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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, May 26, 1918, Image 27

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p?o Chance This Year of Peace by
the Sword or Peace Through
? Collapse?Allied Counter Of?
fensive Unlikely?Hindenburg
Faces Napoleon's Problem
Author of "The World War," "They Shall Not Pass"
At the moment when a new and
critic?1? phase of the campaign of 1918
?s about to open it may seem out of
?lace to open the discussion of a cam?
paign of 1910. Yet the progress of
the present campaign has already pretty
clearly forecast the certainty of an?
other. In a word, it begins to be reason?
ably patent that neither the Germans
nor our allies can hope for a decisive
victory this year. And it is worth not?
ing that the German press, which "goose
jteps" at imperial command, is already
?wming the German public that a fifth
winter of war is inevitable.
There must be a campaign of 1919
because there is not the smallest evi?
dence that either side can this year ac?
complish results which will make a peace
inevitable, a peace "by the sword.
Waterloo, Sedan, Jena, these triumphs
from which immediately flowed a na?
tional defeat, are reckoned outside the
calculations of war in its present form,
when nations, not small professional
armies, fight, and restricted fronts
manned by huge forces make the old
fashioned style of battle out of the
The Three Chances
Of Peace
Peace this year can only be had un?
der one of three conditions: First, that
the Allies are beaten completely and
beyond rallying in the present campaign
and as a result of the German offensive.
Second, that the Allies are able, hav?
ing parried the German attack, to take
the offensive themselves and do what
the French and British were unable to
do at the Marne; namely, transform a
battlefield success, won in a counter of?
fensive, into a decisive victory. Third,
if the people behind the line, the civil
populations, either of the Allied or of
the enemy nations, collapse and compel
the military forces to abandon a
straggle which in the field has so far
been indecisive.
Now, lftoking at the question of the
possihje German .victory, is there any
reason to believe that it can reach the
magnitud? of a Sedan or a Waterloo;
that is, the magnitude of the conse?
quence? of these famous battles? Cer?
tainly there is nothing to suggest it in
the progress of the campaign in its
first two months. It is possible that
'the Germans may get to the Channel,
that Dunkirk, Calais ano Boulogne will
have to be evacuated as a result of
further and far more considerable Ger?
man advances in Flanders. The awk?
ward and difficult configuration of the
British line iiorth of the Scarpe, the
few lines of lateral communication
available for the transfer of troop?
from south to north, the unmistakable
advantage gained by the German in his
opening attack both in and around
Flanders, may result in the slow with?
drawal of the British toward the south
and the straightening out of the line.
Allied Disaster
This possibility is not a probability,
but short of an unforeseen disaster un?
likely under existing conditions the
Most that we have to fear is the slow
hut sure advance of the German and
the equally deliberate shortening and
* "retiring of the British lines. The loss
of the Channel ports will not constitute
the sort of defeat which compels the
loser to abandon the fight. On the con?
trary, Britain, with the Kaiser at Calais,
*lll be forced to fight with renewed
-^ergy, for it will be an even more
deadly peril than the presence of Ger?
man troops at Ostend and Zeebr|igge.
And to get to the Channel ports will
take time and colossal human sacrifices.
further, it is not to reach any city or to
**ke any province that the German set
out on his latest offensive. He under
?tolf, to crush the British army, and even
If he takes the Channel ports he will
?ot accomplish this, because he will not
?eparate the British from the French
?or close the road for the British re?
tirement southward. When the cam?
paign ends, should it see the German
established at Calais and Boulogne?
^ I do not think it will?he would
?Wl have failed to put one opponent
??t before a new one arrived.
French and British Cannot
*? Separated
The German may choose to renew
?? attempt to get Amiens and to sepa
**? the French and British. Here we
****** a more deadly threat, but we have
|jP toot* obvious retort. To break the?
connection between the British and the
French the German has not merely to
deal with one or two British armies, re?
inforced by a'certain number of French
reserves and even a certain number of
American regiments; he has to deal with
the main British force and all of the
French reserves, for it is behind this
critical point that the French reserves
must now be concentrated.
It is conceivable that the impact of
the new German thrust may enable him
to reach Amiens?but that it will permit
him to get far beyond, with the same
promptness that he got across the
Somme two months ago, given the fact
that the main mass of Allied reserves
is at hand, seems unbelievable. Thus
he may compel the British to evacuate
the north by his attack upon the south,
as he may be able by attack in. the
north to force a similar retirement, but
he can hardly hope or expect to inter?
pose between the armies now, as he
hoped to do when he set out.
Small Chance of Allied
In sum, on the military side it seems
to me that the largest conceivable gain
for the German this year will be the
occupation of the Channel ports and the
dislocation of the British front in such
fashion as to force the British armies
south of the Somme. But once this oc?
curs then the Allies, despite the loss o?
territory of patent value, will be in ?
stronger military position, for theii
lines will be shortened and they will nc
longer be threatened with danger;
which grow out of the geographical cir
cumstances of their present posture ir
the north of France.
Now there remains, on the military
side, the question of the ability of thi
Allies, when the German has at las
used up his reserves, to take the offen
sive themselves. This w*as somewha
foolishly expected by most of us at thi
crisis of the recent fighting befon
Amiens, when there was little exac
knowledge as to the strength of Alliei
reserves and a general misapprehensioi
?of the extent of the British defeat an
the remoteness of the main mass o
French reserves, who were then co\
ering Paris against a thrust fror
Foch W?1 Husband
Frankly, such information as com?
to me tends to dissipate all hope of an
immediate or even remote Allied coui
ter offensive, save in the case of son
German breakdown, no more to be e:
pected than an equally complete Allic
collapse. Foch has not more troops tha
the Germans, nor is he likely to ha?
any large excess. The American troop
who are getting over with admirab
rapidity now, will not be in a conditic
of training to make them useful in sui
an operation this year, although mar
of them may be employed to advantaj
in quiet sectors or even brigaded wi
French and British in some of the mo
active sectors.
What seems to be the general expect
tion is that Foch will hold on to his i
serves, use them with extreme parsimo
and?since it is a matter of life a
death?avoid using them more rapic
than Ilindenburg uses his. He mi
come to the end of the campaign with
least as many reserves in hand as i
Gorman to avoid disaster; he may he
to have a slight superiority, but not
superiority warranting a major off
sive in October, after he and Hindenbt
have both lost from a million to a m
ion and a half in the struggles that :
bound to come.
Hindenburg Has
Napoleon's Problem
Foch's problem, then, is not the pr
lern of taking the offensive at the cl
of the German attack. He cannot he
save in case of an accident, to h
enough reserves left for this. His pi
lern is to hold the German this year,
posing as great casualties as poss
and losing as few men as possible, t
there may be-a campaign of 1919. I
the necessity of Hindenburg to win
fore America gets up, as it was the
cessity of Napoleon at Waterloo to
feat Wellington before Bl?cher arri'
Wellington's problem is Foch's. J
Bl?cher not arrived Waterloo woul<
most have been a drawn battle.
In the Marne conflict the Gern
spent their force in the offensive and
French were ablexo win a tactical sue
by a counter offensive, but they, like
Germans, had consumed their last
serves, and neither had any consider
fresh troops to put in, the one to 1
the other to transform a success in
decisive victory. Now this is what st
most likely to be the end of the <
palgn of 1918. Such an end will n?
theless be a tremendous Allied viol
The northern ?and southern fields of operation, indicating what the Germans may undertake to do either in Flanders or in Picardy, or in both
provinces. White line indicates present front.
because it will leave the road clear for a
new operation next year, when the Allies
will have a new reserve of at least a
million American troops and the German
will be without any such fresh contribu?
German Must Dispose
Of An Enemy
We must get the conditions of this
gigantic battle clearly in mind. It is a
colossal Waterloo, with the French gen?
eralissimo playing the British r?le and
the Americans playing the r?le of the
Prussians a century ago. The German
has decided, as did Napoleon, to risk
everything on a decisive battle before
all his enemies are ready. He has won
! initial successes, as did Napoleon. On a ,
large scale his progress to date suggests
Ligny, but he has still to win the de?
cisive phase and he must win it this
Watching the ebb and flow of the bat?
tle in the next weeks and months we are
bound to keep this essential condition in
mind. The German must destroy the
military power of Britain or of France
to win the war this year. He may shift
his attack to the French and strike at
Rheims instead of at Amiens or at
Calais, but he must dispose of one of his
enemies, and if he fails then there is an
end of any hope of winning a complete
victory, of ending the war by a Western
treaty of Brest-Litovsk. He will have to
negotiate with the prospect of facing a
new American army next year if he
does not get peace by negotiation.
Will Allied People
And this brings me to my third point
Is there any chance of a collapse of the
French or British public under pressure
which may compel large dislocation of
the British line and considerable evacua?
tion of French territory? I do not be?
lieve it, and credible and material evi?
dence coming to me from both France
and Britain seems to prove that neither
country will break under any strain that ,
is-now conceivable. For Britain to break i
now if the Kaiser reached the Channel
would be the ruin of the Empire and the
end of security at home, for with the
Kaiser at Calais London would be a
closed port and the Straits of Dover
commanded by German cannon.
As for the French, their condition is
infinitely better than it was a year ago,
and so far they have suffered relatively
slight losses in the fighting of the cam?
paign. Nor were their losses great last
year. It is upon the British that the I
great strain has been put in the past two i
years, but the strain has not sufficed to
break them nor is there the smallest rea?
son for believing that they will or can
break now, when to fail would be to sur?
render their position as a great power
and their own safety in the British Isles.
We shall do well to recognize that the
British have suffered terribly in the past
two years, and that it is unwise and un?
just to expect of them what we now ex?
pect of ourselves. War weariness is a
fact in Britain, as it is in France. We
have seen signs and we shall probably
see more signs of the strain in Jhe next
few months. But it is a good time to
read about what happened in the North
in 1864 of our own Civil War.
In a sense, the situation comes down to
this: The British and French alike are
putting in their last reserves. Neither
will have any considerable reserve when
this present campaign is over. They could
not and would not do this were it not for
the visible demonstration jfhat America
is coming. Their strength will enable
them to hold the line this year with auch
minor aid as we can supply. But it would
not enable them to face another cam?
paign if there were not from a million to
a million and a half of American troops
to count on next year.
But the million is an established and
calculable fact; this being so there is not
the smallest chance that French or Brit?
ish publics will think of making peace
with the German, who has scored materi?
al but not decisive successes this year
and will maMk to get peace by negotiation
based upon his present holdings and
without regard to American man power
which is to intervene next year. The
French, having held the line until we
arrive, will not be ready to make peace
on the basis of 1914. Alsace-Lorraine will
be the smallest price they can exact and
are entitled to exact. The British will
not make peace while their enemy still
sits at Calais and threatens India.
Germany Cannot
Make Peace
Now as to German collapse nothing
is less likely. The German has organ?
ized the east and made great progress
in the west. He will probably make
further progress, slight, perhaps, inde?
cisive cert?inly, but still unmistakable.
He will stand on this and demand at the
very least the recognition by his enemies
of what he has created in the east of
Europe and the west of Asia. He. can?
not ask less and live, for the war has
brought substantial ruin and the cer?
tain exclusion from the markets which
took his manufactures and supplied him
with his raw material before the world
war began.
Unless Germany can hold Russia and
the Balkans, with their Asiatic fringes,
she cannot hope and does not hope to
escape the approximate ruin which the
war promises for her. But none of the
Allies can consent to the perpetuation
of German rule and domination in Rus?
sia and along the Black Sea without in?
suring future wars and preserving the
precise Prussian peril we are all fighting
to abolish. This fact has come home
to the mass of the German people, and
explains in some slight degree their
present unity. Every class of German
subject knows that ruin is ineluctable
unless there be conquests and indem?
Russia's Example
A Warning
Thus, when the present campaign
ends and the German begins his peace
man?uvres, as he certainly will if de?
cisive victory baa escaped him, hi? very
necessities will compel him to demand
terms which his enemies could only ac?
cept if they were conquered. And they
will not be conquered, but will have at
their hand a great, new force, a practi?
cally inexhaustible reservoir of Ameri?
can man power, while German man
power, like their own, will have been
wellnigh exhausted, at least wasted,
beyond the possibility of another such
offensive as we are now facing in the
As for hunger and war weariness
driving the German people to rebellion?
they may rebel, but it is idle to expect or
hope that they will. Russia yielded to
her misery and permitted internal dis?
order to lead to external weakness, and
the German people have the spectacle of
Russia before them now to serve as a
warning. And it will serve as a warn?
ing. The eastern conquests will con?
tribute much to alleviating the hunger
and to supplying necessary things which
the blockade has kept out of Germany.
The worst of the food problem will
probably be over permanently before
next winter closes.
We Alone Not
War Weary
It seems to me that the German
leaders and rulers will still be able to
control their subjects, if not by promises
of fresh victories at least by the fairly
accurate representation of what any?
thing but a victorious peace will now
mean, not merely for the present, but
for future generations of Germans. Ger?
many, like the South in 1864 and the
early spring of 1865, will have no choice
but to fight, because she can obtain no
terms from her enemies which would
enable her to preserve any part of the
main purposes for which she has been
fighting. Her enemies, at last certain
of new assistance and relieved of a con?
siderable part of the burden which thej
have had to bear, will not consent to
a peace which will make their imm?diat?
present dangerous and their future
If America were not arriving I feel
sure that there would be peace by ne?
The Defeat of Ger?
many Has Now
Become An
Copyright, 1918?The Tribune
gotiation at the close of this campaign
and that Germany would be able to
harvest substantial profits from her
campaigns. Not in any spirit of vain?
glory, but merely in a sense of responsi?
bility, the American people must now
recognize that the winning of the war
is going to be in a very large measure
their task. We are the only fighting
nation which is- not war weary, which
is not weakened by terrible casualty
lists and shaken by all sorts of priva?
tions and miseries.
Three Nation?
Our youth is the only youth which is
still untouched by the war; the best of
the young manhood of Britain, France
and Germany is gone, and each of these
countries is steadily raising the age of
its troops; men of fifty are now in the
ranks, and the boys of eighteen and
nineteen have long been fighting in Ger?
many. It is foolish to expect in Europe
to-day the emotion and the spirit which
amazed and thrilled us all three years
ago. One has now to turn to America
to find universally the determination,
the will and the emotion which were so
familiar in France in the first two years
of the war and in Britain a little later.
The best of three great nations is
gone. The best of ours is coming, and
behind it is a nation which has just
\ waked up to the truths which called the
youth of Britain and France to arms
and to death in the earlier days of the
war. Neither the British nor the French
make any pretence at disguising the
facts that exist in Europe to-day. There
will be a campaign of 1919, because we
shall be there to do much of the fighting
and to supply not alone a great portion
of the material, but not a little of the
moral force. Without us the war could
not go forward; with us it will go for?
ward to victory, because, in the very
simple language of the street, we still
have the "punch," while for the Euro?
pean nations the thing has become a
nightmare, an inescapable scourge, and
no longer the call to the spirit that it
was three years ago. The best of one
generation, of the vital generation, is
buried between Paris and Liege or hid?
den away crippled in the backwaters of
the war.
German Defeat
America's Task
There is courage, there are strong
wills and brave hearts left; the British
and French are fighting on and will fight
on; even when we are there with our
first million and a half we shall be out?
numbered by the combined British and
French armies all through the next cam?
paign, but this will not diminish the im?
portance of our contribution. The de?
feat of Germany, in a very real sense,
has become an American task, and be?
cause we have undertaken the task with
a spirit of determination and with un?
mistakable national unity France and
Britain will keep on to the end, doing
a vast deal of the work, but relying
upon us more and more.
Only by talking with those newly re?
turned from Europe is it possible to un?
derstand the extent to which America
has become the driving force in the war,
even before our hosts are under fire
and on the line. The German realized
this when he undertook his present of?
fensive. It was his last bid for the
domination of Europe before we could
save it. The chances are against his
winning now, heavily against it, and
the fashion in which we are rushing our
men over is an important factor, as it
releases Allied reserves; but the real
factor is moral rather than material: we
are bringing a spirit unshaken by the
horrors of four years; we are bringing
a young manhood intact; we are not
bringing as much as we should; wc are
behind the mark duty sets for us. But
we have become in a very real sense the
reserve of civilization, which will decide
the issue for which Britein and France
have fought so long and at such terrible
cost to themselves. Without us their
service and their sacrifice might prove
in vain.
Victory Campaign
In 1919
There will be a campaign of 1919, in
my judgment, because the German can?
not win the war this year and our
Allies are satisfied largely because of
our aid to them that next year the Ger?
man will lose it beyond doubt. I know
of nothing at once more moving and
more sobering than the voice that comes
to us now from our French and British
Allies. But it is interesting to think of
what the Germans must now feel as to
the statesmanship which challenged us in
scorn only a little more than ? -fea**; ?got

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