The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
IN military matters, public opinion tends to lean upon what it deems the lessons of experience; that is, upon a somewhat cursory and uncritical examination of the history of its own country culled from the books on that subject used for texts in the public schools. The great majority of citizens in any democracy have no greater or deeper knowledge of history than that. Thus in the United States there seems to be a very general opinion that by reason of having come through our past wars without serious disaster, we shall inevitably be victorious in the future; while the cruel and unnecessary sacrifice of lives and treasure imposed upon us in all those wars by neglect of the most elementary precautions in time of peace makes but little impression. Even today, when the need for a reasonably adequate navy has at last attained a considerable measure of popular support, there is still a "get-rich-quick" tendency to assert that submarines and airplanes form an adequate "defense" of our shores. One has but to read the hearings before the Naval Committees of the Congress in connection with the last Navy Bill to realize the widespread lack of understanding of the true functions and nature of a navy and of what is actually connoted by the much abused term "national defense."
And as in America, so in Britain. The British Isles have not been invaded by a foreign army since the Norman Conquest. Strong in a centuries-old preponderance of naval strength, British policy occupied itself with maintaining the European balance of power; it made use of its navy and its financial strength, and occasionally sent small expeditionary forces provided by its professional, volunteer army, to prevent the undue aggrandizement of any Continental Power; at home, meanwhile, "business as usual" was the slogan. The burdens of universal military service have been no part of British life. For the century from Napoleon to the World War the British public did not have to fear invasion. But in 1914 Britain was forced to fling all her resources into a savage struggle for survival; and the sacrifices imposed upon her made so deep a scar on the national consciousness that, inevitably, there arose the cry of "Never again!" Unfortunately it is an aspiration which the cold facts of military progress will not permit to be realized. The coming of air power has bridged the Channel and deprived Britain forever of her insular security. Quite as unfortunately, the British people do not seem to realize this fact. They know that London is within 2½ hours' flight for loaded bombers from the German air bases, but they do not realize what that implies, nor do they understand the sacrifices it imposes upon them if they are to have any measure of security against such a visitation.
We will build up our navy, they say, as we have always done; we will add to that an air force of sufficient size to protect us; we will create Territorial anti-aircraft divisions to deal with such raiding planes as get past our air force. Thus we shall be able to defend ourselves. Thus we shall be safe. But the idea of creating an army capable of taking part in a Continental war is excluded. Appalled by the holocausts of the Somme and Passchendaele, the average Briton instinctively recoils from their repetition.
The British popular view is not without support from what must be considered informed quarters. The military correspondent of the London Times, in a series of three articles,[i] insists that Britain's participation as the ally of France in any future struggle with Germany must be confined to naval and air measures and financial aid. He supports this view by the assertion that, so far as ground forces are concerned, the defensive is now so superior to the offensive, by reason of the increased fire power which the development of automatic weapons makes available to the defender, that, short of an overwhelming superiority in numbers or armament improbable of realization by France and Britain vis-à-vis Germany and her possible allies, stalemate is certain to ensue within a comparatively short time. That stalemate is unlikely, he holds, to be affected by the arrival in the theater of operations of the small British Army, which would be uselessly destroyed in vain endeavors to accomplish a task beyond its powers. Therefore, in this view, British troops should be trained only in defensive tactics; and, in the larger sphere of imperial defense policy, a defensive strategy should be adopted which will serve to "convince the enemy that he cannot win" and thus bring about a satisfactory conclusion of hostilities.
With this opinion a number of noted British and French military writers have taken definite and in some cases impassioned issue. But judging from present developments in Britain it seems that theirs are but voices crying in the wilderness; for British defense forces are being formulated precisely on the lines that would be taken were the ideas of the Times' correspondent accepted government policy.
The immediate effect of this British policy on the prospective allies and opponents of Britain in a possible European war has hardly been conducive to the prevention of that war. On the one hand, the French, apprehensive lest British support be given in grudging measure, or perhaps withheld altogether, feel themselves unable to take a strong stand in defense of their interests in Spain and Central Europe; on the other hand, Germany and Italy are emboldened to make demands quite out of proportion to their actual military power to achieve those demands by force.
In the opinion of many American military observers, the theory of the inevitable superiority of the defense is ill-founded in fact, is a contravention of sound military principle, and therefore is dangerous of acceptance by a people seeking to secure itself against the perils and horrors of war. In the larger view of war as it is waged today, the alleged superiority of the defensive is a snare and a delusion. It is based purely on tactical considerations as applied to land warfare on the surface of the earth. It has no application to naval warfare, where the offensive is always the superior form of war. It applies still less to air warfare, where the defensive cannot but be disastrous to whoever adopts it. In land fighting, modern fire power does give an advantage to the defense; but the results are only local and negative, denying rather than achieving. This advantage must be countered by the obtaining of local superiority of fire, by the use of surprise, and by adherence to the principle of attacking "de fort au faible" -- all of them possible achievements for a force which possesses and retains the initiative. Most attacks in the World War were initially successful. The difficulty lay in reaping a permanent and more or less decisive advantage from the original success.
The present "cult of the defensive" has its origin and derives the greater part of its theory from the peculiar tactical conditions found on the Western front during the period 1915-1918, when continuous fortified lines faced each other from the Swiss frontier to the shores of the Channel, and tactical success seemed possible only by breaching those lines by main force. To those who urge that all the history of warfare shows that decisive results are achieved only by the offensive, that a leader who would impose his will upon another cannot do so by sitting still, but must attack, the high priests of the defensive cult reply that, while this contention is doubtless historically and strategically sound, nevertheless the tactical means are no longer available for carrying it into execution upon the battlefield. They point to the vast hecatombs of gallant soldiery on the Western front as proof positive of the truth of their assertions. And, sometimes, to Gallipoli.
Yet somehow they contrive to ignore the eastern theater of war, in which the vast empire of the Tsars -- once rated the premier military power of Europe -- was brought to complete military and political ruin by offensive action; they ignore the fate of Rumania and Serbia; and they ignore the fact that it was that very offensive pressure on the Western front which they are wont to describe as useless slaughter which in the end denied Germany the fruit of those eastern victories and brought her, in turn, to surrender in the only way possible -- by the defeat of the German Army. This is by no means to belittle the very great part played by the "silent, inexorable pressure of sea power," of blockade, in the final downfall of Germany; but it illustrates the principle that sea power by itself will not serve to defeat a continental nation possessing a strong army which can expand its frontiers and seek in the territory of its neighbors new sources of supply to replace those denied to it by blockade. As for Gallipoli, the losses in the vain attempt to conquer that peninsula are often cited as reinforcing the theory of the superior strength of the defense; more rarely is it pointed out that the attack on Gallipoli was foredoomed to failure from its inept and bungling beginnings, in which every principle of amphibious warfare was ignored, in which the fleet first made useless attacks and the troops were brought in later when the fleet had failed, throwing away every advantage that might have been obtained from surprise and allowing the Turks ample opportunity to make their defenses impregnable. Had the attack on Gallipoli been properly inaugurated it would doubtless be cited today as one of the most brilliant achievements of offensive warfare. As the case stands, it is a horrible example of how not to conduct amphibious operations more than a proof of the superiority or otherwise of the defense as against the attack.
The cult of the defensive, as has been said, came prominently to the front in military discussions after the close of the World War. It was countered by proponents of the tank, who claimed qualities and possibilities for armored fighting vehicles out of all proportion either to their achievements in actual fighting, or to anything that could reasonably be expected of them within the foreseeable future. The development of anti-tank tactics -- the use of obstacles, tank mines, armor-piercing ammunition, and the anti-tank gun -- afforded an adequate reply to such military extravaganza. It also strongly reinforced the defensive cultists, who were presently found claiming that, indeed, armored fighting vehicles, and motor transport generally, afforded a greater advantage to the defense than to the attack, since they enabled reinforcements rapidly to be rushed to any threatened spot. This, of course, failed to take into account the principal asset of the attack -- the retention of the initiative -- which, tactically, makes use where possible of the principle of surprise. Nevertheless there was something to be said for the claim; for once infantry -- the decisive arm -- has been committed to an action, progress can be no faster than the pace of the foot-soldier.
Thus, in the view of some students of war, a deadlock seemed to have been achieved. Unarmored infantry could not advance against machine-gun fire, save when supported by a powerful artillery and accompanied by armored fighting vehicles. The latter could attack alone under certain conditions, but they could not hold; and the motor afforded the defender a means -- not wholly compensatory -- of reinforcing the threatened point and delivering an eventual counter-attack.
Yet the means to break the deadlock have been found, as throughout the diversified history of human conflict the means to break similar deadlocks always have been found. The story is written for those who will see on the long and bloody scroll of the Spanish civil war -- if such a term may be applied to a conflict in which there is so considerable a degree of foreign participation on both sides.
At the outset of the struggle, the Loyalists were without the means of taking the offensive; Franco had far the greater part of the trained officers, and was soon, by German and Italian help, superior in the air, in tanks and in most classes of artillery. A defensive rôle was thrust upon the Loyalist armies by the fortune of war; and the successful stopping of Franco's drive at the gates of Madrid may well have brought them to an exaggerated notion of its powers. At any rate, when Franco settled down to siege operations around Madrid and turned to attack the Basque enclave, the Basques put their faith in passive defense. They built around their main city of Bilbao a system of fortifications called "The Iron Ring," reported as extremely formidable by all foreign observers who saw it.
Here it was that it first became apparent that the means to overcome the terrific fire power of modern weapons had been found. They are the same means which, developed and improved, Franco has subsequently employed to overrun three-quarters of Spain, to separate Catalonia from Valencia, to come painfully close to final victory.
Briefly stated, the system which Franco has employed consists in the addition to the old infantry-artillery team of a third partner -- attack aviation. His employment of aviation as a battlefield instrumentality foreshadows its true place in the war of tomorrow. Consider his attack on the tremendous fortifications of Bilbao. An initial reconnaissance; a heavy air and artillery bombardment; an infantry attack, supported by tanks, initially successful as were most attacks on the Western front. But here the similarity ceases, for Franco's attacks were not pushed on when they encountered secondary resistance, nor was there allowed an interval for counter-attacks while he displaced his artillery forward. Instead, having achieved local success, he was content with that; and after macerating the Basque counter-attacks, he shifted to a new objective and struck again in similar manner. Thus, bit by bit, he ate his way through the Iron Ring about Bilbao. In his great Ebro offensive of last March, the lessons learned at Bilbao came into full flower. The coördination of his air force with his ground troops was here brought to a new perfection and the operations of horsed cavalry, armored fighting vehicles, artillery, and motorized infantry on the ground were supported from the air with a disciplined efficiency which carried all before it.
The intervention of air power -- carrying war into the third dimension -- has thus restored to ground troops the power of manœuvre which the cult of the defensive had asserted to be forever lost. It has given the attacker a flexibility of action which enables him to support his infantry with fire of an accuracy, at the decisive moment, beyond achievement by distant batteries, thus solving in many instances the problem of close support which has been so vexatious in modern tactical studies. Nor can the assertion, sometimes made, that air power confers equal benefits on the defense be supported. The airplane is essentially and inherently an offensive weapon. It cannot hold a line. It can act with great flexibility, and over a wide front, but it is limited as to its time of flight and as to its total military load. Admirably adapted to the purposes of surprise, it is the weapon par excellence of the side which possesses the initiative. It is far more formidable when used in the execution of a plan in which its intervention at the right time and place has been carefully prearranged by a competent staff than it is in warding off an attack conceived by someone else and striking at an unforeseeable time and place. Moreover, it affords a partial reply to the claims of the defensive cultists that motor transportation enables the defender's reserves to move more rapidly to counter-attack positions; for it is air power which will, in the battle of the future, impede such movements, finding still another mission in isolating the battlefield. All this naturally implies as a sine qua non the attacker's possession of at least temporary and local air superiority.
It will not do, of course, to lose sight of the fact that Franco's foreign allies have kept him far better supplied with the tremendous quantities of weapons and munitions demanded by the modern offensive than the Loyalists have been able to procure. Yet, in general, the Loyalists have not lacked rifles and machine-guns; they have on occasion been superior in the air; they have had considerable quantities of tanks and artillery. They have taken the offensive locally, and for limited purposes; but they have not succeeded in any case in accomplishing any considerable strategical gain thereby.
At Brunete, for example, the Government forces so mishandled their tanks as to lose any value they might have derived from their support; they won an initial success and then hesitated, apparently bemused by their own good fortune, until the Rebels had time to bring up local reserves; and their air superiority was frittered away in futile bombings of Rebel positions instead of being employed for close support of their infantry. At Teruel they chose a sector for attack which, by reason of its terrifically difficult terrain, could hardly be expected to yield strategical fruits comparable with the losses which success would exact; and that it did not yield them is plain. Recently their attack across the Ebro against Franco's communications was gallantly pushed forward, yet it could not, by reason of the flimsiness of the communications (pontoon bridges, easily demolished by air attack), be expected to be anything but a diversion. The main attack, which the diversion was intended to support, was undoubtedly Miaja's thrust for Alberracin and Teruel; it advanced slowly, consolidating each trifling gain, and was abandoned altogether when Queipo de Llano in his turn created a diversion by thrusting for Almaden. Yet it should have been quite clear to the Loyalist high command that Miaja must burst into Alberracin and Teruel at all costs, within the limited period of time that Rojo could maintain himself beyond the Ebro, and before Franco could gather together a new strategical reserve. The most far-reaching results might well have followed such a success, which would have placed all the Rebel troops on the Mediterranean front in deadly peril, dependent on a single line of communications via Alcaniz for supply and reinforcement or for withdrawal. Beyond the immediate military gains, such a victory at this time would have been of incalculable value to the Loyalist cause abroad.
Instead we must add another to military history's long list of lost opportunities. This is not attributable to any lack of courage or devotion on the part of the Loyalist troops, or of incorrect conceptions of war on the part of their leaders. The leaders tried to do the right thing, the troops tried gallantly to carry out their orders. But they lacked one essential ingredient of victory -- the offensive spirit. Two years of almost constant defense had sapped their belief in their ability to attack, and in the attack itself as the decisive form of war. They could not turn readily or confidently to it. The Rebels were neither braver nor better men than their opponents; but they were an offensive army, organized for decisive action, experienced in its infinity of detail. They had begun the war in full possession of the initiative, and had maintained it steadily throughout. That this was in large part due to material advantages is here beside the point. The point is that when the initiative passed to their opponents, they were instantly on their toes to reclaim it; they succeeded not only in checking the Loyalist attacks, they came back promptly with vigorous counter-attacks of their own. This is a result which cannot simply be ascribed to Rebel superiority in equipment. It is clearly due, rather, to the inability of an army trained and accustomed to defense suddenly to acquire the quite different qualities required for successful attack.
This is not to say that a headlong offensive will accomplish complete victory in any war. In China, for example, the Japanese have been constantly on the offensive, have driven the Chinese from province after province, and yet they are today in a most unenviable military position; as was Napoleon after he had submerged himself in the vast depths of Russia. We must not forget the contribution to their plight made by the continual offensive pressure of Chinese guerilla activities against their communications, any more than the similar pressure of Cossack cavalry against Napoleon's communications. In the larger sense, however, both their failure -- if failure it turn out to be -- and Napoleon's, must be ascribed, not to this or that method of war, but to an initial error of overconfidence, an incorrect estimate of the degree and nature of the resistance to be encountered. In both cases this led the commanders to undertake a task beyond the power of their forces.
Consideration as to whether in a given case war must be the means by which a nation seeks its objective belongs to the realm of statesmanship. The soldier can play only an advisory rôle. If he is compelled to admit that the national means are inadequate to achieve victory, some method other than the use of force must be sought to compose the difficulty or secure the objective, or the objective must be abandoned. It was here that Napoleon, combining in his own person statesman and soldier, erred; and similarly Japan seems to have erred today, allowing the military to exercise too great an influence in the determination of state policy. But once war is decided upon, whether in purpose defensive or offensive, it is only by offensive action that a favorable decision will be obtained. History presents no single example of mere passive defense achieving final victory.
Defensive tactics, even defensive strategy, have, of course, their necessary part in war. Indeed, a successful attack in one place is almost always based on resolute defense elsewhere. Defense and offense are tools in the hand of the skilled commander, to be employed as occasion may make advisable; war, in its infinite variety, presents daily some new condition which must be met by the application of the ancient principles to ever changing situations. The principles themselves are not numerous, nor difficult to learn; it is in their application that the difficulty lies. And like any other artist, the general must so absorb them, so make them part of himself, that application becomes automatic, without the necessity for consciously taking thought. From a leader so inspired by correct principle, and possessing those personal qualities enabling him to translate principle into decisive action, there runs through all his subordinates a spirit of confidence, of will to achieve, of determination: and it is this that soldiers call the spirit of the offensive. Troops so led and so inspired can defend as well as any others, perhaps better; for ever within them is the thought, or rather the inbred feeling, that though we stand today, tomorrow we are going to attack those fellows and drive them over the river. Troops not so led and not so inspired will, however courageously they may defend themselves, rarely be successful in offensive warfare on a large scale.
The notion should not be entertained that the task of the modern attacker is an easy one. It is far from that. Indeed, more than ever before, a successful modern offensive requires coördination not only between units of the same arm, but between at least four separate arms of the service: infantry, armored troops, artillery and aviation. In that coördination there are many diversities. The use of tanks in the attack is, for example, subject to many variations, must be accommodated to the number available, to the accidentation of the terrain, to the enemy's character and dispositions, the weather, the velocity and even the direction of the wind (as affecting the use of smoke by either side). Yet with the most careful plan, a great deal has to be left to the judgment and initiative of battalion, company and platoon commanders; even, on occasion, to that of the commanders of single tanks. So with attack aviation, as it takes its place in the battle team. The method and time of its intervention may be determined beforehand, yet unforeseen circumstances (which always arise in war) will give full scope to the battle leadership of squadron and flight commanders. And the same thing is true of the commanders of small infantry units, who will, in tomorrow's war, have increasingly heavy responsibilities laid upon them. Not only will they command teams of riflemen and machine-gunners, but they will have to employ curved-fire weapons (mortars and rifle grenades of increased power) to overcome local resistance; they will have anti-tank and anti-aircraft fires to deliver; the problem of ammunition supply for all these weapons can no longer be wholly the responsibility of higher echelons; and communication between infantry units is now no more vital than communication between infantry and tanks, between infantry and attack aviation. Behind all this "orderly confusion," the artillery must act so as to help the infantry forward, to impede the movement of enemy counter-measures, to neutralize enemy fires of every sort when it can reach them without danger to its own attack echelons. Thus it is more indispensable than ever that, above the arms, there be a commander who can direct and inspire, and a staff which can coördinate.
The qualities required in an offensive army, from commander-in-chief to private, are human qualities: the fruits of experience and leadership, of mutual confidence between man and man, between battalion and battalion, between arm and arm, between soldier and commander, acquired by proper training and indoctrination in time of peace, cemented on the battlefield at the price of blood, and fired from within by the offensive spirit.
Applied to the strategical problem facing Britain, what does all this mean? It means that the British people, if they are to continue their national existence, must face the unpleasant fact that they can no longer continue in their presumption of military isolation. The immediate danger that threatens them is from the air; it is a greater air danger than faces any other great European Power because Britain presents a most concentrated target to the bomber -- in the industrial districts of the Midlands and, above all, in London -- and because the attack will come with little warning. How can they meet this danger? There is but one way: by being prepared, if need be, to attack the source of the danger, not only by air, which can have but an uncertain and intermittent effect, but by the only method which can afford permanent military results -- by the advance of ground troops into the enemy's country. This implies the possession of an adequate army trained for offensive war. If Britain fails to face this responsibility, if she depends for the essential measure of protection on the army of a prospective ally, she may find that ally either unready or unable to bear the burden alone or offering only half-hearted and half-effective aid.
"If Germany attacks our country," wrote the French General Baratier in the Temps of January 4, 1938, "she will wage a totalitarian war, in the course of which France and England, in order not to succumb, will have to throw into the balance all their resources on land, sea and in the air." Quoting this, Colonel Beadon of the British Army adds (Journal of The Royal United Service Institution, August 1938): "Such indeed would be the reasoned and reasonable demand of any or every ally. The alternative seems to be that we should cower behind the whole strength of other Powers and only propose to use all our own if -- like a rat in a corner -- we could not be defended by others."
Of course it has not yet come to this stage. The German military power is not yet ready for a major war. At present -- as the writer has elsewhere taken occasion to point out -- the state of German armament with respect to trained reserves, trained officers, heavy and medium artillery, and naval equipment, is not yet up to the standard required even for a short war against formidable enemies. The strength and readiness of the German air force has been ridiculously overestimated in Britain and America, perhaps in part for propaganda purposes. And expensive ersatz processes cannot in the long run compensate for Germany's shortage of essential raw materials to feed her industry. But the military shortages are being made up with feverish energy; and the more difficult question of raw materials can be solved if the Drang nach Osten continues. Whether it does or not, is largely a question, not so much of British and French military power, ample at the moment -- but only at the moment -- to check a Nazi advance into southeastern Europe, but of the willingness of the British and French peoples to use force if need be to stop it. Potential force is often successful in obviating the need for the use of actual force; but the moral factor must be there. The will must lie behind the power; and the existence of the will must be recognized by those against whom the power is to be applied. Hitler's much vaunted "sense of timing" is nine-tenths his ability to gauge how far France and Britain will let "I dare not" wait upon "I would."
To be more precise, it is quite apparent that Germany will in the end overrun, conquer and destroy the Czechoslovak Republic unless she is stopped by force -- actual or potential. That force can, as a practical matter, take two forms, both essential to successful resistance: one the force with which the Czechs can oppose an attack upon their frontiers, the other the force which their ally, France, can bring to their aid, with or without British support. (It must be put down as uncertain whether the Soviet Army can undertake offensive operations in Europe, given the geographical difficulties in the way of an attack on Germany and the risks which it would entail in the Far East.) Much has been written about the desperate stand which the Czechs will make along their fortified frontier. But behind that frontier is -- or will be -- a mobile striking force, admirably organized and equipped for offensive warfare, possessed of an excellent road and rail net and a central position which will enable it to act most advantageously against a series of concentric attacks on exterior lines delivered by German columns. However, a nation of 15,000,000 people cannot long withstand the concentrated attack of one of 72,000,000. The decision must come in the west, on the Rhine frontier; and though France may be able today to breach this frontier unaided, it is by no means certain that she can do so tomorrow.
Behind these purely military considerations, as always, lie moral factors, and it is in this field that the assertions of the defensive cult become pernicious. If these assertions are to be believed, Germany can defend her western frontier indefinitely, while bringing the greater part of her power to bear against Czechoslovakia. Once the French and British people are brought to believe this, their governments, dependent in the end upon popular support, will be unable to rally that support for an attack on Germany. If matters reach this stage (and are so understood in Berlin), Czechoslovakia's doom is sealed, and with it, perhaps, the doom of European civilization. For if Hitler's Germany is ever able to realize the dream of the Drang nach Osten -- to sweep the Czechoslovak Republic from its path and to march on to the mastery of Hungarian wheat, of Rumanian oil and timber, to stand triumphant on the shores of the Euxine -- then there will have been created in Europe an empire of such sinister potentialities that the rest of the world may well tremble at its frown. And beyond the Euxine lie the Caspian, and the Persian Gulf, and the vital life lines of British imperial communications.
If that day ever comes, the British Empire must fight for its life or perish; and the decision will be had, not in the distant regions to which advancing Germany may have penetrated, but in Western Europe. Just as the German victories over Russia were canceled by her defeat in the west, so new German advances in the east can be canceled only by a similar defeat -- by France and Britain attacking and overpowering the German home base. Germany was beaten in 1918 when her army was defeated and her homeland in danger of invasion; Germany will be beaten in any future war when, and only when, a similar situation has been achieved. And that will not be done by making war upon her with reservations, employing only air attacks which can never be as effective -- for unalterable geographical reasons -- when used from Britain against Germany as vice versa, but by an "all-out" assault upon the citadel of her power.
Britain's days of "limited war" -- war conducted by means of an overwhelming sea-power, giving mobility, on occasion, to small expeditionary forces of regular troops for operations of limited nature -- are over and done. These methods used to be the secret of her strength; they gave her not only security but predominance, without wasting her substance in vast armaments or her man power on the battlefield or in great peace-time armies. But the whole vast structure of imperial power which Britain built up by such means was dependent on a single factor -- the security of its base, the British Isles, from direct attack. While the British Navy afforded such security, all was well. On the day the Wright brothers first achieved the miracle of flight, that security began to wane. Just as Portugal's vast overseas empire fell to pieces because the mother country was vulnerable at home, just as Holland was unable to maintain her once enormous colonial and maritime position for the same reason, so Britain, unless she finds means to make the British Isles safe from the air menace, must face the same inexorable fate. The United States is the one nation in the world which can today "take as much or as little of the war as she will," by means of a powerful navy and a small highly-trained army sufficient to protect that navy's bases. We can still make "limited war;" but the British have definitely passed out of the phase where the conception of "limited warfare" is any longer tenable. The British people must realize this fact in time, and prepare to assume the burdens which it imposes upon them -- burdens such as no previous generation of Englishmen has ever had to bear.
Nations which hope to survive in the world of today must -- if they are within the reach of powerful and predatory foes -- prepare to defend themselves, not with one claw and one tooth, but with every weapon at their command, employed without stint and without reserve. If they fail to make practical application of the truth that force and the means of applying force underlie all the relations between states, they will suffer consequences certainly evil and possibly fatal. These consequences are not to be evaded by heeding counsels of despair to the effect that man has no power to overcome the instruments of war he has created -- that the shield is of more value than the sword.
[i] The Times, October 25, 26, 27, 1937.