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The Fleets at War

Archibald Hurd

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .It must be ready on the instant to organise[35] every department of life on a war basis. Armed forces which have not behind them a resolute community are robbed of more than half their power. A feeling of panic is always apt to infect a democracy, and then under the palsy of fear the tendency is for pressure to be brought to bear on the supreme naval and military authorities, with the result that strategic plans, matured in peace, become confused and ineffective. An illustration of the influence of the fears of the civil population upon war policy was furnished during the Spanish-American War. Under the pressure of nervous public opinion, the Naval Board was compelled to depart from the sound strategy of concentration upon the main objective, and to dissipate no little of the power at its command in order to provide some measure of local protection for various coast towns. Fortunately, British naval policy had been developed on lines which minimised this peril, and. . . Read More