Page 3438

3438 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

by one mighty blow. The plan was in

no sense a new one. The Germans had

had it in contemplation for years and long

since had made preparations for it. They

had built railroads to the Belgian frontier

and had provided stations with numerous

side-tracks and long platforms in order

that troops and guns might rapidly be unloaded.

If there existed no other evidence of

Germany's long and deep laid scheme to

violate the neutrality of Belgium, these

railways would be sufficient evidence in

the court of history. In a village containing only a dozen cottages side-tracks

were provided on such a scale that, combined, they were able to accommodate

trains carrying an army corps of 40,000

men. At one such station, in a thinly

inhabited district, there were three platforms, each 500 yards in length. At another station there was a perfect network,

two of the side-tracks being a half mile

long and equipped with turn tables.

The whole German plan for invading

Belgium had been in readiness long before

and it was merely necessary for the General Staff to take the plan out of its

pigeonhole and push the necessary buttons. Troop movements of the vastness

of the German invasion of Belgium cannot

be suddenly improvised on the spur of

the moment.

The German plan of invasion was a

gigantic one. Along the Alsace-Lorraine

front they planned to do little more than

hold the French in check, though ultimately they struck hard in the region of

Nancy. Their main attack was to be a

great enveloping movement from the northeast through Luxemburg and Belgium.

This attack was designed to roll back the

French left, including the relatively small

Belgian and British forces, upon the center,

producing a confusion which would result

in disaster.

The plan of the High Command was,

in fact, to herd the allied armies against

the eastern frontier and to bring about

a new Sedan on an immensely greater

scale. Paris and all of France would

then be completely at their mercy. With

France out of the war, they could then

throw their own armies and those of Austria against the Russians with assurance of

another complete success.

On August 2d, German troops crossed

the Moselle at Wasserbillig and entered

Luxemburg, the little independent grand

duchy which lies between France, Germany, and Belgium. The young Grand

Duchess vigorously protested against this

violation of the neutrality of her country

but without avail. The German invasion

was not only in violation of the ordinary

rules of international law but also of a

treaty of 1902 which had been entered

into when the railways of Luxemburg

had been leased by the Imperial Directorate of the railways of Alsace-Lorraine.

By this treaty the Imperial Government

solemnly bound itself never to use the

railways of Luxemburg, "for the transportation of troops, arms, materials of

war, and munitions, and not to use them

during a war in which Germany is involved, for provisioning the troops in a