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Title: German Atrocities - An Official Investigation
Author: Morgan, J. H. (John Hartman)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "German Atrocities - An Official Investigation" ***

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  J. H. MORGAN, M.A.,


  _Mentem mortalia tangunt_



  COPYRIGHT, 1916,

  Printed in the U.S.A.







  DEDICATION                                                   v

  PREFATORY NOTE                                              ix


     (1) The British Enquiry                                   1
     (2) The German Case--a critical Analysis of
         the German White Book                                 6
     (3) German Credibility--a Review of the Evidence         30
     (4) The Future of International Law and the
         Question of Retribution                              44

     (1) Methods of Enquiry                                   60
     (2) Outrages upon Combatants in the Field                64
     (3) Treatment of Civil Population                        76
     (4) Outrages upon Women--the German Occupation
         of Bailleul                                          81
     (5) Private Property                                     84
     (6) Observations on a Tour of the Marne and
         the Aisne                                            85
     (7) Bestiality of German Officers and Men                87
     (8) Conclusion                                           90

     (1) Depositions and Statements (Fifty-six in
         number) illustrating breaches of the Laws
         of War by German Troops, mainly Outrages
         on British Soldiers                                  93

  (2) Documents relative to the German Occupation
  of Bailleul                                                122

  (3) Evidence relating to the Murder of Eleven
  Civilians at Doulieu                                       134

  (4) Deposition of a Survivor of the Massacre of
  Tamines                                                    137

  (5) Five German Diaries                                    139

  (6) Documents forwarded by the Russian Government          146

  (7) The German White Book: The Introductory
  Memorandum                                                 158

  (8) Depositions relating to the Massacre of
  Wounded and Captive Highlanders by a
  German Bombing Party on September
  25th, 1915, at Haisnes                                     169

  (9) Depositions as to the use of Incendiary Bullets
  by the German Troops                                       174

  (10) Depositions as to the Employment by German
  Troops of Russian Prisoners upon
  Military Works on the Western Front                        177


Professor Morgan desires to express his obligations to the Russian
Embassy, the Foreign Office, the Home Office, the French Ministry of
War, and the General Headquarters Staff of the British Expeditionary
Force for the assistance which they have given him. For the opinions
expressed in Part IV. of the Introductory Chapter Professor Morgan is
alone responsible. The whole of the documents given in the “Documentary
Chapter” of this book (except the Memorandum from the German White Book
which has been published in German, though not, of course, in English)
are now published for the first time.






The second chapter of this book has already appeared in the pages of
the June issue of the _Nineteenth Century and After_. At the time of
its appearance numerous suggestions were made--notably by the _Morning
Post_ and the _Daily Chronicle_--that it should be republished in a
cheaper and more accessible form. A similar suggestion has come to us
from the Ministry of War in Paris, reinforced by the intimation that
the review containing the article was not obtainable owing to its
having immediately gone out of print. Since then an official reprint
has been largely circulated in neutral countries by the British
Government, and an abbreviated reprint of it has been published by
the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in the form of a pamphlet. The
Secretary to the Committee informs me that considerably over a million
and a half copies of this pamphlet have been circulated.

At the suggestion of Mr. Fisher Unwin, and by the courtesy of the
editor of the _Nineteenth Century_, the article is now republished as
a whole, but with it is published for the first time a documentary
chapter containing a selection of illustrative documents, none of which
have hitherto appeared in print. For permission to publish them I am
chiefly indebted to the Home Office and the Foreign Office. Needless
to say, the original article also was submitted to the Home Office
authorities, by whom it was duly read and approved before publication.
These documents by no means exhaust the unpublished evidence in my
possession, but my object has been not to multiply proofs but to
exemplify them, and, in particular, as is explained in the following
chapter, to supplement the Bryce Report on matters which, owing to the
exigencies of space and the pre-occupation with the case of Belgium,
occupy a comparatively subordinate place in that document. This volume
may, in fact, be regarded as a postscript to the Bryce Report--it does
not pretend to be anything more.[1]

There is, however, an extremely important aspect of the question which
has not yet been the subject of an official report in this country,
and that is the German White Book.[2] It has never been published
in England, and is very difficult to obtain. There is some reason
to believe that the German Government now entertain considerable
misgivings about the expediency of its original publication, and
are none too anxious to circulate it. The reason will, I think, be
tolerably obvious to anyone who will do me the honour to read the
critical analysis which follows.

I will not attempt to prejudice that analysis at this stage. I shall
have something to say later in this chapter as to the credibility of
the German Government in these matters. It is a rule of law that, when
a defendant puts his character in issue, or makes imputations on the
prosecutor or his witnesses, as the Germans have done, his character
may legitimately be the subject of animadversion. To impeach it at this
stage might appear, however, to beg the question of the value of the
White Book, which is best examined as a matter of internal evidence
without the importation of any reflections on the character of its

As regards the value of the evidence on the other side--the English,
Belgian, and French Reports--I doubt if any careful reader requires
persuasion as to their authenticity. In the case of the Bryce Report,
the studied sobriety of its tone--to say nothing of the known integrity
and judiciousness of its authors--carried instant conviction to
the minds of all honest and thoughtful men, and that conviction was
assuredly not disturbed by the vituperative description of it by the
_Kölnische Zeitung_ as a “mean collection of official lies.” No attempt
has ever been made to answer it. As regards the French Reports, which
are not as fully known in this country as they might be,[3] I had
the honour of working in collaboration with M. Mollard, a member of
the French Commission of Inquiry, and I was greatly impressed with
their scrupulous regard for truth, and their inflexible insistence on
corroboration. My own methods of inquiry are sufficiently indicated in
the chapter which follows, but I may add two illustrations of what,
I think, may fairly be described as the scrupulousness with which
the inquiries at General Headquarters were conducted. The reader may
remember that in May of last year a report as to the crucifixion
of two Canadian soldiers obtained wide currency in this country. A
Staff officer and myself immediately instituted inquiries by means
of a visit to the Canadian Headquarters, at that time situated in
the neighbourhood of Ypres, and by the cross-examination of wounded
Canadians on the way to the base. We found that this atrocity was a
matter of common belief among the Canadian soldiers, and at times we
seemed to be on a hot scent, but eventually we failed to discover any
one who had been an actual eye-witness of the atrocity in question.
It may or may not have occurred--we have had irrefragable proof that
such things have occurred--and it is conceivable that those who saw it
had perished and their testimony with them. But it was felt that mere
hearsay evidence, however strong, was not admissible, and, as a result,
no report was ever issued.

In the other case a man in a Highland regiment, on discovering himself
in hospital in the company of a wounded Prussian, attempted to assault
the latter, swearing that he had seen him bayoneting a wounded British
soldier as he lay helpless upon the field. He was positive as to the
identification and there could be no doubt as to the sincerity of his
statements. But as one Prussian Guardsman is very like another--the
facial and cranial uniformity is remarkable--and there was no
corroboration as to identity, no action was taken. As to the fact of
the atrocity having occurred there could, however, be no doubt.

I may add that the numerous British officers whom I interrogated in
the earlier stages of the war showed a marked disinclination--innate,
I think, in the British character--to believe stories reflecting upon
the honour of the foe to whom they were opposed in the field. But
at a later stage I found that this indulgent scepticism had wholly
disappeared. Facts had been too intractable, experience too harsh,
disillusion too bitter. The lesson has been dearly learnt--many a
brave and chivalrous officer has owed his death to the treachery of a
mean and unscrupulous foe. But it has been learnt once and for all.
And, indeed, judging by the information which reaches me from various
sources, the enemy affords our men no chance of forgetting it.



On May 10th--some five days before the publication of the Bryce
Report--the German Government drew up a voluminous White Book
purporting to be a Report on Offences against International Law in
the conduct of the war by the Belgians. It may be described as a kind
of intelligent anticipation of the case they might have to meet;
the actual case, as presented in the Bryce Report, they have never
attempted to meet, and to this day that report has never been answered.
The German White Book--of which no translation is accessible to the
public in this country--has attracted very little attention over here,
and I propose to make a close and reasoned analysis of it, for no more
damning and incriminating defence has ever been put forth by a nation
arraigned at the bar of public opinion. In doing so I shall rely on the
German Report itself and shall make no attempt to refute it by drawing
upon the evidence of the English and Belgian Reports, convincing though
that is, because to do so might seem to beg the question at issue,
which is the relative credibility of the parties.

German Invocation of The Hague Conventions.

The case which the German Government had avowedly to meet was the
wholesale slaughter of Belgian civilians, and the fact of such
slaughter having taken place they make no attempt to deny. They enter
a plea of justification and, in a word, they attempt to argue that
the _levée en masse_ or “People’s War” of the Belgian nation was
not conducted in accordance with the terms of the Hague regulations
relating to improvised resistance in cases of this kind. I will not
here go over the well-trodden ground of Belgian neutrality; it is
enough that in a now notorious utterance the Imperial Chancellor has
admitted that the German invasion was a breach of international law.[4]

The substance of the Hague Convention[5] is that the civil population
of a country at war are entitled to recognition as lawful belligerents
if they conform to four conditions. They must have a responsible
commander; they must wear a distinctive and recognisable badge; they
must carry their arms openly; and they must conduct their operations
in accordance with the laws and customs of war. In the case, however,
of an invasion, where there has been no time to organise in conformity
with this article, the first and second conditions are expressly
dispensed with, provided there is compliance with the third and
fourth. Now, not only have these rules been subscribed by the German
representatives and, according to Baron Marschall von Bieberstein,
their principal spokesman at the Hague Conference, such subscription
was absolute and unconditional;[6] but the principle which they embody
has been accepted by all the leading German jurists. “There exists no
ground for denying to the masses of a country the natural right to
defend their Fatherland ...; it is only by such levies that the smaller
and less powerful States can defend themselves.”[7] The same authority
argues that no State is bound to limit itself to its regular army; it
could, he adds, call up civil guards or even women and children, who in
such case would be entitled to the rights of lawful belligerents.[8]

What then is the German justification for the massacre of the Belgian
civilians? Its main contention is that the Belgian Government “had
_sufficient time_ for an _organisation_ of the People’s War as
required by international law”;[9] in other words that a spontaneous
and unorganised resistance in Belgium could not claim the immunities of
Article 2 of the Hague Regulations. The effrontery of this contention
is truly amazing. The Belgian Government had, at the most, two
days--two days in which to organise a whole nation for defence. The
German ultimatum to Belgium was issued on August 2nd; the violation
of Belgian territory took place on August 4th. How could a little
nation with a small standing army organise its whole population on a
military basis within two days against the most powerful and mobile
army in Europe, equipped with all the modern engines of war? The
German Government do, indeed, attempt to support their contention by
urging further that “the preparation of mobilisation began, as can be
proved, at least a week before the invasion of the German Army.”[10]
Now, granting--and it is granting a great deal--that a week would
be sufficient to organise untrained civilians for defence, it would
still remain to be proved that the Belgian Government _did_ begin to
mobilise a week beforehand. The German White Book does not prove it;
the Belgian Grey Book disproves it. The Belgian Government, relying on
the plighted faith of Germany, had not even begun to mobilise on July
29th--six days before the invasion.[11] Indeed, it was only on July
24th that they were sufficiently alarmed to address interrogatories to
the Great Powers, Germany among them, for assurances as to the immunity
of Belgium from attack.[12] As late as July 31st the German Government
effectually concealed its intentions.[13] It is, in fact, a matter of
common notoriety that the German move against Belgium was as sudden in
execution as it was premeditated in design. She entered like a thief in
the night.

Charges against the Belgian Government.

The main contention of the German Government therefore falls to the
ground. What remains? It is here that the German answer betrays itself
by its disingenuousness. There is an old rule of pleading, familiar
to lawyers, which says a traverse must be neither too large nor too
narrow. This is just the error into which the German contention falls.
The apologies are too anxious to prove everything in turn as the
occasion suits, forgetting that one of their contentions often refutes
the other. In the introductory memorandum they argue that Belgium
had time to organise and did not. In their excuse for the massacre
at Dinant, and their zeal to prove that the military exigencies
were overwhelming, they say that “the organisation”--of civilian
resistance--“was remarkable for its careful preparation and wide
extent”; “that the guns were only partly sporting guns and revolvers
but partly also machine guns and Belgian military weapons proves that
the organisation had the support of the Belgian Government.”[14]
In other words, in one part of the White Book they insist that the
resistance was ruthlessly punished because it was not organised;
in another that because it was organised it had to be ruthlessly
repressed. In another place,[15] having to justify their peculiar
principle of vicarious responsibility by which the innocent have to
answer for the guilty, they say that the Belgian Government and the
municipal hostages whom the Germans executed ought to have stopped
“this guerilla warfare,” and did not do so. Now it is well known, and
the German Government admits it, that the public authorities issued
proclamations ordering the people to abstain from hostilities and to
surrender their arms. How does the German Government meet this? The
only evidence they can produce in the whole of their pompous dossier
is (1) the deposition of a German Jew, resident in Brussels, to the
effect that, seeing the proclamation, he sent his servant to the
Belgian authorities to deliver up a revolver, and that the servant
came back and said that the Commissioner of Police had told him not to
trouble as “one need not believe everything that is in the papers”;[16]
(2) the deposition of a German lieutenant that an officer (not named)
once showed him a document (not produced), which, “according to his
own account” he had found in the town hall of a neighbouring village
(not indicated), containing an invitation on the part of the Belgian
Government, addressed to the population, to render armed resistance in
return for payment.[17] On such flimsy hearsay evidence, tendered by
two Germans, rests the whole of the German case against the Belgian

Belgian “Atrocities.”

Like a defendant who has no case, the German Government attempt to
plead generally in default of being able to plead specifically. They
therefore put forward a sweeping generalisation to the effect that,
quite apart from the question whether the Belgians did or did not
comply with the formal requirements of the Hague Convention, they
violated all the usages of war by “unheard of” atrocities. “Finally
it is proved beyond all doubt that German wounded were robbed and
killed by the Belgian population, and indeed were subjected to horrible
mutilation, and that even women and young girls took part in these
shameful actions. In this way the eyes of German wounded were torn out,
their ears, nose, fingers and sexual organs cut off, or their body cut
open.”[18] Let us consider the depositions with which this accusation
is supported.

(1) Hugo Lagershausen, of the 1st Ersatz Company of the Reserve, his
attention having been drawn to the significance of the oath, declares:

    “I lost the other men of the patrol. About noon on August
    6th, I came to a dressing station, which was set up on a
    farm near the village of Chenée. In the house I found about
    fifteen severely wounded German soldiers, of whom four or five
    had been horribly mutilated; both their eyes had been gouged
    out, and some had had several fingers cut off. Their wounds
    were relatively fresh although the blood was already somewhat
    coagulated. The men were still living and were groaning. It was
    not possible for me to help them, as I had already ascertained
    by questioning other wounded men lying in that house, there was
    no doctor in the place. I also found in the house six or seven
    Belgian civilians, four of whom were women; these gave drinks
    to the wounded; the men were entirely passive. I saw no weapons
    on them, and I cannot say whether they had blood on their
    hands, because they put them in their pockets.”[19]

It is highly probably, is it not? Musketeer Lagershausen falls among
ghouls who hastily put their incriminating hands in their pockets and
allow him who was “entirely alone” and powerless to walk off and inform
against them. Truly they must have been some of the mildest-mannered
men who ever cut a throat.

(2) Musketeer Paul Blankenberg, of Infantry Regiment No. 165, declares:

    “We were on the march in closed column and passing through
    a Belgian village west of Herve. In the village some German
    wounded were lying and I recognised some Jäger of the Jäger
    Battalion, No. 4. Suddenly the column marching through was
    fired upon from the houses, and accordingly the order was
    given that all civilians should be removed from the houses and
    driven together to one point. _While this was being done_ I
    noticed that girls of eight to ten years old, armed with sharp
    instruments, busied themselves with the German wounded. Later,
    I ascertained that the ear lobes and upper parts of the ears of
    the most seriously injured of the wounded had been cut off.”[20]

That is to say, a whole column of German troops is on the march in
close formation, they round up the civilians and _while they are doing
this_ some little girls continue, in presence of this overwhelming
force, to “busy themselves” by cutting up their comrades with the
contents of their mothers’ work-box.

(3) Landwehrman Alwin Chaton, of the 5th Company of the Reserve
Infantry Regiment No. 78, declared:

    “In the course of the street fighting in Charleroi, as we
    fought our way through the High Street and had reached a side
    street leading off the High Street, I saw, when I had reached
    the crossing and shot into the side street, a German dragoon
    lying in the street about fifty or sixty paces in front of
    me. Three civilians were near him, of whom one was bending
    over the soldier, who still kicked with his legs. I shot among
    them and hit the last of the civilians; the others fled. When
    I approached I saw that the shot civilian had a long knife,
    covered with blood, in his hand. The right eye of the German
    dragoon was gouged out.”[21]

The witness adds that “much smoke was rising from the body of the
dragoon,” This is to say that a general engagement, one of the hardest
fought during the war, is going on in the middle of a town and three
civilians are discovered within fifty or sixty paces, leisurely carving
up a German dragoon! Is it credible?

(4) My fourth example is too long to quote, but in substance it is
this. Reservist G. Gustav Voigt deposes that on August 6th he and seven
comrades suddenly saw five Belgian soldiers, fully armed, holding up
their arms to surrender. When they went up to them they discovered that
the Belgians had a German hussar strung up and freshly mutilated, and
that they had two other hussars upon whom they were about to perform
similar operations.[22] Without firing a shot, these men, caught
red-handed under circumstances which made their own death inevitable,
surrender immediately.

Now I ask any unbiased reader whether these depositions, in each case
uncorroborated, are such as to carry conviction to any reasonable man?
Yet the whole of the “proofs” adduced as to Belgian atrocities are of
this character.

The Massacres--Andenne.

When we come to the justification alleged for the wholesale massacres
of communities the evidence is even more suspicious. In order to prove
the Belgians unspeakable knaves the German Government have to present
them as incredible fools. At Andenne, “a small town of a population of
about 8,000 people,” there were affrays in which “about 200 inhabitants
lost their lives.”[23] According to the German document, “two infantry
regiments and a Jäger battalion” were marching through this place when
they were set upon by the inhabitants. Two regiments and a battalion
would constitute the greater part of a brigade; they must have amounted
to at least 7,000 men.[24] We are asked to believe that this small
unprotected community (one of the German witnesses expressly says, “I
did not see one single French or Belgian soldier in the entire town
or the environs”)[25] made an unprovoked attack on this overwhelming
force, and that the women assisted with pots of scalding water. Two
hundred of the civilians were, by the German admission, shot. The
German losses were, it is added, “singularly small.” So singularly
small were they that the German Report omits even to enumerate them.

Jamoigne and Tintigny.

In another case--the village of Jamoigne--an ammunition column halted
for water. The attitude of the population “was friendly; water, coffee,
and tobacco were offered to some non-commissioned officers and men.”
Suddenly, while part of the population are standing outside their
doors fully exposed, “a general shooting” is opened upon the crowd
in the streets from the roofs and windows of the houses.[26] Is it
intrinsically probable that Belgian civilians would be so careless of
the lives of their fellow-citizens? Or take the case of Tintigny. An
artillery ammunition column is welcomed, “apparently with the best
goodwill,” assisted to water its horses, and then (but not before)
“when the horses had been again harnessed” and the opportunity for a
surprise attack had passed, the inhabitants opened fire on the whole
column.[27] Statements like these carry their own refutation with them.

The Tragedy of Dinant.

I turn to the case of Dinant, one of the most appalling massacres
that have ever been perpetrated,[28] even by the hordes of Kultur. No
attempt is made to deny the wholesale slaughter; it is freely admitted,
and with sanguinary iteration we are told again and again “a fairly
large number of persons were shot, “all the male hostages assembled
against the garden wall were shot.” Such _battues_ occur on page
after page.[29] What is the German excuse? It is that the civilian
population offered a desperate resistance. To prove how desperate it
was, and consequently to establish the “military necessity,” it has to
be conceded that they were organised. But this is proving too much,
for “organised” civilian combatants are entitled to the privileges of
lawful belligerents. Therefore it is argued that they were “without
military badges”: this phrase occurs with a curious lack of variation
in the words of each witness. It is added that women and “children
(including girls) of ten or twelve years” were armed with revolvers!
“Elderly women,” “a white-haired old man,” fired with insensate fury.
None the less--says one ingenuous German witness--“the people had
all got a very high opinion of Germany.” At intervals during the
engagement not only were groups of civilians, alleged to have arms in
their hands, shot in groups, but unarmed civilians were shot--“all the
male hostages.” In other words the whole of the German defence that
the German troops were punishing illicit _francs-tireurs_ is suddenly
abandoned. Tiring apparently of these laboured inventions, the German
staff, in a grim and sombre sentence, suddenly throws off the mask:

    “In judging the attitude which the troops of the 12th Corps
    took against such a population, our starting point must be that
    the _tactical object_ of the 12th Corps was to cross the Meuse
    _with speed_, and to drive the enemy from the left bank of the
    Meuse; speedily to overcome the opposition of the inhabitants
    who were working in direct opposition to this _was to be
    striven for in every way_.... Hostages were shot at various
    places and this procedure is amply justified.”[30]

It has been estimated that about eight hundred civilians perished in
this massacre. The German White Book freely concedes that the number
was large; indeed by a simple process of induction from the German
evidence it is clear that it was very large. It appears that a whole
Army Corps (the 1st Royal Saxon) was engaged and that the armed troops
of the Allies were encountered in force. The German troops received
a check and it seems fairly obvious that they simply wreaked their
vengeance, as they have so often done, on an unoffending population,
presumably in order to intimidate the enemy in the field. Not for the
first time they attempted to do by terror what they could not do by
force of arms.

“We gave them coffee.”

It is characteristic of the whole _apologia_ that having admitted to
an indiscriminate butchery the Germans attempt to gain credit for
preserving throughout its course the most tender sentiments. In fact
they are surprised at their own sensibility. “I have subsequently
often wondered,” says a Major Schlick, “that our men should have
remained so calm in the face of such beasts.”[31] Major Bauer says,
that he and his “manifested a most notable kindness to women, old
men and children”; so notable that he suggests that “it is worthy of
recognition in the special circumstances.” Major Bauer evidently thinks
it a case for the Iron Cross. And in proof of this humanity he points
out that the widows and orphans of the murdered husbands and fathers
“all received coffee”[32] from the field kitchen the next morning.
Perhaps Major Bauer bethinks himself of a certain cup of cold water.

The Children were “quite happy.”

More than this, the children seem rather to have enjoyed the novel
experience. A German staff-surgeon whose gruesome task it was to search
a heap of forty corpses, “women and young lads,” who had been put up
against a garden wall for execution, says:[33]

    “Under the heap I discovered a girl of about five years of age,
    and without any injuries. I took her out and brought her down
    to the house where the women were. _She took chocolate, was
    quite happy, and was clearly unaware of the seriousness of the

And with that amazing statement we may fitly leave this amazing


The case of Dinant may be taken as typical. The evidence as to
Louvain and Aerschot is not less incredible. We are asked to
believe that at Aerschot[34] the population of a small town suddenly
rose in arms against a whole brigade, although the population was
quite unprotected--“we ascertained that there was no enemy in the
neighbourhood.”[35] To explain this surprising and suicidal impulse the
Germans produce--it is their only evidence--the statement of a Captain
Karge, that he had “heard rumours from various German officers” that
the Belgian Government, “in particular the King of the Belgians,” had
decreed that every male Belgian was to do the German Army “as much harm
as possible.” “It _is said_ that such an order was found on a captured
Belgian soldier.” Strangely enough, the order is not produced--not a
word of it. Also, “an officer _told_ me that he himself had _read_
on a church door of a place near Aerschot that the Belgians were not
allowed to hold captured German officers on parole, but were bound to
shoot them.” He adds that he “cannot repeat the words of this officer


Let us now turn to Louvain. “The _insurrection_ of the town of
Louvain,” say the authors of the White Book with some naïveté, “against
the German garrison and the punishment which was meted out to the town
have found a long-drawn-out echo in the whole world.” Some twenty-eight
thousand words are therefore devoted to establishing the thesis that
the German troops in occupation of the town were the victims of a
carefully organised, long premeditated, and diabolically executed
attack on the part of the inhabitants assisted by the _Garde Civique_.

    “We are evidently dealing with a carefully planned assault
    which was carried on for several days with the greatest
    obstinacy. The long duration of the insurrection against the
    German military power in itself disposes of any planless action
    committed by individuals in excitement. The leadership of the
    treacherous revolt must have lain in the hands of a higher
    authority.”--Summarising Report.

Great emphasis is laid on the formidable nature of the attack and the
heavy odds against which the Germans had to contend. The fire of the
Belgians was “murderous” (D 11, D 13), “fearful” (D 9), “violent” (D
36), “furious” (D 41); it was supported by machine-guns (D 28, 29,
37, 38, 40) and hand-grenades (D 46), and was materially assisted by
Belgian soldiers in disguise (Appendix D 1, 19, 38), and by the _Garde
Civique_ (D 45, 46), who occupied houses with the most “elaborate
preparations.” In spite of this careful preparation the German troops,
who had been in the town six days and had there established the
Head-quarters of a whole Army Corps (the 9th Reserve Corps), were so
impressed by the “extraordinarily good” behaviour of the inhabitants
that on the evening of August 25th, about 7.30 or 8 p.m., they were
taken completely by surprise. “It was impossible to foresee,” says
Lieutenant von Sandt (D 8), “that the inhabitants were planning an
assault.” Other witnesses say, however, that “a remarkable number
of young men” were observed congregating in the streets some hours
beforehand. None the less the German authorities exhibited an ingenuous
trustfulness and, what is even more remarkable, a complete disregard
of the most ordinary police precautions, which will come as a surprise
to anyone who has studied the German Proclamations and the drastic
measures usually taken by them immediately upon their occupation of a

A “murderous” attack; German casualties--five.

Such was the situation when at seven o’clock on a summer evening
(August 25th) of notorious memory, the deep-laid plans of the Belgian
authorities suddenly and murderously revealed themselves. A German
company of Landsturm[37] was marching through the town; the main
body of the German troops quartered there were engaged several miles
away, and only a few details remained in the city. This small body of
unsuspecting soldiers--a company numbers not more than two or three
hundred men--were suddenly set upon, at a signal given by rockets, by
trained marksmen of the Belgian Army and the _Garde Civique_, disguised
as civilians, acting with the aid of machine-guns and hand-grenades and
actively assisted by the greater part of a large civilian population.
The fire, as various soldiers of the Landsturm testify, was not only
carefully controlled and directed, but was “murderous” in the extreme.
Yet, after carefully searching through their depositions, we find that
only “_five men of the company were wounded_” (D 8)! Lieutenant Sandt
and Dr. Berghausen feel constrained to explain these remarkably light
casualties. They can only account for them by saying that in spite of
the “carefully planned” and disciplined attack the Belgians, shooting
from carefully chosen positions, shot “too high” (D 8), “at night” (D
8, D 9) although the light at eight o’clock on an August evening is
usually remarkably good, and one of the witnesses (D 26) says that at
8 p.m. it was “fairly light.” The company appear to have disarmed the
infuriated Belgians with remarkable ease, going into the houses two or
three at a time (D 9), and finding the occupants apparently as docile
as sheep, so that although found with arms in their hands they allowed
themselves to be led out in “a crowd” and “immediately shot” (D 44).
In one case, on entering an inn, the Germans found “behind the bar, a
waiter,” who had apparently taken up this strong strategical position
alone with “a case for shot placed by his side with the corresponding
ammunition.” He also allowed himself to be led forth like a lamb to the
slaughter (D 37).

Contradictory witnesses.

It is extraordinary also that although this murderous and carefully
planned attack began at 7.30 “I had just finished my soup,” says Major
von Manteuffel, who sat down to dinner at 7.30--(Appendix D 3), or at
8 p.m. (D 6), yet at 9 p.m., says Corporal Hohne, who entered the town
with his regiment at that hour (D 36), “the conduct of the civilians
was quiet and not unfriendly,” and his regiment was allowed to march
right into the town--“up till then nothing noteworthy had occurred.”
A N.C.O. of the same battalion says that “between 9 and 10 p.m.” the
Belgians were standing about the streets; all was “quiet,” and they
were “not unfriendly” (D 36). Another witness heard nothing till “9 or
9.30” (D 25). Another says (D 45) the signal was given at “9 o’clock.”
To the same effect another soldier (D 18). What is even more remarkable
is the statement of Major von Klewitz that at 4 a.m. the next morning,
after the Landsturm had cleared the houses, the infatuated inhabitants
opened fire on an Army Corps which appears to have arrived in the
interval and was then “moving out to battle” (D 2); and the presence
of a whole brigade of Landwehr (D 1) does not seem to have exercised
any restraining influence on these insane civilians. Like flies to
wanton boys was a whole Army Corps to the burgesses of Louvain, who
killed it for their sport. The German authorities contend that, with
intermittent executions, they tolerated this kind of thing for two
whole days. They appear, however, to have borne a charmed life--the
chief casualties among them were horses. Battalion Surgeon Georg
Berghausen, in particular, who records as a remarkable fact that he
once paid a hotelkeeper (“to please him and his employees”) for meals
he had ordered, was “repeatedly shot at” the whole length of a street
but never so much as hit. He thinks this was due to its being so dark,
though whenever the witnesses are concerned to testify that the firing
was undoubtedly by civilians, or by soldiers disguised as such, they
can see “quite plainly.”

The Priests.

Never since the Day of Pentecost was there such a confusion of tongues.
One witness labours to prove that no executions took place without a
most decorous court-martial in the station square, the same soldier
combining apparently the office of prosecutor and judge (D 38); another
says that of “a crowd” of persons taken out of a house, the males were
“immediately shot” (D 44); yet a third says that a body of hostages
were placed in front of a machine-gun with an intimation that they
would be shot as a matter of course if there were any more disturbance
(D 37). It is admitted that a hundred civilians were shot, “including
ten or fifteen priests” (D 38). One German witness says it is all the
fault of the priests (D 38); another says it’s the fault of the _Garde
Civique_ (D 45)--both being apparently at some pains to exculpate the
unhappy civilians. The quality of the evidence against the priests (and
the civil population) may be gathered from the following deposition (D
42) of Captain Hermansen. He interviewed a priest who, he says, had
behaved well on one occasion:

    “I rejoined that if his clerical brethren had acted in that
    [the same] manner, the Belgians and we would have been spared
    many unpleasant experiences. _He did not contradict me._”--(D

In witness whereof Captain von Vethacke comes forward and says:

    “In so far as priests were shot they too had been found guilty
    by the court. I came to know the priest mentioned by Captain
    Hermansen at the end of his declaration. He made an excellent
    impression on me also; and _he did not contradict me either_,
    when I expressed to him my opinion that certain of the clergy
    had stirred up the people and taken part in the attack.”--(D

Truly, a remarkable example of the _argumentum ab silentio_! Perhaps
the unfortunate priest remembered what happened to Faithful when he
contradicted Chief Justice Hategood.

All the evidence adduced, where it is not that of the German soldiers,
is of this character. It is all hearsay, the Belgian witnesses quoted
are invariably anonymous, and there are only five of them at that (D
30, 34, 37, 38, 42). At Bueken “the clergymen” are accused of having
incited the population to attack the German troops. The proof adduced
is that the priest “left the church” when the firing began!

What is the true explanation?

One thing emerges quite clearly from these disorderly depositions
and that is a great confusion of mind. The evidence from Belgian
sources, very carefully sifted by a Committee[38] (presided over by
Sir Mackenzie Chalmers) of the Belgian Commission and, independently,
by the Bryce Committee,[39] is to the effect that two detachments
of German troops fired on one another and then threw the blame on
the innocent inhabitants. This explanation certainly receives some
countenance from the German depositions, which, as I have said,
exhibit a kind of turbulent confusion. The N.C.O.‘s of two battalions
which entered the town at 9 p.m. say “the noise and confusion was
very great,” and “to what extent our fire was returned I cannot say”;
“we shot the street lamps to pieces”; “our opponents were not to be
seen since it was already dark,” and “we only saw the flash of the
discharges and _supposed_ that they came from the houses” (D 36, 37);
and here again, as in the case of the company of Landsturm previously
referred to, only “five men” were known to be hit. During the greater
part of the day (August 25th) there was only[40] one company of
Landsturm and sixty men of a railway detachment in the town (D 8).
It is surely rather remarkable that “a well-prepared and elaborately
designed attack on the part of the civil population” (D 41) should
have halted all day and then begun either at or a short time before
(the German evidence is, as we have seen, very conflicting) German
reinforcements were entering the town, and then tarried again until
the whole or the greater part of a German Army Corps had arrived: the
only thing that the German evidence proves is the sinister fact that
the arrival of each detachment of German forces coincided with renewed
massacres of the civilian population. Such is the ugly story that
emerges from these ill-nourished and contradictory testimonies.

Such is the German White Book. I think it is not too much to say that
it bears the stamp of the forger’s hand upon it, the same hand that
forged the Ems telegram and garbled the Belgian documents captured in
Brussels. It was conceived in iniquity and brought forth in falsehood.
It confesses, but does not avoid.



The German Diaries.

I have allowed the German White Book to speak for itself. It is a
well-known rule of law that a party is “estopped” from denying his own
admissions, and the incriminating character of these admissions is, as
we have seen, conclusive against the German Government. Had I desired,
I could have reinforced it by other evidence, also emanating from
German sources, in the shape of Proclamations and diaries (of which I
have seen some hundreds at the Ministry of War in Paris), which amply
corroborate the conclusions already arrived at. The German pretence
of a judicial inquiry into the guilt or innocence of the victims of
their sanguinary fury is refuted by the simple fact that their own
Proclamations frankly intimate that the principle of decimation and
of vicarious punishment will be adopted, in the case of infractions,
whether real or assumed, of what they choose to call their commands.
A hostage may fail to turn up as a substitute, an inhabitant may be
found with a litre of benzol unaccounted for, another may dig potatoes
in the field, yet another may fail to salute or to hold his hands up
with sufficient promptitude--and the penalty decreed is invariably the
same: he, or a substitute, will be shot--“the innocent will suffer
with the guilty.”[41] Not only so, but as a rule no attempt was
made to discover whether any offence had been committed or not. In
the diary of a German officer which came into my possession an entry
recording the undiscriminating butchery of some two hundred civilians
concluded with the otiose remark: “In future there ought to be an
inquiry into their guilt instead of shooting them.” An unpublished
Proclamation in my possession, which was handed to me by the _maire_ of
a town now in our occupation, declared that the civils, “ou peutêtre
les militaires en civil,” had fired on the troops; the parenthesis
damns its authors beyond redemption. And when all other tests fail,
when every international convention has been repudiated, there still
remains the elementary rule, which not only jurists but soldiers have
always emphasized, that in reprisals and retribution there should
always be some _proportion_ between the offence and its punishment.
What then is to be thought of the admission of a German soldier that
sixty villagers, including women in travail, were shot “because,” he
adds laconically, “they had telephoned to the enemy”? The critic who
carefully collates the diaries, published and unpublished, will find
overwhelming evidence of indiscriminate and lawless butchery--“Befehl
ergangen sämtliche männliche Personen zu erschiessen.... Ein
schrecklicher Sonntag” (Order passed to shoot all the male
inhabitants.... A frightful Sunday); “Ein schreckliches Blutbad” (A
frightful blood-bath); “Sämtliche Rechtsnormen sind aufgelöst” (All the
rules of law are cast to the winds). And nothing is more instructive
than to observe how each lays the blame for the worst outrages upon
the other, while incidentally admitting those of his own unit. One
says, “It’s the infantry who are to blame”; another says, “The pioneers
are the worst and those brigands of artillerymen”; a third writes,
“It’s all the fault of the transport.” The cumulative effect of these
recriminations is to inculpate the whole.[42]

German Credibility.

Quite apart from this inductive evidence there is the fact that the
German Government is so tainted with the infamy of indisputable
mendacity that no sober and impartial man can credit a single word
of what it says. It has deliberately forged Belgian documents which
have come into its possession in order to make out a case against the
Belgian Government;[43] it has repeatedly broken faith with the British
Government and the Vatican;[44] it has abused the Geneva Convention
in order to make use of a hospital ship as an instrument of war.[45]
Berlin itself is one great factory of lies, and its official Press
service, to quote the words of our Ambassador, “a vast system of
international blackmail.”[46] As is the Government, so are the people.
Its merchants forge manifests and falsify bills of lading in order
to secure the immunity of their property from capture at sea.[47] A
journal under German control[48] has admitted that the stories of
mutilation so industriously circulated by the German Government and
its agents are entirely the product of hysterical “suggestion.” Often
its pretexts are a shameless afterthought. In co-operation with the
French authorities I was instrumental in tracking down a now notorious
order issued by a German Brigadier-General to butcher all the wounded
who fell into German hands. At first its authenticity was denied by
the German Government, but, when it was established beyond doubt, they
published a statement that a similar order had been issued by one of
our own Generals some twelve months ago. The excuse was as belated as
it was mendacious, and to this day not the slightest proof has been
adduced in support of it.

The German authorities seem to suffer from a malady which can only
be described as moral perversion. It is a kind of moral insanity. In
defending the sinking of the _Lusitania_ with its freight of innocent
women and children the German Government wrote:

    “The case of the _Lusitania_ shows _with horrible clearness_ to
    what jeopardising of human lives the manner of war conducted by
    our adversaries leads.”[49]

This affectation of horror at the consequences of its own crimes and
the imputation of the guilt of them to others is surely one of the
most remarkable revelations of the moral obliquity of the German mind.
Yet it by no means stands alone. The Proclamations, issued in Belgium,
threaten the inhabitants with fire and sword, the scaffold and the
firing-party, for the least infraction of the most trivial regulations,
and then conclude with the aspersion that by such infraction they will
commit “the horrible crime” of compromising the existence of a whole
community and placing it “outside the pale of international law.”[50]
The man who omits to put his hands up with acrobatic promptitude will
“make himself guilty” of the penalty of death. All through the German
utterances there runs an infatuated obsession that the Germans enjoy
a kind of moral prerogative in virtue of which they are entitled to
violate all the laws which they rigidly prescribe for others.[51] We
have lately had an example of this which is of supreme horror. The
Power which has broken all laws, human and divine, sought to dignify
its condemnation of Edith Cavell with all the pomp and circumstance
of a tribunal of justice. While thousands of ravishers and spoilers
go free, one woman, who had spent her life in ministries to such as
were sick and afflicted, was handed over to the executioner. Truly,
there has been no such trial in history since Barabbas was released and
Christ led forth to the hill of Calvary.

The Guilt of the German People.

It is the fondest of delusions to imagine that all this
blood-guiltiness is confined to the German Government and the General
Staff. The whole people is stained with it. The innumerable diaries
of common soldiers in the ranks which I have read betray a common
sentiment of hate, rapine, and ferocious credulity.[52] Again and again
English soldiers have told me how their German captors delighted to
offer them food in their famished state and then to snatch it away
again. The progress of French, British, and Russian prisoners, civil
as well as military, through Germany has been a veritable Calvary.[53]
The helplessness which in others would excite forbearance if not pity
has in the German populace provoked only derision and insult.[54] The
“old gentleman with a grey beard and gold spectacles” who broke his
umbrella over the back of a Russian lady (the wife of a diplomatist),
the loafers who boarded a train and under the eyes of the indulgent
sentries poked their fingers in the blind eye of a wounded Irishman
who had had half his face shot away, the men and women who spat upon
helpless prisoners and threatened them with death, the guards who
prodded them with bayonets, worried them with dogs, and dispatched
those who could not keep up--these were not a Prussian caste, but the
German people. What is to be thought of a people, one of whose leading
journals publishes[55] with approval the letter of a German officer
describing “the brilliant idea” (ein guter Gedanke) which inspired him
to place civilians on chairs in the middle of the street of a town
attacked by the French and use them as a screen for his men, in spite
of their “prayers of anguish.”

New Russian Evidence.

This question of the culpability of the German people, civilians and
soldiers in the ranks, as distinct from the German Government, is one
of supreme importance, and I would like to draw the reader’s attention
to the mass of unpublished evidence (from which some selections are
given in Part VI. of the Documentary Chapter of this book) placed at my
disposal by the Russian Embassy. In addition to the documents I have
printed in that chapter--I refer the reader to No. 7 in particular--I
will here quote the following unpublished deposition as to the conduct
of the German guards in a prison camp. These barbarities, it should
be remembered, were not done in the heat of action, but represent
the leisurely amusement of guards whose only provocation was the
helplessness of the famished men in their charge.

    “In their leisure moments the German soldiers amused themselves
    with practical joking at the expense of the prisoners. They
    announced that an extra portion of food would be given out,
    and when the Russians hurried to the kitchen, a whole pack of
    dogs were let loose on them. The animals flew at the prisoners
    and dispersed them in all directions, while the Germans looked
    on and roared with laughter. Sometimes the prisoners were
    offered an extra ladle of soup, or piece of bread if they would
    expose their backs to a certain number of blows with a whip.
    Our hungry and tormented soldiers often bought an extra piece
    of bread at this price, and it was thrown to them as if they
    had been dogs.”

The Germans appear in the case of the Russian, as in that of the
British, Belgian, and French prisoners, to have taken a malignant and
bestial delight in outraging their feelings of self-respect, and men
were herded together day and night in cattle-trucks deep in manure,
and forced to perform their natural functions where they stood, packed
together so close that they could not sit and dared not lie down. At
each station they were exhibited like a travelling menagerie to the
curiosity and insult of the populace. The quality of mercy was not
shown even where one might most expect to find it, namely, at the hands
of the German surgeons and nurses who wore the Red Cross. Here is the
deposition of Vasili Tretiakov:

    “Having received no food for two days, the Russian prisoners,
    who fully expected to get some bread at this station, were
    gazing with hungry and longing looks into the distance, when
    they saw women dressed as Sisters of Mercy distributing bread
    and sausages to the German soldiers. One of these Sisters went
    up to the truck in which I was standing, and a Russian soldier
    at the door stretched out his hand for something to eat, but
    the woman simply struck it and smeared the soldier’s face with
    a piece of sausage. She then called all the prisoners ‘Russian
    swine’ and went away from the side of the train.”

Well may the Russian Government say in their covering communication
that “the forms of punishment”--if we can speak of punishment when no
offence had been committed--“remind one of the tortures of the Middle
Ages.” Other documents in my possession recite how the prisoners were
harnessed to ploughs and carts, like cattle, and lashed with long
leather whips; how a man who fainted from exhaustion was immediately
bayoneted, while another who fell out of the ranks to pick up a rotten
turnip shared a like fate; how wounded men were forced to stand naked
for hours in the frost until gangrene set in, tied up for hours to
posts with their toes just touching the ground until, the blood rising
to the head, copious hæmorrhage took place from the nose, mouth, and
ears; how yet others who, exhausted with hunger and fatigue, could not
keep up on the march were bayoneted or clubbed where they lay. As for
the conduct of the German populace let the following speak for itself:

    “The peaceful inhabitants along the routes traversed in
    Germany showed the greatest hostility towards the prisoners,
    whom they reviled as ‘Russian swine and dogs.’ Women and even
    children threw stones and sand at them, and spat right in
    their faces.... Even the wounded men were not spared by these
    demented Germans who struck them, pulled their moustaches, and
    spat in their faces.”

The German Ideal--Europe in Chains.

The conception of the educated classes of Germany as to the future
of Europe we have on record: it is to be a tributary Europe, vast
satrapies of subject populations more rightless than the mediæval
villein, their language proscribed, their liberties disfranchised,
their commerce prohibited, their lands expropriated, hewers of wood and
drawers of water for the conqueror. The ill-disguised slavery under
which Belgium[56] and the occupied French Departments[57] groan to-day
is to be perpetuated. The small nations of Europe are to exchange
the protection of Europe for the suzerainty of Germany and to live
under the German “shield.” Their territories are to be to Germany
what the provinces were to Rome at her worst--great praedial estates,
the peasantry of which are either to be “cleared” or to remain as the
menials of the conqueror. The German dream is the dream of the Latin
historian who sighed for more provinces to conquer in order that
liberty might be “banished from the sight”[58] of those already under
his heel. What Germany cannot annex she will ruin, so that borne down
by heavy indemnities France shall never be able to lift her head again.
Such are the “terms of peace” proclaimed by the German Professors, a
body of men who, it should be remembered, in Germany hold their chairs
at the pleasure of the State and are, in fact, a branch of the Civil
Service. They therefore speak as men having authority.[59]

A Moral Distemper.

I have been told that there are still some individuals in England who
cherish the idea that this vast orgy of blood, lust, rapine, hate,
and pride is in some peculiar way merely the _Bacchanalia_ of troops
unused to the heady bouquet of the wines of Champagne or, stranger
still, that it is the mental aberration of a people seduced by idle
tales into these courses by its rulers. It is no part of my task to
find explanations. But if the reader is astonished, as well he may be,
at the disgusting repetition of stories of rape and sodomy let him
study the statistics of crime in Germany during the first decade of
this century, issued by the Imperial Government; he will find in them
much to confirm the impression that the whole people is infected with
some kind of moral distemper.[60] The seduction of a people by its
rulers is impossible; such hypnotic susceptibility to the influences
of “suggestion” would, of itself, be a symptom of mental degeneration
in the people itself. It is impossible to believe that the most highly
educated nation in Europe is either so ignorant or so credulous as
such an explanation would suggest. It is not in their ignorance
but in their turpitude that the clue to these barbarities is to be
found. This is a sombre fact which has to be faced or these appalling
records will have been sifted and published in vain. The problem of
explanation is ultimately one for the anthropologist rather than the
lawyer, and there may be force in the contention of those who believe
that the Prussian is not a member of the Teutonic family at all, but
a “throw-back” to some Tartar stock. Certain it is that he exhibits
an insensibility to the feelings of others which is only equalled by
his extreme sensitiveness as to his own.[61] This morbid insensibility
is, of course, the secret of German “Terrorism,” and of the immense
influence which it has exerted on the theory and practice of war among
the German nation. It explains their singular ingenuity in finding
means to an end, and between the German trooper who dips a baby’s head
into scalding water in order to get more coffee from its mother[62]
to the commandant who at the point of the bayonet thrusts a living
screen of priests, old men, and women with babes at the breast[63]
between his own troops and those of the enemy there is a difference of
degree rather than of kind. Similarly the dark passage in the German
War Book which hints that there may be occasions on which it will be
profitable to massacre prisoners of war reveals the same quality of
mind as the order to shoot helpless sailors who are struggling for
their lives in the sea.[64] All things are lawful which are expedient,
and if your enemy has ties of affection, the better he lends himself to
your belligerent exploitation. _Mentem mortalia tangunt_--human things
touch the heart--acquires for the German Staff a new and sinister
significance. Every tender feeling that their enemy has becomes a
hostage for his tractability, because it can be violated if he is
contumacious. His churches can be profaned, his priests murdered, his
boys driven into exile, his women-folk handed over to the lust of a
licentious soldiery, and his home destroyed. If his troops defeat one
in the field, the civilian population can be made to pay for it with
their lives,[65] so that eventually he may be disarmed not by defeat
but by horror. His own humanity will be his undoing. Not fear but
anguish will bring him to his knees.

This is the German doctrine, secreted in the pages of many a German
manual,[66] and now published to the world in the German Proclamations
and the evil deeds which they both excuse and provoke. This it is which
has made the German nation, in the words of Lord Rosebery, “the enemy
of the human race,” and has caused the very name of this bestial and
servile people to stink in the nostrils of mankind.



The Dissolution of Europe.

Many years ago the most distinguished of the modern school of French
historians wrote a remarkable essay on the subject of “Diplomacy and
Progress.”[67] He knew Europe as few had known it; he had spent his
life in its chancelleries and its archives, and his wisdom was only
equalled by his knowledge, for he had studied not only books but men.
In that essay he speculated as to the effect of the progress of
mechanical invention in the arts of war upon the prospects of European
peace, and he confessed to a mournful depression. But the source of
his apprehension was not Europe but Asia. He foresaw the possibility
of some potent Oriental nation awaking from its secular meditations
and applying itself in a single generation to an apprenticeship in
those mechanical arts which are no longer the peculiar mystery and
the prerogative of the Western world. A nation thus acquiring the
destructive resources of the West, while retaining the peculiar
morality of the East--its ruthlessness, its contempt for human
life, its sombre fatalism, its indifference to personal liberty,
its chicanery, its love of espionage--might, he apprehended, fall
upon Europe in a catastrophic assault as unforeseen as it would be
unprovoked, and threaten her with destruction.

The catastrophe has fallen, but the foes of Europe have been those of
her own household, and we have discovered with a shock of dismay that
the comity of European nations has harboured a Power which is European
in nothing but in name, and is more completely alien to Western ideals
than the tribes of Afghanistan. A hybrid nation of this type which is
intellectual without being refined, which can discipline its mind but
cannot control its appetites, which can acquire the idiom of Europe and
yet retain the instincts of Asia or rather of some pre-Asiatic horde,
presents the greatest problem that has ever perplexed the civilisation
of man. It is like an intellectual savage who has learnt the language
and studied the dress and deportment of polite society, but all the
while nurtures dark atavisms and murderous impulses in the centres of
his brain. The subtle danger of the presence of such a nation in the
European comity is that it uses the language of that international
society, and yet all the while means something different, and that with
every appearance of solemn subscription to its forms and treaties it
is making mental reservations and “economies” which strike at the very
root of them.

The Casuistry of the Intellectual Savage.

In the hands of such a nation an international convention is not merely
idle and impotent; the convention itself becomes positively dangerous,
simply because it can be perverted. It can be used to invest the most
barbarous acts with a specious plausibility, and can be turned against
the very people whom it was designed to protect. Any one who takes the
trouble to study the official proclamations of the German military
authorities, or the introductory memorandum to the German White Book,
cannot fail to be struck by this. A civilian who fires on the enemy
forfeits under international law the privileges of a non-combatant.
The rule means as much as it says, and no more; it does not impose on
a civil community the obligation to prove that it is a non-combatant.
But in nine out of ten German proclamations the rule is invoked as
an excuse for involving a whole community in responsibility with
their lives for the acts or omissions, real or alleged, of single
individuals--“the innocent will suffer with the guilty”[68]--and the
“law of nations” is invoked to put a whole population “outside the
pale” of it.[69] At one stroke we are carried back to the days of
the blood-feud and of vicarious punishment, and the law of nations
is perverted from an instrument of progress to an organon of bloody
sophistries. So, too, the Hague Convention which requires that
requisitions of supplies should not be made without giving receipts
is observed in the letter and violated in the spirit; receipts are
given, but they are forged. The obligation of a treaty guaranteeing the
neutrality of Belgium is admitted, but a false charge and a falsified
document is advanced to justify its breach. A brigade order to kill
all prisoners is first denied, and then when denial becomes futile,
a fictitious order of a prior date is alleged against us in order to
dignify the real order with the sanction of “reprisals.” Defenceless
merchantmen are attacked and sunk at first sight, and then when they
carry guns for their protection their precautions for defence are used
as a retrospective pretext for attack. The same curious casuistry is
invoked to excuse the attacks on Scarborough and London, and the Hague
Convention is interpreted, in defiance of its authors, to support the
plea that whatever barbarity is not expressly prohibited is thereby

Germany as a Moral Pervert.

It is this terrible perversion, this prostitution of words until,
to quote a classical expression of Thucydides, they have lost their
meaning in relation to things, that seems to me the most intractable
problem that we have to face. To my mind it is this pathological aspect
of the German temperament which presents a far more serious obstacle
to a restoration of the European comity based on the readmission of
Germany to membership than the German dogma of war. You may, perhaps,
extirpate a dogma but you cannot alter a temperament. To regard Germany
as the misguided pupil of a military caste which alone stands in the
way of her reformation seems to me to ignore the volume of evidence as
to the complicity of officers and men in those orgies of outrage. I
cannot avoid the conclusion that the whole people is infected with a
kind of moral distemper.

    “Look, Madame,” said a German soldier to a French woman who
    witnessed the execution of three poor travellers who with their
    hands tied behind their backs with napkins were led into a
    field close to her house and shot by six soldiers under the
    command of a German officer, “Look! isn’t it fine! See them
    shoot some French civilians. A fine feat that! All the others
    ought to be killed in the same way.”[70]

The sentiment is typical; German diaries are full of such things.
Nor is it reasonable to suppose that the kind of teaching which has
made Clausewitz and Treitschke and Bernhardi the gospel of the German
people, and has found authoritative expression in the German War Book,
could have commanded the prestige which it does command in Germany if
it had not found a people apt and eager by temperament to receive it.
Germany stands alone among modern nations in extending its official
conception, and even its academic analysis[71] of war, to include the
deliberate “terrorization” of non-combatants. She alone has taught,
both by precept and example, that there are no limitations to what
is justifiable by the exigencies of war. “_C’est la guerre_” is the
common answer of German officers when implored by the victims to
stop the lust and rapine of their men.[72] It follows from all this
that war as taught and practised by the Germans exceeds in savagery
even the practices of the ancient world, in which it was thought
the mark of barbarism to poison wells, desecrate temples and murder
priests--practices which the Germans have not hesitated to pursue.
Incitement to assassination, which was thought a mean and dishonourable
thing by the Roman mind,[73] is specifically recommended in the German
War Book.

In the ancient world the vanquished were regarded as rightless, and
whole populations were sold into slavery after they had been decimated
by the slaughter of their leading citizens. The German practice is
not intrinsically different; municipal magistrates, parish priests,
and one in three of the civil population have been butchered, many
civilians carried off to Germany to work in the fields, and those who
are left behind forced to dig trenches for their captors while their
wives and daughters are handed over to the lust of the soldiery, and
their movable property transported. It is difficult to see how this
differs in anything but name from the tragic fate of those unhappy
communities who in the laconic phrase of the ancient world passed _sub
corona_ and were sold by auction. All this differs from the practices
of the ancient world in nothing except a certain affectation, the one
concession to modern sentiment being a studious defamation by the
Germans of the people whom they ravish and despoil. It seems to me that
bad as the German crimes are the German justification for them is even
worse. For it betrays a real corruption of mind. The ancients were
often brutal but they were never hypocritical.

The Bankruptcy of The Hague Conventions.

What hope then can there be of a restoration of the comity of European
nations, and the re-establishment of the Hague Conventions? I confess I
can see none. The German Empire was conceived in duplicity and brought
forth in war, and three times within living memory, as Sir Edward Grey
has reminded us, she has wantonly provoked war in Europe in pursuance
of her predatory designs. I can see no way out of the present travail
except an armed peace, with the elimination as its basis for a long
time to come of Germany from the councils of Europe. What hope of
understanding can there be with a nation which does not observe the
ordinary rules of diplomatic intercourse, that _jus fetiale_ which
even the ancient world regarded as sacred? The world has seen with
stupefaction--there has, I think, been no such case for hundreds of
years--the Ambassador of the Austrian Government taking advantage of
his immunities and sovereign character to suborn seditious conspiracy
in the State to which he was accredited?[74] It is difficult to believe
that this case now stands alone. Conventions with such a Power are
both a delusion and a snare. They delude us with an appearance of
agreement where none exists. In unscrupulous hands, the more precise
and technical they are, the more do they lend themselves to casuistry,
adding, as some one has said, the terrors of law to the horrors of war.
I am afraid that such conventions are now hopelessly discredited. I
doubt if we shall hear very much in future of the distinction between
combatants and non-combatants, or of the sanctity of the _levée en
masse_ as a medium of lawful transition from the one to the other;
he who studies the German White Book on hostilities in Belgium will
see how easily a belligerent, if he be so minded, can dispose with a
quibble of the obligations to respect an improvised force which has
“no time” to organise. A belligerent contemplating a sudden attack
and a belligerent having to meet it will entertain very different
conceptions as to what is meant by “no time.” War has, indeed, come to
be, as von der Goltz prophesied it would be, a war not between armies
but between peoples, and we are further than ever from the oft-quoted
maxim of Rousseau that “War is not a relation of Man to Man but of
States to States,” in which particular individuals are enemies only by
the accident of a uniform. That was the voice of Individualism; but
States grow more and more collectivist, and never so collectivist as in
war. If, as an eminent writer has remarked, “out of the inner life of a
nation comes its foreign policy,” so, we may add, out of its municipal
law, its military usages, and its economic necessities will come its
construction of international law.

The Effect on International Law.

It surely cannot be too clearly recognised that Germany’s successive
violations of the laws of war have brought the whole fabric down like a
house of cards. When the Germans began to sink neutral merchantmen by
way of vindicating what they were pleased to call the freedom of the
seas, England was forced to jettison much of that famous Declaration
of London, which seemed at one time to be as complete an expression
of a consensus of international opinion as the world of jurists had
yet attained. We have gone further, as we were bound to do, and have
so extended the theory of blockade as to qualify very considerably the
Declaration of Paris. The Foreign Office has supported these departures
by the logic of reprisals--in my humble opinion very properly--but
“reprisals” are, juridically speaking, a kind of counsel of despair.
In books on international law they receive a kind of shame-faced
recognition; their place is always at the end and the chapter devoted
to them is often brief and generally apologetic. For the jurist knows
that they partake of the character of law about as much as trial by
battle. The voice of America is a voice crying in the wilderness; both
groups of belligerents deny the American contention that peace, and
with it the commerce of neutrals, should govern the construction of the
rules of war. How can it be otherwise in a struggle for existence? I
very much doubt whether, for a long time to come, international lawyers
can afford to assume, as they have been in the habit of doing, that
peace, not war, is the normal conditions of nations. A nation which
like Germany will not admit your major premises will certainly reject
your conclusions when it suits her convenience. The dilemma therefore
is inexorable: we can readmit Germany to international society and
lower our standard of International Law to her level, or we can exclude
her and raise it. There is no third course.

These are the hard facts to which any one who attempts to take stock
of the present situation and immediate prospects of International
Law must address himself. International Law rests on a reciprocity of
obligation; if one belligerent fails to observe it the other is, as a
mere matter of self-preservation, released from its observance towards
him, and is bound not by law but by morality, by his own conception
of what he owes to his own self-respect. It is well that our own
conception has been rather in advance of International Law than behind
it, and long may it so remain. But in proportion as our conception is
high and the German conception is low, it seems to me incumbent on us
to place our hopes for the future in the strength of our right arm and
in that alone. And if, in Burke’s noble phrase, we are to consider
ourselves for the future “embodied with Europe” so that, sympathetic
with the adversity or the happiness of mankind, we feel that nothing
human is alien to us, then we must be prepared to support our treaty
guarantees of the independence of the small nations with an adequate
armed force; otherwise they will regard our friendship as an equivocal
and compromising thing. If we are to offer them the protection of
Europe in place of the suzerainty of Germany, we must be in a position
to honour our promissory notes or they will indeed be but a scrap of
paper--a cruel and otiose encouragement to the weak to defy the strong.

The German as Outlaw.

As for Germany, I can see little hope except in a sentence of
outlawry. Mere black-listing of the names of responsible German
commanders, although worth doing (and I have reason to believe that at
the French War Office it is being done) with a view to retribution,
is not going to change the German character. We shall have to revise
our notions of both municipal and international law as regards her.
The tendency of English law has long been, as an acute jurist has
pointed out,[75] to lay more emphasis on domicile than on nationality,
the disabilities of the alien have been diminished almost to
vanishing-point, and British citizenship itself could be had almost for
the asking. Not of it need the alien knocking at our hospitable doors
say, in the words of the chief captain, “With a great sum obtained I
this freedom.” It has been made disastrously cheap. All that is likely
to be changed. It is not a little significant that already the courts
have begun to take judicial notice of the peculiar morality of the
German and have expressly made it the basis of a decision extending the
conception of what constitutes a prisoner of war.[76] And alone among
the emergency legislation the drastic Aliens Act is not limited in its
preamble, as are the other Acts, to the duration of the war. These
things are portents. It is impossible to believe that a revolution
more catastrophic than anything through which Europe has passed, a
revolution beside which the French Revolution assumes the proportions
of a storm in a tea-cup, can leave our conceptions of law, whether
municipal or international, unchanged.

       *       *       *       *       *


I make no apology, and I trust that none is needed, for these
speculations. Reports of atrocities can serve no useful purpose unless
they move men to reflect no less resolutely than deeply upon what is to
be done to deliver Europe from the scourge of their repetition. It may
well be that my own reflections will seem cynical to one, depressing
to another, arbitrary to a third. They are not the idols of the
theatre, and in academic circles they may not be fashionable. But the
catastrophe that has disturbed the dreams of the idealogues must teach
jurists and statesmen to beware of the opiate of words and sacramental
phrases. That, however, is a task which belongs to the future. The
immediate enterprise is not for lawyers but for our gallant men in the
field. They, and they alone, can lay the foundations of an enduring
peace by an unremitting and inexorable war. They are the true ministers
of justice.



In November of last year I was commissioned by the Secretary of State
for Home Affairs to undertake the investigation in France into the
alleged breaches of the laws of war by the German troops, the inquiries
in England being separately conducted by others. The results of my
investigation were communicated to the Home Office, in the form of
confidential reports and of depositions, diaries, proclamations, and
other _pièces justificatives_, and were in turn submitted to the
Committee appointed by the Prime Minister and presided over by Lord
Bryce. The Committee made liberal use of this material, but, owing to
the exigencies of space and the necessity of selection, some of it
remains unpublished, and I now propose to place it and the conclusions
I draw from it before the public. Some part of it, and that part the
most important--namely, that which establishes proofs of a deliberate
policy of atrocity by responsible German officers--came into my hands
too late for use by the Committee. Moreover, the Committee felt that
their first duty was to Belgium, and consequently the portion of the
inquiry which related to France, and in particular to outrages upon
British soldiers in France, occupies a comparatively small place in
their publications. In this article I therefore confine myself to the
latter branch of the inquiry, and the reader will understand that,
except where otherwise stated, the documents here set out are now
published for the first time.[77]

My investigations extended over a period of four or five months.
The first six weeks were spent in visiting the base hospitals and
convalescent camps at Boulogne and Rouen, and the hospitals at Paris;
during the remaining three months I was attached to the General
Headquarters Staff of the British Expeditionary Force. In the course
of my inquiries in the hospitals and camps I orally interrogated some
two or three thousand officers and soldiers,[78] representing almost
every regiment in the British armies and all of whom had recently been
engaged on active service in the field. The whole of these inquiries
were conducted by me personally, but my inquiries at headquarters were
of a much more systematic character. There, owing to the courtesy
of Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Murray, the late Chief of the
General Staff, I had the assistance of the various services--in
particular the Adjutant-General, the Provost-Marshal, the Director of
Military Intelligence, the Director of Medical Services and their
respective staffs--and also of the civil authorities, within the area
at present occupied by the British armies, such as the sous-prefets,
the procureurs de la République, the commissaries de police, and the
maires of the communes. In this way I was enabled not only to obtain
corroboration of the statements taken down in the base hospitals in the
earlier stages of my inquiry, but also to make a close local study of
the behaviour of the German troops towards the civil population during
their occupation of the districts recently evacuated by them.[79] In
pursuance of this latter inquiry I visited every town and commune
of any importance now in our occupation and lately occupied by the
Germans, including places within a few hundred yards of the German
lines. As regards the conduct of the German troops in the earlier
stages of the campaign and in other parts of France, I confined my
inquiries to incidents which actually came under the observation of
our own troops during or after the battles of Mons, the Marne, and
the Aisne, and did not extend them to include the testimony of the
French civil authorities, as I did not consider it part of my duty to
attempt to do what was already being done by the Commission of Inquiry
instituted by the President of the Council. But I freely availed
myself of opportunities of corroboration of English evidence from
French sources where such sources were readily accessible, and, by the
courtesy of the French Ministry of War, who placed a Staff officer and
a military car at my disposal, I was enabled to go over the ground to
the north-east of Paris covered by our troops in their advance to the
Aisne and to obtain confirmation of many incidents already related
to me by British officers and soldiers. It was also my privilege
frequently to meet M. Mollard, of the French Commission, and to examine
for myself the depositions on oath and _pièces justificatives_ on which
the first Reports of the Commission are based, and which are as yet
unpublished. In these different ways I have been enabled to obtain an
extensive view of the whole field of inquiry and to arrive at certain
general conclusions which may be of some value.

Methods of Inquiry.

My method of inquiry was twofold--I availed myself of both oral
evidence and written evidence. As regards the former, the evidence
taken at the base hospitals was wholly of this character. The method
which I adopted in taking it was as follows:

I made it a rule to explain to the soldier or officer at the outset
that the inquiry was an official one, and that he must be prepared to
put his name to any testimony he might elect to give.

I allowed the soldier to tell his story in his own way and in his
own words, but after, or in the course of, the recital, I always
cross-examined him as to details, inquiring in particular (1) whether
he directly witnessed the event himself; (2) what was the date and
place of the occurrence--to establish these I have frequently gone over
the operations with the witness with the aid of a military map and a
diary of the campaign; (3) whether, in the case of hearsay evidence,
he heard the story direct from the subject of it, and, in particular,
whether he was versed in the language employed; (4) whether he could
give me the name of any person or persons with him, particularly
officers, who also witnessed the event or heard the story.

After such cross-examination I then took down the narrative, if
satisfied that it possessed any value, read it over to the soldier, and
then obtained his signature. This, however, was often only the first
stage, as I have not infrequently been able to obtain confirmation
of the evidence so obtained by subsequent inquiries at General or
Divisional Headquarters, either among members of the staff or from
company officers or from the civil authorities. For example, hearsay
evidence of rape (and I always regarded such evidence as inconclusive
of itself) tendered to me by soldiers at the base hospitals received
very striking confirmation in the depositions of the victims on oath
which had been taken by the civil authorities at Bailleul, Metteren,
and elsewhere, and which were subsequently placed at my disposal.
Personal inquiries made by me among the maires and curés of the
communes where particular incidents were alleged to have occurred
resulted in similar confirmation. So, too, the Indian witnesses whom
I examined at the base hospital were at my request subsequently
re-examined, when they had rejoined their units, by the Intelligence
Officers attached to the Indian Corps, and with much the same results.
Corroborative evidence as to a policy of discrimination practised by
the German officers in favour of Indians was also obtained from the
record of statements volunteered by a German prisoner of the 112th
Regiment and placed at my disposal by our Intelligence Officers.

The general impression left in my mind by these subsequent inquiries
at head-quarters as to the value of the statements made to me earlier
by soldiers in hospital is that those statements were true. There is
a tendency in some quarters to depreciate the value of the testimony
of the British soldier, but the degree of its value depends a good
deal on the capacity in which, and the person to whom, the soldier is
addressing himself. In writing letters home or in talking to solicitous
visitors the soldier is one person; in giving evidence in an official
inquiry he is quite another. I have had opportunities when attending
field courts-martial of seeing something of the way in which soldiers
give evidence, and I see no reason to suppose that the soldier is any
less reliable than the average civilian witness in a court of common
law. Indeed, the moment I made it clear to the soldiers that my inquiry
was an official one they became very cautious and deliberate in their
statements, often correcting themselves or referring to their diaries
(of which they usually take great care), or qualifying the narration
with the statement “I did not see it myself.” It need hardly be said
that these observations as to the credibility of the soldiers apply
no less to that of the officers. And it is worthy of remark that,
apart from individual cases of corroboration of a soldier’s evidence
by that of an officer, the burden of the evidence in the case of each
class is the same. Where officers do not testify to the same thing as
the soldiers, they testify to similar things. The cumulative effect
produced on my mind is that of uniform experience.

I have often found the statements so made subsequently corroborated; I
have rarely, if ever, found them contradicted. I ascribe this result
to my having applied rigid rules as to the reception of evidence in
the first instance. I have always taken into account the peculiar
receptivity of minds fatigued and overwrought by the strain of battle
to the influences of “suggestion,” whether in the form of newspapers or
of oral gossip. It sometimes, but not often, happened that one could
recognise the same story in a different investiture, although appearing
at first sight to be a different occurrence. Or, again, it may happen
that a story undergoes elaboration in the process of transmission until
it looks worse than it originally was. So, too, a case of apparent
outrage may admit of several explanations; it may happen, for example,
in the case of a suspicious use of the white flag that the act of
one party of Germans in raising it and of another party in taking
advantage of it were conceivably independent of one another. Cases of
the shelling of “undefended” places, of churches, and of hospitals, I
have always disregarded if our men or guns were or lately had been
in the vicinity; and it may easily happen that a case of firing on
stretcher-bearers or ambulance waggons is due to the impossibility of
discrimination in the midst of a general engagement. Wherever any of
these features appeared to be present I rejected the evidence--not
always nor necessarily because I doubted its veracity, but because I
had misgivings as to its value.

Outrages upon Combatants in the Field.

Lord Bryce’s Committee, with that scrupulous fairness which so
honourably distinguishes their Report, have stated that:

“We have no evidence to show whether and in what cases orders proceeded
from the officer in command to give no quarter, but there are some
instances in which persons obviously desiring to surrender were
nevertheless killed.”

This is putting the case with extreme moderation, as the evidence
at the disposal of the Committee, showing, as it did, that such
barbarities were frequently committed when the German troops were
present in force, raised a considerable presumption that they were
authorised by company and platoon commanders at least, if not in
pursuance of brigade orders. But after the Committee had concluded
its labours, and, unfortunately, too late for its consideration, I
succeeded, as the result of a long and patient investigation, in
obtaining evidence which establishes beyond reasonable doubt that the
outrages upon combatants in the field were committed by the express
orders of responsible officers such as brigade and company commanders.
The nature of that evidence (which is here published for the first
time) I will disclose in a moment. But before doing so I will present
the conclusions I had previously arrived at by a process of induction
from individual cases. It will then be seen how the deductive method
of proof from the evidence of general orders confirms the presumption
raised by the evidence of particular instances.

A German military writer of great authority[80] predicted some years
ago that the next war would be one of inconceivable violence. The
prophecy appears only too true as regards the conduct of German troops
in the field; it has rarely been distinguished by that chivalry which
is supposed to characterise the freemasonry of arms. One of our most
distinguished Staff officers remarked to me that the Germans have no
sense of honour in the field, and the almost uniform testimony of our
officers and men induces me to believe that the remark is only too
true. Abuse of the white flag has been very frequent, especially in
the earlier stages of the campaign on the Aisne, when our officers,
not having been disillusioned by bitter experience, acted on the
assumption that they had to deal with an honourable opponent. Again and
again the white flag was put up, and when a company of ours advanced
unsuspectingly and without supports to take prisoners, the Germans
who had exhibited the token of surrender parted their ranks to make
room for a murderous fire from machine-guns concealed behind them.
Or, again, the flag was exhibited in order to give time for supports
to come up. It not infrequently happened that our company officers,
advancing unarmed to confer with the German company commander in such
cases, were shot down as they approached. The Camerons, the West Yorks,
the Coldstreams, the East Lancs, the Wiltshires, the South Wales
Borderers, in particular, suffered heavily in these ways. In all these
cases they were the victims of organised German units, _i.e._ companies
or battalions, acting under the orders of responsible officers.

There can, moreover, be no doubt that the respect of the German
troops for the Geneva Convention is but intermittent.[81] Cases of
deliberate firing on stretcher-bearers are, according to the universal
testimony of our officers and men, of frequent occurrence. It is almost
certain death to attempt to convey wounded men from the trenches
over open ground except under cover of night. A much more serious
offence, however, is the deliberate killing of the wounded as they
lie helpless and defenceless on the field of battle. This is so grave
a charge that were it not substantiated by the considered statements
of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, one would hesitate
to believe it. But even after rejecting, as one is bound to do, cases
which may be explained by accident, mistake, or the excitement of
action, there remains a large residuum of cases which can only be
explained by deliberate malice. No other explanation is possible when,
as has not infrequently happened, men who have been wounded by rifle
fire in an advance, and have had to be left during a retirement for
reinforcements, are discovered, in our subsequent advance, with nine
or ten bayonet wounds or with their heads beaten in by the butt-ends
of rifles. Such cases could not have occurred, the enemy being
present in force, without the knowledge of superior officers. Indeed,
I have before me evidence which goes to show that German officers
have themselves acted in similar fashion. Some of the cases reveal a
leisurely barbarity which proves great deliberation; cases such as the
discovery of bodies of despatch-riders burnt with petrol or “pegged
out” with lances, or of soldiers with their faces stamped upon by the
heel of a boot, or of a guardsman found with numerous bayonet wounds
evidently inflicted as he was in the act of applying a field dressing
to a bullet wound. There also seems no reason to doubt the independent
statements of men of the Loyal North Lancs, whom I interrogated on
different occasions, that the men of one of their companies were
killed on December 20th after they had surrendered and laid down their
arms.[82] To what extent prisoners have been treated in this manner it
is impossible to say; dead men tell no tales, but an exceptionally able
Intelligence Officer at the head-quarters of the Cavalry Corps informed
me that it is believed that when British prisoners are taken in small
parties they are put to death in cold blood. Certain it is that our
men when captured are kicked, robbed of all they possess, threatened
with death if they will not give information, and in some cases forced
to dig trenches. The evidence I have taken from soldiers at the base
hospitals on these points is borne out by evidence taken at the Front
immediately after such occurrences by the Deputy Judge-Advocate
General, an Assistant Provost-Marshal, and a captain in the Sherwood
Foresters, and in the opinion of these officers the evidence which
they took, and which they subsequently placed at my disposal, is

The Proofs of Policy.

The question as to how far these outrages are attributable to policy
and superior orders becomes imperative. It was at first difficult to
answer. For a long time I did not find, nor did I expect to find, any
documentary orders to that effect. Such orders, if given at all, were
much more likely to be verbal, for it is extremely improbable that the
German authorities would be so unwise as to commit them to writing.
But the outrages upon combatants were so numerous and so collective in
character that I began to suspect policy at a very early stage in my
investigations. My suspicions were heightened by the significant fact
that exhaustive inquiries which I made among Indian native officers
and men in the hospital ships in port at Boulogne, and at the base
hospitals, seemed to indicate that experiences of outrage were as
rare among the Indian troops as they were common among the British.
The explanation was fairly obvious, inasmuch as many of these Indian
witnesses who had fallen into German hands testified to me that the
German officers[84] seized the occasion to assure them that Germany was
animated by the most friendly feelings towards them, and more than once
dismissed them with an injunction not to fight against German troops
and to bring over their comrades to the German side. For example, a
sepoy in the 9th Bhopals testified to me as follows:

    “I and three others were found wounded by the Germans. They
    bound up our wounds and invited us to join them, offering us
    money and land. I answered, ‘I, who have eaten the King’s salt,
    cannot do this thing and thus bring sorrow and shame upon my
    people.’ The Germans took our chupattis, and offered us of
    their bread in return. I said, ‘I am a Brahmin and cannot touch
    it.’ They then left us, saying that if we were captured again
    they would kill us.”

There was other evidence to the same effect. Eventually I obtained
proofs confirming my suspicions, and I will now proceed to set them out.

On May 3rd I visited the Ministry of War in Paris at the invitation of
the French military authorities, and was received by M. le Capitaine
René Petit, Chef de Service du Contentieux, who conducted me to the
department where the diaries of German prisoners were kept. I made a
brief preliminary examination of them, and discovered the following
passage (which I had photographed) in the diary of a German N.C.O.,
Göttsche, of the 85th Infantry Regiment (the IXth Corps), fourth
company detached for service, under date “Okt. 6, 1914, bei Antwerpen”:

    “Der Herr Hauptmann rief uns um sich und sagte: ‘In dem
    Fort, das zu nehmen ist, sind aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach
    Engländer. Ich wünsche aber keinen gefangenen Engländer bei der
    Komp. zu sehen.’ Ein allgemeiner Bravo der Zustimmung war die

    (“The Captain called us to him and said: ‘In the fortress
    [_i.e._, Antwerp] which we have to take there are in all
    probability Englishmen. But I do not want to see any Englishmen
    prisoners in the hands of this company.’ A general ‘Bravo’ of
    assent was the answer.”)

This malignant frenzy against British troops, so carefully instilled,
is borne out by a passage in another diary, now in the possession of
the French Ministry of War, which was found on April 22nd on the body
of Richard Gerhold, of the 71st Regiment of Infantry of the Reserve,
Fourth Army Corps, who was killed in September at Nouvron:

    “Auch hier kommen ja Sachen vor, was auch nicht sein darf,
    kommt aber doch vor. Grosse Greultaten kommen natürlich an
    Engländern und Belgiern vor. Nun da wird eben jeder ohne Gnaden
    niedergeknallt, aber wehe dem armen Deutschen der in ihre Hände

    (“Here also things occur which should not be. Great atrocities
    are of course committed upon Englishmen and Belgians; every one
    of them is now knocked on the head without mercy. But woe to
    the poor German who falls into their hands.”)

As regards the last sentence in this diary, which is one long chapter
of horrors and betrays a ferocious credulity, it is worthy of remark
that I have seen at the French Ministry of War the diary[85] of a
German N.C.O., named Schulze, who, judging by internal evidence, was a
man of exceptional intelligence, in which the writer refers to tales of
French and Belgian atrocities circulated among the men by his superior
officers. He shrewdly adds that he believes the officers invented these
stories in order to prevent him and his comrades from surrendering.

A less conclusive passage, but a none the less suspicious one, is
to be found in a diary now in my possession. It is the diary of an
Unter-offizier, named Ragge, of the 158th Regiment, and contains (under
date October 21st) the following:

    “Wir verfolgten den Gegner soweit wir ihn sahen. Da haben wir
    machen Engländer abgeknallt. Die Engländer lagen wie gesäht am
    Boden. Die noch lebenden Engländer im Schützengraben wurden
    erstochen oder erschossen. Unsere Komp. machte 61 Gefangene.”

Which may be translated:

    “We pursued the enemy as far as we saw him. We ‘knocked out’
    many English. The English lay on the ground as if sown there.
    Those of the Englishmen who were still alive in the trenches
    were stuck or shot. Our company made 61 prisoners.”[86]

So far I have only dealt with the acts of small German units--_i.e._
companies of infantry. I now come to the most damning proofs of a
policy of coldblooded murder of wounded and prisoners, initiated and
carried out by a whole brigade under the orders of a Brigadier-General.
This particular investigation took me a long time, but the results
are, I think conclusive. It may be remembered that some months ago
the French military authorities published in the French newspapers
what purported to be the text of an order issued by a German
Brigadier-General, named Stenger, commanding the 58th Brigade, in
which he ordered his troops to take no prisoners and to put to death
without mercy every one who fell into their hands, whether wounded
and defenceless or not. The German Government immediately denounced
the alleged order as a forgery. I determined to see whether I could
establish its authenticity, and in February last I obtained a copy of
the original from M. Mollard, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who
is a member of the Commission appointed by the French Government to
inquire into the alleged German atrocities. The text of that order was
as follows:

    “Befehl (Armee-befehl) vom 26. Aug. 1914, gegen 4 Uhr
    nachm. wie er von Führer der 7 Komp. Reg. 112 (Infant.) bei
    Thionville, am Eingang des Waldes von Saint-Barbe, seinen
    Truppen als Brigade-oder Armee-befehl gegeben wurde:

    “Von heute ab werden keine Gefangene mehr gemacht Sämtliche
    Gefangene werden niedergemacht. Verwundete ob mit Waffen
    oder wehrlos niedergemacht. Gefangene auch in grösseren
    geschlossenen Formationen werden niedergemacht. Es bleibt kein
    Mann lebend hinter uns.”

    (“Army Order of 26 Aug., 1914, about 4 p.m., such as was given
    to his troops as a Brigade or Army Order by the leader of the
    7th Company of the 112th Regiment of Infantry at Thionville, at
    the entrance of the wood of Saint Barbe.

    “To date from this day no prisoners will be made any longer.
    All the prisoners will be executed. The wounded, whether armed
    or defenceless, will be executed. Prisoners, even in large and
    compact formations, will be executed. Not a man will be left
    alive behind us.”)

Taking this alleged order as my starting-point, I began to make
inquiries at British Head-quarters as to the existence of any
information about the doings of the 112th Regiment. I soon found that
there was good reason to suspect it. Our Intelligence Department placed
in my hands the records of the examination of two men of this regiment
who had been captured by us. One of them volunteered a statement to
one of our Intelligence Officers on November 23rd to the effect that
his regiment had orders to treat Indians well, but were allowed to
treat British prisoners as they pleased. This man’s testimony appeared
to be reliable, as statements he made on other points, _i.e._, as to
the German formations, were subsequently found to be true, and his
information as to discrimination in the treatment of Indians entirely
bore out the conclusions I had already arrived at on that particular
point. The German witness in question further stated that 65 out of 150
British prisoners were killed in cold blood by their escort on or about
October 23rd on the road to Lille, and that the escort were praised
for their conduct. Other German prisoners have, I may add, also made
statements that they had orders to kill all the English who fell into
their hands.

The evidence of this man of the 112th Regiment was as explicit and
assured as it could be. But the matter did not stop there. At a
later date an officer of the same regiment fell into our hands, in
whose field note-book we found the memorandum “Keine Gefangene” (“No
prisoners”). He was immediately cross-examined as to the meaning of
this passage, but he had a plausible explanation ready. It was to the
effect that his men were not to make the capture of prisoners a pretext
for retiring with them to the rear; but, having disarmed them, were to
leave them to be taken back by the supports.

But at the end of April--too late, unfortunately, for use by Lord
Bryce’s Committee--one of our Intelligence Officers placed before
me the following entry in the field note-book of a German prisoner,
Reinhart Brenneisen,[87] reservist, belonging to the 4th Company, 112th
Regiment, and dated in August (the same month as appears on the face of
the order in question):

    “Auch kam Brigadebefehl sämtliche Franzosen ob verwundet oder
    nicht, die uns in die Hände fielen, sollten erschossen werden.
    Es dürfte keine Gefangenen gemacht werden.”

    (“Then came a brigade order that all French, whether wounded
    or not, who fell into our hands, were to be shot. No prisoners
    were to be made.”)

This, I think, may be said to put the reality of the brigade order in
question beyond doubt.

The cumulative effect of this evidence, coupled with the statements of
so many of our men who claim to have been eye-witnesses of wholesale
bayoneting of the wounded, certainly confirms suspicions of the
gravest kind as to such acts having been done by authority. Neither
the temperament of the German soldier nor the character of German
discipline (_furchtbar streng_--“frightfully strict”--as a German
prisoner put it to me) makes it probable that the German soldiers acted
on their own initiative. It would, in any case, be incredible that so
many cases of outrage could be sufficiently explained by any law of
averages, or by the idiosyncrasies of the “bad characters” present in
every large congregation of men.

Treatment of Civil Population.

The subject-matter of the inquiry may be classified according as
it relates to: (1) ill-treatment of the civil population, and (2)
breaches of the laws of war in the field. As regards the first it
is not too much to say that the Germans pay little respect to life
and none to property. I say nothing of the monstrous policy of
vicarious responsibility laid down by them in the Proclamations as
to the treatment of hostages which I forwarded to the Committee and
which I left to the Committee to examine; I confine myself to the
practices which have come under my observation.[88] Here it is clear
that the treatment of civilians is regulated by no more rational or
humane policy than that of intimidation or, even worse, of sullen
vindictiveness. As the German troops passed through the communes and
towns of the arrondissements of Ypres, Hazebrouck, Bethune, and Lille,
they shot indiscriminately at the innocent spectators of their march;
the peasant tilling his fields, the refugee tramping the roads, and
the workman returning to his home. To be seen was often dangerous, to
attempt to escape being seen was invariably fatal. Old men and boys
and even women and young girls were shot like rabbits. The slightest
failure to comply with the peremptory demands of the invader has been
punished with instant death. The curé of Pradelle, having failed to
find the key of the church tower, was put against the wall and shot; a
shepherd at a lonely farmhouse near Rebais who failed to produce bread
for the German troops had his head blown off by a rifle; a baker at
Moorslede who attempted to escape was suffocated by German soldiers
with his own scarf; a young mother at Bailleul who was unable to
produce sufficient coffee to satisfy the demands of twenty-three German
soldiers had her baby seized by one of the latter and its head dipped
in scalding water; an old man of seventy-seven years of age at La Ferté
Gaucher who attempted to protect two women in his house from outrage
was killed with a rifle shot.

I select these instances from my notes at random--they could be
multiplied many times--as indications of the temper of the German
troops. They might, perhaps, be dismissed as the unauthorised acts of
small patrols were it not that there is only too much evidence to show
that the soldiers are taught by their superiors to set no value upon
human life, and things have been done which could not have been done
without superior orders. For example, at Bailleul,[89] La Gorgue, and
Doulieu, where no resistance of any kind was offered to the German
troops, and where the latter were present in force under the command
of commissioned officers, civilians were taken in groups, and after
being forced to dig their own graves were shot by firing parties in
the presence of an officer. At Doulieu,[90] which is a small village,
eleven civilians were shot in this way; they were strangers to the
place, and it was only by subsequent examination of the papers found
on their bodies that some of them were identified as inhabitants of
neighbouring villages. If these men had been guilty of any act of
hostility it is not clear why they were not shot at once in their
own villages, and inquiries at some of the villages from which they
were taken have revealed no knowledge of any act of the kind. It is,
however, a common practice for the German troops to seize the male
inhabitants (especially those of military age) of the places they
occupy and take them away on their retreat. Twenty-five were so taken
from Bailleul and nothing has been heard of them since. There is only
too much reason to suppose that the same fate has overtaken them as
that which befell the unhappy men executed at Doulieu. I believe the
explanation of these sinister proceedings to be that the men were
compelled to dig trenches for the enemy, to give information as to
the movement of their own troops, and to act as guides (all clearly
practices which are a breach of the laws of war and of the Hague
Regulations), and then, their presence being inconvenient and their
knowledge of the enemy’s positions and movements compromising, they
were put to death. This is not a mere surmise. The male inhabitants of
Warneton were forced to dig trenches for the enemy, and an inhabitant
of Merris was compelled to go with the German troops and act as
a guide; it is notorious that the official manual of the German
General Staff, _Kriegsbrauch in Landskriege_, condones, and indeed
indoctrinates, such breaches of the laws of war. British soldiers who
were taken prisoners by the Germans and subsequently escaped were
compelled by their captors to dig trenches, and in a field note-book
found on a soldier of the 100th Saxon Body Grenadiers (XIIth Corps)
occurs the following significant passage:

    “My two prisoners worked hard at digging trenches. At midday
    I got the order to rejoin at village with my prisoners. I was
    very glad, as I had been ordered to shoot them both as the
    French attacked. Thank God it was not necessary.”

In this connexion it is important to observe that the German policy of
holding a whole town or village responsible for the acts of isolated
individuals, whether by the killing of hostages or by decimation or by
a wholesale _battue_ of the inhabitants, has undoubtedly resulted in
the grossest and most irrelevant cruelties. A single shot fired in or
near a place occupied by the Germans--it may be a shot from a French
patrol or a German rifle let off by accident or mistake or in a drunken
affray--at once places the whole community in peril, and it seems to be
at once assumed that the civil inhabitants are guilty unless they can
prove themselves innocent. This was clearly the case at Armentières.
Frequently, as the field note-book of a Saxon officer testifies, they
are not allowed the opportunity. Indeed there seems some reason to
suppose that the German troops hold the civil inhabitants responsible
even for the acts of lawful belligerents, and, as my inquiries at
Merris and Messines go to show, a French patrol cannot operate in
the vicinity of a French or Belgian village without exposing the
inhabitants to sanguinary punishment or predatory fines. There is not
the slightest evidence to show that French civilians have fired upon
German troops, and in spite of the difficulty of proving a negative
there is a good deal of reason to reject such a supposition. Throughout
the communes of the region of Northern France which I have investigated
notices were posted up at the mairie requiring all the inhabitants
to deposit any arms in their possession with the civil authorities,
and the orders appear to have been complied with, as they were very
strictly enforced.

In this matter of holding the civil population responsible with their
lives for anything that may prove “inconvenient” (_gênant_), to quote
a German Proclamation, to the German troops, the German commanders
seem to have no sense of cause and effect. At Coulommiers, so the
Mayor informed me, they threatened to shoot him because the gas supply
gave out. In a town which I visited close to the German lines (and the
name of which I suppress by request of the civil authorities for fear
of a vindictive bombardment), the Mayor, who was under arrest in the
guardroom, was threatened with death because a signal-bell rang at the
railway station, and was in imminent peril until it was proved that
the act was due to the clumsiness of a German soldier; and an exchange
of shots between two drunken soldiers, resulting in the death of one
of them, was made the ground of an accusation that the inhabitants
had fired on the troops, the Mayor’s life being again in peril. Where
the life of the civilian is held so cheap, it is not surprising that
the German soldier, himself the subject of a fearful discipline, is
under a strong temptation to escape punishment for the consequences of
his own careless or riotous or drunken behaviour by attributing those
consequences to the civil population, for the latter is invariably

Outrages upon Women--The German Occupation of Bailleul.

When life is held so cheap, it is not surprising that honour and
property are not held more dear. Outrages upon the honour of women by
German soldiers have been so frequent that it is impossible to escape
the conviction that they have been condoned and indeed encouraged by
German officers. As regards this matter I have made a most minute
study of the German occupation of Bailleul. This place was occupied
by a regiment of German Hussars in October for a period of eight
days. During the whole of that period the town was delivered over
to the excesses of a licentious soldiery and was left in a state of
indescribable filth. There were at least thirty cases of outrages
on girls and young married women, authenticated by sworn statements
of witnesses and generally by medical certificates of injury. It is
extremely probable that, owing to the natural reluctance of women to
give evidence in cases of this kind, the actual number of outrages
largely exceeds this. Indeed, the leading physician of the town, Dr.
Bels, puts the number as high as sixty. At least five officers were
guilty of such offences, and where the officers set the example the
men followed. The circumstances were often of a peculiarly revolting
character; daughters were outraged in the presence of their mothers,
and mothers in the presence or the hearing of their little children. In
one case, the facts of which are proved by evidence which would satisfy
any court of law, a young girl of nineteen was violated by one officer
while the other held her mother by the throat and pointed a revolver,
after which the two officers exchanged their respective rôles.[91] The
officers and soldiers usually hunted in couples, either entering the
houses under pretence of seeking billets, or forcing the doors by open
violence. Frequently the victims were beaten and kicked, and invariably
threatened with a loaded revolver if they resisted. The husband or
father of the women and girls was usually absent on military service;
if one was present he was first ordered away under some pretext; and
disobedience of civilians to German orders, however improper, is always
punished with instant death. In several cases little children heard the
cries and struggles of their mother in the adjoining room to which she
had been carried by a brutal exercise of force. No attempt was made to
keep discipline, and the officers, when appealed to for protection,
simply shrugged their shoulders. Horses were stabled in saloons; shops
and private houses were looted (there are nine hundred authenticated
cases of pillage). Some civilians were shot and many others carried off
into captivity. Of the fate of the latter nothing is known, but the
worst may be suspected.

The German troops were often drunk and always insolent. But
significantly enough, the bonds of discipline thus relaxed were
tightened at will and hardly a single straggler was left behind.

Inquiries in other places, in the villages of Meteren, Oultersteen,
and Nieppe, for example, establish the occurrence of similar outrages
upon defenceless women, accompanied by every circumstance of disgusting
barbarity. No civilian dare attempt to protect his wife or daughter
from outrage. To be in possession of weapons of defence is to be
condemned to instant execution, and even a village constable found in
possession of a revolver (which he was required to carry in virtue
of his office) was instantly shot at Westoutre. Roving patrols burnt
farm-houses and turned the women and children out into the wintry
and sodden fields with capricious cruelty and in pursuance of no
intelligible military purpose.

Private Property.

As regards private property, respect for it among the German troops
simply does not exist. By the universal testimony of every British
officer and soldier whom I have interrogated the progress of German
troops is like a plague of locusts over the land. What they cannot
carry off they destroy. Furniture is thrown into the street, pictures
are riddled with bullets or pierced by sword cuts, municipal registers
burnt, the contents of shops scattered over the floor, drawers rifled,
live stock slaughtered and the carcases left to rot in the fields.
This was the spectacle which frequently confronted our troops on the
advance to the Aisne and on their clearance of the German troops out of
Northern France. Cases of petty larceny by German soldiers appear to
be innumerable; they take whatever seizes their fancy, and leave the
towns they evacuate laden like pedlars. Empty ammunition waggons were
drawn up in front of private houses and filled with their contents for
despatch to Germany.

I have had the reports of the local commissaires of police placed
before me, and they show that in smaller villages like those of Caestre
and Merris, with a population of about 1,500 souls or less, pillaging
to the extent of £4,000 and £6,000 was committed by the German troops.
I speak here of robbery which does not affect to be anything else.
But it is no uncommon thing to find extortion officially practised by
the commanding officers under various more or less flimsy pretexts.
One of these consists of holding a town or village up to ransom under
pretence that shots have been fired at the German troops. Thus at
the village of Merris a sum of £2,000 was exacted as a fine from the
Mayor at the point of a revolver under this pretence, this village of
1,159 inhabitants having already been pillaged to the extent of some
£6,000 worth of goods. At La Gorgue, another small village, £2,000 was
extorted under a threat that if it were not forthcoming the village
would be burnt. At Warneton, a small village, a fine of £400 was
levied. These fines were, it must be remembered, quite independent
of the requisitions of supplies. As regards the latter, one of our
Intelligence officers, whose duty it has been to examine the forms of
receipt given by German officers and men for such requisitions, informs
me that, while the receipts for small sums of 100 francs or less bore
a genuine signature, those for large sums were invariably signed “Herr
Hauptmann von Koepenick,” the simple peasants upon whom this fraud
was practised being quite unaware that the signature has a classical
fictitiousness in Germany.

Observations on a Tour of the Marne and the Aisne.

My investigations, in the company of a French Staff Officer, in the
towns and villages of our line of march in that part of France which
lies north-east of Paris revealed a similar spirit of pillage and
wantonness. Coulommiers, a small town, was so thoroughly pillaged
that the damage, so I was informed by the Maire, has been assessed at
400,000 francs, a statement which bore out the evidence previously
given me by our own men as to the spectacle of wholesale looting
which they encountered when they entered that town. At Barcy, an
insignificant village of no military importance, I was informed by
the Maire that a German officer, accompanied by a soldier, entered
the communal archives and deliberately burnt the municipal registers
of births and deaths--obviously an exercise of pure spite. At
Choisy-au-Bac, a little village pleasantly situated on the banks of the
Aisne, which I visited in company with a French Staff Officer, I found
that almost every house had been burnt out. This was one of the worst
examples of deliberate incendiarism that I have come across. There
had been no engagement, and there was not a trace of shell-fire or of
bullet-marks upon the walls. Inquiries among the local gendarmerie,
and such few of the homeless inhabitants as were left, pointed to the
place having been set on fire by German soldiers in a spirit of pure
wantonness. The German troops arrived one day in the late afternoon,
and an officer, after inquiring of an inhabitant, who told me the
story, the name of the village, noted it down, with the remark “Bien,
nous le rôtirons ce soir.” At nine o’clock of the same evening they
proceeded to “roast” it by breaking the windows of the houses and
throwing into the interiors burning “pastilles,” apparently carried
for the purpose, which immediately set everything alight. The local
gendarme informed us that they also sprayed (_arrosé_) some of the
houses with petrol to make them burn better. The humbler houses shared
the fate of the more opulent, and cottage and mansion were involved in
a common ruin. It seems quite clear that there was not the slightest
pretext for this wanton behaviour, nor did the Germans allege one. They
did not accuse the inhabitants of any hostile behaviour; the best proof
of this is that they did not shoot any of them, except one who appears
to have been shot by accident.

A visit to Senlis in the course of the same tour fully confirmed
all that the French Commission has already reported as to the cruel
devastation wrought by the Germans in that unhappy town. The main
street was one silent quarry of ruined houses burnt by the hands of the
German soldiers, and hardly a soul was to be seen. Even cottages and
concierges’ lodges had been set on fire. I have seen few sights more
pitiful and none more desolate. Towns further east, such as Sermaizes,
Nomeny, Gerbevillers, were razed to the ground with fire and sword and
are as the Cities of the Plain.

Bestiality of German Officers and Men.

Before I leave the subject of the treatment of private property by
the German troops, I should like to draw the attention of the reader
to some unpleasant facts which throw a baneful light on the temper
of German officers and men. If one thing is more clearly established
than another by my inquiries among the officers of our Staff and
divisional commands, it is that châteaux or private houses used as
the head-quarters of German officers were frequently found to have
been left in a state of bestial pollution, which can only be explained
by gross drunkenness or filthy malice. Whichever be the explanation,
the fact remains that, while to use the beds and the upholstery of
private houses as a latrine is not an atrocity, it indicates a state
of mind sufficiently depraved to commit one. Many of these incidents,
related to me by our own officers from their own observations, are
so disgusting that they are unfit for publication. They point to
deliberate defilement.

The public has been shocked by the evidence, accepted by the Committee
as genuine, which tells of such mutilations of women and children as
only the Kurds of Asia Minor had been thought capable of perpetrating.
But the Committee were fully justified in accepting it--they could
not do otherwise--and they have by no means published the whole.
Pathologists can best supply the explanation of these crimes. I have
been told by such that it is not at all uncommon in cases of rape
or sexual excess to find that the criminal, when satiated by lust,
attempts to murder or mutilate his victim. This is presumably the
explanation--if one can talk of explanation--of outrages which would
otherwise be incredible. The Committee hint darkly at perverted sexual
instinct. Cases of sodomy and of the rape of little children did
undoubtedly occur on a very large scale. Some of the worst things have
never been published. This is not the time for mincing one’s words, but
for plain speech. Disgusting though it is, I therefore do not hesitate
to place on record an incident at Rebais related to me by the Mayor
of Coulommiers in the presence of several of his fellow-townsmen with
corroborative detail. A respectable woman in that town was seized by
some Uhlans who intended to ravish her, but her condition made rape
impossible. What followed is better described in French:

    “Mme. H----, cafetière à Rebais, mise nue par une patrouille
    allemande, obligée de parcourir ainsi toute sa maison, chassée
    dans la rue et obligée de regarder les cadavres de soldats
    anglais. Les allemands lui barbouillent la figure avec le sang
    de ses regles.”

It is almost needless to say that the woman went mad. There is very
strong reason to suspect that young girls were carried off to the
trenches by licentious German soldiery, and there abused by hordes of
savages and licentious men. People in hiding in the cellars of houses
have heard the voices of women in the hands of German soldiers crying
all night long until death or stupor ended their agonies. One of our
officers, a subaltern in the sappers, heard a woman’s shrieks in the
night coming from behind the German trenches near Richebourg l’Avoué;
when we advanced in the morning and drove the Germans out, a girl was
found lying naked on the ground “pegged out” in the form of a crucifix.
I need not go on with this chapter of horrors. To the end of time it
will be remembered, and from one generation to another, in the plains
of Flanders, in the valleys of the Vosges, and on the rolling fields
of the Marne, the oral tradition of men will perpetuate this story of
infamy and wrong.


I should say that in the above summary I have confined myself to the
result of the inquiries I made at General Head-quarters and in the area
of our occupation, and have not attempted to summarise the evidence
I had previously taken from the British officers and soldiers at the
base, as the latter may be left to speak for itself in the depositions
already published by the Committee. The object of the summary is to
show how far independent inquiries on the spot go to confirm it.
The testimony of our soldiers as to the reign of terror which they
found prevailing on their arrival in all the places from which they
drove the enemy out was amply confirmed by these subsequent and local

It will, of course, be understood that these inquiries of mine were
limited in scope and can by no means claim to be exhaustive. For one
thing, I was the only representative of the Home Office sent to France
for this purpose; for another, I did not become attached to General
Head-quarters until the beginning of February, and before that time
little or nothing had been done in the way of systematic inquiry
by the Staff, whose officers had other and more pressing duties to
perform. By that time the testimony to many grave incidents, especially
in the field, had perished with those who witnessed them and they
remained but a sombre memory. The hearsay evidence of these things
which was sometimes all that was left made an impression on my mind as
deep as it was painful, but it would have been contrary to the rules of
evidence, to which I have striven to conform, for me to take notice of

Two things clearly emerge from this observation. One is that had there
been from the beginning of the campaign a regular system of inquiry
at General Head-quarters into these things, _pari passu_ with their
occurrence, the volume of evidence, great though it is, would have been
infinitely greater; the other, that, as there is only too much reason
to suppose that with the growing vindictiveness of the enemy things
will be worse before they are better, the case for the establishment of
such a system throughout the continuance of the War is one that calls
for serious consideration.

Although I have some claims to write as a jurist I have here made
no attempt to pray in aid the Hague Regulations in order to frame
the counts of an indictment. The Germans have broken all laws, human
and divine, and not even the ancient freemasonry of arms, whose
honourable traditions are almost as old as war itself, has restrained
them in their brutal and licentious fury. It is useless to attempt to
discriminate between the people and their rulers; an abundance of
diaries of soldiers in the ranks shows that all are infected with a
common spirit. That spirit is pride, not the pride of high and pure
endeavour, but that pride for which the Greeks found a name in the word
ὕβρις, the insolence which knows no pity and feels no love. Long ago
Renan warned Strauss of this canker which was eating into the German
character. Pedants indoctrinated it, Generals instilled it, the Emperor
preached it. The whole people were taught that war was a normal state
of civilisation, that the lust of conquest and the arrogance of race
were the most precious of the virtues. On this Dead Sea fruit the
German people have been fed for a generation until they are rotten to
the core.





    _Note._--These documents are here made public for the first
    time. They have not been published either in the Bryce Report
    or in the _Nineteenth Century and After_. I have selected the
    cases of Bailleul and Doulieu as typical of all the rest.
    Many other communes, _e.g._, Meteren, Steenwerck, La Gorgue,
    Vieux-Berquin, suffered a similar fate. As regards Bailleul
    itself I have given only one out of some twenty documents
    in my possession relating to the rapes committed there; the
    others are in no way inferior in authenticity, nor are they
    any less horrible. My object is not to multiply proofs, but
    to exemplify them. It will be observed that the evidence of
    British soldiers here given is that of eye-witnesses, except,
    of course, in cases of rape. As regards the latter, the hearsay
    evidence is fully corroborated by the French depositions of the
    victims.--J. H. M.


Private R. R----, 1st Royal Scots:--At Ypres, on November 11th (the day
I was wounded), the Germans had made an attack on the trenches in front
of us--we were back in the dug-outs. We went up to support and drove
them back. In the trench were about a dozen Germans, our men having
retired towards us. The Germans were kneeling with one hand up to let
us see that they had surrendered; so we thought it was all right, and
we turned our attention to firing at those who were retiring. One of
the officers of our regiment, but not of my company, was at the side
of the trench and had picked up a rifle to fire at the retreating
Germans. I saw one of the Germans who had surrendered--I think he was
an officer--raise his revolver (we had had no time to disarm them) and
shoot at our officer, who dropped. Another man and I then shot the


Private W. M----, 1st Wilts, -- Company:--(1) On the Aisne, between
September 14th and 22nd, I was in B Company and going to A Company for
a wounded man. I am a bandsman and have acted as stretcher-bearer. The
Germans came out of a wood with a white flag. The captain (Captain
R----) of -- Company gave the order to cease fire--the Company was in
the trenches. Captain R---- went forward alone towards the Germans, and
the German officer then shot Captain R---- with his revolver and the
rest of the Germans opened a heavy fire. Number -- Company replied and
drove the Germans back.

(2) At La Bassée, between October 12th and 27th, the Germans had
shelled our trenches and driven us out, their infantry advancing in
close formation. By that time only eleven out of B Company, including
myself, were left. The Germans were within fifty yards of us and so we
retired through a brewery down to a farm-house. We went upstairs--a
mixed lot from various regiments (West Kents, Royal Irish Rifles,
etc.), and began firing from the windows. From the upstairs we saw
the Germans bayoneting those of our wounded who had been left in the
trenches or placed under cover by us eleven, behind them, or had
crawled along.

(3) At La Coutérie,[92] about 3 kilometres from La Bassée, it must have
been before October 12th, because that was the day we got to La Bassée,
we took possession of a farm-house for a dressing station. The farmer’s
wife frequently took food and clothes down to the cellar, she said it
was for her daughter; the daughter would not come up. The mother, who
was crying as she told us, made out to us that the “Allemands” had
outraged her daughter--she held up five fingers.


Private J. S----, Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion:--On a Sunday at end
of October or beginning of November, just outside Bailleul, near
Nieppe, we rested for three hours, having just come out of billets. The
Germans had only just left--the chalk-marks of the different regiments
were still on the doors. There were a lot of refugees outside an
_estaminet_, among them a mother and two daughters. One daughter looked
scared to death, her eyes staring out of her head. She was a girl of
about twenty-three, who looked rather delicate. The girl said nothing,
stood there and stared like a lunatic. The mother told a group of us
in broken English and partly in French--I know some French. She said,
“Les Allemands couchent avec ma fille”--that the Germans--she made it
appear about eight--had outraged her daughter. We did not go into the
_estaminet_--it was forbidden.


Captain C---- W----, Bedfords, 2nd Battalion:--At Bailleul, I saw
a great deal of evidence of wanton destruction--mirrors broken and
furniture smashed. A German cavalry regiment had done it. I was in
three different billets there, and in all three the same thing had


Private S----, K. O. Scottish Borderers:--At Ypres, about a month ago,
I was in the trenches and one of our men went out of the trenches to
get a drink of water (from a spring about seven yards away). He was
wounded in the leg, and an officer (Lieutenant S----, of B Company)
sent over for the stretcher-bearers, who were at head-quarters about
300 yards from the support trenches. They were carrying this fellow
away when one of the stretcher-bearers was “sniped” from about 300
yards. There was no firing at the time. Another man came of B Company,
named G----, volunteered and took the wounded stretcher-bearer’s place,
and then he was wounded too. G---- was put on a stretcher and was again
wounded by a sniper. Cases of this kind were very common.


Private J. C----, Scottish Fusiliers, 1st Battalion:--At Locre, near
Bailleul, I was billeted in the church there at the beginning of
December. The church had not been shelled, but had been looted and the
crucifixes had been smashed, and all the images and things of value
appeared to have been torn away.


Corporal J. D. B---- (at that time Bombardier in the 49th Battery
R.F.A.) now of the 40th Brigade Ammunition Column R.F.A.:--On August
23rd at Mons, we got the order to advance up a hill with our battery.
We got a section of guns in action in a ploughed field, and then we had
a sergeant hit with a gunshot wound in the back (it was Sergeant T----,
of the 49th Battery R.F.A.). Sergeant R----, of the 49th, asked me to
take Sergeant T---- to an ambulance. I took him through a wood, and on
the outside of the wood I saw a girl quite naked, running for all she
was worth. She appeared to me to be about nineteen years of age. Her
body was covered with blood and there was blood all over her breasts.
She ran into some trenches on my right. I do not know what regiment
occupied them, but I heard afterwards that an officer of the Gordons
got hold of her. I went straight on with the sergeant down into Mons,
and took him to the field hospital.


Private S----, C Company, 1st King’s R.R.:--It was on September 11th, I
can never forget that date, it was after we left the Marne, and a day
or two before the Aisne, we were engaged with the enemy at a distance
of about 1,200 yards. They put up a white flag in their centre and
waved it from side to side. We stopped firing, whereupon they fired
heavily from their right flank. A second time they put up the white
flag, this time on the right flank; but we took no notice of this and
kept on firing.


R. McK----, 2nd Royal Irish, -- Co.:--About the end of November,
near Neuve Chapelle, there was a heavy attack, and we retired to get
reinforcements, and left Sergeant G---- wounded in the leg in the
trenches; when I last saw him he was binding up his wound. About 300
yards back we got reinforcements, and as we were advancing we saw three
Germans bayoneting Sergeant G----.


R. McK----, 2nd Royal Irish, at Mt. Kemmel:--On Monday I was sent to
get water from a pump in the yard of a house about 50 yards behind the
line, a farm-house, and in the kitchen I saw seven men and three women,
a poor class of people, lying on the ground bayoneted. The house had
been looted and everything smashed.


W. F----, Sapper, 17th R.E.:--About September 7th, near Lagny, we
arrived at the village; stopped there for four hours while our
artillery were in action. We had a house pointed out to us by the
villagers; there was a broken motor bicycle outside, and in the room
against the wall we found one of our despatch riders with an officer’s
sword sticking through him. Our sergeant and our section officer
told us that the villagers said that he came one night, having lost
his way, and knocked at the door of the house, which was occupied by
German officers; they let him in and then killed him. The house was
in a terrible state, everything pulled to pieces. Sapper W---- of our
company was the first to find the house.


Private M----, 1st Gordons, -- Co.:--On October 24th, at La Bassée, the
Germans broke through our lines, and as we retreated I was hit in the
hip with a shell. The Germans crossed over our trenches and charged
till they met our reserves and were driven back. I saw Private E----
(of Portsmouth) of my Company lying wounded in the hip. As they passed,
some stepped on top of me, some jumped over me, while others as they
passed E---- kicked him and stamped on his face. When he was brought
into the dressing-station his face was absolutely black. I never heard
anything more of him.


J. G----, Lance-Corporal, King’s Own, 1st Batt.:--At the end of
November, the second day after we arrived at Nieppe, two of us entered
an estaminet and found the landlady crying; she told us that about
thirteen Germans violated her daughter and shot her husband against a
wall in front of her eyes. She said there were a lot of other cases in


J. A----, Private, 1st Camerons:--It was about October 23rd, at St.
Jean (Ypres). We retired, owing to shortage of ammunition, and left two
wounded in the trench. When we came back one of them was lying about 20
yards behind the trenches stripped stark naked. We had left him behind
covered with a waterproof cloak.

When darkness set in, on retiring, I waited behind to carry in one of
the wounded. I lost the road and walked into the German lines with
my comrade on my back. I was seized and my hands tied in front; I
was then kicked by several German soldiers and thrown into a cellar.
They kept pointing a bayonet at my heart. They took away all my food,
tobacco, private letters, everything, and ate my food in front of me.
After about twenty hours the East Surreys came up and released us.


J. W. D----, Private, 1st Batt. Cheshires:--On November 14th, at Ypres,
the Germans broke in our trenches and as we tried to get out most of
us were shot. As they retreated, after being driven back from the
communication trenches, at about 4.45 on the Saturday (November 14th),
I was lying wounded in the leg at the bottom of the trench unable to
rise and a German officer stooped down and shot me in the thigh. I saw
the same thing done by other Germans to other men of my company.


C. R. A----, Private, 10th King’s Liverpool Scottish:--At Kemmel
(I think), a place between Ypres and Armentières, not far from
Locre--Kemmel is just close to the trenches, and about the size of
Appleby--I, with two or three others, was out looking for vegetables
for the officers (I was sent for because I speak French), and we were
looking to see if any one remained in the house. While doing this I
came across the R.F.A., who took us to their head-quarters and supplied
us with vegetables, etc. Further up the valley we came upon a man in
civilian clothes who was standing in a doorway. The house had not been
damaged by shell fire, as practically all the rest were. We began to
talk. He told me in French that he was too old for the army, but had a
son-in-law in the Belgian Army. When the Germans came they ransacked
all the houses. Of those who came to his house some held him off with
arms pointed at him, whilst others outraged his daughter-in-law who was
about to give birth to a child. When I was there this poor woman had
been sent away.


Private C----, York L. I., 2nd Batt.:--

(1) About November 17th or 20th, near Ypres, I was with the machine
gun which was put out of action; I then went into my own company’s
trenches. As it was getting dark, the advance was made and we were up
to the wire entanglements; we were driven back by superior numbers.
Having gained our own trench, the roll was called and about seventeen
were missing out of our Co., Corpl. R---- being amongst them. Under
cover of darkness our reinforcements came up and we advanced again.
We could only find seven wounded of the men missing and no German
wounded at all. At the back of their trenches was a wood where we lost
the Germans. So we dropped back to their trench. About three days
afterwards they attacked in large numbers, but were repulsed and were
driven back further than they had advanced. In our advance we came to
a farm and a barn half full of potatoes where we found three of our
wounded and two dead. Some of our men carried them out, and while we
carried them one of the others died. Corporal R---- (who was among the
five) was the worst wounded--he had been shot through the shoulder, and
was insensible with both his eyes gouged out and his right arm hacked
off. Our O.C. told us on a parade that it was done with a bayonet. He
was sent home I heard to a hospital.

(2) At a village about 3 miles S.E. of Ypres, about three weeks next
Monday, forty-five of us advanced to rush a house; only seven of us
returned. As we were advancing they opened fire on us with a machine
gun. We were only about fifteen strong when we got there. We had to
break an entrance through the window. We heard shouts and a disturbance
inside; it was the Germans making for the cellars. Captain A---- went
upstairs after leaving some men on the cellar steps; I followed him. In
the back room upstairs was a maxim gun. In one of the other rooms was
a girl about fifteen--she had nothing on except a man’s overcoat. When
we broke into the room we thought she was absolutely mad. She cried
out something, but we could not understand what it was. She rushed out
of the room into the front bedroom which was locked. We smashed it in
with our rifle butts and there found a woman, her mother, with her
right breast all bleeding, and her clothes torn--her breast had been
cut as if with a sword, not a bayonet. We used our field bandages
and made her as comfortable as we could and sent a volunteer back for

[This soldier was at times in great pain when he spoke, but his mind
was clear. I am convinced he spoke the truth.--J. H. M.]


Corporal D----, Loyal North Lancs., 1st Batt.:--At Ypres, end of
November, I was in the trenches, and I saw two of our men, who had been
sent out as snipers, hit, and the Germans motioned to them to come into
their trenches (which were about 80 yards from ours); they began to
crawl in, and as they got on the parapet of the trench the Germans shot


J. A----, Private, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 2nd Batt.:--About
the beginning of December we were billeted in the outskirts of
Armentières, and were allowed out between twelve and three. We passed a
man standing at his door, and he asked us if we had any bully beef--we
said no, but we offered him a packet of cigarettes. We stood at the
door talking and his wife and children came to the door. The woman
looked bad--very delicate looking. He then told us that nine Germans
had stopped in the house, and some of them had outraged his wife while
he was in the house. He spoke very fair English. Private McM---- and
S---- were with me.


Private K----, 1st Loyal North Lancs.:--On Monday night we attacked
them and took two trenches. Everything was quiet till the next morning
except for sniping. At about 8.30 they advanced upon us, and the
officer of ---- Company, seeing the men were overpowered, put up the
white flag, and the men put their hands up to surrender. The Germans
advanced, and when they got up to the trenches, they shot them each in
their trenches as they stood. _I saw this. I was on the left flank._


Sergeant C----, 1st Glosters:--Last Wednesday morning, near La Bassée,
I was in the trench, and I saw a wounded man of No. A Co. (who had
had to retire from their trenches on our right, having been enfiladed
during the night) crawling on all fours to get back. When the Germans
saw him they turned a machine gun on him and killed him.

About end of November, near Ypres, a Belgian farmer (a kind of
peasant), who spoke a little English (I can speak some French; I have
a French conversation book with me), told me that a German officer
threatened him with a revolver because he tried to protect his
daughter, and the officer forced the girl to sleep with him for four


Sergeant G----, 2nd Devons:--

(1) At Estaires, about five weeks ago (latter part of November), we
were billeted there, and I and another sergeant went into a café. The
proprietor, who spoke quite good English, said that his daughter had
been outraged by a party of Germans while they were occupying. They
forced the daughter out into a linhey (an outhouse) at the back and
there outraged her.

(2) At Laventie, about a week later, we halted; and I was speaking to a
Frenchwoman who spoke English. She told me that the Germans had looted
everything, and showed me a jeweller’s shop which had been stripped of
nearly everything. She pointed out two girls (I think about seventeen
or eighteen) who, she said, had been outraged.


Private C----, A.S.C., 7th Div., Supply Column:--At Westoutre, near
Poperinghe, we were billeted about two months ago at a priest’s house.
He spoke English, and told me that his father was shot by the Germans
against the church-yard railings because he refused to give up the
stores of which he had charge for the Belgian refugees. He told us that
the Germans had practised a lot of outrages on the women.


Lance-Corporal L----, R.E., 55th Co.:--Near Ypres, about October 22nd
or 23rd, our section was ordered to assist the Highland Light Infantry,
Queen’s and Worcesters in a drive through a wood. We passed a cottage
on our right where fighting was going on. As we returned I saw two
of our soldiers in a doorway carrying a wounded man. When they got
out of the doorway one of the two soldiers was shot in the back by a
German at a distance of about 80 yards. All firing had ceased--it was
a deliberate aim. On the same day I saw two stretcher-bearers, who
were tending a man on the ground, fired at at a distance of about 40
yards--a regular fusillade. There was no fighting going on--our other
troops were about 300 or 400 yards ahead, and these snipers had been
left behind by the Germans for the express purpose of picking off our


Private S----, 1st Northampton:--On the day after General F---- was
killed (he was an artillery general), on the Monday, we advanced 14
miles, about, and bivouacked in a field. From our bivouac, about one
mile distant, there was a little farm. We went to the farm to fill our
water bottles, and a woman told us that her two daughters (whom we
also saw) had been outraged the previous night by twelve or fourteen
Germans. The woman spoke English quite well--at least, well enough for
me to understand--very distinctly. The woman was not excited, but
greatly distressed, and the two girls (one child sixteen, the other
about nineteen--in fact, I think the woman said that the one was not
sixteen) were still more distressed; they were in a pitiful plight.
Listening to the story with me were Company Sergeant-Major M---- of D.
Co., also Sergeant S----, also D. Co., and Corporal C----, likewise of
D. Co.


Captain F----, 2nd Batt. Coldstreams:--

(1) On the Rentel ridge, near Ypres, and south of Sonnen, I have seen
repeated cases of deliberate firing on stretcher-bearers which admitted
of no doubt.

(2) On the Aisne, on a Monday (either September 13th or 14th) at
Soupir, there was a bad case of trickery with the white flag. The
Germans advanced from a farm-house with white flags at the end of their
rifles, and on our men rushing forward, despite the warning of their
officers, to take prisoners, they were shot down. We lost a whole
company of the 3rd Batt. Coldstreams in this way.


Private L----, in the 1st Cornwall L.I.:--On September 9th (Wednesday)
at Montreuil, I was wounded and being carried by two of ours, when
about a quarter-mile from the firing-line I and other wounded were
being brought down an exposed slope; the moment we appeared a
machine-gun about 400 yards distant opened fire on us--several wounded


Private W----, in the 1st Camerons:--On the Aisne, September 14th,
I was told by Sergeant Major C---- of Camerons that Captain H----
(commanding our Company) was lying in a field having his wounds dressed
by one of our own bandsmen acting as stretcher-bearer. Captain H----
and stretcher-bearer were shot by a German officer. The Sergeant-Major
(who had been taken prisoner by the Germans) saw this happen.

    [NOTE.--This story was fully corroborated, without variation,
    by several other Camerons whom I met in other wards, and also
    by the Colonel of the Camerons, with whom I discussed the
    matter at General Hospital No. 4 (Paris) at Versailles.--J. H.


Private W---- (the same):--We were advancing, Black Watch on our right,
Scots Guards on our left. Germans put up white flag and we advanced
to take prisoners. At thirty yards they opened their ranks, and
machine-guns concealed behind fired upon us, the Germans in front also
firing their rifles.


Private S----, 1st Batt. Glosters:--On August 26th, first day of
retreat from Fevrel, we were leaving the trenches, B. Co. covering us
on the left. It was just where Captain S---- was shot. Private L----,
who had been shot twice, was bayoneted when lying on the ground by two
Germans. I and the whole Company saw it.


Private B----, West Yorks:--On September 20th, 300 Germans ran up
with a German officer and white flag, surrendering. About a thousand
Germans followed and captured our Company of about 220. They bayoneted
Sergeant-Major A---- after surrender of the Company, and shot majority
of the Company. I was only three yards from Sergeant-Major when it
happened. I fell over a hedge into a stone quarry and escaped. Here it
was that Major I---- was killed. Later the Durhams came up and we got


Private (Lance-Corporal) C----, 1st East Lancs:--About September
6th, Château de Perense, near Jouasse, Seine et Marne, about 700
Germans, coming out of a wood, dropped their rifles and held up their
hands; whistle sounded “cease fire.” Two Companies sent up to accept
surrender, and when within about ten yards the Germans ran back to the
wood and their troops in wood opened fire on the two companies (_i.e._
on about 450 men).


Private C---- (the same):--Passed through a village recently occupied
by drunken Germans. Women raving. Saw two women with bruised faces and
black eyes. Lieut. M---- said they had attempted to resist outrage by


Private M----, Notts and Derby:--On September 20th (Sunday) in trenches
on Aisne, seventy Germans came up with white flag; we let them come up
and then went out to take them. They then opened fire just as their
reinforcements came up, and killed many men of the West Yorks, Notts
and Derby, and Durhams.


The same:--On the Monday morning we went out to find our wounded
and discovered an English soldier with ten or fourteen bayonet
wounds--there had been no bayonet fighting with the Germans.


Private H----, 2nd Batt. Duke of Wellington’s:--On September 8th and
9th, at Nogent-sur-le-Marne, advancing through the Forest of Crecy,
heard on all sides stories of women outraged. I was told by Mme. S----
(Veuve) an elderly lady, who was the widow of an Englishman and spoke
English, that an officer had outraged her servant in the house. The
servant stood by crying as Mme. S---- told the story. Mme. S---- gave
me her address--here it is in my pocket-book:--4 rue de Lafaulette,


J. B----, Despatch Rider, Signal Co. 1st Div. R.E.:--About September
16th, near Paissy. At a distance of about 300 yards we saw through our
glasses one of our despatch-riders (A---- of Signal Co., R.E.), shot
while riding his motor-cycle; he fell off, and while lying on ground
was speared by three Uhlans, one after the other. Uhlans attempted to
burn him with his own petrol, but made off when they saw us coming. We
found his body half-burned when we reached it.


Sergeant D----, 1st Cornwalls:--About September 9th, near 6 p.m.,
Battle of the Aisne, I was with a platoon with orders to remain behind
and delay German advance. We couldn’t see any Germans, and we therefore
had done no firing for quite an hour. Our ambulance was out picking
up wounded. My platoon was marching back to rejoin our Company; we
were carrying our rifles. R.A.M.C. were picking up Lieut. E---- when
they were fired on from the woods at a distance of about 300 yards, a
regular fusillade. Lieut. E---- badly hit. Ambulance had to gallop off
out of range, and we made off. Ambulance was broadside on to the enemy,
and must therefore have been unmistakable.

(39, 40 and 41)

Statements taken down, after cross-examination by a Staff Officer at
General Headquarters, as to incidents in the neighbourhood at Ypres:

(1) Private B. S----, 1st Black Watch, says that he saw Germans bayonet
our wounded as they lay on the ground. He was wounded in the leg
himself, but, seeing this, he managed to get away.

Afterwards he was with German wounded, who told him that they had been
ordered to kill all English prisoners.

(2) Private W. W----, 1st Black Watch, says that he was in a reserve
trench and saw the Germans bayoneting our wounded 40 or 50 yards in
front of him. He was wounded in the arm and taken prisoner, but was
sent for water for wounded Germans and escaped.

Says the wounded Germans in our charge told him that they had been told
to kill all English and take no prisoners.

(3) Statement of Private M----, Cameron Highlanders attached.

I saw this man, and consider him thoroughly reliable as to the facts of
the case.

He says that he saw one German place the butt of his rifle on the
wounded man’s chest and hold him while the other one shot him. Our
reinforcements were heard coming up immediately afterwards, and the
Germans ran away. The men were Prussian Guard.

“I was shot while retiring, and took shelter behind a hedge which I
had fallen through. A wounded man of the Black Watch was lying close
beside me groaning. The Germans came up behind the hedge and fired
through it. Two came through and I saw one deliberately place his rifle
to the wounded Highlander’s head and shoot him. The features of the
wounded German who came into hospital with me in the same convoy are
identically those of the man I saw commit the action.”

(42 and 43)

Summary of Statements taken by a Captain in the Sherwood Foresters:

(1) The undermentioned privates state that on October 20th, 1914, they
saw German soldiers killing our wounded, and can swear to the same.
[There follow three names of privates in the 2nd Sherwood Foresters.]

(2) The men mentioned below make the following statement: that on
November 1st, 1914, two German soldiers were seen both delivering blows
on our wounded with rifle-butts, and shooting them. [There follow names
of four privates in the Lincolnshire Regiment, and one in the Argyll
and Sutherland Highlanders.]


Statement made by a private in the Loyal North Lancs.:

On or about December 21st, I think near Neuve Chapelle, we were
ordered up to the trenches occupied by the Gurkhas. We got over them
and lined a ditch--some of ours wounded there. We charged, and they
started with hand bombs. On our right was Captain Smart, shot in the
head. We had to retire; an hour and a half later we advanced again, and
here I found one of our wounded with his throat cut (he had been shot
previously). I heard of others with their throats cut. I lay down close
to him. Dawn was just breaking. We had to retire again, and the bodies
were left there.


A Brigadier-General of the British Cavalry Corps:

On September 6th, the day before we got to Rebais, we passed a lonely
farm where we found a shepherd with the top of his head blown off by a
rifle-shot. He had been asked by the Germans for bread, and, on failing
to produce any, had been shot.


Statement by Major ----, O.C. of a Cavalry Field Ambulance:--On October
17th, at Moorslede, north-east of Ypres, the Germans were reported as
having strangled a young baker in this place. The inhabitants stated
that he had been taken by the Germans to bake for them, and that
he attempted to escape. The enemy caught him and stuffed a woollen
scarf he was wearing down his throat, causing suffocation. One of my
officers, Lieut. P----, viewed the body in the convent next day, and
found the scarf stuffed in the man’s throat.


Private R. McK----, 2nd Royal Irish:--On the advance from the Marne
to the Aisne in September, we passed through a village and saw a baby
propped up at the window like a doll. About six of us went into the
house, with a sergeant, and found the child dead--bayoneted. We found
a tottering kind of old man, a middle-aged woman, and a youth, all
bayoneted. In another village our interpreter pointed out to us two
girls who were crying; he told us they had been ravished.


Driver B----, R.F.A.:--Somewhere between Chantilly and
Villers-Cotterets, about the end of August, just after we started
advancing, we were marching through a village, and the villagers called
us into a house and showed us the body of a middle-aged man, with both
arms cut off by a sword, pointed to him and said “Allemands.” They
told our R.A.M.C. men in French that he had been killed when trying to
protect his daughter.

In the next village, before we got to the Aisne, the villagers showed
us the dead body of a woman, naked, on the ground, badly mutilated, her
breasts cut off, and her body ripped up. They said “Allemands.”


Private F. W. M----, Leicesters:--I think it was in October, after we
had left the Aisne and were on the march. About a week before we got
to Armentières, we went through a small village, halted, and I and a
man named C----, of my company, were searching a hedge for wood, and
came across a baby with a single vest on it, as if it had been taken
straight from bed, and nearly cut in half, as if by a sabre.


Private G. R----, Bedfords:--Somewhere between October 14th and 17th,
at a village about fifteen miles from Ypres, a boy was brought in from
a farm-house, the people having sent in for surgical assistance for
a boy who was wounded. I saw him brought in by some of our men to an
estaminet--he had five sabre-cuts. His sister told us that the Uhlans
had chased him round the farm because he had cried out something to
them. He looked as if he would not live. One of our R.A.M.C. bound up
his wounds.


Private W. D----, Hampshires:--About seven weeks ago, when the Germans
tried hard to break through, we were about two hours from a place
which we call the Château, where the Germans pitched shells every day,
especially at a big tower place which is there. Our platoons were in
the trenches in the order left to right of 5, 6, 7, 8, and then came
C Company in their trenches. The wounded left with the dead in the
C trench were half buried by its having been blown in. The Germans
enfiladed the wounded, shot them, bayoneted them, jumped on them.


Private B----, Royal West Kents:--Early in September, in the advance
from Coulommiers, I saw two British cavalrymen lying dead on the
ground, their arms stretched out like a cross and their hands pinned by
Uhlan lances.


Private J. C----, Scots Guards:--Last Monday night, the other side the
canal bank at a place I think they call “Karuchi,” the Manchesters
were surrounded. We were in support and advanced to their help.... We
re-took the trenches. In the second trench, when we got there, we found
many Manchesters who had been shot first and then bayoneted, as they
lay wounded, by the Germans when capturing the trench.


Private P----, Cornwalls:--In the early part of September in our
advance, in all the villages the Germans had smashed everything for
mere sport--the place stank with the dead bodies of pigs and chickens
which they had killed and left in the road. We found scent-bottles
thrown all over the road--mirrors smashed and furniture--lovely
furniture--thrown into the street, and pictures cut.


Private W. T----, Welsh Regiment:--On the retreat from Mons in August
we came upon a woman tied to a tree. She was quite dead. Her throat was
cut. I believe she had been outraged.... The time was about 5 p.m. It
was quite light. I should say the woman’s age was between eighteen and
twenty-two. The men cut her down. I saw them do it. I do not know what
became of the body as we had to go on. I expect it was Uhlans who had
done this.


Corps Expéditionnaire anglais, 5ᵉ Division d’Infanterie, 7ᵉ Groupe
de Gendarmerie. Objet: Actes repréhensibles commis par des soldats


  Serches, le 14 septembre, 1914.

Le 10 septembre courant, en parcourant avec quelques gendarmes de mon
détachement, en exécution de l’Art. 109 du Service de la Gendarmerie
en campagne (31 juillet, 1911), un terrain sur lequel avait eu lieu
la veille, un engagement, j’ai fait, au lieu dit “Laroche,” commune de
Montreuil-aux-Lions (Seine-et-Marne) les constatations suivantes:

Un soldat d’infanterie anglaise avait été tué sur la lisière d’un
petit-bois bordant la route de Mery à Montreuil-aux-Lions.

Il avait été atteint par des balles de fusil, au cou et à la poitrine.

Il était tombé et était resté étendu sur le dos.

Son cadavre fut mutilé la face avait été complètement aplatie et
écraseé, très probablement par des coups donnés avec la crosse d’un
fusil ou même avec le talon de la chaussure.

Cet acte fut certainement commis par des soldats allemands du 48
regiment d’Infanterie, car six cadavres d’Allemands de ce même régiment
furent trouvés à 100 mètres au plus de cet endroit.

Une femme se trouvait sur la route tout près de là. Des qu’elle me vit
elle s’approcha de moi et encore sous le coup d’une vive indignation
elle me fit le récit suivant:

“Hier, 9 septembre, dans l’après-midi, pendant le combat un soldat
fut blessé. Il avait été atteint à une jambe. Malgré sa blessure, il
parvint à se traîner jusque chez moi, à la maison que vous voyez sur la
colline, au lieu dit Pisseloup.

“Il me parla, je ne le compris pas.

“Je lui fis un premier pansement dès qu’il en eût montré sa blessure et
le fis étendre sur mon lit.

“Quelques instants après plusieurs soldats allemands traversèrent la
route et vinrent également jusqu’à ma demeure.

“Dès qu’ils virent le soldat anglais qui était blessé, ils le
frappèrent, le jetèrent dehors de la maison, où ils le battirent encore
avec leurs fusils.

“Je ne sais ce qu’est devenu ce malheureux anglais, mais je pense qu’il
a dû être recueilli ou enterré, s’il est mort, par ses compatriotes
qui sont passés ici ce matin, out soigne des blessés et enterré
quelques-uns des leurs tirés dans le combat de hier.”

Enfin, j’ajoute le fait suivant:

A Vanfleurs, le 8 septembre près de Poccunente, j’ai encore vu sur la
colline au N.O. de Poccunente, et à 1 Kilo, environ, le cadavre d’un
Anglais dont le crâne avait été mutilé à un tel point que la matière
cervicale apparaissait en plusieurs points.

Ce soldat anglais était un simple éclaireur, tué d’un coup de fusil à
la lisière d’un bois.

Les Allemands s’étaient acharnés après lui, peut-être même après sa

Ces actes constituent peut-être une exception et sont l’œuvre de
brutes, mais ils sont tellement odieux que j’estime de mon devoir d’en
rendre compte à l’autorité militaire supérieure.

  (Signed)      C. N. PIGEANNE.






_Procès-Verbal No. 2. Meurtre de trois civils non combattants par des
soldats allemands_

L’an 1914, le 16 octobre à 16 heures Nous Thévenin.... Informé par
les agents de notre service que les soldats allemands auraient tué
trois individus non combattants au lieu dit Nouveau Monde, commune de
Bailleul, nous avons ouvert une enquête et entendons:

Marie H----, 37 ans, épouse C----, demeurant à V---- Rue, Commune de
Bailleul, entendue, déclare:--Le jeudi matin, 8 courant, vers 7 heures
je me trouvais au passage à niveau du Nouveau Monde, quand j’ai vu
passer trois civils accompagnés par six soldats allemands, baïonnette
au canon et qui leur avaient attaché les mains avec des serviettes. Je
les ai suivi du regard et quelques minutes après j’ai vu les mêmes
soldats accompagnant les mêmes hommes parler à un officier allemand qui
leur a fait signe d’aller plus loin dans une pâture. Les soldats s’y
sont dirigés conduisant toujours les civils prisonniers; ils leur ont
fait sauter un fossé, puis ils les ont mis debout sur une même ligne
dans la prairie. À ce moment un soldat allemand me fit rentrer dans une
maison. Environ une demi heure après, j’ai su que les Allemands avaient
tué les civils que j’avais vu passer avec eux et qu’ils les avaient
enterrés dans le jardin de Monsieur Pierre Béhaghel.

Lecture faite.

V----, Gabrielle, épouse D----, âgée de 26 ans, ménagère, demeurant au
N---- M----, commune de Bailleul, interpellée, déclare:--J’ai vu le
jeudi, 8 courant, vers 7 heures et demie du matin six soldats allemands
amenant avec eux, les mains liées, trois civils portant de petits
paquets et paraissant avoir de 18 à 25 ans. Ils les ont mis dans la
prairie en face de chez moi sur l’ordre que venait de leur donner un de
leurs officiers auxquels ils venaient de s’adresser. J’avais chez moi
un soldat allemand qui faisait la cuisine et cet homme voyant venir les
prisonniers m’a dit, en français: “_Regardez, Madame, comme c’est beau:
voir fusilier des civils français, regardez c’est du beau travail, on
devrait tous les tuer comme cela!_” J’ai répondu que je ne pouvais pas
le voir car c’était un crime. Malgré ma réponse j’ai regardé lorsque
j’ai entendu tirer le coup de feu et j’ai vu que ces pauvres civils
tombaient. J’ai également vu les soldats allemands creuser trois trous
dans lesquels ils les ont ensevelis. Je ne sais rien d’autre sur cette

Lecture faite.

3º. H----, Hélène, femme B----, 44 ans, ménagère, demeurant à Bailleul
au lieu dit “N---- M----,” nous fait la déclaration suivante: J’ai
vu le 8 courant six soldats allemands présenter à leur officier qui
logeait chez moi trois jeunes gens civils qui portaient des paquets.
L’officier a dit en français aux soldats “Allez vite dans la prairie
les fusiller”; les soldats sont partis aussitôt. Je n’ai plus rien vu
ni entendu concernant cette affaire, mais j’ai su que l’ordre avait été
mis à exécution.

Lecture faite.

4º. S----, Désiré, 74 ans, tisserant, demeurant à Bailleul, N----
M----, déclare:--J’ai vu, comme les femmes H----, V---- et B----,
passer les trois civils encadrés par les soldats allemands. Je sais
que ceux-ci, sur l’ordre d’un de leurs officiers, les ont fusillés. Je
les ai vus enterrer à cinquante mètres de chez moi dans le jardin de
Monsieur Béhaghel Pierre. Les soldats allemands sont venus chez moi
prendre des pioches et des pelles pour creuser leurs tombes. Je ne sais
rien de plus.

Lecture faite.

La femme H---- nous remet sur notre demande un laisser-passer délivré
par la Commune de Zonnebèke à un sieur Herreman qui est un de ceux qui
ont été fusillés par les Allemands. Nous le joignons au présent ainsi
que la photographie y annexée.

Nous y joignons également une adresse trouvée écrite au crayon près de
l’endroit où ont été enterrés les trois corps des civils fusillés. Nous
donnons l’ordre au garde champêtre du quartier Deicke de se transporter
au N---- M---- et de constater la présence des trois cadavres enterrés,
cela accompagné de deux témoins.

De retour de sa mission l’agent nous fait le rapport suivant:

Je me nomme Deicke Juste, garde champêtre à Bailleul. Conformément à
vos instructions je me suis mis en rapport avec les nommés Coulier
Achille, 30 ans, maréchal ferrant; Sonneville Désire, 74 ans,
tisserand; Lassus Henri, 51 ans, journalier; Behaghel Julien, 19 ans,
cordonnier, que j’ai priés de m’accompagner pour constater que trois
corps de civils avaient bien été enterrés dans le jardin du sieur
Behaghel. Là nous avons vu, les trois corps de jeunes gens vêtus
d’habits civils et recouverts d’une couche de terre d’environ 30

Dans les effets nous avons trouvé un extrait du registre
d’immatriculation de la commune de Beuvry (Pas-de-Calais) au nom de
Békaert (Cyrille Jérome), né à Zonnebèke, le 29 août, 1891. Je vous ai
apporté cet extrait.


_Procès-Verbal No. 1. Meurtre du jeune B----, Albert, par soldats

L’an mille neuf cent quatorze, le 15 octobre à 2 heures du soir. Nous
Thévenin, Pierre, Commissaire de la Ville de Bailleul, auxiliaire de
Monsieur le Procureur de la République. Informé par les agents de notre
service qu’un meurtre aurait été commis, il y a plusieurs jours, par
un soldat de l’armée allemande au hameau de Stient de notre commune,
ouvrons une enquête et entendons:

1º. B----, Victor, 48 ans, cultivateur, demeurant à Bailleul, Rue ----
---- ----, lequel nous dit:

Le jeudi, 8 octobre courant, vers midi, mon fils Albert, 19 ans,
venait d’apprendre que des patrouilles allemandes circulaient dans
le voisinage de notre ferme. Il m’en fit part et me dit qu’il allait
aussitôt se cacher dans un fosse. Il est parti de suite suivi de son
frère Maurice, âgé de 17 ans. Le même jour, vers 8 heures du soir,
celui-ci revint à la maison, il me dit que son frère l’avait quitté
pour aller à la ferme occupée par les époux Charlet, nos voisins. Je
suis allé aussitôt voir mon voisin, C---- D----, que je savais avoir
passé la journée chez Charlet et celui-ci me dit que mon fils avait été
tué dans la ferme Charlet à coup de lance par un soldat allemand. Je
ne sais pas autre chose sinon que j’ai vu le cadavre de mon fils dans
la cour de cette ferme à moitié carbonisé par l’incendie que venait
de détruire les immeubles et qui avait été allumé par les soldats

Lecture faite.

  B----, VICTOR. THÉVENIN, Cre. de Police.

2º. C---- D----, 57 ans, cultivateur, demeurant à Bailleul, Rue de
Lille, entendu, déclare:

Le 8 octobre, vers 3 heures du soir, je me trouvais à la ferme Charlet
avec différentes personnes dont le nommé B----, Albert. Les Allemands
au nombre d’une dizaine, sont entrés dans la maison absolument furieux
et se sont rués sur nous hommes et femmes sans distinction, nous ont
appréhendés au corps pour nous jeter dans la cour de la ferme, où
ils allaient nous fusilier, disaient-ils. Le jeune B---- fut jeté le
premier. Un soldat qui était à l’entrée le perça d’un coup de lance qui
le tua. B---- tomba raide mort à terre. Dans la cour, j’ai vu que les
bâtiments de la ferme flambaient. Les Allemands nous ont dit qu’ils
venaient d’allumer cet incendie, car ils croyaient qu’un coup de feu
avait été tiré de là sur eux. Tous, nous avons supplié les Allemands
de ne pas nous faire du mal. Un d’entr’eux qui causait français a fait
part aux autres de ce que nous voulions. Alors, on nous a jeté la tête
après les murs, on nous a bousculés tant qu’ils ont pu et on nous a mis
dehors de la ferme. Je ne sais pas autre chose sur cette affaire.

Lecture faite.

  D----, CLOVIS.      THÉVENIN.

3º. Joseph D----, 14 ans, ouvrier agricole, demeurant à Bailleul, rue
-- ----, entendu, nous fait une déclaration corroborant de tous points
à celle de son frère qui procède et signe avec nous, ajoutant qu’aucun
coup de feu n’avait été tiré de cette ferme sur les Allemands ou sur
aucune autre personne et qu’à sa connaissance il n’y avait dans cette
ferme aucune arme à feu.

  D----, JOSEPH.      THÉVENIN.

4º. C----, Eugénie, née B----, 55 ans, fermière, demeurant à Bailleul,
Rue -- ----, nous dit:--J’ai reçu à ma ferme le jeudi, 8 courant, vers
midi et demi plusieurs voisins, parmi lesquels le nommé B----, Albert.
Je l’ai vu tué vers trois heures par un soldat allemand d’un coup de
lance dans la poitrine alors qu’il venait d’être jeté dehors de ma
maison par d’autres soldats allemands. Les soldats allemands nous ont
tous maltraités en nous flanquant la tête contre les murs. Ils nous ont
en outre menacés de mort. Ils ont dit que l’incendie qui a détruit ma
ferme avait été allumé par eux, car ils avaient cru entendre un coup
de feu parti de là. J’affirme que chez moi il n’y a aucune arme à feu
et qu’aucun coup n’a été tiré. Je ne sais pas autre chose sur cette


  C---- B----.      THÉVENIN.

5º. B----, Juliette, 36 ans, servante à Estaires, P---- P----,
interpellée, déclare:--J’ai vu comme ma tante, époux C---- et les
autres témoins, tuer le jeune B----, Albert. J’ai été comme eux tous,
maltraitée et menacée de mort par les mêmes militaires. Je ne puis pas
en dire davantage, mais je confirme en tous points les déclarations qui



_Procès-Verbal, No. 3.--Meurtre des nommés Itsweire Donat, et Torrez
Edouard, par une patrouille allemande_

L’an 1914, le 16 octobre, à 5 heures et demi du soir nous Thévenin....
Informé par les agents de notre service que deux hommes habitant
le village d’Oultersteen, commune de Bailleul, avaient été tués
volontairement par des soldats allemands quoiqu’étant en civils et non
combattants, ouvrons une enquête et entendons:--

F----, Charles, 55 ans, journalier, demeurant à Merris, lequel nous
dit:--Le mercredi, 7 courant, vers 4 heures et demie du soir, j’ai
vu arriver près du passage à niveau d’Oultersteen une patrouille de
dragons allemands appartenant au 5º régiment et commandée par un
sous-officier. La patrouille a tiré des coups de carabine sur les
civils qui se trouvaient dans la rue. Quelques soldats sont allés tuer
un homme, le nommé Isteweire Donat, 75 ans environ, qui s’était réfugié
sous un pont. Je l’ai vu tirer sur cet homme et celui-ci ayant cessé de
vivre. J’ai appris depuis qu’ils avaient tué un sieur Torrez Edouard,
40 ans, cabaretier, demeurant à Oultersteen et cela de la même manière.
J’ai su aussi qu’un autre homme avait été par eux blessé à la joue.

Lecture faite.

2º. B----, Alfred, 37 ans, employé au chemin de fer, A---- ----, à
Lille, entendu, déclare:--Le mercredi, 7 courant, vers 4 heures et
demie du soir, je revenais de voyage en passant par Oultersteen. A la
barrière du passage à niveau de la route allant à Vieux-Berquin j’ai
vu devant moi des dragons allemands, 5º régiment, qui nous ont ajustés
de leur carabines et ont tiré trentaine de coups de feu. Pour ma part
j’ai reçu une balle à la joue gauche. Une autre a percé ma casquette,
qui a été lancée à plusieurs mètres. A ce moment les nommés Torrez
Edouard, et Isteweire Donat, étaient à côté de moi. Nous avons fui
chacun de notre côté, seul j’ai pu échapper. Itsweire a été tué sous un
pont, Torrez à côté d’une haie de chemin de halage. J’ai vu que cette
patrouille de dragons a tiré une vingtaine de coups de révolver dans la
maison de la garde barrière du passage à niveau de Vieux-Berquin, où se
trouvaient trois femmes et trois enfants. L’arrivée d’une patrouille
du 13º régiment de Chasseurs à cheval, qui a chargé la patrouille
allemande, a sauvé la vie à ces six personnes qui n’auraient manqué
d’être tués par ces bandits. Je ne sais pas autre chose.

Lecture faite.

3º. L----, Jules, 13 ans, sans profession, demeurant à Oultersteen,
interpellé, dit:--Je n’ai vu Itsweire et Torrez que lorsqu’ils étaient
droits, tués par la patrouille allemande à coups de fusils. J’ai vu
cette même patrouille tirer des coups de révolver chez moi. Les trois
femmes et les deux autres enfants qui se trouvaient dans la maison
auraient certainement été tués par eux ainsi que moi-même, si une
patrouille française ne lui avait donné la chasse. Je ne sais pas autre
chose concernant ces deux meurtres.

_Procès-Verbal No. 4. Viol de la demoiselle D----, Marie Thérèse, par
deux officiers allemands_


L’an 1914, le 17 octobre, à 9 heures, 1/4, nous Thévenin, informé par
notre service qu’un viol aurait été commis par des soldats ou des
officiers allemands, Rue des Coulons, au domicile des époux D----, nous
ouvrons une enquête et en entendons.

1º. R---- C----, épouse D----, âgée de 48 ans, boulangère, demeurant
à Bailleul, Rue ----, laquelle dit:--Dans la nuit du 9 au 10 courant
vers 2 heures du matin je me trouvais chez moi avec ma fille Marie
Thérèse et la femme M----, quand j’ai entendu frapper à la porte de la
rue. Je suis allée ouvrir, une lampe à la main, et aussitôt deux hommes
sont entrés, m’ont poussé du bras violemment, ont éteint ma lampe et
sont allés directement vers l’endroit où se trouvait ma fille. Dans
ces deux hommes j’ai reconnu deux officiers de l’armée allemande. Ils
m’ont saisie à la gorge pour m’empêcher de crier et se sont opposés
violemment à ce que j’allume ma lampe. Ils avaient à la main une lampe
électrique dont ils se sont servis pour voir ma fille. J’ai vu que
l’un d’eux, le blond, a pris ma fille en premier lieu et l’a jetée par
terre dans la cuisine, puis il s’est couché dessus, lui a relevé les
jupons et l’a violée. Ma fille se débattait autant qu’elle pouvait,
criait de toutes ses forces, mais ce bandit lui appuyant son visage sur
le sein, il cherchait à étouffer ses cris. Il est bien resté sur ma
fille pendant un quart d’heure environ tandis que l’autre me tenait à
la gorge et avait son révolver a côté de sa lampe. Quand celui-ci eut
fini l’autre reprit ma fille à son tour et la renversa par terre dans
le corridor, où il lui fit subir les mêmes outrages pendant un quart
d’heure environ, en même temps, le blond était venu près de moi, son
révolver en main, et me maintenant brutalement dans l’impossibilité de
protéger mon enfant. Quand ils eurent fini ils ont pris ma fille par un
bras chacun, l’ont traînée dehors et je ne sais plus ce qu’ils lui ont
fait là. J’ai mené ma fille chez Monsieur Bells, docteur en médecine,
qui l’a examinée et qui a constaté que le viol avait été consommé et
que la défloration était complète.

Lecture faite.

2º. D---- (Marie Thérèse) 19 ans, sans profession, demeurant chez
parents, boulangers, à Bailleul, Rue ----, nous fait la déclaration
suivante:--Ainsi que vient de le dire maman, deux officiers allemands
sont entrés chez nous dans la nuit du 9 au 10 courant vers 2 heures du
matin. J’étais seule avec ma mère Madame M----. De suite l’un d’eux, un
grand blond, a couru sur moi, m’a renversée par terre.... Il m’a fait
bien mal; j’ai souffert beaucoup et j’ai dû l’endurer sur moi pendant
un quart d’heure environ. Quand il a eu assouvi sa passion, il me fait
relever et me traîna vers son camarade, un grand brun, qui, à son tour,
me renversa dans le corridor et me fit subir les mêmes outrages pendant
un quart d’heure environ. Je dois dire qu’après que chacun d’eux,
j’étais toute ... et que chacun m’a fait énormément souffrir.

Je ressens à l’heure actuelle de très violents maux de rein et mon bas
ventre me fait excessivement mal. Quand le deuxième eut fini, tous deux
me saisirent par un bras et me traînèrent sur la rue en me demandant
mon âge. J’ai répondu que j’avais dix-neuf ans. Alors tous deux ont
dit, en français le plus pur, “_Vous devez connaître d’autres jeunes
filles dans le voisinage; il faut nous dire où elles sont pour que nous
puissions en faire autant qu’à vous-même._” J’ai répondu que je n’en
connaissais pas, que je n’avais pas de camarades dans le voisinage. Ils
m’ont alors embrassée tous les deux et serrée très fortement, puis ils
m’ont laissé partir. Je suis rentrée chez moi. J’oubliais de vous dire
qu’avant de me lâcher, tous les deux m’ont dit, “Si vous dites ce que
l’on vous a fait et que nous revenions chez vous, on vous tuera.”

En rentrant chez moi je n’ai plus revu maman? Je l’ai appelée de tous
côtés et finalement je l’ai retrouvée dans le jardin. Avec elle et la
femme M---- nous rentrions chez nous, quand nous avons entendu les
mêmes officiers qui frappaient à la porte pour rentrer de nouveau. Nous
avons eu peur et nous sommes parties dans le jardin.

Lecture faite.

3º. D----, Gabrielle, femme Maerten, 72 ans, ménagère, demeurant à
Bailleul, Rue----, entendue, nous fait une déclaration corroborant de
tous points celles qui précèdent et signe avec nous.

Personne n’a été témoin de cette scène mais j’ai souffert beaucoup tant
au physique qu’au moral de l’exploit de ces deux bandits.

Lecture faite.



_Gendarmerie Nationale_

  Cejourd’hui, 29 Novembre 1914.

Déclarations de Monsieur Rohart Jules, âgé de 65 ans, Maire de la
commune de Doulieu qui a déclaré:--Lors de l’invasion de la commune
de Doulieu par l’ennemi, je suis toujours resté sur les lieux. J’ai
connaissance et j’ai constaté tout ce qui a été commis sur mon
territoire par les Allemands. J’ai d’abord appris que 11 individus
civils français avaient été fusillés dans un champ à proximité de la
rue du Calvaire au lieu dit “l’Espérance.” Ces hommes, qui n’avaient
pas été enterrés assez profondément, ont été déterrés le samedi, 17
octobre, pour les transporter au cimetière, où j’avais fait préparer
une fosse commune et à la profondeur réglementaire. Je ne connais
aucun de ces hommes, mais d’aprés les diverses pièces que j’ai pu
retrouver sur eux, j’ai pu établir l’identité de sept. Les quatre
derniers n’avaient aucun papier ni quoi que ce soit pouvant établir
leur identité.

J’ai fait prévenir les maires des différentes localités où résidaient
ces hommes dont les noms suivent:

1º. Léger Alfred Désiré Louis, né le 1ᵉʳ décembre 1885 à Amiens, fils
de Alfred et de Clarisse Lourdel.

2º. Dequeker Henri Léon Joseph, né le 25 avril 1875 à Sailly sur la
Lys, fils de Charles Auguste Joseph et de Hortense Adéline Hay.

3º. Vienne Louis Amand, né le 10 avril 1875 à Tourcoing, fils de Louis
Eugène et de Elisa Marie Vienne.

4º. Hallewaere Cyrille, né le 4 décembre 1889, à Vlamertinghe
(Belgique), fils de Alphonse et de Gouwy Clémence.

5º. Dequesnes Jules, né 1ᵉʳ septembre 1884 à Roubaix, fils de Henri
Joseph et de Charlotte Desmettre.

6º. Ermnoult, ----, né à ----, demeurant à Steenwerck, hameau de la
Croix du Bac, reconnu par son beau-frère nommé, demeurant à la Croix du

7º. Les quatre autres n’ont pu être identifiés. Ils paraissaient âgés
approximativement de 30 à 40 ans.

J’ai appris également la mort de Bail Désiré retrouvé à proximité de la
ferme de Monsieur Leroy au lieu dit “La Bleu tour.” Je ne connais pas
la cause de cette mort....

Madame Masquelier Mathilde, femme Decherf Henri, âgé de 62 ans,
ménagère demeurant à Doulieu, Rue du Calvaire, qui a déclaré:--Le
Dimanche, 11 octobre, 1914, vers 16 heures, deux soldats allemands sont
venus me demander deux bêches que je leur ai remises. Peu après, j’ai
remarqué dans un champ situé à 40 mètres environ de mon habitation,
onze individus civils occupés à creuser une tranchée. Un peu plus loin
se trouvait un groupe de soldats ennemis. J’ai regardé ces hommes
travailler, puis au bout d’un quart d’heure ils se sont décoiffés,
puis se sont mis à genoux. Comme ils se relevaient, j’ai entendu une
fusillade et au même moment, ils tombaient tous dans le trou qu’ils
venaient de creuser. Deux soldats français prisonniers, appartenant
l’un à l’infanterie, l’autre aux chasseurs à pied, sont alors venus et
ont recouvert les corps de ces hommes.

Fievet Charles, âge de 60 ans, boulanger épicier, demeurant au Doulieu,
hameau de la Bleu Tour, déclare:--Le mardi, 13 octobre, 1914, vers 5
heures 30 du matin, les Allemands qui occupaient notre pays déjà depuis
plusieurs jours sont venus chez moi. Ils ont cassé les persiennes,
puis les carreaux de vitres des deux fenêtres qui se trouvent sur la
rue. M’étant alors levé, ils m’ont dit que je devais partir et qu’ils
allaient brûler ma maison. Les rideaux de ces deux fenêtres ont en
effet été brûlés. En sortant de mon habitation, j’ai reçu un coup de
poing sur la figure, puis aussitôt un coup de crosse sur le côté de
l’œil, puis un droit sur la tête. Devant ces brutalités, je me suis
sauvé à la ferme de mon voisin Ridez, située à environ 30 mètres en
face de ma demeure. Au moment où j’entrais dans la cour de cette
ferme, j’ai entendu une détonation et immédiatement j’ai remarqué que
mon bras droit tombait naturellement. Je ne ressentais aucun mal. Ce
n’est qu’à mon entrée dans cette ferme que j’ai constaté que j’avais le
bras droit cassé. J’ignore quel était le but de ces violences, puisque
je n’avais rien fait ni rien dit. C’est Monsieur le Docteur Potié de
Vieux-Berquin qui me donne des soins. En ce qui concerne le vol et le
pillage tant chez moi que chez mes voisins, je certifie que ce sont les
Allemands qui ont tout pris. Une liste détaillée a été addressée à M.
le Maire du Doulieu.



_Traduction de la déclaration faite en flamand par V---- A---- F----,
mineur à Tamines_

_Parquet du Tribunal de 1re Instance d’Ypres_


L’an 1914, le 1 octobre, devant nous, Alphonse Verschaeve, procureur
du Roi à Ypres, a comparu, dans notre cabinet, sur invitation de notre
part, le nommé V---- A---- F----, 28 ans, mineur domicilié à Tamines,
actuellement réfugié à Reninghe, lequel nous a fait sous la foi du
serment en langue flamande la déclaration suivante:

Le samedi, 22 août, dans le courant de l’après-midi, les Allemands, au
nombre de 200, me semble-t-il, sont entrés dans la commune de Tamines.
Immédiatement ils obligèrent tous les habitants (les femmes et les
enfants aussi bien que les hommes) à sortir de leurs maisons et à se
rendre à l’église. Pendant que nous sortions par la porte de devant,
les Allemands pénétraient dans nos demeures par la porte de derrière
et y mettaient le feu. Aussi en très peu de temps toute la commune
ne formait plus qu’un vaste brasier. Lorsque toute la population
se trouvait réunie dans l’église, les femmes et les enfants furent
expediés vers le couvent des religieuses, tandis que les hommes (au
nombre de 400), furent obligés de se diriger par rangs de quatre vers
la plaine, et entre une double haie de soldats allemands. Pendant cette
marche les soldats allemands ne cessèrent de tirer sur nous et de
cette façon massacrèrent impitoyablement un nombre considérable de mes

Voyant que nombre de mes camarades tombaient, abattus par les coups de
feu, je me suis laissé tomber à terre, quoique je n’étais pas blessé,
et je suis resté là, immobile, couché sous les cadavres jusque vers
le milieu de la nuit suivante; c’est ainsi que j’ai sauvé ma vie. Le
lendemain matin, lorsque je me suis relevé, j’ai constaté que nous
étions à peine trente habitants qui avions échappé au massacre, mais la
plupart des autres échappés étaient blessés; cinq seulement d’entre
nous en étaient sortis complètement indemnes. Plus tard dans la journée
nous avons été forcés d’inhumer les cadavres de nos 350 concitoyens,
puis amenés à une distance de 5 kilomètres; là on nous remit en liberté
mais avec défense formelle de remettre encore le pied dans notre

Après lecture il persiste dans sa déclaration et signe avec nous.

  (Signed) V---- A---- F----.
  Pour traduction conforme,
  le Procureur du Roi,
  (Signed) A. VERCHAEVE.



    (_a_) Extract from the Diary of a German Soldier forwarded
    by the Extraordinary Commission of Enquiry instituted by the
    Russian Government.

“When the offensive becomes difficult we gather together the Russian
prisoners and hunt them before us towards their compatriots, while we
attack the latter at the same time. In this way our losses are sensibly

“We cannot but make prisoners. Each Russian soldier when made prisoner
will now be sent in front of our lines in order to be shot by his

    (_b_) Extract from a Diary of a German Soldier of the 13th
    Regiment, 13th Division, VIIth Corps captured by the Fifth
    (French) Army and reproduced in the First (British) Army
    Summary No. 95.

_December 19th, 1914._--“The sight of the trenches and the fury, not
to say bestiality, of our men in beating to death the wounded English
affected me so much that, for the rest of the day, I was fit for

    (_c_) Contents of a Letter found on a Prisoner of the 86th
    Regiment, but written by Johann Wenger (10th Company Body
    Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Division I.A.C. Bav.) dated 16th
    March, 1915, Peronne, and addressed to a German Girl.

(After promising to send a ring made out of a shell.) “It will be
a nice souvenir for you from a German warrior who has been through
everything from the start and has shot and bayoneted so many Frenchmen,
and I have bayoneted many women. During the fight at Batonville
[?Badonviller] I bayoneted seven (7) women and four (4) young girls in
five (5) minutes. We fought from house to house and these women fired
on us with revolvers; they also fired on the captain too, then he told
me to shoot them all--but I bayoneted them and did not shoot them,
this herd of sows, they are worse than the men.”

    (_d_) Extracts from the Diary of Musketeer Rehbein, II., 55th
    Reserve Infantry Regiment (2nd Company), 26th Reserve Infantry
    Brigade, 2nd Guard Reserve Division, X. Reserve Corps.

(_This diary was captured during the recent operations at Loos, and
forwarded to Professor Morgan by the Head-quarters Staff._[94])

_August 16th_ (1914). On the march towards Louvain.--“Several
citizens and the curé have been shot under martial law, some not yet
buried--still lying where they were executed, for every one to see.
Pervading stench of dead bodies. The curé is said to have incited the
inhabitants to ambush and kill the Germans.”

1914. 16/8. Marsch nach Louveigne.--“Mehrere Bürger u. der Pfarrer
standrechtlich erschossen, zum Teil noch nicht beerdigt. Am
Vollziehungsplatz noch für jedermann sichtbar. Leichengeruch Uberall.
Pfarrer soll die Bewohner Angefeuert haben die Deutschen aus dem
Hinterhalt zu töten.”

    (_e_) Extracts from the Diary of a German Soldier, Richard
    Gerhold (Official Translation by French Head-quarters Staff).


    _Extraits du carnet de route trouvé le 22 avril sur le cadavre
    du réserviste Richard Gerhold, du 71º R.R. (IVº C.R.) tué en
    Septembre à Nouvron_

... Le 19 août, nous avançons et peu à peu on apprend à connaître les
horreurs de la guerre: du bétail crevé, des automobiles détruites,
villages et hameaux consumés; c’est tout d’abord un spectacle à faire
frissonner, mais ici on cesse être un homme, on devient flegmatique et
on n’a plus que l’idée de sa sécurité personnelle. Plus nous avançons,
plus le spectacle est désolé: partout des décombres, fumants et des
hommes fusillés et carbonisés. Et cela continue ainsi....

... Nous franchissons la frontière le 17 août; je me souviens, et je
vois sans cesse ce moment là: tout le village en flammes, portes et
fenêtres brisées, tout gît épars dans la rue; seule une maisonnette
subsiste et à la porte de cette maison une pauvre femme, les mains
hautes, avec six enfants implore pour qu’on l’épargne elle et ses
petits; il en va ainsi tous les jours.

Dans le village voisin la compagnie se fait remettre les armes
naturellement avec la plus grande prudence. A peine nous sommes-nous
mis en marche que des maisons on tire sur nos troupes; on fait
demi-tour et en quelques instants tout est en flammes; il n’y a pas de
place pour la pitié, il arrive fréquemment que cette sale engeance de
curés prenne part à la fusillade; _c’est pour moi une folle joie quand
on peut se venger de cette canaille de curés_;[95] ici naturellement
tout est foncièrement catholique. Quelle vie agréable la population
pourrait avoir ici si elle ne se laissait pas conduire sur une mauvaise
voie par cette hypocrite canaille de pretres; ... la population ne
serait pas inquiétée le moins du monde de la part des Allemands; mais
puisqu’il en est ainsi par ici, il n’y a pas de notre côté à garder le
moindre ménagement....

... Le 18, nous atteignons Tongres: ici aussi c’est un tableau de
destruction complète, c’est quelque chose d’unique en son genre pour
notre profession (c’est un verrier qui parle)....

... Le 25 août, nous prenons un cantonnement d’alerte à Grinde
(Sucrerie); ici aussi tout est brûlé et détruit. De Grinde nous
continuous notre route sur Louvain; ici c’est partout un tableau
d’horreur; des cadavres de nos gens de nos chevaux; des autos tout en
flammes, l’eau empoisonnée; à peine avons-nous atteint l’extrémité
de la ville que la fusillade reprend de plus belle; naturellement on
fait demi-tour et on nettoie; puis la ville est mitraillée par nous

Chemin faisant passent devant nous des cortèges de prisonniers, homines
femmes et enfants poussant des cris....

... Le 1º septembre, nous sommes embarqués dans Bruxelles-Paris; sur
cette ligne le même tableau se renouvelle: villages consumés, fossées
énormes, etc....

... Aujourd’hui, 7 septembre, c’est le jour le plus pénible que jusqu’à
présent nous ayons vécu; l’endroit s’appelle Attichy; nous atteignons
cet endroit en faisant de longs détours, car on a fait sauter beaucoup
de ponts. A 5 h. du matin, on repart, et cela au pas accéléré parce que
beaucoup de cochonneries y ont été commises....

... Le 9 septembre, après un bon cantonnement, mais qui dure trop peu,
nous partons la nuit à 1 h. 1/2 après avoir mis des chemises fraîches
et nous avançons vers l’ennemi vers 6 h. du matin et livrons un combat
après lequel nous sommes complètement désorganisés. Notre régiment
actuellement se compose d’un bataillon du 71º, d’une compagnie du 2º
bataillon, de compagnies cyclistes des 14º, 46º et 27º et de nombreux
autres éléments encore. Vers 11 h. du matin nous tombons sous une grêle
de shrapnells, nous n’avons pas d’artillerie, ni d’autre couverture;
l’après-midi nous sommes engagés dans une chaude lutte.... Ici c’est
Ormoy. Nous nous joignons au 9º Corps et nous portons vers la position
occupée hier par l’ennemi.... Nous faisons au feu d’artillerie très
vif, mais nous ne pouvons rien faire jusqu’à ce que notre artillerie
ait nettoyé la place. Nous bivouaquons en forêt après que l’ennemi
s’est retiré et nous nous avançons pour chercher de l’eau; la nuit
vers 3 h. nous rentrons à la compagnie. A 4 h. nous repartons: ainsi
en 3 jours 8 heures de sommeil et avec cela, nourris comme cela
arrive parfois à la guerre et la marche continue de plus belle avec
des efforts physiques les plus grands pour envelopper l’ennemi vers
Compiegne. Nous nous heurtons au 94º qui a été repoussé avec de fortes
pertes; plusieurs compagnies de ce régiment sont fondues et réduites
à 40 hommes; nous cantonnons ici; mais quelque chose de bien! Dieu!
quelles délices!... Nous faisons un brin de toilette, mangeons et
buvons à cœur joie et songeons en rêve à vous là-bas!

Le 11 septembre, mouvement tournant vers Chaulny.... Nous arrivons
en cantonnement d’alerte à Chaulny vieux repaire de brigands. Après
quelques heures de sommeil, nouveau départ à 3 h. du matin. Le 12
septembre nous nous fortifions à 10 Klm de Chaulny dans des tranchées:
il ne s’y passe pas longtemps que nous y sommes vivement bombardés par
l’artillerie; à ce moment s’engage un violent combat d’artillerie. Vers
5 h. du soir, nous entrons dans l’action, mais nous ne pouvons avancer
que jusqu’à une pente abrupte où nous restons couchés sous des torrents
d’eau jusque dans la nuit....

... Malheureusement nous sommes encore trop faibles dans cette
position; le rapport vient à l’instant que notre 2º Corps arrivera ou
doit arriver dans l’après-midi: de ces sortes de promesses, on nous en
fait toujours, mais? Celui qui va croire ou se laisser conter que les
Français fuient devant quelques fusils ou canons allemands se trompe
joliment et ne sait rien. Jusqu’à présent nous sommes obligés de dire
que les Français sont un adversaire honorable que nous ne devons pas
juger au-dessous de sa valeur. _Ici, aussi, il se passe des choses qui
ne devraient pas être; oui, des atrocités sont commises ici aussi, mais
naturellement sur les Anglais et les Belges, tous sont abattus sans
pardon à coups de fusil...._



I. Violation of a Sister of Mercy.

A Sister of Mercy, wearing the sign of the Red Cross, was seized by
German and Austrian troops on April 20th, 1915, at the station of
Radzivilishki and shut up in a cart-shed.

“On the fourth day several officers visited her in the cart-shed
and demanded information from her as to the positions of the Russian
troops. They then beat her with swords and pricked her body with
needles. On the same day she was taken to the third line of German
entrenchments and lodged in a ‘dug-out’ occupied by German officers.
Here she was violated, and during a week and a half several German
officers frequently committed violent acts of copulation with her, and
kept her in the ‘dug-out’ without clothes under a special guard. At
last she succeeded in escaping from the trenches. With the help of a
Lithuanian peasant she made her way to the Russian positions, where
she arrived in an almost unconscious state. First medical aid was at
once administered, as it was found she was suffering from inflammation
of the peritoneum and cellular membrane surrounding the matrix. On
examining her for marks of violence, bruises were visible in the region
of the shoulder and on the thighs and legs.”

II. Violation of a Girl.

At the beginning of the war, when the Germans entered the town of
Kalish, a girl named X---- was arrested and led out to the public
place, or square, for execution. Here the Germans tied her to a tree
and told her that she would be shot. Others of the inhabitants, also
condemned to be shot, were drawn up on the same open space. Among
these victims was an acquaintance of the girl X----, a student named
N. Davuidov. The German soldiers proceeded to stab this Davuidov with
their bayonets before the very eyes of the girl X----, and then they
tore out hair from his head and finally shot him dead. This scene of
murder gave the girl such a shock that she fainted. On coming to her
senses she found herself in an apartment occupied by German officers.
No sooner did she revive, than one of these officers committed a rape
upon her and destroyed her virginity. During the following days she
remained a captive in the same apartment, where she was forced to yield
to the brutal lust of the officer who first violated her, and to the
solicitations of two of his comrades, who threatened to cut her to
pieces with their swords if she offered any resistance. These officers
then told her “that the Germans had invented a new method of making war
on the Russians, which would exterminate them by means of poisonous gas
without the waste of any more bullets.”

The girl was subsequently rescued by the Russian troops.

A combined judicial and medical examination of the girl X---- on June
4th, established the fact that she had been deprived of her maidenhood
and an inflammatory condition of the sexual organs was still plainly

III. Murder of Wounded Soldiers.

On April 25th, 1915, when an infantry regiment retreated from the
station of Krosno in Galicia, the unarmed wounded soldiers, who were
unable to follow, and many of whom were crawling away on their hands
and knees, were overtaken and stabbed to death, or despatched by blows
with the butt end of rifles by the Austro-Hungarian troops.

The foregoing facts have been confirmed by the evidence of junior
subaltern B---- of the regiment, Serge Yakovlev Sudarikov, aged thirty,
who was interrogated as a witness by the Examining Magistrate of the
1st ward of Kharkov.

IV. Murder of Wounded Soldiers.

On May 12th, 1915, near the village of Bobrovka, forty versts from
Yaroslav in Galicia, after the withdrawal of the “platoon sotnias” of
dismounted cossacks from their trenches, the latter were occupied by
German guardsmen, who drove out the Russian wounded at the point of the

Private Nikita Davidenko, who was one hundred paces from the trenches
taken by the Germans, saw how they used their bayonets to thrust out
four or five of his wounded comrades, whose groans were distinctly

When the Russian troops advanced on May 15th, Davidenko saw the bodies
of many cossacks, who had been bayoneted or sabred to death in the
trenches abandoned on May 12th.

The above facts have been confirmed by the evidence of Davidenko, who
was interrogated as a witness by the Examining Magistrate of the second
ward of Kharkov.

V. Murder of Wounded Soldiers.

On the retirement of the Russians, after the battle near Gumbinnen, in
Eastern Prussia, August 7th, 1914, a junior subaltern, named Alexander
Lappo, aged twenty-six, who had been wounded in the back by a piece of
an exploded shrapnel, was left behind, lying on the field.

He soon perceived a group of about fifteen Germans, headed by an
officer and a colour sergeant, following up their detachments, and
shooting all the wounded Russians within reach as they marched along.
There was no consideration for the fact that these Russians had been
struck down at a considerable distance from the actual fighting,
without having fired a shot. One of the Germans in this squad caught
sight of Lappo and fired at him with his rifle. Lappo received the
bullet in his left elbow. A second shot, fired by the same German
soldier, hit a wounded Russian private Tartar, lying next to Lappo.
The Tartar made one or two convulsive movements and expired. The pain
from the wound in his elbow made Lappo moan rather loudly, and this
attracted the attention of the German officer, who at once levelled his
revolver and shot him in the neck. This second wound rendered Lappo
unconscious and he only recovered his senses towards evening, when he
was picked up by Russian Red Cross men. Lappo then noticed that his
leather wrist band with a black watch, worth ten roubles, had been
stolen, evidently by the Germans.

It is not certain to what troops of the enemy’s forces this German
officer and the men under his command belonged, but the German soldiers
killed in the battle near Stalupenen, on August 4th, 1914, in which
Lappo took part, had the figures “41” on their shoulder straps.

The above described facts have been verified and established by a
combined judicial and medical examination, and by the evidence of
Lappo, given under oath before the Examining Magistrate of the Circuit
Court of Vitebsk, district of Gorodok.

VI. Burning the Russian Wounded.

_Evidence of the Private Nicholas Semenov Dorozhka_

In the latter half of June the regiment in which this witness was one
of the rank and file took part in a battle near Ivangorod. When the
fighting was over, the regiment settled down to rest. Some of the
men, however, went to help the sanitary attendants to bring in the
wounded and place them in a wooden cart-house or shed, roofed with
straw, at one end of the village. According to statements made by
the Red Cross bearers, from sixty-six to sixty-eight men were lodged
in this building. At eleven o’clock at night there was a sudden and
violent rattle of rifle fire. The village had been surrounded by the
Germans. The witness seized his rifle and started to leave with three
comrades, but in the darkness they stumbled into a German trench, and
were taken prisoners. Their weapons were taken from them, and all four
Russians were led to the same cart-shed, to which the witness Dorozhka
had assisted to carry the Russian wounded. A German officer on the
spot gave an order to his German soldiers and then he gathered up an
armful of the straw, littered over the floor of the shed, placed it
against one of the corners of the building, and set fire to it with a
match. The witness declares, that he almost fainted when he saw this
officer setting fire to the shed. The straw blazed up at once, the
flames began to envelop the wooden walls, and when it reached the roof,
piercing shrieks came from the wounded inmates, calling for help. At
this moment the officer who fired the shed approached the prisoners,
who were standing near, and without uttering a word, he discharged
his revolver point blank at one of the comrades of the witness, who
instantly fell to the ground dead. Then this officer struck witness’s
other comrade with something in the lower part of the body, and by the
light of the conflagration witness noticed that the man’s intestines
were protruding. Dorozhka rushed to one side and managed to break away
from a group of German soldiers and escaped unhurt, although three
shots were fired after him. The witness, after tramping all night, fell
in with one of the Russian pickets.

The foregoing was deposed to by the witness Dorozhka on examination by
the Examining Magistrate of the 1st Dnieprovsky District.

VII. Ill-Treatment of Prisoners of War.

In June, 1915, three Russian officers, Captain Kosmachevsky, Lieutenant
Griaznov, and Sub-lieutenant Yarotsky, escaped from German captivity
and reached Russia in safety.

They were made prisoners in East Prussia in August, 1914. Together
with other captured officers, they were driven on foot to the town of
Neidenburg, and at one place on the way were made to serve as cover for
a German battery, which was in danger of attack from Russian artillery

For this purpose the prisoners were put into two-wheeled carts and
ordered to wave white flags and flags with the Red Cross, and these
carts were placed in front of the battery. At the same time the
prisoners were warned, that if only a single projectile fell into this
German battery, they would all be shot for it.

Four days these prisoners were on the march. At night they were
compelled to sleep in the open in roadside ditches, although there were
villages near by, and all that time they received no food, but only
coffee, without sugar, milk or bread, served up in pails. Along the
road the inhabitants and troops whom they met cursed and insulted them,
tore off their shoulder straps, threatened them with their fists, spat
at them and shouted “To Berlin!”

Before the prisoners were put into the train they were searched,
and in this way many of them lost their gold watches and money. The
Cossack officers especially were subjected to very strict search, in
the course of which they were stripped naked. These Cossack officers
were separated from the others and sent off with the private soldier

In the first instance the officer prisoners were interned in the
fortress of Neisse in Silesia, and were subsequently removed to
Kreisfeld, beyond the Rhine.

The prisoners, according to their own account, were kept in horrible
conditions. They were lodged in dirty barracks where the windows were
shut fast and the glass of the panes covered with oil paint. It was
forbidden to approach these windows under pain of being fired at by
the sentries. This threat was once carried out, when an officer wished
to make a drawing at one of the windows. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
The imprisoned officers had to sleep in dirty beds full of bugs, lice,
and other vermin. Their meagre fare was served up on dirty tables,
littered with straw, whilst alongside were other tables, covered with
clean tablecloths and decently furnished even to the extent of glasses
for beer, and on these tables dinner was served for the sentries,
German subalterns, who looked on at the prisoners and their wretched
accommodation in the most insolent manner.

All the imprisoned officers were formed into companies, commanded by
rough and rude sergeant-majors, who treated them like common soldiers.

In November, 1914, two of the officer prisoners attempted to escape
by bribing the shopman at the stores of the officers’ canteen. This
shopman, however, turned out to be a German officer in disguise, and
the attempt failed, but it cost the officers concerned very dear. They
were put in irons and kept in prison six months in a far worse state
than in the barracks.

The above is attested by the evidence of Captain Kosmachevsky,
Lieutenant Griaznov, and Sub-lieutenant Yarotsky, given to
Major-General Semashko, a member of the Extraordinary Commission of
Inquiry, and the deponents were admonished that they would be required
to swear to the truth of their statements.


Peter Shimchak, a peasant from the province of Warsaw, who fled from
German captivity, being examined on oath, deposed to the following:--In
August I was made prisoner while serving as a sailor on board a vessel
under the British flag, going from Denmark to England.

As a Russian subject I was not set free, but was placed in solitary
confinement for seven days in a prison at Hamburg, and then sent to a
camp for prisoners of war near Berlin, at Zel, where there were already
many English, French, and Belgian prisoners. In that camp there was a
small yard where offending prisoners were generally punished. On one
occasion four Cossacks were brought into the camp. I recognised them
by the yellow stripes down the sides of their trousers. They were
taken out into the yard and placed about ten feet from the wall of the
barrack, and through the crevices I was able to watch the proceedings.
They took the first Cossack and placed his left hand on a small wooden
post or block, and with a sword bayonet one of the German soldiers
chopped off successively half of the Cossack’s thumb, half of his
middle finger and half of his little finger. I could plainly see how
these finger pieces flew off at each stroke of the sword-bayonet and
fell to the ground. The Germans picked them up and put them into the
pocket of the Cossack’s overcoat and then took him into a barrack,
where there was a reservoir of running water. The second Cossack
was brought up and had holes drilled through his ears, the point of
the sword-bayonet being turned in the cut several times in order,
evidently, to make the hole as large as possible. This Cossack was then
led away to the barrack where the first one had been taken. When the
third Cossack was brought to the place of torture his nose was chopped
off by a downward stroke of a sword bayonet, but as the severed piece
of nose was still hanging by a bit of skin, the Cossack made signs that
they should cut it off completely. The Germans then gave him a pocket
knife, and with this the Cossack cut off the hanging piece of his nose.
Finally, the fourth Cossack was brought forward. What they intended to
do with him it was impossible to say, but this Cossack with a rapid
movement drew out the bayonet of the nearest soldier and dealt a blow
with it at one of the Germans. There were about fifteen German soldiers
present, and they all set upon this Cossack and bayoneted him to death,
after which they dragged the body outside the camp. What was the fate
of the remaining three Cossacks I do not know, but I think, says the
witness Shimchak, in concluding his account of the case, they must have
been also killed, for I never saw them again.


Evidence of the senior surgeon of the 73rd Artillery Brigade, Gregory
Dimitrovich Onisimov, who was captured by the enemy on August 30th,
1914, near “Malvishek” in East Prussia, but has since been released.
The most striking and characteristic part of this ex-prisoner’s
testimony is a description of the insulting treatment received by
Russian prisoners from the soldiers of their German escort on the road
to Insterburg. “The peaceful temper of our German convoy did not last
long. We soon began to meet detachments of German troops, who swore
and shook their fists and levelled their rifles and revolvers at us,
shouting, ‘Why lead these men about when they can be settled here on
the spot?’ This kind of remark was shouted at us in German, Polish,
and broken Russian. The peaceful inhabitants also reviled us, and
called upon the soldiers to despatch us there and then. They shouted
‘nach Berlin--to Berlin with them! ... to Welhau! ... Russischer
schweinhund--Russian swine,’ and so forth. The soldiers of the escort
were taken into houses on the road and made drunk, so that they also
began to amuse themselves at our expense. The German soldier walking on
my right took his rifle from his shoulder, as if tired, and held it in
such a way that the muzzle touched my right temple, and then he played
carelessly with the lock of it, as though unaware of what he was doing.
When I moved out of the way, he said: ‘Ah! you’re afraid of losing your
head, there’s no danger.’ As soon as the guard on one side had had
his little joke, his comrade on the other side began. Another soldier
on a cart came along purposely handling his rifle so as to stick the
muzzle into my chest, and when I warded it off he roared with laughter
and seemed highly delighted. When going down a steep part of the road
the driver of a cart behind intentionally drove into us and struck me
on the legs with the shafts. I shouted to him to stop and not break my
legs. He simply replied: ‘Bad to have no legs.’ This kind of thing went
on throughout the march. Sometimes we were driven forward like horses,
and the wounded men in the carts were so shaken about that they groaned
with pain. The guards did not allow us to turn round to speak with
them, and no attention was paid to our entreaties to drive them slowly.”

  President of the Extraordinary
  Commission of Inquiry.



The Introductory Memorandum.

Immediately after the outbreak of the present war there arose in
Belgium a violent struggle by the people against the German troops
which forms a flagrant violation of international law and has had the
most serious consequences to the Belgian country and people.

This struggle of a population which was under the dominion of the
wildest passions continued to rage throughout the whole of the advance
of the German army through Belgium. As the Belgian army fell back
before the German troops after obstinately contested engagements, the
Belgian civil population attempted by every means to impede the German
advance in those parts of the country which were not yet occupied; but
they did not scruple to injure and weaken the German forces by cowardly
and treacherous attacks, also in places which had long been occupied
by the German troops. The extent of this armed popular resistance
can be seen from the attached general plan (Appendix 1) on which
were marked the lines of the German advance, and the Belgian places
in which the popular struggle chiefly raged. We have an overwhelming
amount of material resting on official sources, especially on evidence
given under oath and official reports, that on these routes and in
these places the Belgian civil population of every rank, age, and sex
took part in the struggle against the German troops with the greatest
bitterness and fury. In the Appendices is given a selection from this
material which, however, embraces only the more important events and
can at any time be increased by further documents.

According to the attached material the Belgian civil population fought
against the German troops in numerous places in the provinces of Liège
(Appendices 2-10), Luxembourg (Appendices 11-30), Namur (Appendices
12, 17, 31-42), Henegau (Appendices 3, 7, 10, 40, 43-46, 49), Brabant
(Appendices 47-49), East and West Flanders (Appendices 49, 50). The
conflicts in Aerschot, Andenne, Dinant, Louvain assumed a particularly
frightful character, and special reports have been provided on them
by the Bureau which has been appointed in the Ministry of War for
investigation of offences against the laws of war (Appendices A, B,
C, D). Men of the most different positions, workmen, manufacturers,
doctors, teachers, even clergy, and even women and children were seized
with weapons in their hands (Appendices 18, 20, 25, 27, 43, 47; A 5; C
18, 26, 29, 31, 41, 42-44, 56, 62; D 1, 19, 34, 37, 38, 41, 45, 48).
In districts from which the Belgian regular troops had long retired,
the German troops were fired on from houses and gardens, from roofs
and cellars, from fields and woods. Methods were used in the struggle
which certainly would not have been employed by regular troops, and
large numbers of sporting weapons and sporting ammunition and some
old-fashioned revolvers and pistols were discovered (Appendices 6,
11, 13, 26, 36, 37, 44, 48, 49; A 2, C 52, 81; D 1, 2, 6, 20, 37).
Corresponding with this were numerous cases of wounds by shot and also
by burns from hot tar and boiling water (Appendices 3, 10; B 2; C 5,
11, 28, 57; D 25, 29). According to all this evidence there can be
no doubt that in Belgium the People’s War (_Volkskrieg_) was carried
on not only by individual civilians, but by great masses of the

       *       *       *       *       *

The conduct of the war by the Belgian civil population was completely
irreconcilable with the generally recognised rules of international
law as they have found expression in Articles 1 and 2 of The Hague
Convention: The Laws and Customs of War on Land, which had been
accepted by Belgium. These regulations distinguished between organised
and unorganised People’s War. In an organised People’s War (Article 1),
in order that they may be recognised as belligerents, the militia and
volunteer corps must satisfy each of the following conditions: They
must have responsible leaders at their head; they must bear a definite
badge which is recognisable at a distance; they must bear their weapons
openly; and they must obey the laws and usages of war. The unorganised
People’s War (Article 2) can dispense with the first two conditions,
that is, responsible leaders and military badges. It is, however, bound
instead by two other conditions; it can only be carried on in that part
of the territory which has not yet been occupied by the enemy, and
there must have been no time for the organisation of the People’s War.

       *       *       *       *       *

The two special conditions required for the organised People’s War were
certainly not present in the case of the Belgian _francs-tireurs_. For,
according to the reports of the German military commands, which agree
with one another, the civil persons who were found taking part in the
struggle had no responsible leaders at their head, and also wore no
kind of military badge (Appendices 6, 49; C 4-7, 14, 15, 22, 24, 25,
31; D). The Belgian _francs-tireurs_ can therefore not be regarded as
organised militia or volunteers according to the laws of war. It makes
no difference in this, that apparently Belgian military and members of
the Belgian “Garde Civique” also took part in their enterprises; for
as these individuals also did not wear any military badge but mingled
among the fighting citizens in civilian dress (Appendices 6; A 3; C
25; D 1, 30, 45, 46), the rights of belligerents can just as little be
conceded to them.

The whole of the Belgian People’s War must therefore be judged
from the point of view of an unorganised armed resistance of the
civil population. As such resistance is only allowed in unoccupied
territory, it was for this reason alone, without any doubt, contrary
to international law in all those places which were already in
occupation of German troops, and particularly at Aerschot, Andenne,
and Louvain. But the unorganised People’s War was also impermissible
in those places which had not yet been occupied by German troops, and
particularly in Dinant and the neighbourhood, as the Belgian Government
had sufficient time for an organisation of the People’s War as required
by international law. For years the Belgian Government has had under
consideration that at the outbreak of a Franco-German war it would be
involved in the operations; the preparation of mobilisation began, as
can be proved, at least a week before the invasion of the German army.
The Government was therefore completely in a position to provide the
civil population with military badges and appoint responsible leaders,
so far as they wished to use their services in any fighting which might
take place. If the Belgian Government in a communication which has been
communicated to the German Government through a neutral Power, maintain
that they took suitable measures, this only proves that they could
have satisfied the conditions which had been laid down; in any case,
however, such steps were not taken in those districts through which the
German troops passed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The requirements of international law for an unorganised People’s War
were then not complied with in Belgium; moreover, this war was carried
on in a manner which alone would have been sufficient to have put
those who took part in it outside the laws of war. For the Belgian
_francs-tireurs_ regularly carried their weapons not openly, and
throughout failed to observe the laws and usages of war.

It has been shown by unanswerable evidence that in a whole series of
cases the German troops were on their arrival received by the Belgian
civil population in an apparently friendly manner, and then, when
darkness came on or some other opportunity presented itself, were
attacked with arms; such cases occurred especially in Blegny, Esneux,
Grand Rosère, Bièvre, Gouvy, Villers devant Orval, Sainte Marie, Les
Bulles, Yschippe, Acoz, Aerschot, Andenne, and Louvain (Appendices 3,
8, 11-13, 18, 22, 28, 31, 43; A, B, D). All these attacks obviously
offended against the precept of international law that arms should be
borne openly.

What, however, is the chief accusation against the Belgian population
is the unheard-of violation of the usages of war. In different places,
for instance, at Liége, Herve, Brussels, at Aerschot, Dinant, and
Louvain, German soldiers were treacherously murdered (Appendices 18,
55, 61, 65, 66; A 1; C 56, 59, 61, 67, 73-78), which is contrary to
the prohibition “to kill or treacherously wound individuals belonging
to the hostile nation or army.” (Article 23, Section 1 (_b_) of The
Hague Convention: The Laws and Customs of War on Land.) Further, the
Belgian population did not respect the sign of the Red Cross, and
thereby violated Article 9 of the Convention of Geneva of July 6th,
1906. In particular, they did not scruple to fire on German troops
under the cover of this sign, and also to attack hospitals in which
there were wounded, as well as members of the Ambulance Corps, while
they were occupied in carrying out their duties (Appendices 3, 4, 12,
19, 23, 28, 29, 41, 49; C 9, 16-18, 32, 56, 66-70; D 9, 21, 25-29, 38,
47). Finally, it is proved beyond all doubt that German wounded were
robbed and killed by the Belgian population, and indeed were subjected
to horrible mutilation, and that even women and young girls took part
in these shameful actions. In this way the eyes of German wounded
were torn out, their ears, nose, fingers, and sexual organs were cut
off, or their body cut open (Appendices 54-66; C 73, 78; D 35, 37).
In other cases German soldiers were poisoned, hung on trees, deluged
with burning liquid, or burnt in other ways, so that they suffered
a specially painful death (Appendices 50, 55, 63; C 56, 59, 61, 67,
74-78). This bestial behaviour of the population is not only in open
contravention of the express obligation for “respecting and taking care
of” the sick and wounded of the hostile army (Article 1, Section 1, of
the Convention of Geneva), but also of the first principles of the laws
of war and humanity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Under these circumstances, the Belgian civil population who took
part in the struggle could of course make no claim to the treatment
to which belligerents have a right. On the contrary, it was
absolutely necessary, in the interests of the self-preservation of
the German Army, to have recourse to the sharpest measures against
these _francs-tireurs_. Individuals who opposed the German troops
by fighting had, therefore, to be cut down; prisoners could not
be treated as prisoners of war according to the laws of war, but
according to the usage of war as murderers. All the same, the forms
of judicial procedure were maintained so far as the necessities of
war did not stand in the way; the prisoners were, so far as the
circumstances permitted, not shot till after a hearing in accordance
with regulations, or after sentence by a military court. (Appendices
48, D 19, 20, 37, 40, 41, 43, 44, 48.) Old men, women and children
were spared to the widest extent, even when there were urgent grounds
of suspicion (Appendices 49; C 5, 6, 25, 26, 28, 31, 35, 41, 47, 79);
indeed, the German soldiers often looked after such persons so far as
was in any way possible in the most self-sacrificing manner by taking
helpless people who were in danger under their protection, sharing
their bread with them and taking charge of the weak and sick, although
their patience had been subjected to an extraordinary difficult test by
the treacherous attacks (Appendices C 45, 47, 51-53, 55, 58, 80-86).

       *       *       *       *       *

There can be no doubt that the Belgian Government was essentially
to blame for the illegal attitude of their population towards the
German Army. For apart from the fact that a Government has, under all
circumstances, to bear the responsibility for deeds of this kind which
give a general expression of the popular will, the serious charge must
at least be made against them that they did not stop this guerilla
war, although they could have done so (Appendices 33, 51-53; D 42,
43, 48). It would certainly have been easy for them to provide their
officials, such as the Burgomasters, the soldiers, members of the
“Guarde Civique,” with the necessary instructions to check the violent
excitement of the people which had been artificially aroused. Full
responsibility, therefore, for the terrible blood-guiltiness which
rests upon Belgian attachés to the Belgian Government.

The Belgian Government has made an attempt to free itself from this
responsibility by attributing the blame for the events to the rage
of destruction of the German troops, who are said to have taken to
deeds of violence without any reason. They have appointed a Commission
for investigating the outrages attributed to the German troops, and
have made the findings of this Commission the subject of Diplomatic
complaint. This attempt to pervert the facts into their opposite has
completely failed. The German Army is accustomed to make war only
against hostile armies, and not against peaceful inhabitants. The
incontrovertible fact that from the beginning a defensive struggle in
the interests of self-protection was forced upon the German troops in
Belgium by the population of the country cannot be done away with by
the inquiry of any commission.

The narratives of fugitives which have been put together by the Belgian
Commission, and which are characterised as the result of careful and
impartial investigation, bear the stamp of untrustworthiness, if not
of malicious invention. In consequence of the conditions of things,
the Commission was not in a position to test the reports which were
conveyed to it as to their correctness or to grasp the connection of
events. Their accusations against the German Army are, therefore,
nothing but low calumniations, which are simply deprived of all their
weight by the documentary evidence which is before us.

The struggle of the German troops with the Belgian civil population at
Aerschot did not, as is suggested on the Belgian side, arise through
the German officers violating the honour of the Burgomaster’s family,
but because the population ventured on a well-considered attack on the
Commanding Officer, and murdered him treacherously (Appendix A). At
Dinant it was not harmless, peaceful citizens who fell as a sacrifice
to the German arms, but murderers who treacherously attacked German
soldiers, and thereby involved the troops in a struggle which destroyed
the city (Appendix C). In Louvain the struggle of the civil population
did not arise through fleeing German troops being by mistake involved
in a hand-to-hand contest with their comrades who were entering the
town, but because the population, blinded as they were and unable to
understand what was going on, thought they could destroy the returning
German troops without danger (Appendix D). Moreover, in Louvain, as
in other towns, the conflagration was only started by the German
troops when bitter necessity required it. The plan of the destruction
of Louvain (Appendix D 50) shows clearly how the troops confined
themselves to destroying only those parts of the city in which the
inhabitants opposed them in a treacherous and murderous manner. It was
indeed German troops who, so far as was possible, tried to save the
artistic treasures, not only of Louvain, but also of other towns. On
the German side, a Special Commission has shown to what a high degree
works of art in Belgium were protected by the German troops.

The Imperial German Government believes that by the publication of the
material contained in this work, they have shown that the action of the
German troops against the Belgian civil population was provoked by the
illegal guerilla war, and was required by the necessity of war. For
their part, they expressly and solemnly protest against a population
which has, with the most despicable means, waged a dishonourable war
against the German soldiers, and still more against the Government
which, in complete perversion of their duties, has given rein to the
senseless passions of the population, and even now does not scruple to
free itself from its own heavy guilt by mendacious libels against the
German Army.

Berlin, _May 10th, 1915_.



I, Captain J. E. A----, 8th Batt. ---- Highlanders, make oath and say
as follows:--

(1) I command C Co. of the 8th Batt. ---- Highlanders. My company
took part in the attack on September 25th, 1915. Between 5 and 6 p.m.
on that day we were attacked and compelled to retire from an advanced
position about Haisnes. We moved into Pekin Trench, and later to Fosse
Alley. The battalion commenced to reorganise there.

(2) Just before 8 p.m. 2nd Lieut. G. T. G----, of my battalion,
reported to me that Sergeant D. M----, who had been attached to my
company for the day, had just returned in an exhausted condition,
and that he reported that the Germans had collected our wounded and
prisoners and bombed them.

Instructed Lieut. G---- to bring Sergeant M---- to me at once. This was
done. 2nd Lieut. G. T. G---- has since died of wounds.

(3) Sergeant M---- reported to me that he and a party of men had been
collected in a traverse by the Germans and bombed from both sides, that
he and a Highlander had jumped out of the traverse, and that he had
escaped into a shell hole, whilst the Highlander had been shot.

The Sergeant, D. M----, was very exhausted and covered with mud and
water up to the neck. He was not in an excited condition.

He carried on with his duties reorganising the company.

(4) The story as told to me by Sergeant M---- at that time has been
adhered to by him ever since without any material alteration.

This Sergeant is a most reliable man in every way.

  (Signature of Deponent) J. E. A----,

    Sworn at Poperinghe in Belgium on active service this first day
    of October, 1915.

  Before me,
  A. M. H. S----, Captain,
  D.A.A.G., 1st Army,
  Commissioner for Oaths.

I, No. 6546, Sergeant D. M----, of D Co., 8th ---- Highlanders, make
oath and say as follows:

(1) On September 25th, 1915, I was attached to C Co., 8th ----
Highlanders. I took part in the attack on Haisnes on that day.

About 5 p.m. the part of this company commanded by Lieut. A---- with
which I was in trenches just west of Haisnes, and was going to retire.

Lieut. A---- ordered me to collect stragglers from Pekin Trench.

(2) I went 400-500 yards along Pekin Trench and found about twenty
wounded men of various regiments, all Scottish, whose names I did not

I left these men sitting down and went about 100 yards further on and
found about twenty men of the ---- Highlanders, about ten of whom were

(3) It was now 5.15 p.m., and I could see that the Germans had cut me
and all these men off from our own troops. I took the men of the ----
Highlanders back to where the others were. I now had about forty men
with me. For the sake of the wounded men we decided to surrender.

(4) We all took off our rifles and equipment and put them on top of the

I stood on top of the parapet and held up my hands.

A large party of Germans then advanced both in the open and by the
trenches towards us.

When they drew near I said, “We surrender.” One German, speaking
English, said, “All right. Come along this way, every one.” We all
followed him up Pekin Trench towards the north, helping the wounded
along, and leaving our rifles and equipment behind. It now began to
pour in torrents of rain.

(5) The German who spoke English was dressed in dark khaki and wearing
a cape down to his thighs. He had khaki trousers with a thin red stripe
and long black boots. He wore a helmet with a dark khaki cover on it.
He had no badges showing. His cape blew open and I saw a figure 6 in
red on his shoulder and, I think but am not sure, a figure 2 in part of
it, making 26.

All these Germans were big men and were dressed alike, quite clean and
fresh as though they had only just come into the trenches. I did not
notice anyone in command of them.

Their manner was not threatening.

(6) About thirty of these Germans led us into a circular traverse in
Pekin Trench, and the English-speaking German said, “Pack in there and
stay.” All the Germans then went out of sight. The wounded men sat on
the fire-step and the unwounded remained standing. It was now about
5.30 p.m.

(7) After we had been there about two minutes a bomb was thrown into
the traverse where we were, one bomb from one side and one from the

I shouted to the men to clear out if possible. Only one man and myself
jumped over the parapet. I seized an English rifle lying on the parapet
and fired down the trench. I then jumped into a shell hole about 15
yards from the traverse. It was almost full of water, in which I stood
up to my neck. The other man was shot.

I heard the Germans bombing this circular traverse continuously for
about fifteen minutes. At first the men I left were crying out, but
after about ten minutes this ceased.

(8) I was over an hour in the shell hole, and left it after dark.

2nd Lieut. G. T. G----, of D Co., 8th ---- Highlanders, was the first
person to whom I told my experiences. This was at about 7.45 p.m.

(9) The second person to whom I told them was Capt. J. E. A----, also
of the 8th ----, whom I saw at about 8 p.m. the same evening.

  (Signature of deponent) D. M----, Sergeant.

    Sworn at Poperinghe in Belgium on active service this first day
    of October, 1915.

  Before me,
  G. M. H. S----, Captain,
  D.A.A.G., 1st Army,
  Commissioner for Oaths.




  The Commanding Officer,
  2nd Batt. The ---- Regiment.


  2nd Lieut. L. E. S----,
  B Co., 2nd ---- Regiment.



SIR,--I have the honour to report as follows:

During the action on 15th to 16th instant my platoon occupied the
right of the old German trench running from ---- to ---- between 7.30
p.m. and 10.30 p.m., 15th instant. Seventy-five yards to my front I
saw six or seven men lying down in the grass. One of them attracted
my attention immediately as he appeared to be smoking or to have lit
a small fire. I observed him carefully and saw that his clothes were
smouldering. Later on they were entirely charred black: he did not
move and was apparently dead. The enemy were sniping at these men,
unquestionably using incendiary bullets, as I saw three or four of
these strike the ground and set the grass around on fire. The flames
could be seen distinctly.

About 9 p.m. one of these bullets struck the bottom of the parapet of
the trench, and burned with a brilliant white flare for about fifteen
seconds, at the same time giving off heavy phosphorus fumes and burning
the sand-bags which it had struck.

  I have the honour to be,
  Your obedient servant,
  (Signed) L. E. S----,
  2nd Lieut.

The following statements were made by N.C.O.’s of the 2nd Batt. ----
Regiment and 2nd Batt. ---- Regiment (7th Division), relative to the
alleged use by the enemy on June 15th, 1915, of incendiary bullets:

C.S.M. G. M----, C Co., 2nd Batt. ---- Regiment, states:

On the night of the 15th and 16th I saw German rifle bullets cause a
flash as they struck the ground. The flash seemed to rise about 2 feet
from the ground. My attention was called to this by an Officer of the
3rd Co. (?) Grenadier Guards. The Guards were on my left and I was near
----. It was some time between 11 p.m. and 12 midnight.

  (Signed) G. M----,
  C Co., 2nd ----.

Sergeant N----, B Co., 2nd ---- Regiment, states:

Just before dusk on the evening of the 15th I was in the disused German
trench ----, and saw a man fall in front of the trench hit by a bullet.
As he lay on the ground he seemed to be on fire in the right shoulder
and breast, and was clawing the ground in agony. (The grass, which was
green, was set on fire round him.) He was not more than 100 yards from
me--hardly that. I could not do anything for him as the Germans had
been following me and were almost on top of me, and I was nearly alone
at the time.

Very shortly afterwards I saw another man (a Lance-Corpl. in the ----
I think), run out apparently to fetch in the first man. He slewed off,
and must have seen the Germans, who were then crawling through the
grass. He fell, seemingly hit in the stomach, and whilst rolling about
on his back, his right knee and his puttees down to his boot caught
fire. I think he must have been hit in the knee. He too seemed to be in
agony, and the grass caught fire round him also. I could not swear that
his second wound was not caused by a bomb, though I did not see any
bomb burst there.

  (Signed) E. H. M. N----,

Corporal D----, B Co., 2nd Batt. ---- Regiment, states:

Shortly after the bombardment on the evening of the 15th instant, I was
just on the left of the crater (near ----)--about 30 yards from the
crater--and saw a man on fire in the grass in front of and below me.
Another man ran out of a disused trench towards the first man, when he
appeared to be hit in the chest. He fell forward on his chest, and as
he did so flames spurted out of his chest. As he lay on the ground he
was burning all over, and the cartridges in his bandolier went off.
He burned for about an hour and the grass was set on fire. Both men
were rather less than 100 yards from me. I called the attention of my
Officer Mr. L. J---- (subsequently wounded) to the second man. I am
quite sure the second man was hit by a bullet, not a bomb.

  (Signed) J. W. D----,



    (_a_) Statement of a German Prisoner (Translation) Captured in
    Northern France.

I, the undersigned Stephan Grzegoroski, a recruit in the 6th Co. (5th
Section) 2nd Batt. No. 143 Infantry Regiment, XV. German Army Corps,
hereby declare on oath that in the course of the month of October,
I have frequently seen Russian prisoners of war in Russian uniform
employed upon the construction of the third line trenches of my

There were some 150 to 200 Russians altogether so employed. During the
course of their work they occasionally came under fire. Two were killed
and four wounded. Seven Russians tried to escape--two succeeded: one
was shot dead, and four were retaken.

The men were guarded by soldiers of my regiment.

I spoke personally with some of the Russian prisoners, and they
complained that they had much work to do, but only very little to eat.

    (_b_) Statement of Two Russian Soldiers (Translation) taken
    down in November, 1915, at British Headquarters in France.

Michael Klokoff, Russian soldier, private in the Novo Skolsky Regiment;
taken prisoner by the Germans on the Bzura on December 26th, 1914 /
January 8th, 1915; and Andrei Slizkin, Russian soldier, private in the
41st Siberian Regiment, taken prisoner by the Germans near Prasnysz on
January 29th/February 11th, 1915, _declare that_: we were interned
as prisoners of war at Strzalkowo until October 7th/20th, 1915. We
then came with 2,000 other Russian prisoners to Belgium. Some of the
prisoners were taken to build railways; others, among them ourselves,
were employed to dig trenches. During our work we came under shell fire
and sustained casualties.

We escaped on October 31st, and reached the British lines on November
2nd. We were promised pay, but did not receive any.

    (_c_) Statement of Two Russian Soldiers (Translation) taken
    down in December 1915, at British Headquarters in Northern

Anastasius Nietzvetznie, 231 Dragoon (Infantry) Regiment, and Nicholas
Nevaskov, 210 Infantry Regiment, _declare_: When we were prisoners
with the Germans we worked at digging trenches. Each day we were under
English artillery fire. We received 30 pfennigs per day, and we worked
against our will. When we refused to work, we got twenty-five strokes
with an iron rod, and were tied up with our hands behind our backs in a
cold room with windows open and nothing to eat.

  231 Dragoon Regiment.

  210 Infantry Regiment.





Published in _The Westminster Gazette_, London, March 20, 1916


Professor Morgan, whose bright little book, called “Sketches From the
Front,” has given to us some of the most fresh and vivid pictures of
the actualities of warfare in France, presents in the present volume
the evidence he has been busy in collecting regarding the behaviour
of the German troops in the western theatre of war. Some of this
has already been made known to the public by what he published in
the _Nineteenth Century and After_ in June, 1915, and also by the
depositions which he obtained under the instructions of the Home Office
and submitted to the British Committee on Alleged German Outrages.
(Many of these were published in the Appendix to their Report last
May.) Since that time he has spent four or five months in collecting
further important data and still more months in collating the results
of the facts he has collected, having been granted by the British
Headquarters Staff in France those facilities for moving to and fro
along the front and getting into touch with eye-witnesses which
were essential for arriving directly at the facts. The evidence thus
obtained is supplemented by several diaries of German soldiers never
before published in England, and by some extracts from documents
issued by the Russian Government describing cruelties committed by the
Germans in the fighting on the Eastern front. As respects the data he
has himself collected, Professor Morgan explains, in his introduction,
the methods he has followed in taking evidence and testing its value,
showing himself sensible, as a lawyer ought to be, of the need for care
and caution in such a matter. The large experience which his months
of work at the front have given him adds weight to his assurance that
what he submits is worthy of all credence as well as to the conclusions
at which he has arrived. But before adverting to these conclusions a
preliminary question deserves to be considered.

It has been asked--and it is natural that it should he asked--“What
is the use of multiplying tales of horror?” “Why do anything that can
aggravate the bitterness of feeling, already lamentably acute, between
the belligerent nations? All war is horrible; why add fresh items to
the list of offences which are making us think worse of human nature
than we supposed two years ago we ever could think?”

These questions need an answer. Such a painful record as the present
book contains, such a record as can be found in the reports already
officially published by the Belgian, French, and British Governments,
might, perhaps, have been better left unpublished if it did not serve
some definite tangible aim, looking to some permanent good for mankind.

Now such a definite, tangible, practical aim does exist, and seems
to justify, and, indeed, to require, the publication of the facts
contained in this book and also in the reports which have been
published by the Belgian, French, and British Governments. It is an
aim which can be stated quite shortly; and the need for pursuing it is
shown by what has happened during the last twenty months.

In most parts of the ancient world, and among the semi-civilised
peoples of Asia till very recent times, wars were waged against
combatants and non-combatants alike. Even in the European Middle
Ages indiscriminate slaughter of combatants and non-combatants alike
sometimes occurred, especially where, as in the case of the Albigenses,
religious passion intensified hatred. As late as the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries there were campaigns in which frightful license
was allowed to soldiery, private property was pillaged or ruthlessly
destroyed, and women were habitually outraged.

A reaction of sentiment caused by the horror of the Thirty Years’
War, coupled with a general softening of manners, brought about a
change. During the last two centuries, though every war was marked by
shocking incidents, there was a growing feeling that non-combatants
should be protected, and a serious purpose to restrain the excesses of
troops invading a hostile country. The wars of the eighteenth century
were less cruel and destructive than those of the seventeenth, and
the wars of the nineteenth showed some improvement on those of the
eighteenth. The war of 1870-71, if those of us in Britain who remember
it can trust our recollection, seemed better in both the above-named
respects than had been the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars between
1793 and 1814. Till the outbreak of the present conflict men who
sought for signs of the progress of mankind were cheered by the hope
that war would hereafter be waged only between regular disciplined
forces on each side; that these forces would abstain from needless
cruelty, that women would be protected from lust, and that the lives of
non-combatants would not be endangered. There was even a prospect that
private property would not be destroyed except in so far as a definite
military aim made its destruction unavoidable, as when a hostile force
had to be shelled out of its shelter in a village. The Hague Convention
had passed rules which ameliorated the practices of war as regards the
combatant forces and had solemnly proclaimed the duty of respecting the
lives and property of non-combatant civilians.

The present war has, however, brought a rude awakening. The proofs
are now overwhelming that in Belgium and Northern France--as to other
regions the evidence is not fully before us--non-combatants have
been slaughtered without mercy by the orders of the German military
authorities, while the mitigations of war usages as regards combatants
have been openly and constantly disregarded. Private property has been
constantly destroyed where no specific military reason existed, but
only for the sake of terrorising the civil population, or perhaps out
of sheer malice. A license has been practised by, and in many cases
obviously permitted to, the soldiers which has led to acts of wanton
cruelty. Outrages upon women have been far more numerous than in any
war between civilised nations during the last hundred years. One crime
deserves special condemnation, because it is done deliberately and
is justified by its perpetrators. This is the practice of seizing
innocent non-combatants, usually the leading inhabitants of a town or
village, calling them hostages and executing them in cold blood if the
population of the town or village whom “the hostages” cannot control,
fail to obey the commands of the invaders. Civilians who fire upon
invading troops without observing the requirements which the Hague
Convention prescribes may, no doubt, be shot according to the customs
of war; but there must be some proof that these particular civilians
have done so. To put to death a quarter or more of the adult male
inhabitants of a village because some shots have been fired, or are
supposed by an excited soldiery to have been fired, out of its houses,
is mere murder. All the paragraphs in the Manual of War issued by the
German Staff cannot make it anything else.

Though we may hope, and indeed must hope, that the horror caused by
this war may lead to measures which will diminish the risks of war in
the future, he must be indeed a sanguine man who can think that war,
the oldest of the curses that have afflicted mankind, is likely to
be eradicated within this century. It is therefore an urgent duty to
do all that can be done for a regulation of the methods of war and a
mitigation of the sufferings that it causes.

Now the cruelties that have been perpetrated on land, no less than the
ruthless murder of innocent passengers on unarmed vessels at sea, are
an aggravation of those sufferings. They are a reversion to the ancient
methods of savagery, a challenge to civilised mankind, to neutral
nations as well as to the now belligerent States. Neutral nations
ought to be fully informed of the facts of these methods, for they are
themselves concerned. The same methods may be used against them if they
are attacked by Germany or by some other nation which sees that Germany
has used them with impunity. If the public opinion of the world does
not condemn these methods, war will become an even greater curse than
it has been heretofore. Unless an effort is made as soon as ever the
present conflict ends to regulate the conduct of hostilities between
combatant forces, and, which is of even greater importance, to provide
more effective safeguards for non-combatants, there may be a terrible
relapse towards barbarism everywhere.

The Allied belligerent nations who are now fighting in the cause of
humanity are called upon to take up this matter and deal with it
effectively. So are neutral nations. It is a pity that they did not
protest long ago. But a word may be said regarding the German people
also. Professor Morgan thinks that they share in all the guilt of
their Government, but the reasons he gives for this belief do not
warrant so melancholy a conclusion. The behaviour of the mobs that
were wont to insult and ill-treat the prisoners of war led through the
streets of German towns, and the ferocious language of creatures like
Von Reventlow and some other writers in the German Press, shocking as
they are, cannot be taken as evidence of the sentiments of a whole
people. Neither can we suppose that the declarations of professors,
victims of a doctrine and a practice which compels them to approve
every act of the State are more to be accepted as expressing what may
be felt by the less vocal Germans. We must remember how severe is the
German censorship, how accustomed the Germans are to believe what
their Government tells them, how habitually mendacious the military
authorities have been in the accounts they supply of the conduct of
the Allied Powers and their troops. The German mind has had little
but falsehood to feed upon ever since the outbreak of the war, and it
now believes, absurd as the belief is, that it is the innocent victim
of an unprovoked aggression. When any voice is raised in Germany to
proclaim even a part of the truth and to plead for humanity and good
feeling, that voice is instantly silenced. Silence will doubtless be
enforced as long as the war lasts. But we may well venture to hope
that when, after the war, the facts hitherto concealed from the people
have become known and can be reflected on with calmness, there will be
a condemnation of the practices I have described, and that in Germany
and Austria, as well as in all neutral countries, there will be a wish
to join in the efforts which both the Allies and the leading neutral
Powers are sure to make to regulate and mitigate the conduct of war. In
order to call forth these efforts by showing how great is the need for
strengthening the existing rules of war, and providing more effective
means of securing their observance, it is essential that the facts
should be made known and studied, and that the world should see how the
present rules, imperfect as they are, have been trampled under foot
by the German authorities. This is what makes it right and necessary
to publish the data contained in the Reports already referred to, and
those data also which have been gathered by Professor Morgan with such
earnest labour.

So much for the justification--an ample justification--which exists
for publishing the horrible record which this book contains. I need
not here analyse it or quote from it or comment upon it. The facts
speak for themselves. Professor Morgan’s general conclusions as to the
behaviour of the German troops in France seem to be borne out by the
facts which he adduces. They are further supported by the facts set
forth in the Belgian, French, and British Reports. This accumulation of
testimony is convincing, and it becomes even abundantly more convincing
when one remembers that the German Government has scarcely attempted to
deny the contents of those reports. To the French report, strengthened
as it is by numerous extracts from the diaries of German soldiers
(translated by M. Joseph Bédier), in which they describe, sometimes
with shame, sometimes with satisfaction, the conduct of their comrades,
no answer seems to have been made, although a few trivial objections
were raised to the translations. Neither has the German Government
ventured to meet the British report, except by a vaguely worded general
contradiction in a semi-official newspaper. As regards the Belgian
reports, no more to them than to the others has any examination and
specific contradiction been vouchsafed. But a White Book has been
published which tries to turn the tables by accusing Belgian civilians
generally of firing on German troops and committing outrages upon
them. Professor Morgan, in one of the most illuminative parts of his
book, subjects this White Book to a critical analysis, exposes its
hollowness, and shows conclusively that while it does not prove the
German case against the civilian population and the Government of
Belgium, it virtually admits, in its attempts to justify, the shocking
cruelties perpetrated by the German Army upon that population. As the
lawyers say, _habemus confitentem reum_.

Let me add that he who wishes to understand German military ideas and
military methods, ought to read along with this book (and the reports
already referred to) another book, the German “Manual of the Usages of
War on Land,” of which Professor Morgan has published a translation,
under the title of “The German War Book.” Each of these is a complement
to the other. The “War Book” sets forth the principles: this book
and the Reports display the practices. The practice shocks us more,
because concrete cases of cruelty rouse a livelier indignation; but the
principles are a more melancholy proof of the extent to which minds of
able men may be so perverted by false ideals and national vanity as to
lose the common human sense of right and wrong.


[1] The writer’s chief contributions to the Bryce Report will be found
on pages 190, etc., of the Committee’s Appendix [_cd._ 7895.]

[2] Published by the German Foreign Office under the title of
“Die völkerrechtswidrige Führung des belgischen Volkskriegs.” The
abbreviation “G. W. B.” will be used in the notes to this chapter.

[3] The Reports have been translated, but not the evidence. I am
indebted to M. Mollard for providing me with copies of the latter, to
which reference is made below.

[4] Speech in the Reichstag, August 4th, 1914. But, so far as I know,
no one in this country has noticed that the absolute inviolability
of Belgium, under all circumstances and without exception, has been
laid down in the leading German text-book on International Law, which
declares that such treaties are the great “landmarks of progress”
in the formation of a European polity, and that the guarantors must
step in, whether invited or uninvited, to vindicate them. “Nothing,”
it is added, “could make the situation of Europe more insecure than
an egotistical repudiation by the great States of these duties of
international fellowship.”--Holtzendorff _Handbuch des Völkerrechts_
III. (Part 16), pp. 93, 108, 109.

[5] Regulations, Arts. 1 and 2.

[6] _cf._ Von Bieberstein at the Hague Conference of 1907, “The
international law which we wish to create should contain only those
clauses the execution of which is possible from a military point of
view.” (_Actes et Documents I._, page 282.)

[7] Holtzendorff, IV., 385.

[8] _Ibid._, IV., 374. This is an important admission in view of what
the Germans allege to have happened in Belgium.

[9] German White Book: Introductory Memorandum.

[10] German White Book: Introductory Memorandum.

[11] Belgian Grey Book (Correspondance Diplomatique relative à la
Guerre de 1914), No. 8 (dated July 29th, 1914).

[12] _Ibid._, No. 2 (July 24th, 1914).

[13] British Blue Book (Great Britain and the European Crisis), Nos. 85
and 122.

[14] G. W. B. (Appendix C), General Report on Dinant.

[15] _Ibid._, Introductory Memorandum.

[16] G. W. B., Appendix 51.

[17] _Ibid._, Appendix 53.

[18] G. W. B., Memorandum.

[19] _Ibid._, Appendix 59.

[20] G. W. B., Appendix 56.

[21] _Ibid._, Appendix 63.

[22] _Ibid._, Appendix 56.

[23] G. W. B., Appendix B.

[24] This is the normal figure of such German units according to the
basis of calculation arrived at, after careful inquiry, by our own
Headquarters Staff.

[25] G. W. B., Appendix B 1.

[26] G. W. B., Appendix 29.

[27] _Ibid._, No. 22.

[28] _See_ the Appendix to the Bryce Report, pages 25-29. Any one
who reads the depositions of the Belgian witnesses there set out,
and compares them with the depositions of the German soldiers in the
White Book cannot fail to be struck by certain notable differences
in quality. The Belgian witnesses never generalise, they betray no
malice, and they mention instances of German forbearance. The exact
converse is true of the German evidence. Lord Bryce’s Committee came to
the conclusion that they “have no reason to believe that the civilian
population of Dinant gave any provocation.” (Report, page 20.) _See
also_ the Eleventh Belgian Report (_Rapports officiels_, page 137).

[29] G. W. B., Appendix C. Summary and also C 5, 7, 10, 31, 35, 40, 44
for references in the text.

[30] G. W. B., Appendix C.

[31] C 44.

[32] C (Summary Report).

[33] C 51.

[34] The story of Aerschot is peculiarly horrible. It was here that the
priest was placed against the wall with his arms raised above his head;
when he let them fall through weariness, the German soldiers brought
the butt-ends of their rifles down upon his feet. He was kept there for
hours, and as German soldiers passed they used him as a lavatory and
a latrine until he was covered with filth. Eventually they shot him.
This is but one of many such horrors (_see_ the Bryce Report, Appendix,
pages 29, 46. _See also_ the fourth and fifth Belgian Reports). The
German White Book admits (Appendix A 2) that “every third man was shot.”

[35] Appendix A 5.

[36] Appendix A 3.

[37] The 1st Company of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Neuss Mobile

[38] Belgian Collected Reports, Tenth Report, page 127.

[39] Bryce Report (popular edition), pages 29-36. And see the diary,
No. 14 of Appendix to Bryce Report recording the shooting of German
troops by other German troops; to the same effect another diary quoted
on page 41 of Bryce Report.

[40] “No other troops were stationed at Louvain on that day.”--(D 8.)

[41] _See_ the Sixth Belgian Report and, in particular, the
Proclamations issued at Hasselt, Namur, Wavre, Grivegnée, and Brussels.

[42] _See_, in particular, _Les Violations des lois de la Guerre par
l’Allemagne_, issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pages
77, 92, 99, 100, 101, 119.

[43] Press Bureau (Belgian communiqué), March 18th. The German
authorities substituted the word “convention” for “conversation,” in
order to convict Belgium of a secret treaty with England.

[44] Foreign Office communiqués of May 20th and July 5th.

[45] The case of the _Ophelia_.

[46] P. P. Cd. 7595.

[47] The case of the _Iberia_ (_Times_ Law Report, November 11th,
1915). It is not the only one.

[48] _The International Review_, published in Zurich, and controlled by
a Committee consisting almost entirely of German Professors. Its title
is obviously fraudulent. The June issue (page 14) contains an article
of ingratiating impudence by a German psychologist discrediting all
reports of atrocities, and, in order to prove their unreliability and
justify the policy of the _Review_ in excluding them when they emanate
from British, French, or Belgian sources, it attempts to disprove them
all. On page 32 the writer refutes circumstantially the stories that
German soldiers had had their eyes gouged out.

[49] Note transmitted on July 8th to the American Minister by Herr von

[50] Proclamations issued at Namur and Wavre.--(Sixth Belgian Report.)

[51] _Ibid_ Proclamation issued at Grivegnée. _See also Les Avis,
Proclamations, et Nouvelles de la Guerre allemandes affichés a
Bruxelles_, for a copy of which I am indebted to my friend Colonel E.
D. Swinton, D.S.O. (“Eye-witness.”)

[52] The reader should also study the diaries given in the Bryce
Appendix, in the French official volume _Les Violations_, and in
Professor Bedier’s _Les Crimes Allemands_: expressions of pity are as
rare as exultations that “We live like God” are frequent.

[53] The full story will never be known, but the Russian Report, the
Second French Report, the Belgian Reports (especially the Tenth), and
the narrative of Major Vandeleur, published by the Foreign Office
as a White Paper, together with the Report of the American Minister
published on November 20th, 1915, may be referred to.

[54] The instances which follow are taken from official reports. I may
add another illustration here published for the first time. A German
soldier, recording the story of how the _maire_ of a French town was
torn from his home and carried off by the troops, writes: “In spite of
his protests we put him into our company and made him march with us.
He called us names and shouted and protested, _and kept us all in good

[55] The _Munchner Neueste Nachrichten_, October 7th, 1914.

[56] Press Bureau (Belgian communiqués), August 5th.

[57] French official communiqués, October 12th, August 1st.

[58] _Velut e conspectu libertas tolleretur_ (Tacitus, _Agricola_,
Chapter 24).

[59] What I have here written is, without exaggeration, the substance
of the Manifesto issued by the German Professors in August last. For
the text, _see_ the _Morning Post_, August 13th and 14th. And to the
same effect is the speech of the Imperial Chancellor in the Reichstag a
few days later (for report, _see The Times_, August 21st).

[60] Long ago--in 1870--Fustel de Coulanges pointed out that the
crime which, to use the words of our law, “is not to be named among
Christians,” flourished in Berlin as it flourished nowhere else, and
the immorality of latter-day Germany was the subject of a mournful
lamentation by Treitschke in his old age. An acute student of modern
Germany, Dr. Arthur Shadwell, also remarks on the low commercial
morality of German merchants (_see_ the _Nineteenth Century and After_
for August, 1915).

[61] It is a curious fact, attested by the evidence of a large number
of British and French soldiers who have been in action, that the
German soldier often exhibits the most abject fear when confronted
individually with the bayonet, going down on his knees, and whining
“Kamerad,” “Mercy,” and such like lachrymose appeals.

[62] Bryce Appendix, “Depositions taken by Professor Morgan,” page 195.

[63] Belgian Reports (Tenth Report), page 119. To the same effect the
British and French Reports, _passim_.

[64] Admiralty Memorandum, August 21st. Commander’s report on the
stranding of _E_13.

[65] _See_ Belgian Reports and Bryce Report.

[66] The writer has brought together a number of such passages in his
preface to the _German War Book_. For others _see Les Usages de la
Guerre et la doctrine de l’Etat-Major Allemand_, by Professor Charles
Andler (Paris, 1915). _Also_ Chapter I. of “_Les Cruautés Allemandes,
Requisitoire d’un neutre_,” by Léon Maccas (Paris, 1915). And more
especially the extremely valuable book published, at the moment of
going to press, by an eminent French scholar, the Marquis de Dampierre,
_L’Allemagne et le Droit des Gens_, a copy of which has just reached me.

[67] Sorel, _Essais d’histoire et de critique_, p. 271.

[68] German Proclamation of August 27th, 1914, at Wavre (Belgian
Reports, No. 6, page 82). In the Proclamation at Namur of August 25th,
1914, the German commandant, von Bulow, warns the inhabitants against
“the horrible crime” of compromising by their conduct the existence of
the town and its inhabitants!

[69] _Ibid._, page 81.

[70] _See_ p. 123.

[71] Holtzendorff, IV., 378.

[72] French Reports, _Rapports et Proces-verbaux_, p. 40.

[73] _cf._ the reply of the Roman Senate to the offer of a German chief
to poison Arminius, “Responsum esse non fraude neque occultis, sed
palam et armatum populum Romanum hostes suos ulcisci.” Tacit., _Ann._,
II., p. 88.

[74] _See_ the British White Paper of September 21st, 1915; “Austrian
and German papers found in possession of James F. J. Archibald,
Falmouth, August 30th, 1915.”

[75] Professor Salmond in the _Law Quarterly Review_.

[76] Mr. Justice Bailhache in the _King_ v. _the Superintendent of
Vine Street Police Station_. “The courts are entitled to take judicial
notice of certain notorious facts. Spying has become the hall-mark of
German Kultur.” September 7th, 1915.

[77] It is, however, impossible to include within the limits of this
book the whole of the unpublished material at my disposal.

[78] The term “soldier” is used throughout this article in the sense
adopted in the Army Annual Act, _i.e._, as meaning N.C.O.s and privates.

[79] The outrages committed in the districts now in the occupation
of the British armies have not been reported upon by the French
Commission, and the ground so traversed in this article is therefore

[80] Von der Goltz.

[81] One might go further and say that the Geneva Convention, which has
hitherto been universally regarded as a law of perfect obligation and
which even the German Staff in the German War Book affects to treat
as sacred, is perverted to an instrument of treachery. The emblem of
the Red Cross was used to protect waggons in which machine-guns were
concealed. And since this article was written a German hospital ship,
the _Ophelia_, has been condemned, on irrefutable evidence, by our
Prize Court as having been used for belligerent purposes. Such things
throw a very lurid light on the German conception of honour.

[82] Similar evidence has been supplied to me by a French officer
attached to the Fifth Division of the British Expeditionary Force.
_See_ Chap. III., Part I., No. 56.

[83] See Chapter III., Part I., and, in particular, Nos. 39 to 43.

[84] The German officers spoke Hindustani. Doubtless they knew, as
I have found they often know, the identity of the British regiments
opposite their positions and were attached there for the express
purpose of dealing with Indians. But in no case, so far as I know, were
their attempts to seduce our Indian troops successful.

[85] This diary is now in the possession of my friend the Marquis de
Dampierre, who is about to publish it and numerous others, together
with fac-similes of the originals.

[86] The passage suggests that our wounded were killed, but it is not
conclusive. “Noch lebenden,” _i.e._, “still living,” would appear to
mean the wounded found in our trenches and unable to escape with the
others. The fact of some prisoners being taken does not dispose of the
suspiciousness of the passage.

[87] Brenneisen is now a prisoner in England. The diary was a most
carefully kept one. Since I first published it, it has been republished
by the French authorities.

[88] What follows refers principally to the portion of Northern France
now occupied by the British troops. The case of Belgium has been
sufficiently dealt with by the Committee.

[89] _See_ Chap. III., Section 2.

[90] _Ibid._, Section 3.

[91] After the outrage they dragged the girl outside and asked if she
knew of any other young girls (“jeunes filles”) in the neighbourhood,
adding that they wanted to do to them what they had done to her. _See_
Chap. III. (2) No. 4.

[92] Presumably La Couture.--J. H. M.

[93] I have suppressed the names of the witnesses for fear of their
relatives, if any, in German hands being subjected to vindictive
measures. Also in the case (selected from some twenty similar cases
equally authenticated) of rape I have omitted certain details which
seem to me too disgusting for publication.--J. H. M.

[94] NOTE.--This diary is a laconic example of a hundred such village
tragedies. According to the Eleventh Belgian Report (page 133),
twenty-six priests and monks were shot in Namur alone. And see the
pastoral letter of Cardinal Mercier (_ibid._, page 165) on what he
calls “this sinister necrology.” In his own diocese alone (that of
Malines) he records thirteen priests as having been killed. According
to a German soldier the guilt of priests was established by the fact
that church-bells often rang!--(Bryce Appendix, page 163).

[95] This savage credulity found its sequel in the murder of many
unoffending priests not only in Belgium but in France. I quote one case
from the depositions in my possession:

“Marie B----, sœur du curé de Pradelles, a déclaré ‘Les Allemands
rodant dans le village out enlevé la personne de mon frère M. l’Abbé
Héléodore Bogaert, curé de cette paroisse, et l’ont fusillé au
cimetière de Strazeele sans aucun motif le 9 octobre vers 1 heure et
demie du matin.’”

[96] These documents have been placed in my hands by the General
Headquarters Staff. In accordance with the procedure adopted in the
Bryce Report, and for military reasons, I have suppressed the names of
the British regiments referred to and of their officers and men.--J. H.

[97] This and the two following depositions are selected from a number
of statements, mostly by Russian prisoners in German hands, who
succeeded in escaping to the British lines. The statements (_b_) and
(_c_) by these Russian soldiers are confirmed by the statement (_a_)
which was volunteered by a German soldier, Stephan Grzegoroski, taken
prisoner by the British troops. It is hardly necessary to point out
that the employment of prisoners of war upon military works and their
exposure to fire constitute a flagrant breach, not only of the Hague
Regulations, but of the unwritten laws and usages of war.--J. H. M.

[98] These two men escaped on December 8th, 1915, and reached the
British Lines.--J. H. M.

[99] “German Atrocities: An Official Investigation.” By J. H. Morgan,
M.A., late Home Office Commissioner, with the British Expeditionary
Force, Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple, and Professor of
Constitutional Law in the University of London. (T. Fisher Unwin.)

[Transcriber’s Note:

Corrected the first two entries in the TOC to reflect the actual page

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "German Atrocities - An Official Investigation" ***

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