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from the very first days of the war, with the most monstrous lies as to Belgian brutalities and barbarities. Of the extreme jumpiness of these young men, and the way in which they marched with the finger on the trigger, we have ample German and neutral evidence. The moment one or two shots were heard of which the origin was not instantly apparent, the cry of Man hat geschossen !' was raised, and the German soldiers began shooting at random- often from the windows of houses in which they had taken up their quarters. The reason why the casualties of the Folk-War' were so trifling was that almost all the Schiesserei’ of which we hear so much was the mere blazing-away of uncontrollable panic. In the overwhelming majority of cases, few Germans were hit because no German was aimed at. One reason, among others, why little or nothing of the same sort of thing occurred in France was that, by the time they reached the French frontier, the raw conscripts were becoming seasoned soldiers.

Let us briefly substantiate this account of the matter, relying, except where otherwise stated, on German evidence alone. That the franc-tireur legend of 1870 had a strong hold on the German mind is evident from the fact that the lies—the officially-admitted lies—which burgeoned in the German press in the early days of the war almost all took the classical forms of forty years earlier. For instance, it was one of the accepted features of the legend that the village curés were foremost in organising sharpshooters; and in the fictions of 1914 that part was duly assigned to the Belgian priests. But this did not at all suit the German Catholics; and an association of priests in Cologne set themselves to investigate the stories in which their brethren of the cloth were concerned. The results of their inquiry were collected in a little book edited by Father Duhr, S.J., under the title of Der Lügengeist im Völkerkrieg.' Story after story these clerics submitted to the Ministry of War, asking if it could be confirmed; on story after story the official comment was, “The inquiry has not furnished proof in support of the facts mentioned,' or words to that effect. Not one of the stories submitted could be substantiated. The press swarmed, too, with tales of harpies of the battle-field' cutting off ring

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fingers and gouging out eyes. A boy was reported to have been found carrying a pail filled entirely with human eyes; and there were said to be several hospitals in Germany with rooms specially devoted to unhappy wretches who had been maliciously blinded. On inquiry, the boy vanished into thin air; and the doctors of the hospitals in question wrote denying that any cases of gouged-out eyes had come to their knowledge. All these stories, which proceeded either from soldiers letters or from the talk of wounded men returned to Germany, afford convincing evidence of the frame of mind in which the army crossed the frontier.

How the harpy-legend haunted the German mind in the years immediately preceding the war may be seen from two novels by a certain Walter Bloem, published in 1912, which were said to have been the favourite family reading of the Emperor. This may have been a publisher's puff; but the first of them, “The Iron Year,' attained a sale of 160,000 copies, while the second, • People against People,' ran it hard with a sale of 130,000. The Iron Year' is of course 1870. Herr Bloem shows us his hero lying wounded, one moonlight night, on a battlefield in Alsace, while close to him lies a dying man with a gold ring on his finger. Presently three shadowy figures, just dimly visible, come gliding over the field. ... Who are they? Ambulance men?'

"Then the recumbent man saw, plainly saw, one of the bent figures clutch some silvery, glittering thing, a knife-blade, and dig it into the hand close to the golden glint. Ah! it was a ring, and those beasts were after the finger with the ring. “Hyenas of the battle-field." The phrase shot mechanically through his mind. Then they really did exist!'

The hero gives a wild yell of horror and the hyenas take flight, leaving behind them a sack half filled with miscellaneous plunder, including 'fingers without number, rigid fingers with poor little rings on them.' Such a passage as this gives us the key to the mentality which could invent and believe the following paragraph from an article describing the prisoners' camp at Münster, which went the round of the Berlin papers :

• A large number of Belgian civilians are also detained here.. These are the beasts that shot from the houses

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on our unsuspicious troops, and, before the arrival of the German armies, had already committed all sorts of atrocities on German citizens. Even on their arrival in Münster, hacked-off fingers with rings were found upon these monsters.' (Quoted by Father Duhr.)

We cannot actually cite a pre-war precedent for the pailful of eyes, but it is only a trifling variation upon the 'harpy' or 'hyena' motif. Herr Walter Bloem, it may be added, gave full instructions in People against People' (sale, 130,000) as to how francs-tireurs were to be treated. In two different scenes he drew gloating pictures of hussars with men and women roped together behind them, trotting along at such a pace that their victims' 'tongues hung out of their throats,' and of course shooting or hanging them at the end of the merry ride. These novels, be it noted, were not satires upon militarism, but high-spirited, jovial pictures of a frischer, fröhlicher Krieg.'

Of the ungovernable nervousness of the German troops we have masses of evidence. They were on the jump even before they left the soil of the Fatherland, A lady named Nanny Lambrecht contributed to the Kölnische Zeitung' of Aug. 10 a lyrical description of the army marching through Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in which there occurs this significant passage :

Shots in the evening air! A raging tumult springs up. French aviators? The noise rumbles away into the shadowy distance. Alarm! Alarm!'

The suggestion of French aviators is of course absurd, and the writer herself does not pretend to believe it. Her words prove that, even marching through their own country, the raw soldiers could not refrain from letting off their rifles, and were thrown into a 'raging tumult' by the sound. If Aachen had happened to be a Belgian town, it would very likely have shared the sanguinary celebrity of Louvain and Aerschot.

Felix Marschner, a writer of ability, in his Mit der 23 Reserve-Division durch Belgien und Frankreich, relates how, on his first night in Belgium, he was placed as sentry on a bridge near Rettigny. Suddenly a shot cracked through the night. . . . Then a second, and a third ! Franc-tireurs !' There was a great hubbub, with

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orders and counter-orders, and the affair seemed to be growing serious.' But presently the hubbub died down, and its cause was ascertained : A couple of oxen had been shot at, that were wandering around in the dark, and failed to give the password.' A quite natural, characteristic incident. As it did not actually occur in a village, and as the officers kept their heads, there were no fatal results. But how often must similar incidents have been repeated under conditions which converted the comedy into tragedy! The same author, on the following day, witnessed the punishment of some francstireurs, but he knew of their offence only by hearsay, This is a constant characteristic of the evidence to be gathered from independent German witnesses; it proves the obsession under which the army laboured, but not the crimes of its victims. Herr Marschner, however, was not devoid of the critical spirit. In describing a bivouac on this second day, he writes :

.The scene on the field was a very lively one, and still livelier the exchange of opinions between comrade and comrade. The most uncanny rumours as to Belgian atrocities made the rounds; conjectures hardened into facts; trifling incidents swelled, at the touch of personal fantasy, into horrible occurrences.'

Here is a no less illuminating episode from 'Als Adjutant durch Frankreich und Belgien' by one Otto von Gottberg. The narrator is passing through a Belgian village with a company of cyclists :

"Sullen faces regarded us from a few of the windows, with the expression of people looking on at an execution. “Our friends are on the look-out for us," says a cyclist. “Shall I have a shot at the fat one?" asks a second, and points to a particularly disagreeable-looking fellow who is staring at us. Our company had come to realise that the burghers of Belgium were not to be trusted.' It does not appear that in this instance the German warrior was encouraged to murder den Dicken’ whose countenance misliked him ; but what was to be expected of an army animated by such a spirit ?

The franc-tireur obsession took the quaintest and craziest forms. A Landwehr captain named Höcker, in his book, 'An der Spitze meiner Compagnie,' relates how

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he found the inhabitants of certain villages around Liège busied in the manufacture of parts of rifles and revolvers. Any guide-book could have told him that Liège was famous for its small-arms factories, and that the preparation of parts had long been a source of prosperity for the surrounding communes ; but of course he concluded that the village industry was established solely for the arming of francs-tireurs. This, however, was only to be expected ; it is in a corollary to his theorem that Captain Höcker outsoars his fellow-monomaniacs. He observed in these villages a number of carrier-pigeons, and having ordered the capture of one of these sinister fowls, he noted that it bore a stamp upon its left wing. There is not the least doubt,' he says solemnly, that these pigeons were intended to convey information to the franc-tireur bands, in and around Liège, as to the progress of the rifle-making.' It does not need the Belgian assurance that pigeonracing is a popular sport in these regions to enable us to estimate the sheer idiocy of the gallant captain's inference.

The White Book itself contains some almost as absurd instances of the obsession. At Gouvy, a station close to the Luxemburg frontier, cases are found in the goods-shed containing 300 Browning pistols. What makes the matter more alarming is that the stationmaster has denied the possession of arms. Any one knowing the staple manufacture of Liège would naturally assume that the pistols were consigned to some place in Central Europe, and held up at this frontier station owing to the stoppage of traffic. This is the completely satisfactory Belgian account of the incident. The pistols were in transit to Switzerland; and it is added that the stationmaster, having nothing to do with the storage of merchandise, might quite well be unaware of their existence.

Again, at the town hall of Acoz are found some hundreds of guns and cartridges in packets. Each packet bore a label with the name of the townsman to whom they were assigned.' Read the townsman who had, in obedience to the proclamation, given up his arms and ammunition, and we have the only sane and tenable account of the matter. Had the authorities been

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