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war, although this was due fundamentally to a combination of pre-war causes with the course of events. Diplomacy finds its strongest arguments in military success. And it received strong support from Falkenhayn, who was convinced of 'the decisive importance of Turkey joining in the struggle,' first, as a barrier against the channel of Allied munition supply to Russia, and secondly, as a distraction to the military efforts of Britain and Russia.

At the same time a vast campaign of propaganda was launched in Asia, to undermine British prestige and the loyalty of Britain's Mohammedan subjects. The defect of German propaganda, its crudeness, was less apparent when directed to primitive races than when applied to the civilized peoples of Europe and America.

But while Falkenhayn was expanding the basis of Germany's war efforts he was nearly unseated himself. Moltke, since his fall, had been intriguing for Falkenhayn's removal and his own return, on the grounds that Falkenhayn was too young and did not inspire confidence in the army. The failure at Ypres reënforced this attempt, which apparently was supported by the Kaiserin and Hindenburg, but Falkenhayn, with equal craft, checkmated it by telling the Kaiser that Moltke's own physician had reported him unfit. The tale served its purpose and Falkenhayn remained.


On the Eastern Front, the campaign of 1914 had shown that a German force could count upon defeating any larger Russian force, but that when Austrians and Russians met on an equality victory rested with the Russians.

From the beginning of 1915 the Russians developed a steadily increasing pressure on the the Austro-Hungarian front in the Carpathians, threatening

to force the mountain gateways into the Hungarian plain. Falkenhayn was forced, reluctantly, to dispatch German reënforcements as a stiffening to the Austrians, and thus was dragged into a relief offensive in the East rather than adopting it as a clearly defined plan. In contrast, Ludendorff, who was the directing brain of the German forces in the East, had his eyes firmly fixed on the ultimate object, and from now on advocated unceasingly a wholehearted effort to break Russia. He differed from Falkenhayn not merely over the object but over the plan, urging, instead of a direct blow at the Russian forces in the Polish salient, a wide Napoleonic manœuvre through Vilna to cut their communications. Ludendorff's was a strategy of decision, Falkenhayn's at best a strategy of attrition.

Nor was this the only mental tug-ofwills, for Falkenhayn was throughout in ceaseless dispute with Conrad von Hötzendorf, the Chief of the Austrian General Staff. Conrad had launched the Austrian army in a premature and costly offensive into Poland, in August 1914, to relieve the Russian pressure on Germany, while the latter was seeking a decision in France, and now he considered that Austria should be given full support in repayment for this sacrifice. Withheld until the Austrian resistance was severely strained, the growing danger of his ally's collapse forced Falkenhayn to concede support, if not in generous measure.

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On April 1, 1915, Conrad proposed to Falkenhayn a plan to get the most advantage from these slender reënforcements a rupture of the Russian left centre between the Carpathians and the upper Vistula. This TarnowGorlice sector offered the least obstacle to an advance and the best protection to the flanks of a penetration. Falkenhayn accepted the proposal; by suppressing

the earlier correspondence and quoting only his own letter of April 13 he tried to give the impression in his postwar book that he originated the plan. To satisfy the prestige of both allies, the combined Austro-German attacking force was put under a German general, Mackensen, and he in turn under the Austrian Supreme Command.

A large cavalry raid from East Prussia in the north and the gas attack at Ypres thus disclosing prematurely, for a trifling advantage, this new means of surprise- were used to cloak the concentration, between Tarnow and Gorlice, of seven German divisions and seven Austrian divisions and 1500 guns against a front weakly held, by only six Russian divisions, and lacking in rear lines of trenches.

On May 2, 1915, after an intense bombardment had flattened the Russian trenches, the attack was launched and swept through with little opposition. The surprise was complete, the exploitation rapid, and the whole Russian line along the Carpathians was rolled up, until on May 14 the advance through Galicia reached the San, eighty miles from its starting point. Defeat almost turned into disaster when this river was forced at Jaroslau, but the impetus of the advance had momentarily spent itself and German reserves were lacking. Falkenhayn now realized that he had committed himself too far in Galicia to draw back, and that only by bringing more troops from France could he hope to fulfill his purpose of transferring troops back there, as this could only be possible when Russia's offensive power was crippled and her menace to Austria removed.

A fresh bound captured Lemberg by June 22, but the Russians, from their vast man-power resources, had almost made good the loss of 400,000 prisoners, and Falkenhayn's anxiety about

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to strike southeastward. Ludendorff argued that this plan was too much of a frontal attack, and that although the closing in of the two wings might squeeze the Russians it would not cut off their retreat. He wanted to strike far back at their communications while they were still entangled in Poland, but Falkenhayn again rejected the plan, fearing that it would mean a deeper German commitment. The upshot proved Ludendorff's forecast, and at the end of September the Russian retreat, after a nerveracking series of escapes from the salients which the Germans since May had systematically created and then sought to pinch out, came to a definite halt on a straightened line from Riga on the Baltic to Czernowitz on the Rumanian frontier. Russia had been badly lamed, but not destroyed, and, although never again a direct menace to Germany, she was to keep Austria on the rack and to delay the full concentration of German strength in the West for two years, until 1918.

Late in August, Falkenhayn decided to break off large-scale operations on the Eastern Front in order to fulfill and extend his policy of security at all points. Bulgaria's entry into the war was now arranged and he wished to exploit it in order to remove finally the menace from Serbia and to open direct railway communication with his easternmost ally, Turkey, which was still hard-pressed at the Dardanelles. Further, he wished to transfer troops back to France to meet the Franco-British offensive expected in September.

Beginning on October 6, the converging attack of the Austro-German and Bulgarian armies overran Serbia and drove the remnant of her armies out of the country, despite a belated and inadequate attempt of her allies to go to her succor. The French and British forces barely saved themselves by a hasty retreat to Salonika, to which they held on for reasons primarily of policy and prestige. Thither the Serbian army was shipped, to be reconstituted for a fresh share in the struggle. Falkenhayn was satisfied to have opened direct communication with Turkey and opposed Conrad's wish for a continuation of the offensive in order to drive the Franco-British forces from their foothold at Salonika. In his book he puts forward the excuse that examination of the railway system showed that it was insufficient to supply the needs of such an offensive, but recent documents have revealed that the head of the Railway Section, who was sent to investigate, actually reported the opposite.

His limited object achieved, Falkenhayn preferred to leave Salonika in passivity, under guard of the Bulgarians, while he steadily withdrew the German forces for use elsewhere. With gentle sarcasm, the Germans termed Salonika their 'largest internment camp,' and with half a million Allied troops locked up there the jibe had some justification-until 1918. Then the enemy foothold which Falkenhayn had ignored was suddenly expanded, and the collapse of Bulgaria knocked away the first prop of the Germanic Alliance.


With the dawn of 1916, Falkenhayn, feeling now secure everywhere, prepared to fulfill his long-cherished plan for an offensive in the West, but with characteristic limitations. Always an adherent of the strategy of attrition, he

now carried this ruling idea into tactics, and produced the new form of attack by methodical stages, each with a limited objective.

In a memorandum to the Kaiser at Christmas, 1915, he argued that England was the staple of the enemy alliance. "The history of the English wars against the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Napoleon is being repeated. Germany can expect no mercy from this enemy, so long as he still retains the slightest hope of achieving his object.' Except by submarine warfare, however, England and her army were out of reach, for Falkenhayn considered that the English sector of the front did not lend itself to offensive operations. 'In view of our feelings for our archenemy in the war, that is certainly distressing, but it can be endured if we realize that for England the campaign on the Continent... is at bottom a side show. Her real weapons here are the French, Russian, and Italian armies.' Falkenhayn regarded Russia as already paralyzed and Italy's military achievements as unlikely to affect the situation. 'Only France remains. . . . France has almost arrived at the end of her military effort. If her people can be made to understand clearly that in a military sense they have nothing more to hope for, the breaking point would be reached and England's best weapon knocked out of her hand.'

He added that a break-through in mass was unnecessary, and that instead the Germans should aim to bleed France to death by choosing a point of attack for the retention of which the French would be compelled to throw in every man they have.' Such an objective was either Belfort or Verdun, and Falkenhayn chose Verdun, because it was a menace to the main German communications, because it offered a salient and so cramped the defenders, and because of the moral effect if so

renowned a place were lost to France.

Once again Conrad disagreed with Falkenhayn, preferring a concentrated blow to knock Italy out of the war, and arguing that a decision there was more feasible than in the French alternative. Nor was he the only dissentient. The German Crown Prince, who was to have the honor of commanding the Verdun attack, felt that attrition was a two-edged weapon and thought that it would be wiser to finish with Russia first.

Both were overruled, and the Verdun 'bloodletting' incisions began on February 21.

The keynote of the tactical plan was a continuous series of limited advances which by their menace should draw the French reserves into the mincing machine of the German artillery. And each of these advances was itself to be secured from loss by an intense artillery bombardment, brief for surprise, and compensating its short duration by the number of batteries and their rapidity of fire. By this means the objective would be taken and consolidated before the defenders could move up their reserves for counterattack.

But the theory of limitation was carried to an extreme: the first day the front of attack was only two and a half miles. Thus the few scattered packets of surviving Frenchmen caused more delay than would have been possible on a frontage of rational width. This idea of punching a narrow hole was contrary to the advice of members of Falkenhayn's own staff and the executive commanders. When the front was at last extended on March 6 to the other bank of the Meuse, the chance of a break-through had faded, for the French had recovered from their surprise, repaired their original negligence, and the numbers were now balanced. Even so, the superior technique of the

an troops and the reluctance of

the French to cede a yard of ground Falkenhayn had at least gauged the French temperament correctly— turned the balance of attrition in favor of the Germans. But the slow and costly process, and the absence of tangible result, brought no credit to Falkenhayn's 'limited' strategy, and the discontent rose to a height when the offensive failed to prevent ripostes elsewhere. For on June 5, 1916, the Russian army, which Falkenhayn had thought that he could disregard, came to the rescue of France. Under the slight pressure of Brusilov's impromptu advance, the Austrian front collapsed and within three days Brusilov had taken 200,000 prisoners. Never has a mere demonstration had so amazing a success since the walls of Jericho fell at Joshua's trumpet blasts. Although soon checked by its own lack of weight and by prompt German intervention, it compelled Falkenhayn to withdraw troops from the Western Front, and so abandon his plan for a counterstroke against the British offensive preparing on the Somme, as well as the hope of nourishing his Verdun attrition process. It led Rumania to take her fateful decision to enter the war on the side of the Entente. And it caused the downfall of Falkenhayn and his replacement in the supreme command by Hindenburg and Ludendorff. For, although Rumania's unexpected entry was the ostensible reason, the underlying one was the fact that Falkenhayn's 'limited' strategy in 1915 had made possible the Russian recovery which stultified the plan of 1916. Falkenhayn's strategy was history's latest example of the folly of half measures.


He was offered as consolation the post of ambassador at Constantinople and after declining this was given

executive command of the Ninth Army for the campaign against Rumania. Here, if a difficult subordinate, he regilded his laurels by conducting the offensive which threw the Rumanians out of Transylvania, broke through the Carpathians just before the winter snows, and captured Bucharest through a convergent manœuvre with Mackensen's forces from the south. Later he was sent to Turkey for the purpose of regaining Mesopotamia from the British, and when this scheme was abandoned, owing to the burning of the depots with all the ammunition for the campaign, he took over the command in Palestine. He arrived in Jerusalem the day after Allenby's attack on Beersheba, which had forestalled his own offensive, and in a vain attempt to stay the British advance he dissipated the scanty Turkish resources in a series of petty counterattacks. His misunderstanding of local conditions and of the psychology of Turkish troops helped to complete the bankruptcy of Turkish man power, but early in 1918, before the final disaster, he gave way to Liman von Sanders.

Before his death in 1922 he had issued his own account of his work in the Supreme Command and in Rumania, and the studiously impersonal tone-cloaking omissions which cleverly distorted the facts-combined with the likeness of his 'limited' strategy to their own to win him undue credit among British military leaders. Thus the pernicious legend has been created by those who do not trouble to

delve beneath the surface that Falkenhayn was 'the most competent and most farseeing of the German commanders and strategists.'

His countrymen, who knew him intimately, knew him better. Colonel Bauer, the one fixture in the headquarters of the Supreme Command throughout the war and the invaluable assistant in turn of Moltke, Falkenhayn, and Ludendorff, has said of Falkenhayn that he possessed nearly every gift of nature 'except the intuition of a commander; his decisions were half measures, and he wavered even over these. He would probably have made a great statesman, diplomat, or parliamentarian, and was least of all qualified to command in the field.'

The antithesis of Foch, Falkenhayn was an uncompromising realist, and the very excess of this valuable quality was his own poison. Like Napoleon's opponents, he saw too many things at once, and, above all, saw the enemy's strength too clearly. His realization that England was the soul and will of the hostile alliance was proof of his insight, but it merely depressed him.

Falkenhayn's course might well serve as an object lesson of Napoleon's warnings against the 'worst course, which almost always in war is the most pusillanimous or, if you will, the most prudent.' He was the ablest and most scientific general, 'penny wise, pound foolish,' who ever ruined his country by a refusal to take calculated risks. Limitation of risks led to liquidation.

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