Page 3430

3430 UNIVERSAL HISTORY.-THE MODERN WORLD.

Our world has passed away,

In wantonness overthrown.

There's nothing left to-day

But steel and fire and stone.

Though all we knew depart,

The old commandments stand:

'In courage keep your heart!

In strength lift up your hand!"

In the neutral world voices were raised

for peace, and, as time passed, movement

after movement with that end in view

was launched. But men who knew the

real nature of the conflict realized that all

such efforts were doomed to disappointment. With the war once begun, there

could be no hope of early compromise

and peace. The people of the Central

Powers believed that for them it must

be victory or annihilation; theirs was the

spirit of Bernhardi, "world power or

downfall." Servia and Belgium knew that

their existence was at stake, while the

Russians realized that to make peace

would involve their paying part of the cost

of the war, either in territory or money.

France had experienced the bitterness

of defeat in 1870 and believed that the

price would be even heavier and more

disastrous now. To the British defeat

spelled the downfall of the fabric of their

vast empire, and, furthermore, they early

announced that they would not sheathe

the sword until justice had been done

Belgium. On the 5th of September, at

the time the German armies were nearest

Paris, Great Britain, France, and Russia

signed a solemn agreement that none

of them would make a separate peace,

and this covenant was later ratified by

others of the Allies. It was to be a fight

to the finish, or until all parties were

exhausted.

Centuries would not allay the hatreds

that the war would provoke. Unborn

generations would bear in bitterness and

suffering the burdens which the conflict

would impose upon their innocent shoulders. And surely, if there be a God of

Justice, he will, in His own good time,

punish the rulers who in wantonness of

pride and ambition unchained the demons

of destruction.

CHAPTER CLXXIV- BELGIUM AND THE RUSH FOR PARIS.

THOSE people who were

acquainted with European conditions and

had an intelligent

knowledge of military

matters realized that

the war that had now

burst upon the world

would be deadly beyond all precedent,

not so much because of the increased destructiveness of modern weapons as because

of the vast numbers that would be engaged

in it. We have already stated that more

than half the human race were, at least

nominally, on one side or the other; but

it must be confessed that this statement

is somewhat misleading, for while Canada,

Australasia, South Africa, India, Algeria,

and some other colonies might send considerable bodies of troops, it was evident

that most of the fighting would be done

by citizens of the home countries. Even

so, the populations concerned were enormous. Before proceeding to a consideration

of the actual events of the war, it will be

desirable for us to take a survey of the population and wealth and military and naval

strength of the combatants. Since Japan's

part in the war did not prove a very active

one, we shall ignore her resources; though

it should be said that the possibility that

they might be called into action no doubt

was a source of some uneasiness to the

Teutonic powers.

The total area of Germany was 210,000

square miles, of Austria-Hungary, 261,000

square miles; and their respective populations, in round numbers, were seventy

millions and fifty millions. In addition,

Germany owned over a million square

miles of colonial possessions, with about

fourteen million inhabitants, of whom