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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 19 September 6, 1938


We are often told either that Britain has no foreign policy or that she has frequently been humiliated in recent years but the falsity of both these views becomes clear when we see the effect on world politics of the known nature of the next war between great powers. There are three reasons why the wars in Spain and China will not serve as models for the Second World War (though they show the direction of change in methods of warfare): firstly, there are comparatively few planes in use and most of them are obsolescent; secondly, the air raids are conducted for purposes of practice and experiment rather than of destruction; and, thirdly, the invaders have an interest in limiting the damage in countries they propose to occupy. In the Second World War the military objective and the prize will not be the same; the military objective will be a European country and the prize a worldwide empire (saved or won). The belligerents' aim will not be to conquer, but to destroy all she can; no acquisitive considerations will temper the fury of the attack. We all know what a major European war will be like in these circumstances. There will be no warning; thousands of bombers will make flight after flight to enemy towns with high-explosive, incendiary, gas and bacteriological bombs. There is no defence against the bombing plane. Hostilities will last only a few days.