The chapters of which this little volume consists were constructed with a definite purpose. It was to render clear the line of thought and action followed by the Government of this country before the war, between January, 1906, and August, 1914. The endeavor made was directed in the first place to averting war, and in the second place to preparing for it as well as was practicable if it should come. In reviewing what happened I have made use of the substance of various papers recently contributed to the Westminster Gazette, the Atlantic Monthly, Land and Water, and the Sunday Times. The gist of these, which were written with their inclusion in this book in view, has been incorporated in the text together with other material. I have to thank the Editors of these journals for their courtesy in agreeing that the substance of what they published should be made use of here as part of a connected whole.