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ON THE WATCH TOWER, Issue 15659, 25 November 1914
ON THE WATCH TOWER
[By Ariel.] "We wilted it," nays Herr Maximilian Harden, writing of the war. '* Let us drop onr miserable attempts to excuse Germany's action. Not against our will and as a nation surprised did we hurl ourselves into this gigantic venture. We willed it. We do not stand before the judgment scat of Europe. We acknowledge no such jurisdiction. Our might shall create a new law of Europe." That is a perfectly honest statement by a man who believes with all his heart tnat Germanv is right. The Kaiser and _the Chancellor have both tried to persuade the world that the war came by force ot circumstances and by the connivance of the snemy. ■■•Whether Herr Harden will fall under the Draconian laws of his country for ” lese-majeste" in thus contradicting the Kaiser. 1 cannot say. If he does ho will, like many other martyrs, have the inward sense of truth for his viaticum. The German Press ami the German orators have tried to fix the blame on the jealousy and treachery of Britain. But here Is the plain, bald truth: "We willed it !” If it was against the literal law our might will adjust the moral law to our conduct. (local I There yon have it plain •nd fiat. "Our might shall create a new law for Europe," samples of which arc on exhibition wherever Germany lias had power to strike or opportunity to display treachery. Germany must take her place a« a 'leading Power, and retain Belgium and the narrow strip of coast as far us Calais. She does not desire indemnities. Her object ia to hoist the flag on the Channel that opens or closes the way to the Atlantic. This done, she will voluntarily close the war. Let these honest words sink into the thick skulls of those who have obstinately l>oJieved that Germany was arming aud training and spying all for the sake of keeping the peace and being a good neighbor. ******* I have personally no doubt at- all that the programme of annexing Belgium and the* French coast a.s far as Calais was deliberately arranged long before the war. and that the object of getting to Calais was mainly to facilitate attacks on •'■ngland. It' was supposed that England, thought to be soft iii brain and muscle, ■would look idly on till it wa* too late to struggle, and then in a cowardly fashion lick the boots of the new Napoleon and ask for permission to exist. Suich permission would have been contemptuously granted on term* as imjsissible as those offered fB Sorvia by Austria, and then we would have had* to grapple with the giant alone. Now. though the thick skulls above referred to may have difficulty in grasping tliis even now, the intelligent and o|>serv- . ant knew it years ago. The present Imperial Government remained blind to it as long as possible, but have semi it with in- * rca-fun** cWarnCsa ior scvorul yean?. l*t’t u> then be us honest as Herr Harden. We knew that Gevmanv had willed the war. and we had wi/W to oppose her while there was company on our bide. It would have been much more to the credit of our good sense if we had also willed to he a vast deal more ready than wo were. But let that pass. We had willed to thwart Germany's swollen ambitions, and we will that move and more strongly every ■lav. That is why wo are the most treacherous and hated of all nations. IV e break into the gorgeous dream, and leave it unfulfilled. We were counted on to keep quiet while our hands were tied, and wo have treacherously failed to do so! ******** Somewhere in the New Zealand Press I have seen an excellent letter by a capable and well-informed colonist to a German friend, a high official, who had re- • « _ • • * 1.-
quested an expression of opinion on the war. After many sound veil col ions on matters an<l things, the writer consoles himself with a glance at the benefits the Avar will confer. In a long peace the world rots and festers in the .van. It rushes to pleasure and to luxury; it forsakes the healthy country for the unwholesome town; it loses moral stamina; it t eases to he able to bear pain ; it lets the cradle stand empty: and. worst of all, it hatches pestilential ideas to the effect that a new political economy can be manufactured by resolution duly seconded and curried, that the struggle for existence can bo abolished, that there will be no more war, and that the weaker side of humanity is the best and should be allowed to rule. ( And if this ulcer <>f luxury be not operated on by the lancet of war it tends to become malignant for mankind. We forget that struggle is Nature’s only method of progress, and become foolish enough to believe that we can get rid of it. It is. of course, appaliiue to see the flower of n nation cut their prime; but there is something much worse than this : to see the flower of a nation diseased with the pursuit of luxury and illusion. And the holocausts of peace in great cities are far greater than in war; it is only that they are witnessed only by a few, the immediate circles of the individuals that die. The process is the same and everlasting—the process of Nature. ******* War is Clod's plough. It is tearing up the pastures that have lain too long. It is setting all men thinking some stronger thought than they were- accustomed to think. I meet tins new seriousness in many quarters. Here are a few lines from a letter that one of my own private trie casually sonds um ; “What a war 1 What an emphasis mark in the age-long tragedy of this inexplicable, world ! And yet are there not things worse than war? Its. not race decadence worse, with its pessimism and its ultimate contempt for all high ideals? Polly, as a fecund mother, was breeding fads and crazes by the uncounted score whtm the trumpet sounded. Men were growing deaf to the lessons of history. blind to the nature of life, and there- ‘ fore hopeful of the impossible. In fifty years there had been ten great Avars and many ■mall opes ; yet there were those who said Unit Avar was coming to an end, that tho ucav economic and social conceptions wore tending to bring all enlightened men together as brothers to be mutually trusted and loved. History prophesied a swift negative to those hopes, and hero is her fulfilment. We must look deeper into the law of economic and social necessity, a.nd shape onr wisdom to the stern truth.” 'that stein truth is. if I may interpret my friend’s mind, that man is essentially a fighting animal, and that all the nonfighting religions and policies and partisan professions are merely skin deep, and deceive only those avlio cannot think into the past for lack of knowledge. Someone proposes that no one should be allowed to he an Imperial Minister who had not made the tour of the Dominions. 'That its good, but it is equally necessary that no one should become a ruler avlio is not acquainted AA-ilh a few hundred volumes of the story of tine world and a few scores on the philosophy of history. ******* There is an unexpected lesson to bo learnt front tho naval .action* that have taken place. The Emden was on fire w-be i sho ran aground. Tho flood Hope exploded as the result of the first salvo, and both she and her companion were reported to be on fire. Now wo have tho Goeben on fire, and reported to have had an expiosion after a ioav rounds. It is therefore clear that fire and explosions are pretty certain to follow being hit by the big guns. We have had only three sea fights in this war, and Area or explosions, or both, have appeared in them all. This seems to argils some unforeseen danger ; for manifestly it ought to be easy to build a steel-ship, intended to be shot at, reasonably fireproof. Yet all the defeated ships of this war have been on lire. If my memory serves me rightly, the Konigeberg also set the Pegasus on fire when she bombarded her at anchor. This is a matter that cries aloud for attention, for a fire must seriously detract from’tile fighting efficiency .of a ship if it take* place during battle. Still more ■enow Ist he explosion. - At least two have taken place—one on the Good .Hope and one on the Goeben. Here again there must .b* .something unexpected and of deadly “importance. VTe must not have great naval battles deckled by explosions on i onr fhin*.
The naval fight off the coast of Chile at last seems fairly intelligible—though why an intelligible account was not seuit at first ■pastes my comprehension. The authorities at Home knew tire facts, and had everything to gain by telling us how the thing happened. The Canopus was with the •three weaker ships when the enemy were sighted. The enemy knew that they were six or eight knots an hour faster than the Canopus, and that they had nothing to fear from her. This, 1 presume, is what our authorities did not like to confess. The enemy also know the fighting spirit of the English, and that they would be unable to resist fighting with what ships they could. The Germans made off along the coast in such a way as to.keep the English to the westward. When the three Horatii were pitted against the three Ciiriatii to do •.battle for Rome, two of the Romans were killed, and the third took to flight with a view to separating his opponents, who pursued with unequal speed. The surviving Horatius then turned and slew his three opponents one after the other as they came up. This was the German policy. In a six hours’ mu they would leave the Cunopus, say, 40 miles behind. They were sure of their euuerioritv over tho olher pursuers, especially as Tier had ii;ranged for another advantage from their j long flight. They intended to begin the | tight just after sunset This would leave I the English against a bright background— j ou the skyline, as it were—-while they j themselves were in the shadows of the j evening. By means of these two dodges—getting rid of the Canopus and securing the bright background—which wore, no doubt, carefully thought out and timed, the Germans scored an easy win and huge credit ; while our management in somdinv the useless Canopus to serve as a trap fo ( her consorts must provoke the laughter of tha world. In this memorable light three ranges have been mentioned in the cables. Berlin claimed 10,400 metres, and British accounts mentioned 12,000 and 14,000 yds. None of these is credible. * x- * * •siHistory repeats itself. In ‘Hakluyt’s Voyages*’ 4here is in the first volume a poem of 1.200 lines, entitled ‘The Libel of English I’olicy ’ (“libel" means statement), dating from the reign of Henry j VI. Its object is to stir the English t'> Cherish Mnrchandise, keep the admivaliie ; I That we ivo Masters of tho narrow see. It states that tho vreat Kmpei.ir Sigismuttd. “ widi yet reignetii,” when lie was in England with the late- Henry V., when he saw the two towns of ’* Caleis and Dover," said ; Keep these two townes sure, and your Ma jester As your tweyne oyne: x> keep the narrow see. After discussing the history of sea policy, the nations who traded and lobbed in the narrow sea and the vital necessity of keeping that “which of England its the town© wall," the writer concludes: Now then for love of ClnjUt. and of his joy. Bring it England nut ot trouble and noy; Take heart aud witte. and set a governance, Set' many wittes withnuten variance To one accord mid nnanmiitee. Put to good will for to keep? the see. First for worship (honor) and profile also. And to rebuke echo evill-willcd foe. Five, centuries have passed over, and hero we are lighting for “Caleis and Dover" as for our "tweyne eyne," and both for honor and profit putting to good w ill for to keep the narrow sea. Sir George Aston, in his book of this year, ‘ tsea, Land, and Air Strategy,’ says that estimates of the cost of a war between j tho Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente ( were little short of £9,000,000 a day. in j detail ‘the estimates wereßritain
£BOO,OCO a dav. Fiance £1,800,000, Russia £2.250.000, Germany £2.200.000, Austria £1,000.000, Italy. £750.000. .Italy has not yet come into this carnival of waste and destruction, hut Belgium, Servia. Japan, Turkey, and Portugal avII probably make up for her absence. It is probable also that Britain is spending far more than the estimate. However, with -her trade uncrippled. she can afford it better than any of the other'parses. France can also last Avdl, but Russia is the Aveak member of the Entente. With the largest expenditure she is by far the poorest of the Allies, and will hardly bo able to hold out for years at the present rate, especial! a- as the war with Turkey falls largely mi her shoulders, and is not included 'in"the estimate. On the other hand. Austria is fur from rich, and has not only suffered great disasters, but must have lost most of her external trade. Germany is rich, but having little trade left she is living on her oivn fat. and out of that lias to subsidise bankrupt Turkey and pay double for everything she succeeds in importing. Taking everything _ into account, the odds see.m immensely in our faA-or. Sir George mentions casually that the South African War tost us £211,000,000 in 51 months. The Russo-Japanese War cost Japan £203,000,000 in 10 month*, and the recent Balkan Avars rest £246.000,000 in 24 weeks. * * * * * # * The Bavarians who have been sent to the coastal region Avbero the English forces are complain that they arc given " Uriah posts,” Avhilo the Prussians are kept out of danger. Perhaps everybody does not know nowadays. Avhen the Bible is not in the schools, what a "Uriah post” is. [he story is one of the gcamyl side of a fairly good man, and, of co'nrse, there Ava-s n Avoman in the question. And David Ayrola a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of' the hottest battle, and retire yo from him that he .may he smitten and die. And it came to pass. Avben Joab observed the citv, that he assigned Uriah, it* place Avhe're lie knew that the valiant men were. And the men of the city went out and fought with Joab; and there fell some of tlie people of the servants of David ; and Uriah the Hittitc died also. We accept Avith pleasure the compliment of the Bavarians' complaint that the commander assigns them a. place where he knows that the valiant men are.
ON THE WATCH TOWER, Issue 15659, 25 November 1914
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