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The Evening Star THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 1914., Issue 15642, 5 November 1914
The Evening Star THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 1914.
At a qnarter to 12 on the night of August
4- the Britiflfh Empire enAfter Thr«e tered upon a state of war Months. against Germany. Xo
more momentous step hail ever been taken since that Empire lirat aKumed definite form. Not that a state of war was * IM!W departure in our Imperial development. The Mother Land, has had many more of lew prolonged ware upon her hand* even within our own day and generation; but. there has been nothing *m«» the Napoleonic wars to Kjiial, much Iww to excel. the magnitude awl nature o! the conflict upon which the Empire entered three months ago. That the Empire might name day h»m> to fight for what was vaguely termed "sea supremacy" many people, thfrogh. hardly a majority, somewhat carelessly and indifferently acknowledged. But of any universal apprehension of the nwture and immediacy of the coming horrors there was no sign. On the contrary, it i» to the reproach, if not. to t'heshome, of Urea* Britain that there was nob only a contemptuous rejection of the evidence that made plain the nature of tho fools' paradisa in which she was resting, but thoee who did write and tell of what they knew and had ;»:n were held up to odium. We have no desire so harp upon past mistakes; but it is necessary that the Empire as a whole Should know how near it was to the brink of danger through listening to the counsel oi mon ar.d newspapers who today, under tha cloak of an ignobla and mock bumanitaiuiuain, are already audaciously proclaiming the fundamental principle* which must mark the final terms of poaoa. Bow competent them wonld-ba leaders of public ophuon are to act a« guides and philoiophera may be gathered from their •enti-
Manchester 'Guardian' up to the. hour when the die was cast and the Rubicon crossed.
We have not. space to give separate ■warnings against all the baits with which it is sought to entrap simple people into aequiesence in the plot to drag England into the war. But there is one that cannot be passed over; its cynicism is too shameless. We mean" tho pretence that it would be in come way to the good of European morals that we should thrust ourselves in.
One may woll lift one's hands in amazement that it was possible for a reputable journal to write in such terms when the longknown and Jong-prepared conspivacy againet the Jives, liberties, religion, and territorial possessions of the Kmpiro was on the eve of hems launched. Sentiments like those preached by the " .Manchester Guardixin ' by no means exhaust the vocabulary of invective that, the opponents of military training and contemners of the German Menace literally hurled at the Government and country, If further argument were needed, iruvmliloiiv.ently pvoclaimed the 'Guardian' in its best excathedra style, t'hen here it is for the confusion of Sir Kclward Grey, all Jingoes, and all anti-Gormans: " Belgium does not '"desire our interference. If we landed "our Army for tlio defence of Belgium it "would ba tired upon by the IseJgia.ns. "Belgium does not a-spiie to hecome the "cockpit of Europe!"
Such was the vicMr taken by a large, a pretentious, ami a volubly protesting section of British public opinion on the eve of a war in which the verv existence of the men and women of the United Kingdom was at stake. The .Mother Land faced the mightiest crisis in her fate with a united front, but with utterly inadequate means at her command to meet it. Thanks to political factions, to blind leaders, and to national indifference, to the need of preparation, England has not evert yet been able to put sufficient men in the field to do more than beat hack, with cruel and heartbreaking loss, the ever fresh myriads of barbarians that have swarmed against them. That, in spite of these handicaps, the position of the Allies is what it is to-day is cause for grateful satisfaction; for from it we gain an assurance of the one, and certain ending of all.
Looking back upon the past three months of almost incessant slaughter, we find no justification nor grounds for anv sentiment other than that of quiet confidence. The contrast, impartially considered, between the situation as it was in the first week of August and as it is in the first week of November is like unto that which Christian experienced when he emerged front the doubt and darkness of the Valley of the Shadow of Death into the glad light of day and the pleasant fields beyond. Three months ago there was reason for anxious questionings ; today the Empire, has found herself. She has ascertained her possibilities, and knows where she stands. Her financial resources, her human and material reserves, are unimpaired, while those of the enemy, though by no means exhausted, are crippled and sorely shaken. The British Army has maintained and added fresh laurels to its glorious traditions; those inspiring, indefinable nothings that are more real in their effect upon the springs of human endeavor than is the. ultimata goal of desire itself. " Concentrate your "attention on French's miserable little* '"■ army." was the Kaiser's thrasonical command to "my legions."" "Well." said Mr Churchill. " they are concentrating their attention on it." The pinchbeck Ctesar of modern Germany lias learned much in these past three months, not the leaafc of which is an enhanced respect for tile plain British soldier. The great lesson that Napoleon learned at Waterloo his would-be imitatoc is also learning. Look where be will, the odds are against the Kaiser. Turkey, bis latest support, will prove a poor broken reed, letting '• I dare not wait upon I would." And Russia, that grim, silent-, ruthless Nemesis closing in upon tho German hosts with the unchecked momentum of an avalanche, that : Colossus of the North merely turns to glance askance at the Turk, and say: i " Not a single Cossack will be moved from the Austro-German frontier." Like the avenging gods in the path of their aura [ and terrible wrath, Russia presses ever steadily forward. On the sea the story is the sarua Three months ago the egresa of " my navy " was blocked, and ita all-terribla units scuttled into hiding. The world's oceans were swept bare of German shipping, but not a •inglo JjfttUeghip ventured forth to, <|q
battle on its behalf. Here and there German warships sank steamers and collicrs, and here and there daring underwater seamen sent hundreds of seamen to their "graves; but the German navy remains bottled up and the British Navy remains on guard. Three months ago the great German War Lord surveyed his hosts, boasted of their prowess, and hurled them at little Belgium. To-day he has Belgium at his feet, but to-morrow—-what? A lady from Berlin says that the only rumor for the truth of which she will vouch is that the Kaiser's hair is quite white.
Nor grew it white in a single night. As men's have grown; from sudden fears. And with it there is, too, the ever-insist-ent ery in his heart and brain: *' God ••• hath numbered thy "kingdom and fin"ished it." We see cause for much thankfulness in happenings ashore and at sea during the past three months.
The Evening Star THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 1914., Issue 15642, 5 November 1914
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