My Political Life - Vol. 2

My Political Life - Vol. 2

My Political Life - Vol. 2

My Political Life - Vol. 2

Excerpt

Ever since the South African War I had dreaded a major European War which would find us once more unprepared. My history of that earlier war was written throughout as a warning of the dangers ahead. One unfriendly reviewer, indeed, had summed up its six volumes as nothing more than a bulky pamphlet in favour of the 'militarism' of which he disapproved. In my articles in The Times , in my book, The Problem of the Army , in my work for the National Service League and in my speeches in the House of Commons, I had for ten years, in season and out of season, steadily preached the need for an army to match the foreign policy to which we were committed. All the same the summer of 1914 found me as little aware of the impending catastrophe as the rest of my fellow countrymen. Even after Sarayevo Lloyd George could say that "the sky has never been more perfectly blue". At no time, in fact, since 1906 had the danger seemed less immediately imminent than in 1914. Ever since Agadir the military situation had changed to the disadvantage of the Central Empires. By the end of the Balkan Wars Turkey, hitherto regarded as a serious military power, and as practically an ally, was, to all intents and purposes, off the map of Europe. Another satellite, Bulgaria, had been crushed. What is more, these disasters had been largely brought about, first by Italy, and then by Rumania, acting in complete disregard of the general interests of the Triple Alliance to which they professed to belong. Serbia, hitherto regarded with contempt, had suddenly emerged as the possessor of an army equal in fighting quality, if not in equipment, to any in Europe. Pan-Yugoslav nationalism, the most immediate danger to the internal cohesion of Austria- Hungary, could now look to a deliverer from outside in a . . .

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