Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/27

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15
The War and the Future

remembered as long as this war is remembered: "The time has come for going back no further, but to die where you stand if you cannot advance." Then came the battle of the Marne, and people knew that whatever happened there would be no overwhelming victory for the enemy. He was beaten and had to fall back to gather strength for another effort, and all his dreams of sudden conquest collapsed.

But though our armies won at the Marne, it was only by miracle; and the essence of miracles is that they are not repeated. Our side was not ready for war. We were weaker than the enemy in guns, men and equipment. Our task was still to hold the line somehow, without guns, and almost without men, but by bluff and barbed wire, while guns could be forged and men trained. The enemy was ready for a second spring long before we were ready to resist him, and this second spring was not to fail, as the Marne had failed, through want of munitions.

This second spring took place at the end of October, 1914, when we had lost about half our original army and had altogether about 100,000 men in the line, many of them drafts who had not had one month's training. This 100,000