Page 3422

3422 UNIVERSAL HISTORY- THE MODERN WORLD.

increasing, not only in ships and men but

also by reason of the beginning of a network of strategic railways. The naval

race between Germany and Great Britain

was turning in Britain's favor, and the

German navy would be relatively weaker

in 1915 than in 1914. Furthermore, just

at the critical juncture, France was disturbed by financial and political trouble;

Russia was in the midst of a great strike;

while Great Britain was in the throes of

what almost amounted to civil war over

the Home Rule question. The British

view is that Germany believed that because of this last mentioned complication,

Great Britain would remain neutral, and

that now was the golden hour to strike.

The Germanic peoples, however, attempted to deny that they were the aggressors. War upon Servia, in their estimation,

was rendered imperative by Servian intrigues that threatened the very fabric

of the Dual Monarchy. They at first

announced to the world that the conflict

was one of German civilization against the

hordes of Slavic barbarism, that Germany

and Austria-Hungary were fighting a defensive war against barbarian aggressors.

For the sake of the future of the world,

German "Kultur" must be spread about

the world with bayonets. After Great

Britain entered the war, and particularly

after the Germans realized that she, owing to her navy, was their most redoubtable

antagonist, the German view of the causes

of the war somewhat changed. They

asserted that Germany was hated because

of her success. Her enemies had formed a

conspiracy to surround her with enemies

and bring about her- downfall. "Perfidious Albion" was at the bottom of the

plot, and desired to destroy a dangerous

commercial and political rival. Hatred

of the British flamed forth hot and fierce.

"Gott strafe England" ("God punish England") became the German watchword,

and was written and printed on postcards, letters, dead walls, and even articles