A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 87
7 pre-Dreadnought battleships, and 2 armoured cruisers. Other battleships and cruisers were under construction.
Before 1914 an account of the forces armed for war would have ended here; but the Great War was not fought only on land and sea, but in a new element — the air. In 1912 Great Britain had formed a Royal Flying Corps. This incorporated a naval wing, which in July, 1914, became a separate unit as the Royal Naval Air Service. At the outbreak of war the R.F.C. had a total personnel of about 1,000 officers and men, but only about l00 aeroplanes in a condition to send overseas. The R.N.A.S. had only experimented with seaplanes, airships and kite balloons, and its development into an important auxiliary to the fleet began only in August, 1914.
In 1914 the French aeronautical corps had a total establishment of 334 aeroplanes and 24 dirigibles. Germany was particularly strong in this arm. At the outbreak of war she had 475 aeroplanes, and there were also efficient airships of three types, Zeppelin, Schutte-Lanz and Parseval, but the exact number in August, 1914, has never been revealed. The Russian air force was reputed, in 1914, to possess 500 aeroplanes.
GERMAN statesmen, in estimating their chances in a war against Britain, placed much weight on the advantages that would come to them from expected dissensions within the British Empire. As soon as Britain was engaged in a life and death struggle her subject races, these critics believed, would throw off their yoke. There would be risings in Calcutta and Bombay; while from Nairobi to Singapore, and from Khartoum to Port Elizabeth, nations would seize the chance of slaying their British administrators and returning to their old, primitive freedom. Uganda and Ceylon, Basutoland and the Straits Settlements, the solemn marches under the shadow of the Himalayas, and the lever-haunted jungles of Central Africa were alike to witness the quick, savage revolt of their people against the British oppressors.