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His Own Life Story and War Diary

HIS OWN LIFE STORY AND WAR DIARY edited byTOM SKEYHILL. Originally published in 1930. FOREWORD: MODERN war is an industrial art conducted like a great modern integrated industry. Improved means of transportation have made it possible to assemble and sustain vastly greater numbers of men upon rela tively narrow fronts, and these fronts become massing points upon which the adversaries concentrate their weight. Machine guns, long-range cannon, tanks, and airplanes are the modern weapons, and they represent the culmination of a tendency which has existed from the earliest times. Originally men fought face to face at short range with swords and battle axes. They separated the lines of combatants a short distance by the introduction of slings and arrows. The invention of gunpowder fur ther separated them* More powerful explosives and metals of stronger tension have again increased the distance, until men now fight without seeing one an other, but aim their destructive missies over inter vening hills to places located by airplane observation. The directing heads of great armies are far to the rear-General Pershing's headquarters at Chaumomt and General Foch's headquarters at Three Fountains were a hundred miles from the battle line and their headquarters resembled the engineering and account ing offices of great Imsiftess houses. TJbe rival chiefV tains no loiiger engage in piettoesqpie personal encoun ter The fen$ l , pl? jtn, aitoy^ and even more, the ' ' : ^ ' ' ' - til , general of a group of armies, is a remote figure, and the process of command operates through hierarchical stages. When Owen Glendower summoned to his aid spirits from the vasty deep, they would not come, but when the modern commander summons them, they do come and preponderate in the battle. Along the line of battle itself, the issue meets with varying for tunes here advance and there retreat and the re sults have to be concentrated and tabulated in a remote place before one knows whether victory or defeat has resulted. There is nothing in modern war like the final and victorious charge of the guard. Still, the ultimate object of battle remains the same. It is to take and occupy enemy territory, and In spite of the machines which have been introduced, the last word is finally said by the man. Physical strength counts for less but character and courage count for more. The individual soldier who emerges from the mass has measured strength not with a single antag onist, but with all the unseen and multiplied terrors which modern science and invention have concentrated around the individual There is no longer the pomp and parade, the waving of flags and the call of trum pets; from the first to last, modern war is a grinding, deadly business.
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