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authorities of the United States; only now that my own opinions and conclusions have been modified, revised, and approved by our highest military experts do I feel justified in presenting them for public consideration. Therefore, in outlining what seems to be the best method of military protection for our own country, I do not violate my own dictum that only military experts are competent to give advice in purely military matters, since I offer not my own opinion, but the verdict of competent army- and navy-officers whom regulations forbid to speak for themselves. None of us realizes our danger more absolutely than these experts; none would be more willing to instruct his countrymen; no others could be better fitted to show us our errors if they were not subjected to a censorship as rigorous as that which now prevails at the battle-front in Europe.
Our politicians, in order to protect themselves from the exposure of their numerous administrative blunders, which they naturally commit when they attempt to perform duties for which they are utterly unqualified, have muzzled our officers, and thus the only men who are thoroughly competent to reveal the woeful inefficiencies of our army and navy are forced to keep silence and even compelled to bear the discredit for blunders for which they are in no way responsible, and from which they would protect us if they were allowed freedom of speech. Occasionally their devotion to their country. impels them to risk everything and to break through this senseless barrier, thereby injuring the reputations and the political careers of some of our well-known "statesmen." The recent fate of Admiral Fiske, who, when questioned before a congressional committee, dared to tell unpleasant truths about the present lack of organization in our navy, is the latest warning that indiscreet outbursts of truth and patriotism will promptly result in ruined careers. To muzzle our experts on national safety is almost as ridiculous as it would be to force the Doctors Mayo to keep silent on surgery, or to forbid Edison to speak about electricity.
It is often said that American officers are not altogether unselfish in their desire to see civilians removed from our ministries of defense. Even if this is true, can they be blamed? Would not a member of any other high profession be indignant if through political influence men untrained in that profession were suddenly to be made autocratic chief over him and all his fellows? Therefore I must maintain that no matter what system of defense we institute or how large a bond issue we declare, we can never have a safe and sound reorganization or enlargement of our army and navy until we have military and not civilian secretaries of war and marine as members of the President's cabinet.
No less an authority than Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley says, in speaking of our Civil War:
To hand over to civilians the administration and organization of an army, whether in peace or war, or to allow them to interfere in the selection of officers for command or promotion, is most injurious to efficiency; while during the war, to allow them, no matter how high their political capacity, to dictate to commanders in the field any line of conduct, after the army has once received its commission, is simply to insure disaster.
. . . In the first three years of the Secession War, when Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton practically controlled the movements of the Federal forces, the Confederates were generally successful. Further, the most glorious epoch of the Confederacy was the critical period of 1862, when Lee was allowed to exercise the full authority of Commander-in-Chief; and lastly, the Northern prospects did not begin to brighten until after Mr. Lincoln, in March, 1864, with that unselfish intelligence which distinguished him, abdicated his military functions. in favor of General Grant.
In the United States we are not divided into pacifists and jingoes. All Americans desire peace, and differ only as to the best means of securing it, or disagree as to the degree of honor or dishonor with which we may buy that peace. In none of the
wars of our history have we been the aggressors. At Concord that first shot which was "heard round the world" was not fired by the colonists. In 1846 it needed a horror like the massacre of the Alamo before our Government would face the necessity of dealing rigorously with Mexico. In 1861 the majority of the people in the North were still declaring that the South would never in any circumstances resort to arms when the cannon at Fort Sumter cut short their foolish predictions.
We have ever in the past had war forced upon us, and have ever been unprepared to meet it. We shall most certainly have wars forced upon us in the future. Shall we always be unprepared to meet them?
Due to fortunate combinations of circumstances, we have not, in four of the five wars of our history, reaped the full
penalty of our unpreparedness. We emerged victorious from the Revolution and the War of 1812 because Spain and France sided with us and gave us vital aid, choosing those crucial moments to be avenged for old quarrels with England. We won the wars of 1848 and 1898 only because we were pitted against weak nations. Our one terrible lesson, the only lesson the penalties of which were commensurate with our neglect, was the Civil War. In 1860 our need, as demonstrated by contemporaneous exponents of preparedness, was for a compact standing army of not more than 100,000 men. To any one who studies the history of that epoch it must be evident that had we possessed such an army, the Civil War need never have been fought. Some military authorities even go so far as to state that a single efficient army corps of 30,000 men would
absolutely have prevented that war, in which a million men lost their lives. Our troops could have suppressed the disorder in the South long before it reached armed conflict, and forced the South to settle its differences with the Government at Washington by arbitration or compromise.
America is so large that she has no need to fight for more territory, as Japan and Germany have fought and will fight; she is so rich that she has no temptation to strive for indemnities; and she is too proud to indulge in quarrels over trifles. May she, however, never be unready to hold her boundaries against an enemy or to protect herself from invasion! May she likewise ever be prepared to defend the ideals for which she stands! A nation without vigorous ideals is a nation unfit, a nation doomed to destruction even more certainly than one that has been conquered. Conquered nations have sometimes regained their freedom, but no nation without ideals to defend, and the will and power to defend them, has ever survived.
If after the battle of Concord our colonial ancestors had voted peace at any price, we should now be taxed without representation, be ruled by a nation which would allow us no general manhood suffrage, and our territory would still be subject to huge land grants which reserved vast areas for non-resident nobility. By accepting the gage of battle, we won liberty and established a great nation. We even freed all England's colonies from the tyranny against which we fought, for by that bitter lesson we taught her the wisdom of granting autonomy to her daughters; in consequence of which the inhabitants of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa really enjoy more freedom than the inhabitants of England herself. As regards human liberty, we, by the Revolution, set forward the hands on the clock of time at least a century. We even did England herself a service; for in her present need she is supported by a group of strong and loyal colonies because she has long allowed them to share her privileges, opportunities, and ideals.
No price that can be counted in dollars,
pounds, or francs is too great to pay for peace. No price that will build up an adequate navy and an efficient army is too great. We all desire that America may have as few wars as possible, but we must face the fact that we cannot always avoid wars. Even to-day one may perceive several causes pregnant with the possibility of future hostilities for the United States. Mexico is one; South America, coveted by Germany, is another; still a third exists in the fact that our Western labor-unions refuse to allow us to grant equal rights to certain Orientals because of racial dislike and because these Orientals are more industrious and efficient than the average American day laborer and are willing to work for lower wages. The labor-unions very justly make might their right, and have caused laws to be passed the object of which is to keep their own State for their own use by rendering it virtually impossible for the Orientals to compete with them. The might upon which this right is founded cannot go forever unchallenged. Sooner or later, in ten years or in ten decades, it must be tested by a trial of arms. If the case between the California labor-unions and the Oriental immigrants were to be submitted to fair and impartial international arbitration, it is probable that the Orientals would win the decision, but it is evident that our Government could not accept such a decision against the will of its own people.
Thus from time to time differences arise between nations which cannot be peacefully arbitrated; especially when a rich nation is politically weak, while a neighboring country is poor and cramped, but politically powerful, the latter will possess itself of the former's territory as inevitably as water runs down hill. The attack will come the more quickly if racial differences render the two nations antagonistic. It makes little difference whether the rich nation has become weak through race degeneration or through fatuous neglect of her defenses. The invasion of France by the Norsemen, the overrunning of the Roman Empire by the barbarians,
Since his graduation, the second man in his class, at the United States Naval Academy in 1874, Admiral Fiske has been a faithful student and a successful follower of his chosen profession.
and the recent nibblings at China by many nations are conspicuous examples among many to be found in history.
In determining America's specific requirement for adequate national defense, we should first estimate the number of troops, together with all necessary supplies, ammunition, and horses, which could be landed by an enemy upon our coast within a given time. In this connection it is necessary to consider as a possible opponent every separate nation of the world, for history shows that the friends of to-day may be enemies to-morrow, or that enemies this year may be friends the next.
Japan and Russia are to-day allies, who ten years ago were bitterest enemies, while Bulgaria and Serbia, who together defeated Turkey in 1912, have since that time already fought against each other in one war and are beginning another.
Before an enemy who attacks us can transport troops overseas, he must have almost complete control of those seas. Therefore, if we could be certain that no hostile war-fleet could ever deprive us of control of our oceans, we might dispense with military preparedness beyond that needed to protect our outlying possessions and our Canadian and Mexican borders.
Conversely, if we cannot be certain of commanding the two oceans, we must build up an army sufficient to discourage invasion. It should be remembered that since we possess two long and widely separated coast-lines, we cannot be even moderately certain of maintaining sea-control unless we constantly maintain a navy virtually twice as large and effective as the navy of any other nation. In the present war the second navy of the world has been unable to leave the shelter of its fortified harbors, and the war is being fought out entirely on land. The larger navy a country supports, the fewer nations or coalitions of nations will be able to deprive it of sea-control. Since it would be inadvisable, if not impossible, for us to maintain a navy twice as large as that of any other country, we must not depend for safety entirely upon our marine; geographical conditions compel us to possess adequate military forces.
Having determined that our navy cannot be counted upon to protect us from all attacks, we must next consider the scope of possible invasions and must try to determine the minimum means necessary to meet them with success. We find by calculations based upon well-known statistics that Japan, the most powerful nation on our west, using only half her merchant fleet as transports, could in four weeks land one hundred thousand men and twenty-five thousand horses on our Pacific coast, and, as additional vessels became available, could in each succeeding period of six weeks land another detachment of one hundred and forty thousand men and thirty-five thousand horses. Either Germany or Great Britain, the most powerful military nations on our east, could, by using half their marine, in two weeks land four hundred and fifty thousand men and ninety thousand horses on our Atlantic seaboard. And in each succeeding month either would be able to land an additional army of six hundred thousand men.
Above all, we must remember that international alliances have become the order of the day; that wars are now almost invariably fought by coalitions of nations.
Thus France and Great Britain, although hereditary enemies, combined in the Crimea to support Turkey against Russia. To-day Russia, Great Britain, and France have temporarily united against their common rival, Germany. Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia, who have long felt toward one another a ferocious hatred, temporarily combined to attack Turkey, their common foe. It is therefore highly probable that we may some day have to fight against a combination of two or more nations. If, after the present hostilities have ceased, Japan and Germany should both be antagonistic toward us, nothing could be more according to precedent than that they should temporarily compromise their present difficulties in order to deal more successfully with us. This is, however, only a possibility, and since I am pleading for the minimum of preparedness rather than for the maximum, I shall assume for purposes of discussion that we shall be in conflict with only one nation at a time.
An enemy, having fifty-five hundred miles of coast from which to choose a point of attack, would naturally not attempt to land near any one of our fortified ports, which reminds us that coast defenses are useless without a field army to assist them. Even the Dardanelles would have fallen in short order had the splendid forts not been amply supported by the Germanized Turkish field army. It is therefore self-evident that an enemy landing four hundred and fifty thousand trained and organized troops on our coast in two weeks must be opposed by an equal force that could be mobilized in the same length of time. We must be ready to match numbers for numbers, quality for quality, and speed for speed, up to the ultimate limit of the enemy's strength at the point of attack. Effectively to defend the Atlantic coast, we should be obliged within two weeks' time to mobilize and transport 500,000 men. In two months we should need to put into the field against the enemy's principal attack 1,500,000 troops. At least one million additional men would be necessary to guard against feints and raids, to protect