The Project Gutenberg eBook of Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star: War-time Editorials

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Title: Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star: War-time Editorials

Author: Theodore Roosevelt

Author of introduction, etc.: Ralph Stout

Release date: April 11, 2022 [eBook #67811]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917

Credits: The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)






R. J. Cuddihy
Arthur W. Page
Mark Sullivan
E. A. Van Valkenburg

Theodore Roosevelt and W. R. Nelson






Managing Editor of The Star

Publisher mark



The Riverside Press Cambridge








Introduction, by Ralph Stout xiii
Dr. Fitzsimons’s Death, September 17, 1917 1
Blood, Iron, and Gold, September 23, 1917 2
The Ghost Dance of the Shadow Huns, October 1, 1917 5
Sam Weller and Mr. Snodgrass, October 2, 1917 8
Broomstick Preparedness, October 4, 1917 10
The Bondholders and the People, October 7, 1917 12
Factories of Good Citizenship, October 10, 1917 13
Pillar-of-Salt Citizenship, October 12, 1917 16
Broomstick Apologists, October 14, 1917 18
The Liberty Loan and the Pro-Germans, October 16, 1917 20
A Difficult Question to Answer, October 18, 1917 23
Now Help the Liberty Loan, October 20, 1917 25
A Square Deal for the Training Camps, October 21, 1917 26
The Passing of the Cripple, October 23, 1917 28
The Peace of Complete Victory, October 23, 1917 30
Fighting Work for the Man of Fighting Age, October 25, 1917 32
Wise Women and Foolish Women, October 27, 1917 34
Why Cry over Spilt Milk? October 28, 1917 36
Save the Foodstuff, October 30, 1917 38
On the Firing Line, October 31, 1917 40
Nine Tenths of Wisdom is being Wise in Time, November 1, 1917 42
We are in this War to the Finish, November 2, 1917 43
Sinister Allies, November 3, 1917 45[vi]
The New York Mayoralty Election, November 8, 1917 47
German Hatred of America, November 13, 1917 49
Start the System of Universal Military Training at Once, November 17, 1917 52
A Fifty-Fifty War Attitude, November 20, 1917 54
The Germanized Socialists and Peace, November 26, 1917 56
Mobilize Our Man Power, December 1, 1917 58
The Lansdowne Letter, December 2, 1917 60
The President’s Message, December 5, 1917 62
Four Bites of a Cherry, December 7, 1917 64
The Red Cross Christmas Membership Drive, December 12, 1917 66
Being Brayed in a Mortar, December 18, 1917 68
Rendering a Great Public Service, December 20, 1917 71
A Betrayal of Democracy, December 21, 1917 73
Broomstick Preparedness—a Study in Cause and Effect, December 27, 1917 76
Our Duty for the New Year, January 1, 1918 78
Tell the Truth and Speed up the War, January 4, 1918 80
The Cost of Unpreparedness, January 6, 1918 82
Coöperation and Control, January 8, 1918 85
The Artemus Ward Theory of War, January 17, 1918 87
The Fruits of Watchful Waiting, January 18, 1918 89
Tell the Truth, January 21, 1918 92
Justification of Constructive Criticism, January 28, 1918 93
Secretary Baker’s General Denial, February 2, 1918 96[vii]
Let George Speed up the War, February 3, 1918 98
Let Uncle Sam get into the Game, February 5, 1918 101
Conservation is Important and Production is More Important, February 15, 1918 103
The People’s War, February 26, 1918 105
The Fruits of Fifty-Fifty Loyalty, March 2, 1918 109
Quit Talking Peace, March 5, 1918 111
The Worst Enemies of Certain Loyal Americans, March 10, 1918 113
Gird up our Loins, March 16, 1918 115
Bolsheviki at Home and Abroad, March 19, 1918 117
The Fruits of Our Delay, March 26, 1918 120
How the Hun Earns his Title, March 31, 1918 122
Thank Heaven! April 2, 1918 128
Citizens or Subjects? April 6, 1918 129
Women and the War, April 12, 1918 133
To my Fellow Americans of German Blood, April 16, 1918 135
An Extraordinary Achievement in Human Upbuilding, April 17, 1918 138
Freedom stands with her Back to the Wall, April 20, 1918 140
A Square Deal for All Americans, April 27, 1918 142
The German Horror, May 2, 1918 145
Sedition, a Free Press, and Personal Rule, May 7, 1918 147
The Dangers of a Premature Peace, May 12, 1918 150
The War Savings Campaign, May 27, 1918 155
Anti-Bolshevism, June 5, 1918 158
General Wood, June 15, 1918 160
Help Russia Now, June 20, 1918 162[viii]
An American Fourth of July, June 23, 1918 166
How not to Adjourn Politics, June 25, 1918 167
Hats off to the International Typographical Union, June 27, 1918 170
The Performance of a Great Public Duty, July 3, 1918 172
Repeal the Charter of the German-American Alliance, July 11, 1918 174
Every Man has a Right to One Country, July 15, 1918 177
Murder, Treason, and Parlor Anarchy, July 18, 1918 180
Back up the Fighting Men at the Front, July 26, 1918 183
The Americans whom we most Delight to Honor, August 1, 1918 186
Sound Nationalism and Sound Internationalism, August 4, 1918 188
The Man who Pays and the Man who Profits, August 9, 1918 196
Our Debt to the British Empire, August 16, 1918 200
The Candidacy of Henry Ford, August 20, 1918 202
Speed up the Work for the Army and Give all who Enter it Fair Play, August 23, 1918 206
Senator Lodge’s Noble Speech, September 1, 1918 209
Applied Patriotism, September 8, 1918 211
Good Luck to the Anti-Bolshevists of Kansas, September 12, 1918 213
The Fourth Liberty Loan, September 17, 1918 216
Fair Play and No Politics, September 20, 1918 218
Spies and Slackers, September 24, 1918 221
Quit Playing Favorites, September 30, 1918 224
War Aims and Peace Proposals, October 12, 1918 226[ix]
Permanent Preparedness and the League of Nations, October 15, 1918 229
High-sounding Phrases of Muddy Meaning, October 17, 1918 231
An American Peace versus a Rubber-Stamp Peace, October 22, 1918 236
Unconditional Surrender, October 26, 1918 239
What are the Fourteen Points? October 30, 1918 241
Further Consideration of the Fourteen Points, October 30, 1918 243
Fourteen Scraps of Paper, October 31, 1918 248
The Turks Surrender Unconditionally, November 3, 1918 251
Peace, November 12, 1918 253
Sacrifice on Cold Altars, November 13, 1918 255
The Red Flag and the Hun Peace Drive, November 14, 1918 258
The League of Nations, November 17, 1918 261
An American Congress, November 18, 1918 265
The Freedom of the Seas and the Enslavement of Mankind, November 22, 1918 269
President Wilson and the Peace Conference, November 26, 1918 272
The League To Enforce Peace, December 2, 1918 277
The Men Whose Lot Has Been Hardest, December 8, 1918 281
The British Navy, the French Army, and American Common Sense, December 17, 1918 283
Let us have Straightforward Speaking, December 24, 1918 287
A Square Deal for the Men at the Front, December 25, 1918 289
The League of Nations, January 13, 1919 292




Theodore Roosevelt and W. R. Nelson
From a snapshot Photogravure Frontispiece
Facsimile of a Note from Roosevelt to W. R. Nelson xxii
Facsimile of a Page of the Manuscript of one of Roosevelt’s Editorials 2





The request, repeated and urgent, has come from many sources that the editorial articles, contributed by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt to The Kansas City Star during our country’s participation in the World War, be preserved for the future. It is in response to this request that this volume is published.

Newspaper publication is ephemeral. Newspaper files are short-lived. Anybody who has examined a newspaper of thirty years ago knows how flimsy it is, how it breaks and disintegrates to the touch. It lacks the enduring quality of the newspaper of sixty or seventy-five years ago when other elements entered into the composition of news-print paper. Newspaper publication is the thought of to-day; to-morrow, it is gone save for the impression left on the mind of the reader. That the recollection of Colonel Roosevelt’s articles may have something to appeal to aside from crumbling newspaper files is the aim of this book. And so these expressions on the events in a crisis in our national history—from the mind of a man whose intense love of country was the admiration of all who knew him, expressions which at the time of their publication stirred many to greater sacrifice for country, some to anger, even to rage—are here presented in enduring form.


Colonel Roosevelt’s contributions to The Star were his most frequent expressions on the war; they were the outpouring of a great soul deeply stirred by the country’s situation. There were more than one hundred articles from his pen. They covered the vital time of our part in the war from October, 1917, until his death January 6, 1919.

The reason he chose The Star as his medium of reaching the people, in a period when a large section of the American people sought and was guided by what he said, was that Colonel Roosevelt and The Star had known and understood each other for a long, long time. Their acquaintance dated back to the period of his service in the New York legislature. The Star saw behind his conduct then the qualities and the spirit which it was continually seeking to place at a premium in offices of public trust.

Later, in 1889, when President Harrison appointed him a civil service commissioner, The Star said:

The appointment of Theodore Roosevelt as one of the civil service commissioners is a hopeful sign that President Harrison desires to give civil service reform a fair representation in the government. Mr. Roosevelt is an accomplished gentleman, with sincere aspirations for reformed methods of administration, as shown by his career in the New York legislature when Grover Cleveland was governor. Mr. Roosevelt is too independent ever to serve as a party henchman, and his voice and influence will always be in favor of what he believes to be the most efficient and business-like administration of affairs.

Colonel Roosevelt and the founder and editor of The Star, the late William R. Nelson, had met, but they did not really know each other until after the[xv] war with Spain. In his canvass for the vice-presidency in 1900 Colonel Roosevelt was entertained at the Nelson home, Oak Hall, Kansas City. From this visit dated better acquaintance. They had much in common and were alike in many characteristics: frank, outspoken, impulsive, and passionately devoted to the same ideals of private life and public service.

I recall a story of an impulsive act of Colonel Roosevelt back in his ranchman days. A man of shady reputation had been appointed Indian Agent with the Sioux on a Dakota reservation. He put into effect many sharp practices with the Indians which would line his pockets with money. Roosevelt’s ranch was not far away and ranch affairs took him to the agency. One day he went to the agency and sought the agent.

“You are Mr. ——?” the ranchman asked.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“I have heard what you have been doing with the Indians. You are a thief! Good-day!”

The story, as told, was that the agent, aghast at the boldness of his visitor, turned and walked away.

The late Curtis Guild, Jr., of Boston, and Senator Beveridge, of Indiana, were with Colonel Roosevelt on the Oak Hall visit. They found delight in the paintings and books in Mr. Nelson’s home and Colonel Roosevelt gave proof of his wide range of knowledge by his instant recognition of the work of painters of long-established reputation. In his inspection of the library he asked to see what Mr.[xvi] Nelson had on the Greek dramatists. “I always ask for them in a man’s library,” he remarked.

During this visit I was a listener at an argument between the two men on partisanship. Mr. Nelson had in his early days affiliated with the Democratic Party. In 1876 he was Mr. Tilden’s personal manager in Indiana. But with the party’s treatment of Tilden Mr. Nelson lost partisan zeal, and never after could he be considered a party man. He founded The Star in 1880 as an independent newspaper; it has remained an independent newspaper.

Colonel Roosevelt’s argument was, that to accomplish anything in public affairs a man or a newspaper had to belong to a party organization. He probably had in mind his experience in the Blaine campaign of 1884. His conclusion was that the American people were wedded to the two-party system and that one who aspired to do anything for the country could achieve only by working through a party organization.

Mr. Nelson granted what he said was true as to an individual, but not as to a newspaper of the right sort. It was perhaps true as to a newspaper which had as one of its aims the securing of political honor for its owner, but the newspaper sincerely devoted to the public interest could wield greater power by retaining its independence and in the end could accomplish more substantial achievements, a statement verified by his own conduct of The Star. Colonel Roosevelt saw the force of Mr. Nelson’s contention, but stuck to his point that, with an individual,[xvii] accomplishment outside of party ranks was impossible.

It is interesting to look back over the growth of the mutual understanding and the fondness of the two men for each other dating from that visit in 1900. After leaving Kansas City, Colonel Roosevelt sent back a letter expressing his delight at the day spent at Oak Hall, closing with “How I do wish I could spend the week in your library instead of upon this infernal campaigning trip!”

When the assassin’s bullet struck down President McKinley, Mr. Nelson sent a telegram to Colonel Roosevelt expressing his horror at the deed and pledging the whole-hearted support of his newspaper in aiding him to carry the great burden which had been placed on his shoulders.

Mr. Nelson had no wish to be a distributor of federal patronage; he was concerned in higher things. When Colonel Roosevelt turned to him for advice on political matters, he was reluctant to give it, feeling his own lack of real knowledge of the politics of Kansas and Missouri and of the men who sought appointments. Late in 1901 Colonel Roosevelt, asking about conditions in Missouri, wrote, referring to St. Louis men, “I think they have been rather after the offices and not after success.... I should like to have some office-holder in Missouri to whom I could tie.”

Mr. Nelson asked the political writers of The Star to write their estimate of the men seeking office and leadership, and these were sent to the President[xviii] with his endorsement. The President repeatedly followed the ideas of these letters, and it is a pleasure to record that in no instance was there subsequently cause for regret for any selection based on the letters.

In 1908 the President’s appointment of the Farm Life Commission received Mr. Nelson’s commendation, for he had long recognized the need of making farm life more attractive; indeed, he would have financed experiments along this line had he been younger. At the same time Mr. Nelson spoke approvingly of the President’s recent comment on the courts, adding, “Courts need such criticism the worst kind. They steadily undermine confidence in law and legal justice.”

“I am sick at heart,” the President replied, “over the way in which the courts have been prostituting justice in the last few years. The greatest trouble will follow if they do not alter their present attitude. I suppose I shall ‘pay’ myself in some way for what I have said about the courts, but I have got to take the risk.”

In 1909, in the closing days of the Roosevelt Administration the President issued an executive order looking to a quick settlement of a long-pending controversy over the channel of the Kaw River at Kansas City. It was unexpected; indeed, few in Kansas City knew that the President was considering the subject. The order cut straight to the heart of the controversy in true Roosevelt fashion. The same day Mr. Nelson sent this telegram to the President:


It is quite worth while to have a real President of the United States.

The next day this reply came from the President:

It is even better worth while to have a real editor of just the right kind of paper.


The Star supported Taft in the campaign of 1908 because it had faith that he would carry out the Roosevelt policies. Events early in the Taft Administration weakened that faith; the Winona speech withered it. Mr. Nelson had had no correspondence with Colonel Roosevelt while he was hunting in Africa. Two letters came from the ex-President, one March 12, 1910, from the White Nile saying he expected to return in June; another from Porto Maurizio, a month later, saying, “I know you will understand how delicate my position is,” and asking for an early conference with Mr. Nelson on his return to this country. Mr. Nelson’s final, open break with President Taft was “more in sorrow than in anger”; there was never bitterness of feeling, solely regret at a mistake in believing Mr. Taft stood for principles which events early in his administration showed convincingly he did not stand for.

Writing to Colonel Roosevelt, in 1910, after his return from Africa, Mr. Nelson referred to the Winona speech and the Ballinger case, concluding: “I have wondered whether sooner or later there would not have to be a new party of the Square Deal.”


The succeeding two years there were frequent conferences and interchange of letters between Colonel Roosevelt and Mr. Nelson. The latter had absolute confidence and abiding faith in Roosevelt. Late in 1910 the Colonel’s enemies were seeking to torment him from many angles. Mr. Nelson wrote him:

It has occurred to me that the opposition will constantly be prodding you and lying about you with the evident purpose of getting you angry and so putting you to a disadvantage. That is the only hope on earth they have of stopping you.

Your comment on Wm. Barnes was fine. It recalled to me an incident connected with Governor Tilden, who was the wisest politician I ever knew. As a young man I was his manager in Indiana. After the defeat of Lucius Robinson, whom he was backing for Governor of New York, I went East at his invitation to confer with him. He asked me to see Kelly, Clarkson, Potter, Dorsheimer, and Sam Cox, and some of the other men who had been fighting him, to get their views. “What shall I tell them about your position if they ask me?” I said. “Oh, tell them,” he said, “that I am very amiable.” In my adventures since that time I have often had occasion to remember that as sound advice. Amiability is a great weapon at times.

But my point is that you never need to defend yourself at all. The people will take care of your defense. Besides, it is always a bad policy, in my opinion, to get to talking about the past. You are a Progressive. Your nose is to the front. The past doesn’t interest you. So I hope you will ignore the critics, no matter how exasperating they may be. And if you can’t ignore them, laugh at them!

To this the Colonel replied:

I guess you are right; but it does make me flame with indignation when men who pretend to be especially the custodians of morals, and who sit in judgment from an Olympian height of virtue on the deeds of other men, themselves offend[xxi] in a way that puts them on a level with the most corrupt scoundrel in a city government....

But this does not alter the fact that, as you say, my business is to pay no heed to the slanders of the past, but to keep my face steadily turned toward the future. Here in New York the outlook is rather dark. There are a great multitude of men, some of them nominally respectable, but timid or misled, who do certainly, although rather feebly, object to the domination of Barnes and his fellow bosses; but who do sincerely, but rather feebly, prefer clean politics to corrupt politics; but who, nevertheless, dread any interference with what they regard as the rights of big business, any assault on what I regard as an improperly arranged tariff, any effort to work for the betterment of social conditions in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln; who regard all assaults and efforts of this nature as being worse than the rule of small bosses and the petty corruption of local politicians.


As the presidential campaign of 1912 developed, there were frequent exchanges of views. In May Colonel Roosevelt wrote that he was confident of victory in the Republican Convention in spite of all that was being done against him by the men in control of the party. Only those who were in the thick of the Republican Convention in Chicago in June realize how the fighting blood of the men on the progressive side, from the leader down, was aroused. Mr. Nelson was at Chicago during the Republican Convention. Colonel Roosevelt sought his advice throughout. The course which was ultimately followed had Mr. Nelson’s full approval. In a telegram to Colonel Roosevelt after the break from the Republican Party, Mr. Nelson said: “I am with[xxii] you tooth and nail, to the limit and to the finish.”

Following those vivid days and nights of the Republican Convention—a period no active participant can ever erase from his memory—came the Orchestra Hall meeting, the first definite step to organize the Progressive Party, the National Progressive Party Convention in August, and then the memorable three-party campaign.

In the midst of the campaign Mr. Nelson and the Colonel had the time and inclination to carry on a correspondence on things not directly touching the issues on which the fight was made. In a letter from his summer home at Magnolia, Massachusetts, Mr. Nelson dropped into a discussion of what he called his two hobbies—to drive money out of the voting booth and out of the courthouse. His idea was that all legitimate expenses of candidates for office should be paid by the State, and that there should be a reform of the voting system which would avoid the necessity of party organization to get out the vote. Having the vote taken by letter carriers was one way that appealed to him. He would make justice free, “not for sale as it is to-day when the rich man gets the best lawyers.” Lawyers should be officers of the court in fact as well as in theory, and should be compensated for their work by the State, not by the litigants.

Replying to this letter late in July, Colonel Roosevelt said:

I am with you in principle on both the points you raise. I am with you on the question of the State paying the election[xxiii] expenses right away now. I have always stood for that course as the only one to give the poor man a fair chance in politics.

Your other idea is new, but I have long been feeling my way to the same conclusion. A lawyer is not like a doctor. No real good for the community comes from the development of legalism, from the development of that kind of ability shown by the great corporation lawyers who lead our bar; whereas good does come from medical development. The high-priced lawyer means, when reduced to his simplest expression, that justice tends to go to the man with the longest purse. But the proposal is such a radical one that I do not know how it would be greeted, and it is something we will have to fight for later.

Theodore Roosevelt

Facsimile of a Note from Roosevelt to W. R. Nelson

Late in September, during a campaign tour of the West, Colonel Roosevelt spent a Sunday evening at Oak Hall. The subject of campaign contributions came up, and the candidate became reminiscent, recounting his first experience as governor of New York with campaign contributions. It was an incident, he said, that might readily be misconstrued and so he had not discussed it publicly.

Soon after he was elected governor of New York, he had discovered that the street railways were paying almost no taxes. Accordingly he took steps to introduce a franchise tax bill into the legislature. Mr. Odell at once came to him and told him that he was following in the footsteps of Bryan and “Potato” Pingree, which was the most severe condemnation at that time. That warning having no effect, Mr. Platt came to him and said, “Governor, you can’t do this. Don’t you know that the Whitney-Ryan combination was one of the heaviest contributors to your campaign fund?”


“The deuce they were,” said Roosevelt; “I supposed they made their contributions to Tammany.”

“Of course,” Platt returned, “they contributed to Tammany, but they gave us just half as much as they did Tammany. If they hadn’t expected fair treatment from us they would have given it all to Tammany.”

“I told Platt they would get fair treatment from us,” Roosevelt said, in telling the story, “but if they expected immunity from taxation they were going to be left.”

At that time the Whitney-Ryan combination owned the New York street railways and so were going to be hard hit by the franchise tax. Mr. Roosevelt added that the franchise tax bill went through and created quite a scandal in high finance at that time. “Everybody was talking about it,” he said, “and all the big financiers knew about it. So I never could have any sympathy with the view that Harriman or the Standard Oil people—if they really contributed to my campaign fund—or any other interest of that sort gave any money for campaign purposes under a misapprehension. They knew from my deeds as well as my words that they could not buy immunity from me, and that the best they could expect was a square deal. I said one time to Bacon, ‘Bob, why is it that Morgan and all his crowd are against me? Don’t they know that they would get justice from me?’ Bacon smiled, hesitated, and then said, ‘Yes, I suppose they do.’”

In the Progressive campaign Mr. Nelson violated[xxv] a personal rule of many years’ standing which forbade his personal participation in politics. Into this campaign he went with his whole soul. Then past seventy years of age, he was abundantly able to direct but not to give of his physical strength. He assumed responsibility for organizing the party in Missouri and lent his newspaper organization to that end. He thought day and night for the party’s candidate and the party’s principles, and at the end of the campaign he had left undone nothing which he could have done for the candidate who had his absolute and unqualified confidence. After the election Colonel Roosevelt wrote Mr. Nelson:

I can never overstate how much I appreciate all that you have done and been throughout this fight. My dear Sir, I am very grateful and I know that the only way I can show my gratitude is so to bear myself that you will feel no cause for regret at having stood by me.

After the campaign of 1912, which showed the remarkable strength of Colonel Roosevelt with the people and demonstrated that he was still a factor in American public life to be reckoned with, the tormenting by his political enemies continued. From many quarters darts had been hurled at “the old lion.” In July, 1914, after a libel suit for fifty thousand dollars had been started, Mr. Nelson telegraphed the Colonel at Oyster Bay:

Too bad so much of the burden should fall on you. Would gladly share it with you.

In a few days the message brought this letter:


When a man is under constant fire and begins to feel, now and then, as if he did not have very many friends, and as if the forces against him were perfectly overwhelming, then, even though he is prepared to battle alone absolutely to the end, he is profoundly appreciative of the support of those whose support is best worth having. Your telegram not only gave me real comfort, but touched and moved me profoundly.

Theodore Roosevelt

That was the end of the recorded correspondence between Colonel Roosevelt and Mr. Nelson. The former came West on a speaking tour in the fall of 1914 and during his stay in Kansas City was a guest again at Oak Hall. Mr. Nelson accompanied him to a campaign meeting in a skating rink packed with people in Kansas City, Kansas, where he spoke in a sweltering atmosphere for more than an hour preaching with all his old vigor and enthusiasm the doctrines of the Progressive Party.

There was the same display from great crowds of people, along the streets around the hall and everywhere he went, of the keen interest and personal admiration which Colonel Roosevelt’s presence in Kansas City territory always brought out. Kansas City and its vicinity had been Roosevelt ground since Kansas and Western Missouri became acquainted with him; indeed, any appearance by him was sufficient to fill Convention Hall in Kansas City to its capacity of fifteen thousand people.

Following Mr. Nelson’s death in April, 1915, there came from Colonel Roosevelt a sincere appreciation of his sorrow, ending, “We have lost literally one of the foremost citizens of the United States, one of the men whom our Republic could least afford to spare.”



In the 1916 campaign Colonel Roosevelt and The Star were of the same mind. Deeply attached to the principles on which the battle of 1912 had been conducted by the Progressive Party, they were conscious of the futility of continuing the fight for those principles in a third party. The American devotion to the two-party system had been convincingly demonstrated again. The World War had been in progress two years, the Lusitania had been sunk without stirring the Administration to more than impotent words. Both thought that the Republican Party presented the only hope of accomplishment. Colonel Roosevelt was The Star’s choice for the nomination, but his nomination was too much to expect after the break of 1912, and it gave its support to Mr. Hughes.

Early in June, 1917, Mr. Irwin Kirkwood, Mr. Nelson’s son-in-law, on his way West from New York, chanced to meet Colonel Roosevelt on the train. A visit in the Colonel’s stateroom followed. The conversation turned to the seeming impossibility of a Roosevelt division for France, a subject in which Mr. Kirkwood was personally interested, for he had been assured service in France if the Colonel’s ambition were realized. The Colonel was discouraged over his failure to get active service and restless at the Administration’s slow preparation for war. Of the Nation’s whole-hearted support of the war he was certain, and the high thought with him at the[xxviii] time was to bring influences to bear on the Administration to speed up.

At this time Colonel Roosevelt was contributing a monthly article for The Metropolitan Magazine written long in advance of its publication. Daily, momentous problems of the war were coming up. Mr. Kirkwood felt strongly that the American people were eager to know what Theodore Roosevelt thought on these questions. If he could reach the public quickly, great good would result to this country’s cause. Recalling that Mr. Nelson had said, when there was criticism of the ex-President’s purpose to write for The Outlook, when it was first announced, he would be mighty glad to have him write for The Star, Mr. Kirkwood said:

“Colonel Roosevelt, wouldn’t it be fine if you could get your ideas on the war to the people before they were twenty-four hours old? The only way that could be done is through a newspaper.”

“By George!” said the Colonel, with emphasis, “I never thought of that: it sounds like a good idea.”

Mr. Kirkwood said if he would consider the suggestion, The Star would certainly welcome him.

“Such a proposition would not tempt me from many newspapers,” Colonel Roosevelt continued. “In fact I know of no others except The Kansas City Star and The Philadelphia North American from which I would consider it. The Star particularly appeals to me as being printed in the heart of the great progressive Middle Western country, and because,[xxix] too, of my love and affection for Colonel Nelson.”

Colonel Roosevelt remarked that he would like to discuss the proposal with Mrs. Roosevelt and his daughter, Mrs. Nicholas Longworth, for he had great confidence in the judgment of both. On Mr. Kirkwood’s return to New York a fortnight later, Colonel Roosevelt said he was still “filled up” with the idea and asked Mr. and Mrs. Kirkwood out to dinner at Oyster Bay with Mrs. Roosevelt and himself. Mrs. Kirkwood was unable to go. Mr. Kirkwood again discussed the proposal. Colonel Roosevelt’s position was that if The Star was still unafraid, he was willing to start. The next time the Colonel came to New York he had tea with Mr. and Mrs. Kirkwood, and there was a further full and frank discussion.

“You, of course, know what you are doing,” Colonel Roosevelt said. “Many people do not like my ideas and probably many of your subscribers will be perfectly furious at The Star for printing my editorials.”

Both Mr. and Mrs. Kirkwood assured him full consideration had been given to that phase, and while it was possible he and The Star might not always agree, that fact would not stand in the way of the arrangement.

So the agreement was there entered into. Colonel Roosevelt suggested that as 1920 was a presidential year the connection be for two years or until October, 1919, to which Mr. and Mrs. Kirkwood assented.


Colonel Roosevelt said he never pretended to be much of a business man, but a formal contract was the usual thing; he had one with The Metropolitan. Anyhow he would gladly sign it. He was asked if he desired a contract and answered he did not.

“You understand and we do—” said Mr. Kirkwood.

Without waiting for the sentence to be finished, Colonel Roosevelt said quickly, “That’s all I want to know. Let’s don’t bother with a contract.”

And on that basis the Colonel wrote for The Star until his death.

Early in September I was delegated to go to New York, as Managing Editor of The Star, to discuss with the Colonel the details of his work for the paper. I met him at a hotel in Fifty-Seventh Street where he went on the days he came in from Oyster Bay. Mrs. Roosevelt was with him. Roosevelt was in high spirits, which was no uncommon thing. I recall vividly my introduction to Mrs. Roosevelt.

“Edith,” he said, leading me into the room where Mrs. Roosevelt was, “here is my new boss!”

I didn’t say it, but the thought came to me that I would prefer the task of “bossing” a tornado.

The talk that followed was that The Star had no desire to guide what he wrote; that it desired him to write whatever was in him, and it would print it. The Colonel said that was exactly what he wanted; he could do nothing else. We discussed the distribution over the country of his writings, which he left entirely to The Star, with the request that they[xxxi] be not offered to certain newspapers which had long shown a spirit of personal animosity to him and of habitual hostility toward his principles, a suggestion which was wholly agreeable to The Star. He asked about the length and frequency of the articles he was to write. It was agreed that an editorial of around five hundred words was ideal, and at the start there would be two contributions a week. Later they were more frequent. The Colonel said he would probably find it difficult to keep down to five hundred words, but he recognized the limitations of newspaper space and would do his best.

“Now,” he said, “if I get too highbrow, don’t hesitate to tell me. I’m no tender flower; I can stand criticism.”

His secretary had come into the room to receive dictation from accumulated correspondence. I arose to go. “Stay with us,” the Colonel said, “until I finish this; you are a member of the family now.”

Short, crisp sentences came from him as he dictated, each with the animation of a face-to-face conversation with the writers of the letters.

It was arranged that the Colonel was to take up his duties the first of October, and a few days after this meeting announcement was made the country over that Theodore Roosevelt was to write for The Kansas City Star. Immediately applications for the right to print the articles poured in from newspapers throughout the country.

Colonel Roosevelt came West in September on a speaking tour which included Kansas City. So he[xxxii] came into the office of The Star on the morning of September 22, 1917, and went to a desk which had been assigned him, with the remark, “The cub reporter will now begin work.” He was fond of that designation and often in conversation referred to himself as “The Star’s cub reporter.” With pencil he wrote out on newspaper copy-paper, with much scratching and interlining, the editorial, “Blood, Iron, and Gold,” which appeared the following day. His first editorial, however, was, a short time before, written on suggestion of Mr. Kirkwood, a brief piece on the death of Dr. W. S. Fitzsimons, of Kansas City, who was killed by a bomb in an airplane attack on a hospital in France—the first American officer to fall in the war.

The same day Colonel Roosevelt wrote another editorial for later publication. He was good nature itself that Saturday morning in the office, joked and chatted with members of the staff, and seemed to be enjoying the novelty of his new connection.

The following Sunday there was a luncheon of The Star family at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kirkwood, at which the “new cub reporter” made himself thoroughly at home. Editors, reporters, and men of the mechanical and circulation departments were there and had luncheon with the Colonel. He mingled with all and took delight in chatting with them of their work. During the afternoon he made an informal talk to “the family” out on the lawn, in which he commended the spirit of working together shown in the expression “The Star family.”[xxxiii] He spoke, too, of his long acquaintance with the aims and purposes of Mr. Nelson which were the aims and purposes of The Star, and said, as he had said before, that The Star was one of two daily newspapers with which he would be proud of a connection.

The arrangement was that Colonel Roosevelt was to telegraph his editorials to The Star from Oyster Bay or wherever he was when he wrote them. They were put in type in The Star office and sent out from there for simultaneous publication in a selected list of about fifty newspapers. These included the best-known newspapers in the country and represented every section. The service was without charge beyond telegraph tolls, it being The Star’s wish to give the widest diffusion possible to Colonel Roosevelt’s ideas on the conduct of the war through the best channel in each city.

Frequently there were suggestions from The Star to the Colonel. Always he was gracious in his treatment of those suggestions, invariably writing along the lines indicated and often amplifying and bettering them. On the other hand—except in two instances—the Colonel’s editorials were printed just as they were written, and if any change in copy were considered advisable it was made only after he had been consulted by wire and had approved it.

From the start the country was much interested in the expressions from the Colonel. The newspapers which received them printed them faithfully and conspicuously. However, the service had been[xxxiv] in operation not more than a fortnight before there came rumbles of disapproval and doubt, almost altogether from newspapers published south of Mason and Dixon’s Line.

One of the early editorials, entitled “Sam Weller and Mr. Snodgrass,” presented Uncle Sam, “eight months after Germany went to war with us, and we severed relations with Germany as the first move in our sixty days’ stern foremost drift into, not going to, war,” as the boastful Mr. Snodgrass, still taking off his coat and announcing in a loud voice what he was about to do. This drew from the mayor of Abilene, Texas, the following letter to The Star-Telegram, of Fort Worth, Texas, which was publishing the Roosevelt articles:

Abilene, Texas, October 3, 1917. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Tex. The Roosevelt article appearing in your paper of this date is nothing short of the expression of the thoughts of a seditious conspirator who should be shot dead, and, the Editor-in-Chief of your paper should be tarred and feathered for publishing it, and your paper should be excluded from the mails of the United States. You may publish this if you wish, and stop my paper.

E. N. Kirby    
Mayor of Abilene

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram promptly published Mayor Kirby’s letter, under the caption “The Retort Courteous,” adding the following:

The Editor-in-Chief presents his compliments to the Mayor of Abilene and begs to say that should he conclude personally to conduct a tar and feather expedition in our direction, he will experience no great difficulty in locating the[xxxv] said Editor-in-Chief. Meanwhile we can assure him that his reception will not be lacking in hospitality or warmth.

The mayor of Abilene and the editor did not meet. Later, in an editorial devoted to apologists for the delay in making war who were saying, “Why cry over spilt milk?” Colonel Roosevelt referred to the incident, saying:

Recently the mayor of Abilene, Texas, expressed his disapproval of my pointing out that we, as a Nation, had wholly failed to prepare, by saying that I was “a seditious conspirator who ought to be shot dead,” and that the editor of the newspaper publishing the article “should be tarred and feathered.” Although differing in method of expression, this slight homicidal bleat of the gentle-souled (and doubtless entirely harmless) mayor of Abilene, Texas, is exactly similar in thought to the utterances of all these sheeplike creatures who raise quavering or incoherent protests against every honest and patriotic man who points out the damage done by our failure to prepare.


When the “cub reporter” came to take on his “new job,” he learned for the first time of the conditions at Camp Funston, in Kansas, the big national army training camp of the Middle West, to which his old friend, Major-General Leonard Wood, had been assigned. The drafted men were assembled there from the farms and towns of the Middle West before adequate provision had been made for their care or their training. They were trained with wooden cannon, and broomsticks served in place of rifles. Colonel Roosevelt wrote an editorial entitled[xxxvi] “Broomstick Preparedness,” which touched mildly on the conditions at Funston. The expression “Broomstick Preparedness” caught popular fancy as typifying the Administration’s delay in many aspects of war preparation. It stuck in the public mind. It was widely used by newspapers and by speakers who thought the Government was not showing sufficient speed. An editorial, “Broomstick Apologists,” followed, directed at people who answered criticism of delay by making excuses for delay.

From the beginning Colonel Roosevelt had in the main devoted his articles to speeding up the preparations for making war. The boosting of Liberty bonds and the various war drives, the pacifists and hyphenated enemies on our own soil, were not overlooked by any means, but the thing that seared his soul was the lack of speed in making ready for actual warfare. When his connection with The Star began, we had been officially at war nearly six months, and how little the Government had accomplished toward equipping for actual warfare was continuously held up in his articles.

Colonel Roosevelt used the method, followed by newspaper writers who earnestly seek to achieve results, of pounding continually on a few things, dressing each article in different language, but keeping to the front all the time the central idea, presenting the same thoughts in article after article, but striving in each so to change the presentation that the ideas would finally enter the reader’s mind and[xxxvii] stir him to action. Mr. Nelson used this method in the conduct of The Star. For many years, beginning with its first publication, The Star advocated parks and boulevards for Kansas City. It hammered away on the subject in nearly every issue. It took almost twenty years to do it, but at the end a splendid system of parks and boulevards stands as a monument to The Star’s persistence.

Article after article Colonel Roosevelt devoted to the slow speed in war-making until there was finally a response in Washington. It heard from public opinion. War-making was speeded up, although at the best and in the end there were many, many deficiencies in our war machine.

Colonel Roosevelt’s criticisms of the Administration were not widely popular. The Star never had any idea they would be popular, but it believed they were right and for the real good of the country. As he had foreseen when the connection was made, “Many of your subscribers will be perfectly furious at The Star for printing my editorials.” They were. They wrote to The Star to denounce the Colonel for writing the articles and The Star for printing them. In popular discussion in the Middle West forms of disapproval ranged from “He should stand by the President” to “He should be stood before a stone wall and shot.” Generally the user of the latter phrase added “at sunrise.” That was an expression often heard. It was used by political orators with effect. Colonel Roosevelt knew full well of the feeling in the West and South toward his articles. He[xxxviii] wrote once asking what effect the storm was having on The Star. Never a word from him to show he cared one whit about himself. He knew he was doing the right thing for the country; he went ahead.

The frank truth is, there was a strong and active pacifist element in the territory in which The Star circulated. It had not been for preparedness. It had voted for President Wilson in 1916 largely “because he kept us out of war.” Undeniably that idea was popular. A candidate for governor in a neighboring state, running on the Republican ticket, had made a campaign identical with the Democratic slogan and had carried the state, which at the same time gave its vote to the Democratic presidential candidate. But once we were in war the people of this section responded nobly; they went to the limit, but for a long time after we were in war they did not approve the prodding-up of Washington. The hostility toward the Roosevelt articles in the South was more pronounced. At the beginning of the service ten Southern newspapers were taking it. Their statements about discontinuance ran from “We find further publication inadvisable in our territory” to an apology to their readers for ever having allowed the Roosevelt articles to enter their columns.

Colonel Roosevelt was not without defenders; many of them thought and said he was rendering the greatest service to the country in all his career. But in the excited state of mind in the spring of 1918, when the Germans were driving toward Paris, it required courage to defend the articles. Many, however,[xxxix] spoke out boldly; others did not. Party lines were not followed strictly. Republicans were not so bitter as men of the President’s party. “We must stand by the President” had a popular appeal regardless of whether the Government was functioning efficiently or not. The view was widely held that it was unpatriotic to criticize the President. Frequently it was charged that Colonel Roosevelt’s purposes were political, not patriotic. The articles were often decried as pro-German propaganda and The Star was branded as pro-German for publishing them.

In April, 1918, when this feeling was at its height, when the people in Kansas City’s territory were in a highly inflamed state of feeling toward criticism of the Government, Colonel Roosevelt sent a ringing editorial, “Freedom Stands with her Back to the Wall,” which The Star did not consider it advisable to publish. It had no doubt of the entire righteousness of the criticism passed on the officials at Washington, for the fruition of their slowness was shown in the poor showing America was making in these critical days, but it could see no good to come from the publication: in its opinion the article would only further inflame Colonel Roosevelt’s enemies and irritate his friends. Colonel Roosevelt was informed of the office opinion of this article as he was on a later article (“How Not to Adjourn Politics,” June 25) which was not published. He acquiesced in the decision, saying that he could readily conceive of local conditions which made their publication ill-advised.[xl] He asked that they be telegraphed to two other newspapers, which was done. The Star was willing to go as far as it could go without, in its judgment, lessening the effectiveness of the articles in accomplishing the speeding-up of the war, but it would not go beyond this point.

In July, when criticism had caused the removal of many inefficients at Washington and when American troops were beginning to reach France, The Star was barred from the Public Library at Fulton, Missouri, an intensely Democratic town in Central Missouri, “for disloyalty to the present Administration.” The notice read:

Dear Sir: By order from the library board of the Public Library I am advised to have you discontinue our subscription to The Daily Star and The Times. Disloyalty to the present Administration is the reason given for the action taken.

Yours sincerely           

Answering this editorially, The Star said that throughout the war it had taken the course of calling attention to the mistakes of the Government rather than remaining silent on its mistakes; that it did not believe in saying the country was doing finely when it was not; that it believed in exposing inefficiency and rooting it out. It directed attention to results already accomplished by criticism in bringing into the war preparations men like Schwab, Goethals, Stettinius, March, Baruch, and others, adding: “The Star is proud to belong to the little group of[xli] constructive critics, including preëminently Colonel Roosevelt, who worked to get wrong conditions changed and to contribute to the present result, which to-day is the salvation of the cause we fight for. For it to have done anything else would have been faithlessness to its trust.”

When at last the stirring-up of the Administration had borne fruit and American troops were in France and on the way in considerable, though disappointing, numbers, Colonel Roosevelt slowed down his bombardment of the Washington authorities. His campaign had produced results. He was right in doing all he could to speed up war preparations, and he stood his ground in the face of widespread censure in the way he always did. Hostile newspapers had demanded that the Postmaster-General suppress the circulation of the Roosevelt articles; indeed, a post-office inspector had visited Kansas City with the idea of denying The Star admission to the mails, but the Administration made no further move in this direction.

Even when the turning of the tide had set in, Roosevelt’s demand was for men, more men, and then more men for France. He would have in all six or seven million men in training, and four million American soldiers in France in the spring of 1919. In the first article he sent after the news of Quentin’s death, he said:

Now and always afterwards we of this country will walk with our heads high because of the men who face death and wounds, and so many of whom have given their lives for[xlii] this nation and for the great ideals of humanity across the sea. But we must not let our pride and our admiration evaporate in mere pride, in mere admiration of what others have done. We must put the whole strength of this nation back of the fighting men at the front. We owe it to them.

Later on the good effect of Colonel Roosevelt’s criticism was widely recognized. The Nation, one of the Colonel’s bitterest opponents, in general a strong supporter of the Administration, said of his editorials: “It is largely to him that we owe our ability to discuss peace terms and to criticize at all.”

Summing up the effect of Colonel Roosevelt’s campaign to speed up our part in the war, The Star said editorially:

There were periods of intolerance when neither Mr. Roosevelt nor The Star was under any illusions as to the reception that would be given frank criticism. But it was essential that such criticism be made in order to correct evils that were really threatening the outcome of the war....

The selective draft was the big achievement of the Administration in 1917. But having prepared this, the Government proceeded in most leisurely fashion, apparently not getting the slightest comprehension of the danger to the Allied cause resulting from Russia’s collapse.

The War Department continued to be run, as it had been in the past, by amiable old gentlemen who were wholly unfit for the task. Although airplanes had become an essential feature of modern warfare, it was not until weeks after war had been declared that the department sent a commission to Europe to learn what a military airplane was. Rifles are usually regarded as a part of the military equipment of troops. But it was two months after the declaration of war before the War Department decided what type of rifle to make. An army of millions of men was certain to need uniforms, but the easy-going quartermaster-general turned down the offer of the wool manufacturers’ association for the entire output[xliii] of the country and the result was that the soldiers went into the winter without warm clothing or overcoats. As for artillery, the incapacity was complete.

Meanwhile we sent a small expeditionary force to France, and in the autumn began sending troops across in a leisurely way, at the rate of ten thousand a week.

Then suddenly, late in March, with the German army driving straight on Paris and the Allied defenses giving way, under the appeal of Lloyd George we suddenly woke to the fact that we had been playing with the war. From that time on we acted as if we had a man’s job, and we got into the line just in time to save the situation.

All through the fall and winter of last year what Mr. Roosevelt and the other outspoken critics were trying to do was to arouse the country and the Administration to the magnitude of the task and to the danger from delay. They succeeded only partly. But they did succeed to the extent of forcing the removal of incompetent departmental chiefs, and the substitution of efficient men who were able to handle the emergency when the Administration finally discovered that the emergency existed.

Looking back over the events of the last eighteen months, we believe no fair-minded American can fail to perceive the patriotic service done by Mr. Roosevelt and other critics, who were seeking to awaken the Government from a lethargy that just missed proving fatal to the Allied cause.


Colonel Roosevelt’s last visit to his desk in the editorial rooms of The Star was early in October, 1918. It struck those who had been associated with him that he was not quite as fit as usual. I asked him if it were true the physicians had placed him on a diet. He said it was, but, to be frank, he had not given much heed to their recommendations. In a discussion at his desk with men of the editorial force[xliv] a recent article about Roosevelt by George Creel came up. “I must admit,” said Colonel Roosevelt, laughing, “he took a rather jaundiced view of me.”

Mr. Kirkwood was away in the army, but Mrs. Kirkwood was in Kansas City and the Colonel stayed at their home during his visit. At this time a subject was brought up which had been talked over along in the summer—a visit from him to the battle front to write at first hand of the American forces. Newspapers which were receiving the service and others which had heard of the suggestion were eager for Roosevelt articles from France, but from the first the Colonel had demurred and now said a final “No.” His reason was that he could not go as a private citizen, as he had been denied permission to go as a soldier; it would not only be unbecoming for a former president of the United States to go in any newspaper capacity, but how to treat him would be an embarrassing question to France.

The tide had turned toward the Allies, and the country was certain the defeat of the enemy was a question of a short time. Colonel Roosevelt’s articles turned to a discussion of the kind of peace there should be and examinations of the President’s “Fourteen Points” and his notes to Austria. On November 11—the day the armistice was signed—it was considered necessary for Colonel Roosevelt to go to a hospital in New York. From his hospital room he telegraphed that day an editorial joining in the general rejoicing over peace and appraising tersely our part in the war.


A few days later there came an editorial prompted by a letter from a woman friend in California. Visiting this friend was another woman whose son had died of influenza in the navy. That mother had said she had given her boy proudly to her country, “but if only he could have died with a gun in his hand—a little glory for him and a thought for me that my sacrifice had not been useless.” The California friend had written: “There must be other mothers who feel they have laid their sacrifices on cold altars. You have written much that will comfort the mothers whose sons have paid with their bodies in battle. Isn’t there something you can say to comfort these other mothers?”

The letter touched Colonel Roosevelt deeply. “I felt a real pang when I received this letter,” he wrote, “because the thought suggested had been in my mind and yet I had failed to express it.” The editorial, “Sacrifices on Cold Altars,” which he wrote in response, gave consolation from the heart. It made it clear that all who had given their lives in the country’s service, whether in action or from disease, stood on “an exact level of service and sacrifice and honor and glory.” It concluded:

The mother or wife whose son or husband has died, whether in battle or by fever or in the accident inevitable in hurriedly preparing a modern army for war, must never feel that the sacrifice has been laid on “a cold altar.” There is no gradation of honor among these gallant men and no essential gradation of service. They all died that we might live; our debt is to all of them, and we can pay it even personally only by striving so to live as to bring a little nearer the day when justice and[xlvi] mercy shall rule in our own homes and among the nations of the world.

From his entrance to the hospital until his departure on Christmas day, the editorials were less frequent. The Peace Conference, the Congressional elections, and the League of Nations were uppermost in public thought, and on these subjects the Colonel wrote several editorials. Both Colonel Roosevelt and The Star were anxious to find some means to lessen the chance of war through international organization. Both feared, from President Wilson’s addresses, that he had in view some grandiose plan that would be impractical. In December a member of The Star’s staff visited the Colonel in Roosevelt Hospital, New York. At that time he had written one or two editorials discussing the subject in a tentative way. He was asked if he did not think he could say something more positive.

“I doubt it,” he said. “I feel there is so little that really can be done by any form of treaty to prevent war that it would be disappointing for me to point it out. Any treaty adopted under the influence of war emotions would be like the good resolutions adopted at a mass meeting. We have an anti-vice crusade. Everybody is aroused. The movement culminates in a big meeting and we adopt resolutions abolishing vice. But vice isn’t abolished that way.”

Correspondence on the subject followed, and December 28, 1918, he wrote this letter to the member of the staff who had been talking with him:


In substance, or, as our friends the diplomats say, in principle, I am in hearty accord with you. But do you really think we ought to guarantee to stand with France and Italy in all future continental wars? It’s a pretty big guarantee and I don’t know whether it would be made good. Indeed, I don’t know whether it ought to be made good. I am most heartily with France and England now, but I certainly would not have been with France fifty years ago or with England sixty years ago, and our clear duty to antagonize Germany has slowly become apparent during the last thirty or forty years. Remember that you are freer to write unsigned editorials than I am when I use my signature. If you propose a little more than can be carried out, no harm comes, but if I do so it may hamper me for years. However, I will do my best to write you such an article as you suggest: and then probably one on what I regard as infinitely more important, namely, our business to prepare for our own self-defense.

As for Wilson having with him the bulk of the people who are taken in by this name [The League of Nations], I attach less importance to this than you do. He is a conscienceless rhetorician and he will always get the well-meaning, foolish creatures who are misled by names. At present anything he says about the World League is in the domain of empty and windy eloquence. The important point will be reached when he has to make definite the thing for which he stands.

The article written in response to the promise in this letter was Colonel Roosevelt’s last contribution to The Star. It was dictated at his home at Oyster Bay, January 3, which was Friday. His secretary expected to take it to him for correction the following Monday. Instead an early call on the telephone that morning told of his passing away in his sleep.

Ralph Stout



Three dots in a triangle


September 17, 1917

The first name on the casualty list of the American army in France is that of Dr. William T. Fitzsimons, of Kansas City, killed in a German air raid on our hospitals. Dr. Fitzsimons had already served for some time in a French hospital. As soon as this Nation went to war he volunteered for service abroad.

There is sometimes a symbolic significance in the first death in a war. It is so in this case. To the mother he leaves, the personal grief must in some degree be relieved by the pride in the fine and gallant life which has been crowned by the great sacrifice. We, his fellow countrymen, share this pride and sympathize with this sorrow. But his death should cause us more than pride or sorrow; for in striking fashion it illustrates the two lessons this war should especially teach us—German brutality and American unpreparedness.

The first lesson is the horror of Germany’s calculated brutality. As part of her deliberate policy of[2] frightfulness she has carried on a systematic campaign of murder against hospitals and hospital ships. The first American in our army to die was killed in one of these typical raids. We should feel stern indignation against Germany for the brutality of which this was merely one among innumerable instances. But we should feel even sterner indignation towards—and fathomless contempt for—the base or unthinking folly of those Americans who aid and abet the authors of such foul wickedness; and these include all men and women who in any way apologize for or uphold Germany, who assail any of our allies, who oppose our taking active part in the war, or who desire an inconclusive peace.

The second lesson is our unpreparedness. We are in the eighth month since Germany went to war against us; and we are still only at the receiving end of the game. We have not in France a single man on the fighting line. The first American killed was a doctor. No German soldier is yet in jeopardy from anything we have done.

The military work we are now doing is work of preparation. It should have been done just three years ago. Nine tenths of wisdom is being wise in time.


[1] Although Colonel Roosevelt did not begin his regular contributions to The Star until October 1, the death of Dr. W. T. Fitzsimons, of Kansas City, moved him to send this article.


September 23, 1917

Bismarck announced that his policy for Germany was one of blood and iron. The men who now guide,[3] and for some decades have guided, German international policy have added gold as the third weapon in Germany’s armory.



To a policy based on callous disregard of death and suffering, and the brutal use of force, they have added the habitual and extensive employment of corruption as a means for weakening their foes and bending other nations to their service.

The Administration at Washington recently made public the proof that Ambassador Bernstorff, on behalf of the German Government, was, up to the very last moment of his stay, engaged in efforts to bribe with German money American organizations or individuals who could be used to further Germany’s purpose by protesting against war, demanding peace at any price, opposing the measures necessary for war, denouncing the Allied nations, praising unpreparedness, or by some other of the methods habitual with pro-German Senators, Congressmen, editors, heads of peace societies and the like.

No well-informed man was surprised at the revelation. Every reasonably well-informed man, who has known about matters at Washington, has known that for nearly three years German money and governmental power has been used for the corruption of American newspapers and pacifist organizations and for the pay of German, and the bribery of native, scoundrels to wreck our industries with dynamite and in all ways debauch our political life. The Government, from the highest official down, knew all[4] these facts over two years ago. The New York World published the names of some of the editors and other individuals who had received money, and the amounts received. The Austrian Ambassador, Dumba, and two of the German attachés, Boy-Ed and Von Papen, were dismissed for inspiring and countenancing the intrigues. It was absolutely impossible that what they did was not ordered and supervised by Bernstorff, under the direction of the Berlin Government. It was deeply to our discredit that we did not then show the courage and manliness to break at once with Germany, instead of hiding our heads in the sand so as to avoid seeing the guilt of the German Government, and punishing the minor instruments of wrongdoing who, under no conceivable circumstances, would or could have acted save as their superiors bade them act. Germany has hitherto been able to do but little against us with blood and iron; gold has been her weapon, and her agents have been the foes of our own household.

Every man in this country who is now playing the pro-German game should be made to feel that he must overcome a presumption of guilty motive. There are misguided pro-Germans who are uninfluenced by corrupt motives, just as there were in the Civil War copperheads who were merely misguided and not conscious wrongdoers. But these men are in mighty unpleasant company!

The pacifist, the man who wishes a peace without victory, the supporter of Senator La Follette or Senator Stone, the man who in any way now aids[5] Germany, may be honest; but he stands cheek by jowl with hired traitors, and he is serving the cause of the malignant and unscrupulous enemies of his country.


October 1, 1917

Ten days ago a ghost dance was held in St. Paul under the auspices of the Non-Partisan League, with Senator La Follette as the star performer. We have the authority of the German Kaiser for the use of the word Hun in a descriptive sense, as representing the ideal to which he wished his soldiers in their actions to approximate. It is therefore fair to use the word descriptively as a substitute for the German in this war. It is also fair to use it descriptively of the German sympathizer in this country, of the man who aids and abets Germany by condoning the German offenses against us, by seeking to raise class division in this country, with, of course, the attendant benefit to Germany; by screaming against the war, or in favor of an inconclusive peace; or by belittling or sneering at or declaring inopportune the effort to arouse the spirit of Americanism. The Americans who thus serve Germany deserve the title of Shadow Huns.

It was to me a matter of sincere regret to have the Non-Partisan League play the part it did at St. Paul[6] in connection with the meeting which Senator La Follette addressed. They held what was in effect a disloyalty day festival. When the Non-Partisan League movement was first started, I was inclined to hail it, because I am exceedingly anxious to do everything in my power to grapple with and remedy every injustice or wrong or mere failure to give ample opportunity to the farmer. With most of the avowed objects and with some of the methods of the Non-Partisan League I was in entire sympathy, although there were certain things it did which I felt should be condemned, and certain ways of achieving its objects which I believed to be mischievous. But when the League, on the disloyalty day in question, ranged itself on the side of the allies of Germany and the enemies of this country, it became necessary for every loyal American severely to condemn it. Morally, although doubtless not legally, it thereby came perilously near ranging itself beside the I.W.W., the German-American Alliance, and the German Socialist party machine in America.

When I spoke in Minneapolis three men spoke from the same platform with me. One was that fine and loyal American, Governor Burnquist, of Swedish ancestry. One was a blacksmith, born in Sweden, a former member of the Socialist party, who left the party within the last six months when he became convinced that it was the tool or ally of German autocracy. The third was another working-man, of German birth.

At the meeting in Wisconsin I was on the platform[7] with the Mayor of Racine, an American citizen of German birth. My companions throughout the trip were Judge Harry Olson, of Swedish parentage, and Mr. Otto Butz, of German parentage, both of whom represent that kind of Americanism to which we all must subscribe if we are to be good Americans.

The Americanism of all these men is the Americanism I profess, and it is the exact antithesis of the attitude of the Shadow Huns, who, under the lead of native-born Americans like Messrs. La Follette and Townley, by their utterances, stir dissensions among our own people and weaken us in the prosecution of the war.

The two working-men of whom I speak, the man born in Sweden and the man born in Germany, spoke with rugged emphasis of their devotion to this country, and of their sense of the duty of every man fit to be called an American in this crisis. They emphasized the fact that Germany’s social system was based upon the duty of the average man to cringe before the insolence of his superiors and his right himself to behave with insolence to his inferiors. It is for this system of cringing abasement before the powerful, and of brutal insolence to the weak for which the Shadow Huns in this country stand when they directly or indirectly talk against our Government for going to war or talk against any step which it takes for the efficient waging of the war; and, above all, when they directly or indirectly apologize for or champion Germany.

It is the duty of every American citizen fearlessly,[8] but truthfully, to criticize not only his Government but his people, for wrongdoing, or for failure to do what is right. It is his duty to obey the injunction of President Wilson by insisting upon pitiless publicity of inefficiency, of subordination of public to private considerations, or of any other form of governmental failure to perform duty. Such criticism is absolutely indispensable if we are to do our duty in this war, and if we are to adopt a permanent policy of preparedness which will make this Nation safe. But the men who oppose the war; who fail to support the Government in every measure which really tends to the efficient prosecution of the war; and above all who in any shape or way champion the cause and the actions of Germany, show themselves to be the Huns within our own gates and the allies of the men whom our sons and brothers are crossing the ocean to fight.

I do not admire these Shadow Huns. But least of all do I admire those among them, whether Senators, Congressmen, or public officials of any other kind who, although on Uncle Sam’s pay-roll, nevertheless seek to stab Uncle Sam in the back.


October 2, 1917

Readers of “Pickwick,” if such there still be, will recall the time when Mr. Pickwick was arrested and some of his followers resisted arrest. Sam Weller[9] made no boasts; but he spoiled the looks of various opponents. Mr. Snodgrass began ostentatiously to take off his coat, announcing in a loud voice that he was going to begin. But he gave no further trouble.

Over eight months have elapsed since Germany went to war with us, and we severed relations with Germany as the first move in our sixty days’ stern foremost drift into, not going to, war, but admitting that we were already at war. During those eight months we have paid the penalty for our criminally complete failure to prepare during the previous three years by not having yet to our credit one single piece of completed achievement. The Administration has unwisely striven to cover this past failure to prepare, and present failure to achieve, by occasional grandiloquent pronunciamentos as to the wonderful things we are going to do in the future; and usually the language used is designed to convince ignorant people that these things have already been done.

One day it is announced that we have discovered an infallible remedy against submarine attacks; and the next day it is announced that the toll by submarines is heavier than during any previous month. We read that the British drive is successful, but stubbornly resisted; that some thousands of prisoners have been taken; and that the losses have been terribly heavy. We read at the same time that we are going to have an immense army of aircraft—some time next spring. And actually there is less boasting over the former statement than over the[10] latter! We read of the valor and suffering of the French in some heroic assault; and the Administration proudly announces that, after eight months, the drafted men are beginning to assemble in their camps—and omits to mention that they have neither guns nor uniforms, are short of blankets and sweaters.

So far the Sam Wellers who have done things are our allies. Uncle Sam is still complacently engaged in taking off his coat, like Mr. Snodgrass. Under such circumstances it is unwise for him to announce overloudly what he is going to do when at last he begins. Let him wait until he has done it; and meanwhile bend all his energies to doing it, and doing it soon. Brag is a good dog. But Holdfast is a better.


October 4, 1917

At present we Americans have two prime duties.

The first is to make the best of actual conditions; to prepare our army, navy, merchant marine, air service, munition plants, agriculture, food conservation, and everything else as speedily as possible, so as to fight this war to a completely victorious conclusion.

The second is not to fool ourselves, but to face the fact of our complete and lamentable unpreparedness. And to inaugurate a policy of permanent preparedness which will prevent our ever again being caught in such a humiliating condition.


The men of the national guard and of the drafted army are of admirable type. I do not believe that any other great nation can produce quite their equals on such a scale as we can; the zeal, energy, and adaptable intelligence with which they are doing all they can in the various camps must be a matter of pride for all Americans. There is all the more reason why such first-class material should be given a first-class chance for speedy and efficient action. It has not been given that chance. The steps we as a nation are now taking ought to have been taken three years ago. Failure to take them then has meant broomstick preparedness now. Failure to take them as a permanent policy now means broomstick preparedness in some future vital crisis when we may not have allies willing and able to protect us while we slowly prepare to meet the enemy.

The Ordnance Bureau of the War Department admits that we have not rifles for our national army, but attempts to excuse matters by saying that it is of no consequence because we shall have rifles a few months hence when our men are ready to go abroad. The admission is correct. The excuse is not. Even for training, it is better to arm infantrymen each with the weapon he is to use rather than to give each man a broomstick or to give every four men an antiquated rifle which cannot be used in service, and most of our artillery regiments at present either have no guns or wooden guns or, in rather rare cases, old-style guns which cannot be matched against any present-day artillery. Moreover, and this is the vital[12] point, we now have the time to prepare only because the English and French fleets and armies protect us. Eight months have passed since Germany openly went to war with us. As yet we have not rifles for our infantry. As yet we have not guns for our artillery. It will be at least a year after we were dragged into the war before our army will have received the weapons with which we are to wage the war.

This is broomstick preparedness, and there is not the slightest use in trying to justify or excuse broomstick preparedness.


October 7, 1917

Not many years ago one of the favorite cries of those who wished to exploit for their own advantage the often justifiable popular unrest and discontent was that “the people were oppressed in the interest of the bondholders.” The more ardent souls of this type wished to repudiate the national debt, to “wipe it out as with a sponge,” in order to remove the “oppression.” The bondholders were always held up as greedy creatures who had obtained an unfair advantage of the people as a whole.

Well, the Liberty Loan now offers the chance to make the people and the bondholders interchangeable terms. The bonds are issued in such a way that the farmer and the wage-worker have exactly the same chance as the banker to purchase and hold as[13] many or as few as they wish. No matter how small a man’s means, he can get some part of a bond if he wishes. The Government and the big financiers are doing all they can to make the sale as widely distributed as possible. Some bankers are serving without pay in the effort to put all the facts before the people as a whole, and so make the loan in very truth a people’s loan. It rests with the people themselves to decide whether it shall be such.

The Government must have the money. It is a patriotic duty to purchase the bonds. And they offer an absolutely safe investment. The money invested is invested on the best security in the world—that of the United States; of the American Nation itself. The money cannot be lost unless the United States is destroyed, and in that case we would all of us be smashed anyhow, so that it would not make any difference. The people can, if they choose, now make themselves the bondholders. If they do not so choose, and if they force Wall Street to become the largest purchaser of the bonds, which must be bought somehow, then they will have no right in the future to grumble about the bondholders as a special class. We can now, all of us, join that class if we wish.


October 10, 1917

The training camps for the drafted men of the national army are huge factories for turning out first-class American citizens. Not only are they fitting[14] our people for war; they are fitting them for the work of peace. They are making patriotism, love of country, devotion to the flag, and a sense of duty to others living facts, instead of unreal phrases. The public schools are laboratories of Americanism for our children; the training camps are laboratories of Americanism for our young men.

I have just seen a party of drafted men from the East Side of New York City start for Camp Upton with a band playing, an American flag flying. And two of their number in front, one dressed as Uncle Sam, and the other as the Kaiser, dragged along in manacles. There is no fifty-fifty Americanism in men with such spirit. A captain at this camp, a Plattsburg man, told me that his company of East Side New Yorkers showed all the intelligence and the zealous desire to learn which the fine young college graduates at Plattsburg have shown. Another captain told me that one of his men, a young Jew, had come to him and said that at first the East Siders had hated coming, not knowing what was ahead of them, but that now they felt that they were in a University of American Citizenship. A surgeon in the camp told me that men also, proved physically lacking after a week’s trial, were in most cases bitterly chagrined at being sent away. A colonel from a Southern camp has reported that already his country boys from the remote farms are straightening and broadening morally, mentally, and physically, and that the improvement is really incalculable. From every camp we hear of the eagerness with which the men are doing[15] their duty, of their resourcefulness and of the real patriotism which is being rapidly learned. All this means not merely good soldiers in war, but good citizens in peace; it means an immense growth in the spirit of Americanism.

The young men are learning to be efficient, alert, self-respectful and respectful of others; they are learning to scorn laziness, slackness, and cowardice. All are serving on a precise equality of privilege and of duty and are judged each only on his merits. The sons of the foreign-born learn that they are exactly as good Americans as any one else, and when they return to their home their families will learn it, too.

Let all good Americans insist that now, without delay, we make this state of affairs our permanent national policy by law. We have built the camp, we have encountered the failures to provide army uniforms and blankets and all the other exasperating delays which are inevitable when a nation like ours has foolishly trusted to broomstick preparedness. We shall avoid all these things for the future if we continue these camps, as permanent features of the life of all our young men, and change the selective draft unto a system of universal obligatory military training for all our young men of nineteen and twenty, it being understood that they are not to go to war until they are twenty-one. We are now suffering, and the whole world is now suffering, from the effects of our broomstick preparedness. Let us do away with broomstick preparedness for the future and substitute real preparedness.



October 12, 1917

When Lot’s wife was journeying to safety, she could not resist looking back to the land she had left and was thereupon turned to a pillar of salt. The men from the Old World who, instead of adopting an attitude of hearty and exclusive loyalty to their land, try also to look backward to their old countries, become pillars-of-salt citizens, who are not merely useless, but mischievous members of our commonwealth.

The dispatches of the German Government, just published by the State Department, give us an illuminating glimpse, not only of German methods and of German conduct towards this country, but also of certain phases of our own citizenship. The German Government proposed to use this country as a basis of operations for wrecking the Canadian railway. It also proposed to use and pay its agents and certain of our citizens for “sabotage in every kind of American factory for supplying munitions of war,” and for “a vigorous campaign to secure a majority in both houses favorable to Germany.” The German staff, in issuing these directions and in naming certain American citizens as tools for the treacherous work, insisted that the embassy should not be compromised and that “similar precautions must be taken in regard to Irish pro-German propaganda.”


Good citizens who have been misled by false counsel must now clearly see that the campaign of dynamite against our industries, with the attendant wreckage and murder, was a deliberate act of secret war by the German Government; that the attempt by Americans to secure an embargo on sending munitions to the Allies was an effort to aid Germany in thus making war on the United States; that the Irish pro-German movement in this country was financed and guided from Germany, and that our citizens, whether of foreign or native birth, whether of native American or German or Irish origin, who took part in pushing these movements, were doing substantially the same kind of work that Benedict Arnold once tried to do.

Some of them were doubtless paid, others were doubtless not paid, but the paid and the unpaid alike were serving Germany against the United States. These matters are now all of public record. The excuse of ignorance can no longer avail any one. Henceforth the citizens of German or Irish birth who take part in such activities as those of most of the German-American alliances and the like, are at best standing in the position of pillar-of-salt citizenship; at worst they, and above all their native American associates, who now indulge in pacifist movements or demand a peace without overwhelming victory or ask for a referendum on the war, or in any other way serve the brutal and conscienceless ambition of Germany, stand unpleasantly near the lonely eminence occupied by Benedict Arnold.



October 14, 1917

The chief of the Ordnance Bureau of the army, in commenting on the shortage of rifles, has said that it is of no consequence, because “every soldier will be supplied a rifle when he starts for France.”

Of course he will, otherwise he cannot start. One of the leading papers of New York backs up the statement by saying that the “drilling in the camps without rifles is ended now” and that “General Crozier delayed the work so as to get rifles with the same ammunition our allies are using.”

Neither statement is correct. The last is the reverse of truth. On October 2 in one camp there were still only one hundred rifles for twenty thousand men and other camps were scarcely better off, and the delay in getting rifles during the last eight months has been due primarily to the refusal of the Ordnance Department to get rifles using the ammunition of our allies.

If during the two years preceding our entry into the war the Government factories had been run full speed, we would have had over two million of Springfield rifles instead of under one million. Our shortage was due solely to our policy of dawdle. Our factories produced a mere dribble of rifles and no big field guns until the inevitable happened.

War came. Having no rifles of our own for the new army, the War Department decided to adopt[19] the English rifle, the Enfield, which was being built in this country at the rate of nearly nine thousand a day in private plants, and by speeding them up the number could have been immediately increased to fourteen thousand a day. But the authorities insisted that the Enfields should be changed to take our ammunition, and that certain parts should be standardized and made interchangeable. As regards this excuse, it is sufficient to point out that in the first place it was a very grave error, while making the parts of our Enfields interchangeable, at the same time to make their ammunition not interchangeable with that of the British Enfields, for the number of Springfields on hand was negligible compared to the millions of rifles we would ultimately need, and in the second place the delay even for this purpose was wholly inexcusable. The German submarine note came on January 31. An alert War Department would have had its rifle programme minutely mapped out within two weeks. The delay in furnishing final specifications to the factories was such that they could not begin on the complete rifle until the latter part of August. Six months is a “perfectly endurable delay” only if we are content to accept the speed standards in war of Tiglath-Pileser and Pharaoh Necho. The United States must learn to adopt the war speed standards of the Twentieth Century, A.D., instead of those of the Seventh Century, B.C.

If in April we had been ready to proceed with the Enfield rifle, we would now have about two million[20] of the new rifles instead of about one-fiftieth of that number. General Crozier says that we have only had to wait “two or three months—a perfectly endurable delay.” Surely if there is anything this war teaches it is the vital importance of time. Two or three months’ waiting in order to get a rifle which does not carry the ammunition of our allies represents not merely an undesirable delay but grave unwisdom.

General Crowder handled the draft to perfection because he appreciated that the difference between sending a telegram at 5 or at 4:45 might be of momentous consequence. General Crozier has bungled the rifle situation because of the attitude which makes him regard two or three months as “a perfectly endurable delay.”

For two years and a half before entering the war we relied upon broomstick preparedness. For the first eight months of the war we have followed the same policy as regards the vital matter of rifles for our troops.


October 16, 1917

Mr. Victor Berger, the Socialist leader of Milwaukee, is reported in the press as sneering at the Liberty bonds, berating the Administration for, as he says, appointing thirty-three wealthy capitalists on the National Council of Defense, and in effect[21] seeming to persuade his hearers that they ought, at this crisis of foreign war, to be hostile to those of their countrymen who are “capitalists” instead of the Kaiser.

This is natural. The Socialist party machine in this country is run by Germans. Socialists, who were sincerely desirous of social betterment and who were sincere in this hatred of tyranny and wrongdoing, have left the Socialist party. Those who remain in it have turned it into a mere tool of the brutal militaristic autocracy which now threatens the world. These men are completely dominated by the Germans, and German Socialists in America have shown in this crisis that they are Germans first, Socialists a long way second, and not Americans at all. In fact, they are venomously hostile to the country in which they dwell and claim citizenship, and are eagerly ready to sacrifice Socialism itself to the interests of the Germany of the Hohenzollerns. They stand well to the front among the Shadow Huns who, within our gates, are the allies of the Huns without our gates.

While in Wisconsin I was told that the German-American Alliance, in its efforts to persuade American citizens to betray their citizenship in the interests of Germany, had relatively as many adherents among the Socialists as among the two great parties.

When the Socialists under such leadership oppose or sneer at the Liberty Loan, it is proof positive that all patriotic citizens should buy Liberty bonds up to the limit of their ability. The Socialists attack the[22] Liberty Loan in order to hurt America and help Germany. The domination of “American capitalism” is a mere blind to obscure the service they are trying to render to the capitalists and militarists of Germany.

For the composition of the National Council of Defense, I am sorry that more labor men and farmers are not on it, but I wish they could be put on in addition to, not as substitutes for, the men of means who are on it, for these men of means, taken as a whole, have at much cost to themselves rendered devoted and invaluable service to the Nation. Their absence would be a general calamity to America and a great aid to Germany, and all true lovers of America should recognize this fact. I know some of these men personally, and those whom I know have sacrificed time, effort, and money in order to be of help to the Nation at this juncture. In fact, I have never known more devoted public service than that they rendered at this crisis.

It is unpatriotic at this time to attack good Americans because they have capital and are trying to make this capital of service in the war. Capital is necessary to business and industry, and in this war industrial efficiency is almost as necessary as military skill. The factories at home are almost as important as the armies in the field. Wise war taxation of capital and profits is eminently necessary, but it must not go to an extent that will interfere with production and the forward movement of business, or widespread calamity would result.


We are a great Nation, engaged in a stupendous war. Let us use dollars as we use the loaded shells, and each can do its best work only under the leadership of the ablest man: the business man in one case, the military man in the other. By all means let the people be masters of the capital of the country at the present time. The surest way to do this is for the people themselves to buy the Liberty bonds and not leave them to Wall Street. They are the one absolutely safe investment, both for men of small means and men of large means.


October 18, 1917

A correspondent in Pueblo, Colorado, writes me as follows:

By what logic are we “at peace” with Austria, when she is furnishing troops or artillery to Germany to fight and kill our soldiers on the western front? The same question might apply to Turkey. Remember, too, that we are furnishing money and supplies to Italy, our ally, in her struggle with Austria. The Western folks are looking to you to answer hard questions of this sort for us which we don’t understand.

Neither I nor any one else can satisfactorily answer the question. A limited liability war in which we fight Germany ourselves and pay money to Italy and Russia to enable them to fight Austria and Turkey, with whom we are at peace, savors of sharp practice and not of statesmanship. It is a good rule[24] either to stay out of war or to go into it, but not to try to do both things at once.

Moreover, this matter squarely tests our sincerity when we announced that we went to war to make the world safe for democracy. The phrase must have been used in a somewhat oratorical fashion, anyhow, because we have ourselves within the last year or two made the world entirely unsafe for democracy in the two small and weak republics of Haiti and San Domingo. Therefore, the phrase must have meant that we intended to make the world safe for well-behaved nations, great or small, to enjoy their liberty and govern themselves as they wished. If it did not mean this, the phrase was much worse than an empty flourish, for it was deliberately deceitful. If it did mean this, then we are recreant to our promise unless we at once go to war with Austria and Turkey.

Both these nations are racial conglomerates, in which one or two nationalities tyrannize over other subject nationalities. The world will not and cannot be safe for democracy until the Armenians, the Syrian Christians, and the Arabs are freed from Turkish tyranny, and until the Poles, Bohemians, and Southern Slavs, now under the Austrian yoke, are made into separate, independent nations, and until the Italians of Southwest Austria are restored to Italy and the Rumanians of Eastern Hungary to Rumania.

Unless we propose in good faith to carry out this programme, we have been guilty of a rhetorical sham[25] when we pledged ourselves to make the world safe for democracy. The United States must not make promises which it has no intention of performing. We are breaking this promise and incidentally are acting absurdly every day that we continue at nominal peace with Germany’s fellow tyrants and subject allies, Austria and Turkey.


October 20, 1917

The concrete services to the United States which every decent American not fortunate enough to be a soldier can now render, is to buy as many Liberty bonds as he can afford.

The Treasury Department has set forth in the public press the facts about the campaign which the pro-Germans in the United States are waging against the Liberty Loan. The campaign is being waged by trying to prevent banks from handling the Liberty Loan, and by the publication in certain newspapers of articles tending to discourage people from investing in the bonds. Senator La Follette’s speeches, which are to the same effect, are also being circulated with a view to check popular subscriptions. Senator La Follette, by the way, represents exactly the type which tries to prevent the people from owning the bonds and, nevertheless, will in the future probably rail at the purchasers of the bonds as having, somehow or other, obtained an improper and excessive profit.


Inasmuch as the enemies of the Liberty Loan are of this type, all patriotic Americans should strain every nerve to make the sale a success. Moreover, this happens to be one of those rare cases where the performance of a patriotic duty is a first-class financial investment. The patriot is rendering a great service to the Nation while he is also making a capital investment for himself. If the people do not take the bonds, they will be taken by the big capitalists. The people have the first call, and while it is desirable in the interest of everybody to make this a people’s loan, it is more desirable from the standpoint of the people themselves. The investment is absolutely safe. The men and women who fail to take advantage of it are not standing by the country and they are not standing by their own interests. Every man, from the day laborer to the bank president, should, according to his means, invest in the Liberty bonds.


October 21, 1917

The Playgrounds and Recreation Association of America has undertaken a capital work in pushing the War Camp Community Committee, of which Mr. John N. Willys, of Toledo, is chairman. The War Camp Committee work for Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Colorado has made Mr. I. R. Kirkwood chairman, and has begun an[27] active drive to get the three-quarter of a million dollars allotted to this district out of the total of four million to be raised in the country.

The movement should receive the heartiest backing. It represents much more even than the very important work of providing amusements for the hundreds of thousands of enlisted men in the various camps, for it also has to deal with the moral and sanitary surroundings, not only in camps, but in the neighboring towns and cities. In former wars the number of men incapacitated by diseases contracted in the camps often surpassed the number incapacitated by the sickness due to the hardships and exposure at the front. This was because of lax supervision of the neighborhood moral and sanitary conditions, and also from failure to instruct the soldiers that it is a shameful and unsoldierly thing to expose themselves to disease due to indulgence in vice.

The committee is working not only in the interests of national morality and decency. It is also working in the interest of military efficiency, for it will save scores of thousands of soldiers from being shamefully incapacitated before reaching the front, and the gain to the Nation from the economical as well as the moral standpoint, after the war, will be very great.

The work of the committee will be carried on outside the camps in the adjacent communities acting in coöperation with churches, clubs, and organizations of public-spirited men and women. It will be wholly different from the work inside the[28] camps, which is done by the Y.M.C.A., the Knights of Columbus, the Y.M.H.A., and similar bodies. In many places the local authorities already have done much work along the lines sketched by the national committee, and wherever this is the case, the national committee will surely aid the local bodies.

All good and patriotic men and women should heartily back this work to keep Uncle Sam’s soldiers clean, decent, and self-respecting; to make them better citizens and more formidable fighting men.


October 23, 1917

If men are alert, resolute, and energetic, they can usually secure some compensation from any calamity. This dreadful war, attended by the killing and crippling of men on a scale hitherto unknown, has brought as a compensation a determined move to do away with the cripple; that is, to cease the mere effort to keep a crippled man alive and, instead, to endeavor by reconstructive surgery to restore him to himself and to the community as an economic asset.

Surgeon-General Gorgas and his associates have worked out, and are ready practically to test, an organized system under which any seemingly crippled man is to be kept under the guidance of the medical branch of the army until either the usefulness of the[29] damaged part has been restored or else until he has been trained in other ways so as to enable him measurably to overcome the handicap. In almost every case something will be done to make the cripple less of a burden to himself and others, and in most cases, the army medical service confidently believes, the cripple will once more become a useful and therefore a happy citizen. In all our special hospitals that are now being planned, the curative workshop is part of the plant. The effort is to be not only for the physical development and physical reëducation of the wounded part, but also for any intellectual training necessary to produce new forms of effective ability which will offset any loss in physical ability. The aim is not merely to save the life of, and then turn loose, a crippled pensioner who can be little but a burden on the community; it is to take care of the wounded man until the very best of which he is capable has been developed, so that when once more in the outside world he will be a real asset to the Nation. This is a fine thing for the Nation, and is of incalculable consequence from the standpoint of the self-respect and happiness of the man.

This represents the complete reversal of the old point of view, which was that the cripple was turned loose with a pension for less than what if sound in body he would have earned, and a burden on the community. The purpose of Surgeon-General Gorgas and his associates is that the Government shall stand behind the man and invest money in him[30] so as to develop all his latent resources, fitting him to make good as a citizen and expecting him thus to make good. There will be, where necessary, a money compensation for the injury, but the great compensation will be the return to useful life of the man himself.

The far-reaching effect of such a policy is evident. The purpose is to insist that every man, no matter how maimed, shall be made of further use in the world. If once the army acts on this theory, the great industries will follow suit. The cripple, in the sense of being a helpless or useless cripple, will largely be eliminated, and out of this war will have come another step in the slow march of mankind towards a better and more just life.


October 23, 1917

It is stated in a press report from Washington that the Allies wish the United States to stop sending men abroad and use its ships for food and munitions instead, but that the Administration will not agree to the plan, and furthermore that the Administration is determined that there shall be no peace until Germany is completely beaten. If the report is correct, the Administration is absolutely right on both points.

As to the first point, we can well understand, in view of the steady U-boat campaign, how greatly the Allies desire food and munitions, and we regret[31] with bitter shame the folly of our Government in dawdling and delaying for six vital months after the German note of January 31 last before seriously beginning the work of building big, swift cargo boats. But this cannot alter the fact that for the sake of our honor and our future world usefulness we must ourselves fight and not merely hire others to fight for us. If we do not follow this course, our children’s heads will be bowed with humiliation. With proper energy we could already have had some hundreds of thousands of men in the firing line, and we should send our troops over as rapidly as possible, with the purpose to put at least two million men against the German lines next year, an entirely possible programme if the Government will lend its energies with a single mind to the task.

As regards the second point, every decent citizen should make the pacifist and the home Hun realize that agitation for a premature peace, for a peace without victory, is seditious. Shame on every man, and above all on every public servant and every leader of public opinion, who endeavors to weaken the determination of America to see the war through and at all costs secure an overwhelming triumph for the principles for which we contend. If Germany is left unbeaten, the Western Hemisphere will stand in cowering dread of an assault by Germany’s ruthless and barbarous autocracy. The liberties of the free peoples of the world are at stake.

We must now fight with all our might on European soil beside our allies or else fear the day when we[32] will have to fight without allies beside our burning homes. While this war lasts, the cause of our allies is our cause, their defeat would be our defeat, and whoever assails them or defends Germany is a traitor to the United States. There must be no negotiated peace. Belgium is entitled to an enormous indemnity and France to annexation of Alsace and Lorraine. By her marine murders and her shore raids and her utter treachery and abominable cruelty, Germany has made herself the outlaw among nations, and with her we should negotiate only through the mouths of our cannon. All who now advocate a negotiated peace with her are seeking to betray civilization in the interest of brute force and international outrage. The United States owes her entrance into this war almost as much to the American pacifist as to the German militarist, and now the former is meanly eager once more to serve the latter by securing an unjust peace. Let every brave and patriotic American spurn the base counsels of the pro-Germans and pacifists, and insist that this country, at whatever cost, fight steadfastly until the war closes with Germany’s complete overthrow.


October 25, 1917

The Y.M.C.A. is one of the most powerful agencies for good in our military camps here at home and with our armies abroad. It would be a veritable calamity[33] not to have it do this work. The women and the elderly men who have gone abroad under present conditions are rendering a patriotic service of high value, but every young man of fighting age who has gone abroad for the Y.M.C.A. at this time is a positive damage to the work and should be instantly sent home. It is an ignoble thing for an able-bodied man to be in such a position of bodily safety where his example must naturally excite contempt and resentment among the men who, unlike him, are risking their lives and have left their families for the sake of a great ideal. Of course, no man of draft age should be sent over, but this is not enough. The draft represents merely the minimum performance of duty. No man of age to permit his entering the army abroad or at home should be sent over. If any such man is not in the army, it should be either because he has been turned down by the army authorities for physical reasons or because his work at home either for his family or for the Government imperatively demands his presence here. If he is able to go abroad at all, he should go abroad in the army. The fact that he is abroad for the Y.M.C.A. is proof positive that he has no business to be there.

An officer in high command in France recently wrote home a letter, which I have seen, describing the experiences of the junior officers of his command with some of the young able-bodied Y.M.C.A. representatives. He began by an emphatic testimony to the admirable work the Y.M.C.A. had done and to its great importance, and by an emphatic statement[34] that it had a thoroughly bad effect on the enlisted men to see a young man of their own age engaged in such work. He then illustrated its effect on the young officers with whom these Y.M.C.A. men messed, writing:

Two young Y.M.C.A. men have been at two of the battalion messes. They are of the age whose presence here is an annoyance to the army because they seem to have been exempted from the draft. They have obtained bullet-proof jobs and their presence here is a bad example to all the young men in the army. Last night at one mess the officers were so disgusted with the Y.M.C.A., who was actually wearing a uniform with an officer’s belt on, that they began to chaff him, telling him that they were married men and were entitled to play safety first themselves and thought they would apply for jobs in the Salvation Army. The Y.M.C.A. had to stand for this because he was the only unmarried man there, and it is said that his mother persuaded him that he owed her a duty not to go in a dangerous place. He evidently feels his duty keenly. The other young fellow from the Y.M.C.A. was a real man and he left the soft job and has enlisted as a private.

The Y.M.C.A. is so very useful an organization that it is profoundly to be regretted that it should in any way damage its usefulness. Its work with the armies abroad should be done exclusively by women and elderly men. No able-bodied man under forty-five should represent the Y.M.C.A. in the war zone or with the army camps.


October 27, 1917

There are wise and foolish women just as there are wise and foolish men, and in any great crisis the welfare[35] of this country depends upon the extent to which the wise and patriotic men and the wise and patriotic women can offset or overcome the folly of the foolish.

The woman who bravely and cheerfully sends her men to battle when the country calls takes her place high on the national honor roll. She stands beside the mothers and wives of the men of ’76 and of the men who wore the blue and the gray in the Civil War. Where would this country now be if Washington’s mother had not raised her boy to be a soldier for the right?

But the women who do not raise their boys to be soldiers when the country needs them are unfit to live in this republic. The women who at this time try to dissuade their husbands or sons who are of military age from entering the army or navy are thoroughly unworthy citizens. The kind of affection which shows itself by refusing to allow the boy to face hard work when it is his duty to do so, the mother who brings up her boy to be a worthless idler, because she is too fond of him to see him suffer the discomfort of hard work, and the mother who desires her boy to play the coward or the shirk, in time of war, are not merely foolish; they are poor citizens. They are the real enemies of their sons, for there can be no more dangerous enemy than the human being, man or woman, who teaches another human being to lose his soul in order to save his body. The wise mother is the best of all good citizens and the foolish mother stands almost at the[36] other end of the scale. I wish every mother in the land could read Theodosia Garrison’s poem, recently sent out by that stirring body of patriots, the Vigilantes. It describes the youth of twenty years, eager to play a manly part while his mother seeks to hold him from the post of danger and duty, and two of the verses run:

Mother of his twenty years, who holds against his will
The eager heart, the quick blood, and bids them to be still,
What of the young untrammeled soul you seek to blunt and kill?

You would save the body stainless and complete,
Fetters on the hands of it, shackles on the feet;
And in the crippling of them make soul and body meet.


October 28, 1917

Nice, short-sighted persons, when the evil effects of our folly in failing to prepare are pointed out, sometimes ask, “Why cry over spilt milk?” The answer is that we wish to be sure that we do not spill it again, and, unfortunately, the nice persons who bleat against any one who points out our shortcomings in preparedness or who excuse and champion those responsible for this unpreparedness, are doing all they can to invite future disaster for the Nation.

The bleat assumes different expressions in different localities. Recently the Mayor of Abilene, Texas, expressed his disapproval of my pointing out that we, as a Nation, had wholly failed to prepare,[37] by saying that I was “a seditious conspirator who ought to be shot dead,” and that the editor of the newspaper publishing the article “should be tarred and feathered.” Although differing in method of expression, this slightly homicidal bleat of the gentle-souled (and doubtless entirely harmless) Mayor of Abilene, Texas, is exactly similar in thought to the utterances of all these sheeplike creatures who raise quavering or incoherent protests against every honest and patriotic man who points out the damage done by our failure to prepare.

These persons cannot deny one fact I state. Nine months have passed since, on January 31, Germany sent us a note which was practically a declaration of war. We have only just put troops in the trenches; many of the troops of our draft army training at home have until recently only had broomsticks, and now only have one old Spanish War rifle for every eight soldiers; most of the artillery regiments in these camps either have no guns or wooden guns. After nine months we are still wholly unable to defend ourselves or to render efficient military aid to our allies, and we owe safety from invasion only to the protection of the fleets and armies of the war-worn and weary nations to whose help we nominally came. No man can truthfully deny these statements, no man can seriously regard this situation as satisfactory. To try to cover up the truth by bluster and brag and downright falsehoods may possibly deceive ourselves, but will deceive no one else, whether friend or foe. Is such foolish deceit worth while?


Nine tenths of wisdom is being wise in time. We were not wise in time. Let us learn from our past folly future wisdom. Our first duty is to win this war, and therefore the Shadow Hun within our gates is our worst internal foe. Our next and equally important duty is to prepare against disaster in the future, and therefore our next worst internal foe is the sheeplike creature who invites national disaster for the future by bleating against the telling of the truth in the present.


October 30, 1917

Mr. Hoover has been appointed as the man to lead us of this Nation in the vitally important matter of producing and saving as much food as we possibly can in order that we can send abroad the largest possible amount for the use of our suffering allies and for the use of our own gallant soldiers. Mr. Hoover’s preëminent services in Belgium pointed him out as of all the men in this country the man most fit for the very position to which he has been appointed. Let us give him our most hearty and loyal support.

In this great and terrible war the slaughter, starvation, and exhaustion are on a scale never before known. They are nation-wide. Therefore every individual of every nation engaged must do his full part or else must be held to have failed in his duty.[39] The man of fighting age must fight. The man with especial business capacity or mechanical skill must produce arms or equipment or ammunition. And every man, woman, or child must help produce food if possible, and in any event must help economize it.

Mr. Hoover has asked us during this week to devote ourselves to getting all our people voluntarily to pledge themselves to certain forms of food economy,—which are of great consequence from the standpoint of sending abroad the foodstuffs needed by our Allies and by our own troops. There are certain foods which are easily transported which are nourishing and which are peculiarly suited for the use both of our allies and of our troops in the field. Mr. Hoover’s plan is that we shall all of us voluntarily limit along strict lines our consumption of these food products and replace them by other foods which are not suitable for sending abroad, and that we shall rigidly avoid waste. Full particulars are given in the pamphlets sent out by Mr. Hoover from his Washington Bureau of Food Conservation.

What Mr. Hoover asks entails not the slightest real hardship on any of us. It merely requires each of us to exercise a little self-control and perhaps to make some trivial sacrifice of personal preference in what we eat. Surely this is a very, very small service to be rendered by us stay-at-homes in support of our sons and brothers who have gone or are going to risk their lives in battle for us and mankind.



October 31, 1917

Our men are now actually on the firing line, and while, of course, they are as yet there primarily for purposes of instruction, nevertheless, they are there. They are at times under fire. They are at any moment liable to death in upholding the honor of their country, of your country, my reader, and of mine.

General Pershing’s original division under his direction and the direction of his lieutenants, such as Major-General Sibert, Brigadier-General Duncan, and their associates, has evidently been trained to a high point of efficiency. The accounts show that the infantry effected their entrance to the trenches with the precision of veterans. Evidently the artillery is being handled with similar efficiency. Apparently, from the account, our artillerymen are using French guns.

All Americans must feel a glow of pride as he reads of the soldierly manner in which our American troops have made their entry into the fire zone. But we must not confine ourselves merely to feeling pride in our fellow countrymen who are at the front risking their lives in doing their duty on behalf of all of us. We must back them up. We must support the Government in every movement taken efficiently to put the strength of this Nation behind our soldiers, and we must vigilantly insist upon the efficiency including the speed absolutely indispensable.[41] We must support the Liberty Loans, conserve food, cheerfully pay taxes, and tolerate neither improper profit-making out of the war by capitalists or strikers,—nor slackness and malingering which interferes with our military efficiency by laboring men. Every American civilian should now do his work with the same sense of duty as is shown by the soldiers in the field.

And now let good patriots keep in mind that the Huns within our gates from this time on are the allies of the Huns who are actually doing battle against our soldiers at the front. The men who directly or indirectly advise people not to take Liberty bonds, the men who clamor for an early peace, an inconclusive or negotiated peace, the men who condone the offenses of Germany directly or indirectly, the men who say we have not ample cause for war against Germany, the men who attack our allies or seek to breed dissension between them and us, are each and every one to a greater or less degree acting as friends of Germany and therefore as enemies of the United States. Every patriotic American should now clearly understand what is really implied in the attitude taken during the last nine months by the Stones and La Follettes, the Hearsts and Hillquits. These men are out of place in America. It is sincerely to be regretted that they cannot be put where they belong—under the Hohenzollerns.



November 1, 1917

A few days ago I expressed in The Star the regret and uneasiness felt by all men with knowledge of international matters at the failure of this country to declare war on Austria and Turkey. Various Administration, and, of course, the leading pro-German, newspapers took exception to this statement and announced that the procedure advocated would be unwise or improper. Since then the great defeat of the Italian army by the Germans and Austrians has occurred, and among the Italians there has been much bitter criticism of our failure to help them, although we have now for many months been at war, at least in theory, with Germany.

A leading Administration newspaper of high standing, the Brooklyn Eagle, accurately states the case as follows:

Italy’s defeat is shocking and alarming. Only its unexpectedness excuses the failure of Italy’s allies, including ourselves, to meet it. This Government cannot evade responsibility if Italy is lost, for we have been up to the present, quite as indifferent as the rest of the Entente to Italy’s fate. Italy suffers and is endangered by our own negative attitude. We have loaned her money, but we are not at war with Austria, and we have failed to give Italy such whole-hearted support as her critical position demands. No time should be lost in reversing this policy. Italy is fighting our battles as well as her own. She is a valuable ally; her cause is just. No effort should be spared to save her. There is no time to compromise or equivocate. Our own soldiers in Europe will have to pay[43] in blood for every hour’s delay in throwing all possible help to Italy.

This is the exact truth. I call attention to the fact that it is from a strong supporter of the Administration and that it takes the view I have for months been taking, and which various well-meaning but sheeplike creatures have bleated against on the ground that it implies criticism of the Administration. I was merely advocating before the event the course, which, after the event, all will agree ought to have been followed. It is in this matter precisely as it was in regard to our building ships to meet the terrible U-boat menace. We should, with the utmost energy and speed, have begun to build them within a week, within a day, of the German note of January 31. Instead of this we dawdled and wrangled for six months before seriously beginning. In the one case as in the other foolish creatures did immense harm by protesting against pointing out our blunders on the ground that we must not speak of spilt milk, whereas, of course, we can only stop future spilling by showing where it has been spilt in the past.

Nine tenths of wisdom is being wise in time, is the lesson as taught afresh by the Italian disaster and the shortage of cargo ships. Let us at last profit by it.


November 2, 1917

The disaster to our Italian ally should make every American worth calling such awake to the real needs[44] of the hour and should arouse in him the inflexible purpose to see that this war is fought through to a victorious conclusion, no matter how long it takes, no matter what the expense and loss may be.

Our first troops are now actually in the trenches; American infantry and American artillerymen are under fire; blood has been shed. Our sons and brothers have begun the trench life of wearing fatigue, of cold, of inconceivable hardship and exposure and of cruel danger. A few women at home suffer as much. Otherwise, no civilians outside the regions conquered by the Germans can begin to realize the terrible strain to which constantly increasing numbers of our soldiers will be exposed as additional divisions are trained for and put into the actual fighting.

We who stay at home must back up those men in every way. We must stand by and energetically support every effort of the Government to add to their efficiency and to back them up, including the sending over of constantly increasing numbers of soldiers to the aid of the men already there. We must back up the loans and taxes necessary in order to supply them with arms, munitions, equipment, food, hospitals. We must hold to the strictest accountability before the bar of public opinion any Government official responsible for needless delay, or for shortage in shipping, clothing, or material, or for deficient ammunition, or faulty gas-masks, or for any other shortage which exposes our men at the front to needless danger and hardship. We must[45] make their effort and their suffering avail by highly resolving that the whole power of this Nation, and all its resources in men and in wealth, shall be used to bring the peace of complete and overwhelming triumph over Germany and over Germany’s subject allies, Austria and Turkey.

Finally, every brave and patriotic American owes it to the men at the front to make the lash of scorn felt by the Hearsts and La Follettes and by all others like them. These men have given or now give aid and comfort to Germany, and therefore show themselves enemies to the soldiers in the American uniform by opposing the war, or by asking for an inconclusive peace, or by assailing the allies of the United States, or by condoning or keeping silent concerning the hideous atrocities which have made the Prussianized empire of the Hohenzollerns the arch enemy of every liberty-loving and self-respecting civilized nation on the face of the globe.


November 3, 1917

There are well-meaning, but not overwise, persons who bleat against any sincere and truthful effort to make us more efficient in this war by protesting against grave shortcomings. These worthy persons should realize that they are acting against the interest of the United States and in the interest of Germany. If they doubt this, they have only to[46] ponder the fact that in their attitude they stand beside such sinister allies as German papers like the New York Staats Zeitung and Illinois Staats Zeitung and the various papers of Mr. Hearst.

These papers have opposed our going to war, or have assailed our allies, or have condoned or passed over in silence the brutal infamy of Germany. They have opposed the Government in its actions against Germany. In so doing they have been the enemies of America. And they have been no less the enemies of America when they have eagerly defended the Government from criticism for shortcomings which impair our efficiency and therefore tell in favor of Germany. Exactly as they once opposed preparedness, or excused the murderous sinking of the Lusitania, or protested against our going to war, so they now zealously exhibit a sham loyalty of the most hurtful kind by denouncing honest and truthful men because they tell the truth.

In order really to serve this country, it is necessary to point out the dreadful damage done by our failure to prepare; of the evil effect of trying to train our troops with broomsticks and wooden guns; the worse than folly of failing to declare war on Austria and Turkey, and the harm done by the delays, including the dawdling for six months before we began the vitally necessary work of shipbuilding. To cover up such shortcomings deceives no one but ourselves. Germany knows all about them. We help her to find out by our failure to treat her spies with drastic severity. And the men who suffer know all[47] about them; the artillerymen with only a wooden cannon, or the sentry in a cotton uniform on a cold night stands in no need of enlightenment on the subject. When these pro-German papers with loud professions of loyalty protest against telling our people the truth about such matters, they are merely serving Germany against the United States.

Loyalty to the Nation demands that we subscribe to the Liberty Loans; that we practice food conservation; that we ardently support sending our soldiers abroad until we have millions of men on the firing line; that we stand for universal obligatory military training and service; that we heartily uphold our allies and condemn as traitors to America all who attack them; that we insist on prosecuting the war to complete victory and condemn as false to this country all who seek an inconclusive peace. Loyalty to the Nation no less demands that we make our people understand the lasting harm done by our failure to prepare during the two and a half years before the war broke out and the grave damage now caused by needless delay, by irresolution, by the appointment or retention of inefficient men, and by any and all types of half-heartedness in waging the war.


November 8, 1917

The triumph of Tammany in New York City and the large Socialist vote have in some quarters been hailed as showing that New York City is for peace[48] at any price and that it is against the Administration. Neither statement is warranted by the facts.

The Socialist vote was about one-fifth of the total vote. It included most of those who wished the war stopped at once, this number being made up of professional pacifists, of red flag Anarchists, and of poor, ignorant people who pathetically believed that a Socialist mayor would somehow bring peace at once. But it also included its professional Socialists and poor, ignorant people who did not think of the war, but who pathetically believed that a Socialist mayor would somehow give them five-cent milk. The voters in New York City who wish immediate peace without any regard to national honor, or to what future horrors such a peace would bring, are certainly less than a fifth of the whole.

The vote was not anti-Administration. A far larger proportion of the supporters of the Administration voted for Mr. Hylan than for Mr. Mitchel, and officially the Administration was neutral between the two. A goodly number of pro-Germans supported Mr. Hylan, but he was also supported by a large number of entirely loyal men, and he himself, unlike the Socialist candidate, Mr. Hillquit, was avowedly for America against Germany, and for the prosecution of the war. The election in actual fact turned directly on local issues. New York occasionally witnesses an occasional insurrection of virtue, but the city has never in fifty years given a good administration a second term. The insurrection of[49] virtue at one election is followed by a Tammany revival at the next.

The result of the election in New York City was not heartening to patriotic persons, but right next door, in the Connecticut congressional district which includes Bridgeport, a contest for a vacant congressional seat resulted in a way that speaks well for the Republic. The Republican candidate, Schuyler Merritt, a man of high probity and capacity, with a forward look in international affairs, came out in bold and straightforward fashion, saying he would support the President in all measures for the efficient prosecution of the war until victory came, that he would do all he could to prevent our again falling into the condition of shameful unpreparedness we had for three years occupied, and that he was for universal obligatory military training for our young men. He won by a majority much greater than that which his predecessor received at the time of the presidential election last year.


November 13, 1917

There have recently been published various books by Americans who, during the Great War, have officially represented this country in Germany and in Belgium, when the Germans conquered it. Ambassador Gerard is one writer. Mr. Gibson, secretary of our legation at Brussels, is another. Mr.[50] Curtis Roth, until recently vice-consul at Plauen, Saxony, is a third. Their testimony is of profound significance because of their official position and personal standing.

Two facts leap to the eye from their writings. The first is that the German people have stood practically united behind their Government in upholding and insisting upon the systematic infliction of hideous brutality upon their foes. With deliberate purpose the German Government has carried on a war of horror, a war of obscene cruelty, of wholesale slaughter, of foul treachery and bestiality, a war in which civilians, including women, children, nurses, doctors, and priests, as well as wounded soldiers, have been murdered wholesale. The German people have enthusiastically supported and approved their acts. Our war is as much with the German people as with their Government, and we should regard with loathing all Americans, whether men or women, who any way attempt to justify or defend Germany’s action. The Americans who so act are traitors to their country and to humanity at large.

The second fact is the extreme malevolence of hatred with which Germany regards America, a hatred which blossomed into full growth before we went to war, and which was immensely aggravated because of the contempt inspired by our tame submission to outrage for over two years. Mr. Roth’s testimony is peculiarly interesting. He shows that the Berlin Government actively stimulated the campaign of hatred and revenge against America, that[51] the German people eagerly accepted the view that Americans were cowardly, avaricious, and effeminate, and that in Germany it was constantly announced that, sooner or later, there would be a day of reckoning when America would have to pay a huge indemnity or suffer the fate of Belgium.

Mr. Roth shows that the German people think exactly as their leaders think. They now hate and despise us Americans as they hate others of their foes. Says Mr. Roth:

They are resolved to make our country drink to the dregs out of the bitter cup of humiliation. Nothing do they find more despicable than our talk about peace, which they attribute to cowardice and flabbiness. They look on the American pacifist as a weakling, as a God-given tool in the hands of German interest.... The Germans, if possible, feel more bitterly towards Americans of German extraction than towards Americans of other lines of descent.

Germany has definitely decided on America’s ruin. She has definitely decided that there must be an intense anti-American spirit in both Government and people. She may bide her time, and she will doubtless try to separate us from our allies, but her purpose towards us is both relentless and ruthless.

If we are true to ourselves, if we prepare our armed strength and keep it prepared, if we show farsightedness and valor of soul, we can be sternly indifferent to this foul and evil hatred. But we must keep steadily in mind that Germany respects nothing whatever except courage and prepared strength and that the pacifists and pro-Germans, the Huns[52] within our gates, the Hearsts and the La Follettes, are playing the game of our German foes, and if they have their way will bring shame and disaster to our land.


November 17, 1917

Lieutenant-General S. B. M. Young, U.S.A., retired, gave long, faithful, and efficient service to this country, from the beginning of the Civil War, for nearly half a century. But he never has rendered greater service than by his steady insistence upon the immediate introduction by law in this country of the system of obligatory universal military training as our permanent policy. This should be done at once; and all the young men from nineteen to twenty-one should be called out as soon as there are means of training them. They need not fight until they are twenty-one. But they are least needed as economic assets; they are most needed as military assets; and it is cruelty to them not to train them in advance.

The selective draft was far better than nothing. But let us never forget that it represented doing imperfectly after the event that which ought to have been done thoroughly long before the event. We have been at war three quarters of a year, and the drafted men, admirable material though they are,[53] are only just beginning to be trained and as yet are not even armed and properly clothed. We are trying to train our soldiers to perform the duties of soldiers after the war has begun; and we can attempt the experiment at all only because the English and French protect us from our enemies while we make it. Hereafter let us train the man to perform the tasks of a soldier before he is called to be a soldier in war. Only thus can we be just both to him and to the country.

The present economic disturbance in the Nation was inevitable, in view of our failure at the outset of the Great War to introduce the system of universal, obligatory military training; and this failure is also responsible for the fact that our national army, nine months after our entry into the war, has only begun training, instead of being already trained. Let us now at least provide for the future. The amendment to the law above outlined, as advocated by the National Association for Universal Military Training, of which General Young is president, would add nearly two million men to our army, would cause the minimum of interference with our economic life, and would not necessitate any additional expense for training quarters.

The men thus trained will be immensely benefited from the standpoint of their success in civil life; for universal training would be of immense economic benefit to the Nation. As Cardinal Gibbons has well said, “The legislation proposed will benefit youths from nineteen to twenty-one years, morally[54] as well as physically, and help to prepare them for their work in peace as well as for the sterner needs of war.”

This is the only democratic system. General Young himself rose from being an enlisted man in the ranks to being the lieutenant-general of the army of the United States. Under universal training let all candidates for West Point and all other candidates for commissions be chosen with absolute fairness from among the men who have served a year in the field with the colors. And in the navy let all candidates for Annapolis be chosen from enlisted men of the navy who have served at least a year as such and who are still serving.


November 20, 1917

The attitude of the United States at this moment toward Germany’s three vassal allies, Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria, is a fifty-fifty attitude between peace and war. It is not honest war, neither is it honest neutrality. It is the attitude of the backwoodsman, who, seeing a black animal in his pasture at dusk and not knowing whether it was a bear or a calf, fired so as to hit it if it was a bear and miss it if it was a calf. Such marksmanship is never happy.

Bulgaria is now simply the tool of Germany and Turkey. I was formerly a stanch champion of[55] Bulgaria, and would be again if she returned to her senses. But she now serves the devil, and shame be upon us if we do not treat her accordingly. No one can doubt that the Bulgarian Legation is an agency for German spies in this country. The Administration has published reports showing that for over a year, previous to our entry into the war, the German Embassy was the center of the spies and dynamiters with whom Germany was already waging war against us. These papers show that Germany’s allies are her mere tools and that Germany is withheld by no scruple from the commission of every conceivable treacherous intrigue and brutal outrage against us. Under these conditions it is a grave offense against our allies not to declare war on all of Germany’s allies.

Turkey has been and is the tool of Germany, but Germany has permitted her on her own account to perpetrate massacres on the Armenian and Syrian Christians which renders it little short of an infamy now to remain at peace with her. It is hypocritical to express sympathy with the Armenians and appoint messages to be read in the churches about them and yet refuse to do the only thing that will permanently help them which is to declare war on Turkey.

With Austria our present relations are less definable than our relations with any other power. No one can truthfully say exactly whether our attitude is one of peace or war. We have not declared war on Austria and yet we are furnishing money, coal, and[56] munitions to Italy in order to enable her to fight Austria. If we really are at peace with Austria, we are flagrantly violating our duty as a neutral and we ought to be condemned in any international court. But if we are really at war, then we are committing the cardinal crime of hitting soft. If we had gone to war with Austria when we broke with Germany and had acted with proper energy, the disaster to Cadorna would probably not have occurred.

We are now taking part in the general council of our allies. The only way in which to make our part in the war thoroughly effective and our leadership felt to the utmost is whole-heartedly to throw ourself into the war on the side of all our allies and against all their and our enemies.


November 26, 1917

The American Socialist party at the present time is a thoroughly Germanized annex of the Prussianized militaristic and capitalistic autocracy of the Hohenzollerns. Honest social reformers have left it. No patriotic American ought longer to stay in it. It is purely an aid to the capitalist and militarist Hohenzollern party of Germany. It is a bitter enemy of the United States and a traitor to the cause of liberty throughout the world. Its leaders[57] are the supporters of an alien autocracy and are seeking to secure a peace which would immensely benefit this Prussian autocracy. They stand beside the Bolsheviki, whose antics have made Russia at this moment a by-word, both of derision and hope to every believer in despotism and every opponent of liberty throughout the world.

Any man who feels that there is the slightest exaggeration in the above statements would do well to read the articles in which the New York Tribune has recently set forth the connection of Mr. William Bayard Hale with the pro-German propaganda in this country, with the Hearst papers and with the Socialist campaign in New York on behalf of Mr. Hillquit and a peace satisfactory to Germany. These articles should be published in permanent form and circulated as a tract among all decent Americans who still believe that the Germanized Socialist party in America to-day is anything except the foe of America, the foe of democratic liberty throughout the world, and the tool and ally of the autocrats, the capitalists, and the brutal and unscrupulous military chiefs of the Prussianized Germany of the Hohenzollerns.

Exactly as the reactionary is in the end the worst foe of order; exactly as the conscienceless and greedy man of wealth is in the end the worst foe of property and of honest and duty-performing holders of property, so the Anarchist and the wild Socialist, whose doctrines when applied necessarily lead to Anarchy and the I.W.W., and the crack-brained[58] professional pacifists inevitably themselves are the worst enemies of freedom, of true democracy, and of righteousness. It is natural that in this terrible and melancholy world crisis these men should have struck hands with the sordid tools of German intrigue in this country. The masters of Germany find all these men, whatever their nominal differences, united in the evil bond of a common subserviency to German purposes. The German rulers, who at home trample on the Socialists and dragoon the labor organizations and bully the leader of democratic thought, cynically profit by aiding in other countries the men who in the name of social reform seek to overthrow orderly liberty and thereby show themselves the sinister allies of tyranny and despotism.


December 1, 1917

It has been announced from Washington that, in view of the shortage of labor on the farms, there will be an effort in Congress to permit the importation for temporary use on the farms of Chinese coolies. I do not believe the effort will be successful, and if it were successful it would be one of the greatest calamities that could befall the American people.

Never under any condition should this Nation look at an immigrant as primarily a labor unit. He should always be looked at primarily as a future citizen and the father of other citizens who are to[59] live in this land as fellows with our children and our children’s children. Our immigration laws, permanent or temporary, should always be constructed with this fact in view. No temporary advantages from the importation of Chinese coolies would offset the far-reaching ultimate damage it would cause.

Neither ought we to approve the plan, sometimes set forth by zealous and high-minded men, to get the Government to open up vast tracts of land and farm it with wage labor. This is a proposal to substitute a wage-earning agricultural proletariat for a farming population which owns the land it tills. It is a move in exactly the wrong direction. We ought by law to do everything possible to put a stop to the growth of an absentee landlord class and of huge estates worked by tenant farmers. Methods identical with or similar to those advocated by me, in my recent book, “The Foes of Our Own Household,” point the way to the proper permanent solution of the question.

As a war measure, rather than adopt either of the proposals above enumerated, let us deal boldly with the situation created by the existence of such vast numbers of men in good physical condition, who are not being utilized. The best war asset and labor asset in this country is the mass of young men from eighteen to twenty-one. This draft law explicitly and unjustifiably excepts this class, although in the Civil War most of the soldiers entered the army when they were under twenty-one. Let us proclaim as our policy that while this war lasts no man shall[60] be excused from doing the full duty which the Nation finds it necessary to demand from him. Make all the young men from eighteen to twenty-one immediately liable to service, permit no exceptions for any men, no matter how wealthy, who are not already in the army. Use as many of the men thus taken as are necessary to fill the camps when the present drafted men of the national army leave them. Use all the others, and use these men, too, until the camps are ready for them, as labor which the Nation shall mobilize for farm work or any other work which it is imperative to do, and mobilize all the alien labor now in the country in similar fashion.


December 2, 1917

Lord Lansdowne’s proposal is for a peace of defeat for the Allies and of victory for Germany. Such a peace would leave oppressed peoples under the yoke of Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria. Such a peace would leave the liberty-loving nations of mankind at the ultimate mercy of the triumphant militarism and capitalism of the German autocracy.

It merely makes such a peace worse to try to hide the shame of the defeat behind the empty pretense of forging a league of nations, including Germany, to secure future peace. Such a peace would mean that Germany saw her unspeakable brutality and treachery crowned by essential triumph and therefore[61] would put a premium upon her repeating the brutality and treachery at the earliest convenient moment. It is mere hypocrisy to promise to put a stop to wrongdoing in the future unless we are willing to undergo the labor and peril necessary to stop wrongdoing in the present. In our own country nothing but harm was done by the worthy persons who, a couple of years ago, formed a league to enforce peace in the future, while at the same time they nervously declared that they would have nothing to do with enforcing peace by stopping international wrong in the present. Lord Lansdowne’s proposal to hide the admission of present defeat behind the camouflage of pretended international peace agreements for the future is unworthy of his distinguished services and reputation.

Our people ought never to forget that Germany respects nothing but strength and the readiness and ability to use it. Germany has made a fetish of able brutality. She regards with utter derision the pacifists and pro-Germans in this country. She will use them as her tools and pay them when necessary, but if through this aid she was able to conquer this country after previously separating us from our allies, she would with utter indifference break these tools and throw them on the scrap-heap with the rest of the American people.

There is but one safe course to follow, and that is to fight this war through to victory at no matter what cost. This Nation should declare war on Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria, this week. Let us[62] definitely announce that our aims include restoring and indemnifying Belgium, giving back Alsace and Lorraine to France, creating a Poland which shall include all the Poles and a greater Bohemia and a great Jugo-Slav commonwealth and restoring Rumanian Hungary to Rumania, and Italian Austria to Italy, and driving the Turk from Europe and freeing Armenia and Syria and Arabia. After victory let us join in any arrangement to increase the likelihood of future international peace, but let us treat this as an addition to, and never as a substitute for, the preparedness which is the only sure guarantee against either war or measureless disaster. Therefore let us at once introduce as our permanent national policy the system of universal obligatory military training of all our young men.


December 5, 1917

The President has in admirable language set forth the firm resolve of the American people that the war shall be fought through to the end until it is crowned by the peace of complete victory. He states unequivocally that our task is to win the war, that nothing shall turn us aside from it until it is accomplished, and that every power and resource we possess will be used to achieve this purpose. He states that there shall be no peace until the war is won. He says that this peace must deliver, not only Belgium and Northern France, but the peoples of[63] Austria-Hungary, of the Balkan Peninsula, and of Turkey in Europe and Asia from “the impudent and alien dominion of the Prussian military and commercial autocracy.” He emphatically states that we have no purpose to wrong the German people or subject them to oppression, but merely to prevent others from being oppressed by them. He states that if Germany persists in adherence to her present rulers and their policies, it will be impossible, even after the war, to treat her as other nations are treated, but that, although we intend to right the wrongs inflicted by Germany on other nations, we have no intention to inflict similar wrongs on Germany in return. He says that the mind of the Russian people has been poisoned by the rulers of Germany, exactly as the latter have poisoned the minds of their own people.

To all of this the heart of the American people will answer a devout amen. The message is a solemn pledge on behalf of this Nation that we shall use every energy we possess to win the war, and that we shall accept no peace not based on the complete overthrow of Germany. The American people must now devote themselves with grim resolution and whole-hearted purpose to the effective translation of this pledge into action, for, of course, the sole value of such a promise lies in the manner in which it is actually made good. The people must back the Government in every step to carry into effect this pledge and must tolerate no failure in any official charged with the duty of carrying it into effect.


I shall shortly discuss the proposals of the President in reference to Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria. But in this editorial I wish merely, as one among the countless Americans to whom the honor and welfare and high ideals of America are dear, to say amen to the President’s expressed purpose to wage this war through to the end with all our strength and to accept no peace save that of complete victory.


December 7, 1917

In his recent message to Congress President Wilson stated that in order “to push our great war of freedom and justice to its righteous conclusion we must clear away with a thorough hand all impediments to success,” and added, “The very embarrassing obstacle that stands in our way is that we are at war with Germany, but not with her allies.” He recommended that we declare war on Austria, and added, “The same logic would lead also to a declaration of war against Turkey and Bulgaria.” But inferentially and for reasons not apparent he advised against such action.

The President is entirely right in stating that our failure hitherto to declare war on the allies of Germany has been a very embarrassing obstacle to our success, and he is entirely right in advising a declaration of war against Austria. Incidentally I wish to point out that this is precisely what I insisted[65] upon in these columns two months ago, and what I had elsewhere advocated six months ago, and it is worth while remembering that the Administration papers then assailed me for urging the course which, although there has not been the slightest change in the situation, the President now urges.

There was no justification whatever for failure to declare war on Austria when we declared war on Germany, and there is now no justification for failure to declare war on Bulgaria and Turkey when we declare war on Austria. There is no use in making four bites of a cherry. There is no use in going to war a little, but not much. The President has sent a message pledging support to Rumania, but it is worse than an empty form to send such a message unless we forthwith declare war on Bulgaria. The President has appointed a Sunday for the special expression of sympathy with Armenia, but such expression of sympathy is utterly meaningless unless we go to war with Turkey. The Austro-Hungarian and Turkish empires must be broken up if we intend to make the world even moderately safe for democracy. There must be a revived Poland, taking in all the Poles of Austria, Prussia, and Russia; a greater Bohemia, taking in Moravia and the Slovaks; a great Jugo-Slav commonwealth, including Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, while the Rumanians in Hungary should become part of Rumania and the Italians in Austria part of Italy. The Turk must be driven from Europe and Christian and Arab freed. Only in this manner can we do justice to the[66] subject peoples tyrannized over by the Germans, Magyars, and Turks. Only in this way can we remove the menace of German aggression, which has become a haunting nightmare for all civilizations, especially in the case of small, well-behaved, liberty-loving peoples.

By declaring war on Germany’s allies we do not commit ourselves to asking anything that is not just for our own allies. But by failing to declare war on Germany’s allies we are ourselves guilty of injustice to our own allies.


December 12, 1917

Next week, the week before Christmas, the Red Cross wishes to add ten million new members to the five million members it already possesses. Last June the Red Cross War Council asked the people of the United States to raise one hundred millions of dollars for Red Cross work, and the people responded by raising one hundred and nineteen millions. The purpose now is to increase threefold its membership.

This is the people’s war. All people should, so far as possible, share the burden and the glory. The whole fighting manhood of the Nation, without any exception save in the interest of the Nation, should be trained to arms and made ready for the front. The Liberty Loans should be taken by every one so[67] that the bondholders of the Nation may be the people of the Nation, and now this Red Cross membership campaign is one more Nation-wide effort to bring home to all our people their obligations to this country and to suffering humanity.

We must realize that every single individual in this country is derelict to his duty unless according to his capacity he does his part in helping organize for the war. Individual effort alone will not avail and Germany’s strength has come from her keen realization of this fact. We must have an organized Nation, both at the front and at home. There can be no organization without discipline, and the Red Cross is one of the great agencies through which we can make progress toward such self-discipline.

The Red Cross does not ask for the new members primarily because of the money they bring. The money will do great good, for the need is pressing; but even more important than the money will be the effect if on Christmas morning the Red Cross can flash around the world the news that ten million more Americans have joined its ranks and thereby put themselves unqualifiedly behind our army and navy.

The Red Cross has done an extraordinary work abroad and is doing an extraordinary work at home. Abroad it is in every way supplementing the army and navy medical corps in Europe and is accumulating enormous hospital supplies for the use of our soldiers and sailors. It has sent over a million dollars in money and stores to Italy. It is giving both military and civilian relief in France. It is supplying[68] over thirty-five hundred French military hospitals and two thousand French civil hospitals with surgical dressings, drugs, and supplies. It is helping to care for half a million tuberculosis victims and restore a million and a half French refugees to normal life. At home it is helping to care for the dependent families of our soldiers and sailors. It has organized fifty-seven army and navy base hospitals, over a dozen of which have already been sent to France. Its useful activities in different lines are well-nigh innumerable.

This is the work the Red Cross has done and is doing for America and the world. Now let all Americans in their turn stand by the Red Cross and help in its Christmas membership drive.


December 18, 1917

President Wilson speaks in military matters through his Secretary of War. The sole importance of the Secretary of War’s report comes from its being the official declaration of the President. I discuss it as such.

According to the reports in the New York World, the Secretary of War states that “he does not favor universal military training as a permanent policy.” Mr. Wilson’s secretary, therefore, takes what is in effect the position of Mr. Bryan, which was picturesquely phrased as being that a million men can at[69] need spring to arms overnight. The Administration’s attitude is less picturesquely expressed, but it is precisely as futile and as unspeakably mischievous from a standpoint of permanent national interest. Moreover, it is taken at the very time when the disastrous effect of the Administration’s policy of complete unpreparedness is being shown by the admissions of General Crozier on the first day of the congressional investigation. Mr. Baker’s report, Mr. Bryan’s theory, and the things already shown by the congressional investigation dovetail into one another. They stand in the relation of cause and effect. The Administration now officially and complacently announces that the policy which at this very moment has proved disastrous is to be persevered in for the future, therefore assumes complete responsibility for every blunder and delay, and for all the misconduct, and announces that these blunders and delays and all this misconduct have taught us nothing, and that we are to amble onward in the same futile path until disaster overtakes. Mr. Wilson’s Administration officially declares that we shall persist in our own folly until we are brayed in the mortar of dreadful calamity.

If the Administration frankly and manfully acknowledged its evil errors in the past and championed a policy which would prevent the repetition of these errors in the future, I would think only of the future and not of the past, but now it is necessary to emphasize the past in order to avoid disaster in the future.


We are in the eleventh month since Germany went to war with us. We have not yet built an aeroplane fit to match the speedy battle planes of our foes. We have not built a heavy field gun; on the contrary, we have had to draw on burdened friends to give us artillery. In the training camps of the national army the artillery regiments still have about ten wooden guns for every old field piece, and they have none of the modern guns they are to use in the war. There are rifles only for every third or fourth man. Until ten months had elapsed there was no target practice save for a few specially selected units. The troops still have only wooden machine guns and the trench mortars they themselves improvise.

Until ten months had elapsed they lacked even the necessary warm clothing. They have endured entirely needless suffering and hardship. Our troops in France have received thousands of coffins, but an insufficient number of shoes. At this moment not more than one tenth of our soldiers, taken altogether, are fit to go to battle. Nine tenths of our gallant and fine-spirited men are still without the training, arms, and equipment that would permit them to meet any trained foes. After ten months of war and the expenditure of huge sums of money, we are still absolutely unable to defend ourselves and owe our own safety only to the fleets and armies of our war-worn allies.

This condition is due solely and entirely to the policy of unpreparedness to which the Administration[71] adhered for two and one half years when even the blind ought to have read the lesson of the great war. The Administration now announces that we are not to alter this policy and that we are to continue the do-nothing policy of refusing to help. If the American people follow the lead thus given them, they will be guilty of criminal folly.


December 20, 1917

Senator Chamberlain has rendered a public service by presenting the bill to provide universal obligatory military training for all the young men of the Nation. Senator Wadsworth has rendered a public service by pushing the senatorial investigation of our lamentable military unpreparedness. Congressman Medill McCormick has rendered a public service by showing that we have heavily burdened our war-worn ally, France, by demanding from her the guns which it was inexcusable in us not previously to have built.

These three services all hang together. Senator Chamberlain’s proposal is to supplant selective conscription after war has begun by universal service, which would probably mean the avoidance of war altogether. It was grave misfortune that at the outset of this war we did not call for a million volunteers and at the same time put all the young men between nineteen and twenty-two into the training[72] camps. There has been some very gross favoritism in granting exemption and, moreover, the men between twenty-two and thirty-one include a high percentage of married men and of others who ought not to go to war at present. This unwise, wasteful, and inefficient system should not be patched up. The Nation sorely needs, both as a war measure and as a permanent policy, the immediate introduction of universal military training and service for all our young men as proposed above.

Senator Wadsworth and Representative McCormick are in straightforward fashion showing the inevitable results of the policy of unpreparedness which we have followed for three and a half years, and which the Administration, through Secretary Baker, now actually advocates as our permanent policy. Senator Wadsworth has shown, beyond possibility of anything except willful misrepresentation, that he has no partisan purpose whatever and that the investigation is designed solely to rouse the Government and the public to greater efforts in speeding up the war. The Committee on Military Affairs of the Senate is showing no partisanship. They realize that we cannot win the war merely by announcing programmes. They realize that we have a long road to travel and that we have made a slow start. They wish to help the Administration, and in order to do this it is imperative to tell the truth.

Some of the fault for the present situation is due to the shortcomings of individuals during the last ten months, but the major part is due to our failure[73] as a Nation to embark on the policy of preparedness three and a half years ago. Nine tenths of wisdom is being wise in time. Now our people must brace themselves to face unpleasant truths. There is not the slightest reason for discouragement. If we choose, we can, through our governmental representatives, quickly remedy the defects and then exert with decisive effect our tremendous latent powers. But we need to know the truth and then to act with instant and resolute efficiency and with single-minded patriotism.


December 21, 1917

President Wilson has announced that we are in this war to make the world safe for democracy. Either this declaration was worse than empty rhetoric or we are in honor bound to make it good. Indeed, to prove false to it now is to be guilty of peculiarly offensive hypocrisy.

The only way to make the world safe for democracy is to free the people over whom Turkey and Austria tyrannize. Every day’s delay in declaring war on Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria has represented and now represents a betrayal of democracy and of our allies. It is hypocritical to send an encouraging message to Rumania and not to declare war on Bulgaria. It is hypocritical to shed crocodile tears over Armenia and not to declare war on Turkey.


When President Wilson says, “We do not wish in any way to rearrange the Austria-Hungarian Empire; it is no affair of ours what they do,” he is engaged in the betrayal of democracy, and if his present words are to be taken seriously, then his declaration about making the world safe for democracy was false and empty rhetoric. Either one statement or the other must be unsparingly condemned by all honest men. In view of the last statement there is small wonder that the Austrian Foreign Minister says that “it is to our interest to nail down” the statement in question, because it abandons the proposal, or, as the Austrian minister phrases it, “the catch phrase,” to allow all small states to determine their own destinies. No wonder that the leading Vienna paper contemptuously states that President Wilson wishes to act as an “European peace intermediary,” being one of the leaders who “apparently consider a warlike noise the best overture to a peace conference.”

There is also no wonder that the Czech Slovaks feel with intense bitterness about this betrayal. One of their papers in this country describes how loyally they have supported America and the Allies, and describes the dreadful butcheries and persecutions of their men, women, and children in Bohemia, and then asks whether it can be true that America now really proposes to keep them “under the merciless tyranny of the Huns.”

This is precisely what President Wilson proposes when he says that it is no affair of ours to rearrange[75] the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, or, in other words, no affair of ours to free the Czechs, Slovaks, Jugo-Slavs, Italians, and Rumanians, who, together with the Poles, make up the majority of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and who are ground down by tyranny of the Germans and the Magyars.

The President’s proposal represents three separate betrayals.

It is the betrayal of the Slavs of Austria, to whose cause our allies have pledged themselves and who form a democratic population oppressed by a militaristic autocracy.

It is the betrayal of democracy, because we abandon the majority who are our friends into the hands of a minority, who despise and hate us.

It is the betrayal of the free people everywhere to Germany, for Germany is now a world menace, chiefly because Austria and Turkey are her subject allies, and President Wilson’s proposal is to leave them undisturbed.

A peace without a change of frontiers and without indemnification for brutal wrongdoing, a peace which does not create an independent and united Poland and a greater Bohemia and Jugo-Slovak commonwealth, as well as a greater Italy and a greater Rumania, and which does not free and indemnify Belgium, would leave every perilous problem of Europe unsolved. It would be timid and calamitous folly to refuse to touch the disputed questions which, if left unanswered, are absolutely certain to invite a future war.



December 27, 1917

It is earnestly to be hoped that the congressional investigation into the fruits of our military unpreparedness will keep two objects clearly in mind. First, the aim must be to speed up the work of efficient war preparation by doing away with all the present practices that are wrong. Second, the aim should be to make evident to all our people that our present shameful shortcomings are due to failure to prepare in advance and that never again ought we to allow our governmental leaders to put us in such a humiliating and unworthy position.

It will be quite impossible to get at all the facts of our unpreparedness. Most officers will be very reluctant to testify to the whole truth. They know that they will suffer if they do so, because they have seen the punishment inflicted by the Administration on Major-General Wood for the sole reason that he dared to tell the truth about our shortcomings, and dared to advocate preparedness in advance. For this reason I am not at liberty to quote the generals, colonels, captains, and lieutenants of the artillery, infantry, medical corps, and quartermaster corps who have told me of their troubles with unheated hospitals, insufficient drugs, summer underclothes in winter weather, lack of overcoats, of shoes, of rifles, of ammunition, of cannon. But in the camps I[77] visited I saw some things so evident that no harm can come to any officer from my speaking of them.

Last fall I saw thousands of men drilling with broomsticks. I have such a broomstick now before me. Last fall I saw thousands of men drilling with rudely whittled wooden guns. I have one such before me now. I saw them drilling with wooden machine guns as late as the beginning of December. I saw barrels mounted on sticks, on which zealous captains were endeavoring to teach their men how to ride a horse. I saw in the national army camps in Illinois and Ohio scores of wooden cannon. Doubtless any man can see them now if he goes there.

The excellent officers in the camps are as rapidly as possible remedying these deficiencies. I hope and believe that by spring they will all be remedied. But let our people not forget that for one year after Germany went to war with us we were wholly unable to defend ourselves and owed our safety only to the English and French ships and armies.

The cause was our refusal to prepare in advance. President Wilson’s message of December, 1914, in which he ridiculed those who advocated preparedness, was part of the cause. His presidential campaign on the “He kept us out of war” issue was part of the cause. We paid the price later with broomstick rifles, logwood cannon, soldiers without shoes, and epidemics of pneumonia in the camps. We are paying the price now. We pay the price in the doubled cost of necessary war supplies. We pay the price in shortage of coal and congested transportation.[78] The refusal to prepare and the price we now pay because of the refusal stand in the relation of cause and effect.

I do not dwell on these facts to blame anybody. I dwell on them in order to wake our people to the necessity of learning the lesson they teach. Our next and permanent duty is to introduce the policy of universal obligatory military training for all our young men before they are twenty-one.


January 1, 1918

In the papers there recently appeared a brief statement made by an unnamed young American major to his troops in the trenches in France. He said:

We have reached the top in training. If you need anything, come and tell me and I will get it for you if I can. If I do not get it, I do not want to hear about it again, for it means that I cannot get it. We will have three meals a day if we can get them. If we have to miss one meal, we will not be badly off, and if we miss two or three, it will not be much worse. We are expected to work from midnight of one day to midnight of the next day. If there is any chance to sleep between, all right. It will also be all right if there is no chance. Let everybody pitch in. While mud and water must be fought, it may be much worse. The hopes of the Nation are fixed on each man.

The ideal of duty thus set before our soldiers, before the Americans who at this time risk most and suffer most, is substantially the ideal of duty toward which all of the rest of us here in America should, in[79] our turn, likewise strive. We must brace ourselves for effort and for endurance through a hard and dangerous year. High of heart and with unfaltering soul, we must do our part in the grim work of toiling and fighting to bring a little nearer the day when there shall be orderly liberty throughout the world and when justice and mercy and brotherly love shall obtain between man and man and among all the nations of mankind. We must show our faith by our works. We must prove our truth by our endeavor. We must scorn the baseness which uses high-sounding speech to cloak ignoble action and which seems to betray suffering right with the Judas kiss of the treacherous peace.

During the year that is opening we at home will suffer discomfort and privation and wearing anxiety. What of it? What we at home endure will be as nothing compared to that which is faced by the sons and brothers, by the husbands and fathers at the front, and what the fighting men of to-day face and bear will be no harder than what was faced and borne by Washington’s troops at Valley Forge and Trenton and by the soldiers of Grant and Lee when they wrestled in the Wilderness. We inherit as free men this fair and mighty land only because our fathers and forefathers had iron in their blood. We can leave our heritage undiminished to those who come after us only if we in our turn show a resolute and rugged manliness in the dark days of trial that have come upon us.

Let us all individually and collectively do our[80] whole duty with brave hearts. Let us pay our taxes, subscribe to the government loans, work at our several tasks with all our strength, support all the agencies which take care of our troops, and accept the stinting in fuel or food as part of the price we pay. Let our prime care be the welfare and warlike efficiency of the men at the front and in the training camps. Let us hold to sharp account every public servant who in any way comes short of his duty in this respect. But let us also insist that the soldiers at the front and in the camps treat every shortcoming merely as an obstacle to be overcome or remedied or offset by their own energy and courage and resourcefulness. The one absolute essential for our people is to insist that this war be seen through at no matter what cost until it is crowned with the peace of overwhelming victory for the right.


January 4, 1918

Any man who at this time leaves undone anything to increase our fighting efficiency is a foe of America and a friend of Germany. The man who objects to fearless exposure and criticism of the governmental shortcomings which must be exposed if they are to be corrected is a foe to America and a friend to Germany, and in addition shows that he possesses a thoroughly servile mind. The critic whose criticism[81] is not constructive, or who treats shortcomings as causes for being disheartened about the war instead of as an incentive to strive for the greater efficiency in waging the war and in preparing for the future, is a foe to America and a friend to every present or future foe of America.

When the Administration stands against universal military training and talks with vague looseness of future paper guarantees against war, it renders it imperatively necessary to bring home to our people the tremendous damage done by our lamentable folly in refusing to prepare since August, 1914. It is a betrayal of our country to protest against telling the truth for this purpose.

This is the twelfth month since Germany in effect declared war on us and we broke relations with Germany. We have developed our military strength so slowly that as yet we would be wholly unable to defend ourselves if we were not protected by the fleets and armies of our allies. No modern armies can fight without training in modern war methods and without modern field guns, auto rifles and airplanes. As yet we only have either cannon borrowed from the hard-pressed French or else wooden cannon. We have no auto rifles. Our airplanes are still unfit to fight modern war planes.

The Patriotic Education Society of Washington has done capital constructive work in truthfully telling our needs. It has fearlessly shown our dreadful shortage in shipbuilding and the deceitful wording of government announcements designed to conceal[82] this shortage. It has shown the vital need of our, at this late time, bending every energy to building ships by working three eight-hour shifts a day in order to put our soldiers and supplies at the front at the earliest possible moment. The building of transport ships was the central feature of the problem we faced on January 31 a year ago. It was not only a misfortune, but a crime, to neglect it, as for nine months afterward it was neglected. The newspapers have just printed the statement that Colonel House’s committee reports that it is of the utmost importance to get our troops quickly to the front. Of course it is. Every man of broad vision has known this for a year. If there had been more fearless truth-telling during the year there would have been much less governmental delay and inefficiency.

Tell the truth and speed up the war. Tell the truth only for constructive purposes and only with the unalterable determination to exert every particle of our strength at the earliest possible moment, so as to win peace by overwhelming victory.


January 6, 1918

Senator Chamberlain, in order to minimize the chance of future war and to insure us against disaster, if in future war should unhappily come, has introduced a bill for universal military training of[83] our young men under the age of twenty-one. The Administration declares against universal training and therefore for a continuance of the policy of unpreparedness, the fruits of which we are enjoying. Some of these fruits are as follows:

According to the statement of Mr. Fitzgerald, the chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the House, Congress appropriated during the last year $18,880,000,000 and provided authorization for which cash must be supplied before next July of $2,510,000,000, making our year’s war expenses a grand total of $21,390,000,000. This equals the entire sum Great Britain expended during the first three years of the war. It is over twenty times as great as for any previous year in our history, except the year that saw the close of the Civil War, and it is seventeen times as great as that. The appropriations for the year are twenty-two times as great as the total interest-bearing debt of the United States one year ago. They come within four billion dollars of the total expenditures of the United States Government from 1776 to 1917. They equal the expenditure of twenty dollars a minute for every minute since the birth of Christ.

Had we started to prepare in time, one half of this cost would have been saved. The tremendous pressure coming suddenly caused an immense increase in expenditures, even aside from the futile waste, extravagance, and misdirection. Had we gone into the war when the Lusitania was sunk, we would have saved a third of the sum, for we have provided[84] to loan our allies about seven billions. Our delay in going to war and, above all, delay in preparing, have resulted in a huge increase in the money chest and in the length of the war and in the terrible total of avoidable human suffering.

The lack of preparedness is responsible for the sickness among our soldiers. Take as an example the ravages of pneumonia in the training camps. The men in the training camps are physically of exceptional type and are in the prime of life. Their death-rate ought not normally to be more than a small fraction of that in New York City, where the total population includes the very young, the very old, the weak and sick, the badly nurtured. The population of New York City is 4,800,000. The population of the thirty camps is about six hundred thousand. In the two weeks of last December the death-rate in the city from pneumonia was one to every 16,500 people. In the camps it was one to 2800. Therefore, the specially selected men of the camps suffered from a death-rate six times as great as in the heterogeneous city population. And of every three men attacked, one died.

Doubtless administrative blundering during the last year is largely responsible for this showing. But the prime cause is the failure to prepare in advance. Our first duty at the moment is to speed up the war. Our second duty is to secure real preparedness as outlined in Senator Chamberlain’s bill.



January 8, 1918

The assumption of control by the Government over the railroads was certainly necessary. Exactly how far it will go is not evident. At present what has been done is merely to introduce government supervision and control over railroads which are required to combine their operations in flat defiance Of the Sherman Law. In other words, the Government has wisely abandoned the effort to enforce competition among the railroads and has introduced the principle of control over corporative organizations.

The Attorney-General has just announced that he will, for the time being, abandon the suits under the Sherman Law to break up the harvester and steel corporations, because it is not wise to do so during the war. Mr. Culbertson, the able expert on the government tariff board, has announced that the Sherman Law is mischievous in international trade. Mr. Francis Heney, than whom in all the country there is no more determined and efficient enemy of wrongdoing corporations, has stated that the Sherman Law, the so-called Anti-Trust Law, is mischievous in our domestic business and should be repealed. In other words, under the strain of the war the Sherman Law has completely broken down and the Government is not merely conniving at, but encouraging, its violation by many different corporations.


The Sherman Law, or so-called Anti-Trust Law, is just as mischievous in peace as in war. It represents an effort to meet a great evil in the wrong way. As long as corporations claimed complete immunity from government control, the first necessity was to establish the right of the Government to control them. This right and power of the Government was established by the Northern Securities suit, which prevented all the railroads of the country from being united under one corporation which defied government control. The suits against the Standard Oil and Tobacco trusts followed. The Supreme Court decreed that the trusts had been guilty of grave misconduct and should be dissolved, but not a particle of good followed their dissolution. It is evident that the Sherman Law, or so-called Anti-Trust Law, in no way meets the evils of the industrial world. To try to break up corporations because they are big and efficient is either ineffective or mischievous. What is needed is to exercise government control over them, so as to encourage their efficiency and prosperity, but to insure that the efficiency is used in the public interest and that the prosperity is properly passed around.

Merely to repeal the Sherman Law without putting anything in its place would do harm. It should at once be amended or superseded by a law which would in some shape permit and require the issuing of licenses by the Federal Government to corporations doing an interstate or international business. Corporations which did not take out such[87] licenses or comply with the rules of the Government’s administrative board would be subject to the Sherman Law. The others would be under government control and would be encouraged to coöperate and in every way to become prosperous and efficient, the Government guaranteeing by its supervision that the corporations’ prosperity and efficiency were in the public interest.


January 17, 1918

The great American humorist, Artemus Ward, whose writings gave such delight to Abraham Lincoln, once remarked that he was willing to sacrifice all his wife’s relatives on the altar of the country. Mr. Ward was not in President Lincoln’s Cabinet. Mr. Baker is in President Wilson’s Cabinet. He takes substantially the same ground that Artemus Ward took, although possibly with a more unconscious humor. He has just uttered a heroic sentiment expressing his pleased acquiescence in the sacrifice of France and England’s armies for the defense of the common cause.

On Wednesday of last week, discussing the likelihood that the Germans, relieved from anxiety of Russia, would make a tremendous assault on the western front, Mr. Baker said: “The impending German offensive will possibly be their greatest assault. The French and British armies can be relied[88] upon to withstand the shock.” Mr. Baker is President Wilson’s Secretary of War. He holds at this time the most important office in our Government. He thus announces to our allies and the world that in the twelfth month after Germany went to war with us, America, the richest country of the world with a population of one hundred million people, after being at war nearly a year and after such warning as never a nation had before, is wholly unable to send any effective assistance to repel the greatest assault of the war, and that the only military measure which can be taken is to express through Mr. Baker the belief that the British and French armies can be relied upon to do alone the duty which we ought to share with them.

This statement of Mr. Baker absolves us from all necessity of commenting on his ingenuous defense of a system of preparedness which leaves our small army at the front with no artillery except what we get from the French and our army at home with batteries made out of telegraph poles and logwood. It is not necessary to discuss the exact amount of pride we should as a Nation take in the fact that as a Nation after eleven months of war we are proudly emerging from the broomstick rifle stage preparedness into the telegraph pole stage preparedness. Mr. Baker’s statement sums up the situation exactly. We have been at war nearly a year, and when the Germans make their greatest assault our preparedness is only such as to warrant our expressing belief that our allies can win without our help.


The New York Times, a supporter of the Administration, comments truthfully on the situation:

Nine months after entering the war not only are we giving our allies no effective military aid, but all our bustle and stir doesn’t hide the fact that, through incompetence and lack of organization and system, we are far behind in our preparations to supply rifles, ammunition, machine guns, airships, uniforms, clothing for the troops we shall some time have at the front. Our backwardness is naturally disquieting to our allies. If one million American soldiers, or half that number, fully equipped, had stood on the soil of France, Lloyd George would have made no speech to British working-men restating after a fashion the war aims of the Allies. There would have been no occasion, nor demand for a speech telling the labor unions what the troops of Britain are fighting for.

The pacifists and the agencies of German intrigue would not be working for a peace in the interests of the capitalistic and militaristic autonomy of Germany. As the Times well says, the man who now works for such a peace while Germany is unconquered “is the most heartless of militarists or enemy of the world’s peace and freedom.”


January 18, 1918

We have been at war nearly one year. We have failed to do any damage to Germany, but we have done a great deal of damage to ourselves. Recently the President’s Secretary of War announced that the war was three thousand miles away and so he had not prepared to meet it. Incidentally the feats of the[90] German submarine off Newport in the fall of 1916 showed that if it had not been for the Allied fleets and armies the war would then have been on our own shores. But at the moment it is three thousand miles away, and yet this Nation is suffering the kind of grave economic derangement that we would suffer if a hostile army was on our own shores. We have accomplished very little. We have suffered very much. Both the failure in accomplishment and the amount of avoidable suffering are due to the resolute refusal of our Government to prepare in advance and to its fatuous persistence in the policy of watchful waiting.

Doubtless part of the present trouble in connection with coal is due to unwisdom in the price-fixing of bituminous coal. Doubtless part of it is due to the railway congestion, which in its turn is due to the complete lack of system and consequent chaos due to suddenly imposing on well-meaning, stodgy government officials of average capacity the duty of dealing in a tremendous hurry with a situation of unprecedented size, complexity, and importance, but the temporary causes are all secondary to the great cause of complete failure to prepare in advance.

Our economic unpreparedness is just as complete as our military unpreparedness and is one of the chief factors therein. We are now paying bitterly for the fact that two and three years ago it was deemed politically wise to shape our governmental policy along the lines of “Watchful waiting” and “He kept us out of war.”


If three years ago we had begun in good faith and earnestly to prepare, and if, when the Lusitania was sunk, we had acted as precisely as we did act with no more provocation in February, last, this war would now have been over. An immense amount of bloodshed would have been spared and the danger of German militarism would have been forever averted. In such case we would have greatly developed the trained administrators and the coherent system necessary to deal wisely with the economic no less than the military features of a great war. Our refusal to prepare in advance and our fatuous acceptance of rhetorical platitudes as a substitute for preparations have resulted in our present military impotence and profound and far-reaching economic derangement. The profound business distrust, the unrest of labor, the coal famine, the congestion of traffic, and the shutting down of industries at the time when it is most important that production should be speeded to the highest point, all are due primarily to the refusal to face facts during the first two years and a half of the World War and the seething welter of inefficiency and confusion in which the policy of watchful waiting finally plunged us. Nine tenths of wisdom is being wise in time. All far-sighted patriots most earnestly hope that this Nation will learn the bitter lesson and that never again will we be caught so shamefully unprepared, spiritually, economically, and from the military standpoint as has been the case in the year that is now passing.



January 21, 1918

Nearly a year has passed since, on February 3, by formally breaking relations with Germany, we reluctantly admitted that she had gone to war with us. During that year it has been incessantly insisted that it was unpatriotic under any consideration to tell an unpleasant truth or to point out a governmental shortcoming. The result has not been happy.

The famous war correspondent, Mr. Caspar Whitney, has returned from the front so that he might avoid our fatuous and sinister censorship, and tell our people the truth about our army in France. He shows that this army, which, Secretary Baker had just assured our people, was admirably equipped, in reality had no cannon or machine guns except those it had borrowed from the hard-pressed French; that there was a lamentable shortage of shoes; that the motor cars were poor; that we had no airplanes. From another source it appeared that many thousand coffins had been sent over. Our troops had no shoes, but they had plenty of coffins. Their ammunition was defective, and they had neither cannon nor auto rifles; but they had plenty of coffins.

At the same time the death of gallant Major Gardner from pneumonia called sharp attention to the evil health conditions in most of our home training camps, and the Senate investigating committee showed a really appalling slackness and inefficiency in[93] the management of the War Department under Mr. Baker. There is no particular reason to blame Mr. Baker; he did not appoint himself; he did not seek the office. Logwood cannon and wooden auto rifles are mostly incidental features of the inevitable outcome.

All this was done in the face of repeated and explicit warnings from the best authority. Major-General Leonard Wood told the military committee of the Senate and of the House in detail about our shortcomings two years ago, and again one year ago. The Administration not only refused to remedy these shortcomings, but has spitefully punished General Wood ever since.

Criticism should be both truthful and constructive. I have told not the whole truth, but the minimum truth absolutely necessary in order that we may, before it is too late, speed up the war, and in order that we may insist on the passage of the Chamberlain Bill, so that never again may we be caught utterly and shamefully unprepared. Let us insist that the truth be told. The truth only harms weaklings. The American people wish the truth, and can stand the truth.


January 28, 1918

Senator Chamberlain and his excellent committee have already seen the justification of their investigation.[94] They have forced the appointment of Mr. Stettinius, a trained and capable expert, as head of the war supplies purchasing department. The fact that the appointment is made in order to obviate the need of following Senator Chamberlain’s more thoroughgoing programme does not alter the fact that it represents a certain advance and that this advance is primarily due to the investigation by Senator Chamberlain’s committee. It is a striking tribute to the necessity for and the good results of that investigation.

The investigation has been wholly non-partisan. It has been conducted with an eye single to the needs of the army and of our country. Senator Chamberlain is a Democrat, just as Secretary Baker is a Democrat. The committee has fearlessly exposed very grave abuses and shortcomings and has taken constructive action to remedy them. Secretary Baker’s testimony shows that, to use the language of Senator Chamberlain, the President has been misled as to the facts. His statements as to the satisfactory condition of things in the camps are not in accord with the facts. It is, of course, exceedingly difficult to get testimony from army officers because they have vividly before their eyes the signal punishment inflicted by the Administration on General Wood for fearlessly telling the truth, and those of us who have examined conditions and know how bad they are cannot give our authorities in many cases because we will not expose good officers to punishment in order to save ourselves from contradiction.


But certain vitally important facts are easily attainable. At the very time that Secretary Baker was testifying that the army had enough rifles, the governor of Mississippi in the public press on January 17 stated that he had been helpless to prevent the burning alive of a negro because the home guards had no rifles and because “there are over five hundred national guardsmen at Camp Jackson, but they are equally helpless because they have no rifles.” Many deficiencies can be covered up or their existence denied, but some cannot thus be concealed. Any one can see the wooden cannon and wooden machine guns in the training camps, every one knows that our army at the front has French cannon and French machine guns. Will not Secretary Baker state frankly when our own cannon and machine guns will be ready? After one year of war we have none. Must we wait another year before getting them? Caspar Whitney, a responsible man, has stated lamentable shortcomings of our army at the front. Will not the Secretary advise us what steps he has taken to investigate this statement and remedy the shortcomings?

The appointment of Mr. Stettinius is a good thing, but it does not represent even a half step toward bringing order out of the administrative chaos at Washington. Drastic action is needed to secure a plan providing for coördination, responsibility and efficiency, and above all, for securing the right men to administer the plan.



February 2, 1918

Secretary Baker’s denial of any serious shortcomings in the administration of the War Department comes under several heads. Part of it is prophecy, which we all hope will turn out to be justified. Part of it is explanation or denials of facts, as to which it is easy to get first-hand information. With this part I shall deal in my next editorial. Part of it relates to allegations as to which it is almost impossible to get first-hand information except from officers whose names cannot be quoted, because this would probably entail punishment upon them. It is with this part that I now deal.

General Wood two years ago, before the congressional committee, and again one year ago, before the congressional committee, set forth in detail our unpreparedness. Every fact he stated has proved to be true and to be but a small part of the truth. Yet he has been singled out for punishment because of thus having told Congress the truth, and this although we and our allies are now paying dearly for our failure to act on the truth which he thus told. Under such conditions it is impossible to make public the names of the officers and enlisted men through whom we occasionally learn of abuses. Nevertheless, it is imperative to try to correct the abuses. If the Administration had not punished General Wood for telling the truth, the complaints would be at once[97] laid before the department and the wrongs remedied. Under existing conditions it is imperative to call public attention to them.

A major-general informed me in October that he had one hundred rifles for twenty thousand men, and most strongly felt that these men should not have been brought to the camp until the hospitals, barracks, heating arrangements, clothes, and arms were ready for them. Another major-general told me, in explanation of the shortage of supplies abroad, that one shipload of big coast defense guns had to be returned because when they reached France it was discovered that there were no carriages for them. Hundreds of officers and non-commissioned officers have told me of lack of overcoats, of winter under-clothing, of heavy socks. One quartermaster, being unable otherwise to get woolen gloves for the men in cold weather, finally got them from the Red Cross and was officially reprimanded for so doing. Two officers informed me that when in France there was a shortage of shoes. They were told it was due to a shipment of coffins, one being told that they were not regular coffins, but boxes containing grave-clothes. The newspaper correspondents repeatedly have told of the shortage of shoes, one recent statement being that a shipment of clay pigeons, not coffins, was sent over, while Mr. Caspar Whitney recites that the surplusage was a large shipment of hospital cots. At any rate, the shortage of shoes is unquestioned, whether their places were taken by coffins, clay pigeons, or hospital cots. A leading[98] New York business man has just written me of the complete lack of hospital and medical facilities in one camp. The superintendent of a Bible teachers’ training school writes that his son volunteered, leaving a wife and two little children; that his pay was over a month in arrears, and that at Christmas time he wrote as follows:

We have not yet received our November pay. At this time of the year the boys don’t want it for themselves; they want to send some little thing home to their mothers or wives or sweethearts, and in lots of cases to their children, to whom just a little something from daddy means so much. Yet even that little pleasure is denied us. Can you not bring this to the attention of the people who are supporting this Government?

I have received many hundreds such appeals. To give the names of the writers would insure their punishment. To pay no heed to their appeals means that the abuses go unremedied. Doubtless an occasional informant is in error in his statement. But Senator Chamberlain’s speech and the testimony taken before his committee prove that the important statements I have made during the last few months as to the shortcomings in our army have been more than warranted by the facts.


February 3, 1918

In my last editorial I spoke of the things of which Secretary Baker explicitly or implicitly denies the existence, in justifying the Administration for the military delay and shortcomings that have marked[99] our entry into war. But as to the major facts there is no room for denial. As to these Secretary Baker falls back on the comfortable doctrine that all our shortcomings are of no consequence because they are made good anyhow by the efforts of our allies—who, by the way, with preposterous silliness, are in official circles merely termed our associates. Secretary Baker explains that, although our forces in France have no field artillery or auto rifles, this is of no consequence because the French love to give us artillery and auto rifles. He explains that the greatest German offensive movement of the war is about to take place, an offensive movement which, if successful, means that we have lost the war, and he adds that we can trust England and France to repel this offensive. This is a naked statement that we are to let George do it. We are to announce that after being at war just a year our delays have been so great that we are almost negligible in the military sense and that we must trust to our allies to speed up the war.

This verifies the prediction of von Hindenburg and von Tirpitz that it would take us eighteen months to become a real factor in the war. Americans laughed at this statement, but the ruthless and brutal and intelligent Germans were right and our own soft sentimentalities were their efficient allies. We are in the position of letting George speed up the war. Are the citizens of a proud and high-spirited Nation to be content with such a position?

Our major shortcomings can neither be concealed[100] nor denied. In October I personally saw thousands of infantrymen drilling with sticks. In December, I still saw artillerymen with sticks instead of rifles. A month ago most of the cannon in the national army camps, which I saw, were made of logs or of sections of telegraph poles and all the machine guns I saw were wooden dummies. The daily press has repeatedly published photos of these wooden rifles, cannon, and machine guns. Secretary Baker cannot deny this nor can he deny that in modern war an army without artillery is helpless. We are now getting a small number of machine guns. We are turning some heavy coast guns into field artillery, but as yet gallant General Pershing and his gallant men in France have to trust to the French for artillery and machine guns and war planes, and, thanks to our dawdling and indecision, we have an utterly insufficient number of cargo ships.

We have been at war for a year. In April Congress stated that Germany had already committed repeated acts of war against us and that our own declaration of war was formal. It was then too late to undo the criminal mischief caused by our refusal to prepare during the preceding two and a half years, but we aggravated the damage immensely by our delays and follies. If we had exercised reasonable energy we would in six months have achieved more than we have actually achieved in a year. The least we can do now is to speed up the war ourselves. Let us insist that this be the end toward which with all our energy we now strive.



February 5, 1918

No one can tell how long this war will last. It may last three years more, and we should prepare accordingly. But it may close this year, and it is unpardonable of us not to act with such speed as to make our help available in substantial form at once. Uncle Sam must not be put in the position of the sub, who only gets into the game just before the whistle blows. Above all, he must not so act as to rouse suspicion that this attitude is due to deliberate shirking on his part.

The prime aid in getting Uncle Sam into the game has come from the men who, in order to achieve this object, have truthfully set forth the unpleasant facts about our delay, military inefficiency, and total unpreparedness. The critics of these men have been either unwise or insincere. The most fatuous form of objection to such truth-telling is the assertion that it tends to prolong the war. It is the only thing that will shorten the war. Suppression of the truth as the habitual governmental policy has been successful in preventing our people from realizing our mistakes and even more successful in preventing their remedy.

An excellent example of this policy of falsehood is furnished in a letter from a news agency offering to various newspapers cartoons assailing me because I had “criticized our unpreparedness and urged an immediate movement toward universal obligatory military training,” the cartoonist saying that I had[102] said that I had seen artillerymen drilling with “wooden guns made from pieces of telegraph poles.” The writer admitted this, but stated that “these wooden imitations were as efficient for the purposes of learning as the real guns.” I suppose that this particular Champion of military inefficiency would believe that a rifle team could train for a championship match with dummy rifles of wood.

Every important criticism made of our military unpreparedness and inefficiency during the past six months, and indeed during the preceding three years, has been proved true and in no case has there been correction of the abuse until it was exposed. General Pershing has just written home a scathing indictment of the military shortcomings of our higher officers abroad. This is after we have been at war a year, and it is directly due to the character of both the civilian and the military control that has been exercised from the swivel chairs of the War Department during this year.

Our duty is solely to the country and to every official high or low precisely to the extent to which he loyally, disinterestedly, and efficiently serves the country. Let us get behind the United States. Let us think only of our patriotic duty. I care not a rap for politics at such a time as this. I supported Senator Chamberlain, my political and to some extent my personal opponent in the past, because on the great issue now up he served the country. I supported General Crowder, of whose politics I know nothing and care less, because he served the country. Stand behind America.



February 15, 1918

It is very important that we should conserve many things, but especially food. It is, however, very much more important that we shall produce the food in order to conserve it. The governmental attitude toward production during the past year has been, at points, very unwise. There has not only been failure to encourage producing the one thing vitally necessary to this Nation at this time, but there has been at times, by unwise price-fixing, a direct discouragement of producing.

We have suffered severely during this winter because of this attitude in the matter of coal production. One of the factors in producing the misery and discomfort, especially among people of limited means during the severe weather of the last few months, was the improperly low price rate established last summer, and the uncertain and contradictory attitude of the Government on the question of coal production.

But important though all production is, the production of food, the production which we owe to the farmer, is the most important of all. This country needs more food. Its allies need more food. Only the farmer can give the food. It is nonsense to expect him to produce it unless he can make his livelihood by so doing. The farmer is thoroughly[104] patriotic; he stands ready now as he has stood ready in every crisis of the Nation, pledged to do his full duty, and a little more than his duty. But he makes his livelihood by producing what is essential to the livelihood of the rest of us. He cannot produce unless he makes his livelihood. Not a step should be taken that interferes with his welfare, save after such wise and cautious inquiry as to make us certain that the step is necessary.

We should do whatever is necessary to help the farmer produce the maximum of food at this time. Moreover, every step we take should be conditioned upon securing the farmer’s permanent well-being. The city man is often utterly ignorant of the work and of the needs of the man who lives in the open country. The working-man and the business man who growl about one another are a little apt to join in growling about the farmer. The city Socialist is more utterly ignorant of the farmer than any other human being. Last fall the Socialist campaign in New York had for one of its battle cries the announcement that they intended to make the farmer give them five-cent milk. Apparently the detail that the farmer had to feed the cows and take care of them struck them as unworthy of notice.

The farmer must have labor. But there must be no importation of Chinese or any other cheap labor, whether permanent or temporary. The emergency need of farm labor for planting and harvesting can be met at this time just as the need for the national army was met. The farmer must have first-class[105] prices for his products. No price-fixing at his expense must be gone into without the clearest necessity being shown, and above all there must be no repetition of the folly that marked the dealing with the fuel situation last summer. The farmer must have what capital he needs at a rate of interest not excessive, in order to plant and reap his crop this year. The aid can be given to groups of farmers who underwrite one another, so to speak, and, of course, if he can be given it by private means, so much the better. If that is impossible, then the Government should act. We should profit by the admirable California example to see that the help is given only to the man who is a real farmer and can really make use of it, but that it is extended in such a way as to be of genuine and material benefit.

This is the immediate need, and let us treat meeting this need as the opening wedge of a policy designed to prevent the growth of tenant farms at the expense of the farm owner who tills his own soil, and designed also to put a premium upon the permanent prosperity of the small farmer as compared with the big landowner.


February 26, 1918

It is not agreeable to keep insisting on the need of doing better than we have done. It is not agreeable to keep pointing out our shortcomings, but to do so[106] is the only way of remedying them and of securing better action in the future.

The people, some of them well-meaning, some of them anything but well-meaning, who denounce criticism and who object to telling the minimum of truth necessary to correct our faults, are the efficient allies of Germany and the foes of the United States. Actual events have shown that fatuous complacency on the part of our officials has resulted in inefficiency and delay which would have meant overwhelming disaster to this Nation if we had not been protected by the fleets and armies of England and France.

For the first eleven months of this war the inefficiency at vital points in our Government, notably in the matter of shipping and in the management of the War Department, was worse than anything Russia herself has ever seen. Nearly thirteen months have now passed since Germany went to war with us and we broke relations with Germany and afterwards timidly and helplessly drifted stern foremost into what we styled a “formal” state of war. The Russo-Japanese War likewise began before there was any formal declaration of war. It only lasted sixteen months. We have been accustomed to hold out Russia’s action during that sixteen months as a miracle of inefficiency, but she showed herself far less inefficient than we have shown ourselves during the thirteen months that have just passed, and, of course, there was nothing in her conduct quite as bad as our criminal folly in utterly failing in any shape or way to prepare during the two and a half[107] previous years. There is just one difference between the two cases. Russia did not have England and France to protect her from the effects of her folly. That we have been at liberty to indulge in our folly with impunity is due only to the fact that England and France have protected us with the blood of their bravest, while we have refused to prepare and then delayed and blundered and fatuously boasted after the war came on. Every pro-German, of course, heartily applauds these blunders and delays and bitterly objects to their being pointed out, but every American with a particle of patriotism in him, every American proud of his country, should learn the bitter lesson and should resolve that never again will we permit our great Nation to be put in such an ignoble position.

Our worst failure, of course, has been our failure to grapple with the shipping problem. But there have been many such failures. One was the failure to equip Pershing’s army. I do not believe a more gallant little army than Pershing’s was ever sent abroad, but without abundant artillery, machine guns, and airplanes a modern army is as helpless as if its men were armed only with stone-headed axes. Pershing’s army has only the field artillery, machine guns, and airplanes that the French have given it, and this, although since our troops landed last June, a longer time has elapsed than covered the whole Franco-Prussian War. As regards the field artillery, the fault is due to the blind refusal of the Government to prepare in advance to build the guns. As[108] regards the machine guns and auto rifles, the fault is due to our Government’s refusal during the last thirteen months to utilize the Lewis gun.

Steps have been taken to remedy some of the worst of these evils in the War Department. They have been taken only and purely because of public criticism of them and because of the fearless exposure of inefficiency of Senator Chamberlain and his colleagues of the Senate investigating committee. Until this committee began its labor, the War Department had striven to conceal and had refused to remedy its inefficiency, blundering, and delay. There has been some improvement, and this improvement is due solely to the Senate committee.

This is the people’s war. It is not the President’s war any more than it is Congress’s war. It is America’s war. We are in honor bound in conducting it to stand by every official who does well and against every official who fails to do well. Any other attitude is a servile attitude. Congress on the whole has done well. Until Congress finally asserted itself the executive branch of the Government did very badly. If Congress follows the lead outlined in the Chamberlain Bill, it will continue to do well; if it follows the lead outlined in Senator Overman’s Bill, it will condone the inefficiency of the past and put a premium upon inefficiency in the future. Congress must not shirk its duty to the people. Let the machinery of the Government be modernized and above all let this machinery be manned by men of distinguished and demonstrated ability who will[109] make the governmental conduct efficient instead of grossly inefficient, as it was during the first year of the war.

Let us quit being content with feeble mediocrity. Let us demand really first-class efficiency in both preparation and performance. That is the only way to do what we must do and see this war through to a triumphant conclusion.


March 2, 1918

A captain in the regular army of the United States has just been justly sentenced to twenty-five years’ imprisonment for trying to combine loyalty to this country with loyalty to Germany. He was born here of German parents. In Germany, for such an offense, he would have been instantly shot or hung. And in Germany organizations and newspapers responsible for causing such action would be instantly suppressed and their organizers and editors heavily punished.

The unfortunate army officer in question is paying the penalty for heeding such organizations as the German-American Alliance. Mr. Gustavus Ohlinger has put before Congress facts concerning the past actions and activities of this organization which warrant and require its instant suppression. Its leaders have sometimes been men who practiced a fifty-fifty loyalty between this country and Germany[110] and sometimes men all of whose loyalty was for Germany and all whose enmity was for the nationality, ideals, and language of the American people. It is an outrage that such an organization should be permitted longer to exist. Congress should act against it at once and the Department of Justice should abandon its slack attitude toward German spies and should so act as to convince our enemies that Uncle Sam is not a timid and soft-headed fool, and that hereafter German spies, dynamiters, and murderers who ply their trade here will do so at the risk of their necks.

Teaching German in the public schools should be prohibited. German language newspapers should have a time limit act, after which it should not be lawful to publish them save in English. A few of their newspapers have a most honorable past and are doing excellent work in the present. A number of English language newspapers have preached moral treason to the American people, often covering it by zeal in denouncing all honest and truthful men who point out the delays and inefficiencies in government, actions which make those responsible for them enemies of the American people and aids to Germany; but moral treason in English is at least open, whereas in a foreign language it is hidden. Moral treason is not necessarily legal treason, but it may be as dangerous, and from senators to school teachers, all public servants who deal in it should promptly be removed from office.

The organizations, newspapers, and public servants[111] who thus betray the honor of America in the interest of Germany wrong all their fellow citizens. But above all they cruelly wrong those loyal Americans, the great majority of our citizens who are in whole or in part of German blood. The loyal majority should lend their utmost energies to securing the condign and summary punishment of the disloyal minority of Americans of German blood who are a disgrace and a menace to this country. Gustavus Ohlinger is an admirable example of the Americans in whole or in part of German blood who is an American and nothing else. All good Americans, and especially all good Americans of German blood, should actively and heartily back him. There is no room in this country for fifty-fifty Americanism.


March 5, 1918

The experience of Trotzky, Lenine, and the other Bolshevist leaders in their peace negotiations with Germany ought to be illuminating to our own people. Germany encouraged them to enter peace negotiations, spoke fairly to them, got them committed to the abandonment of their allies, used them to demoralize Russia and make it impossible for her to organize effective resistance, and then threw them over, instantly invaded their land, and now holds a part of Russia.

Let our people take warning and insist that all[112] peace talk cease forthwith. Germany is the enemy of humanity generally and in a special sense is the enemy of the United States. She has introduced into warfare horrors which not another civilized nation would have dreamed of using. Her conduct toward Belgium stands out on the high peak of infamy. She has murdered innocent women and children wholesale on the high seas and hundreds of Americans have thus been slain. She has organized murder, rape, robbery, and devastation on a gigantic scale in every conquered territory. Our own sons and brothers are at this moment facing death by the awful torture of the poison gas because Germany has invented methods of warfare more cruel than those of the Dark Ages. Peace on equal terms with such a foe would mean black shame in the present and the certainty of renewed and wholesale war in the future.

To talk peace means to puzzle the ignorant and to weaken the will of even the stout-hearted. It is hailed with evil joy by all the men in this country who have opposed war and have wished us to submit tamely to German brutality. When there comes from Washington an announcement about peace terms which the pacifists and pro-Germans are able to interpret as favorable to their views, the Hearst papers gleefully champion it as undoing the effect of previous declarations that we are in this war to the end, and Mr. Hillquit, the New York mayoralty candidate of the Germanized Socialists and the pacifists, expresses his hearty approval and says that the President has now taken his (Mr. Hillquit’s) position.


Let us quit talking peace with a foe who, if we entered into peace negotiations, would, according to his ability, trick us as he has already tricked the Bolsheviki of Russia. Let us not put ourselves on the moral and intellectual level of Trotzky and Lenine. Every peace utterance pleases the Germans, renders our allies uneasy, strengthens the pacifists, the pro-Germans, and the various seditious elements in our own country, and bewilders, disheartens, and weakens our honest citizens.

The time when words about peace were useful passed a very long time ago. Let us now merely announce that we are in this war to fight until Germany is beaten to her knees. Then let us bend our entire energy to building ships and more ships at the greatest possible speed and putting a couple of million men on the firing line at the earliest possible moment. That is the effective way to bring a just and lasting peace.


March 10, 1918

The army and navy of the United States in the training camps, on the high seas, and at the battle front, are at this moment proving themselves the most potent agencies of Americanism that our country contains. All good Americans should feel a peculiar pride in the fine and gallant loyalty with which the great majority of the Americans of German[114] descent have come forward to do their part to win this war against the brutal and merciless tyranny of the Prussianized Germany of the Hohenzollerns. As regards able-bodied men, this service must be rendered in the army, for in war-time no other form of activity can be accepted as a substitute for the fighting work of the fighting man.

I continually meet officers from the front. A captain recently out of the trenches called on me the other day. His father and mother were born in Germany. He himself, after going through a small American college, had spent three years at Heidelberg. He mentioned that one of his lieutenants was born in Norway, and that another was of Irish parentage, and then continued by saying that already his brief experience of the war had given him a horror of the Germany of to-day, had convinced him that our only safety lay in the complete Americanization of all our people and therefore in the insistence that English should be the only language of this country and the only language taught in any primary school, and that he regarded such organizations as the German-American Alliance as guilty of moral treason to America as the worst and most dangerous foes of good Americans of German blood, and as richly deserving to be promptly suppressed and punished.

An officer from our destroyer squadron across the seas informed me that our destroyers had accounted for nearly a score of submarines; that about a quarter of their crews were, as indicated by their[115] names, of German descent, but straight-out Americans and nothing else; that his own best gun-pointer was named Fritz Heinz; and that their keenest indignation was reserved for the German officials in Germany and the German-American Alliance in America whose actions tended to make a wall between them and their fellow Americans and who inflicted the most cruel wrong possible upon them by exciting among other Americans an indiscriminate distrust and anger toward all men of German origin.

These men were absolutely right. We speak in the name of all good Americans and on behalf of Fritz and Adolph and Gustav exactly as on behalf of Bill and Harry and Edward, when we demand the prompt suppression of the German-American Alliance and of all similar organizations. The German blood is exactly as good as any other blood, but exactly as, under the corroding influence of slavery, masses of Americans of the best blood once became the enemies of the Union and of humanity, so under the debasing and brutalizing influence of the kultur of the last fifty years, Germany has become the cruel and treacherous enemy of the United States and of all the other liberty-loving nations of mankind.


March 16, 1918

The Bible warns us to gird up our loins if we wish to win a race. Most certainly we cannot expect to do well in the present struggle unless we bend every[116] energy to the task and exercise all our forethought in instant preparation.

Russia’s betrayal of the Allied cause under the foolish and iniquitous lead of the Bolsheviki has been a betrayal of the United States and of the cause of liberty and democracy and justice throughout the world. Above all, it has been a betrayal of Russia herself, and it has, of course, absolved us of every obligation to her. Our duty is to stand by England and France and Belgium and Serbia, who have stood by us. Russia has ruined herself in Germany’s interest, and has immensely increased the peril for the rest of us. This simply means that we ought to re-double our effort. We should be building the cargo ships in three eight-hour shift days and should treat work on them as being equivalent to work in the army. We should speed to the utmost the work on the cannon and flying machines so that our army may cease having to rely on the French for artillery and airplanes. The army should copy the wisdom of the navy in regard to the Lewis auto rifle and should use this weapon to the utmost limit now, even although it prove wise later to supersede it with the Browning weapon.

We ought at once to introduce obligatory universal military training for our young men between nineteen and twenty-one. They would not be sent to war until they were twenty-one. This would be the most effective step in preparing to get ready an army of five million men. Such an army would be relatively no larger than the four hundred thousand[117] men which gallant Canada, to her eternal honor, has already raised. Let us begin now to prepare ourselves for a three years’ war.

If we had prepared as we ought to have done during the two and a half years before we at last reluctantly faced our duty and went to war, we would have put a couple of million of fighting men into Europe last June. Russia would never have broken, and in all probability the war would have ended at once with almost no fighting. There is no use in crying over the enormous quantities of milk we have already spilled, unless it becomes necessary in order to prevent us from continuing to spill it in the present and future. Failure to prepare as above outlined may cause us as much trouble in the future as our past failure to prepare has already caused us. General Pershing’s gallant little army has already made the entire United States its debtor. But it is not as yet as important a military factor as the army of Belgium or of Portugal or of Serbia. Let us back it up and equip it and reënforce it to the utmost of our strength. Let us quit talking peace and bend all our energies to winning the war, and thereby winning the only kind of peace that will be safe, honorable, and lasting.


March 19, 1918

The answer of the Bolsheviki to the President’s message was an example of mean and studied impertinence.[118] There was no gratitude, no apology for their betrayal of America and of the cause of liberty, and no expression of hostility to their German masters, but there was a gratuitous and insulting expression for a class war in America against what the Bolsheviki with ignorant folly speak of as capitalism. A couple of days afterward the Bolshevist authorities definitely concluded with Germany their peace of ignominy and treachery.

There is now no possible reason for our Government to draw the sharp distinction they have drawn between the Bolsheviki abroad and the Bolsheviki at home. The Government is prosecuting Victor Berger and has suppressed the paper of Max Eastman. But Berger and Eastman are essentially the same as Lenine and Trotzky. All four have played Germany’s game; all four have been the enemies of the cause of the United States and of liberty. The utter ruin which the Bolsheviki have brought on Russia offers an illuminating example of the destruction which would befall the United States if it ever submitted to the leadership of men like Messrs. Hillquit, Townley, Haywood, and Berger.

We have had many evil capitalists in the United States, but on the whole the worst capitalists could not do the permanent damage to the farmers and working-men in America which these foreign and native Bolsheviki would do if they had the power. Our people should keep steadily in mind that the Russian Bolsheviki have not attacked the big Russian capitalists who were in alliance with the autocracy[119] of the Romanoffs and they have been the tools, paid or unpaid, of the German militarists and capitalists. They have spent their energies in attacking the revolutionists who overthrew the Romanoffs and in persecuting the peasants who have become small farmers and the working-men who are skilled mechanics and the small shopkeepers. They hate and envy those thrifty and self-respecting workers who in this country make up the great majority of our people and who are our most typical and characteristic Americans.

The Bolsheviki have concluded a peace with Germany which includes handing back to the Turks, or, in other words, plunging back into brutal savagery, a district in Asia in which there are multitudes of Armenians and other Christians. Our Government has been derelict in its duty to the Armenians, to the Christians of Syria and to the Jews of Palestine, by its failure to declare war on Turkey. It is a grave error to coddle the Bolsheviki and support them in any way against our allies unless we are also willing fearlessly to condemn their betrayal of us and of the Allied cause, and unless we are ready to war to the end against both Germany and Turkey in order to rescue from tyranny and to give independence to the unfortunate people whom the Bolsheviki have abandoned to a cruel fate.



March 26, 1918

The shameful betrayal of the Allies’ cause by the Russian Bolshevists and the delay and incompetence of the American Government have given the Germans a free hand for their drive against the British army. England is at this moment fighting our battles just as much as she is fighting her own, yet, although three years have passed since the Lusitania was sunk and a year since Congress declared that we had “formally” entered the war, America is still merely an onlooker.

We owe this ignoble position to the folly and the procrastination of our Government and its inveterate tendency to substitute rhetoric for action. We have a gallant little army across the ocean, but it is smaller than the Belgian army. We are not holding a greater extent of the battle front than the army of little Portugal. We have at the front no airplanes or field artillery and very few machine guns except those we have gotten from the French. Even the clothes of our troops are mainly obtained from the English. Yet we are the richest nation and one of the most populous nations on the earth.

Our Government is responsible for our dreadful shortcomings, but the responsibility is shared by all the foolish creatures who have willfully blinded themselves to these shortcomings and have clamored against the faithful public servants, like Senator[121] Chamberlain, who laid bare the shortcomings for the purpose of remedying them. The truly patriotic men in this crisis have been the men who have fearlessly told the truth in order to speed up the war. The other men who have decried the truth-telling as “crying over spilt milk” have been profoundly unpatriotic. It was the failure to point out how much milk had been spilt which was primarily responsible for the failure to stop further spilling of milk.

In the face of the terrible battle which our English allies are now waging, and in view of the fact that for three years and a half we have owed our safety to the British fleet and to the French spirit typified by Premier Clemenceau, let the American people now demand that the Government recognize the need of instant and efficient action. Let our Government quit flirting with the Bolshevists at home and abroad. Let it declare war on Turkey at once. Let it acknowledge its dreadful failures and delays and henceforth act with all possible speed. Let it manfully endeavor to make our weight felt in the war this year. Let it stop boasting about the future and begin to act in the present.

Let the Government use common sense. It has talked magnificently about having twenty thousand airplanes ready in June, but it has not one American war plane at the front to-day. Let it quit boasting and act. Let it push the shipping programme by night and day. Let it give France and England the men they so sorely need.

Our Government has delayed until the Allies have[122] been brought to the brink of destruction. Let it act at once lest the chance for action pass completely by.


March 31, 1918


By D. Thomas Curtin


A scene in Schabatz, when the Austro-Hungarians attempted to flank Belgrade in early August, 1914, has seared itself into my memory. I was in the shambles of an overgrown village. The blood of both armies flowed in the streets and the wine from broken casks and bottles flowed in the cellars, soldiers walking in it up to their knees.

The street was deserted save for an Unteroffizier who was passing. An old woman, bent and shriveled, her white locks escaping the yellow sash around her head, tottered from a whitewashed mixture of mud and thatch, saw the enemy soldier, started back, thought better of it, and sank to her knees while she extended her bony arms for mercy. He drew his saber—still a relic of war. “A little despicable stage play and magnanimous pardon,” I thought. I was mistaken. The saber whistled and slashed the outstretched arms, the woman’s shriek cut me like saws and knives, and I turned away bewildered.

I came face to face with the man a few minutes later. He was not drunk. Nor did he look like a wild man from the hills. He was a Viennese, the kind of man I had seen on scores of occasions lolling in a café, mild and gentle as a kitten. He looked mild and gentle now.

“Why did you do it?” I had to ask.

“She was a pig-dog Serb, an enemy of my country. I did my duty.” And he said it in a manner which showed him satisfied in his conscience that he had done what was right.

I realize now that I had had my first war-time example of the German system of education. The code is that anything[123] done in the name of the Fatherland is correct. A man can be educated in such a manner that he will wipe out “crawling verminous pests of his country” with as little compunction as a farmer would rid his field of potato bugs.


On Thanksgiving Day, 1914, I visited the American Hospital in Munich, a military hospital supported by contributions from the United States. While talking with three men in one room I was actually saying to myself that such as these could not be guilty of atrocities, when one of them told me a story which forced me to change my mind.

“I was a member of a relief company marching in the Vosges,” he said. “As we were about to halt for lunch, we came upon a French priest in a wood who was judged quickly to be a spy by our officers. These turned him over to us and we had great amusement after we had finished eating. I laugh still whenever I think of it. We tied a rope around his neck and threw it over a limb of a tree. Some comrades pulled and up went the priest while the rest of us stood around and jabbed him with our bayonets. ‘Higher, higher!’ we shouted. And then we had a jumping contest to see which could thrust his bayonet highest.”

The man told me the story because he thought it funny and his eyes danced with happy recollections as he told it.


General Pétain, commander, French army, said: “Send guns; so that some of us may be alive to fight by your side, when at last America is ready.”

What! in France and no guns!
Have I sent forth my sons
With proud boasts of great deeds—
And fallen down at plain needs?
Who proclaimed to the world
With my banners unfurled
The dread foe will succumb,
I, America, come!

In France, and no guns!
And I’ve sent forth my sons[124]
With those wolves of the Huns at their throats,
While the Kaiser and Hindenburg gloat,
And France, stricken France,
Fills the breach, while my lance
I sent flaming with pride
Hangs behind, not beside!

In France! and no guns,
Empty hands, and my sons
Who would tear out their hearts for my fame,
Are held up to derision and shame,
Because statesmen so small
Hew out roads to a wall
While the fire bells of death
Crash souls out, and breath!

In France, and no guns!
Why, you’re worse than the Huns,
You men who are shaming my honor
When the stress of the Nation’s upon her.
With your quibbles and greed
Can the trampled be freed?
Oh, my heart’s sick with scorn,
I, America, suborned.

In France, and no guns!
Let’s forever be done
With our boasts and our brags, and succumb
To the scorning before which we’re dumb.
When at last France is free
And her glory acclaimed
Let none look at me,
At America, shamed.

Henrietta Keith, Minneapolis

We live such sheltered lives here, three thousand miles away from the war, that most of us don’t even yet realize what Germany has done and has stood[125] for in this war and what a terrible menace she is to us and to all civilization. The other day I met a very able writer and observer who at the outbreak of the Great War spent many months with the German and Austrian armies and then lived in Germany until it became impossible for a self-respecting American longer to stay there. He is Mr. D. Thomas Curtin. His father was born in Ireland. He is himself a Catholic. I mention these facts merely because they refute the cheap and vicious falsehoods so often promulgated by the pro-Germans to the effect that the accounts of the German atrocities are due to English propaganda.

I ask all good Americans, whatever their creed, and I especially ask American women, to read these two straightforward statements by Mr. Curtin, the account of the killing by torture of the priest who fell into the hands of the German soldiers and the account of the fearful brutality of an Austrian German to a poor old woman. These were not isolated cases of brutality. They were both part of the policy of deliberate horror, which Mr. Curtin speaks of as “the system.” All in America who have played the game of Germany, from Hearst and the Germanized Socialists and the German-American Alliance at one end of the line to foolish pacifist preachers at the other end of the line, have been, according to their power, working to bring about the day when we here in this country would see our own women and helpless non-combatant men and our own children exposed to such hideous wrongs and torture as is[126] described by Mr. Curtin. I very seriously ask our people to read what Mr. Curtin says and to ponder the full meaning of the facts he sets forth.

In the next place, I ask them to read the poem—and it is a real poem, not merely verse—of Mrs. Keith, a Minneapolis woman, called “No Guns.” Well-meaning, foolish people, and some people who in ordinary relations of life are not foolish, are fond of telling us not to point out the defects in the army, because this encourages Germany, and because anyhow it is a case of spilt milk, and there is no use of crying over spilt milk. The answer is twofold. In the first place, Germany knows all our shortcomings. Inasmuch as we have wickedly refused to go to war with Turkey and Bulgaria, we have left open avenues by which it is absolutely certain that Germany gets full knowledge of everything she wishes to know about this country. It is only our own people who are kept in ignorance. In the next place, as regards the spilt-milk proposition, the trouble is that we have kept on spilling the milk and that only by pointing out that it has been spilled is it possible to solder the milk cans and stop further spilling. Until Senator Chamberlain and his committee boldly and truthfully pointed out the evil caused by the delays and shortcomings of the War Department, the Administration made not the slightest effort to remedy them. Some of the more salient of these shortcomings have been remedied, and this fact is primarily due to the courage and patriotism of these public servants, Senator Chamberlain and his committee.


If fourteen months ago our people had been willing to demand the truth and to listen to those who told the truth, we would at this moment have four times the force we now have in France; and we would have guns and airplanes, and auto rifles of our own make with it; and we would have had plenty of ships to carry our men across and to give them food and munitions. The reason why our fighting army at the front in France is no larger, and the reason why we have had to get the necessary field guns, airplanes, and auto rifles for that army from the French, is because we, as a people, were not willing to insist upon knowing the truth. It is precisely because certain men are now telling the truth that there is reason to hope that gradually the milk spilling will be stopped; that gradually we shall get the guns, the airplanes, and auto rifles for our men, and above all the ships that are vitally necessary. I ask the mothers of this country whose sons are now in the army, or may go into the army, to read and ponder this poem by a woman, and to cast the weight of their great influence in favor of demanding that every ounce of energy we as a Nation possess be used to speed up the war, to relieve our allies of the burden of supplying us with weapons of war, and to see that the American troops abroad are furnished from this country with American-made weapons of the highest type.

The don’t-cry-over-spilt-milk appeal represents unpardonable wrong to America and to civilization.



April 2, 1918

At last, thank Heaven, comes the news that our little American army at the front has been put absolutely at the disposal of the French and English military leaders for use of any kind in the gigantic and terrible battle now being waged. All Americans who are proud of the great name of America will humbly and reverently thank Heaven that at any rate the army we have at the front is not to remain in the position of an onlooker, but is to be put into the battle.

The wanton and cruel bombardment of Paris, undertaken for no military reason and with its characteristic slaughter of women and children in a church, proves that the German barbarity is as deliberate and as infamous now as at the beginning of the war. The Allies in this battle are fighting for humanity and civilization. They are fighting the battle of the United States. Any man in the United States who at this time directly or indirectly expresses approval of or sympathy with Germany in this battle or in this war, should be arrested and either shot, hung, or imprisoned for life, according to the gravity of his offense.

Thank Heaven that our sons and brothers are now to stand at Armageddon. Thank Heaven that American soldiers are now to fight in the great battle against the bestial foe of America and of mankind.[129] Words count for little at this time and for nothing whatever except in so far as they are of help to the men of deeds who are at the front.

It is these men at the front who are now making all Americans, born and unborn, forever their debtors. They are the men who have paid with their bodies for their soul’s desire. Let no one pity them, whatever their fate, for they have seen the mighty days and have risen level to the need of the mighty days. And let no one pity the wives and mothers and fathers whose husbands and lovers and sons now face death in battle for the mightiest of all high causes. Our hearts are wrung with sorrow and anxiety, but our heads are held aloft with pride. It is a terrible thing that our loved ones should face the great danger, but it would be a far more terrible thing if, whatever the danger, they were not treading the hard path of duty and honor.


April 6, 1918

In a self-governing country the people are called citizens. Under a despotism or autocracy the people are called subjects. This is because in a free country the people are themselves sovereign, while in a despotic country the people are under a sovereign. In the United States the people are all citizens, including its President. The rest of them are fellow citizens of the President. In Germany the people are all[130] subjects of the Kaiser. They are not his fellow citizens, they are his subjects. This is the essential difference between the United States and Germany, but the difference would vanish if we now submitted to the foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings. Such endeavor is itself a crime against the Nation. Those who take such an attitude are guilty of moral treason of a kind both abject and dangerous.

Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. Since this war began, the suppression of the truth by and about the Administration has been habitual. In rare cases this has been disadvantageous to the enemy. In the vast majority of cases it has been advantageous to the enemy, detrimental to the American people, and useful to the Administration only from the political, not the patriotic, standpoint.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended the passage of a law in which, among[131] many excellent propositions to put down disloyalty, there has been adroitly inserted a provision that any one who uses “contemptuous or slurring language about the President” shall be punished by imprisonment for a long term of years and by a fine of many thousand dollars. This proposed law is sheer treason to the United States. Under its terms Abraham Lincoln would have been sent to prison for what he repeatedly said of Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. Under its terms President Wilson would be free to speak of Senator-elect Lenroot as he has spoken, but Senator Lenroot would not be free truthfully to answer President Wilson. It is a proposal to make Americans subjects instead of citizens. It is a proposal to put the President in the position of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Government by the people means that the people have the right to do their own thinking and to do their own speaking about their public servants. They must speak truthfully and they must not be disloyal to the country, and it is their highest duty by truthful criticism to make and keep the public servants loyal to the country.

Any truthful criticism could and would be held by partisanship to be slurring or contemptuous. The Delaware House of Representatives has just shown this. It came within one vote of passing a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice proceed against me because, in my recent speeches in Maine, I “severely criticized the conduct of our National Government.” I defy any human being to point[132] out a statement in that speech which was not true and which was not patriotic, and yet the decent and patriotic members of the Delaware legislature were only able to secure a majority of one against the base and servile partisanship of those who upheld the resolution.

I believe the proposed law is unconstitutional. If it is passed, I shall certainly give the Government the opportunity to test its constitutionality. For whenever the need arises I shall in the future speak truthfully of the President in praise or in blame, exactly as I have done in the past. When the President in the past uttered his statements about being too proud to fight and wishing peace without victory, and considering that we had no special grievance against Germany, I spoke of him as it was my high duty to speak. Therefore, I spoke of him truthfully and severely, and I cared nothing whether or not timid and unpatriotic and short-sighted men said that I spoke slurringly or contemptuously. In as far as the President in the future endeavors to wage this war efficiently and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory, I shall heartily support him. But if he wages it inefficiently or if he should now champion a peace without victory, or say that we had no grievance against Germany, I would speak in criticism of him precisely as I have spoken in the past. I am an American and a free man. My loyalty is due to the United States, and therefore it is due to the President, the Senators, the Congressmen, and all other public servants only and to the degree in which they loyally and efficiently serve the United States.



April 12, 1918

A Kansas woman has just written me in part as follows: “I have given my all, my two sons, gladly and proudly, as volunteers to my country, for they enlisted last August. But my heart grows sick at the confusion and blunders and apathy. I thank The Star for printing that poem of the Minnesota mother. It appeals to all of us mothers who stay at home and pray and work as we can.”

I think more continually of such mothers of soldiers as this Kansas woman, than I do even of the soldiers themselves. They have high and gallant souls. They are the spiritual heirs of the mothers and wives of Washington’s Continentals and of the mothers and wives of the soldiers of Grant and Lee. I am proud beyond measure that I am their fellow countryman. In everything that I do or say, I seek to make and to keep this land a land in which their daughters can dwell in honorable safety and to make our common citizenship such that both their sons and daughters shall hold their heads high because they are Americans.

But exactly as I revere such women, so I condemn the women whose short-sightedness or frivolous love of ease and vapid pleasure or whose timid fear of danger and labor makes them fit companions for those unworthy men whose lives represent merely the shirking of duty. The mother who, by perpetual[134] complaint and lamentation about unavoidable hardships and risks, seeks to weaken the heart of her soldier son stands no higher than the money-getting or ease-loving man who dodges the draft. The woman who cares so little for the honor of America and the interests of civilization as now to wish a peace without victory is no better than the men in uniform who seek soft positions of safety among the slickers and slackers.

The things that are best worth having in life must be paid for whether by forethought or by toil or by downright facing of danger. This is true in peace. It is even more true in war. It is just as true of women as of men.

All wise and good women and all wise and good men abhor war. Washington and Lincoln abhorred war. But no man or woman is either wise or good unless he or she abhors some things even more than war, exactly as Washington and Lincoln abhorred them. We are none of us fit to be free men in a republic if we are not willing to fight when the Republic is wronged as Germany has wronged this country. We are none of us entitled to say that we love mankind if we are not willing to do battle against the Turk and the German in order to right such wrongs as have been perpetrated on Belgium and Armenia. And we deserve to be brayed in a mortar if we are ever again guilty of such folly as that of which we have been guilty by our foolish failure to prepare our strength in efficient fashion during the last three and a half years.


The women of this country who love their husbands and sons should realize now that only by thorough preparedness in advance can war be avoided, if possible, or successfully waged if it has to come. Recently men in high position whose own bodies are safe have stated that they are glad that we were not prepared in advance to do our duty when this war came. These men have purchased their own safety and advantage by the blood of our sons at the front. Let the women who do not wish to see their men go up against the cannon see that hereafter all our sons are well trained in advance. If America’s strength is fully prepared in advance, she will in all probability never have to go to war and will be a potent factor in preserving the peace of justice throughout the world, and the first step in securing such a peace is to devote all our energies to speeding up the war until it is ended by the complete triumph of our allies and ourselves.


April 16, 1918

Hermann Hagedorn, an American whose father and mother were born in Germany, an American of the best and bravest and most loyal type, has just written a little book called “Where Do You Stand? An Appeal to Americans of German Origin.” I wish it could be read by every individual of those to whom it is addressed, and by all other Americans also.


I am, myself, partly of German blood, and I make my appeal as an American does, to and on behalf of all other Americans who have German blood in their veins. We have room in this country only for Americans who are Americans, and nothing else. They must be loyal to only one flag; they must speak one language; they must serve only American ideals. I mean literally what I say, that every man who bears even the smallest allegiance to any other country should be sent out of this country. The native American who, during this war, directly or indirectly, assails any of our allies, notably England, but also Japan, is a traitor to America and should be promptly imprisoned. The German-American, and especially the German-American editor, guilty of such conduct or of any exaltation of any German victory should be instantly interned and then sent back to Germany. The Sinn Feiner who attacks England should be immediately interned and then sent back to Ireland. The German-American Alliance and all similar organizations should immediately be broken up by Congress and by the state legislatures. Our people would do well to remember that even when such organizations keep quiet for the moment, they are certain to revive and to work against America with the utmost malignity when peace comes. The time to crush them is now. Foreign language newspapers should be required to follow the example of the New York Herald and begin the change, which is to convert their newspapers into English, the language of the United States.


As for spies, preachers of sedition, men who practice sabotage, and all other such persons, the Government already has much power, but should be given any needed additional power to proceed against them, and this power should be used in drastic fashion, if necessary under martial law, and after a summary trial the guilty men should be shot.

So much for the men of German blood, or of any other blood, who are not good Americans; but remember that it is also our highest duty from the standpoint of Americanism to stand by the good American of German blood, just exactly as we stand by any other American. We must refuse to permit any division along the lines of blood or ancestry. We must demand whole-hearted Americanism, and if a man gives this, we must treat him exactly on his merits, like any other American. In other words, we must give every man a square deal. Shoot the spy or the traitor, whether of native American, Irish, or German blood; whether a Protestant, Catholic, or Jew. Stand by the good American of any creed, no matter where he was born or whence his parents came.

It is an outrage to discriminate against a good American in civil life because he is of German blood. It is an even worse outrage for the Government to permit such discrimination against him in the army or in any of the organizations working under government supervision. Let us insist on the immediate stopping of such discriminations, which cruelly wound good Americans and tend to drive them back[138] into the ranks of the half-loyal. In return let good Americans of German blood band together and take the lead in organization action against all disloyal or half-loyal citizens of German blood and against all German language or English language newspapers which are not whole-heartedly loyal and against all such organizations as the German-American Alliance.


April 17, 1918

Major E. C. Simmons, of St. Louis, the manager of the Southwestern Division of the American Red Cross, has just returned from our army in France. He relates a really extraordinary achievement of the division of orthopædic surgery with the army under the direction of Surgeon-Major Joel E. Goldthwaite.

All the divisions of troops sent across, of course, contain a number of men who show physical shortcomings under the strain of actual campaigning. In General Edwards’s division these men numbered in the neighborhood of fifteen per cent, not an unusual proportion in the history of past wars. Dr. Goldthwaite got permission to try his hand on the treatment of a body composed of somewhat over five hundred of them, and instantly began vigorous but careful work to build up all their physical defects.

As his work for each man was finished, he was put[139] in one of four classes. Class A included those to whom the training gave such vigor that they were fit to go right to the front as battle units. Class B included those who could be made fit for hard physical labor back of the front, although not for the tremendous strain of the trenches. Class C included those fitted for clerical and similar duties. Class D included those whose physical condition would not be improved and who had to be sent home.

Dr. Goldthwaite was able to place over eighty per cent of the men in Class A, and all the remainder in either Class B or Class C. Not a man had to be sent home. Remember that the physical shortcomings of these men were all present before they entered the army and were not acquired in the army. The work done for them made them not only fit to be soldiers, but fit to be citizens. Moreover, it affected them morally exactly as much as physically. They had become utterly dispirited and downcast. After Dr. Goldthwaite was through with them, they were all self-reliant, energetic Americans, vigorous, upstanding, and self-respecting, having lost all trace of either moral or physical crooked back and stooping shoulders.

When we get universal obligatory military training for all our young men, this is what will happen everywhere and the benefit to our people will be incalculable. Such training will minimize the chance of our ever having to go to war and will render it certain that hereafter we shall always be able to defend ourselves instead of trusting to our allies to[140] defend us. Moreover, it will do us even more good as regards the tasks of peace than as regards the tasks of war, for it will turn out every young man far better able to earn his living and far better fitted to be a good citizen.


April 20, 1918

This is a terrible hour of trial and suffering and danger for our war-worn allies, who in France are battling for us no less than for themselves. If shame is even more dreadful than suffering, then it is a no less terrible hour for our own country. Our allies stand with their backs to the wall in the fight for freedom, and America looks on. The free nations stand at bay in the cause that is ours no less than theirs; and after over a year of war the army we have sent to their aid is smaller than that of poor heroic, ruined Belgium, is hardly more than a twentieth the size which gallant and impoverished Italy has in the field. And this great wealthy Nation of ours has not yet furnished to our own brave troops in the field any cannon or airplanes, and almost no machine guns, save those which we have obtained from hard-pressed France—and let our people remember that every gun thus made for us by hard-pressed France is a gun left unmade for hard-pressed Italy.


Our few gallant fighting men overseas have won high honor for themselves, and have made all other Americans forever their debtors; but it is a scandal and a reproach to this Nation that they are so few. If in this mighty battle our allies win, it will be due to no real aid of ours; and if they should fail, black infamy would be our portion because of the delay and the folly and the weakness and the cold, time-serving timidity of our Government, to which this failure would be primarily due. If those responsible for our failure, if those responsible for the refusal to prepare during the two and a half years in which we were vouchsafed such warning as never nation previously received, if those responsible for the sluggish feebleness with which we have acted since we helplessly drifted into the war—if these men now repented of the cruel wrong they have done this Nation and mankind, we could afford to wrap their past folly and evil-doing in the kindly mantle of oblivion. But they boast of their foolishness, they excuse and justify it, they announce that they feel pride and delight in contemplating it. Therefore, it is for us, the people, to bow our heads on this our penitential day; for we are laggards in the battle, we have let others fight in our quarrel, we have let others pay with their shattered bodies for the fire in their burning souls.

The trumpets of the Lord sounded for Armageddon; but our hearts were not swift to answer nor our feet jubilant; coldly we watched others die that we might live. Our rulers were supple and adroit,[142] but they were not mighty of soul. They have shown that they will not lead us, and will ever stand in front only if we force them forward. Therefore, the reason is all the greater why we, the American people, must search our own hearts and with unflinching will insist that from now on not a day, not an hour, shall be wasted until our giant but soft and lazy strength is hardened, until we ourselves take the burden from the shoulders of others, until we pay whatever price our past shortcomings demand, and with heads uplifted and spirit undaunted stride forward to the great goal of the peace of victorious right.


April 27, 1918

There is no room in this country for the man who tries to be both an American and something else. There can be no such thing as a fifty-fifty loyalty between America and Germany. Either a man is whole-hearted in his support of America and her allies, and in his hostility to Germany and her allies, or he is not loyal to America at all. In such case he should be at once interned or sent out of the country. But if he is whole-hearted in his loyal support of America, then no matter what his birthplace or parentage he is entitled to stand on a full and exact equality with every other American.

Therefore the obligation is twofold, and one side is just as important as the other. Every American[143] of German birth or parentage must act as an American and nothing else, and if he does not so act he should be treated as an alien enemy. But if he acts exactly as other good Americans act, then it is a shame and a disgrace not to treat him absolutely like these other good Americans. The immense majority of Americans who are in whole or in part of German blood are as stanch Americans as are to be found in the land. They are serving in our armies precisely as other Americans serve. They are exactly as fit as any other American to fill the highest positions anywhere in our armies or in civil life. Any discrimination against them, active or passive, military or political, social or industrial, is an intolerable outrage. Moreover, such a discrimination is itself profoundly anti-American in its effects, for it not only cruelly wounds brave and upright and loyal Americans, but tends to drive them back into segregation, away from the mass of American citizenship.

America is a Nation and not a mosaic of nationalities. The various nationalities that come here are not to remain separate, but to blend into the one American nationality—the nationality of Washington and Lincoln, of Muhlenberg and Sheridan. Therefore, we must have but one language, the English language. Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or to leave the country, for hereafter every immigrant should be treated as a future fellow citizen and not merely as a labor unit. English should be the only[144] language taught or used in the primary schools. We should provide by law so that after a reasonable interval every newspaper in this country should be published in English.

A square deal for all Americans means relentless attack on all men in this country who are not straight-out Americans and nothing else. It just as emphatically means to stand by every good American of German blood exactly as much as by every other good American. In every loyalty organization a special effort should be made to see that in the leadership and in the ranks the Americans of German blood come in on precisely the same basis as every one else. And the straight-out Americans, in whole or in part of German blood, should themselves insist on this, not as a favor which they request, but as a right which they demand, a right predicated on their fervid and militant Americanism. I wish we could see such an organization formed, an uncompromisingly straight-out American organization, including Americans of all our different blood strains, but with as large a proportion of Americans in whole or in part of German blood as possible, and then let this organization take the lead in aggressively loyal Americanism, in the demand to fight this war with all speed and efficiency, until it is crowned by the peace of complete victory and in the purpose to make this peace mark the glorious rebirth, the purification and the giant growth of the American spirit—the spirit of an intense and unified American nationalism.


We Americans must be loyal first to our own Nation and to our own national ideals, and we must develop to the utmost the virile hardihood of body, mind, and soul without which there can be no real greatness. And our devotion to America shall in part show itself in the unswerving effort to make this great democratic Republic both strong for self-defense and strong for wise and brotherly help to other nations, to make it both the leader and the servant of all mankind.


May 2, 1918

The Hague conferences laid down a number of rules which the signatory powers, including Germany, agreed to observe in order to mitigate the horrors of war. Germany has with equal cynicism and brutality violated every one of these rules. She has waged war as it was waged in the Dark Ages. She has shown revolting cruelty toward soldiers and especially toward non-combatants, including women and children.

At this moment a great cannon is bombarding Paris. Not a soldier has been killed by it; it has not in the smallest degree affected France’s military power, nor was it intended to do so. It was intended to terrorize the French civilian population by the destruction of churches, hospitals, and private buildings and the murder of women and children. On[146] Good Friday one of the shells wrecked a church and killed a number of the little choir boys and a number of women who were at prayer. Among the killed were three American women whom I knew, who were abroad working for our soldiers. An American friend who saw the horror writes me:

Evidently the Germans do not worry over the fact that their shells descend on women and children kneeling in prayer on a Good Friday, before the crucifix.

Another American friend, a Red Cross woman, writes:

One shell burst in a maternity hospital, killing a nurse, a young mother, and a little baby. Several other mothers and new-born babies were injured.

The Zeppelins and airplanes are continually bombarding undefended English and French cities and have killed women and children by the hundreds. The submarines have waged war with callous mercilessness. Their crews have continually practiced torture on the prisoners they have taken. They leave women and children to drown. They shoot into the lifeboats. At this moment Americans are dying from the poison gas which the Germans, in contemptuous defiance of The Hague rules, have made an ordinary weapon of war. I have just been talking with an American soldier absolutely trustworthy, who himself saw the body of a Canadian whom the Germans had just crucified.

Every violation of the laws of war has been practiced by Germany. By her outrages on humanity she has made herself an outlaw among nations,[147] and unless she pays heavily for her crimes, the whole world will be in danger. It is Germany, and only Germany, who is responsible for the hideous atrocities that have marked this war, atrocities which all civilized men outside of Germany believed to have been eliminated forever from civilized warfare. Germany has habitually and as a matter of policy practiced the torture of men, the rape of women, and the killing of children.

It was deeply to our discredit that during the shameful years of our neutrality we refused to protest against these hideous atrocities. Now at last this Nation has awakened and has gone to war against the enemy of America and of mankind. Let our people now keep steadily in mind just what kind of a foe we are fighting and just what kind of infamy that foe is habitually practicing. Then let us resolve that, come what may, we will fight this war through to a finish until the authors of this hideous infamy have paid in full and have been punished as they deserve. For in no other way can a peace worth having be obtained.


May 7, 1918

The legislation now being enacted by Congress should deal drastically with sedition. It should also guarantee the right of the press and people to speak[148] the truth freely of all their public servants, including the President, and to criticize them in the severest terms of truth whenever they come short in their public duty. Finally, Congress should grant the Executive the amplest powers to act as an executive and should hold him to stern accountability for failure so to act, but it should itself do the actual lawmaking and should clearly define the lines and limits of action and should retain and use the fullest powers of investigation into and supervision over such action. Sedition is a form of treason. It is an offense against the country, not against the President. At this time to oppose the draft or sending our armies to Europe, to uphold Germany, to attack our allies, to oppose raising the money necessary to carry on the war are at least forms of sedition, while to act as a German spy or to encourage German spies to use money or intrigue in the corrupt service of Germany, to tamper with our war manufactures and to encourage our soldiers to desert or to fail in their duty, and all similar actions are forms of undoubtedly illegal sedition. For some of these offenses death should be summarily inflicted. For all the punishment should be severe.

The Administration has been gravely remiss in dealing with such acts.

Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free. Our Government is the servant of the people, whereas in Germany it is the master of the people. This is because[149] the American people are free and the German are not free. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

During the last year the Administration has shown itself anxious to punish the newspapers which uphold the war, but which told the truth about the Administration’s failure to conduct the war efficiently, whereas it has failed to proceed against various powerful newspapers which opposed the war or attacked our allies or directly or indirectly aided Germany against this country, as these papers upheld the Administration and defended the inefficiency. Therefore, no additional power should be[150] given the Administration to deal with papers for criticizing the Administration. And, moreover, Congress should closely scrutinize the way the Postmaster-General and Attorney-General have already exercised discrimination between the papers they prosecuted and the papers they failed to prosecute.

Congress should give the President full power for efficient executive action. It should not abrogate its own power. It should define how he is to reorganize the Administration. It should say how large an army we are to have and not leave the decision to the amiable Secretary of War, who has for two years shown such inefficiency. It should declare for an army of five million men and inform the Secretary that it would give him more the minute he asks for more.


May 12, 1918

As now seems likely, if the great German drive fails, it is at least possible that, directly or indirectly, the Germans will then start a peace drive. In such case they will probably endeavor to make such seeming concessions as to put a premium upon pacifist agitation for peace in the free countries of the West against which they are fighting. To yield to such peace proposals would be fraught with the greatest danger to the Allies, and especially to our own country in the future.


Let us never forget that no promise Germany makes can be trusted. The kultur developed under the Hohenzollerns rests upon shameless treachery and duplicity no less than upon ruthless violence and barbarity.

For example, there are strong indications that Germany may be prepared, if she now fails on the western front, to abandon all that for which she has fought on her western front, provided that in Middle Europe and in the East there is no interference with her. In other words, she would be prepared to give back Alsace and Lorraine to France, to give Italian Austria to Italy, to give Luxemburg to Belgium, and to let the Allies keep the colonies they have conquered, on condition that her dominance in Russia and in the Balkans, her dominance of the subject peoples of Austria through the Austrian Hapsburgs, and her dominance of Western Asia through her vassal state, Turkey, should be left undisturbed. To the average American, and probably to the average Englishman and Frenchman, there is much that is alluring in such a programme. It might be urged as a method of stopping the frightful slaughter of war, while securing every purpose for which the free peoples who still fight are fighting. Yet it would be infinitely better that this war were carried on to the point of exhaustion than that we yield to such terms.

Such terms would mean the definite establishment of Germany’s military ascendancy on a scale never hitherto approached in the civilized world. It would mean that perhaps within a dozen years, certainly[152] within the lifetime of the very men now fighting this war, this country and the other free countries would have to choose between bowing their necks to the German yoke or else going into another war under conditions far more disadvantageous to them.

A premature and inconclusive peace now would spell ruin for the world, just as in 1864 a premature and inconclusive peace would have spelled ruin to the United States, and in the present instance the United States would share the ruin of the rest of the free peoples of mankind.

On the face of it Germany would not become a giant empire. Just exactly as on the face of it at present Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria call themselves simply four allied nations, standing on equal terms. But in reality those four powers are merely Germany and her three vassal states, whose military and economic and political powers are all disposed of by the Hohenzollerns. A peace such as that above outlined would leave these as really one huge empire. The population of these four countries, plus the populations of Russian regions recently annexed by Germany, is over two hundred millions. This population would be directed and dominated by the able, powerful, and utterly brutal and unscrupulous German governing class, which the very fact of the peace would put in the saddle, and the huge empire thus dominated and directed would become a greater menace to the free peoples than anything known for the last thousand years.

Short-sighted people will say that this power[153] would only menace Asia, and therefore that we need feel no concern about it. There could be no error greater or more lamentable. Twenty years hence by mere mass and growth Germany would dominate the Western European powers that have now fought her. This would mean that the United States would be left as her victim.

In the first place, she would at once trample the Monroe Doctrine under foot, and treat tropical and south temperate America as her fields for exploitation, domination, and conquest. In the next place, she would surely trample this country under foot and bleed us white, doing to us on a gigantic scale what she has done to Belgium. If such a peace as is above described were at this time made, the United States could by no possibility escape the fate of Belgium and of the Russian territories taken by Germany unless we ourselves became a powerful militarist state with every democratic principle subordinated to the one necessity of turning this Nation into a huge armed camp—I do not mean an armed nation, as Switzerland is armed, and as I believe this country ought to be armed. I mean a nation whose sons, every one of them, would have to serve from three to five years in the army, and whose whole activities, external and internal, would be conditioned by the one fact of the necessity of making head, single-handed, against Germany.

I very strongly believe that never again should we be caught unprepared as we have been caught unprepared this time. I believe that all our young[154] men should be trained to arms as the Swiss are trained. But I would regard it as an unspeakable calamity for this Nation to have to turn its whole energies into the kind of exaggerated militarism which under such circumstances would alone avail for self-defense.

The military power of Germany must be brought low. The subject nations of Austria, the Balkans, and Western Asia must be freed. We ought not to refrain an hour longer from going to war with Turkey and Bulgaria. They are part of Germany’s military strength. They represent some of the most cruel tyrannies over subject peoples for which Germany stands. It is idle for us to pretend sympathy with the Armenians unless we war on Turkey, which, with Germany’s assent, has well-nigh crushed the Armenians out of existence.

When President Wilson stated that this war was waged to make democracy safe throughout the world, he properly and definitely committed the American people to the principles above enunciated, and for the American people to accept less than their President has thus announced that he would insist upon would be unworthy. The President has also said that “there is therefore but one response possible for us. Force—force to the utmost—force without stint or limit—the righteous and triumphant force which shall make right the law of the world and cast every selfish dominion down in the dust.”

The American people must support President Wilson unflinchingly in the stand to which he is thus[155] committed and must resolutely refuse to accept any other position. We must guard against any slackening of effort. We must refuse to accept any premature peace or any peace other than the peace of overwhelming victory.

We must secure such complete freedom for the peoples of Central Europe and Western Asia as will shatter forever the threat of German world domination. Our honorable obligations to our allies, our loyalty to our own national principles, the need to protect our American neighbors, the need to defend our own land and people, and our hopes for the peace and happiness of our children’s children all forbid us to accept an ignoble and inconclusive peace.


May 27, 1918

Of course the primary factor in deciding this war is and will be the army. But there can be no great army in war to-day unless a great nation stands back of it. The most important of all our needs is immensely to strengthen the fighting line at the front. But it cannot be permanently strengthened unless the whole Nation is organized back of the front. We need increased production by all. We need thrift and the avoidance of extravagance and of waste of money upon non-essentials by all. We need the investment of our money in government securities by all of us.


The Government, through the War Savings campaign, offers the opportunity to every individual in the Nation to join in a great national movement to secure these ends. The Treasury Department proposes as a means to achieve these ends that all our people form themselves into Thrift clubs or War Savings societies. This is the people’s war. The responsibility for the Government rests on the people as a whole. The army is the people’s army. It can be supported only if the people invest in the securities of the Government. And this investment by the people should be as nearly universal as possible. All the men and the women and half the children of the land should be active members of Uncle Sam’s team. The War Savings campaign offers them the chance to be active members. This campaign means the encouragement of thrift and production. But it means much more than this. It also means to make our people realize their solidarity and mutual interdependence and to make them understand that the Government is really theirs. Therefore it is a movement for genuine Americanization of all our people. It is a movement to fuse all our different race stocks into one great unified nationality. It is emphatically a movement for nationalism and patriotism.

Between thirty and forty millions of our people to-day own Liberty bonds or War Savings Stamps. All of us who come in this class have an increased sense of loyalty and responsibility to the Government. The Treasury Department has offered through the War Savings plan a great opportunity[157] for the entire Nation to group itself into War Savings societies or Thrift clubs and thus be of immediate and direct service to the Government. Neither through government programme and traditions nor through the habits of the people were we in any way prepared for this struggle. We were a spendthrift Nation. One of the roads to national unity and national force in this war is through thrift, using the word to include both increased production in every field and also the conservation of those things which are so desperately needed for the winning of the war. The conscientious thrifty man to-day will conserve food as requested by the Food Administration. He will conserve fuel as requested by the Fuel Administration. And he will conserve to the best of his ability the labor and materials which the Government needs by not using his money for purchasing any of the non-essentials and thereby using up materials and labor needed by the Government. He will, by purchasing government securities, entrust the spending of his money to the Government in order to speed up the war and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory.

Let all of us join in this movement. The success of the War Savings campaign means an immense addition to our war strength. It also means the first step in economic preparedness for what is to come after the war. We must never return to our haphazard spendthrift ways. Thrift should be made a national habit as part of our social and industrial readjustment.


We are just finishing our Red Cross campaign. Now let us put through the War Savings campaign.


June 5, 1918

On the whole the worst fate that can befall any country is to fall into the hands of the Bolsheviki. Therefore, we should visit with heavy condemnation the Romanoffs of politics and industry who, by Bourbon-like inability to see or refusal to face the future, make ready the way for Bolshevism. Utter ruin will befall this country if it falls into the hands of Haywoods and Townleys and of the politicians who truckle to them, but the surest way to secure their temporary and disastrous triumph is to refuse to make every effort, in sane, good-tempered, resolute fashion, to deal with the problems which affect unfavorably the welfare of the farmer and the working-man.

Mere stolid inaction, mere refusal to acknowledge the existence of trouble and duty to remedy it amounts to playing into the hands of the worst and most evil agitators. Such an attitude on the part of our political leaders is almost as bad as the failure to act with instant readiness and full strength against disorder or as the time-serving cowardice which bows to and flatters the leaders of disorder. What is needed is unhesitating and thoroughgoing condemnation of, and action against, the anarchists and[159] inciters to sedition and to class envy and hatred, and at the same time genuine and radical effort to secure for the farmer and the working-man and for every one else the square deal in actual fact. Neither attitude is enough by itself; the two must go together if results of lasting worth are to be secured.

The leaders in such movements as the I.W.W. include a large proportion of men whose activities are criminal, and who, as regards civilization and all that makes life worth living for decent, hard-working men and women, stand merely as human beasts of prey. But very many of these fellows are not bad men at all, but merely unfortunates who turn to an evil organization because no good organization offers them relief or concerns itself with their welfare. I am not speaking of theory; I am speaking of fact. I know of cases in connection with the forest service where government officials, by acting on behalf of maltreated crews of lumber companies and by seeing that they got justice and fair treatment, turned them into zealous, right-feeling, public-spirited citizens, who, for instance, worked hard and disinterestedly in putting out forest fires.

It is idle to say that no governmental action is needed on behalf of farmers and wage-workers. Unquestionably such action will merely do harm unless at the same time the interests and permanent welfare of the business men of the country, great and small, are considered. But the action itself is necessary. It should be based on the theory that so far as possible the work of betterment, alike as regards farmers,[160] working-men, and business men, take the form of coöperation among themselves, with the maximum amount of individual and collective private effort, and the minimum necessary amount of governmental control and encouragement. It is not possible to state empirically in advance just how far this governmental control and encouragement shall go. This must be determined by actual experience in settling what is necessary in each individual set of cases. The best result will always come where the organization of private citizens is not limited to any one class, but include farmers, working-men, business men; just as is true of one such great organization in the State of Iowa; just as is true of a smaller but successful organization in and around the city of Springfield, Massachusetts; just as is preëminently true of many of the state councils of defense. There must be sincere purpose to push forward and remedy wrong; but there must likewise be firm refusal to submit to the leadership of either the criminal fringe or the lunatic fringe. Class hatred is a mighty poor substitute for American brotherhood. If we are wise we will proceed by evolution and not revolution. But Bourbon refusal to move forward at all merely invites revolution.


June 15, 1918

Senator Hiram Johnson has rendered many notable services to the public, and among them is his[161] recent speech concerning the cruel injustice with which Major-General Leonard Wood has been treated and the very grave damage thereby done the army and the Allied cause at this critical moment of the war.

General Wood’s entire offense consists in his having, before the war, continually advocated our doing things which now every one in his senses admits ought to have been done. Nine tenths of wisdom consists of being wise in time. General Wood was wise in time. Moreover, by twenty years of hard, practical work, he fitted himself to do peculiarly well in this very crisis. He was our senior general in rank, he was recognized by the best French and English military authorities as by experience trained to play an immediate and important part in the difficult and perilous joint work of the war. He had testified at length and with exhaustive professional knowledge before the congressional military committees, one year and two years prior to our entry into the war, pointing out all the military lacks, which experience has since shown to exist and which the War Department then denied existed. He is to be credited with the only piece of serious military preparedness in advance which is to our credit. In the service of 1915, in the teeth of indifference and hostility from his superiors, he created the Plattsburg officers’ reserve training camp, starting the system of training camps which has enabled us to officer our draft army.

He is in splendid physical condition. Recently[162] when in France he was severely wounded by a shell burst, and the surgeons reported his recovery as being more rapid than would have been the case with the average young man of robust bodily health and vigor. He has done excellent work in training his men at Camp Funston. He has been unwearied in looking after the health and welfare of his men. He has been rewarded by their loyal devotion; they have been profoundly grieved and moved by having him suddenly taken from them. The refusal to use his great ability and energy means a distinct subtraction from the sum total of our military efficiency, a distinct addition to the risk from disease and discomfort which some of our men at the front will have to incur, and a distinct benefit to the cause of Germany.

No explanation has been given the American people for the action concerning him. Nothing has been made public which warrants our belief that this action was due either to professional or to patriotic considerations.


June 20, 1918

Russia has been thrown under the iron tyranny of German militarism and capitalism by the Bolshevists of the Lenine type. The Russian people are slowly awakening to this bitter truth. The far-sighted, the Russians of genuine patriotism, have long been awake, but the peasants, who are at heart[163] good, but who are ignorant and misled, are now awakening also. Plenty of them, especially among the Cossacks, are well aware that submission to Germany now means death for Russia. Plenty of them are eager to fight and know well that only by successful war on a grand scale can Russia now be saved and regenerated, but they must have help and the help must be given immediately or it may be too late, and America can best give the help.

A Russian peasant woman who can hardly write her name is here to ask that the help be given immediately and that it be given in Siberia. She is a remarkable character in her strength, her simplicity, her direct straightforwardness, and her intense earnestness and entire disinterestedness. She was a major in the Russian army until the Russian army was betrayed and dissolved. Her peasant husband was killed in the ranks. She served in the ranks of a regiment of men. She commanded in a regiment of women. She has been wounded four times. She was born in Tomsk, Siberia. She is a peasant of the best class, in habits of thought and belief and life and sympathy. But she has a wide outlook. She knows that America will keep her word about Siberia, just as America kept her word about Cuba. She asks that for our own sake, just as much as for Russia’s sake, we now send an army to Siberia, entering through Vladivostok or Harbin, or through both. She asks us to announce that after the war is over we guarantee to return to Russia her country with the right for her people to decide for themselves[164] how they are to be governed, and that in the war we fight with and for all the Russians who will fight against Germany for Russia, and that we fight to the death against the Germans and against all Russians who side with the Germans.

Siberia is in chaos. Eastern Siberia has plenty of food and contains large elements of the population, especially Cossacks, who would promptly join with an Allied force which they believed would, in good faith, aid in the reconquest of Russia for the purpose of giving it back to the Russians themselves. West of Lake Baikal is a region dominated by a German army, some twenty thousand strong, composed of former German prisoners of war, who are organized under the name of the German Red Guards and who are the permanent adherents of German autocracy, but who help the cause of Russian anarchy in order to conquer Russia for the German autocracy. West of these again a stretch of country, which includes the passes of the Ural Mountains, is held by the splendid Czechs, who, by the way, must at the end of this war be rewarded by seeing an independent Czech-Slovak commonwealth established, just as there must also be a great Jugo-Slav commonwealth.

At once there should be in East Siberia an American army of say thirty thousand men with a Japanese army of the same size and a British imperial army of as nearly the same size as possible. If there was difficulty as to the command of the Allied forces, borrow some man of great reputation, Joffre, for[165] instance, from France. Let the woman major above spoken of and other Russian friends of the peasants and of a Russian republic go in advance to make clear that the Allied army comes only to restore Russia to the Russians. Let all Russians who join be paid by the United States on the same scale as our own troops, and if necessary let the United States guarantee the payment of the Japanese. Move against the German Red Guards as quickly as possible and then push instantly to join the heroic Czechs in the Urals. Let the railroads be organized back of the army by our best railroad men and let them carry immediately behind the army immense quantities of clothing, boots, and farm machinery. Siberia has food and it will furnish hundreds of thousands of soldiers who will rally around such an Allied army as a nucleus. Before this army reached the Urals, the Germans would have to prepare to meet it and their pressure on the Western front would thereby be relieved.

Russia is at this moment lost, so that no change in Russia can make things worse for the Allies than they now are. We ought to have acted with energy and intelligence on her behalf a year ago. Let us at least act now, for no possible action can be worse than our inaction. She does not need talk and envoys to study the situation. She needs an army to serve as a nucleus around which she can create her own immense armies. The above plan is better than none. If our Government can devise a better, let them do so, but let us act at once.



June 23, 1918

It is announced that on the Fourth of July the celebration is to be by race groups—that is, by Scandinavians, Slavs, Germans, Italians, and so forth. In sport organizations it may be necessary to have such a kind of divided celebration in some places, but I most emphatically protest against such a type of celebration being general, and I doubt whether it is advisable to have it anywhere. On the contrary, I believe that we should make the Fourth of July a genuine Americanization day, and should use it to teach the prime lesson of Americanism, which is that there is no room in the country for the perpetuation of separate race groups or racial divisions; that we must all be Americans and nothing but Americans, and that therefore on the Fourth of July we should all get together simply as Americans and celebrate the day as such without regard to our several racial origins.

At two thirds of the places where I have made speeches on Americanism (and these speeches have at least been free from any pussy-footing on Americanism), I have been introduced by straight Americans who were in whole or in part of German blood. At Milwaukee, for example, I was introduced by August Vogel, who has three sons already in the army and a fourth who will enter this summer. At Martinsville, Indiana, I was introduced by the[167] mayor, George F. Schmidt, who has two sons in the army. One of the sons, Wayne Schmidt, was the catcher of the University of Indiana baseball nine. He was in the same regiment with my two sons, Ted and Archie, and like Archie has been severely wounded. Mayor Schmidt writes me:

We are proud of Wayne and hope that his wounds will soon heal and that he may get back to his regiment and continue to serve his country. There is nothing fifty-fifty in this boy’s blood or any of his kin. His greatest ambition is to lead a company up the streets of Berlin.

This speaks the true American!

I also have German blood in my veins. We Vogels and Schmidts and Roosevelts intend to celebrate the Fourth of July with all our fellow Americans, without regard to whether they are of German, English or Irish, French, Scandinavian, Spanish, or Italian blood. Unless they are Americans and nothing else, they are out of place at a Fourth of July celebration, and if they are straight Americans, absolutely loyal to America, and resolutely bent on putting this war through until it is crowned by the peace of complete victory, then we are their brothers, their fellow Americans, and we decline to permit any lines of separation between us and them.


June 25, 1918

In the current North American Review and its supplemental War Weekly there are two strong and[168] deeply patriotic articles on the President’s recent announcement that politics is to be adjourned. When contrasted with the injection of politics by the President into the senatorial contests in Wisconsin and Michigan, never before in any great crisis in this country has there been such complete subordination of patriotism to politics as by this Administration during this war. Witness the activities of the organization under Messrs. Burleson and Creel and the working alliance between the Administration and the Hearst newspapers, while Vice-President Marshall and Secretary McAdoo give the signal for frank partisanship of an extreme type in their public speeches. The various activities are, of course, co-related and directed toward the same end.

In Wisconsin the President interfered by a personal appeal for the Democratic senatorial candidate against the Republican. He based his appeal on certain alleged positions taken by the Republican candidate, Mr. Lenroot, during the two years and a half preceding our entry into the war, which positions, he asserted, did not meet the “acid test” of patriotism. The President made the conduct of our public men during the two years and a half prior to the war the test by which they are to be judged, and where he himself applies this test to others he must himself be judged by it.

His supporters make the plea that to call attention to the President’s record during these two and a half years is to cry over spilt milk. But the President’s attack on Lenroot was a square repudiation of this[169] plea when it applied to anybody except himself. In reality the “acid test” of patriotism during these two and a half years is to be found in the use of phrases like “too proud to fight” and “peace without victory” and the refusal to act instead of merely talking after the sinking of the Lusitania; in the fatuous refusal to prepare and in the insistence on preserving an ignoble neutrality between right and wrong between those who were fighting to make the world safe for democracy and liberty and those who were fighting to overthrow both. Tried by the test of past conduct which the President applied to Mr. Lenroot, he is himself found wanting. Mr. Lenroot spilled a teaspoonful of milk, but Mr. Wilson spilled a bucketful and he must not call attention to the teaspoon and expect to escape having attention called to the bucket.

The President has now personally requested Mr. Henry Ford to come forward as his personal candidate for the Senate in Michigan. This action cannot be reconciled either with the President’s statement that politics must be adjourned or with the reasons he alleged for opposing Mr. Lenroot. No man was a more intense pacifist, no man struggled harder against preparedness, no man was more eagerly hailed as an ally by the pro-Germans than Mr. Ford during the two and a half years before we did our duty and entered the war. He is not a Republican; he is not a Democrat. He supported Mr. Wilson on the “he kept us out of war” issue. Mr. Wilson can only desire his election on grounds of personal politics,[170] as Mr. Wilson wishes as associates not strong men, but servants, and from the servants he demands servility even more than service. I have not the slightest political feeling when politics comes into hostile contact with patriotism and Americanism. There is no public servant whom during the past year I have supported more heartily than the Democratic Senator, Chamberlain. I oppose Mr. Ford, because in the great crisis I feel that his election would be a calamity from the standpoint of far-sighted and patriotic Americanism. I would oppose him if he had been nominated by the Republican Party. I oppose him in precisely the same spirit now that he has been nominated on personal grounds by Mr. Wilson.


June 27, 1918

The published reports of the International Typographical Union, issued from Indianapolis, make a very remarkable showing and put that organization high on the honor roll of America for the Great War.

Forty-one hundred journeymen members of the union and seven hundred apprentices are in the military and naval forces of the United States and Canada. Seventy-five members have already paid with their lives for their devotion to their country. The union has paid $22,000 mortuary benefits to[171] the widows, orphans, and mothers of these men. The union, through its executive council, has invested $90,000 in the Liberty loans, and subordinate local unions and individual members have invested $3,000,000 in the Liberty loans.

These are war-time activities. During the same period the International Typographical Union has continued all its ordinary benefit works. It has paid over $350,000 to fifteen hundred old-age pensioners, over $300,000 in mortuary benefits, and $170,000 to the Union Printers’ Home at Colorado Springs. Every dollar has been paid by members of the organization in the form of regular dues and assessments. The union neither solicits nor accepts contributions to its benefit funds.

During the same period the union has expended only $1200 for strike expenses. The union acts in thoroughgoing patriotic fashion on the conviction that there should be no strikes or lockouts during the war. Its officers regard themselves as volunteers in the army for the preservation of industrial peace, at least for the duration of the war, and I hope for long after the war. Such conduct offers a striking contrast to the action of certain corporations which during this war have refused to permit their employees to organize. Labor has as much right as capital to organize. It is tyranny to forbid the exercise of this right, just as it is tyranny to misuse the power acquired by organization. The people of the United States do not believe in tyranny and do believe in coöperation.


The International Typographical Union has offered an admirable example of Americanism and patriotism. Its attitude is typical of the attitude of organized labor generally. Hats off to the International Typographical Union! And hats off to the working-men and working-women of the United States!


July 3, 1918

It is announced from Washington that the President has been converted to the need of universal military training of our young men, as a permanent policy. This is excellent. If this policy is forthwith incorporated into our laws, it will represent an immense national advance. In the first place, it will guarantee us against a repetition of the humiliating experiences of the last four years, when our helpless refusal to prepare invited Germany’s attack upon us and then forced us to rely entirely upon our allies to protect us from that attack while for over a year we slowly made ready to defend ourselves. In the next place, it will immeasurably increase the moral and physical efficiency of the young men who are trained and fit them both to do better for themselves and to perform in better fashion the tasks of American citizenship. Finally it is essential that the policy should be adopted now while we are at war and therefore while[173] our people are awake to the needs of the situation. As soon as peace comes, there will be a revival of the sinister agitation of the pro-German or other anti-American leaders and of the silly clamor of the pacifists, all of whom will with brazen folly again reiterate that preparedness ends with war, and that, anyhow, all war can be averted by signing scraps of paper. The adoption at once of the policy of obligatory universal military training will be the performance of a great public duty.

For three years the foremost advocates of this policy have pointed out that it can advantageously be combined with a certain amount of industrial training. It is earnestly to be hoped that this element of industrial training will be incorporated in the law. Of course, in such case the length of service with the colors in the field, aside from preliminary training in the higher school grades, ought to be a year, so as to avoid superficiality. Credit should be given the graduates of certain scholastic institutions or to individuals who speedily attain a high degree of proficiency, and for them the time of service could be shortened. All officers or other candidates for officers’ training schools would be chosen from among the best of the men who had gone through the training, without regard to anything except their fitness. This would represent the embodiment in our army of the democratic principle which insists upon an equal chance for all, equal justice for all, and the need for leadership, and therefore for special rewards for leadership. The industrial training[174] could be so shaped as to emphasize the need that hard workers who are efficient should become in a real sense partners in industry, and that insistence upon efficiency should be accompanied by a fair division of the rewards of efficiency, and by insistence that the work should be made healthful and interesting, so that its faithful performance would be a matter of pride and pleasure.

At this moment our training camps are huge universities, huge laboratories of fine American citizenship. Let us make them permanent institutions. They develop both power of initiative and power of obedience. They inculcate self-reliance and self-respect. They also inculcate respect for others and readiness for discipline, which means readiness to use our collective power in such shape as to make us threefold more efficient than we have been. To make these camps permanent training schools for all our young men would mean the greatest boon this Nation could receive.


July 11, 1918

The United States Senate has struck an effective blow against the Hun within our gates by unanimously voting to repeal the charter of the German-American Alliance. It is earnestly to be hoped that the House will at once follow suit with like unanimity.[175] The Alliance has been thoroughly mischievous in its activities. It has acted in the interest of Germany and against the interest of America. It has tried to perpetuate Germanism as a separate nationality with a separate language in the United States; it has attacked our allies; it has encouraged disloyalty; it was decorated by the Kaiser for its services to Germany. It has endeavored to prostitute our politics to German needs. I have personally had the honor of being specially singled out by it for attack. It received money from the Brewers’ Association for the campaign against prohibition.

At this time, when the campaign of German frightfulness is in full blast, when the Prussianized Germany of the Hohenzollerns is steadily adding to its list of literally unforgivable offenses against civilization, there is no room in this country for any organization, great or small, which either defends Germany or is lukewarm in the great crusade against her in which America will henceforth play a leading part. Germany has recently scored another victory for frightfulness by sinking a Canadian hospital ship without warning and drowning two hundred persons, including women nurses. The ship was a mercy vessel, not a warship, and was so distinctly marked that it was impossible to mistake it. The attack upon it was sheer murder. Yet the German people tolerate, applaud, and approve the action of the German Government in this continuous and methodically organized campaign of murder, rape, and outrage.


The most complete exposure of Germany’s infamous purpose in forcing this dreadful war upon the world is contained in the pamphlet written by the leading German steel magnate, Herr August Thyssen. This pamphlet has been translated into English, has been put into the official record by Senator Owen, of Oklahoma, has been printed in full in the San Francisco Argonaut and Baltimore Manufacturers’ Record, and circulated in pamphlet form by Mr. J. G. Butler, Jr., of Youngstown, Ohio. It is accessible to everybody. Herr Thyssen has no conception of the monstrous turpitude of the plan which he supported. His only complaint is that he and the other German financiers were fooled by the German Kaiser and the German Government, who promised them victory and failed to furnish it. He proves that German capitalism was just as responsible for the war as German militarism (which incidentally shows the peculiar infamy of the Russian Bolshevists and American Socialists and their allies in playing Germany’s game). He shows that Germany’s ruthless brutality was equaled by her sordid greed. He showed that the Hohenzollern Government, through the Emperor and the Chancellor, deliberately planned the war over a year and a half before it broke out, and at that time and on several occasions gathered the leading business men of Germany, informed them of the plans, and got their support by holding out the war as one of sheer plunder. The other nations were to be attacked simply in order to rob them naked. Herr Thyssen himself was[177] promised thirty thousand acres in Australia. The Emperor particularly dwelt on the conquest of India, saying that the English allowed the vast Indian revenue to be used for and by the Indians themselves, but that Germany after her conquest would turn the whole “Golden Stream into the Fatherland.” There could be no finer tribute to England when compared with Germany than that which is thus furnished by the Emperor.

In point of international morality the Germany of the Hohenzollerns has become the wild beast of the nations. Whoever directly or indirectly works for her or against our allies or who is merely lukewarm in the war is an enemy of this country, and an enemy of all mankind.


July 15, 1918

Every man ought to love his country. If he does not love his country and is not eager to serve her, he is a worthless creature and should be contemptuously thrown out of the country when possible, and at any rate debarred from all rights of citizenship in the country. He is only entitled to one country. If he claims loyalty to two countries, he is necessarily a traitor to at least one country. If he claims to be loyal to both Germany and America, he is necessarily a traitor to America. No man can be a good American[178] now unless he is an enemy of Germany and Germany’s allies and a stanch supporter of America’s allies.

But it is just as wicked and just as un-American to deny the loyal American, of whatever origin, the full benefit of his allegiance to one country as it is to permit the disloyal American to exercise a treacherous alternative allegiance to two countries. Every man has a right to one country. He has a right to love and serve that country and to feel that it is absolutely his country and that he has in it every right possessed by any one else. It is our duty to require the man of German blood who is an American citizen to give up all allegiance to Germany whole-heartedly and without on his part any mental reservation whatever. If he does this, it becomes no less our duty to give him the full rights of an American, including our loyal respect and friendship without on our part any mental reservation whatever. The duties are reciprocal, and from the standpoint of American patriotism one is as important as the other.

There has been nothing finer in this war, nothing of better augury for the future of America, than the high courage and splendid loyalty shown by the American soldiers and sailors who are of German blood. Relatively to their number they have come forward as freely into the ranks of our fighting men as the Americans of any other stock, and all alike have shown the same soldierly efficiency, the same devoted patriotism, and, when the need arose, the[179] same heroism. The crew of the torpedo destroyer who face the submarine, and the airmen of the battle planes whose lives are in peril every hour, and the infantry stoggers and doughboys and marines who stand the killing and suffer the grueling hardship and misery of the line fighting, all alike number in their ranks relatively just as many Americans of German as of any other blood. Any one can see this who will look over the lists of casualties and the lists of men cited for deeds of high gallantry. The official reports of the German officers bear unintended testimony to the intense and patriotic Americanism of these men whom the Hohenzollern officials sneer at as “half Americans,” and who, even when taken prisoners, are admitted by the German army officers to “express without hesitation purely American sentiments.” In other words, the Pan-German propaganda on behalf of German kultur has broken down in America, and as a consequence there are no people in this country so hated in the Prussianized Germany of the Hohenzollerns as the Americans of German blood.

The very worst enemies of these Americans have been the traitors and dupes of traitors who have been during the last few years the leaders of the German-American Alliance and of the newspapers in German or English who have backed up the Alliance and similar organizations. The dissolution by law of the Alliance and the gradual change of German newspapers into newspapers published in English will be of benefit to true Americans of German blood more[180] than any other of our citizens. But the Americans of other blood must remember that the man who in good faith and without reservations gives up another country for this must in return receive exactly the same rights, not merely legal, but social and spiritual, that other Americans proudly possess. We of the United States belong to a new and separate nationality. We are all Americans and nothing else, and each, without regard to his birthplace, creed, or national origin, is entitled to exactly the same rights as all other Americans.


July 18, 1918

One of the cheapest methods by which some well-meaning, silly people, and some sinister people who are not well-meaning, achieve a reputation for broad-minded liberality in matters relating to social reforms is to champion or excuse criminality on the ground that it is due to social conditions. The parlor anarchist or parlor Bolshevist is not an attractive person, and he may be mischievous when he joins the genuine anarchist, the “direct” man with the bomb, because selfish and unpatriotic politicians then find it advantageous to pander to both. This species of parlor anarchist appeals to emotional persons of superficial cultivation, whether writers, college men, sham economists, or sham religious[181] and charitable workers, because it makes no demand either upon robust vigor of soul or thoroughness of mental process. At the moment it manifests itself in sympathy for the I.W.W. and for convicted dynamiters and murderers like Mooney.

There are honest and ignorant working-men who join the I.W.W. because they are misled or because in some given locality industrial conditions really are intolerable. I have heard on good authority of logging camps, for instance, where the men joined the I.W.W. and practiced sabotage because they were treated tyrannically and foolishly and where good treatment turned them into good citizens. But I know far more numerous instances in which the leaders have simply been thugs and murderous malefactors whose criminality was not in the least due to social conditions, but to their own foul natures. By all means let us remedy the social conditions that are wrong, but let us shun, as we would shun the plague, that mawkish sentimentality of downright moral and physical cowardice which fears to call murder, treason, violence, arson, and rape by their right names and treat them as crimes to be punished with relentless severity.

Actually there have been make-believe social reformers who have sought to excuse a brute who raped a little girl on the ground that social conditions made him what he was, and others who on similar grounds have protested against the condign punishment of men who burn haystacks, ruin machinery, dynamite peace parades, and, in the interest[182] of German agents, destroy machinery in mines or munition factories. Any man who is misled in these matters can get full information by buying a pamphlet recently written by a former Socialist, Mr. Everett Harri, called “The I.W.W. an Auxiliary of the German Espionage System.” The simple truth is that the men who lead and give the tone to the I.W.W. are more dangerous criminals than an equal number of white-slavers and black-handers, and to give aid and comfort to one set of enemies of the Nation is as bad as to give aid and comfort to the others.

The ablest, most far-sighted, and most patriotic of the heads of organized labor are more opposed to the I.W.W. as it is at present handled than are any other persons in the Nation. In just the same way the farmers whose resentment of wrongdoing is keenest should repudiate the Non-Partisan League just as long as it submits to such leadership as that of most of the men who are at present at its head, and just so long as it stands for covert disloyalty, as it has recently done on so many different occasions in so many different places. I am well aware that great numbers of honest and loyal farmers of high character have joined the League, because they rightly think that many of the economic conditions now affecting the farmer imperatively call for remedy. There are any number of men like myself who will join with the farmers in any sane and patriotic movement to remedy these conditions, no matter how radical such a movement may be. But[183] we will join with no movement whose leaders are tainted with disloyalty, or who refuse to give to others the same square deal they demand for themselves, or who fail to insist that here in America the one organization to which we all of us owe a loyalty greater than is any other, greater than to any labor union or farmers’ league or business or professional body, is the union of the entire American people.


July 26, 1918

There is no American worth calling such whose veins do not thrill with pride when he reads of what has been done by General Pershing and his gallant army in France. The soldiers over there who wear the American uniform have made all good Americans forever their debtors. Now and always afterward we of this country will walk with our heads high because of the men who face death and wounds, and so many of whom have given their lives fighting for this Nation and for the great ideals of humanity across the seas.

But we must not let our pride and our admiration evaporate in mere pride, in mere admiration of what others have done. We must put the whole strength of this Nation back of the fighting men at the front. We owe it to them. We owe it at least as much to the gallant Allies, who for near four years fought the[184] great battle that was our battle, no less than theirs.

At last we have begun to come to their assistance, but let us solemnly realize that we came very late, and that it is a dreadful thing if we waste one hour that can now be saved, or weaken in the smallest degree any effort that can be made. The inability, or refusal, of Bolshevist Russia to do her part in the great war for liberty and democracy has cast a terrible added burden upon the Allies. On the eastern front this has meant the temporary Allied ruin and the freeing of the armies of the autocracy for action against the western peoples. England, France, and Belgium for four years and Italy for over three years have been fighting the battle of civilization. Their man power is terribly depleted. Thank Heaven, we have got some hundreds of thousands of soldiers across in time to be a real element in saving Paris. Our first duty, if we wish to win the war, is to save Paris. Temporarily, at least, and I hope permanently, we have done our part in this respect. But the least faltering, the least letting-up, or failure in pushing forward our preparations and our assistance, would be dangerous to the Allied cause and a wicked desertion of our allies.

From now on America should make this peculiarly America’s war. From now on we should take the burden of the war upon our shoulders. We should move forward at once with all the force that there is in us. We should not allow the war to drag for so much as a day, and above all we should not permit our people to fall under the spell of pacifist dreams[185] or possible pacifist actions. There should not be intermission of so much as a week in sending our troops across the seas. This war won’t be won by food, or by money, or by savings, or by Thrift Stamps, or by the Red Cross, or by anything else, although all of these will help win the war. It will be won by the valor of the fighting men at the front, and this valor will fail unless our fighting men at the front are millions strong.

Every week this summer and fall we should be putting fresh troops by scores of thousands across the ocean, and now, to-day, this week, we should provide for placing a larger army in the field next spring than Germany itself, or France and England combined. We are a more populous, a richer country than Germany, we have a larger population than Great Britain and France combined. These nations have fought for four years. We have only just begun to fight. Let us at once mobilize the whole man power of this country between the ages of nineteen and fifty or sixty. The draft should take in all men of nineteen, even if they were not sent abroad until they were twenty years old. Let us act at once. Perhaps we can beat the Germans this year if we keep pouring our troops over with the utmost speed. But let us take no chances. Let us proceed upon the assumption that Germany will fight next spring, and therefore let us act instantly so that by spring we will have in France an army of fighting men, exclusive of non-combatants and exclusive of home dépôts, which shall amount to four million armed[186] soldiers at the very least. Let us fight beside the French, the British, the Italians, and be ready to fight instantly in the Balkan Peninsula and in Asia Minor against the Germans and all her vassal states. There must be no delay, not by so much as one hour, and no letting-up for one moment in the cause of our entire strength.


August 1, 1918

At long intervals in the history of a nation there come great days when the picked sons of the Nation determine for generations to come that nation’s place in history. During the last few weeks our fighting men in France have rendered all the rest of us forever their debtors. They have won high honor for themselves and for their country. Our children’s children will owe them deep gratitude for what they have done. All Americans hold their heads higher because of their deeds.

Their achievement has been won at the cost of perseverance in training and of resolution in facing unbelievable hardship and fatigue. It has also cost and will cost the death, the crippling, and the wounding of many scores of thousands of our best and bravest. We who stay behind in ease and comfort, who show our patriotism by economizing on sugar or wheat or beef instead of by living in our[187] clothes until they rot off us in the trenches, or who pay money for taxes and bonds and Thrift Stamps instead of paying with our blood, owe an incalculable debt to the men at the front and to the mothers, wives, and little children of those who are killed at the front. We must pay this debt.

The debt is due to our wonderful fighting men at the front individually, to our army collectively, and to this Nation as a whole. We must provide for the crippled men and for the widows and children of the dead. Nothing that we can do will lighten the bitter sorrow of those who have lost the men they loved; stern pride in the courage and gallant devotion of those who are dead is the only staff that will help to carry that burden for the living. But the material needs of the survivors must be met with ample generosity and yet in the only permanently effective fashion, by training those who need help to help themselves and achieve an ever-increasing self-respect and self-reliance.

We must now help the army as a whole by straining every nerve without a day’s delay immensely to increase our strength, our numbers, and our resources at the front. We should provide now, and as a matter of fact we ought to have provided six months ago, for an army of six or seven million men, so that when next spring opens we may have at least four million fighting men at the front. We are more populous than Germany, or France and Great Britain combined, and we should provide so that two years after we entered the war our army shall[188] be as large as Germany’s or as the combined forces of our allies in France. We should speed to the limit the work of the ships, guns, and airplanes. At present our army is in France mainly because of the aid of British ships, and it is able to fight mainly because of the field cannon and even airplanes it has received from the French. The draft limit should be immensely increased and the exceptions immensely decreased.

To stand by the army is to stand by the Nation, and therefore to stand by the Allies to whom our national faith is plighted. This war will be won by the fighting men at the front. All other work is merely auxiliary and is entirely subordinate to theirs. Let us provide for the army instantly, and let us provide for the Nation’s future permanently by at once introducing the policy of universal obligatory military training for all our young men.

The fighting men at the front are the men most worthy of honor. Let every American lad hereafter be trained so that in time of need he can fill this most honorable of all positions.


August 4, 1918

The glorious victory of the Allies in the second battle of the Marne, a victory in which the hard-fighting soldiers of the American army have borne[189] so distinguished and honorable a part, may mean the failure of the German military offensive for this year. Therefore it may mean a renewal of the German peace offensive. No man can prophesy in these matters, but the Germans may continue the war for a long time; and therefore we should prepare to have in France an army of four million fighting men for the battle front next spring. But the Germans may try to make peace instead of continuing the war, and may seek to cover their retention of some of their ill-gotten substantial gains by nominal and theoretical support of some glittering proposal about a league of nations to end all war. They will thereby hope to keep part of their booty by appealing to what is vaguely called internationalism and getting the support not only of sentimentalists who do not like to look unpleasant facts in the face, but also of the good people who are appalled and puzzled and panic-struck by the horror Germany has brought on the world, and who, instead of bracing themselves to put down this horror by their own hardened strength and iron will, clutch at any quack remedy which false prophets hold out as offering a substitute for such action.

Therefore it is well at this time for sober and resolute men and women to apply that excellent variety of wisdom colloquially known as “horse sense” to the problems of nationalism and internationalism. These problems will not be solved by rhetoric. Least of all will they be solved by competitive rhetoric. Masters of phrase-making may win[190] immense, although evanescent, applause by outvying one another in words that glitter, but these glittering words will not have one shred of lasting effect on the outcome except in so far as they may have a very mischievous effect if they persuade people to abandon the possible real good in the fantastic effort to achieve an impossible, unreal perfection. Let honest men and women remember that this kind of phrase-mongering does not represent idealism. The only idealism worth considering in the workaday business of this world is applied idealism. This is merely another way of saying that permanent good to humanity only comes from actually trying to reduce ideals to practice, and this means that the ideals must be substantially or at least measurably realizable.

The professed internationalist usually sneers at nationalism, at patriotism, and at what we call Americanism. He bids us forswear our love of country in the name of love of the world at large. We nationalists answer that he has begun at the wrong end; we say that as the world now is, it is only the man who ardently loves his country first who in actual practice can help any other country at all. The internationalist bids us promise to abandon the idea of keeping America permanently ready to defend her rights by her strength, and to trust, instead, to scraps of paper, to written agreements by which all nations form a league, and agree to disarm and agree each to treat all other nations, big or little, on an exact equality. We nationalists answer that[191] we are ready to join any league to enforce peace or similar organization which offers a likelihood of in some measure lessening the number and the area of future wars, but only on condition that in the first place we do not promise what will not or ought not to be performed, or be guilty of proclaiming a sham, and that in the second place we do not surrender our right and duty to prepare our own strength for our own defense instead of trusting to the above-mentioned scraps of paper. In justification we point to certain very obvious facts which ought to be patent to every man of common sense.

Any such league of nations must, of course, include the nine nations which have the greatest military strength or it will be utterly impotent. These nine nations include Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Russia. The first three have abundantly shown during the last four years that no written or other promise of the most binding kind has even the slightest effect upon their actions. The fourth, Russia, under the lead and dominion of the Bolsheviki, has just been guilty of the grossest possible betrayal of her allies and of the small kindred Slavonic peoples and of world democracy. This betrayal was in the interest of a military and despotic autocracy and included the direct violation of Russia’s plighted faith. Under such conditions it is unnecessary to say that Russia’s signature to any future league to enforce peace will not be worth the paper on which it is written. Therefore the creation of any such league for the future will simply mean a[192] pledge by the present Allies to make their alliance perpetual and all to go to war again whenever one of them is attacked. This may become necessary, but it certainly does not imply future disarmament.

Nor is this all. The United States must come into court with clean hands. She must not pledge herself without reservation to the right of “self-determination” for each people while she has behaved toward Haiti and San Domingo as she is now behaving. It is not possible for me to say whether our action in these two cases has been right or wrong, because the Administration, with its usual horror of publicity, whether pitiless or otherwise, and its inveterate predilection for secret and furtive diplomacy, has kept most of the facts hidden. I believe that there was no possible excuse for such secret diplomacy in these cases and that the same course should have been followed as was followed in the case of the Panama revolution, where every fact was immediately laid without reservation before Congress. But even if I am wrong in my belief in the general principle of open diplomacy, and even if the Administration is right in its consistent policy of secret diplomacy as regards the mass of questions which I think ought to be made public, the fact remains that we have with armed force invaded, made war upon, and conquered the two small republics, have upset their governments, have denied them the right of self-determination, and have made democracy within their limits not merely unsafe but non-existent. As we have no published facts to go[193] on, I cannot say whether their misconduct did or did not warrant such drastic action on our part, but on the assumption that the Administration acted properly, we are committed to the principle that some nations are not fit for self-determination, that democracy within their limits is a sham, and that their offenses against justice and right are such as to render interference by their more powerful and more civilized neighbors imperative. I do not doubt that this principle is true in some cases, whether or not it ought to be applied in these two particular cases. In any event, our continuing action in San Domingo and Haiti makes it hypocritical for us to lay down any universal rules about self-determination for all nations.

Our action also shows how utterly futile it would be to try to treat a league to enforce peace as a substitute for training our own strength for our own defense. Let China be the witness of the truth of this statement. China has actually realized the ideal of the pacifists who insist that unpreparedness for war secures peace. The ideal of the internationalists is that patriotism and sense of nationalism are detrimental to humanity, and the ideal of the Socialists is that the capitalist régime is the only cause of popular misery. China is helpless to attack others or defend herself, her people have little sense of national unity and pride, and there are in China huge districts where there are no capitalists and where the misery of the people is greater than in any country of the Occident. China’s helplessness, instead of helping toward world peace, has been a positive encouragement[194] to war and violence among her neighbors. Her future depends primarily, not on herself, but on what her neighbors choose to do. In spite of her size and her enormous population and resources, she is helpless to do good to others because she is powerless to prevent others from doing evil to her. Her agreement to a league of nations or to a league to enforce peace would be worthless, because she is unable to put strength back of justice either for herself or for any one else. The pacifists and internationalists if they had their way would turn the United States into the China of the Occident.

Let us put our trust neither in rhetoric nor hypocrisy, whether conscious or unconscious. Let us be honest with ourselves. Let us look the truth in the face. Let us remember what Germany, Austria, and Turkey have actually done. Let us remember what Russia has suffered from Germany and the worse than folly with which she has behaved to every one else. Let us remember what has happened to China and what we have made happen to Haiti and San Domingo. Then let us trust for our salvation to a sound and intense American nationalism.

The horse sense of the matter is that all agreements to further the cause of sound internationalism must be based on recognition of the fact that as the world is actually constituted our present prime need is this sound and intense American nationalism. The first essential of this sound nationalism is that the Nation shall trust to its own fully prepared strength for its own defense. So far as possible, its[195] strength must also be used to secure justice for others and must never be used to wrong others. But unless we possess and prepare the strength, we can neither help ourselves nor others. Let us by all means go into any wise league or covenant among nations to abolish neutrality (for, of course, a league to enforce peace is merely another name for a league to abolish neutrality in every possible war). But let us first understand what we are promising, and count the cost and determine to keep our promises. Above all, let us treat any such agreement or covenant as a mere addition to, and never as a substitute for, the preparation in advance of our own armed power. Next time we behave with the ignoble folly we have shown during the last four years we may not find allies to do what France and England and Italy have done for us. They have protected us with their navies and armies, their blood and their treasure, while we first refused to do anything and then slowly and reluctantly began to harden and make ready our giant but soft and lazy strength.

No proper scheme designed to secure peace without effort and safety without service and sacrifice will either make this country safe or enable it to do its international duty toward others.

An American citizen, personally unknown to me, writes me that his three sons entered the army at the outbreak of the war, and that one of them, an aviator, was killed in battle at the front just two weeks before my own son was killed as he fought in the air. In his letter my correspondent adds:


Would that my country might learn and never forget that not only the winning of peace now, but the maintenance of peace at all times depends not fundamentally on treaties or leagues of nations, but on the readiness of citizens to fly to the aid of the wronged and to give their lives if need be that justice may be secured.

There speaks the true American spirit which holds fast alike to fearlessness and to wisdom, to gentleness and to iron resolution. There speaks the spirit of that fervent nationalism which would forbid America either to inflict or to endure wrong.


August 9, 1918

The men who do the fighting at the front and their mothers and wives back here are those who in this great and terrible crisis are paying—the blood of the men and the tears of the women, and with the suffering of men, women, and children—for our failure to prepare during the two and a half years before we entered the World War. For this failure to prepare, in spite of the most vivid warning ever given a Nation, the warning that befell the rest of the world during those two and a half years, the professed pacifists and the politicians who pandered to them are more responsible than any one else, except the pro-Germans. If, when the World War broke out, or at latest when the Lusitania was sunk, we had done our plain duty, we had then begun to build[197] ships, field cannon and airplanes, and to train men exactly as we have been doing during the last year and a quarter, except that we should have done the work on a larger scale with more efficiency and with much less waste and extravagance. Remember that failure to provide great numbers of cannon and airplanes means that the infantry has to pay for it with a huge increase of slaughter. All the guns and airplanes we left unbuilt during the first three years of the war has meant so much more bloodshed, so many more Americans killed and crippled, not to speak of the tremendous loss of life to our allies. Moreover, when men in small numbers are put into battle, when only a few hundred thousand are forced to suffer heavy loss in doing work which two or three million men could have accomplished speedily and thoroughly and with very little loss, the responsibility rests on those who prevented the preparation in advance. If we had built quantities of ships and trained large numbers of men in advance, the World War would have ended almost as soon as we entered, and an infinite amount of bloodshed would have been prevented.

The best roll of our army overseas is the American roll of honor. These men have paid with their bodies for the safety of this Nation in the present and the future. They have died, and by their death have earned for the rest of us the right to hold our heads high with pride. But it is no less true that their blood has been shed, but their gallant lives have been spent because we did not prepare in advance. We[198] did not prepare because our people were misled. For this misleading of the people the professional profiteers share the responsibility with the pro-Germans, with sham sentimentalists, with the sordid, short-sighted materialists, and with all the politicians, publicists, and private citizens, rich or poor, whose vanity or folly or self-interest profited thereby. We ought not to remember this in any spirit of revenge, but most certainly, unless we are worse than foolish, we shall remember it and other warnings to teach us how to behave in the future, and as a very stern warning against again trusting to the leadership of the men thus responsible for the deaths of so many fine and fearless young Americans.

Most of the men who are misled, and some of the men who misled them, have come frankly forward to admit their error. What is even more important, most of them have made the real atonement of deeds. They have, if young, themselves gone into the army, and if not young have sent their sons or permitted them to go into the army and fight in freedom’s belated battle. All these men are paying their share of the joint payment in blood of the Nation. They are to be heartily respected. They are not seeking to profit by the valor and blood of others.

So much for the men who pay; now for the men who profit. Some of these men profit in money. If such profit is excessive it is iniquitous. But a proper money profit is absolutely necessary, for no business can be permanent without profit any more than a working-man can permanently work without wages.[199] The unpardonable profit is that of the man, especially the rich man, who, having preached pacifism and unpreparedness, now, when war comes, sees brave men face a death which pacifism and unpreparedness have made infinitely more probable while he himself and his sons profit by these other men’s courage and sit at home in the ease and safety secured by the fact that these others face death. The worst profiteers in this country are the men and the sons of the men who decline to face the death which their own actions have made more probable for others.

Unless in exceptional cases there is no need to discuss individuals in private life. But when a man seeks public office, it becomes a duty to discuss his record. Mr. Henry Ford is a candidate for United States Senator in Michigan. No man in this country strove harder in the cause of pacifism and unpreparedness than he did during the vital two years and a half before this country went to War. He received the cordial applause of the peace-at-any-price people who were themselves, of course, efficiently playing the pro-German game. He is a multi-millionaire. If any of his kin are killed, their families are not merely guarded against poverty, but are sure of wealth. The son of Mr. Ford ought to feel it absolutely obligatory on him to go to the war. There is not in this country any other man who ought to feel it more honorably necessary to pay with his body, if necessary, to atone with his life for the dreadful wrong done this country by the preachers of[200] pacifism and unpreparedness during the two years and a half that preceded our entry into the war. Yet it is announced in the press that Mr. Ford’s son has obtained exemption from military service and is employed in the money-making business of his wealthy father.

Mr. Ford’s proper place is on the mourner’s bench and not at the council board of the Nation.


August 16, 1918

Judge Ben Lindsey has recently written two or three striking pieces about what Great Britain has done and is doing in this war. Incidentally he points out how far ahead of us she now is in certain types of social legislation, such as that dealing with children. But the lesson he inculcates which is of most immediate concern is the giant part England has played in this war and the debt we owe to her because, in standing up for Belgium and France, she was really defending us during our days of folly when we followed the lead of our worst enemies, the pacifists and pro-Germans.

The English pacifists are, if anything, even more silly than our own. They did their best to make England keep out of this war. If they had succeeded the British Empire would for a few years have trod the broad, smooth road of peaceful and greedy infamy and would then have tumbled into the bottomless[201] pit of utter destruction. But in August, 1914, Great Britain and the gallant overseas commonwealths which share her empire chose the hard path of immediate danger, of ultimate safety, and of high heroism. Thereby they saved their own souls and the bodies of their children, and in so doing rendered an inestimable service to us.

England has raised an immense army which has fought in Europe, Asia, and Africa. If it were not for this army even the highly trained valor of the French could not have averted German victory. At the same time the British fleet has kept the seas free for the food and coal and munitions needed for the Allied people and armies and has furnished the transports necessary to enable us to put under Pershing a force large enough to be of real consequence in the vitally important battle which has been raging for the last thirty days. If Great Britain had not been far-sighted enough to realize what her own welfare demanded when France was invaded, and if she had not been stirred to noble indignation by the Belgian horror, the whole civilized world would now have been cowering under the brutal dominion of Germany. If she had not controlled the seas, not an American battalion could have been sent to the aid of France as she struggled to save the soul of the world, and no help could have been given gallant Italy or any others of these Allied nations to whose stern fighting efficiency we owe it that this earth is still a place on which free men can live.

We must stand by Great Britain precisely as we[202] stand by our other allies—in the first place, by waging the war with all our strength, and in the next place by seeing that the peace is of a kind which justifies them for all the sacrifices they have made.

One item in waging the war ought to be insistence that every American of fighting age who resides in the British Empire and every Englishman of fighting age who resides in the United States be invariably put in either the British or the American armies. One item in making peace ought to be insistence that Britain keep every colony she has conquered from Germany, both in the South Seas and in Africa. Germany has behaved abominably in Africa. The course Germany has followed in Africa has made her a menace of evil to the Boer and British Africanders, and to return to her the colonies which have been taken from her, whether in Africa or Asia, by Australia or Great Britain, or by France or Japan or Belgium, would be a crime against civilization.


August 20, 1918

Every loyal American citizen in Michigan should read the last two numbers of Mr. George Harvey’s War Weekly. In these numbers there are quotations from Mr. Henry Ford’s speeches made two years ago and again since we entered the war. Mr. Ford has not questioned the accuracy of these quotations given by Mr. Harvey.


Speaking of American flags over his own factory Mr. Ford said: “I don’t believe in the flag. When the war is over these flags shall come down never to go up again.”

The Sedition Act, approved by President Wilson, inflicts a maximum punishment of twenty years in the penitentiary for any man who, while we are at war, utters “language intended to bring the flag of the United States into contempt or disrepute.” During the last year many poor and ignorant men have been convicted and sentenced for using language thus forbidden by law. In my view the fact that Mr. Ford is an enormously wealthy man ought not to give him immunity from the law if he cannot show that he did not use the language quoted in the War Weekly. But whether or not amenable to the law, no patriotic American can afford to put in the Senate, perhaps to help negotiate the peace treaty, a man who announces that as soon as peace comes he wishes to haul down the American flag and never again to hoist it. To send such a man to the Senate professing such sentiments under existing conditions would give the enemy a wholly wrong idea of the pacifist sentiment in our country. There is nothing in the world which would now help Germany as much, or give her so much heart in her struggle for the overthrow of liberty and democracy as the belief that men professing such sentiments would have part in the peace negotiations on behalf of this country.

Among the further utterances of Mr. Ford (as given in the War Weekly) is one that he does “not[204] believe in patriotism” and that he does not care any more for the United States “than for China or Hindustan.” The man who does not believe in patriotism is not fit to live in this country, still less to represent it in the Senate. If these words of Mr. Ford mean anything, then Mr. Ford is unpatriotic and has no more right to sit in the United States Senate than a Hindu or a Chinaman. Unless Mr. Ford can show that he never uttered these words no man worthy to be called an American, and least of all any religious or patriotic man, can afford to support him for the Senate.

Mr. Ford has been given immensely valuable war contracts of the Government. No doubt he has executed them as well as the thousands of other contractors who now render service to the Government for pay. But no service he can thus render the Government can offset the frightful damage he did our people by the lavish use he made of his enormous wealth in a gigantic and profoundly anti-American propaganda against preparedness and against our performance of international duty during the two and a half years before we entered the war. This crusade against righteousness included the sending of the ridiculous “peace ship” to Europe. This particular manifestation was too absurd even to do harm, but so far as it had any effect at all it encouraged Germany to believe that we were as neutral between right and wrong as Pontius, and that as far as we were concerned she could safely proceed with wrongdoing because we held the scales of judgment[205] even between the wrongdoer and his victim. The crusade also included an extraordinary series of advertisements issued long after the Lusitania was sunk, in which Mr. Ford violently opposed and denounced preparedness, advocated and approved the McLemore resolutions, and announced that it was our duty to keep out of war; and not merely himself kept silent about the wrongdoing of Germany, but assailed those who set forth this wrongdoing on the ground that they “had bred racial hatred by the printing of incendiary news stories and articles.” It may well be doubted whether this propaganda did not do more damage to the American people than the propaganda carried on at the same time by Ambassador Bernstorff.

If we had seen our duty and had fully prepared during these two and a half years, either we would never have had to enter the war or we would have brought it to a close immediately after we entered it. The best and bravest of the young men of the Nation are now paying with their blood for our unpreparedness and therefore for the pacific propaganda quite as much as for the pro-German propaganda carried on in this country during the two and a half years before we entered the war. But wealthy Mr. Ford’s son is not among these men. He is of draft age. He applied for exemption. The local board refused his application. He applied to the President. The President did not act for two months. Then the revised draft regulations were promulgated, and Mr. Ford was excepted under the deferred or exempted[206] class which included a married man with a child, however wealthy that man might be. He has exercised his legal right. Very many thousands of young Americans, men of small means who are not sons of multi-millionaires, have declined to take advantage of this legal right. They have left their wives and babies to go to war for a great ideal, for love of country, for love of liberty and of civilization. But Mr. Ford’s son stays at home. These other young Americans face death and endure unspeakable hardships and misery and fatigue for the sake of America and have surrendered all hope of money-getting, of comfort and of safety. But young Mr. Ford, in ease and safety, is in the employ of his wealthy father.

In private relations I understand that Mr. Ford is an amiable man. But I am not dealing with him in his private relations. I am discussing him as a candidate for high office. We are bound truthfully to set forth what we believe will be the effect of his election, and therefore we are bound to say that it would be damaging to the United States and would be encouraging to Germany. No patriotic American should support Mr. Ford.


August 23, 1918

Our Government must learn that needless delay is worse than a blunder. We are sending troops to[207] Siberia. This is good, but it would have been ten times better to have sent them last spring when the need was precisely as evident as it is now. The Administration is now preparing to ask Congress to arrange for putting between three and four million men in France by next July. Six months ago our best military advisers and our most far-sighted civilian leaders were urging that we prepare to put five million men in France by next March. The delay has been absolutely needless and may be very harmful. When last spring the demand for five million men was being incessantly urged, President Wilson treated it as merely a case for competitive rhetoric, and asked, with dramatic effect, why we should limit the number at all. But he actually has limited it to a much smaller number at a much later date. Therefore let there at least be no further delay. And above all let us not be misled by the persons who say that Germany will make peace before next spring. Our business is to act on the assumption that we shall have to put forth our utmost effort next spring and not to take any unnecessary chances.

The Government is now very properly proposing to enlarge the draft age limits to include all the men of fighting age, all the men of the ages which furnished the enormous majority of the soldiers of the Civil War. The number of men in the excepted classes should be greatly reduced. There are too many exceptions. It is earnestly to be hoped that the plan will include the institution of universal obligatory military training of all our young men[208] of eighteen to twenty years old as a permanent policy.

But we ought not to adopt the plan recently proposed for special advantages to be given by the Government to young men who go to college and take certain special courses with a view to becoming officers. This would amount to giving a special privilege to persons with money enough to send their boys to college in order to have them escape the draft and secure commissions. This is not fair. It means giving a privilege to money. There is no excuse for giving such a preference to young men of eighteen or nineteen at this time when we have been at war eighteen months. There is still need to give some of the older men a special chance to train. But there is no such need in the case of men under twenty-one.

There was every reason of sound public policy at the outset of the war to take advantage of the forethought and self-denial of the young men who at the Plattsburg and similar camps had at their own expense prepared themselves before the war began, and when, owing to the failure of the Government to do its duty, they were the only men who did prepare. There has been good reason for similar camps for young men during the last eighteen months before our general training camps began to show their full results. But from now on every young officer should be chosen on his merits from the men who enter the army in the ranks. Only the men who show their fitness, by whatever tests are deemed necessary[209] after service in the ranks, should be sent to officers’ schools, and money should play no part whatever in the matter.


September 1, 1918

Senator Lodge’s speech dealing with the principles for which we are fighting and setting forth in detailed outline the kind of peace which alone will mean the peace of victory was a really noble speech. Nothing is easier, and from the national standpoint as distinguished from the standpoint of personal benefit to the speaker, nothing is less useful than a speech of such glittering generalities that almost anybody can interpret it in almost any manner. Only a great statesman possesses the courage, the knowledge, and the power of expression to set forth in convincing fashion the detailed statement of the objects which must be attained if such a war as that in which we are engaged is to be crowned by a peace wholly worth the terrible cost of life and happiness caused by the war. This is the service which Senator Lodge has rendered to this Nation and to our allies.

From time to time in our history the Senate has rendered services of exceptional magnitude to the Nation. Never in our history has it rendered greater service than during the last nine months. The greatest men who have ever sat in it, men such as Clay and Webster and Calhoun and Benton, did not[210] stand forth in leadership more clearly than a dozen of the Senators who, during the last nine months, have fearlessly and disinterestedly borne the burden of speeding up the war and endeavoring to place our international relations on exactly the right lines.

These leaders have in actual fact adjourned politics. They have considered only their patriotic duty in all matters concerning this war and our relations with our allies and our enemies. The most efficient service toward speeding up the war and enabling this Nation to do its duty that has been rendered by any civilian public servants of the Nation is the service rendered by Senator Chamberlain and the Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who acted with him on the Military Affairs Committee in the investigation of the War Department last winter. Within the last fortnight a service of similar character has been rendered by Senator Thomas and his associates in both parties on the sub-committee which has at last put before the people the truth about the breakdown of our aircraft programme. The fact that this summer we have put masses of armed men into France is primarily due to Senator Chamberlain and the Senators of both parties who have acted with him. The fact that next summer we shall at last back up American troops with American airplanes will be due primarily to Senator Thomas and his associates.



September 8, 1918

The official record of the Illinois branch of the United Mine Workers of America furnishes an instructive lesson in applied patriotism. The president of the branch is Mr. Frank Farrington. The United Mine Workers are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.

President Farrington’s circulars to the Illinois mine workers set forth the need and the justice of this war and the duty of patriotic Americans in the most straightforward and clear-cut fashion. He states that this is the war for liberty and humanity and for American rights, and that there rests “upon every American and upon every man who has partaken of America’s bounty the solemn obligation of loyally doing their part to win victory for the cause America represents.” He promises the mine workers that their rights shall be protected and secured, but insists that they shall lend every energy to increase the output of coal so as to help our army at the front, which, as he finely says, includes “sons of the rich and sons of the poor men who love life as one, but who prefer death to life without liberty and who have made common cause and entered the lists in answer to the Nation’s need.”

The improper practices are specifically pointed out and condemned, such as shutting down mines in violation of agreement in order to force some desired[212] condition, or making improper restrictions to curtail production. The appeal is solemnly made to, and on behalf of, the miners’ union that there must be full service to the Nation and no shirking of duty, and that no agreement into which the union enters shall be treated as a scrap of paper, but shall be in good faith fulfilled. President Farrington in his official circulars lays constantly increasing stress upon the seriousness of the obligation resting upon the miners to aid and sustain the Allied armies in their fight for the freedom of humanity by hard, steady work and by increasing the output of coal. He condemns with genuine loftiness of feeling and expression all who fail to give the utmost help to the men who at the front are doing so much and suffering so much.

The Illinois mine workers number about ninety thousand members. They are divided into three hundred and twenty local unions. Of these I have figures from only one hundred and twenty. They have sent over four thousand men into the army and navy of the United States, have purchased over two million dollars’ worth of Liberty bonds, $700,000 of War Savings Stamps, and have contributed over $90,000 to the Red Cross and over $20,000 to other war funds.

The Illinois mine workers have made a fine showing in applied patriotism.



September 12, 1918

The absolute prerequisite for successful self-government in any people is the power of self-restraint which refuses to follow either the wild-eyed extremists of radicalism or the dull-eyed extremists of reaction. Either set of extremists will wreck the Nation just as certainly as the other. The Nation capable of self-government must show the Abraham Lincoln quality of refusing to go with either. The dreadful fall which has befallen Russia is due to the fact that when her people cast off the tyranny of the autocracy, they did not have sufficient self-control and common sense to avoid rushing into the gulf of Bolshevist anarchy.

In this country there are plenty of highbrow Bolsheviki who like to think of themselves as intellectuals, and who in parlors and at pink teas preach Bolshevism as a fad. They are fatuously ignorant that it may be a dangerous fad. Some of them are mere make-believe, sissy Bolsheviki, almost or quite harmless. Others are sincere and foolish fanatics, who mean well and who do not realize that their doctrines tend toward moral disintegration. But there are practical Bolsheviki in this country who are in no sense highbrows. The I.W.W. and the Non-Partisan League, just as long and so far as its members submit to the dominion of leaders like[214] Mr. Townley, represent the forces that under Lenine and Trotzky have brought ruin to Russia. If these organizations obtained power here, they would cast this country into the same abyss with Russia.

The I.W.W. activities may have been officially set forth by the Chicago jury which found the I.W.W. leaders guilty of treasonable practices. These leaders protested that they were only trying to help “the wage slave of to-day,” and had not taken German money. But the jury found them guilty as charged. The American people, when fully awake and aroused, will tolerate neither treason nor anarchy. No Americans are more patriotic than the honest American labor men, and these above all had cause to rejoice in the verdict. Undoubtedly there are plenty of poor ignorant men who join the I.W.W. because they feel they do not receive justice. We should all of us actively unite in the effort to right any wrongs from which these men suffer. But we should set our faces like flint against such criminal leadership as that of the I.W.W.

The Non-Partisan League endeavored to ally itself with the I.W.W. since we entered the war. When the League was started, I felt much sympathy with its avowed purposes. I hope for and shall welcome wisely radical action on behalf of the farmer. But only destruction to all of us can come from the venomous class hatred preached by the present leadership of the League. Some of its leaders have been convicted and imprisoned for treasonable activities. Some of the League’s representatives[215] have been actively pro-Germans. Some are Socialists or Socialist-Anarchists. For the first six months of the war and until it became too dangerous, they were openly against the war, against our allies, and for Germany. The only half-secret alliance between these leaders and certain high Democratic politicians is deeply discreditable to the latter. The victory of the League in its recent efforts to gain control of the Republican Party in Minnesota and Montana would have given immense strength to the pro-German and Bolshevist element throughout the country and its defeat was a matter of rejoicing to all right-minded and patriotic men.

Mr. Townley’s leadership in its moral purpose and national effect entitles him to rank with Messrs. Lenine and Trotzky, and the utterances of the League’s official organ, especially in its appeals to class hatred, puts the official representatives of the League squarely in the clan with the Bolshevist leaders who have done such evil in Russia.

I have before me an official letter from the League written in January last refusing to coöperate in non-political work for the benefit of the farmers, saying, “This organization is a political one, the farmers being organized for the purpose of controlling legislation in their own interests.” In other words, the title, Non-Partisan, is a piece of pure hypocrisy, and its league is really partisan in the narrowest and worst sense. Americans should organize politically as Americans and not as bankers, or lawyers, or farmers, or wage-workers. To organize politically on[216] the basis adopted by the League is thoroughly anti-American and unpatriotic, and if copied generally by our citizens, would mean the creation in this country of rival political parties based on cynically brutal class selfishness.

I have no doubt that the rank and file of the members of the League are good, honest people who have been misled. I am certain that there has been much neglect of the rights of the farmers and that it is a high duty for this country to begin a constructive, practical agricultural policy. But no good American can support the League while it is dominated by its present leadership. The Kansans who have joined to fight the League because it represents Bolshevism are rendering a patriotic service to America.


September 17, 1918

The Government of the United States is asking us Americans, is asking us, the citizens of the United States, to subscribe to the Fourth Liberty Loan, a bigger loan than any yet issued. It is our duty to back up the Government by floating the loan. Moreover, the performance of this duty should be treated by us as a high privilege. It opens to us a fine opportunity to put our shoulders with all the strength we have into the great shove which is pushing the German barrier back across the Rhine.


The Liberty bonds are the best of all possible investments. Their security and their interest returns give them a peculiar position. Moreover, every one can invest in big or little amounts, exactly as his resources permit. All the people of this country can now become bondholders if they wish. Therefore, all investors in the bonds will get benefits, but what is vastly more important, they will give benefits. They will therefore render service to the country.

We Americans are not, and must not permit ourselves to become, swayed by question of material gain in this war. We must think primarily of our duties. We must keep our minds fixed on what we owe to others, and what we owe to ourselves. We owe a service to humanity. Our sons and brothers at the front pay this service in blood. The rest of us must pay it in money.

Commensurate with the great resources and unparalleled prosperity with which our Nation has been blessed, we owe all the more because for three years the debt accumulated, while other nations were bearing the burden for us. We thank God we have begun to pay. From every village and city of every state the best of our young men are streaming across the Atlantic to join the victorious army under Foch and Pershing. The men and women of America are keeping mill and shipyard and munition factory and mine busy to the limit, so that the troops may not fail nor the supplies on which they depend be lacking.

All this is not one whit more than we ought to do; it is what we owe to the world and owe to ourselves.[218] We are glad and proud to do it. Let us, as part payment of our great debt, subscribe and oversubscribe to the bonds of the Fourth Liberty Loan. This is a service which lies within the ability of the poorest of us. It is the duty and privilege of every right American. Every dollar put into Liberty loans is a dollar working for the downfall of the system of greed and treachery, of tyranny and callous brutality which has drenched the world in blood.

Americans are not quitters. The Kaiser’s troops cannot stop our men at the front. Nothing must be permitted to stop the flow into the treasury of the money with which we back up these men. Sloth and easy living have no place in America now. We must give, give to the utmost. If putting our money at the disposal of the Government requires us to work harder and live more simply, we shall be the better for it. Let us buy these Liberty bonds to the utmost of our capacity and thereby show the men at the front that the people at home will back them to the limit.


September 20, 1918

A Democratic member of the Senate has introduced a resolution to investigate the primary campaign expenses of certain Republican candidates for the Senate, including Commander Truman Newberry, whose recent triumph over Mr. Henry Ford in the[219] Michigan Republican primaries was greeted with heartfelt thanks by every sincere and far-sighted American patriot.

This Senate, which comes to an end on March 4 next, has the same, and only the same right to investigate the election conduct of candidates for the Senate, which comes into existence on March 4 that it has to investigate the campaign conduct of any other candidates for office.

Moreover, any such proposed investigation undertaken on the eve of an election is tainted with bad faith unless it is conducted with conspicuous fairness and impartiality and is undertaken at once so that it can be finished at least a month before the elections. Personally, I shall be glad if the election expenses or any other conduct of any of the candidates be investigated, provided that the investigation be undertaken at once and finished within the next fortnight, and provided that it be entirely impartial. Therefore, it must deal comprehensively with all serious charges affecting the desirability of candidates as governmental representatives of the American people at this time.

If the men backing the proposal are acting in good faith they will investigate Mr. Ford’s record on the following points in order to determine his fitness to represent patriotic Americans at this time. They will find out how much money he spent on the peace ship, and on his lavishly expensive newspaper advertising campaign against preparedness, and against our standing up for Belgium’s rights, and against[220] our taking action about Germany’s sinking the Lusitania and her other assaults on us, and in favor of the McLemore resolution. This was part of the great pacifist campaign of which another part, as our government investigations show, was financed by the German authorities themselves or by their affiliated societies in this country.

The investigation should include Mr. Ford’s contributions in the last presidential campaign and the names of the candidates he supported, for his politics seem to have been purely personal and pacifist.

Moreover, the investigation should include a full examination of the justification for Mr. Ford’s aiding and abetting his son Edsell in escaping draft and staying at home when the great majority of young Americans of his age are eagerly striving for places of honor and peril at the front. Mr. Ford is an enormously wealthy man. Mr. Newberry is not. Mr. Newberry himself at once entered the military service of the United States. His two sons have wives and children, but they immediately entered the service, striving eagerly to get to the front. Mr. Edsell Ford waited until he was drafted, then fought hard for an exemption, which the local board disallowed. He succeeded, however, in escaping service and is at home.

Unless the investigation takes up these matters, it will be stamped with the stamp of unworthy and improper partisanship. The simple truth is that all patriotic Americans rejoice in the nomination and will rejoice in the election at this time of such[221] Americans as Mr. Newberry in Michigan and Mr. Medill McCormick in Illinois.


September 24, 1918

Mercy to the German spy or pacifist slacker in America is foul injustice to the American soldier in France and to his brother, who is preparing to go to France. Our Government has been altogether too weak in dealing with the pacifist slackers and so-called conscientious objectors. It has actually issued elaborate instructions for and to these creatures practically telling them how to escape doing the duty which all patriotic Americans are proudly eager to perform.

There is not the slightest excuse for such weakness. No man has any right to remain in a free country like ours if he refuses, whether conscientiously or unconscientiously, to do the duties of peace and of war which are necessary if it is to be kept free. The true lovers of peace recognize their duty to fight for freedom. The Society of Friends has furnished the same large proportion of soldiers for this war that it did for the Civil War.

It is all wrong to permit conscientious objectors to remain in camp or military posts or to go back to their homes. They should be treated in one of three ways: First, demand of them military service, except the actual use of weapons with intent to kill,[222] and if they refuse to render this service treat them as criminals and imprison them at hard labor; second, put them in labor battalions and send them to France behind the lines, where association with soldiers might have a missionary effect on them and cause them to forget their present base creed and rise to worthy levels in an atmosphere of self-sacrifice and of service and struggle for great ideals; third, if both of the above procedures are regarded as too drastic, intern them with alien enemies and send them permanently out of the country as soon as possible.

As for the spies, there is no question as to the treatment needed. They should be shot or hung. They are public enemies and this is war-time and they should no more be dealt with by the civil law than the enemy armies should be so dealt with. The German spies and secret agents and dynamiters and murderers in this country are as much a part of Germany as the soldiers of von Hindenburg. Bismarck employed thirty thousand of them to disorganize Germany’s foes fifty years ago, and now Germany is employing them by the hundred thousand. They are as formidable as the visible German army. It was these German Spies, agents, and propagandists who, in 1917, disintegrated and destroyed Russia, and inflicted a crushing disaster on Italy, and conducted the most dangerous intrigue in France, and aided and abetted the British pacifists.

In this country Senator Overman has estimated their number at four hundred thousand, and Mr.[223] Flynn, the recently resigned chief of the secret service, has put them at a quarter of a million. Our official government reports have shown that in obedience to orders from the German Government they have carried on in all hostile and even neutral countries a systematic warfare by means of aiding pacifists’ movements, inciting strikes, fomenting disloyalty, and employing direct action dynamiters and murderers. They have received aid and coöperation, conscientiously and unconscientiously, by many evils in pacifist and Bolshevist societies and in organizations like the I.W.W. and Non-Partisan League.

The activities of the German spies, agents, and sympathizers vary from mere disloyal utterances, which the Attorney-General of the United States has stated to be the cause of most of the disorder in the country, up to seeking to corrupt our soldiers and practicing sabotage in our munitions works and factories for war materials. All offenders of the latter type, wherever committed, can, under the existing law, be tried by court-martial and executed, and this is the proper course to follow. It was the course followed under Lincoln’s administration, which is one of the reasons why Lincoln’s administration differed so markedly from Buchanan’s.

The former chief of the secret service says that there are a quarter of a million of these German spies and agents in this country. We have ample law to warrant these being punished with death by summary court-martial, under military law as military[224] enemies. We have been at war eighteen months, but not one Spy has thus been punished. This means grave remissness in the performance of our duty.


September 30, 1918

It is announced that the young men of eighteen or nineteen included in the draft will be sent free to college by the Government and will there be given the chance to earn commissions and escape service in the ranks.

Either this represents sheer deception or it will mean gross favoritism. We now have plenty of young men who have been serving in the ranks for nearly eighteen months. Scores of thousands of these left college to go or had just finished high school when they went. All these boys, whether they have or have not been to college, are entitled to the first chance for commissions on equal terms with one another, except that preference should be given those who have been engaged in the fighting overseas. Almost all the second lieutenancies should now be filled in this manner by promotion from the ranks. To give to boys now about to enter college the preference over those who have actually served in the ranks, and especially over those who have actually faced death overseas, would be a cruel injustice.

But the injustice would be equally great among the new recruits themselves. It is wholly illusory for[225] the Government to say it will send to college all who wish to go. The average working-man or small farmer has not had money enough to educate his son so that the boy can now enter college without further training. Yet that boy may have in him the qualities of leadership which especially fit him for command. Such a working-man or farmer ought to wish, and does wish, that his son be tested on his merits by actual service in the ranks, alongside of all other boys, no favors being shown either him or them. For the Government at this time to send some of these boys to college and thus give them a start over the bulk of their fellows represents privilege given to money and is thoroughly unfair.

For the two years before we entered the war the only important piece of preparedness was that of the men who at their own expense went to the Plattsburg training camp established by General Wood, and when Germany forced us into war it was imperatively necessary at once to establish many additional camps of this kind or we should have had no officers whatever for our army. It is still advisable to keep a few training camps for older men whose age and qualifications especially fit them for certain kinds of service. But it is not wise nor right for the Government now to put certain especially favored classes of boys of eighteen and nineteen into college with a view to giving them an advantage over their fellows. This is undemocratic. It is not fair to the other boys of their age who are not in the army. It is exceedingly unfair and unjust to the young men who are[226] already enlisted in the army, and especially to those who have seen service overseas.

From now on no young officer should be appointed saving after service in the ranks out of which he is chosen by fair test in comparison with his fellows as fit to enter an officers’ training camp. Moreover, there should be a resolute effort to give preference to the men who have served in the front in France, the very men who are now apt to be neglected.


October 12, 1918

Our war aim ought to be unconditional surrender of Germany and of her vassal allies, Austria and Turkey. We ought not to consider any peace proposals from Germany until this war aim has been accomplished by the victorious arms of our allies and ourselves.

It is worthy of note that the Central Powers show a greedy eagerness to accept the so-called “fourteen points ”laid down by President Wilson. I earnestly hope that when the time for discussing peace proposals comes, we shall ourselves repudiate some of these fourteen points, and that we shall insist on having all of them put into plain and straightforward language before we assent to any of them. Let us remember that Congress shares with the President the right to make treaties and that the people are bound to insist that they, the people, are the ultimate[227] arbiters and that their will in the peace treaty is followed by both the President and the Congress.

For example, what does that one of the fourteen points referring to the freedom of the seas mean? If it means what Germany interprets it to mean, then every decent American ought to be against it. The kind of freedom of the seas upon which it is really vital to count is freedom from murder. International law at present condemns exactly the kind of murder which Germany practiced in the case of the Lusitania and in hundreds of other cases, and is still practicing. We ought to make her atone heavily for such conduct and explicitly renounce it before we ever discuss any other kind of freedom of the seas.

Again, we ought to know just what the President means by freedom of commercial intercourse. If he means that he proposes to allow Germany to dump her manufactures on us without restriction, we ought to be against it. We ought to insist on keeping in our hands the complete right to handle our tariff as the vital interests of our own citizens, and especially our own working-men, demand.

Again, what is meant by the league of nations? If it means that Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Russia, as at present constituted, are to have the say-so about America’s future destiny, we ought to be against it. They would treat any agreement with us as a scrap of paper wherever it suited their interests, and we ought to realize this fact. Moreover, we already belong to a de facto league of nations which is a going concern. Let us stand by our allies before[228] entering into a league with our enemies. Therefore, let us at once declare war on Turkey. Any such league is of value only if all its members are willing to make war on the same offenders, and the culpable failure of our Government to make war on Turkey and Bulgaria makes it absurd and hypocritical for us to promise to enter such a league in the future until this failure is confessed and atoned for. And let us at once send Major-General Wood and fifty thousand men to aid the Czecho-Slovaks in Siberia and establish our front well to the west of the Ural Mountains.

Again, the talk of merely giving autonomy to the subject races of Austria amounts to betrayal of the Czecho-Slovaks, the Jugo-Slavs, the Italians, and the Rumanians. The first should be given their independence and the other three united to the nations with which they really belong. Moreover, it is a betrayal of civilization to leave the Turk in Europe and fail to free the Armenians and the other subject races of Turkey.

Again, let us define what is meant by abolishing secret diplomacy. If it means that the Administration is to renounce the system of secret and furtive diplomacy which it now perseveres in concerning what has happened in Mexico, Haiti, and San Domingo, I heartily agree; but I do not see why it needs an international mandate before it tells our people the truth in these matters. Moreover, before it undertakes a fresh agreement, let it explain why for two years it kept secret from our people the full[229] knowledge it had of Germany’s conduct and attitude toward us, including all the matters set forth in Ambassador Gerard’s books. The American Nation has never seen such secret diplomacy practiced by its Government as it has seen during the last five years.

It is evident, before these fourteen points are accepted as the basis for peace discussion, they should be stated in such straightforward language that we may understand what they mean. The prime necessities at present are simplicity of language and the squaring of deeds with words. The thing we do not need is adroit and supple rhetoric which can be interpreted to mean anything or nothing.


October 15, 1918

The vital military need of this country as regards its future international relations is the immediate adoption of the policy of permanent preparedness based on universal training. This is its prime duty from the standpoint of American nationalism and patriotism. Then, as an addition or supplement to, but under no conditions as substitute for, the policy of permanent preparedness, we can afford cautiously to enter into and try out the policy of a league of nations. There is no difficulty whatever in prattling cheerfully about such a league or in winning applause[230] by rhetoric concerning it prior to the effort to make it work in practice; but there will be much difficulty in making it work at all when any serious strain comes, and it will prove entirely unworkable if the effort is made to unload upon it, in the name of internationalism, duties which in the present state of the world will be efficiently performed by the free nations only if they perform them as national duties.

In a recent adverse, but courteous and friendly article on my attitude in this matter which appeared in a great daily paper, the following language was used: “The colonel is letting himself be bothered, irritated, and sidetracked by fools. There is no way of preventing a fool from saying that he is in favor of the league of nations. The American people will be making up their minds about the league of nations and about permanent preparedness. They will be told by certain sorts of pacifists that if they accept the league they can safely reject preparedness. They will be told that the two ideas are opposites.”

The “certain sort of pacifist” who has made this statement to the people of the United States is the President of the United States in the now famous “fourteen points” which he enunciated last January. He advocated as one part of his plan the league or association of nations, as he has elsewhere advocated it, and he advocated as another part of his plan “the guarantees that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.” Unless this language was used with intent to deceive, domestic safety must mean merely[231] freedom from riot, and the President’s proposal is that America’s national preparedness be limited to a police force to prevent domestic disorder. Therefore, the President has told the American people that if they accept the league they can safely reject preparedness.

The President may change his mind, and I sincerely hope he will do so. Until he does so it is the duty of every sincere American patriot to lay far more emphasis on the onerous and indispensable duty of national preparedness than on the wholly untested scheme of a league of nations, which the President has presented as an alternative. I heartily favor true internationalism as an addition to, but never as substitute for, a fervid and intensely patriotic nationalism. I will gladly back any wise and honest effort to create a league of nations, but only on condition that it is treated as an addition to, and not as a substitute for, the full preparedness of our own strength for our own defense.


October 17, 1918

A keen observer of what is now happening in the world writes me that there is very grave danger that this country will be cheated out of the right kind of peace if our people remain fatuously content to accept high-sounding phrases of muddy meaning,[232] instead of clear-cut and truthful statements of just what we demand and just what we intend to do.

The recent action of President Wilson in connection with Germany has shown the imperative need of our people informing themselves of his announced purpose and keeping track of what he does toward the achievement of this purpose. Therefore, we should insist upon the purpose being stated in understandable fashion and being adhered to after it has been stated. This isn’t the President’s war. It is the people’s war. The peace will not be a satisfactory peace unless it is the people’s peace. As a people we have no right to permit the President to commit us to that of which we do not approve or to that which, after honest effort, we are unable to understand.

President Wilson’s first communication to the German Government, if words mean anything, meant an effort to treat on the basis of his so-called “fourteen points.” The German Government answered that it accepted these fourteen points and approved of them. This made them public property, and it behooves the Americans to examine them. I believe that such an examination will show the American people that their meaning is so muddy that we should insist upon their being clearly defined before we in any way accept them as ours. When the peace terms come to be reduced to action, we cannot afford to accept empty competitive rhetoric for straightforward plain dealing.

As regards some of the points, either the meaning[233] is so muddy as to be wholly incomprehensible or else the proposals are very treacherous. The fourth article, for example, proposes guarantees for the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety. If this article means anything, it means that this Nation, for instance, is only to keep whatever armed forces are necessary to police the country in the event of domestic disturbance. Now, let our people face what this really implies. It is a proposal that we give up our navy, which, of course, cannot be used for such police purposes, and that we give up all of our army that could be used against a foreign foe. And according to point fourteen of his address to Congress of January 8 last, and according to point three in his speech of September 27 last, this lack of armament on our part is to be supplied by mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity within the league of nations covering the world.

Now, such guarantees are precisely and exactly the scraps of paper to which the German Chancellor likened them when his Government tore up those affecting Belgium. The proposal of President Wilson is that this country shall put itself in the position of Belgium; shall trust to guarantees precisely such as those to which Belgium trusted four and one quarter years ago, and he also proposes, as far as his meaning can be made out at all, that the very powers that treated these guarantees as scraps of paper in the case of Belgium shall be among the powers to whose[234] guarantee we are to trust to the exclusion of all preparation for our own self-defense. All nations are to be asked to render themselves helpless with fatuous indifference to the obvious fact that every weak-minded nation which accepted and acted in the proposal would be at the mercy of every ruthless and efficient nation that chose to treat the proposal as a scrap of paper.

I gravely doubt whether a more silly or more mischievous plan was ever seriously proposed by the ruler of a great nation. Yet, this is exactly the plan to which President Wilson, by his correspondence with Germany, has sought definitely to commit the United States. If his words do not mean exactly what is above set forth, then their meaning is so muddy that no two disinterested outsiders would be warranted in interpreting them the same way.

There is small cause for wonder that Germany eagerly accepted and made her own President Wilson’s fourteen points to which he, without any warrant whatever, seemed to commit this Nation. Incidentally I may add that Mr. Wilson has at different times enunciated at least as many other points, some of them contradictory to the fourteen which he enumerated in January last. The outburst of popular indignation led by such men as Senators Lodge, Poindexter, and Thomas, which forced him to repudiate the negotiations which he had begun with Germany, should be supplemented by a resolute insistence upon the duty of the American public to inform itself as to what it wishes in the peace before[235] the President, without authority, commits it to any peace proposal, and above all to peace proposals which may mean anything or nothing.

Secretary McAdoo, with fine family loyalty, announced that the acceptance by Germany of the fourteen points would have meant Germany’s unconditional surrender. He might as well have said that the acceptance of disunion and the perpetuation of slavery in 1864 would have meant a surrender by the Confederate states. Not only Germany, but every pacifist and pro-German here at home, hailed the fourteen points as representing what they desired. I recently spoke to a body of loyal Americans of German descent on behalf of the Liberty Loan. A member of their organization who was not a straight American, but a hyphenated American, and who did not venture to do more than sign himself as “German-American,” wrote me that in view of my repudiation of President Wilson’s so-called fourteen points he could not, as a loyal German-American, do otherwise than condemn me. The individual himself is doubtless as unimportant as the anonymous letter writer usually is, but there is a real significance in his endorsement of President Wilson’s fourteen points in view of his calling himself so emphatically not a straight-out American, but a German-American. Evidently his loyalty is to Germanism and not to Americanism, and this German loyalty of his made him back the President’s fourteen points, which Germany had so gladly accepted.

The American people should insist that these fourteen[236] points and any other points are stated in clear-cut language, and that there be a full understanding of just what is meant by them and a full knowledge of how far the American people approve of them before any foreign power is permitted to think that they represent America’s position at the peace council.


October 22, 1918

In Wallace’s Farmer, a journal devoted to the interests of the farmer, and also to the interests of every good American citizen, but which has no concern with partisan politics, there is a strong editorial against our acceptance of a peace on the terms of the famous fourteen points laid down by President Wilson in his message of January last. It reads in part as follows:

Of course, Germany would like to make peace on the terms laid down by President Wilson in his speech of January 8, for it would allow Germany to escape the just penalty of her crimes and restore her to her condition before the war.

On the other hand, the leading Socialist paper of New York enthusiastically champions the fourteen points, especially those demanding a league of nations, freedom of the seas according to the German party, and the removal of all economic barriers. This championship is natural, for the Socialists, like[237] the I.W.W. of this country, who have been bitterly pro-German and anti-American, and like the worst Russian Bolsheviks, have steadily worked in Germany’s interests; and like all its professional internationalists they hate the liberty-loving nations so bitterly that they are eagerly working for peace satisfactory to the German autocracy. All such persons, so far as they are not merely silly, seek their own profit in the destruction of civilization, and they would hail an inconclusive peace, which would mean the triumph of militarism, rather than see the free nations triumphant over both militarism and anarchy.

But in his last note to Austria, President Wilson himself flatly repudiates one of his fourteen points—that relating to autonomy for the Czecho-Slovaks and Jugo-Slavs under the Austro-Hungarian yoke. He announces that he has changed his position because facts have changed, but in reality the facts have not changed in even the smallest degree between January and October so far as these two nationalities are concerned. Many persons, including myself, had then been demanding for over a year this complete independence. Nothing whatever has changed in the situation except Mr. Wilson’s mind, and obviously this has changed merely because the American people have gradually waked up and have forced him in this matter to take a course diametrically opposed to the one he had been advocating, precisely as a week ago an aroused and indignant public opinion forced him to absolutely reverse the course of negotiation on which he entered with Germany.[238] The popular feeling would have been inarticulate and helpless if it had not received expression from various patriotic public servants and private citizens and from those fearless newspapers, which, at the risk of grave financial disaster, have ventured when the crisis was serious to defy the sinister efforts of the Administration to do away with the freedom of the press. Senators Lodge, Poindexter, and Thomas and Congressman Fess are examples of the public servants, and Professor Hobbs, of the University of Michigan, and Professor Thayer, of Harvard, are examples of private citizens who have well served the people of the United States in this crisis.

Of course, the entire cuckoo or rubber-stamp tribe of politicians tumbled over themselves in the effort to assure the President that no matter what somersault he turned they would flop with equal quickness, and that their responsibility was solely to him and not to the people of the United States or to the cause of right and of fearlessness and of honorable dealing. Senator Lewis, of Illinois, introduced a resolution stating that “the United States Senate approves whatever course may be taken by the President in dealing with the German Imperial Government and the Austrian Imperial Government and endorses and approves whatever methods he may employ.” Senator Lewis is, in private life, an amiable and kindly gentleman, but the above resolution is a somewhat abject announcement that in public life he aspires only to be a rubber stamp. If such position is[239] proper, then there is no need of Senators or Congressmen, and our people should merely send written proxies to Washington and should otherwise copy the example of those big private corporations which are controlled by one man according to his own will and for his own benefit.

I do not believe that the American people will accept a view which is both so abject and so profoundly unpatriotic. This is the war of the American people and the peace which concludes it should be the peace imposed by the American people. Therefore, they should send to Washington public servants who will be self-respecting Americans and not rubber stamps.


October 26, 1918

When the American people speak for unconditional surrender, it means that Germany must accept whatever terms the United States and its allies think necessary in order to right the dreadful wrongs that have been committed and to safeguard the world for at least a generation to come from another attempt by Germany to secure world dominion. Unconditional surrender is the reverse of a negotiated peace. The interchange of notes, which has been going on between our Government and the Governments of Germany and Austria during the last three weeks, means, of course, if persisted in, a negotiated peace.[240] It is the abandonment of force and the substitution of negotiation. This fact should be clearly and truthfully stated by our leaders, so that the American people may decide with their eyes open which course they will follow.

Those of us who believe in unconditional surrender regard Germany’s behavior during the last five years as having made her the outlaw among nations. In private life sensible men and women do not negotiate with an outlaw or grow sentimental about him, or ask for a peace with him on terms of equality if he will give up his booty. Still less do they propose to make a league with him for the future, and on the strength of this league to abolish the sheriff and take the constable. On the contrary, they expect the law officers to take him by force and to have him tried and punished. They do not punish him out of revenge, but because all intelligent persons know punishment to be necessary in order to stop certain kinds of criminals from wrongdoing and to save the community from such wrongdoing.

We ought to treat Germany in precisely this manner. It is a sad and dreadful thing to have to face some months or a year or so of additional bloodshed, but it is a much worse thing to quit now and have the children now growing up obliged to do the job all over again, with ten times as much bloodshed and suffering, when their turn comes. The surest way to secure a peace as lasting as that which followed the downfall of Napoleon is to overthrow the Prussianized Germany of the Hohenzollerns as[241] Napoleon was overthrown. If we enter into a league of peace with Germany and her vassal allies, we must expect them to treat the arrangement as a scrap of paper whenever it becomes to their interest to do so.


October 30, 1918

The European nations have been told that the fourteen points enumerated in President Wilson’s message of January last are to be the basis of peace. It is, therefore, possible that Americans may like to know what they are. It is even possible that they may like to guess what they mean, although I am not certain that such guessing is permitted by the Postmaster-General and the Attorney-General under the new theory of making democracy safe for all kinds of peoples abroad who have never heard of it by interpreting democracy at home as meaning that it is unlawful for the people to express any except favorable opinions of the way in which the public servants of the people transact the public business.

The first point forbids “all private international understandings of any kind,” and says there must be “open covenants of peace, openly arrived at,” and announces that “diplomacy shall always proceed frankly in the public view.” The President has recently waged war on Haiti and San Domingo and rendered democracy within these two small former republics not merely unsafe, but non-existent. He[242] has kept all that he has done in the matter absolutely secret. If he means what he says, he will at once announce what open covenant of peace he has openly arrived at with these two little republics, which he has deprived of their right of self-determination. He will also announce what public international understanding, if any, he now has with these two republics, whose soil he is at present occupying with the armed forces of the United States and hundreds of whose citizens have been killed by these armed forces. If he has no such public understanding, he will tell us why, and whether he has any private international understanding, or whether he invaded and conquered them and deprived them of the right of self-determination without any attempt to reach any understanding, either private or public.

Moreover, he has just sent abroad on a diplomatic mission Mr. House, of Texas. Mr. House is not in the public service of the Nation, but he is in the private service of Mr. Wilson. He is usually called Colonel House. In his official or semi-official biography, published in an ardently admiring New York paper, it is explained that he was once appointed colonel on a governor’s staff, but carried his dislike of military ostentation to the point of giving his uniform to a negro servant to wear on social occasions. This attitude of respect for the uniform makes the President feel that he is peculiarly fit to negotiate on behalf of our fighting men abroad for whom the uniform is sacred. Associated with him is an editor of the New York World, which paper has[243] recently been busy in denouncing as foolish the demand made by so many Americans for unconditional surrender by Germany.

I do not doubt that these two gentlemen possess charming social attributes and much private worth, but as they are sent over on a diplomatic mission, presumably vitally affecting the whole country, and as their instructions and purposes are shrouded in profound mystery, it seems permissible to ask President Wilson why in this particular instance diplomacy does not “proceed frankly in the public view”?

This first one of the fourteen points offers such an illuminating opportunity to test promise as to the future by performance in the present that I have considered it at some length. The other thirteen points and the subsequent points laid down as further requirements for peace I shall briefly take up in another article.


October 30, 1918

The second in the fourteen points deals with freedom of the seas. It makes no distinction between freeing the seas from murder like that continually practiced by Germany and freeing them from blockade of contraband merchandise, which is the practice of a right universally enjoyed by belligerents, and at this[244] moment practiced by the United States. Either this proposal is meaningless or it is a mischievous concession to Germany.

The third point promises free trade among all the nations, unless the words are designedly used to conceal President Wilson’s true meaning. This would deny to our country the right to make a tariff to protect its citizens, and especially its working-men, against Germany or China or any other country. Apparently this is desired on the ground that the incidental domestic disaster to this country will prevent other countries from feeling hostile to us. The supposition is foolish. England practiced free trade and yet Germany hated England particularly, and Turkey practiced free trade without deserving or obtaining friendship from any one except those who desired to exploit her.

The fourth point provides that this Nation, like every other, is to reduce its armaments to the lowest limit consistent with domestic safety. Either this is language deliberately used to deceive or else it means that we are to scrap our army and navy and prevent riot by means of a national constabulary, like the state constabulary of New York or Pennsylvania.

Point five proposes that colonial claims shall all be treated on the same basis. Unless the language is deliberately used to deceive, this means that we are to restore to our brutal enemy the colonies taken by our allies while they were defending us from this enemy. The proposition is probably meaningless. If it is not, it is monstrous.


Point six deals with Russia. It probably means nothing, but if it means anything, it provides that America shall share on equal terms with other nations, including Germany, Austria, and Turkey, in giving Russia assistance. The whole proposition would not be particularly out of place in a college sophomore’s exercise in rhetoric.

Point seven deals with Belgium and is entirely proper and commonplace.

Point eight deals with Alsace-Lorraine and is couched in language which betrays Mr. Wilson’s besetting sin—his inability to speak in a straightforward manner. He may mean that Alsace and Lorraine must be restored to France, in which case he is right. He may mean that a plebiscite must be held, in which case he is playing Germany’s evil game.

Point nine deals with Italy, and is right.

Point ten deals with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and is so foolish that even President Wilson has since abandoned it.

Point eleven proposes that we, together with other nations, including apparently Germany, Austria, and Hungary, shall guarantee justice in the Balkan Peninsula. As this would also guarantee our being from time to time engaged in war over matters in which we had no interest whatever, it is worth while inquiring whether President Wilson proposes that we wage these wars with the national constabulary to which he desired to reduce our armed forces.

Point twelve proposes to perpetuate the infamy of[246] Turkish rule in Europe, and as a sop to the conscience of humanity proposes to give the subject races autonomy, a slippery word which in a case like this is useful only for rhetorical purposes.

Point thirteen proposes an independent Poland, which is right; and then proposes that we guarantee its integrity in the event of future war, which is preposterous unless we intend to become a military nation more fit for overseas warfare than Germany is at present.

Point fourteen proposes a general association of nations to guarantee to great and small states alike political independence and territorial integrity. It is dishonorable to make this proposition so long as President Wilson continues to act as he is now acting in Haiti and San Domingo. In its essence Mr. Wilson’s proposition for a league of nations seems to be akin to the holy alliance of the nations of Europe a century ago, which worked such mischief that the Monroe Doctrine was called into being especially to combat it. If it is designed to do away with nationalism, it will work nothing but mischief. If it is devised in sane fashion as an addition to nationalism and as an addition to preparing our own strength for our own defense, it may do a small amount of good; but it will certainly accomplish nothing if more than a moderate amount is attempted and probably the best first step would be to make the existing league of the Allies a going concern.

As to the supplementary points or proposals, the four advanced or laid down in February were sound[247] moral aphorisms of no value save as they may be defined in each particular case.

But the supplementary five proposals set forth by President Wilson last September were, on the whole, mischievous and were capable of a construction that would make them ruinous in their essence. They set forth the doctrine that there must be no discrimination between our friends and our enemies and no special economic or political alliances among friendly nations, but uniform treatment of all the league of nations; the said league, therefore, to include Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Russia upon a footing of equality of our allies. Either the words used mean nothing or they mean that we are to enter a league in which we make-believe that our deadly enemies, stained with every kind of brutality and treachery, are as worthy of friendship as the Allies who have fought our battles for four years. No wonder that the proposal is enthusiastically applauded by Germany, Austria, and Turkey and by all our own pro-Germans and pacifists and Germanized Socialists and anti-American internationalists. It is the kind of proposition made by cold-blooded men who at least care nothing for the sufferings of others. It is eagerly championed by foolish and hysterical sentimentalists. It is accepted and used for sinister purposes by powerful and cynical wrongdoers. When the President was making this proposition and during the subsequent month Germany was committing inhuman murders of the people on the Ticonderoga and Leinster at sea, and on shore was[248] committing every species of murder, rape, enslavement, plunder, and outrage as her armies withdrew from France and Belgium.

President Wilson’s announcement was a notice to the malefactors that they would not be punished for the murders. Let us treat the league of nations only as an addition to, and not as a substitute for, thorough preparedness and intense nationalism on our part. Let none of the present international criminals be admitted until a sufficient number of years has passed to make us sure it has repented. Make conduct the test of admission to the league. In every crisis judge each nation by its conduct. Therefore, at the present time let us stand by our friends and against our enemies.


October 31, 1918

In my article yesterday I discussed Mr. Wilson’s fourteen peace points which had been accepted by Germany. After the article was sent in, Mr. Wilson explained one of the points by stating that it meant exactly the opposite of what it said. A New York paper has asked for the election of a Congress that shall see eye to eye with Mr. Wilson. But only a Congress of whirling dervishes could see eye to eye with Mr. Wilson for more than twenty-four hours at a time.

When Germany broke her treaty with Belgium,[249] the German Chancellor called it a scrap of paper. Any individual who proposes a treaty which plainly means one thing, and then, as soon as he finds it disagreeable to adhere to that obvious meaning, instantly interprets it as meaning exactly the opposite, is treating it as a scrap of paper. Mr. Wilson’s recent interpretation of what he meant in the point about economic barriers makes all the fourteen points scraps of paper unworthy of serious discussion by anybody, because no human being is supposed to say what any one of them means or to do more than guess whether to-morrow Mr. Wilson will not interpret each and all of them in a sense exactly the opposite to their meaning.

Mr. Wilson’s language in the point in question was that he intended the removal “of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations.” By no honest construction of language can this be held to mean anything except that this Nation, for example, could have no tariff of its own, but must live under exactly the same tariff, or no tariff, conditions with all other nations. But Mr. Wilson now notifies a Democratic Senator that he did not mean any “restriction upon the free determination by any nation of its own economic policy.” If he meant this, why did he not say it? Why did he say the exact opposite? His first statement is wholly incompatible with the interpretation he now puts on it. If anybody in private life entered into a contract in such manner and then sought to repudiate it by interpreting[250] it in such manner, there is not a court in Christendom that would not adjudge him guilty of having used language with deliberate intent to deceive.

Nor is this all. In his new interpretation of what he did not originally mean, the President now says that he proposes to prevent any nation, including the United States, from using its tariff to discriminate in favor of friendly nations and against hostile nations. This is what he now says and what he now means, but, of course, to-morrow he may say that in this new interpretation he again meant exactly the opposite of what he says. However this may be for the future, President Wilson at this moment says, for instance, we ought to abandon reciprocity treaties; that we ought to refuse to make such treaties with our friends, such as Cuba and Brazil, and ought to punish these friends by treating them on an exact equality with our embittered and malevolent enemy, Germany. I hold this to be thoroughly mischievous doctrine.

The great scientist, Huxley, who loved truth and abhorred falsehood, said that “the primary condition of honest literature is to leave the reader in no doubt as to the author’s meaning.” Evidently this primary condition is not fulfilled by Mr. Wilson’s fourteen points. They should now be treated as scraps of paper and put where they belong, in the scrap-basket.



November 3, 1918

The British have beaten Turkey to her knees and she has surrendered unconditionally. America has no share in the honor of what has been done. President Wilson, although we were at war with Germany, has refused to aid our allies against Turkey and has preserved the same cold neutrality between the Armenians and their Turkish butchers that he formerly did between the Belgians and their German oppressors.

Turkey had inflicted inhuman wrongs on the subject peoples and had infringed our own treaty rights, but President Wilson refused to go to war with her. Yet with our navy at the very outbreak of hostilities and then with a considerable and constantly growing army, if we had been willing we could have materially aided the British and French. In such event Constantinople would doubtless have been taken long ago. As it is, thanks to President Wilson, we Americans can only look on and rejoice that others did better than our rulers let us do. We have had no hand in the freeing of Palestine, Syria, and Armenia. Under the great law of service and sacrifice it is the British and French alone who have the moral right to determine the fate of Turkey. They, and especially the British, have poured out their blood freely, and now, after the victory has[252] been gained, expenditure of ink on our part is of mighty small consequence in comparison. I earnestly hope that permanent justice will be done by expelling the Turk from Europe and making all Armenia independent. But we have lost the right to insist on these points.

The beginning of the end came when, two or three weeks ago, Bulgaria was forced to surrender unconditionally. Here again, thanks to President Wilson, America had no part in the honor and credit of the vital triumph. Our Government was still neutral about Bulgaria, still too proud to fight either Turkey or Bulgaria, still hoping for peace without victory over them.

Now Turkey has surrendered and Austria has broken up. In the case of Austria, after ten months’ unpardonable delay, we did finally go to war, and we have a very small share in the great glory won by Italy and the other Allies.

The greatest contest was on the western front, and here the hundreds of thousands of American troops engaged under Foch and Pershing have shown such extraordinary gallantry and efficiency that we are all forever their debtors. Nearly a month ago President Wilson entered into negotiations with Germany which, if continued along the line he started, might have caused disaster. Fortunately there was such an outburst of protest in the country that our allies took part and President Wilson himself took warning. President Wilson may still serve as a channel of communication. But General Foch will be the real[253] master of the situation. The men with guns and not the men with fountain pens will dictate the terms.


November 12, 1918

Four years and a quarter have passed since Germany, by the invasion of Belgium, began the World War and made it at the same time a war of cynical treachery and of bestiality and of inhuman wrongdoing. Almost from the beginning our governmental authorities were well informed of the organized brutality with which it was waged and of the fact that the Kaiser and the leading soldiers, politicians, and commercial magnates of Germany had deliberately plunged the world into war because they expected to profit by conquest, while the Socialist Party aided and abetted them in the hope of sharing some of the profit.

The rest of us ordinary Americans were successfully hoodwinked because the facts were concealed from us. But gradually the truth leaked through to us. First we learned that the stories of the atrocities were true. Then, although not until much later, we found out that there was ample proof that Germany had brought on the war to gratify her greed for gold and her arrogant and conscienceless lust for world domination. Finally we were permitted to learn that Germany intended to strike us down as soon as she had made the free nations her victims. Now our[254] troops have played a manful part, a part not only heroic and efficient, but also of decisive consequence in the final terrible struggle.

It is not pleasant to think that the two first crushing blows in bringing about the end, the overthrow of Bulgaria and the overthrow of Turkey, were due in no way to us, but solely to our allies, England and France. We never made war on either offending nation; we remained neutral, and this exhibition of feeble diplomacy on our part made us onlookers instead of partakers of the triumph. But with Austria, after much hesitation and wabbling, we did finally go to war, and, although our part was very small, we have a modest right to share the general satisfaction over the victory. In the case of Germany, however, we played a really great part, and although until the very end we were unable to put on the fighting line any tanks or field guns or battle planes, and relatively only a small number of machine guns and bombing and observation planes, our soldiers themselves were probably on the average the finest troops who fought in Europe.

And now the German imperial military and capitalistic authority has been beaten to its knees and forced to accept all the terms the Allies have imposed upon it. The able and wicked men who thought to wade through a sea of blood to world domination must now bow their heads before the outside peoples whom they have so cruelly wronged and face the sullen distrust and hostility of their own people, whom they misled by promising them a share in the[255] profits of successful guilt. Their doom has come upon them.

A little over a month ago the Administration embarked upon a career of note-writing with Germany, which, if unchecked, might have meant a peace of practical profit to Germany. But the feeling of the American people, especially in the West, showed itself in such direct and straightforward fashion that this effort was soon abandoned. Moreover, at the recent election, the American people, with the issue squarely before them, declared that they were the masters of their public servants and not rubber stamps, and that this was the people’s war and not the war of any one man or any one party, and that loyalty to ourselves and our allies stood ahead of adherence to any man. Germany has been beaten down abroad and at home. The pro-Germans and the pacifists and the defeatists and the Germanized Socialists, and all the crew who stand for any form of either Bolshevism or Kaiserism, have been warned that they shall not betray this Nation.


November 13, 1918

A friend, a California woman, writes me that there is staying with her a widow whose only son has been in the navy and has just died of influenza, and that the mother said:

I gave my boy proudly to my country. I never held him back, even in my heart. But if only he had died with a gun[256] in his hand—a little glory for him and a thought for me that my sacrifice had not been useless.

My correspondent continues:

There must be so many mothers who feel that they have laid their sacrifice on cold altars. You have written much that will comfort the mothers whose sons have paid with their bodies in battle. Isn’t there something you can say to help these other mothers?

I felt a real pang when I received this letter, because the thought suggested had been in my mind, and yet I had failed to express it. It had happened that my own sons and nephews and young cousins and their close friends were where death or wounds came to them on the field of action. For example, on the day I received this letter we also got news that the closest school and college and army friend of my son, Quentin, who was killed, had himself just been killed. He was a man who had been promoted for a series of hazardous and successful battles with German airmen. He was as gentle and clean and lovable as a girl, yet terrible in his battle, and no more high and fearless soul ever fronted death joyously in the high heavens. My mind had, because of facts like this, turned toward the deaths of the men on the firing line; and I regret that I did not make it evident as I meant to make it, and but for this oversight would have made it, that all who have given their lives or the lives dearest to them in this war stand on an exact level of service and sacrifice and honor and glory.

The men who have died of pneumonia or fever in[257] the hospitals, the men who have been killed in accidents on the airplane training fields are as much heroes as those who were killed at the front, and their shining souls shall hereafter light up all to a clearer and greater view of the duties of life. The war is over now. The time of frightful losses among the men at the front and of heartbreaking anxiety for their mothers and wives, their sisters and sweethearts at home has passed. No great triumph is ever won save by the payment of the necessary cost. All of us who have stayed at home and all the others who have returned safe will, as long as life shall last, think of the men who died as having purchased for us and for our children’s children, as long as this country shall last, a heritage so precious that even their precious blood was not too great a price to pay. Whether they fell in battle or how they died matters not at all, and it matters not what they were doing as long as, high of soul, they were doing their duty with all the strength and fervor of their natures.

The mother or the wife whose son or husband has died, whether in battle or by fever or in the accident inevitable in hurriedly preparing a modern army for war, must never feel that the sacrifice has been laid “on a cold altar.” There is no gradation of honor among these gallant men and no essential gradation of service. They all died that we might live; our debt is to all of them, and we can pay it even personally only by striving so to live as to bring a little nearer the day when justice and mercy shall rule in our own homes and among the nations of the world.



November 14, 1918

The war is won. A twofold duty is now incumbent on us. We must strive to make the peace one of justice and righteousness and to throw out such safeguards around it as will give us the greatest possible chance of permanency. Then we must turn to setting aright the affairs of our own household. But before we set ourselves to the performance of these two tasks we should thoroughly enlighten our enemies at home and abroad on one or two points.

Let all anti-Americans stand aside. Let them understand that we are not merely against some enemies of the country—we are against all enemies of the country. This week in New York there was a red flag of Anarchy or Socialistic meeting which was the cause of a riot. It was perfectly natural that it should be the cause of a riot. The red flag is as much an enemy as the flag of the Hohenzollerns. The internationalist of the red flag or black flag type is an enemy to this Nation just exactly as much as Hindenburg or Ludendorff was an enemy only a week ago. He is an even more treacherous enemy and equally brutal. Congress should pass a law without waiting a day prohibiting the use of the red flag or the black flag or any other flag of the kind here in America. We have universal suffrage in America.[259] The majority of our people can have what they wish in the way of industrial and political change, if they seriously desire it. There isn’t any excuse in this country for any paltering with revolutionary movements. A riot is riot, without reference to what the people rioting claim to be for. When a mob gets started, it always acts the same way, no matter what the theoretical cause of the outbreak may have been. A Bolshevist mob in New York in all essentials resembles the anti-draft mob of 1863, although the arguments of the parlor Bolsheviki of to-day would be totally different from those of the constitutional copperheads of fifty-five years ago.

When the Romanoffs were overthrown the Russian people lacked self-control and they permitted the dominion of a Bolshevist gang, which has brought wholesale robbery, murder, and starvation in its trail. The overthrow of the Hohenzollerns in Germany has been accompanied by Bolshevist uprising in that country also. There is some excuse for excesses in a revolution against a despotism, but in this country there is no more excuse for Bolshevism in any form than there is for despotism itself. Any foreign-born man who parades with or backs up a red flag or black flag organization ought to be instantly deported to the country from which he came. Appropriate punishment should be devised for the even more guilty native-born.

Our National Government should take the most vigorous action and have it understood that America is a bulwark of order no less than of liberty.[260] We must make it evident that we will stamp out Bolshevism within our borders just as quickly as Kaiserism.

Moreover, let us realize the nonsense of the pretense that the German people have not been behind the German Government. They were behind their Government with hearty enthusiasm until the Government was smashed by the military powers of General Foch. The effort now being made by the German Government to bring dissensions between the Allies by appealing to the United States against the Allies proper should be spurned by our Government. The French, English, Italians, and Belgians have been fighting side by side with our men under Foch. They have acted as comrades under Foch, and we could not have done anything if we had not acted as comrades like the rest. Now let’s play the game when the effort is made to divide us by the German peace drive.

Senator Poindexter was entirely right in his proposed bill. The United States must make absolutely common cause with the Allies. We regret that the German and Russian people should suffer; the fault lies solely with the past or present governments. To the very minute of the closing of the war the hideous German brutalities continued unabated, and apparently the Turks are still slaughtering Armenians. We will do our best to help even our enemies now that they have been stricken down, but we will not do so at the cost of doing injustice to our friends. We will not permit Hun hypocrisy to succeed where[261] Hun violence has failed. And we are equally uncompromising foes of Bolshevism and Kaiserism at home and abroad.


November 17, 1918

There are so many prior things to do and so much uncertainty as to the form of agreement for permanently increasing the chances of peace that it is difficult to do more than make a general statement as to what is desirable and possibly feasible in the league of nations plan. It would certainly be folly to discuss it overmuch until some of the existing obstacles to peace are overcome. That such discussion may be not futile, but mischievous, has been vividly shown in the last six weeks. During the first week of October President Wilson and Germany agreed on the famous fourteen points of Mr. Wilson’s as a basis for peace. But this agreement amounted to nothing whatever except for a moment it gave Germany the hope that she could escape disaster by a negotiated peace. The emphatic protest of our own people caused this hope to vanish, and just five weeks later peace came, not on Mr. Wilson’s fourteen points, but on General Foch’s twenty-odd points, which had all the directness, the straightforwardness, and the unequivocal clearness which the fourteen points strikingly lacked.

Nevertheless, it is well to begin considering now[262] the things which we think can be done and the things that we think cannot be done in making a league of nations. In the first place, we ought to realize that the population of the world clearly understands that in this war they have been involved to a degree never hitherto known. In consequence the horror of the war is very real, and people are at least thinking of the need of coöperation with much greater fixity of purpose and of understanding than ever before. Of course, fundamentally war and peace are matters of the heart rather than of organization, and any declaration or peace league which represents the high-flown sentimentality of pacifists and doctrinaires will be worse than useless; but if, without in the smallest degree sacrificing our belief in a sound and intense national aim, we all join with the people of England, France, and Italy and with the people in smaller states who in practice show themselves able to steer equally clear of Bolshevism and of Kaiserism, we may be able to make a real and much-needed advance in the international organization. The United States cannot again completely withdraw into its shell. We need not mix in all European quarrels nor assume all spheres of interest everywhere to be ours, but we ought to join with the other civilized nations of the world in some scheme that in a time of great stress would offer a likelihood of obtaining just settlements that will avert war.

Therefore, in my judgment, the United States at the peace conference ought to be able to coöperate effectively with the British and French and Italian[263] Governments to support a practical and effective plan which won’t attempt the impossible, but which will represent a real step forward.

Probably the first essential would be to limit the league at the outset to the Allies, to the peoples with whom we have been operating and with whom we are certain we can coöperate in the future. Neither Turkey nor Austria need now be considered as regards such a league, and we should clearly understand that Bolshevist Russia is, and that Bolshevist Germany would be, as undesirable in such a league as the Germany and Russia of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Bolshevism is just as much an international menace as Kaiserism. Until Germany and Russia have proved by a course of conduct extending over years that they are capable of entering such a league in good faith, so that we can count upon their fulfilling their duties in it, it would be merely foolish to take them in.

The league, therefore, would have to be based on the combination among the Allies of the present war—together with any peoples like the Czecho-Slovaks, who have shown that they are fully entitled to enter into such a league if they desire to do so. Each nation should absolutely reserve to itself its right to establish its own tariff and general economic policy, and absolutely ought to control such vital questions as immigration and citizenship and the form of government it prefers. Then it would probably be best for certain spheres of interest to be reserved to each nation or a group of nations.


The northernmost portion of South America and Mexico and Central America, all of them fronting on the Panama Canal, have a special interest to the United States, more interest than they can have for any European or Asiatic power. The general conduct of Eastern Asiatic policy bears a most close relationship to Japan. The same thing is true as regards other nations and certain of the peculiarly African and European questions. Everything outside of what is thus reserved, which affects any two members of the league or affects one member of the league and outsiders, should be decided by some species of court, and all the people of the league should guarantee to use their whole strength in enforcing the decision.

This, of course, means that all the free peoples must keep reasonably prepared for defense and for helping well-behaved nations against the nations or hordes which represent despotism, barbarism, and anarchy. As far as the United States is concerned, I believe we should keep our navy to the highest possible point of efficiency and have it second in size to that of Great Britain alone, and we should then have universal obligatory military training for all our young men for a period of, say, nine months during some one year between the ages of nineteen and twenty-three inclusive. This would not represent militarism, but an antidote against militarism. It would not represent a great expense. On the contrary, it would mean to give to every citizen of our country an education which would fit him to do his[265] work as a citizen as no other type of education could.

There are some nations with which there would not be the slightest difficulty in going much further than this. The time has now come when it would be perfectly safe to enter into universal arbitration treaties with the British Empire, for example, reserving such rights only as Australia and Canada themselves would reserve inside the British Empire; but there are a number of outside peoples with whom it would not be safe to go much further than above outlined. If we only made this one kind of agreement, we could keep it, and we should make no agreement that we would not and could not keep. More essential than anything else is it for us to remember that in matters of this kind an ounce of practical performance is worth a ton of windy rhetorical promises.


November 18, 1918

The election of a Republican Congress a fortnight ago was first and foremost a victory for straight Americanism. To the Republican Party it represents not so much a victory as an opportunity. To the American people, including not only Republicans and independents, but all patriotic Democrats who put loyalty to the Nation above servility to a political leader, the victory was primarily won for[266] straight-out Americanism. A very important feature to remember is that this victory was won in the West. On the whole, the East also showed gains, but the greatest gains were in the West. The South, of course, and most unfortunately, never permits its political or patriotic convictions to alter the result at the ballot box.

Now the Westerners, the strong, masterful, self-reliant men who won such exacting victories in Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota, are just as opposed to what may be called Kaiserism in our political and industrial life as they are to Bolshevism. I firmly believe that this is true of the rank and file of the Republican Party everywhere. They haven’t the slightest patience with Townleyism in agricultural districts or I.W.W.-ism in labor circles. But resolutely they intend to shape our internal policy for the real substantial benefit of the average man, of the ninety per cent of our people who are farmers, working-men, small shopkeepers, doctors, and the like. They haven’t the slightest patience with the Bolshevist desire to establish proletariat class tyranny, which is just as odious as aristocratic class tyranny. They haven’t the slightest patience in persecution of, or failure generously to reward, the man who by nature or by training is a leader in industrial matters. They want to see farming, for instance, offer a chance to the man of ability to become a scientific farmer on a large scale. They wish to see the young business man whose leadership in manufactures or commerce is of incalculable[267] worth to everybody receive in generous fashion the big reward to which he is entitled.

But they wish to do all this as an incident to securing not only this right to, but a much better chance for, the average man. They wish the tenant farmer class to be made a diminishing instead of an increasing class so that tenant farming itself may not be a permanent status, but a step toward farm ownership by the hired man or the son of the small farm owner. They wish to see the working-man, and especially the working-man in such huge businesses as those connected with transportation, steel production, mining, and the like, become not a mere cog in an industrial machine, but a man whose self-respect and reasonable prosperity are guaranteed if the business succeeds, and he is entitled through representation on the directory to have his voice heard at the council board of the business, even although at first and until the ability to use power is slowly developed by the habit of using it, the control may have to do primarily with the things of which he has special knowledge and in which he has special interest. Moreover, there are plenty of great natural resources, such as water power, where small ownership cannot provide capital for the development, but where the outright ownership of the people should not be disposed of. The happy line must be struck between the all-pervading straight regimentation, which would be as deadening as paralysis, and the regimentation of mere individualism. The Government must exercise control in a spirit of justice to[268] all concerned and with a stern readiness to check injustice by any of those concerned.

The Republican leadership in Congress has on the whole been singularly patriotic and singularly free from the vice of mere partisanship during the lifetime of the present Congress. We can be certain that it will continue to be so in the new Congress. In the future as in the past the President can count on the hearty and ungrudging support of the Republican Party at every point where he is endeavoring efficiently and in good faith to serve the interests of the Nation. But he can also rest assured that the Republican Party will judge its duty by the standard of loyalty to the country and will scornfully refuse to adopt that extreme baseness of attitude, worthy only of slaves, which shrieks that we must stand by the Administration whether the Administration is right or wrong. Moreover, the Republican Party will certainly demand to have an accounting of some of the enormous sums of money that have been expended and will in due time doubtless demand to know what explanation there is of the Administration’s persistence in hidden and secret diplomacy in so many important matters. Every question will be approached from the standpoint of a generous desire, without any higgling or dealing on small points, to do whatever the Administration demands that is proper and to give it a full chance to declare, and perhaps develop, its policy; but the Republican Congress will understand how to show that it is not a rubber-stamp body, but an integral and self-respecting part[269] of the American governmental system, wholly and solely responsible to the American people.


November 22, 1918

The surest way to kill a great cause is to reduce it to a hard-and-fast formula and insist upon the application of the formula without regard to actual existing conditions.

It is announced in the press that the President is going to the Peace Conference especially to insist, among other things, on that one of his fourteen points dealing with the so-called “freedom of the seas.” The President’s position in the matter is, of course, eagerly championed by Germany, as it has been Germany’s special position throughout the war. It is, of course, eagerly championed by the New York World, the Hearst papers, and all the rubber-stamp gentry. It is antagonized by England and France and by every anti-German in America who understands the situation.

It is utterly impossible, in view of the immense rapidity of the change in modern war conditions, to formulate abstract policies about such matters as contraband and blockades. These policies must be actually tested in order to see how they work. Both England and the United States have reversed themselves in this matter on several different occasions.[270] This is interesting as a matter of history, but from no other standpoint. If we are honorable and intelligent we will follow the course in this matter which, under existing conditions at this time, seems most likely to work justice in the immediate future.

Germany’s position was that England had no right to blockade her so as to cut off her supplies from the outside world. President Wilson at the time accepted this view and talked a good deal about the freedom of the seas. Meanwhile Germany, through her submarines, began an unprecedented course of wholesale murder on the seas. President Wilson protested against this in language much more apologetic and tender than he had used in protesting against Great Britain blockading Germany in what was essentially the same manner in which we blockaded the South during the Civil War. He put the dollar above the man and incidentally above the women and the children. He protested more vigorously upon the interference with American goods than against the taking of American lives.

Then we finally went to war with Germany ourselves. We instantly adopted toward Germany and toward neutrals like Holland exactly the position which President Wilson had been denouncing England for adopting toward Germany and toward us. Our action in this case was quite right, whereas our protest against England’s action had been entirely wrong.

President Wilson now proposes to accept the German view and provide a system which, if it had been[271] in existence in 1914, would have meant the inevitable and rapid triumph of Germany.

If this particular one of the proposed fourteen points had been in treaty form and had been lived up to in 1914, Germany would have had free access to the outside world. England’s fleet would not have enabled her to bring economic pressure to bear upon Germany and doubtless Germany would have won an overwhelming victory within a couple of years. Therefore Mr. Wilson’s proposal is that now, when no human being can foretell whether Germany will feel chastened and morally changed, we shall take steps which will mean that if the war has to be fought over again, Germany’s triumph will have been secured in advance so far as we are able to secure it. All such conditions, all merely academic questions as to the attitude of America or of England before the outbreak of the Great War, are insignificant. Whatever our views prior to the Great War, we are fools, indeed, if we have not learned the lessons these last four and a half terrible years have taught. The freedom of the seas in the sense used by Germany and Mr. Wilson would have meant the enslavement of mankind to Germany. It would have meant that this country would at this time either be lying prostrate under the feet of German invaders or be purchasing peace by ransoms heavier than were paid by Belgium. No patriotic American has the right to stand quiet and see the President of the country, without any warrant from the country, try to bring upon us such outrageous potentiality and[272] disaster as would be implied in the general international adoption of the so-called “freedom of the seas.” Such freedom of the seas means the enslavement of mankind.


November 26, 1918

No public end of any kind will be served by President Wilson’s going with Mr. Creel, Mr. House, and his other personal friends to the Peace Conference. Inasmuch as the circumstances of his going are so extraordinary, and as there is some possibility of mischief to this country as a result, there are certain facts which should be set forth so clearly that there can be no possibility of misunderstanding either by our own people, by our allies, or by our beaten enemies, or by Mr. Wilson himself.

Ten days before election Mr. Wilson issued an appeal to the American people in which he frankly abandoned the position of President of the whole people; assumed the position, not merely of party leader, but of party dictator, and appealed to the voters as such. Most of Mr. Wilson’s utterances on public questions have been susceptible to at least two conflicting interpretations. But on this question he made the issue absolutely clear. He asked that the people return a Democratic majority to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He stated[273] that the Republican leaders were pro-war, but that they were anti-Administration. His appeal was not merely against any Republican being elected, but against any Democrat who wished to retain his conscience in his own keeping. He declared himself explicitly against the pro-war Republicans. He declared explicitly for all pro-Administration Democrats, without any reference as to whether they were pro-war or anti-war. He said that if the people approved of his leadership and wished him to continue to be their “unembarrassed spokesman in affairs at home and abroad, they must return a Democratic majority to both the Senate and the House of Representatives.” He explicitly stated that on the other side of the water the return of a Republican majority to either House of Congress would be interpreted as a repudiation of his leadership, and informed his fellow countrymen that to elect a Democratic majority in Congress was the only way to sustain him, Mr. Wilson.

The issue was perfectly, clearly drawn. The Republican Party was pro-war and anti-Administration, the Democratic Party was officially pro-Administration without any mind or conscience of its own and pro-war or anti-war according to the way in which Mr. Wilson changed his mind overnight or between dawn and sunset. The Americans refused to sustain Mr. Wilson. They elected a heavily Republican House and to the surprise of every one carried a majority in the Senate. On Mr. Wilson’s own say-so they repudiated his leadership. In no other free[274] country in the world to-day would Mr. Wilson be in office. He would simply be a private citizen like the rest of us.

Under these circumstances our allies and our enemies, and Mr. Wilson himself, should all understand that Mr. Wilson has no authority whatever to speak for the American people at this time. His leadership has just been emphatically repudiated by them. The newly elected Congress comes far nearer than Mr. Wilson to having a right to speak the purposes of the American people at this moment. Mr. Wilson and his fourteen points and his four supplementary points and his five complementary points and all his utterances every which way have ceased to have any shadow of right to be accepted as expressive of the will of the American people. He is President of the United States, he is part of the treaty-making power, but he is only part. If he acts in good faith to the American people, he will not claim on the other side of the water any representative capacity in himself to speak for the American people. He will say frankly that his personal leadership has been repudiated and that he now has merely the divided official leadership which he shares with the Senate. If he will in good faith act in this way all good citizens in good faith will support him, just as they will support the Senate under similar circumstances.

But there isn’t the slightest indication that he intends so to act. The most striking manifestation of his purpose is that he sent over Mr. Creel and[275] sixteen of his employees who are officially announced as “the United States official press mission to the Peace Conference,” and, with more self-satisfaction, the committee announces, “to interpret the work of the Peace Conference by keeping up world-wide propaganda to disseminate American accomplishments and American ideals.” At the same time Mr. Burleson seized the cables after the war is over and when there can be no possible object except to control the news in the interest of President Wilson as Mr. Burleson and Mr. Creel see that interest. The action of the Creel “official press” would really seem more like an excessively bad joke if it weren’t so serious. But during the war the Administration, often incompetent to the verge of impudence in dealing with war problems and with the Hun within our gates, showed itself a past-master in bullying, browbeating, deceiving, and puzzling our own people. It is utterly impossible that the Creel “official press” and the Burleson-owned cables can have any other real purpose than to make the news sent out from the Peace Conference, both to ourselves, our allies, and our enemies, what they desire to have told from their own standpoint and nothing more.

This is a very grave offense against our own people, but it may be a worse offense against both our allies and ourselves. America played in the closing months of the war a gallant part, but not in any way the leading part, and she played this part only by acting in strictest agreement with our allies and under the joint high command. She should take[276] precisely the same attitude at the Peace Conference. We have lost in this war about two hundred and thirty-six thousand men killed and wounded. England and France have lost about seven million. Italy and Belgium and the other Allies have doubtless lost three million more. Of the terrible sacrifice which has enabled the Allies to win the victory, America has contributed just about two per cent. At the end, I personally believe that our intervention was decisive because the combatants were so equally matched and were so weakened by the terrible strain that our money and our enthusiasm and the million fighting men whom we got to the front, even although armed substantially with nothing but French field cannon, tanks, machine guns, and airplanes, was decisive in the scale. But we could render this decisive aid only because for four years the Allies, in keeping Germany from conquering their own countries, had incidentally kept her from conquering ours.

It is our business to act with our allies and to show an undivided front with them against any move of our late enemies. I am no Utopian. I understand entirely that there can be shifting alliances, I understand entirely that twenty years hence or thirty years hence we don’t know what combination we may have to face, and for this reason I wish to see us preparing our own strength in advance and trust to nothing but our own strength for our own self-defense as our permanent policy. But in the present war we have won only by standing shoulder to[277] shoulder with our allies and presenting an undivided front to the enemy. It is our business to show the same loyalty and good faith at the Peace Conference. Let it be clearly understood that the American people absolutely stand behind France, England, Italy, Belgium, and the other Allies at the Peace Conference, just as she has stood with them during the last eighteen months of war. Let every difference of opinion be settled among the Allies themselves and then let them impose their common will on the nations responsible for the hideous disaster which has almost wrecked mankind.


December 2, 1918

Ex-Ambassador Harry White is a capital appointee for the Peace Commission. He is not a Republican, but an independent in politics who has worked as closely with Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Olney as with Mr. McKinley and Mr. Root.

It is a good thing to have him on in view of the exceedingly loose talk about the League of Nations or League to Enforce Peace. Fortunately Mr. Taft has set forth the proposal for such a league under existing conditions with such wisdom in refusing to let adherence to the principle be clouded by insistence upon improper or unimportant methods of enforcement that we can speak of the League as a practical matter. I think that most of our people are[278] in favor of the establishment of the principle of such a league under common-sense conditions which will not attempt too much and thereby expose the movement to the absolute certainty of ridicule and failure. There must be an honest effort to eliminate some of the causes that may produce future wars and to minimize the area of such wars.

Mr. Taft explicitly admits and insists that the League is to be a supplement to, and in no sense a substitute for, the duty of our Nation to prepare its own strength for its own defense. He also explicitly provides that, among the various peoples who would not be admitted to the League on an equality with the others, there shall be different spheres of interest assumed by the different powers who have entered into the League. For example, the affairs of hither Asia, the Balkan Peninsula, and of North Africa are of prime concern to the powers of Europe, and the United States should be under no covenant to go to war about matters in which its people have no concern and probably no intelligent interest. On the other hand, the Monroe Doctrine—at least for all America between the equator and the southern boundary of the United States—is a vital point of American policy, and must in no shape or way be interfered with. We do not interfere with existing conditions, but aside from these no European or Asiatic power is to have any say-so in the future of Mexico, Central America, and the lands whose coasts are washed by the Caribbean Sea. The Panama Canal must not be internationalized. It is[279] our canal; we built it; we fortified it, and we will protect it, and we will not permit our enemies to use it in war. In time of peace all nations shall use it alike, but in time of war our interest at once becomes dominant.

Most wisely Mr. Taft’s plan reserves for each nation certain matters of such vital national interest that they cannot be put before any international tribunal. This country must settle its own tariff and industrial policies, and the question of admitting immigrants to work or to citizenship, and all similar matters, the exercise of which was claimed as a right when in 1776 we became an independent Nation. We will not surrender our independence to a league of nations any more than to a single nation. Moreover, no international court must be entrusted with the decision of what is and what is not justiciable.

In the articles of agreement the non-justiciable matters should be as sharply defined as possible, and until some better plan can be devised, the Nation itself must reserve to itself the right, as each case arises, to say what these matters are.

But let us steadily remember that before dealing with schemes such as the League of Nations, which are necessarily more or less visionary, we must join in good faith with our allies in securing practical right and justice at the Peace Conference. We should treat as an enemy to this country every man who at this time seeks directly or indirectly to stir up dissension between us and England or France, or any other of our allies. Side by side we have fought[280] against the hideous twin terrors of Bolshevism and Kaiserism and we must stand undivided at the Peace Conference. What the distant future may hold no man can say, and this is the very reason why I insist that America must prepare its own strength for its own defense. But our duty at the moment is clear. We have fought the war through beside the Allies and we must stand with them with hearty loyalty throughout the peace negotiations. There must be no division in the face of our enemies. At the very close of the war we played an honorable and probably decisive part, but we were enabled to do so only because for the four preceding years England and France and their associates in defending their own rights had also saved us from destruction. Our sacrifice is infinitesimal compared to theirs. We have had a quarter of a million men killed and wounded; England has had over three million, France nearly four million, and the other Allies during their time of warfare against the common foe suffered in proportion. Our loss has been no more than one or two per cent of the entire loss suffered by the Allied armies and navies.

The immediate cause of bringing the war to an end was the forcing of unconditional surrender upon Bulgaria and Turkey, with whom we had shamefully refused to go to war at all. The English navy protected us exactly as it protected Britain. Under such circumstances it behooves us to remember that while we at the very end did our duty, yet that our comrades in arms for over four years performed incalculable[281] feats and suffered incalculable losses and won the right of gratitude of all mankind. The American envoys must not sit at the peace table as umpires between the Allies and the conquered Central Powers, but as loyal brothers of the Allies, as loyal members of the league of free peoples, which has brought about peace by overthrowing Turkey, Bulgaria, and Austria, and beating Germany to her knees.


December 8, 1918

There recently died of pneumonia in France Major Willard Straight, of the American army. He was above the draft age, he was a man of large and many interests, he had a wife and three children. There was every excuse for him not to have gone to the front, but both he and his wife had in their souls that touch of heroism which makes it impossible for generous natures to see others pay with their bodies and not to wish to do so themselves. The one regret that Major Straight felt—and he felt it most bitterly—was that he had not been able in spite of all his efforts to get to the actual firing front. This failure was really a cause of great anguish of soul to him. In the same way I know of the four sons of an ex-Cabinet officer, all of whom instantly went into the army at the outbreak of the war. Two were[282] at the fighting front, one was in the navy, and the other, because of the special excellence as an instructor, was kept here, and the gallant young fellow who left his wife and baby to enlist really feels as if the refusal of the War Department to permit him to go where he could be shot at had caused a blight in his life. I know three other men who, because of their excellence, were kept as instructors at one of our camps, whose feelings of regret are so bitter that they can hardly bear to look at their uniforms and the sight of wounded soldiers causes them agonies of thwarted longing.

All this is most natural, and just what we should expect from high-minded, gallant fellows. But it is entirely unwarranted. I utterly abhor the swivel-chair slacker who got some safe job in order to avoid doing his duty at the front. But for the hundreds of thousands of young Americans in the ranks or with commissions who did everything they could to get in the firing lines, and who through no fault of theirs failed, I have precisely the same feeling that I have for the men who took part in the most dangerous work. General Leonard Wood, in his recent capital address, has taught the right lesson to these men. He was dismissing to their homes the men whom he had trained with his usual, extraordinary capacity to fit them for work overseas, and he dwelt to them upon the fact that the all-important point was that they should remember that it was not the position they achieved, but the eager readiness to do duty in whatever position they were given that really[283] counted. General Wood has himself been treated with the most cruel injustice in this war, yet he has rendered signal service in bringing before Congress our military needs, and, above all, in training scores of thousands of our best fighting men. When he was denied, from the very meanest motives, the chance to fill a distinguished position, instead of sulking he devoted all of his energy to doing the best he could in the positions to which he was assigned. In consequence he comes out of the war as one of those who most materially helped to win it. What is true of him in a big place is true of every other soldier, whether in a big or little place. The hardest task was for the men who were denied the chance of glory, and if they did this hard task well and served faithfully wherever they were assigned, they have exactly the same right for pride in their participation in the Great War as any of the gallant fellows who have come back maimed or crippled from the front. All alike have made the rest of us forever their debtors, and to all alike we pay the same meed of loyal admiration and respect.


December 17, 1918

The first essential in an alliance is loyalty. The first effort of an enemy to an alliance is to produce[284] disloyalty to one another among the Allies. To any man who knows anything of history these facts are of bromidic triteness. But the Administration, as usual, stands in urgent need of learning the elements of fair play and common sense.

It was announced from the peace ship that President Wilson was going to work for the reduction of naval armaments and for a form of naval agreement which, if it had existed four years ago, would have meant Germany’s victory and the subjugation of not only Germany’s foes, but of all neutrals like ourselves. At the same time over here the representatives of the Administration are demanding a navy bigger than that of Great Britain. The only possible interpretation of these facts is that the Administration proposes to threaten Great Britain with having to get in a neck-and-neck competition with America to build the greatest navy in the world, and to do this as a bluff so as to make for Great Britain’s adherence to Mr. Wilson’s exceedingly nebulous ideas.

Under these conditions the American people should, with common sense, look at what their own needs are and at what the needs of their allies are. Sooner or later any programme will have to be tested by its results, and even if the United States started to emulate Great Britain’s navy, the enthusiasm to do so would vanish when it appeared that there was no earthly interest of ours to be served by the action.

In winning the present war very many instrumentalities have been necessary. On the whole the four most important in their order have been: (1)[285] the French army; (2) the British navy; (3) the British army; (4) the Italian army. Our own gallant army and navy did exceedingly well, but came in so late that the part they played, taking the four and a half years as a whole, does not entitle them to rank with the instrumentalities given above.

Great Britain is an island, separated from the huge military commonwealths of Europe by very narrow seas, and separated from her own greatest colonies by all the greatest oceans. To her, supremacy in the navy is a matter of life and death. America ought to have a first-class navy, but if she did not have a ship she might yet secure herself from any invasion. But Great Britain’s empire would not last one week, and she could not make herself safe at home one week if her navy lost its supremacy. Incidentally to saving herself, the British navy has rendered incalculable service to us during the last four and one-half years, and for the last thirty years has been a shield to the United States. Great Britain is not a military power in the sense that any of the nations of continental Europe, or indeed of Asia, are military powers. She had almost as much difficulty in developing her army in this war as we had in developing our army. Her army is no more of a threat to other peoples than ours is. Therefore, we Americans find ourselves, as regards the British navy, in this position, that it is of vital consequence to Great Britain to have the greatest navy in the world; it is emphatically not of any consequence to us to have as big a navy as Great Britain, for we are not in the slightest[286] danger from Great Britain, and under all ordinary circumstances the British navy can be counted upon as a help to the United States and never as a menace. Under such circumstances to set ourselves to work to build a navy in rivalry to Great Britain’s, and above all to do this as a political bluff, is worse than silly.

Our own navy should be ample to protect our own coasts and to maintain the Monroe Doctrine. There are in Europe and Asia several great military commonwealths, each one of which will in all probability always possess a far more formidable army than ours, even though, as I earnestly hope, we adopt some development of universal military training on the lines of the Swiss system. Therefore, it is of the highest consequence that our navy should be second to that of Great Britain.

The analogy with the case of the French army is complete. If the French army had not been able to hold the German army and be the chief factor in the German military overthrow, the British navy could not have averted Germany’s complete victory. Great Britain is separated by the narrow seas from the military powers of continental Europe. We are separated from them by the width of the ocean. Under the circumstances, it is sheer impertinence for either American or English statesmen to tell France, or, for that matter Italy, what ought to be done in abolishing armaments or abandoning universal service or anything of the kind. The interest of France and Italy in the matter is vital. The interest of[287] England and America is partly secondary. If we have well-thought-out arguments to put before the French, put them before them, but treat France as having the vital interest in the matter, and therefore the final say-so as far as we are concerned. And when France has determined what the needs of the future demand, so far as her military preparedness is concerned, and when Italy has made a similar determination, and our other allies likewise, back them up. It is not the business of America to tell Great Britain what she should do with her navy. It is not the business of either America or England to tell France what she should do with her army. The plain American common sense of the situation is that we should recognize our immense debt to the British navy and the French army, and stand by Britain in what she decides her vital needs demand so far as her navy is concerned, and stand by France in the position she takes as to what the situation demands so far as her army is concerned.


December 24, 1918

Senator Lodge in his admirable speech has given the reasons why at least five of the famous fourteen points should not be considered in the peace negotiations proper. But the special merit of Senator Lodge’s statement lies in the fact that it is straightforward[288] and clear. There is no need of a key to find out what he means. The men who represent, or assume to represent, the United States at the Peace Conference, should be equally clear with our allies and our enemies and also with the American people. Above all things we need some straightforward statement as to just what is proposed and as to just why it is proposed.

Take, for example, the very extraordinary conflict between that one of the fourteen points in which the Administration has demanded practically complete disarmament and the action of the Administration at the same moment demanding that we shall build the biggest navy in the world. Either one course or the other must necessarily be improper. In such a matter we especially need a straightforward statement of reasons and principles.

The worst thing we could do would be to build a spite navy, a navy built not to meet our own needs, but to spite some one else. I am speaking purely as an American. No man in this country who is both intelligent or informed has the slightest fear that Great Britain will ever invade us or try to go to war with us. The British navy is not in the slightest degree a menace to us. I can go a little further than this. There is in Great Britain a large pacifist and defeatist party which behaves exactly like our own pacifists, pro-Germans, Germanized Socialists, defeatists, and Bolsheviki. If this party had its way and Great Britain abandoned its fleet, I should feel, so far from the United States being freed from the[289] necessity of building up a fleet, that it behooved us to build a much stronger one than is at present necessary. Our need is not as great as that of the vast scattered British Empire, for our domains are pretty much in a ring fence. We ought not to undertake the task of policing Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. Neither ought we to permit any interference with the Monroe Doctrine or any attempt by Europe or Asia to police America. Mexico is our Balkan Peninsula. Some day we will have to deal with it. All the coasts and islands which in any way approach the Panama Canal must be dealt with by this Nation, and by this Nation alone, in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine. With this object in view our navy should be second to that of Great Britain and superior to that of any other power—and if Great Britain chooses to abolish its navy it would mean that we ought to build a larger navy than is now necessary.


December 25, 1918

We should show our respect for the men at the front by more than mere adulation. They are the Americans who have done most and suffered most for this country. It was announced in the press that in many cases they and the families they have left behind have not for months received their full pay. This is[290] an outrage. All civil officials are paid. The Secretary of War is paid, and he ought not to touch a dollar of his salary and no high official should touch a dollar of his salary until the enlisted men and junior officers are paid every cent that is owing to them, and this payment should be prompt. There is literally no excuse for even so much as three days’ delay in the payment.

Moreover, these men, at great cost to themselves in paying everything including, in fifty or sixty thousand cases, their lives, have gone to the front at a wage from one half to one fifth as great as that their companions who stayed behind have received during the same period. They enlisted to do a specific job. They made the sacrifice in order to do that job. We on our side should see that just as soon as the job is done the men are taken home, allowed to leave the army, and begin earning their livelihood and take care of the wives and children that the married ones among them have left behind.

Recently in the public press there have appeared various artless and chatty statements from the State, War, and Navy departments that our men might be kept in Europe to do general police work and might not be brought back here until the summer of 1920. There are three types of soldiers on the other side. There are the Regular Army men, who have entered the Regular Army as a profession, and to whom it is a matter of indifference whether they stay in Europe, come back here, go to the Philippines, or do anything else. That is a small[291] proportion of our force on the other side. The bulk are divided between volunteers, who enlisted in the National Guard or sometimes in the regular regiments to fight this war through, and the drafted men who were put into the army under a law designed to meet this war and this war only. Not one in ten of the volunteers would have dreamed of volunteering to do police work in European squabbles. Not ten Congressmen would have voted for the Draft Law if it was to force selective men to do police duty after the war was over. All these men went in to fight this war through to a finish and then to come home. It is not a square deal to follow any other course as regards them. The minute that peace comes every American soldier on the other side should be brought home as speedily as possible save, of course, the regulars who make the Regular Army their life profession, and any other man who chose to volunteer to go over, or who can with entire propriety be used for gathering up the loose ends. The American fighting man at the front has given this country a square deal during the war. Now let the country give him a square deal by letting him get out of the army and go to his home as soon as the war is finished. The Red Cross has done wonderful work in taking care of the dependents of these men pending settlement by the Government, but the Government should not be content to rely on any outside organization to make up its own shortcomings.



January 13, 1919

It is, of course, a serious misfortune that our people are not getting a clear idea of what is happening on the other side. For the moment the point as to which we are foggy is the League of Nations. We all of us earnestly desire such a league, only we wish to be sure that it will help and not hinder the cause of world peace and justice. There is not a young man in this country who has fought, or an old man who has seen those dear to him fight, who does not wish to minimize the chance of future war. But there is not a man of sense who does not know that in any such movement if too much is attempted the result is either failure or worse than failure.


The trouble with Mr. Wilson’s utterances, so far as they are reported, and the utterances of acquiescence in them by European statesmen, is that they are still absolutely in the stage of rhetoric precisely like the “fourteen points.” Some of the fourteen points will probably have to be construed as having a mischievous significance, a smaller number might be construed as being harmless, and one or two even as beneficial, but nobody knows what Mr. Wilson really means by them, and so all talk of adopting them as basis for a peace or a league is nonsense and, if the talker is intelligent, it is insincere nonsense to boot. So Mr. Wilson’s recent utterances give us absolutely no clue as to whether he really intends that at this moment we shall admit Germany, Russia,—with which, incidentally, we are still waging war,—Turkey, China, and Mexico into the League on full equality with ourselves. Mr. Taft has recently defined the purposes of the League and the limitations under which it would act, in a way that enables most of us to say we very heartily agree in principle with his theory and can, without doubt, come to an agreement on specific details.

Would it not be well to begin with the League which we actually have in existence, the League of the Allies who have fought through this great war? Let us at the peace table see that real justice is done as among these Allies, and that while the sternest reparation is demanded from our foes for such horrors as those committed in Belgium, Northern France, Armenia, and the sinking of the Lusitania,[294] nothing should be done in the spirit of mere vengeance. Then let us agree to extend the privileges of the League, as rapidly as their conduct warrants it, to other nations, doubtless discriminating between those who would have a guiding part in the League and the weak nations who would be entitled to the privileges of membership, but who would not be entitled to a guiding voice in the councils. Let each nation reserve to itself and for its own decision, and let it clearly set forth questions which are non-justiciable. Let nothing be done that will interfere with our preparing for our own defense by introducing a system of universal obligatory military training modeled on the Swiss plan.

Finally make it perfectly clear that we do not intend to take a position of international Meddlesome Matty. The American people do not wish to go into an overseas war unless for a very great cause and where the issue is absolutely plain. Therefore, we do not wish to undertake the responsibility of sending our gallant young men to die in obscure fights in the Balkans or in Central Europe, or in a war we do not approve of. Moreover, the American people do not intend to give up the Monroe Doctrine. Let civilized Europe and Asia introduce some kind of police system in the weak and disorderly countries at their thresholds. But let the United States treat Mexico as our Balkan Peninsula and refuse to allow European or Asiatic powers to interfere on this continent in any way that implies permanent or semi-permanent possession. Every one of[295] our allies will with delight grant this request if President Wilson chooses to make it, and it will be a great misfortune if it is not made.

I believe that such an effort made moderately and sanely, but sincerely and with utter scorn for words that are not made good by deeds, will be productive of real and lasting international good.




[2] This article on “The League of Nations” is the last contribution that Colonel Roosevelt prepared for The Star. It was dictated at his home in Oyster Bay, January 3, the Friday before his death. His secretary expected to take the typed copy to him for correction Monday. Instead she was called on the telephone early Monday morning and told of his death. A delay of several days naturally ensued, before the editorial reached the office of The Star.

In view of the immense moment of the issues before the Peace Conference, The Star had asked Colonel Roosevelt to give his countrymen the benefit of his discussion of the possibilities of a League of Nations as a preventive of war. He consented, although, as he wrote, he expected to follow this editorial with one “on what I regard as infinitely more important, namely, our business to prepare for our own self-defense.” That article, however, was never written.

This article, then, his final contribution to The Star, represents his matured judgment based on protracted discussion and correspondence. It is of peculiar importance as the last message of a man who, above every other American of his generation, combined high patriotism, practical sense, and a positive genius for international relations.




The Riverside Press
U . S . A

Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious errors in punctuation have been fixed.

In the table of contents, “The Landsdowne Letter” changed to “The Lansdowne Letter”

Page 49: “which his precedessor” changed to “which his predecessor”

Page 54: “seeking a black animal” changed to “seeing a black animal”

Page 136: “New York Herold” changed to “New York Herald”