A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 162

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GERMAN INVASION OF BELGIUM


was s^l clustered down in the south-east, making abortive attacks through Alsace and Lorraine, and the reluctance of the French command to split their forces and attempt a defence of Belgium was again to prove as disastrous as it had pre- viously done, for it must be remembered that the French were still convinced that the real danger lay in the south-east. Even the fall of Li^ge and the irresistible rush of the German right wing through Belgium had done little to shake their conviction, and although they realized the danger which threatened their exposed left flank, and even their rear should the German hosts rout the remnants of the Belgian army and sweep south through northern France, they none the less felt that to ' weaken their centre by dispatching troops to the defence of Belgium was to invite just that disaster which had overtaken them at Sedan. Some defence against the northern pressure was, however, imperative, and reluctantly troops were hurriednorth. Thenumberwasiiisufiicientandtheywerebadly placed, the French being completely deceived by the wideness of theGermansweep. FrancehopedtostrikethroughAlsaceinto the heart of German3% and so threaten an attack upon thfi exposed line of German communications into the iiortli. But the distance was too great, and the available troops were far too few to win more than a few miles of territory in south- west Germany, a success which, however gratifying politically to FVance, troubled Germany no whit. Rather it pleased her, for the more successful France might be the more eager she would beiopressoninthatquarter. Andsucheagernesswouldbut expbseherthemoresurelytothegreatsweepofvonKluck. In the result France fell between two stools. In the south-east she retained many more troops than were needed for successful defence behind her enormous fortresses, but insufficient to make asuccessfulattack. Inthenorthhertrooj^sweretoofev/and arrived too late. The Belgian army round Namur, horror-stricken by the fall of Li6ge, deprived of Allied support on which they had relied, were seized v/ith panic. Their defence collapsed at the first thrust of the mighty German host, and within two days the survivors of the south-west Belgian army were so much chaff before the tornado of the oncoming Uhlans. Namur was battered to bits with merciless precision, her last fort falling on the 26th,aridthewaytonorthernFrancewasopen. Cavalryand

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