The Childrens' Story of the War, Volume 3 (of 10)by James Edward Parrott
When the last British soldier, with the mud of the Aisne trenches still clinging to his tunic, detrained in Artois, within fifty miles of the white cliffs of Dover, seventy-seven days of anxious and fateful struggle had come to an end. Before we follow the progress of the terrible campaign which was soon to begin, let us glance backwards and
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When the last British soldier, with the mud of the Aisne trenches still clinging to his tunic, detrained in Artois, within fifty miles of the white cliffs of Dover, seventy-seven days of anxious and fateful struggle had come to an end. Before we follow the progress of the terrible campaign which was soon to begin, let us glance backwards and recall in brief outline the leading incidents of the crowded weeks which had elapsed since Germany unsheathed the sword and flung her legions into that "battle without a morrow" which she vainly hoped would win for her the mastery of Europe and the supremacy of the world.
In our first volume we learned how the disunited states of Germany, under the leadership of Prussia, became welded together into a great empire on the ringing anvil of war. The German Empire had been created by the sword, and Germans had been taught to believe that only by the sword could it be maintained and increased. During less than half a century they had grown from poverty to riches and greatness, and this sudden rise to wealth and power had so turned their heads that they now deemed themselves entitled to world-empire. Mighty in industry and commerce, and possessed of the vastest and most highly organized weapon of war that the world has ever known, they nevertheless saw their ambitions thwarted again and again. They desired greatly a dominion beyond the seas, but colonies were hard to come by. With the failure of their attempts to expand they grew more and more embittered, until they believed that they were being robbed of their rightful due by the envy and greed of neighbouring Powers.
On their eastern border they saw the Russians daily recovering from the effects of the war against Japan, and so rapidly advancing in military strength as to be a real menace to that commanding position which they coveted. Their leaders feared that if Russia were not speedily crippled she would
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