: Allen Leon Churchill
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World's War Events, Vol. II By Allen Leon Churchill RAOUL BLANCHARD Greatest drama of the war. The Battle of Verdun, which continued through from February 21, 1916, to the 16th of December, ranks next to the Battle of the Marne as the greatest drama of the world war. Like the Marne, it represents the checkmate of a supreme effort on the part of the Germans to end the war swiftly by a thunderstroke. It surpasses the Battle of the Marne by the length of the struggle, the fury with which it was carried on, the huge scale of the operations. No complete analysis of it, however, has yet been published-only fragmentary accounts, dealing with the beginning or with mere episodes. Neither in France nor in Germany, up to the present moment, has the whole story of the battle been told, describing its vicissitudes, and following step by step the development of the stirring drama. That is the task I have set myself here. German successes in France. Preparations for a great offensive. The year 1915 was rich in successes for the Germans. In the West, thanks to an energetic defensive, they had held firm against the Allies' onslaughts in Artois and in Champagne. Their offensive in the East was most fruitful. Galicia had been almost completely recovered, the kingdom of Poland occupied, Courland, Lithuania, and Volhynia invaded. To the South they had crushed Serbia's opposition, saved Turkey, and won over Bulgaria. These triumphs, however, had not brought them peace, for the heart and soul of the Allies lay, after all, in the West-in England and France. The submarine campaign was counted on to keep England's hands tied; it remained, therefore, to attack and annihilate the French army. And so, in the autumn of 1915, preparations were begun on a huge scale for delivering a terrible blow in the West and dealing France the coup de grâce. The determination with which the Germans followed out this plan and the reckless way in which they drew on their resources leave no doubt as to the importance the operation held for them. They staked everything on putting their adversaries out of the running by breaking through their lines, marching on Paris, and shattering the confidence of the French people. This much they themselves admitted. The German press, at the beginning of the battle, treated it as a matter of secondary import, whose object was to open up free communications between Metz and the troops in the Argonne; but the proportions of the combat soon gave the lie to such modest estimates, and in the excitement of the first days official utterances betrayed how great were the expectations. We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience.