Nonetheless, for those who counted in the upper circles of the belligerent countries, this was no time to make peace. In Germany, the decisive power rested in military hands, and figures like Erich Ludendorff were coming to consider renewed use of the submarine as the tool that would win the war. In Britain, the energetic and optimistic influence of David Lloyd George, the new prime minister, renewed the hope of victory. An English schoolmaster, Robert Saunders, may have captured the popular mood in a letter to his son in late December. The daily news was sad, but "public opinion is dead against Peace at present, we are only just getting our 5,000,000 Army ready for real business Fritz has got to take his medicine before we have finished with him."i8 Thus, the belligerents readied themselves for a new year of war, their forces seemingly intact, their intentions both desperate and determined, their societies increasingly fractured.