Kut and Afterwards

French Successes

German Bluff

UPON very many of us - (for it must be admitted we have not all that sense of proportion essential to a true appreciation of the general situation) - the events of last week had had an acutely depressing effect before Saturday’s bad news was announced.

The tendency to exaggerate our troubles and difficulties is just as harmful in its effect as the cocksureness which foresees no obstacles and falls to recognise them even when they do appear.

More harmful, indeed, for the enemy aim is to create a feeling of dismay, and Berlin chuckles each time British steadiness disappears, each time the British Press sets out upon its search for scapegoats, regards a mistake as a ‘misdemeanour’, and betrays an undue agitation over an event, before its genesis, development and end are more than dimly discernible.

It is, unfortunately, easier to create panic than confidence: and it is not realised so quickly as the more level-headed desire, that no safe guidance is afforded by newspapers more deeply concerned in the pursuit of vendettas than in the presentation of facts.

Those who recognise in certain German activities evidence of desperate internal conditions may not be so far off, and if we see the attempted invasion and the big naval battle this summer proof conclusive will be afforded.

This is the point where high hopes and extravagant doubts so curiously meet.

In one case the number and variety of enemy enterprises is regarded as an indication of Germany’s strength and resourcefulness; in the other as a dissipation of energy and an uncertainty of touch heralding a coming confession of failure.

We may have long to wait for acknowledgement of defeat, for Germany has so long successfully kept up at home the delusion that “all is well” that she is not like just yet to bare her wounds to the world.

The earlier cries of starvation were a clever bluff; today’s silence as to internal conditions shows that Germany realised that her enemies are no longer to be lulled into complacent security by any such devices and that it is desirable her own people should think they are as well off as the people of the Allied nations.

When we commence “doing things” the first and for a long time the only admission that will be wrong from the Central Empires is that they are fighting defensively and how long will be before we get that admission?

The policy of the Allies may contain an element of bluff - the ability to bluff is not a German monopoly - but they are relying more upon steady preparation and in that strengthening and stiffening of their forces there is very little they need conceal.

The outcome of the British “crises” and the figures vouchsafed of the number of men we need for the fighting line must have astonished Berlin, unless the German Headquarters already had full and accurate knowledge of the huge forces we already have in the field.

The naming of 200,000 must have created some dismay and revealed how rapidly ripening are the plans of the Allies.

Moreover, Germany must have been sorely perplexed at the news of the arrival of Russian troops in France, particularly as it is now clear that the force is one large enough to make itself felt in the particular sector in which it may be employed.