THE ADMIRALTY OF THE ATLANTIC
IN the preceding chapter we have seen how, within a period of fifteen years, the British Government exchanged its traditional friendliness with the Powers of the Triple, Alliance for an unexpected intimacy with the French Republic, which was a member of the Dual Alliance. The growth of bitter feelings between the peoples of Germany and England was also described at some length. But the primary and most lasting cause of Anglo-German rivalry was not referred to at all: the rise of a German navy, which, in the eyes of Englishmen, was intended to filch from them the supremacy of the seas and thereby endanger the safety of the United Kingdom and the British Empire. In the treatment of that question it will be convenient to set forth chronologically the bald facts concerning the navies of Germany and Great Britain up to the outbreak of war; after which the merits of the controversy can be more easily discussed, and the responsibility for the burden. of naval expenditure properly attributed.
The German navy has been created in the reign of William II. In 1888, when he ascended the throne, it consisted of "floating forts placed at the estuaries of the rivers on which stood the rising commercial centres,"1 together with an excellent torpedo-fleet; it was administered by military men who considered it of secondary importance to the army, a view inculcated and sustained by the full force of Bismarck's personality. But by this time____________________