246 CHAPTER XXIII. Art and War. The Case of Rheims Cathedral and Similar Instances. Louvain Once Again. "Good nature cannot be accounted as humanity Jn a conquered country. If one is obsessed by humanity and again humanity, one should not attempt to conduct a war. You cannot make war with rose-water." Napoleon I. Article 27 of the Rules and Regulations of Warfare by Land stipulates: "In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.'* It is the duty of the besieged to indicate the presence of such buildings and places by distinctive and visible signs, which shall be notified to the enemy beforehand. I. The German General Staff in this war used all endeavors to preserve historic monuments of art, precisely as in 1870. (See also chapter XXIV.) This cannot be said of the French who, to cite an instance, shot the cathedral of Dinant to pieces with their artillery. It should not be forgotten that it was entirely due to the self-sacrificing spirit of German officers and soldiers that the magnificent Town Hall at Louvain,—in the neighborhood of which a treacherous attack had been made by the population,—was preserved. Rheims, too, was twice entirely spared by the Germans. Only after it had been made the central point of the French position did the Germans do that to which the laws of war compelled them. Even during the second bombardment of Rheims (at the close of September) all that was possible was done to protect the cathedral and save it from destruction. Surely one must have had the most exalted notions as to the extent of German good-nature, in order to impute to the Germans that they would shoot past the cathedral behind which the French cannons thundered against them! Even the "Times" was forced to concede, on the 20th of September: "Theoretically the bombardment of Rheims was provoked
Art and Warfare. 247 by the French artillery, which was stationed in the city and was returning a vigorous answer to the German artillery fire. French soldiers were encamped in the streets, the artillery park was situated in the main street, behind this lay the infantry." 1 (retranslation) I do not, to be sure, understand just what the "Times" means by a "theoretical provocation." The subtle way in which the allied French and Belgians go to work in this matter, is clearly seen in the detailed description of the bombardment of Rheims in the Dutch journal "De Maasbode" of September loth, 1914. It becomes evident from this that not only was this edifice used for military purposes out of military motives, but that its bombardment was deliberately provoked—in order to arouse indignation in foreign countries against German "Vandalism." In times of peace all these monuments are permitted to deteriorate in the most disgraceful manner, but in times of war you conceal yourself behind them and then invoke the howls of all the ignorant who come flocking in their droves whenever an opportunity offers to fulminate against the "Huns!" The General Headquarters, under the date of September 22nd, p. m. writes thus in answer to this hue-and-cry: "The French Government has declared that the bombardment of Rheims Cathedral was not an act of military necessity. In contradiction to this the following has been established: "After the French had, by strong fortifications, made the city of Rheims a main point of support in their defences, they forced us to attack the town by all the means in their power. By order of the Commander-in-Chief, special care was to be taken to preserve the Cathedral, so long as the enemy refrained from using it to his own advantage. From the 20th of September on, the white flag was flown from the Cathedral and was respected by us. "In spite of this we could observe with certainty that there was an observation post upon the tower, and this was further established by the successful effect of the enemy's artillery upon our attacking infantry. It was necessary to dislodge the observer. 1 See "The Bombardment of Rheims Cathedral," published by Georg Reimer, Berlin, 1915.