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3446 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

quartered at their houses; that they treacherously attacked German troops in occupied

towns; and that they were guilty of various other diabolical and unwarranted acts.

Some at least of these charges are probably true. The Belgian people were

wrought up to a high pitch by the invasion

of their country, and some of them, when

occasion offered, no doubt did incautious

and even cruel things.

The offenses charged to the Germans

fall into two classes: those committed

without authority by individuals and those

committed by direct orders of responsible

officers. In the first class fall crimes

ranging from venial thefts of food or wine

up through the pillaging of money and

goods to brutal killing of wounded prisoners, mutilations, unprovoked murder,

and hideous outrages upon women and

young girls. Beyond all question, there

were many fiendish crimes committed by

individual German soldiers in Belgium and

northern France during this invasion.

This is not to say that such crimes were

approved by all the German soldiers or

that such a crime as rape, when discovered,

was not sometimes punished by the German

military authorities. In an army such

as the German, raised by universal conscription, all sorts of men were in the ranks,

from the gentlest to the most brutal and

depraved. Among hundreds of German

diaries subsequently captured by the Allies

were a few that mentioned crimes to condemn them; in others, the crimes appear

to have been set down with a sort of pride.

War has a brutalizing effect upon humanity, and in the case of the invasion of

Belgium there can be little doubt also

that the acts authorized by way of policy

by the military authorities encouraged