The Fear of War.
Referring to the recent speech of Count yon Moltke on the position of Germany, the Spectator states that it brings into strong relief one element m the Continental situation which m England, protected as it is by the sea, is too often forgotten—the terrible strain under which the nations must be living. This apprehension of war—war which will not be short—has lasted, said the Field Marshal, for 10 years ; and for all that appears, it may last for another 20. Actual war is only prevented by the preparations made to resist it, and those preparations of themselves keep up the fear that it must one day occur. Imagine the strain which that situation must of itself produce, the constant anxiety, not only among soldiers but among all whose business would stop m the event of invasion, the constant watchfulness of all neighbors' movements, the international hate which a protracted fear of invasion must necessarily produce. We know what it was here between 1805 and 1813, and the English were islanders, and could, by destroying fleets, make invasion a physical impossibility ; while the Germans can do nothing except prepare ever larger and larger forces, every addition to which takes something from their happiness. The body of the people have all the anxieties of soldiers, without their hopes or their incentives, and must feel as if life were always overhung by a possibility almost as depressing as a known liability to madness or some dreadful disease. It is a sad situation for Europe if the Field Marshal is right, and one which may make observers doubt whether the arming of the nations, is really such a triumph of civilisation. It did not help between 1795 and 1815 to keep off war, and it has not helped between 1880 and 1890 to mitigate a strain which is only better than the actual invasion which, after all, it may not prevent. The situation is bad enough even m France, which always thinks itself m danger ; but Germany, with enemies on both sides, is paying a monstrous price for the privilege of keeping two provinces the loss of which she had m 1870 forgotten except m histories, and which even now, 20 years after their capture, would give a plebiscite m favor of re-union with their old masters. It is a useless question to ask, as well as a conventional one ; but still, m it lies the kernel of much of European policy: How much has AlsaceLorraine cost Germany, m cash and . recruits and energy, since 1871.
Permanent link to this item
The Fear of War., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2468, 18 July 1890
The Fear of War. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2468, 18 July 1890
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.