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History of the Great War of 1914 to 1918 (1917)

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Operations on the Western Front, 1917

The removal of large bodies of their troops to the Russian and Rumanian fronts had been one of the contributory causes which compelled the Germans to revert to a defensive attitude in the autumn of 1916. The month of January, 1917, was mild and the ground soft with rain, interfering materially with military operations on a large scale. Minor operations continued in several portions of the line. A new sector on the Somme salient between Bapaume and Peronne was taken over by the British, extending their front to one hundred miles. February began with remarkably cold weather, which delayed their contemplated offensive. An attack beginning on February 17, opposite Miraumont on both sides of the Ancre River, was successful. Serre, a position of some importance, was taken on February 25, and three days later the British advanced posts were within two miles of Bapaume. On March 9 Irles near Peronne was taken with little resistance, and it became apparent that the Germans were slowly retiring in a methodical manner. Bapaume was occupied on March 16, and Peronne and Chaulnes were taken on the 18th. The German rear guards were in some degree harassed by the British cavalry, but they effectively destroyed the roads, buildings, trees, and property of all kinds as they retired. Their new line ran through Cambrai, St. Quentin, and Laon. It was twenty-five miles shorter than the old and much stronger. They had evacuated an area of six hundred square miles, including some important towns. The Canadian cavalry brigade, with three batteries of Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, attached to the Fifteenth British corps, won much distinction in this fighting. The Germans frankly announced that the chief object of their retirement was to upset the allied plans for acting on the offensive, and they carried out the devastation of the country evacuated with such systematic and ruthless thoroughness that any advance across must be very slow and difficult. The next attacks of the Allies were directed at the supporting points between which this retirement had been made. The principal objectives selected for the British Armies were Arras and Lens, while the French directed their attack upon Laon. On the morning of April 9, after two days' intense bombardment, the British delivered an attack on a front of eleven miles extending far south of Arras. The German front lines were taken with small loss. On the same day the Canadian corps attacked and carried the commanding position on Vimy Ridge near Lens, which had successfully resisted two former assaults, and was deemed impregnable by the Germans. The defenders clung desperately to several strong points until the 11th, when the Canadians gained the summit at the north end of the ridge and advanced gradually down the eastern slope. At the same time other British troops continued their advance along the road from Bapaume towards Cambrai, driving German rear-guards before them. Another attack near Arras on April 23 also succeeded. Considerable ground was gained and 3,000 prisoners were taken.

Taken of Vimy Ridge, 1917

The French carried the German positions on a front of twenty-five miles between Soissons and Reims on April 16, penetrating to a depth of two miles and taking 10,000 prisoners and many guns. They continued their advance on the two following days and repelled all counter attacks. On April 23 the British attacked on an eight-mile, front between Vimy and Croisilles, and gained ground at all points, although opposed by seven German divisions. The French attack was resumed on May 4 and 5, upon the German positions along the Chemin-des-Dames, or Ladies' Road, on the high ground north of the Aisne. The town of Craonne was taken but the southern attack failed with severe loss. Between April 9 and May 12 the Allies reported the capture of fifty thousand prisoners and four hundred and forty-four guns with nearly one thousand machine guns and many trench mortars. On May 15 General Petain, who had won renown by his successful defence of Verdun, was appointed commander in chief of the French armies in France in place of General Nivelle, who took command of a group of armies under him. General Foch, who had been in partial retirement for six months, succeeded General Petain as chief of staff. Hard fighting continued near Arras where the Germans made violent counter-attacks on the British troops. An Australian division carried the salient near Bullecourt on the night of May 9, but was partially driven out next day. The position was finally taken by them on the 17th. The change of command of the French armies encouraged the Germans to assault their newly won line along the Ladies' Road, but they failed to gain much ground, and were eventually expelled from the heights overlooking the valley of the Ailette. Early on the morning of June 7 an attack was made on the salient south of Ypres on a front of nine miles by the British.

The ridge between Messines and Wytschaete had been strongly fortified with three lines of intrenchments protected by broad belts of wire entanglements and many concrete emplacements for machine guns. Nineteen deep mines had been excavated beneath this ridge from the British trenches and loaded with many hundreds of tons of high explosives. For two weeks preceding the attack an overwhelming fire of artillery directed from aircraft had been maintained against the German works, and nearly succeeded in silencing their fire. The mines were exploded simultaneously with a concussion that was felt in London and formed craters some of which were eighty feet deep and of great width. The infantry advanced at once under cover of the smoke and carried the front line in a few minutes, then moving forward against the second line. The garrisons of the two villages continued to resist obstinately until the afternoon, but the remainder of the position was taken shortly after daylight when the assailants again pressed on and penetrated the third line. Violent counter assaults were repelled during the following night, and trenches on a two mile front were captured near Souchez. More than 7,000 prisoners and twenty guns were taken.

The Allies had secured a decided ascendency in the air and adopted a settled policy of harassing and wearing down the German resistance by continual raids and surprise attacks on different parts of their line. A great force of British artillery was concentrated near Lens on a narrow front and a violent bombardment continued for the remainder of the month of June. Constant small gains of ground were made, but the Germans resisted stubbornly from concealed positions among the mounds of slag and refuse from the mines, which are such a striking feature of the country in that locality. The British had also taken over the sector next the coast, but a heavy bombardment seriously damaged their trenched and destroyed the bridges they had thrown across the river Yser. An attack by a superior force succeeded in overwhelming a body of troops on the further side of the river whose retreat had thus been cut off. A sudden attack by the Canadian Corps carried the trenches on a six hundred yard front south of Lens on July 22. In the latter part of the month of July the Germans assumed the offensive on the French front along the Chemin-des-Dames, employing specially selected and trained “shock troops” who gained some ground from which they were eventually expelled. On July 31 a combined attack by French and British troops began on a front of twenty miles, preceded by a tremendous bombardment and followed by the use of gas-shells on a large scale. The German front lines were rendered untenable but their troops promptly took refuge in shell craters and prepared positions for machine guns, from which they made a desperate resistance. The greater part of their second line was carried, however, and the third line penetrated. Determined counter-attacks recovered some of the lost ground. Heavy rains then seriously interfered with further operations. Fresh gains were made by the Canadian Corps near Lens. On August 15, advancing on a front of two miles, the First and Second Canadian Divisions captured Hill 70 and gained ground in some places to a depth of two miles. Violent counter-attacks were repelled and they continued to close in upon that town, a place of great importance as a great coal-mining centre from which the Germans had extracted large supplies of fuel. Several of its suburbs were evacuated by the Germans and occupied by British advanced posts. An allied attack near Ypres, preceded by a large number of tanks, was also successful and substantial advances were made. Heavy rains inundated the low country in that vicinity in the latter part of August, and delayed further active operations. The offensive was resumed by the British near St. Julien on September 18, after a prolonged bombardment. Under the protection of a devastating curtain of fire, sweeping along in front of the advancing infantry, several strong German positions were easily taken and organized for defence. Counter-attacks on these trenches were repelled a few days later. Another offensive on a front of nine miles gained further ground in the direction of the Passchendaele ridge on October 4, and five days afterwards a joint attack with the French gained ground to the west of this point. The French resumed their offensive in the vicinity of Laon on October 23, taking fort Malmaison and several neighbouring fortified villages and quarries with eight thousand prisoners. Important artillery positions were gained here and guns brought up to them, from which an enfilading fire was directed on other German intrenchments which were abandoned a few days later when they retreated across the Ailette, destroying the bridges behind them.

Sir Julian Byng was appointed to command the Third British Army, and Sir Arthur Currie succeeded him in command of the Canadian Corps on June 9.

The Canadian Corps took over the Passchendaele sector from the Australian and New Zealand divisions which had previously held it. With the usual preparation of a violent bombardment successful assaults were made on the German positions on October 26 and 30 by the Third and Fourth Divisions, and on November 6 and 10 by the First and Second Canadian Divisions, the last of which carried the high ground northeast of the village of Passchendaele. These gains were not made without desperate fighting in which the Canadian troops engaged lost nearly fifteen thousand men.

Suddenly transferring a large striking force to his right, the British general began a surprise attack on the renowned Hindenburg Line near Cambrai. Great bodies of troops were secretly moved into an advanced position by night. No preparation by an artillery bombardment or by trench raids was made. The movement of seven infantry divisions was preceded by the advance of three hundred and sixty tanks, which took place shortly after daybreak on November 21. These powerful machines tore their way through the German entanglements and crawled over their trenches before artillery fire could be successfully directed against them. They paved the way for the advance of the infantry and cleared out many machine gun positions by an enfilading fire. Two lines of German works were carried along a front of ten miles to a depth of five miles in several places. Nearly ten thousand prisoners and more than one hundred field and heavy guns were taken. Next morning the Germans recovered Bourlon Wood, the most advanced position taken by the British in the direction of Cambrai, where the trees greatly interfered with the successful operation of the tanks. On the three following days the greater part of this forest and the neighbouring village were taken by the British, but they were unable to make further progress as the enemy had brought up a superior force of artillery and infantry which eventually compelled them to abandon the village.

Survivors of the squadron of the Fort Garry Horse returning to the Canadian lines

Two divisions of British cavalry and two brigades of Indian cavalry with many horse artillery batteries had been massed in rear of the infantry, with instructions that if the last trench line beyond the Scheldt canal between Marcoing and Masnières was carried, they were to push forward through the gap and sweep around Cambrai on both flanks. One squadron of the Fort Garry Horse actually passed the canal on a temporary bridge under machine gun fire near Masnières before it was known that the infantry had not succeeded in carrying the heights beyond. They charged and took a German field battery and came under heavy machine gun fire by which a number of officers and men were killed or wounded. It was then growing dark and they sought shelter in a sunken road until it became evident that they were unsupported. The horses were turned loose and the remnant of the squadron made their way back on foot. Lieutenant H. Strachan and forty-three other ranks succeeded in regaining their lines bringing with them a few prisoners out of a total of one hundred and twenty-three who rode off. During this retreat they were obliged to fight their way most of the time, with rifle and bayonet, dispersing several bodies of the enemy whom they encountered. For his gallantry and leadership on this occasion Lieutenant Strachan was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The remainder of the cavalry were held back and the projected dash forward was never attempted. After the failure of their last counter-attacks near Bourlon the Germans made a sudden and much more successful effort on a front of seven miles in the bend of the river between Masnières and Villers-Guislain, where it had not been expected. Here a strongly-organized front line was weakly held and strong masses of infantry broke through on a front of three miles. They pushed rapidly forward, seized a portion of the railway and occupied the villages of Villers-Guislain, Gouzeaucourt and Gonnelieu. The British and Indian cavalry and horse artillery were brought forward in great haste and checked the German advance. The Germans made frequent desperate assaults on these troops who were soon supported by infantry and succeeded in repelling them. Gouzeaucourt and Gonnelieu were retaken, but on December 1 the British withdrew to a stronger position behind the Scheldt at Masnières. Fighting continued in this area until the middle of December without much gain or loss of ground on either side. The Germans announced the capture of six thousand prisoners and sixty guns in this offensive, and recovered about one third of the ground they had lost. On November 25 the French attacked and gained considerable ground north of Verdun. The important successes of the Austrians and Germans on the Italian frontier caused the transfer of large bodies of British and French troops to that theatre of war. Offensive operations on their part terminated in consequence, and the arrival of reinforcements for the Germans late in the year seemed to portend an attack.

The Italian Front, 1917

An Italian offensive on March 3 in the Trentino resulted in small gains. They began a bombardment on a front of thirty miles in the vicinity of Gorizia on May 12. Five days' fighting ended in the capture of several strong Austrian positions with nearly 7,000 prisoners. In this operation the Italians were powerfully assisted by British heavy artillery. On May 24 they carried another series of trenches on the Carso plateau, taking nine thousand prisoners. In conclusive fighting continued for several days, but on June 5 the Austrians made successful counter-attacks south of Jamiano taking nearly ten thousand prisoners. Another Austrian attack east of Gorizia on July 14 was repelled with heavy loss, and a lull in operations followed for several weeks. The Italians began another formidable offensive on the upper Isonzo on August 19, assisted by the fire of not less than two thousand guns distributed along a front of thirty-seven miles. Taking advantage of a dense fog bridges were thrown over the river at several points and crossings effected. Many squadrons of aeroplanes numbering in all two hundred and fifty machines flew over the Austrian lines and bombed the troops massed in reserve. The first line of trenches was carried, and in two days' fighting the Italians took thirteen thousand prisoners. Several strong positions were subsequently evacuated by the Austrians, but they obstinately retained their ground facing Gorizia. Several German and Turkish divisions then arrived to their assistance and by counter-attacks succeeded in recovering much of the lost ground. During the first and second weeks in September an extremely numerous and well organized force was concentrated for a renewal of this offensive, containing ten divisions of veteran German troops. At the same time a very subtle and successful propaganda was carried on among disaffected troops in the Italian army. After a short but very destructive bombardment of the Italian possessions, the attack was carried out on a front of nineteen miles and the Italians were forced to retire precipitately across the Isonzo with a loss of 10,000 prisoners. The pursuit was pressed with great energy and success, and the new Italian position was outflanked and threatened with envelopment. Gorizia was retaken on October 28. The Italian armies were constantly outflanked, and they were forced out of successive strong positions in which they attempted to retard the enemy's advance. The frontier was crossed and the invaders occupied Udine on October 29, while the disorganized Italian armies retired behind the Taglia-mento. This position was held for five days when their bridge-heads were destroyed by a fierce bombardment and the Austro-German troops crossed the river. The Italians fell back behind the Livenza, another parallel stream, and thence to the line of the Piave. The capture of one hundred and eighty thousand prisoners and fifteen hundred guns was announced from Berlin in these operations which became known as the battle of Caporetto.

On November 21 the Austrians gained another considerable success on the upper Piave in the vicinity of Belluno, where they cut off and captured a body of fourteen thousand Italians. General Cadorna was replaced as commander in chief by General Diaz, and a war board, composed of Generals Cadorna, Foch and Sir H. H. Wilson, was established. British and French troops speedily arrived from France bringing with them a great force of artillery, and a strong line of defence was organized behind the Piave. Repeated efforts to cross that river were repelled and some troops who had succeeded in getting over were driven back with severe loss. British gunboats destroyed bridges on the Austrian line of communication in the Piave Delta. On December 5 the German troops resumed their efforts to turn the Italian line from the north and carried several strong positions taking a considerable number of prisoners. Repeated Austrian attacks between the Brenta and Piave failed with heavy loss and although they made considerable advances on other fronts they were unable to reach the Italian plain and turn the line of the Piave.

Operations on the Russian and Rumanian Fronts, 1917

General von Mackensen continued his advance driving the Russian and Rumanian forces over the Sereth and Danube with heavy losses, and captured Focsani on January 8. Other fortified positions in that vicinity were taken by his army a few days later. The Rumanian army had been practically destroyed and the country conquered.

Desultory fighting continued along the river Aa and the marshy country near Riga, during the entire month of January, and the Austro-German forces displayed considerable activity in Galicia and Volhynia.

On March 15 a dispatch from Petrograd announced the fall of the Imperial Government and the substitution of a provisional revolutionary authority. A German attack on the bridge-head of Toboly was successful on April 6; the fortress of Brody was bombarded a week later, and the Russians retired across the Styr, destroying all bridges over that stream. The Germans then suspended operations and attempted to enter into friendly relations with the Russian troops with the object of concluding a separate peace. The Russian officers found great difficulty in maintaining even a semblance of discipline. By special orders from the revolutionary government, soldiers were instructed to cease saluting their officers and to decide by voting whether they would execute the orders they received. Three generals of great distinction resigned as a protest against the interference of the Council of Workmen and Soldiers with military operations. In June, Kerensky, the new Minister of War, visited the troops at the front, and after hearing his address, they voted for a resumption of hostilities. On July 1 Russian troops began an advance from Tarnopol in the direction of Lemberg, forcing back the Austro-German army and taking many prisoners. Halicz was taken by them on July 10, but heavy rains prevented effective pursuit of the Austrian garrison who retired behind the Lomnica River. A vigorous Austro-German counter-offensive began on July 9, which was completely successful; as many regiments of Russian troops retreated without fighting or refused to obey orders. Tarnopol was captured by the Austrians on July 24, and they crossed the Sereth without opposition. The Russian government restored the death penalty for desertion and took other drastic measures for re-establishing discipline. On August 3 the Russians evacuated Czernowitz and entirely withdrew from the province of Bukowina.

The Dvina was crossed by the Germans on September 2, when the Russian garrison evacuated Riga and retreated along the coast of the Baltic. The German fleet co-operated in the pursuit and much war material was taken from the retiring forces. General Korniloff, who was in command of one of the Russian armies, marched in the direction of Petrograd, with the declared intention of overthrowing the government. This movement failed and he was made prisoner. A Russian republic was proclaimed on September 14, with Kerensky as Prime Minister, but this government was overthrown on November 8, by the Bolshevists, who had pronounced in favour of an armistice and a separate peace with Germany. Meanwhile the Germans had taken Jacobstadt on September 21, and occupied the islands at the entrance of the Gulf of Riga on October 12 and 13. The new Russian government shortly after its establishment opened negotiations with the Central Powers by requesting an armistice.

The Serbian and Greek Fronts, 1917

During the early months of the year the allied fleets maintained a close blockade of the Greek ports. Military operations of slight importance were carried on in Macedonia and Serbia. The Italians gained ground in Albania and occupied the capital on June 10. Two days later the abdication of King Constantine of Greece, in favour of his second son, who had declared for the Allies, was announced. Soon afterwards Athens and other Greek cities were occupied by allied troops. A French commission was appointed to aid in organizing and training the Greek army for active participation in the war.

The War in Mesopotamia and Asia, 1917

A British army corps continued its advance up the Tigris with Bagdad as an immediate objective. The Turks were compelled to abandon Kut on February 24 and were hotly pursued by the British and Indian cavalry who took many prisoners and guns. A great quantity of materials shipped from Germany for the construction of the Bagdad railway was also taken. General F. S. Maude, who had taken command of the British force in succession to Sir Percy Lake, advanced up the river with great rapidity, defeating the Turks in several rear-guard actions. Bagdad was taken on March 11, with the greater part of the Turkish artillery. At the same time a Russian force advanced westward through Persia to co-operate. The eighteenth Turkish corps was defeated by General Maude and the end of the railway line was occupied on April 23. Hot weather then made further operations almost impracticable. A division of Australian troops advancing from the Sinai peninsula entered Palestine early in March, and on April 22, had arrived in front of a strong Turkish position covering Gaza, where they remained stationary for the next two months. In the beginning of July General Sir E. H. Allenby took command of this force. Turkish cavalry were defeated near Beersheba on July 19. That place was not captured until the end of October when operations were renewed with great vigour. The Turkish position at Gaza was turned by cavalry on the night of November 7, and the British army advanced in two columns, one following the coast line of the Mediterranean, the other moving forward from Beersheba. Joppa was taken by the Australians on November 17. A Turkish position within five miles of Jerusalem was carried by assault three days later. The city was gradually invested and compelled to surrender on December 9. The moral effect of these operations upon the Mohammedan population was very great, and all danger of an attack upon the Suez Canal was effectually removed.

The War in German East Africa, 1917

A division of Indian troops landed in German East Africa on June 10, and took part in the operations in that colony during the remainder of the year. Early in December General Vandeventer commanding the British troops reported that the conquest of the colony was complete, the remnant of the German forces, having retreated into the adjacent Portuguese territory, where he was making active preparations to pursue.

Naval Warfare, 1917

The German High Seas Fleet remained at anchor under the protection of their strong defensive works at the Kiel Canal. The few naval actions which took place occurred between light vessels engaged in patrolling or making raids. German submarines showed increased activity and did great damage. The policy of unrestricted submarine warfare by which the Germans still hoped to secure the ultimate victory which they had not succeeded in gaining on land, was brought into effect on February 1. Ten vessels were sunk on that day. During the course of the year, one British and one Russian battleship, several British cruisers, destroyers, hospital ships, troop ships and a very large number of merchantmen were, sunk by them. An immense number of small armed vessels of various descriptions were constantly engaged in detecting and hunting them down and many were destroyed, although the particulars of their actual destruction were not made public. One German surface cruiser succeeded in returning to her base after destroying several vessels. On May 12 a British squadron bombarded Zeebrugge and another bombarded the docks and harbour of Ostend on September 22. Two German destroyers were sunk on April 21 in an unsuccessful raid against Dover. A German submarine shelled Scarborough on September 4 and evaded pursuit.

The Entry into the War of the United States, 1917

The announcement by the German Government of the adoption of unrestricted submarine warfare on February 1, caused an immediate crisis in its relations with the United States. The German Ambassador was given his passports next day. All diplomatic relations were severed, and the President addressed the Congress on the situation with convincing force. On April 6 Congress formally adopted a resolution declaring the existence of war with Germany. The ports of the United States were thrown open to the allied fleets and the naval forces of the country placed upon a war footing. All interned German ships were seized. On April 14 Congress voted a war credit of seven billions of dollars and authorized loans of three billions to the allied nations. An act for raising troops by a select draft was passed and received the President's signature on May 18, by which all men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty were required to register by June 5. Arrangements were immediately made for recruiting and training a million of men and great camps for their accommodation were swiftly formed. The visit of British and French missions resulted in a declaration that a division of the regular army would be sent to France at an early date. The safe arrival of these troops was announced on June 22. Other contingents followed in rapid succession, and the movement of troops belonging to the National Guard began on October 15, and continued during the remainder of the year. Some battalions of United States infantry entered the French front-line trenches for training about the end of October. Their first casualties were reported to have occurred in an attack by German “shock-troops” on November 3.

Participation of the British Overseas Dominions and Colonies, 1917

Hitherto the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force serving in the field had been maintained at full strength by voluntary enlistment without much difficulty. Recruiting declined, and early in the year it became evident that the maintenance of the force in the field by that means could no longer be relied on with certainty. In addition to the army corps and troops training in England, as reinforcements, several battalions of railway and forestry troops had been organized, who were employed under the orders of General Headquarters. Many British reservists living in Canada had rejoined their regiments at the beginning of the war, and a large number of Canadians had enlisted in the British Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Naval Aviation Service and the Auxiliary Motor Boat Patrol Service. A return completed to November 15, showed that the total number of persons who had joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force since the beginning of the war was 441,862. A Bill providing for compulsory military service was introduced in Parliament on June 11, and became law on August 29. It provided for raising 100,000 men, and the first drafts were to report on January 3, 1918. A war income tax was also imposed. The Ministry was reorganized as a Union Government on October 12, and a general election, held on December 17, resulted in favour of the new administration by a large majority. The contributions for patriotic purposes greatly increased during the year. The appointment of a food controller was made on June 21, and regulations were adopted for the sale and distribution of various food products. Prices for wheat were fixed to the end of the crop year, August 31, 1918. An Order in Council under the War Measures Act was passed on December 22, prohibiting the importation into Canada of intoxicating liquor on and after December 24, 1917.

The Imperial Expeditionary Forces from Australia and New Zealand were maintained by voluntary enlistment by the most strenuous efforts. Various methods of indirect pressure were adopted to promote recruiting. In Australia a single men's tax was introduced to compel single men and widowers without children of military age who had not enlisted to contribute ten per cent of their taxable income in addition to the ordinary income tax. A war profits tax was also imposed by the Federal Parliament. The Government of India maintained its expeditionary force at full strength and made a contribution of one hundred million pounds towards the cost of the war. Many of the ruling princes and chiefs gave further liberal gifts of money.

Economic Effects of the War, 1917

In Austria-Hungary the shortage of food caused extreme discontent and much suffering. In Bohemia and Hungary demonstrations by noisy crowds culminated in rioting and bloodshed.

The German Chancellor was forced to resign and with him retired the Imperial Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prussian Minister of War. A reduction of the bread ration of the people caused bitter discontent followed by violent demonstrations. A strike of seventeen thousand workmen took place at the Krupp works at Essen and many others occurred at other industrial centres. Food riots were reported from Berlin. The chief Socialist newspaper printed a statement in December that forty millions of people were on the verge of starvation and that a general collapse might be expected at any moment.

The French Ministry was twice reorganized, and on November 15 Dr. Georges Clemenceau became premier for a second time and succeeded in forming a strong Cabinet. The privations of the people from want of food increased but were generally endured with patience. A serious strike occurred in the large steel works at Harfleur and similar strikes on a smaller scale occurred elsewhere.

The lack of food in Italy also caused adverse criticism and discontent. The defeat of the Italian army followed by an alarming invasion of Italian territory brought about the defeat of the Ministry.

The adjustment of the supply of food to the needs of the people became the problem of chief importance in Great Britain. Stringent regulations were enforced respecting the manufacture of flour and use of sugar. Before the end of the year the control of all principal articles of food was taken over, and maximum prices fixed for most of them. The shortage of tea and sugar was severely felt.

The premiers of all overseas dominions had been invited at the end of the preceding year to attend meetings of the Imperial War Cabinet. Its first meeting was held at Westminster on March 20. All overseas dominions except Australia were represented. Fourteen meetings were held at which the overseas members were furnished with all information respecting the prosecution of the war in possession of the British Government.

The high cost of food and restrictions on personal liberty introduced under the War Measures Act caused considerable discontent and restlessness among the working classes. Little economic disturbance, however, was occasioned by strikes among workmen.