the Forty-second
American Division, the Rainbow, had, as planned, evacuated the advanced positions. As soon as the Germans entered the abandoned ground, they had been struck by an artillery fire that simply withered them. General Gouraud's "elastic defense" had worked.
In the center, near Épernay, some ground had been lost, but nothing vital. On the left and nearest us the fighting had been and still was desperate. The Third American Division, on the Marne just east of Château-Thierry, had been forced to give some ground. There was the place for the "hot news" that morning.
As we crossed the Marne beyond La Ferté, there came over us the battlefield mood, exaltation striving with depression, and repressed excitement struggling against apprehension, that sharpened some faculties, blunted others. The bridge was strongly guarded and one of its spans charged, ready to be blown up if the Germans got too close. Over it, headed for the front, rumbled wagon trains; coming back, ambulances. The sound of the guns, always louder, meant that we were nearing the front of the front.
From the bridge, we drove through troops moving in the same direction as ourselves, on their faces the taut, hard look of the front. In a woods nearby arose clouds of smoke, and branches and leaves were tossed into the air as shells burst.
We reached Château-la-Doultre, southeast of Château-Thierry, Third Division headquarters, in the middle of a staff conference. Col. R. H. C. Kelton, Chief of Staff, had traced on
the map the situation since the first shock of the German attack had, apparently, dislodged a part of the division from its advanced position. The French 125th Division on the Third's right had been forced to give more ground and General de Mondesir commanding the Thirty-eighth French Corps had ordered both units to withdraw somewhat to a stronger, prepared position. Major-General Joseph T. Dickman, the division commander, leaned forward, steel helmet tilted over his nose, lower jaw thrust forward, pugnacity in every line of his powerful figure. He glared through his thick glasses, as if he actually saw the Germans in his front line.
"Well, damn it, let's get 'em out of there," he said. Then the door closed.
That was a special, a vivid bit of history. It meant the launching of an American counter-attack, first of the day on the Allied side, and the sending to the French higher command of this now famous letter:
"We regret being unable on this occasion to follow the counsels of our masters the French, but the American flag has been forced to retire. This is unendurable and none of our soldiers would understand their not being asked to do whatever is necessary to reëstablish the situation. At present it is humiliating to us and unacceptable to our country's honor. We are going to counterattack."
The French G. H. Q. seized on the letter as propaganda to prove that the new American troops not only would fight, but preferred to fight. Published in American newspapers, it aroused great enthusiasm. But the
writer's name was not given, and authorship has been attributed to almost every one except General Dickman. The mere fact that the Americans had counter-attacked was hailed by London newspapers as "the best feature of the day's news."
The defense of the Marne against the Friedenssturm on July 15 was one of the most cleanly successful and heroic exploits of American troops in France. The Third Division held the southern bank of the river from the eastern edge of Château-Thierry for some seven miles to beyond Mézy where, in a northward loop of the Marne, the smaller Surmelin flowed into it from the south. This was the nearest point on the battle front to Paris, forty miles away.
The division's inexperienced artillery, some of which had got into position only that night, began its counter-preparation a half-hour before the German barrage came down. After that, when the horses were killed, the men time after time drew up by hand through intense shellfire, limbers loaded with shells to feed the guns. After the German barrage came the gas, then dense clouds of smoke. The German infantry had been badly cut up by the fire of our green artillery, but they
They came in boats, or at a shallow place, wading and swimming, or across pontoon-bridges. The scene suggested the Styx-the darkness, the oily smoke-clouds, the boats filled with gray men like gnomes in their gas-masks and scuttle-shaped steel helmets.
Along the river bank and behind the railway embankment waited the advanced posts of the Fourth,