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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 ноя 1874 - 24 янв 1965) Part III 1916–1918 (1923-31)

To All Who Endured

CHAPTER XIX

THE SURPRISE OF THE CHEMIN DES DAMES

I was responsible among other things for the whole supply of aeroplanes and aviation material of all kinds. The Ministry of Munitions was a gigantic shop from which the Air Ministry ordered all they wanted. Under the incredible activities of Sir William Weir, then Secretary of State, the Air Force demands became staggering. We discovered that the French had a large surplus manufacturing capacity. I had therefore, in agreement with Loucheur, directed Sir Arthur Duckham to place enormous orders with them. The French factories on which we depended for an essential part of our programme were mostly grouped around Paris. The danger to the capital required elaborate plans for moving these establishments southwards in case of need, and at the same time a very nice decision whether and when to put them into operation. If we moved without cause, we interrupted production. If we tarried too long, we should not be able to get our machinery away. Paris was calm and even pleasant in these days of uncertainty. The long-range German cannon, which threw its shells about every half-hour, had effectively cleared away nearly all those who were not too busy nor too poor.

The balance of numbers had turned heavily. The British had actually killed and wounded or captured nearly four hundred thousand Germans in the five weeks’ grapple, while all their own losses in men and material had by the activities of their Government been more than replaced.

The enemy’s military methods differ from our own. In attack the German uses Surprise, in defence he uses Concrete.

Surely now when Czech divisions are in possession of large sections of the Siberian Railway and in danger of being done to death by the treacherous Bolsheviks, some effort to rescue them can be made? Every man should ask himself each day whether he is not too readily accepting negative solutions. May we not assume that President Wilson will regard the rescue of the Czechs* as an obligation of honour? Who can rescue them except the Japanese?

*Some of the Bohemian prisoners taken by Brusiloff in 1916 had been formed into a Czech Army Corps which fought with resolution against the Austrian Empire. The Russian revolution and the Bolshevik desertion of the Allied cause left these soldiers in a forlorn position, from which their discipline and firm political convictions ultimately extricated them.

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