Germany’s navy.—For over a century Great Britain’s control of the seas had been almost undisputed. In order to carry out her projects of expansion, Germany required a fleet which, while perhaps not so large as that of Great Britain, would be large enough to make the result of a naval battle questionable. Huge money grants were obtained from the German people, and for a time more battleships were built by Germany than by England. England dared not permit the naval superiority to pass into Germany’s hands. The result was a competition in dreadnaught building quite as feverish as the competition in armies. The building and maintenance of these great fleets were a heavy burden upon the people of both countries. England made several offers to limit the competition by promising to build no ships in any year in which Germany would build none, but Germany in every case refused to agree to the plan.
Suggestions for study.—1. Make a chart showing the comparative sizes of European armies in 1914. 2. In the same way compare the European navies in 1914. 3. What effect is produced upon a country by an aristocratic military class? 4. Compare the German military policy with that of the United States. 5. Will disarmament be one of the good results of this war?
World Almanac; War Cyclopedia (C.P.I.),
under the names of the several countries, and under “Navy”;
German Militarism (C.P.I.).
INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE HAGUE CONFERENCES
INTERNATIONAL LAW.—In the civilized world to-day each community is made up of citizens who have a right to the protection of the laws of their community and who in turn have the duty of obedience to those laws. During recent centuries improved means of communication and transportation have brought all parts of the world closer together, and there has grown up in the minds of many enlightened thinkers the idea that the whole civilized world ought to be regarded as a community of nations. In the past the relations of nations to one another have been very nearly as bad as that of persons in savage communities. Quarrels have usually been settled by contests of strength, called wars. Believers in the idea of the community of nations argue that wars would cease or at least become much less frequent if this idea of a community of nations were generally accepted.
The body of rules which nations recognize in their dealings with each other is usually spoken of as international law. As to certain rules of international conduct the civilized nations of the world have been in general agreement for many centuries. Among such rules are those for the carrying out of treaty obligations, the punishment of piracy, the protection of each other’s ambassadors, the rights of citizens of one country to the protection of the laws of the country they are visiting, the protection of women and children in time of war.