Courtesy Reuters

Wars Within Wars

WAR MEMOIRS OF DAVID LLOYD GEORGE. VOL. V. 1917-1918. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1936, 464 p. $3.00.

POLITICS and military strategy are like oil and water. They do not mix well. In a war between merely two nations, such as the Franco-German War of 1870-71, politics should and in fact must govern: that is, the commander must lay his plans and policies before his political chief for approval or, if there are possible alternative courses, with the arguments pro and con for each. But once a course of action has been adopted the military commander should be unhampered in its execution. The relations between Bismarck and Moltke, and between Lincoln and Grant, are ideal examples of how a war can be conducted with the minimum of friction and the maximum of effect.

In a coalition war the friction at best becomes intensified and at worst makes any satisfactory achievement almost impossible. In this respect the Central Powers in the World War were much better off than the Allies. The Austrian Emperor was old and feeble and made no claim to any voice in the military decisions; Turkey and Bulgaria were distinctly minor Powers dependent upon Germany both for help and for ultimate success and could not demand to be consulted in the planning. None the less, the friction between the armies and general staffs became bitter, especially between the German and the Austro-Hungarian. The contempt of the German General Staff for the Hapsburg military establishment was expressed in the common saying, "Germany entered the war tied to a corpse."

Nor were the relations between the Allies to be described as amicable. True, they were engaged in mortal combat against a common enemy; but while the troops and commanders near the front were usually content to coöperate, the respective war departments in the rear were seldom in accord or willing to waive their special interests. And as for the political cabinets in control of the various governments, they were constantly at loggerheads. The

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