Page 3684

3684 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

in the nation, including labor. Baron

Rhondda, one of its members, was the head

of a great coal combine in South Wales;

Sir Albert Stanley, an American naturalized

in Great Britain, was the head of the

London underground railway system; Lord

Devonport had had a successful business

career as a great food merchant; and

Sir Alfred Mond was another captain of

industry. The representatives of labor,

Arthur Henderson and John Hodge, had

been workers and leaders in the trade

union movement. Mr. Balfour succeeded

Viscount Grey as Foreign Secretary, while

Lord Robert Cecil continued to be Minister

of Blockade. Lord Derby became Minister of War, and Sir Edward Carson First

Lord of the Admiralty.

The War Council was composed of Lloyd

George himself, Lord Curzon, Bonar Law,

Lord Milner, and Arthur Henderson.

With his customary aggressive fearlessness, Lloyd George proceeded to grapple

with the problems that faced his country,

and a new spirit was infused into British

affairs. Men began to call him the

William Pitt of the Great War, and it

was universally recognized that if he

brought his country through the crisis

his fame would be secure as one of the

greatest of British statesmen. Aware at

last of their danger, the people acquiesced

with hardly a murmur in the exercise of

powers that would have been unthinkable

in the Great Britain of 1914.

On the night of the 21st of November,

in his castle at Schonbrunn, died Emperor

Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary. He

was in his eighty-seventh year, and he

had reigned sixty-eight years, the longest

reign of any monarch in modern European

history. He had ascended the throne

in the midst of the chaos of 1848, his

private life had been one terrible tragedy

after another, and now, at the end, he

went to the tomb when his empire was

threatened with defeat and dissolution.

He seems to have possessed some personal

characteristics that were not altogether

bad, but he was a Hapsburg, a man out

of sympathy with the spirit of the centuries

in which he lived, and at his door history

will lay a large share of the. blame for

precipitating one of the most stupendous

disasters to humanity recorded since the

beginning of time.

Emperor Francis Joseph was succeeded

by his grandnephew, Archduke Charles

Francis. Joseph, younger brother of the

prince whose assassination at Sarajevo

brought on the war. The new ruler was

not yet thirty years of age, and, in 1911,

he had married Princess Zita of the

Bourbon House of Parma. His accession

made no immediate important change in

the course of the war.

The year 1916 had been a hard one

for the Central Powers. The pressure

of the blockade had still further disorganized their industries and had brought

them nearer to national bankruptcy. The

German attack on Verdun had been beaten

off by the French with bloody losses for

the assailants. The British push along

the Somme had cost the Germans hundreds

of thousands of casualties, while the Russians had won a great victory over the Austrians in Galicia. The Roumanian peril, to