Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/52

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land is threatened in what, to them, is a war of aggression, deliberately undertaken by their enemies. We have heard, since the war began, a great deal of wild and foolish talk about economic distress in Germany. We have been told, simply because the German Government has wisely taken timely precautions to prevent a possible shortage of food, that the German nation is on the verge of starvation. But would Germany, who for seven years prepared for war, overlook the vital question of her food supply? Probably it is true that the industrial depression in Germany, thanks to the destruction by our Navy of her overseas trade, is very much worse than it is in England. But no one has yet suggested that the Krupp workmen are threatening to come out on strike and paralyse the defensive forces if their demands for higher wages are not instantly conceded. It is more than probable that any one who suggested such a course, even if he escaped the heavy hand of the Government, would be speedily suppressed in very rough-and-ready fashion by his own comrades. The Germans, at least, will tolerate no treachery in their midst, and unless the leaders among the English trade unionists can bring their men to a realisation of the wickedness involved in strikes at the present moment, they will assuredly forfeit every vestige of public respect and confidence.

I am not holding a brief either for the masters or the men. Let ample inquiry be made, by all means, into the subject of the dispute. If the masters raise any objection to either the sitting or the finding of the Government Commission, they deserve all the blame that naturally attaches to the strikers. The inquiry should be loyally accepted by both sides, and its findings as loyally respected.