The Project Gutenberg eBook, With Our Soldiers in France, by Sherwood Eddy

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Title: With Our Soldiers in France

Author: Sherwood Eddy

Release Date: May 6, 2006 [eBook #18325]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Al Haines

The American Y.M.C.A. Headquarters in Paris.

[Frontispiece: The American Y.M.C.A. Headquarters in Paris.]


Sherwood Eddy

Author of "Suffering and the War," "The Students of Asia," etc.



To M. H. E.




The American Y.M.C.A. Headquarters in Paris . . . . . . Frontispiece

The "Eagle Hut" in London

Harry Lauder Singing at a Y.M.C.A. Meeting.
The officer seated at the extreme right is Captain "Peg"

Wholesome and Entertaining,
Home Refreshments in London

Three Thousand Soldiers in the Crowded Hut


The world is at war. Already more than a score of nations, representing a population of over a thousand millions, or two-thirds of the entire human race, are engaged in a life-and-death struggle on the bloody battlefields of Europe, Asia, and Africa. No man can stand in the mouth of that volcano on a battle front, or meet the trains pouring in with their weary freight of wounded after a battle, or stand by the operating tables and the long rows of cots in the hospitals, or share in sympathy the hardship and suffering of the men who are fighting for us, and remain unmoved. The man must be dead of soul to whom the war does not present a mighty moral challenge. It arraigns our past manner of life and our very civilization. It gives us a new angle of observation, a new point of view, a new test of values. It furnishes a possible moral judgment by which we can weigh our life in the balance and see where we have been found wanting.

These brief sketches are only fragmentary and have of necessity been hastily written. The writer has been asked to state his impression of the work among the men in France. He did not go there to write but to work. He has tried simply to state what he saw and to leave the reader to draw his own conclusions. A mere statement of the grim facts at the front, if they are not sugar-coated or glossed over, may not be pleasant reading, but it is unfair to those at home that they should not know the hard truth of the reality of things as they are.

Before the war broke out, it was the writer's privilege to make an extended tour for work among students in Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece, and to visit Germany. Since the declaration of war, he has visited France, Italy, and Egypt, and has observed the effect of the war throughout Asia, in tours extending over nearly the whole of China and India. Last year he was in the British camps among the soldiers of England, Scotland, and Wales. Since America declared war he has been working with the various divisions of the British and American armies in France, from the great base camps, where hundreds of thousands of men are in training, up to the front with the men in the trenches.

For the sake of those who will follow with deep interest the boys who are already in France, or who will shortly be there, brief accounts are given of the various phases of a soldier's life in the base camps, the training school of the "Bull Ring," at the front, and in the hospitals.



In the midst of our work at a base camp, there came a sudden call to go "up the line" to the great battle front. Leaving the railway, we took a motor and pressed on over the solidly paved roads of France, which are now pulsing arteries of traffic, crowded with trains of motor transports pouring in their steady stream of supplies for the men and munitions for the guns. Now we turn out for the rumbling tank-like caterpillars, which slowly creep forward, drawing the big guns up to the front; then we pass a light field-battery. Next comes a battalion of Tommies swinging down the road, loaded like Christmas trees with their cumbrous kits, sweating, singing, whistling, as they march by with dogged cheer toward the trenches.

We have crossed the Somme with its memories of blood, on across northern France, and now we have passed the Belgian frontier and are in the historic fields of Flanders, where the creaking windmills are still grinding the peasants' corn, and the little church spires stand guard over the sleeping villages. A turn of the road brings us close within sound of the guns, which by night are heard far across France and along the coasts of England. Soon we enter villages, which lie within range of the enemy's "heavies," with their shattered window glass, torn roofs, ruined houses, tottering churches, and deep shell holes in the streets. Now we are in the danger zone and have to put on our shrapnel-proof steel helmets, and box respirators, to be ready for a possible attack of poison gas.

Another turn in the road, and the great battle field rises in grim reality before us. Far to the left stands the terrible Ypres salient, so long swept by the tide of war, and away to the right are the blasted woods of "Plug Street." Right before us rises the historic ridge of Messines, won at such cost during the summer. We are standing now at the foot of the low ridge where the British trenches were so long held under the merciless fire of the enemy. From here to the top of the ridge the ground has been fought over, inch by inch and foot by foot. It is blasted and blackened, deep seamed by shot and shell. The trees stand on the bare ridge, stiff and stark, charred and leafless, like lonely sentinels of the dead. The ground, without a blade of grass left, is torn and tossed as by earthquake and volcano. Trenches have been blown into shapeless heaps of debris. Deep shell holes and mine craters mark the advance of death. Small villages are left without one stone or brick upon another, mere formless heaps, ground almost to dust. Deserted in wild confusion, half buried in the churned mud, on every hand are heaps of unused ammunition, bombs, gas shells, and infernal machines wrecked or hurriedly left in the enemy's flight.

Here on June 7th, at three o'clock in the morning, following the heavy bombardment which had been going on for days, the great attack began. In one division alone the heavy guns had fired 46,000 shells and the field artillery 180,000 more. The sound of the firing was heard across France, throughout Belgium and Holland, and over the Surrey downs of England, 130 miles away.

The Messines ridge is a long, low hill, only about 300 feet in height, but it commands the countryside for miles around, and had become the heavily fortified barrier to bar the Allied advance between Ypres and Armentiers. Since December, 1914, the Germans had seamed the western slopes with trenches, a network of tunnels and of concrete redoubts. Behind the ridge lay the German batteries. For months this ridge had been mined and countermined by both sides, until the English had placed 500 tons of high explosive, that is approximately 1,000,000 pounds of amminol, beneath nineteen strategic points which were to be taken. At the foot of the ridge, along a front of nine miles, the British had concentrated their batteries, heavy guns, and vast supplies of ammunition. Day and night for a week before the battle began, the German positions had been shelled. At times the hurricane of fire died down, but it never ceased. By day and by night the German trenches were raided and explored. A large fleet of tanks was ready for the advance. Hundreds of aviators cleared the air and dropped bombs upon the enemy, assailing his ammunition dumps, aerodromes, and bases of supplies. The battle had to be fought simultaneously by all the forces on the land, in the air, and in the mines underground. All the horrors of the cyclone and the earthquake were harnessed for the conflict.

In the early morning, a short, deathly silence followed the week's terrific bombardment. At 2:50 a. m. the ground opened from beneath, as nineteen great mines were exploded one by one, and fountains of fire and earth like huge volcanoes leaped into the air. Hill 60, which had dealt such deadly damage to the British, was rent asunder and collapsed. It was probably the greatest explosion man ever heard on earth up to that time. Then the guns began anew to prepare for the attack and a carefully planned barrage dropped just in front of the English battalions as they advanced. As the men came forward, the barrage was lifted step by step and dropped just ahead of them, to pulverize the enemy and protect the British troops. By five o'clock Messines itself was captured by the fearless Australians. There was a most desperate struggle just here where we were standing at Wytschaete. All morning the battle raged along this line, but by midday it was in the hands of the dashing Irish division. Seven thousand prisoners were taken, while the British casualties, owing to the effective protection of their terrific barrage, were far less than the German and only one-fifth of what they had calculated as necessary to take this strategic position.

We make our way up to the crest of the Messines ridge where we can look back on the conquered territory and forward to the new lines. The great guns are in action all about us. They are again wearing down the enemy in preparation for the next advance. For the moment we feel only the grand and awful throb of vast titanic forces in terrible conflict. Day and night, in the air, on the earth, and beneath it, the war is slowly or swiftly being waged. The fire of battle smolders or leaps into flames or vast explosions, but never goes out.

Above us the very air is full of conflict. Hanging several hundred feet high are half a dozen huge fixed kite-balloons, with their occupants busily observing, sketching, mapping, or reporting the enemy's movements. Each of these is a target for the attacking aeroplanes and the occupants must be ready, at a moment's notice, to leap into a parachute when they are shot down. High above these balloons a score of British planes are darting about or dashing over the enemy's lines, acting as the eyes of the huge guns hidden away behind us. We are looking at one far up seemingly soaring in peace like a graceful bird poised in the air, when suddenly we see it surrounded by a dozen little white patches of smoke which show that it has come within range of the enemy's anti-aircraft guns and the clouds of shrapnel are bursting about it. Most of them break wide of the mark and it sails on unscathed over the enemy's lines. Just above us is hanging a German taube, obviously watching us and the automobile which we had left below in the road, while the British huge anti-aircraft guns near by are feeling for it, shot after shot.

We duck into our little Y M C A dugout, just under the crest of the ridge. It is an old, deserted German pit for deadly gas shells, which even now are lying about uncomfortably near, in heaps still unexploded. Here the men going to and from the trenches, come in for hot tea or coffee and refreshments night and day. A significant sign forbids more than thirty men to congregate at once in this exposed spot, as sometimes these Y M C A dugouts are blown to atoms by a shell. The one down below in "Plug Street" has been blown to bits, and the man in the one just up the line has been under such fire for several days that he will have to abandon his dugout.

Just in front of us over the ridge is the first line of the present British front. There is no time to build trenches now or to dig themselves in. They just hold the broken line of unconnected shell holes, or swarm in the great craters which are held by rapid fire machine guns. The men go out by night to relieve those who have been holding the ground during the previous day. It is harder for the enemy's artillery to locate and destroy men scattered in these irregular holes and craters than if they were in a clear line of trenches. The British front faces down the slope toward the bristling German lines, dotted with hidden snipers and studded with sputtering machine guns. As the evening falls the batteries behind and all about us open fire. Flash after flash of spurting flame leaps out from the great guns. Boom upon boom, deep voiced and varied, follows from the many calibred guns in the darkness, till the night is lurid and the ground beneath us quivers with the earthquake of bombardment.

High above we hear the piercing shriek of the shells speeding to their fatal mark, and below the crash of the exploding shells of the enemy, which toss the earth in dark waves into the air in the black surf of war. Gun after gun now joins the great chorus, swelling and falling in a hideous symphony of discordant sounds. The whole horizon is lit up and aflame. The sky quivers and reflects the flash of the great guns, as with the constant vibration of heat lightning. Flares and Verey lights of greenish yellow and white turn the night into ghastly day, and like the lurid flames of an inferno light up the battlefield, while the rifles crackle in the glare. Here a parachute-light like a great star hangs suspended almost motionless above us, lighting up the whole battlefield, and now a burning farmhouse or exploding ammunition dump illuminates the sky as from some vast subterranean furnace flung open upon the heavens. All the long sullen night the earth is rocked by slow intermittent rumbling, till with the silent dawn the birds wake and the war-giants sink for a few hours in troubled sleep. Then the new day breaks and the war-planes climb in the clear morning air to begin the battle afresh.

But let us turn from the hard-won ground of Messines to some of the men who fought over it and survived. Here is a young American, Fred R——, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, who fought in this battle with the Canadians, and who told us in his own words the story of those brief hours.

"Our opening barrage lasted about twenty minutes, but in that short time some two million shells were dropped on the enemy from about nine thousand of our guns. We could hear no distinct reports, just one steady roar of continuous explosion. The ground shook beneath us and fragments from the trenches and dugouts caved in about us from the shock. The air was oppressive and you felt difficulty in breathing, as if you were in a vacuum.

"About three o'clock in the morning the order came to 'Stand to!' and shortly after the word rang out 'Up and over! Over the top boys, and the best of luck!' With one foot on the fire step we climbed out of the deep trench and with our rifles we started forward at a walk, behind our advancing barrage. I was tense now and all of a tremble. At a time like this every man is driven to his deepest thoughts. It is not fear exactly, but apprehension and dread of the unknown.

"As we started forward, one young boy fell at my side. I heard him call, 'O, Mother!' as he fell. Another cried, 'O, God!' and sank down on the other side. Then my partner, a boy of eighteen, fell, both legs blown away above the knee. I bound up his wounds and carried him on my back to the nearest dressing station. 'Fred,' he said, 'would you mind kissing me just once? So long!' and with that he was gone. Then I got mad and began to see red. In the first trench I ran amuck and with rifle, bayonet, and bombs I suppose I accounted for twenty men in the hour that followed.

"I've been gassed three times, twice with the old gas and once with the new, and I've had my share. Would I like to go home now? Say, I'd rather be a lamp-post at the foot of Michigan Boulevard in Chicago than the whole electric light system in all the rest of the universe!"

We turned from this young American to Sapper W—— of Western Canada, who had just been through the same battle underground, and asked him to tell us his own story.

"Well, sir, long before the battle we were digging under Hill Number 60. A chance shell exploded on the surface above us and buried us all underground. Three of us were killed and the other two left alive. I had one man across my chest and another across my legs, one dead and the other wounded. We could not move hand or foot. We were buried in there for seven hours and they finally dug us out unconscious.

"Then we started another sap to lay a mine. My pal was listening, with an iron rod driven in the ground and two copper wires leading from it to a head piece, such as a wireless operator uses, so that we could hear the approach of the enemy's sappers, who were countermining against us. My pal asked me to come and listen. But I had hardly got the headpiece on when I said, 'O Lord, they're on us!' and before I could get the thing off my ears the end of our sap fell through and the Germans were at us. There was only room to use revolvers and bayonets in that dark hole and the Germans seemed to get nervous and could not shoot straight in the panic. We lost only one of our men, but we killed seven and took the rest of the twenty prisoners. Then, before they found out what had happened, we crawled through to the German end of the tunnel and blew up their sap.

"You say was I a Christian? Not me! I was wild and going to the devil. But one night I was wounded and lay in a deserted shell hole, shot through the thigh, and unable to move for fifteen hours. I was feeling for a cigarette in my pocket to ease the pain a bit, but all I could find was a little pocket testament which someone had given me, but which I had never read. I managed to get it out and, thinking it might be my last hour, and that I might never be found, I started to read to try and forget my wound. I read the twenty-seventh chapter of Matthew, and sir, that little book changed my life. I have read a chapter every day since then. I was picked up by the infantry and carried to a hospital. One night when I could not sleep for the pain, the nurse asked me if she could do anything for me, and I asked her to read the Bible to me. She said she had never read it in her life, and I said it was about time she began, if that was so. After she read it, she said it helped her too. Yes, I say my prayers on my knees in the tent now. Another boy has joined me this week; and the language in the tent is getting better. I'm off to the front tomorrow to take my turn again. But I'm no longer alone up there in the trenches. It's different now."

We have heard the story of one in the infantry and of a sapper underground. Here is the experience of a young Canadian student from McGill University in the artillery:

"The past weeks have been ten thousand hells. It is nothing but death, noise, blood, and mud. There are only two of our sergeants left now and we have to keep up our spirits. You often feel as if your brain would burst. I couldn't begin to describe the inferno human beings pass through every day. 'Happy' was shot to pieces with a shell a few nights ago while in bed, both arms and one leg off. I carried him for over four hours to the nearest dressing station and then stayed and watched him die. He never whimpered. Though in terrible agony, he died game, as he always was. That is about the hardest knock I have ever had in my life. He is only one of my many friends that have gone. Believe me, war is Hell."

Here is the account of a simple Australian boy in the front trench:

"Fritz had a machine gun to nearly every ten yards. I don't know what became of my friends Hugh and Bill. They were just beside me, but when I looked around both were gone. A shell landed just at the side of me, and I think Hugh and Bill were blown to pieces. I got my wound in the chest and the fragment came out through my back. I thought my last day had come. I dropped into a hole, and no sooner had I got in, than Mack got it through the face. He was able to go back, but I was simply helpless, as my legs refused to move. Anyhow, I pulled the shovel off my back and dug a little ridge in the side of the trench. No sooner had I done this than Fritz started to bombard. One shell fell in the hole in which I was, but exploded in the opposite direction. Then another came and landed just above my head, but it failed to go off. Had it gone off I never would have been here now. I had prayed hard to my God to deliver me from my enemies and when those things happened I felt my prayer was heard and that I was going to come through. I was there in that hole all day and the next night before anyone came near me. At last one of the 19th Battalion chaps came along and went for a stretcher for me."

Such are the varying impressions which a battle makes upon various men. It is no romance, but a grim reality of life and death. Far into the night we lie awake and ask ourselves, what is the meaning of it all?

At first on the field of battle one thrills at the sound of mighty and unearthly forces loosed, but in the din we suddenly realize that boys are dying all about us, and that these guns bear swift death and mangling to suffering men. Between us and the enemy are just a few deep shell holes and a thin red line of flesh and blood, as a human rampart, formed of men who hold their lives in their hands, ready to make the great sacrifice. Behind us are the hidden guns and the support trenches in the narrow strip of hard-won territory. Behind these are the moving columns on the long roads, the pulsing arteries of traffic, and the moving troop trains on the rails. Behind these in turn are the plying ships, the millions of toiling workers, and the suffering hearts of the nations in arms. Whole nations—yes, almost the whole of humanity—are organized for war and dragged into deadly conflict as by some devil's behest, instead of being organized for brotherhood and the building of a better world. Oh, not for this devil's work were men made. Surely mankind must come to its own in these birth pangs of a new era. Never, never again must a whole humanity of the free-born sons of God be dragged into the hell of war to sate the pride or pomp of kings, or to glut the ambition of scheming secret groups who have taught men that they are created as obedient slaves.

Far behind us, marking the slow advance up this ridge of death, are the sheltered cemeteries of white crosses that tell the price that has already been paid. There are five thousand crowded graves in yonder acre alone. Great is the price, awful in its solid weight of agony. This is no longer a war between two peoples, but between two principles; it is as much to free the German people as to protect ourselves. It is not for this narrow strip of hard-won soil, but for every foot of a world that from henceforth must be free. The men who are fighting on grounds of moral principle would rather pay any price than lie at ease under the false shadow of militarism, materialism, and grasping greed. These men are fighting, and many of them know that they are fighting, for a new world. Not only military oppression, but industrial oppression, must go. Not only German militarism, and Russian autocracy, and Turkish cruelty must be done away; but American materialism must be purged in the fiery furnace of this war. Its purposes will reach far beyond our ken, and though man's sin alone has caused the war, its issues are in the hands of God. The whole war has been a demonstration of the result of leaving God out of His world. The world with God left out leaves war; and life with God left out leaves hell.

There must be a turning to God in our own national life. We speak of the menace of German militarism, but what is militarism but armed and aggressive materialism, the deeper principle which lies behind it? And what is materialism but organized selfishness? Materialism and selfishness are the dangers of our own land as well as of Germany. And the war is a call to set our own house in order.

America can no longer live to herself alone. She is fighting for the freedom of humanity. Here on the very field of battle, at the throbbing heart of the conflict, we ask ourselves, What is the real issue of the war? What are they fighting for?

Away there in Austria a young crown prince, Francis Ferdinand, was murdered. It was the spark which set off the powder mine of Europe. But not for him are they fighting. Behind him stood the two contending forces of the growing nationalism of Serbia and the expanding commercialism of Austria. These two forces clashed in conflict, but not for them are they fighting. Behind these stood two greater powers, those of pan-Germanism and pan-Slavism, a growing Germany and a rising Russia, which like a vast glacier for a thousand years had sought the open sea. The ambitions of these two powers clashed in conflict at Constantinople and elsewhere. But not for them are they fighting.

On the western front there were two deeper principles in conflict, those of autocracy and democracy, the question whether one man and a sinister, hidden group of plotting militarists could drag the whole world into war and crush its liberties and its laws beneath the iron heel of despotism, or whether man as man should stand erect in his God-given right of freedom and work out his own destiny in friendly brotherhood.

But behind even the great conflict between autocracy and democracy lay a yet deeper issue. In the last analysis the final question in human life is between a material and a spiritual interpretation of the universe, whether might makes right and the strong are to rule, or whether right makes might and the moral order is supreme. There is a material and a spiritual side of life. On this side is the brute struggle for life; on that, the struggle for the life of others; on the one hand, the fight for the survival of the fittest, and on the other, the fight to make men fit to survive. On the left hand is selfishness and on the right service; on the one side are the red battlefields of the enemy, and on the other is a cross red in sacrifice of a life laid down in the serving and saving of men. There is a final issue in the world between passion and principle, between wrong and right, between darkness and light, between mammon and God, between self and Christ.

This ultimate issue must be faced by individuals and by nations. It is the challenge which confronts men in this war. Seventy years ago a crushed Europe faced the issue in the prophetic words of Mazzini, written in the hour of darkness and defeat:

"Our victory is certain; I declare it with the profoundest conviction, here in exile, and precisely when monarchical reaction appears most insolently secure. What matters the triumph of an hour? What matters it that by concentrating all your means of action, availing yourselves of every artifice, turning to your account those prejudices and jealousies of race which yet for a while endure, and spreading distrust, egotism, and corruption, you have repulsed our forces and restored the former order of things? Can you restore men's faith in it, or think you can long maintain it by brute force alone, now that all faith in it is extinct? Threatened and undermined on every side, can you hold all Europe forever in a stage of siege?" [1]

Pasteur sees the same issue looming even in his day and states it in burning words at the close of his life:

"Two contrary laws seem to be wrestling with each other nowadays, the one a law of blood and of death, ever seeking new means of destruction and forcing nations to be constantly ready for the battlefield; the other a law of peace, work, and health, ever evolving new means of delivering man from the scourges which beset him. The first seeks violent conquests, the other the relief of humanity. The latter places one human life above any victory, while the former would sacrifice hundreds and thousands of lives to the ambition of one. Which of these two laws will ultimately prevail God only knows. We will have tried, by obeying the laws of humanity, to extend the frontiers of Life." [2]

Lincoln faced the same issue in the midst of the war weariness of our own great conflict with words which come back to the nation now with a prophetic call:

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

[1] Life and Writings of Mazzini, vol. v, pp. 269-271.

[2] Life of Pasteur, p. 271.



We are in the midst of an American army encampment in a French village. For miles away over the rolling country the golden harvests of France are ripening in the sun, broken by patches of green field, forest, and stream. The reapers are gathering in the grain. Only old men, women, and children are left to do the work, for the sons of France are away at the battle front. The countryside is more beautiful than the finest parts of New York or Pennsylvania. In almost every valley sleeps a little French hamlet, with its red tiled roofs and its neat stone cottages, clustered about the village church tower. It is a picture of calm and peace and plenty under the summer sun. But the sound of distant guns on the neighboring drill grounds, a bugle call down the village street, the sight of the broad cowboy hats and the khaki uniforms of the American soldiers, arouse us to the realization of a world at war and the fact that our boys are here, fighting for the soil of France and the world's freedom.

We are in a typical French farming village of a thousand people, and here a thousand American soldiers are quartered. A sergeant and a score of men are in each shed or stable or barn loft. The Americans are stationed in a long string of villages down this railway line. Indeed it is hard to tell for the moment whether we are in France or in the States. Here are Uncle Sam's uniforms, brown army tents, and new wooden barracks. The roads are filled with American trucks, wagons, motors, and whizzing motorcycles, American mules, ammunition wagons, machine guns, provisions, and supplies, and American sentinels down every street.

These are the men of the First Division, scattered along behind the French lines, being drilled as rapidly as possible to take their place in the trenches for the relief of the hard-pressed French. The nucleus is made up of the men of the old army, who have seen service in Cuba, Porto Rico, the Philippines, Texas, or along the Mexican border. And with them are young boys of nineteen, twenty, or twenty-one, with clear faces, fresh from their homes, chiefly from the Middle West—from Illinois to Texas.

The first thing that strikes us as we look at these men is their superb kit and outfit. From the broad cowboy hat, the neat uniform close fitting at the waist, down to their American shoes; from the saddles, bits, and bridles to the nose bags of the horses; from the guns, motors, and trucks down to the last shoe lace, the equipment is incomparably the best and most expensive of all that we have seen at the front. The boys themselves are live, clean, strong, and intelligent fellows, probably the best raw material of any of the fighting forces in Europe. The officers tell us that the American troops are natural marksmen and there are no better riflemen in the war zone. The frequency of the sharpshooters' medals, among both the officers and the men, shows that many of them already excel in musketry.

The second impression that strikes us is the crudeness of the new men, and the lack of finish in their drill, as compared with the veteran troops of Britain and France. The progress they have made, however, in the past few weeks under their experienced American officers of the regular army has been truly remarkable.

The next impression we receive is the enormous moral danger to which these men are exposed in this far-away foreign land. During the whole war it is the Overseas Forces, the men farthest from home influences, who have no hope of leave or furlough, who are far removed from all good women and the steadying influence of their own reputations, that have fared the worst in the war. The Americans not only share this danger with the Colonials and other Overseas Forces, but they have an additional danger in their high pay. Here are enlisted men who tell us that they are paid from $35 to $90 a month, from the lowest private to the best paid sergeants. When you remember that the Russian private is allowed only one cent a day, that the Belgian soldier receives only four cents a day, the French private five cents, the German six cents, and the English soldier twenty-five cents a day, most of which has to go for supplementary food to make up for the scantiness of the rations supplied, you realize what it means for the American soldier to be paid from one to three dollars a day, in addition to clothing, expenses, and the best rations of any army in Europe.[1]

Some of these men tell us that they have just received from two to three months' back pay in cash. Here they are with several hundred francs in their hands, buried in a French village, with absolutely no attraction or amusement save drink and immorality. In this little village the only prosperous trade in evidence is that in wines and liquors. The only large wholesale house is the center of the liquor trade and the only freight piled up on the platform of the station consists of wines and champagnes, pouring in to meet the demand of the American soldiers. There are a score of drinking places in this little hamlet. Our boys are unaccustomed to the simple and moderate drinking of the French peasants, and they are plunged into these estaminets with their pockets full of money. Others under the influence of drink have torn up the money or tossed it recklessly away. Prices have doubled and trebled in the village in a few weeks, and the peasants have come to the conclusion that every American soldier must be a millionaire; as the boys have sometimes told them that the pile of notes, which represents several mouths' pay, is the amount they receive every month. Compare this with the $1.80 a month, in addition to a small allowance for his family, which the French private gets, and you will readily see how this false impression is formed.

Temptation and solicitation in Europe have been in almost exact proportion to the pay that the soldier receives. The harpies flock around the men who have the most money. As our American boys are the best paid, and perhaps the most generous and open-hearted and reckless of all the troops, they have proved an easy mark in Paris and the port cities. As soon as they were paid several months' back salary, some of them took "French leave," went on a spree, and did not come back until they were penniless. The officers, fully alive to the danger, are now doing their utmost to cope with the situation; they are seeking to reduce the cash payments to the men and are endeavoring to persuade them to send more of their money home. Court martial and strict punishment have been imposed for drunkenness, in the effort to grapple with this evil.

Will the friends of our American boys away in France try to realize just the situation that confronts them? Imagine a thousand healthy, happy, reckless, irrepressible American youths put down in a French village, without a single place of amusement but a drinking hall, and no social life save such as they can find with the French girls standing in the doorways and on the street corners. Think of all these men shut up, month after month, through the long winter, with nothing to do to occupy their evenings. Then you will begin to realize the seriousness of the situation which the Young Men's Christian Association is trying to meet.

Here on the village green stands a big tent, with the sign "The American Y M C A," and the red triangle, which is already placed upon more than seven hundred British, French, and American Association centers in France. Inside the tent, as the evening falls, scores of boys are sitting at the tables, writing their letters home on note paper provided for them. Here are men playing checkers, dominoes, and other games. Other groups are standing around the folding billiard tables. A hundred men have taken out books from the circulating library, while others are scanning the home papers and the latest news from the front.

Our secretaries have been on the ground for a week, working daily from five o'clock in the morning until midnight. They have unpacked their goods and are doing a driving trade over the counter, to the value of some $200 a day. In certain cases goods are sold at a loss, as it is very hard indeed to get supplies under present war conditions. The steamer "Kansan" was torpedoed, and sank with the whole first shipment of supplies and equipment for the Y M C A huts in France.

Outside a baseball game is exciting rivalry between two companies; while near the door of the tent a ring is formed and the men are cheering pair after pair as they put on the boxing gloves and with good humor are learning to take some rather heavy slugging. Poor boys, they will have to stand much worse punishment than this before the winter is over. Just beside the present tent there is being rushed into position a big Y M C A hut which will accommodate temporarily a thousand men, before it is taken to pieces and shipped to some new center. The Association has ordered from Paris a number of permanent pine huts, 60 by 120 feet, which will accommodate 2,000 soldiers each, and keep them warm and well occupied during the long cold winter evenings that are to come. On the railway siding at the moment are nine temporary huts, packed in sections for immediate construction, and a score of permanent buildings have been ordered to be erected as fast as the locations for the camps are selected by the military authorities. Indeed, the aim is to have them on the ground and ready before the boys arrive and take the first plunge in the wrong direction.

What is the life that our boys are living here at the front? Let us go through a day with the battalion quartered in this village. At five o'clock in the morning the first bugle sounds. The boys are quickly on their feet, dressing, washing, getting ready for the day's drill. In half an hour they are tucking away a generous breakfast provided by Uncle Sam, of hot bacon, fried potatoes and coffee, good home made bread, and as much of it as a man can eat. They get meat twice a day, and we have found no soldiers in Europe who receive rations that compare with the food that our boys receive.

By 6:40 a. m. the men have reached the drill ground on the open fields above the village and are ready to begin the eight or nine hours of hard work and exercise that is before them. Half of each day is spent with the French troops, learning more quickly with an object lesson before them, and the remaining half day is spent in training by themselves. The French squad goes through the drill or movement; then the American battalion, after watching them, is put through the same practice. They are trained in bayonet work and charges, in musketry and machine gun practice, in the handling of grenades, and the throwing of bombs. There is evidence of speeding up and an apparent pressure to get them quickly into shape, in order to take their place in the trenches before the winter sets in. A few weeks at the front with the French troops will soon give them experience, and after a winter in the trenches, the men of these first divisions will doubtless form the nucleus for a large American army, and provide the drill masters quickly to train the men for the spring offensive.

On the day we were there, after a hard morning's drill, the Colonel assembled three battalions and put them through the first regimental formation and the first regimental review since landing in France. The men of the First, Second, and Third battalions marched by, and one could quickly contrast the disciplined movements of the veterans or old soldiers with the crude drill of the new recruits, some of whom could not keep step or smoothly execute the movements.

At the noon hour, after the men had taken their midday meal and had rested for a few minutes, the Colonel asked us if we would address the troops. Some two thousand men were marched in close formation around the large military wagon on which we were to stand. The mules were unhitched and the men seated themselves on the grass, while the band played several pieces. A great hunger of heart possesses any man with half a soul as he looks into the faces of these boys, beset by fierce temptations and facing a terrible winter in the trenches. At the beginning we reminded them of the words of Lord Kitchener to his troops before they left for France: "You are ordered abroad as a soldier. . . Remember that the honor of the Army depends upon your individual conduct. . . Your duty cannot be done unless your health is sound. So keep constantly on your guard against any excesses. In this new experience you may find temptations both in wine and women. You must entirely resist both temptations, … treating all women with perfect courtesy." [2] Kitchener's words furnish a text for the two-fold danger which confronts these men. Here for an unhurried hour, with the generous backing of the officers, we plead with the men on military, medical, and moral grounds, for the sake of their own homes and families, for the sake of conscience and country, on the grounds of duty both to God and to man, to hold to the high ideals and the best traditions of the homeland. Here, with no church save the great dome of God's blue heaven above us, seated on the green grass, under the warm summer sun, we have the priceless privilege of trying to safeguard the life of these men in the grave danger of wartime.

We were encouraged alike by the splendid support of the officers and the warm-hearted and eager response of the men as they broke into prolonged applause. The General in command attended one meeting and pledged us his support for our whole program for the men. He had already cooperated with us most generously on the Canal Zone, in the Philippines, and in Mexico. Three colonels presided at three successive meetings, and gave the work their strong moral support. Three bands were furnished in two days. The official backing of the authorities placed the stamp of approval on the whole moral effort for the welfare of the men. In no other army in Europe that we have seen have the officers taken such a keen interest in the highest welfare of the troops, or offered such constant and efficient cooperation with every effort to surround the men with the best moral influences.

After the meeting, the regimental parade and the strenuous physical drill of the morning, the Colonel called for a short break, and the men gathered to learn some popular songs. Major Roosevelt assembled his battalion, and Archie Roosevelt enthusiastically led the men in singing Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the modern soldier songs of the war.

After nine hours of hard drill, the men swung cheerfully down the hillside into the village street. Now they have lined up, and with ravenous appetites are waiting for the evening meal. We are almost as hungry as they, and are glad to share the meal with them. Here on the table are huge piles of good home-made bread. It is almost the first white bread we have seen after months of brown war bread in England and France. Here are heaping plates of good pork and beans, tinned salmon, plenty of fried potatoes, and piping hot coffee. This is followed by a delicious pudding, as good as the men would have had in their own homes. Well fed, well clothed, well equipped, sleeping under Uncle Sam's warm blankets, on comfortable "Gold Medal" cots, our boys are well cared for.

In another village, at the close of the day, the Colonel commanding two battalions of the infantry called the men together in the open square of the market place, and after a band concert invited us to address the troops on the moral issues of the war. The next day almost the same program was repeated, and at noon in an open field on a grassy hillside the Major of another battalion marched out his men for a similar lecture. Every commanding officer seemed eager to arrange for meetings, to summon the men, and to back up the messages given to them. Not only have General Pershing, General Sibert, and the Colonels commanding the various regiments, met us half way in every plan for the welfare of the troops; but they have taken the initiative in insisting that every provision should be made for the physical, mental, and moral occupation and safeguarding of the men.

Probably more men are led astray in the war zone when they go on leave than at any other time, in reaction from the deadly monotony of camp life, or the inferno of the trenches. London and Paris are the chief centers of danger. In London, just before sailing for the States, we visited the finely equipped American "Eagle" Hut in the Strand. It would be difficult to devise a more homelike or attractive place for soldiers. In addition to sleeping accommodations for several hundred men, the lounge and recreation rooms, the big fireplaces and comfortable chairs suggested the equipment of an up-to-date club, in marked contrast to the surroundings of a cheerless soldiers' barracks.

The "Eagle Hut" in London.

[Illustration: The "Eagle Hut" in London.]

In Paris, in addition to the permanent headquarters at 31 Avenue Montaigne, we are hoping to provide hotels and hostels and guides for supervised parties to see the chief points of interest, and to plan such healthy occupation for the soldiers that the evils of the city may be counteracted. Better still we are planning resorts in the French Alps, where summer and winter sports, athletics, mountain climbing, and physical and mental recreation will obviate altogether the necessity of leave to Paris for many of the soldiers of the United States and Canada. In the first resort we are arranging for special rates and moderate charges at the hotels and have the pledge of the civil authorities to keep the place wholesome and absolutely to prevent the incoming of camp followers. The Association is planning to take over the best hotel, which can be made into an attractive social center for the entire camp. A score of American and as many Canadian ladies will help to provide social recreation and amusement for the men, which will prove a greater attraction than the dangerous leave in Paris.

A glance at one or two typical meetings held in various camps will show how we are trying to help our boys face the pressing problems of a soldier's life.

We enter a large hut filled with a thousand soldiers. Here are many men who have been driven toward God and who are face to face with the great realities of life, death, and the future as never before in their lives, eager for any message which may help them. But here are several hundred others who have fallen victims to evil habits and who are determined you shall not force religion down their throats. How are we to capture the attention of this mass of men and hold them? Will they bolt or stand fire? The time has come to begin the meeting and we plunge in. "Come on, boys, let's have a sing-song; gather round the piano and let's sing some of the old camp songs." Out come the little camp song books, and we start in on a few favorite choruses. A dozen voices call for "John Brown's Body," "Tennessee," "Kentucky Home," "A Long, Long Trail," etc. Soon we have several hundred men seated around the piano and the chorus gathers in volume. Now we call for local talent. A boy with blue eyes and a clear tenor voice sings of home. A red-headed humorist climbs on the table; and at his impersonations, his acting, and comic songs, the crowd shouts with glee.

Our heart sinks within us as we look over this sea of faces and wonder how we are going to hold this crowd that this man seems to have in the hollow of his hand. Somehow these men must be gripped and held to the last. "Boys, what was the greatest battle of the war?" we ask. "Was it the brave stand of little Belgium at Liege? Was it the splendid retreat of the little British army from Mons? Was it the battle of the Marne, when the French and British struck their first offensive blow? Was it the great stand at Ypres, or the defense of Verdun, or the drive on the Somme? What is your hardest battle? Is it not within, in the fight with passion? Now is the time to challenge every sin that weakens a man or the nation. How about drink? Is it a friend or foe? How about gambling? How about impurity?" Here we mass our guns on the greatest danger of the war. In five minutes the room is quiet, in ten minutes we have the ear of every man in the hut, the last man has stopped talking, and now the battle is on. They are gripped on the moral question; how can we get them to the religious issue? These men have the root of religion in their souls, but they do not know it. They believe in strength, in purity, in generosity. We show that they are often falling before temptation, but the very things that they most admire are all found in their fulness in Jesus Christ.

Now we make use of a simple illustration. We hold up a gold coin hidden in our hand and offer it as a gift. "Who will take me at my word and ask for this gift?" At last a man rises in the back of the hall, there is a little scene, and then a burst of applause as he receives it and goes to his seat. "Now why didn't you come? Some of you didn't believe me, some were ashamed to come up before everybody and ask for it, some were just waiting; and so all lost your chance. Once again I offer a gift. Here is something more valuable than all the gold on earth—heaven to be had for the asking; the free gift of God is eternal life. Why don't you come? For the same three reasons. Some of you don't believe, some are afraid to show their colors, some are just waiting. You will soon start for the front to take your place in the trenches. Are you ready for life or death? What will you do with Jesus Christ?"

We have had them forty minutes now and many a man is listening as for his life. We hold up the pledge card of the war roll. "How many of you are willing to take your stand against drink, gambling, and impurity, to break away from sin, and to sign the war roll, which says: 'I pledge my allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour and King, by God's help to fight His battles and bring victory to His Kingdom'? Who will take his stand for Christ and sign tonight?" Here and there all over the house men begin to rise. A hundred come forward to get cards and sign them. Then every head is bowed and in the stillness we pray for these boys; for they are mere lads, with ruddy checks, fresh from the farm or the city.

Now the meeting breaks up and we move down into the crowd. Men come up and ask for private talks, some to confess their sins and others to request prayer. Here is a boy who is friendless and homeless and in need; the next man has just lost his wife, his home, and his money, but here in the war he has been driven to prayer and has found God. He has lost everything, but he tells us with a brave smile that he has gained all, and now wishes to prepare for the ministry to preach the Gospel. Next is a young atheist, an illegitimate child, a circus actor, who has now found God and wants to know how to relate his life to Christ. The next man is a jockey, who in the midst of his sins enlisted in order that he might die for others and try to atone for his past life.

Later, we were holding evangelistic meetings among the boys of another regiment. One Sunday evening we were in a big hut where the meeting was about to begin. Many of the men were writing to the old folks at home. Captain "Peg" of Canada, who was with us to lead the singing, stepped on the platform and announced a hymn. Immediately several hundred men flocked to the seats and began singing the Christian hymns they knew at home. Eyes lit up and faces were aglow as they sang "Nearer, My God, to Thee," "Lead, Kindly Light," and "Fight the Good Fight." Gradually the numbers increased until a thousand men were singing. Then we began the address. Here were open-hearted boys some of whom had gone down before the temptations of the port cities and who now have to face the dangers of a camp in France. We began on moral themes. Within half an hour it seemed as if the better nature of every man was with us. The Christian ideals of home, of the Church, and of their own best selves surged up again, until we had seated and standing nearly twelve hundred men, many of whom were ready to make the fight for purity with the help of Jesus Christ. One can never forget that closing hymn as the men rose to sing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." We saw tear-stained faces before us as nearly the whole company joined in the song "Tell Mother I'll Be There."

Here was one poor fellow who felt he could not sign the decision card. He sent up this little note: "I am the worst man in the tent—a man who robbed his old father of his life's savings. How can I hope to be any good again without any prospect of ever being able to repay this money?" But before he left he had accepted God's forgiveness, and the dawn of a new eternity breaks upon his happy face. There was another man, the worst character in the regiment. Finally, touched by the secretary's kindness, he had read his little pocket Testament in prison, had yielded his life to Christ, and was now witnessing among the soldiers in the camp. Another, broken down, came up to say he had wronged a girl at home, and to ask if there was any hope for him. The last man, Bob A——, serving at present with a British regiment, tells us he was a Christian in Cleveland, Ohio, before the war. He lay all last night drunk in the fields, but, convicted of his profligate life, he repented and turned back again to God. There was another boy who stopped to tell us that ever since a previous meeting he had knelt in prayer every night before all the men.

At the close of the meeting another man stepped up and handed in a letter, saying: "Thank you for that message tonight, sir. I will be true to the little girl I left at home. Here is a letter I had just written to a bad woman. God helping me I will not go. I have signed the War Roll tonight and I am going to be true to it." Hundreds of men filed past and shook hands in gratitude.

We were facing an average of some five hundred men every night in the week and a thousand or more on Sunday. One humble private who had been a pilot out at sea, handed us a poem which he had just written, the last lines of which are typical of the verses many of the men are writing these days:

"And if I fall, Lord, take an erring mortal
        Into those realms of peace and joy above;
And, by-and-by, at Thy fair mansion's portal,
        Let me find there the little girl I love."

In all our meetings our aim has been to enable men to find themselves by coming into a personal and vital relation with God as Father, through Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to evangelize, but not to proselytize. We aim to make each man more loyal to his own church. During the three years of the war, we have never known of a man changing his church or being asked to do so. Our aim is not to change any man's ecclesiastical position, but to make him a truer and stronger man in the church where he is. The great outstanding issue in war time is not between creed and creed, between sect and sect, but between God and mammon, between right and wrong, purity and impurity. We have no contention concerning the questions that divide us; we are fighting for the great fundamentals upon which we are all united, for God and moral manhood.

[1] According to the War Bulletin of the National Geographic Society, issued in Washington in September 1917, a first class American private drawing $26.60 a month receives more than a Russian colonel or a German or Austrian lieutenant. An American lieutenant receives more than a British lieutenant colonel, a French colonel, or a Russian general.

[2] See Appendix IV.



Just before going into the trenches the British, French, and American troops take a final course for a few weeks in a training school, where the expert drill masters put them through a rigorous discipline, and the finishing touches are given to each regiment. At the moment of writing our American boys are going through such a course, "somewhere in France." The men commonly call this training school, or specially prepared final drill ground, the "Bull Ring." It is a thrilling spectacle to see many thousands of men across a vast plain going through the various maneuvers of actual warfare as it is practiced today at the front. Perhaps a brief description of such a drill ground may be of interest to those who are following the fortunes of our soldiers.

At six the bugle sounds and the whole camp is astir. Outside there is the clatter of feet as the men fall in after a hasty breakfast. The shrapnel-proof steel helmets are donned, the heavy seventy-pound kits and rifles are swung to the broad backs, the band strikes up "Pack Up Your Troubles," and our battalion is on the march for the "Bull Ring."

First comes the ceremonial parade. A whole brigade swings into line and must prove that it can move as one man, as a perfect machine, without flaw or friction. One master mind directs every motion, and at the word of command thousands of feet are moving in exact time, wheeling, marching, maneuvering with a precision that proves the long months of patient practice. This finish of discipline and perfection of unity have their part to play in the winning of the battle raging at this moment up the line.

Next the men must pass through the deadly gas chambers, to be ready to meet the attack of the enemy fully prepared. More fatal than the prussic acid which the Prussian has occasionally employed, is the deadly mixture of chlorine and phosgene, which has been most commonly used. In a gentle favoring wind it is put over invisible in the darkness, and if it catches the foe unprepared, can kill from ten to fifteen miles behind the lines. The mixture is squirted as a liquid from metal generators. It quickly forms a dense greenish yellow cloud of poison vapor, which floats away in the darkness. Its success must depend on the element of surprise, taking the enemy unprepared and choking him, awake or asleep, in the first few moments before the horns, gongs, and whistles send the alarm for miles behind the trenches.

Recently a new so-called "mustard gas" has been used by the enemy with deadly effect, owing to the fact that it is both invisible and odorless. It is sent over in exploding shells, and sinks in a heavy invisible vapor about the sleeping men, creeping into their dugouts and trenches or enveloping them around the guns or in the shell holes. The effects do not manifest themselves for several hours. With stinging pain the man's eyes begin to close, and for a time he may go almost blind. He is then taken violently sick. The surface of the lungs and the entire body, especially where it is moist with perspiration, is burned. The skin may blister and come off. Many cases have proved fatal and many more suffer cruelly for weeks in hospital. With the men we attended a lecture on the nature of the various gases used by the enemy and the proper methods of meeting them. The lecture throughout was unconsciously couched almost in theological language. The instructor first disposed of what he called superstitious "heresies" concerning the gas, in order to prevent the men from having panic and "getting the wind up." There is a foolish rumor which says, "One breath and you are ruptured for life, or you fall dead the next morning," etc., etc., but he warns the men of its deadly nature and tells them they are to be saved from its fatal effects by knowing the truth.

The instructor explains that if they take four deep breaths it will prove fatal: "One breath and you catch the first spasm, two and you are mad, three and you are unconscious, four and you are dead. If you keep your presence of mind and hold your breath you will have six seconds to get on your gas helmet or respirator." The attack, remember, is a surprise in the dark; brain-splitting gas shells are dropping on all sides, and it is hard to keep cool and hold one's breath in the moment of sudden surprise and panic. We are told that there are fifteen mistakes which are easily possible in getting on this complicated helmet, or if there is one big blunder in the sudden surprise the man is done for.

Before going through the death chamber, helmets are inspected, to see that they are sound and unpunctured, and the men are drilled in the open to practice putting them on quickly. Suddenly the warning whistle of an imaginary gas attack sounds. One backward fling of the head and the steel helmet falls off, for there is no time to lift it off. A dive into the bag carried on the chest and the respirator is grasped and with one skilful swoop it is drawn over the face. Your nose is pinched shut by a clamp, your teeth grip the rubber mouthpiece, and, like a diver, you must now get your one safe stream of pure air through the respirator. You draw in the air from a tube which rises from a tin of chemical on your chest. Then you can breathe in the dense, deadly, greenish chlorine vapor, for as it passes through the respirator filled with chemicals, it is absorbed, neutralized, oxidized, and purified into a stream of pure air. All about you may be choking fumes of death which would kill you in four seconds, yet you will be completely immune, breathing a purified atmosphere.

The soldiers are now marched up to this chamber of horrors to walk through the poison gas. Many have "the wind up" (i. e., they are afraid inside, but are ashamed to show it). Reliance on the guide, the expert who has been through it all, and the sense of companionship, the stronger ones unconsciously strengthening the weak, have a steadying effect upon all the men. The soldiers have had four hours' drill to prepare them, but the "padre" and I, who are now permitted to go through, have had but four minutes. I am trying to remember a number of things all at once. Above all I must keep cool and assure myself that there is no danger if only I trust and obey what the expert has said. I fling on the helmet and we start into the death chamber, but suddenly a string is loose—will the respirator work? There seems to be something the matter with my nosepiece which should be clamped shut. I would like to ask the instructor just one question to make sure, but I can no more talk than a diver beneath the sea. It is too late, we are moving, I can only hope and trust the helmet will hold. We have left the sunlight and are in a long dark covered chamber, like a trench, groping forward, and looking at a distant point of light through the dim goggles. We are alone in these deadly fumes, the instructor is not here, there is a tense silence, and all about us is the poison of death. Oh, what was that fourth point that I was to remember? Why has the guide turned back? I thought we were to go out at the further end, where last week the poor fellow fell who lifted his helmet a moment too soon after he got out and caught one whiff which sent him to the hospital, but instead we seem to be turning around and going back. But there is no time for explanations or questions now; we just plod on through the darkness and soon we are out in the sunlight again—safe!—in God's pure air. Oh, why did man ever want to pollute it and poison his brother with these deadly fumes of hell!

As a special favor, the instructor allows us, without a mask, to take one swift look into the fumes as we hold our breath. That yellow green chlorine will corrode the lungs and fill them with pus and blood. The phosgene is much more deadly and will strike the man down with sudden failure of the heart.

We were also sent through a chamber of the invisible "tear gas," without a mask. The object of this is to take away the fear of the gas from the men. This particular gas has no effect upon the lungs, but sends a stinging pain through the eyes, so that one weeps blindly for some minutes and could not possibly see to shoot or to defend himself.

We are now ready to return to another lecture with more understanding. No wonder these tired boys under the heavy, hot steel helmets, which absorb the heat of the scorching sun, are listening with all their ears, yet one or two fall asleep for very weariness and may again be caught napping by the enemy's poison gas up the line. The instructor is in dead earnest, for the life of every man during the coming conflict may depend upon his message. His words are still in my ears, for they were strangely like a sermon:

"Men, I am going to tell you the truth about this deadly gas and you must believe it, for your life will depend upon it. It can kill and no doubt about it. But for every poison of the enemy there's an antidote and we have found it. Your helmet is perfect and you simply must believe in it, you must trust to it. We have made full provision for your safety. If you go under it will be your own fault from one of four causes—unbelief, disobedience, carelessness, or fear. If you carelessly go without your helmet it means death. During an attack, after putting on the respirator, just stand and wait. There is nothing you can do for yourself except to keep your helmet on. Your skill, your strength are nothing. Now if you are caught in an attack unawares remember if you're still alive at all, there's hope. Don't lose courage. If your confidence goes, you lose ninety per cent of your defense, for the sole hope of the enemy in gas is surprise and panic. If you are gassed, don't move. Keep still, keep warm, don't worry, and wait. To move or try to save yourself will be fatal.

"The enemy will put over three or four waves with a break between. The gas may come for some hours. To remove your helmet before the attack is over will be fatal. Within a quarter of an hour after the gas has ceased, the charge of the enemy will come and you must never let him get past your barbed wired entanglements. After exposure to gas, all food, water, and wells are poisonous. The heavy gas must be expelled from the trenches by fans before the charge comes. Only remember, you must believe what I say, keep your helmet on in time of danger and you are perfectly safe."

There is a vast difference between the warning and the preparatory exposure to the gas by your guide and the deadly surprise of the enemy. The former is a trial to prepare you, the latter is an effort to destroy you. The whole experience was so obviously parallel to the deadly moral dangers which surround the soldier in war time that it needs no comment. The one and only safety in the time of temptation is to put on the whole armor of God, especially the "helmet of salvation," then to trust and obey and stand fast.

The writer has just come from a ward in the hospital filled with patients suffering from the new gas which the enemy has lately put over. It is, as we have said, invisible and odorless, so the men receive no warning, and consequently do not put on their masks. They do not know that they are being gassed until hours afterwards, when they find they are burned from head to foot. Here are twenty men lying in this tent, suffering from this new torture. This first boy, with a wan smile that goes right to your heart, can only whisper from his burnt-out lungs and cannot tell us his story. The next man was taken with vomiting five hours after the gas shells exploded. Seven of his fourteen companions sleeping in the dugout were killed outright, the others were gassed. He does not know where they are. He lay unconscious for several days, and now his eyes and skin are burned as though he had passed through a fire. The next boy is badly burned in his eyes and chest. Half the men of his battery were killed by gas while asleep at night. On the next cot is a boy who has been suffering for seventeen days; the burns on his body have been improving, his lungs also are better, but he is still blind and fears he may lose his sight. He asks me to write a letter for him to his mother. "Only," he says, "don't tell her about my eyes." Together we make up a cheerful letter, and the boy rests back on his cot to pray for his returning eyesight. The next two beds are empty. Both the men died in the night, falling an easy prey to pneumonia in their weakened condition. The next boy is from the infantry. Out of his squad nine were killed by the explosion of the shell, eight wounded, and the rest badly burned. The neck, chest, arms, and legs of this boy are burned and blistered. The deadly gas fumes have burned right through his clothing.

Such is the effect of this new and latest triumph of modern science, which will shatter the hopes and happiness of thousands of homes.

After passing through the gas chambers, we visited the bombing section of the training school. Here each man has to throw one or more live bombs and receive his final coaching. The bomb is about the size of a lemon, and is made to break into small fragments. It contains enough of the high explosive to kill a whole group of men. The boy advances and grasps the bomb; he draws out the pin and holds down the lever. Once this is released, it explodes in just five seconds. The man heaves his bomb over a parapet at a dummy dressed in German uniform. The whistle blows and we all duck. There is a terrific explosion like a small cannon and you hear the pieces whizzing through the air. Every man is holding in his hand and wielding a terrible power. Wrongly used, it is death to himself and his comrades. The other day a boy's hand was moist with perspiration and the bomb slipped, killing the group. Another prematurely exploded as it was being thrown, carrying away the man's own hand and killing the instructor. So it is a dangerous business. During the morning there were only four "duds," or bombs that would not go off.

After the bombing section, we pass with the men to the trenches. Bayonets are drawn and rifles loaded. After firing several rounds, comes the command, "Advance." At a bound they are "over the top" and off, heads down; they run very slowly and keep together. A breathless man who outruns his comrades is useless and is soon killed by the enemy. The drill sergeant shouts to the men "Keep together, keep together, men, one man can't take a trench," and my friend the "padre" notes his words to tell to his congregation when he goes home, where the minister can't do all the work. When they are near the enemy's trench, the final word "Charge" is shouted, the whole line leaps forward with a wild yell, and the bayonets are driven into the stuffed sacks which are suspended as dummies to serve in the place of men.

For miles across the great plain the "Bull Ring" is alive with men. Here in one section they are doing physical drill and learning to go over all kinds of obstacles—trenches, fences, barbed wire, shell holes, and ditches. There they are practicing musketry and advancing under cover. In one place the artillery is in full swing, and in another you hear the sputter of the machine guns. In one section they are taught to dig trenches and in another to take them.

Before a great advance where a system of trenches is to be taken, a "rehearsal" often takes place. From a height of thousands of feet above the lines the aircraft with powerful telescopic cameras photograph every foot of the battlefield covered by the enemy's lines. These photographs are developed and studied and diagrams drawn from them of the enemy's system of trenches. These diagrams are reproduced far behind the front in elaborately prepared earthwork and trenches which are an exact replica of the enemy's lines. The divisions which are to take part in the attack are sent back to rehearse their exact duties at just the point corresponding to that which they will have to take. Each officer knows every nook and crevice, each bay and angle of the trenches he will have to capture. When all is ready the men are placed in their exact positions and they execute in reality what they have rehearsed in theory behind the lines. The lesson of preparedness and organization is studied and mastered with infinite care.




In sheltered America we cannot realize what war means, but when we entered the warring countries of Europe, in an instant we were in a different atmosphere. We landed in England upon a darkened coast, we entered a darkened train, where every blind was drawn lest it furnish a guide to London for invading Zeppelins or aeroplanes. We passed through gloomy towns and villages, where not a single light was showing from a window, where every street lamp and railway station was darkened or hidden. Automobiles with a dim spark of light groped through the black streets of the metropolis.

In London we saw a great Zeppelin brought down in flames. It was a sight never to be forgotten. At half-past two in the morning we were awakened by the roar of the anti-aircraft guns in and around the city. After traveling all night from Germany, one Zeppelin had arrived over London and a whole fleet of them was scattered over the coasts and counties of England.

We sprang to the window and found the sky swept by a score of searchlights with their great shafts of piercing light, shooting from the dark depths of the city high into the sky, where they all converged on a single bright object that hung nine thousand feet above us. Long, and shining like silver with its flashing aluminum, the Zeppelin seemed held as if blinded by the fierce light. Bombs were dropping from it and explosions followed in rapid succession in the city beneath.

It was a battle to the death, high in the air with all London looking on. The guns were in full play and the shell and shrapnel were bursting all about the Zeppelin. Sometimes you could trace the whole trajectory of a projectile, as a spark of light swept through the sky toward the Zeppelin and then burst to the right or left, above or below it. Most of the shots seemed to go wide of the mark. More than a score of aeroplanes had been sent up to attack it, with one plane to guide the rest and signal to the guns below by wireless or lights. The battle finally developed into a duel to the death between the machine guns of the Zeppelin and Lieutenant Robinson of the Flying Corps, who was up for two hours in his aeroplane after the enemy—one man fighting for a city of five millions. He attacked from below and bombs were thrown at his plane; then he attacked from the side as he circled about the monster, but he was driven off by their machine guns. At last, mounting high in the sky, he attacked from above. The guide-plane flashed down the signal for the guns to cease firing and give him a chance.

For a few moments all was silent; the battle seemed to be over. The great airship, which had swung sharply to the left, was triumphantly leaving for home. Then it was that Robinson dropped his incendiary bomb. Suddenly there was an explosion. A flame of burning gas leaped into the sky. London was lit up for ten miles round-about. Our room was instantly as bright as though a searchlight had flashed into the window. Far above us was the Zeppelin in flames. Now it began to sink—first it was in a blaze of white light, then its outline turned to a dull red, finally it crumpled to a glowing cinder, sank from sight, and fell crashing to the earth. Then all was dark again. Death had fallen suddenly upon the men in the Zeppelin and upon some in the sleeping city below.

As we drove through London we passed the draper's shop, near St. Paul's Cathedral, where George Williams and a group of twelve young men met in a little upper room on June 6, 1844, to organize the first Young Men's Christian Association. A dozen young men with little wealth, influence, or education might not seem a very formidable force, but twelve men have upset the world and changed the course of history before now. They had only thirteen shillings, or $3.25, in the treasury, and were too poor even to print and send out a circular announcing their little organization. But George Williams brought his fist down on the table, with the confident words, "If this movement is of God, the money will come."

It has come. The twelve men have been multiplied now to a million and a half, scattered in forty lands. Girded with new strength and with the dauntless optimism of youth, the movement has risen up to minister not only to the millions of British and American soldiers and munition workers, but also to the men in the camps, hospitals, or prisons in most of the nations now at war. The thirteen shillings have been multiplied until now the permanent Y M C A buildings are worth over a hundred million dollars. An average of two new huts or centers have been erected and opened by the British or American Associations every day since war was declared; while two permanent buildings in brick or stone rise each week in some part of the world.

Wars are the birth-pangs of new eras. A new day dawned for the Young Men's Christian Association with the present war. At midnight on August 4, 1914, the British Association as it had been for seventy years was buried and forgotten, and a new movement arose on the ruins of the old. Ninety per cent of its former workers left to join the colors, but a new army of over thirty thousand men and women was mustered and trained within its huts for the service of the British soldiers. The Y M C A had suddenly to "think imperially," and to minister to a world at war.

Seventy years ago George Williams was the man of the hour, but a leader of the British war work of the Y M C A was found in the present crisis in the person of Mr. A. K. Yapp, General Secretary of the National Council of Great Britain, who has recently been knighted by virtue of his distinguished service for the nation. He had spent Sunday, August second, in deep searching of heart and had caught a vision of what the war would mean, and the opportunity that would be presented to an organization that was interdenominational, international, readily mobile, and adaptable enough instantly to meet a great national crisis.

Within a fortnight the British army and the whole British navy were mobilized for war. During that time the Y M C A was represented in four-fifths of the camps of the territorial forces and 250 centers were opened. In six months 500 centers were occupied; at the end of the first year there were 1,000, and after two years of the war 1,500 such centers were in full swing. The area of operations includes the British Isles, Egypt, the Dardanelles, Malta, the Mediterranean ports, India, Mesopotamia, East and South Africa, Canada, Australia, and out to the last limits of Britain's far flung battle line.

The Y M C A has a strong homing instinct, aiming to provide "a home away from home." In the dugouts behind the trenches, in the deserts of Egypt, or in the jungles of Africa, it has been forced to make a home in every kind of shelter. It was significant that its first three successive dwelling places seventy years ago were a little bedroom, a coffee house, and a room in a tavern. During the present war, one may see Associations in actual operation along the fighting line in France, in a cowshed, a pigsty, a stable, a hop-house, dugouts under the earth; in battered and ruined buildings in Flanders; in tents in the Sahara and on the ancient Peninsula of Mt. Sinai; at the bases of the big battle fleets; in the rest houses of the flying corps; on the Bourse in Cairo; in hotels taken over in Switzerland and France, and in the great Crystal Palace of London. In four centers it has used and transformed a brewery, a saloon, a theater, and a museum. Its dwellings stretch away from the tents of "Caesar's Camp," where the Roman Julius lauded in 55 B. C., on the southern shores of Britain, to the far north, in the new naval institute at Invergordon, erected for the sailors of the Grand Fleet at a cost of more than $20,000. They range from the battered dugouts at the front in France to the Shakespeare hut in London, costing more than $30,000. They stretch from the rest huts of the great metropolis, with sleeping and feeding accommodations for some ten thousand men a day during the dangerous period of leave in London, away to the hut in "Plug Street" Woods, recently blown to atoms by a shell, where the secretary escaped by a few seconds and returned to find literally nothing left save the rims of his spectacles and two coins melted and fused together by the terrific heat of the explosion. Several of the secretaries and workers have been killed by shell fire, or in transit by torpedoes from submarines, while other Association men have received the Victoria Cross for heroism in action.

Let us visit a typical hut to grasp the significance of its work, in order that we may realize what is going on in the fifteen hundred similar centers. We are on the great Salisbury Plain, in the midst of thirty miles square of weltering mud during the long winter months. To realize what a hut means to the men in such a place, we must understand the unnatural situation created by the conditions of war. Here are multitudes of men far from home, shut out from the society of all good women, taken away from their church and its surroundings, weary and wet with marching and drilling, often lonely and dejected, in an atmosphere of profanity and obscenity in the cheerless barrack rooms, and tempted by the animal passions which are always loosed in war-time. The men need all the help we can give them now, and need it desperately.

Now can you measure just what a big warm hut means to these men as a home, far away from home? The red triangle at the entrance gleams across the whole camp and stands for the three things the soldier most needs.

It stands, in the first place, as a pledge for supplying the physical need of these hungry, lonely, and fiercely tempted men. A dry shelter, a warm fire, a cheerfully lighted room, the bursts of song, and the hum of conversation make the men forget the wind and rain and mud outside. Supper and a hot cup of coffee satisfy their hunger. On the notice-board is the announcement of the outdoor sports, football tournaments, and the games, where the thirty thousand men of the division will compete in open contest on the coming Saturday, under the direction of the Y M C A. Whatever the soldier needs for his physical life, whether it is to eat or to sleep, a bed in London, a cool drink in the thirsty desert, or hot coffee in the trenches, it is furnished for him by the Association.

The hut also provides for the soldier's intellectual and social needs. The piano and the phonograph, the billiard tables, draughts and chess boards, tables for games, library, and reading room keep him busy; and the concerts, stimulating lectures, moving pictures, educational classes, and debating societies provide him with recreational and mental employment.

The far deeper moral and spiritual needs of the soldier are also met. As the evening draws to a close, one sees the secretary in his military uniform stand up on the table; hats are off and heads are bowed at the call for evening prayers, which are held here every night. On Sunday the parade services of the different denominations take place in turn in the Association hut. Weekly voluntary religious meetings are also held. At one end of the building is the "quiet room," where groups of Christian soldiers can meet for Bible classes or for prayer. At regular intervals evangelistic meetings are held. On our last night at this hut, on a Sunday evening, twelve hundred men gathered to listen to the Christian message.

Of the three bars of the triangle, it is this which stands at the top, which unites the other two and which is the dominating factor of the whole. And yet nowhere is religion forced down the throats of the men. Rather it is the aim to make it the unconscious atmosphere of the whole hut. It is a striking fact, to which every soldier will testify, that while the language of the barrack room and beer canteen is often reeking with the profane and the obscene, the whole tone of the Association hut is entirely different. As one soldier says: "You don't realize the enormous difference of atmosphere between this and any other place where soldiers congregate. A man simply does not talk bad language and filth here; he learns to control himself." Thus the threefold work of the Association stands for the whole man and for the whole manhood of the nation.

In many ways the Y M C A hut seeks to meet the soldier's every need.

1. It is his club, where he meets his comrades and in the freedom and friendship of the place forgets the irksome drill, the endless restraints, and the stern discipline of military life.

2. As we have already seen, it is his home, the place where he writes his letters and keeps in touch with his family and distant friends. Nearly twenty million pieces of stationery are sent out free for the soldiers each month from the London central office, and the sign of the red triangle on the letter head brings weekly joy and cheer to the broken circle in the distant home. It is here that the lad is helped to "keep the home fires burning" in his heart and to hold true to those high ideals. One little girl when visiting the Crystal Palace, upon seeing the sign of the red triangle, said: "My daddy always makes that mark on his letters when he writes to us at home."

3. It is his church, for out on the desert, or in the jungle, or at the front, there is usually no other church building for religious services. The following is taken from a typical Sunday program in one of the huts: "6:30 a. m., Roman Catholic Mass; 7:30 Nonconformist service; 9:00 Anglican service; 2-3 p. m., Bible class; 6:4:5-8 United Song Service." Thus each denomination is allowed to have its own service in its own way on Sunday morning, while the evening meeting is interdenominational and open to all.

In one place where the young Hebrews were being sadly neglected and were falling away from their former moral standards, the secretary arranged with the Jewish rabbi to have a weekly service in the Y M C A tent for his men. It has been held ever since. The Jews of the neighboring city were so grateful that they started a campaign to raise a fund of $10,000 for Y M C A huts. The Rev. Michael Adler, the head Jewish rabbi with the forces in France, has time and again expressed his cordial appreciation of the help rendered to the men of his faith. The doors of the Association will always remain open for men of all creeds. As wide as the needs of men, as broad as democracy, as unified as humanity, and as tolerant as its Lord and Master, the movement will ever aim to be.

4. The Association hut is the soldier's school. Here his classes are held. A program taken at random from a single hut will show the scope of a week's work: "Bible classes; religious services; lecture on The Town Where We Are; lecture on South America; lantern lecture on Russia; debating society; impromptu speeches; history class."

5. The Association hut is also his place of rest, and the shop where he buys his supplies. Here he can procure almost anything he needs that is decent, and read anything that is wholesome. Usually this hut is the only clean place of recreation in the camp, and without it he is left to choose between the cheerless tent and the beer canteen.

6. The Y M C A is the center of his recreation, and his entertainment bureau. Under the leadership of Miss Lena Ashwell and scores of others, concerts and entertainment parties have been organized and have toured continuously in France, Great Britain, Egypt, and the more distant camps. The six artists of each party are received with tremendous enthusiasm and become the fast friends of Tommy Atkins. One writes: "Last time the party came here the press of men waiting on the verandah to go into the second performance was so great that our brand new verandah collapsed with the sound of a bomb explosion! Luckily the mass was so tightly packed that they fell through in a solid heap; no one was hurt, and all were able to enjoy the concert thoroughly."

7. It is the soldier's bank, and his postoffice. We were in one hut alone where more than fifteen thousand dollars were on deposit in the savings bank. The sale of stamps in this hut amounts to fifteen hundred dollars a month, and of postal orders for the remittance of money home to more than four thousand dollars. Every week an average of 28,000 letters are written and posted in this one room, while thousands more are received and handed to the men.

8. The Association is the soldier's friend and tourist guide, while he is visiting London, Paris, or the other great cities. In some places one table is set apart where a chaplain or secretary is always on duty to help the soldiers make their wills, find out their trains to London, answer their questions, or give them the friendly help they need.

The Y M C A stands by the soldier to the last and even after he falls. After the boy has fought his last fight and lies wounded or crippled or dying in the hospital in France, it meets his parents and relatives and provides for their entire stay in the country. Each relative of the wounded proceeding to France receives printed instructions from the War Office that the Y M C A will meet all the boats and provide transportation and accommodations for all who need it while at the front. Our friend, Mr. Geddes, broke down as he tried to tell us how he and his wife had been met on the lonely shores of France by the Y M C A secretary and motored quickly to the bedside of their dying son, only to find that they were just too late. The funeral was arranged, even to the providing of flowers. The last ministry was performed for the young man away from home and for the loved ones left behind, under the triangle that will forevermore be red.

Thus the Association is at once the soldier's club, his home, his church, his school, his place of rest, his entertainment bureau, his bank and postoffice, his tourist guide, and the friend that stands by him and his bereaved parents at the last. Fifteen hundred just such huts and centers stretch away from Scotland to East Africa, from France to Mesopotamia, from Egypt to India. Could any other single organization have met all these needs of the men under arms, mobilized so quickly, united all denominations, entered all lands, and embraced all forms of work secular and religious?

We conducted meetings for several months throughout the camps in the British Isles. At our last parade service with the brigade out in the open field there were several thousand seated on the grass, with their eight bands drawn up in front. In every service the battle was on between good and evil, between God and mammon, between sacrifice and sin.

One night we visited the sailors' training camp. It was a great meeting, with two thousand of the sailor boys crowded in a big theater. The concert was going on when we arrived and the jeers and yells of the crowd drowned some of the voices of the performers; it was evident that we were going to have a hard time to hold the audience. Captain "Peg" stepped to the stage and soon had them singing, "We'll Never Let the Old Flag Fall." Roars of applause followed and they clamored for more. Out in the glare of the footlights and looking into that sea of faces, we began to fight for that audience. There were two thousand tempted men whom we should never see again. In five minutes the whole theater was hushed—you could hear a pin drop. After half an hour the meeting was interrupted by the noise of the band outside. Surely the men will bolt and leave the meeting. We said to them: "Boys, there is the band. Let everybody go now who wants to go! We are going on. Every man that wants to make the fight for character, the fight for purity with the help of Jesus Christ, stay with us here." There was a shout from the audience, and not a man left the theater. The band thundered on, but the crowd was with us now, and the hopes of hundreds of hearts for the things that are eternal surged to the surface. Several hundred men signed the War Roll, pledging their allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. One sailor boy came up to thank us, saying that he had all but fallen the week before; and simply for the lack of a sixpence he had been saved from sin. With God's help he would now live for Christ. Another came up who had been drinking heavily and had quarreled with his wife. He did not have the price of a postage stamp to write to her. He wanted to know how he could be saved from drink. Man after man came forward, hungry for human help and longing for a better life.

Harry Lauder Singing at a Y. M. C. A. Meeting.  The Officer seated at the extreme right is Captain "Peg."

[Illustration: Harry Lauder Singing at a Y. M. C. A. Meeting.
The Officer seated at the extreme right is Captain "Peg."]

On another occasion we were with the army of Australian and New Zealand troops, as they were marching by the King at their last review before going to the front. Fortunately, we had secured standing room near the King's side, where we could watch every smile and action as he saluted each passing battalion, and we could even hear him speak a kind word now and then to some officer. There were generals to the right of us and to the left of us, colonels, majors, captains, officers of every rank, and prominent civilians; but the greatest man on that field was the soldier himself. With what a swing those clean-cut young Australian boys marched past; every man was a volunteer and part of that great first army of over four millions of men who came forward for the defense of the Empire without conscription.

Hundreds were playing in the massed bands, as the long file of men marched by. But time and again the firm columns seemed to fade before us, and we could not see them for tears, as we realized that many of these brave boys were going forward to die for us. Above, a great aeroplane was looping the loop and warplanes were darting to and fro.

Away on the horizon stood the great boulders of Stonehenge, erected long before the time of the Saxons, the Britons, or even the ancient Druids, by the sun-worshippers, who offered their human sacrifices on the ancient altar there nearly forty centuries before. We looked at those stones, where through a mistaken conception of God and an inadequate conception of man, human sacrifices were offered long ago. Suddenly we heard the crack of the rifles of a body of troops at practice, moving forward in open line of battle. Today, through a mistaken conception of God and a low conception of man, over 5,000,000 of men have already been killed, offered in human sacrifice; while many millions in lands devastated are homeless, starving, or ruined in body or soul—these are part of the offering, forced upon humanity by a godless materialism, while a divided Christian Church stands by impotent.


Let us now visit Egypt where we shall witness very different scenes. Away on the distant horizon are the two triangular points, which grow as we approach into the outlines of the great pyramids. Beyond are the fifty-eight centers which have risen along the banks of the Nile, in the metropolis of Cairo, and in the harbors of Port Said and Alexandria, and which line the Suez Canal and dot the desert even out into the peninsula of Mt. Sinai. The sun is setting as we climb the great pyramid, which stands a silent witness to forty centuries of history which have ebbed and flowed at its base, but surely no stranger sight has it ever seen than these armed camps about it, engaged in this titanic struggle of the world. Away to the south towards far Khartoum, like a green ribbon in the yellow desert, stretches the irrigated basin of the Nile. Beyond it is the bottomless burning sand of the Sahara.

Here on the site of Napoleon's ancient battlefield is the largest concentration camp in Egypt. The white tents of the Australasians shelter a population as numerous as many a city, with three Association buildings for the men. From out the great pyramid there is a constant stream of soldiers passing to and fro. And there under the shadow of the Sphinx are two more Y M C A huts. Jessop, the former secretary at Washington, has been in charge here, with a large staff of secretaries from Australia and New Zealand. General Sir Archibald Murray, in command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Forces, says: "First of all, the men must have mess huts; then we want the Y M C A."

Cairo is the throbbing center of Egypt's life, where vice does not lurk in secret, but flaunts itself in open effrontery. Our secretaries have been at work there in the long lines of men that stand outside the places of vice, handing them Testaments and urging them to come away. The Y M C A has taken over a large amusement center in the Ezbekieh Gardens in the very heart of Cairo; and in spite of the public saloon nearby, with its attraction of music and wine, from two hundred to two thousand men are constantly thronging the Association rooms. The attractive equipment of a garden, an open-air theater, a skating rink, baths, supper counters, and a meeting place, but most of all the personal touch of the two earnest secretaries, make the whole work effective. The Association has also rented the spacious Bourse, where it houses several hundred men who are in the city on short leave, while its lobby is used for concerts and entertainments. During the last action five of the Y M C A huts on the Canal Zone were under fire. But there is no day passes but that the men under canvas in this hot land of Egypt are under fire from temptations more deadly than Turkish bullets.

Leaving Egypt, we passed over the hot and stifling Red Sea, across the Indian Ocean, toward the sunny plains of India. Away from the snowy ridge of the Himalayas, down across the bare plains of the north and the rice fields and cocoa-nut palms of the tropic south, India lies like a vast continent, embracing one-fifth of the human race. It was held before the war by some 75,000 British and twice as many Indian troops. The numbers are completely altered now. Almost the whole regular force, both Indian and British, are away fighting in Mesopotamia, East Africa, France, and Egypt, while a new territorial force of Kitchener's army of London clerks and English civilians has taken its place.

One hundred and fifty secretaries in India were ready upon the outbreak of the war. All across India the Y M C A has opened huts, buildings, or tents for the territorial and other forces.[1] A writer in the Journal of the Royal Sussex Regiment, at Bangalore, said: "Somehow the very letters, Y M C A have gathered to themselves an implication of comfort, pleasure, and welcome; we instinctively feel among friends."

We visited one night the great tent generously given by the Viceroy for the work of the territorials in Delhi. General Sir Percy Lake took the chair and the men gathered in the large marquee for the meeting. Sherwood Day, of Yale, had been in charge of this work during the winter, providing a home for the men of the territorials in this ancient Indian capital. A series of lectures by leading Indians served to interpret Indian life and thought to these soldiers, who were seeing at once the needs and greatness of the Indian Empire at first hand, while leading Indian Christians of the type of Mr. K. T. Paul, Dr. Datta, and Bishop Azariah told them the fascinating story of Indian missions and the history of Christianity in Asia. A new sense of race brotherhood is taking the place of the old antagonism and prejudice, and Indian secretaries stationed with English Tommies have become exceedingly popular with them.

From India as a base, the Association has gone forward with the advancing columns into Mesopotamia and East Africa. As we cross the Persian Gulf and follow the winding courses of the Tigris and the Euphrates up into the heart of Mesopotamia, we find a group of Princeton men and some sixty secretaries stationed here with the troops, under Leonard Dixon of Canada. The men affectionately call him the "padre"; anyone who has ever boxed with Dixon and felt the force of his right, knows that he is a man who has both drive and "punch." The troops in Mesopotamia have been fighting often under terrible conditions, marching through ooze and slime, drinking the yellow unfiltered water, decimated by the attacks both of sickness and of the enemy. In summer the alkali dust lies four inches deep on the floors of their tents, and the thermometer stands at 120 degrees in the sultry shade. Dixon racked his brain to provide recreation and helpful entertainment for these hard fighting men. A bioscope, competitive concerts, a Christmas tree, a New Year's treat, football and hockey tournaments, and entertainments of various kinds have been improvised to make the men forget the awful hardship of the march and of the battle. On Sunday the writing tables are full from dawn till dark and tons of stationery have been used to keep these men in touch with their distant homes.

The secretaries have been kept busy handling the big convoys of wounded as they come down the rivers in the boats from the fighting at the front. One colonel got up from his sick bed to give his testimony unasked as to what the work of the Association had meant to these wounded men. He said that it was not only the big kettles of hot coffee and the caldrons of soup which the secretaries brought aboard the boats, not only the warm blankets, beef tea, and other comforts which had helped the men so much, but the fact that when those men entered that barge with its weight of human suffering and misery, it seemed that the touch of Another hand unseen was resting on the hot brow and feverish pulse of those wounded soldiers.

Bovia McLain, an American secretary, gives us a glimpse of a night on a hospital barge, with a cold wind and rain-storm sweeping down the river. The canvas tarpaulin began to leak like a sieve and most of the wounded were cold and drenched to the skin. Soon the men were lying not only under wet blankets, but actually in two or three inches of water on the undrained decks. They were packed in like sardines, without pillows or comforts. "The whole thing was ghastly and terrible. Men wanted to change their position or have a broken limb slightly moved, and a dozen other wants seemed to demand attention all at once. At times I felt the strain so that it seemed to me I could not control myself longer, but must break down and weep, it was so appalling." After the men had been made comfortable, the workers were ready in the morning with supplies of chocolate and tobacco and other luxuries. It is no wonder that up at the front when the secretary invites the men to remain for evening prayers sometimes nearly the whole battalion stays, and one can understand the new interpretation given by some soldiers to the letters Y. M. C. A.—"You Make Christianity Attractive."

When the war broke out the Association was ready to enter Africa also. With the first contingent of 60,000 South African troops a number of Y M C A secretaries were sent. They erected large marquees in local training camps, and there prepared the way for the even greater opportunity which was to follow in the East African campaign under the Northern Army. The military authorities cabled the Association headquarters at Calcutta, offering to hand over the army canteens of East Africa to the Y M C A and to cut out liquor if the Association would take them over and be responsible for the welfare work among the troops, looking after their physical, social, and moral needs. Instantly, Mr. E. C. Carter, the National Secretary of India, cabled back accepting the offer.

The first score of men were sent over to open up nineteen centers with the advancing column in the jungles of Africa. The 20,000 troops were then occupying Swakopmund, a desolate little town surrounded by a sea of burning sand. There were no trees, not a blade of grass, nor even the song of a solitary bird to relieve the monotony. The men called it "the land of sin, sand, sorrow, and sore eyes." Soon, however, the large hall of the Faber Hotel was procured, with accommodations for a thousand men. It became the social center of the whole camp. So popular was the place that the men fairly fought and struggled to get into the building. Every night at 7:30 the war telegrams were read, and as it was the only way to hear the news from the front, each tent appointed one man to be at the Y M C A at that hour. On the occasion of the opening of the work, one man wrote home: "Two great events have happened today—the Y M C A has commenced and I have had a bath." The story will never be written as to what the Association meant in the hearts of those men who laid down their lives fighting in East Africa. On the cross at the head of every grave in one section of the dark continent is the sentence: "Tell England, ye that pass by, that we who lie here, rest content." Thus, from Cairo in the north, from Swakopmund in the east, clear to Cape Town in the south, the red triangle has followed the army to its last outposts. Space will not permit us to describe the huts which have been opened at Salonica, the twelve centers at Malta, and others dotted along the ports of the Mediterranean.


A new development has now been undertaken by the Association among the thousands in the munition works in Great Britain. With the whole nation organized for war, there are millions of workers busily engaged on ten and twelve hour shifts, turning out that steady stream of munitions which must ever flow up to the guns at the front, to supply the army fighting there. Here are men and women without the excitement and the adventure of the front, toiling all day under a strain, far removed from home, congested in unattractive surroundings, and it is of the utmost importance that these workers be kept healthful and happy.

We motored down one afternoon to see the work that is going on in the great arsenal at Woolwich. Outside, where a year ago were orchards and pastures, are long rows of permanent buildings which have sprung up on every side. To meet this situation the Y M C A has within recent months erected more than a hundred huts in the different munition centers, which can provide meals for thousands of tired workers. These huts have already placed the Association in touch with half a million workers. In the first hut we visited, three thousand of them were seated at meals in two relays, while two thousand soldiers were accommodated in the hut during the afternoon and evening. A platform at one end had been put up for musical concerts and entertainments. The price of meals varies from twelve to twenty-five cents. Lady Henry Grosvenor and other leaders have marshalled a force of fifteen hundred voluntary workers in this group of huts.

So appreciative has the government been of this new development, that in addition to providing their own government welfare workers to look after the women and girls, they are permitting the munitions manufacturers to build new Y M C A huts at government expense for the accommodation of the men. We passed down long rows of dormitories, erected almost in a night, where thousands of weary workers were sleeping during the day, preparing for their night shift. It was almost a sad sight to see whole huts filled with hundreds of boys from fourteen to sixteen years of age, all sound asleep at midday. The secretaries look after these boys in their rest and play and provide healthful surroundings, a clean moral atmosphere, and attractive religious influences.

The Young Women's Christian Association has entered the open door for work among the women. In one place where a young girl from the country had been led astray by the temptations of this new and monotonous life and had committed suicide, the Young Women's Christian Association has erected a large hut to provide for the moral welfare of thousands of other girls faced by the same temptations. Oh, the dreary drudgery that faces these tired women!

"Rattle and clatter and clank and whirr,
And thousands of wheels a-spinning--
Oh, it's dreary work and it's weary work,
But none of us all will fail or shirk;
Not women's work--that should make, not mar,
But the Devil drives when the world's at war;
And it's long and long the day is."

The Y W C A has adopted the sign of the blue triangle, to distinguish it from the red triangle of the Y M C A. The huts bore the touch of deft women's hands in the decorations, flowers, and signs of cheer and comfort which the ladies have provided for these hard worked girls. Before the huts were erected some girls had to sleep in the streets all night in the unsanitary communities about the works.

Both the government authorities and the Association workers have seen a large open door for social service among these millions of munition workers. For the work here is permanent. These great buildings will remain as manufacturing centers of some kind after the war. The huts will still be occupied. Already a new and growing body of legislation is being introduced to improve the conditions of the toilers of old England.

It is little wonder that the whole nation has responded to this work so boldly undertaken on such a large scale. From the first gifts have been pouring in unsolicited. His Majesty the King, patron of the Young Men's Christian Association in Britain, has inspected many of the buildings, and sent in his contribution, with the following note: "His Majesty congratulates the Association on the successful results of its War work, which has done everything conducive to the comfort and well-being of the armies, supplying the special and peculiar needs of men drawn from countries so different and so distant. It has worked in a practical, economical, and unostentatious manner, with consummate knowledge of those with whom it has to deal. At the same time the Association, by its spirit of discipline, has earned the respect and approbation of the Military Authorities."

The Queen Mother donated the Alexandra Hut in London, which makes provision for the accommodation of soldiers on leave in the city. She was seen recently serving tea behind the counter in the Association hut to the happy Tommies who had come back strained and tired from the front to "Blighty" once more. The Princess Victoria has been most tireless in opening Y M C A huts, and has given unsparingly of her time and effort for the men.

No one has been more appreciative than the military authorities themselves. Lord Roberts, four days before his death, wrote expressing his appreciation of the work being accomplished. His secretary adds: "He hears on all sides nothing but praise for what the Y M C A is doing at the camps." Lord Kitchener, who had inspected the huts of the Association in England, France, and Egypt, wrote: "From the first the Y M C A gained my confidence, and now I find they have earned my admiration and gratitude." Mr. Asquith, when Prime Minister, after visiting the Association huts and attending the religious meetings said: "The Y M C A is the greatest thing in Europe." Lloyd George, the present Premier, said recently: "I congratulate the Y M C A. Wherever I go I hear nothing but good of the work they are doing throughout the country, and we owe them a very deep debt of gratitude."

[1] In addition to the existing work at Bangalore, Maymyo, and Poona, Association privileges have been provided for soldiers in Lahore, Delhi, Multan, Forozepore, Jhansi, Lucknow, Mhow, Trimulgherry, Jubbulpore, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Ahmednagar, Rangoon, Dalhousie, Naini Tal, Karachi, Allahabad, and Jutogh.



The man who inaugurated Y M C A army work in France was Joseph Callan. In 1903 he became a secretary of the International Committee in Allahabad, North India, and later in Colombo. Ten years ago in Bangalore he began his wonderful work for soldiers, which, in time, was to set the pace and furnish the standard for the Association work of the present war.

When the British troops were out in camp, Callan opened his big Y M C A tent and beat the army canteen in open competition, so that at the end of the maneuvers the contractors had to haul back much of the liquor unsold. While the canteen was being drained of men, Callan was running a full show almost every evening. He had powerful arc lights placed over the athletic field, and night after night tournaments were played off, company against company, regiment against regiment, until the closing hour of the canteen had passed. Lectures, moving pictures, and concerts were followed by straight religious meetings, with lasting results. The cooperation of the Bishop, clergy, and chaplains, helped to relate permanently these results to the Church.

As soon as the commanding officers saw the value of this work, they began to cooperate and insisted upon its being carried on in every camp. In the great maneuvers at Dacca, Callan was invited to Bengal to run the institutional work for the troops at the expense of the government, which he did with striking results. Each success made the work known to a widening circle of officers and men.

When the war broke out, Callan and Carter approached the Viceroy and Commander-in-Chief to ask if they could serve the Indian Army as it was to start as an expeditionary force to France. Since the Mutiny of 1857, with its religious superstition and prejudice about the greased cartridges, etc., no Christian work had been permitted in the Indian Army. Finally, however, permission was given to the Association to begin work with the troops before embarkation. Upon arrival in Bombay, our secretaries called upon the Commanding Officer, who had wired to the General at Headquarters to know what he could do to hold his discontented troops together in the flooded and crowded quarters about the docks. The general had just wired, "Consult the Y M C A and ask them to send for their army department." He had known of Callan's work at Bangalore, Dacca, and other centers, and believed it would supply just the missing link with the dissatisfied men. When our secretaries called, the Colonel had just received the telegram and was prepared to give them a chance to see what they could do for the troops.

Within twenty-four hours a work was organized which kept the sepoys occupied for all their leisure time. Football and hockey and outdoor athletics, excursions down the harbor, sea bathing, lectures, and entertainments were soon in full swing. This was the first work of the kind ever done for the Indian Army. So instantly and obviously invaluable did it become that the Commanding Officer insisted that the secretaries should accompany the troops on the long and much dreaded trip to France, which was a bold and untried venture for Indian soldiers.

It was a historic event when that great fleet of some seventy-five ships, the largest assembled since the Spanish Armada, freighted with about 25,000 troops bound for France, East Africa, and Persia, weighed anchor, and sailed out of Bombay harbor with the first twelve Y M C A secretaries on board. Arrived in France, permission was finally obtained from the Commander-in-Chief to land and begin work on French soil.

Here the moral problem made the work of the Association a crying necessity. Soon there were some 25,000 Indian troops concentrated around Marseilles. These men could neither safely be let out of bounds nor kept contented within bounds. A cordon of troops around the camp could not keep vice out. The Y M C A was needed as a counter attraction. Upon an outbreak of drinking and immorality on the part of a group of Sikh soldiers, the whole garrison was called out to witness these men stripped and flogged in exemplary punishment. The Sikhs felt this to be such a public disgrace that they asked for the use of the Y M C A hut in which to hold a council meeting. They finally decided to ask one of the secretaries to address the whole body of Sikhs on the subject of intemperance and impurity, for the Association was already tacitly recognized by all as the dominant moral force in the camp.

One of the Indian secretaries, Mr. Roy, addressed the soldiers at their own request for an hour and a half, and a remarkable scene of repentance was witnessed. Men arose on all hands, confessing their sins in respect to these two special failings and requested that penalties be imposed upon them by their own priest in accordance with the custom of their religion, as a punishment for the past and as a guarantee for the future. For nearly two hours the men filed by their priest receiving penalties. Later on they held a service of their own in the Y M C A hut on Christmas day and took up a large collection of copper coins as a thank-offering to the Association. They felt that it had been their one friend in a strange land.

It should be clearly understood, however, that of necessity, in the very nature of the case, the Government of India imposed upon the secretaries the strict obligation of silence regarding the propagation of Christianity. They entered the work on the understanding that the men could live out the spirit of Christ and express it in silent ministry under the motive of Christian love.

It was striking to see how much real Christianity could be packed into life when speech was forbidden. The pent-up prayer and love and sympathy of the workers was forced into the single channel of silent service. It reminded one of those thirty years in our Lord's life, in simple secular toil, which could only minister to the needs of men over a carpenter's bench.

It is no small task to undertake to occupy all the leisure time of 25,000 men far from home, shut up in irksome camps, easily aroused by rumor or superstition. The numbers increased until there were finally some 50,000 men to be cared for. Athletic fields were secured and games were started. Football and hockey were more played by the Indians than by the British troops. Badminton and volley ball, races and track events, were also useful. Indoor games, the gramophone, cinemas and concerts, and especially Indian dramas, were popular in the evening. Lectures on geography, history, and moral subjects were well attended, and French classes were of practical benefit.

An incalculable service has also been rendered in writing letters for the great mass of ignorant soldiers to their families in the far-off Indian villages, miles away from a railway. Illiteracy, superstition, and false rumors existed at both ends of the line. Here is a man who has had no word from home since he left a year or more ago. He hears a baseless rumor or heeds some inborn fear that his child is sick, or his wife unfaithful, or that he has been cheated out of his property. Hundreds of homesick men whose whole lives have been bound up in the family circle pour in upon the secretaries, begging that they will write letters home for them. Here you may see six or eight secretaries writing for hours each day, as fast as the men can dictate their messages and tell their stories.

Then there arose the problem of how to keep these men in touch with their households in isolated and illiterate villages in India. Mr. Hume, one of the secretaries in Lahore, devised a far-reaching plan whereby every letter was forwarded through missionaries or Christian workers or officials to the distant home of the soldier. The whole community gathers to hear the news from the Indian regiment on the other side of the world, and a shout goes up from the village street when they learn that their brave Sepoy is not dead, as rumor had whispered. A message is sent back in eager gratitude from the wife, children, and neighbors, and from the united heart of the little village to the distant soldier and his fighting comrades. The Red Triangle has spanned the gulf from the winter cold and the dreary trenches in France to the little village on the plains of sunny India, and the grateful hearts at both ends somehow dimly know that all this silent ministry is in the name of the White Comrade who is the Friend of man.

Here in France the hut must stand as the friendly home that gathers up all the best traditions of Indian life. It takes the place of the banyan tree in the heat of the day, the village well, and the meeting place for the men in the cool of the evening. Even beyond all hopes it has proved a potent factor for unity, harmony, and peace in a time of unrest. It draws the British officers and the Indian men closer together, and the Indian secretaries have served time and again as the mediators between the two, who could so easily have misunderstood each other. It provides a common meeting place between the caste-ridden and divided Indians themselves, who had no other ground of unity.

Here are men of different languages and races and traditions, from the Gurkhas, the brave little hill men, to the stalwart Pathans, who come as fighting men from far beyond the borders of India for the sheer joy of battle. The chances for supposed loot in the fabled wealth of the West and the accumulation of merit by slaying the "unbelievers" of the enemy, prove an added attraction to men born and bred in border warfare. Here also are men of three separate creeds, who have often fought with one another over the issues of their faiths—the big bearded Sikhs, with a soldier's religion, the warlike Mohammedans, who fight according to their Koran, and the caste-ridden Hindus.

As you walk among the tents the smoke of the fires hangs heavy over the camp; there is the familiar sound of the bubbling rice pots, the smell of pungent curry, the babel of many oriental tongues, and you seem to be back in the very heart of India itself. We gather with the reverent Sikhs for their religious worship. They meet morning and evening for their prayer service, and turn out almost in a body for the weekly Sunday meeting. The service consists principally of singing and the reading of their sacred scripture, the Granth. Seated on the ground, the men show deep reverence, and seem to have a sense of the presence of God in their midst. Their religion has a real restraining influence and there is at present little immorality amongst them.

A little further on in the camp one comes upon an improvised Mohammedan mosque. Five times a day a devout soldier calls the faithful to prayer, and on Friday about three-fourths of them come out to their voluntary service. The Hindus, on the other hand, dependent upon ceremonial rites, without their temple or priest and with no organized public worship, have not a religion which holds them in such a vital grip in this distant land.

As you pass down the camp, the band is playing for the draft that is marching off to take its place in the trenches. The last good-bys are being said and little groups are round the secretaries. The stalwart Sikhs are wringing their hands or kneeling down to wipe the dust from their shoes, or thanking them with tears of gratitude. They are great child-like men, simple of heart, affectionate, but lonely and homesick in a distant land. Here is a man who was once a hard drinker, living an immoral life, but today he is keeping straight. Here is another who has resolved to go back to India to lead a different life. There were tears in the eyes of the secretaries themselves as they came back after bidding good-by to the draft, and there was compensation after long months of service in the gratitude of the men and in that inner voice which says, "I was a stranger and ye took me in."

After Callan had launched the work among the Indian troops, he was called upon to open up the work at a large British base camp behind the lines in France. Here, beside the vast drill ground where Napoleon used to marshal his troops, is a white city of tents, and between 100,000 and 200,000 men are always encamped there for training.

Life in the trenches for the moment drives men to God, but the life in a base camp is one of fierce and insidious temptation. To hold the men in the face of such temptations, Callan has erected his buildings in the thirty principal centers of this base. Here is a typical hut before us, built of plain pine boards, 120 feet long and 60 feet broad. It accommodates from 2,000 to 3,000 men a day and is used by three-fourths of the men in the camp, by practically all, in fact, except those who are confined to their hospital beds. These thirty huts will be filled all winter with an average of 60,000 men a day. Each night at least 15,000 men will be gathered in meetings, lectures, and healthy entertainments. Twice each week there are 12,000 men in attendance at religious meetings, and not a week passes without hundreds of decisions being made for the Christian life. In the course of the year a million men will pass through these camps, or one-sixth of the manhood of the nation now marshalled under arms. These are the men who are to be made or marred by life in the army, and who will go back to build the new empire in the great era of reconstruction that is to follow the war.

Wholesome and Entertaining; Home Refreshments in London.

[Illustrations: Wholesome and Entertaining;
Home Refreshments in London.]

To minister to these 60,000 men who daily crowd these thirty huts, there are 167 workers sent over from England, 100 of them men and 67 of them women. The latter are nearly all self-supporting and not only receive no salary but pay all their own expenses. The self-sacrificing toil of these helpers, who form part of a vast army of 30,000 heroic women who are voluntarily serving without compensation in the Associations of England and France, is beyond all praise. Their very presence in the camps is the greatest single moral factor for the creation of that indefinable atmosphere which pervades every hut. Even rude and coarse men never think of swearing or speaking an indecent word within these walls. Nor do they forget to be grateful for the tireless service of these women, who stand for hours day and night serving them and providing for their physical necessities. The women workers are under the direction of Lady Rodney, who has had four sons fighting at the front, one of whom has already fallen in action. The men have been thrilled and moved to the depths as Lady Rodney has addressed them on "What Are We Fighting For?" and by her message to the men from the women at home. Several hundred of the choicest women of America will be needed for service among our own troops. They should be women who can stand for the whole principle of the red triangle. They must be ready for tireless and exhausting physical service, able to work with others without friction, prepared to meet the social needs of the men and to give a sympathetic hearing to the tales that will be poured into their ears, but above all they must be able to give a definite Christian message to men fiercely tempted and beset by doubts and difficulties. The soldier cannot live by bread alone, nor by the tea and coffee of a Y M C A counter; he needs God, and the friendship of good women, and the spirit of home which they carry with them.

The hundred men who are working in these thirty British huts are worthy of note. A score of them are clergymen, who have resigned their churches for the period of the war. Many others are well-known ministers, laymen, or professors who have come over for a period of several months of service. The list of the men who have been serving here contains many distinguished names. There is Professor Burkett, the New Testament scholar of Cambridge, in charge of one of the huts; Professor Bateson, the great biologist of Cambridge, who has been lecturing on his subject, and who was swept off his feet by the response which he received from the troops. He stated that he was able to learn more from these men than in months of research in his laboratory, where he had been shut up for most of his life. Professor Holland Rose, also of Cambridge, has been lecturing to the troops on European history, interpreting the war to the soldier. Professor Oman, of the same university, has been dealing in his lectures with the historical problems of the war. Rev. E. A. Burroughs, of Oxford, has been giving religious lectures. Principal D. S. Cairns, of Aberdeen, has had crowded meetings night after night for his apologetic lectures, and the questions raised in the open discussions would make one think he was in a theological seminary. Principal Kitchie, of Nottingham, has been lecturing on European history and the Balkan situation. Bishop Knight is giving his time seven days a week to looking after the spiritual and ecclesiastical needs of the men, as many seek confirmation and partake of the Holy Communion before going up to the front. Here are Scotch ministers, Anglican clergymen, and laymen, working side by side in a great ministry of service.

A series of missionary lectures has helped to give the men a new world view of Christianity. It has lifted the simple villager, and the man who has never known anything save the narrow ruts of his own denomination, above the petty interests and divisions of his former life to face world problems and the wide extension of the Kingdom of God. Four lecturers have followed each other to present a great world view to the men in these thirty huts: Butcher of New Guinea showed the effect of the impact of the Gospel upon primitive native races; Farquhar of India showed the power of Christianity over the great ethnic religions of India; Lord Wm. Gascoyne Cecil came next on the transformation of China, and was followed by Dennis of Madagascar and Dr. Datta, a living witness of the power of Christianity in the great Indian empire. John McNeill and Gipsy Smith, the well-known evangelists, have spoken to thousands and have brought the challenge of the Christian Gospel to the men, calling upon them for decisions and a change of life in harmony with the teachings of Christ.

Here are some of the finest spirits of England, some of its intellectual and spiritual leaders, brought into daily contact with the manhood of the nation in this formative period and epoch-making crisis. Before us hangs the program for the week. It looks like the schedule of classes and lectures for some great university. It is drawn up in seven columns for the seven days of the week, and includes a score of centers, with an average of three events for each hut per day. It would cover several closely printed pages. Here are some of the events scheduled for a single night:

Hut No. 1, lecture on "The Meaning of Christianity," by Mr. A. D. Mann; choir rehearsal; devotional meeting. No. 2, Rev. Butcher of New Guinea, lecture on "The Failure of Civilization"; French class; Clean Talk League. No. 3, lecture by Lord Wm. Cecil on China; French class; hobby class. No. 4, cavalry band orchestra; Communion Service; evening prayers. No. 5, Lena Ashwell Concert Party from London. No. 6, Rev. N. H. M. Aitken, Bible lecture and discussion; orchestral band. No. 7, concert party; general hospital show. No. 8, lecture on Napoleon by Mr. Perkins; Mrs. Luard's concert party. No. 9, concert given by the men of the auxiliary park camp; draughts tournament. No. 10, religious discussion class; Lord Wm. Cecil; service conducted by Chaplain Berry. No. 11, Professor Thos. Welsh's Bible class; mid-week rally. No. 12, fretwork and carpentry class; games; letter writing. No. 13, mid-week service; Bible class; letter writing. No. 14, cinema show; indoor games. No. 15, lantern lecture on "India in the Trenches." No. 16, ladies' concert party; Hindi and Urdu classes; letter writing; games. All of this covers only the program for half of the huts on a single night!

Principal Fraser, of Ceylon and Uganda, but equally conversant with present-day problems in Britain, has been conducting a weekly parliament in different camps on the great questions of reconstruction after the war. For here are men away from home, lifted above the toil and narrow drudgery of their former cramped lives, and they have learned to think.

There is evidence of wide industrial and social unrest. The men are conscious not only of world wrongs which threaten their country from without, but of wrongs within as well, and they are going to demand that these wrongs shall be righted. A deep tide of feeling runs through the audience, as these men, blunt of speech but clear of brain, openly and frankly discuss the future, and they hang eagerly upon the words of Principal Fraser as he guides their thought to higher ideals for the period of reconstruction that is to follow.

One night they are discussing the present social order, and what is wrong with it; they are dealing with bad housing, employment, low wages, the cleavage between the rich and the poor, industrial oppression, and social injustice. The next night they consider the dangers of demobilization. What will be the effect upon hundreds of thousands of women workers? Here are more than five million soldiers in the army, and a large number of men and women, boys and girls, working on government orders. What steps must be taken to minimize the dislocation of industry and to prevent unemployment? On the night following, they discuss the question of industrial reorganization. They resolve that "the time has come, as the only means of averting social disaster, to grant a constitution to the factory, and quite frankly to recognize and insist that the conditions of employment are not matters to be settled by the employer alone, any more than by the workmen alone, but in joint conference between them; and not even for each establishment alone, but subject to the National Common Rules arrived at for the whole industry by the organized employers and employed, in consultation with the representatives of the community as a whole."

At the next parliament they discuss the future of education in England. What should be its aim, how far should it be technical, and how far should it aim at the development of personality? Should the school-leaving age be raised to fifteen, or half-time education be given up to the age of eighteen? One night in the parliament they discuss the problem of drink and the war; on another night, gambling; and on another, the social evil. The men who attend the lectures and parliaments of these camps will almost get a liberal education during the three years.

We have spoken of the vast work going on in the thirty huts conducted by 167 workers in this single base camp. Let us now pass into a typical center and observe the work a little more in detail. For our first illustration, let us take the Y M C A hut in the Convalescent Camp. We select this because it is the model of the new huts for the American army which are now being constructed. It is a moving sight simply to step inside its doors. Here are two parallel structures of simple pine boards, each 120 by 30 feet. They may be used separately, in eight different departments, including the lecture hall which will seat 500, or with the partitions raised they may be thrown into one large audience hall, holding 1,200 men.

A glance at the crowd within, or at the great city of white tents without, shows that even this building is utterly inadequate for this convalescent camp holding 4,000 men. It is a center for a dozen surrounding hospitals, each containing from 1,000 to 4,000 patients. As the men are cured in these hospitals they are sent up to the Convalescent Camp to be made fit to return to the trenches. It is worth remembering that every one of these 4,000 patients is a wounded man, all of whom have seen service and suffering.

Let us enter first of all the large social hall. Several hundred men are seated at the tables, playing games or chatting over a cup of tea. At one end is the counter, where three women and five men take their turn serving during the day and evening. Two or three thousand of these men will pour in every day this winter. They will stand in a long queue filing by the counter for more than two hours. Here are large urns, each holding ten gallons of tea. Cup after cup is rapidly pushed across the counter without turning off the tap; as 160 men are served in ten minutes, and there is no stop save to place a fresh urn full of tea. As fast as the workers can move, not only hot tea and coffee, but bread and biscuits, cake and chocolate, tobacco, matches, candles, soap, bachelor buttons are furnished, and every other need of the soldier is supplied. The aim is to meet his every demand, so that he will not have to go into the city to places of temptation and evil resorts.

While these men are being served or are seated in the social room, meetings and lectures are conducted at the same time on the other side of the partition in the audience hall, which is occupied several times a day, and is used for social purposes between the meetings. We now pass into the lounge, which is filled with men, busy at their games. Next is the Quiet Room, where no talking or writing is allowed. Men come into this room for quiet meetings or private prayer, and here small group prayer meetings and Bible classes are held.

Just outside the hut is a wide wooden platform which accommodates several hundred men. There nearly a dozen different games are in full swing, all at the same time. Each one is designed to help the patient recover his health. Here are badminton, tennis, volley ball, indoor baseball, quoits, deck billiards, bagatelle, ping-pong, and other games. The front of this platform forms a grandstand for the cricket field beyond.

Here for three nights we conducted meetings, with five or six hundred men in attendance. More than a hundred men signed the decision cards each night, and when asked it was found that one-third of them had made the decision for the first time, about one-third of them were back-sliders who had been living as Christians before the war but who had gone down before temptation, while the remaining third had been maintaining a consistent Christian life during the war.

In a second after-meeting in the Quiet Room one night, men from almost every quarter of the globe spoke and gave testimony. Here was one poor fellow who had come over after several years in the States. He had had delirium tremens three times, and showed the effects of it on his face. He had formerly been the center of the foul talk and vulgar language of his tent. He had now come straight out for Christ and had boldly witnessed for Him before the men. The second boy, the son of a prominent officer in South Africa, arose under deep emotion. He had been living a wild and reckless life and was known as the "Red Light King." After his conversion, he went out and brought in another comrade who openly decided for Christ. There were boys from Canada, Australia, and England who followed, many of them with tragedies in their past lives.

It is impossible to calculate the vast influences for good that have been flowing from this hut to the thousands of men who pass through it. The aim of the young Scotch minister who is the leader has been to make it for all the men "a home away from home." The life in the army, with its irksome toil, daily drill, cold and wet and mud, the horror of battle and the pain of wounds, is all for the moment forgotten as the men enter the place.

We tell the leader that we are taking this building as the model for our new American camps. He says: "Large as this hut is, it is not large enough or good enough for the men. Daily we have need for better equipment. This hut as it stands will serve from two thousand to three thousand men in a day, but nothing is too good for these boys who are coming here to suffer and die in this faraway land. You will send your sons over from America to spend this cold winter on the bleak plains of France in open bell tents. They will be fed on canned goods and corned beef, and they will be housed in the most unattractive towns of France, where there is absolutely no interest or diversion apart from drink and women. You can hardly realize what it means to sit down in a homelike place, to get a hot cup of tea served on a white tablecloth. This is the only home these boys will see in France, and they will either come here or go to the red light resorts. I wish I could tell the men of America what their boys will face here, what they will suffer, what temptations will assail them. The best equipment you can give them is not good enough, for the people at home little realize to what a life their boys are coming, and what hardships will face them here in France."



We are in a natural amphitheater of the forest, near a big base hospital, about seventy miles behind the lines in France. Always in the stillness of the woods, even at this distance, one can hear the intermittent boom of the big guns at the front, and the air is vibrant on this summer evening. Beyond the wood lies the old drill ground of Napoleon, which is used today as a field for final training for the reenforcements for the front line.

In this wide open space in the woods at sundown the patients of the hospital in their blue uniforms are gathering for the meeting. It is a picturesque sight to see about eight hundred of them seated on the grass, while an orchestra composed of their own men is playing before the opening of the meeting. Who are these men before us? They are not the wounded who have fallen on the field of honor, but the sick, and, quite frankly, they all have venereal disease. The war has dragged this moral menace so into the light of day that the times of prudish silence and of fatal ignorance should have passed for all who are truly concerned for the welfare of the soldier and who want to know his actual conditions. We shall, therefore, in this chapter call a spade a spade.

The eight hundred men gathered here are a small part of some thousands of similar cases in France. The London Daily Mail of April 25th, 1917, referring to the report of the military authorities to the House of Commons, stated that there had been some two hundred thousand cases of venereal disease in the British Army in France alone. This does not include England or the men on the other fronts. The British Army is not worse than others. Professor Finger, at a meeting of the Medical Society in Vienna early in the war, estimated that over 700,000, or some ten per cent of the Austrian troops, had contracted venereal disease. More ominous still is the fact that in almost every place yet investigated the majority of the men were confessedly living in immorality amid the temptations of the base camps in France.

As we visit the hospitals in France, we are saddened by the fact that for one of the two venereal diseases no cure has yet been found, that a large proportion of these cases suffer a relapse, and that over seventy per cent will develop complications. As one Commanding Medical Officer said, "There is enough venereal disease in these military camps now to curse Europe for three generations to come."

One young major said: "Every day I am losing my boys. I've lost more men through these forces of immorality than through the enemy's shot and shell." The recent report of the Royal Commission shows the grave menace of the disease to Britain, where twenty per cent of the urban population has been infected. Flexner's terrible indictment in his "Prostitution in Europe" proves how particularly dangerous and pernicious is the system of inspection and regulation which legalizes and standardizes vice as a "necessary evil" and spreads disease through the false sense of security which it vainly promises. Even if the inspection and regulation of vice were physically perfectly successful, it might still lead to national degeneration, but instead of being a success it has proved, especially in France, a miserable failure. We cannot place all the blame upon local conditions, for the presence of an army in a foreign land in wartime creates its own danger.

Among the men in the venereal hospitals of France are musicians, artists, teachers, educated and refined boys from some of the best homes, and in another camp we find several hundred officers and several members of the nobility. What was the cause of their downfall? A questionnaire replied to by several hundred of them revealed the fact that six per cent attributed their downfall to curiosity, ten per cent to ignorance, claiming that they had never been adequately warned by the medical authorities, thirteen per cent to loss of home influences and lack of leave, thirty-three per cent to drink and the loss of self-control due to intoxication, while the largest number of all, or thirty-eight per cent, attributed it to uncontrolled passion when they were unconverted or had no higher power in their lives to enable them to withstand temptation. But perhaps the chief cause of the spread of immorality is the unnatural conditions under which the men are compelled to live in a foreign land in war time.

Donald Hankey, the brilliant young author of "A Student in Arms," who fell at the front, speaks thus of the moral problem in the soldier's life:

"Let us be frank about this. What a doctor might call the 'appetites' and a padre the 'lusts' of the body, hold dominion over the average man, whether civilian or soldier, unless they are counteracted by a stronger power. The only men who are pure are those who are absorbed in some pursuit, or possessed by a great love; be it the love of clean, wholesome life which is religion, or the love of a noble man which is hero-worship, or the love of a true woman. These are the four powers which are stronger than 'the flesh'—the zest of a quest, religion, hero-worship, and the love of a good woman. If a man is not possessed by one of these he will be immoral.… Fifteen months ago I was a private quartered in a camp near A——.… The tent was damp, gloomy, and cold. The Y M C A tent and the Canteen tent were crowded. One wandered off to the town.… And if a fellow ran up against 'a bit of skirt' he was generally just in the mood to follow it wherever it might lead. The moral of this is, double your subscriptions to the Y M C A, Church huts, soldiers' clubs, or whatever organization you fancy! You will be helping to combat vice in the only sensible way."

We agree with Donald Hankey that the appetites hold dominion over the average man, whether civilian or soldier. We do not wish to make any sweeping generalizations or accusations. We have no means of knowing how many men are immoral in peace time, as we have in war time. We only know that conditions of ordinary times are intensified, aggravated, and multiplied; and they are revealed in war time as never before, and thrown upon the screen of the public gaze. The writer also desires to guard against any possible impression that the British army is worse than our own or any other. It is too early to know what record our men will make, but we find it difficult to believe that they could have maintained a higher standard if placed in equal numbers in the same circumstances.

But to return to our meeting. Every one of these eight hundred men in this audience has a history. Tired or hardened or haggard faces are relaxed as they join in singing the hymns on this Sunday evening, "Nearer, My God, to Thee," "Lead, Kindly Light," "Tell Me the Old, Old Story," and "Where is my Wandering Boy Tonight?" There is a tragedy in every heart, and each man has experienced the bitterness of sin and bears its scars branded in his body. Look into the faces of some of these men. Here in front, this very first one, is an American cowboy from Texas, Frank B——. As a "broncho-buster" he became the star rider in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and was finally adopted as his son. At the age of fifteen he started to go wrong in New Orleans. At an early age he joined the American army, and later, at the outbreak of the war, he served in the Flying Corps of the British army. Here he broke a leg and was smashed up in action. After that he joined an infantry division. In one of the meetings this week he accepted Christ. He has since been standing firm and goes out tomorrow to begin a new life. Near him is a young theological student with a sad look on his face, who has learned here in bitterness the deepest lesson of his life. Next to him is a heartbroken married man with a wife and children at home.

After the crowd has assembled, we speak to them of Christ as the Maker of Men. We tell them of the transformation of others like themselves, of Augustine, Francis of Assisi, Loyola and the saints of old, of John B. Gough, Jerry McAuley, Hadley, and the men of Water Street whom God raised out of the depths, and of men right in their midst who have come out for Christ in the meetings this week. After speaking for an hour, we go into the Y M C A for an after-meeting.

We had a wonderful time with them here one Saturday night. Five hundred of them crowded the hall and listened for an hour as we spoke on the good news of the free offer of life. When the invitation was given, over two hundred stayed to the after-meeting as desiring to follow Christ. After we had spoken one of the men came forward and asked if he could say a word. He had been an earnest Christian before the war, and as he began to speak of his fall and of his trusting wife and children at home, the poor fellow broke down in utter wretchedness. It seemed to strike a responsive chord in the hearts of the married men all over the room. Many a one buried his head in his hands and wept bitterly. A second after-meeting was held and God seemed to be moving in the heart of every man present. Man after man rose to tell of his fall, or of his repentance, or of his new acceptance of Christ. The feeling was deep but controlled. It was one of the saddest and yet one of the gladdest meetings I have ever attended. One minister present said he had seen nothing like it all through the Welsh revival.

During their stay in this hospital great changes have taken place in many of these men. Here is Dan, a young chauffeur, a strong-willed, self-sufficient young fellow who thought he needed no help and no religion. He has a Christian wife at home to whom he has been untrue, for the temptations of the war swept him off his feet like a flood. In the meetings this week he turned to Christ and has been working right and left bringing in others ever since. Beside him is a poor fellow whom he has just brought to the meetings. He went on leave to England, only to find his three children deserted by his wife, who had run away, untrue to him. At last he found her, and brought her home. On his return to the army, he finds that now he has to bear here in the hospital the vicarious result of her fall. He came to me as a non-Christian struggling with the problem of forgiveness. Could he forgive her all this and his broken home? At last in Christ he found the power to forgive and took up his heavy cross. He knelt at the altar of the little chapel and yielded up his life to God. Tomorrow he leaves the hospital to begin a new life.

Here is a young Australian who was untrue to his wife. When we first saw him he was hardened by sin. That night he yielded to Christ. The next Sunday we knelt beside him at the Lord's Supper. He was a new man; his very face was changed. He said, "I have read of miracles in the past, but there was never a greater miracle than the change which has taken place in my heart and life. I am a new man. I can look any one in the face today!"

Beside him at that communion table knelt a young gunner, "Joe," of the Royal Field Artillery. He was a strong, red-cheeked six-footer, winsome and good to look upon, the most popular man in his battery. Away from home among bad companions he was swept off his feet and fell. He has found Christ here among the prodigals in a far country. Before leaving he came up to bid us good-by, saying, "I'm going out to warn other men and to witness for Christ to the end of my days."

Here is M——, a young sergeant, who came up after the meeting, with tears in his eyes. "Sir," he said, "I was never drunk but once in my life, when my pals were home on leave, and that once, under the influence of drink, I fell. Here I am in the hospital, yet I am engaged to a little girl at home who is as white as snow. What is my duty in the matter?" He has accepted Christ and is a changed man.

Oh, it is a wonderful sight to see men transformed by this inward moral miracle, wrought by the touch of the living God. Here in the very center of this venereal camp stands the Y M C A, endeavoring to meet their every need, and even here the red triangle shines with the hope of a new manhood for body, mind, and spirit. Every day at the hour of opening there is a scurry of feet as the men rush in to the one center in the whole camp where they can congregate. Martin Harvey has just been here to cheer them up, and they were enthusiastic over a fine lecture and recital last night on Chopin. The Colonel in command takes particular pride in the Y M C A for his men, and states that crime among them has been reduced ninety per cent since it started.

But even greater than the privilege which the Association has in ministering to the fallen, is its work of prevention in the other camps. Just up the road is a swearing old major in command of a unit which has always had the worst record for immorality and disease of any camp on the plain. He finally came in and demanded a Y M C A hut for his men. A few weeks later he came to the Association headquarters and said, in punctuated language which could not be printed, "For a year and a half my camp has led all the rest as the worst in venereal disease, with some twenty-five fresh cases every week. The first week after the Y M C A was opened we had only ten cases, the next week six, the third week only two, and it has not risen above that since. Your Association is the ——— best cure for this evil."

Nothing less than reaching the whole man can meet this gigantic problem. You must take physical precautions and build up a strong, clean, athletic body. Better than all repressive rules and regulations, you must provide healthy and happy occupation for the minds of the men. But beyond the reach of medical and military restrictions you have got to grip and strengthen their spiritual and moral nature. Otherwise, in the artificial and unnatural conditions consequent upon a vast concentration of men in a foreign land, away from all home influences, and in the poisonous atmosphere of a land of "regulated" immorality, where the government still regards it as a "necessary evil," you must see your men fall in ranks before the machine guns of commercialized vice, controlled by the vested interests, or fall a prey to the harpies who walk the streets. In the face of all this we must lay bold claim to the whole of manhood for God and for the high ends for which it was created.

The writer recently walked through a French street of licensed vice, where strong young fellows were tossing away their birthright for a mess of pottage. He passed on the main street of the city two young Americans from a medical unit who were reeling along in the possession of two harpies. They were shouting to all the passers by, trying to hold up the carriages, and widely advertising their uniform and their nation. We recognize the difficulty of maintaining a high moral standard in a foreign land in war time, but we believe it can be done. A plan has recently been suggested by the Association for dealing with this menace.

First of all, it is proposed to conduct a campaign of education on the highest moral grounds by a select group of lecturers, capable of presenting wisely the danger of immorality from both the medical and moral standpoints. This will involve the preparation of lectures, charts, lantern slides, films, and everything needed for the effective presentation both to the ear and eye. It is hoped that these lecturers will be able to instruct chaplains, Y M C A secretaries, and all who are responsible for the moral leadership of the troops, in order that they may be better able to cope with the situation. It is proposed that these lecturers conduct meetings for three days in each center, with a parade lecture for each battalion and voluntary meetings in the evening, which will include addresses on hygiene, lantern lectures, and moral talks. Healthy literature will be prepared and distributed to the men, and similar campaigns will be conducted in the camps in the United States and on shipboard before the troops reach France.

Second, a positive program for the occupation and amusement of the men will be provided. Athletic sports, games, tournaments, track meets, and other events will offer adequate physical facilities. Amusements, entertainments, concerts, classes, and lectures will be arranged for the mental occupation of the men. Meetings, personal interviews, and services will be planned to keep before them the moral and spiritual challenge and the call for clean living. Special campaigns will be carried on in all Y M C A huts from time to time.

Third, we would favor strict regulations and penalties to cope with immorality. We are glad that the selection of camp sites for the American troops in France is being made at places as far removed from the temptations of the cities as possible, where the men will be kept under closer supervision than could be done if the troops were located near large centers of population. Other means are being provided which cannot here be mentioned.

In the fourth place, we favor adequate medical provisions, coupled with the highest moral restraints. We will take our stand against any league with vice, against any recognition of immorality as a "necessary evil." We will stand against all notices, lectures, or medical talks such as are given in some quarters, which practically serve as an invitation or solicitation to immorality. We would oppose any provision on the part of the authorities to provide in advance for immorality, to standardize it, accept it, and attempt to render it safe, and we would oppose any mention of it which tends to advertise and increase the evil. We would strenuously oppose the running of supervised houses of prostitution by our own military authorities, as was done by some of them on the Mexican border. Conceivably a system of inspected government houses and of prophylactic measures might be devised which would eliminate disease altogether, and yet demoralize the young manhood of our nation by a cynical scientific materialism such as we are fighting against in the powers that dragged the world into this war. We are more opposed to immorality than to disease, which is its penalty. We fear not only the impairment of the physical fitness of the men as a fighting force, but much more the menace of the moral degradation of the manhood of the nation, under the unnatural conditions of wartime.

We believe that the hearty cooperation of the medical and moral agencies and of the military and voluntary forces which have to do with the men, can greatly reduce both immorality and disease. We feel sure, moreover, that the solid backing of public opinion in America will support every effort to surround our camps with a zone of safety and to keep the men clean and strong in the multiplied dangers of a foreign land, as well as in the military camps of our own country. It is reassuring to know that our military authorities abroad have taken a strong stand and that in no army in Europe are drunkenness and the contraction of venereal disease more instantly court-martialled or more severely punished.



The war, like a great searchlight thrown across our individual and national lives, has revealed men and nations to themselves. It has shown us the nation's manhood suddenly stripped of the conventionalities, the restraints, and the outward respectability of civil life, subjected to the trial and testing of a prodigious strain. It has shown us the real stuff of which men are made. It is like the X-ray photographs now constantly used in all the military hospitals, and placed in the windows of the operating rooms, to guide the surgeon in discovering the hidden pieces of shrapnel or shattered bones which must be removed in order to save the patient.

The war has been a great revelation of things both good and bad. In the light of this terrible conflict, we may well ask what it shows us of the present virtues and vices of the men, and of our past failure or success in dealing with them, and to what future course of action it should summon us? In other words, what lessons has the war to teach us? Large numbers of young clergymen and laymen of the churches of England and Scotland have gone to the war zone with the men as chaplains, Y M C A workers, or in the army itself, and have learned to know men as they never knew them before. We would covet this opportunity for every young minister or Christian worker in America. Mr. Moody once stated that the Civil War was his university. It was there he learned to understand the human heart and to know and win men.

During the summer of 1917 a questionnaire was sent out to representative religious workers throughout the armies in France and Great Britain by a committee under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Winchester and Professor D. S. Cairns, with Mr. E. C. Carter of the Y M C A, and the Rev. Tissington Tatlow of the Student Christian Movement, as secretaries. Although the results and findings of this committee are not yet published, the writer has before him the reports of numbers of workers in France. In the base camp where he was last working, the questions were taken up by more than a hundred of the workers and discussed in conferences with groups of the soldiers and officers of the various regiments. These were summarized in findings and the reports were compared with the returns made from other centers. The writer has had the privilege of talking with hundreds of the soldiers regarding their own religious lives and difficulties. In this chapter he will try to form a composite photograph of all these impressions and to state impartially the results of his own experience and those of others.

We shall confine ourselves to three outstanding questions: I. What are the moral standards and actions of the men in war time? II. What is their attitude to religion and what is their religious life at the front? III. What is their attitude to the churches, and what lessons may the Church learn from the men at the front?

The questionnaire has been answered mainly by men of the British army, but the writer could observe no radical difference between the British and American forces as regards their religious life. As in other things connected with the war, we in America may learn much from the experience of Britain and other nations.


What are the moral standards and actions of the men in war time? At the very beginning, we must recognize the difficulty and danger of generalizations. No two men in the army are precisely alike. All sweeping generalizations are likely to be misleading. Regiments differ from one another and workers receive differing impressions of the front. Most of all we must distinguish between the different classes in the army.

It has been repeatedly affirmed that not more than 20 per cent of the men now under arms among the British troops were connected with the churches in any vital way before the war, or were regular in attendance at their services. Of this minority perhaps a half—those who were weak or nominal Christians before the war or have lost the higher standards of peace time or have hidden whatever religion they may have had—would not now be classed as definitely Christian men. But the remaining half, or one-tenth of the total number in the army, would probably be out-and-out Christians, strengthened by the severe discipline of the war and living under distinctly Christian standards.

At the other or lower extreme, there are perhaps one-tenth who are so-called "rotters," the men who set the evil standards of the camp and whose conduct is almost altogether selfish and materialistic. Between these two extremes are the great majority, or four-fifths, whom it is so difficult to classify. It is our conviction that these men "are not saved, but are salvable."

What are the moral standards of this majority? They are not definitely Christian. Rather, they have a military, material standard of the type of a somewhat primitive social group. Their expressions unconsciously reveal their judgments. Their constant demand of one another is "to play the game," that is, to play fair and to do one's part in order to win the game for the good of all. Anything which harms, hinders, or endangers another, which brings suffering to one's fellows or defeat to one's side, is not playing the game. They condemn unmanly actions which bring defeat, and praise the practical and virile virtues. As one chaplain writes: "I believe nearly all live partly by faith in a good God. I have never found men afraid to die, even though they were afraid before battle. As to the standards by which they live, I should say they are the sanctions of group morality. They have very lax ideas about drunkenness and sexual irregularity, but they have very strict ideas about the sacredness of social obligations within the groups to which they belong. I would mention sheer fear of public opinion as one of the great weaknesses of the men. They would rather be in the fashion than be right. And most of them have been hardened—though not necessarily in a bad sense."

As we ask ourselves what are the virtues which the majority admire in others and practice themselves to a greater or lesser degree, we would say that they are chiefly five:

1. Courage or bravery, the first virtue of the ancients and always at a natural premium in war time, is admired by all. In countless instances in the camps or on the battlefield this rises to heroism or self-sacrifice. Cowardice is scathingly condemned, and the man who starts to run away on the battlefield is unhesitatingly shot down by his comrades to preserve the morale of the fighting body.

2. Brotherliness, or comradeship, shows itself in unselfish service and cooperation with others.

3. Generosity and tender-heartedness show themselves in the men's willingness to help a comrade, to share their last rations, and to insist that others be attended to on the battlefield before themselves when they lie wounded. These are among the most beautiful virtues which the war has revealed.

4. Straightforwardness and genuine honesty are demanded; and all cant, hypocrisy, double dealing, shirking, and unreality are scathingly condemned.

5. Persistent cheerfulness in the midst of monotony, drudgery, suffering, danger, or death, is admired and maintained by the majority. This is not incompatible with the "grousing" or grumbling which the Englishman regards as his prerogative. This good cheer shows itself in the inveterate singing and whistling of the men on the march.[1]

Commenting upon the virtues of the soldiers, especially the wounded, a hospital nurse writes: "I was struck by the amount of real goodness among the men—their generosity, kindness, chivalry, patience, and self-sacrifice. The sins which they dislike are those sins of the spirit which Christ denounced most bitterly—hypocrisy, pride, meanness. They love giving, they bear pain patiently, they honor true womanhood, they reverence goodness."

Probably no one in the present war has given a better description of the unconscious virtues of the soldiers than has Donald Hankey, in his chapter on "The Religion of the Inarticulate," fragments of which we here quote:

"We never got a chance to sit down and think things out. Praying was almost an impossibility.… Above all, we were not going to turn religious at the last minute because we were afraid.… The soldier, and in this case the soldier means the workingman, does not in the least connect the things that he really believes in with Christianity.… Here were men who believed absolutely in the Christian virtues of unselfishness, generosity, charity, and humility, without ever connecting them in their minds with Christ; and at the same time what they did associate with Christianity was just on a par with the formalism and smug self-righteousness which Christ spent His whole life in trying to destroy.… The men really had deep-seated beliefs in goodness.… They never connected the goodness in which they believed with the God in Whom the chaplains said they ought to believe.… They have a dim sort of idea that He is misrepresented by Christianity.… If the chaplain wants to be understood and to win their sympathy he must begin by showing them that Christianity is the explanation and the justification and the triumph of all that they do now really believe in. He must start by making their religion articulate in a way which they will recognize."

As we turn from the virtues to the vices or moral weaknesses of the soldier in war time, we find that they also fall chiefly under five headings:

1. Impurity must certainly take the first place. Investigation seemed to show that the majority of these men were immoral in peace time, but the war has intensified this evil. This would be accounted for to a large extent by the unnatural conditions under which the men are forced to live, and the policy of the military authorities, who are often concerned merely with the fighting fitness of the men, rather than with the moral issues. However this may be, in nearly every camp or battalion or regiment or body of men questioned, whether among officers or men, the majority were confessedly living in immorality. This in itself is a staggering fact. It could be supported here by numerous statements or authorities and by much evidence.

2. Obscene and profane language is sweeping like an epidemic through the camps. It is infectious, and the worst men, who are the loudest talkers, tend to set the standard, so that evil is rapidly and unconsciously propagated until the very atmosphere becomes saturated. It is some comfort to know that frequently words are used unthinkingly and without a full realization of their original meaning. It is also comforting to be assured that there is not much deliberate telling of obscene stories. As one man puts it, "There are few essentially rotten minds." When, however, the name of our Lord is used not only profanely, but dragged into the most obscene and horrible connections, unheard of in peace times, no possible excuse can be offered and the habit cannot but prove deadening and baneful in its influence. Men who never before thought of swearing find themselves driven to strong language and to reckless, heightened, or intensified expression in the trying and persistent strain of war time.

3. Drunkenness has always proved the danger of the soldier. The discipline of the army has lessened this evil within the camps. Certainly it is being sternly suppressed and severely punished by the authorities among the newly arrived American troops. The rum which is given to the soldiers of the British army before a charge, or in the extreme cold of the trenches, has taught some men to drink who had not contracted the habit before. It is also a fact that the drink bill of England has increased during the war. Lloyd George said: "We are fighting against Germany, Austria, and Drink; but the greatest of these three deadly foes is Drink." The drink trade of England is maintained on the one hand by the powerful vested interests and the respectable moderate drinkers at the top of society, who are not willing to sacrifice their selfish comfort for the weaker brother, and on the other hand by the demand of the laboring classes who will have their beer, and whom the government does not dare oppose in the present crisis. Drink has been a curse to Britain during the war.

4. Gambling is a danger to the soldier. It is strictly forbidden in most of its forms by the military authorities. The game of "House" is tolerated as a mild form of gambling, where the men play for hours for very small stakes in order to kill time. The game of "Crown and Anchor" is also popular.

5. A lack of moral courage, of independence, and of individual initiative are particular evils of the present. All the men have to act together. They are taught to obey under rigid discipline. Individual initiative is crushed or left undeveloped. The sense of personal responsibility and of personal ownership is often weakened. This lack of the sense of private property may partly account for the pilfering which goes on. The men find it exceedingly difficult to take an open stand on moral or religious questions before their comrades. A soldier will ordinarily hide his religion and is afraid to be seen praying or doing anything that makes him peculiar, although the most immoral and obscene man is not ashamed of his actions.

A lieutenant of the Royal Irish Rifles says: "Taken singly they are afraid to face public opposition, anxious to avoid bother and exertion, slack, and easily overcome by temptations. There is a fairly general chaotic unrest, but little or no serious thought. There is a greater tolerance towards vice. Many more men practice sexual vice than before and most refuse to condemn it. It might be said that the men are more open to religion, but less religious. They are also more open on the question of sacrifice, the need for living or dying for others."

An army chaplain who himself served in the ranks writes of the soldier: "He lives an animal life in which the thinking is done for him. Indeed his relative comfort depends upon the extent to which he can abstain from thinking. In France the number who take drink increases greatly. It is wicked, damnably wicked that our lads through ignorance should be allowed to slip into sins which in themselves are deadly, but which also open the door to deadlier sins.… There are many indications that when the Army returns there will be a great social upheaval. Men feel that they are out to fight Prussianism, but they are becoming growingly conscious of Prussianism in our own national life. They are very conscious of it in military life."

If we were to sum up our impressions we would be compelled to say that there has been an increase of immorality, drinking, and bad language during the period of the war.


Let us now ask, What is the attitude of the men to religion, and what are the characteristics of their religious life in war time? The war seems to have intensified all the tendencies of peace time. It makes a man a greater sinner or a greater saint. He is either driven to God or away from Him. It would be impossible for any single human mind adequately to sum up the good and evil of war, and strike a balance between the two. Most Christians cannot believe that war is in itself good. To those who have seen its hideous reality it is unquestionably a dire evil. Even the best results of war might have been better attained by other means. The good is often revealed rather than caused by it. A moral equivalent for war might have been found. Certainly no Christian could defend war save as a last resort, forced upon a nation in defense of its life or for the lives of others, when all more rational or judicial methods had failed.

Among the obvious evil results of war we would be compelled to name at least ten: The wanton destruction of human life; the maiming and suffering inflicted upon the wounded; the breaking up of homes and the terrible suffering caused to women and children; the loss of wealth and property, with the subsequent hardship for the poor which it entails, and the destruction of art, architecture, and the higher material accomplishments of civilization; the outbreak of immorality and drunkenness, which always accompanies war; the hardening of the finer sensibilities of men through the cruelty and barbarity of modern warfare; the increase of hatred and suspicion; the dividing of humanity and the destruction of its sense of unity, brotherhood, and cooperation; the breakdown of international law and respect for law and order; and the loss of reverence for human life and the sense of its priceless value.

An equal number of possible good effects may be mentioned which war may at times call out: The development of courage and heroism; the call to sacrifice in the sinking of selfish individual interests for the sake of a cause; the discipline of obedience and the development of corporate action; the bringing of men out of selfish and careless lives to the facing of the great realities of God, life, death, and immortality; the awful object lesson of the results of sin, both personal and national, and the teaching of the terrible lesson that "the wages of sin is death"; the widening of men's horizons, the breaking of old molds, ruts, and restrictions and the opening of men's minds to new ideas; the chastening and mellowing influence of suffering, with its possible development of sympathy, tenderness, and unselfishness; the deepening of the sense of brotherhood within a single nation with the sinking of the false or artificial social distinctions of peace time; the strengthening of religious unity by the stripping off of nonessentials and the laying bare of the great simple fundamentals; and the new contact with the practical ministry of religion in hours of deepest need in camps, in hospitals, and on the battlefields, with the resultant strengthening hold on the great verities of the love of God, the cross of Christ, and the service of men.

It will depend upon the individual and his theories of life how he will strike the balance between these two sides of the good and evil of war. While the good effects of a war are seen more clearly after it is over, certainly during the war the vast majority of men at the front would almost unanimously agree that the preponderating influence and effect for the time being is evil.

At the beginning of the war in 1914 there was talk of a religious revival in the various countries. The churches for a time were filled. The opening of the war drove men to God. With the passing months, which have now dragged into years, many of the high ideals have gradually been lowered or lost. Men are certainly ready to listen to a living message and are probably more open than ever before in their lives to religious influences, because of their desperate need. They are between the nether and upper millstones of sin and death. On the one hand they meet the pressure of terrible temptations, and on the other they have to face the awful fact of death, unready and unprepared. But although the men are open to a religious message and to the Christian challenge presented by one who has a real message, it could hardly be maintained by anyone that there is a revival of religion at the front today. Rather the opposite is true.

A friend of the present writer, a chaplain in charge of the religious work in one of the five armies at the front, well says:

"On the whole, I venture to say, there is not a great revival of the Christian religion at the front. Deep in their hearts is a great trust and faith in God. It is an inarticulate faith expressed in deeds. The top levels, as it were, of their consciousness, are much filled with grumbling and foul language and physical occupations; but beneath lie deep spiritual springs, whence issue their cheerfulness, stubbornness, patience, generosity, humility, and willingness to suffer and to die. There is religion about; only, very often it is not the Christian religion. Rather it is natural religion. It is the expression of a craving for security. Literally it is a looking for salvation."

It may be asked, To what extent are the men thinking of religion and discussing its problems? One friend of the writer, a young Anglican chaplain, says: "The men are not thinking at all. They are 'carrying on.' They spend hours in playing a game like House because it requires no thought." However, it would probably be fairer to say that at times all of them think about religion, although they do not talk very much about it. It is not, however, consistent thought leading to action. Rather they have moments of deep impressions, vague longings, intuitions, and hunger of heart. But the minute anyone starts a discussion or begins to attack religion, men show that they have been thinking, or that they have ideas of their own in private.

Most of them believe in God, although they do not know Him in a personal way. They believe in religion, but have not made it vital and dominant in their lives. They have a vague sense or intuition that there is a God and that He is a good God, round about and above them. He is looked upon, however, not as One whom they are to seek first, but rather as a last resort; not as a present Father and constant Friend, but as One to whom they can turn in time of need. They have a vague feeling of unworthiness, although no clear sense of sin. Yet they also have an inarticulate belief or intuition that they have tried, however brokenly or unsuccessfully, to live up to such light as they had or to some standard of their own. They feel that somehow, though they have often failed, at bottom they are not so very bad, and that God is very, very good. Their vague feeling would probably find its most accurate expression in Faber's hymn, "There's a wideness in God's mercy, like the wideness of the sea."

They revere God from afar off and in one compartment of their being, but they have never opened their lives to Him. They have a reverence for Him in the face of death, in the hour of need, and in the great crises of life. Most of them like to sing the Christian hymns on Sunday evening and have thoughts of home and of loved ones that are sacred. They do not feel that they have come into close personal relations with God, but neither do they consciously feel that they are out of relation with Him. They do not think they are altogether right with Him, but neither do they feel in the bottom of their hearts that they are wholly wrong with Him. The vast majority of them in the hour of death do not feel that they have either consciously accepted or rejected Him. They have not loved darkness rather than light, nor have they wholly chosen the light and rejected the darkness.

It will depend upon the individual how he classifies these men. Some will believe that the great love of the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for the sheep, will somehow in the end not be thwarted in His seeking to save the lost. Not only will men differ in their judgment, but it is exceedingly difficult to pass judgment upon an individual soldier. He seems to be a different man under different circumstances. In the temptations at the base camp, he would perhaps appear to be utterly irreligious and profane. He can hardly be recognized as the same man as he prays in the hour of battle, or as he lies wounded, chastened, and sobered, in the hospital. Which situation reveals the true man?

Before us as we write lies the photograph of a young sergeant. Before the war he was an atheist, an illegitimate child, a member of the criminal class. But in the trenches he found God. Blown up by a mine, for sixteen days he lost the power of speech and of memory. He returned from the front with a deep sense of God, but with no personal, vital relationship to Christ. He eagerly welcomed the first real message that went straight to his heart, and the personal word of loving sympathy which led him to relate his deep experience of the trenches to the presence of the living Christ. All this man needed was someone to interpret to him his own experience, and bring him into the relationship with God which his own heart craved and longed for.

Beside this photograph is the card of a strong-willed, self-righteous young Pharisee, who had no use for religion in peace time, but who was driven to God by his awful conflict with sin in this war. Next comes the card of a young man who formerly had lived a proper conventional life without bad habits. The war taught him to drink and he finally became a drunkard, but in his extremity he found Christ as a personal Saviour. Next comes the card of a man who had been in a public house for thirty-two years—twenty-seven years as a bar tender and five years as a saloon keeper. He said, "I have sent men to hell with drink. I have seen women who would sell the clothes off the backs of their children or pawn their husband's clothing to get drink." Yet this man has been brought to God during the war. Many a man has found God on the field of battle, or like the thief has turned to him in the hour of death.[2]

Three Thousand Soldiers in the Crowboro Hut.

[Illustration: Three Thousand Soldiers in the Crowboro Hut.]

One young soldier thus describes his experience which is typical of many another: There had been a charge, a hopeless affair from the start. He lay in the long grass between the lines, unable to move, and with an unceasing throbbing pain in his left leg and arm. A whizz-bang had caught him in both places. He just lay there, feeling strangely peaceful. Above him he could see the stars. All this bloodshed—what was the good of it? He suddenly felt terribly small and lonely, and he was so very, very weak. "God!" he whispered softly. "God everywhere!" Then into his tired brain came a new phrase—"Underneath are the everlasting arms." He sighed contentedly, as a tired child. They fetched him in at last. He will never again be sound of limb; but there is in his memory and in his heart that which may make him a staunch fighter in other fields. He has learned a new way of prayer, and the courage that is born of faith well-founded.

The idea has been widely preached by many British chaplains that death in battle saves. This may be good Mohammedanism, but it is surely not the Christian message that is given to Christ's ministers to preach. The verse most often quoted in support of this theory is: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." But such a passage cannot be taken out of its context either in Christ's teaching or in the man's own life. Our Lord had said that we were to love even as He loved, that is, out of a pure and surrendered heart to lay down our life for our friends; and He added, "Ye are my friends if ye do the things which I command you." It is going far beyond the province of the Christian minister to offer any hope other than that which is offered by our Lord Himself. It is not death or a bullet or battle that saves. Christ only saves, and there is no other name given under heaven. This offer is made to all men and at all times.

But although one may not preach so dangerous and misleading a doctrine, it is nevertheless possible to realize that many a man is unconsciously more of a Christian than he knows, and that in the last day he may say with surprise: "When saw I Thee an hungered and fed Thee?"

We may turn to "A Student in Arms" for his interpretation of the feeling of the common soldier in this crisis:

"Then at last we 'got out.' We were confronted with dearth, danger, and death.… They, who had formerly been our despair, were now our glory. Their spirits effervesced. Their wit sparkled. Hunger and thirst could not depress them. Rain could not damp them. Cold could not chill them. Every hardship became a joke.… Never was such a triumph of spirit over matter.… If it was another fellow that was hit, it was an occasion for tenderness and grief. But if one of them was hit, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?… Life? They did not value life! They had never been able to make much of a fist of it. But if they lived amiss they died gloriously, with a smile for the pain and the dread of it. What else had they been born for? It was their chance. With a gay heart they gave their greatest gift, and with a smile to think that after all they had anything to give which was of value. One by one Death challenged them. One by one they smiled in his grim visage, and refused to be dismayed. They had been lost, but they had found the path that led them home; and when at last they laid their lives at the feet of the Good Shepherd, what could they do but smile?"

It has been well said that there is much natural religion in the trenches, but that much of this religion is not Christian. What is the attitude of the men to Christ Himself? Most of them associate Him with all that is highest and noblest in life. They link Him with God in their thought, and with themselves in their time of deepest need. Although His name with that of God is sometimes taken on their lips in profanity, there is often a deep reverence for Him. Thousands have seen the cross of Christ standing among the ruins in the villages of Belgium and Northern France, when all about seems to be battered and wrecked. The old skeptical theories and captious criticisms of pre-war days are little heard during this awful time. Generally speaking, the facts of the gospel narrative are not disputed. They believe in Christ as the revelation of God. They have no difficulty with the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and do not doubt that He is a living reality and has power to save. Their only difficulty is with their own sin. They do not know how to break from it or are unwilling to give it up.

The great need of the hour is for interpretation. On the one hand, men have had in their hours of great need a deep experience of God which they do not understand; yet on the other hand, they are gripped by the power of temptation which alone they cannot overcome. They admire the virtues of courage, generosity, and purity, but for the most part they see no connection between these and the presentation of Christ in the lives and words of those about them who profess to be Christians. What is needed is personally to relate the man to the God and Father of Jesus Christ, with Whom he has been brought face to face at the battle front. There is urgent and imperative need of the giving of that message, both in public presentation and in the channels of personal friendship.

One chaplain says of the men: "I am sure the soldier has got religion: I am sure he has got Christianity; but he does not know he has got Christianity. I am convinced that of the hundreds of men who go into action the majority come out affected towards good rather than coarsened. They come out realizing that there are times when they cannot get on without God; they are not frightened of Him, they flee to Him with their simple cries for strength."

While another, a student who laid down his life at the front, makes this valuable suggestion as to the presentation of Christ: "When I was talking to them at these services, I always used to try to make them feel that Christ was the fulfilment of all the best things that they admired, that He was their natural hero. I would tell them some story of heroism and meanness contrasted, of courage and cowardice, of noble forgiveness and vile cruelty, and so get them on the side of the angels. Then I would try and spring it upon them that Christ was the Lord of the heroes and the brave men and the noble men, and that He was fighting against all that was mean and cruel and cowardly, and that it was up to them to take their stand by His side if they wanted to make the world a little better instead of a little worse."


The third question discussed with the men was, What is the attitude of the soldier to the churches, and what lesson has the Church to learn from the present war? Let it be said at the very outset that the writer speaks as a member of the Church and in deep sympathy with it. As the divinely constituted organization which stands for the highest human ideals, and for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, we all are, or ought to be, members of the Church. "With charity for all and with malice toward none," we see no ground for self-complacence on the part of any branch of the Church, and no part of it which deserves sweeping condemnation from the rest. Doubtless it will seem to many that it is unwise to confess our faults, but the men at the front are not silent, however much we may desire to be. We would do well to face the facts which this war is forcing upon our attention, however much we may dislike the searching glare of the present conflict. Obviously something is wrong. Had the Church fulfilled her divine mission, the present war between so-called "Christian" nations would have been impossible.

As was stated in the preceding chapter, according to the opinion of the majority, less than 20 per cent or one-fifth of the men are vitally related to any of the Christian communions. A series of conferences held with individuals and carefully selected groups of men and officers brought out by a general consensus of opinion the following points as representing the attitude of the men toward the churches:

1. Indifference to the Church. As one typical young sergeant, a member of the student movement, puts it: "The men simply have no time for it. They do not care for the Church because it did not care for them." There is a general feeling that the churches do not understand them or sympathize with the social and industrial disabilities of the men. They feel that the ideals of life for which the Church stands are dull, dim, and altogether unnatural; its standard of comfort and complacent respectability makes no appeal to them and they have no part or lot in it. They feel that this respectability of the Church is quite in keeping with flagrant selfishness in social and industrial relationships, that the Church is largely in the possession of the privileged classes, who monopolize it, and who have neither sought nor welcomed them within its doors.

As one representative chaplain in a most influential position in France says: "There is the plain fact that the great mass of men are out with the Christian Church, and do not look to it as being in any vital relation to life as they know it, either in peace or war. There is the deeper and sadder fact that to a very large proportion of them God Himself means little or nothing, or means something that is very unchristian. Where there is a living presentation of religion men are responsive—extraordinarily so. Put it how you will, men must be summoned to a new thought, a new outlook on life, a new attitude towards the unseen and eternal."

2. An attitude of separation and alienation from the Church. For the most part the men are largely ignorant of what the Church really is, and for this the churches are largely responsible. They believe that its message and presentation of truth are often too feminine and impractical and that its fellowship is too cold and exclusive. They do not understand the vocabulary and tone adopted frequently by preachers in speaking of religious things, and they feel that the churches are almost complete strangers to the real facts of life with which they have to deal.

It is true that the practical work of the churches in their helpful ministry through the various organizations working in the camps has brought many of the men into vital contact with religion for the first time. But the war has revealed the lack of the churches' hold upon the men in pre-war times.

3. Criticism of its worldliness. The men have an unuttered belief in God, and they reverence Jesus Christ as the friend and brother and comrade of man, as the embodiment of the highest ideal they can conceive. But they feel that somehow the churches do not adequately represent Christ, that they have become merely the adjunct of the State to second its schemes and aims. Many feel that the Church has lowered its colors in the present war, that in some countries it has been little more than a recruiting station for enlistment and that its message cannot be reconciled with the Sermon on the Mount.

One sergeant thus states his convictions: "Perhaps it would be well if we out here could get up a committee of inquiry on 'Civilians and Religion' and arrive at some decision as to what is the matter with you at home. Are we to return home where the spiritual fires have been kept burning brightly, or to the blackened ashes of those great ideals of the early days of August, 1914, which have burned themselves out? Are we to return to a country in which, in spite of all the community of suffering and sorrow, the Christian churches have still their differences simmering instead of being regiments in one common Army?"

Another soldier writes: "What could not the churches do for the world if they could only connect the symbols Christ gave us with the knowledge that is within the hearts of men? There must be more known about suffering and sacrifice now in the hearts of men than at any past time. I thought once, on the Somme, that the two races facing each other in such agony were as the two thieves on their crosses reviling each other, and that somewhere between us, if we could but see Him, was Christ on His Cross."

4. The men are bewildered and repelled by the Church's divisions. There is a widespread feeling among them that there is something wrong here, that instead of representing Christ or losing themselves in the wide interests of His Kingdom, instead of concern for the winning of the world and humanity as a whole, the aims of many of the churches are petty, narrow, exclusive, and sectarian. There is a feeling among the men that far too many Christians are working for themselves or for their own particular branch of the Church, or are, as one of them puts it, "out for their own show."

In the last hospital we visited, the young American Episcopal chaplain working with one of our own units asked the writer to accompany him one morning to help him in cheering up the patients, giving them Testaments, meeting their needs, and answering their doubts and difficulties. While we were proceeding through one of the wards, the Nonconformist chaplain came by. The writer was speaking to a poor boy who was dying. The chaplain seemed shocked and surprised that we were speaking to one of his patients without his permission. The young Episcopal chaplain explained that he felt sure that the chaplain would not mind if we tried to help the men. Although he followed him out of the ward and tried his best to make his peace with him, the chaplain reported the matter, and we were prevented from doing personal Christian work in neighboring hospitals.

The Roman Catholic chaplain in the next hospital, a most consecrated and earnest man, has managed to get a military rule passed that no services can be held in any ward of the hospital unless every Roman Catholic patient is bodily carried out. This has successfully prevented the holding of any Christian services whatsoever, Catholic or Protestant. Throughout the entire war we have never known of a single instance of any man trying to proselytize or to divert a soldier from allegiance to his own church. We have known of men leaving the churches altogether during the war, but not one instance of a man's changing his church or being asked to do so. Yet the jealousy and suspicion of the bare possibility of men's doing so has blocked and excluded much genuine Christian work.

To give another instance—a personal friend of the writer, a young Anglican clergyman, a widely known college principal, was serving in one of the huts of a Convalescent Camp. He had made the acquaintance of the patients in some twelve wards and was going the rounds every morning telling the war news, giving oranges to the fevered, and cheering up the depressed. The Commandant came with apologies and told him that although he was doing the best Christian work in the hospital it must be discontinued, as the chaplain objected. Our friend, who was a clergyman of the same communion as the chaplain, called upon him and asked if he had any objection to the distribution of fruit. He replied that if our friend did this it would give an unfair advantage to his work as his particular organization would get the credit, and that he, as the chaplain, must "push his own show." To continue in the words of our friend: "Then I asked him if I could send the fruit through the lady workers or the hut orderlies, or the 'Tommies' who were friends of the wounded. But he refused all. So I asked him if he would distribute them if I gave them. This he agreed to, and I have sent them to him since then. But he is too busy." The oranges were not distributed, and our friend concludes: "I am out against the whole principle on which he acts. I don't think he is much to be blamed. He is one of the best; a keen, hard-working, pleasant man, zealous for his 'own show,' and in its interests doing much for the men. And in his principle of action he is not an exception, but a common type of the Anglican padre as I have met them in many lands. They are trained and encouraged to 'push their own show.' But this keenness on one's 'own show' rather than on men, is the very essence of the sin of schism, and the very root of Pharisaism. Now, as a rule, all the sects stand for their 'own show' first, and men know it. I am ashamed to be a parson today. Men were not made for any Church, but the Church for them." Here again, which of us is without sin, and who can throw the first stone at his brother, or at other branches of the sadly divided Church of Christ?

Facing the vast common need in war time with four thousand wounded patients, whom no one chaplain could visit, the whole story is obviously pathetic and sad. The writer also recalls visiting a Y M C A hut of another nationality, where the secretary was so obviously "out for his own show," and had become so engrossed in the counter of his dry canteen and his work as a money-changer, that he had forgotten all the higher interests of the men, and the high purpose for which he was there. He had become a mere secularized machine, a kind of automatic cash register, mistaking in his work the means for the end. He was just as much "out for his own show" as the three mentioned above, and it was an infinitely smaller "show."

Here we have four instances of men, each conscientious, well meaning, and earnest; each zealous for his own work and his own organization; yet each earning the pity or contempt of the great body of men outside the churches today who are out of sympathy with sectarian zeal. The saddest religious spectacle the writer ever witnessed was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where five chapels divide that sacred spot where our Lord is supposed to have been crucified, occupied by five bodies, each claiming to be the church. The blood of their fellow Christians has been shed by the followers of these churches on this very spot, and it is a humiliating sight to see them kept apart even to this day by the Turkish bayonet alone. How many of us are working for "our own show," rather than for the Kingdom of God?

The war work of the Y M C A in America, in England, in France, and elsewhere has been made possible only by churchmen sacrificing their individual interests and losing themselves in service for the Kingdom. The Association represents the churches at work on behalf of the suffering men in the war zone. If it should claim the credit for itself as though it were a wholly independent organization, rather than the united work of the churches which have sunk their own differences to make possible this common work, this would be only a manifestation of the same spirit and more inexcusable. But such a claim it could never truly make. As a matter of fact, this united work has proved how truly Christians of various bodies can get together on a great practical issue. If, as at present, all can unite in a great lay organization, what may not the churches themselves do in the future?

Should we not in this war repent, in bitterness and deep humiliation, for our unhappy divisions and each resolve that he will work for nothing less than the whole Kingdom of God, and that no member of that Kingdom, even one of these least, shall be excluded from the love and fellowship which make us one in Him? One of the chaplains in France who has himself been in the ranks says: "I feel that in the past churches have been more anxious to get men into the Kingdom of the Church than into the Kingdom of God, with the result that very many are Pillars of the Church who are not near to the Kingdom. Out of the two battalions which I have known as a private soldier, I should say that not more than five per cent were vitally related to any of the Christian communions. It is useless making plans for the time when the boys come home, unless the Church rediscovers her Lord and Master. The Spirit-filled Church is more necessary than any modifications of organization."

Is not the whole war a call to deep humiliation to the Church of Christ and should we not all stand convicted of sin before it? So far as our saving the world is concerned and our bringing in the Kingdom of love and peace, which Christ came to establish, does not the war write in flaming judgment against us, "Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting"? Are we not all, like the Pharisees of old, too ready to throw the first stone at someone else who we may think caused the war, instead of admitting our own guilt?

As Arnold Freeman, in his lectures at Sheffield University, says:

"We persuade one another that it was the Kaiser, through his lust for self-glorification, who made this war. Would it be possible for one man to transform all Europe into a slaughter-house unless that same Kaiser-spirit found its response in human nature in every corner of this continent? It is the 'Kaiser' in each one of us that makes wars possible. It is because we have in every nation, and in every class, multitudes of men and women who neglect the service of their fellow-creatures in a desire for self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement, that this catastrophe has fallen upon us all. It is a case of devil-possession, and our only hope is to exorcise ourselves of the evil spirit. Our avowed intention is to cast out 'Kaiserism' in Germany by brute force. We must be no less resolute to cast it out of this country."

The Bishop of Carlisle has well said that if we were really Christians this war would not have happened. If the defense of its citizens is the work of the State, and the redemption of the world is the task of the Church, no one can deny that the State has done its work far better than the Church. In the face of this, the most pathetic spectacle that the Christian world ever witnessed, must we not wring our hands with shame and cry, "Why could we not cast it out?" The divisions, the impotence, the worldliness, the coldness, the sin and failure of the Church stand revealed in the lurid light of this war.

What a self-righteous spirit the war has bred in many of us, and what a hatred of our enemies! One has but to read the secular and religious press on both sides of the present conflict to see our sin writ large before us. Since we have such a keen vision for the mote in our brother's eye and such an eager perception of every flaw in our enemy, we can recognize this spirit most readily if we look for it first in Germany, but in doing so let us clearly recognize that every quotation can be paralleled by the press both secular and religious on our own side of the conflict. In all fairness let us state that a large proportion of the sermons which have been preached in the churches of Germany, England, and America have had a recognition of the sins of their own people. But there have been many preachers on both sides who have praised their own nation to the skies with Pharisaic self-righteousness, and have seen the enemy only with the distorted eyes of prejudice and hate.

It will not be necessary to quote here the notorious "Hymn of Hate," by Ernst Lissauer, which was distributed by the Crown Prince of Bavaria to his army. Rather let us quote from some of the sermons and poems of German pastors and the religious press. In a collection of poems published by a German pastor, Konsistorialrat Dietrich Vorwerk, there occurred the following paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer: "Though the warrior's bread be scanty, do Thou work daily death and tenfold woe unto the enemy. Forgive in merciful long-suffering each bullet and each blow which misses its mark! Lead us not into the temptation of letting our wrath be too tame in carrying out Thy divine judgment! Deliver us and our Ally from the infernal Enemy and his servants on earth. Thine is the kingdom, the German land; may we, by aid of Thy steel-clad hand, achieve the power and the glory." Fortunately, this was deleted in the later editions of this book.

The published sermons of Pastor H. Francke are also typical:

"As Jesus was treated, so also have the German people been treated. From the East the Russian threatens us. Injustice and bloody deeds of violence are his life-element, agreements and constitutions, solemnly sworn to, have no significance for him; he is stained with blood from top to toe. Germany is precisely—who would venture to deny it?—the representative of the highest morality, of the purest humanity, of the most chastened Christianity. They envy us our freedom, our power to do our work in peace. To heal the world by the German nature is to become a blessing to the people of the earth. Wherever the German spirit obtains supremacy, there freedom prevails. Here we come upon the old intimate kinship between the essence of Christianity and of Germanism. Because of their close spiritual relationship, therefore, Christianity must find its fairest flower in the German mind. Therefore we have a right to say: 'Our German Christianity—the most perfect, the most pure.' Thus the Germans are the very nearest to the Lord. Is He the God of those others? No, they serve at best Satan, the father of lies."

The Rev. J. Rump writes in the same strain:

"Against us stands the world's greatest sham of a nation, the 'English cousin,' the Judas among the nations, who betrays Germanism for thirty pieces of silver. Against us stands sensual France, the harlot amongst the peoples. Against us stands Russia, inwardly rotten, mouldering, masking its disease under outbursts of brutality. Germany shall be the Israel of the future. The Germans are guiltless, and from all sides testimonies are flowing in as to the noble manner in which our troops conduct the war. We fight—thanks and praise be to God—for the cause of Jesus within mankind. Verily the Bible is our book. It was given and assigned to us, which proclaims to mankind salvation or disaster—according as we will it." [3]

Such quotations could be multiplied not only from German war sermons, but from some that have been preached in England and America as well.[4] The Archbishop of Canterbury says: "I get letters in which I am urged to see to it that we insist upon 'reprisals, swift, bloody and unrelenting. Let gutters run with German blood. Let us smash to pulp the German old men, women and children,' and so on." [5]

Here is Henri de Regnier's song of hate from France:

"I swear to cherish in my heart this hate
        Till my last heart-throb wanes;
So may the sacred venom of my blood
        Mingle and charge my veins!

May there pass never from my darkened brow
        The furrows hate has worn!
May they plough deeper in my flesh, to mark
        The outrage I have borne!

By towns in flames, by my fair fields laid waste,
        By hostages undone,
By cries of murdered women and of babes,
        By each dead warrior son, . . .

I take my oath of hatred and of wrath
        Before God, and before
The holy waters of the Marne and Aisne,
        Still ruddy with French gore;

And fix my eyes upon immortal Rheims,
        Burning from nave to porch,
Lest I forget, lest I forget who lit
        The sacrilegious torch!"

A poem recently written by an "Unbeliever" represents all the churches, Catholic and Protestant, Lutheran and Reformed, of the enemy and of the Allies, at last united in one message, which furnishes the recurring refrain of the poem, "In Jesus' Name go forth and slay."

With two-thirds of the world, representing more than twenty nations, already dragged into the widening vortex of the present war; with more than five millions of the finest youth of Europe already slaughtered on the battlefield, with twenty millions who have already been wounded, nearly forty millions under arms, and whole nations organized for war and the manufacture of munitions; with the flood tide of impurity and immorality which war has brought in its train; with the barbarism and cruelty, poison gas, flaming oil, and organized destruction used at present on the battlefields of Europe, is it not time for the Church to set her own house in order, to humble herself with shame in the very dust for her criminal impotence and worldliness and sin, and to return to her crucified Lord and Master? Is it not time that we seek a new vision of His face, to renew our consecration before Him, and to seek a vital and life-giving message first for ourselves and then for the world about us? Not for "our country right or wrong," not for a Pharisaic self-righteousness, but for Christ and His suffering world, for a whole Kingdom, and a whole Church, must we reconsecrate ourselves.

As Fosdick says, "The issue was drawn: Christianity would be a failure if it did not stop slavery. And from the day that this issue was drawn, the result was assured. It was not Christianity that failed, it was slavery.… This, too, is a climactic day in history. For so long time the Gospel and war have lived together in ignoble amity! If at last disharmony between the spirit of Jesus and the spirit of war is becoming evident, then a great hope has dawned for the race.… The main issue is clear. Christianity will indeed have failed if it does not stop war." [6]

Is it not time that we turn to God in humiliation and prayer for an outpouring of His spirit and a deeply needed revival of religion? In the words of Admiral Sir David Beatty, the Commander of the British Fleet, "England still remains to be taken out of her stupor of self-satisfaction and complacency and until she be stirred out of this condition, until religious revival takes place at home, just so long will the war continue."

If at the call of nationalism the manhood of the nation has poured forth in boundless heroism and self-sacrifice, at the call of Christ cannot His Church rise again to its high vocation? If half of the zeal and passion, half of the outpouring of life and treasure, of organization and efficiency, that the State has put into this war could be thrown into the cause of the Kingdom and of the eternal verities, the world would soon be won. If Christians would but follow Christ, war, as an unbelievably brutal and barbarous anachronism, like its former savage contemporaries of slavery, the burning of witches, and the torture of the Inquisition, would be forever done away. The message with which our Lord challenges the whole Church today is that with which He began His ministry when He faced His apostate nation, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."

[1] The songs of the men which are most popular in war time bear evidence of this unconscious virtue. They fall into three classes. There are the songs of cheer so popular in the camps today: "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Own Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile," "Are We Down-hearted, No," "Though Your Heart May Ache Awhile Never Mind," etc. Then there are the songs of home: "Keep the Home Fires Burning," "Tipperary," "Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty," "Put Me on the Train to London Town," "Back Home in Tennessee," "In My Old Kentucky Home," "There's a Long, Long Trail Awinding," "Give Me Your Smile," "If You Were the Only Girl in The World," "Mother McCrae," etc. Then there are the songs of nationality; The "Marseillaise," "John Brown's Body," "When Irish Eyes are Smiling," "Come Back to Erin," "Annie Laurie," etc.

[2] See Appendix III for a typical expression of a soldier's new experience of religion at the front.

[3] Quoted in "Hurrah and Hallelujah," pp. 116-119.

[4] It is interesting to note in this connection some words of Immanuel Kant. See Appendix I.

[5] London Times, June 22, 1917.

[6] "The Challenge of the Present Crisis," Association Press.



Let us try to grasp the colossal facts of the present war. Since the beginning of the conflict there has been a daily attrition of more than 25,000 in killed, wounded, or prisoners every twenty-four hours. At the opening of the fourth year of the war the number killed was over 5,000,000. This does not include those who have perished in the devastated nations. Not less than 6,000,000 men are now in the military prisons of Europe, some of whom have undergone great suffering, both physical and mental. More than 6,000,000 lie wounded today in the military hospitals, not to speak of several times that number who have been patched up and sent back into the line to face death again, or have been rejected as unfit for further service, often left crippled or maimed, blinded, or deformed for life.

Mere numbers or statistics cannot measure the sacrifice and suffering of these lives. If we could know the infinite value of the unit of personality, or compute the preciousness and potentiality of a single life destroyed, we might then hope to multiply it by the million. If human scales could weigh the sorrow of a widow's heart, could compute the anguish of a mother's loss, could prophesy the deprivation of an orphan's lot, or know the good which might have been done by even one man who has now been killed, we would then be in a position to begin to estimate the casualty list.

There are today nearly 40,000,000 men with the colors. If we add to these the 5,000,000 already killed, the 6,000,000 prisoners and the large number discharged as unfit for further service, we have a total of far more than 50,000,000 who have been with the colors in the first three years of the war. We can better realize the significance of this statement if we remember that in no previous war have more than 3,000,000 men faced each other in conflict. According to Gibbon, Rome's great standing army was not over 400,000 men. Napoleon's grand army did not exceed 700,000, and in the Battle of Waterloo less than 200,000 men were engaged. In the American Civil War less than 3,000,000, and in the Russo-Japanese War only 2,500,000 men were employed. Indeed, if we sum up the twenty greatest wars of the last one hundred and twenty-five years, from the Napoleonic Wars to the present time, less than 20,000,000 men were engaged, while in this war nearly twice that number are now under arms. Britain alone has enrolled over 5,000,000 for the army, with 1,000,000 more from the overseas dominions, and about 500,000 for the navy. Germany has called some 12,000,000 and Russia more than 12,000,000 to the colors.

By the end of 1917 nearly 6,000,000 men will have been killed. Less than 5,500,000 were killed in the twenty greatest wars of the last century and a quarter, all combined. In the Battle of Gettysburg only 3,000 were killed. England's casualty list during a vigorous offensive averages over 3,000 every day. In the first ten days alone of the battle of the Somme, the British lost 200,000 in killed or wounded. France as a whole has lost even more heavily, while Germany's casualty list during the great battles of the Somme and in Flanders has averaged 200,000 a month. When our own relatives are at the front, and our own boys are in the line, we realize what these statistics mean. In Germany alone the number of men killed now totals far over 1,000,000. Think of the many millions of mothers and wives in the nations of Europe scanning that crowded page of the newspaper, with several thousand names on the casualty list every day, each looking to see if her boy's name is there.

During that fateful day of July 1st when the great drive on the Somme began, when the English along a front of twenty-five miles and the French on a front of ten miles leaped out of the trenches and sprang forward in that terrible charge, men were mowed down like ripened grain. Regiments on both sides were cut to pieces. The writer's brother-in-law, a young colonel, went in with 1,100 men of his battalion—only 130 came out. Only one officer was unscathed and he has since been killed. The young colonel was shot within an inch of the heart and fell into a shellhole. Two of his men fell dead on top of him. There he lay under a terrible fire for sixteen hours, and finally at midnight gained strength to struggle from under the two bodies that lay upon him, and crawled on his hands and knees for over a mile back to the nearest dressing station. In the first year of the war he lost nearly half his men with trench foot, the men's feet being frost-bitten or frozen in the muddy trenches. In the second year he was wounded in seven places by shrapnel, and later, after recovery, was almost killed. He has now again returned to the service.

Another red-cheeked boy told the writer that his battalion had gone in with 960 men and had come out with only eighty. In another battalion all the officers were killed or wounded and the remaining handful was left with a lance-corporal in command: the colonel, the majors, captains, lieutenants, sergeants, and corporals had all been killed or wounded. At Bradford the writer was told that their favorite sons in the "Bradford Pals" had to be sacrificed, and every man that went into action in this battalion was either killed or wounded within a few hours. An unusual proportion of British officers have fallen. The university students and the flower of the land who have gone into the officers' training corps have oftentimes been among the first to fall.

Let us now turn from the numbers of killed, wounded, and prisoners and estimate if we can the cost of the conflict. The present war, more than any in previous history, has been a warfare of attrition, that is, by the killing and maiming of men and the destruction of resources to attempt to wear out the enemy.

Already the cost of the war has mounted to over $130,000,000 a day, or more than $100,000 every minute of the twelve hours that the sun shines upon us. Contrast, for instance, the total cost, the lives lost, and the numbers of men called to the colors in the twenty principal wars during the last century and a quarter, from the Napoleonic Wars of 1793, with the figures for the present war to August 4, 1917, at the end of the third year of the conflict.[1]

  Twenty previous years Present War
Total cost $26,123,546,240 $75,000,000,000
Total killed 6,498,097 5,000,000
Called to the colors 18,562,200 40,000,000

We have said that the cost of the war has now risen to the almost unbelievable total of over $130,000,000 a day.[2] That is more than the total cost of the whole war between Russia and Turkey in 1828. In a single great day in the battles on the Somme, or in Belgium, the British have used as much ammunition as they were able to manufacture in the entire first ten months of the war in 1914.

Even before the end of 1915 the five great powers had more than doubled their national debts. When will these debts be paid? Great Britain, the wealthiest of the nations of Europe, after one hundred years of peace still owes much of the debt incurred in the American Revolution and all of the debt incurred in the Napoleonic Wars. The whole cost of the American Civil War was only $5,000,000,000, and of the Napoleonic Wars $6,000,000,000, while this war will cost over six times the amount of either during this single year.

Great Britain's war debt at the end of the third year has reached the enormous total of more than $20,000,000,000, or twenty times the national debt of the United States at the beginning of the war, yet even this does not begin to exhaust her resources. At the close of the Napoleonic Wars Great Britain's debt was one-third of her national resources. She can almost double her present enormous war debt before utilizing a third of her wealth.

We have not in this calculation reckoned on the economic value of the lives destroyed. That would average about $3,000 for each man. Five million men killed means an economic loss to the countries concerned of $15,000,000,000. But the economic value of the lives destroyed represents only a small fraction of their potentiality—socially, morally, and spiritually. No human brain can calculate, no heart can fathom the cost or loss of this terrible conflict.

The cost of less than one month of the present war would equal that of the entire Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Another month would pay for the whole Russo-Japanese War; twelve days would pay for the Boer War, while the cost for three days would dig the Panama Canal. At the beginning of 1918 the war debts of the warring countries will exceed $90,000,000,000, or more than one-fifth the wealth of all the warring nations of Europe. The daily cost of the war is equal to half the earning power of these European nations, and the interest on their war debts will be equal to one-half their budgets as they stood at the beginning of the war. The wealth of more than twenty nations is being rapidly drained, and the world's financial reserves are being consumed in this vicious and sinful struggle which an autocratic militarism has forced upon the world.

Although late in entering the war, America's expenditure has been out of all proportion to that of any other nation. Upon arrival in this country the writer finds the statement in our press that the nation will have spent or sanctioned before the end of 1917, the enormous total of $19,000,000,000. That is more than twenty per cent of the entire cost of the war to date for all the European nations. That sum is as great as Germany spent on land and sea for the conduct of the first three years of the war. It represents more than twice our total wealth in 1850, and one-twelfth of our present national wealth of $328,000,000,000.

In order to estimate further the cost and realize the suffering of the war, let us turn for a moment to the nations devastated in Europe. In Belgium and Northern France 9,500,000 were being fed by the Commission for Relief in Belgium until Germany forbade it. Of 7,000,000 inhabitants of Belgium, 3,000,000 were early left destitute by the war and were drawing daily one meal consisting of the equivalent of three thick slices of bread and a pint of soup. Mr. F. C. Wolcott writes:

"I have seen thousands of people lined up in snow or rain, soaked and chilly, waiting for bread and soup. I have returned to the distributing stations at the end of the day and have found men, women, and children sometimes still standing in line, but later compelled to go back to their pitiful homes, cold, wet, and miserable. It was not until eighteen weary hours afterward that they got the meal they missed. The need will continue to be great for many months after peace is declared. Factories have been stripped of their machinery. There is a complete stagnation of industry. It will take months to rehabilitate these industries and to start the wheels again."

In Serbia more than 4,000,000 people were deprived of their living by the war. In Poland the suffering has been more terrible than in either Belgium or Serbia. The population fleeing behind the retreating Russians were not able to keep up because of the women and children, the aged and the sick. They were overtaken by the German army and left in the charred remains of their burned dwellings. Some 200 cities and 15,000 towns and villages were destroyed in Poland. Already 2,000,000 have died of starvation there. In some districts all the children under six years of age have perished.

Armenia has suffered relatively more than any of the other nations. Mr. Henry Morgenthau, the American Ambassador to Turkey, said: "One million of these people have either been massacred or deported and unless succor reaches them shortly, those remaining will be lost." In all history there is no record more sad than that of the persecution and extermination of the Armenians. University professors educated in the United States have had their hair and nails torn out by the roots and have been slowly tortured to death. Women and girls were outraged and brutally killed. Little children perished of hunger. It is said that probably 1,000,000 of the 2,000,000 Armenians in Turkey have been slain, or have been driven into the country to starve, or have been forced to accept Islam.

The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief reports:

"Men in the army were the first to be brutally put to death. These and civilians, after being subjected to horrible tortures, were shot. Even priests were made victims of brutal murder. Women, children, the sick and aged, were forced at a moment's notice to start on foot on a journey of exile. Mothers, torn from their children, were compelled to leave the little ones behind. Women giving birth to children on the road were forbidden to delay, but, under the whiplash, were made to continue their march until they dropped from exhaustion to die. A United States Consul reported that he saw helpless people brained with clubs, while children were killed by beating their brains out against the rocks. Other children were thrown into rivers and those who could swim were shot down as they struggled in the water. Crimes that have been, and are being, practiced upon Armenian women are too cruel and horrible for words. The mutilated corpses of hundreds bear testimony to this inhuman reign." [3]

Who was responsible for these outrages, and how long will the world permit them to continue?

Whichever way we turn, whether we survey the number of killed, wounded, or prisoners, the cost of the conflict, or the suffering of the devastated nations, we realize that the war means sacrifice. It is difficult for us at home in America to appreciate the spirit in which the men in this great struggle in Europe are fighting, and the sacrifices they are making. In all these months in many lands, the writer has not heard from the lips of a single soldier who had actually seen service at the front, words of hatred or of boasting. Quietly and often with sadness most of these men are going forward to face death.

Here is a letter from a young officer who fell on that fatal first day of July on the Somme.

"I never felt more confident or cheerful in my life before, and would not miss the attack for anything on earth. Every officer and man is more happy and cheerful than I have ever seen them. My idea in writing this letter is in case I am one of the 'costs' and get killed. I have been looking at the stars, and thinking what an immense distance they are away. What an insignificant thing the loss of, say, forty years of life is compared with them! It seems scarcely worth talking about. Well, good-bye, you darlings. Try not to worry about it, and remember that we shall meet again really quite soon. This letter is going to be posted if …"

A friend of the writer, a young chaplain whom he met recently at the front, went out to find his brother's mangled body on the battlefield. The boy who fell was the son of the Bishop of Winchester, and one of the finest spirits in Oxford. Canon Scott Holland writes:

"The attack had failed. There was never any hope of its succeeding, for the machine guns of the Germans were still in full play, with their fire unimpaired. The body had to lie where it had fallen. Only, his brother could not endure to let it lie unhonoured. He found some shattered Somersets, who begged him to go no further. But he heard a voice within him bidding him risk it, and the call of the blood drove him on. Creeping out of the far end of the trench, as dusk fell, he crawled through the grass on hands and knees, in spite of shells and snipers, dropping flat on the ground as the flares shot up from the German trenches. At last he found what he sought. He could stroke with his hand the fair young head that he knew so well; he could feel for the pocket-book and prayer-book, the badge and the whistle. He could breathe a prayer of benediction and then crawl back on his perilous way in the night."

The writer has just come from visiting a group of a dozen British and American military hospitals in one French town, with from one to four thousand patients in each, where at this moment the trains are arriving in almost a steady stream, bearing the wounded from the front in the great drive in Flanders. He has stood by the operating tables and passed down those long, unending rows of cots. Some of these tragic hospital wards are filled with men, every one of whom is blinded for life by poison gas or shrapnel. They, like all the other wounded, are brave and cheerful, but it will take great courage to maintain this cheer, groping a long lifetime in the dark. One man counted 151 trains of twenty cars each, or 3,000 carriages, filled with German wounded passing back in a steady stream through Belgium. Behind all the active fronts these train loads of wounded are daily bearing their burden of suffering humanity. The cities and towns of Europe are filled with limping or crippled or wounded men today.

Opposite the writer at the ship's table sat a young man with the lower part of his face carried away. His chin and jaw were gone, yet he must live on for a lifetime deformed. Another young fellow had spent seven long weary months in training. The moment his regiment reached the front it was ordered immediately into action. He sprang to the top of the trench, but never got over it. He fell back wounded. Within three days he was back in England again, but with only one leg. Seven months of training, five minutes in action, then crippled for life! The writer saw one young fellow whose face was left contorted by shrapnel, which had carried away one eye and the bridge of his nose. He was a quiet, earnest Christian. He said, "Of course, they cannot send me back again into the line or compel me to go with only one eye, but I am going just the same. I am going to give all that I have left to the country and the cause." [4]

Hear that young soldier of France, Alfred Casalis, a brilliant student of philosophy and theology, a Student Volunteer for the African mission field, as he writes home to his father and mother at the age of nineteen: "I volunteered of course. I know with an unalterable knowledge and with an unconquerable confidence that the foundation of my faith is unshakeable, it rests upon the Rock. I shall fight with a good conscience and without fear (I hope), certainly without hate. I feel myself filled with an illimitable hope. You can have no idea of the peace in which I live. On the march I sing inwardly. I listen to the music that is slumbering inside me. The Master's call is always ringing loudly in my ears. I am not afraid of death. I have made the sacrifice of my life. I know that to die is to begin to live." And the last sentence of the unfinished letter written before the charge in which he fell, "The attack cannot but succeed. There will be some wounded, some killed, but we shall go forward and far—" In the other pocket of his coat, at the end of his will were the words, "'I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.' And I would that all my friends, all those who are every moment with me, and whose hearts beat with mine, should repeat the word of our hope, 'Because I live, ye shall live also.'" [5]

Professor Gilbert Murray, of Oxford, writes thus of the sacrifice of the men for us: "As for me personally, there is one thought that is always with me—the thought that other men are dying for me, better men, younger, with more hope in their lives, many of whom I have taught and loved. The orthodox Christian will be familiar with the thought of One who loved you dying for you. I would like to say that now I seem to be familiar with the feeling that something innocent, something great, something that loved me, is dying, and is dying daily for me. That is the sort of community we now are—a community in which one man dies for his brother."

Yes, these boys are making the great sacrifice for us. With 5,000,000 who have already been killed, with 10,000,000 of our own sons enrolled. as subject to their call to the colors when needed, with hundreds of American army camps at home and in France already crowded with men, what sacrifice can we make for them? How can we surround their lives with the best influences of home, that they may come back to us even better men than when they went away?

We have seen the terrible ordeal to which they will be subjected at the front, the temptations to which they are exposed in France, in the training schools, and the base camps; we have seen something of the havoc which demoralizing forces have already wrought in other armies in the camps of the prodigals, and we have seen the deadly dangers and perils, both physical and moral, which the soldier must face. We have spoken of the enormous sums voted to carry on a great war of destruction. Is there not a yet more urgent need that we should supply the great constructive forces for fortifying the physical and moral manhood of our nation? Two organizations have been recognized by our own and the other allied governments in the war zone—the one bearing the symbol of the red cross for the wounded, and the other the red triangle for the fighting men.

The nation has already generously responded to the needs of the wounded even before the first battle was fought, giving more in one week than any other nation in a year for the same purpose. And not a dollar too much has been given for this great cause. But we shall soon have several millions of fighting men under arms. What are we to do for these men? We have already seen that they present a threefold need. There is the physical need of these millions who will soon be training, fighting, and suffering. Only the men at the front know what it really is. There are the mental and social requirements of men who must have recreation, healthy amusement and occupation. There is also the moral and spiritual need of men who will face the greatest temptations of their lives, when they will be farthest from the help of home and friends, while old standards seem to be submerged or swept away "for the period of the war."

We have already seen that the building that bears the red triangle of the Y M C A at the front is at once the soldier's club, his home, his church where his own denomination holds its services, his school, his place of rest, his recreation center, his bank and postoffice where he writes his letters, his friend in need that stands by him at the last and meets his relatives who are called to his bedside in the hospital. If there is anything which safeguards the physical, social, and moral health of the men who are dying for us, can we do less than provide it for them? While billions are being spent for destruction, must we not at least invest an infinitesimal fraction of one per cent of our expenditure, in construction, in that which is the greatest asset of any nation—its moral manhood? Can we not provide a home away from home for our own sons and the other boys with them whose parents may be too poor to do so?

Here is a unique contribution which America can also make to her hard pressed allies who have been exhausted by three terrible years of fighting. Britain has already set us a wonderful example and will not need our help. But there is France to which we owe so much and whose war weary soldiers sorely need just such centers for recreation and rebuilding. General Petain, the Commander in Chief, and the French authorities have asked for the help of our Movement in their camps. General Pershing, after surveying the field, has declared that the greatest service which America can immediately render France, even before our own men can reach the trenches in large numbers, is to extend the welfare work of the Y M C A to the entire French Army. Can we do less than this for the nation that gave all that Washington asked in our own hour of crisis? Then there is Italy, with all her deep need and great possibilities. What can we do to minister to the wants of her great army?

But let us turn to Russia, which represents the deepest need of all—the nation which has undergone the greatest suffering, both within and without its borders, of any of the belligerents. Think of its vast area, greater than all North America, or one seventh of the land area of the entire globe. Think of its population, almost twice our own, and more than one tenth of the entire world. Think of these people, who have the greatest capacity for suffering of any nation on earth, suddenly released, like their own prisoners, with steps unsteady and eyes unaccustomed to the blinding light of freedom. Think of what such a movement of hope and cheer and re-creation may mean to troops hard pressed or demoralized, facing another winter in the trenches.

Add to all these the suffering prisoners of war, and we have over 24,000,000 men who deeply need the ministry of this Movement, and need it now. Here are millions who have already suffered or who are going forward ready to make the great sacrifice for us. What sacrifice shall we make for them?

[1] See World Almanac 1916, p. 488.

[2] The cost of the war has been calculated by various writers on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Wm. Rossiter writes on "The Statistical Side of the Economic Costs of the War," in the American Economic Review for March, 1916. Mr. Edmund Crammond's paper in The Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Sir George Paish in the various issues of the London Statist, and others, have given careful estimates of the direct cost of the war to nations and individuals. During the first and cheapest year, according to Mr. Rossiter, the total cost of the war, not including the economic value of the lives lost, rose to forty billion dollars. That is equal to all the national debts of the world.

[3] See Appendix II on "The Treatment of Armenians," by Viscount Bryce.

[4] Publishers' Note: The whole problem of the meaning of suffering and its relation to the present war, especially for those who have suffered bereavement, is dealt with by the author in his book, "Suffering and the War."

[5] "For France and the Faith," Letters of Alfred Eugène Casalis, Association Press.





"No conclusion of peace shall be held to be valid as such when it has been made with the secret reservation of the material for a future war. No State having an existence by itself—whether it be small or large—shall be acquired by another State through inheritance, exchange, purchase, or donation. A State is not to be regarded as property or patrimony, like the soil on which it may be settled. Standing armies shall be entirely abolished in the course of time. For they threaten other States incessantly with war by their appearing to be always equipped to enter upon it. No State shall intermeddle by force with the constitution or government of another State.

"No State at war with another shall adopt such modes of hostility as would necessarily render mutual confidence impossible in a future peace—such as the employment of assassins or poisoners, the violation of a capitulation, the instigation of treason, and such like. These are dishonorable stratagems. For there must be some trust in the habit and disposition even of an enemy in war.

"The civil constitution in every State shall be republican. The law of nations shall be founded on a federation of free States. People or nations regarded as States may be judged like individual men. If it is a duty to realize a state of public law, and if at the same time there is a well-grounded hope of its being realized—although it may be only by approximation to it that advances ad infinitum—then perpetual peace is a fact that is destined historically to follow the falsely so-called treaties of peace which have been but cessations of hostilities. Perpetual peace is, therefore, no empty idea, but a practical thing which, through its gradual solution, is coming always nearer its final realization; and it may well be hoped that progress toward it will be made at more rapid rates of advance in the times to come." [1]

[1] English Edition—Pages 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 81, 127.





From Four Members of the German Missions Staff in Turkey to the Imperial German Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Berlin: "Out of 2,000 to 3,000 peasant women from the Armenian Plateau who were brought here in good health, only forty or fifty skeletons are left. The prettier ones are the victims of their gaolers' lust; the plain ones succumb to blows, hunger, and thirst. Every day more than a hundred corpses are carried out of Aleppo. All this happened under the eyes of high Turkish officials. The German scutcheon is in danger of being smirched for ever in the memory of the Near Eastern peoples."

Events in Armenia, published in the Sonnenaufgang, and in the Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift, November, 1915: "Twelve hundred of the most prominent Armenians and other Christians were arrested; 674 of them were embarked on thirteen Tigris barges, the prisoners were stripped of all their money and then of their clothes; after that they were thrown into the river. Five or six priests were stripped naked one day, smeared with tar, and dragged through the streets. For a whole month corpses were observed floating down the River Euphrates, hideously mutilated. The prisons at Biredjik are filled regularly every day and emptied every night—into the Euphrates." …

From a German eye-witness: "In Moush there are 25,000 Armenians; in the neighborhood there are 300 villages, each containing about 500 houses. In all these not a single male Armenian is now to be seen, and hardly a woman. Every officer boasted of the number he had personally massacred. In Harpout the people have had to endure terrible tortures. They have had their eyebrows plucked out, their breasts cut off, their nails torn off. Their torturers hew off their feet or else hammer nails into them just as they do in shoeing horses. When they die, the soldiers cry: 'Now let your Christ help you.'"

Memorandum forwarded by a foreign resident at H.: "On the 1st of June, 3,000 people (mostly women, girls, and children) left H. accompanied by seventy policemen. The policemen many times violated the women openly. Another convoy of exiles joined the party, 18,000 in all. The journey began, and on the way the pretty girls were carried off one by one, while the stragglers from the convoy were invariably killed. On the fortieth day the convoy came in sight of the Euphrates. Here they saw the bodies of more than 200 men floating in the river. Here the Kurds took from them everything they had, so that for five days the whole convoy marched completely naked under the scorching sun. For another five days they did not have a morsel of bread, nor even a drop of water. They were scorched to death by thirst. Hundreds upon hundreds fell dead on the way, their tongues were turned to charcoal, and when, at the end of five days, they reached a fountain, the whole convoy naturally rushed towards it. But here the policemen barred the way and forbade them to take a single drop of water. At another place where there were wells, some women threw themselves into them, as there was no rope or pail to draw up the water. These women were drowned, the dead bodies still remaining there stinking in the water, and yet the rest of the people later drank from that well. On the sixty-fourth day, they gathered together all the men and sick women and children and burned and killed them all. On the seventieth day, when they reached Aleppo, there were left 150 women and children altogether out of the whole convoy of 18,000."



Christ in Flanders

"We had forgotten You or very nearly,
You did not seem to touch us very nearly.
        Of course we thought about You now and then
Especially in any time of trouble,
We know that You were good in time of trouble
        But we are very ordinary men.

And there were always other things to think of,
There's lots of things a man has got to think of,
        His work, his home, his pleasure and his wife
And so we only thought of You on Sunday;
Sometimes perhaps not even on a Sunday
        Because there's always lots to fill one's life.

And all the while, in street or lane or byway
In country lane in city street or byway
        You walked among us, and we did not see.
Your feet were bleeding, as You walked our pavements
How did we miss Your foot-prints on our pavements;
        Can there be other folk as blind as we?

Now we remember over here in Flanders
(It isn't strange to think of You in Flanders)
        This hideous warfare seems to make things clear,
We never thought about You much in England
But now that we are far away from England
        We have no doubts--we know that You are here.

You helped us pass the jest along the trenches
Where, in cold blood, we waited in the trenches,
        You touched its ribaldry and made it fine.
You stood beside us in our pain and weakness.
We're glad to think You understand our weakness.
        Somehow it seems to help us not to whine.

We think about You kneeling in the Garden
Ah! God, the agony of that dread Garden;
        We know you prayed for us upon the Cross.
If anything could make us glad to bear it
'Twould be the knowledge, that You willed to bear it
        Pain, death, the uttermost of human loss.

Tho' we forgot You, You will not forget us.
We feel so sure that You will not forget us.
        But stay with us until this dream is past--
And so we ask for courage, strength, and pardon,
Especially I think, we ask for pardon,
        And that You'll stand beside us to the last."



"You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the King to help our French comrades against the invasion of a common enemy. You have to perform a task which will need your courage, your energy, your patience. Remember that the honor of the British Army depends upon your individual conduct. It will be your duty not only to set an example of discipline and perfect steadiness under fire, but also to maintain the most friendly relations with those whom you are helping in this struggle. The operations in which you are engaged will, for the most part, take place in a friendly country, and you can do your own country no better service than in showing yourself, in France and Belgium, in the true character of a British soldier.

Be invariably courteous, considerate, and kind. Never do anything likely to injure or destroy property, and always look upon looting as a disgraceful act. You are sure to meet with a welcome and to be trusted; and your conduct must justify that welcome and that trust. Your duty cannot be done unless your health is sound. So keep constantly on your guard against any excesses. In this new experience you may find temptations both in wine and women. You must entirely resist both temptations, and while treating all women with perfect courtesy, you should avoid any intimacy.

Do your duty bravely.

Fear God.

Honor the King."



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