The steady enlargement of existing armament and munition works, national or private.
The transformation of a host of other engineering businesses into munition works.
The co-ordination of a vast number of small workshops dealing with the innumerable metal industries of ordinary commerce, so as to make them feed the larger engineering works, with all those minor parts of the gun or shell, which such shops had the power to make.
The putting up of entirely new workshops—National Workshops—directly controlled by the new Ministry, under the Munitions Acts.
Let me take you through a few typical scenes.
It was on February 1st, the day after the Zeppelin raid of January 31st, that I left a house in the north where I had been seeing one of the country-house convalescent hospitals, to which Englishwomen and English wealth are giving themselves everywhere without stint, and made my way by train, through a dark and murky afternoon, towards a Midland town. The news of the raid was so far vague. The newspapers of the morning gave no names or details. I was not aware that I was passing through towns where women and children in back streets had been cruelly and wantonly killed the night before, where a brewery had been bombed, and the windows of a train broken, in order that the German public might be fed on ridiculous lies about the destruction of Liverpool docks and the wrecking of “English industry.” “English industry lies in ruins,” said the Hamburger Nachrichten complacently. Marvellous paper! Just after reading its remarks, I was driving down the streets of the great industrial centre I had come to see—a town which the murderers of the night before would have been glad indeed to hit. As it was, “English industry” seemed tolerably active amid its “ruins.” The clumsy falsehoods of the German official reports and the German newspapers affect me strangely! It is not so much their lack of truth as their lack of the ironic, the satiric sense, which is a certain protection, after all, even amid the tragedy of war. We have a tolerable British conceit of ourselves, no doubt, and in war we make foolish or boasting statements about the future, because, in spite of all our grumbling, we are at bottom a nation of optimists, and apt to see things as we wish. But this sturdy or fatuous lying about the past—the “sinking” of the Lion, the “capture” of Fort Vaux, or the “bombardment” of Liverpool docks—is really beyond us. Our sense of ridicule, if nothing else, forbids—the instinct of an old people with an old and humourous literature. These leading articles of the Hamburger Nachrichten, the sermons of German pastors, and those amazing manifestoes of German professors, flying straight in the face of historic documents—“scraps of paper”—which are there, none the less, to all time—for us, these things are only not comic because, to the spiritual eye, they are written in blood. But to return to the “ruins,” and this “English industry” which during the last six months has taken on so grim an aspect for Germany.