The Hun Target The Red Cross

All the civilized nations of the world have agreed to respect the Red

Cross, believing that when men are carried from the battlefield wounded

or dying, it is inhuman to war upon them further. But the agreement to

this by Germany, like all other German agreements, became only "a scrap

of paper" when the Hun leaders thought they saw an advantage in tearing

it up.

Germany is also the only nation claiming to be civilized that kills its

prisoners when it thinks best. When the Kaiser told the German soldiers

going to China to take no prisoners, he meant that they should kill


Frightfulness was not a sudden afterthought on the part of the Germans,

arising in the excitement of war. It was deliberately planned and

taught to the German officers and soldiers. The manual prepared for

their use in land warfare contains the rules which are to guide them.

Among the directions are these: Endeavor to destroy all the enemies'

intellectual and material resources. The methods which kill the

greatest number at once are permitted. Force the inhabitants to

furnish information against their own armies and their own people.

Prisoners may be killed in case of necessity. Any wrong, no matter how

great, that will help to victory is allowed.

How the Germans carried out the "Rules for Land Warfare" is well shown

by the proclamation posted by General von Bülow in the streets of Namur

on August 25, 1914. It read as follows:

Before four o'clock all Belgian and French soldiers must be

turned over to us as prisoners of war. Citizens who fail to do

this will be sentenced to hard labor for life in Germany. At

four o'clock all the houses in the city will be searched. Every

soldier found will be shot. Ten hostages will be taken for each

street and held by German guards. If there is any trouble in any

street, the hostages for that street will be shot. Any crime

against the German army may bring about the destruction of the

entire city and every one in it.

Frightfulness was taught not only to officers and soldiers but to all

the German people, and especially to the children in the schools. One

of the selections read and recited, even in the primary schools of

Germany before the war, was "The Hymn of Hate" by a German poet, which

in English prose is in substance as follows:

Hate! Germany! hate! Cut the throats of your hordes of enemies.

Put on your armor and with your bayonets pierce the heart of

every one of them. Take no prisoners. Strike them dead. Change

their fertile lands into deserts. Hate! Germany! hate! Victory

will come from your rage and hate. Break the skulls of your

enemies with blows from your axes and the butts of your guns.

They are timid, cowardly beasts. They are not men. Let your

mailed fist execute the judgment of God.

A German general told Edith Cavell, when she was pleading in behalf of

some homeless Belgian women and children, "Pity is a waste of

feeling--a moral parasite injurious to the health."

The whole idea of the German War Book is given in the statement made by

a great German:

"True strategy means to hit your enemy and to hit him hard, to inflict

on the inhabitants of invaded towns the greatest possible amount of

suffering, so that they shall become tired of the struggle and cry for

peace. You must leave the people of the country through which you march

only their eyes to weep with."

And these rules and teachings came at a time when nations were seeking

to do away with war forever and were agreeing upon rules that, if war

should come, would make it less horrible and that would in particular

spare non-combatants.

A German soldier wrote to the American minister, Mr. Gerard, early in

the war while Mr. Gerard was still in Berlin:

To the American Government, Washington, U.S.A.:

Englishmen who have surrendered are shot down in small groups.

With the French one is more considerate. I ask whether men let

themselves be taken prisoner in order to be disarmed and shot

down afterwards? Is that chivalry in battle?

It is no longer a secret among the people; one hears everywhere

that few prisoners are taken; they are shot down in small

groups. They say naïvely: "We don't want any unnecessary mouths

to feed. Where there is no one to enter complaint, there is no

judge." Is there, then, no power in the world which can put an

end to these murders and rescue the victims? Where is

Christianity? Where is right? Might is right.

A Soldier and a Man Who Is No Barbarian.

On October 25, 1914, a small party of German soldiers succeeded in

entering Dixmude and capturing the commander of the French marines

defending the town, and some of his men. It was a dark night and

raining hard, and although the Germans had been able to get through the

lines into the city and to capture Commander Jeanniot and a few of his

men, they were unable to find a way back through the lines and out of

the city. They wandered about in the rain and mud for nearly four

hours, driving the captured French marines before them with the butts

of their rifles. Day was dawning and there was no chance for them to

escape in a body in the daytime. So the officers halted them behind a

hedge and directed them to scatter.

Then the question arose as to what they should do with their prisoners.

The majority voted that they should be put to death, and at a sign from

their leader, the Boches knelt and opened fire upon the prisoners, who

knew nothing of what was being planned. They were all killed, including

the commander, except one, who was hit only in the shoulder. Before the

Germans could put him to death, a party of French marines discovered

them. The whole band was taken prisoner and brought before the Admiral,

who sentenced three of the leaders to be executed. To have killed them

all when they were taken would have seemed only too good for them, but

the French are not a barbarian but a law-abiding people.

Germany believes she can win in war by making it so "frightful" that

none but Germans can be strong enough to endure it. So among other

atrocities, Germany has used the red cross on hospitals and hospital

ships as a mark to guide them in dropping bombs and in aiming

torpedoes. The Roumanian Minister of the Interior stated to the United

States government the following:

Because of the action of Germany and her allies, it has been

found advisable to remove the Red Cross conspicuously painted on

the top of the hospital buildings, because it served as a

special mark for the bombs, etc., from aeroplanes.

Germany also believes, without doubt, that killing wounded who may

otherwise recover and go back into service will reduce the man power of

her enemies, who, she thinks, are too Christianlike, too merciful, too

faithful to their agreements to do likewise. Bombing hospitals and

killing nurses and doctors will also make it likely that more wounded

will die through lack of care and treatment. She knows that every

hospital ship sunk means another must be taken to replace it from those

carrying food or troops.

There is no mistake about her intentions, although she did at first

offer lying excuses. She has dropped "flares," great burning torches,

at night to be sure that the red cross was there and then dropped her

bombs upon the hospital. She has killed many non-combatants in this


Germany has torpedoed, during the first four years of the war, hospital

ships with the big red crosses painted on their sides and all lights

burning at night (to show they were hospital ships), amounting to a

total tonnage of over 200,000 tons. The torpedo that sank the Rewa

without warning hit the German target, the red cross, exactly. Germany

torpedoed the hospital ship Britannic, 50,000 tons, the largest

British ship afloat, partly, without doubt, so that she could not

compete with German ships after the war.

The first hospital ship destroyed by the Huns was the Portugal, sunk

by a German submarine while she was lying at anchor in the Black Sea.

One of the survivors described the sinking as follows:

The Portugal was sinking at the place where she was broken in

two, her stern and stem going up higher all the time as she

settled amidships. All around me unfortunate Sisters of Mercy

were screaming for help. The deck became more down-sloping every

minute and I rolled off into the water between the two halves of

the sinking steamer. It so happened that the disturbance of the

water somewhat abated and I succeeded in swimming up again. I

glanced around. The Portugal was no more. Nothing but broken

pieces of wreck, boxes which had contained medicaments,

materials for dressings, and provisions, were floating about.

Everywhere I could see the heads and arms of people battling

with the waves, and their shrieks for help were frightful. The

hospital ship Portugal was painted white, with a red border

all around. The funnels were white with red crosses and a Red

Cross flag was on the mast. These distinguishing signs were

plainly visible and there can be no doubt whatever that they

could be perfectly well seen by the men in the submarine. The

conduct of the submarine proves that the men in it knew that

they had to do with a hospital ship. The fact of the submarine's

having moved so slowly shows the enemy was conscious of being

quite out of danger.

Eighty-five lives were lost, including twenty-one nuns who were serving

as nurses.

Notwithstanding the fact that, according to the Germans, God is on

their side, some power for good saved most of those on the hospital

ship Asturias. She did not sink when struck by the torpedo, but she

was rendered helpless by the loss of her rudder. There was no sandy

beach in sight, so the captain tried to guide her near the rocky shore

where, if she sank, perhaps some might reach land, but he found he

could not guide the ship. It was dark night, but guided by some unseen

power she dodged a reef upon which she would have gone to pieces,

rounded a headland, and beached herself upon the only piece of sandy

shore in that vicinity.

The English hospital ship Lanfranc was carrying many wounded Germans

to England when she was torpedoed. An English officer gave the

following vivid description to a London daily paper:

The Lanfranc was attacked by a submarine about 7:30 Tuesday

evening just as we had finished dinner. A few of us were

strolling to and fro on the deck when there was a crash which

shook the liner violently. This was followed by an explosion,

and glass and splinters of wood flew in all directions. I had a

narrow escape from being pitched overboard and only regained my

feet with difficulty. In a few minutes the engine had stopped

and the Lanfranc appeared to be sinking rapidly, but to our

surprise she steadied herself and after a while remained

perfectly motionless. We had on board nearly 200 wounded

prisoners belonging to the Prussian Guard, and about twice as

many British wounded, many being very bad cases. The moment the

torpedo struck the Lanfranc, many of the slightly wounded

Prussians made a mad rush for the lifeboats. One of their

officers came up to a boat close to which I was standing. I

shouted to him to go back, whereupon he stood and scowled. "You

must save us," he begged. I told him to wait his turn.

Meanwhile the crew and the staff had gone to their posts. The

stretcher cases were brought on deck as quickly as possible and

the first boats were lowered without delay. Help had been

summoned, and many vessels were hurrying to our assistance. In

these moments, while wounded Tommies--many of them as helpless

as little children--lay in their cots unaided, the Prussian

morale dropped to zero. They made another crazy effort to get

into a lifeboat. They managed to crowd into one, but no sooner

had it been lowered than it toppled over. The Prussians were

thrown into the water, and they fought each other in order to

reach another boat containing a number of gravely wounded


The behavior of our own lads I shall never forget. Crippled as

many of them were, they tried to stand at attention while the

more serious cases were being looked after. And those who could

lend a hand hurried below to help in saving friend or enemy. I

have never seen so many individual illustrations of genuine

chivalry and comradeship. One man I saw had had a leg severed

and his head was heavily bandaged. He was lifting himself up a

staircase by the hands and was just as keen on summoning help

for Fritz as on saving himself. He whistled to a mate to come

and aid a Prussian who was unable to move owing to internal

injuries. Another Tommy limped painfully along with a Prussian

officer on his arm, and helped the latter to a boat. It is

impossible to give adequate praise to the crew and staff. They

were all heroes. They remained at their posts until the last man

had been taken off, and some of them took off articles of their

clothing and threw them into the lifeboats for the benefit of

those who were in need of warm clothing. The same spirit

manifested itself as we moved away from the scene of outrage. I

saw a sergeant take his tunic off and make a pillow of it for a

wounded German. There was a private who had his arms around an

enemy, trying hard to make the best of an uncomfortable resting


In the midst of all this tragedy the element of comedy was not

wanting. A cockney lad struck up a ditty, and the boat's company

joined in the chorus of Raymond Hitchcock's "All Dressed Up and

Nowheres to Go." Then we had "Take Me Back to Blighty," and as

a French vessel came along to our rescue, the boys sang "Pack Up

Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile." The

French displayed unforgettable hospitality. As soon as they took

our wounded on board, they improvised beds and stripped

themselves almost bare that English and German alike might be


The destruction of the Llandovery Castle was as bad or worse than

those already described. For a time the Huns ceased to sink hospital

ships running from France to England, but when they learned, through

spies, that the Warilda carried no Germans, she was sunk early in

August, 1918, with a loss of one hundred and twenty-three doctors,

nurses, and wounded. After the Llandovery Castle, after the Warilda,

there could be no further German pretense that Germany was waging any

other than a barbarian war.

Such inhumanity seems like the work of madmen. Is the Kaiser insane?

Are the German war leaders insane? Or are the German people, all,

entirely different from the people we consider sane?

Let us remember that a Roman writer said many centuries ago, "Whom the

gods would destroy, they first make mad."

When the Huns are losing, they show themselves at their very worst.

When they were winning in the first stages of the war, they committed

deeds blacker than those of the barbarians who sacked Rome, but after

the tide turned against them, then they became even worse and began to

use the red cross as a target in bombing hospitals and torpedoing

hospital ships.

Moreover, at the Second Battle of the Marne, orders were issued to the

German soldiers, who were being driven back with great loss, that

seemed too inhuman even for the modern Huns. They were as follows:

"Henceforth the enemy is not to be allowed to recover his dead and

wounded except behind his own position, even under the Red Cross flag.

If stretcher bearers go out, a warning shot is to be fired. If no

attention is paid to the shot, the enemy must be thoroughly engaged at


As the Philadelphia Public Ledger says, "This is typical of Prussian

militarism. It is precisely the sort of thing that our young men have

sailed away across the Atlantic to uproot and finally destroy."

* * * * *

We do pray for mercy;

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy.


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