Review of Reviews,  19 (1899), 107–15.

The Progress of the World



Regular Feature, Editorial, News-Commentary


War, Politics, Military Technology, Invention, Science Fiction, Futurism

    Reports the circular forwarded by the Russian government in advance of the proposed peace conference at the Hague, which suggests 'the interdicting of new and more deadly explosives' as well as 'the prohibition of the use of submarine boats' (109–10). Observes, however, that there is 'no likelihood of any interdict being placed upon the use of new weapons; indeed, there is reason to believe that the ending of war is more likely to be brought about by the discovery of vril—that marvellous fluid described by Bulwer Lytton, by which a child with a staff could annihilate an army at will—than by any attempt to restrict the combatants to what may be regarded as the present recognised weapons of war'. Also comments that the 'proposed prohibition of the submarine boat has naturally irritated the French', who complain that the Russian circular has been 'framed entirely with a view to benefit England'. (110) Indeed, the 'success of their submarine boats' has seemingly led the French 'Minister of Marine' Etienne E A Simon to make a series of bellicose threats against British shipping, although the 'submarine boat may play France the same ill turn that the chassepot did in 1870, and the mitrailleuse. The new toy is always going to make France invincible. But somehow it always fails' (115).

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