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
Germany is also the only nation claiming to
e 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 BÃ¼low 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
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 naÃ¯vely: "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
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
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.