: 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.