Four Soldiers

: Winning A Cause World War Stories


The boche was chiefly what his masters made him.

He was planned and turned out according to specifications. His leaders

and his enemies always knew just what he would do under any given

circumstances, and he himself always knew just what he would do. He

would do what he was ordered to do, if he understood the order and had

been taught how to execute it; otherwise he would do noth
ng but stare

helplessly. He was a machine built to order, according to plans and


In critical moments the boche waited for direction instead of relying

on himself. He could not vary a hairbreadth from an order given, even

when the variation would have brought success. He was part of a

machine army, a cog in a mechanism which needed a push to make it move;

his actions must be dictated or he could not act; his very thoughts

were disciplined and uniformed.

To the boche there was no chivalry in war. He fought as the

barbarians would have fought, if they had had all his knowledge and

equipment, but were still uncivilized. Women and children never called

forth his pity or his mercy. He would defile and destroy a church or a

cathedral with greater pleasure than he would a peasant's hut.

To him there were no laws of war. War meant to fight, to conquer, to

kill, to gain the end by any means whatever. Dropping bombs on

defenseless women and children and on Red Cross hospitals; torpedoing

merchant ships without warning and sending all the passengers, even

neutrals or friends, to death, or worse, in open boats far from land;

firing on stretcher-bearers and nurses; using poison gas and liquid

fire; poisoning wells and spreading disease germs; all are forbidden to

civilized races by the laws of war. The boche regularly perpetrated

them all and committed other atrocities much worse. He hoped to

frighten the world by his cruelty and brutality, by making every man,

woman, and child among his enemies believe that each boche was an

unconquerable giant possessed of a devil.

To the boche war was simply a robbery, and he was one of a robber

band. On the land, he was a brigand, on the sea, a pirate. He went

about his business with no more mercy and chivalry than a New York

gunman or a Paris apache. To him war was a business, an unlawful

business to be sure, but, he believed, a profitable one. He went at

it, therefore, as he had at manufacturing and commerce in the days of

peace. He sought to do bigger things than any one else and to gain an

advantage by any means, fair or foul. Why should he think about being

fair or humane? He was a thief, not a judge.

And yet let it be recorded that while nearly all boches acted like

brutes instead of men, there were some who were different and who

showed the highest type of courage and died bravely as soldiers may die.