National Geographic : 1917 Apr
Photograph by George I. Mewes THE STAFF OF THE 5TI SIBERIAN CORPS The last corps to leave Warsaw and one of the first in action on the southwestern front in the summer of 1916 duty in this war is financial and eco nomic. These losses of the Germans, while en couraging, are in reality but a drop in the bucket. It might be well to remem ber that Brusilloff, in a little over two months' operations on the southwestern front in Russia during the summer of 1916, took 450,000 prisoners and 496 guns; and yet this far greater loss to the enemy, as one now realizes, has exerted but transitory influence on the world situation. In order fully to appreciate the Teuton strength, it is necessary to give the Ger mans the credit which is their due. One must, I think, consider broadly their whole point of view and realize that the power of the Central Empire, and no one at this time will question its strength, is due to the German virtues and not to the German vices. Now that the bitterness against the Germans is so intense, it is difficult to wipe away the prejudices one feels and give them the benefit of the extraordi nary values which they have as a people; but if we underestimate these virtues, we fail to understand the causes which have made it possible for the Germans to do what they have done. WvIIY THIE GERMAN WAR MACIIINE IS STRONG Much as I disapprove of the German point of view and of the spirit which has been manifested by the Germans of nearly all classes in this war, I still re main of the opinion that, taken from the internal point of view, our enemies pos sess almost every virtue which makes for military strength. In the first place, no one who has seen and talked with the German troops can question the sincerity of their belief in the righteousness of the German cause. I have talked with prisoners from the Blaltic to the Bukovina, and I have never vet met one who did not believe implic itly in the statement of the Kaiser, made at the beginning of the war, to the effect that "in the midst of perfect peace we have been treacherously surprised by a ring of enemies jealous of our genius and intent on our destruction."