We do not realise that this war is life and death for us as a nation; and if Germany wins, it means the annexation of Belgium and vast harbours and naval stations right opposite our coast. I believe that nothing short of the hearing of the landing of Germans on our shores will wake us to a sense of the urgency of our call to arms. Everybody unmarried over nineteen and under thirty years of age, capable of learning to hold a rifle straight, should offer himself for a soldier’s training and his country’s cause immediately. We want not 100,000 men for the Second Army, we need 1,000,000 if we are to be a real factor in the determination of this cruel war. But, of course, they are not wanted all at once, for the simple reason that we should not have officers sufficient to train them. If the Germans land, these recruits will probably be forthcoming. It will then be too late. I go further, and say that, seeing the fate of the whole Empire depends upon our being on the winning side of this war, if Young Britain will not respond to the call to arms, the Government would be justified, for this particular crisis, in making service obligatory till the end of the war. Young men say, “Why should I volunteer while all these other fellows are loafing and enjoying life at home?” Meanwhile what is urgently needed is that the young men of England should be made to realise the facts of our imminent national peril. Mr Blatchford has done what he can. We want a hundred Blatchfords and half-a-dozen Lloyd Georges to go through the country, and rouse our young fellows to a sense of their responsibility. While there is time, and every day is of importance, will not men of the North Country respond, and make the supreme sacrifice, at the call, not only of country and fatherland, but of civilisation and freedom—to have offered themselves would be an inspiration for life? I heard of 20,000 men gathered last week at a football match in the north. A military man said, “What an army we could make of these men if they would join the colours.” There is another danger we should have our eyes upon. There is a standing army of Germans in the country still, most of whom have been trained as soldiers, many of whom have arms and ammunition in their lodgings. A friend, who speaks German very fluently, went into a London restaurant a little time ago, and talked throughout the meal in German. When he paid his bill, he said “What is your rendezvous when the war comes?” and the answer came quite pat, “Colchester.” I imagine that if these men were Englishmen in Germany they would be interned in a concentration camp. On the other hand, there are quite innocent people who must be classed, through no fault of their own, as alien enemies in our midst; many of them teachers who cannot get back to Germany or Austria, and who are reduced to a pitiable condition. For these, as you may know, an Emergency Committee has been formed by the Society of Friends, and though the German Government might very well put at their disposal some of the blackmail levied in Brussels, any contributions that can be spared to help them should be sent to the Secretary of that Committee.
(Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 1914, 27 August, p. 4)