The Submarine Menace

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Submarine Menace is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Daily Chronicle on 2 may 1917.

The Submarine Menace

Sir, — While it is dangerous to raise false hopes, we must not lose sight entirely of certain factors which should be weighed before we judge the exact menace conveyed by the recent figures of mercantile sinkings.

At the best it is certainly bad enough, but we need not take it for worse than it is. If the number of victims had increased by some gradual progression we should have more cause for alarm, but the fact that they have exactly doubled in one week, and that the fights with submarines should rise from 13 to 26 in the same week, proves clearly, I think, that twice the number of raiders were at work. Since they could not have doubled their fleet so suddenly this can only mean that their relay squadron is out working with the one which in ordinary course it would relieve.

The object of getting present results at the expense of future ones is, of course, to make a good showing before May 1, and so persuade their dupes that the end of the war is at hand. If my supposition is correct the high figures should soon be succeeded by abnormally low ones, which would restore the average.

It seems to me that nothing could be more encouraging for the Germans than the tone of some of our public men.

Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex, April 29, 1917.