A GERMAN APOLOGIST.
MERELY HELPING THE WORKLESS. ' I \. ' (Received 8.50 a.m.) ' LONDON, March 21. '«. x The "Manchester Guardian" states that Germany pushed her shipbuilding programme ahead purely to help the ui£ employed. All the newspapers are giving prominence to the suggested gift of a Dreadnought by Australia, expressing pleasure at the patriotic thought which prompted the suggestion. Mr Keir Hardie, speaking at Sheffield, declared that it was the duty of the country not to support the Government, but to stretch their hands across the North Sea to their German colleagues, and to make war upon the common enemy, the capitalist system. A BIG PROGRAMME. WHAT THE LORDS MAY DO. (Received 9.5 a.m.) LONDON, March 21. The Navy League, Defence Committee, London Chamber of Commerce, and the Imperial Maritime League is arranging a navy campaign throughout the country. Mr J. L. Garvin, editor of the London "Observer," states that Mr Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mr Winston Churchill, President of the Board of Trade, are responsible for whittling down the proposals of Admiral Sir John Fisher, First Sea Lord. He urges that four Dreadnoughts be laid down in June and four in November, and that the three Brazilian Dreadnoughts be bought to avoid the risk of their passing into the hands of Germany. If Mr Asquith refuses to adopt this course, he declares that the peers must reject the Budget and force a dissolution. DEFENCE OF AUSTRALIA. ITS BASIS THREATENED. (Received 10.30 a.m.) MELBOURNE, this day. Mr. Alfred Deakin, in his speech at Murwillumbah, pointed out that if Britain accepted the position of being content with a navy as strong as one of her possible foes, the whole theory whereon Australian defence is founded, would disappear, Her present defence force was maintained upon the assumption that Britain's navy was powerful enough to meet any combination of Powers. Sir YVm. Eyne, ex-Federal Treasurer, warmly supports the presentation of a Dreadnought, and is convinced that the people would give a ready response, if asked. The three Dreadnoughts now under construction for the Brazilian Government, the Minas Gerais, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, are of 10,250 tons displacement, with a speed of 21 knots. Their armament consists of twelve 12in. guns (10 on the broadside), and 22 4.7 iii., but their protection is defective, consisting of a belt only Sin. thick, against llin. in the Dreadnought. It was stated last year that the ships were to be sold to a foreign Power, but this was denied by Brazil. AUSTRALIA'S AID. THE SUGGESTED PRESENTATION. MELBOURNE March 21. Newspapers support the suggestion that, in view of the acute naval position, Australia should present the Imperial Government with a Dreadnought. Mr. Fisher, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, states that the Federal Government quite appreciates the idea, though he does not desire to express an opinion upon it. Mr. Fisher added, "All the resources of the Commonwealth will be at the disposal of the Imperial authorities in case of difficulty with any Power." The suggestion to present a Dreadnought to the British Navy is meeting with strong general support. An enthusiastic meeting at the Stock Exchange carried a resolution asking for Parliament to be called together to authorise the building and gift of a Dreadnought. Lord Dudley (the Governor-General) and many public men have expressed approval of the presentation, and telegrams from other States indicate a similar feeling. CALLING PARLIAMENT TOGETHER. THE ISOLATED FLOTILLA. SYDNEY, March 21. The suggested presentation of a Dreadnought to the Home Government meets with general support in Sydney. Politicians, however, while sympathetic, are reticent, realising the financial problems involved. Mr. W. H. Kelly, a member of the Federal House of Representatives, has wired to Mr. Fisher, the Prime Minister urging him to call Parliament together to deal with the matter, or as an alternative, countermanding the building ■ of torpedo-boat destroyers as the nucleus of an Australian navy, on the ground that the augmentation of the Empire's battleships is more important than the creation of an isolated flotilla here. Mr. Joseph Cook, Leader of the Federal Opposition, referring to the naval situation disclosed by the cablegrams, said there should be an instant response from the oversea dominions. Mr. Alfred Deakin, speaking at Murwillumbah, made a spirited appeal for enthusiasm on the defence question. The spirit suggesting the presentation of a Dreadnought was, he said, a splendid one. ARTICLE THAT CAUSED A SENSATION. THE ISOLATION OF THE TEUTON. In a recent issue of the "Deutsche Revue," General Count yon Schleiffen, late Chief of the General Staff of the German Army, published an important article, in which he dealt with the political situation of Germany in the Europe of to-day. The article caused a tremendous sensation throughout Germany, and was read out by the Kaiser to his generals at their New Year's conference. The Franco-German War (says the writer) ibrought a-bout a period of fever^
ist arajameirt" 6n the: part of the' Powers,. whereby the weapon of to-day- has reached the' "highest conceivable-paint of accuracy." Against whom was this anna-, ment directed? Against Germany. There began to be formed around Germany and Austria an armed ring of fortificatioins. Immediately after the close of the war France proceeded to build an uninterrupted barrier along the Upper Moselle and the Meuse, which mow covers the whole of its eastern frontier from Switzerland to Belgium. Germany was thus placed in a difficult position. Even if she had no ideas ot conquest, she could not quietly watch her revengeful enemy in secure entrenchments for the right opportunity to move forward. The best defence is attack. Germany did not oppose a line of fonts to the French line of forts, but sought for a different offensive weapon. The heavy artillery was supplied with new special shells, which no wall and no stronghold could resist. Kven this secret was not kept long inviolate. Similar annihilating projectiles were created on the other side of the frontier. "Since that time, on this side and on that, a long, embittered duel between engineer and artillery expert has been in progress, and it is a duel that is still going on. The latter seeks continually to discover more up-to-date, larger, more accurate guns and more destruotive projectiles, the former plans always more impenetrable defences." CHINESE WALL OF FORTIFICATIONS. Since the direct road into France was thus closed for Germany—for it was i taken for granted that Germany still 1 sought her plunder in the pleasant valleys of the Seine and Loire—it was assumed that she would seek to avoid the barrier 'by passing through Belgium at one end or Switzerland at the. other. To forestall attack on the right wing, France proceeded promptly to fortify the passes of the Jura. On the left wing Belgium came to her assistance. The great highways in the valleys of the Sambre a.nd the Meuse have been sown with forts, and behind them Antwerp now towers as an impregnable stronghold. Holland followed ifche example of her neighbour, and in the general panic of German aggression fortified herself strongly. Italy had not long before lost provinces to Franca. In tihat this feverish fortification might prevent her revenge, she met fort with fort, battery with battery. Thus befoTe two decades had elapsed since the close of the war of 1870 a Chinese wall of- fortification' had been erected against many from the Zwyder Zee to the Mediterranean. The possibility now remained that Italy might join her German ally and pour united forces "like a stream bursting its banks" over the great barrier into France. To prevent this, Switzerland intervened. The .Saint Gothard, the 'passes of the Rhone amd Rhine Valleys, every path" from inaccessible glacier to monstrous peak, was barricaded, and forts were erected amid the eternal snow. These imaginary German ambitions of conquest, thus summarily stifled on south and east, must now, of course, seek another outlet. As Germany could no longer march peacefully to Paris, she would, of course, set out for Moscow. Russia, trembling, set to work to build a line of fortresses on her frontier, aided in her task iby numerous streams and marshes. A barrier was . also erected against Austria, Germany's ally. Thus the states of the Triple Alliance were isolated on- the east as on the west. lin the north Denmark has made a stronghold of Copenhagen, and thus dominates the entrance to the Baltic, while England possesses a "mighty floating fortress, which she can erect at. any given moment in the North Sea," and by means of which she can effect a landing at some Danish seaport and hurl her forces in Schleswig. This gigantic system of fortification created so profound an apprehension ibhat even Italy herself set to work to fortify herself against her ally, Austria. POSITION OF EUROPE TO-DAY. The ring ot iron thus forming around Germany and Austria remained open on one side only—that of the Balkans. This aperture has now been closed by Turkey, Servia, and Montenegro. This, then, is the military position oi Europe to-day. In the centre stand Germany and Austria, unprotected and alone. Around them the Powers, watchful, entrenched. France has by no means abandoned the idea of ultimate revenge. Moreover, the amazing development of Germany's industry and commerce has given her yet another irreconcilable enemy. The hatred of a formerly despised rival can neither be appeased by assurances of sincere friendship, nor can it be aggravated by inflammatory speeches. It is no longer emotion, but debit and credit which regulates the intensity of national resentment.' Ruesia is still in the grip of an ancestral antipathy of Slav for German. Italy, hindered from all expansion towards the west, believes that the invaeion of foreigners from across the Alps into the fruitful Lombardy plains is not yet finished; she will tolerate foreigners neither on the southern slopes of the mountains nor on the coast of the Adriatic. It is not impossible that these passions and dceiree may one day be trans-' formed into aggressive action. One thing is clear: that that action will take the form of a united attack towards the centre. At a given moment the doors will be opened, the drawbridges will fall, and armies, numbered by the million, will pour into Germany over Vosges, Meuse, Niemen, and the Tyrolean Alps, dominating, annihilating. The danger seems appalling. It diminishes in proportion as one get* nearer to it. COALITION AGAINST GERMANY. And now the author turns to England, the great commercial rival. "England," he argues, "cannot destroy German trade without materially injuring her own. She must allow her competitor, who is at the same time her best customer, to live." Before proceeding with a landing on the coast of Jutland, she must await dispatches from Africa, from India, from America, from the Far East. If she is to set the world in flafnee she will be too wise to let her army be imprisoned in Schleswig. It is doubtful whether Russia, after her recent experience of the methods of modern warfare, will be eager to attack. France has clearly decided only to satisfy her cooling desire for revenge in company with allies. All are apprehensive of the appalling expense, and possible losses that loom in the background" like a red spectre. Con-, scription, which seeks to transform high and low, rich and poor, into food, for cannon, has damped their military ardour. Men feeling warm and secure behind the walls of fortresses deemed impregnable, are showing less and less desire to advance into the open field. Gun foundries, ; ammunition '„ fa£t}oties, and steam-hammers are doing more to promote friendly relations than any Peace Congress that will ever' be summoned. Even if all anxieties were forgotten, all ■reluctance overcome, the resolution taken to advance, there ■would still remain that c question trembling on everj;
apprehensive-lip: -wilt x the "others come, too? Will distant- allies arrive?- Shall ,we. not- 'have to face- the enemy's fire isolated.and:alone?.-; . ;-' v ! . / From beyond !the Channel comes the cry: The' coalition iis v ready. That-it will ever, undertake actual hostilities is both doubtful and unnecessary. The position- that? the Powers have taken up is so favourable that in itself it consti- 1 tutes a menace, and -automatically agitates German nenves already jarred by commercial struggles and industrial crises. And even now the Events in the Balkans have chained the hands of Austria for a considerable time to come. She seeks help from her ally, and can offer none. Adversaries have succeeded in forcing both Germany and Austria from now on to fight on different battlefields; Austria's front muet be to the south, that of Germany to the -west, while Russia proposes to decide the whole question when and how she will. : And yet, despite their favourable position, the surrounding enemies, do not seem anxious to advance. Even apart, both Austria and Germany are too 1 strong. They muet be yet further separated. Racial disputes are unfortunately fostered in both countries. For the coming -contest, whether "it be fought out by arms or other methods, what is necessary for Germany is a "united nation of brothers," with a. mighty army, governed by a strong hand and inspired by uncompromising devotion. OUR DUTY. (To the Editor.) Sir, —In the present crisis in naval matters, New Zealand should promptly and spontaneously make an offer to the Motherland of a fully equipped Dreadnought battleship. The cost would be about £1,500,000 —say 30/ a head of the New Zealand population. As a mere part payment of the premium of our insurance policy, now paid almost wholly by Great Britain, the contribution would be only reasonable. It is not a time to haggle about pence. The secret effort of Germany to build a superior fleet to the British while with their lips German statesmen have been uttering smooth phrases shows that the Kaiser sees, as Napoleon saw, that Engl.md alone stands in the way of the world domination of a strong and enterprising Power. The utterances of the German Emperor, of German statesmen, of the German Press —all have shown for the past 15 years that G-ermany intends to. try' conclusions wi th' England for. the mastery, of the. sea. Sea power is England's life breath, and the unquestionable supremacy of the British fleet is an indispensable condition of the existence of New Zealand as a free Dominion in the British Empire. We should therefore rise to the occasion. The.moral, effect -of our at once offering a- Dreadnought, manned largely by New Zealanders, would be considerable, showing as it would the solidarity of the Empire. I hope Sir Joseph Ward will act in this matter as a statesman, of courage and resourcefulness, and feel sure he will have at hfs back the solid public opinion of the whole country.—l am, etc., .W.J.NAPIER. March 22. The cost of building, arming, and equipping a first-class battleship of the improved Dreadnought type is nearly two and a quarter millions sterling. The Dreadnought cost £i 1,797,497, the Lord Nelson type a hundred thousand less, but the improvements in the armour and batteries of the later vessels of the type, the St. Vincent, Vanguard, and OolHngwood, will not be commissioner iratil over two millions has been spent upon them. The principal improvement is in the secondary batteries for repelling torpedo attacks, ibut Tjetter guns, wiffi an effective range of 18 miles, are also provided, and the ships are, according to the Admiralty, 30 per cent more efficient than the Dreadnought.
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