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has been created to enforce peace and to repair wrong or injustice, if necessary to re-write such parts of the Treaty as seem inconsistent with justice or with expediency.

These confessedly are the ideals and professions of the Powers that concluded the Armistice with Germany. How far they have been realized it is the object of this history at least partially to answer. No attempt to answer that question can be in vain so long as it is made with sincerity, and without malice. For it is no exaggeration to say that the future welfare of the world depends upon its democracies understanding the new principles on which they are to be governed, and on their combining together to make the noblest of them a reality.




1. Relative Situation of the Belligerents. The Great War, which flared up in Europe on the 1st August 1914, and which had raged for over two years with fluctuating fortunes but unabated fury, had subsided into comparative stagnation at the close of 1916.

The Central Powers, united in command and organization, and apparently self-supporting as regards economic resources, stood firm and unshaken; their centralized geographical position enabled them to operate effectively on interior strategic lines against any one of the loosely-knit forces of the Allied or Entente Powers. These forces were solely dependent for their maintenance on sea transport, which is comparatively slow and insecure; that they were maintained at all was only possible owing to the unchallenged sea supremacy of the Allies, which in turn depended almost solely on the efficiency of the British Navy and Mercantile Marine; that these forces, dispersed on the outer ring, could deliver anything but desultory half-blows against the Central Powers was in the circumstances hardly conceivable.

2. Results of the War up to the end of 1916. At the end of 1916 the balance of the material gains appeared to rest with the Central Powers. The preceding years had produced a series of bitter disappointments for the Allies. In East and West the German armies had won victory after victory, and had overrun some of the richest industrial districts of France, Belgium, and Russia. Germany's aim of securing a crushing military decision in the early months of the War had, it is true, been frustrated, partly by her own military mistakes, partly by the heroism of the Allied Armies. But, although the immediate menace of disaster had been removed, the German outposts

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remained firmly entrenched within 55 miles of Paris and 65 of Dover.

The indecisive

3. Unfavourable Situation of the Allies. battles of Verdun and the Somme appeared to demonstrate the impregnability of field fortifications in Western warfare, while the power of the Russian Colossus had proved a delusion. The entry of Italy and Rumania into the War had produced equally disappointing results, and appeared only to afford further proofs of the military superiority of the Central Powers. Serbia had been crushed and overrun; every effort of the Allies in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East seemed doomed to humiliation or to disaster. Russia was more isolated than ever, and the unfortunate example of Rumania was not likely to tempt other neutrals to join in the Alliance against the Central Powers. The attitude of Greece, for instance, was confused and hesitating.

In other ways the retrospect was equally depressing. The British Navy, which the public had expected to produce spectacular results, only succeeded in meeting the enemy in force on one occasion, when a decision was not reached; the submarine and the Zeppelin, doubly effective from their novel ' methods, contributed to lower the moral of the Allied nations and to stimulate that of their opponents.

4. The Blockade versus Germany's Resources. The resources of the Central Powers, both in man-power and material, seemed indeed to be inexhaustible, and their moral cohesion to be unimpaired. Owing to Germany's skilful utilization of all available resources, both in her own country and in those of her allies, it became doubtful whether the pressure of the Blockade would prove effectual in crushing the resistance of the Central Powers. At any rate, the time involved by a mere war of attrition, combined with the exercise of blockade pressure, might prove equally damaging to the Allies' resources. As time went on it became increasingly evident that the defeat of the main German armies remained the primary military objective of the Allies.

5. Plan of the Allies for the 1917 Campaign. In spite of the apparently unfavourable situation, the Allied peoples did not lose faith in the future. At a conference held at the French General Headquarters at Chantilly in November 1916, a plan of campaign was drawn up for the Allied Armies during 1917.



This plan, which was unanimously agreed upon by the military representatives of the Allied Powers, comprised a concerted series of offensives on all fronts, so timed as to assist each other by denying to the enemy the power of weakening one front to reinforce another. By this means the Allies hoped to coordinate their efforts and to overcome the strategic advantage conferred on the Central Powers by their geographical position. The main German armies in East and West were to be pinned down and defeated by superior forces, when the Italian, Macedonian, Rumanian, and Turkish fronts were expected to fall with comparative ease to the Allied contingents in those theatres.

6. Germany's Reorganization for renewing the Struggle. As has been indicated, the end of 1916 marked the close of a definite stage in the world-conflict. Enormous efforts had been made on both sides without attaining decisive results, and, although the Central Powers appeared to hold most of the material gains, these had only been won at a tremendous sacrifice of man-power and material. Germany knew that a long war meant economic ruin, and that victory, to be remunerative, must be rapid. The achievements of the hitherto despised Kitchener Divisions of Great Britain in the Somme battle, together with the vast artillery material at the disposal of the Allies, had come as a shock to the German troops and military leaders. When Rumania declared war at the end of August 1916, von Hindenburg and Ludendorff had been summoned to replace von Falkenhayn at General Headquarters, and sweeping reforms had been instituted in the military and economic organization of Germany, of her allies, and of the occupied territories. The War Ministry in Berlin was reorganized, and a scheme, known as the Hindenburg Programme', was formulated in order to exploit to the full the resources of the country in man-power and material. Hindenburg's plans for mobilizing the manhood and womanhood of the country were drastic, and were only adopted by the German Government in a modified degree, but the munitions programme was vigorously carried out. At the same time the establishment of infantry divisions was standardized on a basis of 9 battalions instead of 12, and 13 new divisions were in this way formed to take part in the 1917 campaign. The Artillery, Signal Service, and Air Force establishments were largely increased.

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