On August 8, 1914, Lord Kitchener asked for 100,000 volunteers. He had them within fourteen days. In the first week of September 170,000 men enrolled, 30,000 in a single day. Eleven months later, two million had enlisted. Ten months later, five million and forty-one thousand had voluntarily enrolled in the Army and Navy.
In 1914 Britain had in her Royal Naval Air Service 64 aeroplanes and 800 airmen. In 1917 she had many thousand aeroplanes and 42,000 airmen. In her Royal Flying Corps she had in 1914, 66 planes and 100 men; in 1917, several thousand planes and men by tens of thousands. In the first nine months of 1917 British airmen brought down 876 enemy machines and drove down 759 out of control. From July, 1917, to June, 1918, 4102 enemy machines were destroyed or brought down with a loss of 1213 machines.
Besides financing her own war costs she had by October, 1917, loaned eight hundred million dollars to the Dominions and five billion five hundred million to the Allies. She raised five billion in thirty days. In the first eight months of 1918 she contributed to the various forms of war loan at the average rate of one hundred and twenty-four million, eight hundred thousand a week.
Is that enough? Enough to show what England did in the War? No, it is not enough for such people as continue to ask what she did. Nothing would suffice these persons. During the earlier stages of the War it was possible that the question could be asked honestly--though never intelligently--because the facts and figures were not at that time always accessible. They were still piling up, they were scattered about, mention of them was incidental and fugitive, they could be missed by anybody who was not diligently alert to find them. To-day it is quite otherwise. The facts and figures have been compiled, arranged, published in accessible and convenient form; therefore to-day, the man or woman who persists in asking what England did in the war is not honest but dishonest or mentally spotted, and does not want to be answered. They don't want to know. The question is merely a camouflage of their spite, and were every item given of the gigantic and magnificent contribution that England made to the defeat of the Kaiser and all his works, it would not stop their evil mouths. Not for them am I here setting forth a part of what England did; it is for the convenience of the honest American, who does want to know, that my collection of facts is made from the various sources which he may not have the time or the means to look up for himself. For his benefit I add some particulars concerning the British Navy which kept the Kaiser out of our front yard.
Admiral Mahan said in his book--and he was an American of whose knowledge and wisdom Congress seems to have known nothing and cared less--"Why do English innate political conceptions of popular representative government, of the balance of law and liberty, prevail in North America from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific? Because the command of the sea at the decisive era belonged to Great Britain." We have seen that the decisive era was when Napoleon's mouth watered for Louisiana, and when England took her stand behind the Monroe Doctrine.
Admiral Sims said in the second installment of his narrative The Victory at Sea, published in The World's Work for October, 1919, at page 619: "... Let us suppose for a moment that an earthquake, or some other great natural disturbance, had engulfed the British fleet at Scapa Flow. The world would then have been at Germany's mercy and all the destroyers the Allies could have put upon the sea would have availed them nothing, for the German battleships and battle cruisers could have sunk them or driven them into their ports. Then Allied commerce would have been the prey, not only of the submarines, which could have operated with the utmost freedom, but of the German surface craft as well. In a few weeks the British food supplies would have been exhausted. There would have been an early end to the soldiers and munitions which Britain was constantly sending to France. The United States could have sent no forces to the Western front, and the result would have been the surrender which the Allies themselves, in the spring of 1917, regarded as a not remote possibility. America would then have been compelled to face the German power alone, and to face it long before we had had an opportunity to assemble our resources and equip our armies. The world was preserved from all these calamities because the destroyer and the convoy solved the problem of the submarines, and because back of these agencies of victory lay Admiral Beatty's squadrons, holding at arm's length the German surface ships while these comparatively fragile craft were saving the liberties of the world."
Yes. The High Seas Fleet of Germany, costing her one billion five hundred million dollars, was bottled up. Five million five hundred thousand tons of German shipping and one million tons of Austrian shipping were driven off the seas or captured; oversea trade and oversea colonies were cut off. Two million oversea Huns of fighting age were hindered from joining the enemy. Ocean commerce and communication were stopped for the Huns and secured to the Allies. In 1916, 2100 mines were swept up and 89 mine sweepers lost. These mine sweepers and patrol boats numbered 12 in 1914, and 3300 by 1918. To patrol the seas British ships had to steam eight million miles in a single month. During the four years of the war they transported oversea more than thirteen million men (losing but 2700 through enemy action) as well as transporting two million horses and mules, five hundred thousand vehicles, twenty-five million tons of explosives, fifty-one million tons of oil and fuel, one hundred and thirty million tons of food and other materials for the use of the Allies. In one month three hundred and fifty-five thousand men were carried from England to France.
It was after our present Secretary of the Navy, in his speech in Boston to which allusion has been made, had given our navy all and the British navy none of the credit of conveying our soldiers overseas, that Admiral Sims repaired the singular oblivion of the Secretary. We Americans should know the truth, he said. We had not been too accurately informed. We did not seem to have been told by anybody, for instance, that of the five thousand anti-submarine craft operating day and night in the infested waters, we had 160, or 3 per cent; that of the million and a half troops which had gone over from here in a few months, Great Britain brought over two thirds and escorted half.
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