3755 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
barrow with what she could find in the
ruins the Germans had made of her home-the last article was a doll without a head-and trundle the cargo away with four
shy, weak little figures clinging to her
skirts, who made as painfully sad a group
as I have ever seen."
The people were starving because the
Huns had despoiled them of their poultry,
livestock, and agricultural products. "We
shall never forget the American relief,"
they said to the war correspondents.
"It saved us. Almost from the beginning
of the German occupation we had nothing else." These
supplies would have
kept them adequately nourished
had they received
all that was landed
at Rotterdam for
their use. But the
their solemn pledges to let this food
pass through for
the benefit of those
for whom it was
took much of the
white flour for
remained, so that
what was issued was
a sticky, black substance. In some
places, toward the end, they appropriated
three-fourths of the Committee's ration for
their own use. By thus stealing the
supplies furnished by neutrals and by
confiscating the food produced locally,
the invaders reduced the unhappy people
to a state of semi-starvation. The last
cows had been seized and there was no
milk for the babies.
"Hundreds of villages have been pillaged
and burnt," cabled the correspondent
of the United Press on March 31; "fruit
orchards have been leveled; the room-walls
in houses spared in the retreat have been
clotted and smeared with filth, mirrors
smashed, friezes pick-axed. But most
tragic of all are the human wrecks left
behind-staring at the incoming British
and French troops with eyes made mild
by suffering. Their faces wear blank
expressions, because behind them are
brains dulled by lack of proper sustenance.
The faces of the babies and younger
children are especially pitiful-colorless,
with black circles under the eyes."
At Noyon there was continual robbery
throughout the whole period of occupation.
Many houses were looted of all valuables,
and the interiors were defiled in an unspeakable manner. Safes in private houses
and in banks were blown open, and the
money and securities were stolen. At
Candor soldiers were seen breaking open
tombs and vaults in the hope of finding
valuables. The church was pillaged, and
the silver figures of Christ on the crucifixes
were torn off. At another place the
soldiers broke into the vault of a chapel
and left a gaping hole through which
a coffin and human bones could be seen.
Though the Germans sought to justify this
destruction on the plea of "military necessity," it is clear that the desire for wanton
destruction and perhaps to terrorize their