Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

4 erthygl ar y dudalen hon




Rhestrau Manwl, Canlyniadau a Chanllawiau

THE VICTORY YEAR. I "THE WORLD MADE SAFE FOR DEMOCRACY. Though this review of th«fyear, as has been the case at the end of "the four pre- ceding years, must be once ntfftre a record of war, it will also be a record of victory. The dread shadow under which the world has lain since the end of July, 1914, has been dispersed. The forces of Right, with might on their side at last, have triumphed mag- nificently over the forces of Evil. German militarism, so long a menace to mankind, has been vanquished utterly, and the world made safe for democracy.New problems, problems which will call for the wisest and most enlightened statesmanship, but nations which have come with triumph through the fiery trial of the greatest and most terrible .war in history, will not find them insuperable. The burden which had oppressed hearts and minds for nearly four and a half years has been removed. With Peace, Hope rises new born, and the world enters upon a new era. END OF THE PARLIAMENT. I The end of the year finds Mr. Lloyd George's Ministry still in office. The Parlia- ment elected in December, 1910, was drs- Molvcd in November, and voting for its suc- cessor took place on December 14, the Government—a Coalition now of Unionists and Liberals, Labour having withdrawn from i-t after the signing of the armistice with Germany on November, 11—having de- cided to appeal to the country. Mr. Asquith and his Liberal followers, refusing to be bound to support the Coalition, represented the strongest force of the Opposition, but the number of Labour candidates was very large, and there were many independent and women candidates, Parliament, in its closing stages, having passed a Bill for the admis- tiion of women to the House of Commons. At the time this review is written the ballot-iboxes still hold their secrets. The principal change in the War Cabinet was the substitution of Mr. Austen Chamberlain for Lord Milner, who went to the War Office in succession to the Ear. of Derby, now British Ambassador in Paris. There have been other changes in the Ministry. A great loss was suffered by the death of Lord Rhondda, who had done splendid work as Food Controller. He was*succeeded by Mr. J. R. Clynes, who had been his very able lieutenant. Mr. Clynes, in his turn, resigned when Labour decided no longer to support the Coalition. Mr. John Hodge, the former Minister of Labour, is now Minister of Pen- fiom, and has been succeeded in the former post by Mr. G. H. Roberts, who remains a member of the Government. Sir George Cave, who was Home Secretary, has received a peerage. Assuming that the Government has been successful at the polls, there will no doubt be a reconstruction. r AN EDUCATION ACT. I The legislation passed by Parliament during the year has been chiefly war legrs- lation, notably the Man Power Act in April, soon after the opening of the great German offensive. They also, however, put the finishing touches to the Representation of the People Bill, which enfranchised women and soldiers and sailors, and embodied several important reforms. Another measure to which the Royal Assent was given this vewaB Mr. Fisher's Education Act, which aboffllles half-timers, gives local authorities power to raise the school age fo fifteen, and makes attendance at continuation schools compulsory up to the age of sixteen, and, after seven years, up to the age of eighteen. I THE WAR IN THE WEST. Those critics who have consistently held that the war would be won in the West have been abundantly vindicated. Brilliant vic- tories have been won in Mesopotamia and in Palestine. They had their effect, but it was in France and Flanders that the enemy re- ceived his death-blow. The year opened with the two great hosts facing each other from the long lines of trenches stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier. For weeks there were rumours that the Ger- mans were preparing to launch a great offensive, and it war- known that if the attack did come it would be made with a more powerful force than the-Allies had had to meet since the beginning of the war. It was believed, however, that the strength of the British and French Annies would prove equal to any emergency. There lit(I been a sensation at home in February when General Sir William Robertson resigned his position as Chief of the Imperial General Staff. The powers attached to this post had been limbed by the constitution of the Allied War Council sitting at Versailles. Sir William Robertson, offered the choice of re- maining in the position or of becoming British representative at Versailles, had de- clined both. General Sir Henry Wilson was appointed his successor. I GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE. I On March 21 the long-expected German offensive began. The enemy had received a vast accession of strength from his Eastern Front, owing to the retirement of Russia from the war, and it was pooii evident that he intended, if possible, to force a decision before America could make her strength felt in the land war. The place selected by the enemy for attack was a fifty-mile front between the Scarpe and the Oise, which was held by the British Fifth Army. Unfortu- nately for the Allies, this was the weakest part of the line, owing to the fact that at the request of the French we had recently taken over forty additional miles 9J trenches. The enemy advanced after a violent artillery bombardment, in enormous' force—it has since been stated that there' were 600,000 Germans to 200.000 British. The plan of the enemy, after the first shock had been delivered, was to pass forward with great rapidity fresh divisions, while those who had borne the brunt at the onset went to the rear to reform. These tactics proved very effective, and though immense losses were inflicted on the advancing masses the British line gave way, and a consider- able retirement was rendered necessary, while we lost many thousands of men and a large number of guns. The aim of the Ger- mans was to thrust a wedge between the British and the French, after which they in- tended to deal with each in detail. For some days the position was extremely criti- j eal, but it was saved by the dogged determi- nation of the British, to whose help, came a number of fresh French divisions and strong reinforcements sent over from this country. THE SINGLE COMMAND. I Critics in this country had long urged the need of placing the whole, of the Allied Armies under a single command, but the proposal met with strong opposition, though an Attempt to get aa near it as possible had been made by the conbLitution of the Allied ar Council..Soon after the opening of the German offensive, however, the decisive step was taken of appointing as Generalissimo j Marshal Foch, the brilliant and consistently successful French commander. His conduct of operations, both defensive and offensive, has been instinct with g-enius. He met the repeated tremendous blows of the enemy, countering them with tactics of the most ma; teily description. He gave ground and sav d his men, knowing always that time and America were on his side, and that, speeding ttcross three thousand miIP4 of ocean, were coming thousands upon thou- sands, and millions if necessary, of new and enthusiastic troops, while, the Gfrmans were throwing away men pý the hundred thou- sand, and rapidly nearing the point Wief their numbers would be so much reduoect that they would not be able to stand against the onset of the Allied. Armies when the time came to go forward. THE GERMAN FAILURE. I Wherever the enemy attacked, north south, or in the centre, Marshal Foch offered a stout and gradually increasing resistance, which after some days brought the enemy to a stand. The German offensive was not con- tinuous. It was delivered in a series of shocks, and the resistance of the Allies anct the terrible losses suffered by the enemy, necessitated a longer and longer time after each drive to get ready for the next. They changed their objective again and again. Now they aimed at Amiens, now at Paris, now at the Channel ports, but always they were held before they reached the vital points. In man-power the Germans were at the end of their resources, while the Allies hnd the Americans, besides the addition to our own Army made possible by the passing of a Man-Power Act which raised the mili- tary age to fifty-one. FOCH'S COUNTER-OFFENSIVE. I At length the moment arrived when Mar- shal Foch determined to take the offensive. lie had now at command a force stronger than that of the Germans, who had besides been disheartened by to reach their objectives. The great French soldier struck on July 18 with tremendous force at the Army of the Crown Prince, which at some points had crossed the Marne. The enemy were flung back over the river with a loss of 30.000 prisoners and 500 guns, and most of the ground they had won in the previous in nth's fighting. Wi fboii t, giving the enemy time to breathe. Marshal Foch struck again and again. On August 8 it was the turn of the British, who, with the Third French Army attacked east of Amiens with complete success. Another blow by the French fol- lowed. and Amiens was freed from danger, as Paris had already been. With the hope of relieving the pressure on the Germans by drawing off a portion of the Allied forces the Austrians essayed an offensive against. Italy, but with no better success than had at- tended the German offenfive in France. They were crusliingly defeated. BLOW AFTER BLOW. I In France blow followed blow. Nowhere could the enemy stand. The Hindenburg Line was .swept away. and still the Germans were forced hack. A foreshadowing of the inevitable end came at the end of Septem- ber, when Bulgaria, defeated in the Balkans, and terrified at the advance of the Allies, sued for an armistice and promptly lay down her arms. Turkey, whose armies had been annihilated in Palestine by General Allenby, while General Marshall, Sir Stanley Maude's successor, was conquering Mesopotamia, soon followed Bulgaria's example. Germany could see that presently she would be stand- ing alone. The day of reckoning was dawn- ing. In October Prince Max of Baden suc- ceeded Count Hertling as Chancellor, and one of his first acts was to appeal to Presi- dent Wilson for an armistice as a prelimin- ary to the discussion of peace terms based on the President's famous "Fourteen Points. » Mr. Wilson replied that he could not recom- mend his Allies to grant an armistice while the German Armies were occupying Allied territory, and that the terms of such armis- tice must I)e such as to make it impossible for Germany to resume hostilities. 1 REVOLUTION IN GERMANY, Meanwhile events were happening in Ger- many which made it imperative that she should get peace on any terms. A revolu- tion broke out at Kiel, spreading with great rapidity to other towns. The terms of the armistice were drawn up and signed by Ger- man representatives on November 11. They -provided for the surrender by the enemy of guns and munitions, aeroplanes, locomotives, rolling stock, and transport wagons, for the retirement of the Germans beyond the Rhine, and for the occupation of several im- portant towns on that river by Allied troops. It was also stipulated that all German sub- marines should be handed over, as well as all the finest fighting vessels of the Navy. Thus was the prediction of Admiral Mahan fulfilled that Germany's "future on the sea" of which the Kaiser had boasted, would end in a sail to British ports to surrender. The day of the signing of the arn: stice was hailed with a great outburst of rejoicing in all the Allied countries. The Kaiser abdi- cated and fled to Holland, as did also the Crown Prince. The Emperor Karl of Aus- tria also resigned his throne, and the Kings, Princes, and Grand Dukes of all the German States retired into private life. THE SUBMARINE WAR. The war at sea during the year has been a war against the submarine. Germany continued her "unrestricted" campaign. Her hope of bringing Britain to her knees died hard. Her sinking-at-sight orders to U-boat commanders included every kind of ship, even hospital ships and passenger vessels. The Irish Channel passenger steamer Lein- ,ter was sent to the bottom with hundreds of innocent passengers even after the appeal for peace had bee-n made. The offensive measures taken against the pirates proved verv effective, and in August it was an- nounced that during the war up to that time 150 submarines were known to have been sunk. This was officiallv denied in Germany, and the British Government made the extremely effe<j £ ive retort of publishing the names of the captains of the 150 boats. Since the surrender of the submarines it has been proved that the number claimed by us was considerably below the mark, Germany having lost more than 200 U-boats. The loss inflicted upon Allied shipping, particu- larly British. has been, of course, very great. Not until April of this year were we able to say that the total tonnage of new ships turned out in a month by this and the Allied countries had exceeded the total ton- nage sunk. Even then, and up to the end of the war. the British rate of building was still below that of the losses. Efforts have been made throughout the year to speed up shipbuilding, and a certain number .of men have been released from the Army for work in the yards, but the net British loss has grown larger month by month. THE "GLORIOUS VINDICTIVE. I The operations of the German submarines were much hampered as the result of what was perhaps the most brilliant sea exploit of the war, the blocking of the harbours of Zeebrugge and Ostend. The former was blocked on April 22, three old cruisers filled witH concrete being sunk in the fairway. This was effected under cover of a heroio attack on the Mole by a landing party of sailors and marines from the Vindictive (Captain Carpenter) and two ferry boats. At the same time the viaduct connecting the Mole with the land was blown up by an old submarine filled with explosives. So far as Zeebrugge was concerned the operations were a great success, though they cost us a casualty list of 188 killed and 384 wounded. A change of wind which suddenly lifted the smoke screen under cover of which the ships were approaching prevented success at Os- tend, but a partial success was secured later on May 9, when the glorious Vindictive her- self was sunk in the harbour mouth. AIRMEN IN WAR AND PEACE. I The year has witnessed amazing develop- ments in aircraft, which have played a highly important part in the war oil all the fronts, hut particularly in the West. The Allied airmen performed extremely valuable wrvice during the German offensive by Sombing and machine-gunning attacking German infantry from a low altitude, throwing them into confusion and seriously hampering their efforts. In actual air-fight- inL-, individually or in squadronk, they in- flicted great losses on the enemy, and placed the air supremacy of the Allies beyond question. In the early months of the yea* there had been moonlight aeroplane raid*, on London and the coast, but the defences, both on the ground and in the air, had been made more and more efficient. The last night raid by aeroplanes took place on the night of Whit-Sunday. The raiders met with a hot reception, and several of the ma- chines did not get back to their bases, Whether it was a wholesome fear of our de- fences, or because the enemy needed all hie tiving strength in France might be hard to say, but the fact remains that the Whit- Sunday raid was the la6t by aeroplanes. An attempt by Zeppelins was made on the night of August 5. The Zeppelins were attacked at sea by our airmen, and one was brought down in flames. Another reason for the cessation of aeroplane raids on this country may be found in the call made by German towns for defence against the attacks of our own airmen. The formation of the Indepen- dent Air Force, under the command of General Trenchard, was followed by a vigorous campaign against the Rhine towns, which were bombed by night and day when- ever the weather was favourable for such expeditions. Flying low, and always aiming at factories, railways, and other objects of military importance, our heroic airmen did immense damage to the enemy. The effect of the bombing of the Rhine towns was seen in the immediate demand made by the inhabi- [ants of these towns that all belligerents should cease to attack places at a distance from the fighting front. They had never thought of this while London was being I hombed. Airmen have done great things towards the winning of the war; they will have a great part to play in the world's jieaceful activities. Projects for aerial mails are being discussed, bookings have already heg-un for flights between London and Paris, and a few days ago it was announced that a flight from Cairo to India had been accom- plished. A giant aeroplane carrying forty- one persons has made a flight over London. A YEAR OF RATIONS. I It has beep a year of rations. The volun- tary campaign of food economy had achieved excellent results, but it became plain that in order to be safe the people must submit to compulsion. Therefore certain essential foods were rationed, and the smoothness ?v*th which the s- with which the system came into operation and its entire success were remarkable. The first and extremely welcome result was the disppearance of the queues, which during the previous months had been "a common sight. The success-of the rationing system has been chiefly due to the fact that there has been no failure of supplies, which nave, on the contrary, tended to improve. Prices for many important articles of food have been fixed by the Food Controller, this policy having been begun by Lord Rhondda, whose guiding principle, as he announced on laking office in the previous year, was the interest of the consumer against the pro- fiteer. Great efforts have been made during the year to increase the production of home- grown food, and with considerable success. There was more land under corn than there had been in any year for half a century. The harvest was good, and would have been a record one but for a break in the weather a't an unfortunate time. I THE COAL SHORTAGE. I The coal shortage has been very serious'. It was caused primarily by the fact that 400.000 British miners had left the pits for the Army. With a greatly reduced output we had nevertheless to find the vast quanti- ties required by the Army, the Navy, the railways, and the mercantile marine. In addition to our own requirements we had to supply those of our Allies. It was seen that a considerable shortage was inevitable, and that practically the only way in which that shortage could be made up was by a reduc- tion in the usual household consumption. A scheme of rations in both fuel and lighting was prepared and put into force, the allow- ances being based on the number of rooms in the house. So far as the ordinary small householder is concerned, the rationing system does not appear to impose any hard- ship, but in larger establishments a drastic reduction in consumption has been effected. With all the economies that could be effected, however, the coal shortage was still considerable. The Government announced that men would be brought back from the Army to the pits, but this proved to be a very slow process. Since the signing of the armistice, it has been speeded up, but sup- lilies will hardly reach the normal standard for some time yet. I STRIKES OF THE YEAR, j I The year has had its share of laboifr dis- putes and strikes, all of them, fortunately, of short duration. In July a strike of muni- tion workers took place at Coventry, and spread to other centres. The Government took prompt action, issuing an ultimatum. stating that men of military age who were absent from their employment after a cer- tain date would become liable to militJtv service. This was effectual, and the men re- turned to work. The appointment of a Com- mittee of Inquiry to investigate conditions ended the trouble. In August omnibus and tramway employees in London struck with- out warning. This strike also spread, and several large towns in the Provinces were involved. The cause of the trouble was the under-payment of women as compared with men doing similar work. The demand of the strikers for equal pay was conceded. A re- markable strike was that of the Metropoli- tan Police, the suddenne»#of which took the authorities by surprise. The men demanded increased wages and pensions, the reinstate- ment of a constable who had been dismissed, and recognition of their Union. The strike lasted two days, during which time the special constaibles were called up for duty. The Prime Minister received a deputation. and practically the whole of the men's de- mands were conceded, with the exception of that for recognition of the Union. The men, however, were granted permission to com- bine. There has been trouble, too, in the cotton county. Fifty million spindles were idle for a week in September, but work was resumed on the appointment of a tribunal of inquiry. A further strike took place in December, and at the time of writing no settlement has been officially announced. A serious strike of railwaymen occurred in September, when the men secured a sub- stantial addition to their wages. Soon after the cessation of fighting at the Front, the railwaymen presented a long list of de- mands. threatening a further strike if they were not granted. Their chief demand was for an eight-hour working day and a forty- eight hour week, and this has been agreed to as from February 1 next. The other points in the railwaymen's programme are to be dealt with later. RECONSTRUCTION. I While there can be no general demobilisa- tion of the Army until peace has been signed, a beginning has been made, the principle set up being that of restoring to peaceful labour with the least possible delay "pivotal" men, whose services are necessary to essential industries. Other men who have jobs to go to are to be released as soon as possible. Though a certain amount of dis- organisation and displacement of labour is inevitable during the transition period of our industries, from the production of war -raterial to their full peace activity, con- siderable progress has already been made i" this direction. Dr. Addison. the Minister of Reconstruction, said to an interviewer re- cently "All our plans for the demobilisa- lior. of the Arroy and of the munition- makers and for the re-establishment of in- dustry are based on the principle of doing the first things first. Ever since this Minis- try was created we have been labouring td discover which were the things which must be done first. Committees and commissions have taken and considered evidence. We have consulted experts in every branch of industry, and as the facts were gathered their relationship was ascertained till we could perceive the broad principles by which the work must be guided and many of the Retails of the way in which it must be carried out. In this way we hope and in- tend to secure an orderly return of the nation from the occupations of war to the occupations of peace. The pivotal men will come out first to open the way for the others. The relea-c-d cargo-space of the ships will be used to bring raw materials for the industries which can be most quickly restored to their old conditions, and which will recreate the other industries. And for those workers who cannot be re-employed at one? we have our scheme of unemployment benefit, to carry them over the period of waiting. I am very sure-it will be better for us to pay ten, twenty, or en-eii fifty mil- lion pounds in this way than to permIt any of those who have served so well to suffer in any way. WIHO IS TO PAY? Who is to pay for the war? This was one of the questions of which a good deal was heard while the General Election was in pro- gress. It has already been decided that Ger- many must restor.e and make compensation to Belgium. and that she must pay for the damage done to civilian property in tho Allied countries whether by land, sea, or air. This alone will amount to an enormous sum. There is the futher question of the war costs of the Allies. Every candidate at the elec- tion was questioned on this point, and Mr. Lloyd George has declared that Germany will be made to pay up to the limit of her capacity. The bill which the Allies will present to Germany, it is stated, will be one for ±24,000,000,000. The conscription issue a1-0 played a great part in the election. Mr. Lloyd George said that whether conscription was to continue in this country or not must depend upon what happens at the Peace Conference but that the British representa- tives will press for the abolition of conscrip- tion in all countries. Another matter upon which public opinion has been greatly agi- tated is the question of punishing those re- sponsible for the crimes of the war. There has been a great public demand for the ex- tradition and punishment of the ex-Kaiser, who on the outbreak of revolution m Ger- many found refuge in Holland. THE FATE OF THE MONARCHS. The war has caused a great mortality among monarchs. Not one of the rulers of the State who fought or intrigued against the Entente Powers in the early years of the war remains on his throne. Before the pre- sent vear of Victory dawned death had re- moved the Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, and Oonstantine of Greece had been deposed by the Allies, who placed his second son on the throne in his stead. This year the Sultan of Turkey, the helpless dupe of the Kaiser and German intriguers, died. Jung Ferdinand of Bulgaria, .when his country retired from the war, abdicated. He had long had the reputation of being the wiliest of monarehs, and was the first of the Allies of the Central Powers to acknowledge defeat. Foreseeing that the people to whom' he had dragged into the war might majje things uncomfortable for him in defeat, he abdicated and fled to a safer re leqvrng his son Boris upon an uneasy throne. The Emperor Karl, after a troublous two-years' reign, abdicated at the cessation of fighting. The Kaiser. for thirty years the most im- posing figure among the monarehs of the world, fled from Germany* to Holland two days before the signing of the armistice. The Crown Prince also found a refuge in the same country. Both have since informed newspaper correspondents that the war was none of their making. Their abdication was followed by those of all the kings, princes, and Grand Dukes who had ruled over the States of the German Confederations. The darkest and grimmest fate of all was that of the ex-Tsar of Russia, who had been hurled from his throne by the Revolution of the previous year. He and his family were kept prisoner for many months, and news a.bout them was vague and unreliable. Then there were dark rumours of their assassination, soon to be confirmed. It is now known that the Tsar, the Tsaritsa, the Tsarevitoh, and his sisters were brutally murdered on July 16. The full story is yet to be told. THE "FOURTEEN POINTS." President Wilson arrived at Brest from America on December 13, and was accorded a magnificent welcome there and afterwards at Paris. The President will not sit at the Peace Conference, but will be at hand for consultation. His famous "fourteen points" which, with certain reservations by the Allies, have been accepted as a basis for the discussion of peace terms, are as follow.— 1. ()pen covenants of peace; no private international understandings of any kind; aiplomacy to proceed always frankly and in the public view. 2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas outside territorial water, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants. 3. The removal so far as possible of all economic barriers, and flw establishment ot an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and as- sociating themselves for its maintenance. 4. Adequate guarantees that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent, with domestic safety. 5. Adjustment of all Colonial claims based upon the principle that in determining all such questions as sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal yeig-ht with the equitable claims of the G05* vernment whose title is to be determined. 6. Evacuation of all Russian territory and such settlement 01 all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest co- operation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an opportunity for the independent determination of her VWD. iÄ,i.< tical development and national policy. 7. Belgium must be evacuated and re- stored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in "common with all 4ailier free nations. 8* All French territory freed and the in- vaded portion restored and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-LorrSkie righted. 9. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy along clearly recognisable lines of nation- ality. 10. The peoples of Austria-Hungary be ac- corded the first opportunity to autonomous development. 11. Roumania, Serbia, and Montenegror evacuated, occupied territories restored. Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea, and the relations of the several Balkan States to one u4oWwr determined by friendly counsel along historically-established lines of allegiance and nationality. 12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a øetmTe sovereignty, but the other nationalities noie under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an abisolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous de- velopment, and the Dardanelles should be. permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and c^m\nerce of all nations. 13. An independent Polish State should be elected which should, include the territoriea. inhabited by indisputably Polish pecula- tions, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea. 14. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political and territorial independence for great and small States alike J.  »«»— •