History of the World War - Vol. 4

History of the World War - Vol. 4

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History of the World War - Vol. 4

History of the World War - Vol. 4

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Between January, 1917, and March, 1918, that is, between the failure of the first German peace offensive in the west and the promulgation of the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bukharest in the east, the old Triple Entente of France, Great Britain, and Russia -- which had in 1915 been reinforced by Italy -- suffered disastrous defeat. While British, French, and Italian armies were checked or routed in the field, Russia collapsed and quit the war and her allies, and, but for the entrance of the United States into the struggle in April, 1917, before Russia had yet vanished, Germany would have won a measurable if not a decisive victory. She would at the very least have been able to preserve Mittel-Europa and the mastery of the East.

The period of fourteen months which we are now to examine began on the military side with that stupendous and terrible German retreat from the Somme to the Scheldt -- from the battlefields of 1916 to the Hindenburg Line -- which not alone defeated Allied strategy but transformed a thousand square miles of fertile fields and scores of busy industrial towns into the saddest and most terrible desert in all the world. This retreat, on the human side, was one of the most gigantic crimes in all the long list of German offences against civilization and humanity, but on the military side it was a success which postponed Allied victory in the west and allowed Germany time to transfer from the Dwina and the Vistula the divisions which in 1918 were to win the memorable battle of March 21st.

The German retreat began in February. When it was over in April the British army flung itself upon the new and the old German positions from Vimy Ridge to the Somme and Sensée, won a brief and brilliant . . .

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