By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Britain at Bay
Author: Wilkinson, Spenser, 1853-1937
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Britain at Bay" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




New York



























Chapters XIV. to XX. have appeared as articles in the _Morning Post_
and are by kind permission reproduced without substantial change.



"I do not believe in the perfection of the British constitution as an
instrument of war ... it is evident that there is something in your
machinery that is wrong." These were the words of the late Marquis of
Salisbury, speaking as Prime Minister in his place in the House of Lords
on the 30th of January 1900. They amounted to a declaration by the
British Government that it could not govern, for the first business of a
Government is to be able to defend the State of which it has charge,
that is, to carry on war. Strange to say, the people of England were
undisturbed by so striking an admission of national failure.

On the 16th of March 1909 came a new declaration from another Prime
Minister. Mr. Asquith, on the introduction of the Navy Estimates,
explained to the House of Commons that the Government had been surprised
at the rate at which the new German navy was being constructed, and at
the rapid growth of Germany's power to build battleships. But it is the
first duty of a Government to provide for national security and to
provide means to foresee. A Government that is surprised in a matter
relating to war is already half defeated.

The creation of the German navy is the creation of means that could be
used to challenge Great Britain's sea power and all that depends upon
it. There has been no such challenge these hundred years, no challenge
so formidable as that represented by the new German fleet these three
hundred years. It brings with it a crisis in the national life of
England as great as has ever been known; yet this crisis finds the
British nation divided, unready and uncertain what leadership it is to

The dominant fact, the fact that controls all others, is that from now
onwards Great Britain has to face the stern reality of war, immediately
by way of preparation and possibly at any moment by way of actual
collision. England is drifting into a quarrel with Germany which, if it
cannot be settled, involves a struggle for the mastery with the
strongest nation that the world has yet seen--a nation that, under the
pressure of necessity, has learnt to organise itself for war as for
peace; that sets its best minds to direct its preparations for war;
that has an army of four million citizens, and that is of one mind in
the determination to make a navy that shall fear no antagonist. A
conflict of this kind is the test of nations, not only of their strength
but also of their righteousness or right to be. It has two aspects. It
is first of all a quarrel and then a fight, and if we are to enter into
it without fear of destruction we must fulfil two conditions: in the
quarrel we must be in the right, in the fight we must win. The two
conditions are inseparable. If there is a doubt about the justice of our
cause we shall be divided among ourselves, and it will be impossible for
us to put forth the strength of a united nation.

Have we really a quarrel with Germany? Is she doing us any wrong? Some
of our people seem to think so, though I find it hard to say in what the
wrong consists. Are we doing her any wrong? Some Germans seem to think
so, and it behoves us, if we can, to find out what the German grievance

Suppose that there is a cause for quarrel, hidden at present but sooner
or later to be revealed. What likelihood is there that we shall be able
to make good our case in arms, and to satisfy the world and posterity
that we deserved to win?

Germany can build fleets as fast as we can, and although we have a start
the race will not be easy for us; she has the finest school of war that
ever existed, against which we have to set an Admiralty so much
mistrusted that at this moment a committee of the Cabinet is inquiring
into its efficiency.

Is it not time for us to find the answer to the question raised by Lord
Salisbury nine years ago, to ascertain what it is that interferes with
the perfection of the British constitution as an instrument of war, and
to set right what is wrong with our machinery?

The truth is that we have ceased to be a nation; we have forgotten
nationhood, and have become a conglomerate of classes, parties,
factions, and sects. That is the disease. The remedy consists in
reconstituting ourselves as a nation.

What is a nation? The inhabitants of a country constituted as one body
to secure their corporate being and well-being. The nation is all of us,
and its government is trusteeship for us all in order to give us peace
and security, and in order that in peace and security we may make each
other's lives worth living by doing each the best work he can. The
nature of a nation may be seen by distinguishing it from the other
nations outside and from the parties within. The mark of a nation is
sovereignty, which means, as regards other nations, the right and the
power to make peace with them or to carry on war against them, and
which means, as regards those within, the right and the power to command

A nation is a people constituted as a State, maintaining and supporting
a Government which is at once the embodiment of right and the wielder of
force. If the right represented by the Government is challenged, either
without or within, the Government asserts it by force, and in either
case disposes, to any extent that may be required, of the property, the
persons, and the lives of its subjects.

A party, according to the classical theory of the British constitution,
is a body of men within the State who are agreed in regarding some
measure or some principle as so vital to the State that, in order to
secure the adoption of the measure or the acceptance of the principle,
they are willing to sink all differences of opinion on other matters,
and to work together for the one purpose which they are agreed in
regarding as fundamental.

The theory of party government is based on the assumption that there
must always be some measure or some principle in regard to which the
citizens of the same country will differ so strongly as to subordinate
their private convictions on other matters to their profound convictions
in regard to the one great question. It is a theory of permanent civil
war carried on through the forms of parliamentary debate and popular
election, and, indeed, the two traditional parties are the political
descendants of the two sides which in the seventeenth century were
actually engaged in civil war. For the ordinary purposes of the domestic
life of the country the system has its advantages, but they are coupled
with grave drawbacks. The party system destroys the sincerity of our
political life, and introduces a dangerous dilettantism into the
administration of public business.

A deliberative assembly like the House of Commons can reach a decision
only by there being put from the chair a question to which the answer
must be either Yes or No. It is evidently necessary to the sincerity of
such decisions that the answer given by each member shall in every case
be the expression of his conviction regarding the right answer to the
question put. If every member in every division were to vote according
to his own judgment and conscience upon the question put, there would be
a perpetual circulation of members between the Ayes to the right and the
Noes to the left. The party system prevents this. It obliges each member
on every important occasion to vote with his leaders and to follow the
instruction of the whips. In this way the division of opinion produced
by some particular question or measure is, as far as possible, made
permanent and dominant, and the freedom of thought and of deliberation
is confined within narrow limits.

Thus there creeps into the system an element of insincerity which has
been enormously increased since the extension of the franchise and the
consequent organisation of parties in the country. Thirty or forty years
ago the caucus was established in all the constituencies, in each of
which was formed a party club, association, or committee, for the
purpose of securing at parliamentary elections the success of the party
candidate. The association, club, or committee consists, as regards its
active or working portion, of a very small percentage of the voters even
of its own party, but it is affiliated to the central organisation and
in practice it controls the choice of candidates.

What is the result? That the affairs of the nation are entirely given
over to be disputed between the two organised parties, whose leaders are
compelled, in shaping their policy and in thinking about public affairs,
to consider first and foremost the probable effect of what they will do
and of what they will say upon the active members of the caucus of their
own party in the constituencies. The frame of mind of the members of the
caucus is that of men who regard the opposite caucus as the adversary.
But the adversary of a nation can only be another nation.

In this way the leaders of both parties, the men who fill the places
which, in a well-organised nation, would be assigned to statesmen, are
placed in it position in which statesmanship is almost impossible. A
statesman would be devoted solely to the nation. He would think first,
second, and third of the nation. Security would be his prime object, and
upon that basis he would aim at the elevation of the characters and of
the lives of the whole population. But our leaders cannot possibly think
first, second, and third of the nation. They have to think at least as
much of the next election and of the opinions of their supporters. In
this way their attention is diverted from that observation of other
nations which is essential for the maintenance of security. Moreover,
they are obliged to dwell on subjects directly intelligible to and
appreciable by the voters in the constituencies, and are thereby
hindered from giving either the time or the attention which they would
like to any of those problems of statesmanship which require close and
arduous study for their solution. The wonder is in these conditions that
they do their work so well, and maintain undiminished the reputation of
English public men for integrity and ability.

Yet what at the present moment is the principle about which parties are
divided? Is there any measure or any principle at issue which is really
vital to Great Britain? Is there anything in dispute between the parties
which would not be abandoned and forgotten at the first shot fired in a
war between England and a great continental nation? I am convinced that
that first shot must cause the scales to fall from men's eyes; that it
must make every one realise that our divisions are comparative trifles
and that for years we have been wasting time over them. But if we wait
for the shock of war to arouse us to a sense of reality and to estimate
our party differences at their true value, it will be too late. We shall
wring our hands in vain over our past blindness and the insight we shall
then have obtained will avail us nothing.

The party system has another consequence which will not stand scrutiny
in the light of reality; it is dilettantism in the conduct of the
nation's principal business. Some of the chief branches of the executive
work of government are the provinces of special arts and sciences, each
of which to master requires the work of a lifetime. Of such a kind are
the art of carrying on war, whether by sea or land, the art of
conducting foreign relations, which involves a knowledge of all the
other great States and their policies, and the direction of the
educational system, which cannot possibly be properly conducted except
by an experienced educator. But the system gives the direction of each
of these branches to one of the political leaders forming the Cabinet or
governing committee, and the practice is to consider as disqualified
from membership of that committee any man who has given his life either
to war, to foreign policy, or to education. Yet by its efficiency in
these matters the nation must stand or fall. By all means let us be
chary of lightly making changes in the constitution or in the
arrangements of government. But, if the security and continued existence
of the nation are in question, must we not scrutinise our methods of
government with a view to make sure that they accord with the necessary
conditions of success in a national struggle for existence?

I am well aware that the train of thought to which I have tried to give
expression is unpopular, and that most people think that any
modification of the traditional party system is impracticable. But the
question is not whether the system is popular; it is whether it will
enable the country to stand in the hour of trial. If the system is
inefficient and fails to enable the nation to carry on with success the
functions necessary for its preservation and if at the same time it is
impracticable to change it, then nothing can avert ruin from this
country. Yet I believe that a very large number of my countrymen are in
fact thinking each for himself the thoughts which I am trying to
express. They are perhaps not the active members of the caucus of either
party, but they are men who, if they see the need, will not shrink from
exertions or from sacrifices which they believe to be useful or
necessary to the country. It is to them that the following pages are an
appeal. I appeal with some confidence because what I shall try to show
to be necessary is not so much a change of institutions as a change of
spirit; not a new constitution but a return to a true way of looking at
public and private life. My contention is that the future of England
depends entirely upon the restoration of duty, of which the nation is
the symbol, to its proper place in our lives.



Great Britain is drifting unintentionally and half unconsciously into a
war with the German Empire, a State which has a population of sixty
millions and is better organised for war than any State has ever been in
modern times. For such a conflict, which may come about to-morrow, and
unless a great change takes place must come about in the near future,
Great Britain is not prepared.

The food of our people and the raw material of their industries come to
this country by sea, and the articles here produced go by sea to their
purchasers abroad. Every transaction carries with it a certain profit
which makes it possible. If the exporter and the manufacturer who
supplies him can make no profit they cannot continue their operations,
and the men who work for them must lose their employment.

Suppose Great Britain to be to-morrow at war with one or more of the
Great Powers of Europe. All the sailing vessels and slow steamers will
stop running lest they should be taken by hostile cruisers. The fast
steamers will have to pay war rates of insurance and to charge extra
freights. Steamers ready to leave foreign ports for this country will
wait for instructions and for news. On the outbreak of war, therefore,
this over-sea traffic must be greatly diminished in volume and carried
on with enormously increased difficulties. The supply of food would be
considerably reduced and the certainty of the arrival of any particular
cargo would have disappeared. The price of food must therefore rapidly
and greatly rise, and that alone would immediately impose very great
hardships on the whole of the working class, of which a considerable
part would be driven across the line which separates modern comfort from
the starvation margin. The diminution in the supply of the raw materials
of manufacture would be much greater and more immediate. Something like
half the manufacturers of Great Britain must close their works for want
of materials. But will the other half be able to carry on? Foreign
orders they cannot possibly execute, because there can be no certainty
of the delivery of the goods; and even if they could, the price at which
they could deliver them with a profit would be much higher than it is in
peace. For with a diminished supply the price of raw material must go
up, the cost of marine insurance must be added, together with the extra
wages necessary to enable the workmen to live with food at an enhanced

Thus the effect of the greater difficulty of sea communication must be
to destroy the margin of profit which enables the British capitalist to
carry on his works, while the effect of all these causes taken together
on the credit system upon which our whole domestic economy reposes will
perhaps be understood by business men. Even if this state of things
should last only a few months, it certainly involves the transfer to
neutrals of all trade that is by possibility transferable. Foreign
countries will give their orders for cotton, woollen, and iron goods to
the United States, France, Switzerland, and Austro-Hungary, and at the
conclusion of peace the British firms that before supplied them, if they
have not in the meantime become bankrupt, will find that their customers
have formed new connections.

The shrinkage of credit would bring a multitude of commercial failures;
the diminution of trade and the cessation of manufactures a great many
more. The unemployed would be counted by the million, and would have to
be kept at the public expense or starve.

If in the midst of these misfortunes, caused by the mere fact of war,
should come the news of defeat at sea, still more serious consequences
must follow. After defeat at sea all regular and secure communication
between Great Britain, her Colonies, and India comes to an end. With the
terrible blow to Britain's reputation which defeat at sea must bring,
what will be the position of the 100,000 British in India who for a
century have governed a population of nearly 300,000,000? What can the
Colonies do to help Great Britain under such conditions? For the command
of the sea nothing, and even if each of them had a first-rate army, what
would be the use of those armies to this country in her hour of need?
They cannot be brought to Europe unless the British navy commands the

These are some of the material consequences of defeat. But what of its
spiritual consequences? We have brought up our children in the pride of
a great nation, and taught them of an Empire on which the sun never
sets. What shall we say to them in the hour of defeat and after the
treaty of peace imposed by the victor? They will say: "Find us work and
we will earn our bread and in due time win back the greatness that has
been lost." But how are they to earn their bread? In this country half
the employers will have been ruined by the war. The other half will have
lost heavily, and much of the wealth even of the very rich will have
gone to keep alive the innumerable multitude of starving unemployed.
These will be advised after the war to emigrate. To what country?
Englishmen, after defeat, will everywhere be at a discount. Words will
not describe, and the imagination cannot realise, the suffering of a
defeated nation living on an island which for fifty years has not
produced food enough for its population.

The material and spiritual results of defeat can easily be recognised by
any one who takes the trouble to think about the question, though only
experience either at first hand or supplied by history can enable a man
fully to grasp its terrible nature. But a word must be said on the
social and political consequences inseparable from the wreck of a State
whose Government has been unable to fulfil its prime function, that of
providing security for the national life. All experience shows that in
such cases men do not take their troubles calmly. They are filled with
passion. Their feelings find vent in the actions to which their previous
currents of thought tended. The working class, long accustomed by its
leaders to regard the capitalists as a class with interests and aims
opposed to its own, will hardly be able in the stress of unemployment
and of famine to change its way of thinking. The mass of the workmen,
following leaders whose judgment may not perhaps be of the soundest but
who will undoubtedly sincerely believe that the doctrines with which
they have grown up are true, may assail the existing social order and
lay the blame of their misfortunes upon the class which has hitherto had
the government of the country in its hands and has supplied the leaders
of both political parties. The indignation which would inspire this
movement would not be altogether without justification, for it cannot be
denied that both political parties have for many years regarded
preparation for war and all that belongs to it as a minor matter,
subordinate to the really far less important questions relying upon
which each side has sought to win sufficient votes to secure a party

Why do I discuss the hypothesis of British defeat rather than that of
British victory? Because it is the invariable practice of the masters of
war to consider first the disagreeable possibilities and to make
provision for them. But also because, according to every one of the
tests which can be applied, the probability of defeat for Great Britain
in the present state of Europe is exceedingly great. Rarely has a State
unready for conflict been able to stand against a nation organised for
war. The last of a long series of examples was the war between Russia
and Japan, in which the vast resources of a great Empire were exhausted
in the struggle with a State so small as to seem a pigmy in comparison
with her giant adversary. On the 10th of February 1904, the day when the
news reached England that the Russo-Japanese war had begun, I gave as
follows my reasons for thinking that Japan would win:--

"The hypothesis of a considerable Japanese success, at any rate at
first, is considered rather than its opposite, because Japan has at
present all the marks of a nation likely to do great things in war. It
is not merely that she has transformed her government and her education,
has introduced military institutions on the German model, especially
compulsory training and that vivifying institution, a general staff. The
present quarrel arises from the deliberate policy of Russia, pursuing
aims that are incompatible with every Japanese tradition and every
Japanese hope. The whole Japanese nation has for years been burning with
the sense of wrongs inflicted by Russia, and into this war, as into the
preparation for it, the whole people throws itself, mind, soul, and
body. This is the condition which produces great strategical plans and
extreme energy in their execution. The Japanese forces are well
organised, armed, and equipped. They are intelligently led and follow
with intelligence.

"Of Russia there is hardly evidence to show that the cause for which she
is fighting has touched the imaginations or the feelings of more than a
small fraction of the population. It is the war of a bureaucracy, and
Russia may easily fail to develop either great leading, though her
officers are instructed, or intelligent following of the leaders by the
rank and file. But the Russian troops are brave and have always needed a
good deal of beating."

Substitute Great Britain for Russia and Germany for Japan in this
forecast, which has been proved true, and every word holds good except
two. We now know that Russia's policy was not deliberate; that her
Government bungled into the war without knowing what it was doing. In
just the same way British Governments have drifted blindly into the
present difficult relations with Germany. Those in England who would
push the country into a war with Germany are indeed not a bureaucracy,
they are merely a fraction of one of the parties, and do not represent
the mass of our people, who have no desire for such a war, and are so
little aware of its possibility that they have never even taken the
trouble to find out why it may come. A larger section of the other party
is steeped in the belief that force, violence, and war are wicked in
themselves, and ought therefore not to be thought about. It is a
prejudice which, unless removed, may ruin this country, and there is no
way of dissipating it except that of patient argument based upon
observation of the world we live in. That way I shall attempt to follow
in the next chapter.



"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and
a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but
whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other
also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy
coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee
to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and
from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have
heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and
hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, Love your enemies."
(Matt. v. 38-44).

If there are any among us who adopt these words as the governing rule of
their lives they will certainly cause no difficulty to the State in its
military policy whatever that may be, and will find their natural places
even in time of war to the public good. If the whole population were of
their way of thinking and acting there would be no need to discuss war.
An invader would not be resisted. His troops would be hospitably
entertained and treated with affection. No opposition would be made to
the change of Government which he would introduce, and the taxes which
he imposed would be cheerfully paid. But there would be no State, except
that created by the invader; and the problem of conduct for those
living the life described would arise when the State so set up issued
its ordinances requiring every able-bodied man to become a competent

There are those who believe, or fancy they believe, that the words I
have quoted involve the principle that the use of force or of violence
between man and man, or between nation and nation, is wicked. To the man
who thinks it right to submit to any violence or to be killed rather
than to use violence in resistance, I have no reply to make. The world
cannot conquer him and fear has no hold upon him. But even he can carry
out his doctrine only to the extent of allowing himself to be
ill-treated, as I will now convince him. Many years ago the people of
South Lancashire were horrified by the facts reported in a trial for
murder. In a village on the outskirts of Bolton lived a young woman,
much liked and respected as a teacher in one of the Board schools. On
her way home from school she was accustomed to follow a footpath through
a lonely wood, and here one evening her body was found. She had been
strangled by a ruffian who had thought in this lonely place to have his
wicked will of her. She had resisted successfully and he had killed her
in the struggle. Fortunately the murderer was caught and the facts
ascertained from circumstantial evidence were confirmed by his
confession. Now, the question I have to ask of the man who takes his
stand on the passage I have quoted from the Gospel is: "What would have
been your duty if you had been walking through that wood and come upon
the girl struggling with the man who killed her?" This is a crucial
instance which, I submit, utterly destroys the doctrine that the use of
violence is in itself wrong. The right or wrong is not in the employment
of force but simply in the purpose for which it is used. What the case
establishes, I think, is that to use violence in resistance to violent
wrong is not only right but necessary.

The employment of force for the maintenance of right is the foundation
of all civilised human life, for it is the fundamental function of the
State, and apart from the State there is no civilisation, no life worth
living. The first business of the State is to protect the community
against violent interference from outside. This it does by requiring
from its subjects whatever personal service and whatever sacrifice of
property and of time may be necessary; and resistance to these demands,
as well as to any injunctions whatever laid by the State upon its
subjects, is unconditionally suppressed by force. The mark of the State
is sovereignty, or the identification of force and right, and the
measure of the perfection of the State is furnished by the completeness
of this identification. In the present condition of English political
thought it may be worth while to dwell for a few moments upon the
beneficent nature of this dual action of the State.

Within its jurisdiction the State maintains order and law and in this
way makes life worth living for its subjects. Order and law are the
necessary conditions of men's normal activities, of their industry, of
their ownership of whatever the State allows them to possess--for
outside of the State there is no ownership--of their leisure and of
their freedom to enjoy it. The State is even the basis of men's
characters, for it sets up and establishes a minimum standard of
conduct. Certain acts are defined as unlawful and punished as crimes.
Other acts, though not criminal, are yet so far subject to the
disapproval of the courts that the man who does them may have to
compensate those who suffer injury or damage in consequence of them.
These standards have a dual origin, in legislation and precedent.
Legislation is a formal expression of the agreement of the community
upon the definition of crimes, and common law has been produced by the
decisions of the courts in actions between man and man. Every case tried
in a civil court is a conflict between two parties, a struggle for
justice, the judgment being justice applied to the particular case. The
growth of English law has been through an endless series of conflicts,
and the law of to-day may be described as a line passing through a
series of points representing an infinite number of judgments, each the
decision of a conflict in court. For seven hundred years, with hardly an
interruption, every judgment of a court has been sustained by the force
of the State. The law thus produced, expressed in legislation and
interpreted by the courts, is the foundation of all English conduct and
character. Upon the basis thus laid there takes place a perpetual
evolution of higher standards. In the intercourse of a settled and
undisturbed community and of the many societies which it contains, arise
a number of standards of behaviour which each man catches as it were by
infection from the persons with whom he habitually associates and to
which he is obliged to conform, because if his conduct falls below them
his companions will have nothing to do with him. Every class of society
has its notions of what constitutes proper conduct and constrains its
members to carry on their lives, so far as they are open to inspection,
according to these notions. The standards tend constantly to improve.
Men form an ideal of behaviour by observing the conduct of the best of
their class, and in proportion as this ideal gains acceptance, find
themselves driven to adopt it for fear of the social ostracism which is
the modern equivalent of excommunication. Little by little what was at
first a rarely attained ideal becomes a part of good manners. It
established itself as custom and finally becomes part of the law.

Thus the State, in co-operation with the whole community, becomes the
educator of its people. Standards of conduct are formed slowly in the
best minds and exist at first merely in what Plato would have called
"the intellectual sphere," or in what would have been called at a later
date in Palestine the "kingdom of heaven." But the strongest impulse of
mankind is to realise its ideals. Its fervent prayer, which once uttered
can never cease, is "on earth as it is in heaven," and the ideals
developed in man's spiritual life gradually take shape in laws and
become prohibitions and injunctions backed by the forces of the State.

The State, however, is not an abstraction. For English people it means
the United Kingdom; and if an Englishman wants to realise what he owes
to his country let him look back through its history and see how all
that he values in the character of the men he most admires and all that
is best in himself has gradually been created and realised through the
ceaseless effort of his forefathers, carried on continuously from the
time when the first Englishman crossed the North Sea until the present
day. Other nations have their types of conduct, perhaps as good as our
own, but Englishmen value, and rightly value, the ideals particularly
associated with the life of their own country. Perhaps two of the
commonest expressions convey peculiarly English views of character. We
talk of "fair play" as the essence of just dealing between man and man.
It is a conception we have developed from the national games. We
describe ideal conduct as that of a gentleman. It is a condensation of
the best part of English history, and a search for a definition of the
function of Great Britain in the moral economy of the world will hardly
find a better answer than that it is to stamp upon every subject of the
King the character implied in these two expressions. Suppose the British
State to be overthrown or to drop from its place among the great Powers
of the world, these ideals of character would be discredited and their
place would be taken by others.

The justification of the constraint exercised by the State upon its own
citizens is the necessity for security, the obligation of self-defence,
which arises from the fact that outside the State there are other
States, each endowed like itself with sovereignty, each of them
maintaining by force its conception of right. The power of the State
over its own subjects is thus in the last resort a consequence of the
existence of other States. Upon the competition between them rests the
order of the world. It is a competition extending to every sphere of
life and in its acute form takes the shape of war, a struggle for
existence, for the mastery or for right.



To some people the place of war in the economy of nations appears to be
unsatisfactory. They think war wicked and a world where it exists out of
joint. Accordingly they devote themselves to suggestions for the
abolition of war and for the discovery of some substitute for it. Two
theories are common; the first, that arbitration can in every case be a
substitute for war, the second that the hopes of peace would be
increased by some general agreement for disarmament.

The idea of those who regard arbitration as a universal substitute for
war appears to be that the relations between States can be put upon a
basis resembling that of the relations between citizens in a settled and
civilised country like our own. In Great Britain we are accustomed to a
variety of means for settling disagreements between persons. There are
the law courts, there are the cases in which recourse is had, with the
sanction of the law courts, to the inquiry and decision of an
arbitrator, and in all our sports we are accustomed to the presence of
an umpire whose duty it is impartially to see that the rules of the
game are observed and immediately to decide all points that might
otherwise be doubtful.

The work of an umpire who sees that the rules of the game are observed
is based upon the consent of the players of both sides. Without that
consent there could be no game, and the consent will be found to be
based upon the fact that all the players are brought up with similar
traditions and with like views of the nature of the game. Where this
unity does not exist, difficulties constantly arise, as is notoriously
the case in international sports. The attempt has been made, with
constantly increasing success, to mitigate the evils of war by the
creation of institutions in some way analogous to that of the umpire in
a game. The Declaration of London, recently published, is an agreement
between the principal Powers to accept a series of rules concerning
maritime war, to be administered by an International Prize Court.

The function of an arbitrator, usually to decide questions of fact and
to assess compensation for inconvenience, most commonly the
inconvenience occasioned to a private person by some necessary act of
the State, also rests upon the consent of the parties, though in this
case the consent is usually imposed upon them by the State through some
legislative enactment or through the decision of a court. The action of
a court of law, on the other hand, does not rest upon the consent of the
parties. In a civil action the defendant may be and very often is
unwilling to take any part in the proceedings. But he has no choice,
and, whether he likes it or not, is bound by the decision of the court.
For the court is the State acting in its judicial capacity with a view
to insure that justice shall be done. The plaintiff alleges that the
defendant has done him some wrong either by breach of contract or
otherwise, and the verdict or judgment determines whether or not this is
the case, and, if it is, what compensation is due. The judgment once
given, the whole power of the State will be used to secure its

The business of a criminal court is the punishment of offenders whom it
is the function of the State to discover, to bring to trial, and, when
convicted, to punish. The prisoner's consent is not asked, and the
judgment of the court is supported by the whole power of the State.

In the international sphere there is no parallel to the action either of
a civil or of a criminal court. Civil and criminal jurisdiction are
attributes of sovereignty, and over two independent States there is no
sovereign power. If, therefore, it is desired to institute between two
States a situation analogous to that by which the subjects of a single
Government are amenable to judicial tribunals, the proper way is to
bring the two States under one sovereignty. This can be effected, and is
constantly effected, by one of two methods. Either the two States
federate and form a united State, or one of them conquers and annexes
the other. The former process has been seen in modern times in the
formation of the United States of America: the latter formed the
substance of the history of civilisation during the first three
centuries before Christ, when the Roman State successively conquered,
annexed, and absorbed all the other then existing States surrounding the
basin of the Mediterranean.

The history of no State justifies the belief that order and justice can
successfully be maintained merely by the action of umpires and of
arbitrators. Every State worth the name has had to rely upon civil and
criminal courts and upon law enforced by its authority, that is, upon a
series of principles of right expressed in legislation and upon an
organisation of force for the purpose of carrying those principles into
practical effect.

It appears, then, that so far from the experience of States justifying
the view that it is wrong to employ force, the truth is that right or
law, unless supported by force, is ineffective, that the objection in
principle to any use of force involves anarchy, or the cessation of the
State, and that the wish to substitute judicial tribunals for war as a
means of settling disputes between State and State is a wish to
amalgamate under a single Government all those States which are to
benefit by the substitution.

The reasonable attitude with regard to arbitration is to accept it
whenever the other side will accept it. But if the adversary refuses
arbitration and insists upon using force, what course is open to any
State but that of resisting force by force?

Arbitration has from the earliest times been preferred in most of those
cases to which it was applicable, that is, in cases in which there was a
basis of common view or common tradition sufficient to make agreement
practicable. But wherever there has been a marked divergence of ideals
or a different standard of right, there has been a tendency for each
side to feel that to submit its conscience or its convictions of right,
its sense of what is most sacred in life, to an outside judgment would
involve a kind of moral suicide. In such cases every nation repudiates
arbitration and prefers to be a martyr, in case of need, to its sense of
justice. It is at least an open question whether the disappearance of
this feeling would be a mark of progress or of degeneration. At any rate
it is practically certain that the period when it will have disappeared
cannot at present be foreseen.

The abolition of war, therefore, involves the abolition of independent
States and their amalgamation into one. There are many who have hoped
for this ideal, expressed by Tennyson when he dreamed of

"The Parliament of man, the Federation of the world."

That it is the ultimate destiny of mankind to be united under a single
Government seems probable enough, but it is rash to assume that that
result will be reached either by a process of peaceful negotiation, or
by the spread of the imperfect methods of modern democratic government.
The German Empire, with its population of sixty millions, educated by
the State, disciplined by the State, relying on the State, and commanded
by the State, is as potent in comparison with the less disciplined and
less organised communities which surround it as was, in the third
century before Christ, the Roman State in comparison with the disunited
multitude of Greek cities, the commercial oligarchy of Carthage, and the
half-civilised tribes of Gaul and Spain. Unless the other States of
Europe can rouse themselves to a discipline as sound and to an
organisation as subtle as those of Prussia and to the perception of a
common purpose in the maintenance of their independence, the union of
Europe under a single Government is more likely to be brought about by
the conquering hand of Germany than by the extension of democratic
institutions and of sentimental good understandings.

Proposals for disarmament stand on an entirely different footing from
proposals to agree to arbitration. The State that disarms renounces to
the extent of its disarmament the power to protect itself. Upon what
other power is it suggested that it should rely? In the last analysis
the suggestion amounts to a proposal for the abolition of the State, or
its abandonment of its claim to represent the right. Those who propose
agreements for disarmament imagine that the suggestion if adopted would
lead to the establishment of peace. Have they considered the natural
history of peace as one of the phenomena of the globe which we inhabit?
The only peace of any value is that between civilised nations. It rests
either upon the absence of dispute between them or upon an equilibrium
of forces. During the last few centuries there has usually been at the
end of a great European war a great European congress which has
regulated for the time being the matters which were in dispute, and the
treaty thus negotiated has remained for a long time the basis of the
relations between the Powers. It is always a compromise, but a
compromise more or less acceptable to all parties, in which they
acquiesce until some change either by growth or decay makes the
conditions irksome. Then comes a moment when one or more of the States
is dissatisfied and wishes for a change. When that has happened the
dissatisfied State attempts to bring about the change which it desires,
but if the forces with which its wish is likely to be opposed are very
great it may long acquiesce in a state of things most distasteful to it.
Let there be a change in the balance of forces and the discontented
State will seize the opportunity, will assert itself, and if resisted
will use its forces to overcome opposition. A proposal for disarmament
must necessarily be based upon the assumption that there is to be no
change in the system, that the _status quo_ is everywhere to be
preserved. This amounts to a guarantee of the decaying and inefficient
States against those which are growing and are more efficient. Such an
arrangement would not tend to promote the welfare of mankind and will
not be accepted by those nations that have confidence in their own
future. That such a proposal should have been announced by a British
Government is evidence not of the strength of Great Britain, not of a
healthy condition of national life, but of inability to appreciate the
changes which have been produced during the last century in the
conditions of Europe and the consequent alteration in Great Britain's
relative position among the great Powers. It was long ago remarked by
the German historian Bernhardi that Great Britain was the first country
in Europe to revive in the modern world the conception of the State. The
feudal conception identified the State with the monarch. The English
revolution of 1688 was an identification of the State with the Nation.
But the nationalisation of the State, of which the example was set in
1688 by Great Britain, was carried out much more thoroughly by France in
the period that followed the revolution of 1789; and in the great
conflict which ensued between France and the European States the
principal continental opponents of France were compelled to follow her
example, and, in a far greater degree than has ever happened in England,
to nationalise the State. It is to that struggle that we must turn if we
are to understand the present condition of Europe and the relations of
Great Britain to the European Powers.



The transformation of society of which the French Revolution was the
most striking symptom produced a corresponding change in the character
of war.

By the Revolution the French people constituted itself the State, and
the process was accompanied by so much passion and so much violence that
it shortly involved the reconstituted nation in a quarrel with its
neighbours the Germanic Empire and Prussia, which rapidly developed into
a war between France and almost all the rest of Europe. The Revolution
weakened and demoralised the French army and disorganised the navy,
which it deprived of almost all its experienced officers. When the war
began the regular army was supplemented by a great levy of volunteers.
The mixed force thus formed, in spite of early successes, was unable to
stand against the well-disciplined armies of Austria and Prussia, and as
the war continued, while the French troops gained solidity and
experience, their numbers had to be increased by a levy _en masse_ or a
compulsory drafting of all the men of a certain age into the army. In
this way the army and the nation were identified as they had never been
in modern Europe before, and in the fifth year of the war a leader was
found in the person of General Bonaparte, who had imbued himself with
the principles of the art of war, as they had been expounded by the best
strategists of the old French army, and who had thus thought out with
unprecedented lucidity the method of conducting campaigns. His mastery
of the art of generalship was revealed by his success in 1796, and as
the conflict with Europe continued, he became the leader and eventually
the master of France. Under his impulse and guidance the French army,
superior to them in numbers, organisation, and tactical skill, crushed
one after another the more old-fashioned and smaller armies of the great
continental Powers, with the result that the defeated armies, under the
influence of national resentment after disaster, attempted to reorganise
themselves upon the French model. The new Austrian army undertook its
revenge too soon and was defeated in 1809; but the Prussian endeavour
continued and bore fruit, after the French disasters in Russia of 1812,
in the national rising in which Prussia, supported by Russia and Austria
and assisted by the British operations in the Peninsula, overthrew the
French Empire in 1814.

After the definitive peace, deferred by the hundred days, but finally
forced upon France on the field of Waterloo, the Prussian Government
continued to foster the school of war which it had founded in the period
of humiliation. Prussian officers trained in that school tried to learn
the lessons of the long period of war which they had passed through.
What they discovered was that war between nations, as distinct from war
between dynasties or royal houses, was a struggle for existence in which
each adversary risked everything and in which success was to be expected
only from the complete prostration of the enemy. In the long run, they
said to themselves, the only defence consists in striking your adversary
to the ground. That being the case, a nation must go into war, if war
should become inevitable, with the maximum force which it can possibly
produce, represented by its whole manhood of military age, thoroughly
trained, organised, and equipped. The Prussian Government adhered to
these ideas, to which full effect was given in 1866, when the Prussian
army, reorganised in 1860, crushed in ten days the army of Austria, and
in 1870 when, in a month from the first shot fired, it defeated one half
of the French army at Gravelotte and captured the other half at Sedan.
These events proved to all continental nations the necessity of adopting
the system of the nation in arms and giving to their whole male
population, up to the limits of possibility, the training and the
organisation necessary for success in war.

The principle that war is a struggle for existence, and that the only
effective defence consists in the destruction of the adversary's force,
received during the age of Napoleon an even more absolute demonstration
at sea than was possible on land. Great Britain, whether she would or
no, was drawn into the European conflict. The neglect of the army and of
the art of war into which, during the eighteenth century, her
Governments had for the most part fallen, made it impracticable for her
to take the decisive part which she had played in the days of William
III. and of Marlborough in the struggle against the French army; her
contributions to the land war were for the most part misdirected and
futile. Her expeditions to Dunkirk, to Holland, and to Hanover
embarrassed rather than materially assisted the cause of her allies. But
her navy, favourably handicapped by the breakdown, due to the
Revolution, of the French navy, eventually produced in the person of
Nelson a leader who, like Napoleon, had made it the business of his life
to understand the art of war. His victories, like Napoleon's, were
decisive, and when he fell at Trafalgar the navies of continental
Europe, which one after another had been pressed into the service of
France, had all been destroyed.

Then were revealed the prodigious consequences of complete victory at
sea, which were more immediate, more decisive, more far-reaching, more
irrevocable than on land. The sea became during the continuance of the
war the territory of Great Britain, the open highway along which her
ships could pass, while it was closed to the ships of her adversaries.
Across that secure sea a small army was sent to Spain to assist the
national and heroic, though miserably organised, resistance made by the
Spanish people against the French attempt at conquest. The British
Government had at last found the right direction for such military force
as it possessed. Sir John Moore's army brought Napoleon with a great
force into the field, but it was able to retire to its own territory,
the sea. The army under Wellington, handled with splendid judgment, had
to wait long for its opportunity, which came when Napoleon with the
Grand Army had plunged into the vast expanse of Russia. Wellington,
marching from victory to victory, was then able to produce upon the
general course of the war an effect out of all proportion to the
strength of the force which he commanded or of that which directly
opposed him.

While France was engaged in her great continental struggle England was
reaping, all over the world, the fruits of her naval victories. Of the
colonies of her enemies she took as many as she wanted, though at the
peace she returned most of them to their former owners. Of the world's
trade she obtained something like a monopoly. The nineteenth century saw
the British colonies grow up into so many nations and the British
administration of India become a great empire. These developments are
now seen to have been possible only through the security due to the fact
that Great Britain, during the first half of the nineteenth century, had
the only navy worth considering in the world, and that during the second
half its strength greatly preponderated over that of any of the new
navies which had been built or were building. No wonder that when in
1888 the American observer, Captain Mahan, published his volume "The
Influence of Sea Power upon History," other nations besides the British
read from that book the lesson that victory at sea carried with it a
prosperity, an influence, and a greatness obtainable by no other means.
It was natural for Englishmen to draw the moral which was slumbering in
the national consciousness that England's independence, her empire, and
her greatness depended upon her sea power. But it was equally natural
that other nations should draw a different moral and should ask
themselves why this tremendous prize, the primacy of nations and the
first place in the world, should for ever belong to the inhabitants of
a small island, a mere appendage to the continent of Europe.

This question we must try to answer. But before entering upon that
inquiry I will ask the reader to note the great lesson of the age of
Napoleon and of Nelson. It produced a change in the character of war,
which enlarged itself from a mere dispute between Governments and became
a struggle between nations. The instrument used was no longer a small
standing army, but the able-bodied male population in arms. Great
Britain indeed still retained her standing army, but for the time she
threw her resources without stint into her navy and its success was



We have seen what a splendid prize was the result of British victory at
sea, supplemented by British assistance to other Powers on land, a
century ago. We have now to ask ourselves first of all how it came about
that Great Britain was able to win it, and afterwards whether it was
awarded once for all or was merely a challenge cup to be held only so
long as there should be no competitor.

The answer to the first question is a matter of history. England was
peculiarly favoured by fortune or by fate in the great struggles through
which, during a period of three hundred years, she asserted and
increased her superiority at sea until a century ago it became
supremacy. She rarely had to fight alone. Her first adversary was Spain.
In the conflict with Spain she had the assistance of the Dutch
Provinces. When the Dutch were strong enough to become her maritime
rivals she had for a time the co-operation of France. Then came a long
period during which France was her antagonist. At the beginning of this
epoch William III. accepted the British crown in order to be able to use
the strength of England to defend his native country, Holland. His work
was taken up by Marlborough, whose first great victory was won in
co-operation with the Imperial commander, Prince Eugene. From that time
on, each of the principal wars was a European war in which France was
fighting both by sea and land, her armies being engaged against
continental foes, while Great Britain could devote her energies almost
exclusively to her navy. In the Seven Years' War it was the Prussian
army which won the victories on land, while small British forces were
enabled by the help of the navy to win an Empire from France in Canada,
and to lay the foundations of the British Empire in India. In the war of
American Independence, Great Britain for once stood alone, but this was
the one conflict which contributed little or nothing towards
establishing the ascendency of the British navy. Great Britain failed of
her object because that ascendency was incomplete. Then came the wars of
the French Revolution and Empire in which the British navy was the
partner of the Austrian, Prussian, Russian, and Spanish armies.

These are the facts which we have to explain. We have to find out how it
was that so many continental nations, whether they liked it or not,
found themselves, in fighting their own battles, helping to bring about
the British predominance at sea. It must be remembered that land warfare
involves much heavier sacrifices of life than warfare at sea, and that
though Great Britain no doubt spent great sums of money not merely in
maintaining her navy but also in subsidising her allies, she could well
afford to do so because the prosperity of her over-sea trade, due to her
naval success, made her the richest country in Europe. The other nations
that were her allies might not unnaturally feel that they had toiled and
that Great Britain had gathered the increase. What is the explanation of
a co-operation of which in the long run it might seem that one partner
has had the principal benefit?

If two nations carry on a serious war on the same side, it may be
assumed that each of them is fighting for some cause which it holds to
be vital, and that some sort of common interest binds the allies
together. The most vital interest of any nation is its own independence,
and while that is in question it conceives of its struggle as one of
self-defence. The explanation of Great Britain's having had allies in
the past may therefore be that the independence of Great Britain was
threatened by the same danger which threatened the independence of other
Powers. This theory is made more probable by the fact that England's
great struggles--that of Queen Elizabeth against Spain, that of William
III. and Marlborough against Louis XIV., and of Pitt against
Napoleon--were, each one of them, against an adversary whose power was
so great as to overshadow the Continent and to threaten it with an
ascendency which, had it not been checked, might have developed into a
universal monarchy. It seems, therefore, that in the main England, in
defending her own interests, was consciously or unconsciously the
champion of the independence of nations against the predominance of any
one of their number. The effect of Great Britain's self-defence was to
facilitate the self-defence of other nations, and thus to preserve to
Europe its character of a community of independent States as opposed to
that which it might have acquired, if there had been no England, of a
single Empire, governed from a single capital.

This is, however, only half of the answer we want. It explains to some
extent why England could find other nations co-operating with her, and
reveals the general nature of the cause which they maintained in common.
But let us remember the distinction between a quarrel in which the main
thing is to be in the right, and a fight in which the main thing is to
win. The explanation just sketched is a justification of England's
policy, an attempt to show that in the main she had right on her side.
That is only part of the reason why she had allies. The other part is
that she was strong and could help them.

She had three modes of action. She used her navy to destroy the hostile
navy or navies and to obtain control of the seaways. Then she used that
control partly to destroy the seaborne trade of her enemies, and partly
to send armies across the sea to attack her enemies' armies. It was
because she could employ these three modes of warfare, and because two
of them were not available for other Powers, that her influence on the
course of events was so great.

The question of moral justification is more or less speculative. I have
treated it here on a hypothesis which is not new, though since I
propounded it many years ago it has met with little adverse criticism.
But the question of force is one of hard fact; it is fundamental. If
England had not been able to win her battles at sea and to help her
allies by her war against trade and by her ubiquitous if small armies,
there would have been no need for hypotheses by which to justify or
explain her policy; she would have long ago lost all importance and all
interest except to antiquarians. Our object is to find out how she may
now justify her existence, and enough has been said to make it clear
that if she is to do that she must not only have a cause good enough to
gain the sympathy of other Powers, but force enough to give them
confidence in what she can do to help herself and them.

We are now ready to examine the second question, whether or no Great
Britain's position, won a century ago, is liable to challenge.



The great event of the nineteenth century in the history of Europe is
the union of Germany into a Federal State. The secret of Prussia's
success in accomplishing that union and in leading the federation so
created, has been the organisation of the national energies by a
far-seeing Government, a process begun as a means of self-defence
against the French domination of the period between 1806 and 1812. The
Prussian statesmen of those days were not content merely to reorganise
the army on the basis of universal service. They organised the whole
nation. They swept away an ancient system of land tenure in order to
make the peasants free and prosperous. They established a system of
public education far in advance of anything possessed by any other
nation. They especially devoted themselves to fostering industry,
manufacture, and commerce. The result of this systematic direction of
the national energies by a Government of experts, continuously supported
by the patient and methodical diligence of the people, has been a
constant and remarkable advance of the national prosperity, a wonderful
development of the national resources, and an enormous addition to the
national strength. For the last forty years it has been the settled
policy of the German Government that her organised military forces
should be strong enough in case of need to confront two enemies at once,
one on either frontier. Feeling themselves thus stronger than any other
European state, the Germans have watched with admiration the growth of
the British Colonies and of British trade. It is natural that they
should think that Germany too might expect to have colonies and a great
maritime trade. But wherever in the world German travellers have gone,
wherever German traders have settled, wherever the German Government has
thought of working for a site for a colony, everywhere they have met
British influence, British trade, the British flag.

In this way has been brought home to them as to no other people the
tremendous influence of sea-power. Their historians have recalled to
them the successive attempts which have been made in past times by
German States to create a navy and to obtain colonies, attempts which to
our own people are quite unknown, because they never, except in the case
of the Hanseatic League, attained to such importance as to figure in the
general history of Europe. In the period between 1815 and 1870, when
the desire for national unity was expressed by a host of German writers,
there were not wanting pleas for the creation of a German navy. Several
attempts were made in those days to construct either a Prussian or a
German fleet; but the time was not ripe and these attempts came to
nothing. The constitution of the Empire, promulgated in 1871, embodied
the principle that there should be a German navy, of which the Emperor
should be commander-in-chief, and to the creation of that navy the most
assiduous labour has been devoted. The plan pursued was in the first
instance to train a body of officers who should thoroughly understand
the sea and maritime warfare, and for this purpose the few ships which
were first built were sent on long voyages by way of training the crews
and of giving the officers that self-reliance and initiative which were
thought to be the characteristic mark of the officers of the British
navy. In due time was founded the naval college of Kiel, designed on a
large scale to be a great school of naval thought and of naval war. The
history of maritime wars was diligently studied, _especially_ of
course the history of the British navy. The professors and lecturers
made it their business to explore the workings of Nelson's mind just as
German military professors had made themselves pupils of Napoleon. And
not until a clear and consistent theory of naval war had been elaborated
and made the common property of all the officers of the navy was the
attempt made to expand the fleet to a scale thought to be proportionate
to the position of Germany among the nations. When it was at length
determined that that constructive effort should be made, the plan was
thought out and embodied in a law regulating the construction for a
number of years of a fleet of predetermined size and composition to be
used for a purpose defined in the law itself. The object was to have a
fleet of sufficient strength and of suitable formation to be able to
hold its own in case of need even against the greatest maritime Power.
In other words, Germany thought that if her prosperity continued and her
superiority in organisation over other continental nations continued to
increase, she might find England's policy backed by England's naval
power an obstacle in the way of her natural ambition. After all, no one
can be surprised if the Germans think Germany as well entitled as _any
other_ State to cherish the ambition of being the first nation in the

It has for a century been the rational practice of the German Government
that its chief strategist should at all times keep ready designs for
operations in case of war against any reasonably possible adversary.
Such a set of designs would naturally include a plan of operation for
the case of a conflict with Great Britain, and no doubt, every time
that plan of operations was re-examined and revised, light would be
thrown upon the difficulties of a struggle with a great maritime Power
and upon the means by which those difficulties might be overcome. The
British navy is so strong that, unless it were mismanaged, the German
navy ought to have no chance of overcoming it. Yet Germany cannot but be
anxious, in case of war, to protect herself against the consequences of
maritime blockade, and of the effort of a superior British navy to close
the sea to German merchantmen. Accordingly, the law which regulates the
naval shipbuilding of the German Empire lays down in its preamble
that--"Germany must possess a battle-fleet so strong that a war with her
would, even for the greatest naval Power, be accompanied with such
dangers as would render that Power's position doubtful." In other words,
a war with Great Britain must find the German navy too strong for the
British navy to be able to confine it to its harbours, and to maintain,
in spite of it, complete command of the seas which border the German
coast. As German strategists continuously accept the doctrine that the
first object of a fleet in war is the destruction of the enemy's fleet
with a view to the consequent command of the sea, the German Navy Act is
equivalent to the declaration of an intention in case of conflict to
challenge the British navy for the mastery. This is the answer to the
question asked at the beginning of the last chapter, whether the command
of the sea is a permanent prize or a challenge cup. Germany at any rate
regards it as a challenge cup, and has resolved to be qualified, if
occasion should arise, to make trial of her capacity to win it.



What has been the effect upon Great Britain of the rise of Germany? Is
there any cause of quarrel between the two peoples and the two States?
That Germany has given herself a strong military organisation is no
crime. On the contrary, she was obliged to do it, she could not have
existed without it. The foundations of her army were laid when she was
suffering all the agonies of conquest and oppression. Only by a
tremendous effort, at the cost of sacrifices to which England's
experience offers no analogy, was she able to free herself from the
over-lordship of Napoleon. King William I. expanded and reorganised his
army because he had passed through the bitter humiliation of seeing his
country impotent and humbled by a combination of Austria and Russia.
Whether Bismarck's diplomacy was less honourable than that of the
adversaries with whom he had to deal is a question to which different
answers may be given. But in a large view of history it is irrelevant,
for beyond all doubt the settlements effected through the war of 1866
and 1870 were sound settlements and left the German nation and Europe
in a healthier condition than that which preceded them. The unity of
Germany was won by the blood of her people, who were and are rightly
resolved to remain strong enough and ready to defend it, come what may.
It is not for Englishmen, who have talked for twenty years of a
Two-Power standard for their navy, to reproach Germany for maintaining
her army at a similar standard. Had she not done so the peace of Europe
would not have been preserved, nor is it possible on any ground of right
or justice to cavil at Germany's purpose to be able in case of need to
defend herself at sea. The German Admiral Rosendahl, discussing the
British and German navies and the proposals for disarmament, wrote in
the _Deutsche Revue_ for June 1909:--

"If England claims and thinks permanently necessary for her an absolute
supremacy at sea that is her affair, and no sensible man will reproach
her for it; but it is quite a different thing for a Great Power like the
German Empire, by an international treaty supposed to be binding for all
time, expressly to recognise and accept this in principle. Assuredly we
do not wish to enter into a building competition with England on a
footing of equality.... But a political agreement on the basis of the
unconditional superiority of the British Fleet would be equivalent to
an abandonment of our national dignity, and though we do not, speaking
broadly, wish to dispute England's predominance at sea, yet we do mean
in case of war to be or to become the masters on our own coasts."

There is not a word in this passage which can give just cause of offence
to England or to Englishmen.

That there has been and still is a good deal of mutual ill-feeling both
in Germany and in England cannot be denied. Rivalry between nations is
always accompanied by feeling which is all the stronger when it is
instinctive and therefore, though not unintelligible, apt to be
irrational. But what in this case is really at the bottom of it? There
have no doubt been a number of matters that have been discussed between
the two Governments, and though they have for the most part been
settled, the manner in which they have been raised and pressed by German
Governments has caused them to be regarded by British Ministers, and to
a less extent by the British people, as sources of annoyance, as so many
diplomatic "pin-pricks." The manners of German diplomacy are not suave.
Suavity is no more part of the Bismarckian tradition than exactitude.
But after all, the manners of the diplomatists of any country are a
matter rather for the nation whose honour they concern than for the
nations to which they have given offence. They only partially account
for the deep feeling which has grown up between Great Britain and

The truth is that England is disturbed by the rise of Germany, which her
people, in spite of abundant warnings, did not foresee and have not
appreciated until the moment when they find themselves outstripped in
the race by a people whom they have been accustomed to regard with
something of the superiority with which the prosperous and polished
dweller in a capital looks upon his country cousin from the farm.

Fifty years ago Germany in English estimation did not count. The name
was no more than a geographical expression. Great Britain was the one
great Power. She alone had colonies and India. She as good as
monopolised the world's shipping and the world's trade. As compared with
other countries she was immeasurably rich and prosperous. Her population
during the long peace, interrupted only by the Crimean War and the
Indian Mutiny, had multiplied beyond men's wildest dreams. Her
manufacturers were amassing fortunes, her industry had no rival. The
Victorian age was thought of as the beginning of a wonderful new era, in
which, among the nations, England was first and the rest nowhere. The
temporary effort of the French to create a modern navy disturbed the
sense of security which existed and gave rise to the Volunteer movement,
which was felt to be a marvellous display of patriotism.

There were attempts to show that British self-complacency was not
altogether justified. The warnings of those who looked below the surface
were read and admired. Few writers were more popular than Carlyle,
Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold. But all three held aloof from the current of
public life which flowed in the traditional party channels. There was no
effort to revive the conception of the nation as the organised state to
which every citizen is bound, the source and centre of all men's duties.
Accordingly every man devoted himself to his own affairs, of which the
first was to make money and the second to enjoy life; those who were
rich enough finding their amusement in Parliament, which was regarded as
the most interesting club in London, and in its debates, of which the
charm, for those who take part in them, lies in the fact that for
success not knowledge of a subject, but fluency, readiness, and wit are

The great events taking place in the world, the wars in Bohemia, in
France, and in Turkey, added a certain, interest to English life because
they furnished to the newspapers matter more exciting than any novelist
could produce, and in this way gratified the taste for sensation which
had been acquired both by rich and poor. That these events meant
anything in particular to the British nation was not likely to be
realised while that nation was, in fact, non-existent, and had resolved
itself into forty million individuals, each of them living for his own
ends, slightly enlarged to include his family, his literary or
scientific society, perhaps his cricket club, and on Sunday morning his
church or chapel. There was also a widespread interest in "politics," by
which was meant the particular fads cherished by one's own caucus to the
exclusion of the nation's affairs, it being more or less understood that
the army, the navy, and foreign policy were not to be made political

While forty million English people have thus been spending their lives
self-centred, content to make their living, to enjoy life, and to behave
kindly to their fellows, there has grown up in Germany a nation, a
people of sixty millions, who believe that they belong together, that
their country has the first call on them, whose children go to school
because the Government that represents the nation bids them, who go for
two years to the army or the navy to learn war, because they know that
if the nation has to fight it can do so only by their fighting for it.
Their Government thinks it is its business to be always improving the
organisation of its sixty millions for security, for knowledge, for
instruction, for agriculture, for industry, for navigation. Thus after
forty years of common effort for a common good Germany finds itself the
first nation in Europe, more than holding its own in every department of
life, and eagerly surveying the world in search of opportunities.

The Englishman, while he has been living his own life and, as I think,
improving in many respects, has at the same time been admiring the
British Empire, and discovering with pride that a number of new nations
have grown up in distant places, formed of people whose fathers or
grandfathers emigrated from Great Britain. He remembers from his school
lessons or reads in the newspapers of the greatness of England in past
centuries, and naturally feels that with such a past and with so great
an Empire existing to-day, his country should be a very great Power. But
as he discovers what the actual performance of Germany is, and becomes
acquainted with the results of her efforts in science, education, trade,
and industry, and the way in which the influence of the German
Government predominates in the affairs of Europe, he is puzzled and
indignant, and feels that in some way Great Britain has been surpassed
and outdone.

The state of the world which he thought existed, in which England was
the first nation and the rest nowhere, has completely changed while he
has been attending to his private business, his "politics," and his
cricket, and he finds the true state of the world to be that, while in
industry England has hard work to hold her own against her chief rival,
she has already been passed in education and in science, that her army,
good as it is, is so small as scarcely to count, and that even her navy
cannot keep its place without a great and unexpected effort.

Yet fifty years ago England had on her side all the advantages but one.
She was forgetting nationhood while Germany was reviving it. The British
people, instead of organising themselves as one body, the nation, have
organised themselves into two bodies, the two "political" parties.
England's one chance lies in recovering the unity that has been lost,
which she must do by restoring the nation to its due place in men's
hearts and lives. To find out how that is to be done we must once more
look at Europe and at England's relations to Europe.



It has been seen how, as a result of the struggle with Napoleon,
England, from 1805 onwards, was the only sea power remaining in Europe,
and indeed, with the exception of the United States, the only sea power
in the world. One of the results was that she had for many years the
monopoly of the whole ocean, not merely for the purposes of war, but
also for the purposes of trade. The British mercantile marine continued
through the greater part of the nineteenth century to increase its
preponderance over all others, and this remarkable, and probably quite
exceptional, growth was greatly favoured by the Civil War in America,
during which the mercantile marine of the United States received from
the action of the Confederate cruisers a damage from which it has never

In the years immediately following 1805, Great Britain in self-defence,
or as a means of continuing the war against France, in regard to which
her resources for operations on land were limited, had recourse to the
operations of blockade, by which the sea was closed, as far as possible,
to enemy merchantmen while Great Britain prohibited neutral ships from
carrying enemy goods. Napoleon replied by the attempt to exclude British
goods from the Continent altogether, and indeed the pressure produced by
Great Britain's blockades compelled Napoleon further to extend his
domination on the Continent. Thus the other continental States found
themselves between the devil and the deep sea. They had to submit to the
domination of Napoleon on land and to the complete ascendency of Great
Britain on the waters which surrounded their coasts. The British claims
to supremacy at sea were unanimously resented by all the continental
States, which all suffered from them, but in all cases the national
resentment against French invasion or French occupation of territory was
greater than the resentment against the invisible pressure exercised by
the British navy. In the wars of liberation, though Great Britain was
the welcome ally of all the States that were fighting against France,
the pressure of British sea power was none the less disagreeable and, in
the years of peace which followed, the British monopoly of sea power, of
sea-carriage, of manufacturing industry, and of international trade were
equally disliked by almost all the nations of Europe. Protective duties
were regarded as the means of fostering national industries and of
sheltering them against the overpowering competition of British
manufactures. The British claim to the dominion of the sea was regarded
as unfounded in right, and was in principle as strongly denounced as had
been the territorial domination of France. The mistress of the seas was
regarded as a tyrant, whom it would be desirable, if it were possible,
to depose, and there were many who thought that as the result of a
conflict in which the final success had been gained by the co-operation
of a number of States acting together, the gains of Great Britain which,
as time went on, were seen to be growing into a world-wide empire, had
been out of proportion to the services she had rendered to the common

Meantime during the century which has elapsed since the last great war,
there has been a complete change in the conditions of intercourse
between nations at sea and of maritime warfare. It has come about
gradually, almost imperceptibly, so that it could hardly be appreciated
before the close of the nineteenth century. But it is vital to Great
Britain that her people should understand the nature of the

The first thing to be observed is that the British monopoly of shipping
and of oversea trade has disappeared. Great Britain still has by far the
largest mercantile marine and by far the greatest share in the world's
sea traffic, but she no longer stands alone. Germany, the United States,
France, Norway, Italy, and Japan all have great fleets of merchant
ships and do an enormous, some of them a rapidly increasing, seaborne
trade. A large number of the principal States import the raw material of
manufacture and carry on import and export on a large scale. The railway
system connects all the great manufacturing centres, even those which
lie far inland, with the great ports to and from which the lines of
steamers ply. The industrial life of every nation is more than ever
dependent upon its communications with and by the sea, and every nation
has become more sensitive than ever to any disturbance of its maritime
trade. The preponderance of the British navy is therefore a subject of
anxiety in every State which regards as possible a conflict of its own
interests with those of Great Britain. This is one of the reasons why
continental States have during the last quarter of a century been
disposed to increase their fleets and their naval expenditure.

In the Declaration of Paris, renewed and extended by the Declaration of
London, the maritime States have agreed that in any future war enemy
goods in a neutral ship are to be safe from capture unless the ship is
running a blockade, which must be effective. Whether Great Britain was
well or ill advised in accepting this rule is a question which it is now
useless to discuss, for the decision cannot be recalled, and the rule
must be regarded as established beyond controversy. Its effect is
greatly to diminish the pressure which a victorious navy can bring to
bear upon a hostile State. It deprives Great Britain of one of the most
potent weapons which she employed in the last great war. To-day it would
be impracticable even for a victorious navy to cut off a continental
State from seaborne traffic. The ports of that State might be blockaded
and its merchant ships would be liable to capture, but the victorious
navy could not interfere with the traffic carried by neutral ships to
neutral ports. Accordingly, Great Britain could not now, even in the
event of naval victory being hers, exercise upon an enemy the pressure
which she formerly exercised through the medium of the neutral States.
Any continental State, even if its coasts were effectively blockaded,
could still, with increased difficulty, obtain supplies both of raw
material and of food by the land routes through the territory of its
neutral neighbours. But Great Britain herself, as an insular State,
would not, in case of naval defeat, have this advantage. A decisive
defeat of the British navy might be followed by an attempt on the part
of the enemy to blockade the coasts of Great Britain, though that would
no doubt be difficult, for a very large force would be required to
maintain an effective blockade of the whole coast-line.

It is conceivable that an enemy might attempt in spite of the
Declaration of London to treat as contraband food destined for the
civil population and this course ought to be anticipated, but in the
military weakness of Great Britain an enemy whose navy had gained the
upper hand would almost certainly prefer to undertake the speedier
process of bringing the war to an end by landing an army in Great
Britain. A landing on a coast so extensive as that of this island can
with difficulty be prevented by forces on land, because troops cannot be
moved as quickly as ships.

The war in the Far East has shown how strong such an army might be, and
how great a military effort would be needed to crush it. The proper way
to render an island secure, is by a navy strong enough to obtain in war
the control of the surrounding sea, and a navy unable to perform that
function cannot be regarded as a guarantee of security.

The immediate effects of naval victory can hardly ever again be so
far-reaching as they were a century ago in the epoch of masts and sails.
At that time there were no foreign navies, except in European waters,
and in the Atlantic waters of the United States. When, therefore, the
British navy had crushed its European adversaries, its ships could act
without serious opposition upon any sea and any coast in the world.
To-day, the radius of action of a victorious fleet is restricted by the
necessity of a supply of coal, and therefore by the secure possession
of coaling-stations at suitable intervals along any route by which the
fleet proposes to move, or by the goodwill of neutrals in permitting it
to coal at their depots. To-day, moreover, there are navies established
even in distant seas. In the Pacific, for example, are the fleets of
Japan and of the United States, and these, in their home waters, will
probably be too strong to be opposed by European navies acting at a vast
distance from their bases.

It seems likely, therefore, that neither Great Britain nor any other
State will in future enjoy that monopoly of sea power which was granted
to Great Britain by the circumstances of her victories in the last great
war. What I have called the great prize has in fact ceased to exist, and
even if an adversary were to challenge the British navy, the reward of
his success would not be a naval supremacy of anything like the kind or
extent which peculiar conditions made it possible for Great Britain to
enjoy during the nineteenth century. It would be a supremacy limited and
reduced by the existence of the new navies that have sprung up.

From these considerations a very important conclusion must be drawn. In
the first place, enough victory at sea is in case of war as
indispensable to Great Britain as ever, for it remains the fundamental
condition of her security, yet its results can hardly in future be as
great as they were in the past, and in particular it may perhaps not
again enable her to exert upon continental States the same effective
pressure which it formerly rendered possible.

In order, therefore, to bring pressure upon a continental adversary,
Great Britain is more than ever in need of the co-operation of a
continental ally. A navy alone cannot produce the effect which it once
did upon the course of a land war, and its success will not suffice to
give confidence to the ally. Nothing but an army able to take its part
in a continental struggle will, in modern conditions, suffice to make
Great Britain the effective ally of a continental State, and in the
absence of such an army Great Britain will continue to be, as she is
to-day, without continental allies.

A second conclusion is that our people, while straining every nerve in
peace to ensure to their navy the best chances of victory in war, must
carefully avoid the conception of a dominion of the sea, although, in
fact, such a dominion actually existed during a great part of the
nineteenth century. The new conditions which have grown up during the
past thirty years have made this ideal as much a thing of the past as
the mediæval conception of a Roman Empire in Europe to whose titular
head all kings were subordinate.



If there is a chance of a conflict in which Great Britain is to be
engaged, her people must take thought in time how they may have on their
side both right and might. It is hard to see how otherwise they can
expect the contest to be decided in their favour.

As I have said before, in the quarrel you must be in the right and in
the fight you must win. The quarrel is the domain of policy, the fight
that of strategy or dynamics. Policy and strategy are in reality
inextricably interwoven one with another, for right and might resemble,
more than is commonly supposed, two aspects of the same thing. But it is
convenient in the attempt to understand any complicated subject to
examine its aspects separately.

I propose, therefore, in considering the present situation of Great
Britain and her relations to the rest of the world, to treat first of
the question of force, to assume that a quarrel may arise, and to
ascertain what are the conditions in which Great Britain can expect to
win, and then to enter into the question of right, in order to find out
what light can be thrown upon the necessary aims and methods of British
policy by the conclusions which will have been reached as to the use of

The nationalisation of States, which is the fundamental fact of modern
history, affects both policy and strategy. If the State is a nation, the
population associated as one body, then the force which it can use in
case of conflict represents the sum of the energies of the whole
population, and this force cannot and will not be used except as the
expression of the will of the whole population. The policy of such a
State means its collective will, the consciousness of its whole
population of a purpose, mission, or duty which it must fulfil, with
which it is identified, and which, therefore, it cannot abandon. Only in
case this national purpose meets with resistance will a people organised
as a State enter into a quarrel, and if such a quarrel has to be fought
out the nation's resources will be expended upon it without limitation.

The chief fact in regard to the present condition of Europe appears to
be the very great excess in the military strength of Germany over that
of any other Power. It is due in part to the large population of the
German Empire, and in part to the splendid national organisation which
has been given to it. It cannot be asserted either that Germany was not
entitled to become united, or that she was not entitled to organise
herself as efficiently as possible both for peace and for war. But the
result is that Germany has a preponderance as great if not greater than
that of Spain in the time of Philip II., or of France either under Louis
XIV. or under Napoleon. Every nation, no doubt, has a right to make
itself as strong as it can, and to exercise as much influence as it can
on the affairs of the world. To do these things is the mission and
business of a nation. But the question arises, what are the limits to
the power of a single nation? The answer appears to be that the only
limits are those set by the power of other nations. This is the theory
of the balance of power of which the object is to preserve to Europe its
character of a community of independent States rather than that of a
single empire in which one State predominates.

Without attributing to Germany any wrong purpose or any design of
injustice it must be evident that her very great strength must give her
in case of dispute, always possible between independent States, a
corresponding advantage against any other Power whose views or whose
intentions should not coincide with hers. It is the obvious possibility
of such dispute that makes it incumbent upon Great Britain to prepare
herself in case of disagreement to enter into a discussion with Germany
upon equal terms.

Only upon such preparation can Great Britain base the hope either of
averting a quarrel with Germany, or in case a quarrel should arise and
cannot be made up by mutual agreement, of settling it by the arbitrament
of war upon terms accordant with the British conception of right. Great
Britain therefore must give herself a national organisation for war and
must make preparation for war the nation's first business until a
reasonable security has been attained.

The question is, what weapons are now available for Great Britain in
case of a disagreement with Germany leading to conflict? In the old
wars, as we have seen, she had three modes of action. She used her navy
to obtain control of the sea-ways, and then she used that control partly
to destroy the sea-borne trade of her enemies, and partly to send armies
across the sea to attack her enemies' armies. By the combination of
these three modes of operation she was strong enough to give valuable
help to other Powers, and therefore she had allies whose assistance was
as useful to her as hers to them. To-day, as we have seen, the same
conditions no longer exist. The British navy may indeed hope to obtain
control of the sea-ways, but the law of maritime war, as it has been
settled by the Declarations of Paris and of London, makes it
impracticable for Great Britain to use a naval victory, even if she wins
it, in such a way as to be able commercially to throttle a hostile
Power, while the British military forces available for employment on the
Continent are so small as hardly to count in the balance. The result is
that Great Britain's power of action against a possible enemy is greatly
reduced, partly in consequence of changes in the laws of war, but
perhaps still more in consequence of the fact that while other Powers
are organised for war as nations, England in regard to war is still in
the condition of the eighteenth century, relying upon a small standing
army, a purely professional navy, and a large half-trained force, called
Territorial, neither ready for war nor available outside the United

There is a school of politicians who imagine that Great Britain's
weakness can be supplemented from other parts of the British Empire.
That is an idea which ought not to be received without the most careful
examination and in my judgment must, except within narrow limits, be

In a war between Great Britain and a continental State or combination
the assistance which Great Britain could possibly receive from the
King's dominions beyond the sea is necessarily limited. Such a war must
in the first place be a naval contest, towards which the most that the
colonies can contribute consists in such additions to Great Britain's
naval strength as they may have given during the preceding period of
peace. What taken together they may do in this way would no doubt make
an appreciable difference in the balance of forces between the two
contending navies; but in the actual struggle the colonies would be
little more than spectators, except in so far as their ports would offer
a certain number of secure bases for the cruisers upon which Great
Britain must rely for the protection of her sea-borne trade. Even if all
the colonies possessed first-rate armies, the help which those armies
could give would not be equal to that obtainable from a single European
ally. For a war against a European adversary Great Britain must rely
upon her own resources, and upon such assistance as she might obtain if
it were felt by other Powers on the Continent not only that the cause in
which she was fighting was vital to them and therefore called for their
co-operation, but also that in the struggle Great Britain's assistance
would be likely to turn the scale in their favour.

Can we expect that history will repeat itself, and that once more in
case of conflict Great Britain will have the assistance of continental
allies? That depends chiefly on their faith in her power to help them.
One condition of such an alliance undoubtedly exists--the desire of
other nations for it. The predominance of Germany on the Continent
rests like a nightmare upon more than one of the other States. It is
increased by the alliance of Austria, another great military empire--an
empire, moreover, not without a fine naval tradition, and, as is proved
by the recent announcement of the intention of the Austrian Government
to build four "Dreadnoughts," resolved to revive that tradition.

Against the combination of Germany and Austria, Russia, which has hardly
begun to recover from the prostration of her defeat by Japan, is
helpless; while France, with a population much smaller than that of
Germany, can hardly look forward to a renewal single-handed of the
struggle which ended for her so disastrously forty years ago. The
position of Italy is more doubtful, for the sympathies of her people are
not attracted by Austria; they look with anxiety upon the Austrian
policy of expansion towards the Aegean and along the shore of the
Adriatic. The estrangement from France which followed upon the French
occupation of Tunis appears to have passed away, and it seems possible
that if there were a chance of success Italy might be glad to emancipate
herself from German and Austrian influence. But even if Germany's policy
were such that Russia, France, and Italy were each and all of them
desirous to oppose it, and to assert a will and a policy of their own
distinct from that of the German Government, it is very doubtful whether
their strength is sufficient to justify them in an armed conflict,
especially as their hypothetical adversaries have a central position
with all its advantages. From a military point of view the strength of
the central position consists in the power which it gives to its holder
to keep one opponent in check with a part of his forces while he throws
the bulk of them into a decisive blow against another.

This is the situation of to-day on the Continent of Europe. It cannot be
changed unless there is thrown into the scale of the possible opponents
of German policy a weight or a force that would restore the equality of
the two parties. The British navy, however perfect it may be assumed to
be, does not in itself constitute such a force. Nor could the British
army on its present footing restore the balance. A small standing army
able to give its allies assistance, officially estimated at a strength
of 160,000 men, will not suffice to turn the scale in a conflict in
which the troops available for each of the great Powers are counted no
longer by the hundred thousand but by the million. But if Great Britain
were so organised that she could utilise for the purpose of war the
whole of her national resources, if she had in addition to the navy
indispensable for her security an army equal in efficiency to the best
that can be found in Europe and in numbers to that maintained by Italy,
which though the fifth Power on the Continent is most nearly her equal
in territory and population, the equilibrium could be restored, and
either the peace of Europe would be maintained, or in case of fresh
conflict there would be a reasonable prospect of the recurrence of what
has happened in the past, the maintenance, against a threatened
domination, of the independence of the European States.

The position here set forth is grave enough to demand the close
attention of the British nation, for it means that England might at any
time be called upon to enter into a contest, likely enough to take the
form of a struggle for existence, against the greatest military empire
in the world, supported by another military empire which is itself in
the front rank of great Powers, while the other European States would be
looking on comparatively helpless.

But this is by no means a full statement of the case. The other Powers
might not find it possible to maintain an attitude of neutrality. It is
much more probable that they would have to choose between one side and
the other; and that if they do not consider Great Britain strong enough
to help them they may find it their interest, and indeed may be
compelled, to take the side of Great Britain's adversaries. In that case
Great Britain would have to carry on a struggle for existence against
the combined forces of the Continent.

That even in this extreme form the contest would be hopeless, I for one
am unwilling to admit. If Great Britain were organised for war and able
to throw her whole energies into it, she might be so strong that her
overthrow even by united Europe would by no means be a foregone
conclusion. But the determined preparation which would make her ready
for the extreme contingency is the best and perhaps the only means of
preventing its occurrence.



I have now given reasons for my belief that in case of conflict Great
Britain, owing to her lack of organisation for war, would be in a
position of some peril. She has not created for herself the means of
making good by force a cause with which she may be identified but which
may be disputed, and her weakness renders it improbable that she would
have allies. There remains the second question whether, in the absence
of might, she would at least have right on her side. That depends upon
the nature of the quarrel. A good cause ought to unite her own people,
and only in behalf of a good cause could she expect other nations to be
on her side. From this point of view must be considered the relations
between Great Britain and Germany, and in the first place the aims of
German policy.

A nation of which the army consists of four million able-bodied citizens
does not go to war lightly. The German ideal, since the foundation of
the Empire, has been rather that held up for Great Britain by Lord
Rosebery in the words:

"Peace secured, not by humiliation, but by preponderance."

The first object after the defeat of France in 1870 was security, and
this was sought not merely by strengthening the army and improving its
training but also by obtaining the alliance of neighbouring Powers. In
the first period the attempt was made to keep on good terms, not only
with Austria, but with Russia. When in 1876 disturbances began in the
Balkan Peninsula, Germany, while giving Austria her support, exerted
herself to prevent a breach between Austria and Russia, and after the
Russo-Turkish war acted as mediator between Russia on one side and
Austria and Great Britain on the other, so that without a fresh war the
European treaty of Berlin was substituted for the Russo-Turkish Treaty
of San Stefano.

After 1878 Russia became estranged from Germany, whereupon Germany, in
1879, made a defensive alliance with Austria, to which at a later date
Italy became a party. This triple alliance served for a quarter of a
century to maintain the peace against the danger of a Franco-Russian
combination until the defeat of Russia in Manchuria and consequent
collapse of Russia's military power removed that danger.

Shortly before this event the British agreement with the French
Government had been negotiated by Lord Lansdowne. The French were very
anxious to bring Morocco into the sphere of French influence, and to
this the British Government saw no objection, but in the preamble to the
agreement, as well as in its text, by way of declaration that Great
Britain had no objection to this portion of the policy of France, words
were used which might seem to imply that Great Britain had some special
rights in regard to Morocco.

The second article of the Declaration of April 8, 1904, contains the
following clause:

"The Government of the French Republic declare that they have no
intention of altering the political status of Morocco. His Britannic
Majesty's Government, for their part, recognise that it appertains to
France, more particularly as a Power whose dominions are conterminous
for a great distance with Morocco, to preserve order in that country,
and to provide assistance for the purpose of all administrative,
economic, financial, and military reforms which it may require."

This clause seems to be open to the interpretation that Great Britain
assumes a right to determine what nation of Europe is best entitled to
exercise a protectorate over Morocco. That would involve some British
superiority over other Powers, or at any rate that Great Britain had a
special right over Morocco, a sort of suzerainty of which she could
dispose at will. Germany disliked both this claim and the idea that
France was to obtain special influence in Morocco. She was herself
anxious for oversea possessions and spheres of influence, and appears to
have thought that if Morocco was to become a European protectorate she
ought to have a voice in any settlement. The terms in which the English
consent to the French design was expressed were construed by the
German's as involving, on the part of Great Britain, just that kind of
supremacy in regard to oversea affairs which they had for so many years
been learning to dislike. At any rate, when the moment convenient to her
came, Germany put her veto upon the arrangements which had been made and
required that they should be submitted to a European Conference. France
was not prepared to renew the struggle for existence over Morocco, while
Germany appeared not unwilling to assert her will even by force.
Accordingly Germany had her way.

The annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary again
afforded an opportunity for the exercise of Germany's preponderance. In
1878 the Treaty of Berlin had authorised Austria-Hungary to occupy and
administer the two provinces without limitation of time, and Bosnia and
Herzegovina have since then practically been Austrian provinces, for the
male population has been subject to compulsory service in the Austrian
army and the soldiers have taken the oath of allegiance to the Emperor.
It is not clear that any of the great Powers had other than a formal
objection to the annexation, the objection, namely, that it was not
consistent with the letter of the Treaty of Berlin. The British
Government pointed out that, by international agreement to which
Austria-Hungary is a party, a European Treaty is not to be modified
without the consent of all the signatory Powers, and that this consent
had not been asked by Austria-Hungary. The British view was endorsed
both by France and Russia, and these three Powers were in favour of a
European Conference for the purpose of revising the clause of the Treaty
of Berlin, and apparently also of giving some concessions to Servia and
Montenegro, the two small States which, for reasons altogether
disconnected with the formal aspect of the case, resented the
annexation. Neither of the Western Powers had any such interest in the
matter as to make it in the least probable that they would in any case
be prepared to support their view by force, while Austria, by mobilising
her army, showed that she was ready to do so, and there was no doubt
that she was assured, in case of need, of Germany's support. The Russian
Minister of Foreign Affairs publicly explained to his countrymen that
Russia was not in a condition to carry on a war. Accordingly in the
moment of crisis the Russian Government withdrew its opposition to
Austro-Hungarian policy, and thus once more was revealed the effect upon
a political decision of the military strength, readiness, and
determination of the two central Powers.

A good deal of feeling was aroused, at any rate in Great Britain, by the
disclosure in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in the
earlier case of Morocco, of Germany's policy, and in the later
negotiation of her determination to support Austria-Hungary by force.
Yet he would be a rash man who, on now looking back, would assert that
in either case a British Government would have been justified in armed
opposition to Germany's policy.

The bearing of Germany and Austria-Hungary in these negotiations, ending
as they did at the time when the debate on the Navy Estimates disclosed
to the British public the serious nature of the competition in naval
shipbuilding between Germany and Great Britain, was to a large class in
this country a startling revelation of the too easily forgotten fact
that a nation does not get its way by asking for it, but by being able
and ready to assert its will by force of arms in case of need. There is
no reason to believe that the German Government has any intention to
enter into a war except for the maintenance of rights or interests held
to be vital for Germany, but it is always possible that Germany may hold
vital some right or interest which another nation may be not quite ready
to admit. In that case it behoves the other nation very carefully to
scrutinise the German claims and its own way of regarding them, and to
be quite sure, before entering into a dispute, that its own views are
right and Germany's views wrong, as well as that it has the means, in
case of conflict, of carrying on with success a war against the German

If then England is to enter into a quarrel with Germany or any other
State, let her people take care that it arises from no obscure issue
about which they may disagree among themselves, but from some palpable
wrong done by the other Power, some wrong which calls upon them to
resist it with all their might.

The case alleged against Germany is that she is too strong, so strong in
herself that no Power in Europe can stand up against her, and so sure of
the assistance of her ally, Austria, to say nothing of the other ally,
Italy, that there is at this moment no combination that will venture to
oppose the Triple Alliance. In other words, Germany is thought to have
acquired an ascendency in Europe which she may at any moment attempt to
convert into supremacy. Great Britain is thought of, at any rate by her
own people, as the traditional opponent of any such supremacy on the
Continent, so that if she were strong enough it might be her function to
be the chief antagonist of a German ascendency or supremacy, though the
doubt whether she is strong enough prevents her from fulfilling this

But there is another side to the case. The opinion has long been
expressed by German writers and is very widespread in Germany that it is
Great Britain that claims an ascendency or supremacy, and that Germany
in opposing that supremacy is making herself the champion of the
European cause of the independence of States. This German idea was
plainly expressed twenty-five years ago by the German historian Wilhelm
Müller, who wrote in a review of the year 1884: "England was the
opponent of all the maritime Powers of Europe. She had for decades
assumed at sea the same dictatorial attitude as France had maintained
upon land under Louis XIV. and Napoleon I. The years 1870-1871 broke the
French spell; the year 1884 has shown England that the times of her
maritime imperialism also are over, and that if she does not renounce it
of her own free will, an 1870 will come for the English spell too. It is
true, England need not fear any single maritime Power, but only a
coalition of them all; and hitherto she has done all she can to call up
such a coalition." The language which Englishmen naturally use in
discussing their country's naval strength might seem to lend itself to
the German interpretation. For example, on the 10th March 1908, the
Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, expressing an opinion in which he thought
both parties concurred, said: "We must maintain the unassailable
supremacy of this country at sea." Here, at any rate, is the word
"supremacy" at which the Germans take umbrage, and which our own people
regard as objectionable if applied to the position of any Power on the

I will not repeat here the analysis which I published many years ago of
the dealings between the German and British Governments during the
period when German colonial enterprise was beginning; nor the
demonstration that in those negotiations the British Government acted
with perfect fairness, but was grossly misrepresented to the German
public. The important thing for the people of Great Britain to
understand to-day is not the inner diplomatic history of that and
subsequent periods, but the impression which is current in Germany with
regard to the whole of these transactions.

The Germans think that Great Britain lays claim to a special position in
regard to the ocean, in the nature of a suzerainty over the waters of
the globe, and over those of its coasts which are not the possessions
of some strong civilised Power. What they have perceived in the last
quarter of a century has been that, somehow or other, they care not how,
whenever there has been a German attempt in the way of what is called
colonial expansion, it has led to friction with Great Britain.
Accordingly they have the impression that Great Britain is opposed to
any such German expansion, and in this way, as they are anxious for
dominions beyond the sea and for the spread of their trade into every
quarter of the globe, they have come to regard Great Britain as the
adversary. This German feeling found vent during the South African War,
and the expressions at that time freely used in the German newspapers,
as well as by German writers whose works were less ephemeral, could not
but deeply offend the national consciousness, to any nothing of the
pride of the people of this country. In this way the sympathy which used
to exist between the two peoples has been lost and they have come to
regard each other with suspicion, which has not been without its effect
on the relations between the two Governments and upon the course of
European diplomacy. This is the origin of the rivalry, and it is to the
resentment which has been diligently cultivated in Germany against the
supposed British claim to supremacy at sea that is attributable the
great popularity among the people of Germany of the movement in favour
of the expansion of the German navy. Since 1884 the people of Germany
have been taught to regard with suspicion every item of British policy,
and naturally enough this auspicious attitude has found its counterpart
among the people of this country. The result has been that the
agreements by which England has disposed of a number of disagreements
with France and with Russia have been regarded in Germany as inspired by
the wish to prepare a coalition against that country, and, in view of
the past history of Great Britain, this interpretation can hardly be
pronounced unnatural.

Any cause for which Great Britain would fight ought to be intelligible
to other nations, first of all to those of Europe, but also to the
nations outside of Europe, at any rate to the United States and Japan,
for if we were fighting for something in regard to which there was no
sympathy with us, or which led other nations to sympathise with our
adversary, we should be hampered by grave misgivings and might find
ourselves alone in a hostile world.

Accordingly it cannot be sound policy for Great Britain to assert for
herself a supremacy or ascendency of the kind which is resented, not
only by Germany, but by every other continental State, and indeed by
every maritime State in the world. It ought to be made clear to all the
world that in fact, whatever may have been the language used in English
discussions, Great Britain makes no claim to suzerainty over the sea, or
over territories bordering on the sea, not forming parts of the British
Empire; that, while she is determined to maintain a navy that can in
case of war secure the "command" of the sea against her enemies, she
regards the sea, in peace, and in war except for her enemies, as the
common property of all nations, the open road forming the great highway
of mankind.

We have but to reflect on the past to perceive that the idea of a
dominion of the sea must necessarily unite other nations against us.
What in the sixteenth century was the nature of the dispute between
England and Spain? The British popular consciousness to-day remembers
two causes, of which one was religious antagonism, and the other the
claim set up by Spain and rejected by England to a monopoly of America,
carrying with it an exclusive right to navigation in the Western
Atlantic and to a monopoly of the trade of the Spanish dominions beyond
the sea. That is a chapter of history which at the present time deserves
a place in the meditations of Englishmen.

I may now try to condense into a single view the general survey of the
conditions of Europe which I have attempted from the two points of view
of strategy and of policy, of force and of right. Germany has such a
preponderance of military force that no continental State can stand up
against her. There is, therefore, on the Continent no nation independent
of German influence or pressure. Great Britain, so long as she maintains
the superiority of her navy over that of Germany or over those of
Germany and her allies, is not amenable to constraint by Germany, but
her military weakness prevents her exerting any appreciable counter
pressure upon Germany.

The moment the German navy has become strong enough to confront that of
Great Britain without risk of destruction, British influence in Europe
will be at an end, and the Continent will have to follow the direction
given by German policy. That is a consummation to be desired neither in
the interest of the development of the European nations nor in that of
Great Britain. It means the prevalence of one national ideal instead of
the growth side by side of a number of types. It means also the
exclusion of British ideals from European life.

Great Britain has in the past been a powerful contributor to the free
development of the European nations, and therefore to the preservation
in Europe of variety of national growth. I believe that she is now
called upon to renew that service. The method open to her lies in such
action as may relieve the other European States from the overwhelming
pressure which, in case of the disappearance of England from the
European community, would be put upon them by Germany. It seems probable
that in default of right action she will be compelled to maintain her
national ideals against Europe united under German guidance. The action
required consists on the one hand in the perfecting of the British navy,
and on the other of the military organisation of the British people on
the principle, already explained, of the nationalisation of war.



The conclusion to which a review of England's position and of the state
of Europe points, is that while there is no visible cause of quarrel
between Great Britain and Germany, yet there is between them a rivalry
such as is inevitable between a State that has long held something like
the first place in the world and a State that feels entitled in virtue
of the number of its people, their character and training, their work
and their corporate organisation, to aspire to the first place. The
German nation by the mere fact of its growth challenges England for the
primacy. It could not be otherwise. But the challenge is no wrong done
to England, and the idea that it ought to be resented is unworthy of
British traditions. It must be cheerfully accepted. If the Germans are
better men than we are they deserve to take our place. If we mean to
hold our own we must set about it in the right way--by proving ourselves
better than the Germans.

There ought to be no question of quarrel or of war. Men can be rivals
without being enemies. It is the first lesson that an English boy
learns at school. Quarrels arise, as a rule, from misunderstandings or
from faults of temper, and England ought to avoid the frame of mind
which would render her liable to take offence at trifles, while her
policy ought to be simple enough to escape being misunderstood.

In a competition between two nations the qualification for success is to
be the better nation. Germany's advantage is that her people have been
learning for a whole century to subordinate their individual wishes and
welfare to that of the nation, while the people of Great Britain have
been steeped in individualism until the consciousness of national
existence, of a common purpose and a common duty, has all but faded
away. What has to be done is to restore the nation to its right place in
men's minds, and so to organise it that, like a trained athlete, it will
be capable of hard and prolonged effort.

By the nation I mean the United Kingdom, the commonwealth of Great
Britain and Ireland, and I distinguish it from the Empire which is a
federation of several nations. The nation thus defined has work to do,
duties to perform as one nation among many, and the way out of the
present difficulties will be found by attending to these duties.

In the first place comes Britain's work in Europe, which to describe
has been the purpose of the preceding chapters. It cannot be right for
Britain, after the share she has taken in securing for Europe the
freedom that distinguishes a series of independent States existing side
by side from a single centralised Empire, to turn her back upon the
Continent and to suppose that she exists only for the sake of her own
colonies and India. On the contrary it is only by playing her part in
Europe that she can hope to carry through the organisation of her own
Empire which she has in view. Her function as a European State is to
make her voice heard in the council of the European nations, so that no
one State can dictate the decisions to be reached. In order to do that
she must be strong enough to be able to say Aye and No without fear, and
to give effective help in case of need to those other States which may
in a decision vote on the same side with her.

In her attitude towards the Powers of Europe and in her dealings with
them Great Britain is the representative of the daughter nations and
dependencies that form her Empire, and her self-defence in Europe is the
defence of the whole Empire, at any rate against possible assaults from
any European Power. At the same time she is necessarily the centre and
the head of her own Empire. She must take the lead in its organisation
and in the direction of its policy. If she is to fulfil these duties,
on the one hand to Europe and on the other to the daughter nations and
India, she must herself be organised on the principle of duty. An
England divided against herself, absorbed in the disputes of factions
and unconscious of a purpose, can neither lead nor defend her Empire,
can play her proper part neither in Europe nor in the world.

The great work to be done at home, corresponding to the ultimate purpose
of national life, is that she should bring up her people to a higher
standard of human excellence, to a finer type than others. There are
English types well recognised. Fifty years ago the standard of British
workmanship was the acknowledged mark of excellence in the industrial
world, while it has been pointed out in an earlier chapter that the
English standards, of character displayed in conduct, described in one
aspect by the word "gentleman," and in another by the expression
"fair-play," form the best part of the nation's inheritance. It is the
business of any British education worth thinking of to stamp these
hall-marks of character upon all her people.

Nothing reveals in a more amazing light the extent to which in this
country the true meaning of our being a nation has been forgotten than
the use that has been made in recent years of the term "national
education." The leaders of both parties have discussed the subject as
though any system of schools maintained at the public expense formed a
system of national education. But the diffusion of instruction is not
education, and the fact that it is carried on at the public expense does
not make it national. Education is training the child for his life to
come, and his life's value consists in the work which he will do.
National education means bringing up every boy and girl to do his or her
part of the nation's work. A child who is going to do nothing will be of
no use to his country, and a bringing up that leaves him prepared to do
nothing is not an education but a perversion. A British national
education ought to make every man a good workman, every man a gentleman,
every man a servant of his country.

My contention, then, is that this British nation has to perform certain
specific tasks, and that in order to be able to do her work she must
insist that her people--every man, woman, and child--exist not for
themselves but for her. This is the principle of duty. It gives a
standard of personal value, for evidently a man's use to his country
consists in what he does for it, not in what he gets or has for himself,
which, from the national point of view, is of no account except so far
as it either enables him to carry on the work for which he is best
suited or can be applied for the nation's benefit.

How then in practice can the principle of duty be brought into our
national and our individual life? I think that the right way is that we
should join in doing those things which are evidently needed, and should
postpone other things about the necessity of which there may be
disagreement. I shall devote the rest of this volume to considering how
the nation is to prepare itself for the first duty laid upon it, that of
assuring its security and so making good its position as a member of the
European community. But before pursuing that inquiry I must reiterate
once more the principle which it is my main purpose to set before my

The conception of the Nation is the clue to the solution of all the
problems with which the people of Great Britain are confronted. They are
those of foreign and imperial policy, of defence national and imperial,
of education and of social life.

Foreign and imperial policy include all affairs external to Great
Britain, the relations of Great Britain to Europe, to India, to the
Colonies, and to the Powers of Asia and America. In all these external
affairs the question to be asked is, what is Britain's duty?

It is by the test of duty that Great Britain's attitude towards Germany
should be tried. In what event would it be necessary and right to call
on every British citizen to turn out and fight, ready to shed his blood
and ready to shoot down enemies? Evidently only in case of some great
and manifest wrong undertaken by Germany. As I am aware of no such wrong
actually attempted, I think a conflict unnecessary. It is true I began
by pointing out the danger of drifting into a war with the German
Empire, but I wish to do what I can to prevent it, and to show that by
right action the risk will be diminished.

The greatest risk is due to fear--fear in this country of what Germany
may do, fear in Germany of what Great Britain may do. Fear is a bad
adviser. There are Englishmen who seem to think that as Germany is
strengthening her navy it would be wise to attack her while the British
navy is superior in numerical force. This suggestion must be frankly
discussed and dealt with.

A war is a trial of strength. To begin it does not add to your force.
Suppose for the sake of the argument that a war between England and
Germany were "inevitable"--which is equivalent to the supposition that
one of the two Governments is bound to wrong the other--one of the two
Governments must take the initiative. You take the initiative when you
are the Power that wants something, in which case you naturally exert
yourself to obtain it, while the adversary who merely says No to your
request, acts only in resistance. England wants nothing from Germany, so
that she is not called upon for an initiative. But the initiative, or
offensive, requires the stronger force, its object being to render the
other side powerless for resistance to its will. The defensive admits of
a smaller force. A conflict between England and Germany must be
primarily a naval war, and Germany's naval forces are considerably
weaker than those of England. England has no political reason for the
initiative; Germany is debarred from it by the inferiority of her navy.
If, therefore, Germany wants anything from England, she must wait to
take the initiative until she has forces strong enough for the
offensive. But her forces, though not strong enough for the offensive,
may be strong enough for the defensive. If, therefore, England should
take the initiative, she would in so doing give away the one advantage
she has. It may be Germany's interest to have a prompt decision. It can
hardly be her interest to attack before she is ready. But if she really
wanted to pick a quarrel and get some advantage, it would exactly serve
her purpose to be attacked at once, as that would give her the benefit
of the defensive. The English "Jingoes," then, are false guides, bad
strategists, and worse, statesmen.

Not only in the affairs of Europe, but in those of India, Egypt, and
the Colonies, and in all dealings with Asia, Africa, and America the
line of British policy will be the line of the British nation's duty.

If Britain is to follow this line two conditions must be fulfilled. She
must have a leader to show the way and her people must walk in it with

The mark of a leader is the single eye. But the traditional system gives
the lead of the nation to the leader of one party chosen for his success
in leading that party. He can never have a single eye; he serves two
masters. His party requires him to keep it in office, regarding the
Opposition as the enemy. But his country requires him to guide a united
nation in the fulfilment of its mission in Europe and a united Empire in
the fulfilment of its mission in the world. A statesman who is to lead
the nation and the Empire must keep his eyes on Europe and on the world.
A party leader who is to defeat the other party must keep his eyes on
the other party. No man can at the same time be looking out of the
window and watching an opponent inside the house, and the traditional
system puts the Prime Minister in a painful dilemma. Either he never
looks out of the window at all or he tries to look two ways at once.
Party men seem to believe that if a Prime Minister were to look across
the sea instead of across the floor of the House of Commons his
Government would be upset. That may be the case so long as men ignore
the nation and so long as they acquiesce in the treasonable doctrine
that it is the business of the Opposition to oppose. But a statesman who
would take courage to lead the nation might perhaps find the Opposition
powerless against him.

The counterpart of leadership is following. A Government that shows the
line of Britain's duty must be able to utilise the whole energies of her
people for its performance. A duty laid upon the nation implies a duty
laid upon every man to do his share of the nation's work, to assist the
Government by obedient service, the best of which he is capable. It
means a people trained every man to his task.

A nation should be like a team in which every man has his place, his
work to do, his mission or duty. There is no room in it either for the
idler who consumes but renders no service, or for the unskilled man who
bungles a task to which he has not been trained. A nation may be
compared to a living creature. Consider the way in which nature
organises all things that live and grow. In the structure of a living
thing every part has its function, its work to do. There are no
superfluous organs, and if any fails to do its work the creature
sickens and perhaps dies.

Take the idea of the nation as I have tried to convey it and apply it as
a measure or test to our customary way of thinking both of public
affairs and of our own lives. Does it not reveal that we attach too much
importance to having and to possessions--our own and other people's--and
too little importance to doing, to service? When we ask what a man is
worth, we think of what he owns. But the words ought to make us think of
what he is fit for and of what service he renders to the nation. The
only value of what a man has springs from what he does with it.

The idea of the nation leads to the right way of looking at these
matters, because it constrains every man to put himself and all that he
has at the service of the community. Thus it is the opposite of
socialism, which merely turns upside down the current worship of
ownership, and which thinks "having" so supremely important that it
would put "not having" in its place. The only cry I will adopt is
"England for ever," which means that we are here, every one of us, with
all that we have and all that we can do, as members of a nation that
must either serve the world or perish.

But the idea of the nation carries us a long way further than I have yet
shown. It bids us all try at the peril of England's fall to get the
best Government we can to lead us. We need a man to preside over the
nation's counsels, to settle the line of Britain's duty in Europe and in
her own Empire, and of her duty to her own people, to the millions who
are growing up ill fed, ill housed and ill trained, and yet who are part
of the sovereign people. We need to give him as councillors men that are
masters of the tasks in which for the nation to fail means its ruin, the
tasks of which I have enumerated those that are vital. Do we give him a
master of the history of the other nations to guide the nation's
dealings with them? Do we give him a master of war to educate admirals
and generals? Do we give him a master of the sciences to direct the
pursuit of knowledge, and a master of character-building to supervise
the bringing up of boys and girls to be types of a noble life? It would
serve the nation's turn to have such men. They are among us, and to find
them we should only have to look for them. It would be no harder than to
pick apples off a tree. But we never dream of looking for them. We have
a wonderful plan of choosing our leaders, the plan which we call an
election. Five hundred men assemble in a hall and listen to a speech
from a partisan, while five hundred others in a hall in the next street
are cheering a second partisan who declaims against the first. There is
no test of either speaker, except that he must be rich enough to pay
the expenses of an "election." The voters do not even listen to both
partisans in order to judge between them. Thus we choose our members of
Parliament. Our Government is a committee of some twenty of them. Its
first business is to keep its authority against the other party, of
which in turn the chief function is to make out that everything the
Government does is wrong. This is the only recognised plan for leading
the nation.

You may be shocked as you read this by the plainness of my words, but
you know them to be true, though you suppose that to insist on the facts
is "impracticable" because you fancy that there is no way out of the
marvellously absurd arrangements that exist. But there is a way out,
though it is no royal road. It is this. Get the meaning of the nation
into your own head and then make a present to England of your party
creed. Ask yourself what is the one thing most needed now, and the one
thing most needed for the future. You will answer, because you know it
to be true, that the one thing most needed now is to get the navy right.

The one thing most needed for the future is to put the idea of the
nation and the will to help England into every man's soul. That cannot
be done by writing or by talking, but only by setting every man while
he is young to do something for his country. There is one way of
bringing that about. It is by making every citizen a soldier in a
national army. The man who has learned to serve his country has learned
to love it. He is the true citizen, and of such a nation is composed.
Great Britain needs a statesman to lead her and a policy at home and
abroad. But such a policy must not be sought and cannot be found upon
party lines. The statesman who is to expound it to his countrymen and
represent it to the world must be the leader not of one party but of
both. In short, a statesman must be a nation leader, and the first
condition of his existence is that there should be a nation for him to



The argument of the preceding chapters points to the conclusion that if
Great Britain is to maintain her position as a great Power, probably
even if she is to maintain her independence, and certainly if she is to
retain the administration of India and the leadership of the nations
that have grown out of her colonies, her statesmen and her people must
combine to do three things:--

1. To adopt a policy having due relation to the condition and needs of
the European Continent.

2. To make the British navy the best possible instrument of naval

3. To make the British army strong enough to be able to turn the scales
in a continental war.

What are for the navy and for the army the essentials of victory? If
there had never been any wars, no one would know what was essential to
victory. People would have their notions, no doubt, but these notions
would be guesses and could not be verified until the advent of a war,
which might bring with it a good deal of disappointment to the people
who had guessed wrong. But there have already been wars enough to afford
ample material for deductions as to the causes and conditions of
success. I propose to take the two best examples that can be found, one
for war at sea and the other for war on land, in order to show exactly
the way in which victory is attained.

By victory, of course, I mean crushing the enemy. In a battle in which
neither side is crippled, and after which the fleets part to renew the
struggle after a short interval, one side or the other may consider that
it has had the honours of the day. It may have lost fewer ships than the
enemy, or have taken more. It may have been able and willing to continue
the fight, though the enemy drew off, and its commander may be promoted
or decorated for having maintained the credit of his country or of the
service to which he belongs. But such a battle is not victory either in
a political or a strategical sense. It does not lead to the
accomplishment of the purpose of the war, which is to dictate conditions
of peace. That result can be obtained only by crushing the enemy's force
and so making him powerless to renew the contest.

A general view of the wars of the eighteenth century between Great
Britain and France shows that, broadly speaking, there was no decision
until the end of the period. The nearest approach to it was when Hawke
destroyed the French fleet in Quiberon Bay. But this was hardly a
stand-up fight. The French fleet was running away, and Hawke's
achievement was that, in spite of the difficulties of weather on an
extremely dangerous coast, he was able to consummate its destruction.
The real decision was the work of Nelson, and its principal cause was
Nelson himself.

The British navy had discovered in its conflicts with the Dutch during
the seventeenth century that the object of naval warfare was the command
of the sea, which must be won by breaking the enemy's force in battle.
This was also perfectly understood by the Dutch admirals, and in those
wars was begun the development of the art of fighting battles with
sailing vessels. A formation, the line of battle, in which one ship
sails in the track of the ship before her, was found to be appropriate
to the weapon used, the broadside of artillery; and a type of ship
suitable to this formation, the line-of-battle ship, established itself.
These were the elements with which the British and French navies entered
into their long eighteenth century struggle. The French, however, had
not grasped the principle that the object of naval warfare was to obtain
the command of the sea. They did not consciously and primarily aim, as
did their British rivals, at the destruction of the enemy's fleet. They
were more concerned with the preservation of their own fleet than with
the destruction of the enemy's, and were ready rather to accept battle
than to bring it about. The British admirals were eager for battle, but
had a difficulty in finding out how a decisive blow could be struck. The
orthodox and accepted doctrine of the British navy was that the British
fleet should be brought alongside the enemy's fleet, the two lines of
battleships being parallel to one another, so that each ship in the
British fleet should engage a corresponding ship in the French fleet. It
was a manoeuvre difficult of execution, because, in order to approach
the French, the British must in the first place turn each of their ships
at right angles to the line or obliquely to it, and then, when they were
near enough to fire, must turn again to the left (or right) in order to
restore the line formation. And during this period of approach and
turning they must be exposed to the broadsides of the French without
being able to make full use of their own broadsides. Moreover, it was
next to impossible in this way to bring up the whole line together.
Besides being difficult, the manoeuvre had no promise of success. For if
two fleets of equal numbers are in this way matched ship against ship,
neither side has any advantage except what may be derived from the
superior skill of its gunners. So long as these conditions prevailed,
no great decisive victory of the kind for which we are seeking was
gained. It was during this period that Nelson received such training as
the navy could give him, and added to it the necessary finishing touch
by never-ceasing effort to find out for himself the way in which he
could strike a decisive blow. His daring was always deliberate, never
rash, and this is the right frame of mind for a commander. "You may be
assured," he writes to Lord Hood, March 11, 1794, "I shall undertake
nothing but what I have moral certainty of succeeding in."

His fierce determination to get at the ultimate secrets of his trade led
him to use every means that would help him to think out his problem, and
among these means was reading. In 1780 appeared Clerk's "Essay on Naval
Tactics." Clerk pointed out the weakness of the method of fighting in
two parallel lines and suggested and discussed a number of plans by
which one fleet with the bulk of its force could attack and destroy a
portion of the other. This was the problem to which Nelson gave his
mind--how to attack a part with the whole. On the 19th of August 1796 he
writes to the Duke of Clarence:--

"We are now 22 sail of the line, the combined fleet will be above 35
sail of the line.... I will venture my life Sir John Jervis defeats
them; I do not mean by a regular battle but by the skill of our
Admiral, and the activity and spirit of our officers and seamen. This
country is the most favourable possible for skill with an inferior
fleet; for the winds are so variable that some one time in the 24 hours
you must be able to attack a part of a large fleet, and the other will
be becalmed, or have a contrary wind."

His opportunity came in 1798, when in the battle of the Nile he crushed
the French Mediterranean Fleet. In a letter to Lord Howe, written
January 8, 1799, he described his plan in a sentence:--

"By attacking the enemy's van and centre, the wind blowing directly
along their line, I was enabled to throw what force I pleased on a few

We know that Nelson's method of fighting had for months before the
battle been his constant preoccupation, and that he had lost no
opportunity of explaining his ideas to his captains. Here are the words
of Captain Berry's narrative:--

"It had been his practice during the whole of the cruise, whenever the
weather and circumstances would permit, to have his captains on board
the Vanguard, where he would fully develop to them his own ideas of the
different and best modes of attack, and such plans as he proposed to
execute upon falling in with the enemy, whatever their position or
situation might be, by day or by night. There was no possible position
in which they might be found that he did not take into his calculation,
and for the most advantageous attack on which he had not digested and
arranged the best possible disposition of the force which he commanded."

The great final victory of Trafalgar was prepared in the same way, and
the various memoranda written in the period before the battle have
revealed to recent investigation the unwearying care which Nelson
devoted to finding out how best to concentrate his force upon that
portion of the enemy's fleet which it would be most difficult for the
enemy to support with the remainder.

Nelson's great merit, his personal contribution to his country's
influence, lay first and foremost in his having by intellectual effort
solved the tactical problem set to commanders by the conditions of the
naval weapon of his day, the fleet of line-of-battle ships; and
secondly, in his being possessed and inspired by the true strategical
doctrine that the prime object of naval warfare is the destruction of
the enemy's fleet, and therefore that the decisive point in the theatre
of war is the point where the enemy's fleet can be found. It was the
conviction with which he held this principle that enabled him in
circumstances of the greatest difficulty to divine where to go to find
the enemy's fleet; which in 1798 led him persistently up and down the
Mediterranean till he had discovered the French squadron anchored at
Aboukir; which in 1805 took him from the Mediterranean to the West
Indies, and from the West Indies back to the Channel.

So much for Nelson's share of the work. But Nelson could neither have
educated himself nor made full use of his education if the navy of his
day had not been inspired with the will to fight and to conquer, with
the discipline that springs from that will, and had not obtained through
long experience of war the high degree of skill in seamanship and in
gunnery which made it the instrument its great commander required. These
conditions of the navy in turn were products of the national spirit and
of the will of the Government and people of Great Britain to devote to
the navy as much money, as many men, and as vigorous support as might be
necessary to realise the national purpose.

The efforts of this nature made by the country were neither perfect nor
complete. The Governments made mistakes, the Admiralty left much to be
desired both in organisation and in personnel. But the will was there.
The best proof of the national determination is to be found in the best
hated of all the institutions of that time, the press-gang, a brutal and
narrow-minded form of asserting the principle that a citizen's duty is
to fight for his country. That the principle should take such a shape
is decisive evidence no doubt that society was badly organised, and that
education, intellectual and moral, was on a low level, but also, and
this is the vital matter, that the nation well understood the nature of
the struggle in which it was engaged and was firmly resolved not only to
fight but to conquer.

The causes of the success of the French armies in the period between
1792 and 1809 were precisely analogous to those which have been analysed
in the case of the British navy. The basis was the national will,
expressed in the volunteers and the levy _en masse_. Upon this was
superimposed the skill acquired by the army in several years of
incessant war, and the formal cause of the victories was Napoleon's
insight into the art of command. The research of recent years has
revealed the origin of Napoleon's mastery of the method of directing an
army. He became an officer in 1785, at the age of sixteen. In 1793, as a
young captain of artillery, he directed with remarkable insight and
determination the operations by which the allied fleet was driven from
Toulon. In 1794 he inspired and conducted, though still a subordinate, a
series of successful operations in the Maritime Alps. In 1796, as
commander-in-chief of the Army of Italy, he astonished Europe by the
most brilliant campaign on record. For these achievements he had
prepared himself by assiduous study. As a young officer of artillery he
received the best professional training then to be had in Europe, while
at the same time, by wide and careful reading, he gave himself a general
education. At some period before 1796, probably before 1794, he had read
and thoroughly digested the remarkable treatise on the principles of
mountain war which had been left in manuscript by General Bourcet, an
officer who during the campaigns of half a century had assisted as
Quartermaster-General a number of the best Generals of France.
Napoleon's phenomenal power of concentration had enabled him to
assimilate Bourcet's doctrine, which in his clear and vigorous mind took
new and more perfect shape, so that from the beginning his operations
are conducted on a system which may be described as that of Bourcet
raised to a higher power.

The "Nelson touch" was acquired by the Admiral through years of effort
to think out, to its last conclusion, a problem the nature of which had
never been adequately grasped by his professional predecessors and
comrades, though it seems probable that he owed to Clerk the hint which
led him to the solution which he found. Napoleon was more fortunate in
inheriting a strategical doctrine which he had but to appreciate to
expand and to apply. The success of both men is due to the habit of mind
which clings tenaciously to the subject under investigation until it is
completely cleared up. Each of them became, as a result of his thinking,
the embodiment of a theory or system of the employment of force, the one
on sea and the other on land; and such an embodiment is absolutely
necessary for a nation in pursuit of victory.

It seems natural to say that if England wants victory on sea or land,
she must provide herself with a Nelson or a Napoleon. The statement is
quite true, but it requires to be rightly interpreted. If it means that
a nation must always choose a great man to command its navy or its army
it is an impossible maxim, because a great man cannot be recognised
until his power has been revealed in some kind of work. Moreover, to say
that Nelson and Napoleon won victories because they were great men is to
invert the order of nature and of truth. They are recognised as great
men because of the mastery of their business which they manifested in
action. That mastery was due primarily to knowledge. Wordsworth hit the
mark when, in answer to the question "Who is the Happy Warrior?" he
replied that it was he--

"Who with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn."

The quality that made them both so valuable was that they knew the best
that was known and thought in regard to the art of war. This is the
quality which a nation must secure in those whom it entrusts with the
design and the conduct of the operations of its fleets and its armies.

There is a method for securing this, not by any means a new one, and not
originally, as is commonly supposed, a German invention. It consists in
providing the army and the navy with a General Staff or Department for
the study, design, and direction of operations. In such a department
Bourcet, Napoleon's master, spent the best years of his life. In such a
department Moltke was trained; over such a department he presided. Its
characteristic is that it has one function, that of the study, design,
and direction of the movements in fighting of a fleet or an army, and
that it has nothing whatever to do with the maintenance of an army, or
with its recruiting, discipline, or peace administration. Its functions
in peace are intellectual and educational, and in war it becomes the
channel of executive power. Bourcet described the head of such a
department as "the soul of an army." The British navy is without such a
department. The army has borrowed the name, but has not maintained the
speciality of function which is essential. In armies other than the
British, the Chief of the General Staff is occupied solely with tactics
and strategy, with the work of intellectual research by which Nelson
and Napoleon prepared their great achievements. His business is to be
designing campaigns, to make up his mind at what point or points, in
case of war, he will assemble his fleets or his armies for the first
move, and what the nature of that move shall be. The second move it is
impossible for him to pre-arrange because it depends upon the result of
the first. He will determine the second move when the time comes. In
order that his work should be as well done as possible, care is taken
that the Chief of the Staff shall have nothing else to do. Not he but
another officer superintends the raising, organising, and disciplining
of the forces. Thus he becomes the embodiment of a theory or system of
operations, and with that theory or system he inspires as far as
possible all the admirals or generals and other officers who will have
to carry out his designs.

In the British system the Chief of the General Staff is the principal
military member of the Board which administers the army. Accordingly,
only a fraction of his time can be given to thinking out the problems of
strategy and tactics. At the Admiralty the principal naval member of the
Board is made responsible not only for the distribution and movements of
ships--a definition which includes the whole domain of strategy and
tactics--but also for the fighting and sea-going efficiency of the
fleet, its organisation and mobilisation, a definition so wide that it
includes the greater part of the administration of the navy, especially
as the same officer is held responsible for advice on all large
questions of naval policy and maritime warfare, as well as for the
control of the naval ordnance department. Thus in each case the very
constitution of the office entrusted with the design of operations
prevents the officer at its head from concentrating himself upon that
vital duty. The result is that the intellectual life both of the army
and of the navy lags far behind that of their German rivals, and
therefore that there is every chance of both of them being beaten, not
for lack of courage or hard work, but by being opposed to an adversary
whose thinking has been better done by reason of the greater
concentration of energy devoted to it.

The first reform needed, at any rate in the navy, is a definition of the
functions of the First Sea Lord which will confine his sphere to the
distribution and movement of ships and the strategical and tactical
training of officers, so as to compel him to become the embodiment or
personification of the best possible theory or system of naval warfare.
That definition adopted and enforced, there is no need to lay down
regulations giving the strategist control over his colleagues who
administer _matériel_ and _personnel_; they will of themselves always be
anxious to hear his views as to the methods of fighting, and will be
only too glad to build ships with a view to their being used in
accordance with his design of victory. But until there is at the
Admiralty department devoted to designing victory and to nothing else,
what possible guarantee can there be that ships will be built, or the
navy administered and organised in accordance with any design likely to
lead to victory?



The doubt which, since the Prime Minister's statement on the
introduction of the Navy Estimates, has disturbed the public mind, is
concerned almost exclusively with the number of modern battleships in
the Royal Navy. The one object which the nation ought to have in view is
victory in the next war, and the question never to be forgotten is, what
is essential to victory? While it is probably true that if the disparity
of numbers be too great a smaller fleet can hardly engage a larger one
with any prospect of success, it is possible to exaggerate the
importance both of numbers and of the size of ships.

The most decisive victories at sea which are on record were those of
Tsusima, of Trafalgar, and of the Nile. At Tsusima the numbers and size
of the Japanese Fleet were not such as, before the battle, to give
foreign observers grounds for expecting a decisive victory by the
Japanese. It was on the superior intellectual and moral qualities of the
Japanese that those who expected them to win based their hopes, and this
view was justified by the event. At the battle of Trafalgar the British
Fleet numbered twenty-seven, the Franco-Spanish Fleet numbered
thirty-three; at the battle of the Nile the numbers were equal--thirteen
on each side. These figures seem to me sufficiently to prove that
superior numbers are not in battle the indispensable condition of
victory. They certainly prove that the numerically inferior fleet may
very well win.

Writers on the art of war distinguish between tactics, the art of
winning a battle, and strategy, the art of designing and conducting the
whole of the operations which constitute a campaign, of bringing about
battles in conditions favourable to one's own side and of making the
best use of such victories as may be won for contributing to the general
purpose of the war, which is dictating peace on one's own terms.

The decision of the questions, how many fleets to send out, what is to
be the strength and composition of each of them, and what the objectives
assigned to their several commanders is a strategical decision. It is a
function of the strategist at the Board of Admiralty, but the question
how to handle any one of these fleets in the presence of the enemy so as
either to avoid or to bring about an action and so as to win the battle,
if a battle be desirable, is a question for the admiral commanding the
particular fleet.

Evidently the master art, because it dominates the whole war, is that
of strategy, and for that reason it must have a seat at the Admiralty

As is well known, a large number of naval officers have for several
years past been troubled with doubts as to the strategical competence
displayed by the Board or Boards of Admiralty since 1904. The Board of
Admiralty has also been criticised for other reasons, into some of which
it is not necessary to enter, but it is desirable to state precisely the
considerations which tend to show that important decisions made by the
Admiralty have not been based upon sound strategical principles, and
are, indeed, incompatible with them.

When four or five years ago it was decided to transfer the centre of
gravity of the navy, as represented by fleets in commission, from the
Mediterranean to the Atlantic coasts of Europe, that was a sound
decision. But when the principal fleet in commission in home waters was
reduced in order to facilitate the creation of a so-called Home Fleet,
made up of a number of ships stationed at different ports, and manned
for the most part by nucleus crews, the Admiralty announced this measure
in a very remarkable circular. The change clearly involved a reduction
of the number of men at sea, and also a reduction in the number of ships
which would be immediately available under war conditions. It was
further evident that the chief result of this measure would be a
reduction of expenditure, yet the circular boldly stated that the object
of the measure was to increase the power and readiness of the navy for
instant war.

In any case, the decision announced revealed an ignorance of one of the
fundamental conditions of naval warfare, which differentiates it
completely from operations on land. A ship in commission carries on
board everything that is necessary for a fight. She can be made ready
for battle in a few minutes on the order to clear for action. No other
mobilisation is necessary for a fleet in commission, and if a war should
break out suddenly, as wars normally always do break out, whichever side
is able at once with its fleets already in commission to strike the
first blow has the incalculable advantage of the initiative.

A fleet divided between several ports and not fully manned is not a
fleet in commission; it is not ready, and its assembly as a fleet
depends on a contingency, which there is no means of guaranteeing, that
the enemy shall not be able to prevent its assembly by moving a fleet
immediately to a point at sea from which it would be able to oppose by
force the union of the constituent parts of the divided and unready

Later official descriptions of the Home Fleet explained that it was part
of the Admiralty design that this fleet should offer the first
resistance to an enemy. The most careful examination of these
descriptions leaves no room for doubt that the idea of the Admiralty was
that one of its fleets should, in case of war, form a sort of
advance-guard to the rest of the navy. But it is a fundamental truth
that in naval war an advance-guard is absurd and impossible. In the
operations of armies, an advance-guard is both necessary and useful. Its
function is to delay the enemy's army until such time as the
commander-in-chief shall have assembled his own forces, which may be, to
some extent, scattered on the march. This delay is always possible on
land, because the troops can make use of the ground, that is, of the
positions which it affords favourable for defence, and because by means
of those positions a small force can for a long time hold in check the
advance of a very much larger one. But at sea there are no positions
except those formed by narrow straits, estuaries, and shoals, where land
and sea are more or less mixed up. The open sea is a uniform surface
offering no advantage whatever to either side. There is nothing in naval
warfare resembling the defence of a position on land, and the whole
difference between offence and defence at sea consists in the will of
one side to bring on an action and that of the other side to avoid or
postpone it.

At sea a small force which endeavours by fighting to delay the movement
of a large force exposes itself to destruction without any corresponding
gain of time. Accordingly, at sea, there is no analogy to the action of
an advance-guard, and the mere fact that such an idea should find its
way into the official accounts of the Admiralty's views regarding the
opening move of a possible war must discredit the strategy of the
Admiralty in the judgment of all who have paid any attention to the
nature of naval war.

The second requisite for victory, that is, for winning a battle against
a hostile fleet, is tactical superiority, or, as Nelson put it: "The
skill of our admirals and the activity and spirit of our officers and
seamen." The only way to obtain this is through the perpetual practice
of the admirals commanding fleets. An admiral, in order to make himself
a first-rate tactician, must not merely have deeply studied and pondered
the subject, but must spend as much time as possible in exercising, as a
whole, the fleet which he commands, in order not only by experimental
manoeuvres thoroughly to satisfy himself as to the formation and mode of
attack which will be best suited to any conceivable circumstance in
which he may find himself, but also to inculcate his ideas into his
subordinates; to inspire them with his own knowledge, and to give them
that training in working together which, in all those kinds of
activities which require large numbers of men to work together, whether
on the cricket field, at football, in an army, or in a navy, constitutes
the advantage of a practised over a scratch team.

If the practice is to make the fleet ready for war, it must be carried
out with the fleet in its war composition. All the different elements,
battleships, cruisers, torpedo craft, and the rest, must be fully
represented, otherwise the admiral would be practising in peace with a
different instrument from that with which he would need to operate in

The importance of this perpetual training ought to be self-evident. It
may be well to remind the reader that it has also been historically
proved. The great advantage which the British possessed over the French
navy in the Wars of the Revolution and the Empire was that the British
fleets were always at sea, whereas the French fleets, for years
blockaded in their ports, were deficient in that practice which, in the
naval as in all other professions, makes perfect. One of the complaints
against the present Board of Admiralty is that it has not encouraged the
training and exercise of fleets as complete units.

Another point, in regard to which the recent practice of the Admiralty
is regarded with very grave doubts, not only by many naval officers,
but also by many of those who, without being naval officers, take a
serious interest in the navy, is that of naval construction. For several
years the Admiralty neglected to build torpedo craft of the quality and
in the quantity necessary for the most probable contingencies of war,
while, at the same time, large sums of money were spent in building
armoured cruisers, vessels of a fighting power so great that an admiral
would hesitate to detach them from his fleet, lest he should be
needlessly weakened on the day of battle, yet not strong enough safely
to replace the battleships in the fighting line. The result has been
that the admirals in command of fleets have for some time been anxiously
asking to be better supplied with scouts or vessels of great speed, but
not of such fighting power that they could not be spared at a distance
from the fleet even on the eve of an action. These two defects in the
shipbuilding policy of the Admiralty make it probable that for some
years past the navy has not been constructed in accord with any fully
thought-out design of operations; in other words, that the great object
"victory" has been forgotten by the supreme authority.

The doubt whether victory has been borne in mind is confirmed by what is
known of the design of the original _Dreadnought_. A battleship ought to
be constructed for battle, that is, for the purpose of destroying the
enemy's fleet, for which purpose it will never be used alone, but in
conjunction with a number of ships like itself forming the weapon of an
admiral in command. A battleship requires three qualities, in the
following order of importance:--

First, offensive power. A fleet exists in order to destroy the enemy,
but it has no prospect of performing that function if its power of
destruction is less than its enemy's. The chief weapon to-day, as in the
past, is artillery. Accordingly the first requisite of a fleet, as
regards its material qualities, those produced by the constructor, is
the capacity to pour on to the enemy's fleet a heavier rain of
projectiles than he can return.

The second quality is the power of movement. The advantage of superior
speed in a fleet--for the superior speed of an individual ship is of
little importance--is that so long as it is preserved it enables the
admiral, within limits, to accept or decline battle according to his own
judgment. This is a great strategical advantage. It may in some
conditions enable an inferior fleet to postpone an action which might be
disastrous until it has effected a junction with another fleet belonging
to its own side.

The third quality is that the ships of a fleet should be strong enough
to offer to the enemy's projectiles a sufficient resistance to make it
improbable that they can be sunk before having inflicted their fair
share of damage on the adversary.

There is always a difficulty in combining these qualities in a given
ship, because as a ship weighs the quantity of water which she
displaces, a ship of any given size has its weight given, and the
designer cannot exceed that limit of weight. He must divide it between
guns with their ammunition, engines with their coal, and armour. Every
ton given to armour diminishes the tonnage possible for guns and
engines, and, given a minimum for armour, every extra ton given to
engines and coal reduces the possible weight of guns and ammunition. In
the _Dreadnought_ a very great effort was made to obtain a considerable
extra speed over that of all other battleships. This extra speed was
defended on the ground that it would enable a fleet of _Dreadnoughts_ to
fight a battle at long range, and with a view to such battle the
_Dreadnought_ was provided only with guns of the heaviest calibre and
deprived of those guns of medium calibre with which earlier battleships
were well provided. The theories thus embodied in the new class of ships
were both of them doubtful, and even dangerous. In the first place, it
is in the highest degree injurious to the spirit and courage of the crew
to have a ship which they know will be at a disadvantage if brought into
close proximity with the enemy. Their great object ought to be to get as
near to the enemy as possible. The hypothesis that more damage will be
done by an armament exclusively of the largest guns is in the opinion
of many of the best judges likely to be refuted. There is some reason to
believe that a given tonnage, if devoted to guns of medium calibre,
would yield a very much greater total damage to an enemy's ship than if
devoted to a smaller number of guns of heavy calibre and firing much
less rapidly.

There is, moreover, a widespread belief among naval officers of the
highest repute, among whom may be named the author of the "Influence of
Sea Power upon History," than whom no one has thought more profoundly on
the subject of naval war, that it is bad economy to concentrate in a few
very large ships the power which might be more conveniently and
effectively employed if distributed in a great number of ships of more
moderate size.

Surely, so long as naval opinion is divided about the tactical and
strategical wisdom of a new type of battleship, it is rash to continue
building battleships exclusively of that type, and it would be more
reasonable to make an attempt to have naval opinion sifted and
clarified, and thus to have a secure basis for a shipbuilding programme,
than to hurry on an enormous expenditure upon what may after all prove
to have been a series of doubtful experiments.

All the questions above discussed seem to me to be more important than
that of mere numbers of ships. Numbers are, however, of great
importance in their proper place and for the proper reasons. The policy
adopted and carried out by the British navy, at any rate during the
latter half of the war against the French Empire, was based on a known
superiority of force. The British fleet set out by blockading all the
French fleets, that is, by taking stations near to the great French
harbours and there observing those harbours, so that no French fleet
should escape without being attacked. If this is to be the policy of the
British navy in future it will require a preponderance of force of every
kind over that of the enemy, and that preponderant force will have to be
fully employed from the very first day of the war. In other words, it
must be kept in commission during peace. But, in addition, it is always
desirable to have a reserve of strength to meet the possibility that the
opening of a war or one of its early subsequent stages may bring into
action some additional unexpected adversary. There are thus two reasons
that make for a fleet of great numerical strength. The first, that only
great superiority renders possible the strategy known as blockade, or,
as I have ventured to call it, of "shadowing" the whole of the enemy's
forces. The second, that only great numerical strength renders it
possible to provide a reserve against unexpected contingencies.



After the close of the South African war, two Royal Commissions were
appointed. One of them, known as the War Commission, was in a general
way to inquire into and report upon the lessons of the war. This mission
it could fulfil only very imperfectly, because its members felt
precluded from discussing the policy in which the war had its origin and
incapable of reviewing the military conduct of the operations. This was
very like reviewing the play of "Hamlet" without reference to the
characters and actions either of Hamlet or of the King, for the
mainsprings which determine the course, character, and issue of any war
are the policy out of which it arises and the conduct of the military
operations. The main fact which impressed itself on the members of the
War Commission was that the forces employed on the British side had been
very much larger than had been expected at the beginning of the war, and
the moral which they drew was contained in the one sentence of their
report which has remained in the public mind, to the effect that the
Government ought to make provision for the expansion of the army beyond
the limit of the regular forces of the Crown.

About the same time another Commission, under the chairmanship of the
Duke of Norfolk, was appointed to inquire and report whether any, and,
if any, what changes were required in order to secure that the Militia
and Volunteer forces should be maintained in a condition of military
efficiency and at an adequate strength. The Norfolk Commission
recommended certain changes which it thought would lead to a great
improvement in the efficiency of both forces, while permitting them to
maintain the requisite numerical strength. With regard to the Volunteer
force, the report said:--

"The governing condition is that the Volunteer, whether an officer,
non-commissioned officer, or private, earns his own living, and that if
demands are made upon him which are inconsistent with his doing so he
must cease to be a Volunteer. No regulations can be carried out which
are incompatible with the civil employment of the Volunteers, who are
for the most part in permanent situations. Moreover, whatever may be the
goodwill and patriotism of employers, they cannot allow the Volunteers
they may employ more than a certain period of absence. Their power to
permit their workmen to attend camp or other exercises is controlled by
the competition which exists in their trade. Those who permit Volunteers
in their service to take holidays longer than are customary in their
trade and district, are making in the public interest a sacrifice which
some of them think excessive."

The report further laid stress on the cardinal principle that no
Volunteer, whatever his rank, should be put to expense on account of his
service. Subject to this governing condition and to this cardinal
principle, the Commission made recommendations from which it expected a
marked improvement and the gradual attainment of a standard much in
advance of anything which until then had been reached.

Most of these recommendations have been adopted, with modifications, in
the arrangements which have since been made for the Volunteers under the
new name "The Territorial Force."

The Norfolk Commission felt no great confidence in the instructions
given it by the Government on the subject of the standard of efficiency
and of numerical strength. Accordingly the Commission added to its
report the statement:--

"We cannot assert that, even if the measures
recommended were fully carried out, these forces
would be equal to the task of defeating a modern
continental army in the United Kingdom."

The Commission's chief doubt was whether, under the conditions
inseparable at any rate from the volunteer system, any scheme of
training would give to forces officered largely by men who are not
professional soldiers the cohesion of armies that exact a progressive
two-years' course from their soldiers and rely, except for expanding the
subaltern ranks on mobilisation, upon professional leaders. The
Commission then considered "Measures which may provide a Home Defence
Army equal to the task of defeating an invader." They were unable to
recommend the adoption of the Swiss system, partly because the initial
training was not, in their judgment, sufficient for the purpose, and
partly because they held that the modern method of extending the
training to all classes, while shortening its duration, involves the
employment of instructors of the highest possible qualifications. The
Commission concluded by reporting that a Home Defence Army capable, in
the absence of the whole or the greater portion of the regular forces,
of protecting this country against invasion can be raised and maintained
only on the principle that it is the duty of every citizen of military
age and sound physique to be trained for the national defence and to
take part in it should emergency arise.

The Norfolk Commission gave expression to two different views without
attempting to reconcile them. On the one hand it laid down the main
lines along which the improvement of the militia and volunteers was to
be sought, and on the other hand it pointed out the advantages of the
principle that it is the citizen's duty to be trained as a soldier and
to fight in case of need. To go beyond this and to attempt either to
reconcile the two currents of thought or to decide between them, was
impossible for a Commission appointed to deal with only a fraction of
the problem of national defence. The two sets of views, however,
continue to exist side by side, and the nation yet has to do what the
Norfolk Commission by its nature was debarred from doing. The
Government, represented in this matter by Mr. Haldane, is still in the
position of relying upon an improved militia and volunteer force. The
National Service League, on the other hand, advocates the principle of
the citizen's duty, though it couples with it a specific programme
borrowed from the Swiss system, the adoption of which was deprecated in
the Commission's Report. The public is somewhat puzzled by the
appearance of opposition between what are thought of as two schools, and
indeed Mr. Haldane in his speech introducing the Army Estimates on March
4, 1909, described the territorial force as a safeguard against
universal service.

The time has perhaps come when the attempt should be made to find a
point of view from which the two schools of thought can be seen in due
perspective, and from which, therefore, a definite solution of the
military problem may be reached.

By what principle must our choice between the two systems be determined?
By the purpose in hand. The sole ultimate use of an army is to win the
nation's battles, and if one system promises to fulfil that purpose
while the other system does not, we cannot hesitate.

Great Britain requires an army as one of the instruments of success in a
modern British war, and we have therefore to ascertain, in general, the
nature of a modern war, and in particular the character of such wars as
Great Britain may have to wage.

The distinguishing feature of the conflict between two modern great
States is that it is a struggle for existence, or, at any rate, a
wrestle to a fall. The mark of the modern State is that it is identified
with the population which it comprises, and to such a State the name
"nation" properly belongs. The French Revolution nationalised the State
and in consequence nationalised war, and every modern continental State
has so organized itself with a view to war that its army is equivalent
to the nation in arms.

The peculiar character of a British war is due to the insular character
of the British State. A conflict with a great continental Power must
begin with a naval struggle, which will be carried on with the utmost
energy until one side or the other has established its predominance on
the sea. If in this struggle the British navy is successful, the effect
which can be produced on a continental State by the victorious navy will
not be sufficient to cause the enemy to accept peace upon British
conditions. For that purpose, it will be necessary to invade the enemy's
territory and to put upon him the constraint of military defeat, and
Great Britain therefore requires an army strong enough either to effect
this operation or to encourage continental allies to join with it in
making the attempt.

In any British war, therefore, which is to be waged with prospect of
success, Great Britain's battles must be fought and won on the enemy's
territory and against an army raised and maintained on the modern
national principle.

This is the decisive consideration affecting British military policy.

In case of the defeat of the British navy a continental enemy would,
undoubtedly, attempt the invasion and at least the temporary conquest of
Great Britain. The army required to defeat him in the United Kingdom
would need to have the same strength and the same qualities as would be
required to defeat him in his own territory, though, if the invasion had
been preceded by naval defeat, it is very doubtful whether any military
success in the United Kingdom would enable Great Britain to continue
her resistance with much hope of ultimate success.

For these reasons I cannot believe that Great Britain's needs are met by
the possession of any force the employment of which is, by the
conditions of its service, limited to fighting in the United Kingdom. A
British army, to be of any use, must be ready to go and win its
country's battles in the theatre of war in which its country requires
victories. That theatre of war will never be the United Kingdom unless
and until the navy has failed to perform its task, in which case it will
probably be too late to win battles in time to avert the national
overthrow which must be the enemy's aim.

There are, however, certain subsidiary services for which any British
military system must make provision.

These are:--

(1) Sufficient garrisons must be maintained during peace in India, in
Egypt, for some time to come in South Africa, and in certain naval
stations beyond the seas, viz., Gibraltar, Malta, Ceylon, Hong Kong,
Singapore, Mauritius, West Africa, Bermuda, and Jamaica. It is generally
agreed that the principle of compulsory service cannot be applied for
the maintenance of these garrisons, which must be composed of
professional paid soldiers.

(2) Experience shows that a widespread Empire, like the British,
requires from time to time expeditions for the maintenance of order on
its borders against half civilised or savage tribes. This function was
described in an essay on "Imperial Defence," published by Sir Charles
Dilke and the present writer in 1892 as "Imperial Police."

It would not be fair, for the purpose of one of these small expeditions,
arbitrarily to call upon a fraction of a force maintained on the
principle of compulsion. Accordingly any system must provide a special
paid reserve for the purpose of furnishing the men required for such an

An army able to strike a serious blow against a continental enemy in his
own territory would evidently be equally able to defeat an invading army
if the necessity should arise. Accordingly the military question for
Great Britain resolves itself into the provision of an army able to
carry on serious operations against a European enemy, together with the
maintenance of such professional forces as are indispensable for the
garrisons of India, Egypt, and the over-sea stations enumerated above
and for small wars.



I proceed to describe a typical army of the national kind, and to show
how the system of such an army could be applied in the case of Great

The system of universal service has been established longer in Germany
than in any other State, and can best be explained by an account of its
working in that country. In Germany every man becomes liable to military
service on his seventeenth birthday, and remains liable until he is
turned forty-five. The German army, therefore, theoretically includes
all German citizens between the ages of seventeen and forty-five, but
the liability is not enforced before the age of twenty nor after the age
of thirty-nine, except in case of some supreme emergency. Young men
under twenty, and men between thirty-nine and forty-five, belong to the
Landsturm. They are subjected to no training, and would not be called
upon to fight except in the last extremity. Every year all the young men
who have reached their twentieth birthday are mustered and classified.
Those who are not found strong enough for military service are divided
into three grades, of which one is dismissed as unfit; a second is
excused from training and enrolled in the Landsturm; while a third,
whose physical defects are minor and perhaps temporary, is told off to a
supplementary reserve, of which some members receive a short training.
Of those selected as fit for service a few thousand are told off to the
navy, the remainder pass into the army and join the colours.

The soldiers thus obtained serve in the ranks of the army for two years
if assigned to the infantry, field artillery, or engineers, and for
three years if assigned to the cavalry or horse artillery. At the
expiration of the two or three years they pass into the reserve of the
standing army, in which they remain until the age of twenty-seven, that
is, for five years in the case of the infantry and engineers, and for
four years in the case of the cavalry and horse artillery. At
twenty-seven all alike cease to belong to the standing army, and pass
into the Landwehr, to which they continue to belong to the age of
thirty-nine. The necessity to serve for at least two years with the
colours is modified in the case of young men who have reached a certain
standard of education, and who engage to clothe, feed, equip, and in the
mounted arms to mount themselves. These men are called "one year
volunteers," and are allowed to pass into the reserve of the standing
army at the expiration of one year with the colours.

In the year 1906, 511,000 young men were mustered, and of these 275,000
were passed into the standing army, 55,000 of them being one year
volunteers. The men in any year so passed into the army form an annual
class, and the standing army at any time is made up, in the infantry, of
two annual classes, and in the cavalry and horse artillery of three
annual classes. In case of war, the army of first line would be made up
by adding to the two or three annual classes already with the colours
the four or five annual classes forming the reserve, that is, altogether
seven annual classes. Each of these classes would number, when it first
passed into the army, about 275,000; but as each class must lose every
year a certain number of men by death, by diseases which cause physical
incapacity from service, and by emigration, the total army of first line
must fall short of the total of seven times 275,000. It may probably be
taken at a million and a half. In the second line come the twelve annual
classes of Landwehr, which will together furnish about the same numbers
as the standing army.

Behind the Landwehr comes the supplementary reserve, and behind that
again the Landsturm, comprising the men who have been trained and are
between the ages of thirty-nine and forty-five, the young men under
twenty, and all those who, from physical weakness, have been entirely
exempted from training.

During their two or three years with the colours the men receive an
allowance or pay of twopence halfpenny a day. Their service is not a
contract but a public duty, and while performing it they are clothed,
lodged, and fed by the State. When passed into the reserve they resume
their normal civil occupation, except that for a year or two they are
called up for a few weeks' training and manoeuvres during the autumn.

In this way all German citizens, so far as they are physically fit, with
a few exceptions, such as the only son and support of a widow, receive a
thorough training as soldiers, and Germany relies in case of war
entirely and only upon her citizens thus turned into soldiers.

The training is carried out by officers and non-commissioned officers,
who together are the military schoolmasters of the nation, and, like
other proficient schoolmasters, are paid for their services by which
they live. Broadly speaking, there are in Germany no professional
soldiers except the officers and non-commissioned officers, from whom a
high standard of capacity as instructors and trainers during peace and
as leaders in war is demanded and obtained.

The high degree of military proficiency which the German army has
acquired is due to the excellence of the training given by the officers
and to the thoroughness with which, during a course of two or three
years, that training can be imparted. The great numbers which can be put
into the field are due to the practice of passing the whole male
population, so far as it is physically qualified, through this training,
so that the army in war represents the whole of the best manhood of the
country between the ages of twenty and forty.

The total of three millions which has been given above is that which was
mentioned by Prince Bismarck in a speech to the Reichstag in 1887. The
increase of population since that date has considerably augmented the
figures for the present time, and the corresponding total to-day
slightly exceeds four millions.

       *       *       *       *       *

The results of the British system are shown in the following table,
which gives, from the Army Estimates, the numbers of the various
constituents of the British army on the 1st of January 1909. There were
at that date in the United Kingdom:---

Regular forces ........................  123,250
Army reserve ..........................  134,110
Special reserves ......................   67,780
Militia ...............................    9,158
Territorial force .....................  209,977
Officers' training corps ..............      416

     Total in the United Kingdom ......  544,691

In Egypt and the Colonies:--

Regular forces ........................   45,002

The British troops in India are paid for by the Indian Government and do
not appear in the British Army Estimates. Of the force maintained in the
United Kingdom, it will be observed that it falls, roughly, into three

In the first place come the first-rate troops which may be presumed to
have had a thorough training for war. This class embraces only the
regulars and the army reserve, which together slightly exceed a quarter
of a million. In the second class come the 68,000 of the special
reserve, which, in so far as they have enjoyed the six months' training
laid down in the recent reorganisation, could on a sanguine estimate be
classified as second-class troops, though in view of the fact that their
officers are not professional and are for the most part very slightly
trained, that classification would be exceedingly sanguine. Next comes
the territorial force with a maximum annual training of a fortnight in
camp, preceded by ten to twenty lessons and officered by men whose
professional training, though it far exceeds that of the rank and file,
falls yet very much short of that given to the professional officers of
a first-rate continental army. The territorial force, by its
constitution, is not available to fight England's battles except in the
United Kingdom, where they can never be fought except in the event of a
defeat of the navy.

This heterogeneous tripartite army is exceedingly expensive, its cost
during the current year being, according to the Estimates, very little
less than 29 millions, the cost of the personnel being 23-1/2 millions,
that of _matériel_ being 4 millions, and that of administration 1/2

The British regular army cannot multiply soldiers as does the German
army. It receives about 37,000 recruits a year. But it sends away to
India and the Colonies about 23,000 each year and seldom receives them
back before their eight years' colour service are over, when they pass
into the first-class reserve. There pass into the reserve about 24,000
men a year, and as the normal term of reserve service is four years, its
normal strength is about 96,000 men.

As the regular army contains only professional soldiers, who look, at
any rate for a period of eight years, to soldiering as a living, and are
prepared for six or seven years abroad, there is a limit to the supply
of recruits, who are usually under nineteen years of age, and to whom
the pay of a shilling a day is an attraction. Older men with prospects
of regular work expect wages much higher than that, and therefore do not
enlist except when in difficulties.



I propose to show that a well-trained homogeneous army of great
numerical strength can be obtained on the principle of universal service
at no greater cost than the present mixed force. The essentials of a
scheme, based upon training the best manhood of the nation, are: first,
that to be trained is a matter of duty not of pay; secondly, that every
trained man is bound, as a matter of duty, to serve with the army in a
national war; thirdly, that the training must be long enough to be
thorough, but no longer; fourthly, that the instructors shall be the
best possible, which implies that they must be paid professional
officers and non-commissioned officers.

I take the age at which the training should begin at the end of the
twentieth year, in order that, in case of war, the men in the ranks may
be the equals in strength and endurance of the men in the ranks of any
opposing army. The number of men who reach the age of twenty every year
in the United Kingdom exceeds 400,000. Continental experience shows that
less than half of these would be rejected as not strong enough. The
annual class would therefore be about 200,000.

The principle of duty applies of course to the navy as well as to the
army, and any man going to the navy will be exempt from army training.
But it is doubtful whether the navy can be effectively manned on a
system of very short service such as is inevitable for a national army.
The present personnel of the navy is maintained by so small a yearly
contingent of recruits that it will be covered by the excess of the
annual class over the figure here assumed of 200,000. The actual number
of men reaching the age of twenty is more than 400,000, and the probable
number out of 400,000 who will be physically fit for service is at least

I assume that for the infantry and field artillery a year's training
would, with good instruction, be sufficient, and that even better and
more lasting results would be produced if the last two months of the
year were replaced by a fortnight of field manoeuvres in each of the
four summers following the first year. For the cavalry and horse
artillery I believe that the training should be prolonged for a second

The liability to rejoin the colours, in case of a national war, should
continue to the end of the 27th year, and be followed by a period of
liability in the second line, Landwehr or Territorial Army.

The first thing to be observed is the numerical strength of the army
thus raised and trained.

If we assume that any body of men loses each year, from death,
disablement, and emigration, five per cent. of its number, the annual
classes would be as follows:--

1st year, age 20-21        200,000    (At the end of the
2nd  "     "  21-22        170,000     first year 20,000
3rd  "     "  23-24        161,300     are to go abroad
4th  "     "  24-25        153,425     as explained below)
5th  "     "  25-26        145,754
6th  "     "  26-27        138,467
  Total on mobilisation    968,946

This gives an army of close upon a million men in first line in addition
to the British forces in India, Egypt, and the colonial stations.

If from the age of 27 to that of 31 the men were in the Landwehr, that
force would be composed of four annual classes as follows:--

 7th year, age 27-28       131,544
 8th   "    "  28-29       124,967
 9th   "    "  29-30       118,719
10th   "    "  30-31       112,784
  Total of Landwehr        488,014

There is no need to consider the further strength that would be
available if the liability were prolonged to the age of 39, as it is in

The liability thus enforced upon all men of sound physique is to fight
in a national war, a conflict involving for England a struggle for
existence. But that does not and ought not to involve serving in the
garrison of Egypt or of India during peace, nor being called upon to
take part in one of the small wars waged for the purpose of policing the
Empire or its borders. These functions must be performed by
professional, i.e. paid soldiers.

The British army has 76,000 men in India and 45,000 in Egypt, South
Africa, and certain colonial stations. These forces are maintained by
drafts from the regular army at home, the drafts amounting in 1908 to
12,000 for India and 11,000 for the Colonies.

Out of every annual class of 200,000 young men there will be a number
who, after a year's training, will find soldiering to their taste, and
will wish to continue it. These should be given the option of engaging
for a term of eight years in the British forces in India, Egypt, or the
Colonies. There they would receive pay and have prospects of promotion
to be non-commissioned officers, sergeants, warrant officers or
commissioned officers, and of renewing their engagement if they wished
either for service abroad or as instructors in the army at home. These
men would leave for India, Egypt, or a colony at the end of their first
year. I assume that 20,000 would be required, because eight annual
classes of that strength, diminishing at the rate of five per cent. per
annum, give a total of 122,545, and the eight annual classes would
therefore suffice to maintain the 121,000 now in India, Egypt, and the
Colonies. Provision is thus made for the maintenance of the forces in
India, Egypt, and the Colonies.

There must also be provision for the small wars to which the Empire is
liable. This would be made by engaging every year 20,000 who had
finished their first year's training to serve for pay, say 1s. a day,
for a period say of six months, of the second year, and afterwards to
join for five years the present first-class reserve at 6d. a day, with
liability for small wars and expeditions. At the end of the five years
these men would merge in the general unpaid reserve of the army. They
might during their second year's training be formed into a special corps
devoting most of the time to field manoeuvres, in which supplementary or
reserve officers could receive special instruction.

It would be necessary also to keep with the colours for some months
after the first year's training a number of garrison artillery and
engineers to provide for the security of fortresses during the period
between the time of sending home one annual class and the preliminary
lessons of the next. These men would be paid. I allow 10,000 men for
this purpose, and these, with the 20,000 prolonging their training for
the paid reserve, and with the mounted troops undergoing the second
year's training, would give during the winter months a garrison strength
at home of 50,000 men.

The mobilised army of a million men would require a great number of
extra officers, who should be men of the type of volunteer officers
selected for good education and specially trained, after their first
year's service, in order to qualify them as officers. Similar provision
must be made for supplementary non-commissioned officers.



It will probably be admitted that an army raised and trained on the plan
here set forth would be far superior in war to the heterogeneous body
which figures in the Army Estimates at a total strength of 540,000
regulars, militia, and volunteers. Its cost would in no case be more
than that of the existing forces, and would probably be considerably
less. This is the point which requires to be proved.

The 17th Appendix to the Army Estimates is a statement of the cost of
the British army, arranged under the four headings of:--

1. Cost of personnel of regular army and
   army reserve                                 £18,279,234

2. Cost of special reserves and territorial
   forces                                         5,149,843

3. Cost of armaments, works, stores, &c.          3,949,463

4. Cost of staff and administration               1,414,360
       Making a total of                        £28,792,900

In the above table nearly a million is set down for the cost of certain
labour establishments and of certain instructional establishments,
which may for the present purpose be neglected. Leaving them out, the
present cost of the personnel of the Regular Army, apart from staff, is,
£15,942,802. For this cost are maintained officers, non-commissioned
officers and men, numbering altogether 170,000.

The lowest pay given is that of 1s. a day to infantry privates, the
privates of the other arms receiving somewhat higher and the
non-commissioned officers very much higher rates of pay.

If compulsory service were introduced into Great Britain, pay would
become unnecessary for the private soldier; but he ought to be and would
be given a daily allowance of pocket-money, which probably ought not to
exceed fourpence. The mounted troops would be paid at the rate of 1s. a
day during their second year's service.

Assuming then that the private soldier received fourpence a day instead
of 1s. a day, and that the officers and non-commissioned officers were
paid as at present, the cost of the army would be reduced by an amount
corresponding to 8d. a day for 148,980 privates. That amount is
£1,812,590, the deduction of which would reduce the total cost to
£14,137,212. At the same rate an army of 200,000 privates and

20,000 non-commissioned officers and men would
cost    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    . £18,295,215

   Second year of 20,000 mounted
       troops at £60 a year each .    .    .   1,200,000

   Add to this cost of first-class Reserve
       of 96,000 at £10 7s. 6d.
       each  .    .    .    .    .    .    .     997,600

   Cost of 30,000 men for six months'
       extra training at the rate of
       £60 a year each .    .    .    .    .     900,000

   Cost of extra training for supplementary
       officers and non-commissioned
       officers   .    .    .    .    .    .     500,000
   Add to this the cost of the troops
       maintained in the Colonies and
       Egypt so far as charged to
       British Estimates    .    .    .    .  £3,401,704
            Total personnel      .    .    . £25,294,519

   Matériel (allowing for additional
       outlay due to larger numbers)  .    .   4,500,000

   Staff and administration      .    .    .   1,500,000
         Total Cost of Army at Home
             and in the Colonies      .    . £31,294,519

This is slightly in excess of the present cost of the personnel of the
Army, but, whereas the present charge only provides for the
heterogeneous force already described of 589,000 men, the charges here
explained provide for a short-service homogeneous army of one million
and a half, as well as for the 45,000 troops permanently maintained in
Egypt and the Colonies.

The estimate just given is, however, extravagant. The British system has
innumerable different rates of pay and extra allowances of all kinds,
and is so full of anomalies that it is bound to be costly.
Unfortunately, the Army Estimates are so put together that it is
difficult to draw from them any exact inferences as to the actual annual
cost of a private soldier beyond his pay.

The average annual cost, effective and non-effective, of an officer in
the cavalry, artillery, engineers, and infantry is £473, this sum
covering all the arrangements for pensions and retiring allowances.

I propose in the following calculations to assume the average cost of an
officer to be £500 a year, a sum which would make it possible for the
average combatant officer to be somewhat better paid than he is at

The normal pay of a sergeant in the infantry of the line is 2s. 4d. a
day, or £42, 11s. 8d. a year. The Army Estimates do not give the cost of
a private soldier, but the statement is made that the average annual
cost per head of 150,000 warrant officers, non-commissioned officers,
and men is £63, 6s. 7d. The warrant officers and non-commissioned
officers appear to be much more expensive than the private, and as the
minimum pay of a private is £18, 5s., the balance, £45, 1s. 7d., is
probably much more than the cost of housing, clothing, feeding, and
equipping the private, whose food, the most expensive item, certainly
does not cost a shilling a day or £18 a year.

I assume that the cost of maintaining a private soldier is covered by
£36 a year, while his allowance of 4d. a day amounts to £6, 1s. 4d. In
order to cover the extra allowances which may be made to corporals,
buglers, and trumpeters, I assume the average cost of the rank and file
to be £45 a year. I also assume that the average cost of a sergeant does
not exceed £100 a year, which allows from £40 to £50 for his pay and the
balance for his housing, clothing, equipment, and food. I add provisions
for pensions for sergeants after twenty-five years' service.

These figures lead to the following estimate:--

7000 officers at £500                          £3,500,000

14,000 sergeants at £100                        1,400,000

Pension after twenty-five years for sergeants,
    £52 a year                                    396,864

(An annual class of 14,000, decreasing
    annually by 2-1/2 per cent., would consist,
    after twenty-five years, of 7632)
        Carry forward                          £5,296,864

        Brought forward      .     .     .     £5,296,864

200,000 privates at £45 a year     .     .      9,000,000

2nd year of 20,000 mounted troops (cavalry
    and horse artillery at £60 a year each)     1,200,000

Six months' extra training for 30,000 men
    with pay (total rate per man £60 a year)
    (20,000 for paid reserve and 10,000
    fortress troops)   .     .     .     .        900,000

First-class reserve    .     .     .     .        997,600

Training supplementary officers and sergeants     500,000

Colonial troops  .     .     .     .     .      3,500,000

    Total personnel    .     .     .     .    £21,394,464

_Matériel_, allowing for additional cost due
    to larger numbers  .     .     .     .      4,500,000

Staff and administration     .     .     .      1,500,000

Total cost of army at home and in the
    Colonies     .     .     .     .     .    £27,394,464

The figures here given will, it is hoped, speak for themselves. They
are, if anything, too high rather than too low. The number of officers
is calculated on the basis of the present war establishments, which give
5625 officers for 160,500 of the other ranks. It does not include those
in Egypt and the Colonies. The cost of the officers is taken at a higher
average rate than that of British officers of the combatant arms under
the present system, and, both for sergeants and for privates, ample
allowance appears to me to be made even on the basis of their present

When it is considered that Germany maintains with the colours a force of
600,000 men at a cost of £29,000,000, that France maintains 550,000 for
£27,000,000, and that Italy maintains 221,000 for £7,500,000, it cannot
be admitted that Great Britain would be unable to maintain 220,000
officers and men at an annual cost of £17,500,000, and the probability
is that with effective administration this cost could be considerably

It may at first sight seem that the logical course would have been to
assume two years' service in the infantry and three years' service in
the mounted arms, in accord with the German practice, but there are
several reasons that appear to me to make such a proposal unnecessary.
In the first place, Great Britain's principal weapon must always be her
navy, while Germany's principal weapon will always be her army, which
guarantees the integrity of her three frontiers and also guards her
against invasion from oversea. Germany's navy comes only in the second
place in any scheme for a German war, while in any scheme for a British
war the navy must come in the first place and the army in the second.

The German practice for many years was to retain the bulk of the men for
three years with the colours. It was believed by the older generation of
soldiers that any reduction of this period would compromise that
cohesion of the troops which is the characteristic mark of a
disciplined army. But the views of the younger men prevailed and the
period has been reduced by a third. The reduction of time has, however,
placed a heavier responsibility upon the body of professional

The actual practice of the British army proves that a recruit can be
fully trained and be made fit in every way to take his place in his
company by a six months' training, but in my opinion that is not
sufficient preparation for war. The recruit when thoroughly taught
requires a certain amount of experience in field operations or
manoeuvres. This he would obtain during the summer immediately following
upon the recruit training; for the three months of summer, or of summer
and autumn, ought to be devoted almost entirely to field exercises and
manoeuvres. If the soldier is then called out for manoeuvres for a
fortnight in each of four subsequent years, or for a month in each of
two subsequent years, I believe that the lessons he has learned of
operations in the field will thereby be refreshed, renewed, and
digested, so as to give him sufficient experience and sufficient
confidence in himself, in his officers, and in the system to qualify him
for war at any moment during the next five or six years. The additional
three months' manoeuvre training, beyond the mere recruit training,
appears to me indispensable for an army that is to be able to take the
field with effect. But that this period should suffice, and that the
whole training should be given in nine or ten months of one year,
followed by annual periods of manoeuvre, involves the employment of the
best methods by a body of officers steeped in the spirit of modern
tactics and inspired by a general staff of the first order.

The question what is the shortest period that will suffice to produce
cohesion belongs to educational psychology. How long does it take to
form habits? How many repetitions of a lesson will bring a man into the
condition in which he responds automatically to certain calls upon him,
as does a swimmer dropped into the water, a reporter in forming his
shorthand words, or a cyclist guiding and balancing his machine? In each
case two processes are necessary. There is first the series of
progressive lessons in which the movements are learned and mastered
until the pupil can begin practice. Then follows a period of practice
more or less prolonged, without which the lessons learned do not become
part of the man's nature; he retains the uncertainty of a beginner. The
recruit course of the British army is of four months. A first practice
period of six months followed by fresh practice periods of a month each
in two subsequent years or by four practice periods of a fortnight each
in four successive years are in the proposals here sketched assumed to
be sufficient. If they were proved inadequate I believe the right plan
of supplementing them would be rather by adding to the number and
duration of the manoeuvre practices of the subsequent years than by
prolonging the first period of continuous training.

The following table shows the cost of two years' service calculated on
the same bases as have been assumed above. Two years' service would mean
an army with the colours not of 200,000 but of 390,000 men. This would
require double the number of officers and sergeants, and the annual
estimates for personnel would be £34,000,000, and the total Army
Estimates £41,000,000. There would also be a very great extra
expenditure upon barracks.

Estimate of Annual Cost for Two Years' Service.

13,650 officers at £500 a year              £6,825,000

27,300 sergeants at £100                     2,730,000

Pension for sergeants' annual class
  of 27,300, decreasing by 2-1/2 per
  cent., gives after twenty-five years
  £12,403; at £52 a year pension
  is                                           644,956

390,000 privates at £45 a year              17,550,000

Third year mounted troops, 20,000
  at £60                                     1,200,000

First-class reserve                            997,000

Training supplementary officers and
  sergeants                                    500,000
    Carry forward                          £30,446,956

    Brought forward                        £30,446,956

Colonial troops                              3,500,000
        Total personnel                    £33,946,956

_Matériel_, allowing for extra
  numbers                                    5,000,000

Staff and administration, allowing
  for extra numbers                          2,000,000



The training provided in the scheme which I have outlined could be
facilitated at comparatively small cost by the adoption of certain
preparatory instruction to be given partly in the schools, and partly to
young men between the ages of seventeen and twenty.

It has never appeared to me desirable to add to the school curriculum
any military subjects whatever, and I am convinced that no greater
mistake could be made, seeing that schoolmasters are universally agreed
that the curriculum is already overloaded and requires to be lightened,
and that the best preparation that the school can give for making a boy
likely to be a good soldier when grown up, is to develop his
intelligence and physique as far as the conditions of school life admit.
But if all school children were drilled in the evolutions of infantry in
close order, the evolutions being always precisely the same as those
practised in the army, the army would receive its men already drilled,
and would not need to spend much time in recapitulating these
practices, which make no appreciable demand upon the time of school

Again, there seems to be no doubt that boys between the ages of
seventeen and twenty can very well be taught to handle a rifle, and the
time required for such instruction and practice is so small that it
would in no way affect or interfere with the ordinary occupations of the
boys, whatever their class in life.

Every school of every grade ought, as a part of its ordinary geography
lessons, to teach the pupils to understand, to read, and to use the
ordnance maps of Great Britain, and that this should be the case has
already been recognised by the Board of Education. A soldier who can
read such a map has thereby acquired a knowledge and a habit which are
of the greatest value to him, both in manoeuvres and in the field.

The best physical preparation which the schools can give their pupils
for the military life, as well as for any other life, is a well-directed
course of gymnastics and the habits of activity, order, initiative, and
discipline derived from the practice of the national games.

A national army is a school in which the young men of a nation are
educated by a body of specially trained teachers, the officers. The
education given for war consists in a special training of the will and
of the intelligence. In order that it should be effective, the teachers
or trainers must not merely be masters of the theory and practice of war
and of its operations, but also proficient in the art of education. This
conception of the officers' function fixes their true place in the
State. Their duties require for their proper performance the best heads
as well as the best-schooled wills that can be found, and impose upon
them a laborious life. There can be no good teacher who is not also a
student, and a national army requires from its officers a high standard
not only of character, but of intelligence and knowledge. It should
offer a career to the best talent. A national army must therefore
attract the picked men of the universities to become officers. The
attraction, to such men consists, chiefly, in their faith in the value
of the work to be done, and, to a less degree, in the prospect of an
assured living. Adequate, though not necessarily high, pay must be
given, and there must be a probability of advancement in the career
proportionate to the devotion and talents given to the work. But their
work must be relied upon by the nation, otherwise they cannot throw
their energies into it with full conviction.

This is the reason why, if there is to be a national army, it must be
the only regular army and the nation must rely upon nothing else. To
keep a voluntary paid standing army side by side with a national army
raised upon the principle of universal duty is neither morally nor
economically sound. Either the nation will rely upon its school or it
will not. If the school is good enough to serve the nation's turn, a
second school on a different basis is needless; if a second school were
required, that would mean that the first could not be trusted.

There can be no doubt that in a national school of war the professional
officers must be the instructors, otherwise the nation will not rely
upon the young men trained. The 200,000 passed through the school every
year will be the nation's best. Therefore, so soon as the system has
been at work long enough to produce a force as large as the present
total, that is, after the third year, there will be no need to keep up
the establishment of 138,000 paid privates, the special reserve, or the
now existing territorial force. There will be one homogeneous army, of
which a small annual contingent will, after each year's training, be
enlisted for paid service in India, Egypt, and the oversea stations, and
a second small contingent, with extra training, will pass into the paid
reserve for service in small oversea expeditions.

The professional officers and sergeants will, of course, be
interchangeable between the national army at home and its professional
branches in India, Egypt, and the oversea stations, and the cadres of
the battalions, batteries, and squadrons stationed outside the United
Kingdom can from time to time be relieved by the cadres of the
battalions' from the training army at home. This relief of battalions is
made practicable by the national system. One of the first consequences
of the new mode of recruiting will be that all recruits will be taken on
the same given date, probably the 1st of January in each year, and, as
this will apply as well to the men who re-engage to serve abroad as to
all others, so soon as the system is in full working order, the men of
any battalion abroad will belong to annual classes, and the engagement
of each class will terminate on the same day.



I have now explained the nature and working of a national army, and
shown the kind of strength it will give and the probable maximum cost
which it will involve when adopted.

The chief difficulty attendant upon its adoption lies in the period of
transition from the old order to the new. If Great Britain is to keep
her place and do her duty in the world the change must be made; but the
question arises, how is the gulf between one and the other to be
bridged? War comes like a thief in the night, and it must not catch this
country unready.

The complete readiness which the new system, when in full swing, will
produce, cannot be obtained immediately. All that can be done in the
transition period is to see that the number and quality of men available
for mobilisation shall be at least as high as it is under the existing
system. It may be worth while to explain how this result can be secured.

Let us assume that the Act authorising the new system is passed during a
year, which may be called '00, and that it is to come into force on the
1st January of the year '01. The Act would probably exempt from its
operations the men at the date of its passing already serving in any of
the existing forces, including the territorial army, and the discussion
on the Bill would, no doubt, have the effect of filling the territorial
army up to the limit of its establishment, 315,000 men.

On the 31st December '00 the available troops would therefore be:--

Regulars in the United Kingdom (present
  figure)                                           138,000

Special reserve                                      67,000

Army reserve (probably diminished from present
  strength)                                         120,000

Territorial force                                   315,000
Total                                               640,000

From the 1st January '01 recruiting on present conditions for all these
forces would cease.

The regular army of                                 138,000
  would lose drafts to India and the
    Colonies                           23,000
  and would have lost during '00
    by waste at 5 per cent              6,900
This would leave:                                   -------
  regular army under old conditions                 108,100

  and leave room for recruits under new conditions   91,900

The total available for mobilisation during the year '01 would
therefore be:--

Regulars                                             200,000

Paid reserves (the present first-class reserve.
  I assume an arbitrary figure below the
  actual one)                                        120,000

Special reserve (I assume a large waste and
  a loss from men whose time has expired)             50,000

Territorial force                       315,000
  Less 5 per cent                        15,700

On the 1st January '02 the regular army would be:--

Old engagement                108,000
  Less waste                    5,400
Indian and Colonial reliefs    23,000
                              -------              79,600

Recruits under new system                         120,400

Mounted troops serving second year                 20,000
Total of regulars                                 220,000

New reserve                        91,900
  Less 5 per cent.                  4,580
                                   87,320          87,000

Paid reserve                                      120,000

Special reserve, reduced by lapse of engagements   40,000
Total liable for national war                     467,000

Add--Territorial force, reduced by 5 per cent
  waste (14,962), and lapse of (78,750)
  engagements                                     205,538

In the year '03 there would be:--

Old regulars, 79,600; less 5 per cent. waste,
  3,950; less drafts for abroad, 23,000--
  leaves 52,050, say                                 50,000

Regulars, recruits under new conditions             150,000

Mounted troops serving second year                   20,000

New reserve                                         197,331

Paid reserve                                        120,000

Special reserve                                      30,000
    Total liable for national war                   567,334

    Territorial force                               116,512

In the year '04 there would be:--

Old regulars                            50,000
  Less 5 per cent.                       2,500

  Less drafts                           23,000
                                       -------       24,500

New regulars                                        175,500

Mounted troops, second year                          20,000

New reserve                                         329,000

Paid reserve                                        120,000

Special reserve may now be dropped                ---------
Total liable for national war                       669,000

Territorial force                       116,512
  Less 5 per cent.                        5,825
  Less                                   78,750
                                       --------      31,937

At the end of '04 the territorial force would come to an end and in '05
there would be:--

(Old regulars, 24,000, after waste just enough
  for drafts.)

New regulars                                      200,000

Mounted troops, second year                        20,000

New reserve                          478,000
  Less to paid reserve                20,000
                                    --------      458,000

Paid reserve                                      120,000
Total, all liable for national war                798,000

In these tables I have taken the drafts for India and the Colonies from
the old regulars. But they can just as well be taken from the new
regulars. If need be the old regulars could, before the fourth year, be
passed into the paid reserve, and the full contingent of 200,000 one
year's men taken.

The men of the special reserve and territorial force would on the
termination of their engagements pass into the second line reserve or
Landwehr until the age of thirty-one or thirty-two.

It will be seen that during the years of transition additional expense
must be incurred, as, until the change has been completed, some portion
of the existing forces must be maintained side by side with the new
national army. It is partly in order to facilitate the operations of the
transition period that I have assumed a large addition to the number of
officers. There will also be additional expense caused by the increase
of barrack accommodation needed when the establishment is raised from
138,000 privates to 200,000, but this additional accommodation will not
be so great as it might at first sight appear, because it is reasonable
to suppose that those young men who wish it, and whose parents wish it,
will be allowed to live at home instead of in barracks, provided they
regularly attend all drills, parades, and classes.

It has been necessary, in discussing the British military system, to
consider the arrangements for providing the garrisons of India, Egypt,
and certain oversea stations during peace, and to make provision for
small wars or imperial police; but I may point out that the system by
which provision is made out of the resources of the United Kingdom alone
for these two military requirements of the Empire, is, in the present
conditions of the Empire, an anomaly. The new nations which have grown
up in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are anxious, above all things,
to give reality to the bond between them and the mother country. Their
desire is to render imperial service, and the proper way of giving them
the opportunity to do so is to call upon them to take their part in
maintaining the garrisons in India and Egypt and in the work of imperial
police. How they should do it, it is for them to decide and arrange, but
for Englishmen at home to doubt for a moment either their will or their
capacity to take their proper share of the burden is to show an unworthy
doubt of the sincerity of the daughter nations and of their attachment
to the mother country and the Empire.

If Great Britain should be compelled to enter upon a struggle for
existence with one of the great European powers, the part which Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa could play in that struggle is
limited and specific. For the conflict would, in the first instance,
take the form of a naval war. To this the King's dominions beyond the
seas can do little more than assist during peace by their contributions,
either of ships, men, or money, in strengthening the British navy. But
during the actual course of such a war, while it is doubtful whether
either Canada, Australia, or New Zealand could render much material help
in a European struggle, they could undoubtedly greatly contribute to the
security of India and Egypt by the despatch of contingents of their own
troops to reinforce the British garrisons maintained in those countries.
This appears to me to be the direction to which their attention should
turn, not only because it is the most effective way in which they can
promote the stability of the Empire, but also because it is the way
along which they will most speedily reach a full appreciation of the
nature of the Empire and its purpose in the world.



I have now sketched the outlines of a national military system
applicable to the case of Great Britain. It remains to show why such a
system is necessary.

There are three main points in respect of each of which a choice has to
be made. They are the motive which induces men to become soldiers, the
time devoted to military education, and the nature of the liability to
serve in war. The distinction which strikes the popular imagination is
that between voluntary and compulsory service. But it covers another
distinction hardly less important--that between paid and unpaid
soldiers. The volunteers between 1860 and 1878, or 1880, when pay began
to be introduced for attendance in camps, gave their time and their
attention with no external inducement whatever. They had no pay of any
kind, and there was no constraint to induce them to join, or, having,
joined, to continue in their corps. The regular soldier, on the other
hand, makes a contract with the State. He agrees in return for his pay,
clothes, board and lodging to give his whole time for a specific number
of years to the soldier's life.

The principle of a contract for pay is necessary in the case of a
professional force maintained abroad for purposes of imperial police;
but it is not possible on that principle to raise or maintain a national

The principle of voluntary unpaid service appears to have a deeper moral
foundation than that of service by a contract of hiring. But if the time
required is greater than is consistent with the men's giving a full
day's work to their industrial occupations the unpaid nature of the
service cannot be maintained, and the men must be paid for their time.
The merit of the man's free gift of himself is thereby obscured.

Wherein does that merit consist? If there is no merit in a man's making
himself a soldier without other reward than that which consists in the
education he receives, then the voluntary system has no special value.
But if there is a merit, it must consist in the man's conferring a
benefit upon, or rendering a service to, his country. In other words,
the excellence of the unpaid voluntary system consists in its being an
acceptance by those who serve under it of a duty towards the State. The
performance of that duty raises their citizenship to a higher plane. If
that is the case it must be desirable, in the interest both of the State
and of its citizens, that every citizen capable of the duty should
perform it. But that is the principle upon which the national system is
based. The national system is therefore an extension of the spirit of
the volunteer or unpaid voluntary system.

The terms compulsory service and universal service are neither of them
strictly accurate. There is no means of making every adult male, without
exception, a soldier, because not every boy that grows up has the
necessary physical qualification. Nor does the word compulsion give a
true picture. It suggests that, as a rule, men would not accept the duty
if they could evade it, which is not the case. The number of men who
have been volunteers since 1860 shows that the duty is widely accepted.
Indeed, in a country of which the government is democratic, a duty
cannot be imposed by law upon all citizens except with the concurrence
of the majority. But a duty recognised by the majority and prescribed by
law will commend itself as necessary and right to all but a very few. If
a popular vote were to be taken on the question whether or not it is
every citizen's duty to be trained as a soldier and to fight in case of
a national war, it is hardly conceivable that the principle would fail
to be affirmed by an overwhelming majority.

The points as to which opinions are divided are the time and method of
training and the nature of the liability to serve in war.

There are, roughly speaking, three schemes of training to be
considered--first, the old volunteer plan of weekly evening drills, with
an annual camp training; secondly, the militia plan of three months'
recruit training followed by a month's camp training in several
subsequent years; and, lastly, the continental plan of a continuous
training for one or more years followed by one or more periods of annual
manoeuvres. The choice between these three methods is the crucial point
of the whole discussion. It must be determined by the standard of
excellence rendered necessary by the needs of the State. The evidence
given to the Norfolk Commission convinced that body that neither the
first nor the second plan will produce troops fit to meet on equal terms
those of a good modern army. Professional officers are practically
unanimous in preferring the third method.

The liability of the trained citizen to serve in war during his year in
the ranks and his years as a first-class reservist must be determined by
the military needs of the country. I have given the reasons why I
believe the need to be for an army that can strike a blow in a
continental war.

I myself became a volunteer because I was convinced that it was a
citizen's duty to train himself to bear arms in his country's cause. I
have been for many years an ardent advocate of the volunteer system,
because I believed, as I still believe, that a national army must be an
army of citizen soldiers, and from the beginning I have looked for the
efficiency of such an army mainly to the tactical skill and the
educating power of its officers. But experience and observation have
convinced me that a national army, such as I have so long hoped for,
cannot be produced merely by the individual zeal of its members, nor
even by their devoted co-operation with one another. The spirit which
animates them must animate the whole nation, if the right result is to
be produced. For it is evident that the effort of the volunteers,
continued for half a century, to make themselves an army, has met with
insuperable obstacles in the social and industrial conditions of the
country. The Norfolk Commission's Report made it quite clear that the
conditions of civil employment render it impossible for the training of
volunteers to be extended beyond the present narrow limits of time, and
it is evident that those limits do not permit of a training sufficient
for the purpose, which is victory in war against the best troops that
another nation can produce.

Yet the officers and men of the volunteer force have not carried on
their fifty years' work in vain. They have, little by little, educated
the whole nation to think of war as a reality of life, they have
diminished the prejudice which used to attach to the name of soldier,
and they have enabled their countrymen to realise that to fight for his
country's cause is a part of every citizen's duty, for which he must be
prepared by training.

The adoption of this principle will have further results. So soon as
every able-bodied citizen is by law a soldier, the administration of
both army and navy will be watched, criticised, and supported with an
intelligence which will no longer tolerate dilettantism in authority.
The citizen's interest in the State will begin to take a new aspect. He
will discover the nature of the bond which unites him to his
fellow-citizens, and from this perception will spring that regeneration
of the national life from which alone is to be expected the uplifting of



The reader who has accompanied me to this point will perhaps be willing
to give me a few minutes more in which we may trace the different
threads of the argument and see if we can twine them into a rope which
will be of some use to us.

We began by agreeing that the people of this country have not made
entirely satisfactory arrangements for a competitive struggle, at any
rate in its extreme form of war with another country, although such
conflict is possible at any time; and we observed that British political
arrangements have been made rather with a view to the controversy
between parties at home than to united action in contest with a foreign

We then glanced at the probable consequences to the British people of
any serious war, and at the much more dreadful results of failure to
obtain victory. We discussed the theories which lead some of our
countrymen to be unwilling to consider the nature and conditions of war,
and which make many of them imagine that war can be avoided either by
trusting to international arbitration or by international agreements
for disarmament. We agreed that it was not safe to rely upon these

Examining the conditions of war as they were revealed in the great
struggle which finished a hundred years ago, we saw that the only chance
of carrying on war with any prospect of success in modern times lies in
the nationalisation of the State, so that the Government can utilise in
conflict all the resources of its land and its people. In the last war
Great Britain's national weapon was her navy, which she has for
centuries used as a means of maintaining the balance of power in Europe.
The service she thus rendered to Europe had its reward in the monopoly
of sea power which lasted through the nineteenth century. The great
event of that century was the attainment by Germany of the unity that
makes a nation and her consequent remarkable growth in wealth and power,
resulting in a maritime ambition inconsistent with the position which
England held at sea during the nineteenth century and was disposed to
think eternal.

Great Britain, in the security due to her victories at sea, was able to
develop her colonies into nations, and her East India Company into an
Empire. But that same security caused her to forget her nationalism,
with the result that now her security itself is imperilled. During this
period, when the conception of the nation was in abeyance, some of the
conditions of sea power have been modified, with the result that the
British monopoly is at an end, while the possibility of a similar
monopoly has probably disappeared, so that the British navy, even if
successful, could not now be used, as it was a hundred years ago, as a
means of entirely destroying the trade of an adversary. Accordingly, if
in a future war Britain is to find a continental ally, she must be able
to offer him the assistance, not merely of naval victory, but also of a
strong army. Moreover, during the epoch in which Great Britain has
turned her back upon Europe the balance of power has been upset, and
there is no power and no combination able to stand up against Germany as
the head of the Triple Alliance. This is a position of great danger for
England, because it is an open question whether in the absence of a
strong British army any group of Powers, even in alliance with England,
could afford to take up a quarrel against the combination of the central
States. It thus appears that Great Britain, by neglecting the conditions
of her existence as a nation, has lost the strength in virtue of which,
at previous crises in European history, she was the successful champion
of that independence of States which, in the present stage of human
development, is the substance of freedom.

Our consideration of the question of might showed that if Great Britain
is to be strong enough to meet her responsibilities her people must
nationalise themselves, while our reflections on the question of right
showed that only from such nationalisation is a sound policy to be
expected. In short, only in so far as her people have the unity of
spirit and of will that mark a nation can Great Britain be either strong
or just. The idea of the nation implies a work to be done by the British
State, which has to be on the watch against challenge from a continental
rival to Great Britain's right to the headship of her empire, and which
at the same time has to give to that empire the direction without which
it cannot remain united. Great Britain cannot do the work thus imposed
upon her by her position and her history unless she has the co-operation
of all her people. Thus the conception of the nation reveals itself in
the twofold shape of duties laid upon England and of duties consequently
laid upon every Englishman. It means that England must either decline
and fall or do a certain work in the world which is impossible for her
unless she constrains all her people to devote themselves to her
service. It thus appears that England and her people can expect no
future worth having except on the principle of duty made the mainspring
both of public and of private life.

We attempted to apply the principles involved in the word nation to the
obvious and urgent needs of the British State at the present time.

Victory at sea being indispensable for Great Britain in case of
conflict, we inquired into the conditions of victory, and found in the
parallel instances of Nelson and Napoleon that both by sea and land the
result of the nationalisation of war is to produce a leader who is the
personification of a theory or system of operations. The history of the
rise of the German nation shows how the effort to make a nation produced
the necessary statesman, Bismarck. Nationalisation creates the right
leadership--that of the man who is master of his work.

Reviewing the needs of the naval administration, we saw that what is
wanted at the present time is rather proper organisation at the
Admiralty than an increase in mere material strength; while turning to
the army, we discovered that the only system on which can be produced
the army that Great Britain requires is that which makes every
able-bodied citizen a soldier.

To make the citizen a soldier is to give him that sense of duty to the
country and that consciousness of doing it, which, if spread through the
whole population, will convert it into what is required--a nation.
Therefore to reform the army according to some such plan as has been
here proposed is the first step in that national revival which is the
one thing needful for England, and if that step be taken the rest will
follow of itself. Nationalisation will bring leadership, which in the
political sphere becomes statesmanship, and the right kind of
education, to give which is the highest ultimate function of national

I have tried in these pages to develop an idea which has haunted me for
many years. I think if the reader would extend to it even for a short
time the hospitality of his mind he might be willing to make it his
constant companion. For it seems to me to show the way towards the
solution of other problems than those which have here been directly
discussed. I cannot but believe that if we could all accustom ourselves
to make some sacrifices for the sake of England, if only by giving a few
minutes every day to thinking about her and by trying to convince
ourselves that those who are not of our party are yet perhaps animated
by the same love of their country as we ourselves, we might realise that
the question of duty is answered more easily by performance than by
speculation. I suspect that the relations between the political parties,
between capital and labour, between master and servant, between rich and
poor, between class and class would become simpler and better if
Englishmen were to come to see how natural it is that they should spend
their lives for England.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Britain at Bay" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.