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DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR

His appearance alone was proof of his consciousness of power. His handshake was powerful and his eye was keen and commanding. He allowed one to perceive in each word and action the power that he wielded. If ever there has been a ruler who has lived and toiled in and for his nation, and who felt the whole grandeur of his people in his own person, it was William II.

The weak spot in the armour of Germany was her Navy. On land Germany was undoubtedly the strongest State; at sea she was negligible and occupied the sixth place in order of strength. The necessity of a stronger Navy became more and more apparent. Germany's foreign trade grew from day to day, and she possessed countless interests and wealth which could only be safeguarded by a fleet. The Navy is not only called upon to defend concluded business, but to prepare the way for further activity in the same direction. Prestige on the sea is by no means barren of material fruit.

Moreover, English blood flows in the veins of the Emperor, and his English preference for the sea urged him on to devote the whole of his energy and authority to the development of a fighting Navy (1897–1900–1905). In this way he infringed upon a domain that England dominated and will dominate, and where she has never allowed anyone to challenge her position.

Germany's attitude towards the Colonial problem also underwent a fundamental change. Bismarck said once that the Premiership of Salisbury was worth more to him than an African colony, and that he, Bismarck,