Page 3518

3518 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

which the British were compelled to pay

for safeguarding their own foreign trade

and destroying that of their enemies.

What has been said regarding the British

and the Germans applies in general to

the French and Italians on the one side

and the Austrians on the other. The

Austrian navy was kept in port almost

altogether, and its merchant marine did

not appear on the seas. The French and

Italians, however, kept both their navies

and their merchant fleets upon the seas,

with the result that they were able to

continue their trade with the world, but

lost some warships, though not many.

Neither nation lost a ship of the first class,

the losses being confined to cruisers or

smaller vessels and to a few old battleships.

Naval operations in the Adriatic were, in

fact, comparatively unimportant. Before

Italy declared war, French and British

ships bombarded Cattaro and Pola, but

there were no big naval engagements.

After Italy entered the conflict, she took

over most of the task of confining the

Austrians to their harbors. There were

numerous conflicts between small craft,

and the submarines of both Austria and

Italy were active, but again there were no

big battles.

The German navy controlled the greater

part of the Baltic Sea, and there were

numerous skirmishes between it and Russian ships, but no general battle. Fear

of Russian and British submarines kept

the Germans for the most part away from

the Russian coasts. At the time the

German army was endeavoring to capture

Riga, the German navy tried to gain

control of the Gulf of Riga, but suffered

so severely from gunfire, mines, and submarines, that it gave over the attempt.

The Allies claimed to have sunk one of

the best of the German battle cruisers.

The failure of the attempt to gain possession of the gulf undoubtedly saved Riga

at this time from the Germans.

In the fall of 1915, British submarines

began a campaign in the Baltic against

German shipping, and for a time completely paralyzed traffic between Germany

and the Scandinavian countries. In ten

days in October, they sank a score of ships

with an aggregate tonnage of almost 40,000.

In the Black Sea there were repeated

skirmishes between the Russian and Turkish fleets. The Goeben bore the brunt

of the Russian attacks in some of these

battles and was severely damaged. Ultimately the Turkish navy was so badly

battered that the Russians remained in

practically undisputed control of the sea,

and were able to prevent the Turks from

making use of it in carrying supplies

and troops. In July, 1915, the Russians

announced that since the war began they

had captured or destroyed nearly nine hundred Turkish merchant vessels, but most

of these were very small.

The violation of international law involved in the invasion of Belgium at the

very outbreak of the war was symptomatic

of a state of affairs that was to continue

throughout the contest both on sea and

land. We have already related how the

Koenigin Luise in the first few days of

the war began the promiscuous laying

of mines, a clear violation of the laws of

war as regulated by the Hague Convention,

which provided that, except for defensive

purposes, mines shall only be laid in the

territorial waters of the power that lays

them. The British protested, but themselves soon took up the practice. One

violation followed another, until international law presented as riddled an appearance as the sinking hulks of von Spee's

squadron. And unfortunately the suffering and loss of property resulting from such

actions were not confined to the people of

the belligerent countries but also fell heavily upon neutral peoples.

No law is self-enforcing, and this statement holds as true of international law

as it does of the ordinary private law of

an individual country. In the case of

the laws of a country there are officials

whose duty it is to see that the laws are

enforced; but there existed no such authority to enforce the observance of international law. Unless neutral nations saw

to it that such rules were observed, the

belligerents could violate the rules with

impunity. Unfortunately, also,