Writing aboard HMS Queen at Bantry on 20th February, 1909, Beatty offered this vision of European conflict that seems, in hindsight, a prophecy of events in 1914.
My opinion is that Austria and Servia are as near blows as makes no matter, and I can’t see how it can be avoided, unless Austria entirely changes her attitude. Furthermore, if it does come, Russia can’t sit idle and watch Austria absorb Servia, so in she comes. Then arises the question of the Triple Alliance, and in how far Germany is involved to support Austria. It is a nice point, and I cannot see Germany doing nothing. Then where is our friend France and the Russo-Franco Alliance, backed up by the spirit which they like to make out pervades the whole of France, but in reality does not, namely, the one desire of a War of Revenge for 1870. Alors, where are we? The whole of Europe will blaze if it once starts, and the outlook at present is of the worst.
Chambers, W. S. The Life and Letters of David, Earl Beatty. London: Hodder and