In the olden times warfare was supported by a single trade, that of the armourer. Nowadays the whole resources of the greatest manufacturing nations scarcely suffice to supply the needs of their armies. So much is this the case that no nation can possibly hope to become powerful in a military or naval sense unless they are either a great manufacturing community or can rely upon the support of some great manufacturing ally or neutral.
It is most astonishing to find how closely some of the most innocent and harmless of the commodities of peace are related to the death-dealing devices of war. Of these no two examples could be more striking than the common salt with which we season our food and the soap with which we wash. Yet the manufacture of soap furnishes the material for the most furious of explosives and the chief agent in its manufacture is the common salt of the table.