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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The New Warfare

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It will now be necessary, in order to insure the continuity of the narrative, to lay before the reader a brief sketch of the course of events in Europe from the actual commencement of hostilities on a general scale between the two immense forces which may be most conveniently designated as the Anglo-Teutonic Alliance and the Franco- Slavonian League.

In order that these two terms may be fully understood, it will be well to explain their general constitution. When the two forces, into which the declaration of war ultimately divided the nations of Europe, faced each other for the struggle which was to decide the mastery of the Western world, the Anglo-Teutonic Alliance consisted primarily of Britain, Germany, and Austria, and, ranged under its banner, whether from choice or necessity, stood Holland, Belgium, and Denmark in the north-west, with Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey in the south-west.

Egypt was strongly garrisoned for the land defence of the Suez Canal and the high road to the East by British, Indian, and Turkish troops. British and Belgian troops held Antwerp and the fortresses of the Belgian Quadrilateral in force.

A powerful combined fleet of British, Danish, and Dutch war vessels of all classes held the approaches by the Sound and Kattegat to the Baltic Sea, and co-operated in touch with the German fleet; the Dutch and the German having, at any rate for the time being, and under the pressure of irresistible circumstances, laid aside their hereditary national hatred, and consented to act as allies under suitable guarantees to Holland.

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The co-operation of Denmark had been secured, in spite of the family connections existing between the Danish and the Russian Courts, and the rancour still remaining from the old Schleswig-Holstein quarrel, by very much the same means that had been taken in the historic days of the Battle of the Baltic. It is true that matters had not gone so far as they went when Nelson disobeyed orders by putting his telescope to his blind eye, and engaged the Danish fleet in spite of the signals; but a demonstration of such overwhelming force had been made by sea and land on the part of Britain and Germany, that the House of Dagmar had bowed to the inevitable, and ranged itself on the side of the Anglo-Teutonic Alliance.

Marshalled against this imposing array of naval and military force stood the Franco-Slavonian League, consisting primarily of France, Russia, and Italy, supported--whether by consent or necessity--by Spain, Portugal, and Servia. The co-operation of Spain had been purchased by the promise of Gibraltar at the conclusion of the war, and that of Portugal by the guarantee of a largely increased sphere of influence on the West Coast of Africa, plus the Belgian States of the Congo.

Roumania and Switzerland remained neutral, the former to be a battlefield for the neighbouring Powers, and the latter for the present safe behind her ramparts of everlasting snow and ice. Scandinavia also remained neutral, the sport of the rival diplomacies of East and West, but not counted of sufficient importance to materially influence the colossal struggle one way or the other.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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