A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 140

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FRANCE IN WARTIME


the north, there passed an interminable procession of regiment after regiment. All the African troops, those from Morocco and Algeria, passed thus through Paris in the night, seen only by those whom the chance of a capricious walk took that way.

Being anxious not to let itself be imprisoned in Paris, if Joffre's plan should fail, the government had prepared for departure, and sent to Bordeaux the archives and the employees of the ministers. On the day following this departure, General Galliéni, the military governor of Paris, issued to the army and the inhabitants the following proclamation:

The members of the Government of the Republic have left Paris to give new impetus to national defence. I have received the order to defend Paris against the invader. This order I shall carry out to the end.

Although foreseen and expected, this transfer of the government confirmed the fears of an investment or of an attack on Paris. But if even the most optimistic felt hope tottering, the Parisians greeted with superb coolness the decision taken by the government from weighty motives and after mature reflection. It was necessary, above all, to ensure "national continuity," as was explained in a proclamation signed by the president of the republic and by the 14 ministers who formed the Cabinet:

. . . Without peace or truce, without cessation or slackening, will continue the sacred struggle for the nation's honour and for reparation of violated right . . . "Endure and fight on" must be the motto of the Allied armies. Endure and fight on, while on the seas the British aid us in cutting the enemy's communications with the world . . . Let us all be worthy of these tragic moments. We shall gain the final victory. We shall gain it by indefatigable will, by endurance, and by tenacity. A nation which does not wish to perish, and which, in order to live, does not recoil from suffering or sacrifice, is sure of victory.

Paris seemed emptier than ever, but the moral of the population was intact. Besides, one was reminded that the perimeter of the fortifications erected since the last war covered a circumference of nearly 100 miles, and that investment would require 1,000,000 men. Every sort of pretext for hope was found, even at that time, when the enemy had almost reached the gates of the capital. This was not due to levity or ignorance. Everyone knew the gravity of the situation, and in the suburbs the industrial population was ready for every sacrifice to defend the town, as General Galliéni had promised. The same civic courage

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