Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/72

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
68
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

relevancy, may be casually mentioned. The German war-ships, self-interned at the Kiel canal, may at any time prove a very active menace; much more probably than those Zeppelins, the very talk concerning which has thrown a chill to the heart of England. It was premature; the big Zeppelins are very vulnerable, rightly assailed, and—happily for English comfort—they realize it.

On the other side there lies the inviting coast of the former Danish province of Schleswig. Behind the Sylt the waters are shallow, but it would not be difficult to land an army there. In time something similar may be reckoned upon—a force, probably all British, with suitable ordnance, to advance upon the canal and its fortifications on the north, to demolish these at leisure, and afterwards try conclusions with the fleet, unless it had slipped out, warily into the Baltic or boldly into the North sea. This project of invasion is instanced, not as imminent, but rather a strong possibility of the future. Its efficacy is found in facilitating operations, in affording a third “face” of attack.

In considering the outcome the element of time is of course a very uncertain quantity. But time is an ally of the Allies, the most stanch, most certain and trustworthy ally. All told, Germany can perhaps count upon about one hundred millions actually or nominally loyal to her cause. Russia, Britain, and France combined can count upon at least six hundred million, with equal or greater confidence of loyalty. Germany is badly handicapped. The greater general intelligence of her population; its greater diffusion of freedom of thought; these in time will begin to ask questions, to urge demands.

During our civil war, a rude mountaineer was brought into camp as a prisoner somewhere in east Tennessee. At first surly, at last he softened. “Say!” said he to his guard, “what anyway is you-uns fightin’ we-uns for?” If ignorance could be brought to put so admirable an enquiry, how much more likely—at the right time—the “psychological time,” will intelligence!

Day after day, slowly the equality between opposing forces will be diminished, replaced by increments of preponderance of the Allies. The effective strength of numbers will slowly crumble on one side, slowly accumulate for power of offense on the other. The very successes of German arms point the way to her ultimate downfall. The day of the facile fall of the Vauban-planned fortifications of Antwerp, added to by every device of science and steel, was a great one for the cause of universal peace, far greater than anything effected by the Hague Tribunal, or by all the peace treaties ever signed. The meaning is—or ought to be—evident—that the day of armored defenses as defenses against the ponderous ordnance constructed by the Krupps is at an end. Even at this hour there are several object lessons to invite scrutiny, notably that Verdun continues impregnable, not because of its being invulnerable as