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CAUSES OF THE GREAT WORLD WAR 15

 

the sixty per cent. dreadnought superiority over Germany. Again, in 1912, the German naval estimates were largely increased. The following year Great Britain proposed a naval holiday, during which new construction should be abandoned. The suggestion was commended amiably by the German Chancellor, and an expenditure of half a million pounds promptly added to the already swollen German estimates.

Only those who were purposely blind could ignore these patent facts, or be misled by the fine phrases and pious platitudes which are part of the stock in trade of the Teutonic diplomatist. The foe against whom all the guile and strength of Germany were to be exerted was Great Britain. She it was who stood in the way of the fourth great step in the Prussian evolution. She was, in the words of Maximilian Harden, "Carthage—and Carthage must be blotted out." France was but the stepping stone. The old error must be corrected, and as compensation for having to do the work twice over, the Channel ports must be Germany's reward; Dunkirk, Calais, Boulogne, together with Antwerp and Ostend, would pay for the outlay, if nothing else were to be gained. To break France was the immediate object, and during this process Great Britain must at all hazards be bribed or cajoled to stand aside, a foolish victim looking upon the slaughter of his fellow, ignorant of the fact that the reeking knife would next seek his own heart. France done with finally, there would be the period of preparation, the fortification of the new naval bases facing Dover, and then the leap. Germany did not regard the task as one of extraordinary difficulty. Ireland, in the eyes of her diplomatists, was in perpetual revolt. The overseas Dominions were eagerly waiting the opportunity to fling off the silken tie of Empire, India was seething with rebellion, Egypt longing for the fulfilment of her Nationalist aspirations, Capital and Labour at each other's throats in Britain, the Suffragette burning and destroying. The youth of Great


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