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sed a certain anxiety, it was by no means clear that Holland could be at all a desirable object for German conquest, for it was perfectly well known in Berlin that the sturdy Dutch race would never submit even to force of arms. As long as Bismarck reigned, there was not the remotest necessity for any German designs against Holland. The game was not worth the candle. The Dutch colonies could never be held by Germany as long as she had no navy. Holland itself afforded no room for Germany's surplus population. But when the words "Germany's future is on the water" were spoken, all this suddenly changed. For from that moment Holland's geographical position, between the Power which was supreme upon the waves and the Power which aspired to that supremacy, became one of extreme peril.


Great strength of character, we presume, was needed in the first thirteen years of the Twentieth Century for resisting pressure from either side. The fact that Holland's eastern and southern provinces are open to attack, and cannot be defended, except for a few days, against the strong armies that would invade them in case war; that her western shores and provinces could be threatened from the sea, whilst her vast Eastern Empire would be at the mercy of the Power which ruled the oceans, might well cause even the stoutest heart to tremble. There was but one possible course, and it was taken. The old traditions as to foreign policy were maintained. But the power of resisting invasion was increased enormously. The Army Estimates were increased; the old system of recruiting, under which service in the Army was not compulsory for those who could afford the financial sacrifice needed for providing a substitute was abolished, and compulsory conscript service was placed in its stead; the various lines of defence were constantly improved, the necessity of possessing the best artillery that money could buy was fully taken into account. Moreover, the officers of the Dutch Army had ample time and opportunity for studying Army organisation in Prussia just over the border, and we may take it for granted that they availed themselves of both.