The Spectator

The Spectator at war: Attempts at invasion

From The Spectator, 24 October 1914:

Time being against her, a condition of stalemate on her frontiers is a hopeless business for Germany. Invasion, then, is a logical necessity. It is true that the chances are small, and that failure might mean the loss of a quarter of a million Germans or more, but to the German military philosopher that matters nothing. He would ask you: “What object is there in possessing a quarter of a million armed men unless you use them? And the only way to use them is to fling them on the enemy. To keep them unused is, from the strategist’s point of view, just the same as letting them be killed in sunk transports or mowed down on English battlefields. To decide the problem of invasion or not invasion by any thought of the losses involved is ridiculous. The only question is how and where the quarter of a million men can be best made use of. If the answer is, In trying a scheme of invasion, then the scheme must be tried.” Therefore, as we have said, if it should turn out in the course of the next week or so that the armies have fought themselves to a standstill, the Germans are certain to take up the question of the invasion of Britain and push it through with all the rush of which they are capable. No doubt they would prefer to postpone the attempt till the policy of naval attrition had met with greater success than it has already. It must be admitted that, though there has been a good deal of attrition in both navies, on the balance the Germans have lost considerably more by it than we have.

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