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the lot of 1ts struggling populace, if only as a means by which it shall be enabled to educate the masses; wealth is an indispensable adjunct to greatness in a nation.
But the pursuit of wealth involves national competition, rouses national passion, and may lead to real war. Pride of race, always sensitive, is another possible cause of war; some slight insult, real or fancied, rousing a whole people to action. “Thus, come what will, war must be the ultimate arbiter in the struggle of nations for existence ; and, moreover, do what it may, no nation can hope to avoid it for ever. . . . Woe to that nation which in time of peace forgets war.” It would be difficult to gainsay the truth of these introductory remarks. At the present time, notwithstanding the Alaska arbitration and the apparent desire of both France and England to live on friendly terms, the millennium of peace is not within measurable distance, it is not yet in the sphere of practical politics. We must look at the world as it is, not as we might like it to be. In every quarter of the world there is unrest ; in every quarter of the world there are British Imperial interests at stake, and the situation must be faced. For the moment, the Fiscal question may be uppermost in the minds of our countrymen ; it is undoubtedly a matter of Imperial importance ; it is one of the factors in the solution of the Imperial question ; but it is not the Imperial question itself, which is the preservation of the Empire, and it is this that must hold the foreground just now in our minds and thoughts. The three main branches of the conduct of this ever-present threatening war are, first, the peace strategy, which is commonly known as the foreign, colonial, and home policy; secondly, the preparation for war, running concurrently with the former ; and, finally, the war operations. The essence of peace strategy is the choice of the national objective, that is, detecting the principal adversary or adversaries in the struggle for existence, and adopting the right policy with regard to them. Bismarck's lifelong policy was directed on these lines. In 1863 Russian Poland rebelled ; but as an independent Poland would be the irreconcilable enemy of Prussia, Bismarck determined that Poland, so far as Prussia was concerned, should go to the wall. Austria, the most dangerous enemy, was next the object of Bismarck's peace strategy ; and France was similarly attended to when her turn came. In striking contrast, Major Ross depicts our peace strategy in South Africa after 1881, when the Boers had got rid of us from the Transvaal. We looked on the Boers as a “mere remnant of a decadent race that was fated to be swamped by British immigrants,” whereas they were “a young nation, full of virile qualities, one which, if not assimilated or suppressed, must quickly rise to such power as would enable her to compete with Great Britain for supremacy in South Africa. The situation was, in fact, critical. War was inevitable from the day that Majuba was fought and won.” In Major Ross' opinion the Jameson Raid in all probability saved the Empire by opening the eyes of the British nation to the situation, and rendering impossible further secrecy as to the preparations of the Boers. But we were unready when the crisis came, and fortunate it was for us that it came when it did. “With a few more years granted for preparation and the study of the art of war, the Boers would—and this is a fact indisputable to all who have studied the art of war—have decisively defeated Great Britain.” In the conduct of the warstrategy both opponents made mistakes, but those made by the Boers were irreparable, whereas ours were retrieved in the course of time. Of course it is easy enough to point out that in the case of nations like Germany, France, or Italy, the number of threatening objectives from which to select that which is most dangerous are very few, and the peace strategy is comparatively simple and within the grasp of able statesmen ; whereas, with our huge straggling Empire, we are in contact with possible and probable rivals all over the world, so selection and preparation are extremely difficult. The obvious reply is, that if you elect to be an Empire you cannot evade the difficulties inherent in the upholding an Empire ; and it is in his fifth and sixth chapters, the one on the “Leadership of a Nation,” the other on “Representative Government and Peace Strategy,” that Major Ross is really powerful in showing the terrible disadvantages against which, in connection with leadership and peace strategy, a nation like our own must struggle; a nation where always those into whose hands the leadership falls for a time are men who not only may never have given a previous thought to the considera– tion of the vital problems connected with the national struggle for existence, but who, perhaps, owe their gaining the position of leaders solely and entirely to their consonance with their constituents on some matter of purely inner and domestic interest and importance ; a nation which, forming its armies not of itself as part of a duty, but by hire of its members willing to become soldiers, contents itself with the payment of the necessary dues, and banishing from its mind all further thought of the army and of war, devotes itself solely to the pursuits and pleasures of peace, and to the local needs of the districts or localities in which it lives. Home and peace politics are everything to it; war politics are discarded. Rome may not be actually burning, but the fire is only smouldering ; the danger is ignored, and the fiddling goes on to the general satisfaction. Verily the awaking the the nation to the actual condition of the world in which it lives is a vital necessity, and to awake it, and keep it awake, is the purpose of the author. Then, again, party government means inconsistency in its policy both foreign and home, and every few years aim and object change with the swing of the pendulum. From our vacillatory peace policy in past years in South Africa, and from similar instances drawn from that same policy in Europe and on the frontier of India, are put before us pictures, object-lesson proofs of the weakness inherent in our form of government. Similarly with regard to the preparations for war, not for immediate war, but for readiness for possible war, Secrecy, the soul of such preparations, is next to impossible. It is the representatives in Parliament who hold the purse-strings; and the fullest explanation of the items on which the pounds, shillings, and pence are to be spent has to be given, and is given, not merely to the country but to our possible enemies in the world at large. Passing to the conduct of war, Major Ross has no difficulty in showing the disastrous effect of untaught and untrained public opinion on this branch of war ; but since what is known as political strategy is by most authorities accepted as an undeniable element in all war strategy, we are bound to say that there are sometimes of the questions two sides, of which Major Ross seems rather to put before us one only. Universal liability to service seems to us to be the only means by which the British Empire will be able to bear the weight of its lately enormously increased burden; this, however, is a matter of opinion, but it cannot be denied that, as Major Ross says, “It is only by the universal training to arms that a proper appreciation of the importance of war can be instilled into a nation ; it is by such an appreciation alone that a nation can be brought to understand the necessity for preparation ; and it is only such knowledge on the part of a nation that will bring it to vote the money, secretly and without discussion, necessary for efficient preparation for war,” and will assent to the burdens and inconveniences incident to that preparation. Very bitterly does Major Ross write of our conduct of the South African War, with its misplaced leniency to the enemy and to the hostile inhabitants. No doubt grave mistakes were made in these matters, but, on the other hand, it must be remembered that a war which has for its object permanent occupation of the conquered territory must be carried on in very different fashion from one that has for its object temporary occupation only. And now in the third and fourth parts of the book—the first, “Great Britain and the War,” the last, “The British Empire and Trained Powers”—Major Ross rises to a very high level, so much so that one is inclined to wonder that the writer is still but a regimental officer. He first deals with the offensive and the defensive; rejecting the latter, and scornfully repudiating the idea that our much-lauded navy can, for Imperial purposes, be other than a defensive weapon. It may drive our enemies from the seas, but hurt him vitally, never; for the real blow, land operations by an army are a necessity. Then he passes in review our military institutions, quite insufficient for Imperial needs, and then shows how difficult it is for a Government, such as ours, to carry on or even, as already mentioned, to prepare thoroughly for war. But what a gigantic vista opens before us—an offensive war on the Continent against a European Power in its own home. Though the Germans in France, in 1870–71, went no farther south than the Loire, the strength of their army that crossed the frontier was nearly one and a half million, whilst at home were left little short of 350,000 soldiers; and their monthly average of effectives in France was about 1,2 oo, ooo and 255, ooo horses. And, according to Major Ross's own view, the British Empire would in a real war be forced to put “millions of men into the field in place of hundreds of thousands" ! In the chapter on the military institutions of this country, Major Ross, like very many others, shows that he holds the mistaken notion that short service in our army was due to the lessons of the Franco-German War, whereas the proposal for shortened service was put forward in the House of Commons by Mr. Cardwell, the Minister of War, some months before the outbreak of that war. In the following chapter, “The British Form of Government,” Major Ross most forcibly shows the extreme disadvantages which representative government entails in the struggle for existence, and again urges the only possible chance of mitigation, namely, education of the nation in the real meaning of this struggle and its concomitant, war, by the enforcement of universal service in the army and navy, following up this appeal by drawing attention to the indisputable fact, that of the British Empire there is one vital point, we may say one vital point only, the vital point, namely, the Mother Country, Great Britain ; and those who were behind the scenes in 1900 and knew the abjectly defenceless state of Great Britain during that year can never cease to wonder why no advantage was taken of its condition by a combination of hostile Continental Powers. No doubt each and everyone of the greater Powers would like to have seen Great Britain overthrown and reduced to a third-rate Power ; but the interests of these Powers are the reverse of identical, they are decidedly conflicting, and it would be a difficult matter for them to arrange for the annihilation of the Island Power in such a way that it should be of equal benefit all round. The selection of the national objective, that is, the detection of the principal adversary or adversaries in the struggle for existence and the evolution of a peace strategy suited to the requirements, is not by any means the simple task Major Ross seems to consider it, for the adversaries “change rounds” as friends and foes to each other, as well as to ourselves, in successive short periods of time. In the opinion of the author, the principal adversary requiring the closest watching just now is Germany. His views on this matter are given in the semi-final chapter, which closes with the following warning. “A war between Germany alone and the British Empire would indeed to-day be by no means the one-sided affair it is usually considered in Great Britain. A few more years of preparation on the part of Germany will, however, most certainly render it one-sided. Germany and the British Empire are, indeed, already face to face in the struggle for existence with the German Empire ; and war has, to all intents and purposes, already commenced.” But on the views put forward in the last quoted extract there may probably be much diversity of opinion yet. With very much of what Major Ross has up to this point written he will probably carry his readers. He has deferred to the latter part of his remarkable book his view of what a British Empire really means, and of the tremendous burden which the mere maintenance of the existence of that Empire imposes on those who live in peace time under its flag. If Major Ross is on the right track, then there must be created in the heart and soul of every man, woman, and child under the British flag an Esprit de l'Empire, which for zeal, enthusiasm, and practical self-denial and self-sacrifice will far outstrip the wildest dreams of the Comtist Esprit de l'Humanite; but the extent to which we shall be willing in our daily lives to let sentiment influence practice will be determined, however, it seems to us,