Courtesy Reuters

The Strategy of the Mediterranean

EVER since the days of the great struggle against the attempts of Louis XIV to establish a domination of the world, as the world then was, the Mediterranean has been a sea of the highest importance to the British people. This importance has arisen from two separate and distinct elements.

In the first place, the Mediterranean is a sheet of water in which Great Britain has constantly -- and inevitably -- been called upon to play her part in active coöperation with those European coalitions which have been brought into being for the purpose of resisting the aggressions of some acquisitive Power and of maintaining the liberties and public law of Europe. It has been there that British naval power showed itself capable of performing effective and active functions in aid of the European family, as distinguished from the "passive" functions of defense essential to her own security. More and greater battles than Passaro and the Nile have been fought by her fleets in the Atlantic and the North Sea; but in all those European struggles against great perturbators, the decisive theatre, in the ultimate analysis, was on land, in Europe, and the instruments which produced the decisions were the armies. In these struggles, naval power in the Mediterranean could more directly affect the operations of the land forces of the enemy and of the Coalitions than it could elsewhere. The wars of Queen Anne and Napoleon show how the fortunes of the allied cause waxed or waned with the presence or the absence of a British fleet in the Mediterranean.

The fact that the Government of Great Britain in the war of 1914-18 elected to depart from its historical policy of using its great sea power and small land power in combination, and to constitute Britain into a continental military state, does not invalidate the importance of the Mediterranean. The conception, though not the execution, of the strategy of the Dardanelles expedition was in accordance with the policy of

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