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wrong in our estimate of the British Commander-in-Chief and that Sir Douglas (to give him his title during the operations in question) was more than the commonplace and uninspired figurehead we have always assumed him to be. It seems further that Sir Douglas has been the victim of a deliberate conspiracy on the part of the late British Prime Minister, of the French press and of French historians, who not only belittled him at the time but misrepresented or ignored his supreme generalship and the startling fact that he, and not the Generalissimo was the real inspirer and organizer of victory. This is the main thesis of these two volumes; other claims advanced must be regarded as subsidiary and are merely adduced as substantiating the main contention of the authors.

While much of the information has been already published, more especially by Sir Frederick Maurice, the two volumes in question must inevitably arouse much challenging criticism. All the world knows of Lord Haig's lack of support from the War Cabinet and of the supreme difficulties in which this involved him, but even this present apologia will fail to place Sir Douglas among the premier soldiers of the world. On the other hand their very insistence on the correctness of their facts and the wrongness of popular conceptions will surely tend to arouse suspicion about the validity of their premises, and their very eagerness to convince will be construed as evidence of the essential weakness of their position and merely tend to confirm those they wish to convince to the contrary in their previous estimate. No doubt both authors are actuated by the very highest of motives. They wish to emphasize the magnitude of British achievement in the West and to insist on the supremacy of Haig's work, which they feel has never been adequately evaluated by his countrymen. Col. Boraston writes from intimate personal knowledge of his subject and, in his capacity as private secretary and as the officer who assisted in the preparation of the despatches of the Commander-in-Chief, he would have access to confidential documents that are not ordinarily accessible. This applies more particularly to the original despatches of the Commander-in-Chief, many paragraphs from which are printed in these volumes that were censored at home and not


reproduced in the Gazette. We imagine that Colonel Boraston spent the greater part of his military career in the close precincts of G.H.Q. and that his practical knowledge of modern warfare is almost entirely theoretical. It was doubtless in the dingy office of the first floor in the Ecole at Montreuil that the final estimate of his hero was formed and that his acquaintance with the practical difficulties of the troops in the line was acquired. But it was precisely at G.H.Q., where the Staff had the best opportunity of obtaining a conspectus of the operations of the Armies, that men were least in touch with practical fighting considerations and where, from nearness to the facts and distance from the events, they were rarely able to come to absolute and final conclusions from the very wealth of the information before them and its contradictoriness. It is a truism that it is very often more easy to form an opinion of a man by his actions at a distance than by close proximity and easy familiarity. It is impossible to imagine that everybody should be wrong all the time in their estimate of a man's capacity. Some people may be wrong all the time, and a close perusal of these two volumes leads us to the unwilling conclusion, that if the distinguished authors do not fall into the latter category, they are at least of those common mortals who are wrong a great part of the time.

The chapters by Colonel Boraston deal with the various operations undertaken by the British and the French from 12 o'clock noon December 19, 1915, until the spring of 1919 when Sir William Robertson took over the command at Cologne; a chapter by Lieutenant-General Sir Alexander H. Gordon details the fighting in the German offensive on the Chemin des Dames, May 1918, when he commanded the four British divisions present; while the chapters by Mr. Dewar are an elaborate statement of the difficulties with which the British Commander had to contend, mainly owing to the ignorance and bias of the politicians at home and the jealousy and the obtuseness of the French-soldiers, politicians and press. Thus: 'more and more one is convinced when examining the evidence that the civilian authorities at home in August and September 1918 did not understand the nature of Sir Douglas Haig's wonderful series of operations; and that

they possessed at hand nobody really able to help them in this' (vol. ii, p. 251). .. "To attribute the credit for these battles to Foch (the Battle of Bapaume, the breaking of the Drocourt-Quéant Line, September 2nd, and the October operations) is not really to honour Foch. What should we think if the French were to affect that the main credit of their defence of Verdun between February and July 1916 should be attributed to British leadership? Yet that would not be a more grotesque travesty of truth than the fiction that in 1918 and onward Haig depended on and succeeded through French skill or genius' (vol. ii, p. 262). Now there is truth in both these contentions, but it is not the truth one would naturally deduce from these premises. Both Mr. Dewar and Colonel Boraston support their theses with a wealth of facts which are true in themselves. But facts, no matter how true they may be, are not necessarily truth in themselves. Mr. Dewar's attitude is, to put it plainly, in the nature of a petitio principii. Further, he starts with true premises and reaches false conclusions. Foch performed a big service; he kept the Armies of the British and the French together and prevented a separation. But there were factors which were independent of the individual and dependent on individuals that have to be taken into account in any consideration of the causes which conduced to the final victory of Allied arms. Foch could most certainly never have defeated the Germans on the Western front had it not been for the British Armies which played the final and decisive part in the latter months of victory. The task of the British was, however, rendered less strenuous by the moral effect of the presence of the Americans in line and the knowledge of the almost limitless reserves on which they were capable of drawing. But the Americans would never have been in a position to demonstrate their quality had it not been for the British Navy. And it was the effective and terrible blockade by the British Navy which finally broke the moral of the German people, which, reacting on the attenuated battalions at the front weakened their resistance in turnalready shaken by hardship and the deadly British propaganda. The attenuated battalions were due to attrition-by sickness and actual losses in battle. And here we join issue

with our authors. Ultimately their claim resolves itself into this that the attrition battles of the Somme and Passchendaele were justified by the final result. To admit this is to justify the tactics of Haig and to exalt him to the pinnacle to which Mr. Dewar and Colonel Boraston would have him raised. It would be to admit that Haig really won the war and that the claims advanced for Foch are based on misconception and rest on the very flimsiest of foundations.

Let us examine the significant events 'hitherto suppressed or overlooked' on which Mr. Dewar and Colonel Boraston would base their argument. The more important of these new facts are (1) that early in the Somme battle, Joffre and Foch pressed Haig to renew his stroke against the enemy position at Thiepval-Pozières, instead of on the Montauban side, which he judged to be far safer and more promising. Haig refused and proceeded with his own plan. Had he followed the rejected French scheme, it must have meant very heavy casualties, with, in all probability, a severe repulse; (2) that Nivelle, in February 1917, insisted that the enemy would not fall back from the Somme battlefields on the Hindenburg Line as was accurately predicted by British G.H.Q.; (3) that Nivelle, then over Haig, in the unhappy early experiment at unity of command, strongly opposed Haig's decision to attack Vimy Ridge in the Battle of Arras, in April, 1917, that Nivelle finally gave way, and that in August of that year Mr. Lloyd George in the British House of Commons claimed the capture of Vimy as the result of unity of command; (4) that the Government of Mr. Lloyd George first approved of the Passchendaele offensive in autumn, 1917, and that when it failed so disastrously the reference in the British Commander-in-Chief's despatch to the fact of this approval was censored and struck out by the authorities at home; (5) that only a threat of resignation on the part of Haig in January 1918 prevented the taking over of the French front down to the river Ailette at the dictation of Sir Henry Wilson and the strategists of the Supreme War Council at Versailles-a sector which we were unable to hold in March; (6) that on March 24, 1918, Pétain told Haig that if the German advance on Amiens continued, he would have to withdraw the French

troops then gathering about Montdidier, in order to cover Paris, whereupon Haig immediately wired to the Secretary of State for War and the C.I.G.S. to come to France, insisted that Foch should be made Generalissimo as the one man who could prevent the separation of the British and French Armies which the strategy of Pétain would necessarily have entailed, and had the proposal put through at Doullens; (7) that on August 12th, 1918-after the British victory of August 8th, Ludendorff's 'black-letter' day-Foch urged Haig to attack the Germans at the Roye-Chaulnes positions, to which they had been driven, and that Haig declined on the ground that German opposition had stiffened here. As an alternative to Foch's proposal Haig suggested an attack further north in the direction of Bapaume, which led to the Battle of the Scarpe and the breaking of the Drocourt-Quéant Line; (8) that when the Generalissimo was planning an eccentric operation to recover the Briey coal-fields 'Haig opposed it and suggested that the Americans should strike convergently, i.e. towards Mezières and not divergently, with the result that Foch concurred in the British emendation.' It is on these two latter statements that the claim that Haig was the real author of victory is based.

Now all this sounds very clear and straightforward; it reads like a simple elementary statement of the incontrovertible and universally accepted facts of life or death, of childhood or old age. But if this simple faith in the supreme military genius of the British Commander-in-Chief is a very beautiful thing to behold, we too are at liberty to maintain our own opinion, which, in this particular instance happens not to be so easily resolved into the very positive certainty of Mr. Dewar or of Colonel Boraston. Surely Haig was within his rights in suggesting an emendation to the plan of the Generalissimo; but the mere fact that the latter accepted it is inconclusive proof that the British Field Marshal 'scientized Foch's crude strategy', and that the latter did not carry out his own plan is no evidence that it was any less feasible than the plan of his subordinate. We are not anti-Haig; we simply cannot accept the absolute verdict about the military genius of Lord Haig which we are here very positively assured is the

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