German hostility developed so rapidly that our train was the last which left Switzerland for France for nearly two months. We were due in Paris at ten o'clock in the evening, but did not arrive until the next morning because of the mobilization of French recruits.
The excitement in Paris was intense. A French statesman said to me: "We are doing our best to avoid war. Our troops are kept ten kilometres from the frontier, but the Germans have crossed and seized strategic points. They will hear nothing and accept nothing and are determined to crush us if they can."
From all ranks of the people was heard: "We will fight to the last man, but we are outnumbered and will be destroyed unless England helps. Will England help? Will England help?" I have been through several crises but never witnessed nor felt such a reaction to ecstatic joy as occurred when Great Britain joined France.
The restrictions on leaving Paris required time, patience, and all the resources of our Embassy to get us out of France. The helpfulness, resourcefulness, and untiring efforts of our Ambassador, Myron T. Herrick, won the gratitude of all Americans whom the war had interned on the continent and who must get home.
There was a remarkable change in England. When we left in July there was almost hysteria over the threatening civil war. In October the people were calm though involved in the greatest war in their history. They did not minimize the magnitude of the struggle, or the sacrifices it would require. There was a characteristic grim determination to see the crisis through, regardless of cost. Cabinet ministers whom I met thought the war would last three years.
The constant appeal to me, as to other Americans, was, "When will you join us? If we fail it is your turn next. It is autocracy and militarism against civilization, liberty, and representative government for the whole world."
We had a perilous and anxious voyage home and found few grasping the situation or working to be prepared for the inevitable, except Theodore Roosevelt and General Wood.
XX. ORATORS AND CAMPAIGN SPEAKERS