The Great War Part 166, October 20th 1917

aft "¦Cb c Great War EDITORS H. W . W I L SONJ.A. HAMMERTON E D I TOR I ALly /fR. W IL SONS chapter on the German aeroplane raids on this country will be read with particular ^interest at the present time when the subject is the most prominent one in every mind. In the light of all that has !happened in these three crowded years it is astonishing iy tog look back to a date only five years before the war and realise the culpable blindness of the authorities to the H significance of the first crossing of the Channel in a flying p machine accomplished b y M.B leriot on that memorable ^day in July 1909. H The Defence of “England t 'VX/H ERE there is no vision the people perish.” That "'is plain statement of present fact and the refusal Si of the authorities to listen to the voices crying in the p wilderness throughout the five years that preceded the war— to which was due the nations unpreparedness with g aircraft when the war broke out —inevitably causes uneasiness at their refusal now to comply with the demands H of the same voices crying above the tumult. The man H whose forecasts have been justified b y events who has g never carried on a propaganda in favour of action which ultimately has not had to be adopted whose judgment hasH been proved right time after time is the man whose advice the people desire the Government to act upon now, ju c j when the danger he has foretold has arrived. Mr. Wilson jjg i shows in this chapter th a tall the points urged b y Lord H N orthcliffe in the early days of flying have had to be pi conceded b y a sceptical and lethargic Government. It jy c j is only natural and reasonable that public opinion should jy j i j be restive now when it finds propaganda from the same H source being met b they authorities with equal scepticism Hand lethargy.^" T3 E P R IS A L S”is a word that might be dropped out of our vocabulary with advantage. It only serves to divert to side issues attention which ought to be con­centrated upon a single main point. The “ecclesiastics, members of Parliament peers and pacifists ”who declare th a tin no circumstances should Great Britain attempt “reprisals”— a declaration most acceptable to the Germans Government and people— utterly miss the main point, g i which is as Mr. Wilson shows most convincihgly that the k J r d most effective method of protecting Great Britain against H attacks from the air lies in taking the “inoffensive driving the Germans from the Belgian coast and depriving jfJ them of their bases orin carrying the war resolutely into H Germany and bombing the German towns and munition l centres and factories.” “Reprisals ”maybe a question H of ethics "Offensive ”is a question of strategy and tactics. And since the Government is supposed to be waging war and not discussing morals it would be better to refrain from “merely expostulating with the German Staff on ”its wickedness as Mr. Wilson sardonically phrases it and instead to act upon Nelsons last order and “engage the enemy more closely.” That means, fight German aeroplanes in Germany instead of England. “Reprisals ”or “Offensive” 1 V /TR .WILSON treats the question with a cold common-sense that is unanswerable. Underneath his restrained manner there is however a hot intensity of feeling. H e passionately resents the humiliation to which he in common with all Britons has been subjected b they comparative impunity with which Germai: invaders have attacked British naval bases Channel ports and the capital of the Empire and have brushed off all attempts to interfere with them .Since his chapter came to hand evidence has been forthcoming that the loss of prestige to the British Empire consequent upon its failure to defend itself from attack b they air is having damaging effect upon opinion in the United States. The sooner that is rectified the better. Meantime it is comforting to know that the United States is tackling the difficulties of war in the air with energy earnestness and imagination too. The arrival in the actual zone of military operations of the large force of aircraft now in process of construction on the other side of the Atlantic will materially facilitate the Allies operations in the ”“air front and so long as these prove to be effective and successful it seems to matter very little whether they are called “reprisals ”or“an offensive defence.” Rebuilding Ruined France TV/fR. W IL SONS chapter will be concluded in the next part of The Great W a rand will be followed b y one from the pen of Mr. F. A.M cKenzie describing the work that has to be done in rebuilding the ruined towns and villages of France. His chapter is written with information collected during a recent visit to the recovered districts and it will be found of poignant interest. In view of the facts which it presents the “unctuous plati­tudes ”of the German Government in reply to the Papal Note are shown up in their utter futility and inadequacy to meet the case wantonly created b Germany militarism. “Reparation and restoration ”are a first necessity and they must be made b they dcspoilcr. In the space at his disposal Mr. M cKenzie could make abut few vivid sketches of the ruin and desolation overspread the fair face of France but these suffice to stir up a passion of pity and resentment which will not be satisfied b y ingenious equivocations and flattering unction. The material damage is being made good even as the invaders are being driven off the ground they have devastated and polluted. It still remains for them to pay the bill. Binding Cases for Volume IX. \\7 E again draw the attention of subscribers to the *advertisements of the binding cases that appear on other cover pages of successive parts of The Great War. A large accumulation of unbound parts of the history causes much inconvenience in consulting early chapters and creates considerable likelihood of individual parts being soiled and lost. The practical step of having each volume bound as soon as the last part to be included in it has appeared obviates these regrettable things and simultaneously adds a really handsome volume to the library. The binding cases for Volume IX .are still procurable at the original prices of 2s. 6d. and 4s. 6d,. according to whether cloth or leather is desired and each case carries with it the publishers presentation frontis­piece of a photogravure reproduction of Mr. Charles Sheldons picture of the Australians entry into Bapaum e, entitled “The Music ofT rium h.”p The Great War—Fart 166
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