Page 3620

3620 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

against Napoleon and turned the country

into a waste before relinquishing it. Many

of the inhabitants fled to the heart of

Russia as the war neared their homes,

but great numbers remained. In a country

ravaged by war, with food supplies commandeered by both armies, with the homes

of most of the people in ashes, it required

no great prescience to see that the coming

winter would be one of great suffering.

Such, in fact, proved to be the case, and

it is beyond question that the winter of

1915-16 witnessed far greater horrors in

Poland than in Belgium. But it was

more remote from the New World, and

Americans heard less of this suffering than

of that of the little country nearer home.

An American, Frederick C. Walcott,

who visited Poland in 1916, gave the

following description of conditions there

and of the German policy toward the

country:

"Poland-Russian Poland-is perishing.

And the German high command, imbued

with the Prussian system, is coolly reckoning on the necessities of a starving people

to promote its imperial ends.

"West Poland, which has been Prussian

territory more than a hundred years, is

a disappointment to Germany; its people

obstinately remain Poles. This time they

propose swifter measures. In two or

three years, by grace of starvation and

frightfulness, they calculate East Poland

will be thoroughly made over into a German province.

"In the great Hindenburg drive one

year ago, the country was completely

devastated by the retreating Russian

army and the oncoming Germans. A

million people were driven from their

homes. Half of them perished by the

roadside. For miles and miles, when I

saw the country, the way was littered

with mud soaked garments and bones picked

clean by the crows-though the larger

bones had been gathered by the thrifty

Germans to be ground into fertilizer.

Wicker baskets-the little basket in which

the baby swings from the rafters in every

peasant home-were scattered along the

way, hundreds and hundreds, until one

could not count them, each one telling

a death.