The top general compares the situation in Ukraine to the crises of 1914 and 1937 and insists that only “citizen armies” will be able to repel the impending attack on the West's way of life.
The head of the British Army has warned British citizens to prepare for a war on the scale of the major conflicts of the 20th century – and that they may have to mobilize themselves.
General Sir Patrick Sanders told the International Armored Vehicles Exhibition in London that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a sign of things to come and warned that the lessons of previous wars must be remembered before it is too late.
“Our predecessors did not recognize the effects of the so-called July crisis of 1914 and got into the most terrible war,” he said. “We cannot afford to make the same mistake today. Ukraine is really important.”
Crucially, General Sanders insisted that the potential scale of the conflict in the coming years should not be underestimated.
“This war is not just about the black soil of Donbass or the restoration of a Russian empire, it is about defeating our system and our way of life politically, psychologically and symbolically. How we respond, as the pre-war generation will,” will resonate in history. Ukrainian bravery buys us time for now.”
The general also called for a near doubling of the British army. The British military is generally planning to reverse a long-term recruiting crisis that has reduced its numbers despite the participation of British forces in various missions abroad.
But he also said that while traditional mobilization was important, ordinary British citizens needed to be prepared for it – if not for full conscription, then for a level of civilian mobilization not seen in Western Europe since 1945.
In response to his speech, the government emphasized that full military conscription was out of the question.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman Max Blain said the government had “no intention” of introducing conscription.
“The British military has a proud tradition as a volunteer force. There are no plans to change that,” he said.
He added that “participating in hypothetical wars” is “not helpful.”
On the verge of catastrophe
Sanders' words follow months of ominous warnings from other key NATO members, particularly in mainland Europe.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius recently did this radical calls to prepare for war That would dramatically realign the German military after nearly eight decades in a multilateralist defense mode.
Documents that were recently leaked to the German Bild newspaper revealed that it was in Berlin Create emergency plans for a massive Russian attack on Western Europe, especially the Baltic states.
The plan, described as a “practice scenario”, would see Russia launch a hybrid war campaign against Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in July this year, using false claims of discrimination against Russian-speakers as a pretext for the troop buildup on its western borders with EU countries uses and in Belarus.
According to the forecasts of this scenario, the NATO alliance itself would send 300,000 soldiers to Eastern Europe, but only at the beginning of 2025.
The Ukraine war is currently in something of a stalemate. With the front line relatively static and forces hiding in icy conditions, long-range missile and drone attacks have come to the fore, with an increasing number of attacks being observed on Russian territory.
Kiev and its allies fear that the supply of foreign arms and ammunition to the Ukrainian military is stalling as Republicans in the US Congress cut the resources the Pentagon needs to meet its goals.