3795 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
generally greeted with satirical remarks.
Milk was allowed only to children up to the
age of six and to invalids when a committee
of doctors decided that it was absolutely
necessary. Even the articles on the cards
were not always obtainable, but certain
luxuries could be purchased by those who
had money to buy-at extremely high prices.
A single ham cost $70, and horse meat sold
at $2.75 a pound. Many of the people were
in rags, and the linen of most was worn dirty,
for soap with which to wash it was almost
The German hope of conquering France
had long since disappeared. Some of the
people were skeptical regarding the official
reports, and women folk, more outspoken
than the men, would sometimes say, after
reading such reports on the bulletin boards,
"We have nothing but victories, and yet we
always get further back."
Conditions in parts of Austria-Hungary
were much worse. In some places even
potatoes brought fifty cents a pound. In
districts in Bohemia a new disease made its
appearance which from its symptoms was
called "famine-dropsy." In Budapest and
elsewhere, great demonstrations took place
in favor of peace.
The Italian disaster turned the attention
of the Allies once more to the fatal lack of
unified effort. In a speech at Paris, Premier
Lloyd George spoke bluntly concerning the
failure of the Allies in the past and enumerated some of the defects that had resulted
from lack of unified command. He referred,
for example, to the failure of the Allies to
assist Servia in time with the result that the
Central Empires opened a road to Turkey.
"Why was this unbelievable fault committed?" he asked. "The reply is simple.
It was because no one in particular was
charged with guarding the Balkan gate.
The united front had not become a reality.
France and England were absorbed by other
problems in other regions. Italy thought
only of the Carso. Russia was mounting
guard over a frontier of a thousand miles,
and, even without that, she could not have
passed through to have helped Servia,
because Roumania was neutral. It is true
that we sent troops to Salonica to succor
Servia, but, as always, they were sent too
late. . . .You may say this is an old story. I
grant you that it was simply the first chapter
of a series that has continued to the present
hour; 1915 was the year of the Servian
tragedy; 1916 was the year of the Roumanian tragedy, which was a repetition of the
Servian story almost without change. This
is unbelievable, when you think of the consequences to the Allies' cause of the Roumanian defeat. Opulent wheat fields and
rich petroleum wells passed to the enemy
and Germany was able to escape us.
"Through the harvest of 1917 the siege of
the Central Powers was raised once more,
and the horrible war was once more prolonged. That would not have happened
had there existed some central authority,
charged with meditating upon the problem
of the war for the entire theater of the war."
Lloyd George stated that he had reached
the conclusion that if nothing was changed
he "could no longer accept the responsibility
for the direction of a war condemned to
disaster from lack of unity.. . .The war has