Page 3604

3604 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

way was not so easy, and for days a bloody

confusion of attack and counter-attack

followed. Some of the ground taken

afterward had to be resigned, but as a

net result, the Allies retained considerable

ground near Ypres and more in Artois,

while in Champagne they took two lines

of German trenches over a front of seven

and a half miles and with an average depth

of two miles. Furthermore, the British

captured over 3,000 prisoners and some

25 guns; while the French took 25,000

unwounded prisoners and 150 guns. Both

French and British also captured great

numbers of machine guns and large

quantities of war material. The French

estimated the German losses at 120,000,.

and the Germans gave an even larger

estimate of the losses of the Allies.

In their official statements the Germans

minimized the Allied success, and there

can be no doubt that it did not attain all

that the Allies had hoped. Lloyd George,

the British Minister of Munitions, later

declared that with three times the supply of

shells, twenty times the results could have

been achieved. Still the actual results

somewhat bettered the position of the

Allies, and the fighting tended to diminish

the German strength-to promote the process of attrition, which the Allies counted

upon to help them win the war.

For months after the close of the Allies'

great offensive, the old deadlock continued

in the west, without either side attempting

any grand effort. Every day there was

more or less cannonading along the four

hundred mile front; almost every day

there were sporadic infantry attacks and

bomb throwing, mining and counter-mining; every day hundreds or even thousands of men were killed or wounded; but

neither side felt strong enough to make

any determined push against the other.

There were sharp battles, but they grew

out of attempts at local advances and not

out of any general attack. Throughout

the winter four or five millions of men,

burrowed in the earth like badgers or

prairie dogs, lay facing each other, while

the impatient world hoped and prayed

and clamored for the end.

Meanwhile, both armies continued to

strengthen their defenses. Each had lines

behind lines, and it came to be said that

the French were fortified back to Paris,

and the Germans back to Berlin, while

Belgium had been transformed into one

vast fortress.

In December, Sir John French resigned

from command of the British Expeditionary

Force in France, the step being partly due

to dissatisfaction with his recent conduct

of affairs. He was not, however, disgraced, but was raised to a peerage and

was given command of the forces in

Great Britain. He was succeeded by

Sir Douglas Haig, whose skill and resourcefulness had been frequently displayed in the course of the war. Steps

were also taken to insure a closer cooperation between the French and British

armies and to improve the leadership

generally of the British forces.

Meanwhile, a great campaign for recruits

was being waged in Great Britain under

the leadership of the Earl of Derby. The

number who volunteered was very large,

over three millions, but ultimately it

was found advisable to enact a conscription

law to reach the unmarried slackers. This

step had long been advocated, particularly by the Conservatives, but it had

been bitterly opposed. There were many

threats, particularly in labor circles, that the

act would be resisted, but Great Britain's

need had at last become obvious to all

intelligent patriots, and the measure was

ultimately acquiesced in more quietly

than had been expected, though the fact

that Ireland was not made subject to the

law aroused some muttering, as did also

the exemption from its terms of married

men and of men working in certain trades.

By spring Great Britain had four million

men under arms. It was certain, however,

that months would elapse before she

really reached the top of her fighting

strength, for, to a large extent, men and

officers were still new to their trade. It

was the British hope that when the time

for the final decision came, it would find

the Central Powers weakened by losses,

while British armies would have reached