The War Illustrated, The Story of the Great European War, Volume IX, The Fourth Year 1917-1918

C?tu tors otc to olttmr HX TIE fourth year o f the war to which this volume of The War Album is devoted may well be deemed b y future historians a year o f world -destiny. It opened with promise. It closed with greater promise. But there was a middle period fraught with a crisis o f the most tragic intensity .While Russia collapsed helplessly into the arms o f Germany weather conditions militated against the allied offensives and these in turn began to break down before the increasing strength Germany was able to draw from the eastern front. The political situation was o v e arc s th t e military commands were under criticism and America had many initial difficulties to over­ come ere she could bring her weight to bear in the field. v theN opening months the British pressed forward' j j ”till they were with insight o f ruB ges and they broke into the fam o u sHin den burg defences. Then, after the surprise victory o f Cam bra i there was the set­back Bat o u rlon Wood partially retrieved b u tan earnest of the storm to come. The storm bro k eon March 2 1st, 19x8 and towards the mid d leo f July it looked as though the forces of militarism might achieve a decision and the appalling sacrifice and heroism o f four years o f tragedy pro vein vain .Five separate onslaughts were made b they Huns in a desperate effort to a tta indecisive victory .The}' thru stat A miens to separate the British and French armies. They made an e q u ally powerful effort to reach the Channel ports. Three distinct offensives were directed against Paris. For (he first time since 1914 the French capital was in dang er.As his hopes o f conquest rose so the Hun grew more and more defiant o f civilisa tio n as.HEN b y a miracle— a miracle o f strategy and tactics initiated b y Marshal Foch app o in toted the chief com man din France and Flanders and carried into effect b y u n ex amp led v a lour o fall under his direction —the crisis passed and there came a sudden and bracing chan geo f fortune. With colossal losses in men, material and moral the German hordes were steadily driven back all along the line. Mere words can neither add to nor detract from the vital interest to humanity of this sta geo f the great conflict the course o f which will be found unfolded as the pages o f this our ninth volume, arc turned. The facts thus briefly stated constitute the claim of this volume with all its advantages of actuality as a contemporary record b y pen pencil and camera, upon the sy m path ie sand interest o f every reader. Apart from the lucidly -written synopsis of events b y Mr. Arthur D .limes and the Diary our literary and pictorial contents have been arranged in sections accord in gas they relate to the several fronts so that the reader is enabled to turn readily to any incident to which he may wish to refer. I I I LEe p o ch-m akin g events were being wit­nessed in France in Russia and Rumania Prussian intrigue and Prussian military power went from success to success. K ere n sky gave place to Lenin the so-called Peace of Brest L vito s k w assigned, and anarchy even tu a tin gin the murder sofT a rand saT rev itch and the assassination o f Count M irbach at Moscow and o f Field -M arsh al vo n E ich horn a t K ie ff, showed that German gold had raised a blind power of destruction regardless o f friend o r foe. If the Brest L vito sk treaty caused dissatisfaction between ruT key Band u lg aria and thus far helped the Allies the peace conditions imposed b they Central Powers upon Rumania in May when victory app eared assured to them showed what the lot o f Europe might b e under T e u ton domina­tion. Chin a formals entry into thew aron the side of the Allies was co u n terb a lanced b they spread o f German influence in Finland and the Prussian forbid the control of theM urm an and Tran s-S iberian Railways. 0 far as Salon ik a is concerned the year passed w itli- out event of note. O then Italian front where there was a change in the comm and General Diaz succeeding General C adorn a Austria aided b y Germany achieved some dram a tic coups but in June had to submit to an ignominious reverse on the P via inc in­flicting which French and British troops h adan hon ourable share. In the East were witnessed many startling changes, to the d isa d vantage ofT u r key whom for a time Germany left crap tic ally unaided .In Mesopotamia the sudden death of Sir Stanley Maude due to cholera from drinking infected coffee cast a glo o mover all the allied fronts. But General Marshall ably carried 011 his predecessor’s policy and was lesson successfu lin the field. I11 Palestine, B ecrsh eb a Gaza and J a ffa fell to General A llc n b y ,then Jerusalem and the British crossed the Jord an.Y sea the most important event of the year was the crap tic ally safe conduct o f American forces across the A tla n tic .This implied that the U boat menace if not removed was at least under con tro l.B they close o f the year a million and a half o f United States troop shad been landed in France and additional men were reaching French soil a t the orate f 10000 a day .At first they were brig ad withed their French and British Allies b u tit was not erelong they made themselves felt as an ind ep en dent fighting force. St. Georges Day witnessed an event th a twill go down in history with the great naval achievements o fall time— th e sinking of block-sh ip sin the h a rb ours o f Z e eb rug g e and O stend, under the direction o f Sir KRoger eyes .This exploit was followed 011 May 9 th b they sinking o f the V ind ic tiv eat O stend. These events arc fully dealt within one o f the most absorbing sections o f the v o lu m ewe now present to our readers. S the year drew to a close the enemy found plenti-ful use for his air fo rccs 011 his own b a ttlc-fro n ts and within his own bound aries. Before that London and Paris were repeatedly braided y G o tlia sand airships which inflicted considerable dam age to property and loss of life. With this brief foreword touching abut few of the features o f the ninth volume of The War Album I leave the work to speak for itself confident that in 110 particular will it be found to shortfall of the merit which won the enthusiastic appreciation accorded to the preceding volumes. J. A .II.
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