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NOVEMBER 11, 1914
LYMAN ABBOTT, Editor-in-Chief
HAMILTON W. MABIE, Associate Editor
R. D. TOWNSEND, Managing Editor
THE STORY OF THE WAR
BY ARTHUR BULLARD
THE OUTLOOK'S WAR CORRESPONDENT AT HOME
HIS thirteenth week of the warOctober 28 to November 4-has passed as the preceding week, with no material change in the battle line from Switzerland to the Channel. The crucial point of the western campaign was in Flanders. Neither side felt that it had developed all its force, and so, of course, refused to admit a check. Reinforcements are still being rushed to this front.
In the eastern campaign the seriousness of the German defeat in Poland is accentuated by the later reports. It not only seems that the Russians have defeated the invaders before Warsaw, but the despatches indicated that the Austro-German line had been broken. It is no longer one great battle, but a series of conflicts one or two days' march; apart. And this increases the chances that one section may be overwhelmed and annihilated.
The morning papers of the 4th published news of an Anglo-German naval battle off the coast of Chile. The details of this sea fight have not yet reached us. But, according to the early reports, it was a decided German victory.
The outstanding event of the week was the entry of Turkey into this conflict.
The sequence of events which led up to the bombardment of Russian ports on the Black Sea by ships flying the Turkish flag are obscure. One story is that these ships were commanded by Germans, who opened hostilities without the authorization of the Sultan. This is possible, but it is more probable that the pro-German clique of army officers have been in control of the Turkish
Government all the time, and that Berlin had decided that the moment for Turkey to create a diversion had arrived.
The beginning of hostilities by Turkey has given rise to endless speculations. There are three elements in the problem: the military force of Turkey, the Balkan situation, and Pan-Islamism.
Leaving for the moment the chance of other nations becoming involved in the war, the entry of Turkey into the arena is not very important. The Sultan's army is not more than half a million men with modern equipment; probably much less. No one knows how effectively they have been reorganized since the Balkan War. They were at that time as brave as any other soldiers, but quite helpless. Artillery is an increasingly important factor in modern warfare. The Turks had bought a fairly large equipment of second-hand German guns. Perhaps a quarter of their field batteries were officered by Germans or German-trained Turks, who were acquainted with their guns and used them effectively. The rest were practically useless. In one regiment of infantry, which was part of the Turkish army in the trenches at Tchataldja, I found that at least half-I think two-thirds of the privates had never had a high-power magazine rifle in their hands. before the war broke out.
But even granted an effective reorganization, the Turkish army can strike the territory of the present combatants at only two places-the Russian Caucasus and Egypt. If Russia is pressed for men, she can abandon the Caucasus with an even lighter heart than when she allowed the Germans to overrun western Poland. It is hardly conceivable that any military operations on this
frontier could influence the European situation.
Egypt is a more serious matter. But rumors of trouble in that neighborhood are many weeks old. Nothing but utter negli gence could explain lack of preparations there. England can send troops from her concentration camps at home, or bring up troops from India, as fast as Turkey can send them to the Egyptian border. If the Suez Canal should be blocked, while it would be a serious blow to commerce, England could still bring up troops from India by the railway from Suakim to the Nile.
In the Black Sea the Goeben, which according to all reports is still manned and officered by its original complement of Germans, is much superior to the Russian warships. But, even if it sunk them all, it could do little more than bombard the unfortified coast towns. Turkey could hardly send troops across the Black Sea to invade Russia. And nothing else that she could do on sea would be more than annoyance.
But Turkey's striking power is conditioned by the acts of her neighbors. As yet none of the Christian states of the Balkans have been drawn into the war by the action of the Sultan's Government. But it is highly probable that some of them will declare war. is possible that Italy will feel called upon to intervene. If Rumania and Greece enter the fight, it will almost certainly be against Turkey. The force at their disposal would easily counterbalance any aid the Sultan could lend the Kaiser. Bulgaria's attitude is uncertain. She will probably make an honest effort to preserve neutrality. But her hatred of Greece, Servia, and Rumania, her former allies, may force her into the Turco-German camp. However, the Entente Powers have more to hope from the extension of war in the Balkans than has Germany.
THE MENACE OF PAN-ISLAMISM
The gravest possibility which Turkey's action raises is the threat of a Mohammedan revolt. I have no doubt that Germany hoped more from this than from direct military assistance. Germany is the one European Power which has no Moslem subjects. If the Sultan, who claims to be the Commander of the Faithfula claim which is not unanimously accepted in Islam-should proclaim the Holy War, and if all the far-flung followers of the Prophet
should answer his call, it would be a blow, a stupendous blow, to the Allies.
A general Pan-Islamic revolt would mean war on the Unbeliever throughout North Africa, from Morocco to Suez and well down towards the equator; it would mean isolated massacres of missionaries and traders in Asia Minor, an uprising against Russia in Persia and Turkestan, and an outbreak in India comparable with the Sepoy Mutiny. If Germany, with the help of the Sultan, can raise this whirlwind, it would equal in effect the annihilation of General Joffre's army in France.
The entire success of the grandiose dream of Pan-Islamism is extremely improbable. But its success in some details is probable. There is bitter rivalry in India between the Mohammedans and Hindus. In a religious war the Hindus-and they greatly outnumber the Mohammedans-would probably help the English. Japan could be counted on for active help if necessary. In the settled French colonies of North Africa, Tunis and Algeria, there is little chance of revolt. The native" notables" have made peace with the conquerors. Many of them wear the Cross of the Legion of Honor. Anti-French sentiment is widespread among the natives of the lower classes, but they are inarticulate, unorganized, and illiterate. If the Sultan proclaimed the Jehad, it would be months before the news reached the masses.
In Egypt the danger is greater because there the disaffected elements belong to the educated class, the descendants of the native autocracy, who, under English rule, have lost most of their old-time privileges. But here again the German hope of a serious revolt is probably exaggerated. Lord Kitchener knows more about Egypt than any other man alive, and it is hard to believe that he has neglected the necessary precautionary measures. The censorship in Cairo is at least as severe as in London. The half-dozen Arabic newspapers run by the Government are doubtless recounting English victories. And the Nationalist press, which enjoys a limited independence, has no news the Government wishes to suppress. There may very likely be some sporadic revolts, but there is small chance of their catching Lord Kitchener napping.
However, such revolt must be Germany's main hope. There is little chance of any new accessions to the military strength of Ger
THE STORY OF THE WAR
many and Austria. They may succeed in getting a few more of the small neutral nations to follow Turkey's example. There is a strong pro-German feeling in Holland. Sweden is afraid of Russia. Bulgaria is uncertain. But every day that passes without some increase in Germany's chance of success makes the recruiting of allies more difficult. England and Russia and France are more likely to get outside help than Germany.
To change the balance, Germany must hope to weaken her enemies. Granted that war exists, no one can quarrel with Germany's effort to foment revolt among the Boers of South Africa and to raise the specter of PanIslamism. The verdict of history is that the Russians were justified in burning Moscow. And so, in the same spirit, if the situation becomes desperate, Germany will probably try to cause as much devastation as possible before she goes down.
November 4 marks three months since the German invasion of Belgium began. And at the end of this period Germany has very little to show in the way of accomplishment. She has conquered Belgium and has been able to establish a de facto government there. She has overrun and to a certain extent ravaged a large part of northern France, and to-day holds perhaps a quarter of French territory. In Russia her accomplishments are rather less. Her province of East Prussia has been devastated by the enemy, and after varying fortunes during these three months and a short-lived raid into Russian territory she is no more than successfully defending this frontier. In Poland she was able to carry the war into the enemy's country. Almost unopposed she occupied western Poland, but only to be driven back after a serious defeat before Warsaw. She is here still on Russian soil, but much farther back than a month ago.
Her navy has some but no great accomplishments to boast of. Her submarines and mines have sunk a half-dozen British warships and a large number of fishing-boats. In the recent combat in the South Pacific she has evened up the score of the fight off Heligoland. Her commerce destroyers have done valuable service, having sunk a few score ships of the immense British merchant
marine; but not enough seriously to raise the rate of marine insurance.
Her fourth arm-the sky fleet-has accomplished even less. Her heavier-than-air equipment seems to have been much better than the Allies expected, and it has done at least as much as their aeroplanes in the important business of scouting. But as an "offensive" weapon the German aircraft have no exploit to match the two English raids from Antwerp which attacked with some measure of success the Zeppelin works of Düsseldorf. The bomb-dropping on Paris and Antwerp, the more recent exploit of blowing a couple of dozen peasant women to pieces in the market-place of Bethune, can hardly be called military achievements.
Austria has even less to show as results of this three months' war.
Nor has this ninety days of bitter fighting brought anything but negative results to the Allies. With the exception of the Russian and French raids into East Prussia and Alsace, the campaign in Galicia and the Servian invasion of Bosnia-of which we have heard very little of late—the Allies have nowhere been able to carry the war into the enemy's country. If the Germans have been unable to smash any army of the Allies, it is equally true that they have nowhere had to surrender any large force.
The fortunes of war are proverbially fickle. Any moment some of the complicated mechanism of modern warfare may break down on either side and result in an unforeseen disaster. Any moment an error of judgment on the part of some general or-as has happened in other wars-some individual or collective betrayal may completely change the face of events. There has always been the chance that one of the Allies might make peace to her own advantage. Every day, however, that the Allies fight together lessens this chance. The final decision of Turkey to take part in the war seems to some an evidence that German diplomatists have given up hope of persuading Russia to betray her allies.
But long before this war broke out military writers-almost without exception-had agreed that three months of such negative results would mean defeat for Germany. I can see no reason to reverse this judgment. New York City, November 4, 1914.
Symbols have played a large part in the history of the world. Soldiers we bury wrapped in the flags for which they have given their lives. Women have starved to keep upon their finger a circlet of yellow gold. Under the Crescent Islam swept westward and northward to the Danube. For the Cross death has seemed to many a joyful gift borne earthward upon triumphant wings.
A strip of colored bunting, three pennyweights of glistening metal, curves and angles that can be duplicated on the instant by any scratching pen-wherein lies the mystery and power in these things?
The flag, the ring, the crescent, and the cross are the symbols of faith. To question their worth is to question the faith that gave these symbols life beyond the comprehension of any single generation. Symbols are sacred only in so far as they embody a spirit that
"Will you go to war just for a scrap of paper?"
What was this scrap of paper? A document to be quibbled over, making the worse appear the better reason, fair game for phrase-makers and scholastics? Was it a dead rag or a living symbol? How much of its worth depended upon fundamental morality, how much upon the dotting of the i's and the crossing of the t's?
To these questions Germany has given her answer. For since von Bethmann-Hollweg's first frank confession of sin her scholars and statesmen have labored without rest to taint with legality the evidence of her guilt. To this question England is giving her answer in the sodden trenches at Ypres.
A SCRAP OF PAPER
BY CIVIS AMERICANUS
Will you go to war just for a scrap of paper?
Question of the German Chancellor to the British Ambassador, August 5, 1914.
A mocking question! Britain's answer came
"Yes, for a scrap of paper we will fight
A scrap of paper where a name is set
A scrap of paper holds for man and wife
A scrap of paper may be Holy Writ
A scrap of paper binds us both to stand
By God, by faith, by honor, yes! we fight