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vii INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME IX.

IN this Volume we conclude the epic story of

the Great War. The

narrative begins at the

moment when the last

German offensive had

been brought to a pause

by French and American valor in the second Battle of the Marne.

With the eye of genius Foch perceived that

the time had come to pass from the defensive

to the offensive, and his preparations were

made. On the 18th of July, his French and

Americans began their counter-stroke, and

that day will forever remain memorable in

the annals of mankind, for it was the date on

which the tide that had threatened to engulf

the world began definitely to recede. Thenceforth the Central Powers were always on the

defensive, and never again did their War

Lords taste of the cup of victory.

On the 8th of August Haig struck farther

northward and erased the salient that Ludendorff had driven toward Amiens. Thenceforth blow followed blow, not only in France

and Belgium but in the Balkans, Palestine,

and Italy. A new spirit pervaded the Allied

armies, and everywhere victory perched on

their banners. Bulgaria withdrew from the

war; Turkey, her armies beaten and communication with her allies cut off, sued for

peace; the Italians overwhelmed the Austro-Hungarians, and the whole Dual Monarchy

came down in one earth-shaking crash; the

Hindenburg Line, which the Germans had

boasted was impregnable, gave way before

the assaults of Foch, Haig, and Pershing; the

beaten Teutons, still fighting doggedly, retreated toward Germany; and finally, with

revolt rearing its head at home, the War

Lords, all hope gone, sued for an armistice.

The Kaiser and the Crown Prince fled to

Holland, and to comparatively unknown

men fell the unpleasant duty of signing the

humiliating terms that silenced the guns that

for more than four years had sounded unceasingly.

All of these mighty events are described in

some detail, but, for obvious reasons, more

space is given to American achievements.

The reader is cautioned, however, against

assuming that it was the Americans alone

who "won the war." They helped to win

the war, but all the Allies, under the direction of Foch, cooperated to that end, and all

contributed to the fortunate outcome.

In a special chapter many episodes

and aspects of the conflict are gathered under

the title of "Sidelights on the Great War."

In this chapter the reader will find much

information regarding the cost of the war in

blood and treasure, submarine and aerial

warfare, and such matters, and an effort is

also made to appraise the fighting qualities

of the various nations and of their leaders.

In the final chapter the chief events that

have occurred since the armistice are

described, but most space is devoted to the

Peace Conference. Years must pass before

we shall be able to pass judgment upon the

work of the diplomats who gathered in Paris

and sought to make a new world out of the

fragments of the old. Already, however, it

is clear that many mistakes were made and

that the hopes entertained by some idealists

will not be realized.

It can also be said with confidence that

years must pass before Europe can approximate normal conditions. And never in our

day can the nations whose wounds were

deepest reach a position when their people

will enjoy as high a standard of material

well-being as existed prior to those fatal summer days of 1914 when the Teutonic War

Lords unchained the demons of destruction.