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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 XXIII

VICTORY

On the night of September 26, a Bulgarian Staff Officer carried a flag of truce to General Milne’s Headquarters, and in the name of his Commander-in-Chief sought a 48-hours’ suspension of hostilities, to be followed by a peace delegation. On the 28th, Bulgaria agreed unconditionally to demobilize her army, to restore all conquered territory, to surrender all means of transport, to cease to be a belligerent, and to place her railways and her territory at the disposal of the Allies for their further operations.

No one could think of any further stipulation. Immediate evacuation of invaded countries; repatriation of all inhabitants; surrender in good condition of 5,000 guns, 30,000 machine-guns, 3,000 minenwerfers, 2,000 aeroplanes; evacuation of the left bank of the Rhine; surrender of three bridge-heads on the Rhine; surrender of 5,000 locomotives, 150,000 waggons, 5,000 motor lorries in good working order (and with spare parts); disclosure of all mines, of delay-action fuses, and assistance in their discovery and destruction; immediate repatriation without reciprocity of all prisoners of war; abandonment of the Treaties of Bucharest and Brest-Litovsk; surrender of 6 battle-cruisers, the best 10 battleships, 8 light cruisers, 50 of the best destroyers; surrender of all submarines; the right of the Allies on failure of execution of any condition to denounce the Armistice within 48 hours. Such were the covenanted clauses. And thus did Germany hand herself over powerless and defenceless to the discretion of her long tortured and now victorious foes!

The unarmed and untrained island nation, who with no defence but its Navy had faced unquestioningly the strongest manifestation of military power in human record, had completed its task. Our country had emerged from the ordeal alive and safe, its vast possessions intact, its war effort still waxing, its institutions unshaken, its people and Empire united as never before. Victory had come after all the hazards and heartbreaks in an absolute and unlimited form. All the Kings and Emperors with whom we had warred were in flight or exile. All their Armies and Fleets were destroyed or subdued. In this Britain had borne a notable part, and done her best from first to last.

It will certainly not fall to this generation to pronounce the final verdict upon the Great War. The German people are worthy of better explanations than the shallow tale that they were undermined by enemy propaganda. If the propaganda was effective, it was because it awoke an echo in German hearts, and stirred misgivings which from the beginning had dwelt there. Thus when four years of blockade and battle against superior numbers and resources had sapped the vitality of the German people, the rebellious whispers of conscience became the proclaimed opinion of millions.

For four years Germany fought and defied the five continents of the world by land and sea and air. The German Armies upheld her tottering confederates, intervened in every theatre with success, stood everywhere on conquered territory, and inflicted on their enemies more than twice the bloodshed they suffered themselves.

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