1. The immense increase in the output of British Munitions of War;
2. The Naval Battle of Jutland;
3. The Allied offensive on the Somme.
The first and third of these events are, of course, so far as the latter concerns Great Britain, the natural and logical outcome of that “England’s Effort” of which I tried—how imperfectly!—to give a connected account three months ago.
At that time the ever-mounting British effort, though it had reached colossal dimensions, though everybody aware of it was full of a steadily growing confidence as to its final result, had still to be tested by those greater actions to which it was meant to lead. After the local failures at the Dardanelles, and in Mesopotamia, Great Britain was again, for a time, everywhere on the defensive, though it was a very vigorous and active defensive; and the magnificent stand made by the French at Verdun was not only covering France herself with glory, and kindling the hearts of all who love her throughout the world, but under its shield the new armies of Great Britain were still being steadily perfected, and wonderfully armed; time was being given to Russia for reorganisation and re-equipment, and time was all she wanted; while Germany, vainly dashing her strength in men and guns against the heights of Verdun, in the hope of provoking her enemies on the Western front to a premature offensive, doomed to exhaustion before it had achieved its end, was met by the iron resolve of both the French and British Governments, advised by the French and British Commanders in the field, to begin that offensive only at their own time and place, when the initiative was theirs, and everything was ready.
But the scene has greatly altered. Let me take Munitions first. In February, it will be remembered by those who have read the preceding Letters, I was a visitor, by the kindness of the Ministry of Munitions, then in Mr. Lloyd George’s hands, to a portion of the munitions field—in the Midlands, on the Tyne, and on the Clyde. At that moment, Great Britain, as far as armament was concerned, was in the mid-stream of a gigantic movement which had begun in the summer of 1915, set going by the kindling energy of Mr. Lloyd George, and seconded by the roused