The War Illustrated, The Story of the Great European War, Volume III, The Spring Campaign 1915

tutor's< ^lotr to Volume OR the purposes of our picture-story of tlie war it is understood of course that the periods of time represented b they contents of each volume only approximate to the different phases of the war as these will be viewed eventually by the historian. Yet it is surprising to note how curiously the progress of events has fitted into the scheme of our work. The two preceding volumes of the scries dealt respectively with "The First Phase ”and "The Winter Campaign— 1914-15 .”In the present the record is carried one clear stage further and the title, “The Spring ”Campaign— 1915 covers a distinct and important period of the war— a period of high hopes and of deep disappointment. V O Tall the hopes that helped to steel the courage of the soldiers during the dreadful winter campaign were cherished by the British. Nor were the chief disappointments of the spring suffered by them. Still it is needless to deny that the careless optimism which is at once the strength and weakness of British character had led our people too confidently to expect “The Great Push” to come with the spring and when it did not come— not even in the later summer months— it was not surprising that for a time undue optimism gave way to undue pessimism until eventually a mean of sober confidence, fortified with stern determination and application, properly readjusted the national temperament. This, however takes us somewhat beyond the period covered by the present volume to whose contents I must confine m y observations. J f Twas a period packed with exciting events and someday it may bethought that the fate of the World War was really decided in these spring months of 1915 although at the time it may not have seemed so. The Second Battle of Ypres and the wonderful stand of the British at “Hill 60” were events of the very highest importance. They demonstrated to the world that the Kaisers fevered dream of blasting away through to Calais had ended in "such stuff as dreams are made 011.” And this notwithstanding that the Germans in their mad and reckless efforts to plant themselves on the nearest Continental point to the shores of hated Albion had descended to depths of infamy in warfare which hitherto had been imagined only b they writers of horrific fiction. Yet their use of poison gases whereby they came near to piercing the British front the spraying of liquid fire on the defenders of the allied trenches, and their shameful submarine piracy against innocent and helpless seafarers culminating in the demoniac murder of 1134 men women and children of many nationalities 011 board the Lusitania availed the enemy nothing and did but further outlaw the German peoples from the civilised world. H IL E our second volume concluded with the opening of the ”pirate “blockade on which the deluded and criminal German people— •for I would urge on every reader of these lines the need of associating the whole German people with the infamy of their Army and Navy in whose atrocities they have gloated and rejoiced— counted so much it is seen in the present volume to have brought them no military advantage whatever and only to have more deeply stained their national character for all time. The small proportion of British shipping that suffered affected the life of Great Britain hardly at all and as submarines are meant to destroy battleships and not little coasting vessels they were merely outwearing a formidable weapon on useless targets. MIS period of the war also saw the 'opening of what was to prove the most tremendous of all the undertakings of the Allies— the Dardanelles campaign. It would be foolish to pretend that this campaign was undertaken b y Great Britain and assisted by the French only after the most complete and careful preparation. It is not yet possible to determine how the initial blunders arose but it is sufficiently clear that the British and French battleships began to thunder at the gates of the Dardanelles before the necessary land forces were ready to begin co-operating with and supplementing the work of the naval guns. Hence what at first was thought to bean operation of some six weeks or a month or two developed into one of the most desperate and long-drawn-out struggles of the whole war. HE spring of 19x5 w'as also notable for Italy ’sentry into the war. This of course came as 110 surprise to the observers of international affairs and although ten months had elapsed between the outbreak of the war and Italy s participation therein these months were utilised by Italy in perfecting her military preparations as every national interest of the Italian people called upon them to throw themselves into the arena in support of the Triple Entente. L L these world events with their innumerable subsidiary incidents the sway of battle along the thousand-mile front of Russia and every note­worthy feature of the world-wide activities of the war during the spring of 1915 furnish the strangely varied contents of this volume to which Mr. Inness brilliant historical survey of the period affords an admirable guide while the complete and carefully compiled diary of the war provides readers with immediate reference to .the date of any-event. The high pictorial interest of the first two volumes is fully maintained and I may draw the readers attention to the fact that a large proportion of the remarkable photographs from the different war areas reproduced in these pages were expressly taken for this publication. J. A.H.
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