THE ANGLO-GERMAN RUPTURE
IT is at last possible to discuss the reasons why Great Britain declared war on Germany. The various phases of the rivalry between the two nations have been analyzed: the struggle for the control of the seas in time of war; the competition for the markets of the world; problems of colonial expansion; mutual suspicion generated in the political sphere by the reaction of the three factors just mentioned; and the profound differences in the national temperaments, institutions, and ideals. A conflict was, perhaps, inevitable. At the same time, it has been seen that the naval rivalry was in process of adjustment; that Great Britain was not jealous of the commercial progress of Germany; that the colonial ambitions of Germany had been recognized by the Anglo-German agreement arrived at on the very eve of the war. As a result of this general relaxation of tension the relations between the two countries in July, 1914, were more friendly than they had been at any time since the retirement of Bismarck. The Triple Entente still remained as an obstacle to German aggression; but Great Britain had made it very plain, not merely in words but by her action, that she was in no way disposed to support France and Russia in an aggressive policy against Germany, and that if Germany was determined to live in peace on the basis of a fair field and no favors she would find no more earnest coadjutor and friend than England and the British Empire. On both sides there seemed to be developing a willingness to forget the quarrels of the past and to work toward a general understanding which would effectually guarantee the peace of the world.