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HAMMERING THE HUN
SEPTEMBER 4, 1918
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Each day since we last reported the progress of the war on the outlaws of Germany has brought news of victory. The battle which began on Bastille Day, July 14, and was signalized at the first by an abortive German attack directed toward Châlons, and a brilliant, effective, and decisive counter-attack by Americans at Château Thierry, has continued without ceasing for day after day and week after week, and promises to continue for days and perhaps weeks to come. To us it seems the greatest battle in history. It is great, not because of its bigness, the immense numbers of men engaged, the colossal materials of war employed, the wide extent of territory over which it rages, the days and weeks it has consumed, but because of the momentous issues at stake. It is the battle at the peak of the war. It is up to this battle that the Allied nations have been toilsomely climbing in the years past. It is from this battle that the Allied nations will descend upon Germany to administer the final crushing defeat. So it seems now.
There are undoubtedly months of struggle ahead of us. How many months will be determined by circumstances over which we and our allies have virtual control. If we manage well, if we put forth our strength, if we resist trickery and peace swindles, if we lend our power to Russian resistance to Germany, if we strengthen the bonds that unite us to our allies, the bonds that have formed an alliance more binding than that which any treaty or other formal document can create, if we make use of the circumstances that are at our command, we may reasonably hope to dispose of Germany in another year.
That is the significance of the battle that Foch is directing in these days. In order to understand what is happening we must remember that the object of the fighting is not acquisition of territory, but the defeat of the enemy. To weaken and then to destroy as a fighting force the German armies is what Foch is after. To that end the attainment of a town here, a crest there, a bridge-head, a railway, a line of defenses, is necessary, but all these things are not ends in themselves, but means to the end. There is of course involved in this war the desire on the part of every Allied soldier, from private to general, to transfer the fighting from French and Belgian to German soil. We want not only to beat the Germans, we want to beat them where the beating will do them and the world the most good, and that is along and even across the Rhine. But the object is to beat them; and under Foch's leadership we are beating
We may think of this battle as extended from Arras to Rheims. In the first stage of the battle Foch hammered the Hun at the left end of his line, where it extended in a semicircle from Rheims through Château Thierry to Soissons. He hammered him hard. He took prisoners, munitions, and a toll in dead and wounded Germans; but, what is even more, he took from the Hun his sense of superiority and his power of decision. Then Foch struck him nearer the center of what is now the battle-line and drove him back from Montdidier. During the week which we are now recording Foch has taken him on the right of his line. There Haig, with his gallant and dogged British troops, has sent the Hun reeling back. And what has been characteristic of this battle from the beginning is still characteristic of it. It has been a process of steady crushing in. On August 20 the line ran curving inward on the Allies from Arras through Albert to Roye, and then jutted again inward around Lassigny and back to Noyon. While the French were striking near Noyon the British launched their attack
southwest of Arras. With them were a few Americans. They gathered in towns and territory from Moyenneville to Achiet-leGrand, while the French, pressing on toward Noyon, drove in, in the course of a few days, a sharp wedge towards Chauny. Then the British by skillful maneuvering sent the Germans back, not only on their extreme right, but all along the line, so that Albert was soon left several miles within the Allied territory; and before the seven days were up the British had penetrated and passed beyond the old Hindenburg line southeast of Arras.
In addition to the fearful drubbing to which the Germans have been subjected there has been administered the sort of defeat that makes it hard for the Germans to provide for a future respite. At the left end of their line they are standing behind the Vesle, but when they go back, as they will have to do, they will not find the line of the Aisne, or even that of the Chemin des Dames, as secure as they might wish, and if the British penetrate much behind the old Hindenburg line near Arras the Germans will find that not as comfortable or stable as they would like. The Germans are retreating because they have to retreat. They cannot choose their time or their method. They are They are doing it well, but they are doing it under duress. The arrogant bandits who have devastated a large part of northern France and were on their greedy way to Paris are now fighting for their lives.
THE NEW DRAFT AGES
If there were any question of the country's determination to see this war through to a finish, it would be settled by the decision of the Nation to increase its man power by extending the draft age down to eighteen and up to forty-five. Whatever reluctance there has been to develop the man power of the country by such a measure as this has not come from the people at large, but from those who are in responsible positions who have hesitated to make any such demand upon the people.
The whole question has been whether boys of twenty, nineteen, and even eighteen, should be called as well as men from thirty-one to forty-five. It is perhaps natural that there should be hesitation in calling boys of eighteen years of age. It is argued that they are not mature enough for service in modern warfare, and that it is asking too much of parents to give to the service of their country sons of such youth. On the other hand, figures from the War Department have been cited to show that the battles of the Civil War were fought largely by young men under twenty-one years of age, and that there is no soldier equal to the young soldier. It is also pointed out that boys of eighteen who are now drafted will be put under training and will not be sent to the front in most cases before they are nineteen. The debate over this question has gone on in Congress, but the country at large has shown every sign of willingness to support whatever action in this respect the military authorities consider wise and right. There is nothing the matter with the spirit of the people of America.
Certain members of Congress have advocated the adoption of a provision which would make mandatory the selection of all eligible men of the class above the age of eighteen before those of eighteen are drafted; but Congress, reflecting the public opinion of the Nation, has rejected the amendments to place any limitation upon the executive authority in this matter."
It is going to be difficult to place boys of eighteen or nineteen in the draft and at the same time make provision for the continuing of the education of young men of that age; and yet such education is necessary if we are going to develop out of those young men the officers the country will need. The colleges
and technical schools of the country, in order to meet this situation, are establishing Student Army Training Corps, in which eligible undergraduates will be enrolled. By their enrollment these young men will become enlisted men in the United States Army and subject to call into active service, but, it is expected, will for the most part be furloughed for instruction in their respective institutions. Provision will probably be made for the assignment, at the Government's expense, to such institutions of young men who are fit to receive higher education, especially in military branches, but who are not financially able to pay their own expenses. The measure as adopted by the House also contains a provision by which youths whose education is interrupted by military service will be permitted, at the Government's expense, to receive education at such institutions for a period equaling their military service, though not to exceed two years.
One provision has aroused a great deal of debate. This is the so-called "work or fight" provision. It would make it incumbent upon every man of draft age who would be put in deferred classification because engaged in necessary war industry to enter military service if he stops his work. This has been objected to on the ground that it is "conscription of labor." It is argued that this gives private employers power over their employees in preventing them from striking or stopping work, collectively or individually.
If the wage workers in war industries need to be protected against the despotism of private employers, their protection should be provided by Government regulation of employers rather than by the exemption of the workers from conscription under the "work or fight" principle.
Germany ought to be aware by this time that the United States is going to send an overwhelming army of men to join in administering to her the defeat she richly deserves.
A DICTATED PEACE
What sort of defeat does Germany deserve and does the safety of the world demand as a consequence of her aggression? This question was answered by Senator Lodge in a speech on the Man-Power Bill-one of the most notable speeches which has been made in Congress during the war. That speech has special significance because Senator Lodge has, as a consequence of the recent death of Senator Gallinger, succeeded to the position of minority leader of the Senate. He spoke with the authority not only of his own great knowledge of international affairs, but also of his new official position. In brief, such defeat as Senator Lodge demands of Germany-and, as we believe, the country is growing more and more to demandis one that will provide for what Senator Lodge calls “ a dictated peace." The terms of that peace must not be arranged by negotiation with Germany, but must be imposed upon Germany as a result of agreement among the Allied free nations. Such terms as he regards as an irreducible minimum comprise the restoration of Belgium, the unconditional return of Alsace-Lorraine, the redemption of Italia Irredenta, the re-establishment. of the independence of Serbia and Rumania, the securing of the safety of Greece, the establishment of the great Slav population as independent states and of an independent Poland, the blocking of the pathway of Germany to the East, the restoration of Russia, the taking away of Constantinople from Turkey, the sharing of Germany's fate by Turkey and Bulgaria, the security of Palestine, the Syrians, and the Armenians.
That Germany would acquiesce in such a peace as that is not to be imagined. "No peace," says Senator Lodge, "that satisfies Germany in any degree can ever satisfy us. It cannot be a negotiated peace. It must be a dictated peace, and we and our allies must dictate it."
Though he speaks as a leader of his party, Senator Lodge, we believe, speaks for more than his party, just as the President has at various times spoken for more than his party. It is the conviction of the country that Senator Lodge voices. Our soldiers at the front who are fighting the Germans have no question about what kind of peace they are seeking through victory. And the more we hear of what Germany has done through ravaged France and Belgium, the more we hear how Germany fights to gain her ends, the more we in America have become con
vinced that we ought not to ask Germany to what terms sh will assent, but that we ought to fight until we are able to te Germany to what terms she must assent.
To what Senator Lodge has said we would add three state ments which we believe to be in accord with what the Unite States ought to do and will do.
In the course of his speech Senator Lodge said that it is idl to talk about annihilating the German people, and that we ar not engaged in this war to try to arrange a government fo Germany; but that we should put Germany in a position wher she will do no more harm. This is true; but we should g further. First, the Allies have a right, and maybe a duty, t punish individual officers for murder or other crimes which the have committed in violation of international law; and not onl these officers, but also their superiors. Though the Allies ma not find it their duty to punish the German nation as such, it i their right and their duty to refuse to interfere with the operation of the natural penal consequences that fall upon a nation guilt of the criminal conduct that has disgraced Germany. In the second place, though it is not our business or desire to impos upon Germany a government of our selection, nevertheless, if w think it is necessary for rendering Germany harmless, we hav the right to provide that a Hohenzollern shall never occupy th German throne, and that Germany shall have a government such a character as will not be a menace to the peace and safer of Europe and the world. In the third place, we have th right and the duty to provide that the former German colonie shall not be returned to Germany. It would be bad enough t return those colonies to the Hun from whom they have been emancipated, if we did that in order to secure, through neg tiations, benefits for other peoples, but it would be intolerab. to do this as part of a dictated peace.
There is some danger that a few Americans of kindly disp sition may feel it their duty to try to save Germany from : humiliating peace, a peace that leaves a sting behind it. It i not their duty or anybody's duty to protect Germany from th sting, the humiliation, the disgrace which by her crimes she h brought upon herself.
THE LUSITANIA AGAIN
When peace terms are dictated to Germany at the coun table of the Allies, as General Grant dictated the terms peace to General Lee, the sinking of the Lusitania and th assassination of her passengers will form the basis of one of t most terrific accusations brought against the Prussian hierarch In a notable decision, just handed down in the Federal Distri Court of New York by Judge Julius Mayer, the destructio of the Lusitania has been legally and officially declared to ha been an act of piracy. It has been so regarded by many laym from the day the news of the torpedoing was published, but tì is the first time in which this definition has received legal san tion on this side of the water.
The decision is the result of suits brought against the Cunar Line for damages to personal property, the claimants allegin that the loss of the Lusitania was due to the negligence of b owners and navigators. The litigation has been going on f more than a year. Judge Mayer's decision will, we think, i one of the historical documents of the war. In it he narrat the facts in a form whose clearness and interest the practic journalist might well envy. He reviews the principles of inte national law involved, with scholarly references to many leg decisions and writings touching on international relations. It has sometimes been said that the present war has destroy international law. This is not the opinion of Judge Mayer. 1 refers even to German documents to show that Germany the retically, even during the present war, has recognized the bi ing nature of international law, although in practice she h grossly violated it. He finds that the Lusitania was not car ing munitions, that her captain took every possible precauti for her safety, and that her owners were justified in relyin upon the universally accepted principle that an enemy vess may be destroyed at sea "only if it is impossible to take it in port, and provided always that the persons on board are put a place of safety."
Judge Mayer concludes that "the cause of the sinking of t