Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/174

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engaged in the present struggle. If that view be well founded, it follows that peace on some terms or other will be concluded by October or November at the latest. We, more than any other nation, depend upon the issue of this war to make our existence, as a people and an Empire, safe for a hundred years to come. Have we so energetically pushed on the preparations that, by the time winter is upon us again, we shall, with the help of our gallant Allies, have dealt Germany such a series of crushing blows as to compel her to accept a peace which shall be satisfactory to us?

There, I believe, we have the question which it is vital for us to answer. If the answer is in the negative, I say, without hesitation, that time fights not with the Allies but with Germany. If, as many people think, this war must end somehow before the next winter, we must, by that time, either have crushed out the vicious system of Prussian militarism, or we must resign ourselves to a patched-up peace, which would be but a truce to prepare for a more terrible struggle to come. Despite our most heroic resolves, it is doubtful whether, under modern conditions of warfare, the money can be found for a very prolonged campaign.

I do not forget, of course, that the Allies have undertaken not to conclude a separate peace, and I have not the least doubt that the bargain will be loyally kept. But we cannot lose sight of the possibility that peace may come through the inability of the combatants to continue the war, which it is calculated will by the autumn have cost nine thousand millions of money. And we can take it for granted that the task of subduing a Germany driven to desperation, standing on the defensive, and fighting with the blind savagery of a cornered rat, is