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} No. 3820 September 22, 1917
I. Air Raids and the New War. By H. F.
NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER 707 II. Pax Mundi. By Lord Esher
NATIONAL REVIEW 713 III. Christina's Son. Book III. Chapter IV. By W. M. Letts. (To be continued)
719 IV. The Mesopotamian Breakdown. By G. M. Chesney
FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW 724 V. The Navy, the Army, and Jane Austen.
By Lilian Rowland-Brown (Rowland
NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER 732 VI. Mohammed's Coffin. Chapters III and IV.
By Sir George Douglas. (To be continued) CHAMBERS's JOURNAL 744 VII. A New Cosmogony.
NEW STATESMAN 748 VIII. The Picture Postcards
Punch 751 IX. Dishonorable “Honors"
OUTLOOK 753 X. Central Kitchens. By G. M. A.
MANCHESTER GUARDIAN 755 XI. The Prevention of War
TIMES 757 XII. Will the Navy Act?
SATURDAY REVIEW 761 XIII. Germany's Economic Position
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AIR RAIDS AND THE NEW WAR.
Perhaps in all the ages since man not by fifteen, but by a hundred and became a thinking animal, he has fifty winged instruments of death? never longed more keenly than at the In that case, unless somehow we can present time for vision which should arrest the stroke, we must expect a pierce the veil that hides the future casualty list multiplied by ten, and and see events immediately beyond. damage to public and to private But for the most part a darkness thick buildings on a similar scale. But is a as the legendary night which covered hundred and fifty the limit within Egypt, even a darkness which can be which our conception of the possible felt, hides from us all that which we numbers of these aerial assailants of most wish to know and which a brief London must necessarily be restrained? lapse of days must reveal. Only here Who will warrant that assumption? and there exist the data whence According to our English newspapers human reason can deduce a certain it has been stated officially in Paris inference, and amongst those few that the Huns are designing to have a certainties manifest to every seeing fleet of three thousand five hundred eye, stands out the assurance that aeroplanes by next March. Allowing unless we find effectual means to stop for the ceaseless advance in capability them, the raids by German aeroplanes which experience shows to be assured already accomplished will be dwarfed in the intervening time, it may be to insignificance by those speedily to quite conceivably in the power of our
foes, if they choose, to send, not a For three reasons at least is this hundred and fifty, but several hundred, conclusion reached. They are the or, perhaps a few months later still, a progress of aviation, German military thousand machines to drop bombs expediency, and German national im- on the capital of Britain, and on other pulse. For the raids hitherto effected English towns. the Germans must have used, and Would strokes of that dimension be unquestionably did use, the best "pinpricks”? Could we, or ought we, machines which they possess, and the to stand the repeated infliction of best, at any given moment, are always thirty or forty thousand casualties at a few in comparison with those of the time, with all the devastation which average type. But so swift is now the would inevitably accompany it, with development of the art of flying, and "silence and composure”? so great is the power applied to pro- suggestion is an absurdity which duction, that the super-excellent aero- illustrates the thoughtlessness of the planes of one day become, so to newspapers and the individuals who speak, the half-obsolete of the next. have followed this line of argument. In a brief space of time, multitudes of Their whole contention is based on the German machines will be competent supposition that the blows which to discharge the task which at present the enemy can deal us through the a small number only can achieve. air will always remain so small as to be Fifteen aeroplanes caused on the 13th negligible. The idea evinces a total of June last 589 casualties in London. failure to appreciate the giant growth Is there anyone prepared to guarantee of aerial power. The belief was, as a that before next autumn merges into matter of fact, knocked to pieces by winter a like feat may not be attempted, the advent of the fifteen on the famous
Wednesday—an arrival which may too possibly be paralleled or passed by other similar events before this article is published.
For, rightly or wrongly, wisely or foolishly, the inhabitants of London and of other English and also of Scottish towns do not regard the rapidly increasing chances of having their homes, their wives and children blown to bits by bombs from the sky as so many “pinpricks," nor are they in the least inclined to accept these visitations with pious resignation. They are on the contrary animated by a natural desire, as fierce as it is instinctive, that counter-strokes of a like kind, but on a wider scale and with a greater destructiveness, should be dealt at the Hun. This feeling is already of an immense potency. It is gathering strength every day. If further raids be made unchecked, it will very soon be irresistible.
Must we then strip our Front of its best aerial fighters? Must we send our best airmen and our best machines back to England and thereby imperil, if not wholly lose, that supremacy which is vital to the success of our arms? That would indeed be to play the German game.
The effect of that policy would be to spare the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of enemy soldiers, at whom our artillery could then no longer aim, at the expense of those of our Doubtless it is the hope of some such result which has prompted the raids already made, and which will prompt those far greater onslaughts to be expected. Thus would that principle of military expediency, referred to as one of the impelling motives in the German mind, be justified in the action taken. Moreover-and this seems a point worthy of a little consideration-so prodigious is the advantage of aerial offense against mere defense that even though we aban
doned entirely the hope of retaining our command of the air in France, nay, even though we withdrew every machine and every pilot to this country, it would be still most doubtful whether that miserable maneuvre would avail to guard us against the danger impending. London itself might perhaps be safeguarded by such a concentration, but London is not the only city in England. As the radius of aeroplane flying increases,
increases also the exposure of distant points to injury. Few and remote will be the English towns still enjoying immunity within a year from now. If the war lasts two more years (as well it may) their number will be smaller yet.
The cause of this inferiority of the defense to the offense is very clear. The defense knows not where the offense is coming. If the enemy devoted a hundred, or a thousand, machines to the work of destroying us here, and we devoted five hundred, or five thousand, to the duty of meeting their assault, that number would yet be quite inadequate to protect us. For the aeroplane possesses a mobility far exceeding that of any other instrument of war. Fleets of flying machines can scatter as they will-scatter and reconcentrate. What would be the chance of equality at any given place, possessed by our aerial guards, against a large force of aerial enemies, even though the former, if gathered together, would outnumber the latter by ten to one? Lord Haldane himself could hardly anticipate that the enemy would give them exact notice of his intentions.
But, say some of the advocates of dignified composure, "We do not for a moment suggest the withdrawal of
airmen from France. What we want is the multiplication of airmen and aeroplanes in England." Yet the fact remains that every
machine which would have gone to tion with that journal, organized a France, but to give us safety here) crowded meeting at the Cannon Street is kept in Britain, represents a diminu- Hotel. The speeches then made were tion of our chance of winning the war, widely reported and the expression and a point scored to Germany. “reprisals,” which was prominent in And the argument just set forth them, has been of frequent occurshows the enormous wastefulness of rence ever since. Would that this that policy. No sophistry can obscure word could now (as Mr. H. G. Wells the reality that one machine actively once wrote of a sentence of his own) employed against the enemy on the be folded up and put away in a drawer. Continent is worth more than five It has probably done more to stimumachines employed at home.
late theological animosity than any We have now sought to establish other that could have been employed. two salient facts. First, that an For my part, I advocate "reprisals” enormous increase in power to attack
I merely urge the conthrough the air is inevitable in the straining necessity of "counter-raids” near future, and, secondly, that to on legitimate military objectives. If propose to frustrate such attack by only this term could be substituted passive defense would be prodigal for that, the conscientious objectors folly. It remains to consider the only would cease from troubling and the real defense, namely offense, which Bishops be at rest. we are able to achieve. Here, strange But assuming agreement as to the
are confronted at once expediency of counter-raids of this not by a military, but by a theological kind, the question immediately arises, obstacle. For the theologians, Angli- “What is a legitimate military obcan Bishops, and Nonconformist minis- jective?" and here it is that we touch ters, linked, almost for the first time the crux of the whole matter. Is a since James the Second's Declaration munition factory such an objective? of Indulgence, in a singular alliance, Yes. Then, since bombs cannot be have come forth as the protectors of aimed with accuracy, the place in the Kaiser and the Hun. Better far, which the factory is situated also say these gentlemen, that any num- becomes a legitimate object of military ber (millions, if you will) of English assault. Perhaps not merely a bishop women, children, babies, and non- but an archbishop might be combatant men should have their obliged to admit this. But what is the bodies torn in pieces by German essential difference between a munibombs than to adopt "reprisals” tion factory and a military clothing (that is the sinful word) which, though factory, or a boot factory, or an army it might save these indeed, would food depot, or any other factory or bring a similar fate upon their like in storehouse where either work vital Germany.
to the army is carried on or the fruits Now for the unfortunate introduc- of such labor are preserved? Or, tion into common use of this unhappy again, what about railway stations term "reprisals," I must plead guilty where troops are entrained, or where to a small measure of personal respon- trucks are filled with army stores? sibility, seeing that I wrote a series Is every spot of this kind to be held of articles in The Globe in the summer by us sacrosanct, if it stands in any of 1915, urging the adoption of counter- town of which the inhabitants are measures, so denominated, for Zeppe- liable to be hit and even certain to be lin raids, and subsequently, in associa- hit by bombs dropped during an air