Excerpt from The Children's Story of the War, Vol. 7: The First Seven Months of the Year 1917
Austrian troops push into Russia and hold the Russians in check until France was utterly crushed. The business of beating France to the ground would not, she felt sure, take long. Th... e German navy was to help. It was to bombard the ports of Northern France, and make feints of landing troops, so as to distract the attention of the French generals and cause them to disperse their forces. Other naval, Opera tions in the Mediterranean would prevent African troops from being brought to the help of France. Meanwhile the vast German armies would deploy through Belgium, and then in a mighty encircling line sweep southward and make an end of the French. Such was the German plan, and had France and Russia alone been her foes, she would very likely have carried out her programme.
But as soon as it became apparent that Germany had torn up another scrap of paper, and had broken her plighted word to Belgium, Great Britain, the mightiest naval power in the world, threw down the gage of battle. At once the naval schemes of Germany were reduced to naught. Within two hours of Britain's declaration of war her cruisers were off the German ports. The German ¿eet was contained; it dared not issue forth in face of the overwhelming odds arrayed against it. At one stroke the German navy was rendered powerless, and thereafter for twenty-one months it refused to come out in force and abide the issue of battle.
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