Page 3582

3582 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

"obtained and expended more than $250,

000,000 and delivered 2-1/2 million tons

of supplies, rationed on scientific dietetic

principles, to an imprisoned population

of ten million people. It has chartered

fleets of ocean-going steamers and thousands of canal boats; it has managed great

mills, employed an army of bakers, and

guided the bread and soup to the mouths

of millions of destitute men, women, and

children. It has been recognized and

privileged by the warring nations and

their armies, and negotiated directly with

the chief officers of state of half a dozen

governments; indeed, it has been trusted

as if almost a state itself. And through

all its activities it has manifested-even

one connected with it may be bold enough

to say it-an efficiency and a spirit of

devotion and self-sacrifice of which America

may be not ashamed."

No feature of the war was watched

with more eager interest than was the

use of flying machines. Stationary balloons had been employed for observation

purposes in warfare at least as early as

a century and a quarter before, and the

newer types of aerial vessels had been used

to some extent in the recent war between

Turkey and Italy and in the Balkan

conflicts, but in neither had the actual

possibilities of such machines received

a thorough trial. In the present great

conflict there was to be ample time and

opportunity for experiment in every possible direction in which such machines

gave even the slightest prospect of success.

The aerial vessels were of two general

types: lighter than air machines, and

heavier than air machines. The first

type were, in fact, nothing more than

balloons, which depended upon a gas-filled

bag of some sort for their ability to fly,

though for the most part they were

equipped with engines and propellers

designed to enable them to move in any

direction their crew might wish. All

the chief combatants had air vessels of

this type, but the Germans had devoted

much more effort in this direction than

had the Allies. The Zeppelins, so named

after Count Zeppelin, their inventor, were

already famous throughout the world;

and it had been demonstrated that, under

favorable conditions, such ships were able

to carry a considerable number of persons

for long distances. In the popular mind

all German dirigibles were "Zeppelins,"

but such, in reality, was not the case.

A Zeppelin consisted of a long cigar-shaped

gas envelope divided into many compartments, with a car beneath, in which a

powerful engine was established to turn

the propeller. In order to make these

vessels as light as possible, aluminum was

used in large measure for the metal framework. Imposing as were these machines,

they had some decided disadvantages and

weaknesses. In the first place, they were

immensely costly, the building of one of the

largest size necessitating the expenditure

of half a million dollars. In a storm they

were also practically uncontrollable, unless inside the great shed-like hangars built

for their protection. They furnished, too,

an enormous mark for the enemy's artillery.

The heavier than air machines were,

of course, the well known aeroplanes.