A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 124

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FRANCE IN WARTIME


Morocco, had invented the pretext of a war with Serbia, which was bound to involve the intervention of Russia, and the entry of France into the struggle, but which yet permitted a hope that Britain might discover no motive to join the belligerents.

All this time, under the veil of Kriegszustand (condition of war), mobilization continued in Germany, where the general staff was chiefly concerned with securing the success of its sudden attack from which were expected immediately decisive results and crushing victories, which would render the enemy incapable. The situation was of such gravity in the last days of July that public opinion began to reflect that even if it suited the wishes France to insist on maintaining peace at any price, it was becoming particularly dangerous, in face of the German threats, not to make preparations to repulse possible aggression. It would be a crime against the country, it was said, "to postpone French mobilization any longer," especially when the enemy by anticipatory measures was putting himself in a position to enjoy a striking advantage over France.

On August 1, at four o'clock on a Saturday afternoon, mobilization orders were at last posted all over France. The country had been expecting for several days this measure, which was hailed with sensible relief. It was the first indispensable measure for the safeguarding of French territory, while it was at the same time a supreme means of aiding a pacific solution of the crisis. It was necessary to have an army to lean upon as a basis, and to discourage the aggressor, who would then be less inclined to attack a country in a posture of defence. In an appeal addressed to the nation, the government explained and justified the reasons which had led it to decide upon that measure, and ended with the following declaration:

Strong in its ardent desire to reach a pacific solution of the crisis, the government, protected by necessary precautions, will continue its diplomatic efforts, and it still hopes to succeed. It counts on the self-control of this noble nation to refuse to be led away into unjustified emotion. It counts on the patriotism of all Frenchmen, and knows that there is not one of them who is not ready to do his duty. At this hour there are no parties, there is only France—eternal, peaceful, resolute France; there is only the mother country of right and justice, absolutely united in its calmness, vigilance, and dignity.

The nation rose to the level of the occasion. By its self-control, its unanimity, its calm, it fully justified the confidence

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