Courtesy Reuters

England and Air Power

ENGLAND is the most conservative of nations. This island country will long remain attached to the ships that made her great and kept her safe: indeed, her need for them has not yet passed. To the Englishman sea power is a trusted and tried thing and his understanding of it has been nourished by the constant presentation of the sight of the sea to the eyes of almost the whole people.

It took a world war to bring to England the realization that things were changing. It was with a great shock that she began to see that the navy which she had built up, and in which she took such pride, might not suffice for her security. The invention of the submarine, whose powers and potentialities British thought had been slow to recognize, faced the country with starvation in spite of having a navy supreme upon the surface. Somewhat tardily, a knack of rising to the occasion and the coöperation of the fleet of the United States enabled England to overcome the threat. But the submarine had shaken in other ways the pedestal on which she stood. No longer could she attempt to impose her will upon an enemy by the bombardment or close blockade of his ports and no longer could her ships sail the narrow seas or lie at rest in harbor with any peace of mind. At all times the fleet was nervous and had to take immense precautions against the hidden foe.

But the war brought to Englishmen a still greater awakening when they realized with horror that their land was no longer inviolate. Accustomed for many generations to fight their battles on other people's soil, they awoke with surprise and anger to the sight of bombs falling from the air on their own homes. In this new element of the air progress had been far greater in other lands than in England; at the outbreak of war there was not even a suitable British

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