Слике страница

aeroplane, on the contrary, both of the small one-man type and of the large two-men or three-men type, is of immense and practically indispensable value. But its value is, after all, chiefly as an adjunct to the army and navy, for observation, scouting and signaling purposes, and occasionally for the dropping of explosive or incendiary bombs upon vulnerable points. It can no more take the place of terrestrial armies than the submarine boat can take the place of the battleship. With all the cost and all the activities of aircraft of various kinds in this war, not a single military operation of significance has been effected by them alone or upon their initiative.



The World's Costliest War Finances of the European Belligerents — Their Huge Debts Before the War — Enormous Credits Voted — Astonishing Response of the People - Figures that Stagger the Imagination Throwing the Almost Inexhaustible Wealth of America Into the Scale Seven Billions Voted in a Single Lump — A Huge Loan to Our Allies - The Problem of Supplies of Food and Munitions of War - Importance of Sea Power - Nations Haunted by the Spectre of Famine Historic Instances of Starvation in War.

THIS WAR costs billions where other wars cost millions. It is incomparably the most expensive war, in dollars and cents, that the world has ever known. That is not only because of its magnitude in geographical extent and in the number of nations and men involved. It is also because the advanced scientific methods of waging war are far more costly than the old ways. A single dreadnought now costs more than the whole British navy did in Nelson's day. When the shells which are fired from cannon cost hundreds of dollars each, and are fired by hundreds of thousands, the ammunition bill “staggers the imagination.” The result is that the belligerents are incurring indebtedness almost beyond the power of the average human mind to appreciate.

Before the war began the European powers were heavily burdened burdened with debts, which

which had, as have seen, been largely incurred through military preparations and the maintenance of huge armaments.


DEBTS BEFORE THE WAR The public debts of the belligerent nations just before the war, expressed in United States money, were as follows: Austria-Hungary.

$3,709,534,000 Belgium and Congo..

795,785,000 Bulgaria...

135,300,000 France and Colonies...

6,469,894,000 Germany, States and Colonies.

4,945,314,000 Great Britain, India and Colonies. 8,307,442,000 Italy..

2,669,748,000 Japan..

1,271,745,000 Portugal.

968,324,000 Roumania..

294,061,000 Russia and Finland


128,078,000 Turkey

554,441,000 United States..



In this table Austria-Hungary is charged with the joint debt of the two countries and with the separate debt of each; Germany is charged with the imperial debt, the various state debts, and the colonial debt; Great Britain alone bore much less than half the debt charged to her with India and the colonies; the United States is charged with only the national debt and not with any of the state debts.

GREAT LOANS QUICKLY TAKEN The principal European belligerents promptly voted enormous credits for carrying on the war, to which the people responded with a readiness far beyond normal anticipation. Loans were generally far over-subscribed, though they amounted to billions each. Down to the beginning of 1917 the cost of the war to the various nations was estimated in round numbers as follows:

[blocks in formation]

This total was calculated to be nearly three times as much as the aggregate cost of all the wars of the world since the American and French Revolutions, including the Napoleonic wars, our War of 1812, Civil War and war with Spain, the Crimean War, the Austro-Italian and Austro-Prussian wars, the Franco-German War, the Russo-Turkish War, the Boer-British War, the Balkan wars, and the Russo-Japanese War. At the beginning of 1917 the daily cost of the war to the allies was $70,000,000 and to the Central Powers $35,000,000, a total of $105,000,000 a day.

It can readily be understood, then, what it meant to the allies to have the United States join them and vote at once an initial credit of $7,000,000,000, the largest

sua ever voted at once by any government in the history of the world; of which at least $2,000,000,000 was to be loaned forthwith to the European allies.


These enormous war expenditures have been chiefly met with borrowed money, but they have been in part met directly with increased revenue from taxation, and in a much larger part than had been supposed possible. Thus from August 1, 1914, to March 15, 1917, the British Government borrowed $15,328,000,000, while at the same time it raised $5,205,000,000 through taxation. Thus it met more than twenty-five per cent of the war expenses through taxation, without borrowing or increasing its indebtedness, an extraordinarily large proportion. In France the war will have cost, on June 30, 1917, the sum of $16,580,000,000, of which $2,420,000,000 will have come from taxation, or about 14.5 per cent.

Germany, on the other hand, until lately made no increase in taxation, but depended exclusively upon loans. The theory of this system was, that Germany would conquer the allies and compel them to pay indemnities sufficient to redeem all her war loans. All that was necessary therefore was to borrow money until the end of the war, and then make the conquered nations pay the debts. Germany also extorted-in plain English, stole-enormous sums from Belgium, which she added to her war chest. She also had the advantage of keeping all her money at home. The blockade of her coasts prevented her from purchasing supplies abroad, and so no money was sent out of the empire, save comparatively small amounts to Denmark, Holland and Turkey. By the spring of 1917, however, Germany had incurred indebtedness the interest upon

« ПретходнаНастави »