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3472 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

than all the cathedrals in Europe

put together. They call us barbarians.

What of it? We scorn them and their

abuse. For my part, I hope that in this

war we have merited the title of barbarians. Let neutral peoples and our

enemies cease their empty chatter, which

may well be compared to the twitter of

birds. Let them cease their talk of the

cathedral at Rheims and of all the churches

and castles in France which have shared

its fate. These things do not interest us.

Our troops must achieve victory. What

else matters ?"

During the German advance on Paris,

the activity of the Belgian army based

on Antwerp had necessitated the use of

large German forces to safeguard communications with the Fatherland. Much

fighting took place in the region about

Malines, and this place was taken and

lost several times and was virtually destroyed by German bombardments. In

the middle of September, following the

German retreat from the Marne, the Belgian army moved forward from Malines

toward Weerde in such strength that their

enemies were obliged to recall large forces

from the French border. A hot four

days' battle ensued, which was ended

by another retreat on Antwerp.

It was clear that the Belgian army

would continue to be a thorn in the

German side so long as Antwerp continued in its possession, so, toward

the end of September, as a part of a

new offensive in the west, the Germans

began a determined effort to capture

the city. Accordingly General von

Beseler with a considerable army,

well supplied with heavy German and

Austrian artillery, was sent to reduce

the place and destroy or capture what

remained of King Albert's little army.

The great commercial city of Antwerp, which at the outbreak of the

war had a population of about four

hundred thousand people, lies on the

river Scheldt about fifteen miles above

the Dutch border. It was generally

considered to be one of the most

strongly fortified cities in Europe; it

was defended by four separate lines

of defense, the outermost line of

forts being a dozen miles southeast

of the city. The fact that the

rivers Rupel, Nethe, and Scheldt

extend on three sides of the city

greatly added to its natural strength.

Immediately after the war began,

steps had been taken to cut down

trees, to clear away buildings, and

to remove other obstacles that would

interfere with the fire of the forts or give

cover to an approaching enemy. Millions

of dollars worth of property was thus

destroyed; while acres upon acres of

barbed wire entanglements were constructed, together with "man-traps" and

chevaux-de-frise of stakes. Mines were

planted in places where the Germans

might be expected to come, dynamite

was placed under every bridge, and