Germany rising
in 'At duty’s call'
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When the Victorians contemplated the possibility of a 'very big war', as they fairly frequently did the enemies they expected, separately or together, were France and Russia, with Germany more likely an ally than an enemy. The suggestion of help from Germany, presumably, looked plausible in 1894, even though anxiety in Britain about German industrial competition and about Prussian military strength was already keen. Joseph Chamberlain's proposal was badly received in all the countries concerned. By the time he made it Germany had begun to emerge decisively as an enemy of Great Britain, for the Kaiser's Government had committed itself to building a powerful battle fleet. From the turn of the century the Germans were preparing an attack led directly to a movement for compulsory military service, a notion repellent to the Victorian liberal mind and especially unpopular among the working classes.

'At duty’s call'

A study in obsolete patriotism

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