Page 3640


and that she had therefore decided to

send these to a quarter whence they could

be supplied by French and British factories.

Even before the Russians arrived, it

was certain that should the Germans

succeed in breaking through at Verdun,

they would find numerically superior forces

confronting them. No military critic seriously thought that the Germans had a

chance to fight their way through to

Paris. What virtually the whole of the

German army could not do in September,

1914, when the French had the assistance of

less than a hundred thousand British, had

become an impossibility now that there

were a million British troops in France, to

say nothing of the Russian forces.

Yet, though repulsed, the German losses

around Verdun were not wholly in vain.

The French, too, had suffered greatly and

had been compelled to expend great quantities of the valuable ammunition and shells

they had been piling up for offensive efforts. It is possible, also, that the drive

had prevented the sending of French and

British troops to the Eastern Fronts and

thus somewhat disorganized the Allied plan

of campaign.

At all events, the Verdun drive, lasting

as it did through a period of months, was

not only the greatest cannonade the world

had yet witnessed, but also, up to that

time, the greatest and bloodiest battle.

The losses on both sides amounted probably to almost, if not quite, four hundred

thousand men.

As the German effort against Verdun

languished, the Germans began a series

of ventures designed to distract attention

from the probable failure and to bewilder

their enemies, as they had done so successfully in the spring of 1915. Late in April

and early in May, they launched aerial

raids against British and French towns

and sent a squadron of warships to bombard Lowestoft on the east coast of England. In less than a week, however, they

lost three Zeppelins in aerial ventures,

while the bombardment of Lowestoft

caused comparatively little damage.

More notable was an attempt to raise

Ireland in rebellion. A pro-German independence party existed in that island,

though most of the Irish leaders, like

John Redmond, were supporting the war.

Great latitude was allowed the malcontents, and, thanks to this laxity, a small

faction of extreme radicals known as

Sinn Feiners arranged an uprising, which

was to have German support. Late in

April, a German vessel flying the Norwegian flag and accompanied by a submarine attempted to land arms in Ireland,

but the vessel was seized and was sunk by

her own crew. Sir Roger Casement, an

Irishman formerly in the British consular

service, attempted to land from the submarine, but was captured and was taken

to London.

On the day after Easter, about the time

that Casement's capture became known,

the Sinn Feiners rose in several localities.

By far the most important of these uprisings took place in the city of Dublin. In

the absence of any adequate force to

oppose them, the rebels managed to seize

the post-office and a considerable part

of the city, and proclaimed a "Republic,"

with P. H. Pearce and James Connolly

as provisional "President" and "Commander in Chief." The uprising received

little active support among the people;

while John Redmond, the Irish Parliamentary leader, denounced it as an "insane movement," whose only important

result would be to imperil the triumph of

Home Rule. The rebellion had, of course,

not the slightest chance of success. Troops

in overwhelming numbers were rushed

to Dublin, and, after about a week of

sharp fighting in which over a thousand

persons, many of them non-combatants,

were killed or wounded, the rebels surrendered. Meanwhile, small uprisings elsewhere were put down.

More than a dozen of the leaders of

the uprising were condemned to death

by court-martial and were shot, while

others received prison sentences. Sir

Roger Casement was tried for treason,

was convicted, and was hanged.

Meanwhile, the curtain was slowly rising

upon the campaigns that were to make

1916 forever memorable in the history of