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[Illustration: _Photo. Excelsior._


The famous French Fusiliers Marins. These sailors from Brittany are
called "Les demoiselles au pompon rouge," because of their youth and the
gay red tassel on their cap.]







_"Golden Lads and Girls all must,
As chimney sweepers, come to dust."_



Copyright, 1916, by

Copyright, 1915, by the

Copyright, 1916, by the

Copyright, 1915 and 1916, by the

_Published, April, 1916_

(_Printed in the U. S. A._)


Profits from the sale of this book will go to "The American Committee
for Training in Suitable Trades the Maimed Soldiers of France."


It would be futile to publish one more war-book, unless the writer had
been an eye-witness of unusual things. I am an American who saw
atrocities which are recorded in the Bryce Report. This book grows out
of months of day-by-day living in the war zone. I have been a member of
the Hector Munro Ambulance Corps, which was permitted to work at the
front because the Prime Minister of Belgium placed his son in military
command of us. That young man, being brave and adventurous, led us along
the first line of trenches, and into villages under shell fire, so that
we saw the armies in action.

We started at Ghent in September, 1914, came to Furnes, worked in
Dixmude, Pervyse, Nieuport and Ypres, during moments of pressure on
those strategic points. In the summer of 1915, we were attached to the
French Fusiliers Marins. My wife's experience covers a period of twelve
months in Belgium. My own time at the front was five months.

Observers at long-distance that are neutral sometimes fail to see
fundamentals in the present conflict, and talk of "negotiations" between
right and wrong. It is easy for people who have not suffered to be
tolerant toward wrongdoing. This war is a long war because of German
methods of frightfulness. These practices have bred an enduring will to
conquer in Frenchman and Briton and Belgian which will not pause till
victory is thorough. Because the German military power has sinned
against women and children, it will be fought with till it is
overthrown. I wish to make clear this determination of the Allies. They
hate the army of Aerschot and Lorraine as a mother hates the defiler of
her child.

There are two wars on the Western Front. One is the war of aggression.
It was led up to by years of treachery. It was consummated in
frightfulness. It is warfare by machine. Of that war, as carried on by
the "Conquerors," the first half of this book tells. On points that
have been in dispute since the outbreak, I am able to say "I saw." When
the Army of Invasion fell on the little people, I witnessed the signs of
its passage as it wrote them by flame and bayonet on peasant homes and
peasant bodies.

In the second half of the book, I have tried to tell of a people's
uprising - the fight of the living spirit against the war-machine. A
righteous defensive war, such as Belgium and France are waging, does not
brutalize the nation. It reveals a beauty of sacrifice which makes
common men into "golden lads."

Was this struggle forced on an unwilling Germany, or was she the

I believe we have the answer of history in such evidences as I have seen
of her patient ancient spy system that honeycombed Belgium.

Is she waging a "holy war," ringed around by jealous foes?

I believe we have the final answer in such atrocities as I witnessed. A
hideous officially ordered method is proof of unrighteousness in the
cause itself.

Are you indicting a nation?

No, only a military system that ordered the slow sapping of friendly
neighboring powers.

Only the host of "tourists," clerks, waiters, gentlemanly officers, that
betrayed the hospitality of people of good will.

Only an army that practised mutilation and murder on children, and
mothers, and old people, - and that carried it through coldly,
systematically, with admirable discipline.

I believe there are multitudes of common soldiers who are sorry that
they have outraged the helpless.

An army of half a million men will return to the home-land with very
bitter memories. Many a simple German of this generation will be unable
to look into the face of his own child without remembering some tiny
peasant face of pain - the child whom he bayoneted, or whom he saw his
comrade bayonet, having failed to put his body between the little one
and death.








The Play-boys of the Western Front _Frontispiece_

Peasants' cottages burned by Germans 8

The home of a German spy near Coxyde Bains, Belgium 13

The green pass, used only by soldiers and officers of the
Belgian Army 33

Church in Termonde which the writer saw 42

One of the dangerous Belgian franc-tireurs 51

Fifteenth century Gothic church in Nieuport 69

Sailors lifting a wounded comrade into the motor-ambulance 87

Door chalked by the Germans 105

Street fighting in Alost 123

Belgian officer on the last strip of his country 134

A Belgian boy soldier in the uniform of the first army
which served at Liège and Namur 139

Belgians in their new Khaki uniform, in praise of which
they wrote a song 145

Breton sailors ready for their noon meal in a village under
daily shell fire 187

Sleeping quarters for Belgian soldiers 206

Belgian soldiers telephoning to an anti-aircraft gun the
approach of a German taube 215

Postcards sketched and blocked by a Belgian workman,
A. Van Doorne 229


By Theodore Roosevelt

On August 4, 1914, the issue of this war for the conscience of the world
was Belgium. Now, in the spring of 1916, the issue remains Belgium. For
eighteen months, our people were bidden by their representative at
Washington to feel no resentment against a hideous wrong. They were
taught to tame their human feelings by polished phrases of neutrality.
Because they lacked the proper outlet of expression, they grew
indifferent to a supreme injustice. They temporarily lost the capacity
to react powerfully against wrongdoing.

But today they are at last becoming alive to the iniquity of the
crushing of Belgium. Belgium is the battleground of the war on the
western front. But Belgium is also the battleground of the struggle in
our country between the forces of good and of evil. In the ranks of evil
are ranged all the pacifist sentimentalists, the cowards who possess the
gift of clothing their cowardice in soothing and attractive words, the
materialists whose souls have been rotted by exclusive devotion to the
things of the body, the sincere persons who are cursed with a deficient
sense of reality, and all who lack foresight or who are uninformed.
Against them stand the great mass of loyal Americans, who, when they see
the right, and receive moral leadership, show that they have in their
souls as much of the valor of righteousness as the men of 1860 and of
1776. The literary bureau at Washington has acted as a soporific on the
mind and conscience of the American people. Fine words, designed to work
confusion between right and wrong, have put them to sleep. But they now
stir in their sleep.

The proceeds from the sale of this book are to be used for a charity in
which every intelligent American feels a personal interest. The training
of maimed soldiers in suitable trades is making possible the
reconstruction of an entire nation. It is work carried on by citizens of
the neutral nations. The cause itself is so admirable that it deserves
wide support. It gives an outlet for the ethical feelings of our people,
feelings that have been unnaturally dammed for nearly two years by the
cold and timid policy of our Government.

The testimony of the book is the first-hand witness of an American
citizen who was present when the Army of Invasion blotted out a little
nation. This is an eye-witness report on the disputed points of this
war. The author saw the wrongs perpetrated on helpless non-combatants by
direct military orders. He shows that the frightfulness practiced on
peasant women and children was the carrying out of a Government policy,
planned in advance, ordered from above. It was not the product of
irresponsible individual drunken soldiers. His testimony is clear on
this point. He goes still further, and shows that individual soldiers
resented their orders, and most unwillingly carried through the cruelty
that was forced on them from Berlin. In his testimony he is kindlier to
the German race, to the hosts of peasants, clerks and simple soldiers,
than the defenders of Belgium's obliteration have been. They seek to
excuse acts of infamy. But the author shows that the average German is
sorry for those acts.

It is fair to remember in reading Mr. Gleason's testimony concerning
these deeds of the German Army that he has never received a dollar of
money for anything he has spoken or written on the subject. He gave
without payment the articles on the Spy, the Atrocity, and the Steam
Roller to the New York _Tribune_. The profits from the lectures he has
delivered on the same subject have been used for well-known public
charities. The book itself is a gift to a war fund.

Of Mr. Gleason's testimony on atrocities I have already written (see
page 38).

What he saw was reported to the Bryce Committee by the young British
subject who accompanied him, and these atrocities, which Mr. Gleason
witnessed, appear in the Bryce Report under the heading of Alost. It is
of value to know that an American witnessed atrocities recorded in the
Bryce Report, as it disposes of the German rejoinders that the Report is
ex-parte and of second-hand rumor.

His chapter on the Spy System answers the charge that it was Belgium who
violated her own neutrality, and forced an unwilling Germany, threatened
by a ring of foes, to defend herself.

The chapter on the Steam Roller shows that the same policy of injustice
that was responsible for the original atrocities is today operating to
flatten out what is left of a free nation.

The entire book is a protest against the craven attitude of our

_March 28, 1916._



Germany uses three methods in turning a free nation into a vassal state.
By a spy system, operated through years, she saps the national strength.
By sudden invasion, accompanied by atrocity, she conquers the territory,
already prepared. By continuing occupation, she flattens out what is
left of a once independent people. In England and North America, she has
used her first method. France has experienced both the spy and the
atrocity. It has been reserved for Belgium to be submitted to the
threefold process. I shall tell what I have seen of the spy system, the
use of frightfulness, and the enforced occupation.

It is a mistake for us to think that the worst thing Germany has done is
to torture and kill many thousands of women and children. She
undermines a country with her secret agents before she lays it waste. In
time of peace, with her spy system, she works like a mole through a wide
area till the ground is ready to cave in. She plays on the good will and
trustfulness of other peoples till she has tapped the available
information. That betrayal of hospitality, that taking advantage of
human feeling, is a baser thing than her unique savagery in war time.

During my months in Belgium I have been surrounded by evidences of this
spy system, the long, slow preparedness which Germany makes in another
country ahead of her deadly pounce. It is a silent, peaceful invasion,
as destructive as the house-to-house burning and the killing of babies
and mothers to which it later leads.

The German military power, which is the modern Germany, is able to
obtain agents to carry out this policy, and make its will prevail, by
disseminating a new ethic, a philosophy of life, which came to
expression with Bismarck and has gone on extending its influence since
the victories of 1870-'71. The German people believe they serve a higher
God than the rest of us. We serve (very imperfectly and only part of
the time) such ideals as mercy, pity, and loyalty to the giver of the
bread we eat. The Germans serve (efficiently and all the time) the
State, a supreme deity, who sends them to spy out a land in peace time,
to build gun foundations in innocent-looking houses, buy up
poverty-stricken peasants, measure distances, win friendship, and worm
out secrets. With that information digested and those preparations
completed, the State (an entity beyond good and evil) calls on its
citizens to make war, and, in making it, to practise frightfulness. It
orders its servants to lay aside pity and burn peasants in their homes,
to bayonet women and children, to shoot old men. Of course, there are
exceptions to this. There are Germans of the vintage of '48, and later,
many of them honest and peaceable dwellers in the country which shelters
them. But the imperial system has little use for them. They do not serve
its purpose.

The issue of the war, as Belgium and France see it, is this: Are they to
live or die? Are they to be charted out once again through years till
their hidden weakness is accurately located, and then is an army to be
let loose on them that will visit a universal outrage on their children
and wives? Peace will be intolerable till this menace is removed. The
restoration of territory in Belgium and Northern France and the return
to the _status quo_ before the war, are not sufficient guarantees for
the future. The _status quo_ before the war means another insidious
invasion, carried on unremittingly month by month by business agents,
commercial travelers, genial tourists, and studious gentlemen in villas.
A crippled, broken Teutonic military power is the only guarantee that a
new army of spies will not take the road to Brussels and Paris on the
day that peace is signed. No simple solution like, "Call it all off,
we'll start in fresh; bygones are bygones," meets the real situation.
The Allied nations have been infested with a cloud of witnesses for many
years. Are they to submit once again to that secret process of the


The separate flame in each cottage is clearly visible, proving that each
house was separately set on fire. Radclyffe Dugmore took this photograph
at Melle, where he and the writer were made prisoners.]

The French, for instance, want to clear their country of a cloud which
has been thick and black for forty-three years. They always said the
Germans would come again with the looting and the torture and the
foulness. This time they will their fight to a finish. They are sick of
hate, so they are fighting to end war. But it is not an empty peace that
they want - peace, with a new drive when the Krupp howitzers are big
enough, and the spies in Paris thick enough, to make the death of France
a six weeks' picnic. They want a lasting peace, that will take fear from
the wife's heart, and make it a happiness to have a child, not a horror.
They want to blow the ashes off of Lorraine. Peace, as preached by our
Woman's Peace Party and by our pacifist clergy and by the signers of the
plea for an embargo on the ammunitions that are freeing France from her
invaders, is a German peace. If successfully consummated, it will grant
Germany just time enough to rest and breed and lay the traps, and then
release another universal massacre. How can the Allies state their terms
of peace in other than a militant way? There is nothing here to be
arbitrated. Pleasant sentiments of brotherhood evade the point at issue.
The way of just peace is by "converting" Germany. There is only one cure
for long-continued treachery, and that is to demonstrate its failure.
To pause short of a thorough victory over the deep, inset habits and
methods of Germany is to destroy the spirit of France. It will not be
well for a premier race of the world to go down in defeat. We need her
thrifty Lorraine peasants and Brittany sailors, her unfailing gift to
the light of the world, more than we need a thorough German spy system
and a soldiery obedient to commands of vileness.

Very much more slowly England, too, is learning what the fight is about.

It is German violation of the fundamental decencies that makes it
difficult to find common ground to build on for the future. It is at
this point that the spy system of slow-seeping treachery and the
atrocity program of dramatic frightfulness overlap. It is in part out of
the habit of betraying hospitality that the atrocities have emerged. It
isn't as if they were extemporized - a sudden flare, with no background.
They are the logical result of doing secretly for years that which
humanity has agreed not to do.

Some of the members of our Red Cross unit - the Hector Munro Ambulance
Corps - worked for a full year with the French Fusiliers Marins, perhaps
the most famous 6000 fighting men in the western line. They were sailor
boys. They covered the retreat of the Belgian army. They consolidated
the Yser position by holding Dixmude for three weeks against a German
force that outnumbered them. Then for a year, up to a few months ago,
they helped to hold the Nieuport section, the last northern point of the
Allied line. When they entered the fight at Melle in October, 1914, our
corps worked with one of their doctors, and came to know him. Later he
took charge of a dressing station near St. George. Here one day the
Germans made a sudden sortie, drove back the Fusiliers for a few
minutes, and killed the Red Cross roomful, bayoneting the wounded men.
The Fusiliers shortly won back their position, found their favorite
doctor dead, and in a fury wiped out the Germans who had murdered him
and his patients, saving one man alive. They sent him back to the
enemy's lines to say:

"Tell your men how we fight when you bayonet our wounded."

That sudden act of German falseness was the product of slow, careful
undermining of moral values.

One of the best known women in Belgium, whose name I dare not give, told
me of her friends, the G - - 's, at L - - (she gave me name and
address). When the first German rush came down on Belgium the household
was asked to shelter German officers, one of whom the lady had known
socially in peace days. The next morning soldiers went through the
house, destroying paintings with the bayonet and wrecking furniture. The
lady appealed to the officer.

"I know you," she said. "We have met as equals and friends. How can you
let this be done?"

"This is war," he replied.

No call of chivalry, of the loyalties of guest and host, is to be
listened to. And for the perpetrating of this cold program years of
silent spy treachery were a perfect preparation. It was no sudden
unrelated horror to which Germans had to force themselves. It was an
astonishing thing to simple Belgian gentlemen and gentlewomen to see the
old friendly German faces of tourists and social guests show up, on
horseback, riding into the cities as conquerors where they had so often
been entertained as friends. Let me give you the testimony of a Belgian
lady whom we know. She is now inside the German lines, so I cannot give
her name.


He had a deep gun foundation, concealed by tiling, motors, hydraulic
apparatus - a complete fortification inside his villa.

[This photograph would have been better if it had not been developed in
the ambulance of one of the American Field Service, but it shows the
solid construction of the hidden flooring, the supporting pillars, one
of the motors and one of the gas pipes.]]

"When the German troops entered Brussels," she states, "we suddenly
discovered that our good friends had been secret agents and were now
officers in charge of the invasion. As the army came in, with their
trumpets and flags and goose-stepping, we picked out our friends
entertained by us in our salons - dinner guests for years. They had
originally come with every recommendation possible - letters from
friends, themselves men of good birth. They had worked their way into
the social-political life of Brussels. They had won their place in our
friendly feeling. And here they had returned to us at the head of troops
to conquer us, after having served as secret agents through the years of
friendly social intercourse."

After becoming proficient in that kind of betrayal the officers found it
only a slight wrench to pass on to the wholesale murder of the people
whose bread they had eaten and whom they had tricked. The treachery
explains the atrocity. It is worth while to repeat and emphasize this
point. Many persons have asked me, "How do you account for these
terrible acts of mutilation?" The answer is, what the Germans did
suddenly by flame and bayonet is only a continuation of what they have
done for years by poison.

Here follows the testimony of a man whom I know, Doctor George Sarton,
of the University of Ghent:

"Each year more Germans came to Belgian summer resorts; Blankenberghe,
for instance, was full of them. They were all very well received and had
plenty of friends in Belgian families, from the court down. When the war
broke out, it immediately became evident that many of these welcomed
guests had been spying, measuring distances, preparing foundations for
heavy guns in their villas located at strategical points, and so on. It
is noteworthy that this spying was not simply done by poor devils who
had not been able to make money in a cleaner way - but by very successful
German business men, sometimes men of great wealth and whose wealth had
been almost entirely built up in Belgium. These men were extremely
courteous and serviceable, they spent much money upon social functions
and in the promotion of charities, German schools, churches and the
like; they had numerous friends, in some cases they had married Belgian
girls and their boys were members of the special corps of our 'National
Guard.' ... Yet at the same time, they were prying into everything,

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