WHO WON THE WAR
 TO the people at present alive there are few questions more interesting than the identity of the victor. It is
something all are anxious to ascertain and each of the Allied nations is anxious—and justly
so—that its own part should not be forgotten. In a very real sense the Belgians won the war. But for
that first gallant struggle at Liege, but for the delay they interposed in the German program at the very
outset, the French would have been overwhelmed, and, as the Germans calculated, the war would have been
brought to an end before it could have been begun.
Unquestionably the French army won the war. Not so much by reason of the battle of the Marne or of any
particular engagement, but because of what the French army was. The Germans were entirely right: so perfect a
machine as their own army must infallibly win against armies hurriedly put together after the war began. The
war was saved for the Allies by the French army—an excellent, competent force, all but as well drilled
as the Germans, which bore the brunt of the conflict throughout. In the first year the French were compelled
to take the entire weight of the German assault, for the British army, great as its assistance was at the
first critical moment, was too small to assume the real weight of the battle. The French artillery possessed a
gun, the famous 75's, which was superior to anything the Germans had. It was a light field gun, throwing a
good sized shell and capable of being fired at an astonishing rate of speed and with
 extraordinary accuracy. The 75's alone checked the German army in the first invasion of France and won the
battle of the Marne.
In a very real sense of the word the French general staff won the war. It was from the outset the brains of
the Allied army. Without any disparagement to the gallant British, Italian, and American officers, the great
military minds on the Allied side were those of the French. They alone had had years of experience, training,
and study; they knew best the field of battle, as well they might; it was their own country; they had thought
more carefully about methods of defense and attack. The great generals were, therefore, Joffre, Foch, and
Petain, a trio who will stand out in history above all other names on the Allied side. But behind them, making
possible the final victory, stand dozens of Frenchmen, whose names are not so well known, but whose
cooperation in the French general staff furnished the real nucleus of the organization that won the war.
THE TERRITORY SURRENDERED BY THE GERMANS AT THE ARMISTICE.
On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that without the work of the British fleet the war would have been
lost at the outset. It was essential that Great Britain should manufacture for France. In the first rush of
the German invasion the French had lost the greater part of their coal mines, most of their iron mines, and
their most important industrial section. With these had been lost thousands of hands who would have performed
great services for France. Keeping the British factories at work overtime meant raw materials, merchant
vessels must bring them, and the fleet must protect them. The British army had to be transported to France and
supplied and maintained there. Germany again must be thoroughly blockaded; if she could have attained access
to the markets of the world, the war might have gone on indefinitely or have resulted in an Allied defeat. The
British navy coped successfully with the submarine, with mines, and all the other
 deadly instruments which the Germans thought would of themselves win the war.
Then we must not forget that the loyalty of the British Empire at the very outset of the war was all-important
to victory. The Germans had supposed that the British self-governing colonies would desert the moment war
broke out, but as one man they rose to the crisis and gave their all for the Empire. Canada indeed
contributed, if anything, a larger proportion of men and suffered more from casualties even than France.
Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa were close seconds. From all poured to the mother country men and
supplies indispensable to the conduct of the war.
The Russians also won the war. If they had not moved in August, 1914, had not sent regiments into the battle
with nothing but sticks in their hands and stopped the German advance with great piles of bodies, the Germans
might still have overwhelmed the French and British and have won the war in the west at the beginning. It has
seemed to most students that the Russian campaign in Poland in August and September, 1914, gave Joffre his
opportunity at the battle of the Marne. The Germans were compelled to send enough men east to give the French
a chance to fight with a prospect of real success. Again in 1915 and in 1916 the Russians hurled themselves
against the Germans in offensives which seemed impossible of success in order to lessen the pressure on the
French and British in France. The services of the Russian army to victory must not be forgotten.
Then there will be few to deny that the arrival of the British millions in 1915 and 1916 was a decisive event
for victory. Without such extensive and tireless support as the British army gave, the French must have been
overwhelmed. The whole German calculation, indeed, had been based not merely on the assumption
 that the Russians would be slow and incompetent but that the British would be unable to create an army of any
real value before the French were exhausted. We cannot conceive of the war without the British army any more
than we can think of it without the great British factories, munition works, coal mines, and fleets. The
Allied offensives of the first three years were in large measure made possible by the arrival of the British
and many of the important movements in the last year of the war were executed by them.
Italy's entry in 1915 was by no means without its contribution to the final result. Had Italy joined the
Central Empires and assailed France in the rear of the trench line or had compelled France to send enough
soldiers south to meet another foe, the war would have lasted few months indeed. The mere fact that Italy
stood neutral in a sense made victory possible. When she entered the war, she completed the blockade of the
Central Empires and stopped the smuggling which must otherwise have gone on through Italy as through Holland
and Denmark. The Italians again really compelled the Germans and Austrians to keep hundreds of thousands of
men in the Alps who might otherwise have been winning battles in France or Poland. The final campaign of the
Italians against the Austrians in the fall of 1918 contributed to the rapidity and finality of the downfall of
the Central Empires.
THE REARRANGEMENT OF EUROPE TO WHICH THE ALLIES PLEDGED THEMSELVES.
But without the United States victory would still have been lost. The war could not have been finished without
us. The mere knowledge that the Yanks were coming infused in 1917 new courage into the exhausted French and
stubborn British. They had begun to fear that although the Germans could not beat them they might not
themselves be able to beat the Germans. From the outset in a proper sense the United States had been a
participant in the war. From the outset, the Allies could not have gotten on without
 us. From the first weeks of the war our factories were working overtime making ammunition, clothing, shoes,
and a thousand things indispensable to the maintenance of the French and British armies. Our farms were
producing wheat, meat, cotton, and sugar, without which the British and French people must have starved. In a
very real sense of the word the United States fed
 the Allied armies. The work of the American Red Cross and of the various other American organizations for the
assistance of France was from the outset essential to the continuing of the war. Beyond question the American
Relief fed Belgium and northern France while in the hands of the Germans and saved the population from extinction.
Few historians will be so shortsighted as many people in the United States to-day who seem to feel that we did nothing
of consequence toward the winning of the war until 1917. We were in the war from the outset and without us the war would
not have lasted until 1917. Wars to-day are fought by nations and not by governments. Though we were technically neutral
as a government, the American nation was working night and day for the Allies from the very beginning. There were here
and there some exceptions, men and women, disloyal to the country, who did their best for the Central Empires; but they
were an inconspicuous minority.
Then in 1917 the United States entered the war and from that moment the end seemed no longer a question of doubt. The
Allies had but to hold out through 1917 and perhaps 191S, and the American millions in 1919 would crush the Germans out
of existence. It was as certain as the multiplication table and as sure as the rising of the sun. From that knowledge
came a morale and a courage which were great factors in the war in 1917. When the war ended there were some two million
American soldiers in France, a vast number of civilians supporting the army, and the entire American fleet was in European
waters doing yeoman service against the submarine. American troops fought in nearly all the divisions of the Allied armies
in the final offensives from July to November, 1918. An official American army was in the field and carried out with great
success and gallantry the capture of the salient at St. Mihiel.
 Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the French and British dealt the German his final death blow. Only a portion of the
American troops in France took part in the actual fighting and they formed only a relatively minor clement in the entire
Allied forces. The coming of the Americans did enable Foch to throw against the Germans without reserve all the trained
French and British troops he had. But for the Americans he must have retained large numbers of experienced men as a final
reserve in case his battle plan should miscarry. The mere presence of the Americans, despite the fact that they did not fight,
was an all-important factor in the final battle. Without us it could not have been fought. The whole scheme would have been
too risky to have been attempted. In as true a sense as in any other of these cases, the United States won the war.
Yet it ought to be clear that the winning of the war was a complex operation, involving the assistance and cooperation of
several nations, all of which played essential parts in the war as it took place. We cannot omit Belgium at the outset nor
America at the end; but for the French and the British the war would have ended before the Americans arrived. The Russians,
the Canadians, the Italians, and the Australians all too played their part. If any had to be left out, it would be difficult
to know what the result would have been. All were indispensable to the final victory.
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