Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/160

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No one pretends, of course, that the entire body of Volunteers whom we see drilling and route-marching day by day are capable of the exertions involved in a strenuous campaign. But a very large percentage of them are quite capable of being made fit to serve in a home-defence army, and it is a feeble and shortsighted policy to give them the official cold shoulder and nip their enthusiasm in the bud. At the present moment they cost nothing, and they are doing good and useful work. Is it expecting too much to suggest that their work should be encouraged with something a little more stimulating than a scarlet arm-band and a form of "recognition" which, upon close analysis, will be found to mean very little indeed?

There has been too strong a tendency in the past to praise, in immoderate terms, German methods and German efficiency. But, undoubtedly, there are certain things which we can learn from the enemy, and one of them is the speed and energy with which the Germans, at the present moment, are turning to their advantage popular enthusiasm of exactly the same nature as that which has produced the Volunteer movement here. It is a popular misconception that in a conscriptionist country every man, without distinction, is swept into the ranks for his allotted term. This is by no means the case. There are many reasons for exemption, and a very large proportion of the German people, when war broke out, had never done any military duty.

Travellers who have recently returned from Germany report that the Volunteer movement there has made gigantic strides. Men have come forward in thousands, and the Government, with German energy and foresight, has pounced upon