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A German War Deserter's Story


a distinction between private and public morality, and the angle from which he
views the events he describes is therefore entirely different from that of other actual
observers of and participators in war. His story also contains the first German
description of the retreat of the Teutonic armies after the battle of the Marne. The
chief value of this soldier's narrative lies, however, in his destructive, annihilating
criticism of the romance and fabled virtues of war. If some of the incidents related in
this book appear to be treated too curtly it is solely due to this author's limited
literary powers. If, for instance, he does not dwell upon his inner experiences during
his terrible voyage to America in the coal bunker of a Dutch ship it is because he is
not a literary artist, but a simple workman.
The translator hopes that he has succeeded in reproducing faithfully the substance
and the spirit of the story, and that this little book will contribute in combating one
of the forces that make for war—popular ignorance of war's realities. Let each
individual fully grasp and understand the misery, degradation, and destruction that
await him in war, and the barbarous ordeal by carnage will quickly become the most
unpopular institution on earth.
J. Koettgen.
[Pg vii]
CONTENTS
CHAPTER
PAG
E
Translator's Preface
v
I
Marching into Belgium
1
II
Fighting in Belgium
8
III
Shooting Civilians in Belgium
23
IV
German Soldiers and Belgian Civilians
32
V
The Horrors of Street Fighting
38
VI
Crossing the Meuse
45
VII
In Pursuit
49
VIII
Nearly Buried Alive on the Battlefield
58
IX
Soldiers Shooting Their Own Officers
65
X
Sacking Suippes
73
XI
Marching to the Battle of the Marne—Into the Trap
82
XII
At the Marne—In the Maw of Death
89
XIII
The Rout of the Marne
99
XIV
The Flight from the Marne
108
XV
At the End of the Flight
120
XVI
The Beginning of Trench Warfare
130
XVII
Friendly Relations with the Enemy
142
XVIII Fighting in the Argonnes
148
XIX
Christmas in the Trenches
156
XX
The "Itch"—A Savior
164
XXI
In the Hell of Vauquois
172
XXII
Sent on Furlough
178
XXIII The Flight to Holland
183
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