The United States in the World War

By John Bach McMaster | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
INTERNATIONAL PEACE DEBATE

ABROAD, as the autumn of 1917 drew to a close, the tide of war set strongly against the Allies. Great victories had, indeed, been won by the French in October along a seven-mile front near Soissons and the enemy forced to give up his hold on the Chemin des Dames. In Flanders in November, after weeks of desperate fighting, the British gained possession of the Passehendaele Ridge, broke the Hindenburg line along a thirtytwo mile front from St. Quentin to the river Scarpe, and penetrated the German defenses for a depth of more than six miles to the outskirts of Cambrai, and were then forced to yield much of the ground so gallantly won. In December the Allied and neutral Christian world heard with delight that Jerusalem was in British hands. But elsewhere matters had gone badly. The army of Italy had suffered a severe defeat, and Russia had abandoned the Allies.

The Italian front in October stretched from the Gulf of Trieste northward to the Julian Alps and westward through the Carnic Alps. But October 23 the Austro-German army opened an attack on the front in' the Julian Alps, broke through and forced back the whole eastern front from the Carnic Alps to the shores of the Adriatic. November 2 the pursuing Austro-Germans reached the Tagliamento River; November 8 they crossed the Livenza River, and November 13 were on the western bank of the Piave. There the retreat ended and there, when the year closed, the enemy was still held. In Russia the radical Socialists, the Bolsheviki or Maximalists, November 7, overthrew the Provisional Government and put the peasants and workingmen in control. Premier Kerensky fled and the Workingmen,'s and Soldiers' Congress adopted resolutions declaring for "an immediate peace, without annexation and without indemnities"; proclaimed "its decision to sign

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