The whole situation has been revolutionized by the events of yesterday. The doubts which many of us tried hard to cherish as to Germany’s real intentions have been dispelled by her high-handed contempt for public law. The Government and the nation now realize that she has been bent on a European war—a European war to be waged in the first instance against France, and through at least one of those neutral States whose safety we have bound ourselves to defend because it is indispensable to our own. The Cabinet, which has been sitting almost uninterruptedly since Saturday morning, reached a decision at an early hour yesterday, which shows that they know what is before us. They have called up the Naval Reserves. They would not have taken this step had they not felt that in this quarrel our interests are now directly at stake. After the example of what Germany has done in Luxemburg and on the French border we can no longer rely upon the presence of her Ambassador as a security against some sudden surprise. We have no controversy with her, it is true. We have been willing and anxious to develop those better relations with her which had of late sprung up. We were eager to work with her for mediation and for peace. Now she has shown her hand. She is resolved to crush France, and to trample upon the rights of those who happen to stand in her way. Yesterday it was Luxemburg. Today it may be Belgium or Holland, or she may treat us as she has treated our French friends, and assail us without a declaration of war. She will find the empire ready. Here at home and in the far-off dominions the sure instinct of our peoples teaches them that the ruin of France or of the Low Countries would be the prelude to our own. We can no more tolerate a German hegemony in Europe than we can tolerate the hegemony of any other power. As our fathers fought Spain and France in the days of their greatest strength to defeat their pretense to Continental supremacy, and their menace to the narrow seas, which are the bulwark of our independence, so shall we be ready, with the same unanimity and the same stubborn tenacity of purpose, to fight any other nation which shows by her acts that she is advancing a like claim and confronting us with a like threat. If any individual member of the Cabinet dissents from this view, the sooner he quits the Government the better. Mr. Asquith may find it no disadvantage to take fresh blood into his Administration, as M. Viviani has undoubtedly strengthened the French Government by the admission of M. Delcasse and M. Clemenceau. The controversy between Austria-Hungary and Servia, and that between Austria-Hungary and Russia, have passed away from the eyes of the nation. These are fixed on the German attack upon the French Republic and upon Luxemburg. In that conflict the nation know their duty. With the blessing of Heaven they will do it to the uttermost.
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