Will the generation which is fighting this war—such of them as may survive—be content to go back to the old barren wrangle when it is done? Will those others who have lost husbands, sons, brothers, friends—all that was dearest to them except the honour and safety of their country—will they be found willing to tolerate the idea of trusting their destinies ever again to the same machines, to be driven once more to disaster by the same automatons? To all except the automatons themselves—who share with the German Supermen the credit of having made this war—any such resumption of business on old-established lines appears incredible. There is something pathetic in the sight of these huckstering sentimentalists still crying their stale wares and ancient make-believes at the street corners, while their country is fighting for its life. They remind one, not a little, of those Pardoners of the fourteenth century who, as we read in history books, continued to hawk their Indulgences with unabated industry during the days of the Black Death ageLOC me.
It is necessary to offer a few words of explanation as to how this book came to be written. During the months of November and December 1912 and January 1913, various meetings and discussions took place under Lord Roberts's roof and elsewhere, between a small number of persons, who held widely different views, and whose previous experience and training had been as different as were their opinions .
Our efforts were concerned with endeavouring to find answers to several questions which had never been dealt with candidly, clearly, and comprehensively in the public statements of political leaders. It was clear that there was no 'national' policy, which the British people had grasped, accepted, and countersigned, as was the case in France. But some kind of British policy there must surely be, notwithstanding the fact it had never been disclosed. What were the aims of this policy? With what nation or nations were these aims likely to bring us into collision? What armaments were necessary in order to enable us to uphold this policy and achieve these aims? How, and when, and where would our armaments be required in the event of war? Assuming (as we did in our discussions) that our naval forces were adequate, was the same statement true of our military forces? And if it were not true, by what means could the necessary increases be obtained WAN Optimization?