Germany and the Next War
Friedrich von Bernhardi

Part 3 out of 6

objects from want of patriotism and of political common sense, often,
also, by the pettiness of the prevailing ideas. Even to-day it is
painful to see how the forces of the German nation, which are so
restricted and confined in their activities abroad, are wasted in
fruitless quarrels among themselves.

Our primary and most obvious moral and political duty is to overcome
these hereditary failings, and to lay a secure foundation for a healthy,
consistent development of our power.

It must not be denied that the variety of forms of intellectual and
social life arising from the like variety of the German nationality and
political system offers valuable advantages. It presents countless
centres for the advancement of science, art, technical skill, and a high
spiritual and material way of life in a steadily increasing development.
But we must resist the converse of these conditions, the transference of
this richness in variety and contrasts into the domain of politics.

Above all must we endeavour to confirm and consolidate the institutions
which are calculated to counteract and concentrate the centrifugal
forces of the German nature--the common system of defence of our country
by land and sea, in which all party feeling is merged, and a strong
national empire.

No people is so little qualified as the German to direct its own
destinies, whether in a parliamentarian or republican constitution; to
no people is the customary liberal pattern so inappropriate as to us. A
glance at the Reichstag will show how completely this conviction, which
is forced on us by a study of German history, holds good to-day.

The German people has always been incapable of great acts for the common
interest except under the irresistible pressure of external conditions,
as in the rising of 1813, or under the leadership of powerful
personalities, who knew how to arouse the enthusiasm of the masses, to
stir the German spirit to its depths, to vivify the idea of nationality,
and force conflicting aspirations into concentration and union.

We must therefore take care that such men are assured the possibility of
acting with a confident and free hand in order to accomplish great ends
through and for our people.

Within these limits, it is in harmony with the national German character
to allow personality to have a free course for the fullest development
of all individual forces and capacities, of all spiritual, scientific,
and artistic aims. "Every extension of the activities of the State is
beneficial and wise, if it arouses, promotes, and purifies the
independence of free and reasoning men; it is evil when it kills and
stunts the independence of free men." [F] This independence of the
individual, within the limits marked out by the interests of the State,
forms the necessary complement of the wide expansion of the central
power, and assures an ample scope to a liberal development of all our
social conditions.

[Footnote F: Treitschke, "Politik," i., Section 2.]

We must rouse in our people the unanimous wish for power in this sense,
together with the determination to sacrifice on the altar of patriotism,
not only life and property, but also private views and preferences in
the interests of the common welfare. Then alone shall we discharge our
great duties of the future, grow into a World Power, and stamp a great
part of humanity with the impress of the German spirit. If, on the
contrary, we persist in that dissipation of energy which now marks our
political life, there is imminent fear that in the great contest of the
nations, which we must inevitably face, we shall be dishonourably
beaten; that days of disaster await us in the future, and that once
again, as in the days of our former degradation, the poet's lament will
be heard:

"O Germany, thy oaks still stand,
But thou art fallen, glorious land!"



Germany has great national and historical duties of policy and culture
to fulfil, and her path towards further progress is threatened by
formidable enmities. If we realize this, we shall see that it will be
impossible to maintain our present position and secure our future
without an appeal to arms.

Knowing this, as every man must who impartially considers the political
situation, we are called upon to prepare ourselves as well as possible
for this war. The times are passed when a stamp of the foot raised an
army, or when it was sufficient to levy the masses and lead them to
battle. The armaments of the present day must be prepared in peace-time
down to the smallest detail, if they are to be effective in time of

Although this fact is known, the sacrifices which are required for
warlike preparations are no longer so willingly made as the gravity of
the situation demands. Every military proposal is bitterly contested in
the Reichstag, frequently in a very petty spirit, and no one seems to
understand that an unsuccessful war would involve our nation in economic
misery, with which the most burdensome charges for the army (and these
for the most part come back again into the coffers of the country)
cannot for an instant be compared. A victorious war, on the other hand,
brings countless advantages to the conqueror, and, as our last great
wars showed, forms a new departure in economic progress. The fact is
often forgotten that military service and the observance of the national
duty of bearing arms are in themselves a high moral gain for our
people, and improve the strength and capacity for work. Nor can it be
ignored that a nation has other than merely economic duties to
discharge. I propose to discuss the question, what kind and degree of
preparation for war the great historical crisis through which we are
passing demands from us. First, however, it will be profitable to
consider the importance of preparations for war generally, and not so
much from the purely military as from the social and political aspect;
we shall thus strengthen the conviction that we cannot serve the true
interests of the country better than by improving its military

Preparation for war has a double task to discharge. Firstly, it must
maintain and raise the military capabilities of the nation as a national
asset; and, secondly, it must make arrangements for the conduct of the
war and supply the requisite means.

This capability of national defence has a pronounced educative value in
national development.

As in the social competition the persons able to protect themselves hold
the field--the persons, that is, who, well equipped intellectually, do
not shirk the contest, but fight it out with confidence and certainty of
victory--so in the rivalry of nations and States victory rests with the
people able to defend itself, which boldly enters the lists, and is
capable of wielding the sword with success.

Military service not only educates nations in warlike capacity, but it
develops the intellectual and moral qualities generally for the
occupations of peace. It educates a man to the full mastery of his body,
to the exercise and improvement of his muscles; it develops his mental
powers, his self-reliance and readiness of decision; it accustoms him to
order and subordination for a common end; it elevates his self-respect
and courage, and thus his capacity for every kind of work.

It is a quite perverted view that the time devoted to military service
deprives economic life of forces which could have been more
appropriately and more profitably employed elsewhere. These forces are
not withdrawn from economic life, but are trained for economic life.
Military training produces intellectual and moral forces which richly
repay the time spent, and have their real value in subsequent life. It
is therefore the moral duty of the State to train as many of its
countrymen as possible in the use of arms, not only with the prospect of
war, but that they may share in the benefits of military service and
improve their physical and moral capacities of defence. The sums which
the State applies to the military training of the nation are distinctly
an outlay for social purposes; the money so spent serves social and
educative ends, and raises the nation spiritually and morally; it thus
promotes the highest aims of civilization more directly than
achievements of mechanics, industries, trades, and commerce, which
certainly discharge the material duties of culture by improving the
national livelihood and increasing national wealth, but bring with them
a number of dangers, such as craving for pleasure and tendency to
luxury, thus slackening the moral and productive fibres of the nations.
Military service as an educational instrument stands on the same level
as the school, and, as will be shown in a later section, each must
complete and assist the other. But a people which does not willingly
bear the duties and sacrifices entailed by school and military service
renounces its will to live, and sacrifices objects which are noble and
assure the future for the sake of material advantages which are
one-sided and evanescent.

It is the duty, therefore, of every State, conscious of its obligations
towards civilization and society, remorselessly to put an end to all
tendencies inimical to the full development of the power of defence. The
method by which the maintenance and promotion of this defensive power
can be practically carried out admits of great variety. It depends
largely on the conditions of national life, on the geographical and
political circumstances, as well as on past history, and consequently
ranges between very wide extremes.

In the Boer States, as among most uncivilized peoples, the military
training was almost exclusively left to the individual. That was
sufficient to a certain point, since their method of life in itself made
them familiar with carrying arms and with riding, and inured them to
hard bodily exertions. The higher requirements of combination,
subordination, and campaigning, could not be met by such a military
system, and the consequences of this were felt disastrously in the
conduct of the war. In Switzerland and other States an attempt is made
to secure national defence by a system of militia, and to take account
of political possibilities. The great European States maintain standing
armies in which all able-bodied citizens have to pass a longer or
shorter period of military training. England alone keeps up a mercenary
army, and by the side of it a territorial army, whose ranks are filled
by volunteers.

In these various ways different degrees of military efficiency are
obtained, but, generally, experience shows that the more thorough and
intelligent this training in arms, the greater the development of the
requisite military qualities in the units; and the more these qualities
become a second nature, the more complete will be their warlike efficiency.

When criticizing the different military systems, we must remember that
with growing civilization the requisite military capacities are always
changing. The duties expected from the Roman legionary or the soldiers
who fought in line under Frederick the Great were quite different from
those of the rifleman and cavalryman of to-day. Not merely have the
physical functions of military service altered, but the moral qualities
expected from the fighting man are altered. This applies to the
individual soldier as much as to the whole army. The character of
warfare has continually been changing. To fight in the Middle Ages or in
the eighteenth century with comparatively small forces was one thing; it
is quite another to handle the colossal armies of to-day. The
preparations for war, therefore, in the social as well as military
sense, must be quite different in a highly developed modern civilized
State from those in countries, standing on a lower level of
civilization, where ordinary life is full of military elements, and war
is fought under relatively simple conditions.

The crushing superiority of civilized States over people with a less
developed civilization and military system is due to this altered form
of military efficiency. It was thus that Japan succeeded in raising
herself in a brief space to the supremacy in Eastern Asia. She now reaps
in the advancement of her culture what she sowed on the battlefield, and
proves once again the immeasurable importance, in its social and
educational aspects, of military efficiency. Our own country, by
employing its military powers, has attained a degree of culture which it
never could have reached by the methods of peaceful development.

When we regard the change in the nature of military efficiency, we find
ourselves on ground where the social duty of maintaining the physical
and moral power of the nation to defend itself comes into direct contact
with the political duty of preparing for warfare itself.

A great variety of procedure is possible, and actually exists, in regard
to the immediate preparations for war. This is primarily expressed in
the choice of the military system, but it is manifested in various other
ways. We see the individual States--according to their geographical
position, their relations to other States and the military strength of
their neighbours, according to their historic claims and their greater
or less importance in the political system of the world--making their
military preparations with more or less energy, earnestness, and
expenditure. When we consider the complex movements of the life of
civilized nations, the variety of its aims and the multiplicity of its
emotions, we must agree that the growth or decrease of armaments is
everywhere affected by these considerations. War is only a _means_ of
attaining political ends and of supporting moral strength.

Thus, if England attaches most weight to her navy, her insular position
and the wide oversea interests which she must protect thoroughly justify
her policy. If, on the other hand, England develops her land forces only
with the objects of safeguarding the command of her colonies, repelling
a very improbable hostile invasion, and helping an allied Power in a
continental war, the general political situation explains the reason. As
a matter of fact, England can never be involved in a great continental
European war against her will.

So Switzerland, which has been declared neutral by political treaties,
and can therefore only take the field if she is attacked, rightly lays
most stress on the social importance of military service, and tries to
develop a scheme of defence which consists mainly in increasing the
security afforded by her own mountains. The United States of America,
again, are justified in keeping their land forces within very modest
limits, while devoting their energies to the increase of their naval
power. No enemy equal to them in strength can ever spring up on the
continent of America; they need not fear the invasion of any
considerable forces. On the other hand, they are threatened by oversea
conflicts, of epoch-making importance, with the yellow race, which has
acquired formidable strength opposite their western coast, and possibly
with their great trade rival England, which has, indeed, often made
concessions, but may eventually see herself compelled to fight for her
position in the world.

While in some States a restriction of armaments is natural and
justifiable, it is easily understood that France must strain every nerve
to secure her full recognition among the great military nations of
Europe. Her glorious past history has fostered in her great political
pretensions which she will not abandon without a struggle, although they
are no longer justified by the size of her population and her
international importance. France affords a conspicuous example of
self-devotion to ideals and of a noble conception of political and moral

In the other European States, as in France, external political
conditions and claims, in combination with internal politics, regulate
the method and extent of warlike preparations, and their attitude, which
necessity forces upon them, must be admitted to carry its own

A State may represent a compact unity, from the point of view of
nationality and civilization; it may have great duties to discharge in
the development of human culture, and may possess the national strength
to safeguard its independence, to protect its own interests, and, under
certain circumstances, to persist in its civilizing mission and
political schemes in defiance of other nations. Another State may be
deficient in the conditions of individual national life and in elements
of culture; it may lack the resources necessary for the defence and
maintenance of its political existence single-handed in the teeth of all
opposition. There is a vast difference between these two cases.

A State like the latter is always more or less dependent on the
friendliness of stronger neighbours, whether it ranks in public law as
fully independent or has been proclaimed neutral by international
conventions. If it is attacked on one side, it must count on support
from the other. Whether it shall continue to exist as a State and under
what conditions must depend on the result of the ensuing war and the
consequent political position--factors that lie wholly outside its own
sphere of power.

This being the case, the question may well be put whether such a State
is politically justified in requiring from its citizens in time of peace
the greatest military efforts and correspondingly large pecuniary
expenditure. It will certainly have to share the contest in which it is
itself, perhaps, the prize, and theoretically will do best to have the
largest possible military force at its disposal. But there is another
aspect of the question which is at least arguable. The fighting power of
such a State may be so small that it counts for nothing in comparison
with the millions of a modern army. On the other hand, where appreciable
military strength exists, it may be best not to organize the army with a
view to decisive campaigning, but to put the social objects of military
preparation into the foreground, and to adopt in actual warfare a
defensive policy calculated to gain time, with a view to the subsequent
interference of the prospective allies with whom the ultimate decision
will rest. Such an army must, if it is to attain its object, represent a
real factor of strength. It must give the probable allies that effective
addition of strength which may insure a superiority over the antagonist.
The ally must then be forced to consider the interests of such secondary
State. The forces of the possible allies will thus exercise a certain
influence on the armament of the State, in combination with the local
conditions, the geographical position, and the natural configuration of
the country.

It is only to be expected that, since such various conditions exist, the
utmost variety should also prevail among the military systems; and such
is, in fact, the case.

In the mountain stronghold of Switzerland, which has to reckon with the
political and military circumstances of Germany, France, and Italy,
preparations for war take a different shape from those of Holland,
situated on the coast and secured by numerous waterways, whose political
independence is chiefly affected by the land forces of Germany and the
navy of England.

The conditions are quite otherwise for a country which relies wholly on
its own power.

The power of the probable antagonists and of the presumable allies will
have a certain importance for it, and its Government will in its plans and
military preparations pay attention to their grouping and attitudes;
but these preparations must never be motived by such considerations
alone. The necessity for a strong military force is permanent and
unqualified; the political permutations and combinations are endless,
and the assistance of possible allies is always an uncertain and
shifting factor, on which no reliance can be reposed.

The military power of an independent State in the true sense must
guarantee the maintenance of a force sufficient to protect the interests
of a great civilized nation and to secure to it the necessary freedom of
development. If from the social standpoint no sacrifice can be
considered too great which promotes the maintenance of national military
efficiency, the increase in these sacrifices due to political conditions
must be willingly and cheerfully borne, in consideration of the object
thereby to be gained. This object--of which each individual must be
conscious--if conceived in the true spirit of statesmanship, comprises
the conditions which are decisive for the political and moral future of
the State as well as for the livelihood of each individual citizen.

A civilization which has a value of its own, and thus forms a vital
factor in the development of mankind, can only flourish where all the
healthy and stimulating capacities of a nation find ample scope in
international competition. This is also an essential condition for the
unhindered and vigorous exercise of individual activities. Where the
natural capacity for growth is permanently checked by external
circumstances, nation and State are stunted and individual growth is set

Increasing political power and the consequent multiplication of
possibilities of action constitute the only healthy soil for the
intellectual and moral strength of a vigorous nation, as is shown by
every phase of history.

The wish for culture must therefore in a healthy nation express itself
first in terms of the wish for political power, and the foremost duty of
statesmanship is to attain, safeguard, and promote this power, by force
of arms in the last resort. Thus the first and most essential duty of
every great civilized people is to prepare for war on a scale
commensurate with its political needs. Even the superiority of the enemy
cannot absolve from the performance of this requirement. On the
contrary, it must stimulate to the utmost military efforts and the most
strenuous political action in order to secure favourable conditions for
the eventuality of a decisive campaign. Mere numbers count for less than
ever in modern fighting, although they always constitute a very
important factor of the total strength. But, within certain limits,
which are laid down by the law of numbers, the true elements of
superiority under the present system of gigantic armies are seen to be
spiritual and moral strength, and larger masses will be beaten by a
small, well-led and self-devoting army. The Russo-Japanese War has
proved this once more.

Granted that the development of military strength is the first duty of
every State, since all else depends upon the possibility to assert
_power_, it does not follow that the State must spend the total of its
personal and financial resources solely on military strength in the
narrower sense of army and navy. That is neither feasible nor
profitable. The military power of a people is not exclusively determined
by these external resources; it consists, rather, in a harmonious
development of physical, spiritual, moral, financial, and military
elements of strength. The highest and most effective military system
cannot be developed except by the co-operation of all these factors. It
needs a broad and well-constructed basis in order to be effective. In
the Manchurian War at the critical moment, when the Japanese attacking
strength seemed spent, the Russian military system broke down, because
its foundation was unstable; the State had fallen into political and
moral ruin, and the very army was tainted with revolutionary ideas.

The social requirement of maintaining military efficiency, and the
political necessity for so doing, determine the nature and degree of
warlike preparations; but it must be remembered that this standard may
be very variously estimated, according to the notion of what the State's
duties are. Thus, in Germany the most violent disputes burst out
whenever the question of the organization of the military forces is
brought up, since widely different opinions prevail about the duties of
the State and of the army.

It is, indeed, impossible so to formulate and fix the political duties
of the State that they cannot be looked at from another standpoint. The
social democrat, to whom agitation is an end in itself, will see the
duty of the State in a quite different light from the political
_dilettante_, who lives from hand to mouth, without making the bearing
of things clear to himself, or from the sober Statesman who looks to the
welfare of the community and keeps his eyes fixed on the distant beacons
on the horizon of the future.

Certain points of view, however, may be laid down, which, based on the
nature of things, check to some degree any arbitrary decision on these
momentous questions, and are well adapted to persuade calm and
experienced thinkers.

First, it must be observed that military power cannot be improvised in
the present political world, even though all the elements for it are

Although the German Empire contains 65,000,000 inhabitants, compared to
40,000,000 of French, this excess in population represents merely so
much dead capital, unless a corresponding majority of recruits are
annually enlisted, and unless in peace-time the necessary machinery is
set up for their organization. The assumption that these masses would be
available for the army in the moment of need is a delusion. It would not
mean a strengthening, but a distinct weakening, of the army, not to say
a danger, if these untrained masses were at a crisis suddenly sent on
active service. Bourbaki's campaign shows what is to be expected from
such measures. Owing to the complexity of all modern affairs, the
continuous advance in technical skill and in the character of warlike
weapons, as also in the increased requirements expected from the
individual, long and minute preparations are necessary to procure the
highest military values. Allusion has already been made to this at the
beginning of this chapter. It takes a year to complete a 30-centimetre
cannon. If it is to be ready for use at a given time, it must have been
ordered long beforehand. Years will pass before the full effect of the
strengthening of the army, which is now being decided on, appears in the
rolls of the Reserve and the Landwehr. The recruit who begins his
service to-day requires a year's training to become a useful soldier.
With the hasty training of substitute reservists and such expedients, we
merely deceive ourselves as to the necessity of serious preparations. We
must not regard the present only, but provide for the future.

The same argument applies to the political conditions. The man who makes
the bulk of the preparations for war dependent on the shifting changes
of the politics of the day, who wishes to slacken off in the work of
arming because no clouds in the political horizon suggest the necessity
of greater efforts, acts contrary to all real statesmanship, and is
sinning against his country.

The moment does not decide; the great political aspirations,
oppositions, and tensions, which are based on the nature of
things--these turn the scale.

When King William at the beginning of the sixties of the last century
undertook the reorganization of the Prussian army, no political tension
existed. The crisis of 1859 had just subsided. But the King had
perceived that the Prussian armament was insufficient to meet the
requirements of the future. After a bitter struggle he extorted from his
people a reorganization of the army, and this laid the foundations
without which the glorious progress of our State would never have begun.
In the same true spirit of statesmanship the Emperor William II. has
powerfully aided and extended the evolution of our fleet, without being
under the stress of any political necessity; he has enjoyed the cheerful
co-operation of his people, since the reform at which he aimed was
universally recognized as an indisputable need of the future, and
accorded with traditional German sentiment.

While the preparation for war must be completed irrespectively of the
political influences of the day, the military power of the probable
opponents marks a limit below which the State cannot sink without
jeopardizing the national safety.

Further, the State is bound to enlist in its service all the discoveries
of modern science, so far as they can be applied to warfare, since all
these methods and engines of war, should they be exclusively in the
hands of the enemy, would secure him a distinct superiority. It is an
obvious necessity to keep the forces which can be put into the field as
up-to-date as possible, and to facilitate their military operations by
every means which science and mechanical skill supply. Further, the army
must be large enough to constitute a school for the whole nation, in
which a thoroughgoing and no mere superficial military efficiency may be

Finally, the nature of the preparation for war is to some degree
regulated by the political position of the State. If the State has
satisfied its political ambitions and is chiefly concerned with keeping
its place, the military policy will assume a more or less defensive
character. States, on the other hand, which are still desirous of
expansion, or such as are exposed to attacks on different sides, must
adopt a predominantly offensive military system.

Preparations for war in this way follow definite lines, which are
dictated by necessity and circumstances; but it is evident that a wide
scope is still left for varieties of personal opinion, especially where
the discussion includes the positive duties of the State, which may lead
to an energetic foreign policy, and thus possibly to an offensive war,
and where very divergent views exist as to the preparation for war. In
this case the statesman's only resource is to use persuasion, and to so
clearly expound and support his conceptions of the necessary policy that
the majority of the nation accept his view. There are always and
everywhere conditions which have a persuasive character of their own,
and appeal to the intellects and the feelings of the masses.

Every Englishman is convinced of the necessity to maintain the command
of the sea, since he realizes that not only the present powerful
position of the country, but also the possibility of feeding the
population in case of war, depend on it. No sacrifice for the fleet is
too great, and every increase of foreign navies instantly disquiets
public opinion. The whole of France, except a few anti-military circles,
feels the necessity of strengthening the position of the State, which
was shaken by the defeats of 1870-71, through redoubled exertions in the
military sphere, and this object is being pursued with exemplary

Even in neutral Switzerland the feeling that political independence
rests less on international treaties than on the possibility of
self-defence is so strong and widespread that the nation willingly
supports heavy taxation for its military equipment. In Germany, also, it
should be possible to arouse a universal appreciation of the great
duties of the State, if only our politicians, without any diplomatic
evasion, which deceives no one abroad and is harmful to the people at
home, disclosed the true political situation and the necessary objects
of our policy.

To be sure, they must be ready to face a struggle with public opinion,
as King William I. did: for when public opinion does not stand under the
control of a master will or a compelling necessity, it can be led astray
too easily by the most varied influences. This danger is particularly
great in a country so torn asunder internally and externally as Germany.
He who in such a case listens to public opinion runs a danger of
inflicting immense harm on the interests of State and people.

One of the fundamental principles of true statesmanship is that
permanent interests should never be abandoned or prejudiced for the sake
of momentary advantages, such as the lightening of the burdens of the
taxpayer, the temporary maintenance of peace, or suchlike specious
benefits, which, in the course of events, often prove distinct

The statesman, therefore, led astray neither by popular opinion nor by
the material difficulties which have to be surmounted, nor by the
sacrifices required of his countrymen, must keep these objects carefully
in view. So long as it seems practicable he will try to reconcile the
conflicting interests and bring them into harmony with his own. But
where great fundamental questions await decision, such as the actual
enforcement of universal service or of the requirements on which
readiness for war depends, he must not shrink from strong measures in
order to create the forces which the State needs, or will need, in order
to maintain its vitality.

One of the most essential political duties is to initiate and sanction
preparations for war on a scale commensurate with the existing
conditions; to organize them efficiently is the duty of the military
authorities--a duty which belongs in a sense to the sphere of strategy,
since it supplies the machinery with which commanders have to reckon.
Policy and strategy touch in this sphere. Policy has a strategic duty to
perform, since it sanctions preparations for war and defines their limit.

It would, therefore, be a fatal and foolish act of political weakness to
disregard the military and strategic standpoint, and to make the bulk of
the preparations for war dependent on the financial moans momentarily
available. "No expenditure without security," runs the formula in which
this policy clothes itself. It is justified only when the security is
fixed by the expenditure. In a great civilized State it is the duties
which must be fulfilled--as Treitschke, our great historian and national
politician, tells us--that determine the expenditure, and the great
Finance Minister is not the man who balances the national accounts by
sparing the national forces, while renouncing the politically
indispensable outlay, but he who stimulates all the live forces of the
nation to cheerful activity, and so employs them for national ends that
the State revenue suffices to meet the admitted political demands. He
can only attain this purpose if he works in harmony with the Ministers
for Commerce, Agriculture, Industries, and Colonies, in order to break
down the restrictions which cramp the enterprise and energy of the
individual, to make all dead values remunerative, and to create
favourable conditions for profitable business. A great impulse must
thrill the whole productive and financial circles of the State, if the
duties of the present and the future are to be fulfilled.

Thus the preparation for war, which, under modern conditions, calls for
very considerable expenditure, exercises a marked influence on the
entire social and political life of the people and on the financial
policy of the State.



The social necessity of maintaining the power of the nation to defend
itself, the political claims which the State puts forward, the strength
of the probable hostile combinations, are the chief factors which
determine the conditions of preparation for war.

I have already tried to explain and formulate the duties in the spheres
of policy and progress which our history and our national character
impose on us. My next task is to observe the possible military
combinations which we must be prepared to face.

In this way only can we estimate the dangers which threaten us, and can
judge whether, and to what degree, we can carry out our political
intentions. A thorough understanding of these hostile counter-movements
will give us a clear insight into the character of the next war; and
this war will decide our future.

It is not sufficient to know the military fighting forces of our
probable antagonists, although this knowledge constitutes the necessary
basis for further inquiry; but we must picture to ourselves the
intensity of the hostility with which we have to reckon and the probable
efficiency of oar enemies. The hostility which we must anticipate is
determined by the extent to which mutual political schemes and ambitions
clash, and by the opposition in national character. Our opinion as to
the military efficiency of our rivals must be based on the latest data

If we begin by looking at the forces of the individual States and groups
of States which may be hostile to us, we have the following results:
According to the recent communications of the French Finance Minister
Klotz (in a speech made at the unveiling of a war memorial in Issoudan),
the strength of the French army on a peace footing in the year 1910
amounted in round figures to 580,000 men. This included the "Colonial
Corps," stationed in France itself, which, in case of war, belongs to
the field army in the European theatre of war, and the "Service
auxiliaire "--that is, some 30,000 non-efficients, who are drafted in
for service without arms. The entire war establishment, according to the
information of the same Minister, including field army and reserves,
consists of 2,800,000 men available on mobilization. A reduction from
this number must be made in event of mobilization, which French sources
put down at 20 per cent. The whole strength of the French field army and
reserves may therefore be reckoned at some 2,300,000.

To this must be added, as I rather from the same source, 1,700,000
Territorials, with their "reserve," from which a reduction of 25 per
cent., or roughly 450,000 men, must be made.

If it is assumed that, in case of war, the distribution of the arms will
correspond to that in peace, the result is, on the basis of the strength
of separate arms, which the Budget of 1911 anticipates, that out of the
2,300,000 field and reserve troops there must be assigned--to the
infantry, about 1,530.000; to the cavalry, about 230,000 (since a
considerable part of the reservists of these arms are employed in the
transport service); to the artillery, about 380,000; to the pioneers,
70,000: to train and administration services (trains, columns, medical
service, etc.), 90,000.

No further increase in these figures is possible, since in France 90 per
cent, of all those liable to serve have been called up, and the
birth-rate is steadily sinking. While in 1870 it reached 940,000 yearly,
it has sunk in 1908 to 790.000. Recourse already has been had to the
expedient of requiring smaller qualifications than before, and of
filling the numerous subsidiary posts (clerks, waiters, etc.) with less
efficient men, in order to relieve the troops themselves.

Under these conditions, it was necessary to tap new sources, and the
plan has been formed of increasing the troops with native-born Algerians
and Tunisians, in order to be able to strengthen the European army with
them in event of war. At the same time negroes, who are excellent and
trustworthy material, are to be enrolled in West Africa. A limited
conscription, such as exists in Tunis, is to be introduced into Algeria.
The black army is at first to be completed by volunteers, and
conscription will only be enforced at a crisis. These black troops are
in the first place to garrison Algeria and Tunis, to release the troops
stationed there for service in Europe, and to protect the white settlers
against the natives. Since the negroes raised for military service are
heathen, it is thought that they will be a counterpoise to the
Mohammedan natives. It has been proved that negro troops stand the
climate of North Africa excellently, and form very serviceable troops.
The two black battalions stationed in the Schauja, who took part in the
march to Fez, bore the climate well, and thoroughly proved their value.
There can be no doubt that this plan will be vigorously prosecuted, with
every prospect of success. It is so far in an early stage. Legislative
proposals on the use of the military resources offered by the native
Algerians and the West African negroes have not yet been laid before
Parliament by the Government. It cannot yet be seen to what extent the
native and black troops will be increased. The former Minister of War,
Messimy, had advocated a partial conscription of the native Algerians.
An annual muster is made of the Algerian males of eighteen years of age
available for military service. The Commission appointed for the purpose
reported in 1911 that, after the introduction of the limited service in
the army and the reserve, there would be in Algeria and Tunisia combined
some 100,000 to 120,000 native soldiers available in war-time. They
could also be employed in Europe, and are thus intended to strengthen
the Rhine army by three strong army corps of first-class troops, who, in
the course of years, may probably be considerably increased by the
formation of reserves.

As regards the black troops, the matter is different. France, in her
West African possessions combined, has some 16,000 negro troops
available. As the black population numbers 10,000,000 to 12,000,000,
these figures may be considerably raised.

Since May, 1910, there has been an experimental battalion of Senegalese
sharp-shooters in Southern Algeria, and in the draft War Budget for 1912
a proposal was made to transfer a second battalion of Senegalese to
Algeria. The conclusion is forced upon us that the plan of sending black
troops in larger numbers to Algeria will be vigorously prosecuted. There
is, however, no early probability of masses of black troops being
transported to North Africa, since there are not at present a sufficient
number of trained men available. The Senegalese Regiments 1, 2 and 3,
stationed in Senegambia, are hardly enough to replace and complete the
Senegalese troops quartered in the other African colonies of France.
Although there is no doubt that France is in a position to raise a
strong black army, the probability that black divisions will be
available for a European war is still remote. But it cannot be
questioned that they will be so some day.

Still less is any immediate employment of native Moroccan troops in
Europe contemplated. Morocco possesses very good native warriors, but
the Sultan exerts effective sovereignty only over a part of the
territory termed "Morocco." There cannot be, therefore, for years to
come any question of employing this fighting material on a large scale.
The French and Moroccan Governments are for the moment occupied in
organizing a serviceable Sultan's army of 20,000 men to secure the
command of the country and to release the French troops in Morocco.

The annexation of Morocco may for the time being mean no great addition
to military strength; but, as order is gradually established, the
country will prove to be an excellent recruiting depot, and France will
certainly use this source of power with all her accustomed energy in
military matters.

For the immediate future we have, therefore, only to reckon with the
reinforcements of the French European army which can be obtained from
Algeria and Tunisia, so soon as the limited system of conscription is
universally adopted there. This will supply a minimum of 120,000
men, and the tactical value of these troops is known to any who have
witnessed their exploits on the battlefields of Weissenburg and Woerth.
At least one strong division of Turcos is already available.

Next to the French army, we are chiefly concerned with the military
power of Russia. Since the peace and war establishments are not
published, it is hard to obtain accurate statistics; no information is
forthcoming as to the strength of the various branches of the service,
but the totals of the army may be calculated approximately. According to
the recruiting records of the last three years, the strength of the
Russian army on a peace footing amounts to 1,346,000 men, inclusive of
Cossacks and Frontier Guards. Infantry and sharp-shooters are formed
into 37 army corps (1 Guards, 1 Grenadiers, and 25 army corps in Europe;
3 Caucasian, 2 Turkistanian, and 5 Siberian corps). The cavalry is
divided into divisions, independent brigades, and separate independent

In war, each army corps consists of 2 divisions, and is in round figures
42,000 strong; each infantry division contains 2 brigades, at a strength
of 20,000. Each sharp-shooter brigade is about 9,000 strong, the cavalry
divisions about 4,500 strong. On the basis of these numbers, we arrive
at a grand total of 1,800,000 for all the army corps, divisions,
sharp-shooter brigades, and cavalry divisions. To this must be added
unattached troops and troops on frontier or garrison duty, so that the
war strength of the standing army can be reckoned at some 2,000,000.

This grand total is not all available in a European theatre of war. The
Siberian and Turkistanian army corps must be deducted, as they would
certainly be left in the interior and on the eastern frontier. For the
maintenance of order in the interior, it would probably be necessary to
leave the troops in Finland, the Guards at St. Petersburg, at least one
division at Moscow, and the Caucasian army corps in the Caucasus. This
would mean a deduction of thirteen army corps, or 546,000 men; so that
we have to reckon with a field army, made up of the standing army,
1,454,000 men strong. To this must be added about 100 regiments of
Cossacks of the Second and Third Ban, which may be placed at 50,000 men,
and the reserve and Empire-defence formations to be set on foot in case
of war. For the formation of reserves, there are sufficient trained men
available to constitute a reserve division of the first and second rank
for each corps respectively. These troops, if each division is assumed
to contain 20,000 men, would be 1,480,000 men strong. Of course, a
certain reduction must be made in these figures. Also it is not known
which of these formations would be really raised in event of
mobilization. In any case, there will be an enormous army ready to be
put into movement for a great war. After deducting all the forces which
must be left behind in the interior, a field army of 2,000,000 men could
easily be organized in Europe. It cannot be stated for certain whether
arms, equipment, and ammunition for such a host can be supplied in
sufficient quantity. But it will be best not to undervalue an Empire
like Russia in this respect.

Quite another picture is presented to us when we turn our attention to
England, the third member of the Triple Entente.

The British Empire is divided from the military point of view into two
divisions: into the United Kingdom itself with the Colonies governed by
the English Cabinet, and the self-governing Colonies. These latter have
at their disposal a militia, which is sometimes only in process of
formation. They can be completely ignored so far as concerns any
European theatre of war.

The army of the parts of the Empire administered by the English Cabinet
divides into the regular army, which is filled up by enlistment, the
native troops, commanded by English officers, and the Territorial army,
a militia made up of volunteers which has not reached the intended total
of 300,000. It is now 270,000 strong, and is destined exclusively for
home defence. Its military value cannot at present be ranked very
highly. For a Continental European war it may be left out of account. We
have in that case only to deal with a part of the regular English army.
This is some 250,000 strong. The men serve twelve years, of which seven
are with the colours and five in the reserve. The annual supply of
recruits is 35,000. The regular reserve is now 136,000 strong. There is
also a special reserve, with a militia-like training, which is enlisted
for special purposes, so that the grand total of the reserve reaches the
figure of 200,000.

Of the regular English army, 134,000 men are stationed in England,
74,500 in India (where, in combination with 159,000 native troops, they
form the Anglo-Indian army), and about 39,000 in different
stations--Gibraltar, Malta, Egypt, Aden, South Africa, and the other
Colonies and Protectorates. In this connection the conditions in Egypt
are the most interesting: 6,000 English are stationed there, while in
the native Egyptian army (17,000 strong; in war-time, 29,000 strong)
one-fifth of the officers are Englishmen. It may be supposed that, in
view of the great excitement in the Moslem world, the position of the
English is precarious. The 11,000 troops now stationed in South Africa
are to be transferred as soon as possible to Mediterranean garrisons. In
event of war, a special division will, on emergency, be organized there.

For a war in Continental Europe, we have only to take into account the
regular army stationed in England. When mobilized, it forms the "regular
field army" of 6 infantry divisions, 1 cavalry division, 2 mounted
brigades and army troops, and numbers 130,000 men, without columns and
trains. The regular troops in the United Kingdom which do not form part
of the regular field army are some 100,000 strong. They consist of a
very small number of mobile units, foot artillery, and engineers for
coast defence, as well as the reserve formations. These troops, with
some 13,000 militia artillery and militia engineers, constitute the Home
Army, under whose protection the Territorial field army is completing
its organization. Months must certainly elapse before portions of this
army can strengthen the regular field army. At the most 150,000 men may
be reckoned upon for an English expeditionary force. These troops
compose at the same time the reserve of the troops stationed in the
Colonies, which require reinforcements at grave crises. This constitutes
the weak point in the British armament. England can employ her regular
army in a Continental war so long only as all is quiet in the Colonies.
This fact brings into prominence how important it will be, should war
break out, to threaten England in her colonial possessions, and
especially in Egypt.

Against the powerful hosts which the Powers of the Triple Entente can
put into the field, Germany can command an active army of 589,705 men
(on peace establishment, including non-commissioned officers) and about
25,500 officers; while Austria has an army which on a peace footing is
361,553 men and about 20,000 officers strong. The combined war strength
of the two States may be estimated as follows:

In Germany there were drafted into the army, including volunteers and
non-combatants, in 1892, 194,664 men; in 1909, 267,283 men; or on an
average for seventeen years, 230,975 men annually. This gives a total of
3,926,575 men. If we estimate the natural decrease at 25 per cent., we
have 2,944,931 trained men left. By adding the peace establishment to
it, we arrive at an estimated strength of 3,534,636, which the French
can match with about the same figures.

The annual enlistment in Austria amounts to some 135,000. Liability to
serve lasts twelve years, leaving out of account service in the
Landsturm. Deducting the three years of active service, this gives a
total of 1,215,000, or, after the natural decrease by 25 per cent.,
911,250 men. To this must be added the nine yearly batches of trained
Landsturm, which, after the same deductions, will come likewise to
911,250. The addition of the peace strength of the army will produce a
grand total of 2,184,053 men on a war footing; approximately as many as
Russia, after all deductions, can bring into the field in Europe.

In what numbers the existing soldiers would in case of war be available
for field formations in Germany and Austria is not known, and it would
be undesirable to state. It depends partly on the forces available,
partly on other circumstances winch are not open to public discussion.
However high our estimate of the new formations may be, we shall never
reach the figures which the combined forces of France and Russia
present. We must rather try to nullify the numerical superiority of the
enemy by the increased tactical value of the troops, by intelligent
generalship, and a prompt use of opportunity and locality. Even the
addition of the Italian army to the forces of Germany and Austria would
not, so far as I know, restore numerical equality in the field.

In France it has been thought hitherto that two or three army corps must
be left on the Italian frontier. Modern French writers [A] are already
reckoning so confidently on the withdrawal of Italy from the Triple
Alliance that they no longer think it necessary to put an army in the
field against Italy, but consider that the entire forces of France are
available against Germany.

[Footnote A: Colonel Boucher, "L'offensive contre l'Allemagne."]

The peace establishment of the Italian army amounts, in fact, to 250,000
men, and is divided into 12 army corps and 25 divisions. The infantry,
in 96 regiments, numbers 140,000; there are besides 12 regiments of
Bersaglieri, with which are 12 cyclist battalions and 8 Alpine regiments
in 78 companies. The cavalry consists of 29 regiments, 12 of which are
united in 3 cavalry divisions. The artillery has a strength of 24 field
artillery regiments and 1 mounted regiment of artillery, and numbers 193
field and 8 mounted batteries. Besides this there are 27 mountain
batteries and 10 regiments of garrison artillery in 98 companies.
Lastly, there are 6 engineer regiments, including a telegraph regiment
and an airship battalion. The Gendarmerie contains 28,000 men.

On a war footing the strength of the field army is 775,000. Some 70,000
men are enrolled in other formations of the first and second line. The
militia is some 390,000 strong. The strength of the reserves who might
be mobilized is not known. The field army is divided into 3 armies of 9
army corps in all, to which are added 8 to 12 divisions of the
Territorial army and 4 cavalry divisions.

As to colonial troops, Italy can command in Benadir the services of 48
officers and 16 non-commissioned officers of Italian birth, and 3,500
native soldiers; in Eritrea there are 131 officers, 644 non-commissioned
officers and privates of Italian birth, and 3,800 natives.

Italy thus can put a considerable army into the field; but it is
questionable whether the South Italian troops have much tactical value.
It is possible that large forces would be required for coast-defence,
while the protection of Tripoli, by no means an easy task, would claim a
powerful army if it is to be held against France.

The Turkish military forces would be of great importance if they joined
the coalition of Central European Powers or its opponents.

The regular peace establishment of the Turkish army amounts to 275,000
men. In the year 1910 there were three divisions of it:

I. The Active Army (Nizam):

Infantry 133,000
Cavalry 26,000
Artillery 43,000
Pioneers 4,500
Special troops 7,500
Train formations 3,000
Mechanics 3,000

A total, that is, of 220,000 men.

2. The Redif (militia) cadres, composed of infantry, 25,000 men. Within
this limit, according to the Redif law, men are enlisted in turns for
short trainings.

3. Officers in the Nizam and Redif troops, military employes, officials,
and others, more than 30,000.

The entire war strength of the Turkish army amounts to 700,000 men. We
need only to take into consideration the troops from Europe, Anatolia,
Armenia, and Syria. All these troops even are not available in a
European theatre of war. On the other hand, the "Mustafiz" may be
regarded as an "extraordinary reinforcement"; this is usually raised for
local protection or the maintenance of quiet and order in the interior.
To raise 30,000 or 40,000 men of this militia in Europe is the simplest
process. From the high military qualities of the Turkish soldiers, the
Turkish army must be regarded as a very important actor. Turkey thus is
a very valuable ally to whichever party she joins.

The smaller Balkan States are also able to put considerable armies into
the field.

Montenegro can put 40,000 to 45,000 men into the field, with 104 cannons
and 44 machine guns, besides 11 weak reserve battalions for frontier and
home duties.

Servia is supposed to have an army 28,000 strong on a peace footing;
this figure is seldom reached, and sinks in winter to 10,000 men. The
war establishment consists of 250,000 men, comprising about 165,000
rifles, 5,500 sabres, 432 field and mountain guns (108 batteries of 4
guns); besides this there are 6 heavy batteries of 4 to 6 cannons and
228 machine guns available. Lastly come the reserve formations (third
line), so that in all some 305,000 men can be raised, exclusive of the
militia, an uncertain quantity.

The Bulgarian army has a peace establishment of 59,820 men. It is not
known how they are distributed among the various branches of the
service. On a war footing an army of 330,000 is raised, including
infantry at a strength of 230,000 rifles, with 884 cannons, 232 machine
guns, and 6,500 sabres. The entire army, inclusive of the reserves and
national militia, which latter is only available for home service and
comprises men from forty-one to forty-six years of age, is said to be
400,000 strong.

Rumania, which occupies a peculiar position politically, forms a power
in herself. There is in Rumania, besides the troops who according to
their time of service are permanently with the colours, a militia
cavalry called "Calarashi" (intelligent young yeomen on good horses of
their own), whose units serve intermittently for short periods.

In peace the army is composed of 5,000 officers and 90,000 men of the
permanent establishment, and some 12,000 serving intermittently. The
infantry numbers some 2,500 officers and 57,000 men, the permanent
cavalry (Rosiori) some 8,000 men with 600 officers, and the artillery
14,000 men with 700 officers.

For war a field army can be raised of some 6,000 officers and 274,000
men, with 550 cannons. Of these 215,000 men belong to the infantry,
7,000 to the cavalry, and 20,000 to the artillery. The cavalry is
therefore weaker than on the peace footing, since, as it seems, a part
of the Calarashi is not to be employed as cavalry. Inclusive of reserves
and militia, the whole army will be 430,000 strong. There are 650,000
trained men available for service.

Although the Balkan States, from a military point of view, chiefly
concern Austria, Turkey, and Russia, and only indirectly come into
relations with Germany, yet the armies of the smaller Central European
States may under some circumstances be of direct importance to us, if
they are forced or induced to take part with us or against us in a
European war.

Of our western neighbours, Switzerland and Holland come first under
consideration, and then Belgium.

Switzerland can command, in case of war, a combined army of 263,000 men.
The expeditionary force, which is of first importance for an offensive
war, consists of 96,000 infantry and 5,500 cavalry, with 288 field guns
and 48 field howitzers (the howitzer batteries are in formation), a
total of 141,000 men.

The Landwehr consists of 50.000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry, with 36
12-centimetre cannons belonging to foot artillery. It has a total
strength of 69,000 men. The Landsturm finally has a strength of 53,000

The Dutch army has a peace establishment averaging 30,000 men, which
varies much owing to the short period of service. There are generally
available 13,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, 5,000 field artillery, 3,400
garrison artillery, and I,400 engineers, pontonniers, and transport
troops. The field army in war is 80,000 strong, and is made up of 64,000
infantry, cyclist, and machine-gun sections, 2,600 cavalry, 4,400
artillery, and goo engineers. It is formed into 4 army divisions each of
15 battalions, 4 squadrons, 6 batteries, and 1 section engineers. There
is, further, a garrison army of 80,000 men, which consists of 12 active
and 48 Landwehr infantry battalions, 44 active and 44 Landwehr foot
artillery companies, and 10 companies engineers and pontonniers,
including Landwehr. The Dutch coast also is fortified. At Holder,
Ymuiden, Hook of Holland, at Voelkerack and Haringvliet there are various
outworks, while the fortifications at Flushing are at present
unimportant. Amsterdam is also a fortress with outlying fortifications
in the new Dutch water-line (Fort Holland).

Holland is thus well adapted to cause serious difficulties to an English
landing, if her coast batteries are armed with effective cannons. It
would easily yield to a German invasion, if it sided against us.

Belgium in peace has 42,800 troops available, distributed as follows:
26,000 infantry, 5,400 cavalry, 4,650 field artillery, 3,400 garrison
artillery, 1,550 engineers and transport service.

On a war footing the field army will be 100,000 strong, comprising
74,000 infantry, 7,250 cavalry, 10,000 field artillery, 1,900 engineers
and transport service, and is formed into 4 army divisions and 2 cavalry
divisions. The latter are each 20 squadrons and 2 batteries strong; each
of the army divisions consists nominally of 17 battalions infantry, 1
squadron, 12 batteries, and 1 section engineers. In addition there is a
garrison army of 80,000, which can be strengthened by the _garde
civique_, Antwerp forms the chief military base, and may be regarded as
a very strong fortress. Besides this, on the line of the Maas, there are
the fortified towns of Liege, Huy, and Namur. There are no coast

Denmark, as commanding the approaches to the Baltic, is of great
military importance to us. Copenhagen, the capital, is a strong
fortress. The Army, on the other hand, is not an important factor of
strength, as the training of the units is limited to a few months. This
State maintains on a peace footing some 10,000 infantry, 800 cavalry,
2,300 artillery, and 1,100 special arms, a total of 14,200 men; but the
strength varies between 7,500 and 26.000. In war-time an army of 62,000
men and 10,000 reserves can be put into the field, composed numerically
of 58,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, 9,000 artillery, and 2,000 special

Sweden can command eight classes of the First Ban, which comprises units
from twenty-one to twenty-eight years of age, and is 200,000 strong, as
well as four classes of the Second Ban, with a strength of 90,000, which
is made up of units from twenty-eight to thirty-two years of age. There
are also available 30,000 trained volunteers, students and ex-students
from twenty-one to thirty-two years of age.

The eight classes of the Landsturm are 165,000 men strong. It can,
accordingly, be roughly calculated what field army can be raised in case
of war. The entire First Ban certainly comes under this head.

In Greece, which does not signify much for a European war, but might in
combination with the small Balkan States prove very troublesome to
Turkey, and is therefore important for us, an active army of 146,000 men
can be put into the field; there are besides this 83,000 men in the
Landwehr and 63,000 men in the Landsturm.

Spain has a peace army of 116,232 men, of whom 34,000 are permanently
stationed in Africa. In war she can raise 327,000 men (140,000 active
army, 154,000 garrison troops, 33,000 gendarmerie). The mobilization is
so badly organized that at the end of a month 70,000 to 80,000 men could
at most be put into the field.

As regards the naval forces of the States which concern us to-day, the
accompanying table, which is taken from the _Nauticus_ of 1911, affords
a comparative epitome, which applies to May, 1911. It shows that,
numerically, the English fleet is more than double as strong as ours.
This superiority is increased if the displacements and the number of
really modern ships are compared. In May we possessed only four
battleships and one armed cruiser of the latest type; the English have
ten ships-of-the-line and four armed cruisers which could be reckoned
battleships. The new ships do not materially alter this proportion. The
comparative number of the ships-of-the-line is becoming more favourable,
that of the armoured cruisers will be less so than it now is. It may be
noticed that among our cruisers are a number of vessels which really
have no fighting value, and that the coast-defence ironclads cannot be
counted as battleships. France, too, was a little ahead of us in the
number of battleships in May, 1911, but, from all that is hitherto known
about the French fleet, it cannot be compared with the German in respect
of good material and trained crews. It would, however, be an important
factor if allied with the English.

|Battle- |Armoured |Armoured| Armoured |Protected |Number |N S
Nation. |ships |Coast |Gunboats| Cruisers |Cruisers |of |u u
|above |Defence |and | | |Torpedo |m b
|5,000 |Vessels |Armoured| | |Vessels |b m
|Tons. |from |Ships | | | |e a
| |3000 Tons|under | | | |r r
| |to 5,000 |3,000 | | | | i
| |Tons |Tons | | | | i
+--+-------+--+------+--+-----+--+-------+--+-------+----+----+o n
|No|Displ. |No|Displ.|No|Displ|No|Displ. |No|Displ. | |From|f e
| | | | | | | | | | |200+|80- | s
| | | | | | | | | | |Tons| 200|
| | | | | | | | | | | |Tons|
GERMANY: | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready |25|332,410| 5|20,600| -| --- |10|114,590|33|122,130| 117| 70| 12
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building|12| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 4| --- | 7| --- | 14| -- | --
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
ENGLAND: | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready |50|793,260| -| --- | -| --- |38|484,970|66|333,540| 223| 36| 53
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building|12|286,640| -| --- | -| --- | 6|145,320|20|101,320| 51| -- | 19
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
FRANCE: | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready |22|314,930| -| --- | -| --- |22|214,670|10| 50,780| 71| 191| 52
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building| 4| 93,880| -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 13| -- | 19
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
ITALY: | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready | 8| 96,980| -| --- | -| --- |10| 79,530| 4| 10,040| 53| 39| 7
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building| 4| 84,000| -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 3| 10,200| 14| 28| 13
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
AUSTRIA- | | | | | | | | | | | | |
HUNGARY | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready |11|102,620| -| --- | -| --- | 3| 18,870| 4| 10,590| 18| 66| 7
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building| 5| 94,500| -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 3| --- | 6| -- | --
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
RUSSIA: | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Baltic | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Fleet | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready | 4| 62,300| -| --- | 1|1,760| 6| 64,950| 4| 27,270| 60| 19| 13
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building| 8| --- | -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 1| -- | 1
Black Sea| | | | | | | | | | | | |
Fleet | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready | 6| 72,640| -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 3| 13,620| 17| 10| 4
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building| 4| --- | -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 14| -- | 7
Siberian | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Fleet |--| --- | -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 2| 9,180| 20| 7| 13
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
UNITED | | | | | | | | | | | | |
STATES: | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready |30|434,890| 4|13,120| -| --- |14|181,260|16| 65,270| 40| 28| 19
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building| 7|190,000| -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 14| -- | 20
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
JAPAN: | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Ready |13|194,690| 2| 8,540| -| --- |13|139,830|12| 49,170| 59| 49| 12
Voted or | | | | | | | | | | | | |
building| 3| --- | -| --- | -| --- | 4|107,120| 3| 15,000| 2| -- | 1

Let us assume that in event of war England as well as France must leave
a certain naval force in the Mediterranean, which need not be stronger
than the combined Italian and Austrian fleets, but might be smaller, in
event of a change in the grouping of the States; let us further assume
that numerous cruisers will be detained at the extra-European
stations--the fact, however, remains that England and France together
can collect against Germany in the North Sea a fleet of battleships
alone three times as strong as that of Germany, and will be supported by
a vastly superior force of torpedo-vessels and submarines. If Russia
joins the alliance of these Powers, that would signify another addition
to the forces of our opponents which must not be underestimated, since
the Baltic Fleet in the spring of 1911 contained two large battleships,
and the Baltic fleet of cruisers is always in a position to threaten our
coasts and to check the free access to the Baltic. In one way or the
other we must get even with that fleet. The auxiliary cruiser fleet of
the allies, to which England can send a large contingent, would also be
superior to us.

As regards _materiel_ and training, it may be assumed that our fleet is
distinctly superior to the French and Russian, but that England is our
equal in that respect. Our ships' cannons will probably show a
superiority over the English, and our torpedo fleet, by its reckless
energy, excellent training, and daring spirit of adventure, will make up
some of the numerical disadvantage. It remains to be seen whether these
advantages will have much weight against the overwhelming superiority of
an experienced and celebrated fleet like the English.

Reflection shows that the superiority by sea, with which we must under
certain circumstances reckon, is very great, and that our position in
this respect is growing worse, since the States of the Triple Entente
can build and man far more ships than we can in the same time.

If we consider from the political standpoint the probable attitude of
the separate States which may take part in the next war against Germany,
we may assume that the intensity of the struggle will not be the same in
every case, since the political objects of our possible antagonists are
very different.

If we look at France first, we are entitled to assume that single-handed
she is not a match for us, but can only be dangerous to us as a member
of a coalition. The tactical value of the French troops is, of course,
very high; numerically the army of our neighbour on the west is almost
equal, and in some directions there may be a superiority in organization
and equipment; in other directions we have a distinct advantage. The
French army lacks the subordination under a single commander, the united
spirit which characterizes the German army, the tenacious strength of
the German race, and the _esprit de corps_ of the officers. France, too,
has not those national reserves available which would allow us almost to
double our forces. These are the conditions now existing. But if the
French succeed in making a large African army available for a European
theatre, the estimate of strength of the French army as compared with
ours will be quite different. This possibility must be borne in mind,
for, according to the whole previous development of affairs, we may
safely assume that France will leave no stone unturned to acquire, if
only for a time, a military superiority over Germany. She knows well
that she cannot reach her political goal except by a complete defeat of
her eastern neighbour, and that such a result can only be obtained by
the exercise of extraordinary efforts.

It is certain that France will not only try to develop her own military
power with the utmost energy, but that she will defend herself
desperately if attacked by Germany; on the other hand, she will probably
not act on the offensive against Germany unless she has increased her
own efficiency to the utmost limit, and believes that she has secured
the military supremacy by the help of active allies. The stakes are too
high to play under unfavourable conditions. But if France thinks she has
all the trumps in her hands, she will not shrink from an offensive war,
and will stake even thing in order to strike us a mortal blow. We must
expect the most bitter hostility from this antagonist. Should the Triple
Alliance break up--as seems probable now--this hour will soon have
struck.[B] If the war then declared be waged against us in combination
with England, it may be assumed that the allied Great Powers would
attempt to turn our strategical right flank through Belgium and Holland,
and penetrate into the heart of Germany through the great gap in the
fortresses between Wesel and Flushing. This operation would have the
considerable advantage of avoiding the strong line of the Rhine and
threatening our naval bases from the land side. From the superiority of
the combined Anglo-French fleet, the army of invasion could without
difficulty have its base on our coasts. Such an operation would
enormously facilitate the frontal attack on our west frontier, and would
enable the French to push a victorious advance onward to the Rhine,
after investing Metz and Diedenhofen.

[Footnote B: Written in October, 1911.]

England, with whose hostility, as well with that of the French, we must
reckon, could only undertake a land war against us with the support of
an ally who would lead the main attack. England's troops would only
serve as reinforcements; they are too weak for an independent campaign.
English interests also lie in a quite different field, and are not
coincident with those of France.

The main issue for England is to annihilate our navy and oversea
commerce, in order to prevent, from reasons already explained, any
further expansion of our power. But it is not her interest to destroy
our position as a Continental Power, or to help France to attain the
supremacy in Europe. English interests demand a certain equilibrium
between the Continental States. England only wishes to use France in
order, with her help, to attain her own special ends, but she will never
impose on herself sacrifices which are not absolutely necessary, for the
private advantage of her ally. These principles will characterize her
plan of campaign, if she sees herself compelled by the political
position and the interests of her naval supremacy to take part in a war
against us.

If England, as must be regarded probable, determines sooner or later on
this step, it is clearly to her advantage to win a rapid victory. In the
first place, her own trade will not be injured longer than necessary by
the war; in the second place, the centrifugal forces of her loosely
compacted World Empire might be set in movement, and the Colonies might
consult their own separate interests, should England have her hands tied
by a great war. It is not unlikely that revolutions might break out in
India and Egypt, if England's forces were long occupied with a European
war. Again, the States not originally taking part in the war might
interfere in our favour, if the decision were much delayed. It was
important for us in 1870-71 to take Paris quickly, in order to forestall
any interference of neutrals. Similar conditions might arise in the case
of England. We must therefore make up our minds that the attack by sea
will be made with the greatest and most persistent vigour, with the firm
resolve to destroy completely our fleet and our great commercial
centres. It is also not only possible, but probable, that England will
throw troops on the Continent, in order to secure the co-operation of
her allies, who might demand this guarantee of the sincerity of English
policy, and also to support the naval attack on the coast. On the other
hand, the land war will display the same kind of desperate energy only
so far as it pursues the object of conquering and destroying our naval
bases. The English would be the less disposed to do more than this
because the German auxiliaries, who have so often fought England's
battles, would not be forthcoming. The greatest exertions of the nation
will be limited to the naval war. The land war will be waged with a
definitely restricted object, on which its character will depend. It is
very questionable whether the English army is capable of effectively
acting on the offensive against Continental European troops. In South
Africa the English regiments for the most part fought very bravely and
stood great losses; on the other hand, they completely failed in the
offensive, in tactics as in operations, and with few exceptions the
generalship was equally deficient. The last manoeuvres on a large scale,
held in Ireland, under the direction of General French, did not,
according to available information, show the English army in a
favourable light so far as strategical ability went.

If we now turn our attention to the East, in order to forecast Russia's
probable behaviour, we must begin by admitting that, from a Russian
standpoint, a war in the West holds out better prospects of success than
a renewed war with Japan, and possibly with China. The Empire of the
Czar finds in the West powerful allies, who are impatiently waiting to
join in an attack on Germany. The geographical conditions and means of
communication there allow a far more rapid and systematic development of
power than in Manchuria. Public opinion, in which hatred of Germany is
as persistent as ever, would be in favour of such a war, and a victory
over Germany and Austria would not only open the road to Constantinople,
but would greatly improve the political and economic influence of Russia
in Western Europe. Such a success would afford a splendid compensation
for the defeats in Asia, and would offer advantages such as never could
be expected on the far-distant Eastern frontiers of the Empire.

Should Russia, then, after weighing these chances launch out into an
offensive war in the West, the struggle would probably assume a quite
different character from that, for example, of a Franco-German war.
Russia, owing to her vast extent, is in the first place secure against
complete subjugation. In case of defeat her centre of gravity is not
shifted. A Russian war can hardly ever, therefore, become a struggle for
political existence, and cause that straining of every nerve which such
a struggle entails. The inhabitants will hardly ever show self-devotion
in wars whose objects cannot be clear to them. Throughout the vast
Empire the social and also political education, especially among the
peasants, is so poor, that any grasp of the problems of a foreign policy
seems quite out of the question. The sections of the people who have
acquired a little superficial learning in the defective Russian schools
have sworn to the revolutionary colours, or follow a blind
anti-progressive policy which seems to them best to meet their
interests. The former, at least, would only make use of a war to promote
their own revolutionary schemes, as they did in the crisis of the
Russo-Japanese War. Under the circumstances, there can be little idea of
a united outburst of the national spirit which would enable an offensive
war to be carried on with persistent vigour. There has been an
extraordinary change in the conditions since 1812, when the people
showed some unanimity in repelling the invasion. Should Russia to-day be
involved in a Western war with Germany and Austria, she could never
bring her whole forces into play. In the first place, the revolutionary
elements in the heart of the State would avail themselves of every
weakening of the national sources of power to effect a revolution in
internal politics, without any regard for the interests of the
community. Secondly, in the Far East, Japan or China would seize the
moment when Russia's forces in the West were fully occupied to carry out
their political intentions towards the Empire of the Czar by force of
arms. Forces must always be kept in reserve for this eventuality, as we
have already mentioned.

Although Russia, under the present conditions, cannot bring her whole
power to bear against Germany and Austria, and must also always leave a
certain force on her European Southern frontier, she is less affected by
defeats than other States. Neither the Crimean War nor the greater
exertions and sacrifices exacted by her hard-won victory over the Turks,
nor the heavy defeats by the Japanese, have seriously shaken Russia's
political prestige. Beaten in the East or South, she turns to another
sphere of enterprise, and endeavours to recoup herself there for her
losses on another frontier.

Such conditions must obviously affect the character of the war. Russia
will certainly put huge armies into the field against us. In the wars
against Turkey and Japan the internal affairs of the Empire prevented
the employment of its full strength; in the latter campaign
revolutionary agitation in the army itself influenced the operations and
battles, and in a European war the same conditions would, in all
probability, make themselves emphatically felt, especially if defeats
favoured or encouraged revolutionary propaganda. In a war against
Russia, more than in any other war, _c'est le premier pas qui coute_.

If the first operations are unsuccessful, their effect on the whole
position will be wider than in any other war, since they will excite in
the country itself not sympathetic feelings only, but also hostile
forces which would cripple the conduct of the war.

So far as the efficiency of the Russian army goes, the Russo-Japanese
War proved that the troops fight with great stubbornness. The struggle
showed numerous instances of heroic self-devotion, and the heaviest
losses were often borne with courage. On the other hand, the Russian
army quite failed on the offensive, in a certain sense tactically, but
essentially owing to the inadequacy of the commanders and the failure of
the individuals. The method of conducting the war was quite wrong;
indecision and irresolution characterized the Russian officers of every
grade, and no personality came forward who ever attempted to rise above
mediocrity. It can hardly be presumed that the spirit of Russian
generalship has completely changed since the defeats in Manchuria, and
that striking personalities have come on the stage. This army must
therefore always be met with a bold policy of attack.

When we contrast these conditions with the position of Germany, we
cannot blink the fact that we have to deal with immense military
difficulties, if we are to attain our own political ends or repel
successfully the attack of our opponents.

In the first place, the geographical configuration and position of our
country are very unfavourable. Our open eastern frontier offers no
opportunity for continued defence, and Berlin, the centre of the
government and administration, lies in dangerous proximity to it. Our
western frontier, in itself strong, can be easily turned on the north
through Belgium and Holland. No natural obstacle, no strong fortress, is
there to oppose a hostile invasion and neutrality is only a paper
bulwark. So in the south, the barrier of the Rhine can easily be turned
through Switzerland. There, of course, the character of the country
offers considerable difficulties, and if the Swiss defend themselves
resolutely, it might not be easy to break down their resistance. Their
army is no despicable factor of strength, and if they were attacked in
their mountains they would fight as they did at Sempach and Murten.

The natural approaches from the North Sea to the Baltic, the Sound and
the Great Belt, are commanded by foreign guns, and can easily fall a
prey to our enemies.

The narrow coast with which we face to the North Sea forms in itself a
strong front, but can easily be taken in the rear through Holland.
England is planted before our coasts in such a manner that our entire
oversea commerce can be easily blocked. In the south and south-east
alone are we secured by Austria from direct invasion. Otherwise we are
encircled by our enemies. We may have to face attacks on three sides.
This circumstance compels us to fight on the inner lines, and so
presents certain advantages; but it is also fraught with dangers, if our
opponents understand how to act on a correct and consistent plan.

If we look at our general political position, we cannot conceal the fact
that we stand isolated, and cannot expect support from anyone in
carrying out our positive political plans. England, France, and Russia
have a common interest in breaking down our power. This interest will
sooner or later be asserted by arms. It is not therefore the interest of
any nation to increase Germany's power. If we wish to attain an
extension of our power, as is natural in our position, we must win it by
the sword against vastly superior foes. Our alliances are defensive, not
merely in form, but essentially so. I have already shown that this is a
cause of their weakness. Neither Austria nor Italy are in any way bound
to support by armed force a German policy directed towards an increase
of power. We are not even sure of their diplomatic help, as the conduct
of Italy at the conference of Algeciras sufficiently demonstrated. It
even seems questionable at the present moment whether we can always
reckon on the support of the members of the Triple Alliance in a
defensive war. The recent _rapprochement_ of Italy with France and
England goes far beyond the idea of an "extra turn." If we consider how
difficult Italy would find it to make her forces fit to cope with
France, and to protect her coasts against hostile attacks, and if we
think how the annexation of Tripoli has created a new possession, which
is not easily defended against France and England, we may fairly doubt
whether Italy would take part in a war in which England and France were
allied against us. Austria is undoubtedly a loyal ally. Her interests
are closely connected with our own, and her policy is dominated by the
same spirit of loyalty and integrity as ours towards Austria.
Nevertheless, there is cause for anxiety, because in a conglomerate
State like Austria, which contains numerous Slavonic elements,
patriotism may not be strong enough to allow the Government to fight to
the death with Russia, were the latter to defeat us. The occurrence of
such an event is not improbable. When enumerating the possibilities that
might affect our policy, we cannot leave this one out of consideration.

We shall therefore some day, perhaps, be faced with the necessity of
standing isolated in a great war of the nations, as once Frederick the
Great stood, when he was basely deserted by England in the middle of the
struggle, and shall have to trust to our own strength and our own
resolution for victory.

Such a war--for us more than for any other nation--must be a war for our
political and national existence. This must be so, for our opponents can
only attain their political aims by almost annihilating us by land and
by sea. If the victory is only half won, they would have to expect
continuous renewals of the contest, which would be contrary to their
interests. They know that well enough, and therefore avoid the contest,
since we shall certainly defend ourselves with the utmost bitterness and
obstinacy. If, notwithstanding, circumstances make the war inevitable,
then the intention of our enemies to crush us to the ground, and our own
resolve to maintain our position victoriously, will make it a war of
desperation. A war fought and lost under such circumstances would
destroy our laboriously gained political importance, would jeopardize
the whole future of our nation, would throw us back for centuries, would
shake the influence of German thought in the civilized world, and thus
check the general progress of mankind in its healthy development, for
which a flourishing Germany is the essential condition. Our next war
will be fought for the highest interests of our country and of mankind.
This will invest it with importance in the world's history. "World power
or downfall!" will be our rallying cry.

Keeping this idea before us, we must prepare for war with the confident
intention of conquering, and with the iron resolve to persevere to the
end, come what may.

We must therefore prepare not only for a short war, but for a protracted
campaign. We must be armed in order to complete the overthrow of our
enemies, should the victory be ours; and, if worsted, to continue to
defend ourselves in the very heart of our country until success at last
is won.

It is therefore by no means enough to maintain a certain numerical
equality with our opponents. On the contrary, we must strive to call up
the entire forces of the nation, and prepare and arm for the great
decision which impends. We must try also to gain a certain superiority
over our opponents in the crucial points, so that we may hold some
winning trumps in our hand in a contest unequal from the very first. We
must bear these two points in mind when preparing for war. Only by
continually realizing the duties thus laid on us can we carry out our
preparations to the fullest, and satisfy the demands which the future
makes on us. A nation of 65,000,000 which stakes _all_ her forces on
winning herself a position, and on keeping that position, cannot be
conquered. But it is an evil day for her if she relies on the semblance
of power, or, miscalculating her enemies' strength, is content with
half-measures, and looks to luck or chance for that which can only be
attained by the exertion and development of all her powers.



In the next European land war we shall probably face our foes with
Austria at our side, and thus will be in a position to win the day
against any opposing forces. In a naval war we shall be thrown on our
own resources, and must protect ourselves single-handed against the
superior forces which will certainly press us hard.

There can be no doubt that this war will be waged with England, for,
although we cannot contemplate attacking England, as such an attack
would be hopeless, that country itself has a lively interest in checking
our political power. It will therefore, under certain conditions, attack
_us_, in order to annihilate our fleet and aid France. The English have,
besides, taken good care that the prospect of a war with them should
always be held before our eyes. They talk so much of a possible German
attack that it cannot surprise them if the light thrown on the question
is from the opposite point of view. Again, the preparations which they
are making in the North Sea show clearly that they certainly have
contemplated an attack on Germany. These preparations are like a
strategic march, and the natural extension of their naval bases leaves
no doubt as to their meaning. The great military harbour of Rosyth is
admittedly built for the eventuality of a war with Germany, and can mean
nothing else. Harwich has also been recently made into an especially
strong naval base, and, further, the roadstead of Scapa Flow in the
Orkney Isles has been enlarged into a cruiser station. These are
measures so directly and obviously directed against us that they demand
an inquiry into the military position thus created.

The English have only considered the possibility of a German war since
1902. Before that year there was no idea of any such contingency, and it
is therefore not unnatural that they are eager to make up for lost time.
This fact does not alter the hostile character of the measures and the
circumstance that the English preparations for war are exclusively
directed against Germany.

We must therefore--as the general position of the world leads us to
believe--reckon on the probability of a naval war with England, and
shall then have to fight against an overwhelming superiority. It will be
so great that we cannot hope for a long time to be able to take the
offensive against the English fleet. But we must contemplate the
possibility of becoming its master in one way or another, and of winning
the freedom of the seas, if England attacks us. We shall now discuss
this possibility. On this matter I am expressing my personal views only,
which are not confused by any technical naval knowledge, and rest
exclusively on general military considerations, in which our presupposed
antagonists can, and will, indulge quite as well as myself. I shall not
betray any secrets of the Admiralty, since I do not know any. But I
consider it expedient that the German people should clearly understand
what dangers threaten from England, and how they can be met.

In the view of these dangers and the circumstance that we are not strong
enough to entertain any idea of provoking a battle, the question
remains, What are the means of defensive naval strategy to secure
protection from a superior and well-prepared enemy, and gradually to
become its master?

The plan might be formed of anticipating the enemy by a sudden attack,
instead of waiting passively for him to attack first, and of opening the
war as the Japanese did before Port Arthur. In this way the English
fleet might be badly damaged at the outset of the real hostilities, its
superiority might be lessened, and the beginning of the effective
blockade delayed at least for a short time. It is not unthinkable that
such an attempt will be made. Such an undertaking, however, does not
seem to me to promise any great success.

The English have secured themselves against such attacks by
comprehensive works of defence in their exposed harbours. It seems
dangerous to risk our torpedo-boats and submarines, which we shall
urgently need in the later course of the war, in such bold undertakings.
Even the war against the English commerce holds out less prospects than
formerly. As soon as a state of political tension sets in, the English
merchantmen will be convoyed by their numerous cruisers. Under such
circumstances our auxiliary cruisers could do little; while our foreign
service ships would soon have to set about attacking the enemy's
warships, before coal ran short, for to fill up the coal-bunkers of
these ships will certainly be a difficult task.

The war against the English commerce must none the less be boldly and
energetically prosecuted, and should start unexpectedly. The prizes
which fall into our hands must be remorselessly destroyed, since it will
usually be impossible, owing to the great English superiority and the
few bases we have abroad, to bring them back in safety without exposing
our vessels to great risks. The sharpest measures must be taken against
neutral ships laden with contraband. Nevertheless, no very valuable
results can be expected from a war against England's trade. On the
contrary, England, with the numerous cruisers and auxiliary cruisers at
her disposal, would be able to cripple our oversea commerce. We must be
ready for a sudden attack, even in peace-time. It is not England's
custom to let ideal considerations fetter her action if her interests
are at stake.

Under these circumstances, nothing would be left for us but to retire
with our war-fleet under the guns of the coast fortifications, and by
the use of mines to protect our own shores and make them dangerous to
English vessels. Mines are only an effective hindrance to attack if they
can be defended. But they can cause considerable damage if the enemy has
no knowledge of their existence.

It would be necessary to take further steps to secure the importation
from abroad of supplies necessary to us, since our own communications
will be completely cut off by the English. The simplest and cheapest way
would be if we obtained foreign goods through Holland or perhaps neutral
Belgium; and could export some part of our own products through the
great Dutch and Flemish harbours. New commercial routes might be
discovered through Denmark. Our own oversea commerce would remain
suspended, but such measures would prevent an absolute stagnation of

It is, however, very unlikely that England would tolerate such
communications through neutral territory, since in that way the effect
of her war on our trade would be much reduced. The attempt to block
these trade routes would approximate to a breach of neutrality, and the
States in question would have to face the momentous question, whether
they would conform to England's will, and thus incur Germany's enmity,
or would prefer that adhesion to the German Empire which geography
dictates. They would have the choice between a naval war with England
and a Continental war with their German neighbours--two possibilities,
each of which contains great dangers. That England would pay much
attention to the neutrality of weaker neighbours when such a stake was
at issue is hardly credible.

The ultimate decision of the individual neutral States cannot be
foreseen. It would probably depend on the general political position and
the attitude of the other World Powers to the Anglo-German contest. The
policy adopted by France and Russia would be an important factor. One
can easily understand under these circumstances that the Dutch are
seriously proposing to fortify strongly the most important points on
their coast, in order to be able to maintain their neutrality on the sea
side. They are also anxious about their eastern frontier, which
obviously would be threatened by a German attack so soon as they sided
with our enemies.

I shall not enter further into the political and military possibilities
which might arise if Holland, Belgium, and Denmark were driven to a
sympathetic understanding by the war. I will only point out how
widespread an effect the naval war can, or rather must, exercise on the
Continental war and on the political relations generally. The attitude
of Denmark would be very important, since the passage to and from the
Baltic must mainly depend on her. It is vital to us that these
communications be kept open, and measures must be taken to insure this.
The open door through the Belt and the Sound can become highly important
for the conduct of the war. Free commerce with Sweden is essential for
us, since our industries will depend more and more on the Swedish
iron-ore as imports from other countries become interrupted.

It will rest with the general state of affairs and the policy of the
interested nations whether this sea route can be safeguarded by
diplomatic negotiations, or must be kept open by military action. We
cannot allow a hostile power to occupy the Danish islands.

Complicated and grave questions, military as well as political, are thus
raised by an Anglo-German war. Our trade would in any case suffer
greatly, for sea communications could be cut off on every side. Let us
assume that France and Russia seal our land frontiers, then the only
trade route left open to us is through Switzerland and Austria--a
condition of affairs which would aggravate difficulties at home, and
should stimulate us to carry on the war with increased vigour. In any
case, when war threatens we must lose no time in preparing a road on
which we can import the most essential foodstuffs and raw materials, and
also export, if only in small quantities, the surplus of our industrial
products. Such measures cannot be made on the spur of the moment. They
must be elaborated in peace-time, and a definite department of the
Government must be responsible for these preparations. The Ministry of
Commerce would obviously be the appropriate department, and should, in
collaboration with the great commercial houses, prepare the routes which
our commerce must follow in case of war. There must be a sort of
commercial mobilization.

These suggestions indicate the preliminary measures to be adopted by us
in the eventuality of a war with England. We should at first carry on a
defensive war, and would therefore have to reckon on a blockade of our
coasts, if we succeed in repelling the probable English attack.

Such a blockade can be carried out in two ways. England can blockade
closely our North Sea coast, and at the same time bar the Danish
straits, so as to cut off communications with our Baltic ports; or she
can seal up on the one side the Channel between England and the
Continent, on the other side the open sea between the North of Scotland
and Norway, on the Peterhead-Ekersund line, and thus cripple our oversea
commerce and also control the Belgo-Dutch, Danish, and Swedish shipping.

A close blockade in the first case would greatly tax the resources of
the English fleet. According to the view of English experts, if a
blockade is to be maintained permanently, the distance between the base
and the blockading line must not exceed 200 nautical miles. Since all
the English naval ports are considerably farther than this from our
coast, the difficulties of carrying on the blockade will be enormously
increased. That appears to be the reason why the estuary at Harwich has
recently been transformed into a strong naval harbour. It is considered
the best harbourage on the English coast, and is hardly 300 nautical
miles from the German coast. It offers good possibilities of
fortification, and safe ingress and egress in time of war. The distance
from the German ports is not, however, very material for purposes of
blockade. The English, if they planned such a blockade, would doubtless
count on acquiring bases on our own coast, perhaps also on the Dutch
coast. Our task therefore is to prevent such attempts by every means.
Not only must every point which is suitable for a base, such as
Heligoland, Borkum, and Sylt, be fortified in time of peace, but all
attempts at landing must be hindered and complicated by our fleet. This
task can only be fulfilled by the fleet in daytime by submarines; by
night torpedo-boats may co-operate, if the landing forces are still on

Such close blockade offers various possibilities of damaging the enemy,
if the coast fortifications are so constructed with a view to the
offensive that the fleet may rally under their protection, and thus gain
an opportunity of advancing from their stations for offensive
operations. Such possibilities exist on our north coast, and our efforts
must be turned towards making the most varied use of them. We must
endeavour by renewed and unexpected attacks, especially by night, partly
with submarines and torpedo-boats, partly with battleships, to give the
blockading fleet no breathing-time, and to cause it as much loss as
possible. We must not engage in a battle with superior hostile forces,
for it is hardly possible at sea to discontinue a fight, because there
is no place whither the loser can withdraw from the effect of the
enemy's guns. An engagement, once begun must be fought out to the end.
And appreciable damage can be inflicted on the enemy only if a bold
attack on him is made. It is only possible under exceptionally
favourable circumstances--such, for example, as the proximity of the
fortified base--to abandon a fight once begun without very heavy
losses. It might certainly be practicable, by successful reconnoitring,
to attack the enemy repeatedly at times when he is weakened in one place
or another. Blockade demands naturally a certain division of forces, and
the battle-fleet of the attacking party, which is supposed to lie behind
the farthest lines of blockade and observation, cannot always hold the
high seas in full strength. The forces of the defending party, however,
lie in safe anchorages, ready to sally out and fight.

Such a blockade might, after all, be very costly to the attacking party.
We may therefore fairly assume that the English would decide in favour
of the second kind. At all events, the harbour constructions, partly
building, partly projected, at Rosyth and Scapa Flow, were chosen with
an eye to this line of blockade. It would entail in the north the
barring of a line about 300 nautical miles long, a scheme quite feasible
from the military aspect. Only a small force is required to seal up the
Channel, as the navigation route is very narrow. In addition to all
this, the great English naval depots--Dover, Portsmouth, Portland, and
Plymouth--are situated either on the line of blockade or immediately
behind it. Besides, every advance against this line from the north is
flanked by Sheerness and Harwich, so that a retreat to the German coast
might be barred. The conditions for the northern line of blockade will
be no less favourable when the projected harbour works are finished. The
blockading fleet finds, therefore, a base in the great harbour of
Rosyth, while a cruiser squadron might lie in support off the Orkney
Isles. Every attacking fleet from the German north coast will be
unhesitatingly attacked on the flank from Rosyth and Sheerness, and cut
off from its line of retreat. It is thus almost impossible, owing to the
English superiority, to inflict any serious damage on the blockading
fleet on this line, and the only course left is to advance from the
Baltic against the north-eastern part of the blockading line. Here we
should have a tolerably secure retreat. This accentuates once more the
supreme importance to us of keeping open, at all costs, the passage
through the Sound and the Great Belt. The command of these straits will
not only secure the Baltic basin for us, but also keep open the
sally-ports for our offensive operations against the English blockading

In spite of all the advantages which the extended system of blockade
offers to the English, there are two objections against it which are
well worth considering from the English point of view. Firstly, it
prejudices the interests of a number of nations whose coasts are washed
by the North Sea and the Baltic, since they are included in the
blockade; secondly, it compels England to break up her fleet into two or
three divisions.

As to the first objection, we have hinted that England will scarcely let
herself be hindered in the pursuit of her own advantage by the interests
of weaker third parties. It is also conceivable that some satisfactory
arrangement as to the blockade can be made with the States affected. As
regards the splitting up of the fleet, no especially disadvantageous
conditions are thereby produced. It is easy to reunite the temporarily
divided parts, and the strength of the combined fleet guarantees the
superiority of the separate divisions over the German forces at sea.
Nevertheless, this division of the attacking fleet gives the defending
party the chance of attacking some detached portions before junction
with the main body, and of inflicting loss on them, if the enemy can be
deceived and surprised by prompt action. The demonstrations which are
the ordinary tactics in war on land under such conditions cannot be
employed, owing to the facility with which the sea can be patrolled.

This blockade would ultimately weaken and weary the attacking party. But
it must be recognized that it is a far easier plan to carry out than the
close blockade, and that it would tax the offensive powers of our fleet
more severely. We should not only have to venture on attacks in
far-distant waters, but must be strong enough to protect efficiently the
threatened flank of our attacking fleet.

After all, it is improbable that the English would have recourse to a
mere blockade. The reasons which would prompt them to a rapid decision
of the war have been already explained. It was shown that, in the event
of their fighting in alliance with France, they would probably attempt
to land troops in order to support their fleet from the land side. They
could not obtain a decisive result unless they attempted to capture our
naval bases--Wilhelmshaven, Heligoland, the mouth of the Elbe, and
Kiel--and to annihilate our fleet in its attempt to protect these
places, and thus render it impossible for us to continue the war by sea.

It is equally certain that our land forces would actively operate
against the English attempts at landing, and that they would afford
extraordinarily important assistance to the defence of the coast, by
protecting it against attacks from the rear, and by keeping open the
communications with the hinterland. The success of the English attack
will much depend on the strength and armament of the coast
fortifications. Such a war will clearly show their value both as purely
defensive and as offensive works. Our whole future history may turn upon
the impregnability of the fortifications which, in combination with the
fleet, are intended to guard our coasts and naval bases, and should
inflict such heavy losses on the enemy that the difference of strength
between the two fleets would be gradually equalized. Our ships, it must
be remembered, can only act effectively so long as our coast
fortifications hold out.

No proof is required that a good Intelligence system is essential to a
defensive which is based on the policy of striking unexpected blows.
Such a system alone can guarantee the right choice of favourable moments
for attack, and can give us such early information of the operative
movements of the hostile fleet that we can take the requisite measures
for defence, and always retreat before an attack in superior numbers.
The numerical superiority of the English cruisers is so great that we
shall probably only be able to guarantee rapid and trustworthy
"scouting" by the help of the air-fleet. The importance of the air-fleet
must not therefore be under-valued; and steps must be taken to repel the
enemy's airships, either by employing specially contrived cannons, or by
attacking them directly.

If it is possible to employ airships for offensive purposes also, they
would support our own fleet in their contest with the superior English
force by dropping explosives on the enemy's ships, and might thus
contribute towards gradually restoring the equilibrium of the opposing
forces. These possibilities are, however, vague. The ships are protected
to some extent by their armour against such explosives as could be
dropped from airships, and it is not easy to aim correctly from a
balloon. But the possibility of such methods of attack must be kept in

So far as aviation goes, the defending party has the advantage, for,
starting from the German coast, our airships and flying-machines would
be able to operate against the English attacking fleet more successfully
than the English airships against our forts and vessels, since they
would have as a base either the fleet itself or the distant English

Such possibilities of superiority must be carefully watched for, and
nothing must be neglected which could injure the enemy; while the
boldest spirit of attack and the most reckless audacity must go hand in
hand with the employment of every means which, mechanical skill and the
science of naval construction and fortification can supply. This is the
only way by which we may hope so to weaken our proud opponent, that we
may in the end challenge him to a decisive engagement on the open sea.

In this war we _must_ conquer, or, at any rate, not allow ourselves to
be defeated, for it will decide whether we can attain a position as a
World Power by the side of, and in spite of, England.

This victory will not be gained merely in the exclusive interests of
Germany. We shall in this struggle, as so often before, represent the
common interests of the world, for it will be fought not only to win
recognition for ourselves, but for the freedom of the seas. "This was
the great aim of Russia under the Empress Catherine II., of France under
Napoleon I., and spasmodically down to 1904 in the last pages of her
history; and the great Republic of the United States of North America
strives for it with intense energy. It is the development of the right
of nations for which every people craves." [A]

[Footnote A: Schiemann.]

In such a contest we should not stand spiritually alone, but all on this
vast globe whose feelings and thoughts are proud and free will join us
in this campaign against the overweening ambitions of one nation, which,
in spite of all her pretence of a liberal and a philanthropic policy,
has never sought any other object than personal advantage and the
unscrupulous suppression of her rivals.

If the French fleet--as we may expect--combines with the English and
takes part in the war, it will be much more difficult for us to wage
than a war with England alone. France's blue-water fleet would hold our
allies in the Mediterranean in check, and England could bring all her
forces to bear upon us. It would be possible that combined fleets of the
two Powers might appear both in the Mediterranean and in the North Sea,
since England could hardly leave the protection of her Mediterranean
interests to France alone. The prospect of any ultimately successful
issue would thus shrink into the background. But we need not even then
despair. On the contrary, we must fight the French fleet, so to speak,
on land--i.e., we must defeat France so decisively that she would be
compelled to renounce her alliance with England and withdraw her fleet
to save herself from total destruction. Just as in 1870-71 we marched to
the shores of the Atlantic, so this time again we must resolve on an
absolute conquest, in order to capture the French naval ports and
destroy the French naval depots. It would be a war to the knife with
France, one which would, if victorious, annihilate once for all the
French position as a Great Power. If France, with her falling
birth-rate, determines on such a war, it is at the risk of losing her
place in the first rank of European nations, and sinking into permanent
political subservience. Those are the stakes.

The participation of Russia in the naval war must also be contemplated.
That is the less dangerous, since the Russian Baltic fleet is at present
still weak, and cannot combine so easily as the English with the French.
We could operate against it on the inner line--i.e., we could use the
opportunity of uniting rapidly our vessels in the Baltic by means of the
Kaiser-Wilhelm Canal; we could attack the Russian ships in vastly
superior force, and, having struck our blow, we could return to the
North Sea. For these operations it is of the first importance that the
Danish straits should not be occupied by the enemy. If they fell into
the hands of the English, all free operations in the Baltic would be
almost impossible, and our Baltic coast would then be abandoned to the
passive protection of our coast batteries.



I have examined the probable conditions of the next naval war in some
detail, because I thought that our general political and military
position can only be properly estimated by considering the various
phases of the war by sea and by land, and by realizing the possibilities
and dangers arising from the combined action of the hostile forces on
our coasts and land frontiers. In this way only can the direction be
decided in which our preparations for war ought to move.

The considerations, then, to which the discussion about the naval war
with England and her probable allies gave rise have shown that we shall
need to make very great exertions to protect ourselves successfully from
a hostile attack by sea. They also proved that we cannot count on an
ultimate victory at sea unless we are victorious on land. If an
Anglo-French army invaded North Germany through Holland, and threatened
our coast defences in the rear, it would soon paralyze our defence by
sea. The same argument applies to the eastern theatre. If Russian armies
advance victoriously along the Baltic and co-operate with a combined
fleet of our opponents, any continuation of the naval war would be
rendered futile by the operations of the enemy on land.

We know also that it is of primary importance to organize our forces on
land so thoroughly that they guarantee the possibility, under all
circumstances, of our victoriously maintaining our position on the
Continent of Europe. This position must be made absolutely safe before
we can successfully carry on a war by sea, and follow an imperial policy
based on naval power. So long as Rome was threatened by Hannibal in
Italy there could be no possible idea of empire. She did not begin her
triumphal progress in history until she was thoroughly secure in her own

But our discussion shows also that success on land can be influenced by
the naval war. If the enemy succeeds in destroying our fleet and landing
with strong detachments on the North Sea coast, large forces of the land
army would be required to repel them, a circumstance widely affecting
the progress of the war on the land frontiers. It is therefore vitally
necessary to prepare the defence of our own coasts so well that every
attack, even by superior numbers, may be victoriously repelled.


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