From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, — When Sir Evelyn Wood states that reprisals would be useless in the case of the Germans he really contradicts their own Kriegbuch, which asserts in so many words that their proceedings towards their enemy shall always be regulated by the power which that enemy has of retaliation. Sir Evelyn quotes General Marmont in support of his argument, but Marmont was not speaking of entirely new developments of warfare. Within the last year Marmont's countrymen have used retaliation in the case of the ill-treatment of prisoners with the best possible results. Some of these days there may be a great catastrophe, and then it will be too late for anything but revenge. I claim that this catastrophe may be averted by a public declaration of our intention to hit back, coupled by such preparations as will show that we can do what we threaten. Sir Evelyn argues, with extraordinary charity, that the Germans are really trying to hit legitimate marks and that the slaughter of civilians is an unintentional by-product in the operation. How, then, would he explain the case of the Franz Fischer, where the Zeppelin settled down upon an unoffending little boat, sank her, and drowned 13 of the crew ? How can anyone doubt after that incident that the murder of civilians is deliberate ?
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex, Feb. 5.