Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/171

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165
THE PERIL OF STIFLING THE TRUTH

is going well and smoothly, perhaps even that the war will soon be over. In some quarters, even in some official quarters, people to-day are talking glibly of peace by the end of July, not openly, of course, but in the places where men congregate and exchange news "under the rose." The general public, taking its cue from the only authorities it understands or has to rely upon, the daily papers, naturally responds, with the eager desire of the human mind to believe what it wishes to be true. Hence there has grown up a comfortable sense of security, from which we shall assuredly experience a very rude awakening.

For, let there be no mistake about it, the war is very far from ended; indeed, despite our losses, we might almost say it has hardly yet begun. For eight months we have been "getting ready to begin." To-day we see Germany in possession of practically the whole of Belgium and a large strip of Northern France. With the exception of a small patch of Alsace, she preserves her own territory absolutely intact. Her fortified lines extend from the coast of Belgium to the border of Switzerland, and behind that seemingly impenetrable barrier she is gathering fresh hosts of men ready for a desperate defence when the moment comes, as come it must, for the launching of the Allies' attack. On her Eastern frontiers she has at least held back the Russian attack, she has freed East Prussia, and not a single soldier is to-day on German soil. I ask any one who may be inclined to undue optimism whether the situation is not one to call imperatively for the greatest effort of which the British nation and the British Empire are capable?

We are assured by the official inspirers of optimism that time is on the side of the Allies, and is working