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not to yield to intervention of powers, and that she is
moving troops against Russia as well as against Serbia.
Russia has also reason to believe that Germany is making
active military preparations and she cannot afford to let her
get a start." M. Paleologue sent a similar statement to
M. Viviani, and Count Szapary wired Vienna on the same

440 The Great War

day: "The order for the general mobilization of the entire
army and fleet was issued early to-day."

The Times correspondent in St. Petersburg reported on
the 31st: "A general mobilization has been ordered. Never
within living memory has Russia lived through a day of
such emotion. The government decided on mobilization
late Thursday (the 30th). This step was forced upon it
when it became apparent that the Germans were pur-
posely delaying their official notice of mobilization in order
to place Russia in a position of inferiority. To have hesi-
tated longer would have been to court disaster."

The evidence seems conclusive that the general mobi-
lization was decided late on the 30th and that the order
was published and put into execution early the following

That Russia's general mobilization preceded those of
both her original opponents appears to be incontestable;
and it will be generally recognized, at least among neutrals,
that by taking this fateful step Russia assumed a very grave
responsibility. Germany had repeatedly warned her of the
serious consequences. Perhaps, as the Germans assert,
the British Foreign Secretary, who claimed to be actuated
solely by the desire to maintain peace, exposed himself to
the charge of criminal negligence, or even hypocrisy, by
failing to remonstrate in vigorous terms against Russia's
action. More likely the rapidity of events outran his
discernment and deprived him of an opportunity for

The degree of Russia's responsibility, or culpability, will
depend upon the extent of Austria-Hungary's previous
measures. It will vary greatly in the judgment of unbiased
persons, partly because the issue is still a novel one. There
is no established canon of international ethics which covers
it. It would be useless dogmatism to take one's stand

The Mobilization of Military Forces 441

upon the doctrine of the final, unlimited sovereignty of
the state, — which is so emphatically proclaimed by many
leading German authorities in other connections, — and
argue that Russia had the unquestionable right to act as
she chose on her national territory. The urgency of the
situation seemed to transcend the most elementary formal
restrictions. The advantages of priority of mobilization
are too decisive; the danger for Germany was too immi-
nent. Russia's step was a threat. An elementary instinct
of defense impels us to smite the hand which reaches for
the concealed weapon.

Germany could instantly have freed herself from every
peril by renouncing her support of Austria-Hungary's
seemingly aggressive poHcy. But the abandonment of
Austria-Hungary would have involved the weakening, or
even dissolution, of the alliance upon which Germany's
security, if not existence, was believed to depend. The
fear of isolation in the center of Europe brooded over
Germany like a black specter. True, Germany could
have exorcised this danger by the voluntary restitution of
Alsace-Lorraine. But such a proposition, with the still
prevailing non-rational notions of national honor, would
have involved humiliation. It was practically unthinkable.

The Russian mobilization was a cardinal fact. But it
may be explained, palliated, perhaps even excused, by a
consideration of the actual international prospect as it ap-
peared to the chiefs of the Russian state at the time when
the step was taken.

The German Foreign Secretary had just rejected Russia's
conciliatory proposal which had been formulated at the
urgent appeal of the German ambassador in St. Petersburg.
Austria-Hungary was bombarding Belgrade and was evi-
dently determined to crush all resistance; and in spite of
her protestations that she would not destroy the integrity

442 The Great War

or independence of her enemy, she steadfastly refused to
eliminate from the text of her demands the very articles
which would fatally impair the independence of Serbia.
Germany, whose Kaiser had once declared that nothing
should be done anywhere without her consent, insisted
that the contest between Austria-Hungary and Serbia was
one in which the rest of Europe had no concern.

Most of the accounts of preliminary military preparations
and alleged mobilization in Germany come from French
sources which are apt to be colored by a desire to inculpate
a potential enemy. Military activity in the German fron-
tier fortresses was reported in Paris as early as July 25th.
On the following day preparations for the movement of
troops were reported in the French capital. On the 27th
the Temps declared that local mobilization had begun; and
on the 28th the same paper stated that the covering troops
on the German frontier had been put on a war footing by
calling up reservists. On the 27th the French Consul at
Basel informed the Foreign Office that the German officers
who had been spending their vacation in the neighborhood
had been summoned to return to Germany four days before,
and that owners of motor vehicles in the Grand-duchy of
Baden had been notified to place them at the disposal of the
military authorities two days after an eventual second notice.

The French consul at Christiania reported on the 26th
that the German fleet which had been cruising in Norwe-
gian waters had received orders to concentrate at Stavanger
and put to sea, presumably to return directly to Germany.
The return of the fleet and its eventual concentration at
Kiel and Wilhelmshaven were officially announced in Berlin
on the 28th.

On the 30th the correspondent of the Temps in Berlin
denied that there had been any mobilization of the German
army. The French consul in Munich reported on the 29th

The Mobilization of Military Forces 443

that under pretext of a change in the autumn maneuvers
the non-commissioned officers and men of the Bavarian
infantry re^^iments at Metz, who were on leave in Bavaria
for harvesting operations, had received orders the day
before to return immediately to their barracks.

We have already noticed how on July 30, 1914, the
French ambassador in London reminded Sir Edward Grey
of the exchange of letters which took place on Novem-
ber 22, 1912, whereby Great Britain and France agreed to
consult together as to the expediency of active cooperation
in case either expected an unprovoked attack by a third
power. M. Cambon claimed that the peace of Europe
had never been more seriously threatened than at that
time, and as proof, he handed to the British Foreign Secre-
tary a paper calculated to prove that German military prep-
arations were more advanced than those of France. This
memorandum, which had been supplied by M. Viviani,
stated that the German army had its advance-posts on the
French frontiers the day before (presumably the 29th),
whereas the French outposts had purposely been kept
back ten kilometers from the frontier, because the French
government wished to avoid every appearance of aggres-
sion. The whole sixteenth corps from Metz with a part of
the eighth from Trier and Cologne were occupying the
frontier from Metz to the border of Luxemburg. The
fifteenth corps from Strassburg had been massed on the
frontier. The inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine had been for-
bidden to cross the frontier under penalty of being shot.
Thousands of reservists had been called back to Germany
from abroad. All these statements, even if they were au-
thentic, refer only to precautionary military measures, not
to mobilization proper. Diplomatic usage and etiquette,
as we have seen, has tended to emphasize the distinction be-
tween the two, regarding the former as justifiable in certain

444 The Great War

circumstances. Probably a similar strengthening of the
border garrisons was going on at the same time in France.

About one o'clock on the afternoon of the 30th a sensa-
tion was created by the appearance of a special edition of
the Lokal Anzetger on the streets of Berlin announcing
general mobilization in Germany. This was the afternoon
following the Extraordinary Council at Potsdam; and the
belief that the sheets of the Lokal Anzeiger, which is usually
a semi-inspired paper, were gotten ready in anticipation, at
a hint from the government, lent support to the conviction
that measures of a decisive character had been considered
at the memorable meeting of the evening before.

The extra edition was quickly confiscated and the pre-
mature announcement suppressed. Herr von Jagow im-
mediately telephoned to the foreign embassies denying
the report. The Russian ambassador had already sent a
dispatch to St. Petersburg with the startling announcement
that Germany had ordered mobilization. He straightway
sent a second telegram to recall the statement contained in
the first; but it is doubtful whether the impression which
had been produced was entirely neutralized. From this
time the Russian officials insisted that the German govern-
ment was mobilizing secretly. On this same day Herr
von Zimmermann, Under Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs informed one of the foreign ambassadors that the
military authorities were urging mobilization, but that up
to that time the haste of the General Staff had been suc-
cessfully counteracted.

M. Sazonoff declared on the 30th that absolute proof
was in possession of the Russian government that Germany
was making military and naval preparations against Russia,
more particularly in the direction of the Gulf of Finland.
This and similar statements are too vague to be taken seri-
ously. They are in a class with the evidence for Germany's

Cnriuaii fleet aiichorcJ in Kiel Bay.

British rieet anchored uH' Portsmouth.

The Mobilization of Military Forces 445

posthumous charges against Belgium ; the world has waited
a long time for the publication of the "absolute proof."

The correspondent of the Daily Chronicle in Paris re-
ported on the 31st such activities of the German military
authorities on the frontier as the barricading of highways,
while the Times correspondent claimed that Germany had
really been carrying on an extensive mobilization in secret.
Such a statement is without support. Probably only local
reservists were being incorporated in some of the frontier
garrisons, a process which, as already remarked, was doubt-
less going on in France also.

Martial law {Kriegsgefahrzustand) was proclaimed in Ger-
many at two o'clock on the afternoon of the 31st, after news
of the general mobilization in Russia had been received, and
at a time when the German authorities claimed that military
preparations in France had reached a threatening stage.
This decree permitted the military authorities to control
the means of communication and transportation. The
proclamation of martial law is frequently a preliminary to
mobilization, since it insures the safety and secrecy of the
movements of troops. It was believed in France that martial
law as decreed in Germany was simply a means for conceal-
ing the general mobilization which was really in progress.

The decree for the general mobilization in the German
Empire, with the exception of Bavaria, was issued at six
o'clock in the afternoon of August 1st in the following terms :

"I hereby decree: The German Army and Imperial
Nav}^ are to be placed on a war footing in accordance
with the Plan of Mobilization for the German Army and
Imperial Navy. The second of August, 1914, shall be
fixed as the first day of mobilization."

Berlin, August 1, 1914. William I. R.

V. Bethmann-Hollweg.

446 The Great War

Mobilization was extended to the Bavarian army by de-
cree of King Ludwig of Bavaria at 7.20 the same evening.

It is impossible to prove that any partial mobilization in
Germany preceded the general mobilization which was
thus ordered.

Special editions of the papers were immediately circulated
in Berlin announcing the decree of general mobilization
of the army and navy. The news spread with incredible
rapidity and was received with tremendous demonstrations
of patriotic enthusiasm, some of which have already been

The Temps announced on the 26th that the garrisons of
the great French fortresses on the eastern frontier, Toul,
Nancy, Neufchatel, and Troyes, had been mobilized and
the soldiers sent to the individual forts the day before. This
refers, probably, to the concentration of the garrison
troops, not to the calling up of reserves. Similar measures
were being carried out at Metz across the frontier. At the
same time officers were being recalled from leaves of ab-
sence in France just as in Germany. On the 27th the Ger-
man ambassador in Berne reported that the maneuvers of
the Fourteenth French Army Corps had been discontinued.

According to the Times correspondent in Paris on the
29th six French army corps on the eastern and north-
eastern frontiers were being brought up to their full peace
strength. On the same day the French ambassador in
Berlin informed Herr von Jagow, who was receiving dis-
quieting reports regarding French military preparations,
that the French government had done nothing more than
the German had done, namely, recalled officers on leave.

On the 31st the Times correspondent in Paris reported
that a cabinet council had decided to bring the French
covering troops on the frontier up to a war footing by
incorporating 40,000 reservists drawn from the immediate

The Mobilization of Military Forces 447

localities. He also stated that the French troops were
being held ten kilometers back from the frontier.

The order for general mobilization was issued in France
at 3.40 in the afternoon of August 1st after news had been
brought of the proclamation of martial law in Germany.
The government claimed that it was an essential measure
for protection because they had positive evidence that be-
hind the screen of martial law Germany was really putting
her mobilization into execution. The condition of martial
law was therefore mobilization with another name.

Belgium, as we have already had occasion to observe,
took such precautionar}^ measures as her military estab-
lishment permitted as soon as the international situation
demanded it. On July 29th her army was placed on a
strengthened peace footing, which signifies that three
classes of reserves were recalled to the colors and added to
the single class of recruits of which her active army was
normally composed. Later, complete mobilization was
ordered, Saturday, August 1st, being reckoned as the
first day.

By a singular coincidence the British navy, a power on
the sea which far surpasses in relative strength the German
army on land, was in a position for immediate action at the
beginning of the diplomatic crisis. A formidable concen-
tration of naval units had been made for the royal review
off Portsmouth on July 18th.

On Friday, July 24th, as soon as intelligence of the
Austro-Hungarian note to Serbia created a feeling of un-
easiness, Mr. Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, took
the step on his own initiative of postponing the dispersal
of the naval units which had been assembled for the royal
pageant. Later, his colleagues indorsed this measure, and
decided to make it public on the 27th, when it created a
considerable impression on the continent. The decision to

448 The Great War

mobilize was made on Sunday, August 2d, on the day that
the British government gave its promise to protect the
coast of France. The notices calling out the Naval Re-
serves were issued to the press for publication on Monday
morning, and so thorough had been the preparation that
the naval reservists were all in their places ready for action
by the evening of the same day.

In the strict sense of the term, as already defined on
page 429, it is inaccurate to speak of a British mobilization
taking place in August, 1914, for the peace and war-
footings of the British Expeditionary Force sent over to
France were the same. Accordingly, there was a con-
centration of British troops, but no mobilization. Yet the
popular confusion in the usage of these two words and the
very close relationship between the movement of the Brit-
ish Expeditionary Force and the disposition of armies on
the continent necessitates at this point a brief notice of the
steps by which the British contingent took its place beside
the forces of its ally in southern Flanders.

The concentration of the Expeditionary Force began on
August 4th, and on the 11th King George went down to
Aldershot to bid them Godspeed. The concentration of
this force was conducted with remarkable secrecy. Like
a phantom it passed from the shore of Great Britain.
Scarcely a hint of its movements, of the point and date of
departure from England, or arrival on the continent, got
into the papers until its landing on French soil had been
accomplished. Yet it was well known in Boulogne as early
as the 8th that extensive preparations were being made for
the reception of the British.

The Expeditionary force sailed from Southampton and
disembarked at Calais, Boulogne, Havre, and St. Nazaire.

The following statement was issued by the British Press
Bureau on the 17th at night:

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Map showing German adrantage in strategic railways on the eastern frontier.

The Mobilization of Military Forces 449

"The Expeditionary Force, as detailed for forei}2;n service,
has been safely landed on French soil. The embarkation,
transportation, and disembarkation of men and stores were
alike carried through with the greatest possible precision
and without a single casualty."

The scheme of mobilization both in France and Ger-
many provided for the completion of the all-important
process at the expiration of twenty days with a regular
succession of events occurring day by day within this given
period. Accordingly, the fixing of the starting-point, the
designation of the first day of mobilization, is an indis-
pensable feature of the order to mobilize. With this
variable element once established, the rest moves with
almost automatic precision along predetermined lines.

Within an hour or two after the decision of the central
authority had been made, the order for mobilization had
been flashed to the remotest communes of each country.
The printed notices held in readiness were immediately
posted. Members of the territorial army or the Land-
wehr, as the case might be, took their places as sentinels
to guard the railway bridges, stations, and other vital points
on the lines of communication. The days during which
mobilization was in progress were numbered consecu-
tively, and the military credentials of each reservist con-
tained an indication of the day on which he was required
to present himself at the depot of his regiment. We have
already observed that recruiting and the assignment of
recruits to army corps and regiments is regulated on a
territorial basis. Each army corps has its definite circum-
scription, and within this area a district is assigned to each
of the regiments which compose the army corps.

In considering mobilizations the imagination spontane-
ously turns to the German mobilization as the prototype,
the model and standard. While it would be too much to

450 The Great War

say that the arsenals and military storehouses of Germany
contained a particular equipment, individually labelled and
designated, for every man who vs^as subject to summons in a
general mobilization, such a statement would be a natural,
and not very misleading, exaggeration. For there was at
hand sufficient material for the equipment of all who were
required to appear, and the annual muster of reservists fur-
nished a fairly accurate basis for the proportional number
of garments needed for each standard measurement.

The German reservist reported first at a storehouse
where he received a bundle of clothing containing two
complete field uniforms: two coats, two pairs of trousers,
two pairs of leggings, two pairs of shoes, four pairs of
socks, two sets of under-clothing, a helmet, a repair-kit,
and blankets. With these he received a metal tag with his
official number to be worn suspended from the neck next
to the body. His civilian costume was deposited with the
clerk. After this the reservist went to the armory and
received his rifle, belts, and ammunition. In the cities
regiments were ready to move in from four to six hours;
but in the country from twelve to twenty-four hours were

The success of mobilization depends largely upon the
efficiency and punctuality with which the railways execute
their task. The most fundamental characteristic of the
present war is the unprecedented importance of the service
performed by the railways. It will stand out in history,
distinguished from all previous struggles, as the war of
machinery and technical ability. But of all the mechanical
appliances, other than the weapons themselves, the railway
has discharged the most necessary, although perhaps not
the most spectacular, service. Nearly all western Europe
is covered with a dense network of railways extending
as far as the Russian frontier of Germany. Numerous

The Mobilization of Military Forces 451

lines bring all parts of Germany's eastern frontier into
convenient communication with each other and with the
interior of tlie country, and the same is true in lesser degree
of the northeastern frontier of Austria-Hungary. But the
situation on the Russian side of the border is far different.
New York and Oregon side by side would present the
contrast in relative density of railway lines which exists
between Germany and the adjacent regions of Russia.

Mobilization in the majority of cases involved the three-
fold transportation of the reservists: firstly, from their
domicile to the regimental depot; secondly, from the
regimental depot to the place of concentration for the
army corps; and thirdly, from this latter point to the posi-
tion designated for the army corps in the general plan of

In France especially the burden on the railways in con-
sequence of the European crisis was augmented by the
throngs of summer tourists and other travellers in frantic
haste to return to their homes in anticipation of the up-
heaval. During the week from July 25th until August 1st
about 500,000 travellers returned to Paris or passed through
the city on their way home, and about 200,000 foreigners
took their leave of the French capital. But as soon as
mobilization was announced the French railways passed
under the direction of the General Staff and were closed
for a time to civilian traffic. During the twenty days of
mobilization the tr?ins circulated on the principal lines
of France day and night at intervals of ten minutes or
even less. The reservists were admitted to the trains upon
presentation of their credentials on the day when they
were summoned to appear. They were transported to
the depots or barracks of their respective regiments of the
active army, where they received their equipment and
arms. As fast as the regiments were filled up to their

452 The Great War

war-footing, they were conveyed to the place of con-
centration of their army corps. Finally, the army corps
were transported to their positions in the theater of

The headquarters of the French army corps were as
follows: I, Lille; II, Amiens; III, Rouen; IV, Mans;
V, Orleans; VI, Chalons; VII, Besancon; VIII, Bourges;

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