Current History, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June 1918 online

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shell disables last of German guns that have been bombarding Paris.

May 5 - Franco-British forces, in operation between Locre and Dranoutre,
advance their positions on a 1,000-yard front to an average depth of 500
yards; Germans foiled in attempt to occupy former American trenches in
the Bois Brûlé.

May 6 - Germans launch heavy gas attacks against American troops on the
Picardy front.

May 8 - Germans gain a foothold at several points midway between La
Clytte and Voormezeele, but are repulsed at other points along the line;
Australians advance 500 yards near Sailly and 300 yards west of

May 9 - British re-establish their lines and drive Germans out of British
trenches between La Clytte and Voormezeele; Germans occupy British
advanced positions at Albert on a front of about 150 yards.

May 10 - British restore their line at Albert; German artillery fire
active in the Vimy and Robecq sectors of the British front, and south of

May 11 - Berlin reports heavy losses inflicted on American troops
southwest of Apremont; Germans gain small portion of territory southwest
of Mailly-Raineval, but are driven out by French; French gain ground in
Mareuil Wood.

May 12 - French troops north of Kemmel capture Hill 44 and an adjoining
farm; Germans bombard Albert, Loos, and Ypres sectors, and lines
southeast of Amiens, but are repulsed by the French near

May 13 - Americans blow up enemy ammunition dump and start fires in
Cantigny, with explosions; Germans resume firing north of Kemmel.

May 14 - Hill 44, north of Kemmel, changes hands several times; French
advance in Hangard region; British carry out successful raid near

May 15 - Germans repulsed by the British southwest of Morlancourt and by
the French north of Kemmel. May 16 - Heavy gunfire in the Lys and Avre

May 17 - Official announcement that American troops have taken their
place in the British war zone in Northern France; German gunfire
increases in the Lys and Hailles region.


May 3 - Heavy fighting reported along the entire front between the
Adriatic and the Giudicaria Valley.

May 5 - Increase in artillery fire, notably in the Lagarina and Astico

May 11 - Italians penetrate advanced Austrian positions on Monte Carno.

May 12 - Italians wipe out a Coll dell' Orso garrison.

May 14 - Austrian attempts to renew attacks on Monte Carno and to
approach Italian lines at Dosso Casina and in the Balcino and Ornic
Valleys fail.

May 16 - Italians enter Austrian lines at two points on Monte Asolone;
British make successful raid at Canove.


April 21 - Armenians retake Van.

April 27 - British in Mesopotamia advance north of Bagdad and Kifra.

April 28 - British cavalry forces a passage of the Aqsu at a point
southwest of Tuzhurmatl.

April 29 - British take Tuzhurmatl.

April 30 - British advance as far as the Tauk River, and occupy Mezreh.

May 1 - Es-Salt taken by the British.

May 7 - British enter Kerkuk.

May 12 - Arabs of Hedjaz raid Jadi Jerdun station and a post on the
Hedjaz Railway, taking many prisoners and destroying tracks and bridges.


Trent, Trieste, and Pola were raided by Italian scouts on May 10.

Carlshutte, Germany, was bombed by the British May 3. Saarbrucken was
bombed on May 16, and five German machines were brought down.

British aviators raided the aviation grounds at Campo Maggiore on May 4
and brought down fourteen Austrian planes.

German airmen attacked Dutch fishing vessels in the North Sea May 5.

Ostend, Westende, and Zeebrugge were attacked by British seaplanes on
May 6.

Many notable air battles occurred on the western front in connection
with the fighting in Picardy and Flanders. In one day, May 15,
fifty-five German airplanes were brought down by British and French
aviators, and on May 16 forty-six German machines were brought down by
the British.


Early in the morning of April 23 British naval forces, in co-operation
with French destroyers, carried out a raid against Zeebrugge and
Ostend, with the object of bottling up German submarine bases. Five
obsolete British cruisers, which had been filled with concrete, were run
aground, blown up, and abandoned by their crews, and two old submarines
were loaded with explosives for the destruction of the Zeebrugge mole. A
German destroyer was sunk and other ships were shelled. Twenty yards of
the Zeebrugge mole were blown up, and the harbor was blocked completely.
On May 10 the obsolete cruiser Vindictive was sunk at the entrance to
Ostend Harbor, practically completing the work.

An Austrian dreadnought of the Viribus Unitis type was torpedoed by
Italian naval forces in Pola Harbor on the morning of May 14.


On April 20, Japan ordered reinforcements sent to Vladivostok, as the
Bolsheviki had directed the removal of munitions westward. On the same
day diplomatic representatives of the allied powers were formally
informed by the Siberian Provincial Duma of the formation - by
representatives of the Zemstvos and other public organizations - of the
Government of Autonomous Siberia.

The Bolshevist Foreign Minister, George Tchitcherin, on April 26,
addressed representatives in Moscow of the United States, England, and
France, requesting the speedy recall of their Consuls from Vladivostok
and the investigation of their alleged participation in negotiations
said to have been conducted between their Peking embassies and the
Siberian Autonomous Government. He also asked them to explain their
attitude toward the Soviet Government and the alleged attempts of their
representatives to interfere with the internal life of Russia. Japan was
asked to explain the participation of Japanese officials in the
counter-revolutionary movement. An official report of the demand for the
removal of John K. Caldwell, the American Consul at Vladivostok, was
received by the American State Department on May 6, from Ambassador
Francis. The State Department announced that Mr. Caldwell had done
nothing wrong and that he would not be removed. On the same day a report
was received that the Russian authorities at Irkutsk had arrested the
Japanese Vice Consul and the President of the Japanese Association on
the charge of being military spies.

At a meeting of several thousand peasants of the Ukraine, held on April
29, a resolution was passed calling for the overthrow of the Government,
the closing of the Central Rada, the cancellation of the Constituent
Assembly convoked for May 12, and the abandonment of land socialization.
General Skoropauski was proclaimed Hetman and was recognized by

The German advance into the Ukraine continued, military rule was
established in Kiev, and several members of the Government, including
the Minister of War, were removed on the ground that the Government had
proved too weak to maintain law and order. Vice Chancellor von Payer,
speaking before the Main Committee of the German Reichstag on May 4,
attempted to justify Germany's use of the iron hand by declaring that
grain had been withheld and that prominent Ukrainians, members of the
Committee of Safety, had been caught planning the assassination of
German officers.

Rostov-on-the-Don was occupied by Germans on May 9, but was recaptured
by the Russians the next day.

M. Tchitcherin, on May 12, sent a wireless message to Ambassador Joffe,
at Berlin, instructing him to try to obtain from Berlin cessation of
every kind of hostility, and declared that captures of Russian territory
violated the terms of the treaty of peace. He also gave assurances that
the Black Sea Fleet would not attack the port of Novorossysk, which the
Germans threatened to capture. In an evasive reply the Commander in
Chief of the German troops in the East said he could only agree to the
cessation of naval operations against the Black Sea Fleet, provided that
all ships returned to Sebastopol and were retained there, thus leaving
the port of Novorossysk free for navigation.

A Swedish report of May 14 told of a German ultimatum to the Bolshevist
Government demanding the occupation of Moscow and other Russian cities,
the abolishment of armaments, and the effecting of certain financial
measures which would practically make Russia a German colony.

Professor H. C. Emery, the American who was seized when the Germans
landed in the Aland Islands, was freed from prison, but was still
detained in Germany, according to a report received on May 5.

The British Foreign Minister, A. J. Balfour, announced in Commons on May
5 that Great Britain was ready to grant temporary recognition to the
Esthonian National Council.

Transcaucasia proclaimed its independence on April 26, and a
conservative Government was formed, headed by M. Chkemkeli.

Ciscaucasia proclaimed itself an independent State on May 14.

The Caucasus proposed peace negotiations with Turkey May 10.

Russian Bolshevist troops crossed the Caspian Sea in gunboats and
recaptured Baku from the Mussulmans May 17.

Emperor William issued a proclamation, May 14, recognizing the
independence of Lithuania, allied with the German Empire, and saying
that it was assumed that Lithuania would participate in the war burdens
of Germany.


Hostilities between the Finnish White Guards and the Germans and the Red
Guards continued. Germany protested to the Bolshevist Foreign Minister
on April 23 against the landing of allied troops at Murmansk, declaring
that such landing was a violation of the Brest-Litovsk treaty. Germany
also denied that Germans had participated in the raid of the Finnish
White Guards upon Kem.

The White Guards, on April 26, demanded the surrender of a fort on the
Finnish coast ceded to Russia by the Finnish Bolshevist Government,
constituting part of the Kronstadt defenses. The Kronstadt Council of
Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates refused to comply with the demand, and
organized resistance.

Viborg was taken by the White Guards on April 30. On May 3, the Germans
in the southwest defeated the Red Guards after a five days' battle near
Lakhti and Tevastus. The Finnish flag was raised on the fortress of
Sveaborg on May 13. On May 15 the White Guards entered Helsingfors, and
on May 17 they seized Boris-Gleb on the Norwegian border from the
Russian troops, thus gaining access to the Arctic Ocean.


A peace treaty between Rumania and the Central Powers was signed May 6,
and supplementary legal, economic, and political treaties were later

The Rumanian Parliament was dissolved on May 10 by royal decree and new
elections were ordered.


The Lausanne Gazette announced on May 12 that Poland was handed over to
Germany economically, politically, and militarily, according to a secret
treaty arranged at Brest-Litovsk between a Russian delegation, headed by
Trotzky, and German representatives. At a conference between the
Emperors of Germany and Austria-Hungary, Germany agreed to the solution
of the Polish question desired by Austria, in return for certain
concessions from Austria.


The Guatemalan Assembly, on April 22, declared the country to be in the
same position as the United States in the war, and the following day the
Guatemalan Minister at Washington announced that the declaration was
meant as a declaration of war against Germany and her allies.

In response to a request from Uruguay for a definition of the relations
between the two countries, Germany replied, according to an
announcement made public May 16, that she did not consider that a state
of war existed.

Nicaragua declared war on Germany and her allies on May 7.

Royal assent to the British man-power bill, providing for conscription
in Ireland, was given on April 18. An Order in Council was issued on May
1 postponing the Conscription act.

Lord Wimborne, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Henry E. Duke, Chief
Secretary, resigned on April 24. Edward Shortt was appointed Chief
Secretary and Viscount French succeeded Lord Wimborne as Lord

James Ian MacPherson announced in the House of Commons on May 9 that a
German submarine had recently landed an associate of Sir Roger Casement
on the Irish coast, where he was arrested by Government officials, and
that he was now in the Tower of London and would be tried by
court-martial. A dispatch dated May 15 revealed that two Germans
accompanied him, and that all three were imprisoned.

All the Sinn Fein leaders, including De Valera and the Countess
Markievicz, were arrested in Belfast, Dublin, and other cities, on May
17, as the result of the discovery of treasonable relations with
Germany. Lord Lieutenant French issued a proclamation dealing with the
situation, calling on all loyalists to aid in blocking the German plans
and asking for volunteers to provide Ireland's share of the army.

Sir Arthur Roberts, financial adviser to the British Air Minister,
resigned on April 24 as a result of a disagreement with Lord Rothermere.
The next day Lord Rothermere resigned. He was succeeded by Sir William
Weir. Baron Rhondda resigned as Food Controller and Lord Northcliffe
resigned as Chairman of London headquarters of the British Mission to
the United States and Director of Propaganda in Enemy Countries.

Representatives of the allied nations met at Versailles on May 1 and May

On May 6 Major Gen. Frederick Barton Maurice, formerly Director General
of British Military Operations, addressed a letter to The London Daily
Chronicle challenging the statements made in the House of Commons by
Premier Lloyd George and Andrew Bonar Law with regard to the military
situation and demanding a Parliamentary investigation. On May 7
ex-Premier Asquith moved for an inquiry in Commons. After a speech by
Lloyd George in Commons in his own defense, May 9, the House, by a vote
of 293 to 106, upheld him and the Government and rejected Mr. Asquith's

The Austrian Premier was empowered by Emperor Charles, on May 4, to
adjourn Parliament and to inaugurate measures to render impossible the
resumption of its activities.

A growing resentment against the domination of Austria-Hungary by
Germany was manifested by Austria's Slavic peoples. A dispatch from
Switzerland dated May 8 told of serious disturbances in the fleet,
caused by seamen of Slavic and Italian stock, which resulted in several
changes in the high command. A new Hungarian Cabinet, headed by Dr.
Wekerle, was formed on May 10. On May 13 Vienna papers published a
declaration by the Czech members of the Austrian House of Lords in which
an independent State was demanded.

As a result of a conference between Emperor William and Emperor Charles
at German Headquarters on May 10, Austria-Hungary concluded a new
convention with Germany.

M. Duval, manager of the Bonnet Rouge, and his associates, Leymarie and
Marion, directors of the paper; Goldsky and Landau, journalists, and two
minor men named Joucla and Vercasson, were placed on trial in Paris on
charges of treason and espionage, on April 29. On May 15, Duval was
sentenced to death for treason, and the six other defendants were
sentenced to imprisonment for terms ranging from two to ten years.

The British Government replied to the note of the Netherlands Government
concerning the taking over of Dutch ships on May 1, and asserted the
full legality of the seizure.

A London dispatch, dated April 24, announced that Germany had sent an
ultimatum to Holland demanding the right of transit for civilian
supplies and sand and gravel. Holland yielded to these demands on April
28, with the stipulation that the sand and gravel should not be used for
war purposes. On May 5, Foreign Minister Loudon announced in the Dutch
Chamber that Germany had promised to transport no troops or military
supplies and to limit the amount of sand and gravel.

Persia informed Holland, on May 3, that it regarded as null and void all
treaties imposed upon Persia in recent years, and especially the
Russo-British treaty of 1907 regarding the spheres of influence.


German Losses On All Fronts

One Estimate Reaches 5,600,000

Karl Bleibtreu, the German military statistician, writing in Das Neue
Europa of April 22, gives the German losses from Aug. 2, 1914, to Jan.
31, 1918, as 4,456,961 men. His figures deal exclusively with those
killed in action or taken prisoner. They are official from Aug. 2, 1914,
till July 31, 1917, and are then estimated to Jan. 31, 1918. His figures
and comment read:



August 172,500 November 93,000
September 214,500 December 50,200
October 139,600
- - - -
Total 669,800


Jan. and Feb 66,000 August 105,400
March (?)61 Sept. and Oct 119,450
April 42,500 November 57,500
May 112,500 December 57,750
June and July 152,300
- - - -
Total 713,461


January 18,100 July 86,650
February 17,800 August 148,000
March 51,300 September 119,800
April 72,650 October 125,000
May 64,000 November 87,100
June 54,850 December 56,000
- - - -
Total 901,250


January 48,000 April 59,000
February 39,000 May, June and
March 39,600 July 134,850
- - - -
Total, (7 months) 320,450

These figures give, on the western front,
from Aug. 2, 1914, to July 31, 1917, an aggregate
of 2,604,961 casualties.


1914 163,900 1916 359,800
1915 699,600 1917 261,200

This gives a total from Aug. 2, 1914, to July 31, 1917, of 1,484,550,
and for the two fronts combined of 4,089,511.

From Aug. 1, 1917, to Jan. 31, 1918, Herr Bleibtreu estimates the total
losses on both fronts at 367,450, making in all 4,456,961 men.

In adding those who died from illness or wounds, the losses resulting
from the colonial and maritime fighting, as well as in the noncombatant
and auxiliary services, not comprised in the preceding enumeration, the
grand total considerably exceeds 5,000,000.

Estimates of German losses from Jan. 31, 1918, to May 20, 1918, range
from 400,000 to 600,000. If the above figures are correct, the total
German loss in the forty-six months of the war exceeds 5,600,000. The
London Telegraph, in analyzing these figures, said:

With regard to the figures given by Herr Bleibtreu, it may be
remarked that they are enormously in excess over those compiled in
well-informed quarters from the official casualty lists published by
the German Government, and issued periodically. Down to July 31,
1918, these lists had contained a grand total of 4,624,256 names,
but did not include naval or Colonial troop losses. Of the above
figure the following are the permanent losses:

Killed and died of wounds 1,056,975
Died of sickness 75,988
Prisoners 335,269
Missing 267,237
- - - - -
Total 1,735,469

These statistics are merely the names published down to July 31, 1917,
and are not to be taken as the actual total casualties, as the lists are
always at least several weeks behindhand. But even allowing for this
fact, Bleibtreu's estimate for the killed in action and prisoners alone
is considerably more than double those officially acknowledged by
Berlin, and nearly equal to the total casualties admitted in the
official lists from all causes. Of this remarkable discrepancy there can
be only two possible explanations. Either the German Government has
throughout the war systematically falsified its casualty lists - and
there is good reason to believe that this is the case - or else Bleibtreu
has been put up by the German Staff to publish a set of statistics
intended deliberately to mislead the Allies.

Great Britain's Finances

Heavy War Taxes Levied

The new British budget for 1918-19 was introduced in the House of
Commons April 23. It included some sweeping changes in taxes and gave
important data of expenses. The estimate for 1918 in round numbers is
$15,000,000,000; the estimated revenue is $4,200,000,000, leaving a
balance to be covered by loans of $10,800,000,000. The actual
expenditures in 1917-18 were $13,481,105,000; the revenue was
$3,536,175,000; the deficit met by loans was $9,944,930,000.

Under the new budget the tax on incomes is increased from $1.25 in $5 to
$1.50 in $5. Under the new rate the increased tax begins at an income of
$2,500 a year. On an income that is wholly earned - such as a salary - the
tax is as follows:

Income. Tax.
Income. Tax
$2,000 a year $157
2,500 a year 225
3,000 a year 375
4,000 a year 600
5,000 a year 750
10,000 a year 2,250

Where the income is wholly unearned the tax is as follows:


Income. Tax
$2,000 a year $210
2,500 a year 300
3,000 a year 455
5,000 a year 947
10,000 a year 2,635

The super tax in the new law begins at an income of $13,750, and the
total taxes paid on the following incomes, including income tax and
super tax, are as follows:


Income. Tax
$15,000 a year $4,802
20,000 a year 6,812
25,000 a year 8,937
30,000 a year 11,187
40,000 a year 15,937
50,000 a year 20,937
100,000 a year 47,187
500,000 a year 255,187

The tax on $500,000 incomes is a little over 50 per cent. In the case
of a tax-payer whose total income does not exceed $4,000 an allowance of
$125 is granted in respect of his wife and an allowance of a like amount
in respect of any dependent relatives whom he maintains; also an
allowance of $125 in respect of children under 16 years of age.


Checks require a stamp of 4 cents, also promissory notes. The
excess-profit rate remains at 80 per cent. The tax on spirits is raised
to $7.50 a gallon; on beer to $12.50 a barrel; on tobacco to $2.04 a
pound, the effect of which will increase the price 4 cents an ounce,
while the cheapest cigarette, now 6 cents for ten, will be 7 cents for
ten. The tax on matches is increased so that they will be sold at 2
cents a box instead of 1-1/2 cents. An additional duty of $3 a
hundredweight is levied on sugar, so that sugar heretofore selling at
11-1/2 cents a pound will now have to be sold at 14 cents a pound.

A tax of 16-2/3 per cent, is levied on the sale of luxuries, including
jewelry, and of articles above a certain price when they become articles
of luxury; also on hotel and restaurant bills. This tax will be
collected by means of stamps. The new postage rate is raised to 3 cents
an ounce; on book packages exceeding one ounce an extra charge of 1 cent
will be levied. Letters to the United States will cost 3 cents instead
of 2 cents. Post-cards in England will be 2 cents instead of 1 cent, and
the parcel rate, under seven pounds, 18 cents, and between seven and
eleven pounds, 25 cents.


The tax on luxuries is a new tax in England, and is following the method
adopted in France Dec. 31, 1917. The tax on luxuries in France is levied
at the rate of 10 per cent. on the retail selling price of the scheduled
articles. All payments of less than 20 cents are exempted. The schedule
consists of two lists, one comprising articles taxed irrespective of
price at 10 per cent., and the other, articles taxed when the retail
price exceeds certain specified amounts, as follows:

_Taxed Irrespective of Price._ - Photographic appliances, gold or
platinum jewelry, billiard tables, silk hosiery and underwear,
artistic bronze and iron work, horses and ponies for pleasure
purposes, curiosities and antiques, sporting guns, books, servants'
liveries, gold watches, perfumery, soaps and dentifrices, paintings
and sculpture, pianos, (other than cottage pianos,) tapestry,
truffles, pleasure boats, and yachts.

Online LibraryVariousCurrent History, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June 1918 → online text (page 9 of 30)