The Horrors of War
|Written||28 October 1912|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 18, pages 372-373.
The belligerents are doing their utmost to conceal from “outsiders”, i.e., from the whole world, what is going on in the Balkans. Correspondents are deceived and held up, and are not allowed on the battlefield until long after battles have come to an end.
That is why only exceptional circumstances enable one at rare intervals to learn the truth about the war. Apparently, such exceptional circumstances helped Mr. Donohoe, a correspondent of the British Daily Chronicle. He succeeded in being with the Turkish Army during the battle at Lule Burgaz; then he drove by car to Constantinople, and from there went by sea to Constanta in Rumania. From Constanta he was able to wire London without hindrance.
The Turks suffered a terrible defeat. Up to 40,000 (!) of them fell in battle. A catastrophe not less than that at Mukden, wrote the British correspondent. Three-quarters of the Turkish artillery passed into Bulgarian hands. The Bulgarians would let the Turks come up very close and engage in a hand-to-hand combat, and then would swiftly withdraw while their machine-guns mowed the Turks down in hundreds and thousands.
The Turks’ retreat became a disorderly flight of stupefied, starving, exhausted and maddened mobs. The correspondent’s car got stuck in a crowd of fugitives. The starving Turks begged him for bread. They had to bandage their own wounds. Doctors were few. There were no dressings and no supplies. I have witnessed many a military campaign, wrote the correspondent, but I could never have imagined so appalling a disaster, such a wholesale massacre of starving, exhausted, tormented, helpless peasants from Anatolia (Asiatic Turkey).
- The reference is to the battle in the Mukden area in February 1905, the last major land engagement of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904–05. The Russians lost about 89,000 men, and the Japanese about 71,000.