Page 3776

3776 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD,

moments to renounce annexations are false. . ..

Should the peasants immediately take possession of the private lands? Yes; the land

must be seized immediately. Strict order

should be established through the agency of

the councils of peasants deputies. The production of bread and meat should be increased, for the soldiers must be better fed.

The damaging of cattle, implements, etc.,

can not be allowed. It is necessary to organize the poor peasants and the agricultural

laborers. Should the fraternization at the

front be encouraged? Yes. This is both

useful and necessary. It is absolutely necessary immediately to encourage attempts at

fraternizing between the soldiers of the two

belligerent sides. What color is our flag?

Red, for the red flag is the flag of the universal proletarian revolution."

Generals Kaledines and Korniloff and

others headed counter-revolts, but the Bolsheviki managed to control most of European

Russia. The property of nobles, merchants,

and the other well-to-do classes was confiscated, and the great estates were divided

among the peasants. The Russian Church,

one of the most powerful institutions of the

old regime, was disestablished, and its lands,

money, precious stones, and other property

were seized. By decree of the middle

of December, all military ranks, titles,

and decorations were abolished. Officers in the army were to be elected by

the men; in many cases capable officers

were degraded to the ranks and incompetent privates were chosen to fill their

places. Some officers were brutally

treated by their men. Complete demoralization speedily followed. The

troops deserted by hundreds of

thousands; the horses starved to death

from lack of provender; and fraternization with the enemy became more than

ever common.

By official proclamation dated February 8, 1918, all loans contracted by

former Russian governments were repudiated. Indigent persons holding

stock not exceeding 10,000 rubles in

internal loans were to receive certificates to the nominal value of their

holdings in a new loan. State savings

banks and cooperative and other institutions of general or democratic utility

were also to be indemnified for their

holdings.

During the summer and fall of 1917,

General Haig continued his offensive in

Flanders with the usual British persistency. The task was most difficult,

for the British preparations could not

be concealed from the watchful enemy,

and the Germans were able to bring up reserves and mass great artillery concentrations

to meet the offensive. Experience had taught

the Germans to abandon in large measure

their formal trench systems. They fought

from shell craters and from concealed concrete machine-gun emplacements which the

British called "pill-boxes." In the operations a considerable number of French troops

assisted the British.