To All Who Endured
THE TEUTONIC COLLAPSE
‘…and from the charge they drew,
As mountain waves, from wasted lands,
Sweep back to ocean blue.’
Before the war it had seemed incredible that such terrors and slaughters, even if they began, could last more than a few months. After the first two years it was difficult to believe that they would ever end.
In the victorious period from July to November 11, the French suffered no less than 531,000 casualties themselves, and inflicted 414,000 upon the enemy. That an army and a nation engaged at their full strength from the beginning of the war, which had sustained 700,000 casualties in the first few weeks and nearly 3 millions in the first three years, should have been capable of so noble an effort at the end will ever command the admiration and gratitude of their Ally.
The state of our Man Power, with men of fifty already summoned to the colours and the standards of physical fitness lowered to a harsh point, made the maintenance of the armies in 1919, on a scale of sixty Divisions, a problem of extreme difficulty. Another three or four hundred thousand men shorn away would compel a melancholy contraction in the number of British Divisions available for 1919, which it now seemed not unreasonable to hope would be the final and decisive year. The Cabinet therefore at the end of August sent their Commander-in-Chief a message warning him of the grave consequences which would result from a further heavy blood drain. The ‘Staff Officer’ writes some unpleasantly turned sentences about this improper interference with the prerogatives of the High Command, and the pitiful inability of politicians to face casualties with a hearty spirit.