Page:Heresies of Sea Power (1906).djvu/257

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continue to function, then a surprise invasion would probably be expensive rather than fatal, since invaders permanently cut off from their supplies would be doomed to certain ultimate failure.

The thing is, of course, unlikely, apart from its difficulties. Also, once the principle of surprise wars is admitted, what nation could consider itself safe? Still the 'bolt from the blue' school are somewhat unduly characterised as vague alarmists, because after all the main object of all wars is success, and that hesitation which usually precedes all wars is probably a deal more due to reckoning up chances than to moral restraints felt by the contending governments. And the mere existence of the idea that every war must be preceded by a long series of diplomatic discussions, is a temptation to every virile nation to seize on the obvious advantage of a sudden and unexpected action. In a small way Japan did this in 1904, and secured valuable initial advantages. Her preparations for the blow, however plain they may now seem, went practically unheeded by the Russians. Negligence may count for something here, but the Russian conviction that there would be no war counted a great deal more. This element of belief that all war-talk will end with words, is one of the factors that lead to surprises being possible. And so a surprise invasion of England is quite possible enough to give ample reason to those who demand that some military should, like the navy,