The War on All Fronts: England's Effort eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 187 pages of information about The War on All Fronts.
should not consider his position very serious.  “We shall collect a revenue in one year equal to 20 per cent. of the whole debt (i.e., 522 millions sterling), and we shall be able to pay, out of existing taxation, the interest on the debt, and a considerable sinking-fund, and shall still have left a large margin for the reduction of taxation”—­words which left a comfortable echo in the ears of the nation.  Meanwhile British trade—­based on British sea-power—­has shown extraordinary buoyancy, the exports steadily increasing; so that the nation, in the final words of the Chancellor, feels “no doubt whatever that we shall be able to maintain our credit to the end of the war, no matter how long it may last.”

But do not let it be supposed that this huge revenue is being raised without sacrifice, without effort.  It means—­for the present—­as I have already pointed out, the absorption by the State of five shillings in the pound from the income of every citizen, above a moderate minimum, and of a lesser but still heavy tax from those below that minimum; it means new and increased taxation in many directions; and, as a consequence, heavy increases in the cost of living; it means sharply diminished spending for large sections of our population, and serious pinching for our professional and middle classes.

But the nation, as a whole, makes no lament.  We look our taxes in the face, and we are beginning to learn how to save.  We have our hearts fixed on the future; and we have counted the cost.

The money then is no difficulty.  Our resisting power, our prosperity even, under the blows of war, have been unexpectedly great.

But what are we getting for our money?

In the case of the Navy, the whole later course of the war, no less than the Battle of Jutland, has shown what the British Navy means to the cause of the Allies.  It is as I have said, the root fact in the war; and in the end, it will be the determining fact; although, of itself, it cannot defeat Germany as we must defeat her; at any rate in any reasonable time.

Then as to the Army.  Take first of all the administrative side.  To what—­in the last four months—­has come that wonderful system of organisation and supply I tried to sketch in my fourth Letter, largely in the words of some of the chief actors in it?

Within the last fortnight, a skilled observer has been reporting to the British public his impressions of the “Army behind the Lines” in France, as I saw a portion of it last February, in the great British supply bases and hospital camps, on the lines of communication, and throughout the immense and varied activities covered by the British motor transport.

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The War on All Fronts: England's Effort from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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