The Akaroa Mail FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 1914. GERMAN ATROCITIES.
The High Comtniasioner's eaDle from London, dated August 25, gives confirmation to some of the stories about the brutal behaviour of the German troops. The news is the most reliable we hear—in fact, it is practically the only news we can rely upon in these days of wild rumours and " catch penny as a con temporary describes some of the false news circulated by unscrupulous tradesmen, However, it would be as well not to accept the story in toto without a little reservation. It is known that the Germans sowed the North Sea with mines some hours before war was declared with Great Britain, and for that alone Bhe de serves much opprobrium, but before condemning her for these later atrocities it would be wise to be sure of the statements. In previous wars there have been the same wild stories about atrocities, many being proved unfounded. The following remarks on this subject by a contemporary are of j
interest:— ! " The charges which have been made against the Germans of violating all the laws of war and of humanity in their land operations should not be accepted unreservedly until the evidence of alleged excesses and evidence which the Germans have to offer on the other side can be judged fairly. The Germans have torn up the treaty under which they pledged themselves to protect Belgium from invasion. The contribution of eight millions sterling which they are endeavouring to extort from the helpless citizens of Brussels is a huge and cruel levy to impose at this early period of hostilities. But as regards general allegations of ill-treating prisoners, firing on non-combatants who had given no provocation, and, in tbu fcurds of the official report which tJje French have issued, be* huviug .ike ' unbridled savages ' and ' odcbiui .a ,' instead of soldiers under iii cipii c, r gardful of the laws of vii:, it. suu dd bo remembered that these charge, are made by enemies. The norm-! rigours of war are hard t).i )Ugb 'ft bear, and tbe people who siitl'er from tuem do not require much tivi lfcioct; k> aiake them form the
worst' opiri n of their adversaries. Shocking calumnies were invented in α-gard to the behaviour of British troops in South Africa, and the Italians would be barbarians indeed if half the stories of their alleged enormities in Tripoli were true. Such tales are told against the enemy in every war. It is only when inquiries are made afterwards, calmly and without excitement, that the truth can be discovered. It is admitted by their enemies that the Germans are behaving well in Brussels, and, as chivalrous opponents, we must hope that the reports of their excesses on the march have been exaggerated,"