Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/31

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THE PERIL OF "MUDDLING THROUGH"

and permit ourselves to muddle into a peace that would be no peace, but merely a truce in which Germany would bend her every energy to the preparation of another bitter war of revenge?

Here lies one of the gravest perils by which our country is to-day faced, and it is a peril immensely exaggerated by the foolish peace-talk in which a section of malevolent busybodies are already indulging. It is as certain as the rising of tomorrow's sun that, when this war is over, Germany would, if the power were left within her, embark at once on a new campaign of revenge. We have seen how, for forty-five long years, the French have cherished in their hearts the hope of recovering the fair provinces wrested from them in the war of 1870–1871. And the French, be it remembered, are not a nation capable of nourishing a long-continued national hatred. Generous, proud, and intensely patriotic they are; malicious and revengeful they emphatically are not. As patriotic in their own way as the French, the Germans have shown themselves capable of a paroxysm of national hatred to which history offers no parallel.

They have realised, with a sure instinct, that Britain, and Britain alone, has stood in the way of the realisation of their grandiose scheme of world-dominion, and it is certain that for long years to come, possibly for centuries, they will, if we give them the opportunity, plot our downfall and overthrow us. Are we to muddle the business of making peace as we muddled the preparations for war? If we do we shall, assuredly, deserve the worst fate that can be reserved for a nation which deliberately shuts its eyes to the logic of plain and demonstrable fact.

Germany can never be adequately punished for