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After September, 1917, useless warship construction was abandoned by order, not of the naval but of the army authorities. Material for the construction of submarines was then so scarce that the boats of line ships had to be used. Twenty-three line ships were withdrawn from the navy in this way in 1918, including the Deutschland, eight coast armored vessels, three armored cruisers, five cruisers of the Hansa class, the small cruiser Strassburg, and 15 other cruisers; thus in 1918 the High Sea fleet consisted only of dreadnoughts, line ships of the Dessau, Helgoland, Kaiser, and Markgraf class, and some line cruisers.
When the ruthless submarine war was declared there were hardly any submarines. Hardly any were built under Admiral Tirpitz, while Admiral von Capelle constructed only a few. They would only have been completed, as far as larger boats were concerned, in 1919 and 1920. The official assertion that losses were fully covered by new construction was untrue. The following table shows the construction and losses in 1917, the first figure in each case representing the number built and the second figure the number lost: January, 6 and 4
July, 10 and 4 February, 3 and 3
August, 12 and 11 March, 4 and 6
September, 8 and i April, 4 and 1
October, 12 and 12 May, 6 and 5
November, 5 and 7 June, 8 and 3
December, 5 and 9 The number of submarines (“front boats ") was as follows in the months stated :
1917 April ........................ 126 January ...................... 133 July ...........
...... 134 February .................... 130 August .... ...... 134 April ...
· 128 October ...... ......... 146 June ...... December ........
... 137 Only a small percentage of " front boats" have been in action. In January, 1917, when circumstances were favorable, 12 [? 32) per cent of the submarines were at the front, 30 per cent in port, and 38 per cent testing and exercising. During the war the submarines suffered severely, the crews, often insufficiently trained, had no longer the necessary confidence in their arm, and consequently there was latterly very little inclination for this dangerous service, especially as experienced seamen clearly saw that all the sacrifice was in vain. The same applies to the full sea fleet, the crews realizing that if battle was given it meant, having regard to the small number of ships available, the useless sacrifice of a large number of valuable lives. They therefore protested, and every sensible man will be thankful that they did. By their action on November 5 they rendered the nation incalculable service.-London Times, 23/11.
WHAT IS VICTORY?-11.-By Arthur Pollen. It was suggested that the position at sea could not be established satisfactorily after the war unless three essential terms of peace were made operative. They were: the restitution by Germany of the merchant tonnage destroyed, the assignment of the German colonies with their seaports to a nonGerman power, and ordinances and guarantees that Germany should not possess submarines now or in the near future. It was also suggested that the submarine might by consent be made contraband of humanity, and if not made contraband, at any rate eliminated finally as an instrument for the exercise of the rights of search and capture. But the essential matter is the tonnage, the colonies, and Germany's final deprivation of under-water instruments of war. There are, however, further points which are partly naval, partly territorial, and partly military. The fate of the High Seas Fleet need not delay us in this connection, as this is part of the general question of the enemy's disarmament.
Heligoland: the Baltic: the Dardanelles.-So I pass on to the problems of the closed seas and Heligoland. As to this last, the folly of 1892 must certainly be undone. In a moment of fatal blindness we then ceded to Germany an island to which our moral title was of the slenderest, in exchange for certain rights in Africa to which Germany had no title at all. The possession was, indeed, of no positive value to us at that time, nor, for that matter, to Germany, for it did not appear in 1892 that there was anything in German world policy that would bring her into conflict with a naval power. The singular thing about the attitude of mind of British statesmen at that time was their blindness to the very obvious fact that the real value of Heligoland to Germany would come when Germany was at war with England. Well, we have survived the war and the folly which gave our enemy this quite priceless advantage; but we must see to it that it cannot once more be used against us. In a sense, the most satisfactory arrangement would be to return it to its original owners, the Danes; but it clearly must come out of German hands, and it is possible that if restored to Denmark, its seizure by Germany in time of war could not be prevented. However this may be, it must be German no longer. The questions of the Baltic and the Black Sea are more complex. The entrances to the Black Sea have long been dominated by the power possessing the land on either side of the very narrow straits leading in and out of the Sea of Marmora, but modern armament would enable Sweden and Denmark to close the Baltic as effectually. It is more to the point that any considerable naval power on the Baltic side of the sound could make penetration through the narrow waters of the Danish Islands into the Baltic extraordinary dangerous without any obvious breach of Danish neutrality, while the seizure of the islands after a fleet had penetrated would, of course, cut their communications completely. It was for this reason that it was said that the problem of sending a British Aleet into the Baltic was not naval, but military. If Germany retains her present naval force and her monopoly of the Kiel Canal she would still be able to control the sea communications of Russia and Finland absolutely, except for such alternative means as Kola Bay affords. But Kola is very distant from the centers of Russian industry, so that its employment would be exceedingly uneconomical in peace time, though of vital value in war. What the Allies have to do is to see that German domination of the Baltic cannot be re-asserted at any time, just as they must also see that Turkish domination of the Black Sea, by her possession of the only exit from it, is terminated also. But in the case of the Baltic the position of Germany is far stronger than that of Turkey, for if a power commanding Gallipoli and the Asiatic shore can make it impossible for a hostile navy to force a passage past the narrows, it is also true that a hostile navy can make it almost impossible for any Turkish fleet to leave the Dardanelles. But Germany is in no such difficulty. The possession of the Kiel Canal gives her a perfectly protected communication with the North Sea, so that if no powerful fleet threatens her in the Baltic, that sea must become a German lake. It is neither to the interest of ourselves, nor of any of the new states, Finland, Poland, and regenerated Russia, that are now coming into being, that this state of things should continue. Means must, therefore, be found of denationalizing the waterway and putting it under international control.
Summary of Imposed Conditions.-We can now group the conditions of peace into three. There are, first, those which satisfy the punitive and retributive sides of justice. These conditions are, first, the punishment of those guilty of atrocities; secondly, the surrender of conquered territories and the restitution of stolen goods; thirdly, the payment for or replacement of stolen property, buildings, churches, factories, and particularly of ships; and, lastly, the indemnification of those who have either themselves suffered personal injuries, or whose relatives have been murdered or tortured into incapacity.
These four requirements of punitive and retributive justice call for the performance of certain tasks by Germany, and the performance of these tasks must be guaranteed.
We get, therefore, a second group of peace conditions, in which the principles are, first, that Germany must be disarmed, so as to be unable to recommence the struggle; secondly, points of commanding strategic importance, such as ports, capital, fortresses, etc., must be occupied; and thirdly, certain solid guarantees, such as the customs and Treasury receipts, railway, and so forth, must be in Allied hands, until the several restorations are completed.
Thirdly, the world must have some security that the agencies which gave rise to this war shall, so far as may be, be extinguished. The military power of Prussia must be ended by the abolition of autocracy and by substituting a constitutionally expressed popular will for that of an irresponsible monarchy.
Reciprocal Obligations. These three groups deal with the obligations which the Allies will impose on Germany; but there is a fourth group, which must express the obligations which Germany has a right to expect the Allies to honor. The essential matter here is that, as in groups one, two, and three, we shall have prescribed what punitive and retributive justice requires, shall have guaranteed its due execution and prevented the recurrence of the crimes atoned for; so the fourth group shall make it clear not only that there is no effort to impose two punishments for one offence, but no intention of so shaping the punishment as to leave Germany without the power to make the retribution that we exact. If, therefore, we deprive Germany of her present merchant fleet, and require that for six or ten years or more her shipyards shall labor solely to make up the deficit which her present fleet is unable to replace, then it follows that, when the needs of the Allies are reasonably met, a fair service of shipping shall be at Germany's disposal not as possessors, but as users. Again, if by being shorn of her colonies she is deprived of any national source of tropical products, a fair ration of the world's supply must be allowed to her. Further than this, the Allies, and those that sympathize with them, monopolize whole groups of the raw materials of the world. Of these, Germany must have a reasonable proportion. It is obvious that, unless such equitable and, indeed, generous arrangement is made, it will be impossible for Germany to meet the indemnities or to build the shipping, or to make the services effective that she will be under compulsion to put at the Allies' disposal. Our own interests, then, demand a certain largeness of view in dealing with these matters; but there is a higher reason why our conduct in this respect should be exemplary.
A New Spirit in Trade.-The militarism of Germany has not, as we all know, been limited to the action of her armed forces. For many years and in all countries her diplomacy has been secret, double-faced, disloyal, and disruptive. But there is nothing in her military or diplomatic records more rapacious, predatory, and essentially dishonest, than her commercial dealings. These things have excited the reprobation and disgust of the civilized part of the world. It would not be surprising if they were followed by a wide determination to deal with Germany no more. It is, indeed, a very human and a very natural instinct for each individual to say that, whatever others may do, he at least has done with such traffic for ever. But if we are sincerely aiming for a real peace-a settlement that will ultimately result in a reconciliation of wills—we should see that our duty here runs with our interest, and that it is part of our duty to make Germany realize that commercial success and prosperity is not the result of disloyal competition and trickery but of mutual service and cooperation.
Here, then, I might close the general case for the conditions of peace; but the recent exchange of notes between the American and German Governments has brought up other issues, and it is idle to hide from oneself that great uncertainty and anxiety has been excited. It arises in this way.
The Germans, as a preliminary to asking for an armistice, informed President Wilson that they had accepted as a basis of peace the fourteen points of January and the four points of his later speech. In the last note from President Wilson to the Foreign Secretary it was stated that exceptional guarantees were necessary before an armistice could be granted because, the recent constitutional changes notwithstanding, the German Government was still essentially under the domination of the King of Prussia. These two features have given rise to a large number of questions and protest from correspondents. The following are some of them: Are the Allies now tied down to insist on no reparation at the peace, except such as the fourteen points provide? The Germans have bound themselves to the fourteen points, but to no others. Do they limit us just as they bind them? Are we, therefore, debarred from asking for compensation for our lost tonnage? Again, do the fourteen points bind us to adopt the doctrine of the freedom of the seas? Have we abandoned our rights to search and capture? Is the British Navy henceforth powerless unless the League of Nations permits it to act? Is the immediate establishment of a League of Nations with Germany, Austria, and Turkey as members a necessary, part of the peace arrangement? Is the ultimate destination of the German colonies to be discussed as if it were a question to be settled either in the German or the British interest alone? And, finally, if Germany adopts a constitution unquestionably democratic must we take this as tantamount to saying that whatever the new Germany undertakes it will carry out, so that a political reform will be held to be equivalent to the military occupation and enforcement of our terms?
Behind these questions there is a misunderstanding both of the position which President Wilson has assumed in the war, and his actual attitude in the recent correspondence. It must, then, be made unmistakably clear that the Chief Magistrate of America speaks for the United States only, for they are not, technically, in alliance with France, Great Britain, Italy, Serbia, and Montenegro, the last survivors of the original combination. They are associated, but not allied with us. The fourteen points were put forward by President Wilson without concert or consultation with the Allied Governments, and represent not the Allies maximum, but the American minimum. They set out in clauses 5 to 13 what seems to an impartial critic of singular acumen, a resettlement of the broad European issues that is at once equitable and necessary. But they do not profess to exhaust what other powers may see to be indispensable both to justice and security. They do not exclude further conditions, further compensations, further indemnities. These the several powers bound by the pact of London must agree amongst themselves and put forward with the authority of all the allies behind them. First, then, let us establish the point that President Wilson has not professed to exhaust the Allied case.
Next, in the recent exchange of notes, he has kept perfectly correctly to his technical position. Up to the last of them it is assumed not only that the Allies are not parties to the correspondence, but are even officially ignorant of its existence. What the President proposes to communicate to them is not his observations on the German proposal, but the German proposal itself. The Allies, then, take into cognizance one matter only, viz., that the Germans have applied to President Wilson for an armistice and that the President has forwarded the request. Here again the most punctilious care has been taken not to bind, fetter, or limit either the Allied governments or their naval and military advisers in the smallest degree.
But much more than this, of course, has happened. Two fundamental truths have been brought home to Germany, and have shaken the nation to its foundations. Every German who can read now knows, both by the admissions of his own government and by the masterful tone of Mr. Wilson, that the attempt of the rulers of Germany to conquer has recoiled upon themselves and their subjects. Every German now knows that it is his country, and not those which his rulers have attacked, that is on the eve
of overwhelming defeat. Next, he has learned that the kind of government capable of creating such a war and of carrying it on by the methods that Germany has applauded, is one with which America, at least, will have no civil dealings at all. Militarism, therefore, now appears in its true light to the nation that has so long been its exponent. It is not only an unsuccessful and futile thing: it is a horror which excites such disgust in other peoples that, except at the sword's point, no traffic of any kind can be held with it. This, while the political and military positions have been in every respect most strictly maintained, a moral offensive possibly of a decisive kind has been burst upon the German home front.
“ Freedom of the Seas.”_We need then have no misgivings as to Mr. Wilson having compromised the Allies, either by his courtesy or by his candor; but the questions which my correspondents have raised deserve discussion, quite apart from this implication. There are three that are vitally important: freedom of the seas, the limitation of indemnities to restoring invaded territories, and the question of the military occupation and coristraint of Germany. I have only space to deal here with the first of these questions.
The second of the fourteen points runs as follows: “ Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas outside territorial waters alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants."
It obviously becomes operative only when a League of Nations is established. As it stands, it changes nothing in sea law as it is to-day. It is, in fact, the suggestion of a rule which a League of Nations should adopt when war in defence of national rights will not be the affair of the country whose interests are jeopardized, but of the whole community of nations, who have bound themselves in a mutual obligation to see that justice is done to each. Until, then, we have settled the major point of entrusting the sea defence of the British Empire to a common navy, instead of to the British Navy, we do not have to concern ourselves over any diminution of the British Navy's admitted rights and powers.
But, rightly looked at, clause 2 seems to me to mean exactly the opposite of what it is popularly supposed to import. For the President sets it out that when the league as a league embarks on naval war, it will be able to decree the partial or entire suspension of sea trade with its enemy, thus assuming precisely those maritime rights in war on which the British Navy has all along insisted. Clause 2, in fact, is a vindication of and not a proposed infringement of our broad contentions as to the legitimate use of sea power.
The fourteen points are silent on Germany's economic liability for the disastrous results of her piratical war on shipping. The President's silence on this point is very easily explained. As a simple historical fact, it was the submarine, and nothing else, that brought America into the war. But it was America's moral repudiation of this iniquity, and not her material losses by it, that determined her action. The submarine campaign, instead of diminishing the merchant tonnage of America, has already resulted in measures which have increased it enormously, and these measures will go forward until in a very few years the American merchant marine will be at least double what Germany's was before the war, and more than half of the highest figure that Great Britain has ever attained. The British position is entirely different. Our merchant tonnage has been at the full war service of all the Allies, and for the last 18 months of America. It has afforded the most targets to the submarine; it has paid most highly in consequence. But the service of our sea tonnage has been only part of our naval contribution. We have had to maintain an impregnable feet; we have had to supply more than 90 per cent of the craít necessary for fighting the submarine. And, quite unexpectedly, our military contribution, instead of being the three or four army corps suggested before hostilities began, had to run to millions almost from the very start. As a