The traditional tendency of British diplomacy ever since the reign of Queen Elizabeth has been to employ systematically every possible means to prevent any one Power from attaining a preponderant position over the other European Powers and, if necessary, to break that preponderance by means of armed intervention. The only parallel to this has been the tradition of the Prussian Army. England has made use of various forces to carry out its purpose, choosing them according to the actual situation or the task to be faced; but the will and determination to use them has always been the same. The more difficult England’s position became in the course of history the more the British Imperial Government considered it necessary to maintain a condition of political paralysis among the various European States, as a result of their mutual rivalries. When the North American colonies obtained their political independence it became still more necessary for England to use every effort to establish and maintain the defence of her flank in Europe. In accordance with this policy she reduced Spain and the Netherlands to the position of inferior naval Powers. Having accomplished this, England concentrated all her forces against the increasing strength of France, until she brought about the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte and therewith destroyed the military hegemony of France, which was the most dangerous rival that England had to fear.