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Title: German Atrocities - A Record of Shameless Deeds
Author: Le Queux, William
Language: English
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                                GERMAN
                              ATROCITIES

                              A RECORD OF
                            SHAMELESS DEEDS

                                  BY
                           WILLIAM LE QUEUX

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                        GEORGE NEWNES, LIMITED
                                LONDON



PREFACE


This fearful and disgraceful record of a Nation’s shame and of an
Emperor’s complicity in atrocious crimes against God and man is no work
of fiction, but a plain unvarnished statement of the grim and terrible
work of the Kaiser’s Huns of Attila which I have considered it a duty to
lay before the British public.

Modern Germany, frothing with military Nietzschism, seems to have
returned to a primitive barbarism. Belgium, a peaceful modern nation,
has been swept by fire and sword, and its honest, pious inhabitants
tortured and massacred, not because the German soldiery desired to wreak
such vengeance upon a people with whom they could have no quarrel, but
because they had been encouraged “to act with unrelenting severity, to
create examples which by their frightfulness would be a warning to the
whole country.”

The wild orgies of blood and debauchery, the atrocious outrages,
murders, and mutilations, the ruthless violation and killing of
defenceless women, girls, and children of tender age, have been, it is
now admitted by the Germans themselves, carried out with their full
knowledge, and even as part of the actual plan of campaign of their
War-Lords.

Germany, though boasting of her culture, her refinement, her honest
home-life, and the peaceful efforts of her Emperor, has for ever lost
her place among civilized nations. It now stands revealed that when her
diplomatic methods of base chicanery and lying fail then she does not
hesitate to resort to acts so dastardly and inhuman as to have no
parallel. Not only has she broken her most solemn treaties and moral
engagements, but all the rules of civilized warfare to which she was a
signatory at The Hague she has also violated, merely regarding them as
“a scrap of paper.”

Not content with resorting to every act of savagery and every refinement
of cruelty which degenerated minds, filled with the blood-lust of war,
could conceive, her troops, by order of her generals, have made a
practice all along the line of placing before them innocent women and
children to act as a living screen, in the hope that the Allies would
not, from motives of humanity, fire upon them.

One cannot read a single page of this awful record--the German Black
Book--without being thrilled with horror at unspeakable acts of
civilized troops, who, at the behest of their Kaiser, and the exposed
yet still ruling _camarilla_ at Berlin, have become simply as the Huns
of Attila.

The contents of this book are no hearsay stories, but hard facts
officially recorded in _dossiers_ in the French and Belgian Ministries
of War, most of them, indeed, sworn statements taken before
burgomasters, mayors, prefects, and magistrates. Even our brave fellows
wounded in the Kaiser’s savage attack upon Europe have brought back from
the front similar narratives of the most appalling crimes. Evidence of
German trickery and savagery we have, too, in our midst, for trains,
sentries, and policemen have been shot at under cover of darkness by men
who mean to emulate the methods of their compatriots.

The frightful deeds which have been done over the face of Belgium and in
France are, no doubt, intended to be repeated in Great Britain, and, if
it were possible, the Red Hand of Destruction would certainly be laid
very heavy upon us--more heavily, perhaps, because we, by our honesty of
purpose, have incurred the hatred of Kaiserdom.

I would bid all sufferers in Belgium and France to remember that when
Attila of old came to Chalons, full of ostentation as the great
War-Lord, he came to his own undoing, and his dominion at once
disappeared to the winds. There is One with Whom vengeance lies for
wrongs, and most assuredly will He mete out the same dread Fate of death
and obscurity to the unblushing War-Lord of Germany, who, daily, with
his blasphemous impiety, lifts his bloodstained hands and thanks his
Maker for his shameful “successes.”

WILLIAM LE QUEUX.



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

PREFACE                                                                5

WHAT THE KAISER SAID                                                   8

FOREWORD                                                               9

AUTHOR’S NOTE                                                         10

INTRODUCTION                                                          11

CHAPTER I. ARTICLE XXIII. OF THE HAGUE CONVENTION                     19

   “    II. MY INTERVIEW WITH BELGIAN MINISTERS OF STATE              21

   “   III. THE BRITISH PRESS BUREAU STATEMENT                        26

   “    IV. SECOND REPORT OF THE BELGIAN COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY         34

   “     V. CAN THESE THINGS BE TRUE?                                 44

   “    VI. WANTON BRUTALITY                                          47

   “   VII. 300 MEN SHOT IN COLD BLOOD                                52

   “  VIII. THE INFERNO AT VISÉ                                       54

   “    IX. THE MAIDEN TRIBUTE                                        58

   “     X. ATROCITIES ROUND LIÉGE                                    66

   “    XI. THE CRIME OF LOUVAIN                                      73

   “   XII. FRENCH PROTEST TO THE POWERS                              91

   “  XIII. THE DESECRATION OF CHURCHES                              101

   “   XIV. TREATMENT OF ENGLISH TRAVELLERS                          105

   “    XV. WHAT OUR SOLDIERS SAY                                    109

   “   XVI. THE ANTWERP OUTRAGE                                      117

   “  XVII. “THE HUSSAR-LIKE STROKE”                                 124

THE DAY                                                              127

       *       *       *       *       *

WHAT THE KAISER SAID:

“When you meet the foe you will defeat him. No quarter will be given, no
prisoners will be taken. Let all who fall into your hands be at your
mercy. Gain a reputation like the Huns under Attila.”

     This quotation from an address of the Kaiser to German troops,
     before they were dispatched to Peking in 1900, was circulated on
     post cards throughout Germany.



_FOREWORD_

WHO WERE THE HUNS OF ATTILA?


The Kaiser, we read, has exhorted his soldiers to make themselves as
much dreaded as the Huns of Attila. It is worth while to recall the
methods of this savage, for he was nothing better. In one expedition
across Greece and in another across Italy he reduced seventy of the
finest cities to smoking ruins and to shambles. The inhabitants were
either slaughtered on the spot or marched away in chains to end their
lives as slaves. Men, women, children, babies--all came alike to this
black demon of outrage and destruction. Briefly, the Monarch of the Huns
may be best described as the worthy leader of one vast gang of
Jack-the-Rippers.

And this is the blood-guilty ruffian whom the Kaiser now holds up as his
exemplar! Judging by Louvain, he is no unworthy follower of his Master.



_AUTHOR’S NOTE_


_In addition to the sworn facts and statements supplied officially to me
by the Belgian Government, I have here included some others which have
been recounted by wounded men who have returned from the front, by
doctors who have attended them, and by the special correspondents of
Reuter’s, the Central News, and other news agencies, and of the London
and provincial newspapers._



GERMAN ATROCITIES.


Mr. Asquith has described the sacking of Louvain as “the greatest crime
committed against civilization and culture since the Thirty Years’ War.
With its buildings, its pictures, its unique library, its unrivalled
associations, a shameless holocaust of irreparable treasures lit up by
blind barbarian vengeance.”



_INTRODUCTION._


It was a little over a month after the declaration of war that reports
of great events began to crowd in upon us. Much had happened in that
short space of time. The enormous forces of the Kaiser had forced back
the line of the Allies well into France. We admired the huge machine at
work. From a military point of view the rapidity of the advance of such
an enormous body of men was something unique in warfare. It was not this
wonderful achievement of the German army, however, it was not the
equally wonderful resistance made by the Allies against overwhelming
numbers, it was not the glorious record of Belgian, French, and British
heroism--which resulted in practically nothing being gained by their
adversary--it was none of these things that aroused and amazed the
nations of the civilized world. It was something very different which
arrested their horrified wonder, something which, in the words of the
_Times_, “will turn the hand of every civilized nation in the world
against them” (the German nation).

The atrocious acts committed by the troops of the Kaiser have staggered
the civilized world, and it must now be plain to the meanest
intelligence that these atrocities and acts of inhuman barbarity were
not the doings of soldiers intoxicated with the excitement of success in
battle, or maddened to the point of avenging defeat, or to be ascribed
to an unbridled license of irresponsible troops out of hand. There is no
longer any doubt, even in minds slow to believe them, that deeds which
bring the blush of shame to the cheek as we read of them have been
perpetrated; there is as little doubt where the responsibility for them
rests. It is with the Kaiser and the men around him.


Plain Speaking.

“Until now we have maintained an attitude of deliberate reserve upon the
innumerable stories of German atrocities which have reached us,” says
the _Times_. “We published without comment the unanswerable list of
shocking excesses committed by the German troops, which was sent to
England by the Belgian authorities. When a German Zeppelin cast bombs
upon ill-fated women asleep in their beds at Antwerp, we did no more
than explain the bearings of international law upon conduct which has
met with universal reprobation in Europe and America. But now the real
object of German savagery is self-revealed, not only by the effacement
of Louvain, but by the shameful admissions sent forth from the wireless
station at Berlin. On Thursday night the following official notification
regarding Belgium came vibrating through the air:--

     “‘The only means of preventing surprise attacks from the civil
     population has been to interfere with unrelenting severity and to
     create examples which by their frightfulness would be a warning to
     the whole country.’

     “Such is the cynical nature of the German apologia for the
     destruction of Louvain. Such is the character of the warfare of the
     modern Huns. They seek to strike terror into the hearts of their
     foes by methods which belong to the days of the old barbaric hosts,
     who were thought to have vanished from the world for ever.

     “There must be no mistake about the apportionment of blame for this
     and numberless other crimes. We have listened too long to the
     bleatings of professors bemused by the false glamour of a
     philosophy which the Germans themselves have thrust aside. The
     Kaiser and his people are alike responsible for the acts of their
     Government and their troops, and there can be no differentiation
     when the day of reckoning comes.

     “The Kaiser could stop these things with a word. Instead, he
     pronounces impious benedictions upon them. Daily he appeals for the
     blessing of God upon the dreadful deeds which are staining the face
     of Western Europe--the ravaged villages, the hapless non-combatants
     hanged or shot, the women and children torn from their beds by
     cowards and made to walk before them under fire, all the infamies
     which have eternally disgraced German ‘valour.’ We are no longer
     dependent upon hearsay for these stories. Our own men are bringing
     them back from the front. Let there be no mistake as to where the
     responsibility rests.”


What the Kaiser Said.

It was the Kaiser (addressing his troops in June, 1900, on their setting
out for Peking) who said:--

     “_When you meet the foe you will defeat him. No quarter will be
     given, no prisoners will be taken. Let all who fall into your hands
     be at your mercy. Gain a reputation like the Huns under Attila._”


=And Who Was Attila?=

=It is worth while to recall the methods of this savage, for he was
nothing better. In one expedition across Greece and in another across
Italy he reduced seventy of the finest cities to smoking ruins and to
shambles. The inhabitants were either slaughtered on the spot or marched
away in chains to end their lives as slaves. Men, women, children,
babies--all came alike to this black demon of outrage and destruction.
Briefly, the Monarch of the Huns may be best described as the worthy
leader of one vast gang of Jack the Rippers.

And this is the blood-guilty ruffian whom the Kaiser now holds up as his
exemplar! Judging by Louvain, he is no unworthy follower of his Master.=

       *       *       *       *       *

Then was it not =Bismarck= who said:--

     “_You must leave the people through whom you march only their eyes
     to weep with._”

It was also the Kaiser who said, addressing his soldiers, “You must only
have one will, and it is mine; there is only one law, and it is mine.”

And then again, I repeat, it was a Berlin wireless that flashed the
official message:--

     “The only means of preventing surprise attacks from the civil
     population has been to interfere with unrelenting severity and to
     create examples which by their frightfulness would be a warning to
     the whole country.”

Need we seek further to fix the responsibility?


War Rights.

What are the rights of nations in a state of war? There are first of all
the unwritten laws of nations and humanity which need, or should need,
no defining amongst civilized peoples. There are also the definite and
specific Acts laid down at The Hague Convention, which it was declared
by the signatories would not be legitimate in war between civilized
nations. Germany was a signatory to The Hague Convention. At this
Convention the Powers limited the rights of belligerents in the means to
be adopted of injuring the enemy. Here are some of them:--

     BY Article XXIII. it was especially forbidden:--

     “To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the
     hostile nation or army.

     “To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or
     having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion.

     “To declare that no quarter will be given.

     “To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause
     unnecessary suffering.

     “To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag, or
     of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy, as well as the
     distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention.

     “To destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction
     or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”

The law of civilized warfare was further made plain as follows:--

     Article XXV.: “The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of
     towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended, is
     prohibited.”

     Article XXVI.: “The officer in command of an attacking force must,
     before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all
     in his power to warn the authority.”

     Article XXVII.: “In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps
     must be taken to spare as far as possible buildings dedicated to
     religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments,
     hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected,
     provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.
     It is the duty of the besieged to indicate the presence of such
     buildings or places by distinctive and visible signs which shall be
     notified to the enemy beforehand.”

In other further Articles it was laid down that a belligerent is
forbidden to force the inhabitants of territory occupied by him to
furnish information about the army of the other belligerent, or about
its means of defence. It was forbidden to confiscate private property,
and also laid down that family honour and rights, the lives of persons,
and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice,
must be respected. Pillage was forbidden, and prisoners must be humanely
treated.


Uncivilized Warfare.

Stories of German brutality and ruthless disregard of these rules of
civilized warfare as set out above were, from the opening of the war,
continually reaching England. At first the public were sceptical about
such tales of horror. Unfortunately, however, it was too clearly seen
that the Germans made war in a manner which was very far from being
civilized. Atrocities were being committed with a definite object--an
object which was self-revealed, not only by the effacement of Louvain,
“a shameless holocaust of irreparable treasures lit up by blind
barbarian vengeance,” but by the disgraceful admissions sent forth from
the German wireless station which I have already quoted.

The character of the warfare of these modern Huns was to terrorize the
inhabitants of a hostile country, so that the invader might proceed on
his way without fear of molestation. Therefore, the unspeakable crimes
of the Kaiser’s forces have not even the excuse of being outbursts of
national savagery. The shameful record contained in these pages are the
cold and calculated brutalities of a nation who boasted of its
“culture,” whose prayerful Emperor held up his hands to his Maker
invoking success for his horde of ruthless barbarians, but who has shown
that in war he respects no law of God, and regards the solemn treaties
of nations as “scraps of paper.”

     “We can only pray for a hastening of the day when all that is best
     in the German people will reassert itself as of old, and when the
     long reign of an arrogant and ruthless military caste will be
     looked back to by the countrymen of Schiller and Goethe as a
     nightmare that never can return.”

        --From the American _Nation_.



I.

Article XXIII. of The Hague Convention forbids:--“To kill or wound
treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army.”


From almost the first day of the war this undertaking, given by Germany
along with the other Great Powers, has been treated by her as a “scrap
of paper.”

The fearful deeds of horror which have besmirched the name of Germany
form a terrible page of history. They have been proved by captured
Germans themselves to have been deliberate, and to have been actually
ordered by officers as high in rank as colonels and majors, and to be
part of the Kaiser’s preconceived plan. The murder of unarmed,
inoffensive citizens, the hussar-like stroke of sowing neutral waters
with death, the destruction of unfortified towns and the massacre of
their inhabitants, the violation of women and young girls, the forcing
of men, women, and children to march as shields in front of their
troops, the murder of the wounded, the wholesale slaughter of
non-combatants, the tortures, the mutilations, and the vile outrages are
surely sins against humanity, and are bound to meet with an awful and
just retribution. The blood of those martyred innocents cries aloud to
God for vengeance, and such vengeance must surely come upon the Kaiser
and the inhuman monsters surrounding him who have so deliberately urged
on their wild assassins to commit the unspeakable crimes reported
during the first month of the war.

It must be remembered, in reading of these terrible atrocities, that
while they were being committed on the defenceless on every hand, yet
the Kaiser sent a telegram to the King of Würtemberg actually thanking
the Almighty for the success of his marauders in their murderous
campaign against women and children. The text of the Kaiser’s message
was: “With God’s gracious assistance, Duke Albrecht and his splendid
army have gained a glorious victory. You will join me in thanking the
Almighty. I have bestowed on Albrecht the Iron Cross of the First and
Second Class.--WILHELM.” God’s gracious assistance!

The ruthless and utterly inexcusable barbarities committed by the German
army were surely without parallel in the whole history of the world. The
spectacle of racial degeneration which Germany displayed staggered
civilization, and this awful story of murder, cruelty, and debauchery
will surely remain for all time as a record of infamies which have
eternally disgraced the German nation. About the apportionment of blame
there must be no mistake. The Kaiser could have prevented it by a single
word. But, condemned by his own speech, he and his people are alike
responsible for the acts of the troops, and no differentiation can be
made by right-thinking people.

[Illustration: THE BELGIAN COMMISSION. _Photo, Barratt._

_Face p. 21._]



II.

My Interview with Belgian Ministers of State.


In order that the civilized world should be acquainted with the terrible
atrocities committed in Belgium, the King of the Belgians, who had
served in the trenches with his men, disguised as a private soldier,
appointed a Mission to proceed to the President of the United States and
lay the case before him. The members of the Mission were:--

     =M. Carton de Wiart, Chief of the Mission, who is the Belgian
     Minister of Justice;=

     =M. de Sadeleer, Leader of the Conservative Party;=

     =M. Pau Hemans, Leader of the Liberal Party;=

     =M. Emile Van der Velde, Leader of the Socialist Party.=

=All these men are Belgian Ministers of State, and were accompanied by
Count de Lichtervelde, who acted as Secretary to the Mission.=

The members of this Mission first came to London to present an Address
to the King. On the evening of the day these gentlemen were received by
His Majesty, and later by Sir Edward Grey, I had the privilege of a
private interview with them.

I had a long talk with M. Carton de Wiart, during which he unfolded to
me many frightful details, and

     “=These abominable crimes against humanity and civilization call for
     condign reprobation in the face of the civilized world.... Let us
     hear no more whining about German ‘culture.’ But let us make it
     known that we will make the world ring with our sense of
     horror.=”--_Frederic Harrison._

explained the reason for the appointment of a committee of inquiry. He
described to me scenes he himself had witnessed. He laid stress upon the
bombardment and destruction of open towns--that is, towns unprotected
and undefended by any military works--such as Malines and Louvain; while
Antwerp, being a fortified place, ought to have had twenty-four hours’
notice given to its inhabitants before it was attacked with bombs, yet
no such notice was given. On the contrary, attacks by Zeppelins had been
made without warning in the dead of night. He also described to me the
atrocities committed by the Germans in the bombardment and setting fire
to small villages without any military reason or necessity whatever. He
related harrowing details of the massacre of perfectly innocent people,
non-combatants, men, women, and children.

He showed me a letter from a person of repute in Belgium who had motored
from Brussels to Louvain by the Tervueren road, in which I read: “After
I got to a village named Veerde St. George I saw only burning villages;
peasants beside themselves with terror threw up their arms in sign of
submission on my approach. When I got to Louvain I found the whole town
in ruins, and soldiers were still piling straw against buildings which
had escaped the flames and igniting them.”


Authenticated Documents.

The mass of documents which the Mission were carrying to America, he
informed me, were all signed statements of persons who had been
eye-witnesses of the atrocities, as well as those of many who had
suffered.

In a chat I also had with M. Emile Van der Velde, another member of the
Delegation and the leader of the Belgian Socialists, he said: “I went to
Malines after the fighting, in order to investigate the state of
affairs. I found only eight Belgian people in the town, but even then
the Germans were bombarding the deserted houses, apparently with the
sole object of destroying them. The whole object of the Germans,” he
added, “had been to create such a reign of terror that the whole
population of Belgium should flee into Antwerp, and so render it
impossible for the people congregated there to be fed. I myself examined
the bodies of a peasant and his son which had been cut to pieces by
bayonet thrusts.”

Another member of the Delegation told me that he had learned from
several wounded persons how a druggist living near Tirlemont, on
refusing to act as guide to the Uhlans, was shot three times and then
bayoneted; and further, in the same hospital, wounded soldiers had told
him how that while lying upon the battlefield many had been bayoneted or
shot.

The Delegation had, earlier in the day on which I had this interview
with them, presented an Address to His Majesty at Buckingham Palace, the
text of which has been published. It ran:--

     “SIRE,--Belgium, having had to choose between the sacrifice of her
     honour and the peril of war, did not hesitate. She opposed the
     brutal aggression committed by a Power which was one of the
     guarantors of her neutrality.

     “In this critical situation it was for our country an inestimable
     tower of strength to see coming forth the resolute and immediate
     intervention by great and powerful England.

     “Commissioned by His Majesty the King of the Belgians with a
     Mission to the President of the United States, we have considered
     it to be our duty to make a stay in the capital of the British
     Empire to convey to your Majesty the respectful and ardent
     expression of gratitude of the Belgian nation....

     “Our adversary, after invading our territory, has decimated the
     civil population, massacred women and children, carried into
     captivity inoffensive peasants, put to death wounded, destroyed
     undefended towns, burned churches, historical monuments, and the
     famous library of the University of Louvain. All these facts are
     established by authenticated documents. Each we shall have the
     honour of submitting to the Government of your Majesty.

     “In spite of all this suffering in Belgium, which has been made the
     personification of outraged right, the country is resolute in
     fulfilling to the utmost her duties towards Europe. Whatever may
     happen, she must defend her existence, her honour, and her
     liberty.”

The King, in reply, said that he would support Belgium, and expressed
his horror at the shocking report of German brutality.


The Belgian Minister’s Statements.

The delegation was subsequently received by Sir Edward Grey at the
Foreign Office, where they outlined some of the violations of
international law and of humanity committed by Germany, viz.:--

     1. Violation of Belgium’s neutrality.

     2. Taking of several millions of francs from the private National
     Bank at Liége and Hasselt.

     3. Bombardment of the open towns of Louvain and Malines and the
     bombardment of Antwerp at night by airship without the twenty-four
     hours’ notice due in international law to the inhabitants of a
     fortified town.

     4. Bombardment and burning of villages and the massacre of
     non-combatant inhabitants, including women and children.



III.

Our own Press Bureau issued on the 25th August the following statement
to the English Press:--


“The Belgian Minister has made the following statement:--

“In spite of solemn assurances of good will and long-standing treaty
obligations, Germany has made a sudden savage and utterly unwarranted
attack on Belgium.

“However sorely pressed she may be, Belgium will never fight unfairly
and never stoop to infringe the laws and customs of legitimate warfare.
She is putting up a brave fight against overwhelming odds; she may be
beaten, she may be crushed, but, to quote our noble King’s words, ‘She
will never be enslaved.’

“When German troops invaded our country, the Belgian Government issued
public statements, which were placarded in every town, village, and
hamlet, warning all civilians to abstain scrupulously from hostile acts
against the enemy’s troops. The Belgian Press daily published similar
notices broadcast through the land. Nevertheless, the German authorities
have issued lately statements containing grave imputations against the
attitude of the Belgian civilian population, threatening us at the same
time with dire reprisals. These imputations are contrary to the real
facts of the case, and as to threats of further vengeance, no menace of
odious reprisals on the part of the German troops will deter the Belgian
Government from protesting before the civilized world against the
fearful and atrocious crimes committed wilfully and deliberately by the
invading hosts against helpless non-combatants, old men, women, and
children.

“Long is the list of outrages committed by the German troops and
appalling the details of atrocities, as vouched for by the Committee of
Inquiry recently formed by the Belgian Minister of Justice and presided
over by him. This committee comprises the highest judicial and
University authorities of Belgium, such as Chief Justice Van Iseghem,
Judge Nys, Professors Cottier, Wodon, etc.

“The following instances and particulars have been established by
careful investigations, based in each case on the evidence of reliable
eye-witnesses:--

“German cavalry occupying the village of Linsmeau were attacked by some
Belgian infantry and two gendarmes. A German officer was killed by our
troops during the fight and subsequently buried at the request of the
Belgian officer in command. No one of the civilian population took part
in the fighting at Linsmeau. Nevertheless, the village was invaded at
dusk on August 10th by a strong force of German cavalry, artillery, and
machine guns.

“In spite of the formal assurances given by the Burgomaster of Linsmeau
that none of the peasants had taken part in the previous fight, two
farms and six outlying houses were destroyed by gun fire and burnt. All
the male inhabitants were then compelled to come forward and hand over
whatever arms they possessed. No recently discharged firearms were
found.

       *       *       *       *       *

“=Nevertheless, the invaders divided these peasants into three groups;
those in one group were bound, and eleven of them placed in a ditch,
where they were afterwards found dead, their skulls fractured by the
butts of German rifles.=

“=During the night of August 10th German cavalry entered Velm in great
numbers. The inhabitants were asleep. The Germans, without provocation,
fired on M. Deglimme Gevers’ house, broke into it, destroyed furniture,
looted money, burnt barns, hay and corn stacks, farm implements, six
oxen, and the contents of the farmyard. They carried off Mrs. Deglimme,
half naked, to a place two miles away. She was then let go, and was
fired upon as she fled, without being hit. Her husband was carried away
in another direction and fired upon. He is dying. The same troops sacked
and burned the house of a railway watchman.=

       *       *       *       *       *

“Farmer Jef Dierick, of Neerhespen, bears witness to the following acts
of cruelty committed by German cavalry at Orsmael and Neerhespen on
August 10th, 11th, and 12th:--

“=An old man of the latter village had his arm sliced in three
longitudinal cuts; he was then hanged head downwards and burned alive.
Young girls have been raped and little children outraged at Orsmael,
where several inhabitants suffered mutilations too horrible to describe.
A Belgian soldier belonging to a battalion of cyclist carabiniers, who
had been wounded and made prisoner, was hanged; whilst another, who was
tending his comrade, was bound to a telegraph pole on the St. Trond road
and shot.=

“On Wednesday, August 12th, after an engagement at Haelen, Commandant
Van Damme, so severely wounded that he was lying prone on his back, was
finally murdered by German infantrymen firing their revolvers into his
mouth.

“On Monday, August 10th, at Orsmael, the Germans picked up Commandant
Knapen, very seriously wounded, propped him up against a tree, and shot
him. Finally they hacked his corpse with swords.

“In different places, notably at Hollogue sur Geer, Barchon, Pontisse,
Haelen, and Zelck, German troops have fired on doctors, ambulance
bearers, ambulances, and ambulance wagons carrying the Red Cross.

“At Boncelles a body of German troops marched into battle carrying a
Belgian flag.

     WHY THE GERMANS COMMIT ATROCITIES.

     “=True strategy consists in hitting your enemy, and hitting him
     hard. Above all you must inflict on the inhabitants of invaded
     towns the maximum of suffering, so that they may become sick of the
     struggle and may bring pressure to bear on their Government to
     discontinue it. You must leave the people through whom you march
     only their eyes to weep with.=

     “=In every case the principle which guided our general was that war
     must be made terrible to the civil population, so that it may sue
     for peace.=”

        =BISMARCK.=



“On Thursday, August 6th, before a fort at Liége, German soldiers
continued to fire on a party of Belgian soldiers (who were unarmed, and
had been surrounded while digging a trench) after these had hoisted the
white flag.

“On the same day, at Vottem, near the fort of Loncin, a group of German
infantry hoisted the white flag. When Belgian soldiers approached to
take them prisoners the Germans suddenly opened fire on them at close
range.

“Harrowing reports of German savagery at Aerschot have reached the
Belgian Government at Antwerp from official local sources. Thus on
Tuesday, August 18th, the Belgian troops occupying a position in front
of Aerschot received orders to retire without engaging the enemy. A
small force was left behind to cover the retreat. This force resisted
valiantly against overwhelming German forces, and inflicted serious
losses on them. Meanwhile, practically the whole civilian population of
Aerschot, terrorized by the atrocities committed by the Germans in the
neighbouring villages, had fled from the town.

“Next day, Wednesday, August 19th, German troops entered Aerschot,
without a shot having been fired from the town and without any
resistance whatever having been made. The few inhabitants that remained
had closed their doors and windows in compliance with the general orders
issued by the Belgian Government. Nevertheless, the Germans broke into
the houses and told the inhabitants to quit.

“=In one single street the first six male inhabitants who crossed their
thresholds were seized and shot at once, under the very eyes of their
wives and children.=

“The German troops then retired for the day, only to return in greater
numbers on the next day, Thursday, August 20th.

“They then compelled the inhabitants to leave their houses and marched
them to a place two hundred yards from the town. There, without more
ado, they shot M. Thielemans, the Burgomaster, his fifteen-year-old son,
the clerk of the local judicial board, and ten prominent citizens. They
then set fire to the town and destroyed it.

“The following statement was made by Commandant Georges Gilson, of the
9th Infantry of the Line, now lying in hospital at Antwerp:--

“I was told to cover the retreat of our troops in front of Aerschot.
During the action fought there on Wednesday, August 19th, between six
and eight o’clock in the morning, suddenly I saw on the high road,
between the German and Belgian forces, which were fighting at close
range, a group of four women, with babies in their arms, and two little
girls clinging to their skirts. Our men stopped firing till the women
got through our lines, but the German machine guns went on firing all
the time, and one of the women was wounded in the arm.

“=These women could not have got through the neighbouring German lines
and been on the high road unless with the consent of the enemy.=

“=All the evidence and circumstances seem to point to the fact that these
women had been deliberately pushed forward by the Germans to act as a
shield for their advance guard, and in the hope that the Belgians would
cease firing for fear of killing the women and children.=

“This statement was made and duly certified in the Antwerp hospital on
August 22nd by Commandant Gilson in the presence of the Chevalier Ernst
N. Bunswyck, Chief Secretary to the Belgian Minister of Justice, and M.
de Cartier de Marchienne, Belgian Minister to China.

“Further German atrocities were continuously being brought to notice and
made the subject of official and expert inquiry by the proper
authorities.

“In publishing the above statements the only comment the Press Bureau
can offer is, that these atrocities appear to be committed in villages
and throughout the countryside with the deliberate intention of
terrorizing the people, and so making it unnecessary to leave troops in
occupation of small places, or to protect lines of communication. _In
larger places, like Brussels, where the diplomatic representatives of
neutral Powers are eye-witnesses, there appear to have been no
excesses._”

=Such was the document issued by the Press Bureau. I have quoted it word
for word= (emphasizing only in italics or in heavy type certain
passages).

     PRIMITIVE SAVAGERY.

     “=Their utter contempt for the established usages of international
     intercourse, and even for the ordinary decencies of life, was
     displayed in their brutal treatment of the French and Russian
     Ambassadors, in the stripping naked of the wives of Russian
     officials, in the atrocities they have since committed in Belgium,
     in their seizure of hostages, in their homicidal mine-laying in the
     North Sea. In all these matters one seems to discern a sudden lapse
     into primitive savagery.=”

        --Dr. Dillon in the _Contemporary Review_.



IV.


The following is the second report issued by the Belgian Commission of
Inquiry, and which was published by the British Official Press Bureau on
September 15th, 1914.


Second Report of the Belgian Committee of Inquiry.

To M. Carton de Wiart, Minister of Justice, Antwerp.

Sir,--The Commission of Inquiry has the honour to make the following
report on acts of which the town of Louvain, the neighbourhood, and the
district of Malines have been the scene.

The German Army entered Louvain on Wednesday, August 19th, after having
burned down the villages through which it had passed.

As soon as they had entered the town of Louvain the Germans
requisitioned food and lodging for their troops. They went to all the
banks of the town and took possession of the cash in hand. German
soldiers burst open the doors of houses which had been abandoned by
their inhabitants, pillaged them, and committed other excesses.

The German authorities took as hostages the mayor of the city, Senator
Van der Kelen, the Vice-Rector of the Catholic University, and the
senior priest of the city, besides certain magistrates and aldermen.
All the weapons possessed by the inhabitants, even fencing swords, had
already been given up to the municipal authorities and placed by them in
the Church of St. Pierre.

In a neighbouring village, Corbeek Loo, on Wednesday, August 19th, a
young woman, aged twenty-two, whose husband was with the Army, and some
of her relations, were surprised by a band of German soldiers. The
persons who were with her were locked up in a deserted house, while she
herself was dragged into another cottage, where she was assaulted by
five soldiers.


Fate of 16-year-old Girl.

In the same village on Thursday, August 20, German soldiers fetched from
their house a young girl, about sixteen years old, and her parents. They
conducted them to a small deserted country house, and while some of them
held back the father and mother, others entered the house, and, finding
the cellar open, forced the girl to drink. They then brought her on to
the lawn in front of the house and assaulted her. Finally they stabbed
her in the breast with their bayonets.

When this young girl had been abandoned by them after these abominable
deeds, she was brought back to her parents’ house, and the following
day, in view of the gravity of her condition, she received extreme
unction from the parish priest and was taken to the hospital of
Louvain, as her life was despaired of.

On August 24 and 25 Belgian troops made a sortie from the entrenched
camp of Antwerp and attacked the German army before Malines. The Germans
were thrown back on Louvain and Vilvorde.

On entering the villages which had been occupied by the enemy the
Belgian army found them devastated. The Germans, as they retired, had
pillaged and burnt the villages, taking with them the male inhabitants,
whom they forced to march in front of them.

Belgian soldiers entering Hofstade on August 25 found the body of an old
woman who had been killed by bayonet thrusts. She still held in her hand
the needle with which she was sewing when she was killed. A woman and
her fifteen or sixteen year old son lay on the ground, pierced by
bayonets. A man had been hanged.

At Sempst, a neighbouring village, were found the bodies of two men
partially carbonised. One of them had his legs cut off at the knees; the
other had the arms and legs cut off. A workman, whose burnt body has
been seen by several witnesses, had been struck several times with
bayonets, and then, while still alive, the Germans had poured petroleum
over him and thrown him into a house to which they set fire. A woman who
came out of her house was killed in the same way.

A witness, whose evidence has been taken by a reliable British subject,
declares that he saw, on August 26, not far from Malines, during the
last Belgian attack, an old man tied by the arms to one of the rafters
in the ceiling of his farm. The body was completely carbonised, but the
head, arms, and feet were unburnt. Further on, a child of about fifteen
was tied up, the hands behind the back, and the body was completely torn
open with bayonet wounds. Numerous corpses of peasants lay on the ground
in positions of supplication, their arms lifted and their hands clasped.


Facts about Louvain.

At nightfall on August 26 the German troops, repulsed by our soldiers,
entered Louvain panic-stricken. Several witnesses affirm that the German
garrison which occupied Louvain was erroneously informed that the enemy
were entering the town. Men of the garrison immediately marched to the
station, shooting haphazard the while, and there met the German troops
who had been repulsed by the Belgians, the latter having just ceased the
pursuit.

Everything tends to prove that the German regiments fired on one
another. At once the Germans began bombarding the town, pretending that
civilians had fired on the troops, a suggestion which is contradicted by
all the witnesses, and could scarcely have been possible, because the
inhabitants of Louvain had had to give up their arms to the municipal
authorities several days before.

The bombardment lasted till about ten o’clock at night. The Germans then
set fire to the town. Wherever the fire had not spread, the German
soldiers entered the houses and threw fire grenades, with which some of
them seemed to be provided. The greater part of the town of Louvain was
thus a prey to the flames, particularly the quarters of the upper town,
comprising the modern buildings, the ancient Cathedral of St. Pierre,
the university buildings, together with the university library, its
manuscripts and collections, and the municipal theatre.

The Commission considers it its duty to insist, in the midst of all
these horrors, on the crime committed against civilisation by the
deliberate destruction of an academic library which was one of the
treasures of Europe.

The corpses of many civilians encumbered the streets and squares. On the
road from Tirlemont to Louvain alone a witness counted more than fifty.
On the doorsteps of houses could be seen carbonised bodies of
inhabitants, who, hiding in their cellars, were driven out by the fire,
tried to escape, and fell into the flames. The suburbs of Louvain
suffered the same fate.

We can affirm that the houses in all the districts between Louvain and
Malines, and most of the suburbs of Louvain itself, have practically
been destroyed.


Thousands Sent to Germany.

On Wednesday morning, August 26th, the Germans brought to the station
squares of Louvain a group of more than seventy-five persons, including
several prominent citizens of the town, among whom were Father Coloboet
and another Spanish priest, and also an American priest.

The men were brutally separated from their wives and children, and after
having been subjected to the most abominable treatment by the Germans,
who several times threatened to shoot them, they were forced to march to
the village of Campenhout in front of the German troops. They were shut
up in the village church, where they passed the night.

About four o’clock the next morning a German officer told them they had
better go to confession, as they would be shot half an hour later. About
half-past four they were liberated. Shortly afterwards they were again
arrested by a German brigade, which forced them to march before them in
the direction of Malines. In reply to a question of one of the
prisoners, a German officer said they were going to give them a taste of
the Belgian quickfirers before Antwerp. They were at last released on
the Thursday afternoon at the gates of Malines.

It appears from other witnesses that several thousand male inhabitants
of Louvain, who had escaped the shooting and the fire, were sent to
Germany for a purpose which is still unknown to us.


Eye-Witness’s Account.

The fire at Louvain burnt for several days. An eye-witness who left
Louvain on August 30th gave the following description of the town at
that time:--“Leaving Weert St. George’s, I only saw burnt-down villages
and half-crazy peasants, who on meeting anyone held up their hands as a
sign of submission. Before every house, even those burnt down, hung a
white flag, and the burnt rags of them could be seen among the ruins.

“At Weert St. George’s I questioned the inhabitants on the causes of the
German reprisals, and they affirmed most positively that no inhabitant
had fired a shot, that in any case the arms had been previously
collected, but that the Germans had taken vengeance on the population
because a Belgian soldier belonging to the gendarmerie had killed an
Uhlan.

“The population still remaining in Louvain have taken refuge in the
suburb of Héverlé, where they are extremely crowded. They have been
cleared out of the town by the troops and the fire.

“The fire started a little beyond the American College, and the town is
_entirely_ destroyed, except for the town hall and the station.
Furthermore, the fire was still burning to-day, and the Germans, far
from taking any steps to stop it, seemed to feed it with straw, an
instance of which I observed in the street adjoining the town hall.

“The cathedral and the theatre are destroyed and have fallen in, as also
the library; in short, the town has the appearance of an ancient ruined
city, in the midst of which only a few drunken soldiers move about,
carrying bottles of wine and liqueurs, while the officers themselves,
seated in arm-chairs round the tables, drink like their men.”

The Commission has not yet been able to obtain information about the
fate of the Mayor of Louvain and of the other notables who were taken as
hostages.

The Commission is able to draw the following conclusions from the facts
which have so far been brought to its notice:--

In this war, the occupation of any place is systematically accompanied
and followed, sometimes even preceded, by acts of violence towards the
civil population, which acts are contrary both to the usages of war and
to the most elementary principles of humanity.


Brutality Everywhere.

The German procedure is everywhere the same. They advance along a road,
shooting inoffensive passers-by--particularly bicyclists--as well as
peasants working in the fields.

In the towns or villages where they stop they begin by requisitioning
food and drink, which they consume till intoxicated.

Sometimes from the interior of deserted houses they let off their rifles
at random and declare that it was the inhabitants who fired. Then the
scenes of fire, murder, and especially pillage begin, accompanied by
acts of deliberate cruelty, without respect to sex or age. Even where
they pretend to know the actual person guilty of the acts they allege,
they do not content themselves with executing him summarily, but they
seize the opportunity to decimate the population, pillage the houses,
and then set them on fire.

After a preliminary attack and massacre they shut up the men in the
church, and then order the women to return to their houses and to leave
their doors open all night.

From several places the male population has been sent to Germany, there
to be forced, it appears, to work at the harvest, as in the old days of
slavery. There are many cases of the inhabitants being forced to act as
guides and to dig trenches and entrenchments for the Germans. Numerous
witnesses assert that during their marches, and even when attacking, the
Germans place civilians, men and women, in their front ranks, in order
to prevent our soldiers firing.

The evidence of Belgian officers and soldiers shows that German
detachments do not hesitate to display either the white flag or the Red
Cross flag in order to approach our troops with impunity. On the other
hand, they fire on our ambulances and maltreat the ambulance men. They
maltreat and even kill the wounded. The clergy seem to be particularly
chosen as subjects for their brutality.

Finally, we have in our possession expanding bullets which had been
abandoned by the enemy at Werchter, and we possess doctors’ certificates
showing that wounds must have been inflicted by bullets of this kind.

The documents and evidence on which these conclusions rest will be
published in due course.

     (Signed)

     The President, COOREMAN.

     Members of the Commission, COUNT GOBLET D’ALVIELLA, RYCKMANS,
     STRAUSS, VAN CUTSEM.

     Secretaries, CHEV. ERNST DE BUNSWYCK, ORTS.


     “=The report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry into the German
     atrocities in Belgium is perhaps the most appalling document that
     has ever been submitted to civilised man. It reveals a cruelty more
     perverse than that of the Boxer or Bashi-Bazuk, and it covers the
     reputation of the German soldiery with eternal shame.... They
     themselves have transgressed every law of God and man.=”

        --From the _Daily Mail_.



V.

Can These Things Be True?


Can these cold-blooded deeds of atrocity be true? Is it a fact that they
have been proved to the satisfaction of the most exacting critics? Is
this “welter of fire, blood, and destruction” to be written finally on
the pages of history?

I can only say this:

1. These stories came to us first from responsible correspondents of all
our leading newspapers, who took them down for the most part at first
hand from eye-witnesses and from the poor victims themselves.

2. A committee of eminent lawyers, assisted by the Belgian Minister of
Justice, made a searching inquiry, sifting vague reports from actual
facts.

3. The evidence of the atrocities thus collected was formulated in an
Official Report to be presented to the President of the United States by
the Belgian Delegation of Ministers of State, now on their way to
America.

4. The British Official Press Bureau issued, on the 25th August, a
statement of the representations made to them, which I have already
quoted.

5. The Report of the Belgian Government was confirmed by the French
protest against German atrocities which was addressed on September 2nd
to the Powers by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

6. Mr. Richard Harding Davis, an eminent American author and
correspondent in Belgium of the _New York Tribune_, has entirely
confirmed, in cables sent to this leading American journal, things he
has seen with his own eyes.

7. I have narrated the information given to me verbally by M. Van der
Velde himself. “I myself examined the bodies of a peasant and his son
which have been cut to pieces by bayonet thrusts.”

8. While at first the reports of these atrocities were received in this
country with some reserve, the accumulated and overwhelming evidence,
aggravated from day to day since the very commencement of the war, has
provoked the public men of England, and every responsible newspaper in
the country, as well as all our leading weeklies like the _Spectator_,
the _Saturday Review_, the _Nation_, the _British Weekly_, and others,
into a passionate protest against the inhuman and barbarous methods of
warfare that have stained the name of Germany for ever.

9. Germany herself has admitted her wanton deeds, and sought to excuse
them in a way that makes her guilt all the more deplorable. We are told
that these barbarian atrocities against the civil population and
unoffending peasants, the sacking, looting, and burning of towns and
villages, are part of the general plan of attack, and that they are
accomplished in cold blood for purely strategical considerations.
Unfortunately they are not merely the riotous and isolated outbursts of
marauding and buccaneering soldiers.

“The only means of preventing surprise attacks from the civil population
has been to interfere with unrelenting severity and to create examples
which by their frightfulness would be a warning to the whole country.”
To prevent “surprise attacks” tortures were inflicted on helpless old
men, women, and children, peaceful villagers were hanged, innocent
children were savagely sabred by German officers, wounded soldiers and
officers shot and mutilated. There was the burning of Visé and the
terrible massacre at Seraing, the sacking and plundering of many another
harmless village, the bombardment of Malines, and the crowning sacrilege
of all, the burning and sacking of Louvain, the torture and massacre of
its defenceless people. Abler pens than mine have told the story of
these blood-guilty ruffians, and abler historians will yet chronicle for
future generations the record of the modern Huns of Attila. “For every
vile deed wrought under the impious benedictions of the monarch who is
ravaging Europe ample reparation will be exacted.... The memory of them
will burn in the heart and mind of every Englishman.” So said the
_Times_. I affirm this is the feeling of every true Britisher.



VI.


=It is specially forbidden “To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid
down his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at
discretion. To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national
flag, or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy.”--Hague
Convention, Article XXIII.=


Wanton Brutality.

I have made it plain from the official documents I have quoted that the
German troops violated every item of this article. But in addition to
cases of brutality already cited in the official document, the Belgian
Mission, while in London, gave me the following:--

On August 19th Aerschot, in North Brabant, with about five thousand
inhabitants, was, as already reported, destroyed. It appears that during
the three days the German soldiery massacred and pillaged the town,
which had not resisted, although there was no military force there
whatever.

In the neighbouring village of Diest many of the inhabitants were put to
the sword. The wife of Francis Luyckx, aged forty-five, and her
daughter, twelve years of age, had, in their terror, taken refuge in a
sewer. They were discovered, dragged out, and shot.

The little daughter of Jean Oyyen, a pretty child of nine, was shot, and
a man named Andre Willem, aged twenty-three, the village sexton, was
bound to a tree and burned alive.

In the village of Schaffen, near Diest, two men, named Lodts and Marken,
both aged forty, were captured and entombed. When exhumed, it was
found that they had been buried alive, head downwards. These
occurrences--which are only a few of a very long list--had been fully
inquired into, and confirmed by the committee of investigation, which
was composed of the highest magistrates of Belgium and the chief
professors of the Universities.

Statements were made that aged villagers in many places on the
Franco-German frontier were hanged to trees; others, after being killed,
had their eyes gouged out. In one place fifteen bodies were found
mutilated in a heap, and along the whole frontier from Luxemburg to
Basle outrages were committed on women, girls, and children.

Mlle. Marie Malet, the daughter of a judicial official in Brussels, who
had been sent to London with a party of Belgian girls for safety, stated
that she had seen a little girl, a friend of hers, aged ten, savagely
sabred by a German officer, merely because she made a remark that the
Germans were bullies. The child died an hour afterwards. Mlle. Malet
stated that she had been sent from near Brussels with her sister, owing
to the insults to which Belgian girls were subjected by German soldiers.
Her mother had been wounded and her home looted of food and valuables.

[Illustration: BELGIAN PEASANTS WATCHING THE DESTRUCTION OF THEIR HOMES
BY THE RUTHLESS INVADER.

_Photo, Daily Mirror._]

The record of German atrocities in Belgium, indeed, rivals that of Alva
in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. The worst Balkan methods
were being pursued by the army of the pious Kaiser. At Pontillac,
between Liége and Namur, the Burgomaster officially reported that the
men of the 17th Hussars from Mecklenburg entered the place, met with no
resistance, and demanded food, which the inhabitants at once gave them.
After eating and drinking to their full, to the surprise of everyone
they rode wildly through the streets emptying their carbines at the
windows of the houses. Two Belgian soldiers who were secreted in the
village returned their fire. A hot fusillade ensued, and then the
Germans deliberately shot down all the villagers they could find. They
also seized a M. Lahaye, a member of the Communal Council, and dragged
him through the streets with a rope round his neck.


Drunken German Soldiers.

Further details regarding the wild savagery at Aerschot reached the
Belgian Government after the issuing of the official report printed in
the foregoing pages. It seems that the population of the Belgian
provinces overrun by the Germans suffered, not only from the outrages of
the troops acting under the orders of their officers, but also from
atrocities due to drunken soldiers.

In one town some of them fired their rifles openly into the air and
afterwards declared that the inhabitants had fired on them. On this
pretext the people were dragged from their houses, which were then set
on fire, and in many cases women and girls were outraged and the men
shot. At Aerschot the troops--upon whom the Kaiser and the Austrian
Emperor were beseeching God’s blessing--stabled their horses in the
church, one of the most beautiful in Belgium, while the troops were set
to work to destroy the pictures and fittings in the noble edifice. The
Germans accused the son of the Burgomaster of killing the son of a
German colonel. This was denied by the Burgomaster’s son, who only fired
to defend his mother and sister from gross insults by the soldiery.

     “=For every evil and unwarrantable act committed in the Western
     theatre, ample vengeance will be exacted at the other
     end.=”--_Times._


The Germans, however, surrounded the town. The inhabitants were then
dragged from their homes and the women separated from the men. The
latter were divided into batches and forced to run towards the river,
the troops laughing at them and firing at them as they ran. One man who
escaped by feigning death afterwards returned and counted forty-one
bodies of his friends. Many of them had been stabbed by bayonets after
being wounded. About one hundred and fifty of the male inhabitants of
this place were compelled to watch the German troops shoot the
Burgomaster, his son, and the Burgomaster’s brother.


Women Mutilated.

Mr. Adolph Coussmaekrs, a well-known resident of Antwerp, wrote giving
nine cases of atrocities committed by the Germans in the districts of
Orsmael and Barchon.

I do not reproduce here the nine cases instanced by this gentleman. The
wanton mutilation on women and children is revolting and seems
incredible.

In addition, there were criminal assaults on women which I cannot dwell
upon in these pages; they have been narrated by unimpeachable persons.
Mothers had their daughters dragged away from them by shameless officers
to a fate that must have driven them to despair. Women and young
children were injured by bayonet-thrusts and revolver-shots, and were
still suffering from their wounds.

     “=In no war of modern times has an enemy so distinguished himself by
     war on civilians as in this. The brutality of the methods employed
     by the Prussian apostles of ‘culture’ is only equalled by its
     futility.=”--_Daily Telegraph._



VII.

300 Men Shot in Cold Blood.


A terrible story of the holocaust at Liége was told to the correspondent
of the _Daily Mail_ by a wealthy Dutch cigarette manufacturer who had
lived for a long time in Belgium, and was married to a Belgium woman. He
stated that on the day of their entry the Germans posted an order on the
streets that all arms in possession of private persons must be
immediately delivered, under the threat of being shot. The inhabitants
complied with the order. Among others, collections of old arms were
brought, valued sometimes at hundreds of pounds. The new vandals
destroyed all these pitilessly.

“During the first days the Germans paid for everything they took. But
later on soldiers produced valueless pieces of paper, on which something
had been scribbled which could hardly be read. On Sunday, August 23rd,
at midnight, the inhabitants were suddenly awakened by soldiers knocking
at the doors. ‘We need immediately two hundred and fifty mattresses, two
hundred pounds of coffee, two hundred and fifty loaves of bread, and
five hundred eggs,’ they said. ‘If these are not delivered in an hour’s
time your hostages will be shot.’ Everybody rushed to the market-place,
many people in their night clothes. There stood the mayor, half-dressed.

“After the inhabitants had brought in everything which was demanded they
were informed that the whole was a mistake and that they could go to
bed. The old mayor, however, was detained the whole night in the
street.

“One day when the soldiers sat down to dinner, an alarm was suddenly
beaten in the streets. Soldiers from all the houses were summoned to
their regiments. Immediately after, the bombardment of the houses began.
The informant took refuge with his wife and children in a cellar, which
was constantly filled with smoke from the neighbouring houses, which had
caught fire. On Wednesday morning the bombardment ceased and they
ventured to the station.

“Here, notwithstanding his protests, and proposals to produce papers,
showing that he was a Dutch subject, the cigarette manufacturer was
separated from his family, of whom he has since lost sight. He was
surrounded by soldiers, who bound his hands behind his back, and with
other refugees he was kept at the station many hours. During this time
he saw a party of three hundred Belgian civilians, among whom were old
men and lads of fourteen or fifteen, driven at the point of the bayonet
to a remote spot near the station, where they were all shot before his
eyes.

“After a terrible night, he and his group of seventy-six men were set
free. They had had nothing to eat or drink for thirty-six hours. All
streets and roads in and round Liége were strewn, according to the
witness, with bodies of men, women, and children. Among those shot were
the mayor, two aldermen, the rector of the University, two deans, and
many police inspectors.”



VIII.


     “=Our German people will be the grand block on which the good God
     may complete His work of civilizing the world.=”

        From a speech of _The Kaiser’s_.



The Inferno at Visé.

A correspondent of the _Handelsblad_ was an eye-witness of the scenes in
Visé, near Liége, when it was burned, and told a tale of German
barbarity, and of the murder and torture of its helpless inhabitants, of
a nature to make one’s blood run cold. As summarized in the _Daily News_
the story is as follows:--

“It was an awful sight. Every house was a mass of flames, through which
the streets were hardly visible.

“At the entrance of the Grand Hotel were three disarmed soldiers bound
hand and foot. Entering the hotel, I found the floor covered with dead
bodies. In that hall of the dead several soldiers stood guard. From this
awful, nauseating scene I hurried back to the blinding glare and
suffocating heat of the burning villages.

“The correspondent describes how a colleague supported an aged lady
found lying near her blazing house. She pleaded, ‘Let me die.’ Poor,
unhappy creature, bereft of home and even of adequate clothing, the
aged

[Illustration: SHOWING THE DESTRUCTION IN THE CHURCH AT VISÉ.

_Photo, Sport and General._]

and defenceless victim of the Kaiser’s gallant army! He adds: ‘We fled
from the scene that must for ever blur the scutcheon of the Kaiser, and
I pray as long as I live it will never be my task to see such an inferno
again.’

“Absolutely incredible was the picture of incidents connected with the
burning of Visé by the Germans and the shooting given in private letters
which arrived from Eysden, on the Dutch frontier, and seen by the
_Telegraaf_. According to these letters, the Germans alleged that the
citizens had fired on the troops. All the inhabitants were then hunted
out of their houses to spend the night in the square watching the
burning. Men were taken prisoners, and possibly shot, and the rest were
driven out of the town, which was given to the flames. Eysden is filled
with refugees--one hundred and fifty in one canteen and two hundred and
fifty in the Protestant Church, while four hundred have been sent to
Maastricht.

“Two trainloads of refugees came into Brussels from the Tirlemont
district. The scenes I have witnessed,” telegraphs a Press Association
correspondent, “and the stories told by these poor people would melt a
heart of stone. Removal from the face of the earth--a phrase of the
German papers themselves--continues to be the invader’s idea of how best
to deal with unarmed, unoffending villages, the only crime of whose
people is that they have fallen in his path.

“The Germans entered Tirlemont, in the vicinity of which they have been
for some days. They were in strong force, mostly cavalry and artillery.
The big guns shelled the place, and the cavalry played at war by
attacking the flying and panic-stricken populace, shooting and stabbing
them at random.

“Never have I seen such a picture of woe as a peasant woman and five
children who stood bewildered in the Place de la Gare here, all crying
as if their hearts would break. It was a terrible story the woman had to
tell. ‘They shot my husband before my eyes,’ she said, ‘and trampled two
of my children to death.’

“A German knocked at the door of the house of the Burgomaster at Venne,
near the Dutch frontier, and when the Burgomaster’s wife opened the door
she was knocked down and killed with the butt end of a rifle.

“A solicitor, who was a member of the Belgian Chamber, and who was
staying in the house, rushed to the front door, and he also was
instantly knocked down and killed with a bayonet thrust. On hearing of
these atrocities the population fled in terror.”


Lancer’s Fiendish Act.

M. Isadore Felix Cruls, a Belgian refugee who arrived in London, had a
tragic story to tell. He carried on a prosperous printing business at
Saint Jossé, a suburb of Brussels. When hostilities broke out he was
called up for service in the Civil Guard, and stationed on the Chaussée
de Louvain, the road between Louvain and Brussels. As reported in the
_Daily Telegraph_, he stated:--

“At midnight on August 19th-20th I was on duty on the Chaussée de
Louvain watching the refugees come in from the various towns and
villages. The road was blocked when I got near. I saw that a party of
German Lancers were at the rear of the procession of refugees. I saw one
of the Lancers prodding a woman, who had four or five children walking
by her side.

“There was an old woman, evidently the mother of the young woman,
walking with them. One of the Lancers was amusing himself by pricking
this old woman with his lance in order to make her walk along more
quickly. The young woman turned round and shouted something at the
Lancer, either by way of remonstrance or insult. I was not near enough
to hear what she said. The Lancer took up his lance and ran it through
one of the little girls who was walking along, clutching the hand of her
mother. She was a fair-haired girl of about seven or eight years of age.
When the crowd saw this they became infuriated, and a panic ensued. The
Lancers bore down upon the people, scattering them in all directions.
What became of these people I do not know.”



IX.

The Maiden Tribute.


Another story M. Cruls related was told to him by the mother herself. At
a village called Leau a squadron of about five hundred Uhlans was
marching through the town when they declared that someone had fired at
them. On going round to all the houses, searching for firearms, they
came to one where the family circle consisted of a grandfather, the
father, mother, and a girl of seventeen or eighteen, and a young boy,
who, upon seeing the approach of the German soldiers, fled and hid
himself. The soldiers came in, and without any questioning fired at and
killed the father. They were going to shoot the grandfather when the
mother and daughter fell on their knees and begged the soldiers to spare
the life of the old man. The officer, or under-officer, of the party
then said, “Yes, we won’t trouble about the old people,” and touching
the cheek of the young girl with his fingers, he added, with a
significant laugh, “Pretty youth is better.” The sequel need not be
written here, although the mother of the girl has told it.


A Governess Hanged.

A well-known family in Brussels were staying at their villa at Genck,
about six kilometres from the capital. On arrival of the Germans there
they entered the villa, smashed everything they could, and stole
whatever was of value, “even taking away the wedding-ring that the
husband wore on his finger.” They took away the men first, and nobody
knows what has become of them. A member of the family and two servants
fled from the house in terror, but returned when they saw the German
soldiers going.

This is what they saw: “The body of an old lady of seventy years of age
lying on the floor with her throat cut. A governess, about thirty years
of age--I cannot tell you her nationality--was found hanging from a
tree, stark naked and mutilated.”

Although this happened within six kilometres of Brussels, yet no
atrocities were known to have been committed in the capital, the
Kaiser’s unrestrained savages being there under the eyes of the
representatives of the Powers.

A Dutch gentleman named Couzy, of Amsterdam, was staying at Mont, a
village in the hills above Comblain au Pont, when war broke out. Having
missed the last train which the Belgians ran to Dinant, he was obliged
to return to Mont, where he witnessed the arrival of thousands of Uhlans
and many batteries of German artillery. Mr. Couzy declared that the
treatment of the Belgians by the enemy was merciless. He was witness of
many horrible scenes. He was present when, after the discovery of the
bodies of two German officers in a horse-dealer’s yard at Comblain au
Pont, seventy villagers were brought before the commanding officer.
Without question, the officer selected thirty, who were shot without
any form of trial whatever. Several of these men were known to Mr. Couzy
as honest and trustworthy citizens.

On another occasion a number of villagers were searched for weapons. A
young Dutchman, also known to Mr. Couzy, had upon him a razor which he
used daily. Immediately he was placed against a wall and shot.

A refugee arriving at Maastricht from Bassenge stated that ten thousand
Germans came from the direction of Louvain, and began to burn everything
that had been left standing and shoot everyone opposed to them. Two
hundred of the villagers were driven out by the Germans and ordered to
hold their hands above their heads. Anyone who dropped his hands for an
instant was shot, and anyone who looked at or showed sympathy with the
victims shared the same fate. They were marched for two hours, and
during that time many shots whistled over their heads. The Germans then
stopped and threatened that the first who looked back would be shot.


A Senator’s Story.

“M. Leon Hiard, senator of Hainaut, one of the largest manufacturers in
Belgium, lived at Haine Saint Pierre, where before the battle of Mons
the Germans requisitioned everything. He states that, revolver in hand,
threatening death for unpunctuality or disobedience, the German officers
spread terror into the hearts of the inhabitants. At Peronne the mayor,
M. Gravis, had very imprudently caused all the arms of the inhabitants
to be deposited at his house instead of the town-hall. He also carried
a revolver, and some of his carts had been used to bar a road.” The
_Daily Express_ correspondent continues--

“He was taken before the German general at the town-hall with his
secretary. The séance was short. ‘Vous fusillé,’ said the general, and
the unfortunate man was led out blindfolded and shot. As the secretary
was following him a more kindly officer said in his ear, ‘Mais
filez-donc, imbécile,’ and pushed him on one side.

“The body of M. Gravis was propped up against a wall for forty-eight
hours as an example to the town. Men were billeted in all the houses,
and although in the better houses the officers behaved with some
restraint, in the peasants’ cottages unbridled licence was the rule.

“Women were treated infamously, indescribable scenes of debauchery
taking place, while all the possessions of the unfortunates were
wilfully wasted and destroyed. The fiery-tempered people were being
driven to reprisals, so that an excuse for further cruelty might be
found.”


What General von Boehn said.

I take the following extract from a long dispatch in the _Daily
Chronicle_, from Mr. E. Alexander Powell, the Special Correspondent of
the _New York World_:--

“Three weeks ago the Government of Belgium requested me to place before
the American people, through the medium of the _New York World_, a list
of specific and authenticated atrocities committed by German armies
upon Belgian non-combatants.

“To-day General von Boehn, commanding the Ninth Imperial Field Army, and
acting as mouthpiece of the German General Staff, has asked me to place
before the American people the German version of the incidents in
question....

“General von Boehn began by asserting that the accounts of the
atrocities perpetrated on Belgian non-combatants were a tissue of lies.

“‘Look at these officers about you,’ he said; ‘they are gentlemen like
yourselves. Look at the soldiers marching past in the road out there.
They are most of them the fathers of families. Surely you do not believe
that they would do the things they have been accused of.’

“‘Three days ago, General,’ I said, ‘I was in Aerschot. The whole town
is now but a ghastly, blackened, bloodstained ruin!’

“‘When we entered Aerschot,’ he replied, ‘the son of the Burgomaster
came into the room, drew a revolver, and assassinated my Chief of Staff.
What followed was only retribution. The townspeople only got what they
deserved!’

“‘But why wreak your vengeance on women and children?’

“‘None have been killed,’ the General asserted positively.

“‘I’m sorry to contradict you, General,’ I asserted, with equal
positiveness, ‘but I have myself seen their mutilated bodies. So has Mr.
Gibson, Secretary of the American Legation at Brussels, who was present
during the destruction of Louvain.’


“It is War!”

“‘Of course, there is always danger of women and children being killed
during street fighting,’ said the General, ‘if they insist on coming
into the street. It is unfortunate, but it is war.’

“‘But how about the woman whose body I saw with the hands and feet cut
off? How about the white-haired man and his son whom I helped to bury
outside of Sempst, and who had been killed merely because the retreating
Belgians had shot a German soldier outside their house? There were 22
bayonet wounds in the old man’s face. I counted them. How about the
little girl, two years old, shot while in her mother’s arms by a Uhlan,
and whose funeral I attended at Heyst-op-den-Berg? How about the old man
that was hung from the rafters of his house by the hands and roasted to
death by a bonfire being built under him?’

“The General seemed somewhat taken aback by the amount and exactness of
my data. ‘Such things are horrible if they are true,’ he said. ‘Of
course, our soldiers, like soldiers in all armies, sometimes get out of
hand, and do things which we would never tolerate if we knew it. At
Louvain, for example, I sentenced two soldiers to 12 years’ penal
servitude apiece for assaulting a woman.’

“‘Apropos of Louvain,’ I remarked, ‘why did you destroy the library? It
was one of the literary store-houses of the world.’

“‘We regretted that as much as anyone else,’ answered the General. ‘It
caught fire from the burning houses, and we could not save it.’

“‘But why did you burn Louvain at all?’ I asked.

“‘Because the townspeople fired on our troops. We actually found
machine-guns in some of the houses; and,’ smashing his fist down upon
the table, ‘whenever civilians fire upon our troops we will teach them a
lasting lesson. If the women and children insist on getting in the way
of bullets, so much the worse for women and children.’

“‘How do you explain the bombardment of Antwerp by Zeppelins?’ I
queried.

“‘The Zeppelins have orders to drop their bombs only on fortifications
and soldiers,’ he answered.

“‘As a matter of fact,’ I remarked, ‘they destroyed only private houses
and innocent civilians, several of them women. If one of those bombs had
dropped 200 yards nearer my hotel I wouldn’t be smoking one of your
excellent cigars to-day.’

“‘That is a calamity which, thank God, didn’t happen,’ he replied.

“‘If you feel for my safety as deeply as that, General,’ I said
earnestly, ‘you can make quite sure of my coming to no harm by sending
no more Zeppelins.’

“‘Well, Herr Powell,’ said he, laughing, ‘we will think about it, and,’
he continued gravely, ‘I trust that you will tell the American people
through your great paper what I have told you to-day. Let them hear our
side of this atrocity business. It is only justice that they should be
made familiar with both sides of the question.’

“I have quoted my conversation with General von Boehn as nearly verbatim
as I can remember it. I have no comments to make.

“I will leave it to the readers of the _World_ to decide for themselves
just how convincing are the answers of the German General to the Belgian
accusations.”

     “=We cannot doubt their (the Belgian Commission) competency for the
     task entrusted to them; nor can we mistrust their good faith. And
     of what nature is the story which their report, item by item,
     unrolls? They recount a series of acts committed by the German
     soldiery which, if even a half or a quarter be true, are enough to
     condemn them to everlasting shame as barbarians grosser and more
     criminal than Huns or Visigoths, or the hordes led by Yenghis Khan
     or Tamerlane the Great.=”

        --From the _Daily Telegraph_.



X.

Atrocities Around Liége.


Belgian officials reported from Liége devilish atrocities committed in
the town and suburbs. In the Place de l’Université, the Rue des
Pitteurs, and the Quai des Pecheurs most of the houses were burned. The
occupants, who had been awakened by the acrid smoke, fled in terror, and
fifteen persons, men, women, and children, were killed as they ran,
while in one instance a family were called together, and father and son
were killed and then mutilated in front of them. Apparently many of the
soldiers breaking into _cafés_ were drunk, and after firing accused the
inhabitants of it, taking vengeance by burning and murders without
restraint. This indeed appeared to be part of the German campaign, for
not only in Belgium, but also in France, the same inhuman and dastardly
excuses were resorted to in order to attempt to justify the awful crimes
which these “cultured” barbarians committed.


Road Strewn with Dead.

Georges Just, a restaurant-keeper at Chenee, province of Liége, said:
“When we heard of the German approach my wife and I fled across the
river into Liége. It seems now like a dream. Just before they entered
the town the Germans committed all kinds of outrages. Never shall I
forget the terrible sights along the roadside. Mutilated corpses of
people I knew, and many wounded and dying, lay strewn in our path. In
some places we saw the dead piled in heaps fifteen feet high.”

A letter written by a niece of Mr. John Redmond, M.P., who was living in
a Belgian town occupied by the Germans, contained the following:--

“They are absolute barbarians, and treat the women like dogs. For the
least thing the inhabitants are shot, and they all live in fear of their
lives. The town’s most prominent men, in relays of three, guarded by
soldiers, guarantee with their lives the good behaviour of the people.
My husband is one of the guarantors. On Wednesday night he spent his
hours of vigil in the town hall. Imagine my feelings.

“The Germans take everything. No matter how well they are treated and
received, they behave filthily and brutally, officers and men alike.
Empty houses they smash from top to bottom.”

     “=The Belgian people are enduring the horrors of war, and after
     making every allowance for the source from which our information
     comes, we do not doubt that they are enduring them in a form which
     ought to be impossible amongst civilized nations.=”--_Bonar Law._


What an Eye-Witness Saw.

Another eye-witness was Mr. Henry Frenkel, a Russian living in Antwerp,
who volunteered in the 6th regiment of the line to serve with his
Belgian friends. While the Germans were in Liége he was sent there upon
an important mission. This is how he tells his story:--

“I got into Liége by Holland. I went first to Rosendael, then to
Maastricht, last to Eysden, and then openly passed the frontier. I will
not describe Visé, Mouland, Berneau, and other places, all burned,
sacked, and devastated in the most horrible fashion. Although all I have
seen has hardened my nerve, I still shiver when I think of it. One
cannot grasp the idea of all that has really taken place there. The
Germans, mad with rage on account of the resistance which we opposed to
them, have acted like wild beasts, to give it a mild name. I have seen
men, women, and children hanged or horribly mutilated. I have seen heaps
of corpses, of which no trace will be left in a few hours, as the
inhabitants round Liége have been commandeered to bury them in lots. Ah!
the Prussians will have to render us a terrible account. I witnessed an
incident on the Place Lambert, in Liége. A Belgian chauffeur was arguing
with a German officer. Visibly, the Belgian chauffeur could not
understand what was wanted of him. The crowd gathered, and I could not
follow the rest of the scene; but I heard a revolver shot. Then German
soldiers rushed out of the palace to stop the crowds, and I saw the
chauffeur, with blood-covered face, carried into a house by two
soldiers. Not a sign of revolt from the crowd. The rifles are loaded,
ready to go off. At my side a German said, laughingly: ‘Ach, das ist
nichts! Eine kleinigkeit.’ (‘Oh! that’s nothing. Only a small thing.’)”


Dinant Destroyed.

It was at Dinant, one of the most famous beauty spots of Belgium, and
which is so well known to English tourists, who flock to it in great
numbers every year, that some particularly atrocious outrages took
place. According to the message of Reuter’s correspondent at Ostend, the
women were confined in convents whilst hundreds of men were shot. A
hundred prominent citizens were shot in the Place d’Armes. M. Hummers,
manager of a large weaving factory employing two thousand men, and M.
Poncelet, son of a former Senator, were both shot, the latter in the
presence of his six children. The Germans appeared at the branch of the
National Bank, where they demanded all the cash in the safe. When the
manager refused to give them the money they tried to blow the safe open.
Not succeeding in this they demanded the combination for the lock. The
manager refused. On this the Germans shot him immediately, together with
his two sons. Dinant was afterwards destroyed by shell-fire and
incendiarism.

     “=The modern Attila respects neither the laws of nations nor the
     laws of God. His evil deeds cry aloud to Heaven and to the
     horror-struck watching nations.=”--_Times._

The wanton destruction of this ancient and beautiful town is a crime
second only to that committed at Louvain.


Children Outraged.

A Belgian soldier who fought at Dinant was eye-witness of a terrible
scene. Several German infantrymen had entered a house in a small village
on the Meuse, and he, with four other Belgians, lay in wait for them.
The Germans emerged with a young woman, whom they subjected to brutal
ill-usage. The Belgians feared that if they fired they might hit the
woman, but presently one of the Kaiser’s savages drew his bayonet and
plunged it into the poor girl’s breast, whereupon she sank down uttering
a piteous cry.

At Harseet the Uhlans suddenly descended upon the village, shot the
first men they came across, numbering seven; this was followed by
outrages on women, and twenty-two men were carried off as prisoners. Two
Uhlans demanded a fowl from a peasant, who replied that he had none.
They found one, and promptly shot him.

Because two Jesuit professors at Louvain University were found with
newspapers upon them, telling of German atrocities, one was shot, while
thirty of the Jesuits were taken away in carts to an unknown fate.

In La Préville a number of Uhlans who broke open a _café_ and satiated
themselves with drink saw a little boy of seven playing with a toy gun.
Because he pointed it at a German soldier he was shot.


Base Act of Ingratitude.

Many Belgian refugees, after weary wanderings, found themselves in
Paris, and some of them were given shelter in the vast Cirque de Paris,
where straw was laid upon the floor upon which those made homeless and
destitute by the Kaiser’s savage barbarians made their bed.

One old grey-haired man, bent and travel-stained, was found by a
correspondent seated alone and silently weeping. A kindly Red Cross
nurse inquired the reason of his despondency. He said: “My name is Jean
Beauzon. I kept a little coffee-house just across the river from Liége,
in the town of Grivegnee. When the army was mobilized my two sons, both
strapping fine fellows, went off to join the regiment. I have two
daughters, one left with my old father and the other here”; so saying he
pointed to a bright-eyed girl of sixteen, whose face and head were
swathed in bandages.

“You see,” he went on, “that poor dear face. Well, a German did that.
They burst into my place and demanded wine, which I gave them. What
happened then I cannot exactly remember. It all seems like a horrible
nightmare. We subsequently left our home and wandered away in the
opposite direction from the terrible cannonading that was going on.

“After walking in the dark for two hours my other daughter became too
tired to go any farther and sat down in despair by the roadside.

“This girl here and I then went on to try to find some means of
conveyance for her. A little way down the road we came upon a riderless
horse, which we managed with great difficulty to catch and mount. We
then went back to find my other daughter. We had not left her for more
than half an hour, but she was no longer there. We spent the rest of the
night looking for her, but found no sign or trace of her, and in the end
were obliged to give up the search.

“Finally we got into a train, which brought us here. I was cared for by
the Red Cross. I don’t know where they found me or anything else except
that I have prayed all the time to the Blessed Virgin to return my
cherished lamb to me undefiled.”

     “=What kind of soldiers can these be who slaughter old women with
     bayonet thrusts, who violate young girls and then murder them, who
     strip and stab young boys, who hang and burn old men, and who
     subject to degradation and insult innocent and unoffending
     priests?=”

        --From the _Daily Telegraph_.



[Illustration: HOW THE GERMAN VANDALS DEALT WITH THE WORLD-FAMED LIBRARY
OF LOUVAIN.

_Photo, Central News._

_Face p. 73._]



XI.

The Crime of Louvain.


“=In destroying the ancient town of Louvain, the German troops have
committed a crime for which there can be no atonement, and Humanity has
suffered a loss which can never be repaired.=”--_Press Bureau._


No words can adequately describe the wave of disgust which swept over
the whole of the civilized communities of the world when it became known
that the Germans had reduced to ashes the beautiful old city of Louvain.
Mr. Asquith has described the sack of Louvain as

“=the greatest crime committed against civilization and culture since the
Thirty Years’ War. With its buildings, its pictures, its unique library,
its unrivalled associations, a shameless holocaust of irreparable
treasures lit up by blind barbarian vengeance.=”

This ancient city, the Oxford of Belgium, has been reduced by the new
Huns to a heap of ashes. “Every traveller in Belgium,” says Sir William
Robertson Nicoll, “will remember the ancient mediæval town, its
wonderful Hotel de Ville, the most perfect piece of architecture in
Belgium, the Church of St. Peter, begun in 1425, and the University with
its priceless library. All have perished, and why? The civil population
had been disarmed, but in a night skirmish German soldiers accidentally
fired on their own guard, and it was decided in the panic of the hour to
destroy the whole town. A town of forty-five thousand inhabitants, the
intellectual metropolis of the Low Countries since the fifteenth
century, is now no more than a heap of ashes.”

The wanton destruction of this ancient seat of learning, rich in
historic associations, was an act of vandalism almost without parallel
in history, a crime not only against humanity, but against the
generations of future years.

The restrained and dignified words in which our own Official Press
Bureau made known the ruthless sacking of Louvain constitute a fearful
indictment of German Militarism, which can give official sanction to
such an appalling deed. Here are the words of the Press Bureau:--

“Ancient and beautiful Louvain, a town of forty-five thousand people, a
seat of learning, famous for its ancient and beautiful churches and
other buildings, many of them dating from the fifteenth century, has
been utterly destroyed by one of the Kaiser’s commanders in a moment of
passion to cover the blunder of his own men. The excuse for this
unpardonable act of barbarity and vandalism is that a discomfited band
of German troops returning to Louvain were fired upon by the people of
the town, who had been disarmed a week earlier. The truth is that the
Germans, making for the town in disorder, were fired upon by their
friends in occupation of Louvain, a mistake by no means rare in war. The
assumption of the German commander was, in the circumstances, so wide of
probability that it can only be supposed that in the desire to conceal
the facts the first idea which occurred to him was seized upon as an
excuse for an act unparalleled in the history of civilized people.

“The Emperor William has stated that the only means of preventing
surprise attacks from the civil population has been to interfere with
unrelenting severity and to create examples which, by their
frightfulness, would be a warning to the whole country. The case of
Louvain is such an ‘interference,’ without even the miserable excuse
suggested. Louvain is miles from the scene of real fighting. In
International Law it is recognized that ‘the only legitimate end which
the States should aim at in war is the weakening of the military forces
of the enemy.’ And the rules under the annex to Convention IV. of 1907,
which expand and demand the provision of the Declaration of Brussels,
lay down that any destruction or seizure of enemies’ property, not
imperatively called for by military necessities, is forbidden.

“In destroying the ancient town of Louvain, the German troops have
committed a crime for which there can be no atonement, and Humanity has
suffered a loss which can never be repaired.”


Incredible Wickedness.

But even the above statement does not relate one half of the fearful
crimes against property and human life committed by these uniformed
ruffians in the ill-fated city, perpetrated by hosts of armed men
against innocent and helpless non-combatants, aged men, defenceless
women, and children. The houses and buildings of the town were without
doubt deliberately set on fire. Helped by petrol poured on by brutal
Teuton soldiers, the flames spread rapidly and fiercely.

     “=For every vile deed wrought under the impious benedictions of the
     monarch who is ravaging Europe ample reparation shall be
     exacted.=”--_Times._

Everyone who offered opposition was killed; everyone found in the
possession of arms shot. Wives saw their husbands murdered before their
eyes, mothers their sons. Men were brutally dragged away from their
weeping wives and children, propped up against a wall and shot, or
ruthlessly cut down where they stood. German soldiers, encouraged by
their officers, looted where and how they liked; the inhabitants were in
some cases driven to take refuge on the roofs of their houses, which
were set on fire. From burning houses were to be heard the agonized
cries of those perishing in the conflagration, which was destined to
reduce the city to ashes.

Many authenticated stories of these terrible happenings have reached
London. At first they seemed unbelievable, but each day brings further
corroboration. I take the liberty of reproducing a despatch of Mr. Hugh
Martin, the special correspondent of the _Daily News and Leader_, whose
vivid narrative brings home to us the details of the sufferings of the
poor victims of these abominable proceedings:--

“Stories of the sacking of Louvain, which are almost unbelievable in
their horror, reach here (Rotterdam) from the frontier. One of the most
vivid is that of an assistant in a bicycle shop, who, though a Dutchman,
was given special facilities for escape owing to his being mistaken for
a German.

“‘At mid-day last Tuesday,’ he begins, ‘a fearful uproar broke out in
the streets while we were at dinner, and the crackle of musketry was
soon followed by the roar of artillery near at hand.

“‘Hearing shrieks from the inhabitants of our streets, I rushed to the
window and saw that several houses were already in flames. Soldiers were
smashing the shop windows and looting in all directions.


Shot Down Like Rabbits.

“‘As the people rushed into the streets from the burning houses they
were shot down like rabbits. With my governor, his wife, and little boy,
we fled to the cellar, where I and the boy hid under a pile of tyres,
while the manager crept into a chest, and his wife far into a drain,
where she stood with water up to her waist for many hours.

“‘Night fell and the sound of shooting in the streets became brisker. I
crept out of my hiding-place to get some water, and, peeping out of the
window, saw, to my horror, that almost the whole street was in ruins.
Then we found that our own house was alight, and it was necessary to
choose between bolting and being burnt to death where we were.

“‘I decided to make a dash for it, but the moment I was outside the door
three Germans held me up with their revolvers and asked me where I was
going. My reply was that I was a German, and that my master and his wife
were Germans who had been trapped in the burning house.

“‘Apparently my German was good enough to make them believe my
statement, for they promised to give us safe conduct out of the town.
Our walk through the streets to the railway station I shall always
remember as a walk through hell.

“‘The beautiful town, with its noble buildings, was a sea of flame. Dead
bodies lay thick in the streets. Dreadful cries came from many of the
houses. It was half-past five on Wednesday morning when we reached the
railway station. Soldiers were even then still going about the streets
with lighted brands and explosives in their hands, setting alight any
buildings that still remained intact.

“‘In the parks they had already begun to bury the dead, but in many
cases so shallow were the graves that a large part of each body was
still visible. At the railway station we witnessed a truly harrowing
spectacle. Fifty citizens, both men and women, had been brought from
houses from which the soldiers swore that shots had been fired.

“‘They were lined up in the street, protesting with tears in their eyes
that they were innocent. Then came a firing squad. Volley followed
volley, and the fifty fell dead where they stood.’

“This appalling story is fully confirmed by an independent despatch from
a Dutch journalist who happened to be at Louvain on his way to Brussels.
He states that he was standing on Tuesday evening near the railway
station at Louvain talking to a German officer, when he was strongly
advised to leave the spot, owing to the great danger.

“A group of some five hundred men and women described as hostages were
ranked in the open space by the station, and they were informed that for
every soldier fired on in the town ten of them would be shot. This
arrangement was carried out with true German regard for the punctilious
observation of all rules.

“The wretched people sobbed and wrung their hands and fell on their
knees, but they might as well have appealed to men of stone.

“Ten by ten as the night wore on they were brought from the ranks and
slaughtered, without regard to age or sex, before the eyes of those who
remained.

“Accounts differ widely as to the origin of the trouble, some declaring
that the German patrols in the city fired on the German troops
retreating before a sortie from Antwerp, while others state that stray
shots were fired at a commissariat train passing through the town.

“I would draw special attention to the fact that so far as the main
facts are concerned both my informants are Dutchmen, who can have no
object in spreading anti-German lies.”

Further terrible details are supplied by a cigar manufacturer who
happened to be in Louvain about that time. Taken prisoner, he was
escorted by German soldiers from the town, which was then one mass of
flames, to the neighbouring village of Campenhout, where they witnessed
the shooting of seven priests.

“Altogether we were seventy-three men, handcuffed like criminals,” he
says, “and we were locked in the church, and had to lie on the cold
floor. Fresh prisoners arrived at intervals. Outside we could hear the
cries and lamentations of women and children. Inside an imprisoned
priest gave us absolution.

“When we left the church, Campenhout was burning fiercely. We were told
we should be freed, but must return to Louvain. On returning, we were
once more taken prisoners and driven in front of German soldiers across
country without rest or food, and used as a cover for the troops.”


The “Black Hole” Outdone.

Incredible inhuman treatment was accorded to some twelve hundred people
who were captured by the German barbarians in the act of fleeing from
the doomed city. The men were separated from the women and children, and
marched back to Louvain. Then began for them a terrible journey--a
journey that drove many mad and others to self-destruction.

“Like so many brutes,” says the _Times_ correspondent, “these burgesses
of Louvain, among them merchants, brewers, advocates, engineers, and
representatives of all social grades, were herded into wagons which had
served for the transport of horses and were inches deep in filth. Into
each wagon ninety men were crushed at the point of the bayonet by
soldiers who seemed to glory in the maltreatment of their fellow-men.
The unhappy prisoners had, of course, to stand, and to add to the
horrors of the fetid atmosphere, the doors were shut, and only fugitive
rays of light filtered through the chinks.

“For two hours they were kept like this at Louvain station, after which
the train left for Cologne. The journey occupied about fifty hours, and
the Belgians during this awful time were given neither food nor drink.
‘After such an experience,’ states one of them, ‘hell itself can have no
terrors.’

“Once strong physically and prosperous, he who spoke is now a nervous
wreck and destitute, living on the charity of friends who do not know
but what it may be their turn to-morrow.

“Arrived at Cologne, the prisoners were marched through jeering crowds
to the Exhibition Gardens. Men and women surged round the pitiful band,
hurling at them vile epithets, and shouting, ‘Zum Tod, zum Tod!’ (‘Kill
them, kill them!’) Even the children joined in kicking the prisoners as
they passed. The Belgians could gather no idea as to why they had been
dragged off to Germany, and even feared the worst. The night was passed
in the open, and in the morning they broke their prolonged fast on a
small portion of black bread.

“Suddenly the German authorities changed their minds. Back the prisoners
must go to Belgium, and, four abreast, the motley column regained the
station. A passenger train awaited them, but each compartment for nine
people was made to hold eighteen or nineteen. In some ways the home
journey was more terrible than the outward. For two days and three
nights the unfortunate inhabitants of Louvain were jolted about between
Cologne and the capital of their own country, again absolutely without
food.

“On rare occasions the guard exhibited a glimmering of pity, and
permitted the prisoners a mouthful of water. At the Gare du Nord, in
Brussels, compatriots smuggled food through the windows. The train only
stopped a short time here, and was off again to Schaerbeek.

“Completely at a loss what to do with their charges, the Prussian
officers ordered them out of the train, and under an armed guard
marched them on foot through Vilvorde and Pont Brulé and on to Malines.
When crossing the fields the prisoners tore up turnips and beetroots and
ate them ravenously. At Malines the officer in charge of the escort told
the half-dead men they were free, and by different routes they reached
Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, and other places in territory unoccupied by the
enemy.”


The Massacre of Innocents.

The stories of the poor panic-stricken women of Louvain who emerged
alive from the night of terror cannot fail to arouse horror. One woman
upon whose face were marks of the intense suffering through which she
had passed told how she tore down the curtains from her windows, wrapped
them round some wearing apparel, and ran from the house with her two
children. In the street she became involved in a stampede of men, women,
and children rushing away from their burning town, whither she knew not.

This miserable refugee’s story was so disjointed, so interspersed with
hysterical sobs and exclamations, that it is impossible to make a full
and coherent narrative of it.

“Ah!” she exclaimed, with a convulsive shudder, “I will tell you of the
burning of Louvain. We had pulled down some of the buildings so that the
Germans should not mount guns on them when they came. I believe that was
the reason. We were in a state of terror, because we had heard of the
cruelties of the Germans. But all we had heard of them was not so bad as
we experienced. In the streets people were cruelly butchered, and then
on all sides flames began to rise. We were prepared for what we regarded
as the worst, but never had we anticipated that they would burn us in
our homes. People rushed about frantic to save their property. They were
shot down by rifle volleys, struck down by sabres, and pierced by
lances. My God! What have we not suffered?”

Two young Oxford undergraduates who were present tell a graphic story,
in a letter to the _Times_, of the sack of the town and the burning of
the neighbouring village. Leaving Aix-la-Chapelle on the Wednesday in
question, they set off for Louvain. As they passed through the little
hamlet of Cortenbergh they encountered a body of German troops who had
been dispatched to destroy the village. Taken prisoners, they were
guarded while the inhuman soldiers of the Kaiser made use of the
cartloads of straw which they had brought with them for their terrible
purpose. Soon every house was a mass of flames.

“This was in the afternoon,” they relate, “and from three to six o’clock
we had to stand at the end of the street while the firing went on. It
was a terrible spectacle, and our first glimpse of the horrors of war,
for we saw five civilians, as they left their burning homes, ruthlessly
shot down by German soldiers. Neither of us will ever forget the
spectacle Louvain presented when we reached it the following morning.
The whole town had apparently capitulated to the Germans, although
occasionally we heard the sound of firing. The greater part of the town
was in flames. Houses were falling, telegraph and telephone poles were
tumbling into the streets, and the picture of desolation was complete,
while German soldiers were looting among the ruins. Dead bodies littered
the streets.... Some German soldiers told us that they had taken four
hundred English prisoners from among those who had attacked their
troop-trains, and three hundred and thirty of them had been shot that
morning because they were found in possession of dum-dum bullets.”


A Refugee’s Plight.

The pathetic tale of a Belgian woman, who reached a place of safety
after almost inconceivable hardship, was told in words which were few,
but pregnant with tragedy and suffering. “Panic-stricken, we women fled
from the burning town, and, half-running and half-walking, hurried from
the dreadful scene. Mile after mile we covered, until our feet seemed as
lead and our senses reeled. I am told we walked over seventy miles
before we came to a railway. I wanted to bow down and kiss the cold iron
rails. I fell exhausted, having carried my two children in turn.
Footsore, broken-hearted, after the first joy of sighting the railway, I
felt my head whirling, and I wondered whether it was all worth while.
Then I thought of my deliverance, and thanked God.

“What did Louvain look like? Like what it was--a mass of flame devouring
our homes, our property, and our relatives. Most of us women were
deprived of our husbands. In the town everybody who offered any
opposition was killed, and everyone found to be armed in any way was
shot. Wives saw their husbands shot in the streets. I myself saw the
Burgomaster shot, and I saw another man dragged roughly away from his
weeping wife and children and shot through the head.”


An American’s Story.

A vivid word-picture of the scene is given by Mr. Gerald Morgan, an
American, in the _Daily Telegraph_. “An hour before sunset we entered
Louvain,” he says, “and found the city a smoking furnace. The railway
station was crowded with troops, drunk with loot and liquor, and rapine
as well. From house to house, acting under orders, groups of soldiers
were carrying lighted straw, placing it in the basement, and then
passing on to the next. It was not one’s idea of a general
conflagration, for each house burned separately--hundreds of individual
bonfires--while the sparks shot up like thousands of shooting stars into
the still night-air. It was exactly like a display of fireworks or
Bengal lights and set-pieces at a grand display in Coney Island.

“Meanwhile, through the station arch we saw German justice being
administered. In a square outside, where the cabs stand, an officer
stood, and the soldiers drove the citizens of Louvain into his presence,
like so many

[Illustration: WRECKAGE IN THE STUDENTS’ QUARTER OF LOUVAIN.

_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations, Ld._

_Face p. 87._]

unwilling cattle on a market day. Some of the men, after a few words
between the officer and the escorts, were marched off under fixed
bayonets behind the railway station. Then we heard volleys, and the
soldiers returned. Then the train moved out, and the last we saw of the
doomed city was an immense red glare in the gathering darkness.”


What M. Carton de Wiart Told Me.

Before leaving the subject of Louvain it is necessary for me to
chronicle the following, which was told me by M. Carton de Wiart, the
Belgian Minister of Justice. “As to the sacking of Louvain,” he stated,
“we have here a statement dated August 30th, which has been handed to
the Commission by a person of universal repute in Belgium, and which has
been telegraphed to us. On August 30th that person went from Brussels to
Louvain. On the high-road, when he got to a place called Weerde St.
George, he saw only burning villages and peasants beside themselves with
terror. When he reached Louvain and got to the American College--a large
number of American students, young priests, and medical students come to
Louvain--he found that fire had destroyed the whole town except the town
hall and city station. This gentleman noted that on Sunday last the
Germans kept on kindling new fires and placing straw so as to carry the
fire farther. The cathedral and the theatre had been destroyed, and had
collapsed completely. So had the famous library, one of the most
precious in the world, especially as regards manuscripts and works of
art. The town,” he says, “presents the aspect of an old ruined city, a
city like Pompeii. In the midst of this scene of desolation the only
people you could see were drunken soldiers carrying bottles of wine and
liqueurs in their arms, and officers themselves sitting in the streets
around tables drinking like their men.”


The “Times” Speaks Out.

Finally I give a quotation from the _Times_:--

“Deep and deadly must be the vengeance which the defenders of
civilization will exact from these new apostles of brutality. Even
Attila had his better side. He spared Milan. It has been said of him
that, though he destroyed cities without remorse, he respected the laws
of nations as they were understood in his day. The modern Attila
respects neither the laws of nations nor the laws of God. His evil deeds
cry aloud to Heaven and to the horror-struck watching nations. The
infamous crime of the destruction of Louvain is without a parallel even
in the dark ages. The harmless civil population had been disarmed a week
ago. The German garrison at the gates of the town fired upon another
force of their own countrymen. To conceal their blunder, they laid the
blame upon the helpless townspeople. No denials were listened to. Some
of the men of Louvain were shot, the rest were made prisoners, the women
and children were flung into trains and carried off to an unknown
destination, and the city was razed to the ground. Louvain has ceased
to exist. A town of forty thousand inhabitants, bigger than Crewe or
Dover or Colchester or Keighley, has been completely wiped out. The
wickedness of this abominable act shall be expiated to the uttermost
when the day of reckoning comes.

“Until now we have maintained an attitude of deliberate reserve upon the
innumerable tales of German atrocities which have reached us. We
published without comment the unanswerable list of shocking excesses
committed by the German troops, which was sent to England by the Belgian
authorities. When a German Zeppelin cast bombs upon ill-fated women
asleep in their beds at Antwerp, we did no more than explain the
bearings of international law upon conduct which has met with universal
reprobation in Europe and America. But now the real object of German
savagery is self-revealed, not only by the effacement of Louvain, but by
the shameful admissions sent forth from the wireless station at Berlin.
Last Thursday night the following official notification regarding
Belgium came vibrating through the air:--

“‘The only means of preventing surprise attacks from the civil
population has been to interfere with unstinting severity and to create
examples which by their frightfulness would be a warning to the whole
country.’

“Such is the cynical nature of the German apologia for the destruction
of Louvain. Such is the character of the warfare of the modern Huns.
They seek to strike terror into the hearts of their foes by methods
which belong to the days of the old barbaric hosts, who were thought to
have vanished from the world for ever. There must be no mistake about
the opportionment of blame for this and numberless other crimes. We have
listened too long to the bleatings of professors bemused by the false
glamour of a philosophy which the Germans themselves have thrust aside.

“=The Kaiser and his people are alike responsible for the acts of their
Government and their troops, and there can be no differentiation when
the day of reckoning comes. The Kaiser could stop these things with a
word. Instead, he pronounces impious benedictions upon them. Daily he
appeals for the blessings of God upon the dreadful deeds which are
staining the face of Western Europe--the ravaged villages, the hapless
non-combatants hanged or shot, the women and children torn from their
beds by cowards and made to walk before them under threats of all the
infamies which have eternally disgraced German ‘valour.’=”



XII.

     “=Just for a word--‘neutrality’--just for a scrap of paper Great
     Britain was going to make war.=”--_The German Chancellor._

     _The “scrap of paper” was the Powers’ treaty guaranteeing Belgium
     neutrality._


French Protest to the Powers.

So numerous and so terrible were the outrages committed by Germans on
French territory that the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, on
September 2nd--a month after the outbreak of hostilities--was compelled
to address a communication to the Powers which set forth a large number
of authenticated cases of barbarity. In the course of this official
statement it was explained that the indisputable facts set out were
selected merely as examples, and that it was impossible to bring to the
notice of the Powers every act contrary to the laws of war of which
accounts were being received day by day. The series of memoranda were
sufficient to establish the two following classes of facts:--

     “First. The Armies and Government of Germany profess the deepest
     scorn for International Law, and for treaties solemnly recognised
     for Germany.

     “Secondly. The devastations of the invaded countries (incendiarism,
     murder, pillage, and atrocities) appear to be systematically
     pursued by order of the leaders, and are not due to acts of
     indiscipline.

     “It is necessary to emphasise this two-fold characteristic of the
     German proceedings. They constitute a negation of every human and
     International law, and bring back modern warfare, after centuries
     of civilisation, to the methods of barbaric invasions. We are
     confident that such facts will arouse the indignation of neutral
     States, and will help to make clear the meaning of the struggle
     which we are carrying on in the respect of law and independence of
     nations.”

To this _communiqué_ were attached ten separate memoranda, setting forth
various specific charges against the Germans, and showing, among other
things, how the Kaiser’s troops were killing the French wounded, and had
even shot Red Cross nurses.


A Dead Man’s Diary.

“In the fifth of these memoranda,” says Reuter’s correspondent, “the
German allegation that the civilian population had taken part in the war
was strongly denied, and was declared to be nothing but a pretext put
forward by the German troops to give them the appearance of reprisals.
From the beginning of the war the Germans had made a practice of burning
undefended villages and of assassinating the inhabitants, and evidence
of this was to be found in letters and notebooks which had been taken
from Germans, dead or prisoners.”

A notebook found on a corpse of a German lieutenant contained the
following remark:--“We have fired the church of Villerupt and shot the
inhabitants. We pretended that scouts had taken refuge in the tower of
the church and had fired on us from there. The fact was, it was not the
inhabitants of Villerupt, but Customs officers and forest guards who
fired on us.”

The sixth memorandum gave detailed evidence in support of the charge
that a systematic devastation of the country had been ordered by the
German leaders. Letters found on German soldiers made it clear that the
burning of villages and the shooting of the inhabitants were general
measures, and that the orders were given by superior officers.

Attention was called to this violation of The Hague Convention, and it
was pointed out that it was on the proposal of the German delegates at
the second Hague Conference that an article was inserted declaring that
the belligerent guilty of such violation should be liable to pay an
indemnity.

In the remaining memoranda information was given as to the destruction
of villages in the region of Paris, and the burning of Affleville, under
circumstances of particular brutality.

The statement concluded: “The Government of the Republic, respecting
International conventions which it has ratified, protests against those
violations of International law, and holds up to reprobation before the
opinion of the world the behaviour of an enemy who respects no rule and
goes back on his signature affixed to International agreements.”


The Red Hand of Destruction.

Upon the Franco-German frontier the red hand of destruction was indeed
laid heavily, and it seemed incredible that a civilised nation should
resort to the methods of savages. Yet it was, alas, true, as was proved
in hundreds of cases. Atrocities were committed everywhere; civilians,
women, and children were shot down in blind rage. A German officer
captured by the French near Blamont admitted that the Germans wanted no
prisoners, and that the wholesale massacre of peaceful villagers was
according to orders.

German infantrymen belonging to the Bavarian regiments systematically
set fire to the villages through which they passed in the region of
Barras, Harbone, and Montreux, for during the engagement no artillery
fire could have caused such conflagrations. In the same district they
forced the inhabitants to precede their scouts. According to the same
report the German troops were daily massacring peaceful villagers, and
actually made children march before them when debouching from the
villages upon the field of battle.

An official report was made by M. Mirman, Prefect of the Meurthe and
Moselle, to the French Minister of the Interior, after a visit paid to
the districts of Bardonviller, Cirey, and Blamont, in the Luneville
area. He stated that it was impossible to cite all the acts of savagery
and brutality on the part of the German troops which had come under his
notice. He could make out a long list of women, young girls, and old men
and women who had been executed without the least reason and upon the
slightest pretext. Houses had been systematically burned by order of the
German officers as they advanced, and then again as they retreated.


Petrol on Burning Houses.

At Bardonviller, where one of the Kaiser’s sons was with the troops,
eleven of the inhabitants had been murdered, among whom was the wife of
the mayor, and a woman with her infant child, while seventy-eight houses
were burned with petrol and specially-prepared faggots. After pillaging
the town and looting everything they could, they fired on and demolished
the church, and took fifteen of the inhabitants, including a magistrate,
away as hostages.

At Bremeuil the Prefect found a pitiful and shameful state of affairs.
There, five inhabitants, one a little lad, were butchered, as well as an
old man of seventy-four, who was “trussed and shot like a rabbit.” The
Communal building was destroyed, and nearly the whole town swept away,
not during battle, but by the soldiers on their arrival.

The French troops in Lorraine had seized an entire mail, letters written
by German soldiers to their families. In these it was shown that the
chief occupation of the troops was eating and drinking, and in more than
twenty of the letters it was stated that all French civilians were shot
if they only looked suspicious or evil-disposed. All the men, and even
boys under age, were shot.

Another official statement issued by the French Ministry of War stated
that two Uhlans who were reconnoitring on the frontier entered the
little village of Affleville. They were ejected by a patrol of three
mounted riflemen. On the following day a detachment of Uhlans returned,
set fire to a farmhouse, and killed the farmer, who attempted to save
his property. The inhabitants protested that their village had not
interfered with the enemy, but later that evening a further squadron of
Uhlans arrived while all the villagers were attending service in the
church, and after sprinkling the houses with petroleum set the whole
place on fire. The terrified inhabitants fled without money or other
property to Verdun, the parish priest being shot.


“We Kill Everyone.”

Many other sensational indictments of the blood-lust of the Kaiser’s
savage hordes reached the French Ministry of Justice. The Curé of
Pillon, in the Metz district, states that on August 10th fifteen Germans
entered his house and pointed their rifles at him. He was dragged into
the road and brought before the General. On the way there he was
hurried along with the butts of his captors’ rifles. When he stopped
they hit him. He took out his handkerchief, and they confiscated it. He
shouted: “You are a set of brutes. Take me before one of your officers
who speaks French.” An officer replied in French, “It’s all up with
you.” A French shell burst not far from the German troops. The Germans
threw themselves down, but compelled the priest to remain standing.

Seven lads from French Lorraine at Baroncourt saw a body of Uhlans
driving before them old men, women, and children. They struck those that
would not or could not walk. Three Uhlans moved aside to a field where a
boy of fifteen was tending a herd of cows. The youth attempted to
prevent the seizure of the cattle. The troopers shot him point-blank,
and he fell without a cry.

In Lorraine a large number of letters written by German soldiers were
captured, and these letters are full of descriptions of acts of wanton
cruelty. Most of the writers make reference to food and drink. One says,
“We have no need for money. We simply take.” In another it is written,
“Before burning the village we took away everything that was eatable or
drinkable,” and again, “The first village across the frontier was
completely destroyed. It was a sight which was both sad and agreeable.”
In another letter it is stated, “We have shot the inhabitants of from
fourteen to sixty years old. There were thirty of them.” In twenty other
letters the phrases recur, “All were shot. We kill everyone.”

     “=The efforts directed towards the abolition of war must not only be
     termed foolish, but absolutely immoral, and must be described as
     unworthy of the human race.=”--_Gen. Von Bernhardi._


Village Ruthlessly Bombarded.

Refugees from Lorraine had a pathetic story to tell. The village of
Pontsurseille was burned on August 21st by the Germans. Like several
others in the neighbourhood, it was close to the border-line, and
courteous relations continued between its inhabitants and the enemy,
even after the first days of the war. But on August 14th a body of
Uhlans suddenly appeared and commandeered a number of things. They were
supplied at once with 200 chickens, a quantity of oats, and some other
provisions. The Guard Champêtre himself delivered the objects
commandeered, and took them across the border into the German camp. He
was not allowed to return immediately, and was detained for two days. On
Monday, August 17th, when the Guard Champêtre had returned, a shell
suddenly burst over the village. It exploded a few yards from a place
where a couple of women were engaged in milking the cows. Other shells
followed. They came from a battery erected on the other side of the
border.

No French soldier had been seen at the village for three days. They had
made their appearance only for a short time, and had fallen back. The
firing stopped after a while, but was resumed during the night and
continued for several nights following. All the able-bodied men had left
for the garrisons, and only the women, the children, and some aged men
remained. The Guard Champêtre was the only person with any authority
that remained, and he took over the administration of the commune.
Meanwhile he was compelled every day to go back and forwards between the
village and the German camp and supply the provisions that were
commandeered.

A young seminarist acted as secretary at the Mairie, and the wife of the
Guard Champêtre took charge of the fire-engine and tried to put out the
fire caused by the shells with the help of some other women.

On the night of August 20th it became evident that the Germans intended
to lay the village in ruins. The bombardment was continued all night and
the following day. The inhabitants took refuge in the cellars, which
protected them against the shells. About forty of them found shelter in
a big cellar belonging to a rich farmer, M. François Michel.


Helpless Children.

There were small children of three, six, and nine years, and infants
only a few months old. The Guard Champêtre, assisted by his wife,
directed everything. He had the openings protected by mattresses, which
prevented the Germans from discharging their rifles into the cellar.

By making a hole in one of the walls he secured a retreat into an
adjoining cellar. Suddenly an officer came, had the door opened, and
ordered everybody to come out at once. M. François Michel was the first
to step out, and he was instantly shot down by a group of soldiers
standing by. Next a boy of six, a nice little lad, stepped out. He was
also shot down. Everybody in the cellar then rushed back, amid cries of
horror raised by the wife of M. Michel and his children.

The Germans shouted, “Come out, or we shall burn you alive,” and fired a
volley down the steps of the cellar. The soldiers poured petroleum down
the cellar and on the mattresses, and set fire to it. The people inside
took refuge in the adjoining cellar, and the Guard Champêtre and his
wife were the last to leave. From this cellar they finally escaped and
fled across the field. The soldiers meanwhile had seized the young
seminarist, and another young man, aged twenty, and shot them, declaring
that they were of age for military service.

[Illustration: THE CHURCH AT TERMONDE IN RUINS.

_Photo, Sport and General._

_Face p. 101_]



XIII.

The Desecration of Churches.


Other refugees from Lorraine had harrowing stories to tell of German
brutalities, and many made statements which were officially registered.
Whole villages, they said, had been put to fire and sword. One man told
an official of the Catholic Society that he had, with his own eyes, seen
two German soldiers chop off the arms of a child which clung to its
mother’s skirts. Other narratives show once more that the Germans
entered closed houses and shot or bayoneted the inmates on the pretence
that they had been fired upon by them. Miners had in many places been
wilfully entombed, and other miners had been forced to dig trenches for
the enemy under the threat of being shot. Germans had stabled their
horses in churches, which they desecrated, and even covered their
animals with priests’ vestments.

Under their usual plea the Germans burned the town of Burzweiler, in
Alsace-Lorraine, blowing up its factories.

An eye-witness, M. Gaudefroy-Demonhynes, who was attempting to return to
France from Baden, made a sworn statement to a Paris magistrate,
explaining how he had found himself on August 1st detained with other
Frenchmen and some Russians at the railway station of Lorrach, in Baden,
a few miles from the French frontier. The party were arrested by
soldiers and taken to the police station, where they and their luggage
were searched. They were then led under guard through the town amid
hostile demonstrations by the inhabitants to the square in front of the
railway station, where they found another party of about thirty
Frenchmen and twenty Russians.

One of this party, a French commercial traveller, a stout man aged about
forty, suddenly shouted “Vive la France!” Instantly the two soldiers
guarding him took him before an officer or a non-commissioned officer,
standing a few paces away from a group of officers. People standing
between M. Demonhynes and the scene prevented him from hearing what was
said, but a few seconds later a shot--only one shot--rang out.

“I don’t know who fired,” the witness says, “but I know that just before
the report the Frenchman was standing before my eyes against the wall of
a restaurant facing the station, held fast by his two guards in the
position of one who is about to be executed.

“Hardly had the shot rang out than protests arose from our little band.
Among those who protested most vigorously were three young Frenchmen
from eighteen to twenty years old. They looked to me like students
leaving Germany, like myself. I did not speak to them and do not know
their names. Just as the soldiers seized him and his comrades one of the
young Frenchmen tried to speak to an officer who was wearing a large,
light grey cloak. This officer did not listen to him. Some order must
have been given, I don’t know by whom.

“One of the three Frenchmen, who must have been told of the fate
awaiting him, cried out in German ‘Don’t hold us. We aren’t afraid; we
are Frenchmen!’

“This time the officer replied coarsely, half turning round, ‘Shut up.’
The three Frenchmen of their own accord placed themselves against the
wall of the same restaurant. Two lines of soldiers were drawn up on
either side of them at right angles to the wall. Other soldiers--how
many I did not count--took up their position in front of them about
eight yards away. A volley rang out. The three Frenchmen fell.

“Fresh cries arose from our party. Horror-stricken women began to weep.
I did not see the bodies removed, but I saw them fall to the ground.

“At this moment a great uproar broke out. Another Frenchman, a big man
with a great black beard, whose age and appearance I forget and whom I
did not know, began to shout, ‘Cowards! Murderers!’ Soldiers surrounded
him. He struggled with them. They speedily overcame him, and, without
taking the trouble to stand him up against the wall, without the
intervention of any officer, one of the soldiers thrust the barrel of
his rifle against his body and shot him down point blank before my eyes.

“I saw these same soldiers dragging his body along the ground. The man
was struggling still. I had not the strength to look any more. I heard
other shots. I don’t know if there were any other victims.”

The German troops allowed no considerations of religion or respect for
antiquity to interfere with their scheme of devastation. Great works of
art and architecture and ancient churches were destroyed by fire or
shell, and in more than one instance it is stated that cathedrals were
used for stabling horses. To-day many are the ruined churches in
Belgium. Of the beautiful cathedral of Louvain only the walls stand, for
the interior is reported to have been ruthlessly shelled, pillaged, and
finally set on fire. Other churches in the ill-fated city similarly
suffered, while at Malines, too, bare walls and loose masonry are all
that remain of what were until recently sacred edifices of exceptional
interest to visitors by reason of their ancient treasures.

     “=We believe that some of the generals and some of the officers have
     encouraged these crimes, which would be impossible without such
     countenance. Yet we trust that there are still German officers
     whose characters can be respected.=”

        --From the _Morning Post_.



XIV.

     “=It is not a fair fight. Germany is fighting foully; she is defying
     not only the rules of war, but the rules of humanity.=”--_Mr.
     Richard Harding Davis_, the great American author.


Treatment of English Travellers.

The treatment meted out to English travellers and residents in Germany
at the time of the outbreak of the war was equally in keeping with the
modern culture of the nation. British subjects arriving in England were
loud in their protest of the manner in which they were treated, and even
British, French, and Russian Consuls were treated like criminals. In
regard to the latter, a mock formality of presenting the Consuls with
passports was gone through before their departure, but, provided with
these so-called guarantees of safe conduct, they were subjected to the
grossest insults on the way, the women being the chief object of the
mob’s fury. Insulting inscriptions were scribbled on the walls of their
compartments, and they were the objects of very hostile demonstrations.
At every station brave soldiers of the Kaiser presented their revolvers
at the heads of the travellers, came up to the carriage windows, jeered
at the occupants, and often threw rubbish into the compartments.

Mr. Drummond Hay, the British Consul at Dantzig, the French Consul, M.
Michel, and the Russian Consul were, with their families, turned out
from their consulates at an hour’s notice. They were told that they
would be taken to the Russian frontier, but in reality they were
conveyed to Bentheim, near the Dutch frontier, _via_ Stettin, a journey
which occupied three days. During the journey they were not given nor
allowed to buy any food, and when the train reached Bentheim the
travellers were curtly told to get out, and the Consuls were immediately
separated from their families. The women and children were housed in a
mean tavern under strict military guard, and the men, together with Mr.
Drummond Hay’s sixteen-year-old son, were taken to the local prison.
They were all put into one small cell, which they found already tenanted
by M. Vassel, an attaché of the French Consulate at Bentheim, who had
been imprisoned some days previously. M. Vassel had been arrested when
looking after the luggage of the French Consul at Bentheim, who had just
left for Holland.

In prison the Consuls were treated as though they belonged to the worst
class of criminals. They were obliged to sleep on the floor, without
covering of any kind, and with only a few wisps of straw between them
and the cold stones, and their only food was the black bread which is
served out to the ordinary convicts.

Having fallen ill on the journey, M. Michel asked to be allowed to see a
doctor, but, in lieu of medical advice, he was given a very strong dose
of castor oil, which made him very much worse. The conditions under
which these four men and a boy lived cannot be described. The gaolers
would not allow them nor anyone else to clean out the cell. Night and
day the unfortunate prisoners were herded together. Their only
recreation, a daily walk of half an hour’s duration, was taken in
company with the convicts.

Ten days after leaving Dantzig Mr. Drummond Hay was set free, but the
others were detained amid the awful surroundings which have been
described.

It was ascertained that there were forty-eight other foreigners--among
them fifteen Frenchmen--who are being kept in the town of Bentheim under
the strictest military observation.

The state of affairs in Dantzig when the Consuls left was terrible; many
people were being shot daily, often upon the very scantiest suspicion.

If the Germans treated responsible Government officials in the manner
described above, how much worse was the case of unfortunate girls and
women stranded alone in Germany. In many cases English governesses in
German families were cast adrift, to starve and endure the insults of
the savage enemy. Hundreds of English men and women, many of them
tourists, were thrown into prison without any trial, and suffered the
same indignities as did our Consul at Dantzig.


Englishwoman’s Experience.

A well-authenticated story was related by the headmistress of a London
elementary school, who was in Switzerland when the war broke out and who
returned to England prostrate with shock at the horror of scenes she
witnessed while passing through Germany. The train, she said, was
packed; all windows were closed, and the blinds drawn, and the
passengers were forbidden on peril of their lives to raise them.
Glimpses of troop trains were caught at intervals, and to allow these to
pass frequent stops were made. The pace was slow, and the crowded,
unventilated carriages became unendurably close. In the same compartment
as the lady in question were two English women, whom she learned to be
teachers in the provinces. One of these became ill, and at last, when
the train came to a stop at a countryside place between stations--there
was no means of locating it--her friend helped the sick girl to alight
in order to breathe some fresh air. Instantly bullets hailed upon them,
and both were shot dead. Their travelling companions dared make no
attempt to recover the bodies, and when the train passed on they were
left beside the line.

Two teachers of another London girls’ school state that a woman
travelling with them through Germany was shot for failing to show her
passport, and her body thrown out upon the line. Other ladies in the
same train stated that they had been stripped by German officers on the
pretence of searching them.

[Illustration: A MALINES RED-CROSS WARD WHICH WAS SHELLED BY THE
GERMANS.

_Photo, Sport and General._

_Face p. 109._]



XV.

     “=France must be so completely crushed that she can never again come
     across our path.=”--_Gen. Von Bernhardi._ (This statement was made
     long before war was declared.)


What Our Soldiers Say.

By innumerable acts of treachery and appalling savagery on the
battlefield the German soldiers have forfeited for ever the right to the
courtesies usually extended to an honourable foe. The opening phases of
the war have shown them in the light of cold-blooded barbarians, rather
than honourable soldiers. The well-attested stories of their shocking
brutality have no parallel in the history of the world. And in
practically every case these incredible acts of cruelty have been
committed with the knowledge and approval of their officers. They are
carrying out to the letter the advice of the Kaiser to act like the Huns
of Attila.

British soldiers who have returned wounded from the front are emphatic
in their assertions that the German gunners deliberately fired on the
hospitals and Red Cross men. One man remarked, “They seemed to take a
delight in aiming at hospitals, which had the Red Cross over them. In
fact, anything with the Red Cross acted as a target. A church was being
used as a hospital, and one of our officers, who had a flesh wound, was
taken inside for medical attention. Whilst he was there a shell blew
away the roof of the church, and injured him a second time. Fifty men
went out under the Red Cross to pick up wounded. They were fired on, and
only two of them came back.”

A member of the Red Cross organisation stated that the Germans have
treated with actual brutality the British wounded who fell into their
hands. Twenty-seven British soldiers who were being removed from the
field in an ambulance were dragged away and made to march to the Town
Hall of Mons, two falling unconscious in the streets on their way.

A resident of Ostend, in a letter to this country, put into words the
prevailing opinion in Belgium. “These Germans are not true soldiers,” he
writes, “they are murderers in uniform. They kill the wounded and shoot
the women and children. At one of the charges at Liége the Colonel of
the 9th Regiment of the Line was shot through the head, and when his
body was recovered later in the day it was found that these German
cowards had inflicted at least twenty bayonet stabs on the already dead
body.”


Helpless Soldiers Maimed.

These terrible allegations are borne out by information which has been
received by a British officer from his son at the front, who states that
the enemy, on coming across wounded British soldiers, proceed to stab
them through the right hand with a bayonet, with a view to rendering the
hand useless for holding a rifle again.

A horrible story is told by a wounded British sergeant. Struck down by a
bullet, he lay on his back on the battlefield of Mons, unable to move,
around him many wounded men. The German soldiers advanced over their
bodies, stabbing at them with their bayonets. Realising that his only
chance of saving his life was to feign death, the wounded “Tommy” closed
his eyes and kept perfectly still. As the Germans passed one struck him
on the body a heavy blow with the butt of a rifle, with the result that
one of his ribs was smashed. Clenching his teeth to prevent crying out
he lay rigid, hoping against hope that the barbarous enemy would not see
that he still lived. Then to his relief they passed on, but not before
one of them had plunged his bayonet into his shoulder.

Such stories as these make one’s blood boil, but they are by no means
isolated instances. Many wounded soldiers who have returned have
declared that after the battle of Mons the Germans, especially officers
and non-commissioned officers, passed over the ground and thrust their
swords at the wounded men. One man escaped by hiding for twenty-four
hours under sheaves of corn.

Yet another story is told by a wounded soldier who was also in the
fighting near Mons. He said, “We had had to retire a short distance,
leaving some killed and wounded behind. We saw the Germans come along.
They carried away some of our men who were lying on the ground we had
left. They placed them--and I am positively sure there were wounded as
well as killed among them--on a hayrick. Then the rick was set on fire.
It made us desperately wild, and we long to get at those Germans. If we
only could have charged! As it was, we had to stay where we were, but I
think we got in a good few shots of vengeance which found their billet.”

A lieutenant of an infantry regiment stated that the Germans captured a
party of his men outside Liége, and in order to prevent their escape
crushed their feet with the butts of their rifles. They then took one
man and held him against a tree while their comrades beat him about the
back with rifle butts. An infantryman named Legrande, who was in the
trenches beside his brother at a point where the fighting was furious,
and who is now in hospital at Brussels, told the following story. His
brother was mortally wounded by a German bullet, and died in his arms.
He himself was shot in the thigh, and almost at the same moment some
German Uhlans rode over him, leaving him unconscious. When he recovered
his senses he made an endeavour to crawl back to his own lines, which in
the meantime had been drawn in. He was discovered by some German
infantrymen, who stripped him, taking his water-bottle and everything.
Legrande had to wait in a state of utter nudity until the middle of the
night, and then strip the dead bodies of his comrades in order to clothe
himself. Eventually he regained the ranks of his comrades in an almost
dying condition.

Again the Germans, having despoiled dead Belgian soldiers of their
uniforms, clothed some of their men in them and placed them at the head
of their troops when an attack was made upon the Belgian troops.


The Khaki Uniform Trick.

The treacherous use by the Germans of British uniforms is instanced by
one of the wounded men at present in England. “What made matters worse
for us was the treachery of the enemy,” he stated, in the course of an
account of the fight in which he had sustained his hurt. “We were
compelled to fall back at one point, and left behind us our haversacks
and greatcoats, which we had taken off to allow us to fight the better.
Some time afterwards a body of men came towards us wearing the familiar
khaki-coloured coats, and naturally we took them for friends. But they
were Germans who had seized our coats and put them on in order to
disguise themselves, and no sooner were they near us than they sent a
murderous fire into our ranks. Later, when there was a lull in the
fighting, we found a large number of Germans killed wearing the clothes
of British soldiers, showing that they must either have stripped our
dead or the British prisoners they had captured and used their clothes.”

A number of Belgian soldiers arriving in Folkestone have also described
the behaviour of the enemy as too brutal for any civilised nation, and
most of them had seen Belgian villagers drawn in front of the Germans to
act as a screen for them. A favourite trick of the Germans was to
terrify Belgian villagers by driving them along immediately in front of
their heavy guns, where, owing to the elevation of the guns, they were
really quite safe. Their experience had been that the Germans had no
respect for the Red Cross, and that in fact they waited until the
wounded had been picked up and would then fire. They confirmed the
stories which had been told about the manner in which the Germans had
killed wounded men.

In another case a French soldier, after the engagement at Spincourt,
related that while he was on the ground with a bullet in his foot the
Germans, seeing he was not dead, fired at him with a rifle, twice,
point-blank, hitting him in the hip and shoulder, whereupon he became
unconscious. The Germans, thinking he was dead, left him.

Many of the British wounded affirm that the Germans pay no respect to
the Red Cross flag, but continually fire upon it and upon Red Cross men.
The enemy have also frequently violated the rules of the white flag.
These statements are supported by the Ostend correspondent of the
Central News, who was the eye-witness of the disgraceful incident which
he described in the following message:--“When I was in the neighbourhood
of Malines the forts were under bombardment. From the Willebroek fort
the Belgians were placing shells into a wood four miles distant, with
the object of forcing out a detachment of Uhlans. Presently a party of
Uhlans, exhibiting a white flag, came forward towards the Belgian
trenches with a request for a cessation of fire for the purpose of
collecting wounded. The temporary truce was agreed to. A Red Cross wagon
came forward to collect wounded, and a party from the Belgian trenches
went out for a similar purpose.

“Suddenly the German Red Cross van opened, and from out of it a
mitrailleuse poured its deadly fire with such effect that some ninety of
the Belgians fell dead. The retribution was swift and complete. The
Belgian artillery again opened fire, and with well-directed shells laid
low at least 200 of the treacherous Germans.

“Another incident of like character came beneath my immediate notice. A
party of German cyclists, entering the village of Willebroek, shot down
a child of seven years of age. The Belgian infantry opened fire upon the
cyclists, and an armoured motor-car, carrying a captain and four men,
pursued the marauders. It is with satisfaction that I can record that
eight of the Germans will fight no more.”


France Makes a Formal Protest.

An official _communiqué_ issued by the War Office of Paris contains the
following references to these outrages. It draws to the attention of the
Powers signatory of The Hague Convention the following facts,
constituting on the part of the German military authorities a violation
of the Conventions signed on October 10th, 1907, by the Imperial German
Government:--

“According to a report dated August 10th, 1914, sent by the General
Commanding the Army in the East,” it continues, “the German troops have
finished off a large number of wounded men by shots fired into their
faces at close quarters, as has been demonstrated by the dimensions of
the wounds. Other wounded men were deliberately trampled upon.

“On the 10th August the Bavarian infantry systematically set fire to the
villages which they went through in Barbas, Montigny, Montreux, and
Paruse districts, at a time also when no artillery fire on either side
could have provoked such action. In the same district they compelled the
inhabitants to go in front of their scouts.”

Another report, dated August 11th, 1914, says: “The German troops are
burning villages, massacring inhabitants, and making the women and
children march in front of them when they come out of the villages on to
the battlefields. This was done notably at Billy, in the fighting on the
10th. They are finishing off the wounded and killing prisoners.

“The Government of the Republic, in view of such proceedings, which must
be repudiated by the universal conscience of mankind, leaves it to the
civilised Powers to make complete appreciation of these criminal acts,
which are eternally dishonouring for a belligerent.”



XVI.

     “=The wrong--I speak openly--that we are committing I will endeavour
     to make good as soon as our military goal is achieved.=”

        From a speech by _The German Chancellor_.



The Antwerp Outrage.

Next to the tragic and infamous destruction of Louvain, and the
attendant atrocities committed in that beautiful old town, nothing has
called forth more passionate denunciation than the cowardly attempt made
by Zeppelin airships to drop bombs at Antwerp in the dead of night on
its sleeping inhabitants. For the first time in history a death-dealing
airship has attacked a city in this way. As a weapon the Zeppelin
dropping bombs may be as destructive as great shells fired from siege
howitzers. The horror of aircraft is, however, more terrorizing than
that of any siege gun, because bombs can be thrown down from the sky on
defenceless and sleeping cities. The civilized world has greeted with
execration this inhuman method of prosecuting war.

Before even a fortified town can be bombarded, the rules of war provide
for twenty-four hours’ notice before the commencement of actual
bombardment. Here we have a great airship sailing high over a sleeping
city. Without warning her crew drop death-dealing bombs from the sky in
the dead of night. Surely the killing of unsuspecting men, innocent
women, and sleeping children in this way is the most ruthless outrage
ever attempted in war.

Piloted by a German who knew the city well--one of the many to whom the
city opened wide its doors in the days before the war--the huge airship
had for its objective the Palais du Roi, where the Queen of Belgium, the
little Princes, and Princess Marie-José lay sleeping. Aided by the
darkness, the crew of the Zeppelin felt confident of their ability to
carry out their murderous programme. They had mapped out a career of
terrifying destruction. In a track of devastation they meant to leave in
ruins the Palais du Roi (which would also have involved the death of the
Royal Family), the Bourse, the Palais de Justice, the Banque, and the
Minerva Motor Works. But in no case was the treacherous aim attained.
The cowardly raid proved a complete and utter failure, the only
consolation provided the Kaiser being the slaughter of seven innocent
persons and the wounding of some twenty others.


Girls Horribly Mutilated.

The bombs which were to have killed the Queen and her family and to have
shattered the Bourse fell into an adjoining street, wrecked a house, and
injured two women. That destined for the destruction of the Banque
struck the attic of a house near by, killed a servant as she slept, and
injured two others. Of the other bombs one fell into a shrubbery, dug a
deep, funnel-shaped hole, uprooted shrubs, and plucked from their frames
windows of the St. Elizabeth Hospital, where the wounded lay.
Another--and the most successful bomb--struck a private house inhabited
by poor people, murdered a woman, and horribly mutilated three girls,
killed two Civic Guards, and seriously injured another. It was at a
private house just off the Place de Meir that a bomb wrought much
destruction to life and property. It tore off the top storey and split
up the front.


Screams of Dying Women.

“As I arrived on the scene,” says a _Daily Telegraph_ correspondent, “a
woman tottered out covered with lime dust, crying out, ‘Docteur,
docteur!’ Beneath the ruins of the house two Civic Guards were dead.
Within the house pitiful screams came from three girls who had been
roused from sleep by receiving dreadful wounds on the face and body. One
girl had half her face blown away; the two others were seriously wounded
on the face. Evidently their bodies had been somewhat protected by the
bed-clothes.”

The Zeppelin at the time of this appalling incident was almost
stationary in the sky, some seven hundred feet from the ground. Needless
to say, a panic at once ensued, and thousands of people took refuge in
their cellars, while others dashed out into the streets in their night
attire. Time after time the earth trembled as the terrible bombs fell,
causing devastation everywhere, the spots being signalled, it is said,
from the roofs of houses occupied by prominent Germans, of whom there
was a large colony in Antwerp. Truly it was a night of terror, for the
populace through the hours of tension did not know from one moment to
another that they might not be blown to atoms. Ten bombs struck ten
different streets. One which fell in the Rue des Navets made a hole six
feet six inches in diameter and twenty-two inches deep. It was probably
filled with shot, for all the houses in the vicinity were riddled by
bullets, and presented the appearance of having been fired upon, all the
doors and windows being broken and the ceilings having fallen in.

     “=The best protection of undefended cities against German Zeppelins
     is that a repetition of the Antwerp occurrence will be greeted with
     execration by the whole civilized world.=”--_Times._


Enormous Damage to Property.

It was calculated that about nine hundred houses were more or less
damaged and about sixty houses destroyed. In a single house four persons
were found dead. Indeed, in one room two people had been blown to atoms.
Three men were walking in the Rue de la Corne, when one of the bombs
fell. One was killed and the other two mortally wounded, while another
passer-by had his leg blown off. All the bombs, which created a terrific
explosion, were found to have been in a steel cover one and a half
inches thick and about a foot in diameter. The Zeppelin was, of course,
fired upon from the forts with guns and rifles, but having launched its
deadly missiles it moved off into the darkness.

A subsequent examination of the projectiles thrown showed that they had
a double covering, the two covers being joined together by
mushroom-shaped rivets, which act the part of bullets, and must cause
horrible injuries, as the two covers or envelopes are torn to fragments
by the explosive.

     “=If Germany had fought fairly we should have retained the respect
     for her which we had in the past; but her barbarous method of
     conducting war by sea and land has made all the nations of the Old
     World and the New regard her as the enemy of the human race.=”

        --MILITARY CORRESPONDENT of _The Times_.



A Miraculous Escape.

The story of that terrible night would not, however, be complete without
a reference to the miraculous escape of M. Vamberg, a cigarette-maker.
Had he slept in the bed he usually occupied, he would now be a dead man.
But for some reason he chose another bed in another room, his wife being
absent in the country, and so saved his life. The bed which Mme. Vamberg
occupies when at home was crushed by the falling roof. More than that,
having been aroused by the sound of the cannon, and having jumped out of
bed and rushed down to the first floor, M. Vamberg found himself
suddenly hanging from the window, the house having fallen about his
ears. He was rescued from this position by the firemen.


More Cowardly Raids.

But, as though not satisfied with the success of the first attempt, the
Germans determined upon another dastardly raid. A few nights after the
first outrage a Zeppelin again appeared over the city in the dead of
night. Ten bombs were discharged, and damaged a number of houses. No
lives were lost, however. A boy of fifteen had his right arm injured by
a flying splinter, while his father and sister and one or two others
were slightly injured. A graphic description of the raid is given by the
_Daily Telegraph_ correspondent. “I was awakened,” he relates, “by the
rattle of rifle-fire from neighbouring roofs and the hideous crash of
exploding bombs. Hurriedly descending into the Place Verte, I was just
in time to see an airship disappearing southward. She was at a
tremendous height, but could be clearly seen in the rays of the
searchlight. There was an incessant rattle of shots from rifles and
machine guns from the darkened town, and shrapnel could be seen
exploding like meteorites in the trail of the flying marauder. All round
the Place Verte from the roadway, and from points of vantage on the high
buildings, spurts of flame indicated the efforts of the firers to bring
down the hated ship. Immediately the searchlights fixed upon her the
Zeppelin made off at great speed.”


Worse than the Boxers.

Surgeon-Major Seaman, of the United States Army Reserve Corps, who
helped to tend the wounded, was so indignant with these cowardly tactics
on the part of the Germans that he communicated with his Government,
asking it to join at once in exacting reparation from Germany for such
infamies. He declared that in all his eight campaigns, of which one was
against the Boxers in China, he had never seen an act of war so
ruthless, so horrible, as the sight of three young girls mutilated and
defaced, and of the dead young mother, all attacked in their beds at
night. And with him the civilized world will agree.

Other airship and aeroplane raids were made on Antwerp and also upon
Paris, but fortunately none has been attended with either great loss of
life or destruction of property. But that such should be the case
affords no excuse for crimes which rank among the greatest committed by
the ruthless German army.

     “=At this moment the words ‘German culture’ are synonymous for
     rapine, murder, and hideous cruelty. This is a state of things
     which ought to be grasped by the people of Germany.=”

        --From the _Morning Post_.



XVII.

     “=Against ordinary though severe reprisals upon civilians who have
     fired upon the German troops we have not a word to utter; but
     outrage, mutilation, burning alive, and so forth are not reprisals;
     they are atrocities which make the name of Germany stink in the
     nostrils of mankind. It is hard to believe that a civilized nation
     should have so reverted to savagery, but unfortunately the facts
     admit of no dispute.=”--From the _Globe_.


“The Hussar-like Stroke.”

The laying of mines in neutral waters in contravention of the rules by
which civilized warfare was to be conducted was in itself a most
dastardly act. To place contact mines in the open sea and then to skulk
behind them was declared by the Kaiser’s wireless press bureau to be a
“Hussar-like stroke.” The Kaiser himself referred with satisfaction to
the fact that his navy had sown the North Sea with death. The laying of
mines is only admissible for the purpose of guarding estuaries and
harbours, and by The Hague Convention it was specifically laid down that
neutral waters must not be mined. In consequence of this cruel action of
the enemy many crews of British and Danish trawlers, the hard toilers of
the sea, were sent to their deaths, while the Wilson liner _Runo_, on a
voyage to Archangel, and His Majesty’s ships _Amphion_ and _Speedy_ were
sent to the bottom with great loss of life. In addition, several
trawlers, while engaged in mine-sweeping operations, were also
destroyed. All craft and cunning in naval warfare was, of course,
admissible, including the alteration and extinguishing of lights, the
removal of landmarks and buoys, and the disguising of warships as
merchantmen; but to scatter death indiscriminately along a neutral
waterway was a stab-in-the-back method worthy, indeed, of the pinchbeck
Napoleon.

=Such is the case against the German Soldier--the terrible and
overwhelming record which makes the very heart sick with horror, and the
blood run chill. One of our great poets called upon the human race to
“move upward, working out the beast, and let the ape and tiger die.”
Apes and tigers are noble creatures beside the living apostle of German
“culture.” He has built himself a monument upon the heights of infamy, a
monument from which, through all the ages yet to come, every honest man
will turn away in loathing and disgust.=

     =JOHN RUSKIN’S words:=--

     “=For blessing is only for the meek and merciful, and a German
     cannot be either; he does not understand even the meaning of the
     words ... but a German, selfish in the purest states of virtue and
     morality ... but no quantity of learning ever makes a German
     modest....=

     “=Accordingly, when the Germans get command of Lombardy, they
     bombard Venice, steal her pictures (which they can’t understand a
     single touch of), and entirely ruin the country, morally and
     physically, leaving behind them misery, vice, and intense hatred of
     themselves, wherever their accursed feet have trodden. They do
     precisely the same thing by France--crush her, rob her, leave her
     in misery of rage and shame, and return home, smacking their lips,
     and singing Te Deums.=”--_Fors Clavigera._



THE DAY

By THE “BATH RAILWAY POET”

     [This very striking poem, which we reproduce below by kind
     permission of the _Daily Express_, is published in leaflet form at
     a halfpenny, for the benefit of the National Relief Fund. The
     author is Mr. Henry Chappell, a railway porter at Bath. Mr.
     Chappell is known to his comrades as the “Bath Railway Poet.” The
     _Express_ acclaims the author of “The Day” as a national poet--an
     opinion which is very largely shared by the general Press.]


    You boasted the Day, and you toasted the Day,
      And now the Day has come.
    Blasphemer, braggart, and coward all,
    Little you reck of the numbing ball,
    The blasting shell, or the “white arm’s” fall,
      As they speed poor humans home.

    You spied for the Day, you lied for the Day,
      And woke the Day’s red spleen.
    Monster, who asked God’s aid Divine,
    Then strewed His seas with the ghastly mine;
    Not all the waters of the Rhine
      Can wash thy foul hands clean.

    You dreamed for the Day, you schemed for the Day;
      Watch how the Day will go.
    Slayer of age and youth and prime
    (Defenceless slain for never a crime),
    Thou art steeped in blood as a hog in slime,
      False friend and cowardly foe.

    You have sown for the Day, you have grown for the Day;
      Yours is the harvest red.
    Can you hear the groans and the awful cries?
    Can you see the heap of slain that lies,
    And sightless turned to the flame-split skies,
      The glassy eyes of the dead?

    You have wronged for the Day, you have longed for the Day
      That lit the awful flame.
    ’Tis nothing to you that hill and plain
    Yield sheaves of dead men amid the grain;
    That widows mourn for their loved ones slain,
      And mothers curse thy name.

    But after the Day there’s a price to pay
      For the sleepers under the sod,
    And He you have mocked for many a day--
    Listen and hear what He has to say:
    “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”
      What can you say to God?





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