3640 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.
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
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
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
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