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A REMARKABLE PROPHECY

The following article from the pen of Mr Demetrius Boulger was written just three years ago, and as the argument of the writer unfolds itself it will be seen that he has spoken almost, oracularly : The disturbing element to the peace of Europe has been for years the magnitude of German ambition. Not content with having the best organised and best composed army in the world, Germany longs for the same supremacy at sea. Not very successful herself at crediting colonies, she wishes to get theni ready-made. She can only get them in this way : by vanquishing England and appropriating those that belong to her. So long as these views and aspirations are to the fore in Germany—and they are at present in increasing force there—a. good understanding between England and Germany resembles the polite preliminaries* that pass between the lamb and the wolf, or the unarmed traveller and the footpad. Germany is out for plunder. The only obstacle in her path is the English Navy, and she has got nearly level with it for the purposes of a single campaign—a one-year's war—in the. North Sea.

With this exordium to commence with. let us look a little wider afield.- Germany has a great impulse, a motive force behind her. She has clear aims, and she has almost, if not quite, the power to carry them out in the teeth of every one. On the. other band, Engbr.d has no* aims. She asks to bo left in peace to enjoy what she has, and. that, is precisely what all other nations (more or less) envy her. They would not mind the British' Empire falling with a crash to tho ground if they were sure that they were not also to suffer. German ambition is so ruthless and insatiablo that •>!! the liberalminded nations have satisfied themselves that the downfall of Engbnd would be only tho first step to their enslavement. But, for this a European combination against England would* have been quite conceivable.

And if England has no aims, if, is dubious whether France has any either. The cult of " la revanche " has long been out _of fashion. Gambetta's words : " N'en parlez jamais, y pensez ton jours," have lost their force.' To rouse the nassion for la ploire, which inspired French soldiers under the. oriflamme, th* fleur-de-lys, and the tricolor, would need a military genin:; and a series of brilb'nnt successes. France, like. Knehvmi, has her own interna J {roubles. The excess of liberty has produced a social riot, which may paralyse the arm at the critical moment.

It might bo thought that Russia, having the same advantages as Germany in one-man rule, would have a clear 'goal before her, and that she at least would know what she wanted; but this does not seem to be the case, A jer policy is too dispersed. Her attention is fixed 'on questions of the fifth order of importance, instead of those of the first magnitude. Persia is an instance. All England and Russia had to do was to sign a 25 years' treaty : "We agree to debar all 'other Powers from interfering in Persia for this period, and we are. both of us, going to consider our own convenience and nobody else's in the interim." Instead of this Russia concluded a separate convention with Germany, which nn-piestion-ahly ties her hands ai».i in.iv lead t.> further disputes. In comparison with what is happening in Europe, anything that may arise in Persia is of the fifth order of importance. But it is not. only in Persia that Russia has tied her hands. She seems to have done something very similar in the Balkans. Tn Manchuria and Mongolia she is credited with bein~ ready for a fresh war, but in Europe she seems less ready. If Germany knew that Russia was prepared to throw three millions of men, as she could, across the Vistula and into Galicia, we fancy she would_ be _ less provocative on tho Belgian frontier. Russia has always labored under a disadvantage .in the matter of rapid concentration. She has added thereto by scattering her forces and bv multiplying the objects under her attention.

On the other hand, Austria seems to have become infected with the same ambitious longings as her northern partner although we may have to wait for their full revelation until the accession of the Archduke Fran/. Ferdinand. She wants ''her place in the sun" also, and if that means a colony, we do not see whv France and England should not try to accommodate her "on conditions." It would count for something at Vienna to show that favors can corne elsewhere than from Berlin. In the same way Italy has secret longings. Surely Franco and "England, her friends, could ascertain what they are, and think of some way of gratifying them. Germany is ready to do some" bargaining to keep Italy in the field of the Triple Alliance. Is it impossible for us to do some better bargaining to get her out of it? Until that has been effected we must regard Europe as divided between the two opposing forces represented by the Triple Alliance on the one side and the Dual Alliance plus the Anglo-French entente on the other. The Entente has stood the test of time so well that perhaps wo arc not going too far in speaking of one triplice against another. The English and French peoples are certainly at one in thinking that a German triumph would mean their decline and possible downfall. To avert such a calamity they are prepared to spend their last shilling" and their last man. Eighty millions of the most civilised people in the world are not likely to go under if they only make no mistakes in dealing with an opponent which may be civilised in some respects, but which" in war will show itself as ruthless as the Hun.

The peace of Europe rests in the hands of the mombere of the two triplices, ami everybody recognises tliat the one to which England is attached is wholly pacific. Of the other, two of the partners—at least, so long as Francis Joseph lives—are pacific. Consequently, of the six Powers only one can be labelled as set on war as the means of attaining its end. This is a heavy re- j sponfiibility, and from tho manner in which Germany bears it it is clear that \ 6he is prepared t<i outrage public opinion I in order to attain her own ends. Slio ad- | mits 'that she is swayed by no higher j motive than self-interest, and a supreme selrifihnesis is her only god. If there wcie a European Aeropagun Germany would be voted the enemy of all. But if there is not an impartial" and controlling assembly, there is at least a bar of public opinion '■ outside the six Great Powers to which an appeal can be made, and from which efficacious aid might be obtained in upholding justice and national independence. There are fourteen other States in Europe, and some at least of these might plav a considerable part in the matter. Unfortunately Turkey, the most powerful of them all,"and undoubtedly a great military Power, seems to have been gained over . by Germany. Her military zeal and in- ' debtedness " to Germany for military ! counsel have led her astray. Besides, there is a considerable resemblance in the German and Turkish way of looking at an ar|v»a! to arms. There is nothing in it that shocks their minds. Even Frenchmen, tue meet martial race of former days, no longer contemplate war except as a dread alternative to dishonor and efface-s ment. Rumania must also be placed in , the same category, for she is already as- j sociated with the German Powers by a j definite military convention. . Twelve States and only one of these may be considered likely to attach herself to [Germany. I mean" Sweden. The eleven mSHBI aw certainly opposed, if not to 1

| Germany directly, at least to her methods lof action as displayed in Morocco. Here | is a bar of public opinion from which GerI many would receive scant, consideration if ' they felt sure of indemnity for the conseI que'nees of their judgment. Civilisation, I culture, and true liberty are as highly developed among them as in the greatest States. Holland, Belgium, and Switzerland are in all points the equals of Germany, except in military power, and they I represent a total of 20 millions of people. Their voices should count, and they would count if they would only make an effort to support it with deeds. If we assume that the resources of the two triplices arc fairly equal, the only safe conclusion is that the result of a j great struggle between them will be ini decisive, 'there will be losses here und I gains there. Bui we do not believe that, For one side or the other there will be a repetition of the crushing blow of 1870-71. An enormous waste of life and a prodigious expenditure will probably only avail to leave the situation very much where it was. The best chance for giving it a more decisive turn lies in the introduction oi the throe independent nations whoso j names have last been mentioned, for the co-operation of the three little States referred to would probably give a decisive turn to the struggle. They are not indifferent spectators of the crisis, for they know that while larger issues are to the fore, their own fats hangs in the balance. As it is not at all probable that Holland would be very prompt in coming to a cision, although a German invasion of Belgium would cause much heart-search-ing in that country, her action and policy need not he taken into present consideration. ' Belgium is the (state most immediately concerned, and she will not be able, 'by the force of circumstances, to evade making a prompt and clear revelation of her plans and purpose. There seems no reason to doubt that the very first episode of the war will bo the invasion of her territory by one or more German armies. No one can doubt for a moment that among the Belgian people this outrage will rouse a deep and enduring resentment. If the Germans succeed in crushing the. French and English, the resentment of the Belgians will not greatly matter; but if they are defeated, or if their success is partial, they may have good cause to remember it. But if Belgium is the most directly menaced by the outbreak of a Franco-Anglo-Ger-man war, Switzerland also has io face | the contingency with grave anxiety. Her turn might not come till the second phase of the war, but it would come all the same, and she is only prepared to wage a defensive war in a restricted portion of her territory. For defensive war she is not without a good chance of success, but she has no means of assuming the offensive, and under no circumstance would the Savjes take part in the invasion of anyone else's territory. On the other hand, the Belgian army, should the tide of war roll into Germany, might very well be incorporated with the FrancoBritish for purposes of an offensive move, and the exasperation of the Belgian public at an unprovoked invasion would make such a step far from unpopular. It is the attitude and action ot Belgium that are for the moment of the chief importance after that of the Great Powers. Let us concentrate our attention on this point. It is a very vital question for England and France, as well as for Belgium herself. When, we apeak of Belgium we must remember that, there is the Belgian Government and also the Belgian people. The Belgian people, both Walloons and Flemings, are entirely in favor of France. " Nous n'aimoi'.s pas lo Allemands," is a common observation in Flanders and Hainant, as well as Liege. Antwerp, it is true, is the seat of German influence, and some have called it already '" half a German city," but one may reasonably doubt whether the mass of the Antwerpians have any love for the Germans. The tendency of political life and thought in Belgium is more and more towards Liberalism, and France represents its ideal and champion. If ever the occasion arises to make a. national decision, the Belgian plebiscite will be overwhelmingly favorable to France.

We can only hope that eventually Belgium will follow the tme course suggested by her own interests and her past history. That, of course, is cordial co-operation with France and England, the two Powu,- that preside over her creation and admission U, the family of nations. Why should she display such a tender regard for Germa.n feelings? She has nothing to thank Germany for. If she were to aid Germany in her plans no one would more bitterly regret it. The triumph of Germany would signify, not merely the Joss of her independence, but the stifling of her individuality. Hut she would be committing another ai.d more serious kind of blunder if Germany were not to triumph- She would have lo reckon with those who considered her defection an act of ingratitude to them.

The peace of Europe is menaced, because Germany is pining for a world-wide dominion. She is a formidable military Power; but that is not enough. She I wants to be .supreme cm the sea as w»IL She has built up a fitw navy, but it has don* her no good. Instead of satisfying her, it has created an itncrniinablc feeling of rcetlessnees;. There is a, greater fleet at &ea. It baits the way to universal dominion. It is tho only obstacle to it. The*e are the sentiments that are impelling Germany to .stir up a war which will probably rage throughout the world before it is over, and which must have the gravest consequences for humanity. i It is as clear a-s the day that, despite tho I alleged progress of mankind, war can be ! forced upon us at any moment by a. po~ I tenta.tc or a people set on tho attainment i of their own ends in defiance of all considerations. Such a moment seems to have arrived. The question of international peaoo has liecome a matter of wider interest than in past centuries. Now factor.'! ha.ve been introduced into the problem. It is no longer only Europe that has to he taken into account. The " balance of ' power" has to be thought of. but in the iecalo must- also be pla-osd the United States and Japan. Do the Berlin authorities j think that America will not have her say I hi the matter? Distance is being an'i nihilated, and Germany flatters herself if i sho dreams that the United States will stand by while a new njjftressive force is brought into being on tho eastern shoreline of the Atlantic. The first naval reverse to England—which liae yet to occur —would be the signal for the American battleships to eteam for Europe. The German dream of ocean dominion is unattainable. It would be a menace, to everybody, and therefore the whole- world combine against and destroy it. No one can be in any uncertainty as to German procedure—she lias given us too many object lessons, and it is beyond question that the realisation of her plan would place everybody else in bondage. I'bis is too clear for doubt to exist about it on either side of the Atlantic. Other considerations might_ indixo th© Japanese to claim a right to intervene. They are the Alb'es of England, and they have a very chivalrous estimate of the duties of an Alliance. But they also have entered the f-i'rnily of nations, and it is their strongyM antbition to establish their right to the place. A German triumph would react on the position in the Far East jest as much as it might on tho Panama Canal. The wisest course has always been found to lie in preventing a contingency happening rather than in preparing to deal with it after it lias arisen, and the Japanese bave shown much wifdom. Under special circumstanoee, they would not be backwanl in .joiiußjr in our Old World auarreJa. and I

a quarter of a million of their soldiers would be a very useful help in the defence or recovery of Belgium.

It io unnecessary to «av more. If peace is preserved, Germany will do well to re member that new factors have come into being since 187 C, and that thev are against her. If peace is broken she will have reason to remember the fact befoie long. From whatever point of view the international position is regarded, it seems impossible to place- any firm reliance on the preservation of peace much longer. The pretensions of Germany can onlv be made good by the sword," and she ha« full belief in her military power. But there are other eventualities now. Until the receut attempt at dictation from Berlin. France was the most, pacific State in Europe. She did not want war; her influence was always on the side of pee .v. Germany did not, give her credit for Cvv sentiment or good motives. She set it down to her being afraid. The whole corps of German officers sg-H thatFra.'Hv admitted her military inferiority. The German w by character a bully, but when he thinks the other side cannot retaliate ho gives full play to his domineering instincts. Geimany had convinced herself that France would not show a firm upper lip. Did she not dismiss ,M. Deleave five years ago? In the interval Germany had grown so much stronger. France would never fight, so the Panther was 6 m to Agadir. But in this Germany went too far. The French Government had received an affront, but they preserved an attitude of politeness. They took counsel with England, and received that English support would prove as firm as a rock. The Germans were too much occupied in their own designs to remark that imperceptibly the French attitude had stiffened, and that France confronted the possibility of a fresh contest with Germany as a not unlikely coming-- new When the German atitboiities did perceive it—an occurrence happenim at the moment these lines are being penned—they describe France's plain declaration that she would defend her honor as "a defiance of Germany." Th? signs, then, aie strongly in favor -f war—;>nc uaivoked and precipitated by Germany for her own ends; but before it is over she may ha.ve Ceuse to regret her ruthless decision. From the German point of view, obviously no one has any rights but Germany, and wo are all "to be bird while" because ivf stand somewhat in her way. But oven if war is averted now. a collision before long must be regarded us inevitable. Fiance has. recovered some of her old and natural confidence, in hcr-elf. The cult of the "revanche" is being revived; the recovery of the lost provinces is once more an ideal. Forty years of peace have been obliterated, and the. passions of a wounded people have been again brought into play. Germany has routed ihotight.s by her action that she never condescended to take- into her Even if Germany draws back now—and this is the only way of manfaming poaeo—the day must come when Fiar.ee will rise as (.lie man and cast her threats in her teeth. The most interesting of the actors in the European international drama is Italy, because no one feels confident, as te> th ■ part she intends to play. She is Germany's ally, but she is no; bound to help her if'e.he undertakes an offensive, war. If Germany attach- France, then, Italy can look on ; but if she looks on, Austria the third nartner. will not ; and then follows the further query : what would be th" relations of Austria and Ttalw the one fulfilling her pan in Ihe triple compact and the other holding bach? It does not seem at all likely that, under these circumstance*, harmony would exist between Austria and Italy. Italy could not. afford to incur lee risk of standing alone. She vould be. bound to gravitate to the other groupv-:■.:. But run rs are already current that Italy is to receive compensation in Africa, and that when Germany is satisfied her claims there are to be brought forward. We shall see. The game < f compensations bem ; ouccstartwl.it is difficult to assign a limit for it. or to exclude fresh claimanls from time to time. All we need say is that it 'rill be a blur.d?r if Italy is allowed io think that she gets what she may get as Germany's ally rather thao as the friend of France.' Countries, like individuals, a' ways adhere to the more profitable connection. It would not be a- bad stroke to m-ornke Italy all Germany's African colonies whenever we may have to lake them from her.

Whatever other points may remain obscure, titer? is one clear consequence of the recent crisis, whether war ensues or not. The rivalry of England and Germany is brought into the Hmelieht. It is England which has baffled Germany, and if. despite present appearances, war is averted Germany will have retired for the moment only because she is not readv for the naval war. But she will then turn a ] l her efforts to getting readv. and. inspiird by the bad passions which the Press vituperation of England has aroused, the Geima.n ncorle will provide the monev m raise the 7'Jerman fleet lo a .-rill higher point of power and efp.cieiu y. Mil's will entail a still further effort and iii.i,a-rd r>se. hition bv England. In tlv e,,d tie sit>';;lion will have io be fa,ced. Sooner \h,i'.< continue a ruinous competition a elt-n issue will be raised—and Germany wdl he challenged to stop or fight. There ;.-- ,i! ready sullieient, examination in tries' to make ibis course seem inevitable. The question of men has in lie tec■ d. ns well as that of money. Giw-nat.y ha» superior resources in men. Amd her fiscal policy makes the foreigner contribute inuch of the cost of her new navy. As line progresses this rivalry will come mme and more clearly into view. The Ui.lie.izollern policy is progressive. It fixes <.n its goal, and' it works laboriou.-ly to reach it. In the last 25 years has cieated a formidable looking Heel. We .lo not know its true power. It may be weaker than it looks ; it. may bo stronger : but it has one elennnt of strength—it has been created solely for war whb England in the narrow sea*. There is no waste of force about it. It is a machine forged fcr a. sjtecifie purpose, and there is no room for doubt on the subject. It is a question for serious consideration how \«n% a man or a nation is iKumrl to Temain passive while a ri."il. in the full light of day, is making every preparation to put an end to his'' or its <xistence. 'Hie time mu>: come -when this intolerable position nvist cease to be, and our greatest risk is that we mav wait toi lone—Demetrius C. Boulger, in the 'United Service Magazine,' October. 1911.

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A REMARKABLE PROPHECY, Issue 15643, 6 November 1914

Word Count
3,874

A REMARKABLE PROPHECY Issue 15643, 6 November 1914

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