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14   DAYS OF PREPARATION

these alarming situations was to prove to the world, and to France in particular, that the Entente was but a thing of words and paper, and to exhibit to France the utter futility of relying upon Great Britain in war's emergencies. To split up combinations adverse to her own interest has ever been a leading principle in German policy. She is always ready to assume that the diplomacy of other nations is, like her own, based on fraud and dishonour.

In order to further advance her plans for Colonial expansion and prepare for World domination, Germany, in 1898, launched out upon the seas. Having laid hold on military sovereignty, she sought supremacy upon the ocean, proclaiming in the Kaiser's flamboyant phrase, that she intended to "grasp the trident." Nine years before, Great Britain had laid down the "Two Power" standard for her ship-building programme. This policy was based upon the possibility of conflict with the joint sea forces of France and Russia. Germany now drew up a six years' naval programme, which was not an unreasonable one, considering her colonial interests, the coast line she had to protect, and the welfare of her overseas commerce. Two years later, however, this plan was amended to such purpose that the German Navy was doubled at one stroke. Even in the Reichstag it was pointed out that this hugely increased force could only have in contemplation hostilities against Great Britain. The spokesman for the German Government replied that Germany must be so powerful at sea that the strongest naval power should not be able to challenge her with any degree of confidence. In 1906, Great Britain tried the experiment of retrenching on naval estimates, and in response Germany increased hers by one-third. So rapidly was the latter building that Great Britain suddenly awoke to the fact that at the then relative rates of building, Germany would be actually superior in the matter of capital ships by the year 1914. To meet this clear challenge Britain adopted


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