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War will last years, says head of United Press after 3 months in Europe

NEW YORK, May 3, 1915 (UP) - All Europe recognizes that the great war has developed something new in history - the siege of a nation - and has resolved itself into an endurance contest of indeterminable length. An end of the war in 1915 is generally regarded as too remote for serious consideration. The United States will eventually have the greatest opportunity in the history of the world to act as peacemaker - unless that opportunity is killed by ill-advised, premature peace talk at this time.

The above is the belief of Roy W. Howard, president of the United Press, who returned to New York today after a three months' tour of the United Press bureaus and field stations in England, Germany, Russia, France, Belgium and Italy. During his tour, Howard visited the front and the foremost trenches of both the German and allied armies and was given exceptional opportunities for first hand observation of conditions that existed at the opening of the spring campaign.

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"Belligerents and neutrals in Europe have adjusted their life - national, commercial and social - on the basis of an indefinite war," he says. "They have eliminated every consideration contingent upon early peace. With this point of view, Europe - especially France and England - is dumbfounded at America's insistent peace talk and her reluctance to accept the situation as it exists and to readjust business accordingly. Europe has accepted the worst as a probability - a war of from two to seven years - and at the same time is prepared to be happily surprised should the trouble terminate earlier.

"The impression is general in both England and France that a considerable force is meddling in this country in the direction of early peace. Such a movement is regarded as impertinence. In purely military circles, it is regarded as pro-German. To say that it is resented is putting it mildly. Peace in the near future, on any basis likely to be acceptable to Germany, is unthinkable in France and England. Neither feels that it has yet suggested what it can do in a military way, under a test. Both nations admit that Germany secured the jump at the outset of the war and still holds the advantage. France's army today is undoubtedly one of the greatest fighting machines in the field and it is in splendid contrast to the force mobilized by the French last August. France insists on eliminating the memory of her unsatisfactory showing at the outbreak of hostilities.

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"England feels that the ability of a democracy to exist and to rise to an emergency without compulsory military service, and without maintaining a tremendous professional army, is on trial. She has spent nine months perfecting a citizen army which she believes will prove greater than any professional army, but she knew this army must prove her claims for it. Even advantageous terms now would not tempt her to a peace with the strength of this citizen army unproved.

"Statements that Germany is tiring of war, or that there is a peace faction growing in the fatherland, can be put down as idle gossip.

"In no country in Europe is the war spirit more nearly universal or the sacrifice demanded being made more uncomplainingly. Nothing but national exhaustion or a government policy of peace at any reasonable price now, for the sake of a fresh start and a war against England alone, will stifle this feeling.

"Personally, after three months' of observation of the situation close at hand, I do not believe even victory for the allies would be at the price of Germany being crushed. There is every reason to believe that even before a partial victory is secured, the impossibility of a successful general assault will have been learned at a staggering price and the end - whatever it may be - will come only after the process of attrition has worn one side to a state of exhaustion.

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"From the standpoint of the allies, the one great unknown factor today is the extent of Germany's ammunition supply. How long she will hold what she has already taken and what will be the strength of her offensive is measured by her ability to continue supplying her artillery with ammunition in abundance.

"Millions of men working for months along the western line have evolved defenses on both sides, the strength of which is almost inconceivable. Behind the hundreds of thousands on the fighting line now occupied by each army, consisting of the front trench, the second army, the reserve trench - the whole connected by communicating trenches - lie a series of even more lines of defense, each consisting of the same three major lines interlaced by communicating trenches and each with its miles of barbed wire entanglements in place.

"Whereas the present fighting line was chosen rather at random - just where the foes clashed and the men dug themselves in - each line in the rear has been constructed carefully along natural strategic lines selected by the engineers. Intervals of from 6 to 15 miles separate these reserve lines. The net result is that even though successful in smashing the enemy's fighting line and breaking through at any one point only means that the defeated foe falls back a few miles to take up a new position in a stronger trench which is already waiting.

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"Germany has not yet exhausted her reserves in the matter of men. France has developed so rapidly during the past six months that she will be able to get her efficiency little higher. Russia apparently can contribute nothing more than she has so far except in increased numbers and Von Hindenburg has shown that mere numbers cause him little worry.

"There has been nothing so far to indicate that Germany faces the probability of defeat in the open field. If defeated, it will probably be only by wastage. Meanwhile, the wastage of the allies will be equally heavy. If France and Belgium can contribute nothing more, the additional weight necessary for allied victory must come from England.

"Up to this time the average Englishman has not sensed the price he will have to pay for a crushed Germany. He has not yet suffered as Germany and France have suffered, because relatively his contribution of troops has been small. Press censorship, to which the Englishman is wholly unaccustomed, has prevented him from getting the thrill that would come from a full knowledge of the facts. As a result England is rapidly approaching the point where she must choose between one of three courses. Abolish the press censorship and give her newspapers an opportunity to double or triple the present volunteer army through stirring British patriotism, resort to conscription and in that way obtain the needed number, or make up her mind to abandon her idea of decisively defeating Germany."

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