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THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES THURSDAY, JULY 16, 1914. THE ARMIES OF EUROPE.

The disclosures that have been published respecting the laches of the War Department in France may well be regarded as heartrending (to use M. Clemenceau's phrase) by the patriotic Frenchmen, the present Government is fortunate in being able, by reason of the brevity of its career, to repudiate any responsibility for the abuses. France is perhaps paying in this relation one of the penalties of too many changes of Government. At all events here is an administrative scandal affecting the efficiency of the national army—a tale of the waste of millions of money voted for defence purposes ; of an insufficient supply of ammunition; of war material of old and inferior, if not dangerous, quality; ol' a shortage of as many pairs of boots as would supply all the people of New Zealand twice over; of nefarious practices on the part of armament manufacturers; and of incompetency on the part of the military staff. This is not all, but the indictment framed by M.Humbert, reporter for the Army Committee, is sufficiently comprehensive to keep the Government busy for some time to come. It may be long enough before the full import of these charges is revealed, but it may be imagined that the European allies ol France will open their eyes in pained astonishment at hearing of such sorry discoveries. Russian equanimity, which was almost upset the other day because there appeared to be some danger of an abandonment by the French Government of the three years' military service system, will receive another shock by reason of the neglect, to give it the mildest term, which seems to have been a characteristic of the recent administration of the military affairs of the republic. The interdependence of military and political problems in France does not seem particularly conducive to the military efficiency of tne nation. In a recent article the military correspondent of The Times touches briefly upon the military preparations of the principal Powers. In the case of the German army he points out that the schemes ol 1913 are in course of successful execution, and the new law is beginning to bear fruit. He foresees that by the spring of 1915, when the second increased annual contingent will be not only incorporated but mobilisnble, the German peace establishment will have reached the figure of nearly 870,000 of all ranks. German reserves again will grow until they ultimately number 5,400,000 fully-trained men, while the large increase in the number of reservists called up for training this year enables the ranks to be well filled at any moment of danger. The peace strength of the French army as a whole, this usually well-informed writer tells us, no longer presents that dangerous inferiority to the German figure that caused serious anxiety, but France is still much inferior to Germany in peace strength and has considerable forces tied up in North Africa. She is also beaten in the matter of reserves, for the French system will eventually produce 120,000 fewer Reservists than the German. "France," we road, "has done all that is humanly possible to maintain her military position in the world, and looks confidently to her allies and friends to support her in preserving the balance of power not only on lann but at sea." The action of .Russia is an import-ant consideration in relation to the maintenance of the balance of (Kiwer be- ] tween the Triple Alliance and the r.ntente. The Russian reply to the new German law has been very forcible. The cost of j the Russian army is approximately equal to that of the British army and navv com- ( bined. An important factor in the in- - crease is the annual contingent that is 1 coming forward to serve with the colours : t

tiiis will apparently be stronger than before by 125,000 or 150.0C0 men. IHe duration of military service in Russiabeing from tliivci to lour years, tile total peace establishment will be raised within that period by about '150.000 men. and a t f>t" L peine strength i;f about 1.i00.0'-J'J will be obtained—or approximately double that, of Germany. Even with all due deduction:;, observes llie military correspondent of The Times, the Russian reply to Germany is next dour to a mobilisation in lime of peace. Jt is d that that reply to the German law, combined with the sacrifice.; of France and the growth ol the British navy, completely reverses the results which Germane expected from her naval and military laws. Neither in peace >-t renglhs nor in arebate war strengths nor in numerical strength at sea will the Triplico have any advantage over the Entente when existing laws and building programmes have worked themselves out. It may reasonably be doubted whether, if Germany had foreseen the action of the Powers embraced within the Entente in reply to her laws, these laws -would ever have been drafted. The conclusion is that the German people arc worse oil in a military cense than before. Franco and ltnssia liave shown themselves prepared to make great sacrifices to maintain the balance of power. The revelations which have just been published concerning important aspects of the French military organisation do not affect the sacrifice that the nation has made, butrighteous indignation will be aroused at the thought that the price paid has not been productive of the efficiency that was to have been expected.

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Bibliographic details

THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES THURSDAY, JULY 16, 1914. THE ARMIES OF EUROPE., Otago Daily Times, Issue 16127, 16 July 1914

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902

THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES THURSDAY, JULY 16, 1914. THE ARMIES OF EUROPE. Otago Daily Times, Issue 16127, 16 July 1914

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