Page 3784

3784 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

Italian towns and of British troops shooting

down starving Italian women and children.

These influences and the pacific, not to say,

pro-German, attitude of Italian Clericals, did

their nefarious work. When the Italians

had been effectively demoralized, the Austrian troops opposing them were withdrawn,

and in their places were put German shock

troops ready to strike the decisive blow.

The main attack was to be made by the

Germans. These were commanded by General von Bullow. Their number was not

large; in fact, some estimates run as low as

70,000 men. They were, however, excellent

troops, efficiently commanded, and far superior to the Austrians whom the Italians had

thus far been fighting. "It was a thorough

German outfit and had been prepared in the

usual German fashion." The Germans were

to open the way, and the Austro-Hungarians

were to follow when the Italian line had been

broken.

On October 24, under cover of a brief but

heavy artillery fire, the veteran German

shock troops attacked on a 20-mile front in

the region of Tolmino and Plezzo in the

Julian Alps. The assailants were favored

by a fog and met comparatively little resistance. At least one unit of the Italian army

threw away its arms and fled or surrendered

without fighting. Like more than one other

people in this war, these troops were finding

out in a painful way the crafty nature of the

Teutons.

The victors followed up their success

with their accustomed energy. They crossed

the Isonzo in pursuit and were threatening to cut off the Italian detachments

retreating from the Montinero region and to

take in the rear the Italian forces to the