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MASK OFF., Issue 15675, 14 December 1914
THE TRUE KHEDIVE ABBAS. HINDENBURG'S STATUS. HOW THE BIG MEN BICKER. OTHER NOTES ON NEWS. HUMBLE AMERICAN EAGLE. [By A. Sr-ENCE.]
Abbas Hilmi, the Khidewi-Misr of Egypt, seventh ruler of the dynasty of Mehemet Ali, 40 years of age and old enough to know better, is going to play at being some sort of Do Wet of the desert. We gavo his country good government, finance, agriculture, and education. He does not exactly give us treason, for the Sultan is his overlord, but it is an act so close to treason that the difference hardly counts.
The surprise of the news is that he has been out of Egypt, caballing at Stamboul, so long. He could not have been in his country since October 29, the date on which the first overt acts of war were committed by the Turk at Odessa and Novo-Rosiisk. The progress of the intrigue is told in the despatch of Sir Louis Mallet, lately British Ambassador at Constantinople, and is much the same as tho account which we received from Sir Edward Grey in the first days of November. The plot must have been far advanced as early as August 25—the date on which the Governor of Damascus is known to have begun to call up the camels and mules in tho Lcbanou and Syrian districts. In. this intricate web of bad faith, plots, and tinder currents we can see one thing. The colonial soldier is not going on to England for a long time. Idumea, the ancient Idumea of the days of Herod, calls him now, and the call is stern. \bbas Hilmi, with his 40,000 soldiers and 500 German officers—practically one German to each half company—is far away, no nearer than Alexandretta in the top nook of the Levant, but Damascus alone had 80,000 troops mobilised in August, and a steady stream of Turkish
soldiery, mostly from the sth Corps, was beginning to flow from Europe to Asia. We had originally 17,000 Regulars present for duty, and later came, perhaps, 30,000 Australians and New Zealanders : also troops from Gibraltar and Malta, native battalions and Indians. We must have secured long ago all the artillery positions at El Gisr and other points near the canal, and inundations spreading into the desert protect the coal, wealth, and stores of Port Said. The canal .seems safe, but other phases of the struggle on the southern fringes of Philistia and J'alc.-tine arc likely to be stern. And (lie end? Tho Turk, certainly, is a wondrous fighter, a wondrous when the bullets are flying one to the yard, hut just as wondrously immobile in mano-uv're. It is (he flexibility of British liiano-uvri- in France which has been the .-iirpris!.' of tho war—lho newmodel which lias come in the last seven vears, when the best thought in the army cut lnove from (he War Office. The end can be no gamble. Abbas Hihni is saying adi.-ii to ovit 11.000.000 subjects and over 12.000 square miles of territory, and a big annual allowance in money. As the List page in the. book of the seven Khedives is reached a summary of the
' ll;nulplsUla<!.' a Dutch newspaper Ins something to say about the cloud which came over Von'Moltke. As 'Handelsblad' nuts it. the nephew of the great strategiot desired an attack on Verdun in the oust, and a. move to split the French an.i English in the north. If Mo'tke really planned that ho deserved all lie pot, for he planned a divergent operation: but considering the mystery behind many of the cables. \ve may leave that point 'where it is at present. In some form or other Moltko wished to p-T.-.evero with Plan Xo. 1, but the Kaiser, growing tired of a plan which the battle of the Maine had largely spoiled, saw a new objective in the Channel ports. But Von Moitke, •' believing his policy to be correct, resigned." It is characteristic of the world's military caste that its vanity is so great that it bickers more internally than the staffs of thousands and hundreds of thousands of shops and offices and foundries. As, however, the grip of the military caste on the public is so tight, the impression is ahvavs sought to be given (a,nd is, indeed, successfully given) that they campaign in harmony, as brothers in arms should. "WJiafc of the unpleasantnesses between Teller and Warren? between Buller and White? between Kitchener and Gataere? h-etween ?d'Clo]lan and Pope? between firant and Buell? between Leo and Bongstreet "' between Prince Frederick Charles and Von der Tann? between Napoleon and Ney? between Lannes and Bessieres? between Davout and Xapoleon? between how many hundreds of other militarists? It is the. most jealous profession on earth. And even the Herman co-operation, willing as it is in battle as between commander and commander, is singularly absent round a strategy table. The great Molfke was once culled on to justfy operations round Paris before a tribunal at Versailles, which really amounted to a court martial, lie had some trouble in doing it. UIXDEXBURG THE .SUPREME. ' Ifandelsblad ' says that the Dutch say that only ficneral Von Ilindenburg is strong enough to withstand the influence of the Kaiser's entourage. This is the general who was always bold onongh to slate the Crown Prince at manoeuvres, and Iho Crown Prince—quito a, ta-ctician, by the way—used to take his censure with good-humored smiles. As far as wo can see yet. Hindenbnrg has dealt punishment to the Russians, and. in spite of the sensational story about Von Mackensen, lie holds Lodz. As the shabby military prevaricator is the shabbiest of all, one fully expects to read: ''The Prussians arc merely moving troops to the rear from the front, ami the Grand Duke Nicholas remains in great and menacing strength equally on the front at- Warsaw and southward at Cracow " He certainly does not seem to bo able to move very fast, however menacing his strength may be. The monopoly in prevarication, however, is not nl! on one side. Berlin asserts that " their victories in Poland are regarded as assuring the safety of tho eastern frontier until the spring, when the Russians will probably try another raid." A " raid " by 3,500,000 or 4,000,000 men is novel, but the German victory seems real, since the news has been given out from London. And then this:
The Germans believe that they will be able to transfer 10 army corps from east to west at Christmas, when an attempt will be made tcf reach the Channel or Paris. Krupps in the meantime are finishing new artillery. Who t.o!d London that? Better perhaps to walk back to the region of certainty, and leave the guesswork alone. It seems that early in the war Hindenburg annihilated Samsonoff's army at Tannenburg. Tho Homo papers have the .story in some detail, but wa ue?«r had * kint, Jjo
Hindenburg, winner at Tannenburg, *n£ lately winner at Lodz, and, incidentally, mighty enough to hold his own againsl the Kaiser's entourage, is the supreme man on the German side at present.
INSHORE MONITORS. Periodical shelling at Nieuport by British monitors and other ships is always interesting, on account of the risk of being submarined. Berlin admits that they got in some more good work on Thursday, and particulars from Home explain why monitor captains can afford to disregard the submarine to some extent. These ships draw so little water, and can bore into the shallows so far, that no submarine could approach them without being seen. Three of the vessels employed are the Severn, Humber, and Mersey. So long as they do not get aground they have little to fear from under-water attack, and a good watch is always kept to port and starboard. Heavier vessels (Britain has used the Venerable, for instance) lie further off, and take the risks of under-water blows. The monitors, on the other hand, incur the chance of being smashed by the German land artillery, but the fire of larger ships, stationed further seaward, must cover them a good flea!. In general, ships cannot permanently fight forts, but the German forts on the shores of Belgium are only in the making, and the British captains appear to aim at beating them up periodically, and smashing things before the guns are finally pitted. History repeats itself, they say, but a duel of this kind has never been seen before. WHERE MAN COUNTS MOST. The sestet of German submarines and their alleged inroad on Dover on Thursday remind one that much of this mischief is being wrought by one man. That man is Lieutenant Weddingen. It was he who sank the three Cressyß, firing (he claims) no more than four torpedoes. It seems now, from Home files lately to hand, that it was this dangerous personage who also destroyed the Hawke. According to Admiral Bacon, our own expert on under-sea craft, a submarine conned by one officer may do much; conned by another, nothing at aIL That dependence on the human element applies to all ships, of course, but in Admiral Bacon's view to the submarine more than any. RICOCHETS. It is said that certain German missions located south of Angola were really spies. It seems as if both Portuguese and_ Germans were- trailing their coats. Some 16,000 Portuguese soldiers left Lisbon for Angola in October. An American politician has been asking for an investigation of the defences or the United States. The Democrats sided with President Wilson in refusing. Tho President, I think, was right. Whether he was or not, one remembers the set-back which we got over Alaska and other matters, and it is pleasant to see this boastful lump among the nations now playing a small tune on a small fiddle. They were never any friends of Great Britain. Britisli are gaining ground north of Pa.sscheudaele, and the French are butting in a little in Upper Alsace. It is good strategy. A papsive defence wins no wars. An active defence will discover what proportion of German troops is being sent to Poland, and. afterwards, the daily interchange <if t-elrgrams among the Allies will tell each allied army what to do. The miseries of the refugees at Lodz. "fearing German atrocities," are alluded to to-day. In modern warfare, as soon as a battle comes to a deadlock, each, side invariably throw? the atrocity charge or the dum-dum chartre, or pieces of personality, or something like that, at each other. These charges win no wars, but perhaps they help to fill in the long winter evenin as.
The G<>oben lias been firing at Batoum. If so, she could not have been very badly ■damaged in the battle off tho Chersonese I lighthouse. ! Wounded Russians in Trans-Caucasia are astounded at " the extraordinary physical enduranre of the Turks." This in refreshing, not because it glorifies tho Turk, but because it forms one little gleam of truth in a cloud-bank of falsehood. Italy is purchasing horses, wheat, and supplies "on a huge scale." Out of what exchequer? Italy intends to have 2,000,000 armed men in order that she may be listened to at the end of the war. The end of the war may be. far off, and the cry of the railsitter is apt to pass unheeded when tho plenipotentiaries finally sit down to talk all things over. Berlin places its battle losses at over half a million killed, wounded, and missing. On seven separate estimates it may now be anything up to 1,500,000. A German paper—'Kolnische Zeitung* —does not seem to be enamored of tho prospect of America acting- as mediator at the last. Neither would any loyal British subject. Von Der Goltz is now in Turkey. Two weeks ago the cables badly wounded him in Belgium. THE CHANNEL TRADE. Closure or serious interruption of tho throat of the Channel does not seem to be feared much by London merchants. A Dunedin business man sends me extracts from two of his London letters recently to hand. It seems that the "altered conditions" due to the fall of Antwerp are fully appreciated, but are not feared. There is also a feeling in London that Holland may not always bo able to maintain her neutrality, but again no fenr of trade consequences. The letters furnish cheering evidence that entirely new lines of trade, formerly in German hands, are now being taken up in earnest by British manufacturers. DO WARS DECIDE? Pacifists manage to be interesting sometimes, if not convincing. One of them. has boon counting up the world's wars. He finds that from the year 1496 b.c. to 1861, in 3.358 years, there were 3,130 years of war, and only 227 years of peace. Within the last three centuries there have been 286 wars in Europe. From the year 1500 B.C. moro than 8.000 treaties of peace have been concluded. Tho average time they remained in fores was less than three years. Of course, being a pacifist, he goes on to draw deductions. " If," he says, " war is able to decide differences, how is it that 8.000 wars have settled nothing, and that in this year of our Lord wo feel tho necessity for the eight thousand and first war'' If 8,000 wars hav» settled nothing, what probability is there that the eight thousand and first, as if by magic, will suddenly settlo all questions in dispute?" CORRESPONDENT. " White Ensign."— (l) Would the explosion of one magazine of the Bulwark detonate, the other? The matter was referred to an expert, who states that it is possible., (2) It is difficult to judge whether any ship of the Dreadnought cruiser type" took part in the destruction of the £rharnhorst. There have been slight hints in the, cables that some special ship or ships had left Homo waters. Whatever struck the Scharnliorst must have been something botli powerful and fast.
• itnor hx m;.y b e of some mterc Life. ;st now : — Reigned. Mehe Ibriih. ni'.t im Ali . .. 1769-1849 ... 1789-1843 1811-1848 1343 Abba Siii.l _ ]slilili Towfi 1 k .. 1813-1854 ... 1822-1863 ... 1830-1895 ... 1852-1892 1848-1854 1354-1863 1863-1879 1879-1892 OKI! 'MAN ARMY DISCORDS.
MASK OFF., Issue 15675, 14 December 1914
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