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is little more than that from some place or shed at Aldershot a machine was given a trial but soon went wrong, and had to be ignominiously consigned again to its original obscurity. Here, however, the whole responsibility is upon the shoulders of the authorities, and we, the people, cannot do anything ourselves nor exercise much influence in the matter. Almost similar is our position as regards securing our safety in the second area—the sea ; for in this matter we are in the hands of a Ministry which, with a majority of the House of Commons at its back, does little more than bewilder us with cryptic assertions and equally cryptic promises as to both the present and the future.
But the security in the third area does not depend on the powers that be—it depends on us, the people, the dwellers in these islands ; here there are no scientific or technical questions beyond our own powers of solution ; the whole thing is clear to anyone who chooses to use the eyes and the brains God has given him ; it is with us, not with the Government, that rests our security here; so if our security proves fancied and not real, the blood of ourselves and of our children will deservedly be on our own heads; and it is to this matter that I ask my readers to give their attention. What we have to do is very plain. It is merely to insist on the Territorial Army, specially devised by Mr. Haldane to repel any would-be invader when our Regular Army is elsewhere employed, being an army of thoroughly prepared soldiers, and to aid by our own action and, if need be, self-sacrifice in securing this. This implies, of course, a complete change in the mode of filling the ranks and in the training, which must no longer depend on voluntary effort, but must be provided for by our all working together and regarding the matter as a national obligation common to us all for our common security, and to be taken in hand at once. But, unfortunately, that this army is a necessity is disputed by one Minister, Mr. Burns ; that it must be already efficient when war breaks out is considered unnecessary by another Minister, no less a personage than the Secretary of State for War himself, Mr. Haldane. I will deal with Mr. Burns first.
Mr. Burns, addressing on the 1st of May the German Labour Jeaders visiting this country, is reported to have said : ‘He believed that the prospect of war was receding further and further into the background, and his own view was that they would never see a great international war in which France, Germany, England, and Russia would be involved.'
Whilst thinking on these things I took down from a library shelf a book, well-nigh passed out of memory, but which, when published in Paris immediately after the Franco-German war, created not only in France, but throughout Europe, a profound sense of amazement. The contents of the book are the reports sent by the French Military Attaché at Berlin, Colonel Baron Stoffel, to the Government of France during the years from the 1866 victorious Prussian campaign against Austria and her allies, to the outbreak of the equally victorious 1870-71
German campaign against France herself. Putting on one side those reports which deal only with technical matters such as armament, drill, &c.—we see that the Government of France was given by her own official on the spot a faithful, calm, and absolutely true and full account and description of her future foe, and the power and strength of that foe; and an honest, candid, complete, and sadly accurate warning of the certain fate of France if she did not at once prepare for the future.
Further, he shows clearly the sources of that strength, sources engrained in Prussia's very being, and part of her very existence. Stoffel is no Germanophobist, he merely tells what he sees, and indicates like a prophet the inevitable coming relations of the two countries. The principal points that Stoffel desires, he says, to make
, clear as to the prospects of war are as follows, and I commend to Mr. Burns the perusal of the statements Stoffel adduces in support, but which are too lengthy for transcription here.
(1) War is inevitable and can arise out of any trivial event (* à la merci d'un incident').
(2) Prussia has no intention of attacking France; she does not seek war, and will do all she can to avoid it.
(3) But Prussia is far-sighted enough to see that the war she does not desire will assuredly break out, and she is, therefore, doing all she can to avoid being taken unawares when the fatal'incident occurs.
(4) France, by her carelessness, her levity, and above all by her ignorance of the state of affairs, has not the same foresight as Prussia.
At the time, the 12th of August 1869, when Stoffel penned the report giving these conclusions as regards the prospects of war, the reasons for the general hostility entertained in Prussia towards France were mainly a desire for revenge for the days after Jena, and the feeling that in France lay the hindrance to the keenly desired unification of Germany.
I purpose to contrast these feelings of Prussia of 1869 towards France with those of Germany of 1909 towards Great Britain.
It may fairly be doubted that there is any matter for which Germany of to-day desires to take revenge on us. During the FrancoGerman war of 1870–71 the Germans were stirred to a bitter hatred of us owing to the very great assistance indirectly given to France by this country. As an illustration of that feeling I will give an extract from a letter written on the 20th of January 1871, from Tours, by Lieut.-General von Hartmann, commanding the first Cavalry Division, to his wife. In connexion with some incident in which the English Red Cross Society was concerned the General wrote: 'Moreover, the English are not in good favour among our troops, who are very embittered against them because they are uninterruptedly supplying the enemy with arms and ammunition with which to fight us. They hate them, therefore, for the time even almost more than they do the French.'
Some of that angry feeling survived in the early 'eighties when, at Metz, an amusing display of it came to my notice. I was personally conducting' to the battlefields a party of Staff College students, and one evening we were being entertained at dinner by my old friends, the Hanoverian Dragoons. At a more cheery, jollier, or more rowdy evening, lasting from 5 to 9.30 P.M., I have never been present. After dinner German cavalry officers in uniform and British officers in mufti were whirling about the large verandah to the strains of waltzes beautifully played by the regimental band in the gardens below. More delightful or pleasanter hosts it would be difficult to find. A charming fellow, one Beley, an Indian officer, who was afterwards killed in action on the North-West Frontier, was one of our party, and during a pause for recovering breath there came up to him a Hessian officer, whose head apparently had not been proof against the Hanoverian hospitality. • What,' he asked Beley abruptly, do you think these officers think of you?' To Beley's very natural pleasant reply of good-will the Hessian retorted, with curious accent, They detest you. Poor Beley at once sought shelter in an immediate whirl round the verandah. I have often recalled to mind that Hessian dictum, and as regards hostile feeling on the part of the German officers I have regarded it in no way as revengeful, but simply dislike of us as a corporate body combined with good-will to us personally. So far, therefore, there is no place for the revengeful feeling to us to-day that existed towards France before 1870.
But now, how about the other cause for hostile feeling : this country as a hindrance to national and material progress ? The unification of Germany could be accomplished only by crushing the hindrance in its way, and the hindrance was crushed.
Now that Prussia and her neighbours are consolidated as one great Imperial Power, any other Power which may be regarded as the hindrance to expansion of that Empire, either by sea or land, takes the place of France as her next foe. In fact, reading and rereading those pages, I come across passage after passage which would be as true of this Great Britain of ours now, in 1909, as it was of France exactly forty years ago. Want of space prevents me from dealing with them at length; one or two must suffice; and in them the words' Great Britain 'might to-day be substituted for France.
France, does she show amid these grave circumstances the same foresight as Prussia ? Unfortunately not, and, sad to confess, no one can say when the fatal blindness with which she is struck will end. Thus, then, a frightful war is seen dimly in the distance and threatens to break out at any moment; our most formidable enemy sees clearly this great chance ; he watches the moment for the struggle, which he does not seek; but he is yet ready to support it with all the manly force of the nation, with 1,000,000 of the most disciplined, most warlike, and best organised soldiers that there are, and in France, where 40,000,000 of men ought to be convinced, as the Prussian people are convinced, that the fatal war is at the mercy of an incident, where everything ought to fade away before one idea, that of national safety, there are but a few people who have before them a clear idea of the situation, and who comprehend the immense magnitude of the danger.
This it is that causes me apprehension. It is this striking contrast be tween the foresight of Prussia and the blindness of France. Nations, like individuals, can only protect themselves from danger by being conscious of it; otherwise they remain inactive, at the risk of experiencing the most cruel disappointments. So we see Prussia subordinate everything to this vital question, preparation for war, and to keeping herself always ready to enter the lists, with all the forces at her disposal, whilst France is becoming weaker daily, as if careless of her own safety. Looking at such a spectacle, one cannot refrain from denouncing loudly this fatal ignorance, and this detestable infatua. tion which prevents us seeing what Prussia sees so clearly : war inevitable and tatal.
Stoffel also points out in a report of the 28th of February 1870 that Prussia could neither evade nor abolish the principle of compulsory universal service, and that this fact renders disarmament an impossibility.
This impossibility (he says) of disarming in which Prussia finds herself gives rise to the gravest reflections. One is almost afraid to think that we have at our gates a rival Power, which, whatever may be said on the subject, is coming to regard us in the light of a hindrance, and which, owing to an organisation from which it cannot deviate, disposes of more than 900,000 soldiers all trained to the profession of arms.
I insist on and I repeat the words all trained to the profession of arms. Let Mr. Burns think over these things, applying them to the circumstances of to-day, and remembering that whereas in 1870 it was France that stood in the way of Prussia's realisation of her great ambition, the unification of Germany, to-day, naval expansion being united Germany's great ambition, it is Great Britain that stands in
France was forewarned, she neglected to forearm. How about Great Britain ?
And now I turn to the consideration of Mr. Haldane's views. Mr. Haldane on the evening of the same day, when addressing the Junior Institution of Engineers, is reported to have said :
As to the danger of invasion when the Army was abroad, it was decided in an Act of Parliament that if the Regulars had to go oversea the Territorial Force had to be embodied. Supposing the Territorial Force to be mobilised, in six months (the italics are my own) at all events they would be a well-trained force, and we should have the equivalent of seven Army Corps-probably more by that time, because recruiting would be brisk
to meet the enemy should be But it was said, suppose we sent the expeditionary force abroad and only a couple of months had elapsed after the mobilisation of the Territorials when invasion was attempted. He agreed that that was the most difficult case. But, to begin with, we should be on the alert. The Navy would be watching the coasts. Moreover, a Government would be very rash if it sent the whole expeditionary force abroad at once. There would be an increasingly formidable force behind, and as more and more Regulars went out of the country tha Territorial force would be stiffening. Therefore, if we managed our affairs well, he did not think we ought to be in any serious danger even in that intermediate and most doubtful of the three cases.
Mr. Haldane also said that he was not very much concerned about the bolt from the blue.
Now these utterances afford a striking illustration of one of the weakest points in connexion with the Army administration of this country. The Secretary of State for War is, to all intents and purposes, the head of that administration, and it is to him that Parliament and the country look as the individual responsible for our military forces being always up to the standard of thorough and complete efficiency. And he has permanently by him, whether he himself be a civilian or a soldier, any number of professional experts as' advisers ; ' but so far as the public is concerned the mouths of those advisers are necessarily closed. He is not bound in the slightest degree to accept their advice; on the contrary, he is perfectly at liberty to
dead against that advice and to take an independent line of his own.
His utterances in public naturally carry very great weight as coming from the War Minister, but under our system it is impossible, when he puts forward his views and opinions on Army matters, to tell whether those views and opinions are shared by his expert advisers, whether the latter dissent from them entirely, or in what proportions the Ministerial view on the one hand, the advising views on the other, enter into combination.
And the spirit displayed in the quotation as regards preparedness for war is so directly the negative of the views held on the subject by soldiers of every civilised country in the world, that in justice to the expert advisers at the War Office I am compelled to assign to the optimistic Mr. Haldane alone the sole proprietorship of the professional ideas he has enunciated. The keynote of the whole quotation lies in the last words, which, coming as they do from the Minister responsible for our Home Land Defence, may well create dismay among us dwellers in Great Britain. Mr. Haldane is 'not very much concerned about the “bolt from the blue," ' and this absence of concern in spite of the very recent startling surprises in the Near East. Why, a mere novice in the study of war knows that with an aggressively intentioned nation its military meteorologists are always on the look-out for a blue sky for the discharge of the bolt,' so as to secure taking the desired prey at a complete disadvantage. People usually leave umbrellas at home on a fine day, and a fine day is just the time for Jupiter Pluvius to amuse himself by spoiling their fine clothes. But once start with the absolutely gratuitous assumption that the gathering together of storm clouds will be a sure preliminary to any hostile attempt on our home, and the theorist can, whilst administering soporific eloquence allaying any alarm and anxiety, rise by unparalleled flights of imagination, and this Mr. Haldane does with a vengeance. Our worst plight, Mr. Haldane says (ignoring the bolt from the blue), will be two months after mobilising our Territorial Army-a somewhat serious condition Vol. LXV-No. 388