Page 3780

3780 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD,

his persistent battering General Haig had

prevented the Germans from using their

troops elsewhere and had decreased the fighting strength of the German army, but he

had accomplished no decisive results.

On October 23, 1917, the French struck a

heavy blow northeast of Soissons on a six-mile front and advanced to a depth of more

than two miles at one point, taking more

than 8,000 prisoners and 70 cannons. Several squadrons of tanks fought in the battle

and aided the advancing infantry. The region

taken was an exceedingly difficult one and

was honeycombed with quarries, caves, and

tunnels, which afforded the Germans good

positions for defense. As a result of the victory, the Germans were forced to evacuate

the Chemin des Dames and fall back over

the Ailette River, losing more prisoners and

guns in the process. The Chemin des Dames

is a road over the ridge that dominates the

Ailette and Aisne Valleys. The Germans had

controlled it since September, 1914, and were

loath to give it up. The victory also brought

the French nearer to the great German base

at Laon and endangered the German hold

on that place. Time was to show, however,

that the Chemin des Dames had not changed

hands for the last time.

Toward the end of the third year of the

war, increasing dissatisfaction in Germany

culminated in a real political crisis. Demands

were made for franchise reforms, especially

in Prussia, and for other measures, but they

were bitterly opposed by the Junkers. Owing

to the rigid suppression of news concerning

the internal affairs of Germany, the outside

world received only a dim notion of what

was happening. But that German affairs

were in a ferment was beyond doubt.

The peace party gained such strength that

the Reichstag refused to vote the war credit,

pending a solution of the war crisis. On

July 13, the Social Democratic members and

others, constituting a majority in the Reichstag, decided to support the following peace

resolutions:

"As on August: 4, 1914, so on the threshold

of the fourth year of the war the German

people stand upon the assurance of the speech

from the throne-'We are driven by no lust

of conquest..